Hello My Name Is...Part-10

Hello My Name Is...
Part Ten

by:
Enemyoffun


Ashley has a major problem. No matter where he goes or who he meets, EVERYONE thinks he's a girl. Perhaps his life would just be simplier if he embraced it?

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Author's Note: Posting a bit earlier today, couldn't sleep. So I was able to proof read this one and get it ready lol. This was a tough chapter to write, there's a part in here that is a bit harsh. I had to write it because it sets up a subplot I want to establish for later on. It also reflects a bit on Ash too. I just really HATE writing stupid people. You'll see what I mean when I get there. The story gets a bit lighter after this for a while. Ch.13 should be fun lol.

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10.

“Ash, wait up!”

I tried to ignore her. I’d been ignoring her all day and exceeding. She was persistent though. Ever since she and the other girls abandoned me on Saturday night, Rachel had done nothing but try to apologize. She wasn’t the only one either. Candy had sent me several texts too. I ignored all of them. I was used to having very few friends but I really thought it was going to be different here. Especially now that Peeb had all but abandoned me too. When the girls decided to go out without me, it hurt. When I overheard Sage telling them she didn’t want me to come along, it told me where they really stood.

I was a joke to them.

So I avoided them.

Monday when I got back to school, I set out to find some new friends. I didn’t have to look very far. Since apologizing for his misunderstanding the first day we met, Rory had been going out of his way to try to make it up to me. Last week, he kept trying to get me to sit with him at lunch. I kept waving it off because I thought I was friends with the girls. It turns out once again I was a friend they only wanted when it suited them. I’m not sure what weird game they were trying to play with me but I hated it. So I finally agreed to sit with Rory. His friends were an interesting bunch. Most of them gamers like him and all of them a little shy around a “girl” sitting with them.

It didn’t matter that I kept telling them I was a guy.

People saw what they saw.

I just thought the girls were going to be different.

Speaking of girls…

“Stop!”

Rachel grabbed my shoulder. She was apparently faster than I was.

I sighed, spinning to face her.

“I don’t have anything to say to you.”

I’m not sure why I decided to be nasty. I wasn’t as angry at her as I was at say, Sage or Candy.

She huffed. “What they did was shitty.”

I gave her a confused look.

“What you all did!” I snapped.

She smacked my arm. “News flash genius, I wasn’t there”.

I opened my mouth to argue but she whipped her phone in my face.

It was opened to Candy’s Facebook page. The very same page where I saw the pictures on Sunday morning. She scrolled through them one by one. As she did, I started to notice she was right. In fact, the only ones in the pictures were Candy, Sage, and Kia.

“Mary and I thought it was a shitty thing to do to you and refused. I would have told you that if you actually looked at any of my texts.”

She was right. I hadn’t looked at them.

I’d been so mad I deleted them instantly.

Now I felt like an idiot.

I was on Cloud Nine a bit too.

Mary didn’t betray my friendship either.

“Now will you please return to our table at lunch?” she asked with pleading eyes.

I bit my lip.

I could easily forgive her and Mary but the others, I don’t think I could. It wasn’t just going to the club without me. It was everything else too. When I got back to school on Monday, I tried talking to Candy. She all but ignored me. She brushed off my attempt to have a conservation with her and wasn’t waiting for me between classes either. On Tuesday, I overheard her giggling at my expense with a couple of other girls. Then there was Sage. She and I were never going to be friends. It should have upset me more but I could live with it. I was never going to see eye to eye with her anyway.

I wanted to go back but there were other factors now.

Casey.

After I texted her Sunday night, we started sharing texts back and forth. She was shy in person but that girl really opened up over a screen. Not only could she text her fingers off but she had a large online presence too. She was all over social media. She blogged and even had a small YouTube channel. That last bit surprised me the most. I thought for sure a girl like her would be too shy to get behind the camera but I watched one of her videos the other night, she was amazing. I’m not sure I could do that. Her channel was about being transgender, which if it hadn’t been for those jerks the other day I would have never known.

I found myself bonding with her a bit over it.

Not that I told her about my current issues but I would if she asked.

I had nothing to hide.

She meshed well with Rory’s friends too.

She started eating lunch with them the moment I did too.

She was a gamer like them. She would spend the whole lunch period chatting their ears off about this new game or that. Most of it was well over my head though. I tried my best to follow but I wasn’t really interested. It just wasn’t my thing. I was happy that Casey was passionate about it. I think Rory was happy she liked it too. I saw the way he smiled at her while they talked. There was something there. Something that most of his other friends didn’t care about, well except maybe Jason.

I didn’t like the way he looked at her.

