Thursday, September 28, 2006

Art: Severely mixed blessings

The others think I'm taking this unusually well, which is probably the case. So long as they don't think I'm taking it suspiciously well, I guess. I don't know why that is; maybe there's a part me that's glad to put parts of my life behind me, at least for a while; maybe there's another part that likes the idea of collecting new experiences and perspectives to later write about. Either one of those is gone, and I figure I'm a quivering blob of jelly.

That said, when I got into the bathroom this morning at nine-thirty, took off my pajama pants, and saw little red spots on my plain white cotton panties, I screamed like a little girl.

I suppose that's appropriate, right? But that really confirms it. I'd sort of had the idea that we'd only changed on the surface, that even though we looked like women, that we'd just been sort of pushed and pulled into other shapes. After all, when someone has a sex-change operation, they don't actually implant functional ovaries and the like, they just re-shape existing tissue. But if I'm menstruating - menstruating, for crying out loud - then these changes are more than skin deep.

So, guys - if you haven't had a visitor yet, it's coming. We've got the equipment for it.

There's supplies and stuff in the bathroom, of course - Elizabeth lives here, after all, so there's pads and pills in the medicine cabinet. I guess I'd better start taking those, now that I know when Elizabeth's - my - period starts. I'd avoided it, since I remember reading somewhere that birth control pills can cause someone to be feminized, and I don't need to get more like that.

I settled in for a day of feeling sorry for myself, until around two when Raymond calls to say he's got the use of the firm's Red Sox season tickets tonight. Good seats, he says - the home plate pavillion. Am I working tonight?

No, I'm not. And, hey, since I hope to be myself again before spring training, it might be my only chance to see Fenway while I'm out here. Since I'm not really feeling that yucky, I say sure, why not. I rummage through Liz's drawers, find out the only Sox shirt she has is a pink babydoll thing with Manny Ramirez's name on the back. My estimate of her taste drops a bit, but, hey, you cheer for the hand you're dealt.

I meet him in front of the ballpark, and, wow, it's different than going to an A's or even Giants game. Now, understand, I like the Coliseum, but it is out in the middle of nowhere. Pac Bell is downtown, but the area around Fenway Park is just all dedicated to baseball on a game day. I poke around the souvenir stores for something less pink, and eventually Raymond arrives. He's got the tickets, and we head up.

And up, and up. We're almost up in the broadcast booths, and there's a bar and buffet behind us. It's seriously nice, and I almost can't believe this ballpark is almost ninety years old. They deliver dinner right to our seats, and Ray tells me that the seats themselves are much more comfortable than where they usually sit.

The game was close through six innings, and then it just became a complete ass-kicking, with the Devil Rays scoring nine runs in the seventh. The folks around us were getting ugly, but I couldn't really join in whole-heartedly - neither one's my team. It was just a crazy baseball game I could watch without a real rooting interest, though I went along with the rest of the crowd.

Ray was pretty cool - he'd never been in seats this good - in Boston, they cost something like three times what pretty good seats cost even to see the Giants - and I gather Elizabeth isn't nearly as a big a fan as he is, so he was offering helpful information all night. He even offered to leave during the ugliness, but I could tell he was expecting "Big Papi" to do something miraculous, so we stayed.

And then braved the "T" afterward. It's crazy; after every game, roughly twenty thousand people try to squeeze through Kenmore station. By the time we got through and into a car, we were squished together in a manner which, if I were in his shoes, I would not have found altogether unpleasant.

I suppose he didn't have to keep his hands on my butt, or occasionally kiss me, but we were a dating couple sharing the same space on the subway; it's what people do. And I suppose my head might have been a little off from the morning's events and the three seven-dollar beers, so I was just kind of going along. I didn't push him away, but I didn't really encourage him, either. The most I did was pucker my lips when he leaned over to kiss, because otherwise he might have looked like a fool. But I knew, in the back of my head, where this was going.

We got back to the apartment and went to the bedroom; I made some comment about him having to be up early tomorrow, but he said he could handle it. He peeled my shirt off and smiled at what he found, even though I don't have nearly what Jake does up there. He said something about it having been much too long, then started to unzip my pants. It felt weird to have him undress me and not seem to expect me to do much in return - when I bed a girl, there's a little more give-and-take - but maybe this is their thing. He'd gotten my pants down when he saw the little wingy things of the pad protruding from my panties and stopped. "It's that time of month?"

"Looks like", I said.

"I thought that wasn't till next week."

I suppose I shouldn't be creeped out that he knew Liz's cycle; after all, they've been dating and living together a while. Apparently, when I turned into this, I picked up where Elizabeth left off, so her cycle was on hold for three weeks. Or at least, that's my best explanation. I didn't think of that until later, though, and just shrugged. He backed off, looking apolagetic, saying he was sorry, and usually I'm the one who objects...

Whatever, I say. It's kind of gross, and now the moment's gone anyway. He apologizes, and heads to the bathroom as quickly as he can.

Weird end to the day. Who would have thought, thirteen hours earlier, that I'd be glad to be having my period?


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Jeff: how things change

It's amazing how quickly everything can change.

So there I was, sitting at the computer looking up what I should wear and how to do makeup when I gave myself a little reality check. Sitting there in just bra and panties--already weird enough for me--it's like I suddenly remembered that I was just a kid. It's not like I would've let Mel out of the house all tarted up or anything, so what the hell was I doing checking up makeup? Plenty of time for that shit later, you know? After all, it looked like I was in for the whole Brianna experience long term.


Which had me thinking about the whole 'date' thing, which also helped me relax loads. Again: I was just a kid, yeah? Colin was a couple years older, but it's not like anything could happen. Thinking about it that way, I wasn't sure why he asked me out at all. The guy was a jock and all, and hitting on a chick a couple of grades down? Man, he was going to get it bad in the locker rooms afterwards.

So I dressed pretty casual and relaxed, just some low-riding jeans and t-shirt. Though I've got to say I still looked pretty damn fine--for a kid, for chrissakes--and I combed out this mane I was stuck with and slid on a little coloured lip moisterizer. After that it was a quick half-lie to the parents as Jenny came to pick me up and we took off.

Jenny's a friend of Brianna's. She seems nice enough, a pretty girl who seemed a little shy. It's not like we've talked much. I haven't talked much to anyone since I've taken over this life. Looking to change that I asked her how things were going (not bad, parents arguing again, little brother a pain) and carried the conversation and it was kind of weird how put-off she seemed that I was asking all these questions. We hit a Starbucks and met Colin and some others from the school there.

"See you later," Jenny said, sounding like she was used to taking off at this point.

"You sure?" I remember shrugging and nodding towards the small group of kids. "Why not stay, come out with us tonight?"

She looked at me as if I'd grown a second head. "Um... you sure?"

She stayed, of course. Personally, I was happy to have someone else 'my age' there. Colin and his two friends were all a few years older, which makes a huge difference when you're suddenly fourteen. Colin was all Peter Crouch legs and he towered over me, and I suddenly became really, really aware of how friggin' small I really now was. I barely cleared five feet as it was, and I had this suspicion I wasn't about to enjoy any kind of growth spurt, which left me with confronting the reality that I was going to be spraining my neck looking up at people for the rest of my life.

There was this slightly awkward round of hellos and we went off to see a movie downtown. It should've been weirder than it was. I mean, I was on a date, yeah? With a friggin' guy! But like I said, I couldn't feel any kind of pervy vibe because I could easily hide behind that "I'm just a kid" shield and try and think of it as just a night out with some friends.

(Ignoring, of course, the fact that these people might be Brianna's friends, but I had no clue who there really were.)

There was the usual argument at the theatre. Amanda--this snotty cheerleader chick dating Colin's friend Sam--wanted to see Pulse. The guys wanted the Jackass movie. Jenny didn't offer something, and I freaked out the whole gang by suggesting Gridiron Gang. What can I say, I love football movies. A little tilt of my head and a bashful smile and I got my way, too! Yeah, I rock.

Or so I thought. Because everything was just going great and for the first time I actually felt happy--yeah, actually happy!--as we walked into that theatre, carrying all this popcorn and coke, and I was just chatting away with Colin and Jenny in a relaxed kind of way as we found our seats....

And then the lights went down, and yeah... everything changed real quick.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Arthur: Money, Honey.

I don't think I mentioned this earlier, but I was kind of working Elizabeth's job for free for the past couple weeks. At least it felt that way; Elizabeth is paid via direct deposit and her ATM card was not something she included with her luggage. I didn't think it was a big deal at first, since I figured I'd cash her check and start a new checking account. Besides, who wants to just leave their ATM card around for a stranger to find? Maybe you'll get lucky and the nightmare will end, and you'd rather not have your account depleted.

But, once I started to assume her life, things got tricky. I'd done the same thing, and kept my ATM card, but I gave it to Jeremy after withdrawing a couple hundred bucks last Wednesday. The plan had been to go to the bank and report my card stolen, but what if they ask for a PIN or something? Describing why it's identity theft is an amusing thought, but no-one will believe me anyway.

Fortunately, it doesn't look like it'll come to that. I got an envelope in the mail today that had "Elizabeth Lee" on it - just like that, in quotes. The postmark was from Montreal, which was kind of unexpected. I'm glad it had the quotes as some kind of signal that it's supposed to be for me. I'm still a little nervous opening Liz's mail, which is silly, considering I wear her clothes and sleep next to her boyfriend and I can't make people believe I'm not her. I still don't want to invade her privacy any more than I absolutely have to, even though that seems to be a lot.

So, I open it up, and the first thing that falls out is a debit card, along with another letter from the real Elizabeth Lee. She says that she's living in Montreal under the name of Marie Desjardins, but not to write to her or try to communicate unless it's a real emergency. Marie's boyfriend is bad news, and jealous at that, and he's already kind of freaking out over her suddenly being much more comfortable speaking l'anglais. Heck, part of the reason she was sending me her old ATM card was so that he wouldn't find it and ask questions. She says that if I need to get in touch with her, it's probably best to do it through Ashlyn. I got her address for Jean-Michel Therriot, which is apparently Ashlyn's new name. But contact her sparingly, too.

