continue him on his path of discovering who he, or she, really is.
Copyright© 2017 Rebecca Jane
All Rights Reserved.
Author's Note:Just wanted to thank everyone who has been following my little jaunt, this chapter took a bit longer to write. I couldn't find a place I was comfortable stopping it in the middle, so while it took twice as long to write its at least almost twice as long as normal. Anyway, hope you enjoy. ~Rebecca
The next morning I was in such a good mood I didn’t think anything would be able to break it, well when I got to school I found out otherwise. I was walking to my locker before class, humming softly to myself and just enjoying this feeling I was experiencing. As I rounded the corner by the math and science wing I saw Alicia standing by my locker, thankfully she was looking down the other hallway and didn’t see me. What the hell could she want with me? Didn’t she say enough to me already? With those questions in my head I quickly spun around and headed back the way I came.
Seeing the expression on my face, Jen asked, “Are you not doing any better?”
“Yeah, well I was at least… I almost ran into Alicia on the way to class…” I said.
“You need to talk to her, she’s really upset about all that happened.” She told me.
“You know I got that memo yesterday from her. I told her I’d leave her alone, but she needs to do the same with me. I don’t want to talk with her anymore” I tell her, anger evident in my voice. Taking a few moments and a few deep breaths to try to regain that feeling I had earlier, I continued, “I just want to go back to being in the mood I was in earlier. Please let’s not talk about her okay?”
“Okay… So…. What put you in such a good mood? I mean you were really upset yesterday when you dropped me off. Was your run that good?” She asked, her curiosity was obvious.
“Well… The run was okay I guess, but it was more what happened afterwards…” I said feeling my cheeks starting to flush. Nervously I looked around to make sure no one was paying attention and continued, “You know I was helping Paul with his car? He ended up treating me to dinner last night…” I had to stop to try to compose myself some, because I knew I was blushing at this point.
“And?” She asked. Then in a much softer tone, “Was it like a date, date?”
“Not at first… Some things sorta happened, I had to tell him Jen… Everything…” I said softly.
“Oh my God!!! How did he take it?” She asked, then after a quick moment she added, “Wait you said it wasn't like a date at first… Robbie what happened?”
“He was surprisingly okay, I mean he had several questions but he was okay. We ended up going on a walk afterwards…” I told her then very softly told her, “Jen he kissed me…” Just saying that out loud sent tingles through me remembering how that kiss had made me feel.
“He what?!” She exclaimed, half shouting and half whispering. Then more softly she asked, “Oh my god!! So, what did you do?”
I could feel my cheeks flush just a bit with a bit of embarrassment, biting my lower lip slightly I just shrugged at her while sheepishly grinning. Jen's eyes opened wide and before she could say anything our teacher cleared her throat letting us all know class was starting. While I spent most of the class buried in schoolwork so I didn’t have to focus on anything else, Jen mostly just stared at me like she was in shock.
As class was over and I was gathering up my stuff, Jen said, “Look we’ve got to talk about this, you’ve got to fill me in on everything. See you at lunch?”
Remembering what I had told Alicia about not sitting there I just responded, “I’ve got some stuff to do at lunch, we’ll talk on the ride home okay?” She just nodded, I could tell from her expression that she wasn’t happy at me for ditching on the lunch crowd but what could I do?
The rest of the day just went by normally, well as normal as any high school day could be. Lunch period I found a quiet place so I could sit and study some, since I had been spending far less time studying and more time socializing than I was used to. As hard as I tried to keep focused on my schoolwork, I kept feeling lonely sitting here by myself. I had spent the last few years mostly alone in my self-imposed exile. I should be used to this, but I found that I was craving time with my friends. I kept thinking though, that they were only going to be my friends as long as I kept the appearance they expected of me. While I knew that I had several people who were standing with me, I couldn't expect that to be the normal… Alicia proved that to me so very well. After an agonizing and lonely 45-minute lunch I finally was able to move on to the rest of my day.
The last class of the day was Health class, and I was worried about being forced to talk to Alicia. It was the only class of the day that I shared with both her and Jen. I eventually came up with a plan on how to limit the chances I had to have to talk with her. Even with how she had reacted, and as mad as I still was at her, I still didn’t want to be mean to her. For some reason, I still cared about her and didn’t want to hurt her any more than I had already, so I acted on the plan I had formed to try to just avoid her. On the way to health class I hung back in the hallway and waited as everyone entered the classroom. As soon as I saw Alicia go in I went and waited right outside the door until the tardy buzzer started to ring, and then rushed in to my seat barely making it before the buzzer finished. As I swung around into my seat I glanced at Alicia three rows over and saw that she was staring at me with a very sad expression. I did my very best to keep that guilt that I was still feeling from becoming overwhelming throughout class. The last thing I needed to do was break down in the middle of class, so I focused on the teacher and the clock. With just a couple of minutes to spare I quietly stuffed my things in my backpack and got my legs swung around from under my desk. As soon as the buzzer ending class started to sound I looked over at Jen and told her I’ll meet her at the car. With that said, I sprung out of my seat and was out of the door before the ending buzzer was finished ringing. I was about thirty yards away from the classroom before any other students starting filling the hallway. While my plan was obvious and probably very crude, it was at least effective. One day down without having to confront her again, with just two and a half years of school left…
Needless to say I got to the Ghia several minutes before Jen, so I went ahead and fished out my contact case and got rid of my glasses. God how I had disliked those things before, now I hated them. When I had agreed to start wearing them again I knew it was needed for my disguise, but now that disguise was feeling heavier and heavier. It was just another reminder of the lie that had hurt not only myself but many around me. I only had a few more weeks to go and I could rid myself of this stupid disguise and finally bury the lie I had been living once and for all.
