20. Best Friends
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I was jarred awake from a nice deep sleep by the sound of Melissa's phone blaring an obnoxiously loud ringtone. It was just past eight in the morning and I knew my mom would be asleep in her room next door, she definitely wouldn't appreciate this noise after her late night at the restaurant.

Both me and Melissa tumbled out of bed as we scrambled to find her phone. She finally located it on the floor next to her pants, then swiped the screen and answered "Yeah?"

I sighed and sat on the edge of my bed while Melissa was crosslegged on the floor. We were both still naked, and she was blushing slightly and avoided looking me in the eyes for now.

The voice chattering at my friend through her phone wasn't quite loud enough for me to tell who it was, but Melissa's eyes widened as the other person talked. She continued blushing, and slowly pulled her pants onto her lap to sort of partially cover herself as she sat there.

Melissa finally sighed, "Sorry mom. I know I didn't call, I forgot. We were watching movies and I got tired and wound up just staying the night."

After a brief pause she replied "At Mara's."

There was another brief pause then she elaborated, "Mara Carter. Yes, her."

I was starting to get my hopes up that Melissa wasn't kicked out or anything. If her mom was giving her a hard time about staying out all night without calling, that sounded like her parents expected her home or still wanted her at home.

My hope was short-lived though as my friend's expression turned to a frown. "Please don't call me that. I told you yesterday, my name is Melissa. I'm a girl. I'm your daughter."

The voice on the other end sounded agitated, and I sighed quietly.

Melissa's expression became darker, and she shook her head "Mom that's so off-base I don't even know where to begin. And this isn't the time to get into that argument."

My friend listened for a few seconds then stated "If you call me that one more time I'm hanging up."

And finally after a couple more seconds she lowered the phone and tapped the disconnect button. Then she put it on silent and gave me an apologetic look. She was about to say something, when her eyes drifted towards my bedroom door and her face went bright red.

I turned and sighed. We hadn't bothered to close my door last night. When mom came home she'd have seen Melissa's car was still here. She'd have seen the sofa was empty. And she probably would have looked in my room since the door was open, and seen the two of us in bed.

Now she was standing in the open doorway, looking very tired and very grumpy as she glared at me. And of course I was sitting naked on my bed, my best friend was naked on the floor, and it was pretty obvious what was going on.

"Sorry mom," I said quietly. "Melissa forgot to put her phone on silent, and we didn't realize her mom would be calling so early."

She didn't say a word, she didn't have to. She just gave me that look for a few more seconds then turned and stalked back to her bedroom.

Melissa sighed and slumped back to lay sprawled on the floor. Her pants were still strategically positioned over her groin and her hands were hiding her face.

She groaned softly "Sorry Mara. I hope I didn't just get you in a pile of trouble."

I shrugged, "She'll be mad all day, but things will be ok by tomorrow. I'll make her a fancy breakfast when she gets up, that might help. How'd it go with your mom? Do you want to talk about it?"

"Ugh," Melissa scowled. "When I said I was here with you, she accused you of corrupting me. Like you somehow made me trans, which is so ridiculous it's not funny. I knew I was trans like six months ago. Hell, I was the one who told you what it meant."

I pointed out, "Yeah, but I guess your folks only saw you hanging out with me, then saw you start to change, then you came out to them right before coming over here again? So I can see how to them, it's like the two things are connected."

She frowned, then nodded "Yeah, I guess. Good point Mara."

Her expression returned to a scowl as she added, "That still doesn't excuse her intentionally deadnaming me though."

"No, it doesn't."

We were both quiet for a minute or so before I spoke up again. I had a bit of a grin on my face as I said, "So, about last night..."

Melissa's face went red again. "Yeah. We really did that."

Her reaction wasn't quite what I expected and I asked softly "You don't regret it do you? Are you ok?"

"I'm fine," she nodded. "And no I don't regret it. I just... I really didn't expect it?"

She blushed a little brighter and her voice dropped to a quiet whisper as she admitted, "I uh, never thought I'd get a chance to do that before it was gone."

I couldn't help it, I smirked and whispered back at her "That puts you one up on me again."

Melissa was still blushing, and asked "Was it... Did you enjoy it?"

"Oh yeah," I grinned. "I'd honestly be up for more, if my mom wasn't home. How about you?"

She blushed even brighter and whispered, "It was good. Not good enough for me to change my mind about anything. I'm glad it happened though."

I finally stood up and stretched then suggested, "Let's go get some breakfast or something?"

Melissa nodded, and quickly got her clothes sorted out and got herself dressed. I just pulled on a nightshirt for now, then we went into the kitchen together. I poured us both glasses of juice then put some bread in the toaster.

"Sorry I can't make anything fancy right now," I said softly. "I don't want to do any cooking till after ten, so mom gets more sleep."

She replied, "It's ok, I understand."

When it was ready, we both sat at the table and ate quietly.

After we were both finished our toast, Melissa said "I should probably head home. My folks will be mad enough as it is, no point making them more upset by keeping them waiting."

"Want me to come with you?" I asked. "For moral support or whatever? To be your back-up?"

She shook her head "No thanks Mara. I'm sure it'll be ok. If not, I'll just leave."

"Call me and let me know how it goes," I stated. "Or text or something. If I don't hear from you, I'll check in with you."

