Part One- A Wrinkle in a Swiftly Tilting Adolescence
The Callahan home...Summit, New Jersey...
Terrence Nathaniel Callahan wandered into the kitchen; his shoulders seemed to be weighed down, but it was just the same old stupid stuff that kept him from sleeping. No swiftly tilting planet, but a dream that seemed almost as bad as a nightmare because instead of being stuck in the dream, every morning he woke up to his miserable life...
His name wasn’t Meg Murray, but it might as well have been. Round wire rim glasses that adorned a pale face framed by long brown hair. He was smart, but underachieving; maybe a learning disorder, but mostly because of a very, very bad self-image. He had a pair of younger brothers who weren’t twins but still functioned like they were. Danny and Dale were separated by fifteen months and the distance between their twin beds.
No savant occupied the last slot in the sibling lineup, but a very nice little girl who was still much smarter than any of her classmates. So that left Terry at the top; eighteen, geeky, and just a bit on the 'soft' side.
“You want help studying for that final of yours,” Danny asked his older brother as he walked into the kitchen. Terry frowned. Even with help, the best he could hope for would be to barely pass, barring a miracle. A whole term of lollygagging, his teacher had said of his efforts; an old if completely accurate description of his efforts. Terry had been distracted all year long.
“That’s okay. I’ve got it for the most part, but thanks anyway, Dan.” He smiled and started upstairs.
“Terry? Can you help me?” Libbie looked up at her brother and frowned. She had dropped a box of Legos on the floor, scattering them all over the upstairs landing. Terry knelt down and began to pick up the toys.
“You’re a good brother. Dale laughed when I asked for help.” She frowned again, and her lower lip stuck out in a frustrated pout.
“He’s okay…He’s just worried about the game tomorrow, okay, Libbie?” Terry said with a smile as he helped her to her feet.
“Okay…but only ‘cuz you said so.” She squeezed his hand before walking back to her bedroom.
“Nothing like being validated by a seven year old,” he said to himself. He walked up the last set of stairs to the attic…his bedroom occupied half of the top floor; unfinished except for a bed, a dresser, an old armchair, and couple of dog-earred and torn movie posters for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings he had rescued from the trash behind the theater a few years ago; stapled on the plywood that covered the rafters.
“What’s a sixteen year old boy doing with a Harry Potter poster,” his father had said. Both had come to an agreement in the following two years. His father felt he was not really the stuff most boys are made of and Terry agreed whole- heartedly. Not that his dad was complaining; he actually sympathized with his oldest child.
“A boy needs his mother,” Terrence Sr. had said. Almost like the Wallace family, the mother of the household had gone missing, but she was gone with a co-worker who read her poetry and loved cats instead of by some tesseract or wrinkle in time. Why Danny and Dale didn’t follow suit with confusion and doubt remained a mystery to Terry, who felt singled out in every family situation as the odd one. And not by anything said or done; it was his own sense of self that seemed to set him apart and make his life miserable; something that only time and perhaps a good shrink might help, his Aunt Celine had said.
He stared at the pile of clothes on the bed. If something was going to change, it would have to be soon. At eighteen, he was getting taller quicker; maybe too quick, and he feared the worst, understandably, having read all he could about his ‘delicate condition,’ another endearing observation by Aunt Celine.
“Terry? Dale says dinner is ready. You gotta help with the table!” Libbie called from down below. Terry sighed and looked over at his bed once again at the clothes laid out for the following evening; they would have to wait, but thankfully he could lock the attic door and protect his secret. What Terry was about to find out is that secrets may be meant to be kept, but often are also destined to be found out. And he’d also find out that being found out wasn’t bad at all.
The next day….
Terry got home at about 4:12pm, which was just enough time not to be ready for what awaited him when he walked in the door.
“Hey, bro?” A voice called from the kitchen. He looked around the doorway to see Callie Mahoney sitting at the table drinking a juice box. She was dressed in her typical garb; something she called semi-Emo, with subdued makeup and hair, but with the short skirt over dark leggings and ballet slippers. He stared at her, wondering why she had shown up there; they had agreed to meet up at the convention center late that afternoon. She raised the juice box and smiled,
“Libbie said it’s okay, so long as I don’t drink any of the grape! Salut!” She laughed and took a sip.
“What are you doing here? I thought we agreed to meet there.” Terry shook his head, his nervousness obvious to Callie.
“Say…what’s the problem, bro? So I’m here. I figured we’d change here and catch the bus over to the convention center early. Uncle Shamus said he’ll let us in the employees’ entrance!”
“You should have called. I’m not ready.” Terry nearly snapped at her. She looked at him oddly and smiled.
“I know. I saw.” She laughed softly and grabbed his arm as he walked by.
“Dale let me in your room.”
Terry’s eyes widened in shock and fear. He hoped that she had only noticed the disheveled condition of the attic, and not what he had prepared for the evening. His hope was in vain, but not really all that horrible, as Callie spoke.
“Nice outfit. You don’t expect me to wear that, do you? Oh…wait…we were supposed to meet up at the center…hmmmm….I wonder who that outfit is for if not for me….hmmmm” She teased, and he stared at her.
“I’ve got my outfit in my gym bag, so it can’t be for me….and we’re not going with anyone else, so far as I know…. hmmmm.” Callie laughed a bit heartier this time, and the reaction was entirely surprising as Terry’s eyes began to mist.
