A Strange Attraction to Concrete Cows - Chapter 8


A Strange Attraction to Concrete Cows

by Karen Page
Edited by Angel O'Hare

Chapter 8

After I'd eaten and helped cleared up I went to see Anna. Mum didn't have any problems about me going there and said that it would be nice to help them pack.

Since lunch the weather appeared to have warmed up and the snow had started to melt. At this rate there wouldn't be any snow left tomorrow let alone on Christmas day. The sound of trickling water entering the roadside drains accompanied the slushing sound of the occasional passing car.

When I got to Anna's it was Mrs Scott that let me in. I'd just hung up my coat on the coat hooks to the left of the door when Mrs Scott asked, "Do you know what's wrong with Anna. When she said you were coming I made her something to eat early but she hardly ate anything and then shut herself in her room. Normally if she was upset about something she would talk to me. This time, however, she won't tell me a thing."

"Perhaps she's upset about leaving," I said not wanting to mention about the kiss. "She asked me to come tonight to discuss some things and I thought I would help her pack."

"George's job is moving to Milton Keynes so we don't have any choice but to move," she said reaffirming the decision.

"I blame those concrete cows," I said trying to lighten the mood. "I lost my Dad to Milton Keynes last year and now I will loose Anna." I paused for a second and then asked, "Can I go up?"

Mrs Scott just nodded, still worrying about her only child.

Anna's door was shut so I gently knocked and said, "Hi Anna, its Bill."

"Come in," she replied.

When I opened the door Anna was lying on her bed and it looked like she'd been crying. Her main light was off and her room was illuminated by her bed side lamp. I softly closed the door, ensuring that it didn't slam, and went across to the bed.

"What's wrong Anna?" I asked as I took a seat next to her bed.

"Nutin'," she responded despondently.

I saw a fresh tear slip down her smooth unblemished cheek. I reached across and gently wiped it away. "You asked me to visit. I take it you didn't ask Erika as well?"

"No."

"Let me go and get a glass of water," I said. "That should help you calm down a bit. Then, if you want, you can talk or, if you're not ready for that, I can help you pack."

"Thanks," she replied and before I could go she asked, "What was the English translation of the poem you read?"

My face turned bright red. I knew that Anna would ask me about the poem and was dreading giving her the slip of paper that I'd been carrying in my pocket. I fished in my pocket and removed a folded piece of paper. I unfolded it and held it out to Anna.

"Will you read it to me?" she asked. "My eyes are blurred with all the crying."

"Okay," I said reluctantly, my red face turning a ghostly white.

In the arms of love we fell blissfully asleep;
at the open window the summer wind listened
and carried the peacefulness of our breath
out into the bright, moonlit night.
And out of the garden, feeling its way randomly,
the scent of roses came to our bed of love
and gave us wonderful dreams,
dreams of intoxication, rich with yearning.

I slipped out of Anna's room before she could respond and made my way downstairs. I wonder what she thought of the poem. Her small smile as I left might have indicated she did. What had upset Anna so much? Was it the move or was it the kiss? When I thought of that kiss I started to feel a bit fuller in my underwear. I desperately fought to gain control of my emotions as I saw Mr Scott had just arrived home.

"Hi, Mr Scott." I said.

Mrs Scott had just walked out of the lounge asked me, "How's Anna?"

"She's mostly cried out. Is it okay if I grab a glass of water for Anna?"

"Help yourself," she said, knowing I knew where everything was. "Take up a plate of biscuits as well. Has she told you what's upset her?"

"No, but I think it just a few things have caught up with her. Don't worry," I said trying to reassure her. Mr Scott, who had only just come in put his arm round her and steered her back to the lounge.

I put two glasses of water and the plate of biscuits on a tray and returned to Anna's room. This time I didn't knock but just entered. As I entered I saw Anna had been trying to clear the tears away with several tissues. Anna sat up and I saw her start to shiver. I put down the tray and took a thick jumper that was neatly folded in her wardrobe.

