Tomboy

Tomboy
By: Light Clark

Synopsis: Sam likes to roll with the punches, both in fights and in life. Well, life gave him just such a punch when he manifested, but this one is a lot harder to just roll with than most. That’s not going to stop him from trying to, though.

Warning: This story is 'technically' set in the Whateley universe. It uses no characters or places from that universe; just borrows a few terms and general thematics. It is certainly not canon.

Chapter 01

“Bruce! Ball!” I called out as I cut around my defender toward the basket.

Bruce Mathison reacted immediately, jerking to a halt mid dribble. His defender tried to stop short as well, but he ended up running a step too far which was all the further the tall, spiky haired teen needed him to go. Using the gap left by his defender and mine, he bounced a pass to me low where only I could get it.

Naturally, I scooped it right up just before the opposing team’s third, a hulking behemoth of a fourteen year old, moved into my way. I feinted left, using a spin move to take me back to the right and around the lumbering oaf. From there, it was just a couple steps to an easy lay up.

“And that’s the game!” I yelled as the ball funneled through the hoop, raising my hands in victory. “Suck it, losers!”

The defeated team rolled their collective eyes at my gloating, making annoyed groaning noises. “Game’s not over!” Adam Lind, the opposing team’s captain, growled. The guy, who was already built like a linebacker even though he was only a freshman, stormed over to me threateningly. “You clearly travelled!”

Before I could retort, Charles Cruise, better known to me as my friend Chuck stepped between me and Adam. “Calm down, there’s no reason to get angry,” the smooth blonde tried to soothe the situation.

“Of course not, since I didn’t travel, and we won,” I antagonized from behind my friend.

“You didn’t win shit!” Adam spat, talking over Chuck as he stepped forward menacingly.

As a show of solidarity, Bruce came over to stand next to Chuck, further blocking Adam from me. “I can’t believe you’re actually whining about something like this in a street game,” Bruce remarked in disdain. “We’re not little kids anymore. Just accept the loss like a man.”

Adam continued to glare at the my friends and I, but backed off. No one had stepped up on his side of the argument, and while he might have tried to fight two verse one, three verse one was not odds that he was apparently willing to take. “I’ll get you next time, fucker.”

“Not unless you actually learn how to play by then,” I shot back, not willing to be intimidated in the slightest. With a final menacing glare, Adam stormed off, leaving the trio of friends on their own.

Sighing, Chuck ran a hand over his hair to make sure it was all in it’s proper place. “He’s gonna beat the crap outta you one of these days. You know that right?”

“I’d like to see him try,” I retorted confidently.

That got some incredulous looks from my friends, which was no surprise. At five-seven, I was a few inches shorter than Adam and quite a bit lankier. I was scrappy and liked to fight, but even I had my doubts that any of that would matter in a fight with Adam. The brute might just break me in half. Of course, I had more than just my physique to rely on if I needed it, but my friends didn’t know that.

“Well it seems we’re out of competition here,” Chuck noted, glancing around at Adam’s team dispersing. “Wanna head to the pool and see if anyone cute’s there?”

“Haven’t gotten slapped enough times this summer?” I teased.

Chuck grinned. “I only get slapped by ‘em after I date ‘em.”

I laughed at that. “Well as much as I want to watch you hit on every pair of tits that walks by, I’ve gotta get home soon, so count me out.”

Nodding, Chuck turned to Bruce. “What about you, Brucey? Wanna be my wingman?”

Bruce shrugged. “Whatever.”

“I’m taking that as yes,” Chuck remarked happily. “See ya around, Sam.”

“See ya,” I replied, giving my buddies a slight wave as they headed off. Looking around, I spotted my basketball off in the grass about a dozen feet away. Running over, I scooped it up and set about taking some practice shots until it was time to go home.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“So, Doc got some good news for me today?” I asked as I tugged my shirt back on.

“I guess that depends on what you consider good news in a situation like this,” Dr. Keppler replied, making a few notes in the folder that he was holding.

That got a chuckle from me. “Don’t worry, doc. I know what’s in store for me, and I’m okay with it. Just telling me how it’s going.”

“In that case, everything seems to be progressing well,” Dr. Keppler replied. “There’s no sign of abnormal physiology emerging. Your last tests showed that your hormone levels are stabilizing at appropriate levels. Secondary and primary sexual characteristics are both progressing well, so it seems like you won’t get caught in between.”

I nodded along with the information, pleased to hear I wasn’t going to be especially freaky or anything. “Good to hear.”

“Then we get to psychological stuff,” Dr. Keppler continued. “Your mother says you refuse to see a counselor, that you hide your changes when outside of the house, and that you haven’t told any of your friends.”

I sighed heavily. “Yeah, well my mom’s a little too interested in getting the ball rolling on this whole ‘I’m gonna have a daughter’ thing. It’s not like I’m trying to hide from it or anything. I just don’t see the rush. Other than a little extra padding,” I reached up to cup the small pointy mounts that were hidden under my shirt for emphasis, “I still look like a guy. I act like a guy. My friends think I’m a guy. It just seems easier to wait ‘til I’m a little further along before I start doing the whole girl thing.”

Dr. Keppler nodded in understanding. “That seems perfectly reasonable. You have been perusing the information I gave you on what to expect?”

“Yep, thanks to you, I now know more about girl parts than I do about boy parts,” I replied smartly. “Some of it seems a little annoying, like the whole periods thing, but it shouldn’t be that big a deal.”

“In spite of what your mother claimed, you seem to be taking this whole thing pretty well,” Dr. Keppler noted.

I just shrugged. “You say I was born this way and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it. No sense getting worked up over something I can’t control, right?”

Dr. Keppler laughed at that. “In my experience that’s usually what makes people the maddest,” he commented before getting more serious. “How’s the power control coming?”

“Pretty good, I guess,” I answered. “Haven’t had much luck in getting it any more precise, but I don’t miss much anymore and no more accidental activations. My brother’s still angry about my manifestation cracking a few of his ribs, though.”

“Well if my memory serves, you’d still have to send him to the emergency room a few more times for you two to be even,” Dr. Keppler replied.

That got a laugh from me. “I don’t think he sees it that way, but luckily his new girlfriend kept him busy all summer. He’s already back at school now.”

“Another one already? That boy does get around,” Dr. Keppler remarked, before rising from his seat. “Whelp, unless you have any questions for me, I think we’re good for today. I’ll see you in another month.”

Nodding, I rose as well. “Looking forward to it.”

After that, the doctor and I went our separate ways. Leaving his office behind, I made my way out to the waiting room where my mom sat waiting for me to finish. She and I bore a pretty strong resemblance to each other, same light brown hair, same brown eyes. Unlike her lanky son, she was a little chubby, but not unattractive.

“How’d it go?” my mom greeted, rising from her seat. “No complications right?”

“Don’t worry. He said everything’s moving along as expected,” I replied.

“And did he say anything else?” my mom asked leadingly.

The question prompted an eye roll from me, as I turned to lead the way out. “Yes, and I explained to him just like I did to you, that it just doesn’t make sense to do more yet.”

“Sam,” my mom huffed in exasperation as she followed me out. “Being a girl isn’t as easy as you think. You need to start learning now, so you’ll be ready when the time comes.”

“Learning what exactly, mom?” I questioned, annoyed at having to go through this again. “I went through all the information the doctor gave me. I know what to expect.”

“There’s more to learn than just the biology,” my mom argued. “There’s clothes, and makeup, and hair, and –”

Rolling my eyes again, I let out a loud annoyed sigh. “Mom, I know you’ve got this fantasy of what you want your daughter to be, but I just don’t care about that stuff. I like my clothes, long hair seems like a pain, and no way am I putting paint on my face unless it’s for camouflage.”

“I get that you don’t care now, but you might once you’re further along,” my mom argued. “It’s not like it’ll hurt you to try it out and see.”

I leveled an incredulous look at her, but she didn’t waver. However, eventually I did. “Fine, I guess maybe I could grow my hair out. Happy?” I’d worn my hair long when I was little, so I figured it would be the easiest concession to appease her.

A giddy smile on her face, my mom nodded happily. “I can’t wait to show you some of the styles I’ve picked out that I think’ll look cute on you and of course, you’ll need some lessons in styling, and your own hair supplies to work with. We’ll have to talk about proper maintenance and care, too.” I already regretted my decision.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“You’re going down can,” I warned the cylinder of aluminum as I set it down on the concrete. “Fifteen paces, turn, and shoot,” I told it, like it and I were about to engage in an older western-style duel.

The can naturally said nothing in return, so I just spun sharply away from it and started walking along the little back alley behind the school. It being summer, the school was deserted, and the back area was shielded from sight both from the streets by the school building, and the nearby subdivision by a wall of trees, brush, and fencing. It made it the perfect place for me to practice without anyone seeing me.

When I made it to the mental count of fifteen, I spun and thrust my hand upward. There was a loud ping from the can as it flew straight up into the air. I watched it shimmer in the sunlight as it’s momentum waned and it began to fall.

Tracking its decent, I waited for the can be pretty close to the ground before I thrust my hand out. Another loud ping shot through the air as the can was launched away from me. It made it quite a ways before finally hitting the ground and skittering to a stop.

Raising my hand in front of me like a gun, I blew on my finger. “I told you, you were going down,” I taunted the inanimate object. “Now get over here!” Another gesture from my hand, this time toward me, caused another loud ping followed by the can skittering along the ground toward me.

Between the fifteen pace difference from the start and the fact it was bouncing along the ground not sailing through the air, the can didn’t even get close to reaching me. I had to repeat the gesture another couple times before finally it skittered to a stop at my feet. By then, it was badly scuffed, dented and torn, like I’d been shooting at it with a real gun.

“Pretty good,” I mused, scooping the can up off the ground. “Now to test for accuracy.”

Turning, I oriented on a small bin I’d brought with me as well. Normally it served as my family’s recycling bin, but today it served as both target holder and target itself. Carefully, I aimed the can in my hand at the bin a couple dozen feet away.

Releasing the can, I thrust my hand out, hitting it with a burst of telekinetic energy. There was a loud ping as the can shot off, soaring toward its destination. There, it clanged off the stone wall of the school a couple feet to the left of the bin and bounced away.

“That was not so good,” I muttered in annoyance, walking over to pick up the can and toss it into the bin.

Missing the bin was not an uncommon occurrence for me. I had pretty limited control over my telekinesis. I could only do short bursts at a couple of strength levels, and even then only in pretty discrete directions like toward, away, up, and down. It made aiming an object propelled by my telekinesis difficult. Of course, if I didn’t know where stuff I hit was going, I couldn’t risk using my power to move things. I wasn’t a particularly strong telekinetic, but I was strong enough to hurt someone, which meant practicing to make sure that, if I hurt someone, it was on purpose.

Sighing, I bent down and grab several new cans from the bin. “Guess I know what I’m practicing today.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 02

“So who should I go out with on friday, Becky or Rachel?” Chuck asked.

Bruce shrugged. “Whichever. They’re both mindless drones.”

Rolling his eyes, Chuck turned to me. “I should have known better than to ask the shrugmaster. What about you, Sam?”

“How should I know, man? Any girl willing to go out with you isn’t worth dating,” I insulted smoothly.

That got a laugh from Chuck. “I just sorta walked into that one, didn’t I? But seriously, I don’t know who to pick. They’re both hot, right?”

Begrudgingly, I nodded. “Yeah, two of the hotter girls in our school, which makes it all the stranger that they’d be interested in slime like you.”

“But which one do I pick then? Rachel has an amazing butt but no boobs, and you know how I like those,” Chuck commented.

“The whole school knows,” I pointed out.

“Now, Rachel has great boobs, but she’s got no butt and never shuts up,” Chuck continued his assessment.

“And we all know how much you love to hear yourself talk,” I zinged.

The insult didn’t even register on Chuck’s face as he continued talking. “It’s the classic conundrum. Do I go for the T or the A?”

“You’re so pathetic,” Bruce muttered in disdain.

“That’s easy for you to say!” Chuck exclaimed. “You’ve got that Hailey chick fawning over you. God is she hot.”

Bruce shuddered. “She just won’t leave me alone. I keep telling her I’m not interested.”

Chuck blinked a couple of times before shaking his head. “Sometimes, I wonder if you’re gay. Not that that’s a problem. It would just explain a lot.”

“I’m not gay. I just don’t like it when girls are all clingy like that,” Bruce responded. “I need my space.”

“And with those four words, he has half the girls in school desperately in heat for him,” I half-joked. It was only half a joke because Bruce really was popular with the girls at our middle school. He had the bad boy thing down perfectly. He was handsome. He played guitar. He showed no interest in anything that wasn’t his music. He even had a pierced ear, spiky black hair, and grungy clothes. Girls practically worshipped him.

“I hate you so much sometimes,” Chuck told Bruce to which Bruce just shrugged. “Still, what am I supposed to do for friday?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I think Becky’s a little cuter personally, but since it’s you, let me put on my perverted douchebag hat for a second.” I paused to pantomime putting a hat on my head, even pretending to spin the brim around like a douchebag would for a baseball cap. “I say you go with Rachel, get her to let you play with her tits then dump her and go out with Becky because she’s cuter and isn’t an airheaded bimbo.” I paused to nod. “Yeah, that’s sounds douchey enough for you.”

Chuck rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “I know you were trying to be a sarcastic ass right there, but that’s actually a pretty good plan. I get to try out the tits. If they’re amazing, I just stick with them, and if I’m good after one grope, I can move on to the next girl.”

“Congratulations, you’ve reached a new level of douchebag,” I announced. “We should probably get you crown, because you have to be the king of that by now.”

“I’m gonna go tell Rachel the good news,” Chuck decided, ignoring my barbs. Taking out his phone, he rose and left the table, leaving me with Bruce.

“So, Bruce. How’s the new song coming? Good?” I asked, shifting topics to something that Bruce and I actually had interest in.

Bruce nodded. “I think so. It’s a mix of heavy metal and power ballad with just a touch of sorrow. I just need one more verse and an outro to finish it off. You’re still going to do the piano part for me right?”

“Yeah, if you really want one. Not sure how good it’s going to sound in a heavy metal power ballad,” I replied, knowing that Bruce involved me mostly because I was the only other musician that he knew.

“I was thinking we’d do a kinda synth organ more than actual piano,” Bruce explained.

I gave it a little thought before nodding. “I could see that working. Just email it to me when it’s ready for me to work on it.”

“I will,” Bruce assured me. “It’ll be nice to get the opinion of someone else with some actual musical talent.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea that I had musical talent. While I wasn’t bad, the only reason I played piano was that my mom had insisted that I take lessons when I was little. It certainly wasn’t a passion of mine like guitar was for Bruce. “Not sure about that last part, but I can give you an opinion at least.”

“You’ve got more talent than just about anyone else in that horrid drone machine we call school,” Bruce replied.

I tilted my head from side to side. “Well that might be true, but that school’s full of idiots.”

While he didn’t laugh, Bruce managed one of his rare smiles. “Yeah, and the biggest one of them is about to come back and gloat about whose tits he’s gonna get to squeeze.”

I shrugged. “Everyone should get to gloat about their triumphs, no matter how base and perverted they are.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Frowning, I reached up to cup my chest. My hands confirmed what what my reflection in the mirror was already telling me. While still fairly small, the soft mounds were starting to fill my palms pretty well.

My breasts were only the most obvious change of my slow march toward becoming a girl. My body, always kind of lanky, was looking a little less straight and rigid. Slimmer shoulders, a slight rounding to my hips, and a general softness had come into being. It was messing with my face too, making it look a little less angular.

“Maybe I should just start school as a girl,” I mused, thinking that I probably looked more like a boyish girl than girlish boy at that point.

Such a decision would certainly make my mom happy. My increasing girlishness had come with an increase in nagging from my mom that I really should get some new clothes. If she had her way, though, I’d be decked out in frills and skirts, which was something that I didn’t want. Boy or girl, I planned to keep being me, and I enjoyed physical stuff too much to saddle myself with anything more troublesome than shorts and tennis shoes. Besides, it wasn’t like my current clothes didn’t fit. They were a little loose around my shoulders and a touch tight in the hips, but not bad enough to warrant buying a whole new wardrobe.

“Gonna need bras as a girl, though,” I reminded myself.

Up until now, I’d just been wrapping my chest. It flattened out the modest bumps quite well, keeping them from being visible through my shirt and from bouncing around any – not that they bounced much anyway. That wasn’t what girls did, though. They wore bras, and I knew my mom would make sure I wore them too.

“I’ll need to try to think of some way to get mom to let me shop for them on my own, before I make any decisions,” I told myself, reaching for my wrappings. There was no way I was going to let my mom buy my bras, and I had almost a week still before school started. That would be plenty of time to come up with something to at least try.

Once I’d wrapped my chest, I tugged on some clothes and left my room. Trying to be sneaky, I scurried down the steps. I didn’t want my mom to hear me leaving or she’d stop me to talk.

“Hey there, sweetie,” my mom’s voice cut into my back like a knife.

Not even trying to hide it, I let my shoulders slump as I let out a long heavy sigh. “Hi, mom,” I returned the greeting as I turned around.

“I was talking to your principal today about your status for next year. She wanted to know if you were planning to start as a girl or switch over some time during the term,” my mom informed me. “Have you thought about that yet?”

“Yeah, but I haven’t decided,” I answered noncommittally.

“You know, you really do look pretty girly now, and it’ll be a lot easier on you and the staff if you just started that way,” my mom pointed out.

My mother’s nudging got another sigh from me. “I know, but I still haven’t decided.”

“Well as long as you’re thinking about,” my mom conceded. “Try not to think too long, though. We’ll need at least a couple of days to get things together if you decide to start as a girl.”

Suppressing a shudder at the idea of two days of shopping, I nodded. “Got it. I’ll make sure to let you know soon.”

“So where are you going?” my mom asked, Asking where I was going when I left the house was a new, and annoying, habit that she’d picked up – like she didn’t trust me to take care of myself anymore.

“Just over to Chuck’s. We’re going to a movie later,” I answered.

My mom nodded. “Alright. Just make sure you’re home by ten.”

“I will be,” I assured her before turning and heading out the door.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Wow, look at her,” Chuck directed, elbowing me to get my attention.

I look up to see a slutty looking college girl with plenty of curves and not a lot of clothes covering them walk into the mall. “Nice. Too bad she’s too old for you.”

“Yeah well we’re not gonna be this young forever. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of girls like that once I’m that age,” Chuck replied optimistically.

“And I’m sure they’ll be just as dumb and slutty for you too, pal,” I remarked without missing a beat, even giving Chuck a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

“God, I hope so,” Chuck sighed wistfully.

That made it Bruce’s turn to sigh, albeit his was more heavy than wistful. “Don’t encourage him, Sam.”

“What? It’s not like we’ve got anything better to do while we wait for Mrs. Cruise to get here,” I pointed out. “Might as well take in the view.”

“Atta boy. I’m finally starting to rub off on ya,” Chuck cheered proudly as he threw an arm around my shoulder. “Pretty soon, I’ll have you dating the ugly friends of the girls I go out with.”

Shuddering, I squirmed out from under Chuck’s arm. “Yeah, I don’t want your rejects. Hell, I don’t want most of the ones you actually pick.”

“You two are never going to find a date. You’re both too damn picky,” Chuck grumbled. “What you need to realize is that they’re all either crazy, stupid, or both, so you might as well find one that looks good.”

“Yeah cause you’re such an expert,” I muttered sarcastically.

“Hey, I’ve had eight girlfriends. What have you had? One? Bruce hasn’t even had any,” Chuck reminded me. “Clearly I’m the expert of the three of us.”

I rolled my eyes. “The expert at getting dumped maybe.”

“Whatever. Spend your life alone,” Chuck retorted defensively.

For a few moments there was silence, before I saw a cute blonde walk out of the mall with her mom. “Oh what about her. She’s cute and actually around our age.”

Chuck looked up to follow my gaze. “Yeah, she is. You should go ask her out.”

“Are you nuts? Her mom’s right there, plus they’re leaving,” I argued.

“Coward,” Chuck teased.

“Whatever, man. You wouldn’t ask her out in this situation either,” I challenged.

Chuck shrugged. “Of course not. I was just hoping you’d make a fool of yourself.”

“Yeah well you’re gonna have to try something a little more clever than calling me a coward to get me to do that,” I replied smugly.

“What would work then? A double dog dare?” Bruce commented derisively.

I rubbed my chin thoughtfully. “A double dog dare, you say? That would be hard to turn away from.”

“Well naturally. At that point it’s a matter of honor,” Chuck furthered, playing along.

Bruce rolled his eyes at both of us. “You’re both such children.”

Bruce’s response prompted a laugh from Chuck and me. I was just starting to reel that laughter in to make a joke when a woman’s scream cut through the air. Immediately, I looked up, trying to see what was up, but all I could see were cars tinted red and purple in the light of the nearly set sun.

“What the hell was that?” Chuck gasped, glancing around as well.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out,” I replied, hopping from my seat and running off toward the noise.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 03

Sprinting through the sea of parked cars, I kept an eye out for whoever might have been the source of the scream. There were several people standing around with confused and worried looks on their faces as I ran by, but no one that appeared distressed enough to be the one responsible. Continuing onward, I tried to make sure I was angling in the direction that I’d thought the sound had come from, searching for any signs.

“Let go of her!” a woman yelled. The voice was lower, angier, and not as frightened as the one that had screamed, but it was coming from the same direction. It was also quite close, seeming just a lane or two over.

Cutting across a line of cars, I burst out from behind a full-size truck. Waiting for me on the other side was the cute blonde girl that Chuck and I had been checking out before and her mother. The girl was struggling to break free of the grip of an older boy, somewhere in his late teens or early twenties. Meanwhile, the mother was being held by two more boys, all while a fourth boy was trashing the items that they’d purchased by throwing them on the ground and smashing them under his heel.

“The lady told you to let her go,” I cut in, trying to sound badass except my voice cracked midway through the line. Four verse one wasn’t a fight even I would look forward to, but I wasn’t going to stand by and do nothing.

The boy trashing the two girl’s things looked up from his work and laughed. “Get lost, kid. The gene scum isn’t worth your trouble. Ain’t that right, purple eyes?”

“Leave us alone!” the blonde teen, clearly the one being referred to as purple eyes, begged the man that was holding her.

My own eyes narrowed at the mutant slur. If there was any chance of me backing down before, it was gone now. “I think you should listen to her,” I warned, managing to sound a lot more menacing this time.

“Beat it, punk, before I wipe the floor with you!” the teen growled, tossing down the two girls’ things and stepping toward me threateningly.

Given that the guy was a few inches taller than me and probably sixty pounds heavier, I was a little intimidated, but my mind was already made up. I thrust my hand outward, unleashing a telekinetic burst. The force thrust into the guy’s chest hard enough to slam him back against the car behind him with a loud thud. He’s slumped against the car in a daze, shaking his head to clear his vision.

“Shit it’s another one!” the guy holding the blonde girl warned. The two guy’s holding the mother reacted immediately. One slapped the older woman hard, driving her to the ground, while the other turned to orient on me.

