By Nina Adams
This is part 4 of a planned 5 part story. In this section the challenges go far beyond just the previous rollercoaster of emotions. Lyle/Lyla learns of the deception that has lead to all the changes. Lyle/Lyla is not sure how to cope with the growing mixed emotions and Fiance'.
Inside the car, Mrs. Johnson began to lecture me. “I am so pleased how easily you have settled into your role as a young lady. I mean this in a good way, because it feels like I have another daughter. I like having you in the family.”
I wasn’t sure how to decipher that. She was welcoming me into the family, but for a second time, hardly focused on a future son in-law.
“I feel the same about you Mom. You have been so nice to me and surely have gone overboard in preparing me for the party. I didn’t have any idea what these last two days would be like, but it has been miles beyond anything that I anticipated. I am beginning to appreciate women in ways that I never expected.”
“I can see that in how you are adapting. It’s a shame that few men have appreciation for what we go through to look our best for them.”
“I certainly have an understanding now.”
“We are almost at the Doctors office and we are right on time.”
“I thought we were getting me a more comfortable gaff so I would not pop out.”
“My friend Dr.Welby has an alternative temporary solution for your problem.”
“A doctor. I’m not sure I like the sound of that.”
“He is a friend and very discreet. If he can help, his method will feel less restrictive and you will not have to worry about embarrassing yourself. He’s just going to give you something that will hold you over for a short while. Its completely temporary, if you want it to be.”
“Of course, I do.”
“Don’t be so defensive. It’s just us in this car.”
“I’m just get a little nervous about seeing Doctors.”
“Dr. Welby is known for his bedside manners. You will like him.”
“I feel so strange going to be seeing a doctor looking like I do.”
“It will be easier if you focus on being Lyla in a completely positive tone. If he does not think you want his help, he will not assist you. If he asks if you feel like a girl, tell him you do. He needs to know that you want this or he can’t ethically do anything for you. He is a doctor and he can only prescribe things if you come across as committed. I told him about you, so just answer his questions without hesitation\ so he knows you are serious.”
“I still don’t understand what he can do, but if it is something to get me through the Gala and is temporary, then I guess I can hear him out.”
Inside the Doctors office I was lead to a private room. Before I had a chance to see the doctor, a nurse came and took my vitals and some blood. She only asked a few basic questions and I never even had to admit to her I was a man.”
I had to wait another 20 minutes before the Doctor came into my room. Mrs. Johnson entered the room with him.
“Sophia, gave me a little background on you Lyla. I can see how pretty a woman you are. I want to help you, but normal protocol is for you to be referred by a specialist to me. Mrs. Johnson is a very old friend, but I don’t like giving out meds unless I am sure it is appropriate. You certainly look very feminine, but I need to know that this is what you really want.”
I was not exactly sure how to answer, but I looked over to Mrs. Johnson. She smiled at me and with her eyes widely opened tilted her head as if to encourage me to answer.
“Yes, I want this. I don’t want anyone to look at me and see anything but a woman. I have come this far, but there are aspects of this that clothes can only cover-up so far. I need some help with… if you know what I mean. I really hope you can help.”
The doctor asked a few more questions which I also responded to positively. A few minutes into his interview the nurse came in and gave him my blood report.
“You are a healthy young lady. I am going to help you today, but I am also going to give you the name of a therapist that works with my gender patients. I encourage you to make an appointment very soon. She will help you sort out your feelings.”
“Thank You Dr. Welby. I still don’t know what you can do for me today.”
“Nothing major, for now. Just something to help you get physically comfortable with how you feel mentally. It should help your body react less like a man and more like a woman. It will not last that long and I won’t continue your treatment and give you any more medications unless I know you have seen the therapist.”
He wasted little time giving me two shots. He also gave me a bag of sample meds.
“What did you give me?”
“The first shot blocks your testosterone production and the second shot was a mild dose of female hormones to replace that. You will need to take the sample pills for at least three weeks. By then I expect you to bring me a referral letter from the therapist.”
I was stunned by what he told me. I didn’t know what he was going to give me, but this was not what I expected to hear..
“What does that mean?”
“I did not give you a heavy dose of the estrogen hormones, because first you need to first slow your testosterone production. In a day or two it should be hard to get an erection, but you can still have sex if you are active.”
“That’s not permanent is it?”
“Sorry, but it’s not that easy for permanent results. You need to be on the medication for months before that is true, unless your therapist thinks you need to speed things up and then you can consider an orchiectomy. That’s irreversible, but I wouldn’t suggest you go that route at this point. Take it slowly, in case you decide being a woman is not what you want.”
