You Saved Me! (part 1 of 2)

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You saved me!
(a Gaby fanfic)
part 1 of 2
by Jennifer Sue

Based on the story Gaby, Book # 4 - Once Upon A Time In America By Maddy Bell
With some bits borrowed from Rhod’s Trip to America by Joni W. and Drew’s Meltdown by Kate Hart
Some Characters portrayed in the story are copywrited to Maddy Bell for her Gaby series found at Maddybell.com


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Due to his family and related circumstances, red haired and lightly freckled Jaden Blount had no friends. At school most of his classmates didn’t even know his name. At the same time academically Jaden was in the top five percent of his class. Several teachers were concerned about the quiet never smiling boy. In every class he could Jaden sat in the front row seat closest to the door. It kept him somewhat isolated from his classmates and close enough to the teacher to keep him safe. Unless it involved class work he seldom spoke with his classmates. However he had developed the ability to clandestinely eavesdrop on their conversations. Knowing what was going on forewarned him of possible dangers.

After returning from their Student Exchange trip the exchanged students made a presentation of their English experiences in a school assembly. The freshman girls who’d been on the trip spoke about their experiences and told of their excitement in hosting the British students when they came here. Nearly every day afterward discussions could be heard in which the exchange students spoke of their trip and hosts. Britney Waters shared Jaden’s homeroom and many classes. Normally quite a chatterbox the perky girl couldn’t stop jabbering with her friends about the cute English exchange student who’d be staying with her family and joining their class for six weeks. Among the many tidbits Brit shared was that the girl, Gaby, was the current under sixteen British Cycling Champion and that her mother was the current Tour de Feminin champion as well as the current Women’s World Cycling Champion! That bit of information caught Jaden’s attention since, at first out of necessity but now for escape and relaxation, he was an avid cyclist. While he’d have loved to race, he had no support from his very redneck family. The only racing they concerned themselves with, other than hating all minorities, was stock car racing. To them no other type of racing existed.

Those thoughts quite naturally had Jaden slumping into a funk. With himself as the only exception, his family was all too ‘dueling banjoesque.’ Whispers and snickering followed wherever they went throughout the community. While his mother and pseudo father never admitted to the truth, he’d assembled the intertwined lines of truth that emerged in their all too often heated verbal disagreements (more appropriately yelling matches) into a coherent history that justifiably engendered the unending community stigmatization of the family.


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15 years before
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The freshman girl nervously glanced and anxiously giggled as her mom stopped in front of the house. Cars and pickups were parked everywhere, music could be heard blasting from behind the house. “Ya’ll just go ‘round back an drin a cup’al a Buds wyle ya keep yor eye on Leroy,” Evelyn Miller instructed. “Da booze’ll help ya rlax. When he be lone, go over an flump yur cute fanny on ‘is lap an giv ‘im da biggest smile ya got! Natur’ll take over. By dis time tomorry ya’ll have yur future husband an be set fer life. Na git goin’ an make yur ma proud!”

Leroy wasn’t feeling much pain when the cute girl plopped into his lap. It was hard to say who wrapped their arms about the other first but their kiss could have boiled water. Their passion exploded. Five minutes later they left the party as they tore out of the driveway in Leroy’s F150. Fifteen minutes later they were naked lying on a blanket in the back of his pickup parked off to one side of the fire lane at the end of Browns Gap Road.

The damp morning mid October chill, the chirping of the birds and the first rays of the sun peaking over the mountains of Shenandoah National Park slowly woke the hung over teen. The nude girl cuddled in his arms was vaguely familiar, he’d seen her in the halls at school. Looking at her he noted her luscious womanly curves and felt his loins stirring once more. Wisps of memories of the previous night of lust filtered into his foggy brain. It slowly dawned on him they’d had unprotected sex... a lot! She’d been so demanding he’d been unable to resist. Hell... he didn’t even know her name! But he knew all the girls in the sophomore, junior and senior classes! Then it hit him. DAMN! She was in a freshman! That meant she was under age! Damn... this could be major trouble! It could cost him his hard earned full ride scholarship to the University of Virginia!

Evelyn smiled evilly as she heard the pickup pull up in front of the trailer. Putting a stern frown on her face she stepped out on the weatherbeaten front porch.

Leroy swallowed the bile he felt rising as he looked at the dumpy housecoat clad worn woman with curlers in her hair. With dismay he recalled the sage old advice that if you wanted to see what a cute girl would look like as an adult, look at her mother. Nervously he glanced over at the disheveled but undeniably cute girl clinging to his arm. The adoring smile on her face made him shiver. While he was no coward, it took a lot of willpower to open the door and step out of the truck. The girl never left go of his arm and slipped out beside him. With a firm grip on his arm she led him up the rickety steps onto the porch.

“Ma, this is Leroy Blount an he made me a real woman last night!”

“Dat so,” Evelyn sneered as she critically looked the scared young man up and down. “How ol’ ya be, boy?”

The scared hung over boy’s head pounded and his tongue felt thick and hairy. “Ah... I... I’m s... seventeen... ma’am,” Leroy managed to stutter.

“Wal Leroy, Ah hopes ya tend ta do da rite ting,” Evelyn sneered. “Jayleen here’ll be for’teen n sex weeks. Less ya do da right ting, ya’ll be goin t’ jail right soon!”

Knowing he was trapped Leroy decided to be proactive... damn his parents would be super pissed! They’d warned him about going to the after game party. Oh how he wished he’d have listened! Squaring his shoulders he faced Jayleen’s mother. “M... ma’am, I take full responsibility for my actions.” Then he turned to face the girl. Grasping both her hands he dropped to one knee. “Jayleen, will you marry me?”

The excited girl squealed with delight! Pulling her hands free from his sweaty hands she threw her arms around his shoulders and mashed his face between her firm B sized breasts. “Yes! Yes! Oh yes!”

Evelyn smirked with satisfaction. For a boy who was supposedly so intelligent, snagging this rich boy for Jayleen had been so easy! Intelligent don’t mean smart!

Randal and Helen were furious with Leroy when he finally slunk home shortly before noon. Unfortunately the woeful tale of young drunken lust was not hard to believe. What made it worse was that Evelyn Miller was no stranger to the adult Blounts. Like Leroy, they’d attended Augusta High School. Again like Leroy, Randal had been a star running back on the school football team and won a scholarship to UVA.

Evelyn Miller had been on the junior varsity cheer squad along with Helen. In fact, Evie had dated Randal when they were freshman. But her constant whining and demands quickly soured the relationship and they broke up on Valentines day when she’d gotten too demanding. Randal began dating Helen just after Easter. Evie never forgave Helen, the jealousy and hate destroyed any hope the brash redneck girl had of escaping her roots. Evie dropped off the cheerleader squad after the freshman year and landed an after school job as a waitress in a good ole boy bar. When she turned sixteen she dropped out of school working full time at the bar. The good looking teen seldom went home alone on Friday and Saturday nights. The pill kept her safe for quite a few years until the twenty three year old began spending every weekend with 40 year old Johnny Walker Reed at his trailer. When she turned up pregnant... SURPRISE... Johnny Walker simply moved her in to be his regular old lady. At 6'6" and a bull like 280 pounds, the gruff man didn’t object when Evie gave their daughter his last name.

Johnny Walker, a high school dropout, was a good ole redneck boy who had a knack for fixing up cars and trucks. With his skills he was never without work and did quite a bit of salvage and repair work at his home, a trailer at the end of Page Avenue in the Jollett Springs Trailer Park three miles south of Grottoes on US 340 where the collection of junk vehicles didn’t upset the neighbors... as long as Johnny Walker kept their vehicles on the road.

The meeting between Evie, Johnny Walker and the Blounts was, to say the least, tense. Johnny Walker didn’t say a word but his intimidating presence insured things went peacefully. Evie basked in her triumph, insisting a formal engagement announcement be immediately made. While the Blounts were doing well they were firmly middle class, well above their poor roots. For Leroy to have a chance of a good paying job to support his young wife (and, while left unsaid, his mother-in-law) the boy had to go to college on his scholarship. It irked Evie that the marriage had to be postponed until he completed UVA, otherwise the scholarship would be voided.

