Robbie's Revelation Chapter 22

Continuation of Robbie's story, as friends, family, and maybe even fate
continue him on his path of discovering who he, or she, really is.

Robbie’s Revelation
Chapter 22

By Rebecca Jane
Copyright© 2017 Rebecca Jane
All Rights Reserved.

Author's Note: I wanted to personally thank all of those who have read and left comments. You all have made me feel a lot better about sharing the musings of a mad transwoman’s mind. Hehe. I couldn’t quite finish Robbie’s Revelation with this chapter, so here in the next few days I will be posting the epilogue. Again though… Thank you… ~Rebecca

Chapter 22

I was lying in my bed, in the middle of an extremely pleasant dream, when I felt my Mom trying to wake me. “Honey, it’s really late and you need to get up… Are you okay?”

I stretched while lying there, feeling really rested and relaxed. Looking up at mom I noticed that she had a worried expression, so I smiled, as I stretched trying to let her know I was okay. When I was finished with my stretch I told her, “Mom I’m okay, guess I was just sleeping really well. What’s wrong?”

“Honey, it’s a quarter past ten… I just… Well, I don’t remember the last time you’ve slept this late. I was beginning to get really worried.” She told me as she sat down on my bed and using her fingers brushed some of my hair away from my face.

“That’s really weird…” I say, trailing off for a moment. I mean I hardly ever slept past 7AM, and never past 9. I started thinking what could have made me so relaxed that I slept this late when I suddenly remembered the ‘gift’ I had tried out last night, which made me quickly look to the small bookshelves that also doubled as my bed stand. I saw on the top shelf where I had sat ‘it’ after wrapping it up in my underwear, after my omg moment last night I wasn’t really in any state of mine to worry about hiding it again. Normally I’d have been up in plenty of time to take care of cleaning and hiding it anyway. I quickly tried to avert my eyes so my mom didn't see what I glanced at, but I wasn't quick enough.

“Oh my!!!”, was the only thing she said as her eyes opened wide. She quickly placed her hand over her mouth in obvious shock, she then turned away from me.

“Mom! I’m so sorry!!!” I exclaimed, quickly sitting up and trying to hide the partially wrapped up vibrator. I looked around for a few quick seconds and with no other place to put it, I shoved it under my mattress like that would somehow undo what she had already seen. My entire body felt flushed and I could tell my arms, chest and face were warm from embarrassment. I turned to look at her, “Mom… Please… I’m so sorry…” My voice faltered, staring at her back and the way her shoulders were shaking it looked like she was sobbing. I begged, “Mom please… I didn’t mean… please don’t be mad…” I was silently praying to God, or anyone that might be listening to somehow get me out of this situation.

I was so afraid of what my Mom was thinking, especially with what she had just seen. She hadn’t turned around to face me yet and the way she was covering her face with her hands it was obvious she was upset. While it seemed like several minutes had passed to me, it was probably less than 15 seconds that passed before she started making any noises at all. The muffled whimpers I heard coming from her were in perfect rhythm with her shoulders that were still shaking softly. There was no doubt in my mind at this point that she was upset with me, I just didn’t know how much. Afraid of saying anything, I simply slumped down quietly against my head board as I felt the tears forming and start trickling down my cheeks. Each passing moment her soft whimpers started grown louder as she couldn’t contain the emotion she was feeling, and each one caused my shame to build. The louder she got, the less it sounded like she was sobbing, with my confusing and embarrassment it took me much longer than it should have to realize she wasn’t crying… She was laughing!

My embarrassment and shame that I was feeling quickly changed into confusion. They bewildered look on my face just set my Mom off even more, which only morphed my confusion into anger. I finally blurted out, “MOM!!! Stop its not funny!!!” With the quick shift of so many different emotions, I started to cry, which caused mom to stop laughing, almost stop at least.

Looking more concerned, but still with a smirk on her face she said, “Baby I’m sorry… I really didn’t mean to laugh, but the look of panic on your face just…” She paused to try to keep from giggling again.

“Mom it’s not funny!” I exclaimed loudly, then much quieter I asked, “Aren’t you mad at me?!?” My tears were now flowing down my face.

