Bears Know Best
Part 7 of 28
Edited by Carla Ann
Thirteen year-old Taylor Landt’s step-mother believes that he should be the next great football player for the high school he’ll be attending in the fall. Having a dad who is an accomplished professional linebacker, and growing up surrounded by professional football coaches and players should all but guarantee his ability to dominate on the field. Unfortunately he hates playing football, and knows his height and build will never allow him to be successful at the sport. Faced with an obsessive step-mother who ignores his obvious talents in other areas but instead thinks he is a blight on his father’s reputation, Taylor does the unthinkable and moves to Ohio to live with his mother who abandoned their family and left him with his father eight years ago.
Soon after his arrival, Taylor discovers there’s more to his inability to follow in his fathers’ footsteps than just his height. Will it be possible for him to make friends in a new town in the middle of nowhere outside the shadow of his dad's fame? Will Taylor be able to finally make peace with his mother who abandoned them all those years ago? And how long can he keep his secrets to himself?
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The Legal Stuff: Bears Know Best © 2012 By Tiffany Shar
This is a work of fiction. Names, Characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 By Tiffany Shar. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.
Like the first three books I posted here on BigCloset, I will be posting a full copy here on BigCloset. I will be posting it up in 28 installments, but that may change if I feel like a posting needs more. The book has a total of 35 chapters and a short epilogue. The full version should be completely posted by September. For those that cannot wait however, I have an e-book version of the full book available from Lulu.com as of today. You may find it at My Store. My assumption is that the majority of my readers would be more interested in this edition of the book rather than a hardback or paperback. There are two types of eBooks available depending on how you wish to read it. One is the ePub format that you should be able to load on any e-reader (you may need an additional app, but I believe all will read it), and the other is a standard PDF formatted file. I believe the PDF is the best way to read it on a computer screen personally. If you enjoy this work perhaps you will consider supporting me by purchasing it ($8.95 for the eBook formatted files).
Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy reading Bears Know Best!
Chapter 10: Friends
I EVENTUALLY MUST have fallen asleep that night, because my alarm was the next thing I knew. I really didn’t feel like running that morning, but I felt like I should. I threw on my workout clothes and put my hair up into its traditional ponytail for the run. I ran into a problem though with my bangs. I eventually found some bobby pins that we’d bought and managed to pin them to the main part of my hair that was pulled back by the scrunchie. It was a slightly different look than I’d had in the ponytail before.
I headed downstairs after texting Alyssa to let her know I was going running. She said she’d be up for it too.
“I wish you hadn’t put your hair in a ponytail, I want to see it!” She told me as she greeted me at her door.
I smiled, “Hopefully I’ll be able to get it back to the style after a shower.”
“Oh my God! Your nails are gorgeous!!!” She exclaimed when she caught sight of them. I let her have my hand to look at them more, all while smiling. “Are your toes done too?”
“Uh-huh, I can’t believe that she did them in front of me like that,” I told her.
“You mean they’re not wraps?”
“Pre-made, they just stick them on and glue them?”
“No, she glued the jewels on and painted the flowers on herself.”
“That is so awesome!” She told me.
‘I guess I know what to get her for her birthday…’ I thought to myself. ‘Whenever that is...’
“I know, right?” I said. The two of us started off on our morning jog, with me pushing it more than the last couple days.
Alyssa was really getting out of breath about half-way through, so I slowed down. “I really need to get you into cycling,” she said, “then I can make you be the one out of breath,” she told me.
“Whenever you want to try it,” I suggested.
“I said I would didn’t I?”
“How about we do that instead tomorrow morning?”
“As long as you have a bike I can borrow?”
“Yeah, I do. I had Dad work on it last night when he came home,” she told me.
“What am I going to wear?” I asked her teasingly.
“I definitely have a cycling jersey and shorts you can borrow,” she told me with a smile.
“I just hope I’m able to keep up enough to see your dust,” I told her.
