She's A Rainbow
By Melanie E.
Part the last of the “Little By Little” saga (You Can't Always Get What You Want, Start Me Up, Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind)
This part is a lot shorter than the other three, more of a wrap-up to the series than anything.
As always, thanks and dedications to DallasF.
“So, this weekend?”
“Yep,” CJ nodded, grinning from ear to ear. “This is the weekend.”
“YES!” Jenna grabbed CJ in a tight hug and danced about, right there in the middle of the school hallway. “Finally!”
“You're telling me!” CJ answered. “I NEVER thought I'd get ungrounded.”
The punishment could have been worse, she had to admit. Two weeks without getting to go see friends after school or on weekends was rough, but at least they hadn't taken her phone.
The idea that she even had friends she missed hanging out with had been enough to cut through a lot of CJ's issues with the punishment, though.
“I still think you should have let them see your outfit. You looked gorgeous.”
“Maybe... but I don't think they're ready for that, and I'm not sure I am either.”
Jenna nodded in understanding, giving her friend another hug before poking her in the shoulder playfully. “I see that hasn't stopped you from wearing the jeans more, though,” she said, glancing down to where CJ's legs stood encased in said pants.
“Well, I mean, if you want 'em back...”
“Nope! Consider them a gift, same as the undies. Also, same with the cami, and don't think I haven't noticed you using it.”
“Oh, god, has anybody else?” CJ asked, looking around her and trying to squash the sudden irrational fear of someone telling the world she was wearing girl's clothes.
“Oh, don't worry you big baby. It's just a bit smoother outline than a normal tank is all.”
CJ sighed in relief, glad to know her more intimate changes in style hadn't been so obvious as to cause problems.
“So... why have you been wearing them so much?” Jenna asked, giving her friend a curious glance. “Ten minutes a night allowed on your phone, and you haven't told me what happened once.”
“It's a long story. Well, okay, not long, but... I'll tell you when we get to your car, okay?”
It was a long day of classes, but as soon as the last bell rang the pair dashed for Jenna's car, and CJ began her tale.
“Shit!” She said, slamming the phone down into its cradle and rushing over to Jenna and Mike, watching in horror as her parents' car's headlights flashed through the front window.
She just managed to call out “distract 'em!” to the now fully-aware siblings before making a mad dash up the stairs and for her room, slamming her door behind her.
If she changed quickly, she just might be able to get out of this....
If she changed....
CJ looked in her mirror, and felt as though she were really, truly, seeing herself for the first time.
Had she really changed so much in just a week?
She was still the same person, she knew. The same personality, the same likes and dislikes – mostly – even the same hair style and body.
Yet looking in her mirror, she saw a girl. Why did she see a girl?
It was her eyes.
Not the makeup, though that helped. No, it was the look in her eyes that changed things. She was no longer looking into the somewhat weak and shy eyes of Curtis the boy. There was something... more, to the person looking back at her, something stronger, but innately feminine.
Curtis and CJ might be the same person, but at the same time, CJ knew she was a world apart from the boy she had been.
A sharp knock on the door downstairs pulled her back into the present, and she briefly debated with herself before giving a resigned sigh and untying her flannel shirt. She didn't have time to fully change, but losing the bra and rearranging the flannel was enough to mimic the outfit she'd had before leaving that morning, and a quick visit to the bathroom would remove enough of the makeup to give her back the androgynous not-quite-emo look as well.
She wasn't the same as she had been when she left, but at least it wasn't her clothes that said it.
She reached the bottom of the stairs just in time for Jenna to give her a quiet wave on the way out, and catch Mike giving her father a firm handshake before following his sister through the door.
Her parents stood in the front room, waiting.
Her mom was not amused, tapping her foot with an irritated look on her face. “You know you're not supposed to have company over without our permission.”
CJ let out an exasperated sigh. “Moooom, we were just hanging out! What's the deal?”
Her mother looked at her in shock. “What's the deal? You didn't even call us to ask!”
“I was trying to get home before nine to get your call!”
“And what were you doing out so late to begin with?”
“I'm seventeen!” She screamed, stomping her foot. “I don't have to explain everything I do to you!”
“Hey hey hey, both of you, calm down,” her father said, stepping between the two of them with his hands raised. “Catherine, ease up. Curt-- CJ,” he said, remembering the name she had asked them to start using, “there's no reason to throw a fit. You DID break the rules.”
That was her dad, always the calming influence in the household, though she couldn't remember the last time she had argued with her mom like that. “I... I know, alright? And I know that thinking they'd leave before you came home isn't an excuse. We were just hanging out, though.”
“I know that,” he said, glancing at the hastily rolled up console cables with just a dash of humor in his eyes. “It's not good to beat girls you like at games, though. Makes 'em upset, and they might not go out with you again.”
“Dad! She's my best friend!” She said, unable to hide the look of disgust on her face at the idea, nor the following blush when she remembered how handily she had beat Mike, him smiling the entire time.
The strange looks from her parents were enough to tell her she'd said something wrong, but she couldn't for the life of her figure out what.
Her father rubbed the bridge of his nose, his eyes squinted shut. “Go up to your room, your mom and I will--”
“--WE, will call you down when we've decided on a punishment.”
Dejected, CJ hung her head as she walked back up the stairs, wondering why her life couldn't be simple for once.
She just heard her mom ask her dad, “What could be going on with him,” as she shut her door and flopped down on her bed, exhausted.
“...And when I came down the next morning, they told me I was grounded for two weeks, with limited phone privileges.”
“But they didn't say anything else?”
“Not really. It was kinda strained between us for a bit, but I guess they just decided I was being weird or something. I'm just glad they didn't ask about the weekend before, THAT would have been hard to explain.”
“But it's okay you're hanging out tonight, right?”
CJ grinned. “I cleared it with 'em yesterday. I have to be home before they leave at seven thirty, though. And if we go anywhere this weekend, they have to know where we're going, when we'll be back... gawd, it's like I'm fifteen again.”
“Well, it's just... you have pretty much the same rules I have now. I had to leave a text for my mom telling her EVERYTHING before we went out last time.”
CJ gulped. “Everything?”
“About where we were going, goof,” Jenna said, laughing at CJ's expression. “You don't think she'd believe me if I told her I was escorting my brother and his girlfriend who he'd met when I'd tried to sleep with her 'cause she used to be a boy on a date, do you?”
“Used to be?”
Jenna just gave her a look.
“ANYway, Mike's running late, a long class or something, so we've got plenty of time to pretty you up before he gets here.”
“I thought we were going shopping?” CJ asked nervously. That was what she had told her parents, and she didn't want to run the risk of lying to them so soon after being released.
“We are! Who do you think you'll be modelling outfits for?”
CJ's heart froze in her chest for a moment, but it didn't take long for her to calm down, and even smile.
“Alright, sounds good,” she said, surprising Jenna with the chipper tone in her voice. “I... I want something of my own to wear on our next date.”
The two friends looked at one another, grinned, and hopped out of the car, into Jenna's house, and on to the next stage of CJ's life.
NOTES: Well, this has been fun! Four parts to what was initially intended to be a quick one-off. I hope people have enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it!
If you comment, more will... no, wait, no more! This is it! Still, comment anyway.
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