A Hugglebugs story
Kim, from the research labs of the Hugglebug company in Auckland New Zealand put the very last sample of the psychic nanites on Prue's desk. Although ordered to destroy the dangerous development due to its potential abuse factors, she'd forgotten the initial sample left in the analyser. Only she and Prue, the head of the company were now the processors of that particular nanite in their body, and then only because they had undertaken a dangerous mission to recover several missing Hugglebug shipments to the US. The small aerosol can on Prue's had the power to make anyone able to become anyone they so desired.
Kim thought it too important to make a decision on its disposal, thinking Prue may have a change of heart and perhaps store it for future emergencies. Seeing Prue was absent at the present moment, she paged her cell.
"Prue? That sample I mentioned, it's on your desk, okay?"
"Okay, I'm in a conference at the moment. I'll see to it later, have a pleasant evening," her harried boss's voice replied.
"Don't work too late boss," Kim returned, knowing her advice would probably be ignored.
Kim left the small can on the side of the desk and left to go home. Normally each can carried instructions on its use but this one only carried the company's logo of two bugs embracing each other.
Prue was exhausted by the time she finished her conference call to the States. Her mind was filled with the thought of getting home and relaxing in a hot bath. She forgot about the can sitting in her office as she left, going directly to the lobby and signing out with the guard.
Later that night, the guard signed in the cleaning staff that service the Hugglebug company's offices. Marie, one of the women assigned the office duties went upstairs to do her usual tasks. As she moved the vacuum cleaner around the legs of the desk in the director's office, she caught her foot in the extension lead and stumbled against the desk. As she caught herself, she didn't notice a particular can tumble off the top of the desk and into the paper filled bin that sat next to the desk.
One of her jobs was emptying the trash, and so the can began its journey as just another item amongst many destined to be dumped.
The can was finally collected by a truck, which picked it up with the rest of the rubbish, early the next morning. Normally an aerosol vessel would long be punctured by the actions of the trash compactor in the truck, but an unusual set of circumstances saw it arrive at the rubbish tip intact, embedded in a pile of bubble wrap plastic.
Kevin Walsh shivered in the early morning chill. He needed new blankets, as the ones he'd scrounged were now falling apart. Life sucked as he turned over on his dilapidated mattress he'd scored from the rubbish tip nearby. He looked up at the tattered tarpaulin that covered his makeshift home in the bush near the reserve that bordered the Mangere rubbish landfill. The reserve had a border of native scrub that separated it from the rubbish dump and acted like a buffer zone to prevent the odd bit of windblown debris from contaminating it. It was in this scrub that Kevin had set up his hovel of tarp and plastic sheeting.
As he lay there, he contemplated his fall from grace and the penthouse suite he'd once owned. Now his wife owned it all and his business empire. Make that his ex wife. He had read she'd sued for divorce in the discarded papers found in the bins dotting the reserve. He'd had no clue that she was such an evil conniving back stabbing… he ran out of words to describe her vicious manipulating carcass.
He'd loved her unreservedly once. She was beautiful, he was rich. He'd been blind to any thought that she'd not loved him for himself and was really after his money.
Penelope Bennet had become Penelope Walsh two years ago and now she owned his company Esprit' that he'd developed from the ground up. He'd decided to enter the market of women's beauty products, as they always seemed to be in demand.
Kevin was methodical and scrupulous and wanted a product that really worked and used natural ingredients. In a small rented laboratory he scrimped and saved all he could to make ends meet while he developed a moisturising cream that not only moisturised, it toned and tightened the skin, while still leaving it supple. Bee products and natural plant extracts were combined with only those chemicals needed to combine and preserve the product. In the first stages of his work, he was his own guinea pig for testing, figuring that if it could do anything for him, then it should do wonders for women.
He finally produced a product and had some powerful women in the entertainment industry trial it. Once they realised its potential, they loaned him the capital to go into production. Soon Esprit' was a big name and Kevin moved up in life, developing other products in a similar theme. Hair products and lipsticks followed until he had a full range of beauty products. Needless to say, he didn't have to personally test all these items as he'd done with his first product. That didn't mean that he wasn't intimately involved in the tests as he applied it to his test subjects personally.
He shivered, his gaunt frame no longer retaining the fat he'd once had. Eating was problematic nowadays. You never knew what was being discarded into the bins around the reserve. No dole for him, as the police would surely find him for the crimes his wife had kindly set him up for.
He rose, anger fuelling the urge to do anything, but lie quiescent on his bed, as he thought again of his wife's treachery. She'd embezzled millions of dollars of investor's money and made it look as if he was the one that had stolen it. She had his assets frozen even before the police became involved and made it impossible for him to fight back. So he had jumped bail and lost himself in the underworld of the poor and destitute that was conveniently ignored by the everyday people of Auckland.
He drew on his coat, hating the smell of unwashed occupancy, but needing the warmth as he wend his way down to the track that ran around the edge of the dump. He was pretty safe there, as only the occasional jogger or person walking their dogs ever travelled along it. Out from the shelter of the bush, the wind bit into his body trenchantly, as it blew across the dump and passed unhindered through the chain link fence that marked its boundary.
Scouring the dump for anything that might be useful that he could retrieve when the workers working there left, he saw a bundle of plastic wrapping roll along the ground and take to the air as the wind gusted and lifted it aloft. It swirled like a living object, as if trying to escape the confines of the dump.
‘Go, fly free,' thought Kevin, as he watched it jealously, wishing he could do the same. The plastic lifted and just made it over the eight foot fence, falling as if exhausted, not ten feet away. Seeing it that close, Kevin could see it was a roll of bubble wrap. He scurried forward, catching it before it could blow further away. It would be good insulation, if he could resist the urge to pop the bubbles. He scrambled back up to his hideaway clutching his precious find to his chest.
Once there, he carefully unfolded it, trying not to tear it. A metal can half fell out of the middle, still hanging there by a piece of sticky tape that was attached to the bubble wrap. Kevin picked it up, shook it and then discarded it as he turned his attention to his new insulation. He carefully folded it and placed it ready for using that night. As he turned, he caught sight of the can again and he picked it up to toss it into the bush. His eye spotted the odd image of two bugs hugging each other and he paused mid throw. He examined it again, something telling him that he should recognise that image. There was no other information on the can to indicate what its contents were. Normally he would have just sprayed a sample into the air and sniffed it to determine the contents, but the same voice that said he should recognise the can, also warned against doing that.
‘Bugs hugging,' he mused. ‘Hugging bugs… hugging bugs,' he persisted, his thoughts running in circles.
"Hugglebugs!" he exulted, pleased he'd finally figured it out.
‘But if this is indeed the nanite marvel of Prue Walker's, why was it thrown away?' he argued mentally. From what little he remembered of the product, it was sprayed onto the body and into the mouth. Kevin thought it was unusual that there were no instructions on the can.
Kevin looked at the can, his mind awhirl with possibilities. This could be his salvation or his worst nightmare. No that was wrong, he was already living his worst nightmare. He didn't know what the can contained, but it couldn't make his life any worse than it was already. Most of the products the Hugglebug company made were for the improvement of the recipient. Okay, a lot were for changes in sex. Kevin wondered how he'd cope if he used the can and ended up turning female. At least he'd be free of the police, even if he didn't then have a valid identity for the new body. He screwed up his courage and decided to do it. First he undressed, ridding himself of his BO reeking clothes. He shivered in the morning's early chill, before depressing the nozzle on the can. He sprayed into his mouth first, not sure if there was enough to cover his body, then he used the rest on his body till the can ran dry.
He waited, and waited, wondering how long it was supposed to take. ‘Nothing, nada,' he slumped to the mattress dejected. ‘It must have been a dud, that's why it was discarded,' he thought sadly.
Too despondent to get dressed again, he wrapped the sheet of bubble wrap around his body, his thoughts turning again to the cause of his plight. As he visualised her sitting comfortably in his penthouse, his anger grew, blocking his awareness of the changes beginning to run though his body.
All of a sudden, he realised he was changing. The breasts pushing out of his chest were his first clue. He scrambled for the shard of mirror that he used to comb his hair each day. He could feel his bones changing as his pelvis widened and he lost height. Looking in the mirror he could see who he was changing into. Becoming female was a surprise, but he'd accepted the risk and would take it on the chin. What he couldn't take, was the visage that he could see in the mirror. It was the she devil herself … his wife. Well not quite, even with his larger male frame reducing to the size of his wife's, his starved body mass had been less than that of the form he'd visualised. He looked himself over, or make that herself. Although the body shape was right, the arms and legs he now owned were like some bulimics. They were pencil thin, had no fat at all. Even his or her ribs were showing and her breasts were not as full as his wife's was. Kevin seemed to recall a fact he'd read, that going from a smaller body mass to a larger one required energy in the form of food, something that was sorely lacking in Kevin's immediate future.
The other thing that struck him/her, was the fact of just who he'd changed into. It was impossible for there to have been a nanite made to transform someone into his wife. The odds of that happening to him was astronomical, not to mention the fact that the can must have been accidentally thrown away. There had to have been another factor, after all, there had been no change when he'd first used it. Only after thinking of his wife, had the changes started. Somehow that must have been the trigger. Could it be possible for his thoughts to have an effect as to who he became? The next problem he had was, was it permanent? He needed answers, answers that could only come from the source. He scurried to the pile of purloined newspapers he used as a windbreak next to his bed. He remembered seeing an article on the Hugglebug company about a month ago. He rummaged through the pile seeking the information he wanted.
"Prue? There's a collect call for you on line one, do you wish to accept it?" Rose asked over the intercom.
Prue was harried and fretful after the discovery of the missing can of nanites. They had questioned the guards and the night cleaning crew, with no luck. The women who had cleaned her office didn't remember seeing a can on her desk. After talking to Kim and finding out exactly where she'd put it, they finally surmised that it had been knocked into the rubbish bin directly alongside the desk. More inquiries had ascertained the likely destination that the rubbish truck on their route would have taken it to. A security detail, hired for the job had scoured the dump with no results.
Prue had hoped that the can had been punctured enroute or crushed by the bulldozers working the dump itself, and that no trace of the nanite would ever surface.
"What?" Prue asked Rose to repeat. "No … wait, yes I'll accept the charges," she told Rose, being generous hearted.
"Prudence Walker?" asked a female, but uncertain voice.
"Speaking, how can I help?"
"I need some information about one of your products, one that was discarded into the Mangere rubbish dump," the unknown voice replied.
"You found one of our cans?" Prue asked, barely controlling her excitement at this revelation.
"Yes, it was unmarked, apart from your logo," the voice confirmed.
"Where are you? We need that can badly, as it contains a very dangerous experimental product. We will reward you handsomely for its safe return," offered Prue, having confirmed it was the one they were after.
"That poses a problem," the worry in the voice growing.
"You didn't use it?" asked Prue with a sinking feeling in her heart.
"Yes I did, that's why I called you."
"We need to see you right away. Do you still have the can?"
"Look, I'll be honest with you, if you do the same for me," the voice sharpened. The can is empty, I used it all. I was … well still am in a desperate situation and I can't meet you, at least not yet. I need to know what was in the can and why I happened to change into my wife's body."
Prue listened carefully, hearing desperation in the words and sensing that there was more to this than met the eye. She sighed, making a decision. "Alright. The nanites in that batch you used can transform the body according to a mental command. They take image you see in your mind and make the body conform to that image. As you can imagine, this is very revolutionary and dangerous, for the user could abuse its use very easily," Prue admitted, sensing that the person on the other end of the line was being honest and not likely to run amok.
"Am I stuck in this form?" Kevin asked in a more relieved tone, knowing now that he wasn't going to die in some horrible way.
"The nanites remain active, allowing infinite changes, remembering the limits imposed on body mass increases," Prue explained further. "Now, will you come and see us? We can provide a new identity, as long as it's not for criminal intent," Prue pleaded.
"Not at this time, maybe later. I have an injustice to right first. Don't worry, I won't let the secret out and I'll try and not to put anyone's life in jeopardy, least of all mine," Kevin replied, ending the call.
Prue was left thinking and hoping this wouldn't backfire in their faces. Any whiff of this new nanite would have others trying for the same results, which would only end in chaos.
Kevin shuffled back from the payphone, his changed form swimming in his old clothes. He had to come up with a new plan, one that didn't involve wearing his wife's body.
Prue went to see Tim the guard that did the day shift. She let him know that the lost can had been found, without revealing the properties it contained. She knew he listened to a scanner to pass the time between shifts.
"The finder of the can of Hugglebugs is female, but doesn't want to see us for any help. I want you to let me know if you hear anything unusual on the police bands, I've a feeling she made be in trouble," she finished, having deliberately left out the fact that the person was once a man.
"Okay, will do Mrs Walker," Tim replied happily.
Prue went back to her office knowing she'd done all she could. She called Kim and let her know about the can and the situation so far.
Kevin thought deep and hard about his next move. He had to change to a body shape that could utilise what was left of his/her mass. He calculated that his next body would have to be a teenager, so the body could be fully filled out. The next choice was, should it be male or female? An unknown teenage female would elicit more compassion and a girl who claimed to have amnesia, as he'd planned to claim, would less likely be subjected to the rigorous questioning a male would receive from the police.
Now all he had to do was come up with a body that wasn't already in existence. H/she decided to do it in stages, correcting as she went along. First was the height and weight. She thought hard about the face and hair, trying to come up with an attractive package. Next she thought of the body and size of breasts and waist. Hips and legs were next, along with appropriately sized feet. Feeling the changes settle into place, she looked herself over critically. The figure she saw was five foot six inches, shoulder length curly honey blonde hair. She was Caucasian, with a toned svelte body with B cup breasts that sat perkily on her now hairless chest. A nice narrow waist swelled into hips that held promise for the future. Her legs were perfect in shape and length with tiny delicate feet. Overall, she looked about 16 years old, and her large blue eyes and rosebud mouth should melt any heart that beheld her.
Next she decided on what to call herself, although she only wanted a first name. She hoped the authorities would come up with an identity for her after her claim of amnesia precluded her remembering her own past and last name. Cursing the fact she still smelled terrible, she realised it might help her other claim of being kidnapped. She decided on Kelly, as it was short and simple.
She wrapped her naked body in the cleanest thing there was, the bubble wrap. She rolled it around her body like a tube and held the end tucked under one arm. It did a reasonable job of covering her assets, going from under her arms to just below her knees. She walked up hill to the ridge overlooking the reserve and waited till she saw some people walking the tracks. Not wanting to miss them seeing her, she began to run down through the last bit of scrub in her bare feet.
Maybe it was fate that caused her to trip over a root. Either that, or she wasn't used to the body she now owned. Either way, it caused her to slam into a tree trunk, as the restrictive plastic made it impossible to regain her balance. She hit the tree head first with enough force to knock her out and start her bleeding profusely from the wound on her forehead. Luckily, she fell on the downward slope of the tree and her body rolled into the reserve clearing, making a popping noise as some of the wrap burst under the twigs and debris.
Two people were walking their dogs in the reserve, when they heard a noise on the other side, higher up. Their dogs barked and pulled on their leashes as the man and the woman looked up to see a figure falling out of the tree line. It appeared to be female with some sort of plastic sheet flopping around her body. The two people looked at each other in shock, as the figure then lay motionless in the grass. The man handed his leash over to the woman while he ran to the fallen figure. The woman struggled to control the two dogs as she fumbled in her backpack for her cell phone. The man shouted for her to call the police and an ambulance, as he spotted the blood staining the girl's body. He felt for a pulse, but on finding a steady beat, he did little but watch over her till help arrived.
Soon sirens were breaking into the solitude of the reserve's peaceful air. Police arrived first, with an ambulance following along what would normally be a walking track. The police directed it towards the girl and soon the child was lifted into the vehicle and driven directly to hospital. The police searched the area and soon discovered Kevin's hide out. They found more of the bubble wrap there and concluded that she had been held there by persons unknown, as all they could discover were the clothes belonging to an adult male.
Prue took a call from Tim the guard. It was just about lunch time and she had just been getting ready to lunch out.
"Mrs Walker, I just picked up some traffic about a girl being found near the Mangere reserve. They are transferring her to Starship hospital, apparently she was found near naked and bleeding from a head trauma."
"Thank you, Tim, if you hear anything else, let me know," Prue said, before cutting the connection.
She sat back deep in thought. ‘This could be a link to the earlier call, seeing that it was in the vicinity where the can of Hugglebugs was recovered by her caller,' she mused. ‘Maybe I should call in a favour and have the girl's situation forwarded to me by a duty nurse I know who works at the hospital.'
