Monday, June 30, 2014

Jordan Chang - Not my sort of vacation

First off, I don't know if any of the actual people who run this place read posts on this "community diary" (and, whoever runs out, it looks like your well-intentioned but stupid idea to make this hotel more than just a place to sleep has been overrun by some really weird shit), but what's the deal with the sleeping arrangements?  I get that you guys might be screw-ups enough to have lost whatever note you made when Ravi called to say he needed two queens rather than one king-sized bed, but wouldn't it be much easier to switch is into a new room than to send a bunch of janitors to shuffle beds from our room to the basement and vice versa?  Even they were joking about that, although one of them told the others not to bitch about free overtime just because some of the repeat visitors are particular about which room they stay in.

That would make sense, I guess, if there are other rooms here better than this one, because it's pretty darn basic.  Just the beds, a dresser, and freaking folding chairs and tray tables.  There's also a seriously inadequate number of outlets; was this place built long enough ago that nobody imagined a need to plug anything other than the lamps that were already here in?  Ravi and I are each plugging a phone, a tablet, and a camera into one USB adapter in shifts, which means everything is going to take forever to charge.  And what outlets there are aren't even grounded, which means I'm going to need to find an adapter for this laptop tomorrow so that I can work on this project with the tight deadlines.  That'll be hard enough, since i think this whole inn's Wi-Fi network is being run off of one old wireless-b router that still has "linksys" as its name.  I swear, I could get a better connection on the train (and do not get me started about taking the train from New York to Maine, specifically how fucked-up Boston is!).

I wouldn't have even come to this rinky-dink imitation of Atlantic City (minus, of course, the gambling) if Ravi hadn't given me the whole "come on, you can work anywhere" spiel after Kareena said she couldn't make it, but either he didn't know anything about what the place they were staying was like or he wants to get me in a position so I can't pay my part of the rent and have to move out.  Not sure why he would unless his "fiancee" suddenly defrosts, but that hasn't stopped people from screwing me over before.

At least I'm not sharing a bed with Ravi anymore.  That would just be gross.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Cal: It happens.

I'm still a little speechless. Part of me didn't think it was going to happen. I'm back. We're back. Well, those of us who made it to the Inn, anyway. I'm having a hard time writing this because I don't want to rub it in or anything but... it happened. It really happened. Part of me thought I'd get screwed out of it at the last minute. Was convinced.

Later that day of my last post, she arrived toting a large bag. Gorgeous, tall, thin, blonde, wearing a wispy yellow sundress and flat sandals. Part of me was already back in Cal mode, afraid to approach her, even though I've been talking to girls, sometimes incredibly attractive ones, as one of their own for a year. I'm just getting ready for her to pass without noticing me when she looks over and smiles.

"Don't tell me... Angie? Cal? Right?"

And then I realize I know this girl. I had to search my mind for a minute and stammer like a fool, but I remember. She was at the Inn at the same time as us. She can tell I'm struggling, so she reminds me: Her real name is Mike, and he's in the body of his sister Lila.

"Right!" my eyes go wide, "Oh my GOD, I can't believe I forgot about you, how have you been?"

"Ups and downs, my friend," she says with a warm charm that gives me the sense she's working to hide some of those lows. "It took me forever to get a flight out here, but I'm glad I didn't miss the show."

"The show?" I say "Oh right. The... um. Yeah."

"I kind of had a... financial shortfall this year," she said as she led me to her room, "And I was really worrying that I wasn't going to make it back. Lila, in my body, was all set, and I wanted to get here to give it back to her. Then a while back I got a call from your friend Sophie. I can't believe she's just leaving her old body like that."

"To you?"

"Yes," she smiled, beautifully, "I'm going to be Grant. If this all goes as planned."

It did, that night in fact. I was too excited to sleep so I felt it all happen, because... well, I'm NEVER coming back here again. The experience of changing your skin, from soft, plush female to slightly rougher, coarse male skin, feeling millions of tiny hairs growing out of you while the hair on top of your head somehow just... vanishes? I felt myself getting heavier and heavier and dizzy as I grew. I laid down, and by the time I sat back up again, I had a nice flat chest and a set of equipment limply dangling between my legs.

I laughed. I cried. I kind of wanted to throw up.

The next hours - days, even - were a blur. Trish, Roy, Derek and I all rushed to meet each other. "You?" "Yeah, you too?" "Good, yes!" We didn't get Mike, but eventually found out that he had gotten Grant's body just as he'd planned. Meanwhile, there were a few new transformees with us, and I didn't want to leave them in the lurch, including the person who became James. I regret I wasn't able to answer all their questions... I feel like I got so wrapped up in actually living as Angie that I didn't ask while I was caught up in it, but in my defense who would I have asked? I only have my own observations, and the kinda spotty records in this blog.

It's been a whirlwind, from excitedly standing to pee for the first time in a year, to dressing in a t-shirt and shorts and walking the beach like an invisible, well, man, not being eyed by every beach bum out there.

It's going to take a while, I think, to really adjust back... I wish it was as simple as just dusting off the old body and sliding back into my real life and forgetting the past year ever happened to me, but it did, and I... I don't really know what to do with it for now. So I'm going to leave it at that. For now I'm... on my way home.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Cal/Angie: Facepalm! (Among other things.)

