Alexa Chapter 16: Reunion

Alexa Chapter 16: Reunion

The following week was crazy. Between the lawyers, school, Debbie and my mother, I seemed to be getting pulled in several different directions. And my attitude showed it. Jenny and I had some minor little arguments along the way. I had felt that Jenny was ignoring me, and I was, as Jenny told me one night, a needy little bitch. But even when we argued it didn’t last long. Every night we made up. Usually me apologizing. One night however Jenny actually apologized to me. With all the craziness of the past week, I was falling behind in my studies and was getting frustrated. I was thinking about quitting. That is when she lost it on me, telling me I had to grow up and deal with life. Before Jenny and I were together, she had always been the serious one and sometimes that comes back. I was in shock as it had never gotten this aggressive but she was right. I sulked off onto the bedroom where I tried to get ahold of myself. It wasn’t more than 5 minutes later that a weeping blonde came in to the room looking for forgiveness, and even though I tried to tell her she was right she wouldn’t listen to me. 20 minutes later, following a heated ‘discussion’, all was forgiven and forgotten.

The whole deal with the coffee shop was finally over. The day after my father’s funeral, Jenny and I went to the offices of Hamilton, Larson & Rosburg and signed the final settlement papers. John Lee and the corporate attorney were both there. Of course the two lawyers acted as if this situation was no big deal. I could see that John was very disturbed by the whole thing. I think he was already to go to court but then the stories started to come out and business began to suffer. And by the time the Channel 5 report hit Sunday night, business dropped and protests began. I don’t think John and his partners were ready for the firestorm that was created. I could see that John was still fighting it. The way he handed the check over made me feel like I was asking for one of his children. I signed the papers and collected a check for $100,000. I was more than shocked when I realized at just how much I was getting. I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t even get out of the building before it was safely deposited in my checking account at Wells Fargo. But it was finally over. I may no longer have a job but I had stood up for myself and shown John Lee and his partners I was not one to be pushed around.

That afternoon when I met with Debbie, I was practically on cloud nine. I had made up with my mother and to a lesser extent Danny. I had put the whole harassment thing behind me and was ready to move on. When Debbie asked me about the funeral I was practically giddy. I was surprised at how excited I was. I told Debbie about Adam and the jerk he was being, but based on past discussions, she wasn’t surprised. I told her about how I joked with Danny and how he had acted towards me. I felt there was hope there for reconciliation, as did Debbie. My mother though, there was no hope for her I joked. She was out of control! I was floored by the way she acted.

As Jenny and I promised, we spent the Saturday following the funeral at my mother’s. We had gotten up early on Saturday and driven down. My mother was up and waiting for us! I couldn’t believe it. She was almost giddy at the prospect of having me and Jenny there. She had made a large pot of coffee and a coffee cake and had them waiting for us as we came in. She was just so excited to have Jenny and I there it was unreal. She gave both of us big hugs and then had us sit at the kitchen table quizzing us about everything. I tell my mother about the conclusion of the lawsuit and how I was just hoping everything gets back to normal. As I say this I realize that I had chosen my words poorly and I can see my mother begin to tear up I rush and give her a quick hug and apologize. “Oh it’s fine Alexa. I just have these moments” My mother explains.

Just as I am getting ready to release the long hug I was giving my mother, into the kitchen walks my brother Danny. He is wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. His hair, all over the place and he is performing a typical male morning ritual, scratching himself. ‘Daniel Timothy Quinn! Put some clothes on!” my mother says in horror. My brother snorts at this comment.

‘For what, for him?” Danny asks.

“For her! Plus Jenny is here too! She doesn’t need to see this.” Jenny was giggling away at this.

“Don’t worry Mrs. Quinn. It doesn’t bother me at all.” Jenny tells my mother.

‘First of all, Jenny, it’s just rude. And secondly you are not allowed to call me Mrs. Quinn. I am Charlotte. Or Char if you like. You are practically family. I owe you for taking care of Alexa and watching out for her.” My mother says before she turns and admonished my brother for drinking water straight from the water jug.

“I see nothing has changed with him” I say to my mother as I re-take my seat.

“I’ve tried, lord knows I’ve tried. But I guess he will always be this way.” My mother says dejectedly as my brother grins and then lets out a big belch.

‘Aw come on Danny!” I say to my brother. “Learn some manners.” Jenny giggles at my brother while I just simply roll my eyes.

“Why start now.” My grinning brother says as he wipes water from his scraggily beard.

While most people would find this rude and somewhat revolting, I see some hope in it. He hasn’t changed and he wasn’t going to but he was acting like I hadn’t changed, but in a positive way. We were still family. Sure he said he, but he is a meathead and that could be excused. He wasn’t mean to me or Jenny. He didn’t try to change the way he acted he just rolled with the punches.

My mother’s attentiveness didn’t change at all. She was all over Jenny and I. She would have little moments when she thought about my dad, but mostly the time was spent trying to connect with Jenny and reconnect with me. The lowest point was when my mother whipped out the family photo albums. I was mortified. I didn’t want Jenny to see my like that. But then again this is how most people are, they don’t want those embarrassing points of the past brought out. When my mother began going on about the 6th grade Christmas pageant, I knew I needed to sneak away. I didn’t not need to relive forgetting my lines or splitting my pants open, so I snuck into the kitchen where I bumped into my brother again.

“So this is real huh?” He asked me, full meathead thinking on display.

“Yeah it is.” I say “I feel normal this way. I don’t feel scared of everyone and everything like I did before.” I can see my brother begin to contemplate things a bit. Danny was about as easy to read as a Dr. Seuss book.

“Yeah, we were all kind of tough on you weren’t we. Well, um, sorry I guess. Ma had a long talk with me about it. I still don’t get it, but whatever.” My brother says. I could feel a tear come to my eye. I tune around and try to wipe it away. Danny speaks up. “Aw come on! Don’t start bawling on me! Geez.” And he walks back outside to continue his chores. I sat there for a moment and realized that he was actually trying to come to grips with me and trying to accept me. Danny! My brother Danny was trying to accept me! As the realization came in I began to cry a little more. It wasn’t long before I heard the door to the kitchen from the dining room open. The person giving me a hug was there before the door could even close.

“Lex” the most comforting voice in the world spoke to me. I gripped Jenny in a tight hug. “Lex are you okay? Was it Danny?” All I could do was nod. I pushed back and I could see the concerned look on Jenny’s face turn to one of surprise as she saw my smile through the tears.

‘He’s trying Jen! He’s trying.” Jenny pulled me back in and if I heard right, I think I heard her say “Yes!” and pump her fist.

We wound up staying for dinner before making our way back to the apartment. Jenny couldn’t stop talking about my mother and how nice she was and about how much she cared about me. I told Jenny that my mother cares about her too, that I could tell by her actions not just what she said about taking care of me. “You don’t think she sees me as taking away her baby? “ Jenny asks with a chuckle. “Because I’m not giving her baby back!” she says and gives me a light kiss. When we get home, I repay the kiss tenfold.

