Home Again
This wasn’t good. Why was I torturing myself? Just say it… “Err, yes.”
    “Something did?”
    “I realized that I might, um, I think I maybe have some issues.” Whew. There. I said it. Out loud, even.
    “What would those issues be?”
    But, of course. The damn doctor was going to make me say it. “I have an eating disorder.” I cringed as I said it, hating the truth.
    She tried to mask her shocked expression with a smile. “And when did you realize this?”
    “I don’t know. A couple of days ago?” Somewhere deep down, though, I always knew.
    “Was there something that made you think that?”
    “Come on, Doc, level with me. I know that you knew this all along. And I know that I did, too. I just didn’t want to believe it.”
    “To be honest, I don’t know anything more about you than you told me yourself.”
    “But you must’ve read about me.”
    She nodded. “Sure, but those are just opinions, or conclusions people jump to. There could be a number of reasons a person would faint. Many of which don’t mean you have a problem.”
    “But I fainted because I wasn’t taking care of myself.”
    “And why was that?”
    “I don’t know. I love singing, I really do, but there’s just so much pressure to be stick thin and have this perfect body. I just wanted to have it all.”
    “Do you think most people would be happy having your body?”
    I shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”
    “So why don’t you believe it’s enough?”
    “Is our time up?” I laughed nervously. “I don’t know. Honestly, I just want to know how to stop thinking like this.”
    “Like what exactly?”
    “Like it’s okay to skip meals. Like it’s not okay to weigh 120 pounds.” I ran my fingers through my hair. “I just want to be normal.”
    “Aisley, I’m going to tell you something you don’t want to hear right now. You’re not normal. Millions of young girls look up to you as a role model. Whether you like it or not, that’s how it is.”
    “I know.” I thought about Karen and how she hoped to be just like me. If only she knew that being like me wasn’t exactly a good thing.
    “I think we’re making good progress.”
    I nodded. “So, this time next week?”
    “I’m very proud of you.”
    “Thanks, Dr. Tinsley.”
     
    ***
     
    Easton: Hey Carter, I’m beginning to think you’ve had enough of me.
    Aisley: Not even close.
    Easton: Can I come over?
    Aisley: I don’t think that’s a good idea. My dad was pretty pissed when he found out about the window.
    Easton: He’s not going to come over here with a shotgun, is he?
    Aisley: LOL. I’d never let him mess up your pretty face.
    Easton: So, meet me at our spot instead.
    Aisley: East…
    Easton: Is that a yes or a no, babe?
    Aisley: Fine, but the human shield will be there.
    Easton: I would expect nothing else. See you in fifteen.
     
    Was it stupid of me to go see him? Yes, probably. It was easier to keep secrets if you weren’t looking someone in the eye. “Hey John,” I called, knocking on the door of the guest bedroom.
    He opened up quick. “Something wrong?” he asked, looking around frantically.
    “No. I was just hoping to go somewhere. Alone.”
    “No.”
    “Come on, there hasn’t been one camera—anywhere.”
    “It’s my job to be your shadow.” He started gathering up his stuff.
    “Please. I’m just going to meet East.”
    “I think I hate going with you to see him as much as you hate having me on all your dates, but I have to.”
    “I am literally begging you. I will make sure you get a raise when I get back on tour. Please. I promise I will be super careful.”
    He groaned. “Where are you meeting him?”
    “The lake.”
    “I’m going back to my room. I will check on you in forty-five minutes, and if you’ve snuck out I will come get you at the lake.” He winked and shut the door in my face.
    “I owe you!” I yelled through the door.
    I practically sprinted out of the door and all the way to the woods. It was much needed

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