Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies

BOOK: Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
Now, I have to admit, being a model sounds like a pretty cool job. Flying to all parts of the world to have my picture taken, hanging out with stars, never going to school, making lots and lots of money . . . that would be great. I imagined myself on a beach with Theo Christmas, posing for a Celeb Eye magazine cover shoot. “Closer,” the photographer would direct. “Theo, pull her closer.” I’d rest my head against his chest and smile hugely for the camera.
And then my imagination showed me nestling with him in my polka-dot one-piece, the one with the “modesty skirt” Grandma got me to hide what she calls my “peasant” shape. Modeling might be fun, or a great opportunity, but being the face of a clothing line for chunky girls was not the type of modeling that would generate seaside celebrity photo sessions. Excessive junior high teasing? Probably. Snuggles with Theo Christmas? No way. Also, husky or not, models don’t eat chocolate cookies.
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Copyright © 2009 by Erin Dionne
All rights reserved
 
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
 
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Dionne, Erin, date.
Models don’t eat chocolate cookies / by Erin Dionne.
p. cm.
Summary: Overweight thirteen-year-old Celeste begins a campaign to lose weight in order to make sure she does not win the Miss HuskyPeach modeling challenge, which her mother and aunt have entered her in—against her wishes.
eISBN : 978-1-101-01484-4
[1. Overweight persons—Fiction. 2. Weight control—Fiction. 3. Models (Persons)—Fiction. 4. Friendship—Fiction. 5. Self-esteem—Fiction. 6. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title. II. Title: Models do not eat chocolate cookies.
PZ7.D6216Mo 2009
[Fic]—dc22
2008020612