“Earth to Ash,” said Rachel, waving her hand in front of my face.

Oh right, she asked me a question.

I was spacing again.

“I don’t know, would the others welcome Casey to the table too?”

That was the million dollar question.

I liked her a lot. She was a good person. If the others couldn’t handle that, then they weren’t the friends I was looking for.

Rachel chewed her lip.

It was enough to tell me the answer.

“Candy...”

Enough said.

“I guess that means we’re done here,” I said and started to walk away.

I liked Rachel a lot. She was fun to be around. Her cynical nature and her sarcasm were refreshing. When we were alone, she made me laugh. It wasn’t enough though. I didn’t want to be friends with someone who couldn’t be friends with mine. I was still annoyed at her about Saturday too. I know she said she wasn’t involved but that didn’t excuse her for not saying something. She was there when Sage and Kia were making the plans. She heard them as much as I did and yet she did nothing to stand up for me. I guess I was expecting too much of her. I thought she was a Doer and not a Follower. It was now pretty clear that her rebellious nature was not as rebellious as I originally thought.

I was halfway down the hall when Rachel caught me again.

“Nothing is ever easy with you, is it?”

“Casey is my friend. She’s a nice person. If Candy can’t accept that, that’s her problem. I don’t want to hang around her if she can’t accept my friends for who they are."

Rachel gently grabbed my arm, steering me out of the main traffic.

“Look,” she said softly, almost a whisper. “Candy can’t cut it with Casey because she used to like him, well him before he decided he was her. They were friends in middle school then over the summer before Freshmen year, he decided to be a she. She came to school in a skirt and Candy took it pretty hard. She’s self-absorbed like that. None of us had any problems with it but she refused to let her hang with us anymore.”

“And you just accepted it?”

Rachel tugged at the cuffs of her long sleeves.

“We all have things we’re not proud of, Ash.”

I opened my mouth to say something but before I could the bell rang. Rachel gave me a downcast look before turning and bolting toward her class. I cursed, realizing I was alone in the hall now. I quickly rushed to class, making it inside without too much trouble.

Or so I thought.

Mr. Jenkins glared at me from the front of the room.

“Thank you so much for joining us this fine morning, Mr. Clarke."

“Sorry, sir,” I said, dropping into my seat next to Rory.

Rory gave me a confused look, I shook my head.

Biology was quickly becoming one of my favorite classes. Mr. Jenkins had a very laid back way of teaching, it was refreshing. Most of my lecturers at Stanton were stiff and emotionless. They generally stood in front of the classroom, lectured on for an hour, straight from the textbook and never deviated. Mr. Jenkins liked visual adds. He used his laptop to teach, projecting the screen onto the whiteboard as he talked. He rarely gave us assignments out of the book too. Relying more on “field work” as he called it. His motto was: “Science needed to be experienced to be learned”, so that’s what we did. The great thing about Biology was that it was all around us and often times he told us to find our own homework.

It was an interesting way to look at things.

Though that didn’t stop him from actually teaching us things.

I have to admit that I was a bit preoccupied to catch most of today’s lesson. It was in one ear and out the other as they say. I sat there for the forty some odd minutes wondering about Rachel. What had she met when she said that? I was so lost in that thought that I never heard the bell ring ending class. Rory nudged me to break me out of my stupor. I quickly grabbed my things and filed out of the room with him.

“You zoned again”.

“Distracted."

“Here,” he said, handing me his notebook. “You can give it to me at lunch.”

I nodded and the two of us parted ways.

I made it to French class on time. Mademoiselle Berger greeted me in French with a smile. I greeted her back as I took my seat. I was doing well in this class. I was probably one of the only students present who could speak French fluently. Though it was interesting to note that the teacher and I had different dialects. She told me that the French I learned in Brazil was different than the one she grew up with as a girl. I was distracted during this lesson too, not about Rachel though. This time, I found myself staring at Candy. She was oblivious to it of course but I was transfixed with her.

I was trying to figure out how someone could be friends with someone else then just dump them like that.

Staring at her made me wonder something else too.

Was she trying to replace Casey with me?

It dominated my thoughts throughout French class.

When the bell rang, Candy got up and left without even looking at me. It was amazing what a week did to a friendship.

Speaking of friends, in the hallway I found both Rory and Casey waiting.

The two of them were discussing some game.

They stopped when they saw me.

I looked past them. “Where’s Jason?”

Jason was Casey’s lab partner.

