First Date

 

First Date
by Melanie Brown
Copyright  © 2016 Melanie Brown

Phelan's friend thought he was missing out because he wasn't dating.

 


 

“What do you mean it’s wrong?” cried out Kaelan. “I just spent the last fifteen minutes checking and double-checking this logic circuit. How could my answer be wrong?”

I gave her a patronizing smile and pointed at the assignment diagram. I said, “You missed the very last gate. That’s a NOT gate.”

“Arrgh!” Kaelan cried out again. “I’m never going to pass this stupid test!” She punched me in the shoulder.

I rubbed my shoulder and said, “You hit hard for a girl.”

Kaelan rolled her eyes and said, “I barely touched you.”

Still rubbing my arm, I said, “Anyway…I think you have it down. Just don’t get in a hurry and miss stupid stuff like that one symbol on the output of the circuit and you’ll do fine.”

Kaelan closed the text book and gathered her papers together. Smiling, she said, “Thanks oodles Phelan for helping with this crap. Why I took Computer Science instead of something like Modern Cinema, I’ll never know. I could have been watching movies!”

I laughed. “Rhys is in that Computer Science class, right? That’s the reason! How come you’re not having big muscled Mr. Awesome helping you?”

Frowning, Kaelan said, “He sucks worse than I do at this stuff!”

I laughed again. “Well, at least you actually study when I help you. You’d be too busy drooling all over Rhys instead of learning anything.”

Punching me again in the same spot on my arm, Kaelan said, “I would not drool! Well, not much anyway.” She laughed and said, “Again, though, I appreciate you taking some of your valuable Saturday to help me with this test.”

“You’re welcome,” I said. I then grunted, “Wasn’t doing much of anything anyway. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m more than happy to help, but it wasn’t like I had any big plans.”

“So your dad is going to the tractor pull tonight by himself?” asked Kaelan. “You told me he was thinking of going.”

I stared blankly at one of the music posters on Kaelan’s wall and said, “He asked my little sister to go with him.”

Kaelan gave me a “you’re shitting me” look and said, “Are you serious? I know you’re not interested in those stupid things. But still.”

Nodding, I said, “She’s a bit of tomboy. Dad thinks I’m a sissy. He’s not mean about it. He doesn’t beat me or ridicule me, but he’s disappointed in me. I don’t help him work on the car, or waste my Sunday afternoons watching football with him. My little sister does.”

Kaelan said, “So, no plans tonight?”

I said, “Just playing some Warhammer. Why? Are you going to ask me out?”

Laughing, Kaelan said, “Don’t be silly. But would you be interested in having some fun sometime? Something other than those stupid games of yours?”

I squinted and looked sideways at Kaelan. I said, “First off, they’re not stupid. But what do you have in mind?”

Grinning, Kaelan said, “Well, Rhys asked me out for next Saturday! But he also asked if I could find someone to go out with his friend. Kind of a double date thing.”

I frowned and said, “You know I’m not very comfortable around girls I don’t know. She’ll wind up thinking I’m a dweeb or something.”

Kaelan laughed and said, “You *are* a dweeb or something! And you’re comfortable around me.”

I shrugged and said, “You don’t seem like a girl to me. You’re a friend.”

Wearing a puzzled expression, Kaelan said, “I’m not sure how to take that. Anyway, Mr. Awesome’s friend isn’t a girl.”

Furrowing my brow, I said, “You mean his friend’s a guy? Why bring it up then?”

Grinning from ear to ear, Kaelan said, “It’s not just any guy, Phelan. It’s Conrad!”

I shrugged and said, “So?”

Eyes wide, Kaelan said, “So? So? So you have a huge crush on Conrad!”

Looking disgusted, I said, “What makes you think that?” I started putting my books back in my book bag.

Looking at me like I was from Mars, Kaelan said, “Silly. It was just two weeks ago. I helped you get dressed and with your make-up and we went to the mall together. We were at the food court and when we saw Conrad with his mom walk by, you said, and I quote, ‘Oh God. Isn’t he cute?’ Sounds like a crush to me.”

I dismissed her comment with a wave of my hand and said, “Just because I like to dress like a girl and go with you to the mall and comment on the cuteness of guys, doesn’t mean I have a crush on one. Or even like guys for that matter.”

Still grinning, Kaelan said, “Well, you actually have mentioned other boys. But I know for a fact that you like Conrad! Just go ahead and admit it!”

I could feel my face turning red. I looked down and said, “Yes, I have a crush on Conrad. It’s just a guy crush! I read where same-sex crushes are pretty common and it doesn’t mean you’re gay or anything.”

Kaelan suddenly looked serious as she said, “You really should see a counselor or something. I really think you’re one of those trannies.” She winked at me.

I smiled and said, “Just because a guy wears a dress and has boy crushes doesn’t mean he’s transsexual.”

Kaelan said, “Oh I know. But I still think you are!”

I said, “And we don’t like to be called trannies.”

Kaelan’s face brightened and she shouted, “Ah-hah!”

Rolling my eyes, I said, “Anyway, bottom line is that I’d be fooling him. It’s just wrong to fool people like that.”

