Chapter 3 - Questions and Answers

Second Chances by Emily


Posted on 4 Views / 308 Hits Word Count: 2011 (9 minutes)

Synopsis: Tony, now Christina, gets a ride to school and has an unexpected visitor.

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Tuesday, September 23, 1997

Ron's truck stopped in the driveway. Metallica was spilling out of the rust and pock-marks of the truck. I laughed to myself. Times have changed.  Ron in 2018 is making enough money to drive a Lexus, or rather his wife is the one making the money. His music taste has changed too.

The music stopped as I walked out of the house and down the front porch. I opened the passenger door and threw my backpack onto the seat. Behind the steering wheel was a younger Ron. While Ron is older than I am by a few months, it's just I haven't seen him this young in such a long time.

"Hey man, long time no see" I say out of habit.

"Geez, sorry Chrissy, I'm not running THAT late." he responded.

"Chrissy?" I thought to myself. This is going to be a weird day. I hopped into the cab and put my seat-belt on.

"Oh right.  Happy Birthday." he said as he put the gear shift into reverse and started drifting out of my parent's driveway. "Thanks" I responded.

He reached over to his stereo and pressed play and Metallica resumed blaring. My seat vibrated. That's right, Ron had put a massive subwoofer under his truck's bench seat. He shifted gears as he sped through the streets of my childhood town.  The wind was blowing through my open window. I chuckled to myself. What a nostalgia rush. I think I actually missed this.

Typically Tony and Ron would ride to school in silence, as dudes tend to do first thing in the morning. It appears Christina and Ron have the same ritual. I took this opportunity to zip open my backpack and pull out my school binder.

I found Christina's class schedule. I scanned it. It looks vaguely familiar. English, Pre-calculus, AP Computer Science, Lunch, Gym, Physics, Modern Programming, and Band. I have a strong feeling this is what my schedule looked like my senior year too. I committed my homeroom room number to memory and put everything back in my backpack.

I'm not going to lie. I was pretty nervous. And excited at the same thing. Grad school was almost 8 years ago for me, but that wasn't nearly as angst-inducing as High School can be. But there's something exciting about changing up the routine. After all, I wasn't going to work today. I didn't have to see my boss and listen to him tell me that I'm the best worker he has but he doesn't have the budget to promote me or give me a raise. There's also the added anxiety of returning to MY high school, which I certainly haven’t stepped foot in since I graduated. It's funny. I was supposed to see these people today anyway had I actually gone to that reunion.

My thoughts were interrupted by Ron who lowered the volume of the stereo, said. "Are you excited yet?"

Wait, was he reading my mind? He must be talking about my birthday. "Oh yeah" I said. "I have my drivers test after school"

"Not about that, Tony." he responded. "About getting your wish fulfilled."

He called me Tony?  I was stunned. For the umpteenth time today. I lost count already.

Ron looked over and noticed my jaw opened. "I'm sorry for surprising you. It's me from last night. You asked for a second chance with all of your experiences, and I gave it to you. In a very awesome tasting beverage I might add."

Wait. What's going on here. Was Ron the bartender, or the bartender was Ron, or did Ron hire someone to fuck with me. Or was Ron some sort of time traveler who just screwed up the multiverse. "Ron?" I asked, not sure what I was actually asking.

"Oh, I'm not Ron." he said. "I'm just temporarily inhabiting his body so I can talk to you. We didn't get to really talk last night after you rushed out."

Well, that's a relief. I was about to question my longest friendship had Ron actually been a multiverse traveling bartender. "I have a lot of questions." I immediately told him.

"I bet you do." he (or she) said. "We don't have too much time because we're almost at your school. So you get 3 questions. Hopefully you ask the right ones." He chuckled.

"OK." I said. "Is this some kind of dream? Can I go home?"

"No, it's not a dream." he said. "You're actually in 1997. I exist outside what you call time. You can go home after you've completed your tasks"

"So it was time travel. So what tasks? Wait." I said. "If this is merely 1997, then why am I a girl named Christina?"

"It's really important to the tasks at hand that you don't go through the same motions that Tony did the first time around." he said. "This is a gift I'm giving to you. You asked for a second chance to change your life. Changing you into Christina will... nudge you... into making different decisions than you would have if you were Tony."

She continued. "The gender change was on top of the time manipulation. Don't worry, you might have already noticed that I also adjusted your personal effects, and friends and family's memories to reflect that you were always a female named Christina. I have to say, it was pretty easy considering you didn't have many acquaintances."

"Way to rub it in". I responded.

"Don't worry." He added. "If you complete your mission, I can reverse the same process. You can return to your present, and everyone's memories of the next several days will be changed to think you were a guy."

"If?" I let this new information sink in for a moment. So that explains why Christina's life up until now seems so similar to mine. "So what are my tasks? When can I go home?" I inquired.

