Just Keep Rolling Part-3

Just Keep Rolling
Part Three

by:
Enemyoffun


Chris is now fully Christy. She's accepted this new turn of her life but now she has to convince herself and most definitely others that this is truly what she wants.

Christy2.jpg

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Author's Note: Here we are again, another week, another new chapter. Something happens in this chapter that people have been asking for so I hope it pleases people when it happens. I think I might have to slow down posting or write faster because I only have one more finished chapter after this written lol.

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3:

“I can’t believe I’m wearing this”.

I was in Sara’s room, standing once again in front of that giant mirror of hers. I’d really have to get one of my own. As it was now, though, I was safe in the fact that she even let me use it. What I wasn’t safe with was what I was currently wearing. I’ve avoided wearing dresses for the simple reason that it felt like a “point of no return” for me. Sure I owned a few thanks to my shopping excursions with both Sara and Kate. I loved the dresses I bought but they were just that---something I bought. I never actually thought about wearing them.

That is until last night.

I came to the realization that I’d missed church two weeks in a row already. The first weekend was because of that cheer practice I got roped into. Then I was in the hospital for the next one. The latter was unavoidable of course but this week I had no excuse. I wanted to show grandpa and the others that I wasn’t afraid either. I knew the road ahead was going to be tough but I wanted to get in front of this now. Most of my fellow classmates would be at church, it was a good time to show those who already didn’t know that this was who I am now.

Chris is gone, Christy here to stay.

Yesterday had solidified things for me in that regard.

After my run-ins with both Greg and Becky, I cried myself home. I cried for a while afterward too. Then I came to a decision. Well two of them actually. The first was that I wasn’t going to ever let jerks make me cry again. The second decision was bigger, though. I decided that I was going to get ahead of this thing before nasty rumors started to spread. Church was the perfect place to do so. If people still had problems with it then that was their problem. Narrow-minded idiots were always going to be that way and very little could change that.

I needed to be me now.

And the me I needed to be had to wear a dress.

This dress.

Sara bought it for me last night when I told her my decision. Unfortunately, I’d have to face the music alone. Sara had to work today. It was ok, though, I had to do this alone. Why I had to wear something this girly was beyond me, though. According to my sister, it was a cap sleeve dress---something she said I’d have to learn. It was white with tiny black polka dots, a black tie sash, and collar. The skirt went to my knees, very suitable for church. She had me pair it with some white stockings and heels. It was supposed to show everyone who I was and that I wasn’t afraid to be me now.

The me I wanted to be had to wear this dress.

It had its advantages I suppose.

I did look good in it at least.

Hey if I had to wear this then I better look good in it.

Ok, that sounds shallow but I needed shallow right now. After dealing with yesterday’s shitty friends, I needed shallow to make me feel better.

“You’re pretty, you look good and no one can make you feel bad today”

I nodded to myself in the mirror.

As if on cue, there was a knock on my door. I heard my mother’s voice a moment later, calling from my bedroom. Mom and I hadn’t spoken at all since the incident in the hospital. She was apparently doing what she did best---throwing herself into her work. We briefly crossed paths last night when she asked me if I was going to church. When I said I was, I got only the slightest of nods before she retired to her room to hide. If not working, she was always there. Hiding. To add to it was the fact that neither Mom nor Sara were speaking again. Mom seemed to blame Sara for what happened at the hospital. It was after all my sister who called my grandfather in. It had the desired effect at the time but I think Sara thought it would do more. I could tell she and Mom had words about it too. I could always tell when they fought and tried to hide it from me. There was this charge in the air whenever the two of them were in the same vicinity.

That charge was still lingering.

“What are you doing?”

Mom was now standing behind me, dressed for church. Her dress wasn’t all that different than mine actually except much more mature. It was strange how she dressed---like a grandma---when she was so young. I understood that it was church but even the Moms older than her didn’t dress like that.

“Just finishing up,” I said, taking one final look in the mirror.

“What on Earth are you wearing!”

