Alexa Chapter 14: Families

Alexa Chapter 14: Families

The next few weeks following our trip to Como Park saw our lives settle back into more of a routine. Classes had started backup, which began taking up most of our time. I went to all my classes as Alexa. Alex was becoming more of a memory. While many of my professors and classmates said nothing, there were still a few that found my change disgusting. A heated discussion in a class one day brought a fellow student named Ericka to an open display of hatred. Her downfall in all of this was based on religious reasons. If there is one thing you do not bring up as an argument at a liberal public university, it is religion. Ericka was quickly shot down by the professor as she saw the treatment I was receiving and threatened Ericka with being presented before the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Ericka quickly dropped her protests. If anything was learned from the recent scandal around the football team was the EOAA had a lot of power and Ericka quickly backed off her protests.

One thing that did not change was the lawsuit with the coffee shop over my job. John Lee and his partners were trying to play hardball, but Mr. Hamilton got involved and started leaning on the group pretty heavy. They had retreated and nothing had been heard from them since a couple of days after the first meeting. The silence was killing both me and Jenny, but surprisingly Kate said nothing. When this all started Jenny and I were successful in keeping Katie from beginning a social media blitz. We did see one sign hanging on the student bulletin board at Coffman Union ripping the Java Express for their employment practices. We kind of blew it off, but Jenny and I were curious as to where the information came from. We tried to ask Katie if she knew anything about it, but she denied any involvement. Walking by the shop one day, I noticed that business seemed a little slow. Maybe something was brewing beside my situation and maybe if the coffee shop’s bottom line was affected by a ground swell from someone outside our group,

An event that had nothing to do with the lawsuit started giving me thoughts for a harder push about a week and a half after that first meeting. Katie was once again off on a Friday, so she could go on a date with Wyatt. They had planned to have dinner at our apartment and then head out to a movie. Jenny and I were so happy, we volunteered to help Katie and be long gone before Wyatt showed up. I volunteered to make dinner for them and Jenny helped Katie straighten up and get ready. I made a lasagna and threw it in the oven and prepared a quick salad and gave Katie instructions on what to do. This was a big step for Katie and her nerves were a little frayed. Jenny and I wished her well and went to grab a bite at a nearby soup and salad place and planned on hanging out until about 7:30. We waited long enough and returned to the apartment. What we found there broke our heart. There was Katie slumped over on the couch crying her eyes out. An untouched lasagna sat on the table along with the unused place settings. Instantly Jenny and I flanked Katie.

“What happened?” I asked as Jenny pulled Katie in and I attempted to comfort her from the other side. Through the tears all Katie would say was that they had a fight and Wyatt stormed out saying it was over between the two of them. Katie’s crying became even harder and we both tried to console her and get more information out of her. Katie refused to give anything up. Jenny and I just looked at each other and knew that there was something she wasn’t saying. Jenny and I had begun moving to a closeness in our relationship that words did not need to be spoken, and after a moment Jenny just looked at me again and I excused myself from the situation and went to the kitchen to put away the food and clean up the kitchen

A few minutes later a loud scream from Jenny emanated from the living room “He said what!” By the volume and the sound of anger in the voice I knew what ever Katie had said hit Jenny the wrong way I came around the corner to find Jenny standing looking down at Katie with fire in her eyes. “Well fuck him! That is no reason to stop seeing you!” Katie just sat there still weeping. Jenny looked up to see me standing there and her mood instantly changed. The fire was snuffed out and a look of sympathy washed over Jenny. She waved me over to join her. Katie looked up and saw me standing there, again I was confused as to what was happening. She stood up and hugged me. And not just our typical family hug but one much deeper. I could hear Katie whisper that she was sorry. My confusion became deeper. I just tried to hold Katie because I realized that is what she needed. I looked over at Jenny, who just flashed me a sympathetic smile. I eased Katie back down to the couch and asked her what had happened.

For her part, Katie didn’t let go of me as she tried to gain a little composure. In all the years, I had known Katie, I had never seen her like this, let alone over some guy. She looked up at me with tear streaked eyes and started to explain what happened. “Wyatt called me because he was running late and I thought everything was fine, but when he got here he was mad as hell. He asked me if I was some she-male. I instantly said no. When I asked him where that came from he told me two guys down in the lobby asked him if he was here to see the ‘he-she’ in 310. I tried to tell him about you but he didn’t want to hear. He told me I was just as sick as you. I lost it. And I couldn’t even defend you. Hell of a big sister I turned out to be.” Katie laughed at her own comment. I was in shock, but knew what I had to do. I decided that if nothing was accomplished soon, I was going to have to go public. But now was not the time to discuss it with the two people I care about the most.

“Katie the guy is a prick, if he can’t keep dating you for who your friends are you don’t need him. I should be the one who is sorry for messing this up for you.” I say. It wasn’t how I truly felt but I thought it was the right thing to say.

Katie’s mood changed a little. She looked up at me. “Shut up Alexa.” A smile came across her face. “You were right on the first part, but completely wrong on the second part. You didn’t mess anything up. You are my sister. If some dumb boy can’t accept that, fuck him.” Katie was back. The three of us decided it was a night for a pajama party. Eat ice cream and watch Netflix. We got off the couch and went to change into our pajamas. When we got into our room, Jenny wrapped her arms around me and gave me a kiss. “You know for a girl that was a pretty good act of chivalry out there. I knew there was a reason I love you so much.” Jenny told me as we started to kiss a little more. A warning to knock it off came from the hallway causing Jenny and I to giggle and stop our kissing. Jenny walked over and grabbed our Gopher Jersey’s for the night and a couple of blankets. When we made out to the living room, we found Katie standing there in her very own Marron Gopher hockey jersey.

“I figured if you can’t beat ‘em, join em” Katie said as she modeled her jersey. Jenny and I cheered Katie for her selection. Jenny even told her she looked hot. Jenny went to the freezer and pulled out a couple of pints of ice cream while I got Netflix set up. After a lengthy argument over what to watch, we decided on the Hitchcock classic “Rear Window” and the three of us settled back into the couch to enjoy the movie, with me cuddled up with my very own Grace Kelly.

The next morning Katie was all amped up. “Let’s go do something fun. I don’t want to sit around here all day and I can’t go shopping anymore with you two.” I pointed at Jenny, indicating she was the troublemaker when it came to shopping. Katie just laughed it off. “Alexa, the one bad thing that has happened as you have gone along, you hooked up with a shopaholic. You are just as bad as her.” I tried to fake innocence until I got a ‘love tap’ to the back of the head from my girlfriend.

“You are no less innocent than Charles Manson” Miss Thompson informed me. That began a minor skirmish that led us to the couch where Jenny wound up on top. She raised her arms in triumph. “Still the Couch Wrestling Champion” she exclaimed which led to a giggle fit between the two of us and a groan from our roommate.