The announcement caught the entire community by surprise. The seventeen year old senior engaged to the thirteen year old ninth grader kept tongues wagging for weeks. Especially after Evie let it ‘slip’ that Leroy had seduced her ‘innocent’ daughter. Due to his strenuous football commitment the young couple dated irregularly. When they did Leroy made sure to stay sober and, much to Jayleen’s disappointment, keep his zipper up. The clicking tongues only increased when, just before Christmas, it was discovered that Jayleen had been ‘knocked up’ during the illicit tryst. The Blounts agreed to pay for the birth and grandchild’s support until the marriage could take place.

The baby, Jaden, was born on July 15. That fall Leroy headed off to college and Jayleen found herself isolated as she started her sophomore year. With a child to nurse and her older beau off at college she was totally squeezed out of the school social loop. The stress of taking care of a baby while Jayleen was at school was too much for Evie and she began hitting the bottle much harder, insisting Jayleen come directly home after school to take care of young Jaden. With the college football season in full swing, Leroy’s weekends were booked so he couldn’t return home. Jayleen was lonely and horny blaming the innocent baby for her isolation.

Matters were only made worse whenever an alcohol fueled Evie ranted. “Ya dum lil bitch! Ya was only s’posed to seduc ‘im, not git yurself knocked up!”

Most evenings found Evie passed out drunk by 8pm, too drunk to take care of by then fifty four year old Johnny Walker’s manly needs. Most nights found him horny and feeling little pain by the time Evie passed out. Needless to say it didn’t take long for Johnny Walker and Jayleen to link up.

By Christmas it was quite evident Jayleen was once more pregnant. Everyone knew Leroy was away at school and that she wasn’t seeing anyone else. The wagging tongues whispered of incest. Evie was furious since she knew what happened. Jayleen’s second pregnancy embarrassed even the conniving shrewish woman. Ashamed to show her faceamongst her low life friends she began drinking even more. No one was surprised when Evie overdosed on pain meds and booze in March. Jayleen dropped out of school to take care of Jaden and hide her growing swollen belly.

For his part Johnny Walker proudly proclaimed he knocked up the cute underage girl while loudly proclaiming he was not Jayleen’s father but had taken Evie in so he had a steady lay. Since he’d never married Evie no one had the guts to openly dispute his claim. As an end run around possible underage sex charges, Johnny Walker married Jayleen two weeks after Evie died. Quite naturally the incestuous marriage ended the engagement between Leroy and Jayleen. The Blounts used the marriage to alter the terms of the child support payments. Ten percent of the weekly payments were to be deposited in a secure account at StellarOne Bank in Grottoes to be used by Jaden as an allowance with no access by Jayleen or Johnny Walker.

The brief monthly interludes Jaden had with his paternal grandparents ended quite abruptly a few months after his fourth birthday. Randal and Helen Blount were killed by a drunken driver shortly after Leroy started his senior year at UVA. Leroy was so wrapped up in his schooling he didn’t have time for the boy, especially since he desperately wanted to avoid Jayleen. Knowing his responsibilities to his son he established a trust fund from his parents estate to continue to pay child support. The bank account at StellarOne was modified so that if Jaden wanted something he could go to the bank. The bank manager, Alec Wagner, would ensure what Jaden wanted was indeed for him and not frivolous, then cut a bank check to the store to make the purchase. The lawyer overseeing the trust, Dave Edmunds, would review all purchases and make periodic inspections to see that Jaden was the benefactor of the purchase. The terms specified that if the Reeds interfered with Jaden’s control of his purchases, the child support they received would be debited. Needless to say Jayleen and Johnny Walker were not happy.


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During the weeks preceding the exchange student’s arrival, Jaden found himself anxiously awaiting the arrival of the mysterious champion cyclist girl and, to a much lesser extent, the other British exchange students. As was his practice Jaden skipped lunch to avoid the crush of his schoolmates preferring to hide in the library. With his curiosity peaked he decided to research the champion British cyclist. After greeting the librarian he headed to the computers to look up the current under sixteen British cycling champ. Other than Lance Armstrong he didn’t know the names of any bike champs. To his surprise, the search had immediate results. Those results confused him. Drew Bond, thirteen, was the current under sixteen British National Cycling Champ but there was even more! Drew was also the current British National Hillclimb Champion, had won the Steve Morris Cup from the Lincolnshire Juvenile Circuit League, won the North Midlands under sixteen championship and won the James Shield award for outstanding North Midlands rider of the year! While impressed by the wins, he wondered why Brit was lying about Gaby Bond who had hosted her during the exchange. What did she hope to gain?

For several days he tried to stop thinking about the British champ. Yet his own interest in cycling kept the issue in his thoughts. Finally he decided to see what else he could discover about the British under sixteen champ. It seemed almost impossible that a thirteen year old could have accumulated so many titles in a single year! One of the first things he discovered was that Drew Bond lived in Warsop, the very town the exchange students had been too! This news made Brit’s bragging a bit more realistic since she’d probably met Drew when she’d been at the local school with Gaby. But still, why would she lie? Continuing the search, he discovered Drew’s mom was Jenny Bond, the current Tour de Feminin and Women’s World Cycling Champion! So Gaby and Drew had the same mother! But it was the photo of Jenny on the podium after winning the Tour de Feminin that confused Jaden. The photo identified and clearly showed Jenny Bond with her two children, Juliet and Gaby... her ONLY children! The previous articles he read unequivocally indicated Drew Bond was the British under sixteen champ and Jenny Bond’s child. Yet the Tour win article indicated there were two daughters and no son. If Brit’s host had been Gaby Bond... how did Drew fit into the picture?

With his interest peaked over the next several weeks Jaden researched and read the details of every article he could find relating to Drew Bond, Jenny Bond, and Gaby Bond. What he discovered was quite unsettling. Drew Bond, who won all those cycling titles, was a boy. Gaby Bond had also won several races and made many more appearances. Not only that they were the same age... were they twins? The gender discrepancy only grew as his research uncovered quite a few examples of boy Drew and girl Gaby. Most of the articles indicated Drew and Gaby were the child of Jenny. Yet the articles about Jenny mentioned she only had two children. If names of both children were given, the eldest, Juliet, was always mentioned. However, the younger child was sometimes identified as a girl named Gaby or a son named Drew. The exception was an interview Jenny Bond had with Cycling Weekly where interviewer Phil Eaton during which he met and interviewed Juliet as well as both Drew and Gaby! The only conclusion he could reach was that Drew and Gaby were the same person... sometimes a boy and other times a girl! Yet in all the conversations he’d heard Brit had only mentioned Gaby and that she was a cute girl. What the heck was going on?

Tuesday after the Christmas/New Year break the British exchange students began attending Augusta High School. With well camouflaged eagerness he quickly glanced at each girl who entered the homeroom. A girl he’d never seen, a shy cute blonde entered meekly following Brit. As the other students entered, he kept glancing at the clearly nervous cute girl. By the time the bell rang he decided the diminutive girl, whether boy or girl, couldn’t be the British cycling champ... she was just too small. After the morning announcements and Pledge of Allegiance, Miss Jackson got everyone’s attention.

“Class, our British exchange students have arrived from Warsop, Great Britain and have joined us for the next six weeks. Class, please welcome Drew Bond. Drew, please stand up.”

Jaden was surprised. That cute British girl was Drew Bond! But Drew Bond was a boy! The cute girl he saw certainly didn’t look as if she could have beaten bigger and older boys for the British under 16 championship!

“Drew, welcome to the United States and Augusta High School,” Miss Jackson continued. “I understand you’d prefer to be called by your nickname, Gaby. Is that right?”

The girl was blushing bright red and meekly nodded her head.