I was getting dry in my throat thinking about what I had just received. It may only be temporary, but it was more than just a weekend step.
“Your Aunt also mentioned that you were having trouble with your voice. If you stay on the these meds, that might help a little, but usually that impacts very marginal if at all. A voice therapist can help you work on your pitch if you have trouble on your own. If it is a real problem there are procedures like a Laryngoplasty that permanently tighten your vocal cords. For today, I an just going to give you a shot that will temporarily tighten those muscles. It will wear off in a few days, but you can see how you like that or if surgery is something for you to consider.”
I was still feeling the shock of what had just happened, when he dabbed some Novocain on my throat and then injected me with a short needle. He told me not to speak for about a half hour.
I left his office wondering how I got to this point and how I was going to explain this to Jessica. I wanted to say something to Mrs. Johnson, but she kept reminding me not to speak.
We stopped for some tea and honey before getting back in the car. Mrs. Johnson could obviously sense my concern. She was very careful in choosing her words. Even though I was not yet allowed to speak, she did not say a lot.
As the 30 minutes time-frame was coming to an end, we were nearly at our next destination.
“Lyla, I am sorry if the Doctor appointment upset you. Remember, everything is temporary. When I discussed your issue with him last night, I thought his solution would just be a pill or two for a few days to control your urges. I guess it is a little more than that, but this will still get the job done.”
I squeaked out a terse response. “”A LITTLE MORE!”
“I said I am sorry.”
“I’m scared. I was kind of enjoying all of this, but now I think I have allowed this to go too far.”
“You will be fine. It’s not like you need to be Lyle over the next few days. I will explain what happened to Jessica. She will understand.”
“I hope you are right. I love her.”
“She will always love you… no matter how you present.”
“How can she see me as a man, if I can’t?”
“She wanted you to have this girl time. Doesn't that say enough.”
“Yah, but I doubt she thought I would ever get in this deep.”
“Truthfully, I grown to like you more these past two days, maybe it will have the same effect on her when she sees you tomorrow.”
“If I can face her.”
“It will all work out, just let yourself enjoy your remaining girl time. She would want that.”
“Fine, but no more surprises, please.”
“Just try and put being Lyle out of your mind, you will avoid anxiety and I know Jessica will understand.”
“I even sound funny now.”
“I think your voice sounds much nicer now. No one is going to miss-gender you now.”
“Actually, don’t you mean everyone will?”
“I am glad you are getting your humor back.”
I should not have been surprised that she dragged me along into her husband Jack’s office. Since he was the CEO of BuilderOne, she was granted pretty much free rain of the facility. I had always wanted to work there as they had one of the best reputations in Architectural design. This was the first time I had ever been in the executive suite of their huge facility.
While Mrs. Johnson was looking for the Gala tickets on Jack’s desk, one of the young Architects made his way over to me. I had seen him come out of one of the private offices a few doors down. I got nervous as he made a beeline straight towards me.
“Hello Miss. Is there something I can do for you?”
“I’m fine, my Aunt is getting something from her husband’s office.”
“Your Aunt is Sophia! I can’t believe we never met before.”
“That’s ok, I have been at USC in college. I just graduated.”
“I am thrilled to meet you finally. My name is Marc. And you are?”
“I’m Lyla. We will be out of here in a minute.”
“Please don’t rush. What did you graduate in?”
“I studied Architecture.”
“Sophia’s daughter also studied Architecture at USC. Did you spend much time together there.”
“Umm yes. We are very close. That’s why I am here. I am spending a few days with Jessica and her family.”
“Well maybe I will see you around again.”
“I’m spending most of my time with Jessica or her mother. I doubt we will be by here again.”
“Jessica comes over hear a lot, so you never know.”
“If we come back I will make sure to say hello.”
“I would like that. What are you doing while you are here?
“I think my aunt has filled up my schedule, so I am truly in her hands.”
“Any chance you could sneak out for a cocktail or dinner?”
I must have turned red. This almost stranger was asking me out. I don’t think I was ever that aggressive when I first met someone.
“I’m really sorry. You seem very nice, but as I said, while I am in town, I plan to spend as much time with the Johnsons as I can.”
“I completely understand. They are wonderful people. Another time maybe.”
“Maybe. See you around.”
“I am sure you will… I am very persistent.”
At that moment, Mrs. Johnson popped back out of Jack’s office.
“Oh, hi Marc. How’s your family?”
“Great Sophia. How come I never met Lyla before? We were just getting to know each other.”
“She did not grow up around here and until she went to school at USC, she really did not like the big city. We are kind of giving her the crash course on the cultural aspects of LA.”
“Lyla you are very lucky. If anyone knows about the arts and culture of LA it is Sophia and Jack.”
