Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Max: Keeping Up Appearances

A lot of the process of reinserting myself into my life and rebuilding it has been a lot easier than it feels like it should.  Sure, on the one level it should be easier than being turned into someone else - I've spent twenty-two years building to this, I know my friends and family, and there's magic going on that keeps people from actually believing something happened, so I bet that any memories of being "out of character" get smoothed away.  On top of that, I've got a clean slate - after graduating college in May, I had no job lined up, and Carlotta Wong didn't bother finding one when she was living my life (I know this in part because Mom and Dad have asked me how things are going on that front, kind of concerned about how little effort seemed to be made over the summer).  The only other person in my apartment right now is Bingbing III, and she gets it.

Indeed, she gets it well.

We spent a few hours solid scanning social media to see how close Carlotta and Giorgia had been over the summer, both not to be surprised by what people mentioned when talking with us and morbid curiosity - you never want to know what someone else has done with your body (even if it's really there's and just looked like yours or if the shape you've got now is a surprise or, will, whatever this is), but this situation, with them not biologically sisters anymore and not thinking they would be again, is weird.  We wouldn't be trained if they did anything, but we'd probably be uncomfortable.  No signs of creepiness aside from there just being one bed in the apartment, at least - no kisses on Facebook or Weibo or anything, nobody saying we're now like we were before the summer or pulling back on the PDAs lately.  But who keeps track of that stuff unless you're really pushing the line, one way or another.  Apparently the Wongs weren't.

As for us, it's been kind of strange.  Bingbing has kind of been looking for a new place, but she's also been busy with school and whatever else she does - Jordan and I half-joke about her spying on us for Chen-ai, but she does go off on her own a lot, though not really for long enough to go to Boston and watch Jordo do anything.  We do wonder about other sorts of spies - we gained another roommate at the start of October, because Giorgia wouldn't have been able to pay for this apartment herself with "Max" in limbo, and apparently she wasn't counting on Carlotta covering it as Yuan-wei.  The new girl doesn't seem like any sort of secret friend of the Wong sisters - she just seems like any other white college senior - but who knows?  Probably not worth worrying about unless she starts making threats.

It made me sleeping on the couch weird, though, so I bought a sleeping bag and moved back into the bedroom, although after a few days Bingbing said it would be okay to share the bed, at least with a pillow wall and sleeping head-to-foot.  Decidedly not sexy, but we're not as cramped as Benny and Annette likely were.

I think she assented to it because we kind of hang out a lot anyway.  We like a lot of the same stuff, it's easier for her to be around the people Giorgia-Bingbing knew with me around to back her up, and while her English had certainly been improving steadily, it's probably easier to have a native speaker around for certain situations, and although she's gone through a lot of the first-time-as-a-woman stuff by now, it's pretty nice to have another person who's been through the change around for support.

That said, it was still kind of surprising when, after we both got invitations to Jordan's Halloween party and I told her that Halloween was kind of a big deal in our family, she asked if we should do some sort of matching costume.  I pointed out that this would be not just like hanging out with people who think they know both of us or going to a movie together, but like a date, with drinking and dancing and working together to get ready.  I wouldn't expect anything from her, but there would probably be a lot of guys hitting on her if we weren't kind of glued together. 

She said she knew, but it would feel a bit safer if she were with me, although she acknowledged that it was a lot to ask for me to keep pretending, that I'd probably like to start looking for a real girlfriend, but, I kind of don't know.  I think it's going to be kind of hard to trust someone new for a while, and even if I don't know that much about Bingbing III, she does sometimes make me feel a little less like I've been betrayed when I look at her.

-Max

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