This makes things a little easier, I guess, but it also pulls me into her life deeper. I'm not writing anything but this right now; I'm working her job. Now I'm just a little deeper into her life. Convenient or not, it's not the direction I want to be going.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Jake/Ashlyn-- magic boobs and girls night out

After being “Eye candy” at the Patriots game, I spent most of the following week looking for work. As Jake I liked to work. My job as a motion graphics artist (I did graphics for television) was interesting and paid well. Plus people generally thought I had a cool job—people would ask what I did for a living, and I would say something like “Did you see the commercial with the aliens that buy a spaceship from the used car salesman? I did the aliens.” The reactions were always the same—“You did that!? That was amazing!” I pretended to be modest, but deep down I am an artist, and artists like to hear good things about their work. I guess I liked the attention I got as well.

These days I’m getting much more attention than I ever did as Jake. Unfortunately it isn’t work related. No, I get noticed everywhere I go because I have magic boobs. I say magic because my boobs seem to affect all those around me. People, mostly men, but a few women too—can not keep their eyes off of them. As Jake I had a girlfriend accuse me of having “elevator eyes” and she was right, I was admiring her curves. I wondered how she could tell where I was looking, and let me tell you: Guys it is incredibly obvious. Imagine trying to have a conversation with someone who was staring down at the floor. It is not subtle; you are not getting away with anything.

On the plus side, my magic boobs attract free things. I have been given more free things in this time as Ashlyn than I have in my entire life as Jake. People WANT to give me things. I have received free cab rides, been given free tickets to movies, and free food. Managers at restaurants suddenly appear at my table and say the meal is on them. I start going to a Starbucks at the same time everyday, and soon I start finding my order is there waiting for me when I walk in—and it is on the house. I’m constantly amazed by what people do to get close to my boobs.

Last Friday night the power of my boobs reached a new high—Billie, Jordan and I went out dancing and bar hopping. I wasn’t something I had wanted to do, but when they asked if wanted to go and I immediately said no, they turned on the pressure. Apparently Ashlyn has been a real bad roommate in the past. Jordan started listing all the reasons “I” owed the two of them, and I had no defense, for all I know the original Ashlyn was a real pain in the ass. I give in, I want to be on good terms with my roommates—rent is due in a week and I am still a little short. “Why do you guys want me to come?” I ask. Billie and Jordan give each other a look like I asked something odd. “You know.” Jordan said rolling her eyes and walking away.

Later that night, when I first stepped out of my room and said I was ready, the two of them took a look at me and almost simultaneously asked “You’re wearing that?” They demanded I change out of my jeans and t-shirt. I ended up in something they picked out, and Billie helped me with my hair and makeup. What they picked out were some tight red pants and a white “cami” top that really showed off my boobs. Even worse, the pants were so form-fitting that I had to wear a thong. Apparently it is some big social crime to show panty lines.

We grab a cab and head into Boston—a place called Cactus club. They had amazing margaritas. The margaritas kind of made me homesick for Texas—you can get them everywhere there. I downed two of them. Funny, I really started to loosen up after that. We were a popular group; lots of people joined us at our table. After a while I quit worrying about being a girl, and just started to have a good time.

About a hour later, Jordan leans over and asks me and Billie if we are ready to go to “Dad’s” which is short for “Dad’s beantown diner”. At the time, I didn’t know “dad’s” was a dance club, so I gave her an enthusiastic yes. She then slides over the bar tab to me. It had all of our drinks on it, as well as some of our “friends” who stopped by our table. It wasn’t the hugest of bar tabs, but in my financial state, I really couldn’t afford to be buying everyone drinks. “You want me to pay this?” I ask her incredulously.

“No.” She says, “Just do that thing you do.”

My thing? She reminds me, giving me an odd look—“You know, the thing where you stand up, wave the tab in the air and say: this is my bar tab, going once, going twice…”

I could not quite grasp what was supposed to happen, but it was apparently something Ashlyn had done in the past. I was drunk enough to give it a try.

I stood up, waving the bar tab over my head. “This is my bar tab.” I pause, feeling like an idiot. “Going once, going twice—“

Three guys suddenly appeared in front on me, one was faster than the other two and he snatched the tab out of my hand. He turned to the other guys and gave them a “too slow.” He introduced himself as Mike and said he would love to pay my tab. I then realized why Billie and Jordan wanted me to tag along—they wanted to borrow my magical boobs.

I ended up giving Mike my phone number—not because I wanted too, but because I felt obligated to after he spent so much money on me. Billie leaned in and said to him that “we” were heading over to “Dad’s” and maybe we would see him over there.

As we walked out of the Cactus club Billie said to me that Mike was really cute. I say I didn’t notice, and she shakes her head. “It must be good to be you, cute guys fighting over your bar tabs.”

The dance club was packed, and there was a line out front. I started to get into line, and Jordan and Billie looked disappointed. “What about talking to the guy at the door?” Jordan asks, “He might know you.”

I walk up to the guy at the door and give him a big smile. To the annoyance of everyone in line, we were let right in.

A few drinks later, I was brave enough to follow Jordan and Billie onto the dance floor. The lights were flashing, the music was loud and I danced with the girls. I really didn’t know what I was doing, so I just mimicked some of the women near me. No one seemed to notice, and it was really kind of fun, so I really started to let go and get into it.

I kept drinking and dancing and at some point I was no longer just dancing with the girls. Mike had shown up, and I danced with him and some other guys. It felt so good on the dance floor, I just didn’t care. I had been so stressed for so long—even before I became Ashlyn, I hardly took any time off, I was all about work—it felt good to just cut loose and not worry about anything.

Then suddenly I was dancing with Josh. He said he had talked to Dean and found out I had gone dancing—and he wanted to see if he could have a dance with me. I considered walking off the dance floor, but I had already danced with just about everyone, one more wasn’t going to kill me. I decided to not make it a big deal—I just wasn’t going to let him get too close, he stole a kiss the last time I saw him.

So we danced. We take a break, he buys me another drink. In the back of my mind I was wondering how much Ashlyn could drink—little alarm bells were going off—but when you have already crossed the “I’ve drank too much” line, you tend to ignore the warnings.

Billie and Jordan catch up with us, and let me know they have had enough, and were going home. Was I coming with them? I hesitated and Joss said if I wanted to stay longer, he would take care of me.

So I stayed, and we danced some more. At some point I forgot to keep some distance between us, and our bodies started rubbing against each other. I remember that when I looked at him, I wasn’t attracted to him—he was just another good looking guy, and that really didn’t do much for me—but when I closed my eyes, and I could feel his hands running over my body…suddenly I felt like I was on fire.

We started kissing on the dance floor. This time the kisses were not stolen, because I was kissing back.

I woke up the next morning hung over, in a bed I didn’t recognize, wearing a t-shirt that wasn’t mine and my thong. I was completely disoriented, my brain sluggish. Then I put all the evidence together.


I jump out off bed, but my legs were not ready for that, and I fell to the floor. As I was thrashing about, Josh came into the room; he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and looked like he had been up for a while.

He helps me up, and I punch him.

He falls back, more surprised than hurt. “Fuck! Ash, what did you do that for?”
“You son of a bitch! You knew I was drunk! You took advantage of me!” I screamed at him.

“You don’t remember what happened after the dance club.” It was a statement, not a question. He starts laughing—which really infuriates me. I start kicking him while he is down.

“No! Ash! We didn’t do anything! I swear!” He then goes on to tell me that I had all but passed out on the dance floor, so we took a cab to my house—only I apparently had lost my keys. So instead of knocking on the door and waking everyone up, I asked to stay at his place. Unfortunately, during the short walk to Josh’s I became sick and threw up—getting some of it on my clothes. Josh basically carried me in, undressed me, cleaned me up and put me to bed. He had slept on the couch.

Feeling very foolish, I apologized. We wash my clothes and had breakfast together. Josh had ran out and gotten us donuts and coffee. The coffee was amazing. I asked Josh what kind it was and he grinned. “It your favorite.”

I get dressed, hesitate, but give him a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks for taking care of me.”

It’s a short distance, so I decided to walk home. All the way home, what was really running though my mind: Why did I ask Josh if I could stay at his place? Why didn’t I just wake someone up? And what would have happened if I hadn’t thrown up?

Damn. I meant to go over some things from the trip to Maine, but I guess I needed to get Friday night out of my head and onto the page. I’ll catch up later.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Jeff: Still getting ready for Saturday night

Supper last night was a little strange.

First of all, 'Daddy' was home. His name's Jack, and I haven't written much about the guy because he's never around. I'm not sure what he does but apparently it keeps him away for weeks at a time. He got home yesterday just an hour before supper. I get the impression him being there was supposed to be a big surprise, and a real big deal for Brianna, because everyone was watching me with these big expectant eyes when I came downstairs.

Stepping into the dinning room, I was still thinking about everything I'd written and about this thing with Colin tonight and about my sister, so didn't really notice that Jack was there. When his smile slipped I felt a little sad for the guy, but wasn't sure what to do. This awkward silence fell and I knew I'd just blown something big. Linda was the first to speak, and her voice was chilling. "Aren't you going to say hello to your father?" she said, or something like that.

"Um. . . hello?" I said. His big smile slipped and he looked both sad and annoyed.

"How about a hug?" he asked, spreading his arms wide, and his voice was half-pleading, half-commanding.

And I suddenly knew what I was supposed to do. I don't know where it came from. It's not something even Mel would've ever done, or Mandy, but for some reason it felt right for Brianna. Forcing the biggest, bestest smile I could fake, I let out this big "Daddy!" and threw myself into his arms. "I was just kidding, Daddy!" I insisted, looking up at him. "I'm just so happy you're back!" I didn't want to overdo it or anything, but had the feeling that that simply wasn't possible.