“Yes. I almost feel like I am taking advantage of their kindness.”
“Lyla dear. It is our pleasure. We want you to experience the best of the city. Hopefully you will settle down here soon.”
"Mrs. Johnson, Lyla and I were talking about getting together, but she made it clear that she planned to spend her time here with Jessica and your family. I would not want to interfere with that. However, I had an idea you might approve of.”
I started to squirm as they discussed me and what I might want.
“She did… so what did you have in mind.”
“Next Friday is the grand opening of Hamilton here in LA. It is the biggest new show to hit town in years. I have a friend in the box office and I might be able to snag four seats. I can’t promise that they will be great ones, but maybe I could take Lyla and Jessica to the show with my brother and I. If you approve.”
I was dying to see Hamilton, but certainly not as the date of some guy. I also was just trying to be polite when I suggested that I might get together with Marc down the road. He was a smooth operator.
“You could get those? I know Jessica wanted to see that show badly. I’m sure that she would gladly tag along if you get four tickets. Lyla, I don’t see how I could deny you that. There is certainly nothing on our calendar that matches up to that.”
“Sophia, I just met Marc. That would be too much to ask. Maybe if I came back to town later this summer.”
“Lyla, I can’t promise I can get them, but if I can, I would be honored to take you and of course Jessica. First dates, should be special… don’t you think?”
I was backed into the corner. Mrs Johnson obviously liked Marc and the opportunity to see the opening night of Hamilton was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Maybe, he would fail in getting the tickets. As much as I would love to to see the show, I could only hope they were impossible to acquire.”
“I will have to check with Jessica and get back to you.”
“So that’s a yes if she agrees?”
“If she agrees, and of course if you can get tickets. I heard that even for insiders that show was impossible to get tickets for.”
“True, but you give me incentive.”
“I will talk with Jessi tonight. It was nice meeting you.”
As soon as Marc walked away I headed to the bathroom to regain my composure. I almost walked into the men’s room, but managed to get into the privacy of the lady’s room. I could feel my heart racing. This was all becoming surreal. I knew Jessi would never agree, but I couldn’t believe what had transpired.
Mrs. Johnson followed me into the bathroom to check on me.
“Are you OK Lyla? You ran off”
“No, I am not OK. That guy just asked me out. How could I be OK.”
“Well you made a quite an impression on him. I have known him for a couple of years. He’s a nice man.”
“I am too!!!”
“You can’t blame him. That’s not what he saw. In fact, when I saw you two chatting, it looked like you were both flirting.”
“I was not. I was just trying to be friendly and polite.”
“Sometimes those are the same things. You should be proud of yourself, he is quite a catch and he’s cute too.”
“Sophia! Jessi is going to go ballistic when she hear’s we were invited out for double dates. She will freak.”
"Settle down. I will talk with her and explain what happened. She will probably find it funny.”
“I don’t. Can we go home now?”
“Soon, we just have to go and get you some shoes for the weekend.”
Not surprisingly, I ended up with multiple pairs of shoes. Either Mrs. Johnson felt guilty about what had happened at the office or thought that more shoes would cheer me up. I did like most of the shoes we purchased at Nordstrom, but I hardly saw the need other than for the Gala. I ended up with flats, wedges, booties and sandals. It all seemed excessive.
It was late afternoon before we got home. I had settled down, but still could not fathom the conversation with Jessi that was on the horizon. How do you tell your girlfriend about getting asked out by a guy; or how you ended up with female hormones racing through your blood. I would have to do this with a voice that was probably an octave higher than it should be. I would just have to accept whatever anger she vented. I deserved it.
Mrs. Johnson told me she would call Jessica and take full responsibility. She had lead me along this path, but I had let her do it. We probably both deserved some of the blame. Between my appearance and the temporarily altered timber of my voice, it would be impossible for me to be Lyle for now. How could Jessica think of me as Lyle if I couldn’t? Somewhere over the past 36 hours I had begun to accept being Lyla. It shouldn’t have been so easy.
Jessica would be home on Friday and the Costume Gala would follow on Saturday. She would see the a woman when she returned from her trip, not her boyfriend in a dress. I saw no alternative to change that. I had long ago allowed this to go beyond turning back. I looked and sounded flawless, my body was chemically altered and I had acquired a wardrobe that any girl would be envious of. I could blame her Mother, but I was in this spot because I allowed it..