Jaden was even more confused. That she was the girl he’d seen in photos while researching the British under sixteen cycling champion he had no doubts. The undeniably cute girl he saw was Drew Bond and also Gaby Bond! She certainly looked to be all girl! Added to that she seemed quite shy for a champion. But even wearing jeans and a sweater she was undeniably cute. Maybe she wasn’t the cycling champ... after all, Britney was known to stretch the truth.

Confused and baffled, Jaden went through the rest of the day keeping a close eye on Gaby to see if he could spot the boy. Other than being quiet and shy, she appeared to be a normal girl. That afternoon as he rode his bike home he couldn’t stop thinking about the mystery. Maybe she was a transsexual? Or was her family making her switch genders? How had the reporter interviewed both Drew and Gaby? What kind of mental turmoil must she be in to live such a dual life! Those thoughts led the lonely boy to ponder his own life and what others thought of him.


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Jaden Blount was the oldest of five siblings. The Reed boys, Johnny Walker Jr., Jack Daniel, Jim Beam and lastly Bud Wiser were born in July one year apart. In good old boy tradition, all the males wore their hair long pulled back into a low ponytail. Jaden was thin and on the small side of normal for his age. By contrast his robust brothers took after their dad. Since Jaden wasn’t his son... and he firmly although falsely denied he was the boy’s grampa... the boy was treated harsher than his half siblings. As such he had the smallest bedroom closest to the common area of their crowded no longer mobile home. As the oldest, Jaden had been expected to look after his younger siblings. As they grew older, the task became increasingly difficult with Jaden being punished for the transgressions of the younger boys. The unfortunate boy was also punished if he snitched on them.

To compound the bad situation Jayleen resented being burdened by her sons, but Jaden was the one who started her down the path that led her to sleep with her own father. Johnny Walker was indeed Jaden’s grandfather, but he was the father and grandfather of the other boys.

By the time he was ten, Jaden simply avoided his family as much as possible. Johnny Walker took his sons hunting, fishing and to the car races down at Wythe Raceway. Jaden discovered he could avoid the good ole boy redneck activities if he volunteered to ‘help’ his ‘overburdened’ ma with the household chores. Jayleen had no qualms about letting him take over doing the dishes while she watched TV. The laundry and house cleaning quickly followed. Johnny Walker was glad to be freed from the onus of having the ‘bastard’ boy with his sons. The younger boys frequently made their ‘weird’ older brother one of their favorite targets. The other kids in the trailer park quickly picked up that Jayden was a target. At school, Jaden did his best to avoid drawing attention to himself. By the time he started middle school he’d mastered fading into the background during school.

It was only after Jaden began taking on most of the housework that Jayleen cut him some slack. She pressured Johnny Walker to make the other boys leave Jaden alone... not out of concern for the bullying he endured, but out of concern that if he was injured, she’d have to once more do the housework. Jaden seldom ate with the family, preferring to eat at a bar in the kitchen while they gorged at the diningroom table. As long as he stayed out of their way and did the chores, the others left his bedroom and bike alone. While Jaden was a loner at school, at home he was a virtual hermit. Along with riding his bike, reading and learning were his escapes, thus his high grades.

Like every other kid in the trailer park, Jaden had a bicycle. Unlike the other kids who mostly rode trail bikes, Jaden had a ten speed road bike. It was the first purchase he’d made using the funds in his account at StellarOne. Even then it was a used bike he’d selected from Erin’s Cyclery. Jaden babied the bike and kept it in his small but stark bedroom. It quickly became his main means of escape from the terrorism that surrounded his daily life. Starting in middle school, whenever the weather was clear he rode his bike back and forth to avoid riding the bus. By the time he began attending Augusta High School Jayden rode his bike to and from school nearly every day to avoid the hassle and torment of riding the school bus. Rain nor snow deterred the determined boy from his daily eleven mile one way commute to and from Augusta High. In fact, most days he easily beat the bus, with it’s many stops, home or to school. Developing stamina and speed on the bike had been a matter of survival to escape the trailer park kids that sought to harass him. Thanks to the daily commute and the practice of avoiding his tormentors the boy was strong, wiry and agile. The arrival of the exchange students, especially the mysterious Gaby, were a welcome distraction to his dreary humble existence.

Wednesday Jaden made the eleven mile bike ride to school in record time. All night his mind hadn’t been able to escape thinking about Gaby. Her demeanor in school had been all too much like his. It seemed to him that for whatever reason she was at odds with herself. Today he intended to watch her closely and do his best to eavesdrop on her conversations in a effort to solve the mystery.

Needless to say he was the first student in homeroom. The whispers and gawking of his classmates when Britney and Gaby walked into the room was understandable. Yesterday Gaby had physically appeared as a cute, quiet shy girl. Today she wore a short skirt and tights leaving no doubt as to her gender... and she was the only girl so clad. The guys were devouring her with their eyes while some of the girls seemed to be upset and intimidated by her girlish attractiveness to the boys. Most of the girls seemed to accept her as she presented. However, Jaden noted her demeanor. She knew she was looking hot yet seemed quite embarrassed by her attractiveness. It had to be the dichotomy of her dual gender. Was she a boy forced to dress like a girl? Was she a girl who was made to dress girly while wanting to be a tomboy? Was she Transgendered? Was she both male and female? Whatever the answer, she didn’t appear comfortable in the way she was presenting while at the same time was effortlessly being a girl!

When Jaden overheard the plans to meet at Jack’s Diner, a popular after school hang out, he thought about discretely following to spy on her a bit more. In the classes that followed gleaning more info he debated joining them. Since he didn’t eat lunch in school he saved the lunch money so he had some pocket money, although since his family qualified for the reduced cost lunch program he only saved a dollar a day. The thing was he’d NEVER joined his classmates in heading to Jack’s after school. If he suddenly showed up he’d stick out like a sore thumb, something he wanted to avoid. Instead he decided to follow them to the diner and see what he could observe.

As far as he could tell no one noticed him following Sandy Jones’ Volvo crowded with girls as it drove to Jack’s Diner. Of course it was quite a strain to peddle full out for several miles as they traveled the two lane blacktop roads between the school and the diner just south of the Grottoes Food Lion. Several times he lost sight of the car but since he knew the destination continued on the way. Quite winded, he pulled into the parking lot as the girls were entering the diner. For a few minutes he slowly circled through the parking lot to catch his breath as he kept a watchful eye on the diner’s windows. There were several vehicles he recognized from the school parking lot. His patience was rewarded when he noted the girls had taken a booth by the windows. In the short glances he made as he repeatedly coasted by the window he could see that while the other girls were animatedly talking, Gaby remained fairly quiet.

Cars kept arriving as other customers arrived. More than half were AHS students. Other students left. No one paid any attention to him as seeing him riding his bike in the area was a common and unremarkable sight. Butterflies roiled his tummy as a police car pulled up and two officers entered. Just as the light was beginning to fade two cyclists rode into the lot. Seeing him they waved at a fellow cyclist before pulling up to the door and locking their bikes in a bike rack. As they pulled off their helmets he recognized them as Dianne Biggs and Derek Drake. Jaden wondered if maybe he could get a weekend and summer job at Biggs Fabrication. The entire town admired Dianne for keeping the business running after her dad died last year.

With a sigh Jaden figured he better head home to make supper before it got too late. As he peddled the two miles south to the trailer park he decided spaghetti would make a quick meal. As he entered the Jollett Drive off the East Side Highway (US340) he smiled as he noted the trailer where his classmate Sabrina and her mother lived was much neater than the surrounding units. Compared to the dump he lived in it was the Hilton! As he lifted his bike onto the porch he sighed to see the scattered cars, trucks and assorted miscellaneous parts scattered around the yard. Opening the front door he quickly wheeled his trusty steed through the common living area into his tiny bedroom.

As usual no one thanked him for making supper or for cleaning up. Slipping into his 8' x 9' bedroom he fired up his computer. The bank and overseeing lawyer hadn’t objected to purchasing the computer using his bank account. It had been the second phone line they questioned. That is until they spoke to Johnny Walker about allowing Jaden to access the internet through the family line. The new line was in Jaden’s name and the bank paid the monthly phone bill.

