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All movie-related references made in this novel are trademarked by Paramount Pictures, Disney, Universal Pictures, or Marvel. All other characters are completely fictitious and any similarities with actual persons are purely coincidental.
I know I left everyone in a dazed and confused state of mind after the last part. It was on purpose and to give you a sense of Jacie’s state-of-mind. The comments and comparable lack of thumbs-ups/kudos certainly made it clear that not everyone appreciated the part. While that doesn’t come as a surprise to me, there is a method to my madness and I appreciate those of you who are still sticking with me on this story.
If you are looking for some ‘normalcy’ and answers, this part should fit that bill. Just don’t look for all of the answers!
My hope is that this will make up for the dark and confusing parts leading up to this one.
Once again, thanks for everyone’s support!
I look at myself in the small, but well-lit mirror in the powder room and grimace at the ruined makeup on my face. Kate would have a cow!
Me? I’m completely drained and don’t have the energy to obsess over my face—even though I have to admit that I look terrible. There are like a thousand thoughts flitting through my cotton candy-filled brain.
What? Yeah, it’s back—like with a vengeance!
I look at my watch—I was in there for over an hour and I only like really remember the last fifteen minutes!
What? Yeah, weird, right?
I like remember telling them the events from my first day at school as Jacie through until almost the present. But, I don’t remember the time that past doing it.
What? Yeah, like I said. Weird.
Anyway, I remember them asking me to portray all that has happened as if they had no knowledge of the events that took place. I don’t like remember any other questions, though, after that initial one. I only like really remember that persistently annoyed feeling when they must have asked additional ones. I’m not sure what was so annoying, though. That’s still fuzzy—just that it really was.
I take a deep breath and blow it out slowly while I watch my makeup-streaked cheeks expand from the force of the air I am expelling. When the air is out of my lungs, I take another deep breath and then a deep sip of ice-cold Diet. I nearly purr at the taste of the fizzy goodness.
I shake my head—what was it with the coffee, anyway? It’s like I couldn’t get enough of it…
Maybe I am losing my mind—or have lost it already! Do the Borg need special shrinks? Or—if the Queen had a shrink, would it filter down to all the drones? Maybe I need three—or four. A whole hive of them? Do I need to get the Queen to assimilate more shrinks?
I giggle at the random—and absurd—thoughts flitting through the cotton candy in my head.
Yeah—it’s back, all right. It’s got my mind all mucked-up again. The sticky pink fibers are permeating every corner of my brain—and maybe that’s a good thing. I mean, well. Oh, bosh! What do I mean? I am still so confused from all that just happened, right now.
And the day is really just getting started!
I shrug in resignation and thoroughly wash my face; stripping off all signs of makeup. Then I put on some light makeup from my emergency supply kit. I’ll like fix it properly when I get home. I’ll need more than an emergency kit to do it right—and I’ll need a much more sophisticated look for tonight, anyway. So I would have been redoing it no matter what.
I will like also need a whole new supply of energy to tackle that…
What? No, not like the makeup. Tonight! Duh!
When everything seems to be back in some semblance of order…
What? No… I’m not in order. What did you think? Just like my face.
Anyway, I put my makeup back into its little pouch and stick that in my purse. Then I sit down on the toilet to relieve myself of the gallon—gallons? —of coffee I like must have consumed in there.
What was it with the coffee—and why did those two seem so smug about me drinking it? Or were they? It’s all such a fog. They seemed smug—but then I wasn’t really processing things clearly after that hypnotic session.
Was I just being paranoid?
But, then again, why the coffee? And why did they seem to be hiding something—smug or not?
I shrug in frustration and finish my business; then get everything situated down below. I check myself one more time in the mirror as I wash my hands and decide it’s like as good as it’s going to get.
I leave the powder room and enter the office to find Rita and Gina in an animated conversation. They immediately get quiet and smile at me when I enter the room.
I’m not sure, but the silence seems deafening and their smiles seem a bit forced—or am I just being paranoid again?
What? How does that make me feel? How would it make you feel? What an idiotic question! Studying to be a shrink, are you?
Anyway, I am like feeling really vulnerable right now and I don’t really trust my own feelings. That is how I feel!
Gina comes over and gives me a hug and Rita says, “I’ll see you tonight, Hon. I was able to score a reservation for Scott and me at the Disco Party. It wasn’t easy, I’ll tell you! P2SK is becoming quite the hot item at the Goddess—and around town.”
I smile. Thinking of tonight is a bittersweet distraction and I quickly seize on it, since thinking about what just went on is just giving me a bumper-crop of cotton candy-head.
What? It takes my mind off all of what just happened. Distraction, or not, it’s still a huge reminder that I’m going to be the lead female singer of a popular band at a huge gig tonight. And that’s a direct result of what we were just discussing.
