Bears Know Best
Part 11 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 15: The Wait
THE NEXT MORNING I woke up and headed out with Alyssa for our fourth straight day of riding with each other in the morning. She decided to push it on a shorter ride, and see how fast I could ride and still keep up with her. We were pushing about twenty-five miles an hour for a bit before I had to slow down.
“Not bad,” Alyssa said to me when I rode up out of breath behind her to our houses.
“Not bad? You left me in the dust!” I complained.
“Yeah, but you’re also like eight inches shorter than I am, you have to use more energy to keep up with me,” she told me.
“That’s true,” I said and grimaced, “any way to overcome that?” I asked.
She shrugged, “If you can keep your cadence higher you might be better off,” she said as we both drank from our water bottles.
Alyssa went into a ten minute spiel explaining the idea of the cadence setting on my bike computer, and how eventually it could help out quite a bit.
“I guess that makes sense,” I told her.
She smiled, “I probably told you way more than you ever wanted to know… I am kind of obsessive about this stuff.”
“That’s okay; it’s fun to ride with you! Maybe I’ll get just as obsessed.”
I split off from her and headed into the house to take a shower. Mom had gone into work, but I was supposed to be ready by noon when she came back to pick me up. The shower felt great, and I took extra time with my hair and makeup so that I’d make a good impression on Mr. Fark. He was considered one of the greatest horn players in the country, and I really wanted to study with him.
‘I hope Mr. Harringen didn’t tell him too much about me…’ I thought nervously to myself. Explaining why I was a girl now was not something I really wanted to do. ‘At least you really are a girl,’ I reminded myself. For not the first time I felt bad for those that I had read about online that had always wished they’d been born in another body. I’d never even had a single dream like that, and it came true for me.
When I finished getting ready I thought I looked pretty, and was reasonably confident that I would make a good impression on both appointments today. ‘I should go warm-up,’ I said to myself and headed downstairs to get my horn. I spent a good hour just on my warm-up routine and getting the best sound I could before running through some orchestral excerpts and the two pieces I had prepared to play for him.
‘I hope it’s enough’ I thought to myself as I took out a polishing cloth and wiped down every surface of my horn. When I was certain it was clean, I unscrewed the bell and got it put away in the case. I took my music and put it in a folder and headed upstairs with both in hand. It was only ten-thirty so I didn’t know what to do. My lesson was supposed to be at one-thirty, but Mom was planning on leaving early enough to ensure we arrived there without rushing. He was meeting us at a music school.
I decided just to sit down and continue Twilight on my iPad.
“Ready sweetheart?” Mom asked, startling me. I hadn’t even heard her come in.
“Yeah,” I said, “let me go to the bathroom really quick.” I told her. I decided to save time by just using the downstairs half-bath, and we were soon on the road back to Cleveland. I kept reading my book on my iPad as we drove.
“We’re going to have to get you some more books for that thing before you go in,” Mom suggested.
I nodded grimly. I was trying not to think about that. Mom decided to stop on the way in for lunch at Panera, and we both enjoyed half a sandwich and a bowl of soup. It was light enough I wasn’t worried about it upsetting my stomach for my upcoming audition. After the meal I excused myself to the restroom, where I brushed my teeth. When we were back in the car I pulled my mouthpiece out from my purse and annoyed Mom as I buzzed and warmed up on my mouthpiece some more.
“Do you have to do that in the car?”
“Mom, most pros spend an hour or more buzzing each day. I really want to do well in there…” I said worriedly.
She just shook her head and smiled, “You’ll do just fine!”
“Still…” I said and continued. I stopped a few minutes away and applied a thin coat of lip balm, hoping the telltale ring on my lips would fade by the time we arrived.
Mom drove through the same area of town we’d been in the day before, and drove up to the music conservatory. There were signs for visitor parking, and we were soon checking into a front desk with a security officer giving us directions down a corridor with little windows on thick soundproof doors.
When we came to the door that he had told us to go to, I looked inside and knocked. “Hello?” I asked politely.
“Taylor Landt?” the man sitting in a chair with a horn asked.
“Yes sir,” I replied.
His eyes narrowed for a moment and I wondered if my old teacher had mentioned I was a ‘he.’ “I’m James Fark,” he told me with a smile. He was in his mid-forties, and seemed like he’d probably been pretty handsome in his youth.
