Chapter 96b: Jaya
If he ever hurts you
True love won't desert you
You know I still love you
Ty was waiting in the living room when Jaya got home, a textbook open on his lap that he was clearly ignoring, the TV on to something he was also clearly ignoring. He, Magnolia, and Anwell were in a three-way discussion that only barely included Anwell.
“Ah’m telling you,” Magnolia was saying, “she has the perfect ass. I don’t know why she keeps it hidden.”
She didn’t want to know, she... okay, she really did want to know. She’d seen so many candidates for that in the locker room, after all. Barely aware of her faint blush at such a thought, she asked, “Who are we talking about?”
The approval on Ty’s face was more than worth a little blush. “Manira,” he grinned. “Anwell finally got her to loosen up at the cy’ree meeting this weekend. It’s a pity you didn’t make it.”
“Oh, right. Sorry, I was busy. Maybe next time?” Did she really mean that? Knowing her cy’ree, there probably would be a next time. As soon as the words left her mouth, she second-guessed them, unsure if she could actually deal with that.
Ty was, however grinning. “Really? C’mon over here, I haven’t seen you in hours.” He scooted over in his chair. “You’d have a lot of fun. And Manira really does have a cute ass. Perfect little round thing…”
She went to sit with Ty, despite her misgivings. “Really? And, um...”
His grin only widened. “C’mon,” he coaxed, “you can’t tell me you’ve never looked.”
“Well, I’ve, no, not at Manira anyway.”
“Who at, then?” he persisted. “This school is full of yummy-looking people.”
Why was this making her so uncomfortable? She’d had these kinds of conversations plenty of times before. Well. He had, anyway. Was that the difference, or was it having the conversation with his girlfriend? Boyfriend? “Kylie,” she admitted. “Kailani. Shahin.”
“Kailani.” Ty’s smile seemed to fade. “She’s a pretty little thing, isn’t she? All wispy and hippy-like.”
“She’s pretty, but I’m not sure about the rest. Wispy?”
Ty’s hands gestured vaguely. “The floaty skirts, the frizzy hair. Wispy.”
“Oh. I guess so. I was thinking more without the skirt...” She bit her lip before continuing that train of thought too far. Yes, this was definitely different than having the same conversation, as a guy, with guy friends.
That got Ty smiling again. “Fair enough. It kinds of rocks, being in the girl’s locker room, doesn’t it? I mean, the boy’s room is fun, too…”
“The boy’s room? Uh.” She hadn’t even thought about it that way. Now, of course, she wouldn’t be able to avoid the thought, the next time she went in.
“Mm.” Oblivious to Magnolia and Anwell listening on, Ty pressed the point. “What about boys, mm?”
“I’m not sure,” she hedged. It really wasn’t much of a hedge, though. What about boys, after all? She was a girl now. She’d certainly thought about it, with Ty. It certainly seemed like he was thinking about it. Was that what this was about? Did Ty want to get her in bed, like this?
“Well… do you like the way Anwell looks?” Anwell looked like he was trying for being one with the couch.
Seriously? He wanted her to judge him, on that, in front of him, on a whim? “I... he’s not bad, I guess?” The other boy seemed… grateful? for the lukewarm assessment.
“Okay, maybe not someone in the room. But really? I mean, you don’t ever look at guys?”
“Uh. I don’t really think about it?”
“Hrmphh.” Was he actually getting annoyed at her about this? He certainly felt like it. He… really?
“I do like you, Ty. Like you are, I mean.”
“Really?” Ty’s tension started to fade away. “I can’t ever tell with you.”
“I mean, the other way too, of course.”
“Of course.” Ty looked her up and down slowly. “You’ve been being Jaya a lot lately, haven’t you?”
“I guess so? I’m trying to get used to it.”
“Well, if you want to get used to it…”
“Anwell, didn’t you say there was something you wanted to show me in your room?” Magnolia interrupted.
“Hunh? Oh, yeah, that… thing. Let’s go.” They exited hurriedly.
“Yeah?” What was he... oh. Oh! She wasn’t ready for that. She didn’t know what to do, really, and what if she wasn’t any good?
“Would it be easier with another girl?”
“Wait, what?” Oh, crap. It wasn’t bad enough that Ty wanted her to be a girl, now he wanted her to be a lesbian, too? Well… wasn’t she already? Wasn’t that what they’d been talking about? “Maybe?”
