Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tori: Our thing

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes, standing outside of Chuck and Julia's house in the cold February air. My heart is racing. Beneath my clothes I'm wearing a pair of lacey pink panties and a push-up bra. I wonder what the hell I'm about to do. It happens to be Valentine's Day. I think to myself, "I shouldn't be here, I shouldn't be part of this." But I don't have anywhere else to be, anyone else to be with. I think about guys that I've dated and could have tried harder to make it work, but that thought quickly dissipates, because I know it's a fantasy. Things don't work out for a reason.

Instead of ringing the doorbell, I simply text "I'm here." I don't know why.

She answers, and for a moment I'm disappointed it's not him, but she is looking gorgeous, ten years younger in a little black dress. She smiles and wraps me up in a warm hug that feels more sisterly than romantic. "I'm so glad you're here," she says into my ear, "We're going to have a lot of fun tonight."

Like I said, it's Valentine's. I initially objected to imposing on them, but they insisted. It's one of the few nights of the year when her mother expects to babysit the kid, so we are guaranteed privacy. I try to be reassured by that, but instead it just pulls me back to reality.

We also had the awkward conversation about whether I should come over for dinner, and I was pretty adamant about not doing so. So I arrived promptly at 9.

Julia took my coat and Chuck came to see me, giving me a light hug and a polite kiss on the cheek. They're just finishing dinner and enjoying some drinks, and as soon as they offer I blurt out that yes, I would love a glass of wine.

We drink in silence for a moment, I don't think any of us is really sure what we want to say. Eventually Chuck says, "Isn't my wife stunning?"

Without hesitation, I look dreamily at her and say "She's gorgeous." I'm used to openly appreciating other girls' looks just on an aesthetic level, but I'm trying to dig back down into the part of my psyche that lusted after them. The alcohol helps. I smile at her, "I can't wait to see more of her."

She leans into me. I stay still. She places her hand gently on my leg. I feel a shiver at being touched. She moved her hand back and forth. I place my hand on her arm and do the same. Before I know it, I have placed my lips on hers.

It's a nice kiss, soft and a bit timid. we only hold there for a second before parting. I look over at Chuck. He's looking at me, too. I touch his hand. He smiles at me.

Something is wrong. My heart is palpitating. I want him, in a way that is not necessarily acceptible, given our agreement. I'm not here to steal him away, I remind myself. He stays here tonight, with his wife.

They take me to the bedroom and we all share kisses. I let myself get swept up in the fantasy, pushing Chuck down on the bed while Julia massages me from behind, her hand searching my butt and breasts, kissing my neck. I feel incredibly alive.

Out of guilt, I turn to her and we begin to kiss. I don't know why I was expecting it to be bad, but it wasn't. I start to find her a better, more willing partner than the uptight Chuck. We gradually undress each other, carelessly tossing out clothes into a heap. I reach behin me to where I know Chuck's crotch is, and pet it, feeling for his belt buckle, signifying I want him in this huddle too. My hand sweeps around his midsection, undoing his fly and letting his cock stand erect. At this point, Julia has been kissing me and fondling my breasts to the point where I am unbearably wet. I have my hand wrapped around Chuck's stiff manhood, while Julia busies herself by petting my crotch.

"Yes, yes!" I moan, leaning back to kiss Chuck's lips as his wife lets her tongue trace a path between my breasts down past my bellybutton. My nipples stiffen at the sensation as she caresses them. I'm having buttons pressed that I never imagined I had. Then she cries out, "Somebody fuck me!" and Chuck immediately snaps to, positioning himself behind her to put himself inside her while she buries her face in my crotch.

Looking up at him, thrusting away on her, I wish she and I could switch places, but she's the hostess. An besides, she's doing an excellent job eating my pussy. I feel incredibly alive.

She hums her pleasure moans into me as Chuck grunts and I feel myself rapidly approaching climax. I can tell from the look on Chuck's face that he's almost ready to pop too, despite her urging "Don't stop, babe!"

Well, as we all know, it's not really up to him. Luckily, I'm there, and ready to reciprocate what she has done for me, spinning us so that she's beneath me as soon as he pulls out of her. I keep a firm hand on her breast while putting to good use all he knowledge of a woman's anatomy I've gained in the last six years.

"Oh my GOD!" she cries out, "You're so good at this, have you done it before?"

I stop just a moment and poke my head up at her. "No..."

"Don't stop!" she cries out. I go as long as I possibly can. I feel my jaw locking up and my tongue losing feeling, but I press on. It become almost a joke as she keeps begging me to continue, "Please don't stop, don't ever stop!"

Just as I feel like I can't go any longer, Chuck returns and pulls me away from his wife. He lays me down on top of him, and pulls Julia on as well, beginning to fondle her. He's hard again and directs me to ride him. I do so, bouncing as rapidly as I can, too swept up in the momentum to slow myself down. Waves of electric pleasure as surging through me. Julia sits up and starts to kiss me. I don't want to make her jealous, so I climb off as soon as I'm satisfied and let her finish her husband.

I lie between them in the bed, arms and legs all pretzeled up. We're all out of breath, and it's a while before anybody speaks, and Julia says "We're doing that again."

