Masks Chapters 24 and 25 the Finale.
But….Then there’s Randy Sweet, the captain of my hockey team and he stands and he beckons me over where the other guys are at.
Where all the team is at for a change.
I head over and look at them and Nick asks.
“Is what true?”
“Are you gay?”
I look at them and I really don’t know what I can say, there’s some pretty fixed faces there.
I swallow a lump.
“Does it really matter Nick? I mean what if it was…?”
He’s looking at me and some of the other guys. “We want to know, we’re your team mates.”
Randy adds… “For the record it doesn’t. I mean not to me.”
Tim pipes up. “Well it matters to me.”
I look over at Tim.
He puts his hand over his heart and puts on this hurt look. “Al this time, all these years and you never asked me out…Oh!…Steven how can you be that cruel!?”
I’m turning beet red. “Tim…screw off…it’s not like that.”
Nick looks at me. “Like what?”
Damn…I really can’t get a bead on what Nick’s feeling.
“I don’t have and never have been attracted to you guys or any other guys…period.”
Nicks like…. “Really?”
“Then what about the rumors? They say you’re gay.”
Randy adds in diplomatically. “Not that rumors mean much.”
The others are nodding and saying stuff in agreement.
Nick’s looking at me like…So?
“It’s complicated okay…but…right now it’s not a gay thing alright?”
Nick gives me this iffy nod and the other guys are just sort of shrugging.
Randy looks at me. “You going to be okay?”
“Probably not, this is likely going to get a lot worse before it gets better.”
I’m telling the truth and yeah…I sound sad…I am sad because while they’re not…they’re still my friends as much as I could have friends like this.
They’re all looking at me again.
I rub at my eyes a little.
Tim passes me one of his cans of Sprite. “You know that whatever’s going on Steven that it’s not gonna like change shit right?”
I love the sentiment but a few of the looks say that’s not quite universal.
Randy’s looking at them. “Right, just like Tim said we’re not that kind of team right?...Right guys.”
And he’s actually being that kind of forceful, that stuff and sort of the attitude that made him the captain of our hockey team.
Oh this is so not the time to be finding things that you like about him Stephanie.
But yeah, it’s that sure and steady thing.
Guys…guys and a lot of girls really in my opinion have the wrong idea of the whole I like a guy with confidence thing.
If I was to say that if I liked any one but say a guy that I would want a guy that’s steadfast.
Sure of himself but not cocky and someone that is steady…
And now I have *Take it like a man.* By Michelle Wright stuck in my head sort of…
There’s a “Right” from the guys and it’s a little mixed but I…honestly I’ll take it.
“Uhm…thanks guys…I mean it really Thanks this is above and beyond kind of stuff…”
There’s some nods and that even seems to chill Nick out some and look over to the girls and to Mary Jane who’s only about ten feet away with me waiting but looking concerned.
“Uhm…guys…I’m going to go sit with the girls okay?”
Tim looks at me then M.J. then me. “You know you two are cousins right?”
“Tim!” I kick his shin and M.J. comes over and slaps his shoulder saying. “Eww…gross why’d you go there?”
He grins and shrugs. “Because you two are like joined at the hip.”
Randy deadlegs him….that’s a charlie horse punch to the outer thigh muscle.
“Ow! Shit Mother-fu….” He stops and blushes looking at Mary Jane. “Sorry but yeah like you showed and Steven and you have been super tight.”
Randy… “Not that that’s a bad thing since Steven was pretty much absent from being social and stuff….which is part of…?”
Part of me really wants to talk about it, some part of me wants it out and done with but he’s not asking because asking more would be guyboden and I just…I’m way too scared to be doing the out thing right now.
“Steven and I are cousins…My mom and his mom are like best friends too and with all the stuff you guys heard about…they’ve been cool…better than cool and I….”
I one arm hug her and we lean on each other. “We’re best friends guys…that’s it.”
Nick’s giving me this look like yeah…gay. Like he just really pegged me no matter what I said before and Tim and a couple of the other guys are looking at me with this look that guys…and dogs get when they’re looking at something that they don’t get.
I can practically hear the Tim-Taylor/Scooby-do Harugh’s going off.
Okay, that helped a little.
Randy nods. “Okay you’re still coming to practice on Saturday?”
“I will if I’m still on the team.”
“You’re still on the team.”
Oddly for someone that didn’t want to play hockey and would have rather have learned figure skating this is kind of a relief?
I sort of wave to the guys and M.J. and I head over to the table where the girls are at and Toni has he sign out and taped to the edge of the table. She’s almost bouncing.
“You look happy?”
“I am, I love this.”
“People being real.” She gestures at herself and she’s…well for one she’s wearing a white wig with the hair in those side poms like Sailor moon, she’s also wearing a Pink hello kitty shirt that shows her navel and a red tartan skirt and she has thigh socks on but army boots or something like them and a black leather mini jacket.
And she’s in the sixth grade.
And she’s black…well African-Canadian but she’s dressed in that Japanese sort of style thing.
I smile. “Okay Toni if there’s one thing that people can say about you is that you are definitely real.”
She gets up and hugs me. “Thanks Steven that’s kind of a bad thing sometimes and its waaay cool to get someone that’s just cool with me being me.”
“Actually I kinda think you’re awesome. Super brave.”
“Yeah…like Rilly.” I say it in my voice and in Vale.
M.J. Snerks and I look at her and she looks at me and we both go. “To-tally….oh my gawd…To-tally.” We do it in Vale and in stereo and then we all sort of crack up and I sigh in that feel better kind of way and I sit and take out my lunch and stuff.
I look at Amber and them. “So what happened with Liz?”
Rachel frowns and takes a nasty and aggressive bit of what looks like a shrimp burger? Toni rolls her eyes and Amber smiles. “Her parents showed and the town cops too and a few other people including M.J.’s mom and stuff and Liz wheedled and wept and still there was lots of evidence that she was out to cause shit and was cyber-bullying M.J. and Dan and Sarah caved and told on her.”
Amber smiles. “With that and her record with the other stuff she’s been caught doing and stuff she’s serving an in-school suspension for a month.”