As the new week started, I finally felt I was getting back into the swing of my classes, though I did have a lot of work to catch up. I was thankful that I no longer had a job so I could spend more time on my studies. I was behind, but my professors were more than generous in helping me through it. I still had to do the work and was amazed at how much I had missed in only a week. The papers I had to write were probably the most tedious and the most difficult to accomplish with a certain blonde haired girl constantly attacking me. For the most part I was able to work through them but there were one or two times where I had to surrender to Jenny’s temptations.

Debbie had also been a great source of strength through all this. The interesting thing was that she didn’t focus on the lawsuit and the publicity that surrounded me. That was the one thing that would get to me at times. I couldn’t walk across campus without being pointed at least a couple of times a day. Debbie was more concerned about how I was handling the death of my father. I even asked her about it at our Monday meeting. “Those things don’t matter as much. Your father has always been the issue Alexa. You were afraid to come out because of him. But deep down you wanted to be accepted by him. I could feel it. Your longing to be back with your family included being accepted by your father.” I was shocked by the doctor’s words. I never felt I had wanted that, but Debbie must have seen something I hadn’t. Those words stuck with me.

At our Friday meeting, I was finally understanding what she was saying and, believe it or not she was right. I had spent my whole male life looking for my father’s approval. And when he found out about Alexa, his rejection had been the crushing blow. I had wanted to be a member of the family. I wanted my family back! While that was no longer going to be possible with my father, it had already started with my mother and to a lesser extent my middle brother. Adam was still an issue but at least I had my mother back. Deb was happy for the peace I had made with brother and my mother. But mostly she was happy that I was beginning to make peace with myself. “Alexa, I am very proud of you. You are getting to a point that has been a long time coming. But now there is one more hurdle. Do you think you could get your mother to come in? I would like to meet with the both of you. I think it would be good for you and for her. Do you think that is possible?” I begin trying to think and then realize that she has no school on Monday. I asked Debbie if Monday would work, maybe a morning meeting time rather than our usual afternoon time. She agrees and I tell her I will have to check with my mother and I will let her know.

On the drive back to the apartment, I devise a plan that I know will bring my mother up, but we might be stuck with her for the weekend. We would get her to come up on Saturday afternoon, take her to dinner and then have her stay around on Sunday. We could maybe take her shopping or something else. Have her spend Sunday night as well and then she and I could go and see Debbie Monday morning. I knew she would go for it, it was just convincing Jenny and Katie.

When I walked into the apartment, no one was around, I called out for Jenny and Katie. “In the closet babe” Jenny called out. Of course when I entered, I had to say something smart.

‘I thought you were out?” I state as I enter the bedroom as Jenny and Katie are digging though the racks of clothing. Jenny politely tells me to be quite as she comes over and gives me a kiss. ‘What’s going on in here?” I ask as I see numerous dresses and skirts on the bed.

‘Katie has a date tonight” Jenny squeals in excitement. I am in shock. It had been a couple of weeks since her little encounter with Wyatt, so I was glad to hear she was moving on. She seemed excited by the prospect of the date.

“So who is he?” I ask.

“I’m not telling.” Katie says playfully as she holds up a navy blue dress against her body. “You will just have to find out when he gets here. Katie completes the thought followed by her sticking her tongue out at me. I join in the search for the right outfit for the evening. All I know is that Katie’s date is taking her to dinner and a play this evening. After about 20 minutes of my help the three of us decide on a grey off the shoulder sweater dress with long sleeves. She will look great in it. Jenny tells me to go out to the living room so she can help get Katie ready. I ask her if she is hungry for anything but tells me to go figure it out, she was sure it would be good not matter what I come up with. So, I leave my roommates to the task of getting Katie ready and head to the kitchen to begin going over our options for dinner. I begin to dig through the refrigerator and cupboards looking for something to make. We really need to go grocery shopping I think. Its then I remember something. I run back to the extra room.

“Hey guys I was wondering if you would have a problem inviting my mother up for a couple of nights? Debbie would like to meet with both of us on Monday, so I thought we could invite her up for the weekend. It would get her out of the house and it could be fun. What do you guys say?” I asked my roommates. Each thought it was a good idea, but had each also brought up a concern I had not thought of.

“Would we still get to sleep together?” Jenny said to me with a pout. I hadn’t thought of that one, but I made a quick decision.

“We will sleep together. We will put my mother in here. It’s our house, right? She will have to live with it.” I felt all proud of myself, but Katie tried to tear that idea apart, plus here own question was one I hadn’t thought of.

“I can’t wait to see you tell Char that one Alexa! She’ll be wearing out the beads in no time. But that’s the other issue you didn’t think of. If she’s here all weekend, she’ll want to go to Mass. How you going to handle that one Alexa?” Katie asked in a way only a big sister could. And I must admit she had me stumped on that one. I was going to have to think that one through. My mother missing Mass would not work. It was Jenny who came up with the answer.

“I know! You can get take her to the church you went to at Christmas!” Jenny’s idea was perfect, even if I did make one change to it.

‘WE can take her Jen. You and me. I want you to meet the priest too.” I told my girlfriend. A look of panic came over Jenny’s face before I put I pulled her in “It will be OK babe. The priest is a really nice guy plus he has invited us.” She seemed a little more relaxed at that but I could see she still had concerns. She wasn’t given much more time to think about it because Katie began to freak out. Her date was due any minute.

“Alexa get out of here. I need to get ready and I need Jenny’s help. You may have to play hostess for a little while. Now scoot!” I was basically shoved out the room by Jenny and found myself back in the kitchen trying to figure out dinner, when there was a knock at the door. “Get that will you Alexa. It’s probably my date for tonight. Be nice to him and entertain him for me, OK. And BE NICE!” Katie yells out. For some reason, I thought I heard my roommates giggling as I went to the door. As I opened it I discovered why.

Standing there wearing a suit was one of the biggest meatheads I have ever met. “What do you want Danny?’”

‘I’m here to pick up Katie. She ready?” my brother said. I couldn’t believe it. My brother had asked my ‘sister’ out? This wasn’t possible. This wasn’t right.

‘No! No way!” I yelled at my brother before I turned and yelled out “Katie! Get out here! Now!”

“I’ll be out when I’m ready! See if Danny want’s something to drink.” I look back at my brother, who is standing there with that same silly grin he had on his face the other day when he let out the big belch in the kitchen at Mom’s.

Shaking my head, still trying to get my head around this latest turn of events I ask my brother if he wants anything and invite him in. He asks if we have any beer and I tell him to sit down and I will check. I scrounge through the fridge and find one lonely Corona and ask if that will work and he tells me yes. I pour myself a shot of Stoly and then take a big swig out of the bottle before I head to the living room, bringing my brother his beer and taking up station on the couch. If last week after the funeral was weird, this was downright bizarre. We just kind of stared at each other for a minute. Finally I open my mouth.

“So, what play are you going to tonight?” As soon as I said it I felt like an idiot.