Seeing that I wasn’t going to get out of this just by smacking down the leader, I raised my fists and got ready to use my telekinesis again. The guy that was focused on me took that as his sign to rush forward, coming at me in a wild charge. I took a step to the side to line things up and thrust a hand out.

Another burst of force slammed into the guy, shoving him back. Unlike with the first guy, there was no car behind this guy to stop him, but his other friend was. The two crashed into each other with a thump and a yelp before tumbling to the ground in a tangled up mess.

With three of the four enemies down, I oriented on the guy holding the girl. This proved to be quite the problem for me as I doubted that I could hit him without hitting her as well. That meant I couldn’t use my powers to take him down from afar, and he was a lot bigger than me. At that point, though, I didn’t even care about that and just started stalking forward.

“Let her go,” I growled, my anger clear in my voice.

“Not a chance, freak,” the man spat, jerking on the girl to get her to gasp in pain.

Sick of these idiots bigotry, I charged forward, yelling out in anger. Clearly scared by what I’d done to his buddies, the guy shoved the girl into my charge before turning to run away. Skidding to a stop, I barely managed to not crash headlong into the girl. Instead, I caught her, though not exactly gently, in my arms.

After a brief, nervous embrace, I stepped back, blushing. “Sorry! You alright?”

“I think so,” the girl mumbled in response, looking down shyly. “I can’t believe you just charged in here like that, though. Weren’t you scared?”

Suddenly feeling very flustered and nervous, I managed an awkward chuckle while rubbing at my hair. “It was nothing,” I told her, trying to sound tough even as adrenaline made my hands shake a little.

The girl smiled at that before looking up at me. The moment she did, though, her smile vanished and there was a brief moment where I was worried that I’d done something to upset her. “Look out!” she yelled, too late for me to react.

A sharp stab of pain cut into my lower back and up into my abdomen. There was a moment where I was too stunned by the sudden pain to even cry out. All I could manage was a stunned gasp and wide-eyed expression. Then, I felt a dull ache as something get yanked out from inside me.

Vaguely, a terrified shriek registered in my thoughts as I crumpled first to my knees and then face planted onto the concrete. Somehow, hitting the hard surface didn’t hurt. All I felt was a pervasive cold as faint buzzing noises surrounded me. Then, there was only darkness.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Somewhere in the darkness, words started to filter into my consciousness. “Thank you for letting me stay,” a vaguely familiar female voice said. Stay where, I wondered.

“It’s the least I could do after you saved Sam’s life,” another woman spoke, this one quite familiar. Even so, it took a moment for my brain to register who it belonged to. It was my mom’s voice.

“Well he saved me first,” the first voice replied. “I just wish I hadn’t caused him so much trouble …”

Suddenly, there was light as my eyes cracked open – blinding painful light. Whimpering in pain, I shut my eyes again, and snuggled my head down against my neck to try to hide from the glare and go back to sleep. My body was already waking up, though, complaining about several uncomfortable aches and pains. My lower back was especially noisome, sending dull throbbing aches shooting up my spine every few seconds.

“Sam? Honey?” my mom called out. I could hear her get up and come over to me, which meant I needed to finish waking up to talk to her.

Prepared for pain, I cracked my eyes open just a bit, squinting against the harsh light. It took a few seconds for them to finally adjust enough for me to see my mom standing there looking down at me. Her expression was filled with relief when she saw my eyes.

“Hey, mom,” I greeted my voice a raspy and oddly pitched. “Guess I didn’t make it home by ten. Sorry.”

“Don’t worry about that, honey. I’m just glad you’re okay,” my mom replied, reaching out to caressing my hair lovingly.

“I’m glad you’re okay, too,” the other voice added before its owner stepped closer as well. The voice apparently belonged to the cute, blonde girl that I’d leapt to the rescue of. She had a nervous, uncertain look on her face and kept her purple eyes averted from mine as she spoke. “I’m so sorry you got hurt helping me.”

“What were you thinking trying to fight four grown men, anyway?” my mom chided.

I managed a weak little shrug, not really sure how I’d thought that was a good idea at the time either. “Just had to help, I guess. What happened anyway? The end of the fight is sorta hazy for me.”

“You were stabbed, Sam,” my mom answered. “The doctors say you would’ve died if Amy hadn’t been there to heal you.”

“Amy?” I repeated the name as a question.

“That would be me,” the blonde said, raising her hand. “I’m sorry. I was just trying to save you. I didn’t know my healing would turn you into a girl.”

“What?!” I gasped in confusion.

Amy seemed to get even more self-conscious, refusing to look at me at all. My mom, however, stayed focused on me. “Her healing seems to have accelerated your changes by quite a bit, Sam.”

Hearing that news, I tilted my head up so that I could look down at myself. There wasn’t all that much that I could see, mostly because my eyes immediately glued themselves to the very sizable mounds on my chest. They were definitely not the little bumps that I’d seen in the mirror that morning. “Oh.”

“I’m so sorry!” Amy apologized, clearly thinking I would be upset.

Forcing myself to not stare at my boobs, I looked back up at Amy and gave her a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry. It’s not a big deal. It was going to happen to me eventually, anyway.”

“But–” Amy tried to protest.

“It’s fine,” I insisted. “Honestly, you probably did me a favor. Now I’m not stuck being in between for so long.”

While that was true, I was a little annoyed that I was going to miss out on my last few days as a guy. No sense in making her feel bad about it, though. It wasn’t like her guilt would change me back or anything.

“Thanks for saving me,” I added gratefully.

“Thanks for stopping those men,” Amy replied shyly. There was a moment of awkward silence before she continued. “I should … uhm … probably get going … so you can, like, rest and stuff.” As she spoke, she backed toward the door, then with a quick wave, she ducked out of the room.

Smiling, I returned the wave just before Amy ducked out of view. Even after she was gone, I just kept staring that way. I couldn’t believe a cute girl like that had actually worried about me enough to wait around for me to wake up.

“Sweet girl,” my mom commented, snapping me from my stupor. “She’s going to the same school as you this fall, you know.”

“Really?” I asked, the eagerness in my voice quite obvious even through the raspiness.

My mom nodded as she shifted around to sit on the bed next to me. “Yeah. We talked a little bit while we waited for you to wake up. She was really impressed by the way you jumped in to save her from those guys.”

That knowledge just made my smile all the bigger. If we were going to the same school, I would definitely get to see her again. Plus, I’d already made a great first impression. That was probably worth almost dying for.

“Anyway, thanks to Amy’s help, Dr. Keppler says you’re pretty much healed,” my mom changed the subject. “It might hurt for a few days, though.”

“So, I can tell,” I grumbled, trying to no avail to twist my back into some position that would alleviate the constant aching. Moving around caused my boobs to wobble and shift on my chest in a way that they’d never done before. Previously, they’d been very small and firm, not moving much at all, but that clearly was no longer the case. Glancing back down at them, I was struck again by how much larger they were – much bigger than my mom’s modest bust. It also made me realize that other things had probably changed as well, such as a distinct lack of the usual presence between my legs. “Guess, I’m starting school as a girl, huh.”

“I think that would be for the best,” my mom replied wryly. “You don’t look like a boy at all anymore, and from what Dr. Keppler could tell, your changes are either complete or nearly so.”

I couldn’t quite keep the annoyance from my face at the news. The girl thing was expected, but it was early. The bigger problem, though, was that it had robbed me of the time to think of a plan to get out of shopping with my mom, so I knew what was about to happen.

“We’ll need go shopping to get you some new clothes,” my mom announced before adding. “Once you get out of here and have recuperated some of course.”

All I could do was sigh at the dreaded news. I hated shopping, especially for clothes. I knew this time would be even worse than usual as my mom undoubtedly had plans to subject me to being dressed up in all sorts of things. There was nothing I could do about it, though.

Knowing I was stuck, I merely nodded in agreement. “Okay.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 04

“Oh this is cute,” my mom remarked as she grabbed a leather skirt off the rack and held it up in front of my hips. Even without putting it on, I could see that it would be quite short and tight, which would be both revealing and inconvenient. “You certainly have the legs for it.”

All I could do was let out an exasperated sigh. “Seriously, mom? A mini-skirt? Aren’t you supposed to be trying to keep me from wearing stuff like that not picking it out for me?”

“Nonsense. That’s just the fashion these days,” my mom countered, as she tossed the skirt over her arm for me to try on later. “Besides, it would be such a waste for someone as pretty as you to hide in baggy t-shirts and shorts.”

Much to my annoyance and my mother’s joy, I was in fact pretty – very pretty even. I was slim, but definitely not scrawny with great legs, a well-rounded butt, and a small waist. Add to that my pretty face and excessively large tits, and I was definitely a babe – even my voice sounded pretty hot. Not even my short, boyish hair could manage to diminish my looks much, and my mom was determined to not let anything else do so either.

Given that I was the same height and not all that much thinner thanks to my new curves, most of my old clothes actually still fit pretty well. My shirts had plenty of room to accommodate my chest, and while my shorts hung a little lower, they managed to squeeze over my hips. Of course, I’d tried to argue that I didn’t actually need new clothes at all, since I could just wear my old stuff, which I liked because it was comfortable and easy to move around in. My mom would have none of it, though, which was why I was now in some teen clothing store rolling my eyes at everything my mom picked out.

“Can’t you at least pick stuff I could actually run in without flashing my underwear to everyone around me?” I pleaded, trying to reel my mom’s enthusiasm in at least a bit.

Surprisingly, my mom actually took a moment to give that some thought. “There’s a rack of shorts over there,” she said, pointing toward a little tower of shelves with clothes laying on them. “You can pick out a couple pairs of those.”

“Thank you,” I breathed in relief as I left my mother’s side.

My relief proved short lived as I picked up one of the pairs of denim shorts from the shelves. It looked even smaller than the skirt with only about a half inch of leg to it. It seemed every bit as tight as the skirt too. Still, it would at least cover my underwear, and maybe it wouldn’t be too restrictive to move in.

Figuring that the shorts pretty much had to be better than that skirt that my mom had just picked up or that dress that she was currently eyeing, I grabbed a couple pairs in the size my mom had told me I now wore. “Here ya go,” I said as I came back and set the shorts onto the armful of clothes. My mom just nodded as she continued rummaging moving on to a rack of tops while looking for things for me to wear.

Sighing, I just leaned back to wait, knowing that the trip was far from over. As I did, I glanced around the place, trying to find anything interesting to pass the time on. I noticed a couple of girls at a rack not that far away, looking in my direction. They were pretty cute and around my age, which certainly made them more interesting to look at than clothes.

I tried not to be too obvious about what I was looking at, just occasionally glancing the girls’ way as I pretended to look around. As I did, I noticed that the girls would occasionally glance my way before one of them would say something and they’d both burst into giggles. That brought a frown to my face. It seemed like they were laughing at me for some reason.

“I’ll be right back, mom,” I told my mother, getting a mumble of consent from her. Trying to appear to just be looking at some clothes, I slipped behind a rack, using it to get the girls to lose sight of me. Once I had, I ducked low, and slipped around the other side, using racks to keep myself hidden as I crept closer to the girls.

“Can you believe that girl is still shopping with her mom?” I overheard one of the girls say.

“I know! What a loser!” the second girl concurred.

“And did you see her hair?” the first girl continued, both of them bursting into a fit of tittering giggles.

“Her mom must have picked that style out for her too,” the second girl added. “That’s the only way she could end up with something so hideous.”

Furious at the insults, I popped out from my cover and barged over. “What the hell’s your problem?”

The two girls were momentarily surprised by my appearance, but they recovered from it quickly. “You’re the one with the problem. What did you do, dress in your brother’s clothes by mistake?”

“Maybe she’s one of those confused girls that thinks she’s actually a boy. That could explain the clothes, too,” the second girl reasoned in a mocking tone.

Clenching my fists at my side, I struggled to keep it together as anger flared. If they were guys, I would’ve taunted back or just thrown a punch, but they weren’t guys. They were girls, which meant I couldn’t hit them, and I didn’t really know how to insult them either. Something about clothes or hair, might work, but as far as I could tell they were perfectly normal in that regard. I needed something else, but nothing came to mind. It was so frustrating.

“And the hair too,” the first girl added.

“She looks like she’s about to cry, though, so she must think she’s a little boy, one that still needs his mommy,” the second girl furthered, before they both burst into laughter again.

Unable to think of anything, I just spun and stormed away. The mocking sounds of the girls’ laughter followed me as I went, taunting me for my patheticness. My vision started to blur as I fled back to where my mom was waiting.

“Is something wrong?” my mom asked as I got back.

Keeping my eyes on the ground, I shook my head fiercely. “No,” I muttered, the tone of my voice betraying my emotional state.

My mom glanced between me and the pair of giggling girls, getting a sympathetic expression on her face. “You wanna talk about it?” she asked, getting me to shake my head again. “Well, I think we’ve got more than enough stuff for you to try on."

Talk of clothes got me to glance down at what I was wearing – what the girls had been teasing me for wearing. “Fine,” I mumbled, starting toward the dressing room.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

For the most part, other than the run in with those girls at the clothing store, I hadn’t felt particularly embarrassed or nervous being out in public as a girl. After all, girls didn’t feel embarrassed to be girls, so I figured that I had no reason to be embarrassed by it either. There had been more attention from people than I’d expected, but it had also been easy enough to ignore that.

However, the moment I stepped into the lingerie store with my mom, my entire face was burning with embarrassment. All around me was a forbidden place full of things of lace and silk that I’d only ever really seen in dirty pictures. It made me feel like I was about to be caught doing something I shouldn’t be just by being there.

The fact that there was no immediate alarm nor any looks of disdain from the women inside, though, helped to ease my anxiety. Everyone seemed to think it was perfectly natural for me to be here, and why shouldn’t they? I was a girl. I needed girl underwear just like every other girl in there. It was perfectly alright for me to be here.

While I calmed myself down, my mom led the way toward a counter with a woman behind it. “You have a fitting service here, right?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the attendant confirmed cheerily. “Is it for you or your daughter?”

“My daughter. You know how they are this age, growing like a weed,” my mom remarked.

The attendant nodded knowingly. “Yeah, thank God my own little girl is still a few years off from that,” she replied before turning to look at my chest appraisingly. “Let’s go back to the dressing rooms and get you measured.”

Stepping out from behind her counter, the woman led the way to the back of the store where the dressing rooms were. There, she took me inside one of them while my mother waited outside. “Take off your top and stand there back straight with your arms at your side,” she instructed as she pulled out a measuring tape.

Thinking it a simple enough request, I quickly tugged my t-shirt off, and tossed it on the little bench in the room. Without the camouflaging nature of the baggy shirt, it was a lot more apparent just how large my breasts actually were. They were quite a bit bigger than Rachel’s, the girl whose cleavage Chuck had been drooling over, and she had some of the largest, if not the largest, tits in our old school. They looked great too, big, round, and perky. It was too bad they were attached to me.

“This good?” I asked as I straightened my back, thrusting my chest out a bit.

The attendant seemed a little taken aback by their size, but she didn’t comment on it at all. She just confirmed with a quick, “Yep,” before stepping forward so that she could thread her measuring tape under my arms and around my torso.

As the cold tape settled on my skin, I shuddered a bit, but otherwise remained as still as I could.. The attendant went about her work quickly, first measuring around underneath my boobs before shifting the tape up to measure around them at their fullest. The cold tape on my nipples caused another shudder as the little nubs stiffened in response.

“Well, I’ve got some bad news,” the woman announced as she double checked the numbers.

Confused, I looked down at my chest, wondering if something was wrong with my breasts. They seemed normal enough, if a bit big, but a lot of girls I’d seen on the internet were not just as large but quite a bit larger. They didn’t appear to be deformed or anything either. “Is something wrong with them?”

The woman laughed at my assumption. “Oh sorry, no. Nothing like that. It’s just that, while we do carry items for girls that are … well-endowed, you’re so skinny that I think we only have maybe a handful of styles in your size.”

“Oh … is that all? That’s perfectly fine,” I replied, actually a little relieved that I wasn’t going to be subjected to trying on all that many bras. Lingerie shopping might go a lot quicker than I’d thought it would.

The attendant looked surprised by my upbeat response. “Well then I’ll go grab what we have for you. Okay?”

“Sure,” I replied.

After that, the attendant departed, leaving me alone in the dressing room for a bit. With nothing to do, I plopped down on the bench and looked at my reflection in the mirror. It was pretty weird to see a busty topless girl as my reflection. Kind of arousing too, if I didn’t think about the fact that it was me.

Reaching up, I ruffled my light brown hair a little. Still quite short and cut and styled in a boy’s fashion, it really didn’t suit my girlier face at all, making me wish I’d let my mom talk me into growing it out sooner. If I had, it might be long enough by now to at least match the rest of me. As it was, it was only just starting to look a little shaggy, so it would be quite a while before it grew enough to be considered long.

There was a soft knock before the attendant stepped into the changing room with several bras over her arm. “This is what I could find in sizes that might work for you.”

There were more bras than I’d expected, but it still looked like a pretty small pile, which I was happy about. Reaching out, I took the first ba, a black one, and slipped my arms through the straps. That was where things got tricky. I had messed around with one of my mom’s bras one afternoon out of curiosity, but I found out quickly that it was a lot harder to get one on with my current melons wiggling around.

Finally, I did managed to get the bra hooked, turning to the mirror to inspect it. It didn’t look very good at all, though. The straps were half slid off my shoulders, and the band and cups were both pinching my boobs. It seemed that this one didn’t fit.

Meanwhile, The attendant was giving me a weird look, making me wonder what I was doing wrong. “Do you … want some help?”

“Uhm … yeah, that would be nice,” I replied uncertainly, blushing slightly as I realized I must be making a fool of myself somehow.

The attendant immediately set to work on the bra, tugging and adjusting things. She tightened up the straps and twisted the band a bit. The part that really shocked me, enough to elicit a surprised gasp, was when she reached into the cups, grabbed my boobs, and pulled them up and into the cup.

I couldn’t argue with the results, though. Looking in the mirror, I saw myself standing there, the black cups of the bra comfortably full of inviting flesh without any signs of the pinching from before. If anything, it was weirder and more erotic to see myself like that than seeing myself topless. I straightened my back and rolled my shoulders back to really emphasize my boobs as I turned from side to side to look at them. “This one seems good.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 05

“Damn this thing is tight,” I complained as I stood in front of my mirror tugging on my sports bra. No matter how I tugged or twisted, it always snapped back, still just as constricting as before. I supposed it had to be, though, to corral the obnoxious bouncing of my chest that otherwise resulted from even light physical activity. Even as tight as it was, though, it couldn’t fully stop the bounce, just kept it in a controlled range.

Finally giving up in frustration, I released the bra and pulled my shirt on – one of my old shirts. The last thing I needed was even more stuff constricting my chest and making it harder to breathe. It was paired with one of my old pairs of shorts that actually had a drawstring so that I could get them to fit around my waist and a pair of new sneakers that I’d managed to convince my mom that I needed. An ideal outfit for a little basketball.

Leaving my room, I hurried down stairs and toward the garage. Unfortunately, my mom was waiting along my path as if waiting in ambush for me. “Where are you off too?”

“I’m just gonna go down to the court to take a few shots,” I told her.

My mom’s expression immediately turned to concern. “I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. You just got out of the hospital a few days ago.”

“And Dr. Keppler said then that thanks to Amy I’m perfectly fine,” I argued. “It’s just a little basketball.”

“Alright, but be careful,” my mom conceded.

“Thanks!” I told her, immediately making for the door to the garage before she could change her mind. “See ya later.”

Having escaped from my mom’s nagging, I snagged my ball from the garage and headed outside. From there it was just a short walk to the main road and then a little ways down that to the little neighborhood park where the playground and basketball court were. It was basically the only saving grace of living in the middle of the big sprawling suburb.

As I neared the courts, I saw that several of the guys seemed to have had the same idea that I’d had. It was the last day left before school trapped us at desks to listen to boring lectures, so everyone was out trying to enjoy their freedom. Currently it looked like there was a two verse two game going, with a few people watching in interest. It took a few more steps for me to distinguish who the players were. Adam and his mountainous lug of a friend were one team while the other team was a pair of brothers, Luke and Caleb if I remembered their names right, that lived deeper into the suburb. It looked like Adam’s team was dominating.

Something weird happened as I got closer to the court, though. First, the guys that were watching the match, turned their attention to me instead. They whispered, nodded, and nudged each other with elbows, all while watching me approach. That would have been weird enough on its own, except that the guys actually playing seemed to notice me after a basket, and they all stopped as well to look at me. Suddenly, I felt very out of place.

“Hey,” I greeted, fighting against my self-consciousness.

Adam took the lead for the group of boys, nodding in greeting as he walked up to talke to me. “Hey.”

My battle against my self-consciousness quickly went down hill as everyone continued to just stand there doing nothing but stare at me, making me increasingly uneasy. Maybe my mom had been right about this not being a good idea. “Uhm … I was gonna shoot a few hoops … “ I mumbled, holding up the ball that I’d had tucked under my arm, “ … but I can see you guys are busy, so I guess I should go.”

“Nonsense,” Adam replied dismissively. “Stick around. You can watch me finish burying these two idiots, then maybe you and I can play a game of horse or something.”

Normally a comment like that would earn an instant rebuke from the other pair, but nobody else bothered to cut in. That wasn’t the only weird thing either. Adam, who normally hated my guts, was being creepily nice, like he didn’t want me to leave. Sure, he probably didn’t recognize me like this, but I’d never seen him act like that before. Normally he chased off anyone that appeared even remotely intimidated by him.

“Uhm … okay … I guess,” I mumbled uncertainly when my mind failed to provide an excuse to leave.

“Great! Let me just go win this match real quick,” Adam exclaimed, turning to hustle back to the court.

From there the game resumed, and I walked over to sit on a low wall nearby to watch the conclusion. Almost instantly, a guy was sitting on the wall on either side of me, asking me questions like which school I went too, what my name was, and how long I’d been into basketball. The attention and questions made me feel even more out of place, but I did answer them, although, I supplied the name Samantha. My mom had insisted that that was my name now, and I hadn’t even bothered to argue about it. I clearly wasn’t a Samuel anymore and Samantha let me still go by Sam. Unfortunately, the guys that I was talking to decided to shorten the name to Sammy instead, a nickname that I’d always thought was far too cutesy and childish.

Thankfully the game went quickly, freeing me from the attention of the onlookers as they all made excuses to go. That resulted in a new problem, however. I was now completely alone with Adam at the court.

“Ready for that game of horse, babe?” Adam called out, tipping his head toward the court.

I frowned at getting called babe. I was nobody’s babe. Rising from my seat and leaving my ball behind, I started toward the court. “I’m ready to play. Question is, are you ready to lose?”

Adam grinned. “Oh is that so? Well, show me what you’ve got.” With that, he passed his ball to me intentionally putting a little extra zip on it.

In spite of his intentions, I caught the ball with ease, not showing even a slight bit of discomfort. “Gladly.”

