Just Me

by Tenderness

"Consuela, hey. It's Jacqueline," Jake said into the phone, which was tucked between her shoulder and her ear. "Can you do me a favor?"

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 grin.

"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 you."

Hamilton's dark brow shot up. "More shoes?

"No, me," Jake said as she removed the lid on the star-covered box.

"I think you're a little big to fit in there," Hamilton said dryly.

"Not if I'm three-by-five," Jake countered, handing him the box.

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 hair."

"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 frown.

"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 first.