Chapter 20 - Things Are Looking Up

Second Chances by Emily


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Synopsis: Day 9 - Christina feels more and more like this might be home.

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Amber was calling me? Well I guess she called Cindy. I wonder what she wants. She sounded annoyed that she was talking to me.


"Hi Amber, What's up?" I asked Amber over the phone.


"Can you organize the Powder Puff practice for tomorrow after after-school sports? I don't have anyone's contact info."


"Sure." I said.


"Thanks." she said, hanging up.


Well that was quick and painless. Straight to the point. That means we should probably take separate cars tomorrow so I don't hold Ron up any longer than I already am with track practice. I turned on the phone again and dialed Ron.


"Hey what's up?" he asked.


"Hey can we take separate cars tomorrow? I need to stay later than normal."


"Sure." he said. "How was the date with Chase?"


"It was good." I said. "I can give you the full run down during lunch tomorrow."


"Cool deal." he said.


"Have a good night." I said.


"G'night."


I hung up the phone. Actually I won't be giving him a play by play. Even though dating Chase is his idea, I still have this sneaking suspicion that he likes me more than a friend, so I'll be careful what I say around him.


I saw Cindy before we both went to bed.


"I'm staying late with the powder puff team today." I said. "Did you still want to ride with me?"


"Sure" she said. "I can watch your practice."


"Well, I'm not on the team. I'm just organizing it. Once I gather the girls then hand the show over to Amber, we can come home."


"Too bad. I was eager to see you and Amber on the same field again."


I chuckled at that as I went into my room and decided to call it a night. Tomorrow is going to be another long day.


Wednesday, October 1, 1997



I woke up with a pep in my step. I'm excited for school today. I'm still basking in the afterglow from last night's date. I don't have to worry about Amber sabotaging my day. Everything is looking up for me. I'm even contemplating living this way. Staying in 1997. Staying as Christina. If this is my life now, I can certainly live with it. All that really concerns me is what wrong am I supposed to right? Is it important enough for me to throw all of this away?


It's now Day 9 out of two weeks and I still have no clue what I'm supposed to do. I'm starting to believe that I can't predict it. It will likely be one of those events I don't know about until I'm confronted with it. I'd have no way to prepare for it.


If this is truly an event I can't predict and the guardian angel hinted that I'll just happen to be in the right place at the right time, then maybe I should stop worrying and enjoy the next week. Fate and Destiny will lead me to the event no matter what I do. So maybe I should "enjoy the ride" as Chase suggested.


I hate not being in control of a situation. It's like I'm writing a program and I'm not running tests on it constantly. So I'm going to get to this event, and I pray that I have the tools at my disposal to fix it. Or the alternative is I don't care, and remain in 1997.


Today I picked out a teal plaid skirt. I paired that with a black long-sleeved top and pantyhose. I could tell it was a little chilly outside today. I shivered in the t-shirt and shorts I wore to bed. I suppose it's October now. I shut my open window, and continued to get ready for school.


* * *


I sat down at the kitchen table with my breakfast. I found some Oatmeal Swirlers in the pantry. I haven't had this in forever. I squeezed the jelly packet into my hot oatmeal and swirled it with my spoon.


"So tell me about this boy you're seeing?" Dad asked, laying his newspaper down.


"We went on one date" I suppose it will be 3 dates after Saturday.


"I still want to know about the guy who is taking my daughter out."


"His name is Chase. He goes to High School East. He plays in Ron's ska band."


"What's ska?"


"Punk rock with an instrumental horn section."


He made a strange look. That look when an older generation hears about the newer generation's music. Actually I think we've had this conversation before - in my previous timeline. On my way to college, it was just me and Dad driving from New Jersey to Florida. I put some Mighty Mighty Bosstones on in the car and my dad said. "What is this shit?" Yeah. I decided to move the conversation back to Chase.


"He's a Giants fan. He likes a lot of the same things I do."


"Do you think he's a good guy?" That seemed like a weird question at first. But knowing my dad for 37 years now he implicitly trusts my judgement. I think he was just trying to see if I'm making good decisions here.


"I believe he is."


He smiled. "I trust you, then. Make sure you trust your intuition too." He folded up the newspaper in front of him and left the kitchen to get ready for work.


When Dad left, Mom came into the kitchen.


"Are you coming home at normal time this afternoon?"


"I'm going out tonight again tonight." I told her. "Me and Ron are taking our homecoming dates out to get to know them. But I'll stop home to get ready to go out."