I kept to myself after getting home. At first, I just sat on my bed pondering the turn of events. I tried to replay in my mind what I felt at each juncture and why. I had even noticed a very small nick in my manicure and it bothered me. I was thinking like a woman and apparently responding like one too. After using the bathroom I touched up my lipstick and brushed my hair, as if that is what I should be doing. I even spent a few minutes looking at all of the new clothes now hanging in my closet. I should have been aghast at the sheer quantity, but instead I was mostly curious which items we actually bought.
I was pulled from my deep self-thought by Jessica’s distinctive ringtone emanating from my new Kate Spade purse. I had heightened fear because my first words would be in a foreign voice to her. I knew I had to answer, so I took a deep breath and reached into the bad and pulled out my phone. To my further dismay, I discovered she was calling me on a FaceTime call. Not only would she hear the strange voice, she would see it coming from my transformed appearance.
I answered in a soft voice, "Hi Jessi"
Before she responded, I could see her meticulously taking in my image on her screen. Instead of hello, she spoke in a strained voice.
“Lyle, I am so sorry. I just spoke with Mom. I hope you can forgive me.”
“Forgive you? I was going to ask you to forgive me.”
“I only wanted you to have fun. I thought the party was a good excuse for you to have a little more girl fun. You sounded like the original college experience getting dressed up was a good time and I thought that asking you to do this again with my Mom and me might even be more fun. I never expected you to be put in such a difficult position and aggressively manipulated. I think my Mom meant well but I take full responsibility.”
“What did she tell you?”
“Quite a lot. And hearing your sweet voice now tells me that much of it must be true.”
“Did she tell you what else the doctor gave me or about that guy Marc at your Dad’s office? So much has happened and I am not sure what to think about it. I was a little angry with your mom too, but in reality she didn’t force me to do anything. I really didn’t ask for most of this, but I could have stopped it.”
“Don’t blame yourself. I know about the drugs and our dates for the play. She put you into those positions and its understandable under the circumstances, that feeling so girlish kind of took over. I wanted you to feel some of that, I just didn’t think it completely through.”
“Both of those things came out of the blue. I thought the doctor could help control a problem that occasionally made me uncomfortable and the voice thing happened like it was a throw in bonus. It all hit me when it was over and the interventions were explained to me. I sound, look, and even feel so much like a girl now. I really can’t believe I did all this for a costume party.”
“Lyle… I know you are going to be upset with me. That’s a big part of why this is actually all my fault.”
“Why would that be your fault? This was your Mom and me.”
“It’s about the Costume Party thing. I was a little misleading there.”
“How so? Its not a big fundraiser for the Museum?”
“It is an important thing for the Museum and especially my folks, but the Costume thing was my parent’s slang description of the Gala.”
“I’m not following. Your Mom bought me the most beautiful and expensive dress for Saturday. Is that the wrong kind of costume?”
“I’m sure it is a magnificent selection for the evening. What I mean is…. God I don’t know how to say this.”
“Jessie, I’m getting more confused.”
“OK, my parents have always called these Black Tie events costume parties. Everyone wears the fanciest clothes and many of the patrons go over the top trying to look like movie stars. The Costume description is really only what they call it. It really is just a very very important Black Tie Gala.”
“So why then was I dressing up in a costume?”
“Lyle, I am beyond sorry. This all started right after you told me about your cheerleader dressing up for the frat. You made it sound like you actually enjoyed it and I was jealous that I never got to see you dressed up. This thing just came up, and my Mom thought if that was fun, getting an opportunity to wear some nice things would be even more fun.”
“Jessie!!!! Were you trying to embarrass me at the party! How could you?”
“No. You have to believe I did this for you and for us. I thought it would be enjoyable for you and of course I wanted you and Mom to get to know each other more. We all agreed that the dressing up would stop if any of us thought is was out of hand or if you asked to stop. I was going to tell you the truth before the Gala and of course you would not have to go as Lyla if you didn’t want to.”
I began to get very emotional. I was having trouble processing what had happened and where this left me. I went into this thing without much resistance, but I had been tricked by the people around me that I had trusted. Knowing that the original premise was a ruse, I began to cry. I told Jessie that I needed to be alone for a while and ended our FaceTime call. I felt crushed that the woman I loved had deceived me.
I didn’t even come out of my room for dinner. Two hours had passed and I was still as confused as ever. I received multiple texts from Jessi all stating remorse and apologizing. I didn’t know what to think or what to say. I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone, especially Jessi or her Mom. My first impulse was anger, but now I was just an emotional mess.
Eventually my fit of tears and shock began to wain. I pulled myself up from the pillow on my bed, that was now stained with a rainbow of colors from my makeup. I actually was pleased to see the damage to the fine linen that I had created. After composing myself in an upright position for a minute I entered my private bathroom.