I look at her. “What? That’s it?”
Amber shrugs. “It’s better that you think she has detention both at lunch and after school and she isn’t allowed to do any of her extracurriculars like Glee club or Cheerleading and she can’t go to the dance.”
Okay…that’s not bad.
Rachel swallows. “She should have been expelled for the year.”
Amber… “The evidence was light she got caught right away and they went light. The in school suspension is good because she can’t just like stay out of school and treat it like a vacation she still has all of her homework and stuff.”
I nod. “The real killer is the detentions and her not being able to do her extracurriculars. I mean she’s part of the whole we’re better than you crowd and stuff and a month out of the loop and she’ll be going buggy because she won’t be there to shove her personality down their throats.”
Mary Jane grins. “So she won’t be top dog any more.”
Toni snorques chocolate milk. “Elizabitch just got fixed!”
There’s some laughter and I kinda smile. “Guys…okay she got what she deserved we really shouldn’t be bitches about it either.”
There’s some nods and stuff and I take out my lunch and we shift topics to the dance and what we need and stuff like the streamers or if we’re going to have any and the other decorations and then the music.
We’re doing our own using the gym’s sound system but the school has a sort of music rating policy that we can’t play like stuff with like swearing or like violent like lyrics and stuff.
That’s okay we really just want stuff to dance too and not rapper stuff or like heavy metal stuff either.
Me I’m all for stuff that we can dance to and we work at the stuff that we want to play and it’s not just us setting the choices as some of the kids went onto the student council Facebook page and there’s a whole bunch of suggestion there too.
I’m happy because by the time that we’re done I have a list of the songs that we’re going to have.
I want to see if Jenn can show M.J. and me how to dance to some of these songs. I would really actually like to look like I actually know what I’m doing out there on the dance floor.
Oh and I was right about packing some extra food for all of us to snack on and even the little bags of chips get torn open and laid out flat for anyone to reach and take some.
I also feel kind of good about the smiles that I’m getting from the girls because I brought munchies and really girl kind of munchies for everyone.
Shop class which still isn’t that bad and then Gym.
Oh that was just all sorts of uncomfortable…not just my own personal Yick factor but there’s the whole me being gay rumor thing and I’m getting stares and stuff and it’s taken the whole gym and the levels of anxiety in the whole changing thing into the next level.
It’s soccer again and Liz is being an ueber bitch again but that’s actually in general and I’m seeing her giving Dana and Sarah the cold shoulder while still hating on M.J. and there’s a few times the teacher benches her on fouls for shouldering and I heard her call M.J. “Daddies little hooker.”
I…I am so tempted to just take a freak on her expensive plastic ass and put her in her place.
I jog up to her trying to keep her from getting passed to. “Liz just give it up already.”
“Shut up faggot.”
“You should shut up you’re the one being a freak here.”
“Me…that’s a laugh no wonder you and princess incest are so close, she giving it to you with a strap on fairy?”
I block the ball with my body and go to kick it away and she and I are in a fight for the ball and she’s kicking me and it hurts. It’s a good thing this is sneakers and Gym and not an actual soccer game because she’d have cleats on.
I am actually going to get past her because she’s concentrating on me and I’m trying to concentrate on the ball and she…
She spits in my eyes.
And then she’s off with the ball while I’m wiping at my face doing the herky-jerky dance because it’s…it’s just effing ewww!
And Ricky Simmons…the guyvert that’s pissed at me slams into me like he was coming after the ball and couldn’t stop in time.
Like I said I’m fast…on skates and I’m not a big muscled kid and I’ve never really tried to be so Ricky being my age he’s got a good twenty-five pounds on me and he sends me sprawling.
He gets fouled for it and has to go sit on the bench and I’m picking myself off the grass.
Mary Jane jogs over and asks. “You okay?”
I reach my hand up and she pulls me to my feet. “No…I’m seriously feeling abused right now and I’m really pissed off.”
“Yeah me too.” She’s looking at Ricky more than Liz. “That asshole is never getting a girlfriend.”
I laugh a little and nod. “Hopefully not.”
Mary Jane shakes her head. “Not if I can tell them what kind of guy he is.”
“He can be stuck with Liz.”
I grin feeling a bit better but once Ricky’s off the bench him and Trevor McNutt and Darren Adler all seen to have this hurt the fag game going on. I’m avoiding letting them have an excuse and I dodge and elbow by Darren and I shove him while he’s over balanced to the grass.
“You Goddamed Homo!” He swear-shouts at me.
He jumps up and he goes for me.
“Adler! Office Now!” The teacher yells it at him pointing.
“What! What did I do the pansy pushed me!”
“You’ve been gunning for him all game get to the office and take Simmons and McNutt with you!”
Ricky’s pissed. “What did I do?”
“You know what you did! There’s a no bullying policy here and we don’t start fights and pick on other students for whatever reason.”
Trevor… “I shouldn’t have to go to school with fags and lezzies.”
“McNutt you just added a detention to what else is coming.”
He actually kicks the ball at me. It flies wide and he and the other two look really pissed and teacher/coach calls off the rest of the period and he marches the three of them to the office.
There’s some looks at me…there’s a lot of looks at me.
Guys and girls and just.
Liz goes by heading to get changed. “Typical gays, just have to be like the center of attention. I guess I dodge a bullet dating you.”
She does that uppity sway away and Dana and Sarah still follow her like they’re trying to get into her good graces and stuff and it’s like she did it first so that everyone else that has to go inside sort of looks like we’re following her lead.
I just wait and catch my breath and M.J. shares a bottle of water with me. I look at her. “I might be a girl but I can’t just…I just can’t get how some girls just…I mean…”
Mary Jane nods. “We’re just girls Steph, we’re assholes too.”
Then she takes a drink and gestures toward the doors that Liz went through. “Some of us more than others grantedly but still…”
I sigh. “I know and I’m just so frustrated because I get so mad at her and what can I do? I mean like this…hell I don’t even know about after I’m fixed…if I stand up for myself will me being me get thrown back in my face?”