"Here put this on," I said handing her the jumper.

"Thanks," she responded as she pulled it over her head.

"Your Mum's worried about you, and so am I."

"Sorry," she said looking like she was going to cry again.

"Let's sit on the floor and have some of these biscuits your Mum insisted that I bring up."

I put the tray on the floor and I sat down next to where Anna sat. Anna looked like she wanted to talk but every time she opened her mouth no words came out. I shuffled a little closer and poor Anna looked a bit scared.

"Sorry," I said moving back. "I didn't mean to scare you. I just wanted you to know I was here if you wanted comfort."

"Thanks," she said her voice slightly croaky, "sorry."

I picked up a biscuit, "Let me guess. You have something you want to talk about but you're not sure how to say it. You've been thinking about what to say since you've got home and you're still unsure."

Anna just nodded.

"But that's not all, is it? Are you also frightened that it might ruin our friendship?"

Anna gave a faint "Yes" as well as nodding.

"I'd never do anything to hurt you," I said and then almost as a whisper, "I love you too much."

I just hoped that what Erika had said was correct. If not I must certainly weakened our friendship.

Anna obviously heard what I'd said as she looked up and gazed into my eyes. She just looked at me, her own face one of total surprise. In a tiny unsure voice she queried, "You do?"

"Yes, I have felt this way for a few years. I hoped that the poem would have made that clear."

"Years?" she wondered. All the worry about my reaction evaporated from the stress of the evening suddenly erupted into a flood of tears. I scooped her into my arms and with her sitting on my lap I gently rocked her as she buried her head into my neck.

Time became irrelevant. Anna could have cried for five minutes or five hours, I wouldn't have known and I didn't care. Anna now knew my feelings and I knew hers. We were together at last. I whispered reassuring words to her which eventually calmed her down. The German poem I'd read last week in class became reality as we both fell into a blissful sleep and our dreams were rich with yearning.

Our isolation from the world came to an abrupt end when Mrs Scott came into Anna's room. Anna didn't stir but my eyes opened to see Mrs Scott standing there looking at Anna asleep in my arms.

I expected her to be angry with me but she just asked, "Is Anna okay? We heard quite a bit of crying"

"I think so," I whispered back. "She's let out some of the things she's been bottling up."

Mrs Scott just looked relieved. "I've known you for ten years and know you both can be trusted. Please behave."

"We will," I replied as she closed the door behind her.

A little bit later Anna stirred and wriggled slightly in my lap, my arms still holding her as she nestled into me. After what might have been eternity, but was only a few minutes, she lifted her head from me and her eyes slowly opened. Her eyes shimmered like sapphires as she gazed into mine.

"Hi," I said as her smile sent my heart soaring. "Sleep well?"

"Mmmm," was her only response as she rested her head against my shoulder. I continued to rock her.

After a few minutes of rocking she again lifted her head and looked me in the eyes her smile warmed my soul. She leaned forward and kissed me on the lips. I was taken by surprise but then tenderly returned the kiss. Reluctantly and slowly our lips parted and all my cares in the world disappeared. Anna said something but it didn't register. I just couldn't put words together as my brain just didn't want to engage. My heart was racing and my whole body just felt like jelly.

"You okay?" Anna asked as I eventually returned to some sort of existence.

"Yeah, why?" I asked puzzled at her concerned expression.

"It's just that you seemed to disappear for about thirty seconds. You didn't respond to anything."

"I'm fine," I reassured her, a happy contented smile on both our faces, "that was some kiss."

"Just a reminder that it's quarter to ten," called Mrs Scott's voice from the landing.

"Thanks," called back Anna getting up from my lap. I just wanted to continue kissing. Anna must have had similar thoughts as she said, "Why don't you come round tomorrow night. But we must get some packing done."

As we straightened our clothes we were just grinning at each other. Anna giggled as she said, "It's a good job that Mum didn't catch us."

