Laying in the dark waiting for sleep to claim me, I review the day and feel pretty pleased with life in general. I’m feeling more comfortable as a girl and am making progress with my assignment. I’ll just be glad to get past this period. Tomorrow I can begin looking for mislaid secrets. I wonder how long it will take to find something useful. I think back to my father’s—that is, Dr.Quinn’s—statement on the way to the airport; “you will probably never know if you helped or not.”
Chapter 23: The Slumber Party
I certainly hope that he’s wrong! I’m looking forward to some excitement.
It is Friday after work and I am standing in the middle of my room feeling more than a little bit anxious. Tonight is my introduction to slumber partying. What’s a girl to wear?
So, you ask, what’s happened since Monday night?
A lot on one hand, but not much at all on the other.
A lot in that I’ve been pretty busy most of the week, so I haven’t had a lot of free time. Mind you, it has not been nearly as packed as the trip to Alaska, but even so, I haven’t had more than a half hour of free time all week.
Not much at all in the sense that the days have been routine for the most part. Usually it’s just get up, go to work, come home, make a light dinner, go running with Caitlin and some of the kids from the cross country team, then spend a little time answering email and visiting with the Mercers before going to bed. I also spent a little time each evening practicing with makeup and reading fashion magazines so that I can get this girl thing down better. I did spend one evening at the Sommer’s home.
Caitlin seems to have taken a real shine to me and has shown marked improvement in both her running and her attitude as the week has progressed. She picked me up after work on Wednesday and we had an early run with some of the other runners before having dinner at her house with her parents and two younger brothers. They seemed like decent people to me. Caitlin had me take a shower before dinner as I tend to work up a heavy sweat while running. We spent some time going through her closet, looking at clothes. This is, apparently, a normal girl activity so I tried to be interested; it was actually more fun than I thought it would be. I find it intriguing to see just how much thought goes into a girl’s wardrobe and I continued to learn more about female clothing accessories. While her wardrobe is quite a bit racier than I care for, I did see a few items that I think I wouldn’t mind adding to my own wardrobe.
Fortunately, I’m a little bigger than Caitlin so her clothes won’t fit me and I can avoid trying on the tight, revealing clothes that make up most of her wardrobe. It is rather obvious that she wants to spice up my image—rather more than I’d like. As she modeled some of her favorite pieces for me, I found myself being pretty self-conscious the first time she stripped down to her white satin panties and matching pushup bra to try on a dress but by the time we were done I was feeling a lot more comfortable seeing her nearly naked. After all, I’ve been seeing the same thing every day for a week and a half now as I get dressed. In fact, it occurred to me at one point that if I had still been male, the sight of this cute girl, wearing next to nothing, would have set off a strong hormonal reaction and made life very uncomfortable indeed. It was with some sense of loss that I realized that the scene did not result in a normal male response. It’s impossible to get a hard-on when you’re a girl.
Running with a few of my old team mates as a newbie has been difficult emotionally—I had to keep myself from acting like an old friend. I must earn a right to be a part of this group based on my current circumstances. What is really strange is that my best running friend, Dan, seems to have taken a shine to me. I know that Dan has a girlfriend but you wouldn’t know it by the way he acts when we’re running. I keep finding myself wanting to tell him that I know more about him that he realizes, but I manage to play the part of the new girl in town. By the end of the week there are three of us girls and four boys that are running together each evening. If this keeps up, our team should be in pretty good shape for this fall’s running season.
Ben Harrison joined the group later in the week. He is a pretty decent runner but has never seemed fully committed; I have always had the feeling that he runs mostly to keep his mother happy. He always impressed me as being an alright kid although we had never been close friends. I quickly learned that the girls are pretty standoffish about him. When I enquired about it, the girls told me that he is always pretty arrogant towards them, and it didn’t take me long to see this side of him now that I’m a girl too. On the first day that he joined us in a very condescending manner he welcomed me to town and offered to help me with my running and show me around. It is glaringly obvious that he thinks that he is something special. I was not impressed. Unfortunately he seems to be interested in me but is totally unable to figure out that being a condescending jerk isn’t endearing himself to me at all. How could such a nice woman as his mom raise such a jerk for a son? I can tell you that I’ll look at him differently when I revert to being Chris.
