A Summer’s Odyssey Part 3

A Summer's Odyssey
Part 3

By Jennifer Sue
Good Samaritans help Kristopher and his twin sisters when he becomes ill. The man, Mr. Nelson is a retired police officer.
The twins let the cat out of the bag, telling Mrs. Nelson the kids are traveling on their own. What will the Nelsons do do?

Part 3

After a fitful sleep the new day promised to be warm and sunny. The twins knowingly eyed me with worry. At their young age they’d gained an innate sense of when someone wasn’t feeling well. They’d also learned to keep quiet. Soon we were silently as trudging along. The hot day kept me warm but I knew was running a slight fever. Here I was, Kris O’Brien, the guy who struggled all his life to prove that he wasn’t a wimp dressed and looking like a girl. My machismo kicked in and I set a blistering pace that covered 21 miles. As the day progressed the girls knew I was getting sicker but said nothing as I stubbornly refused to admit it. About 4 in the afternoon the sky clouded and the air cooled. By 5 thunderstorms had formed. Despite lightening and pouring rain I doggedly led the girls onward. The stifling heat of the day quickly dissipated in the cooling rain. Chills once more engulfed me as we slogged along.

It was nearly dark and the girls were exhausted by the time we found a park with a covered pavilion and fireplace with plenty of dry wood. I still don’t know how I lit a fire. The twins made supper using the last of our food. The girls could see I was once more shivering. After we’d finished eating. I huddled next to the fire with the girls snuggled close but even that didn’t stop my shivering. I finally fell into a nightmarish fevered sleep while the girls made sure the fire stayed burning into the night.

In the morning, Teri shook me awake, "Krissy, are you okay," she asked with concern.

"Sure," I said as I struggled to sit up. When I made it upright everything was spinning.

Lyndi looked frightened and after reassuring herself that I was relatively okay she spoke quietly. "Is Mommy really dead?"

Her question startled me … especially in my muddled state of mind. "Why do you ask that," I finally asked after an unnervingly long silence during which both girls stared at me. The expression on their faces was one of maturity and concern … a look I’d never seen before on their usually giggling faces.

"You have a fever,” Teri stated softly. “You were talking and mumbling all night. Y … you asked Mommy why she had to die."

Tears started flowing freely from both girls and I felt tears start in my eyes. When they saw my tears they knew the truth and jumped into my arms. We hugged and cried for a long time but even their warmth failed to stop the chills of my fever. As we cuddled I explained what had happened to our mother and why it was so important for us to get to Grandma's. If anyone found us and knew Mom was dead, we’d be split into foster homes.

When people began to arrive at the park the girls helped me up. Although I was still weak and fevered we set out. Teri carried the sea bag I'd lugged all this distance and Lyndi helped me walk. After a bit I grew dizzy, and lost track of time and direction. All I could think of was keeping my sisters with me and getting to Grandma's. I was completely disoriented and we made frequent rest stops. The girls said nothing about being hungry as they knew we were out of food and money. I have no idea how long or far we traveled although later figured it was about 12 miles.

Sometime in the afternoon, totally disoriented and struggling to stay on my feet, I stumbled, Lyndi lost her grip on me, and I tripped from the berm to the edge of the road and fell. Suddenly a horn blared. I snapped out of my stupor long enough to hear my sisters scream and hear the horrible squealing of car brakes. I was on my hands and knees on the roadway with a car hurtling towards me while Lyndi was trying to help me stand as Teri screamed from the berm having dropped the seabag. I have no idea where I found the strength but somehow I managed to push Lyndi away from me and off the road. I guess it must have been instinct. Somehow I almost managed to roll from the auto's path. I felt a fender brush me as the car skidded past. Then everything went black.

I came too cradled in my sisters' arms as they sobbed uncontrollably. Someone was checking my legs. I foggily saw a frightened woman kneeling beside me checking me.

"I … I'm okay," I managed to squeak. "You only brushed me. I … I'm sorry I scared you."

She looked at me closely, obviously very concerned. She reached out and felt my forehead. "You're not okay. You're burning up." Looking at my sisters she asked them, "How long has she been like this?"