"Yeah," I huff, "Best workout ever."

"Tori, I love your tits," she says, "Doesn't she have great tits, Chuck?"

"Almost as good as yours," he says, kissing her. Which annoys me, because mine are way better, but I know why he said it. I feel the jealousy bubbling back up inside me and withstand the situation as long as I can before gathering my clothes.

Chuck drives me home and there's a palpable awkwardness. "You're great," I say, "You both are. I mean, wow."

"It's not usually like that," he laughs, "So you must have really brought out the best in us."

For the rest of the night, once I'm alone again, I'm lost in thought. I feel like I'm cheating at life whenever I have meaningless sex. It used to feel impossible, and now it feels all too easy. Why can't I just accept something good?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meg/Tasha: The Wade and Tasha Of It All

You can probably imagine how I feel, even after all this time. Stressed out and guilty to have to keep up the act, day after day, of a loving girlfriend. At first, I was full of resentment. He would roll over in the night and kiss me, and I would wish I were anywhere else, preferably in my own bed, alone. I wasn't exactly in a position to enjoy having his arms wrapped around me because I know they don't belong to me. He had all this misplaced love for the person he thought I was, and I just wanted to be gone.

I write to Tasha frequently. She's pretty protective of her man and was reluctant to give her blessing to us sleeping together. She understood the necessity, if her relationship was to survive this ordeal, that I step in for her, and I assured her I wasn't thrilled by the idea.

"I miss him so much," she'll tell me. "When he gets home tonight, can you tell him I love him? That I've been waiting all day for him?"

"I'll be happy to," I tell her.

I've said those words, "I love you" to him a lot. I try to say it every time I see him, in fact. I used to avoid it, waiting until he said it first and offering a pretty weak response. He could tell from my voice that something was off, and he'd ask what, and I'd pause and make up some story about something that happened at work that was often an exaggerated version of the truth. I don't think he ever bought that was the whole deal, but it held things over until I got better at acting.

Now when I say it, I can really sell it and it hardly makes me feel guilty. This is because I know I'm speaking for her. And even though I don't love him, I like him and I want him to be happy. When I look at him and say, as naturally as anything, "Hey, I love you," he lights up, and it's a good feeling, to be able to make someone feel that way, bittersweet as it is. I've grown weirdly accustomed to being the middlewoman in this relationship. It brings me almost as much happiness as any of my real relationships. That's kind of sad, but selfless at least.

I act like I'm so noble for not breaking Tasha and Wade up immediately, like I haven't risked it for stupid reasons, or found my own ways to enjoy it. Yes, I get stressed out from playing the part, but at the end of the night, I have company, devotion, I have physical attention in a way I have almost never had in my life. And I almost fucked it up because I was a little bored. Well, that's a simplistic rationale for why I did what I did with Mykal.

When I had my little flap with Myk, I thought it would be easier to confess to Tasha, assuming she would understand. But she took it hard, too. After all this time she had come to think of me as part of the relationship, and it was as though I had cheated on her as well. Maybe in a way I had. I felt the urge to defend myself, but as much as I think I should be allowed to think of my own desires, this was the wrong way to go about it.

I have worked hard to restore Wade's good faith. I have channelled every ounce of energy and guilt into making him happy and reminding him that there's a woman who really truly cares about him and wants him to feel loved. I text him lovenotes frequently, and it inspires him to do the same. I feel like I shocked this relationship out of a sense of complacency, if there's a silver lining here.

He gets home from work and I have dinner cooking. I'm not the world's greatest chef - it's a lot of pasta but cooking for two has really improved my skills - but it's clear he appreciates the effort. He opens the door to the apartment and sees me standing, apron over my yoga pants and tank top, hair in a messy bun, and he declares himself the luckiest man ever.

I tell him he's not lucky, just very good.

He wraps his arms around me from behind me and I feel warm inside. There's that ambiguous feeling... am I happy for him, or for myself, at this point? He rests his chin on my shoulder. He says I don't have to do this so much, and I remind him that it's not every night - much of the week I work the dinner shift at the bar, so we don't even cross paths until I get home, and so I like giving him the special treatment when I can. We kiss.

He brings me over to the couch and I let myself fall on him. He wraps his arms around me, and it's not like it was in June, July, where I was itching for him to release me. I rest my head on his chest and I can feel him smelling my hair. I can also feel his cock stiffening beneath his jeans just by my nearness. It's flattering, but I'm not really in the mood to do much more than fool around.

We say nothing, but exchange long, deep kisses. I try to keep Tasha in my mind when we do this. A long time passes and we just lie there in contented silence, until I remember there's sauce on the stove that's almost ready. We eat the meal with our lovers' gazes fixed on each other, making polite conversation. This is the part of the relationship that bothers me the most - it's not overly stimulating, although I know Wade can sometimes be very observational and philosophical. Sometimes when I have tried to pull that side of him out by acting a bit more like Meg, he finds me difficult and we fight.

I resent that, but I'm fine suppressing that side of me. I have Tyler to be myself with.