She laughed breathlessly as we continued on the route. It wasn’t long before we arrived at our houses. “What are you up to today?” I asked her.
“Not much, you?”
“I didn’t have much planned, you mind if I come over, and we’ll do something?” I suggested.
“We’ll think of something,” she said. “I can’t wait to see your hair!” she added excitedly.
“I’ll try and do it justice from yesterday,” I told her as I went towards my house. I pulled my key out of the hidden pocket in my shorts and unlocked the front door.
Given my excitement to show off my hair I was trying to also find something that I thought would look pretty to wear. I started shoving things around in my closet with a vengeance. I didn’t have a lot of choices in there… I liked several of the outfits we’d purchased last night, but they were all in the laundry to be washed later. For so few of clothes, I was genuinely not sure what to wear!
My eyes finally settled on the least masculine piece of clothing in the closet, a sundress.
I picked it up off of the rod, and held it up to me. I’d tried it on in the store quickly, but that had lasted all of five minutes. ‘It’s pretty enough,’ I said to myself. I shrugged and decided it was ‘it.’ I remembered Alyssa saying I would need a specific bra for this dress, grabbed it, and a pair of matching panties.
The shower itself was interesting… I was determined to be as girly and pretty as possible, so I used the new razors and shave gel to shave my legs and armpits. There wasn’t much there, but I couldn’t believe the change in the sensation of the water running over them as I rinsed off. Running this morning had made my head sweat too much for me to not wash my hair, so I did that as quickly as I could. It seemed a little easier to get the shampoo and conditioner out this morning, ‘Well, she did cut a chunk of hair out.’
I clambered out of the shower as soon as I felt like I had rinsed my hair out thoroughly. I stared at my wet hair and had a moment of panic, hoping I could make my hair go back to the way it had been yesterday.
‘Breathe Taylor,’ I told myself. I started with the blow dryer, and began brushing it in place as soon as it was dry.
‘I did it!’ I exclaimed to myself a while later. My hair looked exactly like it did yesterday! I brushed my teeth, put deodorant on, and finally remembered I needed to put on my underwear and my… dress… I was nearly shaking as I put the bra on, but my dress was soon on. I thought I looked great, and I hadn’t even put makeup on yet. Sure I had done everything in the bathroom, I headed to my room and began trying to put makeup on.
I started with the primer, just like she had yesterday. Then I moved onto the foundation, ‘that’s not too hard,’ I said to myself. I then used the brush she’d given me and added a bit of the powder to finish it, and was fairly impressed with how well I’d done. There was a single shade of eye shadow in there, but I wasn’t as sure about how to apply it right. I stared at the brush for a few minutes, and decided to wait on it. The eyelash curler was something I’d watched Mom use as a little kid, and the mascara was easy enough to put on, I thought.
The only problem I ran into was that I touched the end of the mascara to my eyelid on accident! ‘Crap, crap, crap…’ I yelled at myself.
‘Get a grip, just wipe your eyelid off,’ the calm part of me said. A moment later I couldn’t see the mistake. I smiled, and so did the girl in the mirror, ‘Wow!’ I said to myself. ‘Not done yet though,’ I added. I didn’t want to go overboard with the jewelry, but I found a set of magnetic clip-on blue flowers that matched my dress, and a silver necklace with a treble clef on it to put on.
“Shoes!!!” I said aloud to myself, and bounded for my closet. The wedges I’d worn the other day came to mind, and I found my pair that we’d bought that night.
I took one more look at my reflection, then grabbed my iPhone, purse, and headed out the door to Alyssa’s. I hoped that Alyssa was as impressed with how I’d done as I was. Considering I’d been dressing as a girl for all of three days now…
I rang the doorbell and jumped as the door practically exploded off of its’ hinges. “Oh my God!!!!” Alyssa screamed, “You look great!”
I went inside to keep from causing a scene.
“You really think so?”
“You’ve got to be kidding? You looked at yourself in the mirror, right?”
