Once the weather started getting a little bit nicer, I noticed a change in Charli's energy. "All right people," she said one night, clapping to get our attention like she was a schoolteacher. "Winter is over. time to start having fun!"
Maddie and I looked back and forth at each other nervously. I was reading on my phone, Maddie was knitting.
"Fun?" I asked, fearfully - the way she said it almost seemed like a threat.
"That's right ladies," she said, "We're done with hibernation. It's time to get out in the world and experience some hardcore fun."
Personally, I work all day, sometimes at two jobs - relaxing at the end of the day is fun for me these days. Maddie feels similarly.
"Come on!" Charli said urgently. "You're both young, hot women in New York City! Every night you're not out seeing the world is a waste of your life."
"I have a boyfriend," Maddie reminded us.
"...Who spends four nights a week playing video games with his boyfriends, while you're sitting here knitting! That's a waste! And Valerie here still hasn't lost her virginity!"
I winced - the joke hit a little close to home, but my "prudishness" has become fair play for comment. When Charli likes you she teases you. Maddie muttered, "I like knitting..."
"Girls night. Girls night!" Charli started chanting. "Girls, girls, girls!"
"Chuck," Maddie said, using her nickname for her twin, "We have very different ideas of what constitutes a fun girls night." Personally, I'm not sure how many "girls nights" I've even had.
"Wine bar. Art show. Shitty bar band. Club. Billiards. Rave. Swap meet. AA meeting. Anything to get us out of this house because I'm sick of looking at these four walls!"
"You go out almost every night!" Maddie countered.
"Yeah, but not with you! Not with my girls!"
I had to admit, it felt good to be one of someone's "girls."
I looked around nervously. "Well, it's been a while since I've gone out to a bar..." Most of my outings lately have been unsuccessful dates, so I didn't get to enjoy myself. The idea of just going out to a bar to go to a bar seems terrifying to me as a woman, but with my "girls" by my side, maybe not so bad.
"Val! Thank you Val!" Charli took my hands in hers and squeezed. "I was worried I was going to have to take you guys to Court."
'Court' is a thing we do around the apartment to settle disputes - prosecution, defense, judge. It started as a gag but the rulings have been taken shockingly seriously - see the case of Maddie v. Thermostat, where she came prepared with energy-usage statistics and financial metrics to get us to keep the apartment two degrees cooler during the winter.
Maddie twisted in the wind about it. "I... okay. One night out once in a while isn't gonna kill me."
We settled on the neighborhood bar. Maddie stressed over what to wear but I didn't. I didn't want to put myself on display or anything, but I wanted to be comfortable and casual while not seeming closed off. I wore jeans and a sweater that emphasizes that yes, I have boobs, but doesn't feature much cleavage so it says "No, they're not for you." Maddie changed three times, eventually settling on a plain white v-neck tee, jean jacket and tights that make her butt look good. Charli just wore what she already had on - a crew neck tee and slacks.
Maddie did my hair and makeup - I welcome this, possibly for reasons that would scandalize her, because the touch of a woman is still a special thing even if it's not what I'm primarily into these days. It's a different form of intimacy from what I experienced as a man, or what I get from men, and part of me craves it.
Maddie asked me when was the last time I saw the hairstylist. That's something I haven't kept up on in a while. I did it to keep continuity when I first became Val - after being ery self conscious about grays (and Kitty's opinion) as Judith. But since I locked into making VLal my permanent self, I got out of the habit. Maddie's comment made me think maybe I should... which is a shame since avoiding it is a good way to save money.
I also changed into some cute underwear - a lacey thong - because it's important to be prepared. Oddly, feeling rushed and forgetting myself, I started to do this in front of Maddie, which caused her to bolt from the room. I was embarrassed that I hadn't thought twice. And then I wondered if she's a little sensitive because her twin is a lesbian and she feels the need to like, overcompensate.
In our own ways, we all looked hot.
