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If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor -Free Chapter

Chapter One
      I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair.
     “You always know just what I like.”
     He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me.
     The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark-haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.
     The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.
      I see my new book bag is packed and ready by the door with the initials C. S. in blue, my favorite color. Suddenly it hits me, and I get this dizzy let-me-plop-on-the-pillow feeling. Freshman year of high school— first day. My brain is ready, but my body isn't. Jennifer will be there. Math class and Jennifer; gym class with Jennifer. My body curls into a fetal position, and I throw the covers over my head. Don’t faint Carolyn, I tell myself, panting.
     Dangling over the chair are those size twelve jeans, clown pants— hardly a fashion statement. I groan. Paired with the red long-sleeved T- shirt, they looked so good on the mannequin; I’ll look like a stoplight. What was I thinking? How could I possibly go to school looking like such a freak?
     Actually, the real reason I can’t go is Jennifer, with her long straight
blonde hair, perfect body, and clothes from magazines like Teen and Seventeen.
     Yuck. I feel sick, sick with Jenniferitis.
      I hear Mom's footsteps on the stairs.
     “Why are you still in bed?” She comes upstairs and peeks into my
room with a puzzled look on her face.
      Moving the blanket up to my nose, I say, “Mom, I can't stop
shivering, and my stomach and head hurt.”
      She feels my head and looks at me with mother vision. “Carolyn,
did you think I'd fall for your tricks?”
      I cringe. Now my stomach and head ache for real. Defeated, I climb
out of bed and get washed. I slip the hated outfit onto my body and glance at my bloated reflection in the mirror. It's too late to change. I’m stuck with this. If only I could be like Jennifer Taylor.
      After picking up my book bag, I race down the stairs, take a couple of bites of a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin and a few sips of non-fat milk. I almost trip over a lump blocking the door. Max, our five-year old Newfoundland raises his massive bear-like head, sniffing like he’s never eaten a thing in his life when he sees my muffin. I glance at his empty bowl and throw the rest of the muffin into it. He sees it and licks my face; now I’m going to smell like dog food all day. Grabbing a paper towel, I wipe my face and lean to ruffle his soft fur. At least Max doesn’t care what I wear. Feed him and rub him under his chin, and he’ll cover you with slurpy kisses.
     Mom is already in our three-year-old silver Malibu that, like my jeans, doesn't quite make a fashion statement.
     On the drive to school, I'm looking forward to seeing Becky and Janie my two best friends from forever. Don't want to see Jennifer's face on the first day of high school.

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