Confident that I could beat a mediocre shot like Adam without any trouble, I strolled up to the top of the key to set up for a long shot. Bending at the knee, I lined up the shot carefully before taking one deep breath. From there, I straightened up, did a short hop and thrust my hand forward. Even though I did everything like I usually did, the ball came out of my hand all wrong. Not only did it go wide left, but it did so with far too much force, slamming into the backboard with a loud whack before deflecting off far to the side.

“Not bad,” Adam remarked condescendingly before he trotted off to go grab the ball. Once he got back, he lined up for an easier shot at the free throw line and sunk it. “I could give you a few pointers if you’d like.”

Tossing a glare Adam’s way, I jogged over to grab the ball before going to the free throw line. “I don’t need pointers.”

“Suit yourself,” Adam responded smugly, shrugging as he stepped out of my way.

I moved up to the line, taking a few practice bounces with the ball. Even dribbling felt all wrong to me. It didn’t feel like I was bouncing the ball all that hard, but it kept shooting up off the ground far faster and harder than I expected. The ball felt a little bigger too, and moving my arm felt a little off. Plus, there was the shifting of my boobs in the sports bra messing me up.

Trying to compensate for all the little problems, I carefully lined up the shot. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a stance that felt right, though. I straightened out again and flipped my wrist lightly. Clearly, I’d overcompensated from the last shot as the ball went wide right this time and failed to even make it to the hoop. Instead, it dropped pitifully an inch or two short to bounce off the pavement and out into the grass behind the basket.

“Damnit!” I growled in frustration.

“That’s H,” Adam noted confidently as he started walking after the ball. “You sure you don’t want some pointers? I’m a very good teacher.”

“No!” I hissed, enraged my Adam’s smug taunting.

Adam and I went back and forth a few times. While he didn’t always make his shot, I always missed mine. I’d thought being a girl might throw off my game by a little, but it was way worse than that. Trying to use the same amount of strength I was used to resulted in me throwing the ball too hard, one time even right over the backboard. Everything from my hips to my chest to my arms moved just a little bit differently than I was used to as well. Pretty much the only thing I managed to figure out was how to situate the ball in my smaller hands – not that it helped me make a basket.

“And that’s E,” Adam declared arrogantly as my shot clanked off the rim, the closest that I’d gotten to making one the entire time. Utterly disgusted at my performance, I just spun and stomped away. “Where are you going, babe?”

“Home,” I grumbled as I snatched my ball up from where I’d left it.

“I’ll walk you,” Adam offered, hurrying to catch up with me.

I turned and leveled a withering glare at him. “Try it and I’ll tear your fucking arms off.”

Adam backed off, raising his hands non-threateningly. “Sor-ry. Why don’t you wear a sign the next time you’re on the rag, dyke.”

That proved to be the last straw for me. Dropping my ball, I lunged at him. Adam just stood there in wide-eyed surprise as I stepped toward him and swung. At the last second he tried to get an arm up to catch my punch, but I plowed right through the attempted block to crunch my fist into his jaw. His head snapped to the side as he toppled to the ground.

“Shit!” Adam cursed, rolling on the ground, clutching a hand to his jaw. “You hit like a fucking truck!”

I just spun away and stormed off.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Well that fucking sucked,” I muttered as I plopped onto my bed. Flopping onto my back, I rubbed my hands over my face and along my hair, trying to calm down a bit.

Even after the walk home, I was still furious about everything that had happened at the basketball court. Everything from Adam’s condescending attitude, to how the other guys had been suffocatingly interested in me, to my terrible performance in the game was just eating at me. None of it made any sense.

Sighing, I raised a hand over my head to peer at it. It didn’t look like much, a little smaller and slimmer than my old hand, but pretty normal for a girl. At the same time though, I’d been consistently overthrowing shots, and then I’d punched right through Adam’s block to drop him in a single hit – something I wasn’t sure I would have been able to do even with a sucker punch before.

“I don’t think I used my power, though,” I mused. Certainly, I hadn’t been trying to use my power, but I was angry enough at Adam that I might have accidently. That didn’t explain the shots missing, though. I’d tested my telekinesis the day before, though. I knew that my power worked like I remembered, and I definitely hadn’t been using it while shooting. Besides, if I’d used my power, I probably would have broken Adam’s jaw. As little sense as it made, It seemed like I was just stronger than I was before even though I was a girl now. I wasn’t sure of a good way to test that, though.

Shrugging, I let the hand fall to my lap. It’s not like being stronger was a bad thing or anything, so there was no sense worrying about it too much. I’d just have to get used to it, and it would be fine.

Apparently strength wasn’t the only thing I was going to have to spend some time getting used to. Attempting real physical activity had taught me that while I hadn’t thought being a girl had affected me all that much, it clearly had. My balance was a little off, and I moved a little bit differently. It didn’t seem to be a problem just walking around, but it was going to take some work to get used to for anything requiring precise movements.

Thinking my physical issues through helped me feel a little better. I would just have to put forth a little extra effort to get used to my new anatomy. It wasn’t a big deal at all, certainly not worth getting as worked up over as I had been.

“I’ll be beating Adam on the court again in no time,” I told myself as I got up from the bed to go sit down at my keyboard. If I was going to fix things, I needed to figure out what all was wrong first. It could just be tasks that rely on strength, or anything that required precision. Piano would help me figure that out.

Starting slow, I moved through a few simple scales to warm up my fingers and get a feel for things. There didn’t seem to be any problems, so I started to step it up, moving through progressively more difficult excerpts from classic piano pieces. It didn’t take long for mistakes to start appearing, little fumbles with keys and missed chords even in only moderately difficult songs. The more trying of the pieces that I knew how to play were practically impossible now as mistakes completely threw off my rhythm.

“Ugh … “ I groaned when I finally finished, far from happy with my terrible performance. It was going to take a lot of practice to adjust to my different hands, so that I could get back to where I was supposed to be. “So much for enjoying the last day of summer break,” I sighed, flexing my fingers a little. After that, I went back to some of the firsts pieces that I made a mistake on and started going through them over and over again to get the perfect like they’d once been.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 06

Standing in front of the mirror in my room, I peered at my reflection, rubbing uncertainly at my hair. Overall, I thought I actually looked pretty good. The clothes that my mom had bought me weren’t exactly comfortable, but the tiny denim shorts and scoop-necked t-shirt looked like things that I’d seen girls wearing before. My sneakers seemed to go with the look pretty well, too. My hair, though, did not – not even after I’d spent a good chunk of my morning trying to style it in different ways. No matter what I tried, though, it always ended up kinda boyish.

“I hope I don’t look like my mom bought all my clothes,” I mumbled, tugging at my annoyingly snug top. I couldn’t really imagine anyone thinking a girl’s mom would dress her in something that showed this much skin, though, so I suspected I was probably alright.

Seeing no point in spending any more time worrying, I turned from the mirror to grab my backpack and make sure that I had everything that I needed for my first day of high school. That was the real reason I was feeling nervous that morning. It was exciting to finally be out of middle school, but at the same time I was a little worried that I’d make a fool of myself at high school, especially now that I was having to start as a girl.

“If I do, I do,” I finally told myself, knowing that worrying would only make it more likely for me to screw up. Tossing my backpack over one shoulder, I left my room behind and trotted down the steps.

With my mom already at work, I at least managed to avoid having to deal with her fawning about my first day of school. I was able to eat a bowl of cereal in peace before it was time to go. Leaving the house, I walked down to the main street to wait for the bus.

Thanks to living in one of the tinier cul-de-sacs, I’d always had a bus stop that was just for me. That meant I was waiting by myself for the bus which put off my first introduction to students at my new school. I wasn’t sure if that made me less nervous or more, though.

After a few minutes, I spotted the bus trundling down the road to grind to a halt in front of me. Once the door flung open, I took a deep breath and stepped onto the vehicle. The driver, an older woman with curly gray hair smiled at me as I stepped on, so I smiled back as I went up the trio of steps and turned toward the seats.

The bus itself was mostly empty with only a handful of kids already on. Most of them looked to be freshman as well. A couple were snoozing with their eyes closed, and a couple more looked to be on their way to that, so no one seemed to really care that I’d gotten on at all. That suited me just fine, leaving me free to just walk back a few rows and plop into a seat.

For the most part, the rest of the bus trip was quite uneventful. Only a few more students even got on, and while I did get looks from them, it was just a fleeting glance as they walked by to their own seats. It was just too early in the morning for them to care about much of anything.

With so few actual stops, the bus got to school quite quickly, depositing me and my fellow students at the main entrance. Even though it was still early, a good chunk of the parking lot was already full of cars, making me wish that I was a couple years older so that I could have driven myself to school. Honestly, I just wanted to drive period.

Walking inside, I made my way toward the freshman lockers, wanting to put what I had away before class. Several other freshman appeared to have the same idea, as there was a pretty good number of kids in the hall messing with their lockers. I found my locker easily enough, and after failing the combination once, I got it opened. I didn’t know exactly what I had been expecting, but I’d just thought a locker would be ... more somehow, not just some metal hole in the wall. Shrugging off my backpack, I tossed it inside, minus my class schedule and the paper that had my combination on it. Then I closed the locker, turned around, and wondered what the heck I was supposed to do now.

Wandering out of the hallway brought me to the cafeteria area where several people were sitting at tables to hang out while they waited for school to start. I didn’t see anyone I knew, though. Bruce and Chuck both got rides to school, so they wouldn’t be here until it was nearly time for class to start. I supposed that I could try just talking to some random people and seeing if I could make friends. Of course, there was a good chance I’d make a fool of myself trying that, but I figured people thinking I was a fool was better than people thinking I was a friendless nobody.

While looking for a promising table, I noticed that while most of the tables that were occupied were close to the hallways, a few of the further back ones had people at them as well. They weren’t as crowded, though, and often had several tables between them and the more well populated areas. For the most part, they appeared to be occupied by less social people, from a couple girls reading books to a group of guys playing with what looked like army men. What really caught my attention, though, was that, chatting with a chubby brunette at one of the far tables, was someone that I did recognize – Amy.

I smiled softly to myself as I saw Amy. She was just as cute as I remembered, smiling as she talked with her friend. I could see her short blonde curls bounce whenever she nodded or laughed.

“I should thank her again for healing me,” I told myself, starting toward the blonde’s table.

As I approached, the brunette friend noticed me. She gestured toward me before saying something to Amy that was too quiet for me to hear. Amy turned in her seat to look at me as well. When she saw me, she smiled shyly and nodded.

Giving her an awkward wave, I picked up my pace a bit to get there quicker. “H-Hi,” I greeted, stuttering a bit as I realized my position standing near Amy’s seat gave me a perfect view of herperky cleavage. I did manage to force my eyes up to hers after only a quick glance at least.

“Hi,” Amy replied softly. A moment of silence hung there before she hurriedly spoke again. “Oh! Renee this is Sam the … uhm … girl that came to my rescue.”

Renee blinked in surprise as she gaped at me. “Wow. Didn’t expect a boy to be so … wow.”

“Renee!” Amy gasped. “Keep it down. She probably doesn’t want the whole school knowing that she used to be a boy.”

I shrugged nonchalantly at Amy’s concern. “I don’t mind. They’ll find out eventually I’m sure. Plus, it’s really nothing to be embarrassed about.” I paused to glance at some of the empty chairs nearby. “Mind if I sit down?”

“Oh! No, please, go ahead,” Amy responded, gesturing for me to sit.

I eyed the seat directly next to the blonde before chickening out and taking the one on the other side of that. Settling, in I leaned forward to rest my elbows on the table. “So, I never did ask. Is your mom okay? I seem to remember her getting hit pretty hard.”

“She’s fine. Just a black eye that I was able to fix up for her,” Amy informed me.

“That healing stuff sounds really convenient,” I commented.

“I guess … “ Amy mumbled.

Renee rolled her eyes at the blonde before turning to me. “Amy’s really shy about the whole ‘being a mutant’ thing. Some of the kids at our old school weren’t too nice about it.”

“Oh, sorry,” I mumbled, feeling like an idiot for bringing it up.

“It’s okay,” Amy assured me. “You didn’t know.”

“So you’re a mutant too, right?” Renee asked.

I nodded. “Yep. I do these telekinetic bursts. Not bad in a fight, but not nearly as valuable as saving people’s lives – especially mine.”

My roundabout praise brought a blush to Amy’s cheeks. “Except I turned you into a girl…”

“No, my mutation did that,” I pointed out. “You just helped it along a little.”

Renee raised an eyebrow at that. “Wait, your mutation turned you into a girl?”

“Yeah. I guess, I have something called a body image template and for some reason it was set to be female,” I explained before shrugging. “Once I manifested, I started to change to match the template. By the time I ran into Amy, I was already starting to get boobs and stuff.”

“Wow, that’s a lot worse than Amy’s purple eyes,” Renee remarked. “I can’t believe you even came to school after that. Isn’t it weird?

That remark got another shrug from me. “I guess a little. I don’t really see a reason to get worked up about it, though. It’s not like I chose it or that there’s anything I can do about it. It’s just who I am.”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell Amy, but she never listens to me!” Renee exclaimed, causing Amy to scrunch up self-consciously.

Seeing Amy’s discomfort, I decided to help her out and change the subject. “What about you, Renee? Are you a mutant too?”

“I wish. Maybe I’d get to end up looking like you then,” Renee replied, looking jealously at my chest. It was kind of weird having a girl be jealous of my chest. “I’m just your run-of-the-mill nerd.”

“I take it you aren’t into whatever battle they have raging over there?” I asked, looking toward the guys playing with their army men.

“Oh no, I’d love to play, but guys are idiots. Y’know?” Renee explained.

I gave her a confused look. “Uhm … no?”

“Oh right, you’re new to the whole girl thing. Sorry, the huge boobs made me forget about that for a second,” Renee joked. “You see, if we went over there right now, they’d all just sort of freeze up and stare at us. Well, at you and Amy anyway. Even if I went over by myself, they’d just start acting all weird, staring, pestering me with questions, and trying to sound cool and stuff. Guys are idiots like that.”

What Renee had just said took a moment to sink in before it finally clicked. What she’d described was exactly how the guys at the basketball court had been acting when I’d shown up to take a few shots. They’d all been pestering me with questions and trying to sound important and smart. That realization had me slumping in my chair. I didn’t want people acting like that around me all the time.

“You just realized you weren’t quite as subtle as you thought, didn’t you?” Renee teased.

“Yeah, something like that,” I mumbled morosely.

“Well look at the bright side, you’re on our side now, and guys are dumb as rocks,” Renee remarked. “You’ll always be able to tell exactly what their thinking, which in your case will probably be ‘Ooo ... boobs … want ... touch ...’.“ The last bit was added in a dense caveman-like tone.

The idea that not only would guys constantly be staring at my chest, but that I might actually get involved with one, brought a faint flush to my cheeks. I hadn’t even thought of that. It wasn’t an appealing idea that was for sure.

“Stop messing with her,” Amy chimed in. “She’s got enough to get used to without you adding boys to the mix.”

“I don’t know, she seems pretty used to being a girl already. She’s even wearing girls’ clothes,” Renee countered. “Besides it’s never too early to start learning about how dumb boys can be.”

Mention of my clothes perked me up a bit. These two could help me figure out if I looked okay. “Speaking of clothes, how’s my outfit? Does it look alright? It doesn’t look too boyish or anything, does it?”

“No, you look cute,” Amy complimented.

“Yeah, I never would have guessed you used to be a boy,” Renee added while looking me over. “Well maybe the hair is a little weird.”

Sighing, I reached up to mess with my hair. “Yeah, my mom had been nagging me to grow it out, but I thought I had plenty of time.”

“Well don’t worry. It’s not exactly bad or anything,” Renee encouraged. “Plus, it’s just hair.”

The two girls’ comments helped alleviate some lingering concerns that people would think I looked weird. Not that I would have minded if they did. It was just the uncertainty of it that had bothered me. Now, I could finally just stop thinking about it and relax.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 07

I was feeling a little nervous as I made my way toward my locker after getting out of first period. Chuck, Bruce and I didn’t share any of the same classes, except for Bruce and I being in band which hadn’t happened yet, so I hadn’t seen them yet today. We hadn’t hung out together since the night of the scuffle at the mall either, so I hadn’t seen them since I’d joined the girl side of things. We did however, all have lockers next to each other, so there was a good chance that I was going to run into them there.

The problem with that was that I had no idea how my friends were going to react to my new look. While there had been a few kids from my middle school in my first period class, none of them had seemed to realize who I was – just like the guys at the basketball court. However, from what my mom had told me, Chuck and Bruce had been the only bystanders to witness my fight and subsequent healing at the hands of Amy, so they knew I was both a girl and a mutant. I hoped they weren’t going to be too weird about it.

Making my way through the hallways to my locker was proving weird enough for me. The reason why was a corollary of what Renee had mentioned that morning. Guys were idiots and not nearly as subtle as they thought they were. As such, it had been quite obvious to me that my chest was a very fascinating thing to a large percentage of the male population, just like Renee had predicted it would be. Some guys had been sneaking peeks at it all class, and now as I walked, several guys openly stared at it as I went by. I supposed that I really couldn’t blame them for that, though. I would have looked too if I’d seen my boobs go bouncing by, but it was weird to get that much painfully obvious attention from guys. It would definitely take a bit of getting used to before I didn’t feel self-conscious about it.

As I neared my locker, I could see that Chuck and Bruce were already there, hanging out and chatting with their lockers opened. My unopened locker sat right in between theirs, meaning there was absolutely no way they wouldn’t both notice me and realize who I was. Squaring my shoulders, I started walking over there.

Chuck was the first to notice my approach. I could tell he didn’t recognize me initially, because he, like many guys, was busy staring at my tits. However, once his gaze shifted to look at the rest of me, I could see recognition dawn on his face, followed by embarrassment.

“Hey, Chuck,” I greeted once I was close. “Did ya get a good look?”

Chuck actually blushed slightly at the knowledge that he’d been caught staring. “Jesus, Sam. You look fucking hot.”

“Uhm … thanks … I think? Excuse me,” I replied as I squeezed between him and Bruce to get to my locker. That action briefly put my chest mere inches from Chuck, causing him to just gape at it for a moment. “So, how’s the first day of highschool going for you two?”

“Still just a bunch of drones, marching along to the sound of bells, just like middle school,” Bruce criticized wearily.

Chuck meanwhile, didn’t seem to have even heard the question. He was still too busy gaping at the pair of melons right in front of him. “Is that really all you in there?”

Rolling my eyes, I turned to face Chuck. “Yep. It’s all me.”

“Damn,” Chuck breathed in amazement. “Can I touch ‘em?”

I shrugged disinterestedly. “Sure, go right ahead. Might as well get it out of the way,” I agreed, thrusting my chest out a bit to present it to my friend.

Gulping at the sight, Chuck tentatively raised his hands as he prepared to grope my chest. “Really?”

Nodding in confirmation, I bobbed on my feet to get my boobs to bounce a little. “They’re not just super big, either,” I added coyly. “They’re also really bouncy and really …. really ... soft.” Chuck’s hands froze, a mix of wonder and uncertainty on his face. I let him hang there for just a moment, before spinning away to turn back to my locker. “Too late!”

“What?!” Chuck gasped, utterly befuzzled.

“Sorry, I got tired of waiting,” I told him. “You should’a just grabbed ‘em.”

Chuck just stood there slack-jawed at his wasted opportunity. “But ....”

“So, Bruce,” I began, changing the subject as I switched out my notebooks and closed my locker. “Have you heard anything about our band teacher?”

“Only that she’s a woman and apparently pretty strict,” Bruce replied. “I just hope she’s not going to make us play a bunch of shitty classical music. I hate that stuff”

“I don’t think death metal guitar solos are going to be in the curriculum,” I told him. “Still, classics are better than pop hits right?”

Shuddering at the idea of pop music, Bruce let out a weary sigh. “Damn, you’re probably right. This school is too full of lame conformists for something epic to happen.”

“What’s it like being a … you know?” Chuck cut in, finally recovered from the sorrow of his missed chance to feel me up

Sighing, I turned back to Chuck. “It’s like being a guy, but my chest is fatter, and I have to sit down to pee. How about you? What’s it like being an idiot?”

“Sorry! It’s just like … you don’t expect one of your friends to turn into …” He paused to gesture at my body, “... this. It’s a little crazy.”

“Well it’s still the same me on the inside, so hurry up and get used to it, because I don’t want you to be slack-jawed and drooling every time I come back to my locker,” I told him. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta hike across school for my next class.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Ah … I’m glad that’s over,” I sighed as I stepped through the front door to my house and stretched my hands over my head.

I was glad that the school day was over and I’d finally made it back to my home. It wasn’t like the rest of the day had gone badly or anything. I just lamented the fact that, with summer break over, I had lost the ability to just lay around doing whatever I wanted all day. It was hard to get back into the rigid monotony of going to school.

Making my way up to my room, I tossed my backpack over by my desk, planning to do my homework later. Then, I plopped on the bed to take my shoes off. “I think that went pretty well, actually.”

Altogether, the day had gone pretty well. After Chuck’s initial reaction, things had settled down with him and Bruce, and the other breaks during the day were pretty normal. We mostly passed them by complaining about our classes and the teachers that had been cruel enough to assign homework on the first day of school. The only real issue that had come up with those two had been that we didn’t share a lunch period. However, as luck would have it, Renee and Amy were in my lunch shift so I’d gotten to eat with them instead.

Hanging out as ‘one of the girls’ hadn’t been what I’d expected at all. I’d been dreading a constant stream of chatter about clothes, makeup, and boys, but there really hadn’t been much of that. For the most part, Renee, who was far more talkative than Amy, liked to talk about TV, video games, and books – all things that I liked, so we managed to find some common ground. I also got to learn a lot about Amy; like that she wasn’t dating anyone, liked to volunteer her power at clinics, and also played violin. She’d even seemed quite excited to learn that I played piano. I supposed that girls really just weren’t as different as I’d thought they were, which was definitely encouraging given my situation.

Outside of my friends, old and new, nobody else seemed to even realize who I actually was. Furthermore, no one had called me out on anything, so I seemed to have done a pretty good job of acting like a girl was supposed to act. It was a little strange that no one had realized it, but I didn’t feel the need to correct anyone’s misconception. Things would probably go more smoothly if everyone assumed that I was just another girl. The only other weird things were that girls were a little more welcoming to me while guys were a little more standoffish. That and all the staring guys did.

“Might be worth trying something with a little less cleavage tomorrow,” I noted as I looked down at my top. Considering the impressive view it provided, it was hardly a surprise that guys had been staring. At the same time, I was already starting to get used to it, so I didn’t really see any reason to worry about it. Besides, guys would probably look at them regardless of what I wore.

Reaching up, I cupped my breasts and gave them a little squeeze. Like I’d told Chuck, they were very soft even through the stiff cups of my bra. In fact, their softness had surprised me the first time that I’d touched them, because they were so much softer than they had been when they were small. It made me wonder if Amy’s were soft or firm. Judging from the look at her cleavage that I’d gotten that morning, Amy was just a little above average size, leaving her much closer to my old size than my current one. Hers seemed to be pretty firm, too, not bobbing and swaying with every move that she made like mine did.

