Bears Know Best
Part 12 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 16: First Cuts
SATURDAY MORNING WE all slept in, and Alyssa and I skipped our usual morning ride. I went home about noon and helped Mom out with laundry before spending the rest of the day on the internet. I knew it was making me more nervous, but I couldn’t help but spend several hours attempting to research everything they were going to do to me. I finally killed a few more hours that day by practicing some of the new stuff that Mr. Fark had me working on.
I think Mom must have sensed my nerves had gotten the better of me Saturday, because when I got back from the group ride with Alyssa’s family, Sunday, she insisted we drive to Erie and get lunch and do some shopping. “We should get you a few bath robes and some nightgowns,” she insisted at the Kohl’s department store.
I shrugged, “Why?”
“They’ll be a whole lot better for the days after surgery, and maybe they’ll let you wear your own nightgown instead of a hospital gown,” she added.
“That might be better,” I added nervously.
We started off in the juniors and women’s intimate section, but all we could find in my size were things that were too sexy or too old woman like. I mentioned that about one of the nightgowns and mom laughed, “Well, I guess let’s see what the girls department has. I think we’re just a bit too early for the college dormwear to be in yet.” She mentioned the last part with regrets.
I soon figured out my mom had serious withdrawals from having missed me being a little girl to dress up in cute things. “I think this’ll fit,” she said, holding up a Disney Princess nightgown.
I gagged, “Mom, I do want them to treat me my age, not like I’m six…”
She laughed at me.
“Besides, the Rapunzel one looks way cuter,” I said with a giggle to the one that was next to it.
“Done!” she said and had it in her hands.
I gasped, “I was kidding!” I practically died from embarrassment.
We eventually found two others, both were Hello Kitty, and I figured they were a little bit more likely to be worn by a teenage girl. Mom found a purple fleece robe for me to add to the pile.
I was more than a little embarrassed as we checked out, and the lady checking us out said, “I miss having a little girl small enough to wear cute nightgowns like these.”
Mom smiled and paid, and meanwhile I turned a gazillion shades of red. Receipt in hand, we left to go down to JCPenney’s. The two of us shopped until late afternoon, and when all was said and done, Mom and I had bought a total of seven nightgowns and a couple pairs of slippers. We returned home just in time to eat dinner over at Alyssa’s house.
Alyssa stayed over at my house that night. When Mom showed us that my bed had a trundle underneath, Alyssa laughed hysterically that I hadn’t noticed! I poked her in retaliation when she insinuated I was really blonde!
We had a lot of fun that night, but I was distracted much of the time. I was going in for the first ‘minor’ surgery on Tuesday, and I was getting really nervous about it. Mom had explained to me over and over again that I wouldn’t feel a thing, and other than a small incision or two, there wouldn’t be any trace of it for me to see. Alyssa was great though, every time I got quiet she’d hug me or something, then tickle me or poke me into distraction. Still, Mom’s words about the surgery were my last thoughts that night, and the first in the morning.
‘Easy for her to say,’ I thought to myself over and over again during our morning ride Monday. Alyssa and I rode fifty miles that morning to see how far I could go. As we pulled back up to the driveway I felt exhausted, but really good that we’d ridden that far.
“That was fun!” I said.
“Yeah it was! Soon we’ll have you up to doing a century!” she smiled at me.
“Not anytime soon unfortunately,” I told her. “I’ll be out of any exercise beginning tomorrow and going through till August probably…”
“Whenever you’re back and healed we’ll get started again, you’ll get back up in no time!” Alyssa assured me.
“I hope so,” I said worriedly. We split off and I went upstairs to hit the shower then, and found myself throwing on a colorful skirt and top to match. I felt like I was trying to force happiness as I dressed, but I needed to do something. That led me downstairs to my horn and I practiced for what I worried would be the last time in a while.
We’d had to tell Mr. Fark that I wouldn’t be able to have another lesson for a few weeks due to surgery. The doctors had been adamant that between the horn’s weight and the abdominal pressure of playing it, that I would have to lay off practicing for a few weeks. About the time I’d be healed enough from the smaller surgery, it would be time for them to really open me up. Because of my mood I found myself playing all of my most depressing horn pieces, and Wagner horn excerpts topped the list for the next hour.
