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Excerpt for Stay With Me by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Stay With Me

by

Sidgal


Published by Sidgal at Smashwords

Copyright 2019 Sidgal


Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to your favorite ebook retailer to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

Table Of Content

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

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10

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15

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17

18

19

20

EPILOGUE

ABOUT WARMONGER by Sidgal

ABOUT SIDGAL

OTHER TITLES BY US





1





It was an early Monday morning. Laurien Caine was supposed to be at school and there was the sound of a car horn outside signifying Sandra's arrival.

"Hurry up, honey. Sandra's here!" Mrs. Samantha Caine called up to her daughter.

Laurien didn't reply, nor did she come downstairs. The door which led outside from the kitchen swung open to let in a pretty, girl with short black hair and grey eyes. She was Laurien's best friend, sixteen year old Sandra.

"Good morning, Mrs. Caine, where's Lauri?" she asked.

"I called her down, but she's not come out from her room since today." As Mrs. Caine spoke, she began heading upstairs. "She's probably scared with the news now out in the open."

Sandra followed the woman up to her daughter's bedroom. Once they got to Laurien's room, Mrs. Caine knocked, but got no reply. The mother knocked even harder and still got no reply from within. She applied force to the door handle, surprised to find that it wasn't locked. Sandra rushed into the bedroom and the two ladies were surprised to find Laurien seated at her dressing table. She saw them in the dressing mirror before her and spun around to face them. She had on a two piece bathing suit and huge headphones over her ears. Her long black hair was tied behind her and her big eyes stared at them in confusion.

Upon seeing the look on both her mother and best friend's faces, Laurien knew that she'd thought wrong. She took down the headphones and smiled sheepishly.

"It's not Sunday, is it?" she asked.

"Of course it's not," Mrs. Caine said with relief. "You scared me. Now get dressed and get to school; you're late already."

"You don't do that to a mother," the woman went on as she exited the room.

The two best friends were left alone in the room and time seemed to freeze.

"So?" Laurien asked finally.

"Oh you know I'll always be your bestie, whether you're a boy, a girl, or an animal. Though you'd have to be a cute, talking animal like My little pony," Sandra replied and the two friends laughed.

"Well I'd best step out while you dress up. Don't wanna see any dick," Sandra joked.

"I don't have one yet," Laurien replied her friend. "I'm just taking the hormonal drugs for now, been on them for some months."

"So you won't get a dick?" Sandra asked.

"Not sure about the genitals yet, but my reconstructive surgery's in four months," Laurien replied.

****

Laurien and Sandra rushed down the stairs and into the kitchen where Mrs. Caine was cooking.

"I'm leaving, mum," she told the woman. "Where's dad?"

"Your father left really early this morning," Mrs. Caine replied. "The hospital called."

"Bye, mom."

"Goodbye, Mrs. Caine," Sandra added.

The girls waved as Sandra pushed Laurien out of the house.

Once the girls got into Sandra's Chevrolet sedan, Laurien noticed that Jack was yet to come out from the house across the street.

"What's with Jack? Does he also think today's Sunday?" she wondered aloud.

Jack Caine was Laurien's cousin. He was not an only child, like her, but his dad was the brother to Lauri's and they often had Lauri take him to school since his was on the way to hers. Jack was in the eight grade and he attended Sarakovi middle school, the most expensive institution in not only the town of High rock, but the entire region. Though in truth, your kid got your money's worth in education. Both Laurien and Sandy had done their first to ninth grades there before transferring to Maxavier High school.

"I saw your uncle drive off with Jack in his car this morning," Sandra informed her friend.

"Yeah, Uncle Nick's not too pleased with my decision, but I know he'll come around soon," Laurien reassured herself.

"I say he's a stupid ass for acting the way he is," Sandra stated.

The car was now cruising along the road and everyone they passed stopped to stare. Some folks even pointed at them.

"What's wrong with these people?!" Sandra spoke angrily. "Never seen a potential transsexual before?"

As she spoke, a man up ahead pointed at the car. Sandra stuck her arm out the window and shot the man a middle finger. The man returned the favor, but Sandra just ignored him.

"I'm just glad they all know at once," Lauri stated. "Better than everyone finding out one at a time."

"For someone on male hormones, you still got a nice body," Sandra stated, looking at Laurien.

"I guess the medicines aren't kicking in fast enough, or something," Lauri replied.

"What you reconstructing during your coming surgery by the way?" Sandra asked. "If you don't mind me asking."

"I'm starting with taking out my breasts and facial reconstruction for now," Lauri replied.

"Okay," Sandra replied in a small voice.

The car was silent for awhile after that. The two friends just sat and stared at the road ahead.

"How did you not know that today was Monday?" Sandra asked, slapping her friend's thigh playfully.

"I don't know," Laurien replied. "That's just what I thought."

"But you made your radio announcement on Sunday, that must have been a big thing for you. How could you forget the date?"

"It's wasn't such a big deal for me," Lauri replied. "It's my body, my life and my choice. I thought I made the announcement on Saturday."

"Now your miscalculated brain calendar has made us late," Sandra told her. "Classes must have started already."

As Sandra spoke, she pulled into a parking spot in the school parking lot and both girls jumped out of the car. Maxavier High was like your average High school, no fences, lots of open space and a lot of red bricks in its walls.

Sandra turned off the car from outside and took the key out of the ignition. She pushed a button on the car remote and all the windows wound up. The school compound was empty and so were the hallways.....the girls were dead late.

They had English now and they were finally at the door of the classroom. They could see their English teacher, Mr. James, through the window in the door. He was laughing.

"Since when did Mr. Lames make jokes?" Sandra asked in a low voice as they opened the door.

"Speak of the devil," said the teacher as the girls walked in.

Every single person in the class stopped to stare at Laurien; the girl who'd announced on the radio over the weekend that she was a transsexual and would soon be having reconstructive surgery. There were two empty seats in the front row and the two girls moved towards them.

"Welcome to class, she-male!" yelled one student, Barry by name.

"Good one, Barry," Mr. James praised the boy.

"You'll encourage insults in your class?" Lauri asked the teacher while the entire class laughed at Barry's words.

