Sunday, December 30, 2018
November was already busy enough. I moved in with Maddie and her sister Charlie, who I hadn't met or seen prior to moving day. She showed up with just a duffel bag, which made me already like her since she reminds me of me - someone who travels around without much of an agenda and is happy to float through life, and I mean that as a compliment. America's a great country to just drift through, and honestly I wish I was brave enough to get out on the road as a woman the way I was as a man.
Seeing them together, they're definitely two sides of the same coin... the disorganized, chaotic, sarcastic Charlie and the tidy, friendly Maddie. They bicker, but in real sisterly way where they have each other's back if someone else were to step on their toes. And then there's their appearances... they have the same genetic code, the same face, the same body essentially, but they do very different things with it - Maddie with her long ombre hair and makeup, Charlie with her short, boyish shag, piercings and tattoos. One favors dresses and tights, one wears jeans and men's tees with comic book characters on them.
Given all that... I mean, I'm not a total hayseed, I've been around. Based on everything about her, I wasn't all that surprised when my guess was confirmed abd found out Charli is a lesbian. It did make me feel oddly self-conscious about being around her - like, what does she think of me? Just some "straight girl"? I don't style myself as someone who was born a man and spent many years happily dating women... I can't even "come out" to her about that because it's not really part of my backstory as Valerie. Maybe I just want credibility for not being as "vanilla" as I seem, for all the things I've seen, and done... and been.
But there hasn't been a ton of time to dwell on that anyway. It's not like I've been home a lot.
Between 8 hour days at the coffee shop and sometimes 6-hour events with the caterer, I was on my feet for almost the whole month of December, and when I did get a day off the last thing I wanted to do was shop for Christmas presents. Having time to sit and think about the season just made me feel alone and awful because, well... look at where life has taken me. I never, ever felt bad about leaving my "real" family behind (except for Carrie, who I'm so lucky knows where and who I am, but it's not like we visit much, and we go weeks without texting) but the season really underscored some of the negative feels that go along with my situation.
I mean, I have Valerie's family, and they're nice "normal" Upstate New York people. They want me to know they love me and care about me and wish I would come "home" for Christmas, but I really wasn't feeling like intruding. When I started getting Christmas letters - forwarded from my old address because of course I forgot to let Valerie's mom know I moved - I began to feel guilty that I had taken this girl's place and was taking all the love and togetherness she was supposed to be having and flushing it away.
Of course, it's not really like that. I didn't take Valerie's life. I was perfectly willing to give it back, but she felt that Cynthia's suited her better. But I'll always feel like part of that was charity. I look at all the potential she had in her original life, which I'm doing jack-all with, and think, is there anything she could possibly be getting as Cynthia that was worth this arrangement?
That was the theme of a long, drunken, sobbing voicemail that I left her a few weeks before Christmas - I was at the end of my rope, wondering what the fuck is even going on in my life, and thinking about how it's not too late for us to switch back next year if she wants.
When she responded, she was, um... very understanding. She's had some thoughts of her own but somehow feels free of regrets. On the family question, her thinking is, yes, she misses them, and she tries not to feel bad that she will never see them again as herself, but she tries to look at it as if she decided to move to another country for work or something. As long as she can keep in touch with me, she'll never lose them.
From there, we organized a few meet-ups where she helped me do my Christmas shopping and prep me for the holidays. Last Christmas I was freshly jilted at the altar, so any weirdness in my behavior could be explained away. Now, I'm just... me. Me being Valerie. So I'm pretty well expected to give gifts and join in some holiday fun, and hey I've faked it before, as Lauren and Judith. I can do it, I just haven't been in a position where I'm setting up relationships with these people for the rest of my life. I wanted some guidance from her as to how to behave, and yet I know that part of me being Valerie permanently is, however I am, that's how "Val" is now, and everyone around me just has to get used to it. Still, knowing all the backstories helps: which topics to avoid, which relatives have drama with others, and of course being warned about the 15-year-old second-cousin who hasn't gotten the memo that you're not supposed to look at your relatives that way.
"Cyn" is doing well, amazed at how her new life seems to fit her like a glove. Loves being around the kids, has freedom to do as she pleases... and even her "Man" and her have gotten pretty close.
