Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lindsey/Magda: This Is Just Wrong!

I know the people reading this probably don't want to hear about Harmon and I having sex any more than my friends do, but we did it last night and when the weird stuff started happening I thought maybe it was because of what we'd done earlier, like everyone who ever said me being with Harmon was gross knew something but doesn't think to warn me.

I think it was around quarter part two in the morning when the changes started.  Harmon had zonked out after finishing up and I was reading a mystery (he can kind of be a "there's no point to reading fiction" guy, so I tend to do that after he sleeps) when I started to feel really bloated, way more than I ever do before my period, and all at once.  Usually, you sort of notice that feeling as you get up in the morning, or maybe when you know you've eaten too much and it would feel really good to burp or puke or something, but I felt like something was being pumped into me.  I sat all the way up, groaning at how my back hurt and wondering if I had lain on the bed wrong or something.  My legs felt kind of stiff as I walked to the bathroom, turned on the light and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

I don't know what order the changes happen for most people, but what I first saw in the mirror seemed to look like me, only old - or at least, middle-aged, and I thought maybe I was in some sort of weird nightmare where one of the women who flirted with Harmon cast some sort of spell on me when she found out I was his girlfriend rather than his daughter (kind of a recurring thing ever since a friend did a short comic along those lines to show as part of her portfolio).  It was weird, but I kind of thought it was in my head and I knew what was going on, until I could see that my eyes were changing color from blue to brown, and my cheekbones were moving, and the top of my nose was climbing up a few millimeters.  Soon, the face in the mirror wasn't mine at all, and I screamed.

It was loud enough to wake Harmon up, a whole bunch of kicking arms and legs as he tried to flip himself over and extricate himself from his covers (he tends to sleep on his stomach and pulls the sheets over his head if I'm going to read).  When he finally go himself right-side up and seated, I could tell right away that something had happened to him too, because I doubt he's ever had hair long enough to have to pull it out of his eyes, and if it's ever been midnight-black, that was decades ago.  It got out of the way when he pushed his sleep mask up above his forehead, though, and the face underneath was a woman about my (real) age, making me scream again.

He started to yell something about who I was and what I was doing in his bathroom, but about halfway through he noticed his hand didn't look right, looked down, and then started frantically unbottoning his pajama top because he must have noticed some weight on his chest, getting just far down enough to see that he had actual breasts before sticking his hand into his pants to find he was all girl.  He slid of the side of the bed more gingerly than he probably had to - I guess I noticed the presence of a little stiffness quicker than he saw its absence - and shoved past me to get a look at himself in the mirror before turning and looking at me accusingly.  "What did you do to me, bitch?"

"What did I...  Harmon, it's me, Lindsey!  Whatever happened to you happened to me, only, like, different!  Maybe someone is--"  I stopped talking for a second as I moved to stand beside him and the image in the mirror struck me.  "Whoa, we could be sisters!"

I would definitely be the older sister in that case, but we kind of had the same sort of bone structure, although my face was rounder, the sharp angles his now sported not as distinct on mine.  My hair was also brownish and streaked with grey.  Heck, now that I looked below the neck, I could see that some of the "bloat" I was feeling had taken up residence in my chest, although it was riding a bit lower than it was for Harmon.  Come to think of it, my panties felt kind of tight, so I twisted myself a bit to see that, yeah, I had a fuller backside than I had sported when I'd gotten into bed, and while it was hard to tell with his relatively loose pajamas, it seemed like we had that in common as well, though his was perkier.  He snapped at me for checking out his butt like that was the most important thing going on, and I kind of wish I was fast enough with sarcastic remarks to say that if two seconds of my attention freaks you out, wait until you get outside.

But I didn't, instead I just noticed the card by my laptop which had the login for this blog and I remembered the line about knowing when it was okay to read it.  I mentioned that to Harmon, opened the site up and didn't even have to start reading - all those subject headings with two names served as a pretty clear hint of what was to come when we started reading them.  And while I soon enough understood the admonition not to read the site because we would have thought it was a hoax or, if we were the kind of people who believed in magic without it actually happening to us, run away, and that would potentially be bad for anyone who came hoping to get their old lives back, we were initially furious that people were just letting this happen.

It took a while for us to stumble on an entry that mentioned suitcases left in the rooms, leading to a frantic search through the closets before looking under the beds.  I grunted a bit lifting the one under my bed, which was about twice the size of the one Harmon found.  Opening it up, I saw a big purse crammed in there.  I dumped it out and found my new driver's license.

