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BE FOREWARNED. The following story contains sexually explicit material not suited for those who have not yet achieved the age of maturity. If you should fall into this category, do not read further. Consult the laws of your community to clarify if you are eligible to read adult sexual material. The theme is transsexual. If this type of reading matter offends you, read no further. Go do something else. Standard disclaimer applies. Any association with real people, places, events, or entities is purely coincidental.
Inspirationsby: Virginia Kane © 2001 All rights reserved
Whoever or whatever controlled the huge cylinder glowing on Mr. Redencks back pasture had taken Mike captive, somehow. He could have high-tailed it when he had the chance, when he first spotted the cylinder in the distance, smoldering. He might have used better judgment and stayed clear. No, not Mike; he had to be nosy and come closer to investigate further. Brilliant move, hero!
Mikes brain slowly registered that his wrists were bound together, preventing him from using his arms to move his sleep-stiff body into a more comfortable position. He awoke flat on his back in pitch-black darkness and tried to lumber onto one side to appraise his fate. Something unusual happened that he couldnt recall.
A lack of nocturnal sounds and a smooth cloth beneath his body suggested he was no longer outdoors, but inside of a building of some sort, perhaps laying on a couch or bed. He tried to move his legs. They slid easily across the cloth. His ankles were also bound together! He had been abducted!
"Do not attempt to move." A deep, booming voice startled Mike.
"You will not be harmed. Your hosts are friendly." The voice was mechanical.
"You are en route to a distant location for a complete physical examination. You will be returned, in perfect condition, in a very short time. Your concept of time is different from that of your hosts. An hour of your time is all that will be necessary to complete your voyage and for them to perform a thorough examination."
"Can you hear me?"
"Yes, Michael. All of your senses are being monitored."
"You know my name. What do you want with me? Where am I?"
"At the moment, you are still near the field where you first saw our transporter. We want nothing from you. We only wish to help you."
"Help me? Then, why abduct me? Who are you? Why am I being kept in total darkness? If youre friendly, show yourself."
"One moment. Authorization is required to fulfill your request."
The interior of the capsule illuminated. It appeared to be a replica of Mikes own bedroom, except for the view. The drapes over his bedroom window were drawn. Mike rolled over onto his back to survey the entire room. Everything was in order.
"Hey, whats going on? Why have I been handcuffed in my own room?"
Suddenly, the bindings at his wrists and ankles vanished. He sat up, and with caution, sprang for the door, assuming that he awoke from a weird dream. The door was locked. "Let me out! Help! Help! Someone please let me out! Im locked up in my room! Hello? Hello? Can anyone out there hear me? Mrs. Grady?"
Mike ran to the window and pulled back the drapes. The view shocked him. He was being transported though deep space at speeds unimaginable.
"Calm down, Michael. We are approaching your destination. A representative will be with you shortly to answer your questions. Please remember that no harm will come to you. Kindly close the drapes and return to your bed."
Michael realized he was in no position to argue. He would have to bide his time to make sense of this predicament, then attempt an escape. Then it occurred to him. Of course! Im still dreaming! This is all a dream, he thought. He returned to his bed, lay down, and closed his eyes, choosing to let the weird dream continue.
"No, you are not dreaming, Michael."
"You read my mind."
"Yes. Does that surprise you? We can achieve many feats your species still lacks the scientific skill to master. Our culture has advanced far beyond yours. There is no need to attempt an escape. Your journey will end shortly. You will then wake up in your room, as if you never left. No harm will have come to you."
The door to his room opened. A pretty girl entered and approached him.
"Who are you?"
"I am Leahcim, your personal guide. You imagine my presence before you."
"I am a representation of your fondest dreams. To you, I appear to be the girl you wish you could meet to marry someday; a perfect vision of femininity inspired by your own libido. With my assistance, you will learn how to achieve your hearts desire and acquire means to court and marry. That is my sole objective."
"Gee, if only you were real, and this not merely a dream. I wouldnt need search further. Why not make my dreams come true and marry me? Ill shower you with gifts and love you with all my heart for the rest of my life. Ill work my hands to the bone to keep you happy for as long as we live. Say, if you arent real, why am I being tortured with an illusion? Why appear in a dream and give me false hope?"
"You dont understand yet, Michael. You will soon. I will help you. Trust me."
"How? You come from out of nowhere, unsolicited. Dont do this, dont tease me!"
"You sought our help, Michael. Do you deny wishing for an everlasting true love, to find someone special, so that you could launch a happy family of your own?"
"Thats true, but Im seeking a real girl of my dreams, not a dream about her."
"You arent dreaming, Michael. I can become a physical reality. You see, lovely apparitions all need a Prince Charming. To one, you can become the epitome of a real worthwhile soul mate, created to fulfill mutual dreams for happiness in life."
"Created? Me? Like hell! I was born. I didnt materialize out of thin air in a crazy dream. You, you may look like my fondest desire, but" Mike jumped up off the bed and grabbed the girl, "Say, you are flesh and bones, not merely an image."
"Well, Im not really flesh and bones. I merely seem to be. Let me explain."
"This had better be good. This is the most vivid dream I ever had. As long as you are not truly flesh and bones, perhaps we can explore what a pretty girl really admires in a guy, so Ill know how to please the genuine article if and when I ever meet her. Maybe having a practice run with you will give me a better---- "
"An apparition with desirable features is appearing to someone, right now, who is also flabbergasted, just like you are. When your examination is completed here, you will both be aware that the two of you will soon cross paths. Both of you may fall deeply in love, exchange vows and live happily ever after. "
"Thats great, but if thats the case, why not let it happen? Why tell me?"
"You must learn how to recognize your lifes desire. We will guide you."
"Oh. That makes sense. So tell me, where is my dream girl now?"
"In your mind."
"I know that! Where is the real love of my life?"
"Preparing to sweep you off of your feet, very soon."
"Youre not helping by talking in riddles. Describe my true love to me."
"I am helping. The answer to your fondest desires is a man, not a woman."
"I expected some crap like that. Forget it! I dont care to hear that kind of talk! It isnt true! I wont let it be. I want to lead a normal life, not some queer nightmare. "
"Nonetheless, Its true. Your true love is another man, not a woman."
"So, you know! You must! I cant help it! I never wished to be gay! I want to live a normal life, and not be a queer! Oh, please! Tell me this isnt really happening!
"But, it is. What you see before you is how you will look once you accept what is inevitable. You will not be thought of as gay, because no one but you and your mate need know you are a male of your species. Deep within your heart, you do desire to be loved by a man. Unfortunately, you were also born a man. Your soon to be met lover has a strong desire to live respectably, with total acceptance from his peers, but he, like you, fervently prefers to deny his dominant homosexual tendencies. I will help you to learn and accept what life can offer to you both."
"Accept what? A farce? Even if I wanted to marry a man, there are laws against it. Besides that, without a woman, we couldnt have children. Im not interested. Id be a disgrace to my family and friends. Id also probably lose my great job. My boss would freak out and fire me on the spot if he finds out how I feel about men. I dont even want to admit being gay to myself let alone anyone else. I work in an old-fashioned job in an old-fashioned company, surrounded by very old-fashioned people. They dont tolerate unusual behavior, especially homosexual behavior. Admitting that men intrigue me would be courting with disaster."
"Thats why you are being examined. You need not fear losing your job. You will soon be able to go among those who are willing to accept you having a feminine outlook. Your newfound mate will love you with all his heart for it. You will be the answer to his social fears. He will be the answer to yours, end of problem"
"Feminine outlook? Stop it! This is insane. This cant be happening!"
"You are right, Michael, it isnt. But it will, soon. You see; the examination is now complete and has confirmed that you wont find happiness without accepting your homosexuality. Thats why I am here: to inform and advise you how to fulfill your innermost desires without interference from too many social pressures."
