Sandy and Hannah enjoyed helping Marti to Blossom...
And now she living 24/7 during her Summer Internship…
I finished my work by 4:00 p.m. and soon turn it into Mr. Howard. I had snuck a peek at Stephenson’s report and knew we were at odds. I’m suggesting recommending buying new stock in Verizon because it is unusually low. I’m sure Stephenson had checked a statement of the senior Montgomery and he ends up presuming they would favor major investments in NCI Construction as well as Amazon.
Leaving Mr. Sparks office I suggest, “If the Montgomerys are wanting impact or influence, I don’t think it will be with Amazon.”
Mr. Sparks tells me, “Halt how do you know of Danial’s report?”
I simply say, “Someone’s not good at being confidential; I think he posted it intending it for someone else. I just hope the Montgomerys won’t think it leaked from here before you meet with them.” I suspect, Danial wants more credit than he thought he would get from Sparks or the corporation. A .05% bonus should have been attractive enough on a five million dollar investment. But then again, I’m not making $200,000 before benefits and bonuses.
I ask, “Can I leave it to you to find out what he’s doing? I’m sure it is a common practice in the investment world.”
Howard assured, “I will follow up on all of you, including how you found out.” I was in our main office when Danials asked for three copies of his report. To my way of thinking, it was at least one report too much if he had already kept his report and made duplicate discs for himself. That is what I would have done and understood as a common practice. I checked and knew someone in the city had begun buying more of Amazon. From what Mr. Sparks said, it could even be within the Montgomery clan. I was sure I personally did not want to get embroiled in that.
I kind of wish I hadn’t said anything, as my salon visit is no longer without distractions. It had been over two weeks since my previous salon visit with the Sparks women. Aubrey is happy to see me and we visit while she works on my hair. She asks, “Will you have twenty-four hours before you’re in the ocean?” She also wants to set tighter curls and we compromise there. I want curls that hold, but I don’t like the look of tight curls for me.
She helps maintain my highlights; saying time at the beach will also help my hair to naturally lighten. I relaxed under the dryer and even more as I come out from under it. Now I am like a young girl as my hair takes shape. I call Tricia hoping we could get together. Instead I will have to go out with Steph or stay in tonight.
Lee up on the third floor is in a huff when he gets home, and part of it seems to be aimed at me. He yells, “You’re trouble.” He had opened his door from the third floor so we would clearly hear him. I pick up a sweater and go out and over to Tricia’s. My luck for the day continues its downward spiral as she’s out. I leave a note to be called.
Friday morning I call Tricia; she says she got back too late to call.
We both work through lunch and leave our work places between 1-2:00 p.m.
I ride back to Hilton Head with Tricia hoping part of my time to stay with her. Early in our ride, she says, “It would be nice, but I’m pretty sure my parents her are against that. I would have liked that, but I hope you’ll stay with the Sparks the full weekend.”
I have both a gift and a gift card for Sandy. I’m to be helping Mrs. Sparks with some things when there.
We got back in time for Sandy’s graduation, but I had forgotten that it was tonight. I’m sure it is part of what I am to be helping with. Sandy comes running and leaping as I get out of Tricia’s car. Sandy’s hug and kiss are contagious. Other things become trivial. We take a good amount of time just talking in front of the house. Mr. Sparks coughs as he suggests I help carry my luggage into the house. My room is the same area of the house with Sandy and Hannah.
Mrs. Sparks suggests, “Why don’t you change into something nice but casual, we’ll need to be going to the graduation ceremony soon.” I wanted to stay back and help for afterwards. But I’m told a good number of Sandy’s classmates and friends are interested in meeting me. I am not sure what they know or are thinking as we meet.
Mary Jo sits with the family as does Jonathan. Ellen Sparks whispers, “He’s the boy she went to the prom with. He graduated from another high school and has been accepted to Clemson University.” He shakes my hand and I wasn’t careful. He felt a need to give me a strong guy handshake which hurt.
Once the ceremony is over and the graduates have processed out, everyone is going to greet them. Sandy rushes over to me and we give each other a hug. She takes me by the hand causing me to run in three inch heels. “Everyone this is my new girlfriend that I’ve been talking about!”
The guys who respond matter of factly say ‘hi.’ While several girls come taking hold of an arm or giving me a hug. “We’ve heard a lot about you. We hope you come out with her to our class bonfire tomorrow night. Sandy knows where, but if you come you can’t tell anyone including her old man.”
I ask them, “Are you even sure she’d want me to be there?” Amy one of them says, “Are you silly? She loves you, who you are.”
Sandy is a year younger than when I graduated from high school. Our relationship was paradoxical to me. She’s technically three years younger, but as a woman she, like her sister, is a big sister to me in many ways.
If this is true, how do I dare to approach it with her or her parents, especially with Mr. Sparks? Hannah walks over to me, “I can tell from your eyes and expression something startled you.”
I said, “It has to do with Sandy and me.”
Hannah says, “Well you heard her introduce you as her girlfriend. We’re both attracted to you and hope the feeling is mutual. But you can relax a little as our parents insist we graduate from college first. The person we marry needs to do the same.