After dinner we flop onto the couch for channelsurfing, Netflixing, whatever crummy old movie he feels like watching. Occasionally we watch something with artistic merit, but he just assumes I'm not into it. I made the mistake of telling him I loved Wes Anderson when Grand Budapest started winning all those awards, and he looked at me like, well, like an impostor. "You told me you couldn't stand him."

"Oh, uh, I guess he's growing on me." Embarrassed emoji.

When things are going well, I feel like I have to keep it to myself. Tyler is usually pretty encouraging but if I lay it on too thick I worry about rubbing it in, alienating him because his experience as Lauren is so different from mine as Tasha. I can tell Tasha, of course, but I have to choose my words carefully to remind her I am not angling to steal her man. I sometimes inquire what she's been up to in her substitute body in Houston, which helps keep things in perspective.

Inevitably, he and I start to kiss, more and more, hands searching each other's bodies. He loves Tasha's breasts. I don't blame him, they're an ample size to play with. Tasha evidently liked letting him get rough with them, which I'm not partial to. Spending too much time on them has the unfortunate side-effect of reminding me they are not something I was born into.

Sex is, believe it or not, quite different as Tasha than it is in my normal body. I was very sensitive, but my injury affected my enjoyment and ability to take on a many different positions. I could get off in a matter of minutes, but Tasha takes so much longer, it often feels like just as we're getting going, he has to stop.

I'd be lying if I said that didn't affect my emotional state as well: if I want true satisfaction I need, like, an entire afternoon to myself. It's probably good that I don't love the sex. It's generally good enough that I don't avoid it. Tasha says she never had much problem. I wonder if the transformation somehow broke something inside of her.

The man is happy, and since I'm doing a penance, that's all that matters. If this were my relationship, there would be more give and take. Hell, if it were my relationship, it would be over by now.

We lie in each other's arms, but I still find it tough to fall asleep with another person in the bed - honestly the weeks when I was on the couch were some of the best nights of my time as Tasha. We talk about what we're going to do tomorrow, or on the weekend, until the conversation drifts off and one or both of us is asleep.

I never asked, never wanted to, why Wade stayed with me after my transgression. Tasha assured me he would and I thought it was weird he would be so forgiving. "He loves me," she said, "He'll do anything to make it work, and if you work with him things will be back to normal in no time."

"Normal sounds nice," I text back, hoping my scoff is implied, "Whatever normal is."

"You're my favorite person," she texts back, "I couldn't have asked for a better substitute me."

"I'm doing my best :)"

I look over at the clock. It's 3 AM. I'm not really able to sleep. I roll over to get up. I hear him moan or mutter "Huh? Babe?"

I tell him I have to get the dishes scrubbed and the leftovers put away.

"Leave it," he says, patting my place on the mattress.

"I won't be long," I say, leaning over to kiss him before walking out to the kitchen.

Once that's done, I take another moment to look out the window. We have a balcony. I used to smoke in college, and I would almost kill for one right now, but smoking in another person's body seems like almost as big of a faux-pas as cheating on their boyfriend for them. Besides, it's still cold in Western PA, and I didn't get dressed.

I go back to bed. He's still awake. "Took you long enough," he whispers into his pillow, playfully. We kiss. "Tomorrow night," he says, "We'll get takeout."

"Sounds lovely," I say softly, wrapping my arms around him, feeling him press his body into mine.

In my head, I think about how much longer it is until I'm back in Maine. It's tough, but I think I can do this.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tyler/Lauren: Spring Break Part 2 - Fun With Bert and Stef

I was deep in thought the entire flight, with a bit of concern over how to present myself when I finally got to Florida. I had barely ever communicated with this man, except to confirm that I would be visiting him. I guess I could have taken a pass on the whole thing and just stayed at home, made up some excuse, but I the idea of taking a break from PA appealed to me. Much as I was looking forward to never going back to the South, the weather and the crowd has gotten me down, and this was my best bet for a brief escape.

I dunno what I was worried about: I jumped into this whole Lauren thing with hardly a second thought. 'Course, I knew I didn't have much of a choice. I took my marching orders knowing that if I felt shitty about it, it didn't make a bit of difference. I trusted it would work out fine, and it did.

considering what I've been through lately, I set the bar low for comfort anyway. Worst case scenario for the vacation: I have a less than pleasurable week but still get to enjoy good weather.

When I arrived in Florida, Bert and his girlfriend Stef were there to pick me up. I almost didn't recognize him: the photos Lauren has of him he is balding, but since then he's shaved his head completely and grown a greying goatee. His entire aesthetic screams "midlife crisis," right down to the bosomy, slightly younger woman on his arm.

Stef is very boisterous. She wraps me up in a hug, saying she's excited to finally meet me, and we're just going to be the best of friends. Uh huh. I have a hard time resisting playing the bratty teenage daughter as I push her to arms length (when I catch myself acting like that I wonder if the lifestyle has rubbed off on me, or if it's me being me - if grown men sometimes act the same as teenage girls without realizing it.) Bert and Stef go on and on about all the kinds of stuff we can do while I'm here, repeatedly assuring me that it's all up to me. I tell them I don't have much of an opinion. All I really want is to be alone, but that doesn't look like it's on the menu.

