Of course, by "that" I only mean high school - Andy's life is still mine for another month or so, barring anything else going wrong.
Everyone else I know talked about how senior year, especially the second semester, is a chance to coast and skip and all that, but it's been pretty nerve-wracking for Andy and me. Andy never really pulled out of his funk, and we both kind of stumbled doing each other's Zoom interviews as part of our college applications, so by the time acceptance letters (and the opposite) started coming, we were pretty nervous, and some of them were provisional on our final-semester grades.
And the results were pretty disappointing for me - I got Andy into Northeastern University in Boston, as much as I'm surprised he wanted any part of New England after the last couple years. I guess he really liked the real-world-experience program. Meanwhile, I'm looking at a state university this fall, which isn't bad, I guess, but feels really frustrating because I've been doing pretty well in school and he's going to get the benefit of it.
It hasn't been a good look for me, especially since only my brother and my parents know why I'm frustrated, and everyone else is more worried about "Andi" clearly struggling with things this year. It's been genuinely scary at times, because even last summer, I don't recall ever feeling this angry, and I sometimes wonder if all this testosterone just super-charges it or something. Like, Mom and Dad have been very good at making sure Andy and I both understand that "men can't help themselves" is bullshit, even before our first trip to the Inn, and maybe if situations were different, things could still piss me off like this did, but the fact that it may be all the male hormones just makes me even angrier...
Now, don't misunderstand, I haven't been walking around in a constant rage for the past three months, but it's really unnerving. You read a lot of stuff on this blog about guys grappling with their self-image because they're starting to find other guys attractive or enjoy wearing a nice dress, and get fewer posts about girls who become guys and start being attracted to girls, but getting mad like this doesn't come up. Dad's been great about it - he's always been good about spotting when stuff has been bothering me and saying the right thing, and while he hasn't done anything goofy like hanging a punching bag in the basement or anything, he has helped me just get it out physically, even if it's just not questioning when I go on an hour-long run or something. Andy has been a little freaked, but I've at least got some sort of circuit-breaker in my head that stops me from really lighting into my own face or getting anywhere near violence. He mostly just doesn't want to believe that's potentially in him.
Weirdly, Cindi was kind of on-point without even knowing the half of what was going on. The way she figures it, the fact that "Andi" and I were looking at being separated must be what's messing us up. She doesn't have siblings, much less a twin, but she sees how inseparable we are, how I initially resisted her advances because she'd been mean to "my sister" (which is to say, me) back in middle school, and figures I must be mad at "her" for not keeping up and myself for being selfish enough to go to the good school. She's an annoyingly great girlfriend.
Which brings us to prom.
Shockingly, Andy was more into it this year, probably in part because he didn't have a date, but was mostly just going with Shawna and some other girls, hanging out, dancing with guys, but no kissing or hands on butts or making any sort of statement. I mean, he spent the whole afternoon at the hair salon with them, and was even wearing two-inch heels and showing some cleavage in his dress as Mom took pictures, when he's really not into girl stuff that much. He shrugged and said he might as well have some fun with it in our last few months as each other, and this was all going to be part of my Instagram page come next month, and he wouldn't want me to look bad.
And, yeah, I was kind of disappointed that I didn't get to wear the pretty dress, although I got to have Cindi wear one on my arm, which is a dumb guy thing to be proud of - she did all the work! - but it's kind of real, at least for a few more weeks at least. And I don't really look bad in a suit like this, myself.
We didn't cross paths that often at the dance, but we didn't avoid each other. There was a point when Cindi was in the restroom and I was at the refreshment stand grabbing a Coke Zero when he came up and got a Diet Coke, and we kind of laughed at there be boy and girl soda, and were we going to have to switch back lest folks call us weird. I commented that he was having fun, and he said he was, but might have to get off his feet soon because he'd been dancing all night and that was way more than he'd ever done in heels. "Can't wait for those to be your problem!"
He actually did wind up heading out fairly early with someone who had to get up early the next morning, while Cindi and I stayed more or less to the end. We got in my car, and she put her hand on mine. "Hey. There's nobody at my family's lake house."
I don't know whether it was the touch or the suggestion, but the thing in between my legs just reacted instantly. "Uh, I don't know, I told my folks I'd be home by--"
"Don't worry, I told your sister and she was sure your parents would be cool with it, and they'll at least know. I want to do this, and you've been waiting long enough."
I didn't say anything out loud, but all the way there, "she thinks she's been the one who's been keeping me waiting" bounced around my head. We kind of didn't talk on the way, just nervous "remember when this classmate did that" from earlier in the night, before we got there and made our way to her bedroom.
We stood there for a second, nervous, and then she took a deep breath. "Andy, I've got to warn you - I'm not a virgin."
How do you respond to that without suggesting a girl is a prude or a slut? I tried to think of what I would want to hear, but it suddenly seemed like an eternity since I'd been a girl. "Okay, I mean, I didn't think, you know, that you had, uh, denied yourself anything. Or anything."
She smiled a little at me being flustered, but got serious again. "It's not like that. When I was thirteen, and puberty decided to be really generous, my uncle..."
She trailed off and I gasped. Like, I could fill in the blanks, and while I'm lucky enough that nobody ever did more than "accidentally" brush me at that age, I sure remembered a lot of guys giving me more attention than a random kid should get. I wanted to say I understood, but I knew right away that she'd know "Andy" didn't, couldn't, really, so I just said I was so sorry that happened and had no idea.
"Well, I made sure nobody had no idea. I didn't even tell my folks until a few weeks ago, when we saw that uncle again and he made some sort of remark about what you and I must be doing." She took another breath. "But this isn't about that, this is about you being great and me wanting you especially since you've been so patient with me and not acted like there was anything wrong with me."
She looked scared, and not having any idea what to say, I kissed her, she kissed back, and then we were getting clothes off and...
Well, neither of us really had any idea what we were doing. We'd seen movies and I kind of remembered exploring a bit a couple years ago, but you know what? It was good. It was really good, and as much as I've spent so much of what had been leading up to it upset about being a guy, it was kind of nice being the big spoon as we fell asleep, her hair against my face and my hand on her belly, though it moved as we slept.
We were still in that position when I woke up, and she soon did the same, feeling that I was aroused, and we tried it again. We were a little better. We had a little swim and then headed into town to get some breakfast since there was no food in the house, and giggled until I finally dropped her off.
Andy was waiting for me in the garage with a smirk. "I am so jealous!"
"Well you don't necessarily have to be fore--" I stopped. "You know what, you do. I don't know how we'll handle things when we switch, but--"
"Dude! What kind of creep do you think I am?"
"I know, it's just... It was kind of a big thing."
"Yeah. I know."
"You do? Who?"
"None of your damn business!" I must have given him a look and he shrugged. "Just a random guy at the regional one-act play thing." He smiled and then asked if I wanted something to eat, knowing that you can always get a teenage boy to answer yes and change the subject.
Mom and Dad said absolutely nothing when they got back from Sunday brunch with their friends.
After that... Well, graduation, which is a long, hot day in robes that just suck up heat but having your parents and grandparents and all your friends there smiling like idiots makes you smile like an idiot too. Andy and I walked to get our diplomas from the principal together, and not just because of alphabetical order. As we went back to our positions, we whispered "we did it" to each other, and that was maybe the most satisfying part of the day.