"Your Mum walked in while we were dozing. Her opening the door woke me up."

"Oh no, she's going to freak!"

"She was just relieved that you were okay," I said giving her hands a reassuring squeeze. "She didn't appear to mind and said that she trusted us. Now let's go and wash our faces then go and face her."

After we both made a quick bathroom visit we walked hand-in-hand down to Anna's parents.

"It's about time," was the initial comment from a smiling Mrs Scott. "You two have been nearly boyfriend/girlfriend for years. I'm just upset that it had to wait till now."

"Sorry I was sleeping with Bill," murmured Anna.

"You're sorry you were caught or sorry that you did it," asked Mr Scott.

"Er...well," stuttered Anna.

"Stop teasing the poor girl," scalded Mrs Scott. "She'd had an emotional time and was exhausted. They both had their clothes on and I trust them both to behave. Bill's been alone in Anna's room often enough and I believe that they won't engage in inappropriate behaviour," and then turning to us asked, "Will you?"

Well it wasn't really a question. More like looking for confirmation which we both duly gave.

"Bill, you've ten minutes to get home," reminded Mr Scott.

"Thanks," I said standing up. "I was going to help Anna pack a few boxes but that plan appears to have gone out the windows. Can I come and help her tomorrow evening?"

"Sure," replied Mrs Scott.

I walked to front door with Anna still holding my hand. "Take care," she said after we broke from kissing. I had less than five minutes to get home.

When I walked through the door my mum poked her head out from the lounge. She took one look and ordered me into the lounge. As I went in I asked, "Where's Beth?"

"She's upstairs just finishing wrapping some presents."

"I'm not late am I?"

"No, another few minutes and you might have been."

"So why do you want to chat?" I asked puzzled.

"I thought there might be something that you want to tell me." I must have looked blank as Mum continued, "Did you get much packing done."

That just brought back more memories of Anna being in my arms. "Well we didn't actually get round to packing anything. But we will try again tomorrow night."

Just then the phone went and Mum, who had the cordless phone next to her, answered. After a few pleasantries she said, "Yes Anna, Bill got home okay." She paused for a few seconds. "That should be fine."

When Mum had hung up she turned to me and said, "Anna sends her love and her Mum has invited you to dinner tomorrow night."

My face turned crimson as my Mum watched my reaction with delight. "About time you two got together. Make the most of the time you've got left together; so since school is ending tomorrow I'll extend your curfew to eleven. I'll tell Beth that she also has an increased deadline. I'll talk with Lisa tomorrow but I won't put any new restrictions on the two of you. I trust you both to behave."

"Thanks Mum," I said getting up and giving her a hug. "Mrs Scott said the same."

"Now off to bed as its school tomorrow. I don't care if it's the last day of term and you won't do much work."

I kissed her good night and went to bed. Sleep didn't come easily as I just thought about Anna and how good it felt to have her in my arms.

***

The next day I woke to the feeling of excitement. What would today at school with Anna hold? At breakfast something must have given me away as Beth gently teased me.

I was just putting on my coat when the door bell rang. I ran to the door and Anna was standing there. Erika was stood at the end of the drive.

"You ready?" Anna asked.

"Let me just grab my bag," I said.

As I left the house I we shared a quick good morning kiss and we both joined Erika who was looking a bit left out.

"Hi Bill," she said unsure how to treat me.

I just linked my arm through hers and said, "Hi Erika. Just because Anna and I are together we aren't going to do anything to destroy both our friendship with you."

Anna took my cue and linked arms on the other side, "And we won't do anything like kiss in front of you."

At school Mr Abbots took me aside during the first break. "Just so you are aware Tom has been dropped from playing for the school football team for a month."

"Is that all?" I asked incredulously. There were very little matches due to the Christmas break so he might be dropped for one game.

"A more severe punishment was discussed," explained Mr Abbots, "but it required parental permission which Tom's father refused."

"But why only a month?"