"Fine! So, you think I should admit that Im queer. Okay, I prefer men. Happy? What good can possibly come from my acknowledging the inner torment over my messed up sexual preferences? I would do anything to be rid of all those deep yearnings to know the feel of another mans touch. If your superior culture is so damn far ahead of ours, cure me! Change me! Make me straight!"
"Well, we can read your mind, Michael, but we wont alter it. Altering a mind is a terrible crime in our culture. Your scientists falsely seem to think they can solve too many problems by eradicating socially undesirable tenets. How infantile!
Rid you of your guilt? Is that what youd like? What then? Implant heterosexual desires? Would that be you? Who would you become? What would you become? Remove all desires, so youd be a walking zombie, without any feelings? No, we wont do that. You must learn to accept what life offers you. That is our mission. We will assist you. That we promise. We will never take anything away from you."
"How do you deal with queers in your culture? How do you cure them?"
"Cure them? Whatever for? There is no need to cure reality. We are what we are. There is no fault, no judgment, and no bigotry in our culture, as there is in yours. We accept destiny. However, our culture cherishes self-acceptance deeply. Your infantile society has yet to learn the importance of appreciating diversity. That is our first gift to you. You are a nice person. Dont deny it. You are very, very nice.
Appreciate what you are. Strive to better yourself without a fear of condemnation. No man is without faults. Dispose of the guilt. You have life! Make the most of it, regardless of its frailties and imperfections. A man awaits you to fulfill his dreams. Soon, you will meet him. That is our second gift. Your life now has a purpose."
"The true purpose of a life is procreation. I want a suitable partner to create life, not waste it. That is why our Creator made us. Animals live for self-indulgence. Im a man, not an animal. I must cast my twisted desires aside to live like a man."
"Could you find true happiness living with a woman? Or, would you eventually cheat on her, and seek sexual satisfaction with men in secret and in shame?"
"Homosexuality is an abomination. Were taught to rise above seeking physical gratification in our culture to serves lifes primary purpose. Monogamous mating couples represent the only proper natural order of human existence."
"Desiring homosexuality is an abomination, not accepting it when it is evident."
"Id rather seek happiness by being married to a woman. The benefits far exceed the sacrifices. Id hate myself if I let carnal lust dictate how I will live. My family, friends, even my casual acquaintances would treat me as a scourge should they discover that I am physically attracted to men, instead of to women. I dont wish to be a disgrace to anyone. I want to be normal. Dont try to confuse me, either!"
"Try to confuse you, Michael? You are already confused. Do you think by hiding behind a false façade of social propriety, you will find true happiness? At best, you will find only temporary solace: brief protection from discovery and ridicule. Eventually, sooner or later, you will face reality and survive social pressures.
Otherwise, you may come to regret a rash decision and grow to despise the very woman you hope to love. No, it wouldnt be a true love, because you would only use her to deny your true sexual preference. Not only will you deeply dishonor a very frail relationship with a woman that vowed to be true to you, and chose to provide you with means to procreate, expecting your fidelity. Unfortunately, you will eventually disappoint her and the offspring that you may create with her by your lack of proper dedication to their happiness, growth and development.
Are you willing to risk that possibility just for protection from peer disapproval?"
"Then, Ill be a recluse, a confirmed bachelor. Id rather live in solitude than admit to being a queer. There. I said it. Youre right. It wouldnt be fair to trick a woman into believing I could love her. If she knew, shed probably hate me. Knowing how smart women can be, shed eventually figure it out. Ill be better off not marrying.
Say, if your culture is so fricking advanced, you should no problem changing me into a woman. Want to give me a real gift? Change my gender for me. Then, by being a woman, it would be perfectly normal for me to want to share my life with a man. That would be a great gift! Can you do that for me? Can you?"
"Possibly, but then, Michael, you wouldnt be you. Chances are, you would likely desire other women. Your problem is not exclusive to males of your species. You have an inverted sex preference. Simply changing your gender would not invert your desire for sex with members of the same gender. You would be a lesbian."
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Youre saying Im stuck? Id be queer in either case? Thats a riot! This isnt a problem, its a damned curse!"
"Well, only if you continue to deny that you could possibly find happiness, in spite of your having an inverted sexual preference."
"Sure! By becoming a hermit! Whod admit wanting some queer as a life mate?"
"Not so, Michael. There are many men who seek suitable life partners and fear the public exposure of their homosexuality. Either you must seek a male that is willing to appear to all others as an apparent woman, thereby providing you with the social acceptance from your world of peers, or you must be willing to provide that same blanket of security to a man that you feel you can love with all your heart by living entirely as a woman for him. Then, you might find true happiness."
"Some solution! I could never get away with a masquerade like that."
"On the contrary, Michael. What you now see before you is how you would look."
"But, but, youre only a vision in my mind, a mere dream."
"Not so! I am a physical representation of how you would appear to the entire world if only you try. Beneath my feminine façade, I am as male as you are."
"That cant be true. You obviously have a womans breasts, a trim waist, full hips, lovely legs, and a very pretty face. Im confused. If I met someone who looks like you, I could fall in love in a heartbeat. Knowing that you too are a male where it counts, Im enthralled by your beauty, all the more. Youd make a perfect wife!
I could take someone like you home to my mother and dad, and relieve all their fears. They never said anything, but Im positive they understand why I didnt go on dates much in high school and college. It would break their hearts if I brought home a man and told them that I was in love with him. Id much rather have them believe that I found a nice girl to marry. Why cant you be that girl for me?"
"Because, Michael, I am merely a desirable physical representation. If you truly feel that I could be the one for you, you must also believe that you could be the one to fulfill the dreams of another man, who fears the same reprisals as you do.
Together, you both could be happy. Accept fate and make the most of what you have instead of cursing and denying it. Your future life can be beautiful, if you are willing to face reality and make the most of the potential you now possess."
"How would I know which of us is to portray which outward appearance?"
"When the time comes, you will know. You will decide. Goodbye, Michael, and good luck." The bedroom began to fill with a thick haze, and the light grew dim.
"Wait! Wait! Dont leave yet! I need more help! You cant just disappear on me! Explain what I have to do." Darkness slowly descended on the room. Michael rose from his bed in the darkness and went to check the door. It was still locked. He pounded on it wildly. "Leahcim, Leahcim come back! Dont leave me!"
"Michael? Are you in there? Why are you pounding on your bedroom door like that? Is something wrong? Are you calling out for help?" His landlady shouted.
"Mrs. Grady?" His sweet little landlady heard his plaintiff cries!
"Yes, Michael. Who did you expect? At present, youre my only roomer. The nice young lady that used to occupy the room across the hall from yours discovered a new lover while on a Caribbean cruise. Shes so deeply in love, she decided not to return to fetch the things that she left behind. I was just in her room, cleaning.
Is something wrong with your bedroom door, Michael?"
"Yes, --- no, --- yes. I think its stuck. I misplaced my key."
"Oh, dear. That hasnt happened in years. Wait, Ill go fetch my spare. Then, if you have some free time, you can lend me a hand, packing and carrying some boxes. Ill grill you a nice thick steak afterwards in exchange for helping me."
The landlady returned and opened his door. "That lucky girl left some very nice things behind. I was about to pack them up for the Goodwill drop. Its a pity that her clothing is the wrong size for anyone that I can think of. I sure wish I could find someone who could put such lovely things to use. I hate to think of them going to waste. They are hardly the kind youd expect to find in a Goodwill store.
Michael followed her across the hall and into the girls room. "Gee, Mrs. Grady. They look expensive." The fine clothes captured Michaels imagination. "Some women where I work might like them. If you dont care who gets them, I can find out if any of them are interested." He knew his dream could be tested if he could only convince her to let him take the clothes. They looked as if theyd fit him.
"Would you? In that case, well put them into the trunk of your car, so you wont be embarrassed when describing them to the ladies who work with you. You can let them inspect the entire lot and pick out whatever theyd like."