Casey had Mr. Jenkins for Biology as well but the period after lunch. On the days that we didn’t have PE, the four of us decided to get together in Free Study to work on our upcoming Biology report. Rory and I were pretty confident that we had it in the bag but Casey wasn’t so sure about Jason. He was a bit of a slacker and had very little interest in doing the project. He was going to make her do it all by herself until Mr. Jenkins intervened on her behalf, telling him he had to participate or he’d get an F. We thought it would be the right motivation for him. That’s why the three of us decided to meet and work on it together.

At least that was the plan.

Casey shrugged. “He wasn’t in Math this morning.”

Wow, I hadn’t even noticed.

Then again, I rarely paid attention in that class, to begin with.

That woman hated me and didn’t hide it.

We waited around for Jason to show but when he didn’t, we managed to rush into the study room just as the bell was ringing. It being a free study period, there was no true teacher to scold us for almost being late. The woman at the front of the room gave us a look but said nothing else. I didn’t even know her name. Just as well, they tended to rotate the teachers out anyway. Most were disinterested in what was going on and most didn't pay attention. It felt more like a punishment to them. Just as well. We moved to a table in the back of the room. As long as we were quiet, we were allowed to talk.

Casey and Rory took out their iPads, I had my laptop.

We set about googling our subject of choice. Mr. Jenkins told us we could do the same topic as long as we made it different enough that we weren’t copying. The three of us got together on Tuesday to discuss it and decided to do our project on the Clownfish. It was kind of ironic in a way. Clownfish were, of course, part of a species of fish that could change their gender. It was there that I decided to hate Jason. As soon as we brought up the fish, he made some snide comment about how it was fitting for Casey. I could have hit him. I almost did. Especially after Sunday dinner with my grandfather. I was on the defensive against asshats of all kinds. Jason was now on the short list with my grandfather and those jerks who tried to beat Casey.

We were halfway through the period when Jason finally graced us with his presence.

“Sorry, was in the principal’s office,” he said loudly as he dropped into a seat next to me.

He gave me a leering look.

That was the other reason he was on my list too.

I HATED the way he kept leering at me.

Which was another thing I found particularly ironic…

“Hey Queer,” he said, glaring at Casey. “How goes the search for your Queer Fishmate.”

He was the only one that laughed.

The colour drained from Casey’s face.

"Jas!"

"What?" he said, still laughing. "Its not like I'm lying."

"Apologize to her!"

"Its fine" said Casey softly, looking down at the table.

"See, he doesn't mind."

Jason was laughing again.

I HATED that laugh. Looking over at Casey, I could already start to see the tears start to form.

My anger flared.

"She is a She."

Jason laughed. "Whatever you say, Princess."

He then turned to her, smirking. "What's the matter do, you going to cry now?"

He reached for her, Casey flinched.

I clutched my fists.

I was ready to do something but Rory beat me to it. He was so fast. One minute, Jason was laughing and the next his head was being slammed face first into the table. I blinked. A moment later, Jason screamed out in pain, snapping back up. His face was covered in blood, his nose a mess.

“WHAT THE FUCK!” he screamed, getting to his feet.

Jason staggered, holding his nose. He took a swing at Rory with his free hand but Rory easily ducked underneath it. A second later, he was at Jason’s side. He grabbed the jackass’s wrist, twisting his arm back and pulling him to the ground.

“Apologize to the lady right now!”

Jason snorted. “That’s no lady...”

“APOLOGIZE!”

At this point, the whole room was looking in our direction. Casey had started to cry. I was on my feet too. I wasn’t sure what to do but I wanted to pound Jason too. Rory was doing enough for the both of us though. Jason wasn’t a small guy. I’d seen him in Gym class, he was pretty fit. I’m not sure what surprised me more though. The fact that Rory reacted so quickly or the fact that he was able to take Jason out of the equation that fast. Looking at Rory, you never would have thought he was capable of it. He wasn’t exactly a small guy but he didn’t seem the type. Sure he was pretty flippant with me when we first met but he was convinced I was a vapid airhead like Sage.

I was seeing a whole new side of him now.

A tiny part of me liked it.

The rest of me instantly hated that part.

“Let him go this instant!”

I snapped around, I’d been in a daze for a moment. It didn’t last long. Suddenly the Study Hall monitor was stomping toward us. I instinctively went to Casey, wrapping my arms around her. She buried her head in my shoulder, still crying. The teacher reached our table a moment later. If steam could come out of the woman’s ears right now, it probably would have.

Rory was still holding Jason’s arm at a twisted angle.

“What’s going on here?”

Jason tried to speak but Rory glared at him.

After that, neither one of them said a thing.

The teacher sighed and looked at me. “Young lady, can you please tell me what’s going on here?”