I don't want to be ungrateful for their hospitality, but I break it to them quickly that I'm not staying the whole week. I tell them I'm taking a college tour at the end of the week, so I have to leave a few days early. It's in Texas, too, and mom is real skittish about me moving out of state, so it's a secret, and I don't want her to know until I've made up my mind and heard the pitch. Bert says he understands - maybe he's a bit disappointed, but I think he's relieved I trust him enough to tell him something I'm keeping from Sue.

It's a lie, of course, the kind of bald-faced one I've gotten real used to telling. Lauren's not even going to graduate high school this year: Even if I pass every course, she won't have the academic pre-requisites to qualify for a diploma. I made a decision that I wasn't going to rob this girl of an education, so I've been treading water all year.

What I'm actually doing on Thursday is heading to Houston to see the real Lauren and Tasha in their current bodies. We have everything confirmed for July, and it's not as though I don't trust that they want their bodies back, but we agreed it would be nice to visit while I had time. Kind of a show of good faith.

I've learned from reading this blog that sometimes you can't trust people when they say they're going to do something.

When we got to Bert and Stef's house, it felt very spacious, but that's maybe because the Blanchard house is such cramped quarters. I wandered the halls of this sparsely-decorated two-storey detached home feeling like I was in an art gallery or something: from what I could tell, Stef was starting to influence the design, and she later told me she was interested in interior decorating. I made the mistake of asking her about the sofa and she went on and on about the relative merits of leather versus fabric and I completely blanked out. She also has a huge thing for vases, the more exotic-looking the better, but she says she's never traveled.

Stef is definitely a very feminine woman: never leaves her bedroom in the morning without full makeup, loves to cook and clean. It's not hard to see why Bert is attracted to her, but she represents a kind of womanhood I've gotten really uncomfortable with since being on this side of the fence.

Bert works weekends at a boat dealership, so I wound up spending a lot of time with Stef at first. She got me up at 8 saying that just because I was on vacation didn't mean she was going to let me sleep my life away. I said, "What if that's what I want to do?" and she said the was a whole world out there for me, and you only live once.


She boasted that their backyard opened right to the beach, and asked if I had brought my bikini. Of course I had - it's Florida after all. She said that if I wanted to I could spend all day lying around in the sand, but she was determined to get me out of the house. I felt like that was an acceptable compromise.

The new swimsuit I had bought as modest but form-fitting - not showy, but not exactly a burqa. It was high-waisted, which I imagined might make me look like Taylor Swift, but conceals the weight gain around my midsection, which is more noticeable than my butt or thighs, which have also increased in size in the last 8 months. I wore it under a tanktop and a light see-through wrap around my waist.

Stef accompanied me to the beach. As soon as we arrived she removed her cutoff jeans and hoodie to reveal a very miniscule bikini. I suppressed a gasp - for a woman her age and physique, it was pretty daring, letting her breasts hang out, as well as her lovehandles and belly. I wouldn't have called her fat, but her suit didn't hide anything at all. I wondered if I should be embarrassed for her or impressed by her.

She began to apply sunscreen and I removed my top layer to do the same. She remarked "Wow girl, you're a fox! Don't let your dad find out what you're hiding under there, he'll never let you leave the house!"

"Um, thanks." I got uncomfortable in a way I don't when men compliment me. It's praise from women I can't seem to shrug off. "You look good too..." I added, not-very-convincingly.

She smiled, "I like to think I'm still a 17-year-old hottie inside," she sighed, "Let this be a warning, it can all go south on you quick."

I honestly didn't know if she was fishing for compliments or what, but I had already said she looked good so I just laughed lightly.

As we laid out on blankets, she asked, "So, you got a boyfriend? Maybe we can find you a fling while we're here. Hah, just kidding." Except I think maybe she wasn't.

"I'm not really looking," I sighed.

"Of course you are," she said smugly, "Everyone's always looking, even if they say they're not."

I didn't respond, so she continued trying to engage me in girl talk. "Who's your ideal guy?"

"I don't really have one," I said, "I mean, I thought I did, but... I really don't."

"Come on, give me something!" she laughed, "If you could date any actor, who would it be?"

I sighed and started to recount a conversation the girls at school had had about Liam Hemsworth from the Hunger Games movies, pretending I was part of it. I felt like Stef could sense my apathy, so she interjected by saying she would date any of the guys on Game of Thrones, "Even the little guy," but not to tell my dad because they all have luxurious hair.

I laughed and had to admit that Jon Snow guy is a bit cute. Maybe it's the accent.

Despite myself, I started really thinking about it. I like to pretend otherwise, but I do have a straight girl's hormones rushing around inside of me, and there have been moments I've been overtaken by some pretty serious desires. But they aren't tied to looks. It's more personalities that I respond to, moments where I feel genuinely charmed by someone, looked at as an equal and a human being. That's probably why all the guys at school bug me. Having to square these feelings with the person I believe myself to be inside, as well as keeping Lauren's life drama-free as possible, is pretty torturous, so it becomes convenient to ignore it altogether.

"There's one guy back home," I finally admitted, "He's cocky and a bit of a jerk, but I can talk to him a bit, so that's nice. It just... it wouldn't work." I think about Phil sometimes, how he's right there under my roof if I ever want him, but I know it would end badly.

