Home > Size 14 Is Not Fat Either (Heather Wells #2)(4)

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either (Heather Wells #2)(4)
Meg Cabot

“Heather?” I can hear an ambulance in the background. “Heather, it’s Tom.”

“Oh, hi, Tom.” I glance at the clock. Nine-twenty. Yes! I was in when he’d called! If not on time, then at least before ten! “Where are you?”

“St. Vincent’s.” Tom sounds exhausted. Being the residence hall director of a New York College dormitory is a very demanding job. You have to look out for about seven hundred undergraduates, most of whom, with the exception of summer camp or maybe a stint in boarding school, have never been away from home for an extended period of time before in their lives—let alone have ever shared a bathroom with another human being. Residents come to Tom with all of their problems—roommate conflicts, academic issues, financial concerns, sexual identity crises—you name it, Tom has heard it.

And if a resident gets hurt or sick, it’s the residence hall director’s job to make sure he or she is okay. Needless to say, Tom spends a lot of time in emergency rooms, particularly on weekends, which is when most of the underage drinking goes on. And he does all this—is on duty twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and forty-three days a year (all New York College administrators get twenty-two vacation days)—for not much more than I make, plus free room and board.

Hey, is it any wonder my last boss only lasted a few months?

Tom seems pretty stable, though. I mean, as stable as a six-foot-three, two-hundred-pound former Texas A&M linebacker whose favorite movie is Little Women and who moved to New York City so he could finally come out of the closet can be.

“Look, Heather,” Tom says tiredly. “I’m gonna be stuck here for a few more hours at least. We had a twenty-first birthday last night.”

“Uh-oh.” Twenty-first birthday celebrations are the worst. Inevitably, the hapless birthday boy or girl is urged to slam back twenty-one shots by his or her party guests. Since the human body cannot process that much alcohol in such a short period of time, most of the time the resident ends up celebrating his or her big day in one of our local emergency rooms. Nice, huh?

“Yeah,” Tom says. “I hate to ask, but would you mind going through my appointment books and rescheduling all my judicial hearings this morning? I don’t know if they’re gonna admit this kid or not, and he won’t let us call his parents—”

“No problem,” I say. “How long you been there?”

Tom exhales gustily. “He only got up to seven before he passed out. So since midnight, or thereabouts. I’ve lost all track of time.”

“I’ll come spell you if you want.” When a student is in the emergency room but hasn’t been admitted, it’s policy that a New York College representative stay with him or her at all times. You can’t even go home to take a lousy shower unless there’s someone there to take your place. New York College does not leave its students alone in the ER. Even though the students themselves will frequently check out without even bothering to tell you, so you’re sitting there watching Spanish soaps for an hour before you find out the kid isn’t even there anymore. “Then at least you can get some breakfast.”

“You know, Heather,” Tom says, “I think I’ll take you up on that offer, if you really don’t mind.”

I say I don’t and am taking money out of petty cash for cab fare before I’ve even hung up. I love petty cash. It’s like having your own bank, right in the office. Unfortunately, Justine, the girl who’d had my position before me, had felt the same way, and had spent all of Fischer Hall’s petty cash on ceramic heaters for her friends and family. The Budget Office still scrutinizes our petty cash vouchers with an eagle eye every time I take them over for reimbursement, even though each and every one of them is completely legit.

And I still haven’t figured out what a ceramic heater is.

I finish rescheduling all of Tom’s appointments, then polish off my café mocha in a gulp. If you were thinner. You know what, Barista Boy? With those long nails you won’t trim because you’re too poor to afford a new guitar pick, you look like a girl. Yeah, that’s right. A girl. How do you like that, Barista Boy?

Quick stop at the cafeteria to grab a bagel to eat on the way to the hospital, and I’ll be ready to go. I mean, café mochas are all well and good, but they don’t supply lasting energy…not like a bagel does. Particularly a bagel smothered in cream cheese (dairy) over which several layers of bacon (protein) have been added.

I’ve grabbed my coat and am getting up to get my bagel when I notice Magda, my best work bud and the cafeteria’s head cashier, standing in my office doorway, looking very unlike her usual self.

“Morning, Magda,” I say to her. “You will never believe what Barista Boy said to me.”

But Magda, normally a very inquisitive person, and a big fan of Barista Boy, doesn’t look interested.

“Heather,” she says. “I have something I have to show you.”

“If it’s the front page of the Post,” I say, “Reggie already beat you to it. And really, Mags, it’s okay. I’m okay. I can’t believe she took him back after that whole thing at the Pussycat Dolls with Paris. But, hey, his dad owns her record label. What else is she going to do?”

Magda shakes her head.

“No,” she says. “Not the Post. Just come, Heather. Come.”

Curious—more because she still hasn’t cracked a smile than because I actually think she has something so earth-shattering to show me—I follow Magda down the hall, past the student government office—closed this early in the morning—and Magda’s boss’s office, which, oddly, is empty. Normally, the dining office is filled with kvetching cafeteria workers and cigarette smoke, Gerald Eckhardt, the dining hall director, being an unapologetic smoker. He’s only supposed to light up outside, but invariably I catch him puffing away at his desk, then blowing the smoke out the open window, like he doesn’t think anyone is going to catch on.

But not today. Today the office is empty—and smoke-free.

“Magda,” I say, as her pink smock disappears through the swinging doors to the cafeteria’s loud, steaming kitchen, “what is going on?”

But Magda doesn’t say anything until she’s standing beside the massive industrial stove, on which a single pot has been set to boil. Gerald is standing there as well, looking out of place in his business suit among his pink-smocked employees, dwarfing everyone else with his massive frame—a result of sampling his own recipe for chicken parm a little too often.

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