I was all but over being mistaken for a girl.

At this moment it didn’t matter to me.

What mattered more was the truth.

So I told her everything. How we were working on our Biology projects together and how Jason arrived late. Then his insulting comments about Casey. Casey started to cry again. When I told the teacher what the comments were about, the woman looked conflicted. After my run-in with my grandfather, I was starting to notice a pattern around here. Most of the adults that I met thought two things about me, that A.) I was either a girl or B.) I was some kind of freak. I mentioned it to Grace and she sighed. We were in the South, apparently, it was a breeding ground for “pig-headed bigots and ill-educated morons”. Her words, not mine. I was starting to see that more and more, especially now that I knew what to look for. It also explained some of the reactions I got from time to time. Most of the teachers gave me a look when I corrected them but said nothing more. Some of the others downright glared at me with hatred, like bitter old Mrs. Granger, my Math teacher. I did my research on the subject. Casey was having a rough road with school. She wasn’t the only one. It appeared a lot of people in this state were opposed to transgender people altogether.

This school had to play ball though if they wanted to continue receiving funding from the federal government. Doing a bit more research into the town itself, I discovered that Sandy Peaks school district was trying to fight said law. The old men and women in charge---the same ones Ms. Greenwood mentioned----were set in antiquated, outdated morals. Morals that many of the younger townsfolk, including Ms. Greenwood, were vocally against.

From the look this woman was giving Casey, it was clear what side of the argument she was on.

“Why are you looking at me like that, young lady?”

I smirked. “Its young man, actually.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Oh.”

There was disdain dripping from her voice.

Thankfully I was stopped from responding by the appearance of the school security officer. He took charge of the situation immediately. He came into the room with two male teachers. Rory finally let go of Jason and the group of them left in mass. I was able to convince the teacher---Miss Dobbs---to let me take Casey to the school nurse. With us leaving the room, the commotion started to die down.

When I got to the door, I saw Rachel and Sage staring at me from across the room.

I locked eyes with them.

They were smiling.

That surprised me.

############

Ms. Greenwood stared at me and Rory, looking from him to me and back again. Her expression was completely unreadable. The silence was deafening. We’d been sitting in her office for a couple of minutes. Waiting. Thankfully we were the only ones. After leaving the Study Hall room, I took Casey to the nurse. I was only there for a few minutes before I was called to Ms. Greenwood’s office. When I got there, Rory was sitting with Mrs. Gromley. The kind older woman smiled at me and the first thing she asked is if Casey was all right. When I told her she was fine, both she and Rory sighed in relief. Rory’s sigh made me smile. It was clear someone was a bit smitten. A small part of me was happy for him, the rest of me knew what kind of complications that was going to cause. I supported them one hundred percent but it was going to be an uphill battle around here. Looking around this school, I could literally count the number of diverse couples on one hand. The school didn’t stop them but it was clear they didn’t support it either.

Well, at least there was one person who supported them.

Ms. Greenwood sighed.

When she finally spoke, she sounded exhausted. “This escalated out of hand very fast, gentlemen.”

I was glad she called me a “gentleman”.

Rory nodded. “I’m sorry, it just kind of happened."

She rubbed the bridge of her nose. “I just got off the phone with the School Board, Jason’s father is going to press charges."

Wait, what?

Rory slumped in the chair, I was outraged.

“It's a hate crime though. He insulted her, he made a grab for her. Who knows what else he might have done.”

She nodded. “I’m in agreement with you but the situation is very delicate. Mr. Bowen never physically touched Miss Sanders though. Several eyewitnesses say it was Mr. Howard who threw the first punch.”

Rory slumped in his chair even further.

She was right of course but he was protecting Casey, that had to account for something.

Of course, I tried to argue as much. My arguments were falling on deaf ears though. Or at the very least the ears of a person who had their hands tied. I saw it in the way Ms. Greenwood reacted. She was just as outraged. She said as much. There were several eyewitnesses that collaborated what I was telling her. Jason came into the room, said a few nasty things to her and made Casey start to cry. Rory was defending her. Did he get carried away in doing so sure but Jason was the one who started it?

“This is shite and you know it!”

I rarely swore and when I did my accent always came out.

Ms. Greenwood nodded. “Be that as it may, the School Board will not support anything else. Hate crime or not, they see it as one student physically attacking another. I’m afraid I’m going to have to suspend Rory until a full investigation into the situation is resolved.”