“Can’t you two control yourselves for 5 minutes?” an exasperated Katie says “I want to get out of here and do something different.” We begin going through our options. Jenny brings up the idea of going ice skating, to which Katie responds that Jenny just wants to get me into a skater dress. Jenny stuck her tongue out at Katie while I remind the two of them I still don’t have women’s skate’s. It was little too cold out today to go tubing or skiing. Katie says bowling, but Jenny says no. “It will ruin our nails” she says which gets her a pillow tossed in her direction by Katie. I say we could go to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America and go on rides. “No way” Katie says, “I am not going to a Mall with you two, too much temptation.” Jenny and I look at each other and shrug our shoulders. Jenny smiles at me “You tried babe.”

“I got it!” Katie states. “Let’s go roller skating like we used to when we were kids. Remember going to Skate-O-Rama Lex?” I nod and remember all those silly Saturday afternoons in middle school trying to impress girls. I agree we should do it, but it takes a little convincing from Katie and I to get Jenny to go. She tried everything to dodge going. She claimed injury, claimed that we would get hurt and claimed that there wasn’t one around. All those ideas were shot down by my sister and me. Katie even found one that had a free skate beginning in an hour. “It’s Skateville, down in Burnsville. I know where that’s at!” Katie exclaimed but Jenny was still trying to squash the idea. I finally asked her what was up.

“I’ve never roller skated before” Jenny said, blushing and trying not to make eye contact. I instantly pulled her into me. “Don’t worry babe. I’ll teach you.” I say as I give her a kiss on the cheek. She turns and smiles at me and in a whisper, agrees to go. The next half hour is a flurry of activity as the three of us get ready to go. As a bit of a joke and a nod to Jenny’s other wishes, I put on a black pleated skater skirt with a pair a of black tights and a multi-colored striped sweater. Jenny came over and started to feel me up a little, telling me how sexy I looked. At first I gave her a coy little smile as I blushed before slapping her hand away. “You can have all you want latter, but this is for Katie. So, let’s go.” I tell Jen and soon the three of us are on our way ‘South of the River.’

Teaching Jenny to skate was almost as much torture as cooking and just as fun. At first Katie and I had to hold her as we made our way around the polished, oval shaped floor. We only fell a couple of times, each time filled with the three of us giggling away. But I will give Jenny credit she never gave up and it wasn’t long before she was making her way around on her own. That didn’t stop the falling and giggling. We took a little bit of a break and went to get something to drink. As we sat there, the lights dimmed and a couple’s skate was announced. Katie looked at me ‘Do you remember how to waltz?’ She asked.

“I think so” I say, instantly knowing where this was going. I looked over at Jenny who just smiled and said “Go for it.” With that blessing, Katie and I made our way to the rink and began to remember how to waltz on roller skates. It took a little bit, but soon it came back to us. It was fun too and I could see that Katie was having fun. We did receive a few snickers from some of the kids who were there as they watched two girls skating together. I did break it off a little early though and skated over to Jenny and led her out on to the rink and did a classic old couples skate with me skating backwards.

“I am so learning how to do that.” Jenny informed me. When I asked why, she told me. “Two reasons. One, it looks like fun and secondly, I was getting a little jealous of you two.” she said with a bit of grin. “Just remember who you came here with.”

“I will never forget that one. Don’t worry about that. Skating with Katie was fun but you are the one I would rather skate with. 6 times a week and twice on Sundays” I say. Jenny answers we with an “Aww.” And pulls me in to give me a kiss. Every middle school kid in the place giggled and whispered even more, but I didn’t care. And either did Jenny.

It wasn’t long before the session was over and the three of us were tired. As we were walking out of Skateville, Katie announced. That was fun, but I am”

Jenny and I instantly spoke up and finished Katie’s sentence “HUNGRY!” we yelled out. Katie simply replied ‘So, I am. Where should we go?”

“I know a place over by the mall that’s pretty good. Red’s. Great burgers. Let’s go.” I say.

Katie instantly agreed. ‘I remember that place. It is good. Plus, it is by Target. I need to go there.” The three of us pile into Jenny’s car and head a little farther south. Being that it is Noon, we decide to hit Target first before getting something to eat. We head for the Health and Beauty section and get a few every day items that we needed. Jenny excused herself to use the bathroom as Katie and I continue strolling through the aisles. As we get to the deodorant we bump into someone we had not expected. Katie and I stood there, our eyes locked with the older woman standing there. The woman was the first to speak.

“Katie?” the woman stated. Katie answered instantly.

“Mom?” Katie’s mom turned to me.

“Alex?”

“It’s Alexa, Barb.: I inform Katie’s mother and soon we are getting a hug from Katie’s mother.

‘It’s good to see you two. I’ve missed both of you, especially you, Kathleen Elizabeth.” Katie’s mother says, with a tone that notes that Barb is a little upset with her daughter. “You look very nice, um, Alexa. I am kind of surprised. Where’s Jenny?”

‘Right here Barb.” We hear from behind as I see my girlfriend come into sight. She shares a quick hug with Mrs. Fahey and then slides up next to me.

‘So, what have you three been up to today? I can say I am a little surprised to see you three down here.” Barb says.

“We went roller skating!” Katie says. Barb laughs at that. “You three must have been quite a sight.”

‘It was fun.” Jenny says with a huge smile on her face. “I had never been, but these two talked me into it. I want to learn to skate like these two. They were really good on the couple’s skate.” Barb looked a little uneasy at that comment until Katie told her mother to get over it. It had just been Barb and Katie for so many years there was a different relationship between the two than what I or Jenny had with our parents.

“Oh, get over it mom.” Katie says. ‘So, I skated with Alexa. Big deal. You need to relax.”

Barb gives her daughter a look that told her to settle down. “It’s no big deal if you skated Couples with Alexa. I just want to know who lead?” Laughter followed that comment. The laughter grew as Katie informed her mother that she had. My protest went nowhere but the laughter continued. We headed towards the checkout with Barb continuing to ask about the roller skating adventure. As we are getting ready to part ways, Jenny speaks up and invites Barb to join us for lunch. “I haven’t been there in years! Sounds like fun. Katie why don’t you ride over with me.” Barb tells her daughter, which causes Katie to slump a little bit. Of course, I break out into giggles because I knew Katie was going to get a little more personal questioning. Of course my laughter earns me an elbow to the ribs from Katie. Barb sees this and laughs. “At least through all the changes, that hasn’t changed” which causes all of us to laugh again. We head to the cars and make the short drive.

Once inside the old bar/restaurant the four of us look for a table. A few of the older men sitting at the bar, who looked like they would be friends with Dick-head, eye us up as we go to one of the booths along the wall. It was the first time since I had begun transitioning, that I had been eyed up like a piece of meat. The stares that the men gave the four of us gave me the creeps and the three others noticed my discomfort, especially Jenny. As we went to sit down in the booth, I stepped aside to let Jenny sit first. Somethings from my male upbringing were ingrained in my head, but Jenny pushed me into the booth first. I was startled by the reaction of my girlfriend, until I realized exactly what she was doing. She was trying to protect me from the guys at the bar drooling over us. Barb wound up sitting across from me and caught my eye as she noticed my discomfort.

