Yesterday was one of those rough days that really underscored how frustrating life could be. Not that I would blame it all on being transformed, although if I never had been to that Inn it's hard to imagine myself having any of these problems... but things might not be as different as I'd like to think. Yes, I'd still be male (and trust me, being female has a way of compounding every single one of you daily issues in sometimes unexpected ways) but would things be that good? I've got to wonder.
A lot of the things that were bugging me were not really gender-related, mind you. It was just a tougher-than-usual day to withstand. There was the usual bullshit with the boy-children I live with, with the place looking like as much of a wreck and the whole gang is totally apathetic about it. Then I worked all day shorthanded due to an illness, with some big pop-up event happening down the block that led to a 300% increase in traffic and only me and Maddie to cover it. Everyone who we could have called in had other plans, except Rafe, who declined because he was "not feeling it today."
So the two of us were absolutely killing ourselves trying to fill five orders a minute, sweating through my best bra, with entitled suit-bros eager to debate who got what order wrong and how until they get a refund, like I have time for any of this, as if there isn't a line out the door. So by the end of nine hours - oh yes, I stayed an extra hour - I was tired, and all of my parts, from my shoulders and back down to my knees and ankles, were sore to the bone. (In case you weren't aware, having breasts this size on such a petite frame really taxes your muscles, especially when you have to spend all day bending down, stretching up, and just generally on your feet.) And I had been so eager to get out of the apartment that morning that I skipped breakfast, which made me so hungry by the time I took my break that I was too faint and nauseous to actually eat. I won't repeat that mistake again... probably.
By the time it was over I did not want to do anything, but oh, I had already agreed to go out with Pete/Brigette because she had gotten us on the list for this hot new piano bar. Plus, I had given her a minor earful when she was nowhere to be found and I "had to" crash at Rafe's that one night, (even though it wasn't so bad at the time - my current anger at him notwithstanding.) So I didn't think I would be able to get out of it, and I actually didn't want to because I was dying for some Inn-Victim company so I could complain about what's really bugging me for once.
I ranted and raved for twenty minutes while Pete wrestled Brigette's hair into a really nice up-do. I scoured tall-thin Brigette's wardrobe for something that might fit stumpy-booby me, eventually coming a cross a top that was probably meant to be billowy, but clung to me decently, and a skirt-tight combo that I didn't hate putting on.
I complained, a bit, about how hard it was to find clothes that fit nicely, and Pete, ever the optimist, complimented Valerie's looks, saying she had a great figure.
I rolled my eyes, "Great to look at, I suppose, but not always fun to live in."
She paused, considered my case, and shrugged, "Let's find you some shoes."
I was a little miffed that Pete didn't take my grievances seriously. If anyone could understand what I'm going through, it's him/her. But I've learned over the past year that Pete isn't wired to dwell on these things, which I envy a bit, but am also baffled by. Am I to believe that nothing bad has happened to him since being Brigette? No depression or dismay, hardly even a gender-related faux-pas? If there has, he has hardly mentioned it.
So we went out to the bar, this very upscale piano joint Pete heard about through Brigette's connections. I would have felt out of place here in any one of my lives, but P is able to glide in like she owns the place.
As soon as we are seated, we're approached by these two women. "Brigette!" one called out with an enthusiastic wave and a goofy smile, dragging her friend over. Pete looked at me for a second, with that all-too-familiar expression of "Crap, now I have to pretend I know these people."
Then Girl #1 says, "Comment ca va, Cherie?" which I recognize as French. And she natters on for a minute or so with hardly a breath, in French, on whatever she had been up to since the last time she saw (the real) Brigette.
I look over at Pete, like "Wow, how do we get out of this?"
And Pete looks lost for just a second before she replies... in what I can only assume was proper, flawless French, and before you know it the three of them are having a long conversation in that language like they're total BFF's, and I'm stuck on the outside.
Eventually they all start laughing, and I ask Pete what was so funny, and she says, "Oh, I asked if they'd mind speaking English, because it's a little rude to speak French in front of an American, and she said 'That's the point!'"
"Huh, charming," I sneered.
Pete asked them to introduce themselves to me, as a sly way of getting their names, Caroline and Maryse.
They talked for a while about the New York Art Scene, which is how they knew Brigette. I had zero to say in any language, so I just grabbed a glass of wine and sipped liberally. When they finally moved on to their own thing and said adieu, I huffed to Pete, "You speak French?"
"Oh, that? Yeah, um, I picked it up years ago along with a few other languages. I'm just glad they weren't Russian."
I rolled my eyes but made nothing further of it. We got a table and moved away from the subject when the next frustrating thing happened. A familiar voice crept up behind me, "Look who it is! Mind if we join?"
I turned and saw Ryan and Alexa hovering over me. "Woah, what are you guys doing here?" I asked.
"Alexa's dad told us about this place," Ryan said. He was looking sharp as hell in a suit that fit just right, and Alexa was looking typically glamorous in a cocktail dress with a plunging neckline that showed off her perfect, trim body.
"Well, that's all well and good that you three are such piano lovers," I said, "Or maybe you're jsut here for the hors d'ouevres. I'd kill for a plate of wings, but I don't think they serve them at a place like this."
Ryan smiled, "There's a bar down the block, Austin's, best wings in the city. Top five at least."
"I'm there," I grinned back, "Might have to leave these two behind, they're not dressed for it."
"Ew," Alexa sneered, "I don't even like wings."
"Blasphemy," I laughed, "Ryan, what are you doing with a girl who doesn't like wings?"
