“One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.” I jumped along with the woman on screen, throwing my arms up and back down again. Twenty more jumping jacks, I thought tiredly. I followed along for a few more minutes, sweat pouring down my forehead. I felt ready to pass out as I dropped to the ground when she was done. I heaved and gasped for breath and she concluded the session.
“Ugh,” I groaned, wiping my forehead and pressing the power button on the TV remote. I held my stomach as it growled loudly. I was too exhausted and too hungry and I just couldn’t get up yet. I stretched out on the floor, wincing slightly at the burning in my legs and arms, and closed my eyes for just a moment.
“_______. _______ love, wake up.” I moaned, turning over and curling in on myself. “_______.” I opened my eyes tiredly and saw two emerald orbs staring down at me.
“Artie?” I mumbled, rubbing sleep out of my eyes. He put a hand behind my back and helped me sit up. “What’re you doing home?” I asked, looking around at the sun pouring in through the windows. He quirked a large eyebrow.
“I’m home from work love. It’s five fifteen now,” he told me. My eyes widened and I looked up at the clock on our wall. It was indeed five fifteen. But I started working out around eleven and couldn’t have exercised for more than an hour, so I stopped around twelve or so. I slept for almost five and half hours?! “If you were tired, why didn’t you sleep in our room? Our at the very least on the couch?” he asked.
I could tell he was worried about me. He’d seen the change in me over the past few days and I was starting to act differently. I shrugged, standing up shakily. I took a few steps and stumbled. “_______!” Arthur cried worriedly, reaching out to catch me.
“I’m alright,” I said, righting myself. I yawned and made my way to the bathroom. I heard the Englishman huff exasperatedly and sit down on the couch as I shut the door. I gave a small grin and pulled out the weight scale from under the sink. I stepped onto it and looked down. “Damn,” I muttered, tears pricking at my eyes.
I’d been trying to lose weight for the past two weeks and I’d lost a little, but now I just wasn’t getting any skinnier. I wiped at the tear and pushed the scale back under the sink with my foot. I walked back out of the bathroom, my stomach gnawing painfully.
“Love, were you working out again?” Arthur asked from the sofa. I winced slightly at his question. He’d turned the television on and seen the twenty-four seven workout channel. I was usually a lot more careful about changing the channel and covering up my tracks about that.
“Just a little,” I replied, walking up behind him. He turned his head slightly so he could look at me.
“A little? Love, you’re working yourself past exhaustion. You passed out on the floor!” he exclaimed. I shook my head and ruffled his hair.
“You worry too much,” I said, kissing his cheek. He rolled his green eyes and turned back to the television.
“Supper’s on the table,” he called as I walked into the kitchen. It was agreed that every other night, unless decided otherwise, was take out night. I would cook the others nights. Arthur was not allowed in the kitchen unless he was getting something to drink or washing dishes. I looked to the table and saw the styrofoam containers.
“I’m not real hungry,” I said, grabbing a bottle of water out of the refrigerator. I heard the TV shut off and light footsteps walk across the living room.
“You haven’t been hungry for the past three days _______.You haven’t eaten and you’re passing out you’re working out so much. I’m worried about you love. You’ve been acting strange the past few days as well.” He looked at me with concerned eyes as he walked towards me. “You’re cheeks are starting to become hollow and you look sickly.” He must’ve known what I was doing, but hadn’t guessed it had progressed this far.
“I-I’m fine,” I defended weakly. Arthur walked forward me and grabbed my arm. I cringed as his long fingers wrapped around my thin arm.
“__-____,” he stammered, his fingers loosening. I wiped at the tears already running down my cheeks. “Why are you so thin?” he asked, pulling my face up so his could look me in the eyes. I could tell he already knew, but he wanted me to say it. I sniffed, looking into his bright green eyes.
“I-I wanted to look nice,” I mumbled. “I w-wanted to be pretty for you.” The Brit pulled me into a hug and kiss me softly. He pulled back and cupped my cheek.
“_______, I love you just the way you are. You are beautiful inside and out. Besides, do you think starving yourself would be the solution?” he questioned. I buried my head in his chest and whimpered.
“I d-don’t know,” I cried softly. He rubbed my back and murmured quietly in my ear. “I didn’t know w-what to do, and I-I was scared that if I w-wasn’t p-pretty enough, you wouldn’t wanna date m-me anymore,” I bawled. Arthur hugged me tighter.
