If you had told me a year ago that I would ever wind up in a bikini, I would have called you a damn liar, but that happened Sunday. It was weird.
I blame Benny and my brother Max equally. When we showed up at my house with Benny looking more fit than I usually am, Max decided to put a call in to the coach of his 9-man team to see if they had any openings. There were, although he was skeptical that I would be much of an addition. Then Max called "me" and Benny, feeling kind of bored after the seasonal job he picked up for December ended, decided that it sounded like fun, and when the coach saw how Benny had not only remade my body but apparently picked up some pretty decent volleyball skills while no-one was looking, he started thinking that maybe "Jordan" could play.
At first I didn't give it much thought - as you can maybe tell from how he never posted here, Benny hangs out with us but also pretty much does his own thing; I half suspected I'd get my life back and find out I've got a girlfriend that I'd somehow never seen before. I find that a little less likely to be the case now, because a few days ago he came home from practice and said that since we've all made our back-to-normal reservations at the Inn (August can't come soon enough!), maybe I should get to know the guys.
I didn't really want to, since I was figuring that it would make the most sense to have "Jordan" quit the team before Benny left for the Inn, but even in that case, those guys would think they knew me, and I didn't really want some chunk of New York's Chinese-American community to think I was a flake when I "forgot" them. Besides, now that my contract job is done, I've got a bunch of free time on my hands too, and there really is a limit to how much Xbox you can play, especially when you have a girl's voice.
Of course, his next day with the team is at the beach, rather than on asphalt, so a swimsuit is in order. At least, it is according to Annette, who overhears the conversation and makes sure that she pitches the idea while his still there and can say that, well all the other girlfriends will probably be wearing one, like he knows and like I'm really his fucking girlfriend. Annette sees me about to say that more or less verbatim and takes a different tack, saying that if I'm at the beach, I might actually feel like going swimming, so why not be ready?
Dumb reason, I guess, but as this whole year spent as someone other than ourselves winds down, Annette starts to talk about learning something from the experience, not necessarily in terms of a moral lesson, but just practical stuff like "the guys who say they need to spread their legs out on the bus or crush their junk are full of shit" or that it does take longer for women to get in and out of the bathroom. Maybe knowing what it's like ("it" covering a lot of territory) might be useful someday!
It sounds a lot better when she says it, I guess.
So, on Friday, I headed out to the shopping center where she works at Ravi's dead-end job and we stopped in a department store before her shift. They had a brand-new display of ladies' swimwear up, and having one-pieces with Marvel characters and Mets branding made me look through them for longer than I probably would otherwise. I didn't go with any of them - but got a simple yellow one, along with a blue two-piece. I didn't really want that one, but Annette somehow talked me into a pair of short-shorts using the "you don't want 'your' girlfriend to look like some sort of frump, do you?" logic and then pointed out that the one-piece would look kind of weird sticking out of them.
Trying them on wasn't as stressful as girls make it out to be - they're not sized as precisely as bras and I'm not fucking worried about guys thinking I'm fat. I have put on a little weight since this happened, but not a lot - that time I got sick didn't really seem like something to fight through, and though I still really like ice cream, the main effect seems to be that I'm softer all over, with a less bony ass and something approaching a real B cup up top.
As if a shopping bag full of girls' beach stuff wasn't enough, Annette also suggested that maybe it was hairdo time, though she left me to my own devices there.
All that in hand, I got to experience making a guy late on Sunday. Anybody who wants to snicker at that without ever having shaved his or her legs can bite me.
At the time, putting the swimsuit on wasn't a big deal; it was just like putting on underwear, and actually kind of more comfortable; since I hadn't gone for just triangles, it was a little looser than usual. Almost more like guys' underwear, in a way; when I took a step, I didn't feel a "covered/uncovered" line across my cheek. Once I had shirt, shorts, and sandals on, I didn't think much about it.
Benny did have a little fun making the "bae made me late" explanation when we got to the beach, but it's not like anybody there got why it was supposed to be funny. His team wasn't even in the first match, so it didn't really matter.
They were in the second, and I must admit, I enjoyed seeing that "I'' was playing but Max was on the bench to start the day. All of you who don't have little brothers and think I'm terrible for that can bite me. I was starting to get into it when Annette and Kareena showed up.
"Just had to get a look, huh?"
Kareena apparently thought I was grunting at her instead of "Ravi", and while she didn't seem to understand my tone, she didn't show much sign that it made a difference. "Are you kidding? Ravi said 'secret Chinese volleyball' and I couldn't resist."
Now, 9-man isn't exactly secret, but we don't go around telling folks who aren't Chinese-American about it. It's basically volleyball, only with nine-man teams that don't rotate positions. You also get one bounce, although that doesn't mean as much on sand as asphalt. In organized leagues, the bulk of the team is required to be of Chinese descent, and the rest should be at least part-Asian. Benny really loves it, saying it's better than regular volleyball, but it's never been a big deal to me.
