The trip to the skate park took longer than expected because I was still reeling from the kiss that Brook and I had shared, and so I asked her if we could walk rather than bus or skate. She was silent next to me the whole way, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t saying anything.
She was worrying about me, or about the kiss. I could tell by the way I could see her nervously glancing at me in my peripheral vision, and the way she was fidgeting with the wheels on her board. Had she always worried about me like this? Had she always been attuned to me like some sort of mystical spell or something, where she could read what I was feeling without any words needing to be spoken?
My thoughts were a mess of that, of her. Something had changed when she’d pulled me into her arms earlier, to protect me from those bullies. Something had gone askew inside me, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Although, I’d felt like this for longer? Longer even than the emergences had been happening? I couldn’t tell, either how long this had been laying dormant within me, nor what the actual emotions meant.
As we neared the skate park, she reached out to take my hand, like it was the most normal thing in the world to do. The odd part was that it did feel normal, and with my hand in hers my thoughts were somewhat quelled. They stilled and settled, while my anxiety subsided like a child whose mother had just raised that single powerful eyebrow at them.
There was one thought that stayed though, one irritating, annoying thought that whispered to me, a simple and terrifying explanation for all of this. I ignored it as best I could, I told it to shut it’s dickhead mouth. It didn’t work obviously. Strange sideways thoughts like that never listened.
“You okay?” Brook finally asked as the park came within sight. “Sorry if that was weird back there I… know that we talked about it, but you’re quiet and I feel like I really fucked up.”
“No, really, it’s okay Brook,” I said, pulling on her hand to bring her to a halt. I looked up at her, my blue eyes exploring her hazel ones for a moment before I murmured, “It’s not that I didn’t like the kiss Brook. I said it back there too. It was more than just a nice kiss, but this is kinda untrodden territory for me, and not only that but I’m quite literally walking into it hand in hand with my best friend.”
“Okay so… well I’m confused now,” she said awkwardly, dropping her eyes from my gaze and her hand from mine. I grabbed it back.
“So am I. My thoughts keep spinning and I can’t make them shut up,” I sighed. “Can we just… I don’t know, do the skating thing? Everything feels weird at the moment, so I think I’m just going to let my powers take over and skate.”
“Alright, but I’m intervening if you looks like you’ll hurt yourself,” she told me seriously. “Even if we weren’t pretending to be a thing, I’m still worried about you.”
Damn she was a great friend. I was insanely lucky to have her.
“Thanks,” I said, giving her a genuine smile. “You’re pretty great, you know that?”
Her other hand came up to rub the back of her neck for a moment as she gave an embarrassed smile in return. “I don’t know about that. I wasn’t there when you got kicked out after all, and I ditched you at the party where you got your powers and everything.”
“Oh shush,” I rolled my eyes. “Stop digging for reasons to put yourself down.”
“I’m not! I’m serious, I should have—“ she protested, but I reached up and covered her mouth with my hand.
She’d keep going if I didn’t physically stop her from talking… and I felt like being a little shit all of a sudden anyway.
“You were saying?” I asked with a cheeky grin.
She tried to move out of reach of my hand, but I followed her until she bumped up against a wall.
I kept her pinned there while I spoke. “Look, Brook, you’re seriously amazing, look at what you’re already willing to do for me! Shit, I feel like I’ve been like… constantly letting my end of this friendship down. I only turn up when I want your comfort! Wow I am actually legit a shit friend. Goddess… the more I think about it, the more it looks like I’m just taking advantage of your love for me.”
Brook shook her head and finally dislodged my hand from her mouth. “No! Don’t say that! I wouldn’t care even if you were, seriously. Take advantage of me all you need to! I just need you to be like, fucking happy for once and I’ll do whatever I need to do for that to happen! Shit I’m getting pissed off just thinking about the shit hand you’ve been dealt.”
Suddenly it was my turn to feel awkward and bashful, her words worming their way into my chest, where they expanded into this strange, hard-to-breathe sweet kind of sensation.
