Friday, October 21, 2022

Jonah/Krystle: Settling In, Part Two

Moira and I have been down here almost a month now, and we're almost set in our routine.  I only got as far as actually moving in last time, but obviously there has more to it than that.  I'd been able to get Moira registered for kindergarten on the phone and online, so the next morning, we called a Lyft and went to her new school, signed the last of the paperwork that needed to be done in person, and then waited in the hall while the principal brought her into her new classroom and introduced her.  I kind of wanted to stay there all day, but I had to do all the shopping for stuff I didn't have.

It dawned on me as I left the school that I kind of had no idea where the best place to do this was, especially if you can't really afford Crate & Barrel or anyplace similarly fancy.  I searched furniture and housewares on my phone, but I didn't really know which ones were respectable local places and which ones were kind of shady.  I'd made a list the night before of what we needed, and whistled at the amount of it.  Not just the cost, but I really should have kept the moving van for an extra day rather than renting a car.

And what is the right amount, anyway?  I knew that I couldn't really get away with two plates, two cereal bowls, etc., especially since I can get kind of lazy in terms of doing dishes when things are busy, but eight kind of seems like overkill - although, once I thought about "what if my parents and Momma Kamen and Karla and her boyfriend and her kids and maybe some neighbors all showed up at once", I started to panic.  I went with boxes of four and made a note to buy some plasticware for emergencies when I went grocery shopping, with the idea that I could go buy some more matching good stuff if I knew I'd have visitors a few days in advance.  It seemed like a weirdly grown-up and responsible thought for someone who sometimes kind of still thinks of herself as the teenage boy she was before the Inn.

(On the other hand, I got a text from Gabriel asking how the move was going while I was shopping, and I may have responded with a comment like "you know, if we got married, other people would buy us all this shit as wedding gifts" and he may have texted back "hahahahaha u srs?", leaving me wondering what I would have done if he'd replied "deal!")

I kind of punted on some things, since I only had so many hours to work with before school let out and I didn't want to buy actual furniture on short notice, but did want a place to sit and eat.  It felt kind of wasteful to buy chairs and tables that folded up that I hopefully wouldn't use for more than a week, especially before my first new, higher paycheck, but I wasn't going to have Moira telling her new friends that we were just sitting on the floor for a couple weeks and have people think we were really poor rather than just starting out.  I especially don't want her being told she was poor.  Like, okay, I kind of felt poor a lot when I first took Krystle's life, and it sucks.  It's a big part of why I've been kind of slow to move out of Momma Kamen's apartment even when I'd saved a bit; I didn't want her to ever feel like she didn't have everything she needed.

Anyway, once all that got done, I sat on the steps outside the building and waited.  Moira had been taking school buses at pre-kindergarten in Cambridge before summer, but I still worried about her getting on the wrong one on her first day, especially if she got distracted or forgot her new address, so I sat out there and waited, barely able to pay attention to the book I was reading on my phone.  She and a boy the same age got off at the same time, though, and they were really cute introducing each other when they realized they were neighbors and pointing at their respective apartments.  Then she ran over to me, and I picked her up and asked how her first day went.

"It was kind of neat!  There's a lot of kids in my class, but most of them seem nice.  The girl who sits next to me, Josie, speaks English and French!  Can I speak French?"

"Well, I'm sure you can learn."  I had actually been trying to find a way to get her into the classes where they teach her Chinese back in Cambridge, but I suppose French would be more practical here.

She got on the bus by herself the next morning, and then I went to the gym.  It wasn't exactly in the same neighborhood, but I left early and it's not hard to figure out buses with a smartphone.

The guy I was replacing got there about ten minutes after me, and looked me up and down as he unlocked the door.  I probably wasn't dressed the way he thought I should be, but I'd kind of had to guess what "proper" was.  The manager back at the old location was a guy, and tended to dress casual in khakis and short-sleeved button-up shirts, stuff where he even if he doesn't have to change out of it quickly if he needs to help on the floor, he's still giving the impression of someone fit and active as you'd expect in a gym.  My body isn't exactly built for that sort of thing even when a sports bra is doing its best to keep the girls under control, so I went with a loose camisole that still covered my shoulder, plus a skirt over black yoga pants.  Not quite "casual management", but I'm not really sure how that works for me yet, even a month or two later later.

Not that this guy looked like he was likely to help out on the floor.  I've been kind of lucky in most of my bosses as Krystle, who have more or less been either folks who started the business and shared the load or had been promoted from the same sort of position I have been, but this guy looked like he'd gone to college to be management.  A month or so in, I'm not exactly ridiculing it - it's a skill I'm still learning - but he sure seemed both happy that he'd be able to get back to spending all of his time managing a location in a nice white suburb and to suspect that I'd slept with someone and was either being rewarded or sent far away (or some combination of the two).

