A World Beside Our Own

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Gaming and More

I make a beeline for my haversack and, without thinking of it, head straight to Kevin’s room. I hope Susan doesn’t realize that. I pull my laptop out as he’s launching the game. “Will you ever play your old toons?” He asks me.

“Miss my rogue saving your ass?” I tease him with a wink.

“You…” he waves his finger, and I stick my tongue out at him. And he chuckles cause he knows exactly what I’m doing.

He takes a deep breath. “I miss our time like this…” he whispers.

My ears perk up. “Shh, mom’s coming.” I warn him to keep his past references limited.

She steps into the room a moment later. “Did you two want anything to drink?”

Kev and I look at each other, nod, and then look at her. “Root Beer!” and we grin.

“I’m going to count how many times you two do that!” she says, shaking her head, leaving us giggling.

“Wonder Twin Powers Activate!” we say together when she’s out of earshot, referring to our favourite old-school cartoon.

“Oh, man.” He leans back and sighs. “Can we have more weekends like this? I’ve missed you so much! Only meeting in the game is not the same.”

I make a noise to warm him she’s coming back. “Here you go.” She smiles.

“Thank you!” we draw out the words like we used to and both start laughing.

“If I didn’t know you two any better, I’d say you’ve been friends longer than two years.” She says in a cautionary tone.

We settle back down, and Kev needs to do some guild stuff, he’s the 2nd in command in our guild, and Tarvis isn’t online.

I call Emmya and let her know things are going well. “I’ve not met his Dad yet, he won’t be home till 6, but his mother seems to like me.” I smile.

“Didn’t she like you before?” Emmya probes.

“Well, yes Emmya, but things are different now.” I reply.

“Careful dear, be mindful.” She cautions.

“I will. Call you later tonight.” I smile.

I hang up the phone, and he looks back at me. “What do you call your mother?”

“Emenya.” I reply. “Or sometimes I just call her Emmya for short.” He gives me a confused look, and I sigh. “The first means ‘My Mother’, the second is ‘Mom’, or ‘Mommy’.” I reply.

“In what language?” he narrows his eyes.

“Elven.” I say matter of fact.

“How much of that language do you know?” he says, surprised.

“I can have entire conversations in it, but it’s an old tongue and there’s no modern world equivalents for technology and electronics, it’s easier just keeping one or the other… Just, familial names, and terms of endearment mean more to me now in Elven.”

“I know you said your family are geeks, but that is totally weird…..”

Melinya, horyatye lala selma.” I say to him

“What?” he looks at me puzzled.

“My friend, you have no idea…” I translate for him.

“Wow, your pronunciation of that is so cool!” He says in adoration. “Think you can teach me to talk like that?”

“You want to learn how to speak... Elven?” I say hesitating for a moment, stopping myself from saying ‘my native language.’

“It sounds amazing.” He says.

“While exotic, it’s nowhere near as romantic as learning French.” I say, trying to change the subject.

“Oh shoot, before we get into anything I need to pee!” he suddenly announces. As he gets up, his trouser pocket catches on the corner of his desk and I hear a tearing sound. “Oh, shit!” he curses. “Mom’s going to kill me! These are new pants!”

He takes off his pants, and then blushes. “PL-ease Kev!” I roll my eyes. “I’ve seen you in less clothes than that.”

“Right.” He remembers, he’d forgotten I’m his best friend, not the pretty girl he’s falling for.

He grabs some sweats and then heads to the next door into the bathroom. I put the laptop down and check his pants. They’re torn halfway down to the knee, I don’t want him to get in trouble, seeing as he’s not here to see it...

Marsina” I whisper as I cast the mending spell, tracing my finger along the tear, like nothing ever happened.

By the time he’s back from the bathroom, I’m back on my laptop and catching up with in-game mail.

“Hey!” he blurts.

“Hmm?” I say, not looking up.

“Didn’t I tear my pants?” he asks, picking them up.

I look up and shrug. “They look fine from here. You might want to clean up the mess you left on the desk though, you nearly knocked your glass down when you bumped into it.” I lean over to his tissue box, grab it and toss it his way. I surprise him and he almost doesn’t catch it. He gives me an odd look, then turns around to clean his desk. I smile to myself as I reach in my bag to pull out my headset. I don’t want us echoing.

I spot Jarla online and greet her. “Where are you, Simia?” she enquires

“I’m in Konrad’s bedroom teasing him for making a mess of his desk.” I giggle.

“OMG no way! Can I come over after supper!? Please?” She draws out the last word.

Kevin tosses the damp tissues into his wastebasket and sits down again. “Konrad, honey, Jarla wants to know if we can get together after supper?”