Ty glowered, angry all over again. “I don’t want you messing around with other girls!”
His expression got unpleasantly stern. “Jaya, don’t have sexual relations with any females that aren’t me... or yourself.”
“You can’t do that!” Jaya spluttered. No, he can, a silent voice inside her added. And he did. “I’m out of here.” She turned to flee the room.
“Come back here!” Ty shouted angrily, but the order that should have stalled her didn’t even give her pause. “Fucking departed gods, Jamian…!” The door slammed on the rest of his rant.
Jaya stood in the hallway for a moment, trying not to hyperventilate. She had to move, though, had to go somewhere. Before she even knew what she was doing, her feet were carrying her down the corridor, toward Kailani’s suite. She barely noticed the people she passed, moving through the halls and pod lounges, until a voice called out to her. “Jaya?”
She spun on her heel. She knew that voice. She knew… “Melchior,” she said with relief. The little goblin was sitting on the lounge couch with a paperback. “Uh, hi.”
“Hi,” she repeated, somewhat at a loss. “You okay, Jaya?”
“I…” No, she really wasn’t. “Yeah?” She flopped down on the couch, nearer to him than she ought to. “Fine.”
“Yeah, right. You wanna talk about it?” No, no she didn’t. But she wanted a friend.
“Not really,” she shook her head. Crap, what could she talk about with him? “How’s the cy’ree challenge thing going for your people?”
“Huh? Oh, not too bad, I guess. We don’t have any of the top brains, but we don’t have any losers either really.”
“Who’s your Mentor, anyway? Ours is… well, you can guess, I guess, with cy’Linden.”
“Well, not all of cy’Linden is just pretty,” Melchior shrugged. “Anyway, I’m cy’Mendosa. We’ve got Abe, Dysmas, Shiva, and Gennie.”
“Mendosa? The school sh.. psychiatrist?” Not just pretty.
“Yeah, she’s pretty cool actually.”
“Yeah?” She didn’t really want to think about cy’Linden, or prettiness, did she? “How did you get, ah, sorted?”
“Well, most people picked their Mentors. You’re kind of a special case, there.”
“Great,” she grumbled. “Me and the eternally horny crowd, just because of some… horns. Horny and ridiculously jealous.”
“Jealous? Cy’Linden? I thought they were all, well...” Melchior stopped himself, but Jaya could fill in the words. “Promiscuous?” It just made it worse, didn’t it. “Yeah. I try not to think about what… who Ty’s doing during those cy’ree meetings, but apparently it only goes one way.” Damnit, she didn’t want to talk about this, why was she talking about it?
“Goes one way... Who else would you be with, Jaya?”
Fuck, now she’d done it. “God, I don’t know! But in his imagination, apparently every other fucking girl in the school!”
She didn’t even realize she was shaking until Melchior approached and put his arm around her. “What’d he say to you?”
“He,” she sniffled, feeling stupid for crying, liking the comfort of Mel’s arm but feeling even stupider for that, “he wanted to know who I thought was attractive. And he kept getting angrier about it… I mean, I like girls. I’m a guy,” she complained, stubbornly ignoring all evidence to the contrary.
“So he asked you a question and then was upset when you answered him?” The way Melchior put it only made her feel like Ty was even more of a jerk. His hands were warm and reassuring though, holding her, brushing the hair from her face, drying her cheek.
“Yeah.” She shoved away the part that wanted to complain about this being wrong. Mel was being nicer to her than anyone had since she came here. “And then he started throwing around orders!”
“Orders? Did he kick you out, is that why you’re out here?”
She didn’t want to look at that question too deeply. She didn’t really want to think about why she was here. “No, no, I sort of stormed off.” She fiddled with her collar, the anger finally pushing aside enough to make room for the guilt.
“Hey, good for you. He’s got no call to be treating you like that, Owner or not.”
“That’s what…” That’s what we keep saying. But it was different, when it hit home, when the shame starting gnawing at her. “That’s nice of you to say. But…” But what? “Maybe I should go talk to him…” Before it got worse.
“Okay. And if you need anything, anything at all, you can ask me. I promise.”
She stared at him as the air popped around them. “Really? Oh, Mel…” She hugged him, not giving herself time to think about it, her face against his neck. “Thank you.”
Copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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