Well, that broke the tension and we dug into the kind of meal that I could've only dreamed of back home. It's not like we had family time that often, what with Pop working all the time, but I usually tried to get the guys and Mel together whenever I could. Then it was all about grabbing what you could before anyone else stole it, and slagging each other off, and it was all loud and we fought and it was fun and real. Last night wasn't. Last night was weird. Last night was all about . . . Brianna. Me. It's like I was on stage or something. Jack kept asking me about what I'd been up to, and everytime Linda tried to say something he's gently but firmly ask her to sush and ask me to go on.

What the hell was I supposed to talk about? It's not like I'd been up to anything for the last three weeks. But it became clear that short answers weren't going to be enough so I spun it out and turned into a bit of a chatterbox. Thing is, the more I chatted on and on and on the happier he seemed, and Linda as well, for some reason. It's like I was reassuring them that I was okay or something.

Let's just say it suddenly made me really happy that I had plans to go out tonight. God, by the time I escaped back to my room I was exhausted. Didn't have any problems getting permission to go out tonight either. Jack seemed a bit disappointed but I gave him a little pout and big eyes and he ruffled my hair and said of course I could go out. Didn't tell them I was meeting a guy of course. Mel would've been proud. She tried that shit often enough with me.

Mel. Yeah, I never finished that off, did I. The reason I brough her up. Because everything went a bit crazy on Friday and I didn't say why. See, after Colin asked me out--and I said 'yes'--I was feeling pretty messed in the head. I barely noticed the ride home, wondering what the hell I was thinking. Then I got to my room and checked the blog and....

I didn't take Art's news about the cabin well. He might not've seen Jeff, but if Art's got a double and Jake's got a double than it's damn well likely that someone is out there right now living my life as well. And believe me, that's pretty fucked up when you think about it. Worse, it meant that I probably wasn't going back--there couldn't be two Jeffs, could there?--I was trapped as Brianna... I'm Brianna, a girl, this is my life....

And suddenly all the stress of the last month came bubbling up, and all the loneliness, and the loss, and the being a girl thing, and Colin asking me out was just the icing on that cake, and I just kind of collapsed to the ground in tears, but I didn't want to cry out because dealing with my 'mom' would've been even worse, but I so desperately needed to talk to someone and hear a friendly voice....

I called Melissa. I called my fifteen year old little sister, and when she answered the phone I was this total sobbing mess on the other end. It's a miracle I didn't tell her I was Jeff. And I guess she recognzied the number because she went "Bree?" and "Bree, what's wrong?" and her voice somehow made it worse but also settled me down a bit.

Honestly, I'm not sure what we talked about. We talked for hours. Seriously. And by the end I felt a hell of a lot better. If it hadn't been for her there's no way I could've made it through the weirdness of last night with... 'Daddy'. And if it hadn't been for Mel there's no way I could've sat here half-dressed getting dressed for a date that starts in a few hours, without going crazy again. But I am here, with my hair wrapped in a towel up on my head, looking at websites trying to figure out how to wear makeup and what kind of clothes I should wear, and it feels really weird and really wrong....

And so what if it does? This is my life now. I'm sick and tired of sitting around with my head down, too scared to talk to people, scared of doing anything. Yeah, I'm going out on a 'date' tonight, or whatever fourteen year olds think counts as dating.

I'm damn well going to have fun, too.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Jeff: Getting ready for saturday night

I don’t even know where to start.

I’m sitting here and my head’s spinning I’m so confused. This might be a long one. So much has happened in the last week and I’m not sure how to deal with it and I hope by writing it out everything becomes a little clearer. Or something like that. Shit. That doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Okay. I’ve been treading water with Brianna’s life, I admit that. Until those guys went out and checked out the cabin I figured I’d just keep myself alive, stay out of trouble, keep it all low key. Something about Brianna makes it surprisingly easy—everyone’s giving her a lot of room, which is kinda creepy in a way. Like I said, she’s a cute girl, and rich, and it’s surprising I’m not at the centre of my school’s social life or something. Still, I didn’t want to push my luck so I figured the best way to lie low without seeming odd was just to throw myself into Brianna’s schoolwork.

Know what? A kid’s life is really boring. This isn’t a guy / girl thing, really. When you’re fourteen there isn’t a hell of a lot of freedom, and without that everything else is routine. I mean, about as varied as it gets is whether I’ve got Math first period or second, you know? Or whether my packed lunch sandwich is chicken-salad or ham. Really exciting stuff.

The fact is I can’t drive. I’m not ‘allowed’ to stay out late. I've got a 9 pm curfew, and bedtime's at 10. I need friggin' adult supervision just to see an R-rated movie! Adults keep tab of where I am at all times, and if I'm not where I'm supposed to be there's hell to pay. Everything's meant to protect me and it's just this horrible stifling weight.

I can’t drink. I can’t date. (Yeah, more on that last one later.) And I’ve been grounded (it ends tonight!) so you can imagine how dull life’s been. What makes it worse is that, really, outside of going to school and doing my homework, there’s not a whole hell of a lot expected of me. I used to practically run the family, you know? Now I’ve just got float through classes and try and look pretty. Yeah, pretty. That’s my new mom for you. Guess being a girl does change some things.

So I’m burying myself in my work and it’s all pretty easy stuff. The week flies by, more or less, and there really wouldn’t have been much to tell if Colin McClaren hadn’t left a note in my locker, the cheeky shit. Remember Colin? He’s the kid I slammed into last week, the one that sent my books flying. Seems I made an impression on him and

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Listen. Last week someone left a comment on this thing saying that maybe it wasn’t being a guy that I missed so much, maybe it’s just my old life. Did being Jeff Miller really rock that much? And what’s most amazing about the question is that I never knew the answer until all this crazy shit started.

Yes. Yes, being me rocked and damn if I don’t miss it, and I hate myself for not realizing how good I had it before this happened. We’re not just talk about the whole penis thing here… though yeah, I took that for granted too. But I had good friends, really good friends. Guys from the teams and from work. Mandy, my ex-girlfriend. And most of all I miss the family. Pop and my bros, Jack and Rob. Mel, my sis…

Yeah, Mel. And that’s where all of this starts, really. Feels like I’ve been writing for ages and I’m just getting to the start of my story but there you have it. See, this begins about three weeks ago. I wasn’t ready to talk about it then. When the change happened, I kind of freaked out and ran off, yeah? Well, some strange shit happened that night. I don’t want to talk about that. But when I got back it was all crazy, all these girls running around the cabin screaming and yelling and all. Art was one of the guys who took it best--not that I knew that the foxy asian chick was her at first--but he was pretty shaken up and all as well. I more or less just collapsed on my bed and passed out for a while, and when I woke up I had a guest.

Melissa. My baby sister. She’d chased Jeff all the way down to Maine to find out what the hell he was doing running away, how he could just abandon the family and everything. Yeah, that’s Mel for you. Fifteen years old and she somehow managed to get all the way from Michigan to Maine to harass her big brother. Turns out she blew almost all her babysitting cash, and forged a parental consent form, and all that—just because she was pissed off I left without saying goodbye.

She always was a tough one to handle, Mel. Good thing she showed up during a break in the chaos—I was even lucky enough to be the one to answer the door, and you can’t imagine my surprise when I opened the door and saw her there. She had that squinty look in her eyes she gets when she’s really angry and all ready to explode. Usually I’m the only one able to talk to her down, but this time the anger blew away pretty quickly when she met Brianna.

I almost blew it straight away. “Mel?” I actually called her by name when I saw her at the door.

“Do I know you?” she asked.

Should I have told her who I really was? Maybe. Maybe it would’ve been like in one of those movies, where they share “something only you would know” and it all works out. Maybe. But the moment I saw her I froze. I couldn’t tell her. I don’t know why. Maybe I didn’t want Mel to see her big brother reduced to this tiny little girl, someone even smaller and more defenceless and younger than her. Or she might’ve thought I was just a lunatic playing a nasty trick. I don’t know. Instead, I blurted out: “Jeff told me about you.”

The next hour or two was very, very strange. We went back to my room and we chatted, and it was kind of scary how easy it all was. I’ve always been very close to Mel, probably even more than with my brothers, although there’re all kinds of reasons for that. I have no idea what she thought of me, this curvy little chick swimming in her older brother’s clothes. On my side, I was just kind of shocked into silence and let Mel carry the conversation.

No surprise, we talked a lot about Jeff. I told her that he’d already left, and her eyes were all thunder and lightning as she told Brianna about how disappointed she was, asked how he could run off like that, what about the family, what about the house… all of it. Then she wanted to know who the hell I was, and I made up some stuff about being here with family and Jeff saw me playing soccer and offered to give me some pointers. Nothing pervy, you know, and Mel seemed to accept that. Then I told her that Jeff and I talked a lot about her, and that’s why I knew who she was.

Right. So all of that to say that almost a month ago I had a chat with my sister. Thing is, we really got on with each other, in a weird kind of way. I was talking to her big brother to little sister, if you know what I mean, but kinda like… well, girl-to-girl. (Even if Mel was doing most of the talking.) When she left later that day she gave me her cell phone number and told me to call her up sometime. I wasn’t too happy about seeing her go off on her own, but what the hell could I do?

So, back in the present. Thursday. I go to my locker at break and there’s this note’s been slipped in there from this Colin guy. I heard girls talking about him in the can. . . he’s a senior on the soccer team, one of the popular kids. Seemed like the kind of guy I would’ve gotten along with if, you know, I was still me. So I read this note and it’s really simple, just asking me to meet him by the gym after school.

First thing I think is that he wants to recruit me to the girls’ soccer team. I know. Seriously, how dumb was that? I almost even forgot about it, but as I was leaving school I saw the guy’s team playing and turned back to meet Colin. I was fifteen minutes late and the guy was still waiting, looking really nervous-like. And the moment I saw him my stomach dropped down around my ankles, because I knew what he really wanted....

I would’ve run off but he’d already seen me, and the way his eyes lit up when we made contact left me feeling really uncomfortable. Well, you can guess what happened next. The jerk asked me out on a date.