“It’s nice to meet you!” I told him, trying not to seem too excited.
“And you as well, Alan told me you are the biggest horn prodigy he’s seen come along in twenty years.”
I blushed, “He exaggerates a bit I’m sure,” I said modestly.
“Well, let’s see which one of you is correct,” he told me with a smile. There was a couch in the room where Mom sat to watch the lesson. He motioned to it and spoke with her for a few moments while I put my horn together.
“What would you like to hear?” I asked.
“What all do you have prepared?”
I listed off the excerpts and pieces I had ready, and noticed his eyebrow rise a bit on one of the pieces. He asked me to play two excerpts and the piece that caught his attention after a few scales. I played everything perfectly, or at least as perfectly as I had ever played them, and smiled as I saw his expression.
“You’re only thirteen?”
I nodded, “I’ll be fourteen in a couple weeks.”
“Amazing,” He said and muttered, “and you’re barely big enough to hold the horn,” with a shake of his head.“You don’t live in Cleveland, correct?” he asked my mom.
“No, Conneaut, it’s right next to the Pennsylvania border.”
“Hmm… Well, we’ll figure out a way to make lessons work out so it doesn’t inconvenience you more than we have to I suppose. That is a long drive!” He smiled. “I think we need to get you in touch with a couple of the youth bands in the area, it’s too late for the youth orchestra this year, but we might be able to pull a few favors in to get you into another group here.”
“Cool!” I said.
“What do you want to work on next?” He asked me. The two of us hit it off right away, and I had one of the most enjoyable lessons I’d ever had. I knew the check for these lessons was not going to be cheap, but I hoped I would learn a lot from him! As we left the lesson he gave us a list of pieces to buy, and suggested looking in the music store there for them.
“It was a pleasure to meet you Taylor, I look forward to working with you!” He told me as we left. We’d scheduled another lesson for Friday of next week, in the hopes I could get it in before the pre-op meeting.
I sighed as we got back into the car and headed for my meeting with Dr. Jacobson. “It won’t be that bad,” Mom assured me.
“Right…” I said.
The elevator to her office left me with plenty of time to be more nervous, along with all of the paperwork that was handed to us as we entered the office. “Can’t we just do one set of forms for this place and they share?” I asked while Mom finished the six-page questionnaire over insurance and past medical history.
She laughed, “You would think.”
As soon as Mom handed the secretary that set of forms, she handed me a clipboard to start filling out a questionnaire as well, but this one was random questions. ‘It must be some sort of personality test,’ I remarked to myself as I answered questions that seemed to never end. I noticed that several questions appeared more than once, but were worded slightly different. I had just managed to complete the hundredth, and final question, when I heard, “Taylor?”
I saw Dr. Jacobson smiling at me through a door and she invited me back to an office. We were directed to a couch together opposite a chair that she sat in. “Thanks for coming back in again today,” she told us.
“Well, whatever we need to do, we’ll do,” Mom told her.
“Here’s how I would like to handle these sessions, mainly I’d like to meet with Taylor alone. Anything Taylor says to me is for my ears only, unless I feel like Taylor’s life is endangered.” She looked at me seriously. “I won’t tell your parents anything that you don’t specifically tell me I can say.”
I nodded, “This isn’t my first time to an office like this,” I told her honestly. I felt mom cringe a bit next to me – she knew the other visits were her fault.
“Okay, well if we’re all clear on this, I’d like to see Taylor alone for about forty minutes, and then I’d like to talk to you alone for ten minutes Ms. Redding, and then both of you for ten more to finish,” she said.
“Sounds good,” Mom replied and she left back out to the lobby.
“So Taylor, I have to say I’m a little surprised to see you dressed like this today, I understood that you had never worn girls clothing before last week – correct?”
I nodded, and told her about the last week, and continued on through a ton of questions she presented. Some of her questions and answers were way more insightful than I ever expected to hear. I thought she was reading my mind sometimes, and she seemed to know it. After my forty minutes were up, Mom came in, and I sat back down in the lobby. It wasn’t long before I was back in there though, and Dr. Jacobson said, “Okay, I want to talk about a few things before you go today.”
