I think the reason a lot of people transformed by the inn come to this blog is because its a great resource. Its the collective stories and experiences of several people and odds are there is something contained in the archives that people can relate too. I've found tons of useful advice on how to be a girl after being a guy, and I breathed a sigh of joy when I got to the Anne-Marie posts about having to deal with motherhood, although I haven't read all of them yet.
I almost feel a duty to write here because nobody else has had to deal with not having a note to guide them. Its a lot more difficult to have to scratch out clues of who you are now without one so I'm hoping my posts can serve as a survival guide to piecing together a new identity.
Faced with the reality of not only being responsible for my own survival this year, but also the survival of a young, albeit very independent, teenager. Looking at our empty fridge and my even emptier purse, I was going to have to find out what Kari did for money. I assumed that after almost a month off I'd be fired but what skills and experience she'd have would be relevant in finding something else. I couldn't just go up to Ashley and say "By the way, do you remember where I work?" because she would look at me like she thought I was dumber than she already thinks I am. (The angst is strong with this one)
So, for future reference, here is a good way to find out if your new body has a job and where. I went looking for any banking information and found a debit card to a local bank. I made it down there on Saturday right before they closed and asked for a printout of my recent account activity. I didn't have to know my account number, I just had to show them ID to prove I was who I said I was (or at least looked like her) and I had a list of every checking account transaction for the last 6 months.
I got lucky because hidden among frequent withdrawals were regular deposits every two weeks, clearly some sort of direct deposit. The deposits were from "LTHRMAN FIN", which when you type into Google brings up "Did you mean Latherman Financial?" which is a small investing firm headquartered in Detroit. The phone number listed matched one that had been dialed but not saved by Kari's cell phone so I figured it was a safe bet that she worked there.
Hopefully that part can be useful, because now its time for the creepy part.
Monday morning I had put on the closest thing I could find in the way of work attire which was a pair of very tight knit gray pants that left little to the imagination in ways of curves and required a thong and a blouse that was the best combination of professional style and cleavage coverage out of anything I could find and hopped in my new bland car and drove a few miles up I-75 to downtown Detroit.
Latherman Financial's office was on the floor of a renovated office building in a fairly nice area of downtown. When I walked through the door the lady at the reception's eyes bugged out looking a combination of upset and relieved to see me. "There you are. He's been having me cover for you the whole time you were gone. I'm sick of answering phones."
I tried to hide the disappointment in my eyes, but I think I failed. She pretty much confirmed that Kari was the receptionist. When I had first seen that my new job was in finance, a field which I had experience in in my real life, I thought maybe I'd be able to lend my expertise. Clearly from Kari's car and apartment she couldn't have been something high powered like I was, but I would have liked to do some work that I enjoyed. Instead its gonna be a year of answering phones or worse.
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
I sincerely thought I was fired when I went in that morning and being told that Mr. Latherman wanted to see me by the receptionist (who I later found out was named Joanne) made me feel like I was about to face a firing squad. I entered an office which was nice, but was a bit modest for a CEO. I don't know what kind of finances or volume this company does but it can't be that high because my office had a nicer view and classier decorations at my own job.
Nick Latherman was a man in his 40s with a full head of hear with sophisticated graying who looked to be in pretty good shape. His face lit up when he saw me, which I was not expecting.
"You're back" He said "I was afraid we were going to have to report you missing"
"Mr Latherman I'm so sorry for--" I began
"Don't worry about it. You needed a break" He interrupted "And drop that Mr. Latherman stuff, its just us"
"There was an issue with the flight and--" I tried to explain
"Kari, you don't need to make excuses" He said in a calming tone "You deserved a vacation and that little inn was amazing."
I froze. "You...you know about the inn?" I asked slowly
"You didn't change hotels right? The little independent one on the beach in Old Orchard, right? It was so quaint and beautiful. I wish I hadn't had to get back here early and leave you there by yourself."
It took a minute for that to sink in for me so I'll spell it out for you.
1. Mr. Latherman, Kari's boss, was on the trip that had taken her to the Trading Post Inn but had left before the curse had taken hold and thus managed to avoid being transformed.
2. Mr. Latherman had taken his receptionist on a trip that probably didn't require a receptionist so Kari was probably with him for...other reasons.
I wanted to believe it wasn't so. That there wasn't anything going on between the two of them. I looked at the smiling pictures of his wife and daughter on his desk and hoped that he and Kari weren't having an affair but the way he was talking to me and the way he was looking at me made it clear.
I sat there in silence at this man who had probably seen this body naked more times that I had at that point, not knowing what to say or how to react or what the etiquette is when you find out your body has sex with someone else so I just quietly made my way back to reception.
I bluffed my way through the short work week, avoiding eye contact wher ever possible.
PS: If you've noticed I changed my new name to Kari because after talking to people who know her its clear that "Karina" is the name on the ID only and that friends and family and everyone else calls her Kari, so I'm gonna go with that.