Upside Down, Inside Out Chapter 3

The memories continue, from both Cameron and his father. Also a few glimpses of things from Jocelyn's viewpoint.

**********

School has been okay for the most part. The schoolwork isn't difficult, I could probably do most of it in my sleep.

What's made school a hassle since November, when I had that fight where I broke the other boy's arm, is that the kids are scared of me. It worries a lot of them that it took three grade eight boys to pull me off him, and I'm small, 4'10 and maybe 80 pounds; since then, it has been pretty lonely, I've spent most lunch periods sitting by myself in the dimmest and crappiest spot in the school cafeteria. I swear there's a hole in the ceiling somewhere up there, 'cause every now and then I get a drop of water falling on me, even when I switch chairs.

Ah, well, the one good thing is that my grades have been picking up again, the teachers are giving me less hassles about paying attention.

**********

Work has been the same as usual for me, I supervise a build site for a large chunk of the day, then spend an hour or so in the on site office.

Cameron has been doing well with school work lately, but I've had a teacher call me saying the kids are isolating him. That can't be good. What she also told me is that, even as small as Cameron is, most of the kids in the school are now quite scared of him. That must be hard on him.

**********

Christmas was a few weeks ago, the second since Mom died, I still miss her soooo much. It was a quiet one at home, but it was okay. Dad and I spent several hours on Christmas Day making a small turkey using recipes from a binder Mom had for her favourite meals. We also made a mince pie and a pumpkin pie, again from Mom's recipe binder; both of those turned out pretty nicely.

The turkey turned out fine, although it was a wee bit crispy, the sweet potatoes were yummmm!!!, and the pies were great. I'm not all that big on the vegs, but the mixed baby carrots and chopped broccoli au gratin was all right. Maybe it was the cheese, plain vegetables are boring.

Dad was at a supermarket buying some groceries in mid-January when he met a woman also doing grocery shopping. Both of them weren't paying attention to things and their carts collided in one lane, then bounced off each other, knocking stuff off the shelves.

Well, Dad got home quite a bit later than he usually does when he does the grocery shopping. He said that he felt bad about running into her cart, and when they'd all fiinshed shopping, he took her and her three daughters out for a coffee, tea or soda at a nearby diner.

I'm still having the nightmares, but not as often, maybe three times a week now. Dad always comes in and calms me down.

**********

Christmas was pretty good, although it would have been a heck of a lot better if we hadn't lost my Rosalie. Cameron and I spent a good part of Christmas Day making a turkey, plus some vegetables and two pies. The meal turned out okay, considering we don't cook very often.

My life took a bit of a turn in mid-January when I was doing my usual grocery shopping, I accidentally ran into a cart being held by a woman with three pretty girls trailing along behind her. Well, maybe we both hit each other's cart, we weren't looking where we were going.

I took them out to a nearby diner afterward for coffee, tea or soda, so I returned home a fair bit later than usual that day.

My son's still having the nightmares, they're slowly decreasing in frequency. I help him calm down. Gods, I wish they would stop.

**********

Huh, I definitely have a scary reputation now. A bigger kid ran into me in the halls, I glared at him and he backed away fast.

The school's doing a St. Patrick's Day dance, someone apparently noticed that I have a good eye for distances and angles, and roped me into being on the small committee that's setting it all up. The weird part is that it was a 7th grade girl that asked me to help, that was a shock.

Hmmm, doing this is actually fun... oh, this is funny, we're actually decorating the cafeteria on Friday the 13th, is Jason lurking nearby?

Dad's met that woman a few times since that first crash in January, they seem to get along well. He says she's really nice.

**********

Well, this is an interesting turn. Jocelyn's middle daughter talked Cameron into helping decorate for the school's St. Patrick's day dance. I didn't even know that two of her daughters went to the same school as Cameron until last night.

Oh, Jocelyn is the woman that crashed carts with me in the supermarket in January, her three daughters are Natasha, Diana and Valerie. Her husband was cheating on her with another woman in his office; when Jocelyn found out, she divorced him and got just about everything.

Jocelyn could never be my Rosalie, but she's nice, considerate, and is polite and honest to a fault. I'm finding I like being with her.

**********

Well, the St. Patrick's dance was a success, I got a few nice comments for helping decorate for the dance. That was a surprise.

It's getting close to the end of the school year, a week for all the tests and one more after that. I'm pretty sure I'll pass the tests.

Last summer was fun, maybe we can do that again, I'll have to talk to dad about it fairly soon, I guess.

