Chapter Fourteen: Nerves:

Lenard stood in front of the full-length mirror with tape binding his chest. Next month, the boobs were going out. He’d have the flat chest he’s always dreamed of. It felt uncomfortable to walk around like this as it was.

“Hey, buddy,” he heard behind him. Lenard turned his head. Taichi smiled and waved in the doorway.

“You ready?” he asked. Lenard forced himself to smile.

“Yeah,” he said. “Just hang on a second.” He walked over to the bed and picked up the black and gold vest. Lenard sheepishly slid it on.

“It will be okay,” Tai said. “Just hold out for tonight.”

“I know,” his roommate said. “It’s just…” Tai put his hand on Lenard’s shoulder.

“I understand,” he said. Lenard pressed his lips together and nodded. Two more weeks. Two more weeks with these damned breasts.

“Did you take your hormones this evening?” Tai asked.

“Yes,” Lenard said.

“Good,” the other man said. “Look at me. Look at me.” His roommate lifted his head. Tai took him by the cheeks.

“It’s a party tonight. Try to enjoy it,” he said. “Don’t think about surgeries or what other will think. We’re going to have a good night tonight. Keep that in mind, okay?” Lenard didn’t answer at first.

“Okay?” Tai asked again. His roommate nodded once. He let go of his face.

“Good,” he said. “Keep telling yourself that tonight. We’re working to build connections, remember?”

“Yes,” Lenard said. Tai patted him on the back.

“Let’s get going,” he said. Lenard forced himself to smile.

“Sure,” he said. Tai put his arm around his shoulders. They headed out the door.


The pair stood in front of Hotaru’s door. Lenard took in slow breaths. I can do this. It’s just a small party. This should be fine. Tai rang the doorbell. He and Lenard looked up when the door opened. Hotaru greeted them with a smile.

“Welcome!” she said. “So glad you could make it.”

“Hello,” Tai said. “My name is Tai and this is my roommate, Lenard.”

“Hi,” Lenard said with a wave. Hotaru looked at both men.

“A wizard and pirate,” she said, pointing at their costumes. “I like them. Come on.” Hotaru walked back into the house. Tai turned to Lenard.

“See? She likes our costumes,” he said. “We’re off to good start tonight.”

“Yeah…” Lenard said, nodding. The men walked into the house.

Rihoko sat on the couch with her drink in her hand. She looked up and waved when the men walked into the living room.

“Oh, hi there,” she said. “Meow.”

“Hello,” Tai said.

“Hi,” Lenard mumbled. Rihoko tilted her head.

“Is he okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Tai said. “He doesn’t get out much.”

“Ah,” Rihoko said. She looked over at the blonde American. “I like your vest.”

“Thanks,” Lenard mumbled.

“Feel free to have drinks and snacks,” Hotaru said. “The sushi will be here soon. I even ordered up a cake tonight.” Rihoko perked up.

“Nice!” she said.

“Cake, huh?” Tai asked. “I like that.” Lenard smiled a bit.

“Okay,” Hotaru said. “More guests will be showing up soon. I’ll turn on the music for you. We’ll do a hot pot too.”

“Hot pot?” Tai asked.

“That’s right,” the loli demon said.

“Nice,” he said. Hotaru smiled.

“Oh, I have to go back to the kitchen and check on something,” she said. “Be right back.” Hotaru turned and walked back to the kitchen. At last, Lenard could relax. Maybe this would be a good party.