Chapter 5 – Chris
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After that we had another two classes before the day would be over. To be honest though, it was hard to keep paying attention. Images kept going through my head of Keira Knightley kissing Orlando Bloom. Except I was Keira Knightley. The second hour was especially difficult, as I shared that class with Caleb, and I kept looking over to him and his shirt full of abs every few seconds. He was oblivious, luckily, as he was looking disconcerted at his book. Biology was not his strong point, it would seem.      

This was all Ellie’s fault. She had put all these weird ideas in my head and now I could not stop myself from fixating on them. This body was definitely also playing a role, I had never felt stuff like this that strongly before. Might be a hormonal thing.  I realised that what was worse was that after school I had that meeting with my math tutor. I prayed that he would be ugly or else with my mind as it was right now I doubt I was going to be able to get much math done. I should probably just cancel. I still hadn’t asked Ellie about it though, which I should really do in case he wasn’t a math tutor at all.

As I was trying desperately to learn all the different glands in the human body the bell suddenly rang. Sixth hour was done, which meant I was done for the day. I just had to deal with this ‘Chris’ situation and then I could just go home. I went outside the classroom with the rest and waited until there was nobody within the earshot before I finally asked Ellie “Oh btw, my planner mentions I am meeting somebody named ‘Chris’ at 3, so in like 15 minutes. Who is that? And do you know where we’re even supposed to meet?” My planner didn’t make any mention of that either.

“Ohhhh, that’s right. It’s Monday, with everything going on I completely forgot” Ellie replied. If I had not been suspicious before I might have fallen for her deception, but if you paid attention to it she was clearly faking her ignorance. She did know, which meant she was hiding something, and the hair on my neck started to stand up with the possibilities of what that could be. “Chris is your boyfriend” Ellie responded matter-of-factly.

Wait. WHAT? “I have a BOYFRIEND?” I whisper-shouted back at her. Why didn’t she tell me this EARLIER. Oh that’s right, because she CANNOT be TRUSTED….. “When were you going to mention that little TIDBIT?”.

“I'm sorry, it slipped my mind!” Ellie defended herself, though she was obviously LYING, “I forgot you two meet weekly on Monday when your mom goes to community college! I thought you wouldn’t have to deal with him, since he goes to the grammar school and all”.

“So is he like…. gay then?” I asked, though by the way Ellie’s face turned I knew it was phrased wrong. I mean, I didn’t mean to insinuate Kiara wasn’t a girl or anything, but… well there was that.

“Kiara, I’m going to level with you here. I don’t think you could get a gay boyfriend to save your life looking like you do.”

I couldn’t help but blush at that. “Well yes, but what about, you know, that” I replied, gesturing downward slightly hoping she didn’t need me to be too explicit about what I meant.

Ellie gave me a empathetic look “You are not any more or less of a woman due to what’s between your legs Kiara. Just like I am not less of a woman due to the absolutely massive dong between my legs.” Ellie smirked.

“What? You don’t… you don’t have a penis!”. I mean, I would know that right? It definitely would have come up when we were kids.

“How do you know?” Ellie responded with a wry smile. I was about to respond, but she already continued. “Look, that isn’t really the point. Point is: if you were to find out that I, or Sarah or Jennifer did have a penis tomorrow. Would that mean we were no longer women? Would that mean that straight guys would instantly stop finding them attractive?”

“Well…..” I responded “no, but….”

“I promise you, Chris does not think you any less of a girl due to what is between your legs. But if it makes you feel any better: original timeline Kiara isn’t a big fan of that thing either. Her loss and all, but…. you should be aware that you have a surgery date coming up in a little under a year.  will take care of that, if that helps?”

“A surgery date? You mean like… but I mean, as dad said, that still wouldn’t make it a real-“

“Ugh, you gotta stop listening to your dad, Ki. How does the saying go again?” Ellie interjected “If it looks like a vagina, feels like a vagina, and functions like a vagina. Then I’d say that’s a vagina. Do some reading if you want to know more.”

I couldn’t stop myself from imagining all sorts of things based on that information. What it would be like, feel like to have... Focus, Kiara! This won’t matter anyways because it will be long after tomorrow. It won’t happen to you so you don’t have to sort out how you feel about it. Focus on the immediate problem: Chris. I took my phone and started looking for his name, which was easy as I already had missed whatsapp messages from a “Chris”.

“Uhhh, what’cha doing?”

