Hi guys! Here is my old story with some new kicks. If you're new, you can SKIP this bit. For the old, this is a repost with some revamping to be done. Mainly in some of the later chapters, but hopefully you'll enjoy going through the ride with me again.
:p Any love you have in reviews and follows is always much appreciated.
[Original Author's Note and Warning Below]~
Hello all! Here's an idea borne out of trouble.
The title of the story comes from a quote in Macbeth which goes, "False face must hide what the false heart doth know."
WARNING: I hesitated to post this, because I realize it's a sensitive issue. However, having recently gone through the whole shit shebang of actually having an eating disorder, this is extremely therapeutic for me. It's as realistic as I can put it. The first chapter just sets up a basis for the story, but it goes deeper from there. Ultimately, I don't mean to offend anyone. I'm not making light of an issue. I've gone through this personally and sort of writing it all down in goofy weeb fashion in the context of my favorite gay countries has helped me figure it out.
I hope you enjoy the story. And that if you know anybody who has an eating disorder or if you have had an eating disorder this will encourage you, because in the end it'll get better. :)
For the record, Arthur has anorexia. He's somewhat aware of it, but doesn't want to spend much time thinking of it. Alfred is also the biggest dorkface in history.
Arthur shifts his bookbag up a little higher on his shoulder, shivering in the cool November air. His French history class troops before him in a curving line as they make their way across the campus. The Seattle drizzle assaults them for not being so green as their surroundings. Arthur thinks it's hardly fair; anything as lively green as the foliage around here is too brilliant to be natural.
Francis complains loudly over the state of his hair. "If I had known we would be going out I would have brought an umbrella." He declares, agonized.
Arthur doesn't hesitate to tell him to shut up. "And why did you even take this class? You're French for crying out loud."
Francis just smiles froggily and replies with a, "It's the best subject the school had to offer."
Arthur trails into incoherent grumblings, determined to ignore him for the rest of the class. If he had his way, he would have dropped out ages ago. As it so happened with his major in World History, this is one of the required courses. He wonders why. It's not like Joan of Arc has ever done him any good.
He's in a particularly bad mood right now, anyway. The class before him is bubbling with excitement, but his stomach is in knots. The teacher announced last week that they would be venturing into the culinary part of the course, since French cuisine is world-renowned and blah, blah, blah. Arthur personally believes any society that reduces itself to eating snails is far below him.
Their professor set up a visit to the adjoining culinary school across the street for some taste testing. It was meant to be a fun, easy A assignment. Arthur was the only one who raised his hand to ask if it was mandatory. Francis had proceeded to ask if he had any fun bones in his body. If their professor hadn't been watching Arthur would have punched him then and there. He didn't take shit from guys like Francis. He was actually in university to learn.
Now, here he is trooping through drizzle, head hanging dismally. Mandatory is such an awful word.
"Arthur, aren't you excited," Shelly chirps, falling into step beside him. "No essays, no thinking, just food!" She giggles brightly, nudging him in the shoulder. "I'm sure it won't taste that bad, you worrywart."
He sniffs, offended. "I like essays and thinking. That's why I came to college."
She rolls her eyes. "We all know you're going to be valedictorian, Art. Take a load off every once in awhile. This is an easy A. Enjoy it. They don't come often." Arthur notices her anxiously clutch a copy of Freud to her chest. She's been carrying that around with her everywhere, must have an exam soon.
"Hey," He says, waving towards her book. "After we try a few things, I can help you study."
Her brow furrows and she laughs guiltily. "I probably shouldn't have even brought it along. I wasn't planning on studying."
"It's no trouble," he insists. Anything to get him out of eating French cuisine.
"Arthur..." She gives him a brilliant smile. Her brown fringe flutters prettily over her chocolate eyes. "You're so sweet."
He shrugs. "I don't mind giving help to beautiful girls."
She blushes, shoving her shoulder into his. "Stop it. You're a giant tease, Arthur Kirkland. And you know it."
Arthur delivers her a toothy smile, shrugging again. They've been friends since first year of college. She should be used to his gentlemanly antics by now.
"Anyway," She continues on, returning his smile playfully. "I know you'd much rather give help to a beautiful boy."