What you might not have guessed is that I accepted.

Don’t ask me why. I don’t know! I really don’t know. And you know, but writing this all out hasn't really fixed thing in my head or anything. I'd hoped by this point I'd know why I said 'yes', and I still don't really have a clue.

I'm being called down for supper so I better take off. God, I can't believe I've got a date tomorrow night. With a guy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Arthur: Back to Maine

Liz's cell phone rang at around eight o'clock yesterday morning, and it took me a moment to connect the "Ashlyn" it displayed with Jake. I flipped it open while looking through the closet. "Hey."

"Hey. So, at the risk of sounding completely like how I look, what should I wear?"

"It's a beach and the weather isn't bad; how about a bikini?"

"Fuck you."

I looked at the girl in the mirror, wearing just panties and an oversized t-shirt, and had to admit the prospect was kind of appealing. "I don't know," I said, "I'm trying to go for 'I'm at least trying not to make her look bad, so return the favor.' But not too sexy."

"Hmmm..." I could almost hear Jake getting frustrated; I'd seen the contents of Ashlyn's suitcases. She liked tight and low-cut; I wouldn't be surprised if Jake had a hard time finding stuff that fit between "on the make" and "lounging around the apartment".

For my part, I settled on white capris, sandals, and a blue tank-top with a neckline that didn't dip too low. Kind of girly, I suppose, but comfortable without being much of a come-on. I made sure to grab a sweater in case it got cold. I printed a couple sets of directions out - Jake only lives a few miles from me, but there's no rhyme or reason to the one-way streets around here. I adjusted the seat - Raymond isn't as tall as I was, but he's taller than I am - put on some sunglasses and headed toward Lechmere.

Man, I hope where Jake is living is inexpensive. It was on the other side of some neighborhood where all the signs are in Portugese, and maybe it's been too long since I've been Ashlyn's age, but it seems like a small apartment for five people. Or I've just been spoiled - before everything changed, I'd been living in the house where I grew up since my mother needed someone to look after her, while Liz & Ray have a pretty nice apartment for people in their mid-twenties.

He was ready when I knocked on the door; he'd gone with sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt, with the red hair in a hasty ponytail. And make-up. Not a lot, but more than the none I was wearing. I commented on it, and he said he'd been pounding the pavement looking for work for the past week, and putting it on for that was becoming part of the morning routine. I asked how that was going, and he grumbled something about a million college kids taking all the jobs Ashlyn was qualified for. I said that was rough, and we got in the car. Jake grimaced as the seat belt cut a path between his breasts, looking at my smaller bustline in something like envy.

We chit-chatted for a while about that sort of thing. He shivered at the idea of sharing a bed, although I told him it's only really annoying in the morning, when you wake up in a spooning position or an arm on top of you. Otherwise, at least for right now, our schedules work out that Raymond doesn't have much of a chance to act on any friskiness. After running out of small talk, since the blog sort of keeps us updated on what the other is doing, we turned on the radio. I asked which station he'd done that job for; he said WBCN, but neither of us knew what the frequency was. We found it eventually, but lost the signal after a half-hour or so.

We both got noticeably tense as we got closer to Old Orchard. The whole coast area even seemed a little spooky, with half the businesses closed up now that tourist season was mostly over. Places like York and Wells aren't exactly ghost towns, but they seem about half-full. When we got to Old Orchard, it had changed from a tourist spot to a small town, with the stopped rides of the amusement park eerily still.

Seeing a lot of hotels closed down for the season, we half-wondered if that would be the case for The Trading Post, and what it would mean if so. It wasn't, but trying to visit the place reminded us just how off-kilter it was. We questioned whether we should stop at the hotel where we'd picked up our keys, deciding against it. It really hit us just how strange it was that the place didn't have any on-site staff, or at least none we'd seen while there. That's not normal, but we never seriously questioned it. I wondered if maybe the place somehow suppresses doubts, like how whenever we try to tell someone about what happened to us, they just dismiss it out of hand.

Because there seems to be something to that. I rang the doorbell, and caught my breath when the guy who answered it was, well, me, at least physically. The posture was different, as was the accent, but when he asked who we were, and I said "Arthur Milligan", there was doubt on his face. "Really", he said, then shook his head. "I suppose someone has to be. Jeremy Boyd." And here's the weird thing, when he gave his name (which he pronounced almost like "Germy"), I didn't believe him on some gut level. I had to think that something similar had happened to me to fight back the instinct that he wasn't who he appeared to be. I never had to do that for any of the guys who changed the same time I did, but maybe it's because it was the same event.

Jeremy then gives Jake a twice-over and asks who he is. When Jake answers, the guy looks really doubtful, but then laughs and says Jake sure traded up. Jake asks if he'd feel that way if he was the one who had to cart those boobs around, and Jeremy says, no, but then again, he had looked good. Jake makes a comment about the new me being a charmer. Jeremy apologizes, invites us in, and asks if we all got turned into such "hot bitches". We say, yeah, more or less. He offers us beers from the fridge, which we accept, and lifts his. "In all seriousness, here's to you guys. I can at least try to get Artie's body back in shape, but no time in the gym can get you back to normal."

Gee, that beer tastes a bit bitter.

A perfect facsimile of Dex walks by and looks at us. "Who are they?" "They are who me and Steve turned into. The guy just shakes his head and walks on. Jeremy turns back to us. "I still don't know his deal. If he's even a he - I don't think I ever saw him come in. Steve thinks the changes happen when the house is full for the first time, and that guy must of got in late."

"Yeah," I said, "that's how it seemed to work for us."

A couple other folks wandered through. "Mark" was pulling his impromptu roommate around by the hand in a way that made me wonder if one of them was a kid, but I didn't ask. I probably should have, in case Mark or any of the others start posting more regularly or returning emails, but I was kind of tunnel-visioned toward the guy wearing my sking. Besides, most of the group had evidently already left, called home by the jobs and families we had been ripped away from. "Jake" arrived with pizza, and I thought the real Jake was going to faint. He was kind enough to share, and the four of us had a somewhat uncomfortable lunch.

Afterward, Steven, the "new Jake", asked if he and Jake could talk privately. We all figured that was a pretty good idea, let the new uses quiz us on anything we might have left out of our letters. Jeremy and I decided to walk on the boardwalk. I told him I'd finished the Maxim aritcle and sent it in, and asked if he'd talked to my editor about the autobiography. He said that had been pushed back, but there were a couple other people calling. He actually said he was sorry to hear about my mom, and asked about my dad; I told him I hadn't heard from him in years and that suited me fine. He nodded, said he hears that, but thinks he should probably know something since who knew when we could fix this. I said we'd figure out a way, and in fact I was planning to spend the rest of the afternoon in the local library to see if any research could turn up information on the inn. Maybe he'd like to join, split the work? He said thanks, but no thanks; he was a soldier, not a scholar (light infantry, in fact), and would only get in my way. I thanked him, said to give me a call if he was going to go back to California via Boston and maybe we'd meet up. Then we parted ways.

Jake was going to meet me at the library, but apparently he and Steve had more to talk about than Jeremy and I did. Just as well; my time there was not well-spent. Old Orchard Beach is too small for a daily of its own, and the local weekly didn't have anything about the Trading Post (or even its location) going back a few years. The Portland Press Herald turned up nothing in an internet search, and I apparently would have to go to a larger library to find it on microfilm. I really had no idea how much I took the internet for granted until I heard the word "microfilm".

Jake and I met up at about four o'clock, so that we could get home early enough for Raymond not to know I was gone all day. I asked what he and Steven had talked about, and he said a fair amount was spent trying to teach him his job, and the rest... well, not my place. He wondered what his life would be like if he could get back to it in a few months, and I had to agree - Jeremy did not exactly speak like a writer.

So we drove home, though I've at least resolved to try to get back up here sometime to do a little more research.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Arthur: Heart-to-heart with a stranger

The theater's projection room scares me. It's a long room that runs parallel to the hallway between theaters, with great big 35 millimeter projectors every twenty feet or so, fed by large rotating platters stacked three high, each pointing into different theaters. A couple have things attached to provide digital sound; all of them have digital projectors for either the pre-show advertising or movies that come on hard drives rather than film. In one corner, there's a work table for assembling and disassembling prints As a manager, Liz is supposed to be qualified to do all this, and I have no doubt she is. Fortunately for me, not only is an assembled film is bulky, heavy, and unweildy, but the head manager apparently subscribes to the "women and machines don't mix" mindset. Thus, I've not yet had to actually try my hand at making those crazy things run. I've got no doubt I could learn, but I have been paying attention every time I go up there, I don't think they're going to make the little Korean girl run the projectors any time soon.

This is a roundabout way of explaining why I haven't had much to do with Elizabeth's friend and co-worker Zoe yet. Most of the time, a theater can operate with two or three people, and on slow days that's almost overkill - Liz's workplace is a ten-plex, but it's a sort of art-house ten-plex, which translates into the patrons being pretty good about not throwing popcorn all over the place, so there's one manager up in the booth, one of us down on the floor, and one college kid or senior citizen selling tickets, selling candy, ripping tickets, cleaning the theater, and probably either getting homework done or solving sudokus during the day. Weeknights, we've got separate people sellinng tickets and candy and an usher who also cleans the theaters. Friday night to Sunday night, there might be a few more people on. Anyway, most of the time, there's only two managers on duty, and the other one is almost always a guy, since otherwise either Zoe or I would be working the machines. Generally, we'll see each other in passing as our shifts overlap by a half hour.

Saturday night, though, both of us were on, and while there wasn't initially a lot of time for chatting, things quieted down a little around eight o'clock, with us in the locked office counting the incredible amount of money a theater makes on a busy night and making sure it matched up with recorded sales. It's boring work, and I yawned. She chuckled, and commented that she was surprised I was still here. I asked her what she meant, and she said "I" had been working at this theater since college, having been a manager for three years now, and come on, she stopped really liking the job after one. "I tell you", she said, "when you missed those shifts after vacation, I thought you'd just decided to hell with it and walked away.