“We’re going to see ‘Wicked’ at the Orpheum.” Danny says. From his answer I know either he is actually going to the play or he did some quick research. I can tell he is just as nervous as I am.

“This is too funny. You of all people going to a play.” I laugh out loud at my brother, who suddenly gets defensive.

“Hey I’ve been to a play before.”

“Name one.” I challenge my brother. But before he can open his mouth, I add. “And not the plays were forced to go see in High School”

Somewhat embarrassed, Danny looks down “Ah, Lynn took me to ‘Tony & Tina’s Wedding’ one time.” Well at least he had a good response. But the name Lynn being brought up does give me an opening to find out what else has been going on with my brother.

‘Was this something you were supposed to do with her?” I asked.

He sat there for a second not wanting to say anything. He shifted around in the chair a few times before answering me “Yeah, it was her, ah, Christmas Present.” Danny told me. I could see he was feeling bad and I knew I had to figure a way to get him in a better mood.

“So, since you two broke up, you needed a new victim?” He looked up and saw my smart ass smile. While Danny could be a major-league jerk at times, we still could get along. “and you ask out Katie? And as soon as I said that I could feel Alex’s personality rise up. But it really wasn’t Alex. Sure, it might be something one brother says to another, but it was more like what one sibling says to another. I could see a smile return to his face.

‘I see wearing dresses hasn’t changed your mouth a bit. And speaking of dresses, isn’t that a little short?” The happy go lucky smile was back.

“Shut up. You are still a meathead you know that. You know nothing about women, nothing about fashion. What do you care if my dress is short?” I ask, trying to bait him on.

“Someone might see you.” He tells me. I just roll my eyes at that, but I realize something else. My brother is concerned how I dress. I have to turn away before I can say anything. As I try and gather myself, I stand up and walk past him, I give him a slap on the back of the head. “Ow! What was that for?” he asks.

“Because you are a meathead.” I tell him as I move towards the back but I am suddenly stopped. Standing there is Katie, with Jenny close behind. She looks beautiful. Jenny really helped with the typical girly things, but it was all Katie. “Wow” I whisper as I take in my sister. Then Danny stands up and their two eyes lock. I see a grin creep across his face. Before anything is said I break in. “No. No way. This isn’t happening. You two can’t go out together.” As if the practiced, they tell me to shut up simultaneously. A very familiar giggle comes from down the hallway. I was at a loss as to what to do as I watched the as the two said hello to each other.

‘Ready to go?” Danny asked as he took in the whole view of Katie as the grin got a little wider. Katie smiled back and nodded while I began to bury my head in my hand. Danny, ever the gentleman that Charlotte would be happy about extended his arm and escorted Katie to the door, where he helped her on with her coat. As I watched, I was torn. It was great to see Katie go out with a guy who was so nice, but it was my BROTHER! As they head out the door I tell them not to be too late and no drinking. Katie laughed as she walked out the door. Danny, being Danny just flipped me off, which I returned. Jenny came up and wrapped her arms around me as we watched the two of them leave. She had a huge smile on her face.

‘You knew about this, didn’t you?” I ask my partner who just nodded. I then asked her why she didn’t tell me and she told me Katie wanted to see the look on my face when I saw who her date was. I could do nothing except give Jenny a tight hug. Jenny just stood there with that big grin on her face. I leaned over and gave her a kiss. ‘What’s so funny?” I asked.

Jenny just hugged me closer and then said “You two.” When I asked me and Katie, she just shook her head. “You and Danny.” She said. I looked at her awfully confused. “You two carried on like brother and sister. It was great to watch. I think he likes Alexa” The confused look on my face didn’t leave as I began to replay the last few minutes in my mind. While I didn’t think that Alex had come out as I sat there with Danny, we bantered back in fourth like we had not that long ago. I smiled a bit. I guess we were getting along. I give Jenny another kiss before leading her into the kitchen to sort out something for dinner.

As we sat and ate, the topic of Katie and Danny was the major topic. But so were Danny and I. When I told Jenny about Danny’s comment on the length of my skirt, I thought I was going to lose Jenny she was laughing so hard. ‘Oh, my god! He is treating you like his little sister.” I think about it for a second and smile. It was a great feeling, but I knew he would never admit it. After cleaning up, we plant ourselves on the couch and search for a movie on Netflix. Jenny and I both must have drifted off, because we are awoken by a giggling Katie and my brother as they come in. Instantly we are accused of waiting up for them, which we denied. Katie just shot us a look and we quickly moved back to our room. We curl up together and Jenny falls back to sleep, but I can’t. I just stare at the ceiling, trying to hear what was going on in the living room. Danny stayed for maybe a half an hour and I hear the front door close and shortly hear running water in the bathroom. I wait a few minutes and work my way out of the grips of Jen and head out. I knock on Katie’s door. “Come in Alexa” I here from my sister.

I poke my head in, “You sure?” I ask. Katie just grins and waves me over. I sit down on the bed next to her. “So” I say “It went OK?” Katie beamed and told me about the great dinner the two had at the Nankin and then walked over to the play. The play was great and she went on about what a gentleman Danny was “My brother? A gentleman?’ This earned me a playful elbow to the ribs.

‘He was very polite. And it was fun. So much fun we are going out again!” Katie states. I am once again left dumbfounded. “Actually, we are all going out. Danny has four tickets for the Gopher game next Friday. He asked if you still liked hockey.” I mutter something about how I was going to get him. Katie just laughed at me. I said I was glad she had fun and slowly got up and started to leave. But before I could go, I knew I had to do something. I turned and gave Katie a big hug. “What’s this for?” She asks.

“I’m sorry about before. I shouldn’t have acted the way I did earlier. It’s just, it’s Danny. I don’t want you to get hurt. I mean, he’s my brother and he’s a meathead.”

“Don’t worry Lex. He’s still a meathead, but one with some potential. But hey, thanks for worrying about me.”

“Of course, I worry about you. You’re my sister and I love you. Even if you do have some questionable tastes in men.” My comment earns me another loving shot in the ribs. I tell her good night and head back to the room and crawl back into bed. Even though I think she is still asleep, Jenny asks me how Katie’s date went. I told her a little of what Katie told me and told her about the hockey game. She popped up.

‘OH cool! A Double date! We can wear our jerseys!” Jenny exclaims. I try and tell her it’s NOT a double date but she continues to taunt me “The Quinn’s are going on a double date, the Quinn’s are going on a double date.” I only know one way to shut her up so I kiss her before telling her to get back to sleep. We have a lot to do tomorrow.

My phone begins ringing at 7:30, and it’s not just any normal ring, it’s the personalized ring tone of my parent’s, I mean my mother’s house. That thought is still hard to get used. Groggily I reach over and answer “Hi mom.”

“Good morning Alexa! Did I wake you?” The cheeriness coming from my mother comes from the fact that she knew she woke me up. And I let her know of course she had and ask how long she has been up. “Oh only an hour or so.” Which I know means she has been up since 5:30 minimum. “So how was Katie’s date last night?”

