My alarm went off, and for the first few seconds, I didn’t remember. Then it came crashing back over me and my hands moved frantically over my body… hoping to find something that wasn’t there, and finding things that I didn’t want to be there. I spent a few seconds doing that, then I threw back the covers and crossed to the room and turned it off. I always kept my alarm across the room, it was way too easy to turn off and go back to bed if it was next to my bed. It was one change that I had made last night to this room. I would make more later, but I need to get a shower now.
I had barely sat down when Jenny came plunging in, all bubbling over and wearing a light blue nightshirt. “Bobbi? Bobbi? Are you still… Robert?”
“Yes,” I said, “Your older brother. Are you going to make a habit of coming and watching me pee every morning?” I asked her dryly. She blushed, and looked like a beaten puppy. “I’m kidding, Jen,” I said, “I am your sister and you can come in anytime. I am not used to the whole girls together in the bathroom thing but I am used to teasing you about it. When I was a boy and you would walk in on me and then you would get all upset at me for not locking the door.”
“I’m sorry,” she started, but I stopped her,
“I said I was kidding! Chill out sister. If you go on about this you will soon find out you are not to big to go over my knee!”
“You wouldn’t dare!” She said, and, a few seconds later we found out that I would dare, and she wan’t too big.
“What are you girls doing?” Mom asked from the door, coming in response to Jenny’s wild shrieks of outrage, and looking askance at me as I sat on the toilet, naked and with the door wide open, with my little sister over my knee.
“Just playing, Ma,” I said, rolling Jenny off, and causing her to shriek again as she hit the floor. “I gotta get out of here.”
“Can I teach you something, Bobbi?” Jenny asked as I climbed into the shower.
“Well, I don’t have much time. Maybe you need to make a list. I don’t even know what is involved. I was a boy, you know. Do I need a pad? I am NOT going to do Tampons. They sound way too dangerous.”
“I don’t wear them either,” she said. “Bobbi started using them when she went to college. She said that, having roomates, she found pads hard to manage. I didn’t quite get it. I mean, you are all girls, right?”
“I’m with you Jens. I don’t get it either.”
“Anyway, it isn’t your time yet.”
“Are my legs OK?”
“Well,” she said, pulling back the curtain and running her hand over my calf, “you could shave them if you wanted, but you always wear such nice long skirts, that it doesn’t matter. We need to take you shopping if you don’t want to wear dresses. You will need a church skirt, and a nice blouse.”
Oh, great. Now I was going to have to learn to shop, too. “What should I wear?” I asked her, as the twins came plunging into the bathroom. I poked my head out of the shower and Jenny and I watched as, for once, Beth beat Ben to the toilet and sat there triumphantly.
“I’ll find you something,” Jenny said, when the excitment was over, and raced off to the room while I dried off and listened to the twins chatter. When I to to my room she had everything layed out on the bed and was standing by it looking proud. I stood there, overseeing the disaster that was my new life, and picked up the hated bra, all pink and frilly. She shrugged her shoulders. “Dad said you had to wear one outside, and that one won’t show under that T-shirt.
As I put it on I tried to figure out if she was being naive or helpful. Surely there was something other than this pink bra, and the pink shirt that she had for me to put over it. At least the demin skirt was good. “Do you have any longer socks?” I asked her. I absloutely hated these socks that just stuck out over the shoe.
“Sure,” she said, and raced back, coming back with socks that at least hinted at making it to the calves. I got those on, along with the shoes from yesterday, grabbed my backpack, and was ready. Or so I thought.
“Sit still and I will do your hair,” Jenny said, grabbing a brush.
“Ouch!” I said, as she grabbed it and started brushing. “Stop!”
“Sorry, we are in a bit of a rush. Good thing you don’t want to to makeup.”
“Yeah, good thing… ouch!!”
“All done,” she said, a long time later, or at least it seemed like a long time. “I’ll just braid it really quick… that will be better since you are going to be outside.”
She was fast and, altho I object to the color pink, I must say the ensemble looked OK in the mirror. If the bra had been a different color it might well have shown through the blouse, and I hated it when bras did that.