"You already asked your 3 questions." He laughed.

"That was only 2!"

"Is this a dream? Can I go home? were two separate questions and answers." he explained.

He saw me speechless then added. "OK Tony, since I like you and you left a generous tip to the bartender last night, I'll answer that question. I'm going to give you two weeks to put right what went wrong."

I raised my eyebrow at the Quantum Leap reference. "You know your pop-culture." The bartender, or whatever he or she was certainly knew how to get through to my inner nerd.

He chuckled. "I figured I'd keep your cultural references to your own life time as of last night. I can start taking in 2038 pop culture references if you really like. Those will certainly go over your head.  But anyway - to answer your last question. You told me last night that you had a wish list of things you wanted accomplished if you had a second chance. Do that."

This was overwhelming. So I asked the next logical question. "Are you God?" I asked.

"The creator?" he responded. "Nah. It's hard to explain as your religions, mythologies, and language don't adequately describe what I am. But the closest analogy would be - I'm more of a guardian angel, but even that description doesn't isn't accurate."

"OK." I said. "Two weeks you said? I suppose I can do this for 2 weeks."

"Good. I was worried I made a mistake choosing you last night." the guardian angel replied. "I'm going to assume you know what to do. I'll come back to check on you later." Ron went silent and focused on driving.

I stared at Ron to see if the angel had left him.

He noticed me staring and responded, "What's up? Want a different track?" He pressed next on his CD player. A different Metallica song came on, and he raised the volume, unaware he had lowered it earlier.

Ron pulled his truck into the high school's student parking lot and parked it. He shut off the car and music. "Am I taking you home after Band practice this afternoon?" he asked.

"Yeah" I replied. "I have to be home for my driving test."

"Cool beans" he replied as we both got out of the truck.

* * *

Ron and I parted ways after we entered the school building. I stood there as other high schoolers walked past me. A long corridor of lockers greeted me. It didn't occur to me to figure out my locker number let alone my combination. I guess I'll figure that out later.

I walked into my homeroom. It's been 20 years since I walked into this room. I hardly recognized any of my classmates. I recognized the teacher. Mrs.... never mind I forgot her name. Crap. If I’m going to be stuck here for 2 weeks, I think I should give myself some personal homework when I get home to scan all my old yearbooks to put names with faces.

I don't remember which seat I used to sit in, so I found an empty desk in the middle of the room. Hopefully this one is mine. The morning announcements started over the PA system.

I know you've never time traveled 20 years in a single night, but let me tell you how visibly noticeable it actually is. My classmates were actually talking to each other. No cell phones. No checking texts or Facebook. No selfies. And the clothes. The late 90's were in full force here. Plaid, argyle, and grunge for miles.

I put my backpack down and started to pull out my binder when someone walked up to my desk in front of me. I looked up.

It was Fay. My crush. Oh my god. My heart skipped and long forgotten memories resurfaced about how much I pined over her. She stood over me, her silhouette in front of the classroom's fluorescent lights made a halo around her. She smiled at me.

"Hi!" she continued smiling. "Good morning!"

"Good Morning Fay." I said still memorized. I realized my mouth was open, so I consciously closed it before I drooled.

Fay and I go way back. Farther than Ron and myself. We were inseparable in 3rd grade. Then puberty happened. I got awkward, and she got new friends. To her credit, she was always friendly to me. Maybe that's why I crushed on her hard until I went to college and I never saw her again. I'm crushing hard on her now. She must think I'm a freak.

A thought just occurred to me. "Am I at your desk?  Sorry.  It’s been a rough morning."

"Yeah" she said, "but we can swap desks today." She smiled and walked past me.

I slowly rotated in my seat so as she went past me and placed her backpack on the desk directly behind me.  Maybe that’s my actual desk.

"What did you think of last night's reading?" She said, noticing I was still watching her.

"Oh" I said. Crap. "What reading?"

"Catcher in the Rye." She said. "We were supposed to read the first few chapters."

"Catcher in the Rye!" I responded. "God, I hated that book."

"So you read the whole thing?" she said surprised.

Quick Tony, think of something quick. I’m flustered.  "Yeah, I read it 20 years ago." Crap. Don't tell her the truth. Fix it. "I mean I at least I skimmed it enough so I can BS my way through class" I said. That was still the truth 20 years ago too. 

It appears Fay still triggers the same lack of filter, word-vomit in me today, as she did 20 years ago.

"That's so funny, Christina." she said. "Good luck with that strategy."

Fay saying Christina's name just made me fall out of the clouds and back down to earth. Crap. I forgot I wasn't Tony for a few seconds there. Now Fay must really think I'm a freak.

Just then the morning announcements ended. "Good Morning, pass up your homework", Mrs. I-forgot-her-name said while closing the door. Shit. I had homework?



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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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