He gave me the quick tour, showing where everything is.  Chain places like this are kind of weird; it had all of the walls the location back in Massachusetts did but rearranged because the space is a different shape, with offices and the employee changing areas and break rooms in the back rather than downstairs.  I kind of wonder if there's someone at the main headquarters whose job it is to adapt stuff to the location or if that's contract work.

He seemed eager to get out before the regular employees arrived, and I wonder if there was some bad blood there.  I wouldn't exactly be surprised - both of the guys I met on that first day were a head and a half taller than me, and a little googling says they were big-deal high-school basketball players who wound up not being such a big deal in college and apparently gyms are where you apply when you've got a degree in physical education but your hometown doesn't need a gym teacher.  Indeed, five of the six people doing my old job are guys like that.  The other is a 19-year-old girl who goes to Tulane.

It's kind of weird; a lot of the guys don't look at me as an authority figure at all, and a lot of the time they are not shy about staring at my tits and ass at all, but - and this is only paraphrased a bit from an overheard conversation - I'm also not that white nerd who thought I was better than them, and maybe subconsciously they pick up on how there's a guy their age under this skin and that smooths things over a bit.  There haven't been any real problems where I've had to cut someone's hours or warn them about being inappropriate with the clients yet, but I'm kind of dreading the first.

I'm kind of running first-day and so-far stuff together there, but I guess I've fallen into enough of a pattern to remember exactly what I was feeling those first few days.  I am still kind of keenly aware of the day-to-day with Moira after school.  The elementary school in our area doesn't have the same sort of after-school extracurricular activities the one in Cambridge did, and I still really don't know anybody I trust as much as Momma Kamen to babysit yet.  She's made some friends and often goes to their places after school, but I feel kind of weird asking other parents to look after my kid on top of theirs, especially when it comes to ask which neighborhood teenager or granny is worth paying.

Still - my apartment is looking more like a home, I haven't fallen flat on my face at work yet, and Moira has made a bunch of new friends.  This may just work out!

-Jonah/Krystle

Monday, September 19, 2022

Daryl/Zee: People Think I'm Crazy

Well, they think Zee's crazy, coming back from vacation, giving two week's notice, and saying she's going to up and move to New York because she met a guy on vacation.  Nope, don't want to stay on as remote after that, either - just making a clean start!  Which surprises them a little, as previous-Zee apparently liked working from home during the pandemic.  I can kind of see why - there are cheat sheets right next to her monitor about who everyone is - but it's kind of not exactly an ideal workplace.  None of her co-workers are surprised by the desire to move on, even if previous-Dee didn't exactly strike them as the romantic type, though the management seems to think giving notice right after coming back from a long vacation is the sort of thing an asshole does.  Can't say they're exactly wrong, but, again, there are a lot of co-workers who think giving the finger as you depart is the stuff of legend.

I was able to pack fairly light for the move - previous-Zee started downsizing almost two years ago, and I told her that she could keep whatever she had come to grow fond of from Zee's apartment, not realizing just how much she'd take me up on.  But that's fine.  She became Zee in her mid-twenties and had been her for three years, and as much as she wasn't looking back, there was a lot of things she was used to, and which I wouldn't know I was missing.

So I went to New York, put some things in a storage unit that J.T. had arranged, and then made my way to Flushing, because the new Magda was insisting that I stay with her and tell her everything she needs to know before completely diving into her new life, which was a surprise, but a welcome one.  Short-term situations in New York are at least one of hard to find and expensive, and J.T. and I didn't want to do the "new girlfriend immediately moves in" thing again, even if it would look less weird with me not appearing old enough to be his mother.  Hopefully I won't be here long, but it's nice to be somewhere kind of familiar while I get on my feet.

I was a bit surprised when I got buzzed up that first time and new-Magda opened the door; she looked younger than I had looked as her and I told her so.  She accepted the compliment and said that she'd spent some time as a make-up artist back before she got married, and had all sorts of experience with shaving a few years off a middle-aged woman even before she'd been one, and "Magda" was aging quite gracefully to begin with - although she said I obviously knew that, of course, because I'd been Magda not long before.

She ran through all that quickly before saying that I'd certainly found myself a nice little landing spot and I said, yeah, I feel a little more like me while still being someone my boyfriend would enjoy having sex with.  She turned a bit red at that - she's actually in her mid-sixties and sort of aspires to be as sex-positive as a Golden Girls character but still defaults hard to cis-het in her thinking, and the idea that I could start out as a "normal" man and get to a point where I was looking for a just-right female body even with magic involved is hard for her to get her brain around.  It's going to be fun the next time that Harmon arrives if she starts thinking of him as entirely Alicia the way she seems to treat me as entirely Zee because she doesn't know what to think about me as Daryl.