"Well, you never know," she said, elbowing me suggestively. "Is he cute at least?"

"Yeah," I admitted, "But I would never tell him that." That got a laugh.

I also think of Mark once in a while. Poor kid. He really liked me, and I just had to push him away, and now we're not even really friends. I went back to the Drama Club and his entire attitude toward me had changed as if overnight. That's more guilt than regret, because I played that one exactly right.

I abruptly changed the subject. "There's one person I like more, but... it can't happen. They're with someone else."

"See, that's why I never say never," she winked, "What's he like?"

"A good friend. Really understanding. Sometimes frustrating. And I feel pretty bad for having these feelings." I didn't mention it was a she. "We both know about it, but pretend we don't because it's easier."

"You can't be afraid to take what you want," she said. She seemed very eager to provide these little fortune cookie sayings.

I quickly got used to Stef's strong personality and it even brought out some really repressed sense of fun in me. It was the first time since my pageant adventures that I played girly-girl -- she took me to her favorite nail place to get pedicures, and even though I was uncomfortable being fussed over, I was pretty pleased with the results.

We met Bert for dinner that night at a French restaurant so nice it made me uncomfortable (and underdressed compared to the elegant dresses on the ladies nearby.)

"You know I'm not exactly loaded," Bert said, "But my daughter doesn't come to town very often, so you deserve a bit of spoiling." He leaned in to give me a peck on the cheek and I tried to feel grateful, but all I could think of was having waffles for dinner in the mobile home where I used to live -- or more recently, bringing a plate of chicken to my room because I just need to get away from the family for a while. I told him I appreciated it.

We spent the next few days sightseeing, and I did end up getting a fair amount of "me-"time and R&R. We had BBQs with the neighbors, and I was invited to play cards with Stef's lady friends. It was a pretty full few days.

Once I was feeling comfortable after a few days, I vented some of my frustrations about living with Sue and Paul, which Bert was all too happy to hear and it felt like we were almost bonding. On my last day there he took me to a Grapefruit League game, which was nice.

Thursday morning he drove me to the airport, and he reminded me that it was a secret between him and me that I as going to Texas. I smiled and hugged him, "Thanks for everything."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tyler/Lauren: Spring Break Part One - Airport

Sue drove me to the airport Friday afternoon, dropping me off by the entrance. As I was pulling my luggage out of the trunk, she must have sensed my desire to ask why she wasn't accompanying my as far as she could, shrugging, "I'll let you off here. You know how much I hate those places. So busy and complicated. It stresses me out."

I couldn't help but chuckle at that, and she probably wondered why. I guess after everything I've been through it seems like such a luxury to be stressed out by something as mundane as a crowd. I mean, even in my old life I would have found that quaint, but now it feels downright absurd.

"Plus..." she added, "I trust you."

"Thanks, mom," I said, offering her the type of warm hug I've gotten very used to dishing out in order to reassure her that I am her loving daughter and not a total stranger - the kind of hug that used to send a shiver up my spine because it felt so forced, and even now leaves me feeling pangs of guilt. I even kissed her cheek, which I do sometimes when I feel the need to be extra comforting because I'm feeling worse than usual about my deception. It must have looked like something out of a commercial as she watched me go through the doors into the terminal, wheeling my luggage behind me.

Then I was alone.

Not alone-alone, of course. There was hundreds of people rushing this way and that, but I was invisible to them. As invisible as a pretty attractive blonde 18-year-old girl ever gets to be. As I stood in line to check my luggage, I felt this rush of anonymity as I realized that for the first time in a long while I wasn't around anyone who knew my name: either of them. None of my family members, or schoolmates, or even Meghan were coming with me on this trip. And that would end soon enough, in a few hours I would land in Florida, where I would meet Lauren's father and his girlfriend, and I would have to play the daughter again. Even that, I felt, would entail a certain amount of freedom... Bert Sherman doesn't see his daughter often, so I doubt he even has that strong of an idea of who she is. I could be myself, a bit.

I was happiest in the airport, though, where I suddenly felt very comfortable being nobody. Some random traveler. I was so used to travelling on my own before I went to Maine, and since then nearly every moment of my life has been lived in close proximity to all these people who came with the life I was thrown into. Before then I was feeling apprehensive about travelling on my own: I was used to doing it as a grown man, who knows what horrors might await me as a teenage girl on her own?

The answer: teenage boys. As I was sitting in the gate waiting for my flight to board, a boy came up and sat next to me. He was about Lauren's age, drenched in body spray, with the faint remnants of acne but generally okay skin. I'll admit that he was attractive, but don't mistake that for me saying I was attracted to him.

I played a game on my phone until he finally made his move: "Hey, you on this flight to Florida?"

"Yep," I said, not looking up.

"Spring break?"

"Uh huh."

"By yourself?"

"I'm visiting my boyfriend," I said flatly. "Goes to U. Miami."

"Oh, cool," he sighed, "He's a lucky guy."

"Yeah?" I half-asked.

"Sure, you're really hot."

"Yeah, I know," I said.

