Bears Know Best
Part 21 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 27: Little Girl
AT LUNCH TIME that day we all went to Breanna’s again. “Thank you Mrs. West for having us over for lunch this week,” I said as we went inside.
“It’s my pleasure Taylor,” she told me with a warm smile, “but would you please drop the misses, and call me Shannon?”
I blushed a bit for some reason. “Sure,” I said politely. Other than Rachel though, I never called adults by first names. Dad had raised me to always use polite names with adults. It was only because I hated Rachel so much that I called her by her first name. I also couldn’t call her ‘mom.’ ‘No way in Hell would I ever call Rachel mom,’ I thought to myself.
Somehow over the course of lunch Mrs. West… I mean Shannon, brought up the fact that I looked tired. “I woke up to several nightmares last night,” I admitted.
Of course, being part of a group of girls, including little Kaylie, they all wanted to know what it was about. I cringed a bit, as I hadn’t told Breanna’s mom about my problems before… and I was pretty sure Breanna hadn’t either. Explaining that one to a five-year old didn’t really appeal to me much either. I did give the basics though as to the story. I think the girls got the oddity of the playing with dolls; Kaylie and her mom just stared at me blankly though.
“I’d love to have a boyfriend that wanted me to play with my dollies!” Kaylie in all of innocent said. “Is he cute?”
I laughed, “I think so.”
Shannon seemed to grasp there was a detail that was missing. “Were you a tomboy when you grew up or something?”
I found myself playing with the ends of the skirt I had worn that morning as she looked at me. “Something like that...” I smiled at her. I wanted to tell her the truth at that point, she seemed like she was going to be a third mother at the rate we were all going… but with Kaylie there I decided I’d tell a half-truth. “I grew up with my dad… and I didn’t have Barbie’s or anything.”
She gasped, along with Kaylie, “A little girl growing up without dolls?”
“That’s weird.” Kaylie said.
I laughed, “It seems so now doesn’t it, but when I was growing up it seemed to make sense.” I was kind of nervous at that point.
“Kaylie, why don’t you go potty and wash your hands,” her mom told her.
“I don’t need to…”
“Kaylie Ann West…”
“Yes Mommy,” she said sulking away.
“Taylor what’s the story you’re not telling me?”
“It’s kind of a long one,” I told her, hedging a bit.
“Does it have to do with your hospital stay last month?”
I nodded, biting my lip. I thought I could trust her… “I don’t mind telling you, but Kaylie is a little young to understand.”
She nodded, “Short version?”
I sighed and thought, ‘I really hope she doesn’t hate me…’ “Promise me you won’t tell anyone else, about this please, ever…?”
Breanna’s mom looked at me with new concern in her eyes, but nodded, “I promise. I take it the girls already know?” She asked.
I nodded, “They’ve known almost as long as I have… well, Alyssa knew basically the same time, and I told the other two a couple weeks later.”
She nodded at me, before reaching across the table and holding my hand. “I do promise, I won’t tell anyone.” I looked into her eyes and believed her. She looked over at Alyssa, “Would you mind playing with Kaylie and keeping her occupied for a few minutes?”
“Sure,” she said with a smile. Until I had come along Kaylie always latched onto her first, so she knew it would be okay.
With Kaylie occupied I sighed, and started, “I spent the first thirteen years of my life growing up thinking I was a boy.”
Even with all of her guesses, apparently she hadn’t come anywhere near this thought, and I watched her eyes widen and her mouth literally drop. “No, that’s not possible.”
“I wish it wasn’t…” I said with a smile, “When I was born they did the ‘it’s a boy!’ declaration and everything. The problem was that they were wrong…”
“So you’re a transsexual?”
I shook my head, “In my case they literally were wrong. A few months ago my breasts budded…” I smiled and wryly added, “A little confusing when you think you’re a boy and growing up with an NFL Linebacker as your dad.”
She smirked, “That would be a little awkward.”
“If my step-mother wasn’t such a witch I would have told her, but I couldn’t. She and I just kept fighting, and the worst of it happened the day I figured out what was going on with my breasts. I was going to ask her about them, but we had a massive fight.”
“That happens,” she said sadly.