I gave my chest another squeeze, trying to imagine how’d they feel if they were smaller and firmer. It wasn’t like I had much experience with boobs, so it was hard to really imagine. Playing with mine felt pretty nice, though, making me feel kinda warm and tingly. I could even feel my nipples stiffen. I wondered, though, if they’d feel even better without all the clothing in the way.

Releasing my tits, I reached down to pull my shirt up over them. It granted me a nice view of the hefty mounts filling out the large, white, cotton cups of the bra that I was wearing underneath the shirt. Reaching behind my back, I unhooked the bra before sliding the cups up and out of the way as well.

Once more, my hands returned to my boobs, cupping their naked flesh. My skin felt soft, smooth, and alive to the touch. My nipples were especially responsive, tingling as my palms slid over them. Gently, I squeezed my breasts, gasping softly at the sensation of it. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like to have someone else touch them, imagining Amy’s deft violinist fingers on my chest instead of my own. That idea was especially interesting, because if she was playing with mine, then I could play with hers. Such tantalizing thoughts came with a warm damp sensation from between my legs.

The feeling of wetness between my legs yanked me from my pleasant haze. “Oh no!” I exclaimed in embarrassment, clenching my legs together and hopping off my bed. I’d learned over the last few days that I wasn’t quite as good at controlling my girl parts as I had been with my boy parts yet. So far, I’d managed to not have any accidents while getting used to it, and I didn’t want to start now.

Tugging my bra and shirt down, I hurried to the bathroom and quickly removed my shorts and panties. I plopped onto the toilet and tried to release, but confusingly, nothing came out. Afraid that I’d gone in my pants, I checked my panties, but they was just a very slight damp spot on them.

Baffled, I bent over to grab some toilet paper. After all, whether I’d gone or not, I was definitely wet down here. Wiping only furthered my confusion. The fluid between my legs was thicker and stickier than urine along with being mostly clear. Peering at some of it on the toilet paper, I realized it sorta looked like the stuff that came out when I used to …

“Oh …” I mumbled, blushing a little. I knew that girls got wet down there when they were turned on, which meant that obviously I’d turned myself on by playing with my boobs. I felt like an idiot for not realizing what was going on sooner. “It did feel pretty good ...”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 08

Sitting in class, I struggled to not drift off while listening to my biology teacher drone on about the different classifications of life forms. Whether a virus counted as a living organism or not didn’t really seem like it was important information to know. All that mattered to me was that they made me sick.

“Psst,” I heard someone hiss from my left. Looking over, I saw Carmen, the girl who sat next to me, leaning toward me.

“What?” I whispered back.

“I saw you hanging out with Amy Neece at lunch, right?” Carmen asked quietly.

I nodded in confirmation. “Yeah. So?”

“So, she and I were in the same school last year. You probably didn’t notice, but she’s got purple eyes. That means she’s a mutant. You should stay away from her,” Carmen informed me.

“What’s wrong with being a mutant?” I questioned, having never really understood why people had such a big problem with mutants even before I’d found out that I was one.

For a moment, Carmen just blinked in confusion at my question. “What’s wrong is that she’s a freak and complete social reject. That troll she hangs out with is even worse than she is. They’re total bottom feeders. If you hang out with them, they’ll drag you down too.”

“Miss Evans, do you have a question?” the teacher asked before I could respond to Carmen’s ridiculous claims.

“Uhm … N-No, sir,” I stammered out, embarrassed to have been called out for talking during class. A couple of the other students even laughed softly at me. Self-conscious, I slumped down in my chair while the teacher got back to his lecture.

A tap on my shoulder pulled my attention back to the left. “If you want, you can sit with me and my friends at lunch.”

“No thanks,” I muttered cooly. “I’ll stick with my own friends.”

Carmen looked at me like I’d just said that was utterly absurd. “You’re kidding, right? You could do so much better than those two.”

“I said no,” I hissed more forcefully.

Stiffening at the rejection, Carmen shot me an angry glare before folding her arms across her chest and turning away from me. “Fine.”

Confused by the angry reaction, I turned back toward the front of the class while trying to make sense of what had just happened. A lot of what Carmen had said was really mean, but then, somehow, at the end, she’d seemed to be mad at me, like I was the one that had been insulting her friends not the other way around. It didn’t make any sense. The only reason a guy would have said anything like that about someone else’s friend was if he was trying to pick a fight. I had no idea what the purpose of all of it had been or how I should have handled it. All I could really tell was that I’d apparently handled it incorrectly.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Hey, sweetie,” my mom asked as she leaned over the back of the couch to kiss me on the top of the head. “How’s school been?”

I tried to duck away from the kiss while not interrupting my groove in my game, but I failed at both goals. Just as the kiss landed, something I should have dodged smacked my character right in the face followed quickly by a game over screen. “Great, mom. You got me killed.”

“Sorry,” my mom apologized in that way mothers do when they aren’t actually sorry about what they did. “At least now you can tell me how school’s been going.”

Sighing at the interruption, I set the controller down and turned to my mom. “Fine.”

That made it my mom’s turn to sigh. “You’re going to have to give me more than that, Sam.”

“Fine and dandy?” I offered smartly.

“Keep it up and we’ll go shopping for heels for you to wear – every single day of the week,” my mom threatened.

I shuddered at the idea of trying to walk around on heels. They seemed so stupid and impractical, like if somehow stilts were the height of fashion. “Alright! Jeez. I guess it’s been going pretty good. Since it’s a new school and girl me could just as easily have been from some other middle school or other town, no one seems to realize who I am, so people have just been treating me like any other girl. As far as I can tell, only Chuck, Bruce, Amy, and Renee know.”

“Renee?” my mom repeated the name as a question.

“Amy’s friend. She’s actually pretty cool,” I informed her. “I sit with them at lunch and before school.”

My mom smiled. “Aw, you’re already making girl friends. You should invite them over so I can meet them.”

I blanched at the idea. “What?! No! That is not happening.”

“Fine, but you should try to have at least one sleepover before you get too old for it,” my mom suggested. “It’s an experience every girl should have.”

“Yeah right, whatever, Mom,” I mumbled, not believing her for a second.

My mom gave me an exasperated look. “You are just determined to not let me enjoy having a daughter, aren’t you?”

“Fine,” I caved under the guilt trip. It wouldn’t hurt me to do a little more of the girl stuff for her. The whole clothes thing had worked out okay, after all. I’d never really thanks her for helping me with that either. “I’ll ask them if they’d like to have a sleepover. Happy?”

Smiling, my mom clapped her hands together giddily. “Oh this is going to be so much fun. I’ll need to get you girls snacks, oh and of course you’ll need a nightie, but we can pick one of those up on saturday.”

“A nightie?” I repeated skeptically. Not understanding dresses to begin with, the idea of wearing one while I slept made even less sense to me.

“Definitely,” my mom confirmed. “It’s just not a slumber party if you don’t all get into your pjs at some point.”

The word all stuck in my head. That meant that Amy would be in a nightie too. Suddenly, this whole slumber party thing was starting to seem a little more interesting. “Alright, as long as I don’t have to wear it all the time.”

“Of course not. That sort of thing is usually more for … special occasions,” my mom assured me. “Ah, this is so exciting.”

“You know, they might say no,” I pointed out. “I mean, they do know that I was a boy just like a week ago.”

My mom waved a hand dismissively. “Oh, don’t be a killjoy.”

“Sorry,” I apologized. After all, it wasn’t like my mom being happy about me being a girl was a bad thing. She could have freaked out about it or about my being a mutant, but she hadn’t. Instead, she had been very supportive, which while suffocating at times, was definitely a lot better than the alternatives. “Hey, Mom?”

“Yes, dear?” my mom responded.

I paused for a moment, uncertain if I really wanted to ask my next question. “Is there something you always wanted to do with a daughter, y’know, if you’d had one?”

“Taking her shopping for her wedding dress,” my mom answered immediately.

I rolled my eyes. “I meant something that we could do together. Like on a weekend on something.”

“Oh,” my mom mumbled, surprised by the offer. “Well you might not need a wedding dress for a while, but how about a homecoming dress? That’s not too far away, and you probably don’t want to miss your first high school dance.”

“Okay, we’ll go look for a homecoming dress,” I told her. “It’s not like I’d be able to wear a suit and tie to something like that anymore, anyway.”

“Are you sure?” my mom asked. “I know you don’t really like the girly stuff.”

I nodded. “I might not like the girly stuff, but I love you, so yeah, I’m sure.” I barely managed to finish talking before my mom was hugging me.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Good morning,” Renee greeted brightly as I made it to our table before school. She had to be the only high school student I knew that was actually energetic in the morning. “Do anything fun last night?”

“Not really,” I answered, taking my usual seat a couple to the right of Amy, who gave me a cute little wave in greeting. “Just played some games, watched TV, and talked to my mom about some stuff.”

“You get in trouble for something?” Renee asked.

I shook my head. “No, although, I certainly feel like I got punished anyway. She was telling me that I should have you two over for a sleepover. Apparently it’s some kind of rite of passage for girls or something. I promised that I’d ask, but you guys can totally say no.”

“Nonsense,” Renee remarked dismissively. “There’s no way I’m going to miss out on your first sleepover as a girl.”

Renee’s enthusiasm elicited a weary sigh from me. “I was afraid you’d say that.”

“Ames’ll come too,” Renee added.

“What?!” Amy gasped in shock.

“I said you’re going too,” Renee repeated what the other girl had clearly heard..

Glancing my way, Amy blushed furiously. “But, my mom knows about … her. She’s never going to let me.”

Renee shook her head. “No buts. We can’t let our friend go through life without ever having a sleepover. Just say you’re sleeping over with me and have your mom drop you at my place. I’ll get my mom to take us both over there.”

“I guess,” Amy mumbled uncertainly.

“You don’t need to lie for me. If you can’t come, that’s fine,” I told her.

“You’re not getting outta it that easily, Sammy. We’ll both be there,” Renee stated.

I sighed in defeat. “Fine. How about this Saturday?”

“I don’t have anything planned,” Amy responded.

“Works for me, too,” Renee replied.

“Alright, Saturday it is,” I confirmed.

“Saturday what is?” Bruce’s voice asked from behind me.

Even knowing who the voice belonged to, I was still surprised to see Bruce when I turned around. He usually barely made it to school in time for his first class, yet here he was at school nearly as early as I was. “Bruce! What are you doing here so early.”

“I got a rough finish on the song done last night. I wanna hear your thoughts so I can refine it,” Bruce explained, holding up his music player.

“Oh, sure. Give it here,” I replied, gesturing for the player.

Bruce handed the player to me and plopped into the seat between me and Amy. It was only then that he finally seemed to notice the other two girls. He gave them a slight head nod and a muffled and disinterested, “Hey,” in greeting.

“Hi,” the girls answered simultaneously before giggling weirdly.

“Ah right, Bruce you remember Amy from the mall parking lot, and that’s her friend Renee. Guys this is my friend, Bruce,” I introduced them before popping in the earbuds to listen to Bruce’s song.

“Did you say that you finished a song?” Renee asked after a few moments.

Bruce nodded. “Yeah. I’ve been working on an album for about a year now.”

“Wow,” Amy breathed in amazement. “What instrument do you play?”

“Guitar,” Bruce answered indifferently.

Amy sighed softly at the response. Hearing that, Renee glanced Amy’s way and grinned knowingly. “You know … Amy’s a musician too.”

“Really?” Bruce inquired, showing interest for the first time since sitting down. “What do you play?”

“Violin,” Amy answered shyly. “It’s lame.”

Bruce shrugged. “The classical stuff is sure, but an electric violin can really add some depth to a song. Have you ever tried one?” he asked, getting a self-conscious headshake in response. “You should.”

“Okay,” Amy agreed softly.

In the meantime, I’d finished with the song, removing the earbuds. As soon as I did, Bruce’s attention snapped back to me. “Well, what do you think? Any good?”

“Yeah, but there are some rough spots,” I responded. “Let me hang onto it during class and I’ll make a few notes for you.”

“Go ahead,” Bruce told me. “Got any ideas for what might make a good piano part for it?”

I scrunched my face up in thought. “No, not yet. I’m gonna need to listen to it more.”

“Uhm … can I listen to it too?” Amy asked timidly.

Bruce glanced back at her and shrugged. “I guess.”

“Really?” I asked in surprise. “I thought you hated people listening to your stuff before it was ready.”

“People yeah, but she’s a musician,” Bruce answered.

The answer was good enough for me, so I handed the player over to Amy. “Here ya go.”

“Thanks,” Amy chirped. Smiling, she took the player and popped the earbuds in.

As she listened, I watched her face to see her reaction. Bruce’s music, loud and harsh, definitely wasn’t for everyone. I expected the quiet and cute Amy to think it was just awful. She seemed more of soft rock and pop kinda girl.

To my surprise, Amy started bobbing her head to the beat, and was still smiling when she popped the earbuds out. “It’s good.”

“Thanks,” Bruce responded. “You should listen to some of my finished ones.”

Her smile brightened at that suggestion. “I’d love too.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 09

Covering my mouth with one hand, I let out a long weary yawn as I made my way to my locker between classes. The first week back at school always seemed to last forever. I was already sick of teachers, homework, and having to get up before noon. The days seemed to just drag on and on, too. I was so glad it was almost over.

As much as I wanted the week to finally end, I was dreading it too. Somehow, Amy and Renee had agreed to the sleepover in spite of my having recently been a boy. That meant that, saturday, they’d be spending the night at my house. That was an anxiety inducing thought.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from a sleepover outside of my mom telling me that I needed a nightie for it for some reason. So far, the girls had been pretty cool, but if my mom was excited about it, a sleepover had to be something that was especially girly. Plus, there was the whole actually having girls sleep at my house, possibly in revealing clothes, thing. I was definitely nervous about it.

Turning down the hall that my locker was in, I looked to see if Bruce and Chuck had beaten me there. There was no sign of Bruce, but Chuck was there. Oddly, there was also another guy there, standing in front of my locker and talking to Chuck. I didn’t recognize him, but he didn’t look like a freshman, being a few inches taller than Chuck and a little bigger too, so my not knowing him wasn’t a surprise. Chuck seemed to know him, though, judging by how they were chatting at his locker.

As I approached, Chuck spotted me and tapped the other guy on the shoulder before tipping his head toward me. The stranger turned to look at me as well, smiling when he saw me. Smiling, like staring at my chest, was one of those things guys did a lot more around me than they used to, even when nothing funny, fun, or interesting was happening. They always looked kind of stupid doing it too, like their heads were completely empty of thoughts – or more accurately completely filled by one.

“Hey, Sam,” Chuck greeted once I’d gotten close.

“Hey,” I replied, before pointing toward my locker. “Excuse me, buddy, but do you mind moving out of the way? I need to get to my locker.”

“Not at all,” the guy said, stepping out of my way so that he and Chuck flanked me as I went to open my locker.

“This is my friend, Brayden by the way,” Chuck spoke up awkwardly.

Turning from my locker for a moment, I gave Brayden a slight nod. “Nice ta meetcha.”

“It’s nice to finally meet you too,” Brayden replied, leaning against the locker next to mine. He tried to make it look casual, but it obviously wasn’t. “Chucky here’s been telling me all about you.”

Pulling my locker opened, I turned to Chuck and raised an eyebrow. “He has, has he?” I questioned before shooting a glance at Chuck. I wondered what exactly he’d been telling people about me.

“I just told him that we were friends,” Chuck clarified. “Nothing else.”

Brayden tossed a quick glare at Chuck before turning back at me. “Anyway, I thought maybe you and Chucky might like to go out this saturday with me and my friend Hannah; maybe get something to eat then catch a movie. I can drive us.”

Frowning, I quickly swapped out my notebook and slammed the locker closed. “Sorry, I’ve got plans this weekend.”

“No biggy, maybe next weekend then,” Brayden offered.

“I don’t think so,” I answered coolly before just walking off.

“Sam!” Chuck called after me, but I just ignored him and kept on walking.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“What’s your problem?” Chuck demanded as he came up to our lockers during the next break after the Brayden issue. “I introduce a friend to you and you act like a total bitch?”

“Funny. I thought you were the one acting like a total bitch,” I retorted as I slammed my locker closed.

Bruce gave us both confused looks. “What happened now?”

“‘Chucky’ here let his buddy Brayden ambush me at my locker and try to pressure me into a double date, so he could get with Brayden’s ‘friend’ Hannah,” I explained.

Bruce just shook his head. “Chuck …”

“What’s wrong with that?” Chuck demanded. “It’s not like you’ve never wingmanned for me before.”

Rolling my eyes at Chuck’s logic, I leaned in to whisper, “Dude, I’ve been a girl for less than two weeks. I’m still getting used to it. Plus, I don’t know if I’m going to end up being into guys, but I’m definitely not into them right now – something you’d know if you’d bothered to asked me before you tried to pimp me out. You wouldn’t want me setting you up with guys would you? Use your fucking head.”

“Wait, you’re really not into … y’know?” Chucked asked.

I shook my head. “Nope.”

“Damn. That’s a shame … and really hot …” Chuck remarked as his gaze dipped down to my body.

I rolled my eyes again. “You’re such an idiot.”

“Now that we’ve gotten Chuck’s most recent moronic decision out of the way, you want to come over tomorrow and help me refine my song?” Bruce asked now that there was a lull.

“Sorry, can’t,” I told him. “I’m going to be busy all day.”

Bruce shrugged. “Okay.”

“Wait? What’s going on tomorrow?” Chuck asked.

“I’m going shopping with my mom and then Amy and Renee are coming over,” I told him, neglecting the part about how the girls were going to spend the night. The last person that I wanted to know about that was Chuck. He’d probably try to show up at my house to sneak peeks at us through the windows or something equally perverted.

“Amy? That’s the girl you helped out at the mall, right?” Chuck asked.

I nodded. “Yep.”

“Who’s Renee?” Chuck questioned.

“Amy’s friend,” I answered neutrally.

“She as cute as Amy?” Chuck inquired.

I sighed. “I’m not setting you up with any of my friends, Chuck.”

“Aw, come on,” Chuck whined. “You’re like having someone on the inside – the perfect wingman.”

“Grow up, man,” I chastised, shaking my head at Chuck.

“Seriously,” Bruce added in support. “It’s embarrassing.”

Chuck’s shoulders slumped. “Having a girl for a friend was supposed to be more fun than this.”

“What did you expect from it? Private lingerie shows and an endless string of hot new friends for you to hit on?” I asked sarcastically.

Chuck nodded. “Yeah, pretty much.”

Resting my face in my hand, I shook my head slowly. “Your stupidity is truly unbelievable.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“See, that wasn’t so bad,” my mom commented as we left the lingerie store behind.

“It’s not buying it that bothers me,” I countered, glancing down at the bag that I was carrying. Inside was the nightie for my sleepover, a thing of silk and lace that was extremely girly and seemed completely impractical for sleepwear or anything else for that matter. It wasn’t warm or cozy and would apparently require special handling to wash. Women wore some of the weirdest things.

My mom laughed at that. “Don’t worry. It looks good on you.”

“Whatever,” I muttered grumpily.

“Aw, don’t be such a sour puss,” my mom chided, wrapping one arm around my shoulder to give me a side hug as we walked. “If you’re going to do it anyway, you might as well at least try to enjoy this stuff.”

The logic of that argument elicited a sigh from me. “You’re right. Sorry. Just a little nervous about tonight.”

“I’m sure it will go fine,” my mom assured me. “I don’t know Renee but Amy’s a sweet girl, and I imagine if either of them were going to have a problem with you, they wouldn’t have agreed to come.”

“Amy almost didn’t,” I pointed out.

My mom shrugged. “She’s probably just being shy.”

“I guess,” I conceded reluctantly.

Caught up in my own thoughts, I drifted into silence. Amy certainly did seem pretty shy, so it would make a lot of sense for her to be hesitant. Besides, it was totally reasonable for her to be a little nervous what with me having been a boy a couple weeks ago. If I just acted like I always did at school, though, things would be fine.

As I sorted through my worries, I glanced around at the stores and other shoppers. For the most part, I’d ignored most of the stores in the mall as a boy. After all, most of them catered to girls, or at least to the fashion conscious which I had been neither. While shopping for clothes and other things, though, my mom had dragged me into all sorts of places that I’d never really given much thought to before.

With the awareness that there were a lot of places out there that I’d once ignored but were now for me, I tried to look at stuff through the windows to see what stores carried things I might actually wear. There weren’t a lot unfortunately. I wasn’t all that interested in tiny skirts that barely covered my underwear while standing perfectly still or jeans that were so low rise that it felt like my ass was hanging out of them, which seemed to be the kind of things that girls my age were supposed to wear. Some places had more reasonable stuff, though, and I made notes of them for if I ever needed more clothes.

As my mom and I neared the exit, I noticed yet another store that I’d always dismissed before. There were several dresses showcased in the windows, and even more that could be seen on the racks inside. I drifted to a stop in front of a yellow one with sort of satiny sheen to the material, wondering what it would be like to actually wear something like that. It looked incredibly impractical, but then so did men's suits. In fact, it looked a lot less stiff and restrictive than a suit, so I supposed it could actually be better. That had been one of the few good things I’d noticed about the nightie when I’d tried it on.

“You like this one?” my mom asked, snapping me from my stare.

Turning to my mom, I shrugged. “I don’t know. After what we talked about the other day, I was just wondering what it would be like to actually wear something like this.”

“Wanna go in and try it on then?” my mom inquired. “We have plenty of time before your friends are coming.” I glanced back at the dress uncertainly, causing my mom to laugh. “Oh stop with the act, already. You wouldn’t have stopped to look at it if you didn’t want to try it on.”

I blushed a little at the observation. “Fine. I’ll try it on.”

The moment my mom and I stepped foot into the store, a woman approached us with a fake salesperson smile on her face. “Hello, ladies. What can I help you with today.”

“My daughter wants to try on the yellow evening gown in the window,” my mom explained, pointing toward the dress in question.

The attendant followed my mom’s finger before glancing toward me. Her gaze trailed over my figure for a moment, brow furrowing. It sort of felt like she was actually measuring me with her eyes which was a very disconcerting feeling. If that was a skill that someone could have, I sorely hoped that Chuck never learned it.

“I think we can do that,” the saleswoman finally said before pointing toward the back of the store. “You two can wait in dressing room two while I get it for you. It’s right back there.”

Nodding to the attendant, my mom gestured for me to follow her before leading the way to the dressing room. On the way, I glanced around at some of the other dresses on display, amazed by just how different they all were. I would have thought a dress was a dress, but clearly that wasn’t the case.

I didn’t have to wait long for the attendant to bring the yellow dress for me. Getting into the thing was not exactly easy however. The material had a way of clinging to my curves and both the zipper and the hooks for the halter-style strap that went around behind my neck were in the back making them obnoxious for me to work. With my mom’s help, I did manage to get into it without tearing anything, though.

Once the dress was on, I was surprised by how nice it felt. The yellow gown was very tight, especially around my chest, but strangely loose and bunching around my waist. It wasn’t really uncomfortable thanks to the soft smooth fabric, though. I actually kind of liked the light airy feel of the skirt swishing around my legs as I moved.