“That’s one bad part of being a woman Alexa. Drunk guys think you are fair game. I know one guy who sits down at the bar and hits on everything that moves.” As soon as the words came out of Barb’s mouth, she gasped. She knew she had revealed too much about something I wasn’t supposed to know about. But I had heard the rumors for years. My father would sit and eye up drunk women and drag them out to his pick up and have some fun. To me it was just another sign of betrayal. I had even once heard that Barb had been one of my father’s conquests. I didn’t really want to know details, but I did want to confirm the rumors.

“You mean Dick-head?” I said to Barb. She instantly began to giggle. It was a nervous giggle, but she saw the humor and disgust in my question.

“I call him Dick-less” Barb said with school girl like giggle that the four of us quickly shared. I tried to communicate with Barb that I didn’t want to know any more and I think she picked up on it because her demeanor quickly relaxed. The waitress came over and took our order. We all ordered cheeseburgers, even Jenny. When the waitress asked me if I want onions I froze for a second. One other vestige from my male life I would never give up was the love of a good Cheeseburger with fried onions. However, the look Jenny gave me changed my order quickly. When I said no, Jenny gave me a quick smile and rubbed my thigh discreetly under the booth. Barb took all of this in and when the waitress left, she looked at Jenny and I and asked, “Do you two talk?” she said with a grin. Before either Jenny or I could answer, Katie answered her mother’s question.”

“Only if they can get off each other for a couple of minutes.” Jenny and I instantly blushed, and while it was embarrassing it was kind of the truth. Barb just shook her head and made a comment about too much information for her. Barb started to fill Katie and I in about events back home. The typical local gossip that drove conversation in small towns that we had not really missed. After we enjoyed our lunch, Barb looked at me funny. I asked her what was up. I had known Barb for a long time, and had always considered her the cool mom. The comments that came out of her mouth were empowering.

“Alexa, as I sit here with you I realized, you haven’t changed. Sure, you are dressing different. I might add you do look very nice, but you are still the same kid who started hanging around my house years ago,”

“Geez, mom, what do you expect.” Katie said in questioning her mother.

“I don’t know, smart ass.” Barb said to her daughter. “Maybe I was expecting some camp over the top drag queen. But you are far from it. You seem like a normal young woman. Unlike your sister over here.” Barb says which earns her a ‘Whatever” from Katie. Barb’s words really meant a lot to me, and let I her know that.

“I just wished my own family would see it was true.” When I said this, Barb told me she had seen my mother at the grocery store the other day. Barb said that my mother couldn’t or wouldn’t look at her. “I am sure she knows I know everything that is going on and she is embarrassed. The question is over what. Hopefully it is her actions towards you and not that piece of crap she calls a husband.” I just nod as I listen to Barb’s words about my family and I begin to feel sad. Jenny can see this and grabs my hand and gives me the sympathetic look that always seems to help me. Barb also senses that something is amiss, so she announces that she should get going.

After paying the bill, we head out to the parking lot where we take leave of Barb. She gives Jenny a quick hug and then calls me over. “Alexa, I didn’t mean to make you feel bad back there. I truly didn’t. If I would have had another child, I would hope they would be just like you. I would be proud to call you my daughter.” All of us get a little teary eyed over Barb’s comments. Katie walks up and Barb takes both of our hands and just smiles at the two of us before she motions Jenny to join in. “My three daughters. You three take care of each other. I will see you guys soon.” Barb says as she exchanges a long hug with Katie and quickly ducks into her car. She turns back and waves at us and I can see a little tear in the corner of her eye as she pulls out of the parking lot. The three of us just stood there holding each other and waving. “Well, I guess mom likes you.” Katie said trying to hold back her own tears. The two of us turn and give each other a hug. It was at the point I realized once again how truly lucky I was. I thank Katie again for being the best big sister in the world. Katie breaks the hug and turns away, trying to hide the tears I could feel on my cheek just a second before. “Yeah, yeah.” Katie says. I turn over and look at Jenny, who is a blubbering mess at that point. Jenny however is not one to shy away from those feelings and pulls me in for a long hug. We release each other and once again pull Katie in, who begins crying a little more earnestly and openly. I realize I don’t need Dick and Char or Adam and Danny at that point. My family is with me here right now.

The next few days follow back into the normal pattern. Katie seemed to be getting over the loss of Wyatt and Jenny and I were still playing our silly little games that drove Katie nuts, but now Katie seemed a little more accepting of them, though she would at times get irritated when we were getting a little ‘too Jexy’ for her liking. It was kind of good to get back into the routine of school, it took away a lot of looking for things to keep me occupied. And it was nice not having to go to work as well, even though nothing had been agreed upon yet between the lawyers. As I got a little lower on funds, Jenny and I worked out a deal for me to borrow money. This became a semi major argument between us. Jenny kept saying it wasn’t a big deal, but as I had told her several times, it was a pride thing for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate her help, it was I wanted to do it on my own. Jenny just thought that was crazy and voiced that thought rather forcefully. It wasn’t until Katie interjected herself into the situation that Jenny could agree upon a payment plan. I did feel bad I had gone against Jenny on this and I tried to make it up to her.

One day when she came home from class late, Jenny found me standing by the door with a stereotypical 50’s housewife dress on, complete with crinolines. I was holding a glass of wine for her. “Good evening dear” I said in the sappiest voice I could muster, “How was your day?” I leaned in and gave the laughing girl a kiss on the cheek. Staying in character “dinner will be ready shortly. Why don’t you go relax and watch the news or something?” With that, I turned and went into the kitchen, turning around once to watch Jenny try and catch her breath. I hung out in the kitchen for a minute and brought a small plate of Hors d’oeuvres out and placed them on the coffee table in front of her. Keeping up the act I looked at Jenny and said “I thought you might like something to nibble on while you wait.” That was enough for Jenny to pull me down to the couch with her. Looking up at Jenny, “I’m sorry for being such a bitch about the money thing.” Jenny just pulled me in closer and gave me a hug.

“I’m sorry too babe. Sometimes I have to remember I can’t have everything my way.” And soon we were kissing each other deeply, making up for the argument over the last few days. “I do like the outfit June Cleaver! Where did you find that?” I explained to Jenny how I had gone back to Ragstock on a mission. “These crinolines though are the worst! I just wanted you to know how sorry I was.” Looking down at my costume I started laughing, “I guess you are rubbing off on me.” Jenny laughed too, the laughing stopped when I told her she had to wear it next. After we ate, I wanted to change out of the silly costume, but Jenny wouldn’t let me. Soon we were back in our room where the thought of studying was soon forgotten.

The following day, I think Jenny came home expecting me to be in the same outfit from the night before. I happened to be by the door when she came in and the look of disappointment that spread across her face did make me feel a little bad, but I simply motioned to the coach to where Katie was sitting Jenny understood why there was no ‘dress-up’ tonight. Katie just happened to turn around at the very moment that Jenny’s smile faded. “Sorry Jenny, no dress up games tonight for you two.”