I heard it in her tone. Anyone who wasn’t a zombie would be able to recognize that tone. I saw it on her face too. It was the look. The same one she gave me in the hospital. The same one from the office later too. It was a look that no mother should ever give her child. It was one of contempt but I wasn’t going to let it get to me. She’d made it very clear what she thought of me. I was just going to have to make it clear to her what I thought of her.

“What is it the wrong color?” I asked, feigning a frown.

I started to preen, knowing what it was going to do.

I wanted my mother to finally see. I wanted her to know. Chris was gone. I accepted it and she needed to as well.

“Get that off this instant!” she snapped.

She stormed into the room. She made a grab for me but stopped midway, probably second guessing her actions. After all, she was the one who used to pay for my martial arts lessons. Not that I’d ever hurt her. She was my mother after all, even if at the moment she was the biggest stranger in the world to me. I knew she was going to react badly to all of this but I never in a million years thought she’d treat me with such disdain and pure hatred. When we looked at one another I could tell she no longer saw me as anything but the abomination she thought I was.

I’d been a coward about it before too.

Hiding behind the doctors or even my grandfather.

And Sara.

Letting others fight for me.

No longer.

This was my fight. I needed to make her see that I was her daughter now and there was nothing anyone could do to change that.

“You think everyone at church would like it if I showed up in my underwear?”

“I think everyone in church---God included---would like it if you showed up as the boy you were born to be”

I scoffed. I wondered when God was going to come into this.

Now who was the coward?

“I think God knows I’m no longer a boy, Mom”

It was the wrong thing to say.

“Who are you to speak for God”

“Who are you to speak for him either!”

This time, she did go for me. She grabbed my arm, digging her nails into it. She dragged me out of Sara’s room, through our bathroom and back into mine. I was surprised by the gesture. My mother wasn’t a violent person. Sure she liked to yell and she carried a grudge like no one’s business. But I’d never seen her hit any of us. She and Sara got into some really nice ones, huge screaming matches but neither of them ever touched one another. Grabbing me now, Mom had escalated things to a whole new level. A dangerous threshold that once passed would never be able to be undone.

I think she realized it too.

She let me go as soon as we got into my room. It was a bit of a shove, causing me to stumble in my heels. Thankfully I caught the bed with my knees. After saving myself from disaster, I spun around, ready for a fight. Mom acted as if nothing happened. In fact, she was in my closet, looking through my clothes.

“Where are your good church clothes?”

She was rifling through my wardrobe. My new wardrobe, the one Sara and I had been building for the last week or so. I was proud of those clothes. It was strange the journey life had thrown at me. A few weeks ago, I was Chris, a fairly happy twelve-year-old boy without a care in the world well except for the whole slightly feminine thing. Now I was Christy, a well adjusted and very happy thirteen year old. Sure there were still bumps but I was learning to accept this life now. It was me and I was happy. The only one in the room that apparently wasn’t was my mother.

“I’m wearing my good church clothes,” I said defiantly.

“You’re wearing a dress and you look ridiculous” she snapped.

Had she finally lost her mind?

“What am I suppose to be wearing?”

“That nice button-down shirt and gray slacks you usually wear”

She had lost her mind.

“I can’t wear those anymore”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m a girl”

Mom stopped looking through my closet. She turned around and looked at me. I think she really looked at me. I saw it too, the real her, at least for a moment. The chink in the armor was gone and my mother was staring back at me, at her daughter. It was gone in a flash, though, replaced by whoever it was that she was pretending to be
.
“I know what you think you are but it’s nonsense. You’re my son. I’ve let you have your little game, I let the hospital have their little game but now it’s over. You will find your good church clothes and tomorrow we’ll go to a different doctor. Then the barber shop. This delusion of yours is coming to an end”

“The only delusional one here is you!”

There I said.

“How dare you!”

She swung at me, ready to slap me but this time, I was prepared. I caught her wrist in midswing, surprising both of us I think. My mother wasn’t a strong woman but she always had this presence. Maybe it was because she was so tall and beautiful but she always felt so foreboding to me. Even when we had our disagreements in the past, I never really truly fought with her. She and I used to have a very good relationship. That is when she was actually around. She’d always been a little controlling and I always used to play the good son but something happened in the last few weeks. Not just to me either. She had changed as well too.

