Honestly, I'm trying not to look at this whole "you're a woman now" thing as a problem, especially compared to the rest of my problems. Yes, it's strange being in this body, looking this way (like Kirsten Dunst when she did that cheerleading movie) but aside from radical plastic surgery there isn't anything I can do about that. I am currently Joy Kershaw. Big whoop.
The problem is what that represents: Joy Kershaw has been a missing person all winter. She basically fell off the face of the Earth in as literal of a way as possible. You would think this trend of people going to Maine and then wandering out months and months later (with no accounting for where they were or perhaps even who they really are!) would get noticed at a certain point, but hey, after a hundred years or whatever of Magical Inn Curses, I guess there's just some kind of spell preventing people from making a big deal about it.
But make no mistake, this is a big deal. Joy didn't think to leave any kind of literature explaining who exactly she is or would like me to seem to be while I'm here. She didn't leave me a trove of clothes or personal effects. She apparently assumed she was going to come back in May and get her life back deal with the repercussions herself, which was short-sighted and dumb on her part. So Joy, if you're out there, you've made a bad first impression on me. Cute body, though.
All my knowledge of Joy comes from Treena, who has her own issues to sort out, so it's not like, even if she had a full and complete autobiography of Joy Kershaw, she has had much time to share it with me. Besides, these days, every 24-year-old woman has an autobiography: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever... even her online dating profile. Thanks to Treena, I have been able to trace Joy's digital footprint and get a good sense of her personality.
She's a very positive person, into motivational images and corny memes. She likes recipes but apparently isn't much of a cook. She likes the beach (she's from San Diego, for crying out loud,) but prefers to sit in the sun with a Sophie Kinsella book over say, volleyball. I would have guessed she was very active, but Treena told me - a bit bitterly - that mainly she just eats good and has good genes, and that between the two of them Treena spent more time at the gym. (I don't want to insult her but you'd never know it.)
Honestly, if I had met Joy, I think we would get along... except she's the sunshine-and-kittens do-gooder type and I'm really more of a... well, if you didn't like me, you'd say shark, but I'd just say driven. We would make an interesting couple, but now I guess we're one person.
Facebook also has granted me a timeline of her last few boyfriends: one guy she was dating at the time she disappeared, as well as two in fairly close succession before that. Looks like she's not the type of girl who was single often, and may have had multiple guys on the go at times. I definitely don't think I'll be re-creating that dynamic.
But I have been putting off checking in with those people who think they've lost her. She kept up her profiles for a bit after becoming Brian, but it drops off suddenly around the holidays, and then there's just a lot of posts saying essentially "We miss you, hope things are ok..." basically alluding to the worst but never outright saying it. Yikes.
Treena convinced me to come to San Diego with her, but I put that off. I wanted to swing by my Cleveland place first, take stock of anything I might personally need more than someone pretending to be me, including a few valuables that might be useful for leverage if they wanted to try to pull something on me. Walking down the streets of my rather rough neighborhood dressed in a yellow sundress I borrowed from a fellow Inn victim who used to be a teenage girl and turning heads I realized... attractive people really don't belong in Cleveland. San Diego it is.
As to what I'll be doing there, well... I will be rooming with Treena on a temporary basis, since their sub-letters finished up at the beginning of June. I will be getting all of Joy's belongings out of storage, which means I will finally have something to wear besides this one dress, a plain white t-shirt, a pair of jean shorts and the unflattering Hanes Her Way panties I bought myself, and one cheap pair of sneakers. There was another outfit, a pair of jeans, but literally the third day I was Joy, my body got its period just randomly in the middle of the day and wrecked them.
...Okay, when I said being female wasn't "a problem," I don't mean it didn't have problems. Life's not going to be perfect this year or anything, but it's not like I'm on death row or something. I'm a hot girl. Sometimes life gives you lemons.
Last thing - because who knows when I'll have time to sit down and write about it again - Joy's occupation was as a Realtor. She was fairly new to the game, and obviously disappearing for most of a year has screwed up her employment prospects, but to be honest... I think it's a job I could do. Yeah, it's a good deal more complicated than my past assignments, but high commissions and a product people really want (California Real Estate!!) probably make it worthwhile to learn the ropes. If I get a job, I can probably fake it while I study the ins and outs.
Basically... don't worry too much about old Simon. He's got everything under control.