Masks Chapter 38
“Well Lucy it’s really cool to finally meet you.”
She nods. “You’re my first.”
“Your first what?”
“The first person that I’ve met since I started school this year…” She sort of blushes shy and stuff again.
“Well then I’m honored…”
She smiles and it’s shy sweet then questioning again. “So why not those guys?”
“I know how well they wipe.”
She cracks up laughing again and the gym teacher blows the whistle. “Wilson keep it down!”
Lucy Eeeps again and now I’m the one that’s laughing.
I can’t help it because that Eeep was so cute and it combined with the way that she’s turning red has me snaughling.
Which sets her off as soon as I started doing that and we’re getting looks and she’s getting even redder and she’s starting to hide her face behind her books.
“Oh god, oh god, I can’t breathe…” She’s panting with her head pressed to her math book.
“You know I’ve been really unsure if I’d ever get a girl to say those words.”
She whines behind her book. “Steven…”
I grin I can’t help her I like her she’s pretty funny and it’s not just the making fun thing it’s just kind of this whole…she sort of makes me smile I think that she’s one of those kind of people who can make you smile a lot if just given half a chance.
I lay off and we watch the rest of the goings on with the kids doing the stuff in gym and I’m caught up again in watching the other girls playing volleyball and I sort of get caught up in my own little wistful thing really and that’s one of those daydreams where I’m just like them and I’m playing volleyball on the beach.
Sort of all well and good but there’s no beaches around here, not even at the closest place we have and that’s the lake and that’s mostly lawn with a playground and a strip of sandy gravel that you really couldn’t play on and then there’s docks on one side and three hundred k plus cottage homes on the other side it’s like nice and a bit of a park and it’s actually pretty busy on any nice days and kind of forget getting there and doing that in good weather because it’s one of the places that the high school kids rule at.
That kind of sucks and at the same time it doesn’t since I sort of see it as a place that we’ll sort of inherit from them in time.
There and a folding lounge chair and me in a bikini just being me.
Still it feels so far away right now especially dressed the way that I am. I have a bit of a looming moment as my GID decides to flare up inside and I feel the clothes all the more wrong and heavy and it’s more than that it’s feeling weighed down too…like I’m heavier than I should actually be.
Lucy looks over to me. “Hey you okay?”
I take a hard breath. “Sorta yes and sorta no.”
She nods then she reaches over and rubs my back. “Wanna talk about it?”
I sigh. “No…yes…I kinda do but it’s personal.”
She nods. “Okay, that’s cool I mean we really don’t know each other and all…”
I look over at her and try a smile. “Yeah it’s kinda that but that we can fix right?”
She looks shy again. “We can?”
I look at the clock. “You wanna join me and the girls for lunch?”
It’s strange seeing her eyes get all big and stuff. Then all almost teary and the bite to her lower lip like can I trust them?
I offer her my hand like a handshake. “Seriously no bullshit.”
She blinks and Eeeps and I smile and point out Mary Jane. “My cousin’s new too, it’s cool.”
I see her looking at M.J. and I see the thoughts there, those first thoughts that a lot of people that don’t look like M.J. have about girls like M.J.
“She has a lot to worry about fitting in too, there’s a lot of assholes that make a lot of sick shi..stuff up about her because she’s well put together like that…no one asks sometimes if she was good with looking like that, it comes with a lot of hassles and not just from the guys.”
Lucy is looking at me again but sort of thoughtfully
“You sound like you really get her.”
“She’s my best friend.”
“You don’t hear a lot of guys say that about a girl and actually like mean it.” She’s looking at me like I’m some kind of rare and mythical creature and part of me wants to say that’s it’s because I’m not a guy.
But discretion is the better part of valor right now and all of that. We’ve really just met and someone that has a hate out for trans people and stuff can be like any age these days I mean just look at Tumblr.
Yeah there’s all sorts of trans ick stuff there and all sorts of get really confused trans stuff there too like the non-binaries and the demi-boys and demi-girls and gender queers and asexuals and all sorts of other things though some like the gender specials and other-kin sort of confuse me.
Okay and now I’m blushing because she’s still staring at me and now I’m staring at her and she starts to turn red because well I’m staring at her and we’re in a redder and redder loop until she puts her book up in front of her face.