Still, she's a pretty apt pupil for someone who initially worried about teaching an old dog new tricks, seemingly excited to learn all the goings-on at the airport.  I asked if she thought she was going to be Magda long-term, and she says it's tempting, depending on what happens with her husband, who has become someone fairly age-appropriate for Magda but...  Well, his real identity is ten or fifteen years older than her, so there's a very real possibility that it won't be there to come back to in the spring, and he doesn't want to stick someone else with so few days.  Apparently, he says she should stay Magda whatever happens, rather than be a widow everyone takes pity on, but they've been together for decades and she can't imagine abandoning him like that.

It was a sobering thing that I brought up with J.T. on our "welcome (back) to New York" date that evening.  We've known kids who became adults via the Inn and vice versa, and I've certainly given some thought to having potentially lost twenty years while living as Magda, but the other end of things is scary.  Just imagine becoming Magda's husband as a teenager and not knowing if your heart will make it to the next Inn booking!

Fortunately, we've got that behind us, and he figures that in time, once I've found a place of my own and a new job, we'll eventually get to a point where we can just look forward.  Easy for him to say - he was only someone else for one year, almost five years ago!

-Darzee (nah)

Monday, September 12, 2022

Jonah/Krystle: Settling In

You ever feel like you have a moment when every adult responsibility you've got doubles in intensity?  That's what the last few weeks have been like.  I thought getting pregnant and having Moira would be as big a jump as it gets, but then I got the promotion, and it has been absolutely crazy since.

Part of it's me.  The Inn sort of has a tendency to freeze your idea of who you "should" be at the point where you changed, and somewhere underneath all of this, I think of myself as still a kid having to fake being an adult, but I'm not - "Junah" graduated from college, so there's no going back to that status quo.  I'm in my mid-twenties and folks think I'm in my late twenties, so I'm not some sort of teen mom, but a grown-ass woman.

Still, it's been a lot.  After getting the promotion, I had to find a place to live in New Orleans remotely, and once I had that more or less figured out, I had an idea of Moira's new school district, so I could go through the process of getting her enrolled, and also out of Cambridge's system.  That's when I told my five-year-old that, no, she didn't have to start school the same day as her friends, because we were going to be moving, far away from Grand-Momma and Aunt Karla and her cousins and her friends, and, boy, did that lead to a lot of screaming and abject refusal to help me pack, even if I did point out that she'd be able to go swimming even in the winter.  Momma Kamen and Karla tried to help, saying that we could do video calls and we'd try to see each other at Christmas and other holidays, and that they were actually jealous, but that just meant that when we put our boxes in the truck, she was sad-crying instead of screaming.

I'd said a private goodbye to my friends in Boston, with "Big Moira" making me promise to keep in touch and Ashlyn and Penny again telling me that starting fresh would really be the best thing for me.  She also asked if I was okay to drive the next day, and I'm not going to lie, that had me nervous as well.  Living in a city like Cambridge, I really only have to drive once or twice a year - mostly when somebody is not good to drive home - and though I'm past the "I never actually took my driver's test!" nervousness, it's still kind of a lie and driving 1,500 miles with a five-year-old who has never been in a car for that long is a lot different than running an errand!  Google will tell you that it's a 24-hour drive, but it took us four days, with one spent going into some of the Smithsonian museums in Washington and another stop to sleep somewhere in Tennessee.  I must admit, I kind of feel like I'm a traitor to my status of being a guy deep down in that, while I'm not nearly as anti-car as Jordan, I can't see why someone would want to drive all the time when there are perfectly good trains and buses.

We got into New Orleans at around two in the afternoon, and met the realtor at the apartment.  Moira had been napping, and when I woke her up, she didn't know what was going on.  I told her we were at her new home, and while I think she kind of wanted to be grumpy, she looked at the building - a very basic one-story with steps up from the sidewalk to two doors, really - and her eyes went wide.  "Is that whole thing just for us?"

"Well, not the whole thing - just the part on the left - but yes, it's just for us."  Once I opened the door she ran in and through the empty living area to the back, and then back to me.  "Mommy!  We each get our own bedroom!"  I said I knew, but she pulled me in to show me anyway, then raced to try and look out every window, find the bathroom, look around the kitchen, very excited about what a big circuit she could run.  At one point she stopped in the entryway and pointed up.  "Why's there a door in the ceiling?"  I said that was the attic, but we didn't need to go up there yet.