I heard the doorbell ring, and carried my horn upstairs with me. As expected Alyssa stood at the doorway, but so did Breanna and Danielle. “Hey!” They said to me and I led them back downstairs to my practice dungeon.
“That horn is soooo pretty!” Danielle said admiringly.
“Yeah!” Breanna added.
“So can you like, play something for us?” Danielle asked.
I sighed, “I might as well, I doubt I’ll be playing for a while.” I found something less depressing than I’d just been playing, but with fast sixteenth notes everywhere. When I finally looked up, Alyssa was smirking and Breanna’s and Danielle’s eyes looked like something out of an anime cartoon.
“Alyssa wasn’t kidding when she said you were amazing…” Breanna said.
“I guess I’m getting there… I’m taking lessons with the first chair of The Cleveland Orchestra now,” I smiled. Mom knew of course, but I hadn’t mentioned that to anyone other than my dad or Alyssa.
“What else can you play?” Danielle asked.
They spent ten minutes badgering me, before I decided to be cute and throw in some other things I had around. Harry Potter, Star Wars, and other pops pieces came flowing out of my horn to their amusement. “You are like so good!” Danielle told me as I pulled the horn apart and put it in my case.
“Hopefully being down for surgery for a while doesn’t hurt me too badly,” I told them.
“That’s why we’re here!” Alyssa announced.
“Huh?” I said.
“Well, you’re not going to be exactly allowed to go into a pool for a few weeks, right?” Danielle asked. Before I could respond though, she continued, “So we’re kidnapping and holding you hostage at my place so we can all go swimming!”
I just sat their flabbergasted for a moment. I’d barely met the two other girls, let alone known Alyssa for a week and it was like I was closer to them than anyone I’d ever known before. “Umm… I should probably talk to my mom first,” I said.
“Already done!” Alyssa said, holding up her phone.
“How come I feel like there’s a massive conspiracy here?” I asked half-an-hour later at Danielle’s house. The four of us were sitting around her families pool in our bikinis and chatting with iced teas in hand.
“Because there is!” Breanna answered with a grin.
We spent an afternoon together as typical teenage girls, and I was able to mostly forget about everything coming tomorrow.
When Mom arrived at seven to get me I gave each of them really big hugs on my way out the door. “Thank you, I’ve never had friends like you before.” I think they knew I meant every word of it too, but before I could get too emotional about it they chased me out to the car.
At home I began a fasting that left me cranky when Mom woke me up to take me to the hospital at the crack of dawn. I showered and threw on a pair of shorts and a tank top. Mom insisted I bring a pair of yoga pants and a loose t-shirt as well for afterwards. The doctors had promised that I should be able to go home about five or so if everything went as planned. Their thought was the less time I spent in the hospital the better, and I didn’t disagree!
So it was that I arrived at the children’s hospital for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was surprised by the décor! Bright colors, whimsical drawings, and colorful statues lifted my mood in spite of myself. I knew it was still a hospital, but I was amazed that it didn’t seem as bad as I had pictured in my mind. We found the main desk where mom checked me in. Soon I was called and led to a smaller, slightly less cheerful room where they had me put on a gown. “Hi there Taylor,” Dr. Gafford told me as she came in.
“Hi,” I told her shakily. I was terrified of all of this.
“It’ll be okay Taylor, you won’t feel or remember a thing,” she assured me.
“I believe you, but I don’t believe you, if that makes any sense,” I told her.
She laughed lightly, “It makes total sense, and I have to say you’re an amazingly brave young lady.” She paused, “Now have you eaten anything…” she asked about forty questions before saying, “Okay, I’m going to let Dr. Canter know we’re ready to get started here. Ms. Redding you may stay with Taylor until she’s out, and then I’ll need you to go to the waiting room.”
I found tears in my eyes as I gripped Mom’s had strongly. Dr. Canter came in not long after that and inserted a needle into my arm. “It’s okay Taylor,” he said reassuringly. “Now I want you to count back from 10,” he said.
“10, 9, 8...”
THE NEXT THING I knew, I was opening my eyes in a room with a balloon and flowers next to me, and I was holding a new teddy bear. I looked around the room a bit more and saw Mom sitting in a chair, reading something on my iPad. “Mom?” I said with my throat catching a bit.
She immediately put down the iPad next to my bed and came over to look at me. “How do you feel?”
“Thirsty,” I answered.