“Sorry, sorry I didn’t mean to stare and stuff it’s just…”
“No…well, it’s just I don’t know any gay guys and stuff and like just regular guys and I’m like totally scared of because like regular guys they can like suck so much.”
I smile a little. “I’m definitely Not one of the regular guys.”
Lucy smiles. “I can tell and actually things here are sort of a bit better than home was, I mean it was just getting hit on all the time and it wasn’t like here I mean the guys here don’t seem too bad compared to home.”
“Where was home?”
“No, Truro actually Bible Hill.”
“Nope, well a little I think but no it’s kinda the bad side of the tracks and stuff.”
“I was getting hit on not because I’m like one of the pretty girls, but because I am a girl…the pretty girls don’t really get hit on the same way they get to like pick and choose and the rest of us are expected to like need to have a boyfriend and hook up and stuff.” Lucy’s making a Yick face.
“Okay that’s pretty yick.”
She nods. “My dad bailed when I was like seven and when I was looking like I was going into junior high she headed up her to my great uncles place and he like made room for us.”
And once again I’m thankful for the good family life that I have.
“No…mom was right back home was one of those towns where teen pregnancy stuff happens and honestly…”
“I might have…I mean being lonely…it sucks…I know girls that caved, went out and partied and got with guys just so they’d be popular and stuff…but here’s like different….the same but different.”
I nod. “There’s still lots of creeps and lots of people like the guys that you’re talking about here it’s just…”
“More money, I know this isn’t exactly rich or like a private school but there’s worse areas in town and worse schools too. Uncle Brian well he’s pretty well off and stuff so we’re here and actually living in a house.”
“You rented before?”
Lucy nods. “We rented but we lived in a mobile home instead of like an apartment.”
“You mean a trailer?”
She nods and goes a bit red. “Yeah a trailer park.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that I think one of my other friends does too.”
“Other friends?” She looking at me.
“Yeah, you want to be friends?” I’m smiling at her.
“Uhm yeah like really.”
Lucy smiles and she nods. “Okay…I’d like that.”
We shake hands and the coach does the whistle thing and sends all of the others to the showers and changing rooms and he give us that aren’t doing the gym thing the look that I think that all coaches and gym teachers give all of the kids that aren’t doing stuff in gym.
I look at Lucy. “So can I ask why you’re not gyming?”
“Gyming?” She looks like that was funny.
“Yes, gyming y’know from like having to do gym class.”
She sniggers a little then she says. “Asthma. I start getting into doing stuff and then it hits and I really can’t breathe.”
“Ouch, so you like carry puffers?”
She nods. “Two and an Epi pen.”
“Bee’s and hornets-wasps…summertime was basically invented to kill me.”
I grin. “But no food allergies right?”
“Gluten but that’s like not lethal just really painful and sick inducing.” She makes a face.
“Oh that’d so suck I love carbs.”
“Yeah it’s really not fun but that one I’ve like only had so I’m kind of used to it and can do like lots of substitutions and stuff.”
“Salad and stuffs okay right?”
We wait and she doesn’t ask me why I’m not gyming which is kind of good because it could be one of those things that would be really hard to explain right now.
And that sort of stirs the what if stuff on coming out and stuff, will Lucy still be a friend? I don’t know if that’ll be the case or not since it’s really very likely that I’ll be losing a lot of friends when I come out.
I grit my teeth inside at the thought really. I know it’ll like so suck very much and stuff but it’s something that really I can’t help.
I have to be me, dropping the whole boy act is literally the only way that I think that I’ll survive.
(Big Mental Sigh.)
I smile when the girls come out from the locker rooms and there’s the waft of the right smells, the scent of girl and the scent of deodorants and shampoos and all the stuff that you’d normally smell of a girl getting out from the locker rooms.
M.J. comes over and she’s giving me the inquisitive who’s this look. I smile and introduce them.
“Mary Jane this is Lucy, Lucy this is my cousin and best friend M.J.”
Lucy stares a little and blushes because well it’s kinda hard not to stare at M.J. with the sized of her breasts and then well knowing that you’re staring and you’re going to blush because you like were like staring.