“Okay, I’m proud of myself, but I had no idea if it wasn’t just me.”
“It’s not just you Taylor, you’re a genuine babe!” she told me with a smile. “And I’m so jealous of the haircut, I may have to get something similar done!”
I blushed a bit, “Yours looks great too,” I told her. I meant it, she really did have great looking hair.
She smiled, “It does, but I’m looking for something new I think,” she told me. “You did a really great job with your makeup too.”
“I did what I could, I have no idea how to use eye shadow, and Mom didn’t buy me much in the way of choices there,” I added.
“Well, we’ll have to fix that before school. Honestly, you have enough on for an ordinary day look,” she consoled.
“I have a feeling my mom is going to be kind of restrictive there,” I told her.
“My mom was for a while,” Alyssa said, “until I turned fourteen she didn’t want me wearing any makeup,” she said with a grimace.
“Don’t tell my mom that,” I told her, “I’m only thirteen still.”
“When is your birthday?”
“July seventeenth, a little over four weeks away!”
“We’ll have to do something special for it,” she told me.
“I’d like that, not sure though what all is going to be going on at this point,” I grimaced, “who knows if I’ll even be out of bed at that point if I have to have surgery.”
“If you do, we’ll bring the party to you!” Alyssa assured me.
“Thanks,” I said.
“What do you want to do this afternoon?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t really have any plans. At some point I probably should practice today, but other than that it’s not like I have anything I have to get done.”
“What would you think about getting together with my friends Breanna and Danielle?” She asked.
“Is that a good idea?” I asked. “Do you think they’ll figure out something is wrong?”
“What do you mean?”
“That I’m not really a girl… or something…?”
“I didn’t believe it when you were trying to be a boy! I promise you’ll be fine!”
I sighed, “Sure then.”
“What are we going to do?”
“Not sure yet, we’ll decide when we have everyone here.”
The next twenty minutes were a flurry of text messages from and to her friends, and I sat nervously hoping that I’d be okay and liked by her friends. They were both apparently quite bored, and the idea of meeting the ‘new girl,’ sounded like the most exciting thing since school let out the week before. It took a half-hour before they both drove up in Danielle’s moms’ car.
The doorbell rang, and Alyssa greeted them in the doorway. They jabbered for a moment, before she said, “This is Taylor.”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” I said.
“It’s so awesome to have someone new here!” Breanna said.
“Yeah, we’ll all have to go trolling the beach this weekend!” Danielle said with a smile.
Both girls were pretty, and from the cheerleading shirt that Danielle wore I was pretty sure she must be on the cheer squad. Breanna was also pretty, but seemed a little more on the nerdy side for some reason to me. The four of us ended up sitting down in their home theater room to talk.
“I love your nails!” Danielle said when she caught sight of them.
“Wow!” Breanna said, “Are those stick-ons?”
I shook my head, “No, the lady at the salon did everything by hand. Well, she glued on the little gems and pearls, but everything was done by hand.”
“That’s amazing,” Breanna breathed.
“So where are you from?” Danielle asked.
“Atlanta,” I answered.
“Why in the world did you move up here?” Breanna asked.
I was certain I was now going to be the absolute star of attention, and I had to think about what my story was supposed to be here. Alyssa of course knew the full truth, but I wasn’t going to tell everyone else that. “I’ve been living down there with my dad for eight years since Mom left and divorced him,” I started. “It was great, I loved living with him, and he’s really great…”
“But?” Danielle asked.
I sighed, “Two years ago my dad married again… and my step-mom and I don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.”
“That’s rough.” Breanna said. “Boy problems?”
I couldn’t help but giggle, “Something like that.” I was amused that she was so close, yet not. “Mainly things about my appearance,” I added.
“Oh… really?” She asked, looking at me. “You look like every mothers’ dream daughter to me.”
“Maybe… but we didn’t get along very well.” I said, mentally thinking about what my step-mom’s reaction to my current appearance would be.