"The boy just made a joke," the teacher stated. "I heard no insult there."

"Yeah, just like how you never hear anything sensible," Sandra put in.

"Ooh dude, major burn!!" Barry cried.

"Shut up, Barry!" Mr. James snapped at the boy, angrily.

"Now the both of you," he said, pointing at the two girls. "To the principal's office."

"But I didn't do anything," Sandra argued in a sarcastic voice as she got to her feet.

"Yeah, you said you were deaf to everything," Laurien added and the entire class laughed.

"Double burn, dude!!" Barry cried.

The girls hi-fived as they left the classroom.

"Wow, I didn't think so many people listened to the radio," Laurien stated as they began their walk to the principal's office.

"They don't," Sandra replied. "One person hears big news like this and tells several other people and thus begins the transfer of knowledge. Don't you just love gossiping?"

"But what's so big about me wanting to be what I wanna be?" Lauri asked.

"I'm just ordinary Laurien Caine."

"To everyone, you're now an icon," her friend informed her. "Everyone else wouldn't dare come out with such news, but you did. Now you're gonna be judged by most, supported by a few and ignored by others."

"I just hope Miss Patricia isn't one of the judgmental types," Laurien wished.

"She's bound to be," Sandra stated. "She's fifty-seven and she's never been married. That is one troubled woman."

****

Sandra knocked on the principal's door and was asked in. She and Lauri stepped inside the room and Principal Patricia Edmond looked very surprised to see them, or from the direction of her gaze, Laurien.

"You're being sent to my office already?" the woman asked Laurien.

"As for you, Miss Wellint," she told Sandra. "Detention!"

"But I haven't even---" Sandra began, but was cut off.

"You're a truant and I need not ask what you did to know that you did it. Now leave my office."

Sandra stomped her feet on the ground and tossed her arms around in protest.

"You tried that one last time, Miss Wellint," the principal said with an unserious face. "It didn't work then and it won't work now."

"Hey, it didn't hurt to try, right?" Sandra spoke, stopping her protest instantly and turning to leave.

"If she dishes out tough justice, try faking a heart attack. It worked for me once." she whispered to Lauri before exiting the office.

Laurien was left alone with the principal. She knew that Sandy was just outside the door, but it wasn't the same as having her in here. She needed support.

"Laurien Caine," the principal spoke in an unsatisfied tone. "I have never seen anyone's popularity rise as quickly as yours. You made your feelings public on national radio. The nerve of you. It took one night for you to become the talk of the town."

"Should I be happy?" Lauri asked.

"Come and have a seat," the principal offered.

"I'm quite okay where I'm standing, ma'am," the girl politely replied.

"You're a good girl," the woman stated. "Beautiful, intelligent and God knows what else. You've got a wonderful friend in Miss Sandra Wellint out there. You two have been friends since middle school, graduating Sarakovi with honours and now you're going to just throw all that away?"

"I'm not throwing anything away," Laurien replied, controlling her temper. "I know what I want and I'm going for it no matter what anybody says."

"You've got a lot of energy, but you're channeling it in the wrong direction," the principal advised. "Yesterday, you proclaimed your transsexual ways and today, for the first time since you were admitted into Maxavier, you get sent to my office. Is this why you wish to become a boy? To live the life of a truant?"

"I am grateful for your advice, but you can either punish me, or just let me out of here now, ma'am!" Lauri spoke harshly.

"I won't punish you, Laurien. You've already done that to yourself. Now get out of my office," the principal said lightly.

Lauri turned to leave and had just grabbed the door handle when the woman spoke again.

"Oh and Miss Caine?" said the woman.

"Yes?" the girl replied.

"I just wanna warn you. I was in a bar when I heard your announcement over the radio. People were in there and things were said. Bad things. Watch your back out there."

"Thank you," Lauri replied, then left the office.

Sandra walked up to her friend from the waiting bench in the principal's waiting hall.

"What did she give you, Lauri? Detention?

"No, she didn't punish me," Lauri replied. "Said some crap about my having punished myself already."

The message tone on Sandra's phone sounded and she took it out of her pocket.

"That woman's nuts," she told Lauri as she operated the phone. "I never take her serious."

"Hey, Sandy, where are you girls? Classes began awhile ago and you two still haven't shown. I've been calling and just hope you're both okay," she read aloud the text on her phone.

"It's from Lenny. There's nine missed calls. How did I not hear them?"

"I don't wanna go back to that class with that stupid English teacher in there," Lauri stated.

"We can go to the library if you'd prefer that," Sandy offered.







2





It was time for lunch. The girls had spent all their time in the library where Lauri had gotten some really scary looks. Though she preferred it there where they could only look, but had to shut up.

The two friends were at their lockers which were right next to one another's. A young, brown haired boy made his way to where they stood and hugged Sandra tight.

"I missed you," he said. "I thought you were dead, mama."

"Who the fuck are you calling your mama?" Sandra asked with disgust in her voice as she forced the boy off of her, while Lauri just laughed.

The boy finally let go of Sandra.

"What's up girls?" he asked with a toothy smile.

"Your teeth's what's gonna be up in the air the next time you try that," Sandra threatened.

"Hey, Lenny, what's with you hugging Sandy that way?" Lauri asked.

"That wasn't hugging, the kid was trying to molest me," Sandra put in.

"I'm vying for a part in the upcoming Cinderella play," Lenny explained. "The drama club's looking for a prince and I'm gonna be the one."

"I thought you hated the drama society?" Lauri asked.

"Yeah, I still do, but Mona Winchester's vying for the role of Cinderella and being the most popular girl in school, she's bound to get the role. There's gonna be a kiss between the prince and Cinderella at the end of the play and I'm gonna be that prince."

"You're just fourteen, Lennon. You know nothing of love," Sandra advised him.

"Point of correction. I'm fourteen and in the eleventh grade. That's because I'm a prodigy."

"You are no prodigy, just a stupid ass braggart with more wisdom than is safe for you," Sandra replied.

"I take that as a compliment," Lenny spoke with a smile.

"Cut it out, both of you," Laurien spoke, trying hard not to laugh.

"He started it," Sandra stated, crossing her arms over her chest.