Teri whispered in a terrified voice. "This is the third day."

"Where do you live? I’ll take you home. This poor girl needs care, now," she stated firmly.

"No thanks," I managed to croak out. "We'll get there ourselves."

She looked at me, "I'm taking you home. If I leave you here, you'll probably die, if not from the fever, then from stumbling onto the road.. And you might take one of your sisters with you. I don't know what you’re afraid of but I'm not letting you stay here, young lady. Now where do you live?"

Pushing away from her, I tried to get up. Everything spun and turned black. When I came to again, I was seat-belted into the partially reclined front seat of a car going down the road. I looked frantically about for my sisters. They were in the rear seat leaning front to comfort and settle me.

"What are you doing? Let us out!" I practically screamed at the woman driving the car.

"I’m taking you to the hospital. Your sisters told me you have no home," she stated firmly.

"NO!" I shouted, "No, they'll split us up into foster homes, please, we've got to stay together. I promised Mom, please, just let us out." I began to sob.

"I can't let you go. You're too ill. Without proper care you'll die," she stated almost prompted to tears by my desperation.

My sisters shrieked and burst into tears, "No, don't die Krissy, we need you. First Mom, now you, please Krissy!"

"We're going to our grandmother in Maryland,” I whimpered. “We've come too far to fail now."

"How far have you come," she asked placing a comforting hand on my arm.

Before I could respond Lyndi told her, "We've been on the road four weeks since leaving Cape Cod."

The woman’s mouth dropped open! "You're kidding me, it's impossible for the three of you to have come all that way alone."

The girls indignantly told her of our experiences and adventures. The woman looked at me in disbelief. Lyndi dug Grandma's letter from the sea bag and showed her. Eyeing us to see if we were lying she pulled over to the side of the road to read the letter. Once she’d seen the letter, mom’s note, the address, and the postmark date, she shook her head in wonderment.

"My word," she whispered in awe. "You really have come all that way. No wonder you're afraid to go to the hospital. I can't say I blame you. But I can't let you go." After a few moments of silence, she said, "I'll tell you what, I'll take you home with me, we'll see what my husband thinks … maybe we can help you.”

"Thanks." I mumbled and smiled weakly. The next thing I knew I was being gently lifted out of the car by a big man. I struggled weakly to get away not knowing what was happening.

"Settle down, Krissy," he said tenderly. "I'm taking you inside our house. Your sisters are already inside.”

I settled down as he carried me in and laid me upon the sofa. The woman brought me a steaming bowl of soup. While propped up on pillows she feed me as I was too weak to do so myself. The man read our letter and questioned my sisters while his wife tended to me.

When I had eaten as much as I could he came to me, "Well, you've accomplished the impossible to get this far, young lady. Now, it's time you had some help. You'll all stay here until you're well. I'll see if I can locate your grandmother and let her know what's happening."

I was too wasted to try to tell him I was a boy or to stop him from contacting Grandma. I was afraid she didn't want us and thought it'd be harder for her to turn us away if we simply showed up on her doorstep. My sluggish mind went through this rationalization very slowly and I recalled how beneficial it had been to have people assume I was a girl. I decided I was in no shape to resolve my dilemma so I just went with the way matters were flowing, I’d let these people think I was a girl too.

I was broken out of my jumbled thoughts by the woman. "I'm Mrs. Nelson," she introduced herself to me. "Now that you've eaten let's get you into a nice hot bath. A warm soak will do wonders for those chills." She helped me up and led me into their bathroom. While I sank onto the toilet she proceeded to fill the tub with hot steaming water and added a copious amount of bubble bath. The room quickly filled with the smell of flowers. I'd never seen a more appealing bath before. She helped me stand and began undressing me by pulling up my shirt.

I snapped out of my stupor very quickly, "Please," I managed to get out, "I’d rather undress in private." My face was beet red as I tugged my lavender shirt back into place.