Mary Jane looks at me. “I really don’t know Steph but you don’t have to go through this alone. I’ve got your back.”
She reaches over and we hook pinkies again and we head in the last in the class to go get changed.
With some of the others gone that’s a little less Ewww.
But there’s still some looks and its still eeew and there’s still the reek of way too much body spray.
I meet with M.J. outside the changing rooms and we head to our lockers and we go and wait with the other girls at the bus area and we get on and we head home.
It’s still Beck and Holly with Amber and Rachel doing the whole after school activities and stuff but Holly’s not in our Gym class because she takes something else instead I guess and we’re catching her up on the latest drama with what happened in Gym.
Ricky is not on the bus.
Ricky has afterschool detention.
It’s just sort of us gossiping about the whole thing and stuff and the hater crap and Liz’s crap and her being on the outs with Dana and Sarah because of them talking about what she did to Mary Jane online and stuff and Holly says that she seen Liz talking after lunch detention with Bonnie Durant and Megan Harper.
Both of them are those sort of wannabee preppy types. Middle class but not actually upper middle class but they really, really want to be more. They’re normally the kind of girls that jump on the gossipy bandwagon to tear someone down to be part of the crowd and usually not good enough for Liz to give the time of day to.
“Looks like she’s looking for more henchditzes.” I say as we’re getting off at our stop.
Holly nods. “Likely I mean holy crap that girl is an evil spell book from being Evilynn.”
“Yellow skinned villainess from He-Man.” Holly says.
I nod slowly. “Okay…honestly I didn’t think you’d know about that stuff…heck I barely know about that stuff.”
Holly grins. “I watch the retro cartoons a lot their better and besides when I was like six I so wanted to be like The Sorceress or like Teela.”
I shrug but smile because she kind of lost me. I mean their like cartoons from like when my Dad was a kid.
I look at M.J. who shrugs too. “Beats me I don’t even know that much.”
Holly just grins. “I’ll share some episodes to you guys tonight okay?”
I’m like. “Sure.”
We actually hug and hug Becky who was texting through most of the whole thing but that’s cool anyway because she’s good people and we head back to my place and I let out this whole huge sigh when I walk in through the doors.
“Stephanie! Mark’s bringing Jenn over for supper and we’ll be doing the dancing thing after that so you and M.J. better get a start on your homework!” Mom calls out from the kitchen.
“Right! Okay Mom!”
“We’re having veggie night tonight too so come help when you’re done changing!”
I actually kind of run up the stair to my room and I toss my things on the bed and I head to the shower pretty fast and I take my phone and play some music as I’m getting showered.
The shower and the puff and the right smelling shower soap and shampoo and the Steven day is washing out of me as much as it’s washing off of me and I’m actually singing along with *Who You Are* By Jessie J.
It’s a really good song.
I’m out and drying off and it takes me about twenty minutes to get my boobs back on and my hair on and I feel so much better, so damned normal and right once I’m back into my things.
I pony tail my hair and I get dressed and I just go for a pair of charcoal yoga pants and my shape wear sneakers and one of cute tee-shirts that I got at the gap.
I can’t help but to add just a little coat of that really light pink lipstick too.
Mary Jane actually was helping and watching the whole thing and even with me being naked. And she never batted an eye or said anything except to help get my hair fixed on right.
Just like it is supposed to be when two girls are doing that stuff together.
She’s so good for my mental health I swear.
You ever make a friend that becomes so close so fast you kind of don’t recognize your life without them?
That’s my Mary Jane.
We head down stairs and from the look of the kitchen Mom went shopping and we’re doing veggie night.
Mom likes to have a veggie night hopefully once a week to sort of balance out the junk food we eat during the rest of the week.
We hug when we get in there and she pours us each a smoothie from the blender and I like them but the look on M.J.’s face is priceless.
It’s orange juice and carrot juice with a banana and some red sweet belle pepper juiced into it.
I grab some aprons and suit up and look at Mom. “Okay what’s first?”
Mom starts to give us instructions. We’re doing meatless tacos. And that’s a whole head of garlic in some olive oil and in the microwave to cook and make roasted garlic and then while that’s going on she has us doing mushrooms in the food processor and chopping onions…lot’s of them since we will use them for the stuff we’re cooking and as garnish.
Mom shows us both how to cook off the quinoa and then how to take it in a bowl with TVP which is texture vegetable protein. You can buy that now-a-days in the deli section of the grocery store right next to the tofu.
Speaking of the tofu she has a container of silken tofu for us too and some chickpea flour and we add it all together. The quinoa and the TVP makes up the sort of meat and the tofu is really jelly like when it’s silken and that kind of with the flour acts as a binder she says and we add the shrooms and the roasted garlic and all of the oil with it to give it fat content and some of the onions and stuff all for flavor along with a couple of shots of soy sauce mostly for the browning and we fry it off in batches in the non-stick pans and it sort of cooks up like hamburger and it sort of kind of comes close to the smell too…well sort of. A little less meaty but it still smells good and when it’s all done we toss it with chili powder and some chili sauce and pop it in the oven all lose and broken up but sort of on low heat.
Actually the more kind of crispy it gets I find the better it tastes.
I’ve had it before I’ve just never made it before.
The rest is garnishes and we have a lot of the burger mix made like six frying pans full and the rest is tomatoes and shredding lettuce and making salsa and slicing avocados and chopping herbs and cucumbers and getting the corn shells and the flour tortillas ready and the sauces and really by the time that’s done it’s actually a whole lot of food.
But we also set out some veggies as finger foods to like munch on and stuff and little dishes of pickles and mom makes dessert.
Silken tofu pudding…it’s two containers of silken tofu and some almond milk and some honey and she blends it all together then heats it in a pot on the stove and that’s when she adds some vanilla bean and some tapioca. Once it’s done she pours it off into little dishes and sets them in the fridge to set up.
I know some people don’t like tapioca but we do, I love it but this is a recipe that makes a really good pudding without needing eggs or the cows milks
Yep, we’re eating actually vegan tonight.