The smile quickly faded from her face as she leaned in to wrap her arms around me, she then softly whispered, “Baby no I’m not upset with you at all, why do you think I’d be mad at you for this?”

I was holding on to her as tightly as I dared, softly sobbing on her shoulder. “Mom… From the look on you face, I thought you were ashamed that I’d do… you know… that… Or even that I had… one of… umm… those things.”, I whispered in between sobs.

Still trying to comfort me, she said, “Sweetie, its okay… You haven’t done anything that any other normal woman has done. I’m sorry I laughed baby, I really am. You have to admit though…” She paused long enough to pull back far enough so I could see her smiling before she continued, “It was kind of funny… I wish you could have seen your face…”

The relief of her not being angry, definitely lessened my fear, but I was still pretty embarrassed. Looking at her genuine and caring smile, I couldn’t help but think of how my reaction must have looked. I felt a smile quickly creep up and couldn’t help a small chuckle. Softly I asked, “Bet you never imagined THAT happening?”

She smiled as she gently brush my hair behind my ear so she could look me directly into my eyes. “Not too long ago I wouldn’t have, but you know I’m glad it did.”

That wasn’t the response I expected, which clearly showed on my face. “Huh? Why are you glad? I mean don’t you think… umm…”, I stammered, clearly at a loss for words.

“Honey, I’m glad because it means that you’re accepting that you are fully a young lady. Not just up here.” She said, softly touching my temple. Then she placed her hand over my heart and whispered, “But here as well… You have wants and desires, just like any other young woman… This,” She points to where I stuffed the vibrator, “is a healthy way to explore those desires without doing something you might regret doing too soon.”

I wrapped my arms around my Mom, relieved that she wasn’t mad at me. I started to get choked up a little bit as her words started sinking in. “I love you Mom, so, so much.”

She squeezed me equally as tight. I could hear it in her voice that she was on the verge of crying too when she told me, “I love you too my sweet girl, forever and ever.”

We both sat and hugged, with both of us sharing a good happy cry.

The next few days were fairly busy between seeing my sisters off so they could head home from their visit and letting the girls finally all meet Paul and vice versa. With the support of my friends, the girls who would always have my back, my boyfriend, and my knights in shining football helmets, I braved going into town more and more. While I knew I couldn’t always have them by my side every moment, just knowing that someone was by my side those few days did wonders to rebuild my confidence. Thankfully, nothing negative happened those few days, well until my friends drug me to the New Years fireworks display the next Thursday evening.

Starkville always had a fairly decent firework display at the park for New Years Eve, and with it not being a really big town you could bump into almost anyone because probably half the town showed up to watch the show. Well maybe not quite half, but just about everyone aged 25 and below rarely missed it.

Paul and I arrived at Jen’s earlier in the day, only to find out that Jen and the other girls had initiated a much larger cookout than I was expecting. I had originally thought it was just going to be Paul and us four girls, I was quite surprised to find Dave, Perk, and Scott there with another 2 of the football players I had helped tutor in the past. As I looked at the 5 football players, I realized that while all of them were starters, all except for Scott had something else in common. I had tutored four of them so they could keep their grades high enough so they wouldn’t be benched. Scott never needed my help with his grades though, he was probably just as smart as I was. While his grades weren’t as high as mine, he was able to balance school and football and keep a mostly 'A' average. I could only think of one other reason why he was here. We had been friends before I started my downward spiral, actually really good friends.

I was thinking about that friendship that I had pushed away, as introductions were made with Paul and the other guys. When I glanced around the group, most of the guys were looking at me in shock which started making me very uncomfortable. Then when I looked at Scott, while I could tell that he was surprised, there was something else. At first glimpse I thought he was angry, but looking closer, I realized he looked more hurt than angry. After several moments of uncomfortable silence staring at each other, he finally spoke.

“Robbie? Is that really you?”, he said softly, but with enough volume several of the crowd heard him. Dave and Paul immediately stepped up to my defense.

“Scott! Dude! We told you man, that shits not cool! SHE is Rebecca now!” Dave blurted out, with him and Paul stepping in between us.