Nodding, Kaelan said with a sigh, “True. Oh well. I’ll let Rhys know I couldn’t find anyone.”

I said, “Don’t you know other girls?

“Sure. But I wanted it to be something fun for you is all,” said Kaelan. “I really doubt that Conrad would have any trouble getting a date.”

*          *          *

“Hey thanks for coming to the mall with me, Melody,” said Kaelan to me, using my girl name. Which was appropriate as I was dressed as a girl. “You can help me pick out a dress for the school dance in a couple of weeks.” It was Friday and I had gone over to Kaelan’s house right after coming home from school. It was great now that she had a driver’s license. I’ve flunked my driving test twice.

I laughed and said, “Another dress? Haven’t you started putting your clothes in your brother’s closet as well?”

Before I could stop her, Kaelan rapped her knuckles twice on my forehead. She said, “Hello? Are we sure there’s a girl in there? Next you’re going to say I have too many shoes!”

I swatted her hand away and said, “Hey watch it! But anyway, of course I would come to the mall with you! And thanks for letting borrow your clothes and helping me with my make-up and styling my hair.”

Kaelan laughed and said, “You’d be a mess if it wasn’t for me! I don’t mind keeping your make-up at my house or letting you borrow clothes, but girl, you need to try to build your own wardrobe.”

“Can I help it if my dad threw out my skirts and the dress I loved?” I asked, feeling annoyed again at my backward family. “At least he didn’t find my panties and bra.”

Dad had gone on a rampage after discovering my make-up stash and what few feminine clothes I had in my closet. He didn’t get physical with me, but he not only tossed my clothes out in the dumpster, but he shredded them first and stomped on my make-up. He yelled at me for crying and begging him to stop. He canceled my allowance so I couldn’t buy any more nice things. He even put a block on the computer so I could no longer access web sites with transgender fiction. And lastly he threatened me with military school…until he found out how much it cost.

I really couldn’t quite understand Dad’s reaction. Prior to him finding my girl stuff, he was pretty easy going. When I was younger, he tried to make me go out for football and baseball, but gave up when it was evident that I sucked at sports. Except tennis. I loved tennis. But Dad wasn’t interested in tennis.

Kaelan helped me feel at ease whenever I went with her shopping or just hanging out. On occasion we’ve seen my parents in the mall, but we’d always duck into a store. Tonight being Friday night and Dad’s bowling night, I felt pretty safe.

“So Mel,” said Kaelan holding a dress up for me to see. “What do you think of this? I think it’s cute.”

I looked at it and said, “It’s cute. But violet? That’s not really your color.”

Kaelan nodded and said, “True.” She hung the dress back up on the rack. “Maybe they have the same style in blue?” She started rummaging through the rack again.

“So, who’s your date for the dance?” I asked.

Looking a bit sheepish, Kaelan said, “Nobody’s asked me yet. Okay, well a couple have. But I’m holding out for someone.”

I smiled and said, “Rhys? You have a date with him tomorrow night. He hasn’t asked you yet?”

Shaking her head with a frown, Kaelan said, “He doesn’t really know me that much. Tomorrow is a first date. I still need to find someone to go out with Conrad with us. I’m afraid Rhys might back out of the date.”

I laughed and said, “Conrad can get his own date! I mean, come on! He’s a hunk and a half. What girl wouldn’t go out with him?”

Kaelan said, “His last girlfriend has been telling all her friends some nasty things about him. I don’t believe her, but her friends are the girls most likely to interest him. Conrad’s been down since the breakup and Rhys thinks going out with a girl with no ties to that little clique would help his attitude.”

While she was talking, I was examining some of the dresses. I pulled a blue (her favorite color) dress from the rack and said, “Oh! Oh! This dress is perfect for you!” It was a short dress with a tight skirt. It was really cute.

Kaelan took the dress from me and looked at it, grinning. She said, “Mel, you sure have a good eye for fashion!”

Grinning, I said, “Thanks! You are really going to rock that dress!”

As we walked towards the cashier, Kaelan said, “Don’t you want to buy a dress too?”

I whacked her shoulder with the back of my hand and said, “With what? I’ve had my allowance cut, remember? And I’m not going to the dance.”

As we walked out of the clothing store, Kaelan said, “Well, if Rhys doesn’t ask me to the dance, maybe we can go together.”

I laughed and said, “If I go to the dance with you, it’ll be as Phelan, not Melody.”

Kaelan pointed in the general direction of the food court and said, “Aww, that’s sweet of you, considering you don’t like girls. Are you hungry?”

“Yeah, let’s get something to eat,” I said. “And, Phelan likes girls. Like I’ve told you before, being TG is complicated.”

Kaelan touched my arm and said, “Girl, we both know Phelan’s not the real you.”

We walked the rest of the way to the food court in silence. It was Friday night at the mall and the food court was jumping. I wasn’t sure if we were going to find a place to sit. But fortunately, there were a couple of places available after we got our nachos and chili-fries.

As we sat down, I looked at our food and said, “Is this fattening?”