After a bit, we walked back outside, and I told her we had to get everything from the van into the house, and it was going to be tricky because we were kind of on our own here.  The fact that everyone else she knew was far away hit her again at that moment, but she started trying to help with some of the smaller boxes.  I managed to wrangle the bed frame in and assembled okay - real-Krystle may not like my arms, but they come in handy for more than just hanging from a fake rock, but the box spring and mattress was going to be trickier.

I admit - I looked down the street and saw some people hanging out on stoops and figured I might as well use what I had, unbuttoning my loose-fitting top and using it to wipe the sweat off my brow.  I was wearing a sports bra underneath, but it was the sort that didn't exactly disguise my rack.  I kept one eye on the open door as a couple young men decided to stir and walk over, hoping I wasn't making a huge mistake.

"Well, well, well," one of them said, "ain't nobody told us a fine-looking lady like yourself was moving into Eddie Grant's place."

I smiled, trying to remember everything Ashlyn - who, longtime readers of this blog may recall, got over any qualms about big breasts making a lot of men eager-to-please very quickly - had told me about flirting:  First and foremost, don't promise anything.  Wear something where you can get noticed, but downplay it; of course you wore the sports bra on moving day.  No innuendo unless you are sure you want to get laid, because they'll lead you down a path you don't want to go.  Just try and show you're smart and fun enough for them to want to be around you generally.

Anyway, I smiled, not too wide, and pulled my hair back in a ponytail, being practical but also letting my breasts ride higher for a second.  "I bet you say that to all the sweaty messes."

The one who hadn't spoken stifled a laugh, and I admit I kind of liked him the best in that moment.  He and his friend each grabbed an end of the box spring, though, and asked where to.  I guided them to Moira's room, where she had emptied out a box and was playing happily, and got them to lay it on the frame.  As we left, the first one took his phone out of his pocket, checked it, and dashed off, saying I had to give him a chance to introduce himself properly, and he might have really had a message rather than deciding a single mom wasn't quite so hot.  Whatever; I could handle the mattress with just one other person to help.  He got it there and we walked back out to the van where he raised his eyes at how little was left.  "Just the one bed?"

I shrugged a little, the sort that didn't set everything moving, and made a face.  "The thing about moving out of your Momma's apartment is that you realize how little you have that's yours alone.  She said I could take the other bed, but did I really want to haul a twin all the way there when I'd have enough room for something bigger?"

I hoped I wasn't implying too much with that, but he just nodded.  "Your Momma's got a point."  He grabbed a box and helped me bring it in.  "And, apparently, your Momma's also got all the chairs, the kitchen table, the TV, the dishes..."

I put my own box down next to his.  "Yeah.  Hopefully Moira doesn't mind roughing it for a while.  I didn't realize it would look this empty."

He raised an eyebrow.  "Moira?"

"Look, there were reasons not to give her a name that was in the family, and my best girlfriend was all that came to mind at the time."  I chuckled a bit, thinking of some of the confusion it's caused.  "If I ever do that again, I'll be more prepared."

He nodded, looking around the place, seeming pretty well aware that, cute anecdote aside, I hadn't really volunteered much.  "Well, if you need anything, I'm Leroy Watkins, my brother is Larry, and we obviously can't complain too much about how people choose their babies' names."

I reached out a hand.  "Krystle."  I was about to spell it out, then didn't.  No need to make it easy for two guys I'd just met to Google it and judge me by the footprint that the original Krystle Kamen left.  Heck, I thought, maybe I could do something along the same lines as Jordan and find a way to be "Joanna" or even just "Crystal" or "Kris" here.

Seeing he wasn't going to get a last name, he shook my hand, either content to play the long game or seeing that I had a lot of other things to check off on the list before "lover".  I saw him out and waved as he walked back down the street toward the place he and Larry share with their own Momma.  The back of the truck was empty, so I reached up and pulled the door shut, then walked in.

Moira walked into the living room shyly until she saw that I was alone.  "Is that your new boyfriend?"

I laughed, pulling the Celtics jersey that was on top of one of the boxes out and putting it on.  "Oh, no, honey, at most he's a boy who might be a friend.  We've got enough else to do with all the other new things!"  I picked her up and spun around.  "Look at all this empty space!  Just a blank canvas to make our own!  And there's going to be new friends and new places to visit and new things to see!  I know it's kind of scary, but I'm also really excited!  Are you excited?"

She hugged me and whispered in my ear.  "I'm kind of scared but also kind of excited."