I feel my knees go weak again as my head threatens to explode and send cotton candy to the moon. It seems there is no relief for this poor overtaxed mind of mine. No matter which way I turn, there’s a storm of controversy!
I nod with a sigh and give her a meek hug. I force myself to focus on the band for a minute, “I know and I’m still not sure how I feel about that, either. It’s not like I ever had any aspirations of being like a singer.”
I clench my fists to stop the tremor in my hands. I let out a deep breath and focus on something positive, “At any rate, Apollo’s niece is like really nice and it should be a lot of fun. We’ve enjoyed expanding our song list beyond just ABBA. But, now Apollo is talking about expanding it from disco into classic rock…”
I shrug at my inability to maintain a positive thought, without immediately regressing into a controversy again. I feel a lopsided grin form on my war-torn face as I try to put a positive spin on my thoughts, “At least that would be more Barbie’s arena—she can sing.”
Rita just rolls her eyes and smiles knowingly. She squeezes me in a warm goodbye-hug and Gina quickly follows suit. Then I slip out and close the door behind me. I collapse against the door and try and catch my breath.
I lean there for what seems like hours, but is actually only a few seconds to let my heartrate come back down to normal.
I give what just happened a fleeting thought. That hug certainly wasn’t one from someone that was mocking me. I must have been reading too much into what I thought I was seeing, earlier. I sigh…
Paranoia. Isn’t that a sign of mental illness?
It’s a good thing I have a shrink—well, two, actually.
Finally, I wearily push myself off the door with my butt and walk away from the office—trying my best to leave my dark thoughts behind that door.
I’m only partially successful. That session was more than just a little terrifying.
I like really concentrate and put on a ‘happy’ mask as I walk out into the waiting room where I see Momma sitting there waiting for me.
Despite my best efforts to remain calm, I feel my breath catch in my throat and I squeeze my fists to get my emotions back under control. I feel my mask crumble into a million pieces.
So much for leaving everything back there!
What? I like know that’s exactly what they were telling me is my problem! Trying to squash my emotions…
Anyway, I walk over to Momma and give her an anxious and trembling hug.
She smiles worriedly at me and asks, “How was it? You look like you’ve been under a full-scale Dominion attack! I was going to let you drive, but I’m not sure you’re in the best condition for that?”
I ashamedly look down at the floor and numbly shake my head. I bite my trembling lip in a futile attempt to steady it.
What? I know she’s right. The last thing I like need to do right now is wreck the TT.
I hug her fiercely again and say with a catch in my voice, “I love you, Momma! We need to like talk, though. I’m so sorry!”
She gently pushes back from my hug and gives me a concerned look. Seeing my face, she quickly checks her watch with a shake of her wrist. She says with obvious confusion and concern, “It’s nearly eleven. We could go have an early lunch at Emerald Wednesday’s and still get you home in time to get ready for tonight. How does that sound?”
I hug her tight to me again to try and draw on her inner strength to steady my trembling, which is threatening to get out of control—she has always been so strong and I have no idea where she finds that grit. I fight to keep the sob from forming that is threatening to further betray my damned emotions and say in a shaky whisper, “That like sounds perfect, Momma.”
We hurry to the car. The ride down the elevator seems to take forever—with Momma giving me as many concerned looks as she gives me space to gather my wits.
She seems to instinctively sense what I need. How does she do that? It’s like with the panties—she just knew they were something that I…needed. Something that I needed to be me—to express who I really am.
I feel my breath catch as I feel another wave of shame engulf me. How could I be subconsciously blaming her for all of my issues?
We finally get to the car and Momma drives. Self-conscious and not knowing what to say—or do—I check my phone and see twelve texts from Jillie wanting to know how it went. I numbly text her back to let her know the session is over and that I will see her at two at home to get ready and I will fill her in, then. I finish the text with trembling fingers—I let her know that I need some alone-time with Momma.
I can’t help but smile at the ‘kiss’ emoji I get back in return—and a reminder that she has her monthly ‘date’ with her Daddy today, anyway.
Seventeen minutes later, Momma and I are seated at a table at the Emerald’s mall location. Jenna, our server, takes our order and…
What? Our order? Two half-salads and unsweet iced tea? What about it?
What? No, it’s not comfort food! What’s your point?
Deep breaths, Jacie! Just take deep breaths!
Anyway! Once Jenna leaves to fill our order, I fill Momma in on the ‘revelations’ of the session. Talking through them with her helps me process the confusion in my mind—at least like a little. Going through them with her outside of the confines of the medical building helps me put some perspective on things—sort of like a second opinion, I guess.
Of course, I thought that’s what the shrinks were supposed to be for. Helping me get over the confusion—not create more.
I have to fight the emotions that want to overtake me, especially when I get to the end, but I get through it, more or less with some semblance of decorum. At least I don’t make some emotional scene in the middle of the restaurant.
