Don't give me any shit in the comments for not writing this up at the time; I wouldn't be doing it now except that my project for work is done, I don't know what I'm going to do until we go back to the Inn - and that won't be until later in the summer than we'd like, because someone down the line from us wants to finish a school year, like it's their fucking academic career.
Anyway, I don't want the crap that would come from waking Benny and Annette up by playing Xbox, so I might as well do some catching up. (Yeah, I started this in the morning!) In some ways, the holiday I missed most was Halloween; it has always been a big thing in our family. Mostly my Dad; the way he tells it, he could be Bruce Lee then and all the kids in his class who gave the Chinese kid shit most of the time would find him cool. It stuck with him, and our family would always host the best Halloween parties. I wanted to go, but I didn't want to dress up in a girl's costume, among other things. Besides, Benny's first idea for a costume was a samurai, and then after that was Jackie Chan, and that would have kicked off an argument with my brother that he wouldn't have understood, and not just because it was in Cantonese. So we skipped it, and then did the same on Thanksgiving, telling my parents that we would be at Deirdre's family, and Deirdre's that we were at mine, which didn't surprise them.
By Christmas, though, it was too much - skipping that many holidays was driving us nuts, and I don't know if I've got some female genes that are pushing to make me like shopping or something, but I was finding things that might make cool gifts for my family and buying them, not necessarily thinking about the actual giving. Eventually, it became obvious that Benny and I were going to have to show up, and I got this weird sort of insecurity because I would be going as my own girlfriend.
That's fucking weird, folks. Most of the time, I don't give a shit how I look; I did all my work on the computer and even when I went out, I would dress in loose outfits because who needs the shit that comes from guys noticing you? But while I am perfectly content to be that sort of girl for as long as I've got to be any sort of girl, I'd rather not have my family think that I've got to settle for Deirdre if she's like that. It's fucked up, but I needed to look a bit nicer.
Enter Annette. She had probably been waiting for me to ask for some more help ever since convincing me that yeah, even with these little things, a bra helps, but she is thankfully not one to gloat. Instead, she helped me pick out a green dress that complemented this body's reddish hair well and looked Christmas-y, but which wasn't really that come-hither, at least from inside. She helped out with hair and make-up, too.
Not that anyone noticed, what with Benny looking all sexy.
I should have expected that, but somehow I didn't. Benny hadn't entirely spent the previous few months in the gym, or running, or whatever else has filled his time with the employment situation kind of tricky. Point being, he'd gotten results, and it's not a "he did it so gradually that I barely even noticed" thing. I fucking noticed! I noticed when he bought new pants on my credit cards, I noticed when a girl who never would have walked up to talk to me introduced herself to him, and, yeah, I noticed when he came out of the shower with just a towel around his waist and I felt the need to excuse myself and spend some alone time. Getting turned on by someone else looking like you is WEIRD!
Not quite as weird as my mom seeing him and showering him with compliments, though. I don't think Benny really had any idea of just how weird it was, because the first salvo would be in Cantonese, and when he said ''English, ma, don't be rude to Deirdre", she would tone it down a little. I didn't quite get the impression that "Deirdre" suddenly wasn't good enough for "Jordan", but his physical transformation was the talk of the day, not the first girl that "I'' had brought home for a holiday since college.
It bugged me at first, but I got over it. Part of it was that Benny didn't let me get shuffled off to the side, keeping a tight grip on my hand so that he wouldn't be stranded in the middle of some Cantonese conversation that was over his head, or even an English-language one without me there to interject "oh, he told me about that!" Unlike a lot ofpeople changed by the Inn, he hasn't had to spend a lot of time living my life specifically, so he needed a lot of help there.
Plus, hey, it was Christmas! Everyone liked the gifts I got them, Dad made eggnog, and even if I was seeing it from a new vantage point, it looked good. Better than "real", maybe, because Benny and my brother didn't get into any arguments, Mom couldn't go on about me needing to eat healthier or dropping dead before I gave her any grandchildren, and for a wonder, Max hadn't done anything to piss our parents off either.
Oh, and Max didn't leer at me or anything.I wasn't really worried about it - he generally only goes for Chinese girls - but I was having a hard time thinking of a worse nightmare scenario than "kid brother finds me hot and tries to steal me away from guy he thinks is me." Did not even come close to happening; I guess his own last breakup was too recent.
It wound up one of the better days since I got back from the Inn, even if I was damn ready to take the shoes off when I got home. I could see that Annette was really envious, too - Ravi's family exchanges presents on Christmas but it's not as big a deal as Diwali, and on top of that, it was her first holiday away from home and she missed her mom something fierce.
Things got pretty quiet for Benny and me after that, but Annette sure made up for it. But that's her story to tell.