I mentioned to Trish today that the last time we stayed here it didn't take so long to transform us. The whole thing was starting to bug me. Then she mentioned that she remembered reading that it seemed like the "power" of the Inn was only unleashed when all the vacancies were filled: that's 13 beds.

We have 12. Specifically, all of us and one extra room that was supposed to go to James. But he can't come because he can't fly yet after his appendectomy.

And our reservations are almost up.


What if we don't get a 13th? Will it just change some random passerby while we're all asleep? Will it shake up the order of who goes where? I don't wanna be Derek or Trish or Roy! What if it just doesn't work in the time we have paid to be here, and we have to go home unchanged, and I have to keep being Angie? What happens to my body? Does it go to the next person to stay in the room - the real Angie? That just tangles things up further. I'm really stressing out.

There's only one thing I can do to get my mind off it. See, every morning since we got here, I've checked the most obvious regions of my body to see if it was still Angie's. This has had the odd side-effect of re-awakening certain urges that I lost after my debacle with David.

And I got those urges back hard.

It's like, there's nothing else to do, and I'm not going to be a woman much longer, why not just spend as much time as possible totally wrapped up in myself? If the life I'm going back to is anything like I left it, it could be a long time before I see a real live naked girl (sadly.) For the time being, these are still my curves, my flesh, my parts... I don't think I need to convince you.

Maybe I went a little too hot and heavy, going for hours on end to start the day, probably reaching volumes loud enough for the whole beach to hear, but there's really nothing else to do here but wait and, well, playing with ourselves.

And then something happened to make it weird. He popped into my head.

I was so angry but I couldn't stop flashing back to the way he used to touch me, the way I liked it - it's really my only significant experience with another person in this body, so it's a very strong image. And I couldn't bring myself to stop, and by the time I finished, I was practically crying because of all the bad feelings wrapped up in my memories of him...

And then I just laid there and thought about it. How am I so wrapped up in this guy? A year ago, I didn't ever like guys that way. A few months ago I told myself it was just because it was easier. Now I'm more confused than ever about who I am and what I like. Can I go back to liking girls as easily as I switched to guys? When I'm Callum again - if that happens - am I going to sit around moping heartbroken over him again? Will I find it easy to just go back to being "the guy" in a relationship, knowing I was the woman, the one who got played and heartbroken, the one who was, ever so briefly, hungry for c--k?

I'm embarrassed and ashamed and I hate myself. I want this to end now.

A well-meaning commenter mentioned it would be nice if we could trick David into coming to the Inn. I suppose that would help our current predicament. And if someone has to transform, it might as well be someone I loathe. Maybe I could show him all the pain he's caused. Maybe he'd wind up as a girl and get the same experience I had all year. Truth is, that's just wishful thinking and I doubt I would wish this experience on my worst enemy... at its worst, it's unbearable, and yet at its best it's shockingly great, so how is that satisfying? I dunno.

I just hope it ends soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tyler/Lauren: 28 Days Later...

That's 28 days bumbling around as a man in a girl's body, 28 days of forgetting to answer when I hear "my" name, 28 days of homework, 28 days of avoiding non-essential human contact.

I make it seem all like gloom and doom, but shockingly, the school aspect has at least given me something to focus on. It's frustrating and soul-crushing, sure, but it gives me a reason not to be seen with the family or visit Lauren's friends. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself during the summer, although I hear summer school has open enrollment beyond being a punishment for failing, which at this rate is also on the table. I'm doing my best to make sure that doesn't happen, though, going over the textbooks as closely as I can manage. It's giving me a headache, although that, along with the bloating and spate of acne dotting my hairline, may just be symptoms of PMS. "Sadface," as they say.

28 days as it turns out is just long enough to stop the sirens that go off in my head every morning. Less and less as I head out into the world for the day, do I tense up and think "I AM SO FUCKED!" Instead, I just make sure I've got all my notebooks, othe ressential items, make sure I'm dressed appropriately. (I don't think this is something I need to worry about but I've heard of girls being sent home for wearing things that are otherwise considered normal fashion - slightly cleavage-baring or low-rising jeans, but I'm erring on the side of safety.)

With regards to the new me, I'll admit that this is the first thing that has made me a true nervous wreck. Be a teenager? Fine. Be a girl? Whatever. Give control of my life over to some random individual, who now hasn't contacted me for over a week? Concerned. So I sink a little further into my schoolwork. And I text my sister and Meghan constantly.

I'm also 28 days without a drink - the last time I tasted alcohol was the night I lost my body. There are a few sixpacks of Coors in the garage that I wonder if anyone wouldn't miss a few. Lord knows Lauren wasn't no saint, I found an empty bottle of Captain Morgan under her bed, among other damning items that I may or may not discuss later.

28 days. Long enough to start having to take some ownership of this body. Not only am I furtively investigating the cabinet under the bathroom sink, but wondering when I should do something about the light stubble that has emerged from my legs and armpits. It's not that I want to be a gorgeous girl, but I wonder what level of grooming I would put into myself if I had always been one.

When I get a bit more time - ie when I'm using this blog for more than just procrastinating, once the semester's over - I'll tell you more about Lauren's life and how to live it. For now I just needed to take a breather.

Lauren's mom pokes her head into my room, finding me still in my pj's, lying with the laptop resting on my abdomen. She looked confused, like this position is utterly unknown to her daughter.