She smiled, "You're embarrassed, I understand. We hardly know one another and most girls your age are shy about their bodies. I remember my girls were. I’ll tell you what, you're still too weak to do this on your own, how about if I send your sisters in to help you?"

I nodded my agreement and she left. My sisters appeared a few moments later. They helped me undress and settled me into the tub. Teri scrubbed my hair. Then while I settled back she began to brush and blow dry my long now shiny and silken locks. The warm water, the warm air, the noise of the blow-dryer, the bubbles, and the sweet fragrance lulled me to sleep.

I don't know how long I was in the tub but the girls finally woke me. Teri had stayed with me while Lyndi went with Mrs. Nelson to dig out some clothes her daughters had worn when they were our size which she had stored in her attic. Both girls were nude, with towels wrapped about them while they waited for me to get out of the tub.

Still a bit wobbly, I managed to step out of the tub. The girls helped dry me, then wrapped me in a towel, tucked under my arms like a girl. Sitting on the commode I looked for our clothes. "Mrs. Nelson took them. They all needed a good washing," said Lvndi. "We'll help you dress then we’ll take our bubble bath."

I nodded my weary head. "All right, what shall I put on?"

Teri pointed to three pink, ruffled and lace-edged flannel nightgowns hanging on hooks on the door. My heart sank. I was too tired and sick to protest, but the expression on my face showed my acquiescence to the prospect of putting on these feminine garments. Giggling all the while, the girls began to dress me. Grinning broadly Teri held out a pair of pink nylon panties with delicate white lace about the legs and waist. These were quite different from the cotton panties I’d been wearing. Up until now I’d mollified my offended masculinity by rationalizing cotton panties were at least slightly similar to boys briefs.

There was no way I could placate my outraged boyhood, since these panties were absolutely girlish. I swallowed visibly as Teri knelt before me holding the dainty panties open for me to step into as I leaned on Lyndi to keep my balance. After a slight hesitation I lifted first one foot then the other and placed them in the leg openings. They pulled the girly panties into place about my butt and I was mildly surprised by how nice they felt. The soft sensuousness of the silken nylon panties felt much nicer than the cotton panties. The dainty nylon panties seemed to naughtily hug my male parts tightly yet were quite comfortable. I knew these new sensations were wrong for a boy but I couldn’t deny how nice they felt. In my weakened state this was simply too much for me to handle. My legs began to sag so the girls steadied me before slipping the long nightie over my head and smoothing it gently over my fatigued body. They pulled my long hair out from inside the nightie and let it fall naturally down about my shoulders. At best my boyhood felt awkward about feeling so nice and even delicate but I was too worn out to care much less to do anything about it.

The girls looked at me and giggled. "While we’re here you'll have to stay a girl, Krissy. You shouldn’t have any trouble doing that though since you look really cute in that nightie."

At that moment everything once more caught up to me and I began to tremble violently. The room started spinning and I would have fallen if the girls hadn't supported me. I wasn't sure if it was the fever returning or the warm pleasant feelings emanating from the delightful clothes I wore that caused me to almost pass out. After stabilizing me the girls called for Mrs. Nelson. When she opened the door they passed me out to her.

With a strong supporting arm about my shoulders she smiled warmly, "My, you certainly are pretty. Even as ill as you are I can see your natural beauty. Now, let's get you into a nice soft warm bed." She led me to a bedroom, pulled back the covers of a huge canopy bed, settled me into its soft embrace, and tucked the covers around my neck. After four weeks of sleeping wherever we could find a covered place, sleep came almost instantly.

I was disoriented when I awoke. My groggy mind panicked at first as I surveyed the decidedly feminine surroundings. I was obviously in a prissy girl's bedroom. It was decorated in pink and white with lace edging on everything: the curtains, the dresser top covers, the canopy of the bed, everything! Then I noticed Mrs. Nelson seated at a chair beside the bed reading.

She saw me moving and closely looked at me. My confusion must have been quite evident on my face. Leaning over to me she raised a cool damp compress and gently wiped my perspired brow. It felt nice and memories of how I came to be in this bed slowly crept back into my consciousness.