“First, I think Taylor is adjusting just fine, and I don’t believe we’ll need to continue many of these sessions after the procedure. But, I do want to meet weekly, including while she’s in the hospital, so that we can deal with anything that comes up. We did discuss her anxiety over surgery a bit earlier Ms. Redding,” she said. It was the one thing I’d mentioned I was more than slightly nervous about.
“I know it’s making her nervous,” Mom said.
“Well, I guess that leads to something I feel like I should disclose to you both, and maybe I can be a little more of a resource to you Taylor. At one point I was in a similar office, talking to a person about somewhat similar issues,” she told me.
“You’re transgendered, aren’t you?” I asked.
“You guessed?” she seemed a little embarrassed.
“Not from your appearance or anything,” I assured her, “you just seemed to be able to read my thoughts a little bit too well.”
“You remind me of myself, but you’re going to be going through a whole different thing. Also, you’re getting this procedure done much sooner than I was able to.” She told me with a smile.
“Does it hurt?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered honestly. “It was one of the most miserable few weeks I’ve ever had in my life… Only one time outdid it, and there’s no reason to mention that one!” she said making light of something I figured must have been serious.
“You got through it though?”
“Yes, and so will you. That is, assuming you’re sure this is what you want to do…”
“It is, even if I didn’t have a choice, this would be the choice I’d make.”
“I believe you. Well, it’s time for me to send you out so I can get to my next patient. If you have any questions, concerns, or ever need to make an emergency phone call this is my cell phone number,” she said while handing Mom and I business cards. “Call day, night, whenever if you need to.”
“Thanks,” I said.
As we walked out of the door I said, “Thanks also for being upfront with me.”
She smiled and waved.
Mom and I walked down the hall to the elevator and I took in the chaotic surroundings that greeted us downstairs. People hustled around to various procedures, appointments, and countless other things in what must be a busy hospital. “I wonder what the Children’s Hospital will be like?” I asked Mom as we walked down the hallway.
Mom gave me a hug around my shoulders and then held my hand as we walked out the door. “I’m sure it’ll be nicer to stay in than here,” she assured me.
“They’re used to stir crazy kids!” she laughed, trying to make me feel better.
“I guess,” I said doubtfully. The doctors were doing my procedure there, even though most of them normally practiced at this hospital. They’d explained that the Children’s Hospital was better equipped to deal with ‘smaller bodies.’ I’d asked if that was a short joke yesterday…
I sat down in the seat and pulled my iPad onto my lap. I didn’t really know what our plans were at this point. “What do you want to do?” Mom asked.
I shrugged, “We’ve bought more clothes for me than I’m going to know what to do with for a while,” I told her, “we could still go shopping… but I don’t know where else to go?” I suggested.
She thought for a moment, “I can see why you’d be a bit shopped out right now. I guess head back home?” She suggested.
I nodded, “That sounds good.”
The truth was that the last two days had been beyond stressful, and I just wanted to go home and curl up more than anything else. The drive home was silent, not that I didn’t want to talk to Mom, but I just didn’t know what to say. Mom was just as overwhelmed and I sensed her stress. We ordered a pizza just before we arrived in Conneaut, and it was delivered shortly after we got home. I texted Alyssa to discuss the sleepover briefly, and then Mom and I found our way into pajamas and once again curled under a blanket on the couch.
“Mom…?” I asked.
I bit my lip, “Never mind.” I said.
“What?” She asked.
“No, I really mean it. Never mind,” I said.
She hugged me tightly, “What’s bothering you?”
I didn’t want to ask the question, but it came out anyway, “If you… If you had known I was a girl, would you still have left me with Dad?” I felt the tears streaming down my eyes. I felt like a terrible person for even asking such a question.
I felt her hug me tighter, “Taylor, you know I never wanted to leave you, right?”
I just sat still; even to this day I wasn’t sure I believed that. “I guess,” I finally said.
She sighed, “Taylor, leaving you was the last thing that I wanted to do… You know we’ve never had a civil discussion about this, are you sure you want to talk about this?”
I turned so I could face her and nodded through my watery eyes, “We need to,” I said.