Scott stepped back with his hands in the air, obviously startled at Dave’s anger. “Man I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything…”, he stated. Glancing at me pleadingly, he then apologized directly to me, “Rebecca… I’m sorry… I just… I mean… uhh…”

Seeing his frustration, I thought it might be better to not have an audience, so I placed my hands on Dave and Paul’s shoulders and said softly, “Guys, thank you but its okay. Scott and I are friends… Well at least we used to be, a long time ago…”

Scott just nodded and sadly said, ‘Yeah we were, weren’t we…” Glancing at Paul and Dave, he then looked directly at me before saying, “Can we talk? Just you and me… I just want to… Umm…”

I really felt for Scott, he had never known why I had pushed him, and almost everyone else away. We had been really close, almost as close as Jen and I were. We had met shortly after Mom had remarried and moved us to Starkville. Pop thought it would be a good idea to get me into scouting, since I had been an extremely outdoors kind of kid. Growing up in a rural area south of Birmingham, AL, I had spent most of my time running through the woods with my cousins. I had met Scott shortly after being enrolled in Cub Scouts, we had immediately become pretty decent friends. About six months after we met, something else happened which furthered our bond. It was about fourteen months after I lost my Dad, Scott lost his. Even at nine years old, knowing what Scott was going through about killed me, maybe it was because I was still dealing with my own loss. Through our shared pain though, our friendship deepened and for the longest time we knew that shared pain would keep us friends forever. Or so we thought at least. Then when things started happening to me and I reacted the way that I did, I only now just realized how that must have made him feel. How badly he must have been hurt, to have your best friend, who was there for you in your worst moment, start pushing you away. Just at the thought of how my actions probably hurt him, my eyes started to moisten.

Glancing at him with a sad smile and eyes glistening, I said softly, “Yeah I’d like that Scott, I think we really need to…” Then I whispered to my ‘guards’, “It’s okay guys, we’ll be fine. He needs to hear everything from me.” Paul just nodded and gave me a hug and a soft kiss, while Dave leaned in and whispered something to Scott.

Thankfully it was a warm day, well warm for Dec 31st. Being in the low 50’s, while chilly, it was still warm enough for us to sit outside, so I led us out front to sit on the porch to sit. Moving the chairs so we could face each other, we sat down and Scott immediately looked down at his clasped hands.

After several moments of uncomfortable silence I finally spoke. “Scott… I want you to know I’m sorry… For everything…” I couldn’t help it, but I felt the first tear start rolling from my eye, so I quickly wiped it away.

Surprised at my comment, he looked directly at me and said, “Sorry? For what?!?”

Wiping yet another tear that started to fall, I said softly, “For pushing you away… For not being the friend I was supposed to be… I know I hurt you… I do… I never meant to… It was just…”

I don’t know what he had been thinking up to that point, or what he had been told. Even though I know Dave wouldn’t have said anything wrong to him on purpose, it was a difficult story to tell… At least if you hadn’t lived it. It was in that moment though, where my emotion was getting the best of me and how I was reacting, that it seemed to click with him. Something changed in his expression, and posture, it was as if it finally registered to him that I am Rebecca, and no longer the Robbie he knew.

As I sat there with the tears starting to flow Scott gently reached out and put his hand over mine, “Hey… What are you sorry for? Dave said you couldn’t help… uhh… what happened.”

Looking up at his concerned expression, which only made me feel worse. Even though I had probably hurt him he still cared, I softly sobbed, “I’m sorry for what I did to you Scott… You were one of my closest friends… When things started… changing… I didn’t know what to do… So I pushed everyone away… Including you... I know how badly you had to have been hurt from your Dad… you know… Umm... 'Leaving'... Then I went and did the same…” I started crying much more freely and Scott lowered his gaze to stare at our hands, which were still grasped together.

After a long pause, he looked back at me and said, “Look I was hurt… Not because you pushed me away… It was because I didn’t know why… I thought I had done something… You just kept becoming more and more distant…”

“Oh God no!!!”, I exclaimed, “You didn’t do anything but be a good friend! I was the one that… It was all me…” That was all I could get out, before I broke down completely. It only took Scott a few seconds before he stood and and pulled me up as well, I was still sobbing when he wrapped his arms around me in a gentle hug. Lost in my emotions I did the only thing that felt right in the moment, I buried my head into his chest and wrapped my arms around him constantly mumbling my apologies.

