“Tonight. We’re going to sneak out tonight,” Dawn whispered to me excitedly before taking off to school.
Mackenzie seemed to notice her whispering something to me and shot her a distrusting look with her arms crossed. I didn’t really get what Mackenzie’s problem was. It seemed like no matter what world she came from, she was the type to get into my business. In the past, I was the pervert she was trying to protect all of her sisters from. Somehow, that had perfectly reversed, and now she had made it her personal mission to keep any of the other sisters from acting gross around me. About the only one she didn’t chastise was London, and that’s because the two didn’t have a strong relationship to begin with.
When all of the girls were gone, I decided to open up the homework that Abby the class rep had left for me. Science and math weren’t much different from what I remembered, but when I reached history, things started to drop fast. Just about every name in the history books was different. It was truly like I came from a completely different world. On the surface, I could convince myself these two worlds were basically the same, but when I looked a bit deeper, I began to notice how many nonsensical things had to exist for this world to work.
For example, the basic function of testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is supposed to make men angry and aggressive, yet this whole thing just sort of gets glossed over in the science books. It makes a comment about cavemen needing testosterone but how it isn’t needed in high quantities for the modern man. Then there was the fact that men were still more physically imposing than women. Why would a woman fight in a battle when a man could do more damage? The answers weren’t there, and I had a feeling if I started quizzing a teacher, she’d just say something like, “it just is.”
I wondered if my own world was the same way? How much does perception shape what you chose to believe and what you chose to ignore? As I thought about it, there were people who believed the earth was flat or global warming was false despite all of the evidence to the contrary. In fact, there were feminists in my old world who insisted there were no physical differences between men and women, and that it was all in the head… ignoring vast amounts of data to the contrary.
Well, I wasn’t saying I knew anything for certain. It was just that now I was asking questions, where before I only saw things from the way I was told. By seeing this world that shouldn’t work continue on successfully, I was becoming all too aware of the numbers of truth people ignored in the name of convenience. Why exactly did we eat eggs and bacon for breakfast? Because some company told us so? Who decided cereal was a part of a balanced breakfast? Why was breakfast even at 9 am?
My stomach roared, and I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything that morning and was growing hungry. My mind ended up going off on a tangent because of it. I got up and headed to the kitchen. As I did so, I checked my phone. I really needed to check it more, because I realized I had gotten a message on it.
“Sorry that I took off yesterday. I would be willing to teach you to cook.”
The name wasn’t signed, but I could already guess that the person who sent it was Abigail. I felt a bit of relief at seeing that. I already had another meal to cook tonight. I managed to get by thanks to Abigail’s last moment efforts, but I still didn’t know how to cook anything. Plus, it looked like I was in this world to stay, and my entire family seemed to expect me to be the cook, so I needed to adapt this much.
I had already figured out that my family didn’t know me well enough and that I wouldn’t get found out for a fraud. That was my original fear. It seemed like my new personality would get by fine. I was never going to start acting like a woman, or I guess a man. Was there going to be a time when I got used to that? Well, whatever, that was a problem for a later date.
“Can you stop by after school?” I wrote on my phone. “I need help with dinner.”
It wasn’t long before I got a response. “Yeah, it’s fine. I don’t have class 4th block. I can come early.”
I looked at my watch and saw that the time was only noon right now. If she didn’t have 4th block, then she’d probably come around 1:30. That would give us about 2 hours to come up with something to feed my family. Not everyone came home at the same time every day. They were in various clubs and extracurricular events that it ended up being quite a mishmash. Therefore, it wasn’t uncommon for something to just be sitting done on the stove ahead of time. Whether or not we got to sit down together tonight, I actually wasn’t interested in that.
Dawn and I were going out later, so I wanted to get a little rest and get ready before we went. It might sound a bit weird coming from me, but I didn’t like the idea of interacting with the rest of my family before going to do stuff like that. It wasn’t like I was a porn star or anything. Just because I was a horny guy who wanted to have fun didn’t mean I didn’t feel a little weird going home after and interacting with family. It gave me a kind of surreal feeling like it didn’t fit with my real life. That’s how I was able to move on after my binge those first few days, where I pushed Sam down, did a stranger, and also played with Dan’s date. Those events barely felt real to the current me who was in a kitchen at my familiar house.
I considered if there was anything I should do about Abigail when she came. I could just use her as a cooking teacher she was supposed to be, but I could also make advances on her. She is the only other girl my age I’ve been able to hang out with. I haven’t even gotten a text from Anna since London said whatever she did to her. As for Samantha, I had a feeling she was grounded, as I hadn’t heard anything from her either.
However, the last time Abigail was here, she suddenly ran away right when I asked her a question. She never did explain exactly why she was in such a hurry to get away. She might just be flighty, and if that was true and I tried to hit on her, she’d definitely run away again. So, I decided I’d definitely have to play this cool.
