Chapter Seven
-Rules Make The World Go 'Round-

Mark had asked me to stay behind after class and as I approached his desk I noticed Taylor walking with me.
“You don’t have to wait for me,” I told him, frowning.
“I’m not,” He laughed. “I was asked to stay behind too,” He told me and I changed my frown from Taylor to Mark.
“What’s up?” I asked, confused as Mark asked us to have a seat in the seats closest to the teachers desk.
“I’ve been thinking about your assignment,” He said, looking at me. “I think having a mentor would help you to fully appreciate the experiment,” he finished and Taylor was looking between us confused.
“You want to tell him?” I asked, unsure about it and Mark nodded.
“Taylor, as you know, the assignment for this semester is to live in other shoes and that is exactly what Lucy has done here... Or should I say Lockie?” Mark looked at me and winked. Taylor looked between Mark and I again, looking like his brain was trying to process what he was being told.
“Lucy?” He asked slowly, looking me over more closely than he had done before
“After our discussion I thought that I would turn the tables on myself and see just how bad being a boy is,” I shrugged, all pretence gone and his eyes nearly burst out of his head.
“Lucy Walters?!” He demanded and I nodded, laughing.
“No way. You’re a guy...” He was still frowning at me.
“I would show you my boobs but you’re a jerk and don’t deserve it,” I told him and realisation dawned on his face.
“You look scarily like a dude, dude,” He told me and I laughed again and shrugged trying to will myself not to blush.
“What I would like to ask of you Taylor is to take ‘Lockie’ here under your wing and treat him like ‘one of the boys’,” Mark interrupted us.
“How?” Taylor asked, looking apprehensive.
“Just the little things that you do with your friends. Going out or going to the gym or whatever it is that you spend your day doing,” Mark replied.
“Wait!” Taylor spun back to me. “You have a girlfriend!?” He asked and stated at the same time.
“She’s my roommate and loves to act,” I laughed, shrugging.
“So she knows?” He asked and I nodded. “What about Jake?” He asked and I shook my head.
“He doesn’t know a thing,” I told him, shaking my head.
“It’s so she can have a more realistic experience,” Mark explained, cutting in.
“This is crazy!” Taylor exclaimed. “I would have never have guessed you were a chick. But now, your face is too pretty and unhairy and the baggy clothes make sense and I thought you had some weird voice accident when you were younger and now your voice can’t break or something. But you’re actually a chick! Why did I never see it?” He asked himself, eyeing me off again.
“Weren’t looking for it?” I asked and he scrutinised me for a moment longer before mumbling;
“Rule number four...” I scrutinised his face back, not knowing what that meant at all.
“Will you do it, Taylor?” Mark asked.
“Yeah, I guess I’m up for some fun,” He nodded, “How long?” He asked.
“About a week and a half longer. It finishes at the end of next week,” I told him and he nodded.
“You’re in for a fulfilling, educational experience,” He informed me, the grin on his face making me feel unsettled.
“...Where do we begin...?” I didn’t want to ask the question but felt I had too.
“The rules,” He replied simply and stood up. “Catch you next class, Mark.”
“Don’t kill her, Taylor. It’s meant to be a pleasant experience, not a traumatising one,” He replied before waving us off. I quickly waved at Mark and caught up to Taylor who was already at the door.
“What are the rules?” I asked, walking through the open door Taylor held and stepped outside into the sun.
“The rules my dear lady man friend are essential to live a fulfilling life as a man,” Taylor told me with an air of maturity and knowing and I couldn’t help the sceptical look I knew I was giving him.
“Elaborate?” I asked and he gave me a side glance.
“It’s breaking the unwritten rules of the rules,” He told me as he came to a stop to look at me.
“Honestly?” I asked, rolling my eyes. “They sound stupid...” I muttered looking around the middle of the grassy quad we were standing in.
“They are not!” He quickly fought back.
“Then tell me about them.” I crossed my arms and glared at him.
“Fine,” He replied with the same attitude I was giving him. “Rule number four: Life is an illusion, you see what you want to see,” He told me and I stared at him stunned.
“What about rule one through three?” I asked and he rolled his eyes.
“They don’t apply to the current moment so they don’t matter,” He told me, like it was the most simplest solution on earth.
“How many rules are there?” I asked and he shrugged.
“Fifty,” He told me.
“...And where did you learn these rules?” I asked, still a little sceptical.
“They’re a family thing,” He shrugged. “My cousin taught them to me when I was about fourteen.”
“Where did he learn them from?” I asked and Taylor shrugged.
“Never spoke about it, honestly,” He told me as we began to walk again.
“Are they, like, written down somewhere?” I enquired and he shrugged again.
“I had them written down for a while but I think I lost them."
“Who started it?” I asked and Taylor rolled his eyes.
“Rule thirteen, dude. It’s okay to die not knowing how electric eels mate without stunning each other,” He told me.
“What the hell does that mean?” I asked, unsure of what to make of this rule.
“Stop asking questions! You don’t need to know the ins and outs of everything,” He told me, shaking his head. I felt eerily stupid as he made so much sense in what he was saying.
“One more question...” I stated quietly.
“Shoot,” He encouraged me.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“Jake messaged me at the end of class. He’s at the basketball courts with some other guys and told me to come and bring you along too,” he told me.
“Ah,” I nodded my head once.