Turning to the mirror to see my reflection, I actually blushed just a little. The dress certainly wasn’t shy about showing off my curves with slits in the skirt and a low neckline giving tantalizing views of skin. The color seemed to go well with my hair and skin as well.

Swaying my hips a little to make the skirt swirl, I noticed something odd. “Is it supposed to drag on the floor?” I asked, peering down at the skirt’s hem which swished as it brushed the floor.

My mom giggled. “Stand on your tippy toes.”

Confused, I did as instructed, pushing my heels up into the air. The move lifted the hem of the skirt high enough so that it didn’t brush on the ground anymore. “Wait, so I’m supposed to stay on my tippy toes the whole time I’m wearing this?”

That got my mom giggling again. “Not exactly, sweetie. You’re supposed to wear heels with it.”

“Oh … duh ...” I mumbled, feeling kind of dumb for not realizing that. Immediately, I plopped my heels back down on the ground.

“It’s a shame that dress won’t work for you, though,” my mom noted in disappointment.

“What?” I gasped, looking back into the mirror in confusion. “I think it looks pretty good on me.”

My mom shook her. “Oh no, it looks great on you, honey, at least it will once it’s resized, but look at the back.”

Turning to the side so I could see my back in the mirror, I saw that there wasn’t much of a back to the dress at all. My lower back was was covered by a couple inches of cloth and then there was nothing until the strap around my neck. It left not only a lot of skin, but my bra visible to anyone that wanted to look.

“You can’t wear a bra with a dress like that, and you’re kinda large to be going without one,” my mom explained. “You could if you wanted too, of course, but it might come off as ... well a little trashy.”

Disappointed, I nodded in understanding. “I see.”

My mom gave me a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry. Next Saturday, we can look around at a few stores. Some place is bound to have something similar with a higher back.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 10

“Hi, Sammy!!” Renee greeted excitedly as I pulled open the front door. She and Amy both stood outside, each carrying a small bag. The latter gave me a little wave for her greeting.

“Hey you two,” I replied warmly. “Come on in.”

The girls stepped inside at the invitation and looked around. “Nice house.”

“Thank you,” my mom answered for me, appearing in the doorway to the kitchen. “Hi. I’m Sam’s mom. I already know Amy, so I take it you’re Renee.”

“That’s me!” Renee confirmed cheerily.

“It’s nice to finally meet you,” my mom told her. “I’m so glad that Sam’s already making friends.”

I tossed a glare at my mom. “Mom!”

“Sorry, sorry,” my mom apologized. “I’ll get out of you girls’ hair. There’s plenty of snacks and drinks in the kitchen, so help yourselves.”

After that, my mom went off to her bedroom leaving me alone with my friends. “Sorry about that,” I told them. “I told her to leave us alone.”

“It’s quite alright,” Amy responded politely.

“She seems nice,” Renee added.

“She is, but she’s also a little too excited about this,” I explained before glancing around awkwardly. “Anyway … I don’t really know what we’re supposed to do at one of these things.”

Renee shrugged. “Whatever we want. Watch movies, play games, talk …” She trailed off to snatch a picture off a small table in the foyer. “ … find pictures of you from when you were a boy. I take it this one here is you and the tall guy is your brother?”

Sighing, I nodded. “Yeah.”

“You were cute,” Renee complimented.

“Thanks, I guess. Not that it matters much now,” I replied.

“Aw, don’t worry. You’re still cute now. It’s just a different kind of cute,” Renee reassured me.

I laughed at that. “Thanks.”

Amy snatched the picture from Renee’s hand and set it back on the table. “We should probably stop standing here in the doorway.”

“Good point,” I told her. “Living room is right through there. I’m going to grab me a soda real quick. You guys want anything to drink?”

“I’ll take a cola,” Renee answered.

“Me too,” Amy added.

Nodding, I turned around and headed into the kitchen to grab drinks. I returned a few moments later to find Renee sprawled out on the couch and Amy sitting in the love seat. “Here you go,” I said, setting the cans down in front of each. “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I have any three player games or many girl movies either.”

“And what exactly is a ‘girl movie’?” Renee asked her tone faintly confrontational.

“Y’know … “ I began uncertainly. “Romantic stuff.” The moment I said that Renee made a disgusted face. “What?”

Amy started giggling at Renee’s face. “She hates romance movies. I tried to get her to watch one with me once, and she spent the whole time groaning and gagging like she was in physical pain.”

“Hey, dying of boredom is painful!” Renee declared, getting a laugh from all of us. Once that died down, she turned to me and asked. “So you really didn’t have any clue what goes on at a sleepover before I said something?”

I shook my head. “No, not unless it involves pillow fights in our underwear and practicing kissing on each other.”

Amy turned bright red at my answer. “What?! Where’d you get an idea like that?”

I shrugged. “It’s just what guys think girls do at sleepovers.”

“That does not happen!” Amy exclaimed.

“I have had a few pillow fights at these things,” Renee admitted. “Never in my underwear, though.”

“You didn’t think we were going to do anything like that did you?” Amy questioned, giving me a nervous look.

I shook my head immediately. “No! Of course not! I didn’t know what to think!”

“You’ve had guys stay over before, right?” Renee asked.

I nodded. “Yeah.”

“Well what did you do with them?” Renee furthered.

“Movies, games, talk, maybe go outside if it was nice out,” I answered.

“And you didn’t think girls would like those things?” Renee questioned.

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I figured they’d like girly movies and playing dress up and stuff like that.”

Tapping her chin, Renee peered at me thoughtfully. “You know ... it would probably be pretty fun to dress you up in a dress and makeup and heels ...”

I groaned as a shiver ran down my spine. “Ugh. I get enough of that from my mom already. She’s sorta really into the whole finally having a daughter to do stuff with thing.”

Renee laughed. “I bet that interaction would be fun to watch.”

“Yeah, well I’m not selling tickets to it,” I told her.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“I need to use the restroom. Can you pause it?” Amy asked, rising from her seat.

Nodding, I reached for the remote to pause the movie. “Sure thing.”

“Uhm … “ Amy began, glancing around uncertainly. “Which way is it?”

“Oh, down this hall and to the left,” I told her, pointing in the proper direction.

“Thanks,” Amy replied, walking off the way I’d indicated.

Smiling, I watched Amy as she walked away. Things seemed to have been going well so far. There’d been a few embarrassing things resulting from my having been a boy, but Amy and Renee seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I was having fun too. Clearly, I’d been worried for nothing.

“Hey, since it’s just you and me for a moment, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you since you invited us to this,” Renee spoke up.

Turning to Renee, I asked, “What is it?”

“You were into girls before you changed, right?” Renee asked.

I nodded immediately. “Yeah.”

“And you’re still into girls, right?” Renee guessed.

This time, I took a moment before I nodded. “Yeah. At least I think so.”

“You think so?” Renee questioned.

I shrugged. “Yeah. I don’t know if it’s going to change, or if it’s already changed and I just haven’t met a guy I like or what.”

Renee nodded in understanding. “But for right now, you still like girls, right?”

“Yeah. Is that bad?” I questioned uncertainly.

Rachel shook her head. “No. It’s totally fine whichever you like. It’s just … I was curious is all. Sorry if that was weird to talk about.”

I sighed in relief. “It’s okay. At least now you won’t try to set me up on a double date with some older guy so you can get with his friend.”

“That’s an oddly specific hypothetical,” Renee noted.

I laughed. “Yeah, because it’s not really a hypothetical. One of my guy friends tried to do that, so that he could have a shot at some girl.”

“Who? Bruce?” Renee asked before suddenly getting a sly look on her face. “Or have you been keeping another hunk, musician friend to yourself?”

I snorted out a laugh at that. “No, it wasn’t Bruce. It was my friend, Chuck, who is not a musician.”

“Is he a hunk, though?” Renee inquired, before rolling her eyes. “Look who I’m asking.”

Laughing, I just sort of shrugged. “Girls seem to like something about him and there’s no way it’s his personality.”

“Sounds like a real winner,” Renee remarked sarcastically.

“He has his good points – I just can’t think of them at the moment,” I joked.

Renee chuckled. “So … are they weird about the whole you being a girl now thing?”

“Not really, other than the double date nonsense anyway,” I told her. “I catch Chuck checking me out sometimes, but so does basically every guy. Bruce doesn’t even seem to notice, which I guess is normal for him when it comes to girls.”

“What do you mean? Don’t tell me he’s gay!” Renee exclaimed seeming horrified by the possibility.

I shook my head. “He’s not. At least I don’t think he is. He’s just never really shown a lot of interest in that stuff. He’s too focused on his music. The only reason he and I even became friends was because he overheard me playing.”

“Oh, that’s right. You’re a musician too,” Renee remarked before sighing wistfully. “Too bad you’re not still a hunky boy.”

I laughed at that. “I’m not sure that musician or hunky has ever described me. Bruce is the real musician.”

“Nonsense, I’m sure you’re great,” Renee disagreed. “In fact. Why don’t you play something for us?”

“That’s probably not a good idea. I’m kinda bad right now,” I abstained.

“What do you mean ‘right now’?” Renee asked.

Scrunching my face up uncomfortably, I let out a sigh and held up my hands. “Look at my hands.”

“Okay?” Renee agreed in confusion. She peered at my hands for a moment before shrugging. “They look perfectly normal to me.”

“I imagine they probably are normal, but they’re not the right size,” I explained. Leaving one hand held out palm toward Renee, I used the thumb and fore finger of the other to measure a distance a little longer than my forefinger. “This finger used to be about this long. My palm used to be a little wider too, meaning that my fingers sat a little further apart. It’s not a huge deal, and I can still play, but sometimes, I just don’t reach quite as far as I think I do and I fumble keys. It’s taking some time to get used to. In fact, when it comes to anything physical that requires precision, like shooting a basketball for instance, I tend to struggle. There’s a lot of little things about my body now that I have to get used to.”

“I’m so sorry, Sam,” Amy mumbled softly from behind me.

I winced slightly when I heard Amy speak. “It’s not your fault. I would have had to get used to it anyway. It’s really not a big deal.”

“But – “ Amy started to protest.

“I said it’s no big deal,” I cut Amy off before she could apologize again. What happened wasn’t her fault. “Don't worry about it.”

After that, we all drifted into an awkward silence for a moment. “Well,” Renee began, interrupting the silence. “I’d still like to hear you play, even if you do fumble a key or two.”

“Me, too,” Amy added shyly.

I managed a faint smile. “Alright. Sure. My keyboard’s up in my room.”

The three of us all went up to my room, and I sat down at my keyboard to play. I went with a powerful, emotional piece that was certainly challenging. As I’d expected, I fumbled a few keys, but overall I did pretty well. The girls, true to their word, didn’t seem to mind the mistakes at all and seemed genuinely impressed when I finished. I even got some applause.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

As the second movie came to a close, Renee yawned, stretched her hands over her head and rose from her seat. “I’m gonna go get changed before we start another one just in case I drift off.”

“I should too,” Amy announced, rising from her seat as well.

“Oh. O-Okay,” I agreed, nervous about both changing into a nightie myself and seeing the girls in their pajamas.

I waited for the girls to get up, grab their bags, and head off toward the bathroom before I went up to my room. Once there, I quickly stripped out of my day clothes and snatched the nightie that I’d bought from the bag it was still in. I held it up in front of me skeptically. It was all soft and silky and even a pale lavender color, clearly way too girly for me, but it was too late to chicken out about it now.

Sighing, I pulled it over my head, and stepped over to my mirror to get it situated. It was sort of like wearing a very thin dress. The hem made it about half of the way down my thighs, and the top with it’s lace trim showed only a moderate amount of cleavage. It was very clingy, though, sliding over my curves in a way that was unlike anything that I was used to clothes doing. I guessed that it looked okay, though.

After a quick breath to steady my nerves, I hurried back downstairs and plopped back into my seat. In the thin fabric, I felt sort of naked and definitely self-conscious. It made the wait seem to drag on and on. Finally, I could hear the girls returning, so I sat up and turned to see what they were wearing. That just made me feel more embarrassed.

Amy wore a small cami top that was very cute, but not that much different than a normal tank top, and some pajama pants. She also wore a pair of black framed glasses, that made me realize that she must normally wear contacts. Meanwhile, Renee wore just a big baggy t-shirt with no pants apparent beneath the mid-thigh hem. Neither were dressed anything like me, though. When the girls saw me in a nightie, Amy’s jaw dropped, and Renee just got a big grin on her face.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting you to wear something like that,” Renee remarked.

Blushing furiously, I crossed my arms over my chest and hid down in my seat. “My mom said I needed something like this.”

“Your mom sounds like so much fun,” Renee commented, snickering softly.

Amy recovered to glare at Renee before turning to me. “Sorry. If I’d known, I would have brought something like that too. I sorta expected you to want something a little more casual. It looks good, though.”

“She’s right. It does,” Renee agreed.

“Thanks,” I mumbled, not really mollified by the efforts to console me.

“Must be weird for you, trying to figure out all this girl stuff,” Amy remarked, as she made her way back to her seat.

I shrugged. “It’s not so bad. I wish it all made a little more sense, though. Couldn’t you guys like print out a manual or something.”

“Now what fun would that be?” Renee asked. “You guys are supposed to work to figure us out.”

“You might be expecting a bit much from guys,” I pointed out.

Renee laughed. “Ha! You’re probably right. They are pretty dumb.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 11

“Hey! Where were you yesterday?” Renee asked as I sat down at our table before school. “We missed ya.”

“Sorry. I had to run around getting my records in order for the new me. I even got one of these finally,” I explained, tossing my brand new MID onto the table.

Renee snatched up the little ID. “Tomboy, huh? Cute,” she commented on my code name before handing it over to Amy.

“I figured it fits me pretty well,” I replied.

“It’s certainly better than my codename,” Amy critiqued, handing the ID back to me.

“Really? I don’t think you’ve ever told me yours,” I noted. “It can’t be that bad, though.”

“It is,” Amy replied morosely.

I raised an eyebrow at that. “Well now I’ve got to know.”

Amy sighed. “It’s Nightingale.”

“As in Florence Nightingale?” I asked.

Amy nodded. “Yep. I told you it was lame…”

“No. It’s good. Certainly fits with the whole healing people thing,” I countered. Even as I spoke, I saw Amy’s attention shift from me to something behind me. Glancing back, I saw Bruce approaching the table. “Hey, man.”

“Hey, Sam. Glad you’re actually here today,” Bruce greeted.

“Oh, did you try to catch me yesterday? Sorry,” I apologized. “I had some legal stuff that I had to take care of. What did you need me for?”

Shrugging, Bruce pulled out his player. “It’s fine. I just wanted you to listen to the rework I did on the song. Amy ended up helping me with it instead. I got a couple more kinks ironed out, I think. Thanks for that by the way, Amy.”

“I was happy to help,” Amy chirped merrily.

“Anyway, I still want you to listen to it and tell me what you think,” Bruce informed me. “I’m pretty sure it’s only going to need another couple revisions before it’ll be ready for the piano part and then we can do a master edit.”

“Oh. Sure thing, man,” I told him, gesturing for the player which Bruce promptly handed to me. “Guess I need to get started on that piano part then, huh?”

Bruce nodded. “You’d better. I want this one done. I’ve listened to it so many times that it plays in my sleep now. Plus, I’m really eager to start on my idea for the next one.”

“What’s the idea?” I questioned, surprised that Bruce was already onto a new idea. He usually liked to focus on one idea at a time.

“I got Amy to agree to do some violin for it. I’m really interested to see how it blends with a guitar,” Bruce answered.

I glanced Amy’s way to see the girl blushing furiously. It seemed like she was really eager to work on it too. “I’ll make sure to work fast, then. In fact, why don’t we all hang out today after school and work on it?”

“Sounds great to me,” Bruce replied.

Amy nodded. “Okay.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“You know, that Amy girl is pretty cool,” Bruce remarked while he and I were at our lockers. “You’ve got good tastes, Sam.”

The remark brought a look of surprise to my face. I really wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about it either – excited or worried. “You actually like a girl for once?”

“Yeah, she’s smart, talented, and not obsessed with all the vapid bullshit that pretty much all the other girls in this school are into,” Bruce replied. “She’s sort of like you, actually, except she didn’t used to be a … y’know.”

I grinned at that. “That you know anyway.”

Bruce shrugged. “Wouldn’t bother me even if she was.”

“Yeah, I doubt it would. You’ve never been one to be focused on the superficial,” I noted.

“Of course not. Chuck is focused enough on that for all three of us,” Bruce responded. “Still, I’ll admit, I was little worried after what happened that you’d change, especially once I saw what you looked like. It would have been pretty easy for you to turn into one of those airheaded cheerleader dolls focused on nothing but what fashion magazines tell them to be.”

“That wasn’t going to happen. No way would I ever be okay prancing around on the sidelines rather than actually being out there playing,” I retorted.

Bruce chuckled. “Yeah. I should have figured that, but you were already hanging around with girls on your first day, you looked the part, and you even had Chuck leering at you. I got a little nervous.”

“I couldn’t really help those last two, and Amy and Renee were sort of just luck,” I pointed out.

“Good luck, if you ask me. Certainly better than whatever rotten luck saddled us with Chuck of all people,” Bruce commented.

“I know we rip on him all the time, but Chuck’s better luck than you might think,” I remarked. “He’s the one that actually gets us out doing stuff, and it’s not like it’s that hard to deal with his obsession with girls.”

Bruce shrugged. “I guess you’ve got a point there. He’s really not any worse than any other guy about it.”

“Who’s not worse than other guys?” Chuck asked as he walked up midway through Bruce’s response.

“You, you idiot,” I answered. “Bruce and I were just agreeing that you’re on par with the lowest common denominator.”

Chuck laughed. “Well thanks. It’s not easy keeping you two weirdos connected to the normal world. Speaking of, you’ll never guess who I just heard a rumor about.”

“If this is some set up for you to brag about how girls are always talking about you, I’m not interested,” I warned.

“No, at least not this time. This rumor is about you,” Chuck informed me.

I raised an eyebrow at that. “Really? I suppose it’s about time for someone to have noticed something.”

Grinning, Chuck shook his head. “Oh no, it’s not even close to true.”

“Then what is it?” I asked.

“It’s a rumor that’s going around that you were seen out behind the school after class last friday, giving guys BJs for twenty bucks,” Chuck told me. “Oh, and I think there was something about you being the daughter of some stripper that works downtown. I was too busy laughing by that point to really listen.”

I couldn’t help but snort at how silly the rumor was. “Who would even start something so ridiculous?”

“Hard to tell with these things,” Chuck commented. “Usually it’s some girl looking to trash someone’s rep.”

“Why would anyone care about doing that to me, though?” I asked.

Coughing, Chuck glanced meaningfully at my chest. “Probably because of those.”

“What?!” I gasped in confusion.

Chuck shrugged. “Several girls I’ve talked to have made snide remarks when they find out I’m friends with quote ‘that cow-titted bitch’.”

Sighing, I rolled my eyes. “I really just don’t get girls. It’s not like I asked them to be this big or something.”

“I guess I kinda get it. It’s sort of like how some guys hate Bruce because girls are always fawning over him without him even trying,” Chuck pointed out.

“Stop projecting your insecurities onto others, Chuck,” Bruce quipped.

“I’m not projecting! It’s a thing!” Chuck retorted. “Anyway, you’re sort of like that. You’ve got a bunch of guys into you, and you’re not even trying.”

“I’m not even interested,” I corrected.

Chuck shrugged. “I never said they were being reasonable.”

I sighed. “Well there’s not much I can do then. Guess I just hope people get over it, so the rumor passes quickly.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Using one hand to wipe sweat from my forehead, I used the other to sustain my second to last note of the song on my keyboard. At the same time, Bruce finished off the last few notes of his outro. Finally, we both hit the song’s finally chord before immediately cutting out. Amy and Renee both burst into applause the moment the music ended.

“You guys rock!” Renee cheered, sounding very much like a real live groupie as she screamed her praise.

Bruce took a bow for the applause. “Thank you. It’s nice to have an audience to appreciate it for once.”

Rising from my seat, I stretched out to loosen my joints after hunching over the keyboard for a while. “Yeah, but doing a whole set in this heat is a lot harder than I thought. I’m gonna need a drink before we continue. Anyone else thirsty?”

“Cola,” Bruce answered.

“Cola sounds good to me too,” Renee agreed.

“Just water for me, please,” Amy added quietly.

I nodded as I took the orders. “Well that’s four drinks and I only have two hands so … Renee, you mind helping me carry ‘em?”

“Not at all,” Renee replied.

With that, I lead the way into Bruce’s kitchen with Renee in tow. It was pretty awesome of Bruce’s parents to let him use the garage as a music studio. They’d even installed a window ac unit so that it wasn’t quite so oppressively hot during summer days like that one. Still hot enough to make someone really thirsty, though. My shirt was even sticking to me from sweat after playing for so long.

“You guys really are amazing,” Renee complimented as she started grabbing drinks from the fridge to set them on the counter. “How long have you been playing?”

“I started piano lessons when I was six, and I think, Bruce started guitar in fifth grade,” I replied. “You don’t need to rush on the drinks by the way.”

Renee gave me a look of concern. “Are you tired of playing or something? You don’t have to keep going, y’know.”

I shook my head. “No. It’s been fun and it’s good practice.”

Renee’s look turned to confusion. “Then why … you’re giving them time alone together aren’t you?”

I nodded. “Yep.”

“But I thought you liked Amy?” Renee questioned. “I’ve seen the way you look at her. It’s one of the few things you do that just screams ‘boy’.”

I chuckled. “I’m that obvious, huh? Yeah, I do like her.”

“Why are you giving up then?” Renee asked. “You literally risked your life for her once, and she clearly likes you too.”

“Not like she likes Bruce,” I answered.

“That guy is just unfair, though. A hot, deep, mysterious musician? Come on. Just about any girl would go for him,” Renee commented. “That’s no reason to give up.”

I shrugged. “Bruce likes her too, and I’ve never seen Bruce like any girl. Besides, it seems pretty clear that Amy likes guys. Maybe if I was one still, things would be different, but I’m not, and I’ve never felt there was any reason to get upset about something that I don’t have any control over. This way, I stay friends with you and Amy and Amy and Bruce get to see if there’s something more than just a spark between them. It’s just better for everyone.”

“You gonna be okay, though?” Renee asked. “It’s not easy seeing someone you like with someone else.”

“It may not be easy to see that, but it’s easy seeing my friends happy. I’ll be fine,” I assured her.

Renee smiled. “You’re a really good guy, Sam.”

“I’m not a guy anymore, remember?” I pointed out.

“Doesn’t stop you from being a better one than most of the ones that still are,” Renee remarked.

I laughed at that. “Well, thanks. Now I just need to find someone who’s into really good guys with the bodies of really busty girls.”

“There’s probably more people like that out there than you might think,” Renee offered encouragingly.

“I hope so,” I replied. “Now, I think we’ve left them alone long enough to make them wonder if we’re ever returning with these drinks, so we should probably get back and check on them.”

“If you’re right about how they feel about each other, they probably haven’t even noticed we’re not there,” Renee noted.

