Secret Base


Secret Base
by Melanie Brown
Copyright  © 2018 Melanie Brown

A shared hiding space led to a special summer



I quickly turned the corner and ducked down the alley. I really hoped I wasn’t spotted by those two guys I knew from school. It was dark and getting late. There was a gate open on a high, backyard fence. I hurried into the backyard and hurriedly closed the gate behind me. I tried to slow my breathing. A quick look around revealed a shed and not much else in the backyard. I thought this house must be the one a couple of blocks from my house that’s been up for sale a few months.

I would have avoided those two guys even if I wasn’t wearing a short denim skirt, a tank top, make-up and earrings. They bullied me often during this past seventh grade school year. I didn’t want to see them now that it was summer.

“Did you see somebody go down this alley?” asked one of the boys who sounded like Rod.

“I don’t see anyone. This alley’s pretty dark.” said a boy who sounded like Jerry.

Rod said, “I could have sworn I saw that turd from Algebra class. He’s such a sissy, he deserves to get beat up.”

“Well, I don’t see him,” said Jerry. “Fuck him. We have better things to do. Let’s go.”

I let out a heavy sigh when I heard them walk away. It was late. I probably should head home anyway. I snuck out of the house about an hour and a half earlier, scared to death I’d be discovered putting on make-up. It was such a beautiful summer night I just had to get girly and get out into the night.

I was just about to pull the gate open when it suddenly slammed into me. “Shit!” I hissed in a loud whisper. Oh my God, I’ve been found! A cold flush ran down my spine.

“What the hell?” said a boy in the dark. “Is somebody there?” Suddenly there was a light from a cell phone in my face. “A girl? What are you doing here?”

I put my hand up defensively to shield my eyes from the glare of the light. I smiled weakly. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to go into your yard. I was just heading home.”

The boy laughed. “This isn’t my house. I come here to hide out from my parents and bullies from school. See that shed? I hide out there to play games on my phone and just get some peace. I call it my secret base. I guess it’s not so secret anymore.”

“It still is. I won’t tell anyone,” I said honestly. “I was just hiding from some bullies myself.”

The boy laughed again. “Well this is a good place for it. I…hey. I know you! You’re that Lonnie guy who sat behind me in English. What’s with the get up?”

I remembered this guy. His name is Steve. He always seemed nice. He knew who I was so there wasn’t much point in coming up with a lie. I bit my lip for a second and then said, “I like to dress like this. It’s who I feel I am. Even if no one else does.”

Steve just kept staring at me. “I guess we both could use a secret base. You’re welcome to come here to dress up. I don’t care. And nobody lives here.”

I smiled at Steve. “Thanks. That’d be easier than dressing at home before sneaking out.”

“I’m sure you could come here day or night. I’ve never seen anyone around here.” Steve pointed at the shed. “That’d be a great place for you to change in.”

Still worried, I watched Steve’s face. “You’re not going to beat me up or laugh at me?”

Steve chuckled. “Of course not! You look cute as a girl. I don’t care what other people do.”

Not sure if I believed him, I asked, “Really?”

Steve nodded in the dark. “Yes, really. Hey, I’m an artist myself. Everyone thinks I’m weird. So I decided not to judge.”

“That’s cool.” I said with a slight smile. “I need to go before my parents find out I’m not in bed. Nice to see you, Steve.”

Steve grinned. “You too, Lonnie. Oh hey. Do you like board games?” I nodded. “Great. I’ll bring some to the shed and we can play sometime maybe.”

I giggled. “Sounds great. See ya!”

I left Steve’s secret base and ran home.

*          *          *

“Could you hurry up?” Steve was waiting outside the shed for me to change.

I laughed. “You can come in. I’m dressed and just doing my make-up at the moment.”

Steve opened the shed’s door and stepped in. I was using a battery powered lantern and my compact’s mirror. Wasn’t the best way to apply make-up, but it was workable.

Steve sat across from me on the shed’s floor. We were sitting on an old beach towel he’d found. He shook his head. “I know that goop is all part of being a girl, but I don’t see how you can stand to wear it.”

I giggled. “Make-up is fun. Would you like to try?”

Steve scowled and put his hands up defensively. “No way in hell. I’ll leave that to you. You look pretty though.”

“Thanks,” I said with a smile. “What game did you bring?”

Steve held up a game box. “Do you like Sorry!?” I nodded.