I finish with a shaky, “So, I’m like really sorry, Momma! I never meant to like blame you for any of this. Implied, or not—consciously, or subconsciously! I…I don’t have any excuses to give, though. I…I…’m still confused about all of this. I guess I really am a wreck!”
She reaches over the table and takes my hands into hers and squeezes them. She looks me squarely in the eyes and says, “There’s no need to apologize, James Tiberius Amanda Christine Jacie Alexander! I know you don’t really blame me for this. But, I’m glad it’s coming out who you do blame—which seems to be yourself.”
She pauses and takes a sip of her tea to let that sink in. Then she continues, “Well, don’t! Do you hear me? The fact that you’re transgendered is not your fault. And even if you’re not TG, then whatever this is still isn’t your fault! OK? Do you hear me, young lady? It’s not your fault. It’s not anybody’s! It just…is what it is.”
I hurry after my eyes that have like made it almost into the kitchen…
What? Yeah, they seem to have now found a reliable way around the Borg technology, since this is the second time today. Or, on second thought, maybe this is Borg tech and they just beamed out to check on our food. Who knows?
Anyway, I contritely reply, “Yes, Momma. I hear you. That doesn’t mean my subconscious ‘self’ does, though. It’s been like running amuck today—I’m pretty sure it’s been like feeding my paranoia.”
Our conversation briefly pauses as Jenna refreshes our drinks and we resume talking after we each swallow a well-chewed nibble of our nearly-forgotten salads.
When she is gone I look at Momma and admit, “I don’t know, Momma. I mean, I like really don’t blame you… Not consciously, anyway. But, I guess I still don’t know deep-down that this is right. I like want to believe it is. On the surface, I do… But…that session today seems to like indicate that somewhere deep-down, I’m not so sure…”
Momma gives me a sympathetic look and says, “I know you’re confused, Hon. I have to trust that Rita and Gina know what they’re doing—and I think you do, too? Right?”
I sigh and nod as I stab another nibble of salad. She gives me a concerned look and seems to think it best to change the subject, for now. “So, how are the plans for Mitsi’s birthday coming along? Your Daddy has her car already prepped. She’s quite the lucky lady, getting an RS3. I know that she’s not otherwise spoiled, though. I think it’s a good fit—although, she’ll have to be very careful. That’s a powerful car. I’m not sure why a normal A3 wouldn’t have sufficed…”
I smile, actually grateful for the change in subject—and to a subject that’s not about tonight. “Well, I think she’ll be fine with it. She’s really responsible and when she turns eighteen she can turn it in and pick out whatever she wants. Not that she knows any of this—and I still have to keep it secret for another two weeks!”
I take another nibble and swallow. I think about how I had accused Rita of being smug earlier. That doesn’t jive at all with how she normally treats me—trusting me with a huge secret like this, for example. I must have just been taking things out of context. I mean they are the professionals—I’m just a screwed-up psycho…
I swallow another contrite nibble, then continue, “As for the party, Apollo and Aphrodite like have everything ready. Since it’s going to be a very large crowd, it will be held at ‘The Warehouse’. You know, that big event center that you can like rent out? Apollo is providing the food and Rita’s paying for the venue. Aphrodite is like doing all of the planning. But only Jillie and I know all the details outside of Rita, Apollo, and Aphrodite—not even the posse or the band know everything. It’s kind of weird that Rita trusts me with this…”
Momma shakes her head, “Rita trusts you and I don’t think that trust comes lightly. I know you had concerns about her and Gina today, but not all is always at it seems in the heat of battle. Like I said, I think we need to trust her. Anyway, speaking of Aphrodite—is she as nice as she seems? I mean, I haven’t met her, yet, but you and the band seem to talk her up quite a bit. I know she’s only been here for a couple of weeks…”
I nod and swallow my nibble as I contemplate my earlier impressions of Rita. I take a sip of tea to wash it down and decide to put those concerns on hold. I play with the salad on my plate and say, “Yes, she really is. She like fully transitioned five years ago—at eighteen. You know, SRS, and the whole shebang. She like started her ‘journey’, as she calls it, early and like never had to deal with the effects of male puberty. You can’t tell she wasn’t born a genetic woman—at least not as far as most people can see. I certainly can’t, anyway. I guess like a doctor could, maybe…”
Momma nods in understanding and asks, “So, I’ll meet her tonight?”
I drop my fork onto my plate with a clatter and run to get my eyes—they are busy checking out the boiling pot of soup in the kitchen.
What? I don’t know why! Maybe they have a thing about food safety? Or they want to steal the recipe?
