Monday, August 31, 2009

Cliff/Tori: What's Mine is Mine

I'll make this quick because I actually have to go to work soon!

It's kind of a mixed blessing. When Thom's work called me in I still wasn't sure exactly what he did, and when it was explained to me I grew less and less impressed. Thom had described himself as being in the "marketing" business, but what he neglected to mention was in is actually the "tele-marketing business." I felt ill as the manager took me around to a cubicle and showed me a big script for possible conversations I would be having, depending who would answer the phone. I always hated telemarketers, now I just hate myself. It's basically my job to call people up around dinnertime (my official hours are 3-9 PM) and ask them to take surveys. Sometimes people politely decline, sometimes they're very rude about it, and sometimes they just go with it, which always surprises me.

I had a bad feeling about it from the start, I guess because I was on my period.

Hrm. "My period." Realizing I just typed that, as if I owned it. And I guess I do. It belongs to me, it's something I've got to deal with. It's mine. For now, anyway. The body is mine, the boobs and the privates are mine. The clothes are mine, the tight jeans and tops and the underwear... the words the voice speaks, they come from me. Suddenly I'm becoming very aware about the choices I can make, and now that I have a job, I can start doing something and being something, at least for now. It's quite liberating. I'm starting to understand what makes me me, whether I'm being Cliff or Tori.

I mean, obviously, this isn't what I'd like to be doing, but... stuck in an awful situation, I'm starting to find my way, and I'm proud of myself. If I keep working, and just don't screw things up, I could actually end up enjoying this, so long as I get my life back in the end.

Man, you have no idea how glad I am to be rid of the stress of job-hunting. I'll take the boredom of a job I dislike anyday, over that.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Alia/Rob: Glue

It's weird how I can be hundreds of miles away from my city, my friends, my body, my life, but some problems feel like they're right in their backyard.

Learning the truth about Todd, about what had happened last year, was very strange for me because when the new person took over his body, and it seemed as though he had simply changed, my feelings toward him changed. It was hard for me adjust, but slowly I came to the realization (through his lack of enthusiasm toward me in all ways, even the friendly ones) that we had truly grown apart. I went through a number of different phases - frustration, depression, petty revenge, acceptance... not necessarily in that order. Sometimes when I would think I was finally over him, something would remind me (a place we'd been, a song we'd listened to,) and I would feel like a stupid girl with an unrequited crush again. I've said this before, probably, but it's been on my mind a lot lately. I always come back to it when I wonder why the hell I went to Maine in the first place.

When I learned the truth, it was confusing and scary and everything (remember I had just been transformed!) but on some level that became more apparent later, very comforting. To know that the person that I'd known that year wasn't my Todd at all gave me a lot of hope, even as bleak as everything seemed, it was a relief to know the truth, to feel there was a chance things would turn out okay.

Re-reading what Todd wrote in this blog, I saw my name mentioned a certain number of times and it made me feel very glad to see I was so important to him, because it was over the course of that lonely and confusing year that I learned how important he was to me as well. As cheesy as it sounds. I look at it this way: when we broke up, that's why he left Toronto, I was the thing keeping him there. He never openly expressed much desire to go on the road - maybe as an elaborate fantasy but never did he say "Alia I want to go to the States" and I told him "No, you must stay here with me." Hell, I would have liked to have gone with him, but I had obligations of my own.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's important to care about something, to want to stay in one place for something. To have glue keeping you where you belong. I feel like Todd and I always had that, and now we realize it. So when he found out about his situation with Erica, he did all those things he mentioned in his entry, and then he came to me on MSN and explained it.

I love out MSN conversations. for the first time in years I feel like I'm really talking to him, as myself, not as this person I look like. I can say what I really feel without being self-conscious about the way he might interpret it with me appearance. (I know that's kinda silly but it's true.) He can imagine me as the girl I am, not the person I appear to be.

Anyway. It was my job to talk him down from the ledge. He was very confused about how to handle the whole thing, and I really didn't know what to say to him because it's such a weird situation to have sprung on you. I had to convince him that, since Erica and Sean Flaherty are a couple they would probably handle most of the responsibility anyway, but I guess his time as Anne-Marie made him more sensitive to parental issues.

PS - I'd explain how it came to be that Sean and Erica were apart and Erica and I slept with each others' boyfriends, but frankly that's a story that makes nobody look good.

I don't know. I guess the whole thing has been sort of a re-bonding experience for us. It made me think. It's Friday night and I'm blogging about my long-distance boyfriend. I feel like I'm in junior high.

-Alia

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Todd: Not very good news

Something bad has happened. Something I couldn't have imagined and I don't even know how to explain, so I'll start from the top. This is even worse than finding out my girlfriend had turned into a dude overnight. I was at least prepared for that. This came from nowhere.

So I was out at the produce market. Before all the changes, Alia always took it on herself to make sure we had fruit and stuff at our place, one of the many small things I miss about her. So I realized there weren't any apples in the apartment and I wanted some. I went down the block to the produce market and I got my fruit and as I'm walking out of the place, I run into this girl I know. Erica LaFleur.

Erica was one of those girls back in the early years of University who was always around. Part of the circle of friends, you might say. Now, I was always dating Alia so I never really thought of her as more than a female acquaintance, but she had a cute girl-next-door thing going on and I think at one point several years ago, Bryan may have had a thing with her. I really couldn't say.

I was glad to see her. It's not that I hadn't run into anyone over the past few weeks but whenever I do, I'm filled with this awkward "I haven't seen you in a year but who knows how long it's been for you" feeling. Like, I want to say it's been forever, but to them I was just in the states a few weeks. I just want to get over the awkwardness and see everyone I cam.

So I hugged her and gave her a kiss on the cheek and asked her how she was, and she said she was alright, but she seemed a bit dodgy about it. I started to say "You look good" but only got as far as "You look--" before halting myself, as I realized she'd put on a bit of weight.

She interrupted my awkwardness. "It's okay, you don't have to say anything. I look like I'm three months pregnant."

"...are you?"

"Yep!" she smiled, but a hidden note of weariness could be heard her voice.

I started thinking 'Maybe I should know this already,' because I've been forced to play along when catching up with people, but realistically, I -- Todd -- have been out of the country since early June, and I think it takes a while to detect a pregnancy. So happily, this actually was the first time I was hearing about it.

So I continued. "So, is there a... like, a father, or a man... whose..." more awkwardness.

"Well, I am seeing someone, actually. Sean Flaherty. But it's not his."

Sean Flaherty? Damn that guy gets around. "So whose...?"

"Well, that's why I'm glad I saw you. It's yours, Todd."

What.

I felt my knees buckle. I leaned on a nearby garbage receptacle, I dropped my apples. How could this be possible? Three months ago I was in Connecticut. Three months ago, I was a woman. Three months ago, someone else was in control of my body, and that person definitely didn't seem interested in getting laid. I thought. My face flushed hot with confusion and fear and anger.

"Don't tell me you don't remember. I'd hate to think it was that boring for you."

Through clenched teeth I wheezed, "That whole time was kind of a blur..." (understatement.)

She explained, "Sean and I hadn't gotten back together yet, and you seemed really upset about something, but you never explained what. You were going on and on about your trip and how you weren't ready for something, and then you just kept babbling about how sweet and pretty I was, and it just... it just happened. Are you sure you don't remember?"

I barely managed to say "I... I remember things, sure."

The blood started to drain from my face as the reality of the situation washed over me. I asked, "Are you... planning on doing anything with it?"

She looked away. "I haven't decided whether I'm going to keep it yet, no. As you can guess, this probably isn't the right time for me to have a baby. But I wanted to make you aware before I reached my decision."

I could barely bring myself to form sentences. "Well... thanks for telling me. Um... keep me updated, I guess." I felt like my face was being held against the burner of a stove.

In a state of shock, I stumbled home hyperventilating and started pacing like a maniac. Bry was out so I called down to Florida to get the facts from Deb.

She answered the phone for the office supply place where she works. "Office Supplies, this is Amanda speaking." For those who don't recall, Deb and Amanda accidentally wound up in each other's bodies, which must have sucked, although not as much as this.

