Chapter 2
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“Rosalind! Are you still in bed? Breakfast is ready!” my mother yells through the door. I open my eyes and check the clock on the wall. 9:20. Shit, I’d planned to be at Ricky’s at ten o’clock. Guess I’ve gotta rush.

“Just a minute!” I yell out, clambering out of bed. Definitely should have gone to sleep on time. Lets see, I could go downstairs, eat breakfast with my folks, then try to rush a shower and run to Ricky’s house. But there’s no way my parents would let me leave the table before everyone is done eating, and then I wouldn’t have the time to dry my hair properly. Oh, and I still need to pick some clothes for Ricky to try on. He’s lucky he’s small and skinny, or this would be doomed from the start.

Right, so I’ll shower first, dry my hair while prepping the clothes, then rush downstairs to grab some toast to eat on the way. Just like in my animes. Action plan made, I rush to the bathroom, and start brushing my teeth, as I always do before a shower. I think it’s better to do so a bit after breakfast, but I’m on a schedule here. I check the mirror to see if I have baggy eyes from sleeping bad, but it looks fine. My chin-length blonde hair looks all dirty though, so I make sure to wash it properly once I’m in the shower.

Afterwards I quickly dry off and retreat to my room, opening my wardrobe. Most of my clothes are function over form, but I feel like I make it work. Painting isn’t my preferred medium, but I still know the theory behind colour composition, so my basic shirts, skirts, leggings, jeans, vests and the like end up being reasonably stylish. I could probably be a lot more popular if I bought some more variety in styles, but complex fancy clothes are fun to draw, not to wear. Besides, as long as I’m not unpopular, I don’t really want to be more popular.

I pick out a simple jeans/shirt combo for myself, then spend another minute looking at what to bring for Ricky. He’s a boy, and one of the big advantages of that is that he doesn’t need to build up a wardrobe and can just wear the same style of pants and shirts every day, whereas if I tried that, my mom would have a fit. Of course, now I have no clue what style suits him, and even if I did, my own clothes aren’t that varied, so it doesn’t matter much, unless he wants to make a habit of this. Which, unless he confesses his white lie, he might have to if he wants to keep meeting up with them.

I decide to just bring three each of leggings, skirts and shirts, and my spare coat. The leggings are stretchy, so they’re more likely to fit, and the skirt can hide, well, suffice it to say that it can hide a lot. As an afterthought, I decide to grab a bra and some socks to fill it. I doubt he’ll agree to wear it out, but I can probably tease him into trying it on, which should be good for a laugh. Speaking of teasing, I grab some of the nail polish from the largely ununsed vanity I got when I turned thirteen. My mom was weird about it. When it was first put into my room, she told me not to wear any to school, and I didn’t. I tried it out, of course, but I didn’t really care for the results or the effort it took, so I never made it a habit. I mean, what’s the point of painting something if I can’t even look at the results outside of the bathroom?

Then, like nine months later, she suddenly ‘decided’ that I was allowed to wear light make-up to school after all, and that I didn’t have to take what she’d said at first as discouragement. When I continued to not wear any, she tried to make it a rule that I should, which turned into an argument, which ended only when Dad got home and took my side. Nonetheless, I still have a stocked vanity and a variety of nail polish, which I do have to wear, but that’s mostly because when I don't use polish, I forget not to bite my nails, which is gross. The biting, not the forgetting.

My mom calling up the stairs snaps me out of my thoughts, and I quickly put the clothes and polish into a bag and rush downstairs. Inside the kitchen sit my mom and dad with finished plates. Before I can even begin to grab breakfast, my mom starts. “Look who finally came down to her family. You really should get up earlier if you want to shower before breakfast, we’re already done.” Her eyes scan me, falling on the bag. “What’s that for?”

“I told you, I’m going out with Ricky today,” I reply.

You’ve never brought a bag to his house before?” Oh no. I’m already starting to think of an excuse for what’s in my bag when she suddenly changes topics. “Wait, ‘go out’? Are you dating that boy now? I suppose it was only a matter of time, no matter what the two of you said,” she huffs.

I want to yell. I manage not to, but my next words are sharper than I wanted them to be. To the mall! We’re ‘going out’ to the mall! I can’t believe you! You know we’re just friends!”

My mom’s eyes narrow, and I know I’ve made a mistake. I retreat back out the kitchen door, and rush to the front door. My dad yells after me “Be back by dinner, sweetie! Have fun at the mall!”

I quickly yell back that I will, and begin my walk to Ricky’s house. It doesn’t take long for me to calm back down, and I reflect on what just happened. My mom’s an enigma sometimes. She’s been pushing me to date boys for the past year, despite me being not interested. But just then, when she thought I was dating one, she seemed more annoyed than anything. I swear I’ll never understand her.


Arriving at Ricky’s house, I knock on the door, half shivering. I really should have grabbed a coat. Wait, I packed one for Ricky and didn’t even think to put it on myself, not that there’s any use by now.

He’s taking a while to answer, and I’m not sure why. Usually his dad answers, but even the times we’ve met up that he wasn’t here, Ricky’s responded quicker than this. That said, I’m pretty glad his dad works weekends, or this was going just as difficult to explain as it’d be to my parents. He’s a doctor at the local hospital, so he has to work on weekends somewhat regularly, both scheduled and when there’s an emergency. Ricky used to visit my house a lot when that’d happen when we were younger, but then we’d play at my house a lot anyway.

Finally, the door opens and Ricky invites me inside from behind the door. As I walk inside, about to laugh at him for taking so long and then hiding, one look at him stuns me into silence. I close the door behind me and just stare at him. He blushes and looks away, then stammers out “Do -- do you like it?”

The fringe on his shortish black hair is dyed a bright purple, and it’s all styled just a bit more femininely, but the effect is immense. With just the change in hairstyle, he’s gone from looking like a scrawny, androgynous boy to looking like a scrawny, androgynous girl. “You look really different,” I say dumbly.

It’s just some hair mousse and mascara and lip gloss,” he protests. Wait, he’s wearing lip gloss? I look closer, and he totally is! Light pink, even. Where did he get that? Well, the store, probably, but I can’t imagine him going up and buying it. Maybe I’ve underestimated how important this is to him; I figured he’d chicken out as soon as possible.

That’s all? Really? What about the purple?” I ask, indicating his forehead.

Oh, that’s mascara too.” I blink at him.You know, hair mascara. I’d have to bleach my hair to dye it properly and I don’t think I’m ready to do that,” he winces.

Huh, I didn’t know they made that. That’s pretty neat.” I look him over again. “I like it. I’m just glad I brought clothes that go with that colour, imagine if I had to go back.”

Ricky suddenly seems to notice the bag in my hands, and grins excitedly. “What’d you bring? Is there a skirt?” He seems to be restraining himself from just grabbing the bag himself to check.

I brought a few, yeah. Let’s go to your room and I’ll show you!” His smile widens in a way that seems almost impossible, and he quickly nods and rushes up the stairs. I slip off my shoes and follow. He sure is excited. If he wanted to try a skirt so badly, he really could just have asked.

Also, many thanks to the people who helped edit and proofread! this chapter, as well as every other chapter, would be infinitely worse without y'all.