The woman I loved---the woman who gave birth to me---was like a stranger now.

A stranger who couldn’t stand to look at me.

A stranger who I suddenly realized I didn’t want to look at either.

“Why you little…” she started but never got to finish.

“No” I snapped. “I’m talking now. I’ve put up with your bullshit for too long. This is the real world lady. Things here work differently than the tiny world you seem to live in all by yourself. I’m not sure what happened to me or why it happened but I’m going to be like this for the rest of my life. No amount of prayer or ignorance or denial is going to change things. Your son is gone. Chris is gone. I couldn’t bring him back even if I wanted too. You and I are just going to have to live with that”

There I said my piece.

I felt pretty good about it too.

The look of shock on Mom’s face was priceless too.

I was the last one left. Now I was in defiance of her will too.

So be it.

“You’re not going to church with me dressed like that,” she said, standing her ground.

“Then have fun sitting by yourself”

I didn’t plan on it but now I didn’t really feel like going anyway. Not if I was going to be with her. My grandfather would understand. I’d call him later and tell him what happened. God would understand too. I’m pretty sure he knew what was going on and he was the forgiving kind. I’d make it up to both of them as soon as I could.

Mom thankfully didn’t wait around to say anymore.

She stormed out of my room like a spoiled child. Me, I sighed and dropped heavily to my bed.

Well, that could have gone better that’s for sure.

%%%%%%%

There was this little community park a few blocks from our house. Mom used to bring me there when I was little. Dad used to as well but of course, I don’t remember that. It was one of those urban parks, you know a large stretch of green in the middle of the neighborhood. In the case of this particular park, it had a path for pedestrians, about a dozen trees, a few picnic benches and of course a playground. It was usually crowded but on this particular Sunday morning, I pretty much had it all to myself. This suited me just fine because I really didn’t want the company.

Trying to distract myself from the November chill and my bitter anger, I watched the few occupants.

There was a mother with a couple of small kids. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-five or so. I’d seen her here a few times before. This park was on the way to school. I passed by here most mornings actually. I never really did pay her much attention but today I couldn’t help but watch her. The kids were young, three or four maybe. Two little boys, I think they were twins because they looked alike. The little family was currently on the swings, the mother taking turns pushing each of her boys. A couple of weeks ago I never would have even stopped to look.

In fact, I usually just passed on by.

Today, though, there was just something about them that kept me transfixed.

Maybe it was my gender flip.

Or maybe I was just too self-absorbed before to care.

Whatever the reason now, I felt something for her.

Kindred spiritedness or something.

“Her name is Rachel,” said a voice as someone sat down on the bench next to me.

No, not someone, the other park occupant.

I knew him as well.

An older man, silver gray hair, expensive looking overcoat. I used to see him all the time too but not during the week on my way to school. Only on the weekends, on my way to and from soccer practice. If I had to guess he was a business man of some type, probably came out here before work or on his lunch break. He was rarely here during the afternoon, though. Every time I saw him he was either reading a newspaper or feeding the pigeons.

“Excuse me?’ I asked.

“The mother over there,” he said, setting his folded paper on the bench next to him. “Her name is Rachel, the two boys are Marcus and Jonathan. Their father is overseas. Every morning she brings them here, during the week her sister is with her and the two of them take turns watching the kids. On Sundays though her sister works so Rachel is all alone”

Wow.

“You must come here a lot to know all that,” I said, trying to be polite.

He nodded. “I like this park. It reminds me of the one I used to take my children too when they were small.”

“My parents used to bring me here too”

“So what brings you here today?” he asked “I usually don’t see you on Sundays. No practice?”

Wow, this guy seems to know it all.

Well, I guess that’s a given. He’s in this park every weekend so I guess he’s bound to notice things.

“Sunday is church usually”

“Not today?”

I shook my head. “I was going to go as you can see,” I said, waving my hand at the dress I was currently wearing. “My mother and I got into a fight.”