Kaelan ignored me and said with a grin, “Hey, see that guy over there with that Linux penguin on his t-shirt? Don’t look! He’s been looking at you the whole time we’ve been here. I think he likes you.”

I shrugged and said as I took a crunchy bite of a nacho, “Well, that does me little good. I can’t date boys. Not unless I want to get beat up or worse.”

In a serious tone, Kaelan said, “Just make sure you keep your clothes on! I think you’re missing out by not dating.”

Frowning, I said, “Do you think I could keep that up until our wedding night? And then when he wants to consummate our marriage say something like, ‘Hey honey. Did you ever see that movie The Crying Game?’ I’m sure that would go over big.”

Again ignoring me, Kaelan said, “Oh no. Look. It’s Rhys and Conrad. They’re getting a pizza. What if they see us?”

Looking puzzled, I said, “Don’t you want Rhys to see you?”

“Yes and no. I mean, look at my hair!” exclaimed Kaelan. “But sure, any chance to talk to him. But they’ll see you.”

I folded my arms and said, “Last week you were trying to convince me to date Conrad. Now you don’t want him to see me?”

Kaelan frowned at me and said, “Now you want to date Conrad? Make up your mind, girl!”

I said, “I’d love to go on a date with Conrad. I just don’t want to fool him to do it!”

Suddenly Kaelan waved in Rhys’ general direction. She said, “Well, ready or not. Here they come.” A cold flash of adrenaline shot down my spine. It was never comfortable when out as a girl to run into people who know me as Phelan.

Rhys and Conrad walked up to the small table we were sitting at. Rhys is a very big guy. All hard muscle. He could pound me into powder if he wanted to. Conrad’s eyes lingered on me as they stood there.

“Hey, Kaelan!” said Rhys with a grin. “Whatcha doing?”

If I had to guess, Kaelan’s panties were getting a wet spot as she smiled up at Rhys. She said, “Hey, Rhys! We’re out shopping.” She picked up her shopping bag and shook it. She then pointed at me and said, “Have you met Melody?”

Rhys smiled at me and said, “No. Where have you been hiding her?” Looking at me and pointing to Conrad he said, “This is Conrad. We were just hanging out and then going to go to the arcade.”

I said hello to Conrad and then shyly looked away. I wanted to look up at him. I do have this gigantic crush on him. I’m just too shy and well, scared to look at him. Kaelan sure didn’t have any trouble chatting with Rhys.

Conrad’s eyes suddenly grew large and he sucked in his breath. Pointing at me he said, “You look so familiar and I’ve been trying to place you and now I know! Holy shit, Phelan, what the fuck are you doing?”

Rhys turned to me and with disbelief on his face said, “Phelan? Holy shit. Conrad, you’re right.” Turning to Kaelan, Rhys said, “Did you know this was Phelan?”

Laughing, Kaelan said, “Of course, silly. I helped her with her make-up and clothes. Come one guys, chill out, okay? She’s not harming anyone. This is just who she really is.”

Looking pissed, Conrad said, “I couldn’t care less how Phelan likes to dress. But holy fuck man. I was about to ask if you wanted to go with us tomorrow night.”

Kaelan’s face brightened as she said, “Hey, that’d be a great idea!”

Conrad wrinkled up his face. He said, “Take Phelan out on a date? Are you mental? I’m not gay.”

As I shook my head to try to get her stop, Kaelan said, “You don’t think she’s gorgeous? I think any guy would want to go out with her!”

Conrad and Rhys both laughed. Conrad said, “Oh, he makes a cute girl. But not as pretty as a real girl. He’s a dude. If he was a real chick, sure. And if you don’t know who he is, yeah, you might be fooled into going on a date with him. Phelan would be taking a big risk doing that.”

Embarrassed, I said, “Kaelan, please stop. Conrad isn’t interested, okay? I just…”

“Conrad!” said a girl’s voice from behind me. “Beating the bushes for a date? Hello girls. Kaelan, you should know better than to listen to this liar and cheat.” She points at me and said, “You I don’t know, but now you’re learning the truth about Conrad. Whatever you do, don’t let him sweet talk you into a date.”

Conrad scowled. Rhys said, “Jenny, get the fuck out of here. Quit being a toady for Shelley and spreading her lies.”

Kaelan said, “And Melody doesn’t care what you say. She’d love to go on a date with Conrad. Wouldn’t you, Melody?”

“I don’t care what this bitch says,” I said honestly. “I’d love to go out with you, Conrad!”

Jenny grunted a laugh and said, “Bitch, huh? See if you still think I’m a bitch after he breaks your heart!”

“Fuck off, Jenny,” said Conrad. “She’s going out with me tomorrow night and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

I leaned into to Kaelan and whispered, “What just happened?”

Giggling, Kaelan said, “I don’t know, but you now have a date with Conrad.”

Jenny turned and walked away. She said over her shoulder, “Don’t say I did warn you, girl.”

Fuming, Conrad said, “Can you believe that? Nobody tells a girl she can’t go out with me!”

Rhys said, “We gotta run. See you girls tomorrow at seven.”

