Jem...Chapter 29

Jem…Chapter 29

Chapter 29

Oh…

Oh… Well…

“No…I mean…honestly I’ve never thought of it as an option.”

“But you said that you would if you could?”

“I know…but I’m not…”

There’s this big knot of hurt starting and twisting up inside of me and I feel the tears slide down my cheeks and it’ just making things…worse? I’m in the kitchen, in a cute dress and totally all girl made over and everything and was comfortable too. But here I am crying and about to say that I don’t want to be a girl, but if I……..but if I’m like this then what the hell am I?

(Sniffle) “I’m sorry Rayne…I…I’m not ready to make a choice like that.”

Raven looks at me and she comes over and she holds me. I lean on her and wrap my arms around her neck and I cry onto her shoulder.

“Hey…Hey I know that it’s just a question…okay it was a loaded one and I put you on the spot but…I’ve…It’s bee there in the back of my head and I guess I wanted to know.”

(Big sniffles) “It’s okay…I think I’ve really been dodging the whole though of why I’m so good at this…and how I might be feeling about all of this stuff…”

“Me and Mike.”

(Sniffle smile.) “Hell no, that I know. I’m screwed.” I try a smile and Raven tickles my side some.

“Seriously Angel, I’m sorry that I asked that like that. If I can’t change who I am and how I feel then why should I want you too?”

“But I said I’d…” she puts her finger to my lips.

“And I said I’d take the potion or pill but Angel, neither would work we’d still both be changing who we are for someone else instead of ourselves.”

“So where does that leave us?”

“Screwed.”

We both giggle a bit and hug a lot more and start cooking some things while setting breakfast out and I feel better seeing the smiles and looks of enjoyment on their faces. And I can’t help smiling as Raven’s washing a few dishes. (Clean as you go people it’ll save on your sanity.) I go and get my laptop and set it up to play tunes. I just really can’t help myself and dance over to the fridge as *The Dollyrots* start playing. “My Best Friend’s Hot.”

At first it’s just me singing with the song then Raven’s singing it with me and the girls too after they come in and we’re loud and noisy and there’s this look on my Dad’s face as he looks in through the hall door and he’s got four girls dancing and singing girly-rock at the top of their lungs in his kitchen on a Sunday morning.

He smartly beats a retreat to the dining room where we all end up gathering for a big breakfast.

It’s a strange homecoming for me like this and the girls are pigging out with everything but the toast especially and the fresh bread because we dug out these old bottles of jam and stuff mom had put down in sealer bottles/mason jars. Yeah I know that some of this stuff shouldn’t last that long but our family has done this stuff a lot. Vinegar in the scalding water for the jars and the lids, use paraffin wax to seal the stuff in and two little sheets of saran/plastic/cling wrap one over the wax after it’s skinned enough that it won’t melt then the lid then the plastic again then the ring and then back in the boiler.

Dad ‘s mechanic but the ways he takes his payment sometimes left some things tight with running home and the business. We weren’t poor by any means but the way Mom and Dad were raised we just did jams and jellies and pickles and all that stuff but keeping them cool and dry in a dark place adds to the shelf life.

Raven and Mitch killed the entire pint of crab apple jelly, Mike likes Mom’s green tomato jam and so do I. (It tastes a lot like marmalade with hints of minced meat.) Dad’s like me trying tastes of all of our old family classics

“So what’s the plan for you guys, I’m going to be cooking and doing housework if you want to help.”

Raven nods. “Sure I’ll help but I was thinking about planning some videos for our site and putting the van in them…maybe write some.”

Kim’s shrugging. “I’ll help to as long as you don’t mind me being clumsy and unskilled labor?”

“I don’t mind at all besides there’s perks to kitchen duty.”

“There is?”

“Mmm hmm, taste tester.”

“Rock on!”

“I’m going to work on my car with your dad.” Brooklyn says smiling. “And Helping Mike and Mitch with the car they’re going to be working on.”

I look at Mike. “You’ve got wheels already?”

“Yeah…Your Dad’s got some fixer uppers that run out in the yard. Those dicks won’t be expecting me to pull into school with a new set of wheels this early.”