A few moments after I had gotten my contacts in and my hair brushed out from being gelled down to my skull, my passenger door got flung open and Jen sat down rather hard. “Robbie what the hell was all that about?!” She half asked and half yelled. Then she took a quick look at me and saw I had already ‘put’ Robbie up for the day… More softly she asked, “Aren’t you worried about being seen? I mean we’re still sitting in the school lot.” I just shook my head and started driving her home.
We didn’t really talk much most of the way to her house, she just sat there and looked at me with a worried expression. Finally, as we were pulling into her driveway, she asked, “Just how bad are you struggling with all this? Don’t try to bullshit with me either. I know you better than you know yourself okay?”
“Jen… I keep getting small glimpses of just how good things can be for me as Rebecca. I mean being honest with people and not hiding is just so… so… I don’t even know how to explain it!” I say.
“Freeing?” She says with a small smile as she gives my hand a small squeeze.
I laugh slightly, “That's as good as a description as any I guess. Do you mind if I change and get out of this vest here? I’ve got to go see Paul and fix his car for him in a bit.”
Jen started laughing, “Boy that would be a sight, so how much hell is he going to catch when the guys there see a hot chick working on his car?”
I couldn’t help but laugh really hard at that statement, actually I had been thinking about that a lot. I just grin and tell her, “I don’t know, but if the weather was a bit warmer I was going to go there in a tank top and a mini skirt just to mess with him.”
We both broke out in laughter till we had tears in our eyes, Jen finally looked at me and said, “You are soooo bad, but I love it.” She then got quiet as we were walking into the house, and then in a much more serious tone she added, “Rebecca I want you to know I am proud of you. Really fucking proud.”
I couldn’t help but get choked up and grabbed her in a hug, I whispered, “Jen I owe it all to you, if it hadn’t been for you…” my voice started to crack and it took me a few seconds before I could finish my statement. “I wouldn’t even be here now. Thank you. For everything”
We hugged for several moments, holding each other fiercely as a few good tears flowed down our cheeks. As we broke the hug she gave me a warm smile and said, “Hey that’s what friends are for right? You’ve been my best friend for almost as long as I can remember… I couldn’t imagine how life would be if you weren't here…” She paused and stared up at me for a moment and then said, “You know I love you, don't you? You’ve always been like my goofy brother, the fact you’re now my beautiful sister doesn’t change that...”
I softly wiped my cheeks and smiled at her, “Jen thank you… I’ve always thought of you as a sister also, one that I love very much. You’ve always been there, no matter what. No matter how hard I pushed everyone away… You stuck with me.” I smiled at her for a moment, realized the moment had gotten way too mushy for our normal banter I couldn't help but giggle, “Even if you were a big pain in my ass at times.”
She quickly slapped my arm in a huff saying, “Damn right I was! Your stubborn ass needed me to be!” She then saw the huge smile I had on my face and how I was struggling not to laugh and realized I had gotten her. She fussed, “You asshole! You are so irritating at times!” She was trying to look mad and hurt, but the smile that cracked through betrayed her.
Taking her hand in mine I told her, “Promise me though, you’ll keep being a pain in my ass.”
Still trying not to laugh she told me, “Oh you better believe I’m going to keep being a pain in your ass, till the day I die. That missy, I promise.”
With that we both headed upstairs to her room so I could finish removing the last traces of ‘Robbie’, mainly my gender-neutral jeans and compression vest. As I was putting on my bra, I asked her to come with me, I really wanted her to meet Paul and as he said he really wanted to meet her. She reluctantly agreed, I didn’t think she wanted to be a third wheel but at the same time she was curious enough she wanted to meet him.
I was almost finished with my makeup when I noticed that Jen had been staring at me with an odd look. When she realized I noticed her staring, she asked, “Do you two have plans this evening or something?”
“No not really, I was going to have to study some this evening… I was just going to change his starter and hang out for a few why?”
“Well, don’t get me wrong, your makeup is flawless… Don’t you think it’s a bit much for working on a car?” She mused.