"Magda Polawski", born November 3rd, 1970, lives in Oakland, California.  Not quite twice my age, but, wow.  Twenty years gone, just like that; it was no wonder that even in just a few minutes, if suddenly noticed a lot more wear and tear on my body.  If I could still call it my body - I hadn't been yanked out our anything, but it had been changed pretty drastically for the worse.

I don't mean to demean the real Ms. Polawski by saying that.  I've been kind of insecure enough about my body at times - I was kind of a stick, and though I guess I had kind of a pretty face, I had a persistent bit of acne on one cheek that it took a cursed Inn to get rid of and hair that died out like you couldn't believe - that I'll probably be doing okay if I become myself again next spring and then wind up aging as well as Magda has.  It's just hard to appreciate that when it suddenly feels like you've got to stretch to cross the room.

I almost certainly won't have such nice penmanship at her age, though - as much as Harmon occasionally teases me about never using cursive and needing to take a moment or or two when someone else does, Magda's letter to me didn't slow me down much:

To whomever receives my shape:

I apologize for any aches and pains you may feel; though I seldom noticed them myself, I now find myself a younger person and am surprised just how many managed to sneak up on me without my being fully aware until they were gone.

I told my daughter Alicia that this free vacation was too good to be true, but I certainly made my share of questionable decisions when I was younger.  I hope that you will find that I have outgrown most of them - my ex-husband has returned to Poland, I have not left you with much in the way of debt, and I believe that I am well-liked at my work and in my community.  Our home is modest, but we need little and Alicia's job, obviously, has her traveling many days, while her boyfriends keep her busy at many other times.

Still, she is the light of my life, and I am looking forward to how what we have become should give us the chance to know each other even better.  I hope that spending some time in our lives will allow you and whomever shared the room with you to grow closer, or, if you stayed alone, to make a new friend.

If you have any questions about my life, please do not hesitate to call me.

...and then there was some contact information.

It was three in the morning by then, and when I looked up from my letter, I saw Harmon holding a fairly generous bra with two fingers, and the look of disgust on his new face was just...  See, I don't know what sort of woman Alicia is, but I've seen that look of disgust on girls who can't believe that some scrawny loser (from their perspective) has tried to talk to them like he stands any sort of chance.  It just seemed so out of context knowing that Harmon was in there, probably wearing that look because he was grossed out by the assets that basics use to justify giving that look to people.  Anyway, I laughed, because the adrenaline was starting to wear off and I knew I was going to have to teach him how to put that on like I was his actual mother.  He wasn't ready to see there was humor in it yet, acting like he'd received the rawer deal.

He turned to look away when I took off my night-shirt and started pulling things out of the "clean" layer of the luggage (at least, it looks like Magda puts the dirty clothes in, marks the spot with a towel, and then press the clean ones in when packing her suitcase to go home) to get dressed with.  I wasn't in the sort of bad shape that I feared - I was a little soft, but didn't have a muffin top when I pulled on some jeans - although looking at myself in the mirror, now lacking even my own clothes to serve as a link to my real self, was terrifying.

It was still early, so I didn't actually go around knocking on doors to see if this had happened to everyone else at the time, but I couldn't actually sleep, so Harmon and I spent the next few hours online, trying to find out as much about Magda and Alicia Polawski as I could.  It wasn't a lot - a mention in a news article about a group of people taking their citizenship oath in 1989, Alicia graduating from high school in 2011, that sort of thing.  Maybe it will be different once we actually get down into the neighborhood where these women live (lived?), but I, at least, seem to have dropped into a relatively quiet situation, at least so long as nobody worries too much about my suddenly talking like someone who grew up in Oregon.

(As for Harmon/Alicia, well, he can talk about that himself if he wants to!)

