Rock Star Makeover, Part 1

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Rock Star Makeover, Part 1

“You can't be serious!”

“Why not enter the contest? ”

“Well, duh, its for girls?”

“Doesn't say that anywhere. Says you have to be 15 or older, that's it.”

“Come on! I know you like Cathy Mason, and that the contest winner gets a meting with her, as well as a trip to Hollywood for the winner, their parents and a friend. But it also includes a new wardrobe, as well as a 'makeover'. You know, like makeup and stuff?”

He just grinned at me.

“He” was Gavin Martin, and my best friend, and this is our story. I am Noah Alexander, and we were both 16 years old.

“And besides which, wouldn't you need your parents permission?”

“I have already talked to them, dude”

“You always did plan ahead”

He smiled at me, and I had to shake my head. In the eight years I have known him, he has always been a bit.... off. But since by then I was already at the bottom of the social pile, he and I became friends, and honestly, I have not regretted it.

But this idea...entering a contest mostly directed at girls, it seemed to hold a strange fascination with him, I was not sure just what to make of it.

“Alright dude. Its not like your chances are good anyway.”

“Maybe. But since the contest is doing one of her songs, and since I know all the words to all her songs by heart, I’ve got as good a chance as anybody”

“Want me to help you do the video?”

“Got it all figured out, besides, I want to surprise you with the result.”

“Well, have fun”

I went back to my house, and greeted my brother, Adam.

“Hey”

“'Sup bro?”

“Just got in from being at Gavin's”

He shook his head, and said, “I don't know why you hang out with that guy. Most of your school thinks he's gay, and therefore are wondering about you”

“Let ‘em wonder. Fact is, when I didnt have a friend to my name, he reached out to me, and has done it every time I have needed since. Whatever he is or will be, I owe him.”

“Ok, bro. I will do my best to keep the creeps off your back”

“Appreciate it.”

The next couple of days were pretty typical for us, except whenever I tried to ask him about the contest. He would just smile, and change the subject.

Then, things got weird at school. I was used to being shunned for being with him, but now the whispers and stares seemed much worse than usual. When I got home that afternoon, my brother came in, and said, “You got to see what is online. Someone forwarded this to me, and it is making the rounds at your school.”

I went to the computer, and soon I saw...

He really had gone all out. He looked just like the singer....

And that wasn’t the only thing. He had taken one of her songs, a happy little piece about experimenting with another girl, and turned it into … a lament, a wish, a need........

To be a girl.

I found myself moved to tears watching. I thought to myself, “If he wasn’t just acting, if this video represented his true self.... God, why didn’t he ever tell me?”

I turned off the computer, and called his house. His sister Terry answered, and said, “Gavin told me to expect your call. He asked me to tell you to come over if you really want to talk.”

That was an easy call.

I went.

When I got to his house, his mom ushered me in, and called up to his room, “Sweetheart, your friend Noah is here. You ready to see him?”

“Send him up.” I heard coming from upstairs.

Before I could go, Gavin’s mom stopped me and said, “I take it you saw the video.”

“I did. It was...moving.”

She looked at me, and said, “That’s the response my …. child was hoping for. I hope your friendship survives this.”

“Mrs. Martin, I don’t exactly know what to make of it. But … I don’t plan on going anywhere.”

“I think my … child will be happy to hear that right now.”

I went upstairs, and knocked on Gavin’s door. “Its Noah, Gavin.”

“Come in. I have... been making some changes, though.”

I went in, and for a second, I thought I was in the wrong room. He didn’t look like Gavin at all.

He was.... a girl. It wasnt the clothes, it was.... just everything about her.

I sat down on his (her?) bed, and said, “Oh. I guessed, from the video, but … wow.”

“I’m sorry you had to find out like this. I just couldn’t think of how to tell you.”

“You were not acting in that video, where you? You want to be a girl for real?”

“Close, Noah. I.... think I already am one. I just want to be able to not have to hide that anymore.”

I looked at her. “I … I think I see that. In the video, you looked relaxed, happier than I have ever seen you.”

“I was, and I am.”

“But one thing. We have been friends forever. How come you didn’t tell me before this?”

“I was scared, Noah.”

“Of me?”

“No. of me. For a long time, I was scared that I was … crazy. I tried to hold it in, because I thought as long as I didn’t say it out loud, it wasn’t true. But it was killing me. Finally I just had to come clean. I told my folks, and then tried to figure out how to tell you. When this contest came up, it seemed like ….. it was the right time. I’m so sorry.”

