True Self Pt. 01

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“No!” I said for the fourth time as I walked out to my car. “Stephanie!”

“Come on,” my best friend argued. “It would be fun!”

“I am never going back to that horrid place, ever!” I yelled as I slammed the car door.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Stephanie said.

“For you, head cheerleader, for me, it was horrible,” I said as I put the car in gear and sped out the parking lot.

“One year,” Stephanie said. “And truth be told, it was your fault!”

“Yeah, don’t remind me,” I shook my head.

“Can you at least think about it?” Stephanie asked.

“Fine, but I already know what I am going to say,” I rolled my eyes, even though she was in a different state and couldn’t see me.

“Thank you,” Stephanie said as she hung up.

The high school we went to was throwing a party of some sort and invited Stephanie to come. She was one of the most famous people to ever graduate from that no-name school in the middle of nowhere.

Stephanie was a model, not one of those that walked on the runway and looked like they were two pounds away from revealing every rib they had, no Stephanie was a different kind of model.

She had started by posting pictures of herself online, then on her image app, then on websites. Now she was a full-fledged adult model. Posing on men’s magazines everywhere, including hunting magazines, she was on the cover of many others, racing, work out, you name it she had done it.

Posing in scantily clad clothing or fully clothed like in her recent hunting magazine with full camo gear and a large rifle, she looked stunning.

Stephanie had blonde hair, which wasn’t her natural hair color. Long legs that went on for days as some men had said in their many comments, her pert ass was the most talked about thing on the forums. Add to that a pair of E cups, and she was every man’s wet dream.

Stephanie worked out every day for at least three hours. She did it to keep her form, of course, but also to show the world that with hard work and perseverance, they could have two kids and have a dynamite body.

What the rest of the world didn’t know was that Stephanie had a personal trainer that woke her up every day and made sure she worked out and ate right, along with a dietician that prepared her daily foods and watched her intake of nutrients.

So, while the forums and millions of followers were praising her for her valiant effort to stay healthy, their precious Stephanie would love to get away from it all and stuff her face with a giant chicken burger, with onion rings and a large shake. That was the order I would always sneak into the house whenever I visited.

“You told her no, right?” my sister Claire said as I told her about the party.

“Of course,” I said as I plummeted onto the couch.

I didn’t know I had a sister until four years ago. My father and mother got divorced when I was young, I lived with my Mom, and my Dad went off and had another family. Mom never married again, never even dated all the way until she passed away from medical complications. After a few years, Claire showed up on my doorstep and told me all about our Dad. We had been close ever since.

“I can’t go back there,” I said, popping the top of my bottled water.

“From what you said, I don’t blame you,” Claire said.

Claire and Stephanie were polar opposites. While Stephanie was in shape and watched her food, Claire ate anything she wanted, when she wanted. She was a big girl and not in the age sense, but in the literal, she was proud of her weight and her looks and had no intention of losing weight or eating healthy.

Claire had dark brown hair that fell down her back, bright blue eyes, and massive GG chest that caught the attention of every guy that walked passed. Not that Claire ever tried to hide them.

“Yeah, she brought it up,” I said staring at the television.

“I knew she would,” Claire replied, shaking her head.

“She said it was my fault,” I said. I waited for a response, but none came. Claire sat in silence as she looked at the screen.

“You think the same?” I asked.

While they were opposites in looks and lifestyles, they were exactly alike in personalities. “Well,” Claire said as she turned her head to look at me.

“Both of you?” I said in disbelief.

“He is a guy, and you guys were dating, of course, he was …” Claire started to say.

“I can’t,” I said, shooting up from the couch.

It was one thing to hear it from my friend, but now my sister. I went into my room and slammed the door. Picking up my laptop and throwing it like a frisbee onto the bed, I climbed under the covers and started to binge-watch my favorite show.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I am glad you decided to come,” Stephanie said as we got onto the airplane.

“Shut it,” I replied. I was beyond pissed off. Stephanie had called my boss and asked him to give me some time off.

The drooling twenty-two-year-old didn’t even consult me before giving me the whole week off, with pay. In exchange, Stephanie sent him pictures casino şirketleri from one of his favorite series.