I kissed her forehead.  "Well, I can't ask for more than that."  We looked around again.  "So, what do you say we put our clothes on the hangers and hang them in the closet, then put your shelves together so you can put your books and toys on them, and then it'll be just about time to return the truck and get some supper!"

"Yay!  Can we get pizza?"

"Baby, we're in a new city, with all sorts of food it's known for!  Your Grandmomma and Aunt Karla and everybody said we've got to try po'boys, red beans and rice, jambalaya, beignets, alligator sausage..."

"Ew!"

We got pizza, of course, and she nodded off just as soon as we got her bed made afterward.

Anyway, so that part of the move went okay.  Obviously we've been busy with a lot more since, but, yeah, we got here, at least!

-Jonah/Krystle

Friday, September 09, 2022

Marc/Chantelle: Down to the last play

Okay, this is almost the last you'll hear from me about softball, now that the season is over.

Our 5-4 record was actually enough to make it to the playoff, which was exciting, even though I had nothing to do with it (and actively harmed the team more than helped.) Word got around and some of the associates and external partners wanted to come watch us play... which included Damon, aka my wife Laura, who I was surprised to see at the diamond.

As if that wasn't bad enough, he brought his wife, meaning there was basically a forcefield around him meaning I couldn't talk to him all night besides a cordial hello, nice to see you here at the beginning of the game (where I did my best to stifle my surprise, disappointment and mild delight at seeing her.)

I was so put off I decided to put my energy elsewhere, focusing on talking to Daisy and, once the game got going, my friend Djuro. I don't know if Djuro is trying to start a "thing" with me, maybe it's in my head and I'm being paranoid but the signs are there. He's always quick to offer me a high five and a congratulations and sit with me on the bench. I, weirdly enough, have kind of encouraged it and probably even crossed a line by offering him a shoulder rub when he said he was tight (he took me up on it and I got about three seconds in before deciding it was weird, but I kept going nonetheless.) We're kind of flirty, and to my own surprise I kind of like being flirty but I don't really know that there's more to it than that.

The game was good, close but a losing effort at 12-10, although I did manage to get on base nearly every at bat, batted a runner in, and didn't completely embarrass myself on the field. After the game, a bunch of the guys went out for drinks, but I went home alone, claiming to be tired but really just unable to cope with the presence of my wife and... her wife.

I got home and put on my PJs and poured myself a glass of wine, and checked my phone to find a string of texts from throughout the night.

From Damon.

"You've got great form."

"Great hit babe."

"Love to watch you run... especially in those shorts" (for the last few games it's been so hot that I've been wearing extremely short and form-fitting red athletic shorts that definitely highlight my posterior and thighs.)

"I'm loving seeing you out there, so confident."

"Chantelle's body looks so good on you."

I felt a rush. This is what I wanted. Attention from Laura. It occurred to me that maybe seeing me having a good time with Djuro from afar fired up her jealousy and made her want to try to win my attention back. We're still in sort of an ambiguous place but it was already seeming like Laura was ready to maybe work on resolving it.

As I was reading and processing all of this, I got another text:

"Janessa wanting to go home early but saying I should stay out with "the gang". Want me to come over?"

My heart skipped a beat. Despite everything, I did want that.

I took a breath and texted... "Sure."

He was there in 40 minutes (which sucked because I was waiting but... beggars can't be choosers I guess.)

I welcomed him in and we did some small talk. I said I enjoyed his texts and he said I enjoyed watching me play, that this all was unlocking a side of me that he liked seeing.

"I feel like, if we were to do something, I would be getting the Marc I love back... and I started to think, how could that be wrong?"

I looked up at him, feeling so small and womanly and vulnerable, my lips trembling as I assured him it couldn't.

We locked eyes, his lips moved toward mine and we kissed.

I...

I had to sort of push myself to realize that kissing a guy isn't that different from kissing a woman, lips are lips, and inside this is the person I love, and I think this body really seems to enjoy (much to my bemusement) Damon's physical presence. It's more startling to kiss as a woman, being small, being held, having his hands search you. I think Laura is really embracing the masculine side of the equation as he started to feel my hips and down my leg and up my arms.

I couldn't let it end. We kissed and kissed and kissed. We kissed on the couch, we kissed on the floor, we kissed with me on top, with him looming over me, side by side. He ran his hands over my hair, I held his bald scalp. There was this element of danger and newness that made me forget all my reservations.

Then I noticed he started unfastening his belt and I put the brakes on.

"Woah-oh" I said abruptly, "I... I don't think I'm ready for that yet."

He kind of looked at me for a while, maybe trying to decide if he should argue his point or let it be, but ultimately he came down on the side of understanding, saying "Sorry, sorry, I was just getting carried away."

