The Sacked part:
Wednesday, a week ago, I walk into the restaurant I work at and I could instantly tell something was wrong. The people who work there are generally a friendly group; but when I walked in no one said anything to me or even looked in my direction. Before I could corner someone and asked what was going on, Maddie walked into the main dining room and asked me into the office.
I knew what was coming. Maddie and I had been butting heads for a few weeks now, so I knew it was only a matter of time before I got the boot.
“Have a seat.” She motions to a chair opposite her desk.
I’ve never been fired before--mostly because I worked for myself most of my life. As a teen and in my college years I worked for other companies, and I never had any issues. Later in life, as I did freelance graphics, I was always heavily recruited by companies. I was turning potential employers away.
Yet mysteriously, after spending a little more than half a year as Ashlyn, I find I can’t keep a stupid waitressing job. I keep telling myself that—it’s a stupid waitressing job, it’s a stupid waitressing job—but I’m embarrassed anyway, and I actually fought back tears.
I sit down, my face hot with shame, and forced myself to remain calm and unaffected.
“So Ashlyn,” Maddie looked smug. I couldn’t help but imagine she was enjoying this—she was finally putting me in my place. “I’ve had to call you into my office a few times this month, and I think I have gone way beyond were I needed to go to resolve your issues. I’m afraid I am still not satisfied with your work performance. The restaurant has also received some complaints about you, so we have decided to let you go.”
“Complaints?” I was surprised, this was the first I had heard of any complaints. “Who has complaints against me?”
“We received some letters in the mail.” She states coldly.
“Can I see them?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
We talked for a little while, but to be honest, I can’t really remember what was said because I kind of tuned her out. I just sat there feeling like a complete idiot and failure.
Eventually she stood up and asked me to leave, the meeting was over.
And just like that I joined the ranks of the unemployed. She made me leave through the kitchen and out the back door—I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to everyone. Once I got a hundred yards away from the place I burst into tears. If I was still Jake, I wouldn’t had shed a tear over something like losing a job—but as Ashlyn, my emotions sometimes gets the better of me. It’s not that I’m more emotional as Ashlyn; it’s just harder to hide my feelings.
The Sox part 1:
My Secret Admirer has struck again. It’s like he knew I needed a little cheering up. The day after I was “let go” I received a letter. Inside was a simple message:
One of the best things about Boston are the Redsox.
Wrapped in the letter was one ticket to the Saturday Redsox / Yankees game(I’m a week behind in this blog—it was last Saturday’s game). I’m not much of a baseball fan, but I have lived in New England long enough to realize I had something pretty cool in a ticket to the game. People here are nuts for the Sox and absolutely hate the Yankees. I don’t know if I can convey the scope that the Redsox/Yankees series has for the fans—the city basically goes crazy for several days.
My roommates were jealous. “So are you going to the game by yourself? You don’t strike me as a ‘go by myself’ kind of girl.” Logan stated. I think he was subtly trying to get me to give him the ticket.
I give him smirk and shrugged. “I didn’t know, maybe I will. This is a really good seat. Maybe I’ll meet someone at the game.” Standing in front of him, I run the ticket under my nose and take a big whiff like I smell something delicious. “Besides, it’s a Yankees game!” I teased.
Logan stomped off grumbling something about redheads.
I’ve struggled with keeping the gifts from my admirer. Last month, before Jessica went back to New Haven, she gave me a little advice from her previous life as a police detective:
“Your secret admirer isn’t an admirer—he’s a stalker. He is probably watching you. Don’t keep the gifts he sends. When you keep the gifts it means you are playing along with whatever sick little game he’s playing—and it empowers him.”
At the time—I totally agreed with her. “You’re so right. I’ll get rid of everything.” I told her.
Only I didn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the iPod with the 80’s music he sent me. Instead I started using it. I started taking it everywhere, it became my constant companion. I listen to it when I work out, when I am on the T, and I sometimes even fall asleep listening to it.
I stuck the ticket in my purse—It would seem like such a waste not to go.