One day at work we met Mrs. Quinn for lunch in the cafeteria. It seemed weird interacting with her as one of the girls and not as one of her children. She did present me with the new runner’s necklace that Marla had gotten me. The only difference is that this one is silver in color. I really like it and it has become my favorite, and most used, piece of jewelry. The kids that I run with think that it really suits me. So do I. I’m really glad that Laurie and Marla found the first one for me.
Work has been pretty easy. I was assigned to work with a physics project team working in the National Ignition Facility, a ten story building the size of three football fields. It is no secret that they are working on a laser-powered fusion energy power plant. The thing uses 192 giant lasers to vaporize hydrogen to give off more energy than is consumed by the lasers. At least that’s the theory. This is the world’s largest laser facility—by far. There is no way that a group of terrorists could replicate something like this. The scientists are still several years away from proving the technology, but in the mean time, people are working pretty hard to develop the necessary equipment and processes. There are a number of related research projects going on that support the project. Apparently huge advances in laser technology are being made. Maybe there is something in the related research that is of interest to the bad guys.
I and another intern have been busy answering the telephone in the director’s office and helping with minor office chores as the normal staff is working feverishly in an adjacent conference room to get out a report that is critical to obtaining their next round of government funding. They keep the door shut but I’ve peeked in once or twice to see what they were up to. I did notice the phrase “TOP SECRET” on the report cover which is probably why they have kept us far enough away that we can’t see what it's all about. I did leave my cell phone out a couple of time when people were wandering through the reception area on their way in and out of the conference room but did not hear any breaches of security. If information useful to terrorists is leaking from here it must be from someone inside.
One development that did occur this week is that I met Dr. Lang; he is part of the development team on one of the laser projects. He was pretty engrossed in his work and barely acknowledged my presence when I dropped some mail off in his work area. I noticed a picture of Andy on the wall of his office so I asked about his son saying that I was new in town and didn’t know too many kids my age yet. Dr. Lang seemed a little put out by the interruption but politely told me that Andy will be a senior next year and is spending the summer working at small art supply & framing store downtown. I got the feeling that Dr. Lang was pretty busy and didn’t appreciate the interruption so I left quickly.
That night Laurie and I talked about the Andy situation and decided that we’d drop by the store Saturday morning after the slumber party to see about getting some frames for some of our Alaska pictures in hopes of connecting with Andy.
Laurie and I spent an evening replying to our first questionnaires. Laurie has been doing work similar to what I have been doing. She’s been assigned to the Energetic Materials Center where Caitlin’s father works and has been trying to overhear confidential conversations just like I have been. We both reported that security measures appeared to be in place and properly implemented. We are both aware that sound files have been remotely erased from our cell phones so I guess that the security team is listening to them and double checking our observations.
One evening, while filling out our survey forms, there was an email message requesting that we try leaving our recording cell phones in secure areas. The idea is to act like naive teen girls who inadvertently left their cell phones behind. Neither Laurie nor I are comfortable with this request. We don’t see where this action would show a security leak. After all, shouldn’t the scientists be able to discuss secure information in secure locations? This request sounds dangerous but the instructions are coming from base’s security team. We’ll have to think about this one. We were told to not question our orders, but neither of us feels comfortable with this one. So far we haven’t had the opportunity to follow these instructions.
I continue to get daily emails from Joey, but I’ve decided to respond only once all week, trying to give him the hint that he needs to tone down his infatuation somewhat. He’s not getting the message, so I’m thankful I didn’t give him my cell number.
The best news of the week was that my first period ended—and I have survived.
So... back to my immediate problem: What do I wear? What do I take with me?