“We don’t play games every night” Jenny tried to say defensively. ‘Just when you’re not home” Which made me think for a second, Jenny’s comment was too far from the truth. We did do something a little crazy when Katie wasn’t around. Katie just shook her head and made a vomiting noise over Jenny’s comment which got Jenny and I laughing. Jenny gave me a big kiss anyway, but I could tell there was a reason other than the usual for the kiss. My radar instantly went active because I knew something was up. Jenny looked at me coyly as we walked to the dining area. “So, what are you doing Saturday night?” Jenny’s tone was a giveaway that she needed me for something. I wouldn’t say I got defensive, maybe guarded was the right word. I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be a fun night come Saturday.

“Why? I replied with a drawn-out answer trying to mimic Jenny.

“Well, we are going to my parents for dinner. They invited me, but I am dragging you along. Is that OK?” I knew I couldn’t say no, but I also wasn’t going to just give in. If I had learned one thing from Grandma Mary, and from my own dealings with Jenny, teasing her is a lot of fun.

‘Oh, darn I can’t” I say which earns me a frown from Jenny. ‘I gotta see that guy about that thing. Geez I wish I could but you know I gotta see that guy.”

My smart alek comment earns a playful punch and a sarcastic “Ha Ha” from Jenny. “Seriously, I know you don’t want to go but I need you there. I don’t want to face Marty and Marilyn alone. Is it OK?” The hug I gave Jenny pretty much answered the questions. It did make me a little nervous though and the question was asked immediately.

“AM I going as me or him?”

“You are going as Alexa.” Was the answer I received. It was as if there would be no questions asked. I asked her if she was sure. “You are Alexa, not Alex. You wear a dress or a skirt or whatever you want. I will not have you hiding yourself from my parents. This is who you are!”

I felt better about that. I really didn’t want to go as Alex. While I didn’t question Jenny’s love for me or her Grandmother’s acceptance of me, I was nervous about going to her parents. I had only met them twice, and both times it was as Alex. The first time was at Thanksgiving, and the second time had been a brief get together with them one evening before they went to a play. While they were aware of the changes, I still wanted to make a good impression on them. There was little problem I had, and I knew the perfect person to help. I looked at Jenny and bashfully said “I don’t have anything to wear.” The giggles from Jenny were expected. So was the groan from the couch.

‘God, you two, is there ever not an excuse for you two to go shopping.” Katie stood up and looked at us. Katie was taking on the big sister role and admonishes Jenny and me. “The two of you have two closets full of clothes, plus those three racks sitting in Jenny’s room. No shopping.”

I try the little girl pout that Jenny uses on me, on Katie. She just laughed at me as Jenny giggles away. "Nice try sis. It may work on blondie over there, but it doesn’t work on me.” Jenny gives me a gentle hug. “You tried babe. And the pout is getting better. Maybe we can sneak out when she is working Friday night” This earned another reprimand from Katie, and her claiming she was going to take our credit cards. Finally, she gave in and laughed. “I will never be able to control you two, will I?” She asked. We just proudly shook our heads with gigantic smiles on or faces.

The rest of the evening went the typical way. All three of us studying, with Jenny and I taking the occasional break. It was a little before 10:00 PM when I finally decided I had enough of Colonial and Post-Colonial Literary discourse. It was some of the most mind numbing stuff I had ever read, but I had chosen the class, so I couldn’t complain too much. Jenny had removed herself from the living room area about an hour previously as she tried to read about Applied Social Psychology and felt I was too much of a distraction. Katie had decided to call it a night, as she had an 8 AM class. I kicked back on the couch to watch the news, mostly just to watch the weather to hear about the winter storm that was supposedly headed our way. I watched the first few stories that were typical of the news. A murder in North Minneapolis, the ongoing battles between the state legislature and the governor, a national story about the new President and his cabinet nominations and a few other national stories. It was as they were going to the commercial break that got my attention. The channel was teasing a story about a college business that was under fire. On the screen was a picture of Java Express!

“Jenny! Katie! Get out here NOW!” I scream as I can begin to feel a slight tremble in my body. Jenny comes running out and asks what was going on with Katie close behind her with a toothbrush hanging out of her mouth. I couldn’t speak and just pointed at the TV. I was shaking even harder now as I awaited my fate on the Channel 5 news. When the broadcast came back the two anchors sat there with a serious look “College campuses are known to be hot beds for liberal thought, and no place has had as liberal reputation as or own University of Minnesota” Valerie Collins stated with her fake smile. Her co-anchor Tom Rose took over at that point “But one business that had always advertised itself as a Pro-LGBT business has recently come under fire for its employment practices. Our own Megan Walker did some digging and has come up with a startling story. Megan”

I sat there shaking even more as the blonde reporter began her report. “That’s right Tom. Over the past few weeks there has been a growing buzz around Dinkytown over Java Express and their employment practices. We have heard stories over the refusal to hire gay and lesbian employees, harassment of their employees who are gay and even the firing of an employee who is the process of transitioning from a man to woman.” Jenny let out a loud gasp, but interestingly Katie just stood there. “We interviewed two former employees who discussed the workplace environment.” The next shot was of a guy I knew who had worked over at the location in Stadium Village. He talked about how he was gay and he talked about the harassment, not only from co-workers but also from management. A shot of John Lee was shown on the screen. I looked at Jenny in shock. She had a similar expression, but not Katie. I leaned into Jenny as fear started to course through me as another employee, this one female who I did not recognize told her story. When her brief interview was over, they went back to the reporter who then held up a stack of papers. “After some research, we dug up a recently filled federal lawsuit by an unnamed employee who is the process of transitioning from a man to a woman. It lists the grievances against Java Express and asks for damages of nearly one million dollars. We contacted the lawyer for the plaintiff, who did not want to go on TV, and we will not name the plaintiff.” The fear subsided, a little in me at that comment. “When we contacted the ownership group for Java Express they indicated they would not discuss any pending litigation. Meanwhile form what we understand there is a growing movement to boycott all six Java Express locations. This is a story we will be keeping an eye. Valerie back to you.”

Nothing was said. Nothing need to be said by anyone. I slumped back into Jenny’s arms. It was out. The mini bubble I had lived in for the last few weeks had been burst. It wouldn’t take long for people to figure out who they were talking about. I buried my head deeper into Jenny and began to weep. Not that the truth was out there, but that I was now exposing Jenny and Katie to ridicule and mockery. Again, Katie seemed non-pulsed by the story and left to finish brushing her teeth. I sat up and looked at Jenny. “It’s out. Are you ready for this?” I asked my girlfriend. While I had seen her in action and was convinced of her love for me, this was a whole new level of scrutiny we would have to go through. Jenny gently placed her hands on either side of my face and looked me directly in the eyes.

