The Scoobies Do: Chapter 6 - School Daze

Douglas Deaper was found in his bloody bed. His limp hand clasped the grip of the Colt .45 in his limp hand, the barrel was in his mouth. Hickstown chief of police Seth Poole was indicted for conspiracy and promptly resigned. The remaining junior/senior high phys-ed teachers, while not guilty of abuse, were implicated...

The Scoobies Do
Chapter 6 - School Daze

by Jennifer Sue

Copyright © 2009 Jennifer Sue

 
Chapter 6
 
Emboldened by her successes of the last two days, Gabi decided to wear a skirt to school on Wednesday. Faye and Lyle tried to talk her out of it, but Gabi rightly pointed out she'd broken the ice on Monday and had been on TV Tuesday so it would be easier to continue wearing a skirt today rather than restart it sometime in the future. Reluctantly they agreed Gabi’s assessment was spot on. After a call to Dr. Norma Lee to get her approval, they gave in to Gabi’s demand.

Lyle and Faye decided to call the school before classes began to inform the staff of the decision to let Gabi replace Gabe. Gabi called the other Scoobies to let them know what she was doing and they all decided to jump on the Goth bandwagon. Rocky, Freddy, and Buffy wore the dark green nail polish and lipstick to match Gabi's Goth look.

When the Scoobies arrived for school Wednesday morning they were surprised by the warm greeting their schoolmates gave them. Even the school bullies Moe Lester, Mike Rotch, Dick Swett and Stu Piddity acknowledged the Scoobies without snarling. Other than Principal Jass, no one seemed bent out of shape that Gabi was wearing a skirt or the other Scoobies wore the dark nail polish and lipstick. Lyle Bull’s not so subtle warning that morning had cooled Mr. Jass’ jets. Everyone seemed to take it as par for the course. The reason for the warm welcome quickly became obvious. The Channel 5 Eye Witless newscast of Operation Scoobies Treats had made them minor celebrities. Principal Jass had already decided to hold a school wide afternoon assembly to showcase the Scoobies and let them report on the reception they received at the hospital. The assembly went smoothly as the Scoobies told how the faces of the kids lit up when they arrived. As the Scoobies had planned, Rocky snuck Bert the Hippo into school in his backpack and into the assembly. As Gabi was telling how much the children enjoyed seeing Bert, Rocky and Freddy slipped him out of the backpack and held him behind Gabi before giving him a squeeze. "BRRRT" echoed through the auditorium causing everyone to break into hysterical laughter. Rocky then held Bert high in the air and waved him about to the applause of the students and consternation of Principal Jass.

Of course, the Scoobies made sure to end their presentation on a positive note by urging everyone to help out those who may be less fortunate. They explained the smiles of appreciation from those they'd helped made all their efforts worth while.

The rest of the school day passed without any issues. In fact, their classmates seemed friendlier than ever before.
 

*          *          *

 
Lexi Kahn had a busy day too as numerous psychological tests were given between discussions with the shrinks. The result was that she was okayed for release from the hospital that afternoon. She was delighted that her mother had bought her a cute panty and cami set to wear under her boy clothes when she left.

Lexi was scared yet thrilled to stop at Walmart on their way home to get some more undies and nighties. Reluctantly, she agreed to hold off selecting a skirt or dress until she and her mom had a chance to look at what styles were available and what best suited her.

Not having allowed herself to think about being a girl, Lexi understood her transition would be gradual. Most importantly, she wanted to be sure she felt comfortable with the styles she selected.

When she arrived home Lexi began reorganizing her bedroom. Much of what she had in her room she had because she felt it was what a boy should have. Now that she didn't have to keep up that charade, she began removing what she didn't like.

When her older brother Deforest arrived home from school, he saw Lexi carrying a box into the garage. "I'm clearing all the boy stuff out of my bedroom," Lexi explained. "You're welcome to go through it and take anything you like."

"I doubt there's anything I want," Def Kahn growled in his usual gruff manner. "You're sure you want to get rid of all this stuff?"

"Yeah, I'm not going to go back to the way I was," Lexi explained. "Inside, I really am a girl. I'm sorry if that freaks you out, but that's the way it is."

