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I had a name.

But no one ever called me it. I went by Tomboy. Mom called me it first, as a nickname, because I preferred overalls over tutus, pirates over princesses, and baseball over ballet.

Then my best friend Reid started calling me that, so it just sort of stuck. I really was a tomboy. I never tried fitting in. I was okay with my slightly sharp features, and the freckles that dusted my nose. And everyone else was okay with me too. So Tomboy stuck around.

My real name was Natalia. Natalia Robinson. It was a beautiful, girly, meant-for-an-actress name. So that’s why nobody called me that.
And then there was Reid. Reid was the best of the best friends. He had always been good looking. He had dimples that showed when he smiled, and sapphire blue eyes that would catch your breath and not give it back. His golden brown hair would fall in locks over his eyes. He’d been the popular one. Always a jock. Always getting a new cheerleader girlfriend. But he never ignored me, and he didn’t care what other people said about me. He wasn’t ever afraid to wave at me in the halls, or sit by me at lunch. He even took me to every formal dance our school hosted. And he always jumped to my defense when one of his so called football buddies made fun of me. He was a true friend, and that’s why we lasted.

I was grateful to be so blessed. Lucky even.
But that all changed. The summer before eleventh grade, I grew six inches, filled out a little, changed my wardrobe, and transformed from a stocky, sharp faced, overall clad girl, to a tall, gentle featured, model worthy, dress sporting teenager. And with my appearance, changed my life. It was something people should have expected.

You couldn’t stay the same forever, after all.

I snapped a picture of a solitary flower as I made my way to school.

For the first time in history, I was willingly wearing a dress to school; strapless, made out of flowing cream colored material. As I clicked a photo of a hopping robin, I smiled. Up ahead, I had spotted the toe of a Nike high-tops shoe.

“Hello, Reid,” I said when I neared, picking my way carefully around a bramble bush. My best friend emerged from his hiding spot, grinning.

“Did you really have to ruin it for me?” he asked, turning to face me. “I totally coul––Jesus.” He stopped talking and stared at me. I frowned. Maybe I should’ve left my hair down. Having it braided to the side, well, it exposed an awful lot of skin. “You look different, Tomboy.” I crossed my arms over my chest, feeling self-conscious.

“Duh. I’m wearing a dress,” I retorted, kicking at the dirt. Reid continued staring at me, and I frowned. “Stop looking at me like that,” I snapped. “Haven't you seen a girl in a dress before?” Reid shot me a look.

“Yeah. But not you. And I’ve never seen you wear makeup, or braid your hair, or look really hot. The only thing I recognize is your messenger bag.” I grabbed the strap of my messenger bag and frowned, whirling away and storming down the path.

“Thanks, Reid. Thanks a lot,” I spat at him over my shoulder. He came hurrying after me, pulling his sagging jeans up a little.

“I didn’t mean it like that. Honestly. You look really pretty and whatever, but it doesn’t seem like you. Not the Tomboy I know.”

“Well, obviously, I’m different. And it’s not Tomboy anymore. It’s Natalia.” Reid looked up at me, confusion laid plainly on his handsome face.

“Natalia?” God. He was slow.

“Yeah. My name. You know. Tomboy’s only a nickname. And when I was born, my parents gave me a name. And that name was Natalia.”

“Okay. Shut up. I get it. I’m not an idiot.”

“Really?” I said. “Because about five seconds ago, that was really not obvious. I mean, no offense, but you're kind of dense sometimes.” He stared at me flatly, as I smiled at him, twisting my braid between my fingers. He seemed thoughtful for a moment, then rolled his eyes.

“You have turned into such a girl,” he said. He didn’t look enthusiastic about it. I glared.

“So? You're such a guy. And that’s never been a problem to me. I can’t just stay Tomboy for the rest of my life. Besides, the guys are going to love me.” Reid frowned.

“That’s what I’m worried about.”

I didn’t bother asking what that meant. I was too busy running ahead to greet the future I could call mine.

The weeks flew by quickly, and my life had been transformed in a whirlwind of new friends, new boys, and lots and lots of new…me.

Homecoming approached soon enough, but for once I was presented with a problem.
For one, I found myself wearing the sparkling Royalty tiara at the homecoming assembly, holding Aiden Taroza’s hand, walking down the red carpet to the thrones covered in velveteen plush.
For another thing, I discovered that Reid was not the only person asking me to the homecoming dance.
“What?” Reid demanded when I told him that Levi Taylor––the football captain and senior royalty¬¬––had asked me to the dance...and that I had accepted. “But you always go with me!”
“You only asked me because you didn’t want me to feel like a loser,” I told him as I applied a new coat of pink lip gloss. “Admit it, Reid. You’re relieved that you don’t have to take me.”
“No,” Reid snapped. “You know, what is this?” He ripped the lip gloss tube out of my hand and threw it across the lunchroom. “You hate lip gloss. You hate makeup.”
“Reid!” I exclaimed. “Would you calm down? It’s no big deal. I hated lip gloss and makeup. I don’t hate it anymore. Gosh. You’re so silly sometimes.”
Reid reached across the table and tucked a lock of hair behind my ear in a gentle gesture that made my breath catch.
“Go to the dance with me,” he whispered. “Please.”
I shook my head.
“I can’t.”

The dance wasn’t so fun.
Everybody just mauled each other on the dance floor. I shoved away from Levi and went off in search of Reid.
I found him outside, playing with a rose, slumped against the wall of the school.
“What are you doing out here?” Reid asked when he saw me. I shrugged and walked over to him, slumping against the wall, close enough that our arms were touching.
Reid peeled himself off of the wall and stood in front of me, placing his hands on the bricks behind me, leaning into his arms. My breathing turned shallow. He ducked his mouth toward mine, leaving our lips only a hairsbreadth away.
I shoved his arms away from me.
“What’s the matter with you?” I demanded. Reid let out a shaky breath.
And then I saw the sparkling tear tracks on his cheeks, illuminated by the moonlight. “What is it?” I asked more softly. “Why are you crying? You never cry.”
“I hate you!” he yelled. Then in a whisper, “I hate you.”
“Because all of those boys in there are falling in love with you because you’re beautiful. Well, guess what? I fell in love with you a long time ago. But you don’t care about that. It’s all about you suddenly being pretty and popular. Change isn’t everything, Talia.”
“Reid,” I said. He didn’t look at me. “Reid,” I said again, more forcefully. He looked.


“Come here.” I opened my arms and let him fall against me, his face buried in my neck, my cheek nestled against his heart.

He pulled back for a moment and ducked his head down to kiss me. This time though, I didn’t push him away. His lips collided with mine, soft at first, then harder.

Then he tucked his face back into my neck and whispered,

“I love you.” I smiled at his words.

“I love you too.”

We were quiet, holding each other, our tears mixing. Then Reid broke the silence.
“I just want my Tomboy back,” he murmured softly.
“I’ll always be Tomboy,” I said quietly. “And I’ll always be yours.”

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Skyset This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Nice work, your writing is quality! Your imagery was especially delightful to read.
Princess.Emily This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 27, 2014 at 3:50 pm
Thanks so much!
thankyoumrsloopner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm
Powerful writing. Keep up the good work!
Princess.Emily This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm
Thanks so much!
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