She sighed again and stared at me a moment. “Taylor, before I left, your dad and I fought every single night. I didn’t think he was cheating on me, but he stayed out to all hours of the night a lot of times with the guys from the team. I was lonely, and he wasn’t letting me spend time with any other girls or guys, and I never saw the outside world without him present. It wasn’t that he was abusive per se, but he was very controlling. He’d been that way since we’d been dating in college, but it got worse as he grew more successful. Getting drafted by Atlanta didn’t help. Eventually I was going out of my mind.”
She paused as if to see if I was going to blow up, but a part of me was ready and needed to hear this. “When you were born it was a great moment for me, I loved you dearly… but I had some complications that kept me from completing my spring semester that I needed to graduate. With your Dad going to Atlanta, I felt like I had no choice but to go with him and leave school unfinished. For six years I felt helpless because he refused to let me get a job, and even if he had I wouldn’t have been able to get anything in the true professional world. In a word, I felt caged.”
I could see her eyes moistening. “I could have fought a custody battle with your dad for you, and being the mother I probably would have won. However, I knew for a fact the next three years were going to be really lean for me financially. You were past the point of needing diapers and stuff obviously, but raising a child isn’t cheap. Child support would have paid for it I suppose, but it seemed stupid to cheat you out of a good life that you could have with him. You always followed him around when he was home, and I felt like you were choosing him… little did I know that you were actually a daddy’s girl,” she said the last part with a giggle mixed in with a sniffle, “I’d known kids as I grew up that split weeks with their parents and that didn’t seem like the right answer either. So…” she paused, “I guess you know the rest.”
She looked like I’d kicked her, as sad as she looked, and I found myself giving her a hug I never would have before this move.
“You asked whether I would have left you if I’d known you were a girl… I don’t know, I think so,” she answered sadly. “Although I can’t imagine learning to be a young woman on your own, so I don’t know. All I know is that I’m sorry, and I love you more than you can ever know.”
“I love you too Mom,” I managed after several minutes of crying and sniffling from the two of us. We sat there together for a long time hugging.
“SO WHAT ARE you doing tomorrow?” Mom asked after the two of us had both gone to the restroom and wiped off our tear streaked faces.
“Did I tell you Alyssa invited me over for a slumber party?”
“No, you didn’t.” She paused, “Who’s going to be there?”
“Breanna and Danielle,” I answered.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this, and that this is a good idea?”
“I think so. I’ll make sure I change in the bathroom, and I’m sure Alyssa will run interference for me if something comes up.”
“Hmm… I guess that’ll be okay. You know you probably need a sleeping bag,” she told me.
“I hadn’t thought of that…”
“Probably should get you a duffle bag, a makeup bag, and a bunch of other travel things for nights like this too…”
I looked at the clock that hung above the TV, “Could we still go to Walmart tonight?” I suggested.
“It’s only nine…” she said, “Yes, but both of us need to triple check our faces!” she told me. “Don’t put more makeup on; just make sure your face is clear.”
“Okay,” I told her.
After changing back to street clothes the two of us set off for the nearest Walmart in a town over, and were in the store by nine-thirty. We quickly found a purple sleeping bag in the sporting goods area that would work for a slumber party, “I wouldn’t go camping with it,” she advised.
“What do you know about camping?” I asked.
“That’s something your dad and I had in common,” she told me with a smile.
“I didn’t know that,” I admitted. Dad had taken me on more outdoor camping trips than I cared to remember over the years. Other than being out in areas away from people they’d never really appealed to me.
We found a small duffle bag that I could keep clothes in and a couple other little things here and there for the night. Mom had teased me at one point picking up a little Barbie pull along suitcase, ‘It’s even the right size for you,’ she had joked. I’d politely pointed out she only had four inches on me, which had earned me a tongue sticking out at me.
We were home by ten-thirty, and I was in bed not ten-minutes later, exhausted.
THE NEXT MORNINGI was once again up and riding with Alyssa. We were about ten miles from home when one of her tires went flat. As she changed it on the side of the road we chatted, “So how did yesterday go with the shrink?” She asked.
“Okay I guess…” I told her.
“What was she like?”
I went on to describe her, but left out the fact that she was transgendered. If you met her you would never know, and I didn’t feel like I should give away her secret, even if she shared it openly with me. “Mainly we talked about how scared I am about the surgery,” I admitted as she was just pulling the tire back onto the rim.
“Just how bad is this surgery?” She asked me.