“Let’s go skate,” I said quietly, taking my hand back and throwing my board to the ground in an attempt to get away from whatever was happening there.
As I was beginning to do these days whenever I was feeling confused, upset or anxious, I threw myself straight at the huge vert. I wasn’t really looking at what was happening, I just ran up the ladder and immediately dropped in, ignoring any etiquette that normally required you to make sure people weren’t sitting there trying to psych themselves up to go down.
I let my powers have full rein, shifting into my Faerie form almost as soon as I gave my body to gravity. I powered down, up, then down a few times to build speed, then as I came up a fourth time, I put myself into a gut curdling spin. I came out of it harmlessly, as expected when my powers were involved, but what I didn’t expect was the clapping that came afterwards.
“Yo! Elsie that was fucking sick!” I heard Oliver cry out from up on the top of the vert. He’d been the one about to drop in before I barged in front of him.
I rode up and caught the railing around the outside to keep myself in place. “What?” I asked stupidly.
“That spin! I don’t even know what it was to be honest, but it looked incredible!” he grinned, offering a high five.
I took the high five with a shy smile. People were paying attention to me and it was weird? Eric was there too, as were a few others that I didn’t recognise, and they had a bunch of expensive looking film gear with them. I’d probably just ruined their shot.
“Yo Eric, did you guys get that?” Oliver called down to where Eric was with the film guys.
“Hell yeah I did!” he called back up, taking off his trucker cap to look up at me. “Hey Elsie! Do you mind if we use that in our next vid? I know we asked about the guest start thing only like two hours ago but like… we have the footage now.”
I shrugged, and nodded, “Yeah sure.”
I felt a little weird about thousands of people watching me skate, especially when I’d been trying to get rid of the strange and uncomfortable feelings that were bouncing around within me during the effort.
“You okay Elsie?!” Brook asked, rushing up to the vert behind us and stopping to catch her breath.
Watching her there with her chest heaving and her crazy hot tank top ridden up her hip… it took my breath away for a moment. Goddess… I could actually act on the desire I was feeling now too! I should act on those feelings. What better way to convince everyone that I was in a relationship with her than to go down there right now and kiss her in front of all these people who’d talk about it back at college?
That was all the motivation I needed, I hopped off the top of the vert and slid down the arc on my butt towards her. My footfalls were heavy as I bled speed, until I crashed into her, my arms going around to steady us both.
“Hey,” I smiled up into her incredible eyes, our faces only a few inches apart.
I didn’t wait for her to reply, just pressing my lips to hers with all the hunger that had built within me since the last one. I felt her moan with surprised need, the sound humming pleasantly through me, and I answered hers with one of my own. Goddess her lips were so warm and soft, how do people stop kissing once they get a taste for it like this?
The same heady confusion rose within me during the kiss as she moved to hold me in return, but she broke her lips away from mine before it got out of hand in front of all these guys. Once again I was dizzy and fuzzy with the intoxicating after image of the kiss and I had to lean against her to steady myself, which didn’t help the confusion at all. Had my eyes rolled up in my head for a moment there? Goddess that was nice.
“Whoa,” she chuckled, her voice sounding a little stressed, even if she managed to hide it well.
“Sorry, I figured that it would be a good idea to do the whole girlfriend thing in front of these guys, but then I got carried away all over again,” I mumbled quietly. “You’re really great at kissing.”
“Makes sense,” she said in a choked voice, pulling me closer against her chest. The action brought forth that weird sensation of having difficulty breathing yet again, but I didn’t push away from her. It was almost a pleasant sensation.
To the other guys, she called out, “Hey guys! What’s up! I’m Brook, the glowstick’s girlfriend.”
“Yeah, we follow you on instagram,” Eric said cheerfully as he jogged over. “I’m Eric, that’s Oliver and the others. Your insta is pretty funny, and the way you keep fucking with that Rosie chick’s ex is hilarious. Guy’s a total dick by the way, I went to highschool with him, so I’m getting some special vindication out of it.”