“Why does everyone need to needle me about that and thanks for making it my first thought of the morning MOM!” I snap back a bit as the memories of Katie and Danny going out come flooding back. I can hear her giggle on the other end of the phone. If I didn’t know better I would think it was conspiracy. “Fine Mom. She said Danny was very nice and they had a great time. Why are you quizzing me? Why don’t you go kick that lump out of bed and ask him?” This conversation was not going as I had hoped.

“You are crazy. You know how grumpy he is in the morning, especially when he didn’t get home until at least 1 AM. No, I thought it would be better to quiz you.” Another laugh. “Seriously, I thought I better find out what time I should come up?” My mind is still not moving fast enough to think properly so I blurt out 3 o’clock. “Fine then. I will see you and Jenny at three. Maybe I will even get to see Katie. Get a move on young lady. Busy day ahead.” My mother says before she hangs up I groan as I collapse back onto the pillow. I stare at the ceiling trying to get my mind going properly. I look over at Jenny who looks so peaceful sleeping. I lean over and give her a kiss.

“Come on babe. Rise and shine” I whisper to her. I am told “No” in her little girls voice and she pulls the blankets up over her head. I try again to wake her, this time by crawling under the blankets and cuddling up with her. “Come on Jen. My mom’s going to be here at 2:30, we have to get the closet cleaned up.”

“I heard she’s coming at three, so that gives me another half an hour.” I hear my girlfriend pout until I inform her that she hasn’t acquired the ‘Charlotte time clock’ yet. My mother is early everywhere she goes. Her eagerness to be somewhere is going to be fun the next couple of days as she deals with the constantly running behind Jenny. “Fine” I hear from Jenny as she whips of the blankets and storms into the bathroom. A few minutes later she returns, in a better mood but still not quite there. I motion her over and after a quick eye roll she flops down on the bed. “What!” she says.

I reach over and pull her in for a kiss. “Good morning. I love you” I say in my sappiest voice. The grumpy toddler that is my girlfriend responds.

“I love you too, but I am still not happy with you. My parents are NEVER staying at our place.” She tells me before I pull her in for a hug and thank her again for doing this for me. We head out and get a cup of coffee in us before heading into the ‘Closet’. Jenny spoke first as we stood there. “What are we going to do with all of these clothes?” As much as I wanted to say some smart comment that would lead us to a ‘break’, I bite my tongue.

“I suppose we could move one rack into our room?” I say, but Jenny quickly shakes her head.

“No if Charlotte’s sleeping in here we have to make it nice. Okay first thing, let’s roll these racks out of here. Put two in our room in the corner and we’ll have to see if there is room in storage.” Jenny instructs me. I willingly follow her command, even though I need her help to move the racks. I ask if we should take the clothes off before we move it and am told no. “We’ll mess something up.” And boy did we. Just as we got the second rack out of the room, it collapsed from the sheer weight that was being put on it.

“You need to get rid of some of these clothes Jen.” I tell her as I try and pull together the various dresses, skirts, blouses that were now laying in the middle of the hallway.

“You need to quit buying everything you see Alexa.” Jenny accuses me. As I try to come back at her she basically tackles me and I find myself on the bed being ‘ravaged’ by the blonde haired girl of my dreams. It didn’t get very far before Katie appears. “Geez you two. Get this stuff cleaned up! I swear you two have more clothes than Macy’s!” I point at Jenny as Katie lectures us. “Oh, be quiet Alexa. You are just as bad as her and don’t deny it. I swear you two have already paid for Sarah’s Grandchildren to go to college off of all the commissions she has earned from your shopping sprees.” The worst part of Katie’s comment, she was right. Jenny and I would get carried away sometimes, and if Nordstrom had it, we took it right to Sarah. As soon as Katie came out of the bathroom, Jenny followed Katie out to the kitchen to get all the dirt on last night’s date. Me, I was stuck with the collapsed rack of clothing. As I look at it, I think that there has to be some room in our main closet for some of this stuff, so after piling up some of the clothes on the bed, I move to the closet in our bedroom.

It’s when I opened it that I found a lot of my old ‘Alex” clothes. I didn’t get rid of everything following the fun of Christmas, but I had kept some. The first thing I pulled out was the classic Navy Blue Blazer. I have had this thing for ever I think to myself. I think it has served its purpose in life, so I set aside to be donated to Goodwill or something. I next pull out a couple of pairs of dress pants that I had kept. I knew that they wouldn’t fit me now, as I have lost about 10 pounds since Christmas and I really didn’t want them so they were put in the donation pile along with a few odd shirts. I did find an oversized flannel shirt that I had bought for my father two years ago, for Christmas, that I forgot to return when I saw he had the exact one already. I kept it because it could come in handy someday. I found a Vikings jersey and my old Faribault Falcons jersey that I kept. The last item I pulled out was a suit. The suit my dad had bought me right after I graduated from high school. He took me down to Leland’s, like he had both my brothers, and had me fitted for a suit. He then took me over to Willy’s where we each had a cheeseburger and shot some pool. It was one of the last times I remember my dad and I getting along. And here it was in my hands, that suit. I slumped back in the chair and just sat there staring at. I stated to tear up thinking about that time. Maybe I did miss him.

I don’t really know how long I was sitting there. Jenny came in trying to give me a hard time for not getting anything done but saw me sitting there just staring at the suit fighting the tears. She comes over and pulls me in to her chest. “Hey what’s wrong?” I try and compose myself, but find it hard. “Are you having some second thoughts?” I shake my head.

“No way! Your stuck with Alexa” I say as I flash a brief smile at my girlfriend and give her a hug. “No, I found this in the back of the closet My dad bought it for me when I graduated. It’s the last good memory I have of the prick” I say before I bury my head back into Jenny, who just holds me and doesn’t say anything. I fight back the tears and look up at Jenny “Debbie thinks that I was still looking for acceptance from my dad. Do you think I was?” Jenny squats down in front of me.

“Maybe, Deb would know better than me, I just know you have been hurting ever since. It’s going to be tough. He will never get a chance to know what a wonderful, happy person you have become. And this all still raw. You probably were, but now that’s not going to happen. I know it’s blunt, but it’s the truth. Let it go. You still have your mom and she loves you. And you seem to have Danny coming around. And you have one more thing.” Jenny states. I look up at her with a questioning glance. “You have me and I love you more than anything.”

I stand up and share a soft kiss with Jenny and then pull her in. “How do you put up with me? I ask as I hug her.

“Because you are a great person. Your loving and your caring and you make me happier than anyone I have ever known. We’ll get through this babe. Don’t worry.” Jen tells me and we just hold on to each other. As we break I throw the suit on the pile to be donated. Maybe it will help somebody get a job someday.

