I guess I'm a bit lazy when it comes to writing my story out here. It's not that I don't have the time, but as we get further and further from the starting point, the story seems to change. But let's jump forward a bit.
All through the winter, it got colder and we all got a bit closer. Melanie continued to mesmerize me with her attitude. From everything I know about men, about people... about this blog, a man who's been transformed into a woman should not take it so... well. I don't mean she was out in skimpy outfits clubbing and hitting on dudes, I just mean, to watch her, to see her walking around and dressing herself, and speaking for herself, you'd never guess anything was amiss with her. Nothing seems to bother her. Hell, she even kept up with her homework. I found this confidence in the face of life-altering trauma... fascinating, and yeah, really kind of attractive.
Tanya, on the other hand... did not keep up so well. From the beginning, she took the change very hard. She's a very controlling woman in a situation where she has to play by someone else's rules (or the Inn's, or whatever.) Plus, it's become increasingly apparent she has some real body image issues... I don't think she's taken it well that Melanie is the "thin, modestly-curvy" sister and she's the, well... "big" one. I wouldn't say she's fat, but she has a noticeably fuller figure. And maybe, yeah... she's a bit overweight.
I guess around late fall, the cracks in their "relationship," such as it was, really started to become visible to her. It's not like they could present themselves as a couple out in the world, but Melanie was, I later learned, no longer willing to even pretend they were "together" in any sense. From my room beneath them, I could hear arguments.
Tanya: Where is this all coming from? You can't deny we had something! You can't pretend this never happened!
Melanie: I wouldn't! I wouldn't pretend it never happened, Tanya--
Tanya: Don't call me that, you know that's not my name--!
Melanie: It is! While we're here, it is, and I can't switch back and forth like that. Max knows exactly what I mean--
Tanya: Shut the fuck up! This is all so convenient for you, isn't it? You pretended like everything was fine but suddenly we get here and you--
Melanie: I "what?"
Tanya: Now you want to play girl, and dress cute and date boys...
My ears perked up. But it got quiet, and after a few minutes I heard the door slam and footsteps toward the door. I wondered which one was coming. Of course, it was Mel.
"Hey," she said. She had streaks of tears down her eyes and her arms folded across her body for warmth. "How much of that did you hear?"
"A lot. What was it about?"
She sat down on my couch-bed. "Who knows? I may be a woman, but that doesn't mean I've got them figured out."
I snickered, "Join the club." Mel was unamused.
"I guess," she said, "That was our breakup. Officially. I mean, we've been broken up for a long while now, but I just had to break the chain, just finally get it out there."
"So it's over? I mean, what if you guys go back, and..."
I trailed off and she picked up my meaning, "Even if we go back, even if we get where we belong, it won't fix things. I've seen a side of her, and she's seen a side of me, we're just... we don't belong together anymore, no matter who we are."
"Well that's unfortunate."
"It's okay. She's just mad she's not in control anymore. And she hasn't gotten laid in a while."
I wanted to laugh at it, it was intended to be a joke, but maybe there was some serious to it. Sex can be a real stress reliever, and some women don't handle dryspells as well as they'd like to. It's not like sitcoms, you know. And seeing her now-ex happy and confident and uninterested in her body must've really stung. Like, I get it. I've got my own crap to worry about, but I get it.
I just wanted to know if this meant there was room for me in Melanie's life.
Weeks passed. Things were tense. Tanya, like Melanie, began venting to me and I got to know her a bit better, but she remained guarded. She would repeat her claims that Melanie was clearly eager to start "playing girlfriend," for some male, but Mel insisted Tanya was way off base. As I was kind of into Melanie, I found this a bit hard to deal with, because if it was true, it gave me hope, but I definitely didn't want to push her before she was ready.
It was around early December that I "manned up" and put it on the line.
Mel and I had been seeing a lot of each other, spending time together outside the house, and I guess I began to take it as a sign she was ready for something. Progressively over the early weeks of winter, she got more and more familiar with me.
We were out at dinner one night and I just... came out with it. "Melanie... do you see me as a boyfriend?"
"I mean, we hang out a lot. You don't socialize with many people other than me. We talk about everything. Am I, like, a boyfriend substitute for you?"
She hesitated for a long while before saying "Is that something... you'd want?"
I played coy. "Maybe... I mean, we seem to have some chemistry."
"Chemistry?" she balked, "I don't really think so. I mean, you're a great person, guy or girl, but... I mean, I don't see you that way. No offense. I mean, you know I'm not trying to date or anything, right?"
"I've been in relationships for so much of my adult life, I don't know... I like not being with anybody. If anything, I see you as a way to protect against that-- Oh God, that came out wrong. It's just... it's not sexual, this thing. I'm not a sexual person, I don't think. It's a friendship, you know? It's companionship. But it's not... I don't want to put a label on it or... yeah."
I was stunned, heartbroken. She could tell I had been hurt and from then on has been a bit more distant from me. I tried not to let it show, but... I don't know. I guess I never really "confessed" my feelings, but it's clear she now knows what I was thinking.