I sighed, “Well, they think it’s going to basically be similar to when you do a full operation on a transsexual, but they didn’t seem one-hundred percent certain the other day. I think they’ll know more on Tuesday, when they do the laparoscope,” I paused as she used her cartridge pump to fill up her tire. “That means they’re going to turn what’s there inside out, in my case connect up the various tubes more properly, and the recovery will be the worst part…”
I explained why.
“That sounds awful!” She said at first, “But, I know where to go when I want a vibrator!”
I slapped her lightly across the shoulder, “Gross! I am so not sharing with you,” I replied to get even with her.
The two of us began riding back home the last thirty some minutes of the ride. “So how long are you going to be in the hospital, total?”
“Well, they’re just guessing based on the other type of surgery, and that’s about seven to nine days in the hospital afterwards.”
“I’ll come visit, I promise!” She told me.
“You’d better,” I told her, “or I will go insane!”
“What’s this going part?” she joked as we pulled into the driveways.
I stuck my tongue out at her as we stepped off our bikes.
“Is your dad coming up for it?” she asked.
I nodded slightly out of breath, “Yeah and I think Rachel may too…”
“Have you talked to her anymore?”
“No.” I said, “And I don’t want to either.”
“I don’t blame you.” She told me.
“What time do you want me to come over?” I asked.
“Well… why don’t you come over after lunch?” She suggested, “That’ll give me some time to do some chores. Mom was yelling at me about them yesterday,” she smiled at that. “Oh! Do you have a sleeping bag?”
“Mom and I bought one last night,” I told her.
“Good, I didn’t think you wanted the one I used to use,” she said with a wink.
I looked at her strange, “Why?”
“It’s bubblegum pink with Disney Princesses on it. You’re actually still small enough to fit into it,” she joked.
“First my mom, now you,” I said indignantly, but smiled. “Anything else I need to bring?”
“Stuffed animals are optional, but encouraged!” she said with a smile.
“Okay,” I told her, and the two of us split off to our houses and our respective showers.
I had about four hours or so to kill it seemed. Alyssa had suggested just wearing a pair of shorts and a tank top tonight, so that’s what I found myself wearing with all of this time to kill. I felt fairly passionate about my playing after impressing such an awesome player yesterday, so I practiced for a couple hours before I realized it was already eleven. I cleaned up my horn and went upstairs to triple check my bag, and make sure I had everything I would need. My new sleeping bag sat next to it, and I put a pillow next to the pile.
‘What am I forgetting?’ I thought to myself. ‘Alyssa said to bring a stuffed animal…’ With that thought I went upstairs to grab Allie. The bear in a dress seemed especially prescient given the last few weeks. I hugged her for a moment, and then put her in my bag. I dragged everything downstairs then went back upstairs to get the charger for my iPhone.
With everything packed I had no idea what else I wanted to do, but decided lunch might be smart. Nothing looked that great in the cabinets, the fridge, or the freezer, so I settled for a salad from a mix that was in the fridge. I’d just finished up the leafy plate when my phone screen lit up next to me with a text from Alyssa, “You coming over soon?”
“Sure,” I replied.
“Cool!” She said, and added, “So excited, 2night will be fun! (-:”
I cleaned up my plate and began gathering up my bag and sleeping bag. ‘At least if I forget anything I can just run next door!’ I reminded myself. ‘That also applies to running away if something goes wrong,’ I added glumly. I didn’t really think anything would, but this was my first sleepover ever. I’d never even gone over to a friend’s house overnight before, mainly because I didn’t have any close friends!
I locked my door behind me, and walked the short distance across to Alyssa’s house. She was there in the open door when I walked up, “This is going to be fun!” she said again, she was practically bouncing off the walls. Once we set my stuff down in the basement theater room, we went back upstairs to her room.
“So… umm… what are we doing tonight?” I asked.
She looked at me for a second, and I thought I’d sprouted alien eyes or something, “What do you mean?”
“Well… I’ve never exactly been to a slumber party,” I said with a timid smile.
“Wow… I never thought about that! I’ve grown up going one every few weeks since I think I was seven,” she added. I could see in her face I’d truly just blown her mind. “Never?”
I shook my head, “Never, boys don’t do those kinds of things… but I’ve never even stayed the night at another friends house,” I added embarrassingly.