“Why did you live with your dad in the first place?” Danielle asked, “Don’t kids normally live stay with their moms when divorces happen?”
I had a feeling these two girls were going to be good friends, they were with Alyssa, but I hadn’t planned on getting into this with them. ‘Oh well,’ I sighed inwardly. “Mom thought I’d be better off with Dad, since he had a lot more money and income than her at the time.”
“Oh, what does he do?” Breanna prompted.
“He’s a football player,” I said.
“What do you mean?” Breanna asked.
“Like a real football player?” Danielle asked more excitedly.
I nodded, “He’s a starting linebacker for Atlanta.”
“For real???” Danielle asked. Well, it was more of an excited squeal that amounted to those words.
“Yeah, do me a favor though, and please don’t tell anyone else. If you guys weren’t close friends with Alyssa I probably wouldn’t have told you.”
“Why? That’s like totally awesome!” Danielle chimed in.
“Because having a famous dad isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” Alyssa said for me.
Both of their faces fell into both confusion and I could tell they couldn’t understand. I sighed, “It gets a little annoying when everyone knows your dad, and everyone expects you to act a certain way, or acts weirdly towards you, and stuff like that,” I thought that was a safe answer they might understand.
Breanna nodded, she seemed to get it. “I guess I can see that. Did your step-mom marry him for his fame?”
I nodded, she was perceptive. “I think they really do love each other, but she definitely loves him for his fame as much as anything. Anytime I did anything that might cause problems in the press she was really hard to deal with.” A part of me wanted to explain more, and I might still at some point, but I didn’t want to shoot my chances in this new town completely down yet.
Danielle and Breanna each gave me a smile. Danielle said, “That does seem rough.”
“It kind of was. Rachel, my step-mother, and I got into it about a month ago and I decided to come here and try to live with my mom.”
“I hope you like it here,” Breanna said. “It’s kind of boring… but it’s not a terrible place I guess,” she said the last part kind of skeptically.
I smiled, “Places are what you make of them,” I started, “I’m sure it’ll be a fun time!” I don’t know where that part came from, but I genuinely felt like we were going to have a good time being friends.
The four of us sat and talked non-stop for several hours, mainly about me. Danielle and Breanna grilled me as much as any CIA interrogator ever would. It was obvious to me that Alyssa had two really awesome friends in these two, and the four of us bonded quite a bit in the afternoon. We took a brief break for a pizza that we ordered, but the conversation never stopped.
I discovered that Danielle was a sweet girl, but definitely a cheerleader. I was kind of amazed that she was going to be able to do cheerleading and still play flute in band this fall. Where I was from that would never have worked, you had to choose one or the other. Breanna was also in band, on bassoon normally, but was going to play bass drum for marching band. The four of us ended up having a pretty geeky conversation about band, and I was sad to think about the step down I was making with the band in this town compared to my old school.
‘Maybe I can help improve it!’ I thought to myself. ‘I definitely need to be taking lessons from someone good in Cleveland though, or I’m going to fall behind…’
“She’s got the most beautiful horn you’ve ever seen!” Alyssa said at one point.
“I don’t like to brag, but I think so too actually,” I said.
“I can’t wait to see it,” Breanna said.
“So what else are we doing today?” Alyssa asked.
“Well… we could go to the beach?” Danielle suggested.
I shuddered inwardly, I hadn’t really worn my new bikini yet, and I wasn’t quite ready for that display. Alyssa was incredible though, “Ah, today is going to be the wrong day, I think it’s supposed to start raining in a bit.”
Sure enough, about that time Alyssa wasn’t lying, as it started pouring outside.
“Yeah, the beach doesn’t seem like a good idea right now,” I said.
“Board game?” Breanna suggested.
“Well, since we’re getting ‘bored,’ that seems as good of a plan as any,” Alyssa said and the rest of us all groaned. The four of us made our way over to a cabinet in Alyssa’s home theater room and I expected to see games like Monopoly, Life, and the like. There were several like that, but there were also a ton I had no clue what they were.
