Author: BMeph PM
The Gift is your typical "boy becomes girl, girl freaks out, girl likes it, girl becomes boy again" story, maybe, only without the tiny chocolate robots - awww... A Sci-Fi/Friendship/Humor/Romance/Mystery/Action story, with a hint of lemon.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Romance - Chapters: 32 - Words: 135,994 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 06-09-12 - Published: 04-27-11 - id: 2910995
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I woke up early Wednesday morning; I had to, since L.L. couldn't (or wouldn't?) convince me to go to sleep in my own bed. I was feeling the past two days' judo lessons, and I groaned a little at the thought of doing more this week. Anyway, the little brat tricked me into getting up by saying that Cathy was here. Then somehow, the little fink got Cathy over here, which did not offend me in the least. She just wanted to make sure I was going to keep doing my "falling down and getting up" exercises…and that I remembered to get one of those blasted tampons in first-thing. Annoying as the constant reminders were, I was glad that I had all these folks who cared enough to go out of their way to take care of me, making me feel loved.
I also used the occasion to give Cathy a big hug around the waist, to make sure she "felt loved" as well. Thanks to me not only being much more expressive than "old" JoJo, but having a different type of affection, I had hopes of getting Cathy to blush as much as she did me, before I went "back" to Northern. I started with letting my hands "droop" behind her while I rubbed my cheek on her fantastic abs, which wasn't quite as effective as nipping at those abs through her shirt. I gave her a break, and didn't see how much more she might blush by my unbuttoning her jeans…she turned such a lovely shade of red when I tugged with my teeth that I was appeased, for now. It didn't stop me from suggesting some lovely alternate ways to "kiss good-bye" into her adorable, bright red ear, but just knowing she was thinking about them was good enough.
I stood at the door long enough to wave her off to whatever she was up to, hours before her class. I didn't see why she felt the need for being able to keep a thought in her head for more than five seconds; I know I sure couldn't when she was around, and I didn't mind it a bit. Sure, school, degree, be productive, yadda-yadda. I went out back, stretched and tumbled for an hour or so, stopping to set up the whirlpool when the sun got close enough to rising that the sky started looking more blue than black, and the stars were clearly losing their fight to stay seen. I popped in to see if I was going to run the shuttle again, but Mom said she had it, looking at me in a strange way, almost sad; I didn't get it, but I was happy to have a day to think about school junk I needed to do, with fewer distractions to do it with.
When Dad popped by and asked to talk with me some more, I should have suspected something was up. I guess despite being very, very bright and very, very clever, I'm still very, very naïve. We talked about how I was feeling, mostly, even though I tried many times, almost to the point of being rude, to steer the conversation back to him. While some of my intent was just to stop showing all of my own foibles, I'd also noticed, even in five short days, that my parents weren't the same people I knew and was used to. It was unsettling, to a degree that surprised me, considering that my own change should be more than enough to worry about.
"Hey, Princess, care to take a little ride with me and talk?" He came up to me and gave me his patent-pending bear-crushing hugs. Well, at least some things haven't changed….
"Hey, Dad. Um, I know it must have some history for you, but would you mind not ever calling me 'Princess' again?" Damn, but Dad is tall…. When you're six-foot, someone six-one isn't that much more; when you're five-oh, though, that whole foot-and-a-little-extra feels…huge.
"Really, so…JoJo, " he paused for my acceptance, which I gratefully gave; "let's go for a ride, shall we?"
I shrugged, having nothing urgent which would give an excuse to deny him. I mean, he's Dad; he calls, and you come. It's funny, he had the faint scent of pipe tobacco on him, but not the heavier reek of cigarettes that I never knew him to be without for as long as I remember. I also felt the not-so-pleasant tingle at the back of my throat that told me I was just as allergic to Old Spice® products here, as I was normally. I made a note to myself: if I'm still "here" come spring, get a Pez™ dispenser with allergy meds, and keep away from tumbleweed. I may not have to deal with it if I stay at Northern, since its "High Desert" climate makes it more like northern California, without the farming; still, it promised to make contacts a pain –
"So, " Dad started up the conversation, and the car; I assume we're going to hop over to the "corner store" and "Daddy's little Girl" doesn't traipse two miles through the desert, like the menfolk do.