I came close, and opened up my arms. She hugged me, and I said, “I .. I’m so sorry you have had to deal with this on your own. If you let me, I want to help, okay?”

“Thanks.” She said, and then the broke the hug.

“Anytime. How are you folks doing with it?”

“It was pretty shaky at first. Mom is still struggling, I think. Dad is actually doing okay.”

“What are you going to do about school? “

“Try and hold on until spring break. If I don’t win the contest, I will spend the time figuring out what the next step is.”

“Well, I … don’t know how much of this I understand. But you have supported me and been my friend though a lot of crap. I will be here for you.”

“I was.... hoping that would be how you felt.”

“One more question.”

“What?”

“What the heck do I call you? I mean, Gavin is no name for a girl.”

“I have been thinking of … Gabrielle .”

“Cool. Nice to finally meet you , Gabbi.”

She smiled, and it lit up the room.

We chatted for a while, and then I looked at my watch, and said, “I better go. Mom will be wondering what I am up to. “

“You could tell her you’re in a girls bedroom.”

“I don’t think she would be happy to hear that But with your permission, I’ll tell her about you … being Gabbi.”

“I guess. How do you think she’ll feel? You think she ‘ll still let us... hang out?”

“I donnkow. I think she’ll be okay. You still want to hang out tomorrow if she doesn’t freak about it?”

“If you’re okay with spending your Saturday with a girl. I don’t want to have to pretend to be Gavin anymore than I have to anymore.”

“You still like bad sci fi, don’t you? We were going to see the festival at the Art Theater.”

“Yeh. It’s still ME, in here. I ‘m not going to turn into some stereotype girl. A lot of stuff about me will stay the same.”

“Then that sounds cool to me. I wasnt ready for a tea party with you, or whatever.”

“No worries there.”

“Then I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I went home, and told my brother and my mom about Gavin/Gabbi. My brother said, “I … guess I should have seen that. From the way he, she acts....It makes sense.”

“How about you Mom? You okay with me still being her friend?”

“its not going to be easy for either of you, sweetie. But I am proud of you for not abandoning her.”

“That’s how you’ve raised me, mom.”

“I hate to break up this love-fest, but I’m hungry” My brother said.

We all laughed, and started supper.

The next morning, I got ready, and went over to Gabbi’s house. She answered the door wearing a pair of jeans that stopped high enough that I could see she had no socks, flat but very girly shoes, and t shirt with the main character from the anime “Ranma ½”

Weirdest was she …. filled out the t-shirt a bit. I hadn’t really registered that yesterday, but but she definitely had a bit up top. She grinned, and said, “Geeze. I’ve been dressing as a girl for such a short time, and I’ve already got guys checking out my assets.”

I blushed, and said, “Its not like that. I just didn’t expect you to have assets at all.”

“Not my own, at least not yet. But a little padding goes a long way in passing, or so I’ve been told.”

We headed to the theater, and I asked, “Speaking of passing, are you scared? I mean going out in public?”

“A little, but my sister took me to a mall on the other side of town last week. Nobody gave me a second look, so I think I do okay. But that’s one reason why I chose not to wear a dress or skirt today.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Noah, when we get to the theater, look at what the other girls are wearing. You wont see many in dresses. I don’t want to stand out, at least not today.”

We got to the theater, and taking her advice, I peeked at the girls’ outfits. There weren’t a lot of girls there, but Gabbi was right. A few were in costumes, but most were dressed a lot like her. We grabbed popcorn, and settled into seats near the back, like we always did.

I found it strange. Gabbi was a girl, in more than just her clothing. And it was clear she was … happier, more comfortable than I had ever seen her. Sometimes that kinda threw me. I wasn't used to spending a lot of time with girls. But at the same time bits of my old friend were still there. The intelligence modified by goofy humor, especially.

She must have noticed my occasional double takes, because she said, “You are having some trouble with this, aren’t you?”

“Sorry, Gabbi. I guess its going to take me some time to adjust. But I am not going anywhere. That I can promise.”

“Thanks. Monday is not going to be fun.”

“Why not go as Gabbi? I mean, everyone has had to have seen the video by now.”

“No. We need to clear it with the school first. I will just have to be Gavin, and hold on.”

“Well, you wont be alone.”

“Thanks again.”