The strange thing - this happened on our second-to-last last night at the Inn; one more day and we barely would have had time to write our own letters to leave in our luggage for the next folks to stay here before checking out and getting on a cross-country flight because "Magda and Alicia" have basically been in a state of limbo for two or three weeks.  That whole process is really unsettling, and not just because the guys accepting the keys back don't really seem to think it's much of a thing when the people checking out more closely match the last people on the ledger than the current ones - I'm only half joking when I say that putting my wallet and my phone and a sheet of paper with a bunch of passwords on it into a suitcase and leaving it behind for some random person to find is almost as unnerving as seeing someone else's face in the mirror.  But if I've got how this works right, two more days and we would missed this entirely, so we just would have gone home none the wiser, giving the Trading Post Inn a positive Yelp review and maybe inspiring someone we know to go and maybe thinking they were acting weird when someone else came back in their skin.  But who was the 13th person that showed up with just two nights left in a two-week booking?  Someone who got held up at work?  A hookup staying somewhere else?  Nobody we talked to seems to have been here before, so I doubt it was one of those cases where they went out and found someone to tie it deliberately.

I guess it doesn't really matter, though.  I'm going to Oakland and my older boyfriend is my daughter and I can barely wrap my brain around it.


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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jordan/"Missy" Yuan-Wei: Best Possible Way to Twist the Knife

I'm not sure exactly what Annette said to Max whole we were up in Maine or if it's just a matter of seeing that people can, eventually, get back to who they're "supposed to be" and maybe have learned something or other along the way.  Whatever it was, Max hasn't started trying to find a shade of lipstick he likes yet, but he bitches a lot less than he did before.  I've spent a little time showing him what Agile is and we're staying to look at job listings so that he can get a feel for what he'll be able to handle after I stop being Yuan-wei and he's potentially flying solo as Elaine for a few months.  It's kind of tender when we have to acknowledge that, and he's got me promising that if I land in a life that is compatible with Elaine's, but I don't know how likely that is, since I kind of think the Wongs are gonna try to fuck us over.

He's started to kind of embrace this as "summer vacation", though, so we've been able to have a little fun.  We've hot a bunch of the touristy spots that I kind of avoided as someone who lives here, seen some baseball, both at Fenway Park and on the Cape, and made road trips around New England.  It's kind of annoying that Max gets to drive, but they don't rent cars to 21-year-old girls on student visas with Hong Kong drivers' licenses no matter how much insurance she can pay for, generally speaking.  We didn't go that far Thursday night, just to the House of Blues on Lansdowne, although that's still a bit of a hike in the heels I was wearing, causing Max to have a good laugh at my expense (I usually keep a pair of flip-flops in my purse, but I forgot).  Why I got an apartment at the top of a hill, I don't know.

As much as my legs were hurting by the time we got to my place, though, I was still able to run a bit when I got there and saw someone waiting outside.  "Jacky?!  Oh my God, what are you doing here?"  Heck, I was able to jump and wrap my arms and legs around him, too, though after a couple seconds the main support came from his hands cradling my ass as we kissed.

We came up for air a minute or so later, and he lowered me to the ground.  "Couldn't go all summer without seeing my girl, even if she did have a class to take."

"You are so..."  I heard a bit of shuffling behind me and stepped back a step.  "What a thoughtless bitch I'm being.  Jacky, this is my friend Elaine Preston; Elaine, my boyfriend Jacky Lau."

Jacky extended a hand and looked at Max curiously.  "You speak Cantonese?"

I hadn't even realized that I had slipped into using that language when I saw Jacky, but I guess I had.  Max tried to manage the handshake without getting his hand crushed while joking that he used to speak it better than me, but it looks like I've been practicing.  Didn't make much sense to Jacky, but he laughed, figuring "Elaine" either didn't speak the language well enough to make the joke right or it was some sort of (African) American humor he didn't get.

We went up to my apartment and I gave him the tour, telling him to put his shit in my room since Elaine had the spare.  Jacky said he could take the couch, but I pulled him closer, shifting his hand back to my ass, and said fuck that before slapping his butt myself.  Then I asked if he wanted a drink or something to eat after his flight, eventually getting some beers from the fridge and heating up some leftover General Tso's Chicken and explaining that "Chinese food" over here often meant "Chinese-American", but, hey, that's cool, just another sort of regional Chinese cuisine.  He wasn't sure about that, but he was hungry, and sucked it down while updating me on what was going on back "home".  Max ate it up, although we both kind of tensed up when Bingbing was mentioned in passing.

Jacky had been on a plane for a while, so we let him take his leave, and then Max scored forward in his chair so he could tall a little lower, in English.  "Pretty quick with the 'my friend Elaine' there."

"Dude, I've been living double lives and hanging out with people who aren't themselves for three years.  You expect me to stumble over your fucking pronouns for the next month?"