Enthralled, Michael spent the evening with Mrs. Grady, folding, and packing up several boxes of coats, dress clothes and shoes. He didnt say one word to her about what had just happened up in his room, and she also didnt mention to him that she overheard parts of his conversation with Leahcim.
Afterwards, Mrs. Grady grilled two thick, juicy steaks for dinner as she promised. When they finished their feast, he leaned back in his chair, letting the delicious food settle. If he ate so well on a regular basis he was sure hed gain weight. He smiled at his hostess across the dinner table, wondering how to thank this kindly woman, to tell her he felt she just served him his finest meal since hed left home.
"You sure know how to grill a great steak, Mrs. Grady, and your side dishes were fabulous. If I eat like this regularly, Ill need to get a whole new wardrobe, myself. Too bad those boxed up things are all womens, because I need to let out my belt a notch. You were too kind, just for my helping you pack up a few measly boxes."
"Thank you, Michael. I dont get much of a chance to cook a full meal for anyone very often, so it was a pleasure, not a chore. You neednt say a word. Watching you close your eyes while you chewed each morsel was reward enough for me."
"I cant understand why some of the local single men dont take advantage of your superb cooking. If I were somewhat older, Id show up regularly to court you. Im sure you wont have any trouble finding a new tenant for the other room if you leave a window open while cooking. The whole place smelled like heaven. Id ask you to add "board" to my room rent, but Im afraid I wouldnt be able to control my appetite. I wont be attractive to eligible girls if I eat this well, too often."
"Heavens, Michael! I dont cook meals like this on a daily basis, although, a bit of filling out wouldnt hurt you one bit. Youre still growing. Today is a very special occasion. You did me a favor, so I wanted to return your kindness with a good, home-cooked meal. To stay healthy, daily meals must match your bodys needs, except for rare treats, when celebrating triumphs, or facing lifes travesties."
"Special occasions? Travesties?"
"I unintentionally overheard you talking to someone in your room. I assumed you werent aware of how loud you were speaking. I wasnt eavesdropping, mind you, but I heard you asking the girl you spoke to on your cell phone why she wouldnt marry you. I immediately walked away. I didnt wish to pry, but I did overhear you.
Michael, whenever a man finds out a lady doesnt want to marry him; a trivial task to occupy him and a robust meal afterwards can help him forget his woes. Youll soon find someone nice to occupy the emptiness you now feel in your heart, son. The girl across the hall did. Why, just a few months ago, a cruel rogue left the poor dear standing at the altar, waiting. She was totally devastated.
She ran away from her hometown, unable to face her family and friends. Now, she called to tell me she had found a new love. Shes happy now. So happy, she gladly abandoned all the worldly possessions she left behind. You will, too."
"You couldnt hear the girl I spoke to responding to me, could you?"
"Of course not. Those portable phones arent that loud. I knew you were on the phone, because you know I dont allow my tenants to entertain guests in their rooms and you never disobeyed the rule before, leastwise, not that I am aware of. That girl you were talking to isnt hiding up in your room now, is she?"
"Of course not." (Phew, that was close!) " I wasnt on my cell phone, Mrs. Grady. I was only having a very bad dream. You must have overheard me talking in my sleep. It must have sounded like a lot of nonsense to you, Ill bet."
"Not al all. You sounded very coherent to me. Mind you, I walked away from the door as I felt the subject was personal in nature. I then recalled you arriving alone after your evening walk along Mr. Redencks pasture. You must have taken too long of a walk this evening and became tired. Its not like you to take a nap after taking one of your evening jaunts. Well, Im glad I misunderstood you, anyway. Yet, you still seem distraught. Is something wrong at work that is bothering you?"
"Could be. My latest project is a tough one. Im working on a house design to be built along a hillside, overlooking a scenic glade. My design must not violate any ecological conditions. Its a very important issue to the firms client. Ive racked my brains for days. My boss is worried. The man wants to commune with nature, not violate it. I finished some initial sketches today. Hes due in tomorrow to look them over and approve one. Then, Ill develop the structural design for him."
"Its no wonder youre so edgy." The womans concern seemed genuine.
"I am?" Michael was edgy over the prospect of trying on some of Claires things.
"Well, I can tell something worries you. You hardly said a word while we packed up the girls clothing earlier. I thought we could discuss the girls good fortune in finding her true love, so you might realize that your future love life isnt as dismal as it might seem at the moment. Of course, thats when I was mistaken, hearing you asking someone why she wouldnt marry you."
"Oh. ---No, that was just a very bad dream. No, I havent been jilted, Mrs. Grady. I wish I had been. I have yet to meet a girl who might turn down a proposal of marriage from me. I havent been lucky enough to find someone yet. Most girls prefer powerful, assertive men, not a meek guy like I am. I suppose I portray the image most girls find very unattractive.
You might as well get used to me being a tenant for a long time. Im convinced that Im bound to remain a bachelor for the rest of my life."
"Oh, pshaw! Ive heard that before! Youre still young. Youll find someone. Give it time, Michael. Maybe my asking you to help pack up those clothes wasnt such a good idea. Im sorry if seeing a girls clothing reminds you of your plight. I asked for your help to assure you that there is hope for everyone, just as the girl across the hall recently discovered on her cruise. You keep that in mind. Youll know when your turn comes. Youll soon find someone who could wear those things."
"Did you think that upset me? They werent personal, sexy things; just stuff that most girls wear in public. I was happy to lend a hand. Any time you need any help like that, just ask. I even doubt seeing her personal things would upset me. If you need more help, Ill lend a hand packing up her personal things, too."
"I thought a man might feel funny seeing a ladys personal things, so I didnt pack those things while you were helping me, but you even seemed reluctant to move the boxes of her outer garments. I still have to pack up her more personal things that I decided to launder, first. If knowing that the remaining boxes will contain a ladys unmentionables does bother you, in any way, just leave your cars trunk open. I can carry them out to your car by myself, later."
Michael wanted to have access to the personal things. "I dont mind helping. Why should my knowing what the boxes contain upset me? Ive seen plenty of skimpy things before in stores and on television commercials. They arent exactly secrets like one stores name implies. Im twenty-four years old already. Ive been around and know all about frilly things ladies wear beneath their clothes."
"Oh, I see. In that case, why not join me in the laundry room and help me to fold them? Maybe youll see something you find attractive. At least it will take your mind off of the meeting planned with that important client tomorrow."
"Sure, why not? It sounds exciting, like sneaking a peek where a man shouldnt!" Michael furrowed his eyebrows, and leaning forward, he flicked at an imaginary cigar, imitating Groucho Marx. "You could even demonstrate them for me."
"Take that smirk off your face, Michael. Im too mature for you, young man!"
"I didnt mean wear them, Mrs. Grady. Oh, Im sorry. You misunderstood. I meant showing them to me. I was only referring to holding them up to see how they----
"You arent fooling me one bit, young man. Why act so coy? I know those things will get you excited. Theyd fit you far better than theyd ever fit me! If you find a pleasure in fondling the texture of sexy undergarments, you can have them all for yourself, Michael. Ill show you how to use them, if youd like. Many men find pleasure in wearing ladies undies. Whatever excites you is your own business."
"Mrs. Grady! What made you think that? That would be perverse!"
"Oh, dont behave like a prude with me. Im an old widow. All men have innocent fantasies. Why should we let those delightfully expensive things go to waste?
Lets just go have a look, Michael. Perhaps we can select a few conservative things that really appeal to you. Theyre not all frilly. Any man could easily wear some of them, as well as a woman. Maybe youll find something of hers to suit your taste. Come on. Itll be fun to see how you react to seeing them."
"Mrs. Grady, I could never----."
"If my watching bothers you, Ill bring the lot up to your room for you to rummage through in privacy, later. You can dispose of the entire wardrobe if you choose.