“You are lovely and there is not a single thing in this world that could ever make me leave you,” he whispered, kissing the tears off my face. “You couldn’t be any more stunning than you already are. I love you for you,” he said. I gave a watery smile and hugged him.
“Thank you Arthur. I love you too,” I mumbled, burying my face in his shoulders. He chuckled softly and wrapped his arms around my waist.
“Come now love. Let’s get some food into you, alright?” He walked over to one of cupboards and opened it. I eyed him suspiciously for a moment as he pulled a small, wrapped package. “Don’t worry, I didn’t make them. Francis sent them over yesterday,” he said grudgingly. I smiled and rolled my eyes. He and the Frenchman just couldn’t along, not even if their lives depended on it.
“I do love your cooking dear, but I just don’t know if I could handle it right now,” I reassured him, walking up and resting my head on his shoulder. He snorted lightly and pulled out a chocolate chip cookie from the package. Oh Francis thank you soooo much!! I praised silently.
“Eat,” Arthur said, holding the cookie out in front of me. I giggled and opened my mouth eagerly. He stuffed the little pastry in my mouth. I chewed, savoring the sweetness of the chocolate. It was light and fluffy in my mouth. I hated to admit it, but Francis was one of the most amazing cooks ever. I grabbed another and ate it quickly. “Hungry?”
“Mhm!” I nodded vigorously. He laughed and pushed a strand of hair out of my face.
“Careful love. You don’t want to choke,” he said. I nodded and swallowed what I had in my mouth. “Want something to drink?” I nodded again and sat down at the table as he grabbed the milk out of the refrigerator and poured me a glass.
“Thanks Artie,” I said, gulping down the ice cold milk.
“You’re welcome dear,” he replied and sat down next to me. “Love, I’m begging you. Don’t do this again, please. It scares me. I don’t like seeing you like this and I… I don’t like it. Please.” The poor man was nearly in tears as he tried to convey how he felt. It felt strangely ironic, but I refrained from commenting. I pulled the Brit into a hug, kissing his cheek.
“I promise,” I murmured. He smiled weakly and kissed me.
“Thank you dear.”
“_______ love! Lunch is ready!” Arthur called. I smiled and turned my head so I could look at him without blinding myself. I cracked an eyelid and saw him leaning out of the kitchen window.
“Alright hun. Gimme five more minutes,” I replied. I turned my face back to the sun and sighed happily. I was… ‘back to normal’, so to speak. Arthur had told Francis, and being the caring man he was, sent a meal over almost every night.
Arthur was grudging to let Francis help, but knew that his out cooking wouldn’t do much help. It’d been a month or so and I’d been doing much better. Currently, I was lazing by the pool, trying to get a tan. I stretched and sat up, listening to my back pop. I pulled on my mid-thigh, see through cover up and made my way into the house.
“Artie!” I walked into the kitchen and saw him standing by the country. “Hey hun,” I said, walking up and wrapping my around his waist. I looked around him and saw two sandwiches sitting on the counter. “You’re getting better. They aren’t burnt,” I said, kissing his cheek. He blushed pink.
“I just hope they aren’t poisoned,” he muttered, walking to the table. I refrained from giggled and sat down. I took a large bite, not even waiting for Arthur to sit down.
“It’s perfect!” I said, grinning as he sat down. He looked at me with wide eyes, his jaw slack.
“A-are you serious?” he asked, looking at his own meal doubtfully. I nodded excitedly and took another bite. Arthur brought his sandwich up to his mouth and took a tentative bite. He smiled happily and I laughed. His first culinary success. We finished eating and as Arthur was putting the plates up, I trailed a finger down the back of his shirt. He turned around and wrapped his arms around my waist.
“Hello love,” he murmured, pulling me flush against him. I grinned and wrapped my own arms around his neck.
“You know,” I said softly, looking at him through half-lidded eyes, “it’s really hot right now. The pool’s nice and cool.” The Englishman’s breathing hitched and I smirked. “Go change and I’ll be waiting for you.” He nodded and rushed out of the kitchen, upstairs to our room. I chuckled and headed back towards the pool. I shed my thin cover up, my bikini top and the bottoms as I went.
I stepped into the cool, refreshing water and slid all the way under. I swam to the deep end and surfaced. I smiled mischievously as I waited for my unsuspecting Brit to come downstairs and into the large pool.