As tempting as that sounds, I said, I don't exactly have anything else lined up. I didn't mention not wanting to leave Liz's life as much like I found it as I could or not knowing what else she was really qualified for.

She asks if I have to. Ray's making pretty good money, after all, and it would be a good time to take some time off, not let that drama diploma go to waste. Do some auditions, shake the rust off. After all, she says, it's not like this is how Liz always dreamed of being in show business.

Well, I say, it's not like Ray and "I" are married... She says we may as well be, that he and Liz have been dating since their junior year of high school and the only reason it didn't happen sooner is because they didn't want to be seen as dating the only other Korean in the school district because, hey, only other Korean. Well, I say, I'm really not ready to not be earning your own money. Suit yourself, she says.

Ah, well. I'm not totally against leaching off Ray a little - Jake and I are going to quietly borrow his car and head back up to Old Orchard this Wednesday to see what's going on at the inn. I hope we're able to learn something, or at least make sure our lives are in good hands.


Jeff: the face in the mirror

What the hell do 14-year olds do with the free time? The weekend crawled by. Being grounded and all there wasn't much to do other than lock myself in my room and kill the hours until Monday. Even tricked myself into looking forward to heading back to school. Yeah, sure. Then it's classes and all these kids and the stress of living somebody else's life and not screwing up.

But... no. I'll talk about that some other time. I promised I'd try and write something less... neurotic, I guess. Something that won't have me near tears by the time I'm done. Though how weird is that, huh? Seriously, I haven't cried in ages. After the bitch split and left Pop alone, I had to grow up really quick, you know? Oldest brother and all that, help out around the house, help raise Sis and my brothers, get a job when I was old enough. It was tough, but what kinda help would I've been if I cried myself to sleep every night, eh? Can't remember the last time I cried. Well, until this crazy shit happened. Now my mood's all over the freakin' place and it's scary sometimes and I can't figure out why. Other than the obvious, I guess.

Gah. I'm doing it again. Okay. I'll write a bit more about Brianna. Maybe someday, when I'm back in the right body I can look back on these entries and laugh and laugh and laugh....

I think the thing about this girl that freaks me out the most, other than the obvious of course... you know, the fact that she's a girl... is just how small I feel. I was a big guy. Six feet, you know, and didn't have much fat. Played on a lot of the teams at school. Guess I was a bit of a jock, really, but of course the family made it tough to get serious about any sport. Soccer was my favourite but tried a little of everything and was good at everything I tried. Not great, but above average.

Now... everything just seems bigger, harsher, harder... scarier. Yeah, scarier. I'm not used to feeling scared. And listen, I know there's nothing to really be scared about. It's not like the school's dangerous or anything. But I used to walk down school hallways and if somebody wasn't watching where they were going, they'd just kind of bounce off of me. Now? Today I was rushing to my next class and wasn't paying attention and slammed into a senior... fell on my ass. Sent my books flying everywhere.
Having the guy pull me to my feet and help pick up my crap just made me feel worse. The fact I was wearing a skirt just made it all the more embarrassing. When I was fourteen, I lived for a free glimpse of panty. Hope they enjoyed the show, the little shits.

So I'm small, and light and weak. Brianna isn't much for sports by the look of things. Doesn't seem like she was much for anything. She's got friends at school--I'll get around to that someday--but doesn't seem to be involved in anything. Not that great academically either. That 'B' I got in bio? Teacher was ecstatic at the improvement, he said. Told me I was finally applying myself and that he'd always known I could get higher than a C.

I don't quite get it, to be honest. The girl's rich. And she's cute. Rich cute girls rule high school, right? That just the natural order of things. And I get the impression that Brianna's got some kind of power with the kids her age, but at the same time she seems completely disconnected from the school. Obviously I've been kind of distant since school started after Labour Day and people seem happy to give me room.

At least she doesn't have a boyfriend! Surprising, really. Sure, she's kind of young but like that makes a difference. I know Sis is dating. She thinks I don't know but Mark's a decent kid... better than that jerk I scared off a few months back. Guess that's not my responsibility anymore.

Brianna's doesn't have an older brother, the parents aren't around much... where're the guys? They should be like wolves at the door. I would've hit on me, you know?

Wow. How pervy is that? I do everything I can to avoid seeing myself in the mirror, especially when I'm naked, because this girl, she really is hot, even for a fourteen year old. I'm glad Sis didn't, uh, blossom this much this early. But Brianna did, and now I'm her, and my own body makes me feel like I'm a sicko. Her clothes are definitely on the girly side, and wearing them still makes me feel all shakey on the inside, like I'm doing something really wrong.

This is as happy as my life gets, people. I hope those guys heading back to the cabin find some good news. I've got to get out of this hell or I'll go crazy or something.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Jeff: TGIF

I don't think I've ever looked forward to a friday as much as I have this week.

Because you know what? I don't know if I can do this. I really don't know if I can do this--live this other life, be Brianna, go through school again. Be a girl. Why the hell is this happening to me? Am I supposed to learn a lesson from this shit? Is there a point? Or is it just a cruel joke? In school Mr Adams--yeah, I've slipped right back into it, back to calling everyone Mr this and Mrs that--made the leap from mitochondria to evolution. He got really excited about some connection but it's not like I was paying much attention. Anyway, we're supposed to be amazing adaptable, us humans.

Adaptable. Sure. So I take off on a trip I'm already feeling guilty about and suddenly I lose four years, about half my body weight and a foot in height. Oh yeah, and I'm a chick, suddenly, as well. And I guess I'm just supposed to adapt. Half the human population gets by and everything, and we all wander away from that beach house and try to carry on with our lives. With out stolen lives.

And sure, it could be worse! I've been checking out the blog, seeing how the other guys are doing. Like Art pointed out: at least I'm not sharing my bed with anyone. Unlike Jake, I'm not having money problems--completely the opposite. God, I used to hate those poor whiny rich kids--not that we had many at my old school, you know?--and now I am one. Reading over the blog, it kinda seems people are, you know, surviving. Even the stuff I wrote... and I can't tell you how often I thought of going back and editing or just erasing most of it... yeah, I'm complaining a lot but I'm getting on. And that's because words can't

Holy fuck, but am I the only one who's totally freaking out here? Read between the lines and people? I'm absolutely terrified! I'm crying myself to sleep for chrissake and I haven't cried in... I don't cry... shit I'm about to lose it now and

I can moan about losing height or my family but what it's really about is when I look down and see what I've really lost. I don't have a penis anymore, goddamn it! And you can damn well believe I want it back! Can you understand how... shit, I mean, it's just gone, you know, and that changes like...

It changes everything.

Hell. Why do I write in this thing? I always end up dealing with stuff I'd rather try and not think about. Maybe next time I'll write about something easy, maybe a bit more about Brianna. She's one screwed up chick, this girl I've become.

PS. I got a B on that Biology test from earlier this week. Hurray.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jake/Ashlyn--the girl can grill

Saturday night my roommates invited a bunch of friends over to barbecue. At first I really hated the idea, and considered ducking out of the party and going to a movie. I could always lie, and tell them I had a date or something. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good barbecue, it’s just meeting people who have some kind of history with Ashlyn is mentally exhausting, and I always come off as an idiot.

I have been dealing with it for about a week now with my roommates, a few examples:

J.J. wants to know if I finished the book she loaned me last month. Of course, I have no idea what she is talking about. She tells me about the book, trying to jog my memory. She says this is an important book to her, it had been a gift from a friend—and I can only shrug. I end up looking brainless, and she walks away mad.

I walk into the kitchen while Dean is cooking, he says to me “Will you hand me a plate, I think this is nearly done.” I then end up going through several cabinets before finding the plates, Dean watching me the whole time. He gives me a funny look and I mumble “I forgot where we keep the plates.”

Girl talk about old boyfriends is the worst of all. Billie came running up to me all upset about some guy she has been dating—apparently Ashlyn had dated the guy briefly, and she wanted to complain to someone who would understand her situation and compare notes. I tried to fake my way through the conversation, but when she started asking me things like “Was he selfish in bed with you?” I immediately tried to get out of the conversation. She persisted. “Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m not exciting enough in bed. What about oral? You used to give him oral, right? Do you think that will help?” That was one mental image I could have done without. I did the best I could, but I could tell Billie walked away frustrated with me.

The only roommate I haven’t annoyed is Logan—but I have been avoiding him. Whenever our paths do cross, he flirts with me. He rubs my shoulders, wraps his arm around me or threatens to tickle me again. I told him I would kick his ass if he ever did that again, but he still walks by and make “tickling” motions with his fingers.

So I had pretty much decided to bail on the barbecue, until they started to prepare to cook. It became apparent to me that none of my roommates knew a thing about barbecue. I started by just offering a little advice on marinating the meat, and soon I was running the whole show.

It actually worked out well for me—it gave me something to do and still allowed me to meet some of my new friends for the first time. I never had to worry about awkward moments in conversation because I always had an out—I would suddenly need to check on the grill.

Then ex-boyfriend showed up.
I was working away on some kabobs, when I hear a “I didn’t know you could cook” behind me. I look over my shoulder and see a tall, good looking guy with dark hair and brown eyes.

“Josh.” I say to him—he took it as a hello, but in reality I was guessing.

“Hello beautiful. I’ve missed you.” He says to me.

He leans in to casually “kiss me hello”, but I stop him by putting a plate of burger patties in his hands.

“Make yourself useful—put these on the table.” He gives me a slight hurt look, but walks away.

I managed to have a good time for the next hour or two—Ashlyn, I—have some really cool friends. It probably helped that I had been drinking wine all evening, and I was a bit tipsy, so I wasn’t so self-conscious about talking to people. Everyone loved the barbecue, and asked me where I learned to cook it like that. I told them “It came to me in my sleep one night.” When you consider I woke up as Ashlyn one morning, that is actually kind of true.

