5. The arrangement

No lights were needed for me to know that Tina's eyes were throwing lightnings my way. Yet, she flipped open the switch and revealed her angry posture. Her eyebrows narrowed, and her lips pressed into a thin line.

I gulped at the thought of what cruel revenge she could muster up for me being here… and she didn't even know that I read her message. 

Hell was coming my way.

"Your phone." I managed to say and pointed to the desk behind me, afraid to turn my back to the mean angry girl.

A look of realization dawned on her face as she followed my pointer to the device, and she let out a sigh.

"I went to look for it. Where was it?" she asked with a calmer tone, but I could tell she was still on edge.

"In the bathroom." I simply answered.

I was no coward, but I didn't want her wrath to spill on me. I didn't want to be complicated… but I made it anyway.

"I know your secret, but don't worry. I am not judging you or anything." I said, looking away for some unknown reason.

"What did you say? What sec--” She cut herself off and her eyes widened. “Did you… Have you been reading my messages?!" she returned to her yelling and walked a few steps to reach her laptop. "How much did you read?" she screamed, while her fingers were digging into her scalp.

I just stood in the same place, watched her with compassion, instead of leaving or being scared. It was not my business to mess with her life and who she liked. I just blurted it out so it was there. We should be closer, as Dad said, right?

"Enough… but the photo, taking the whole display of your computer was enough," I answered calmly and lifted my shoulders.

I wasn't smiling. I was concentrating on keeping a neutral expression. I didn't feel like smiling at all and I didn't want her to think that I was laughing at her or that I thought something was discriminatory. This was serious and very important to her. I would never make someone feel bad about being gay or confessing it. I even had some urge to help her somehow... if she would let me.

"Hell! You of all people... Don't you dare say anything to anyone! Do you hear me?! You had no right coming into my room at all!" She continued screaming, but for some reason, I wanted to give her a hug.

This day was getting stranger by the minute. At the start, the mean boy turned out to be nice. I got my first detention. After that, I found some comfort when I saw Steven in the hall. Then it looked like I hand painted people's hearts. I was chased in the parking lot by a celebrity. I cut off one of my favorite T-shirts and now discovered that I wanted to give a hug to an evil gay twin step-sister. 

Yeah, crazy-crazy!

"I am not outing you. Why would I do that to you?" I asked innocently, confusion evident in my words.

She plopped down on the chair near the desk, and as soon as she saw her mobile, she snapped her head my way with a worried look. I guessed what her thoughts were and spoke before she could question me.

"No, Tina I didn't search your phone for more secrets," I said, as I rolled my eyes.

"I... I am glad you didn't. I mean, not that I have something to hide there. Just glad that you did not look for anything on purpose." She explained in a normal tone.

Tina seemed exhausted and somehow defeated. I had never seen her like that. This secret thing must have tortured her for a long time. She was already 18 years old and in the last year of school. She kept this inside for who knows how long and it must have eaten her whole.

"I am not that bad once you get to know me." I tried to joke.

"I am not some evil Barbie too." She said, as she got up and walked outside to the small balcony of her room, and leaned on the railing. The cars passed by on a busy street near our home, reminding me of Christmas lights. I welcomed the fresh air that night had brought.

I followed her and felt like she needed someone to talk to, so I kept quiet.

So she knew people called her a Barbie sometimes?

"No one knows this. Absolutely no one. I fear that all will change after I… say it, um… come out." She sighed, fighting by habit the need to finally reveal her thoughts.

"Tina, we might not be close, but you must know that I am always on your side. You can talk to me when you feel like it," she looked at me with a confused expression, so I continued. "Does Emma know? Or Steven?"

"No. No one..." She said, watching me with unbelieving eyes. "Why would you do this for me? Why would you keep my secret?... Or be friendly to me?"

"Why wouldn't I be?" I answered and this time a smile popped up on my face.

She gazed into the darkness of our yard and I watched how the wind played with her long, almost white hair. Now I was seeing her in a different light. Not because she confessed to being gay, but had she somehow trowed out her mask of a selfish, shallow human. 

In front of me was a smart, sensitive, lonely, and confused girl. She had friends but never trusted them enough with this. Now I was invading her most personal space, but I wasn't going to ruin it for her. 

I am a friendly invader. 

I mentally laughed at my own joke.

"So, what were you doing in the bathroom to your ugly shirt to become even uglier?" She questioned with narrowed eyebrows.

I looked down at my naked tummy, remembering why I left my room, and scratched the back of my head, feeling embarrassment becoming evident on my cheeks.

"I was hoping to change my appearance a little. I am going to watch ‘Victory run’ tomorrow night." I explained, trying to hide my belly button with my hands.

"Oh, that band! I don't get why everyone is crazy about the singer." She spoke and wrinkled her nose.

"I know, right!" I said excitedly in agreement.

"All my friends are head over hills over him," Tina told me. 

As if I hadn't already seen that in the girl's eyes in the halls at school when Thomas was passing by.

"Anyways, you can't go clubbing dressed like that, right?"

I forced a nervous smile. If not that, then I will just wear one of the other twin T-shirts and black jeans.

"I guess, I will just put on what I always wear." I shrugged.

"Let's make a deal. I will help you find your style and you will keep my secret? Okay?" She spoke with confidence, hope evident in her eyes.

"What? Um, I mean you don't have to do such a thing. I wasn’t going to tell anyone to begin with. I told you that." I said, as I tilted my head to the side, wondering what had gotten into her. 

Who was she and where did the mean Barbie go?

"I appreciate that, but you must stop dressing like you are going to a funeral of some rock legend. You bring shame to our family." She blurted out and stopped, realizing what she was saying. "I'm sorry… what I mean to say is, that you really need a change."

Okay, so I will try not to be offended. I must give her some points for being nicer and actually saying sorry to me for the first time ever.

"Fine. What do you have in mind?" I gave in and leaned on the railing next to her.

"I am not sure yet, but tomorrow, we are going shopping for… a new identity. We will not stop until we find the perfect one for you." She stated, and I knew I had made a deal with the devil.

"But we have school and after I must go to paint the hall for the project. Also, the show is in the evening. There is no time." I tried, but she patted me on my back with a smile.

"We will make time. Even if Dad has to say we are having some kind of flu, and it's contagious."

"Or we can skip only one hour, telling Dean Webster that I need some supplies that school is not offering and you can escort me to help pick them up," I suggested, thoughtfully.

"You are pretty smart, huh? Some people do not like smart, you know?" she grinned and added, "It’s good I am not one of those people."

"Haha, joking Tina." I fake smiled, turning away from her with a sigh.

What have I gotten myself into?!

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