"It does freak me out," Def answered. "I just don't understand how something like this can happen. I mean, you’ve always been weird and I believe you when you say you feel that you're a girl, but it doesn't make sense to me. Look, it may take a while to get my head wrapped around it, but I'll eventually get used to it. I'd rather have you as my sister than to have you kill yourself as my brother. It won't be easy, just be patient and give me time to get used to it."

"I will," Lexi replied as she bit her lip. "Def, would it be okay if I gave you a hug?"

Def Kahn bristled until he saw the plaintive look on Lexi's face. "We'll try a short one," he sighed.

Lexi beamed as she gave Def a quick hug. "Thank's bro," Lexi smiled as she stepped back after the brief hug.

Def blushed but nodded his head. He wouldn't admit it but the hug felt good. Plus, the look of delight on Lexi's face made his discomfort worthwhile.

Bea Kahn had to fight back tears of joy as she watched the interplay of her children.
 

*          *          *

 
After spending the morning and early afternoon with Dr. Arronie working with Lexi, Dr. Lee had no problems letting the Bea Kahn make arrangements for the Bull and Kahn families to meet with both doctors Wednesday evening for a late supper. Both families were aware of the subject matter so there would be no shocking revelations. A private dining room in Brock Lee’s Pizzaria at 151-161 Main Street in Hickstown was the logical the site and a casual meal of pizza with wine for the adults and Coke for the kids was organized.

Gabi kept her hair in pigtails, the dark green nail polish and lipstick, and the dark skirt and sweater she’d worn to school but added a studded collar and wrist gauntlets to complete her Goth image. Lexi was dressed in a pair of her boy jeans and but wore an oversize t-shirt that with a chain belt to snug in the waist to look like a girl's smock. Her hair was brushed into bangs and topped with a sassy newsboy-style cap that Hillary Duff made popular. Naturally she wore her new girl's undies. When they saw each other, Gabi squealed with girlish delight and the pair exchanged a hug and kiss on the cheek.

Ike Kahn, Lexi's dad, looked totally perplexed while Def Kahn looked uneasy and embarrassed by the girly greeting. "Please, would everyone sit down," Dr. Lee suggested as she gestured toward the table. "I think it'd be best if each family sat on the same side opposite your counterpart."

“Hey, Def,” Eddie smiled as he greeted his teammate on their Junior Varsity football squad.

“Eddie,” Def gasped. “What are you...”

“It’s cool, dude,” Eddie laughed as he pointed to Gabi and Lexi. “We have a lot in common... like our sisters.”

Def smiled and nodded his head. "So your sister is the one who discovered Lexi. At least I'm not alone in dealing with this."

"It takes a bit to wrap your head around it," Eddie chuckled. "But Gabi's such a girl it's easy to accept and understand she's really my sister and not my brother. You'll get there too if you let it happen."

"I've already seen it," Def sighed. "So I can see what you mean."

It was during their interchange that Lexi recognized Eddie as being a classmate... one who was in all of her classes including her gym class. You could see her face cloud with anxiety.

“Relax, Lexi,” Gabi soothed. “Eddie is my brother. Remember, I told you he was okay with me being a girl. He'll be cool with you too.”

“Gabi’s right, Lexi,” Eddie smiled. “If you’re anything like Gabi, you’ll be happier as a girl. Don’t worry about what jerks like Payne Inthass think. After the beat down you gave him, anyone who wants to hassle you will think twice. Besides, you’ll have classmates like me who will support you.”

Of course, that required a little explanation of how Def, Eddie and Lexi knew each other. All three attended Hickstown Junior/Senior High, Eddie and Alex were seventh graders and shared almost every class while Def was in eighth grade. Eddie was able to fill in quite a few holes about what occurred the previous Thursday in gym class.

"Coach Jacques Strapp always gets on the guys that aren't too good at sports, calling them wusses and pansies," Eddie explained. "He knew that Payne Inthass and a couple other guys would then torment Alex and the other guys. I could tell Alex was trying his best but Payne just kept needling him. Then Alex flipped. I don't mean any offense, Lexi, I wouldn't have lasted as long as you did. I just hope no one ever gets mad at me like that. You jumped on his chest with fists flying knocking him down. You knocked the air out of him when he hit the ground and you were sitting on his chest giving him what he deserved. A lot of us were cheering you on. Coach Strapp tried to pull you off but couldn't. Coach Jim Sox came over from his class to help him. Payne was crying like a baby and even pissed himself. Then you broke away from Coach Sox and, well, you know. We were just glad you didn't hurt yourself."