Conrad looked at me and said, “I don’t have your address.”

I grinned and said, “I’ll be at Kaelan’s house.”

Conrad nodded. He then said, “Sorry dude. But thanks for playing along. I can’t let Jenny win.”

I shrugged and said, “I don’t want Jenny to win either! I’m ready to stick it to that bitch and date you.”

Conrad smiled at me and said, “Thanks. See you tomorrow.”

I took a deep breath and giggled. I said, “Now that was weird.”

Kaelan said, “Who care how you got there. You got your date with Conrad!”

I sighed, “It won’t be much of a date if he just treats me like a guy.”

Gesturing, Kaelan said, “You’re just going to have to convince him you’re a girl.”

*          *          *

“Hold still so I can get these lashes on you,” said Kaelan sounding a bit frustrated.

“Do I really need false eyelashes? Seems a bit much for just a movie date,” I said.

“You do,” said Kaelan. “These will just make your lashes look thicker and darker. They’re not crazy long ones.”

I stood up when she was done to look into Kaelan’s full length mirror. I struck several poses and played with my hair a bit. I said, “So you think these jeans work better than a skirt?”

“Mel, you look great in everything. The jeans look great. And you know boys always underdress for these dates,” said Kaelan with a frown. “Besides, we don’t want to be dressed the same.” She stood up and checked the lines of her denim skirt.

The doorbell rang.

I swallowed nervously. I said, “Maybe I’m not ready for this. Regardless of why he’s taking me out, this is real. This is a date with a boy. Oh my God! With Conrad!”

Kaelan laughed and said, “Chill out, Mel! We all get first date jitters. But you can’t let your guy see that you’re nervous about it. Confidence, girl! You gotta show confidence.”

From the living room, we heard Kaelan’s mom shout, “Kaelan! There are some boys here to see you.”

Kaelan suddenly gave me a quick hug. She said, “It’s show time! Don’t worry. You’ll do great. You’ve got this!”

We both leaned into the mirror and checked out our make-up one last time and then we headed down the hall to where Rhys and Conrad stood waiting.

Conrad just stared at me as we approached. When we got close, still staring at me, he said, “Wow. You’re hot.”

I smiled and said as I bit my lower lip, “Thanks! You look great, Conrad.” Oh and did he. He even washed his hair and put on a clean AC/DC shirt.

Rhys grinned widely at Kaelan. He said, “You look really nice, Kaelan!” Kaelan’s mom frowned when Rhys slid his arm around her waist. “Conrad suggested we see the movie first so maybe we can avoid some of those awkward silent moments during dinner.”

Kaelan said, “That works for me.”

I smiled and said, my eyes fixed on Conrad, “I knew Conrad was smart.” I didn’t realize just hard my crush on Conrad was until I was standing right in front of him. I thought I was going to pop.

Kaelan leaned close to me and whispered in my ear, “Breathe!”

Rhys said, “We’d better go or there’ll be no point in going.”

Kaelan hugged her mother and said, “Bye Mom!”

Kaelan’s mom said, “Remember. Be back around midnight.”

“Mommm! It’s Friday, Give me a break!” squealed Kaelan.

Her mother folded her arms and said, “We’re not having this argument again. Midnight.”

Smiling, Rhys said, “I’ll have her back on time, no problem.”

As we walked out the door, Kaelan said, “Sorry about that.”

Rhys shrugged and said, “To be honest, I’d be more surprised if you didn’t have curfew.” Rhys laughed and said, “It just means she loves you.”

Conrad turned to me as we approached Rhys’ car. He said, “And what time do you have to be back?”

I shrugged and said honestly, “I’ve never had a curfew. So I don’t know.”

With a smirk, Conrad said, “I guess that means your parents don’t love you?”

I smirked back and said, “No. It just means they trust me.” I’m sure if Dad knew I was out on a date, he’d probably kill me no matter what time I came home.

Pointing at me and Conrad, Kaelan said, “Shotgun! You two ride in the back, okay?”

I was a bit disappointed in Conrad. He didn’t rush up to open the door for me. In fact, he just threw the door open and jumped in, leaving me on the sidewalk by myself. Based on all the movies and TV shows, I expected Conrad to not only hold the door open for me, but help me, lay his jacket across any puddles and carry me ‘cross the threshold.

After we all got settled in the car, I said with a laugh, “I don’t even know what movie we’re going to go see!”

Kaelan turned around and said, “I thought I told you earlier. Rhys wants to see “Crack in Time.”

I grinned and said, “Cool. I wanted to see that.”

Conrad laughed and said, “That’s funny. I’ve heard most chicks hate it. Oh wait, you’re not a chick.”

I frowned, folded my arms and leaned back in the back seat. I said, “Not all girls just want to see romance movies you know.”

Conrad said, “Don’t real chicks just tolerate other types of movies because their boyfriends want to see them?”

Kaelan said, “We’re not that shallow, Conrad. I actually wanted to see this movie anyway. And be nice to Melody.”

Conrad said, “Okay, okay. I’m sorry. I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like you, Melody. Just looking at you, you’re a very pretty girl. But I know you’re not. Not really. That’s the part I’m having trouble with.