Breanna was the first to notice my inquisitive glance. “Alyssa’s parents have always had odd tastes in board games. They were both into things like Dungeons and Dragons as college kids.”
I found myself looking at Alyssa’s parents a bit differently, “So those are the kinds of games you grew up with?” I found myself smiling a little bit, she had fairly nerdy parents!
“Yep,” she said smiling back, “and don’t worry, I’m not like them. They do have a few games though which are different and kind of cool,” she added.
“Like?” I asked. She pointed to a box labeled ‘Settlers of Catan,’ “That one is actually a lot of fun. It’s all about getting resources and building up a bigger set of towns and such than everyone else.”
“She needs to play that one,” Danielle said with a smile.
“She’s corrupted you two over the years?” I asked amused.
“Well, we make her play girly games at our houses!” Breanna defended.
“You guys are awesome,” was my only response. I didn’t want them to think I was going to make fun of them for it. They just beamed back.
I was every bit as bit of a nerd, but I’d never been into the games like that. The four of use ended up setting up the board game that involved some odd shaped cards that were randomly put out to make resources. The rules seemed really odd at first, but really were pretty simple in the end. Alyssa won the first game, Danielle the second, and finally I managed to squeak by with the third. It was at that point that I figured out it was already four-thirty in the afternoon as my phone rang.
I saw ‘Mom’ listed on it, and suddenly felt guilty that I had never taken her picture to use as a contact photo on my phone. ‘Well, you did kind of hate her guts for most of your life…’
“Hey Mom!” I said happily.
“Hi Taylor, say I’m on my way home with some things to make dinner, do you think you can be home in ten minutes?”
I was a little sad that I was going to have to leave my new friends, but I said, “Yes I’ll meet you there.”
As I hung up I smiled at my new friends. “You guys are a blast, I hope I get to hang out with you again soon!”
“I’m sure we will,” Danielle said with her own smile. The three of them walked upstairs with me, I grabbed my purse and traded numbers really quick with Danielle and Breanna so we could text each other, and maybe get together sometime. Danielle especially seemed to be someone I would get along with really well. I suspected that if I’d been raised a girl, I would have been every bit as much of a girly cheerleader as she was.
I WALKED THE short walk to my house and unlocked the front door. I’d barely sat my purse down on my dresser upstairs when I heard the garage door open. I reached the door to the garage from the kitchen just as Mom was opening it up. She had a few grocery bags in her hand. “Do you need help with any of the rest of it?” I asked.
“This is all I picked up,” she told me with a smile.
I looked through her bags and saw that there was a loaf of French Bread, a tray of pre-cut veggies, a package of sausage, several blocks of cheese, and a single bottle of beer. “What’s the beer for?” I asked quizzically. Mom didn’t drink at all, it just didn’t appeal to her.
“I thought we’d do a cheese fondue tonight,” she said with a hopeful look on her face. I think she was afraid I’d say something about hating the idea.
“Umm… that sounds good… I guess…” her face fell, and I finished, “I’ve never had a fondue for dinner.”
“It’s quick and easy,” she said smiling at me. “Maybe at some point we’ll make a trip to ‘The Melting Pot’ for a real meal with it.”
“That sounds like fun,” I told her. “What do you need me to do?” I asked.
“Well, why don’t you put on one of my aprons over there so you don’t get stuff all over your dress,” she suggested first.
As I tied the apron around me I couldn’t help but feel for some reason it made me feel even more of a girl, it was kind of weird. When Rachel first moved in I helped her cook, but she never had me put an apron on. Instead she just scolded me when I would get stuff on my clothes. Cooking with her wasn’t really much fun, so I had stopped not long after she moved in.