Suddenly I felt myself wrapped in a hug from her, “Well then,” she said as she parted from me, “we’ll just have to give you the full experience!” she giggled.
I giggled with her for a bit, before asking, “So, what are we doing?”
“Well, I thought maybe we’d get my mom to take us to go see a movie in town,” she said, “There’s a new one out that we have been talking about for a while.” She told me the name of it, and I recognized a movie that had sounded like a chic flick through and through.
“I guess I need to learn to like chic flicks,” I commented to her jokingly.
“Yes you do!” she said with a smile.
“So when is everyone else coming over?”
“Breanna is coming over about two-thirty, and Danielle is coming over about three,” she told me.
“So what are we doing until then?”
“You’re helping me!” she said and dragged me into the kitchen. “Here, help me chop up these vegetables.” She told me. The two of us created a tray of celery, carrots, and a few other things for tonight to snack on. After that we pushed a few things aside in the entertainment room so we’d all have space to lay out our sleeping bags later. We chatted nonstop while we prepared things.
“So what are you going to do when your dad comes in next week?” she asked.
I felt my breath catch in my throat ‘next week?’
“I don’t know. I was going to suggest we stay in Cleveland Friday and Saturday night, and Mom mentioned they want me to stay the night in the Hospital Sunday night before the surgery,” I said the last part with a quivering lip.
“It’ll be okay Taylor,” she assured me.
“I hope so,” I replied. “I’m scared of it all so much, even the thing they’re doing on Tuesday with the small cutting and camera.”
“Just think though, once it’s done, it’ll be done,” she reminded me.
“No it won’t,” I told her. “I’ll be in the hospital and unable to do anything for too long,” I told her.
She gave me a hug, “I’ll be there for you,” she told me.
“What did I do to finally get a friend like you?” I asked her with a smile.
She shrugged, “I dunno, but it must have been something really bad though, who would want me for a best friend?”
I laughed. The doorbell rang at that moment, and Breanna joined us a few moments later sprawled out in Alyssa’s room on her floor. We were looking through the latest issue of Seventeen together. “I love that hair style,” Alyssa said. I looked and was amused that it was basically mine.
“Trying to be a copycat?” I asked her teasingly.
“It does look really good on you,” Breanna told me.
I smiled, “I like yours too, and Alyssa, yours is fine. Though if you want to I bet we could get an appointment for you to get yours done.”
“Good luck with that,” Breanna said, “Alyssa has had that style for five years now, and we can’t ever get her to actually do more than talk about changing it,” she giggled.
“Really?” I asked Alyssa.
She shrugged, “I get really scared when people start actually cutting my hair… so about all I end up being able to do is get the split ends trimmed before I freak out.”
I smiled; a plan was forming in my head to thank her for everything. We were just about to taunt her some more when the doorbell rang again and we found Danielle downstairs. The four of us made sure everything was arranged downstairs for when we returned from the movie. We’d just finished when Alyssa’s mom drove up and came inside. She greeted each girl, and then asked, “So are you all going to go to a movie after all?” She asked.
“If you don’t mind taking us?” Danielle asked.
“Not at all,” she said with a smile and the four of us climbed into her SUV. Danielle had called shotgun, and I didn’t personally mind sitting in the back. I ended up sandwiched in the middle since I was the smallest of the quartet. Actually, that was a bit of an under-exaggeration. Alyssa was five-feet six inches tall and Breanna was four inches taller than her. Danielle was five-feet two inches, and I definitely was the short one compared to the three of them! Any other time in life this had been a problem, but with the three of them it didn’t seem to matter.
It took about twenty minutes to get to the movie theater we were going to, and I’m sure Alyssa’s mom was ready to get rid of us! She stayed long enough to verify the movie we were seeing and when to pick us up and, then took off, leaving us to get our tickets. The four of us walked up one at a time to the counter, and I was the second up to the counter and told them I wanted one for the show we were going to. “That’ll be six dollars,” the lady said. I wanted to die from embarrassment as I realized I was being charged the kids price.
Alyssa smirked next to me, but I just handed over the money. I was getting in for two dollars less than them and I wasn’t going to complain. The four of us walked in and I immediately was unimpressed with this particular theater. There were only four screens as it was a small theater, but I was most unnerved by how run down everything looked. “I think I’m missing Atlanta a bit right now,” I told them.