"Honey, we're going to the mall today, are you coming?"

"No," I almost say, then I look over at the pile of textbooks I was intending to peruse for the tenth time. "Sure. Couldn't hurt."

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Grant" / "Sophie": Putting things back together

I'll start by saying I put both of my names in quotation marks up there because neither of them feels like they belong to me. The person who was most recently "Grant" has already returned to the Inn and gotten his life back... leaving my old body in limbo. I opted not to pick it back up for personal reasons, partly because I was lied to about my own background, and wherever I go next, it can't be backwards. But you knew that. I think that whoever becomes Grant... look, there's worse things than being a slightly awkward young white male in America. They'll cope. My plan is to go back later in the summer. I've got a reservation for late July. The original Sophie managed to modify her plans to go along with this. We're (knock on wood) set.

I've enjoyed being Sophie. I look at the woman in the mirror and I like her. I like dressing as her, wearing make-up as her. I like waiting tables as her, even if it's not always a picnic. Being a girl with a few extra pounds, especially one with a punky look, you get hit on by a lot of suspect guys who assume that just because you're not a 5'10 skinny-legged goddess you are desperate for anyone's attention. Living her life - not just dropping out of it and doing my own thing, but taking up some of her hobbies and social circle, has been really opened me up in a way that my buttoned-down life as Grant never could. I wish I had had more romance, but as Cal found out, that just doesn't work with our lifestyle. My experiences were... not as traumatic as his, but they were disappointing all the same.

But I know I can't keep it. It was a rental, and I assume my next one will be, too. Unless something unthinkable happens, or someone reaches a similar conclusion as me, I might be in for a long life of bouncing around, seat-filler in other peoples' existences. And I'm fine with that. I want to see the world, and not just other locations, but other lives. I have actively gotten excited for this journey since I decided it was how I was going to play this.

And then there's James.

Just as they were all gearing up to go back, James got struck with a bout of appendicitis. Really nasty, from what I heard, and he was rushed into emergency surgery. He's fine now, but he won't be traveling for a while. That leaves the fate of his body, as well as Keisha's, up in the air.

I went to see him at his apartment, because I figured he could use a cheering-up.

"Thought about what you're gonna do next?"

"Yeah, I thought about staying," he said, lying under a blanket, "Just saying, sorry, maybe next year... like, who cares if Keisha's pissed, I'm the one who's really getting screwed. But I don't wanna. I hate it here."

"It's not so bad..." I started to say.

"It's not bad when you got friends," he interrupted sharply, "You, Derek, Trish... even Cal, it was fuckin fun hanging out with you guys all year. Yeah, we got into some shit we shouldn't have... but it was cool. Without you guys? I'm just some asshole in a chick's body without any friends. All of Keisha's friends are gonna hate me. Mona, Robbie..." He started to get choked up.

"Yeah, I know that feeling," I said. Maybe I don't exactly, but I felt my entire life that nobody liked me because nobody knew who I really was. As it turns out, it was because I didn't know who I really was. I still don't. Sorry, this isn't about me.

I wrapped my arms around her and she rested her head on my chest. "I'm sorry this happened to you."

"Your boobs are like pillows," he said looking up at me with a cute little smile.

"Thanks," I blushed. "We're having a moment, don't ruin it."

We ended up having a pretty good hang-out session. The next day I rang up the booking agency and tried to see if there were any vacancies left for my week. I think it's far enough out that he'll be clear for travel.

Cal/Angie: Another round

What is it about a girl alone at a bar that makes her irresistible to guys?

Don't answer that, I know what I look like. Not gorgeous or anything, but attainable, and certainly (shudder) "doable" by the end of the night. I sit on the barstool with nobody around, no forcefield to put the guys off, because Trish is running late.

Maybe my time in Canada really did something to me because it made me too dang polite to tell these guys to fuck off. You really get the sense of how rude Americans naturally are to each other when you spend a year among people who apologize every time they breathe on each other. That's something I didn't mention much about Canada, I guess because it became so normal. All these things about sweet, hippie-infused Van City that just became part of my day-to-day life.

Makes me wonder why those girls flew all the way across the country for their vacation a year ago.

So, since I can't seem to shoo them away right off the bat, I let them in. I size them up. I don't like what I see.

The first guy tells me right off the bat what kind of car he drives. He can't tell from looking at me - rocking the flower-child skirt and braids that, in character as Angie, I'm not all that materialistic. It's funny how that's become true. I tell him I'm going to the bathroom and don't return for twenty minutes.

The second guy asks me about Canada. I tell him Vancouver's nicer than Boston, and he says but Boston's got the Pats, and I say I don't care about the Pats. He takes this as his cue to drone on and on because he loves educating women about sports. Barf.

Eventually he asks what I do and I tell him I used to work in a holistic supply store, and I start telling him everything I've learned about naturopathy - most of which I don't believe, myself, but Angie does. He makes like he's interested for a while, then finds someone else to bother.

Third guy doesn't even get a chance when Trish finally shows up. By now I'm drunk and I talk her into pretending she's my boyfriend. The key is, as Robbie she's very tall. Guys don't want to mess with her.