Once more the curious lad researched Drew/Gaby. Everything he found pointed to the dual boy/girl existence. What escaped his investigation was the why. It also seemed quite weird no one else had twigged to the dual existence! The only theory he could reach was that Drew/Gaby was transgendered. What he couldn’t decide was which way! Was she a girl named Gaby who wanted to be a boy named Drew? Or was he a boy named Drew who wanted to be a girl named Gaby? Finally he realized she had needed a passport to enter the USA so she had to be a girl named Gaby who felt she was a boy named Drew! That was why she was so quiet and shy! Legalities forced her to make the trip as the girl she’d been born instead of the boy she felt herself to be. Still, how had the small girl won all those cycling titles? Maybe she’d funneled the stress begat by her gender conflict in her cycling! All too often he’d excised his frustrations on the bike.

Thursday Jaden’s spying on Gaby only reinforced his conclusions about Gaby’s gender dilemma. Instead of riding home he felt the need to for a longer ride to clear his head. Heading north on Lee Highway he rode through Weyers Cave and the grandiosely named Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport. As he neared Grottoes he saw a cyclist whiz down the Eastside Highway. The rider clearly was too small to be an adult yet he could tell by the positioning it was an experienced rider. Knowing all the local cyclists this person was a mystery. Gaby! It had to be Gaby! With a sharp rush of adrenalin he sped up and followed. It took every ounce of his strength to keep the determined cyclist in sight. Chasing other cyclists was not an unusual occurrence for Jaden. In his loneliness it gave him a false sene of companionship. Most times he had to intentionally hang back but not this time. The route was familiar... they seemed to be heading back to AHS. Pulling into the parking lot the cyclist turned around and headed back towards Grottoes. As they passed the cyclist nodded a greeting. It was Gaby! Turning around in the parking lot he shot after her. The girl was a demon on the bike! They hit speeds up to 35mph and he could not close the distance. As they rejoined the Eastside Highway the light was going. It was clear Gaby was heading back to the Waters so Jaden reluctantly headed home.

Later in his room the excitement he felt made him almost giddy. Any doubts he’d had about Gaby being a cycling champion were shattered. Following the diminutive girl had taken all his strength. Much to his delight he had been able to keep up! All those weeks shadowing the riders that set out from Erin’s Cyclery every Saturday morning paid off! Now if only he could get the courage to talk to Gaby... yeah, right... what would he say? “Hi, I’m Jaden Blount. I’m the bastard son of Jayleen Reed who married to her dad, Johnny Walker, who is both the father and grandfather of my four three-quarter brothers.” The elation he’d felt vanished in a puff of melancholy.

On Friday the exchange students went on a field trip so Jaden had no respite from his funk. The day seemed to drag on. Gaby was constantly in his thoughts. Where had she gotten such a neat road bike? The only logical reason had to be from Erin’s Cyclery. That meant Gaby would probably be joining the Saturday morning ride! With a glimmer of anticipation and hope, Jaden knew he’d be following the cyclists, something he did on a regular basis.

Saturday morning Jaden sat on his bike about two blocks down the street from Erin’s Cyclery watching as the regulars showed up for the ride. Being local he recognized most of the riders and even knew their names. The core members were part of the Grottoes Express Cycling Squad. Erin and Aiden were even on the Virginia State Cycling Team. That he could keep up with them made him feel good. What he missed was joining in their obvious comradery. But the shame he felt for his inbred trailer trash family was too great to overcome.

A rare smile filled his face as he noted Gaby timidly approach the group but hang back. Damn but she cute in her cycling kit! The smile vanished as he realized having his own kit was something he doubted he’d ever have. When Erin joined them he saw her beckon Gaby forward. Soon they were on the road.

Jaden watched them ride as he followed. How he longed to join them riding piano. For him it was always fighting the wind resistance alone. By closely tailing cars or trucks he’d experienced the benefits of drafting. However he understood riding alone behind the determine group built his strength and stamina.

The ride down to Waynesboro was easy. Skirting the business district of Waynesboro to the east they left town on US250. It was when they turned east that Jaden realized they would be heading up Skyline Drive into Shenandoah National Park. The altitude leaving Waynesboro was 1350'. Two and half miles later when they turned onto Skyline drive at intersection of US 250 and I64 the altitude was about 1900'. The miles long ride up Skyline Drive was tiring crossing over 2500' at one point but fortunately it was a gentle slope with occasional downhill portions. Jaden was weary but was able to maintain a 1000' space between himself and the last rider of the group. At the Jarmin Gap 2175' sign eight and a quarter miles later the group set off in a frantic race. Without too much effort he kept pace until they reached the last mile. Knowing if he continued at his present pace he’d pass the stragglers he patiently slowed his pace until all the riders entered the mountain top café. Fortunately he was close enough to witness Gaby blow the others away during the final sprint to Turk Gap Cabin. Then he set off like a demon mimicking to the best of his ability Gaby’s fantastic sprint.

The speedy ride exhilarated him. Breathing heavily he pulled into the parking lot and slowly circled just out of sight of the windows until he caught his breath. As he rode snow flurries began to drift down from the grey sky. The cool mountaintop air chilled him as the sweat he worked up wicked off in the chill breeze. When he finally stopped behind the Cabin to get out of the wind he opened the pack strapped to a rack mounted above the rear tire. Opening a pack of Ritz cheese crackers he began to munch, washing it down with a bottle of water. When he finished eating two packs he refilled his bike mounted water bottle from another bottle in his pack. Of course the bottles were reused filled with tap water from home. By then the snow was really coming down. Jaden was not looking forward to the ride down the treacherous hilly and winding snow slick road.

The back door opened and Frank Berger, the leader of the Grottoes Express came out with a set of keys in his hand. Climbing into the parked minibus he started it up and drove around to the front. Jaden walked his bike to the corner of the cabin to see what was going on. They group was loading their bikes onto the bus! Apparently they were going to drive down the mountain! The frustrated boy pulled his head back, closed his eyes and leaned against the side of the building with a heavy sigh.

Jaden jumped and ‘eeked’ when he heard a voice say, “You’re welcome to join us.” It was Erin, standing at the corner looking at him. The accumulating snow had masked her approached.

“Ahh... ahh... n... no thanks,” Jaden stammered as he began to back away.

“Jaden, we won’t bite,” Erin smiled. “We know you’ve been following us on our Saturday morning rides for months. We’ve been hoping you’d join us.”

“You don’t want me to join you,” Jaden sighed as he lowered his head in shame. “I’m no good. I’d just give you guys a bad reputation.”

“Jaden Blount! Don’t talk like that,” Erin scolded. “I’ll have you know you’re the only good thing to come out of your family! Now bring your bike so we can load it on the bus. Even if you won’t join the Grottoes Express, we won’t let you ride back down this mountain in this weather! Now let’s go!”

Thoroughly chastised, Jaden did as he was told. The embarrassed lad was shocked when Frank and Aiden greeted him by name as they took his bike and loaded it on the bus. Within moments he sat by a heater vent trying to let the warm air overcome the chill he’d gotten waiting outside. The surprised boy found it hard to believe the entire group greeted him by name and asked him to join their weekly rides.

As they trundled off the mountain ridge Gaby came forward to sit beside him. “Now I recognize you! You’re in my homeroom and some of my classes. I’m sure I saw you Thursday night following me when I went for a ride. You’re a good cyclist. I really think you should listen to the others and join the group.”

Jaden was nervous. Up close in her riding kit Gaby really looked super cute! “Did you really win all those cycling titles? Oh... sorry... I didn’t mean... oh....”

Gaby giggled and smiled. “Relax, I won’t bite. I’m Gaby.”

“I know... ah... sorry... I’m ah... Jaden.”

“Hi Jaden. To answer your question, yes I really have won all those titles,” Gaby smiled. “I love cycling!”

With that the pair chatted about bikes and racing with Jaden asking quite knowledgeable questions. Erin listened in wondering how Jaden knew so much about Gaby’s racing experiences. If he knew that much he must know Gaby was really a boy names Drew. But his innocent questions cleverly avoided that issue while gleaning details of the many races. It became evident to everyone on the bus that Jaden was in awe of Gaby.