Dad and “Uncle Mitch” pretty much say the same things and it’s not that long before Raven and Kimmie and me are cooking and listening to tunes and Brook and the guys are out in the garage and if you look out the kitchen door and see into the open bay doors to the garage.

There is this look there in just the way that Brook’s looking and moving as she gets onto some of my spare coveralls and is tying her hair back under a bandana. It’s a very guy like thing really the whole working on cars or it’s supposed to be. I know Mom knew her way around the garage and there’s a few “Aunt’s” that dad’s helped on occasion. I know girls stuff ad guys stuff for the real truth of the matter is just stuff but Brook. I think se was expected to do the woman’s bit and punished for stepping into men’s stuff.

I think this is a huge treat for her and a whole side she’s had to repress that Dad and Mike and his dad are saying… “Hey, it’s really alright, it’s okay to do this, to like this.”

I make my stuffing or rather mom’s stuffing first and the first thing I do is put sage and thyme in a frying pan with butter and a diced onion as soon as I’m smelling the herbs bloom I pour it over a big bowl of tore up bread bits. Then I get Kim to stir that while I do it again but with black pepper in the butter, and summer savory. This I pour over Tater Tots that I’ve tossed in flour once they’re coated those go in the oven to crisp some. Then it’s a whole head of celery diced even the leaves into the frying pan and I grate a parsnip just the one into that and once the celery is softened It all gets mixed together and put into a casserole dish. It’ll go in at the last minute to bake off.

Dressing is next, my family just uses mashed skin on potatoes, cooked onions, summer savory and a pinch of dried thyme. The trick though is leave the potatoes a little wet and when you butter the baking dish you use instant potatoes to “flour” it and you get this great crust on it when it’s done.

My turkey is thawed by now and I don’t put stuffing or dressing in the bird it messes with the cooking but what I do use inside of it is a couple of apples with cuts in them to let the juices out and some fresh thyme sprigs one small bit of rosemary because it’s strong and then it goes on a bed of carrots, celery, onions, and some chunks of cut up squash. This acts as a rack and the juices from the veggies will add to the gravy. The last thing for the bird is the bacon fat from this morning. I take the turkey baster and inject that into the bird. I wrap the top of the turkey with cling wrap/film/plastic and then two layer of foil.

I seen this on TV the cling film won’t melt because of the foil and all the steam will be trapped in there and all the juices. It goes right into the over at medium low and it’ll cook low and slow all day, I’ll only take the stuff off at the last minute for it all to brown up.

We clean up some after that and take a break before we get into baking. Raven went and came back with her guitar and she fiddles around and starts to play and sing. It’s just messing around then it’s my turn.

“Here, this is actually one of Jase’s favorite bands and a great tune too. I tune a bit and go into “You might kinda like this one Rave, it kinda fits stuff Y’know.”

I try to find a way in my head to sing it and it kind of has a sound like a Cheryl Crow song as I start playing. “When it’s Over.” By *Sugar Ray.*

When it's over
That's the time I fall in love again
And when it's over
That's the time you're in my heart again
And when you go go go go
I know
And it never ends
It never ends

[chorus]
All the things that I used to say
All the words that got in the way
All the things that I used to know
Have gone out the window
All the things that she used to bring
All the songs she used to sing
All the favorite TV shows
Have gone out the window

I'm missing you
I never knew how much she'd loved me
I'm missing you
I never knew how much you meant to me
I need you and when you go go go go
I know
It never ends
Never ends

[chorus]
All the things that I used to say
All the words that got in the way
All the things that I used to know
Have gone out the window
All the things that she used to bring
All the songs she used to sing
All the favorite TV shows
Have gone out the window

I'm wishing you
You never said you were pretending
I'm wishing you
You feel the same and just come back to me
I need you and when you go go go go
I know
It never ends
It never ends
When it's over
Can I still come over
And when it's over
Is it really over
When it's over
That's the time I fall in love again

[chorus]
All the things that I used to say
All the words that got in the way
All the things that I used to know
Have gone out the window
All the things that she used to bring
All the songs she used to sing
All the favorite TV shows
Have gone out the window

All the things that I used to say
All the words that got in the way
All the things that I used to know
Have gone out the window
All the things that she used to bring
All the songs she used to sing
All the favorite TV shows
Have gone out the window

Sugar Ray is a really underrated band as me as Jason was a fan. Not like OGM they’re the shit but there’s a lot of Sugar Ray on my old play lists. And this is a really feel good, break up song. And pretty catchy too as Kim and Raven join in with me providing harmony and Kim’s dancing along with it.