Melissa nodded, "Ok Mara. I'll talk with you later."

I gave her a hug and walked her to the door, then watched as she got in her car and drove away.

Things were quiet after that, but I kept my phone nearby incase she called or texted. When it got around ten I put the coffee machine on, and when I heard my mom get up I started making her an omelette.

She thanked me for the coffee as she took her seat at the table. When her food was ready I served it up for her, then got myself another glass of juice and sat down across from her.

"Sorry we woke you this morning. I forgot to warn Melissa to put her phone on silent."

Mom didn't respond, she just ate quietly for a few minutes. She didn't look angry though, she just looked sort of thoughtful.

I sipped my juice and stayed quiet as well, I figured she'd yell at me or whatever when she was finished eating.

When she did finally speak, she didn't yell and she wasn't angry. And she didn't say anything about being woken up too early. Instead she just asked quietly, "Are you and Melissa a couple now?"

The question caught me off-guard, and I was quiet for a few more seconds as I thought about it. I finally replied, "I don't know? I'm sure we're still best friends, but last night was... It just sort of happened?"

I added, "I guess if it happens again then maybe that means we're girlfriends? I don't know where we stand now though. I guess I need to talk with Melissa about it and find out what she thinks."

Mom nodded her agreement with that. Then she asked, "I take it Lily is helping her? She's changed quite a lot in two weeks."

"Yeah," I nodded. "I don't know the details, it was between the two of them. Melissa said she'll be all finished in another week or so maybe."

After another sip of coffee Mom commented, "Melissa must be very happy about that. How's her family taking it?"

I grimaced, "She's really happy. As for her family, she's probably finding out right now. I'm hoping she'll call and tell me how it goes, or I'll call her in a little while."

Mom was quiet again, and finally got herself another cup of coffee.

I watched her, then asked "Mom is everything ok with you? I'm sorry we woke you up so early, and I'm sorry if it freaked you out finding me and Melissa in bed together last night."

She sat back down and took a deep breath, then started telling me what was wrong.

"Mara, three weeks ago I had a son who was about to graduate high-school and get his first summer job, while I was barely making ends meet as a waitress. Then you were killed, and came back as a girl. I had to identify your body for the police. We attended your funeral, then I found out you're trans, and so is your best friend. I found out you're sharing your body with some sort of ancient magical being, we received a large insurance payout for your death, and your magical friend arranged for us to win the lottery. Now your magical friend is transforming your best friend into a girl and the two of you are sleeping together. All that in three weeks."

After all that, mom shook her head and sighed "I don't think I can take anything else. I'm barely holding on as it is right now. I really need some stability and some normality in my life, ok? I need there to not be any more huge changes or supernatural revelations."

Once she'd explained it like that, I felt kind of guilty. I knew all that stuff happened, but maybe since it was happening to me I was sort of too close to realize how much it really was, and how overwhelming it must be for her.

"I'm sorry mom. I guess I never realized how all this was affecting you."

She sipped her coffee, then finally said "If Melissa's parents kick her out she's welcome to stay with us, but that's the last big change. She can sleep on the sofa, or in your room. If she's with you though, keep the noise down. I'm not going to ask what you and she get up to, and I absolutely do not want to know any details."

I blushed but smiled, "Thanks mom. You're amazing. And I'll try to make sure nothing else happens. It would be kind of nice if the rest of the summer was quiet and peaceful."

After another sip of coffee mom pointed out, "We're thinking about buying and moving into a new house Mara. It's not going to be quiet or peaceful. But I think I can handle that. It's the...unnatural stuff that I can't take any more of, ok?"

I nodded quietly.

"Have you made any decisions about what you'd like to take at college?"

"Yeah," I smiled. "I want to learn photography? I've been checking out all the different colleges around here, comparing their photography programs and stuff."

I blushed and added, "I was talking to Melissa about that too, to see if any of those colleges offered something she'd be interested in? I was kind of hoping we'd both go to the same school."

Mom asked, "I thought she was already planning to take a business program?"

"No," I sighed. "That's what her parents wanted. She doesn't want that."

She continued sipping her coffee, then finally said "All right Mara. Try and make a decision soon, so we can get you enrolled and figure out the rest of our plans. I'm going to do some more research myself."

Mom went into the living-room with her coffee and got her laptop set up, while I did the dishes. I still hadn't heard from Melissa yet and I was getting a little worried about her.

Once I was done in the kitchen I went back to my room and sent Melissa a text, asking if everything was ok. Then I got dressed, just incase I had to go over there or something. It was a black skinny-jeans and tight t-shirt kind of day today, I figured.

By the time I was dressed, I got a text back from my friend. It was brief, but it said she and her folks were trying to work things out. I figured that sounded hopeful, so I wished her luck.

Then I sat down and started looking through my camera roll. Before long I had a wide smile on my face, and there was a flutter in my stomach. And a flutter between my legs too, as I looked at all the beautiful and risqué pictures I took with my best friend last night.

I was just starting to daydream about another 'photo session' with Melissa when mom appeared at my bedroom door.

"I'm going out for a drive, to look at some houses. Want to come along?"

I grinned, "Yeah!"

A half hour later the two of us were in her car, heading off to look at places that might become our new home.

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