Anyway, Momma giggles at the confused look on my face and explains as I contritely pick my fork back up, “Well, Rita got tickets to the party and Scott can’t make it. So, she asked me if I want to go…”
She seems to think a second, then asks in a worried tone, “That’s not a problem, right? I can call Rita and cancel…”
I shake my head vigorously and wish I could like create enough breeze doing so to cool down my burning eyes. Even the long fake eyelashes that Kate insists I wear don’t whip up enough wind when I vigorously bat them. I quickly reply, “Nope! Like, not at all!”
Momma smiles in obvious relief and then completely blows me away with her next question, “So, Rita and Gina asked me something funny and I’m not sure why. They wanted to know if I had a problem with you drinking coffee? Any ideas why that would come up? It was earlier in the week when we were talking about setting up your special session today and it seemed a bit odd...”
I give her a shocked look but repress the urge to hiccup as I shake my head. “No idea. They did offer me some during the session—and for some reason, it just sounded really good. I think I drank like three cups and it was like…delightful…”
Momma nods and says, “So, you’re developing a taste for it, are you? I wasn’t aware—I mean I know you have occasionally had a cup in the morning when you were tired, but I didn’t think you really liked it. I told them that, but I guess I was wrong. Anyway, would you like to go next door to ‘The Coffee Shop’ with me and get a cup to go? It sounds good to me, right now. And if you’re acquiring the taste…?”
I think about all of it that I like had drunk earlier and realize I don’t really have any desire for more. I blush and say, “I don’t know, Momma. It was really good for a bit, then I had my normal craving for Diet Pepsi and I sort of forgot about it.” I shrug at a complete loss of how to explain it.
She smiles and says, “But, I just love hot coffee on a cold day, don’t you?”
All of the sudden, the smell of the coffee coming from the nearby kitchen makes my mouth water and I nod, “I sure do, Momma. A cup of coffee sounds great!”
What? A girl can never have too much coffee!
Momma seems a little shaken and shakes her head as she seems to be like mentally chewing really hard on something…
She quickly motions to Jenna for the check and pays the bill. Puzzled at my sudden desire, we go next door to get our wonderful cup of coffee.
I sip on steaming coffee—black as Darth Vader’s cape—on the way home and chew on what Momma and I had discussed. I’m still confused, but I feel a little better.
Maybe letting this emotional stuff out thing isn’t so bad, after-all.
When we get home, I go straight up to my room to mentally prepare for tonight. That turns into mostly finishing my coffee and replaying the morning over and over in my head. I don’t really make any progress and finally give up after an hour. I decide to take a nice hot shower…
Half an hour after that, I get out of the shower and can’t help but think the steamy room is reminiscent of my foggy mind. I quickly wrap a towel around my ‘Borg’ boobs and step out into my room, a billow of steam following me…
What? My ‘boobs’ are certainly as fake as a Borg implant! Not likely as functional, though. Mine just are dead weight and good for nothing, other than filling out my bra… I wonder if they really were Borg implants if they would produce milk?
What? It’s like a legitimate question! Right? You mean you don’t wonder…?
Anyway, I wrap my wrung-out hair with another towel and put it all up in a turban to get it out of my way.
My brain still feels like it’s crammed full of cotton candy and I feel an odd mixture of being mentally drained from the session and physically wired from all the coffee. I also like still feel an odd controversy over actually liking the coffee, but can’t seem to like focus on thinking about it.
What? Focus on the controversy, I mean. I can certainly focus on the desire for coffee, though. As a matter of fact, a cup sounds really good…
Anyway, like I said, I’m wired, but exhausted—so I decide to maybe like try taking a quick nap and see if that will help clear my mind. I look at the clock and decide I still have time to take one before it’s time for Jillie to come over—barely. So it’s now or never.
What? Yeah, I could like really use her particular brand of therapy to relax me, right now.
What? No! I’m not giving you any details on what that would entail! I think we’ve like gone over that before! Pervert!
Anyway, I know I have to wait for any of that particular brand of magic, so I finish toweling my hair dry and put it into a quick braid while it’s still damp. It gives it a cute crinkle when I undo it after it dries that way.
I peek at my phone—I could text her and see if she could come over early. I sigh and wrap the hairband tight around the bottom of the braid as I shake my head. I know she’s still out on her monthly ‘date’ with her Daddy. I sigh and lay down on my bed and close my eyes—and try hard to relax.
I sigh again as I lay there and a gazillion thoughts tunnel through the cotton candy in my brain—all of them defying any attempt to fall asleep.
What? I’m tired! I really am! But, the coffee has those cotton candy pathways buzzing. It’s like there’s electricity racing down every fiber of it and my thoughts won’t settle down enough to let me rest.
My thoughts are so random, too. One path has me thinking about the boots that Jillie wants me to get; another has me thinking about my alter-ego pulling the Klingon mask off; another, about the fact that another cup of coffee sounds really good, right now…
And all of them are racing through my brain at once and crashing in on one-another with the force of atoms racing through a particle accelerator. I wonder if they will create dark matter and turn me into a meta?