“A very determined woman your mother is,” he said, I looked at him like he was a nut which got him to chuckle. “I see her too from time to time. Most people don’t pay attention to the old man with the paper but he tends to see a lot. She sits over at that bench across the way. She drinks her morning coffee then gets in her car and goes to work.”

“I didn’t know that”

“So what was the fight about if you don’t mind me asking?”

I shrugged. “She’s stubborn. She doesn’t want to accept change even when it's staring her in the face. She can see it but she won’t admit it’s there”

“Change is a hard thing, especially for adults,” he said with a heavy sigh. “something happened to me a long time ago and I reacted badly to it I’m afraid. People involved were hurt and even after all these years, there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t regret what I did”

I could see it on his face. There was anguish and remorse there. I felt bad for this man. Sadly I don’t think my mother would ever feel anything like that for me. She was so set in her stupid ways I don’t think she’d ever feel anything for me but hatred and loathing. Definitely never remorse or guilt over her actions toward me. I was just going to have to learn to accept that my mother would never warm up to me or come around. I still had Sara to fall back on. I still have Ken too I think. There was always my grandfather as well. My uncle too. Those were the people I would have to rely on the most now.

I did wonder something, though.

“Did you ever get a chance to make things right?”

I knew the answer before he said it.

I could see it on his face.

“Sadly no”

I wanted to hug him but of course, that was a bit unorthodox.

“That sucks”

He nodded. “Life has a way of doing that I’m afraid. I try to make up for it in other ways now. It might be too late but it helps”

“And it’s not too late for me…”

“I wouldn’t know honestly. I’m just striking up a conversation with a nice young lady on a park bench but if you want to know what I think” I nodded. “Well then, I think perhaps you give your mother some time to deal with this change then you try again. Keep trying if you have to in fact. There might be more fighting ahead for the two of you but I think eventually your mother will come to see that she’s wrong and finally accept things the way they are”

I smiled. Now I really wanted to hug him.

Hell, I felt like paying him a fee too.

I wonder how much you paid the park bench guy for sage advice these days?

So how do you follow up such sage wisdom?

You feed the birds.

That’s what we did. Park Bench Yoda had a paper bag full of bread crumbs and the two of us sat there silently scattering them on the ground until we ran out. We bid me farewell after that, having urgent business matters to attend too. I almost hugged him as I stood up to see him off. He gave me a slight smile then headed on his way. I watched him head across the street to a really nice silver BMW. There was a man in a suit waiting to open the door for him. Instead of getting into the driver’s seat, my Yoda got into the back.

Wow.

I waved goodbye a few moments later as the guard drove off.

As soon as the car was out of sight, I’d made up my mind on how I wanted to proceed with things. No, I’m not just talking about my mother either. Though I would have to deal with her eventually and soon if I wanted things to be better. I was thinking about everything. My former friends, my current friends, school, church, soccer. All of it needed to be addressed. My Park Bench Yoda was right. Change wasn’t something to run away from or ignore. I already knew that of course but now I just needed to convince other people of it too.

I think I knew where to start too.

First, though, I needed to go home and change.

The last thing I wanted was to start all of this in my church dress.

%%%%%%%

“Hey Amber,” I said into my cell as the cab came to a stop.

There was a grunt then a groggy groan of “Hey girl”

Clearly I’d woken up Miss Sunshine. I looked at the clock on my phone, it was only quarter to eleven. I was sure she would have been up now baking muffins for the needy or painting houses for squirrels or something. You know the things that perky girls like her like to do. I guess it kind of surprised me that she was lazy than I used to be on a Sunday.

“So I was thinking,” I said as I paid the cab and shut the door. “Is your offer still legit?”

“What offer?” she asked sleepily.

She really isn’t a morning person apparently.

‘The cheerleader one”

“OMG, yes!” she practically squealed into the phone.

Looks like you just need to say the magic word to wake Little Miss Amber up.

In this case, the word was cheerleader.