“Are you teasing him on purpose?” Jarla gasps.

“Maybe.” I say in a playful tone.

“Bad Simia!” she pretends to scold me and we’re both giggling as he logs in the channel.

“What do you want to do tonight? It’s too cold to just hang out someplace, and the movies in the theatre suck right now.” He says.

“Tell me about it.” I roll my eyes. “Oberon Rising doesn’t come out till Friday, and I’ll be out-of-town then.”

“Well, we can just enjoy a movie night at home, no? It’s been sooo long since we’ve done that together!”

“Moom!” Kevin calls out to her.

“Ouch! That was loud, I heard it through both mics!” Jarla pouts. Tell me about it! My poor sensitive ears are ringing!

“Sorry.” Kev and I say together for not muting the connection.

“No way! One afternoon together and you’re already echoing each other!?” Jarla gasps.

“Old habits die hard.” I grin.

“Yes, dear?” his mom comes in the room.

“Can Ruby come over after supper? We’re just going to sit in the living room and watch movies.” He asks in that sweet voice when he really wants something.

“If it’s really important for the three of you to be together, ask her if she wants to come over for supper, I can make another plate.” Susan smiles.

“Did you hear that?” he asks her on the mic.

“Give me 10 minutes!” she says excitedly. And logs off real quick.

“I’d say she’s partial to the idea…” I giggle. “She’s grabbing a coat and doing that thing with her sneakers where she doesn’t want to mess with the laces…” I smile fondly at all the times I’ve teased my tomboy friend for being such a guy…

“How long have you know each other?” Susan gives me a strange look.

“Two years.” I say casually. “Kevin keeps teasing her about it when she’s in a rush…” I come back, realizing I’d let slip I know her personally.

She looks at Kevin. “Did you change your pants?”

“I didn’t look honest, he though he’d spilt something on them, but it was just condensation from the glass, it was dry by the time he came back from going pee.” I reply for him.

Careful child, you’re letting slip more than you should. Listen more, talk less…” Lairelindë warns me.

I merely nod, look at my screen as if I’m paying attention to something in the game.

Less than 10 minutes later we hear a knock on the front door, and it open and slam. (well I did anyway) I hear her sneakers being tossed on the boot mat. “Mom, I’m home!” Ruby giggles.

“They’re in Kevin’s room honey, leave the door unlocked, Chris will be home soon.” She answers our friend.

“Okay mom.” I hear her dash down the hall.

I smile and put my laptop aside as she opens the door. “I can’t believe you’re here!” she says excitedly.

She’s so excited that runs into my arms to give me one of her big hugs. In the past that would have knocked me over on the bed and we would giggle, but I’m worried about my laptop, so I take half a step back and wrap my arms around her waist.

“Care….” Kev stops mid-sentence when he realizes I’ve not been knocked over.

Ruby hangs off of my neck and gives me a quizzical look. “Just how strong are you now?” You don’t look that muscular, but I can feel your grip!”

“I tried to ask her that question before lunch…” Kevin says.

“Rose has encouraged me to join her workout and Aikido clubs.” I answer. I lift her a touch, take a long step forward, and flip her backward, depositing her on the bed when I notice my laptop’s not in the way.

Ruby lets out a breath and looks up at me. “Oh wow! Do that again!” she says excitedly.

“I might be stronger, but you’re still heavy.” I tease her.

She slides off the bed and stands in front of me. “Wait? Did you get shorter?”

I put a finger up and point to the door. “I there something you want, Mom?” Kevin asks.

“Oh, no…” his mom says opening the door. “Ruby was really excited about something, just want to make sure everyone’s fine…”

“Well, this is the first time I get to meet Simia in person and I was really excited!” Ruby grins.

“Oh, my.” She says surprised. “Ruby, please calm down, you almost broke a lamp last time.”

“Yes, mom.” She replies, “I’ll be good!”

Susan shakes her head. “You three are going to be trouble tonight, aren’t you?”

“No Mom.” We answer together.

Susan’s jaw drops. “Simia, there is something about you that is so familiar it is bugging me!” she frowns. “You’ve known these two for longer than you let on, haven’t you?”

“I didn’t think my mom would believe you..” Kevin says defeated.

“Kev!” Ruby and I say together.

“I know you, don’t I?” she peers at me.

I take a deep breath, defeated. “Yes mom, you do.” I say apologetically. His mom looks thoughtful for a moment. “Dad’s just pulling in, so I why don’t I tell you all over supper?”

“How did you?” she starts when the door opens.

“Honey, I’m home!” Chris calls out, “I see Ruby’s here, who owns the white sneakers?”

I shrug. “Keen hearing.”