I’m just about to give up on the nap attempt as totally futile when I drift off into a restless slumber. All the thoughts seem to crash together just then in one big bang and annihilate each other.
I finally settle into a deep enough sleep to dream and find myself back outside the school parking lot and the ‘Klingon’, once again, blocking my path to safety.
And, once again, in my dream state I don’t know it’s me. In a repeat performance, I’m completely paralyzed and can’t move.
What? You like know how it is in dreams, right? Something bad is going to happen to you and you like suddenly can’t move! Try as you might—whimper all you want—no dice!
Anyway, I stand there and can’t move. I can’t run away. I can’t run towards the ‘Klingon’ in any sort of futile attempt at bravado and attack it, either. I can only stand there and whimper as I watch the figure slowly and mockingly pulls off its mask…
And I, once again, see myself standing there, in all my unmasked Borg glory—grimacing at the paralyzed me.
I try and move my feet again, but they’re still firmly rooted to the ground.
What? The paralyzed me—not the Klingon one! I mean really? Did I like really have to explain that?
Anyway, I wonder if maybe I’m part Groot? I have actual roots going into the ground? Would Groot’s strength help me? Paralyzed me wants to shout at Klingon me, but I can’t get any words to come out. Not that, “I am Groot,” would likely be all that useful…
All I…err…paralyzed me…can do is whimper a pathetic and feeble nothingness and feel myself shake in terror—until I realize it’s Momma shaking me awake.
“…up, Hon! You’re having a nightmare! Plus, it’s time for you to get ready! Jillie will be here at any moment!”
I slowly open my eyes and reality like slowly sinks back in. It was just a dream—again!
I’m seriously beginning to hate dreams! Induced ones—or not. Plus, why did that particular scene play itself out again? I thought we had hashed through it all—the shrinks and I; more importantly, Momma and I…
I groggily look up at Momma and groan. She looks at me with concern and says, “Jillie is on her way over. Are you OK? Can you do this tonight? I guess that session wasn’t a great idea on the day of your biggest gig, yet.”
I want to retort, “You like think?”
I hold my retort and sigh. I know it’s not fair—just a remnant of my still terrified mind. I ask instead, “Jillie isn’t sick, right?”
What? I still can’t like totally separate everything I remember from the morning session from reality, right now. I acutely remember Jillie being sick and that was the reason Momma took me to school alone. Was she really sick—or was that just a part of the ‘dream’? Does that have something to do with me dreaming this again? But then why would I dream about my issues and not something about Jillie?
Momma gives me a funny look and shakes her head, “No, not as far as I know. Why do you ask?”
I sigh again. I guess I left that part of the story out at the restaurant. I explain, “Well, like some of the things in my session today just got things like totally muddled in my head—sort of a mixture of reality and…like dream or whatever that was that I experienced. In the ‘dream’, Jillie was sick—one of the reasons that you dropped me off alone at school in my dream. I was just like confirming that she’s OK. I was just dreaming about the ‘Klingon/Borg’ me again. I like really dislike dreams! I don’t get it, Momma. Something is not right with my brain!”
Momma hugs me tightly and says, “Well, Rita will be there tonight. I’m sure you can talk with her, if you need to. I don’t think there is a thing wrong with your brain—just how you are reacting to its thoughts. You’re not used to it giving in to its real identity. You’re still trying to figure out what—or who—that is. Give it time, Hon. Do you want to stay home tonight?”
I sigh again and shake my head—I need to let go of my paranoia from earlier. Thinking about that just conjures up more dark thoughts. I can’t help but giggle, though, as Jillie suddenly comes rushing into my room, unannounced, as usual, and gives me a cotton-candy-clearing, tonsil-cleaning, foot-popping kiss.
My heart starts racing in excitement—then settles into a warm, comforted state—although, still excited.
What? Like now that’s therapy!
What? I said ‘excited’—not ‘aroused’! And that’s none of your business, anyway! Even if I am a little aroused…
Anyway, Momma just shakes her head and giggles, too, “Well, it seems the real doctor is now in the house. I’ll leave you girls to it, then!”
Jillie breaks the kiss with a ‘smack’ and says a little contritely, “Hi, Cindy! Sorry, I like could just tell my Dollie needed a pick-me-up! Plus, the cryptic texts sent out an SOS to the stars!”
Momma sagely nods and I let out a contented sigh. Then I smile at Momma, “Speaking of pick-me-ups, how about we make a pot of coffee?”
What? I can’t help myself! A girl can never have too much coffee!
Anyway, Momma sighs and Jillie gives me a really funny questioning look.
I just give them an exasperated look and retort, “What? It like just sounds good! Is there a problem with that? The cup from ‘The Coffee Shop’ has worn off and I need to be on my toes for tonight!”
