"What's wrong, sweetheart?" Jacob's gentle fingers tenderly wiped at the tears that streamed down my face.
"You don't want to hear it," came my response between sobs.
He cupped my chin in his hand and made me look him in his beautiful, caring eyes. The hint of tears forming in those eyes was no surprise to me. I knew that he cared enough to want to cry when he saw me doing so. "Yes, i do," he said softly. "I don't want you to be hurting like this. I want to help you and stop that hurting."
I shook my head and buried my face in his shoulder as his strong arms wrapped tightly around me. "It's Ana," i whispered to him, hoping she wouldn't hear, but she did.
"Shut up!" she hissed. "Don't you dare start complaining about me to him."
"YOU shut up," i told her. "He's going to understand me and listen to me, unlike you."
She bared her teeth like a caged tiger. "You're a stupid, fat idiot," she growled.
"Don't listen to Ana, love. You're beautiful just as you are," Jacob told me. Had he heard her voice too? No, that was nonsense. It was only me that could hear her when she spoke to me. "What has she been saying to make you feel so awful again?"
"Don't you dare answer that either," Ana snarled in my ear.
"Nothing that will make sense to anyone looking on," i answered Jacob.
He shook his head and made me look into his eyes again. "Sweetheart, like that matters to me. You know it doesn't matter if it's crazy talk or not. I just want to help you through this."
"Ana, please let me tell him everything. You know i can't keep things from him. Besides, telling him how much we both hate that i'm eating might cause him to not want me eating as much as i do."
"Oh i'm sure he doesn't want you eating as much as you do without such chatter," she replied. "Look at the weight it's causing you to gain. No man wants a fat wife. I'm sure he finds you unattractive already."
Her words caused a new flood of tears. "Do you really believe that i'm beautiful?" i asked Jacob. "Tell me the truth."
A confused look overcame his face. "Of course i do."
"He's lying," Ana insisted.
I tried to ignore her, but her words still hurt. "She's trying to hurt me," i told my Jacob, "and she'll keep it up until i lose some of this pudge." I pinched my stomach just to show him the fat there. "I've got to stop eating."
He shook his head violently and pushed my hand away from my stomach. "There's no pudge there or anywhere on you, Jo." He put his hand over my mouth to stop my protests. "Shhh. Don't argue with me on that one. I'll not be convinced otherwise. Now tell me what she's saying to hurt you."
"Don't tell him anything," Ana said harshly.
But i ignored her and bared it all to him through the tears that continued to flow from my eyes. She stormed out of the room. He sat and listened so patiently and caringly to all the words that i sobbed, and tried to counter Ana's accusations with logic. "It doesn't matter if she's right or not," i whimpered. "I still have to stop this eating."
He sighed and nodded slowly. "All right, love. Let's make a deal with her."
I saw her head poking through the doorway. "And what's that?" she and i both asked at the same time.
"You'll eat only once a day, but it'll have to be big enough for a normal person's meal, and we'll start working out every day."
I nodded. "That sounds wonderful," i told him.
She shook her head. "It sounds like entirely too much food," she told me, "but i suppose it'll work better than nothing at all."
Jacob pulled me tightly against his own bony body. "I love you, sweetheart. And i just want you to be able to be happy with what you see in the mirror, but i want you to be healthy too."
I nodded. "I love you too. And i'll try my best to get there."
"Don't forget that i love you," Ana interrupted, wrapping her bony arms around me from behind.
I sighed. "I love you too."