“Thirty minutes, and then I want some answers.” She gives me one of her stink-eye stares and I back away. I flump down on the bed, defeated as she leaves us alone. “Welcome home, honey! I’m making spaghetti tonight.”

“Mom had a batch already made?” I quirk an eyebrow.

“Yeah, all she has to do is slowly thaw it…” Kevin answers.

“What are you going to tell his parents Simia?” Ruby says leaning against me on the bed.

“As much of the truth as I dare and hope they believe me?” I mumble. “Outside of what I know, it’s not like I can bring the old me back, what they did to me over the Holiday is permanent.” I reply. “This is my real voice, the changes to my face, to my body… what you see is what you get, I can’t take any of this off.” Well, I could, but that would just make things worse.

“You mean these are real?” Ruby says, poking at the side of my boob.

“Hey!” I say, crossing my arms over my chest. “Yes, they’re real!”

“And really soft too…” Kevin says dreamily.

“You pervert!” Ruby gasps.

“It’s not what you think. We cuddled on the couch and he used my chest as a pillow.” I reply for him.

“You know.. If you look close enough, she looks like her grandmother.” Ruby says looking at my face.

“I’m really curious how you did it, Simia…” Kevin looks me over. “How did you get a 3 year-transitioned body in only three months?! It’s not medically possible… not without cosmetic surgery, and you told me this afternoon that you’ve had none.”

“I can assure you that no knife has touched this skin.” I say, taking off my running top, leaving me in a tank-top.

“Oh, wow!” Ruby’s eyes grow wide. “Now that’s some nice muscle definition…” she says caressing my arms. “Your skin, it’s so soft!”

“And she smells like lavender, it’s so heavenly.” Kevin says dreamily. “You went from effeminate dork, to model-hot, I’m jealous!” He says.

“You would never believe what I have discovered over the past three months!” I say to my friends. “It’s nothing short of magical, but you would never believe me if I told you.”

I put up my finger as I hear Chris coming down the hall. He opens the door. “Oh, so this is where our mystery guest is hiding.” He says with his warm smile.

“Hi Dad!” Kevin and Ruby say together, leaving me to smile.

“So what is it about you that has my wife so upset? Hmmm?” he says, leaning against the doorjamb.

“Maybe I’m new, but not new at the same time?” I venture. “Originally I was going to stay with the story that I’ve only known my friends online for the past two years…”

“But..” He raises an eyebrow.

“The truth is, we’ve known each other longer. But I moved away to transition and look nothing like the boy you used to know.” I stop hiding who I am.

“Can you be more specific?” he probes.

“Unfortunately, I can’t. Anything else and I’m not allowed.” I say sadly. “I’ve legally changed my name, and to protect myself, I can’t tell you who my birth parents were, they’ve not been in my life for some time now.”

“This is one one of your transgender friends from group Kevin?” he looks at his son.

“Yeah, but it’s been awhile.” My best friend backs me up. “She’s fully transitioned, and has gone stealth, but mom caught on that we’ve known each other for over five years now, and not just the two in the game.”

“How old are you?” he frowns.

“I’m 15, I’m in the same grade as my friends, my transition just makes it look like I’m 2-3 years younger.” I reply.

“And you sound it too, that lovely alto voice going to stay that way?” he probes.

“For a few more years at least, maybe more if I keep up signing.” I reply, “Angel Goodson is my inspiration.” I smile.

“Do you go to their school at least?” he’s trying to sort out who I am.

“Not anymore, I moved to Hillcrest some time ago, and have been going to a private school there.” I reply.

“A private school?” he raises an eyebrow.

“My sponsors adopted me, they’re pretty well off.” I reply.

“That’s as specific as you’ll get, isn’t it?” he frowns.

“Chris, I’m still underage, I had to go to court to legally remove my birth parents’ rights from my life. My adopted family has forbidden me from providing any more information. For my protection.”

“That couldn’t have been easy on you…” he says with a sad smile.

“It was horrible, please, don’t ask me more?” I plead with him. “Know that I’ve been away from my friends for a long time and I really needed to see them this week. But, if you don’t like that I can’t tell you more, then I’ll call my mother, and she’ll come pick me up.”

He looks at my friends and they each have sad, pleading looks. “No, stay, we said you could stay two nights, Hillcrest is a four to five-hour drive. It would be cruel to send you home like this.” He reaches out and ruffles Kevin’s hair. “Let me talk to Susan and calm her down.” He turns to walk out of the bedroom. “It’s Simia, right?”

“Yes’sir.” I reply.

“Welcome home.” He relaxes and his warm smile comes back.

“Thanks Dad.” I say with a tear rolling down my cheek once he’s out of earshot.

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