Kelly, as she remembered to call herself, woke slowly. Her head was thumping and she could hear the noise of people and machines nearby. Even before she opened her eyes, she knew she was in a hospital. There's no mistaking that distinctive smell which hospitals all over seem to have. Wait? She could smell disinfectant, but she couldn't smell herself. The all pervading smell of BO that she'd lived with for months on end was now absent. Oh, joy! She could feel that her skin was much cleaner now. They must have given her a bed wash while she was unconscious. She thought back, recalling tripping, and hitting the tree head on. She opened her eyes and gingerly reached up with one arm and felt the bandage over her temple. A nurse nearby saw her move and promptly came over making reassuring noises and asking her name.
"Kelly," Kevin croaked out.
"Well Kelly, you had a bit of an accident. Can you tell me your surname, and today's date?"
"I'm Kelly … Kelly … I can't remember," Kelly replied in a put on, panicky sounding voice.
"There, there, try not to worry about it, I'm sure it's only a temporary loss of memory," the nurse said calmly, signalling to another nurse in the ward.
Kelly lay back down from her attempt to rise up. She closed her eyes and listened to the nurses talking. Soon a doctor arrived and trailing him was a policewoman with a notepad. The doctor prodded and poked her and did the usual stuff of calling for various tests, while the policewoman attempted to question her on the details of her ordeal.
"I'll have to assign a temporary name for her until we find out who she is," offered the policewoman.
"Kelly Doe? How original," snorted the first nurse as she read the name the policewoman wrote down on the sheet attached to the foot of the bed.
"I'd welcome suggestions," the police woman offered by way of apology.
"What about Kelly Dee?" suggested the nurse helpfully.
"Okay, she is now officially Kelly Dee," the police woman stated, changing it before snapping her notebook closed.
‘Kelly D,' mused Kevin, having not seen the name actually spelt. ‘It has a nice ring to it,' he thought, smiling inwardly.
After the doctors had finished with her and run all the tests they wanted, it became a matter of what to do with her. They couldn't naysay her claim to be an amnesiac, as it wasn't always caused by serious head trauma of which Kelly's was not, being only mostly superficial. So they attributed it to shock from her as yet, unknown ordeal in the bush. Kelly refused a rape test, and wouldn't allow anyone to examine her genitals, which further led to the conclusion that she'd been subjected to some physical abuse.
She was eventually allowed a shower, and luxuriated in the hot water as she soaped and shampooed her hair. She'd given her body a thorough examination, turning first one way then the other as she looked at her reflection in the hospital showers mirror. One of the nurses came up with a nightie she could wear, instead of the draughty old hospital gown. Although it was only brushed cotton, the nightie felt heavenly on her newly minted body. She got back into her bed just as dinner was being served. It might have been just bland hospital food, but to Kelly, it was manna from heaven. No picking bits of rubbish off this food. She ate ravenously, not caring if it seemed unladylike. One of the nurses saw the way she was eating and took pity on her. She left and was soon back with a second helping, along with some fruit she'd got from the nursing station cafeteria.
Kelly thanked her and set to again. Having an orange to eat was just icing on the cake. It seemed the word got around and trickles of food just seemed to magically appear as more nurses passed by her bed. At last she was sated, although her mind, if not her belly was telling her to eat just one more thing.
She lay back and relaxed, knowing she was safe now despite her uncertain future. She soon fell asleep, not knowing that things were being put into motion as to her future.
Unbeknownst to Kelly, her image was being shown on TV. A still photo taken just after she'd been cleaned up in the hospital was being used to see if anyone knew her real identity. One of those who saw the news item was Prudence Walker. Her contact in the hospital had already mentioned that they were thinking of turning the girl over to social services to be cared for in the next day or two. ‘Time for a visit,' Prue thought to herself.
After breakfast the next day, Kelly was again questioned, in case she had recovered any memory of her past. The police then left, rather dissatisfied at the lack of progress in that matter, leaving only a policewoman on duty as a cautionary measure. Later that morning, several groups of people were led to her bedside, all claiming she was their child. They had seen the TV broadcast and had insisted on seeing their child. The policewoman remained at her side as each came forward to speak to her.
It was hard for Kelly to stand by and listen, knowing the truth of the matter, but not being able to outright call them liars. She had to think of another way to counter their claims.
The first couple were older than average, and claimed she was their daughter Louise. She felt bad for them when she insisted she knew her name was Kelly. and not Louise. She thought they had deluded themselves into thinking she was their long lost daughter. Not from any criminal intent, but had thought to reclaim her as a last hope of being able to deny the real fate of their child.
The second family was easier to counter, as there was absolutely no familial resemblance to back up their claim. What their motives were was uncertain and the policewoman wasn't amused as she ushered them out of the ward.
The last to arrive was a greasy looking man in his forties. He and a horde of assorted kids swarmed around the bed, distracting both Kelly and the police woman. They never saw one child look at the name on the clipboard on the base of the bed and then whisper to the man, as the children swarmed around and pried into everything they could.
"Welcome back, Kelly, the family really misses you," the man said, having passed the one barrier of her name.
Kelly shuddered, as she'd had a horrible thought of being handed off to the man without any say so. All the kids then started greeting her by name, as if it was all rehearsed. She felt surrounded by a bunch of pickpockets, as the kids fingered and fiddled with anything not nailed down. The policewoman kept shooing them away from the small desk next to her bed as the kids kept trying to open it. Kelly saw one of her oranges she was saving for later, disappear into a pocket of one of the older kids. The family seemed mismatched, with little resemblance amongst them, almost as if the man had just picked them up off the street. It hit her then that it was possible he'd done just that and wanted another pair of hands to do the dirty work, whatever that happened to be.
Luckily the policewoman felt the same way and started asking some pointed questions that left the man uncomfortable. He soon left with a flea in his ear and both women sighed in relief at their departure. Peace reigned again, but only for a short while.
"Hello Kelly," came a voice from a well dressed woman with long brunette hair framing her face.
Kelly looked over thinking, ‘not again!'
"You don't know me, but I'm here to offer you a place to live till you find your own two feet to stand on," the woman offered with a genuine smile.
Kelly revised her mistaken first opinion of the woman, seeing her standing there as if waiting for an invite to come closer.
"A place to live?" asked Kelly, motioning the woman to come closer.
"A little bird told me that you've lost your memory and that soon you'll need a place to stay. I'm here to offer you a home, obligation free, with food and clothing and any other personal requirements thrown in," the unknown woman added.
"But I don't know why you should be so kind to a stranger?"
"Oops, here is my card. I often do charity work as part of my business. Let me introduce myself. I'm Prudence Walker, I own the Hugglebug company and I'm a highly respected member of society. I'm sure this nice policewoman can vouch for me."
Kelly strove not to show any recognition of the woman's name, instead she looked askance at the policewoman for confirmation, She nodded and shook Prudence's hand.
"Before you decide, my contact in the hospital who told me about you, mentioned that they will be discharging you into the custody of social services for temporary placement." Prue explained. "If you accept my offer, you will be sharing my home with several of my nieces from the States, who are currently on holiday here. I'm sure you will get on with them and they can ease you back into the swing of things, if you have forgotten anything important in regards of being a teenager."
"That's very kind of you. I will accept your offer, as long as I have the freedom to move around the city in case anything might strike a chord in my memory," Kelly replied, having decided that her being here was just a quirky coincidence. After all, she did need to learn a lot about how to behave as the teenager she seemed to appear to be.
"Great, now you must call me Prue, I don't like to stand on ceremony. As to be free to move around the city, I'm sure the girls will love to drive you anywhere you want, or there are the buses if you want some private time alone."
"Um … one thing," Kelly began, plucking at her borrowed nightie. "This is all I have to wear, and it was loaned to me," she said embarrassedly.
"No problem, stand up Kelly," Prue asked while getting out her cell phone.
Kelly slithered out of bed and stood up, smoothing out her nightie as she did so.
Prue looked her over from head to toe and began speaking to whoever was on the other side of the call.
"Five six, 34B, petite 6 in light blue, 20 inch waist, 34 hips, medium taupe, size 6." She rattled off efficiently without a pause or wasting words.
This amazed Kelly, who realised she was ordering clothing, using only her eyes as a gauge for measurement.
"Don't worry," smiled Prue, seeing surprise widen Kelly's eyes. I've ordered loads of clothes for young girls, so I have a pretty good eye by now," she laughed warmly.
Prue was still unsure whether this was the person who'd used the experimental nanites. The only connection was the proximity of the rubbish dump to where Kelly had been found. Either way, it felt good to be helping out a person in need. If it turned out that it was the person in question, all the better. So far the girl had conducted herself politely and respectfully, all good signs she wasn't mentally unstable and therefore a threat. Prue sat as they waited for the clothes delivery and talked about the place Kelly was to be staying.
A chattering chorus of voices heralded the arrival of Kelly's new clothes, along with her two nieces, who were acting as temporary delivery girls.
"Kelly? This red haired chatterbox is Shannon Michelle Johnson and the shy one behind her is Lily Sara Lucas." Prue introduced. "Shannon is 17 and Lily Sara or Lilsara as she likes to be called, is 15 yrs old."
Kelly looked both girls over. Shannon's shoulder length red hair framed a nice face and contrasted with her blue eyes. Shannon looked to be about three inches shorter than herself, with a similar figure to her own. Lilsara was only an inch shorter than Kelly despite being younger. Her golden blonde hair fell to mid back and was tussled and unruly. Her eyes were a deep jade green, and were large and guileless. She was slender and childlike, with what Kelly guessed was a 32B chest with slightly smaller waist and hip measurements than Shannon possessed.
"Hi, I'm Kelly. It looks like we will be living together." She smiled, liking the two girls' instantly.
Both girls gave Kelly a hug, which after an instant's hesitation, she returned fiercely.
"Look what we got you," they gushed, shooing Prue away and closing the curtain surrounding her bed.
"Here, let us help you," they offered happily, not giving Kelly a chance to refuse.
Off came her nightie, making Kelly blush. The girls didn't seem bothered by her nudity and with their chatter of how much fun they'd have at Prue's home, Kelly soon lost any semblance of shyness. Wearing a bra for the first time was a novel experience as Shannon did up the hooks. It did feel comforting and although her breasts were perky, she appreciated the support and sense of confinement. She put the panties on herself and then sat on the bed and attempted to pull on the pantyhose.
Seeing she was struggling, the girls showed her the way to doughnut the hose and roll them up her legs. She had to get off the bed to pull the waist up over her panties. A white satin slip with thin spaghetti straps followed. Kelly liked the sensation of it sliding around her body. Then the girls produced the dress. It was a pastel blue, with wide shoulder straps and a rounded neckline rouched under the breast line. The Viscose/Elastane waist hugged her figure, then draped to a knee length asymmetrical hemline. Kelly was filled with mixed emotions. Once a man, she was now dressed in a most attractive feminine dress, and she felt feminine. ‘Shouldn't I hate being dolled up like this?' She felt overwhelmed and uncertain, and a few tears leaked out.
The girls, seeing her face, mistook her tears for those of happiness and again hugged her.
"It's nice being pretty again," Shannon half asked, before producing the shoes. "Sit and we'll get these on you," she offered, pushing Kelly back onto the bed.
The shoes were strapped sandals with a modest inch heel. The ankle straps crisscrossed her ankle and went partly up her leg. Kelly was amazed that the thin straps could give such a feeling of support to her foot as she wiggled her feet in the air.
"We need to do your nails," suggested Lilsara, looking at her hose covered toes.
"And give her a manicure," added Shannon, taking one of Kelly's hands and shaking her head.
"Are you girls finished yet? came Prue's voice from the other side of the curtain.
"For the moment, but she needs a makeover," promised Shannon, as she drew back the curtain.
"Ta daa!" Chorused the girls dramatically, as they waved their arms to gesture at Kelly's debut.
"Very nice," Prue commented with a smile, moving in to give Kelly a hug.
‘What's the deal with all this hugging?' thought Kelly, as she returned it. It wasn't that she disliked it, but she'd never been one to express feelings so physically as a man. She as Kelly, now revelled in the extra human contact, after Kevin's nine months of being isolated and alone.
"Girls? Take Kelly to the car, while I sort out the paperwork," Prue ordered.
"Okay, auntie Prue. Let's go, Kelly," Shannon urged, taking Kelly's hand in hers.
Lilsara wasn't slow in grabbing Kelly's other hand and adding her impetus to moving her out of the ward. On the way to the exit, Shannon spotted a toilet and dragged Kelly inside, with Lilsara following closely behind.
"But I don't need to go," protested Kelly, her words seemingly falling on deaf ears.
"Silly, we aren't going in for that," laughed Shannon, pulling stuff out of her handbag.
Kelly felt uncomfortable being in the ladies. It was as if she was a voyeur, even if it was only the three of them in there at the time. It took a moment of rationalisation tp realize that she was fully entitled to be here now that she was a woman.
Shannon had pulled out a brush and was tugging on Kelly's hair, trying to give it more of a style. She added two small combs she'd found in her bag to the sides of Kelly's hair. Lilsara wasn't to be left out. She pulled out a lipstick and handed it to Kelly to use.
Kelly knew how to apply it to others, but had never tried it personally. She turned to the mirror and tried to apply it as she would to a model. The task was made harder by Shannon tugging on her hair, but finally she made a reasonable job of it. She handed it back to Lilsara with smile, before licking her lips to taste the strawberry scented concoction. Idly, she wondered how her own product would taste, and made a promise to buy a sample and try it for herself.
Shannon pulled some perfume out and spritzed Kelly on the sides of her neck and in her cleavage with it before claiming she was satisfied.
The three girls trooped out and were soon walking outside the hospital. Kelly noticed the attention they were getting from the male section of the populace as they made their way to a stretched Mercedes limo. Shannon had a fob that unlocked the car, with an accompanying beep from the alarm.
Kelly was ushered inside while the two girls sat on either side of her in the back seat. While they waited for Prue, the two girls quizzed Kelly more intensely than the police had. It seemed no topic was taboo as they asked her everything from fashion to prospective boyfriends. Kelly was hard pressed to keep to her story, professing ignorance of most of the subjects the girls covered. It didn't seem to matter as the girls grew excited at being able to mentor their new sister in most things feminine.
The front door of the limo opened and Prue slid gracefully in.
"All set girls?" she asked, looking at the three in the rear vision mirror.
"Yes auntie, but can we stop and get some clothes for Kelly? She hasn't a thing to wear," pleaded Shannon.
Prue laughed, half expecting the request.
"I'd be a gazillionaire, if I got a dollar for every time I heard someone say they haven't got a thing to wear."
"But it's true," persisted Shannon. "Anyway, I thought you were already a gazillionaire," she added with the impeccable logic of the young.
"I was just going to get a few essentials for her today, since I didn't want to subject the poor defenceless clothing stores to your feeding frenzy. Let her gain her strength for one more day before you drag her off screaming on one of your shopping orgies." Prue chortled, hearing the denials coming from the rear.
Prue drove away from the hospital and headed into the upscale part of the city. She drove into an underground car park and then led the girls to an elevator that took them up several floors.
Kelly stepped out with trepidation, seeing the swathe of feminine apparel on racks lined up before her. The two girls oohed, and tugged her deep into the bastion of femininity without hesitation. Instead of feeling shame at the prospect of having to wear all of this delicate flummery, she had a surprising revelation. After having been a heterosexual male for most of his life, with no penchant for wearing anything at all feminine, Kelly now felt something completely different fill her … anticipation.
Kelly ran her hands through the different fabrics. She hadn't realised it before, but women had many more choices when it came to clothing styles and fabrics. Kelly wondered if she would have the strength to return back to a male after using this experience to achieve her goal. The girls pulled off one thing after another, holding them up against Kelly as they discussed the pros and cons of each garment. Prue caught up with them holding several nighties in her hands.
"Don't let them decide that everything they choose is right for you," she warned, with a grin. "Girls, please limit your purchases to two full outfits, one casual and one dressy. Oh, and limit the makeup to the basics, Kelly might want to get a professional opinion as to what's best for her skin tones."
The girls grumbled, but soon had chosen the required items, and then pulled an unresisting Kelly to the makeup counter. Here, Kelly surprised the girls by choosing a few things with the Esprit' brand on them. Lipstick, pancake and blusher along with mascara and eye shadow were selected. The girl's only input was to pick the colours, which mollified them somewhat.
When questioned about her brand choice, Kelly pointed out the all natural ingredients blurb on the packaging. They just shrugged and accepted her choice, having not really thought of what ingredients went into the finished product.
Prue paid for Kelly's purchases with a card, and soon they were back on the road and heading for home. Kelly was impressed by the sight of Prue's home, even by the once affluent Kevin's standards. It was a single storied building that spread out over a large property overlooking the harbour. Kelly spotted a pool, as they rounded the corner to the garage. Once the car was stopped, the girls piled out and dragged Kelly into the house, leaving Prue to park the car in the garage.