I took a shower and dressed up nice, but not too nice. It almost felt like the old days when I tried to throw myself toward beautiful women only to end up in complete failure. Well, I had only tried a few times at dances and stuff, but it had always ended in my own humiliation and failure. However, things were completely different now. Women were receptive to that kind of thing.
Knocking on the door caused me to glance at the clock and realize that the time had already come. I opened the door to see Abby there. She dressed in a very refined way. She had a skirt that was the proper length, a blouse that covered her body without showing anything, and her hair done up. It was nice, but not sexy in any way. I suppose you could call it a good girl look. Since a lot of girls since the change had sort of hasty, lazy and messy ways of dressing, it was a nice change of pace to see a girl who dressed carefully.
That’s not to say I didn’t like the messy look. It actually was pretty sexy on most girls. There was something about a loose shirt hanging off a girl’s shoulder, the absence of a bra, or messy hair that gave the women of this world a wild, untamed feel to them. Rather than look ugly, they appeared like that girl who was making the walk of shame—basically, a girl who was down for anything.
After I let her in, Abigail dropped a couple of bags in her arms and immediately headed straight for kitchen cabinets. After looking around for a few moments, she shook her head and gave a sigh.
“Just like I suspected, you have nothing to cook with here.”
“That! Ah… well, we have a few things.”
“You can’t really cook with the things you have!” Abigail said making fists in a cute way as if this was extremely important.
“Oh… sorry, I’m just not good with this kind of stuff.”
“Aren’t you a boy?”
“Since when has sex had anything to do with being able to cook? Seriously?”
She blushed. “S-sorry… I didn’t mean that. It’s just… I’m very passionate about cooking. I want to be a chef one day.”
“It’s good to have dreams,” I responded and then made a face. “I haven’t really thought about what I want to do.”
“Y-you could always just get married to a woman who will take care of you and have her babies?” she offered.
“Really? That’s what you’re going with. You have pretty antiquated views, don’t you?”
She grimaced. “I’m sorry, I’m just… not used to guys. My dad… he left when I was young.”
I nodded. “Mine too.”
She raised her head in surprise. “R-really?”
“It’s just been me in a house with seven women.”
“You have… six sisters?”
I nodded. “One doesn’t live at home, but the way she’s been hovering lately, you’d swear she had been. How much?”
As I spoke, I started going through the bags, pulling out ingredients which Abigail put away in the drawers. I hadn’t expected to be keeping this stuff she bought, so I decided to ask.
“N-no! You can keep it! I couldn’t make a boy pay for something like this.”
With most girls these days, their feelings for me were on their faces. It was so apparent I found myself ignoring a lot of it just to keep my sanity. However, with Abigail, I really couldn’t tell what she was thinking. Since I told myself I’d try to be direct with people more, and it worked well with the women of this world, I just went ahead and asked.
“Do you… like me, Abigail?”
“Wh-what? About the groceries? Ah… I didn’t mean it like that!”
“It’s just. You seem nervous. And you took off yesterday in a hurry. It left me a little confused.”
“I’m…” She looked down, blushing. “I don’t know…”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
She bit her lip before looking over at me. “I don’t know if I like guys. I’ve never been with one.”
“Most girls do whether they have been or not…”
“Well… I’m not most girls,” she responded back.
“Are you saying you want to try it and see?” I asked curiously.
“Wh-wh-what are you saying?” She looked away, her cheeks even redder.
“Ah! I have to go…” She went to walk away, and I grabbed her arm.
“Why not?” I repeated.
“No! Um… look, it’s not you. I just need to go. Right now! I can’t be here.” She pulled on her arm, actually trying not to head to the back door, but the front door which she didn’t seem to know was blocked with furniture.
“Why are you doing this? Will you stop struggling?”
It was at this point that the door to the side opened and I realized someone had come home. It was Mackenzie who walked into the house. As soon as she was in, her eyes dropped to the pair of our hands, where I was holding onto her.
“Why do you have someone over, Noah?” she demanded, an angry expression on her face. “This is the second time.”
“I-I was just bringing food over!” She managed to recover her arm. “He needed it to cook. I’m going now.”
“I’m sorry that I couldn’t help more. Just follow the recipe I brought and use the ingredients.”
She fled past Mackenzie and out the door. Mackenzie had a frown on her face, but she didn’t say anything. I glanced past her and then followed Abigail out the door. I had to nearly jog to catch up to her quick stride, but I managed to catch her in the driveway.
“Wait! Just tell me why you’re leaving.”
She stopped but didn’t look back. I was just about to assume she wasn’t going to say anything, but then she spoke in a low voice.
“Your sister… Mackenzie… in middle school, she… she used to beat me up, okay?”
“She used to bully me!” she responded in a hushed whisper. “Please… I thought I’d like to get to know you, but I’m not going to get beat up by your sister. I won’t be able to come again.”
Like that, she kept walking. She went straight to her car and then drove off down the street. I stood in the driveway for a bit, completely dazed. When I found out Bethany was being bullied, I went berserk. Yet now that it was my own sister who was doing the bullying, I suddenly didn’t know what to say.