She knew him well

Schools Out! A joyous cry to young people across the globe. Even though a short phrase, it generates massive smiles and frenetic activity bursting with youthful physical prowess. A pleasure that is bittersweet as it presages a period without buddies. This is especially true for seniors when their college exams are over. Their high spirits involve displays of affection and fond farewells. They say, “we’ll meet again”, yet these goodbyes may prove final. Planned reunions fall by the wayside. For those who remain on campus, familiar settings become devoid of friendship. As a recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, she fell into their number. But she had grounds for being lonely as her studies shielded the pain her past created. Now gone were days filled with learning to distract her. So, she needed to reconcile herself with the future she chose before high school. She didn’t have doubts then, nor did she balk at irreversible changes. Despite everything, she still had no qualms except dealing with the outcome of her doubt-free decisions.

She went to the coffee lounge in the basement of the William Pitt Student Union, only to find the venue was devoid of its usual bustle. Although desperate to speak with someone, anyone, she chose a seat apart from everyone else. Being lonely alone seemed better than sitting next to friends exchanging cheerful banter; a reminder she was friendless. Instead of being by herself, the ploy made her a target for a newcomer who selected a chair close to hers and began chatting as though they were chums throughout their college years. However, the need for them to exchange names showed that wasn’t true. Despite enjoying the encounter, she told the other girl, Amy, her own name with reluctance. It felt like betraying a secret.

Once they finished their drinks Amy said, “That was fun, now you suggest somewhere special to meet up.”

It was clear that failing to make a proposal didn’t form an option. She had to comply.

“Well, I’m going to Thursday evening’s Penguin’s match. Although I proposed to go alone, I’ve got two complimentary tickets, so even if you don’t follow NHL, do you fancy joining me?

“I confess it would be a first for me.” Amy’s brow creased before saying through a broad smile, “But I’d love to accompany you. And afterwards, it’s only a short walk to downtown where we can find a coffee shop. ”

Whilst waiting for the game to start, they chatted. Amy asked, “Why do the Penguins give you free admissions?”

“Because my dad played for them, although not for long, as injuries forced him to retire. The club sends him the occasional invitation, but he and Mum moved to Harrisburg when he got a government job. Now I’ve returned to our home city, he often gives me the freebies.”

“My parents live close by, in Carlisle, where my dad is an army trainer.”

“So, what brought you to Pittsburgh?”

“A firm called Senior Caring sponsored my nursing course. I work in one of their facilities in Oakland outside of my studies.”

“Do you intend staying there after graduating?”

“Oh yes, they’ve already agreed to fund my master’s degree.”

As they finished speaking, they heard a cry from behind them, “Hey Amy, I didn’t realize you followed NHL.”

The girls glanced over their shoulders and spotted a smiling young man with a companion. Amy’s reply was immediate. “Hi Matt, I’m a newcomer, my friend is the pro.”

“We’re in the same boat. I came with Bob. Whereas I rank as a novice, he’s the expert. Shall we join you?”

When the four got together, the seating arrangement was obvious. Matt sat next to Amy. Bob chose the end of the bench alongside his fellow NHL fan. Soon, the atmosphere absorbed them. That led to a meaningful analysis of the line-up and their expectations for the game’s outcome. Unlike them, Matt and Amy could have been anywhere. Their eyes sparkled, revealing that each found the other attractive. Whereas the conversation going on beside them was serious, their chatter remained light and cheerful.

Walking from the arena, she reviewed the result with Bob. Whenever Penguins lost, it formed a travesty, and they both emerged heartbroken. Matt hung back, holding Amy’s hand and stealing kisses in between smiles. On the street, Matt said, “Our meeting together became special and has given me a great idea. Why don’t we all go tenpin bowling on Saturday? I could book a slot at Lawrenceville’s Arsenal Bowl. What do you say?”

Everyone answered yes!

Once they had agreed on their plan, the guys split off and headed home. Then she and Chelsea set off to find somewhere for a coffee as planned. When they were sitting together, they chatted about the boys they had been with. She said to Chelsea, “I presume, you had met Matt before.”

“Throughout the senior year at Pitt, he dated a friend of mine. But a few weeks ago, I heard they were splitting up.” As Amy continued, laughter accompanied her comments. “That’s okay with me, I was always sweet on him.”

“That was easy to spot! What’s the chance he’ll become Mr. Right?”

