Oh, boy, where to start.
As Zane mentioned, there was an encounter between me and a man by the name of Blake, whom we both know professionally. I had hoped Zane wouldn't mention it in the post, but I guess in explaining what happened to her (and yes, I believe in facing reality, in that Zane is currently a girl,) at the party, it was only appropriate to note what she saw. And the conclusions she drew were not totally incorrect. But you might as well get the whole story.
I think of it this way. My father was an avowed carnivore. Nothing wrong with that, but ere was a man who would not accept a pizza with fewer than three types of meat, did not touch salads, and had a lifelong ambition to win any and all steakhouse challenges. Then one day, he woke up in the morning and his foot hurt. He could barely limp down the stairs, had to call in sick from work. He found out he had contracted gout, due to his diet. The main solution was to get off meat, and with great reluctance, he did so, finding several vegetarian (and vegan) recipe books, and turning healthy cooking into a hobby. Even though to this day it is medically safe for him to have meat in moderation, however, he is still an devoted vegetarian. This sudden transformation was confusing to my family, but years later, I understood it as a sort of self-preservation. Having felt that gout pain, he didn't even want to risk coming close to that experience again. He was a convert. And I guess I never quite understood how one could change one's life so completely until the day I woke up as a woman.
Granted, it did not happen that day, but right from the beginning, I could feel a shift in my perception. I work with several stunning women who are not shy about their cleavage and their bodies, and I rarely give them more than a passing glance (in fact, I feel a twinge of bitterness when they take it on themselves to flaunt it for no better reason than that they can) whereas I regard my own body as a sort of work in progress, trying to work off some of the pounds and inches from Ceecee's frame that I feel could be lost. I've already gone down two dress sizes since being here: I suspect Ceecee has a history of fluctuation, since there were dresses of that size in her wardrobe already, but I mainly pick out clothes for myself (weight loss, in this respect, can be pricey.)
It was not, however, a matter of sexual preference that I began my arrangement with Blake. It was self-preservation at work. In my past life, my real life, I still had a girlfriend to whom I was devoted. Someone I love and desperately want to return to. And I hope, upon returning to my body, my attraction to her returns, because I know she is that magnificent a person.
But for the time being, I'm not Anthony, I'm Charlotte. I don't live Anthony's life and I don't have his responsibilities. Instead, I have a whole different role, that of an agent, specifically Clara's agent. And Zane, Clara, whomever she is or thinks she is, is still my friend, very important to me no matter what we look like.
So when Blake, a photographer we do a certain amount of business with, began showing signs of interest in me, I took a somewhat mercenary attitude toward it. After all, here is a man surrounded by beautiful women constantly. I took it as a compliment last fall when he started lingering by my desk after meetings, calling to see "what was up." I was flattered, it meant I was at least doing something right. I knew I could turn it to my advantage, and deep down, I was morbidly curious as to what lay behind that door.
I let him take me out to dinner back in October. Wine loosened my tongue and I mentioned I liked a certain performer who would be in town. He got us tickets. We went, it was a great show, and to show my appreciation, I took his big hand in mine and kissed him. He jumped like a dog going after a treat. I told him I wasn't that kind of girl. He asked what kind of girl I was and I told him I was still figuring it out.
He was patient with me, which I respected. Again, he's a fairly handsome guy, and I believe he could be, and probably has been, with numerous more attractive women than me. But he chose to focus on me and I respected that. I kept going with it, convincing myself I was doing good for my friend... and Zane did get numerous jobs through him and through his recommendation.
By December, Zane had hit rock bottom, and the goodwill could only go so far. By then, though, what had been started with Blake could not be stopped. It would simply be too awkward to end our arrangement, given we would still have to maintain a working relationship. Right now, I guess you could say I'm using him for a different purpose. Although I don't particularly like him, in a relationship sort of way, I have grown fond of the feeling of having someone I can call when I need attention. So long as he and I are capable of keeping it casual, I'll be happy to keep going. When he proposed we have a dinner on Valentine's Day, I told him I did not think we were a "Valentine's Dinner" type of pair. It was a bit of a sticking point between us, but he agreed eventually we weren't.
I've had to remind him a couple of times, though, that this is not a real relationship. I'm not here to let anyone fall in love with Ceecee's body, because I know I'll be gone eventually anyway, back to my real life, my real relationship. If it's still intact by then. But that's another issue I may someday feel comfortable exploring here on this blog. I already feel somewhat exposed owning up to this, but it's the adult thing to do.