“Are you okay?” London asked.
“Huh?” I glanced over at my oldest sister. “Um, yeah, I’m fine. Why?”
“Oh, it’s just, you’ve been really quiet since our visit to the hospital. The doctor said you need to take it easy for the next few days and call her if you have any problems.”
“I bet she did…” I muttered.
“What was that?”
“Nothing… sorry. I just don’t talk that much.”
“Really? Mackenzie says you’re a motor mouth who won’t shut up.” London gave me a mischievous smirk.
“What?” I was completely caught off guard by this. “Why would she…”
I stopped short, reminding myself that everything about this world was different. If this really was a different world, then maybe I was different too? I couldn’t keep going on like this. I had to confirm if this was true. I had to have someone I could talk to.
“Can you take me to a friend’s house?”
“Now?” She was a bit surprised.
“Well, I just feel like I need to get some air right now. The house is a bit crowded.”
After a moment, she nodded in acceptance. “Yeah, I can imagine. An innocent boy being trapped with six girls, it probably smells like a fish factory in there.”
I let out a noise like a strangled animal. London winced.
“Ah! Sorry… I didn’t mean to be gross,” she responded helplessly. “I was just trying to cheer you up.”
“It’s fine… I just… didn’t expect that,” I responded wryly.
It was an odd experience to find girls being so upfront with me. I was so used to them being quite mysterious. Of course, guys were bold, and often gross, but when it came to women, I didn’t want to think about them that way. This world really was different! My eyes narrowed, and I realized I really needed to get to the bottom of this.
“So, who do you want me to drive you to visit?”
“Ah… that would be Samantha’s house.”
It was London’s turn to make a noise. “Ah… you mean, a girl’s house?”
“Yeah…” I responded.
“You… you’re a boy. How could I drop you off at a girl’s house? Mom would be furious if she found out. As your sister, I’d be responsible if anything happened.”
“We’re just friends.” I sighed.
Even that wasn’t true anymore. We were friends. We actually were friends in elementary school and then middle school. However, when we hit high school, she actually hit maturity and became an attractive girl with big boobs. Meanwhile, I became an outcast and a nerd. Simply put, she didn’t want to be seen around me anymore, so she ditched me. If the roles of this world were backward, then I was seriously curious.
I couldn’t really say why I had suddenly thought of Samantha after all of these years. It was probably because I didn’t really have any other friends, even of the male variety. Samantha had been it, and when she left, the only way I survived was by depending on the internet.
“You may see the pair of you as just friends, but she’s a girl! I can guarantee you, she definitely sees you as something more. Girls don’t just have guy friends. She’s clearly wanting to get down your pants!”
If only. I mused inside.
However, I couldn’t say that to my sister, especially if I was right about this world. Therefore, I tried to reassure her instead.
“I’ll be careful. I won’t go into her room if it’s locked.”
I basically told her all of the things mom used to tell my sisters when they wanted to go to a boy’s house to study. Eventually, I managed to wear her down. It was about the time I used the line that I thought she was my ‘cool’ sister that she had broken down. That had been all improvisation right there. I just tried to reverse the situation and imagine what my sister could say to me that would make me fold. If one of my little sisters had called me cool and me doing or not doing something was related to my coolness in their eyes, I was damn well going to be cool!
“Alright… I’ll take you. If mom asks, you’re at a boy’s house, okay?”
I couldn’t believe I had talked her into it. The old London had been my babysitter when I was younger, and I remember her as a giant stickler. She didn’t let me get away with anything. The fact that I was able to make her change her mind left me feeling great, almost giddy. That’s why, when the car stopped, I quickly leaned over and gave her a sisterly peck on the cheek.
“Thanks, you are cool!”
I had done that because I knew, had one of my younger sisters ever once treated me that way, I would have felt ecstatic for ages. As for London’s sake, she turned completely red and her body was stiff. She didn’t even say goodbye as I left the vehicle and closed the door on her. Maybe I went a bit too far? Ah, well.
I finally rang the doorbell, hearing a dog barking next door as a result of it. A few moments later, the door opens, and my expression froze. The man who opened the door was her father. I remembered that he did not like me much at all and was always an angry guy who cursed a lot. He had a beard on his face and was wearing a button-up plaid shirt. He seriously looked like a lumberjack. I still wondered how such a beautiful girl was spawned from such a beastly man.
“Who are you?” He asked, looking down at me.
“Um… I’m here to see Samantha?” I barely managed to get out.