In response, Amy stroked her hair, and still speaking with an excited voice, she said, “After sharing a bed, I’ll know if magic’s in the air. Anyway, did Bob tickle your fancy?”

She blushed and half-whispered, “While I enjoyed his company and talking NHL, I’ve no plans to follow you in getting between the sheets.” When earlier opportunities arose to become close to men, she lost out through self-doubt. Therefore, she imagined Bob would turn out no differently.

“Go on, take a risk. He’s a sweetie.”

“I agree, but I want to check I’m ready for him.” Those thoughts lingered whilst wondering once again whether she was ready for anyone; would she ever be ready for anyone?

They paired into the obvious teams. She with Bob and Amy stuck close to Matt. When Matt bowled his first bowl, he hooked it almost to perfection, but missed out on a strike. Bob followed suit. Both then scored spares. Amy sent her initial ball into the gulley saying, “Oh dear, I’m not great, am I? So, I may need help partner.”

As a result, for the second shot, Matt held her around the waist. Amy swung her arm with his guidance. To achieve this, their bodies were in close contact as he helped her squat into the correct stance to launch the ball. Watching this created a dilemma. When she and her dad went bowling, it horrified them if neither got a strike in the opening frame. They both expected to see ten pins fall. Other family members gave up trying to compete. Now, having seen Amy enjoy being clutched by her man, she wanted to follow suit. Although throwing her preliminary attempt down the gulley didn’t come naturally to her, it proved worthwhile. Bob provided assistance several more times during the match. Each time he did, she enjoyed the brief intimate pressure he applied to her. She experienced something new, a tingle of excitement based on desire.

During the bus journey to the apartment that Matt and Bob occupied in Shadyside, each of the teams shared seats facing each other. The guys had their arms around the girls’ shoulders, and cheerful chatter abounded that was followed by laughter, but as they got closer to their destination, this changed. Amy became submissive to Matt, and they avoided sharing eye contact with the other two. Whereas, on the opposite seat, a sense of tension grew, and she tried to create some distance away from Bob. Once through the front door, Amy and Matt vanished. Their plan was transparent. In contrast, she excused herself, leaving Bob in the living area before she sought the kitchen to run a glass of water. There she remained alone, staring through the window. When Bob found where she was, he hugged her from behind. But then he discovered her rigid body was trembling. Although allowing him to leave one hand on her breast, she held on tight so he couldn’t fondle her. The other arm she moved to be clutching her waist. Still, she shivered. Bob asked, “Is everything okay, baby?”

“Bob, I love being with you, but we have to be patient. It’s essential to be honest with you. After having some space, I’ll be ready to talk.” How inflexible her torso had become shocked Bob. The soft lines he encountered earlier had evaporated and yet waiting formed his preference. Since the time spent together in the bowling alley, although it was brief, he felt a powerful sexual attraction. He guided her to the couch, and they sat holding hands. She brushed her lips over his cheek before saying, “Thank you, please believe you are special.”

Matt and Amy soon surfaced with perspiration still visible on their brows. Beyond that, they twitched with energy and couldn’t stop smiling at each other. However, Matt sensed the situation in the sitting room was friendly, whilst action was needed to relieve the stress. He said, “Let’s go for pizzas at Mercurio’s. A stroll along Walnut Street would do us good.”

There were no dissenters. As she sat close alongside Bob, she recovered her flexible posture. But there was a reason for that. Matt insisted on collecting refreshments from the counter and, although no one knew, he spiked her Colas with vodka. Not only did she find it possible to allow Bob to move closer, but she also glowed with pleasure when he placed his hand on her thigh. Matt doctored more of her glasses before they strolled back to the apartment. Whilst walking home, he pulled Bob aside and said, “Stay cool. I added a few drops of spirits to her drinks. Maybe she will become more relaxed.”