"You've been one sick young lady. How are feeling now," she asked with a concerned smile.

"A....A....Ahhhh....," was all that emerged from my parched mouth. After giving me a sip of water I was able to answer. "I don't hurt like I did, but I feel all stiff and tired."

"That's quite understandable," she stated in a kindly voice. "You've been in and out of consciousness for two days. I was almost ready to take you to the hospital."

Fear engulfed me. If I was unconscious for two days she must have discovered my true sex! “Ah … did I … ah … make a mess in bed,” I asked apprehensively.

The look of panic on my face must have clearly shown because she smiled at me in response to it. “You didn’t embarrass yourself. Your sisters insisted on taking you to the bathroom three times each day. You were so out of it you probably don’t remember, but between your stubbornness and that of your sisters, your personal needs were met.”

"Where are my sisters?" I asked softly with great relief that my secret was still safe.

"They're in the kitchen doing the dishes. They’ve been an immense help about the house,” Mrs. Nelson warmly stated. “They told us you insisted upon taking nothing for free and made them and yourself work for everything you received. I'm delighted you've been able to do that and instill those ideals into your sisters. Your mother must have been an exceptional woman to have raised such polite, hard-working children."

The mention of mother brought back my anguish, fears, frustrations, and my goal. Tears filled my eyes. Mrs. Nelson patted my hand understanding my emotions. Then she left to get me some soup and sent in my sisters.

The girls bounced into the room wearing short sleeved summer dresses, anklets, and girlish strap shoes. I hadn't often seen them in dresses, and it had been over a year since the last time. As one they asked how I felt, then, in what I called their twin babble talk, proceeded to tell me how nice the Nelson's were being to us. When I asked about their clothes they told me Mrs. Nelson had given them the outfits they had on. Returning with a bowl of warm soup Mrs. Nelson shushed the girls out of the room and began to feed me once more. My protestations against this and my declarations of my ability to feed myself were ignored with a curt admonishment that I’d earned a break and should relax and enjoy being pampered. After eating, she let me quietly drift off to sleep once more while gently squeezing my hand.

I awoke the next morning feeling much better and sat up without having the room spin. My sisters were snuggled on either side of me sleeping peacefully. We were wearing our girlish nightgowns. Mrs. Nelson poked her head past the door and quietly looked at us. Seeing I was alert and feeling better she entered. Gently she awakened the girls and told them to go to the bathroom to wash and dress.

The girls hugged me once they saw I was feeling better and scampered out of the cozy bed to head to the bedroom door. Mrs. Nelson then sat on the edge of the bed and felt my forehead.

"Well Krista, you're doing much better,” Mrs. Nelson said with a warm smile that I returned. As soon as your sisters are done bathing it'll be your turn. I think you’ve recovered enough to take a shower, dress, and walk about a bit to start rebuilding your strength.

I wondered why she'd called me Krista instead of Krissy but she didn't give me chance to question her. She escorted me into a second bathroom. Once there she had me sit on the closed commode and lean my head into the sink. After running the water until it was comfortably warm she began to wash my hair. While I knew my sisters had washed my hair, I’d been too out of it to remember. Other than that one time I had no memory of someone other than myself wash my hair. So this was a new and as I quickly discovered a very relaxing experience. Her fingers powerfully massaged my scalp as she washed, rinsed and then conditioned my hair. I’d never felt so pampered. I knew it was wrong for a boy to pretend to be a girl, but a growing part of me simply ignored that reality and delighted in the feminine luxury. Gathering my wet hair atop my head she used bobby pins to hold it in place. With a warm smile that showed she had enjoyed treating me to the shampoo she left me alone to slip out of my nightie and into the shower. For ten minutes I luxuriated in the stinging warmth of the droplets of warm water massaging my aching muscles.

Mrs. Nelson returned as I was finishing and said, "I've hung some clothes for you on the door. You'll find shoes and socks on the floor." Then she left.
When I heard the bathroom door click shut I opened the shower door to grab a towel off the towel rack and dry off. After removing the bobby pins I shook my head to allow my piled up damp hair fall down and swirl wetly about my shoulders. Opening the shower door I stepped out to get dressed.