He seemed put off, doing a bit of a double take as if to say 'Excuse me?' "What do you mean you know?"

"I mean, you're not the first person who's noticed. I know what I look like. People don't stop reminding me."

He seemed very challenged by this bit of self-confidence, and immediately changed seats, muttering "Bitch" under his breath. I smiled to myself. I know a lot of you guys out there are hoping I'll embrace the lifestyle of a heterosexual woman, but I much prefer to leverage that into messing with their heads: it's so easy and fun. Sorry bud, I don't kneed your opinions to validate my self-worth.

I mean, I wasn't even done up: I was dressed comfortably in sweats and a hoodie with my hair hidden under a wool hat, and no make-up, minding my own business.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tori: The Arrangement

So I hinted that I would tell you what my situation was like lately, but I had to wait and see if it lasted at least a little while. It's also somewhat controversial. I know I shouldn't expect any judgment from you fine people, although if you wanted to, I wouldn't blame you. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it myself.

That's a lie, I actually kind of like it. It's not a perfect arrangement, but for now, it's fun.

It started sometime in the New Year when things were definitely, for sure, completely done with Boy-X. Actually that's a lie, it started years ago when I met Chuck at work and started to hit it off with him. The big problem was, and is, that he's married, so as much as we got along, I knew he was off limits. He and his wife Julia make a great couple and I would never want to do anything to stand between them, especially because they have a 16-month-old, an adorable son Tommy.

Anyway. Chuck got promoted out of his department and I was promoted into his, and that came with a bunch of stresses that caused us to lose touch a bit - I had been regularly talking to him when I was in IT but now work didn't bring us much into contact. So we made a point to get a coffee after the Holidays when things quieted down.

Chuck is older, even moreso than I originally was. He's nearly 40, with dignified salt-and-pepper hair. He has a pretty commanding presence that really does something for me, but I always figured I had hidden it. I was actually a little embarrassed to be so attracted to him, because he was such a "man" in the classic sense, that it really brought to mind how unsophisticated the guys I'd dated are, even the ones I really loved. It was intimidating, and having been through what I have, I don't intimidate easily.

So we went for a beverage, and he got me venting about my latest romantic messes, kind of egging me on as I spouted off about how I couldn't meet a solid guy, et cetera et cetera. I had to stop abruptly, redfaced when I realized how long I had been talking without much of a point.

"No, no, it's fine," he said, "This is like TV for me."

"Oh, glad I can entertain!" I laughed.

"So, are you looking to settle down?" he asked.

"I don't know," I sighed, "I look at what my brother has with his wife, or what you have with yours, and I think 'I want that.' But I'm not done having fun yet, either."

"Settling down doesn't necessarily mean the end of fun," he said with a knowing smile.

I cocked an eyebrow, saying I'd take his word for it. "Every guy I meet starts by saying 'I'm not looking to get into anything serious,' which is usually just code for 'I'll screw around with you if I don't have to call you later.' And that would be fine if I was meeting any quality guys, guys I felt were worth the risk of disappointment. But I keep encountering these barely-grown fratboys who I wouldn't ever want to get serious with."

He nodded and I continued, "I'm not saying my next guy has to be my husband. I'm not even saying I want a husband. I just think I should raise my standards. If I can meet a guy who actually already has his shit together, that's one less thing for me to worry about, and it's more of a turn-on."

"You don't mind just having a one-night stand as long as the guy wears a suit to work," he smirked.

"It sounds so shallow when you put it like that!" I said, embarrassed again. Chuck has this way of just calling me out.

"Look, it's okay not to want to settle down," he said. "That just might not be who you are."

I wondered if he was alluding to something with his wife, so I asked if things were okay. "Yeah, they're great," he said, and I decided to trust him.

It was later that night when I started getting some texts from him.

"Okay. This is stupid, and I needed half a bottle of scotch to psych myself into this so sorry if my spelling is a little rough." (It was immaculate.)

He went on. "You asked if things were okay with me and Julia. And they are. But we've been together for a very long time and we had a conversation not that long ago

"About missed opportunities, things we might have done if we hadn't gotten together when we did.

"Jules brought up the idea of being with women. She said she had been on the cusp of her 'experimental phase' in college when we met.

"And maybe neither of us wants to admit it but since Tommy was born there hasn't been a lot going on in the bedroom

"So we started seriously kicking around the idea of a threesome.

"And I immediately thought of you just because you're someone I trust and hold very closely,

"And you've never been shy about pointing out when you think a woman is hot

"Including Julia... so while I don't now I you would be into it I know you're at least pretty confident in yourself and open.

"And unless I've missed my guess you've always seemed to have a little bit of a thing for me.

"Maybe I'm an idiot for asking. If you never want to speak to me again I'll understand."

I couldn't believe my eyes. My jaw just hit the floor with every new text that arrived, until finally I figured he was done. I had to think very long and very carefully about how I wanted to respond. Yes, he was correct that I had an attraction to him - he is everything I've never had in a man: mature, established, confident, really himself... but I was always ashamed of myself for even having a notion of attraction, so I never really pined. But this? Was it something I anted to act on? It seemed fraught with obvious complications.