"Deb, it's Todd."

I proceeded to flip out on her, demanding to know why she didn't say anything, how she could be so irresponsible, basically venting all my rage at her. I was seriously in the mood to chew her out for being so irresponsible. She responded first by seeming extremely embarrassed by the whole situation, then by being offended I would call her at work for this, which is so completely not the issue.

Finally, she admitted that yes, she had had sex on at least one occasion with Erica, that she'd been a man, and a good, responsible, unassuming man for nearly a year but had let one night of frustration get the better of her, and she was negligent in securing birth control. And she apologized, but what good does that do me, since she doesn't have to live with the consequences?

Well there was nothing she could actually say that would calm me down, and since she was at work we had a limited window to talk, so I hung up feeling as frustrated or more than I already had. So I thought this blog might calm me down, and it hasn't.

How do you react to something like this? What the hell am I supposed to actually do? I've had enough problems trying to decide what I want to do with myself now that I have my life back, and it turns out I might be a dad? The kid is not even mine. But there's no way to tell her that.

I was hoping I could walk back into my life and pretend like none of this ever actually happened, but now the evidence is going to be there forever, if she keeps the kid.

Not good news at all.

-Todd

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Greg/Priya: First Day of school

So today was my first day of teaching Kindergarten, but it wasnt just, as Alia described it, "fingerpainting and naptime", we also had recess and story time. ;)

I woke up at 5am, because school started at 8 and I wanted to be there at 7 to make sure everything was set up and I could talk to parents who had any questions and wanted to meet me. It doesnt take 2 hours to get ready in Priya's body, I just over estimated because I wanted to err on the side of caution. Certain things need to be shaved or washed or applied, and it seems like theres something new everyday to worry about and I didnt want to be caught off guard.

Dressing was a bit of trick because I had to pick an appropriate outfit. As a man I always wore a suit to work and If i were teaching high school or something Id probably do the same. But I took into account the comments on my last entry warning me about the kids saying It would be like the movie "kindergarten cop" (which i re watched over the past week)and I figured I'd need something easier to move around in. I found a simple green dress that went to the knee and covered up most of the top. Add in a blouse underneath and some stockings and a pair of flats, and I looked every bit like a stereotypical kindergarten teacher.

The drive to Stevenson Elementary was longer than it shouldve been because of city traffic. It took an hour to get from Priya's loft in the theater district to the school in Wrigleyville. Im sure construction had something to do with it, but I might start taking the Ltrain to work just to spare myself the stress. Altho it was fun driving Priya's car, a 2001 BMW that she got for her HS graduation and has had ever since.

I got to school at 7:10 and settled into my classroom, which I spent the last 3 days decorating with inspirational and educational posters, most of which contained cartoon characters. Around 7:40 the first kids started to come in with their parents. Almost all of them had to be talked into staying and a few threw tantrums. This led me to realize one thing that made my day extremely easier: I was the only one in class who had been to kindergarten before. Unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie, I wasnt being thrown into a room full of kids who are used to a routine and knew how to manipulate it, I was here with children who had never been to school at ALL before. So despite being in a foreign occupation, gender, race,and countless other things, I still had a leg up on the kids.

I greeted most of them as they came in and introduced myself as "Ms. Priya" (which sounds a lot more familiar and fun to say then "Ms Patel"). Most of the kids settled down when I got on their level (something I read in a book) and told them about all the fun things we got to do here for a little while until their parents came back. This assuaged most of the tension, but a few kids had crying fits that lasted until the bell rang. And some kids were totally fine with it and I assumed that they had gone to preschool or something. This one kid, Lloyd, shook my hand and told me if i needed any help I should ask him. I told him it was very nice of him and smiled brightly, which made him smile proudly.

When the bell rang I asked everyone loudly but nicely to please sit on the carpet ("learning rug" is its "official" name). Most of the kids obliged and I had to go around and comfort the stragglers but I finally got all of their attention.

Most of the first day was spent laying down ground rules and going through each of the day's activities and explaining them. I think it helped that Priya is the most non-threatening looking person in the world and her high pitched voice seems to work well with the kids as most of them seemed to like me and I didnt have any major incidents besides the usual messiness (thats what "cleanup time' is for).

The day flew by. I stuck to the curriculum and actually had fun doing it. Its not like I was teaching them anything super complicated or difficult, I was just instilling basic skills in a way thats really very enjoyable. The kids seemed to react well too, as nobody said they wanted to go home, although they were all pleasantly surprised to see their parents at 230.

I stuck around until after 4 and made it back to Priya's place around five. I put on a tank top and pajama bottoms and poured myself a glass of wine and called Dee (which i haven't mentioned, is what Dolores goes by) , since it was her first day of work too.

I reconciled my differences with Dee over the past week. I told her I was sorry about being mad at her and I overreacted. She apologized but I told her that the longterm consequences of not having sex with amber would be much worse and I reluctantly "gave her the green light" but told her to be safe. I also figured that being at odds with Dolores would make her much less receptive to my advice about how to be me, and I dont want her to screw anything up.

I spent the weekend giving her a crash course in how to run a hotel. I didnt expect her to be perfect, although she does have a college degree and was an office manager before going into Insurance, so I figured she couldnt screw up monumentally. I told her if all else fails to lean on my assistant, Heather, and she would know what to do.

Which is what she did, apparently. My crash course didnt help much at all, it seems. Fortunately she was able to chalk it up to the month off and Heather made excuses like a pro. Good 'ol Heather. I gotta remember to give her a raise.

Hopefully the next week goes as well as today did. A solid work life would make things a lot easier on me, allowing me to try and sort out a personal life that isnt mine. Amber's been saying we should hang out more, so i'll probably have to bite the bullet and do girly things with the love of my life.

Wish me luck

-Greg

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alia/Rob: Too quiet

It hasn't exactly been a carnival for me since I've been here. It's been quiet and lonely, not really worth writing about. I've had to study up on the curriculum for Rob's English and History classes. The preparation has been somewhat akin to what Greg has spoken about, although rather than finger painting and naptime, I have to refresh my memory on figurative language and the Battle of Antietam.

I'm not really comfortable with this situation, because I feel like I'm doing myself, or Rob, or those kids a disservice if I don't know this stuff well enough to communicate it properly, even if most high school teachers I've know haven't had that attitude. Back when I was in high school, I had a teacher, Mr. Brown, who showed up every morning seeming genuinely excited to be teaching his students. He really seemed to like his job, and it was that enjoyment that, for a time, made me want to be a teacher. But that phase passed, and now here I am anyway. and I always thought, if I was going to be a teacher, that's the type I would be - enthusiastic and engaged, but how can I be enthusiastic? I'm not ready for this. It's a lot of responsibility. Classes start on the 3rd.

Meanwhile I've had my share of other concerns. For one, I had a very tense meeting with Rob's soon-to-be ex-wife Ingrid and her lawyer, and they were not pleased that Rob had missed their previously scheduled meeting (which, by my calendar, was shortly before I inherited his life and problems.) She gave me a death-stare the entire time.

She's one of those cold, detached yet mysteriously perfect-looking blonde white ladies my mom always seemed to have a bug up her behind about. She used to warn me that most men really wanted her type, although I thought it was an unfair prejudice, especially considering she married a white guy (and has been happy with him for nearly 30 years.) And most of my best friends have always been white anyway, so I never really thought of myself as "different" from them. This lady, though, gave me the chills, but it had nothing to do with race. Gender, maybe, but not race.

I could see why she might not have made a super-pleasant wife. My guess is that their relationship was fine as long as it was casual. She can't have been all that fun to go on dates with, but she got her claws in him, made him settle down before he was ready, controlled him and caused him to freak out, who probably explains why the first girl he saw, before their marriage was even officially over, was a hairdresser nearly 10 years younger.

Anyway, she sat there, judging me - or Rob, but I was feeling it - with her eyes while the lawyer drew up some paperwork for us both to sign. I'm supposed to take it back to my lawyer, although I have no idea why he wasn't in on that meeting, get it notarized, and send it back to her camp.

