|The Answer to the Crossword
Author: The-Angel-Illusion PM
Zoë Bishop is a normal teenage guy, but his insane mother tries to force Zoë to be "her little princess." Zoë is faced with a problem. How does he retain his masculinity while getting his mother to back down? Co-written by runswithvamp. Inspired by Killer Marmalade's fic, Alice.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,487 - Reviews: 1 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 09-08-12 - Published: 06-30-12 - id: 3037603
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This story is written by both The-Angel-Illusion, me: Nick, and runswithvamp, Danni. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a way to indicate that on FictionPress. Anyway, this story was inspired by Killer Marmalade's fic, Alice, so go check it out. The plot's not very similar, but in both you've got a guy whose mother wants him to be a girl, so he gets a fake boyfriend to appease her.
Also, this story is about someone who was physically born a boy and has a mother who wants him to physically change into a girl. There is no genderqueer in this story although, we do not judge any one who may fall in that category. Enjoy!
A Nine Letter Word
A ten-letter word for "counteract, as a chemical"? Easy, "neutralize." Zoë Bishop filled in each little square with a neat letter. The next one stumped him for a second, a nine-letter word for "too enthusiastic" that ended in 'r.' Animated? No. Zealous? No. Fanatical? Nope. Overly spirited? Still no. Overeager. Zoë scratched the word in with a dull pencil. The pencil marked word after word until the crossword was completed. Then it was ripped out of the magazine, balled up, and thrown at the trashcan, missing it by inches.
He eyed his clock, which read 2:21 AM. Maybe after the next crossword he would be tired enough to fall asleep. He sharpened his pencil with a handheld metal pencil sharpener before he began again to fill in the little boxes with letters upon letters. He needed sleep. All he wanted to do was sleep.
Zoë had school the next day, and he had to wake up at six thirty. At this point he'd count himself lucky if he got three hours. Weekends were better, as he could stay in bed as long as he needed to. Getting to sleep was an issue for Zoë, and staying asleep was just as difficult. He had tried sleeping pills before, but they always left him groggy and fog-headed the next day. So he relied on his crossword puzzles, hoping that the tiring of his mind would convince his body to take much needed sleep. Night after night, he would go through dozens of crosswords, until the trashcan near the door was overflowing with them.
Zoë laid his pencil down, and inspected his half completed crossword. The boxes were beginning to break into two, as his tired eyes could not keep them in focus anymore. Finally. He threw the crossword puzzle and his pencil down on the floor. Tonight he would sleep, a restless sleep, but sleep all the same. He turned off his light and dreamed.
Zoë was yanked from his fitful sleep by an obnoxious ringing. He groaned, stretched, and stumbled to his closet like a zombie. Halfway there, he ran his toe into something hard. Zoë immediately hissed and glanced down to find the perpetrator. A brand new jewelry box still in it's plastic seemed to look back innocently at him.
"Damn you, makeup box," he croaked. Zoë cleared his throat and mentally corrected himself. It's a jewelry box, idiot. After kicking the box away, he opened his closet and pushed aside the dry cleaning bags and bright blouses to find a suitable plain shirt. Zoë settled for red, figuring he would appease his mother today.
The thought of his mother made him cringe. She bought most of the clothes he had, including every single dress that hung underneath the untouched garment bags in his closet. In fact, his mother controlled quite a bit of Zoë's life. She was the one who bought him the evil jewelry box and his pink bed sheets to match his red walls. Zoë figured red was a gender-neutral color. Although he had only been able to convince his mother to let him paint it from lavender when he was thirteen, because he claimed it was the color of lipstick. Zoë's mother was just so glad 'her little girl was becoming a woman' that she even volunteered to help.
Finally dressed in a red V-neck and cargo shorts, Zoë slowly walked down the stairs, still drowsy and unprepared for the storm he called his mother. When he entered the kitchen, she had already made toast for him and was in the process of packing his lunch.
"Zoë," She turned around, "Good morning, is turkey, okay? We ran out of salami."