He set up the game between us on the floor. He started playing some tunes on his phone and we sat there and played most of the summer morning. While we played, I noticed that he kept looking up at me.

“Is my face dirty?” I asked with a wry grin.

Steve’s face turned red. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to stare. I just can’t believe how pretty you are. I mean, you look and act just like a girl.”

I smiled at him. “Well, that is the general idea.”

Looking back at the game board, Steve asked, “Is this what you want? You want to be a woman when you grow up?”

I stared out the shed door for a moment. I looked back at Steve and smiled. “More than anything. Not sure if I’ll be able to.”

Steve landed one of his pieces on top of one of mine, sending it back to the start. “I hope you can. I bet you’d be beautiful.”

I grunted a laugh. “Yeah, sure.”

Steve looked at me seriously. “I’m serious.”

I smiled at him again before returning my attention to the board. “Thank you.”

We continued to play until it was almost noon. We decided to stop for the day and go back to our homes. We were both hungry and the shed was starting to get a little hot inside. I changed my clothes.

As he checked to make sure the alley was clear, Steve said, “See you tomorrow morning here at the secret base. I’ll bring some other games.”

I grinned. “Sounds good. See ya!” I waved and we went our separate ways.

*          *          *

The next week was so much fun! We’d arrive early at our secret base, play games, and talk about everything in the world and what we hoped to do when we grew up and of course solving all the world’s problems. I’d never had a best friend before. It was really great to have someone to share with.

We took the weekend off because we both had things to do with our families. I couldn’t wait for Monday though. Meeting at our secret base had become a “thing”. We both looked forward to it. It was going to be our summer passion.

We met on Monday morning. Steve had a brought a chess set. I think he got pissed when I skunked him three times in a row.

Steve checked his phone. “Hey. It’s almost eleven. There’s a Dairy Queen that’s close enough to walk to. Want to get some ice cream? I’ll buy.”

I grinned at Steve, “Sure! But I can get my own.”

Looking back at his phone, he said, “I just got my allowance. I’ll buy.”

He surprised me by taking my hand as we walked the two blocks to the Dairy Queen. We didn’t talk much on the walk there.

As we approached the Dairy Queen, two people came out the side entrance.

“It’s them!” I whispered in Steve’s ear. “Those two bullies.”

Steve whispered back. “Don’t worry. I doubt they’ll recognize you. They bully me too.”

When Jerry and Rod saw us, they turned to approach us. When they got close, Rod pointed at us.

“You know what pisses me off?” asked Rod, directing his comment to Jerry.

Jerry folded his arms and studied me. “No. What pisses you off?”

Rod shook his head. “That a worthless soy boy like that gets such a hot babe. Don’t seem right, does it?”

Jerry kept looking at me. “You sure you wouldn’t rather be with us, sweet cheeks?”

In spite of being scared of these two, I laughed. “No thanks.”

Rod elbowed Jerry. “You sure have a way with the ladies.” He laughed.

Steve tightened his grip on my hand and started walking to the Dairy Queen. He tugged on my hand. “Let’s get some ice cream.”

As we walked into the ice cream store, I heard Jerry say, “I just don’t get women.”

Steve placed his order. The girl at the cash register turned immediately to me and asked what I wanted. She just assumed Steve was going to pay for mine.

We sat down and waited for our order to come out. I frowned at Steve. “I had money. I could have bought my own.”

Steve laughed. “Are you thinking this is a date? I just felt like treating you. Even if you were a boy sitting there.”

I somehow doubted that. But I didn’t feel like pressing the issue. At that moment our ice cream arrived anyway.

“I have to agree with Jerry though,” said Steve as he scooped up some of his Sundae. “You do look hot. Look around. Everyone here thinks you’re a girl.”

I laughed. “We’re the only ones here. But thank you. Let’s not get carried away though.”

Steve waved his hand. “What? What are you talking about? I know you’re not a girl, so don’t go thinking that I consider this a date. We’re just friends and all. Just because you happen to look like a really cute girl doesn’t change anything.”

I shook my head as I took another bite of ice cream. “Thanks for clearing that up.”

He held my hand on the return trip.

Just as we walked back into the shed, Steve’s cell phone started buzzing. He looked at it. “It’s my mom.” He put the phone to his ear. “Hey Mom.”

After a few minutes, Steve put his cell phone back into his pocket. “I need to go.”

I shrugged. “That’s going to happen. It’s almost time for us to go anyway.”