Gently rocking me back and forth he kept repeating, “Hey its okay. It’s okay.”, until I calmed down.

Once I did, I realized how it must have looked with him hugging me, so I gently pushed him back so I could look him in the eyes, “How is it that you don’t hate me? How can you be nice to me?”

He gestured for us to sit back down, and he sat forward in his chair leaning on his knees so he could sit closer. “Look, Dave told me that all ‘this’ just happened… That you couldn’t control it… He also told me that there wasn’t anything the doctors could to to stop it from happening, and that the only chance was for you to move forward like this.”, he said using his hands to indicate me, ‘all’ of me.

I nodded, saying, “Yeah… I didn’t want any of this… I fought it for so long… before I almost…”

He interrupted me, saying,”You don’t have to say it… Dave and Jen both told me how… umm bad it had gotten. I’m glad Jen was there… When Dave told me what had happened I started to get angry, because you should have talked to me.”

“Scott I wanted to… I should have told you… I just was so afraid…”, I said looking down at our hands because I couldn’t look him in the eyes.

He took his hand and gently lifted my chin so I could face him and I saw him smiling, “Rebecca it’s okay… Like I said I started to get angry, but then I thought about… I thought about what you must have been going through, how confused you were… While I still wish you’d have kept talking to me, I don’t know how I would have responded if you would have said anything…”

“So you’re not mad at me?” I softly said.

“No, I’m not mad.” He started to say, then his eyes twinkled as he thought of something. “You know even with what happened to you, it never will change what our friendship meant… At least to me it won’t. You’re still the same friend who was there for me when my Dad had his wreck right?” I just nodded, as he continued. “You’re still the same friend who’s Step-dad helped take me in and help with both of our scouting because Mom was so busy working. If it wasn’t for you and Pop I’d never have been able to win the Pine Derby that year…” I couldn’t help but smile at that memory, Pop had volunteered to help Scott on his own.

I had to laugh at the memory thought, giggling I told him, “We hated those damn cars by the time we got done sanding though.”

He laughed and agreed, “Yeah we did, but it was worth it.”

“Well yeah it was worth it, you went to regionals with that thing.” I stated.

“That was cool, but that’s not what I was talking about… It was worth it because you, and your family were there for me during some of the worst moments in my life… I hate that I wasn’t as stubborn as Jen, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you… when you were about to… do THAT” His voice started to crack as he was getting choked up, “I’ll be damned though if I’m not going to be here for you now… That is if you will let me…”

Reaching up and grabbing him in another hug, me consoling him this time I said, “Scott I do, I really do want you here… I’ve missed my friend…”

Holding me in a hug he just responded, “Me too.”

We sat there for a few moments before we both sat back in our chairs to compose ourselves, Scott then cleared his throat before asking, “So you’re with Paul? As in, uhh…”

I laughed and nodded, adding, “Yeah I’m with Paul. He’s my boyfriend, and yes before you ask he knows everything.”

He slowly nodded, taking that information in and then asked, “So have you always been… you know… attracted to guys? I’m sorry I just thought… well…” He paused, I could see he was trying not to upset me.

I laughed softly, “Scott, honestly I don’t think so… At least I’ve never really been attracted to anyone, until recently that is… With everything going on with me… I just thought that I would be alone… So I refused to even think about it…”

“Then you met Paul…”, He started to say, pausing for a second before continuing, “I mean I was just wondering because back at the scout camps we had seen each other naked more than once…”

I laughed much harder at that, now that I realized that he thought I might have been into him back then or something. “No Scott, its not like that. Yes I’m attracted to Paul… I don’t think its because he’s a guy though…”

Confused Scott just questioned me, “Huh? But he’s a guy, so you like guys right?”

Trying to be more serious, I said more somberly, “I like Paul because he’s Paul… Look I can admit that you and the other guys in there are attractive… Except I’m not really attracted to any of y’all… I haven’t really figured it out myself… Since Paul’s only the second person I’ve ever been attracted to.”