“Fuck, he’s already here.” I responded in frustration. A message saying that he was waiting for me at the school gate. “I am trying to cancel the damn meeting with Chris, obviously

“Don’t do that if you’re trying to keep a low profile” Ellie said, probably in another attempt to manipulate me “you have these evenings every Monday for a couple weeks straight now, he’s gonna wonder why and so will your mom”.

“I’ll just…. claim I am sick or something….”. Or should I suffer through it, just to keep up appearances? Ellie is probably manipulating me again, but she also kind of has a point. To be entirely honest, I was kind of wondering what he would even look like. His whatsapp profile picture wasn’t much help, it was way too zoomed in, all it told me is that Chris was into hiking apparently, as he was standing on top of a mountain with quite a view.

“Ah yes, sick. That is why you finished the whole day at school and then cancelled with your boyfriend. Besides: if your SO is sick, wouldn’t you not want to leave them home alone but instead tuck them into bed and feed them warm soup and shit like that?”

Fuck, she’s got a point. “Then what do you suggest, exactly?”.

“I mean….. just go meet him? Chris is not going to try anything if you’re not up to it or anything like that btw. I have met him, he’s nice enough for a dude. Just the one evening right?”

I tried to think of some way to cancel without raising suspicion with Chris or mom. Ellie was right that claiming sick would not work. I could just say I really wanted alone time, maybe? Though that might still raise suspicions if they normally didn’t see each other that often. Maybe I should just meet with him. Then…. I would get to find out what sort of person this ‘Chris’ is.

-             

After a short info dump on Chris from Ellie I went to the school’s gate to meet…. my boyfriend. God what a weird thing to even think about. As I approached the gate I nervously looked around if Bryan was there, last thing I needed was for him to see this as well. Anybody else would just forget about it if they saw me after I’d reset time, but if Bryan saw this I’d never hear the end of it. Luckily I didn’t spot him in the crowd, but as I was searching I did see somebody approach me with a big goofy grin on his face.

Ellie’s description really didn’t do him justice. Sure, she’d described his hair colour well enough, and predicted that he would probably be wearing some band t-shirt, but she didn’t say anything about the way his eyes twinkled, or the way he smiled, or uhh, that I actually had to look slightly upward to meet his eyes now that he was right in front of me.

“How’s my lovely girlfriend doing today?” His voice was gruff and sweet.

'Girlfriend’ that was me. I couldn’t help blushing. Here I was. Standing in front of my school. Two days ago I had been a normal, uhm, ‘guy’. And now I was standing here, make-up on my face meeting up with my boyfriend. What would dad say if he could see me now? Nothing good, that’s for sure. I just have to pretend this is all normal for one more evening and then one day of school and then I’m done.

“Pretty good.” I replied nervously to this stranger that I was now apparently dating  “Um, shall we go?”

Chris looked a bit disappointed. My guess is that he’d been expecting a bit more intimacy, that’s what a normal girlfriend would do, right? But I was definitely not feeling like doing anything like that right now. I could never. So instead I just led him along to where my bikes were and changed the subject to a video game I had confirmed with Ellie would be good topic to start up conversation.

It was a bit awkward as I couldn’t help but wondering what the real Kiara would have done as a greeting. Would she just have kissed him, right then, right there? That’s what girlfriends do with their boyfriends, right? I blushed at the thought. I could definitely not do something like that. Then again: nobody would know if you did, right? Not once you reset things, right? After all that talk with Ellie I couldn’t help but wonder…. how… would it feel? Nobody would know, so can’t I just try it out? You would know, Kiara, that’s what matters.

 I mean… I mean, ‘Sean’. Right? It sounded so weird to refer to myself as ‘Sean’ now. ‘Sean’ would never be called “girlfriend”. He would never be out here leading a boyfriend to her bike. ‘Sean’ just stayed at home and didn’t do anything his stupid dad didn’t want him to do, and… huh, where did that come from?

The topic shifted to a recap of the week, though I kept my own short and quickly moved the topic to his week. He was telling me about his weekend at his dad’s place in another city, which apparently is the reason we don’t normally meet up during the weekend. It was difficult to keep paying attention though. I couldn’t help but think about Ellie’s words. What was it that I wanted? I guess I never really knew what I wanted to do with my future. I was thinking of going to study history as it had always been interesting, follow in my mom’s footsteps I guess, but beyond that?