"I guess not.  It's just...  I don't know, it's weird to see you've actually got a life as Yuan-wei.  Like all I can think about is becoming myself again and you've just moved on."

"What am I supposed to do, spend all my time sitting around being miserable?  I tried that as Deirdre.  It fucking sucked."

"Yeah, but..."

"Max, there's a guy who flew halfway across the world to see me in the next room.  Don't fucking 'yeah but' me!  When I knew I wasn't going back, it was either go forward or fucking kill myself or something."

"Yeah, but you chose not to go back and now I'm--"

"Nope, not again.  Not dong this a-fucking-gain, especially not with Jacky in the next room."  And with that, I got up and headed to my bedroom.

Despite wanting to slam it, I closed the door quietly, then stepped out of my heels and let my dress fall to the floor.  I was about to undo my bra and put on a night shirt when I saw Jacky was awake and smiling, so I just got into bed behind him and held him, eventually moving my hand down to his groin.  I could feel the raised eyebrows rolling through his body, because he jokes that dicks are the only thing I'm really dainty about - I've got no problem with them in my pussy, but I don't like to look at or touch them otherwise, and just fucking forget about getting that thing in my mouth.  Still, sometimes you don't want to wait for the hard-on to just happen.

But then, something I am really going to miss about Jacky is that, even though we don't see each other that often and he can't understand some of what's in my head, he knows my moods pretty well, and when I'm feeling kind of conflicted about being Yuan-wei, he picks up on it and does a lot of foreplay, making sure I feel good about every inch of my body as it is, with a lot of tickling and laughing and just making me feel good and right before he puts on the condom and then takes it to the next level.  I don't know what he thinks I'm having doubts about when he picks up on that, but he does his level best to fix it.

That and the jet lag wiped him out, and I fell asleep soon after, not waking up until the next morning when I smelled something good.  Pulling on an oversized t-shirt but not doing much else to clean up, I went to the kitchen and saw Max making a bunch of French Toast.  His hair was kind of all over the place - Elaine and Cary had warned him that his perm was about at its expiration date but he wasn't up to hitting a beauty salon yet - so he looked kind of funny.  "What's with this?" I asked.  "First time you've cooked since the change."

"Nothing!  Just hungry and figured that after all that you and Jacky were, you know, doing last night, it might be a while until you woke up."


"Yeah.  Cause you really like it..."

"Well, duh.  We've still got an express connection to the pleasure center down there, you know."

"No, I mean, you like it, like, all over the bedroom."

"Oh, yeah, it's kind of fun like that.  I don't know if I'd like it so much if I hadn't been a big guy, but I think that made someone picking me up and tossing me down on a bed or holding me in the air kind of exciting, ya know?"

"Uh, no."

"You've got a year as Elaine coming, so you will.  Unless you decide to act like a nun or something, and you're too sexy for that to be anything but a fucking waste."

"Are you sure?  What if it's just you, and deep down you, like, wanted something like this?"

"What, you think I was some sort of woman in a man's body before?  No fuckin' way, bro.  It's just the Inn.  Near as we can tell, it won't make you stupid or, like, give you a learning disability or anything - it won't downgrade anything in your brain - but it doesn't consider what pheromones you respond to an upgrade or downgrade, so you get what the body's got.  For a curse that's been around decades or centuries, it's pretty fucking progressive.  You may think you still like chicks now, but that's just the last twenty years of being told you're supposed to and the last ten associating us with boners.  Your brain catches up with your body eventually, though, if you let it."

"That's terrifying."

"You wouldn't say that if you were in my positions last night."  I grinned and stabbed at some eggy bread.  "Anyway, what do you think we should show Jacky first?  I know I've been trying to make these few months fun-time for us, but I how you don't mind sharing me with Jacky for a week or two.  Guy's got an ugly breakup coming, so we should both try and make the most of it while we can."

He didn't have a whole lot of ideas right then, and we stopped talking about Inn shit because that's about when Jacky woke up and joined us and we decided to hit the Aquarium and a Duck Tour.

I don't think Max really likes the idea of Jacky yet, but he's at least being polite and bit complaining about the noise coming from the bedroom.  Which is good because that ain't going away until Jacky does.