We’re smiling by the time I’m done and Kim looks at me. “I wish I could do that, I mean I can sing a little but you just did a cover of a guys song but sounding different.”

I give her a hug. “Hey I’m just weird, when most of what I was doing was just songwriting I wanted to try and capture the voice of who I though a song would fit so I tried to copy them as much as I could. I never thought that I’d sing in public because well I sound so girl like most of the time.”

“Yep, you’re weird.” She says as she hugs me and we get back to cooking.

Kim’s actually interested coming from the land of take out and the microwave from her home and she’s actually getting a bit more confidence as she chops stuff but cooks too. I’m making not just supper but things for Dad and them for later. You can’t really rush the turkey so I’m making things and I’ve got Kim actually cooking sausages and ground beef which she was afraid of doing before I told her stuff like once you get the sear on it you can turn it down, or how to add little splashes of water and a lid to steam meats a little bit at a time.

I have every little container we have that we can freeze things in out and some freezer bags too all cleaned and masking tape and a marker and while Raven’s getting several pots of beans going I’m cleaning out the freezer of the fridge and deep freezer. There’s stuff that need to be used and there’s stuff that needs tossed because of being freezer burn’t.

Good fast meals for both places because we are taking stuff home out of all of this. It’s a lot of work and I go through the preserves too and empty the bad stuff that’s just too old to eat and clean and sterilize the bottles again and I even get the BBQ going outside. The BBQ is good for the meat that I’m saving I’m getting grill marks on the stuff and some smoke before it goes into the stew pots.

I’ve got every pot going with every burner at one points but we use up all the stuff that we needed to and I’m really seeing how Mom took care of us and how much dad and I were trying but still just going through the motions.

There’s beef stew, chicken stew, chili and baked beans, and a really thick chowder and I put the chowder and some of the others into jars and get them sealed and boiled. Some of the other stew and chili goes into pot pies the beef getting the whites chopped of a green onion added, the chicken the green tops and the chili lots of grated cheese before getting a lid and getting baked off. As much work as it is by the time the three of us are done it used up a lot of stuff. Some of those pies will go in the fridge and the freezer and I make stuff tat goes with them in the other dishes. Hot dogs for the beans cooked on the BBQ and added to the baked beans. Stew over sliced potatoes in layers with microwave times on them.

He’s my Dad…I love him and as Angel this is how I can show him that and not have all the stuff in the way of that.

And it just does sort of feel that Mom’s with me here and every little thing that gets done I can almost feel that sigh out of her like relief mixed with contentment.

Then it’s suddenly lunch time and we feed everyone after I send Kim over to the garage and I feed us new bread and wood smoke kissed baked beans and chili along with some deer/venison ribs that had to be used I rubbed first with brown sugar, pepper and instant coffee mixed with some steak spice.

Brooklyn’s dirty and grease smudged and as hard as they’ve been working her eyes are so bright, she’s bouncing as she’s eating and honestly happy the guys are talking about her car and the stuff they did and she’s just talking a mile a minute about it too. Then there’s talk about Mike’s car this 72 Impala they’re going to be working at and even stuff about some of the places that Mike and his dad have lived and done…like Mike fighting in that charity tournament thing and him going to a couple of schools where there were gangs that they couldn’t do stuff about or drugs in this school in Montreal and it’s all really cool and it’s really making Mike blush in front of us girls and I can see all of it though.

The guy that watches our stuff, helped with the van, kissed my finger, caught me when I fell.

Oh damn, I am so screwed.

They head back to the garage and Kim goes with them this time because she wants to learn stuff too and it’s getting to where I’m just baking so Raven goes back to the porch to go online and write some and I get back into it.

Cookies of course and I make some pies with some of the bags of berries and frozen fruit. I make a lot of peach pies and apple too. Dad has a few farmers that run orchards he knew from back when and he’ll drive two hours to help fix their stuff when it breaks down and they send bags of peach and apple slices to pay us back. I make my dessert for tonight which is coconut cream pie.