"Wow. You've been going out a lot the past week." she said. "When is the last school night you just stayed in?" That was a rhetorical question. But I believe it was before I time traveled to 1997. "Are we going to meet your date?" she asked.


"Yes" I said. "I'll make sure you meet him before we head back out."


As I finished my oatmeal I flipped through today's newspaper looking for interesting headlines. None.


When Cindy came out and was ready, I put my bowl in the sink, grabbed my keys and backpack and we headed to school.


* * *


Since we weren't picking up Ron today, Cindy sat in the passenger seat. I picked up the stuff I had tossed on the passenger seat last time I drove my car. I looked at the mix-tape case and checked to see what Fay had written for the next track.


The next song on Fay's mix tape was - "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks. Really, Fay? Fay's note said. "I mean this as a compliment. I picked this song because you are so much more than you give yourself credit for. You are so much more than people see."


I laughed as I pushed the tape back into the tape deck and the song came on.


"Good Song" Cindy said. "Who made the mix tape?"


"Fay made it for me earlier in the week" I said.


"She's got a better taste in music than Ron." she laughed.


* * *


At my locker, I expected Julie to show up. And she did.


"How did it go?" she asked immediately without a morning greeting.


"It was awesome." I said unable to hide my excitement.


"You're going to have to tell me everything!" she said. "Maybe during our run before Gym."


"Perfect." I said.


"Are you coming out tonight."


"Yup" I said.


"With your boy friend?"


She called him my boyfriend.  A shiver went through my body. "Yup.  But he’s not my boyfriend"


“Yet.” she said.  "I see that look in your eyes.  I'm so excited for you!" 


I have a look in my eyes?  Let me change the subject.  "So the boys don't know this yet. But I'm driving. Ron's truck can't fit us. Chase's bike certainly can't." Maybe I can start getting Chase used to me driving him around instead of that bike.


"Sure." she said. "Let me give you my address and you can pick me up on the way."


I gave her a piece of paper and pen and she wrote her address down for me.


"What will we be doing?" she asked.


If tonight was anything like the original timeline when Tony and Ron took our dates out before homecoming, it will likely be a billiards hall and a diner.


"Do you play pool?"


"A little." she said.


"Maybe that." I said. "I should confer with Ron before making concrete plans."


"Cool." she said.


"Oh" I said. "Powder Puff practice. After track practice. Do you have extra time to stay later?"


"Yeah, sure thing!" she said.


* * *


At homeroom, I quickly put my stuff down and got my Powder Puff signup contact list out. Per Amber's request I needed to track down all of the girls and get them to come to practice today. I have 16 girls total. I already told Julie. Amber is the one who requested this practice, so that means I need to talk to 14 more girls. Thankfully they were only spread out among 3 homerooms.


I went to all 3 classrooms and got all 14 girls to agree to come out this afternoon for a quick practice. When I encountered the cheerleaders - like Brittany, they were so grateful I lifted their ban on playing for the fundraiser. Some of them heard I made the track team and congratulated me. Some of them complimented my outfit.


I made it back to homeroom just in time for my English teacher to start class. I got smiles from Fay and Jess. At this point in my journey, I reflected on what I'd be doing if this was my original timeline. It certainly wasn't this. I bet on this day, Tony was too busy being invisible. I was enjoying being recognized and more importantly, I was having fun.


* * *


During Comp Sci, I had some free time after completing a homework assignment, so I pulled up my prototype for Val.


"Hey Val" I said. "I had some time last night to work on the project you gave me."


"Oh really, that's awesome!" she said.


"So here's the website." I showed. I moved my chair over to let her sit in front of the computer so she can use the keyboard and mouse.


"This is where we can put a logo, and maybe a picture of the storefront when you're ready. At the top menu we have a place for the menu, physical directions, events, and a place to sign up for promotions."


This is very cool. She clicked each link and looked at the prototype of each page. "So the promotions page?"


"Yeah. This is a place to subscribe to updates about the shop, a place you can talk about up and coming events, promotions, and so forth. We take their email address so we can contact them later."


"That's really cool." she said. "I hadn't really thought about that."


"I was also considering putting a review system in here, but without anyone to moderate it, I decided against it."


"This is a great start. You did this all last night?"


"I did."


"That's amazing. I should show my parents for feedback. Maybe I can get an idea for a logo, and some other stuff you could use."


"Great." I said.


"Christina.” Val said.  “We're going to make a great team!" 


* * *


At lunch time, Ron and I rode together to the deli. I was kinda nervous. I knew I needed to start an uncomfortable conversation. When we sat down at the table, he asked me how last night went.


"So tell me about last night." Ron asked.