I knew I wasn’t going to make it all night without talking to Josh again—and I was right.

He caught me alone at the dessert table, as I was going for my second nutter butter cookie.

“I thought you hated those.”

I shrugged. “What can I say? Tastes change.”

“Look, Ash—“ He starts.

I stop him. “Not here, let’s go out to the patio.”

It was a bit cool outside. Boston is dipping into the fifties at night. I had to give Joss credit, he thought to grab his jacket on the way out, and he handed it to me.

I hesitated, but took it. I remembered all the jackets I had given up over the years, and I felt I was due one back. It felt warm and smelled good. I was surprised by the later; I have a very picky nose these days.

I had been thinking about the Josh problem for a while now, ever since I heard his heart felt voice messages. I considered being cruel to the man—maybe say things to him to drive him away, maybe lie and say I found someone else.

I couldn’t bring myself to do it—I identified with him too much. I new what it was like to lose a woman you loved. Besides, the original Ashlyn asked me to be nice to him.

So I was kind, and told him some half-truths. I told him he was a wonderful man, but my life was a wreck—and I couldn’t think about being in a serious relationship without fixing the things wrong in my life.

“It’s time for Ashlyn to grow up and stop being a kid.” I tell him. “I need to get a job, pay bills…other grown up stuff.” I give him a cute smile.

He wasn’t happy about it, but I could tell he agreed with some of what I was saying. I’m guessing that anyone who has ever met the original Ashlyn would think the girl needed to get her act together.

I was less inhibited because of all the wine and I gave this guy I met a few hours ago a warm hug—I was thinking it would be what the real Ashlyn would want. “I need you to stop calling me everyday and to give me some space—so I can get my life together.”

He sighed deeply. “All right Ash. Whatever makes you happy.”

Pleased with myself, I let him go. Mission accomplished. I turned to go back inside, but he quickly put his arm around me and pulled me close to him. I looked up at him surprised—and he kissed me.

I was stunned. Before I could get my brain to start working again, the kiss was over and he had gone back inside.

Sunday morning—

I woke up the next day with a slight hang over. I drug myself out of bed and into the tub. Freshly scrubbed, and with freshly shaven legs, I put on some workout clothes, toss my radio station outfit into a bag, and head out to catch the T. My experience in television production gave me some insight—I had seen actresses show up to the set in sweats, a baseball cap and no makeup turned into goddesses by the makeup person. I was betting that this was the same kind of situation.

I get to the radio station and from there I end up riding in a van with several of the other “Promo girls” to Gillette stadium—home of the Patriots. The ride was interesting. No one apparently knew Ashlyn so I was able to participate in conversation without having to over think every word.

We arrive, and are immediately sent to the makeup guy. This one guy, his name was Stephan, took care of us all, both hair and makeup. He was a whirling dervish of activity. He was a nice guy too—whenever I would ask questions he would take the time to explain some of the things he was doing; I learned a few things about hair and makeup from the guy. As he was working on my hair I asked him about going with a shorter hair style. “Are you crazy? You have amazing hair!” He seemed genuinely offended by the idea. When he finished with me, he handed me his card. He said if I wanted to learn more about makeup he was willing to teach me—if I would allow him to do different styles of makeup on me in his shop, and take pictures for his portfolio. I said I would think about it.

He walked away and I turned and stared into the mirror. I was stunned by how much better I looked with professional makeup. I had been doing the bare minimum for days, mostly just lipstick--Stephan had done things to bring out the green of my eyes, and to make my already full lips look even fuller. It was kind of scary.

We then head over to a changing room to get into our outfits. I was kind of looking forward to this part; I was going to have a great view of a bunch of very attractive women in various stages of undress.

After we were all in the outfits, Mike the radio guy got us all together and basically laid out the ground rules:

We were to be fun, attractive and smiling at all times. We had to remain in heels the entire time. If someone wanted to get a picture with one of us, we would do so. If some guy got to be too free with his hands, we were not to create a scene, but call Mike or one of the other guys over to take care of it. We were to hand out the calendars, but mostly our job was to attract people to the area where the radio station had set up it’s event—so be friendly.

So I was friendly. Somewhere in the process I realized that when a pretty girl makes conversation with a guy—and is just being friendly—it comes off as flirting. I thought back to Kat, the beer wench at the beer festival and realized how incredibly wrong I had interpreted her intentions. I was just like her, being friendly and just trying to get through a job.

I also figured out that I had something over the other girls—I know a thing or two about sports. As Jake I was constantly listening to sports radio, it gave me something to talk about with the guys who were trying to chat me up.

Five hours later my feet were killing me. I don’t know how real women wear heels all the time—also my face hurt from all the smiling I had to do.

Over all I survived my experience as a “Promo girl”—I only had to signal to Mike twice to get some guy with roaming hands away from me. I collected my money and caught the van back to Boston.


and Art, I'm definately up for a trip to the Inn.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Arthur - Time with the boyfriend

You guys complaining about your current situation should take a long, hard look at the ratio between people and beds where you live. It's definitely 2:1 here, and it's far from a comfortable situation. Raymond hasn't tried to jump my bones yet, but how long is that going to last?

In a way, it's odd that he hasn't, really. I mean, the way I figure it, I arrived at the Trading Post back on August 22nd. The inn seems to rent its rooms in two-week blocks, so Liz might have been there as early as the 8th. Even if we assume that she and Ashlyn didn't show up until a week later, just eating half of their reservation - and from the financial situation Jake describes, I can't really see Ashlyn being in a position to do that, unless she just grabbed the extra room opportunistically because Raymond couldn't go. That could be it; Raymond seems to be a busy guy and Ashlyn seems to be the type of girl who would just grab the opportunity. Still, assume they got there the 15th. She changes soon after - that's why she kept calling, right, figuring we'd change right away - so there's no Elizabeth of any sort, period, until a week after I get there and change. Then I hang around there for a few days, avoid spending any time in bed with him... So it's been almost a month since Raymond and Elizabeth have slept together, and I've turned into a fairly cute girl.

Not that I want him to show any sexual interest in me; I just think it's kind of odd. There doesn't seem to be any problem with his and Elizabeth's relationship. We finally had some time to spend together this weekend, and he seems like a nice enough guy. He picked me up after I finished my Saturday-afternoon shift (I hadn't even realized he had a car), drove us to a nice little restaurant somewhere south of Boston proper, and talked about the week. Apparently he's getting absolutely slammed at work, in part because one of the cases the firm is working on is a local publisher's dispute with a Korean printer, and the firm wants him involved in conference calls at all hours because he speaks the language. I ask him how long that's going to last, and he thinks it'll be another couple of weeks. Good for me, I guess, although rough on him.

The food was delicious, and afterward we had a nice walk through the center of town, doing a little window shopping. Lots of small talk, and when we got back to Cambridge, I was pretty pooped. I was a little nervous when he got into bed with me, but he was a perfect gentleman. If he noticed I was incredible tense, he didn't mention it, and just let me have my side of the bed. The next night was similar, even after a lazy Sunday working on the Globe and Times crosswords together. We also watched the Red Sox game together. I think I managed to not look ignorant, although apparently even die-hard fans of the team can look ignorant right now.

I don't seem to have aroused any suspicion, which is good, I guess. I'm not making much progress on finding out how to be myself again, but I don't seem to be messing up Ms. Lee's life any. Still, it's kind of frightening that I can just be dropped into her life and pull it off just because I now look and sound like her. She and Raymond seem to have been together a long time; you'd think he'd know instinctively that something was amiss. But he doesn't. That's kind of sad, I think.


Oh, BTW - Jake, Vinny: Raymond seldom uses his car during the week, just taking the "T" into work. Either of you up for a quick road trip to Old Orchard to maybe talk to the Inn's current residents in person, maybe see if there's something we can sniff out? It's not even a hundred miles away.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Jeff: You've got to be kidding me

Bob... I should call him Mr Adams, he's my Science teacher but it sticks in my throat... hit us with a goddamn biology test this morning. Apparently 'Brianna' and the class had the whole summer to study for it--and really, what kind of bastard gives study material over summer vacation and a test soon after you get back--but was I ready for it?

Shit. It's not like I was pulling A's in science my last year, either. Tell me, how much do you remember about mitochondria? Yeah, exactly. And know what makes writing a surprise test about something you haven't studied in over two years even harder? Writing it while wearing a fucking skirt when you've never worn one before. Was wearing this cute little pleated thing--real schoolgirl like and

Suddenly felt sick there and had to stop writing. Cute? Yeah... on a girl, dammit. I'm still coming to terms with that, okay? I don't want to be cute. I don't want these fourteen-year old pervs trying to peak up my skirt when I'm going up the stairs or snapping my bra strap or... any of this shit.

And now I've got some stupid essay to write and a worksheet to fill out and... God, I don't remember having this much shit to do when I was fourteen. Not that I can't wiz through it, but it's not what I expected. Not sure why I care, really. This isn't my life.

But screw it, I better get it done. I'd rather hide in my room and deal with homework than try and figure out my new 'mom'. I lost my real mom when I was really young, you see.

(And when I say 'lost' I mean the bitch ran off with someone that wasn't Pop. You think it's wrong to call your mom a bitch? Yeah, well you don't know how she screwed the family over.)

Anyway, suddenly I've got a 'mom' again... but her name's Linda, and I can actually get away with calling her Linda, and she's a total nutjob. And a drunk. And Brianna's an only-child, which means I get to deal with all her pent-up crazies when she gets drunk and wants to talk to someone. She's pounding it back tonight so I've locked the door and I'm blaring out some crap music.

Being fourteen sucks. Being a girl sucks. Being in high school again? God, that sucks deer balls. There's loads more I want to get off my chest

How messed up is that? I've got a chest. I've got a damn fine rack for a fourteen year old.

Did I just write that? This is really, really messing with my head. I feel like a pedophile when I look in the mirror and that... that's weird and wrong and I think I'm going to hit that stash of Pop's booze I stole a few nights ago.