Momma shakes her head and says, “And another coffee-monster is born. Sure, why not? Jillie, have you started drinking it, yet? Will your Momma let you? If you would even like some, that is.”
She shakes her head and says with a shrug, “Well, she doesn’t have anything against it, that I’m aware of. I am sixteen, after-all. But, I’ve never like really gotten into mainstream drinking it. I guess if like Jacie is suddenly so gung-ho about it, I can give it a try…?”
She shrugs again and Momma continues to shake her head as she leaves to go to the kitchen. The look on her face is strange, though. A mixture of consternation and pure befuddlement. Somehow, I’m not convinced the consternation is about me, though…
Baffled, I stand there—a swirling mix of frustration and confusion.
What? I don’t get what the big deal is. I also don’t get why I have these sudden urges for coffee… Is that Momma’s worry? Then, why does it seem that she’s not so much worried about me drinking the coffee, than me wanting the coffee? And ‘worried’ doesn’t seem to be the right word, either. Perplexed? Confused. Guilty…
I pinch myself—I’m being paranoid again!
Jillie turns around and interrupts my emotional reverie by giving me another cotton-candy-clearing, tonsil-cleaning, foot-popping kiss. When she breaks it with a ‘smack’, she looks me like deep in the eyes and asks, “How was the session? And what’s this about coffee?”
Suddenly, my musings about Momma’s emotions vanish and I spend the next hour telling her the whole sordid story while we get ready—and drink the whole pot of coffee that Momma brings up to us.
Of course, there are plenty of cotton-candy-clearing, tonsil-cleaning, foot-popping kisses sprinkled throughout to keep me going. Since is my second recounting, I am a little better at it, but I can tell that Jillie is like still as confused about the whole session as I am. Somehow, that makes me feel better. I thought it was just me that didn’t get it—it seems I’m like not alone in that universe, though…
I also decide to tell Rita and Gina that, while I am a nerd at heart, don’t have to have everything thrown at me in a ‘Star’ series speak. It’s starting to make me hate my favorite genre having it all linked to my psychotic issues…
What? They’re just going to have to deal and find a better way…
So… There is no kissing (or other stuff) and telling, but between getting ready and stepping out of the van at the Goddess, I certainly get a little ‘magic’ from Jillie.
What? Not great. The butterflies in my stomach are having pink caterpillars and they are all tickling my throw-up button…
But, at least Klingons and other baddies are out of mind, for the moment. It’s all about the frightening night of high-powered disco that looms ahead.
I don’t even like totally really remember the ride over here—or all of us gathering on the stage. There are just like vague snippets of the ride. What vividly stands out the ones of cotton-candy-clearing, tonsil-cleaning, foot-popping kisses from Jillie. I know I stalled on answering a lot of questions from the posse, though. I will deal with those…later.
I take a deep breath and pull my entire focus into the reality of the moment. I smile as I look at everyone in the band totally decked out in disco garb. We all look like we just stepped straight out of the seventies! Then my smile weakens as the reality of what that means hits home again.
What? Yeah, I’m like still working on the whole not regressing into the negative thing…
Anyway, my smile returns as we finish setting up and I force myself to focus on the positive and push the negative thoughts aside—well, as best I can. All of Jillie’s therapy over the past few hours has like really done me wonders in boosting my positivity and I feel a lot better.
As I force my thoughts into a sort of positive-reinforcement loop, today’s session starts to become a dark and fading memory—at least for the moment—and I’m like actually looking forward to this tonight.
What? I like know, right? She really is the doctor!
Anyway, Aphrodite and Apollo come over as we finish setting up and ask us if we need anything before we start our first practice set.
I smile and give Aphrodite a sisterly hug.
What? Aphrodite? Yeah, she’s really nice. I’ll have to like catch you up on her later, though, K? We’ve talked a little and I know we need to talk more. She ‘gets’ me in ways that no one else I like know right now does.
What? No! Jillie and I are perfectly fine—but Jillie is not going through what Dite has…and I may be…
What? Yeah… I like started calling her ‘Dite’ (pronounced ‘Die-Tee’) as a term of endearment and now everyone else does, too.
Anyway, I ask Apollo, “Could I like have a cup of coffee? Black as Darth Vader’s cape?”
Jillie just gives me a look and shrugs in resignation. She looks at Apollo, “If you can’t like beat ‘em… Could I have one, too? Only, I like need cream and sugar—lots of cream and sugar!”
The others give both of us a strange look and then order a variety of sodas. Apollo just grins.
I just give them all a ‘look’ back.
What? I still don’t get their problem! I am not dwelling on this and a girl can’t have too much…
What? You’ve heard that already? What’s your point?
It’s like true!
Anyway, Apollo brings us a whole big pot of coffee, lots of cream and sugar on the side, and a big tray of sodas—then we all get down to business…
Two hours of practice and two pots of coffee later, I feel good. Like, really good! Caffeine-buzzed, but good.