Kelly didn't really have time to take everything in, as the girls showed her to the guest room where she'd be staying. Once there, she managed to catch her breath and look around as both girls took charge of putting away her new clothes.
It wasn't Kevin's penthouse, but compared with where she'd ended up, it was luxury unbound. The room had a queen sized bed with a TV and video player. Kelly saw there was an ensuite which contained a shower/ toilet combination, along with a mirrored vanity.
Once the girls had hung the clothes in the wardrobe and put her lingerie into the set of drawers, they decided Kelly needed a tour of Prue's home. At the end of the tour, the last stop was the girl's rooms which were also in the guest wing of the house. Kelly barely found the strength to keep up with their boundless energy as they showed off the contents of their own wardrobes.
Kelly hadn't been particularly interested in women's clothes when he was Kevin, other than how they looked on the women he'd met. Now she was getting an in depth lesson on contemporary teenage fashion, and found it eye opening. This was a valuable lesson, that was necessary for her continued deception and she was an avid spectator.
"Girls, are you hungry yet?" asked Prue, interrupting the discussion as she poked her head into Shannon's bedroom.
At the mention of food, Kelly's stomach growled, causing her to blush as everyone giggled.
"I guess that answers that question." Prue grinned, "Well, dinner will be served in 5 minutes, so I suggest you wash up and show Kelly to the dining room."
Kelly was looking forward to a real meal as she followed the girls to the dining room. A woman Prue introduced as Catherine Watts was laying out dishes of hot steaming vegetables on a side table. She was the live-in cook and she gave Kelly a smile as she was introduced.
The smells were mouth watering, especially the roast leg of lamb that Prue was carving on the side table. Kelly was told to get a warmed plate stacked next to where the food was, and help herself to as much as she wanted.
Kelly selected a little mashed potato, two roast potatoes, some peas and some chopped carrots. She also availed herself to some sprouts and broccoli. Prue added some slices of lamb to her plate, waiting till Kelly nodded she'd got enough.
Kelly took her plate to the table and sat down. There was mint sauce and gravy on the table, which she added as well. The girls followed her with their meals and then Prue came last, with her plate.
"Don't wait, eat it before it gets cold," Prue told Kelly as she reached for the gravy, seeing Kelly was waiting for her.
Kelly dove in, desperate to savour her first real vegetables in 9 months. You don't find many discarded vegetable meals in the trash. She closed her eyes and savoured each mouthful, trying not to moan in delight at the flood of flavours that her awakened taste buds sent her.
"I hope the food's acceptable," Prue said with the hint of a smile on her face.
"It's delicious," Kelly responded, managing not to reveal how long it had been since she'd tasted decent food. With her lie about having no memories of her past, she couldn't say much.
After the main meal, Catherine brought out a deep dish apple pie, obviously homemade, and a tub of ice cream.
After dessert, Kelly felt full for the first time since all this started. With everything that had happened today, now all she felt like doing was to go to bed and sleep. Luckily, Prue noticed her tiredness and told her she was excused if she wanted to go to bed.
Kelly didn't need to be told twice. After thanking Prue for all she'd done, she went directly to her room. Though the bed was calling her, Kelly decided to take a shower to freshen up before bed. Not wanting to deal with wet hair, she put on the shower cap she'd found. Soaping herself up, she had time to really explore her body and check out the vast difference between her legs.
She was too tired to bother with masturbating, but she did finger her clit to feel the beginnings of arousal. She decided it was worth exploring that option at another time, when she wouldn't be disturbed. She gently towelled herself dry after the shower and walked into the bedroom. She donned the nightie that had been bought that afternoon, delighting in the sensuous tingle as it fell down against her body. She climbed into bed and pulled the blankets up. She was asleep within minutes.
When Prue went to bed, she checked the LCD security panel that pulled out of the side of her bedside drawer. The screen had the property layout and schematic of the house showing the sensors on each door and infra red detectors in the house and the surrounding grounds. She watched the sensors outside the house flick from green to orange as the security guard activated each in turn as he patrolled the grounds. He had a transmitter that let him ‘talk' to each detector he activated, so it wouldn't raise the alarm. If an intruder did breach the security, the indicators would turn red instead of orange. This would alert both the guard, through a small waist mounted monitor, and Prue, via the internal system she had in her room. Prue noted that there was activity in Lilsara's and Shannon's room. Prue smiled as she guessed what the two girls were up to as the door sensor on Kelly's room activated. She waited for a few minutes, seeing that all sensors went back to green, before she shut the system down and settled down to sleep.
Kelly roused a bit, as the bed sagged and two warm shapes invaded her bed. The two intruders moved closer to Kelly, making a girl sandwich with a Kelly filling. Snuggling together, all settled down as Kelly unconsciously relaxed, still not really awake, but feeling secure as the warmth from her uninvited bed warmers enveloped them all.
Waking in the morning, Kelly found a head of blonde hair in her line of sight and then realised her hands were cupping the warm rounded breast of Lilsara. As Kelly tried to move her hand back, she realised that her arm was trapped by another set of hands coming from behind her and blocking her from retracting her hand. Blushing furiously at the thought of being caught with her hands full, she slid her hands down to Lilsara's waist. The feeling of being pleased she'd avoided any embarrassment lasted all of three seconds, as Lilsara turned over and smiled at Kelly. Her jade green eyes twinkled and her mouth curled into a smile as Kelly's blush returned.
"Morning Kelly, I hope you slept well? I certainly did," she said with a meaningful grin.
"I slept like a log," Kelly replied
"Me too," came Shannon's voice from over her shoulder.
"We thought a strange bed might stop you sleeping properly, so we thought having company might make you feel secure," offered Lilsara by way of explaining their presence in her bed.
"Ah thanks, I appreciate the thought," Kelly offered, acknowledging their thoughtfulness.
"So, are you rested enough to go shopping today?" asked Shannon hopefully.
"I guess so, but shouldn't we change first?" Kelly asked with a straight face.
Abruptly, Kelly found herself under attack by the two girls. A tickle attack, which soon had them all out of breath from all the giggling, as Kelly retaliated in same.
After a nightie clad breakfast of cereal and toast with homemade black current jam, the girls raced to get dressed so they could go out shopping. At least Lilsara and Shannon raced. Kelly was more sedate, knowing her inexperience in feminine fashion was going to be a daunting challenge.
Kelly was still only in panties and bra when her bedroom was invaded by two feminine whirlwinds in the shape of her friends. Kelly was still trying to figure out what to wear when they came in.
"Come on girl, soon going, we need to be. Clothes buying we shall do hmmmm?" Shannon cackled in a Yoda like tone.
"But I don't know what to wear." Kelly lamented, ignoring the takeoff, not realising she'd uttered an age old saying used by the fairer sex.
"Allow me my young Jedi, I am your mother." Shannon giggled, spoiling the effect, before quickly choosing a top and a skirt for Kelly.
"Oh God, spare me," uttered Kelly, throwing her hands up in defeat before pulling on the selections.
Everyone dissolved into laughter.
Prue waved goodbye, after fiddling with Kelly's top for a second, removing the label that was still attached.
Shannon led them to a yellow Ford Focus that Prue allowed them the use of while they were staying over. Soon they were heading into the city centre, where they left the car in a municipal car park.
"I have her position located," Prue heard the voice on her phone. "They are in Katie's, on the second floor," Michelle reported to her boss.
"Keep track, but don't get too close," Prue told her security chief. "We just want to be sure she doesn't get into trouble," Prue added before ending the call.
She'd managed to hide a tiny nanite built tracker to Kelly's top when she'd removed the clothing label. She hated having to do this, but if this was the person with the nanites, she was a potential risk. Kelly seemed perfectly normal, although her excuse of amnesias was particularly convenient to explain the odd things she'd noticed that seemed out of character. She needed to get the girl into her lab, where they could determine if she was the one for sure. Kim was already working on a means to detect the strain of nanites she'd invented.
It seemed Shannon had been given a credit card by Prue, and was fully planning on maxing out its daily limit. While they shopped, Kelly was getting lessons no boy would need to know … fashion. In particular, teenage fashion. Shannon and Lilsara both pointed out why some things Kelly thought were nice, were in fact, not so good.
"That top won't go with anything but a black skirt," Shannon pointed out. "You need to pick styles and colours that can be mixed with others so you can vary your wardrobe by changing just one item to expand your choices."
By the time hunger pangs called time out for food, Kelly had learned a lot. She had three bags full of underwear and sleepwear and all this before lunchtime. Lilsara suggested they drop the bags off at the car and then head for Wendy's.
After lunch, the girls decided to get some outerwear for Kelly. Being very feminine, they refused to look at any pants or shorts, so Kelly's wardrobe of skirts, tops and dresses began to grow. After an initial reluctance, Kelly soon found herself relaxing and having fun. All the dresses she tried on felt so different from anything she'd ever worn as a guy. It wasn't just the various fabrics that sent her skin tingling. It was the various styles, as well. Some hugged her whole figure while others hugged her chest and fell free further down. There was no way she couldn't feel sexy and feminine attired in some of the clothes she tried on. What puzzled her the most was the way it all felt so normal. The final purchases were in the swimwear section, where Kelly ended up with a lilac one piece and two pairs of bikinis, one in red and one in yellow. When she'd modelled them in the changing room, she really felt conflicted with her image. One part of her, (the Kevin side), was turned on by the body reflected in the mirror, while the growing Kelly part of her, felt proud to be able to turn the male side of her on. It was very confusing.
It was late afternoon before they returned to Prue's home. Once all her clothes were put away, Shannon suggested they go for a swim.
"Isn't it a bit early to be going swimming?" Kelly stated, just shivering at the thought of swimming in early spring.
"Silly, it's heated," Lilsara laughed.
"Come on, last one in is a slut," Shannon challenged, as she turned to race out of Kelly's bedroom.
Kelly should have had the advantage, seeing she was already in her bedroom and her new bathing suits were still on the bed. She'd stripped off quickly, but then she had to make a decision, one piece or bikini. Bikini won by a small margin. She pulled the bottoms on then struggled to get the tiny top to cover her breasts and tie the strings behind her back and neck.
"Looks like I'm the slut," offered Kelly with a grin, once she'd finally found the pool occupied by Shannon and Lilsara.
"Nah, you look too virginal in that yellow bikini," Shannon observed with a chuckle.
"Thanks … I think," Kelly retorted with a haughty sniff, before spoiling the effect with a giggle."
"Come on in, before you freeze. Your nipples are poking holes in your top," Lilsara pointed out with a huge smile.
Kelly looked down and blushed, she'd felt them pucker as soon as she'd stepped outside, but had been too distracted by the girls in their suits to check. She jumped into the water, feeling the warmth fill her with pleasure.
Kelly decided to leave the pool sooner than the others did, begging tiredness for an excuse. She went to her room and opened the mini fridge that was there and pulled out a can of cola. Seeing some other containers in there, she examined them, but was no wiser for it.
Dinner was homemade pizza followed by a ginger steamed pudding and custard. After giving Prue the lowdown on her day's activities, Kelly asked Prue about the strange containers in her fridge.
"Oh those are some left over supplements from our last guest," Prue explained.
"Supplements?" queried a curious Kelly.
"Our last guest wanted to experience being a little girl, using a temporary Hugglebug formula. Returning to an adult requires energy and proteins that the nanites can utilise to rebuild the bulk needed to return to full size.
"So it's sort of like a body in a can?" Kelly asked.
"You could say that. It's full of amino acids and proteins, along with high calcium content. It tastes a bit like beef consommé," Prue offered with a grin.
Kelly changed the subject and asked if it was possible for her to venture out the next day on her own.
"Why not let the girls drive you to wherever you want to go?" Prue asked curiously.
"I need to try and jog my memory. Nothing against the girls, but they can get quite distracting. I want to wander around at my own pace and see if something reminds me of anything," Kelly lied smoothly."
"Do you want the use of a car?" asked Prue.
"I can take a bus, if I had any money," Kelly answered, looking a little shamefaced at the thought of her lack of funds.
In answer, Prue got up and went to a drawer in a nearby cabinet. When she returned, she had a wallet and a cell phone in her hand.
"There's two hundred dollars in here," she said, handing Kelly the leather wallet. This is for any calls you might need if you have any problems," she added, handing the phone to Kelly. All our numbers are listed under our names," she finished.
"Thank you very much. I can't believe how generous you are to me," gushed Kelly with all honesty.
"Just be safe," smiled Prue, as she stood up and mentioned she was going to work in her study.
"Michelle? Get some sleep, tomorrow you have a busy day ahead of you," Prue told her on the phone.
"She's going out alone?" speculated Michelle.
"Yes, the phone and wallet I gave her are both bugged, don't lose her."
"No boss," chuckled Michelle as Prue hung up.
The next morning after another filling breakfast of bacon and eggs, Kelly put a few things together in a handbag borrowed from Shannon. She left the house and walked down to the nearest bus stop where she studied the timetable displayed there. Soon, she was on a bus that took her near to the reserve where she had survived her recent ordeal as Kevin. She walked to the spot where she'd stashed Kevin's wallet. It contained no money and the credit cards were useless now, having been cancelled by the bank under his ex wife's instructions. It did, however, contain an important piece of plastic, the security card that allowed access to Kevin's old apartment block. She removed the card and then she stashed the wallet back under the rock where Kevin had hidden it months ago.
Catching another bus downtown, she never knew about the topic of conversation her visit to the reserve was generating.
"She visited the reserve near the Mangere garbage dump. Do you think that's significant proof of our suspicions?" Michelle asked Prue over the phone.
"It's not conclusive. She did say she wanted to try to trigger her missing memories. Going to the place she was found would be a logical starting point." Prue argued.
"So we continue our surveillance?" sighed Michelle.
"Yes." Prue confirmed, feeling bad at having to do this to such a nice seeming girl.
Kelly alighted from the bus a stop away from her intended destination. She walked slowly around the building, checking that all seemed unchanged from when she was last here. Avoiding the ground floor restaurant at the front of the building, Kelly made her way around to the rear of the building. Knowing the security systems intimately, she knew there was a CCTV covering the rear staff entry. She stopped just out of range of the camera and concentrated on an image of the past, before moving towards the pin prox card reader. Kelly badged the card and punched in a 5 digit code. The rear door unlocked, and she slipped inside.
Kelly walked along the corridor to a door that led to the woman's staff locker room. There, she appropriated the uniform of one of the cleaners. Then she took a master key that allowed the staff to enter the apartments on the floors above the restaurant. After donning the smock and cap, she checked out her look in the mirror there. Instead of Kelly's visage, she saw the face of the woman she'd used to enter the building, Maria Louise DuPont.
Kelly took her bag and covered it with several towels that she arranged to cover the bag, while looking like she was only carrying clean towels. She then walked to the next intersecting corridor and turned left towards a dead end where there were no cameras.
Kelly stopped before a steel louvered door that had a sign on it saying DANGER Mains Riser Duct. The lock opened to the master key she'd borrowed. She then entered the small space inside, closed the door behind her, and relocked it from the inside.
Turning around she saw the four black three inch diameter PVC columns, which represented the power cables passing from the basement up through this floor to the floor above. They looked real enough, half embedded into a plaster wall that went from floor to ceiling.
Kelly took her security card and held it against the wall in a particular spot. A dull click came from the wall and Kelly pressed on one side, allowing it to swing inwards to reveal a hidden room. Kelly stepped inside and closed the false wall behind her.
Kevin had become very security conscious, as his developing enterprise took off. When he'd had the apartment/ restaurant complex built, he was deeply involved with the security systems that were installed. He'd managed to keep the hidden room a secret from all, but a few people. He'd learnt how to program and run the system, and his security card didn't leave an audit trail after he'd modified the programming.
The guard room that normally looked after the building security was merely a mirror of the room in which Kelly now stood. This room was the heart of the system and the footage from the CCTV's was recorded on a massive DVR system that had multi terabyte hard drives.
Kevin's penthouse was also under covert CCTV surveillance, a fact Penelope was unaware of, to his knowledge. Kevin had never mentioned it in fear she'd want the cameras removed, and he wasn't prepared to do that. The coverage from the penthouse was only recorded to the digital video recorders in the hidden room. Even Kevin's penchant for security didn't overrule commonsense in not wanting footage of his personal life to be accessible to the guards.
Kelly sat down at the computer desk and booted up the monitor. Several passwords later, she scrolled through some of the history of the audit trails for the penthouse. Kelly noted that only the passwords for the ground floor entrance doors and the penthouse had been changed, not that it mattered to the card she now held. It was a master, and would always be accepted by any reader in the complex.