I finally texted back 20 minutes later, "A threesome isn't going to save your marriage..." I said, careful not to say either yes or no.

The response came back five minutes later. "My marriage isn't in trouble. I just feel like we're in a unique position to make this work, but only if every party is amenable to the terms."

He added, "I love my wife. I want to do this for her."

I sighed and texted back "This is for her, and not for you?"

Not long after, he responded, "It's for me too a little bit, sure. For all of us, if you're in."

I laid back on my bed. "I need time to think about this." My rational side was 100% against it, but my sense of adventure and curiosity - which has done me very well in the years since I became Tori - was pulling me toward it. If nothing else it felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. It had the potential to destroy a very meaningful friendship and/or a marriage. The last thing I wanted to be was the Other Woman, even if the wife was in the same room.

Finally, I said the three of us had to discuss it.

A few days later I went to their place for drinks. I sat at the island in their kitchen while Julia poured three glasses of wine. I nervously looked between the three of them: Jules, Chuck, and Tommy in his playpen.

I paid particular attention to Julia. She's very beautiful, a couple inches taller than me, with a slight frame and long light brown hair. I sensed she was sizing me up, too.

"First, um, thanks a lot for thinking of me for this. If nothing else, it's flattering."

"Thanks for not cursing me out immediately," Chuck laughed.

"Julia," I said, "We don't know each other very well, but Chuck says this is more your idea than his. Is that true? Because if he's just trying to convince you--"

"No, no," Julia said, "Believe me, Chuck knows better than to suggest something like that without me taking the lead. He suggested you, and I felt very comfortable with that."

"Do you mind if I ask why?"

"I feel like I can trust you," she said, "You and Chuck have been friends for a long time, and whenever I see you two together, I never get that... you know, bolt of jealousy sometimes we get when a significant other is close to a member of the opposite sex."

"So if I admit I find your husband very attractive, you won't want to punch me?"

"Well he is," she smiled and looked over at him, trying to hide his face, "And you haven't ever made any kind of move, so... you have character. That's impressive."

"Thank you," I sighed.

"You're very attractive," she said, leaning in to me.

"Um, thanks." Part of me never gets tired of hearing that, so I blushed hard. "So are you."

"If I was going to do this, it would be with a girl like you, if you don't mind me saying."

"If I was going to do this, it would be with Salma Hayek," I joked nervously, "But she's not available."

Julia smiled, "Well, I hope I'm an acceptable substitute."

Julia does not look like Salma Hayek, but she's very pretty. I looked her over again. I thought she was a little hotter when she was still breastfeeding, but I've got my own boobs to play with if I want to. I smiled and told her she was.

"I have one suggestion," I said, "We can discuss this but I feel pretty strongly about it. I really, really don't want this to get out of hand. It's just sex, right?"

"Right," said Chuck quickly. Julia listened intently.

"Well," I said, "I think it's important to set some boundaries. Chuck, we're going to have to limit the amount of time we spend together on our own."

Chuck's mouth was a straight line, his face blank. Julia insisted, "That's not necessary, I trust him."

"It's for my own peace of mind," I said, looking back and forth between them. "Things can change. I'm not saying I'm such a good lay that it might destroy your marriage - although I'm very good, you guys should know that - but you never know what might happen. Chuck, you and I already don't interact much at work anymore, we only really hang out when we make a point to do so. There's not much point in you and I just hanging out together without Julia in this scenario. It's for transparency's sake."

They took a moment to chew it over.

"I don't like the idea of bossing who my husband can and can't see," Julia said with a sigh.

"No, Jules, it's okay," Chuck said. "She makes a good point. I want it all out on the table. If that's our rule, it will work."

"Good," I said, taking a deep breath and sipping my red wine. "Now, I wasn't really thinking of doing this tonight, I'm on my period... do you mind if we hold off for a bit?"

"Of course, of course," Julia said. "We'll find a time that's good for all of us. Give it a while to mentally prepare."

"Right. Um, okay then. I look forward to it."

I finished my drink and hugged them both goodbye. It was a weird moment, unsure what kind of hug or handshake or whatever I should give.

As I put my boots on, I turned back and laughed, "This is insane. I can't believe this is going to happen." And here I thought there were no more lines for me to cross.

It was a little while before we were finally able to make it work... and that's a whole other story.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Meg/Tasha: Corvettes

He sits across the table of the food court with me, in the body of an 18-year-old girl, frail, light-skinned, shoulders slumped in a way that disguises the fact that he was briefly in the military. An almost cartoonishly large pair of Aviators cover his girlish face, the same pair he immediately donned when we hit the road from Maine to Pittsburgh all those months ago. His sandy-blonde hair is pulled back in a deceptively intricate bun, his winter coat slung over the seat behind him to reveal a navy blue polo shirt that does tellingly little for his figure.

I don't let myself think of this person, Tyler Blake, as a "she" or "her" even though that's how the world sees him, and likely the words that the readers of this blog would like to think of him. Just because he lacks a penis or a stubbly face or an I.D. card that bears his original name does not mean I have the right to call him by anything but the words he has specifically asked me to. Besides, as soon as he talks, it becomes impossible to think of him as anything but the person inside.