Jaden was quite startled when the bus turned into the Jollett Springs Trailer Park and even more surprised when Frank asked, “Which way to your home?”

“Ah... it’ll be better if you just drop me off here,” Jaden whispered as his face turned red from embarrassment that they knew not only his name but where he lived.

Knowing better than to push, they pulled to the side and unloaded Jaden’s bike. Everyone told him they expected to see him next Saturday morning to properly ride with them. Jaden enthusiastically thanked everyone for the ride and reluctantly allowed himself to be badgered into joining them the following Saturday.

That night the confused lad tossed and turned in bed. The warm greeting by the cyclists and their open desire to have him join them warmed his weary soul. However it was Gaby that intrigued him. As shy, quiet and demure as she appeared in school, when talking about bikes and racing she was down right animated. The sparkle in her eyes and the heartfelt vehemence of her statements indicated she was indeed Drew, the boy who was a British cycling champ. Having talked to her for nearly all of the 45 minute trip he felt sure Gaby was a boy masquerading as a girl. What he couldn’t figure out was why. Other than cycling, Gaby appeared naturally girlish. The masquerade did not require concentration to stay en fem. But once cycling appeared, the girl faded into the background to reveal the determined hidden boy.

Dreams came and went and Gaby was in every one. Most had them racing side by side, helping each other overcoming all competition. Upon waking he thought back over the dreams until he had a revelation. Drew was being coerced or forced to be Gaby. Why or by whom he had no idea. But in her shy and demure girlishness, he recognized much of himself. He kept quiet and faded into the background to avoid the near constant harassment engendered by his incestuous redneck family. Like Gaby he was forced into being that which he did not want to be. Also like Gaby cycling was the means to escape the numbing harshness of reality.


{:-(


Sunday found Jaden making supper while forlornly looking out the kitchen window at the snow covering everything. The shouts and curses from the Neanderthals watching the Green Bay Packers play the Eagles in Philly grated on his nerves. Tears trickled down his cheeks as he wondered how he could survive 5 more years in the redneck hellhole that was his home. Once more he found himself wondering why he put so much effort into preparing decent meals as his brothers and Johnny Walker simply stuffed the food in their mouths and washed it down with soda or beer.

Once safely ensconced in his bedroom he decided he couldn’t survive another five years. Taking his own life would be as pointless as his grandmother’s death from booze and painkillers. People still whispered about that whenever they saw Jayleen. Such a death was considered almost normal for families like his.

Knowing he couldn’t take much more he dreamed of somehow sneaking off with the exchange students when they returned to Warsop. Maybe he could disguise himself as a girl like Gaby. That in turn led him to begin thinking about what it would be like to dress as a girl. Could he look as cute as Gaby? If he did how would he handle the unwanted attention of boys? Thinking of Gaby he realized that she plainly did not like the attention the boys gave her. That in turn led to further confusion.

There was no question in his mid that he was attracted to Gaby. Did that mean he was gay? No, he felt no attraction for other guys. Besides, his interest in Gaby was not in a boy/girl sense. It was the cycling that drew him to her as well as her cuteness. So if he wasn’t attracted to guys, that meant he had to be attracted to girls... didn’t it? But as he thought about the girls he knew he realized that he wasn’t attracted to them in a boy/girl sense either. The interest he had for his female classmates was their femininity, not their bodies. Gaby’s cuteness appealed to him, but not in a sexual manner, it more like a wistful desire... like subconsciously he wished he too could be cute.

Thinking of his male classmates, he realized he had virtually nothing in common with them. None of their interests sparked any desire to join their macho activities. Clearly as Jaden he was nothing like his male classmates. That brought him back to wondering if maybe he was like Gaby? Perhaps Gaby’s mom realized he was transgendered and encouraged him to go about as a girl. Jaden sank into dark thoughts wondering if he was really a girl stuck in a boy’s body.

{:-(

The school week seemed to drag by. Keeping his low profile Jaden didn’t even try to talk to Gaby. He did nod his head when she looked at him and she timidly smiled in return. With the questions about his sense of self finally raised, for the first time, he began to really observe his classmates trying to see how he compared to them. While the school preached openness and diversity, the reality was far different. At a casual glance things seemed okay, but away from the watchful eyes and ears of the adults, things were quite different.

Since up until the past weekend he’d considered himself to be a weird geeky king of guy, he began checking out his male classmates. As before, he found the jocks to be abhorrent. Their attitudes were obnoxious, their opinions shallow and demeaning to anyone who was beneath them, which seemed to be everyone. The school thugs were blatantly antisocial, much like his family, looking down on those they considered weaker than them while doing their best to take advantage of them or hurt them. The geeks and nerds were mostly intelligent or at least tech savvy however they were generally the victims of the thugs and jocks. Then came what the thugs and jocks labeled the fags and sissies. The guys labeled with those designations were social outcasts and often literally punching bags. Then there were the losers, guys who had little or no social standing who were punching bags for those higher on the social ladder. That made him shiver because that’s where he existed. He was a loser by virtue of his birth. It was only due to his chameleon like ability to blend into that background that saved him from being at the bottom of the macho food chain. What he saw hit him hard. Why would anyone WANT to be a guy if that was the way you had to behave? Worse, he simply couldn’t self identify with any of the male groupings.

That led him to begin analyzing his female classmates. At the top of the female food chain were the cheerleaders. They seemed quite perky and bubbly. Sure, there were snarky moments but on the whole they seemed to be a force of good. They usually encouraged school spirit, eagerly assisting in organizing dances and other social activities. They were also quite good at erecting what his bitter ma called the pom pom fortress to protect their own and friends. The female jocks were focused on sports and competition in general. Most were decent human beings. Then there were the slutty girls... at least they seemed to be so on the surface. These girls felt the need to exhibit their feminine charms to attract macho guys. They seemed to need to be on the arm of a jock to have any self esteem. To keep the jocks they had to keep them interested. That often meant sexual favors. Then their were the girl nerds. They were usually simply sloughed off to the side of the social pecking order, neither harassed nor sought after. Then came the wallflowers. These girls were simply unattractive. Not necessarily ugly, but certainly out of the currently trending fashion loop. They were often picked on and teased. The lines of the groups were drawn but not nearly as impermeably as the walls isolating the groups of guys.

There were many variations in both the male and female groups and he realized he was guilty of stereotyping his classmates. But that didn’t mean the stereotypes weren’t valid. So just where did he fit into the scheme of the freshman class? To his consternation he realized he didn’t fit any of the groups, although the girl nerds were the closest of any group male or female. At home he did nearly all the household chores and didn’t mind doing them. That was a girlish trait. What upset him the most however was that he’d determined his attraction to cute girls was out of jealousy! He wanted to be cute. To be appreciated simply for being himself just like Gaby. This then brought him back to his dilemma. Was he transgendered?

By Saturday Jaden had butterflies roaming about his tummy. Arriving at Erin’s Cyclery he was welcomed by everyone which made him feel good. He couldn’t remember the last time someone wanted him without expecting something in return. Gaby and Erin emerged from the shop to give those assembled a once over. Erin gave Jaden a huge grin and a wink. Gaby gave him a cute finger wave. Blushing deeply he realized he wished he could respond to the greeting with his own cute finger wave instead of the curt nod he used.

In a matter of moments they were heading out. Still unsure of himself Jaden stayed in the pack but near the rear. Smiles and general comments were freely exchanged amongst the regulars. Since Jaden was such a loner he had absolutely zilch experience in making small talk. All he managed was a timid smile and head nod when someone spoke to him. Everyone but Gaby was aware of Jaden’s background plus Erin had forewarned everyone just how skittish Jaden was.