Looking straight ahead, in an annoyed voice, I said, “I am a girl.”

Looking out the car window, Conrad said, “Just saying it doesn’t make it true.” He glanced over at me and said, “I’m sorry. But that’s the truth. If I put on make-up and a dress, does that make me a girl?”

I didn’t say anything. I wanted to scream. Since middle school I’ve been crushing on Conrad and he acts like this towards me. In a way though, I can’t blame him. He sees me every day at school as Phelan and then sitting next to him presenting as a girl. For someone who sees the world in mostly black and white terms, it’s hard to get past the biological truth no matter how strongly I know I am a girl.

I sighed heavily. My heart sank as I had wanted to date Conrad for what seems forever. I looked over at him and wanted to cry. I know I was expecting probably way too much from this date, but I was hoping Conrad would at least treat me like a girl.

Looking back into the backseat and frowning at Conrad, Kaelan said, “She’s a girl. Trust me.”

Shrugging, Conrad said, “What can I say?”

The rest of the ride to the movie theater was mostly silent and uneventful. Conrad and I both just sat there with our arms folded across our chests.

After arriving at the mall parking lot and getting out of Rhys’ car, I watch with a tinge of annoyance at Rhys holding Kaelan’s hand. Conrad kept his hands in his pockets. I probably shouldn’t have said anything, but I said, “Conrad. Can you at least pretend we’re on a date?” I held out my hand.

Conrad gave me a sheepish smile and said, “Sure.” He took my hand in his. Even though I had to kind of force the issue, I smiled knowing that a boy was holding my hand. I looked at others walking towards the mall’s theater entrance and most were holding their date’s hand. I smiled and without thinking, gave Conrad’s hand a small squeeze. Maybe he didn’t think about it either, because he squeezed back.

As we took our place in line, I noticed Jenny standing with a mix of boys and girls. She grinned and said something to the girl next to her. That’s when I recognized Shelley, Conrad’s former girlfriend. Jenny pointed at me and Shelley frowned and said something back to Jenny. Shelley then turned and started walking towards us.

Conrad grunted and looked around like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. With a tinge of anger in his voice, he said, “Shell, get lost. We’re done. I have nothing to say to you.”

Shelley smiled and said, “Is that any way to greet a friend, Conrad? Besides, I just wanted to meet your new future ex-girlfriend.”

Rhys said, “Shelley, go away. We’re just trying to enjoy a movie. Go crawl back under your rock.”

“Rhys, Rhys, Rhys,” said Shelley. “I can’t believe you’re taking up for this loser.” She looked over at Kaelan and said, “Oh, but that’s not Regina with you, is it? It’s good that she finally wised up.” She then turned towards me as Conrad put his arm around my shoulder. “I know Conrad seems like a great catch. But he’s not. He’ll just break your heart. Trust me.” She turned and walked back to her group of friends.

As we inched a bit closer to the ticket booth, Conrad said, “God I hate that bitch.” He pulled me closer to him.

I put my arm around him and said, “How did you manage to piss her off so bad?” Well, he’s managed to break my heart before we even got started on our date. I know a part of me was thinking I should have just gone back home after Conrad not only showed a lack of interest in me, but possibly even some hostility. And I now realized that he used me to show Shelley he could still get a date despite her best efforts to turn all the girls against him. But dammit! I wanted a date with a boy and I was going to have one. It’s not like I didn’t know that the date wasn’t going to lead to anything.

Frowning, but keeping me pulled close to him, Conrad said, “Breathing. No, I’m serious. That bitch is crazy. She’s very possessive. She’d get pissed if I talked to any girl, even a cashier at the grocery store. Despite what she might be telling her friends, I dumped her after she walked out of a date with me because I happened to glance at the waitress walking by. She’s like really fucked up.”

“So you weren’t cheating on her,” asked Kaelan. “I overheard her telling some friends that you were dating three other girls when you were supposed to be exclusive with her.”

Conrad said, “She said that? Seriously? Why would I cheat? I couldn’t believe that I got to date her in the first place. I mean, she’s cheerleader captain, was last year’s prom queen and the single most popular girl in school. I wasn’t going to screw that up.”

I smiled up at Conrad and said half jokingly, “Well, now you have me!”

Conrad laughed, bent down and kissed the top of my head and said, “Yep. Now I have you.” He kept his arm around me. Kaelan winked at me.

After we finally got into the theater lobby, and Rhys and Conrad got into the line at the snack bar, Kaelan said, “Melody, let’s go to the restroom for a second.”

I said, “Okay.” I was always nervous about using the girls’ restroom. Kaelan’s told me many times that as long as I don’t stand up, nobody will suspect I’m a boy. And so far, there’s been no screams or fainting or frantic nine-one-one calls.

When we got inside the restroom, there was someone in one of the stalls, so Kaelan stood in front of the mirror and started checking her make-up. I doubt this is why she wanted to come to the restroom. I stood there and checked my make-up too.