Michael, some girls like men who can shed their macho pride once in awhile to bask in the luxury of silken textures. Claire left behind some nice robes that my late husband would have enjoyed wearing, if he had the opportunity. Relax, I would never tell a soul. Where or how you acquired them all will be our secret. If the clothes were a bit larger, Id keep them all for myself, thats for sure."
"Your late husband wore womens things? Didnt he feel foolish in them?" He was finding it difficult to decline her tempting offer.
"Why should he? Theyre just lovely apparel. Whos to know and whos to care if you choose to wear some of them? By any chance, do you publicly flaunt your underwear? So what if some are in pastel colors? They are still only underwear. Whats the harm in the two of us having some fun? Throwing out perfectly good, expensive things irks me to no end. Im sure youll find something worth keeping.
Are you afraid of compromising your precious masculinity by donning something exciting underneath your street clothes?"
"NO!" His response should have been far less vehement. Mrs. Grady caught his trepidation and smiled, teasingly; pleased that she successfully distracted him from worrying about an important meeting with a fussy client on the following day with a challenge that could draw the lonely fellow out of his apparent shell. She also found his timidity and reluctance amusing and appealing.
The situation presented a long-awaited opportunity for her to mother someone in need, something she had always wanted to do, but was a lifes quest denied to her by fate. She was now a lonely widow, prominent in the community, yet with no one dear to hold her and comfort her in her advancing years, no one that she could call her own. With the right urging, Michael could fulfill that purpose.
Seeing the sheepish young lad cower before her, spurred her on to uncover the unusual behavior he exhibited earlier while in his room, behind his closed door, that was neither stuck or locked. Her curiosity urged her to investigate further.
Michael hesitated; then grinned sheepishly, red faced and shy. Something in his manner told her that he wanted to wear the "forbidden" articles, but didnt know how to approach the delicate subject gracefully. She would have to goad him more to reveal his secret, which she was fairly sure she already knew.
"What a pity! A grown man, who is deathly afraid of touching a ladys nightwear! My word! Youre behaving like an infant. Its no wonder you are still a bachelor!"
"Im not afraid of any such thing! I merely happen to be a conservative, thats all. Lets get to it! Well see if Im an infant! Just dont be surprised if I keep them all! Lead the way, Mrs. Grady! Youre in for a big surprise!"
"Thats the spirit! Ill bring some things up to your room. Go get prepared to prove that you arent a little scaredy cat. Take off all your clothes and put on a robe for me. I promise I wont poke fun at you. Get ready. Ill be up in about ten minutes.
By the way, dont think for one minute that anything you could do would surprise me. I may be old enough to be your mother, and I may seem somewhat decrepit, but Im still very much alive. I consider myself in good shape for my age."
"Suddenly, you seem much younger and open-minded, Mrs. Grady. Maybe our having some fun with Claires cast-offs is good therapy for both of us. I need to do something weird to shake off the blues. Promise me that youll never tell a living soul, and well both get to see how funny a grown man looks while hes wearing the wrong kind of clothes. I always wondered what it would feel like."
"I give you my solemn word, Michael. No one will ever know, on one condition."
Her last statement stopped Michael dead in his tracks. If she put any conditions on what he felt was an excellent opportunity to test Leahcims claim that he could easily portray a womans image successfully, Mrs. Grady would have an excuse to justify exposing their sport at some later time. His calm dissolved.
"Well, two, really. One: youll allow me fix up your hair for you. Two: I would like to take a few Polaroid photos of you while dressed in some of Claires clothes to send off to her. Shell be immensely pleased, knowing that I found a recipient for her lovely things, which werent discarded or given away to a charity. She asked me to find someone I knew whod appreciate her taste and make use of them. I tried, but now, I think shell be pleased to know Ive complied with her request."
"No way, Mrs. Grady! No pictures! Ill look like a fool! If the wrong person got his hands on pictures like that, I could be publicly ruined; become a laughing stock. I could be blackmailed and lose my job. Good jobs are hard to find. I trust you and Im willing to explore and to have some fun, horsing around a little in private, but Im not willing to subject myself to needless exposure! No way!"
"Okay, okay! Forget the pictures. Will you let me fix up your hair, so youll see how nice youll look with a more feminine hairstyle? Ill settle for that."
Michael perceived a look of excitement cross Mrs. Gradys face. It was obvious to him that she couldnt be so mean as to want to blackmail him He still wished to settle the gnawing doubt in his mind over what Leahcim assured him was true. If he didnt let her fix his hair, there would always be a smidgeon of doubt in his mind about his ability to look feminine. He decided to leave nothing to chance.
"Sure. For the heck of it, as long as we are at it, you might use some makeup, as well. Why not? I dont care, as long as there arent any incriminating pictures that can accidentally fall into the wrong hands. If you have anything else in mind that youd like to suggest, better let me know now. Lets not quarrel later. Agreed?"
"No, no, nothing more. However, if you wear makeup, youll need accessories. Would you mind wearing some jewelry to compliment the image?"
"Good point. Say, lets not take half measures. Could you doll me up real fancy, just to see how Id look if I dressed up like a pretty woman for Halloween? I dont mind spending a whole evening playing this game, so long as we agree thats all that it remains. Ill bet a lot of guys are curious to know how theyd look on the opposite side of the gender fence. As long as were at it, we might as well do it up right, go the whole nine yards. What do you say?"
"I agree, Michael. I think youll be surprised. No, Ill bet you will be astonished. You have no idea what this means to me. Its been too long since Ive spent an evening toying with someones appearance. Since my late husband passed away, Ive spent my evenings cooped up with my memories of us together. Its time I let the past go. I should start living in the present again."
"Gee, Mrs. Grady. I wouldnt mind spending more of my spare time with you. I truly enjoy your company, and your home cooking is absolutely fabulous. Maybe you could teach me some of your secret recipes. I dont have many close friends at work and most people my age are preoccupied with courtship. I guess Im not a very successful at that. I might as well learn how to be a good cook. Instead of fooling around with Claires clothes, lets spend the evening just talking." Hed rather try on the girls things in private, without her looking on.
"Do you like to cook, Michael?
"Well, so far I havent, but I am somewhat interested. After all, if I dont find some girl as nice as you are to become my wife, I had better prepare to fend for myself. Who wants to live on canned goods, or spend a fortune at expensive restaurants, or live on a steady diet of fast foods? Not me. I relished that home-cooked meal you served tonight. It was fit for a king! Would you be willing to teach me?
"It sounds to me like you are getting cold feet. We decided on doing one fun thing for this entire evening just a while ago. Now, you suddenly digress into doing something different. What exactly is going on in your mind, Michael? Was it the dream? I know I have no right in asking, but youve lived here under my roof for well over eight months. Something very significant must have happened to you.
Dont you think that I know you well enough by now that I can tell if something serious is bothering you? You may be an adult, but, regardless of age, everyone needs someone to confide in to help bear our burdens.
Of all the tenants Ive had, you are the nicest. You are courteous, respectful, real tidy, and you never arrive showing any signs of drug or alcohol abuse. I wish you were my own child. Id be very proud of you, as Im sure your parents are. Since they arent handy to counsel you, why not let me? Im sure there cant be such a grave problem you face that would become worse by telling me all about it."
"I wish I could, Mrs. Grady, but youll hate me if I tell you."
"Me? Hate you because you might be gay? Why Is that?"
"You know? Omigod!" It dawned on him how others might perceive him.
"I assumed it. I suppose many others do, as well. You telegraph it through your gentle mannerisms. If I were to accuse you, you would only deny it. What is so terrible about being what you have no choice but to be? Do you want to spend your entire life hating yourself for what you are? What good would that do?"
"Thats what my weird dream was all about. Im sorry. I cant accept it."