After a few hours, we have the bedroom as well as the rest of the apartment cleaned up. We have showered and eaten a light lunch and now we are waiting for my mother. I am still thinking about my little breakdown this morning and I am thankful Jenny is there with a reassuring smile. But as it gets closer to 3:00, my mind begins to think of my mother. A whole new concern begins to grip me. Thank god for Katie. “What are you all nervous about?” She asks. ‘You’re worried about Char? She’ll be fine unless you two start getting freaky in front of her.” Jenny laughs but I just try and stare my sister down. I want everything to go perfect. Mom has only seen me twice as Alexa, both times at her house. Now she was stepping into ours. Would she accept Jenny and I as we are or would she be completely put off? I get up a few times and check and make sure that the kitchen or the bathroom is straightened up. The third time I get up, I am roaming the living room, fluffing pillows, moving things on the end table to the right position. As I am at the bookcase moving pictures around, I feel two arms wrap around me and then I feel a gentle kiss on my neck.

“It’s all fine babe. Everything looks great. It’s dusted, everything is in place. Just relax OK.” Jenny tells me. I spin around and look at her for a moment. I can see the love in her eyes plus the compassion she feels.

“I know. It’s I want everything perfect. I don’t know. I still don’t think she has accepted that I am transitioning.” I say as I pull Jenny in closer.

“She would know you are more than a woman than ever, if she saw you fussing with everything around here.” Jenny says with a giggle before I move my head and share a kiss with her. Just then the door knocks. Katie happened to be entering the living room as all of this is happening.

‘I’ll get it and that’s the type of stuff that will have Char saying novenas so just relax you two.” Katie opens the door to find my mother standing there. She greets her with a quick hug. “Char you’re here! Thank god. Come in” My mom giggles and asks Katie why she had said thank god. Katie points directly at me “maybe your daughter will calm down a bit” Katie says as all three women begin laughing at me. At first I try and act all upset but Jenny just gives me a kiss to let me know she’s teasing me. It is interrupted by a cough from Katie. I look up and can see Katie dropping her head in her hand. The look on my mother’s face was a mixture of bemusement and confusion. She had seen Jenny and I together twice in the last week and a half, but both those times Jenny and I were good. What we just did was natural because we were in our own home. Jenny and I tried to get control of ourselves as we went over and gave me mother a welcoming hug.

As we sit down, Katie brings out some tea for all of us and then makes her apologies that she has to head to work, but that we will see her later. Soon she is out the door and an awkwardness descends on the three of us as we sip our tea. I am the first one to talk. “Do you want to see the rest of the apartment and where you will be sleeping tonight?” My mother nods and places her cup on the table and follows us into the back part of the apartment. I show her Katie’s room, which for once is picked up and then show her the bathroom. She comments that she likes the shower curtain much better than the large Viking head one that was in there the last time she was here. A memory I had been trying to avoid. Then we lead her just across the hall “and here is where you will be staying mom.” She comments that it is very nice and asks whose room it is. Jenny and I look at each other, biting our lips before one of us answers. “It’s our spare room. Usually it is a giant closet.” I say. My mother gives me a stare that only a mother can give. Jenny tries to sneak away from my mother and me but I grab her before she can get too far. Taking a deep breath I look my mother in the eye.

‘Mom, I’m too old for you to be telling me what to do. This is my apartment.” I look at Jenny. “Our apartment. And we sleep together. I know that this goes against your rules, but that’s how it is.” I get a smirk across my face, as use her own line against her. “My house, my rules” She tries to stare me down before breaking into laughter.

‘I guess I just got told off. Is she always this forceful Jenny?” my mother says looking at my girlfriend. Jenny laughs.

‘Only when it comes to Quinn’s. Usually she is a pussy cat.” Jenny states and hugs me. At first my mother looks bewildered. Than it hits her.

‘Oh that’s right! The date. I need to know everything. You two go back and give me a minute to settle my things. Then I will want all the dirt.” My mother says to Jenny as the two begin giggling.

‘Um can we wait on that until I’m like far away. I don’t need to hear any more about that. I already think I am going to have to go to confession just hearing about it.” I state.

“Church?” My mom looks at me funny. “You go to church? Since when?”

I begin to blush and feel like a little kid. I feel like I am being admonished by my mother. ‘I thought we could go tonight, I’m sure you still go Saturday nights? There’s this church I want to take you to. I went there Christmas Eve and the priest was great. I feel bad I haven’t been back.”

My mother is dumbfounded. “You went to church on Christmas Eve?” I tell her I had and tell her to get situated and come back out and I will tell her the whole story. Jenny and I head back to the living room where we are joined by my mother a few minutes later. I had re-heated the tea and had poured us each a cup. I then sat down and told her the story of how alone I had been on Christmas Eve. How Jenny had gone to Florida, and Katie had gone home and I was banished from my home. I didn’t know what else to do so I would up at church. I explained to her it was an LGBTQ-friendly Catholic Church down by the airport and the priest was great. He was young and was very understanding. I held it together for the most part, but it helped telling this story with Jenny gripping my hand tightly. The one who didn’t hold it together was my mother.

“I’m sorry. I should never have allowed him to treat you that way.” My mother said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “You are our son, I mean our child. We should never let him kick you out.” I quickly let go of Jenny’s hand and move to give her a hug.

“It’s alright mom. I’m fine. I’ve got Jenny and Katie. Plus, it’s the past. We are here together now.” I turn back and look at Jenny sobbing away. I motion her over I share a hug with two of, if not THE two most important women in my life. The best part of it though was when my mother wrapped her arms around Jenny. Now I start crying. That my mom has completely accepted Jenny makes me feel so much better. We all find a way to gain control of our emotions and settle back down. It’s then I notice the time. “It’s 4:15 we should think about going pretty quick.” As I stand there trying to get myself straightened out, my mother looks at me.

“You’re not wearing THAT to Mass, are you?” She says with a motherly look in her eyes. I look down at the black skater skirt I have put on today. It looks perfectly fine to me and I tell her that, which is followed up with a comment of why couldn’t I wear something nice like the black floral print, knee-length skirt that Jenny is wearing. Jenny begins to giggle as I begin an argument with my mother over skirt lengths. Jenny follows me back into our room to help me look for a more “appropriate’ length skirt. My girlfriend can’t stop giggling at me.

“Two Quinn’s in two days complaining about your skirt length.” Jenny comments. I tell her to shut up before I quickly apologize with a kiss. She pulls out a black A line pleated skirt that stops just above knees. “Here babe. You won’t look like a hussy in this!” She says with a giggle while I try and stare her down a bit before I start giggling.

Looking at my girlfriend, I comment through the giggles “You know, I never thought I would get into an argument over my skirt length when I was growing up.” After I get the skirt situated, I slip on a pair of three inch black pumps and turn around. Jenny pronounces that I look beautiful. I walk over to her and pull her my arms again and give her a light kiss. “Your biased” I tell her which earns me a huge smile and a nod from her. As much as I wanted to just stay here with her, our reality comes crashing back to earth as I hear my mother admonishing us form the living room.