“I’m ready. I am with you 110%. Are you ready?” I nodded as best I could as I looked into Jenny’s eyes. There was sympathy but something else, strength. It made me feel better. Jenny stood up and reached out for my hand. We changed and got ready for bed. We held each other close as we tried to drift off. I just starred at ceiling wondering what the world would be like the awaited me in the morning. I also began wondering about Katie. She barely reacted to the story. As mad as she had been over the whole incident as any of us, but when the story ran she just stood there and starred. Why?

I was awoken as Jenny’s alarm went off at 7:00 AM. While I had slept, I did not feel rested. I gently pushed Jenny to get her to shut off her phone as I tried to get out of bed. She pulled me back into bed. “Don’t go away just yet” she whispered and pulled me close. The pillar of strength I was, I tumbled back down. “Don’t worry about today” she said. “It might be tough out there, but hold your head high. Prove to any doubters who you are. You are a beautiful confident woman. Remember that, OK?” I agreed with her and she spoke again. “And remember I love you and I am at your side no matter what.” The smile that exuded her love was almost magical. I gave her a long deep kiss, but told her I had to get ready and I headed to the bathroom. A few minutes later Jenny was pushing past me and getting into the shower. I headed out to the kitchen to get some coffee going, but found that I had been beaten to the task by Katie, who was seated at the table eating a bowl of cereal. Grabbing a mug, I sat down at the table with her.

‘You OK?” she asked me. I nodded and attempted to apologize to her for anything that may happen today. She dropped her spoon in her bowl and just stared at me. "What’s the name Jenny uses when you are being a ditz? Aly? Well Aly, you don’t have to apologize for anything. You are family. As the line goes, ‘Forget about me. I love you. That’s Family.’ And that’s what you are. We will all get through this. Who knows, this might speed things up.” It was then that I put two and two together.

“You set this up, didn’t you?” I asked my sister. She didn’t say anything and picked up her bowl and put it in the sink. I knew she did it, and she knew I knew she had. Katie just smiled and said “I don’t know what you are talking about. Gotta go, got a class.” And with that Katie was out the door. I was pissed! Katie had started all of this. Why was she going behind my back? I didn’t want all this! I just wanted it settled and left alone. Then it hit me. Katie wanted it over and was trying to help. She was trying to push Java Express’ hand. I remember we had to talk her into taking down the Tweet. I grabbed my phone and went to Katie’s profile. I noticed that a couple of her friends from her classes had started posting tweets earlier in the week ripping Java Express. I then noticed several of them had been re-Tweeted. Damn her I thought. But slowly a smile came across my face. Jenny came out and saw me sitting there, smiling and staring at the door.

‘What’s got you so happy?”

“Katie. She started the whole thing.” I looked up at Jenny. “Glad she is on our side” I said.

The day did prove to be a little crazy, but not as bad as I thought it may be. I talked with Paul Edwards to check if he had seen the report and he told me he had. He also told me that a meeting was set for Monday morning. I was not needed, but that this could all be over soon. I thanked him and went about my day. I was approached by a reporter from the Minnesota Daily, the student newspaper, to see if he could get a comment from me about the news story. I declined of course and but then was curious if I should say anything. When I got home, I waited for Jenny to ask her if she had any thoughts. She told me it was my call, but she thought it may be a good idea, but I should talk to my lawyer and Debbie. I called Debbie and explained what had happened. She seemed a little weary of me coming out so publicly. I stated that it would give me some control of it rather than having it thrown out there with no control over it. Once again Debbie voiced her concerns over it, but saw my logic. She asked if I wanted her there and I told her I would be fine, I had Jenny. That earned me a chuckle from my counselor. “You seem on top of it Alexa. Just watch out OK? I will have my phone with me at all times. If you need ANYTHING call me immediately.” I thanked Debbie for her concern and that I would call her if needed.

I next called Mr. Edwards and told him about the Daily reporter approaching me. He seemed encouraged by the thought of going public, and not just with the student newspaper. He said if really wanted to make some waves, I should not only sit down with the Daily, but maybe someone from the StarTribune. He said he would set it up and call me back. After I hung up with him, I asked Jenny what she thought about going even more public. She seemed OK with it, enough that she asked what time we were meeting with them. It wasn’t long before I heard back from Paul who had set up a meeting for 9:00 Saturday morning. I told him we would be there, which caused Jenny to smile. I thanked him again and went about with the rest of the day. The one last memorable event of the day is when I met up with Katie. I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I whispered in her ear ‘Thanks, but you do know that paybacks are a bitch.” She just smiled and asked again what I was talking about. Her involvement was never mentioned again.

When Saturday rolled around, I was a nervous wreck. I had a busy day ahead of me. Not only was I going to meet with the reporters, but I was also going to be meeting my girlfriend’s parents for the first time as Alexa. After taking my shower I was nervously digging through our many closets looking for the right thing to wear. I wanted to look good for this. Paul had called yesterday and said he had invited Channel 5 to come as well. So not only would I be meeting with two newspaper reporters, I was going to be on TV as well! The nerves must have been showing because Jenny had me sit down and told me to relax, but I couldn’t. She assured me we would find something and that I shouldn’t worry about the interview, she was going to be there the whole time. After much searching and tossing, I settled on a black A-Line skirt and matched it with a silk long sleeved green silk blouse with black flowers printed on it. I finished it off with black tights and black ankle boots. Jenny told me I looked sexy and it put me into s spin again and I started to dig through the closets again. Jenny stopped me, laughing away. “You have truly become a woman. Relax. You look great. It will look fine. You have to remember I am biased in how you look.” I was shooed away and I went and sat and waited nervously for Jenny to appear. When she did she was wearing a black quilted leather skirt matched with a black crew neck sweater, opaque black nylons and knee length boots. She walked over to me and gave me another light kiss and told me to turn around and I felt her fasten something around my neck. I looked down and saw she had attached my ‘AJ’ necklace around my neck. I turned and noticed she was wearing hers as well. ‘Now we’re ready. Grab you purse and let’s go.”

Paul greeted us in the lobby of Hamilton, Larson and Rosburg and started leading us back to the conference room. I didn’t get very far when I began to hyperventilate. A concerned look came over Jenny’s face as she led me over to one of the posh chairs in the lobby. She looked at me and began talking to me. “It’s OK Lex, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I am sure they would understand.” I just sat there staring into Jenny’s eyes. Mr. Edwards returned with a bottle of water and asked if I was ready. Surprisingly, fire came to Jenny’s eyes as she turned and looked at our attorney. She practically growled at him ‘Will you give her a second! She is about to come out to the whole f-ing world!” I think Jenny realized how she was acting and apologized. “I’m sorry, it’s just that this is a HUGE step for her. Please just give us a minute OK?” I slowly get me breathing under control, aided by the loving touch and eyes of my roommate, lover but most importantly my soul mate. That was a new one I thought to myself, but it was the truth. Just thinking about something else allowed me to regain my composure a bit. A clearly docile Paul led us back to the conference room, apologizing the whole time.