Walking into Laurie’s room to ask for advice I catch her in the middle of changing out of her work clothes. She is standing there in her underwear looking through her closet. All she is wearing is a really sexy black lace panty and bra set. This is the first real good look that I’ve had of her nearly naked so, remembering the ground rules, I start to leave quickly.
“Come in, Tina,” she says as if nothing unusual is happening while she examines a top, “what can I do for you?”
“Ah, I was wondering what to take to the party,” I respond, “I’ve never been to one of these events.”
“Well... let’s see,” she begins, “last time we watch a romantic comedy, played some board games, had a pillow fight, styled each other’s hair and painted our nails. So why don’t you bring your cute night shirt, a change of clothes for the morning, your makeup bag, and some hair supplies. I have an extra sleeping bag for you to use. Oh, don’t forget your swimsuit in case we decide to use Amy’s pool and wear some sexy undies. We want everyone to feel feminine. This will be GIRLS’ night, after all.”
“Can I go in jeans?” I ask.
“I guess,” she responds, “but wear those hip hugging ones if you do. You might want to wear a pair of shorts as it’s likely to be warm tonight.”
In the end I opt for the jeans and my Airborne T-shirt. I can tell that Laurie thinks I should be wearing a sexier top but doesn’t push the issue.
Aunt Jen drops us off at Amy’s house with all our gear and Amy meets us at the door.
“Hey, girls, Laurie and Tina are here,” she shouts back into the house. Cindy and Marjorie find their way to the door to greet us. The three other girls help us with our sleeping bags as we head to the large family room where all the action is scheduled to take place. There is a large sliding glass door that opens on the back patio. The Stevens also have a large pool with a diving board which looks very inviting on this warm evening.
The three girls are already in their bikinis and look as if they have been doing some sun bathing. Three, soon to be four, very attractive friendly girls wearing bikinis on a warm California afternoon and me the only guy in sight—or I would have been a couple of weeks ago. A guy’s dream come true except for the small detail that I am now a member of the sorority.
As I noticed with Caitlin, the sight of the nearly naked young women does not have the same effect on me that it did a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing. I suppose it is good as I’m supposed to act like one of the group. It is disturbing—still—that my responses have changed.
“We’ve ordered pizza for dinner,” Marjorie tells us. “It should be here in about ten minutes. Hurry up and get your bikinis on. We want to see the delivery boy’s face when five gorgeous bikini babes meet him at the door. It should be funny.”
Laurie strips off her outer clothing to reveal that she has her swimsuit on under her clothes. I didn’t think to do that.
“Ah... where can I change?” I ask.
“It’s just us girls here,” Cindy says off-handedly. “Amy’s parents went out for the evening so you can just dress here if you like.”
“Tina’s bashful,” Laurie saves the day. “Tina, there’s a bathroom just down that hallway to the right if you prefer.”
Grabbing my bag of clothes I head into the bathroom and put on my new bathing suit using the tankini top.
“What happened to the bikini top you bought?” Amy asks, hinting that I made the wrong choice.
I just sigh and return to the bathroom to trade out tops. I feel nearly naked—I AM nearly naked—and it’s not a comfortable feeling.
The door bell rings as I exit the bathroom. The pizza guy is here. Marjorie grabs me by the arm to drag me over to the door where we all congregate before opening the door.
The pizza guy is a kid that I know from school. You can tell that the sight of five bikini-clad girls at the door was not what he expected. He just stood there frozen to the spot for few moments, just staring at us as he tried to reboot his thought processes.
“Hi, Chuck,” Amy smiled at him, “thanks for bringing the pizza. You want to come in for a minute while I get the money?”
Laurie relieves poor Chuck of the pizzas as Cindy and Marjorie each grabbed an arm and lead him into the large entryway. Amy makes quite a show of wiggling her bottom as she walks into the kitchen to get the money. Poor Chuck does not know where to look. He’s trying hard to be polite but he has a hard time taking his eyes off Amy’s tush as she walks away.