Next, Kelly ran the recordings of the DVR. She skipped to different dates, looking for evidence of Penelope's perfidy. Kelly ran the last two weeks of coverage on fast forward, pausing and rechecking certain movements of Penelope's and her guests around inside the penthouse.
Kelly then opened the large handbag she'd borrowed and took out two containers that had been in the fridge in her room. She eyed the stolen Hugglebug body supplements with a thoughtful gaze as plan after plan was made and then discarded.
Kelly looked at the times Penelope left for work and when she returned. Taking an average, she calculated that she had 5 hours before Penelope returned home. She knew that the camera feed outside the lift on the penthouse landing would be monitored by the guards.
Her initial plan to get into the penthouse as either the maid or cleaning staff, by changing her body to imitate one of the staff could pose a problem if the person she imitated was questioned later.
She grinned as she made a video loop of the empty landing by the lift lobby of the penthouse. She then patched it through to the guard's monitors with barely a flicker as the feeds changed over.
Kelly then left her hidden room, keeping her temporary identity as a cleaner, until she reached the penthouse level via the elevator. She badged her card on the door to her former home and entered.
First thing she did was check out the hidden floor safe Kevin had installed under a removable tile in the walk in larder. In it, were the important papers with the patents for Kevin's formulas, along with some emergency funds. Kevin hadn't had time after the trial to recover the ten thousand dollars stored there or his life would have been radically different from what it was now.
Kelly lifted the money out after opening the safe. She crouched there, thinking of how her life had gone downhill, without those valuable pieces of coloured paper. Into the bag went the money, before she closed the safe. The other papers would remain safe inside until she returned in the future.
She looked around the rest of the penthouse, reading anything of Penelope's correspondence that looked interesting. Then she went into the bedroom which brought forth a swathe of bitter sweet memories.
Kelly poked into the large walk in wardrobe now filled with just her clothes. Nothing remained of Kevin's expensive suits or indeed anything masculine in nature.
Kelly looked at some of Penelope's business attire curiously. It must be because she was now female, that she wondered what she'd look like wearing some of the designer wear. On impulse, she took down a particularly nice suit and moved towards the full mirror with it. She held it against her body, imagining how it would feel on her. She put it back after checking its size and looked through more of her ex-wife's clothes, paying particular interest to the sizing.
Kelly found what she was looking for at the back of the wardrobe, clothes that were a size or two smaller. Penelope must have gained weight and probably wouldn't miss any of the clothes she knew wouldn't fit her anymore. Knowing Penelope, she would never get rid of any of her clothes, probable thinking she would wear them once she lost some weight. Kelly had counted on this and had planned accordingly.
"Kelly is currently inside the Walsh Building," Michelle reported, having followed Kelly around in her Mercedes.
She was currently parked outside and watching the small monitor that showed two blips that represented the two bugs Prue had stashed in the wallet and phone. "Is she eating in the restaurant?" asked Prue, having remembered it from a visit for a meal when it first opened for business.
"Hard to tell, without a floor plan. She does seem to be in the rear of the building on the restaurant level."
Okay, keep an eye out," ordered Prue as she hung up.
Michelle waited. She noticed the blips rising, obviously going up to the top of the building. She debated ringing Prue again, but decided to wait.
Pulling one of the shopping bags from yesterdays outing from her handbag, Kelly picked out a couple of garments before going to get some of Penelope's underwear and two pairs of her shoes.
Kelly then left the penthouse and went back to her secret hideaway, where she took out the clothes and hung them up on a convenient hook on the wall. She was going to take them with her, but with the curiosity of the girls, she couldn't take the chance.
Now Kelly got back onto the computer and logged into her former company's database. Here too, her old passwords allowed her unlimited access, and soon she was scouring the company's records and employee's employment records. She needed to get close to Penelope and the only way was to become someone she'd never suspect, her secretary.
Therein lay a problem. There was no way she could pull it off, not without knowing all the nuances of their business and personal relationship made over time. Through the records, she found out who took over Penelope's secretarial duties when her personal secretary was ill or was on vacation. She took note of the phone numbers and addresses of both the secretary and her temp. Now Kelly's plan began to come together as she shut down the computer and made her way out of the building.
Kelly returned home to Prue's place late in the afternoon, after buying some clothes suitable for the next stage in her revenge.
Prue asked Kelly how her day was, already knowing mostly where she had been. Kelly, knowing it was too soon to put her plans into action, just mentioned that she might have a job lined up.
"Oh! Who with?" Asked Prue interestedly.
"Walsh cosmetics… sorry Bennet's cosmetics, I happened to meet someone that works there and said I had the "look," whatever that means," fibbed Kelly, hoping nobody picked up her mistake on the renamed company.
"Isn't it a bit soon to be looking for a job? I mean, you are just recovering from a traumatic experience," reasoned Prue concernedly.
"Well I can't sponge off you indefinitely, and it won't happen for a while anyway as I've got no identification or tax records to give the employer." Kelly offered sadly.
"I can expedite getting you a new identity. Do you want Dee as your surname? Prue offered.
"Hmmm I'd prefer something more … what about Davidson?"
"Kelly Davidson? Yes it does seem to fit you," agreed Prue.
"But we like Dee!" protested Lilsara and Shannon unanimously who had been listening avidly.
"Well you can still call me Kelly Dee if you like," grinned Kelly.
"We'll be Deelighted to," the girls chorused together with a laugh.
"Come to the lab with me tomorrow and we'll see about getting things moving along. Remember, it's no trouble for me if you stay here indefinitely. I have plenty of room, and the girls need someone to play dress up with," laughed Prue, seeing Kelly wince a little at the cheer from the girls.
The next day, Kelly and the girls, who decided to go along, got the tour of the headquarters of the Hugglebug company. It was here that Prue finally revealed Lilsara and Shannon's secret, with their permission, of course.
Kelly was surprised to learn that both girls had originally been boys, now changed by a dose of Hugglebugs. Originally they had been teenagers, but when Prue learned of their obsession to be little girls, she'd offered them their dreams.
Prue had contacts that monitored the chatrooms that dealt with the transgendered, usually to advise those in need, of the Hugglebug product. When told of the financial plights of both Lilsara and Shannon, Prue offered to fly them to New Zealand free of charge to get their dream life.
Both were reduced to a very young age and allowed to grow up a second time, as girls. Prue often had them visit her as they grew older. This was another of those visits.
Kelly realised now why the girls were really into being extremely feminine. Not that she blamed them, she hadn't been a girl very long herself and already she was feeling more and more comfortable being female. The clothes available to her now were also part of the attraction of being female. Kelly had never had so much fun trying on the myriad of styles and fabrics that made up the available wardrobe for the female of the species.
Prue then took them to the lab, where she asked Kelly for a blood sample. When asked why, Prue said it was an essential part of her new identity, as everyone had their blood group listed.
Kim took the sample and hurried it off to some equipment, where she became oblivious of the others presence, as she busied herself amongst the assorted equipment.
"Well?" Asked Prue?
"O negative," Kim responded after a moment's pause.
"I'll talk to you later, Kim. I expect a full breakdown," Prue insisted, as she led everyone to her office. Prue offered Kelly and the girls refreshments as she picked up the phone and began calling her contacts. After a while, the girls grew bored and asked if they could leave.
Prue agreed and said she'd see them back home later. Kelly went with the girls, as they called a taxi and left for the inner city.
"Kim, so what's the report," Prue asked, when Kim entered her office an hour after the girls had left.
"Inconclusive boss, as you know, the nanites break down as soon as they leave the bodies biometric field. I did a trace element scan and it's similar to the one I ran on our blood."
"Isn't that enough proof?" Prue interrupted.
"Well if she was being held near the rubbish dump as the police suspect, it's possible, given the state of the camp they found, that she was being fed contaminated food. There are a lot of heavy metals there, and who knows what else was in her diet. It could be skewing the results unduly."
"So it's back to wait and see?" Sighed Prue resignedly.
"You mentioned the caller said he'd been turned into his wife?" Kim asked with a raised eyebrow.
Prue nodded in the affirmative.
"Kelly is a bit young to be a wife," Kim pointed out.
"True," admitted Prue.
"So wouldn't it follow that if the person found she could change her form to Kelly, why didn't she change back to her male self?"
"That's what I was thinking. I don't have an answer for that," Prue acknowledged. "A man would need a very good reason not to return to a male body."
"Did the person say anything to indicate that there might be such a reason?" asked Kim.
"He, or rather she, did mention correcting an injustice," mused Prue idly.
"That doesn't exactly seem to fit Kelly's profile. She seems quite happy and comfortable being female from what I've seen," Kim pointed out.
"I agree, but with the seriousness of our dilemma we can't just reject her as a suspect," Prue argued.
"Suspect? He or she didn't commit a crime boss," Kim replied with surprise.
"You're right Kim. All this cloak and dagger stuff is getting to me. I'm just pretty wound up over this. If just a whiff of this gets out to the wrong people, our lives won't be worth spit. Kelly isn't a suspect. She is more a victim than anything if she has the nanites."
"Kim smiled, and gave Prue a reassuring hug. This was the boss she knew and loved.
"Either way, Kelly will be in safe hands if I know you, boss," Kim stated confidently.
Kelly, meanwhile, was feeling overwhelmed as the two girls dragged her hither and yon for that perfect dress they insisted she needed to have. Never in Kevin's life had he seen so many dresses. Even Penelope at her worst, had never modelled as many when she'd dragged him along shopping with her with his check book in hand.
Things only slowed down when she'd spied a little black dress that she thought was cute. ‘Cute?' hmmm where did that come from?' she thought, as she fingered the sensuous material.
"Oh that is so you," Shannon gushed as she turned to see what Kelly had found. "What do you think, Lilsara?"
"It's a great dress, but where's the rest of it?" she joked, before giggling madly.
Kelly looked at the dress to see what was missing before she realised that Lilsara was kidding. A small involuntary giggle fought its way out of her mouth, becoming full blown as Shannon joined in the merriment.
Prue had a surprise for Kelly when she returned home that evening. Prue handed her some papers and some booklet like items.
"What are these?" Kelly asked curiously.
"Your new birth certificate, passport, tax IRD number and a bank account book with a credit card." Prue explained.
"Bank account? Credit card?" Kelly questioned in shock.
"I've put 5000 dollars into it and the credit card has a 1000 dollar limit." Prue responded with a smile.
"But, but, I can't accept that, you have already done so much for me." Kelly stuttered. "I thought getting any sort of identity papers would take weeks, if not months," she added as an afterthought.
"Well, I have a lot of friends in high places and I have a fast track where it concerns my customers who use Hugglebugs. As to the money, I can afford it, and it will be an incentive for you to add to it once you join the work force. Once you're rich, if it still troubles you, then you could donate 5000 dollars to charity or help someone else in a similar fashion," Prue replied with a smile.
"I'm 18?" Kelly queried, looking at her new birth certificate.
"I'm sorry. If you think that's too old, but you seem more mature than Shannon, and being 18, you won't have any problems getting this job you're after," offered an apologetic Prue.
"No, that's fine. I guess it's just strange to suddenly find out your age.
"She needs a cake and presents," Lilsara insisted in a pleading voice.
"Huh?" an uncomprehending Prue questioned.
"Yes, a big cake," agreed Shannon, catching on quickly.
"It's her birthday, she just turned 18," Lilsara explained.
"Ah, um, okay, can we delay it for tomorrow?" Prue asked the girls. "I didn't get her anything, and I suppose you didn't either. We can get a nice cake and do it right," offered Prue, looking at Kelly for acceptance.
"It's okay with me," shrugged Kelly bewilderedly, trying to come to terms with this latest surprise.
"Yippee," chorused Lilsara and Shannon, as they started whispering plans together.
The next day, Kelly decided to stay at home, while the girls went out shopping. After breakfast, Kelly had gone back to her bedroom and thought about her plans for the near future. About 10am, Kelly's ruminations were interrupted by a knock on her door. It was Catherine the cook.
"Kelly? I'm going out shopping for a few hours. If you get hungry before I get back, there's some cold meat in the fridge if you want sandwiches."
"Okay, thank you," Kelly called back, not bothering to get off the bed and open the door.
Kelly listened to footsteps retreating then faintly, the outside door opening and then closing. She sighed and then putting her planning aside for the moment, she decided to find out what this body really felt like, now she was alone. First she needed to borrow something she'd seen in Shannon's half open dresser drawer.
She returned to her room, holding her borrowed toy. She flicked it on, hearing it buzz and vibrate in her grasp. She gingerly held it on her groin, feeling the vibrations sink into her body and begin to excite her new organs. She fought a fleeting revulsion that told her this was wrong. But as she circled the tip of the vibrator around her new sex, the feeling of her growing arousal caused an epiphany. She then decided she wanted to experience a female orgasm, after all, she was now a female and while the vibrator was shaped like a large penis, her body was designed to be penetrated by such a shape. She took a breath and pressed the vibrator in.
She became coherent some time later, remembering hearing cries and moans. She blushed, realising that it was her that had been making all the noise as she reached a sexual nirvana unlike anything she as Kevin had ever had. She rolled off the bed and wobbled into the bathroom. She then filled the bath, sitting weak-kneed on the edge, till it was full enough to slip into. She washed herself slowly taking extra care between her legs where she was pleasantly achy. Washing the vibrator, she promised herself she would buy her own, knowing that this wouldn't be the last time she'd play with one,
Kelly finished with the bath, and while still only attired in a towel, she snuck back into Shannon's room and replaced the borrowed toy.
She got dressed in a skirt and top and wandered into the kitchen for a bite to eat. Finding some cold roast beef, she sliced some off and made some beef sandwiches. For a drink, she found a milkshake machine on the bench. Soon, after finding the bottles of flavours, she'd made a raspberry milkshake for herself. As it was fine, she ate outside sitting at the patio table. While she was eating her lunch, she saw a guard doing his rounds.
"Um hello?" Kelly called out, trying to attract the guard's attention.
"Yes Miss?" the guard asked, coming closer to her.
"I want to go out in a while, and there's nobody at home. Do I lock the place up? I don't have a key."
The guard smiled, then spoke into a lapel microphone of his waist mounted Walkie Talkie.
"Follow me, Miss Kelly. I'll get you a swipe card."
Kelly followed the guard inside, bringing her empty plate in as well. The guard opened a metal cabinet in the hall and handed her a plastic credit card sized card.
"That will allow you to enter the house and gate. You don't need a key. You just close the door or the gate as you leave the property," he explained.
"Thank you," Kelly offered, taking the card.
Kelly got her handbag and put the card in her wallet, before going outside. After leaving the property, she walked down the street with no real destination in mind. She just wanted to do some thinking and enjoy the sun on the fine October day.
Michelle, who'd had a boring morning watching the property, while Kelly had stayed behind, now had another problem. How to follow a person walking without being obvious? She decided to let Kelly walk out of sight, before moving the car forward. She drove past Kelly until she was almost out of sight before she pulled into a side street. Michelle watched as Kelly walked towards her, then snorted in chagrin as Kelly took a small walking path that led down to the harbour's edge.
Kelly walked down the steps leading to the waterfront. She then paused as she waited to cross the busy road that ran the length of the shoreline. Once across, she headed for the beach, intending to sit in the sun for a while and soak in some rays. She wasn't intending to try and achieve a tan, as she could do that with a thought if she wanted. No, she just wanted to wind down from the last few days and think about what she'd felt earlier that day pleasuring herself.
In her vague plans for the future, she'd thought she'd dump this female form and return to being a man again. Now it didn't look likely that she could return to being Kevin unless she found overwhelming evidence of his innocence. Even if she did, Kevin's future in the business would be doomed, as the scandal would stick no matter how innocent he was.
His wife had kept the company going by calling it by her maiden name, Bennet cosmetics and the Esprit' brand had continued to grow strongly, having never been touched by the scandal. The only reason his restaurant/housing complex was still called the Walsh building was because the name was built into the building façade.
After this morning's performance, Kelly was trying to find excuses to remain female by weighing the pros and cons, not that there were many cons.
She was younger now, at least physically, and thanks to Prue, now had a valid identity. She wasn't rich, but if her plans came to fruition, that matter would be resolved. Her age could be a disadvantage in the business world, but if things turned out all right, she should be able to prove her abilities given the right opportunities. There were a few ifs, buts and maybes, but overall, she would gain more remaining Kelly at this point in time.
So caught up in her thoughts, she didn't see the person that came up to her. The first inkling that things were turning bad was when a hand grasped her shoulder and turned her around.
"Ah! I thought it was you, I couldn't believe my luck when I spotted you," the man's voice chortled evilly.
Kelly looked up at the person and her blood went cold at the expression on the man's face. It was the greasy man who had tried to claim her at the hospital as his own child.
"Go away and leave me alone," snapped Kelly angrily, trying to shrug the man's hand off her shoulder.