“Well, for most families it happens – for me it was constant… After a final fight I asked to come live with Mom.” I smiled, “I didn’t have to tell her. On like the third day I was here she saw me leave to go jogging with Alyssa and was a little unnerved by what she saw growing on her son.”
I wasn’t sure how long the privacy was going to last, so I just wrapped up the rest quickly, “Basically they figured out something was wrong between that and my not growing, and decided to do an ultrasound to see if anything was wrong…”
“Cancer?” She asked.
I shook my head, “No, but ovaries and a uterus were a little out of the ordinary. It turns out what I thought was a…” I choked a bit; this was embarrassing, “a penis was actually a malformed vagina.”
She sucked a deep breath in, “Whoa, you have been through the wringer the last few months, haven’t you sweetie.” She came over and gave me a hug.
“Yeah, you might say that.”
“So what was the surgery for?” she asked.
“The surgery was to give me a normal female appearance down there. They had to do it quickly because they were worried I would start having my periods soon.” I grimaced a bit about that, “They beat it by two weeks.”
She laughed at me, “Every girl hates them, but that means you can be a mother and have babies someday.”
“I don’t even know what to do with them,” I confessed, “But, I think someday that might be nice.”
“Taylor! Taylor! Taylor!” Kaylie came up to me and pulled on my arm. “You hafs to come play Barbie’sth with me!” She had a little bit of a childish lisp still that was cute. I was glad that Alyssa had occupied her long enough to get my story out.
“Just a moment and I’ll be right there,” I told her as I stood up.
“Okay, I’ll be waiting!” she told me with a smile that meant business.
“You’re a very brave young lady Taylor for dealing with all of this,” she said to me, “Now you’d better go, or there will be no peace from that little one,” her mom said with a laugh. Breanna’s mom, Breanna, and Danielle all gave me a hug before the other two girls joined me in going to Breanna’s playroom.
Earlier in the week she had brought me a lot of dolls to see and tell me their names, but I had no idea just how many dolls would be in that playroom! “Some of them used to be mine,” Breanna said with a smile as she heard me gasp.
It was not a small room, and shelves of Barbie Dolls, baby dolls, and other toys fit for a little girl were everywhere. Kaylie was standing in front of a large doll house and we spent the next twenty minutes with me being introduced to how to play with Barbie’s by Kaylie. She was truly appalled that I had never played with them! When it was time to go she said, “Taylor do you have to go?”
I smiled at her, “Yes I do Kaylie, but I’ll be back another day, okay?”
“Promise.” I told her and took hold of the pinky she was holding up with my pinky.
“You handled that well,” Breanna said.
“When she latches onto a friend or someone it’s usually hard to get her to believe they’ll be back. She hates losing playmates!”
I smiled, “Well, I figure we’ll be back for lunch tomorrow.”
As we drove up to the building to go inside I noticed that there were some really black clouds rolling in. The wind was picking up, and by the time I sat down I was pretty sure we were about to get a pretty good rainstorm that afternoon. Mr. Brandt seemed to be looking anxiously out the door as I pulled my concert horn out of the case for a few minutes to practice. I managed to get a run-through of my two audition pieces in before he stood on the podium.
“Does anyone have money for band shirts?” He asked. “I have them in the office if you have your money, and I’ll go ahead and take care of that right now while we wait for everyone else to get here.”
I looked around as I put my horn in its case and realized it seemed like we were missing some people still, but it was definitely time to start rehearsal. I walked to his office quickly and paid for my shirt and looked at the black shirt with our mascot on the front of it. The back was blank, but the front was really colorful. Thankfully he had bought a few extra-small shirts, because even the extra-seemed like it was a bit baggy on me.
“We’re going to have to do something about a uniform for you,” he grimaced as he looked at me.
I hadn’t even thought about the fact my uniform would be a problem… “Do we need to order one?” I asked, concerned.
“We might have one small enough, I’ll have to see. Remind me tomorrow to have Julie help you out up there in the uniform room. You’re definitely the smallest girl that’s been through here for a while…” he smirked, “I’d just put you on the flag line, but I don’t want to lose such a valuable horn player.”