His mouth drops and he scowls as she eludes him by ducking into the culinary arts building. "Shelly!" He groans, pushing after her only to find her lost in a flood of cooking students. If he's the tease, she's definitely something much worse.
"Alright, attention class!" Their professor calls his small group to order. "The chefs here at the institute have already prepared some dishes for us to try. We'll be doing this buffet style, so I guess... ah..."
He turns to a cooking student standing beside him for direction. "Follow me," the boy says, laughing. His wheat gold hair glimmers in the grayish light spilling from the foyer, brilliant blue eyes sparkling excitably. "We're so excited to share some of our food," he continues gleefully as he leads the way. "It's such a privilege to cook for anyone really! Our teacher just showed us some of this coolio French stuff, and I'm super excited for you guys to try it! I want comments and everything! It was my first time acting as head chef! Everyone else were my pretend sous chefs. It was a ton of fun." He practically skips as he talks. His white chef's shirt is stained with flour and brown powder and miscellaneous spills. Arthur thinks he seems like the type to get very messy in the kitchen.
He sends a glance back over his shoulder, spotting Shelly in the back. She is way too good at losing him. He wants to get out of the front, but the crowd behind him is sweeping him forward. He has no choice but to trot along at the heels of his professor and the bubbly cooking student.
"We're almost there," the boy laughs again, sending a bright smile at the professor. "It's a bit of a wonky hallway. Oh, I'm Alfred, by the way." He pauses, then grins. "Chef Alfred, if you will."
The professor smiles warmly back. "So how long have you been attending culinary school?"
"Two years," Alfred nods happily. "This is my final year."
"And what are you planning to do?"
"Oh... I don't know!" Alfred shakes his head with a guilty smile. "Cook, I guess."
Arthur nearly rolls his eyes. What preparation.
"Well, the students and I are so enthusiastic to be here. I've had food from this school before at the open house. It's just as good as any restaurant I've been to."
"Wow, thanks!" Alfred beams. "Everybody works hard, and we just really like cooking. So I'm glad it shows. Here we are!" He waves brightly to a large banquet hall. Several long tables fill the room laden with exquisitely designed plates ready for the taking. The food is like artwork drifting beautifully across each white orb in pastel colors.
Alfred waits till everybody has entered the room, before addressing them again. "There are more traditional dishes to the right. Newer age stuff to the left. We've got tables set up in the back. Please make sure to fill out a survey card. We like to know how we're doing! If you happen to find something gross or icky or if your food's not done, please bring all complaints to me! Thanks so much! Enjoy!"
Arthur falls to the side, crossing his arms over his stomach as he waits for Shelly to come around. His lip curls when he sees she is talking to Francis and remembers bitterly that she's friends with the frog as well. They're both expounding excitably about dishes from Francis' homeland. It isn't long before they both slip into French, and Arthur can't understand what they're saying. He feels abruptly abandoned.
He stands as close behind them as he can, keeping his head down and avoiding the eyes of the chefs who stand behind the tables of food. His eyes slide over the plates. Even he has to admit they look striking, like the plate is the canvas and the food is the paint. He tries his best not to meet any chef's gaze as he passes each collection of plates. His stomach is rolling.
They reach the end of the line and he begins to believe he's made it. Francis and Shelly in front of him are balancing their plates haphazardly as they search for an open table. They spot one to the side and start to head that way. Arthur follows.
"Hey, didn't you want anything?"
Arthur flinches, mentally spewing a sailor's chant of cusswords. He turns on his heel to see Alfred, head chef, looking at him with puppy dog eyes. "I..." Arthur swallows, using his fallback excuse. "I'm not hungry."
"Oh." Alfred wilts a little. "Hey... you're..."
"I'm what?" Arthur says uneasily, though it comes off rude.
Alfred blushes, "Never mind. Sorry. Uh, what was I saying? Food, right. Come on! At least try one." He offers a hopeful smile that Arthur wants to curse to hell and back. He looks so damned expectant, like the world depends on it or something.
"You could just take a bite." His big blue eyes grow a little bit bigger. Shelly's comment from earlier enters Arthur's mind, and he blushes a bit. Beautiful boys, his ass.
Alfred stumbles clumsily over to the table, picking up one of the dishes. "This one's my favorite." He holds it out. "Please just try it."