"Well I pushed for longer as what he did had quite a high impact on you. However Mr Plant, the sports master, argued that the misdemeanour itself was quite small."

"I lost many hours of time preparing for the play," I fumed, "It would only be fair if Tom lost the same amount of time."

"I know," sympathised Mr Abbots, "but it is now out of my hands."

The rest of the day passed quickly. Erika soon got over her initial worries as I avoided treating Anna differently from normal. Anna was also sensible about Erika's worries and they spent time together as per normal.

I went home as per normal to get changed and was soon at Anna's. Erika was just leaving and told me to have fun. Neither of Anna's parents was home yet so after a session of kissing and cuddling we decided to pack some of Anna's belongings.

"Shall I do the books, while you tackle the CD's?" I asked.

"Sounds good," she replied, "Dad has some small boxes downstairs."

When she came back I was surprised at the smallness of there size. "Why so small?" I asked

"Fill one with books," she said. "Then try and lift it."

I did as she said and I now understood. The box was heavy. If the box had been any bigger it would be too heavy to move. I tested the box she'd created full of CD's and that was equally heavy.

The evening passed quickly. At the meal Anna's parents treated me just like a member of the family. As Mrs Scott had done the cooking Anna and I did the washing up.

As the evening progressed we managed to pack most of her room. Only what she needed, such as clothes, were not packed. When it was time to go home her room was looking a lot less personal. The walls were bare, her cupboard now only containing her clothes. Well not quite just her clothes, it also contained the outfit I'd bought the other week. It was the very dress and jacket that I would be wearing tomorrow.

When it was time to leave my heart sank. I would love to spend the night, even if it was in the spare room. However the spare room now contained the contents of the loft, which Mrs Scott was busy labelling. I dreaded the Scott's moving as I would no longer see Anna. However I still had the silly feeling that it wouldn't be long before we were back together.

The next day was the first day of the Christmas school holidays. I awoke to it pouring with rain. Since I was due to be Jill I fumbled at the back of one of my draws and retrieved one of my panties. To save time at Anna's I decided to wear it all day. As I stumbled down the stairs Mum was just finishing of her breakfast.

"Morning Bill," she said smiling. "You do know you don't have school don't you. You are allowed a lie in."

"Ha ha," I replied. "I'm planning on going shopping with Anna. She said that there are a few things she needs."

"Well don't forget your eating here tonight so please be home for five."

With Mum gone and Beth still enjoying extra sleep I donned the bra and added a baggy jumper to cover it up. At nine I was knocking on Anna's door.

"Hi," she said allowing me in. When the door was closed we passionately kissed. When we parted she continued, "I've got your dress out. Your makeup is in the small makeup case on the bed."

Anna stayed downstairs as I got ready. I removed my clothes and hid them in Anna's wardrobe. After putting on the outfit, including the laid out tights and shoes, I sat down to brush my hair and apply my makeup. The practice I'd had in applying makeup for the pantomime had paid off. At first I applied the makeup rather thickly, like I required for the play. I reapplied it rather subtly and I think I looked acceptable. I placed on the shoes and walked down the stairs. One thing that I had become quite proficient at was walking in heels.

"Can I borrow one of your coats?" I asked putting on my female voice.

"Er yes," she said staring at me.

"You okay?" I said taking one of her coats from the hook by the front door.

"Yeah," she replied not looking at me. "Let's go shall we." She opened the front door and saw it was still raining. "Do you want to borrow a brolly?"

"Please."

We walked to the bus and fortunately we didn't have to wait very long before one arrived. During the walk to the bus stop and on the bus I tried to engage Anna in conversation but something was clearly wrong as she was unusually quiet.

When we got to Wolverhampton and into the dry of the shopping centre I manoeuvred her onto a bench. "What's wrong? You've hardly spoken to me since we left and you won't even hold my hand."

"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm not sure what's going on. When you're dressed like that I see you as a girl and I don't know how to relate to you."