“Thanks Jens,” I said, kissing her forehead, “I’ve got to go now, see you later!”
As I rushed down the stairs I thought that I really did have a wonderful sister.
Caleb was waiting in his truck when I came up, so I hopped in beside him, a tricky operation in my long skirt. He was dressed in his carpenters overalls with a light blue button down shirt. I looked a bit askance but he said, “I brought some other clothes for lunch, I will put them on at the job. I thought you weren’t going to come, you are so late.”
“Girls have to get ready, you know,” I laughed, flipping my braid at him. “And I’m not even late, you moron. You said 0700 and it is 0659!”
“Girls,” he said, “no sense of time. Show up somewhere one minute before they are supposed to leave and think they are on time.”
I laughed. “So, come up with any more ideas?”
“Oh, yeah, about a dozen more Don’t worry, I wrote them all down.”
“Oh, I trust you. You always kept great notes. I used to come over and study with you because you knew…” I stopped. He was looking very funny, almost as if he were going to cry. “Did she do that too?”
He nodded, his voice quavering slightly, “Altho she was really the one that pushed for the sessions, and her notes were fine. She and I just liked doing things together.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, “I’m sorry,” I said. “I know it must be hard for you, losing her like that.”
“I’m OK,” he insisted, in boy-fashion. “So, do you really know about carpentry, or were you just bluffing?”
“I’ll show you bluffing!” I said, hitting his shoulder.
He grinned at me and I suddenly realized that my feeling for Caleb were not Platonic. And, considering what had happened yesterday, his brightly flushed face after we had wrestled, and the way he had kept looking at me at dinner, I realized his weren’t either.
I would have expected to be appalled, being attracted to my best friend, but I wasn’t. It was like it wasn’t part of me, really. I wasn’t in love with my best friend, I was just there for the ride.
I wasn’t bluffing about my carpentry skills, either. We weren’t half an hour into the job when Caleb said, “Wow. You didn’t teach me all you knew. I would never have thought of doing that.”
“I can’t handle the tools for the birds, tho,” I said, holding up my hands ruefully.
“That’s OK,” he said, “you handle your part and let me do the man’s part.”
I watched him walk away, and wondered if he knew what he had just said.
“OK, that’s good,” he said, as he hung the last door. “It was great working with you. I will go get my clothes and we will be ready to go.”
I darted into the bathroom before him and had my panties pulled back up before he came back in. “Oh, sorry,” he said.
“No problem, I’m done,” I said. “Change quickly.”
But he waited for me to leave before he started. Silly boy.
“How did the morning go?” Jenny asked, hopping in the truck besides me, as I scooted over next to Caleb, slanting my legs away from the gearshift.
“Great!” Caleb said, “I couldn’t believe how much Bobbi knew!”
“Caleb is a great carpenter,” I said to Jenny. “You should watch him work sometime.”
“Well, I watched him put up the fort,” she said, “that was pretty awesome.”
“Were you busy this morning?” I asked her.
“Practice, dear sister. We have practice every day.”
“How did it go with…” I started, but she frowned at me and shook her head, indicating Caleb with her glance. I didn’t get it. Why would she feel OK sharing with me but not… oh. I got it. Boy/girl. Huh. Would have to remember that.
“Where are we going to eat?” Jenny asked, covering the awkward silence.
“I am going to take you lovely ladies to Chez Emmanuel,” he said, naming one of my favorite resteraunts, altho kind of a pricey one. But then he said, “Oh, Bobbi, I’m sorry, did that bother you?”
“Did you say ‘lovely ladies’ or ’ugly ladies’?” I asked.
“Ummm, ‘lovely’,” he said.
“Then why wouldyou think it would bother me? Do you think I want to be ugly?”