"I mean, we haven't decided what the future holds just yet," she said, delicately choosing her words, "...But we discovered fairly quickly that we each seemed to be what the other was looking for. He's supportive and considerate and funny, and I've always seen myself as an "old soul" so the age difference - whatever it actually is - doesn't bug me. Plus, he's hot! A silver fox!" A man with the heart of a woman... isn't that what every gal wants?
She looked down at her ring - technically just a prop but obviously meaningful to her - "We've toyed with the idea of going all the way and having a kid of our own... is that weird?"
I said, in our world, nothing's weird anymore.
I did pretty well at the family visit, nodded along with the old memories, tried to come up with good excuses why I haven't been around much this year, and made promises (probably idle ones) to be more available in 2019. I tried my best to accept that this love was not for me, but that didn't mean it wasn't nice to receive. And to marvel a bit at the fact that I'm now the kind of person who appreciates a nice makeup kit as a Christmas Gift. (I don't wear a lot of makeup but I do enjoy mascara and eyeliner.)
There was one gift that really gave me pause, and it came from Valerie/Cynthia herself. At the end of our shopping and gabbing, she produced a small white envelope. I was a little dismayed because I hadn't thought to get her anything. She said not to worry about it, and asked me to open it in front of her.
Inside was a check.
I'm not going to tell you how much, but it was sizeable.
I raised an uncomfortable eyebrow. "Um... is this, like, payment for Cynthia's life? Because I really can't accept anything like that..."
"No, it's... well, it's a gift that I'd always wanted. Something I was never able to give myself. After Josh and I were, uh... settled, we had talked about getting me some... surgery."
She pointed at my chest and cleared her throat.
"It was just always in the back of my mind, but there was so much to consider, never a good time, and better uses for the money. And it would have had to be after we started our family. Well, now I have the money, and the family, but not the need, so I thought... this would be a good way to use my good fortune. Take the money. Don't use it for that if you don't want to, but know that it's on the table. The money is yours."
I was dumbstruck. I could hardly bring myself to accept it, but Cyn wouldn't take no for an answer. I'll admit the idea had occurred to me in moments of frustration, that it would be nice to reduce my size a little. Decrease my pains, maybe work out more as a result. Stop dipping my tits in every condiment on a table. I'd have to put myself through the stress of buying a new wardrobe. I don't know. It was a fantasy, and one I didn't indulge in much because I was only borrowing this body and now that I have the opportunity it feels wrong to do anything to reshape this body, even though it's mine. But I have the money and the suggestion that, if I don't want that, I can do as I please... just be aware this is a one time offer.(Believe me I would never dream of asking Val/Cyn for a handout. Not my style.)
Lots to think a out heading into this new year, that's for sure.
Friday, December 28, 2018
I guess the way a couple of things have been going, where I find myself today was kind of inevitable, but it still catches me kind of flat-footed. It shouldn't - I didn't just have it dropped on me without warning - but I've kind of been in denial.
As you see, I haven't been back to the Inn this summer; Brian has been getting treatment as me back home, and though he lost one testicle, and has subjected the other to who knows what, he's been making progress since, and was declared cancer-free in October.
Obviously, you don't get there alone, and he told me about all the doctors and nurses and such, and, yeah, I did notice that one nurse came up a lot. I even caught that they were getting kind of close, but didn't much worry; he figured it would drop off after he was well. Brian's been doing a good enough job of keeping me in the loop that he'd tell me if this seemed to be getting serious.
Except he apparently didn't realize. They were having dinner to celebrate a good check-up and he just blurts out "we should get married". No having this thought earlier and checking with me, or realizing that he should back off, but just this instant, casual proposal that she accepts and that he easily talks himself into.
He calls me after, saying it just sort of happened, but now that it has, it feels right to him. My first instinct is obviously to tell him no, try and sell him on the benefits of giving me my real life back, but I think - do I really want to go back to that life, my career stalled out and missing a testicle? Maybe I don't want to be Joy forever, but getting life back to being my life sounds like something even worse than just spinning my wheels, and that's not me. So I wish him well, shave my legs, put on a miniskirt, and go have some fun with my girlfriends - my happiness isn't tied to that old identity!