"Yeah," I stammered, flustered, "I mean, I could be ready eventually, just... not tonight, you know? Zero to 100..."

"Of course."

I think if he had pressed his case a little harder I may have gone along with it. I could definitely feel my body getting revved up and it was just a snap return to consciousness that made me stop. I think I do want to try it by the time my time here is done, but obviously I have a certain discomfort with that going there. There's the argument that if I want it, and this body is built for it (and I have a partner I can trust) I should go for it, but... would you say that to a 16-year-old? Because that's kind of how I feel as far as my development as a woman. Not quite ready to take control of all that.

I decided to head off some disappointment by offering something else. "If you want I could..." I made a little hand motion.

"You would?" he asked, skeptically.

"Sure," I said, pushing myself to be accommodating. "I mean, I know the territory a bit."

I didn't have to offer twice.

It was... I mean, a little weird doing it from this angle, with a hand that doesn't "match" the equipment, not quite knowing what pressure and speed he would enjoy, but I think I made a good go of it. I felt silly at certain points, but it was nice to de-mystify that part of it, to acquaint myself with "Little Damon." Take some of the fear out of it.

Partway through he asked, politely, if I could go topless.

"Oh," I said blushing, "Curious about what I've got going on here?"

"I'll admit to having a certain admiration for it..." he replied coyly.

I already didn't have a bra on due to being in my pajamas, so I just slipped my top off. I let him feel them a little bit, which was... really nice. Very intimate to let my boobs hang out for him like that. It's nice to have a body that people enjoy touching, that seems so ready for it. They're so jiggly and squishy and just fun, so it's nice to be able to share them with him. 

Anyway, we finished our activity, cleaned up, and rested a moment before I let him get back home.

After he was gone I felt a lot of conflicting feelings... sadness, regret I hadn't gone further, dismay that my wife was still going home to another woman... pride that I had done what I had done, crossed a threshold that I didn't know I was ready to do but also set my limits... hope that this is the beginning of getting back on solid ground between us, and fear that we wouldn't get the opportunity again.

Edit: I've just re-read this and realized at some point I started referring to Laura as "him." So be it... what we did was very physical and she has a "he" body, so... why not. It's not wrong to call me "she," I guess.

Sunday, September 04, 2022

Marc/Chantelle: Some crying in baseball

Sometimes I just can't cope with what this body is doing to me.

I was a pretty stoic guy. I may have felt things but I didn't exactly wear my heart on my sleeve. But this body is changing me inside and out, and it's hard to be comfortable with it.

A few weeks ago during one of our softball games, I failed pretty badly. I got put in a position to make a make a big play, playing the outfield where I could have caught a pop fly and then maybe made a double play. Instead I let it drop in front of me and completely botched the throw and let two runs in, blowing our lead and ultimately causing us to lose.

Nobody really expects much from me. I'm just there to be "a girl on the team" after all, but as a man my pride was wounded and it didn't help that Michelle -- who's more serious than most of the guys -- had some huffy words for me afterwards. I took it to heart and went home crying.

It's stupid, it's so stupid, it doesn't mean anything in the long run since it's just a game, and even Michelle's husband Tomas assured me that she was over the line because it's just beer league, but I took it hard because of how much it surprised me. I don't know how I would have reacted in my old life -- laughed it off, thrown some shade back at her, whatever, because again, it's not like I fancy myself some big softball star but I do want to pull my weight. All these female hormones have really put me on my back foot because I realize they're doing the driving. Emotional reactions, snap decisions, and even personal opinions are being influenced by brainwaves that I don't fully understand and am not totally comfortable with.

In the end it's not really about baseball, it's about wishing I could shut it all off and go back to being a man, even though there are things about this life that kind of work for me.

Anyway, the season's almost over and I'm going to have to find some other way to distract myself besides sitting around the house and petting my kitty.

I mean, you guys remember I have a cat, right? That's not a euphemism.

Friday, September 02, 2022

Andi/Andy: Considering College

For the past year, if you asked me, Andy, most of our friends, our parents, and on out, about college, we'd all make some sort of groaning noise, like uuuggghhhh.   Obviously, the two of us had bigger things to consider about our futures, but even aside from wanting to put off anything that we could really mess up for each other, it's just such a pain, and both our parents and our friends with older siblings say it's more messed up than it was in their days, with Covid making campus visits and taking SATs and Achievements more of an effort, although they're apparently not so important for a lot of places.