“Let’s get the nurse in here and we’ll see if we can’t get you something to drink.” She suggested.
I nodded and went through a check of how I felt. ‘Arms?’ I asked myself and looked at them around my new teddy bear, ‘Okay, except the band-aid I can’t see anything on them,’ I looked down at my toes and wiggled them through the blanket, ‘those still work.’ I was just getting ready to pull the blanket off to see how badly I was mangled below when the nurse walked in following Mom.
“How are you doing Taylor?” The nurse asked. I appreciated she didn’t talk to me like I was six, that was one of my worst fears about this whole thing.
“Thirsty,” I said for the second time. My throat was so dry; all I cared about was getting something to drink.
“Well, let me check you out and then we’ll get you some water,” the nurse said with a smile. She proceeded to check all of my vitals, and then gently pulled back the blanket to reveal two gauzed up areas, one on my stomach, and one lower on my groin.
It was only then that I thought to ask, “Am I okay? How did the tests come back?” I asked nervously.
“The doctor will be in to talk to you about that soon,” she assured me, “I don’t want to ruin his show,” she added with a wink. “Okay, I don’t think we need to change these bandages quite yet. Let’s get you some water, get the doctor in here, and then get you walking around.”
“I get to walk around already?” I asked, surprised.
“Keeping you chained to the bed is something we try to avoid anymore,” she told me. “Your next surgery will be a little different… but as soon as we can get you there, we want you on your feet – we want to make sure that you don’t get pneumonia or circulation problems from laying there too long.
“Oh, that makes sense,” I told her. At least I think it did, I was still pretty doped up on the drugs –I could tell that. The nurse brought me a plastic cup with a straw in it filled half-way with water. I sucked it down greedily, I was so thirsty!
It wasn’t but a few minutes later that Dr. Gafford walked in. “How are you doing Taylor?”
“I can’t really know, I can’t feel anything down there,” I told her.
She smiled, “Well, we’ve got you on the good stuff!” Dr. Gafford had me sat up in the bed, and sat down next to me. “How are you breathing and everything?” Dr. Gafford asked me a number of questions before saying, “Okay, let’s talk about what we saw in there.”
I bit my lip nervously.
“Everything looked perfectly pink and completely normal in there to us Taylor,” she said to me. “We didn’t see any signs of anything being cancerous, and I think we’re all in agreement that it looks like when the tests come back they’ll indicate that you’re a hundred percent able to have kids if you want!” She said that part with a guarded smile.
I could understand why though, what boy in their right minds would have dreamt of having a baby growing inside of them!?! Growing up as a boy would definitely have messed up my mind she figured. The funny thing is, other than the way you had to get pregnant… and delivering the baby… I didn’t feel like it would be that bad.
“Cool? I mean that’s good, right?” I replied tentatively.
“It will be cool someday,” she assured me. “We also caught a couple of other breaks as we looked through your cavity.” She paused for a second, “I’m going to get a little graphic here, but I don’t see any way not to, if you feel too uncomfortable with the conversation let me know,” I nodded for her to continue, “You did develop what we’re going to call an enlarged vagina, which basically appears to be a penis. Your bladder, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are all where they should be, doing what they should be doing.”
She paused for a second to check my face. “This means that surgery for you shouldn’t be nearly as bad as it is for a transsexual having a similar surgery. You already have an opening down there underneath the extra organ that will work for your vagina. We could probably just cut the extra structure away and you could have sex normally without a problem…” she looked at me and not Mom on that one, “but we don’t think you would have any sensation there if we did that. Plus, you wouldn’t look right,” she added with a smile.
“So what are you doing?”
“It looks like we’re going to be going in and performing plastic surgery to give you a normal looking vagina, like we planned, but you won’t have to deal with as long of a recovery time. Normally in a surgery like this there is a very important need for something called ‘dilation.’” I nodded, since I’d seen the term and it didn’t sound pleasant. “We’ll still leave a placeholder initially in the constructed vagina, but as soon as we’re certain your outer skin is holding its shape, you shouldn’t need to continue. That shouldn’t need to continue for more than a few weeks!” She told me with a smile.
“What about the depth and everything?” I asked and took her by surprise. I noticed her face, “Well, when you’re scared to death of surgery you kind of look up everything you can on the internet,” I admitted to answer her inquiring glance.