Of course, I can't be sure it's tied to my current one, either. I had Thanksgiving with Joy's parents, and they're reminiscing about their first few, with a pre-school Joy irate that they didn't have a proper Thanksgiving dinner like her friends. it was the first time, they said, that they truly realized that they were raising an American child as opposed to raising a child in America. It was a cute story which would have been even cuter if I was responding about not remembering it because it happened when I was four rather than because the person involved was dead and I was pretending to be her.
That's not usually a huge deal for me, hanging around with Joy's friends or talking to her family in Facebook or whatever - it's a challenge to make sure they don't think there's something weird about me and keeps me sharp. In a house where there a bunch of photographs of her and where I'm supposed to be relaxing, it gets under my skin a bit more. Still, I felt like I'd shaken it off by the time I got back home to San Diego. Got back into my life connecting people with apartments, finding a nice beach-side bar at the end of the day, letting myself be chatted up but not meeting anyone I wanted to see for the evening that week. The usual. Then I got home on Friday, and there it was in the mail.
The "Save the Date" card. Because people getting married are so fucking excited that they can't just ask you once. They've got to call you, stake out a date on your calendar, and then send you a formal invitation. Now, I don't think I get particularly volatile or anything when I've had a couple cocktails, even with the low body weight, but somehow seeing that just destroyed what (safe to drive home) buzz I had left, and I needed it back and went for the vodka.
A lot of it. It's been a while since I was as hungover as I was when my phone buzzed to wake me up the next morning so I could pick Iain up at the airport. I kind of looked like shit, but I figured a shower would get me pretty close to human and telling him to take an Uber would have led to him asking questions I didn't feel like answering.
Truth be told, it kind of just put off the inevitable. We spent that Saturday having a ton of fun, but then he mentioned some pre-me thing about Joy, and I held it together for a while but must have seemed kind of withdrawn afterward. Fortunately for me not wanting to explain things, Iain is still basically a dude and presumed that my lousy mood was due to this being his last visit to California for a while. Which, admittedly, does kind of suck, but maybe not as much as he thought. I said, no, I was just going through some other stuff, that there was a lot of people who didn't want me for me, and then there was this stupid wedding save-the-date, which I shouldn't even care about but why is something just coming together for him?
He was sweet, of course, and probably figured that some other guy had gotten handsy because that was the last time something had really had me shaken. That hasn't happened more than usual lately, but I didn't say anything; it was getting late, and I didn't want him feeling nervous about touching me if this was the last sex we were going to have.
But that did come up the next evening, as I was giving him a lift back, and some sort of estrogen surge had me tack "what are we even doing" onto "so, what comes next?" Like, some stupid part of my female brain had to know whether he liked this version of Joy or if he was just having a nostalgic lay every few weeks. Probably really wanted to hear something like "oh no, you're so much more confident and capable than ye were when I first knew ye, and it makes ye even sexier!", but I had to settle for "I really like ye, and these jaunts have been the highlight of my trips to the West Coast."
Which, hey, is still pretty good, although it still sounds like we're probably more or less done as a regular thing. At least, for almost a minute. Then he says "why don't we move in together? The family estate is bloody enormous, and it doesn't really make sense with just me and Dad there. And you know he's been eager to meet you."
"I don't know... That's such a big--" I had to hit the brakes, which dumped the purse I'd set on my lap after paying the last toll onto the floor, and after an obligatory "oh shit!", I started shaking my head. There on the floor were five sets of keys, my birth control prescription, tampons, a bottle of red hair dye that I had been planning to surprise him with before I drank myself to sleep, and all sorts of ridiculous crap.
"What I saying? I'm Joy Fucking Kershaw. I do things I would never have thought of doing all the time! It's my entire goddamn life, and now when a guy offers me a chance to leave all the garbage in my life behind to live in a fancy manor house because he likes me, I'm going to say no? That's not me!"
Iain looked shocked that I said that, but as soon as we were stopped at a light he leaned over, turned my head to the side and kissed me. I let him and returned the favor, long enough for us to get honked at when the light turned. I giggled, dropped him off, and received another long kiss before he made his way to the gate.
When I got back home, what I had just agreed to hit me all over again, but I caught a look at myself in the mirror. I looked cute, as usual, but there was a bit more to it; my hair was a mess, my wide-necked t-shirt was exposing a shoulder, and I took myself aback. I didn't look like I was trying to be anyone else for once - not Simon, not the original Joy, not even the sort of person I thought I'd be if I'd been born this girl.
