Comdex - 2 - Prelude to Confusion

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They say that everyone has a twin somewhere. What happens when your twin is dead, as well as being a lady. The following story is fiction, more or less. Enjoy.

This series began a couple of years ago, and like many I set it down unfinished, uncompleted. The original Title was Comdex, Clothing, and Confusion. The first few chapters are rewrites.

Comdex, Clothing, and Confusion Old 1b New 2
Copyright 2003 Beth Williams

When I woke up, Linda was leaning over me. “Hon, are you all right?” she asked. I smiled, drained the proffered champagne glass, and said, “You won’t believe what a dream I’ve just had.” Then I looked around, noted the art deco, the table, Linda, and Hal. “Oh my gosh! It wasn't a dream?” I cried burying my face in my hands.

Linda just rubbed my shoulders as I tried not to hyperventilate. “Breathe slowly, calm down, every thing's going to be okay,” Linda kept repeating herself, trying to calm me down.

Hal looked absolutely stricken. His head turned from me to Linda and back again as he tried to figure out what he’d done wrong. The problem was, he didn’t understand, he couldn’t understand. For him, I was Kate, and he was just asking me to come home and pick up life where she had left it. He would pay whatever it cost; he would do whatever it took to get Kate back. I really don’t think he could accept that John Williams, and Kate were two separate individuals that looked, sounded, and yes even acted in much the same way. I poured another glass of champagne.

“Can I try to make the deal a little better all the way around?” Hal asked. “Linda would you be willing to work for Cendar, to set up and manage the West Coast office?” He looked sheepish, and told me her background check had been done, like mine, overnight, and that he was confident Linda could do the job. “I’ve needed to open an office in Southern California for 2 or 3 years, but never had the time, or the personnel to do it. But with the increased business Cendar is going to be doing with the maquiladoras it’s becoming a necessity.” Then he mentioned her job title and salary. “Your title would be Vice-President West Coast Operations. You’d have an HR person, an auditor, a CPA, and a management consultant to help you. Basically you would coordinate the various Cendar business units and expand our use of maquiladoras. I’m sure I would have no problem getting Kate to agree to a starting salary of $175,000, and your contract will guarantee 2 years salary regardless of anything else..”

Talk about nepotism. Hal was seducing my wife with money so that he could hire me to be his wife, at least as far as the company was concerned. I looked at her, as her eyes glazed over, “welcome to my world,” was all I could think to say.

I told Hal that Linda and I needed to talk things through. Hal agreed and promised to have the documents ready by the end of the day.

Our meals arrived, and I ate in silence while Hal and Linda talked over the requirements for the West Coast operation. It seemed that he had plans for moving the entire garment industry software development staff to California. Annie’s software had the potential to become a major profit center. Hal wanted to push it into producing individually tailored clothing through a chain of boutiques. “Gowns R Us” was the first. As he described it, I found myself grudgingly admitting it would probably work. Clients would enter the boutique and shop for off the rack, or tailored garments. Those who chose tailored garments would be holographically measured and photographed. The resulting file sent to the maquiladora where the garment would be constructed and returned to the boutique within 48 hours. Costs could be kept low by keeping minimal inventories. Women outside the “normal” size range would have access to the same clothes clothing choices as their more mundane sisters, without paying a horrific premium for their individuality. Macy’s, Nordie’s and the like could eat their hearts out.

It looked like a surefire winner. Hal knew he had Linda’s interest, and pointed to me. “All Kate’s clothes this week were produced this way, and she’s dressed in a way and in a quality no current chain store could possibly match. In fact Linda, your dress last night was created from your measurements and selection in just over an hour. Annie is rightly proud of what she envisioned, and she’s going to be quite rich in her own right one day soon now.”

While they talked, I continued to drink champagne. Before the lunch was over, I’d had 6 or 7 glasses, and the sommelier looked positively pleased as he opened the third bottle of bubbly (later, MUCH later, I learned our specific vintage cost more per bottle than most people earned in a day. The bottom line is that I was getting completely buzzed on VERY pricey bubbly.

Hal fortunately noticed my impaired state. Abbey appeared from nowhere, and helped Linda escort me to our room. It had been a long and stressful morning. I did the most logical thing possible. I took a nap.

I woke up with a very married feeling. Linda had joined me sometime in the afternoon, and was snuggled close against me. I leaned over and kissed her. Her eyes fluttered open, and she smiled at me. “What are we going to do Honey?” I asked her.

Linda stretched, rolled over and lay with her head on my chest. “What do you want to do?”

“I want to go home and crawl in a hole and hide,” I whimpered. Linda laughed.

“You know, when you first told me about your desire to be a woman I wasn’t the least bit upset. I kind of thought it was a kick. You make a pretty woman you know.”

“Hon, but I’d be away from you and the kids.”

“A few years ago that didn’t seem to bother you too much. Remember how TRW was preparing to send you to Saudi Arabia for 2 years?”

“Babe, that’s not fair. We really needed the money they were willing to pay. We are much better off today then we were then.”

“John, Hal told me a lot about this week. He also told me how far he was willing to go to accommodate the kids and me. And he’s not going to let you go without a fight. The money would be great. I’ve never been offered the kind of responsibility and salary that the California operation would entail.”

“Are you saying you want me to do it? For how long, 3 months? 6 months? Dressing full time, living as a woman and a wife was something I’d never dreamed would happen. Sure, I enjoy being Beth occasionally. I don’t know that I want to be Kate forever.”

“Well, think on this. Hal will, if you agree to at least 6 months, guarantee the kids college expenses. He’s already instructed his lawyers to draw up the appropriate trust documents. Hon, I want to do this. I’m tired of scrimping and saving to try and get ahead. All of a sudden, through a freak coincidence, we have the chance to put away money for retirement, pay for the kids schooling, and get out of debt. Not to mention living a lifestyle we could only dream of.”

“Linda, think. Hal wants me to be his wife. WIFE! I’ve never been unfaithful to you; I’ve never been intimate with anyone but you. Hal is going to want more than someone to eat dinner with. I’ve put off his advances, but I’ll tell you he’s kissed me in a way that screams out his desire. Have you thought of that?”

“Actually, yes. But something you don’t realize is this. For whatever reason when he looks at you, it’s not lust in his eyes it’s love. You know this is terribly romantic, “An Affair to Remember” romantic. At least it would be if you’d been born a woman.”

“I’m not sure I could be intimate with him. His kisses excite me beyond what I could ever imagine. When I’m with him, sometimes I forget I was born a man. How are you going to handle that aspect?”

Linda began to giggle. Now this was NOT what I’d expected. “As long as you don’t sleep with another woman I suppose it’s okay. You know what’s a real giggle about this? You came to our wedding night a virgin, and you’ll go to your “wedding night” with Hal a virgin. Congratulations girl, you’ll have accomplished something I didn’t think possible!” Her giggles turned to outright laughter, and I sat there in disbelief. “You know you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be penetrated, and you are incredibly sensitive down there. I’ll bet you turn out to be a multi-orgasmic woman!” Her laughter became more intense, and I just sat back crestfallen, and waited for a lull.

Crushed in spirit I tried one last argument, “Linda, I love you. You know there's a difference between talking about or wishing for something and reality. I don’t think I could ever love anyone else. I'm not sure I can live in my fantasies. Hon, you know eventually I'll give in to whatever you want. I’ll do anything for you, but this?”

“Hon, think about it, please, I really want this. I want this so much that I’m willing to give up something incredibly precious to me. I’m willing to give up being with you.”

I sighed, “If that’s the way you really feel.”

“Come on girlfriend,” she said pulling me to my feet, “you need a quick shower and shave. Hal is picking you up for dinner at 6:00.”

“You set me up! How could you!”

“Oh hush, no one set you up. It’s part of what you agreed to when you started this silly mess. Remember, you’re supposed to be Kate this week? Remember that Hal has already paid for that? Besides, he is kind of cute.” Linda began to giggle again.

I’ll say this for Linda, when she decides something she puts her whole being into it. Since she had decided it was time for me to get ready, she decided she would “help” me. A bath with Linda is soapy, squirmy fun — at least it is when you’re bathing in a Jacuzzi. Towards the end, it got much more fun. She climbed on my lap and proceeded to take care of my frustrations in the more most direct and enjoyable of ways.

I was feeling rather mellow when we showered off. I chose the black floral dress I’d worn on Monday, and was nearly ready when Hal arrived. Linda answered the door, and chatted with Hal in the living room while I finished dressing.

Uncharacteristically, Hal was dressed way casual. “Should I change?” I asked.

“No, you look beautiful,” he said. “I thought I’d introduce you to a different side of me tonight.”

I picked up my purse, and took his arm. We went downstairs, and out into the parking lot. “Where’s Jeeves?” I asked.

“Tonight it’s just us Kate.” We walked over to a green Mercury Sable, and he opened the door for me. “Have you ever shot a gun before?” he inquired casually.

“Uh… you might say that. You didn’t read my report so closely after all!” I smiled.

“What are you talking about?”

“Well… I spent 5  ½ years working my way through graduate school as a police officer. You might say I’ve shot a gun once or twice,” I smiled, it was so seldom I got the better of him.

“How about a machine gun?”

“No, that’s one thing I’ve not done yet.”