“You already have depth, you already have a uterus. You also already have the openings to continue through your pelvis that a boy wouldn’t have. We’re not going to have to cut through all of the muscle that normally gets cut in this kind of procedure. Really, all we have to do is take an ugly vagina and make it pretty,” she told me.
I smiled a bit, “Not that I have any experience, but it’s got to be the ugliest one known to woman kind right now.”
She laughed, “That it is.” Mom had some more questions of her own. We sat there for another ten minutes, and I was impressed the doctor was making no hurried attempts to leave.
“Okay, before I go, I want to see you up and moving about. I’ll come back by in about three hours hopefully to get you discharged so you can go home,” she added with a smile.
Dr. Gafford had the nurse come back in to help, not that she or my mom couldn’t just carry me back to the bed if I fell. I’d been informed earlier that I was down one pound from my last visit. If they hadn’t known I was fasting the night before I think they would have started checking to see if I was becoming anorexic or something. They pulled the rail down of one side of the bed and helped me stand up. It was then that I first noticed a pulling sensation that I supposed would hurt later on.
They took me for a walk down the corridor and finally back to my room to get back in bed. The gauze came off then and I was surprised not to see any stitches. “No stitches?” I asked shocked.
“We used surgical glue since the incisions were small enough,” Dr. Gafford told me.
“Will they stay closed?” I sort of freaked out.
“Trust me, they’ll definitely stay closed,” she laughed at me. “I did go to medical school after all,” she added with a smile.
She left a few moments later and the nurse put on another set of bandages over the top of the incisions. When she left Mom came and held my hand. “How are you doing?”
“The drugs must be good, because I don’t feel anything,” I told her.
“That’ll probably change in about an hour,” she told me.
I grimaced, “Does it have to?”
“Unfortunately,” she told me. I was brought something to eat for lunch, and I was surprised it wasn’t the worst thing I’d eaten before. So many horror stories over the years about hospital food had not left me with much in the way of expectations though. Plus, I was starving from going without food for so long!
“Can I call Dad?” I asked Mom after I finished eating. I felt bad that I hadn’t even thought to call him up until that point. ‘I bet he was worried,’ I thought to myself.
“Yes,” she said while digging through her purse for my phone. “I did call him and let him know you made it out of surgery though, so don’t feel bad that you didn’t call him right away,” she added.
“Dad?” I asked as he answered the phone.
“Taylor! How are you feeling?” I could hear the relief in his voice at talking to me.
“So far I’m not hurting…” I talked with him for ten minutes and then handed the phone to Mom so she could tell him about what the doctor said in detail. She’d been taking notes the whole time so she could remember everything. After ten more minutes she passed the phone back to me.
“I’m so sorry I’m not there today,” he told me, I could hear how down his voice was.
“Don’t worry Dad, you’re coming Friday, right?” I asked.
“Definitely,” he said.
“Then you’ll be here for the big one. I didn’t even get stitches on this one!” I told him.
“I know…” he said.
“I love you,” he told me.
“I love you too Daddy,” I said. It wasn’t until the word was out of my mouth that I realized I’d reverted to five-year-old terms again.
“I’ll see you on Friday. I’m guessing you’ll be kind of out of it the rest of the day, so I’ll check in with you tomorrow night,” he told me.
“Okay, bye,” I told him.
About that time though, Mom was unfortunately proven right about the pain coming. They had me walking around a bit more when I first felt the twinge of pain, and within ten minutes they were giving me Advil, which seemed to help. Dr. Gafford came by about two hours later to check on everything one more time before sending me home. She discussed how I was not to be cycling, running, or lifting heavier than a book until I saw her again.
“We’ll see you again Sunday,” she said with a smile.
“I’m not looking forward to it,” I told her honestly.
“I know dear, but it’s something that we need to take care of before you start having periods,” she reminded me.
‘Periods,’ I thought to myself. Mom and I had a discussion last night about them, and I shuddered to think about them. Mom had assured me that after the first few I wouldn’t think of them as that big of a deal, but she didn’t seem to understand that I didn’t have a whole life of thinking about being a girl before that one was going to hit me like a semi-truck!
I was somewhat alert as the nurse wheeled me downstairs and met Mom at a door to pick me up. She’d gone ahead to get the car, and then helped me climb into the seat. I buckled up, and promptly fell asleep on the drive home.
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