This, I thought, is what Joy should be: Pretty. Wanted. Always on new adventures. And easily able to find a man who will look out for her.
I guess it's not that feminist, but so what? I'd always known that girls were naturally looking for what I'd just been offered, and they couldn't even see it as commendation for what is had taken away.
So, yeah, I'm moving to Scotland in the new year. Big yard sale at the end of January - save the date!
Monday, December 10, 2018
Take Magdaryl for instance. Both he and my David had their manhood exchanged for a female model with somewhat more... mileage on them. But despite that commonality, it seemed like Darryl was the last person David wanted to talk to. The second last was Tyler, who has impressed me with his/her growth over the time I've read this book, adapting into their new role and getting out into the world as Valerie. David, of course, didn't want to talk to anybody who views the "Curse" of the Inn as anything but a true curse - something to complain about and sulk over.
Personally, I found Ty fascinating and after a few drinks he/she opened up about some of the details that got left out of the blog about him/herself, her love life, and some of the possible directions they'll be taking in the new year. Of course I also pressed for more details about Rafe and Ryan and whether there was any other romance on the horizon.
Beyond that, we also talked about out "gender" situation - Pete and Annette had issued those stickers allowing you to declare your name and preferred pronouns. I reveled in the fact that I got to be a "she" for the night, but Tyler had noticeably lacked one. He chalked it up to being "old fashioned," which is to say skittish about things like that. Not that Tyler doesn't "get" the gender-spectrum thing, but he had some really interesting insights into ways that we transformed-people might be outside of it - that when he is in a woman's body is feels like a woman, but calling him a "he" isn't wrong either... and I guess he's just too "old fashioned" to accept "they" as an alternative. So it's like... call her anything.
Take a guess who was least impressed with the length and energy of my conversation with Tyler - David, who stood pouting by the liquor half the night, looking fetching in an androgynous suit with his hair pulled back. I had tried to wave him over to join the conversation but of course he declined. Like I said, he clearly was not interested in talking to someone who had positive things to say about being female.
Of course there was more to it than that. On the car ride home (in Lena's beautiful Lexus!) he laid into me - "How could you spend so much time talking to her? Did you see how much she was flirting with you? Were you trying to fuck her? Because I could tell she was trying to fuck you."
Writing it out like that makes it seem a lot more confrontational and angry than it was, but it was really said in a sarcastic, light tone. Still, I did not enjoy hearing such accusations. Like, excuse me, it was just an innocent conversation between two people. Just because one happens to appear to be an attractive young woman doesn't mean there's a sexual undertone to all of it. And what does that say about how David thinks of me? I can't talk to guys at the gym because he's worried I'm attracted to them, and I can't talk to women because he's worried I'm attracted to them?
Newsflash, I said, I'm not out here trying to sleep with anything that moves. I can see the difference between a polite convo and a flirt, and there was really nothing flirty about my chat with Tyler. If there was, why would I have tried to get David involved? I just wanted some info and guidance from someone who's "been there" and yes, a little juicy gossip because I'm an old hen at heart. Big whup.
I have told him time and again that I am attracted to one person and that's the person he is inside, no matter his outside appearance and I wish he could see it the same way.
David was unimpressed and we had a chill between us for days.
Then one night he had a late conference at work. I should tell you that David doesn't exactly like Lena's work, but it more or less takes care of itself - or Pete takes care of it for him - and he just gets to be a figurehead and sit back and watch Lena's bank account grow.
But he's also indulged in some of the perks of the "high life." Going out to "business dinners" or cocktails to which I'm not invited -- not a good look for the 45-year-old company founder and president to be seen with her 20-something "boytoy." So I sit at home and occupy myself and try not to worry - and definitely not being jealous.
But on this night, it's different. He's texting me. He's obviously drinking. He's being affectionate, calling me his Jenny-Bear and saying he misses how we used to be. He tells me how right I am about only loving the person inside. I tell him we can still be that way and he says maybe, maybe.
Midnight, he comes in. I'm getting ready for bed. He swaggers in - like the man I know he is - and drops his purse on the couch next to me.
He leans down and kisses me.