“Hey, Chuck,” Marjorie says. “You know all of us except Tina here. She’s Laurie’s cousin down from Alaska for the summer.”
Tearing his eyes from Amy, Chuck turns his attention to me. He is tongue-tied as he takes in my body.
“Nice to meet you, Chuck,” I say in my sweetest voice and blushing as I try to figure out how to not feel so naked in front of this boy.
“Ah...,” Chuck’s thought processes haven’t finished rebooting, “Nice to meet you, Gina,”
“That’s TINA,” Cindy emphasizes.
“Oh... sorry, Tina,” Chuck corrects himself, blushing mightily in the process. The poor boy is very obviously uncomfortable and anxious to leave. I hope that Amy gives him a good tip.
Amy sashays back with the check. “Is that enough?”
Poor Chuck barely glances at the check as he heads for the door.
“It’s fine,” he says. “Thanks for the business. Have a fun evening, girls.”
Chuck wastes no time getting out of there. I noticed that he’s walking a little funny and keeps his money bag strategically placed over his crotch as he rushes to his car.
After the door is closed, the other girls begin laughing hysterically. I can’t find it in me to join them as I realize what poor Chuck just went through.
“You girls are sooo bad,” I say.
“Come on, Tina,” Amy says, “You have to admit that it’s fun to play with guys’ minds from time to time. After all, they like to lead us on all the time.”
“I don’t know,” I reply. “I just think that it’s not nice to toy with someone’s emotions or to be mean to them.”
I can understand Amy’s point to some extent. How often have I been guilty of jerking the chain of my sisters and other people around me? I’m feeling bad about the few tricks that I’ve played on others, particularly girls, over the years. I am seeing now how important it is to be kind and respectful to everyone, even those that aren’t like us or that we don’t understand.
Taking the pizza out on the patio we dig in. Amy’s mom provided a salad, sodas, and chips to go with the pizza so we have a great meal—for teens that is. One thing I notice is that the girls are less voracious eaters than my guy friends. They pick at their food and talk constantly as they eat. We barely make a dent in the food offerings by the time everyone is through. Even I did not eat as much as I would have thought before becoming filled. I still ate more than anyone else, but that’s probably due to all the exercise that I get. Even still, I’ve noticed that I fill faster than before, but tonight’s feast really emphasized the change.
We’ve all been lying on lounge chairs soaking up the last sun of the day as we eat and talk. I don’t have much to offer to the conversation as I—supposedly—don’t know the people and places that they’re discussing. They did ask a few questions about Alaska, but I didn’t offer much information. I learn a lot as I listen.
For example, I learned that Laurie’s friends think that she is crazy for dating a younger guy, even if he is very nice. They encourage her to broaden her vision as Chris is now off at scout camp. Laurie just smiles and suggests that they’re just jealous that she got the nicest guy in town.
I also learn a lot about who they think the ‘hot’ guys in school are and why. Cindy seems particularly susceptible to large biceps and tight buns even though the few times she’s dated these kind of boys they’ve treated her like dirt. Guys—apparently—can be considered to be ‘hot’ for a variety of reasons: strong lean bodies, killer smiles, smooth talking ability, athletic ability, or high levels of confidence seem to be high on the list. Most of the guys that they attribute to being ‘hot’ are really jerks from my viewpoint. One mystery that I’d like to clear up while in this body is why it is that girls seem to be attracted to the jerks? I’ve been around some of these guys when they’re talking about girls and, believe me, I don’t think the girls would be impressed with the boys’ attitudes and intentions if they could see and hear what I’ve seen and heard.
After digesting for a while we move into the pool. We all put our hair up so it doesn’t get wet and just hang out in the pool. The cool water feels good but it is obvious that the girls aren’t interested in the rough housing that would happen if this were a guy’s or a coed party. We just sit in the water and continue the conversation.