“Not to mention I’d kill myself with the pole!” I smiled at him.
He laughed, “Probably not, you’ve picked up the marching really quickly. It’s almost a shame we don’t have more to offer you here,” he told me sadly.
I moved out of his office and he took the next person while I took the shirt off from over the top of the tank top I had on. The black just didn’t go as well with my blue skirt, as the white top. Destiny came and sat next to me as I was setting it down. “Did he have a shirt small enough for you?” I thought she was making fun of me for a moment, but she said, “I know other girls have had that problem in the past… and you’re smaller than they are.”
I nodded, “Close enough. It’s still a bit baggy, but it’ll work.”
“What size did he give you?”
“Extra-extra small,” I said with a bit of a blush.
“Probably rough finding clothes to fit you in general, isn’t it?”
I sighed and nodded, “I don’t think I’ll ever really outgrow the kids departments…”
“Just what size are you?”
“Girls ten or twelve normally,” I replied. “Occasionally I can find a size zero or one item in some stores junior sizes that fit me. It’s rare though…”
She smiled at me, “You seem to manage well enough, you dress like a normal high-schooler.”
“It takes a lot of searching!” I said with a smile, “And going into stores I will not admit to shopping in!”
Destiny laughed with me. Mr. Brandt wrapped up with the t-shirts about fifteen minutes later and we began rehearsing more on the shows. He seemed to be focusing on polishing the music for the first show, and little bit on the second show. He was just about to give us a downbeat midway through the afternoon rehearsal, and when he brought his hand down thunder shook the building loudly!
We all laughed uncontrollably, the timing of it was amazing. The lightning must have struck just outside the building though! It was like that was the beginning of the floodgates opening; he decided a break would be a good idea to let us get the giggles out. In the meantime it was a torrential downpour outside! The rain rang out loudly on the roof, and as I looked out a hallway window I could see the parking lot was flooding in spots, and it had only been raining for ten minutes!
He attempted to run rehearsal for another twenty minutes before the rain just became too loud. About the time he was trying to tell us something the power went out. It came back on less than a few seconds later, but flickered right back out, and back on. “Great, this’ll be fun tonight,” he said aloud.
I noticed he got his phone out and seemed to be checking something on it. Whatever he saw didn’t make him feel that good. He went and looked in the parking lot, and finally came back over to the podium. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said while using the loudspeaker he used outside to talk over the rain, “I don’t think we’re going to be able to get much more done inside right now, or really tonight. With the way the rain looks out there I think you would have to swim in order to march tonight… So…”
“First things first,” he said thinking to himself. “Tomorrow night is the parent’s night performance and barbeque. Section leaders; please make sure you plan to be there early tomorrow evening to help me paint a field in the grass, and everything else. In fact I need to see you right after I dismiss everyone today.” I heard a nervous chatter about the room as all of us sensed we were about to get out of rehearsals for the rest of the day!
“Everyone else, I expect you to wear your band shirt and a pair of jean shorts. Make sure you bring whatever is on your sections list to the party, and please invite your parents. This is a chance to show them your work from this week.” He smiled.
“Now, we will have practice tomorrow morning, and it will be outside. We may even be outside after lunch tomorrow to try and make up for lost time tonight. After this week we’ll move to just one practice a day in the evenings after sports are done. We need everyone here for those, do you understand?”
He had the drum majors call us to attention and we did our ritual sound-off drill as a group. Even with the rain, it was pretty loud when everyone shouted in unison, and it certainly gave me goosebumps. When he dismissed us Alyssa and I called her mom to come pick us up.
“Umm… Taylor?” Alyssa said just as we noticed her mom’s car and were getting ready to run out to it.
“You do realize you’re wearing a white cami right now, right?”
I looked at her like she had spoken another language, “So?”
She looked at me with the same expression and leaned down close to my ear. “So… if you have a white shirt like that get wet it’s going to show your bra off to everyone, including Cameron over there!”
“Oh.” I said dumbly. I pulled the straps of my horn case off my back and flung on my new band shirt. “Better?”
She nodded and we ran for it together.
By the time we reached her mom’s car we were both soaked to the bone! “Eeww…” I exclaimed as I sat my horn and loose wet hair fell about my face.