Dr. Mack Arronie was angry. "You mean to say Coach Strapp was publicly humiliating those boys and knew they'd be teased?"

"Yeah," Eddie confirmed.

"Coach Strapp does that all the time in every class," Def added. "All the guys know it and have learned to keep their mouths shut because they just get in trouble if they complain to the office. I'm sorry, Lexi, I should have warned you."

"I'll kick his ass," Ike Kahn seethed. As a delivery truck driver for Hickstown Heating, he was not a man with whom to trifle. "No one messes with my son... even if he is a sissy. No... wait... Lexi... I'm sorry, I'm still having trouble handling this. No one messes with my DAUGHTER and gets away with it!"

Dr. Arronie and Dr. Lee were livid. "That constitutes child abuse," Dr. Arronie fumed. "The police made it sound like Alex attacked without provocation."

"Then it's also a conspiracy," Lyle Bull added. "The school administration and the police are covering up a system of institutional child abuse. Ike, I'm a lawyer, I know you're angry and rightly so, but please don't do anything rash. I'd suggest we keep this between us for tonight and move deliberately. Ike and Bea, bring Lexi and Def to the county courthouse tomorrow morning, I'll bring Eddie. If both doctors can meet us, I'll call Judge Hardaz of the family court tonight and make arrangements to meet us in her chambers at 9am. She's a stickler about abuse cases, especially institutionalized ones like this. The kids can testify about the abuse and the doctors can give their professional opinions. We'll file the child abuse charges and get search warrants for the school records. Judge Hardaz can probably issue an arrest warrant for Coach Strapp. Even though I hate to say this, the Hickstown police may be involved in the cover-up, we'll coordinate arriving at the school after lunch to execute the search warrants and arrest Coach Strapp. They won't know what hit them and won't have time to start a cover-up. I'm offering my professional services at no cost to anyone but the school. I'll ask the judge to award my fees as part of any settlement. In addition, I know a detective who will jump at the chance to help. I'll call her tonight so she can set up surveillance on Coach Strapp’s gym classes until we get there with the warrants. If the boys are right, we'll have undeniable evidence to back up our accusations."

Everyone agreed that sounded like a plan. Then they settled down to get to know each other.

Gabi and Lexi settled in across the table from each other as did the rest of the family. Mother across from mother, father across from father and brother across from brother with the doctors seated at either end of the table.

Dr. Arronie began with a simple explanation of Gender Dysphoria, adding that it was a very real condition and by no means a situation someone would choose to put themselves in and that it had nothing to do with parenting. Then he explained that Dr. Lee had greater knowledge and experience with Gender Dysphoria and that for the most part he would defer to her expertise and if the Kahn's felt comfortable with her, he'd transfer Lexi's future care to Dr. Lee.

"What you said about this Gender dys thing is a lot like what Lexi told me but I still can't get it straight," Def said as he shook his head. "I know Alex is not a nut case. You're saying that even though my brother is a boy he's really a girl in his head?"

"Yes," Dr. Arronie nodded. "Of course a lot of testing and consultations need to be done to verify the diagnosis, but I have little doubt the preliminary diagnosis will be confirmed."

"Don't try to figure it out," Eddie chuckled. "Because you can't. Look, Def, you and I are guys, we don't have to think about it, we just know we are. Take a minute to think back, if Alex is like Gabe, being a boy never came natural. Sure, he did things guys do, but not because he wanted to do so, only because he felt he had to. Being a guy for them was always forced and they were never happy doing it. Did Alex ever enjoy playing baseball, football or soccer?"

"Well, no," Def answered slowly after a few moments of deep thought. "I just never thought about it."

"Well, I know Gabi didn't but she told us right out," Eddie continued. "Then Gabi latched onto Abby from NCIS and went Goth. I guess it was a way to get out of the pressure to be one of the guys. Then in September, he discovered he was transgendered. Suddenly everything about Gabi made sense. She's my sister."