This isn't the first time I have kissed "Lena Howard's" lips, but it's only happened a few times when one or the other of us kind of got caught up in a moment, and it's always been met with a recoiled "yuck" reaction from David, and me trying to suppress how much that hurts. So knowing this, I start to ask why, and he puts his fingers to my lips. "Shhh, don't talk. I want this, I want this now." I don't know if this means that later he won't want it or if he's permanently crossed some kind of threshold. I'm totally unprepared, and I think of saying I can't because I'm not ready. But he's running his hands over my body and "little Jenn" perks up, and before you know it I'm "ready for action."
I just keep saying "Are you sure, are you sure? You can say stop anytime--" because I want to be good, I want to do this right, and I really did not expect him to do a total 180 on the physical affection thing. Not this soon, if at all. I worry that alcohol is playing too much of a part, but I can tell he's at least cognizant of his actions. He keeps shutting down my reservations... looking back, it's like he was taking a "now or never" approach.
He paused only once, as we were making out, to note that my stubble was scratchy. I said that if I knew this was coming I would have been clean-shaven, but he says "No it's fine. You're a man. And I'm..."
He doesn't finish the thought. We get back to making out.
Clothes are stripped - a beautiful silk blouse on the floor. My boyfriend is in his bra - a fancy if somewhat matronly one. But it's sexy in its way. I'm surprised by my reaction to Lena's nude body. Of course it's far from a perfect, perky young thing. Far from the body I had. I'm conflicted as to how attracted I am to it, because on the surface I see its flaws, but they don't stop me at all. In a heartbeat, those "flaws" become attractive features.
Something about all of this - the newness, the reversal of roles, heightens the sexiness about everything. My boyfriend sitting on my lap, grinding against my... my stiff crotch. My hands find the bra clasp. I hesitate for a moment, but he whispers "Yes!" I flick the hooks away like a natural.
We permit each others' hands to roam each other, thirstily taking it all in. I play with his breasts and stroke his neck and shoulders and back and hips, encircling around where I know will be my final destination if it keeps going. And he does the same, and I wonder how ready he is, if he is trying to prepare himself, trying to see what he's "supposed" to be seeing in Zack's body. I wonder, and hope, that he's undergone the same mental flip I have, where those things that might have recoiled him months ago, are now things he yearns for. I hope it, and I fear it.
My belt is unbuckled. He can tell through my pants that I'm at full attention but he's never seen in in person. A moment of panic - what if he sees it and it's too "real"? Too much?
He reaches into my waistband and fondles me. His reaction is surprising... he lets out a low, Beavis and Butt-Head like chuckle, like "Huh huh huh," which sounds very strange coming from this "lady."
Before I know it, it's out in the open. My eyes bulge out at seeing what it looks like in his hand - how much more of it there is when his dainty fingers are clasped lightly around the shaft, than mine. I'm also surprised at how readily he took it in hand, how good he is at handling it. But of course, I never had my own to practice on - he's "done this" before, in a sense. Amazing how suddenly without warning he'd gone from literally "get that thing away from me" to all-in.
I'm fully disrobed first. He's still in his panties. We have a moment where we look at each other like "What do we do now?" At first I thought it was understood that he wanted to go "all the way" but there was this moment of hesitation, to be expected I guess but how do you overcome that.
I get halfway through asking, "Do you still?" and he gulps a quick yes, just... let's go to the bedroom already.
Maybe it's showing off a bit, but I left him up and carry him. Will this make him feel like "a woman" in a bad way, or a good one, I wonder?
In the bed, he's under me. Our momentum is stopped for a little bit when we encounter a little embarrassing issue... there was some, er... dryness. Lena is not exactly in the prime of her life, and this is nothing she nor David should be embarrassed about, it's just a reality of life for women over a certain age - an age much younger than Lena's in many cases.
In that moment, I had to think fast. If Lena happened to have anything on hand that would aid with this, I would have to take a break from what we were doing to tear up the condo to find it and risk ruining the moment. There are other ways to improvise but given the urgency I didn't want to ask David to provide any saliva. So I took matters into my own hands... or rather, my tongue.