"Why not, Michael? You can tell me, child. You know I wont expose you "
"I want to live a normal life, Mrs. Grady. Queers are treated as social outcasts. My parents would disown me. Everyone I care about will hate me. My friends, the few I have back home, would turn their backs on me if they ever found out."
"Perhaps. But, did I? Would people knowing change how you feel about men?"
"No, I suppose not. The girl who appeared in my dream said I was stuck with it. Even if I were a girl, Id be attracted to other girls. Life isnt fair. I wish I could find a nice girl to love me, in spite of my faults. Id cherish the ground she walks on."
"Is that so? Be honest, Michael. If she did tolerate your cravings for a man in your life, would you be able to remain loyal to her for an entire lifetime? Could you put aside all of your innermost feelings forever? If you could, should you?"
"Yes. Thats what is expected of everyone in the world."
"Nonsense. The world doesnt demand anything from you. People live and die with little heed from the world as a whole. Ive wasted years after the death of my husband in mourning because I thought it was expected of me, believing that the world would judge me cruelly, unless I openly professed my dire loss to all.
Few noticed, yes, but not one person ever gave a fiddlers hoot about sharing my grief. Nothing comes of grief, but a constant, bitter reminder of your emptiness.
It took years to realize that life simply must go on. Had I been smarter, I would have remarried in time to bear children. Now, a husband would accomplish little more than having a warm body nearby to comfort me occasionally, a burden as much as a blessing, someone to cook and launder for, offering me little more. Im lonely now, but not for having a man enter my life. No, I miss the company of the children that I never had. Friends? They all come and go without so much as an adieu. Theres no need for you to remain a recluse for the rest of your life.
Having a deep love for another person, one soul to cherish and cling to with all your heart and mind, with fidelity in life, not in death, makes a far more fulfilling life. You can choose to live alone, as Ive done, if you wish. Activities can fill your solitude with purpose, as Im sure you find some consolation in your work.
As time marches on, you will find that others will replace you at your job, as if you never existed. In years to come, your parents will pass on, leaving you orphaned. Regardless of your age at the time, you will miss them and cherish their sweet memory, as I often cherish the memory of my dear parents. Too late, I find that I have no children of my own to cherish mine. Life can be cruel. Is my life as cruel to me as yours seems to you? I am not gay. Why in the world did I choose to live without raising a family for so many years? What a waste! I regret to have been so foolish. I suggest you find yourself a soul mate to share your life. If your own sexual preference means that it must be a man, so be it. Dont willingly spend your entire life alone, as I have done. Youll regret it far more.
The years of solitude hold few memories to cherish. I still think back to the early years, the good years, when my life was filled with joy and happiness. The love of my husband is what made those years the best years of my life. Why waste your youth? Make the best of it. No friend, nor a parent, nor anyone else can ease the hollow emptiness of a lonely life, once past, without a partner."
Michael sat in silence. Her words tore through him, giving him a chill. He sat and pondered on what he should say or do to lighten her burden.
He slowly rose from the table without reply and returned to his room, deep in thought, mindful of the tears he saw trickle down Mrs. Gradys rosy cheeks as she spoke. He knew she was speaking from her heart.
He spent the night in fitful sleep, plagued by the events of a fateful day. In the morning, refreshed by ample rest, though pensive, he came down to the kitchen before showering and kissed Mrs. Gradys grateful cheek. She had a wholesome breakfast waiting for him, and called him her "child". After they ate, he helped her to tidy up the kitchen and asked if she was still willing to teach him to cook.
"Take your shower, Michael. I set out a few things in the bathroom. You may care to see if they will fit you. Well have the entire evening to discuss what you plan to do next, if youd like. I took the liberty of removing those boxes from the trunk of your car. Dont make any offers to women at work, yet. They may mistakably assume you are purging your own wardrobe. That might not be wise."
Michael kissed her again and leapt up the stairs, two at a time. He went straight to the bathroom. There, in a neat stack, he found several pairs of dainty panties, set beside a package containing transparent womens hose. He rushed through his ablutions, almost forgetting to brush his teeth, not wanting to delay the thrill of donning the delicate confections awaiting him. It didnt take long to figure out how to put on the nylons, but he gazed upon his reflection for minutes after he did.
Mrs. Grady waited patiently for him in his room, with two boxes stacked neatly in one corner. She smiled when he entered. He smiled. Words were unnecessary. She handed him a frilly waist cincher, explaining how it would hold the stockings securely in place, showing him how to insert the garters beneath the panties, to afford him ease of removing the panties later if he had to use a mens room.
She explained that he would have use a stall, as panties lacked a fly and needed to be lowered. He blushed, unsure if he should allow her to see him put the lacy garment on. He looked to her questioningly, unsure of her attitude.
"Im an old woman! Ive seen a man wearing a waist cincher before. Dont be shy. Its merely your first time. You think this is the first time a young man wore sexy things under his clothes? Dont be so naïve. Ill adjust the laces in back just a little bit for you, not a lot, once you fasten together the hooks and eyes in front. No one will be able to detect it, if you are careful. Select a pair of full-cut, heavy trousers, with pleats, so the garters tabs wont show.
But, before you do, walk back and forth across the room for a minute. Get used to the feeling of those nylons gracing your legs, as the garters tug at them. You may come to love the sensation; however, for some reason, not all women do."
Michael did as she advised. The taut nylons "swished" loudly as his legs rubbed together. He began to realize that women experience tactile pleasure from their clothing. It was all too new to him. Men paid no heed to how clothes felt against their bodies. Women, on the other hand, could take pleasure from a simple task such as walking. Perhaps he could learn to savor the feelings too. He was full of vigor and thrilled at the feelings coursing through him, oblivious to the watchful eye of his landlady. His actions had a rejuvenating affect on her.
"Thats enough, for now. Youd best be on your way. You dont want to be late for your important meeting. You can experiment more of the sensations as you walk toward your office from your car. Be careful not to be too obvious. Try to walk normally, darling and dont sway so much with each step. Tonight, well spend the entire evening dressing you up, all the way."
Michael finished dressing in a daze; distracted from worrying about the important meeting he was to attend later in the morning. Hed have enough time to review his files, organize details, and add any last minute finishing touches to his formal report, to make a successful presentation. He wore his newest dress shirt, loose Dockers with pleats and polished his penny loafers a second time, knowing the importance of first impressions. He felt he was as ready as he could be.
Promptly at 10:00 Am, his boss ushered a tall, handsome man in his early thirties into Michaels cramped office. The man had just arrived in Atlanta that morning, and planned to return to the West Coast on the following morning.
Michael was instructed in advance that he was expected to provide the man with enough positive input to choose a design from Michaels sketches. Then Michael would prepare complete, detailed architectural specifications to be sent over to the drafting department. There, blueprints for subsequent submission to various building contractors for bidding on the construction would be created.
Michaels boss introduced the man to Michael and left the two alone to review Michaels efforts. This was Michaels first "solo" presentation to a client. He was nervous, but had adequate experience. He supported his boss in presentations many times. He was sure that this man would critique Michaels ability to his boss after he was finished. With sheer determination, Michael proceeded.
The man expressed no reactions to Michaels initial sketches. As time went on, Michael began to get nervous. He felt he was "blowing" it. He displayed several well-accepted design concepts for starters, to get a better feeling for the mans tastes. None were acceptable. Contemporary, traditional, futuristic, classic, none he had reviewed with his boss earlier attracted this mans attention.
"Stop. Ive seen enough. Where are the rough sketches I sent to you?"
"They wont work. They are all wrong for that site. The core samples of the terrain indicate the slope has fifty feet of loose sub-strata. You cant build a cantilever structure on a steep slope like that unless the terrain is rock-solid and resistant to shifting. A cantilever like you proposed would require a minimum of eight six-foot diameter caissons to at least seventy feet down into the slope to secure the base to the underlying bedrock. The cost would be outrageous, and the weight of the caissons would require additional crosstie anchoring, or the structure could still shift from the immense transverse forces of the loose soil when saturated from a heavy rainstorm, a very expensive proposition.