I experience a new sensation as I settle into the pool. I discover that breasts float. That’s right, I’ve about gotten used to the pull of a bra strap holding my new appendages up over the past couple of weeks but when I’m in the water I find that much of the burden is relieved. Strange. Nice in a way, but strange nonetheless.
I am also afraid that my new chest and its holsters will create a bit of a drag while actively swimming. That could be a problem, however I don’t take the time to find out as we’re not doing anything active right now.
Thankfully, the conversation turns away from boys. Unfortunately it turns to fashion—another area that I’m weak in.
The girls want to know about what girls in Alaska wear.
I shrug my shoulders and say, “Pretty much the same things as here, I guess. We have some of the same big chain stores and they sell pretty much the same thing everywhere. You have to understand that I’m more of a tomboy so I haven’t spent too much time worrying about fashion. Some of the girls I know spend a lot more time working on their wardrobes and I think that they’d fit in around here. I spend a lot of my time in jeans or outdoor pants and a T-shirt”
I tell them about our Alaskan shopping adventure with Ashley and her friends. They think that it sounds like fun and want to see our outfits sometime. Laurie fills them in some of the details of the effect of our outfits on the movie night and also tells them that we have pictures of the gang on our cell phones.
“Oh, Girl,” Cindy exclaims, “We’ve just got to look at those pix.” This idea leads to an exodus from the pool.
The night air is cooling rapidly so everyone decides to head indoors. We all wrap towels around ourselves and gathered up the remains of dinner. After clearing off the patio and heading inside, we adjourn to Amy’s room to download our pictures to her computer for easier viewing. While I’m busy at the computer the girls begin to undress as they prepare to put on their night clothes. Even Laurie is doing it.
Brain central—who has been pretty quiet lately—kicks into gear to tell me to not stare. Okay guys, what would you do in a room with four naked teenage girls? There is still a lot of male in my mind. My approach is to keep my eyes studiously focused on the computer screen as if I’m having trouble with the download.
“Oooh... cute jammies,” Cindy says to Laurie who's starting to put on some pink pajama bottoms which have little bears and hearts sprinkled all over them.
“You just wish you had some,” replies Laurie with a laugh. The girls spend a few minutes joking around about each other’s night clothes as they dress.
“Tina, aren’t you going to change?” Marjorie asks.
“Ah... in a minute,” I respond still admiring the computer screen. “I just want to get these pictures downloaded first.”
My stuff is still out in the family room where I left it when I came it. Maybe I can just go change in the bathroom.
“I’ll get your bag,” offers Laurie. Dang it! So much for my plan for privacy. I guess that I need to act like one of the girls.
I get the girls all looking at the images before I start to change. I notice that all of them are braless so I do the same. I take off my bikini top and slip the nightdress on before slipping off the bikini bottoms and replacing them with some red satin panties. They are all too engrossed in the pictures to pay me any attention—thankfully. The rest are all in pajamas. I’m the only one wearing a nightgown.
“You guys do look pretty hot in those clothes,” Amy observes as she scrolls through the images. “How did it go over?”
“The guys were very appreciative,” Laurie responds.
“Yeah,” I add, “but some of the other girls felt pretty threatened; one cornered me in the girls’ room and warned me to stay away from her date; I guess he did seem distracted by us.”
“Maybe you guys set a new standard for the Alaska kids,” Cindy observed. “I wonder what the girls do the next time they go out. I bet that they dress up more. You’ll have to tell us after you get back home, Tina.”
“I don’t think anything will change,” I reply. “The kids back home are pretty set in their ways. It was fun though, I might try it again.” Where did that statement come from? I can’t believe that I just said that. I guess the statement is girl appropriate
Amy is scrolling through the pictures and stops at one with me and Tom on top of the mountain.
“Who’s this cute hunk?” Cindy asks with a hint of excitement in her voice.
“That’s my older brother,” I say. “He’s a swimmer.”
