Chapter 6: Time To Lady Up:

In spite of the fact that my life away from home was still marred by the incessant belching and whistling in regards to my updated anatomy, the rest of the school week somehow still felt as if it went by pretty damn rapidly. Before I knew it, it was Saturday - a day for sleeping in until 9:00am, catching up on my favorite anime and online podcasts, drinking caffeine at home with no fear of repercussions, putting off my minimal load of homework until Sunday... yeah, I think you get the point by now!

However, this Saturday was different. Even though it was only the first weekend of the school year, there were back-to-back sporting events scheduled for that day, and I had no intention to skip out on them. Sound odd? Sure, but I guess their excuse was the fact that the sports teams continued practice even during the summer months. That morning, I roused myself from my deep slumber at a more desirable hour, this time lying on my side so I could still be warmly greeted by the sunrise despite the arrival of my boobs. The aroma of a freshly-prepared Spanish tortilla immediately permeated my nose after I sat up, waking me up almost instantaneously. With an epic stretch, I climbed out of bed, a quick breeze down south telling me that my pajama shorts were also becoming unfit for my body.

Guess that'll be yet ANOTHER piece of clothing I'll have to retire!

Following a hearty and slightly spicy breakfast accompanied two mugs of imported Chilean coffee, I hurried back upstairs to my room to get dressed, for there were only a few hours left before I had to make my way to the campus. I found my brand spanking new cheerleader uniform hanging in my closet after it had been delivered from the school to my residence on the second day of the year. I always enjoyed the way the two piece outfit looked. Like the gym uniforms, it boasted a color-scheme of red, orange, and yellow, with the school's logo on the front. And today marked the first time I ever got to try it on, so I was beyond excited.

Before I could try on anything, however, I made my way to the dresser and opened the drawer in the center of the top row, where I then remembered my underwear situation. Just two days ago, I had begged my mother to get my panties dry-cleaned so I could rid them of the period stains. And after she finally obliged, all I had left were the few rarely-worn pairs at the bottom of the drawer which were less likely to fit me properly. One of Mom's G-strings had somehow wound up in that drawer too; it'd definitely been misplaced the last time someone did the laundry. With no other choice, I donned the latter and finally got started on the task at hand.

I tried on both pieces of the uniform, but I took the skirt off just seconds after checking to see if it fit right, which it thankfully did. In spite of the lax dress code, the school had forbidden the cheerleaders from wearing their skirts on the premises outside of sporting events, for they had been deemed too short. I put on a pair of middle-of-the-road sweat pants instead and ogled myself in the mirror. At first I did a double-take at the sight of myself sporting pigtails, as I hadn't done my hair up like that since I was four. Once I got over that, though, I appreciated how the top half of the cheer outfit made me stick out in a good way, contrasting greatly against my almost perfectly white skin. And for bonus points, when it was coupled with my hair, it gave the visual illusion that I was on fire.

The top fit snugly yet comfortably around my torso, and the sleeves had the perfect amount of wiggle-room. However, the garment was a little on the short side, and it definitely wasn't just my bust getting in the way. I took a few minutes to ponder as to why, before I suddenly remembered trying on the skirt. This top was clearly meant to be worn along with something high-waisted, which was the case with the skirt, but not my sweats. Thus, I was left with a top that just could not be pulled all the way down. I did enjoy wearing crop tops back in the day, and I still do as an adult, but like most chicks, sometimes I just wasn't in the mood to wear one, and that moment happened to be one of those times.

The hours between that moment and the point in time where Dad dropped me off at school were spent constantly swapping between the TV and my personal MacBook Air. I don't recall what exactly I was doing on either device, but before I knew it, I was meeting up with my friends in the hallway as we made our way towards the indoor lap-pool. I was the last one to reconvene with the group, and all three of them looked at me as I approached. I felt a slight blush tint my cheeks, as I could feel my top slowly creeping up as I moved.

"Girl, pull your goddamn shirt down! Ain't nobody wanna see that!" Chanel jeered at me.

I simply responded with a middle-finger. Chanel just chuckled as the four of us made our way into the third row of bleachers next to the pool.

I was the only member of my squad who had signed up to be a cheerleader. Louise preferred the more academic variety of extracurricular activities, Zooey (despite her general willingness to try anything, and despite being the main athlete of the group) refused to try cheerleading because she deemed it not to be a true sport, and Chanel was simply "too cool" to sign up. Zooey was the only one of us who was on the co-ed swimming and diving team (alongside several other sports that the school had to offer), but the rest of us showed up anyway for the sake of supporting her. I was the last of the remaining three to sit down in my row, and I immediately felt my shirt ride up unusually high in the back. I rolled my eyes, silently thanking the lord that the only people behind me were really tall and seemed to be more interested in the competition.