“Yeah we figured he was scum when he cheated on her,” Brook joked, shifting me to her side like I was just her board or something.
I may as well have been for all the turmoil inside me, so I just gave the guys a fuzzy smile and leaned into the girl next to me gratefully.
“How come you didn’t put this on your instagram?” Oliver asked when he arrived, motioning between Brook and I. “You’d get so many lesbian followers for it.”
“Well we…” Brook started, before she stalled and looked down at me for support.
“My parents,” I lied quickly. “They hate me enough for being trans, but now with that whole rumour thing about Diana and I being together… well it was keep quiet and let that keep going or just come out with it.”
“Makes sense, and just for the record, that rumour is dumb as fuck,” Eric nodded. “Ms Monahan is totally not the type to do that.”
“Yeah… she’s way better than that,” I said, smiling as I thought of my new Mum.
“Indeed… so uh, I guess I’ll throw that offer from before back at you now. If you want to have a little showcase on our channel, we’re totally keen. We can grab some footage of you and do a little interview or whatever,” he offered, before a thought occurred to him. “Oh snap, we can help you with the rumour bullshit too! Get Brook in there with you for the interview.”
“Um…” I blinked, then looked up at my friend with a question in my eyes.
“Yeah, we’ll definitely do that,” she said with an odd excitement in her eyes.
Wait, oh no, now I had to talk to a camera! People would see this, see me being an idiot and stuff. They’d see how lame I was, how dumb and awkward and weird I was. I could feel myself beginning to fall apart, until Brook just casually leaned over and pressed a kiss to my temple. It was a simple gesture, but my limbs went jelly-like again and suddenly my anxiety was the least of my concerns as more odd and confusing feelings washed over me again.
“Right! We’ll do the interview now, before you get all sweaty and shit. Come over this way?” Eric asked, motioning back towards the film equipment.
We did as he asked, and they seated us down on a bench and began to fiddle with their equipment some. I heard one of them complaining about not having brought a “boom” today or whatever, and that they would need to make do with the “one on the red”. I had no idea about half of the technical shit they were talking about.
Brook and I sat hip to hip next to each other, with her arm draped casually around my waist and I couldn’t help thinking that whoever she ended up actually being with was going to be so incredibly lucky. She was just an amazing person, so thoughtful and kind to the people she cared about. Always remembering how to help and what to do when things went wrong.
I felt stable for her presence and the unfamiliar emotions I was feeling. Well, that wasn’t entirely true, I’d felt like this around her for a long time, but now it was like someone had turned the intensity up to eleven. It had begun escalating that morning after my transformation, when she’d swapped to calling me by feminine pronouns. Maybe it was that? The euphoria of being addressed as my proper gender for the first time in forever?
“Alright, we’re ready,” Eric said, moving to stand in front of the camera.
They focused it on him standing there looking cool and collected, and when they gave him the nod that they were recording, he began to speak. “Sup everyone, Eric here again! So us Plain Skaters were just at the vert here down the road from uni, about to start filming some boring video for you all about OIiver skating again, then this chick rocks up and busts in front of Oliver. We got the footage for you later, but right now we have her here to talk!”
They cut there and Eric moved to stand near the camera, asking us, “Ready?”
“Uh, yup,” I nodded, feeling my anxiety report the opposite. Ugly panic began to rear up in an attempted coup of my body once more, and I tensed with the urge to run away as fast as I could.
Before I could get myself all worked up however, Brook’s hand gave my waist a gentle squeeze and she leaned over to whisper, “You got this glowstick.”
Right. I could do this. She was right, this was easy, anyone could talk about themselves, it was practically the easiest conversation topic ever.