The Sex part:
Jean-Michel arrived in Boston last Friday. He showed up on our doorstep in the afternoon dressed to the nines and sporting a five o’clock shadow. He had that hip and dangerous look about him—or maybe he looked dangerous to me because I know what he does for a living. I’ll admit it—I’ve been looking forward to his visit ever since he called and said he was coming. Our time together in Canada had been extremely—pleasurable--and I was interested in picking up where we left off. I opened the door, stepped out to kiss him hello—at least that’s what I intended to do—Jean-Michel took it a little farther. He pulled me close and gave me a good ten second kiss. I guess he had been looking forward to seeing me too.
We broke from the kiss and there was some awkward silence as we grin at each other. “Come inside.” I say to him. “I’ll introduce you to my roommates.”
He steps into the house and takes a slow look around. “It feels so weird to be back here.”
Billie and J.J. come into the room; I’m guessing they were curious who was at the door. Jean-Michel didn’t miss a beat; he made his way over to them and turned on the charm and his French-Canadian accent. He took Billie’s hand as if he was going to shake it, but instead just held it.
“You must be Billie.” He pretends he doesn’t know her. “You’re as pretty as Ashlyn described.” He turned to J.J. and gave her the same treatment. I thought he was laying it on pretty thick, but my roommates seem to enjoy it. Logan walked in, and the reaction between him and Jean-Michel wasn’t so pleasant. I would say that the two of them had an instant dislike for each other, but Jean-Michel already knew Logan. Jean-Michel wrapped one arm around my waist and stuck out his other hand to Logan. Logan stiffly shook his hand.
It wasn’t that there were hostile words were exchanged—it was just the look on Logan’s face expressed how he was feeling. The conversation got awkward after that, so I took Jean-Michel by the hand and led him away.
“I want to show you my bedroom.” I said for the benefit of my roommates—after all, Jean-Michel knew what my bedroom looked like, it was his not long ago.
“What’s with Logan?” Jean-Michel asked.
“I’m not sure.” I tell him. “I been dating one of the guys at the firehouse on and off for the past couple of months. Maybe he’s watching out for a buddy.”
“Is it serious?” Jean-Michel asks.
“What? The thing with the firefighter? Definitely not. He’s just a kid.”
“Have you looked in the mirror lately? You’re not that old.” He walks up behind me and gently turns the two of us to face the large mirror that hung on the wall.
“Do you remember the last time we stood together in front of a mirror?” He whispered in my ear.
I did. It lead to the first time I had sex as a woman—it was a pleasant memory. He started kissing my neck and I turned to face him, finding his lips with my own.
Whenever I kiss Matt—the fireman I date from time to time—there is always the thought in the back in my mind that I’m really a man, I shouldn’t be kissing him. But with Jean-Michel it’s different. With him it’s easy to let myself go and forget the past.
I eventually push him away. “I need to change into something to wear to dinner.”
“Don’t let me stop you—I’m starving.”
I hesitated, but went ahead and changed in front of him. I told myself I didn’t have anything he hadn’t seen before—or if the evening went well, he was going to see it all again later.
“How do you feel about packing an overnight bag?” He asked me. “I’m staying at the Hotel Marlowe here in Cambridge. It’s within walking distance, but it’s a beautiful room…”
“I’d love to.” I told him.
He surprised me with his choice of restaurant. I expected to go to something extravagant and expensive; instead we went to a place called “Redbones” in Somerville. It was a barbeque joint.
“I thought you might be missing Texas food. This might be the closest thing in Massachusetts.” He says to me.
I was thrilled and kind of went nuts. I ordered a sweet iced tea, Texas style ribs, macaroni and cheese, and fried okra. It was a ton of food—I ordered like I was still Jake and barely put a dent in it. I felt guilty eating such ‘heavy’ foods in front of Jean-Michel, I didn’t want him to think I mistreated his old body on a regular basis.
“I normally don’t eat like this. I don’t want you to think I’m letting your body go to hell.” I tell him.
He laughed. “Don’t worry about it. You look good! I can tell you keep in shape—if anything you might be in better shape than when I was Ashlyn. I was thin, but I don’t remember my abs looking as good as they do now. You work out?”