"Tell me about yourself, JoJo, what was your life like growing up, as a boy?"
"Not much to tell, Dad; as far as I know, it was a normal life, you, me, Mom. I had plenty of friends in the neighborhood, and at school. You guys seem the most changed to my eyes…how come you decided to have more kids?"
"It just worked out that way, although you seemed to like having a little brother and sister. What about in your world, you're an only child? What's that like – what was our house like?"
"It's the same house, just more stuff, and fewer kids, I guess. Of course after the divorce, we went to apartment living."
"And your mother?"
"Oh, sorry, I meant me and Mom. You just rented houses with your friends over on the west side, near the college. I don't think you went to school anymore, but it's easier for you to find rent-sharers that way."
"Wait, why would I live near the university, with you going there but living in a different apartment, with your mother?"
"Because it would mean living with you, Dad. Not to put too fine a point on it, Dad, but…we don't get along too well. Mom and I live near the base, because that's where we work, where we go to church, and most of our friends are. Your friends are more downtown-college area guys." Was that too harsh? When I say it like that, it sounds like I'm being harder on him than I should, but…dang it, they were his rules, not mine. Why should I feel bad about rules that he's enforced?
"But surely we see each other if I live near college, don't we talk? What do we talk about?"
"Uh, no, Dad, you made it very clear for the past three-or-so years, that when I turned eighteen, I was out of the house. The irony with it was that you and Mom divorced so that by the time I turned eighteen, everyone was out of the house. So, how did you and Mom reconcile, maybe I can say something to –"
"Don't bother; we didn't. We'll keep a roof over your sister and brother's heads, until they're grown, and if we manage not to kill each other, we'll get that divorce here, too. Of course, that's a big if; sometimes I regret not having a gun, but then Lizzi starts up again and…hm. You don't need to hear that, and maybe, you'll find a nice boy that can keep you happy, or –"
"Hm. Dad, even if you guys get your JoJo back, I wouldn't count on her settling down and being a happy little homemaker any time soon."
"Oh, are you talking about whatever weird thing you're trying to pull with Cathy? You should leave her alone, she has enough troubles on her own as it is; you don't need to be throwing your 'other dimension' delusions in her face, and exploiting her fondness for you – for you, 'our JoJo,' as you like to say."
What, by all that's holy, does he mean by that remark? Is he trying to say that I'm somehow a corrupting influence on Cathy – I could see why he'd claim I'm a corrupting influence on his own daughter, but how am I possibly doing anything that's bad for Cathy? Why in the world is he even siding with her over me, how does that even work…seriously, what the heck is that about? I was so full of emotion at this point, that by the time I could respond, we'd been silent for too long; the conversation was done, and it'd be too awkward to try and start it up again. Besides, I'd finally noticed that we'd been driving farther than it took to get to the store; we weren't going there, but somewhere else, somewhere that he knew, but hadn't seen fit to tell me.
What I should have expected, but didn't, was this: we went to talk to a psychiatrist. Well, let's be honest: we went, but I talked. Her name is Rebecca Kraftwork (yes, just like the food company; I think I impressed her but referring to the German music band instead), and while I hope never to see her again, I didn't mind the time I spent (it was, and I'm not kidding, six hours and seventeen minutes – Holy Moley, but that's too long to spill your guts to a stranger). I kind of resent how Dad just made an ultimatum out of it, but Rebba, she's cool. I'll likely talk with her again, I don't like how I was blind-sided and shanghaied into meeting and talking – and talking and talking and… – with her, and I honestly do know that it helped to share some of my fears and concerns.
One thing I have to give her credit for is that she's really good at her profession. Her voice is a smooth mid-alto, somewhere between Cathy's normal voice and her sexy one. It's really a shame that so much of her time is spent listening, because her voice alone is good therapy on her own; she sounds like the "cool aunt" – you know, the one you talk to when your dad or mom is making you do things that are frustrating, don't make sense, and make you feel like they're trying to make you eight again, instead of eighteen; the one that makes you feel like she sees you as a person to be listened to, and gives your nutty parents' demands enough explanation that you feel like cooperating, and not just complying. I admit, in the first hour-and-a-half, or two, I was really bratty, channeling Matt Damon from "Good Will Hunting" and trying to shock her, and she just channeled Robin Williams right back at me. Not that she acted like he did, she just kept her cool, refused to let me provoke her, and really listened to me.