“Good!” he grinned, “that’s about to change.” He drove us down to a shop in a strip mall on Tropicana, right in downtown Las Vegas. “The Shooting Store” was a gun shop. Hal told me he had found this place years ago, and always tried to squeeze in a visit when he was in Las Vegas. We entered, and Hal paid for the two of us to use the range. “The Shooting Store” rented fully automatic sub machine guns. Hal chose an Ingram Mac 10, and I selected an Uzi — a weapon I’d heard about for years, but had never had a chance to fire. After donning, hearing protectors, for the next 30 minutes we proceeded to punch holes in paper targets. Hal was totally ticked, it was quickly apparent I was the better shot. He suggested a rematch with pistols. I just smiled. He chose a Smith and Wesson 9mm. I was tempted to select a “Lady Smith” — a line of handguns Smith and Wesson introduced for women — but instead settled on a Sig P226 with combat grips. It felt just the way it should. This gun was an old friend. I had carried a Sig just like this for 3 or 4 years. Grinning, I thought “This should be a walk in the park.”

The range was limited to 15 yards. I used to be able to hold 6-inch groupings from a point position. I was lucky to hold the patterns to a foot that day. When I fully extended to a Weaver stance, I brought my groupings down to about 4 inches. Hal? Well let’s just say he didn’t want a re-rematch. “Just wait till I get you home. I expect to put in some serious time on the range. Don’t think you’ll be able to beat me then!”

I just laughed. “A bit competitive tonight Hon?” He just grinned at me. We went next door and had chicken at KFC. I wasn’t sure Hal ever ate “normal” food. After this week, I was beginning to think he was a serious gourmet. Now that Comdex was over, I guess he could begin to unwind a bit.

He asked if I wanted to see a movie, and I asked if “Space Cowboys” was still playing. He made a call, and found the Regal Texas 18 theater was showing it at 8:40. We drove to the theater, and sat in the car and talked till it was time for the movie.

Afterwards, Hal drove us back to the Venetian. I let him kiss me goodnight, and let myself into the room.

Inside, Linda had lit candles around the bedroom — where she got them I didn’t know. There was a bottle of champagne, and the bed was turned down. On the bed was a white nightgown, with a sheer robe.

“Beth, you get changed. I’m going to step next door and talk to Hal. If I’m right, he’ll be back here in 10 minutes. Just relax, and see what happens. You might get the chance to see if you can be Kate in every way to him.” With that, she gave me a deep soul searing kiss and scooted out the door.

Oh my gosh. I mixed a strong screwdriver, and quickly changed. The nightgown barely concealed anything, the panty almost wasn’t there, and the robe was virtually transparent. I downed the screwdriver. I fixed another and powered that one down while I freshened my makeup and , brushed my teeth., dropped the robe over a chair, turned off the lights, and lay in bed to the glow of a dozen white candles.

Hal came in, and sat on the side of the bed. “You don’t have to do this,” he said. Then he leaned down and gently kissed me. “You are so beautiful. I love you Kate.” The weirdness returned with a vengeance. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and returned his kiss, and his passion.

“I don’t know if I can do this, but if I’m to be Kate, we both need to know now, before it goes too far.” He reached down and caressed my breasts.

“These will need some work I think,” he teased, as he leaned over to tenderly kiss one breast and then the other.

My heart was pounding like a drum. “Could you pour us some champagne?” I asked. He poured the white wine, handed me a glass, and blew out all but the 2 farthest candles. He slowly undressed and then joined me in bed.

Saturday

I woke to find myself snuggled against Hal’s chest. His scent brought back memories of my father when I was a kid. I would crawl in bed with my parents on a Saturday morning. Strangely, it was comforting, it seemed right somehow. Hal had been gentle. There were parts that got in the way, but it was not as bad as I had dreaded. In fact, I began to enjoy it once I’d accepted the reality of what we were doing. He definitely tried to pleasure me, and I know that I pleasured him.

I heard a noise at the door, and saw Linda sneak into the room. She was wearing a nightie, and snuggled into bed beside me. I was effectively turned into the filling of a 3-person sandwich. “How was it?” she whispered in my ear.

“Wonderful!” was Hal’s shouted response from the other side of me. I nearly jumped out of my skin, I’d no idea he was awake.

“How long have you been awake?” I asked.

I couldn’t believe it, but he actually leered at me, “long enough to contemplate whether I could get it up again this morning my dear.”

Linda squealed, I blushed, and Hal began to laugh uproariously. “Has anyone ordered breakfast?” he finally asked.

“Whew, there for a moment I was afraid I was to be breakfast!” I said as I rushed to the bathroom.

After a quick shower (I was happy — Linda joined me), I dressed in a denim jumper over a chambray shirt.

By the time I’d finished my makeup and hair, Hal returned with a bag of bagels and croissants. Linda had ordered coffee, fruit and juice and we sat down to a light breakfast.

“So, where do we go from here,” I asked. “It seems that you two have backed me into a corner, a nice one to be sure, but still a corner.”

Hal looked at Linda and asked, “Does that mean you two accept my offer?”

Linda looked at me and I said, “Linda happily accepts, I’m scared and reluctant., I don't really want this, but I'll do anything for Linda. There are some logistical things that have to be worked out.”

“What’s that?” he asked.

“Well, living for a week is one thing, but if I’m to be Kate full time I’m going to need something more than breast forms; especially if I’ll be in the company of other women less than fully clothed.”

“Kate, whatever you need we’ll do. I assume you mean breast augmentation?”

“That’s part of it, but if you two expect me to repeat last night, there are a couple of things that got in the way and were really uncomfortable. I’ll either need to remove them, or have them lifted into my abdomen. I really hated feeling like I’d been kicked in the balls when you were trying to be so loving.”

Hal sputtered coffee across the table and Linda began laughing. “I’m not kidding, what you thought were moans of pleasure were actually cries of pain.”

“Whatever you do, make sure we’ll still be able to make love John,” Linda said.

“Of course, we might need some help, but I won’t give that up. Also, the hair has to go. And I think Linda’s going to need someone like — or maybe — Abbey to get things going.” Do you think Annie will come back to Cendar for a while to help me? I told Hal that Linda and I needed a few days to wrap things up. I needed to see if I could take a 3-6 month leave of absence, and work things out with my boss. Linda needed to quit her job and see about office space. And I needed to get started on my physical changes.

Hal called his attorneys and asked it they would join us. Then Hal and I called Annie to ask her if she would meet with us. Erik Moore and Liz Rodriguez, Hal’s attorney’s arrived first. Our breakfast turned into a working brunch. It was agreed that my actual identity would be a closely held secret. No one outside our working group would be told that I was anyone other than Kate. Annie was skeptical, and it took Hal sometime to convince her that: 1 — This was his idea; and 2 — I was not a gold digger. It took a trip to the bathroom with Linda and I for her to believe that I was a man. Annie’s eyes bugged out, and she began to giggle. “I knew you weren’t Kate, but this is just too weird.” Ultimately she agreed to help for one reason; she loved Hal and Kate. In some ways they were surrogate parents. Hal had chosen me, and I made him happy. That was good enough for her.

Erik would take care of the identity issues in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He also thought he would be able to file a petition in Federal court that would accomplish much the same thing. Liz would travel to California with Linda and I to begin our transition to working for Cendar and to open a corporate office there. Annie would work with Abbey and take over as my assistant. I would fly from California to Massachusetts by Wednesday — so that I could be the hostess for Thanksgiving dinner, and Abbey would then fly to California to work for Linda. Linda and I signed the various forms, signature cards and employment contracts to make this all work. I was not surprised when we were asked to provide our fingerprints. When all the paperwork was completed, Linda and I would be given corporate Master Cards as soon as the banks opened on Monday, in my case both as John and as Kate. We were cautioned to keep track of expenses, business as well as personal. If this arrangement ever became public we would probably be audited. Hal insisted that one of the corporate jets be assigned to Linda and I.

“Erik can fly back with me, it only makes sense that you have the convenience. I want you to find the best doctor’s to perform the alterations we’ve talked about. And they might not be in Southern California. This allows you to do things in your timing, without all the hassle of airline travel these days.”

With the next week planned and organized, we checked in at the Comdex site to help with the packing. I had also asked Jack Mooney, Janie Roberts and Hiram Jones, and Simon to stop by and pick up employment offers. As per company policy, I told them if they accepted, they would be on the Cendar payroll as of December 1, and they could consider December's salary a signing bonus. They would be expected on site by January 2, 2002. I gave them a list of movers that Cendar had working relationships with, and told them they could expect expense vouchers and checks to cover salary and moving costs by the end of the next week. I invited them to move as quickly as possible, and told them Cendar had temporary housing for them, and promised them a wonderful holiday season.

Early that afternoon, I discovered a minor problem. With all the clothing that had been purchased, I did not have the luggage to contain it. Jeeves solved it by running down to the Fashion Show Mall and picking up a set of luggage to accommodate my new wardrobe. After packing, I told Hal I’d be in Massachusetts by Wednesday; collected a kiss, and Linda, Liz and I went to McCarran Airport.

Cendar operates 3 business jets. Two are identical Boeing Business Jets, and one is a Cessna Citation X. All three were at McCarran. Jeeves carried our luggage out to one of the BBJs. I was introduced to the pilot and stewardess, and strapped into a very comfortable seat. This was definitely the way to travel. The pilot was able to take off right away, and it seemed we had no sooner reached cruising altitude than it was time to start our descent. Total flight time was 40 minutes.