As we approached the guys at the court, Taylor gave me a once over.
“Don’t worry about it,” I laughed, reading his mind. “You didn’t think twice about me not being a guy when you didn’t know. They won’t either,” I assured him, with a smile.
“Yeah, I suppose,” He frowned at me. The oddness of the situation then struck me. Last week I was bickering with Taylor and now we are getting along like old friends. It intrigued me that it had taken a mutual friend and assignment to bring us together. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I thought. Everything we had done had been enjoyable and normal but a week ago he was defensive and tense around me, making me think he was a class A, Asshole. But as a guy, he was relaxed, even now that he’s found out what I really am, he hasn’t changed. Finding out something like this, you would expect people to flip out, but Taylor seemed like he loved the idea of mentoring me.

He and Kathy should get together and go bowling sometime...

We arrived at the court and I was surrounded by guys. Sweaty, hot, shirtless guys that enjoyed working out and keeping themselves fit.
“Oh god,” I gasped and Taylor looked at me with a wry grin.
“Rule thirty five, Walters,” He murmured, waving in greeting as we approached. “Even if you don’t really care about sports, care about sports. That includes playing it, not just watching it on TV and knowing the scores,” He elaborated.
“I’m more concerned that we’re playing shirts and skins and I can’t take this hoodie off,” I elaborated to him and he rolled his eyes.
“I’m skins, Walters is shirts,” He called out before he broke out into a jog towards the group. Jake threw him the ball and Taylor swiftly threw the basketball towards the ring and gracefully made a three pointer, before ripping off his shirt and throwing it to the side as the other guys rearranged themselves to start the play again. I took a deep breathe as I stepped onto the court.
“You’re on J,” Some guy advised me and Jake gave me competitive grin that had me a little scared. We may be around the same height, but he could crush me like an ant without trying.
“Roomie against roomie, aye?” He joked and I smiled as much as I could.
“Whoever loses is doing the bathroom cleaning this week,” I challenged him and the competitive grin turned wicked.
“You’re on, Walters,” He told me.

Oh god, save me.

Luckily for me I had basic knowledge of the game and knew my strengths. I had played for two seasons at the start of high school so I wasn’t a complete reject at the game. But, getting so up close and personal with my roommate who was distractingly good looking and gleaming with a shine of perspiration was stoping me from wanting to get to close to him in fear that I may want to forget the basketball and just touch him.

Pretty sure, he wasn’t gay.
Which was good for me being Lucy, but not when I was being Lockie.

I had an advantage though. I may not have had the brute strength the rest did, but I was faster seeing as I was smaller. I was able to duck and weave around the court and managed to get the ball through the hoop twice.
“Where did you find this guy?” A boy nicknamed ‘Robbo’ laughed as the play wound up.
“J’s roommate,” Taylor told him before shooting me a knowing look. “We also share some classes.”
“Remind me to pick him for my team next time,” He replied and I felt a feeling of accomplishment. I could hold my own on the court with the guys and I hadn’t passed out from heat exhaustion from being unable to take this damn jumper off. I was sticky as hell and couldn’t wait to go jump in the shower.
“You coming for drinks at the pub, Walters?” Another guy named ‘Smithy’ asked and I shook my head.
“Missus is expecting me,” I told him and a chorus of ‘oooh’ went around the group, followed by numerous whip cracking sounds. Kathy wasn’t expecting me at all, but in my actual room I could tear this god damn wig off and scratch the hell out of my head like I was a kid with lice. Rhonda was right about the inconvenience of the wig. It was a pain in the ass.

I had done my Lockie duties for the day, I was hanging up my alter ego up.