"Feisty words from a feisty girl," the man challenged with a sneer, moving his grip to her upper arm.
"I'll scream, if you don't release me immediately," promised Kelly.
The man instantly changed grip, moving behind her, he grasped her left arm with his left hand, while his right hand smothered her mouth, preventing her calling out.
Kelly struggled, realising one con she'd forgotten was the lack of strength in her smaller body. The man dragged her up to his car, parked on the waterfront. The only person near enough to see what was happening was an old frail woman, who for obvious reasons, decided to refrain from interfering. A jogger coming up to them slowed as the man pushed her into the door and closed it behind her.
"Kids… she's a real badun, played hooky from school today," the man offered, as explanation to the jogger.
The jogger shrugged and moved on, as Kelly struggled to get out of the car doors.
The man climbed in to the front, telling her to settle down or he'd hurt her.
"It's useless girly, those doors have child locks on them," he laughed, seeing Kelly pulling on the doors.
Kelly was trapped. The window winders had been removed, preventing her from escaping out of the windows. Instead, not wanting to give up, she tried to clamber into the front seat and see if she could get out of the front passengers door. As she got halfway over, the man lashed out and hit Kelly on the ear with his fist. The force bounced her back into the rear leaving her stunned and groggy.
Michelle was delayed getting down to the waterfront. The steepness of the cliff, which Kelly had walked down, prevented their being any roads directly leading down to the waterfront drive. She had to drive along the upper road for several kilometres before she could reach an intersecting road leading down. Several sets of lights further delayed her and the air inside her car was distinctly blue tinged before she managed to reach the road she wanted.
She did have her laptop open on the seat next to her. But trying to see a blip moving on the screen with scattered sunlight flashing on it while she drove made checking on her charge near impossible. The traffic on the road was also diverting her attention as everyone appeared to be suddenly acting like Sunday drivers, or so it seemed to her heightened awareness of the urgency to be elsewhere.
It wasn't until she was approaching where Kelly should have been, that she realised something was wrong. In the shadow of the cliff, her screen was clearly seen. The blip of the tracker was moving fast, too fast and it was heading directly towards her. Michelle kept a close eye out on the road, watching the approaching cars, none of which seemed to have a young girl inside. The blip passed her position, for her car was also represented on the screen to give relative distances. Michelle saw two cars pass by at that moment a red BMW and a nondescript brown sedan of unknown make.
Michelle spun her car over the low median strip, disregarding the horns from the cars behind and the oncoming traffic. She bounced in her seat as she narrowly missed a small sign stuck in the median strip. She heard a few shouts from the cars she had dangerously merged into with the car in front slowing as if to make her stop.
With a curse, she floored the accelerator, and swerved past the car on the inside, narrowly missing a parked car. She gave the shocked drive the bird as she squeezed past, laughing at his foul response.
"Call the cops, I don't care," shouted Michelle. This was one time the police would be welcomed in any form. She soon discovered which car had the tracker in it, as the BMW turned off and the blip on her screen carried on. Michelle had a sudden thought and reached for her phone.
"Prue, we have a situation," Michelle said, as soon as she was connected.
"With Kelly?" Prue answered with alarm.
"Her tracker is in a car heading east along the waterfront. I didn't see Kelly in the car and I'm wondering if she actually in there or someone has snatched her bag and left her on the beach." Michelle explained her worry.
"I'll call the police and have them check the beach there. Do you have a description of the car?" asked Prue.
"Only that it's brown and a sedan type. No licence number yet, I have to get closer. Hang on a moment," Michelle muttered, as she passed yet another slow poke on the road. "Okay, it is QM 45802, got that. I think it's a Toyota Crown?"
"Got it, calling the cops now," Prue responded.
Michelle hung up to concentrate on the car ahead of her.
Kelly struggled to stay conscious in the back seat of the car. She tried to shake the fuzziness from her brain as she lolled from side to side as the car approached more twisty roads, as the driver turned off the more trafficked routes. Kelly had time to slip her mobile phone into her top letting it nestle in her cleavage where it was harder to see. She knew she had no chance to ring for help in the car, so she bided her time, hopefully keeping it concealed till she had a more favourable opportunity.
Michelle had to drop back, as the traffic lessened and her car become more easily spotted as a tail. In doing so she failed to see the car turn off up a small bush lined dirt track that led to a ramshackle house. Luckily the tracker quickly had her back tracking after she realised the blip was behind her. She stopped by the dirt track and called Prue.
Kelly meanwhile, was dragged from the car and pulled into the house where she was immediately surrounded by the children she'd seen in the hospital. Her bag was torn from her grasp by the eager kids and was soon emptied on a rather grubby table. The wallet was soon divested of its cash and credit card with whoops of glee. The man soon took back the money and card after he shouted at the kids.
Kelly was glad that the her security card and other identity papers where still stashed at Prue's home. The loss of the money and credit card was a blow, but could be replaced in time. Even her clothes were plucked at as if they were going to be ripped off and given to the other girls.
"Leave them," said the man, having looked up from his scrutiny of the wallets contents. "They won't fit you anyway," he added nastily.
It was true. The girl was too skinny and a bit shorter than Kelly, however she didn't take the order very well, and scowled at Kelly as if it was her fault.
"You'll soon lose your high and mighty ways, once Jerald trains you," she sneered.
Kelly took it that the man's name was Jerald.
"What's the pin number for this card Miss Davidson?" Jerald demanded, stressing her surname in an unpleasant manner.
Kelly refused to answer, even though it might mean him getting abusive with her.
"Throw her in the hole," Jerald ordered to the eldest girl. "She'll soon come around in a couple of days," he laughed.
Kelly was pulled along by several members of the mismatched family to a closet. It was empty when she saw them open it just before they pushed her inside and locked the door.
Michelle waited impatiently, if the police didn't get here soon, she was going to do something herself. Prue had passed her information on to the authorities and told her to wait. Michelle opened the car door, her patience at an end and was about to walk up the track, when the police drove up. Their lights had been on, but they hadn't used their sirens in case they alerted the abductor.
"Any activity?" asked the officer in charge, as he put on an armoured vest and selected his weapons.
"No, it's all quiet so far?" Michelle informed him.
"Do you know if the person is armed?" he asked hopefully.
"No I don't sorry," Michelle sighed.
Kelly listened until the footsteps faded, before digging out her phone. She punched the number for Prue's mobile, and urged it to connect quicker.
"KELLY! WHERE ARE YOU?" shouted Prue, as soon as her phone ID showed who was calling.
"I'm locked in a closet of some house. I'm not sure where I'm at. I missed seeing where he guy was driving after he hit me." Kelly explained in a rush.
Prue nearly crushed her phone in her hand, hearing that Kelly had been struck by some wacko. She thought quickly, trying to come up with the next move.
"Is the man armed and is there anyone else with him?" she asked desperately.
"Not that I could tell. His name is Jerald and he has about seven kids with him of various ages. It was the same person who tried to claim me in the hospital," Kelly told her.
"Help is coming, I've called the police. Stay still and do anything they ask of you," Prue insisted. "Keep on the line, and I'll be here for you."
Prue used the landline to ring Michelle.
Michelle answered her phone when it began to ring. She listened for a moment before calling to the policeman in charge. She handed over the cellphone and Prue again relayed the information from Kelly.
Things began to happen quickly then. Michelle insisted on going with the police, even though they insisted she stay out of it. In the end, she convinced them of her qualifications to participate. She had to borrow a vest before they would allow her to proceed.
Michelle and five police officers walked slowly up the drive to the house. The officer used hand signals to have the men deploy around the house, while Michelle stayed with the leader. It took a minute before everyone was in place at windows or doors. Each one of the officers called quietly on their radio coms, once they were in position.
The officer with Michelle nodded to her, as he signalled the men to assail the house. Moments later all hell let loose, as breaking glass and smashed in doors gave rise to screams inside.
Michelle stayed outside. Her work was done and Kelly's rescue was now out of her hands. She didn't want to stay around to have Kelly question her about why she was involved. She would stay in the background, but she felt she had to be here when the police stormed the house as she felt responsible for her charge. Even if Kelly was the person with the special nanites, Michelle had formed a bond with the girl she'd followed day after day.
Kelly suddenly heard glass breaking and the slam of doors being smashed open and via the phone, so could Prue.
"Are you okay?" asked Prue anxiously as she heard the noise over the phone.
"Yes, but there's a lot of screaming going on out there," replied Kelly, suddenly glad she was in a dark closet away from the scuffle.
Soon the noise died down to just sobs and crying from the children and curses from the now subdued man. The door to the closet was unlocked and Kelly blinked in the sudden daylight as her eyes readjusted to the light.
"Are you okay, Miss?" a concerned voice from the blue clad officer asked, as he helped her stand and began to assist her out of the closet.
"I'm fine, thanks," she answered to both the officer and Prue who was still listening on the phone. "What will happen to the kids now?" she asked, showing a maturity belying her apparent age.
"They will be looked after, don't you worry," the officer responded with a smile.
Kelly was led outside, where she was handed her belongings and the cash stolen from her wallet. She watched as Jerald was bundled into the back of a police car that was parked up the driveway. The children were led to a small van and bundled inside. Kelly herself was led down the driveway past the car Jerald was in and past the van with the children on board. Kelly was directed into a plain car with a single magnetically attached flashing light on top. The driver removed the light and turned it off, before driving away with her sitting in the back.
At the station she was taken to, Kelly met with Prue, who had just arrived. They hugged each other and Kelly's body began to shake in delayed shock. Prue stayed with her during the questioning about her abduction. Kelly asked for and received a hot cup of chocolate to settle her nerves as she recounted her ordeal.
Finally, she could go home and Kelly sat quietly in Prue's car and thought over what happened trying to determine if she could have avoided it somehow.
Prue, sensing Kelly's reason for her introspective silence, spoke up.
"It wasn't your fault. It was just bad luck and people like that should be locked up or worse," she said into the silence.
Kelly, having come to the same conclusion, sighed. "You're right, but I can't help thinking of those kids, they deserve better than to be caught up in those circumstances."
"Do you want to call off your birthday celebration?" asked Prue, solicitously.
"Oh!... no, but I do wish we could have the kids share it with me," stressed Kelly, who had completely forgotten all about her ‘birthday' in the heat of the days abduction.
"You do?" asked Prue incredulously.
"Yeah, that could so easily been me there, having to steal to live," offered Kelly by way of an explanation.
"Let me make some phone calls," offered Prue, as they reached home.
Shannon's and Lilsara's chorus of "Happy birthday Kelly," when they entered, soon choked off as they saw the sad face of their new sister. Prue quickly filled them in, before leaving for her office study. The girls surrounded Kelly giving her sympathetic hugs as they led her into the lounge and sat her into the large settee there. Of course, they insisted that Kelly had to give them a blow by blow account. By the time the girls were satisfied, Prue came into the lounge with a grin on her face.
"It seems we might be able to grant your birthday wish, Kelly."
This prompted more questions from the girls, so Prue explained.
Catherine, the cook came in to see what the fuss was about and whether she should go ahead with the meal.
"You'd better make sure you have enough for seven extra appetites," warned Prue, as she continued talking to the girls.
"Thank God for microwave ovens," muttered Catherine good-naturedly as she left for the kitchen.
"It seems the police have located the families of five of the children and are checking the circumstances as to why the children were missing. The police commissioner has put the children into my temporary custody, while things are being sorted out. The two children without family will be looked after, until they can hopefully, be adopted. I've asked Rose and Kim to bring some suitable clothing from the company along with some other goodies. They will get their sizes from the police, and have them cleaned up before they arrive here. I've asked Michelle, my security chief to come as well. She can keep an eye on them here without it being obvious."
Kelly looked at Shannon and Lilsara, in case they thought it was a bad idea to have seven strange kids come visit for a meal, especially under the circumstances that Kelly met them. Surprisingly, they seemed to welcome the idea, which spoke volumes for their characters. All they asked was, how old each one was, which Prue supplied along with their names, having gotten that information from the police. They then asked if there was time for a quick shopping trip to which Prue laughed.
"A quick shopping trip? That I'd like to see," she laughed. "You have an hour."
Shannon dragged Lilsara out to the car, leaving Kelly with Prue.
"Don't ask?" suggested Prue to Kelly's unasked question.
"What will happen to Jerald?"
"Corruption of minors, aiding and abetting, kidnapping, are just a few of the charges against him. The police are adding to the list by the minute. I spoke to the judge who will be prosecuting the case. I suggested that when he's sentenced, she mention that he will be put into general population where they will crucify him. Then she will offer him a choice, general population in prison, or a new life and identity from a dose of Hugglebugs."
"The second choice seems a shoo-in, but isn't that letting him go unpunished?" Kelly asked curiously.
Prue smiled. "I guess to some, it would be a reward."
Kelly frowned, trying to see the punch line that Prue seemed have in reserve. Sighing, she asked the obvious.
"He will have no say in who he'll become. Somehow I don't think he'd appreciate becoming a child again, especially not a female one," she chortled.
"That's evil. I love it!" Kelly responded with a grin.
Then Kelly grew thoughtful, "Will she remember who he was?"
"Oh yes, we don't condone identity death, which could occur if we regressed him back too far. At an age of five years, the brain is developed enough to contain an adult's entire memory. Think of a child's brain as a new computer waiting to be filled, and an adult's mind as a third full hard drive. All we are doing is copying the files across to the new unfilled drive."
"What happens when she grows up?" questioned Kelly, now fully interested in the subject.
"We have done this a few times before for some sexual predators, who were deemed incurable by the law. They are now living happy lives as young girls," Prue informed her.
"They adjusted to being female?" Kelly asked, having a personal reason for asking.
"Yes, but for a reason we are still unsure of. We did think it would create a transgendered person who would seek to return to being their original sex. It may yet do that if we turned a female into a male, which luckily, we haven't needed to do yet."
Kelly thought for a moment, before coming up with a theory of her own.
"Maybe it's because, all humans are female in the womb. A male is possibly a sort of corrupted female and when returned to the female sex, the person at heart, recognises its perfection in form." She mused thoughtfully.
You might be right, who knows for sure?" Prue laughed. "All I know is that the girls seem to fight it for only a year before finally accepting their lot. I did talk to one of them after being a girl for six years. She didn't want to return to being a man."
A knock on the door interrupted further discussion. Prue looked at her watch and suggested Kelly welcome the guests. Kelly went to the front door and opened it.
"Happy birthday, Kelly," a rather well endowed woman greeted her. Kelly remembered seeing her at the Hugglebugs plant.
"Thanks, Rose," Kelly acknowledged. Kelly then saw the children lined up behind Rose with another young woman bringing up the rear. Kelly assumed this was Michelle, which Prue had mentioned. The kids were now clean and dressed in what looked like new clothing. They were all looking sombre and downcast as if they were going to their own funeral.
"Come in please," welcomed Kelly, standing aside and allowing the group to enter the house.
The kids must have been warned to behave, as they were silent as they grouped together for safety. Kelly led them into the lounge as Catherine came out with a tray of refreshments and laid it out on the low table in the middle of the room.
Shannon and Lilsara picked that exact moment to arrive home and after a quick hello to everybody, they rushed to their bedrooms with the shopping bags they were carrying.
"Please help yourselves to the savouries and drink." Kelly urged the children, after the wake of the girls passing had settled.
The elder girl went first, filling glasses for the others and handing them out. She then picked out a sausage roll for herself. The others slowly thawed and began to eat either the sausage rolls or the small savoury mince pies.
Kelly and Prue joined in while there was still some food left, as the children went back for seconds and thirds. Shannon and Lilsara came out, just as Catherine replenished the rapidly dwindling plates of food.
"Save some room for dinner, children," she admonished gently, looking around at everyone and not just the newcomers.
"These are the best I've tasted," Kelly commented, with a murmur of agreement from the others.
"Catherine is a great cook," admitted Prue, trying to resist taking another hot sausage roll. " Today is Kelly's birthday," began Shannon, as Lilsara started to sing happy birthday. Prue and Shannon joined in and even some of the kids did too.
The elder girl and boy, realising what Kelly had undergone on her birthday, hung their heads and began to tear up.
"We are sorry we were mean to you. We have always had to fight for whatever Jerald brought us in the way of clothing and food. We have been with him so long, it's hard to imagine living like this," Susan, the elder girl waved her hand around the room emphasising her point.
"It's not entirely your fault, and I forgive you," offered Kelly as an olive branch. "Jerald is the one I blame." Her voice hardened at the thought of his treatment of the kids in his care. "Did he kidnap you as well?"
"No, our parents were both killed in a car accident. This is my brother Allan," Susan reached out to the older boy. "Jerald found us on the road after we escaped the wrecked car. He took us in and looked after us. We were six years old."