“Here, why don’t you work on cutting up the bread and sausage?” she suggested. Mom showed me how she wanted bite sized pieces and left me to it. I noticed her watch me make the first few cuts to make sure I wasn’t going to chop off my fingers. Dad had shown me how to cook before Rachel ever came into the picture though, so I was fine with the knife. While I sliced up those two things she grated three kinds of cheese up into a bowl.
I was done before she was done grating cheese, so I walked over to see what she was doing. “Here, why don’t you mix up the cheeses,” she suggested. “I’m going to get the flour.”
I had no idea what she meant, but I started lightly mixing the cheeses with my hand in the bowl. It seemed like there were two white cheeses and a cheddar cheese in there. She came over and dumped a small amount of flour in there and had me keep mixing. The cheese took on a real light coating, and she pronounced it ready to go. It was obvious we’d be eating at the breakfast bar as she had setup an electric fondue pot there and poured in part of the beer. I watched as she added in a bit of cheese at a time until she had a nice consistency.
Some salt and pepper were added, and she said, “Dig in!”
I used a fondue fork she provided to dip a piece of bread into the mixture, and blew on it lightly. I had a feeling that it would otherwise be like placing molten lava into my mouth! “Mmmm!” I said, “That’s really good!”
“And really simple!” she added with a smile.
The two of us spent a half-hour eating and dipping broccoli, carrots, the bread, and pieces of sausage into the cheese dip. All the while she interrogated me about my day and my new friends. “That’s great that you’ve made some new friends,” she told me.
“Yeah,” I said. “Honestly, I already have better friends here than I did back home,” I added sadly.
She gave me a squeeze as we began cleaning up the small mess. It really wasn’t too bad of a mess really, and we had things cleaned up in a short while. “Want to go pick out a movie to watch?” She asked me.
I shrugged, “Sure,” and headed over to the TV and found way more in the way of DVDs than most people had. I felt a little bit bad that it probably meant she spent a lot of time watching DVDs at home alone. A part of me was of the opinion that she got what she deserved when she left me, but I was warming to her more in the last week than I had in eight years.
As I browsed her DVDs I saw a Disney movie I’d been too afraid I’d be labeled a sissy for watching before, and asked, “Is Tangled any good?” to Mom who had just rounded the breakfast counter.
She smiled wide, “It’s great!”
“I haven’t seen it before,” I told her.
“I know you’ll like it, it’s better than Beauty and the Beast,” she winked at me as she said that.
“I don’t know about that…” I said with a bit of feigned skepticism.
She smiled back at me, “Why don’t you put it in and I’ll go grab some movie essentials.”
“Umm… okay,” I told her.
I had no idea what she was going to grab, but did as she said and placed the DVD in the player. As I sat down and began skipping through all of the annoying ads she came over with popcorn, and a blanket. For the next ninety minutes I curled up with my mom and watched the movie, giggling and laughing together.
At the end of the movie she gave me a squeeze and asked, “So, better than Beauty and the Beast?”
I frowned, “Maybe… That was pretty good. Maybe if we watch it a hundred more times I’ll be able to tell,” I smiled at her.
“Uh-oh, I’ve created a monster,” she said.
I stood up to go to the bathroom and found my iPhone ringing just as I finished up. Dad’s picture was on there, and I quickly straightened out my hair in case he wanted to FaceTime. ‘I hope he thinks it looks okay…’ I said to myself.
“Hey Dad!” I said as I walked downstairs to the couch. I thought that my room might make it seem like Mom had planned this all along…
“Hi Taylor, how’s it going?”
“It’s going great Dad!”
“What have you been up to?” He asked.
I took a deep breath in, and said, “Well, yesterday Mom took me to go spend some of the money you put into my account, and I was able to get a haircut too!” I told him.
“You let someone cut your hair?” He asked in deep surprise.
“Well, not in off, more in a new style,” I said hesitantly.
“Is it pretty?” he asked just as timidly.
“I think so, you want to see?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said.