“Girls we are going to be late! Let’s get a move on it.” My mother calls out. Jenny and I giggle a bit before releasing each other and head out to the living room hand in hand where I see my other standing there with the same look on her face I remember from living at home. I assure her we have plenty of time but she is insistent that we get a move on. We head down to Jenny’s car and make our way out to St. Kevin’s. Like last time, there was not a huge turnout for mass but it was still over half full. The three of us find a pew about a third of the way up and take our seats. Jenny had never been to a Catholic Mass before and was a little nervous. I whispered to her that just sit there for the time being and I would help her through. I joined my mother in praying but did not join her in the rosary, instead spending my time trying to keep Jenny relaxed.

The Mass started and the same young priest followed the altar servers down the aisle. I was curious if he would recognize me. He began with the typical rituals of the church and as I had been trained for my whole life, went through them. The readings were your typical readings as well as the Gospel. When the priest began his homily, his eyes connected with mine. I could see him look to either side of me and see not only Jenny, but my mother. I could see a smile creep across his face at us. I felt a little embarrassed at his acknowledgement of me. I listened to the homily and followed the Eucharistic part of the mass. As mass ended, the priest began walking down the aisle. When he got to us, he leaned over and asked in a whisper if we could stay a moment longer. The three of us were shocked by the priest reaching out like that. We watched as the congregation departed and followed behind. As the last little old lady shook the priests hand he looked over at us. The smile had turned from warm to enthusiastic as he made his way over to us.

‘It’s Alexis, correct?” He says to me before I correct him. He isn’t embarrassed but makes a joke about forgetting things. I introduce him to both my mother and Jenny and the whole time the smile never leaves his face. He motions us over to one the back pews and begins talking to me. ‘And why haven’t you been here young lady?” he jokes with me as a hang my head a bit. A loud laugh comes from him. ‘I’m just teasing. It’s good to see you again and in such good spirits. I will admit I was a little concerned about you following Christmas. But then I saw the newspaper article and the report on TV and realized I didn’t need to worry. Not that I didn’t stop praying for you” he says with a wink that causes Jenny to giggle. Turning to my mother. “Mrs. Quinn, it is truly a pleasure to meet you. I have only met her twice but you have a lovely daughter here. I am so glad that you have reconciled, but what about your husband?” My mother went on to explain about my father’s passing and the priest took a moment to say a quick prayer for his soul. “I am sorry for your loss. But I am glad you have brought Alexa back into your life.” My mother begins questioning him about how he can be so supportive and not get in trouble with the higher ups of the church. He admitted that several others in the Archdiocese were not happy with him, but he had convinced some of his superiors that it was needed to reach out to all people. My mother, being a Catholic school teacher, began to quiz him on a few of the tenants of the Church and how he was able to apply them. His answers were always well thought out and almost always with in the spirit of the teachings. I could tell my mother was impressed.

As we stood up he thanked us for coming. He quickly looked at Jenny, “I am sorry I didn’t get a chance to speak with you more, but I am sure you will be back so we can talk more again.” The shocked look on Jenny’s face was priceless and both my mother and I started giggling as the priest gave my girlfriend a wink. ‘You never know” he followed up “You might convert for your girlfriend.” As he was walking away he stopped. ‘One more thing Mrs. Quinn, what parish are you a member of?” She informed him St. Vincent’s in Faribault. “Oh, yes Father Paul Kadasky. Tell him Father Brian Martin says hello. Unless you like him.” The young priest hummed his way back up the aisle and into the sacristy. I could only smile. If all priests were like him maybe I would start going to church again I thought. The three of us headed out to the car and made our way to AJ’s, where we promptly seated in Katie’s section.

Our waitress comes up as pleasant as possible. Welcoming us and going over the specials and asks if we would like anything to drink. My mother tells her she will have a glass of white wine and Katie turns to Jenny. Before we were together I don’t think my blonde girlfriend was much of a smart alek, but since we have been together, her needling of our roommate had increased. Jenny looked up at Katie and told her we would have two Cosmos. “No” Katie blurted out before realizing where she was “No Cosmos for you two.” she says softly. Katie’s reaction puts Jenny and I into hysterics and leaves my mother bewildered. She asks if she missed something. Katie gives Jenny and I the evils for a second before turning to my mother. “Well Char, if you really must know. Your daughter and her girlfriend are not allowed to drink Cosmos. They get a little, silly shall we say, when they do.” Jenny and I continue to laugh and mockingly plead with her before ordering a bottle of Chardonnay for the table. All Katie would say before she moved off was “Better.”

My mother stared me and Jenny down after Katie left. ‘Do you two cause lots of problems for Katie when you come here?” We look at each other for a second and then break out into laughter again. “You two should be ashamed of your selves” my mother says before breaking out into a giggle of her own. She continues. ‘This is so exciting. I haven’t been to a restaurant on a Saturday Night other than Lefty’s in years!” I explain to Jenny what Lefty’s is and that both Katie and I had worked there at one time. I could see my mother was happy and Jenny could see it too, and we shared a smile and clasped hands under the table. Katie came back with our wine and asked if we were ready. My mother didn’t even know what to order she was so excited, so she asked for a minute. Jenny ordered the Cajun Chicken and rice. I had been dying for Scallops for a long time and when I said it I got a semi-dirty look from Jenny, who told Katie to bring me the broiled Walleye and steamed vegetables. Much to my mother’s and Katie’s amusement, Jenny told me I had to watch my figure. My mother finally ordered the Scallops that I was dying for.

“You two are funny” my mother says. “How long have you been together?” Jenny informs my mother that some days it seems like forever. It is at that point that my mother remembers that she needed to hear all about the big date last night and we tried to fill her in. I expressed my concerns over the whole thing and was told by my mother to be nice to my brother and we started giggling away. It was right at that time that Katie showed up with our salads and all three of us looked up at her with smiles on our faces. Katie instantly went on the defensive.

“What? Are you talking about me? Katie asks. We just laughed. For the remainder of the night, the three of us laugh and chat about nothing important, except for Katie and Danny. It seemed like every time Katie came to check on us, we were talking about the two of them. I expressed my concerns about the whole thing again and my mother told me to relax, that Danny was really a good kid. He had changed a lot in the last few years and especially since he and Lynn had broken up. I asked my mother what had happened. My mother began to tell how a couple of weeks before Christmas he had stopped off at Lynn’s apartment because he had forgotten something. She was supposedly at work, so he let himself in. He found Lynn and her manager in bed together. Danny was crushed. He really liked her, but she was trash, my mother said with a little giggle over her own comment. All their friends basically turned on her because her manager was married with little kids. She left town right after the new year. As my mother finished the story, I began to feel sorry for him. No matter how big a meathead he was, no one deserved that.