“A boy wants to see my daughter?” He uncrossed his arms and put his hands on his hips, and then suddenly smiled and flicked his wrist. “Finally! Maybe there is hope I can have grandchildren!”
He grabbed me. “Come in, come in! Stay awhile!”
He pulled me in to the point I didn’t have much of a choice. Their house was much the way I remembered it. Except, I could hear the mom in the other room. She appeared to be watching a football game and she was screaming at the television.
“Come on! Come on! Shit! How did you not catch that? Are you fucking blind?”
“Ah… ignore my wife.” He giggled awkwardly. “She’s always like this on Sundays. Sunday football.”
“It’s fine…” I responded awkwardly.
“Well, excuse me a sec.” He walked over to the stairs and then suddenly bellowed. “Samantha! Get your butt down here young lady!”
“What?” I heard a yell from upstairs.
“You have a guest!” He then turned to me and smiled. “It’s a boy.”
The way he smiled at me left me feeling a little queasy. If he was a gay man, I was fine with that. This wasn’t just the feminist way certain gay men acted. This went well beyond any of that, to the point where his acts felt surreal.
“Huh? A boy?” A girl took a few steps down the stairs, bending over until she saw me at the door. “Noah!”
As soon as her eyes met mine, she made a noise of surprise. I could only let out a sigh when I saw her. She was still Samantha. I was half expecting some nerdy person with no friends. However, she still had a large chest. She was still beautiful. She had long, straight brown hair that went down her back and almost reached her butt. She had large hazel eyes, a round face, and a smile with dimples that were infectious.
As he noticed the pair of us frozen, still looking at each other, her father cleared his throat. “Isn’t it nice you have a boy over? You better treat him right, you hear?”
“D-dad!” she said, suddenly blushing.
“Okay, I’ll go… Samantha always gets embarrassed when her daddy is around.” He said and then leaned into me. “If she acts up or is anything but a gentlewoman, let me know and I’ll straighten her out, okay dear?”
“Dad… you’re killing me.”
“Ah… it’ll be fine.” I responded, trying to reassure the man, no matter how weird it felt.
Her father was rooting for me and even talking down his daughter. Usually, if a strange boy came to your house, a father would definitely be hostile.
“Noah…” she said, walking down to the bottom step.
Her eyes were locked on me like she didn’t want to look away. It was not the expression I expected on her. The last time I had seen her, I had waved and she looked right passed me and kept walking. After that, I took the hint and didn’t try to call her again. Now she was standing right in front of me.
“I have… something I need to discuss with you.”
“Are you pregnant?” she asked.
“Men get pregnant in this world!” I declared with a gasp.
She looked at me strangely. “I meant, did a girl… you know… use you to get pregnant?”
Her head dropped and her face blushed. I didn’t miss how she had reworded it to put the responsibility on the girl. There were some feminists in my old world that would explode if they heard a girl describing it like that.
“Can we go someplace private?” I asked.
“My room! Ah…” She looked in her parent’s direction, but her mom hadn’t even noticed I was there and her dad was in the kitchen.
“Your room is fine.”
“O-okay…” She nodded and then ran upstairs.
I followed her, feeling my heart grow complicated. She was wearing a shirt with long sleeves and a number on the back. She was wearing standard jeans. I wondered if clothing had been flipped in this world, but I hadn’t seen any guys in a dress yet.
When we walked into her room, that was the first moment that gave me pause. The room was clean, but it also didn’t look like a girl’s room. There were sports trophies on the wall, the color scheme was mostly blue and green. She grabbed a football as soon as I walked in and started playing with it in her hands. I decided to just sit on the foot of her bed. As soon as I did, she looked at me and gulped.
I kept trying to put myself in her shoes, but the situation was so ridiculous I was afraid I’d start laughing. I didn’t want to suddenly burst out laughing in front of her. I glanced at the door, noticing it was still open.
She noticed and waved her hand, “Ma says I can’t close the door if I have a boy in here. She thinks I might… ah… never mind.”
“Right, it’s fine.”
“Okay… well, why don’t you tell me why you’re here?” she asked.
“I wanted to ask you a question. Please answer me seriously.”
“What is it?” She finally put down the ball, noticing the serious expression on my face.
“Samantha, why did we stop being friends?”
She made a surprised noise, and then a sad expression appeared on her face. “Well, isn’t that obvious? Isn’t it because you ghosted me?”
So, in the end, things really are different here, huh?