Shrugging, I scooped up a couple of the sodas and the water, leaving Renee to only carry her own drink. “Maybe, but Amy is clearly very nervous around Bruce and Bruce can be incredibly dense, so they might need a few helpful nudges early on.”

Renee grinned. “More like a few forceful shoves, knowing Ames.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“That was a lot of fun,” I remarked as I helped Bruce pick up the various empty soda cans and half eaten snacks now that the girls were gone.

Bruce nodded in agreement. “Yeah. It was great to actually get to perform for once, especially for people that can actually get it, y’know, not just pretending they do because they think it’s cool or whatever.”

I chuckled at that. “Well, if you’re worried about pretenders you’d better make sure you never make it big. I hear the music industry is like a hundred and ten percent pretenders.”

“It’s not about making it big, man,” Bruce replied. “It’s about reaching people, making them feel something, maybe even changing their lives. Like take Amy, that girl’s got the spark for music in her. All she needed was for someone to fan it into a flame. Now she’s just as eager to create stuff as I am.”

“That’s not all she’s eager about,” I remarked knowingly.

Bruce didn’t seem to catch my meaning, though, furrowing his brow in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“What I mean is she’s into you, dude,” I pointed out the obvious.

“What? No, she isn’t,” Bruce countered.

I rolled my eyes at my friend’s denseness. “Yes, she is,” I told him. “She gets all giggly and weird whenever you’re around.” To my surprise, Bruce frowned at the news. “What’s wrong? I would’ve thought you’d be happy. You like her too, don’t you?”

“Yeah … because I thought she was into my music, not just another air headed pretender being led around by her hormones,” Bruce retorted.

My jaw tightened at Bruce’s insults. “God, sometimes you’re as bad as Chuck, so focused on one aspect of someone that you ignore everything else. Someone can like both you and your music, you idiot.”

Bruce stiffened slightly at my outburst, but didn’t respond right away. Silence hung awkwardly between us as we just looked at each other for one long moment. It was only after that that Bruce finally spoke. “And you think that she is ... into both I mean?”

“Yeah, man,” I assured him. “It’s painfully obviously that’s she’s into you, and you saw her tonight. There’s no way she faked all that enthusiasm all evening. Plus she even wants to work on a song with you.”

“She did seem really into it,” Bruce murmured thoughtfully before finally nodding. “Alright, so what do I do, then?”

I suppressed a wince as Bruce asked me that question. “You ask her out.”

Bruce gave me an uncertain look. “I don’t know man. I don’t want to be just like one of those idiot drones from school.”

“Then don’t be,” I told him. “Take her somewhere that no one at school would ever go like an indie concert or a record shop or something.”

“That might be cool,” Bruce conceded. “I’ll think about it.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 12

In the bathroom mirror, I watched a couple of girls glare at me while I washed my hands. It wasn’t the first time that this had happened to me. Over the last couple of days, I’d noticed a distinctly negative vibe from several of the girls in my grade, specifically the more snobby and popular ones. I supposed that it had something to do with the rumor that Chuck had said was going around about me, making me wonder if waiting it out was going to work. The problem was, I had no idea what else to even try. Denying it would probably just make things worse.

Trying to remain pleasant, I gave the two girls a friendly smile when I walked past them and out of the bathroom. There was no sense in letting their pettiness get to me. It wasn’t my fault that they were both practically flat.

Preoccupied with the girls that had been glaring at me, I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going and ran right into a girl as I was coming out of the bathroom. The other girl, a little shorter and not nearly as forceful in her walk, staggered back from the collision. Regaining my own balance quickly, I rushed forward to catch her shoulder and help steady her. “Sorry about that, I should’ve been paying more attention.”

“Yeah you should’ve been!” the girl huffed angrily, swatting my hands off her.

Falling back, I just gaped at her in confusion. I’d already apologized, so I didn’t see the reason for the hostility. “Well, uhm … sorry again,” I mumbled, giving her what I hoped was a friendly wave as I moved around her and continued on to the common area.

“Something wrong?” Renee asked as I sat down at our usual before school table.

I shook my head. “No. Just wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been and bumped someone kind of hard.”

Renee nodded absently at my explanation while looking over at Amy. The blonde sat there looking down at the table and fidgeting nervously. Rolling her eyes, Renee asked, “So Amy has news, don’t you Amy?”

“Huh?” Amy mumbled looking up from the table. What followed was the two girls sharing a look, followed by Renee glancing meaningfully my way. “Oh … right … uhm … yeah … I do. Bruce ... sorta … “ she fumbled for words, while doing her best to not look at me. “... asked me out … last night.”

“Really?” I asked, pretending to be surprised by the news. The only surprise about it was that it had taken so long. I’d been nudging Bruce to ask her out ever since our little jam session three days ago. I never would have guessed that he’d be so shy about it when he actually found a girl he liked, though. “What did you say?”

Amy nodded. “I uhm … I told him I needed to think about it.”

That news, unlike the previous, was unexpected to me. I’d thought for sure that she’d say yes if Bruce asked her out. “Why? Do you not like him?”

Immediately, Amy shook her head. “No, I do … a lot ... it’s just … it’s not going to be weird is it … me dating your friend, I mean?”

“Of course not,” I replied, forcing a smile onto my face. “As long as you’re happy, I’m happy.”

Amy smiled as well, clearly relieved. “Really? Thanks.”

“You don’t need to thank me for that,” I told her. “We’re friends, right? Friends want each other to be happy.”

Amy nodded. “Yeah … friends ... Still, thanks. Can you guys excuse me for a minute?”

After Amy had gotten up and walked out of earshot, Renee turned to me. “That hurt, didn’t it?”

“A little, but it’s fine,” I admitted. “They’ll be good together.”

“She almost turned him down outright because of you, y’know,” Renee noted. “She knows you like her.”

I smiled wistfully. “Yeah, but if she’d turned him down, would it have been because she liked me the way I like her or because she felt like she owed me after what happened?”

“I honestly don’t know,” Renee replied.

I chuckled sadly. “Yeah you do. If she’d wanted to be with me, she wouldn’t have asked my permission to be with him,” I said, rising from my seat. “I’ll be right back. I’ve gotta go talk to a teacher about something.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Guess there’s more girl in my thoughts than I thought,” I muttered as tears blurred my vision. I fought against them, though, refusing to let them fall. After all, I’d chosen this outcome, even helped make it a reality. I shouldn’t feel bad about Bruce and Amy getting together. I just shouldn’t.

My eyes didn’t seem to agree with my logic, staying wet and blurry. At least, the tears accepted my desire that they not spill out, leaving me to slump wearily against the wall of the school. After what had happened, I’d fled out into the alley behind the school to hide from everyone. Sad or not, I wasn’t going to let my feelings ruin things for everyone else.

“I’m such an idiot, falling for a girl that I’ve only known a couple weeks,” I chastised myself. It was such a silly thing for me to do. No, it was worse than that. I’d already fallen by the time I saw her by my bed in the hospital. After all, I’d saved her, and she’d saved me. It had seemed almost like fate.

“She suits Bruce better anyway,” I lied to myself hollowly. My mind knew that I thought she was better for me. She was way too kind, considerate, and sweet to be a good match for the often rude loner that was Bruce. What did that really matter, though? She liked the whole mysterious, loner, musician thing, and Bruce seemed to like the nice, sweet, lovable girl.

Growling, I tapped my head against the stone wall, hard enough to actually hurt. “Stop it, you idiot. There’s no point thinking about her. You can’t control what people want, so there’s no sense getting worked up when it doesn’t work out.”

The words didn’t help much. I was getting sick of having to tell myself to not get upset about things just because I couldn’t control them. I couldn’t stop the other girls at school from resenting me. I couldn’t get Amy to like me more than Bruce. I couldn’t stay a boy like I’d really wanted to. Everything seemed to just happen regardless of how I felt about it. It was like the world was throwing it all at me just to see how much I could take before I cracked, broke down, and gave up.

“Well, I’m not going to give up,” I promised the world, forcing myself unsteadily back to my feet. It didn’t matter what the world did to me. I wouldn’t let it tear me down. I’d figure out how to get through it. I’d find a way to live my life regardless of what it did to me.

Wiping at my eyes to make sure all the tears were gone, I turned to head back into the school. If I was gone too long, Amy would worry that something was wrong, that I wasn’t really okay with her dating Bruce. That might be true, but she didn’t need to know that. I’d deal with it on my own.

“Well well well, if it isn’t the dyke from the basketball court,” an arrogant male voice remarked. “Fancy finding you out behind the school.”

Clenching my jaw, I turned to face the source of that voice, not at all surprised to see Adam and a couple of his lackeys standing there. “What do you want, Adam?”

“Well I hear you’re in the business of giving BJs for twenty bucks back here, but I was thinking I’d much rather have a titfuck from you,” Adam commented, getting some laughs from his cronies. “I’ll pay ya double for it.”

“That’s just a rumor, asswipe, and even if it were true, no amount of money would get me to touch slime like you,” I spat. “Which you should be glad for, because if you tried to stick that little bitty dick of yours in between these,” I gestured at my chest, “it would get crushed like a grape.”

Behind Adam, his cronies snickered at my come back which caused Adam’s confident look to waver briefly. It didn’t last long, though, before he smirked at my chest. “All those tissues you’ve got stuffed in there ain’t gonna crush shit, bitch.”

“Now I realize you have about as much experience with boobs as a penguin has with flying, but even you have to realize that tissues don’t bounce like this,” I retorted while bobbing up and down on my feet. The action resulted in a prodigious bounce from my assets that made it very clear that what was there was all me. It also had the added bonus of leaving Adam too busy leering at my chest to come up with a come back. “That’s what I thought,” I remarked smugly as I stopped my bounce and turned around to walk into the school.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Oh my god, Sam, you’ll never guess what happened!” Chuck exclaimed as he came up to his locker and opened it to swap out a notebook. “Bruce actually asked a girl out!”

“Yeah, Amy, I know,” I answered, trying to keep my voice impassive. “I told him to.”

Chuck screwed his face up in surprise at the news. “Wait, the girl’s Amy? And you told him to do it?”

“Yeah. They like each other and seem to have fun together when we hang out, so I thought they’d make a good couple,” I replied logically.

“Yeah ... I’m sure they will but …” Chuck began uncertainly. “... I kinda thought that after what you said the other day, you were sorta already … y’know … pursuing that.”

I sighed in annoyance. “Think that through for a second, Chuck. She agreed to go out with Bruce, which means she’s into …” I gestured at him to provide an answer.

“Musicians? That weird apathy thing that Bruce has going on?” Chuck guessed.

All I could do was roll my eyes at Chuck’s idiocy. “Boys, you colossal idiot.”

“Oh ... right …” Chuck mumbled, elongating the words before trailing off for a moment. “So … does this mean the whole no setting us up with your friends rule is gone?”

“The rule was no setting you up with my friends,” I corrected, putting extra emphasis on the pronoun. “And it’s still in effect because you’re still a gigantic perverted douchebag.”

“Aw, come on. I’m not that bad,” Chuck whined.

I leveled a skeptical look at my friend. “The only reason you went out with your last girlfriend was because you wanted to see how her tits felt.”

“That’s never stopped you from helping me before,” Chuck argued. “Hell, you’re the one that suggested I pick Rachel over Becky so that I could play with her boobs.”

I rolled my eyes at the reminder. “It’s never stopped me, because you always go after random sluts that we’ll all forget about in a week. These are my friends.”

“I’m your friend too, y’know!” Chuck blurted. “Or at least I was, y’know back when we used to hang out and play ball and hit on chicks, before you got all ... “ Rather than finish that thought he threw up his hands in defeat. “You know what! Forget it! Go hang out with your girl friends playing dress up or whatever!” he added in a growl before slamming his locker shut and storming off.

Stunned by the outburst, I just watched as Chuck stomped away, unsure of what to say or even how I was supposed to feel. Part of me wanted to be angry, to rage about Chuck’s audacity to be mad at me for making new friends and trying to adjust to what had happened to me. Another part, though, knew that he had a point. Outside of chatting at our lockers between periods, I basically hadn’t seen him since that night at the mall.

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt if we all hung out sometime,” I muttered to myself. Amy and Bruce were a thing now, and Renee wasn’t Chuck’s type, so it wasn’t like he’d be hitting on either of them. It was worth a try at least.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 13

“So any idea where he’s actually taking you?” Renee asked as she and Amy sat down together at the lunch table.

Amy shook her head. “Not really. He just asked if I’d like to “go out for coffee or whatever sometime”, so I guess we’ll be getting coffee.”

Hearing the topic of conversation, I just nodded a greeting to the two of them and continued quietly eating. Ever since Amy had agreed to go out with Bruce that was all the two girls had talked about. It was clear that they were both really excited about it, especially Amy. I wanted to be excited for her too, but that wasn’t going to happen, so the best I could do was not get in the way.

“Hmm … “ Renee hummed thoughtfully. “That’s gonna make it awfully hard to plan your outfit.”

“No kidding,” Amy agreed. “I’ve been worrying about it all morning, and I still don’t have any idea what might work.”

Having an idea, Renee turned toward me. “Hey Sammy. You’ve known Bruce for a while right? Any idea what she should wear to impress him?”

Suppressing a wince at being brought into the conversation, I forced my gaze up from my food and shrugged. “I don’t really know much about clothes, especially girl clothes.”

“We’re not asking for fashion tips,” Renee assured him. “Just what kind of look does he usually go for?”

Pushing away my feelings, I tried to think about if Bruce had some kind of type that he went for. It wasn’t exactly an easy thing for me to figure out, and not just because of who the information was for. “It’s hard to say. I mean … he really hasn’t shown much interest in girls before. I do know he hates people that pretend to be something they’re not, though, so your best bet is probably to just dress however you would normally.”

“Well that’s real helpful …” Renee muttered sarcastically, rolling her eyes at me before turning back to Amy. “How about I come over after school and help you pick something out? There’s gotta be something in your closet that will wow him.”

“That would be great, because I’m totally lost,” Amy replied in relief.

With the girls returning to their talk of clothes, I returned my attention to my food. I didn’t really have much of an appetite, though, and ended up just kind of picking at it a little. All the while, I listened to Amy as she and Renee talked about the upcoming date. There was a lightness and joy in her voice that I wasn’t sure that I’d ever heard from her before. It made me wonder if this was the first time she was truly happy since we’d met.

A bump on my chair pulled me from my thoughts followed quickly by some girl gasping, “Whoops!” Before I could even turn around, something cold, wet, and brown splashed over my shoulders and head, before running down my chest and back.

“What the hell?!” I gasped, jerking out of my seat as well as away from the liquid before spinning around to figure out what had happened. Standing there was a trio of girls, one of which held an open soda bottle in one hand which was clearly the source of what had been dunked on me. I faintly recognized the girls from some of my classes, but I didn’t really know or talk to any of them.

“Sor-ry. Didn’t see you there,” the girl with the soda chirped in a tone that sounded far from apologetic. Her amused smirk was even less so.

After tossing the girl an annoyed look, I glanced down at myself. My shirt was absolutely soaked, turning from white to an almost transparent brown that clung to my skin and made my bra visible for everyone to see. I tugged at it, but the wet, sticky material just sprang back to cling to me, causing me to let out a disgusted sigh.

“I guess that won’t be a problem for you now, though,” the girl added, causing the two girls behind her to burst into giggles.

Hearing the nasty remark prompted a glare from me. “What the fuck’s your problem, bitch?!”

“What? It was an accident. I said I was sorry,” the girl retorted haughtily as if I was the one in the wrong.

“Yeah, right. Sure it was,” I hissed sarcastically, still furious.

The girl shrugged. “Hey, it’s not my fault you take up like ten times as much space as a normal girl with those overinflated balloons of yours.”

Furious, I tried to find some kind of comeback while I fought back the urge to just punch the girl in her smug face. I had no idea what to go with, though. Unlike with Andy claiming that I stuffed my bra, I didn’t know of a way to prove that I didn’t have implants. She had nice boobs, too, fairly large while not incredibly so like mine, so I couldn’t just insult them back. I tried to find something else to target, but by then I’d already spent too much time thinking.

“Well I’ll leave you alone, so your bimbo brain can finish processing that,” the girl taunted as she turned to walk off. “Sorry again about ruining your shirt.”

Knowing that at that point it was too late for a comeback even if I had one, all I could do was glare at the girl as she and her friends left. All around me people whispered, snickered, and leered, making the situation even more humiliating than it had already been. Finally, I just huffed, spun around, and stormed off as well.

“Sam wait!” Amy called as she and Renee chased after me. They caught up to me after only a few steps, flanking me as they did. “Are you alright?”

“Yep,” I responded gruffly, continuing to stomp along angrily.

My curt response gave Amy pause for a moment before she added, “I … uhm I h-have a spare t-shirt in my locker if you need it. I … uhm … think it’ll fit you.”

“Great,” I answered.

Beside me, the two girls shared a look before Renee spoke up. “Sammy, I know that was rough, but you can’t let bitches like that get to you. That’s what they want.”

“I said I’m fine!” I blurted far too harshly, making it clear that I wasn’t fine. Coming to a stop, I clenched my fists and took a breath before I spoke again. “I’m going to go to the bathroom to clean up. Can you bring me that shirt, Amy?”

The blonde nodded. “Yeah, sure thing, Sam.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled before starting off toward the bathroom again, this time alone.

Luckily, I found the bathroom empty thanks to it being early in the lunch break, giving me a little bit of privacy while I dealt with the mess. As I walked over to the counter, I stripped out of my shirt and tossed the wet, sticky garment aside. Underneath that, my bra was nearly as much of a problem, thanks to the copious amounts of soda that had soaked through my thin shirt. There wasn’t much I could do about that, though, since it wasn’t like Amy, or any other girl in the school probably, could loan me a bra that would actually fit. I’d just have to deal with it.

“Fuck,” I huffed as I reached for the paper towels. Grabbing a handful, I soaked them in water, before I started dabbing at my bra to try to at least get rid of the stickiness if not the wet. It didn’t seem to help all that much, though.

Growling in frustration, I spun and threw the wad of paper towels at the trash can as hard as I could. It collided with the metal cylinder with a resounding thud, but offered little in the way of relief for my anger. Reaching up, I ran my hands through my hair, half-tempted to rip the strands right out of my head.

“Relax,” I finally told myself before taking a deep breath. Renee was right. I shouldn’t let what those girls did get to me. There wasn’t anything I could’ve done to avoid their prank – not without eyes in the back of my head or something, and I didn’t want that mutation for sure. I just had to ignore it and let it go.

Breathing and focus helped a lot, getting my rage to finally subside. Turning back to the mirror, I leaned on the counter and looked at my reflection standing there with its bloated chest and messed up clothes. It was going to be an uncomfortable afternoon, but I could deal with that. With a final sigh, I grabbed some more paper towels and set about cleaning myself up. I was just about finished when I heard the door open behind me and turned to see who it was.

“Oh! Uhm … “ Amy gasped, eyes wide at the sight of me without a shirt on. “... I … h-here’s the shirt,” she finally managed to get out, thrusting her hand out toward me while she averted her eyes. In it rested a folded up purple t-shirt.

Suddenly self-conscious about my state of half dress, I crossed one arm over my chest while I reached out for the shirt with the other, my cheeks burning the entire time. “Thanks …” I told her before quickly tugging the shirt on. That task proved a bit harder than I expected as the shirt was forced to stretch even to fit my frame, and far more so to get over my boobs, but in the end, I did manage to get it on. A glance in the mirror, though, showed that it looked like it had been painted onto me, straining almost to the point of tearing.

“I … uhm … guess it’s a bit … small,” Amy mumbled apologetically.

“It’s fine,” I reassured her. “Better than no shirt, right?”

“Definitely,” Amy agreed with a giggle. The mirth didn’t last, though, before she got a concerned look on her face. “Are you gonna be alright? I know how hard it can be dealing with stuff like that.”

I nodded. “It sucked, but I’ll be fine. It’s gonna take more than a little soda to get to me.”

My response brought a smile to her face. “How do you do that?”

“Do what?” I asked, not thinking that I’d done anything at all.

“Bounce back like that,” Amy explained. “You got stabbed, turned into a girl, and now this, but you always just bounce right back as if nothing happened.”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I just try not to let that kind of stuff bother me. I mean, it’s not like I would rather have not helped you, and there was nothing I could even do about the other two things. Sometimes the world just does bad things to us, and we’ve just gotta move passed it. At least that’s what my dad always told me.”

“I’ve never been able to do that,” Amy sighed. “After everyone found out about me, started treating me like some kind of freak … I …” She paused to shake her head. “If it hadn’t been for Renee befriending me, I don’t know what I would have done.”

“Well hey, you’ve got me now too,” I pointed out. “Plus I bet all those people that used to pick on you are super jealous about you and Bruce becoming a thing. Girls have been trying to get him to date for years.”

Amy laughed self-consciously. “Yeah … I guess ..”

“See? Things always get better eventually,” I told her. “You just gotta put all the stupid shit behind you, so that you can enjoy it.”

Amy smiled. “I’ll try to remember that.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 14

Sighing as I walked up to Bruce’s front door, I typed out a text on my phone to let him know that I was at his place. All his message to me had said was that it was urgent that I come over right away. Given that it was Friday, the night of his and Amy’s first date, I was sure it had something to do with that. That was why every step I took seemed to feel like a step toward some horrible fate.

Just as I got to the door and was about to knock, it was pulled open to reveal Bruce standing on the other side. He looked far from prepared for his date, dressed in some ratty sweatpants, and with his usually spiky-styled hair, unstyled and matted to his head. “Hey,” he greeted as he stepped out of the way to let me in. “Thanks for coming.”

“No problem,” I assured him as I entered. “So what’s big emergency?”

“Ah … that … right …” Bruce mumbled, seeming to struggle a bit to get his thoughts in order. “It’s … well … about my date … with Amy.”

I forced a smirk onto my face. “I figured. What’s the problem with the date, though? Not wanna go or something?”

Immediately, Bruce shook his head. “No … maybe … no … I just … “ he stammered until finally blurting, “I have no fucking idea what I’m supposed to do, or wear, or say, or anything. I’ve never done anything like this. Chasing women, going on dates, getting coffee, that’s stuff Chuck does not me! I make music, man! Music!”

In spite of my best efforts to be sympathetic, I couldn’t quite stop myself from snorting out a little chuckle. It was just too funny to see the cool, calm, and indifferent Bruce all flustered and befuddled by something as simple as a date with a girl. It was like the guy standing before me was some kind of bizarro Bruce that was totally lame and pitiful.

My amusement was not shared by Bruce, who leveled a glare at me. “Jackass.”

“Sorry,” I managed to get out, still fighting back my urge to laugh. “You’ve gotta admit it is a little funny, though.”

“I’m sure it’s hysterical,” Bruce deadpanned, clearly not agreeing. “Now do you think you can stop acting like a child and help?”

Part of me wanted to shake my head or make a joke or do anything else to piss Bruce off even further. After all, if he was angry, I wouldn’t have to help him with Amy. I just couldn’t stand the idea of being that petty, though.

