"Consuela, hey. It's Jacqueline," Jake said into the phone,
which was tucked between her shoulder and her ear. "Can you do me a
Jake straightened her brown dress — her *foxy* dress — on
the hanger and opened her closet door. "I need you to send me the shoebox on the
second shelf in my closet. The one with the stars drawn on it."
The brunette pushed her shirts and pants out of the way and
hung the dress with the few others in the very back of the closet. "Yeah. That's
it. Overnight it to me. Here's the address... do you have a pen? Okay. Address
it to J. Pratt — not Jacqueline, just ‘J' — at Rawley Academy..."
Jake rattled off the address as she dropped her heels into a
shoebox and shoved it under the bed. "Thanks, Consuela," she said. "Bye."
After hanging up the phone, Jake flopped back onto her bed
with a sigh. She was depressed. Her first "official" date with Hamilton had been
an unmitigated disaster. A complete and total hellacious flop.
Well, the part where he told her he loved her wasn't that
bad. But the rest of it!
Jake pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. How could
they get along so well when they were both dressed as guys, but the moment she
wore a skirt things got sour?
"Because you weren't being yourself, dummy," she answered
herself out loud. "You were wearing a dress to prove that you could be a girl.
Hello, I think my boobs already proved that."
With another sigh, Jake rolled onto her stomach and propped
her chin with her hand. She knew Hamilton was confused by her behavior and
unhappy with the awfulness masquerading as a first date. She also knew that he
wasn't quiet certain that she spoke the truth when she'd told him she was always
herself when they were alone.
However, the box she'd be getting tomorrow should clear
things up. Then maybe they could try that date again.
"Oh good, you're here."
"That I am," Hamilton said with a half-smile as he closed
and locked the door behind him. He walked over to the bed, sat down beside Jake
and gave her a kiss. "Mm. Hello, you."
"How was lunch with your parents?" Jake asked, tucking her
baggy jean-clad legs up under her.
"Sleep-inducing. I can remember asking someone to pass the
salt, but other than that...," he trailed off with a shrug and a boyish
"Well, I'm glad you woke up and came here," Jake told him.
She thumped the shoebox sitting on the bed with them. "I have something to show
Hamilton's dark brow shot up. "More shoes?
"No, me," Jake said as she removed the lid on the
"I think you're a little big to fit in there," Hamilton said
"Not if I'm three-by-five," Jake countered, handing him the
Hamilton accepted it and looked inside. "Pictures?'
She nodded. "From the last three years. I've got some from
each of the boarding schools I've been at." She gestured to the box. "Go ahead,
look through them."
Hamilton took a picture out and examined it. "You had long
"Yeah," Jake said. "Most of the time it was up in a ponytail
or pulled back in a braid, though."
Hamilton continued to sift through the pictures, asking
questions or commenting on them. Almost all of them pictured Jake in khakis and
t-shirts or tank-tops, with her long, dark hair pulled back. Finally, he asked,
"Why are you showing these to me?"
"Because that's the real me," Jake replied. She waved her
hand over her clothing, then towards the box. "*This* is the real me. I don't
normally wear dresses unless it's a special occasion or required. The only
make-up I ever wear is lipstick. I rarely wear jewelry. Nail polish and funky
shoes are my only real displays of outerwear girliness."
"I'm not sure I understand," Hamilton said with a small
"Listen, yesterday our date blew chunks," Jake began.
Hamilton chuckled. "It wasn't *that* bad."
"Yes, it was," Jake countered. "And you want to know why?
It's because we were both trying to act like I was the perfect girl and not me:
the bike-riding, computer-hacking, tag football- playing tomboy whose feminine
side is hidden under her khakis and tees. Or, in this case, baggy pants and a
velcro chest wrap."
"So, you're telling me you weren't acting like a guy when we
played Julia Roberts or Cameron Diaz?
"Hell, no," Jake said. "Girls do that, too. Only we include
everyone. And Cameron Dias, hands down."
Hamilton laughed. "I have never met anyone like you."
"You mean, you don't have any other cross-dressing she-males
in your email address book?"
Hamilton blushed. "Sorry about that."
"It's okay," Jake said with a devilish twinkle in her eyes.
"Just as long as you remember you're this she-male's bitch."
"Funny," Hamilton said, then drew her into a kiss.
Jake felt her toes curl as she sunk against him. She had a
feeling that their second date would be a hundred times better than their