There haven't been any fights since that one in November. It's made life in school easier in some ways, but harder in others. I found out three weeks after the St. Patrick's dance that the girl that asked me to help with that was dad's new friend's second daughter Diana. Huh.

Diana and I have talked off and on since then, she's eleven months older than I am; in a way, she's becoming a friend.

Hmmm... just thought about that, I don't recall having any friends at any point in school until now. It's not that I'm a loner, I'm not. I guess it has to do with how small I've always been, far closer in size to the girls than the boys; heck, even some of the girls were bigger than me.

**********

That St. Patrick's dance where Cameron helped decorate has changed things a bit for him at school, some people are talking to him now.

He came to me last week and asked if we could do what we did last summer. I called my friend and he said we could use his house again.

Two good things about Cameron and school: there's been no more fighting, and he'll likely ace most of his tests next week.

It seems he's also becoming friends with Jocelyn's middle daughter Diana and to a limited extent, her third daughter Valerie.

I'm still seeing Jocelyn occasionally. Perhaps she and her girls might want to come along with us for the summer?

**********

That Jameson is such a good man. I'm sad that he lost his wife a while back, he's had to raise his boy all by himself. Oh, I'm Jocelyn Burns.

We ran into each other in a supermarket last January, and we've been seeing each other occasionally since then. He's told me some of what's been going on with his son Cameron, that poor boy has been through soooo much, but things seem to be improving now.

Jameson has a friend with a house on the Jersey shore. He asked me last night if I might be interested in going there this summer. He said that it would give us some time away from the stress of work, and it would also allow the kids to get to know each other.

Hmmm... I thought about it for a moment and said I'd let him know in a few days.

**********

Well, the summer was a blast! The six of us shared the five bedroom beach house, each of us kids had our own room. I thought that was nice, but it would either mean that dad and the woman, her name's Jocelyn, would share the last room or dad would be on the living room sofa.

For the first few weeks, dad did sleep on that sofa, but as time passed, they got closer and closer, and soon were sharing the room.

I'd never been around three girls being the only guy before now, but for some reason, it didn't feel wrong at all. The girls were nice, I was already semi-friends with Diana and had met Valerie several times, but Natasha's in high school, so I was seeing her for the first time.

We had a lot of fun, spent many days just lazing away on the beach, but we also spent the day now and then on a neighbour's boat. The neighbour was a good friend of the guy who owns this beach house, and enjoyed being able to show off his boat to new people.

There were also days where we would head upstate to hit a theme park, or go into NYC for shopping or just to have some fun.

Like I said, the summer was a blast. It's been good for me, those nightmares are down to maybe twice a week now.

I still see that therapist, but not very often, I think I'm going to ask dad about finding a new one. I need to talk about some new stuff.

It's weird, but I almost feel like we're a family, like dad, mom and I were before mom was killed.

**********

Having those four girls up at the shore this summer was a good decision, we all had a great time. Lots of time on the beach, a guy a few houses up took us out on his forty foot boat now and then, we went to a couple of theme parks, spent days having fun in NYC.

I can't say why, but something's different about Cameron, he seems quieter, more at peace when around these girls. I have to say I've felt better with them here myself, kind of similar to how I used to feel before Rosalie was killed by that idiotic trucker.

I guess that makes sense in a way, we're bonding almost as a family would; Rosalie, Cameron and I were quite close.

Cameron asked me two nights ago if we could find a new therapist, he says he doesn't really feel comfortable with the one he has now. He says the nightmares aren't happening as often, maybe twice a week now, I guess that's a good thing.

I miss Rosalie so much, it hurts, but growing closer to Jocelyn seems to be helping me to heal. Life sure is changing for us.

**********

Oh, that poor boy! The summer's been fantastic, but when Cameron has those nightmares, it makes me want to wrap him in a big hug. The only reason I haven't done anything like that is I would be cutting in on Jameson's duties, and that wouldn't feel right.

It's been different, in a way, we've been bonding with each other like a family, all three girls get along really well with Cameron. I swear, if I didn't know better, I'd think he was a girl, he does just about everything with my three, and with no complaint at all.

Lots of lovely days on the beach, beautiful boat rides, trips to theme parks and into NYC. It's been an amazing summer for all of us.

**********

The second anniversary of mom's death will be in just over two weeks. I still miss her quite a lot, but it doesn't hurt as much as it did.

I haven't been in any fights this year, which is good, but I seem to be spending a lot of my time with girls or wishing I was with them.

Diana roped me into helping with putting up the decorations for the Halloween dance. It was cool, and it really looked awesome!