Amber went into overdrive after that, taking over our little conversation. She started to lay out the plan as it were. The weekends were devoted to cheer practice of course. The two squads practiced separately on Saturdays but on Sundays, she brought together a little impromptu group of both. It wasn’t a regular thing but whenever she felt that both squads needed a pick me up, she put it together. Both the coaches pretty much let her do her thing apparently. As it was, she really wanted to get me out to start my training. Amber was a keen little Cheer maniac. She started rambling off everything she wanted to accomplish, the ultimate goal was to turn me into a little Cheer Queen.

“You know if you do this, you’re turning me into a weapon for the enemy?”

She laughed. “Consider yourself Natasha Romanoff”

Wait what?

“Ummm…”

Holy crap, who would have thought.

‘Hey, I read comics. Of course, if you tell anyone, I’ll have to kill you”

Amber had Geek Cred.

“You’re full of surprises Amber,” I said with a laugh.

“And don’t you forget it”

I hung up after that.

Amber and her group weren’t going to be at the school for another hour at least. I cursed for getting here so early. I guess it would give me some time to tour the old place. Like I said before, I’d been here before. Of course, that was during games and I didn’t really get to explore the campus all that much. It being a Sunday though, most of it was all locked down. Several of the gates were closed and required key cards. I did find a sympathetic security guard who was nice enough to let me into the courtyard, though.

I found myself a good spot on the bench in front of the large statue.

Good ole Huntington the first or whatever.

Charles was his name.

My grandfather was like Charles the fifth or something now.

I didn’t really know much about it, to be honest.

According to the plaque in front of the bronze statue, the house was built in the 1870s and the statue was erected in the 1950s after the completion of the school.

Glaring up at my ancestor, I tried to see if I could see any family resemblance but of course I couldn’t.

It was a statue after all.

Waiting made me nervous too. I couldn’t help but second guess things too. Here I was about to take a really huge plunge into the world of girl. This morning it was the dress and now it was cheerleader. Two weeks ago, I would have laughed my ass off if anyone told me I’d be here right now. I’m not even sure why I was here, to be honest. I didn’t really want to be a cheerleader truth be told but it was better than nothing at the moment. After all, I knew there was no way I could show my face on the soccer field again. Not that I had anything against girls soccer, far from it in fact but I just didn’t want to feel cheated. I would keep on wondering about “What If’s” and I would just get depressed about the whole thing.

So soccer was gone.

It hurt but it had to be.

Cheerleading might be the right outlet. It wasn’t like I was completely foreign to the concept. Thanks to my martial arts, I was flexible. If it didn’t work out, there were other avenues to explore as well. The girls had suggested gymnastics at the last practice. Cindy had even suggested I try ballet. Then again she was probably just trying to land another student or something. I’m not sure ballet is the right fit for me, though, after all, Becky took ballet too. I’m not sure how she’d react to that.

Hefting my borrowed sports bag, I checked my phone.

Amber said she’d be arriving at noon.

I still had about ten more minutes.

Getting thirsty, I scoured the bag looking for my sports bottle. It was the very same one I used for soccer. I’m not sure how I got it back, though. Last I knew, it was in the locker room with the rest of my stuff. Stuff I left there last weekend after I collapsed and ended up in the hospital. It was the only thing of mine that had lasted from my old sports stuff, though. My practice gear from soccer didn’t exactly fit anymore. So before taking a cab here, I took one to a favorite sporting goods store of mine on the strip where I used to buy my soccer stuff. The woman there was nice enough and helped me find some yoga capris and a stretchy lycra tank top. Apparently it was an outfit that most cheerleaders practiced in.

Looking at both items in my bag made a wave of dread pass over me.

I was not looking forward to wearing either in front of a bunch of strangers.

A part of me definitely wanted to run but the other part…

Yep, Just Roll With It.

“Hey” shouted a familiar voice.

I looked up from rifling through my bag to see Amber come toward me, hefting a sports bag of her own. I was in mid-wave when I noticed she wasn’t alone. I was expecting her to not be alone. I was not, however, expecting it to be my former soccer teammate Marcus. He was walking a few paces behind her, hands in his coat pockets. He clearly didn’t want to be here.

Me, my heart was pounding a mile a minute.