We landed at Ontario International; Corona’s runway just wasn't long enough for the BBJ. Jeeves had arranged ground transportation, and we checked into the Ontario Airport Hilton. “Kate” would be staying in the Motel. Linda and I needed to get home. We stayed just long enough for me to store my jewelry in the hotel safe, and change back to plain old John Williams. Dark green polo shirt, Levi’s, and sport sandals. We checked that Liz was settled, then I called down and asked for a taxi. I collected Linda’s luggage, and my own original bag, and we took a taxi to the Hertz rental agency. It’s nice to be on an expense account. I chose a Lincoln Navigator and drove Linda to Corona where she had parked, and then we both headed on home.

My mom smiled at me as we walked in the door. “Thanks, mom, you’ve no idea how much you letting Linda join me has meant.” I gave her a hug, and she relaxed.

“Timmy and Lisa are at the movies. So, how was the trip?”

“Do you remember when you read me ‘Alice in Wonderland’?” She nodded. “I am not exaggerating, but Linda and I have fallen down through the rabbit’s hole. Both Linda and I have been offered jobs by one of the largest computer companies. It will however entail a number of changes.”

“You can say that again!” Linda stated, and then fell on the couch laughing. Now my mom knows Linda’s sense of humor is a bit on the low side. She took Linda’s behavior in stride.

“What do you mean?”

“This is rich,” Linda said, “I can’t wait to see how you explain it!”

I pulled out my “Kate” driver’s license and passport. “Well, I suppose how I dress will be a bit different,” and handed them to my mom. She looked at the Passport, looked at the dates, looked at me, looked back at the driver’s license, looked at me, and then started all over again. “It seems that I had an identical twin. She died two months ago, and I’ve been asked to replace her as a senior officer in Cendar Corporation.”

Now my mom knows all about my gender dysphoria. She even blames it on medications she took during her pregnancy with me. She just shook her head, and gave me a wistful smile. “I assume they threw lots of money at you?” I nodded. “And what did they offer Linda?”

Linda stood, made a very lovely curtsy curtsey to my mother, and said, “You are looking at the new Vice President in charge of West Coast operations for Cendar.”

“And whose idea was this?”

“Hal Stevens, the President, CEO and majority stock holder of Cendar. Aided and abetted by my treacherous, conniving wife.” Linda just stuck out her tongue and smiled.
“Stevens, hold on, your passport said Katherine Elayne Stevens. Is he your brother?” My mom asked. Linda choked, and began laughing, this time literally rolling about on the couch.

“Uh, no. Actually he’s more like my, uh… husband.” I fear I blushed bright red.

“Oh dear… And Linda?”

“She’s the one all in favor of it. I’m more than a bit ambivalent,” I said.

“Boy, can I ever understand THAT!”

“Anyway, our financial worries are over. Our new jobs are guaranteed for at least 2  ½ years, and we’ll both be making more in one year than we did in 10 before.”

“I’d have to say it does sound like you landed in Wonderland,” my mom chuckled.

“Anyway, I’ve lots of loose ends I have to wrap up by Wednesday.”

About that time, the kids got home. Timmy, the younger, was already a six-foot tall 15-year-old. Lisa, his sister was an 18-year-old senior. Lisa looks a lot like her mom, Light brown hair, green eyes, and a trim 5’6” tall. Hugs were passed around, and we decided to go out for pizza at “Godfather’s.” Lisa asked whose Lincoln was in the driveway, I told her I’d explain later. Everyone enjoyed the ride though.

We made it an early evening. I put a call into Hal, and asked him to have the investigating firm Cendar used to find a dermatologist, a plastic surgeon, and a reconstructive urologist within 500 miles of Ontario. Hal said he’d get them right on it, and I could expect a call before Monday morning, and full reports would be faxed to my plane.

Sunday

The next day, we attended church then went out for lunch at Outback Steakhouse. Lisa, ever the practical one, asked how we could afford to go out twice in two days. Linda and I explained that we had been offered new jobs, and went into almost all of the details over lunch. The kids were told that I’d be working most of the time in Massachusetts. We also told them the company had agreed as part of our contracts to pay for their college fees — including books, tuition, room and board, and a monthly allowance. Lisa whooped at this news, jumped up and kissed me then her mother. Lisa had been afraid we would not be able to afford sending her to college. Neither Lisa nor Tim was excited about me being gone, but both could see the advantages.

After lunch, I decided to see just how good my new credit card was, and I admit, I wanted to show off a little bit.

“Lisa, if you were to get a new car, what kind would you want?”

“That’s easy, I really think the new VW Beetle is cute. Why?”

“Have you looked at any of them?” I asked.

“Just pictures, why?”

“How about we go look at one?” I asked as we got into the Lincoln. I could see Linda knew what I was doing from the twinkle in her eye. “I think, under the circumstances Hal would approve,” I said. Linda nodded, and we drove to the VW dealership in Ontario — “Exclusively VW”. “Pretend I had lots of money, when we get there and show me what you’d like baby,” I said to Lisa.

When we got there, a salesman came out of the office like he was shot out of a gun. “How can I help you?” he said.

“Would you show my daughter the New Beetle? I’m just the chauffeur.”

Linda and I sat there as Lisa and Tim ran the salesman ragged showing them all the various models. Lisa took notes. I had to go with her and the salesman as she did a test drive. Finally, Lisa came over with a list of everything she’d want. A green New Beetle, Monsoon Stereo, CD-Changer, Grey leather seats, moon roof, and flower vase. I waved the salesman over.

“I’m a Costco member, will you honor the Costco Price or should I go elsewhere?” He checked with his manager, and agreed they could meet that price. I pulled out my Cendar credit card, and told him to write it up and charge it.

Lisa gasped, and then practically knocked me over with a hug. Tim looked at me like I’d grown an extra head, and Linda laughed (of course).

An hour later, Lisa and Tim drove home in her New Beetle. Linda and I followed. “That my dear, was priceless,” she said. “You know, they’re going to be willing to do anything now.”

“That’s what I was shooting for, and why I’m sure Hal won’t mind. When they find out the rest, they’re less likely to freak on me.”

That evening I got the opportunity to find out. We all sat down at the kitchen table after dinner and Linda and I told them all the details. Now my kids had seen me dressed on Halloween, and I’m sure they suspected I dressed at other times — after all, kids are basically sneaky and curious. I told them the story, and they were a bit shocked that I went to Comdex as a woman. They laughed along with Linda and me when I described Tuesday morning, and Hal’s repeated fainting. Lisa gasped at the fact I’d been to Gowns R Us — apparently it was already big news to teenage girls. They were astounded when I showed them Kate’s ID. “I would have sworn that was you daddy!” was Lisa’s comment, and then she blinked, then shook her head in confusion as she realized what she’d said.

We have always been open with the kids about finances, and our financial situation. They both knew we were getting by okay, but they also knew there wasn’t a lot for extras. We explained the compensation package, and their eyes lit up. We then went on to explain that Linda and I were looking at this as our retirement nest egg. There would be money for some extras — like a new VW — but they shouldn’t be planning on being spoiled. Then Linda put in her two cents worth. “Actually Hon, Hal will probably will spoil them rotten when they visit you in New England. Which leads us to one other aspect we haven’t touched on. “Kids,” she said, “to everyone other that us, Hal, Annie (you’ll love her Lisa — she owns Gowns R Us), and a couple of lawyers your father will be Mrs. Katherine Elayne Stevens — Hal’s wife. Kate, as she’s known, is a senior member of Cendar Corporation. The reason they want your dad is that he has the computer and management skills, and he looks, talks, and thinks like Kate did. Almost no one knows that Kate actually died a few months ago. This is an incredible opportunity, but it is filled with weirdness. I mean MAJOR weirdness. When you go to visit your dad in Massachusetts, you’re going to have to remember that first and foremost he’s Kate. You’ll need to call HER Aunt Kate or something. Can you do that? Oh, and one more thing; accepting this job for your dad was MY idea. He didn’t want to have anything to do with it. He was afraid you’d think he’d gone gay or something. The only reason he accepted was I pleaded with him. I see this as an incredible opportunity. Your dad sees this as an incredible pain in the butt (I winced at that — the pain actually wasn’t in the butt, but I digress).

Linda is usually the happy go lucky, upbeat parent in my kid’s lives. I tend to be the one who has to say no. Linda blithely goes along with a happy spirit, laughing at us lesser mortals. It really made an impression on them to see her serious about such an important decision.

I asked the kids to think it over; they looked at each other, and said that wasn’t necessary. They would support their mother’s decision. I found it interesting they put it that way. I was grateful to Linda for taking the heat off of me. I did tell them that “Aunt Kate” would probably make an appearance before I had to leave on Wednesday.

Lisa and Tim ran off, Tim for the phone, Lisa to her new car to show it off. Me? I just went upstairs, took a quick shower and went to bed. There was a message, with names of Doctors on the answering machine. Tomorrow promised to be more hassle than I really wanted.

Monday November 19, 2001

I got into my office a bit before eight o’clock. I started packing up my personal effects. My boss arrived about 20 minutes later. I let him get settled in with a cup of coffee before entering his office. “Ted, have you got a minute for me?” I asked. He nodded and pointed to a chair. “I need to take a leave of absence. I’ve been offered a LOT of money for 6 months work. In fact, if I can’t get a leave of absence, I’ll have to quit. It’s just too much money to pass up. And, I’ll be honest; they may want me to stay full time. My department is in good shape, Sandy can easily handle the sysadmin work, and I would be available for about an hour a day if needed.” I laid it out as quickly as I could. Ted’s always been fair with me, and we’d developed a great working relationship.

“How much are they offering?” he asked.

“You ain’t gonna believe it. Close to $500,000 for the six months.”

“You’re right, I don’t believe it. Why don’t you go home and come back when you’re sober?” Ted laughed.