I keep putting it off, though, because I'm busy with both the curriculum preparation, and leading my stupid double life. As much as I appreciate Crystal involving me in my life, it's enough of a headache to be Rob and I can't handle the pressure of being both Rob and Alia. For a while, she was been pretty compulsive about keeping me updated on her thoughts on what she may do while being me. And trust m, while I appreciate the consultation, I have matters of my own.

Still, there's some important stuff to deal with that some of these fellow-victims would probably have rather had a hand in with their lives. Crystal wasn't about to pick up my position as a grad student. As important as it was to me that I finish my Master's degree in good time, there aren't any requirements that can't be put on hold until I can resume them myself. Until then, we brainstormed jobs that I could get with my resume, and that she was capable of handling. She's a pretty capable lady, and I'm somewhat accomplished I suppose, so it wasn't hard to come up with a few things -- jobs I wouldn't have necessarily wanted, but were available to me.

What was surprising was how quickly she started getting interviews for places like ad agencies and marketing firms. After only a few weeks, she actually got Full-time position writing ad copy for a place called Epic Communications. It's a small firm with a couple big clients, so the pay isn't great, but enough to sustain the modest lifestyle I'd been living anyway.

Since landing the job, thankfully, Crystal seems to have broken away and started doing her own thing. Obviously I intend to keep informed of what is going on in her life, despite the fact that she is not interested in contributing to this blog. Luckily, I've got two very dedicated spies on her trail in Todd and Bry. Mwahaha.

I'm kidding. She knows they're reporting to me.

Anyway, as annoying as her obsessive advice-seeking was at first, I don't mind that she was the one to end up with my body. She seems like a respectable woman, very driven and dedicated, and eager not to screw things up for me or for her. Maybe it seems a little too perfect, but quite honestly, I think the trade-off is that her life is boring.

Which I'm fine with. As you can imagine, my life as Rob has been pretty boring so far too. Don't get me wrong, I've scrawled down plenty of "Tired of worrying about catching penis in zipper" observations, but we have to save something for later entries, don't we...

Cheers,
Alia

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Arthur/Penny: That's settling in TOO much!

Jessica eventually made it to Montreal, just a few days late. After spending a couple nights on my couch, she was looking forward to spending a few more days on Louisa's bed.

I was kind of surprised to hear Louisa talking about going to Montreal, but soon after I last saw her, the folks she was working for as a researcher had to make some tough decisions about how to allocate their visa sponsorships, and "Marie" was the odd one out. She did a good enough job that Parker's boss put in a good word for her with some people in Vancouver, but she didn't like it there. She put in a call to Jean-Michel, found out that André Trudeau had a new girl half his age and wasn't particularly concerned about Marie Desjardins any more. The coast being clear, she moved back to Montreal, and with recommendations from both Hollywood and Vancouver, was soon doing similar work there.

I imagine Jess and Louisa were happy to see each other; they became close on their road trip - I don't think Jessica would be nearly as open as she is now without Louisa. Jess was heading up north to do tourist stuff, so I was a little surprised when I saw her name pop up on my IM friends list, especially she immediately sent me a message: "Talk to Ashlyn. Now."

I texted back, saying I wasn't ready, and she said she didn't care. She sent me a couple of links to stories in the local papers, and said that being in a newspaper office myself, I could probably find more, and Lyn needed to know. As soon as I saw the first story, I knew she was right.

Jean-Michel Therriot is set to be tried for murder in late September.

Jean-Michel Therriot, for those who haven't been following the blog since the beginning, used to be Ashlyn Shelley, before she and Elizabeth Lee took a trip to the Trading Post Inn and... Well, it's all in the archives. We always knew he was involved in some shady things up up there - that's why the original Jean-Michel Therriot and Marie Desjardins were so hard to find, they opted to keep a very low profile lest some of their old lives came back to find them. Lyn used to keep in closer touch with him, but he's wrapped up in a lot of bad stuff - local mob boss André Trudeau on the one hand, Pygmalion on the other. Even if Lyn hadn't severed her ties with Pygmalion as much as we'd thought, she was staying away from that more.

I admit, I was still mad enough at Lyn that I didn't just drop everything and go tell her, although I told myself that the weekend baseball preview wasn't going to write itself. I finished that and called her. She said she had to work all night, a little frosty, and I said fine. Then immediately felt like crap and went to Headlights.

I've been there before in his body, and I'd like to say that I found places like it tacky even when I was a man, but, yeah, it's an experience walking into that pool of testosterone alone as a woman. The stripper-looking girl who greeted me at the door asked if I was meeting someone and I said sort of, I need to talk to one of the employees, Ashlyn. She said there were two, I said the redhead, and she pointed me at the bar.

Lyn was tending bar that night, and looked a little surprised when she saw me. She asked what I wanted, in an angry way, and I told her scotch, neat, and get one for herself, because she was going to need it. She said that me coming to her place of business to bitch at her was crossing the line, and I laid the printouts of the stories on the bar for her to look at.

She poured the drinks, and downed them both.

Then she surprised the hell out of me. She asked one of the other girls to cover for her and walked into the back. I ordered a beer from the new girl, and had just about finished it when she came out wearing street clothes. I said it was probably a good idea to take the night off, and she sort of grunted, saying she'd quit.

I knew why, but I still made sure I found a place that served fancy coffees and got her the most expensive one on the menu. She didn't say much as she drank it, just pored over the news stories. I got English translations where I could, but a lot were in French. The thrust of the matter was still the same, though - noted Trudeau family associate Jean-Michel Therriot had been careless taking out a bookie who was withholding the organization's cut earlier this year, and there'd been a witness. There was speculation that the prosecution was going to try to turn him, but so far, he'd refused to speak with anyone but his attorney, a noted mob lawyer. Everyone was very confident of a conviction.

Lyn read them all, and then just started crying. "I don't know why this upsets me so much... I mean, things are going so well with me and my boyfriend, Jean-Michel is no more Ashlyn Shelley these days than I am Jake Mathews, right? It's got nothing to do with me."

Some folks were starting to look our way, but I gave them a look that said to buzz off. "But it is all about me, isn't it? It's all about how I just slipped right into the life Ashlyn would have led if she hadn't gone to that Inn, just like she became a gangster. I mean, fuck, some nights, when someone would give me a ridiculous tip or a basketball player came in, I'd think this is better than being me, that my whole life as Jake existed just to get me to that Inn so that I could have this one. How stupid is that? I thought I was doing real well, taking a bartending course so that I could get some hours there. But if this is what Jean-Michel gets brought down to... Where's my bottom? Stripping? Hooking? Porn? Marrying Matt because I've got nothing else? Or just following some trail that some god-damn ghost has quietly laid in front of me?"

Eventually, we went back to my place - she didn't really want to see Matt tonight, just in case he was part of some Pygmalion plot. She demonstrated some mean bartending skills after we made a stop at the liquor store, more than enough to put herself out.

I don't know what she's going to do next, but I guess I'll wind up helping. She needs someone to trust, and I may have a ton of my own issues right now, but I don't know who else can be that for her.

-Art/Penny

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cliff/Tori: Pool party

I was not looking forward to the pool party on Saturday. It hit me again, around the time of my last post, how many things have been out of my control since my stay at the inn. Move to this city, live in this house with this family, dress this way, be called this name... be friends with these people... I mean, even as shitty as my life could be it was my life, and I was living the way I wanted to, not because some stupid magic curse turned me into someone.

But let's be honest, this was really about swimsuits. Despite the occasional moments of angst, I've resigned myself to just throwing up my hands and saying "Okay, what's next?" I'm already trapped in this body and this life and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm Tori for the time being. I get it. I can't change it, not right now anyway. I'm willing, somewhat, to accept the reality of my situation, and yet, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do about it. Days go by and it gets weirdly easier to look at the girl in the mirror and live her life because there's no other option. But that does not mean I was interested in flaunting what I now have. Let's face it: most girls who look like Tori (and many who do not) prefer comparably revealing bathing suits.

