I looked myself over in the mirror and fluffed the billowing skirts of my gown one last time. I allowed a last deep nervous breath to escape from my full red lips.
The beautician that had come to do my makeup and hair had left over an hour earlier. Before she did though, she had (thankfully) helped with the scores of pretty little buttons running down my back too. With my long nails, they were nearly impossible.
"This is it," I murmured to the mirror in a well-too-practiced woman's voice.
Though all of my friends had seen me as a bride before, the other gown had been a costume. That other gown had won a Halloween prize... and only set the wheels in motion for this insanity.
Nobody, not family nor friends, knew about my secret obsession with women's clothes. Nobody knew about the years of internet hormones or countless painful hours of self-electrolysis (thanks to EBay). Nobody knew about the panties; tightly bound chest; or hidden corsets under baggy regular clothes (which hid curves that belonged on no boy). Nobody saw how good I could do makeup or hair... and no one ever heard my "other" voice.
Everybody thought only about frail little Brian with his ponytail and earrings, which helped pull off my "cool" starving-artist look since dropping out of high school.
Oddly enough, I didn't even want to actually become a woman. I just liked looking like one every once in a while. But the urge to look more and more "real" when I dressed was too strong to resist. Hormones and electrolysis were just too easily accessible for a boy of sixteen (when I started them). Even as an exceedingly wrong puberty started replacing the one I was supposed to have, I took comfort in my ability to hide things (and that those things could eventually be "corrected" some day).
But what I wanted and what was happening to me were two very different things. The bumps that were increasingly painful to bind under my baggy shirts weren't "bumps" at all... they were breasts. The womanly hips and rounded tear-drop shaped bottom were terrifyingly real too. Though too petrified to reveal myself to anyone, I started to realize that life as someone named "Stacy" might actually be easier than a life as "Brian".
The surgery in Thailand didn't require certifications or "waiting periods". Afterwards (and no longer a minor at eighteen), changing my legal name back home was strangely easier than revealing what I had done to myself. So Stacy remained hidden while Brian waited for the strength and "right time" to come clean. But that "right time" became more elusive with each passing day... and being Brian remained the easier choice. I was almost resigned to continuing my strange secret life as if nothing had changed. Aside from having to sit to pee... not much HAD changed (except for more satisfyingly realistic "dress- up" sessions.) In spite of what was on my new license, I felt so much like "me" that I kept forgetting what it read.
Then life came up with a "right time"... an opportunity that I nurtured almost absently in the beginning of it.
Though everyone had real jobs after they graduated high school... Christine's rush-wedding gave Lori, Jen, Alana, Peg, and some of the girls the idea to start a side-business of planning weddings for others. Peg's family had a catering business. Alana worked at a florist. John and Greg already assisted with pictures and videos for someone else and wanted to go it alone. One of Paul's bands did weddings too. Not that it mattered, but even Bob's older brother, Bill, had become a priest and could come back to perform a kind of test-wedding locally.
The idea of a staged wedding made sense. A dry-run would work out any kinks without spoiling someone else' real wedding. Key moments (like cutting the cake or throwing a bouquet) could be shot as many times as necessary for the best promotional pictures and videos.
I wasn't even the one to think of me as the bride.
Knowing what the answer would be in advance, Bob didn't bother to ask his brother (Father Bill) if he would allow a fake wedding to be staged in a church. Using one of the girls was out of the question... because the ceremony that Bill would perform would be "real". Bill never saw my prize-winning Halloween costume more than two-years earlier.... and a ceremony with me as the bride wouldn't be "real" either.
"I'll be the groom," Bob mused as he thought about how to work his brother, "but faking the marriage license is gonna be tough."
I remembered the quirk of my legal name and that I had to sit to pee.
"I'll work that out," I volunteered.
"You do your part. I'll come through on mine."
He shrugged. A week later, I took a form to town hall with three signatures on it. Bob's name and scrawl were on the left side. I had signed my name as Stacy on the right... but signed it again with his last name in the section indicating that I'd be taking his name too. There was nothing fake about the blood tests. The wedding banns and announcements in the paper had to be "real" for Father Bill's sake too. Our made-up story was simple. Bob and "Stacy" supposedly met in a far city on his after-graduation trip cross country. We fell in love right away but couldn't even think of larger plans after so short a time together. But after weeks of phone calls, we both came to realize that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Plane trouble was why Stacy missed the rehearsal... and had to go through a walk-through over the phone with Father Bill instead of doing it in person.