At best, youll be living on a time bomb. Sooner or later, the locations proximity to the fault-line in the Earths crust will result in a shift in the terrain. Government seismic readings indicate that the slopes in the area already shifted four different times in the past century. Sketches Ive shown to you so far account for projected movement due to anticipated future tremors. With minimal repairs of access and egress, the house would essentially survive intact, if built in accordance with the foundation specifications I will provide in the final spec drawings. Using any one of these six designs will provide a safe and esthetic home on the slope. I dont recommend gambling a lot of time, money and effort against Mother Nature."
"Would you design a home like any of these for yourself?"
"No, I drew a sketch of one I would like, but it doesnt meet your criteria."
"Would you care to show it to me?"
"I was saving it for last, after you declined the others. I knew that you would."
"Oh? Why did you waste time showing them to me, if you knew I would reject them all beforehand?"
"Because they meet your criteria for optimum space utilization and esthetics. You specified a house on the slope, to blend into the terrain. My design is a modified cantilever on the top of the slope, dug well into the surrounding terrain, using a grader, cheaply and easier than caisson drilling. The cantilever will be built on a heavy floating foundation, set into the top of the hill, using abetments to retain the slab. No earthquake would threaten it, unless the epicenter is directly beneath it.
The exposed cantilever will only be half the size you requested, but appear to be only slightly smaller than the one you proposed, due to setting back the entire structure on the crest, instead of down on the slope of the terrain. In effect, my design will afford an optical illusion to obtain the same effect.
I increased the depth of the structure toward the rear to accommodate a large suspended wooden front deck with ease, without sacrificing any safety factors.
The reinforced slab will extend over to the opposite side of the hilltop, too. That way, the floating foundation will sit like an inverted cup over the top, safe and sound, anchored at the crest into exposed bedrock. It could survive a hurricane."
"Hurricane? In California?"
"Well, I get carried away. Its a very stable structure, exceeding all parameters that are recommended for building a house in an unstable area. Besides, the parallel earth berms on either side the house would reduce heating and cooling costs, afford privacy and reduce the houses impact on the sites serenity"
"Can I see what you have in mind, or is this creative design of yours too radical to be considered? So far, you havent shown me anything else I would accept."
"Oops. Sorry. Here it is." Michael pulled a packet of sketches out of the drawer beneath his drafting table. The man looked at them for several minutes without speaking. He stroked his shadowed chin with one hand while he studied. A smile began to break out across his face. He slapped Michael on the back.
"These are perfect!" he then astounded Michael by pointing out several faults in the design. His familiarity with construction jargon was unexpected. Michael was under the impression the man was an average wealthy person that would insist on an impractical design. Instead, he was well versed in the intricacies involved.
"Are you a builder, Mr. Walker? You seem to know a great more about structural building techniques than I anticipated. These are only concept drawings."
"Of course, of course, but what a concept! This is precisely why I didnt want to design the place myself or assign a member of my own staff to do it. This isnt just a novel approach. Its a bright new concept. It blends into the surroundings without imposing any threat to the solemnity of the region. Lemkins (Michaels boss) said you were a capable lad, but he underrated you. This is ingenious." He spied his wristwatch. "Lets discuss it over some lunch." Without waiting for a reply, he gathered up Michaels sketches and turned to the door. It was obvious the man was used to being obeyed unquestioningly.
His arm grasped Michaels shoulder as they moved along the corridor. "Say, lets invite your boss to join us to get his impressions. However, dont let on that I like your idea, at first. I want to watch him squirm as I turn down all the other designs. I have a feeling he prompted you to submit them. Lou ranted about the hazards of using a cantilever on that slope, which I ignored. Was this design his idea?"
"No, he hasnt seen it, yet. I thought of it while out walking one evening. I live on the outskirts of town, next to a big farm. I often walk along the road there.
I find a peaceful setting is conducive to my mental processes. I cant think as clearly in a small office. I need open to have space to be creative." The word "space" struck a note in Michaels mind. This guy would freak out if he knew how much space Michael traversed recently.
"Neither can I. I chose this particular site for the same reason. I prefer to do my creative work in a pleasant setting. Working in L.A. is getting to me. I intend to spend more of my time away from the office. I need a serious change of pace."
The luncheon in a private room at the back of an exclusive restaurant located in the "King" tower on Peachtree Drive was touchy as Mr. Walker had Mr. Lemkins sweating it out while he derided all the initial sketches that Michael showed him in his obligatory recital of alternatives suggested from "on high".
"This is the only design I think has any merit, Lou. What do you think?"
Lou Lemkins stared at the sketches for minutes. "I dont know. Its effective, but doesnt match what you wanted. It means building on top of the hill, not along the slope. Michael, what possessed you to ignore Mr. Walkers specifications?"
"I dont agree with building a house on that slope. Ten years from now hell regret guests using a steep set of stairs to access the house. Excuse me, I meant to say in twenty years. This alternative provides a stable foundation, blends in ."
"I can see that, but ignoring a clients principal pre-qualifications is inexcusable. You now that. You agreeing with him or not is of no consequence. Its fortunate Mr. Walker seems to like your design a lot. What if he didnt?"
"Hed settle for one of the others, or risk folly with a cantilever on that slope. This design offers the greatest potential for providing a secluded respite from a daily grueling pace of a big city like Los Angeles. That is the criterion he provided that is most important to him, is it not? The structure I recommend suits the site well and will serve his needs admirably. The square footage exceeds that of any of the other designs with a substantially lower over-all construction cost."
"Cost wasnt a stated consideration, as I recall." Mr. Lemkins was backpedaling.
"Icing. Its icing on the cake." Michael had to be careful not to make Mr. Lemkins become a fall guy. "You taught me to be considerate of a clients demands, not be a slave to them, Mr. Lemkins. I saw an alternative I thought would be worthy of his consideration. I showed him the other sketches first, without any favorable remarks. I purposely left this one for last, to offer every opportunity to consider the conventional approaches to building along the slope, as he first requested. When he rejected them all, I felt he might be open to considering a different, fresh approach, something he hadnt considered as of yet."
"He did the right thing, Lemkins. Admit it. I want him to do the detailed drawings. With his spirit, he might surprise the both of us again. I can come back next Friday to see what progress hes made. If he has other projects assigned to him, give them to someone else. I want him to work on my place exclusively. Ill spend the rest of the day with him, going over details. I can catch a red eye to the coast.
Meeting adjourned. How good is the steak they serve here, Lou? Youre buying."
"The prime rib here is excellent" Tension in Mr. Lemkins face vanished.
Michael felt the lump in his throat receding, too. Yet, he was still unable to eat. His stomach was still churning. If Mr. Lemkins had resented his proposal, he could be in deep "doo-doo," in over his head, without a diving helmet or goggles.
Michael felt a hand under the table touch his knee. "Michael, Youre a very bright young architect, a real credit to our firm. Would you consider transferring to the L.A. office to work for me?" The hand remained on his knee. The stare from the man whose hand held his leg insisted that Michael not overreact. It was obvious the man could tell that his thigh was covered in nylon beneath his pants.
Michael gulped. "Oh. Mr. Lemkins didnt mention that you work for our firm."
"That was Mr. Walkers doing." Mr. Lemkins interjected. "Hes a senior partner. He didnt want to spook you, Michael. You wouldnt have submitted that excellent recommendation if you knew he was a head honcho, now would you? As long as he was only a client to you, and not a firms partner, you were free to express your ideas without fear of reprisal. Weve lost our share of clients who have crazy ideas. Its better to turn them away, rather than risk expensive lawsuits later over a building with an unstable, unsafe design. You handled yourself admirably."