During the entire swim-meet, I was mostly disinterested, only looking up and cheering whenever Zooey was swimming laps or leaping off the high-dive. During one of many moments in which I zoned out, I took notice of yet another embarrassing oddity with my body: I had a wicked nipple-boner! I first discovered it when I absentmindedly moved my fingers up to scratch the area between my neck and chest, and looking down, I was shocked to find that it left some prominent lumps through my skintight cheerleading top. In Health class, I had already learned about nipple erections, and how they often showed up whenever the body detected a low temperature in its surroundings. Thinking about it then, I figured that I'd most likely gotten several of these over the years, but only now was I noticing it for real. The question was, why exactly was I getting one now? The indoor pool deck wasn't all that cold - in fact, it was resting roughly at room temperature. It seemed that we'd learned about a second reason behind nipple hard-ons, but when trying to remember what it was, my mind went blank.

It was then that the male swimmers took up their spots on the edge of the pool. In spite of the fact that most of them were ignorant, perverted idiots, I still couldn't help but admire their appearances and their immense dedication to taking care of their bodies. I began to absentmindedly admire their contoured abs that could double as cheese-graters; their bulging pecs that contracted with their every breath; their chiseled limbs that accompanied the rest of their bodies as they were "polished" by the pool water; their tight spandex speedos that bore our school's logo directly on top of their junk, simultaneously accentuating their toned asses and just how hung they truly were. I felt my nipples twitch a little as I watched what was going on, immediately remembering that fact from class.

Ugh! No, Tequila! That's not helping! Stop thinking about hot guy parts!

I could feel the bleachers trembling to my right. I looked in that direction to see Louise and Chanel bouncing in place on their asses, lightly chuckling to myself at the massive, dorky grins on their faces. Chanel in particular was letting out a laugh in mid-squeal, both of her palms pressed firmly against her lower face.

"My God, he is so fine!" She squealed after doing this.

"If you were to pay me a decent sum of money, I'd dump my entire thong drawer on him!" Louise squealed in reply.

"Forget it, girl! He's mine!" Chanel squealed back.

I wanted to join in on the hype, but due to the risk of someone noticing my raging nipple erection, I quietly declined, trying to let my mind wander to a different region. The rest of the tournament was a blur, though I did remember the Saguaro Jackrabbits beating the East Side Bobcats in a landslide. Only thirty minutes remained until the basketball game began, and it seemed as though almost everybody who attended the swim-meet was planning to go there too. I briefly strode away from my friends and entered the ladies' room, stepping into my favorite stall once more to put on my skirt. However, even with both parts of the outfit on, I still felt exposed. To be 100% clear here, I wasn't ashamed of my body or anything. I wasn't scared of being teased, but I was scared of being objectified, which was very likely to happen now that my legs were on full display.

The game itself was quite interesting to watch, with the Bobcats once again putting on an impressive performance, though they still ultimately lost to us. Us cheerleaders didn't really do much aside from spouting a generic cheer whenever the Jackrabbits scored a point, as well as the big cheer-off at halftime. It was during this event when yet another moment of embarrassment struck. Though my nipple-boner had thankfully died down by this time, the vigorous jumping and kicking around did cause the waistline of my skirt to drop slightly, revealing the top part of the goldenrod G-string I was "borrowing" from my mother.

Since I was among the lightest on the squad, I didn't have time to readjust my clothing as I was lifted almost to the very top of the pyramid. Some of the applause from the student-body turned into a contagious fit of hysterical laughter, peppered with the occasional cheer from a male spectator (one of which I recognized as the voice of that perv, GG). My face blushed almost as red as my hair, and during the few minutes in which I was raised twenty feet off the ground for all to see, my expression went blank and frozen. I felt like crying, but I surprisingly didn't, instead remaining silent for the rest of the event and merely going through the motions. I inwardly thanked God that my parents' car was already waiting outside by the time we were let out, so I could escape the laughter and mockery from every visible student around me as soon as possible.

I didn't say much during the ride home, though I did manage to recompose myself by staring at the moonlit desert... which I would argue is almost as beautiful as the sunrise. Later that night, I had on a more family-friendly set of pajamas, and I was wrapped up in a blanket as I flitted about the house. Now feeling considerably better after the whirlwind of emotions that had blown me off course during the sports-filled day, I busied myself preparing a mug of imported Mexican hot chocolate. I added cream, sugar, honey, and (since I'm a Latina) a few flakes of red pepper to it in order to offset the bitterness a little, stirring the mixture around as I made my way to the living room. The good thing about living in the desert is the fact that the nights are always cold, making hot chocolate a viable drink no matter the time of year. I sat down on the couch between Felipe and my father as we watched the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, in which Mom was scheduled to be walking the runway. Dad, Grandma, and I were invested in the show while Felipe showed his disinterest - completely lost in his PlayStation Vita with a pair of Beats plugged into the headphone jack.