Thoughts of those plans and arrangements were behind me as stood alone in my tiny apartment. Grabbing my beautiful flowered bouquet and silk wedding purse, I looked every inch the trembling bride.
The woman who had done my makeup and hair had done almost too good a job. With my hair died a bright blonde and cut and styled up into a stunning bridal arrangement (complete with baby's breath sprigs and a delicate veil)... "I" didn't even recognize me. The makeup was so tastefully beautiful I almost wanted to cry too. But more than anything else, the delicately thin ultra-feminine brows that she had shaped on me had utterly erased "Brian"... and forced "Stacy" to emerge in his place.
My billowing gown was no costume either. The sleeveless beaded bodice was a bustier-style with hidden boning to further slim my already severely tapered torso and wasp-like waist. It showed off very real cleavage that none of my family or friends had ever seen... and which made me feel more than naked in spite of the voluminous gossamer petticoats and sweep of the elegant skirting and train.
A choker of real pears circled my over-exposed neck... with matching earrings tickling me as they swayed below my lobes. Long white satin gloves fit perfectly over the elbows of my slender feminine arms (even if they did cover my perfect French tipped nails). Pretty lace panties and gartered white silk stockings were hidden beneath that gown; and unless I was gathering my train for a flash of them as I walked, no one would see my white four-inch satin pumps either.
Scented with an enchanting perfume, I even smelled beautiful.
"I can't believe I'm doing this," I whispered in my Stacy-voice as I turned the knob with slippery satin gloves and left the house as a woman for the very first time.
With my dress gathered around me as my heels clicked down the walk, I glanced at a half-dozen large bags piled at the curb. It was garbage day and the sound of the truck in the distance made me tremble. "Brian's" life was in those bags.
The waiting limo driver helped me into the back of his impossibly long car without a blink. Sitting there by myself, in the midst of my billowing petticoats and gown, I kept trembling at the thought of meeting John and Greg and the "bride's maids" for pre-wedding pictures at Christine's. The terror started to grow with my doubts; but as much as I wanted to tell the driver to turn around and bring me back... I sat there silently trying to fight my shivering. Assuming that the garbage truck had been on time... there would be no Brian-clothes to change back into anyway.
Christine and the other girls didn't hear me come up to ring the bell. With my arms full of that wedding dress, I watched as her door swung open... along with her mouth.
"Brian?" she asked in stunned disbelief as the others gathered at the door.
"I guess its Stacy for today," I said with a meek smile in my Stacy- voice and pretty red lips.
Lori, my Maid of Honor, whispered, "My god. Is that you?"
"Yes. Why're you all looking at me like that?"
"Because you're beautiful... Stacy."
Someone else hushed, "Those brows..."
"You've got boobs!" Greg added incredulously as he joined the girls at the door.
I actually gulped as I prepared to come clean. This was the opportunity I had embraced and ultimately forced myself to play out. But though I desperately wanted to finally confess... I suddenly couldn't just yet.
"Tape and some creative skin mashing can do some incredible things. Hey. Can I come in... or is everyone just going to stare and make me feel like an idiot?"
They stepped out of the way for me as I swept me and that cloudlike gown through the door.
The ensuing barrage of questions and amazed awkward compliments continued through the pictures of me and my bride's maids "getting ready" for my big day. Though the amazement didn't abate, my incredibly realistic transformation became less and less of a topic. So my bride's maids and I eventually left in the limo... with everyone believing that I was still Brian (and that those breasts were just disturbingly believable illusions).
Father Bill joined us in a small room towards the back of the church. Praying that he wouldn't recognize me, it was truly bizarre "meeting" Bob's brother again for the first time. My trembling became noticeable, but his attempts to reassure me that all brides are nervous did nothing to help me. After he left, my father came in and openly gawked at my chest. One of the girls explained about taping and mashing my skin before either of us could speak... but his stares were still unnerving. I joined in the conversation in my Stacy-voice, which made him raise an eyebrow even higher.
I knew my father would be there. Most of our parents were "in on" the charade to make for the most believable shots. The plan for him to walk me down the isle and give me away was even his laughing idea... though he wasn't laughing now.
The organ changed its tune. After the other bride's maids left, Lori was the last to walk down the isle with Bob's Best-Man. Finally alone with my dad, he turned to me.