“I agree,” Alyssa said next to me with a sigh. “Thanks for coming and getting us Mom.”
“Not a problem girls.” She said. “You guys have rehearsal later, in this?”
We both shook our heads, “No, he cancelled it tonight.”
The two of us had spoken in unison and giggled all the way home. “What are you doing tonight?” Alyssa asked me as we pulled into the driveway of my house so I didn’t have to walk quite so far in the rain.
I shrugged, “I thought about practicing for my audition a bit more…”
“How can you possibly play any better?” She asked, exasperated.
I laughed, “That’s what my dad and Rachel always ask. He bought me that silent mute because of it.”
“So that’s all you’re going to do?” She asked.
I shook my head, “I probably should help Mom with laundry and stuff… especially since I haven’t been home the last three nights, she’d probably like to see me.”
Alyssa nodded at me. “And I’d like to see you!” Alyssa’s mom said looking at her.
“You always see me,” she said.
“Not this week. Aren’t you guys having some sort of sleepover tomorrow night? Leaving town next week?”
“I get it Mom, I love you,” Alyssa said with a shake of her wet hair. “Guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” she told me.
I smiled, “See you,” and then promptly frowned as I ran through the rain ten feet to get inside. I was really glad there was a porch on the house so I didn’t have to stand in the rain as I unlocked the door. Mom had a mirror just inside the doorway, and I grimaced as I looked at myself. ‘Shower!’ I told myself as I ran upstairs.
THAT EVENING MOM and I washed laundry, including my new shirt for the next day. She and I ended up cuddling up on the couch and watching a musical, Dreamgirls, which I hadn’t seen before. The music in it was great, and I really enjoyed it. I ended up painting her toenails and she did my fingernails and toenails in my new schools’ colors. I was excited for the next day’s performance. As much as I knew it wasn’t likely to set the world on fire back home, it was fun to be with my friends and do something that took so much coordination and effort to make a fun show.
I also talked to Dad for about twenty minutes, and… the big shocker was Rachel for five minutes. She had wanted to know if there was anything special we wanted to do. I mentioned shopping, but other than that I couldn’t see anything that I knew the other girls would want to do. They were flying out with me as guests, and as far as I cared I didn’t have anything I wanted to do other than avoid fighting with her. As I was passed back to Dad I held back from asking what planet the alien was from that had taken her body.
The morning rehearsal seemed to last forever outside. We had started outside, and ran through the show about a hundred times it felt like. Mr. Brandt said, “Fight song!” and I felt like an idiot, because I didn’t know something. He had never passed it out to us, but all of the upperclassmen were playing it from memory.
“That was embarrassing…” I told Destiny as we walked in together for a last hour inside for the morning.
“Finally something I can play that you couldn’t!” She just giggled with glee. I wasn’t going to live this one down.
“Freshmen, come get your music for the fight song!” Mr. Brandt ordered as we walked in.
I spent my entire break playing through it and memorizing it. It wasn’t hard, but I’d need to play it more to have it in my head if we were going to do it that night. I apparently started a rush of freshmen doing the same thing. By the end of the next hour of rehearsal we had that down as a band, and the alma mater. “Alright, be back here in an hour so we can run through the show a couple more times and then I’ll let you go till the barbeque!” Mr. Brandt had said.
I noticed Destiny and the other section leaders giggling and talking together. It wasn’t uncommon for the others to do so, but it seemed strange for Destiny. She smiled in my direction and I wondered if she was plotting something. ‘She’s been well behaved and nice since Tuesday, I’m sure it won’t be anything bad,’ I tried to assure myself.
The four of us once again ate lunch at Breanna’s house and I kept my promise to play with Kaylie. She was so cute, it was fun to just watch her and interact with her when she wanted you to. “You can take her with you, you know,” Breanna had joked with me on the way back.
“I think you would miss her,” I said.
“No, not really.” She smiled back. “She’s not always the sweet innocent little girl that she is around you!”