We grab a table, Derek and Roy join us. We drink a toast to our absent friends, and muse about how if we're lucky, this might be the last night any of us has to wear the wrong face out in public. We ask Roy how his last month of married life was, and he grunts "Hell on wheels, kids. Do you know what I had to go through to make sure Christine's deadbeat husband didn't join us on this trip?"

"Maybe you should have let him," I chuckle, "If he's as bad as you say, it might do him some good."

"Funny," he says, "But you can't go messing with peoples' lives. Christine wants to come back to him and I'm not gonna stand in their way, even if I don't understand. The sex was adequate, though. I think I blew his mind."

"Just his mind?" Trish said. I high fived her.

Being a guy has been good for her, I think. She seems oddly comfortable as "one of the guys" both biologically and socially. I look at her and I see a pal. And yeah, I've made it clear that at times I'd like more but I'm lucky to have her as a friend, and I hope going back doesn't change that.

I think out loud, "Wish I could have brought David... stuffed him in some weird body, like a grandma or a porn star and said hey, how do you like it?"

Trish pats my back and says I don't mean that, and I admit I don't, but... I just wish I could have gotten some measure of revenge. I hate the way I left things for Angie.

 We stumble home and I flop down in bed... in the morning, I'll probably feel it, since Angie's body doesn't seem to handle hangovers well. I'm going to be 19 soon. I'm going to miss being able to drink legally.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Meg/Tasha: Coffee and catching up

I met up with Tyler on Sunday afternoon for coffee.

I want to say she's handling things well, although you wouldn't think it from the looks of her. At least for our little meeting, she was looking a fair bit unkempt, wearing baggy clothes and letting her hair just kind of go wild. I don't mean to judge her, it's just notable compared to the way most girls Lauren's age look when they leave the house, obsessed with their hair and make-up. On the contrary, it would be weirder if Tyler put much effort into that stuff, at least yet.

Still, Tyler was his usual snarky, wisecracking self under Lauren's skin. I think having the world look at him like a young girl has only toughened his resolve against authority. When I asked how the school situation was, he just shrugged and said he was remembering why the military seemed like such a good option when he was 18.

"You're not unintelligent," I insisted, "I haven't known you long, but I know that much about you."

"Sure, I know a few things," he said, "But you get in a classroom, at the end of the semester where everyone is expecting you to have this shit pounded into you after five months, and... you just feel inadequate. The weird thing is, Lauren isn't an idiot. All the homework she left me to hand in got her B's, which compared to how I used to do in high school..."

"Don't get down on yourself," I interrupted. "You're a grown up but you're still capable of learning."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," he rolled his eyes. I ordered a regular coffee and he ordered some kind of foamy latte that I doubt would have been his style as a man. "One of Lauren's friends got me one of these once, and now I've got a craving for it. Don't judge me."

"Hey, whatever you want to do," I said, "Guys drink blended drinks."

"I think it's more about being a kid than being a guy," he said. "Maybe young tastebuds have stronger sweetness receptors."

"See?" I smirked, "Science."

"Yeah, somehow I doubt that'll help me on my final," he snorted a bit, "It's funny, out of everything that's going on with me, right now school is kicking my ass the worst. Seriously. I could handle just being a girl for a while, I think... if it was just like my old life. It's freaky how quickly this all became regular. But school? Rolling out of bed every day at 7, in a body that desperately requires sleep, and sitting still for all these subjects that I either know nothing about, or forgot... and if I fail, I'm not the one who gets fucked, Lauren is. I have to learn for her. That's stressful."

"You're not used to looking out for others," I surmised.

"Not really," he sipped.

"And the social aspect, being out among Lauren's friends?"

"A different hell," he said, "They all demand, like, 100% of my attention, and I know nothing about them. I keep texting Lauren to say this girl said this, or this other girl asked if I remembered that. I can't just go home and forget about them, because it's constant texting and snapchatting and all that shit. Kids today."

"You sound like such an old man," I stifled a laugh, much to her annoyance.

"Then there's the guys."

I straightened my expression. "Tell me about the guys."

"Well, they're guys," he said knowingly. He paused and rolled his eyes. "Lauren was pretty popular with them. Like, they all hang out in these huge mixed groups and it's hard to tell who's exclusive with who and who's just... around. A lot of them feel pretty comfortable getting in close with her. With me."

"And how do you feel about this?"

"I don't like it," he said, "The first thing I did when I met Lauren's friends was to find out which one of these guys she was dating and end it with him."

"Just like that?"

"Yeah, just like that," he snapped his little fingers, producing a weak sound, "This isn't like your situation, where you're living with a guy that has a history with Tasha and there's a kind of responsibility there, whatever you've decided... this is a high school romance, they come and go with the wind. Sure, everyone was ticked that I screwed up their prom plans a bit, but they'll get over with."

"Prom?" I raised an eyebrow.

"Don't get me started. Lauren's expected to be there. She was on the planning committee."

I could sense he wanted to change the subject, so I asked "Any word from you-know-who?"

"Not yet," he said, sitting back dejectedly, pushing his straw around his drink with his finger.

You-know-who is the hypothetical "New Tyler." We got word earlier this week that our original bodies had both turned up.

"You know, it was probably just a hectic week," I reasoned. "When we changed, our heads weren't exactly in a place to confront it... not to this degree."

"Didn't take me long, though," he huffed, eying his cell in its light purple case. "I had nothing urgent going on. It's not like there was much to distract him."