Arthur glares at the offending pasta dish, shifting from foot to foot. The chef would pick the heaviest food in the place. Unfortunately, his eyes flick back up to Alfred's and he's unsuspectingly lambasted by the puppy dog look of puppy dog looks.
"Alright," he snips, grabbing hold of it. He starts to turn away, but Alfred holds up a fork, eyebrows raised.
"You sure are good at forcing people to eat your food," Arthur mutters, snatching it.
"It's how I got where I am," Alfred shoots back with a victorious grin. "Come on, you act like I'm a bad cook. I made it this far." He gestures himself down, smile softening. He really is handsome. The gray light that sparkles through the windows falls about his tanned face pleasantly. He has blue, blue eyes the color of coastal oceans. When he smiles, his teeth are straight and white. It's only a soft splash of freckles across his nose that give him a more All American baseball look instead of California angel.
Arthur can feel a blush crawling into his cheeks the longer he stares. He gives a noncommittal grunt and walks away with his head down, already coming up with a way to dispose of the food before Alfred notices. He takes a seat next to Shelly who greets him with her mouth full.
"Hey," she swallows, "You actually got something to eat. Beginning to change your mind about French food, eh?"
Arthur scowls. "Please. I'm just being polite."
"Sure you are, Eyebrows," Francis smirks and Arthur clenches his fists. "I saw you talking to Alfred," Francis suddenly continues. "Perhaps you've found something tastier than the food?"
Arthur doesn't exactly know what to say to that, so he rolls his eyes. "I'll thank you to stay out of my love life, frog. The day I ask for your help will be the day hell freezes over."
"Indeed," Francis' lips twitch. "I'll most definitely have to stay out of it."
Francis's odd behavior aside, the conversation carries on normally. As the others slowly work their way through plate after plate, Arthur nonchalantly slides his own into the mix. He feels undeniable relief when another one of his classmates mistakes it for their own and starts to eat it. The knot in his stomach loosens a little bit. Now that he's more relaxed, his gaze flickers furtively back to Alfred.
The dweeb is standing near the window with a plate of his own food, surrounded by a small army of student chefs in white. Arthur can hear what he's saying only occasionally over the din. He appears to be giving them a pep talk, waving his fork goofily in the air. He sticks it in his mouth to pat someone on the back. The other chefs all seem to like him or at least tolerate him. A small Japanese man flanks him quietly and by the way Alfred talks to him, Arthur can guess this is his right hand man in regard to these things.
He has the odd desire that he wants to go to talk to Alfred again. He can't imagine about what, but it's there. It isn't just because the man's attractive. He has a manner about him that draws people. Arthur watches in dismay as several of his classmates start to join in with Alfred's conversation. They're the prettier girls and the more handsome boys, dressed in the latest styles, hair all in perfect place. They know exactly what to say and Alfred banters with them easily, smiling freely.
He can't help but look down at himself and fiddle with his sweater vest. He's only concerned with looking proper and well-dressed. Arthur has always wanted to come across professional. But... Insecurity bubbles up in his stomach, and he wishes he could excuse himself. Damn Francis for getting his mind on things he'd rather not think about.
He glances at Shelly, who's smiling teasingly and obviously can't sense his mood. "You want to go over and thank the cute chef for his food? It was so good! I can't even believe it! Don't you think so!"
Arthur nods, "Yeah, it was excellent. Shelly, I think I'm going to-"
"Well, you can't leave yet, Arthur," She insists. "Come on. Let's go thank him and then you can help me study, alright?"
Arthur swallows, but he doesn't get much chance to protest before she's dragging him to his feet and straight into the group.
"Alfred," she says, claiming his attention easily. She's a very pretty girl. She could get anybody's attention.
"What's up?" Alfred grins. "Do you have an opinion on salty versus sweet? The battle of the ages?"
Some of the other chefs roll their eyes, but most laugh. Arthur's classmates laugh, too. Shelly smiles. "Arthur and I just wanted to thank you, well, all of you for the great food. You're all going to have to contact me about where you're working, cuz it's a place I want to eat."
There is general laughter again. Arthur turns to sidle out, but a wall of people has formed behind him.
He turns back and then blushes when he realizes it's Alfred that has said his name. "Is that your name?" Alfred asks, smiling. "So you've got an oldies name like me, huh? I'm not the only one."