Zoë shrugged, "Sure, Mom." He nibbled on his toast.
"Zoë, couldn't you wear something more..." She stopped, struggling for words. "Fashionable? Oh Zoë, where did you get those hideous shorts anyway? Really, Zoë."
Zoë's mother seemed to say his name often when she felt he wasn't ladylike enough for her.
"Lots of people wear them, Mom. Really." He hated the lies he told her. He had no qualms with lying, only these lies made him feel like he was a different person for his mother, like she couldn't accept the real him. It was sickening.
She looked like she didn't believe him but dropped it. "So, Zoë, I scheduled an appointment for you for today after school"
"What for?" He put his plate in the sink.
"With the endocrinologist." Zoë froze. He had heard that word before.
"Mom I can't!" Zoë cried, sounding desperate. "Er, I ah, I'm busy after school."
"Oh? With what?"
"Tutoring?" She furrowed her eyebrows. "Since when did you ever tutor people? They are behind so early in the year?"
"I tutor Lloyd in chemistry a lot. Plus, I thought it would look good on my résumé, and you know tutoring is also to prevent you from getting behind, too." Zoë answered quickly.
"Well I guess I'll reschedule it." She frowned and walked away.
Zoë sighed, relieved. The last time he went to the endocrinologist was a disaster. Everyone claimed to understand how he was feeling and was there to help. What a joke. They didn't know how he felt. Had their mothers had a problem with their gender. He didn't think so. He knew he could just tell her he didn't want to change. In fact, she should already have known but he didn't like fighting with his mother and he secretly feared that eventually she would force him to sign away his sex. It all boiled down to the fact that Zoë was a wimp. I really need to do something about my mother. He left that thought for later and got ready to leave for school.
Zoë was not pleased at the amount of traffic he encountered. He did have to admit however, that it distracted him from the argument he had with his mother earlier. He was running out of excuses. Zoë felt a growing sense of desperation. He growled in frustration. If he had to suffer very much more of this situation, he wouldn't make it to college.
Zoë's thoughts and the early morning brought him to sleep in his first period government class. The scratchy voice of his teacher did not deter him from resting his eyes and mentally wander off. What felt like thirty seconds later, Zoë glanced at the clock, saw that it was five minutes till the end of class, and asked Lloyd, his closest friend who sat beside him, to let him borrow his notes.
"Oh hell no," Lloyd hissed, "No way. You slept through the whole lecture, and now you expect me to hand you over nearly an hours worth of work? Yeah, right."
Zoë leaned back on his chair and grinned. "Yeah?" He waited until Lloyd nodded. "What's so special about today? I always get your notes."
Lloyd turned purple, but Zoë knew he wasn't truly angry. "Fine! Fine, it's all stinking yours!"
The notebook was harshly thrown across to Zoë's desk, and the awake half of the class turned to look at Lloyd from his outburst, though no one seemed surprised. Zoë thanked him, and Lloyd replied by mumbling under his breath.
Lloyd ran off to catch his next class while Zoë strolled down the hallways towards the library for his study hall. Finding a comfortable corner to work in, Zoë copied down Lloyd's notes. Grimacing, he noticed that he had been assigned an essay due for the following Monday. Zoë knew the last thing he wanted to do on a Saturday night was an essay so he got to work and managed to finish it in the hour. Satisfied, he went to his next two classes.
After two long classes that did not include Lloyd to keep Zoë entertained, Zoë was happy to go to lunch. He ordered the school provided pasta, which to Zoë seemed mildly edible and shooed away the senseless freshmen who sat at lunch table in the corner where Zoë and Lloyd normally sat. Lloyd arrived a few minutes later with his sack lunch in his right hand and a textbook in his left.
"I got the job at that café."
"Really? Cool. When do you start?"
Lloyd nodded as he opened his textbook.
"Homework?" asked Zoë sympathetically.
"Yes. God, math homework is the devil incarnated." Lloyd groaned, "and tonight I need to start on that stupid essay for history."