I hadn’t even thought about it honestly. I mean why was I getting all dolled up? Then it hit me, and frankly I was a bit embarrassed. Sheepishly and with my eyes looking down I muttered, “I wasn’t thinking about it honestly… I was just going to see Paul and I… Well I just…” I couldn’t actually say the words out loud to Jen.
She softly whispered, “Because you want to look good for him, don’t you? Right?” I just nodded and tried not to make eye contact. She gave my hand a squeeze and told me, “It’s okay to want to look good for someone you like, no need to be ashamed about that.”
Still feeling like I needed to explain more I started off, “Honestly Jen, I didn’t even think about it… it just seemed… Natural I guess. Should I take it off? Maybe go a bit lighter with it, or maybe…” I started stammering.
Before I could ramble any further, she interrupted me, “Becca stop it… You look amazing okay… Besides, since you couldn’t wear the mini skirt, this is the next best thing.” She laughed and I quickly joined her, I couldn’t help it. She then mused, “If this guy has you this flustered, I definitely have to meet him… You ready?” With a quick final check in the mirror I gave her a quick nod and we were out the door.
We arrived a bit earlier than our planned meeting time so I went up to the RA that was downstairs and asked him if he could get a message to Paul. The look on his face when I told him that I was here to fix his car was priceless, I hoped Paul didn't catch too much hell from these guys. I almost felt guilty but then again Paul is always aggravating me to no end, so he sort of has this coming.
Jen and I went to sit in the common room to wait for Paul, when we walked in there was a table of guys playing D&D at the large table. When we walked in the game just sort of paused as they stared at us, I was still getting a bit embarrassed at the attention but it was fading and replaced by a feeling of, dare I say, pride. Trying to overcome my embarrassment I probably was overcompensating when I chose a couch right by the guys playing.
Jen and I talked quietly between us for a few minutes, but I kept observing the guys around the table kept staring at us. I suddenly thought of a way I could mess with those guys, admittedly I used to play when I was younger and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the friends that I had played with got pushed away when I started having my issues. I guess Jen could tell I was up to something from the expression on my face, she was giving me the what are you up to stare. Grinning at her I just gave her a wink, kinda like just watch.
“So, what module are you guys in?” I asked cheerfully.
They all just stared at me like I had just grown a second head, making me smile all the bigger trying to keep from laughing. The guy acting as the dungeon master slowly pulled up the module to show me which one.
“Ooo that was one of my favorites.” I exclaimed. I had to stifle a giggle at the look of disbelief the guys were giving me. Several moments later they looked at each other and started laughing, like I was making a joke.
“Right, as if someone like you has ever played this.” The guy that had been acting as the group leader snorted.
“What do you mean someone like me?” I asked indignantly. “I have played it and actually DM’d this module before.”
“Oh yeah? C’mon and prove it then!” The guy said sarcastically.
Getting up staring him directly in his eyes, I asked, “Okay so where are you guys at?”
“We’ve just cleared the top two levels, we've been hunting for our way down for the last half hour.” He told me his smugness obvious.
Grinning I remembered exactly what they needed to do. I walked closer to him cupped his ear with my hand and told him what they needed to do.
“Really? That's it?” He asked, a bit more unsure of himself now. I just grinned and shrugged my shoulders. Sitting back next to Jen she was trying to keep from laughing.
She leaned in and whispered, “You know most girls would die before letting anyone know they played that game.”
“We’ll we’ve already proven I’m not like most girls.” I whispered back giggling. We both started laughing and at that point I saw Paul coming out of the stairwell. I nudged Jen and pointed at him to let her know it was time to go. Walking out of the common room I just smiled at the group and waved, the stares I got back were no longer stares of admiration but confusion.
When Paul saw me, his face lit up in a huge smile, I could feel one forming on my face as well. We just kinda sat there smiling at each other, I guess we took too long because Jen nudged me.
“Oh yeah! Paul... This is my friend Jennifer I’ve told you about, and Jen this is Paul.” I said.
Jen stuck her hand and greeted him, “It’s really nice to meet you finally, she’s told me a lot about you.
Paul took her hand and said, “It’s great to finally meet you, and likewise, she's told me a lot about you… and everything that you’ve done for her. Thank you for that.”
Jen smiled, and told him, “Like I told her, it’s what friends do. She’s a pretty special person to me, well once you get past her being a smart ass.” They both started laughing at my expense as we walked outside.
Luckily, I was able to park just one space away from Paul’s Mustang, once we got to the parking lot Paul let me know he didn’t have any tools. I had already counted on that and had loaded mine in the car last night.
“It’s okay, I have mine in the trunk, the lid sticks so lift up on it while I pop it open.” I told Paul. Immediately I saw him head to the back of the car, which set me and Jen both giggling.
Looking confused he asked, “What’s so funny?”