We went back to watching the movies, doing our usual snickers at the crappy special effects until the festival was over, and then we went to Gabbi’s house. I said goodnight, and she looked funny.

“You okay?” I asked.

“Yeh, thanks for letting today be so … .normal.”

“Normal? I wouldn’t know normal if it ran me over, Gabbi.”

“Yeh, but it felt the same as the last time we did that, and … I needed that.” She fidgeted, then started moving close to me, and then suddenly stopped, and turned and went inside.

“Now what the heck was that about?” I thought to myself, and then went home.

Sunday morning, as I got ready for church, my mom called me down. I came down the stairs to see Gabbi’s sister, and Gabbi herself, wearing a rather pretty pale blue dress.

“Hay, Gabbi, I... I didn’t expect to see you today.”

“I... I wanted to have one day of looking pretty, before I had to go back to being Gavin again.”

“You look lovely, dear.” My mom said, “Don’t you agree, Noah?”

I looked at her, and saw something in her eyes that made me want to make her happy, so I said “You... look very pretty, Gabbi.”

She beamed so brightly, I could hardly look at her.

Church was fine, and if anybody thought there was anything unusual about Gabbi, they didn't show it. Once again, I felt weird being around her. She was girly, there wasnt any doubt about it. But the little bits of Gavin that peeked out threw me.

“You’re really happier now, aren’t you ?” I asked her after the service.

“I am, Noah. To be honest, to not have to hide... Its such a relief.”

“Then I am happy for you.”

“Thanks, Noah. your support makes this much easier.”

“You’re still my best friend, Gabbi. What kind of friend would I be If I let you down when you needed me most?”

She smiled, but there was something wrong with it, and she kept quiet the rest of the way home.

After she left. I told my mom about her attitude, and she smiled. “It sounds like she may be hoping to be more than your friend, hon.”

“No way. Why wouldn’t she just say so?”

“Maybe she isnt sure herself. Or maybe because she is scared of losing your friendship if you don’t feel the same.”

I shook my head. “I.... I got to think about this, Mom. I... I don’t want to hurt her, but I don’t know if I can be anything but her friend.”

“Take some time, hon. Both of you are having to make some adjustments in terms of how you relate to each other. But try and not take too long, or it might ruin what you do have.”

I went to bed that night with my head spinning.

Monday morning, I went to school, half-expecting to see Gabbi. Instead, she was back to being Gavin again. He looked miserable, and I went up to him, and said, “Hay bud. You are going to get through this, okay?”

He gave me a sad smile, and said, “Thanks, Noah.”

“No problem. Chin up.”

We went inside, and as I suspected, we were even more outcasts than usual. I kept Gavin close to try and prevent physical stuff, but the occasional shove became the norm. Finally, I said, to Gavin, “Gav, we got to get you some backup. You are going to get seriously hurt.”

He shrugged. “Like who?”

“I could call my brother. Or we could talk to the principal.”

“Appreciate the thought, but its only for a short time. They should be announcing the winner of the contest tonight, and either I will be going to L.A., over spring break, or not. Either way, when I come back, I expect to be attending school as Gabbi. Either at this school or somewhere else.”

“I hope its here. I’d be lonely without you.”

He gave me a smile, and for a moment, I saw Gabbi again.

The rest of the day, moments like that would keep happening. One minute, he was all Gavin, except even more depressed than usual. The next, Gabbi would peek out, and she would smile, and then there would be this struggle to put Gabbi back in hiding again.

I started to have trouble believing this could go on even a week....

That night, with our parents permission, we sat together with a laptop waiting to hear if Gabbi had won or not. I had mixed feelings about this contest, and it must have shown, because Gabbi asked, “You worried about me?”

“Yeh. On the one hand, I could tell how much you want this. But I wonder if you’ve really thought it through. I’m assuming you want to be Gabbi for the trip, but you’d have had to entered as Gavin. You ready for a bunch of strangers to know they are one and the same?”

“I guess I figure it might actually be easier with strangers. Plus, its in L.A. I cant be the first transsexual person they’ve met.”

We waited, and finally, the site holding the contest said that Cathy Mason herself would be announcing the winner in one minute. We both fidgeted, and then the screen changed, and Cathy Mason was in front of a microphone. She opened up an envelope, and announced...

“Gavin Martin!”

Gabbi squealed.

I pointed at the screen, and it replayed the video Gabbi had entered, while Cathy said how much she admired the bravery it must have taken to enter it.