I promptly froze. For several moments I stood there staring at the clothes hanging on the door.

"Are you all right Krista,” Mrs. Nelson asked after a gentle rap on the door.

"Y … y … yeah, I … I'm all right," I stammered as I snapped myself out of my shock. It was only vaguely that I noticed she’d called me Krista again. I knew I’d have to ask the girls how that came about. But what I saw on that door terrified me.

"Good, you were so quiet I was getting worried,” Mrs. Nelson explained. “Can you dress yourself or do you need help?”

“I can dress myself,” I hastily replied not wanting her to come in and discover my true gender.

“Okay, well then hurry or you'll be late for breakfast," Mrs. Nelson instructed.

I forlornly looked at the clothes. Hung on top of the first hook was another pair of pink lace edged nylon panties … but there was also had a matching training bra! The next hook held a matching pink nylon slip lavishly trimmed with lace. The last hook held a light fluffy nylon pastel pink floral print sun dress with French cut lace sleeves. On the floor were a pair of white Mary Jane shoes and pink lace topped anklets.

Trying to stave off the inevitable, I picked up the hair dryer and brush to dry my damp hair. As I stroked and blew warm air through my locks my anxiety grew. Repeatedly during this odyssey I had allowed my boyhood to be compromised for the sake of safety and comfort. Fearfully glancing at the girlish clothes I realized each tiny decision had accrued, and now I was actually going to betray my boyhood...by engaging in the ultimate treason. Yet what could I do? If I buckled under the masculine revulsion I felt and declared my true gender, would I risk the safety of my sisters? The memory of Mom’s last charge to me about getting my sisters safely to Grandma’s finally over rode my boyish angst.
I swallowed hard and slowly approached the clothes. I knew I had no choice but to put on the soft pretty clothes Mrs. Nelson had left for me. After all she'd done for me and my sisters I had to cooperate. I owed it to her and had to maintain my feminine image in order to get us safely to Grandma. I reached out tentatively and touched the pretty panties. I knew how good the panties felt. My masculinity shivered in dread, fearing the bra and slip would feel just as pleasurable. Waves of terror alternating with lust swept over me paralyzing me once more.

My masculinity was appalled to be so close to the forbidden feminine delights I was about to explore. I remembered how I'd often wanted to peer under the dresses of my prettier classmates to see the dainties they wore. Now here I was about to get unwanted first hand knowledge of the girlishness they wore. I was almost overwhelmed by the embarrassment of having to don the forbidden yet enticing dainties. I was torn wanting to both enjoy the clothes and yet wanting to run from them. Taking a deep breath I steeled myself and began to dress.

Since I’d worn nylon panties under the nightgown these new panties felt similar and quite nice as I snugged them into place about my slender boyish hips. It was with great embarrassment and self ridicule that I stuffed the pitiful evidence of my masculinity, ensnared in girlishness, between my thighs. But that wasn’t the worst of this ordeal … now came the hard part. I had to force my boyish anguish down as I picked up the bra. In the past I’d been able to mollify my insulted boyishness by rationalizing that panties weren’t too different from boy’s jockey shorts. But wearing a bra would be quite another story. There was no boyish equivalent for a bra. A bra was an undeniably girlish garment … one that was VERBOTEN for boys to wear. Still, I knew I had no choice. My ill considered decision to continue my masquerade as a girl with the Nelsons had me backed into a corner.

I trembled and goose bumps formed on my flesh as I struggled to get into the training bra. My fingers felt like logs as I fumbled to hook the devilish device together behind my back. Finally as tears of embarrassment and frustration filled my eyes I turned it about, hooked it in front, then turned it about and slipped my arms into the straps. As I settled the soft nylon padded cups over my boyish pecs I shivered. I knew it was wrong for a boy to wear a bra, yet the snug restriction was forbiddingly enticing. The soft nylon felt naughtily good against my boyish nipples. The delicate lace outlining the padded cups impishly tickled my flesh.