“That’s not the trunk. Don’t worry she laughed at me too when I did the same thing. Go ahead and lift it up, you’ll see.” Jen said. Paul lifted the hatch at the rear of the car and once he saw the engine the confused look set me off giggling again.
“It’s a Ghia, the engine is in the back like in a Bug.” I say to him smiling. I pointed to the front where Jen was standing and popped the trunk open with her help.
Paul walked back to the front of the car and muttered, “How was I supposed to know.” He looked like it was bothering him, and that caused my smile to quickly fade.
“Paul I’m sorry… If you’ve never messed with one of these there isn’t any reason for you to know. It’s alright, and I’m sorry for teasing you about it. Besides you’re cute enough it makes up for your lack of knowing about car stuff.” I smiled slightly and gently rocked up on my toes to kiss him lightly on the cheek. He returned my smile, with his cheeks slightly turning red. I stared at him for a moment thinking what I had just said and realized I had meant it. He really was cute, and I just now noticed it. Until that moment I had always just thought him as Paul and not some cute guy. We just kinda stared at each other until Jen cleared her throat.
“Excuse me you two, but are you gonna work on the car or not? I kinda need to study this evening.” Jen said while giving me an odd look. I just raised my eyebrows at her as if to say what? She just shook her head at me with a grin and then we got to work getting the tools and stuff out of my car.
While I was under the car working, Jen and Paul were talking and getting to know each other. Once their conversation started being about me I just shouted out, “You both know I’m right here, don't you?” Which earned me a soft kick on my shoe and an admonishment of get back to work from Jen. I was just about finished and I heard a guy’s voice yell out. Being under the car it was muffled and I wasn't able to understand it.
Then I heard Jen yell back, “She's under the car changing a starter!” To which I heard a loud no freaking way in response. I was done so I slid out from under the car dragging my tools with me. When I stood up I saw it was the group leader from the game inside and he was staring at me in shock. It appeared that Jen was trying her best not to laugh at his response.
Trying to figure out why he was looking at me like that I asked, “Did I get grease on my face or something?”
He just shook his head and said, “No you look fine… I mean better than fine… Wait! I meant you don't have anything on your face… I just was surprised to see you working on a car...”
“Okay… You guys already call it quits for the day?” I asked, starting to feel a bit uncomfortable the way he was staring at me.
“Oh that! We were supposed to keep going for few hours, but Dan got pissed because you told us how to get past where we were stuck. It was pretty funny he started talking crap about you as soon as you walked out, so I figured why not try and do what you said…” He said excitedly… He was still staring at me then almost as an afterthought he said, “You play D&D, work on cars, AND you're gorgeous… I think I’m in love…”
“What?!?” I exclaimed, playing with the guys was just supposed to be funny but this was not what I had expected. Nervously I took a small step back, then Paul came to my rescue and stepped slightly in front of me.
“Hey Shane, sorry but she's already spoken for okay?”, Paul stated.
Shane looked surprised at that, then quickly backpedaled, “Oh sorry man I didn’t mean to say that out loud. It's cool dude, you’ve got you one heck of a catch there…” He was holding his hands up like he was surrendering, then looked around Paul at me and added, “It was cool meeting you, but you can come back anytime. I never see someone get the best of Dan, that was awesome.” With that he backed up and went inside.
As Paul turned around to face me I couldn't help but grin, “So I’m spoken for, am I?”
His cheeks flushed for a moment and he stammered, “Well uh... I just didn’t think you’d want that.. umm… that kind of attention I guess… Hope you don’t mind…” He said with a slightly embarrassed smile.
I shook my head smiling at him, noticing though a group of guys milling about watching us, a couple of them ones that had been playing the game. I glanced in their direction and said, “Looks like we kinda have an audience.”
He glanced over at them quickly and responded, “Yeah they’ve been out here watching while you were working on the car… Why did you have to do that with those guys playing inside, you do know I’m going to catch enough hell just because you fixed my car.” I started to feel a bit guilty for that but quickly noticed Paul's smirk when he said that.
“Hmmm. I have an idea… Jen and I have to get back to her house and study this evening, but before I go, how about I make it up to you?” I said with a mischievous grin.
Paul looking at me warily he said, “Umm what do you have planned and am I going to regret it?
I laughed and told him softly, “I highly doubt it, but with the audience it should make it up to you.” I quickly stepped towards him and reached my arms around his neck. Looking at his eyes I reached up and without any hesitation put my lips to his, tenderly at first but then he started kissing me back. While I still felt a small bit of self-doubt while kissing him, the remnants of the boy I used to be was quickly drowned out by all my other senses. The feeling of his arms around me, his soft lips on mine, and even the slight scrape of his slight stubble against my skin made my entire body tremble with excitement. We were interrupted when Jen cleared her throat. Breaking apart I slid my hands down and rested on his chest, while he slid his from my back and rested on my hips. We both were smiling and I said softly, “See you tomorrow for our run?” He just nodded and I gave him a quick peck on the lips and we started putting my tools back in my car. He stood there with a silly little grin on him as we drove off.