"Well, luckily there are a lot of valid arguments, so you can't really go wrong."
"I wouldn't know I haven't looked at the prompt yet. Hopefully it will be quick and painless."
Zoë shrugged his shoulders. "It was."
Lloyd stopped munching on fruit snacks and stared at him. Slowly he began to shake his head.
"No way. There is no way. You already started it? It was assigned to us literally only hours ago."
Zoë shrugged. "I had a free. What else would I do? I even manage to work on today's crossword puzzle."
"You fall asleep in class and you don't bother to pay any attention, but you somehow are claim to be awake enough to work diligently the next class? How do I know you aren't just using me for my notes?"
Zoë rolled his eyes at Lloyd's drama. "Because I spend every waking moment even outside of school with you."
Lloyd paused. "We don't shower together."
Zoë sighed dramatically, "Thank, God." They both fell into laughter.
When sixth period ended, Zoë headed towards the lockers to ditch his backpack. His was at the end of a hall near where he took Gov, locker number 174. The blue paint was peeling and the hinges squeaked when he opened it, but he was grateful; number 173 had 'balls' scratched into the paint by some previous student. He shoved his backpack into the locker, and slammed it shut.
Hands stuffed in his pockets, he made his way impatiently towards the music room, which was in the nondescript building that opened up onto the football field. When he reached it, he leaned against the concrete wall and slid down to sit on the asphalt. Pulling out a crumbled piece of paper, he spread it open on his knee to reveal a crossword puzzle. Six letters for "landed property"? Estate.
He looked up to see bony girl looking at him askance. She made her way to the music room door, and turned the silver knob with two hands. Zoë dropped his eyes to the deserted football field spread out in front of him, avoiding eye contact. He didn't want her to ask why he was sitting on the floor solving crinkled crosswords. Coward, he reproached himself as he heard the door thud closed. The music room was where student council met every Wednesday, so every Wednesday Zoë had to find something to occupy himself as Lloyd worked for the good of the student population. What attracted Lloyd to the activity, Zoë had no idea. Looks good on the resume, I guess. Mrs. Bishop had constantly tried to get her son to join school clubs, saying it would be a way to "meet girlfriends." Not girlfriends in the romantic term, a guy and a girl who liked each other, but girlfriends like girls who were friends, two girls who were friends. But Zoë wasn't female, no matter how much his mother wished he was, no matter how many sex change pamphlets she left on his bed, no matter how many frilly pink dresses she bought him; Zoë was a guy, and he was going to stay that way.
He was brooding on this subject when the music room door opened and gangling, disproportioned, acne-ridden teenagers tumbled out. Lloyd got five feet away from the building before he turned around, surprised.
"Oh, hi," he said.
They walked to Lloyd's car without much talk. Lloyd didn't have to ask where Zoë was going, because it was a given. Zoë always went to Lloyd's house after school. It was warmer and friendlier than Zoë's own, a too large house for his parents and him. Zoë's three older brothers had gone off to collage, and only Mark had moved back into the neighborhood, but not back to the house. Zoë loved Lloyd's parents. His mother loved to cook. Whether it was pumpkin bread, lasagna, or potato soup, Lloyd's home always had good food to eat. His father worked from home much of the time as a journalist. He and Lloyd would often take day trips during the weekends to go see baseball games or visit art museums. Whenever Zoë would come over he would exclaim, "How are you, my second son? High school treating you well?" in that deep, jovial voice of his.
Lloyd's father wasn't home when Zoë and Lloyd arrived, but his mother was. She had just baked a plate of chocolate chip cookies, which she let the boys bring up to Lloyd's room.
"So which part were you having trouble with?" Zoë asked as Lloyd pulled his chemistry textbook from his backpack.
Zoë tutored his friend for a while, going over his last test and the problems that he missed. This studiousness didn't last long however.
"What the hell?" Lloyd shouted at the television as the figure on the screen went down in a burst of blood. The cord of Lloyd's controller had gotten wrapped around his foot, and Zoë had used the distraction to sneak up on his friend and attack while his attention was diverted. "Cheater!"
