“So what’s it like?” Paris asked.
Mike pulled an anime PVC figure from one of the boxes in her new room. After meeting in the hall, things calmed somewhat and the two of them sat amongst her things, trying to sift out what to keep and what needed to go to storage. The obvious boy things had to go in storage, but there were a lot of things of sentimental value that she didn’t really want to part with. She looked at the amply endowed, scantily clad figure and put it into a box marked storage, sighing deeply.
“It’s hard to describe. I don’t really have the words yet. I mean, I’m me and I feel the same way about most things, but they don’t come out the same way. When I feel things, it feels like everything is amplified. It’s confusing…”
Mike picked up another figurine and placed it into the storage box, not even bothering to look at it too closely. She realized that most of her figures were of the same type –amply endowed and scantily clad –not much thought there. After a while, she merely started putting them into the box without even looking at them, until she came upon a statuette of a little girl with a winged backpack. In comparison, the girl was dressed plainly with a half length slicker, boots and a backpack with little cute wings. She put that one on the dresser, gazing at it dreamily and then going back to the box.
“I mean AMPLIFIED. So much so that it’s out of my control. My body is the same way –my knees gave way and I felt like such a weakling, but there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.” She turned to the side to hide a sudden flush of embarrassment.
“If I was still a guy, we’d have hugged a couple of seconds max, shook hands and gone to play Xbox.”
Paris arched his eyebrow. “I don’t think you’re being exactly fair to yourself. That was a really tense moment. I think it would have been tough for anyone…”
“Oh yeah? Then how come your knees didn’t give out?” She huffed.
“I don’t know, really. I was just so caught up in the moment. I saw you and I saw you falling and I just wanted to be there for you. I wasn’t thinking about how I felt just then, I guess.”
“That’s cause your instincts kicked in. Dr. Rigby and I talked about this a little. She said that right now, my body is reacting exactly like it’s supposed to for a girl, but my brain is used to receiving different signals now which makes things even more confusing for me. She says in time I will learn to deal with it, but right now I’m nothing but a walking waterworks.”
“As I recall, You cried a lot before the accident too!” He laughed, recoiling in mock terror from any response.
Mike frowned for a second and bit her bottom lip. “That was ONE time! One time! And it was a pretty sad part!”
Paris shrugged nonchalantly, and moved another box out of reach to the side. “If you say so…”
She humphed and turned her face away towards the window. “That’s not fair…”
He always takes my mind off things.
Paris leaned in and spoke softly, ensuring what he said was for Mike’s ears alone. She felt his closeness and became rigid. He didn’t want her to see the smile on her face.
“I won’t laugh, Mike. I don’t have the words to say it, but you’re very …important to me. You’re my best friend.”
“I have plenty of friends…” she huffed, rolling her eyes lazily.
Paris lowered his eyes. “I don’t…
I’m not like you, Mike. You always seem to land on your feet, no matter what happens. Even in this, you’re a lot steadier than I would be. I can’t wrap my head around it. I mean I look at you and I see Mike, but you’re obviously not Mike, too. I think I would be a half a step away from panicking”
The words hung in the air like heavy smoke from a smoldering fire.
Mike sensed the conversation growing too somber, which was not what she wanted.
“Are you kidding me?” She began. “I’m freaking out as we speak!”
She managed a convincing laugh while brushing an errant lock of hair from in front of her eyes. Knowing that with her new hair it was a wasted effort, she turned back and forth looking though her boxes until she found a wide rubber band. She grabbed her hair all together, and twisted it several times deftly before putting it up and securing it with the rubber band. Paris watched her with a curious stare, which made her feel more than a little self conscious.
“What?” She asked.
Paris looked slightly embarrassed for a moment. “Wow. It didn’t really hit me until just now that you really are a girl.”
“I don’t get it. All I did was put my hair up.”
His eyes took on a dreamy expression. Looking down at herself, Mike realized that while her arms were up securing her hair, Paris’s eyes had been diverted to her t-shirt and gotten stuck there.
“Up here, genius.” She chided, pointing with two fingers to her eyes.
“Aw come on, Mike. You can’t expect me not to look! We always look! I mean, you used to look even more than I did. Hell, even Peter looks!” He threw his hands up in a defensive shrug.
“Yes, but not at me, stupid!”
“Okay, okay… I give. So when is it ok for me to look?”
“Never.” She sneered.
“Never?” Paris exaggerated his facial expression so he looked almost comical.
“That’s right. Never.”
Mike leaned forward over the boxes with her eyes narrowed to slits. Paris gulped involuntarily, noticing her thick eyelashes and full pouting lips as she did so. Mike appeared to be reveling in her expression of power.
“If I catch you even so much asthinkingabout looking at me that way, I swear I will kick you in the nuts so hard that the entire male population of San Diego will feel it.”
She was visibly embarrassed, but trying desperately not to look it. Paris stared at her, afraid of what do next, until she turned away, leaning back and crossing her arms in front of her. Paris cocked an eyebrow, rubbing his chin as he looked back at her. He laughed deeply.
“I get it, Mike. I really do… But I can’t honestly say yes to that. I’m still trying to get over the shock and disbelief about what’s happened. I’m gonna level with you because I think you need to hear it. You’d better get used to all the stares you’re gonna be getting. I think “hottie” is an understatement when it comes to how you look now.”
Mike’s face turned more somber and she sighed deeply, and for the first time, Paris felt the depths of her dismay.