The rate of progress along the street reduced to a stroll as she slowed the others down by pretending to window shop. The real motive for delaying was to rehearse how she would explain to Bob. She considered saying, “The issue is this, doctors reckoned I was born a boy when in fact I was a girl”. Then she revised that idea as different words occurred to her, “The problem is Bob, there are peculiar circumstances to point out, despite having strange origins I’m normal.” Next, she planned to run through her entire history. Although her mind was still swimming, before she formulated her speech, the party of friends reached the apartment. The task became impossible, leaving her unable to compose a confession for, after blinking, the opportunity no longer presented itself. Through the haze, she found herself with Bob in his bedroom in a fond embrace, wearing only underwear. She remembered she left her purse in the lounge. In it was KY gel she carried for years in case this situation arose. Would she be too dry? As his hand glided between her legs, she knew worrying had been unnecessary. Her doctor’s assurance about the colonic implant used to construct her vagina proved correct. As promised, it was mucous producing, and so she didn’t need artificial lubricants. The contact he made with the constructed clitoris was driving her crazy. Suddenly, he stopped saying, “I can’t do this; Matt spiked your colas. If we make love, it will be rape. We must wait for another day.”

During a consultation, her psychiatrist predicted desire would define her sexuality. Passion now forced her to pull him closer. She begged, “No Bob, don’t stop. I need you.”

Soon their naked bodies became locked together, sharing the dance of life. Never had the sensations throughout her vagina been so delightful. The daily expansion with the tool to maintain depth sometimes stimulated her, although nothing like this. Also, post-operative masturbation produced thrills. Despite that, it failed to provide a sense of being a real woman, an ambition Bob was fulfilling. While wanting Bob to go on and on, she realized a man’s lovemaking soon reached an end point. Unlike that certainty, surgeons had warned that her reconstruction wouldn’t guarantee sex with a man would produce a climax for her. She didn’t mind. The rhythmic endorsement of her female form was beautiful. Then it emerged the medics were wrong to fuel her doubts. She felt a powerful upsurge of raw energy. Bob followed her with an outpouring of joy. His orgasm prompted a further eruption of pleasure for her. By wrapping her arms around his waist and squeezing her thighs, she hoped to keep him within her. But it was over. So being open with Bob resurfaced as an issue.

Over the next few weeks, it was usual for the two girls to sleep at the boy’s apartment rather than in their own separate lodgings in nearby Oakland. Whilst there, she was often introspective. Her broodiness bothered Bob, but he never managed to reassure her. Throughout, she agonized over trying to disclose her history, yet she found no suitable words. Although not ashamed of her origins, she understood, and had experienced, the potential for disclosure to instill horror. Anyway, each of the four had adjustments afoot in their lives. Matt was the least changed, as he was being made to repeat his final year. She had started work at the University. Amy became a full-time nurse at the care facility until starting her master’s degree. Bob would soon head to an Apple boot camp before commencing employment in the local Walnut Street store. Eventually, she resolved to reveal everything to him the evening before he was due to leave. Then she realized from snippets of conversation she already knew what his reaction would be. He would be disgusted and dump her. So, she bottled out saying only, “When you return, we must talk, you need to learn about my past.”

Bob laughed. “Are you a murderer or something?”

“Don’t make this into a joke, it’s important.”

“Okay, let’s just enjoy our last night together.”

She stood up. “No. I have to leave. Call me when you’ve finished the induction course, I promise to explain.” Bob’s attempts to stop her failed. Despite being in tears, she didn’t let him walk her home.

The boot camp included another recruit from Pittsburgh called Aaron. Bob and he were destined for the same Shadyside store and so the pair shared a coffee break and chatted. “Are you into sports, Bob?”

“Yes, but manly NHL, I follow the Penguins.”

“Me too. My uncle used to be in the team.”

Then someone in the background cut short their exchange. There was an announcement calling for Aaron using his surname.

Aaron replied, “Sure, that’s me.”

“I have an envelope from Human Resources.”

“Thanks.” Aaron took the letter.

Once the messenger had left, Bob remarked, “Your last name is unusual. By coincidence, I’ve been dating a girl called that.”

Aaron appeared startled. “What does she do?”

“She’s just graduated, like me. Now she works for the university.”

“And where’s her home city?”

“Harrisburg.”

“So, what do you know about her?”

“Well, I’m aware she is a sweetie.”

“Hey bud, it could be my cousin you are screwing. If so, that may mean you’re in for a surprise.”

Bob recalled how, at first, she shook when she was with him. Later came the long silences. The recent tearful parting also surfaced in his thoughts. She had said they needed to talk after he returned to Pittsburgh. In an instant, he realized the obvious. Aaron was likely to preempt that proposed discussion. Thereafter, his response would prove how well she knew him. Aaron’s disclosure meant she escaped the planned encounter. Bob’s text was the last she heard from him.

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