I liked this as Steven and I kind of like it more as myself. Don’t get me wrong I like pretty much most stuff and I like meat but at the same time I’m kind of girl enough that I actually find this interesting if not girl oriented.
Yeah it’s kind of a North American thing that girls are more inclined to do vegetarian and vegan stuff more than guys.
We’re done that and getting the table set and having a couple of bottles of water while starting or home work when people start showing up and Mark’s home first with Jenn.
We hug and stuff and M.J. and I end up taking her out to the boat garage and going over the songs for the dance.
“Can you show us how to dance to some of this stuff Jenn?” I ask…yeah so trying not to bite my lips.
I have a lot of Steven habits to fight still.
“Sure we can work with this. But lets open the windows in here we’ll want the air once we get started and I’ll get Mark to help too.”
“Yeah there’s a big difference between girls dancing or solo dancing at a dance and dancing with a guy.”
“Oh…shit I never thought of that.”
M.J. laughs. “Oh well we might as well it’ll be all the more of a wow thing when they find this stuff out.”
“Okay…I want to learn too.”
We head inside and we eat and it’s a little funny since mark’s kind of still nervous and I think trying to make a good impression with Jenn and stuff and trying to use manners but with a fix your own taco thing going on it’s kind of hard especially with the twins and to be honest kind of the rest of use too.
Jenn brought that Korean stuff called Kimchi with her.
“Aren’t you Japanese?” Dad asks grinning as he’s piling a bunch of it on his taco.
Woof…oh I can smell this strong sour of spicy smell and sourkrautish thing too off of his taco.
“Well I’m Canadian y’know and my dad was in the forces and he brought it home with him as one of the things that he loves. We…we really don’t eat a lot of Japanese anything really home…noodles mostly mom has to have soba in the house and she has to have red bean and the rest is pretty much all over Asia but mostly just Canadian.”
He’s still grinning. “I was just kidding Jenn.”
“Oh I know here it’s even better with some seracha on it too.”
Okay…okay Dad doesn’t really know a lot of that stuff but he likes hot sauce and hot wings.
This is a little bit different.
We all laugh as he eats it all and he turns differing shades of red while doing it and then trying to put the fire out with beer.
He’s a good sport about it though.
Heck I even try a bit of it and I kind of like it. It’s very strong and I kind of choke on some of it.
Mark though he seems like he’s had some before and then it’s soon time for dessert.
Mom’s happy since there’s very little clean up since we went and id the cooking dishes as we cooked and the rest is eat in hand and stuff. Plus, there’s not a whole lot left of anything.
Jenn looks at me and M.J. and Mom and aunt Elsbeth. “You girls ready to dance?”
We nod and Jenn grabs Mark by the fingers and Mark grabs Dad by the hand. “If I have to go then you have to go.”
“Why me? I know how to dance already.”
Mom pushes Dad by his back. “Because you’re wife will be dancing too.”
“Oh…well in that case….Will? Rob?”
Will and Rob look at each other. “Yeah…we’d really love to be included and all but yeah we have dishes.”
Rob… “And homework…later.”
I don’t think that I’ve seen them move that fast into the kitchen before.
I wake up and my feet are still sore…we were at it actually until midnight out in the boat garage with Jenn teaching us. There’s a lot of I think formal stuff to it like some of the Latin styles of dancing.
Salsa and Merengue and Mambo… which are all sort of the attitudes we should have with just doing stuff at a dance that isn’t like all the stuff at the club and really by no means was this like serious and formal but getting us into it and stuff mostly and then we went into learning stuff like…
Bop or Hand dancing and some Line dancing kind of country stuff and two step and the basic box steps for like slow dances and she even showed us some disco stuff and tried us out on some like street moves just so we kind of look like we know what we’re doing.
And from like six until nine it was like that and then we were just dancing and Jenn just sort of showing us what she’d just do kind of naturally with what she knows and what she would do with these songs just off the top of her head.
And from like nine until like close to midnight we danced with her stopping us to show us what we can fix, what we should just drop and not do and what we can try instead.
It wasn’t all work it was a lot of fun and we had breaks while we just listened to the music and I really enjoyed myself.
And well there was a lot of other stuff.
Watching Jenn was really like watching that TV show she was almost on and she is so beautiful. I mean she’s tall for being Asian or part Asian and she’s thin too but literally in that dancer way and she’s so graceful.
I was having this total wannabee crush going on and it was with her and with Mom and Mary Jane too. I’m calling it a crush because it’s not so much me being like jealous any more but it’s like so very much me wanting to be like them.
Mom can dance pretty good though it took her some time to get into it and shake the rust out.
Mary Jane has that butt and those boobs and though frigging hips. God she could really shake it and sway and do all these amazing looking things that are kind of in part just to how she’s built.
And then there was Aunt Elsbeth who was just under like Jenn in how she could dance. Apparently she’s not really that much out of practice and she does like yoga and stuff to which helps and she’s built like M.J. so she’s like….yeah.
So much yeah…
I’m the really green one and even Mark and Dad are better than me in the whole guy way and mark’s been learning I think because he moves way better than Dad did.
Well I suppose it could be an age thing too.
It was really cool and a lot of fun actually.
I am tired though and I’m sore.
I can feel the dancing still in my body. I used my feet and my hips and my butt and stuff way more than I had ever done in my life and I could even feel it in my back.
Not like well what the girls might but I’ve never had boobs with weight before and it turned out to be a real experience.
I fell asleep as me last night too and I don’t remember if I dreamed at all last night or not.
I get out of bed and get my Steven stuff together and I pad off to the shower and wash Stephanie away for awhile and Steven back on and I even turn the hot water off first for a few minutes getting that jolt from the cold water.
Books and dressed I head down and make coffee and I get some breakfast. Toast again the same as yesterday and I take all the chopped up veggies that we had as finger foods from last night with me and I make a second cup of coffee and drain that pretty fast and I take a container of leftover cabbage rolls from the freezer and I take that as my lunch and there’s enough in there for some extras.
Dad makes these and they’re awesome.