After a minute, the girl in the stall left and no one else entered. Kaelan turned from the mirror to me and said, “I’m really sorry, Melody. I shouldn’t have expected Conrad to just accept you. And that thing with Shelley out there. I mean, you’re evening must already be ruined and we haven’t even started it yet.”

I shrugged and said, “It’s okay. As far as Shelley goes, she’s a total bitch if you ask me. Why come up and start a scene like that? And it’s her word against Conrad’s. I wasn’t there, so who knows? And as for Conrad? Well, I did get what I’ve always wanted; a date with him. It’s just not like I’ve always dreamed. But things are rarely what you’ve dreamed. I have some rather militant t-girl friends on-line that would yell at me for this, but I don’t really blame Conrad for his reaction. I’d think it’d be a rare boy that would be comfortable with a girl like me. I can understand how it would be hard to get past the fact that I have boy parts. I’m not mad at Conrad. Disappointed? Sure. But hey. He’s still paying for my movie and dinner. He didn’t tell me to get lost.”

Kaelan laughed and said, “Well, I guess that’s a plus. I just…”

At that moment, two girls entered the restroom, talking loudly. They continued their chat after entering the stalls. Kaelan motioned with her head for us to leave.

When we caught up to Rhys and Conrad waiting with our snacks, Rhys said, “Jeesh. Took you long enough. Why do girls always have to pee together? What do you do in there?”

Kaelan flashed a wry grin at Rhys and said, “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

As he handed Kaelan her soda, Rhys said, “Well, I did just ask…” Kaelan just shrugged.

Conrad handed me my soda. Like Rhys, he’d gotten a large tub of popcorn to share.

As we walked over to the ticket taker, Conrad looked around the theater lobby and said, “You know Rhys, we somehow managed to be with the two prettiest girls in the theater.”

Rhys nodded and gave Conrad a look. He said, “Yep bae, we sure do.” He’d never admit it, but I had a sneaking suspicion that Rhys had told Conrad to say that. It felt good anyway and I smiled at Conrad.

We found some good seats around the middle of the theater. Kaelan and I sat next to each other, with Conrad on my right and Rhys on her left. A few minutes after the movie started, I saw Rhys put his arm around Kaelan’s shoulder. I tried to snuggle up against Conrad, but he shifted away from me. At a couple of spots in the movie, I saw Rhys steal a kiss from Kaelan. I couldn’t even get Conrad to hold my hand. I just watched the movie and munched on popcorn.

As we stepped out of the mall and into the parking lot, Rhys exclaimed, “That was fucking awesome!” He bumped knuckles with Conrad. “That was best eye-candy I’ve ever seen!”

Conrad grinned as he said, “Yeah. That was so dope. It even had a little romance for the girls.”

Kaelan twisted her face up and said, “I’d hardly call those three squid things humping that rock as romantic.” I laughed.

Rhys said, “Everyone okay with Chili’s? It’s just right there across the parking lot.” Everyone nodded agreement and we started the short walk over to it.

I brushed my hand against Conrad’s and to my surprise he took my hand. I was happy to get any sign of affection.

Conrad looked over at me and said, “Did you like the movie?”

“I did!” I said with a grin. “I really liked it when…”

As if I wasn’t there, Conrad said, “Rhys, I thought the best part was when the Roman centurions were suddenly having to fight the U.S. Cavalry.”

“…the Roman Cen…” I let my voice trail away. I looked at Conrad and sighed. I said, “I liked that too.”

Laughing, Rhys said, “Yeah, that was some fucked up, shit, right?” Conrad laughed and tossed his arm around my shoulders.

We finally made it to Chili’s after a few minutes of walking. Conrad let go of my hand when we reached the door. We were led to a booth. Kaelan sat next to Rhys forcing Conrad next to me.

Conrad actually got as close to the wall as he could. I just scooted over to get as close as I could. He seemed uncomfortable sitting close to me.

Conrad turned to me and said, “Since I’m paying, just order water, okay? It’s not like I’m going to get any…” He made quote marks in the air, “…payment later, if you know what I mean.”

I whacked his shoulder with the back of my hand and said, “I hope you’re not serious!”

Kaelan kicked Conrad in the shin under the table and said, “That’s pretty low!”

Conrad held up his hands defensively and said, “I was kidding! Sheesh! Girls just don’t have any sense of humor!”

“Just for that,” I said, “I’m getting the most expensive thing on the menu!”

Frowning, Conrad said, “I said I was joking. But anyway. Get what you want.”

After we ordered, there were a few moments of awkward silence. Rhys looked at me and said, “So, what got you on this kick that you think you’re a girl? I mean you’re cute and all, but we all know you’re not physically a girl. Like Conrad said earlier. Just wearing make-up and a dress doesn’t make you a girl.”

Kaelan punched Rhys in the shoulder and he flinched. Scowling, she said, “Rhys! What the hell? Don’t be so insensitive!”

I took a deep breath and raised my hand to stop further comments from Kaelan. I said, “It’s okay, Kaelan. How is he and Conrad going to learn otherwise? To answer your first question, Rhys, I didn’t wake up this morning saying I think I’ll try out being a girl today. At first, when I was around four or five, I didn’t correctly interpret these feelings of wrongness. All I knew was that something was wrong.