"It went great." I said. "Boardwalk, Rides, Pizza, Beach. We connected. I didn't realize how much in common we had."


"I knew you guys would be a fit."


It was now or never. Before Chase and I got more serious, I needed to ask Ron whether he was into me or not. "Listen Ron." I said. "Why did you set me up with Chase?"


"You were single. He was single. I said he had a number of previous girlfriends he just couldn't connect with. I told him I had a friend he could get to know."


"I mean-" I paused. "I was getting the impression that - you - wanted to date me."


"Oh." he said. He paused for a moment. "I didn't think you'd noticed."


"I didn't at first." I said.


"We spend so much time together. You're smart, pretty, fun to hang out with. You've been my best friend for years. But I just got the feeling you weren't into me like that. But, the longer this went on. The more I thought of you more like a sister."


"Yeah. I guess I friend-zoned you pretty hard. But it's because I think of you as a brother too." I laughed trying to keep the conversation light. "I was worried that by dating Chase, I was walking into a trap that would screw up our friendship."


"No, you're good. There's no trap." he said smiling. "Nothing would make me happier than seeing two of my good friends dating. I'm just glad you stopped trying to be a drunk party girl. Because that Chrissy from Friday night is not you."


"Ron. I don't deserve you as a best friend." I said.


"Well just don’t lose touch after high school" he said.


"Lose touch? I expect to stay in touch for the next 20 years. I expect you'll invite me to your wedding. That you'll make me one of your groomsmen... or grooms-maid? grooms-lady? And I'll invite you to MY wedding. You'll be my best man - or man of honor.. or whatever."


He laughed at that. "That would be crazy!"


"You have no idea!" I laughed with him. It did occur to me that If I stay as Christina, then odds of me being one of Ron's groomsmen are greatly diminished. Not that it's a huge deal of course, but I wonder how many things would change for me over the next 20 years.


"So you're really into Chase?" he asked.


"Yes I am. I didn't think I would be. I had all of these preconceptions of him. But once I got to know him. Wow."


"So what happened to liking girls?"


"Oh-" I said. "I still like girls. Getting Jess to go down on me was amazing!"


Ron suddenly spit his soda out.


"Shit." I said, turning beet red.. "I wasn't supposed to say anything."  Dammit Chris!  You and your word vomit.  This was a nice conversation you just ruined.


"Wow." he said.  It was his turn to turn red. "Just wow. Damn, Chrissy."


"No seriously" I said. "She's not out of the closet. Keep that a secret."


"I don't know who this- Jess- is, so I think your secret is safe with me. Next time warn me when you're going to start talking like that."


"So tonight" I said, changing the subject. "Chase will come to me. I will take my car and pick up you then Julie. How does that sound?"


"Sure he said. That's cool. Around what time?"


"I'm shooting for 6. So where are we taking our dates?" I asked


"I was thinking Q-Ball."


Ah-ha! I predicted it. "Q-Ball works for everything I think. I haven't told Chase anything yet. I guess I can call him when I get home."


* * *


During my daily run, I dished on my date with Chase to Julie. I told her everything. The chivalry, the pizza, the rides, the various walks, the making out in the ocean- and the parking lot- and my front porch.


She thought he was a keeper. I’m coming around slowly too.


At gym class we were still doing soccer. We split into teams and took the field. I decided to get in the center of the field to get the ball first.


Surprise, Surprise. Who lined up in front of me? Amber.


The whistle blew. We both went for the ball, but she got it and started running towards my goal. I sprinted past her and stole the ball from and kicked it far down away from our goal. She shot me an evil look.


I ran towards the action, and Amber kept trailing me. I tried going for the ball, but she kept getting in the way. I finally got the ball, and Amber stole it back.


It went like this for the rest of class. I found that when I had the ball, only Amber challenged me. When Amber had the ball, only I challenged her. It was almost as if there was nobody else on the field except us. Neither of us played dirty as I think we finally respected each other.


There were times I saw a smile on her face, until I'd steal the ball from her that is. Then I had a smile.


We were both out of breath when class ended. I went up to Amber and held out a fist. "Good Game". She said nothing and rolled her eyes, but she did fist bump me. This felt good. If we could keep our rivalry on the field, we'd be good.


* * *


Track practice was even harder. With a meet tomorrow, Coach was pushing me WAY past my limit. I was sweating. I was tired. I felt like my body was on fire. When practice was over, hands on my hips, out of breath, I walked over to Julie.


"I've never trained so hard in my life." I said.


"Good." she said. "Tomorrow is a big day!"