A few of the older girls are pretty, but I don't feel attracted to boys or girls yet. Heck, I'm still waiting for puberty to start.

The summer was definitely good for me, I sprouted up three inches, I'm now 5'1" and weighed 93 pounds at my last doctor's visit.

Dad and I spent over two months looking for a new therapist, I think we found a good one. Dad works for the Tool and Die division of a big corporation called Ramsay Enterprises, he had to attend a meeting there and someone passed on this therapist's name.

I met the therapist, a pretty Asian woman named Miyaki Starthorn; we had a good talk, she really listens which makes a big difference.

I told her that there was something going on that I didn't understand, it's that I find myself looking at girls and dreaming I was one of them. Not just the clothes or make-up or stuff like that, but that something deep down inside is telling me I should be a girl.

She said we would need to discuss it for several visits before any decisions are made. At least she's honest, she does seem to want to help.

Dad and Jocelyn are growing much closer, they announced last week that they want to be married late May next year.

**********

My boy is in grade seven now, doing pretty well, he helped out with decorating for the Halloween dance at the school.

The summer seems to have been quite good for him, he grew a bit and filled out a little.

Two months looking for a therapist, I think we waded through thirty or forty possibilities before we found Dr. Starthorn. She had a good long talk with him the other day, and intends to see him at least every two weeks, unless he needs an emergency appointment.

Jocelyn isn't and never could be Rosalie, but she fits me so very well, I proposed and we told the kids we would be married next May.

**********

It's been interesting the last few months, Jameson's boy Cameron seems to have settled down a fair bit. There's still something about him that almost shouts girl, but he doesn't go about vamping or flouncing or anything, he just treats people more like a girl would.

I guess it will all get sorted out eventually, Jameson says they finally found a new therapist for him last week, I hope that works out.

**********

Christmas was nice, dad invited Jocelyn and the girls over and we all got together to make a wonderful Christmas dinner. I hate to say this, but Jocelyn is almost as good a cook as my mom was, that turkey was scrumptious and the veggies and pies were perfect.

That Diana is sneaky, she got me involved with the St. Patrick's day dance again, it was even more fun than last year.

I've had several visits with Dr. Starthorn now, she says it's likely that I have gender dysphoria and she will prescribe blockers after my birthday. She asked if I could send dad in, and if I would mind if she told him about the gender issue, I said it was fine.

**********

Whoowhee! This Christmas was almost as good as the ones when Rosalie was here, it was nice having people in the house.

Cameron's been doing quite well in school, no fights, only one B so far, and he ended up helping with the St. Patrick's day dance again.

I was allowed to speak with his therapist recently, and she informed me about the gender dysphoria. I was stunned, to say the least.

**********

Well, we're a family now, dad married Jocelyn yesterday, three days after my birthday. I was the ring bearer, Valerie was the flower girl; even though those are roles generally for younger children, neither of us minded. Diana and Natasha were Jocelyn's bridesmaids, Jocelyn's younger sister was her maid of honour; dad's cousin Robert was best man, and his younger cousins Jack and Peter were ushers.

Dad's always been a single child, mom's twin sister Rebecca, her only sibling, died at seventeen through complications from polio.

It's a bit odd now that I have three step-sisters, but they're all nice and we get along quite well which makes things easier.

The day after my birthday, I saw Dr. Starthorn again and she put me on blockers to stop my male puberty before it starts. Dr. Starthorn also said that I could dress as I pleased at home, and that I could start living full time as a girl when school ended for the year.

Dad and Jocelyn are looking for a bigger house so the six of us can live together. I hope they find one soon.

I still have nightmares, sometimes a week or more goes by, sometimes they happen two or three times in a week although that is more likely to be around the time of year when she died, but there's been other times like that, too.

**********

I married Jocelyn last week, that was quite an event, let me tell you, most of the people there were from her family, but that was fine.

Dr. Starthorn put Cameron on blockers to prevent male puberty, I have to say that Cameron seems a lot happier now.

All we need to do now is find a house big enough for the six of us, maybe more, Jocelyn is one sweet woman.

He's still having the nightmares, perhaps he'll feel better if Jocelyn and/or the girls get involved in helping him with them now and then.

**********

Getting married to Jameson last week was the best thing that's happened to me for quite some time, I love that man to bits! Mom and Dad pulled out all the stops, organized the church, made sure all the dresses and tuxes were ready on time, it was sooo beautiful!

