They Really Are That Dense

The strip club had been the last straw.

Alanna silently fumed as she brusquely marched up the stairs, beelining towards her apartment.

She had understood the Knights (as the landlord had so kindly christened the young men) previous endeavors at "super friendly bonding." They'd coerced her into doing all sorts of 'manly things' which according to them included watching football together as often as possible, picking up chicks at local bars, and inviting her to an all-male sauna (an adventure she was only able to escape due to a conveniently placed cold).

Reaching her floor, she stalked down the corridor, ignoring George Cooper, neighbor and 'ex'-con, who had taken to camping outside her door waiting for her return, and slammed the door in his face when he started talking, too angry to even listed.

Closing the door with a loud BANG, she stood in the middle of the living room and screamed, "FAITHFUL!"

This worked its desired charm, which was waking up her roommate and her cat. The two stared at her with similarly distasteful and blank expressions. It wasn't for nothing that both were nicknamed Faithful. The similarities were shocking and more than a bit unsettling. Thankfully, there were differences between the cat and the human, the main one being that the human grudgingly sat up on the couch and rudely asked her what she wanted, while the cat stalked away to find somewhere where the stupid humans wouldn't bother him.

In colorful terms, Alanna described to Pan "Faithful" Faith the events that had transpired this past evening. Mainly, she gave a lot of attention to the location and the particular stripper the boys had hired when they decided that she needed a lap dance in her life, and how Job had done nothing to stop any of this, mostly because he had somehow gotten drunk within the first five minutes of their arrival.

Faithful listed to this whole tirade, staring owlishly at his friend. When the woman paused for a breath, he interjected in that deadpan voice that people only seem to achieve at three am or after a life time of practice.

"Well, they think you're a dude, so obviously they'd drag you along. What did you expect? Flower crowns and shopping malls?"

Alanna screeched again, and broke out into a string of quiet interesting swearwords describing what Faithful's mother did and with who she did it to give birth to this terrible abomination. That speech slowly dissolved into a general tirade.

There was no way that the boys were really so dense as to think she was male. No amount of baggy clothes in the world could hide the fact that yes, she was a woman, and had these things called breasts and didn't have an annoying organ that she'd have to fix every five minutes for the sake of comfort. Her face was feminine enough. Her hair wasn't very manly either.

After roughly ten minutes, spent and exhausted, she plopped down next to the still half-asleep Faithful, leaned back, and closed her eyes.

"So are you going to tell them? Or are you going to play along some more?" came a quiet voice next to her ear.

Alanna opened her eyes and tipped her head to the side, not surprised at all to see George Cooper on her couch for no explainable reason.

She sighed and sat up a bit. "I have no idea," she said softly, "What do I say? Hey, sorry for not telling you, I'm actually female you delusional bastards?"

A grin gently spread across George's face, "You could always parade around the apartment building in a bikini."

The woman snorted, "Right, fat lot of good that'll do me."

The ex-con shrugged, "If not for when I had caught you at the public pool, I'd still be guessing today."

Alanna laughed quietly. That had been an interesting incident. George had caught her at the pool with her brother, his boyfriend (who she vehemently disapproved off), and Faithful. She'd been wearing a two-piece. He had stared for a couple of seconds, realized that was rude, blushed, and apologized profusely for that one time he had changed in front of her. Alanna had blushed too, tried to tell him that it was alright, while her family and best friend laughed at her expense. George had ended up joining them that day and they'd had a fantastic time. Since them, the man was often over for drinks, movie marathons, and outings. When he wasn't out on 'business,' of course. The man insisted that he was a fisherman. She'd insisted that they were an hours drive towards the ocean and that there was no way a fisherman would have business at two in the morning in the downtown area of the city. They'd closed the subject after that and quietly watched Lord of the Rings. So it was a fairly common occurrence for George to show up randomly on Alanna's couch.

For the next twenty minutes after Alanna's brief recollection, the two argued over what was the best way to tell the guys. Alanna insisted that her brother should be there. George tried to convince her that it was enough to wear a dress.

By the time that they had wasted most of their good arguments and had started repeating themselves, Faithful had gotten up, gotten caffeinated, and decided that it was time to put in his five cents.

"Why don't you ask Jon?" Faithful suggested, pulling on a shirt with the word 'Cat' on it written in purple comic sans, "He knows you're a girl and he'd help you out anytime."

George and Alanna had to agree that this was a valid point.

Jon, like George, had found out completely on accident, if under a slightly different situation. It was sometime after George had found out, and Alanna had been walking to some social gathering that her close friend and confidante, a university professor in his fifties, Myles Olau, had scheduled. As the event was formal, she had worn a dress and heels. Unfortunately, the closest parking to the place had been three blocks away, so Alanna had grumbled and set out on the relatively short trek, thanking every deity of every religion known to her that her heels weren't all that high. Somewhere along the way, she had come across an alleyway from which came the sounds of somebody getting quietly beat up. Looking in, she had seen Jon-from-upstairs, as she called him. Quietly, she got two cans of pepper spray from her purse, walked up to the two men, said something rude, and generously sprayed them in the face, after which she'd promptly kicked one of the men in the balls. He'd doubled over and she gave him another well-placed kick in the stomach (feeling slightly sick as she did it, just because she'd been in the army doesn't mean that she liked this part of it). After she was done with him and Jon had given the other man a square punch in the face, she'd grabbed his hand and they'd sprinted until they were on the plaza where she was supposed to meet Myles and the rest. Their verbal exchange went something like, "Oh my god, thank you so mu- AL?!" After which she'd firmly told him that her name was Alanna and that she had no idea why they had taken up that silly nickname that Faithful had started. After this little exchange, they'd parted ways but got together for drinks later (which is another story entirely).