Everyone is listening to their conversation, because everybody listens to Alfred. Arthur balls his hands into fists, face going redder. "Th-there's nothing wrong with my name, imbecile."
"Oh!" Alfred's eyes widen. "No, that's not what I meant. I like it. I was just... comparing them?" Alfred blushes a bit, and Arthur hears a couple whispers spoken against himself. People are angry at him for insulting Alfred.
Arthur rolls his eyes. "Whatever. If you think we're the only ones with old names in here, then you should ask around more. I thought you were a socialite. Francis is an old name."
Alfred looks sideways at Francis who he has already met by this point. He looks back at Arthur shaking his head. "No. Francis is a girl's name."
A couple of the guys whoop and someone calls out, "Shots fired!" Francis begins to mutter about how uncouth they all are, though he doesn't seem angry.
Alfred offers Arthur a devilish grin. "At least we have boy names."
Arthur nearly smiles at him. An insult to Francis is like a compliment to Arthur any day. But he forces it back and snaps sarcastically. "Oh at least that."
Alfred doesn't get insulted, though. He laughs. The others shift uncomfortably at Arthur's volatile attitude. Shelly just looks embarrassed. "You're something," he says once he stops laughing. "Look, we'll have to hang out some time." He pulls out a scrap of paper and pushing through people bends to use one of the tables so he can write on it.
"There." Alfred holds the paper proudly out to Arthur. In front of everybody.
Arthur can feel the heat burning the back of his neck.
He can't bring himself to reject it, because... A boy as cute as Alfred is actually giving him a number. But at the same time, his stubborn pride makes him feel that he can't accept it.
"Oh please," Shelly bursts out and snatches the number from Alfred's fingers suddenly. "Give it to a beautiful girl won't you?"
The guys start to caterwaul again. Though the attention is off of him, Arthur feels an overwhelming sense of disappointment. He wanders back to his bookbag, but the sudden urge to escape has left him. Instead, a heavy feeling roots him to his spot. The professor informs them that they are free to leave. Seeing no other option, Arthur starts to walk out, but before he does Alfred catches him at the corner and pulls him back.
"What are you-"
"Here." Alfred presses a piece of paper into his palm. "That wasn't some kind of joke." He pulls back then to inspect Arthur, who tries his best to remain unruffled. Alfred's eyes are filled with some odd curiosity, like he's expecting something. Arthur doesn't know what to say. "Anyway," Alfred suddenly smiles. "You need to try my food sometime, right? Don't think I didn't notice that you forgot to fill out a survey card."
An overwhelming nausea hits Arthur like a ton of bricks and he stumbles.
"Whoa," Alfred catches him by the shoulders. "Arthur, are you alright?"
"I'm..." Arthur swallows, feeling his dry throat and coughing. "I'm f-"
"Kiku can you get Arthur a water bottle?" Alfred calls back to someone behind him. "Hey, why don't you sit down for a minute? You don't look alright."
Arthur doesn't protest as Alfred leads him over to a table and forces him into a chair. He lays his cheek down on the table cloth, waiting for the nausea to fade like it always does. He feels Alfred pat him on the back.
Embarrassment floods through him, but he doesn't move. "I'm fine."
"You sure?" Suddenly, Alfred's clear blue eyes are at his eye level, blinking their concern. Arthur turns his head the other direction, blushing.
"Fine. I said I'm fine."
"Okay." Alfred pats his back again. "Don't get up until you feel better."
Alfred continues to pat his back, and Arthur thinks wryly that maybe he'll never feel better. Kiku returns with a water bottle, though. Arthur swallows roughly. He doesn't really feel like drinking. Instead, he says, "I'm fine. I think I'll go." He starts to stand up, but he can feel Alfred and Kiku looking at him skeptically.
"I'm fine." He says forcibly, letting his irritation come into his voice. "Just stayed out late last night. I need a nap." His green eyes flick up nervously to meet theirs, wondering if they'll catch him lying.
"You should get some sleep, then." Kiku says quietly. Alfred says nothing.
"Yes, well, that's what I was on my way to do." Arthur coughs again, taking the water bottle with him to make them feel better. He gets to the door.
He looks back to see Alfred waving.
"Bye." He whispers, blushing again.