I laughed at her, and we all made our way back to our seats. We were introduced to a few traditions the band had during that afternoon rehearsal, including some chants that were a lot of fun to scream together. After another couple run-throughs of the show outside in the blazing summer heat, he let us go. Reminding us what to bring, wear, and to take our instruments with us to the park. He had his truck and a couple of drummers trucks loaded up to haul everything the few blocks to the park.
I just carried my marching horn into my mom’s car though, as she picked up the two of us that day. Mom had taken off the afternoon to help out with the barbeque. We had about two hours before we were supposed to go though. “Want to do our hair the same?” Alyssa asked me as we drove up to my house.
“Umm… sure!” I said.
“Let’s go over to my house, I have a few things over there I don’t think you have.”
“Be back no later than an hour,” Mom told us as we got out of the car. “I want to make sure they don’t need any help there.”
“Okay Mommy,” I told her with a sweet smile.
She laughed at me, “Go already!”
Alyssa and I ran up to her room and she opened up a drawer of her dresser I didn’t remember her opening much before. “Hopefully I still have enough…” she said as she dug around, “aha!” she exclaimed triumphantly a moment later. She pulled out two spools of ribbon that were the school colors.
“Okay, so what are we doing with those?”
“You’ll see in a moment, sit down here,” she told me, pointing to her chair she kept in front of her dresser mirror, but turned it away from the mirror.
“This feels like déjà vu,” I told her.
She laughed, “A little bit,” she smiled back at me.
I had pulled my hair up into a ponytail that morning, since I didn’t feel like doing anything else with it. I felt her tug the rubber band out that I had used, and left it off to the side. She brushed out my hair for me, and I couldn’t help but feel goosebumps along with my body. I was fairly purring by the time she stopped brushing and looked down at me. “You really like your hair being brushed, don’t you?”
I nodded, “As long as there are no snarls!”
She laughed, “Yeah, those hurt.”
I felt her part my hair off to each side, and pull them up into what I assumed were pigtails. She also combed down bangs in front of my face and attacked them with a curling iron.
I felt her start tying things in my hair then, and I assumed it was the ribbons from the drawer. “Done!” she told me with a giggle.
As soon as I turned around I grimaced. “I look like I’m Kaylie’s age!”
“She’d love that!”
I pouted and stuck my tongue out at her. “Your turn,” I said after a moment.
I worked on her hair, and it only took me about five minutes longer than it had her. I was happy to see her head now look as young as mine, but with my height I looked like I was her elementary age sister. I shook my head, “It doesn’t help that the band shirt is a bit baggy still.”
“Well, how many high-schoolers need child sized shirts?” She laughed at me.
“Me!?!” I said.
“Come on and let’s go see what your mom is up to.” She told me as she hefted up her overnight duffle bag and sleeping bag for that night’s sleepover.
The two of us went back over to my house and put hers in my car. Mine was already packed upstairs, so I just grabbed it and threw it in the back too. My sleeping bag joined after a trip to a downstairs closet.
Mom came down from her room right about then and said, “Hi girls.” She looked at me from both sides and shook her head with a big grin, “Cute!” She gave me a big hug and then did the same to Alyssa.
“Thanks,” I said to her with a red face.
“Why are you embarrassed?” Mom asked.
“I look like I’m seven, instead of fourteen?” I said grumpily. I wasn’t really upset or rude about it, but I was embarrassed.
“Oh enjoy it sweetheart!” she told me with another hug. “Someday you’ll be an old woman like me and wish you could go back and look like a seven-old girl in pig-tails!”
That made Alyssa and I giggle a little bit, and we both took a few moments to find something to drink. While we were sitting there talking I heard the snap of her expensive camera. I turned to look at the offending click and heard it snap a bunch more times. “Not fair!” I told her with a shake of my head.
She made Alyssa and I pose together on the couch, and outside, before saying, “Let’s go!”
It was a five-minute drive to the park where we were having our barbeque and show. I was amazed to see a football field painted in a large field that looked like it had little stands. “It’s for kids football,” Mom told me, confirming my suspicions. Mr. Brandt looked like he was putting a sprayer back in his truck though, so it must have been his doing on the paint.
“Hi Mr. Brandt,” my mom said to him. “Where do you need me to help?” she asked.