"You look beautiful," he said almost too naturally.
"Thanks," I said dropping into my Brian-voice for some reason.
"Use the Stacy-voice," he said gently, "it suits you."
I think I actually cocked my head as I stared into his disturbingly knowing eyes.
"Dad..." I started in my Stacy-voice.
"I always liked when daughters called their fathers Daddy."
I stared at him again before a stranger's head poked into the room.
"We're ready," the man said (even as the organ changed its tune again).
The distinctive opening blasts of the wedding march sounded as my father held the door for me.
"Dad... Daddy..." I started to say, "I have something I want to..."
"Tell me later Sweetie," he smiled, "We're on..."
With my train somehow arranged behind me, I held my bouquet in one long-gloved hand and took my father's arm in the other. The doors swung open and all eyes locked onto me as I started the distinctive bride's steps down the isle.
I stared forward as Greg and John memorialized my march toward a stunned Bob. Before I knew what had happened, my father had somehow slid into a pew at the front and I found myself with a gloved hand in Bob's instead. Lori was standing with the other bride's maids on my side... holding my bouquet after having spread my train behind me.
"Dearly beloved..." Bill started as the ceremony began. Bob, to his credit, hid his stunned disbelief well. His incredulous smile was easy to mistake for a happy groom's attention on his beautiful bride. He almost fell out of character when I answered "I do" in my pretty little Stacy-voice... or when I slipped a ring on his finger with the words, "With this ring, I thee wed."
It didn't seem real. It wasn't real. For everyone but Bill, it was a show for Greg and John's cameras... and a test of the entrepreneurial efforts of friends.
But as Bob's brother neared the end of the ceremony, a fear crept behind Bob's eyes. I understood why as the words leapt loudly from Bill.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Not knowing what to do, Bob stared almost apologetically into my eyes as he lifted my veil. Lowering his face toward mine, I closed my upturned eyes and parted my lips... hoping it would be quick.
Bob's lips touched mine. But instead of having to hide a feeling of disgust or revulsion, an unexpected wave of pleasure rippled through my body.
I don't know how long that kiss lasted. I don't even remember the enthusiastic cheers and applause. All I remember was being incredibly confused about the genuine disappointment when that kiss finally ended.
The walk back down the isle on Bob's arm and the receiving line were blurs too. With everyone staying in character, pictures and video captured every happy compliment and question about a non-existent honeymoon. There was rice thrown as we finally excited the church and (after tossing the bouquet) we rushed ducking into the limo. There were no second takes.
"Holy shit Brian," Bob said swatting rice from his hair in the limo with me, "You look so real. Those tits are incredible!"
"Thanks," I said in my Stacy-voice before I could catch myself.
"Thanks?" he said with a raised eyebrow.
I shrugged before saying anything... and still using the Stacy-voice.
"Maybe it'll be easier if I stay Stacy until this thing's over. I don't want to hafta do things over."
"Like that kiss?" he laughed.
For some reason, mention of that kiss made me suddenly want to come clean with him.
"Bobby?" "Geeze that sounds too real coming out of the pretty little mouth of yours."
"You think I'm pretty?" I said, unable to help myself.
"Well... I don't... OK... yeah... pretty. Shit Brian... Stacy... you really DO make a beautiful bride."
I blushed in spite of myself.
"You don't make such and ugly groom yourself," I said.
"Whoa! Whatever we're calling you today... I don't think I want you to be..."
"I really am Stacy... and not just for today," I interrupted.
"These tits bobby... they're real."
"Good one," he laughed after a fraction's hesitation.
"They're not taped skin or rubber or makeup Bobby."
"Get the fuck outta..."
He grabbed for one to put an end the "game" before I knew what was happening. His large hand was suddenly cupping my half-exposed breast and squeezing down on it as I squealed in an unnaturally natural girlish way.
Bob's eyes went wide.
"Holy shit Brian."
"Stacy," I corrected while fixing the cups on my dress.
"But I saw you this week. You didn't have boobs."
"I've been binding them. I wear baggy clothes too."
He openly stared at me, looking me over thoroughly, before speaking up.
"You've been hiding those?"
"Does anyone else know?"
"You're the first Bobby. My parents don't even know."
I thought about my father for a brief instant before Bob continued. "Shit. Is that dress hiding anything else... Stacy?"
