Mike found a sports bra in the dresser by the door. It was easy enough to put on—there were no clasps to wrestle with, and it was better than not having one on before putting something on. She paused several times to look at herself in the mirror. Nothing felt unusual or out of place, which in itself was odd –because she’d quickly identified herself as a woman.
I am what I am, I guess...
She sighed. The unfamiliar surroundings made her feel uncomfortable. She had no idea where she was, and no information other than her family was there. The clothes in her wardrobe and dresser seemed to fit well enough. She imagined they had plenty of time to size her for some clothing while she was comatose. She was thankful that there was nothing in there too girly. That would have been just too much. She put on a set of jeans and a t-shirt and socks which made her feel a lot more human.
Paris. I hope you’re all right…
The t-shirt felt a little tight in the chest. She hesitantly reached up to reposition her breasts inside the sports bra in the hopes that things would situate better. After a few minutes, she gave up trying. She turned towards the door, crossing her arms as she did so. Mike wanted so much to go outside, but in truth she was more afraid of that than anything. She had no idea how many people were out there, and for the first time in her life, she felt real, genuine fear. She turned back towards the window and shivered.
The door opened a moment later. Peter closed the door behind him, remaining completely silent. Mike turned to him in surprise, not knowing what to expect. Her brother’s hands trembled at his sides, as if he could barely contain the emotions within him. He took a few tentative steps towards her. Mike was at a loss for what to do or say –Peter had been right there at the accident, walking alongside the two of them.
He saw the whole thing.
She was seized by a moment of panic, but she couldn’t figure out why. Peter was in front of her in moments, his fists clenched tightly on either side of him. Peter rarely showed any hint of emotion to the outside world, but she knew him better than anyone. He was barely in control. She took an involuntary step back –afraid of what was going to happen next. When she was a guy, they were about the same size, but now he towered over her.
Peter’s hand shot back with blinding speed. She winced, sensing he was going to strike her, raising her arms to protect her face. His hand hovered high in the air, shaking with pent up frustration and anger. Mike noticed that her eyes had become slick with tears, anticipating the blow. It never came. He slowly lowered his hand, taking her by the arms and staring directly into her eyes. Mike was overwhelmed by his naked display of emotion. Every inch of him trembled as he spoke to her.
“I watched you die…”
The energy seeped from him as he loosened his grip. His face softened, his eyes glossy with the onset of his tears. Slowly, he sank to his knees in front of her, pulling her down as well. She was able to wrap her arms around him and pulled him close as he sobbed. Peter, who rarely showed any outward emotion, sobbed like a child while she held him.
He loves me this much.
It was a long time before either of them moved from where they were on the floor together. Mike felt as though she should wait for him to disengage –she knew that he needed to gather himself in his own time. However, she was kneeling in an awkward position and his head was now resting on her newfound boobs. She pushed gently at his shoulders, urging him to get up.
Peter chuckled as he quickly recovered himself. “They do feel rather nice…”
It shocked her that he laughed like that. It wasn’t something she was used to. He got up and offered his hand to help her up. She took his hand in hers and he pulled her up without any serious effort. Everything jiggled, and she felt a momentary rush of embarrassment.
“I didn’t realize just how much everything under the sun is embarrassing when you’ve got these.” He grabbed her breasts for emphasis.
“Are you hungry?”
“Let’s go get something from downstairs. I think everyone’s probably too nervous to eat. I haven’t had anything since you woke up.”
She hooked her arm underneath his, letting him lead her to the door. It opened into wide short hallway with hardwood floors and deep red walls with white trim. She exhaled and stopped short of leaving the room. Peter turned to her.
“I’m scared.” Mike said in a small, thin voice.
“I know, Mike. Everyone’s scared, too. But we’re here. We’re all here. I know it’s hard to think of, but we’ve all become used to seeing you. No one’s going to laugh.”
Mike lowered her head. “I know. That’s not what I’m afraid of. Everyone else. My friends; school; the people who hated me –they’re all out there.”
“All I know is the Mike that I remember wouldn’t let something like that stop her.”
She turned her face to his, smiling a crooked smile, her worry visibly showing. “I guess you’re right. You’re just going to have to look out for me.”
Peter gave her arm a confident squeeze. “I’ll be here as long as you need me.”