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Lana woke up early that morning. Her gaze fell onto the form sleeping beside her; her girlfriend, Maria. Lana smiled, and shifted from the bed in a way that wouldn't wake her partner, still sleeping soundly. She was beautiful, and Lana was surprised every day that Maria chose to be with her.
As she stood, her plump—no, fat, always fat—thighs rubbed together and jiggled as though there was an earthquake. She grimaced and pulled her "Sleeping Beauty" pyjamas down a little, though they strained and failed to cover her thighs. She had a photo-shoot today, and that meant a lot of work beforehand.
She headed into the en-suite, walking past photos framed on the dresser. Some of her alone, some of the two together. At times when she was thinner, she could see herself; her collarbone, her cheekbones. She was surprised that her agency had kept her on, with her weight creeping up to the point of her being a wobbly, jelly-like creature with cellulite and stretch marks.
She paused at her dresser and got out the small bag of tools to prepare her for the day. On the bed, Maria snorted softly and rolled onto her other side, still asleep. Good. Lana didn't need an audience. She took her bag through into the en-suite, shutting the door behind herself and turning on the lights around the mirror.
“There's the answer, if you want it,” her mind teased.
She ran her hand across her plump cheek. One more pound, and she was sure she would be dropped by her agency; one more pound, and Maria would leave her. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
“It's okay. They'll give you fakes. You can get everything rebuilt these days. Your tits, your arse, your face...” the delusions soothed her once more that this was the right thing to do.
She fumbled in the bag for her device of choice. Her hands gripped cold metal. She knew a way to fix everything.
Maria stirred half an hour after her partner had left the bed, her side now cold. She squinted and smelt something metallic in the air. Curious and confused, she forced herself to wake up enough to stand and grab her dressing gown, for warmth.
She walked past the dresser, pausing at one of the professional photos taken by Lana's current agency. She was skinny back then, six months ago, but even more skinny now. Yet she insisted on going days without eating, and, when she did eat, it was always low fat, low calorie, tiny portions. Maria had lost count of the times she had told her girlfriend she was skinny enough, beautiful enough—that it wasn't sexy to have clumps of hair falling out and be too tired for anything more intimate than a kiss.
Maria shook her head. She had to have a talk with that agency—see who got that thought into her head, and have a word, or something stronger, with them. The last thing Lana needed was some sort of obsession with her weight.
She kept heading to the bathroom. Lana would be in there putting her face on, preparing herself for the day ahead, and Maria just wanted to tell her how beautiful she was before she was covered in slap and her girlfriend wrongly believed Maria's attraction was just due to her make-up.
Maria knocked on the door gently, and, when there was no reply, tried the handle and opened the door. What she saw there nearly made her pass out from shock; she had to clutch the countertop to stop from falling to the ground.
Lana stood in front of the mirror but instead of blotting on foundation or finishing her eye shadow, there was a set of pliers in her hand. Blood dripped down them slowly, and then ran onto the pale hand holding them. Lana's eyes were focused on the mirror—they hadn't even looked away as Maria came in.
There was the soft noise of a tooth ripping free from its gummy surroundings—a horrible noise of something breaking. It must have hurt, but Lana didn't make a sound. She simply kept her mouth wide, wide, wide open so as not to miss a single tooth. The most recently removed one clattered into the sink with a handful of its brothers, all blood stained and some cracked by the pressure the pliers had delivered onto them.
As Maria started to scream and panic, Lana calmly went on to the next tooth, and gripped the pliers around it, imagining a future her with an amazing figure and false teeth that were perfect and straight and white, because they never chewed food, just sipped her meals through a straw.
To Maria, it was a horror show. To Lana, it was simply the price of beauty.
Written by Leila Marie Maxwell