Kelly promptly hugged the pair, with tears flowing, as she thought about what a horrible experience these two must have endured. She wasn't the only one to join in on the hug, as Shannon and Lilsara were there too.
Slowly, the stories of the other children came to light, painting Jerald as a very evil man. He'd found some of them on the streets after they had run away from a family spat. Others had just been separated from their parents in a mall when Jerald took them. The ones that were old enough to resist and had tried to run away from Jerald were locked up in the same closet Kelly had been locked in. There, their wills had been broken as thirst and hunger took its toll.
"Present time," Prue finally stated, trying to get things on a lighter note.
"We have something for you as well," promised Shannon, as she looked at the children.
Kelly received her gifts first, being the birthday girl. Shannon had bought her a makeup kit with everything a normal teenager girl would ever want in it. Kelly thanked her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, even though her thoughts were mixed about the gift. With the nanites in her body, she could create any look she wanted without any actual makeup being used. The other thing about it was that it fell into the realm of femininity that the Kevin part of her was scared of having to visit.
"I don't think I've ever used makeup before," she sniffed. "At least I have no memory of using it," she added, knowing she'd need an excuse if she tried it and ended up looking like a clown.
"We'll teach you," Shannon and Lilsara happily chorused together.
Kelly smiled her thanks, thinking that once she was made up for the different situations she knew women used different looks for, she could commit them to memory and be able to replicate that look using her nanite power. Unaware of a faint male voice inside screaming ‘No!' she began to look forward to her first lesson.
Lilsara had bought a bottle of Chanel No5 ™ perfume for Kelly. She wasn't shy in showing her where she should apply it and soon Kelly was surrounded in a light nimbus of fragrance.
The children looked embarrassed at not having anything to give, not that they had known anything about it, and weren't expected to give gifts.
Rose, in the meantime, had snuck some small gifts to each of the children to give Kelly while Lilsara had Kelly's attention.
In the end, each shyly gave Kelly a gift that Rose had supplied. Things like lace hankies, perfumed soaps, hosiery, other small items a young girl needs.
Prue saved the best till last, her own gift to Kelly. She handed her a small wrapped box, which once opened, revealed a set of keys. Car keys. Kelly's eyes widened, as she saw the VW emblem on them and realisation of their use.
"Come on, it's outside," Prue announced, as Kelly protested about not being worthy.
They all trooped outside for show and tell. There on the driveway was a brilliant yellow VW five door Golf, well, four doors and a rear hatch.
Kelly sagged in surprise as it looked new. She went over and caressed its sleek lines, while still saying it was way too much to spend on her.
"Nonsense, it isn't new, but it doesn't have many miles on her. I have a friend in the business, so I got it for a song," Prue declared.
"What song did you sing?" quipped Shannon, trying not to grin.
Prue laughed, making everyone smile. Kelly opened the driver's door and sat in it. It looked immaculate inside and she fell in love with it. Now she had mobility, she could get on with her plans for revenge.
Reluctantly, Kelly was urged inside to continue the gift giving, this time to the children. They weren't expecting gifts and grew excited at the prospect. Shannon and Lilsara handed out the gifts they'd just popped out to buy. Most were soft toys for the younger children, with some board games for the older ones.
Rose produced some presents of her own, mainly new clothes from the clothing stockroom at the Hugglebugs company.
Catherine then called for them to start dinner. Because the guests outnumbered the seating arrangement, it turned out to be a buffet style meal. There were huge plates and dishes filled with food. The roast meat was already carved into bite sized portions and everyone took a plate and filled it with whatever they wanted. A huge paper lined basket held a huge pile of French fries which the children headed for first. Then people just went and found whatever seats they could, either inside or outside on the patio. Dessert was then laid out, jelly, ice cream and cake being the main items. Everyone watched the children gorge themselves. It was obvious they hadn't eaten so well before, and Prue had to caution them about eating too much, saying they'd make themselves sick.
About 8 pm that night, they had more visitors. Prue had asked the police to forward her address to those families the children had once belonged. The tearful reunion of family and child was almost too much for Kelly to bear, as she wept openly at the scene of each emotional reunion.
Four children were left, the two that had no parents and two whose parents lived too far away to reach them that night. Prue said they all could stay the night. The brother and sister whose parents had died, looked sad, wondering where they'd end up. Prue reassured them that they would stay together even if she had to adopt them herself.
A phone call about an hour later had Prue smiling. She gathered the brother and sister together and asked them a question.
"Do you remember your aunt Betty?"
At the mention of their aunt, they began to chatter.
"Well, your aunt has agreed to take you both and for you to live with her. She had always wondered what had happened to you, and had given up on ever seeing you again."
This excited the pair as they hugged each other and jumped for joy.
That night was an emotional one. Kelly didn't get much sleep after finally going to bed. The kids had been bedded down in two rooms, one for the girls and one for the boys. As Kelly tossed fitfully, she wondered if her heightened emotional responses were due to being female and an awakening maternal instinct. Strangely, that thought didn't fill her with fear, but more of a relief as a logical explanation for her emotional outpourings.
The next morning, Kelly awoke to noisy clatter, as the four children were being served breakfast. Clothed in only her nightie and robe, Kelly wandered in to see what all the racket was. She stopped, as the children raced around the room with pieces of jam covered toast, imitating aeroplanes. Catherine looked harassed at the turmoil, but Kelly saw Prue had a grin on her face as she sat at the table doing an admirable job of ignoring the kid's antics while she ate her own breakfast.
Kelly sat at the table, more to avoid being run down than to start breakfast. It seemed she didn't have a choice, as the ever watchful Catherine set down a plate of bacon and eggs along with some baked beans on a slice of toast. Kelly ate distractedly, watching to kids enjoying their meal. The kids finally slowed down to sub-light speed, as they eventually stuffed themselves.
Kelly found to her surprise that her plate was clean, and her glass of orange juice was empty, so she excused herself and left to get dressed.
Shannon and Lilsara passed her going the other way. They were already dressed and ready for breakfast, so Kelly just smiled and left them to it. After she showered and dressed, she returned to where everyone was gathered.
It wasn't long before the parents of two of the children arrived. There were joyous scenes as they were reunited, just like the evening before. Before they were whisked away, the two children gave Kelly a hug and thanked her for being the reason of their rescue. Kelly hugged them back, glad to have something positive come out of her ordeal.
Then it was Susan's and Allan's turn. Their aunt arrived later that morning with a repeat of the earlier reunions. Lots of tears later, they finally said goodbye to Kelly and the others. The house seemed empty by comparison without the children in it. Shannon soon had Kelly take her mind off the children, when she took her into the bathroom for her first makeup lesson.
Kelly found she could do her own makeup without too much difficulty. It was different doing it in a mirror instead of directly on a model's face, but she managed it okay. Shannon, with suggestions from Lilsara, showed her different looks for both evening and daytime looks. Once Kelly had got that down reasonably well, they showed her some exotic looks that bordered on sluttish. Kelly was having fun as the girls joined in, seeing who could outdo each other in looking outlandish.
"We look like we're groupies for KISS," giggled Shannon.
"You mean we're not?" pouted Kelly, before joining in on the giggling.
"Let's go for a drive in your car," suggested Lilsara after they'd cleaned off the latest clown faces.
"Great idea, why don't we go eat lunch out somewhere?" approved Kelly excitedly.
After telling Catherine they would be out for lunch, they said goodbye to Prue, who was working in her office finishing some paperwork.
"Have fun, and no breaking the speed limits," was all she said.
Kelly drove the Golf out the drive and followed the girl's instructions. While acclimatising herself to the car's handling, she fell in love with its sporty responsiveness. Shannon suggested going to the lookout at Devonport, which meant a trip across the Auckland harbour bridge, aptly called the coat hanger or the Nippon clip-on. (From the Japanese bolt-on extensions to both sides of the original bridge.)
Kelly felt happy, now she was free to move as she wished instead of being limited by public transport and timetables. They ended up at a burger place to indulge in their craving for grease and other less healthy food. They took their burgers and fries to the lookout, then sat on the grass overlooking the harbour entrance, and watched some yachts' plying over the water.
Kelly's thoughts wandered back to her plans and how she could accomplish them without putting herself at risk. So engrossed in her thoughts, she didn't notice the other two wander off to look at the old gun emplacements of what used to be the harbour defence system in WWII.
So it was quite a shock when a male voice intruded in on her reveries.
"Hello, is this spot taken?" asked a male voice.
"Huh?" replied Kelly intelligently (not).
"I asked if you wanted company," the voice replied, getting nearer as the owner crouched down next to Kelly.
"I thought I already had some," Kelly answered, looking around for Shannon and Lilsara.
"He's a fool then, leaving such a lovely lady such as yourself alone," the young man stated.
"He, as you put it, are my two girlfriends who were here a moment ago," corrected Kelly.
"Name's Jack," he introduced himself.
"Kelly, but I don't know jack," quipped Kelly with a giggle.
"Beautiful and witty," laughed Jack.
‘OH GOD,' I'm flirting with him,' thought Kelly with a feeling of shock.
"Live around here? Or just visiting?"
"Visiting, I live over in Saint Helliers with friends.
"Nice, I live just up the road past Takapuna," he offered in return. "Taking a lunch break? Or are you just skipping school?"
"School? I finished school ye… last year," Kelly replied disgustedly, having quickly corrected her "years ago."
"Sorry, I didn't mean to imply anything. I'm on my lunch break. I work for a courier service. My van's down there," Jack explained, pointing out the white Post Haste transit van.
"Jack be quick?" slipped out of Kelly's mouth, before she could stop herself.
He laughed. "Sometimes. It depends on the circumstances."
Kelly smiled despite not wanting to encourage the guy. Thoughts of sex hadn't been of high priority in her plans. Even though she had experienced some extremely pleasurable orgasms as a female, she hadn't thought far enough into the future to consider having actual sex with someone.
"Who's your friend?" asked Shannon, who had just arrived back with Lilsara.
"This is Jack Flash," laughed Kelly, continuing the joke from earlier.
"I guess I should be getting back to work," Jack observed, seeming to be wary of being outnumbered. He handed Kelly a card with his phone number, saying to call if she wanted to talk to him anytime.
Kelly didn't throw it away once he'd retreated downhill to his van, but put in her bag. ‘You never knew whom you might need in a crisis and Jack seemed nice enough to warrant a second chance.'
"Kelly's got a boyfriend," sang Lilsara, with a mile wide smile.
Kelly just smiled, knowing it wasn't worth the bother to disabuse Lilsara of that idea. As it was just after 1 pm, they decided to cruise up the coast, stopping whenever they saw something interesting. They stopped for ice creams in the afternoon and ate their cones on the beach at Browns Bay. While they were driving back home, Kelly planned her next move.
That night, after dinner, Kelly talked to Prue alone. "I have this job offer with Bennet's Cosmetics," Kelly reminded Prue. "Now that I have a valid ID, I want to accept the job as soon as possible."
"Is there anything I can do to assist you in this? I do have a lot of contacts," Prue asked.
"No. You have done more than enough for me. I want to stand on my own feet and do this on my own merit," explained Kelly.
"Well you are still welcome to stay here, are you thinking of moving out?" Prue asked curiously.
"I'm not sure just yet. I may end up sharing one of the girl's flat until I get organised." Kelly considered thoughtfully.
"So when are you going to start?" voiced Prue with some concern in her tone.
"Well, I'm going to a meeting tomorrow, but it might be next week, before I start," answered Kelly.
"That's only a few days from now. Are you sure you're up to it?" questioned Prue.
"I think so," Kelly offered positively.
The next morning, Kelly was up bright and early, but not before Catherine, who insisted she partake of the breakfast she'd already cooked for her. Prue joined her for breakfast just as Kelly was finishing her orange juice. Kelly gave Prue a hug, thanking her again for everything she'd done for her.
"Be safe," advised Prue, as she took up her cup of coffee.
"See you tonight," Kelly responded.
Kelly drove to the Walsh building and parked down the road a bit in a side street. She then walked back and entered as she'd done before. She hadn't changed her face this time to disguise it from the camera. If the guard had bothered to check her ID using the card's access code number, all he would have found out was the fact that she was an employee going by the name of her new identity.
Kelly entered her secret lair, glad that she'd had the forethought to issue a new card to a Kelly Davidson. Kelly finagled the security data base to show she had only limited access like most of the other employees, while in fact, she had full access to all doors in the building. Once her card swiped a reader she shouldn't have access to, it wouldn't register against her name. In fact, the card she had wouldn't register on the guard's screens at all.
First thing she needed to do was get Penelope out of the way temporarily, so she would have a free hand to do what she wanted.
Kelly started an email message for Penelope's PC. Using a series of protocols to make the email path untraceable, Kelly sent this message.
Dear Penelope, if you want the patents for the products I developed, then follow these instructions exactly. I will be checking. For the location of the safe and its combination, I want one million dollars in cash delivered personally by you to a deposit box in Sydney Australia by Friday evening. The box number is 55980. Ask for the key under the name of K Walsh. Once I hear that the money has been deposited, I'll instruct the bank to give you the safe's location and combination. Once this transaction is completed, you'll never hear from me again. Keep this to yourself. Do not inform the police, or your staff. You have two days. By the way, I like the new red dress with the sequined jacket, it suits you. Watching over you, Kevin. PS, you won't see me as I'm in another location.
Kelly had seen the new dress in Penelope's wardrobe and Penelope would wonder how Kevin knew about it. Hopefully, it would make her tread carefully and follow the instructions exactly. Although the deposit box was real and the bank would be instructed to inform Kelly/Kevin of the money being deposited, they wouldn't be holding up the other end of the deal, namely the safe's location and combination. Only she knew that, and that was the way it was going to remain. Penelope's not knowing where "Kevin" was at would also make her wary of trying a double-cross.
Kelly sent the email and then logged into the company's database for any activity coming from Penelope's office. She knew Penelope was there, all she had to do was wait. It took ten minutes before anything happened. Penelope made a booking with the airlines for a return ticket to Sydney on the Friday morning 8 am flight. She then made some transactions with her bank, before she signed off the computer. Kelly then logged into the security base and followed her movements from her office to the ground floor car park. Satisfied that Penelope was following her instructions, she changed her voice back to that of Kevin's before ringing the bank in Australia. It took a few tries to get the timbre right, and she felt weird speaking with her old voice while remaining female. Her business concluded for now, she changed her voice back to Kelly's. Kelly then made a few calls to the airline and booked several tickets, then reserved rooms in several Australia hotels before she made her way out of the building once more.
That night Kelly told Prue that she would be working full time from Monday. Tomorrow and Friday would used to get the feel of things and get all the paperwork sorted out.
The next day, using the computer, Kelly kept an eye on Penelope's movements. Penelope left work early that day and was soon back in the penthouse. Kelly watched her move around the suite via the covert cameras Kevin had installed when the place was built.
Penelope packed a small bag for her trip and then turned her attention to a large attaché case. She opened it and gazed at the bundles of money in 100 dollar bills for a moment, before grimacing and slamming the lid closed.
Kelly had seen enough and left then, confident that her plan was still viable. Tomorrow would be the clincher if she wanted to pull her plan off. That night at dinner, she ate until she was near bursting, getting a few looks from the others. Kelly had a reason to eat, and at breakfast, she had seconds. Once she was in her hidey hole, she rang the airport and confirmed that Penelope had indeed boarded the flight to Sydney. Kelly then went up to the penthouse with her containers of HB supplements. She then stripped out of her clothes and visualised wearing Penelope's body. As she grew slightly in height and started to fill out in the chest, the feeling of fullness from breakfast left her. She opened one of the containers of supplements and drank it down as her body grew. Soon her wife stood there in the mirror where once Kelly had stood minutes before.
She went and got dressed from the skin out in her ex-wife's clothes. Once in the business suit with skirt and jacket, she selected a handbag and shoes. She didn't need to do her hair or make up, as the nanites did all of that for her. She called for a taxi in Penelope's voice, which sounded eerie to her ears. She arrived at her office with no trouble, using a duplicate of Penelope's swipe card. She swept haughtily into her office like she belonged there, passing Brenda Sharp, her personal secretary.
It only took a minute before Brenda came in with a cup of coffee for her.
"I thought you were going to be away today?" inquired Brenda, with a questioning tone.
"I had to cancel," Kelly told her shortly, not knowing what story Penelope had given her.
"When did you last take a vacation?" asked Kelly, knowing exactly how long ago it had been.
"Eighteen months, I think," Brenda replied after a moments thought.
"I want you to take off this afternoon for Perth. It will be partly business and part holiday. I have the tickets paid for, all you need to do is go home and pack for the noon flight."
"But, but, right now?" spluttered Brenda, shock suffusing her face.