Enough still look at them to be a pain, though.  Andy says he wants to major in something like history or pre-law, and those aren't really things I'm going to test well for when I show up for the test with his driver's license; my ideas for my future are even more vague - I don't know if electrical engineering with a minor in theater is a thing you can do, but Andy's scores are not going to get me into a good program for that, no matter how terrific my essays are.

(We both can kind of write, but a lot of our teachers who had us for freshman and sophomore years raised eyebrows at the beginning of last year about how, while our homework assignments seemed the same, our in-person essay tests were odd, with "Andi" turning in better-structured arguments while "Andy" had regressed but had what they called "a livelier style" when I was writing but signing his name.)

Anyway, we talked about delaying, making plans to take a gap year, and I think that still may be the best idea, but Shawna, Cyndi, Len, and a few other people said that sounded nice, but also talked about how we were all planning to apply to some of the same schools and being roommates, and so didn't want us to be a year behind.  And it's not like we want that either.  So we're doing a lot of what we've been doing for the past year, trying to set things up so that we're acting normal and can jump back in when we switch back, although we're doing more to acknowledge that things can go wrong like our friends wouldn't believe and planning for that as well.

So in the meantime, we're kind of trying to split the middle or find some overlap.  We visited a few in-state places the week before our senior year started, both state schools and others that have decent programs in science and what they call "the humanities", and nobody seems to think it's particularly weird if your twin tags along for every stop even if it doesn't seem to be their thing.  Exceptions were made for the place that had separate boys' & girls' dorm buildings, rather than mixed ones, and it was kind of a relief that this was still kind of weird for us - we've been in and out of locker rooms and other spaces where there isn't much overlap, and they were mostly empty with just a few summer students hanging around before the next semester, but it was still something like 10% of the smell of a locker room permeating the entire floor.

All that makes it sound awful, but Andy and I were really excited!  We met some cool people our age on the tours, there were real labs in the science departments as opposed to just a few things in the back of a classroom, a couple places had cool sports arenas, and okay, being in a boy's dorm was kind of weird, but the ones where there were co-ed floors seemed awesome.  You've got your own place, but there's also the cafeteria and the quad and game rooms and quiet rooms and it all feels like yours.  I mean, I love Mom & Dad & Andy, but especially for the last year-plus, we've had so much "you should be doing this!" even as they're supposedly trying to let go makes it feel really appealing.

Mom & Dad have also been pretty good about giving Andy and I some space on this sort of thing.  Like, I know Dad wasn't really going to go to bed at 7pm while we were at the hotel back on the 18th, but just giving Andy and I some time to sort of hang out and talk about stuff that most folks were just pondering themselves but which we really couldn't.  We weren't really super-serious about it - we had spotted a place that had weird Mexican ice cream flavors and decided to stop there before wandering around downtown, but we didn't wander long.  It's partly my fault; back when I was shorter than him, I'd sort of developed a tendency to walk fast when we were together to keep up and I haven't quite shaken it, so he has to try and practically jog to keep up with me.  Anyway, we wound up sitting by the hotel pool, crossing our fingers that nobody was going to show up and be weird.

I admit, I took off my shirt/socks/shoes and jumped in for a bit, because it was still hot even at 9pm.  Andy didn't, but he'd conceded to the heat a bit with a tank top and shorts that didn't get close to his knees, and sat by the edge sticking his feet in.  "You're going to miss going topless, aren't you?"

"Nah.  I mean, a bikini's not that far off, and I do feel kind of naked like this, still.  And, like, watching guys walking around between their dorm rooms with their shirts off and having conversations while one is at a urinal with the restroom doors open is a good reminder that you can take this sort of thing too far."

He stuck out his tongue.  "Ew.  Was I that gross?"

I shrugged.  "Sometimes?  I mean, you could be, but if the last year has shown me anything, it's that a lot of guys don't have sisters telling them something isn't cool."

"Well, sorry for what I did do."  He laughed.  "If it's any consolation, I think some of the girls on the floor I visited were sort of doing a skit where one ran into another's room wearing workout clothes and asked if she had a spare tampon, to show how on your own you were and that there was nobody around treating you like a kid.  Worse actors than Shawna."

"Hey, not cool!  I don't talk shit about Len!"

He didn't respond right away.  "You can, if you want.  I think that I'm going to break up with him before he can invite me to Homecoming."  He paused again.  "He's not a bad guy, but you know how he was trying to talk his way onto this trip, right, like he's got some sort of duty to scope out where his girlfriend might go to school?"

"Yeah."

"I don't know that he thinks I'm going to hook up with someone while you're not looking or anything, but he whines whenever I'm doing something with Shawna where he's not invited, and had a lot of opinions about our classes for the fall, and, you know, always tries to sit a little bit closer."