His filling is the thing he uses rice like the others and he differs from there because he uses ground lamb instead of the beef and some ground pork too but his real trick is those kielbasa polish sausages. He grinds them up in the food processor and he uses all of that as the filling and…there’s some bread and butter pickle chips and a dab of stone ground mustard in the bottom of each leaf before he rolls them up and he actually doesn’t use tomato topping either he makes a topping from cream of celery soup and has like bread crumbs on the top from rye bread.
I have no idea where he got the idea or the recipe but we’ve let him make them from that point on.
I make a pot of coffee again because I kill the first one when I fill my thermos and I head off to go to school and meet up with Mary Jane.
Aunt Els is actually home and she’s actually looking like she’s not going into work today and she’s in her living room when I get there listening to music and she’s got the yoga mat out and she smiles when she sees me.
She doesn’t look as tired or as sore as I feel right now.
“Good Morning Steph.”
I smile and put my hands together and bow. “Namaste.”
She smiles and does the same. “Namaste.” Oh…okay her legs are kinda in the splits and she does the bow like she is a cat or something and her hips don’t really move but her boobs almost touch the floor.
“Okaaaay…and you’re still single how?”
She grins and slips back up. “Because I’m really picky and I’m looking for a man that can partner me in everything that I do and he can actually do the give and take thing on both the physical stuff and the emotional stuff.”
“Uhm…does a guy like that exist?”
“Yes, they do I’m not looking for perfect because I’m not even close I’m just looking for the right guy…he just has to fit.”
“And I’m out of my depth.”
She smiles. “Stephanie you’re thirteen you shouldn’t have to worry about that kind of stuff at all yet.”
“Good because that actually sort of sounds scary.”
“It’s not? I know women and girls even that go into the whole single panic mode.”
“If he’s not worth waiting or looking for then odds are he’s not really going to be worth having.”
“Okay…and again I’m out of my depth. Is M.J. around?”
“I think that she’s in the shower or getting dressed she’s a little sore this morning.”
“You both did a lot of exercise last night that wasn’t what you were used to.”
“Yeah that’s for sure.”
I head into the kitchen and I make a cup of coffee there too. I usually never have this much but then again I’m usually in bed by ten…usually and I’m really not used to that amount of dancing.
I actually try one of those latte things though this time.
Hmm…not that bad actually.
Better than the Tim’s stuff, but I use real milk in this at least.
I sip at my faux-latte and listen to the music Aunt Elsbeth is listening too and I just move some and dance to it. I’m trying to get some more practice in yes but this is also working out some of the aches and kinks.
Plus I am in a good mood.
No P.E. today.
In my class rotation we only have Gym four days in a week and today instead of Gym I have a double computer class.
I’m not a computer nerd but not having to go through the little changing room of horrors?
Yeah it’s helping.
I smile and pass Mary Jane her latte and she’s frowning at me.
“You’re still dancing?”
“Actually yeah and it’s helping work out the kinks and stuff.”
“Nope, nope, nope not me…gawd…I so should have worn a sports bra.”
I wince. “Ohhh…sorry.”
She shakes her head. “No…I really should have ran home and got one but my feet hurt and my butt and my hips.”
I nod. “Me too, I moved stuff I’ve never been allowed to before.”
She grins at me. “I know, Steph the look on your face…especially when you were getting it. Worth all the aches.”
I grin and we hug and M.J. gets herself some breakfast of a peanut butter and banana sandwich on toast. Okay that’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone actually cut the banana lengthwise to do this is always been that sideways cut.
She takes it with her as we leave and head for the bus.
Ricky’s there and he gives me a look that would kill.
I look at him. “I’m…” No… “Not you, not if you were the last person on earth.”
“Ditto.” Mary Jane says and some of the other kids at the stop want to sort of stay out of it or they’re giving him dirty looks.
Becky and Holly show up and we kind of bunch up in a group and he’s frowning all the more. Also we move into the bus shelter and stuff and coats and bags and purses are moved pretty much on purpose so he doesn’t get to ogle anything.
He shoots me another look like it’s all my fault and he grabs his book bag. “Screw this.” He starts leaving heading to one of the neighborhood shortcuts presumably to ditch. He does mutter plenty loud enough for us to hear him.
“Goddamned fag…stuck up cuts.” He flips us the bird as he leaves.
And Ricky being a bigot and an asshole sort of becomes the topic of the morning. We sort of just kind of include Amber and Rachel in on it when they get on and fill then in on the lovely morning event we just went through with Ricky.
Amber’s not impressed. She has a pretty serious look on her face as we fill her in on yesterday afternoon with him and Trevor and Darren.
“Look Steven be careful these guys just sound like the type that are looking to hurt someone just because they think that they’re gay.”
I look at M.J. and she’s looking at me then I nod and look at the girls. “Trust me I’ve been thinking about people getting really nasty with me for a long time.”
There’s some looks and it’s more concern than being curious.
It’s still really nice.
We get off the bus and there’s some looks a but actually a lot less than yesterday and it’s the miracle of the modern day I guess.
Mom calls it internet attention span.
Yes I’m news, Yes I was a whole lot of news yesterday.
But apparently yesterday was yesterday for some people.
Now…mind you some of the J-Witt and Mormon kids here are looking at me and unlike the Jesus squad types and all schools have them I think they just stare. Actually the J-Witt kids don’t they actually look away.
And Trevor flips me the bird and Darren’s scowling and they’re hanging with a couple of the known school thug and bully types and they kind of look like they’re in a homophobic group rant together but they just shut up and glare as we pass by.
Yeah, swearing gets frowned upon but that and bigoted or racist hate speech is a quick detention and a trip to the office apparently.
I actually look at Amber and Rachel. “So…what happened that the faculty cracked down so hard on people being asses?”
Amber kind of does this head nod towards the office. “Mrs. Fields the head secretary lost a niece over the summer to her getting bullied and even cyber-stalked. They found her dead and a long letter that was pretty sad I guess.”
I look at her. “And you?”
Rachel snerks. “No, Jessica Rabbit yeah you.”
Amber shrugs and sort of looks down. “Just…been there but not in school.”
She looks at us. “Dad drank.”