“Oh…” He responded then teasingly added, “So who’s the other lucky guy?”

I couldn’t help but smirk, giggling I said, “The ‘lucky guy’ you ask about, wasn’t a guy at all… I was attracted to a girl… Before you ask, no I don’t find myself being attracted to women that way either… I was attracted to her though… It’s confusing as hell to me Scott, and I’m the one living it…”

“Oh…”, was all he said, as he was thinking about what I had said. A few moments later I saw a small grin start to form, then he looked up at me and said, “So I’m don’t have to worry about catching you checking out my ass or anything? Cause that would be kinda weird.”

I was caught off guard, here we were having a serious conversation and he goes and starts making jokes. I started to get mad, but quickly realized that he was just slipping back into my friend. A friend who who would constantly tease me, and vice versa. In mock horror I gasped, “As if I ever would do anything like that Scott Miller!!! You should be ashamed to even suggest something like that!” I was struggling not to laugh, only because Scott looked afraid that he had really upset me. Before I completely lost it I let him off the hook and let him know I was joking, “Well at least it’s a much smaller chance than me catching you checking out MY ass…”

“Hey now!!! I would never!!!”, He started to say, before it clicked I was teasing him. “Oh that is so not cool missy!!!”, he said laughing.

Relieved that we were going to be okay, made obvious by our verbal barbs at one another, I grinned mischievously and stated, “Besides I’ve already caught you checking me out… Remember the Halloween party? When you kept eyeballing Supergirl?”

Confusion flashed on his face, but only for a small second before the realization hit him and he blurted, “Holy shit that was you!!! Damn that’s not cool!!!”

“Oh it’s not? So you didn’t like what you saw?”, I fired back.

“Of course I… Wait… No that’s just…”, He stammered, before slowing down to regain his thoughts. He took a much more serious look at me as his eye’s narrowed, “You know you really don’t play fair do you? I guess you really are a girl…”

I grinned knowing I had won our little ‘match’, “I guess I am… So you never answered me, did you like what you saw?”, I said confidently while raising my eyebrows.

Scott just shook his head, and with a rueful grin just said, “You know we’ve been out here for awhile, I think we might need to go back in to the party.”

I smiled at my victory, then as we got up to go inside I hip checked him and blurted out, “Chicken!!!”, before I dashed inside laughing.

As I walked in the house I saw everybody looking relieved as they saw me laughing with a frustrated Scott coming in behind me.

Paul was the first to come up to me and asked, “Is everything okay?” I was still grinning, but nodded.

Once everyone was properly introduced the rest of the afternoon was surprisingly normal. Well, mostly normal at least… Earlier in the day there was still a bit of awkwardness with how the guys were responding to my new situation, there was nothing hateful though, just awkward. By the time we had finished grilling hamburgers and eating, all the awkwardness had disappeared. Once they had spent a few hours around me, all the previous odd stares had stopped.

Around 6:30 that evening we had loaded up in our vehicles and headed out for the firework display. We had loaded a cooler with sodas, and packed some blankets as well. While it had been a warmer day, it was still supposed to drop into the low 40’s overnight. All the girls and I ended up climbing into Paul’s mustang, while the guys all followed in their vehicles.

We arrived a little before 7, almost and hour and a half before the fireworks would start. That ensured we got a good spot, and gave us time to set up. Thankfully, Perk and Dave had brought enough lawn chairs to go around, and in no time at all we were lounging around waiting for the show.

Over the next hour, Scott and Jen kept embarrassing me by telling stories about our antics when we were younger to the amusement of everyone else. At first I was worried that Paul would be uncomfortable hearing stories about me when I was a boy, except Scott and Jen always referred to me as Rebecca and as her in the stories. I didn’t know if they were doing that intentionally to keep from upsetting me, or if it was that they just couldn’t see me as male anymore. The way Paul was laughing and enjoying all the humor made at my expense, I quickly quit worrying. I ended up sitting there in his lap and blushing a lot at some of the more embarrassing memories, watching him laugh about everything and not letting the ‘past’ change how he saw me. I think it made me fall just a bit more each time he laughed. Every time I caught myself just staring at his smile and how his eyes twinkled, I found myself just sitting there grinning like an idiot. When I’d glance around after breaking my gaze, I’d see the girls just giving me knowing smiles and nodding at me, which would just make me blush some more.