“So this is Elsie a friend of ours from uni! You might have seen her in a few brief clips and the like on instagram, where she’s been showing off her skating,” Eric began from next to the camera. “We’ve asked her to do a video for us, some skating and an interview and she’s been cool enough to say yes! So on to the first question, because I know all you viewers are watching to see the skating, but I highly recommend you stick with us. Her story is a good one! Alright so Elsie... you’re pretty damn good at skating from what I’ve seen, how’d you start?”
“Uh, in high school I guess. I wasn’t too interested in it at the start, but Brook was insistent that I skate with her because she’d be lonely otherwise,” I said, turning to look at the girl in question.
“Ah, friend dragged you in. That sounds familiar,” our interviewer laughed. “Alright, so you started skating, but that was before a big change in your life. Want to talk about it? If you’re comfortable that is.”
“Um…” I mumbled, feeling anxiety rise up again all over again. Couldn’t amy dumb anxiety just fuck off? I did want to talk about it! Shit, I wanted everyone who watched this to know how awful my parents were. “Yeah… the third emergence happened, and I was turned into the girl you see I guess. I wasn’t born as a girl though…”
“Right, you’re trans, and I’m guessing the emergence realised that. You got some sweet powers too though didn’t you?” he prompted gently.
“They actually weren’t sweet at the start, they were just kinda weird,” I said with a nervous giggle.
Before I could reiterate, Brook cut in with a chuckle of her own. “Yeah, her powers basically just keep this clumsy cutie from falling over, and she’s been abusing the hell out of that ever since.”
“Really? That’s it?” Eric asked incredulously.
“Um yeah,” I nodded with a goofy smile on my face now. “If I throw myself off the vert, my powers basically make it so I have to stick whatever trick I’m trying, because you know… otherwise I’d fall over!”
“That’s actually fuckin’ great,” he laughed, a look of genuine amusement on his face. “So you just, try and break yourself skating, and it makes sure you don’t. That’s creative as hell. No wonder you’re studying design!”
“I guess,” I said modestly. “I want to be a fashion designer eventually.”
“Which is cool as. Make some awesome skate clothes for me huh?” he winked. “Now, on to another rough topic if you don’t mind… your parents. Not happy about this whole thing from what I hear? You’re not living with them anymore?”
Ah, the lead in to the rumours thing.
“No… I tried to keep it from them, but they found out. My dad tried to hit me, my cousins were assholes about it. I had to grab whatever I could carry and run… Ms Monahan, one of my professors took me in. She’s been great with me and… well I might actually get adopted by her,” I said with a sigh. I wish my birth family had been cool.
“That’s sick, and you could do a lot worse than her that’s for sure. Maybe you can ask her to give me some good grades?” he joked wryly.
“Oh no that wouldn’t work,” I giggled. “She keeps hounding me about my assignments and stuff. It’s the uh… not so great part about having your mum as your professor.”
“Right, damn… well it was worth a shot,” he chuckled, then turned to Brook with a raised eyebrow. “On to you for a second Brook. So… the famously uncatchable girl has been caught huh?”
Oh gosh, I hoped Brook would be okay with that question… since she wasn’t really caught. Instead we were just pretending… for my sake. Lying really… I was asking her to lie for me. Ugh, my gut twisted a little with nausea.
“Whoa, rude,” she laughed, taking the question in stride despite my anxiety over her feelings. “I’m not famous! But yeah, we’ve been friends for a long time, and after Elsie’s transformation and realisation about who she really was… our friendship turned into something more.”
“Much to the disappointment of the local college age population,” he grinned. “But hey, those of us in the skater community get a grassroots power couple now! Maybe we can convince you to get on your board and in front of the camera some time?”
“I’m not worth filming,” Brook shook her head. “Take whatever time you were going to use to film me, and film Elsie instead. She’s incredible.”
“That’s a shame, but you’re definitely right, Elsie is pretty impressive… and speaking of that, shall we get to the skating?” he asked, motioning to the park.
Finally! Talking was way too hard, but skating was something I could do!