What? You wouldn’t be buzzed with that much coffee?
What? The restroom? Yeah, I have to go a bit more than usual… Your point?
Anyway, I like don’t feel too self-conscious about singing lead tonight. Somehow, we’ve all found a way to obsess less on the fact that we’re prepping for our biggest gig, yet—and, well just have fun.
What? I know it’s like weird, but I think Dite is largely responsible for putting us all at ease.
She’s hard to explain—at least for me. She just doesn’t seem to have a care in the world—and for someone like me, that’s inconceivable. Like, for example, she’s just been dancing around and singing along the whole time—and she really can’t sing. At all! I mean I’m a Goddess compared to her.
We all can’t help but smile at her enthusiasm, though. I think that is what mostly what puts us at ease. The fact that she can just not give a sh… err, care about any of it and just let go. I mean Else has nothing on her with letting go!
Her nonchalance always pokes at my inner ‘me’, though. Why do I worry so much about what others think? Why do I worry so much about what I think others think? Why can’t I just be happy with myself like she can?
What? Putting others at ease? Like, even the others were like initially really nervous about tonight. I mean picture this: All the tables of this huge restaurant heave been removed and the place has been turned into a mini-disco. You know; disco balls and colored lights—the whole works. It’s epically retro—it’s also a huge gamble on Apollo’s part.
And he’s counting on us to deliver! Hence the nerves…
Basically, the way it all works is that those with tickets will be able to have three drinks—of any kind, as long as they are old enough—for ‘free’. Of course, that’s like just part of the ticket price. The ticket price also includes three appetizers or bar-type food. Anything more than that will have to be paid for at the cash bar.
The advance tickets sold out quickly and there will like be twice the crowd than during a normal ‘dining’ gig. Oh, and like another difference is it will be the same crowd all night long—not people coming and going as they finish eating. That’s like a whole different level of pressure—we have to entertain the same crowd for hours and not let them get bored with our performance.
So, yeah—this is like really different. And all of our nerves showed it when we got here. Oddly, though, I guess mine sort of got burned out in the session, because I felt less nervous than the others.
Anyway, we’re all feeling better. And I feel good—even great!
What? I already mentioned that? Well, it’s like such a different feeling to feel good—it’s been so long. So, maybe it like was a good thing to have the session, today. This is like taking my mind off the dark thoughts associated with it and somehow seems to be less intimidating in comparison.
Jillie and Dite have played their huge parts in my mood, though, and I have to find a way to thank them. Of course, that’s not hard with Jillie…
What? No! No details! Pervert!
Anyway, no matter how much I try and focus on the positive, I can’t like shake this nagging feeling that it’s like too good to be true. I like have this annoying intuition that it won’t last. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Klingons—not the ‘me’ ones—are still alive and kicking out there. And they want to kick me—or worse!
I like force myself to not dwell on the feeling, though, and take what peace I can—for as long as it wants to prevail.
I shove the dark thoughts into a corner of my mind and we finish our second practice set. When we’re done, we’re all like feeling pretty psyched. The songs are flowing easily and the last couple of week’s hard practice shows. Apollo is like certainly happy with our selected song list and things seem to be shaping up for a great night!
What? Positive thoughts! Like remember?
Oh! Speaking of! We’ll get a nice bonus out of it, too! We get a share of the ticket price—and a percentage of all extra sales—on top of our normal contract fare!
Anyway, when it’s clear that more practice won’t like make us any better, we all split up to rest up before the madness of the night descends on us. We have like forty minutes before the doors will open.
Jillie and I find a quiet corner and she gives me another cotton-candy-clearing, tonsil-cleaning, foot-popping kiss—then another. Then rinse and repeat. Well, you like get the idea, right?
What. No? Well, I’m sorry you’re so dense, then!
Anyway, as the clock ticks and her kisses keep coming, I feel my nerves and my resolve to remain positive start to fail me again. The only thing keeping me sane are Jillie’s kisses. There’s no talking between us—our mouths are too locked onto one another. There is a fair amount of panting, though.
I feel her kisses get more urgent as time goes on and know it’s a two-way-street. Somehow that like comforts me and I smile as I lean into the next flurry of kisses.
We break up our little session fifteen minutes before the doors are set to open and look deeply into each other’s eyes with a mutual sigh. There is one last ‘smack’ as we break one last kiss and I give her a squeeze, “OK, Love. Let’s go let Kate give us our last once over. I still can’t believe how hot you look in that makeup and outfit!”
She giggles and I can tell she’s like barely able to resist the temptation of another kiss, “Not half as hot as you, my little Disco Doll! Let’s go like give them the night of their lives, shall we?”
