“Tiger Love” by Drew V.

Genre: Contemporary

Identity: Gay, Trans (M), Bisexual (M)

Word Count: 861

Warnings: None

Al and Chaz sat in the bleachers at the big game. The wind in Al’s hair, the sound of people screaming swear words, and the smell of beer and people smoking was all so, so disgusting but wonderful at the same time somehow. Chaz pulled on his dirty blonde hair with one hand, yelling, “No! No! That stance is all wrong!” Al chuckled. He wasn’t much for sports, he mostly just came to spend time with his best friend.

Alwin Charleman, formerly Alicia Charleman, was starting his first college year with his friend, Charles “Chaz” Witwerd. Chaz was a tall, thin man who liked sports. He had blue eyes that shone like little diamonds and his teeth were white as snow. Al was a smaller, plumper boy who preferred reading but had fun with his friend anyway. Chaz and Al had been friends since they were little kids. Neither of them had a big plan in life so they just went to the same college to stay together because that was really all that mattered to them at the time.

The teams playing the big game were the Greenhill Tigers and the Blackball Bulls. The Tigers were Chaz and Al’s team but they were not very good. They had won a few games but the Blackball Bulls had won every game this season!

Chaz groaned as Clark Forthchester, the best player on the team, missed another ball. “Man, Al, they’re dying out there.” Chaz sighed. Chaz used to play baseball and he really loved it but unfortunately he hurt his hand before the game so the best he could do was watch. But, at least he was able to get good seats! The seats were perfect, overlooking the entire stadium. Al watched as Clark hit another strike. Clark and Al dated back when Al was Alicia but they had broken up. Chaz pulled Al closer to him, chuckling, “I can’t watch this, man! I’m gonna go get some snacks.”

Al nodded, “Ok! I’ll save your seat!” Chaz smiled and walked away toward a man who was holding a hot dog out, yelling, “Gitchur hot dogs! Git ‘em fresh!”

Al sighed, watching the game. He felt like an alien. All the other people at his college, and even people who used to be his friend, stayed away from him now. What had changed? His name? What bathroom he uses? What clothing he wears? He was the same person! Why couldn’t they understand that? Chaz could. Only he could understand.

Chaz stared at himself in the bathroom mirror. One hand on each side of the sink, he told himself, “You can do it. It’s just like baseball, it’s either a hit or a miss and you’re gonna get a hit.” He looked down at the sink, resting his elbows where his hands had been and letting his hands rest in the sink. “I can’t do this…what’s he gonna say? I’m an idiot.” He shook his head, looking back into the mirror. “No! I can do this! I can do it!” He straightened out his hair and brushed off his shirt and then walked back to his seat. But, to make sure it didn’t look weird walking back empty-handed when he said he’d get snacks, he also bought a bag of chips, despite not actually being hungry.

Chaz sat down in his seat next to Al, who was watching the game intently. He looked down and then eased into putting his arm around Al. Al, shocked, jolted back and pushed Chaz’s arm away. “What are you doing?!” he asked.

“I was just putting my arm around you!” Chaz replied.

“What, you think I’m scared?! You think I’m a scared little girl?! I don’t need your pity! I knew you still see me as a girl!” Al yelled at Chaz.

“Sorry, man!” Chaz gulped. “I don’t still see you as a girl…” he muttered, under his breath.

Al looked at Chaz and then sighed. “Ugh…I’m sorry…I just feel kind of bad lately…it feels like everyone I care about is going away…” he mumbled, sadly. “I didn’t mean to yell at you.”

“Al, I know things are rough right now but they will get better.” Chaz told him. “I promise. But, they aren’t going to get better if you push away your friends.”

“Why did you put your arm around me, anyway?” Al asked, confused.

“I- uh….I- well….” Chaz looked down, desperately searching for an excuse. But, he decided to tell the truth. “I kind of…like you. Like…like like.”

“Like…like like? Like like?” Al asked.

Chaz looked confused and then burst into laughter. “Like like like! But, seriously! I really like you. And not friend-like.”

Al smiled, “I like you, too!” He put his hand on Chaz’s back and pulled him down into a kiss just as one of the Greenhill Tigers hit a ball. The ball flew out of the stadium and the Tigers scored the point they needed to win the game.

The End 

Don’t be too quick to judge…

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