All of us ended up being put to work helping to get the barbeque stuff set out. Destiny and the flute, clarinet, and saxophone section leaders all walked up carrying cardboard boxes and big grins on their faces. Destiny came over to me and said, “Cute!”
I groaned and pointed at Alyssa, “It was her idea.”
“You know, for such a girly girl what do you have against pigtails?” she asked me with a smile.
“Why do you say I’m a girly girl?”
“How many other girls came in dresses and skirts at all this week?”
‘Touché,’ I thought to myself as she said it. “I just think they make me look even younger…”
She laughed at me, “Yes, they do, but you look cute!” She looked at Alyssa, “Did you happen to bring anymore ribbon? Maybe the whole horn section can all look the same?”
“I did!” she said.
It was just after six and our section was standing over by the field, all in matching pigtails tied with school color ribbons, when Mr. Brandt invited all of the parents over to watch, and had us stand in our opening block. He had us go through some of the basic marching moves to start off with, and even did a ‘drill-down’ like we had done each day at the end of the day to see who would last the longest. I lasted longer than any other freshman, but the juniors and seniors were way out of my league!
Finally, he had all of us run through the show, and we had a lot of fun with it. I’d just put my horn back in its’ case, and in my mom’s car with Alyssa, when I ran into a lady. “Aren’t you cute, dressed up like your big sister?” The lady asked me.
I felt like a deer in the headlights, and Alyssa giggled. Just when things couldn’t get any worse Cameron jogged up, “Mom I need your keys to get into the van.”
“Oh hi, Taylor, Alyssa, I take it you’ve met my mom.”
I really felt like crawling underneath a rock now. In the meantime Alyssa was trying to explode into giggles, but failing miserably. A toddler girl that was holding onto her hand just looked on with a mocking grin. She obviously didn’t understand anything other than something was funny, but it was like putting salt into the wounds.
“Oh,” the lady said, “You’re the young lady Cameron has been talking about,” she said towards Alyssa.
“Umm… actually, I’m Alyssa, this is Taylor,” she said for me bringing herself back into control.
“Oh my, I’m so sorry,” she said, turning just as red as I was.
“It’s okay, it happens all of the time,” I sighed. I held out my hand to her, “Nice to meet you.”
When we managed to escape from polite talk with her I immediately started poking and tickling Alyssa, “Not fair!!!!” I seethed.
“He’s not your boyfriend yet anyway, so it’s better to meet her now,” Alyssa tried to soothe.
I shook my head. We were walking back to a covered patio when I heard a panicked voice yell “HEADS!!!!”
I turned around towards the direction of the voice and reflexively caught a football that would have hit Alyssa in the chest. I looked to see who had thrown it, or kicked it so badly. One of the drummers was trying to run up to apologize, but I just threw it to where he would be and watched him suddenly catch the football that was in a perfect spiral. ‘I can’t throw very far, or hard, but at least I do know how to throw it right,’ I thought to myself with a grin.
Sure enough that fact wasn’t lost on the boy who caught it like it was a pass in the big game. He continued running over to us with two other guys from the band that I hadn’t yet learned their names, “I’m so sorry ladies, Jake can’t kick straight to save his life…” He pointed at another boy that I remembered played baritone.
I laughed, “It’s okay, thanks for warning us that it was coming.”
I grabbed Alyssa’s arm to turn to walk again when he asked, “Where did you learn to throw like that?”
“My daddy taught me,” I said with a cute grin and a bit of my southern accent creeping in.
“Wow, he must have been good at football in high school.” Jake said, “I’m really sorry.”
“It’s okay,” I told Jake, “and yeah, he was pretty good in high school.” I felt like absolutely laughing hysterically at the irony of this situation. I was too small to ever play football, and that was about the best I would be able to ever manage distance wise, and I knew it as a ‘boy.’ Now that I was a girl and did it that mediocre they were impressed! ‘Or maybe our football team is that bad…’ I thought to myself.
We escaped from their flirtatious advances and made it to the pavilion without any further incident. It was about that time that Mr. Brandt got everyone’s attention for eating. One of the band members’ dads was a minister, so he said grace for us before we ate. “Okay, parents first,” he said. Then he called out classes in order from seniors to freshman. Of course the seniors were ecstatic about it, while the freshman merely groaned and waited our turn. I wasn’t really that hungry for a burger anyway, but I took one.