The group headed west out of Grottoes on SR256 past the airport then rode back roads for ninety minutes having covered about thirty five miles. As they approached Churchville Dianne Biggs and Erin began looking about keeping an eye on Gaby. Suddenly Dianne took off with a few others giving chase. Erin kept glancing at Gaby who just seemed to ignore the sprint. As a car passed the group distracting Erin, Gaby took off like a shot. Adrenalin pumped into Jaden as he too took off. Gaby sat up as she passed the town limit sign about a wheel ahead of Erin. Dianne followed by Aiden was just behind the duo. Erin, Dianne and Aiden wanted to know how Gaby knew where the sprint ended and she explained the sign was an obvious terminus. The all noticed Jaden had came through on Aiden’s wheel which was a remarkable ride since he’d been in the back of the group. The lad blushed deeply as he received their accolades.

Leaving Churchville they picked up the Staunton Road. Jaden stayed near the leaders but kept far enough away to avoid being drawn into conversation. Using his listening skills he learned they’d make a stop in about 5 miles and that there would most likely be another sprint. Jaden hung about 2 bike lengths behind Gaby as he kept an eye pealed for signs of the next sprint.

Jaden watched as the leaders began jockeying for position while Gaby seemed content to stay out of this sprint. But he could see her actions were a ruse and prepared to follow her when she went. As the front bunch moved into position the pace increased. As they kept eyeing each other Gaby moved up behind them with Jaden on her tail. Derek took off and the others joined in. Gaby took off in pursuit with Jaden hard on her wheels. They’d passed everyone up the last incline as they approached the sign that marked the end of the sprint. They passed the sign one and two when suddenly Gaby’s bike wobbled then careened into the ditch by the road. Jaden applied his brakes and laid his bike on it’s side, hopping off reaching Gaby before the others.

“Gaby... Drew, please wake up,” Jaden begged as he gently took her hand to check for a pulse. “Oh God, please let him be all right!”

Erin was the next to reach Gaby and heard Jaden’s words. Her suspicions were confirmed. The boy did know of Gaby’s dual identities. Addressing that would wait as making sure Gaby was okay took precedence.

The next few moments were hectic as the cyclists gathered round their fallen comrade. A woman approached identifying herself as a doctor and assumed control of the situation. A frightened and tearful Jaden faded into the background as Derek carried Gaby into the tea room. Instead of hiding outside the rest stops as he normally did he found himself going inside. It was a great relief to see Gaby seated at a table sipping a cup of tea clasped in her shaking hands. The others kept an eye on Gaby as the woman doctor took care of Gaby. Once everyone was sure Gaby was okay the others placed their orders. Jaden began to edge for the door. He almost jumped out of his skin when a firm hand gently clasped his shoulder.

“I’ve ordered you a hot chocolate,” Erin stated as she guided him to a side table. “You and I need to have talk on the ride back.”

Jaden’s eyes were big and tears threatened to erupt as shivered. “I... I can’t afford...”

“Relax Jaden,” Erin soothed. “It’s my treat and you’re not in trouble.”

Everyone relaxed as the doctor offered to drive Gaby back to the Cyclery. They all wished Gaby well as they left.

After a much needed rest and refreshment the group once more set out. Erin let it be known she wanted space to talk to Jaden. Sitting between the front and rear bunches, the subdued group rode in silence for a few minutes.

“With a bit of training and a good kit you have a lot of potential,” Erin began before gesturing about the group. “We call ourselves the Grottoes Express. If you’re willing to ride for us we’ll see you have the proper kit.”

“Thanks,” Jaden whispered surprised by the praise and offer. “But I can’t accept charity. Besides, I doubt I could get permission to ride for you.”

“First off, I’m not offering charity,” Erin said. “I’m sure Dianne or I can come up with a few jobs to earn what you’ll need. As for your family, your ma was a few years behind me in school. I don’t think I’d have any problems getting her to agree to let you join us once she knows it won’t cost her anything. If I can work it out, are willing to give us a try?”

“Sure,” Jaden replied with a timid but hopeful smile.

“Great,” Erin smiled. “Now, I heard what you said to Gaby when she crashed. What do you know about her that no one else but me in the group knows?”

“Ah... well...” Jaden swallowed hard as he wondered what to tell Erin.

“You won’t get into any trouble no matter what you say,” Erin explained to the nervous boy. “But Drew’s safety could be at stake so please tell me how you discovered his dual identities.”

“Drew isn’t in any danger from me,” Jaden assured Erin. “How I figured out is a bit complicated so I better start at the beginning.”

“We’ve got forty five minutes until we reach the shop,” Erin encouraged.

“Okay,” Jaden sighed. “After she got back from her exchange, Britney Walters kept going on about her exchange mate Gaby. When I heard her talking that she was the under sixteen British cycling champion my curiosity was raised. I know how Britney sometimes stretches the truth so I decided to look it up online.”

“Go on,” Erin smiled.

“Well, I discovered that Drew Bond was the British champ and that HE was the son of Jenny Bond, the women’s world champ. So I looked up Jenny Bond’s bio and discovered she had a daughter, Juliet and a son, Drew. But I also saw a photo of Jenny on the podium after winning the Tour de Feminin with her daughters Juliet and Gaby. So I looked up Gaby Bond and found out SHE raced. Then I found an article in Cycling weekly where the reporter was interviewing Jenny and spoke to Jenny’s 3 children, Juliet, Drew and Gaby. That made me dig deeper. While I never got a definite answer, it seemed like Drew and Gaby were the same person. Then when she arrived here she was introduced at school as Drew Bond who prefers to be called Gaby.”

Erin sighed heavily afraid that Drew/Gaby was in danger of being outed. “Have you told anyone else about your discovery?”

“No!” Jaden replied. “That’s private! Beside, who would I tell?”

“Your friends,” Erin answered.

“Ppfft,” Jaden responded. “I have no friends. No one wants anything to do with me and I do all I can to stay hidden in plain sight.”

“No friends! Forgive me but I find that hard to believe for a nice boy like you,” Erin replied.

“The only people that have anything to do with my family are the poorest and meanest rednecks,” Jaden spat. “Anyone with a bit of decency steers clear of us.

“Okay, I can see that,” Erin conceded. “Your mom and grandad are pretty messed up.”

“You don’t have to tell me about it,” Jaden harumphed.

“What about your father?” Erin asked. “Can’t he get you out of that mess?”

“As far as I know I’ve never even met my father,” Jaden sighed. “A monthly support check shows up and a bit goes into an account for me. That’s what I used to but this bike.”

“My God,” Erin gasped. “Your dad was in my graduating class. I know he was embarrassed about getting you mother pregnant but we all knew she seduced him when he was drinking. Your gramma, you mother’s mother, intentionally sent Jayleen to seduce your dad hoping to get him to propose since she was underage. It worked too. Then it turned out she was pregnant with you which was not planned. Your dad occasionally took her out because he had to but he never touched a drop of alcohol after that! After we graduated he went off to UVA on a football scholarship and you were born. A couple of months later your mother was pregnant with you brother. Your gramma drank herself to death because she was embarrassed since your grandpa was the father.”

“I know that,” Jaden admitted. “They never came out and said it but I put bits and pieces together from their fights.”

“I’m sure your dad doesn’t know what you’re enduring,” Erin consoled. “Do you have his address?”

“Nope. I get a card from him at Christmas and birthday but it comes via the lawyer handling the trust that pays my support,” Jaden admitted. “I have no way of knowing for sure if they’re even from him.”

“Damn, I’m sorry Jaden,” Erin declared. “I had no idea. Look, I’ll see if I can get hold of him to let him know what’s going on. In the meantime I’ll work on your mom to let you ride with the Express.

Okay,” Jaden conceded.

“Good, now I think you need to know a bit about Drew and Gaby,” Erin continued. “Drew is a boy who has a heart of gold and he does not want to be Gaby. Gaby came about because others used his kindness to put him situations where he had to pretend to be a girl. It started out slowly just a few hours at a time. During the exchange in England the American girls talked Drew and his friends into forming their own cheering squad which meant Drew had to be one of the girls, Gaby. Then it was decided the Sherwood Forresters, the English squad, would enter the cheering competition that’s coming up in a few weeks. Naturally Drew wants to keep his dual identity a secret. That presented a dilemma since during the exchange, Drew couldn’t ‘disappear’ and Gaby ‘appear’ for practices and the performance without revealing his dual personas. Not wanting to hurt his friends when they had their hearts set on performing here, he allowed himself to be drafted into being Gaby for the entire exchange. That’s why it’s vital his secret be kept.”