“You shouldn’t be surprised as we were upfront with you from the first day we met. I am quite content with my girlfriend. But neither of us would mind having some of your frozen sperm. It could help, if we want to conceive a baby with someone we love.”
I have already had a half dozen vials of sperm frozen. It was first suggested by the doctors at my old university. It was also suggested here in South Carolina by my GYN doctor as well as one in Endocrinology. Hannah says, “We’re sorry that Tricia’s parents aren’t warm about you being with her. But I don’t think that is going to change any time soon; meaning the next decade.”
Hannah sees I’m startled about how openly she talks to me. She says, “Us southern girls can talk quite frankly with other women we trust. Many people still don’t take women seriously. The same will soon be true with you in the near future. There’s some problems with you being seen as a trans-woman.”
Hannah smiles and says, “My Mom and her generation accept it matter of factly, how they’re treated. She makes Dad pay dearly financially and there are some things he doesn’t get away with especially at home.”
The first of the graduation celebrations happen around family. I meet the elder Mr. Henry and Mrs. Edith Sparks before we’re heading back to the house. I meet Ellen’s father, Marion Middleton. The Middleton’s and Marion Francis both are considered as part of the South Carolina’s blue bloods. But till now I did not know there was a connection with this family.
Marion goes out of his way to make sure I understand where his first name comes from as well as his last name. It is with a sense of pride he tells me about Arthur Middleton being a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He had lost much of his wealth when he was taken prisoner during the American Revolution. But it was made back and more following that war.
Howard’s a very smart businessman, but being married into Ellen’s lineage is also a very big help to him. Sandy heard what her grandfather was telling me. She says, “It wasn’t her bloodline that attracted my father of my mother. And…” Whatever she more was going to say, she left unsaid.
Sandy was too tired to go to sleep even come midnight and after. I didn’t know when Jonathan, her prom date left. But it was after that when she warmed up even more to me. We were cuddled together watching TV when we fell asleep. Ma Sparks woke us both up a 5:30 and suggested we find our own rooms and beds or the shower.
I was up relatively early, after seven in the morning. It took a shower and getting dressed to get me fully awake. I was cradling a cup of coffee with Ellen Sparks and Grandma Edith. Grandma finally tells me, “Relax, you’re trying too hard to sound like a woman. You do better when you don’t press yourself. Both my granddaughters are so afraid I’ll be an old stick in the mud about today’s stuff.”
She asks, “You do know the youngest is bitten by the love bug where you’re concerned?”
“I didn’t really know that until last night, but I have atleast two years of college and she has atleast four ahead of us.”
I’m embarrassed when Grandma Edith says, “With you kids that doesn’t mean much as many of you take to living together. Howard will threaten you, if you try it. It’s his girls he’s worried about.”
She says, “I’m more afraid she’s going to be hurt more by her love for the environment and the sciences.”
I’m wondering why and finally ask. Ellen speaks up, “It’s because many around here either don’t believe in global warming or they’re afraid to say so out loud for fear of reprisals. Fortunately and unfortunate Sandy is not shy about saying what she thinks. That has and will cause her again to get hurt of be disliked. She doesn’t like being disliked. She feels hurt when it happens. You saw those who are close friends last night. Most of the school was like that with her in the past.”
“Most people still aren’t sure if it’s Jan that her older sister is in love with. It’s not that we hide it. Likewise most don’t know her affection for you, because she’s sensitive to your love for Tricia. Truly the vast majority could care less; it’s the stink a small percentage can make.”
Edith says, “Most of them would be more upset if she let her looks go, or if she started going out with jerks.” She smiles at me, “You might be different but I don’t think you fit the label of a jerk.”
I say, “I’m surprised, I thought older women we set in their ways?”
Elder Sparks says, “By the time you’re my age, you no longer worry about what others think about you. I feel freer to try and make a difference. Older people don’t all think alike so where Marion’s and my family care more about freedom. Someone else might be thinking old ways shouldn’t change.”
“If Marion did some of the things other men do to their women. He wouldn’t have been safe to go to sleep.”
I find myself laughing and Marty’s laugh pushes itself in for a chnge. Ellen says, “Grandma wants you or Sandy to help polish her nails before the festivities of the reception.” I look to grandma pretty sure she doesn’t want me. But she’s moving her head in affirmation that she’d be open to my help.
Marie, their cook, brings some baked goods to eat along with some fresh coffee as well as hot and iced tea. She brought me two eggs over medium and some grits. I’m not a fan of grits but she brought some maple syrup and chopped pecans. That goes a long way to making grits taste good.
Sandy walks into the kitchen and tells me. “I put out a sundress that I thought will be good for today. I do suggest you don’t put on the petticoat, so I did put it out. Megan is likely to be over early to give you a pedicure as well as a manicure.” I think I met Megan before probably last night.