Mr. Lemkins looked up, realizing he overstepped his bounds, by calling a senior partners criteria "crazy" and "unsafe". Mr. walker smiled. "I knew they were too unsafe, Lou. We both did. How would you have approached the challenge, Lou?
Would you have defied me, knowing full well that Im a partner? No, nor would anyone in L.A. Thats why Michael got the assignment. He didnt know me.
Whod risk the ire of a senior partner in the firm by presenting a totally different concept? The ploy worked. It no longer has a purpose. Im sorry we deceived you Michael. We wont do it again. Thats a promise." The hand touched Michaels leg again. This time it lingered for a few seconds longer than it had the first time.
"I dont want to seem ungrateful, but Im really not interested in relocating to the West Coast, Mr. Walker. I like Atlanta. If the assignment means I have to move, Ill go, but as a temporary arrangement, not something permanent."
Michael gestured to his superior. "Mr. Lemkins is a great boss. Ive learned a lot from him in the short time Ive worked under his guidance. Im sure theres plenty of opportunity for me to progress within the firm, here in Atlanta." He stared at Mr. Lemkins for a sign of support, but received none. If Mr. Walker wanted Michael transferred, Lemkins wouldnt interfere.
"No, no, no, Michael. I want you to stay here in Atlanta to finish the designs. Ill drop by on weekends to check on your progress. No rush. I want this house to be perfect. Take all the time you need. Lou will help, if you get into a bind. Out west, we specialize in commercial and industrial designs Theres no one Id trust there to guide you. I want to build my personal home, not a store, factory or high-rise office building. Why do you think I came to Lou for advice? Youll do it all here in Atlanta with his help."
His hand returned to Michaels leg for the third time. Michael had trouble keeping his composure. The fiery pain in his stomach became more evident.
The man was making overt contact with him in a public place. He was sure the waiter would see his hand, even if Mr. Lemkins would not. Fraught with fear of public derision, he excused himself. In the bathroom, he felt dizzy.
This handsome hunk of man was touching him as no man had ever done before. Michael was sure the man purposely toyed with his pant leg to let him know that he was aware of the nylon stockings under it. What worried Michael most were the mans intentions. Was he attracted to Michael, or merely curious enough to confirm that a grown man was wearing womens nylon stockings? Michael wasnt sure if he could continue to sit next to him without showing alarm. He washed his face with cold water and braced himself. He was sure the man could cost him his job, unless he continued to allow the man to surreptitiously fondle his leg.
When Michael arrived back at the luncheon nook, Lou Lemkins was gone. Alone, with a smile on his face, Mr. Walker stood up when Michael entered the alcove.
"Lou had to rush back to the office. You barely touched your lunch, Michael. Is it okay? You can order something else if the Friday catch of the day doesnt suit your taste. I seldom order fish at lunch. Its too risky. How about trying the prime rib? Mine wasnt outstanding, but Im used to Western beef."
"I guess Im not very hungry, thanks all the same, Mr. Walker. Besides, I should be getting back to the office. I have a lot of work to do."
"Hey, youre with a partner! I get to say when you need to return to the office."
The man continued to smile, and sat down. He bade Michael to do the same... "Look, Michael. For the foreseeable future, were going to be spending a lot of time together on this project. Lets reach an understanding, just between the two of us. In front of the firms staff, please continue to call me Mr. Walker. However, among my friends and the associates that I deal with regularity, I prefer to be more casual. I still consider my father as Mr. Walker. When were not within earshot of others from the firm, please call me by my nickname: Brick. Okay?"
"Okay, uh, Brick. How did you acquire that one, if you dont mind my asking."
"To make a long story longer, I broke my nose playing basketball in high school. The guy who nailed me wanted to humble me. Both my eyes were blackened for over a week, not from fighting, but from the elbow he purposely planted on my schnozzle, when I least expected it. I kept well fit by working in construction at the time, so I made mincemeat out of him, easily. The damned fool didnt know I had taken Karate lessons. Twisted the jerk into a pretzel.
Later, some clowns on a jobsite were razzing my swollen nose and black eyes. They said I looked as if a falling brick nailed me. The nickname stuck. They knew better than to suggest the other guy bested me. Ive been called Brick by my friends ever since. I like the tag, so I use it. It suits the business were in."
"In that case, I feel honored, uh Brick." This time the man didnt remove his roaming hand from Michaels leg. Instead, his fingers grasped Michaels thigh.
"Hmm. Do you always wear womens nylons to work, Michael?"
"O God! No! Im sorry. Please, please dont tell Mr. Lemkins. It was such a stupid thing to do. Ive never done it before. You see I ----"
"Im sure you have an interesting tale to tell, Michael, but, to be honest, Ill admit that I also like to feel the smooth texture and snug pull from womens nylons, so save it. Care to compare notes? I can get a room for the night. You interested? "
"You want me to go to motel with you? Why? Youre a great looking guy! Girls all must want to fall at your feet. You could take your pick of any available girl in the world. Why would you want to mess around with --? Oh, -- oh, I ---."
Michael was unsure of what to say next. If he assumed wrong and Mr. Walker: uh --"Brick" was only a fetishist, he could lose his job in a heartbeat. One wrong word, and the man could reach across and punch out his lights. Michael wisely chose not to say another word. He sat silently, not knowing what would happen next. He felt dizzy again, expecting the worst to happen.
The handsome man lowered his voice to just above a whisper. "Im glad to hear that you think Im handsome, Michael. Youre kinda cute, yourself. I think we both know exactly why I wanted Lou Lemkins to get scarce. You can relax. Your boss has no idea why I really asked him to leave. Lets keep it that way. Shall we?"
Michael responded in a whisper, fearful of the waiter walking in unexpected and catching the engineer toying with Michaels thigh. "Without a question. Hed have to fire me on the spot if he found out Im gay." Michael cringed at the admission. "The companys old fashioned about employee conduct, as Im sure you know. How did you know that Im wearing nylon stockings? I could never even make a wild guess just by looking if someone else was."
"Experience, Michael. When you walk, your nylons rustle a bit. Most men never notice such things, but I did, because Ive also worn nylons myself on occasion. Dockers are made of a coarser than average material. If you wear nylons in the future, wear smoother slacks. When you sat down at your drafting table in your office to get the last set of sketches from inside of the drawer, you hiked up your pant legs, exposing the nylons above your socks. In the future, you should wear longer socks. Your carelessness and your lack of experience confirmed my initial suspicions. I can tell you arent used to wearing them, --yet."
"I wont ever be. Its the first time I did it. Wearing them to work in the first place was very stupid of me. Ill never do it again. I swear!"
"Why not? Tell me why. Ive already admitted that I like to wear them, too. In my position, I dont get an opportunity to share my fetish with anyone, Michael. Now that I discovered your secret, Id hate to see you stop simply because I caught you. Whats to stop you? Ill never expose you. What made you do it today?"
"I reacted to a dare made by my landlady to make use of some things left behind by another tenant who recently moved out and abandoned them. No, thats not entirely true, really, it started with a very strange dream I had. I think that you might be involved, too, if you dont mind my mentioning that."
"Me involved? In what way? It sounds interesting." Michael detected a note of sarcasm and doubt in the mans voice and countenance.
"You probably wont believe this, but I dreamt that I was abducted by some form of aliens who suggested I should accept being gay and try to be more appealing to some new man that Im supposed to meet, instead of my looking for a wife "
"Aliens, huh? Ill bet the strange dream has something to do with you needing to wear clothes only a girl would normally wear, so that a new "someone", someone who youd least expect would take notice and confront you about it, like I did."
"Yes, well, I mean, no, not exactly. A lovely girl appeared in my dream telling me she was a representation of how I might look if I dressed like a girl. She promised me that I would soon meet someone new. That part happened. I just met you.