“That’s some messed up,” Jaden sighed. “I’ll keep his secret. Boy, and here I thought he was transgendered and wanted to be a girl and was using the exchange to try it out. I’d be scared to try to masquerade as a girl for an hour much less six weeks! But he does it so easily and he makes a really cute girl.”

“Yes Gaby does make a cute girl,” Erin agreed. “But it’s not by choice, only by circumstance.”

“Well, I sure won’t reveal his secret,” Jaden declared. “He’s much too nice a guy.”

“That he is,” Erin smiled. “That he is.”


{:-(

Erin didn’t get a chance to call Jayleen until Wednesday. “Jayleen, I don’t know if you remember me, I’m Erin Brown. I was a few years ahead of you at Augusta High.”

“Yea, I ‘member ya,” Jayleen frostily replied instantly on guard. “You were one of dem prissy cheerleaders. Obviously ya want somethin or ya would’na called.”

“I don’t want anything for myself,” Erin hastily answered. “I own the bike shop where Jaden bought his bike. I also ride with a cycle club called The Grottoes Express.”

“Good for you,” Jayleen indignantly sniffed. “What the hell do ya want?”

“The club would like to invite Jaden to join,” Erin hurriedly replied before adding “at no cost to you or he. We ride twenty five to fifty miles most Saturday mornings and for the last six months Jaden’s been shadowing us. Two weeks ago we got caught in the snow storm up on Skyline Drive so we borrowed a bus to get back to Grottoes. We surprised Jaden and asked him to join us so he didn’t have to ride down in the snow. We invited him to join us for our ride last Saturday and he did. Jayleen, Jaden has a lot of potential and we, the Grottoes Express, would like to sort of sponsor and train him. He just might be the next Lance Armstrong. All we’d need is your okay to...”

“GO Ta Hell, ya snobby bitch,” Jayleen sneered. “We went to school together? You God damn bitch! You gloated right along with all the others when I had to drop out a school! Hell, yall still look down your snooty noses at me an my family! You keep your freaken lilly white do gooder hands offa my boy! You didn’t want nothin to do with him back then, so fuck ya all! If I find out ya been putting ideas in his head, I’ll call the cops! You can bet your prissy panties I’ll be have’n a word with Jaden when he gets home! He won’t be followin you pansy ass cyclists no more!”

Erin winced as the phone was slammed down. What the hell just happened? Damn... Now Jaden would be in for it! Worried for the boy’s safety she checked her records and found who had countersigned the check to purchase Jaden’s bike. Calling the lawyer, she voiced her concerns about Jaden After explaining she’d been a classmate of Leroy she asked the lawyer to give Leroy her contact information so she could discuss Jaden with him. She also notified the Grottoes Police Department as well as Augusta High School to recount what had occurred and to express her concern for Jaden’s well being. The police thanked her for the heads up but advised her to stay away from Jaden.

Jayleen was beyond pissed! All day she steamed and stewed as she thought about all the slights and put downs she’d endured over the years at the hands of the likes of Erin Brown. Knowing that Jaden had been with her only stoked the flames.

Jaden didn’t suspect a thing when he arrived home from school. All it took was one glance at his ma to know something had her riled up and that once more he was about to be the scapegoat. Without a word he rolled his bike to his bedroom all the while Jayleen glared at him. The fact she hadn’t said a word to him only made the situation worse. Obviously she was so pissed off she couldn’t even yell at him. Without a sound he changed out of his school clothes and quietly did his homework.

When his brothers came home their normal boisterous entrance quickly faded to silence as hey saw their ma. Fearing the worst they all headed for their rooms without uttering another word.

At 5:30 Jaden anxiously left his room to head to the kitchen to prepare supper.

“Boy, you just sit your ass in that chair and wait for Johnny Walker to get home,” Jayleen growled.

With his head bowed and hands firmly clasped to keep them from trembling Jaden silently sat in the seat she’d indicated.

Half an hour later Johnny Walker entered the door. One look at Jayleen and he knew there was going to be hell to pay. Then he saw Jaden seated like a man awaiting the gallows. That relaxed him a bit since he knew he wasn’t the target of her wrath. But it was still going to be a damn long night! “What’d the little fucker do this time?”

Jaden did his best to repress a shiver.

“Mister Better Than The Rest A Us been puttin on airs,” Jayleen sneered. “I had a call from Erin Brown wantin my permission ta let him join her pansy ass club and ride them fancy bikes. Said he had a lot a potential an they wanted ta sponsor him. Said that he could be the next Lance fuckin Armstrong an it wouldn’t cost us dime!”

“We don’t take no damn charity,” Johnny Walker grumbled as he stared daggers at the cowering boy. “You tell em we couldn’t afford that fancy ass bike crap, BOY? That why they wanna sponsor ya?”

“No sir,” Jaden whispered knowing he was screwed. “They weren’t offering charity. They said they’d give me work to pay for what I needed.”

“Same damn fuckin thing, boy,” Johnny Walker snarled. “Bunch of fuckin pansies wearing them skin tight bikin clothes! Gad damn faggots every one of em! Boy, you done embarrassed your family!”

“From now on ya only ride your bike back an forth ta school or to the store ifn Ah send ya,” Jayleen yelled. “I don’t want ya talkin ta that damn bitch Erin no more either! Fuck all them damn bastards! They all look down their damn noses at us! Well their shit stinks just the same as ours! Boy, you gettin to damn big for your britches so Ah’m finally gonna have ta let Johnny Walker teach ya a fuckin lesson ya ain’t never gonna forget! Johnny Walker, whip ‘is ass good!”

Jaden almost pissed himself.

Johnny Walker was more than eager to give the sissy a whipping, something he wanted to do for a long time. Jaden was terrified as he was stripped and tied face down spread eagle across the table. His half brothers had all been listening to the tirade. Knowing they were safe, they crept out to the end of the hall to eagerly watch. Knowing there was nothing he could do to avoid what was coming Jaden defiantly vowed not to cry out. Once he was secured in place Johnny Walker took off the wide leather belt holding his pants up. Planting his face on the table Jaden bit both lips to stifle his cries. Jaden couldn’t help but jump in his bonds as the first lash ended with sickening splat/crack across his exposed back. A nasty red welt instantly revealed the harsh stripe.

Johnny Walker was furious the boy hadn’t screamed. Fueled by anger he began laying on the stripes. Lash after lash landed, spasm after spasm wracked Jaden’s body, but only low grunts were heard. It wasn’t long until Johnny Walker was sweating and heaving for breath from the exertion. From his neck through the tops of his thighs angry red welts overlaid each other in a horrific mosaic. Blood seeped from dozens of spots where the overlaid stripes spit the already swollen skin.

Fearing he was dead when the last three strikes didn’t elicit a spasm, Jayleen stopped the abuse. Untying the boy and rolling him over revealed he’d passed out. Johnny Walker stood there panting as he glared at the unconscious boy. With a snort of disgust he went for a beer. While he would never admit it, the boy showed a hell of a lot of guts to endure the hellacious beating he’d dealt out.

“Ifn ya boys err get me pissed, what Jaden just got’ll seem like a picnic,” he snarled at his wide eyed sons crowded at the end of the hall. “Now get the hell out of here!” With that he flopped into his recliner and flipped on ESPN. The boys ran for their rooms. They too would never admit that Jaden had gone up in their redneck estimation of manhood.

Jayleen struggled to untie Jaden since Johnny Walker had gone overboard it tying him down. Retrieving the first aid kit she wiped his wounds with McNess Pain Oil (63% alcohol). Then she applied a coating of McNess Krestol Salve. The old remedy would keep the swelling down and prevent infection. Putting a bit of ammonia on a paper towel she placed it under Jaden’s nose.