I used to love swimming when I was a kid, but I haven't been since high school. Tori seems to be into it as she had about 7 or 8 swimsuits, all bikinis. I chose the ones that looked least likely to fall off, with the thickest straps and most boob and butt coverage. Black. Frankly, I'm not sure I would've even preferred a one-piece, because I've gotten used to walking around in Tori's underwear enough that this was a familiar feeling.

I packed the swimsuit in my trusty shoulderbag and wore shorts and a tank top, because I felt really nervous abut it and wasn't sure I wanted to even swim.

I drove over there with "Mom," "Dad" and Mae. Mae had worn her swimsuit under her clothes. As soon as we arrived at Raine's parents' house, she met up with Raine's younger brother Ed, who is maybe a year older than her. As Tori's parents and Raine's chatted with others at the gathering, I began to look around for Raine and Sara. I may not feel too close to them, but they were the only really familiar faces I had. They were already in the pool, commanding me to jump in. I lied and said I just ate, and they splashed me.

Turns out they weren't the only familiar faces around. Thom had been invited too, but like me, was just sitting poolside. He kept me company, I guess, although I was convinced he was just trying to hit on me or something. I tried to play it off, and was very, very conscious that what I said could not be misinterpreted as anything other than a healthy conversation. We got to talking about computers and he seemed surprised by my knowledge... which, I guess is fair, I'm a pretty knowledgeable guy, and Tori, well, she seems like the kind of person who would call text support looking for the "Any" key (an old joke but a good one.)

After all this he reiterated his offer to get me a job. I asked what it was, and he said it was "in marketing" and they the place "uses computers a fair amount if that's what you're into now." So I said I'd send him my resume. I could use anything by this point, even if I thought it was just him using a cheap ploy to get into my pants.

Thom went to get changed and left me alone. I observed Mae and Ed talking and flirting. I found their young awkward teenage romance adorable, and it made me very sad to recall I didn't get much of that when I was their age. I also noticed what a different look Mae had about her with so much skin showing in her bathing suit. I mean, I know she's young and I guess technically she's my sister, but it still struck me. I'm allowed to be struck, aren't I? It was the most carefree and joyful I've seen her since meeting her.

Around that point I was very surprised that some force came from behind me and tossed me in the pool! Thom had snuck up on me. It was friggin' embarrassing, and If I'd known they were going to do that I would've just changed. As I climbed out, Raine led me inside so I could change into my swimsuit and "start having fun." She took me to the spare bedroom upstairs.

I laid out my clothes on a towel to dry. As I undressed, I looked at myself in the mirror on the closet door.

The first thing I saw was a pretty, naked girl, dripping wet. Great body, gorgeous face, but sad, and ashamed of herself. The second thing I saw was me.

My eyes fixated on my breasts as I slipped on the bikini top. It was time for a pep talk.

"Cliff, Cliff..." I sighed, "Where are you, man? Are you in there?" I ran my fingers through my long, dark, wet hair. "What's happening to you? Part of you is still scared and nervous, but part of you just... just wants to enjoy this. Is that so wrong? I mean look at this." I rubbed my breast, "You can do this any time you want. You're just making it harder on yourself if you don't at least try to have fun with these people. This time next year, this will all be over, but you don't have to feel like you're in prison. This is your life for now. Would you just make the most of it?"

I pulled up my bikini bottoms and and gave my cute little butt a look. I tried to wear an only-somewhat-embarrassed smile as I stepped out to see Raine waiting for me. "There she is!"

I shrugged, "Here I am. Let's go swimming."

I had to admit -- the weather was about 90 degrees plus humidity that day, so that pool was a damn relief. And it's not like a lot of people can check my body out when I was mostly underwater from the neck down. We played a few rounds of pool volleyball, so yes, I did feel myself jiggling as I jumped around, but for once I didn't really care whether anyone could/would see, because I was actually having fun for once.

As the night wore on, I got the "time to go" signal around 10. I said goodbye to Raine but couldn't find the others, so I went up to the guest room to get my clothes, which would hopefully be dry.

And when I opened the door, I found them. Sara and Thom. Naked, and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

They hadn't noticed me open the door, but by the time they did see me and I slammed it shut I had seen far too much, not the least of which was the look on Sara's face... I may never forget that look. Eyes closed, mouth open, seeming to be in more rapture than any woman I have ever seen. And Thom, just... just plowing away. It's not hard to see how they didn't catch me opening the door, that's how engaged they were.

My heart raced with embarrassment and fear. And actually, after a while, some excitement that it now seemed Thom wasn't interested in me at all. Then I started fixating on how pleased Sara seemed to have been, before they saw me... I was happy having no idea what a woman looked like during sex, let alone felt, and now that it's within my capacity to get there it's.... well, it's a damn scary prospect!

Completely stressed and panicky, I made the decision to forget about my clothes and just ride home in my bathing suit and towel, explaining to the parents that Raine was going to wash them for me.

It was definitely... a weird day. I was feeling bad, then I was feeling good, and I went home just feeling weird. I had a hard time looking Sara in the eye the next time I saw her a few days later. We didn't talk about it.

I have yet to hear back about the job.

So... that's what's up with me.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Greg/Priya: Accepting the inevitable, but still too soon.

So this blog is the only ''person" in the vicinity who I can talk to about this, but I need to write down my feelings about this. I dont have any cute little anecdotes or intros or background information, its just the facts.

Today, I received a text from amber. It said, and this is a direct quote. "Man last nite was great. You really start to miss sex after a month".

Dolores fucked my fiance.

She didnt go over any moral qaundries. She didnt feel uncomfortable in her new body. She didnt question her new sexual orientation. She just fucked Amber within 12 hours of meeting her.

I called Dolores right after I got the text, angry as all hell. I greeted her with somethign to the effect of "What the fuck did you do last night?". See seemed apologetic. Said Amber just came onto her and she couldnt fight the way she was feeling. Boy did that make me mad. I cursed her out before slamming the phone down.

Ive had the day to cool off, and while im still angry, I dont think im angry at Dolores any more as much as I am at the situation. I mean, I guess it was inevitable. All the other relationships I read about on here that got screwed up by the inn were unhealthy in the sex department (Liz and Ray, Anne Marie and Hal), but Amber and I were fine. Amber reacted just as I expected her to react after not seeing me for a month. She can be pretty agressive sometimes and I guess Dolores was dealing with a rush of new hormones so she found it hard to resist.

Besides, its not like i said "Dont fuck my fiance". I didnt bring up the subject at all. I suppose eventually she was gonna have to do it. NOT doing it for a year wouldve probably done more damage to my relationship than this. I guess im gonna have to live with it, but its kind of hard to when Amber is giving me updates and details.

Which brings me to another thing...why did Amber text me? It turns out, after calling New Jersey to verify, that Priya knows ALL about mine and Amber's sex life. Apparently they share every little intimate detail, which I found kind of embarassing, knowing that the girl on the other line knows that stuff about me. The worst part is now im gonna have to listen to Amber tell me all about it for the next year.

That wasnt the only awkward phone call I had today. Priya's mother called, asking why I didnt come to her party on Saturday. I quicky went through my little notebook of important dates and didnt see August 15th as anyone's birthday or anniversary, so I was clueless. Apparently, Friday was Independence Day. In India.

I dont know if Ive said it directly before, other than her name and refernce to skin color, but Priya (and I guess I am now) is Indian. Indian-American that is. She was born in Waukegan, whcih is a Suburb of Chicago but both her parents Immigrated in th 70s and her grandparents were alive in India back in the 40s under British rule. So apparently August 15th is a big deal in her family. And since it was a Saturday i had no ready excuse of work or anything as to why I blew off my entire family. This caused me to be guilted into an hour of small talk about relatives I dont know for an hour before I said it was time for me to eat and finally got her to hang up.

I cant wait till next week until all I have to deal with are 5 year olds.