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Friday, August 11, 2017

Simon/Joy: Crossing the Line

When Teddy revealed to me the secret bet between four of the guys at work to see who could screw me first, I went through a bunch of emotions: hurt, offended, annoyed, before settling on flattered. It was especially flattering that Teddy was making a concerted effort not to pursue me, not just because Stretch was in the "lead" but because he didn't want any part of the actual bet - even though he and I had a better connection than Stretch and I ever did.

So my first act after a bit of contemplation was to text Teddy and ask if he wanted to win a bet.

He was reluctant. Ever the gentleman, I've got to give him that. After a few weeks of hinting that I was eager to throw down with him, he still protested: why did there have to be a winner, he asked? And the answer was, because I wanted there to be one. Not only did I not want them to keep secretly plotting to get in my panties (to win a cool grand) but I also happened to want Teddy in said panties. I caught a bad case of thirst for him.

At first I thought I was too good to chase anyone - after all, at any random bar I walk into I can have my pick of dudes. But the results I was getting were starting to feel very bland, interchangeable and meh. As I've already said, anonymous guys don't really care to put much effort in. So while I was enjoying myself, I was really plateauing when I should be finding new peaks.

A rule that I have more important than "Don't chase" is "Always get what you want." I set my sights on Teddy and I was going to have him Even if just once (and something told me if I could get him once he would be mine as long as I wanted him.) So I formulated an ingenious plan. Step one: Invite myself over to his place under the pretext of work. Step two: Have a few drinks. Step three: Well, that's pretty much all I thought I would need.

So the next week, I found myself at his house, and we were going over some arcane real estate bylaws over a bottle of Merlot that I brought when my hand innocently grazed his. Our eyes met with that tempting flicker that I knew would cause him to wonder if it meant something.

I worked my body language. Pointed my knees toward him, Played with my hair. Put a sweet singsong in my voice. "You know... I really love your place. I'd like to see more of it." Hint, the bedroom.

He played dumb, going on about the square footage and the maintenance. I encountered a new problem... I've never had to work for it with a guy before. How do I go from playful flirtation to bumping uglies if he won't play ball? The wine wasn't working. I briefly considered just stripping down to my bra and panties to see how he'd react, but it's better to play the game. I made sure to touch his knee three times as we conversed.

Finally, he called me out on it. "Joy, I've told you before... I can't."

I pouted, "You don't find me attractive?"

"I... you're very attractive. But the bet... It taints the whole thing."

"Well, if that's the case," I said, fiddling with the buttons on my top, "Nobody needs to know."

"What are you suggesting?"

"A private fling," I said. "Our little secret. No bet. Just two adults having a good time."

His face went stony. "You... really want this?"

"More than I've ever wanted anything," I said, as sultry as I could.

He still seemed iffy. "There's just something about you... you seem to know exactly what a guy wants a woman to be."

I smirked, "Is that a problem?"

I guided his hand to my thigh. I felt the thrill of victory closing in as we neared the endgame.

"Not at all, I just... I've never had a woman throw herself at me this way. I can't believe it."

"Believe it," I said, leaning in to kiss him, caressing the stiffening rod between his legs over his slacks.

Before we knew it, I was on top of him, he was pawing at me, trying to get my bra unfastened. I moaned in pleasure as he teased my nipples with his tongue, as I knew all along he was fantasizing about doing. Our hot breath on each other's tongues, his fingers finding their way into my private crevices. I goaded him on with moans of pleasure, finding the more I played it up, the bolder he would get.

By the end of the night we had done it three times, and I had climaxed multiples of that.

The next day, he asked me out to lunch. I didn't see any reason to discuss what we had done, except to confirm that we would both want to do it again, preferably on a regular basis.

It turned out that wasn't the case.

"So, that can't happen again," he said with a stony face.

My eyes bulged out. "Uh, did you not have fun? Because it seemed like you enjoyed yourself."

He sighed. "I'm just not the casual type. I'm past that, I want something more real. If you want to try having a relationship, that's something we could consider, but... I feel like that was why you didn't keep going out with Stretch, so unless you feel differently for me..."

I rolled my eyes, "Sorry, I don't."

"I didn't think so."

Where was all this coming from? Isn't he supposed to be a guy? I thought he'd be thrilled at the prospect of no-strings-attached sex with a chick who looks like I do.

Whatever, I thought. I don't need this. I'm gonna be a guy again in a few months and this will all be behind me. I should probably cut myself off from my crazy sex life now so I don't get addicted.