M.J.’s mercifully used to it and she takes pity and she shakes Lucy’s hand and smiles. “Hey cool to get to know you, like any friend of Steven’s y’know right?”
“Aaaaah…uhm….. W..we just sorta met.”
“Oh still cool I’m still totes new enough that like everyone’s new to me.”
Lucy smiles a little shaking Mary Jane’s hand a bit easier now. “Actually I’m still sort of new took I moved her the end of the last school year.”
I look at her. “You did?”
“Yeah but middle school so we might have gone to different ones. I was in Trude.”
I nod. “I was in Pearson.”
M.J. laughs. “You two sound like you’re comparing prison stays.”
Lucy’s eyes widen and she’s snaughling again.
I riff on that bit. “Yeah The food was so bad at Pearson when you looked in the kitchens you saw expired boxes of stuff from Kingston…Bad…just bad…had to quick down a plastic knife so I could shiv the tater tots.”
I love her laugh like seriously.
Her laugh causes Mary Jane to burst out laughing and we start to head to the cafeteria with Amber and Amanda and Rachel and Becky joining us as they come out and they get caught up with what we’re talking about and they start riffing their own little story blurbs of the things that went on at our middle schools like we were in prison.
No offense meant to any real prisoners and stuff okay?
Toni joins us as we’re coming into the hall for the Caf and she’s doing the head back and forth as we’re getting into it and stuff and Rachel’s going on about. “I mean there was like a hair in my mashed potatoes but it like wasn’t just like a hair it was actually as I dug into them a whole Barbie’s head. That’s, that’s when I knew that the mashed wasn’t just mash but it was white safety dough…and that what the lumps were.”
Toni grins as she gets the game and she’s like. “Awesome! We’re like LARPing Orange is The New Black.”
She bites her lip and she bat’s her lashes and she sidles up to Lucy. “Heya Piper.”
And yes we all know what that is and yeah we like sot of like know it because of the stuff online and everything and it’s all racy and edgy and stuff o course it’s something that we all be like into and stuff.
We’re getting looks and well I’m getting looks as we go into the cafeteria after dropping off out books. There’s like no graffiti this time but since the first bunch was like this morning only I think that the staff and stuff have been like extra looking out and stuff.
Really this isn’t the kind of school where you see that kind of stuff or well in the open at least a whole lot of the stuff that goes on with our hateful people tends to happen under the surface or like where the haters can’t be like see or can be anon.
I’m the only “boy” with a whole bunch of girls and even there some looks from the guys on the team and they’re still a sort of mixed look of reactions. I do think that there’s stuff said, that there’s stuff going around and it still looks like no matter how much it seemed settled it’s still being hashed out.
I do enjoy the smiles as I take out my containers with my lunch in them and open them up to share with the other girls who are taking out some of their stuff and we’re sort of pot luck lunching it. It’s actually pretty cool and we’re all having fun and doing allergy checks first with stuff.
There’s this whole span of time somewhere during the eating and the sharing and the fun that the mask becomes like invisible and like weightless It’s Steven on the outside that everyone can like see but only just like barely, just barely Steven and so just me…Stephanie.
And it’s kind of over when like it get’s like close to the bell and we…okay they all head off to the girl’s bathroom to get freshened up and stuff and I get some looks from M.J. and well all of the girls and stuff except for Lucy.
I look at them and smile. “Half done, I’m half done the day and I’ll be okay after school.”
Amber and Amanda do the twin nod and Becky and Toni give me a hug and Lucy just looks confused.
I didn’t tell them and they like know. Just the way that they are looking me in the eye’s it’s like they know and that whole fact that they’re accepting me. It’s tightening my throat really seriously.
Lucy asks… “Uhm…what’s going on what’s with the…uhm… this?”
Mary Jane looks at me with this sort of sad for me and I love you smile all rolled into one which just pushes me towards tears really easily and it’s like super hard to keep them back. She side eyes towards Lucy and I nod and she slips her arm around Lucy’s shoulders and leads her to the girl’s bathroom.
“Let me tell you about my best friend.”
I’m just sort of there clenching and unclenching my hands and biting my lower lip…I’m really emotional and really nervous right now because they’re all going to be talking about me…
The day’s half done…the day’s half done.
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