“I’m telling you the truth. Half a million for 6 months; I just can’t pass up an opportunity like that.”

We talked for a while longer. The bottom line was Ted wasn’t happy, but would process the paperwork for me — with his blessing. He really was upset about the timing. But his anger was directed at Murphy’s Law more than me.

I finished cleaning up my desk and packing my personal effects, and Ted helped me carry them out to the Navigator. “When did you get the new wheels?” he asked.

“Sunday, just one of the perks,” I replied. Ted was visibly impressed. I went back inside, called my staff together and broke the news to them. Sandy was pleased at the probable promotion, and they all wished me well.

I was out of the office by 9:00 and called the first doctor on my list.

The receptionist was a little flustered by my timing, but admitted the doctor had an opening for a consultation that morning. I made the appointment as Kate, hurried to the Hilton, changed, and retrieved my wedding rings, and a small bag of clothes. By 10:30 I was sitting in the doctor’s office. Dr. Kline was a middle-aged man, short and balding. I explained most of the situation to him, and offered a bonus if the procedure could be expedited. Dr. Kline explained that it could be performed in his office, and checked on the availability of the implants. The medical supply house had what he needed in stock, and could deliver.

While waiting, I noted that he also did dermabrasion and laser hair removal. I asked if he did the laser procedure, and he replied a nurse had been trained and usually performed that task. I asked if he could arrange for it to happen now, while waiting for the implants, and waved more money at him. It’s amazing what money can accomplish. I found myself lased on my face, arms, back and chest. The implants arrived, Dr. Kline filled out the paperwork, prepped my chest, collected his fees, and by 5:30 I was the proud owner of a hairless 52 C sized chest. My boobs hurt, and I felt like I had a slight sunburn where the laser had killed the hair follicles. I really wasn’t looking forward to another 5 or 6 treatments. Dr. Kline gave me two prescriptions. One I knew was for pain. The other, he mentioned in passing, would help smooth my skin and make the breasts appear more natural.

I returned home as Kate. Linda greeted me with a kiss and an evil grin. She told me with great delight how she’d given her notice, effective immediately, and how she waived her remaining vacation pay as recompense for not giving two weeks notice. I knew Hal would make that good. Lisa walked in on us, excited to tell us how her first day as a new car owner had gone. Lisa couldn’t believe how good I looked. When she looked at my boobs, she asked how I did it — they looked so real. I told her they were real, and when she didn’t believe me, I took her into my bedroom and removed my blouse. The look on her face caused me to chuckle. She tentatively poked one and blushed. “Mom!” she cried, “Daddy’s got bigger boobies than I do!” and she rushed out of the room.

Linda came back in and closed the door. I removed my bra, and Linda examined the doctor’s creation. “Not much nipple, but they certainly look and feel natural,” she said as she cupped my breasts in her hands.” I was starting to get excited, and Linda bent down and kissed both of them. “Later we’ll examine these more closely,” she leered, “but dinner’s almost ready, so that will have to wait!”

I quickly pulled my clothes on, and we went downstairs. Tim stared at me in shock. I asked how I looked, and he just blushed, stuttered and turned away. Linda gave him a little hug, and reminded him all this was her idea. I only hoped he would come around.

It was nice to have a home cooked meal. Hamburgers, French fries, and B&M Beans were a taste of home. I needed a bit of comfort food; it had been a hectic week. About half way through dinner, Lisa noticed my rings. Her eyes bugged out, “are those real?” she asked.

“Unfortunately yes, nice aren’t they?” I pulled the rings off and handed them to Lisa.

“They’re beautiful. Do you have any idea what they cost?” The rings were way too big for Lisa, but she kept turning them, catching the light.

“Yes, I know. It was one of my first hints into what was in store when I met Hal.” She handed them back, and I placed them back on my finger.

Tim said he wanted to see a movie, so he and Lisa went out to rent a DVD, and I helped Linda clear away the dishes.

I called Liz, and asked her to have the plane prepped for 8:00 the next morning. Liz told me she had been in touch with a commercial Realtor, and wanted Linda to join her in looking at a small business campus in Riverside County. I told her I’d pass that along to Linda, and was sure Linda would be ready when Liz arrived in the morning.

I told the kids goodnight, and went up to my bedroom. I washed my face and pulled a nightgown out of my luggage. My boobs continued to ache. I took the prescriptions as directed. Linda came up and joined me in bed. “You know what is going to happen tomorrow?” I asked. Linda nodded, and we proceeded to make love. She was careful with my boobs, we managed to climax together. Afterwards, we gently snuggled as we basked in the afterglow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

The alarm went off at 6:00 am. I rolled out of bed, showered and dressed. I selected a black peach-skin skirt and jacket over a pale blue blouse. I finished my makeup and hair, and went downstairs to fix breakfast. Lisa complimented me on the way I looked. Tim didn't say much, but it was clear from the look in his eyes that he didn't care for what he saw. The kids wanted oatmeal, which I fixed with toast and raisins — they ate, I watched; if everything went well, I’d be grateful for an empty stomach before the day was out.

After breakfast, I gave them both money for lunch, and headed for the airport. The pilot was ready, and I told him we would be heading for Phoenix. He filed the flight plan and we boarded the plane. The flight from Ontario to Phoenix took less than an hour. The pilot had arranged for a driver and limousine to be waiting at the commercial terminal.

I called office of Dr. Jason Wells as we left the airport. His receptionist was able to clear a 10:00 appointment for me. Dr. Wells owned and operated an outpatient surgery center on the northern outskirts of Phoenix. According to the reports he was one of the best urologists in the world. More importantly to me, he was one of the top 5 best reconstructive surgeons in the country.

We met, and I discussed the urgency, and nature of the procedure I wanted him to perform. He complained that there were ethical issues. I offered to pay his billed rate, rather than what the insurance company would pay. He claimed too many patients to accommodate me immediately. I offered to pay half of their costs up to $5000 each if they would reschedule. He laughed, stating I couldn’t possibly afford that. I pointed to the Limo in the parking lot and handed him my Master Card and suggested he put a $20,000 sales hold on it. He called his receptionist and waited while she processed the transaction. Dr. Wells became much more cooperative when his receptionist returned with the transaction approval.

“But why come to me, and why the urgency?” he asked.

“Because you were the best board certified reconstructive urologist within a 500 mile radius and I’ve read reports on your work. The urgency is my own affair. Can you do what I ask or not?”

He agreed, then asked if it I’d eaten that morning,. I assured him I’d had nothing since 6:00 the previous evening. We went to a private room; where I disrobed, and put on one of those incredibly inadequate hospital “gowns.” After signing the consent forms Dr. Wells went to scrub. I was placed on a hospital gurney, and my genital region prepped for surgery. The anesthesiologist came and administered a spinal block, and I was taken to the Operating Room. Without going into the more gruesome details, what Dr. Wells did was perform a radical, bi-lateral orchiectomy with cosmetic reconstruction. My scrotum was fashioned into what looked like labial folds, and my penis was retracted behind those folds. Then, using endoscopic techniques, the muscle which constricts the veins draining blood from the corpus spongiosum — the process which causes an erection, was cut, and a small electronic valve placed in the vein. The result was that unless the valve closed I would be unable to get an erection. On the positive side was the fact that once the valve was closed I would get and maintain an erection — until the valve was opened again. Linda was going to LOVE that. The procedure took four hours in the OR, and another 2 hours in recovery. The doctor had used surgical glue on the incisions, and assured me I could shower or bathe with no effect on the wounds. He wrote a couple of prescriptions, and after recovery, I dressed, settled up with the business office, and called for my driver.

I left wearing a heavy sanitary napkin, and instructions on the care of the incisions, and an appointment for the following Friday. I felt like hell, I was having phantom pains from the testicles that were no longer there, my crotch itched from being shaved. My boobs continued to ache, and my face and throat had developed a rash from the laser treatment. On the other hand, I could now be seen without clothes, and no one would see anything other than a fat chick. I hoped this job was worth it. We flew back to Ontario, and I met with Linda and Liz.

They had found an office/research complex that would work for Cendar. Linda explained it was a bit of a drive from our house, but the location would be perfect, with good access to Interstate 15. I asked where it was, and they told me Temecula. We agreed I’d take a look the next morning before flying to Massachusetts.

I wasn’t really very hungry — all I wanted to do was go to bed. Linda helped me clean up, and I turned in before 8:00. It’s amazing how quick you can go to sleep when you’re flying on vicodin Airlines; at least it stopped the pain.

Wednesday November 21, 2001

The pain was worse the next morning. Nothing to be concerned about, but I was very uncomfortable. I dressed in cotton panties with a heavy panty liner, bra and loose fitting jogging suit; very little makeup, and tennis shoes.

I went down and had cereal with the kids. When they left for school, I was careful to hug them and tell them of my love. I would be gone when they got home from school.

I packed my bag and Linda and I picked up Liz and drove to Temecula. The site they had chosen was about a mile west of the freeway. There was a three story office building and 3 other buildings on a quiet cul de sac. Linda’s eyes lit up as they talked about renovating the buildings. From what I could gather, they planned on an eventual staff of 75-85 people. I told them I’d talk to Hal about it, but to plan on signing the documents as soon as Liz finished reviewing them.

We returned to Ontario, I checked out of the Hilton, and dropped the Navigator off at Hertz. Linda walked me to the plane, and we kissed before I went aboard. “Well Miss Alice,” she said, “what new and wondrous things will the March Hare show you next?” The whole Alice in Wonderland thing was beginning to wear thin. I just groaned and climbed aboard.