Once I got "over" Teddy basically dumping me, I had an epiphany. Shayla, my hot friend, is totally into the relationship thing. I thought she would like a sophisticated older guy like Teddy. So I introduced them and they hit it off, and now they're dating. Which is awesome, because they're both super hot. Teddy's been a little coy on the details but I think they've been sleeping together for a few weeks. I've got to admit, I'm pretty jealous... I had halfway thought that when I got my body back I could get the new Joy to "introduce" me to Shayla. But there's plenty of fish in the sea.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jonah/Krystle: Hot Mom?

I got hit on today.

I know, that's not entirely unusual; I'm not bad-looking and on what Karla and Momma Kamen call the right side of thirty, and it used to happen all the time when I was waiting tables at The Changeling, but once I got pregnant, it dropped way off.  When I moved in with my folks, it dropped even further, not just because I was really pregnant, but because I wasn't seeing many people.  There were friends who'd been to the Inn and knew it was uncomfortable even if they were inclined to, people at church, family, doctors, and that.  Once Little Moira was born, I want going out much, and even when I did, well, folks just assume that someone with a newborn baby is married or has someone, and even if she doesn't, who wants that drama?

I've been happy with this situation.  It's not like I plan to have sex with another guy before Krystle and I switch back next year, but guys who find you attractive don't always take no for an answer, and I have no intention of finding myself in this position again!  I guess I kind of figured it would go on indefinitely.  But, today, I was doing a little grocery shopping because I not only get stir-crazy sitting around the house all day but because I want to help, and I put on something with pretty deep cleavage - the girl gets hungry a lot and easy access to the milk saves a lot of crying and frustration, even if I do worry about people getting the wrong impression - without thinking to put something on over it. 

Moira was being cute rather than fussy, so I was having a bit of a one-sided conversation with her on what sort of applesauce we should get, and this guy, about thirty, decides to pull up and chime in, also making a comment about her Celtics t-shirt, and it's all cute and funny until he asks if I ever get out and do things on my own and I'm not quite sure how we got there.

I say no, not really, the last time I really did anything like that, I got this little maniac and a ton of trouble that I wasn't really eager to repeat, and apparently the main thing he took away from that was that the father wasn't in the picture.  He said someone as sexy as me really should have some time and someone to remind her that she was a woman as well as a mother, and I laughed a bit and said that really was not what I was looking for right now.  He asked if I was really sure about that, I said I was, and pushed the Cary away before he could give me his number "just in case I changed my mind."

I wasn't really shaken by this or anything, more like annoyed; I kind of figured from the way I'd been looked down on at church and how there are a while bunch of beautiful women out there who don't have kids, I'd be able to kind of not deal with that stuff until we switched back, but Krystle laughed at that, saying if kids really scared men away, Karla wouldn't have three of them.  Which, I guess, but I really don't need that.


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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Lindsey Curtis: Blind Blog #1

I'm going to feel stupid if nobody else ever does this, but it looks like fun.  I guess it's kind of new - the guy at the place down the street says they just started getting these packets to hand out with the keys to the Trading Post Inn last week - but I figure that if I'm going to use the coupon for a free hot dog, I might as well use the included Blogger/Google user ID to post something, even if the admonition not to actually read the posts until we've checked out is weird.  Well, unless something else happens, in which case, "you'll know".  If this is some sort of Stephen King story setting and I'm going to get stalked, you'll tell me, right?

Anyway, it says to tell everyone a bit about myself.  So here goes - I'm Lindsey Curtis, 25, and I'm a bit behind where I should be in life, but that's okay, because my college years were challenging.  I had to bail on the second semester of freshman year after contracting mononucleosis, and then I had to push my junior year back to take care of my dad, because he could be a cranky guy and despite that, I wanted to be there at the end rather than on the other side of the country.  It means I just picked up the last credit I needed for my degree during the summer term, and I'm just starting to apply to law schools now.

And, I guess, it wouldn't be wrong to say that it explains Harmon.

Lagging behind the rest of your age group isn't quite the big deal in college as it would be in high school, or it shouldn't be, but it frustrated me, and the reasons why seemed to set me apart.  "Kissing disease" is kind of a turn-off, and when someone asks why you're still in college, "dying father" just makes everything too serious.  Harmon was the one person who didn't freak out when I mentioned it at a campus thing, because he'd just gone through it a couple years ago, although he couldn't imagine having to do so when he was so young.  Which is a roundabout way of saying that Harmon is in his mid-fifties and everybody I know thinks me being with him is about wanting another father figure in my life.