Jaden jumped as the ammonia burned his sinuses. Pain momentarily engulfed him as he recalled being beaten. With Jayleen’s held he sat up, then dropped off the table to his wobbly feet. With Jayleen grasping his arm he stumbled to his bedroom where Jayleen sat him on the bed.

“Put three t-shirts on, one on top of the other,” she ordered. “Ya better sleep on your gut for a few days.” With that she left the room

Only after he’d donned the t-shirts and turned off his light did Jaden bury his face in his pillow and allow himself to cry. The inner parts of his lips were raw and bleeding where he’d nearly bitten through the flesh in a Herculean effort to keep from crying out. Sobbing quietly he drifted off to sleep.

Somehow Jaden roused himself the next morning, leaving the three t-shirts on as a cushioning bandage he dressed and headed off to school. After the first mile, the searing pain faded to a steady toothachey throb. At school he kept his eyes focused on the floor or desk, ignoring even his teachers. However since he went about his day without a complaint none of the staff said anything.


{:-(

Jaden avoided everyone. At school he avoided even looking at Gaby. For her part Gaby assumed he’d been upset about her crash. Not wanting to make any waves, she didn’t pursue the budding friendship.
Jaden’s life descended even nearer to hell. Any riding other than back and forth to school had to be pre approved by Jayleen. Since he refused to speak, nod or shake his head or even shrug his shoulders in response to anyone speaking to him he certainly wouldn’t ask for approval. Other than looking at whoever tried to engage him in conversation, the forlorn deadpan expression on his face never changed. That quite unnerved anyone who tried to speak to him. Several teachers and councilor Mary Jones attempted to get him to talk but he’d only forlornly and silently look at them. Without his cooperation, they could no precede to investigate further. At least he was left alone in his bedroom once the housework and meals were done. Because of his silence no one knew what Jaden had endured. Everyone could see he moved about like a zombie and they also noted he was not riding his bike about the area as he had done. The why of it all remained a mystery.

Erin was upset that her inquiry to Jayleen had backfired so disastrously but was helpless to do anything about it. By the time the British exchange students returned home Jaden was in a deep funk. His thoughts kept swirling around who and what he really was. Thoughts of ending his life became a daily ritual. It was only his determination not to let his evil family win that kept him going.

As the doleful days passed turning into anguished weeks, locked inside his self imposed withdrawal, Jaden’s self ruminations slowly began to coalesce. The big question that had to be answered before any resolution to his current untenable situation was who and what he was as well as figuring out what were his goals. With great introspection he began to try to determine what he liked and disliked. That proved eye opening. There was a lot he disliked, even hated, while outside cycling and learning there wasn’t much he liked. It didn’t take him long to realize that what he disliked most were things most guys liked. That knowledge solidified his feelings of alienation about being a boy. His entire life had consisted of being unsuccessfully forced into what his family thought was normal for a redneck boy. Until he was ten Jaden had sought to fit that mold but the more he tried to be what they wanted, the more disgusted he became with himself. That was why he had voluntarily taken over the household chores. The fact he kept the house clean and the family well fed gave him a lot more sense of accomplishment than any of the boyish activities he’d been expected to do.

The more he thought of his situation the more he understood he was not a boy... not male. In general his interests were more closely aligned to those of girls. That in turn led his thoughts back to Gaby. Drew Bond was a boy who occasionally was coerced into being Gaby, a girl. Yet when he was being Gaby there was no falsehood in her life as a girl. Drew/Gaby was simply being true to the caring person inside the body. Presenting as a boy or girl made no difference since it was always the same good person. While he’d never met Drew, he wondered if the boy was as happy and bubbly as his girl counterpart. During the exchange no one suspected Gaby was anything other than a shy cute girl because she wasn’t acting at being a girl, she was simply being her girl self.

In the library at school and on his home computer he began researching gender issues. That led him to research Gender Identity Disorder, GID for short. The more he read, the more he felt that he was transgendered. It was a revelation and a comfort since it gave him hope for the future... if he could survive the hell his life had become.

That was the big issue. His home life was miserable at best. His family would never support him if he tried to come out. Most likely they’d try to beat the sissy out of him. It didn’t take a genius to figure out he couldn’t let them know of his hidden true self. But he sincerely doubted he could hang on until he was eighteen.

Maybe his father could help? If he ever met the man he couldn’t remember. There were vague memories of spending time with his paternal grandparents but he knew they’d been killed in a car crash when he was three. As to why his father never came around... that was easy. He knew his ma had intentionally seduced his father when she was underage at the behest of his maternal grandmother. She’d been trained to sink her talons into a guy who could support her. That all fell apart when her father, also his grandfather, Johnny Walker, in turn seduced his daughter resulting in his half-brothers who were in reality three fourths Johnny Walker. How messed up was that? Yet that was his day to day life.., or better said, his existence.

After the exchange students headed home Jaden decided to take what he hoped was proactive action. Figuring he had nothing to lose Jaden wrote a letter to his father begging to be rescued from the hell hole his life had become. Not wanting to be disappointed later he confessed his gender concerns admitting he thought he was transgendered. He then sent the letter to the lawyer asking it be forwarded to his dad.

As the weeks passed Jaden surreptitiously watched the girls in school, specifically how they behaved and interacted. What he saw made his heart weep since he finally understood he wanted to be able to behave and interact with others as they did. In fact the more he observed, the more jealous he became as well as feeling he’d been short changed in life. Each day he began to identify with them more and more until he knew without a doubt in his heart that he should have been born a girl. With that came the terrifying and sobering knowledge that his grandfather would have raped him like he did his mom at that age. A shudder swept through him at the repulsive thought. So while he felt he was a girl trapped in a girls body, he refused to let himself relax into being girlish. Pretending to be a boy, even a sissy boy, was preferable to being molested!


{:-(

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Comments

A tribute to Maddy Bell

I've loved GABY since the first story. Gaby's stories are the first e-books I purchased.

I've wanted to do a fanfic for a long time but never found the right spark until this contest.

Maddy, if you approve of this story, please feel free to add it to your Fanfics when your new sight is up.

I'm so intrigued by Gaby's tale I'll be vacationing in Great Britain this summer and attending the July Gabicon.

Jennifer Sue

Boys will be girls... if they're lucky!

Jennifer Sue

Jennifer Sue,

Jennifer Sue,
This short part has the makings of a wonderful story and hopefully it might extend out into several parts rather than just two. Looking forward to reading more.
Janice Lynn

Gaby Fanfic

A great story as I like Maddy's Gaby character and I like Jaden too

I am looking forward to part 2.

Joanna

I am at a total loss as to how to respond to this story......

D. Eden's picture

But let me start by stating that I had to stop reading several times as I couldn't continue. Just thinking about the life Jaden endured upset me; I couldn't help but see the parallels with my own life.

Although there was no entrapment of a husband involved, and no incestuous relationships, and I did in fact grow up a member of an upper-middle class family (perhaps more upper than most), I was also raised by a strict southern family. Yes, in a way they were simply wealthier and classier rednecks. As the saying goes, you can take the boy off the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy.

I endured my share of whippings, although my father liked to use a switch and would throw in the additional psychological humiliation of making you go cut one for him to whip you with. Of course, if he was in a hurry, or simply so pissed off he didn't want to wait, he would resort to using his belt - sometimes the leather end, and sometimes the buckle end. My mother's favorite weapon was a fly-swatter. She broke a few hundred of the plastic ones over me, so she preferred the metal handled ones.

Yeah, this story hurts to read. It's a little too close to home at times.

But having said that, it is too good to put down. I can only hope that the title bears out in part two.

Dallas

D. Eden

Dum Vivimus, Vivamus

Worthy addition

Podracer's picture

to the Gaby world in my opinion - and I thought I had caught all of the Grottoes stories. I really hope you look fondly back at your trip to Britain, and arrived back safely.
Onward to the next chapter, bedtime may be a little later today..

"Reach for the sun."