Oddly enough other than Jen giving a few odd looks every now and then she really didn’t comment much on what happened. Once we got back to her house we simply studied like we always had. As I left for the night she did give me a hug and said she liked Paul, he seemed to be a good guy and that he seemed to really like me.
Nothing exciting really happened the rest of the week, after all school was just school. I did spend some time with Paul after our runs, and when I didn’t see him I was at Jen’s studying trying to catch back up from all my socializing. While Alicia did keep popping up every now and then at my locker, I kept trying to avoid her. The last thing I wanted was another confrontation with her. Lunchtime was absolutely the worst though, I kept away from the group even with Jen bugging me to come back and try to make up with Alicia…She told me everyone missed me, which just made it that much harder to stay away.
Saturday morning I had gotten up early and even though the temp had dropped, finally it was acting like mid-November here, I had gone on an early run with Paul before he had to drive home for the weekend. While he was an in-state student, home for him was still 2 ½ hours away from here. His parents had wanted him to come home last night, but we wanted to spend some more time with each other before he was going to be gone for 2 days. After I had seen him off and headed home my mind started thinking about everything that had happened the last few months.
I was still deep in thought as I was drying my hair after my shower, the girl in the mirror and I just stared at each other for the longest time. Finally, Mom barged in and scooted past me, saying her bladder couldn't wait another second on me. I guess it showed just how far I had come, just two months ago, the thought of my mom being in the bathroom with me just in my underwear would have sent me into a panic attack. I was looking and playing with my hair when she finished. It had been a little over 5 months since the last time I got it cut, while it was fairly long now it was extremely shaggy looking and sitting just about my shoulders.
“Mom, do you think you could trim my hair up some?” I asked her softly. I knew if I got it cut in a real feminine style it would make the last month at school that much harder to hide it. The long shaggy look might have been okay for a guy, but it was really starting to bother me. I was afraid that I was starting to get vain, but I figured that most girls would be really concerned with their appearance so I did my best to drop those fears.
“Baby, I’m afraid I would mess it up too much. It’s one thing giving your step-dad a trim with the clippers… Why don’t I call Bev to see if she could fit you in? If you want me to that is.” She told me reaching up and placing her arms on my shoulders. Bev, or Beverly, was a stylist that owned her own shop, she was also in the choir with my Mom at church.
Part of me was excited, but the other part of me was afraid. Hesitantly I asked, “What would we tell her about me?”
“Sweetie, I knew this day was coming eventually. I’ve already talked with her about it, she said that when you were ready she would love to help you out.” She said, smiling at me.
“Really? I mean she knows and she's okay?” I asked, I’d known Bev as a friend of Mom’s now for a few years. She was a sweet lady and that she was okay with me shouldn’t have been a surprise.
“I was thinking, since you’re going to be going to Jen’s to spend the night, would you mind spending the day with an old broad like me? I could stand to have some mother and daughter time.” She asked me grinning softly.
“I think I’d love that Mom… I could use some mom and me time too.” I told her as I grabbed her in a hug, which she readily returned.
“Okay baby, go get some clothes on and I’ll call Bev.” She told me as she swatted my rear end and headed to the living room.
About half an hour later we were in Mom’s car and my emotions were all over the place. On one hand I was excited and on the other I was afraid. I know that Mom said that Bev was okay, and I had no reason to think otherwise, yet that fear seemed to be always present.
The salon wasn't busy at all when we walked in, there was only one lady getting her hair done by one of the stylists. We hadn’t even gotten fully in the door when Bev greeted us and told us to follow her to one of the chairs in the back. As soon as we got to the chair she stopped and turned to look at me. I could see the surprise in her eyes, after a small smile though she came and gave me a hug. I’ve known her for several years and while I was used to getting hugs from her, this one caught me by surprise.
“Robb… I mean Rebecca… God sweetie I’m sorry…” Bev told me while she held me in a brief hug. “Your Mom sorta filled me in on your umm… Let’s just say situation…” She looked around and while there was only one other customer and stylist, she looked like she didn’t want to risk them hearing too much. She took a closer look at my face and figure and said, “Oh my you look amazing, when Jane told me everything I mentally prepared myself… You really do look great…”
I couldn’t help but smile, my vanity maybe, and told her, “Thank you… Well my hair does need a bit of help… Okay maybe more than just a bit.” I couldn’t help but giggle at that just a bit.
“Well Hon, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s make you beautiful girl… Well even more than you already are.” She said with a grin and a wink. In a dramatic flair she used the cape to dust off the chair and present it for me to sit in. While it was really silly, it still made me giggle.