Vinny/Sarah - Long strange trip

I never thought I'd find myself at a place like this. Here I sit, in an apartment in South Hadley, Massachusetts, wearing a t-shirt and these jean shorts. It's still uncomfortable just... just being me. The new me.

Even knowing what I know now, I'm still having a hard time coming to grips with the new reality. This cute young co-ed in the mirror is me now, but everything seems like it's details of someone else's life instead of details of my own life. For example, I have come to find out that Sarah lives on her own with the generous help of her parents. I feel this way despite the fact that, in my new reality, it is I who live alone with generous help from MY parents.

I still haven't read all of the letter I recieved back in Maine. I've tucked it away for later, somewhere down the road. Right now it still feels like too much information. I sat down to write my own letter just before I left on Thursday, and I sat there at the desk for almost two hours thinking before I finally put pen to paper. I wrote about my BS job, my BS boss, my BS love life, and my BS apartment on Long Island. It was at this point that I pretty much started really wondering what I'd lost. For a split-second, I almost felt elated that I was being given a chance to live another life. But Vinny DeSantis is still who I feel I am. I am him. My life may not have been perfect but it was still my life.

So Mount Holyoke turns out to be an all women's school, and a fairly well known one too, which makes me feel kind of dumb for not knowing about it in the first place. It really serves to reinforce what a drastic change I've undergone. I never thought about it, but something as simple as your gender makes a huge difference in the way you live your life. It's something that I think everyone kinda knows maybe if only somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind, but it's something that I'm now experiencing for sure. I lost track of the number of men who I caught giving me the one-over on the train here. It's not that I blame them - hell, I engaged in the practice myself. If I'd seen Sarah on a LIRR train, I'd have easily done it. It's just a lot different when you're the one being stared at. I'm sure my first class this afternoon is going to reinforce it again when I'm surrounded by women in a lecture hall.

At the train station in Boston I took my first journey into the "inner sanctum" when I went to the bathroom, using a specifically gender-segregated facility for the first time since the change. It wasn't anything special, but it was another little reminder, one of many.

Jake/Ashlyn--Broke and ticklish

I’m not sure what Ashlyn did with all of her free time. She apparently only took part time jobs, and in-between those jobs she apparently window shopped, partied and went clubbing.

Worse, she really needed to work. All of her credit cards are maxed out, and she is in major debt. Digging through her “files” which consisted of just a cardboard box filled with random receipts and payment stubs; I got the impression that she may not have ever paid her taxes. I got this impression mostly from the stacks of threatening letters from the IRS.

Her checking account has 39 dollars in it. I guess I should be thrilled it is not over-drawn. I don’t know how she planned on paying her rent—I had to use a big hunk of the moneys I took out of the Jake Mathews account to pay that and the late fees. She also has student’s loans to pay off—not that she finished school, she dropped out of college her sophomore year.

She—I am in a financial mess.

I’m not sure what to do about this. I have to live Ashlyn’s life with frame of mind that this might be forever—so I have to fix this mess.

I remembered the voicemail with a job, so I called back Mike with the radio station. He still wanted Ashlyn for the job Sunday, so I got as much info about the job as I could. Basically it consisted of wearing an outfit provided by the radio station and passing out 2007 calendars to people as they entered Gillette stadium to see the Patriots game. It sounded like brainless work, and I could only imagine what the “outfit” would look like. I had seen girls at radio promotions before; they were always scantily dressed. I was about to turn him down, when he told me what he was willing to pay for just a few hours of work. I was stunned—it was a lot of money to just stand around and pass out calendars.

As we were talking on the phone I booted up the Mac notebook and looked up the radio station on the internet. I found pictures of old events on the site and a few with “promotion girls”. The outfit consisted of “short shorts”, heels, and a tiny t-shirt with the logo of the radio station plastered across the front.

He then told me he would pay me in cash at the end of the game—I swallowed my pride and told him I would take the job.

He told me when and where to be on Sunday, and to come by the station on Friday to pick up my outfit. He also said there would a “hair and makeup guy” on location because they planned on getting a little coverage for the Boston news. He said if I wanted my makeup done, to show up a couple of hours early.

I hung up the phone and spent the rest of the day practicing walking around in heels. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and I move fairly well as long as I avoided stairs and walked slowly.

On Friday I went to one of the branches of the City of Cambridge Library to do more research on “magic” “body-swapping” and “weird phenomenon in Maine”. I also got a library card—Ashlyn didn’t have one. I checked out books on hairstyles and applying makeup. I skimmed the books for a while at the house, and then did a little job hunting online. The plan was to find work that doesn’t involve wearing skimpy outfits. I quickly learned I was in trouble. Ashlyn had no job history to speak of—so it was beginning to look like a receptionist or a waitress job.

Only I can’t type. You would think a guy who spends as much time on a computer as I did would have learned to type—but it never came to me. I’m more of a mouse guy.

So that really only left being a waitress. I told myself it was only until I could get enough monies together to buy a computer and the software I needed. I would then start building a portfolio and get into freelance graphics.

A few depressing hours of job hunting later, I felt I needed to get out of the house again. Both Logan and Billie were in the house today, and they both felt a need to chat me up. I couldn’t walk anywhere in the house without a “Hey, Ash, what’s with you and Joss?” or “Does this top look good on me?” The final straw was when I was alone in the kitchen with Logan. He gives me a look and says “Ever since you got back from your trip, you’ve been so serious Ash, is everything okay?” I fake a big smile and tell him everything is alright. He says he doesn’t believe me, and then walks up very close to me, and leans down, putting his face near mine. I froze thinking he was about to kiss me—but I would be wrong.

He reached out and began to tickle me. Within moments he had me down on the floor, screeching with laughter, begging him to stop. I was at his complete mercy, not nearly strong enough to make him stop. I very nearly peed myself. Eventually he does stop, gives me a “friendly” kiss on the top of the head and leaves me lying on the floor exhausted. “Cheer up Ash,” he says leaving the room, “Things will get better soon, a girl as hot as you won’t go without a boyfriend long.” The moment I recover, I jump up and exit the house.

I caught the “T” (what people call the subway here) into Boston. I walked around Boston, getting the feel for the city. For the geographically challenged reading this blog, the cities of Boston and Cambridge border each other—they are separated by the river Charles.

I then stopped by the radio station and picked up my uniform for Sunday. I went home, took a bath, and shaved my legs—I had been putting it off. I wanted to “test drive” the outfit from the radio station, to try it on and see if I had the nerve to wear it in front of people. To do that I needed freshly shaved legs.

I slip on the outfit and looked into the mirror. Yep, the outfit didn’t hide much--tight little shirt that left my middle exposed and shorts that looked painted on. I used my some of the things I learned from the library books and did my hair and makeup.

I stepped out of my room and caught Logan and Dean playing games on the xbox .

Both men stopped and gave a look. “What do you think?” I asked, and gave them a little spin.

They both gave me big goofy grins. “You look hot!”

I sat down between them and announced I had the next game.

After a while I forgot what I looked like, and what I was dressed like, and started to have a good time. It was almost like I was one of the guys--except when I caught them checking me out when they thought I was not looking.

I decided I could survive the job on Sunday.

I’ll have to get into Sunday’s antics later. Right now I need to stop writing this blog and head out and find a job as a waitress.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Jeff: back . . . home

Where the hell do I start?

It's been over a week since everything changed and I feel like I've lived a life in that time. It's been insane. I mean, okay, I'm a girl now. I've just spent something like ten minutes staring at that. It's crazy and impossible. But then I stare in the mirror and the reflection's of this cute girl and she moves when I do and somehow, somehow it's me. Only it's not--it's this spoiled rich kid called Brianna--and somehow I'm supposed to live her life.

I've always kinda believed there's a God out there, or at least something more powerful than Pop or the President or, I don't know, gravity or something... but now I'm thinking, whatever that thing out there is? It's got a twisted sense of humour.

I just graduated from high school, dammit! And now I'm stuck doing the same goddamn thing all over again! Finally, finally I had a glimpse of freedom, you know? Away from my shitty little town, away from school, away from my family, away on my own . . . you know, independance?

Fourteen year old girls don't have much independance.

Most of the other guys at that stupid lodge, they found letters and things to fill them in on their new lives. Me? Nothing. I wouldn't have even known my name was Brianna if it hadn't been on the luggage tag. A suitcase full of clothes--shit that, believe me, I wouldn't have let Sis wear out, that's for sure--and makeup and crap... that's all she left me. Oh, and a backpack, a cute little thing with some books and her cell phone in it. When everyone started taking off for their new lives, I figured I'd better do the same. I'd planned on hanging around the beach house for a bit, but a fifteen year old girl can't really stay on her own, can she? Yes, I'm bitter.

Though there was another reason to take off. Sis showed up at the door. Yeah, my sister--Jeff's sister--you know what I mean. We had a... well, I'll get into that later, but it kind of convinced me that I had to get the hell out of there. So I took the gamble and jumped on a bus for the address on the luggage. Another painful 24-hour bus ride. Yup, Brianna lives in Michigan as well. I mean, what are the odds? And let me tell you--the trip back? Very, very different doing it as a tiny fourteen-year old girl instead of a six-foot eighteen year old guy. Trust me.

I could've saved myself the trouble. Brianna, she's from a rich family, yeah? But how the hell was I supposed to know that? (I supposed the Prada handband buried in her suitcase could've been a hint, but like I was checking.) So I find my way home, burning through some of my guy money, and pull up to this enormous house, and I suddenly realize I'm entering a whole new world. And Linda--that's my new 'mom'--was furious. A ride had been sent down to bring me back and freaked out when I wasn't there.

Which means I'm grounded. I'm . . . grounded. Could thing be any more messed up?

Yes, they could. The day after I got back? I had to go to school. I'm in--kill me now--grade 10. It's been a week now. I'll tell you about it later. Just writing this shit makes me want to cry. I've got homework due tomorrow for Chrissake!