I get that, but I think if that were the case, it wouldn't have lasted as long as it has, and we certainly wouldn't be vacationing together right now.  It was weird at first, but I'm hardly the first woman to for a relationship with an older man.  We have good times, and the travel has been fantastic - he knows our knows about a spot everywhere we go, and this is no exception - he hadn't heard of this Inn before, but we had the most delicious dinner in Portland last night.

There's not much to say about the stay yet - we're both planning to do a lot of reading on the beach and eating out, just relaxing before he starts another semester teaching Economics and I start studying for the LSAT.  Should be fun!


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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Just Annette

Maybe I'm not just Annette yet; how can I be, just a week away from having been a man and not really having re-immersed myself in how my life has unfolded without me for the past three years.  Heck, it will probably take me as long to figure out what I want to keep and what I want to discard from Sandra as it will to use the ladies' room without thinking.

I was at the Inn a couple of days before the Chang guys-turned-girls showed up, and for all I was feeling guilty about getting something out of their being blackmailed, I was really glad to see them.  I've talked about how being on my own, Inn-people-wise, had me feeling lonely the past few weeks, and Tyler and his group were looking to be all business.  I guess I understand; they're either older or have kids to deal with, and I'm not going to second-guess folks trying to corral little kids (or people who find themselves mentally in-between).  Plus, I figure I've got a different perspective on OOB than pretty much everyone else:  Where everyone else basically seems to be thinking "let's not get within fifty miles of this place unless I plan to change, just to be sure", Benny grew up here, so I've had to get used to it as a place I'd have to make excuses not to visit, and I've hung out with "friends and family" enough that I know the town as more than where the Inn is.  I didn't see the sense of being shut in until 1am or so.

Not that Max wanted to go near the threshold, though Missy has spent a bunch of time figuring out the rules of the place and building models on her computer, and she's totally not going to act like she doesn't trust them.  But, she's also a good enough brother that she doesn't drag Max up there when there's no point.

(Yeah, I said "she's Max's brother"; it's weird, but she thinks of herself as a woman but also Max's brother, even though he's physically female right now, and you respect that even if it doesn't sound right.)

Cary and Elaine didn't hang out much; we got hot dogs one day but since they're just inches away from Cary being "Mackenzie's" temporary foster dad, they really don't want to do anything hard to explain, like drinking with three really mismatched folks until midnight.

Missy and Max make an odd pair like that right now.  Missy knows the odds of being hot in the same way that she now really enjoys come fall are slim, so she's pushing her boobs up and wearing booty shorts, and would probably be wearing heels if that didn't suck on the beach.  Max is weird, because he looks like Cary did in Chicago, but where Cary would use the times when he was hanging with me to dress down, Elaine had still trained him to be comfortable in women's clothes, so he'd do things like wear leggings as pants or put on a camisole on a warm day, while Max is taking the same body and wearing t-shirts that actually emphasize his breasts more because he's tucking them into pants that are kind of trying to be unisex but kind of can't with Elaine's curves.

He can drink a bit, at least.  I laughed a bit at Missy accepting drinks people sent over for both of them, and getting up to dance a couple of times, though she resisted going home with anybody.  Indeed, after a couple of hours, she was kind of morose about having to break up with Jackie, and then she passed out in the booth.

Then something hit me as I looked at the glasses piled in the center of our table.  "Holy shit, I'm going to be that age, sex, and weight - I mean, last picture I saw of Sandra she looked like she was about the same size as Missy, but I haven't seen them side-by-side because my friend does me the service of hating that bitch - does that mean I'm going to be a complete lightweight as well?"

Max looked at his drink, suddenly wondering if maybe he was having too much.  "Uh, maybe?  But you'll get used to it, right?"

"Oh, sure, but I like beer, damn it!  But, I suppose that I'm going to have to deal with Sandra making everyone think I'm some sort of early-onset-middle-age wine-drinker anyway.  Ugh!"  This doesn't make much sense, I realize, but I had been drinking and being Benjamin didn't make me completely impervious to alcohol.

By now, everyone at the bar had a few drinks in them, and it was making Max uncomfortable, so we decided to get Missy back to their hotel.  Max did think it was pretty funny that I carried her all the way, insisting on getting pictures.  He laughed while doing it and I asked him to let me get one of my own, because he smiled differently than Cary - less teeth, more dimples.  "It's cute.  Don't be afraid of it."