Readers, I really never thought I would find myself in that position. I have to admit, if I had not been so aught up in the moment I would have balked, but I had found myself in a potentially once-in-a-lifetime position. David had already shown he could shed his inhibitions (alcohol would have helped me too) and I was very, very turned on, to where I would do virtually anything asked of me. Of course, he didn't ask - I really don't think he would have expected or even wanted it. But once I set myself face-first between his legs, I could see an instant change in demeanor... from tentative to "Oh God, yes!"
I had to spend a little more time than I wanted to down there, but it was certainly worth it in the end and had the effect i wanted. Again I had to ask a potentially mood-ruining question: "Are you... ready...? For my..."
He responded by throwing a condom at me.
I struggled to open the package, so he helped me, and rolled it on for me. By then, pretty much all the blood in my body was located between my legs. It was like there was a non-stop buzzer going off in my head screaming "TAKE CARE OF THIS NOW."
I pushed myself into him - perhaps less delicately than he or I would have liked, but again, it was a caught-up-in-the-moment thing.
It felt... incredible. Simply like two parts that were meant to couple. I've always wondered how it feels for guys... it was a lot less, erm, "pressure" than I thought it might be? Certainly less firm than my own hand... like a perfect delicate kiss.
It took me a moment of adjusting to figure out how to "move." I don't think David realized that he, too, could have moved if he wanted to, and probably would have found it pleasurable, but maybe he was a little lost. I would have liked to really take stock of the moment and appreciate where we were, and really take my time, but... there was that buzzing in my head, saying "Go! Go now!" Craving instant pleasure. The Man's folly.
All I had was the knowledge of how I liked it as a woman, not really taking into account what was most practical for me as a man, so after trying to pace myself gently I began to find my rhythm and thrust my hips faster and harder, overtaken by my own urges, as I heard David's soprano voice moaning in pleasure, egging me on, panting, losing control... I tried to stay quiet and focussed and not let out any unappealing grunts that might remind David exactly what was going on. But in that moment - dare I say it in this age of complicated genders - he was truly "female," enjoying a pleasure that he could not previously had imagined. And I think, loving that he had enjoyed it.
I tried - I really did try - to pace myself, but it was just not possible. Neither of us wanted it that way, but neither of us really realized how short the fuse was going to be. Suddenly, almost without warning, I erupted into the condom, while David was still moving with me. I let out a weak groan, and slowed my motions to a standstill, hoping he would understand what had happened and I wouldn't have to say it. I wanted to keep going - I wanted to be able to keep going. I wanted to show him exactly what was possible, but I fell short, and not long after, my body kind of... gave out from under me.
"I... I'm sorry..." I sputtered once it had become clear why the abrupt stop.
"It's, uh... it's okay..." he said, catching his breath.
I laid there for a second, experiencing a few aftershocks of orgasm, still inside, until he muttered, "You can, uh, get it out now" with a level of bitterness I recognized as the David of the last few months.
I sighed sadly and gingerly did as he asked, rolling over to the side of the bed.
"I think I could uh, go again soon."
"Don't worry about it," he snipped coldly. I felt worse than ever. It was like I had one chance to show him we could still be great this way and I blew it. I felt a fear in the pit of my stomach that the opportunity would never come again. And post-coitally, the last thing I wanted to think of was the pressure to perform again. I was drained.
Then, as if sensing how hurt I was, how guilty I felt, he tried to offer some comfort:
"It was... better than I thought it would be."
Meekly, I said, "I'll, um... I'll do better next time."
"Yeah," he sighed. "No worries."
I rolled over and held him in his arms. He didn't pull away but he didn't really embrace it either.
Since then, sex almost gone back to bei g the Forbidden Word it was before, and hes resisted any attempts I've made to ask about his experience, find out how he feels, what he liked or disliked. I'd live to discuss the xomplicated delights and contradictions of female sexuality with him and reassure him thatit can take time to adjust even after you've decided that's something you'd want to do. But anytime I bring it up, he waves it off - some other night, maybe, when he's "into it" again. That upsets me, because I feel like if I had done better the first time he would be more eager, but my disappointing performance is only reinforcing his resistance to pursuing this. And you can't really get better without practice. So I don't know. It stinks.
I tell myself I'm taking it too hard. The obsession with orgasms is more male than female and I could tell I was givig him pleasure. I just wish we were as connected as we once were. I still don't even know the reason for his one-time-only interest in sex to begin with!