I knew I was going to face these guys eventually but I just wasn’t prepared for it.

Part of me was afraid of the reaction.

I didn’t want another Greg incident.

Especially now, here, without Sam to come to my rescue.

As they got closer, my anxiousness increased.

Marcus was looking right at me now. It was a look of confused recognition. As he got closer, though, I saw it on his face:
He knew.

“Hey,” I said, zipping up the bag.

‘Hey,” he returned.

Marcus was always of very few words, except on the field or the locker room.

“So I told Marc about things…you know the whole medical condition…”

“Look, it’s weird but I’m not freaked. No offense Pixie, but you haven’t always been the biggest, manliest man out there”

I nodded. I wasn’t going to argue with that.

“What I wanted to really say” he continued “is that I’m ok with it. I heard about what happened with Greg yesterday. I want you to know that if he pulls any of that shit again, especially on the field, we’re gonna kick his ass afterward”

Greg, so John must have told him.

I guess that was fair.

Wait…he did he say field?

“Marc, I’m not going back to soccer,” I said, deciding to make my stand. “Its just too weird you know. I’m gonna talk to coach about it tomorrow or some time very soon. I know I can’t play with you guys anymore and frankly, it just wouldn’t feel right being on the girls team you know?”

He nodded. “I figured, I just thought maybe…”

Whatever Marcus was going to say got interrupted by some commotion behind him. We all turned to look and saw several more people coming this way. All girls, of course, all of them carrying the purple Huntington cheer bags. I counted six altogether, two of them I knew. Cindy was leading the pack, following shortly behind was a slender black girl and cute red head with freckles. They all appeared to be about the same age, so I’m guessing they were Varsity. The three girls behind them were my age. Amongst them, of course, was Hannah, my cousin twin. To be honest now, though, there were definitely some differences between us.

I decided really see it until she got closer.

Our hair was a different shade now, hers much darker. She wasn’t as curvy as me either. Not that I’m fat or anything but Hannah has always been this little thin thing. I was also taller than her I noticed. So I guess I really had grown more than I thought. Score one for the combination of my parents’ genes.

With her were two girls talking animatedly with each other. One was blonde, her hair nearly white. She was really pretty and I could tell the guys most of really loved her because the Boob Fairy was very kind. The other girl had long straight jet black hair. She was definitely part Asian, I could see it in her features.

All of them stopped a few feet in front of me.

Hannah and I locked eyes.

She gave me a confused look then her mouth dropped slightly.

I smiled softly.

“Hey cuz,” I said with a playful smirk.

“Holy…” she said as she stepped forward, giving me a big hug.

‘Guys” said Amber, drawing everyone’s attention. “This is Christy Ryder and before you think there’s some kind of freaky cloning experiment conspiracy going on, she’s Hannah’s cousin. Christy is going to be joining us for practice tonight. Cindy and I have decided to turn her into a cheerleader”

There was a quick round of intros.

The black girl was Tanisha, her red-headed teammate was Molly.

Pretty blonde JV girl was Debbie, her dark haired Asian friend was Regan.

After the intros, Amber led us to the locker room. That was my second challenge of the day I realized. I was a little nervous before going in. I mean I used to be a boy. I wasn’t exactly sure I belonged in there. The reassurance though came in the form of Hannah, who grabbed my hand. Together the two of us went inside. I let out a big sigh when the floor didn’t open up and swallow me whole. I was surprised that locker room was pretty much the same as the guys. Well almost anyway. The tiles were a peach color for instance and it didn’t smell. The lockers were a lot cleaner too and all of them still had their doors. The biggest difference was how clean the place felt. The garbage cans weren’t overflowing with crap and there was no lude graffiti all over the walls. Even if this was a prep school, I was willing to bet that the boy’s locker room was a pig sty.

Hannah found me an empty locker next to hers.

I was surprised she was taking everything so well.