"No I didn't!" Lenny argued.

A pretty girl walked up to where the three friends stood.

"Hi, Sandy. Hi Lenny." She paused when her eyes fell on Laurien.

"Hi," she finally said before looking back to Lennon.

"My A-man," she spoke. "I've got this assignment which is due on Wednesday and I know nothing about what I'm supposed to do, so I was wondering if you could come over to my house tonight and help me out."

"Sure thing, Amy. Just keep your dog on a leash," Lenny replied. "Last time, the bloody thing nearly took my arm off."

Amy leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek before walking away.

"A-man?" Lauri asked. "I thought you were the L-man?"

"Well I was the L-,man, but whenever I do someone's assignment they get an A, unless if I intentionally make it otherwise, thus I have become the A-man. Plus, some stupid fifth grader told me that L-man stood for LOSER MAN."

"Nerd," Sandra spoke seriously.

"I'm not a nerd," Lenny argued.

"Yeah, like you would know," Lauri told him.

"Of course I know," Lenny replied. "I always know. I know so much and tis because of knowing that I was skipped two grades ahead. Also because of that knowing, an orphan like myself got a scholarship which got him into Sarakovi.

"The most expensive school in the world," he bragged.

"Sarakovi is not the most expensive in the world, I know tons of schools with class seats that cost more than the entire Sarakovi annual budget," Sandra countered.

"I was purposely exaggerating, you simpleton."

"Did that nerd just call me a simpleton?" Sandra asked.

"Yeah, I think he did," Lauri replied.

"I'm gonna kill you," Sandra threatened, grabbing the collar of Lenny's shirt.

"Wait, Sandy," the boy begged. "I know a hot guy you would love to meet."

"I'm listening," she replied, still holding his collar.

"Why would she care about another guy?" Lauri asked. "She got a guy already."

"Well I saw Bruce today with another girl and knowing how our Sandy changes boyfriends like underwear, I knew that she had probably dumped him," Lenny replied.

"What happened between you and Bruce, Sandy?" Lauri asked, looking at Sandy now.

At this point, Sandy let go of Lenny and leaned against her locker.

"I dumped him."

"Yeah, we know that part. What we don't know is WHY," Lenny spoke.

"He said something stupid about Lauri being transsexual," she replied.

The three friends were silent for awhile.

"Wow, that's a bummer," Lenny finally spoke.

"Oh just forget about him," Sandy replied. "Tell me about this hot guy you spoke of."

"Well he's a foreign exchange student from Asia. He's Japanese and all the girls in my class are already hunting him."

"Do you know where he is?" Sandy asked.

"Of course I do. He and I are friends. He says he's fascinated by the fact that someone my age was skipped two classes ahead and yet I got along so well with everyone. He even........."

Lenny was cut off by Sandra who grabbed his shoulders and shook him vigorously.

"Quit yapping, Lenny. I need his name and location."

"Well he's at the cafeteria and........"

Sandra didn't wait to hear the rest before running off to the cafeteria, but only to bump into Kevin Coxswell, a senior.

"Oh Hi, Kelvin," Sandra quickly said before rushing past him.

"Wait, Sandy I haven't even given you his name!!" Lenny called after her, but she didn't stop.

Kelvin laughed as he looked back at the fleeing Sandra.

"What's with her?" he asked.

"She's on the hunt," Lauri said with a smile.

Kelvin looked to Laurien as if noticing her for the first time ever.

"Hi," he finally managed to say.

"Yo, A-man. I need tutoring on an assignment. Can you be at my place six pm?" he asked Lenny now.

"You know I can, buddy," Lennon replied, shaking hands with him.

"What was that all about?" Lauri suddenly asked Kelvin. "You come here and have a freeze frame before you can say Hi."

"I....." he began, Lauri didn't let him speak.

"I understand when others do it, but not you. We're not best friends, but I thought we were friends all the same."

"But we are," Lenny spoke.

"Stay out of this, Lenny," she cautioned.

"If you know that you'll have to freeze frame before you can say hello to a transsexual like me, then don't say Hi at all."

She was done with her words and just walked away, leaving her locker open. Lenny moved forward and shut the locker before scrambling the lock.

"I've gotta go, man. Catch you at six."

With those words, Lenny went after his friend.

He found her standing by a window which looked out on the courtyard. Laurien had anger and disgust evident on her face and once she got to where she stood, he looked out the window and instantly knew what she was looking at. On the compound below was Michael Marlov. He was Lauri's boyfriend last week, but right now, was holding hands with another girl."

"Just looked at them," Lauri said with a sneer. "I told him everything last Friday and he's already with another new girl three days later?"

"That new girl as you call her is Lauritta Hemsworth of the oil tycoon Hemsworths," Lenny stated. "She's given at least two grand a month for pocket money. She once paid me five hundred dollars to do her homework for just one week so she could sneak off to Germany to attend a party. I mean who pays someone five hundred dollars to do their homework for a week? I know people who don't make that much in a month. I even--" At this point, his eyes went up to Lauri's and he could see the anger on her face.

"Maybe I'll just shut up now," he said.

"Yeah, you should," Lauri replied.

"But Lauri, you're going to be a guy soon and Mike's not gay. It's a lot easier for him to let go now than it will be four months from now."

"You're right, Lenny," she surrendered with a sigh. All the anger was gone now. "You're a really smart kid."

Just then, the bell rang, signifying the end of lunch time.

"I'd best get going. I got chemistry now," Lenny spoke.

"Sandy and I got Math. If I could only find her," Lauri stated.

"Just head on to your math class and she'll turn up," Lenny spoke, backing away as he did so.

Once he was done, he turned around and ran off.

****

The rest of the school hours went by uneventfully, save for Sandy and her ceaseless ranting about her new, Japanese boyfriend. One could never tell why, but Sandy always got her man. Even when up against silicon boobs and butts, which are usually tough to beat.

School was finally over, Sandy had told Laurien to go stand by her car and wait for her to bring out Shen Haun, the Japanese lover. While Lauri waited by the car, Lenny showed up.

"What's wrong? Did Sandy leave you alone for that Shen guy?" he asked.

"No, she's gone to go get him," Lauri replied. "She wants me to meet him and vice versa."

