"And what exactly is it?" I asked.

Nervously, she ran her fingers through her hair. Taking a deep breath, she picked up one of the paper bags from the table and after what seemed like an eternity, she took something out of it. 

I licked my lips. 

Certainly, I didn't want to know about her surprise because I didn't want to deal with new troubles. Summer vacation had finally begun and the last thing I wanted was another surprise.

Mom placed the bag back in its place. 

Olive cocked an eye at me and I shrugged my shoulders.

Mom stared at the pizza slice in my hands, "Lizzie, junk food tastes good, but it isn't very healthy. You're gaining weight too quickly, honey."

I put the pizza slice back in the box. What was she trying to say?

"You are about to turn eighteen soon and this is the time we make right choices. I've planned something for you. It'll be fun and you can get in shape," she smiled at me.

I slumped back in the comfortable couch, folding my arms in front of my chest.

"Just get to the point," I muttered.

"So, I've made a decision. How about you join a summer fitness camp conducted by trained professionals?"

"No," was my instant answer.

I always hated to talk about my weight. When I was a child, just one comment about me being fat would reduce me to tears. The truth is that the teasing had never stopped. People still made fun of me, but I had learnt the art of ignorance now. 

 To be honest, people will never stop judging you. 

Yes, I was overweight and obviously, I didn't like that. Who wants to be called names? Nobody. However, I was getting used to my size now. 

I didn't want to join any fitness camps.

"Well, I've already paid them and your name has been registered."

"What? Why didn't you ask me?" I shook my head.

"I love you and this is for your benefit only."

It wasn't the first time mom had asked me to get healthy. Numerous times, she had suggested me some exercises, but this whole fitness camp thing was unexpected. She very well knew how much I hated to exercise.

"Try it, for me...please," she pleaded.

"First, I find exercise boring. Second, I don't have enough time to exercise," I said, shrugging.

The second reason was baseless, but I tried anyway.

"I think I should leave now," Olive said, standing up.

Grabbing her hand, I pulled her down. She winced as I had used more force than required.

"What if I don't join this stupid camp?' I asked, leaning forward.

"They don't have refund policies, so I'm afraid you won't get your pocket money for a few weeks to make up for the loss," she replied in a matter-of-fact tone.

"What?" I shrieked.

Olive closed her eyes for a split second as she rubbed her ears. 

Mom nodded. How could she do that to me?

She gave me the paper that she had been holding for long and I practically snatched it from her. I could feel the heat rising in my body. It was unbelievable what she did. How could she not ask me before taking such a big step?

Glaring at her, I looked down at the paper in my hands. Olive shifted closer so she could read that as well. It was something like a pamphlet.

Fitness for Dummies

Do you want to get fit? Then join our camp right now.

Get slimmer, healthier and fitter!

Join the adventure and sweat it out!

Olive laughed up her sleeve, "That's an interesting name!"

It was time for me to think wisely. No fitness camp meant no pocket money. If I had no pocket money who would take care of my personal expenses? Mom was being smart by using my pocket money as a weapon and frankly, I couldn't live without my pocket money. It was a hard choice for me. 

I thought about everything for like ten minutes and all that while no one spoke. Scratching my head, I tried hard to think of a way to rescue myself.

A sly smile crept upon my lips.

"Okay, I'll do what you want, but I do have a condition."

"Anything!" mom exclaimed.

"Olive will have to join as well."

Olive snapped her head in my direction. She frowned at me, shaking her head. Her green eyes bore into me and I looked away. We were best buddies and it was the least she could do for me.

"But why me? I'm not even fat, no offense," she replied.

"Fine...You either spend your time with your parents on your farm or join me. You either spend your time milking cows and clearing their dung or join me. The choice is all yours."

I definitely had a way with words.

Olive let out a sharp breath. I knew I had done the trick.



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