They laughed, “Yeah, this place is kind of a dump, but it’s all we have nearby.” Danielle said. We walked up to the concession area together and Alyssa teased me that I should have one of their kids combos since I got in for that price.
“Really?” Danielle asked.
I nodded and sighed, “It’s annoying, I’m almost fourteen, but everyone always thinks I’m nine or something.”
She bit her tongue a bit before saying, “I’ll be honest, when I first saw you at Alyssa’s last week I thought that you were a neighbor kid that she’d been roped into babysitting.”
I blushed, “Yeah, I could see that,” I answered.
“Are you like doomed to be short by parents?” Breanna asked.
“Not from my dad, he’s six-five,” I reminded her, “my mom’s only four-eleven though,” I said sadly. The doctors have always said I should get over five-feet, but I don’t know that I ever will.”
We ended up sharing a large tub of popcorn between all of us, and I got a small sprite to drink with it during the movie. The four of us were seated when the movie began. It was a tear-jerker in the end, and I’m embarrassed to say I was glad I had Kleenex in my purse! As the movie let out we all stopped by the bathroom and stood in a rather long line. By the time my turn came to use a stall I was almost hopping, but made it in there and was grateful to be done.
‘This isn’t going to be the same thing,’ I thought to myself as I washed my hands and thought about the changes in store for my anatomy. I was okay with being a girl, really, but the idea of this major surgery and the changes down there scared me every time I stopped to think about them.
The four of us waited for Alyssa’s mom to come pick us up outside. “That was pretty good,” I told Danielle who stood next to me in the circle we’d formed.
“Yeah it was,” she agreed.
“So what now?” Breanna asked.
“Dinner when we get back to my house?” Alyssa suggested.
“Sounds good,” Breanna said. “What are we having?”
“Mom was planning something,” Alyssa said as I recognized her mom’s car driving up.
“Hey girls, how was the movie?” She asked when we were seated in the car again.
“Good,” I found myself saying with the other girls.
Danielle added about the main star of the movie, “He was soooo hot!” I’d learned over the course of the afternoon she had a big crush on him. All of the other girls were giggling over him too on the way home, and I wondered what I had missed when watching the movie. To their credit none of the girls pushed me on saying he was hot, or even engaging in that part of the conversation. I just kind of sat quietly in between the two girls and listened.
At Alyssa’s house her mom surprised us. She had made a chicken pasta dish that was amazing! Her mom’s family heritage was Italian, and she apparently had learned from her mother and grandmother how to cook.
“I have to learn how to make this,” I told her as I took my plate up to the sink to rinse it off.
She took the plate from me before I made it to the sink though, “When you get through with everything in a few weeks I’ll teach you,” she told me quietly.
I smiled at her, “That would be fun!”
The four of us were done with dinner and sprawled about the home theater room by about seven. “What do you want to do now?” Alyssa asked everyone.
There was a long discussion for a half-hour about what to do, and the overwhelming decision somehow came to everyone putting on their pajamas, and pigtails being added to my hair. To be fair all of the girls had pigtails with bows tied to them, but I was the only one that ended up having pink with white polka dot ribbons. When I’d seen it I grimaced, “You trying to make me look like I’m the baby sister?” I glared at Alyssa who was laughing.
I got over it quickly though, and the four of us passed the evening quickly with a couple board games and a movie. About midnight Danielle asked, “Everyone should come over to my place next Friday and do this there, we could all go swimming,” she added.
Alyssa and Breanna said they were up for it, and their eyes moved to me, “I won’t be able to…” I said quietly.
“Why not?” Danielle asked.
I sighed. “My dad is flying up next weekend to be with me…”
“I thought he lived down in Atlanta?” Breanna asked.
‘Crap,’ I thought to myself. “He does… he’s coming up because I’m going to be in the hospital for surgery that Monday.”
The girls looked a little freaked out by that, “Are you okay?” Danielle asked worriedly.
“Yes, and no,” I answered. “I’m not suffering anything life threatening like cancer – that we know of,” I added that part softly, “they need to go in and work on…” I didn’t quite know if I wanted to tell them everything.
“Girl stuff?” Breanna asked.
“My cousin had a cyst when she was your age, is that what it is?” Breanna followed up.