We finished our meal and then the three of us split one of the gigantic pieces of chocolate cake for desert along with some coffee. A little bit an argument came as Katie brought us the bill. First I tried to grab it, only to have it pulled from my hand by Jenny. My mother finally settled the little tussle by taking it from the two of us. She said it was on her tonight. Katie was all smiles as she watched the little performance. She leaned over and whispered. ‘I love when both of you are both stopped.” This earns Katie a little punch in the leg from me. She promptly stands up and states. “Excuse me miss. No touching the wait staff.” And takes the bill and storms off mockingly. Jenny laughs away, but my mother gives me ‘the look’ I lower my eyes in shame. We head back to the apartment and continue our evening of chatting with another glass of wine and make plans for the next day. My mother waits for Katie to come home to talk with her about her date. Jenny and I went off to bed leaving the two alone. We were both so exhausted we just held each other and fell asleep.

The following day might have been the longest, most frustrating day of my existence as Alexa. We had all slept in a little and enjoyed a leisurely morning before heading out for shopping and lunch. We decided to head downtown and hit Macy’s and a few of the other stores. My mother drove me crazy. Half of her comments towards me were critiques on what I was looking at. Either it was too short or two revealing. There were a couple of times where I had to walk away I was so frustrated. Of course, my girlfriend and sister thought it was hilarious. They had been through this with their own mothers, but this was first for me. Jenny tried to comfort me a few times and told me just to relax. I tried and eventually this little adventure was over.

The real adventure was the next day, as my mother and I were going to meet with Debbie. As I was getting dressed Jenny gave me a long kiss and wished me luck. “I really wish you could go too.” I tell her, but she tells me it will be good for me to have my mother and I meet alone with Deb. I just nod my head and pull Jenny for a hug. “I love you Jen. Thanks for keeping me sane this weekend.” She gave me a quick kiss and assured me it was no problem, but that it was now my turn to be with her the next time she has to deal with her mother. “Whatever you need babe” I tell my girlfriend “I am there and you know that. I am yours completely.” A loving kiss follows, followed by the wiping of some light tears. We walk out hand in hand to the living room where we find my mother sitting there having a cup of coffee and looking at a magazine. Jenny says goodbye on her way to class and my mother and I are left alone for the first time since this whole ordeal started.

“I’m nervous” my mother says, I look at her funny and ask her why. She looks down, almost in shame. “I am going to meet a woman who probably thinks I am a terrible mother.” I move over and try and comfort her and tell her Debbie will not judge her. I tell her that Debbie has been an angel for me, and was actually trying to get me to come out long before dad found out. I tell her we should be moving and we head down to her minivan and we are off to the meeting with Deb. I didn’t want to tell her I was nervous too, because I could see how worked up she was. I drove us over to the offices and checked in with the receptionist of the day, Bethany. A couple of minutes later we are told we can go back and I lead my mother down the hall to the office of Deborah V. Burke, MD, PhD, my sanctuary twice week from the outside world. I knock and am directed to come in. Standing there in one of her typical suits, this time in a pale blue is Dr. Burke. As we come in she comes from around her desk and extends her hand

“Mrs. Quinn, I am Debbie Burke. It is so nice to finally meet you. Pease come in and have a seat.” As Deb directs us the couch, my mother speaks up.

“It is a pleasure to meet you to Debbie. Please call me Charlotte. I have heard so much about you the last few days.” Mom says and takes a seat. Debbie acknowledges me with a quick hello. And begins in on her speech.

“Charlotte, I asked you to come because I am sure you have a lot of questions. And while Alexa can answer some, there are probably several she can’t. I also hope that you will be able to accept what is happening in regards to Alexa. It’s not easy for all parties involved you must understand. This can be a trying process, but with counsel and support from those around her, a wonderful, happy life can be achieved.” Debbie states. I can see the wheels start tuning in my mother’s head as the questions start to work their way to the surface.

‘So, may I ask how you became involved Debbie?” My mother asks and Debbie goes into a brief history of her involvement with my life. As Debbie finishes up, mom asks ‘Has Alexa always come to see you as Alexa?” Debbie tells her no and goes in to how when I first came in I was seeing her as Alex but over time had become more and more Alexa. It wasn’t until Christmas that Alexa went full time. Debbie then asks me if I had talked to my mother about Christmas.

“Not really. A few things were mentioned, like how I went to church on Christmas Eve. We took mom there the other day for Mass. But I didn’t go into any other details.” Debbie urges me to open up to my mother. I take a deep breath. “After dad found me I was a wreck. Jenny was in Florida, but thankfully Katie was there. I couldn’t even function. I really don’t remember a lot about the first few hours. All I could do was cry. I knew I couldn’t talk with you because Dad was on the warpath. Thank god Katie was there.” I paused for a moment, nervous to go on. Debbs urged me to “I woke up at some point that night and went for a walk. It was really pretty that night. I don’t know how I got there, but I was standing on the Washington Avenue Bridge, staring down at the river.” I heard my mother gasp as I told the tale of my midnight stroll. “Mom I couldn’t, wouldn’t do anything like that. I could never take my own life. I did throw my student ID over the side, kind of a symbolic gesture saying Alex was dead.” I reached for my mother’s hand. “I swear mom I could never do that. I was just hurting so bad. I felt like I didn’t have anyone at that moment. I went through the next day in a cloud. I wound up at church because I didn’t want to be alone. I drank myself to sleep that night, crying the whole time. But the next morning I received the best Christmas present I ever. Jenny was home. But that second best came that night when I got your text message.” By this point both my mom and I were crying. We held onto each other and let the tears flow. “I’m sorry mom. I know I disappointed you.” I say. I can hear Debbie clear her throat, because I knew she wouldn’t like that. My mother tightened the hug.

‘You never disappointed me. I just didn’t understand. I feel I do now. Or at least I am trying to.” My mother tells me. “I never stopped loving you. If you need to be a woman to be happy, I will support you 100%.” I can’t stop crying, but these are tears of happiness. I think I even saw Deb wipe a tear away, but I’m not sure. We let each other go, but just like following the funeral, my mother doesn’t let my hand go. Debbie went on to explain some of the things I had been going through. The conflict, the shame, the acceptance of what I needed to truly made me happy. She also went on to explain the wonderful support system I had.

“I know you knew Katie before and she has been terrific. Her best attribute is she puts up with the other two.” Deb says. I give her the death glare. My mom looks confused and I tell her she is talking about Jenny. Debbie laughs ‘They are actually quite a pair. I am constantly amazed at the relationship the two share.” My mother agrees with a laugh and for the next few minutes the two compare notes about how Jenny and I function together. Debbie brings up the whole Christmas Eve adventure Jenny had trying to get back to me. My mother said she had never heard the story. I began to tell the story. There is so much to remember, I hope I told it all. My mother was in shock. She had no clue.

“So, this isn’t just a typical college relationship then?” My mother asks. I give her a funny look. “You know what I mean young lady.” The comment makes Debbie giggle, hearing me getting in trouble from my mother. I then answer my mother.