We talked a bit about what I wanted, honestly I had just wanted to clean up my hair so it wouldn't look like I was borderline homeless. It really didn’t take much prodding before she talked me into lightening my dirty blonde hair and add blonde highlights on top of the style. The other customer had gotten finished and Bev told the other lady working, Cindi, to come give me a manicure. I did balk at getting polish but I was coerced into at least getting clear.
Once Cindi got finished with my nails, I do admit that they looked much cleaner and nicer; other than the shine from the clear you really couldn’t tell they were “done” unless you knew what to look for. Bev was in the process of making my hair look like a short-wave antenna with all the foil she had wrapped in it, when Cindi noticed that I wasn’t wearing earrings. I had gotten carried away, and after wearing clips on earrings a few times I actually didn't need much coercing. The problem with me getting carried away was I asked if I could get two in each earlobe. I really liked how other girls looked with two piercings, and I figured why not. I guess my Mom had gotten caught up in our mother/daughter moment with me, because neither of us thought about how me going to school on Monday with two earrings in each ear would work out.
Mom and I had probably been in there for almost 3 hours by the time the ladies were finished with me and did the big reveal, spinning the chair so I could face the mirror. I had imagined that I would look the same, just with a haircut, after all every hair cut I had gotten before didn’t really change my overall appearance much. This time I hardly recognized the stunning blonde in the mirror, the lighter color hair and the shaping that Bev had done shaped my face and actually made my blue eyes look even bluer. They had touched up my makeup as well, since I had barely put any one before we left the house. The girl in the mirror was stunning, I even waved my hand in the mirror just to make sure it was really my reflection. Once I had recovered from the shock, I stood up and grabbed Bev in a tight hug.
“Thank you so much Mrs. Smith, it looks incredible.” I told her, fighting back some tears to keep from ruining the masterpiece that had created.
“Hey now, what's this Mrs. Smith stuff? You my dear are now a client, you can call me Beverly or even Bev.” She told me with a proud smile.
I looked at Mom and she was beaming at me, the way she had raised me I just couldn't call an adult by their first name though. It would just feel wrong and awkward. I decided a compromise. “Umm how about Miss Beverly, even if Mom is okay with me calling you Bev I still feel like she’d smack me for being rude.” I told her with a giggle.
“Hon, I can live with that.” She told me with a big smile.
We spent a few minutes chatting while she cleaned up her station, then paid our bill and Mom and I headed out to see what we could get into. We spent most of the afternoon just walking and checking out the stores on Main St. in downtown. Downtown Starkville was pretty much like any small town you could imagine, it was only maybe 6 blocks long and mostly local stores were here. There wasn’t a store that we missed, but even with all the shopping we only ended up getting me one outfit. It was this really cute sweater dress and a pair of black leggings. Mom even tried to talk me into buying a pair of shoes to match, but I talked her out of it. I had only been living as a girl for two months at the most and I already was working on my second dozen pair of shoes. We ended our afternoon eating a late lunch at the Café on Main, it was a perfect ending to a perfect day with my Mom. Every outing I had been on when it was just us before today, I had been apprehensive and worried that someone would figure out who I was. Hopefully those days were behind me.
Shortly after we got home from our excursion, I was getting my things ready to head over to Jen’s when I felt my Mom’s arms wrap around my waist in a hug. I gently put my arms around her hands and gave a soft squeeze asking, “What's that for?”
“What? Can’t an old lady give her daughter a hug? I just really enjoyed our day together and I’m not quite ready to have it end.” She responded.
“Mom, I had an awesome day with you, you know I did. Thank you for everything.” I said as I softly stroked my newly styled hair.
“I know you did baby, it’s just the past few weeks you’ve been spending so much time with your friends I’ve just missed you. I’m not mad, I’m glad you are spending time with them and getting out. I just hoped though we could have more days like this, I just want to get to know my new daughter is all.” She told me wistfully.
“Mom I’m sorry… I didn’t realize… I’d love to have more days like this… I have an idea, at least until school is out and everything going on, can we plan on Saturday afternoons being “our” time?” I asked. I did feel a bit guilty for neglecting her. I had just gotten so caught up with my friends, and since other than Jen I haven’t had any other friends in so long I just got carried away.
“I think we can make that work.” She smiled at me and gave me another hug before she let me get finished gathering my things for spending the night at Jen’s and church tomorrow.
As soon as I walked into Jen’s house she was surprised with my hair and especially my earrings. Her and her Mom just went on and on about how nice I looked. After visiting with her Mom for a bit we finally went up to Jen’s room so I could put my stuff and way and talk privately. We spent most of the evening talking about my blossoming relationship with Paul, and what I was going to do on Monday about my hair and earrings. She did bring up my situation with Alicia and how I needed to talk with her. She said she had talked with her and how bad Alicia felt for how she reacted. Once we got those main conversations out of the way, it was just a normal night at the Cook’s house. Her Mom had gotten the stuff for me to make pizzas again, I think she was getting really getting addicted to my pies, either that or not having to cook when I came over. After dinner and some TV time with her family we returned to her room where we talked and giggled till we fell asleep.