“Oh, come on, bro. You don’t have to worry with me. I promise I won’t tell anyone…oh wait…you’re going out in public in that outfit. I don’t need to tell anyone.” The loudest laugh brought the boy to tears. He glared at her, not so much in anger as in frustration and shame. He ran up the stairs and slammed the door to his attic bedroom. A few moments later a soft knock came at the door followed by,
“Ter…hey…I’m sorry. Maybe if you see what I’m planning on wearing you won’t feel so bad, okay. Best friends?” She knocked on the door again.
“Helooooooo? Any nice boys with whom I’m overwhelmingly attracted in there? Future spouse? Hubby?” She teased again, but there was so much more to what she said than even she realized. But at that moment, her words were at least sufficient to get the door unlocked. Terry didn’t even bother to open the door, but Callie found him sitting on his bed when she entered the room.
She walked over and sat down next to Terry, who had recovered enough to stop crying; at least for the moment.
“Let me show you…I’ll change and you can tell me what you think.” She punched him softly in the arm and he winced, not from pain, but from the embarrassment that hadn’t gone away, despite her best efforts to show him she was fine with his choice of costume. The punch did nothing to ease his anxiety, and he took his pillow from the head of the bed and covered the pile of clothes.
“I don’t think I’m going to go, after all.” He shook his head.
“Yes you are, buster!” She paused and laughed before adding,
“My goddess, I’m turning into my mom! Buster? Terry, come on…we’ve been planning this for a whole year; you can’t back out now. Besides, when you see what I’ve got for my outfit, you’ll just have to come along, okay?” Terry shrugged his shoulders and turned away, partly out of his continued embarrassment, but also because Callie had started to take her clothes off. The boy’s face turned red and hot.
“Oh, gosh, it’s not like you haven’t seen this before. Oh gosh…wait a sec…you haven’t seen this before. She pulled off her bra, exposing her breasts. Terry had covered his eyes, and Callie laughed.
“Come on, Ter…lighten up. Here….gimme your hand.” She didn’t wait for a response and took his right hand and placed it on her left breast.
“See there? That wasn’t so bad…And right next to my heart.” She pecked him on the cheek.
“Okay, show’s over for the moment. Close your eyes…not too hard. I know when I do that I get a whopper of a headache. But keep them closed until I say open, okay?” Terry put his hand out to wave, his other hand covering his eyes. A few minutes later, he heard her exclaim.
“Ta DA!!!!!” He didn’t respond, preferring rather to keep his eyes covered. After the touching moment only minutes before, he didn’t know what to expect. Leia on the Slave Barge? Leeloo from the Fifth Element? What could she be wearing? She solved his dilemma by gently tugging his hand away from his eyes.
“So, whaddya think?” She laughed and did a pirouette. The plain grey skirt twirled; its pleats looked very straight and proper. She wore a dark blazer, and her auburn hair was done up in a longish pony-tail.
“Very….very nice.” Terry hardly glanced in her direction. She stuck her lower lip out in a mock pout.
“Very nice? Bitchin’, Ter…bitchin’!” She stepped closer to the bed and pulled him to his feet.
“Okay, sweetie…your turn.” She pointed to the pillow covering the pile of clothes.
“Oh yes you can. We can’t let this slide, Ter….you know you want to ….you wouldn’t have tried to make it a surprise if you didn’t!” She pointed to the bed again.
“You get dressed, and I’ll help you with the rest.” She pulled him closer and whispered,
“And you’ll get a nice surprise if you do….Oh I can’t keep a secret. I’ve got four Ghiradelli dark chocolate bars and two of them are yours if you get dressed now!” He hesitated and she punched him in the arm.
“I said now! I’ll even turn my back and close my eyes.” She laughed once again and smiled before sitting on the bed. Terry grabbed the clothes and shook a bit.
“Listen, Terry. It’s okay to be different. You know? It’s what I love about you! Go ahead. I promise I’ll keep my eyes covered and I won’t laugh…much.” She giggled and he took a deep breath.
“Okay…close your eyes.” The sound of clothes being pulled off and other garments being put on was almost too distracting for Terry. At one point he turned and saw that Callie indeed had covered her eyes, but that she had spread her fingers wide and was peeking between the spaces. He turned his back to her, which did nothing to hide that he was nearly naked save for his underwear, if you could call it ‘his.’
Finally, after much giggling on Callie’s part and gasping and sighing on Terry’s, he was finished getting dressed. Callie had closed the gaps between her fingers in deference to the big ‘surprise’ reveal, which really was more of a surprise than either had expected.
“Holy shit!” Callie nearly screamed. “Shut up!!!!”
“Cal….please….this is hard enough as it is!” Terry protested but Callie continued,
“You look terrific….better than terrific…you’re fucking beautiful.” Her estimation was completely accurate. Terry stood before her in a nearly identical outfit as hers. His slim figure and non-manly looks (as his father was wont to remind him) helped him pull off the illusion.
“So, is it alright if I call you Hermione?” Callie said softly? The figure in front of her surely bore little resemblance to the boy who had stood in her place only moments before. Callie used her hand in a twirling motion, and the girl did a pirouette as fine as any you’ve ever seen.
“The thing I absolutely adore about fan fiction is that you can sort of push things the way you’d really love them to go. So, without further ado, Miss Hermione Granger? Oh I am so delighted to make your acquaintance. My name, as if you didn’t know, is Ginevra Weasley.”
“I…I’m pleased to meet you.” The Hermione-girl smiled nervously.
“Come on, girl…this is going to be a great evening.” She laughed softly as she pulled the girl toward the stairwell.
“And after the convention tonight? “ She grabbed the girl’s other hand and finished, placing both of the girl’s hands on her breasts.
“We’ll come back here and make some magic of our own!”
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