I’ll say this about the Boeing Business Jet, it’s fast and it's comfortable. We left Ontario at 10:00 and landed at Beverly Municipal Airport before 6:00. With the three hour time difference that meant our actual flight time was less than 5 hours. Add to that the nap I took while in flight, the lack of hassle at either end, and no waiting, and suddenly I understood why Hal invested in business jets.

I was grateful to see Jeeves, and climbed in the back seat while he loaded my luggage in the trunk. We left the airport, and headed towards Topsfield by the road signs. It began to snow on the way. About a half hour from the airport Jeeves turned into a driveway and drove nearly half a mile before coming to a large building. It was too big to call a “house” but not fancy enough on the outside to call it a mansion. Jeeves pulled up in front of the door, then came and opened my car door. “Welcome home madam Kate,” he said. I entered the front hall, and a housekeeper came up and took my coat. “Mister Stevens will be home soon madam.” Jeeves carried the luggage in, and I followed him, hoping he would take them to my room.

I was in luck; he opened the door to a large bedroom suite, and deposited my luggage on a table in the parlor. “Thank you Jeeves. When Hal gets home would you tell him I’m up here? I appreciate it.” Jeeves left, and I began to explore my new home.

The walls were paneled in a light maple wood, highly polished. The “parlor” room contained a wet bar, book cases, an entertainment center, and comfortable looking easy chairs and a couch. It was a room that was meant to be lived in. Through the door I could see a king size, with a solid looking headboard and foot board. Matching nightstands flanked the bed. A cheery fireplace blazed A small table with matching chairs was near what I thought to be sliding glass doors, and a comfortable looking couch was against the far wall. The parlor connected to the bathroom through an enormous walk-in closet.

The bathroom was richly appointed with marble, and glass. The bathtub was a jacuzzi, deep, contoured and large enough for 4 or 5 people. It appeared equipped with whirlpool jets, and had multiple shower nozzles, and controls for what looked like a contrast shower; a shower that could go from hot to very cold with the push of a button. The tub was enclosed with frosted glass, and a separate glass enclosure for the shower was next to it. The toilet was separate, and included a bidet. The vanity was marble, and very well lit. It included a magnifying mirror on a swinging arm. Next to the vanity was a closet, which contained towels and toiletries. I reached in and turned on the bath. I undressed, and after adding bubbles stepped into the warm, soothing water.

Hal found me in the tub when he finally got home. I guess I was dowsing off, he reached in and started rubbing my shoulders. He really couldn’t see anything through the bubbles. It was I’m sure a surprise when his hands slid down and cupped my breasts.

“Careful,” I said, “they ache.”

“They feel so natural.”
“For what they cost they should. Do you want to wash my back?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” he said, giving me his twisted grin. He stepped into the closet and took his clothes off. I hadn’t really seen him naked before. He was slender, but well toned. His skin was well tanned. He grabbed a wash cloth and stepped into the tub. He collected a kiss, and I could feel his erection swelling against my thigh as he ran his hands down my sides. “Turn around,” he said. I turned, and he soaped up my back, and began scrubbing it. “What are all the little red bumps?”

“Those are from the laser hair removal yesterday.”

“Does it hurt?”

“Not really, it feels kind of like a mild sunburn.”

He finished my back, turned me around, and started on my front. “Careful Hal, they really are tender.” He gently soaped them up, and washed them. He reached down and kissed the left one. “Hmm… that feels nice,” I said.

I made him turn around, and quickly washed his back, and then shampooed his hair. He returned the favor, and I stood up to rinse off.

“My God Kate! Where’s your penis?”

“You like?” I asked, though with his standing at full attention it seemed a silly question.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep my hands off you!”

“Hal, tonight you’re either going to, or you’ll sleep in another room. I need at least two weeks to heal.”

Hal moaned, and turned the shower on. He pulled me to him for a hug, and my arms went around his neck. He began to kiss me and his hands slid down to the small of my back, and pulled me close. I slid one hand down and softly stroked him till he came. I don’t know why I did it, except that I would have hated to be in that state; aroused and frustrated.

We finished rinsing, and he toweled me dry. I wrapped a towel around me, up over my boobs, and reached for the hair dryer. Hal said “Let me.” He gently brushed my hair and dried it. “I used to do this for Kate all the time,” he said. “I love the touch, the feel of your hair.” He finished, and I padded into the other room looking for clothes.

“Hon, where are my nightgowns?”

“I suppose you do need a tour, don’t you?” He walked into the bedroom and opened the second drawer in an enormous chest of drawers. I selected one that looked comfortable; brushed cotton on the inside, and sateen on the outside. I pulled on a pair of cotton panties, then went to the closet and selected a soft, comfy robe. A pair of slippers completed my ensemble.

“Hal, could we just have something brought up tonight. My internal clock is off by three hours, I’m sore and I hurt, all I really want to do is eat a little something, and then go to bed.”

“What would you like; I promise no “special” effort will go into it.”

“Actually, I’d love to have a bowl of Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup and a Bologna Sandwich on toast. Uh… since I’m giving my preferences known, I like Miracle Whip, not mayo. Could I also get a banana and a glass of low fat milk, and a glass of orange juice?”

Hal came over and took my hands in his. “Sweetheart, I don’t know how you do it, but you’ve done it again. That is a meal Kate could have ordered. Bologna was one of Kate's usual requests. Cook will have it up here in the next 20 or 30 minutes. Would you like something to drink in the meantime?”

“Not really. I’m going to take my pain meds and I don’t want anything to interact with them. I pulled out the bottles the doctors had given me and took my meds. I made a mental note too look up the other scrips. I didn't know it by it's trade name, and resolved to correct that as soon as possible. I flipped on the television, and flipped through the channels.

There was a discrete knock on the door, and Hal opened it to let one of the housekeepers in. She rolled a cart in and set out our dinner on the sitting room table. “Thank you Teresa,” Hal said as she left.

I was famished, and soon finished the soup and sandwich. I went into the bathroom, and washed up while Hal loaded the dishes on the cart. “Kate, are you up to a brief tour of some of the safety features of the house?”

There was a familiar twinkle in his eye. The kind that meant there was something more than a tour in store. It was still early by my internal clock, and the vicodin hadn't taken effect, so I agreed.

Hal walked toward the closets. “Did you happen to notice the thickness of this wall?” I shook my head no. “Stand over here by me in the closet. You see this switch?” He pointed to an ordinary looking light switch. I nodded. “Turn it on,” he said smiling.

I reached out and flipped the switch. Immediately the walls closest to the sitting room began to move towards one another, and the floor trembled. When they met, my ears popped as the air pressure changed.

“We’re now in a fireproof chamber,” Hal said, “Those doors will also withstand almost anything that could be used against them, including rocket propelled grenades.”

He moved to the end of the closet closest to the rest of the house. There was an electronic keypad, and what I thought was a biometric hand scanner on a heavy metal door. Hal placed his right hand on the scanner, and punched in a series of numbers. The front of the cabinet opened — the door was easily 2 inches thick. Inside were shelves with jewelry, and racked weapons. I watched in helpless fascination as Hal explained the contents of his bedroom arsenal. “What we have here are his and hers combat rigs. The pistols are Smith and Wesson 4046 .40 caliber semi-automatics with tritium sights. The shotguns are short barrel Winchester Model 1300 Defenders — there’s two with pistol grips and two with composite stocks. There’s also two variable scoped Ruger Ranch rifles in .223 caliber. That’s the same as the M-16. And finally, there’s two Uzi’s with extra magazines. The safe is designed to recognize your hand print and a PIN number. Could you place your hand here for a moment?”

I reached over and put my hand on the scanner. “Could you enter a PIN number also Hon?” I entered the last four digits of my old California Driver’s license. “Very good,” Hal closed the door. “Will you try to open it?” he asked. I place my hand on the scanner, punched in the PIN and the door swung easily open. “This is also where Kate kept her jewelry. That jewelry is now yours,” Hal said. I started to protest, but he just pulled me into a hug, “please don’t. No one has ever done anything close to what you’ve done for me. I can’t believe how giving you are,” he slid his hand down to my groin to be certain I knew exactly what it was he believed I’d given up for him.

“Next, on the coat hangers are Nomex jumpsuits and Kevlar flak jackets. The helmets on the rack have lexan faceplates, and built in radio sets. There are a set of Sam Brown belts and holsters. Hopefully they’ll never be needed, but if they are, you’ll be prepared.

“Now, being stuck here, while safe certainly wouldn’t be any fun.” He closed the safe, and walked to the end of the other closet. There was a similar scanner/PIN pad on the wall. He went through the same routine and opened the door. This one opened to reveal a brightly lit passage. “This is how we get away, or just move around the house with no one the wiser.” We turned right, and he showed me an elaborate Television, telephone and computer console. “There are cameras throughout the estate. Any of them can be accessed from here on this touch screen display.” He brought up a schematic map of the grounds and touched the camera symbols on the map. The television screen dutifully showed the view of the camera. “You can move it around with the joystick here,” he said as moved it around. “There are also cameras throughout the estate itself. All are totally hidden to public view. The only places without cameras are the bathrooms and bedrooms.” He walked to the corner. “This is an elevator that connects this passage with identical ones on the 3rd and 1st floors and the basement.” He pressed the call button, and the elevator silently opened. He punched the button for the basement.