"I didn't understand why I wasn't happy being a boy," Lexi added. "A lot of times I thought I felt like a girl but I refused to even think about that. I just knew everything felt wrong and it made me angry. The madder I got the more wrong I felt. The more frustrated I became, the more often I thought I was a girl which I knew couldn't be right. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and when I lost it and beat Payne Inthass, I was horrified at what I'd done and tried to kill myself. Even after that, I didn't fully understand what was wrong with me but I felt so wrong I just wanted to die." Lexi had to stop to wipe the tears from her eyes.

"I saw the anger, frustration and hurt in Alex's eyes when we met yesterday," Gabi added. "I guess it takes one to know one because I felt in my gut that Alex was like me."

"Gabi saw right through me and made me realize what I'd been trying to deny," Lexi sniffed. "I am a girl, my plumbing is just wrong. It's the only answer where everything makes sense. When Gabi called me Lexi, the walls of my denial and anger collapsed. I knew she was right. I am a girl. I can never go back to being Alex."

"I can see the difference in Alex... damn... Lexi, already," Ike Kahn sighed. "So how do we handle this?"

"The first step is for all of you to accept that Alex is really Lexi," Dr. Arronie declared. "Lexi understands she can't suddenly appear. She'll have to pretend to be Alex in public until all the tests are completed. But she'll need time to be Lexi, and that will have to happen at home or in safe surroundings. She'll need suitable clothes and acceptance from you."

"Once the tests are completed, we'll sit down with the councilors and staff of the school to devise a plan to let Lexi replace Alex in public," Dr. Lee picked up. "We're currently in that process with Gabi, in fact, today was the first day she openly went to school as Gabi. None of this is easy and not everyone will understand or accept the transition. But I feel confident in stating that if this is not resolved, Lexi will attempt to take her life again. Unfortunately, many teen suicides are rooted in gender dysphoria, and all too often they succeed."

"What we'll unleash on the school district tomorrow will make it easier for Lexi to come out as a girl when she’s ready," Lyle firmly added.

Everyone sat quietly and digested the information. Just then there was a knock at the door and a voice called out "The pizza is ready."

Eddie and Def both perked up and went wide eyed as the licked their lips.

"If Def is anything like Eddie, we'd better give them their own pizza first and let them have at it," Faye chuckled.

That brought smiles from everyone and grins to the boys. In a few moments the boys sat at one end of the table demolishing a pepperoni pizza directly from the tray while the others waited until slices had been placed on plates and napkins dispensed.

As they ate, the families discussed similarities and differences in their transgendered children. The Kahns agreed to transfer Lexi's treatment to Dr. Lee and the families agree to meet socially to discuss issues. Dr. Lee also promised to get them information on a local transgender family support group. Def and Eddie were soon deep in the merits of their school football program.

Since everyone hit it off well, the families decided to get together every other Wednesday night to discuss mutual concerns and just for friendship.
 

*          *          *

 
Thursday morning Eddie and Def were called off from school. Private Eye Evie Dense stopped in the office of Hickstown Junior/Senior High as soon as it opened and identified herself. She asked permission to film the school exterior and athletic fields saying a client had asked for candid shots.

Principal Douglas Deaper asked, "Who is the client?"

"I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to release that information," Evie apologized. "But if the films show what the client expects, it would involve a large amount of money for the School District."

Principal Doug Deaper's eyes lit up with dollar signs. As Evie hoped, not once did he expect the filming could cost the School District. With a smile he signed the simple plain language permission slip Evie provided, keeping the original and giving him a carbonless copy.

By the time Coach Strapp took his first class out to the athletic fields, Evie had her cameras and long range microphones set up. As she recorded the first class, she called Lyle.

"Lyle, this is terrible," Evie declared. "I hope you can get this pompous ass locked up. There is no way this can be anything other than child abuse. In the first five minutes he's humiliated three boys and is smirking as a couple of Neanderthal boys are raking their poor classmates over the coals. I'm recording everything and will send you the first class as soon as it's over. If the judge doesn't shut this guy down, I just might do it. It's taking everything I have not to go over to him and wipe that smirk off his face."

"We're just ready to go into the judge's chambers," Lyle replied. "I'm sure Judge Hardaz will jump right on this. I know you'll keep your cool. I'll keep you posted on what's happening at this end."

"It's a good thing I'm a professional," Evie answered. "I want to thank you for this job. Helping to put this guy away will make my year."