http://us.penguingroup.com

For Frank, with all my love.
You were right.
Chapter 1
“NO WAY,” I hissed through the slatted dressing room door. “I am not coming out.”
“Honey, I have to see how it fits,” Mom said. “Let me look.”
I dropped my forehead against the beige cubicle wall. I’d have to give in eventually, but I wasn’t opening up until my cousin was back in the clothing cubby next to me.
“Oh, angel! It’s just bee-yoo-ti-ful on you. Isn’t she a sight, Noelle?” Aunt Doreen’s nasal whine came over the top of my dressing room door like arrows over a castle wall. Of course the dress was “bee-yoo-ti-ful” on Kirsten. What wasn’t? She was tall, blond, athletic, and one of the nicest people I knew. She also shared my celebrity crush on singer Theo Christmas. We both fell in love with him when her older sister took us to see him in concert last summer. I swear, he was singing to me the whole time. (She disagrees.)
“Does it look okay from the back?” Kirsten asked. I imagined her pirouetting in front of the three-way mirror at the end of the row, hair twirling like a shampoo commercial, evenly tanned skin standing out against the back of the dress, pastel lace and fabric hugging her in all the right places. I chose the only dressing room without a mirror on purpose.
“It’s lovely,” my mother offered, her voice tight. “Will you come
out
?” she stage-whispered through the dressing room door. “This is ridiculous.”
“Where’s Celeste?” Aunt Doreen said. “I haven’t seen her yet. Celeste, do you need help in there?”
I cringed. “No, Auntie, I’m fine,” I called. “Just, uh, almost ready. One more minute.” I tugged at the dress, hoping for the magical yank that would straighten seams, smooth wrinkles, or snap it into the right proportion. Sometimes you don’t need a mirror to know when things are
very
wrong.
“Kirsten, turn around again. I think it needs hemming, don’t you?” Aunt Doreen said. “Let’s get that seamstress in here.” Then, louder, directed at me, “Okay, Celeste, we’re waiting.”
Ready or not, here I come,
I thought. Sliding the door’s bolt back, I hiked up the skirt and stepped into the dressing room corridor, head high. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as it felt.
Aunt Doreen gasped, then covered her mouth as if to trap what might follow. I let the dress sag to the floor.
“It’s . . . Oh, honey,” Mom tried. “It needs some alterations.”
I could imagine.
“Some?” said Aunt Doreen, biting the word like a potato chip. “What size did you order?”
I hung my head, trying to dampen the zing of her words, trying not to hear Mom explaining that we needed to order an adult size because the youth sizes weren’t cut for me. Besides, Mom said, a seamstress could fix it so the dress would “fall right,” whatever that meant.
“Wait!” barked a short white-haired woman with a tape measure around her neck and a handful of pins. She stood in the doorway between the dressing rooms and the rest of Angelique’s Bridal Boutique. “Don’t move or you’ll tear the lace!” When she said it, though, “move” came out like “moof” and “the” sounded like “ze.” I stayed put. Besides, where could I go in a falling-wrong dress?
“Zis needs several substantial alterations,” she said, gesturing in my direction with her chin. “When is the wedding?”
“Nine weeks,” Mom said, tearing her eyes away from me and turning to the seamstress. “Can it be fixed in time?”
Straight out of a soap opera,
I thought.
I’m in critical condition
. I stared at my feet, lost in a puddle of apricot satin. Usually I avoided this type of situation—comfort was more important to me than fashion. Comfort meant clothes that didn’t pull, ride up, or show off too much. Comfort was soft, cozy, and worn; not lacy, satiny, or peachy. A movement caught my eye. Kirsten, the Barbie Bridesmaid, was slipping into her dressing room. She raised her perfectly shaped eyebrows in an expression of sympathy before closing the door.
A bony hand pushed against the small of my back, and the seamstress ushered me to the carpet-covered platform in front of the three-way mirror Kirsten had just vacated. I hoisted myself up and thought,
I hate Kathleen
.
Kathleen was the bride. She’s Kirsten’s older sister, my oldest cousin. Ever since we moved to Los Alvios, California, five years ago, she’d watched me and my brother, Ben, when my parents went out or away for the weekend. I was flattered that she asked me to be a junior bridesmaid in her wedding, but once I saw the Peach Monstrosity, I wondered if my parents owed her babysitting money.
The dress was designed for someone like Kirsten. It had two layers sewn together down the length of the side seams. The bottom layer was fitted at the chest, with thin spaghetti straps holding the flimsy satin in place. The narrow waist dropped into a skinny skirt with a high slit in one leg and a mermaid-like swoosh of fabric in the back. The other layer was frothy peach lace that followed the shape of the satin, except the top had a scoop neck with elbow-length sleeves and slightly tufted shoulders.
Standing in front of the mirrors, I saw just how substantial those alterations would have to be.
I’m what you call “chubby” if you’re nice, “fat” if you’re like Lively Carson at school. Mom and Dad say that I haven’t lost my baby fat. If that’s the case at thirteen, I must have a lot of growing left to do. I’m short and round in the middle. And the bottom. Basically, I’m round all over, just like my dad. According to the way the dress fit, though, I’d once been six feet tall and had suddenly turned into a watermelon.
The lace constricted my upper chest and arms, forcing my pale skin through the pattern’s openings. Blood pressure cuffs make looser sleeves, and I could see a purple line around each forearm under the seams. The fabric hung loosely over my chest, bunched at my belly and hips, and puddled around my feet. And the view was reflected over and over in the triple mirror in front of me.
This is why I always shop for myself,
I thought, trying to avoid the multiple Celestes. I settled on staring at a spot above my own head. Mom complains that I buy the same stuff all the time when I’m at the mall with Sandra, my best friend. She says that my wardrobe “makes me look like a lump” and that I am “hiding my beauty under hoods and zippers.” It’s true that my closet is home to track pants and hoodies in a range of colors, but I know what looks good on me. When Mom gets fed up with my clothes, she brings home outfits for me to try on. Then she gets fed up with my labeling them “too tight,” “too uncomfortable,” or “showing too much” and returns them. This dress definitely fit multiple “too
something
” categories.
“We can take extra fabric from the bottom to make the side panels,” the seamstress muttered as she buzzed around my feet, measuring here and pinning there. “The lace sleeves will be a challenge.”
“It’s my daughter’s wedding,” said Aunt Doreen, her voice climbing. “You have to make it fit.”
“Mom,” Kirsten called from her dressing room, “can you help me get out of this?” After a moment’s hesitation, Aunt Doreen huffed to her aid.
BOOK: Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies
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