The elevator opened onto a brightly lighted corridor. When I think of a basement, the image that comes to mind is a cold, dark, and damp subterranean hole with pipes and open floor joists showing. This “basement” resembled a well appointed office building. The ceilings were at least 10 foot high, the walls painted in a soothing pastel blue, and the air delightfully warm and dry.

Hal opened a door and stepped into what was obviously a shooting range. Complete with two shooting lanes and automated target pulleys. He closed the door and stepped over to the firing line. “Can you see the door?” he asked. There was no sign of it to be seen. “Watch carefully,” he said. He reached under the table at the left shooting table. A panel popped open on the wall we had just come through revealing a scanner and PIN pad. Hal placed his hand on the scanner and punched in his PIN. The door opened smoothly. He punched in a series of commands then asked me to place my hand on the scanner. The plate blinked, and Hal asked me to enter a PIN. He then directed me to reach under the shooting table, as he had, and feel for a fingerprint scanner. I did, and the console blinked again, indicating its acceptance of my fingerprint.

Hal closed everything down, then asked me to open the door. I reached under the table, found the ID pad, and the panel popped out of the wall — just like it was supposed to. I placed my hand on the scanner, entered my PIN, and the door quietly snicked open. “Good!” Hal commented. “Let’s move on.”

Near the shooting stations was a room with a hand scanner and PIN pad. Hal opened it, programmed it for me, and we went inside.

“This is my armory,” he said proudly. “I’ve collected guns for years.” The long wall was covered from floor to ceiling with drawers. They looked to be eight feet long, and about a foot high. The shorter wall held glass cases filled with various long guns. The wall with the door was lined with metal cabinets. Hal opened one of the metal cabinets and pulled out a wooden box. “This belongs to you my dear.” He handed me the box.

I opened the box and pulled out a beautiful pistol. The Lady Smith was a marketing ploy to target (you should excuse the expression) women shooters. The pistol was solid, but uncomfortably small in my hand. “Hal, if you expect me to carry a pistol, this one won’t work. It’s too small.”

He smiled, “that’s what Kate said. I still admired it enough to buy it for her. So, what do you fancy to carry with you normally?”

“If I have to carry a pistol, I’d prefer a Sig P226 with the 16 round magazine. What I don’t understand is why you want me to carry a gun? Even more, are you a NUT or what? There's enough fire power here for a big city Police Department. What gives?”

“I’m trying to protect you and our friends. We had an incident a couple of years ago where one of our executives was kidnapped. We paid the ransom but we lost him. The police said he probably could have defended himself had he been armed, or even trained a bit. Since then, all our managers undergo firearms and defensive training. I won't lose another friend!” He walked over to a cabinet, and pulled out a Sig and handed it to me. “Here, I hope you’ll spend time on the range getting used to this gun.” We left the armory and walked back to the range, through the concealed door and entered the elevator.

Back in our room, I placed the gun box on a shelf high in the closet, slipped off my robe and slippers, and climbed in bed. Hal undressed, and lay down beside me. He reached over and pulled me into a snuggly hug. As I lay cradled in his arms he stroked my body through the nightgown. The feeling was frankly delicious. He would cup a breast, rub down the side of my body, rub my bottom, and then do it all again. The vicodin was really taking effect, and I drifted off to sleep lying in his arms.

Thursday — Thanksgiving, November 22, 2003

The next morning I woke up with less pain in my breasts, and the phantom pain from my groin had just about disappeared — it was more of a twinge than an actual pain. I noticed lots of tiny hairs on the bedclothes — the follicles treated to remove the hair had begun ejecting the dead hair cells. Hal was nowhere to be seen.
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I showered, and did my makeup. Selected underwear and went searching the closet. I knew the look I wanted. Sort of a Eddie Bauer/Land’s End New England preppie Thanksgiving look. I wound up finding a muted red plaid jumper that reached my calf. I wore it over a soft long sleeve hunter green angora sweater and white tights. There were a pair of low heeled black ankle boots that I hoped would fit; they actually did fit quite well and were very comfortable. I found and wrapped a red ribbon through my hair. Next I looked through “my” jewelry. There was a jewelry box in the bedroom, as well as the formidable safe in the closet. I found a pair of thanksgiving turkeys in gold with a cloisonné inlay, and placed them in my ears.

It was 8:30 am. After checking my image in the mirror I set out to explore my new domain. I retraced my steps from the night before downstairs then followed my nose and the wonderful smells of Thanksgiving that filled the downstairs. The kitchen was huge. There were two women working to prepare dinner. The older of the two looked up, saw me enter, and called out “Good morning Mrs. Stevens, would you like some breakfast?” Fortunately, she wore a name tag.

“Please Vikki, would it be possible to get some oatmeal?”

“Certainly, would you like some coffee or tea this morning?”

“Tea would be wonderful.”

“Shall I serve it in the sun room this morning?” I nodded, and she turned to fix breakfast. I had seen the sun room, and managed to find my way without looking too lost. The sun room was on the South side of the House and adjoined the Great Hall. I wandered out and explored the lush garden contained under glass. The sun room was a curved glass covered expanse that stretched over a hundred feet from north to south, and 40 feet wide. It also rose to the third floor giving it a bright airy feel. Near the kitchen end of the sun room was a dining table, and I made my way through the fragrant garden. There was a copy of the Boston Globe on the table and I passed the time reading the paper.

Vikki brought in the oatmeal, along with bacon, toast, fruit, juice, milk and tea. At least I wasn’t going to starve I thought. “Thank you, do you know where Mr. Stevens is?”

Vikki smiled and pointed at the far end of the sun room. “I suspect he’s over in his office,” she said pointing to the far end of the sun room. Breakfast was wonderful, and I complemented Vikki as I returned the dishes to the kitchen. “Mrs. Stevens, you shouldn’t worry about the dishes,” she scolded. “We’re all just glad you’re home. Mr. Stevens said you might have some memory lapses so please don’t be embarrassed to ask us anything.”

I should have known Hal would be complete in his preparations. I asked what was on the menu for dinner, and what time we would be eating.

“Turkey, of course, but also a Virginia ham, and a crown rib roast. We’re also preparing the traditional side dishes, yams, corn, peas, carrots, and various salads. Apple and Pumpkin pies, and hand made ice cream. We’ll be setting the table for forty, and expect guests to start arriving about 2:00. Dinner is scheduled for 4:00. Various dips will be set out in the Great Hall with chips and snacks.”

“Mister Stevens had menus printed with maps of the House. Would you like to see one?” I nodded, and she took one from the counter and handed it to me. “A Traditional Thanksgiving at Stevens Hall” was the title. The picture on the cover was pure Currier and Ives; the Stevens Hall decorated with snow. Inside left was a letter that reduced me to tears. “It is with the deepest thanks that I celebrate this holiday. Through the Grace of God, my wife Katherine is once again with me. We look forward to sharing this festive time with you, and trust you will enjoy our hospitality. Hal Stevens.” On the right side was a copy of the menu. The back cover was my greatest resource. It contained a map of Stevens Hall. I thanked Vikki, and wandered off to find Hal.

The Great Hall was a scene straight out of the 1800’s. The walls were a Rich dark mahogany paneling; with paintings of long dead colonial type people and medieval tapestries. Lighting was indirect, and I half expected to see suits of armor in the corners.

I made my way to the office, and found Hal playing No One Lives Forever, happily killing bad guys. “Good morning Hal. I Bet I can beat you in that game!”

“No!” He groaned, “First the shooting range, and now computer games?”

I just laughed. “You’ll see!”

Hal got up and came over to give me a hug. “Are you ready for today?”

“Not really, I’ve no idea who anyone is, and I feel like I’m totally out of my depth. Vikki calls me “Mrs. Stevens” and scolds me when I bring my dishes to the kitchen. I’m really feeling like Alice in Wonderland again.”

He laughed, “Get used to it. You look marvelous this morning. You are very New England chic.”

I gave him a brief curtsy, “Thank you kind sir.”

“Kate, we need to talk about our guests. I know you don’t realize what’s happening here. I also recognize that you and I have not discussed politics. I suppose that as you resemble Kate so much, you MUST share her opinions.” ‘Uh oh,’ I thought. “I suppose I should have asked, but what are your political leanings?”

Now when I was growing up, my daddy always told me there are two things you never discuss. One is religion, the other is politics. I was going to break his instructions. I sighed, hoping it wouldn't lead to an argument. “I suppose you could say I was formed in the womb part of the GOP. I voted for Nixon, and I’m still proud of it. Our previous president was an immoral philandering piece of fecal matter, and I for one am glad he’s gone!” I looked intently at Hal, and could sense his relief.

“You don’t know how glad I am to hear that. Governor Jane Swift and her husband Chuck Hunt will be here, as well as former Governor Paul Cellucci. Cendar as a corporation, and you and I as individuals are major contributors to the Republican Party. Today is kind of a preliminary get together to look at the 2004 elections and assure them of our continued support. We’re doing it today to avoid publicity. You worked with Jane on the Girl Scout council, and invited her and her family to join us for Thanksgiving in August. That is one of the reasons I am so grateful you are here.”

Wheels within wheels, within wheels I thought. Nothing was simple with Hal. “Then she has a need to know I’m not the Kate she knew.” I said it gently, but with enough force that Hal would know I’d brook no argument on this point.

He nodded his head, “If we could avoid it I would, but she’ll know you’re a different person as soon as you greet each other. I agree with you, and she will arrive a bit before the other guests — primarily so the two of you can talk.”