Even worse was when I looked down to see that the training bra made it appear there were budding girlish breasts held within the cups! Within the confines of the panties my already diminutive manhood seemed to shrivel even more. Unnerved by the sensations and the girlish image I glimpsed in the mirror I hastily grabbed the silky slip and let it drop over my head in an unsuccessful attempt to mask my unwanted girlishness. My entire body trembled as the soft fabric whispered against my flesh as the slip settled into place. Fearing what I would see I nevertheless had no choice but to turn again to see myself in the bathroom mirror.

I was stunned. While I knew I had passed as a girl, the image I now projected was undeniably girlish. There was no way anyone seeing me like this would even vaguely suspect that I was really a boy. I looked cute … way too cute for a boy. My dainty girlishness was the very antithesis to my boyhood! The only evidence of my true gender was a slight bulge tucked away inside silken panties. To say that I was shaken and embarrassed would be an understatement.

By this time I was unable to look at myself in an objective manner. I felt guilty for the obvious betrayal of my boyhood yet simultaneously felt strangely content and comfortable in the girlish lingerie. I couldn't believe how great the lingerie felt! Besides … if I admitted the truth … I was simply too cute to be a boy. It was with great confusion that I realized how lucky girls were to be able to freely dress so nicely. The thought of resuming the rough male clothes I'd worn all my life made me feel sad … for which I felt extremely guilty. For the first time I began to seriously question my masculinity. I was torn between loving and hating my girlishness which really made me feel damned for betraying my masculinity.

Unwilling to face this dilemma I hurriedly continued to dress and furtively glance in the mirror. My absolute girlishness really was a shock! The dress just seemed so natural as it settled into place. My hands trembled as I slipped my feet into the dainty anklets and almost instinctually rolled down the lace tops. Then I slipped into the Mary Janes, my hands trembled as I buckled them in place. In the mirror I saw a contrite but undeniably pretty girl looking back at me. I saw how the girl’s shiny silken blond hair cascaded about her narrow shoulders. I flipped my head up and back and watched as her golden tresses flounced off her shoulders and settle upon her back. I sighed at the utter defeat of my boyishness, forlornly hoping this was a temporary situation. I picked up the hairbrush that was lying on the vanity to brush and styled my hair into a high perky ponytail. With a pink ribbon that had been beside the brush I secured my hair into the ponytail and tied it into a neat bow.

Studying my reflection I couldn’t deny that I saw a cute girl. All the exposure to the sun I'd had effected my fair complexion by making my freckles more noticeable. As a boy, the freckles had been a source of embarrassment, but now I had to admit they added considerably to my decidedly feminine appearance. I shuddered, swallowed, and steeled myself to face the giggles of my sisters before I left the protection of the bathroom to face my fate.

I almost swooned as I left the bathroom. The sensations of the lace and nylon caressing and swirling about my legs was like nothing I'd ever experienced and was almost more than I could accept. I entered the living room pale and trembling. Mrs. Nelson arose and quickly came to me, putting her arms about me in a warm, comforting hug. She assured me everything was all right and would turn out fine.

Lyndi and Teri sat on the sofa looking at me with their mouths gaping in surprise and delight. I knew they were shocked by my undeniably feminine appearance. The giggling I’d expected from them never materialized. Instead, both girls smiled broadly in obvious delight and rushed to join in with the hug I was still receiving from Mrs. Nelson. Tears of joy were flowing down all our faces by the time the hug ended. We were all so choked up no one could speak. The girls later confided they had helped select the outfit I was wearing in an effort to embarrass me, but never expected me to look so natural in a dress.

After a few moments, everyone had regained their composure and I noted the girls were wearing outfits similar to mine. They were beaming, unmistakably proud of their pretty big 'sister'. We all went to the kitchen for breakfast. Afterwards, while we cleaned up, I had a chance to question the girls about how I'd become ‘Krista'. They grinned sheepishly and admitted they'd almost messed up and revealed I was a boy. Mrs. Nelson had stated that she disliked nicknames and asked them what our proper names were. Teri had begun to answer with “My name is Teri, Lyndi’s name is Lyndi, but Krissy’s name is Kristopher”. Fortunately she'd caught herself mid-word, and it came out 'Krist … eh … ’ Mrs. Nelson obviously interpreted her response as 'Krista' and the twins were too flustered by the close call to correct her. So now I was Krista. It seemed everything that was happening was thrusting me deeper into my masquerade as a girl. When we'd finished the dishes we returned to the living room.