She does that sort of shrug like she’s actually trying to shrug it off but we stop at the lockers and we all hug her.
She sniffles. “I…I just hate bullies…he wasn’t great half the time but get a beer in him and he turned into a serious asshole.”
We kind of extend the hugging for awhile.
It’s actually kind nice to be part of and nice that Amber and us are that cool together that she told us this.
I’m really, really lucky to have the family that I have.
We part ways and head to our homerooms the it’s off to classes.
Morning break we get to see Liz with her new entourage and they’re kind of hanging with Megan and Bonnie’s want more and more crowd and impressing them and stuff and we get left along but we definitely get snubbed. As they stroll past us…there’s a little bitch move though because they cut Toni off from coming over to us until they all pass.
They’re giving her this she’s a little freak look like they’re trying to hurt her feelings and stuff.
I burst out laughing with the girls as Toni waits for them to pass and she watches them go and she puts on this really big grin.
“Ladies…” She actually swaggers over to us with a handful of chocolate chip cookies. “You see that?”
Rachel says. “Yeah.” Kind of tersely and Toni just looks and here’s what cracked us up. “I think I’m starting a harem. Damn they couldn’t take their eyes off of me.”
They’re heads whipped around and they had this look of shock on their faces. Then Toni eats a cookie like…
Oh they looked like someone touched a nine-volt to their coochies.
Like I said we lost it.
Then it was back to classes and I found a few more notes in my locker which I tentatively read.
“Yay for gay!” Written in rainbow colored pencils and a doodle of a anime character a samurai boy with cat ears.
“Hugs.” In several sizes and different notes.
A pink construction paper heart valentine with… “I have 10 inches.”… “T.” I choke on a giggle trying to turn it into a laugh. That, that was Tim…and not that I looked but not even on his best day.
No I’m not that hyper sensitive that I….
There’s more…more pink valentine hearts…most just say stuff like “thumbs up” Or just the internet smile thing but each one has the first initial of the guys on the team.
(Sniffle.) I get looked at and someone passes me a tissue. I look and it’s Nick.
Nick? He sort of smiles. “I was going to try and sneak this in but you got here first.”
“Oh…well you can give it to me now.” I dab at my eyes.
“Okay…uhm…here. I’m sorry that I was kind of a dick yesterday.” He blushes and…and it’s a little cute.
I’m so fighting it, I want to girl out with this. Even the way I’m standing here feels wrong.
(Sniffle.) Dammit…I’m leaking out past my mask.
“It’s okay…I mean it’s a shock right?”
He nods. “I just, you really threw me…sorry.”
He looks confused and he slowly nods. I step up and give Nick a hug and a peck on the cheek and we both break the hug quickly and he’s blushing really hard and I can feel my face hot enough to cook on.
But we get looks but not that many bad ones, heck I even saw one kid just looking right at us turn and shrug and head to class with one of his friends.
I’m “gay” right so I’m kind of allowed to do that right?
I smile just a bit and bite my lip. It’s something I really should try to break myself from doing but no lippy so no harm no foul right?
“These…these were awesome Nick.” I sort of hug my valentines to me and I head off to class.
………………………………...Classes were just that classes and while I got looks in English for putting my little treasures away that was about it.
Nick’s cheek felt.
And my lips feel.
And yeah I’m confused by that some one thing I did notice was Nick didn’t boy reek of too much cologne.
Which did make it less Yick.
Lunch comes next and that’s actually me getting grabbed by the girls as their lunches with the others involved in the dance and we take over the art room making decorations for the dance.
I’m just kind of one of the girls here literally and I end up telling them and even showing them the valentines I got and even dishing about Nick and catching him.
Amber smiles. “I heard about that. People might be acting like it’s no big deal and stuff Steven but that whole thing as far as I know is the first time two guys have done even something that far here in the school.”
I look and M.J. and she looks at me grinning. “It’s a start right? A good thing really. I got a few notes too but I never got valentines.”
I smile and I sigh a little. “It was really sweet y’know.”
Toni pipes in. “I got a few too and they were kind of cool…and hot.”
We look at her and she digs one out of her purse and passes it around. It’s definitely a girl’s handwriting but it says. “I want you to taste my skin…”
“Whoa…okay you know who?” I ask.
“Nope but I have hopes.”
“No one but it’s a girl and that means I’m dateable!”
M.J. snerks. “Munchable.”
A couple of the other girls actually go “Ewww…okay we’re kinda cool with stuff and all but TMI.”
Mary Jane just grins but Rachel looks pissed off. “She’s fine, that’s fine, why is it eww?”
Debbie Steel looks at her. “I don’t know but I’m not gay or lesbian or whatever Rachel and I don’t really dig all the sex talk and I’d be just as eeew if you girls were chatting about blowjobs.”
Rachel looks ready to still argue but Toni stops her by grabbing her arm. “Chill girls relax, heck I’m freaked at the thought of going and doing stuff with another girl like that.” She looks at Debbie. “Deb it was a joke lighten up.”
She smiles. “I’m just excited I might have a date sometime, to kiss someone I want to kiss and to just y’know like dance with them. Maybe date when I’m older.”
Amber actually claps. “Here, here Toni’s right it’s nothing we need to go to war over.” She’s looking at Rachel.
Rachel nods and goes back to what she’s doing and she blushes. “Sorry girls.” She says to al of us. “It’s just.”
We all nod and there’s smiles. Rachel is awesome she’s involved and feels strongly about stuff but with her own stuff going on she gets passionately involved.
I look at her and smile. “Hey, giving a damn about others is never a bad thing Rach.”
She smiles and blushes some more.
Deb adds in. “Actually if it was me it’d mean a lot to have you in my corner.”
She’s really blushing now, which looks cute on her. “You guys…”
There’s a knock and we look up and the guys are here from the team.
Toni pipes up loudly. “The valentines!”
Wow…I’ve never seen the whole team or most of the team blush.
Randy comes in carrying a cafeteria tray and it’s covered with those little containers of chocolate milk. “We thought that since you girls where al working so hard at doing this we’d.”
