Even after more than a year, it's probably fair to say I'm used to being a woman, even though I'm not particularly fond of it. There's more biology to be aware of, and it tends to be messier. My instincts still haven't caught up with my new social position, and even when it has, I sometimes expect people to treat me like Liz rather than Penelope.
Still, if I have to be a woman, I prefer being Penny. It's occasionally awkward, but that works for me - there are a lot of folks who don't know to deal with an athletic six foot tall woman, so when I meet new people, both of us are a bit socially flummoxed. I'm also taller and probably stronger as Penny than I was in my original life, which feels positively superhuman after being Liz, especially considering that I actually seem to gain energy from exercise versus it taking a lot out of me.
The one big downside for being Penny, though, is clothes shopping. As Liz, even if the sizing was arcane and inconsistent, I could eventually find what I wanted off the rack whenever I needed something; as Penny, the selection is much more limited unless I go to a specialty store, and it's always more expensive. And then when you've done something like wait until nearly the last minute to buy a Halloween costume...
I wasn't planning to do anything for Halloween - I didn't particularly enjoy my first Halloween party as a girl, much less looking for a costume. I've also been staying in more over the past few weeks, because it seems like every time I go out, Jeremy shows up. Even though he sometimes flinches when I walk in his direction, sometimes he doesn't. As much as I've more or less accepted that I'm going to be Penny for the foreseeable future, I haven't let go of my old life the way Lyn and Kat have. Seeing him act like a jackass, or just not be like me, makes me cringe at what he's doing to my name and reputation.
Last week, though, Drew told me there was a party in L.A. where we could get some networking done, and I thought it sounded pretty good. It was the 25th by then, though, so there wasn't a whole lot left for a woman like me. The choice was basically Wonder Woman and Xena, Warrior Princess; I went with the one that looked less like a swimsuit.
So, yesterday morning, we took the shuttle south. I left Cassie a message about maybe grabbing dinner, but she had to work late on end-of-month stuff. She would totally be willing to meet me in the hotel bar after my party, though, as long as I promised not to change out of costume.
The party itself was fun, if not A-list. The snacks and drinks were good, it was kind of fun to spot That Guys (you know, the folks you recognize when you see them in movies or as a guest star on TV but who are never actually billed very high). There were a few pro athletes there, too.
Drew and I weren't exactly joined at the hip, but it was okay - he had a couple other clients there as well, so he had to spend some time introducing them to people. He went as a pimp, which I suppose was kind of apropos for an agent. After spending a year-plus as a member of the fair sex, I don't know if I'd be comfortable with that. He mostly had me talking to people from the likes of Fox and ESPN. The only guy who wanted to talk about my book was a guy who looked just out of film school asking about whether it could be "packaged" with Angelina Jolie, and whether I was thinking of selling the rights individually, or as a franchise, and was I thinking film or television, or maybe both, because lots of TV-movies were mysteries with female detectives, but the guild might frown on it if I worked on it after they went on strike...
There was a lot of that, and I wasn't upset to leave at around one in the morning. I was kind of surprised when Cassie answered my text message at that hour, but she called me back right away, saying she was just finishing up. She got to our hotel at about the same time we did; Drew kissed Cassie on the cheek and headed upstairs; he hadn't been nursing his drinks at all.
Cassie smirked. "No matching costumes?"
"It was kind of short notice, and, besides, I don't think he's up to the leather pants. He doesn't have as much time to work out since he started expanding his client base down here. Does that mean that James dressed as Ryu, 'Chun Li'?"
"Damn right. That man's pecs should be allowed to breathe all the time."
I blushed a little, then took a drink. I'm not quite ready to discuss what makes "other" guys hot and don't know if I'll ever be. I changed the subject to work; she rattled off a whole bunch of computer jargon that I didn't understand a word of. I talked about CalSports and picking up little side gigs, although I don't know how much longer I'll be doing that.
"Drew's making noises about moving down here, since he's picking up more show business clients. And we're not really serious, but I'm used to him. And, I don't know, I'm kind of thinking I might need a change. There's this other guy who's always around..."
"Since when are you afraid of that sort of thing?"
"I'm not afraid, just bothered. I can't get rid of him, I can't make anyone else understand why it gets to me. And, besides, as much as my job's kind of fun, it's not really what I want to do with my life."
"Hmm. Well, I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be nice to have you around. Just, don't change your life because of some man."
We had a few more drinks before I got her into a cab and went upstairs myself. It sounds a little crazy on the other end of a night's sleep, a short flight, and a run along the beach, but I would like to change things up a little.