One of the most interesting part of the session – does it still make sense to call a more than six-hour-long event a "session" – was after lunch. At the time, I had asked if we could stop for something to eat; I also wanted to make sure I wasn't…"leaking," if you know what I mean. Yeah, sure, you know better, but I'm new to this whole girl-thing. Anyway, after lunch, Rebba – that's what I call the good doctor, first out of spite, but it seems to have grown on the both of us – she asked me if I minded her doing some exercises before we went back. Well, one thing lead to another, which in this case, just means that we spent a nice hour-and-a-half (ninety-two minutes, but only my stupid time sense thinks that matters) doing judo and tai chi, respectively. Yeah, Rebba does tai chi, and it looks like it would go well with the judo stuff that Candy's teaching me. Maybe once I've got it down solidly, I might look at what some tai chi has to offer, but for now, I'm more than occupied enough, what with the judo, the new school, the all-new friends at school, the apparently many girls I torment at school, the old friends, some of which are now Candy's friends down here, the stuff that I'm learning that I will need to know once I get back on track in my own world, finding the knuckleheads that got me out of my own world in the first place…and this whole "I'm a girl"-thing, too. Good Gertie, but my life is more complicated, and I had no problems with how it had been before, either.
Speaking of complicated, one of those complications has been weighing on my mind throughout this session; I even asked Rebba about it…a little obliquely, so I don't know if it helps any. What am I going to do about Candy? I think I love her, which sounds nutso, but coming from someone who didn't have breasts, but did have a "johnson," a week ago, "nutso" is a very fluid concept to me now. I mean, is there anything I can do, when I get back, and even if I could, she wouldn't be "her," she'd be my world's version of her, which as we know, are not the same person. For that matter, what happens here, when JoJo – Dad's JoJo, "the real JoJo" for here, anyway – is back, what will she do: just go back to being friends…okay, that's kind of a given, since as far as she knows, there isn't anything "back" to go to, just going on with her life. What will Candy do, though; will she try to "upgrade" their relationship, will she even want to do that, risking their long, strong friendship over what might not work. What if JoJo-A finds out what I feel, what will that do to their friendship, what might it do to her – would JoJo-A try to use her knowledge to hurt Candy in some way?
Rebba then pointed out that I'm worried a bunch about Cathy's reactions, even though I haven't yet sat down with her and found out if she has any reaction to me. I tried to correct her, that Cathy had already said that she liked me, but she countered that "like" is a vast range of feelings, from situational admiring of a small point, to life-long commitment, and everything in between. To my chagrin, she told me that I was making a girl's classic mistake: mistaking a momentary rapport for a spiritual connection. She suggested that I pay attention to how we resolve conflict (or pick a fight with her; okay, she didn't really suggest that, but it sounds interesting) "worry" from there.
The big bombshell dropped on me happened after the "marathon session" however; it seems that Dear Old Dad neglected to inform me that the counseling time here was just the start of a twenty-four-hour observation period. Yeah, Dad thinks I'm crazy, apparently…okay, I'm claiming to be a boy trapped in a girl's body, so the point is a fair one. Here's a fun point for me – if I'm not crazy, if I really am JoJo – I mean, JoJo the Guy – then what will they do to me to try to "fix" me? Worse, what if…what if they don't see it; what if they look at me, and all they can find is the girl I've become? I've adapted to living as a girl rather quickly, after all; I still like girls, somewhat, but I definitely find boys attractive in a way I never have before. Babies…still make me nervous, maybe more so, now that I'm in a body that can make them; I never disliked kids, though, I just don't feel any need to fawn over them, other than my siblings, who are both teens already, and also sprinkled with whatever fairy dust that makes me so unnaturally cute. God I'm cute, though, now…if I were the regular me, and saw this JoJo around, I would be all over me…uh, figuratively speaking, I…think.