I give her a last squeeze and we lose the fight with temptation. One more foot-popping kiss and then we rush to the girl’s room where Kate deftly repairs our ‘make-out-makeup-damage’.
She shakes her head and says, “At least with the other girls, it’s just one per pair. You two are buy-one-get-one-free when it comes to repairs!”
Jillie and I just giggle and Kate proclaims us ready. Of course, we were the last ones in, so we all give each other a huge group-hug and high-fives after we’re cleared by her. Then we go out to meet up with the guys with like a minute to spare before the doors open.
Suddenly, my self-doubts start strengthening again. No matter how much I focus on positive thoughts, I still have no idea how I let them talk me into singing—let alone singing lead!
Jillie squeezes my hand and whispers in my ear, “You’re fine, Love! Go knock ‘em dead.”
I sigh and latch my safety tether to her rock-solid foundation. Although, like I said, even she’s a little nervous tonight.
Apollo looks at our little group and gives us a thumbs-up. Then he and Dite go over to the doors, unlock them, and start checking tickets as the throngs of people start filling the restaurant-turned-disco.
I feel my emotions—good and bad—use my stomach as a trampoline.
What? You know… They go up and down—doing backflips as they like bounce on my queasy stomach!
Anyway, I squeeze Jillie tightly in one last hug and we all follow Chris up on stage. The guys plug in and start playing a melody of several well-known disco songs as the lights start going wild with the music and bouncing off the disco-ball and spilt into a million swirling stars.
I dance around on-stage—completely mesmerized by the lights and the unending line of people coming in. I think I almost fall back into a hypnotic state until I’m brought back to reality when I notice Momma and Rita come in.
I shake my head to clear it and point them out to Mitsi and Jillie. I pull myself together and completely focus my attention on my tambourine and start ‘playing’ it—doing my best to ignore the mesmerizing lights.
I am starting to get myself back under control and hone in on those positive feelings. I smile at Jillie, who is rocking the triangle. Then I grin at Mitsi, who is shaking her maracas. Finally, I wink at Kate, Sara, and Barbs, who are just clapping their hands or snapping their fingers.
After about fifteen minutes, the line finally slows down and Apollo comes up on stage, leaving Dite to take the last of the tickets on her own.
Apollo motions for the guys to lower the music volume and takes a microphone from its stand. He shouts into it, “Good evening, Gods and Goddesses! Are you ready to party?”
I feel my emotions bounce on my stomach again. Suddenly, that ‘great’ feeling I had before turns on me and isn’t quite so ‘great’ anymore. The roar from the crowd is both encouraging and terrifying.
He continues, “P2SK is in the house and is going to fuel your Saturday Night Fever! Let’s party!”
He hands me the microphone and I take it with clammy hands.
Have you ever noticed that the Borg look like their hands would always be clammy—they’re always so gray and cold looking?
What? The whole Borg—not just their hands! Pay attention!
What? I’m procrastinating? Really?
Anyway, I fight the urge to wipe the sweat from my palms on my dress and listen to Fred count down the first song. I take a deep breath and start singing ‘Night Fever’, right on cue, and the disco lights once again go wild as the disco ball starts rotating and scattering the colors across the floor, walls, ceiling, and gyrating dancers.
I concentrate hard on the words and my singing and do my best to ignore the lights.
What? The last thing I need is fall into another hypnotic sleep while I’m up here singing!
Somehow, the lights become soothing to me as I finish the first song and my nerves settle some. After that, I find my positive loop again and fall into a rhythm. I actually start having some fun again—and the band as a whole seems to feed off that.
Mindful of focusing on my singing, I can’t help but wonder how I can be the one that is driving the band’s mood. They like certainly picked a poor leader when it comes to that! But it further forces me to focus on my positive side—the band and Apollo now all seem to be counting on me.
Like just great!
Anyway, the crowd is like awesome and help me stay positive. They sing along at times and dance non-stop like crazy.
I start to get that ‘great’ feeling again as I start having more fun, which fuels the band’s mood, which fuels the crowds, which fuels me…
What? That’s like one of those positive feedback loops I was talking about!
Anyway, I still have that nagging feeling that is trying to bring me down from my high and I fight it tooth and nail.
What? What feeling? The one that I will somehow have to pay for feeling good.
I’m mostly successful at suppressing ‘the feeling’—mostly thanks to that above-mention loop and we’re well into the second set when I notice Apollo frantically running around. I’m in the middle of ‘Boogie Wonderland’ and that feeling that I owe the galaxy a huge debt for that earlier good feeling forces itself to the surface with a vengeance and gets like really strong.
I still don’t know why Apollo is so frantic, but something is clearly wrong. Then I notice that Dite is not by her post at the door, nor is anyone else.
That feeling that payback is going to be a bitch becomes all-consuming and completely overpowering. I actually feel a little faint and more than a little sick to my stomach.
Then, all Hell breaks loose…
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