Most of the people had finished eating when Mr. Brandt called everyone’s attention. “This has been a really great band camp this week, and I’m looking forward to the fun we’ll have this year. The group has come together as a family like I’ve never seen it, and a few of the section leaders have gotten together and made some t-shirts for their sections. I’d like to let them call them up one at a time and give them to them!”
Somehow I knew this was what Destiny and the others had been up to earlier. ‘It’s probably why she was asking your size yesterday too…’ I thought to myself. The flutes went first, and I watched a pile of hand-painted shirts go out to each of their members. There were two boys in that section and they looked more than slightly embarrassed about it. The clarinets had a similar number of boys in the same boat. Alyssa got called up before me, and I watched as she had a nickname, ‘Lyssa-shine’ on the back of her pale blue shirt. It was cute, and I was still looking at the puff paint and fabric painted designs on her shirt when I heard my name.
Destiny gave me a hug when she gave it to me, and I looked to see the nickname ‘Little Sweet-T’ above my name. All sorts of little girl like flowers and hearts were painted all over the place. My name was spelled out in a really pretty cursive though, and the two pink French horns that were painted on looked amazing. “Thanks,” I said with good-nature.
I figured I would have to wear it at least once the next week, but threw it on over my band shirt, and watched Alyssa do the same. I noticed that it actually fit better than the band shirt, so it scrunched up a little bit with it underneath. There was a public bathroom that I’d been avoiding, but I thought I could go change really quick. “Come on Alyssa,” I said and pulled her with me. Danielle and Breanna also came, and I switched into the shirt properly.
“You look so cute in that,” Breanna said. Her section leader was a boy and hadn’t made shirts for his section. “I’m jealous!”
I just looked at her and laughed before we all headed back to the party. We had a cake as a group, sounded off one more time as a group, and then Mom helped Alyssa and I move our stuff into Danielle’s mom’s SUV. Breanna’s stuff joined the mix shortly, and we were soon off to her house for a night of fun!
“Let’s go swimming!” Danielle declared when we got there.
I felt my expression change though, when I realized I had forgotten something. I wasn’t allowed to go swimming yet… no baths or swimming still for at least another couple weeks.
“What’s wrong Taylor?” Alyssa asked.
“I just remembered I’m still not allowed to go swimming.”
“Why not?” Danielle asked.
“Infection risk,” I said sadly. “You guys go ahead and swim, I’ll sit on the side.” I told them with a smile.
Danielle, Breanna, and Alyssa all took a quick look at each other before Breanna said, “No, if you can’t go with us then we’ll just have to do something else!”
“What do you want to do?” I asked.
They shared another look with each other, before Danielle said, “First, let’s take showers to get the marching band smell off.”
“Okay,” I agreed with that one whole-heartedly.
“Then put on your pajamas.” Breanna said.
Something didn’t feel right here, this felt a little bit planned all of the sudden, but I didn’t argue, “Then?”
“We’ll deal with then, then!” Alyssa said. Danielle’s house was large, and we were all able to shower at the same time in different bathrooms. I borrowed her older sisters bathroom, who was out at that point at a movie, and was soon wrapped in a towel and going through my bag to find my pajamas.
‘Something isn’t right here,’ a part of my brain complained. Allie was at the top of the bag, like a good bear should be, but everything underneath looked mixed up and odd. Instead of the pajamas I had planned on wearing, and swore I packed, I found a pink Disney Princess nightgown that I know I had told mom to never ever buy me... A set of matching underwear was underneath, along with a note, ‘Trust the girls, and have fun – Love, Mom.’
I sighed, ‘Mom’s in on whatever this is…’
I didn’t have much choice on what to wear right then, so I went ahead and pulled on the very pink and little girly nightgown. ‘At least the ones mom tricked me into had Rapunzel only on them…’ I thought. I didn’t even bother to look in the mirror as I put everything else back into my bag and headed down to the living room. I didn’t make it that far though, because Danielle grabbed my arm and dragged me into her room to sit at her dresser she had. I felt my mouth drop when I saw that she was wearing a set of Barbie pajamas that brought her own look down to the age people always suspected I was.