"So how was your first day in school with everyone having knowledge of your being transsexual?"

Lauri looked at the boy with a suspicious look and a smile on her face.

"Are you just practicing your acting again?" she asked. "Coz you sound like my mother."

"Of course I'm not acting. I really care about how you feel. You and Sandy are like sisters to me. Though if we really were siblings, I'd be the cutest one in the family," he teased.

Laurien laughed for awhile, before finally answering.

"Well since you care to know, my day went well. Surprisingly better than I'd expected it to."

Just then, Sandy came into view. Next to her was a guy. He looked like something out of a Korean love series, though broader, than your average North-east Asian. He was tall, dark haired, a pretty face; the whole package. His white T-shirt went well with the black jeans and sneakers. Sandra and the guy got to where the others stood and she smiled broadly before speaking.

"This is Shen, he's my new boyfriend."

"More like your latest," Lenny murmured and Lauri smacked him in the back of the head.

"Lenny?" Shen asked, looking at the boy with excitement. "You didn't tell me you were friends with Lenny."

"Of course I did,' Sandy argued.

"No, you told me you were best friends with some geeky nerd named Lenny," Shen told her.

"Yeah, I did and you're looking at him," she replied.

"Lenny's not a nerd," Shen stated with a smile. "He's more like a jock. Though he does act nerdy sometimes, but that's the balance of existence. You can call him a nerdy-jock, or a NOCK, if there's such a word."

"Forget about Lenny. He's just the side attraction," Sandy told her new boyfriend. "This is Lauri."

"I've heard about you, Laurien Caine," Shen spoke.

"All good things I hope?" Lauri asked with a small smile.

"Being as I heard it all from your best friends here, Sandy and Lenny, then I say it's one hundred and one percent good."

"Show them your abs," Sandy said suddenly.

"Do I need to?" the guy complained.

"Of course you do. That's the reason God gave them to you. To show 'em off and make your girlfriend proud."

"Well actually you can't say God gave him that for---"

"Shut your logical mouth up!" Sandy snapped, cutting Lenny off.

"Now, raise your shirt, Shen," she told her boyfriend.

"Yes, ma'am," the guy replied, raising his shirt with faked fear.

Below the shirt was revealed a killer upper body. His torso consisted of expertly chiseled flesh.

"Wow that is good," Lauri commented. "It's beautiful."

"Big deal. I've seen better," Lenny stated.

"To see better, you'd have to be gay, Lenny," Sandy spoke seriously.

"I've got somewhere to be," Lenny replied. "Some girls to be with, things to do. I gotta get going."

"Yeah, me too, but without the girls part," Shen added."I'll see you later, Sandy."

"Oh definitely," Sandy replied.

The two guys walked away, leaving the girls behind. Sandra got into the driver seat of her car and Lauri got in next to her.

"Shen's quite the catch. How do you always get your guys?" Lauri asked.

"Well I normally wouldn't tell anyone, but you're not anyone. The secret is me. I just act a little crazy, fun and flirty and guys fall for that."

"That's not true. You're hiding something," Lauri stated with a smile.

"I'd never lie to you," Sandy told her.

"I hope so."

The girls remained silent for a long time and it was like that until Sandy pulled up in front of Lauri's house.

"I saw Mike with another girl today, so I'm guessing you two are broken up?" Sandy asked.

"We didn't exactly break up," Lauri replied. "I told him of my transsexual thing on Friday. It's Monday and he's already got a new girl."

"Boys come and boys go, Lauri. Not Lenny though. That kid will stand with us through anything and it’s people like that who should be valued. Not jerks like Mike," Sandra consoled.

"Thanks Sandy," Lauri spoke, then got out from the car.

"So I'll see you tomorrow. Hope you remember tomorrow is a Tuesday. A school day?" Sandy said in warning tone.

"Of course I remember. Today was a mistake," Lauri explained.

"I hope so," Sandy told her, then started the engine.

Just as Sandra drove off, Lauri's uncle came out from his house across the street and upon seeing Laurien, he shot her a stern look. Lauri held her uncle's gaze, hoping that like everyone else, he'd either finally say 'Hi', or just walk away.

Uncle Nick neither looked away, nor said a word. He just stood there, staring. Lauri began feeling uneasy with his stare and she looked away, then hurried into her house.

"There's my Lauri!!" Mathew Caine yelled upon seeing his daughter in the foyer.

Lauri ran at her dad and into his wide, open arms. He enveloped her in a hug. He was a tall, fit man with black hair like his daughter and a small beard for that extra maturity.

"How was school today? Anyone make fun of you?" the father asked. "Just give me their names. I know a man who'll teach people lessons for a buck or two."

"No one made fun of me, dad. School was perfect."

Mr. Caine was the only one who didn't seem to be bothered about his daughter's decision. Even her mom was not entirely okay with the idea.

"Sure no one gave you a hard time?" the man asked. "No teasing, no bullying, no extra homework?"

Lauri laughed hard.

"Why would I get extra homework for being transsexual?"

"Not all teachers support that decision and they will punish you. I knew a kid once. He was gay, so they gave him so much homework that his brain died while he was doing them. The teachers said they'd hoped the excess homework would make his brain work so hard that it would reboot, thus making him think straight once more."

"I know you made that story up, dad," Lauri accused the man.

"Yeah, I know I did, but it could be possible."

Lauri and her dad finally let go of each other.

"Where's mom?"

"Your mom's gone to the hospital for some tests," her dad replied.

Lauri's parents had been incapable of having another child since Lauri. They kept going for tests and taking all sorts of medication, but to no avail. That didn't stop them though. The problem was with Lauri's mom, but her husband believed that if she could produce Lauri, then she could get pregnant again.

"Okay then I'll be upstairs in my room," Lauri said, moving towards the stairs.

"Yeah and I'll be in the living room with the hooker your mom lets me bring home," her dad joked.

Lauri got into her bedroom and threw herself on the bed. It was not the largest bedroom, but it was hers and she loved it. The double bed was covered in white and red sheets, she had her dressing dresser, a wall-mounted TV, a desk and a wide wardrobe, what more could she ask for?