-Greg

Monday, August 17, 2009

Arthur/Penny: Our little community

After all the mixed connections and other things in New York, Saturday was blissfully scheduled. Ray and I hadn't seen each other much all week - associates who play hooky have to make up their billable hours in bulk, apparently - but Saturday night we had tickets to Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal at the Bank of Boston Pavilion. It's a nifty venue down by South Station, picking up outdoor-friendly shows that won't fill the bigger venues. It's great for folks who live in the city and don't have a car, too - the bigger venues around here are out in Foxboro and Mansfield, and while there is technically public transportation there, it doesn't run on a concert-friendly schedule. Apparently, if you can afford tickets, you can afford a car.

I can walk to the Pavilion from my place downtown, so I told Ray to just meet us down there. I wasn't exactly busy, but I wanted some time to speak freely with Jessica, who was coming into town to see the show, one of her last big outings of the summer before heading back out west for her junior year.

She was wearing a Bonnie Raitt t-shirt when I met her at the train station, and gave me a big hug. We told each other we were looking good, and that was the case. She got her hair cut short for the summer, and the more grown-up look suits her. She's dropped a little more baby fat, and didn't have much trouble keeping up with me when I occasionally forgot about her shorter legs. I ask if she's been working out, and she says a little; she and Dana spent a lot of her truncated freshman year hanging out, and had shared some holidays and vacations afterward. Since all the original Jessica does is play ball, she found herself whipped into shape catching up. I asked if that was all they did, and she stuck out her tongue at me before sighing.

"I don't know if we should or not. We're friends, I think he's sexy, he likes me a little, and sometimes people assume we're dating, but every once in a while Mom or Parker will say something about us being like brother and sister and that just kills that idea. And... I don't know, i'd just kind of like my first time as a woman not to be tied in with all of this. But I want it to mean something, as opposed to being something I just get over with. Arrgh!" She let out a little yell and then folded her hands under her chin in "let's dish" position. "So, enough about my mother-pleasing non-existent sex life. Yours sounds much more exciting."

I couldn't argue with that, so I told her everything I've talked about here and then some. She lapped up all the details, and by the time I was done, she looked at her watch and noticed we were starting to cut it close, and after what I'd told her, she definitely wanted to meet Ray before the show.

Ray was a little surprised by her, asking how she became a fan upon seeing the t-shirt. Jessica choked back a remark about having been a fan before Luck of the Draw, instead playing up the young girl thing and saying that you don't, like, have to be ancient to like the blues, and how many women do you see that rock like her? Even if she was old enough to be her, like, grandma or something, she was way cooler than any of the Idol girls. Oh, and, yeah, Mom liked her.

He just shook his head at that. "You sure know an awfully wide variety of people despite only coming to Boston a year ago. Lyn, Ginessa, Jessica... I have trouble imagining what you all have in common."

Jess and I shrugged. It was a mystery.

The show itself was pretty impressive. Jess had a lonely single at the end of a row, but she didn't mind - it was just close enough that she could watch the stage as much as the projected image. We were closer - the firm had purchased a season pass - and had a great time. Not necessarily getting up to shake things around so much, but it was quality blues, and the pair spent a fair amount of time on stage together. Combine them and their too bands, and that's a lot of sound.

Jess found us again after the show, running up to us as Ray was kissing me and there was something nice going on between his hand and my tush. "Hey," she says, "I don't mean to interrupt, but if you're going to go out for drinks or something else us poor underage kids can't do until November, could you give me your keys?"

Ray's hand left my bottom. "I didn't realize your friend was staying."

"I wasn't going to - I was going to take the overnight bus to Montreal - but something came up and I can't go for another couple days, so I kind of need a place to crash, and I won't be able to get hold of Ashlyn until her late shift is over..." She shrugged. Ray sighed. "It's just... Liz hasn't found a new place, and I was kind of hoping to..." His gaze shifted to look down my cleavage, and he sighed again.

We did go out for drinks, and he escorted me back to my place before taking a cab ride home. I sympathized; it's not like women don't get grumpy if they thought they were going to get laid, but it does seem to be worse for men. And he was going to have to deal with Liz when he got back home.

I did have a nice morning hanging with Jess on Sunday, though she went to hang out with Lyn for most of the afternoon, and I wasn't really feeling up to that. Jess frowned, saying I really should forgive Lyn, that she's had it rough, and I kind of lost my temper a bit. We've all had it rough, I say, but we stuck together and tried to help each other when we could. Lyn, on the other hand, sold me out. Jess dropped it then, and didn't mention it when she got back to my place Sunday night, but when I dropped her at the train station, she did say that it didn't seem right for me to condemn Lyn for what she did while enjoying the fruits of it with Ray.

She's right, of course. But I still can't bring myself to pick up the phone and call Lyn.

-Art/Penny

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Greg/Priya: Binders

So when I was in college, i briefly entertained the idea of being a teacher. I thought maybe it would be like the movies, and I could be fun and inspirational. But over the course of 4 years my cynicism caught up with me and I realized that I wasnt very inspirational and that I liked money. So I went into hospitatlity business instead. Now the inn has given me a chance to find out what its like to be a teacher, altho in my head I was never a kindergarten teacher.

I always thought that the 3 best things about being a teacher would be June, July and August, but the last one not so much. Instead of beig a month off, its 2 weeks of seminars and preperatory meetings for the upcoming school year. I started my first week monday.

This actually prove to be useful, because it gave me time to become familiar with Adlai Stevenson Elementary school, its layout, and the other teachers there. I dont remember most of their names but I do remember a few key faces. Ill have to make flashcards or something on Facebook.

It also gave me a crash course on how to teach, because we got these massive binders containing all the specifics of the Illinois State Board of Educations curriculum requirements and rules and regulations as well as guidelines for teaching methods. Most of the teachers didnt go through them in depth, because they dont change much from year to year, but ive spent most of the last week poring over it and calling Priya in New Jersey for guidance. Which is why i didnt post much despite the big Inn related news.

On Sunday the 9th, I received the inevitable phone call from myself. My number was in Priya's phone so when "Greg" flashed on the screen with my photo it was kinda weird. I answered and talked to my new self.

Apparently the new Greg was a girl...a woman that is. Dolores Henderson, a 45 year old recently divorced insurance adjuster from Mississippi. Which explains the bizzare southern accent I heard my voice using.

We talked for about 2 hours, I let her know all that we needed to know about being Greg. I Assured her it was just fine for him to use my credit cards to book a flight back home and that she didnt need to worry about it. She seemed comforted that the real me would be in the same city and a friend in real life.

Before we hung up, I told her to call Amber and let her know everthing was OK. Which im guessing she did because an hour later i got a text from her saying how happy and relieved she was that "Greg" was safe and able to talk to her again.

Her flight gets in tonite, and Amber is going to pick him up. She was really excited about it too. So Dolores is going to get the warm homecoming I had expected, and Im sitting here, having a date with my binders.

Ill keep ya posted

-Greg

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Arthur/Penny: Away games

One thing I do miss about my time about CalSports is the travel. Calling lacrosse games, they would send me to wherever the teams played, and though I often didn't get much chance to see the city, there's something nice about leaving the hotel room with the bed unmade, having no excuse not to eat out, and not taking the scenery around you for granted. Boston Today is run on a tight budget, so I generally don't travel with the teams; I just blog while watching them in HD and augment that with whatever comes over the wire. The Red Sox in New York is a special occasion, though, where it's worth it to put me on a plane (the train isn't much of a savings) and have me on-site, visiting enclaves of New York Sox fans, getting interviews with players, and generally giving more in-depth coverage.

Not that I got much time to see New York; Sox-Yankees is intense, especially when it's an epic, season-changing ass-kicking that results in a respected veteran getting kicked to the curb. Still, I told the newly-single Ray that I'd spend some time with him in the City over the weekend. He was excited by the prospect, said he'd leave Boston right after work, and then meet up with me after the game. I told him I'd need an hour or so after the game to get interviews done and stories filed, but he said that was cool, just give him a call.

Then, of course, the game went fifteen innings, featured the debut of a much-heralded young pitcher, had the "Alex Rodriguez, clutch hitter" angle... By the time I got out of the park, it was almost 3am, and I wasn't terribly surprised when Ray's phone went straight to voice mail. I left a message saying that I was going to have to hit the hay, then get back to the ballpark around noon to start coverage for the 4pm game. I joked that at least that wouldn't take us much past eleven at the worst-case scenario, and New York is just getting started then. Then I crash.