I woke up to find Jen in her normal position, arms around my waist and legs completely tangled up in mine. I laid there smiling, just enjoying the closeness until her alarm started to go off. I gave her arm a squeeze to try to wake her up so I could get out of bed. All I received from her was a “Mmmph… Don’t get up you're so warm…” After a brief tug of war with my body parts, I finally untangled myself and headed to shower to start the day. We actually had settled into a routine in the past few weeks of me going to church with them and before long we were all loaded up with her parents on our way.
As soon as I walked into Sunday School Robin jumped up and gave me a hug. I probably held on to her a bit longer than I intended, it was just that I hadn’t spent any time with any of the girls at school other than Jen and I realized how much I had really missed her.
Breaking away from the hug, I greeted her and it didn’t take her but a few seconds to ask me about why I had cut my hair short. I then realized how much longer the wig was than my normal hair, I started to think up a lie really quick but just as quick I thought it would be better to tell her the truth… At least part of the truth.
“Well Robin… Umm, actually I didn’t get my hair cut short… I’ve been finally growing it out the past 6 months. It was in this really awkward stage and Jen suggested I wear a wig while it grew out.” I told her… Technically it was true and felt better than a flat out lie, but I still was tired of hiding.
“Why was your hair so short? Oh nooo, you weren’t sick or anything, were you?” She asked, instantly I could tell she was worried that I lost my hair…
“Oh wow, no I wasn’t sick or anything… I promise… I feel kind of odd saying this now, but I used to be an extreme tomboy… I had really short hair, I mean really short.” I tell her, feeling much better about my answers. Even though I’m leaving out the most important part, I refuse to tell a blatant lie again. I notice Jen is smiling, I can’t tell if she's happy with the way I’m answering or if she's trying to keep from laughing out loud.
Robin started laughing, “You a tomboy? I find that really hard to believe. I mean look at you.”
“I’m being serious Robin, honestly if you had of run into me a few months ago, you would have sworn that I was a boy.” I tell her, to which Jen did burst out laughing.
“Really she's telling you the truth. It’s only been in the past few months that she's finally sorta embraced that she's a girl.” Jen told her trying to stop her giggles.
Robin just stared at me for a moment in thought, “I find it hard to believe, but that would explain your hair, and especially your new earrings. I thought it was strange your ears weren't pierced.”
“Yeah... I got all this done yesterday, including my nails… My Mom seems to like having a daughter now and treated me to a girl’s day out.” I tell her laughing.
We spent the next few minutes just talking and giggling with each other until Sunday School started, and afterwards the three of us sat together in a pew away from our parents. While we did whisper with each other we didn’t get shushed but twice during the service, afterwards we kept visiting till Jen's parents rounded us up to go home.
I had only spent about an hour at Jen’s after church, there was a lot I needed to do to get ahead for the week. I was counting on seeing Paul as much as I could and spending time with Jen as well, so I wanted to get ahead on a lot of my schoolwork. I'd been plugging away at it for a couple of hours when Mom knocked on my bedroom door letting me know I had a visitor. I didn’t know of anyone that was supposed to drop by, suddenly I thought maybe Paul came home early and stopped to see me. Excitedly I put my schoolwork aside and jumped up almost running to the living room to see who it was. As soon as I got to the living room the first thing I saw was Mom’s worried face, confused I looked to the front door and who I saw immediately made me tense up. Standing there in my living room was none other than Alicia. She was standing there silently with a sad look on her face, and her eyes were red like she had been crying. I was still so upset at her, but I was also confused. Seeing her standing there obviously upset, my first instinct was to try to console her.
Softly I asked her, “What do you want Alicia? I thought you didn’t want to see or talk to me again.”
“Robbie… I mean Rebecca… I’m sorry… God I’m so sorry… I really didn’t mean what I said…Can we please talk… I need to talk to you, please!!!” She begged me, and promptly started sobbing. Even with being upset with her, it broke my heart to see her like this. I gently stepped up to her and put my hand on her shoulder, which brought her eyes to to look up at me.
I just nodded at her then looked over at Mom, “Okay if we go to my room for privacy?” Mom just nodded, letting me know it was okay.
No sooner did I close my door, she grabbed me in a hug and completely broke down crying so hard it made her whole-body shake. She was holding on to me so tightly I was afraid that she would keep me from being able to breathe. I just wrapped my arms around her and let her cry, when her sobbing started to ease up I directed her to sit on my bed and I sat next to her and clasped her hand in mine. She gave my hand a squeeze and tried to smile through her tears.
“Alicia, what is it? Why do you need to talk to me? I thought we had said enough…” I started to say, but bit my tongue.
“I needed to tell you just how sorry I was… and why… I mean I was so angry when you told me after the party.” She started to tell me. I immediately felt my anger start to rise.