She was really bothered about the fact that her mom couldn't get pregnant. Uncle Nick had three kids, the two older ones, Mitchell and Thomas were both in Europe, while Jack, the youngest, stayed across the street with their parents. Laurien was sixteen and she was still her parents’ only child.

The doctors had said that something was wrong with Mrs. Caine's uterus. According to them, the problem had developed while Lauri was growing inside her mom. That made the girl feel guilty. It was one of the major reasons she wanted a sex change; to give her folks a feel of a second child. It was either this, or get pregnant now and give them a grandchild.

Lauri just lay there thinking about everything. How the day had gone, Sandra's boyfriend, Lenny's new nickname and she didn't even know when sleep overcame her.







3





It was Tuesday. School had just ended and the three friends were by Sandra's car. Today had been better than Monday. No one picked on Lauri, or gave her any funny looks.

"So why are we waiting here again?" Lauri asked.

"Shen says he's got something to show me," Lenny replied.

"You mean show US," Sandy corrected him.

"If by 'US' you mean Lauri and I, then yeah, he wants to show something to us," Lenny replied.

"I'll gut you, you--" Sandra's threat was cut off by the approach of a beautiful car.

It was one of those kinda cars you saw in Japanese racing movies; low, wide, curvy, edgy and all. The car stopped next to Sandy's and the door opened upwards. Shen stepped out of the vehicle and grinned.

"That is your car?!" Sandy yelled, running forward and throwing herself on the hood of the vehicle.

"That is a McLaren P1," Shen stated proudly. "My favorite."

"When you use the word 'favorite,' it implies that there are others like it," Lenny stated.

"So is Lenny correct?" Lauri asked Shen. "Do you own more exotic cars like this?"

"I've got several babies, but Lin is my favorite," Shen replied, patting the car.

"You named the car LIN?" Sandy asked, still sprawled out on the hood.

"Guys tend to name their cars when they get very attached to them," Lenny stated.

"So what your saying is that Shen's gonna cheat on me with this car?" Sandy asked.

"Of course not," Shen answered himself. "Lin's just a car. You're my girl."

"That's sweet," Sandra said, getting off the vehicle and walking up to Shen to give him a kiss.

"So now you've shown us the car, what else?" Lenny asked.

"Well Lin was just flown in from Japan today and I want to celebrate her arrival. I would like to invite my lady and her friends out. Lin would like it took."

"What have you got in mind?" Lauri asked.

"It's a surprise," Shen replied as he moved towards his car. "The ladies will ride in the cool car, while Lenny and I will ride in Sandy's Chevrolet."

"Not that the Chevrolet is not cool," he added.

Both Sandra and Lauri jumped with joy at the offer, hugging each other.

"Just the reaction I wanted," Shen said to no one in particular.

Shen got into Sandy's car, while Lenny went close to the girls.

"I'll join you soon, bro!" he said aloud to Shen who was inside the car, then turned back to the girls.

"You girls should call your moms and tell them we'll be out a little late," he whispered to them. "We don't know this guy that well to just move off with him into the unknown without informing someone. Text them the location when we get to wherever he's taking us too."

"Smart kid," Sandy said, ruffling the boy's hair.

Lenny pushed her hand off and went over to the passenger seat of the Chevrolet.

****

Sandra was behind the wheel of the McLaren, smiling like someone deep in thought.

"It's like being inside a spacecraft," Lauri stated. "Everything in here is just shiny black."

"Yeah, this is so amazing," Sandy agreed, enthusiasm lacking in her voice. Laurien noticed this.

"What's wrong, Sandy?" she asked her friend.

"Nothing. Why would you think something was wrong?"

Sandy tried her best to sound normal, but Lauri was her best friend and she knew something was up.

"We're in a beautiful car owned by YOUR boyfriend. Yet you sound lost," Lauri pointed out.

"Nothing's wrong, Lauri. Maybe I'm just a little sick."

"Maybe?" Lauri asked. "Is that even possible? For one to not be sure if she is sick or isn't?"

Laurien suddenly gasped as a thought hit her.

"Sandy are your pregnant?"

"Hell no!!!" Sandy screamed in reply. "I'm not that type of girl."

"If you're not pregnant, then what's up with you that you can't tell me? Does it have something to do with my being transsexual?"

"No, it has nothing to do with you. I'm fine. Really!" Sandy replied harshly.

Lauri relaxed in her seat now. She fell silent and kept her eyes forward, looking out at Sandy's car which was leading them.

The girls were silent for a long time before Sandy finally spoke.

"I'm sorry."

Laurien did not respond. She just sat in silence.

"C'mon, Lauri, don't get like that. I'm sorry."

"Tomorrow's ladies night," Laurien spoke like one in a trance, her eyes still forward and no expression on her face.

"Sure it is. We'll celebrate it the way we usually do," Sandy replied.

"So now are you ready to tell me what's wrong with you?" Lauri asked her friend, looking at her now.

Sandra took a deep breath.

"Please don't make me talk now," she replied Lauri. "I'll tell you about it later, but first, I have to be completely sure about it."

"It's okay," Lauri told her. "It's your life anyway."

The girls kept chatting as they followed Shen. The guy led them to the edge of town before stopping before a big restaurant which some weeks ago was just a construction site. Shen drove to a gate which was at the side of the building.

A man came out, but upon seeing Shen, went back inside. The gate was opened almost immediately and Shen drove in, followed by the girls.

"Text your mom the location like Lenny said," Sandra told her friend.

The gate slid shut after the cars. It was remote controlled. The cars were stopped and once everyone got out, two valets got into them.

There was a two storey building at one end of the compound behind the restaurant and the Chevrolet was parked against one wall. The compound was quite big, with a beautiful fountain in the center.

"I'd like to welcome you all to the headquarters of Haun's kitchen," Shen spoke, spreading his arms.

"It's beautiful, but it was just a construction site the last we saw it some weeks ago," Lauri stated, putting away her phone on which she'd sent her mom the text.

"Yes, we arrived America two months ago," Shen explained. "We purchased some lands and began building on them. Most of these properties are in the big cities, but my mother wanted to have the HQ for her kitchen in a small town, same place as our official residence in the U.S."