"Maybe it was an old man who just doesn't get technology," I shrugged, "Maybe it was a kid! You don't know."

"You know, though. With yours."

A beat of silence passed between us.

It happened Wednesday. I got a call from my old number that day. I eagerly picked up to hear what I took a moment to realize was my original voice asking, "Is this Meghan? Meghan Reis?"

She pronounced it "Ree-is," I corrected her, "Rice," almost as a reflex before realizing I was essentially dealing with a trauma victim. "Sorry, I'm here for you. Are you okay?"

"I think so," she said. "My name's Carrie. Um, I came looking for my brother. Tyler Blake. Do you know what happened to him?"

I got a lump in my throat. "He's fine..." I started to say, "Well, not exactly. But he's here, in once piece, in someone else's body."

"So he was transformed too?" I cold now hear a similar Alabammy twang to Ty's.

"Yes," I said, "Into a teenage girl named Lauren. He's... stressed, but coping." I rightly guessed he would not enjoy hearing that his sister had come to Maine on his pre-transformation recommendation. ("I can't believe I forgot I said she should come up!" he excoriated himself, "Fucking idiot, Ty!" But in his defense it was a busy few days afterward, no time to cancel the invite.)

"Carrie," I said to her, "Everything's going to be okay. I'm sorry this happened, really, but we had no way of knowing... do you know what happened to Ty's body?"

"'Scuse me?"

"Have you seen him? Have you seen someone who looks like your brother?"

"Not yet, no."

"Let us know if you do. Please."

By Sunday, it had been four days since the transformation and the lack of communication was clearly getting to Ty. Now it's been almost a week and we're starting to worry.

He shifted uncomfortably in his seat some more and we changed the subject again. "What about you? How about Tasha's boyfriend?"

"Wade?" I said, "It's... fine. He works days, and I'm working nights mostly, so I can easily just play the no-time together card. I've managed to stop pulling away instinctively when he goes to kiss me."

"How far are you willing to take this little charade?" he asked with fairly obvious intent.

"We're in the trenches right now, Ty," I sighed, "Long term, I don't know how I'm going to stick it out, but day to day, whatever happens happens. And that's whatever I allow to happen. And if I do, I assure you it won't be because I can't resist."

Tyler exhaled, unimpressed, then finished his drink, "Imagine if Tasha had gone to Maine with her boyfriend instead of her stepsister."

I smiled, then said teasingly, "Yeah. Then it would be easier to avoid having to sleep with someone."

I don't think he appreciated the joke.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cal/Angie: Objective Incomplete

I should be happy. I should be carefree. I'm here, I'm back in Maine just waiting for my number to get called. If all goes according to plan (fingers crossed) I'll be back in my regular boring old life in a few days and won't have to deal with periods, long hair, or boys ever again in my life.

It was a nail biter to get here, saving every spare penny from my job, which became especially important after David and I broke up and I quit. It was the sensible act... "Angie" is guaranteed not to be back for weeks, maybe a month, and I feel like the bridge is totally burned anyway. They all hate me/her, even though I did nothing wrong. Aside from the girls here in Maine, I feel like I've torched Angie's social life.

Maine itself is... different this time. The air feels different on my skin than I remember. The Inn is slightly more spooky-feeling. Maybe it's because I know what goes on here. I got this intense nausea, like vertigo, when I was walking up to the front door.

"It'll be over soon," Trish said to me.

I smiled back. "Or maybe it'll just be a new adventure."

Trish chuckled a bit. "Just make sure you're in the right room and you'll be fine."

I can't help but think about the others, though. I can't believe Grant - not his name anymore, I guess - delayed his return so that he could specifically avoid getting his old body back. I guess I just don't relate. Maybe he does feel more like a woman, but I just... I'm the type of person who wants everything to go back neat and tidy. He, or she, will be back in a few weeks to turn Sophie's body back to her.

And then there's James.

I don't even know the whole story, but something happened a few nights before our flight and he was too sick to come. I don't know if he's going to make it. And if he doesn't, I don't know what happens after that. Does he stay as Keisha? Does he roll the dice?

I feel bad. We may not have been good friends before all this... and hell, we weren't even that close during the whole experience, since I had my falling out with Derek, but I think he deserves to get his chance, same as me. I really hope things turn out okay for him.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cal/Angie: SOON.

The past month has been a nightmare. Worst break-up of my life, if you can call it that (either a break-up or my life.) I've had so many angry phone calls to David to get him to take those videos off the internet, and he goes on about his rights and his feelings and blah blah blah, total bullshit. He's impossible. On the other hand, I've had more than a few irate communications from the real Angie, who was pretty understanding about me using David to blow off some steam, but is appalled I let him take video of me, even though I made it clear I never consented to those videos. I feel like I've failed her, even though I'm a victim here as well.

For me, all that goes away in less than two weeks. I'm headed to Maine on SATURDAY, and I could not be more excited. This nightmare - even if something fucks up, this particular nightmare is over and I can finally be where I belong. I hope. And if not, I'll make do but at least it won't be here.

And once that's looked after, I intend to have at least one more serious talk with Trish, who has been an amazing friend this entire time.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tori: Updates

I was meaning to write more in here, but a couple of things happened: for one, we started seeing an influx of new people for the summer, and I always feel shy about crowding them out with tales of my (now-)regular life. But even before that, the realities of my job had me worn out to the point where I didn't have a ton of energy for blogging about it.