Seriously, though, I'm not really all that different as a girl than a boy, am I? I'm into electronics, but frankly, girls have smaller hands and they're always doing sewing stuff, so electronics is a better fit for women anyway. As for computers, well, I know a few girls that like how they can be all competitive and smack-talking online, and since no one knows they're girls, no one gives them any grief for it – not for acting "unladylike," or for being "a lady." Dang it, it's tough to think how being a man affects your being; you're busy being who you are, how would you even be able to think about this sort of thing without experiencing it? Now that I am experiencing it, though, I'm still having trouble figuring out how to pin anything down; I'm still too busy experiencing it to say how it affects me, although I can feel that it does affect me. I need a girlfriend – not a romantic one, a friend that's female – to talk this over with; I can't talk about this with Rebba, though, not now, not here. Correction, I shouldn't talk about this to Rebba here-and-now, but who else is there, that wouldn't become part of this whole "observation" mess, and it's not like she's going to blab about what she learns about me; it isn't anything criminal, just kind of literally "out of this world," y'know?
I liked her setup, though – she had this kickin' tent out in her back yard, surrounded by lush palms, catching just enough sun to still be warm, but sheltered from any wind. I was surprised when she told me that she was technically not even on call, but was having a little break the whole week; I mentioned the same thing, and was interested to hear about what little I could tell her of things at school. I enjoyed the little break we had, but for multiple reasons, I felt like my life was on hold, and everything was all up in the air, and out of my grasp. Not that I'm a control freak, or anything, I just like being able to put my hands on things when I want, or letting them lie long after they ought to be picked up again…okay, maybe I'm a little controlling. I don't have a problem with other folks doing things for me, though, and as a girl I figure I'll have plenty of such offers, and as long as they don't mess things up too much, I'll even let some guys feel like they've done something nice…just as long as they don't thing they've done something…"too" nice. Anyway, we talked about that, and other things I was worried about, not so much like a therapist and patient, but like friends.
By three o'clock, I finally convinced all of "JoJo's" friends to quit bugging me; I'm on vacation, you freaks, and we can do all of this school stuff when I get back. I mean, it's nice that they all stay in touch over the holiday, but seriously, time off means time off! Although, it is nice to have some idea of what kind of social environment I'm going to be in when I get back – frenetic – but at least I'm finding this all out now; maybe Sebby knew what he was talking about…maybe. Not that he's suddenly my favorite apparition in the universe, but I guess if I'm gonna shoot the lecherous messenger, it should be for being a lech, not for the message. Still, it was likely a good thing to know just how connected JoJo's friends are (assuming that they're all friends, but why call if you aren't one), if only not to be as blind-sided when I try to figure out what really happened.
The rest of the day we spent all over the map. Not physically, just mentally and emotionally; funnily enough, for all of her "great outdoors" ambition, Rebba wasn't really much the camper type, and while she did enjoy the calm beauty of her lovely yard, she liked the convenience of a well-stocked fridge nearby. Truth to tell, I didn't miss lugging a big bulky cooler while trying to avoid stepping on any rattlesnakes or cholla cactus, and Rebba herself was fun to talk with, not to mention easier to open up to than a group of strangers. I was even able to persuade her to tell me a little about herself, although I really suspect she would have said something sooner or later without my constant asking; of course, I paid for my curiosity in like coin, opening up more about myself – what I wanted to do in the world, what I thought I might be interested in "when I grew up" (I didn't tell her precisely where I got such high-minded ideas for my future, since I think it's better for us both to work on that part myself), and who I'd like to share it with.
My favorite time with her was the last hour before we went to sleep. She had started to show me to a guest bedroom inside, which was very nice, and smelled like potpourri (a bit heavy on lilac, but that might just be my nose; I pilfered the pillows and the spare blanket and followed her right back out, after putting on the pajamas. At first she seemed uncomfortable with the idea, so I asked if this was a private thing, with her and her tent. Rebba patted me on the shoulder, and welcomed me back, again hesitating, this time to ask if I minded getting a hug. I replied that I'd feel left out if she kept trying to deprive me; I was right, too – for a professional psychiatrist, she gives good hugs. At least, I imagine psychiatrists aren't normally into hugging; otherwise, wouldn't that whole "transference" thing be a bigger problem?
About the only issue I had the whole day was that I hadn't talked to Cathy at all. My last thoughts as I looked at the stars out of the tent window flap, were wondering if she was alright…and if we were alright. I wonder…