Big Fat Fattie and Other Words for “Fat”
“Ellison? Is that you, honey?”
Not today. Please not today. Ellis Garret shut her eyes and prayed hard as she stood in line at Hot Lava Java. Really, really hard. Maybe if she appeased the right god, she would be spared the torture that was Mrs. Agatha Toomey.
Jesus? Buddha? Zeus?
Are you there, God? It’s me, Ellis. Can’t a girl get a miracle here?
All she really wanted was a cookie—and not just any cookie, but one of those super-big Black and White Cookies with the yummy icing and the oh-so-soft cake-like bottom. She knew she wasn’t supposed to be eating delicious giant cookies. It was only Tuesday. Cookies—any and all junk food—were off limits today. She was supposed to be good on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and every day that didn’t start with a Sat or a Sun. Thou shalt not eat high-calorie snacks on weekdays.
“Yes, Mrs. Toomey. It is me,” Ellis said, plastering a smile on her face that she hoped looked genuine. She turned to face the annoyingly slender woman holding a cup of green tea. Is that you? Mrs. Toomey asked the question as if she didn’t know. Well, duh. Ellis wasn’t one of those girls who were easy to miss.
“I’m a little surprised to see you. What are you doing here?” Mrs. Toomey looked Ellis up and down with her judgmental eyes, seeming to know already why Ellis was there. Fat girls shouldn’t eat cookies. “Have you patched things up with Jack yet?”
Ellis had known the woman half her life. Agatha was her mother’s longtime friend, and the owner of a very successful weight-loss clinic. She also happened to be Jack’s aunt.
And she’s an undernourished hag.
“I wanted a cookie,” Ellis said, ignoring the woman’s last question. She would run ten miles naked before she talked about her ex with this woman.
“We sell cookies at my clinic. Very healthy cookies, dear,” Mrs. Toomey told her, a disapproving frown on her face. “They are sugar-free, gluten-free, and we don’t use any butter or oil. Only natural sweeteners.”
They must taste like poop.
“I really wanted a Black and White Cookie and you don’t sell those,” Ellis explained, trying hard to mind her manners. “Plus your shop is all the way on the other side of town. I figured it would be better for me to stop in and get one instead of robbing a Girl Scout.”
Ellis shook her head sadly. “I ate fifteen boxes of cookies the last time I robbed a Girl Scout. And then I gained three pounds. And then I got arrested and then they forced me to do all that community service and let me tell you, my big ass does not look good in neon orange.”
Mrs. Toomey stared at her horrified.
A deep male chuckle erupted behind her and Ellis shut her eyes for a moment, choosing to ignore it. Not only had she failed spectacularly at not being rude, but now she had brought attention to herself.
“You have such an original sense of humor, Ellison. I bet that’s why Jack fell for you. Why exactly did you two break up?”
“Weren’t we talking about cookies?” she asked, trying to shift the conversation away from Jack.
“I guess we were. You really should come down to the clinic. We have tons of other healthy goodies all containing a day’s worth of fiber. I’m sure you could use some more fiber in your diet.” Her eyes traveled to Ellis’s midsection. “It helps with the bloating.”
“I’m sure it does.” Ellis wanted to bite her tongue as she looked down at her relatively flat belly. But she couldn’t. “What a nice offer, Mrs. Toomey but I would get kicked out of my fat girls club if I didn’t eat at least two teaspoons of butter a day. They are super strict about cholesterol intake.”
Another quiet laugh escaped whoever was behind her in line.
“If they kick you out, we’ll let you in,” Mrs. Toomey said firmly. “Come to my place. My staff can design a diet for you and put you on an exercise plan that will have you shedding the weight in no time. Maybe if you slimmed down, Jack would come back to you.”
“I don’t want him back. Thanks, but no thanks.” Ellis tried not to clench her teeth. “What would all the women think who came to my store and read my blog if I lost weight for a man?”
Mrs. Toomey frowned. “That you would inspire them to stop eating cheese puffs and get off the couch and exercise. Don’t you see that by selling them clothes, you are contributing to their obesity? If they don’t fit into normal sizes, they’ll have to get their behinds in the gym and out of the drive-thru.”
Ellis saw red. And like a bull she was ready to charge. She’d opened her shop because she was tired of going into stores that only catered to average women. What about the above average? The tall girls? Or the ones with the big feet? Or long arms? Or the women who couldn’t find anything cute in their size? Or the women who just needed a place to shop without being judged? How dare this pompous, wheatgrass-drinking, gluten-free-eating, horse-faced woman talk about her customers like that? Ellis didn’t cater to fat women, she catered to all women with unique figures. She opened her mouth to let Agatha Toomey know how it really was.
“Hey, lady,” the man behind her said to Mrs. Toomey, preventing Ellis’s speech. “Back off. Weren’t you the one puffing away outside? Don’t you think you should be worried about the state of your lungs instead of what she puts in her mouth?”
“I—” Mrs. Toomey opened and closed her mouth a few times, resembling a suffocating fish. “I have to get back to work. Tell your mother I said hello.”
She turned and was out the door before Ellis could mutter a reply.
“That lady is a bitch,” her defender said.
“I know, and I was all ready to let her have it but you came to my rescue and took all the fun out of it for me.”
“Sorry. You were handling her pretty well.” She heard him laugh. “And just for the record I bet your ass looks good in any color you put it in.”
Did he just talk about her ass?
Oh no he didn’t.
Ellis turned around to face him and BOOM. She felt the earth move and heard bells and saw stars.