Sadly the good time had to end though. We had been joking around for almost an hour when I heard a voice from behind that caused me to immediately tense up, to which Paul looked at me worriedly.

“Hey guys, do you have room for us? We could make it a bigger party!”, the voice said. It was Holly…

I heard Dave quickly get out of his chair, and he said in a very neutral voice, “I don’t think that would be a good idea Holly, even if we did have room. Which as you can see, we don’t.”

I turned to face them and immediately locked eyes with Holly as she came around Perk’s truck. I felt an immediate surge of anger, slightly mixed with fear, I quickly realized that I wasn’t afraid for myself though. The thought of what might be said, or could happen to my friends was all I could think about. Ever since I had started to accept my situation, my main concern has always been what will being my friend cost them. The last thing I wanted was for them to be looked at differently, I still didn’t feel worthy of their friendship. As those thoughts were crossing through my mind, Holly’s eyes narrowed.

“You!!!”, Holly growled. Glancing around at everyone else in the group, she said haughtily, “Just what the hell do you think you are doing with that THING!!! You all know that’s Robbie right there. The nerdy little pervert!!!”

Immediate Paul stood up, and had he not been holding on to me I’d have been dumped on the ground. Softly he sat me down and stood in front of me, but even quicker than he could move my football ‘line’ had formed between us and Holly’s group. It had just registered that other people were with her, of course Michelle who looked really smug and Karen who just looked uncomfortable, and there were a few guys I recognized but didn’t really know them.

From behind I could see Perk’s entire body tensing, even knowing he wasn’t angry at me, seeing him that way was truly frightening. Dave and Scott stepped slightly forward towards Holly’s group, leaving Trent and John standing next to the angry giant. It appeared they were trying to stay calm, or at least I desperately hoped so.

Dave was shaking in anger trying to stay calm, so Scott was the first one to speak, “Holly… Like Dave said… It’s not a good idea for you to be here, so why don’t you and your friends… Find somewhere else to sit.”

Standing behind Paul, I was so angry now that I was trembling and for the first time I felt tears running down my face in anger. It was a completely new concept for me, and actually distracted me enough until I noticed hands being placed on my shoulders gently. I didn’t even have to turn around to know those hands belonged to my girlfriends, my sisters, three women who have proved beyond any doubt they were here… For me…

“I know those stupid bitches were already freak lovers, I thought you guys knew better!!!”, Holly yelled.

“That’s enough Holly!”, Dave yelled back. “Rebecca hasn’t done anything to you, just leave her alone!”

“Do you even hear yourself David! Her?! That’s not a girl, that’s a boy pretending to be a girl! It’s a fucking freak!", she yelled.

The entire time this was going on the group behind her were showing mixed reactions. Michelle was standing right behind Holly and was continually goading her on with shouts of “hell yeah” or “freak”. Karen on the other hand looked like she was ready to run, she kept glancing around and was trying to not look at either me or Dave. The guys that were with her were trying to put up a brave front for the girls they were with, but you could tell they didn’t want to stand against five of the best football players the school had.

Alicia had let go of my shoulder and shoved her way past the guys into the front of the group and yelled, “Damn you Holly! How dare you!!!”

Taking a step closer, emboldened by her crowd she yelled back, “How dare I what? Speak the truth? As far as damned, all you that are hanging out and defending… IT! Are going to go to hell…”

“That’s it! You’re going to pay for that you… you… CUNT!!!” Alicia screamed as she clinched her fists and started to make a move at Holly.

Trying to stay calm this whole time the big man had been trembling with anger and he finally gave up trying and bellowed out, “ENOUGH!”

That was enough to stop Alicia and cause her to sidestep, Holly and her crew took a step back as well. I honestly can’t say I blame them, I knew Perk wasn’t mad at me and I was afraid of him.