I felt my eyes getting wet.
“Look, why don’t we leave this alone for the…” Alyssa started to say, but I cut her off.
“If I tell you, you have to promise not to tell anyone!” I said quietly.
“We promise,” I heard Danielle and Breanna say. When they didn’t hear Alyssa say it they looked at her.
“I already know,” Alyssa said.
“Oh,” Breanna said.
“Look, I’m pretty sure there is no easy way to say this – and I’m pretty sure you’ll think I’m a freak after this,” I said, “I sure do,” I added before continuing, “but I grew up for the last thirteen years as a boy, because that’s what we thought I was.”
“Huh?” Breanna asked.
“Like a transsexual?” Danielle asked right behind her. Neither of them sounded disgusted at least…
“No, it turns out I’ve grown up thinking I was a boy but I really am a girl,” they looked puzzled still. “When I was born they did the obvious check to see if I was a boy or a girl, and I had the right looking parts, so they called me a boy. It was a little bit of a surprise to my parents and the doctors because up until the last two months or so they had believed I was a girl on all of the ultrasounds. What they saw though was what they went with.”
“But you’re a girl, right?” Breanna asked, coming to a bit of an understanding.
“I am, but somehow my body got some mix-ups in signals and I ended up with the wrong parts down there,” I said. “About six weeks ago I noticed that my breasts were not the way they should be for a boy… They were getting bigger. The day I noticed it though I had a huge fight with my step-mother, so I couldn’t talk to her about them…” I went through the rest of the tale with them.
As I finished I had tons of tears streaming down my face, “Anyway, so I have to go in for some major surgery to get things to where they should have been when I was born.”
I half-expected Danielle, Breanna, or both of them to start screaming at me, leave, or do something else rude… but the truth of the matter was that Alyssa was a very good judge in her friends. Both of them instead joined Alyssa in giving me a big hug.
“That is scary,” Breanna said.
“Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone,” Danielle said.
“Besides who would ever believe it!?!” Breanna added.
“Thanks,” I told them with a sniffle and wiped my face off with an offered Kleenex.
“So you go in on that next Monday, how about we do this again Thursday night before you go into town to meet up with your dad?” Danielle offered.
“I think I want to be with my mom that night,” I told her honestly.
She nodded, “I can completely understand that. We’ll just have to come visit you in the hospital!” she said with a smile.
I smiled back at her, “Thank you guys for not freaking out, and I would appreciate the visit,” I added.
It was about then that I noticed it was close to one in the morning already! “We should put in one last movie,” Alyssa suggested.
“Okay,” I said, “What?”
We combed through the movies there for several minutes and I couldn’t help but have my eyes drawn to Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t mention it though, I was already weird enough with everything else going on with me. Alyssa must have noticed, because she said, “Beauty and the Beast?”
“What has happened to you?” Danielle asked her.
“What do you mean?” She asked innocently.
“You normally pick something boring like Lord of the Rings to suggest right about this time of night, a Disney flick?” Breanna asked with a smile on her face.
I sighed, “I think it’s because the two of us were talking about it versus Tangled the other day.” I tried to save her.
“Ooh, I love Tangled!” Danielle said.
“Yeah, because you don’t have a five year old sister that watches it over and over and over and…” Breanna said.
“Well, that would make it less watchable,” Danielle admitted. “But, it’s still a really good movie. So Tangled versus Beauty and the Beast huh?” She asked me.
I shrugged, “Maybe it was a sign of things to come later on, but it was my favorite movie until I was like eight. I wore out several DVDs,” I blushed a little then.
“You and Danielle are going to get along way too well,” Breanna said while shaking her head. Everyone was giggling a little then. “I guess I know who to call when I don’t want to babysit and mom needs someone to watch Kaylie,” she said looking at me.
“I don’t know about that,” I told her honestly.
“I know, she’s almost as tall as you,” she laughed a bit more before hugging me, “Oh go on, let’s decide which movie is better.” She smiled.
The next hour and a half we all stayed awake and watched the movie. We ended up putting nail polish on all of our nails, and I was glad to once again have mine covered. I wished I hadn’t cleaned them off for the doctor’s appointment! When the movie was done Alyssa put in the copy of Tangled she had, and that was the last thing I remembered from the night.
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