As we started cycling back to my place, and I thanked the gods that apparently Chris had had an eventful week, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I tried to imagine myself, my uh ‘male’ self with like, a wife and kids and a picket fence and a successful career and all that. But it just…. didn’t feel ‘’real’’. I know I should want that, right? That is…. that is what you are supposed to want. But it just…. it just wasn’t appealing or something? I looked over at Chris, what if in that sort of situation Chris was the husband and I was…..? I couldn’t help but blush. My first instinct was to deny it, to say that it’s not what I really wanted, to try and find some excuse, but….. what if I didn’t have to make excuses for it?

-

We started the afternoon off by playing some Mario Kart. I lost pretty hard, but  you can hardly blame me, I didn’t even own a switch until three days ago. The last time I’d played Mario Kart had been at Bryan’s house years ago, before he’d stopped wanting to play Nintendo stuff. Bryan insisted that it was because it was ‘’kid’s stuff’’. I’d always agreed with him, but now it felt rather silly. I couldn’t help but think back to Lion. I threw him out because it was ‘’kid’s stuff’’ as well, but who gives a shit? I liked that plush, and I liked this game. Who decides this stuff anyway? Apparently I’d normally be kicking Chris’ butt at Mario Kart  though, so he was quite cutely proud of how much he’d supposedly improved playing with me.

After that we worked on some homework, and I found out I wasn’t entirely wrong with my ‘math tutor’ hypothesis, he really was good at making math be more comprehensible. Like the day before with Ellie it was… really nice, to be spending the day with somebody other than Bryan. The atmosphere was quite different though. Every now and again Chris would do some small thing, or call me his girlfriend or call me ‘babe’ and I couldn’t help but blush. I assume I normally got a whole lot more work done, but I was rather distracted for most of the day. Chris wasn’t like Caleb, he didn’t have abs for days or anything like that. Not to say he was a slouch in the body department or anything, he definitely had some muscle himself, just not a gym perfect body. But he didn’t need it to make me blush because it was more like….. the way he talked was attractive? The way he made little jokes, even though sometimes they would clearly be in-jokes that I did not remember.

After that we cooked some dinner. Luckily we were making spaghetti which I actually knew to make. It was from the days that I had experimented more with cooking, before dad started complaining and I took the hint. God, how had he managed to ruin cooking for me? And why? How did making food become a source of shame?

What stood out is that at some point while I was cutting the mushrooms up in smaller parts Chris was talking about his little sister and I…. remembered her. I remembered what she looked like, what she sounded like. I thought that memories coming back would come only in those vivid dreams, but apparently it happens in subtler ways too, because I definitely didn’t see her in the original timeline. After that we settled down on the couch together and ‘continued’ with a series that we were watching. It was rather awkward as I had very much not been watching this series myself before, which meant I had no idea what was going on. There was some girl with a big sword and she had a girlfriend who was a cat? And they were trying to stop some sort of four-eyed bodybuilder. For the second time in a couple of days I got the urge to just put my head against someone’s shoulder. In response Chris put his arm around me. It felt….. nice.

At some point I got confused because there was suddenly a communist winged rainbow horse involved and it kinda caused me to lose interest and I happened to glance out the window. It had gotten dark outside, but we hadn’t closed the curtain, so I just saw us reflected. A boy, roughly 17 years old, sitting on the couch, with his arm around a girl, who was staring at her own reflection. A beautiful girl. A beautiful girl that was me. I was her. I was that girl, sitting there. I couldn’t help but think again about what Ellie asked me: What is it that I want?

“Hey, Chris? Can I…. borrow your attention for a moment?” I asked, my voice slightly trembling because of what I was about to do.

“Sure” he said, as he turned his head towards me, and gave me that beautiful smile again, “what is it, babe?”.

This is it, no getting cold feet now. You want this. Nobody is here to judge you, nobody is here to tell you that this is wrong. It is just you and him. I put my arms around his neck and pulled in. I put my lips towards his and he responded in kind.

On some level I had expected it to feel wrong or disgusting or anything like that. Some last part of me trying to prove to myself that it was wrong, that this was all a lie or something like that. On some level I had still expected to feel as disgusting as the way dad always described it. Instead it felt… great. It felt… liberating. It felt….. right.

But with that feeling of rightness came a realization. Something that on some level I already knew, but had been repressing now came through with crystal clarity. I don’t want to go back.

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