I get up around ten o'clock Saturday, have a quick breakfast, and make a few calls while I'm on my way to the Stadium. First is Ray, and I apologize profusely for the previous night, although someone following the Red Sox in recent years shouldn't be surprised. I ask him what his plans for the day are, and he mentions some college friends he's looking to connect with. I say that's cool, and then call Mark.

Ginessa, that is. I guess I'm the only person still posting regularly who hasn't seen her since she settled into her new life even more thoroughly than Lyn has. Still, I figure she would know a good place to get a late dinner that wouldn't rely too much on screwing around with multiple subway lines. She's excited to hear from me, though, especially when she hears I'll have a date. Of course, she also says I should have called her to hang out the night before, even if it was 3am. Anyway, she says she'll talk to Gavin, make sure we've got a reservation someplace nice.

So, another game, another loss and even though I haven't been in Boston quite long enough for the Sox to be my team, I've got to interact with a lot of readers online, and that's a heck of a lot more enjoyable when they're winning rather than losing to New York in spectacular fashion. It only runs three-twenty-eight - positively sprightly for Sox/Yankees - I get out at quarter of nine, and Ray's there to meet me. We hug kind of awkwardly, and the kiss is also kind of weird. It's right out in the open, we don't know what it could lead to, and it's got a whole lot more history to me than it does to him.

We can laugh about how weird it was, though, and take the train into Manhattan. The place is fancy enough that both Ray and I feel under-dressed, but a waiter escorts us to Ginny & Gavin's table.

Ginny is - well, she's a supernova. I don't think she's had surgery or anything, but her boobs and butt seem fuller than when I last saw her in Maine, when I'd just become Liz and we were scattering to the four winds. That may just be because she's dressing to accentuate her curves rather than trying to hide them under a baggy football jersey. She wears some expensive jewelry, too, which not many of us other boys-become-girls do (I wore tiny studs in my ears as Liz because I didn't want them to close up before I gave her her form back, and a little more now since I got in the habit from appearing on TV out west, but nothing big). She greets us warmly, saying she thinks its so cool that I'm writing about sports and she's heard so much about Ray, before backtracking and saying she hasn't really heard that much - just for a few months, and "Penny's been discrete, of course!"

Gavin was exactly what I should have expected, but didn't, really. He's got to be twice Ginessa's apparent age, older than Mark would be if he'd never gone to the Inn. He's thinning up top, wears glasses, and if someone asked me to estimate the likelihood of his being gay without showing me Ginny, it would be right around the fifty-percent area. He's nice, though - picks up the check, argues about the ballgame with Ray in a friendly manner, pulls Ginny back when she's threatening to get crazy. He makes some fantastic recommendations, too - the man knows his food.

Afterward, we go back to his hotel room, where there's a nice King-sized bed that kind of scares the hell out of both of us. At first we just lay there for a while, enjoying the fact that we don't have to hurry it. We talk. I tell him I really didn't want to break up his engagement, but he says I didn't - that he and Liz finally realized that they were more like brother and sister than boyfriend and girlfriend, and there's no hard feelings. Even if I'm around? Yes, she's going to forgive and forget. Wow.

Then we make love. It's slow, and nice, and kind of clumsy. It's not like the rushed screwing we did behind Liz's back, or what we did when I was Liz. It exhausts us, but we feel good afterward. I fall asleep in his arms, which isn't something I've done with a man (I don't think) since becoming a woman.

The next morning, we find a bagel place before just walking around the city for a bit. We can't really do much - starting around noon, I'm getting a message on my Blackberry every fifteen minutes or so, and I've got to tap out a few slightly-larger-than-Twitter-sized bits of content for Boston Today's blog. It's a nice day, and I'm sad when five o'clock comes, and he leaves for the drive back to Boston and I head out to the Bronx for the series finale - especially since it doesn't look like we'll have time to meet up again until this weekend.

I am looking forward to it, though - he's got concert tickets for tomorrow night (tonight, I guess), so that will be even more like a real date. If this is what having a regular boyfriend is like, I suppose I could get used to it.

-Art/Penny

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cliff/Tori: Mounting awkwardness

Feeling a bit overexposed (so to speak) with Thom last week may be the least of my concerns. Tori's best friends Sara and Raine are back in town after getting home from their trip to Europe.

I've done as much research as I can, reading old Facebook wall posts and photos. Have I ever mentioned how weird it is to have all these photos of the girl I look like, with these people I don't know, smiling and laughing? It's creepy. I've gotten used to seeing the face in the mirror, but there's still that constant reminder she's not really me. I guess that's kind of a good thing.

Sara is small and Filipino, but very boisterous. Raine is a bigger girl, taller than I am now and a fair bit heavier. I wouldn't say she's fat, but she and Tori are definitely not the same clothing size. When I used to go drinking with Justin, Raine is the kind of girl I'd be asked to entertain while Justin hit on her better-looking friend. I never really minded either, because the, um, bigger girls are usually friendlier (not always! They can be bitchy too, but usually they were nice.) Sometimes they'd even want to make out, but I never went all the way with them because well... I guess I just never asked.

So they came over yesterday, but we ended up leaving because Mae was watching movies with her friends. We went over to their apartment and sat out on the balcony.

It was the first time I've ever felt like I was... undercover, I guess, in the world of women. It was the first time I got hear conversations women have when men aren't around, because for the most part I'm only with one other person at a time, like Alia or Mae, or else with the parents or something.

I guess it wasn't that far from what I was expecting, but I felt so out of place when they started pressing me. Last they heard, Tori was with Rob, and they wanted to know about all this stuff I wouldn't want to talk about even if I knew (like say, how is the sex.) And then when I said I didn't wanna talk about it, they got all offended and surprised like that was the first time Tori had ever been shy about this stuff, and maybe it is. I just tried to play it off like Rob and I weren't really "together" by this point. They then proceeded to dominate the conversation with stories about guys they'd met in Europe. I wanted to ralph.

Then they started talking about this pool party Raine's family was having, and her family and Tori's family (and Sara's family) go back a fair way so of course I have to come, and the whole family is gonna be there too so there's no really good way to get out of it. It feels like it's just going to be the big preview of how things are going to be from now on, being forced to go do things with people I don't really know, and... pretend to be this person.

It's times like this, I think what it would be like to move away from this city. Besides Alia there's nothing here for me (as Cliff.) It's just that, if I want to enjoy the security of Tori's family, I have to accept the awkwardness.

Oh... man. So, it's this Saturday. I figure if I can survive this, I'll be in good shape to understand what this whole "Tori" thing is gonna be about for the next year.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Todd: I'm only happy when it rains...

Being back in Toronto has been really bittersweet for me. Even before I became myself again, I knew the experience would be tainted by Alia's presence at the Inn. So my momentary glow of victory feels like it's faded. The city feels a little colder, a little less familiar, even amidst the first serious heatwave I've felt all summer. It's been more humid than hell lately.

For a few days, Bry and I just walked around the city, savoring the sights. Queen, Bathurst, Yonge-Dundas, College and Spadina... the sights of those streetcars crawling along the streets, the dissipating odor of a monthlong garbage strike. We had Crystal along with us a lot of the time, showing her things that, as Alia, she would have to pretend to know about. The sights, the locales. She seemed pretty awestruck by it. I got the feeling she wasn't much of a city person. I figure she was half excited and half scared. After a few days of that, she retreated to the library. What she's been doing all day there is beyond me, but I think she's been using it as a base of operations for... whatever she plans to do with Alia's body.

She's been keeping her distance, but last night there was an absolutely massive thunderstorm. Like it didn't rain enough when I was in Maine, it's followed me back to my hometown.

Well, she showed up at our place, saying that being alone at Alia's place in a strange city had been hard enough, but the thunderstorm was really getting to her and she needed the company. I told her she was more than welcome to spend time with us, she didn't have to be intimidated or anything. We really just want to help her (well, and Alia, but I think that's implied.) We spent the night watching movies (we introduced her to High Fidelity and The Royal Tenenbaums, but decided our go-to movie, The Big Lebowski, might not be her speed.)