"She has other good qualities," he looked her over fondly. She didn't seem to appreciate the remark.
"Ry, I'm bored, let's go dance," she whined. He said he didn't feel like it yet and needed another drink, so she went by herself to sway in the crowd as the piano man played some kind of jazz thing.
There was a long moment and Ryan said, "You don't like her, do you?"
"I didn't say anything!" I protested. "Maybe I razzed her a bit."
"It's okay, she's a little stuck up, I know," he said.
"And boring," Pete nodded.
"Pe--Brigette!" I scolded.
"What? We were all thinking it!" She laughed.
"I apologize for my tactless friend," I said.
Ryan changed the subject quickly, "So, you and the guys still fighting?" asking about my interactions with the roommates.
"Yeah, uh, I didn't move in to become a human dishwasher, Ryan."
"They're a little bitter because I got you a good deal," Ryan said, "Alexa's dad owns the place."
"You don't say," I said. "In that case, marry that girl. And let me live there forever. But kick them out."
"Yeah, we'll see," Ryan smiled, downing the rest of his drink and joining Alexa on the dancefloor.
Eventually the night ran its course and we left. On the way out, we passed Caroline and Maryse in the midst of a very heavy make-out session in full public view. "Huh," I said. "I wouldn't have guessed."
"I got a bit of a vibe," Pete said. "Wasn't sure if it was my imagination or anything. Gotta admit, I'm a little jealous."
"Of what?" I asked."Kissing girls?"
"I can't be the only one frustrated to find myself walled off from my former sexuality... wishing I could be a girl who kisses girls, but every time I think about it something turns me off."
"Yeah," I shrugged, "I guess it sucks..."
"I mean, don't get me wrong. Realistically, I knew that being a woman wasn't automatically going to be a sorority sleepover, but I'm kind of stuck between. I miss the excitement of romance either way. Nothing does it for me these days... I miss the confidence that comes with being a heterosexual man. Or knowing exactly what you are either way. I'm sure you remember what it's like, before you got used to it."
"Used to it?" I snorted, "What makes you think I'm used to anything?"
"Aw, come on, Ty," she said in a sing-song voice. "I see you batting your eyes at Ryan, who I'll admit is objectively a hot guy. And I was around you when you were with Josh, you can't deny you were a little smitten."
"He was all right," I huffed.
"I think you really liked him. I think you enjoyed playing Val's part in their relationship. And I think he was the first person since Meghan who really did anything for you and it hurt a lot when he broke up with you-slash-Valerie. And there's nothing wrong with any of that, like I said, I'm jealous of your ability to like dudes."
"I've seen you be way more flirty than me," I insisted, not even bothering to address the accusations about Josh.
"It's an act," she sighed. "Fake it 'till you make it."
I didn't know what to say but eventually I muttered, "I'd love to tell you it gets easier, but a lot of the time it's just confusing on a whole new level."
Notwithstanding the statements she was making about me - whether they had any truth or not - I kind of appreciated seeing Pete's vulnerable side. To me, he had always been in command of the situation in a way I wasn't - walking into Brigette's life, doing her job, embracing her style and fashion, friending her friends, speaking French and all, and never seeming to complain or stumble.
She walked me home and when we got in, I was somewhat surprised to see Ryan had beaten me
home. I was even more surprised to find him in the kitchen, doing dishes, shirtless.
When I noticed, I maybe gave out a little gasp of "Ry!" He turned and acknowledged me.
"Hey, uh... just thought I'd pitch in. I know I'm always out, but it's my place too and it's only fair."
"Thanks," I said warmly, "If only the other guys had the same attitude." I did my best to keep my eyes on his upper third, probably because of what Pete had said about me, but I had to admit he was more in shape than I thought he would be - better-looking from that perspective than Josh. And after all these years I ought to not have a problem admitting that here.
"They'll come around," he said. "I'll have a word. And hey, I'm sorry I haven't really hung out with you since we, uh, since you moved in."
"Oh, uh, don't worry about it. Things are what they are. It's good training for if I have kids someday," I said somewhat sardonically, and forgetting, just for a second, that I kind of already was a mom.
"You know that piano bar," he said, "Has an open-mic night. Think I might sign up. I know it's not your scene - even though a few years ago you probably would have loved to hang out there every night. But would you come support? I haven't played live in like a yea, and I'm a little nervous."
I didn't realize he was a musician... come to think, when he was around, I did often hear music coming from his room, but I thought it was a recording. He was good.
"Of course," I said warmly, going to pat him on the shoulder, then thinking better of it and pulling back. I bid him an awkward good night.
I went to my room and started to change for bed. And I thought, if I seem as confident in my sexual identity as Pete is saying, I thought, maybe it's time to explore that, and not with someone by circumstance puts me with. In fact, I thought, as I studied my naked body, I had been here all this time and hardly appreciated it.
There is a lot to like, if you can get past the inconveniences and aches. The elegant way my hair sways as my turn my head. The sexy curve of my hips as I prop myself up on the bed. The soft weight of my breasts in my hands as I caress... the sensitivity of my skin, causing me to perk up and feel warm as I slip my fingers down further... taking time for myself, outside my my hang ups and frustrations and finding the good in this situation. "Having my fun" as Valerie suggested I do. I didn't even try to stifle any of the sounds I might have made, inadvertently, as I pleasured myself...
And then just as I was reaching my finishing point, I hear the faint sound of piano music in the other room...
I couldn't help but laugh.
-Tyler, currently Valerie