Samson Ridgewell tossed the basketball towards his friend Chance, who tossed it into the hoop before turning and grinning at Mel, the skinny purple haired girl that had been playing with them. "We won again!" he taunted her. "It's just because you guys are taller," Mel said. "Don't go thinking you're hot shit." Samson looked at his friends as they bickered. Chance was tall, almost six foot one, while Mel was a lot shorter, barely making the five foot mark. Samson himself was stuck awkwardly in the middle at just barely 5'4". Every single boy he had ever met was taller than him. Maybe it was just the boys where he lived, but his size was one of his biggest insecurities. He passed fairly well as a boy, but he was a short and scrawny one, and that bothered him to no end. He shuffled over to the portable iPod speakers, which had been playing a mixture of Mindless Self Indulgence, The Features, and Against Me songs. They were all Samson's favorite bands, but the iPod wasn't his. The iPod belonged to Mel, who had bought it with her own money. They just had the same tastes. "New game?" Samson asked. "Or are we done?" He picked up the speakers and the iPod and passed them to Mel, nearly dropping them when he heard a voice come on over the loudspeakers that ran through the entire group home. "Samantha Ridgewell, please report to the headmistress's office." "Crap!" Samson squeaked, his face going white at the sound of his birth name. "That family is coming to see me today and I completely forgot! I have to-" he stopped and then looked towards his friends. "Help me!" he pleaded desperately, looking down at his boyish clothes. "I'm not ready and Mrs. Brighton will kill me if I go in there like this!" He wasn't even finished with his sentence when Mel grabbed his arm and pulled him from the gym and up the stairs toward his bedroom, nearly tripping over the pile of parts from Chance's old, broken computer that Samson was trying to fix. She darted into his closet and dug around for a few seconds before throwing him a pair of skinny jeans and a light blue, feminine tank top. Samson sighed as he looked down at the clothes, but he picked them up and went into the attached bathroom to change. He pulled off the zip up hoodie and dark red t-shirt he had previously been wearing, and for a moment he stood and stared at himself in the mirror. Dark hair, not exactly long, but not short either. His eyes were a bright turquoise shade, and freckles were dotted across his nose. The femininity in his face made him look baby faced, and younger than his fifteen years. At least for a boy. is breasts were flattened down with ace bandages that he had wound around his chest. He knew that binding with ace bandages was dangerous, it had been known to constrict breathing and sometimes crack ribs, but Samson didn't care. He hated his breasts. They gave him away as obviously being biologically female. He couldn't afford a real binder, so if he cracked a rib using bandages, then so be it. He would rather have a cracked rib or two than have visible breasts. It wouldn't matter after today. He wouldn't be able to hide his breasts anymore. He was most likely being adopted by a family who didn't know that he was anything but one hundred percent girl. He would have to dress and act like a girl with these people. It happened with every new family, and once he finally got comfortable enough to tell them that he was transgender, he was always tossed out. He wouldn't tell this time. He could deal with being female for three years until he was a legal adult, couldn't he? As he unwound the bandages from his chest he tried to lie to himself and think that he could. He knew he couldn't, though. It would destroy him. The old cut and burn scars on his forearms proved that. The twelve years before he had been able to dress masculine and the time after that before he had come out had been riddled with nights of crying himself to sleep. He had been constantly sad and angry. And now he would have to go back to being sad and angry all the time. That wasn't what he wanted. That was the opposite. He just wanted to be happy with himself. He grabbed the bra off the pile of clothes and put it on. It was an old bra of Mel's that didn't fit her anymore. She'd given it to him for these "special occasions," which didn't happen very often. He had to dress female for things like this, no matter how much he hated it. If he went to meet this family dressed in boy's clothes Mrs. Brighton would get mad at him, and if this family didn't decide to take him, she would probably physically punish him. He couldn't risk it. He put on the rest of the clothes and looked at himself in the mirror. His short haircut was the only hint of masculinity left on him. He combed it out so that it was no longer messy and instead rested across his forehead in a more feminine fashion. He stared at himself for a few more seconds and then looked up as he heard a knock at the door. Samson pulled the door open and stared at the floor. Mel must have realized just how upset he was because she quickly pulled him into a hug. "I can't do this," Samson said quietly, tears filling his eyes. "I can't. Every time I get out of here it's always the same exact thing. I..." Mel squeezed him tighter. "You'll be fine, Samson. Just because the others tossed you out doesn't mean this one will. And you can always call me whenever you need anything." Samson didn't say anything in response to her, and he eventually let go of her. Mel gently took one of his wrists and looked down at the scars that ran along his inner forearm. "Promise you won't do anything like this again," she murmured. "Please." Samson sighed. "No promises." Upon seeing the worried look on his friend's face he said, "Okay, I'm sorry, I promise." They walked out of the bathroom and Samson glanced around the room. Chance passed him a few rubber bracelets. "Looking for these?" he asked. One of the bracelets was a Mindless Self Indulgence bracelet, the other two were from Against Me and another band that Samson didn't listen to all that much. They would do a decent job at hiding his scars though, so that was good. "Thanks," Samson said, slipping the bracelets on. "And thanks for helping me pack, you guys. It means a lot." "No problem," Mel said, handing him his bag. "Oh, and, here." She handed him a photo as she spoke. It was a picture from his last birthday, showing himself, Chance, Mel, and Jimmy Urine, the singer for one of their favorite bands, Mindless Self Indulgence. The concert tickets had been their birthday present to him. Meeting Jimmy had just been good luck. Samson opened his mouth to protest, because as far as he knew, this was the only picture any of them had from the occasion. "I got it copied," Mel said, before he could speak. That one is yours. Come on, Chance and I will walk you downstairs." Samson nodded, and they started walking down together. Samson wasn't sure to be excited or afraid. On one hand, he would be with family, and called Samson by everyone, unlike his various foster homes. Nearly everyone, and always the adults, always called him Samantha, no matter how much he begged them not to. On the other hand, Samson knew nothing about these people. Maybe they were awful. He hoped not. He hoped that at least one of them would like him, and the rest at the very least tolerate him. He doubted that they would keep him. They would take him home, but they would likely bring him back. Nobody ever wanted him. His own mother haven't wanted him. She had just left him on the front steps of the group home fifteen years ago and run off. He didn't even know her name. Once the trio reached the bottom of the stairs, they said their goodbyes. Chance and Mel reminded Samson to call them, and he promised he would before separating off from them and starting down the hall. Samson quickened his pace and then met the irritated headmistress Mrs. Brighton, at the door to her office. "Late again, Samantha." "My name is Samson," Samson growled under his breath. He normally would have snapped at her, but he knew that now wasn't the time. Mrs. Brighton shoved him into the room and Samson nearly tripped over himself as he stumbled in. "This is Samantha," Mrs. Brighton introduced him to the couple and teenagers standing there. Samson smiled at them and then said "Just Sam is fine."