When the three of us entered the large conference room overlooking downtown, not only were the three reporters there, but they were being entertained by Mr. Larson! Jenny and I turned and looked at each other and giggled. Jenny leaned into me and whispered “Do you think Grandma called him and told him he had to be here?” That shared joke helped me relax a little more. Surprisingly, Mr. Larson began introducing me and Jenny. We shook hands with Matt Johnson form the Daily, Sydney Hartly for the StarTribune as well as Megan Walker form Channel 5. I tried to lighten the mood a little by asking Sydney if she ever got grief over her name. She laughed and said all the time. Sid Hartman was a legendary sports columnist for the StarTribune who had been around forever and the closeness of the names had to be difficult. It did help get the interview off on the right foot. Soon I was being asked more questions I could have ever imagined about myself. I relayed the events that had happened and what I thought about it. I told them about my transition and told them how lucky I was to have such great support from Jenny and our roommate Katie. Jenny was also asked some questions about our relationship and she proudly answered all questions and once again expressed her love and support for me. Of course, there were questions about how my family was handling my transition and I did not hold back. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought maybe this would guilt my father into accepting me, but I doubted it. Finally, I was interviewed in front of the camera where most of the same questions were asked and they even had a few questions on camera with Jenny and me. After about two hours, we were finished. Matt told us the Daily article would run on Monday, and asked if he could set up a follow up interview after the lawsuit was settled and we agreed and exchanged numbers. Sydney informed us the article would run in the Sunday paper and thanked us again. Megan told us the plan was to run the story tomorrow night on the 10:00 news. She handed us her business card and told us if we had any concerns to give her a call.

As we left, both Jenny and I felt good about how things had gone. The nerves were now slowly shifting to the evening’s dinner with her parents. We headed home where we filled Katie in on the interviews and when we would see the television reports and articles. The three of us speculated as to what the reaction of various parties would be. Chief amongst them was the partners of Java Express. We were all convinced that they would settle but we all differed on the amount. Jenny shot for the highest at $100,000 while I went low at around $50,000. Katie split the difference. We were kind of amazed that it would be that much. We also discussed how other students would react. Brandon and Steve would probably be pissed. Even though we didn’t name them specifically, both Jenny and I talked about how some of the residents of our apartment building had been harassing us a bit. Lastly the parents’ reaction came up. I couldn’t speak as to how my mother would react, but I knew Dick would go ballistic. How ballistic was the question. We knew Barb would be fine with everything. Jenny’s parents were a mystery. We decided we would give them a heads up that night.

It wasn’t that long before Jenny and I decided we would head out to Lake Minnetonka for the dinner with her parents. I said I wanted to change, but Jenny wouldn’t let me. I wanted to wear something a little more conservative but Jenny told me I was fine. “Let them see you who you truly are, not some covered up version.” I reluctantly agreed and soon we are out the door, wishing Katie a good night at work and letting her know we would see her later. The drive has always seemed like a trip into another world. As soon as your turn off Highway 12, you go from typical suburbia to a land focused around the Lake. All kinds of homes dot the lake shore, older homes that were probably once summer cabins, shiny new McMansions squeezed on to postage stamp sized lots and glorious older homes. Further along as you get closer to Thompson’s, you begin to see the old-school mansions of the Dayton’s and Pillsbury’s and finally the Thompsons. The house looked like a French chateau sitting along the shores of the lake. The circular drive in front was large enough to allow plenty of parking and the wings of each side gave the Center common area lots of scale. Jenny did not go to the front door, instead parked her car in the garage, like she probably has several times in her life. As we entered, rather than proceed into the main house, she took a quick right and led me into the kitchen. I had noticed this was her preferred way of entering the house, rather than through the front door. When I had mentioned this to Katie in the past, she was shocked. “The only time we went through the kitchen, was the last time I was there right before Halloween.” Katie told me. I thought about it a bit and it was just another little change I had seen in Jenny over the last few months. Other than the obvious relationship things, Jenny had become more ‘normal’ more playful. She was no longer the snooty, rich girl I had met so long ago.

Jenny said a quick hi to the cook, Martha, and tried to check out what was for dinner before she was shooed out of the kitchen by the family cook. Jenny just giggled and led me out into the dining room. We stopped and she took a deep breath. Looking my way, she said “Relax. Just be yourself remember I am here with you. But do me one favor” I looked at her and told her of course, anything. “Keep an eye an eye on me. My mother has been particularly bitchy since Christmas. I might wind up getting into it with her.” I rubbed her back and told her not to worry. that I was always there for her. We exchange a quick hug before we make our way into the large sitting room. We find Jenny’s day standing there with a drink in his hand looking out at the lake. All the lights, except for two lamps near a couch are off, and those two lights are rather dim. Much of the light came from the roaring fire in the fire place. Jenny’s father turned as we came into the room. “Jenny, Alexa please come have a drink.” It was a warmer greeting than I had expected, but I could see that Mr. Thompson was attempting to put up a front. He walked over to a serving cart littered with a couple of bottles. Jenny went over and gave her father a quick kiss “Hi daddy. Where’s mom?” Jenny asked her father as I followed closely behind shaking a little as I waited for a comment from Mr. Thompson, but nothing was said. Mr. Thompson asked us what we wanted and poured us each the requested Vodka with a twist. As he handed us each our drinks, I detected a sadness in his eyes, not unlike the one I used to see in my girlfriend’s.

Mr. Thompson released a long sigh. “Your mother is, ah, still getting dressed. She will be down in a moment.” Mr. Thompson led us over to the seating area where Jenny and I sat down on the couch and Mr. Thompson took a seat in adjacent chair. There was a moment of silence where Mr. Thompson just kind of stared off for a moment. I looked again at his eyes and not only was there sadness there, but also a look of resignation. He was the first to speak, “So, Jenny how is school?” The forced nature covered the fact that he had other things on his mind. Jenny put on the upbeat persona and answered that it was going fine, before silence once again feel on the room. I sat there staring into my drink, trying to avoid any eye contact with Jenny’s father. Jenny asked her dad about how work was. He went on for a moment into how he had been busy and was getting ready to head to London in the next few days. Once again silence took over the room. I looked up to see Mr. Thompson staring into his drink. Deciding that someone had to lighten the mood I spoke up.

“So, Mr. Thompson,” I began “who do you think is more nervous right now, you or me?” That brought a chuckle from him and the mood seemed to lighten a little. “I’m not sure Alexa and please call me Marty. I will admit I am extremely nervous. There are so many things I want to ask you, both of you I don’t know where to begin. I don’t think I have been this nervous since I told my parents I didn’t want to go to Law School.” Mr. Thompson admitted in a moment of reflection.

“I never had the privilege of meeting your father, but I have meet your mother. I could see how that could be nerve wracking.” I said with a smile. Mr. Thompson just looked at me with a grin on his face, he seemed to become more relaxed as the smile broadened. Jenny turned and looked at me with a big smile acknowledging that I was doing well. Mr. Thompson sat back and began speaking. “My mother is a unique individual that is certain.” He looked directly at Jenny as he spoke the next sentence. ‘I understand she was able to help you with the lawsuit issue. She can be a feisty one.” Jenny knew exactly what her father was saying and she looked down. “Sorry daddy. But Lex needed help. I didn’t know how you would react.”