"Duh, he's a guy.  No offense."

"None taken, but I don't think I'd be like that, and not just because I've got you to slap me upside the head."  I must have looked kind of concerned, because he backed off a bit.  "Hey, I don't think he'd attack me or you or whatever, or try to make us do things we don't want to do, but he needs to learn some boundaries, and maybe it should be an actual girl teaching him.  I dunno."

I pulled myself out of the pool and gave him a side hug.  "Hey, it's okay, but I wish you'd told me.  I know we've never done the 'defend your honor' thing, but we always stuck up for each other, even before this!"

He playfully pushed me away and irritably pulled at his top, trying to shake it dry so it wasn't clinging to his right boob where I got it wet without taking it off.  "Cut that out!"

"Sorry."  I scooted over and turned my head.  "You're not worried he won't want to be friends with either of us if you do that?"

He shrugged.  "Yeah, I am, but it's not like we're turning back before graduation, and after that, who knows when we'll see each other again after that?  We may not even get accepted into the same places, so maybe we shouldn't worry about anything from high school carrying over."

I nodded, thinking of Shawna and Cyndi and a few other folks.  "I guess."

It had gotten dark, so I tried to scrape as much water off me with my hands as I could and got dress so we could go back to our rooms.  The next morning, Dad asked what we talked about and we told him the tampon story, and that was enough for him to look like he regretted asking.

Then, the next Monday, we started Senior Year, which so far is a lot like Junior Year with a little extra "hey, this might be our last..." to it.

-Andi-with-an-i

Monday, August 29, 2022

Daryl/Zee: Meet-Cute

J.T. put on a pretty darn good performance Thursday night, acting like I just randomly caught his eye across the bar, buying me a drink, pretending like he didn't expect me to recognize him but would be hurt if I didn't.  It's a funny thing, our lives - if you've been to the Inn, you're eventually going to get into a position where you've got to perform as someone else, and it's different from what he does in that you don't really have to be convincing, because there's no reason for anyone to actually doubt you, but there are so many ways to be "off" that make it harder for people to follow their own part of the script, so to speak.  When you throw a professional actor like J.T. into it, though, it's something else.

At times, I'm not so sure that's a great thing - he was so convincingly Elaine that I fell for her, and hasn't that made my life crazy over the past few years?  Everyone else either just tries to keep their heads down or commits to living their new life, and while that inevitably makes a mess, because humans are messy, it's usually a clumsy mess that we can stumble out of awkwardly.  But he was just too good.

On the other hand - that night was exciting.  Like, we've kind of been doing some performances together for a while, like our "breakup" in June that got me a bunch of sympathy from the friends and co-workers I had as Magda but which left him a fair amount of time to have his friends start pushing him to find someone new, while I've been sort of laying the groundwork to leave the next Magda able to do whatever she wants without it seeming weird.

Still - it was kind of surprising to see just how well he was selling it.  I mean, I know J.T. well already, and I never really thought of myself as a woman who wanted a man to pay attention to me.  Sometimes I don't even think of myself as a woman, but a guy who has wound up in a woman's body because the girl I liked was really a man and this worked out easier.  But here's J.T., doing that, and it's kind of working on me.  I mean, I've never been a single girl looking for a guy's attention, but I did kind of worry that maybe with this new shape and voice and smell or whatever, we might lose chemistry, but, nah, he's interested and I'm excited by that.

He calls a taxi and we get back to his/our apartment, and we kiss for a long time, letting us get used to how my new lips feel before we do much else.  He's really excited to undress me, though, and I let him, not letting him touch anything until he's got me completely naked, and even then kind of making him look me all over, starting from how I've actually got pretty nice toes (I don't think prior Zees have crammed them into the sort of shoes that squish them together than much) to the shape of my legs.  Then he's laying hands on my firmer ass, and from there it's not far to my tits, and he's kissing those and being kind of cute in how he's not sure whether I want to hear how much better they are or if I'll take that as him saying that he didn't enjoy what I had as Magda.

Eventually, we get to the bed, and for all that it's exciting, I'm tighter down there than I was, and he likes it but it's also a little harder than he's had to work before.  We both get a little surprised when something that had always brought be to orgasm before feels good but isn't quite the same, although we get there eventually, and it's good enough to leave us both lying there, panting.

We hang out as much as we can over the weekend - he is in a show, after all - and most of today, before I get on a plane (ugh, paying for airline tickets!) and head back "home", where I will act so spacey and distracted for the next couple of weeks that everybody will hopefully take my not knowing who they are as being head over heels in love.

--Daryah (maybe? I'm pronouncing it dare-ee-yah in my head)