Screw this. I think Linda's gone to bed. I'm going to see if I can find some liquor stashed away somewhere and get a royal drunk on.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


When I first stepped into my new home I was immediately assaulted with questions and accusations. “Are you okay? Where have you been? Why didn’t you call? Do you have your part of the rent?” It’s was a difficult position to be in—these people knew me—or at least they think they know me--and I knew very little about them. Fortunately, the original Ashlyn described my new roommates on the “dvd letter”. Those descriptions proved good enough to allow me to bluff through the first initial conversations.

I have four roommates, two guys and two girls. The guys are Logan Stiles, and Dean Williams. Dean is an average looking guy with a medium build and sandy blonde hair. His most distinguishing feature is a permanent grin that is pasted on his face—it’s like he always amused by something. Logan was vastly different from Dean; it didn’t take being changed into a woman to realize Logan is a good looking guy. He is tall with dark hair and chiseled features. He also has the look and build of a guy who worked out all the time. I was a little concerned when I first met him because that description would also apply to Ross--the ex-boyfriend I had yet to meet, he is also friends with my roommates and could easily be at the house--and I was afraid of mistaking the two guys. Luckily for me, Logan was wearing a “City of Cambridge Fire Department” t-shirt—and I knew from the dvd that Logan was a fireman.

I found I was instantly annoyed with Logan. Even if I hadn’t changed into Ashlyn and was still Jake, he would be everything I was not—I guess I am envious.

The women are Billie Fraser and Jordan James (she goes by J.J.) Billie is small, with shortish brown hair, large brown eyes and a nice figure. She has a pixie-like quality. Billie also has a cheerleader-like perkiness about her, when I meet her she gave me a big hug. “Welcome home Ash!”

Jordan is classically beautiful. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, a really nice figure and an intelligent and stylish look about her. In contrast to my new self, J.J. has an elegant sexiness about herself, a sense of “class” that makes you think of dinner parties and operas—my new form is overtly sexual and makes you think of porn and strippers.

If I was still Jake, I might have pursued J.J., but oddly, I find myself jealous of J.J. as well. If I have to be a woman, why couldn’t I be more like her? I feel a bit freakish, like a sexy cartoon woman instead of a real woman.

So I am jealous of both Logan and Jordan for different reasons.
I am so screwed up in the head.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Arthur - Not what the schedule board is meant to be used for

Elizabeth and her boyfriend Raymond Kim have a great big dry-erase scheduling thing on their refrigerator, which I presume is so that they can find time to spend together, or at least know where the other is if there's some question. Over the last couple of days, I've been using it to avoid dealing with him until I absolutely have to.

It's surprisingly easy. Someone managing a movie theater is just as likely to work nights as days, as I did the first three days this week. He, I deduce from the law books on the shelf, and certificates on the wall, is a lawyer who only this year graduated from law school and passed the bar. My lawyer friends from my old life often complained that the schedule for a new associate at a downtown firm was brutal, with the expectation being sixty or seventy billable hours a week. So most days, I've been leaving for a shift that starts at five or five-thirty PM well before he comes home, getting in at one-thirty. At that point, I turn on the TV (after discovering that they have the Extra Innings package and a DVR, I've been watching A's games on delay), fall asleep watching it, and still be out when Raymond leaves in the morning. He kissed my forehead as he was leaving Tuesday morning, which made me jerk enough to give him a bloody lip. He hasn't tried it the past couple days.

Elizabeth's job isn't terribly difficult - make sure the concession stand has plenty of candy, collect and count money after each set of shows goes in, cover whenever someone has to take a break, and lock up at the end of the night. I'm kind of lucky that everyone wears nametags; they may suddenly be wondering why Liz is a little distant, but I don't see that I'm looking like an idiot.

I met the Zoe Huston who called Elizabeth Sunday. She wanted to know what was up; she said she's known "me" since junior high and this is the first irresponsible thing she can remember. I said I ate some bad seafood and was sick as a dog for a week. Well, first I tried the truth, but it just seemed to sail right past her.

Raymond will probably be back in a half hour or so; hopefully I'll have come up with a plan by then.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Jake/Ashlyn--at the sound of the beep, leave a message

The trip from Old Orchard Beach to Boston gave me some downtime, and I went through the 22 voicemails on my new cell phone. Lots of good info in the messages to help me get a mental picture on the life I stepped into.

5 calls were from bill collectors, which is probably a bad sign for me money-wise.

4 calls were from Ashlyn’s roommates, they were wondering where I was—and more specifically, where my part of the rent was located. Again, not a good sign for me financially.

2 calls were from a “Mike” at some radio station in Boston. He wanted to know if I wanted to work the Patriots game this Sunday. I jotted down his info, planning to call him back. From the sound of some of the previous calls, I might need the money, so I should at least find out what the job is about.

1 call was from my new mom, she just called to say “Hi”, and wanted to know how I was doing. She also wanted to know if “I took that job” and added “We won’t judge you sweetheart. Your father and I will love no matter what…but if this is just a money issue, please, let us help you before you do something you regret. I love you. Call me”.
This worried me. On the DVD Ashlyn didn’t mention anything that I felt would worry a mother.

It didn’t take long to find out what the fuss was about. I received 1 call from an “Anthony” who apparently runs a strip club. He said he was disappointed that I changed my mind about coming to dance. He said with a little improvement in my dance technique, that I and my “red hot little body” would go far. He said he had a weakness for red heads, and if I ever changed my mind there was always a spot open to me.

Great. I was almost a stripper. The thought made me nauseous.

3 calls were from friends of Ashlyn, who wanted to go shopping or clubbing.

3 calls were from guys who said something like “I heard you were back on the market. We ought to go out”.

And 3 calls were from a guy called Josh. The calls from Josh were tough to sit through. The guy really poured his heart out. It was weird to hear someone speak so passionately—and to know that passion was directed at me. I could tell from his messages Josh wasn’t going to give up easily. I was going to have to deal with him.

I set the phone down and start to go through the purse—but the first things I pulled out were tampons and rubbers. I decided the purse could wait for later and slept the rest of the way.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Jake/Ashlyn--clothes make the woman

When Art told me he was going to go to Cambridge and live Elizabeth’s life I was kind of surprised. I just kind of assumed we would all stay around the Inn until some solution was found. But Art pointed out that sooner or later, if the pattern remained the same, someone else was going to have his old life—and he hoped whoever that person was would take care of his life until he got back to it--and he planned to do that for Elizabeth.
He also pointed out he could take the train back if he need to be at the Inn for any reason.

Damn it. Art made a lot of sense.

I had also considered going home to Texas, and holding up in my apartment for a while—but I knew a new Jake Mathews would probably come home some day and I would have no legal right to be there. I might get tossed out on my new shapely butt.

No, Art had the right idea. I decided I was also going to assume Ashlyn’s life—hopefully not forever.

In an odd way, making the decision was a relief—I finally had a plan of action. I had been walking around aimless for days; it felt good to have direction.

The first thing I decided to do was change into some of her clothes. If I was going to make this work, I needed to look the part. I opened up her—no mine—my suitcase. For now, this is my life and this is my stuff. I went through my clothes and was kind of concerned by how small and sexy everything was. Apparently I was the kind of girl that liked to show off her body. What was the phrase? If you got it, flaunt it?

I wasn’t ready for flaunting. I undressed and slid on some panties and a bra. The bra wasn’t that difficult to put on, it wasn’t rocket science or anything.
There were mostly skirts, but there were a couple of pairs of jeans. I grabbed those and what looked like a grey henley t-shirt. I had henley’s in my closet back home, so I felt pretty comfortable putting it on. Unfortunately, this t-shirt hugged my upper body and the neck “scooped” way down my front showing off a bunch of cleavage. My boobs were obviously on display. I considered changing, but looking through everything else the suitcase, this was probably my best choice.

I had found a small digital camera, a phone and a purse in the suitcase—the phone was turned off. I push the button and it came to life, letting me know I had 22 messages. I sat it aside for later.

I picked up the camera and looked at the photos on the memory card. There were several of pictures of Ashlyn and Elizabeth out having a good time on the beach. Art was right; I did now own a bikini and looked amazing in it. I ran across some other non-beach “candid” shots, and used them for references for my hair. I spent an hour and a half before I figured out how to use the “hair clip” thing. It was a plastic clip with interlocking teeth that held a large amount hair up in back. It created what was like a ponytail, but shorter. It was nice to get out from underneath all that hair.

I had no idea what to do about makeup. I did a little browsing on the internet for help, but the information was over-whelming. Too many types of make-up, too many colors, and too many choices.

I almost decided against trying anything, but in the back of my mind I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to wear some. No attractive 23 year old woman would be caught without some kind of makeup. So I experimented with lipstick for a while, until I got to the point where I didn’t look like I was wearing clown paint.

I slid on some shoes without heels and turned and looked in the mirror.

It was shocking. Sure, she needed a lot of help in the hair and makeup department, but there stood an attractive young woman, ready to head out.

The rest of the day I spent backing up my laptop to dvds. Art had suggested the idea, and I’m glad he thought of it. I really wanted to take my laptop with me—Ashlyn’s laptop, my new laptop—is a much older model, and is a Mac. My laptop is a very powerful and very new “portable desktop” and a PC. I use it for my work in graphics.

But that isn’t my job anymore. The new Jake will need it for his job. It kills me, but I am going to leave it.

I get done backing everything up and then I set down to write my letter to the new me.
I think the hormones in this new body must be affecting me, because for the first time since the change, I cried.

It was like my best friend had died… only it was me.

When I get done I run out to an ATM and take out some money out of the Jake Mathews account. I had no idea what my new financial situation was, and I was not going to be penniless. There was several thousand in the account, but I only took several hundred. Jake was going to need his money.

I get back to the Inn and pack up everything. I put Jake’s things in the closet with the Letter clearly on top. I decided to give the next guy a little help by putting out in the open.

I'm going to post this, grab my suitcases, and head for the train station—I'm on my way to my new life.