“Yeah, of course, man,” I assured him. “And don’t worry about it. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but Amy has been super nervous about the whole date thing too, so you’re not the only one stressing out about it.”

“She has?” Bruce perked up, before suddenly frowning suspiciously. “Is she having second thoughts? Does she think it’ll be lame?”

Rolling my eyes, I shook my head. “No, she’s super excited about it. Trust me. You just need to relax and be yourself, and it’ll go great.”

Taking a deep breath, Bruce nodded. “Right … be myself … be myself …” he repeated, using the words like a mantra to focus himself. “It’s no big deal. Just coffee.”

“Exactly,” I agreed. “You’re still taking her to that record place over on tenth, right?”

Bruce nodded. “Yeah. I wanted her to hear what music was like back before the corporations took the soul out of it with their profiteering.”

“Alright, great. That’s perfect,” I replied. “There’ll be plenty of stuff to talk about there, just make sure you have a few albums in mind that you want to show her and let the conversation flow where it will.”

“That makes sense. How about – “ Bruce started to say.

I held up a hand to stop him. “Just think about it for now. We’ll go over it later. You’ve got other stuff to get started on.”

“I do?” Bruce questioned.

“Yeah, unless you’re going for the whole just rolled outta bed look,” I replied. “I hear some guys make that work for them.”

Mention of his appearance caused Bruce to glance down at his clothes. “Oh … right … I was working on that earlier, but … I never actually settled on something,” he noted, getting me to sigh heavily. “What?”

“It’s nothing. I just had to go through the whole, ‘What’ll I wear,’ thing with Amy for the last couple of days now,” I muttered. “I was hoping that I was done with it, but I guess not.”

“Sorry,” Bruce apologized. “I would’ve asked Chuck for help, but I’m not trying to get slapped on the first date.”

I laughed. “Yeah, then he’d have been pretty much useless. Anyway, come on. Let’s get upstairs and find you something to wear. We don’t want you to be late for your first date.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Alright, man. I’m gonna head home,” I announced after having spent over an hour calming Bruce down and helping him get ready for his date.

“What? Already?” Bruce asked, starting to get nervous again at the mere idea of being on his own.

I rolled my eyes at him. “Yeah. You’re as ready as you’ll ever be, and you need to leave in just a bit anyway. Just try not to worry about it too much and be your usual awesome self and everything will be fine.”

Bruce nodded at the encouragement. “Alright. Got it. Thanks for coming by to help, Sam.”

“Anytime, Bruce, and good luck on the date,” I told replied, before giving him a quick wave and heading out.

It wasn’t until I was all the way outside and a dozen paces from Bruce’s house that I finally relaxed. Once I was, the confidence and smile left me; replaced by a shoulder-slumping weariness. It was amazing that I’d managed to keep the act up for as long as I had.

“God those two are helpless,” I muttered as I ambled back toward my house. “If I hadn’t nudged them along …”

A heavy sigh escaped my lips. If I hadn’t pushed Bruce, he might have never even tried to ask Amy out, and Amy certainly wouldn’t have asked him out. The whole situation was entirely of my own making. I could have completely avoided it, maybe even have pursued Amy myself. All I would have had to do was ignore everyone’s feelings except my own.

Chuckling, I shook my head at myself. I really need to stop worrying about the what ifs and maybes. I’d done the right thing. I didn’t want the alternative, anyway. She’d only be with me because I nearly died saving her from those thugs. She and Bruce were both dorky, socially awkward, but attractive musicians – practically made for each other. They’d be happy together.

Sighing again, I just trudged through the rest of the walk in silence. The neighborhood didn’t exactly respect my wishes for quiet solitude, though, but rather insisted on an idyllic suburban view of life. The sun hadn’t quite set yet, casting a warm glow over the houses while cars from the many parents returning home from their jobs drove past with regular frequency. There were even a few kids outside playing, enjoying the last bits of daylight.

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before I made it to my house. Inside, I hoped to just head up to my room to get away from everything and be alone with my thoughts. Naturally, that wasn’t what awaited me.

“Hi, Sam,” my mom, already home from work and seated in the living room, greeted the moment I was through the door. “Where’ve you been?”

“I was just helping Bruce get ready for his date with Amy,” I replied. Knowing I was going to be stuck talking, I turned toward my mom rather than continuing on to my room. “He was a little freaked out about it.”

My mom nodded in understanding. “This is his first girlfriend, isn’t it?”

“Yep,” I replied. “I never would’ve thought he’d be so bad at it, though. You should’ve seen him. He couldn’t even manage to get himself dressed properly.”

My mom smiled. “Well I remember a certain young man who was so nervous for his first date with a girl that he couldn’t even manage to button his own shirt because his hands were shaking so badly.”

“Ugh … don’t remind me,” I groaned, more than a little embarrassed to be reminded that I had been just as bad as Bruce not that long ago.

My discomfort got a giggle out of my mom, but thankfully she didn’t stay on the topic of humiliating me. “Anyway, it was nice of you to help him out.”

“Yeah. I think it’ll go well, now that he’s calmed down a bit,” I replied, forcing myself to try to stay positive. It was getting more than a little exhausting at that point, though.

“You alright?” my mom asked, picking up on something in my tone of voice that was off.

I nodded. “Yeah. Just a little tired. I think I might go to bed early tonight.”

“Think you’ll be up for dress shopping tomorrow or should we do it some other time?” my mom questioned.

The reminder nearly caused me to wince before I caught myself. I’d completely forgotten that I’d agreed to go dress shopping with my mom this weekend. Of course, I could’ve just lied and said I wasn’t up to it, but my mom had really been looking forward to it. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

“You sure?” my mom double-checked, still just a bit concerned.

I nodded. “Yeah. I’m sure.”

“Great,” my mom chirped, smiling at the fact that the shopping trip wasn’t canceled. “By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask. Are you set on trying to find something like the dress from last saturday or would you be okay with shopping around a little? Don’t get me wrong, that dress looked great, it’s just there might be other styles that you might like too.”

“We can shop around,” I replied because I knew that that was what my mom would want to do. After all, the whole point of doing the dress shopping thing was to try to give her some semblance of the mother-daughter bond that she’d always wanted. It wouldn’t hurt me to spend a saturday afternoon looking at dresses to make her happy.

My mom’s smile brightened at my response. “Great! I saw a couple of styles at a shop nearby that I think will look great on you.”

“Well, you would know better than I would,” I told her.

“I don’t know about that. You seem to have a pretty good eye for this kinda thing,” my mom responded. “Like most things, you just need more experience with it.”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. My mom’s idea of more experience would be to spend all of my time on girly nonsense like dresses. “Well it’s not like I’m going to be doing this all the time or something. How many dresses could I possibly need? One should be plenty.”

My mom chuckled knowingly. “You’d be surprised, dear. To a girl, having the right dress for the right occasion is crucial.”

“Sounds more like an excuse to own way more dresses than a person needs,” I retorted. “After all, it’s not like guys need a bunch of different kinds of suits or something.”

“Well there are tuxedos, formal suits, casual suits, two piece and three piece – “ my mom started to list off, counting them out on her fingers as she went.

I held my hands up to get her to stop before she could get too far. “Enough! I get it! You can need more than one dress!”

My mom grinned smugly. “Anyway, we’ll need to get up pretty early because one of the places requires an appointment and ours is at nine.”

“Nine?” I repeated, scrunching my face up in disgust.

“It was all they had available,” my mom told me.

Sighing, I nodded. “Alright, I’ll set my alarm, I guess.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 15

“Ooo, that one’s adorable!” my mom cooed in delight as I came out of the dressing room in the latest dress that she’d had me try on. It was a rather simple looking pink number with a knee length skirt and modest, spaghetti strapped top that was in fact quite adorable on me.

Not sharing my mom’s enthusiasm for her most recent dress selection, I leveled an exasperated look her way. “It’s pink.”

“Yes, but it looks great on you,” my mom argued, stepping forward to fuss with the dress a little to make sure it looked just right.

“I’m not gonna wear pink,” I stated firmly, not wanting my mom to think there was any hope for convincing me otherwise. If I did, she’d probably swap my whole wardrobe out for pink or something equally horrifying.

My resistance elicited a heavy sigh from my mom. “Alright … well thank you for at least trying it on for me.”

Guilt hit me hard as I saw my mom’s glum reaction. There was no way I was going to cave on the matter of pink clothes, though. There had to be something else I could do as a compromise. “The … uhm … the purple one you pointed out earlier looked like it might be okay.”

Immediately, my mom perked back up. “You mean the lavender one?”

I couldn’t quite stop myself from wincing at the term lavender. It made it sound so girly, like some kind of scented soap or something. “Yeah … the uh … lavender one.”

“I’ll go get it,” my mom chirped happily before scurrying off to find my next garment.

As I watched her go, I couldn’t help but smile a little. My mom was so excited and happy, it was almost like she was the teenage girl trying on dresses, instead of me. Seeing her like that was worth wasting a saturday dealing with girl stuff.

“Still not gonna wear pink, though,” I muttered as I turned to look in the mirror, twisting from side to side to get a look at myself from various angles. It wasn’t just the principal of the color being as girly as a color could be, though, that would have been reason enough. I didn’t like how it looked on me either.

Suddenly realizing just how focused I’d been on how I looked in a stupid dress, I let out a groan. “Ugh … all these damn girly activities are rotting my brain. I need to go out and play sports or get in a fight or something,” I muttered before letting out a sigh. It had been a long time since I’d done any of those things. Since school had started, I’d barely touched a basketball and certainly hadn’t punched anyone. Not for lack of wanting on that last one, though.

The sound of my mom’s return pulled me from my thoughts. In her arms was the … lavender dress that I’d indicated looked nice. “Oh, you’re still wearing that one?” my mom questioned, a knowing grin spreading across her face at the sight.

“Only because I didn’t want to just stand here in my underwear while I wanted,” I assured her, not wanting her to get any ideas.

My mom just waved a hand dismissively as she came over and offered me the dress that she had brought for me. “Alright then here you go. Try this one on.”

Not liking the way my mom dismissed my answer, I tossed her a wary look as I grabbed the dress and went into the dressing room. Having already tried on several so far that morning, I easily slipped out of the pink one before stepping into the lavender gown. It was a very different design, with a full length skirt, curve hugging fabric, and most interesting of all, no straps. It was my first experience with a strapless dress, so I was more than a little curious to see how it would actually stay on. Once I got it on, though, I realized that I should have been able to guess how it worked.

“My boobs … of course …” I muttered once I had the dress zipped up, wondering how I could have forgotten about the mammoth protrusions on my chest. Looking down, I could see the neckline of the outfit sat high enough on my breasts to be past their fullest part and was snug enough to use that fact to hold the dress in place. In fact it was more than snug enough for that task, to the point where it had been difficult to zip up past my boobs and now strained from the effort of containing them. Still, at least it was pretty clear that it wouldn’t just fall off and leave me flashing my tits to everyone around me.

Sighing, I made sure the dress was laying properly on me before I stepped out of the dressing room for my mom to see it. The moment I was out the door, My mom’s gaze immediately locked on me, carefully scanning over the dress as she circled around me to appraise it from all angles. Unlike actually getting into the dresses, this part of trying them on never got any easier. It was incredibly embarrassing to just stand there while someone was staring at me.

Finally, my mom smiled, apparently pleased. “This one looks really good. What do you think, sweetie?”

“Uhm … “ I began uncertainly as I looked myself over in the mirror. The lavender actually looked pretty good on me and the dress was definitely pretty. I didn’t like it as much as I did the dress from the previous saturday, though. “I guess it looks nice, but won’t I have the same problem with it as with that dress from last weekend?”

My mom looked confused for a moment before realization dawned on her. “Oh you mean because of your bra straps. Don’t worry about that. We can just get you a strapless bra to wear with it.”

“Oh …” I mumbled, not having realized bras could come without straps. I would’ve thought that a crucial design feature for a bra. Of course, all I had to do was look down to see how something without straps could function. It didn’t seem like it would be very supportive, though. I supposed that I was going to have to try one at some point to see.

“So, you like this one, then?” my mom asked eagerly.

“I do, it’s just … “ I started to say before trailing off.

My mom furrowed her brow in concern. “What? What’s wrong with it?”

I scrunched my face up in embarrassment because of what I was about to say. “Nothing, I just really liked the yellow one.”

My mom smiled brightly. “Well then I’ll guess we’ll just have to find one like it.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

A faint sigh escaped my lips as I stopped eating and set down my hamburger to glance down at my most recent text. Ever since their date had ended last night, Amy and Bruce had both been texting me with a constant stream of thoughts, and information about the date, and various neurotic worries that they had about the other not enjoying themselves. Each time, I reassured them about the date, knowing full well that they’d both enjoyed it a lot given both what they’d said and how they’d acted since. Every time I had to do that, though, it stung, making me wish I could just ignore them.

“Is shopping for a dress that bad?” my mom asked, her tone a mix of guilt and concern. She even stopped eating as well to just look at me in worry.

Without hesitating, I shook my head. “No, it’s been nice,” I assured her, not even having to lie about it. Shopping really hadn’t been as bad as I’d have thought. Some of it had actually been kinda fun. Sure it had been a little boring as well, but so was shopping for any kind of clothes. At least dresses were something new, that I neither already had nor knew anything about. “It’s just my friends stressing out over nothing again.”

“Ah, yes … I remember how it was, worrying about every little thing that happened while you wondered if the person liked you or not,” my mom reminisced wistfully, a far off look in her eye.

“Don’t forget being a gigantic pain in the butt to all your friends,” I added smoothly.

My mom chuckled. “Yeah, but that’s what friends are, people who don’t get upset when you act like a gigantic pain in the butt.”

“I guess,” I muttered. Friendship certainly did involve a lot of putting up with things.

“Anyway, try not to hold it against them. I’m sure it’ll pass in no time,” my mom told me.

Knowing that my mom was probably right, I just nodded. After all, no one could stay that stressed out forever. They’d calm down after a couple of dates at the very least. It was just a nuisance that I’d have to put up with for maybe a couple weeks or so. They weren’t even the only friend problem that I had at the moment, anyway.

“Hey, mom. How much longer do you think we’ll be?” I asked as I got an idea for possibly solving my other friend problem.

My mom shrugged uncertainly. “There’s just one more place left, so maybe an hour or two, I guess. Why? Do you want to stop?”

“Not, it’s not that. I was just thinking about seeing if Chuck wanted to hang out after we’re finished. He and I haven’t really done much together since the night of the fight,” I replied, pulling out my phone to start a text to Chuck.

“Oh, okay. Just make sure you two won’t be out too late,” my mom responded.

Nodding, I quickly typed out a text, seeing if Chuck wanted to hang out later just the two of us. Once that was done, I sent it off, hoping that it would prove enough to solve the problem. A few moments later, I got a text back agreeing to it, earning a sigh of relief from me. It seemed that problem wasn’t going to be so bad.

“I take it he’s free?” my mom asked as she heard my sigh.

I nodded. “Yeah. We’re gonna meet up for a movie later tonight.”

“Well then we need to hurry up and eat so that we can finish up,” my mom remarked.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 16

“Whoa ... look at her,” I gasped, pointing over toward a girl walking the the other way as Chuck and I entered the mall. She was older than us, probably a senior, with a tall well-endowed figure that was shown off in some rather scanty attire.

“I see becoming a girl hasn’t dulled your eye,” Chuck remarked in appreciation, smirking as his gaze trailed the girl for the couple moments before she’d passed us by.

“It would take more than that to mess with me. After all, I was trained by the biggest perv in the business … you,” I retorted smoothly.

Chuck laughed at that. “And I’m glad to have my disciple back. I just wish that she’d finally realize that there’s nothing perverted about appreciating the female form.”

“Then why do these girls always call you a pervert before they slap you?” I inquired mockingly.

“Jealousy, of course,” Chuck answered simply. “Girls don’t like it when you appreciate any girl’s form but theirs.”

I gave him a skeptical look. “I don’t know. I just saw you ‘appreciate’ another girl and I don’t feel like slapping you – well not anymore than I normally do anyway.”

“You hardly count as a normal girl,” Chuck noted before glancing at my chest. “Besides, you don’t have any reason to be jealous of her.”

That remark got me to roll my eyes. “Whatever. I’m just a pair of boobs. That girl was really hot.”

“Well, I mean, you are a lot of boob, but the rest of you is pretty damn hot too,” Chuck complimented, his eyes moving over me slowly.

Suddenly, I bumped my shoulder against Chuck’s, hard enough to get him to stumble a step. “Hey! Eyes up before I slap them outta your head.”

Looking away from me, Chuck rubbed at his hair. “Sorry. Sometimes it’s hard to not look. Y’know?”

“Yeah, I know. Sometimes they even mesmerize me,” I replied, glancing down at my chest. Even now that I’d had them for a while, they were still nice to look at – not as nice as other girls’ were, though.

“Hey, I’ve been wondering … “ Chuck began, seeming nervous. “Would you really have let me feel them that day if I hadn’t taken so long to do it?”

I shrugged. “Maybe. Guess you shoulda been faster then, cause now you’ll never know.”

Tossing a longing look toward my chest, Chuck groaned, “ Unfair …”

The torment on his face just got me to grin. “You know better than to hesitate when a girl says you can touch her.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Chuck sighed as we made it to the theater and got in line. “I know, but they were just so … intimidating.”

“Imagine how I felt waking up with them,” I joked. “But hey, you never know when I might give ya another shot at ‘em.”

“Really?” Chuck asked, tone bright and optimistic.

I snorted in amusement. “Of course not, you idiot.”

The optimism vanished from Chuck’s face, replaced by the betrayed look of a puppy that had been kicked. “Wow … cold …”

“Aw, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll find someone else to fondle,” I cooed, voice full of false sympathy.

Chuck glanced at my chest skeptically. “Not anyone with tits like yours.”

“You never know. There’s gotta be someone out there with ones that are even better. You’ve just gotta find her,” I consoled him. “If you do, I’ll even wing girl for ya. How’s that?”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Chuck replied before stepping up to the counter to buy his ticket. As soon as he was, I followed suit, and we made our way into the theater. “I’m feeling like a snack for this. I think I’m gonna grab some popcorn.”

“Alright. I’ll meet ya in there,” I told him.

A moment later, Chuck and I had gone our separate ways. Him to the concessions to get his popcorn and me off to the theater to find seats. It was a saturday night, so there was a bit of a crowd even though we’d gotten there early. Fortunately, I managed to find a couple of center row seats about midway back. Most of the rows behind me were packed with other teens eager to see an action flick. Many of them also seemed to be on dates, possibly intending to use the dim movie theater lighting for things other than watching movies.

Seeing all the couples got me wondering if I’d ever get to see a movie with a date. It wasn’t like I knew any girls besides me that liked girls and dating guys hadn’t gotten any less undesirable since I’d joined the female side of things. There didn’t seem to be a lot of hope for me dating anytime soon.

“Mmm, theater popcorn is the best,” Chuck moaned as he sat down next to me, carrying a giant tub of popcorn. Setting down his soda, he scooped up a handful of the buttery treat and shoved it into his mouth, eliciting more wordless sounds of delight.

Suddenly envious, I eyed the popcorn, feeling my mouth water at the sight. Knowing Chuck was occupied with his food, I leaned a little closer to him. Surreptitiously, I reached out one hand, snaking it toward the golden kernels. A moment later, I snatched a few and tossed them into my mouth.

“Hey!” Chuck complained. “What the hell do ya think you’re doing?”

“Eating popcorn,” I stated matter-of-factly, not bothering to try to lie now that I was caught.

“Eating MY popcorn, you mean!” Chuck corrected, emphasizing the pronoun. “Get your own!”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh come on. There’s no way you’re going to eat all of that. You can share.”

Chuck leveled a glare at me that I could actually feel chill my blood. It was almost as if I’d offered him some grave insult. “You can have some if you let me have that feel I missed out on.”

“What? No way. Popcorn’s not worth it,” I huffed. “Besides, I don’t want my boobs covered in butter.”

For a moment, Chuck just looked at me as if weighing whether he should push harder for the deal. Finally, he just let out an exasperated sigh. “Fine. I’ll share, but you’re gonna pay for the popcorn next time.”

Grinning, I swiped a handful of popcorn from the tub and tossed a few of the kernels into my mouth. “You’ve got a deal.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Mmm, that was great,” I moaned as I stretched my hands over my head to loosen up after the movie. When Chuck didn’t say anything in response, I glanced over at him to see him staring at my chest. Rolling my eyes, I added, “How about you, Chuck? What did you think of the movie?” emphasizing the boy’s name to get his attention.

Snapping from his stare, Chuck lifted his eyes to mine. “Huh … oh it was … uhm … good ... yeah.”

“Good, huh?” I repeated, now dubious of exactly how much of the movie Chuck had even seen. I had a feeling that he’d spent more time watching me than the screen. I figured it really didn’t matter. though, as long as he’d had fun. “Well, I’m gonna go hit the bathroom. I’ll meet ya out by the exit.”

“Yeah … I’ll uhm … be right behind you. I just wanna check something in the credits real quick,” Chuck replied while crossing his legs.

Shrugging, I hopped up from my seat and started filing out with the rest of the crowd. It seemed that another movie must have let out around the same time, because by the time I made it to the girls’ restroom, there was already a line. Sighing in annoyance, I folded my arms to wait.

The line moved slowly, making me wish as I had many times in the past, that I could still pee standing up. It wasn’t just that standing was more convenient, and didn’t require sitting on some gross public toilet seat, but it was also clearly quite a bit faster. Girls took notably longer to go, plus because they couldn’t save space with urinals, there weren’t as many toilets available to use. It was no wonder that there was always a line.

Finally, my turn came. I tried to hurry up as quickly as I could, determined to not contribute more to the problem than I had to. Apparently, hurrying wouldn’t actually help anything, though, as I ended up just getting stuck waiting in line at the counter while girls gossiped and fixed their makeup in addition to washing their hands.

As I waited there, I noticed a couple of the girls in front of me glance back my way. It was a quick gesture, easily ignored, if not for the fact that suddenly their gossiping took on a hushed and secretive tone. It didn’t take long before the giggling starting.

Knowing I was being made fun of, I ground my teeth against each other. There wasn’t really anything I could do. Certainly it wouldn’t be worth it to try to confront two random girls in a theater restroom, even if I didn’t think it would end badly. It always seemed to when I tried to confront girls that were laughing at me.

Eventually, the giggling stopped or at least moved away as the girls left. That also made it my turn to use a sink, which I finished with as quickly as I could before hurrying out. I really hated the girls’ restroom.

Once I was out, I headed straight toward the exit, expecting Chuck to already be there waiting. After all, I’d taken so long, it didn’t matter what Chuck had needed to look for in the credits. He could have easily managed both that and a bathroom break of his own in the time that I’d taken.

Much to my surprise, Chuck was not waiting at the exit to the theater. Confused, I glanced around to see if he was at least nearby, but there wasn’t any sign of him. “Maybe he’s still inside?” I mused, glancing back toward the theater our movie had been showing in. It seemed like the only place to check, unless I wanted to try walking into the boys room as a girl.