When the first class ended, Evie downloaded the digital recording into her laptop and e-mailed it to Lyle's laptop in the courthouse. She was able to record four consecutive classes before lunch, capturing Coach Strapp’s caustic verbal abuse of the un-athletic boys and the subsequent teasing they endured from their classmates while the Coach looked on with a sneer on his face. It took all of Evie's will power to keep from punching that sneer right off his face. She took solace knowing that with what she had recorded, Lyle would crucify the ass. When the classes resumed after lunch, she again recorded every incriminating bit.

Lyle and Eddie waited in the courthouse lobby until everyone arrived. Then as a group they headed up to Judge Hardaz' chambers for the pre-arranged meeting. Knowing Lyle Bull as a lawyer who was not prone to exaggeration, Judge Hardaz had asked Wanda Kidd, the head of the County Children and Youth Services, and Assistant D.A. Laura Norder to join the meeting.

After introductions, Lyle laid out the case. Alex, Eddie and Def told what they'd witnessed in the gym classes and answered all questions from D.A. Norder and Miss Kidd. Miss Kidd had the official filed reports on the incident between Alex and Payne and they were quite different from the story the youths told. Then Lyle set up his laptop and previewed the recordings Evie had e-mailed. The fury evident on the faces of the three women was scary.

An arrest warrant was issued for Jacques Strapp charging him with child abuse, terroristic threats, and child endangerment. Search warrants were also issued for any and all school and police records that may indicate district or police complicity in the abuse or cover up of abuse. Judge Hardaz personally notified the State police and County Sheriff to promptly organize a task force of State Troopers, State Detectives and County Deputy Sheriffs to meet with assistant D.A. Norder at the nearest State Police Barracks to coordinate the strike forces. At the barracks, assistant D.A. Norder laid out the charges and the possible conspiracy and noted the search warrants needed to be served simultaneously at all three school offices and that everyone had to keep the destination secret so no one at the school or local police was tipped off. One State Trooper and deputy sheriff would serve a search warrant at the elementary school, the district main office, and the Hickstown Police. Two of each would serve the junior/senior high school. In addition, two State Troopers would arrest Jacques Strapp and take him for arraignment before Judge Hardaz before taking him to jail.

The teams swept in at 2:00 in the afternoon. Evie recorded the arrest and handcuffing of Jacques Strapp near the end of the sixth gym class of the day. Coach Sox, who was on the playing fields with another class was ordered to take over the now teacherless class.

Cindy Caishun from Channel 5 Eye Witless News and her crew arrived at the junior high school at 2:05. Obviously forewarned of the situation, the station cut in on their regular programming and went on the air with live coverage. The film crew captured the handcuffed bewildered coach being led off the playing fields to the State Trooper’s vehicle. When the officers saw Cindy and crew waiting they tried to hustle the arrested man to their patrol car.

Cindy shouted past the troopers, "Coach Jacques Strapp, do you have anything to say?"

"I don't know what they're talking about," Coach Strapp cried as he was shoved into the back seat. "I've never abused a student! I'm innocent!"

Naturally Cindy Caishun scooped the competition on the breaking news story. She also provided a brief clip of Coach Strapp in action verbally abusing the students on the field. Although everyone suspected Cindy received the clip and the heads up about the raid from Evie, she refused to reveal her source. Evie had made sure the clip she gave Cindy was not among the recordings she provided to the D.A.

The news of Coach Jacques Strapp's arrest and the reason for the simultaneous raids on the Hickstown School District and Hickstown police spread like wildfire through the community. Parents came out in droves to pick their kids up at the schools. Despite her position as a fluff reporter, Cindy Caishun was an excellent investigative reporter. She and her film crew mingled with the concerned arriving parents and the students leaving school at the end of the school day. Cindy did her best to select boys who seemed to fit the image of those who had suffered abuse from coach Strapp. Most of her selections were spot on. Almost to a boy, their relief that their abusive gym teacher had been arrested was palpable. Their impromptu replies confirmed the raid was long overdue and strongly suggested the school was complacent in hiding the abuse.
 