I found myself forming a half smile when I saw the smeared lipstick halfway up my cheek. My image was still all girl, but I looked more like a coed waking up from a drinking bender. Again I paused as I thought out my next move.
The obvious choice was to strip off as much of the past 2 days as I could. I would still be left with pierced ears, meds floating through my body, extra thick eyelashes, wispy eyebrows, a hairless body, long bleach blonde hair, and of course a girls voice for at least a few days. I could remove all the makeup and clothes, but I would not easily erase the feminine appearance. That might be harder than the process of receiving all these makeovers.
As I calmed down, I knew deep down that Jessi would not want to hurt me. That didn’t totally forgive the deception, but at least I could now see it was not some sick game. I had just told her about my cheerleader experience and maybe I came across as too happy about that hazing ritual. Maybe she really felt I needed this experience. I was now wondering if maybe I did.
I didn’t specifically ask for any of it, but my reluctance to pull back or stop the silliness never materialized. I still could remember how mesmerized I was seeing myself in the ball gown. I probably should have been laughing or repulsed, but instead I was emotionally moved. For whatever reason I found myself looking so beautiful, I certainly did not hate it.
The guilt of enjoying aspects of my situation was lessened by the fact that it really was not of my own making. I was responding mostly as they wanted me to. Why they wanted me this way was also bouncing around in my head, but now I simply had to decide how best to cope in the short-run.
Jessi would be returning tomorrow which was a day ahead of the Gala. I figured that I could survive at least another day and have her help me deal with this. My immediate need was to remove my messed up makeup. Mrs Johnson had given me a lesson and tools to do that the previous evening.
After cleaning and moisturizing my face I made another call to Jessi. This time not as a FaceTime call, but rather a regular audio call. Oddly, I did not want her to see me this way after seeing me so glammed up a few hours ago.
She was thrilled that I called and quick to answer. It was two hours later in Chicago, but she said she had been waiting by her phone praying for a text or call from me. Once again, she could stop saying she was sorry.
“Jessi, I forgive you. That doesn’t mean we don’t have issues to work through, but I don’t hate you. I still love you and can’t imagine my life without you.”
“I so love you too! I just want you to be happy. I never should have implied that it was a costume ball. It was an impulsive idea and unfair. I hurt you and don’t know if I can forgive myself.”
“I already forgave you and the only thing that hurt me was you not being truthful with me. Promise you will be honest with me and the rest of this we can deal with.”
“I promise! I Promise! I promise!”
“I assume you will still be home tomorrow afternoon. When you get back, we can sort all this out. I haven’t even spoken with your mother since I learned the truth about ‘The Costume Party’. I’m not sure how to face her. She treated me like a daughter, but I have mixed emotions knowing that is was a ruse. She spent a fortune on my makeover and gorgeous clothes. In one breath I want to tell her off, but in another it was nice to have a mother again. I also still want her to like me.”
“Lyle, I spoke with her for nearly an hour and she also feel terrible.”
“I haven’t been called Lyle in two days. It feels almost strange.”
“Would you rather I call you Lyla for now?”
“I’m not really sure. After everything I have been through the past two days and how I currently look, Lyle just seems incongruous.”
“Ok, then for the moment I will call you Lyla. If you want me to stop just say so.”
“Your mother must think I am a wimp. She probably can’t wait for me to be gone.”
“Just the opposite. Besides expressing her apology to me she told me that she really did bond with you. She didn’t say it, but from the way she spoke, I think she enjoyed her girl time shopping with you more than she does with me. Maybe it was seeing you experience things for the first time. For whatever reason, wanted me to know that she saw much of what I saw in you. She really wants to make it up to you. I hope you can give her a chance.”
“Wow! But having seen me so utterly girlish, how can she ever respect me?”
“Both my mother and I only care about you, not how you look. She liked you before and that has not changed. Despite your assumptions, the last two days have only increased her desire to have you in the family.”
“I felt more like her daughter than a future son-in-law.”
“That’s something to build on. You felt like family. How did you feel being treated like that.”
“What do you think?”
“Be honest… that’s what we promised each other we were going to do. What did it feel like being her pampered daughter?”
“It’s weird, but I had a lot of fun. Even when my parents were alive I never experienced being treated like the most important person in the world. It’s as close to being a future Princess like Meagan Markle as I will ever experience. You probably think I have flipped.”
“I suspected you would have a good time otherwise I wouldn’t have put you through it. I’m just sorry it got a little out of hand. I never got a chance to say it, but you really do look stunning. I hope I will still get a chance to see you in person tomorrow.”
“At the rate I am going, I will probably be pregnant by tomorrow. But seriously, I will try and look nice for you when you get back.”
“Lyla, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
End of Part 4======
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