four - drunk

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After ten minutes sitting by myself on the couch and drinking a 7-up, Charlie decides to come back over to sit next to me again. I saw her do all of it—get up, stretch, check her hair, and then walk across the room to me.

"You look lonely and I'm not a heartless bitch so I came to give you company," Charlie almost recites to me once she's sitting down.

I take a sip of my soda and wait until the liquid is all the way down my throat to start speaking, but I mostly wait to kill time.

"Thanks. I don't know anyone here, I've already graduated, but most of you seem cool," I tell Charlie while keeping my eyes fixed forward.

In the time I've been on the couch, I've found Nigel dancing and drinking straight from a bottle while some other girl cheered him on. I saw another couple make out and I even watched the guy spring an awkward boner from it, which he tried to cover while still making out with the girl. I haven't found the girl from the pet store yet. What was her name? Jackie.

I took another sip of soda and looked over at Charlie. Her hair was sticking up in pieces and her makeup was beginning to spread under her eyes and around her nose, revealing a few small freckles and a lighter skin tone than anticipated.

"I hope you know this isn't who I am," Charlie suddenly tells me over the music which seems like it's at a much more reasonable level now, but the truth is that I'm just used to it and I'll probably be deaf by 40.

I listen to Charlie and finally feel a tiny jolt of closure inside of me. Charlie is going to tell me she's a man, or maybe she's transgender, or maybe...

"I'm usually not rude to people like I was to you... I know what's it's like, so when I saw you sitting here alone, I felt like I had to come over here to apologize."

I just purse my lips together and nod slowly, keeping my legs crossed at the ankles and my back pressed into the sofa. Relaxed.

"Well, thanks I guess. Is that all you have to say?" My brain decides to ask Charlie this, and I feel stupid for saying it, but sometimes you don't even know what you're saying until you say it.

"Yeah... for now," Charlie says with a small smile, leaning in closer to my shoulders. I feel her hands glide up my arm and I curiously watch them to see if they look like a man's hand, but they don't. The more I'm talking to Charlie the more I'm convinced that she's a man, although I can't exactly place it.

"Listen, Charlie, you're nice and everything but if you're trying to get laid tonight it's not gonna happen," I suddenly blurt out when I notice her hands inching closer to my thighs.

Her fingertips glide over my skin until they're off of it completely. I study her facial features again and see a look of despair in her eyes.

"Yeah I will," she tells me with confidence, "just maybe not with you."

I shrug and remember that my goal was to kiss Charlie, but the more we're talking the more it doesn't feel right and the more it doesn't feel right the more I see the two boys from earlier dancing and kissing.

"Okay. But if you change your mind, I got a condom in my pocket," Charlie tells me.

"You don't think I came prepared?" I teasingly ask Charlie, watching her features rise up in a surprised look.

"No, no, I totally think you did come prepared, but I was talking about a condom for me... unless you wanna use it but I've never done it that way before..."

I feel my chest and stomach heat up as I hear Charlie explain the condom was for her. For him. I knew it this whole time, now I just gotta be gentle while I ask questions.

"So you're not a girl?"

Great, that wasn't so gentle.

"No, um, I like to dress up in drag and wear makeup sometimes," Charlie tells me quietly.

"So what made you come over to me?" I ask again, studying my 7-up bottle to avoid eye contact.

"I don't know. I obviously don't know you so I felt safer approaching you as a girl rather than a guy... because I didn't want you to get scared off if I tried to hit on you."

"So you were just gonna tell me before we undressed eachother to fuck?" I bluntly ask Charlie, who seems much more timid now.

"I guess," he quietly tells me with a shrug.

"Great tactic. I'd improve that if I were you," I say before taking a sip of my soda.

"You seem mad," Charlie points out as I take a sip of my soda.

"Nah, this is just me all the time. I'm used to babysitting my friend Nigel all the time, which can get a little agitating," I say while pointing my finger and soda can to Nigel who is badly-dancing around the living room with a few girls.

"Oh. Okay," Charlie says and then we sit there in silence for a few moments.

"You know, you shouldn't be afraid to be yourself. I would've been just fine with you being a guy and doing what you were doing. Gotta have some confidence in yourself, alright?" I tell Charlie who is still sitting next to me in silence.

"But not everyone is as nice as you. I've heard this countless times from my mom, my friends, my family. I'm just taking baby steps to be confident," Charlie tells me while finally lightening up.

"Doesn't matter. At this particular place and time, I would've been fine with it. How old are you, though, first?"

I run my fingers through my hair and almost feel bad for Charlie now.

"I'm eighteen," Charlie tells me.

"Good," I mumble to myself, leaning in to press a kiss against Charlie's lips. It was soft and it was quick, but at least I can say I kissed Charlie.

He doesn't even look that confused, either, which is a bonus.

I grab Nigel and we escape without anyone noticing, except for Charlie, who is probably so shocked he couldn't help but stalk me as I left.

Nigel isn't too drunk but I still gotta hold his hand on the walk home.

"I love you," Nigel tells me as his eyes look sleepy and glazed.

Alright, I take that back.

Nigel is too drunk.

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