She fell asleep on the couch, and then Bry and I went to my room, where we had... a talk.

Basically, he asked me if I was thinking about making a move on Crystal. That was a big no. Admittedly, the way she looks brings up certain feelings for me, but there's something so off-putting about the way she's not Alia. After being around her for a few weeks, the Inn-curse mojo is starting to soften, the way it did when I'd been around Anne-Marie/Julia enough.

The way Bryan sees it, people are going to see me not being with Alia as a sign that she's available, and coming from her (probably sexually frustrated) background, it might not be easy to withstand temptation. Not to mention. he said, how her being a homebody might cramp our style, but exposing her to our lifestyle of awesomeness* might drive her too far into the aforementioned temptation.

*(It's not as awesome as all that, but it's still pretty good, and I've missed it. I've missed staying out late drinking at dive bars so much.)

Things were supposed to get easier once I went back to the Inn. How did I end up in this mess?

When we woke up in the morning, she was gone again. I'm hoping she makes her stays a more regular thing, but I've never been real good at resisting temptation. But she's not her. No matter how much I want her to be.

-Todd

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Cliff/Tori: Pulling my weight

Since I'm still not working (although I've stumbled onto some promising leads) I pass the time and help around the house by doing chores. I guess in theory I'm supposed to be splitting them with Mae, but she's kinda lazy, and gets indignant whenever I ask her to pitch in. Maybe she feels like Tori shouldn't be living at home, and this is her punishment.

Well, that's an irritating attitude. I didn't ask to live here, if I had my I'd be back home in my own place, which I kept tidy mostly be working a lot and being too tired at the end of the day to mess it up too much. I think I've been punished enough, and for no reason. But I can't really explain this to her. So what's a guy to do? I grin and bear it. And I bury my frustrations.

I'm thinking of taking up boxing just so I can have something to punch.

So one of my chores is to walk the family dog. Scruff. He's a big old English sheepdog, which might not have been a problem when I was a man and had a bit more size and strength (I never thought I was a particularly strong man until I started having trouble with heavy doors and tricky jars... urgh.) But now it's a bit of a chore to out-muscle this dog when he wants to go one way and I don't. That said, he's a very friendly dog, very sweet and affectionate... although the first time I met him he shoved his nose directly into my newly-female crotch.

So the other afternoon I was getting in from a promising interview just in time to have to walk him. It was hot out and I had changed into something a bit breezier, a gray tank top and no bra, with shorts. As I was struggling between holding the dog back with one arm and trying to pick up his poop with the other, I hear a voce behind me. "Tori? Hey! Where've you been?"

I turn and see a guy I don't recognize. I've looked at a lot of Tori's Facebook friends' profiles, but not all of them, and I couldn't recall the names of any of the ones I've seen anyway, off the top of my head, not the guys anyway. Mostly, they're dudes she went to school with that wanted to date her but had no berve (I sympathize,) or guys she did date at one point but stayed friends with. This guy looked like the latter. He was nicely dressed, smelled like aftershave. I braced myself and began to sweat.

"Hey... I've been... hanging around the house mostly, wasting the summer, looking for work. You?"

"I just got back from Texas. I thought you went to Europe?"

"No, that was just Raine and Sara. I did go to Maine..." I started stumbling my way through what I know of Tori's backstory. He asks me if I want to go to "that juice place we like." I said not right now, I'm walking the dog. He offers to join me.

Ugh. It was painful. I kept quiet and nodded along to his small talk, but had no idea who he was or what Tori's true relationship to him was. He didn't seem to act like they'd had sex or dated, but it felt like it was possible. I was very uncomfortable.

We got back to my place before long. I gave the dog a treat and he reiterated his offer for juice. Then he said a couple words that have been ringing in my ears ever since.

"My treat."

I shouldn't feel compelled to keep up too strongly with Tori's life and friends. If I end up liking them and getting along with them, on my own terms, I'll be fine, but I don't want to feel like because they are Tori's friends they deserve my company. So I've been dodging people like this guy since I arrived in Philadelphia. Then he said the words "my treat" and suddenly I was very thirsty for juice.

It's weird. Based almost purely on what I look like, people like this want to spend money to spend time with me. I didn't want to go with the guy, but if he was that eager to buy me some juice, I thought, what could the harm be in spending an afternoon with the guy?

So I went with him, a few blocks away from my place, being sure to memorize the route. He told me some anecdotes about people I'm supposed to know. I faked it as best as I could, but when I didn't laugh he asked what was up with me. I told him my mind was someplace else. Well, ain't that the truth.

He asked about my job, I said I left the hair salon because I didn't get along with my boss. He just looked at me like he was rolling his eyes (but wasn't literally) and thinking "Not again." I guess this is the type of pattern Tori has settled into. Which of course makes it damn frustrating to find work.

"Well," he says, "I'll let you know if I hear something." I thought that was nice, although I still had no idea who he was or what he could help me with. In any case, I accepted his offer, at least nominally.

I wasn't comfortable with the whole afternoon though. It felt too much like a date - not like it was really a date, but like he wanted it to be a date. I do believe guys and girls can hang out and not be romantic, I've had enough platonic female friends (read: girls who have rejected me) that I know this can be done. But few of them really looked like Tori. He kept looking at me with this expression I recognized from myself. Like a muted, buried desire. Like somewhere deep down in his brains he was wondering what he had to do to get with me.

It made me feel really weird. Really uncomfortable. But I couldn't do anything because he didn't make a move or anything, he just sat there, being... polite.

When I got home, I was rushing through the house to go to my computer and see exactly who it was I'd spent an hour and a half with, when I passed Mae in the kitchen. "Dude, were you just out like that?"

"Uh yeah, why?"

Then I paused. I hadn't bothered to put a bra on after dropping off the dog, and the tank top didn't offer much support. My boobs were swinging free and I hardly even noticed. But I bet that guy did. Fuck!!

So after going to my room and lying on the bed with my face buried in pillows for a while to look the guy up.

His name is Thom Weiss. According to his profile, he's in "Marketing" which is not terribly specific. Tori dated his older brother for a few months, and I guess they got along okay. So I can assume he hasn't seen Tori naked... but that doesn't mean he didn't want to. And now I think he really wants to.

Every day it seems like I find a new way to feel like an utter clod. I'm a mess.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Arthur/Penny: Not ducking anything ...

... I've just never been a person of interest in an ongoing criminal investigation before. As you might imagine, the first thing I did after blogging about Liz and Ray disappearing was talk to a lawyer, and one of the first things he said was "stop blogging outside of work!" Even a highly-fictionalized version of events, which he naturally believes this blog to be, is material for the police and district attorney, and even if you're innocent, they will see what they want to see and spin it any way they can. I reluctantly passed the word onto Lyn - as you might imagine, I was not especially keen to talk to her after her big confession, but I didn't figure I was angry enough at her that I wanted her in trouble with the law. And then waited.

And waited.

And then, Monday, when I'm in the Gillette Field parking lot (a Red Sox off-day means checking out Patriots training camp), I get a tap on the shoulder. I'm a little bit frazzled, but trying to be friendly. I put a smile on my face and turn around, about to say something pleasant, when my mouth just freezes halfway open. Standing right in front of me, looking kind of nervous, is Raymond Kim. "Hi, Penny," he says. "You're looking good."

I just stand there like a moron for what seems like hours. I stutter his name, following up with something like "you're okay?"

"Oh, yeah," he says. "It was a huge misunderstanding. Liz and I were actually in the airport, but I got cold feet and convinced her that we shouldn't rush this. So we decided to just take a break from the rest of the world and went out to the Cape, just her and me, to see where we stand."

"So, you're saying, you weren't..."

"Kidnapped, killed, or the other way around? Nah." He chuckled. "Can you believe all that ruckus over not calling home and cutting your hand when slicing a bagel? It was downright embarrassing when we got home a week and a half ago and there was crime scene tape on our door!"