Gabby hugged me so hard I thought she might bruise something.....

Finally, I got her to let go, and I left to go home. Once I did, I told my family about what happened, and I told my mom about being worried about Gabbi.

“Well, hon. If you are that worried, why don't you ask to go with her? Didn’t you say that the contest allows the winner to bring a friend?” she asked.

“I figured she would take her sister. So they can do girl stuff together.”

“That may be the case, Noah. But you could ask.”

“Would you be okay with me going? I mean, if she wanted me?”

“I think we would survive without you over the break. And her mom would be there to keep the two of you in line.”

“I don’t know, Mom. If you’re right about her feelings, that might be awkward.”

“Maybe. Or maybe it would give you both a chance to figure out where you stand with each other.”

“I guess I’m still struggling with that idea, Mom.”

“I know, but ask yourself a question. If you found that you could … fall for her, would that be a bad thing?”

I had no answer for that, so I went to bed.

The next day, as Gavin and I navigated around to get to classes, I noticed a difference in how people treated him. There was still a lot of rejection, but a number of people congratulated him on winning the contest, and many of them said they had been moved by Cathy Mason’s comments. At the end of the day, I said to him “Quite a bit of improvement, yes?”

“Yeh. But it makes waiting harder.”

“You’ll make it. I’ll help too.”

“Thanks I’ll hold you to that.” She smiled, and it was all Gabbi talking.

I had trouble meeting her eyes.

“What?”

I blushed. ‘I... I was going to ask about the trip. I guess you are going to take your sister? Have some girl time?”

“Actually, I … was meaning to talk to you about that. What ….what would you say about going with me? I … I’d would love it if you would come.”

I thought about what my mom had said, and looked at her in a way I hadn’t dared to before.

I started thinking hard. <”Would it really be so bad? To fall for a girl like Gabbi?” She is... fun to be with, we have a lot in common, and she already knows just about everything about me. And when she dresses like a girl, she’s pretty, actually. What more could I want?”>

“I...I gotta ask, Ga...Gavin.” I was stalling, and I was sure he knew it, because I could see the disappointment on his face.

She had tears in her eyes, and said, “I.. I understand. I guess I was …. asking for too much. Maybe I should keep my distance. Maybe you’d rather not be around a freak.”

She started to leave, and I shouted, “Wait!”

She ignored me, and ran off.

“Crap.” I muttered to myself, and went home.

By suppertime, I couldn’t hide my misery, and told my mom. By this point, I was in tears, and she held me for a bit until I breathe again.

“I messed up, Mom. What the heck do I do?”

“Your only hope is to tell her that hon. It will work out exactly the way its supposed to.”

I tried to phone her, but she wouldn’t take my calls. Finally, I had no choice but to go to bed.

Wednesday morning rolled around, and I went to school, and got more depressed as the day went on. Every time I tried to approach Gavin to apologise, he would cut me off, and walk away. Desperate, at lunch, I decided to talk to Mrs. Franklin. She was my Art teacher, and one of the few I had ever talked to before, so she was the obvious choice.

She not only listened, but she helped me make something that might at least get Gabbi to listen long enough for me to apologize. When I was done, I hid it, and waited for the end of the school day. I snuck out of my last class, and went to where he would exit the building. I pulled out the little project I had worked on.

I figured this might work better if she couldn’t see me, so I left my little gift on the sidewalk, hid in a nearby bush, and waited for her to come. I tried to control my breathing, but I kept thinking, “If this doesn’t work....”

After a few minutes, I could see her coming, and took a moment to say a prayer as she got close. She slowed, and looked at the little bit of artwork I had managed to cobble together over lunch. I had drawn me on my knees, crying, begging toward an angel with her face. Words like “Sorry”, “I was wrong” “Forgive me” were all over the picture.

To me, it was like the whole world held it’s breath, waiting for her to decide what to do. Finally, a small smile came on her face, and she said, “Noah? You can come out.”

I came out of the bushes, and went on my knees. “Gabbi, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

“I’m sorry too, Noah I....I guess I was asking for a lot from you.”

“Gabbi, look at the back of the drawing.”

She flipped it over, and then reacted just as I had hoped. She dropped the paper, threw her arms around me, and actually kissed me on the lips. When we came up for air, I glanced at the paper on the ground. The back side was up, and the three little words shone in glitter.

“I LOVE YOU.”

*******