“Yeah, nearly every day.”
“Amazing. When I was you I might have worked out once a week.”
I passed on the sweet potato pie for dessert. I wanted it, but there was just no room—and because of the heavy meal I was already computing the extra time on the treadmill I was going to have to spend, and the pie was just going too far.
We went dancing after dinner. I was glad to work to work off the calories. We also started drinking heavily—or at least Jean-Michel did. I had a few, but I was amazed by the amount of alcohol Jean-Michel could consume.
“One of the perks of being a guy.” He says to me. “I’m no longer a lightweight.”
I however, was the lightweight now. I got a little uninhibited and Jean-Michel and I started making out on the dance floor.
“Maybe we should go to the hotel.” He says to me.
We catch a cab to the Marlowe and we continue to make out in the cab and in the elevator up to the room. I was crawling all over him and he basically carried me from the elevator to the room. As soon as we stepped into the room clothes started flying off--at least I hope I waited to remove clothes until I got to the room--I have vague memories of not being fully dressed in the elevator. Once I’m naked he picked me up and tossed me on the bed—I laughed my ass off.
There wasn’t much more foreplay. We were both hungry for each other and we got to the main event quickly. We were in a missionary position when he entered me.
I’m all gasps and small words at this point. “Oh….. oh god. Oh my god.” You get the idea.
We hadn’t been at it long, but I was so turned on I was already close to cumming.
“I’m close. Faster. Harder! Fuck me harder!” I gasp.
He complied. Soon I was crying out in pleasure as we both orgasm.
We lay there together for a while before either one of spoke.
“That was intense.” I said.
“Yeah.” He nods his head in agreement.
“So is this the weirdest sex you’ve ever had?” I motion to myself. “I mean, this used to be you.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, it's up there, although that first time with "Marie" comes close.”
I sat up in bed, surprised. “You what? She what? After all she put Art through, she goes and does that—“ I was mad.
“Hey, don't judge her too harshly. There's a scary guy who expects her to put out whenever he comes calling; it's not so bad for her to occasionally want to be with someone who knows who she really is and likes her for that. Besides…”.
“Besides what?” I demanded.
“Well, even though I know what a girl likes, it was good for my first few times to be with someone who knew me for me, too. We helped each other. Of course, then Andre noticed we were spending a little more time with each other than he'd like, so we had to cut it down. What? Are you jealous?”
“No! I’m upset for Art.” I knew I had to tell Art. I wondered how he was going to handle the news.
We have a little tension for a moment, which was cut by my cell phone ringing. It was at the bottom of my purse so I took out several things to get to the phone. Great, it was Art who was calling—I guess his ears were burning. I couldn’t talk to him at that moment—this was a conversation worthy of a trip to Starbucks. I turn the phone off as Jean-Michel reached for the small pile of items I removed from my purse.
“Hey, what’s this?” He said picking up the Redsox/Yankees game ticket.
“Oh, it’s to the game tomorrow night. I have a secret admirer who sends me things from time to time. Unfortuantly he only sent one ticket.”
Jean-Michel jumped up out of bed and pulled something out of his suitcase. It was also a ticket. He looked at both of them for a moment and then handed me both of them.
The seats were next to each other.
“I have a secret admirer too.” He states.
For the second time in the last ten minutes I was surprised. I told Jean-Michel about some of the gifts I received—the flowers, perfume, scooter and the iPod. Especially the iPod because it came installed with music from my old CD collection from my life as Jake. Jean-Michel also had received gifts in the mail.
“I received the car and some cash. In my early days of being Jean-Michel, I don’t think I would have survived without the help from our ‘secret admirer’.
“Damn. I feel slighted. You got a car.” I was kidding. “Why do you think this person is doing this?”
Jean-Michel climbed back in bed and wrapped an arm around me, pulling me to him. I leaned into him, resting my head on his chest.
“I think he’s helping us somehow.” Jean-Michel states. “I think he’s helping us establish our new lives.”
Hmmmm. That sounds nice, but it doesn’t explain why.