“And now, would you like a tour of your domain?” We left the office and took the elevator to the 4th floor. “I’ll start at the top,” he said. We exited the elevator into an enclosed sun deck. Chaise lounges were scattered around, a complete wet bar stood next to the elevator, the sun deck merged into an enclosed Basketball Court. At the far end was a domed enclosure that Hal told me contained a couple of telescopes — a hobby he shared with Kate. Around the outside of the sun deck was a walkway. Hal told me that just over 11 laps equaled a mile. He also mentioned it was a favorite location for the security officers to keep an eye on things.

“Just how many “security officers” do we have Hal?”

“There are always two on duty, and Jeeves of course.”

“Just exactly what is Jeeves anyway?”

Hal chuckled, “I’m still trying to figure that out. Jeeves started out as a Para-Rescue jumper in Viet Nam. After he left the service, he continued his medical studies. He became an RN and worked at Mass General for a few years, continued advancing his skill set till he became a Physician’s Assistant. Got bored with it, and went back to school. He received a second BS in justice administration and went to work as an investigator for the State Police. About 5 years ago we met. I was looking for someone to head Cendar’s security division, he wanted to enter private industry. It was a perfect fit, except, he seems to keep trying to be the perfect butler and body guard, as well as a senior corporate officer. He sometimes drives me bonkers. But I can’t imagine life without him. He has three grown children and a wife named — and don’t you dare laugh — Hermione. They live in what used to be the carriage house. Jeeves also has his security housed there. They will also join us at Dinner.”

While he talked, we took the elevator down to the third floor. Hal explained that most of the floor was the living quarters for the resident staff. We exited into the staff lounge, and Hal pointed out the Security Office in the East wing. We left the lounge, and entered a large airy room that looked out over the sun room. Against the outside wall there was a studio, and next to it a small theater — complete with reclining seats and popcorn machine in the corner. Behind the popcorn machine was a panel that moved aside to allow access to the panic room. The remainder of the West wing was an enormous conference room. Hal showed me yet another entrance into the secured corridor — the panic room, and programmed the locks to accept me. We took the stairs down to the second floor.

The second floor he explained was the “family” floor. In addition to our suite, there were eight other bedrooms and fully equipped offices for guest or family. “Currently none of the rooms are occupied. I assume you’ll want to decorate one for each of your kids.” The second floor also contained a large game room/Entertainment room with a large screen TV, pool table, foosball, air hockey and other games. There was also a well equipped snack and wet bar. “The resident staff also uses the game room when they want.”

We walked down the stairway to the Great Hall and I thought of the dramatic entrance one could make coming down those stairs.

I’d managed to find the kitchen on my own. Hal and I walked into the kitchen, and Vikki assured us the meal was going well. We walked on through, and Hal opened the door to a pool room — as in, swimming pool. It looked to be 25 yards or so long, and about half that wide. At one end there were changing rooms and exercise equipment. We walked along the pool, and I found it opened onto the sun room. Hal pointed out some of the more exotic plants as we meandered back towards his office — well my office too I suppose. Next to the office was a large library. I was grateful to discover Hal (or Kate?) read science fiction was well as other literature.

Next there was a formal dining room that one of the kitchen staff had begun to set for dinner. We ended our tour of the first floor in the “gallery.”

Now I’ve heard of houses with a gallery, but I’d never seen one. Hal and Kate’s tastes ranged from naturalistic land and seascapes to exotic science fiction motifs. I know nothing of art, but I enjoyed the paintings in the collection. I vowed to come back and spend some time just looking at them.

Hal lead me to an elevator, and we went down to the basement. We exited into a long corridor. Straight ahead Hal explained were a craft/sewing room and a metal/woodworking shop. To our right, Hal explained was an emergency shelter that could accommodate 30 people in a pinch. We went inside and I saw several rows of bunk beds. In the other direction, Hal explained that there were a server room, and medical center.

“Medical center?” I asked.

“One of your ideas actually, each Cendar Corporation office has a medical office. We provide a physician at least one day a week to do routine medical procedures and checkups. It has been a phenomenal success, one the employees love. Here, Jeeves actually does most of the work, but there is a physician on call.” He opened the door, and we went into a two room suite. One was a treatment room, very modern, very well equipped, and the other looked like a hospital room with 2 beds. “We’ve never actually had two patients at once, but it’s convenient to have the ability to monitor our people if they do get sick.” I was impressed. The beds appeared to have all the monitoring equipment you associate with an ICU. I’d seen enough with my father in the last years of his life, and this was all clearly new. “We cycle the equipment through the company, and generally sell it to hospitals every 18 months. That way, though the initial investment was steep, the ongoing costs aren’t too bad. We look for talented medical students in their last year. If they agree to work for Cendar for 5 years we to pay off their educational loans. It’s been a great investment. Our research department uses our doctors extensively, our employees get great health care, and our insurance costs are among the lowest possible — principally because we supply 90 percent of the health care ourselves.”

I learned the entire corridor could be sealed to the outside, and there was an escape passage at the end of the corridor if it ever became necessary.

“Well what do you think of your house?”

“I’m astounded. It’s incredible, but are you sure you’re not taking the defensive thing to an extreme?”

“Maybe, but I’d much rather be safe than sorry, and it’s kind of fun preparing for the bad guys.” ‘Oh no,’ I thought, ‘he thinks he’s living in a first person shooter computer game.’

“Let’s grab our coats, and I’ll show you around the grounds.” We went to the coat closet on the 1st floor, and Hal selected a Mackinaw, I chose a full length wool coat. “It’s in the 20’s,” Hal said, so I pulled on mittens and a scarf.

We stepped outside and I discovered the ground was covered in 5 or 6 inches of snow. Now, for those of you who have never ventured forth in a dress, tights, and an overcoat in an early New England winter, I want to tell you, your perceptions are really, REALLY skewed. While I was warm from somewhere above my knees, my legs were anything but comfortable. I suppose it was to some extent offset by my mittened hands. But, I had NO desire to prolong my exposure to the elements. Hal showed me where the Tennis and Basketball Court was, and started down a snow covered hill, “Hon, you really need to make the acquaintance of your horse.”

I followed, and we soon reached a large barn and stable. We entered, and I began to warm up. The barn contained the usual assortment of landscaping equipment and vehicles. I was surprised to see what looked like a brand new Humvee sitting in one corner. Hal noticed my attention, and he led me over. “More of my paranoia I’m afraid,” he said with a grin. “It’s armored, and contains a travel bag for you and me. It also contains radio and satellite communications gear.” On the wall was the familiar hand scanner and PIN pad. “The keys for the hummer are in here,” he said as he opened a small cabinet. I of course had to go through the process of entering my hand print and PIN.

We passed through the barn and entered a spacious stable complex. I don’t know anything about horses. Hal showed me around and pointed out a coal black horse with white legs that was “mine.” The horse was a monster. Hal told me it was a “shire” mare and stood 17 hands high. All I knew is the horse was taller at its shoulders than I was. “Do you really expect me to ride that beast?” I asked incredulously.

“Never ridden a horse? Don’t worry, you’ll love it.” I just shuddered. . “Do you want to walk back to the house through the snow, or would you like to take the tunnel?”

“Tunnel? What tunnel?” Hal led me back to the barn, and walked around to the back of the Humvee and Hal opened the key cabinet. Inside was an unlabeled button. Hal pressed it, and a door opened in the wall. Hal and I entered and walked down a very long stairway. At the bottom was a well lit tunnel that stretched into the distance. Hal led the way, and we walked down the tunnel, turned left and continued on. We passed a complex of rooms and finally came to a door which Hal opened, and we stepped into the basement, next to the medical office. Hal walked to the range, activated the hand scanner, and we walked through the range to the hidden door. We went through the door, turned right and walked down the corridor to the elevator, we took the elevator to the second floor, walked through the door in the closet and entered our room.

‘Amazing,’ I thought, ‘this place has more passages and secrets than an English medieval castle.’ Hal took my coat, and I sat down at the desk in the parlor. I turned on the computer, set up my accounts, and logged into e-mail to check my messages. Hal asked if I wanted lunch, and I ordered a tuna salad sandwich on toast.

While waiting on lunch, I called Linda and brought her up to speed. My mom had come over and they were just getting the turkey in the oven. The kids were excited about the possibilities of our new jobs. I told the kids about the house and grounds. Lisa nearly burst my eardrums when I told her about the stables. I hadn’t known she was so enamored with horses. Tim on the other hand couldn’t wait to use the shooting range. I gave them my love, and hung up to join Hal for lunch.

About 12:30 Annie arrived. She smiled when I met her downstairs “nice look,” she said, “very traditional for a New England Thanksgiving.” We moved her into the East Wing balcony suite on the family floor. Hal mentioned Governor Swift would arrive soon, so we went downstairs to the office.

Governor Swift, her husband Chuck Hunt and her children arrived just before 1:00. Hal asked Jane if we could meet privately for a minute. Jane agreed and Jeeves took Chuck on a tour of the grounds, while Annie took the children upstairs to the TV room. Jane, Hal and I sat down in the office.

“So what’s this all about Hal?”

“Jane, you’ve been a friend and colleague for years. I and Cendar have contributed to your political campaigns for many years. Do you notice anything different about Kate?” Hal asked; then he walked over behind me and placed his hands on my shoulders.

Jane looked over at me and shook her head.

“For business reasons Cendar as a company, and I personally have tried to keep something quiet. Kate died in the September 11th incident. Her body was never recovered, but there is no chance she survived.”

Jane looked shocked, “then who is this?”