“Well, because of your being a boy…”
I leaned against him and pinched his shoulder… which was hard, actually. He had great muscles, “I am a girl!” I said. “I was a boy, I remember being a boy, I was comfortable being a boy, I am uncomfortable being a girl and I have lots to learn but… I… am… a… girl… And don’t you forget it or treat me differently. It will look bad in front of other people, and it will NOT help me. In the house. In the house I might act differently, and you might too. I don’t know. But outside the house, I am a girl. Remember, Dad and I thrashed this all out yesterday.”
“OK, Bobbi, I get it. Your form makes it easy to remember, anyway. I just didn’t want to offend you.”
“Well, you won’t as long as you remember that I am a girl, and want to be treated like one.”
“We’re going to Chez Emmanuel?” My sister said, “I love Chez Emmanuel!”
“I hope I have enough money,” I said, pulling my backpack in front of me.
“Money?” Caleb said, “You are a girl! Remember? Put your purse back!!”
“Oh, why thank you,” I said, leaning up against him with a voice dripping with sarcasm, and with both of my hands on his arm.
We pulled up to Chez Emmanuel, and got out of the car, Jenny grabbing my hand as soon as I was out. “Oh, I’m so excited. I have only been here a couple of times, you know.”
“Yeah, me too,” I said, “altho I have been a few more times.”
As soon as we had gotten in the door Jenny said, “I have to use the ladies room, come with me, Bobbi.”
I knew that going to the girls room together was something I was going to have to get used to, so I trooped off willingly enough, but when we got inside she stopped, glared at me, put her hands on her hips and said, “Are you putting the hit on Caleb?”
“Of course,” I said, going in a stall. I desperately had to pee. I hadn’t had a chance to go when we got home, as Jenny had seen us pull up and come running right out. It seemed she didn’t have to go though, as she stood right outside my stall door and kept talking. I guess she had just wanted to talk.
“What do you mean, ’of course’!?”
“Well, let’s see. He’s cute. He’s smart. He’s got a good job and has saved almost all of his salary, so he is well off. I already know him really well. And,” I said, opening the door and pushing past her to the sink, “he is the only boy in the universe who knows what has happned to me, and probably the only one still capable of liking me after it.”
“Look,” I said, “he finds this hard enough. How do you think it would go if some other boy came over to ask Dad if he could take me out, and Dad was to sit him down and say, ’Well, before I say yes, there is something I need to tell you about Bobbi; you see, she is really a boy?”
“And besides which,” I said, going to the door, “I need him desperately, and if he likes me, and likes that I pay attention to him, well, then, good for him, and good for me.”
“Well, thank you for that excellent lunch!” I said. We were standing on the sidewalk outside the resteraunt, and Jenny had taken my hand again. I guess the sisters had been really touchy feely… or maybe this was her way of trying to ‘hold on’ to me, and not have me suddenly change. Whichever, it didn’t bother me. “I loved the Tomate Provencal. To bad Jenny wasn’t game to try the escargot.”
Jenny wrinkled her nose, “There were plenty of great things on the menu without having to eat snails,” she said. “Are we going to the interview now?”
“I thought we would walk,” Caleb said, “it is only a block from here, and it is a nice day.”
It was a nice day, too. I thought about taking Calebs hand with my other hand, but the poor boy had probably had enough shocks for one twenty-four hour period. He wouldn’t be able to sleep for a month as it was, having seen me without my shirt on. I chuckled, thinking of him tossing and turning in bed, thinking about me. It was a nice day.
“There… it is…” Caleb said, his voice trailing off as we all stared. The entire front of the building was a mass of cars, official cars, some with lights flashing. On one end there was even a van, like a swat van. Men in suits were standing around on the outside of the building. I suddenly felt Caleb grab my hand. “We need to go,” he whispered into my hear, and then did the same thing for Jenny, whose hand, I noticed, he had also grabbed. Without any explanation he pulled us away.
“What on earth?” I asked, having to trot to keep up with his long strides, “What’s going on?”
“I’ll tell you in a minute,” he said, “let’s get in the truck first.”
He let go of us, and we slowed down. Jenny came up again and took my hand, looking scared. I shrugged my shoulders. “Caleb’s the one that’s nuts, if you ask me,” I said. But I was afraid he wasn’t.