The man was absolutely gorgeous. He was tall with short inky black hair and eyes so dark blue, they were cobalt. And his body! He was brawny, just like the paper towel man, thickly built without being overly muscular, and she had to pull her lower lip between her teeth just to stop from shouting out her appreciation. He was Clark Kent and Superman and super hot. He was beautiful, and grinning at her, and she knew him. His name was Mike Edwards, he used to live in her neighborhood, and this hunk of man had dated her older sister.
She also used to have a serious crush on him.
His eyes narrowed, and the smile faded from his perfectly formed mouth. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
He doesn’t remember me.
Ellis wasn’t sure if she should be offended or relieved. She remembered everything about him. He was a cop. His family lived outside of Buffalo. And he tended to get intimate in beds that didn’t belong to him. She chose relieved. She didn’t want him to remember her or the colossal bitch-fit meltdown she’d had the last time they’d occupied the same space. Embarrassing didn’t even begin to cover it.
Besides, she was a different person now. There was no use revisiting the past.
“Next,” the girl at the counter called, preventing Ellis from answering his question—which was a good thing because she’d lost her ability to speak.
“Two Black and Whites. A large black coffee.” He looked at Ellis for a moment. “And a strawberry lemonade.”
“Did you just order for me?” she asked, finally finding her voice. She had to get out of there. First the lady who ran the diet clinic and now the man who’d inadvertently turned her life upside down. The food gods were definitely punishing her. Thou shalt not eat Black and Whites.
“Yeah.” He nodded as he paid. “I want you to sit with me. I know I know you from somewhere.”
Run, run as fast as you can …
“But sit with me.” He cut her off as he grabbed their order and her wrist and led the way to a small table in the corner.
She followed him, not knowing why when she easily could have walked away. Blame it on the BOOM.
* * *
Normally, Michael Edwards made it a point not to get involved in other people’s business, but there was something about the funny girl who sat across from him that had made him open his mouth. It wasn’t because she was beautiful, which she was with her dark hair and pouty lips. And it wasn’t because her lush body was created for male fantasies, which it was. He wasn’t sure why he’d told the skinny Mrs. Toomey to stuff it, but he was sure as soon as Ellis turned around that he knew her from somewhere.
“Why are you staring at me like that?” She frowned at him, looking almost self-conscious.
He was staring at her. The words You’re sexy as hell almost rolled off his tongue. But he held back. It wasn’t her looks that made him unable to pry his eyes from her face but something else. Something almost comfortable that made him want to slide closer and spend all day near her. He shook his head. What the hell was wrong with him? He never reacted this way with any woman.
“I know you from somewhere.”
“You do, Mike.” She took a bite of the Black and White Cookie he’d purchased. A crumb escaped, falling on her lip, and he watched as her perfect pink tongue came out to lick it up. “We’ve met before.”
“What?” He was so caught up staring at her mouth that he almost missed what she said.
“Oh, Mike.” She knew his name. A teasing smile played around her lips. “Have you slept with so many females that you’ve forgotten me?”
He was right. They had met before, but he knew that he’d never touched her. “I know we didn’t sleep together.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because—” He locked gazes with her. “—I would remember falling into bed with you.”
Her eyes widened slightly and she smiled, once again drawing his attention to her lips. “Do you use that line a lot, Mikey?” She rested her hand on her cheek and studied him with interest, like she was cataloging his features and comparing the differences. “Tell me, does that smooth-operator BS really work?”
On most women, yes, he thought. But apparently not on her. She was a ball buster. He felt one corner of his mouth curl. “Usually, but I’m not giving you a line. I know we didn’t sleep together.”
“Is that because you don’t sleep with many fat girls?”
“You’re not fat.”
“Are you blind?”
“Do you have a mirror?” he countered.
She narrowed her eyes. “Are you flirting with me?”
“No.” He shook his head. “I don’t know. Maybe. Who are you?”
She looked amazed. “You really don’t remember me?”
“Obviously not.” But he wanted to. She made him laugh and she didn’t seem like a woman who would be easy to forget, and yet he had no idea how their pasts connected.
Her eyes passed over his face as if she was recalling something. “I thought you would have remembered me by now, but I guess you haven’t changed much at all in four years,” she said, sounding a little wistful.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked, sensing her disappointment and not liking that it made him feel guilty. Four years ago? It wasn’t like they’d met last week.
“It means it’s all for the best.” She stood, grabbing her barely eaten cookie with one hand and her lemonade with the other. “Thanks for the snack, Detective.”
“Wait.” He grasped her wrist. She was walking out on him? “Who are you?”
“Apparently, I’m just a girl you don’t remember.”
She freed herself from his light hold and walked out of the coffee shop. He watched her until she disappeared down the sidewalk. Okay, so maybe he had dated, slept with, discarded numerous women in his thirty-two years, but he wasn’t a total jackass. All of his relationships had ended fairly amicably. He never left broken hearts behind. He never entered a relationship he couldn’t easily extract himself from. And that meant he had never been with Ellis. She looked like a nester. One of those women made to pop out four kids, bake cookies, and drive the car pool. Four years ago she would have been like toxic waste to him. To this day he shivered at the thought of being trapped with one person forever. So why was he so put out by her? And what the hell had he done to her to cause her to not like him? Ellis. The interaction left him feeling a little dazed, a lot annoyed, and more than slightly interested in learning more about the the girl with the cookie.
Copyright © 2013 by Sugar Jamison