Cameron was the ring bearer, Valerie the flower girl, my two other girls were bridesmaids, they had a great time, a first for them, then my sister Patti was my maid of honour. Jameson had three of his cousins on his side, one as his best man, the other two were ushers.

It seems I may have been right, young Cameron just started on blockers to stop male puberty, the child's positively glowing. Jameson has been telling me about the nightmares the child's been having since his mother died 2.5 years ago, I'll try to help as much as I can.

**********

Well, I was setting up the final bits for us to be able to go to the Jersey shore again this summer when I got a call from a friend in the company. It seems a friend of a friend of a friend of his had gone bankrupt recently, and had a beautiful eight bedroom house in a good part of town.

I told the guy that a house like that was way out of my bracket, that's when he said they only wanted the back taxes, $320k US.

I've put away a fair bit over the years, Jocelyn is doing all right, we can buy it, then have someone sell our houses for us in the fall.

I called her, she said it sounded perfect, wired $225k into my bank account and told me to buy it. That was good enough for me.

All six of us spent the next week packing up everything from the old houses, then moved it all into the new one.

The old houses were put up for sale, then we were off for another summer of fun.

**********

When Jameson called about that house being available for just $320k, I told him to grab it and sent him $225k to help out.

When it cleared, we spent the next several days moving house, then out the old houses up for sale and left for the Jersey shore.

**********

Maybe we're lucky? I don't know, but only a week after deciding to find a new house, dad and Jocelyn had one practically handed to them. It's big, eight bedrooms, a huge kitchen and dining room area, a 25' by 30' sunken living room, a combined office/library/den, too. Nice place.

The nice part about it is that there's a fairly decent back yard, roughly 50' by 60', the big maple near the fence has a swing built onto it.

Once the belongings were all moved into the new place, we were off to the Jersey shore for the summer again.

Like the year before, we had a lot of fun, came back with great tans, but best of all, I could live as a girl all the time now. Dad and Jocelyn had found a school that would allow me to go there as a girl, I'd be excused PE, but I would have to find some way to exercise at home.

The new school is actually three separate buildings, an elementary school, a middle school and a high school, I'd be going to the middle school for a year or two. Dad and Jocelyn had arranged to have all of us transferred to these schools which are all fairly close together.

School has been a bit more difficult, but still well within my abilities, and I'm beginning to make friends, I'm not used to that just yet. It's a heck of a lot better than going to school before the move; even when I wasn't getting in fights, I was left to fend for myself most of the time.

Christmas is just over a month away now, and the third anniversary of my mom's death is next week. Having Jocelyn and the girls around has made a big difference in my life, I'm living as a girl, going to school as a girl, and I'm part of a loving family. Life is good!

**********

Rosalie has been gone for three years now. Cameron's life and my own have changed so much since she died. Cameron and I usually go to her grave every Saturday morning now and place fresh flowers in the small clay pot that has been set beside her stone. Each anniversary, though, we not only do that, but we also ask our pastor to do a remembrance mass for her, she was a huge part of our lives.

The new home is great, the kids each picked out their own room, but can often be found in a group doing girly things. It's still a little bit odd to see Cameron doing that sort of stuff, but just looking at her now, you can tell that's how she should be. I'll do my best for her.

**********

It's been a bit quiet around here the last few days. Cameron's mom and Jameson's wife was killed three years ago, Cameron and her dad have been going there each week for some time now to lay flowers on her grave, and we were at her remembrance mass yesterday.

The new home is quite nice, we're growing closer as a family. I peek in on all four of the girls every now and then. I've only known Cameron for about a year, but it's all too obvious now that there was a girl hiding inside the former boy that has come out and brightened all of our lives.

**********

Valentine's Day is next Tuesday, dad and Jocelyn plan to go out for dinner that evening, I hope they have fun.

I'm much more at peace now than I have ever been; I know I'll have to wait till I'm eighteen for surgery, but I'm coping much better now. The nightmares are less frequent, often ten days to two weeks between them, I'm glad I'm not waking everyone up all the time.

**********

Well, it sure took them long enough. It's been almost 3.25 years, and the insurance company just settled for $3.75 million US. They'd been fighting everything from every possible angle, but the evidence kept piling on, and the court order finally came down for them to pay up.

Well, there is one other bit of news, I suppose. Jocelyn appeared to be putting on weight, but didn't know why; she went in for a routine medical check-up recently, and the blood work showed that she was almost six months pregnant, the baby's due in late May or early June.

She hadn't had any nausea such as many women experience during pregnancy, so she didn't figure it out until now.



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