Chapter 23

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After questioning, all the girls came over to my house for a sleepover to keep our minds off of the  situation. We ate pizza, popcorn, and watched The Black Swan.

"So that's what your dance group is working on?" Emily asked, taking a bite of her pizza,

I nodded and took a sip of my iced tea, "I was thinking of auditioning for the White Swan."

Hanna shook her head and put her pizza down on her plate, "You'd be hot as the Black Swan."

I shrugged, "It's just not me."

"You're more like the Black Swan than you think."

We all soon went to sleep after watching a few other movies. I woke up around three a.m. to use the bathroom, but paused on the way back to my room as I passed the mirror. I pinched the the fat on my hips and sighed.

Ali and I sat in a diner, the spring before she disappeared.

"No one cares unless you're pretty or dying, Gracie." Ali stated, "Choose quickly."

I pushed the plate with my burger and fries on it before looking at her, "Why can't I be both?"

Ali smirked, "I like the way you think, Gracie."

The girls left early because they had other things to do before school. I got a text from Toby, asking for a ride. I was just about to head out when my mother called me over,

"Yeah?" I asked and stopped when I saw both my mother and father in the kitchen.

I automatically thought it was about my dad's affair. But once I sat down, my mother slid a paper towards my,

"What's this?" I asked as I looked over it,

"It's a schedule." Dad cleared his throat, "For a therapist."

"A therapist?" I questioned, "Why do I need a therapist?"

"Well we talked to your friends' parents and we all decided that maybe you guys should talk to someone about Alison and get things off your chest. With your attitude and your eating issues lately, I think it's a good idea."

I stood up and pushed the paper towards them, "I'll go to therapy when you guys go to marriage counseling."

...

"Are you sure that you want to stay here?" I asked Toby as he closed the trunk of my car.

Toby shrugged as he placed his bag over his shoulder, "I can't handle another fight with Jenna, I don't want to go home until my parents get back, And I don't think your parents are gonna offer me the guest room."

I nodded, "My parents and I aren't on very good terms right now."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Toby asked and I shook my head,

"Maybe later. When do your parents get back?" I asked him as we walked towards the reception area,

"Monday. They'll make a decent buffer. You'll come back later?" Toby said as we stood outside the door,

"Of course." I leaned up and kissed him, "I've got to get to practice before school."

I was just about to get into my car when I heard a flute... Jenna's flute. At least, it sounded like the song she was playing outside her house when I visited.

I found the room where the music was coming from and I knocked. Immediately the music stopped but no one came to the door. I walked over to the window and peered inside. Because of the curtains, the only thing I could see was the bed. And upon that bed was the bag that I saw Ian give Jenna the other day.

I was going to knock again, but I stopped myself when I saw the room number.

214.

...

I rushed to school after ballet practice to tell the girls my discovery. Hanna was quick to call me crazy but luckily Spencer believed me. 

At lunch I called Toby to check in on him, and he told me he was in room 213. I told him I would see him later before going to class. After school was over, I went to the store and bought things to keep Toby and I entertained.

"Scrabble. Mad libs." I said, pulling the items out of the plastic bag, "'Bikes to Die for, Babes to Fight for.' Page 12. It's a great read."

"Thanks." Toby stated, taking the magazine, 

"And I downloaded this app that turns my phone Into a listening device. That way, if anybody goes next door, We'll be able to hear them through the wall." I spoke quickly as I held up my phone, "Caffeine?"

Toby took the thermos from my hand, "I think you've had enough."

We both froze when we heard the door close from next door. We put down the items and went outside to see a room cleaner walking away from the room, "Hey, did you just come out of room 214? Is there any way that we can get in there?" I questioned,

"Is it your room?" The woman replied in a Russian accent,

"No, but we-" I turned and gave Toby a look,

The woman rolled her eyes, "I've got work to do."

I took a step forward, "Wait, um... For a 20.." I pulled out a twenty dollar bill from my jeans, "Can we pretend that he said yes?"

The woman let us into the room and Toby grabbed something from the floor, "Grace, Jenna's glasses." He looked up at me, "This is her room."

"The bag was on the bed." I stated and we began searching.

Toby looked under the bed while I searched through the drawers. I looked over and noticed a closet. I rushed over and opened it, spotting the bag on the top shelf. I grabbed it and looked inside, "Nothing."

We went back to the room and Toby and I were playing Scrabble when he suggested to order food.

"Chinese or pizza?" He asked, looking through the menus.

I shrugged, playing with my top, "I don't care. Whatever you want."

"Alright. Chinese it is." He smirked before tossing me a t-shirt and I looked at him in confusion, "Your clothes don't look very comfortable to sleep in."

I gave him a thankful smile and changed into the shirt while he ordered food. When I came back out, he was in only pajama bottoms. I blushed before walking back over to the bed to continue our game.

When our Chinese came, I never took a bite.

"I'm not very hungry." I answered when Toby asked.

He sighed and put his napkin down, "Are we ever gonna talk about that?"

I furrowed my eyebrows, "Talk about what?"

"Every time we eat together, you end up never taking a bite and saying you're not hungry." Toby stated.

"I don't eat much." I replied and he shook his head,

"I know that's not true, Grace."

"What do you want me to tell you, Toby?! That I'm starving myself? That I crave for attention? That I hate every inch of my body so I decided to slowly kill myself?" I got off the bed, "I'm in total control."

"If you were able to control yourself, you'll stop." Toby said, following my movements,

"I'll stop when I'm thin." I muttered and Toby grabbed my arms,

"No you won't! Because you won't be able to see it and you won't stop. And guess what? You won't be happier, and along the way you won't just lose drastic amounts of weight, Gracie. You'll lose your life and your mind!" Toby yelled and I flinched.

"Maybe it's better that way!" I screamed back before leaving the motel.

Leaving Toby.

"Good girl, Gracie."




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