I decided to get dressed as fast as possible. I kept my eyes forward as I pulled my shirt over my head as quick as possible. I had briefly gone home after leaving the park this morning if only to change out of the dress and into some normal clothes. Well jeans and t-shirt, normal attire for me that is. In choosing a bra, I decided to just go with a sports bra already considering where I was going. I couldn’t help but notice earlier though that my little booblets were getting bigger. Not huge like Debbie’s but they were definitely growing. Emily did say that there might be some more changes as my body settled. She did say it was common though for girls who were going through puberty which is what I was now. My boobs would grow, my fat would shift and I would get taller.

I definitely liked that last part.

I took a quick peek around the room and couldn’t help but smile when I noticed I was the tallest girl here.

“I was at the hospital you know,” said Hannah as the two of us were just finishing up our dressing, i.e. lacing up our shoes. “You were sleeping at the time so you didn’t notice but Mom brought Claire and me”

I was glad for that.

“Thanks,” I said and meant it.

‘Is it true though?” she asked, lowering her voice. ‘They really have no idea what caused it?”

So apparently Hannah was in on the secret.

I nodded. “One day I was me and then the next I started becoming she”

I almost giggled at the stupid joke.

It was the last joke for the next couple of hours.

I think I mentioned how I thought Amber was a Slave Driver. Well, I was wrong. She was Darth Vader in a sports bra. I have never worked so hard in my life. After leaving the locker room, Amber ran us through the paces. First, it was a couple laps around the track then it was the typical warm up exercises. That was the easy part of it all. The grueling stuff came with the actual cheer moves. I thought I was pretty limber and flexible but I was dead wrong. I didn’t even know a human body could move the way she had us moving. I did learn something about myself, though. I could now do a full split, something I knew I couldn’t do before. After the moves, it was the cheers. There had to be twenty or so of them and she made us do them over and over again. She kept saying she was doing it for my benefit which after the tenth time got everyone---including Hannah---glaring at me.

When we finally hit the showers, I was exhausted that showering with a bunch of other girls didn’t even make me bat an eye.

“You did good today,” said Amber just as I was finishing getting back into my civvies.

I grunted. “You’re a bad person”

She laughed. “I had to make sure you had what it takes and I’m happy to say that you passed. Next Saturday I want you here with the others bright and early. I was telling the coach about you the other day. I know you don’t go to this school but she was really interested in your potential. Who knows, she might be able to put in a good word at Prescott if you’re interested?’

You know what, I actually was.

“Can I think about it?”

“‘No rush,” she said then walked off.

A moment later, Hannah dropped down onto the bench next to me, cell in hand.

“Ok so good news and bad news”

Uh oh.

“The bad first”

Like a band-aid.

“So I just got off the phone with Sara. Your mother is in quite a mood. Your defiance of her this morning really sent her off the deep end. I guess she made a bit of a scene at church then at work later. She’s been suspended. It's only for a few days but Sara thinks it might not be such a smart idea going home right now”

Great, just great.

“So now I’m homeless”

I actually felt like crying.

Hannah smiled big. “Not homeless per se. How about an extended sleepover for a few days?”

I think I was floored.

I’d never actually been to Hannah’s before, well at least not alone.

Mom didn’t like us spending a lot of time with the Huntington’s. Even though Hannah wasn’t technically one, at least in name, she was still in blood. She was also “a part of that world” as mom called it. Mom didn’t mind us socially at get togethers---birthdays, holidays---that type of thing but never outside of that. She was afraid they’d rub off on us and make us snobs. It was kind of funny really because Mark and Tracy---Hannah’s parents---weren’t all that dissimilar to us. Mark was a history professor after all. Tracy was a sales rep. They didn’t make loads of cash or anything. In fact, Mark wasn’t even Great Aunt Gloria’s oldest child. So he wasn’t going to inherit half a fortune.

They were normal people.

Like us.

If anything, Mom was the snob.

Still I couldn’t help but smile at how pissed off Mom was going to be when she found out I was going to be spending a few days over at the Greene’s.

Author’s note: As I’m sure all of you know, comments are life blood to an author. I’m not begging or demanding, but I certainly would appreciate anything you have to say (or ask). It doesn’t have to be long and involved, just give me your reaction to the story. Thanks in advance...EOF



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