We both walked over to mid-field. I saw Amber, Brittany. Some of the other girls who were playing Powder Puff joined us. Slowly all of the girls Powder Puff Senior Team started trickling to us.


I decided to make small talk with Amber since we're finally on speaking terms. "How much football do you know?" I asked.


She turned to me surprised I was actually talking to her. "I was captain of the Junior team last year."


Interesting. I didn't consider that Amber actually played Powder Puff last year as a junior. Turns out my offer of captain-ship of this team was a great decision on my part.


"I watch football all of the time." she added with an air of superiority. "My older brothers played it with me in my backyard before they moved away."


"What's your team?"


"Cowboys" she said.


"Figures" I said.


"Let me guess." she said. "You're a Giants fan. Perpetual losers."


"Yeah, we'll your team isn't going to win anything for the next 20 years."


"We'll see about that." she scoffed at me.


I did a head count and everyone was here. I turned to Amber. "Alright Amber. Everyone's here. It's your show now. I'm taking off."


She smiled. "Ladies, Huddle up" she said loudly. "I recognize some of you from last year. For those who I don't know, I'm Amber. I'll be your captain for this year's Senior Squad. Last year as Juniors we kicked the Seniors ass up and down the field. This year WE are the Senior team, and I don't plan on letting those upstart Juniors get the better of us!"


Now that I set this in motion, it was time for me to head out. I started walking to the bleachers where I saw Cindy waiting for me.


I saw Linda McIntyre standing on the sideline. "Are the Juniors out here too?" I asked looking around.


"They're on the practice field." she said. "I just came to thank you for helping me organize them. I've been meaning to get more involved in school events."


"You're welcome."


"Your squad is interesting." she said.


"How so?"


"It's mostly cheerleaders. The Juniors I got are from field hockey, softball, and girl's basketball"


"Well we have a few from track and softball too." I said looking back at them. "I bet the Seniors will still win - I wouldn't underestimate those cheerleaders"


"Oh?" she asked. "Do you want to place a friendly wager?"


Events surrounding this game are so far removed from the original timeline that I have no clue what the future will bring. It's kinda refreshing in a way.


"Sure, Friendly wager.  Why not" I said. "What about... the loser buys lunch?"


"I'm game with that." she said. We shook on it.


From behind me I heard someone talking to Amber. But I could only hear Amber's side of the conversation. Her voice carries.


"You can't be serious?" Amber said. "Yeah, I know she's been awesome at softball." "She's on the track team now too?"


"Demarco." Amber called me. Julie and Brittany were standing next to her.


I turned around confused. Were they talking about me?


Amber was avoiding eye contact. "The girls want you to play on the team too."


Julie was mouthing "Just say yes" to me.


I smiled. "Sure." I said. I turned to see Cindy from the bleachers give me the "thumbs up" sign. I turned to Linda. "I guess my team has me now too." I jogged back to mid-field.


Aside from watching football, my only experience playing it was backyard football occasionally during high school. Then maybe once in college. But - not gonna lie - I was excited to be asked to play. I love football. I just never was built for it as Tony. I suppose I'm not built for it as Christina either. But this is a fun scrimmage and a fundraiser.


We ran some drills. Designed some routes. On offense, I was going to be one of the running backs in rotation. On defense I was going to be a cornerback. I even got to design a trick play. It didn't work in practice though.


After an hour, we decided to break practice. We all came together. Amber led a cheer. "Class of '98 on three. One. Two. Three."


"Class of '98!" we chanted.


* * *


When Cindy and I got home, I rushed to the kitchen. I knew I was running late. I hadn't anticipated to be actually participating in the football practice. I picked up the phone and found the piece of paper with Chase's number on it. I dialed it.


"Hey Chrissy." he said, happy to recognize my number.


"Hey Chase, I'm running a bit late. But I was wondering if you could be here around 5:30?"


"Sure." he said.


"Be forewarned though. My parents want to meet you."


"Thanks for the warning." he said. "See you in an hour!"


"Bye" I said hanging up.


I ran to my room. Cindy was there and had already picked an outfit out for me.


"You are the best sister ever!" I said turning back around to jump into the shower.


Cindy had picked out a pale blue and white plaid dress that I got for my birthday. While I was doing my makeup. I heard the doorbell. Oh no. That's Chase. I'm not ready yet!


I tried moving faster - well as fast as I could go seeing as I was still a newb with this makeup thing. I didn't want to leave Chase alone with my parents too long.


I checked the mirror. I looked hot. Time for my double date. Time to rescue Chase from my parents.



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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for my to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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