"Then that means the mansion which has been under construction for awhile now on the other side of town--"

"That's our official residence," Shen spoke, cutting Lenny off.

Shen led the others to a table which had been set up for four. It had a high canopy set over it and Lin was parked next to it. Shen took Sandra's hand and led her to one of the chairs. He pulled it out for her.

"They look like lovers in a movie," Lauri whispered to Lenny.

"I just wanna eat," Lenny stated.

Everyone was seated with freshly served meals before them. Lenny was devouring his meals hungrily, while the others ate in a more civil manner.

"The restaurant's not in service yet, but we're launching it next Saturday," Shen spoke. "My dad's throwing a party."

"That's great," Lenny stated. Next Saturday's Sandy's birthday."

"Don't you ever shut up?!" Sandra snapped at the guy.

"Next Saturday's your birthday?" Shen asked his girlfriend.

"Yeah, it is," Lauri replied on her behalf. "We didn't wanna tell you and I thought 'WE' included Lenny, but now I see that it didn't"

Lauri looked angrily at Lenny as she spoke. Lenny offered her a partly eaten chicken lap which she swatted out of his hand. The gravy covered chicken flew through the air and landed on Shen's immaculate, white and black car.

Everyone was silent. They feared the worse. The guy would flip. He loved that car so much he'd named it.

Shen suddenly began laughing and grabbing a handful of rice, he tossed it at the car.

"Food fight!" he yelled as he threw another handful of rice at Lauri. Everyone got on their feet and the battle began, Shen and Sandy pairing up against Lenny and Lauri. The food flew from side to side and Lin was hit time and time again.

****

Sandra and Laurien had been shown to a bedroom in the two storey building with a bathroom attached to it. Sandra was done taking a shower and Lauri was now in the shower. The food fight had left everyone very messy, but happy.

It was dark outside already and they were still out here. Their parents were a bit worried, but the information they'd sent earlier kept the mothers sated a bit. Lauri was finally done in the shower. She put a towel around herself and moved towards the door.

The door was slightly ajar and before Lauri could push it open, she caught sight of Shen and Sandy standing close to each other at the foot of the bed. Lauri stood still and watched them. Sandra looked so different; Lauri had never seen her like this before. The duo just stared at each other, then Shen used his fingers to push away some of the short hair which had fallen to cover Sandra's right eye. He pushed it away and whispered something which caused her to laugh.

Lauri didn't want to believe what she was thinking. 'Was Sandra actually in love?' This was what she was thinking about in the car. Shen leaned forward for a kiss and Lauri's phone suddenly rang, ruining everything, but not for Sandra. She pulled Shen down into the kiss and Lauri wanted to really find out who was calling, but she didn't wanna ruin this for Sandra.

Lauri meant to leave her friend undisturbed, but there was the sudden sound of the bedroom door opening, followed by Lenny's voice.

"Oh you two were?" the boy asked. "Then I shouldn't have, or maybe I should have....I just heard Lauri's phone ringing and no one was getting it. I thought something was wrong."

Well now that Lenny had ruined things, Lauri finally stepped out of the bathroom.

"It's okay, Lenny. I've got it," she told the boy as she walked towards the now silent phone.

Shen had let go of Sandra and he looked shy, while Sandra sat herself down on the bed; the same embarrassed look on her face.

Lauri picked up the phone.

"It's my mom. She's probably worried."

"Not probably, but certainly worried," Lenny corrected her.

"Yeah, like how you certainly ruined a beautiful moment, you jerk!" Sandra told him.

Laurien's phone rang again and she answered it this time.

"Hello, mom......We're okay, just had an unexpected outing.........Yes, I'm with Sandy and Lenny.........Yes, ma'am."

The call was over and Lauri turned to her friends.

"My mom's worried and so is Sandy's," she announced.

"I'm sorry for keeping you all out so long," Shen apologized. "I bet Lenny's parents are probably worried sick about the whereabouts of their young genius."

Shen was laughing as he spoke and looked to Lenny for a reply. Instead, the Asian guy got an awkward silence from everyone.

"Lenny's parents are ---" Sandy began. She was going to lie, but Lenny cut her off.

"I'm an orphan," he informed Shen. "I ride solo and don't need the extra weight."

Once he was done speaking, Lenny turned around and left the room.

"I didn't mean to.....I didn't know," Shen stammered to no one in particular, moving his arms around.

"It's okay," Sandra told her boyfriend with a sigh. "Lenny's used to it and doesn't like people dwelling on the topic."

"Okay, I'll go apologize to Lenny and leave you girls to get dressed then."

Shen left the room to go search for Lenny.

"Someone looks like she's in love," Lauri teased her girlfriend.

"Hell no!" Sandy snapped. "Shen's a nice guy, but I don't love him."

"Yeah, keep telling yourself that," Laurien replied, shedding her towel and beginning to dress up in the new cloths Shen had ordered for them.

"I'm really worried about Lenny," Sandra spoke, still seated and in her towel.

"Yeah, me too, but it wasn't Shen's fault," Lauri replied.

"I know that, but it doesn't make it hurt any less.







4





It was Wednesday and school was over for the day. Everyone left the classroom except Lenny who remained at his table, a comic book in his hands. Shen walked back into the classroom. Lenny had left the house alone the previous night. Shen had searched everywhere and didn't find him. Lenny had tried speaking normal to him today, but the Japanese hadn't replied freely since he still felt guilty.

"You okay, man?" Shen asked.

Lenny sighed at the question and closed his comic book.

"Look, Shen, I was okay with the orphanage where I spent six years of my life before getting into the first grade, I was okay when I was skipped from the fifth grade into the eighth grade, I was okay when you didn't know I was an orphan and I'm pretty sure I'm okay now that you do," he replied.

"But how is it even possible? You didn't know your parents and you're so cool with it." As Shen spoke, he sat astride a chair with his arms crossed on the back rest.

"Explaining my reason to you would take me telling you my life story," Lenny replied.

"I'm here and not going anywhere. Sandra said she can't be available today, something about a ladies night," Shen stated, screwing up his face in confusion.