*          *          *

 
The story was quickly picked up by the national media and Cindy Caishun made her nationwide on the air debut that evening. The public outrage against the school exploded when the interviews and short clip of Coach Strapp verbally abusing the boys were shown on the newscasts that evening and the next day. Werner Summers, School Board President of the Hickstown School District called an emergency session of the school board that very night. Expressing great sorrow and heart-felt apologies, the school board promised full cooperation with the authorities and ordered the district superintendent to see that no one even remotely connected with the scandal was to go unpunished and to immediately suspend Coach Strapp and Principal Deaper. Principal Deaper, who attended the meeting, knew he was doomed. Anything he even attempted to say in his defense would only result in his grave being dug deeper. Drawing himself up, he stood and gave the school board a verbal resignation effective immediately.
 
*          *          *

 
The confiscated records were searched and by Monday more arrest warrants had been issued. Douglas Deaper was found in his bloody bed. His limp hand clasped the grip of the Colt .45 in his limp hand, the barrel was in his mouth. Hickstown chief of police Seth Poole was indicted for conspiracy and promptly resigned. The remaining junior/senior high phys-ed teachers, while not guilty of abuse, were implicated in covering up the abuse.

Monday afternoon Lyle filed a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against the school district, Coach Jacques Strapp, and the estate of Principal Douglas Deaper. On the news that evening Cindy Caishun asked all current and former students of the Hickstown School District who were victims to come forward and file statements of the abuse they’d suffered.
 

*          *          *

 
Due to the School Board's prompt actions and cooperation with the investigation, public outrage about the abuse and bullying settled down but many wary eyes were focused on the schools. The fact that Gabi's father had filed the class action suit against the school district also spurred the staff to be more aware of bullying in general and particularly in regards to Gabi and her friends. Gabi's continued public transition to full time girl mode caused few issues. The elements in the school who might have created problems had already been conditioned not to hassle Gabe. Buffy, Freddy, and Rocky slipped into the same modified Goth style Gabi had established, even wearing the skull flower patches on their dark clothing. The fact that the majority of the students and staff accepted Gabi and the Scoobies at face value also applied peer pressure on those who might object to accept them.

Going to church on Sunday as Gabi raised a few eyebrows but presented no real issues. After giving the Children's sermon about the skull flower, the congregation had learned to appreciate Gabe as a person despite his bizarre appearance. Coupled with the success of Operation Scoobies Treats, the eccentricities of all the Scoobies were accepted as part and parcel of their youthful exuberance.
 

*          *          *

 
Hickstown Junior/Senior High underwent a rapid transformation. The bullying and intimidation stopped. The staff didn't need to be told to quash any attempts at intimidation. Those students who persisted in teasing and tormenting found themselves in detention and no amount of parental 'my child wouldn't do that' extracted their not so angelic offspring from the punishment.

Coach Jacques Strapp had been head coach of the JV Football squad. Assistant Head Coach Jim Sox took over and lead the mostly demoralized football team at the Tuesday night home football game. With more spectators from the visiting team than the home team, the mood was one of hometown defeat and shame. By half-time they were down 21-0. As they forlornly straggled into the locker-room, DeForest Kahn lived up to his nick-name, he went to DEFCON 1. (During the Cold War in the US military, an alert status of DEFCON 1 was feared because it would most likely precede an all-out nuclear war.)

"Damn it, none of us liked Coach Strapp," Def scolded his teammates. "He was a bully and a pompous ass. When he screwed with Alex he picked the wrong kid."

"I was there when Coach Strapp set up Alex," Eddie said as he stood by Def. "Alex gave Payne Inthass what he deserved and was so upset he tried to kill himself. What most of you don't know is that Alex is Def's brother."

That revelation caused quite a few gasps.

"I was in that gym class too," said Izzy Fuhl as he stood. "You know Def and I are good friends. I've known Alex for years. He was one tough kid and Coach Strapp had no reason to pick on Alex. Sure, he wasn't good at sports but he sure as hell tried his best. Coach Strapp deserves everything he's got coming!"

"When he picked on my little brother, he picked on the wrong kid," Def growled. "If I'd have known what Coach Strapp did to Alex, I would have killed him. I'm glad that Alex's shrink and Eddie's dad, who's a lawyer, was with us when we found out what really happened that day. The shrink calmed us down and Eddie's dad set everything in motion to get Coach Strapp, Principal Deaper, and the school busted for child abuse. None of what happened relates to us in any way other than we had a F-d up head coach. You know he did as little as possible. Most of the work-outs and plays we use come from Coach Sox. He's here, so let's show everyone we don't need Coach Strapp, let's go out there and kick ass!"