"You know what we call grilled chicken breast in Alabama?" he says, picking with plastic cutlery at the Ceasar wrap he has unfolded onto a tray rather than attempt to stuff directly into his face, "A side dish."

I smirk. I'm eating pasta salad, trying to curb the inevitable winter pounds. Size and weight are an inevitable, if uncomfortable, topic we always discuss. This is because he inherited this bony ghost of a physique, proceeded to immediately put about twenty pounds on it, then felt incredibly guilty when "none" of the clothes in Lauren's dresser fit anymore. This is an exaggeration, but a lot of the nicest items are patently Size 0's.

I've fared better, fluctuating less, thanks to being on my feet every night at the bar and doing Yoga until recently (looking for a new studio currently.)

"I've warned her she isn't coming back to the same body she left," he sighs, "I don't want it to shock her or trigger something bad in her."

"You're doing your best," I assure him.

He glances up from the table to my eyeline, and he knows I notice his eyes briefly pausing at my breasts before completing the route. At first I thought it was amusing, then I wondered why they still seemed so appealing to him when he had a pair of his own to worry about. Surely, I thought, he knows enough about what it's like to be objectified. "Sure," he told me, "But it's like if I have a Smart car and you've got a Corvette. Nothing wrong with peeking in the neighbor's garage if she leaves the door open."

I told him not to sell himself short, especially since I know he secretly takes pride in his appearance as Lauren. But I guess yeah, Corvettes are pretty great if you're not responsible for the upkeep. The fantasy is preferable to the reality. On some level, Tyler senses that. To a lot of girls, Lauren is the Corvette.

"It used to frustrate me," Ty confessed about objectification, "Boys thinking they liked me without really knowing anything about me. Wanting to be my best friend on the off chance..." (The off-chance of what he does not specify.) "Mark, Phil, other guys. Now it's just, like, a fact."

"You handle it better than I do," I told him.

That got a laugh. His cheeks are flush with a bright, self-effacing smile as he giggles and assures me "I doubt very much I handle ennathang better'n you." He lapses into his natural southern accent from time to time. Neither of us has mastered the local Pittsburgh dialect, but he has found a comfortably neutral fake "northern" voice. I've never told him out loud how adorable I find his laugh as Lauren, I get to hear it pretty rarely. It's very musical, feminine, and oddly natural considering the man inside. But he was a contradiction from the moment I met him.

I say it'll be nice for all this to be done soon. He shrugs. "Still got a lotta shit to wade through to get there."

I ask a bit about school and he shrugs, giving noncommittal, disinterested answers. He mentions spring break: "Lauren usually spends it with her dad down in Tampa, so that's where I'll be." He gets this faraway look that the shades don't mask. "Thought I was done with the south, but after this winter I'm itchin' to get some sun."

I specifically do not ask if he's heard from the man in his body, but mentioning the south brings it to my mind. The lack of certainty in that regard is a sore point for him. He's told me not to worry about it, but I do.

"I need a new swimsuit," he says, "Since I went and made Lauren's obsolete."

Numerically, the amount of weight and size Tyler has gained as Lauren is perfectly manageable, but when your wardrobe is tight tops and jeans and leggings, every inch, lump and fold makes the difference. And yeah, a new swimsuit is probably in order.

"You got money for that?"

"I got some money," he says as if there's some wicked secret he's not telling me.

We go and shop a while. I pretend not to notice when Tyler gets distracted by outfits, jewelry, purses. He says he likes that men can carry bags around now, as if that should affect whether he uses one. He favours bags worn over the shoulder across the chest, although it causes him to fiddle with the strap underneath his breasts.

He picks a modest blue bikini, rolling his eyes as the total reaches $90 for only two garments but paying with a bank card anyway. I look for myself, but as I don't need anything, I don't buy. I'm trying to save because I suspect I will need it later. I wonder about his bank account, but it's none of my business.

"That reminds me, I need some new bras," he says, as casually as anything. "Let's go to that store I like."

"Can you believe you're the type of person who has opinions about bras?"

"I always had opinions about bras," he smiles, "They've just changed."

After twenty minutes of shopping, another couple hundred or so dropped, I tell him I think we should both write more on the blog. People want to hear from us, and once we're back to normal - I inadvertently pause after that word because we both know it could not be the case - we might just disappear back into our lives. He answers back that it's simply not interesting. I disagree, and I tell him I find it a nice exercise, especially when I am not pouring my heart out and confessing my sins. He says that's up to me but the life of a high school girl is really not as exciting as TV makes it seem, and he writes plenty when there's something to write about. I remind him that just us being us is interesting enough.

A couple of college guys pass us going the other direction. I can see their heads swiveling. I try to ignore it but Tyler stops in his tracks, stares directly at them, catching them mid-glance, folds his arms under his chest and shoots them this glance, as if daring them to approach. I die of embarrassment, and have absolutely no idea what either of us would have said or done had they returned.

I text Wade to let him know that I'll be home soon, then drop Tyler off at home. In the car I get the feeling there's something he wants to tell me, but he just won't come out with it. I get this feeling from him often. He's become one of my closest friends in the world, but he's still a mystery to me.