“Buy you all Drinks” Tim cuts in putting on this swagger and lean as he emphasizes Drinks like he’s some guy at some bar.
Toni grabs one and looks at Tim. “Tenner!”
He grins and blushes and he does that Guido thing with the reverse head nod. “Hey…how you doin?”
We all kind of crack up at that and it’s actually really cool with my friends all here like this.
I really am kind of scared this will change though.
The guys leave saying. “We’ll leave you girls to it.” And Rachel looks at me like to see if that upset me for getting lumped in with them because I’m “Gay.” I smile at her. “It’s cool, there’s nothing wrong with being a girl. I’m in good company.”
Toni hugs me. “Damned skippy girlfriend.”
I hug her back and I blush.
……………………………Classes are classes and my last ones were double computer and mostly that’s me getting done early and I end up on Facebook once the teacher checks my stuff and types in the password for me to log on.
It’s mostly the school and student council page really but I’m not using a picture yet but I do get started at signing in and making my page. Stephanie’s page.
After that it’s back to the arts and crafts room to do more stuff while the basketball team’s playing a game and I send Mom and e-mail saying. [Mary Jane and I are going to be late, we’re going to be helping set up for the dance after the basketball game.]
[Okay honey, tell all of them I’m sending your father with food.]
[Cool! Thank you!]
“Hey girl’s, Mom’s going to send Dad over here with food and stuff for supper.”
There’s some cheers and stuff and Amber puts in our dance songs in this portable stereo that’s there in the art room and we listen and even dance some. Not like dance, dance but that dancing as you do stuff kind of dancing.
It helps kill time and us to have a good time and we just talk.
Mostly about dating, if anyone has a date to the dance.
Actually Holly does she was asked by some guy called Turner she’s been dating from the other middle school and Debbie is bringing her boyfriend Craig who’s the biggest guy on the basketball team.
Not a lot of us dating at thirteen.
Well maybe someone might want to date me like in college or something?
……………………..even with the janitors helping and stuff there’s a lot of work setting up for the dance. I know we’re doing a theme dance so there’s like more but yeah there’s a lot of stuff to do and decorate and stuff.
The principal helps too some even especially after Dad arrives and they do the up high on the ladder stuff instead of us doing it.
Dad also bought KFC and Chinese take out so if you didn’t like one you could have something else.
And Toni mixes both which led to conversations about Chinese food and Almond chicken soo gi being made with KFC.
We actually get everything done and ready except for the snacks and the drinks and stuff and dad actually spent more money on us and the school buy bringing in Halloween lights and stuff ranging from those orange mini brites to electric candle sticks and even plug in jack-o-lanterns.
It’s Dad and the whole not having stuff growing up really does have him doing stuff like this. It’s also pretty cool too because we now have extra stuff for next year.
It all looks really, cool and it’s just after eight when we all lock up and go home and it’s nine thirty by the time we make it home because Dad had “The Pumpkin” and he drove Amber and Holly, Becky and Rachel and Toni and Diana and Lisa home.
I don’t really have time to be me tonight.
I do though manage a nice long soak in Mom’s tub and dress right before crashing.
Yes I know I have practice tomorrow and I don’t care…I’m not sure if my shea butter and cocoa stuff’s overly girly but it’s gay enough…I’m not showering again to wash off the smell.
…………………………Morning came way too soon and it’s not even getting ready in my usual way it’s getting my hockey gear and my sticks and my skates and then Dad and I heading out.
I really wanted a weekend of being me.
I’m thinking a lot about the team and playing and stuff and being me.
Would they let me play?
Do I want to play?
I mean as Stephanie.
Dad looks at me. “You okay angel?”
“Just thinking Dad, trying to figure out if I still want to do this.”
“You don’t have to y’know. You’re Mom clued me into how I kind of Daded you into this.”
We drive still going through the usual ritual. McDonalds first for Egg McMuffins, Tim’s for the coffee’s and doughnuts
“I know but it feels different now…I mean do I want to keep playing after I’m out? Will they let me? Will the league? And I’m a good player so should I quit it just because I’m a girl?”
He looks at me. “If you want to play you will play honey. Besides I can still have the whole hockey dad dreams.”
“Yeah, Canada has a national women’s team.”
“Oh…but will me being transgendered disqualify me?”
“Not if you really want it. I’m in your corner angel not matter what you do or just because some people think a single letters more important than just being decent.”
Okay one of the best things in hockey has been Dad and I sitting up in the seats and eating breakfast like this in the cold.
Changing wasn’t that bad.
We actually don’t get naked in the change room Most of us come wearing long underwear or leggings…yeah even the guys stuff that keeps you warm under the gear.
Turns out I was nervous for nothing about this and it’s business as usual.
Except someone left a roll of dimes in “Tenner’s” cup with a note saying “Actual size.”
I nearly giggled as we laughed.
We even have a good practice, do drills and go over plays and the coach gives us the weblinks to watch Billington’s games online. Most teams have their games up these days and it’s smart to watch how they play.
If the guys noticed the way I smelled they never said anything.
Then it’s home.
He stopped outside this door of one of the high end salons here in town and Aunt Elsbeth’s there with M.J.
“What’s going on?”
M.J. grins. “Make-over, Mom has the shop and we’re getting a spa day!”
“Really!” Okay I’m excited.
“Yeah come on!”
Dad hugs me and takes my stuff home and M.J. and I head into the shop and I can’t help the smile there on my face.
I’m actually….finally here in a real salon.
Mom’s there too and she’s smiling and we hug. “I brought the costumes and everything we’re going to enjoy this honey your Aunt’s really good at this.”
It’s early yet but honestly with Mom and me and Mary Jane getting made over and Aunt Els herself too. They’re both chaperoning and it’s a lot of work.
Blissful work actually.
I’ve dreamed of this.
Ached for this and slowly bit by bit I get plucked and waxed.
Heh, heh…okay it’s funny and not and almost this girl version of a guy thing when we actually are kind of evil girl to each other by ripping off the waxing strips from each other.
Actually it’s fun and we’re listening to the dance music and doing facials and stuff and everything.