I was going to say that this was the first job I've ever had where I had to put so much work into my appearance, but that isn't entirely true. I worked for quite a while in fashion retail, so obviously I had to really put a focus on my appearance, if I was going to have any women (at that time I often still thought of them as "real women") trust my advice on what to wear. When I was just the IT gal, I dressed in plain pants and a white blouse with minimal makeup my hair functionally tied back: not gorgeous, not homely, a good cross between the white-collar office environment and my hands-on troubleshooting agent role within it. But now, being a woman as part of an office environment, especially in management, is a minefield in itself. Just as much as when I was walking a sales floor, I find myself checking my reflection, putting stray hairs into place, touching up make-up, straightening my clothes. It's the double-edged sword of women's fashion: if you're so inclined, there are a hundred ways you can express yourself with your appearance (as opposed to the more uniform men's wear) but it requires that much upkeep. And people judging.

I'm trying to get a bunch of men working beneath me (huh huh) to respect me as a boss. Considering I've never really bossed anyone around before, I was hoping they'd just do whatever I said without question. It didn't occur to me I'd have to give them a reason to follow instructions. I find myself talking to them like kindergarteners, like "If you don't do X, then Y can't happen. That's your responsibility." I shouldn't have to. But that's what managing is, I guess. I'm really aware that if I lose my temper, they'll think I'm just being emotional or "a bitch." But guess what, this bitch is in charge. If I have to turn into a ball-buster, maybe I will.

The really annoying thing is that even when you're in charge - even when their continued employment is contingent on me thinking they did a good job (I may be overstating this, but in the long run it kind of is,) it's still all about sex. It's still all about whether I'm fuckable, like this whole get-up and attitude is for them, to win their approval. I don't care what they think about me on that score, especially since on their best day I wouldn't give a second look to a one of them (mostly married guys approaching 40.) Still, they think it's all right to comment on how I stomp around like a dude sometimes (just because my natural footstep isn't a discreet ladylike pitter-patter,) and how I roll my eyes at their leers and elevator eyes. Maybe I should tease them about it more, ask "Hey how's the wife?" when I see their gaze drift a few inches below my chin.

It's kind of why I don't have any (unmarried) guy friends anymore. Since I've been Tori, every straight guy I've met has either been dating a friend of mine, or a boyfriend, or wanted to be a boyfriend. I miss the camaraderie of just being a dude hanging out with the guys, but I guess I'm just being nostalgic. Besides, it's been replaced with ladies' nights. And ladies' nights are way preferable.

Besides Raine, who is long-term coupling again, I've got a few girlfriends: two of the other women in my office, Peggy a 40-something divorcee who likes to cut loose with the younger girls, Jenny, a married lady a few years older than me, and two other single girls in their social circle that kind of welcomed me in, Tiffany and Aileen. I'm the youngest, although I wouldn't be when you consider my years of experience as Cliff. We go out, we dance, we get hit on, it's... fun, usually. Or we stay in and watch movies and the girls comment on my complete inability to cry (yes, I've been a woman this long and I still don't love Nicholas Sparks movies.)

After all that, it's not hard to see why it feels like something's missing. I almost feel like I've gotten too okay being on my own. I miss the comfort of a relationship, but after my last big one shattered my trust (literally any guy who walks up to me could be an "Agency" person!) In terms of dating, I've kind of gone back to my old introvert ways. It sucks.

Tori can't win.

Tyler/Lauren: Bare truths

The First Night

One thing I have to say about Lauren's room is that it was neat. It was a study in how many ways there are to store clothes, because there are two dressers, a loaded closet, shelves, a shoe rack, a cosmetic table, and bins that contain her winter clothes. The fact that she even differentiates between winter clothes and summer clothes boggles my mind. The only non-wearable possessions she seems to have are technology: a laptop and of course her phone. This girl seems to own no books, no CDs, no DVDs... although in a day and age where iTunes and Netflix are the norm, I can see why she wouldn't. People just don't own things anymore.

I haven't sorted through the entire wardrobe yet, having carved out a small number of items I feel comfortable wearing: t-shirts and pants. It's too hot for long sleeves, and this body seems to react to extreme heat something fierce. From what I've seen, most of Lauren's clothes are designed to free up as much skin as possible, highlighting her figure.

The overprotective brother in me thinks this is not okay, and girls that young shouldn't show off their bodies so much, but the part of me that is dying of heat exhaustion thinks it's fine. I wish there were some middle-ground between "loose, breathable summer clothes" and "modest coverage" for this girl. But there isn't: I'm looking at a summer in pairs of shorts that are smaller than what I used to wear for underwear.

When I first got here, I finally came to grips with the fact that three days of just living had made me grimy as hell. This issue was already lurking in the back of my mind from the time I read Lauren's letter, but I made efforts to rationalize it: I'm a caretaker of this body. I'm going to have to look sometimes, to touch.

The sliding door of her closet is a wall-sized mirror, so no matter where I go in the room, if I don't have my back to that wall I can see myself. Have to see myself. I walked close to look myself in the pretty blue eyes.

"Hi Lauren," I said to my reflection, "My name's Tyler, I'll be... you, for a while. Sorry about this."