Who likes a woman in pink camo and posing with a pink and black bow? Really? Sure her cleavage was poking out of the zipped up jacket, but most of it, she was pretty well covered up.

A lot of her fans called her a fake hunter. What they didn’t know was under all that glam was a country girl. Just like me, I was planning to use my vacation to go upstate and get some boars.

“Not like you had anything else to do,” Claire said from behind me.

“You can shut it too,” I said as we got seated.

I sat back in the chair, nestled against the window. “Maybe he won’t be there,” Claire said as she looked at me.

I turned to look at her with my usual evil stare that told her to drop it.

“Fine,” Claire said as she plugged her earbuds into her ear.

The two and a half hour flight went by faster than I wanted, but not as fast as the hour drive into our small town. We grew up in a small town just off the interstate, if you did more than sixty on the interstate, you would pass the exit without even knowing it was there.

We checked into the only decent hotel around for twenty miles, and I started to think about the next day. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe everyone had forgotten, perhaps… I shook my head, who was I kidding. I am sure it was still the highlight of many people’s memories of our senior year.

“You know you are blowing this whole thing out of proportion, right?”

Stephanie said as she laid down on the bed.

We decided to share a room and let Claire have her own room. I loved my sister, but she was not the most organized person, and even though we were only going to be staying here for the weekend, I knew her room would be a mess.

“How?” I sat and looked at her. “You know the people here, just like I do! How am I making this any bigger?”

“Well,” Stephanie sat up.

“While we were going to school, they were still talking Billy Odell shooting his foot,” I said as I looked at her.

“True,” Stephanie nodded.

“Billy Odell was our principle, and he was fifty-two years old, it happened when he was a freshman!” I said.

Stephanie smiled. “It didn’t help that he was still walking with his cane.”

“Thanks for the help,” I shook my head and laid back.

“I am just saying, maybe it is all forgotten,” Stephanie shrugged. “These things happen; people forget and move on.”

“Yeah, in the real world, not here,” I said, turning over and closing my eyes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I am so glad you made it!” Gabby yelled as we entered our old gymnasium.

Years of watching our failure of a basketball team try to beat any team that came into town flooded my head. It hadn’t changed a bit. Since we never won anything of the sort, instead of having championship flags hanging down, we had numbers of players that had the highest scores.

“I called you from the hotel and told you we were here,” Stephanie said as she smiled for the camera. Her agency had sent a camera crew to highlight the model returning to her roots. They were hoping it would boost her sales.

The truth was Stephanie wasn’t a high commodity anymore, with the launch of many models on the Instagram, Snapchat apps, and the private web pages with younger models posing topless and fully nude, Stephanie was falling behind. Especially since she didn’t want to post fully topless and never nude, sure she had pictures with nothing on top, but her hand or a piece of clothing would hide the “good bits” as some were calling her nipples.

“Right,” Gabby said as she walked into the large hall. “Brings back memories, huh?”

“Yeah,” I said with a shake of my head.

“Leslie,” Gabby said, finally realizing I was standing next to the main attraction. “I see nothing has changed with you.”

Gabby was the head of the yearbook committee and every other after school project ever created. She even helped the coach with the playbook during our many failures as a football program.

“Can say the same for you, still the nonstop chatterbox you…” I started to say before Stephanie smacked me with her elbow.

“This should be fun,” one of the guys from the camera crew smiled.

“You will be seated over here,” Gabby said, leading to a bunch of chairs.

“Remember, Oscar?” Gabby asked with excitement.

Who could forget Oscar, he was the self-proclaimed son of a mobster, even though no one found out the truth as his father never came to the school, and didn’t even show for his graduation. Oscar said it was because he had things to deal with, and we all laughed as he tried to make it sound more important than his son’s graduation.

“He will be seated here,” Gabby said as she pointed to another row of chairs. “He made it big in the stock market, inside trading or something like it.”

“Then Ryan Tankerson would be sitting here,” Gabby said as she smiled directly at me.

“Ryan will be here?” casino firmaları Stephanie asked as she turned to look at me.

“Oh, yes,” Gabby nodded her head like a bobblehead doll. “He is a well-known sports agent; most of the big names in sports have signed deals because of him.”