Mr. Nelson was seated in a chair talking to his wife and when he saw me, he smiled broadly and gave me a 'wolf' whistle. I felt my face growing extremely warm as I blushed. Stopping dead in my tracks I smiled in embarrassment and lowered my gaze to the floor. The girls tried to stifle giggles at my discomfort, which only made my agony worse.

"Now you stop that right now," Mrs. Nelson scolded Mr. Nelson good-naturedly. "Can't you see you're embarrassing the poor girl? Apologize for that sexist exhibition."

In the past I’d often ogled pretty girls and had done my share of wolf whistles. Being on the receiving side was quite an eye-opener. I’d learned another shameful lesson about male chauvinism.

"I'm sorry Krissy, but I simply couldn't help myself. You are one lovely young lady. If I was 40 years younger and not married...," he let the sentence fade out as he saw the frown growing on Mrs. Nelson's face.

I blushed even more at this comment, fearing Mrs. Nelson might be angry and do something to split us up, but instead she chuckled and hugged me as the girls giggling faded. When I'd regained my composure we all sat down and discussed our odyssey. I filled in the gaps and details my sisters left when they had recounted our trek for the Nelsons. The couple were truly amazed at our accomplishments and stamina and lavished praise on me for what I’d accomplished. Mr. Nelson then told us he was a retired police detective and was using his connections to get information about our situation which he’d share with us when he had everything together. He expected it to take 2 or 3 days until all the information he’d requested came in and that we would be spending that time living with them. With a smile at seeing I was about to protest, Mrs. Nelson said we’d be earning our keep by helping about the house.

The next two days passed quickly and we settled into an almost familial routine. Each day began with me donning a dress or skirt and blouse. Then we made breakfast, did the dishes, and cleaned the house from top to bottom. We sorted through the cartons of outgrown clothes the Nelson’s stashed in their attic for outfits that would fit us. The evenings were spent playing board games or watching TV.

Fortunately the Nelsons and my sisters kept me so busy I didn’t have time to worry about my undesired girlish role. Also I was simply so relieved to be at least temporarily out of the ordeal of keeping us safe and moving that I luxuriated in the respite. When I sat I found myself unconsciously smoothing my skirt. While seated I found myself crossing my legs at the ankle. Whenever I passed a mirror I found myself checking that the ribbons in my hair were properly tied. More than once I berated myself for behaving so naturally as a girl and wondered why I was so easily adapting to living in skirts. Naturally everything was decidedly feminine. On the whole my sisters and I were content, but we knew our odyssey was not over. During lunch on the fourth day after my recovery Mr. Nelson stated he’d gathered all the information he’d requested and that we’d sit down for a serious discussion once we finished eating.

"Girls, as you know I’ve done some discrete investigating based on your story and letter from your Grandma,” he began once we were seated in the living room. “First I checked with the Massachusetts police, and discovered they've been looking for you three for the last four weeks. Your mother's body was discovered washed up on the beach, but they couldn't find you," he stated regretfully.

The girls and I struggled to hold back our tears.

"You don't have to worry. I accessed their computer net to get that info, so they aren't aware of my inquiry," he stated. "Your grandmother is living alone on a small farm right on the Chesapeake Bay several miles outside of the town of St. Michael’s. Most of the people I've talked to think she's … how can I say this nicely … slightly unbalanced mentally. I managed to get her phone number and called her. She knew she had one grandchild, but didn’t know about the twins until the police from Massachusetts contacted her about your mother's death. I told her about your odyssey and that I'd be bringing you to her, but she just grunted, then hung up."

A look of fear and doubt spread across our faces as we unconsciously huddled closer to each other on the sofa.

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