Closing my eyes, I pulled my t-shirt over my head at the neck - I reckon sooner or later I'll get used to the extra drag created by my hair. Then I slipped my thumbs under the waist of my sweats and pushed them down to my ankles - beneath, I had actually been wearing a pair of my own jockey shorts, which slipped off on their own, being that there was enough room for two Laurens in there.

I clasped my arms around the delicate regions and pointed my eyes at the ceiling to open them. Slowly, slowly I brought them down until I was staring myself in the eye. Then I let my gaze scan from my reflection's bare feet up along my legs, crotch, torso, breasts, and neck until finally I was looking myself in the face again. Modestly, I cupped my breasts with my hands and, in a vain attempt to complete the coverage, tried to crook one leg over the other to guard my, er, lower half.

I know this has been my body for a few days, but I couldn't get over how frail and helpless I looked under my clothes. I started to shiver and shake.

You've never seen something so pretty looking so unpleasant.

I decided to focus on little details. The freckle above her lip, her perfectly straight, white teeth, the little intents where she has her ears pierced, the little crown of eyelashes encircling her baby blues. I tried to force my grimace into a pained smile. The girl looking back at me was pretty, but you could tell she was sad and not hiding it all that well.

I wrapped myself in a bathrobe and headed for the shower, which did not have the finest pressure I've ever felt, but I get it. I took my sweet time, rinsing my sweaty parts, hairless legs and underarms, behind my knees and ears, dumping loads of shampoo into my hair. I was trying so hard to be thorough and functional about it that I must have spent forty minutes in there before turning the knob off. I feel like someone should have checked to make sure I was still alive, but that's the benefit of being a teenage girl: nobody thinks twice if you're in the bathroom forever.

I made the mistake of trying to dry my hair in the washroom, which took way, way longer than I'm used to, which is when the door opened on me... and I met Lauren's 11-year-old half-brother Kevin.

So, I guess those locks on the bathroom are just decorative.

I stood there slack-jawed. I probably could have covered up better, because at that point I was still buck naked with a shower casually slung over my shoulder, not particularly covering anything. I could have shrieked at him for not knocking, pushed him out, done anything, but I guess I was still deep in self-absorption that I waited for him to back hurriedly out, after presumably getting way more of an eyeful of his sister than he ever expected.

Wet hair and all, I slumped back to "my" room to comb out the tangles. I changed into some pajamas, laid on my side and curled up into a ball, feeling like I could use a drink.

That's the moment I've been thinking of since I got here. Less than an hour in, I had already embarrassed myself and potentially traumatized a member of Lauren's family.


One of the first things I did after discerning what had happened to me and Meghan was to notify the real Lauren that we had "landed" so to speak in their bodies. This was accomplished by leaving her a lengthy, rambling, disoriented message swearing up and down that her life was in good hands, and then confessing it was probably odd to hear all this in her own voice and maybe it would be best to communicate through e-mails.

As it happened, she and her stepsister had wound up in the body of a couple from Austen, Texas - what's with people coming from all over to go to Maine? (Well, I guess I did.) So I guess making a visit is out of the question. As Alice Delacroix, she's supposed to be a personal chef, but is more suited for dishwashing. Her husband, Clay, aka Tasha, is an investor of some kind, which seems like a high pressure job, but I don't know what's needed to make a go at that.

She gave me the passwords to her various online accounts, and told me she would e-mail herself all the relevant homework she had been sent on vacation with, which she had special dispensation to turn in late. That was lucky, but that leaves the final exams for the year, which I have no idea how I'm going to tackle in her place. Cram hard, I suppose. Then, if I pass all those, I still have to live through her senior year.

So Tuesday morning, I woke up in my little Lauren-shaped divot in bed to the sound of an insistent knocking on the door. I slumped downstairs to find a busy breakfast scene, with Susan, her husband Albert, and the twins Kevin and Kylie, having a free-for-all. Susan looked at my ragged sleepclothes and immediately noticed something off: "Honey, you're usually up for hours by now, are you ok?"

I thought about telling them that no, I wasn't okay, but Lauren had missed plenty of school and it fell to me to sit in her place. I sucked it up and said I was just wiped after the vacay.

"Sounds like you've got a frog in your throat," Al piped up, commenting on my conscious attempts to grumble my way through having a girl's voice with a southern accent.

"It'll pass," I said, pouring myself some corn flakes, to the astonishment of the rest of the party.

"Since when did you eat breakfast?" Susan asked.

I shrugged. The old Lauren may have starved herself, but I don't intend to. I ate quickly, then dressed once again as grungily as I felt like I could get away with. To wit: I still didn't touch Lauren's underwear drawer.

I walked the kids to their school, which was on the way to mine, which I found only through the magic of GPS.

At 8:30, I made it to the doors of Eisenhower High. 12 minutes later I was 12 minutes late for Biology. Something about my first class in my newly de-aged now-female body being biology feels like it should be delightfully ironic instead of just sad.

After taking the only remaining seat and getting a strong talking-to from the teacher, I settled in for 40 of the boringest minutes of my recent existence.

And so it begins... more to come.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Meghan/Tasha: First steps

I swore up and down to Tyler that if at any point during this experience - the 11 hours trip from Maine to Pittsburgh or any of the ensuing days - he wanted to completely freak out, I wouldn't blame him. I've had moments of panic and anxiety at having to drop my entire life overnight and assume someone else's. That's going to happen no matter who you become, but his change was so drastic that I would expect him to have more than a minimal reaction. But no, he's being such a man about it: "don't worry, I'm fine." Uh huh.