I let him have it right across the face. No little girly slap, either, a closed-fist punch with my whole body behind it. It felt really good to watch him go down, I must admit. I took a step closer to him and started yelling.

"You asshole! I've had the police visiting me, Lyn is worried that she caused this somehow by introducing us, I didn't know what had happened to you... A month of this, and it could have been avoided if you'd just called someone?"

He rubbed his jaw, mumbling something about me being even stronger than I look. "I know! It's stupid, and I'm sorry! It's just, Liz and I have known each other forever, and even when we realized we didn't love each other that way, we had to be sure, without anybody putting pressure on us one way or the other."

If he'd said something different, I might have hit him again, but that was pretty reasonable. "So, what're you saying? The wedding's off?"

"Completely. Let me tell you, there's no refunds on this kind of short notice. I think Liz and I are the only members of our family not pissed. I swear, I thought someone from the police would have told you. I was a little afraid to, I have to admit. It's been a long time since I was really free, you know?"

I hate when someone I want to be mad at is right. I reached a hand down and helped him up. "So now what?"

"Well, maybe we can see each other this weekend."

"Can't; they're sending me to New York for Sox-Yankees."

"Well, maybe we can meet up there."

So it's a plan. I just hope this game doesn't take the eternity games between these two usually do. I'm looking forward to seeing just how little this city sleeps.

-Art/Penny

(Yeah, I'm blogging from work... If you've seen how long Yanks/Sox games go, you'll understand how I can get away with that! )

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Greg/Priya: A different kind of BF

So Boston to Chicago is a short flight, and I landed at O'hare airport around 8pm. There to pick me up at the airport, was the love of my life. Amber. My girlfriend for 5 years and fiance for the last 2. She saw me and came up to me with a very awkward hug. It was awkward because I hugged her like I would always hug her; tight, sensual, with my arms around her waist. She hugged me back like she would hug Priya, around the neck and super tight. Needless to say the sighing and pressing together of the boobs elicted a 'whoa' and giggle from her.

She took me out to dinner and we talked about my trip. I had no problem talking to Amber like I was her best friend , because if anyone knows as much about her and how she thinks its me. Altho the subject matter was a bit different; clothes, her job, and if i met any cool guys in Maine.

It was hard though, because I couldnt be as affectionate. And she kept asking about why i was silent for two weeks. Or why greg was suddenly so silent, save for an email (which I sent). I bullshat my way through it but I think when new greg appears in a few days Im gonna have him call her.

Which brings me to my next big point. Ive read the blog, and apparently its not only possible to get your body back, but its become frequently more popular. So to the commenter that asked wehn Amber and I are getting married, its next July 17th, and Im gonna re register at the inn so as to avoid being the maid of honor.

-Greg

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Todd: Homecoming King and Queen

Bryan, most of the time, is a pretty open guy. There is, seemingly, nothing he feels uncomfortable talking about. In his natural state, at least.

For a while, early in our transformation, it seemed that was a trait that would carry over. There was nothing about Ellie's body he wouldn't comment on. He was fascianted by his skin, his small frame, his gradually-swelling breasts, and of course, his vagina. Man, was he fascinated by his vagina. At the time, it was irritating to me, because as you can imagine (as any normal man would) I had a certain amount of anxiety about my sudden vaginal equipment. At first, he looked at it - as it essentially was in the long-term - as a no-strings-attached vacation from his usual life and body. He had free domain over this young girl's form and, seemingly, felt no shame about it.

But school changed him. Nothing serves to implant a healthy dose of self-consciousness like a high school. Let alone a private one with uniforms. Suddenly he was forced - not that he might not have chosen, but here he was forced - to wear pleated skirts that rode up his legs, marching up and down halls filled with hormonal guys who would see those legs and follow them up, knowing what was under those skirts thanks to a healthy dose of modern Sex Ed. That shut Bryan up pretty quick. Then when he started seeing Leanne, he got particularly sensitive and I think by then he was just sick of the entire experience. Which I found amusing because we basically took the opposite route, since I had let go of my angst and decided just to live with it after so many months. Of course, I was the one having adult married sex, not just lurid teenage girl-on-girl makeouts.

We were on the road from Niagara to Toronto. It was a hot day. He was shifting in his seat and suddenly he turned to me and said "I can't get comfy. My balls are in the way."

I chuckled and said, "You'll get used to them again, give it time."

He just said, "I don't need time. I love this. This is an awesome problem to be having. Goddamn, Todd, I missed my balls. I never thought I would care that much, but I love having testicles."

"I agree," I said, having rediscovered comfortable positioning days ago.

"And seriously. How many times have you jacked off since we changed back?"

I didn't answer.

He laughed, "Bro, you don't even wanna know the kind of numbers I'm doing lately. It's been, like, a non-stop spank-a-thon all month. You're not gonna put this in the blog, are you?"

"Oh definitely not." Whoops.

"I just can't wait to get back to Toronto and just... get busy, you know? Meet new girls. Maybe call up some old ones. I don't know. I have been gone far too long."

"I hear ya."

About this time, the CN Tower came into view, punctuating all the penis-talk.

The truth is, I didn't know what to do. I still don't. I really want to remain faithful to Alia, even though I don't think she expects me to. I can't see myself getting interested in anyone else at this point. I think the main thing being a wife for a year has done for me - other than taught me how to truly satisfy a woman - is that I suddenly feel ready to settle down and get my life together.

But before I started figuring that out, let me tell you about the house guest we got. Because within minutes of stepping through the door of our wonderful crappy apartment, there she was.

Alia. Or should I say, someone who looks like Alia, feels like Alia, seems to move like Alia... but I have to keep reminding myself, is not.

It's not easy. Maybe the curse is playing its game on my head, but everything she says sounds, to me, exactly the way Alia might say it. When she does something drastically out of character, I have to remind myself "Oh yeah, that's why."

She showed up at our door frantically. "Finally! Alia told me I had to come see you guys, I've been waiting and everything. I would've called but my - Alia's - service was cut off. I had to wait for you guys to come back to the building."

I looked her over. My mind and my... (heart?) had a tug of war, saying "Yes it's Alia/No it's not." Even as she introduced herself.

"My name is Crystal Yeats. I'm a real estate agent from Shaker Heights, Ohio. I'm... I'm so sorry this had to happen, but I was told you guys would understand, that you... you lived through an experience like this."

"Yeah," Bryan nodded, "Todd here was a mom."

I elbowed him, "Well, we were both girls."

"You were a woman. I was a girl."

"You were a bitch!"

"So's your mom!"

Et cetera. By now, Crystal was on the couch rubbing her temples.

"It's just all happened so fast. I mean, I'm glad this isn't too big a change, from what you guys are describing, but you have to understand, I'm... I'm supposed to be a fair bit older than Alia. I'm almost forty."

I asked her what her life was like. Did she have kids, a husband, that kind of thing.

"No," she sighed, "I was with a man for years, and we were engaged, but that was a long time ago and since then, well, I haven't had much luck,. I haven't tried hard. I've been very busy with work, you understand."

I didn't, but I pretended to.

Bryan and I shared a knowing look. A single, middle-aged woman with no real attachments. This sounded distressingly like one of those scenarios that could end badly. We made a pact that whatever happens, we had to ensure that we get my Alia back where she belongs.

Luckily, it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. Crystal seems to have a very mild temperament. She said she's more worried about inconveniencing us than anything else. I told her we'd been inconvenienced for a year by not having penises, we're just glad to be back in our old apartment.

"Well," she said, "I just want to do what's right."

I'd say that this will make the year much easier, but the truth is... who's to say what's right? All I need to do is make sure she doesn't wind up in the hospital or jail or something all year. I do feel a tad guilty about the idea that we'll be sending this woman back to what sounds like a pretty boring life (by her own admission she spent many a Saturday night at bingo.) But it's just available enough that some weirdo might have gotten ahold of her life and is looking forward to staying a single almost-40-year-old real estate agent in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

No matter how you slice it, there's nothing easy about the life of an inn victim at all.

-Todd

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