"Yes now… I will contact you once you get settled at the Casino Hotel. I have some bonus money here for you." Kelly offered, handing her five thousand dollars in Australian dollars. "I take it you can do that?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes, yes, I can," declared an excited Brenda.
"Get going then," ordered Kelly, turning to her computer and dismissing her secretary. Once Brenda left the office, Kelly sighed in relief. Part two in her plan completed. Now for the final act.
Kelly looked around the office for anything incriminating she could use, but wasn't too surprised not to find anything useful to clear Kevin's name. Penelope wasn't stupid. Her plan to have Kevin take a fall for her profit showed that much. After about ten minutes, she walked out to see Kathy Smith, Brenda's substitute when Brenda was ill or away on vacation. Kathy normally worked as Brenda's assistant, but she also temped as a receptionist when needed to fill that role. She found Kathy at the coffee machine, making her first cup of coffee for the day. Kelly crooked her finger at Kathy, indicating she come and see her in her office.
Kathy came in looking worried, obviously wondering if she was in some kind of trouble.
Kelly indicated she sit as she tapped the keys on the computer.
"I see you asked for some time off to go see your sick mother in Melbourne."
"Yes, but I was told I couldn't have the time off," Kathy sniffed, tears starting to form in her ryes.
"As of five minutes ago, you are on a month's paid vacation with a 5000 dollar bonus to help your mother." Kelly announced. "Your flight leaves at 3pm today. I've booked a room at the Ritz hotel in Melbourne for tonight, and there will be a rental car available for your use during your time away. All this has been paid for, so go and have a nice holiday."
Kathy goggled, open mouthed, unable to speak. Finally she nodded and found her voice.
"Thank you, thank you."
"I will follow you home right now and help you pack. I know you have pets, so if you give me your keys, I'll look after your house and pets while you're away."
"Yes, okay," Kathy agreed readily.
Kelly waited while Kathy collected her handbag and then accompanied her down to her car. Kelly then went to her own car and drove to Kathy's flat, arriving only a minute after Kathy had arrived there.
Kelly then waited while Kathy busied herself packing for her trip away. She used the time to familiarize herself around the kitchen by making them both cups of coffee. Within an hour, Kathy was ready but anxious she'd forgotten something. She mentioned her worries.
Kelly handed Kathy an envelope.
"Inside is 5000 dollars. If you have forgotten anything, you can buy a replacement," was Kelly's answer.
After Kelly rang for a taxi, Kathy showed her the house and her pets, also where their food was. After Kelly waved goodbye to Kathy as the taxi drove her away to the airport, she sat down on Kathy's lounge suite and breathed a sigh of relief.
Kelly then took on Kathy's body image then went and looked in her host's closet. Choosing an outfit, Kelly then drove Kathy's car back to the office. No one questioned her, as she went and down sat at Brenda's computer and started working. Kelly managed to feel her way though the current projects and even typed up the outstanding letters Penelope had left to be done. She left work early and went back to Kathy's place, where she changed back to Kelly. Luckily, Kelly and Kathy were of similar build, and the change took only minutes to accomplish. Kelly fed the pets and locked the place up, then drove home in the Golf, leaving Kathy's Honda Accord in the garage.
Kelly informed Prue that she would be starting work on Monday and that she'd be flatting with Kathy and getting a ride to and from work with her. Of course this disappointed the girls that their new friend was going to be gone. Kelly told then that she could visit on the weekends if that was okay with Prue.
"Kelly, you will always be welcome here," Prue reminded her. "Keep the access card for the house in case you need to visit."
"Thank you again. I know it might seem strange my leaving so soon, but I feel the need to stand on my own two feet again, and getting a job is the first step in achieving that," explained Kelly, feeling somewhat awkward as if she was being ungrateful for all Prue had done for her.
"I'm glad you have such a positive attitude after such a traumatic experience. I know you'll do well," declared Prue with a smile and a hug.
Kelly put a smile on her face as she hugged Prue back, but inside she felt dirty, with all her lies she had told to these people. She was a total stranger, yet they welcomed her into the family as if she had grown up with them. With no thought of recompense, they had gone far beyond what anyone could expect. Somehow, sometime soon, she was going to make it up to them. That she promised herself.
Saturday was spent moving her clothes to Kathy's flat and doing some shopping to stock up on food. Looking at the kitchen, Kelly could see she was going to miss Catherine's cooking, as anything she ate was going to be cooked by herself.
Sunday was spent making preparations. Brenda had to be contacted, as Kelly had forgotten one detail that could cause problems. Kelly couldn't contact her on her cell phone, so had her paged through the hotel.
"Brenda here," she finally answered.
"This is Penelope," offered Kelly, having changed her voice to that of her ex wife. "I forgot to tell you to turn off your cellphone. I want you to relax and not have to worry about lugging your phone around with you in case I call and no calling me first. When I need you, I'll call on the hotel line, okay?"
"Sure, but I have it turned off already, as it doesn't seem to work over here anyway. I don't think the roaming function works." Brenda offered.
"Okay, well enjoy your holiday. I'll contact you later," Kelly ordered, before saying goodbye.
Kelly knew that Kathy had left her phone behind on her orders, so neither of them would contact Penelope nor could Penelope contact Brenda and find out she had gone away on her orders.
Kelly would carry Kathy's phone while she was doing her impersonation of Kathy.
Monday morning, Kelly took on Kathy's form and dressed in her clothes. She left her cellphone and wallet at Kathy's and took Kathy's instead. Only her special access card went with her as she drove Kathy's Honda to work.
She was early as she sat in Brenda's normal place outside Penelope's office. She checked and found that Penelope hadn't arrived yet. So she braced herself for the fiery reaction when she was informed of Brenda's absence.
Penelope strode into the reception area with an angry expression on her face, the expensively wasted trip fuelling her anger. Not only did the bank deny any knowledge of the whereabouts of a safe and its combination, they refused to give back the money she'd placed into the safety deposit box.
Penelope stopped, seeing Kathy in Brenda's seat.
"Where is Brenda? Is she sick?" she snapped testily.
"She quit on Friday," Kelly lied calmly.
"SHE quit?" screamed Penelope, her face turning blotchy red.
"Apparently she got fed up at not having any holidays, and decided to leave, Kelly elaborated.
‘But… oh, forget it. Get me a coffee!" fumed Penelope in frustration, before entering her office and slamming the door.
Kelly grinned as she rose to comply
Penelope rattled around her office most of the day and Kelly didn't have too much of a problem convincing her that she was Kathy.
Kelly kept track of Penelope's activity on her computer by using her backdoor access. Two things that were interesting was Penelope's attempt to access the building plans for both the manufacturing building they were in, and the Walsh building. She was paying particular attention to the offices and the penthouse, obviously looking for anything that might show where a safe might have been concealed. Kelly wasn't worried about the penthouse, as the safe there had never been entered into the design. Kevin had installed it himself. Kelly chuckled when from the plans, the office safe was located behind a hidden panel. She'd heard the scream of frustration from where she was sitting outside Penelope's office, when she found the hidden release catch. Kelly had emptied it of its petty cash two days ago when she was impersonating Penelope, and Kelly had left the empty safe door ajar on purpose. The other interesting thing was Penelope's attempt to break into the European market place. The people she had contacted were the same ones that had tried to convince Kevin to use their services, for the very same reason. Kevin hadn't been interested in going global at that time, preferring to consolidate the home market. Besides, he hadn't liked something about the demeanour of the two Italians.
"Something's not right, boss," Michelle intimated to Prue.
"Oh? What's not right?" Prue prompted, as she sat in her office with her first cup of coffee.
"According to the tracking signal, Kelly hasn't left the flat at all, but she should be at work," declared Michelle worriedly.
"She could have left her bag at home," Prue pointed out.
"And her phone as well?" asked Michelle, looking at Prue with a raised eyebrow.
"Hmmm, I wouldn't worry just yet, but I think you should still keep an eye on her just in case."
"As before?" sighed Michelle."
"No, not every minute, but keep an eye on her movements via the tracker and just randomly check on her." Prue instructed. "I'm pretty sure Kelly is the one we are after, but she hasn't gone screaming to the media and she seems to be handling things nicely."
"Then why don't we just ask her about it and confirm your theory?"
"Because when she first called me, it was a different voice I heard. She said she was in her wife's form, and that she was in a desperate situation. She also said she had an injustice to correct. Now, couple that with her going to the Bennet cosmetics company, what do you come up with?"
Michelle thought about it hard for a minute, while Prue finished her coffee and waited.
"Wasn't there a big stink about the director of the company a year ago? He'd supposedly embezzled funds, but he disappeared before they could take him to trial."
"His wife came out smelling of roses and denied all knowledge of it. She even got extra brownie points by repaying everything out of her own assets," Prue recalled.
"Ah! You're saying Kelly's so called abductor was this guy hiding out in the reserve?"
"I would call that a fairly desperate situation, and if he didn't do it, then there would be an injustice to correct, would there not?" Prue declared.
"So the husband became the wife, rang you, then became Kelly to avoid questions about who she really was," mused Michelle.
"Well judging the man by Kelly's behaviour, I think he is innocent." Prue stated. "You can change your form, but not that which makes up your personality. Kelly is courteous and generous to a fault. I would never hesitate to have her for a daughter. She must have had a horrible time after she escaped, going from riches to poverty like that."
"It would explain her lack of skills in the feminine department," Michelle commented.
"She covered that brilliantly with her memory loss excuse," Prue agreed. "She's no dummy."
"So what do we do?" Asked Michelle, chewing her lip pensively.
"Watch her, and be prepared to help out. She obviously has a plan, but she's still a young inexperienced girl in matters of the feminine arts. If she lets anything slip, she could be in serious trouble."
"I think I will go back to full surveillance. Guy or not, I like Kelly. Something tells me she won't be reverting back to a male form any time soon."
"If ever," Prue agreed with a smile.
Kelly then made her next move, to work at the company under her new identity as Kelly, before some of Kathy's friends discovered she wasn't the real Kathy.
Entering into Penelope's office, she waited till her presence was noticed, as Penelope surfaced from her computer activities.
"Miss Bennet? I'm taking time off the see my sick mother in Melbourne. I know this is not a good time, but if you won't grant me my paid leave, then I'll take unpaid leave and bring this matter up again after I return," Kelly stated firmly. "I do have a replacement in mind to do my job, she is going to stay at my place and look after it while I'm gone."
"Who is this person? I take it that she isn't with our current staff?" asked Penelope with some annoyance.
"Her name is Kelly Davidson. She's young, but extremely talented. She's a whiz on the computer and already knows her way around our systems."
"Okay, okay, have her report here today. I have a busy schedule. Get her paperwork done before you leave!" Penelope then waved her away distractedly.
Kelly was surprised that it was that easy. Obviously Penelope was so upset with the way things had turned out with Kevin that her mind wasn't up to dealing with normal office protocol. Kelly got the usual forms out for new employees and filled them out for herself. She sent them off to be signed and mentioned that Kelly would be in after lunch.
Kelly left the office as Kathy, driving home and then returning to her Kelly body. She dressed and drove her car this time and was back at the office at 1 pm. By the time Penelope got back from her lunch at 2 pm, Kelly was firmly ensconced in her new position.
Penelope stopped by her desk and looked her over, as Kelly finished the letter, she, as Kathy had started that morning. Penelope waited as Kelly handed her the typed letter, she read through it and nodded to her in approval.
"Come into my office, Kelly? Isn't it?"
"Yes, Miss Bennet," Kelly replied respectfully.
Kelly got up quickly and beat Penelope to her office door. Penelope's brief surge of annoyance at that turned to a good feeling as Kelly opened the door and held it open for her to enter.
"Thank you, but you needn't do that in future," Penelope instructed, feeling the day had taken a turn for the better.
Inside her office, Penelope questioned Kelly on different things, testing her knowledge of the business and her computer expertise. She seemed suitable impressed with Kelly's answers and started asking some personal questions about her background and upbringing. Of course Kelly lied brilliantly, while still keeping the lies easy to remember for the future.
During the time Kelly was with in her boss's office, the phone rang. Penelope answered it and talked for a minute, before making a note on her memo pad. Kelly noted from her side of the conversation that it was a private meeting, and gathered from what little Penelope said, that it was with the two Italian men trying to help her get into the European market. Kelly easily read the upside down writing on the memo pad that Penelope hadn't bothered to hide from her new secretary. The time and place made Kelly wonder. It was at night, and in a parking spot Kelly knew to be at a disused warehouse nearby. It seemed suspiciously clandestine, and made Kelly feel like something ugly was about to go down. Penelope didn't seem to be concerned about the meeting place and her mention that she would have the money just confirmed Kelly's suspicions.
After being dismissed from Penelope's office, Kelly's thoughts were frantic. She had to be at that meeting to see for herself what was going on. After work, she had time to make dinner and eat before she got ready to go to the meeting place. She decided to get there early so she could scout out a good spot to hide. She took her bag and her phone with her just in case and then drove her car to a street down the road from the meeting place. She never saw the car following discreetly behind her own.
Kelly scouted the place out carefully. There were several rubbish skips in the carpark off to one side. They were the large sized ones, being nearly 6 feet high and 6 by 10 foot sides. They had rubbish in them that was from the warehouse interior, as the owners were cleaning the place out prior to selling. Kelly decided to hide behind them as there was a narrow gap between that would afford her of a full view of the carpark. Kelly opened her coat and checked out the small tape recorder she had brought with her. She wasn't sure if it would pick up any conversation, but as the place was fairly quiet noise wise, she thought there was a chance. She waited, knowing there was an hour to go before anyone was due to show up. Luckily, there was a wooden box on the ground that had fallen off the top of the rubbish piled high in the bins. She used this to sit on while she waited.
At last, Kelly heard a car. It was 15 minutes early. She rose and looked at the car from her vantage point. Two men in dark suits got out and did a cursory survey of the area. One returned to the inside of the car while the other waited outside keeping a vigilant eye out. After the quick look, Kelly hunkered down, till she heard Penelope arrive in her car.
Both cars were little more than 25 feet away from were Kelly was hidden, and when Penelope greeted the two men who had both moved towards her, Kelly could hear her clearly. They talked business for a few minutes before the two men asked for the money.
"We heard that your ex partner conned you out of a cool mil," one man snorted.
Penelope just shrugged, but this news shook Kelly. ‘How did anyone find out about that?'
"For what we are doing for you, we want the patents for the process," demanded the other threateningly.
"I'm paying you enough now. Anyway, only Kevin knows where those patents are. I don't have a clue," protested Penelope heatedly.
"Well I guess after we find him and get those papers, we can eliminate him," offered the first man.
Penelope seemed shocked at the man's callused statement.
"I didn't want him killed, and still don't. In fact, I'm having second thoughts in doing business with you now," Penelope began belatedly.
"Too late, lady. The mob doesn't like its deals going sour. We own you now and you'll play by our rules now, or you won't play at all," snickered the second man, as he reached for the briefcase in Penelope's hand.
"NO! This has gone far enough," protested Penelope, tugging the case back and turning to get back to her car.
Kelly saw the man pull a handgun from his pocket at without compunction, shoot Penelope in the back of her head. The silenced gun's "phutt!" belying the deadly enormity of the deed.
Kelly couldn't help but gasp out loud in shock, and straightened up from her crouch, exposing her to the gunman's view, as he turned towards her.
Kelly was so shocked, she didn't realise the danger she was in. As both men pointed weapons at her, there was a louder "phutt, phutt," and the two men dropped as if pole axed. Kelly wanted out of there and the quickest way to her car was a direct route past where Penelope lay. Kelly went into panic mode and she ran past the prone men and past her ex-wife, not seeming to care who had killed the men or whether she was still in danger. She couldn't help but see the blood on the ground along with other bits she tried desperately not to identify. Once she reached the street where her car was parked, she vomited. Kelly shook in shock as her stomach roiled violently with nausea. She then staggered to her car and collapsed inside, unable to drive at that moment.
Elsewhere, a cryptic phone call was being made.
"Boss? Three b's to be disposed of."
"No… target is unharmed."
"No choice. They killed Penelope, and she would have been next."
"All three? Okay."
A shadowy figure then stepped out of the shadows of the warehouse carrying a black deadly looking handgun fitted with silencer and scope. The person held the weapon on the prone men, while checking for signs of life. The person then holstered the weapon and began dragging the corpses to the boot of Penelope's BMW. Once they were dumped inside, the person then hauled Penelope's body and placed her atop the others. Then the dark clad person climbed inside the BMW and drove it away, letting silence again reign free.