There were more than a few stray details I caught during our trip that he didn't share. One was that when we set out, he had a pair of giant aviator shades pulled over his face and his hood drawn up, like a celebrity going to the landromat. I saw him glance over at the side-view mirror now and again, testing the waters of his own reflection, then snap back to attention. After removing the hood, his hair started whipping about everywhere. I told him he would probably find an elastic in Lauren's purse, and that it would be a good tip to learn how to do a basic bun. He pointed out that there were going to be a lot of things he'd have to learn.

Lauren Sherman is a pretty girl, but definitely a girl rather than a woman, with a youthful face, bright blue eyes and round cheeks, with a tiny upturn nose and little chin. Little elfin ears are hidden under her long, straight brown hair. But there are hints of reaching beyond her age, with perfectly sculpted eyebrows, a consciously bronzed (ie with tanning bed) skintone and a very full makeup kid amongst her belongings. Tyler, for his part, wears her face interestingly: understandably, I haven't seen him smile since, but he has this "thinking" face that is very... expressive. He slouches more than Lauren probably would, sat low in the car with his legs crooked out like a man would. It's interesting to see such a petite, feminine figure carrying itself like a man would, without the learned traits of femininity. Tyler's probably not going to be really dainty. I applaud that, but I wouldn't shame him if he finds it just easier to pick up where the girl left off, if for nothing more than camouflage.

I can tell it is bothering him from the way he squirms in his seat, the way he puts off going to the bathroom until the very last moment - he didn't mention we actually had to stop several times besides lunch in Jersey. And that: well, I could see him virtually shaking with rage on my behalf. I'd be flattered if I weren't annoyed at his overreaction.

So yeah, anytime I told him it was okay to yell, scream, complain or cry, he brushed me off. This isn't something either of us chose, we got a raw deal, we have a right to be upset. He doesn't even have to complain about being a girl, per se: he had a life of his own that is now taken away from him. Feel free to show some resentment. I told him I didn't buy that he has that little attachment in life that he doesn't mind being dragged away from it. He said he never said he wasn't upset, this is just not something he wants to "cry over." Sure, but some guy hitting on me in a diner, that's worth a possible assault charge.

In spite of that, I consider Tyler a friend and I hated to leave him at the Lauren's house alone like that, especially knowing what I was going home to. Lauren and Tasha are step-sisters: Tasha's father married Lauren's mother something like a decade ago. They didn't grow up close, per se - Tasha lived with her mother, but I guess the familial bond was still forged. Lauren's only 17, Tasha is 22, meaning that while Tyler has reverted over a decade, I haven't even backtracked two years. In theory.

In reality, Natasha Blanchard and I are very different women. I don't want to make like I'm so much better than her, but I lived my life a certain way, going through school, working towards my Masters in History, enjoyed travelling to Europe and Asia. Tasha doesn't appear to have much going on: she was/is a waitress, went to community college, and lives with her boyfriend of 2 years, Wade. I'm not that "into" propping her relationship up for her, but we'll see how it goes I guess.

I went to Tasha's apartment, fumbling with her keys until I found the right one, and found it empty. I breathed a sigh of relief as I headed to the bedroom to start unpacking Tash's things. She and I have different taste in clothes, but then again she has a very different body from mine, and clearly a different attitude about it. I've never been one to show off "the goods," but compared to Tasha, my goods weren't that worth noting. Some would consider it a boon, but I never asked for it.

Being able to stand or walk for long periods unassisted, I don't hate.

The apartment itself was filthy. I decided to turn that negative into a positive, using the cleaning to learn the lay of the land, what items were in regular use, where the dishes go. I've lived with guys before: there's something in their genes, I think, that tolerates filth much more than most women. That's just a theory, of course, but it's borne out pretty well, to my frustration. I know men can be trained to clean, but most of them just don't have that instinct. I could sense this was going to be a source of frustration.

After all that, I sprawled out on the couch to channel surf, looking for anything familiar. I fell asleep quickly, and was awoken around one by the sound of the door open, and a man's heavy footsteps.

"Hey babe, when'd you get back?"

"Around ten I guess," I muttered, rolling over onto my stomach and - much like I'm sure Ty already had - feeling oppressed by my newly oversized boobs.

"Have a good trip?"


"Wanna fuck?"

I rolled over and sat up. My heart raced. Of course he would be that forward, they've been together two years. That's, I guess, where they are.

I stammered out a queasy "No, I'm... too tired."

"Yeah, okay," he said, with a note of bitterness - I guess he hasn't seen his girlfriend in a month, so he probably has the itch, but he was going to have to wait at least a while longer. I'm not sure what Tash's feeling is on me bedding her boyfriend - whether I have a choice or not - but I definitely wasn't looking to hop into the sack with him on the first night.

This shouldn't matter, but he's pretty attractive, I guess, with an oddly clean-cut look, short dirty-blond hair, offset by tattoos up and down his arms and a few days' growth of facial hair. He may not be the kind of guy I would go for, but... oh, I don't know.

I slept on the couch, tossing and turning. This is it. This is my life now.