There was a lot of head nodding.

"We have even more reason to win tonight," Izzy Fuhl added. "Let's prove we don't need Coach Strapp and never did!"

Coach Sox walked to the center of the room and stood by Def, Izzy and Eddie. "Boys, I'm ashamed to say I too was intimidated by Coach Strapp, and I let him bully me into keeping quiet about the way he treated some of the boys. I've already come clean to the to the authorities and school board. I hope they let me keep my job but won't fight it if they dismiss me. Winning tonight may or may not help me, but it would make me feel great to know the team I've helped build could win under such dire circumstances. You boys have nothing to be ashamed of! I hope you will lead your fellow classmates in revitalizing this school into a place where all students feel safe. Now, let's go out there and win!"

It was a different team that came out onto the field. Gone was the whipped dog posture they'd showed in the first half. In it's place was the fierce determination of their team name. They were the Spartans!

The visiting team remained scoreless in the second half. Their cocky attitude was wiped out by the end of the third quarter when the score was tied, 21-21. By the end of the game, the Spartans had crushed the Mustangs 42-21.
 

*          *          *

 
That same night, at Gabi's suggestion and with the full approval of the other Scoobies, Lexi joined the Scoobies for their lessons at The Metamorphosis School of the Arts. Still hesitant about appearing in public as a girl, the Scoobies and their teachers not only accepted her femininity, they encouraged it. By the end of the classes, Lexi was smiling and giggling, right along with the Scoobies. Lexi's first public exposure to kids near her age was successful.
 
*          *          *

 
The Spartan JV Football win revitalized and crystalized the entire Hickstown School District. The win quite effectively repudiated the debilitating effects of Coach Strapp's sanctioned bullying.

Def and Eddie became fast friends and quickly recruited the rest of the football team and members of the other school sports teams to exert peer pressure on those who bullied. Because they were so different in temperament and size, few people had realized that Def and Alex were siblings, but now word that Alex was Def's brother swept through the school. Payne Inthass and his wanna-be gangsta buds were now the ones looking over their shoulders, afraid they'd be jumped.
 

*          *          *

 
A very anxious Alex returned to school on Thursday exactly a week after the raids. Acting as body guards, Def and Eddie were conspicuously by his side. Glares from the intimidating duo quickly quashed any intentions Payne and his cohorts might have of getting back at the cause of the raid. By lunch, Alex was able to relax knowing so many people were keeping a protective eye on him and others who had been victimized.

Everyone noted the uptight, sullen boy who been their classmate before that fateful gym class was gone. The new Alex was shy but smiled tentively. Everyone noted that except for Def and Eddie, Alex avoided the guys. For his part, Alex wanted nothing more than to shed the boyish shell he'd constructed over the years and free Lexi. Through Alex's eyes, Lexi watched the more feminine girls with an intensity that made a few of them uneasy. Others were curious about Alex's extreme attitude change and sudden interest in girls. By the end of the day, Alex was talking with a couple of those girls.

Friday, several of the girls invited Alex to join them for lunch. It didn't take long for Alex to slip right into their normal animated discussion. The girls who had been uneasy about the looks Alex had been giving them relaxed. The rumor mill went into high gear and soon nearly everyone assumed Alex's past macho behavior had been an attempt to cover up being gay, and that his attempted suicide had capped his desperation and his subsequent counseling was helping him open up.

By Monday, a few of the braver guys, but not in an accusatory manner, asked Def if Alex was gay.

"I don't think he’s gay," Def answered cryptically. "The shrink is still working with him to figure things out so anything might be possible. But however Alex turns out, no one better have any issues with him."

The guys just nodded.
 

*          *          *

 
Wednesday night the Bull and Kahn families met at Brock Lee Pizzaria for their second evening meal discussion, this time without the doctors. Lexi wore an ankle length skirt with a slightly padded training bra under her sweater. Again Gabi and Lexi hugged each other in greeting. This time Ike smiled to see his daughter so happy.

Eddie, who had seen Alex all day in school, was more than impressed by Lexi’s girlishness.

“Eddie, she’s not ready to have a boyfriend,” Def smiled whispering to Eddie after noting his friend’s reaction to his sister.

“Ah, yeah,” Eddie stuttered and blushed but added. "But she sure is cute."