“No, it’s not typical. Jenny is my soul mate. I wouldn’t be here without her.” The look both women gave me was one of understanding. I then realize that this was the first time I had said that to anyone, but it was the truth. It felt good to say that. Like I had made the ultimate statement of Jenny and me. I sat there pleased with myself as Debbie answered more of my mother’s questions and tried to explain some more of the psychological things as well as talking about the passing of my father. Debbie recommended that my mother seek some counseling. She said that even though it seemed to be going OK, it always helped to talk to a professional. Debbie even game my mother the name of a couple of psychiatrists who were near Faribault. Soon our time was up and we said our goodbyes. Debbie thanked my mother for taking the time to come in.

“Of course, I would come. I already lost one family member I ‘m not losing anymore” She said. Debbie smiled at that, and as we were leaving Debbie told me she would be gone later this week and that we would meet next Monday at our normal time. Soon we were out the door and on our way back to my apartment. The whole ride back, my mother couldn’t stop heaping praise on Debs. I was extremely happy over the whole thing. All the nerves I had prior to it seemed to disappear. When we got back to the apartment, Jenny was home. As soon as my mother came in she went right up to Jenny and gave her a huge hug. “Thank you for looking after Alexa. I owe you so much Jenny.” I could see Jenny get a little misty eyed over this, as well as my mother. I was not immune as I teared up at the sight of the two. My mom broke it off, trying to cover up for it. She proceeded to get her bag from the extra room and gave each of us one last hug and left us to return home. Surprisingly, I was a little sad when she left. Jenny came up to me a pulled me in again.

‘I love you Jen.” I tell her and we share another intimate moment. For the one Billionth time, I reminded myself how lucky I was.

The rest of the week seemed to drag. Classes were boring and without a job, there wasn’t much to keep me distracted other than Jenny. Which was plenty. But it was kind of mundane. The hockey game on Friday night became something I was looking forward to. Soon it was Friday, I muddled my way through my classes, but soon it was Friday afternoon and the weekend was here. When I got back from my class that afternoon, Jenny was waiting for me already to go to the game. She was properly dressed for the game in her Gold Gopher Jersey and a pair of black leggings. Her hair was being held back with a headband that had Gopher ears attached to them. She looked very cute. ‘Come on Lex! We have to get you ready!” She squealed as she gave me a kiss and then pulled me back to our room. On the bed was my white Gopher jersey and a pair leggings. Also on the bed was a crewneck Gopher sweatshirt. ‘Mariucci gets cold” She tells me as she quickly strips me of my skirt and top. Since she is stripping me, I try and make it worthwhile, but she just tells me to cool my jets. I pull on the clothing and Jenny tells me to sit down where she ties a maroon and gold ribbon in my hair.

As it seems like we do almost every day, the two of us stand in front of our large mirror and check ourselves out. “We look cute” I say. Jenny heartily agrees and gives me a kiss. We head out and put a quick dinner together for the two of us. Katie and Danny had gone out and for a quick bite and were coming back to get us. “I can’t believe I am going on a double date with my brother and Katie.” I state. Jenny comes up behind me as I am working on our salads and gives me a hug.

‘It will be fun babe. Just go in with an open mind OK?” She tells me and I just nod. As we are finishing up our dinner, Katie and Danny come back. We have time to kill, Katie offers Danny a beer and heads back to her room to put her Gopher Jersey on. Danny joins us at the table and Jenny asks if they had a good dinner.

“Yeah, we did, nothing special. Just a burger over at Sally’s” He says as he stares at Jenny. “Hey Alexa, didn’t you used to have a Gold jersey like that?” he asks turning to me.

“Not any more. I took it from her.” Jenny states with a smile and a kiss on the top of the head.

I laugh at my girlfriend. “She found it one day and fell in love with it. But I still get to look at it quite often.” I tell my brother as Jenny comes up from behind and wraps her arms around me.

“Well for a little bit every night” she says to my brother. Without even seeing her face I know the grin she has and the twinkle in her eyes.

‘Whoa! I don’t need that visual Jen!” My brother says as he drains his beer. Jenny asks if he wants another one and he agrees. ‘If I am going to have to put up with you two, I think several.” I punch my brother in the arm as he says this. “Ow!” he calls out. “What was that for?”

“For being Danny’ I tell him. Jenny joins us with two glasses of Vodka for us and a beer for Danny. Katie finally comes out in her Maroon Jersey, making the apartment complete. She grabs a beer and joins us at the table. We spend the next 45 minutes laughing and telling stories. Danny seems to be adjusting to everything fairly well. At least he was not outright hostile to me. Soon it was time to get going. Before we leave Jenny ran out of the room back to the bedroom. She came back holding two pairs of maroon and gold mittens with the word “Gophers” knitted into them. They were just like the ones the cheerleaders wore. I smiled while Danny hung his head. I gave him a punch on the arm and told Jenny I loved them. The sad look she had over Danny’s reaction changed when I told her that. I didn’t think we needed them, but once again Jenny told me it got cold in the arena and that she thought they were cute. As we made our way to the door, Danny whispered into my ear that they were cute. I told him to shut his mouth. It was then that Katie realized she forgot her ID and went back to get it. Jenny and I told them we would meet them in the lobby.

Just as we entered the lobby, Brandon and Steve came stumbling in the front door of the apartment building. They obviously had been partaking in happy hour tonight. Brandon starts in on us. “Well, well. If it isn’t the tranny and the dyke. Where are you two off to tonight? The women’s hockey team is on the road tonight. What other dyke activities are planned?” Suddenly, from behind me came a fist that landed squarely on Brandon’s jaw. He went flying across the lobby, blood coming out his mouth. I see Danny come around me and stand over Brandon. He was as mad as I have ever seen him. He pointed down at the moron laying on the floor.

“You EVER say anything like that to my sister or her girlfriend again, I will kick your ass! Think of this as a warning.” The three of us girls stood there in shock. I couldn’t believe he had just done that. My brother just stood up for me! Me, his sister. Danny calmed down and took Katie by the arm and escorted her out the door. I quickly followed and grabbed him and gave him a huge hug and thanked him. He came back with a typical response, “Hey, don’t get all sentimental on me. I still don’t get it but I am not about let some drunk loser talk that way to my family” I let him go and he and Katie kept walking. Katie turned and looked at me with a huge smile on her face. It was a smile that showed me how happy she was over what had just happened. Jenny came running up to me and took me in her arms. I hugged her and began crying, but tears of joy.

“Danny just called me his sister” I said, the huge smile on my face contrasted the tears I was producing. “He called me his sister!” I said. She told me she heard it too. Other than being with Jenny, I hadn’t been this happy. I looked ahead and saw Danny. He stopped and turned around. “Are you two coming?” he yelled out. Jenny and I share a long kiss and raced ahead to join up with my brother and my ‘sister’.

As we walked along I reflected on the last few weeks, I was amazed at where I was today. Three weeks ago, my family wanted nothing to do with me. Now, my mother had begun to accept that I was now her daughter and now my brother had just stood up for me against one of the biggest tormentors in my life. Sure, he was going out with Katie but it seemed to make her happy. And I had Jenny, the one person I knew I could never live without. I had never felt so loved in my life.

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