“You know I noticed that Alicia, I think you made that pretty clear.” I snapped and tried to pull my hand out of hers, but she wouldn’t let go. Instantly from the hurt look she had I regretted it. “I’m sorry…I’m still not quite over that yet...”
“I don’t blame you Ro…Rebecca… I deserve you being angry at me.” She said with her voice sounding like she was going to cry again. She quickly composed herself and continued. “I was angry at you a little bit, but only a little bit. Most of it wasn't even about you, but I directed it all at you… You didn’t deserve that and the things… the things I said… were horrible and mean, and I’m… I wish I could go and take everything back, but I know I can’t…” She started to tear up again and put her forehead against my shoulder until it passed.
I grabbed a few Kleenex from the box by my bed and gently tried to dry her cheeks. “Alicia if you weren’t mad at me what were you mad about?" I asked really confused at this point.
“After that kiss… When I realized that it was really you…I mean yeah it hurt a bit, but mostly I was angry because… Because I wanted to keep kissing you…” She said finally looking into my eyes.
“What?!? Once you found out I was really a girl why would you want to keep kissing me?”, I asked completely dumbfounded.
“I don’t know why… I just do... I mean did…”, she stammered.
“Wait a sec... You do want to still kiss me? What's going on Alicia? Are you telling me you like girls?” I ask.
“No I don't… Well I never have before… Rebecca… The truth of it is… I still am attracted to you… I mean what does that make me?” She told be right before the waterworks started again and then it hit me why she was so angry…
I gently wrapped my arms around her and started rubbing her back, rocking her, and telling her everything was going to be okay. All that hurt and frustration that I had felt for her completely vanished, I could relate to what she was going through and I even felt a bit guilty for being upset at her.
“Alicia… I know what you’re going through I really do. It’s going to be okay.” I whisper to her. She eventually recovered enough to sit back and look at me.
“How do you know? I don’t even know what I am anymore... Am I straight? Or gay? Or Bi… I’m so confused…” She starts blurting out, I gently put my fingers on her lips getting her to stop.
“Remember you’re not the only girl who likes a girl… I know I went through that myself.” I softly tell her with a slight grin. Realization of what I just said dawns on her face.
“I’m such an idiot.” She laughed. It was good to see her laugh. “Of course, you would know…So you’re bi? Sorry Jen told me about your friend Paul.”
“You know what I don’t know how to label who I’m attracted to, but a pretty smart lady told me something in simple terms. You know what it makes you when you like someone who likes you back?” I asked. She shrugged not realizing the answer. I just smiled and tell her, “It simply just makes you human. It makes us human.” She smiled and gave me a soft hug.
“What smart lady told you that?” She asked, thankfully no longer looking like she was going to burst in tears.
I giggled softly, “My mom… Just don’t tell her I said that, I’d never hear the end of it.” She joined me in my laughter.
“Well she does seem to be a smart lady… So, can you forgive me for what I did? I don’t mean like now, but eventually? I care too much about you for you to stay mad at me...” She tells me.
“Alicia, no need to wait… Now that I understand… I’m not mad at you at all. No matter how upset I was, I still care for you too and I don’t want to see you hurt anymore okay?” I reassure her. Then something started to worry me, “Alicia… You said you still are attracted to me, right? Did you want us to start… umm…”
“Oh no!! I mean I wish we could.” She smiled before continuing, “I know you might have someone else and I’m still struggling with accepting everything for myself… Besides I don’t think I could handle telling my parents, or how they’d react... How would people at school treat me? Rebecca I’m not ready to face that, so I couldn’t try this no matter how much I want to.”
“I understand, and thanks for understanding about me and Paul… I mean I don’t know if it’s serious, as in a relationship or if just really good friends... I don’t want to risk losing whatever it is though… You do know that in a couple of months you might not want to associate with me anyway, I don’t know how the school will accept me let alone how my friends might be treated.” I tell her. I’ve already worried about what Jen will face, and if Alicia stays my friend what she too will have to deal with.
“Rebecca, stop it! I do care about you, and I won’t turn my back on you. To keep you in my life I’ll gladly stand by you okay, no matter what. I promise you.” She told me, with a forceful tone that wasn't to be argued with.
“Thank you… So, are we okay?” I ask, so very thankful the talk went as well as it did.
“Yes, I think we are.” She says softly, then with a giggle she adds, “If having another girl want to make out with you is okay, then we are.” I could help but laugh.
“I think that will be okay, if you can handle the same.” I grin back at her.
She stares deep into my eyes for a brief moment before she leans over and gives me a soft kiss right on the lips. It wasn’t forceful, or even passionate, just a soft gentle kiss that lasted for several seconds. When she broke the kiss, she leaned her forehead against mine and softy sighed, “Why couldn’t you have been a real guy, this would have been so much easier.”
If she only knew just how many times I’d asked myself that exact same question.
To Be Continued...
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