I take the bags of sweetened coconut we had and put it into the majik bullet blender I love these things because it’s strong enough to take regular sugar and make powdered sugar. I use it to make powdered sweetened coconut and I dump it into a pot of milk and let it stew and then make a custard with it ad eggs and some vanilla and cheat by adding that to a boxed mix and I make two pies one with meringue and another with whipped cream topping and once I’m to where it’s just about taking things in and out of the top oven as they cook I make a coffee and sit out by the BBQ with my acoustic and play and watch them over at the garage. I see Mitch using Mike to show Kim and Brooklyn stuff to defend themselves while they’re doing the cars and I can hear them shouting, laughing and it just makes me smile.

But I’m still thinking of that big question. Transition, being a girl for real and what that might mean for me and Raven but Mike too. I know I know raven a lot more than Mike and he’s got no idea that I’m a boy but I’m honestly attracted and the more that I see of him the more I like.

And as much as I’ve said that this isn’t something that’s there but now after that talk it’s there in my mind and I sort of daydream as I play about what and who I’d be like. Some of those daydreams leave me needing a few moments…to breathe and let my panty situation resolve itself.

Yes it does happen for me, I don have those dreams and feelings I just don’t dwell on them as Raven has starred in more than a few of them. But I’ve read enough porn in my life even some of the gay stuff on the odd curious streak that Mike starred in the daydreams too today.

I look over though at the guys and how they are with the girls and I heard a new version of a good song that just fit’s the afternoon and everything I see going on.

I start singing a song I’m going to do a cover for one of these days. “Holding out for a Hero.” But the *Ella Mae Bowen* version.

Where have all the good men gone
And where are the gods?
Where's the streetwise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?

Isn't there a white knight
Upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and turn
And dream of what I need

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong, he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight.
I need a hero
I'm Holding out for a hero till the morning light,
He's gotta be sure, He's gotta be soon, and he's gotta be larger than life, Larger than life.

Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasies
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There's someone reaching back for me

Racing on the thunder
And rising with the heat
Isn't there a Superman
To sweep me off my feet?

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong, he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be Fresh from the fight.
I need a hero
I'm Holding out for a hero till the morning light,
He's gotta Sure, He's gotta be soon, and he's gotta be larger than life.

Up where the mountains meet the heavens above
Out where the lightning splits the sea
I could swear that there's someone somewhere
Watching me

Through the wind and the chill and the rain
And the storm and the raging flood
Oh, his approach is like a fire in my blood

I'll meet a hero
And then we'll dance till the morning light
Dreaming, he will lead me
Held tight, tonight's the night

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong, he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero till the morning light
He's gotta be sure, he's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life, larger than life

Ooooh
Larger than life
Larger than life
Oh maybe, maybe, maybe tonight
Oh

“That was pretty awesome Angel.” I look over and Mike’s there and he’s got the coffee pot. He refills my mug and takes a sip of his and sets the pot on the BBQ.

“Uhm thanks Mike.”

“I’ve never heard it sung that way before.”

“Ella Mae Bowen does this version, it just fit watch you guys.”

“With everything that you girls did today here too the place it should apply to you girls too.”

I blush. “Thanks Mike.”

“Your dad hasn’t really stopped smiling all day.”

“Uhm…my Dad?”

“Dad…step dad…I’ve seen the pictures in the house Angel, you look just like your Mother.”

“Uhm…”

“It’s okay, I know you’re here to help out and take care of your dad. Look it’ll be okay…I’ve dealt with stuff like this before and we’ll take care of Adam and them and your brother can come home.”

“Oh…yeah…Dad misses him I think.”

“Yeah, he talks a lot about him. But he talks a lot about you too Angel, maybe you should stick around after all of this blows over…Jace and him need a girl around just so they don’t get this way again.”

“So I’ll be the maid?” I say smiling, sort of recovering a bit.”

“No…no…nothing like that but, there’s nothing like the way a woman can make a house into a real home. It makes a huge difference really.”

“It does?”

“Yeah…I better get back….everything smells terrific by the way.” He looks at me and walks over to me and leans over moving my guitar out of the way.

This time he does kiss me.



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