“Over time, I became aware that I preferred girl toys. I gravitated towards playing with other girls. I used to get upset with my mom because she wouldn’t let me put ribbons in my hair or wear a dress like other girls. While I learned to suppress expressing my feelings, my desire to be a girl continued to grow.

“Kaelan’s been my next door neighbor for what seems forever. One summer afternoon, she found me crying in the backyard. When she asked me why, instead of holding it in, I told her that I was crying because I told my parents I felt I was a girl inside. My dad spanked me and told me to man up. He said there was no room for sissies in our house.

“Kaelan said that she had a dress I could wear if I wanted to. She’s been helping learn how to do the external parts of being a girl. Clothes. Hair. Make-up. Nails. And you and Conrad are right. Wearing these things doesn’t make me a girl. Being a girl comes from within. The clothes and make-up just help me express it.”

Nodding, Rhys said, “I can dig it. And I’ll give you props for having the guts to go out like that. So why aren’t you doing this all the time? Like being a girl at school?”

I frowned and said, “Several reasons. I’m afraid of what the reaction would be. I don’t want to get cornered somewhere and beat up. And would the school let me use the girls restroom? And the biggest reason is my parents don’t support me. Dad isn’t abusive about it, but he’s made it very clear he doesn’t approve. And Mom can’t understand why any boy would choose to be a girl. I can’t convince her it’s not really a choice.”

Rhys shook his head and said, “Well, I’m not going to pretend to understand that either. Seems like being a girl is a lot of extra work.” Pointing at Conrad, Rhys continued, “If you like boys, why not just come out as gay? That’s more acceptable it seems.”

I shrugged and said, “It’s not the same. I can’t really explain it. I don’t want to be a boy with a boy. I want to be a girl with a boy. It’s not just black and white.”

Conrad, who had been silent all this time said, “Well, being a girl seems to suit you. It’s just too bad you’re not.”

Groaning, I said, “I am a girl.”

Kaelan said, “She is a girl, Conrad. There’s nothing boy about her.”

Conrad shook his head and said, “No. Look, even if he got his dick cut off, under the clothes and pretty make-up, he’s still basically a boy.”

I’m so tired of this conversation. I’ve had it a million times with my dad and some people I’ve met on-line. Even a therapist my parents sent me to, suggested I just accept being gay saying I don’t have to be a girl to like guys.

I sighed and said, “I’m sorry you feel that way, Conrad. I was hoping you’d be different.”

Raising his hand defensively, Conrad said, “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings. Just looking at you and not knowing, I’d think you were a beautiful girl. Someone I’d definitely would want to go out with. I just can’t get past the fact that you have a dick.”

Kaelan said, “I’m sorry, Melody. I should never have tried to get you to on this date.” Turning to Conrad she said, “You knew about her, Conrad when you invited her! The reason doesn’t matter. You still invited Melody out on a date and you’ve ignored her pretty much the entire time!”

“How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?” Conrad said with a scowl. “I know I asked her for the wrong reason. But also there was that element of doing something forbidden. We all shared a secret no one else would be know. I thought it might be fun. I didn’t know it was going to turn into a gender studies class.”

The rest of dinner I spent in silence. Kaelan, and even Rhys tried to get me to talk, but I would only nod or say one or two words. I just kind of nibbled at my food. I looked over at Conrad’s plate and he seemed to have lost his appetite as well. He just sat there looking sullen.

Finally the meal was over. Conrad paid for my as well as his own dinner. As we got back into Rhys’ car, Conrad and I in the back seat, Rhys said, “I was originally planning on going up to Inspiration Point. But I can just take you home, Melody if you want.”

I said, “I love the view up there. I haven’t been up there in quite a while. Not since Dad brought me with our telescope to look at Saturn and Jupiter. He didn’t know it had turned into a teen hangout.”

Inspiration Point, known to the young crowd now mostly as Perspiration Point because of the activities of kids on dates. It’s on a steep, tall hill over-looking the city and the surrounding valley.

Rhys parked in a group of cars. Most were empty but one or two had the windows steamed up. Rhys and Kaelan got out of the car. Rhys opened the trunk and removed a blanket.

I gave Kaelan a look and she just grinned at me and said in my ear, “Don’t worry, Melody. We won’t do anything crazy.” She then accepted Rhys’ hand and they walked off to find their own remote spot.

I stood outside the car for a moment listing to the crickets and other night sounds as well as moans and sighs coming from all around the hillside. I looked back at Conrad still sitting in the back seat looking at his phone. I sighed and thought, honestly, what did I expect? I walked through the low bushes to find a quiet, empty spot where I could look at the beautiful cityscape below and gather my thoughts. I found an area a couple of minute’s walk from the car, further than most would go down the hill and sat down on the grass and pebbles.

After almost ten minutes, I heard the crunch of foot steps behind me. In a hushed tone, I heard as Conrad said, “Oh. There you are.” He sat next to me.

Touching my hand for a moment, Conrad said, “I’m very sorry. I ruined your evening.”