An hour later, another car drove quietly into the carpark. Two people got out. The first person had a large container of liquid which was then poured over the bloodstains from the two men. As the liquid hissed and bubbled consuming the blood, the other person moved the men's car over to where Penelope's body had fallen, covering the gore left behind. A fuel can was then produced and emptied over the car and inside it. The second person then poured a trail of fuel to the car where the other person sat behind the wheel. As the car moved off, a match was thrown into the fuel trail and seconds later there was a loud whoosh as the car burst into flames.
Kelly never saw the car that slowed as it passed her position in the side street. She was still feeling numb from shock at what had happened. She wound the driver's window down to try and clear her head. A few minutes later, she heard the sound of sirens coming closer. Thinking it was the police galvanised her into action. She didn't know if they had been alerted by a witness, and whether she might be a possible suspect, but she wasn't going to hang around to find out.
Kelly started the Golf and spun the front wheels, as she accelerated away and headed directly away from the approaching sirens. She never saw the fire engines that turned into the warehouse carpark to fight the burning wreck there.
Kelly drove aimlessly for a while before heading back to Kathy's place. She went inside and poured herself an alcoholic drink, something she hadn't done in a long long time. She sat and sipped her drink, grimacing at the taste with her new untrained palate.
‘What a disaster,' she thought to herself. With Penelope dead, there was no way to prove Kevin's innocence, as she hadn't found any concrete evidence of Penelope's complicity in the fraud Kevin was accused of. Now she had calmed down a bit, she wondered who had slain the two men. Was it a rival mob? She knew there was tough competition between factions, at least that's what was always portrayed in the movies.
Kelly didn't know what to do now. Once the murder of Penelope became public knowledge, the company would probably spiral into oblivion. Kelly knew Penelope had a half sister in the UK, but it was unlikely she would want to come out and take over the business. Kelly decided to go to bed and see if a night's sleep would produce an idea.
Kelly had a restless night for obvious reasons. An ambulance passing in the night had her waken in a cold sweat. In the morning, she readied herself for work, still stymied on a plan to get the company back. She was sure the police would be there to question the staff about Penelope, and Kelly being her current secretary would be questioned closely. She arrived at work and got a coffee before heading to her desk. She stared at the blank screen of her computer, not even with it to bother turning it on.
Kelly Kelly sat there, her thoughts turned inward and the outside world blurred into insignificance.
A voice from the dead brought her back to the present making her blood run cold.
"Morning Kelly, can I see you in my office in a minute."
Kelly looked up in shock, her heart pounding almost out of her chest. There before her, stood Penelope, looking calm with a slight smile on her face. Kelly's vision darkened just before she fainted.
Kelly heard her name being repeated, becoming clearer as she regained her senses. She found herself lying on a couch just outside Penelope's office, with someone who shouldn't be alive, looking down at her with concern written on her face.
"But, but you died, I saw you murdered," Kelly finally gasped out as she struggled to rise.
"Easy there, you just fainted and hit your head on the corner of the desk," explained the Penelope look-alike, as she gently restrained Kelly from rising.
Kelly felt confused. Did she dream seeing Penelope killed? Did she faint for some reason and dream everything that had happened since yesterday? As she tried to recall the details, she realised it was no dream. No dream or nightmare could ever produce the intense feelings of horror she had experienced.
"How?" Kelly demanded, her voice firm with determination.
"The same way you became Kelly … Kevin." Penelope answered back.
Shock flooded Kelly's body, making her feel faint again.
"Here, drink this," Penelope ordered, handing Kelly a small glass of brandy.
Kelly hastily drank the spirit, coughing as the fiery fluid flowed down her throat.
While she watched, Penelope's form shifted, becoming that of Prue Walker. Prue then shifted back to Penelope's form and watched Kelly as she struggled to understand.
Then before explanations could be made, Michelle exited Penelope's office carrying a lot of technical equipment.
"It's clean now, found several infinity bugs, two voice activated ones and a tracking virus on the computer," she stated to the disguised Prue.
"Let's all talk in there then," suggested Prue/Penelope, helping Kelly to her feet.
Once ensconced in the offices comfy chairs, Prue began to speak.
"Both Kim and I have the same nanite formula that you found. We used it to defeat a terrorist attack last year. The can you found was ultimately bound for destruction, but it ended up in the rubbish tip at Mangere.
"We did have our suspicions that you were the one that had found and applied the nanites, so I had Michelle bug your phone and we had you under surveillance until we could ascertain the risk you posed for the nanite's exposure to the public."
"You knew all the time?" Kelly gasped.
"No, not all the time. We felt there was a strong possibility that you were the one, given the timing and situation, but because we were not 100% sure, we never questioned you directly. It was Michelle's job to keep track of your movements by tracking you remotely, but not to check every second of your life. That's how we found you so fast when you were abducted."
"I'm sorry I didn't catch up to you to prevent that," interjected Michelle, who hadn't said anything up to that moment. "I got delayed in traffic when you took the walking track down to the beach."
Kelly didn't reply for a moment as she digested the information. Finally she looked at Michelle and smiled wryly. "Thank you for being there. I guess in hindsight, I don't have cause to be upset. I just feel somewhat overwhelmed at the moment."
"Understandable, kiddo," Michelle replied warmly.
"Wait, won't the police be coming here? Penelope's body would have been discovered last night. I heard sirens just before I was calm enough to drive away," Kelly asked worriedly, before having another thought.
"You knew Penelope was dead, didn't you? What's going on?"
"The police won't be coming. Please let me explain," pressed Prue, as Kelly started to get agitated. "Things began to add up, when you said you were working here. I remembered the person who called me when the nanites first change initiated saying he looked like his wife, then the person said something about an injustice to correct. The voice I heard on the phone was female, yet it was obvious that it was really a man that talking to me. When I had Michelle check into this company for information about its prospects, I remember what happened to the original president of the company. I put 2 and 2 together…"
"And got me," Kelly filled in."
"Yes. To cut a long story short, Michelle was concerned when you went to the car park last night, luckily you had taken your phone with you and she pinpointed your exact position. She scouted out the area and saw you hiding behind the bins. Not liking the scenario, she went back to her car and armed herself. She got back into a position behind you and waited just before the car with the mob enforcers arrived. She was the one that shot the two men after they killed Penelope."
"But the bodies?" insisted Kelly, interrupting Prue again.
"Have been disposed of… all three," Prue answered before Kelly could ask about Penelope's body.
"No one will ever find the bodies of the two men, but Penelope's is on ice so to speak," Michelle elaborated.
"We were sure that having her alive was better than the police finding her dead, that's why I decided to be her for a time," Prue added. "You can easily have her disappear at a time advantageous to your plans getting the ownership of the company back."
"I don't think I can be Kevin anymore," Kelly began sadly. "All the evidence is gone with her murder, and even if you as her admitted to the police as being the guilty party, the company wouldn't survive the publicity. Anyway, that would put you in danger of being arrested in her place. I think it's best that I get the company as Kelly somehow, maybe as a daughter of hers." Kelly responded.
"That could work, your DNA would match now due to the nanites as would your blood group. With Prue as Penelope supporting your claim of being her daughter, you could inherit the firm when Penelope announces her retirement or something similar," claimed Michelle excitedly.
They worked on it for a while, ironing out the details until everyone was happy. In the end they decide to have Penelope announce that she'd found her long lost daughter. Then Kelly would take over the running of the company, while Penelope went on holiday. Prue as Penelope would stage an accident on a yacht on which the frozen corpse of the real Penelope would be stored. Lost overboard, the corpse would be jettisoned while Prue changed back to herself. Even if the body was recovered, the sharks wouldn't leave much evidence behind. As a valued witness, a distraught Prue would back up the deceit with her reliable testimony. And so it was done.
Kelly's transition from secretary to Director wasn't as easy as moving the few metres to another room and desk. The top management team tolerated it while Prue as Penelope was still around, but when news of Penelope's death hit the news, they called a meeting, to discuss the situation without notifying her.
Katie, who had returned from her mothers, had been promoted to Kelly's personal secretary with an increase in wages, while Brenda, the original personal secretary of Penelope's had been moved to international sales division. Katie and Kelly got on well together, and when the meeting was called Katie, seeing Kelly hadn't been invited, managed to text her about it.
Kelly immediately dropped what she was doing and headed for the conference room. There, she found the management team trying to decide what to do with Kelly.
"There's no need to do anything about me," Kelly interrupted coldly, her voice freezing everyone in their place.
"But you're just a child. You would get chewed up and spat out in the business world," protested one on the men in the team.
"I may be young, but I'm no child that you can just dismiss out of hand. On the other hand, I can dismiss your ass right down the road, and if you don't sit down right now, that's just where you'll be in 5 minutes," Kelly emphatically retorted.
Such was the forcefulness of her promise, everyone sat down, and silence reigned. The man she'd spoken to, gulped, wondering how it was that Kelly seemed to grow in stature without doing a thing.
Kelly then proceeded to lay down her plans for the company, leaving no doubt in the minds of everyone there that she did indeed know the business. Of course this wasn't the only problems she had with her role as company Director. The press had a go as well, once they found out how old the replacement for Penelope was. She was bombarded with questions from a press of reporters, once they got wind of how things were running in her company.
If anything, they were more brutal, hinting at her illegitimacy and it all being a scam to get control. If that wasn't enough, Kelly found herself inundated with offers of everything from buyouts to prospective husbands.
Kelly gave a short interview to quash the speculation, and outlined her plans for the company. She also told the public that she wasn't looking for a romantic interest at this time.
Kelly stood at the gravesite dressed in black. Penelope's funeral was more for the ritual of consecrating her soul, than for the internment of her body, which had never been recovered. Prue and Michelle stood with her, along with Shannon and Lilsara. Further back stood a few of the company staff who had been given leave to attend the funereal if they wished. Katie and Brenda were there, along with a few of the management staff, but there were less than Kelly had expected. Obviously Penelope's relationship with her staff had left much to be desired. Fortunately, the press was held at bay by the security personnel Michelle had organised. Refreshments were held at the chapel afterwards. Prue lamented her sorrow to at being unable to save Penelope's life after she fell overboard on her yacht to anyone that seemed interested. The police investigation closed its case when blood from Penelope was found on the yacht's boom, surmising that it had struck her head in a wind shift and had knocked her unconscious body overboard.
Kelly never asked about the disposal of the two men's bodies, preferring not to know. After an appropriate time mingling, Kelly caught up with Prue and indicated she wanted to leave. Michelle brought up a limo with dark tinted windows to the chapel's door and Prue and Kelly got in along with the two girls. They arrived at Prue's place where they all changed out of their dark clothes and donned something more cheerful and casual.
Kelly had already told the girls her tale, and apologised for her deceit. She told them that their lessons in make up had been appreciated and asked if they could continue teaching the ins and outs of being a girl.
"Won't you be changing back to a guy now?" they'd asked.
Kelly then explained why Kevin was unlikely to return as she had not found the crucial evidence of his innocence.
"I guess I could become another guy and get a new identity, but I'd have to go though all this again just to get my company back. I don't think the public will swallow another "just discovered beneficiary." Besides, that leaves the problem of having Kelly to just up and leave. I have decided to remain as Kelly for the foreseeable future."
Both girls cheered and Prue and Michelle gave each other knowing smiles.
"Thank you for all that you've done for me. I don't think I deserve it for the way I deceived you," Kelly began, once they were all sitting relaxing.
"We understand what you were facing and as for being deserving of our help, don't trouble yourself over that. Even if we had known the truth from the very beginning, we would still have welcomed you into our hearts and home. Be you an adult male or a teenage girl, your innate decency shone through with each and every action you did." Prue replied, giving Kelly a heartfelt hug.
The girls then joined in the hug, agreeing with Prue.
"So what are your plans now?" asked Michelle, curiously.
"Well, I guess I go back to school," grinned Kelly, looking at the girls.
"School?" Queried Michelle.
"Girl school. I have my two teachers here," Kelly pointed out, indicating Shannon and Lilsara.
"Ah," Michelle nodded her understanding. "Well, I think you'll pass with flying colours," she encouraged.
After dinner, Kelly pulled Prue to one side and asked if they could speak privately.
"Sure, let's go into my office."
Once there, Kelly paced back and forth as she got her thoughts together. Prue waited patiently, knowing Kelly must have a weighty problem on her mind.
"You've dealt with many transgendered in your time?" Kelly stated finally.
"Yes I have," agreed Prue, waiting for Kelly to continue.
"Is it possible from what you have observed that I could be transgendered?" Kelly asked anxiously.
"Why are you asking this?" Prue urged, trying to draw out more information before she commented.
"At first, when I decided to use the can, I made a decision to accept whatever body and sex I might end up with, believing that nothing could be worse that the life I was living at the time."
"I can understand where you are coming from," Prue consoled the troubled teen.
"After I found I could choose any form or sex, I made a choice to become female, not because I wanted to, but because it could make things simpler when it came to joining the rest of humanity and starting a new life." Here Kelly paused, looking at Prue to see if she looked annoyed or angry. Seeing Prue smile encouragingly, she continued. "It was the right choice, as you found me and took me in, showering me with love and understanding. Strangely, I found I started enjoying being Kelly, even though at first I was terrified of being found out."
"Without our prior suspicions, we wouldn't have guessed you hadn't been a girl all your life," Prue observed.
"Well anyway, I liked being female and had fun dressing the part, yet I'd never considered doing it as Kevin. I'm just confused. You'd think I'd jump at a chance to return to a male body, now Penelope is gone. To be truthful, sometimes I wish the nanites had only been designed to produce Kelly's form only. Having a multitude of choices only makes my decision harder," Kelly clarified.
"Tell me one thing," Prue asked quietly. "Are you happy?"
"Yes, I'm happier than I've been in years. I feel like I've been given a second chance," Kelly admitted finally.
"Well there is no rush to change back. From what Kim has found out, you may live more than several normal life times. As the nanites rebuild your body template, you theoretically could live forever. We don't know exactly how long they will last in the body. The other thing is, you may have to force your body to age, as it is possible the nanites will keep you at this age." Prue revealed.
"I could live forever?" questioned Kelly, daunted by that revelation.
"We aren't sure. It was only developed several months ago. The production was stopped once we realised the possibilities of its use being abused. That's why we were worried about you going to the press about the discovery."
Kelly laughed, thinking that going to the press was the last thing she'd do.
"You don't need to worry about that happening," she snorted.
"I'm not," Prue acknowledged with a smile.
"Okay, back to my question, am I gay or transgendered?" Kelly asked.
Prue looked at Kelly, remembering how she carried herself and acted while in her care.
"It is possible for you to be transgendered and not know it. It might take a key element to trigger the realisation. Some people go all though their life feeling something is wrong, but because they never get that trigger moment, they never realise the truth."
"What kind of trigger?" Kelly asked wide eyed.
"Well sometimes a boy is dressed up as a girl, for a lark or for a Halloween costume. Maybe even by a sister forcing a younger brother to dress up. This action could trigger the realisation they are different. Often most know when they are teenagers or younger, but there are cases of adults finding out they are transgendered. A portion of those might have been transvestites that end up taking the next step."
"So my becoming Kelly could be my trigger?" Mused Kelly.
"Especially as you became genetically female, your brain is female and your body is full of female hormones. It is no wonder you feel feminine." Prue speculated. "As to whether you are gay, that depends on your point of view. If you liked only woman as a man and you still do as a woman, then that could be considered gay. You'd be a lesbian, but if you like men as a guy and now as Kelly, then you are not gay in a physical sense, only a mental one.
"I think I'm a lesbian, then," Kelly grinned.
"Just don't be alarmed if you start fancying guys in a few months. It could be your mind aligning with your body image," Prue cautioned with a smile.
"Well I think I'll stay as Kelly for now, I just wanted to know if what I felt was abnormal or something to be cherished."
"I think that's best," agreed Prue, as she reached over and gave Kelly a hug.
Kelly got up and excused herself for a minute as she left to go to her car. She returned with a cardboard box.
"Here are some free samples of our range of products. When you run out, let me know and I'll replace them. It's just a small token of my thanks for all you have done for me." Kelly explained.
Prue accepted the gift without protest, knowing Kelly needed to give something back as a token of her gratitude for that had been done for her.
"Thank you, I'm sure the girls appreciate the products, knowing they really work," Prue replied with a smile, as the two in question opened each wrapped product in gleeful abandon.
Kelly drove home to her penthouse a bit later, after getting the two girls to promise to visit for more lessons in make up. Now that the company discord was all settled and things were running smoothly again, she had time to think about her own future happiness. Although she professed to Prue about her current attraction to women, she often found her thoughts turning to other possibilities whenever she saw a nicely turned out young man in her daily routine. She decided not to fight it if she eventually found the attraction for males increasing to the point of trying a bit of experimentation. As she slipped into her satin nightie and slid into the luxurious bed, she smiled. Whatever the future might bring, she was going to be head into it with anticipation. With that thought running though her head, she drifted off to sleep.
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