"By the way," Charli said as we were almost there, "I invited my friend Ariel tonight. She's cool. We're sleeping together, but nobody knows it yet, so shhh."
Maddie rolled her eyes. "Come on! You wouldn't let me bring David but you're bringing your random hookup??"
"Hello! This is a Girls' Night, and she's a girl, so what's wrong with bringing her?" Plus, Charli added, they've been sleeping together for three weeks - for her, that's a commitment.
They bickered a while, and as usual I didn't chime in until called upon to make a ruling. "I decree that this is not in the spirit of Girls' Night, but it does conform to the letter of the law. Plus, I'd like to meet this chick." If it's getting serious, we might as well.
We went in. Ariel, this beautiful dark-haired, tan-skinned girl, waved us over to her table. She's almost as short as me, with a booty. She wears her hair out in a well-tamed mass of curls and has what I would call Librarian glasses. She and I were wearing very similar outfits. She gave Charli a chaste hug hello.
I wasn't sure what was supposed to happen next. We ordered drinks. We tried to talk, but it was a strain to be heard. There was indeed a crappy band playing old covers. I announced I wouldn't mind playing darts. Nobody seemed agreeable to that, but some guy offered to teach me.
I looked him up and down. There was nothing offensive about him, so I challenged him to a friendly game. I won, and he decided he didn't want to play so much anymore and went back to his friends. I wondered what the hell was wrong with me if he wasn't into me.
I found Ariel outside, vaping. I wanted to break away from the group a little bit. Partly because as different as they are, Charli and Maddie are still sisters and occasionally whem hanging out with them I still feel likecan outsider. Or maybe it's because they've been women their whole lives and I'm... well, I can embrace it all I like but I'll never be what they are. It doesn't feel as bad when I'm hanging out one on one with a woman but in a group, ironically I start to realize I am not like them. I'm rougher, I don't have the same frame of reference for things. I get more worried about not "passing."
Besides, I was liking hanging out with Ariel. She's cool and funny and bookish, a bit like Meg. And I sensed that maybe she felt a little left out too.
"So," she said, "Charli and I are... kinda a thing, maybe? I don't know."
"Yeah," I said, trying to conceal the fact thst Char had prepared us, "I gleaned that a bit."
"I don't know why I'm so embarrassed to admit thst. You're cool people. You know Charli, you don't judge. I just... this is all new to me. Before I met her I thought I was straight. She's my first girl... hookup... person."
I wanted to tell her I related to her confusion, but she didn't need me to steal thunder with my backstory. I let her vent
"I get it," I said, "It's nobody's business but yours."
"It's the worst feeling. I want her to pay attention to me but I don't want it to be obvious. So I feel ignored. If you weren't here I would have bailed already."
I took the compliment and said pretty much the same.
"I'm such a dork," she sighed cutely to herself, "I thought I was so open minded. I thought, I'm not gay, but if I were, I'd be proud. My parents are liberal, but I'm still sweating bringing her home."
I wanted to joke that I wasn't sure Charli was the kind of girl you take home.
"So," she said, changing the subject, "Who's texting?"
I turned red. I thought I had been very subtle. Charli and Maddie had been so gabby all night I was pretty able to check my phone and tap out a quick response, but Ari must have been more observant
"Some guy," I said. "On a dating app."
"You like him," she said, again making an observation, not asking a question.
"I'm... interested. More than I've been in a while."
"Can I see?"
I winced. "It's, uh, complicated with this one... I'm not sure how public I want to be yet either."
She smiled, "I get ya."
Maybe eventually she will.
We went back in. I talked to her some more. She's very into soccer so I let her bring me up to speed on that, until Charli forcibly changed the subject.
The night lased a bit long for my tastes. Darts Guy came back, a little drunker, to see if he could get my number. I respectfully passed. The moment was gone. I've got my mystery guy, and a perfectly healthy masturbation routine if that doesn't work out.
Having admitted to the nature of their relationship, Ariel came home with us and slept over. In the morning I made us all eggs and broight Girls Night to its official close.