Staring straight ahead, I said, “Yes you did.”

I could tell he was looking at me in the moon lit night. Quietly, he said, “I don’t blame you for being mad. I’m mad at myself too.”

I didn’t say anything. I just kept staring at the city lights twinkling below.

Conrad said, “I screwed up. I missed a chance to have a great time with a great girl and show her a good time. I was wrong, okay? I admit it. Looking at you. Hearing you and even watching you it becomes so obvious you’re a girl.”

I didn’t look over at him. I just said, “You’re a little late.”

Nodding, Conrad looked out at the city below and said, “I know. I know you hate me now. I just wanted to apologize and say that you’re a really pretty, smart and fun girl that any guy would be excited to be with.”

I turned to glance over at Conrad. I said, “I don’t hate you. I’m just tired of always having to defend who I am. I’ve always really liked you and it really hurt when you said those things.”

Softly, Conrad said, “I was wrong.” He touched my hair. I turned away from him and he put his hand down.

I said, “Conrad, don’t.”

He took my hand and said, “Melody, I…”

I said, “Please don’t.”

From up the hillside, Kaelan said in a loud voice, “Oh for God’s sake! Kiss him already!” There were a few chuckles from across the hillside.

Conrad smiled slightly and looked at the ground. I touched his cheek and said, “Conrad…”

And suddenly his lips were against mine, pressing into me with a gentle kiss. I wanted to pull away from him. I was still mad at him. We separated our lips for a moment and then he closed his eyes and pressed his lips against mine again. This time longer. I moaned slightly at I closed my eyes and slid an arm around his neck.

Oh my God! I had longed for his kiss since middle school. I found it harder to breathe as his kiss grew in passion. He gently pushed me to my back as we kissed. With short breaths, I kissed his lips, his cheek, his neck. I nibbled on his ear. I couldn’t feel it, but I could tell he had a hand on my fake breast.

While our passions exploded, neither of us tried to undress the other. We just wrestled on the soft grass kissing like long-lost lovers. Conrad’s kisses were all that I ever imagined. My schoolgirl crush fulfilled. I never wanted it to end.

Breaking through our reverie, Kaelan’s voice whispered to us, “Hey you love birds. We have to go. I’m late. My dad is going to kill me!”

Conrad pulled away from me, a string of drool still connecting our lips. Breathing hard he smiled at me. I smiled back at him and said, “Apology accepted.” He kissed me again and helped me get to my feet.

On the drive back to town, Conrad has his arm around me and I snuggled against him in the back seat. We kissed almost all the way back.

On the way, my house was before Kaelan’s so he stopped to let me out. Conrad got out and kissed me once more on the side walk. The three of them sped off in Rhys’ car to travel just a few houses down.

As I approached the house, it dawned on me that I hadn’t left the house dressed this way. I was dressed as a boy when I left the house. Hours ago. The house was dark. I hoped that meant that everyone had gone to bed. I opened the door as quietly as I could and stepped in.

As I was navigating around the living room in the dark, there was a click and the lamp on the end table burst into light. I jumped when I saw my dad sitting on the couch.

I put my hand over my chest and said, “You scared me Dad. I thought everyone was asleep. I think I’ll go to bed myself.”

Dad stood up. He looked pissed. He said, “Wait a second. Do you have any idea what time it is that you come dragging yourself into the house?”

I really had no idea other than it was later than I usually come home from hanging out with what few friends I have. I said, “No, sir.”

With a scowl, Dad said, “It’s after one thirty in the A.M. Where the hell have you been?”

Even though I’m sure he saw Conrad and me outside, there was no way I was going to tell my dad I had been on a date with a boy. I said, “Just hanging out with some friends.”

Dad folded his arms and said, “From now on, you be back here in the house by midnight. Do you understand?”

I said, “But Dad. You’ve never cared what time I came back before!”

Frowning, Dad said, “You insist on going out dressed like that, you need to be back home by midnight. This is not negotiable.”

Looking at the floor, I said, “Yes, sir.”

Dad motioned his head towards the front door and said, “Who was that boy out there?”

Sheepishly, I said, “A friend from school.”

Dad said, “A friend, huh? I didn’t see him earlier.”

I said, “He picked me up at Kaelan’s. I didn’t …”

Interrupting, Dad said, “From now on, if a boy comes to pick you up, he needs to come to that door so I can see him. I want to know who you’re with. Understood?”

It finally occurred to me what Dad was actually saying. I let a smile cross my lips as I said, “Understood, sir.”

Dad frowned and said, “Now get to bed.”

I said, “Yes, sir.” I started to head down the hall. I stopped and turned to face my dad. I ran up to him and hugged him tightly. I said, “Thank you, Dad.” I felt him nod and he patted my back a couple of pats. I pulled away from him and in the semi-darkness saw tears in his eyes.

I ran down the hall to my room.

*          *          *

“Hello?” said Kaelan on the other end of the phone.

I said, “Hey, girl. Guess what?”

“What?”

Grinning, I said, “Want to come with me to the mall? I need to find a dress for the dance on Saturday.”

*          *          *

The End



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