So. Since losing my job I've sent out my resume to nearly a dozen businesses I'd be suited for, most of which aren't hiring right now, but will be "happy" to keep me on file. Fine, I get it, the marketplace is tough. I'm trying not to get discouraged, but it's looking like I'll have to broaden my search, maybe even go back to retail or (please no) waitressing just to make a buck. It gives me a headache to even think about. And that's not the only thing that gave me a headache this weekend.
Around the time I found out I was getting fired, I got an email from the real Tori. Since Willie had contacted me a few months ago, I thought the two were somehow connected, but that's not the case. Tori, as you might remember, became Karen Costas, an intern and aspiring weathergirl at a local Louisville network affiliate. We hadn't spoken seriously since she gave me her permission to stay in her body... which was a weird conversation. I mean, I just read the post I wrote about it back in the day. I remember crying my eyes out, I remember being mad... but when I had all the words put out in front of me, it seems really stupid that I got mad at her. I lashed out because I needed a target. And for years since, I avoided her because I was worried about bad blood, but there really was no wrongdoing. We got in a bad situation, and honestly, she was very accommodating. But I felt sensitive, and being perfectly happy to stay where she was just hit me wrong. I don't know. Nobody said being a girl had to make sense. I still don't get "us," years later.
So I was suspicious and confused when she e-mailed me, out of the blue, like we were always buddies, asking to stay with me for a weekend in April. See, Tori -- KAREN -- had really gotten into this TV career path, but there was only so much she could do in Kentucky. Fortunately, as a "southern beauty with a northern accent" (as she put it,) she had a lot of interest in her demo reel, so when she was called up for a potential job offer in Philly, she was excited to work close to her roots.
I... hated this idea. I've gotten very used to my life, and for some reason, having the former inhabitant of this body around the judge what I'm doing with it doesn't sound good. Ever since Alia left, nobody in a hundred miles knows I used to be a guy, and I like it that way. I was worried that having her around might set me back somehow to "Cliff" mode, and then... I don't know. Some days I still have to remind myself that I came to terms with the transformation years ago. I know I seem really confident, but doubts creep in. I just have to remind myself how nice my life is.
Still, I couldn't exactly turn Karen down when she asked to stay. It was the least I could do, and I let myself think it could just be a fun visit.
She got into town on Friday morning. After Raine left for work, I had her come by to drop off her stuff. Now, I wasn't trying to sneak her in - I told Raine we'd be having a guest - but I guess I wasn't comfy "introducing them" yet. I wanted a chance to confer with Karen "out of character."
When she arrived, the first thing she did upon seeing me was squeal "Holy crap, you're a blonde!" I blushed. She was enthusiastic, as she never thought "she" could pull it off. I even ended up getting my roots touched up when I found out she was coming. She had a few comments about the place, how it seemed kind of cramped and a bit of a mess. I pointed out when I became Tori, she was living with her parents and her room was a disaster, and she just smiled and said "touche."
I remembered thinking she was attractive when I last met her. Now I think she's gorgeous, which is weird... I would've thought my opinion would be more neutral over time, not less, but I was really impressed by her appearance. I think at that time I was tired of even looking at other women, and now I sort of appreciate what women do with their bodies, respect how much upkeep a look like that requires. No doubt, with my body, I could be gorgeous every day of the week, but I tend to dress down because it suits my personality. Also, she's just a force... being around TV people seems to have influenced her entire personality: she's all energy, she talks excitedly, and enunciates.
She was thrilled to be "back home," talking about how it was bringing back memories. I told her how I've been back to Buffalo a few times since I was Cliff, and when I got there it was like I never left. What I didn't mention was how strange it is walking around your childhood hometown with a different set of parts.
"Okay tell me," she said, "Are you really dating a guy?"
"Uh, yep," I said, a bit taken aback. "He's, like, a real guy and everything."
"That's crazy!" She punched my arm. "Oh my God! Like, the last time I saw you, you were what, still pretty much a guy in your head, right? I remember you were still a bit weird on the whole girl thing. Bet you never thought you'd turn out like this."
I expected this sort of talk, but I still wasn't sure what to say. I just kinda laughed it off, "Well, after a while it seemed like a good idea. Better than being alone."
"Was it weird, looking at a guy like that?"
"The weirdest thing in my life was looking in the mirror and seeing this. After that happened... nothing seems off-limits, you know?" She nodded, although I think she's still pretty hung up on the idea of me, the ex-guy, being as committed to dating a man as her, the "natural"-girl. I have to say, no matter how comfortable I am, I'm still way better at it than I was at dating girls.
I turned the conversation around and asked her about Gary. When she first became Karen, she was with Rob, but Rob went back and I never heard the end of the story. He and I have never spoken. I think maybe he's weirded out by me, and I don't mind avoiding him.