I am helping to do Edith’s fingernails. She guides me, telling me the steps or caring for fingernails and hands. We talk and I’m taken with the interest she shows in me. She says, she was seven when Pearl Harbor was bombed. But what she understood was how scared and angry the adults could get. For her it meant that her father was gone and missed her eighth, ninth and tenth birthdays. Her Dad was there for her eleventh birthday, but people said he was different. My father said, he was glad I was a girl and wouldn’t have to go to war.
I mentioned as a young boy I got in fights, but that I stopped fighting because I once I hurt someone. “I don’t know why but people seemed to get angrier when I wouldn’t fight.”
Edith smiles, “I don’t think the world, especially in the United States, people don’t like when a boy shows tenderness. I think that is part of the problem than haunts transgender girls like you. Many people think a transgender woman is that way because you’ve been allowed to be sensitive like girls.”
It causes me to think if my dad thinks something like that.
I finished doing Edith’s nails, and with her guidance I did a very good job. I think, Sandy’s mom thought I used a color for a woman more my age.
The first hour of Sandy’s graduation reception I was directing people where to put cards and gifts and reminding them to sign the guest book. I lost track of who and how many people Sandy or her mother introduced me to. Several people also asked me what mister Sparks thought people should invest in. I liked the idea of being important, but resisted commenting. Mr. Sparks was blunt about it and said to me, “I hope you aren’t telling people what I might think when it comes to their investments. It would be improper for you to advise them according to what you’ve heard me say.”
He said, “I’d much rather have them, be impressed with you as Sandy’s friend. I would rather have them think I have an intelligent young woman working for me as well her being attractive.” He says, “I know I am impressed with both how you carry yourself as a woman and your understanding to the investment business.”
He suggested I go and change and become one of Sandy’s many guests. He said, “I know Sandy is wanting to introduce you around. She want you close around her.”
I am glad that I’m nicely dressed as many of the classmates and girlfriends of Sandy are extremely attractive. I feel like they’re measuring me. One girl Ginger says, “Sandy was talking about you after your spring break. She was bummed out you were away working in Columbia. It is nice to finally meet and see you Martina.”
It becomes a challenge when several young men begin to take an interest in me. One is Sandy’s cousin Brett. He kissed me on the cheek as we meet. His warm embrace is more affectionate than the usual greeting. Sandy jokes, “Brett seemingly finds you as attractive as I do.”
I take Sandy’s hand and hold her with me. “Sandy, I wasn’t expecting your friends to know who I am or even care.”
Sandy says, “I’m sorry, and I know I probably shouldn’t have. I told them, I’m really sweet on you. I kind of don’t want to come between you and Tricia. But then I don’t want to lose you because you didn’t know how I feel about you.”
“I have to be up front with you. I love you, but it’s not like I want to rush into things with you. I just want to be part of your life for now and you in mine. My folks insist that both Hannah and I both graduate from college before we get married.”
I’m shocked; it is not that I haven’t felt some of the same feelings or imagined what it might be like with her. But I only allowed myself just to see her as a best friend, a sister helping me to come out and discover myself. She has helped me in acquiring a wider taste for fashion, makeup and more. She has helped me with other things like in hearing music differently, shades and tones of color and noticing small differences of fragrances.
I hadn’t realized it or put two and two together. I know Ginger, Kyla as well as befriended a number of Sandy’s other friends. I shake my head as Sandy touches me and says, “I guess I shouldn’t have sprung it on you like that.”
I am not sure what to say, “I know I have had similar thoughts, but shouldn’t I see you more like a sister or cousin. What will your parents say, if they come to know?”
Hannah is now with us and she says, “They know, at least Mom does. I think Dad will know soon if he doesn’t already. It was like a dream when we all met and you blossomed. Sandy, more than I, felt you become special as our relationships with you grew.”
Martina, I felt like I went through the next few hours in a dream cloud. I guess I was sociable, but I was thinking more about Sandy and Tricia.
I had changed earlier into a nice party dress when Mr. Sparks had advised it. Since then and Sandy’s revelation I have not only been in a dream like state, but I’ve enjoyed atleast three mint juleps and a wine cooler. I’m up at the house and Ellen Sparks comes up to me. “Young lady, I think you should go slip out of your dress and take a nap.” With that we go up near my room where she undoes the hook and zipper at the back of my dress.
I am in my room and ready to slide under a sheet, when Ma Sparks knocks and comes in. She says, “Hannah told me two of the mint julips and a wine cooler were consumed, after our Sandy made her fondness known to you. I hadn’t realized you didn’t know.”
She says, “Didn’t you realize you were being different with her from the rest of us. I could tell you too had affections for her as well. Was it that she had boyfriends and a date for her prom that you ignored the possibility?”
I am lying in the bed looking up to mother Sparks. She kisses me on the forehead saying, “You’re like a younger girl in some says. Have a good nap and relax. If you’re worried about her Dad and your boss, he knows too.” With that she stands and leaves the room.
It is more than an hour later when I’m awakened by another knock at the door. When Tricia identifies herself opens the door a little. I say, “Let me get up and put together again.” I am both excited and anxious to see her…
Story to be continued…
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