“Her name was Beth Williams. We met not long ago, I couldn’t believe how much like Kate she was. Maybe it was because I was unable to accept Kate’s death, but for whatever reason, I’ve fallen in love with her. At great personal cost she has agreed to become Kate in every way possible. She has demonstrated more balls than anyone I’ve ever meet (at this I winced). She has also taken on Kate’s duties at Cendar, and performed them as well as Kate ever did.”

Jane carefully scrutinized me from head to toe. “I never would have guessed,” she said.

“Yes you would,” I corrected her. “You worked closely with Kate. You would have known something was wrong. I chose to tell you the truth. With Hal’s support for you politically I judged you had a right and a need to know the truth.”

“What do you want of me?” she asked, warily.

“Nothing really, we didn’t want you caught off guard if it ever became public knowledge. If you are willing, just treat her like Kate, our lawyers are taking care of the legal issues of transferring Kate’s identity — all legal and aboveboard. When completed, my new Kate and I will also legally wed. There will be nothing illegal about any of this. We simply wanted continuity. Jane, I love her very much”

Jane looked at me again and a sad smile played across her lips. “You may recall I had a little scandal in August? I’m not a stranger to the weirdness love can cause in our lives.”

Jane stood and walked over to where I sat, took my hands and pulled me to my feet. “So we are to be friends?” she said.

“I would like that very much. We are not telling anyone without a real need about this. I really don’t have any friends anymore,” I said.

Jane carefully sized me up, “You do now. Thank you for your trust.” Jane gave me a small hug. “Shall we go and see how the children are doing?”

“Thank you Jane, from the bottom of my heart,” said Hal and went off to find Jeeves and Chuck.

Jane and I went to the TV room to find the children. Annie and another woman had set up a playpen and two basinets. Jane introduced me to the woman as Pam Richards. “Pam is one of my regular State Police security team, and no, she wasn’t assigned baby sitter duties, she volunteered.” She walked over to the playpen and picked up a two year old, “this is Elizabeth, and the babies are Lauren and Sarah.”

Annie was holding one of the infants. She brought her over and handed her to me. I took the baby and cradled her in my arms. She was beautiful, sleeping with an angelic smile. “I had hoped to be a mother one day, but alas, I’m unable to become pregnant.”

Annie nearly choked laughing. Jane looked over at her with a quizzical expression. “Just an inside joke,” I explained. Annie was the only one present who knew I had been born male.

We chatted about the babies for a while, and then put them all down for a nap. Annie, Jane and I walked downstairs to greet the rest of our dinner guests. I asked Jane about “our” work with the Girl Scouts, telling her I would need her help as I had never been a Girl Scout. Annie again began to laugh, and I poked her in the ribs and told her to be good.

The remainder of the guests had arrived while we were upstairs. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the assorted canapés, chips, and drinks Vikki and her staff had laid out in the Great Hall.

We walked over to Hal and Chuck. Hal mentioned that he had secured a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for after dinner entertainment. Jane asked to see the rest of the house, so we wandered around, me doing the same tour guide thingy Hal had done that morning. We wound up in the gallery, and sat talking quietly until dinner was served.

Dinner was glorious. The Ham, the Turkey, the Roast Beast were all cooked to perfection. Vikki and her staff were remarkably efficient. At the beginning of the meal they brought the Turkey to the table. Hal carved it to perfection, and then Vikki and her staff proceeded to serve the most wonderful meal of my life. Throughout the meal, the conversation returned to the political mess Massachusetts was in; particularly the problems with Logan Airport in the wake of the 911 attacks, and the big dig. Hal promised his continued support and Jane thanked him. To our disappointment, Jane told us it was her intention not to run for election as Governor the following November.

Afterwards Hal invited the assembled guests upstairs to view the new Harry Potter movie. More than one guest gasped as they realized Stevens Hall Theater had the latest Dolby Surround Sound System — all without ticket takers. Ruth, one of the kitchen staff served drinks and made popcorn.

The movie was great. It was hard not to identify with the main character. Harry had been cast into a “different lifestyle” by intolerant guardians, as I had been through freakish circumstances. Vikki served pie and ice cream, and the party gradually wound down to a round of good nights. Jane picked up the children, the rest of the politicians went home, Hal, Chuck, Jane and I wound up in the foyer. “I truly hope that everything will work out and you will remain in politics Jane,” I said.

Jane hugged me, and whispered in my ear, “and I truly hope you will be the next Kate Stevens, I haven’t seen Hal this happy in months.” Chuck, Jane and the kids left, with State Trooper escorts, and I schlepped upstairs to get ready for bed.

I removed my makeup, took a quick shower, and donned nightgown, robe and slippers while Hal was finishing up downstairs. I checked my e-mail, and called Linda and the kids. They had just finished eating dinner, and both Tim and Lisa were complaining of having to help cleanup. Linda asked how I was feeling, and I told her most of the pain was fading away, and what wasn’t was easily taken care of with the pain meds. I told her I’d try to get back home next week for a few days if possible.

I wandered down to the library, and selected an old Heinlein favorite, “I Will Fear No Evil” and returned to the bedroom. Hal arrived about the time I’d snuggled in to read for a while. It was nice to have some down time, and I had always enjoyed the writing of Robert A. Heinlein. Hal showered, climbed in his jammys and joined me in bed. After finishing the chapter I put down the book. “Can I look?” Hal asked.

“Look at what?”

“Where you had your surgery, silly,” he said.

“Why?”

“I’m curious. I’ve been wondering since last night how you look. Please?”

“I suppose.”

Hal lifted the hem of my nightgown up over my belly, and then lowered my panties. He gently spread my legs and reached out tentatively to touch me. “Tell me if it hurts at all,” he said. He leaned over for a closer look. One hand reached up to touch my breasts while the other began to tenderly stroke my new sex. He moistened his finger and began to rub the tip of my concealed penis. I involuntarily gasped as an electric shock spread through my body. “Except for no vaginal opening it looks so natural.”

He leaned closer and began to kiss it. His tongue began to drive me crazy. Then the pain began. His hands now were both fondling my breasts, while he proceeded to kiss, nibble and lick me to distraction. I had to make him stop. The sensations were exquisite, but the pain overwhelmed everything else. “Hal, you've got to stop, it hurts.”

Hal continued to touch me, and finally I reached down and grabbed him by the hair. “Hal,” I screamed, “You've got to stop!” Like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar he looked up to me with a hurt little puppy dog expression on his face. I lay back on the pillows whimpering in pain.

“Hon, I'm sorry!” he said. “But you're so beautiful, it's hard to resist.”

I sighed, then pulled him into a hug. “Please just hold me,” I said. “Hold me til' the pain goes away.” I stayed that way, cradled in Hal's arms. After a while the pain subsided. It was nearly impossible to believe what had just happened. Even with the pain the pleasure was incredible.

Hal got up and finished preparing for bed. I read my book waiting for him. He came to bed, and I tucked in close to Hal. I lay there for hours wondering about what had just happened. I’d never had a relationship with a man. I had always considered myself totally and completely heterosexual. I still considered myself heterosexual. Somehow I had blurred the definitions of my own sexuality. With Linda, I would be male, exclusively monogamous. With Hal, I would be female, exclusively monogamous. I wasn’t sure how this would all play out, but, for now, Kate would be Hal’s lover and John would be Linda’s lover, and never the twain should meet — though I thought Linda would find the “modifications” would exceed her wildest dream.

November 23, 24, 25, 2001 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

The rest of the weekend was spectacular. Hal took me on a tour of Boston and environs that was beyond belief. Friday was kind of predictable, but he had made calls that guaranteed “back stage” tours of the most important historical sites. I particularly enjoyed the tour of Park Street Church and the old burying ground. The “duck” tour used surplus WWII amphibious vehicles was a wonderful way to view Boston by land and by sea.

The only glitch in the weekend came Saturday night just before bedtime. I casually turned to Hal and asked where we attended church. Hal looked at me like I had grown a second head, “Church? I haven’t been in a church since our wedding.”

“Uh… Hal, honey, guess what? You know how many different things I’ve changed for you? This is one you are going to have to change for me. I am going to church tomorrow, and YOU are going with me.”

Hal tried to argue, but I pulled one of Linda’s favorite tactics on Hal. I simply jumped into bed, turned out my light and turned my back to him. Hal reached out to me, I flinched away from his touch. “Is it that important to you?” I nodded. “Okay, I guess it’s fair that I make some sacrifice too.”

Exacerbated, I turned over to Hal, “this is NOT a sacrifice, it’s important, and I want you to learn about a part of my life that is vital to me.” Hal sighed, and I let him pull me into an embrace. We fell asleep that way, the issue of Church unresolved, but Hal unwilling to make a fight of it.

The next morning it was a moot point as we attended a church I knew of. Grace Chapel in Lexington was a mega church. It was a large enough congregation to let Hal and I enjoy anonymity and the music and worship there were excellent.

We spent the remainder of Sunday just driving around.

Monday, November 26, 2001

Monday loomed large on my horizon. I woke early, brushed the fallen hairs from my bed, and took a shower. I dressed conservatively and did my makeup carefully, prepared for any eventuality. I dressed in an exquisitely soft sweater and jumper. I went downstairs, and Vikki had my oatmeal, fruit, 7 Grain toast, and 2 slices of bacon ready. Annie and Hal joined me about 7:15. A quick kiss and he sat down to bacon and eggs, hash browns and toast. I continued to drink Orange Juice while Hal pigged out.

7:30 Jeeves came in and announced the car was ready. Little did I know, my adventure had just begun….



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