The ethnicity thing did make it kind of weird, at least for me that day. Benny-slash-Jordan is a pretty good looking guy, so a lot of the Chinese girls were looking at him, and then at me, only there was resentment during the latter. Tina Chen, in particular, cheered really loud whenever Benny did something good, and if I wasn't as loud, would give me dirty looks for not being quite so enthusiastic, until finally she started walking toward me saying something about a "ginger slut". I wasn't thinking about getting into a catfight much - though the thought of adding that to my "experience list" had a little appeal - but I must have stepped the wrong way because Kareena pushed Tina back and Annette led me the other way. "Trust me," she said, "this is not as sexy as it looks."
I shrugged. "Tina never gave me the time of day in high school," I said. "but I am going to fuck that bitch so hard when I've got my life back!"
"It's not like she'll know."
"Like I'll be defending Deirdre's honor."
Annette sort of rolled her eyes, but didn't say much after Tina "accidentally" spilled two whole large iced coffees on me, drenching all my clothes, just as the match was ending. Benny came over to apologize, saying he didn't know what was with that chick, asking if we were ready to go home. I started to say yes, but Kareena asked Benny how long he'd been playing. He looked at me, but I just sort of gave him a "what do you think" look, and he said just a few months for 9-man, but he'd always played volleyball. Kareena said she never would have guessed, then asked how good he was. He shrugged, and then she grabbed the ball, found a net that was still up, and asked them to leave it up. Then she pulled her dress over her head to reveal a pretty serious one-piece, the kind which you associate with professional athletes became it just looks fucking frictionless, and somehow makes a girl look sexier even though it's covering everything up and holding it in place rather than showing off the goods. I knew Kareena was too good for Ravi before, but, damn, I was feeling some severe envy of Ravi here, and Annette revealing that he is gay just made it seem like even more of a waste.
I was staring enough that I almost missed her asking the rest of us for a game. "There is no way that you got that good in just a few months, and I want to see what's up for myself. You guys too-"she pointed at me and Annette. "If you guys have been holding out on me..."
It sounds threatening written down, but she was smiling huge while she said it. Ravi was never a never a really physical person, and Annette probably only a minor upgrade on that account, so I wouldn't be shouted if this was the first outing they had gone on where the athletic part of her really got to come out.
Annette and I gave each other a "you arguing?" look and started walking to the court, sort of pairing up boyfriend/girlfriend, and just as I was getting in place, Tina Chen decides to plow into me with a couple iced coffees, spilling them all over us.
"What the fuck was that for?"
"You don't think I did that on purpose , do you?" Then she proceded to take her shirt off and look at it with a fake pout. "It's ruined!" Addressing Benny much more than me.
My sane first impression was just to say "what-the-fuck-ever" and let it go, but Kareena and Annette were both giving me "bitch should not be allowed to get away with that" looks and I figured I should take my cues from them, but that wasn't it. Tina had been like this her whole damn life, and I didn't really want people thinking that "Jordan" wasn't worth fighting for. So I took my own shirt off, threw it in her face, and said she could wear it. For added emphasis, I dropped my shorts, shoved them off to the side, and then turned to Benny. "Are we going to play or what?"
Tina may have made some sort of remark about my-shash-Deirdre's breasts, but I tuned it out because my head was full of "you're practically naked on the beach where everyone can see and set at you are you insane?!?"
It may seem hard to believe after a year, but I haven't been undressed this much outside the bathroom very often. At first, I'd look in the mirror and want to put something asexual on, then I was sharing an apartment with Benny and Annette, and who knew how they would react to me being a tempting target right in front of them? But now here I was, looking like the sort of girl who just whipped them out in front of everyone, a quick breeze reminding me that my ass wasn't entirely covered and I was showing some cleavage, after a longtime wearing loose swim trunks and a t-shirt at the beach.
Annette and Benny looked shocked, but Annette recovered quietly, telling Benny to serve the ball. He did, we started playing, and I maybe couldn't quite put it out of my head, but soon enough Annette and I were expending a lot of energy just trying to keep up with Benny and Kareena, who are good at this and barely seemed to sweat despite it being about eighty.
I think Benny and I won - the scoring got a little fuzzy - and that was pretty impressive, because Annette at least has some size on her side as Ravi and I was having occasional "what if my boobs pop out?" thoughts, even though Annette had assured me that it wasn't an issue with that sort of bikini.
Kareena was impressed by "the new Jordan", which I guess is probably better than the same assessment from the likes of Tina Chen. It still kind of sucked to hear, as I was on the subway with them while Benny went to meet up with Max and the rest of the team, so I was hearing it as "no offense, Deirdre, but I never thought your boyfriend could be bothered to get healthy and do something that didn't involve a keyboard." So that part sucked.
Still, if it means I've got a shot at even the Tina Chens of the world, I kind of can't wait to look like that in a few weeks.