Mr. Thompson sat silently for another moment, as if to formulate the right thing to say. Unfortunately, he was never able to respond, because from behind us there was a commotion as if someone had run into something. From out of an archway appeared Jenny’s mother who was holding a Martini glass and followed by a young woman. “Jennifer my baby” Mrs. Thompson said with slurred speech. I happened to look over at Marty who had put his head into his hands at the appearance of his wife. The woman was obviously inebriated. She finished of the last half of her drink and handed it to the young woman. ‘Make me another Denise” she instructed before giving Jenny a fake hug and air kiss. As the two women broke the embrace, Mrs. Thompson looked at me with minimal acknowledgement, “Alexa” she slurred at me as the fake smile left her face. Jenny turned towards me with sadness in her eyes over her mother. Denise soon appeared with another drink for Marilyn and the three of us sat down on the couch. Marilyn babbled on over the gossip of the elite and how much she missed Florida. Jenny and I had the same reaction as we watched Mrs. Thompson. We placed our drinks on the table, not to be touched. Mr. Thompson at one point excused himself, and by his reaction as he got up, I could tell he was not happy. I guess I wouldn’t either if my spouse was acting the way she was.

As we sat there, just Jenny, her mother and I, I could feel that disapproval from Mrs. Thompson. Every time I said something or Jenny shared something that involved the two of us, a look of disdain came across Mrs. Thompson’s face. She obviously did not care for my presence. I knew I needed to get out of there, even for a moment. I stood and asked Jenny where the powder room was. Jenny saw this as an opportunity to get away from her mother as well. I heard Mrs. Thompson mumble something as Jenny led me away. Thankfully the powder room was secluded from the larger room. Jenny quickly pulled me into her arms and hugged me “I’m so sorry Lex. I had no idea she would be like this. Are you OK?” I looked at my girlfriend, who I think thought I would be an emotional mess. Instead she found me in a very angry, but neutral stance. If anything, the last month has taught me, it was to ignore the hatters. I looked my girlfriend in the eye “I don’t think your mother approves of me, but screw her. Like you told me the other day, this is who I am. I just needed to get away before I caused an incident.” Jenny looked at me like a proud parent and pulled me in for another hug. I excused myself and ducked in to the powder room. To my surprise, Jenny was there waiting for me. “It’s time we show them” was all she said. Taking my hand, she led me back to the living room where Mr. Thompson was standing looking down on his wife, his face red as if the two had been arguing. He straightened himself up and gave us a smile. Jenny’s eyes and mine both followed his as he looked down at Jenny and I holding hands. He cleared his throat in an act of confusion. Jenny led me again to the couch where we sat down, still holding hands. Mrs. Thompson said nothing, but the look of disgust on her face was quite evident. Before anything could be said, it was announced that dinner was served. Mr. Thompson helped his wife up off the couch. She wiggled free saying she could do it herself and marched off to the dining room. The three of us stood there for a moment before following.

The meal was unremarkable, but the conversations was not. I kept wondering what Mrs. Thompson was aware of. She was aware of when I made a comment to Marty about the Citrus business he was discussing, saying how I had always wanted to go to an orange grove. Mrs. Thompson quickly corrected me, ‘That is Mr. Thompson. Where did you get to be so informal?” Jenny looked over at her father who shook Jenny of with his eyes. I just looked down at my plate and attempted not to say anything else. Mrs. Thompson tried to quiz Jenny about school and her other activities. Jenny told her how we had been all over. Visiting Como Park, tubing at Hyland and going roller skating. I could tell by Mrs. Thompson reaction she didn’t think very highly of that, making some comment under her breath. Jenny than got excited as she told her mother about me teaching her to cook. “It’s a lot of fun. I can’t believe I never learned.” Mrs. Thompson emotions were no longer in check. She dropped her fork on her plate and looked at Jenny “We have people to cook.” Turning to me she could barely control herself. ‘If you want to be a common housewife fine, but leave my daughter out of this.” Her aloofness shone right through her drunkenness.

Jenny instantly jumped to my defense. “Why do you treat my girlfriend that way! She has been nothing but polite, but you have to go out of your way to demean her. I think you owe Alexa an apology.”

The sneer that came across Marilyn’s face encapsulated her thoughts. “I don’t owe her anything. He or she or whatever this is, is beneath me. I don’t even understand why it is here. I want this thing out of my house now.” Jenny was now steaming mad and surprisingly so was Martin. Jenny went on the offensive immediately. ‘Fine then mother. We will be leaving, and until you can learn to accept that I love Alexa I do not want to hear from you again.” Surprisingly Marty backed up his daughter. Marilyn was in shock at her husband and daughter. As if they had the nerve to question her views.

The two of them continued to stare her down. Abruptly Marilyn stood up. “I do not have time for this. I will not be part of this charade.” With that she grabbed her glass of wine and downed it in one long swig. She looked at the three of us gave a snort of disgust and marched out of the room. She wasn’t gone a second when we heard her yelling for Denise and another drink. Jenny flashed me the look of sympathy, a look that had become so common place that I barely noticed it half the time. It however was the comment form Marty that shocked me. “Alexa I would like to apologize for my wife. But to be honest I have no control over that woman. Please accept my apology for this family at least.” I nodded but still did not say anything. I was hurt but I was done shedding tear because someone couldn’t accept me. Mr. Thompson looked over at his daughter as she at first just stared at me and then slowly started to smile. I think that Jenny knew I had turned a corner. The smile soon grew larger and I could see a sense of pride come across her face.

Marty for his part just slumped back in his chair and took on the look of a defeated man. He rested his forehead in his hand for moment. Jenny spoke up, “Daddy, what is her problem? She has been worse than normal the last few months. Has it been the same for you?” Jenny waited for an answer from the distinguished gentleman who looked like he had just lost everything. ‘I don’t know princess. It has been going on longer than that. She has started drinking more. She is never around. She has even stopped going to some of her charity functions. I can’t control her anymore. That is one of the reasons I wanted you to come tonight. I wanted you to see what is going on.” Then looking over at me with a slight smile on his face “And don’t take this the wrong way Alexa. But your presence here didn’t help.” I smiled at him because I knew what he meant. “I have been doing a lot thinking Jenny and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I am thinking of divorcing your mother.” Jenny sat there for a second.

“Are you sure daddy?” Can’t you do something about it?” Jenny finally asked her father.