"Yeah," I barely whispered.
"When... oh shit... the Thailand trip?"
After a long silence he smiled and said, "Well you DO look a lot better as a chick."
"Thanks," I said smiling back.
"A guy could do worse marrying you too," he started to add before his eyes went wide.
"The marriage license... all that stuff you did to fool my brother... was it legal?"
"Yeah... why... oh shit..."
"How oh shit Stacy? Are you legally a girl? Are we legally married?!"
I thought for a moment before saying, "Well... technically... maybe..."
"Well yeah... but its only paper. We can have it undone. At worse we use a divorce to make it official."
"We're Catholic Stacy," he said staring in my eyes like I had told him he was losing his limbs.
"Very Catholic Stacy. Hello? My brother's a priest? In the eyes of God and let no man tear asunder and all that? Remember? We're fucking married Stacy."
"No we're not..."
"Shit. You're Mrs. Robert Jones... my WIFE."
I thought he was going to cry. "I'm sorry," I whispered while stretching a slender gloved hand to his arm.
He looked at me touching his arm and then into my eyes. There was a kind of resolve there.
"No one's going to know... not tonight... OK?"
"We'll go along with this until it's over and can figure something out... until you go back to being Brian."
"I'm not sure I can," I said.
"Even if I could hide the brows, I threw away my Brian-stuff this morning. All I have are Stacy things now. I was going to..."
My voice trailed off. It was clear that he had no interest in my plans to use the wedding to force me to go through a kind of coming out event.
"I'm going to kiss you," he said with a half disgusted look on his face.
"I have to know."
"Have to know what Bobby?"
"You're my wife now. I have to know."
He just stared into my eyes until the silence became unbearable.
I barely whispered, "OK."
Like at the alter, I closed my eyes and parted my lips as Bob's now- resolute face approached mine. His lips touched mine with no audience to watch us.
That confusing thrill returned... like a first real kiss. I smelled the scent of his aftershave and felt the scruff of his skin... and an unwanted ache of longing between my hidden slender legs. I didn't resist Bob's tongue, which found its way through my bright parted teeth and into my yielding mouth.
The longing remained after Bob gently withdrew. Almost afraid to open my captivating eyes, I was breathing heavily, feeling my bosom actually heaving. When I finally allowed my eyes to open, I was in for another surprise.
Bob was staring at his own tented crotch in disbelief. The fact that I was the reason for that straining hard-on only added to my own confused longings.
"You really are a woman?"
Amongst the myriad of emotions, Bob's question had a hint of desperation. It was if my being a real woman would somehow make things better. It would somehow allow him to keep his sanity.
"We can do this," he said more to the air than to me.
We had come to a stop and the limo door opened before he could answer. A faked fumble for nothing in the back gave him enough time for the embarrassing strain in his tuxedo pants to subside before he helped me out.
The pictures were endless. Planned events like introductions and toasts came and went in a blur. My father didn't say anything as we had our father-daughter dance; but his raised eyebrow made me regret not purposely trying to look more awkward as he led me.
Playing our parts to the hilt, Bobby and I visited the tables and posed with everyone for the cameras. The hardest part of our "act" though was when our friends enthusiastically clinking their glasses for us to kiss... which was only hard in that it kept forcing me to confront how much Bobby's lips aroused me... and that I was turning him on too.
Our show finally ended with images of us leaping into the limo; waiving goodbye to everyone as it whisked us off on some imagined honeymoon. The limo was supposed to circle back around the block, where the test-wedding would end and turn into a real party (with us no longer playing the bride and groom and just being "ourselves"). Bobby pressed the intercom to the driver.
"Don't drive back just yet. Head North on 95."
"Yes sir," a voice said back to us.
"So," Bob said turning towards me, "Where do we go?"
In surprise, I asked, "we're not heading back?"
"Back to what? Unless Brian's coming back, we're on a honeymoon."
"A honeymoon Stacy."
"But we can't... I mean... we're not..." "We can and we are... and no wife of mine is skipping her honeymoon."
I had been girding myself for a return to the party. With Father Bill gone and the cameras off, I prayed for the strength to tell everyone my secret. But even if I couldn't, I expected to sleep in my own bed... and to deal with whatever followed next at home. Aside from the utter insanity of a Honeymoon at all, I wasn't mentally prepared to deal with the idea of dropping out for two weeks on a whim.