Steve quickly gathered up his chess set and walked to the gate. “Hey, see ya tomorrow, okay?”

I walked up next to him and smiled. “Sure!”

Steve hesitated a moment before going through the gate. He then unexpectedly leaned into me and kissed me. Not a big sloppy kiss. Just a gentle quick kiss and then he was hastily through the gate, leaving me standing there.

I just stood there, unsure of what to think. He kissed me.

*          *          *

The next morning, I had arrived at the shed a bit early and had already changed my clothes when Steve finally arrived carrying a couple games. I greeted him at the gate.

Steve smiled at me. “Hey Lonnie. You’re here early.” He walked past me and entered the shed. I half expected him to kiss me again. But he just walked in and started setting up a game. I surprised myself for wanting him to kiss me. His kiss yesterday, to me, seemed to have elevated our relationship from just two kids having fun hiding out and playing games.

I quietly sat on the beach towel. “Hey Steve.”

As Steve dumped out the pieces for the Battleship game, he looked up at me. “You’re looking very pretty today.”

I blushed slightly. “Thanks. I try.” I giggled as I stared at him.

He looked up. “Ready to start?”

I nodded and then I just leaned into him and kissed him. He sat there with a shocked expression for a few moments. He then put his fingers in my hair and pulled me to him. He kissed me. I put my arm around his neck and we kissed for several minutes. Nothing wild, just soft romantic kisses.

Steve finally pulled back and blushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”

I smiled slightly at Steve. “Don’t be. It was nice.”

Steve smiled and looked at the floor. “Yeah.” He then pointed at the game. “Want to play?”

I pulled my hair back from my face and smiled at Steve. He’s cute. “Sure.”

Later, when it was time to go, Steve kissed me good-bye. The next morning, I arrived early again to be dressed and made up. He kissed me in greeting.

The next few weeks, we’d play games, or just sit and talk or once or twice we’d make out. Nothing crazy. We didn’t pull our clothes off. But the games started to seem less interesting. We thought summer was going to last forever.

One July morning, I was waiting for Steve to arrive to our secret base. He never arrived. I couldn’t call him. I didn’t have a cell phone and he never shared his number with me. I waited for him the next day. He was late. When he finally stepped through the gate, I saw that he’d been crying.

I stepped up to him and touched a tear running down his cheek. “What’s wrong, Steve?”

He just looked at me for a few moments. “I can’t stay. I wanted to see you one last time.”

A bolt of cold shot through me. “Last time? What do you mean?”

Steve wiped his nose with a finger. “We’re moving. Today. As soon as the moving people get our stuff loaded, we’re heading out.”

I started to cry. “Moving? Where? Will I still see you again?”

Steve looked at me and sniffled. “We’re moving all the way over to the east coast. And Mom took my phone away.”

“We won’t be able to call? Why did she take your phone?” I asked with a cry in my voice.

He shrugged and looked sheepish. “She found some pictures on my phone.”

I looked at him with surprise. “Pictures? Of me?”

He shook his head. “No. They were of naked femboys. Sorry. I was trying to picture you naked.”

I looked at my feet. “I don’t know what to say about that.”

Steve frowned. “It was stupid. But I originally thought about just leaving and not coming back here at all, but I couldn’t do that.”

I looked at him getting slightly angry that he’d consider just leaving without saying anything. “I’m glad you didn’t.”

“I have to go, Lonnie.” He said as he held my hands more tightly. “But there’s one thing I have to say. I love you, Lonnie. You made this summer special.”

He pulled me to him and kissed me. He kissed me with a passion he’d never shown before. He actually said he loved me. Me! And he’s going away? No no no…

He pulled away. “I have to go now.”

“Will I ever see you again?” I held onto his hands.

He shook his head. “I have no idea when I can come back here. Not while I’m at home and going to school.”

Tears were flowing down my cheeks. “Let’s make a pact then. Let’s promise to return here in August, ten years from now. We’ll both be independent by then. Hopefully I’ll be a woman then.”

Steve laughed and ran his fingers down my cheek. “You’re a woman now. I have to go. Take care of yourself, Lonnie.”

Just before he turned to leave, I kissed him one last time.

He exited the gate of our secret base and ran down the alley. I stood and watched him go. In almost a whisper, I said, “I love you, Steve.” I went back into the shed and changed my clothes and cleaned my face.

I walked slowly away from our secret base and the best summer I’d ever had.

*          *          *

The End

This story was very loosely inspired by this song:

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