"So is your sister," Def responded when he noted Eddie continued to drink in Lexi's girlishness.

That got Eddie's attention. "Gabi's way to young to even think about guys," he snapped as he turned to see Def's grin. Eddie realized Def had intended to get a rise out of him. Unfortunately, it was a bit too much and everyone heard his come-back and was looking at the boys seated at the end of the table.

Gabi blushed and her mouth opened and closed like a fish.

Def held up his hands in a defense manner. "Chill already. Eddie was just saying that he can't believe that the Alex he saw all day in school could make such a cute girl. He kept checking her out so I joked to him that Lexi's not ready to have a boyfriend."

Now it was Lexi's turn to blush, not only was she embarrassed but she secretly thought Eddie was a hunk.

"That unhinged him a bit so I told him I thought Gabi is cute too," Def continued. "You heard his response. We were just yanking each other's chain."

The parents glared at the boys. Finally Bea spoke up. "We appreciate your honesty but you've embarrassed both girls. You owe them apology."

Def and Eddie exchanged pained looks then both mumbled "Sorry."

"This does bring up a situation we've put off even considering," Bea finally sighed. "Boys are going to find our daughters attractive."

Lexi squirmed and looked down, she found the prospect appealing and appalling.

Gabi scrunched her face in thought. For the most part she enjoyed the admiring glances she'd been receiving from boys and men although a few had been unsettling. At the time she didn't understand why they'd made her uneasy, now she did. They were not looks of admiration, they were looks of lust! She knew she wasn't ready for that!

"It'll be all right, Gabi," Faye soothed as she noted Gabi's discomfort. "We know you're not to the point of liking boys, but that won't stop them from checking you out. It's a man thing we women learn to deal with."

"The same applies to you, Lexi," Bea added. "You may discover you don't even like boys. If you find yourself attracted to girls, we'll deal with it."

"That's weird," Def shook his head. "Not that I have any problems with it. I'll stick up for Lexi no matter what. It's just that if Lexi likes girls, would she be a lesbian?"

"That's not important," Bea admonished.

"I know," Def replied defensively. "Its just that since Alex came back to school, everyone has noticed how different he is. Heck, he's hanging with a couple of girls now and even eating lunch with them. Most kids think the new Alex is a great improvement. But on Monday a couple of guys asked me if Alex was gay."

Lexi gasped and bit her lips.

"Relax, sis," Def smiled. "They were cool with it, just curious. You know how nosey everyone is. I told them I didn't think you were gay, but that you were seeing a shrink so anything might be possible. Then I told them they'd better not have any problems with you no matter how you turned out. They all said they'd be cool with you no matter what."

"Heck, I even had a couple of guys from our class ask if I was gay," Eddie added. "They were wondering since it's been obvious I've been looking out for you since you came back. They shut up real fast when I asked if they were jealous. But Def is right, they were just curious."

"That's what made me ask if Lexi would be a lesbian if she likes girls," Def smiled. "We have several kids at school who are might be gay and lesbian. Almost all the kids and staff are okay with it. The few who aren't are like Coach Strapp. Since the school has cracked down on harassment, those few creeps have become turtles."

Gabi looked perplexed and asked, "Turtles?"

"Yeah, Def chuckled. "When a turtle gets scared, it pulls itself inside it's shell to avoid whatever is going on rather than deal with the issue. When they come out, the issue will still be there."

"Yeah, but with the scare of the lawsuit, Coach Strapp's arrest and Principal Deaper's suicide, it'll be a long time before anyone dares to even try anything against a gay or lesbian," Eddie assured them.

"That was my intention," Lyle added.

"Well, I don't think the girls are ready to deal with their sexuality any more than the rest of us," Faye spoke up. "But they do need to think about their options and what feels right for them. Whatever they decide, we'll all be with them. But I really think this is a subject that needs to be discussed with Dr. Lee."

Everyone readily agreed, and once the pizza arrived, they all dug in with gusto.

Everyone noted that throughout the remainder of the get-together, Eddie and Lexi kept sneaking glances at each other. More than once their eyes met and both blushed. Both were confused by the undeniable attraction they felt for the other. Although everyone noted their interactions, they studiously ignored the lowered eyes and blushing. The parents exchanged knowing looks as it became obvious that Eddie would need to talk with Dr. Lee.



To Be Continued...



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