"But our jobs..." I said with more desperation than I wanted.
He was right of course. Brian had a job, but Brian was gone... at least for a while... and Bob was obviously unconcerned about taking time away from his.
He spoke into the intercom with a gentle smile on his lips, lips that I didn't want to be staring at. He gave the name of an upscale hotel a few towns away.
"Yes sir," came the expected answer.
In spite of my nervous disbelief, I let Bob help me out of the limo and lead me into the hotel. I watched outside of myself as he booked a room for the night and next led me into the glass elevator and down a long hall. Instead of numbers, the delicate words "Bridal Suite" confronted us... and Bob keyed the lock.
"What are you doing?!" I yelped as he swept my frail little body up in his arms.
"I'm carrying you across the threshold Mrs. Jones."
Which is what he did.
Kicking the door shut with his foot, he didn't put me down right away. Instead, Bob carried me to the large bedroom and deposited me gently on the oversized bed.
As much as my brain protested, I didn't stop him. I didn't say a word or move a muscle. As if watching TV, I simply stared as Bobby slowly undressed in front of me. Shoes and socks were strewn on the floor. His jacket, suspenders, bow tie, and cummerbund were piled on a chair. Bobby undid the buttons of his cuffs and shirt, slowly exposing a masculine chest that held my eyes. His pants next crumpled to the floor, before his formerly-tented boxers followed behind... leaving his unbelievably erect penis hard in front of me. I didn't move as Bobby then came over to me on the bed and bent to kiss me again. My breath was laboring before I closed my eyes and felt our lips entwine. His hand cupped my half-exposed breast for the second time that day... but not to see if it was real. Slipping his hand into the cup of my gown, his fingers brought un-imagined sensations to my straining young nipples.
"Oh Bobby..." I moaned unintentionally.
The sensations were overwhelming. Though my brain said it couldn't be happening, the rest of me body knew that it was. I let him sit me up before him as he reached behind to undo the first of my numerous little buttons. With our gazes locked, every loosening button of that intricately beaded bodice sent tingling waves of pleasure racing over my soft skin.
My bodice fell forward, exposing my pert young breasts and jutting hard nipples to the air. I stared at Bobby as he in turn stared at my freed breasts hungrily. Letting him lay me back, I lifted my bottom to help him extract me from the cloud of that dress and petticoats. His saucer eyes remained wide when he saw the smooth contour of my lacy white panties and gartered silk stockings, which soon joined my gloves and the mingled shoes and clothes on the floor.
I lay under him, naked and submissive. Just knowing that I oddly WANTED to yield to him made me feel more feminine that I ever had in my life. I felt like a wife... like HIS wife.
Seeing me naked... and a woman in every way... seemed to brighten Bob's eyes even more. His lips found mine again... as his hands began to explore my curvaceous smooth body; bringing me sensations I didn't know possible.
Panting and moaning in spite of any will to do otherwise, I was pliant to Bob's touch and writhed in unexpected ecstasy. With my eyes still shut, I felt a finger against my virgin sex... but it wasn't a finger.
With my eyes snapping open to meet Bob's lust-fogged gaze above me, I felt the head of his penis press... then gently part... the virgin folds of my new sex. I felt my own lubricating moistness help it slowly slide into me as Bob's weight relentlessly lowered towards me. I felt his hard penis enter and fill me... until Bob's hairy body pressed against me.
He was buried within me. Bob's penis, my husband's penis, was actually engulfed inside me.
Bob slowly withdrew his body... only to press back into me. I wasn't prepared to feel so aroused by the delightfully painful sensation of being filled by our coupling... or by the surprising ache of longing when his penis slid back from me.
My thoughts and emotions were a confused jumble. Being under a man... under my husband... as a submissive vessel for his sex, made me feel oddly "complete" with him inside me. There was no fear... none of the expected terror from being violated. Lying on my back and with legs spread to accept his utter dominance over me; I instead felt safe and protected... and aroused beyond any desire to deny it.
Slowly at first, but with an ever-increasing rhythm, he slid out and into me as he started to make love to me. His eyes had a far away look as the tension built for both of us.
Bob grunted and moaned above me as I found myself thrusting against his powerful pistonings. I felt Bob reach a point of no return, and then the sudden tremendous throb of his release as my own body spasmed and arched to an orgasm that I didn't think possible. Bob's hot lubricating semen pulsed into me in great spurts as I wrapped my soft slender legs around his back and pulled him close into me.