My hair actually really gets sewn in like a real weave and then there’s hair extensions and adding body and curls and actually by the time I’m done my hair looks really like the hair that Mia Wasikowska had during the movie.
Then pretty underwear and bra…just white and lacy but really pretty so pretty that I have to fight crying a lot. My white lacy thigh high stocking and press on nails with polish and note just being showered and body washed but real perfume too and then my costume.
The dress fits so well and the white wispy gauze makes me feel.
Oh my goddess…yes so goddess right now.
Only another girl can get how really huge this feels to be this pretty.
Mom’s going as Holly Would from Cool World and I can imagine Dad’s going to do Brad Pitt and Aunt Els going as Penelope Cruz from the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie and then there’s M.J.
The Girl Mad Hatter… They did her hair in the colors from the movie but add it all up with the crazy coat with the patches and tails and the crazy colored stockings and this hot little skirt that goes with the bustier look and even her make-up matches the character from the movie.
Honestly she looks amazing and I’m proud to be Alice with her.
And even after starting early we get there ten minutes after the dance opened and there’s a whole lot of kids from all four grade classes going into the dance.
I’m swallowing and Dad helps all of us from the van and M.J. takes my arm and with a deep breath we head inside.
Okay it’s pretty cool there’s a lot of the general kind of costumey stuff and then there’s some stand outs.
Matt Alward doing a pretty decent Wolverine in the leather jacket and the sideburns.
Peter Noyles as Paul McCartney.
Debbie and her guy as the Munsters. Craig makes a good Frankenstein.
Holly’s going as Pam Anderson with some definite boosting and she has the whole Baywatch red swimsuit on and there’s Becky who never said a thing but she’s a Tron girl and just wow she even has the glow in the dark light stuff.
And the body suit hugs her really tightly.
Rachel is doing the Tiger-Lily thing instead of Pocahontas.
Toni is some anime Character cat girl and she looks really cute those I have no idea who or what a Merle is.
Tim comes as Mike Holmes the builder guy with the show that Dad likes.
I see the girls and they see me and right past me and they see M.J. and they’re like. “Mary Jane! Ohmigod you look so cool!”
Then it clicks.
Jaws literally drop and I do a spin.
Try not to bite my lip nervously.
Then there’s this burst of Squeals and “Ohmigawd!” Over and over again screams and squeals and I’m being hugged tight and there’s jumping up and down and I’m fanning myself in the face trying not to cry and end up blotting anyways.
It’s a good half hour of how’s and why’s and I’m explaining the costumes and how we made them and then we start dancing mostly with each other. It’s still kind of a teen dance awkwardness and all.
I’m having such a good time and the lessons really paid off!
And the looks from the guys on the team.
I feel like a real girl…I mean Tim even stopped clowning around and Randy who’s dressed as Malcolm Reynolds extends his hand.
“Can I have this dance Miss Alice.”
I…I take his hand.
Yeee…this is fun!
“You certainly can Captain.”
We dance and I’m really glad that I danced with Mark and Dad and stuff and I’m having a lot more fun without worrying about being a complete dork and we end up into a slow song.
“You look great.”
“Is this it?”
“Yeah….” I look at Randy. He smiles at me. “I think we can deal.”
“Really? You’re not freaked?”
“Not really Steph?” I nod, he smiles. “I do have the internet y’know.”
“I’m not like that…like the dirty stuff.”
He actually turns me. “Yeah…you do know that you can look up the T in LGBT right?”
I blush. “Sorry…”
“You look cute when you do that.”
“Randy…” I’m really blushing now and am getting tongue tied and when we’re done he passes me off to Jack one of the guys on the team.
“I…uhm…hey Jack.” He’s dressed in leather jacket and black but he’s wearing this faux wolf head that’s black like a hoodie.
“Alice.” He smiles.
“Uhm nice costume you’re?”
“Oh…cool…” It kind of is too it fits really without being corny. And I’m a big Neverending story fan.
He passes me off to Jeff and then one after another I’m dancing with all the guys on the team and they’re going from dancing with me and are dancing with M.J. and all our friends actually having this whole kind of central group starting the dancing thing up and breaking the ice.
I see Amber dancing with Mary Jane and she’s dressed as a girl version of Kevin Costner’s version of Robin Hood and she looks good with a bow too even and a quiver. She’s actually pulling handsome off too and then there’s a cough and there’s this girl there and she looks like Ella from Ella enchanted and she shy smiles at me.
“Hi…can I have a dance?”
It’s a slow dance that *All we are we are* By Matt Nathanson.
I…okay up close and touching and close together and I can smell her perfume ad stuff and it’s really…okay it’s really wow like dancing with Randy was.
The song sows to end and she looks at me through these long dark lashes with these big brown eyes.
“Can I kiss you back?”
“………………..” Ella leans in and kisses me softly on my lips and there’s something electric in the touch of lipstick on lipstick.
Kiss me back?
A mascara dark tear slips out and rolls down her cheek.
There’s a little choked. “No…not really.”
She moves to leave and I grab her hand and she looks scared and hurt and I look at her.
I give her my best soft smile and gently pull her over to where the other girls are at. She’s nervous but she comes and I look at the girls and get a seat. “Girls, this is Ella.”
There’s introductions and she’s as scared as I was…am…I mean I think I have the gay thing working for me with people. It’s that gay guy in a dress thing.
Mary Jane she seems to have this look in her eye that she gets it and she picks Ella up into the conversation and I smiles and join in a little myself.
Nick…Ella…we kissed and it was…But kissing Nick on the cheek.
And even Randy a little…he was so nice and he was pretty handsome too.
There’s another cough and I see Dad.
“Can I dance with my daughter?”
“I’d love to Daddy.”
Ella, Nick, Randy…all of that can wait and honestly it really doesn’t matter as much as my very first real father daughter dance and it really, really means so much to me.
The dance, and the whole Halloween contest to come.
I think I’ve already won.
*** This is the end of the story as far as the contest entry will go for. I really enjoyed all of the comments and PM’s and will love all the ones to come too. (So please comment!) I hope you all enjoy this and don’t forget to vote! ***
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