“I really like the broad shoulders,” Cindy says. “I bet he has a cute butt too. Too bad he didn’t come with you. I’d like to get to know him.”
“He is a pretty cool guy,” I tell her, “but I don’t think his girlfriend wants to share him.”
Marjorie finds the images from the boat trip. “Who are these guys?” Why can’t they focus on the scenery?
“Just some guys on the tour boat who tried to pick us up,” Laurie tells them. “Those two were tourists, but this guy,”—she points to Joey—” is a local boy and, wow, has he the hots for Tina? He was fun to watch. I pretty sure it was love at first sight for him.”
“Oooh, so, Tina, what about for you?” Amy asks. “Any sparks?”
I blush pretty hard—which earns me some ribbing. “He’s a nice guy, but I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” I answer.
“She told me that she thinks he was ‘sorta cute’,” Laurie tells the interested group. “He’s been emailing her all week and even came out to watch her run her race last Saturday.”
“Tina has a boyfriend! Tina has a boyfriend!” Marjorie teases me, causing even more blushing.
I’ve been told that pillow fights are common at girl sleepovers, so I grab a pillow from Amy’s bed and whack Marjorie on the head. This act touches off a wild melee with lots of screaming and laughing as we almost take apart Amy’s room.
Wouldn’t you know it, but Amy’s parents show up just as the fight reaches it climax.
“Girls! Girls!” Mrs. Stevens shouts to get our attention. I find myself sitting on the floor with my legs spread and night shirt hiked up rather high. Not exactly modest. I quickly correct the situation.
“What’s going here?” She asks appearing to be stern.
“Nothing, Mother,” Amy replies, out of breath. “We’re just having a little fun.”
“Well, Sweetie, see if you can have some fun without tearing the house apart,” Mr. Stevens suggests. “And who is the pretty young lady sitting on the floor?” While I had met Mrs. Stevens before, I’d yet to meet Amy’s father.
“This is Tina,” Laurie introduces me, “my cousin from Alaska. She’s visiting for the summer. Tina, this is Amy’s father, Mr. Stevens.”
I give them a little wave and say, “It’s nice to meet you, sir.”
Now that was fun! I was afraid that we were going to spend the whole night talking. I actually enjoyed the pillow fight even though we have to spend fifteen minutes fixing Amy’s room back up.
We’d reviewed pretty much all of the pictures before things degenerated into the pillow fight, so we all troop back to the family room after straightening up the bedroom. After some discussion, the consensus is that we should watch a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan chick flick that everyone has already seen but they really love. Watching it on the big screen TV with the surround sound stereo was awesome. Last time I watched this film with Laurie I’d focused on Meg Ryan. Tonight, however, things are different. The girls are all swooning over Tom Hanks and discussing all the great features of his character so I find myself more focused on him. He is a great guy. I catch myself thinking that a girl like me could do a lot worse than have him for a boyfriend.
While watching the movie, we experiment with styling each other’s hair. Laurie tries to teach me about braiding hair since I have zero experience with this particular girl skill. The other girls get into it also when they realize that I’m a neophyte in the practice. By the time the movie was over I’ve learned the basics of several styles. I find that I am fascinated with all the style options available and am wishing that my hair was longer. It occurs to me that, unlike a guy’s movie party, girls multitask when watching a show. I am able to do the hair thing AND watch the movie.
We each have a bowl of ice cream with our favorite toppings as we settle in for the next movie a little after midnight. The others seem to be going strong, but I find myself fading. There is no way that I’m going to make it through a second movie, so I lay out my sleeping bag off to the side and watch the movie from there.
My eyes are drooping and I have a contented feeling. To my surprise, I’ve enjoyed the evening and feel a closeness to these girls that is better than anything that I have ever felt with my male comrades. Don’t get me wrong, I have felt strong bonds of brotherhood with my friends in the past. But when was the last time we gave each other hugs and words of friendship and encouragement before closing out the evening?
Edited by Gabi… Again. Her
efforts to polish this work have really been effective!
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