Not wanting to just stand around, I started back toward the theater. Doing so moved me away from the crowds of people coming in and out. Without the crowd, the general din lessened to a state that could almost be called quiet in comparison. It was thanks to that relative quiet that the sound of someone grunting in pain carried to my ears.

Stopping, I turned toward the noise, furrowing my brow. It was coming from around the corner at the far end of the hall. That was back where the smaller theaters for the less well-liked or older movies were – a place that was usually deserted. I didn’t even need the follow up gasp of pain nor the male laughter that followed to get me to take off down the hall in that direction.

Turning around the corner, I lurched to a stop in surprise. In the back hallway were four boys, two of which I knew well. Unfortunately, one of the ones I knew was Chuck, and he was currently leaning heavily against the wall with a bloody hand cupped to his face. Standing in front of him was the second boy that I knew, although, only barely. It was Brayden, the older boy that Chuck had made the mistake of trying to set me up with.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I growled, clenching my hands into fists in rage.

Brayden and his two friends both looked over at me. “Well, look who it is. I was just talking to Chucky here about you. Isn’t that right, Chucky?”

“About me? What? Are you still mad that I didn’t want to do that stupid double date thing with you?” I questioned.

Brayden’s jaw visibly clenched. “No, I’m mad because this little shit said he’d hook me up and then badmouthed me behind my back, so that he could snake you for himself.”

“I told you that’s not what happened, man,” Chuck argued, his voice a bit nasally. “You got it all wrong.”

“Yeah, right,” Brayden scoffed. “My friends and I saw you two cozying up during the movie, asshole.”

“We’re just friends, dude. We were sharing a thing of popcorn. That’s all,” Chuck tried to explain.

Growling in anger, Brayden slammed Chuck against the wall. “Don’t lie to me!”

Without even thinking about it, I thrust out my hand, lashing out with my power. “Get away from him!”

The next instant, force slammed into Brayden’s shoulder, bowling the older boy over easily and sending him tumbling a couple feet along the ground. Immediately, all eyes, wide and more than just a little afraid, were on me. Even Brayden who was laying on the ground rubbing his shoulder, was just staring at me. Suddenly, I realized that I’d just done something very very stupid.

“Holy shit, she’s one of those mutant freaks!” Brayden finally gasped as he scrambled to get back to his feet.

I winced at the word freaks, more so because of my stupidity at outting myself as a mutant than the word actually hurting. It was out there now, though, so there was no point in denying it. “Yeah, I am, so you and your friends better fuck off before I do something far worse than just knocking you on your ass.”

The grimace on Brayden’s face made it pretty clear that he didn’t like being threatened by me, but he didn’t talk back. Instead he huffed in annoyance, before tilting his head at his friends to get them to follow. After that, they just walked away, glaring at me the entire time.

I glared back at the group of boys right up until they turned the corner. The moment they did, I spun back to Chuck and hurried over to him. “You alright, man?”

“I’m fine,” Chuck muttered. “It’s just a fucking bloody nose.”

Skeptical, I rested a hand on his shoulder,. “Are you sure? That’s a lot of blood.”

“I said I’m fine!” Chuck growled angrily, tugging away from me.

Surprised by the outburst, I fell back a step. “Sorry.”

“You didn’t have to do that, y’know!” Chuck growled. “I could’ve handled him by myself.”

“I know you could’ve,” I lied, unsure of if Chuck was mad that I’d helped him or mad that he’d been getting his butt kicked. “I just didn’t want you to risk messing up your good looks in the process, because no way are you ever gonna find a date without ‘em.”

Sighing, Chuck shook his head. “Whatever … let’s just get outta here," he muttered before turning and walking off down the hall. Not sure what to do with that response, I just fell silently into step behind him.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 17

As I walked into school on Monday morning, I was acutely aware of all the eyes that turned my way. Any other day, I would have dismissed such furtive glances as people trying to check me out or just eyes being drawn toward motion, but not anymore. Now, people knew about me, at least about the mutant part if they hadn’t figured out the other thing yet.

Making my way toward the common area where I usually met up with Amy and Renee, I tried to ignore the people looking at me. It didn’t help much. It felt like everyone was staring while they whispered whatever cruel rumors were spreading about me now.

“Hey, Sammy,” Renee greeted with her usual pluck when I made to our table, before a smirk curled her lips. “How’d the dress shopping go?”

I shrugged as I sat down in my usual spot. “Alright I guess. We didn’t end up finding one I liked, though.”

“Damn. I was hoping to see you in a dress,” Renee grumbled lightheartedly.

That got a laugh from me. “Sorry to disappoint. If it makes you feel better, my mom probably won’t give up on it that easily.”

“Well I guess that means the dream’s still, alive at least,” Renee remarked. “Maybe next time we can even go with you!”

Not wanting to even address the topic of my friends coming along next time to further my embarrassment, I just turned toward Amy. “So, seen Bruce since your date?”

“Uhm … no …” Amy answered, shaking her head shyly.

“He’s supposed to be here in just a little bit,” Renee informed me. “Ames has been bouncing back and forth between terrified and giddy. It’s been adorable.”

“Renee!” Amy exclaimed defensively. “I have not! I’m just a little nervous about it is all.”

Renee rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say, Ames.”

The sarcasm elicited a pout from Amy. “It’s true!”

Watching the two friends go back and forth caused me to chuckle slightly. It was just the kind of distraction that Amy needed to help calm her down, which would be a big help whenever Bruce actually did get to the table. Otherwise, the two would just sit there in awkward silence.

“Putting Amy’s manic tendencies aside for a moment,” Renee began.

“I’m not manic!” Amy protested.

Ignoring her friend’s outrage, Renee just continued her segue. “How did things go with Chuck on saturday? You two manage to patch things up?”

The mention of my outing with Chuck prompted an involuntary wince from me. “Uhm … sort of ...”

“How do you sort of patch things up? What happened?” Renee inquired.

“Well we had fun, and things seemed good between us, but after the movie there were guys there and we sorta ... got into a fight with them,” I answered uncertainly.

“Oh my God!” Amy gasped. “Are you both alright?”

I nodded and shrugged at the same time. “Yeah, for the most part. Chuck got a split lip and a bloody nose, but that’s it. He wasn’t too happy about it, though.”

“Thank God,” Amy mumbled in relief.

Meanwhile, Renee furrowed her brow in confusion. “How did you get into a fight anyway?”

Rolling my eyes, I let out a long exasperated groan. “I don’t really know. One of the other guys was this older guy named Brayden, he’s the one Chuck tried to set me up with on that double date. Apparently, he thought Chuck and I were there on a date somehow, and he’d fabricated all this nonsense about Chuck badmouthing him to me and trying to take me for himself. Chuck tried to explain, but Brayden ended up shoving him, and then I knocked him over with my telekinesis and –”

“Wait … you used your powers on him?” Amy interrupted me, a worried expression on her face. “Why would you do that?! Now, everyone will know you’re a mutant!”

I winced at Amy’s reaction. “Well yeah, but it’s not like I was gonna be able to keep that a secret forever. People were gonna figure it out eventually. I’m just glad I’ve had some time to get used to all of this,” I gestured down at my female body, “before they did.”

Amy gave me a skeptical look. “Really? Cause people are probably going to get a lot worse now …”

“They weren’t exactly being nice before. I can handle it,” I reassured her. “Besides, I’m not ashamed of what I am, and you shouldn’t be either.”

Still looking skeptical, Amy nodded. “Alright. As long as you’ll be okay ...”

“I will be,” I promised.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

For the third time, I pretended to fiddle with something in my locker as I glanced toward Chuck’s locker, notably devoid of Chuck’s presence. He and I had barely spoken after the situation with Brayden. I’d figured that he’d needed space at the time and I’d talk to him once he’d cooled down, but I’d been waiting around at our lockers all break, but he’d never shown. In the background, I heard the warning bell buzz to tell students to get to class.

“Where the hell are you?” I muttered as I grabbed my phone. Quickly, I typed out a text asking exactly that and sent it off. There was no immediate reply, though.

Sighing, I slammed my locker closed and started off toward my class. All around was the bustle of students making the last second rush to not get a tardy. That didn’t stop them from looking at me, though. Eyes would constantly glance my way, followed by the hushed words of rumors spreading. Sometimes, there would even be laughs and snickers from jokes told at my expense.

The fact that I couldn’t hear what was being said about me, actually made it worse. I was used to jokes and teasing. Chuck and Renee both could be relentless with their teasing, and it had never bothered me. In fact, I usually gave as good, if not better than, I got. The covert nature of these jokes, though, made it impossible for me to fight back or even know what was being said. I knew that I shouldn’t let it get to me, that it was inevitable and passing, but every single laugh I overheard still caused me to cringe like I was hearing nails on a chalkboard.

It didn’t take me long to make it through the crowd and to my class. There, I plopped into my seat, dropping my notebook haphazardly on the desk in front of me. I had too much on my mind for taking notes.

The classroom was no escape from the stares and rumors either. They just got quieter and less obvious, quick furtive glances and hushed whispers in between pretending to actually listen to what the teacher had to say. Naturally, the teacher didn’t even seem to notice, just continued his lecture, oblivious and unheard.

The constant looks got me to slump lower in my chair, even though, it was a silly thing for me to do. It wasn’t like I could actually hide like that. There wasn’t anything I could do to hide, but just sitting there doing nothing made my skin crawl.

“Now I know why Amy is so self conscious,” I muttered, finally understanding. Day after day of being treated like a freak and an outcast would be hard on anyone’s self-esteem. I had to be careful to not let it damage mine like it had hers.

Setting my jaw, I forced myself to sit upright, even straighter than I usually would. Once I did, I grabbed my notebook and flipped it open, determined to focus on the class and ignore everything else. That was the only thing I could.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

As my foot hit the ground outside the bus, I let out a weary sigh. It had been a long, trying day so far, and all I wanted to do was go home and collapse. I had definitely earned it, but there was still one last thing I felt I had to do.

Wistfully, I glanced toward my house where it sat just down the road before turning and trudging off in another direction. The direction I chose was far from random. It went deeper into the subdivision where Chuck’s house was located. I’d never heard back from him regarding where he was, and no one had seen him all day, so a nagging worry had developed that forced me to go and check on him.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a long walk, just a couple of streets down the way from my own home. There was nothing special about the house. It was just another of the many on the street with no special signs to indicate what might have kept Chuck from school. It didn’t even look like there was anyone inside. That didn’t stop me from walking up and ringing the doorbell, though.

The response was slow, but after several long seconds, the door finally opened. On the other side was Chuck, sloppily dressed as if he’s just rolled out of bed. Other than the still split lip he sported, he looked perfectly fine. “Hey, Sam.”

“Hey,” I returned the greeting, peering at him curiously. “Where were you today? I tried to text you and you never replied.”

“Oh, yeah sorry, I just really didn’t want to deal with school today after what happened saturday so I skipped,” Chuck explained. “I woulda let you know, but my mom took my phone away as punishment for getting into a fight.”

“What? But you didn’t even start it, those guys just jumped you” I argued.

Chuck shrugged. “I know, but my mom didn’t believe me. She just went on and on about how you’re a bad influence and how I should’ve known better.”

A frown spread across my face. I had always gotten along pretty well with Chuck’s parents, and Chuck had never mentioned them having a problem with me either. “What do you mean, I’m a bad influence?”

Chuck winced. “Uhm … yeah … look my parents are really anti-mutant. Ever since I told them about you, they’ve been harping on it, telling me that you’re dangerous and that I should stay away from you and stuff.”

“But … we’ve been friends for years. They’ve never had a problem with me before,” I pointed out, trying to wrap my head around Chuck’s revelation.

“I know, but my parents … they act like you’re an alien invader, lying about who you are so that you can worm your way into my life and destroy it or some shit,” Chuck responded, shaking his head. “I know it’s stupid, but that’s how they feel. I try to just ignore ‘em.”

All I could do was shake my head in disbelief. It was hard to believe that people that I’d known that long and gotten along with could just hate me like that, all for something I didn’t even have any control over. It just didn’t make any sense.

“Well … uhm … are you at least doing better?” I finally asked, trying to change the subject. “You seemed kinda upset after it happened.”

“Yeah .. I guess I’m fine. Not looking forward to hearing everyone at school make fun of me for getting saved by a girl, though,” Chuck replied.

“I know what you mean, man,” I told him. “My first day out as a mutant was hard to get through.”

Chuck gave me a sympathetic look. “Yikes, I bet. I guess nothing good came out of us hanging out after all.”

I shook my head. “Hey, as long as you and I are cool again, who cares what everyone else thinks. right?”

Chuck smile was strained as he answered, “Right …”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter 18

“So I was thinking we could kinda like weave the notes together. Y’know, like a duet where they sing back and forth,” Amy explained as she pointed down at the sheet music that she’d written.

Huddling over the music with Amy, Bruce nodded emphatically. “Yeah, like lovers intertwined in a passionate dance.”

“Exactly!” Amy chirped. “We can keep the guitar lower on the range to play up the difference between the two, as well.”

“That sounds awesome,” Bruce agreed emphatically.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, Renee rolled her eyes at the exasperating couple and turned toward me. “So, wanna talk about something besides music?”

Slumped forward and deep in thought, I only barely registered that someone was talking to me. Looking up, I mumbled, “Huh?”

“I asked if you wanted to talk about something besides music, because those two are driving me insane,” Renee repeated herself.

“Oh … yeah … sure,” I responded distractedly while glancing toward the cute couple and sighing.

Renee gave me a worried look. “You okay, Sammy?”

The question snapped me out of my distraction. Immediately I jerked my head around to look at Renee. “Yeah. I’m fine. Just found out something … frustrating last night is all. No big deal.”

“What was it?” Renee asked.

I let out a weary sigh. “It’s just something with Chuck’s parents. Apparently, they hate me now just because I’m a mutant. I mean … I expected some of that from people that didn’t know me, but I’ve known them for years now. It’s just … I don’t know. It’s hard to believe I guess.”

Renee nodded in understanding. “Yeah, I remember Amy having to go through that. She has family that won’t even talk to her or her parents anymore. Plus, you already know how her so called friends reacted to the news.”

“Yeah, I really should’ve expected some of this, but I guess I was just used to people being cool with it, because they didn’t actually know,” I replied. “Hope it doesn’t cost me a friend, though.”

“Well any friend that would let his parents tell him whether he could hang out with you isn’t worth having as a friend, in my opinion,” Renee told me.

“Whether he’s worth it or not doesn’t change the fact that it’ll suck if we can’t hang out anymore,” I countered.

Renee gave me a sympathetic look. “I know.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

As my first class ended, I sighed in relief and rose from my seat. A couple of girls that sat behind me in the class had spent the whole time whispering about me. I knew it was about me because I had overheard a few bits of it when they talked too loud, including several uses of the words disgusting, gross, and freak. That pretty much had to be me. At least, it was over for now.

Snatching my notebook from the desk, I started toward the door. I only managed to get a few steps before a chair jabbed painfully into my hip. Gritting my teeth, I forced myself to just ignore it, barely even staggering from the jolt.

“Sorry,” the girl in the chair said without sounded even the slightest bit apologetic.

Not wanting to waste time on it, I ignored the girl, not even bothering to acknowledge the apology. Instead, I just continued right on out of the classroom and into the hall. It was a little harder to ignore the slight twinge in my hip when I walked, though.

The hallway had different problems from the classroom. The most notable of these was that there were just way more people. In the crowd, people were far more willing to just blatantly stare at me, or talk loudly enough that I could hear them clearly when I walked by. The attention didn’t last, though, as a few moments of walking always led me away.

It wasn’t long before I got to my locker, a sort of refuge from trudging through the crowds of students. Chuck was there at well, swapping out some things at his own locker. The sight of a friend was a definite relief.

“Hey, man. How’s it going?” I asked as I stepped up to my locker and started to work the lock.

Glancing over, Chuck gave me a quick nod. “Hey,” he greeted as he slammed his locker closed. “Sorry, I’m kinda in a hurry. Got stuff to make up.”

“Oh ... sure,” I answered uncertainly. “See ya later, then.”

“Yeah,” came Chuck’s mumbled reply right before he turned and hurried off down the hall.

Watching him go, I let out a little sigh before turning back to my locker. It seemed things between him and I were still a little weird. Unlike last time, though, I doubted there would be anything I could do besides wait it out. It was annoying.

“Hey, mutant girl. You busy?” a male voice asked from behind me.

“Extremely,” I grumbled as I turned around to see two freshman guys standing there. “What do you want?”

The boy that had spoke grinned. “Well you see, my friend and I were wondering something,” he began as his eyes dipped to my chest. “Did your mutation make them freakishly deformed or just freakishly huge?”

I blinked a couple of times in exasperation. “Just huge.”

“Really? Because my friend swears you have to have like three nipples or rock-like lumps or something,” the boy pressed.

“Nope. They’re actually pretty perfect,” I answered.

The boy just peered at my chest for a moment. “I don’t know … I mean how can we know if we don’t –”

“Finish that thought, and I punch you through the wall,” I threatened coldly.

The boy took an involuntary step back at the hostility. “Y’know, I uh … think I actually can tell just fine,” he replied quickly before turning to smack his friend’s shoulder. “See, I told you they weren’t screwed up.”

“Yeah, I can totally see that now,” the second boy concurred with fearful eagerness.

“Great, I’m so glad I could clear that up for you two,” I droned in a sarcastic monotone. “Now leave.”

The first boy nodded. “Yeah … uhm … thanks,” he stammered out before he and his friend scurried off down the hall.

Watching them go, I shook my head. “Idiots.”

*********************************************** ***********************************************

A long weary sigh escaped my lips as I plopped down in my seat for lunch, dropping my tray loudly onto the table in front of me. After another morning filled with stares and whispers there was little else that I could do. It was exhausting.

“Rough morning?” Renee asked, already seated at the table with Amy.

“You have no idea,” I grumbled. “You woulda thought they’d have gotten tired of staring after yesterday, but nope.”

Renee chuckled. “They won’t get tired of it until something else comes along. I think it took like what three weeks last time, Ames?”

“Four weeks and three days,” Amy answered with absolute certainty.

Flopping forward, I planted my head into my hands. “Oh god … “

“Whoa whoa,” a female voice remarked from behind me. “This is the lunch room. It’s not the place for that.”

Lifting my head, I twisted around to see a group of girls behind me. I recognized the one that had spoke. It was the girl that had dumped soda on me. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Look I don’t know how you two freaks were doing it, but we don’t want to have to listen to you go at each other, you carpet munchers,” the girl retorted.

For a long moment, all I could do was blink in surprise. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Really? Cause that’s not what Chuck told us. He said you're a huge lesbian,” the girl explained.

That information prompted a wince from me. It wasn’t that I minded being called a lesbian so much as I couldn’t believe that Chuck would out me like that. “Well I am, but I don’t–”

“Oh my gawd, she actually admitted it!” one of the other girls gasped, cutting me off.

“You two are such freaks,” another girl insulted.

Anger rising within me, I glared at the girls. “Amy isn’t–”

“I bet that guy Amy was supposed to be dating is like their beard or something,” the first girl added, not even giving me a chance to speak. “We shoulda known she couldn’t land anyone that wasn’t as fucked up as she was.”

Exhausted, out of patience, and absolutely furious, I finally barked, thrusting myself up from my seat. “That’s enough!”

In time with my outburst, something slammed into the lead girl, doubling her over as it knocked her away from me like she’d been shoved. As she hit the ground, she gasped in pain before hugging her arms tightly to her ribs as she curled up into a ball. Every breath after that came out as a pained wheeze.

A stunned silence fell over the lunch room as everyone turned to stare at me and the girl on the ground. Even I was stunned, alternating my stare between the injured girl and myself. I couldn’t believe what I’d done. I’d just lashed out without even realizing it. I hadn’t even moved my hands like I usually did. It was like my power had acted all on its own.

It took several moments, but finally the stillness in the room broke. The teachers tasked with lunch room duty rushed forward and frightened whispers began. Through it all, I just stood there, thinking about how stupid I was.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

“Expelled?!” I exclaimed in disbelief. “For shoving someone?!”

“You did a lot more than just shove her,” the principal informed me. “The poor girl had to be taken to the hospital with several broken ribs because you assaulted her with a dangerous mutant power.”

“That was an accident! I didn’t even mean to use my power on her!” I tried to explain.

The principal shook her head at me. “There are dozens of witnesses to the altercation, all of which, including yourself I might add, talk about how angry you were and the timing of your attack with your verbal outburst. You’re lucky that we didn’t have you arrested.”

That response got a sigh of defeat from me. Clearly, the principal had no intention of listening to me. It was true that I’d lashed out in anger, but it certainly hadn’t been intentional, and it had definitely been provoked. I guess that didn’t matter, though, since I was a mutant.

“I’ve already called your mother to inform her of your punishment and to get her to come pick you up,” the principal told me. “While we wait for her, I will accompany you to your locker so that you can clean it out and return any school property in your possession.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I agreed.

With that, the principal led me out of her office. It was during class, so the halls were completely empty as we walked, giving me the reprieve from stares and whispers that I’d wanted so badly. Too bad that it had taken my getting expelled to get it.

At my locker, I quickly opened it and gathered my personal items into my backpack. All the various textbooks that I’d been given were handed to the principal along with the padlock that kept the locker closed. After that, all I had to do was toss a few stray papers and bits of trash and I was finished.

“There you go,” I told the principal as I showed her my completely empty locker.

The principal nodded. “Very good. Now, I’ll escort you out of the building and wait with you until your mother arrives to pick you up.”

“Great,” I sighed, before I was led off once more, never to set foot in the building again.

*********************************************** ***********************************************

Epilogue

“I can’t believe they expelled you for that,” Amy remarked sympathetically after I explained the situation to her, Renee, and Bruce. Chuck hadn’t accepted my invitation to come over.

“Yeah, that bitch totally had it coming to her,” Renee added her support.

While I appreciated the sentiment, I shook my head. “It doesn’t matter. I should’ve controlled myself, but instead, I put her in the hospital.”

“So what are you going to do now?” Bruce asked.

I shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know. My mom’s looking around for somewhere else for me to go, but no one wants someone like me attending their school. She’s looking into some boarding schools now.”

“Boarding schools?” Amy questioned. “You mean, you’re leaving?”

I shrugged again. “Like I said, I don’t know, but that is sounding like the only option.”

“That sucks,” Bruce commented.

“Seriously,” Renee agreed. “You can’t leave me alone with these two idiots? I’ll be stuck listening to music talk for the rest of highschool!”

I smirked at that remark. “I’m sure you’ll manage without me somehow.”

“I guess …” Renee conceded. “We’re really going to miss you, though.”

“Definitely,” Amy added.

A dampness seemed to invade my eyes, causing me to blink a little faster to try to clear it away. “I’m gonna miss you guys, too.”

The End

Author’s Note: Hey all, Light Clark here, also known as lightivation or lightoffury or just Light. If you liked the story, consider checking out my free fantasy series, The Trials of Tannen, which is being told in serial at my website here: https://lightivation.wordpress.com/

Also, if you want to support my work, and have a little money to spare, stop by my patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/lightivation No pressure, though. If you just wanted a free read, that’s fine too.



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