Now, in the present day, it took only a total of five minutes for them to walk upstairs to Jon's apartment and get His Royal Majesty to get the hell out of bed and open up the door. Jon insisted that he needed his beauty sleep while Faithful, Alanna, and George yelled that he was being a girl and that this was urgent.

When they'd finally gotten the unofficial leader of the Knights to open the goddamn door, he regally posed himself in the doorway and asked what they needed, making it clear that he was doing them a huge favor by even being awake after the amount of alcohol he had ingested just a couple of hours prior. It was a piece of cake getting him to agree to gather all the boys at his place the day after tomorrow. Jon agreed, but the trio insisted on getting the thing in writing. Faithful quickly wrote what His Majesty was supposed to do, made His Majesty sign it, hung the note on the fridge, and taped the tylenol to it.

After all that, the three went back to Alanna and Faithful's place and celebrated their brilliant plan by ordering pizza (the delivery guy obliged them and drew a lion that looked very much like a cat on the box), and ended up all crashing on the couch.

The next day passed uneventfully except for a couple of minor things like George's mother dropping by and turning the entire building upside down for a couple of hours. The whole thing flew by surprisingly quickly, and before Alanna could even register it, she was standing in front of a couch full of men staring at her expectedly.

Gary, Raul, and the rest of the Knights (it was embarrassing to admit that Alanna couldn't quite remember their names as it was Gary and Raul she was the closest to) squirmed on the couch, trying to get comfortable. Even Alex had tagged along for this occasion, and was squirming around like the rest of them. Alanna made a mental note that the next time she was going to 'come out of the closet', she'd but His Majesty a bigger couch first.

Just as she was about to walk out of the room from the pressure of ten plus pairs of eyes following her around as she paced back and forth, Job stumbled into the room with an arm load of beer cans. Carefully, he set one down in front of each visitor. When somebody asked what they were for, he muttered cryptically, "You're going to need it."

George and Faithful had crammed themselves into an armchair behind Alanna, chuckling gleefully to themselves and ready to gauge the mens reactions.

She sneezed, and an uneven chorus of "Bless yous" echoed throughout the room.

There was a moment of silence.

Somebody coughed.

Alanna looked behind her at Faithful and George. Faithful gave her a thumbs up, George smiled enthusiastically. She turned to the Knights and briefly made eye contact with Jon, he gave an encouraging nod. All three of them looked like they were enjoying her pain.

She took a deep breath.

"I-" she started.

Jon held up a hand, interrupting her, "Guys, open your beers."

Alanna stared as the men grabbed the cans and popped them open. In perfect synchrony. If they ever decided to quit their jobs, they could probably make decent synchronized swimmers or something.

After they had taken a drink, Jon nodded to Alanna to continue.

"Guys," Alanna inhaled sharply, looking at their expectant faces. She shouldn't really feel guilty about this, but she does. They're all like puppies, and she'd hate to disappoint them.

She took another deep breath. If things continued like this, she's start hyperventilating.

"Guys, I'm a girl."

Four Knights chugged their beers.

Raul and Gary looked at each other with similar deer-in-the-headlights expressions.

Alex spurted his drink out.

Faithful and George silently convulsed with laughter in the background.

Gary put his can down, and met Alanna's eyes, "If that's who you are inside, then that's who you are. So, uh, how long have you known?"

Raul nodded, "Al, you're our friend no matter what. Do you want us to start using female pronouns, or...?"

The others nodded and offered similar words of support.

Jon had to sit down to contain his giggle fit.

A sound like a dying horse came form behind Alanna. Faithful and George still hadn't stopped laughing.

Alanna threw her hands up in dismay, "No! Guys, I'm BIOLOGICALLY FEMALE. I identify as female, I have a vagina!"

Somebody gasped. The laughter in the background started resembling a cow with asthma. Alanna exhaled sharply. Men.

One of the younger ones present muttered "Prove it." and five seconds later found himself standing outside the door.

The guys looked to Jon for support. He wiped his eyes and nodded, "Her name is Alanna. Look, she's pretty obviously female."

The guys squinted at her. Somebody tilted their head.

Alanna snorted in exasperation and pulled off her sweater, revealing a tank top underneath. She tossed the sweater on her dying friends, which didn't snap them out of their convulsions.

" this isn't a joke," somebody asked, making it sound more like a statement than a question.

"I still don't believe you," another guy stated.

Alanna rolled her eyes. She was ready to scream. Containing herself, she leaned towards them and pulled on an earlobe, "Look, my ears are pierced!"

There was a moment of deathly silence.

Raul grinned, "Well why didn't you say so! Guys, grab the lady a beer! So why did we start calling you Al?"

Faithful excused himself and crawled into the kitchen, collapsing along the way in fits of maniacal laughter. George managed to contain himself and was now merely smiling demurely. Jon looked like he wanted to go to sleep. The Knights were suddenly very interested in her entire life story.

Alanna shook her head.

They really were that dense.