“Cute pajamas,” I said with a smile.
“Want to trade?” she asked me with a smile.
“That’s okay, I’m already looking like I’m five, it won’t make any difference.”
“So what is going on?” I asked.
“Duh! We’re having a slumber party,” she told me with a grin.
A second later Alyssa showed up in a pink Hello Kitty nightgown, and Breanna showed up in a Disney Princess nightgown that she looked like she might have had to squeeze into a bit. She was definitely the ‘larger’ of us, and I was kind of amazed she had made it fit at all. It definitely didn’t look comfortable.
“I get the slumber party… but…?
“Okay, we’re having a slumber party that only girls seven and younger are allowed to be at. No teenagers allowed tonight!” Danielle said solemnly and the other two conspirators behind her nodded in agreement with her. Breanna was grinning because she couldn’t keep a straight face.
“You’re not a teenager, are you?” Alyssa asked accusingly. “We’d hate to throw you out.”
‘This could be fun, oh what the heck!’ I thought before saying, “Oh no, I’m a little girl!” I said with a smile of my own.
Danielle’s mom came in right about then and asked, “Ready for your hair to be done girls?” I wasn’t sure how much she knew of what was going on, but she seemed to be getting into the spirit. I was kind of surprised we weren’t doing it ourselves, but I later learned she thought it was so cute she had to participate in their little scheme. Danielle later assured me her mom didn’t know about everything, just that I’d missed out on a few things as a little girl. She had each of us sit on the floor in front of a chair that she sat in, and braided our hair into a pair of pigtails on either side of our heads tied with pink ribbon. The other girls looked like they had taken a leap back to elementary school as well, and we all giggled non-stop.
“Okay, what’s next?” I asked.
“Well… we heard that a certain girl… who will remain nameless… has never, ever, played with Barbie’s!” Alyssa exclaimed.
“I mean, oh my gosh! What kind of little girl has never played with Barbie’s?!?” Danielle said.
“That would be like a terrible crime!” Breanna said.
All of the sudden I felt all eyes on me, and then I was being dragged to a basement room where a doll house to make Kaylie absolutely envious was setup, along with dozens of Barbie dolls and several tubs of what looked like clothes and accessories. The four of us played with the dolls for a couple hours, giggling and having a good time. At some point her mom came downstairs and took a hundred or more pictures of us playing together. She also had us sit together on a couch with a couple dolls in each hand.
It was embarrassingly one of the most fun times I had ever had in my life. At midnight her mom suggested we start cleaning up though and go to bed. ‘Or at least make me think you are,’ she encouraged. We had just put away the last plastic tub of clothes into a basement closet when her mom came back downstairs with what looked like a picture book in hand.
“Bedtime story?” She asked with a grin.
I found myself giggling with the rest of the girls, tonight had been a blast for all of us. We all got into our sleeping bags and sat up to look at her sitting on the couch. I swore we must have all been five, as she read to us like that from a book called ‘Strega Nona,’ that I had never heard of before. “In a town in Calabria, a long time ago…” she began. It was a really cute picture book story that I promised I would remember to read to my own kids someday.
“Well, good night girls,” she said to us before giving each of us a kiss and a hug goodnight. “I hope you had fun tonight Taylor,” she told me.
“I did, thank you for having us over!” I said with a smile.
“Anytime,” she said with her own smile.
It was only about thirty minutes after midnight at that point, so we of course had no plans to go to sleep immediately. Instead we popped in a copy of Aladdin she had, and continued to just have a good time with each other. I was proud to say I wasn’t the first person to nod off that night, and I was sure Breanna would later wish she wasn’t either! We didn’t do anything too terrible to her, just froze her toothpaste and the bra she had in her bag for the next day. The next morning Danielle woke up just before she woke Breanna up and put both back in her bag. Who said girls were all sugar and spice?
I hadn’t originally planned on posting Saturday night, but did so since things seemed too quiet. I’ll be back to posting every other, or every third day here for the next couple weeks. Thanks again to everyone for all of your positive comments, I really do appreciate hearing what you think!
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