“I don’t think so princess. The only thing that is stopping me is what the settlement will be. I think I am going to start looking for a lawyer. I just can’t take it anymore and some of her actions are getting embarrassing. After you left you left at Thanksgiving she and Maureen Stewart had a little tiff. Both were drunk, but Frank Sampson told me this wasn’t their first run in. They had gotten into at the club a few weeks before. I started asking around and I guess she had been seen intoxicated several times and I have heard rumors about , about her,infidelities..” Mr. Thompson stopped speaking. The implication he was making was quite clear. Mrs. Thompson had been fooling around on him. Jenny got up from her seat and put her arm around her father. Mr. Thompson looked at his daughter with a warm smile and patter her on the forearm. He motioned Jenny to move back to her seat. Jenny just pulled her chair over closer to him, attempting to comfort him. Mr. Thompson gave a ’manly’ snort, as if trying to fight back tears. I giggled a little at it and he busted me. I blushed as he smiled at me. Attempting to change the subject, he began speaking again.

‘So, Alexa, your teaching my daughter how to cook? That must be an adventure?” I laughed out loud at that and Jenny’s sympathy for her father was broken for a moment as she reached for her napkin and threw it across threw table at me. I giggled and agreed with Mr. Thompson. He continued looking down at Jenny. “I also heard that your grandmother busted you cooking. I bet she said something like ‘about time you learned’ or something like that.” It was Jenny’s turn to laugh and agree with her father. The rest of our short time turned onto a very pleasant evening, he even gave us a little advice on the lawsuit. It was a very comfortable evening. As we were getting ready to leave, Mr. Thompson looked at me and started speaking. “Alexa, I will admit I do not understand all of this. It is very confusing to an old-timer like me.” The comment earned a snort of laughter from Jenny who was quickly admonished. “I don’t understand it. What made you want to become a woman?” Then looking at Jenny “And I don’t understand you being with him, her. Have you always been a lesbian? Was Trey just a cover? I just don’t understand all this.”

“Daddy, I am not, nor have I ever considered myself a lesbian. I hate those labels. All they are is psychological ways to compartmentalize our prejudices. It’s just that I found someone and at the same time they began a journey of discovery. A discovery that led them to find out who they really are and” Jenny paused and looked at me flashing her million watt smile “and being with her has made me a happier person. A better person. I was not a happy person and I hadn’t been for a long time. I love the girl sitting across from me with all my heart, so you will have to deal with it. And one other thing, don’t ever bring up that bastard Trey again. Ever. He can rot in hell for all I care.” The smile was still huge but the love seeped through even more as Jenny’s gaze returned to me.

Mr. Thompson just sat there. I wish I knew what was going through his mind. Jenny had just told him off, sort of, plus he told both us he was thinking about getting a divorce. This has had to be difficult night for him. He looked over at me, his chin cupped in his hand. He looked at me as if he was evaluating me, I returned the look. His eyes got me. He looked tired. From what I am not sure but it was understandable. Finally he spoke. “You know Alexa, I was warned to be nice to you by my mother. She said if she got a bad report she might have to bring the strap out of retirement.” He smiled slightly as he told me this.

“Your mother is quite the person Mr. Thompson. I loved her from that first time I met her on Thanksgiving.” I said. Mr. Thompson laughed at my comment.

“You only got to see the good side of her. She was something else growing up with, but she made me, all of us kids better people. I see a lot of her in my little girl here.” Mr. Thompson gave Jenny a quick hug and then stood up. “Well you two” he paused for a second and then looked at Jenny and I “girls have a fairly long drive ahead of you and it’s getting late. Why don’t we call it a night?” Jenny took off to get our coats, leaving me alone with her dad for a second. “I thought I was going to have this talk with some guy, but take care of my little girl, will you?”

“Of course I will.” Jenny came back and looked at the two of standing there and got a little nervous. “What are you two up to?” Putting my arm around her “Nothing babe. Just a nice little chat.” Jenny eyed both her father and me wearily as I put on my coat. Her dad just stood there smiling. Taking my hand, Jenny lead me over to her father. She reached up and gave her father a kiss on the cheek, which earned a hug from him. ‘Bye daddy. I love you” he returned the sentiment to her. Mr. Thompson and I shook hands, but it was not a ‘manly’ shake, more delicate like a man gives a woman. Well it was a start “Thank you for coming with Alexa. And bear with me. You two be good now and drive safely. I’ll talk to you in few days Jen.” As we headed to the kitchen door, Jenny turned and waved at her dad one last time.

The drive home was rather quiet. I drove and Jenny cuddled up next to me. I could see Jenny was mulling something over. Finally, she spoke. “I can’t believe my father is thinking about divorcing my mother. But I don’t blame him.” Jenny stated as she broke the silence. “she has been a little off kilter for a while now.” I asked if I had anything to do with it. Jenny lifted her had ‘God no. This started long before us. And by the way, I was so proud of you tonight! I was sure you were going to breakdown, but you stood your ground. I am sorry you got treated that way. But at least daddy seems to like you.” I said it was a start and that he is very nice. Jenny retorted “He’ll come around, so don’t worry. You’re his daughter’s girlfriend. He would be that way if what’s his name showed up.” I laughed at her, as I figured out she was referring to Alex. Jenny wrapped her arms around me and gave me a kiss on the cheek before resting her head on my shoulder again. Soon we were back at the apartment and making our way to bed. It wasn’t long before we had on our jerseys and were cuddled up under the covers. We just held each other and drifted off to sleep.

I was awoken the next morning by a blonde woman landing on top of me screaming away ‘You made the front page!” I rubbed my eyes as I tried to gain my bearings. Jenny thrust the newspaper in my face and sure enough I made the front page, but the bottom corner. The article was well written and portrayed me not so much as a victim but as someone fighting for equal rights. I was little embarrassed by it and the shrieking blonde beauty next to me didn’t help. ‘I am dating an activist” Jenny screamed. Pulling her down next to me as I fell back on the bed. I tried to admonish her. “You’re going to wake Katie up!” She told me she didn’t care and soon enough Katie was up. Jenny motioned her to come join us on the bed. Katie made some comment about sticking to something before jumping onto the bed with us and she began reading the article. “This will get them off their ass. You come off great Alexa. I am so proud of my little sister!’ Katie gave me a hug as she said this. At that moment life was grand.

The three of us went to brunch to celebrate my new-found freedom and there were a couple of people who recognized me from the picture that was printed with the article. I did feel kind of like a star from this but I still would have preferred it hadn’t come to this. Following brunch, we returned home and we all tried to get some studying done. It was just a normal Sunday afternoon at our apartment. I did take a call from the reporter at the Daily asking to get together again the next afternoon and give him a little more. I agreed and set up a meeting time of about 3:00 PM at Coffman Union. I also got a call from Debbie saying how proud she was of me and how well I came off. She teased me a little about making time in my celebrity schedule for our semiweekly meeting. I promptly told her to knock it off and told her I would see her Tuesday. Jenny soon came over and cuddled up next to me and she drifted off into a little nap. Katie was at the table and I soon joined Jenny in a little nap.

I was awoken when I heard Katie’s phone ringing. I looked up to see her check out the caller ID and tentatively answer the phone as she headed to her room. I sat there for a moment trying to figure out how to move Jenny off me without waking her. I looked up and saw Katie come out of her room with a disturbed look on her face. She looked at me.

“Alexa..”



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