Holly gulped and much more calmly said, “Perk look, all I’m…”

“I SAID ENOUGH!!!”, Perk exclaimed and taking another step closer to Holly’s group. The guys who had been trying to act brave in front of Holly, started pulling her back. In a low voice that almost rumbled he uttered, “You have ten seconds to leave, it's up to you on how you leave!”

Holly started to protest, but pretty much everyone in her group started nodding and pulling her away. It was dead silence in our group as we all just stared at Perk’s back as he just stood there watching them leave. I’d have to hazard a guess, but it was probably close to two minutes we all just sat there letting the adrenaline rush wear off.

Feeling extremely guilty I had to say something, everyone had had to endure all of that mess, simply because they were standing by me. I was afraid that he was still angry, but I was hoping he had calmed down enough so I gingerly stepped forward. Keeping my distance, just in case, I softly said, “Perk… I’m sorry for all of this. It’s my fault that all…” He quickly raised his hand to silence me, so I shut my mouth. Obviously he wasn’t calm enough yet.

“Rebecca…”, He started to say as he turned around to face me. “Just don’t go there, and stop fucking apologizing okay!”, he exclaimed still frustrated, which caused me to take a step back. He stopped and took several slow breaths and continued in a much calmer voice, “Look… You didn’t deserve this, this is all on that… that… What Alicia said…” That last bit he said with a devilish smile aimed directly at the guilty party who said it.

The whole group started to laugh, while Alicia started to look embarrassed. “Look guys I’m sorry I said that… I don’t know what got into me, I hate that word…She was just…just… You know what?! It fit!”

People were still laughing, even harder now. I was thankful for the humor, as it had lightened my mood considerably. Looking at Alicia, I couldn’t help but laugh when a thought came to me, “Alicia you’re wrong though that doesn’t fit her.”

“Yes it does!!!”, She said defiantly, crossing her arms.

Giggling I looked her right in the eyes and say, “No it doesn’t… She seriously is lacking the depth and warmth to qualify for that…” Then I crossed my arms in the same manner as she had, then grinned.

The whole crowd whipped their heads to look at me as they quickly processed what I had said, which only caused me to break out in more laughter. You could see as it dawned on them what I had said before they started laughing. They only one that wasn’t laughing was Dave, he just just stood there shaking his head.

“Damn girl, that was harsh!” He said with a smile, then he stepped up and gave me a sideways hug. “Hey… I just want you to know that I’m proud of you… I was worried that when, or if, that ever happened that you’d… umm...”

“Fall apart?” I offered, to which he slowly nodded. “Dave I might have, but I’m getting better… It helps that I have all you guys here…” I paused, as the humor and adrenaline had faded, the magnitude of the emotions hit me. With what all these guys and gals had just endured, and were still standing with me. I wiped the tears that were already forming, which caused several of my friends to come up close before I could hold my hands up to stop them.

Paul gently put his arm around me and everyone else came up to stand close to me in support. I looked around at my friends, first at my three girlfriends who had been standing by me the longest. These girls had proven time and time again what true friendship was, even Alicia had proven herself after her less than spectacular initial reaction… Then I looked at the jocks, my protectors, my knights in shiny football helmets. Thinking that they already knew the ridicule that they would probably endure, but they were still here. Then I looked at Paul, my boyfriend. Something that I had never believed possible, not just that I had a boyfriend, but that I would ever have someone who cared about me like he did. Even finding out the truth about me he didn’t waiver. At this moment I felt loved, cared for, protected, and safe.

Even with my emotions causing tears to form and my voice to crack, I told them, “I’m okay guys, I really am. I just want y’all to know just how much I appreciate what you all are doing… How much it means to me... I… I don’t think I could be doing this without you… Thank you…”

The girls immediately wrapped me and Paul up in a group hug, it took the guys a few seconds longer before they came and joined in the group. Maybe they figured it was just a big huddle, so they felt 'safe' showing their support. We stayed that way for a long moment, until we were interrupted by a loud boom which made us all jump. The firework show was starting.

Without anymore words, we just gave each other a nod as we returned to our lawn chairs. Well everyone else did, I waited for Paul to sit down then eased into his lap. Then he wrapped his arms around me as we leaned back to watch the show.

To be continued...

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