Arthur first noticed something was odd when he saw Chun Yan's hair. It had taken him a while to realise, but it was getting shorter, bit by bit. She'd stopped wearing the twin-bun do and let her hair fall loose. A week ago it had brushed her thighs, and now the tips didn't reach the top of her belt.
She caught him staring in their English class one day. "Is something wrong?"
"Not exactly. I was just wondering what's up with your hair - I mean, it looks lovely, as always," Arthur corrected himself, chuckling nervously, "but it seems to be getting shorter."
"Oh, you noticed? Yes, I wanted it shorter, but I've had it long forever, so I was just cutting a little off every day to get used to it."
"Oh, really? How short are you going to take it?"
Chun Yan shrugged. "Don't know. Just ... shorter. I don't like it long anymore."
Now Arthur looked at her, she seemed tired. Dull-eyed. He cleared his throat and asked hesitantly "Um, I know we didn't break up on the best of terms-" (he'd blamed her when Headmistress Tierra had caught them smoking the previous year, and she'd blacked both his eyes and dumped him on the spot) "-but if something's wrong, you know you can always tell me, right?"
"Nothing's wrong!" she insisted. "I'm feeling ... kind of odd, but not iwrong./i Not really." She smiled. "In fact, I think I'm starting to feel more right than ever."
Elizabeta found Chun Yan in the bathroom with a roll of bandages. Her shirt was off, and she was swearing as she tried to wrap the bandages around her chest and kept dropping the ends.
"What the heck are you doing?"
"Failing," Chun Yan muttered. "Could you give me some help? I think I need an extra pair of hands."
Elizabeta pulled the bandages tight around Chun Yan's chest. "Why?"
"I wanted to see what I'd look like without boobs."
"Ha ha. What's the real reason?"
Chun Yan scowled. "That is the real reason. I was curious."
"Ohh-kay." Elizabeta shrugged. "Not my business what you do with your boobs."
There was a murmur of surprise around the football team and cheerleading squad alike when Chun Yan showed up to practice in shorts.
"Miss Wang, what are you wearing?" Coach Vargas demanded, tapping his foot.
"Boy's uniform, Mr Vargas," Chun Yan replied. "I looked it up. Technically, the rule doesn't say the cheerleading uniforms have to be gender-specific."
"Darn, you mean I could have worn a skirt?" muttered Feliks, looking down at his own shorts. Feliciano, the only other male cheerleader, giggled.
"Why?" asked the coach, raising an eyebrow.
"I like shorts better."
Coach didn't press the issue. After the post-practice shower, Chun Yan asked Elizabeta for help binding her chest again. Elizabeta did, not sure how best to ask why.