I felt the last of his throbs within me before Bob's penis slowly deflated and withdrew. The emptiness left a longing I wasn't prepared for as he rolled away to my side. It was strange. His sex continued leaking out of me while we both stared at the ceiling. His absent twirling of my hair made the whole abnormal event feel more real too. Bob and I had just had sex... real sex. We had consummated our marriage like any other man and woman. It wasn't an act or game. Bob, the man lying next to me, really was my husband now... and I really was his wife.
"Are you cold?" he asked sincerely.
I was shivering.
"A little," I lied.
He scootched the bedcovers from under us and covered our naked bodies. Unbelievably, being naked under those soft sheets made me feel even more like a Stacy than what we had just done on top of them.
I pressed my soft smooth skin against his and snuggled against his hard masculine form. Bob's welcoming arm over me made me feel oddly safe... and the shivering stopped.
But in spite of the strange normalcy I felt, I wasn't prepared for the words that Bobby next spoke.
"I love you Stacy."
The earnestness behind his words carried a quiet intensity that frightened me... but only because of how they made me feel. Those simple words terrified me because I believed them.
"I love you too Bobby."
I started trembling again, but Bobby didn't ask if it was from the cold. He knew otherwise. His words... and my reply... seemed to have made decisions for us. They seemed to have made our strange new roles somehow more genuine.
As we quietly retreated into our own thoughts, I reflected on my mother's life. The cooking; the endless cleaning; the laundry and all the other unsung little things she used to do to run a home sprang to my mind. From grocery shopping to taking charge of Christmas cards, the list of things that she did seemed daunting... and I developed a new respect for her role. As I wondered if I would have the strength to do half of what she did without complaint, I realized that I didn't have much choice. I realized that all those were part of a role that she had accepted... and that I was staring at that same role myself.
In the crook of Bobby's arm and feeling the rise and fall of his chest (which I had been using as a pillow); I could feel him slipping slowing into a lust-sated sleep in our marriage bed.
"Bobby?" I said gently.
"I'm sorry Bobby. I didn't mean to wake you."
"No. That's fine. I wasn't asleep," he lied groggily, "What is it?"
"What? Niagara Falls? What are you talking..."
"Our honeymoon. How about Niagara Falls?"
"Are you serious?" he said waking up quickly.
"Yes," I said in a Stacy-voice that sounded more definitive than I felt.
"OK Mrs. Jones. Tomorrow we'll head for Niagara Falls."
He lowered his head into his pillow again, but I spoke up again.
"I hate to be a pest..." I started.
"You aren't," he said smiling sleepily.
"You really are sweet," I smiled back. "But I didn't make plans. I don't have any clothes to..."
"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," he hushed. "We'll get you some things tomorrow. Don't worry your pretty little head about any of it."
"Really?" I said brightening up at the prospect of actually shopping as Stacy for the first time.
The exchange must have woken him up enough to find my excitement contagious. I didn't know what I had done, but couldn't ignore the rise of the covers over his crotch. Though still foreign to me, the idea of his hard penis no longer frightened me. On the contrary. I no longer fought the fact that my "husband's" erection was arousing to me. I groped my French-tipped fingers under the covers until they wrapped around his hot hard penis and gave him a tentative squeeze... to which he moaned.
As Bobby rolled toward me to take a nipple in his tender lips, the last shred of my old life fell away.
I had become Stacy Jones, Bob's loving wife... and oddly enough... I had no regrets.
We honeymooned in Niagara Falls, which couldn't have been more perfect. As I built a wardrobe and our roles became more comfortable to the both of us... our marriage felt more and more real. By the end of those two weeks, we really were a married couple.
Bob had called his work early. Messages to family and friends... that we were on our honeymoon... gave them a laugh while preventing their worry too.
But the fact that I was still Stacy when we got back (in a denim skirt, haltered top, and cork-wedged summer sandals)... and was staying at Bob's place at all... raised a lot of questions; which we both just shrugged off.
People started getting tired of our "gag" after a few days... until Lori's pool party. No one said another word after I undid my gauzy flowered wrap and slipped into the chilly water. After the initial gapes and open stares at the flimsy white string bikini I wore (and my nipple's reaction to the cold), it almost would have been easier if people DID talk.