I was frozen in place, looking at the paper taped to the chair in front of me. In big black bold words, the name Ryan Tankerson was staring back at me. “I can’t,” I said as I turned heels and bolted out of the gymnasium.

“The bathroom is down the main hall on the right if you are looking for some tissues!” Gabby yelled.

I stopped in the hallway as Claire and Stephanie rushed to my side. “You said!” I tried to say between breaths.

“I am sorry,” Stephanie said. “I thought..”

“Well, you thought wrong!” I shouted as I slid down the wall and sat on the ground. My head was spinning, being back in this place brought everything crashing down. “I can’t breathe.”

Claire sat next to me. “You’re breathing just fine. You just need to relax,” she said as she tried to comfort me.

“Get them away!” I shouted, looking at the camera crew who were pointing the camera as well as taking pictures.

“Guys, a few minutes,” Stephanie asked.

“I can tell you guys a few things,” Gabby said from the entrance to the gymnasium.

“Great,” I said, shaking my head.

“I will,” Stephanie said as she took off after them.

“I just want to go…” I stopped as I saw the door open, and in came the horror of my high school life.

“That’s him?” Claire said as she looked at the man walking through the door.

Sure there were a few things different, he was slightly taller, he wasn’t as built as he used to be, and his hair wasn’t as long, but it was him.

“I can’t believe it,” Ryan said as he stopped to look at me. “Hold on, I will call you right back,” he said as he hung up his call. He was smiling from ear to ear. “I can’t believe you would come,” he said as he bent over to look down at me.

“That’s my sister,” Claire said, standing up.

Claire was intimidating to most guys, not because of her stature, but because she wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone.

“Whoa, calm down, she-hulk,” Ryan said, standing up.

“Leave her alone, and I will,” Claire said, taking a few steps toward him.

Ryan laughed as he turned and walked away. “Nice seeing you again, buffy,” Ryan laughed as he walked away.

The name set me off as I remembered this hallway being filled with people calling me “puffy buffy” over and over again.

I got up and ran into the bathroom. Here I was thirty-six years old and hiding in the girl’s bathroom again just like I did so many years ago. Of course, back then, it didn’t help as many of the girls came running in right after me and chanting that horrid name.

“Leslie?” Claire asked as I had closed the door to the stall.

“I can’t go out there,” I said.

“He’s gone,” Claire said. “I will go get the car and bring it to the front, can you meet me there?”

“I have canceled my part in this place,” Stephanie said. “I will pay for a trip back. I am sorry.”

I silently nodded. “Okay,” I replied as I stayed in the stall.

Everything flooded back to that day.

Ryan was the class clown, but he had a thing for me. He would pull practical jokes on everybody except for me. We hanged out together and were practically inseparable. He had nicknamed me Buffy because I looked like the girl from the tv series about the cheerleader that was a vampire slayer. I hated the movie, but the television series was good.

I still looked like her even in my now older years, except I wasn’t as gifted, like her in the chest area. Hell, I wasn’t gifted as anyone, but back then, you wouldn’t have known because, well, I hid it very well. When we reached our sophomore year, things went from friendly to romantic, and we started dating.

As usual, with any boy his age, Ryan tried to go further than I wanted to go. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t want him to find out. One night while we were at one of the many house parties that happened during that year, things got out of hand.

We had spun the bottle, and both of us ended up in the closet of Jason Demel’s bedroom. I had drunk a little, not too much, but enough to make me feel out of character. Ryan’s hands began to roam, and that’s when he touched my chest. Immediately I tried to stop him as I realized what he had done, but it was too late.

Ryan rocketed out of the closet with wads of paper tissues in his hand. Everybody started laughing as I tried to hold my bra filled with tissues from coming out from my shirt. I ran out of the house and all the way home.

The next day Ryan had a ton of paper tissue and was flinging them around the hallway, calling me puffy buffy, the whole school had heard what happened in the closet, and it never ended.

“She’s upfront,” Stephanie said as her phone chirped.

“Okay,” I said as I opened the door.

Stephanie güvenilir casino walked outside. “I told you, it’s over, I don’t care what you tell the agency,” Stephanie said as she covered me with her coat.

I barely could see out of it except for the floor ahead of me. I was guessing she was talking to the camera crew.