A moment later, there was a knock on the door. It was followed by three men entering the room, two in gray suits, another in a police uniform. The first man introduced himself as Mr. Donovan, from the School Board. He was younger than I would have thought. The other man was Mr. James, the School District’s attorney. With them was Officer Carlson. As soon as they entered, the questions started. They asked me to step outside into the outer office as they talked to Rory and Ms. Greenwood alone. I found Grace there waiting for me.

“What’s going on?” she asked, after our hug.

“Someone attacked Casey again.”

Ok so not physically this time but they definitely attacked her.

We sat down in the comfy chairs by Ms. Greenwood’s door. I quickly filled her in on everything that happened. As I was finishing, a woman in a smart suit stopped me.

“Can you say all of that again?” she asked, pulling a small recording device from her satchel.

So I did.

When I was done she introduced herself as Maria Sanchez, Casey Sanders’ attorney.

Now, this was getting interesting.

Miss Sanchez was young, no more than thirty. She was anything but fresh-faced though. She looked determined. Her dark hair was pulled back tight on her head, her nails professionally done, her charcoal black suit strategically tailored. It was an expensive one too. The kind of suit someone from a high powered law firm might wear. After she introduced herself, she handed us both business cards. I looked at mine: Jackson, Marx, and Petrovich. I’d seen signs. The card said they worked out of Starlight City.

I was a bit surprised that she was here so fast.

“I’d like to ask you a few more questions when I’m done in there,” she said, before opening Ms. Greenwood’s door without knocking.

I heard the commotion from the three men present before the door was shut.

Even through the door, I heard the muffled argument.

Whatever she said though, worked.

Less than two minutes later, Mr. Donovan and Mr. James came stomping out of the office.

Mr. Donovan gave me an angry look. “If you say anything more, young lady, I’ll have you suspended too.”

Grace got to her feet. “Hello, Frank, fancy seeing you here. You didn’t just threaten my nephew, did you? You know Charles Waller’s grandson. My father would love to hear all about it”.

She made a spectacle of taking out her phone.

The colour drained from Mr. Donovan’s face.

“That won’t be necessary, Miss Waller” he stammered and quickly left.

Mr. James smiled at her. “You never miss a beat, do you, Gracie?”

She shrugged. “I hate jerks who think they can push people around like that, Dan."

“I’ll pretend you didn’t call my client a jerk,” he said with a chuckle.

Then he left.

I gave her a funny look.

“Dan and I used to date. That man has some great stami...and you’re fifteen”

She blushed a dark shade of red.

I smiled.

Grace was embarrassed for the next few minutes, thankfully she was saved when Miss Sanchez and Rory came out of the office with the police officer. The man looked winded too. Miss Sanchez had a satisfied smile on her face. Rory was thanking her, holding her business card too. Ms. Greenwood was with them, she was smiling as well.

“Thanks for coming so quickly, Maria."

The young lawyer nodded. “After this weekend, I was waiting for something like this. Jason’s brother is one of the boys who got arrested after all.”

So that’s what this was all about.

Ms. Greenwood wrote Rory a pass to go back to class. I was surprised by that. I thought for sure Officer Carlson was here to arrest him. But the police officer left alone.I watched him go. Then Miss Greenwood asked me to stay behind a few minutes, ushering me, Grace and Miss Sanchez back into her office.

“That was surely entertaining,” she said, dropping back into her desk chair.

“No entertainment is what comes next. My firm has been fighting against the Board for months now. We knew there was a boiler ready to burst here. Fighting to get that girl to stay here in the first place and now this. The Boss Man has been looking for this fight. So have the Sanders. We’re already coordinating with her father’s firm in Los Angeles, it's going to be fun.”

Maria almost sounded like a giddy schoolgirl.

Ms. Greenwood smiled. “It's not going to be easy. For anyone. Especially Casey.” She rubbed her nose again before finally turning her attention to me. “It's not going to be easy for you either. Grace told me about Dr. Shaw’s visit. I’ve already discussed the situation with her, with your permission I’d like to bring Ms. Sanchez up to date on it as well."

Now I was the one who was embarrassed.

Ms. Greenwood quickly told Miss Sanchez about me, when she mentioned I was male, the lawyer’s eyes popped out of her head. She smiled though. I’m not sure I liked that smile, to be honest. I could already see the wheels in her head spinning.

Why did I feel this was going to be a complicated school year?

“I was wrong before,” said Miss Sanchez grinning from ear to ear, “This isn’t going to be entertaining, it's going to be a blast!”

I gulped.

Very complicated.

Author’s note: As I’m sure all of you know, comments are life blood to an author. I’m not begging or demanding, but I certainly would appreciate anything you have to say (or ask). It doesn’t have to be long and involved, just give me your reaction to the story. Thanks in advance...EOF



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