She kind of glossed over it. "After Rob went back, this chick became Gary, and she wasn't into the fake marriage thing... I tried to explain it was a good deal, but whatever, he was a bitch inside. We got a divorce - Gary and Karen had a prenup so it was no big deal. But that meant goodbye to the fabulous lifestyle, hence looking for new work. Last I heard he was dating some woman."
"Oh that sucks, I'm sorry to hear that."
"I've dated around a bit, but nobody I wanted to stay with, y'know? Too many awesome guys out there to stop looking and settle down."
I wanted to argue a bit, since I've been with Alex nearly a year now, there's something to be said for stability. But I guess when you grow up being Tori, you might take for granted that someone's always going to want you, so you can treat your boyfriends like disposable accessories. I, on the other hand, was alone for so long... well let's just say I'm glad I found Alex. Tori and I just have very different takes on dating, probably because she grew up looking like she did, and I grew up looking like I did.
I let her have the run of the apartment while I ran some errands. When I came back, she was in my room, going through my clothes, with several combinations laid out. She had looked over everything, from sundresses, miniskirts and blouses, to jeans and geek tees. I wouldn't call myself a neat freak, but I was kind of unnerved by it. But you want to be careful about saying "invasion of privacy" to someone who used to live in your body, so I kept quiet.
"Wow," she said, "You've bought so much stuff since I left."
"Well," I kind of blushed, "I did work at a garment store for a while, and I had to take advantage of the discount."
"Yeah, is that where you got all that lingerie?" she said with a wicked smile. I told her after spending most of my life as a guy, it was a treat to get to see a girl dressed like that. Even if it meant squeezing myself into a corset because I went through a Victorian phase when I was 15.
It was embarrassing that she saw all the frilly underwear I own, because I think she was probably trying to imagine me as a guy secretly wanting to wear all this stuff. It was another thing when she added "Yeah, plus I bet a lot of my old clothes don't fit you anymore."
Okay, reality check. I've put on, depending on the time of month, 10-20 pounds since I was her. I don't eat like I did when I was a guy, but I also probably don't eat like she did. A lot of her old clothes actually do fit me, but I don't wear them because I never felt comfortable in them, and as time went on, more and more of my clothes became stuff I picked for myself. Last time I checked, I really like the way I look.
I don't know why it bothered me. I didn't say anything about it at the time, but I really should have. Later that night, after her audition, we all had pizza - her, me, Raine and Alex, and I'd be lying if I didn't say I ate less than I usually would.
I filled the questions about how we met by vaguely stating it was on vacation a couple years ago. Karen grilled Alex, asking him questions about how we met, why he liked me. He seemed put off by this strange woman interrogating him, and I tried to intervene, but she was pretty forceful. Raine told me later she really didn't like Karen, which amused me. Beyond that, she talked about herself a lot, like she was trying to impress Alex. And being on TV, traveling, and doing the odd press junket is fairly impressive, but Alex, thankfully, seemed hardly won-over.
After we set Karen up with some blankets on the couch, she took another little dig at my appearance: "Don't you use moisturizer? You're going to look tired in the morning."
I laughed a bit and said "I'm going to BE tired in the morning."
I crawled into bed with Alex. He wrapped his arms around me and started kissing me. I needed to feel better after some of Karen's comments, but I felt embarrassed if we started to get hot and heavy, so I whispered to him "Can we be quiet tonight?"
"We can try," he said, slipping his boxers down to his ankles. And that really was the plan, but I think all that criticism had made my lady parts extra sensitive, because the moment we got started I let out a high-pitched squeal. And the more I tried to suppress it, the louder I wanted to scream. I ended up with one of the top five female orgasms of my life, and I don't even always get them. "Keeping quiet" obviously meant trying to go slow, which I definitely... appreciated. Except it it clearly didn't work, and before long I could feel my body urging him to go faster until we were going at it like careless teenagers. The next morning, when I came out for breakfast, she (already dressed and made-up) said "Sounds like you a hell of a time last night."
Instead of letting her tease me, I joked "This body has a lot of allergies. I was sneezing all night."
She laughed, "I wish my sneezes felt like that!" She then came closer and said "Hey, you wanna hear something weird? Raine's having a secret affair. I heard them phone-fucking last night."
"Yeah," I said, "I've heard her sneak someone out a few times, but if she doesn't want me to meet him I won't ask."
"It was so annoying. I was trying to get to sleep, and all I could hear was Danny, Danny! And then you two..."
"Huh, the guy's name is Danny?" I didn't mention the only Danny I knew of was the gay one, from Tori's old high school. She might not want me to mention him, given some of the stuff she wrote about him in her diaries, and how he just drops out of it after he came out, it might be a sore spot. Besides, there's plenty of Dannys in the world, right?
Sorry this is taking me so long to write... I'll finish it up later!