"It's okay," I said taking her hand. She pulled her hand back in alarm.

"Sorry," she apologised when her automatic reaction registered.

"Let's do the shopping and go home," I suggested. "The middle of the mall is not a good place to discuss this. Just treat me as you do Erika then you should be okay."

"I can't treat you like Erika. I know who you are and my heart aches for you. However, my head stops me and I don't know why."

"Okay," I said standing up. "You said you needed to get some girly things so lets do it."

"Well actually the things are for you," she confessed. "I realised that Jill didn't have any shoes and a coat. With you thinking that one day you might need to live as a girl I thought that you shouldn't lose the skills you've developed. Jill would look odd wearing a pair of Bill's shoes."

"I don't want to look odd or stand out," I agreed.

I thought that getting a pair of shoes would be easy. Anna's fitted nicely but trying to find a pair that I was happy with took time. Going into shoe shops was quite a relief as most people were too busy buying last minute gifts. Shoes for parties had, for most people, already been purchased leaving the shoe shops less busy than normal.

In the third shop the ideal pair of shoes was found which just left the coat.

"I know where to go," said Anna who was still nervous about showing affection but her spirit was being lifted by her love for shopping. Anna steered us towards the far end of the mall.

"Hi Jill. Hi Anna," came a familiar voice from my left.

Both of us stopped and looked around. The people who where behind nearly tripped over us and went off muttering nasty things.

"Hi Beth," I said walking towards my sister after spying her by the entrance to WH Smiths. "You decided to get up then?"

"It the holidays," she said feigning being upset, "you don't have to get up as early as school days."

Anna and I just exchanged glances and giggled. Beth is one cool sister to have. One annoying feature of Beth is her ability to see what's going on around her. "Are you two okay? You don't seem the same lovey-dovey couple that I've seen the last few days."

I looked upset and Anna just looked embarrassed.

"Jill, I think they have that new book you were looking for. Why don't you have a look while I have a word with Anna?"

I wasn't after a book but I took my cue and left them alone. I knew Beth wouldn't interfere, well not too much, but she was just making sure that I wasn't hurt. I mooched round the store unsure how long to stay away for. I did spot a DVD that I thought looked good and after a few moments deliberation decided to buy it. I almost regretted it when I saw the ten minute queue. After being in the store for about twenty minutes I made my way out.

"Look after my little sis," said Beth to Anna as she walked off.

"Are you okay?" I asked Anna concerned what had been said between Beth and Anna. I knew Beth wouldn't have been violent but still I wanted to be sure.

"I'm fine," she said giving me a small smile. "Beth and I just had a little chat about some of my feelings. I'll tell you when we get home. Now let's get you that coat"

With the coat purchased I remembered I only had the garish tights from the pantomime so I got some of those along with some girl's socks. In recent years I hadn't been clothes shopping and now I'd been twice. I don't know if it was due to being with somebody I loved but I was having great fun.

What I thought was a shopping trip for Anna had turned out to be a trip for Jill. It was very kind of Anna to make sure that I was equipped for the future. As we got onto the bus I couldn't help wonder what Beth had said to Anna. Since then Anna had not been as withdrawn. They hadn't held hands like normal and there definitely hadn't been any kissing. No if anything it was like how they had used to be, very good friends on the cusp of romance.

Anna moved towards the rear of the almost empty bus. Most people were still arriving rather than go home. I took the window seat and Anna slid in next to me. When the bus set off there was nobody sitting near us. I could see that Anna was mulling over things and I knew from experience that it was best not to disturb her thoughts when she was like this.

While I waited for her to finish her contemplations my mind began to drift to next week when Anna would leave. This was something that we both dreaded. I knew that people move all the time but why did it have to happen to me?

My thoughts were interrupted by Anna slipping her hand into mine. I looked across and saw her smile.

"Sorry about earlier," she whispered. "I love you."

"Who?" I asked in a hushed voice, "Bill or Jill?"

"Both. I love you both."



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