The alarm goes off Wednesday morning and I stagger out of bed at six in the A.M. As Jake, I never needed much sleep. It was probably a byproduct of all the late nights I did over the years. As Ashlyn however, I find crawling out of bed a real struggle. I actually slept until noon a couple of times—something I never did as Jake unless I had pulled an all-nighter.
I stretch in front of a large wall mirror, and give myself a sleepy once over. I’m not wearing anything fancy; I tried sleeping in some of Ashlyn’s lingerie but I discovered as sleepwear it wasn’t that comfortable. Last night I slept in a white cami top and pink flannel pajama bottoms; so much of Ashlyn’s wardrobe is pink and I’m just not going to avoid it anymore.
I change into a sports bra and some grey sweats--which would have been the least girly thing I had worn in a while, except the word “Juicy” was written in pink on my ass. I slip on some pink and white running shoes and head out.
Logan is waiting for me in the living room, he’s watching Sports Center. Last night a bunch of us were watching TV and I mention I was going to start getting up early and working out. Logan immediately offers the weight room at the fire station.
“It’s nothing fancy, but it’s free and close.” He offered.
The only stipulation was that he would have to work out together; I couldn’t be there without him. The price was right, and Logan seemed interested in having a workout buddy, so I said yes.
We jogged over to the firehouse, it was very close, and Logan introduced me to some of the guys who were up and having breakfast. There where about six of them, and they were more or less like Logan—big, physically strong, good looking guys.
One of the hazards to being Ashlyn is I can’t seem to have a quick casual conversation with guys. As Jake, I could have walked into the firehouse, maybe shook a hand or two—and if I was feeling extremely friendly, maybe talk about last night’s ball game and moved on. As Ashlyn, guys dig for information, trying to figure out what we have in common—attempting to make some sort of connection. It’s the mating game, but I don’t play very well because I’m not interested in playing.
So I answer questions: “Um, no, I’m not a model.” “Logan and I are just roommates.” And “Yeah, I’m a natural red head.”
It’s always at the “red head” portion of the conversation that someone says “Red in the head, great in the bed”. And this was no exception. I’ve been Ashlyn for less than two months, and I swear I have heard that phrase at least a dozen times now. I’ve learned to smile and giggle (yes, giggle—what else would you call a slight laugh from a young woman) like it was actually a clever thing to say.
Fortunately, Logan steps in. “Hey, leave the girl alone, we’ve got some serious working out to do.”
We made our way to the workout room. As Jake I worked out sparingly, I never made it a priority, and I was always busy with something. I’ve decided I am not going to make the same mistake as Ashlyn. This body may be the wrong gender, but it is an extremely healthy and attractive body, and I should take are of it—I may be in it for the rest of my life.
Logan turned out to be a great work out buddy. He knew how to run the workout machines and he offered a lot of good advice on setting up a good “workout program”.
He also seemed to know when to push me, to get extra reps. I found it interesting that I didn’t feel a need to compete with Logan on the number of reps or amount of weight. If I was Jake, and not Ashlyn, I might have tried to keep up with Logan—which would have been a dumb thing to do, because Logan is in much better shape than I ever was.
After about an hour of working out, I was done. Logan said he wanted to get a few bench presses in, and then he would walk me home. I said that wasn’t necessary, but he said he was going home anyway, and wanted the company.
So I sat there and watched him. He had taken his shirt off sometime in the last hour, and I could see all the muscles in his arms a chest push against the barbells. It was very impressive. Sweat was pouring off of him, and he looked like someone you would see on TV.
Out of nowhere, the thought “He’s a good looking guy” popped into my head.
I mentally panicked for a minute—where the hell did that come from? Am I noticing guys? Or was that the same way I could tell a guy was good looking as Jake--just a simple acknowledgement, and nothing more? I started reading too much into everything I thought, and I just manage to confuse myself. As I waited for Logan to finish his workout, I looked anywhere but in his direction.
As we walked home, I was extremely self conscious. I couldn’t help notice how tall Logan was—and how small I seemed to be next to him.
When we got home I got another surprise. There was a florist delivery truck parked out in front of our building. As we walked up, a delivery guy came out, hoped into his truck and drove off.
When Logan and I walk in we are immediately yelled at by an excited Billie.
“Hey Ash, you have a delivery!” Billie was grinning from ear to ear. “Somebody just got roses.”
Billie was giddy—then again, Billie was often giddy.
I reluctantly made my way to the kitchen table, where sat a glass vase and two dozen purplish roses.
I grabbed the card and read it to Billie and Logan—I think Billie would have burst from curiosity otherwise. “Lilac roses symbolize love at first sight. That is why I sent them, I’ve wanted you since the first time I saw you, from your secret admirer.”
There was a PS, but I didn’t read it out loud—I got a weird vibe from it. Could it be women’s intuition?
It said: PS-- I KNOW THE REAL YOU
Billie was thrilled. I was not; I found it to be kind of creepy. She asked if I had any idea who my admirer might be, and all I could do is shrug.
Looking at the flowers, all I could think was “what a waste of approximately $125”. I had often bought roses as Jake—usually to get me out of the doghouse for working to much—and I knew flowers could have a very positive effect on women. For me, however, I found them to be just another reminder of what my life is like now.
They did smell nice. My sensitive nose approved.
Yikes! What a quandry... do you do something that makes "Jake" look bad to keep him at a distance... and chance that it will detrimentally affect your life when... if you regain your original life.
There's power in numbers - you should brainstorm with the others and come up with a plan to keep the new Jake at bay.
I'm being dense-- are you saying that Steven, the new Jake sent me the roses? That he is my secret admirer? I don't know... maybe. He would "Know the real me", but the more I read the card the more I wonder if I am just being paranoid. I live in constant fear of people suddenly noticing I am a man pretending to be a woman--It makes me second guess everything. The flowers could have just as easily came from Josh, the exboyfriend, I bet he thinks he "Knows the real me" also. It could be from Mike from the dance club--he's called and left a few messages on my voice mail.
Or--maybe it was someone who knew Ashlyn before I took over her life.
I just don't know.
I'm never paranoid though... they really ARE after me.
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