“Get out of the way, Ryan,” Stephanie said. “Remember I am as big as you now, you want to go to war over this, or you want to get out of the way?”

“Big as me?” I heard Ryan laugh. “Sweetheart, all you do is take off your clothes. I sign multi-million dollar deals daily!”

“And those multi-million players look up pictures of women that I am friends with,” Stephanie said. “They jack their multi-million dollar cocks to pictures and videos of scantily clad women, who I also know, want me to continue. Sex sells faster than your deals, and for the record, all I have to do is go topless once, and I will bury what you make in a year with one photoshoot. Now get the fuck out of the way!”

Ryan’s feet shuffled as he slowly walked out the way. “She is still puffy…”

Stephanie stopped. “Finish that sentence. I dare you!” Stephanie said. “My camera crew is still rolling, go ahead and show your true colors, you’re still the high school clown!”

“I’m sorry,” I said as Claire and Stephanie started to pack our clothes.

“No!” Stephanie said as she turned to face me. “Not at all, not going to accept your apology, the two of us owe you an apology, we didn’t take what you were facing seriously,” Stephanie said.

“But your…” I started to say.

“To hell with it,” Stephanie shrugged. “You’re my best friend, and I put your feelings and what you went through and threw it out the window, just to put myself back in the spotlight, and for that I am sorry.”

“Well, if you want to be back in the spotlight, all you have to do is…” Claire smiled.

“Frank and I have been talking about it,” Stephanie said as she closed her suitcase.

“And?” Claire asked.

“It’s on the table,” Stephanie nodded. “Not completely on the table, but it’s part of the dinner plan. For the right amount.”

“Oh, I am sure if you put the offer out there, you will get plenty of bites,” Claire smiled.

“First off, let’s get you back home,” Stephanie said as she wrapped her arm in mine.

As we rode the rental back to the airport, I looked at the old places we used to walk and ride our bikes through. “Never again,” I said, shaking my head.

“Never,” Stephanie said as she looked back at me from her passenger seat.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I laid in my bed, shaking my head about how such a memory could defeat me so quickly. Within seconds of being back in that place, I was reduced to being that depressed teen hiding in the bathroom. Now I understood how people could push memories so far down that they almost forgot about them.

That wasn’t the only day that I rushed into the bathroom. A few weeks later, after I had thought the joke had run its course. Teresa Johnson, a former friend of mine and Ryan’s new girlfriend, talked some of the guys to break open my locker and filled it with toilet tissue. In my junior year, I started Derek Tonal, and he told everyone that I was all nipples and that his little sister had bigger boobs.

To make matters worse, my Mom did nothing about it. No matter how much I asked, my Mom, said I would be a late bloomer, just like she had been. That never happened, not in college and not now. I was still flat as a board, but at least I didn’t hide it anymore.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Who is the shift manager today?” I asked as I sat down in my cubicle.

“Anderson,” Jacob smiled.

“Shit,” I shook my head as I slid the headset over my head.

I worked for a small tech company; for the most part, all we did was take tech help calls. Usually, it was a slow and tedious day. We would bullshit around for most of the day. Then there were the holidays when people would buy or send gifts, and the recipient had no idea on how to use what they were given. Around that time, we were busy all day long, pulling twelve to fourteen hour days.

“So, how did return to borings ville, USA, go?” Jacob asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I replied as I booted up my computer and looked at my messages.

“That bad, huh?” Jacob asked from his little space.

“You have no idea,” I replied.

“Yeah, you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to my high school,” Jacob said. “Not enough money in the world!”

I nodded my head. I knew I wouldn’t want to go back ever again. Jacob’s cubicle had pictures of movie characters ranging from Sci-fi to Anime pinned everywhere. I could only imagine how he was like in high school.

“Did you hear?” Francis said as she poked her head over the board, separating our workspace.

“No, what?” I asked.

“Kyle got promoted to shift manager,” Francis said.

“Please say Anderson got fired,” I said with a hopeful smile.

“No,” Francis shook her head, disappointed.

“Leon, got fired, they found out he was smoking on company time,” Jacob said.

“Fuck me,” I shook my head. I knew it was a matter of time before the resident stoner would get caught, but Leon was the best shift manager.

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