Zoë just smiled as Lloyd's character was revived. Zoë's character ran across a metal bridge to the far side where he had seen the best weapon of the game, a rifle that could shoot the farthest distances. He jumped onto the roof of a building and hid, waiting for Lloyd's character to come into view. It did, running across the yard to a decrepit, rusty warehouse. Zoë aimed at Lloyd's head and killed him in one shot. "Game over," Lloyd's screen said. "You're dead."
"You're dead," Lloyd said to Zoë, and tackled him.
Zoë scrambled away and laughed. He grabbed a cookie from the plate on Lloyd's bed and munched as Lloyd glowered at him.
"Rematch," Lloyd demanded.
"Play by yourself. Maybe you'll get good enough to actually beat me. I'm going to take a nap," he collapsed on Lloyd's bed, making sure not to squash the cookies.
"You're boring," Lloyd moaned. "Come on. I know I'll beat you this time."
"Yeah, and you knew you'd beat me last time too."
Zoë did shut up. He closed his eyes and considered actually falling asleep. Right here. Right now. I could just not go home, stay at Lloyd's house where they know I'm a guy. It was no use though. His mother would know immediately where he was and would come stomping up to collect him. He sighed.
"Tired?" Lloyd asked concerned.
"My mom set up an appointment with a endocrinologist today."
"What? Wait, why aren't you there now?"
"I wormed my way out of it."
Zoë paused for a moment before continuing, "She's been acting weirder, more obsessed with this thing of hers. Last week she pulled a tantrum because I wouldn't wear the blouse she bought me. She wouldn't let me leave until I changed into it. I had to pack my T-shirt in my backpack and pull over halfway to school to change back."
"Isn't she always like this though?"
"She didn't use to be quite so bad. Wearing the clothes she buys me every once in a while doesn't satisfy her anymore. Lloyd, I think she's trying to force me to go through the surgery while I'm still a minor, and she's running out of time. I turn eighteen in February."
"Oh," Lloyd said, obviously at a loss for what to say.
"I have to do something. Something that will make her back off, just for a bit, until I turn eighteen. Then she'll have no jurisdiction over me."
"You could do something that satisfies her want for you to be her little girl. Nothing serious obviously."
"Get a boyfriend."
"What?" Zoë screeched.
"Think about it. She'll be able to act all protective of you. You know, things like 'what intentions do you have to my daughter?' and 'make sure you bring her back before ten o'clock.'"
"But I'm not gay!"
"I know. You don't have to have a real boyfriend, just someone who would play the part."
"And who would play the part? What, am I going to put an ad in the newspaper? There was no way I could get a sane person volunteer for the job."
"I could do it," Lloyd said in a small voice.
Zoë shook his head. "It wouldn't work. Plus, wouldn't this be a con to let my mother think I'm a girl? I would need someone very manly to convince her."
"Are you saying I'm not masculine?" Lloyd asked, outraged.
Zoë smirked at him.
A/N: Hey, (I'm kind of proud of that ending, by the way) okay, so the title of the chapter is 'A Nine Letter Word.' If you can guess correctly what this nine letter word is (hint: it pertains to the chapter, no shit), we will send you a preview of the next chapter. It's not much of a cliffhanger, but I know you love Zoë. I know you want to. We'll have an opportunity to get a preview every chapter, so be excited.
Hey! I will post a story of the chapter. So of course this week is our inspiration, Alice:
Alice » by Killer Marmalade reviews
Alice is the youngest of 6 brothers but his parents are convinced he's the girl they always wanted. To escape the femme clothes and sex-change leaflets, Allie decides it's time to get a fake boyfriend. Only his feelings are becoming more real... SLASH m/m
Fiction: Romance - Fiction Rated: M - English - Romance/Angst - Chapters: 5 - Words: 9,517 - Reviews: 30 - Updated: 12-30-11 - Published: 6-9-11