Instead, everyone just started acting as if I really were someone named Stacy, Bob's wife. Though it was what we both wanted, it was no less bizarre to have my old life basically ignored. Then came the visit I dreaded most...
"Daddy?" I said at my parent's door with Bob at my side.
He stared at me in a simply floral sundress and low-heeled pastel pumps. He then looked at Bob, who hid any nervousness completely. From shock to understanding to acceptance, the forced enthusiasm on his face was welcome.
"Stacy! Bob! Come in! Mom's in the kitchen." He then hugged me as if nothing were wrong in the world and shook Bob's hand warmly.
Mom wasn't quite as accepting... but she and Daddy must have had a talk before we got there. They invited us to stay for dinner; which was almost uncomfortably "normal".
Afterwards, Bob and Daddy watched a game together in the den, while I fell into cleaning up with Mom in the kitchen by default.
"Are you... OK Dear?" she asked me tentatively.
"Yes Mom. Very much so. Why do you ask?"
She seemed to be biting her tongue, but not completely...
"Are you HAPPY... Stacy?"
"Bobby and I are both happy Mom. We're in love."
She turned away toward the sink and started cleaning dishes in silence for a while. After a few hurried dishes, she turned to me with tears in her eyes.
"I don't know about any of this but I love you Stacy... or whoever you are. If you're happy, then I'm happy for you. Too many people never find true love... however it found you."
The tears were silently falling down her cheeks until she threw her arms wide around me. As I held onto her, I noticed tears trickling over my cheeks too as we both sniffled in each other's arms.
When we finally broke, she mock-scolded me.
"You better stop that fuss or you'll ruin your mascara."
"It's a waterproof formula," I replied automatically.
We launched into a bizarrely normal discussion about makeup while the "boys" talked sports in the other room. We never looked back.
Dinner with Bobby's parents was more frightening... to me anyway. In part, it was scary because we were having them over. I fretted about the meal, desert, and shine of the bathroom fixtures to the point that Bobby started laughing at me... which he instantly regretted when I cried.
But in the end, I "did well" and was welcomed (however stiffly at first) into the family. "We should think about getting a house," Bob said over a fish and rice dinner I had made one night.
"Why? This apartment is perfect for us."
"For now Stacy... but what about when we have kids?"
I stared at him for a long while before asking, "Adoption?"
As his wife, I could tell that he was serious without asking. Adoption. Babies. The idea of bottles and diapers... and someone calling me Mommy... was terrifying.
"I don't know Bobby."
I didn't have an answer, and found it oddly easy to defer to him. He had some very definite ideas about child-rearing too. By the time a young unwed teen delivered "our" baby... I had been on a very different regimen of hormones... hormones that made other changes to my body.
The delivery was by c-section and the birth-mother wasn't conscious. Our baby girl was cleaned and put right to my painfully-full breast moments after birth. Her wrinkled little face reached for my impossibly hard nipple, which a lactation nurse roughly jabbed into Jessica's tiny mouth.
"Ouch!" I squealed in surprise.
"Are you OK?" Bob asked nervously as a warmth let down through my breast.
"Just surprised. She's got some little grip," I said of her latched mouth.
As my heart melted to the sweet little soul feeding at my breast, I realized that what we were doing was for keeps. As much as I had grown to love Bob and my role as his wife Stacy, a part of me must have had a nagging thought that it was temporary... or even reversible. A part of me kept thinking it wasn't real.
But little Jessica made it real in ways I could never describe. She was our responsibility now. Bob was her Daddy... and I was her Mom. As she suckled from me, I felt a connection that surprised and overwhelmed me. Tears started streaming down my face, but tears of joy.
Bob's eyes welled up too. Hugging the two of us in his broad arms, our happy tears kept flowing. From that moment forward, the three of us were a family.
"That looks so loving," he said nodding toward little Jessica feeding hungrily at my breast.
"It's wonderful Bobby," was all I could say through my blissful tears.
The three of us went home several hours later. If I wasn't an expert on changing diapers; cleaning spittle; laundering mountains of baby clothes; or discretely breast feeding Jessica in the beginning... I soon became that expert as Jessica's "Mommy". I didn't have a choice... not that choices mattered. I wouldn't have chosen any other life over the one I found myself living.
I was Mrs. Stacy Jones, loving wife of Robert Jones and mother of baby Jessica... and the happiest woman on Earth.
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