I could tell he was being weirded out here a bit, but being Dad I figured he’d survive. Plus, I wasn’t going to hide this from him. I pressed the button to change the call to FaceTime, and looked at my dad’s face through the camera. I held the phone away from me so he could get a good look, and even turned it around my head. “What do you think?” I asked.
“Besides being dizzy now?”
“I think you look very pretty Taylor,” he said.
About that point though I heard something from behind him. “Jake, who are you talking to?”
“Just Taylor sweetheart,” he told Rachel. I seethed a bit, I didn’t want to deal with her. I’d forgotten that he was supposed to be home tonight and she’d be there.
“Oh, let me see to say ‘hi,’” she said grabbing his phone and saw me. “Whoever you are, would you please pass the phone back to Taylor?”
“Umm… Rachel it’s me,” I sighed.
“What the hell???” She screamed at me. “Are you trying to be a fag?”
“Don’t you talk to my kid like that Rachel,” I heard dad say calmly to her. “Give me my phone,” he said calmly but assertively in a voice I knew from childhood to mean I was in trouble.
“Whatever!” she said and threw the phone to my dad who caught it.
“Taylor, I’m really sorry about that,” he told me. “She’s… well she’s not dealing with this well,” he said.
“Dad, I don’t mean to make you angry or anything, but this is what it’s been like with her for months.” I was crying, I couldn’t believe that she would be so mean with my dad right there!
“I guess I didn’t want to believe it sweetheart,” he said. “Look, I need to go sort out this with Rachel… if I can. I’ll talk to you again in a bit,” he said unhappily.
“Okay, I love you Daddy,” I said. On the way out I caught how weird the word felt, I hadn’t called him that for five or six years now.
“I love you too,” he told me and then the phone call was over.
I found myself crunching my knees into my body and holding on to my legs as the tears began to really flow. “Are you okay Taylor?” I heard dimly next to me as Mom sat down.
I shook my head.
“Did your dad not like your haircut?”
I shook my head, “He thought I was pretty,” I sobbed.
“So what happened?”
“That witch, that’s what happened,” I fairly screamed.
I felt her arms entangle me and loosen up my hold on my legs. She transferred the grip to her, and I just cried and cried for a long time. After a while I stopped crying long enough for her to ask, “So what happened?”
“Dad and I were talking, he was being great and accepting. Then Rachel came in and wrenched the phone out of his hand. She looked at me and asked for me to pass the phone back to Taylor before I told her it was me. She called me a ‘fag’ and threw the phone back at Dad,” I sobbed a bit more.
“I’m sorry sweetheart,” she said as she shushed me.
“Why does she have to be that way?”
“I don’t know sweetie,” she told me. “I don’t know.”
It was about ten when I became aware of the passage of time again. ‘It’s not fair!’ I yelled at myself. I’d tried to force myself to be able to act like a boy for all of those years, and now I knew I was probably really a girl. ‘Why couldn’t Rachel accept that?’ I screamed.
Mom convinced me that a bath would make me feel better, so I used another piece of one of the bubble bars that we’d bought yesterday. She was right, as by the time I climbed out of the bathtub and put on a pair of pajamas I did feel better. I brushed my hair out carefully and found my phone downstairs where I’d basically dropped it at the end of the call. There were ten text messages from Alyssa, and several from Danielle and Breanna too. I felt bad for not having responded to them all, so I sent off a few quick replies of ‘Sorry, my Dad and I were talking and my step-mom started World War Three.’
Of course all three of them sent condolences and Alyssa pried the most for information. I appreciated it. About eleven thirty I told them all my mom was yelling at me to get off my phone, and they believed it. The truth was I wasn’t used to this much interest in ‘me,’ and I was more than slightly overwhelmed. Alyssa and I were supposed to meet at her house at 7:45 so she could get me fitted in some of her old cycling clothes, and hopefully be able to get me to fit on her old bike. ‘I hope I don’t kill myself,’ I said. She sounded like she was pretty serious in the cycling stuff. It did sound like fun to me though!
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