"Yeah, it's Wednesday," Lenny spoke. "Sandy and Lauri always have it as their special day. They tried including me, but I didn't want in. I'd just ruin their fun."

"Thanks for letting me know that," Shen told the other boy "Now about your life story."

"I can't tell you that. It would seem very inappropriate," Lenny argued, getting up from his chair and making to pick up his school bag.

"So you're just gonna walk out then without giving me an answer?"

Lenny's hand froze a few inches from the backpack. He let out a long sigh.

"I never knew my parents," he began, sitting down again. "I've been an orphan since I could tell anything apart from another. The ladies at the orphanage said I was found under the rain, a naked, abandoned infant. They say the cold almost killed me, but the owner of the orphanage saw to it that that didn't happen. I took a fancy to books and people; studying and getting to know any book or person I ever came across."

"I got into the first grade when I was seven. I knew I was wiser than all who said they were my mates and most who said they were my elders. The owner of our orphanage is one Mr. Melford Powers, a business man with shares and stakes in companies too many to count. Guy's also a philanthropist and human rights activist. Even though he was the one who'd personally found me in the rain and saved me from sure death, I never actually met the man, at least not until I was in the fifth grade."

"Mr. Powers came by the orphanage to visit. He brought an order from the state education board. It stated that I be skipped two grades ahead into the eighth grade. I was elated, but that only lasted until I got into the class. I was put in Sarakovi, the most expensive middle school in the entire district. I usually could hold conversations with a doctorate degree holder, but eight graders weren't impressed by my intellect. They made fun of me, but I didn't care. I was just glad to be with people of higher knowledge, though none could match mine."

"I kept trying to make friends and that's when I met Sandra Wellint, or Sandy as we now fondly call her. We were in the same math class. Sandy and I quickly became friends and after school that day, she took me to the home of her best friend, Laurien Caine who couldn't come to school that day because she had the flu. Lauri was glad to meet me and I, her."

Lenny smiled now as the memories came back to him.

"We were given masks by Lauri's mom and told to keep them on, but it was uncomfortable and we got rid of them. By the time we were done discussing and playing, it was really late. Lauri's mom had to drive Sandy and I home. That was something I didn't want, since I lived in an orphanage and didn't want them knowing that. She was driving past the orphanage when I told her to stop at the house across the road from it. I got down and walked towards the house, expecting her to drive off, but she didn't. She and Sandy just sat and waited to see me go into what they believed was my house."

"I stood at the bottom of the front porch steps of that house. It began getting awkward, so I just turned around and ran past the car, across the road; avoiding a car on the road which nearly ran me over and into the orphanage. It was only when I was past the orphanage gates that I looked back. Lauri's mom and Sandy were watching me, very surprised by my actions."

"Both Sandy and Lauri were absent from school the next day. Sandy had contracted the flu from Lauri. I was afraid they'd not want to be my friends anymore after the way I'd acted that night, but they arrived school the next day and according to them, the first thing they did was come looking for me."

"Well they found me and told me it was okay to be an orphan and that they still liked me. Twas after that moment that I began telling everyone that I was an orphan and that I didn't give a shit about what they thought. A friendship was born that day, one which consisted of an orphan boy and what he has now come to see as his two sisters."

"There, you finally heard it, happy?"

Shen sat in silence after Lenny was done with his story.

"Well?" Lenny asked.

"You're a strong guy," Shen finally replied.

"Yeah, I know I am," Lenny replied with a smile.

"That's a powerful story, but what happened with you and Lauri's mom after that night?"

"I've never spoken with Sandy's or Lauri's parents since that day," Lenny replied. "They came to visit me at the orphanage once, but I hid myself. I'm not looking for sympathy. Having the friendships of their daughters is more than enough."

"So you're saying that you having two best friends and you've never spoken to neither of their parents in FOUR YEARS?" Shen asked.

"Yeah, that's pretty much it."

"Impressive, man," Shen told him, stretching his hand out for a shake.

Lenny shook Shen's hand and laughed. Once the handshakes was done , Shen got to his feet.

"Gotta go, man," Shen spoke. "Though don't think I didn't notice how you left out the name of your orphanage. I bet you'll say it's coz you don't want my sympathy."

"There's only one orphanage in High rock," Lenny replied.

"It's the 'Roman peace' then?" Shen asked.

"Mr. Powers' mom is Italian, thus the ROMAN in the name," Lenny put in.

"Look, I'm sorry if telling me your story stirred up some sad memories, but I'm happy you trusted me with such personal knowledge."

As Shen spoke the words, he walked towards the door. Lenny waited until Shen was at the door before speaking.

"I'm glad to have told it," he said.

"What?" Shen asked.

"My story," Lenny replied. "Not many people care to ask about it, so thanks for asking and listening."

"Wanna grab a bite?" Shen asked.

"It's like you read my mind. I am so hungry. Doing people's assignments will do that to you," Lenny said, laughing and getting up from his seat.

The boys were in the hallway when Anita Hemp, a top chick in the school approached them. She had long, blonde curls and a quite big breasts.

"Hey, Shen," she said, stopping before them. "Wanna escort me to an empty classroom, lock the door and see what naughty things happen?"

"Sorry, but I'm taken," Shen replied.

"Yeah he is, but I'm not," Lenny told the girl.

"Aren't you a bit too young to be talking about sex?" Anita asked.

"Aren't you too old to be having sex?" Lenny asked back.

"Touché," Shen told his friend.

Anita looked hurt and she stepped angrily on Lenny's left foot before walking away.

"Woah that's one bad girl," Shen stated.

"You just turned down the girl with the biggest boobs in this school and probably the whole town," Lenny spoke, watching Anita leave.

"It wasn't ME," Shen corrected. "It was US."

"Hi five buddy!" Lenny yelled, lifting his hand.

The guys shared a Hi-five and laughing, they left the school building.

****

The girls were seated inside High Risk diner, the only diner, fast food, or restaurant in the town of High Rock, at least until the Hauns open their restaurant. The name 'High Risk' was not accepted by the town people at first, but it's owner, Mrs. Mercy Marvins, was a stubborn sixty-three year old woman who just joked that anyone who ate her cooking was taking a high risk. Thankfully, the business had lasted over eight years and as it grew, Mrs. Marvins didn't do the cooking anymore. She had hired workers snow.