"Hijo, put that thing away! Your mamá is about to come on stage!" Dad ordered, prompting my brother to wordlessly oblige.

After a few more minutes, Mom finally appeared on stage, strutting her stuff in a lace thong that almost matched her skin tone, and a Prosecco-colored lace bra, alongside a set of VS Angel wings as she winked, made funny faces, and blew kisses at the crowd. Even though I wouldn't be able to say with a straight face that I approved of Mom's career and lifestyle, I still couldn't help but feel jealous whenever I saw her on the runway; how she was able to interact with people like Adriana Lima, Kendall Jenner, and the Hadid sisters, and walk along the stage as some of the hottest (and cutest) musicians performed. As I watched Mom turn around (eliciting some cheers from the male members of the audience) and make her way backstage, it then dawned on me:

Maybe SHE could help me deal with my issues of standing out in school? And maybe give me some pointers on how to ignore the objectification and body-shaming? Or how to cope with my suddenly and rapidly changing body? Hell, she doesn't even need to TELL me anything! I could just do what SHE does and not care at all! Maybe I'm too self-conscious!

"Hoo boy! I'll bet any of the men watching this are hung like a baguette!" Grandma blurted out, snapping me out of my trance, "Ah, I remember that's the reaction your late grandfather had whenever I came home from work, Tequila!"

"Yolanda, I swear, if you start... !" Dad began, only for her to ignore him.

"Hah! I'm not even kidding when I say he was that big! He could literally get inside you from one side and poke out the other! It was like a human shish-kebab!" Grandma continued, "And whenever he banged me, he didn't just put that in, but his balls as well! Those things were the size of potatoes, I tell you!"

In spite of my best efforts to swallow, I couldn't help but do a massive spit-take with my hot chocolate, leaving some discolored stains on my pajama pants that could've been taken out of context if viewed by a fresh pair of eyes.

"GRANDMA!" I yelled in shock.

"Of course we didn't have sex all the time, but whenever that time came around, I would always be sure to buy an extra tub of Crisco!" Grandma kept talking, "In fact, there was this one time where he left hickies all over my face, and I got fired from my job the next day because my boss thought I was wearing blackface!"

"Ohhh... !" I groaned, shaking my head in disgust as Grandma let out a very hearty laugh.

"I believe you've stayed up a bit past your bedtime, eh?" Dad asked, tense and scarred for life at the same time.

"Seriously, what is it with you guys and talking about these things whenever I'm around?!" Felipe asked, only for all of us to ignore him.

"Alright, we saw her walk! Let's watch something else now!" I said nonchalantly, changing the channel and receiving a few groans of approval.

The channel I randomly landed on just to happened to be airing a re-casted version of Book of Mormon, in which Priscilla Vicciotelli had now taken over the role of Nabulungi.

"Oh, hey! I forgot all about this!" I exclaimed.

I watched the rest of the play with nothing more or less than pure excitement and undivided attention. Priscilla Vicciotelli was my most favorite actress by far, and one of the few celebrities I ever followed on social media (on which she mostly posted semi-racy photos of herself in her New York penthouse and her summer home in Kicksburg, Montana, alongside pictures of her hunky husband and her seven adopted children from each continent). Her talent in both acting and singing seemed almost effortless, and she served as a great inspiration for me. No, not in terms of career path (I was looking to become an author at the time), but in terms of just how confident and proactive she was, and it was that very trait that pulled me through some tough times in my life prior to high school, including (yup, you guessed it) my very first menstrual cycle. And it didn't hurt that she was absolutely gorgeous either - possessing the same uncommon eye-color as myself, and being blessed with a figure so divine that I sometimes questioned my own sexuality at the sight of it. Given how mature that particular play was, I just knew that Priscilla couldn't have been all that comfortable being assigned such a crass and foul role, yet she dealt with it and killed the performance as a result.

Seeing both her and my mother absolutely slaying it on live TV finally gave me a well-deserved inward epiphany: I didn't need to get an ulcer over the effects of puberty any longer! All I had to do was take all the horny comments in stride, alongside the bullying, the uncontrollable changes brought on by my unruly hormones, and everything else in between! No longer would I let GG or Linda get to me as much as I had previously! And now I was going to work harder than ever to cope with my maturing mind and body - for I was now a strong, soon-to-be woman, who could not afford to let something as petty as locker room talk bring them down!

~ ~ ~ The End ~ ~ ~