(Alternately titled: too much Lily and Taylor cuteness is never enough.)

I wasn't sure what I was dreading more: my German exam or Mum talking to Taylor.

The toast had definitely gone cold, though I bit into the cardboard tasting bread. It was difficult to swallow, and I tried not to look at Mum. If she suspected anything was up, perhaps she would realise that I'd foiled her plan.

It had sounded innocuous enough, one of those genuinely kind ideas she comes up with, when she can be bothered to be around. Why not be dropped off at school with Taylor? That way you'll both get to the exam nice and early. And if Taylor cycled over  then we could walk back home and study in the afternoon for tomorrow's biology exam. I'd readily agreed, for once appreciating Mum's strict time planning.

Only now, forcing down the toast she had made for me, did her true intentions seem certain. She was all dressed the part. Polished and poised, from the pulled back hair to the glossy nails that rested upon the island worktop. Ready to act like a friendly mum, but underneath the smooth sales patter she'd be firing off questions like a lawyer about to secure the case. Her conclusions had already been made. She'd be comparing Dan to Taylor, or rather, Taylor to Dan.

I glanced across at the clock, watching as the silvery hands inched around. Taylor would be here soon- too soon. I didn't dare think about German as that would only worsen the nausea building in my stomach.  God, Mum would have a fit if I threw up everywhere all over her pristine kitchen. She'd yell at me in that screech, hysterical almost.

Maybe I'd actually shout back, break out of the wall I'd put up of closed doors and revision.  Tell her that I saw through her, that making me some toast and a cup of tea made no difference. There'd been too many late hours and too little of her, yet plenty of dismissive remarks.

It felt like my own words were warped and thrown back at me like daggers. She still hadn't quite accepted I'd ended things with Dan, permanently this time. There's no way she'd believe what Dan and Alexa did to Taylor. My Mum saw the world through those distorted mirrors you get at a funfair. What she thought of me and my actions was based upon how she'd like me to be, not who I actually was.

"Lily," Mum was trying to sound pleasant. But there was an clipped edge to my name, the sort that told you to stop whatever it was that you were doing to upset her.

The half drunk tea was sloshing around the rim of the mug. I'd been tapping my foot, unconsciously. It drove her mad. I placed my foot upon the tiles, willing it to stay there, then glanced at Mum. Her smile gave the look of forced patience with an exasperating client, as if she was trying not to snap.

"Nervous about your exam?" She said, eyeing the uneaten toast. "If the amount of time you've been holed in your room is anything to go by, then you'll do fine."

I nodded. German was the last thing on my mind- what would Mum say to Taylor? Her usual snide comments came to mind, a slip about Dan. But there was something else that worried me. What if she thought Taylor was a girl? I'd tried breaching the territory of LGBT matters, but even the vaguest murmur aroused suspicion and disparaging remarks from Mum. That was the only weight I had left, the one that pressed down upon my chest every time I lay down to sleep at night. Trying to keep Taylor and Mum apart, knowing full well how she'd react, to them, to me.

Skin brushed against my hand, and I felt myself jump at the touch. Mum had placed her hand on mine.

"Oh Lily, there's no need to look so worried. You're a clever girl, and anyway this German exam isn't the end of the world."

MisgenderedRead this story for FREE!