The girls were seated at their favorite table which was next to the window that looked out to the sidewalk and the road. The time was 09:00pm and they were getting ready to leave the diner.

"Eat up, Lauri before the clubs get filled up," Sandy told her friend. "You're such a food pincher."

"It's not my fault my throat is not as wide as the school hallway so I can just ram the whole burger down it," Lauri replied, taking another bite out of her almost finished hamburger.

"I've got something you can ram down your throat, you disgusting bitch!"yelled a man who was seated with three other men at the table behind Sandy.

"This was Lauri's first time in High risk since her nationwide announcement and though everyone gave her uncomfortable looks, some of them even left the diner, but this was the first direct attack. The man and his three friends laughed at his stupid words. There were at least twenty bottles of beer on their table, signifying that they were drunk.

"How about you shut the fuck up before I ram my fist down your throat?" Sandra spoke, getting to her feet and facing the drunk men.

"Sandy?" Lauri called. "Just sit down and ignore them."

Sandra wasn't paying attention. She just stood there staring at the men. One of the men got to his feet. He was big, very tall; 6ft 6” to be precise.

"Why don't you show us what you can do, Sandy?" he asked.

Lauri got to her feet and put herself in between her friend and this huge man.

"Oh if it isn't the little girl-turned-boy. You disgust me," the man cursed.

"Get out of my face before I give you a beating fit for a man," he added.

"Oh he gon' do it," said one of the man's drunk friends. "Smack ya right between the eyes he will."

"Not today he won't," came the voice of Mrs. Marvins as she came to beside the girls, a shotgun in her hands.

"You boys have had enough for one day," the woman spoke. "Now get out before I shoot you out."

The other men got to their feet without complaining and they all began moving towards the door.

"Thanks for the drinks, Mrs. M," one of them spoke as they went through the exit, his voice shaky.

"You're welcome, Braga. Come back when you're sober!” the woman replied.

Mrs. Marvins looked at the girls as she lowered her gun.

"Sorry about the embarrassment. You girls sit down and I'll get you something on the house."

As Mrs. Marvins spoke, Stacey, her fifteen year old daughter came forward and took the gun from her.

"Why would you even ask them to come again, Mrs. Marvins?" Sandra asked the woman.

"They're good guys, just a little drunk," she replied.

While Susan had asked her question, Lauri noticed Stacey give her a look of disgust and anger before walking away with her mom's shotgun.

"Don't worry about the free food, Mrs. M," Sandy said. "Lauri's just about finishing her meal after which we'll be leaving."

"Oh yes I remember today's you girl's special night," Mrs. Marvins spoke.

The woman knew much about the girls because not only were they regular customers, but they worked vacation jobs here at the diner and whenever Mrs. Marvins needed extra hands with anything, the friends were there for her; Lenny included.

"I'm okay, Sandy," Lauri spoke. "We can go now."

"But your burgers," Mrs. Marvins reminded them.

"I'm okay, Mrs. M," Lauri told the woman, pushing Sandra towards the door.

"Goodbye then," the diner owner spoke. "Happy ladies night."

"Goodnight, Mrs. M!!" both girls yelled back.

"Wooooh!!" Sandra yelled once they were outside the diner. She was dancing to her car and Lauri just followed behind, laughing and pushing her friend forward.

Once they got to Sandy's car, they got in and just as Sandra turned the key in the ignition, one of the four drunk men from the diner came to her window which was down. Both girls were shocked and scared, but the man just smiled. It was the one who'd started it all by intruding on their discussion. He was a clean shaven fellow with short blonde hair.

"Please don't be scared," said the man. "I'm just here to apologize for the way my pals and I acted in there."

The man looked remorseful. About forty years old.

"Yeah, we were just a little drunk," came another voice from the window on Lauri's side.

The girls looked that way and found the big man who'd threatened to beat them up. His brown beard was long and gave him an intimidating look.

"Well I think you guys were more than a little drunk," Lauri stated, managing a smile.

The two men began laughing and Sandy forced herself to join in.

"The name's Leo," said the man at Sandra's window.

"And that is Braga," he added, referring to the guy on Lauri's side.

"Our other buddies are too drunk for anything," Braga spoke. "They probably won't remember most of that tomorrow."

"What kinda names are Leo and Braga?" Sandy asked seriously.

They're our type of names," Braga replied.

"You girls have a good night," he put in as he laughed and walked away.

"We own a clothing store right next to the town mall. You girls should come by sometime," Leo said, pulling out a business card and handing it to Sandra.

Once Sandy took the card, Leo stood upright and walked away too.

"That was scary," Sandra said once the men were gone. She pushed and held down a button which wound up both windows.

"It was really scary, until they became kinda friendly," Lauri stated.

"Okay, time to fasten our seatbelts, girlfriend cuz we are heading to Club Hawk!!!" Sandy yelled and Lauri yelled with her.

Sandra gave the business card to her friend.

"Put that in the glove compartment."

She turned on the A/C and began backing out of the parking spot.

"Lifestyle," Lauri read the word on the business card aloud.

"Catchy name," Sandy commented.

****

Club Hawk was the newest night club in High rock. The government had recently struck oil not too far away from the town and a lot of companies would soon begin coming into the town which meant further development. People were coming from other places to open up businesses and make more money.

The girls had been having their ladies night for a long time now. It was initiated three years ago. Sandy's birthday fell on a Wednesday, as did Lauri's earlier that year. The girls had so much fun on both birthdays and wished it would never end. A wish they made come true by initiating ladies night every Wednesday.

Club Hawk was opened four months ago and coincidentally, Wednesdays were also their ladies night. From the first Wednesday after the club's opening, the girls always ended their special night in the club, dancing and partying with friends.

Sandra stopped the car and both girls got out.

"You know Emily said the cutest thing today," Sandy spoke. "She asked if she could join in on our ladies night."

"Awwww!" said Lauri.

Emily was Sandy's eight year old, brainiac, little sister. She had a big crush on Lenny whom she idolized and made her role model.

"That's so beautiful," Lauri spoke as they began walking towards the club entrance.


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