"You being a bro telling a girl to smile?"

"No, and fuck you!  I'm just saying, you go back in the blog and read up on me and Jordan-slash-Deirdre-slash-Missy, you'll see I enjoyed our first year more because I let myself.  Doesn't mean I'm not really excited to be myself again, but it can be a good experience."  I paused, remembering a few of the last few years' more exciting moments.  "A really good experience, when you have an idea of what you're getting into and don't have worry about tomorrow."

I left him with something to think about and then returned to the Inn.  No change that night, but when we met up the next day, Max was wearing a tank-top and Missy wanted to know what I'd said to him.

I fell asleep reading the night the actual change took place, and while there were obvious, tell-tale signs that the years as a guy had passed, it was hard not to have the feeling that it had all been a dream when I looked in the mirror - what I was seeing was disconnected from my most recent experiences, but so intensely familiar as to override that.  Not entirely, though; there was a lot that demand exploration.  Sandra had left me with the shortest haircut I've had a a girl since third grade, but I liked it; it looked cute and mature at the same time.  I don't know whether eagerly unbottoning my pajama top was a leftover guy thing or just being excited to see my new-old shape, but I had to laugh when the first thing I noticed about my breasts was the tan lines.  I guess Sandra was more into walking around the beach in a bikini or going to pool parties, at least in the time leading up to her visit to the Inn, than I was as a bookish teenager.  She'd had her belly-button pierced, too, although she didn't leave me anything to put in there.  I wondered if it was something she had as Sandra or if it was just a young-again experience she didn't feel like sharing.

Getting dressed was like riding a bike - I hadn't had to fiddle with my own bra for years, but my fingers knew the motions; same with getting clips in my hair.  Sandra left me the belly for a crop-top, and any worries that I'd look weird in the mirror were gone quickly, even after I put my glasses on (I must admit, I didn't miss needing those, but I still kind of like the look).

I called the Changs once I was all set and we agreed to meet up at Cary's truck.  Missy recognized me instantly and have me a big hug, telling me I was super-cute and saying we had to be best girlfriends for the next month.  Max seemed to have a hard time believing I had been Benjamin just the day before, but I told him to keep his chin up, because it really does all come back.

We had a fun time hanging out that day, going to the amusement park and then having beers on the beach.  I got carded for the first time in months while it dawned on Max that he didn't because he and his big brother had essentially swapped ages.  I was tempted to stay another night but also really wanted to go home for the first time in two years.

I hugged my mom so hard the next morning.  I would have done it the night before, but she was already in bed when I got to her house and cried a little to find my bedroom just like I left it; I guess Sandra never really settled in and made it hers even after that first year, preferring to spend most of the summer at her (now my) apartment in Cambridge.  Mom wanted to know what was with this sudden bout of homesickness, but didn't really press too hard, kind of just happy to have her daughter home unexpectedly.  I pulled together a story about breaking up with a boy that had a little bit of me leaving Marybeth and a little bit of me not being Benjamin anymore in it, and it probably made no sense, but Mom said encouraging things about being true to yourself that I probably could have used a lot over the last three years.

Seeing my friends from high school was a bit rougher.  Missy told me not to expect too much, because even folks who haven't been through what we have drift apart naturally when not seeing each other every day, and on top of that I guess Sandra didn't really connect with a lot of people she considered kids, so they look at me and think going to a big school ha given me a swelled head.  It's sucked the most with Gretchen, because she was my very best friend since we were like ten, and the fact that Sandra was apparently right about her boyfriend two years ago does not make up for the way she shared her opinion.

We're reconnecting, though, and through Gretchen I'm getting a bit closer to everyone else while also re-reading every textbook and assignment Sandra did as me after we stopped splitting the work because she stole my life and was therefore on her own.  It's kind of tough - she switched her focus from creative writing to journalism.  It's not really my dream, but I have to remember that it's part of how Arthur Milligan became author Penny Lincoln, and I can follow that path.

It's a lot of work to be "just Annette" again, even without considering meeting my new-to-me roommate's and classmates, so I'm afraid I'm not going to have time to be Missy's gal pal.  Maybe that will still be an option next month, though - we're both living proof that the Inn doesn't always (permanently) ruin your life!


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