I might as well say that she said that both of us would immediately know that we are destined to become soul mates. I disregard it being unlikely, because I never dressed up like a girl before, nor did I ever intend to, so meeting someone whod be interested was not likely to occur. She specifically said the man Id meet was seeking another man who could dress as a girl for him, full-time. I dont suppose that would be you. Would it? Ah, its all nonsense! Im only revealing what the girl in my dream said. Dont get me wrong.
Wearing nylon stockings under my pants today hardly constitutes my dressing up as a girl, so she couldnt have been referring to you. I suppose I might still meet someone else new, today. So far, everything else she predicted, happened."
Its uncanny. Right after my dream, my landlady asked if I knew someone who might appreciate having some practically new clothing that was left behind by her other tenant, a young woman, and if Id help her: Mrs. Grady, my landlady, pack up the girls discarded clothes into boxes. None of my landladys friends wear the girls sizes. She was hoping someone she knew could use them. It was one hell of a coincidence, so I took it as part of the plans the Aliens have in store for me.
While we folded and packed up the stuff, my landlady said she overheard me in my room telling someone over my cell phone, something personal, which wasnt what had happened, at all. I had to explain part of my odd dream to my landlady. One thing led to another, and my landlady dared me to wear something from the girls stuff. This morning, she set out a few things for me. Might as well tell you that I also agreed to let her help me dress me up as a girl tonight.
She was fretting over sending expensive things off to end up in some thrift shop. Once shed see the clothes didnt fit me, shed realize she had no choice. I saw no harm in proving to her that Ill look silly. So help me, its the truth. I have to admit, I was curious to find out how the damn nylons would feel like this morning. Otherwise, I would never have put them on to begin with. I did it all primarily to please the old girl. Shes a old widow, and told me her long story about how she wasted the best years of her life, by living alone."
"I cant believe youre telling me all this about your dream to explain you wearing the nylons, Michael. Interesting. Do you recall being taken off to a distant place and instructed to behave like a girl for the man that youd soon meet?"
"Yes! Then, it is you that the girl in my dream spoke of! How else would you know about that part? I didnt mention that, did I? Did they abduct you, too?"
"No, but your dream makes better sense if there was a journey with a purpose. Sometimes, we dream about things we wish could be true. You probably heard your sweet old landlady mention the girls leaving her things behind in passing, when you werent paying close attention. That would account for you not realizing it until after she asked you for your help, after having that weird dream of yours. You may not have been consciously aware of it, but subconsciously, maybe your mind was aware of a complete wardrobe that could be yours for the asking.
Perhaps you feel youd do better if youd relocate, too. Care to test my theory?"
"Naw, it sounds far fetched, Mr. uh, Brick."
"Besides, Ill bet youd look very nice wearing an evening dress to dinner."
"Me? Go out in public wearing in a dress? Sorry, Mr. Walker! No way! Not for Mrs. Grady, nor for you. Not after what just happened here. I feel like a fool about wearing the nylons. How would I look in public wearing a dress? Id embarrass the firm and myself. Do you think Im that reckless? What if someone from the office should see me wearing a dress? Id be mortified!"
"Not in public, Michael, just for me. Suppose that I am the person that girl in your dream mentioned. If I am, assume she was sure you would wear a dress in front of me, sooner or later. If I am not the person, what difference will it make? Youll thrill your sweet landlady, and satisfy my growing curiosity. You wont be able to fully discount your strange dream unless you try it. Wouldnt you prefer to put the entire issue to rest? I give you my word that I will not poke fun at you in any way."
"I, -- I --, I --. Why does everything have to happen to me? I was perfectly happy believing Id find a nice girl of my own someday, not become one!
"Better keep your voice down. No one suggested you become anything, Michael. This is about your dream, not mine. The only way that you are going to resolve your doubt is to play the scene out. If the dream was nothing more than a wild dream, well know as soon as I see you wearing a dress. If there is something more to it, which I sincerely doubt, well find that out, too. Wont we?"
"I dont think you fit in. The girl in my dream told me the man I was to meet would have a vision of a feminine version of me already in mind. When he first sees me wearing a dress, supposedly we both immediately will know that we were meant for each other. Are you prepared to take a gamble like that? What if you really are the one she referred to? I didnt particularly want to admit to being gay. If I dont know if I can accept the consequences how can you?"
"I already told you that I think you are a cute guy. Youre the one assuming that the dream was real, Michael, not me. My options are wide open. Let me put your mind at ease. I am equally drawn toward men and women. Im bisexual.
Lets assume, just for a moment that, after a while, I could come to like you a lot. I dont get involved very often, not unless I find a person is attractive, intelligent, shares my interests with equal fervor, and meets some other expectations that I dont think are important to divulge to you right now. I dont think my seeing you in a dress will automatically prompt me to fall head over heels in love with you, because some girl told you so in a dream. Nor do I believe you will magically become smitten with me. Things like that dont happen in the real world.
As a matter of fact, how you like to dress might make very little difference to me. We just met. I live on the Coast. You expressed your desire to remain in Atlanta. I hardly think we could manage a meaningful relationship with over two thousand miles between us. So dont get the idea that my seeing you in a dress means Im your mystery man. Personality has more meaning to me than mere appearances
Lets return to the office. Do you have any firm plans for this evening? Id like you to join me for dinner and discuss the building project more later this evening."
"I promised Mrs. Grady that Id well, you know. Shes expecting me."
"In that case, take the rest of the afternoon off and get an early start on trying on those clothes. Ill tell Lou that the fish you ate didnt agree with you and that I plan to meet with you later this evening, if you feel up to it by then. There are a few matters about your design that I want to discuss with him first, anyway.
All sketches done in my branch get cross-examined; so dont get your dander up if I discuss things with him before we proceed. We wont change a thing without consulting you first. Its still your design. If the design strikes up any interest and takes hold out West, youll get recognition for it and commissions for its use.
Now, if you give me directions on how to find your place, Ill come over to pick you up this evening for dinner. Ill need an hours notice. Wear whatever you feel would be appropriate and comfortable for a quiet dinner. Surprise me."
"What if I decide to wear a pair of mens pants and a polo shirt? I still havent decided if I will follow through on my promise to Mrs. Grady. What if she changed her mind? She said she wanted to fix my hair and use some makeup. Theres no way am I leaving the house in makeup! Maybe we should forget the whole thing."
"I already suggested you wear whatever you feel will be appropriate. I dont care what you choose to wear. I merely suggested you get dressed up as a girl to resolve the unanswered questions that must fill your mind about your strange dream. Do you honestly think my seeing you in girls clothes will make that big a difference to me? I dont think so."
"Yes. Im afraid to think what it might mean. I hate to admit it, but I think it will."
"Well, Im not easily impressed, so youd better be prepared to change into male clothes, once Ive seen how youll look tonight. Im not into dating drag queens.
I wont be willing to be seen out in public with you wearing a dress unless you are totally believable as a girl. Regardless of how you dress, Id like to get started on the house plans this evening, after dinner. I have too many urgent responsibilities to address out West this coming week. Im pleased with your design concept. Be prepared to put the finishing touches on it this evening. I cant afford to delay my flight beyond Sunday, and want to be sure we resolve as much as possible.
In fact, I think Ill reserve a room at a hotel and exchange my red-eye reservation for an early flight on Sunday. If you dont mind working on the houses design with me all day tomorrow as well as later this evening, Im anxious to see how the underside of deck would look from the base of the slope with the structural timber elements added. Im due back office on the West Coast early on Monday. Ill tell Lou Lemkins not to expect you back in office on Monday. How about my tempting you with a hefty bonus for your putting in additional time tomorrow?"
Michael didnt want to argue with a partner of the firm. This project could improve his chances for advancement. If the guy took a liking to him, doors would open to improve his status swiftly. Buttering him up by catering to this sudden whim to test the identity of the "mystery man" of the weird dream was a stroke of luck. He decided not to let it go by and interfere with his selecting Michael to work on the home construction project. Another chance like this would be hard to come by.
"Ill do my best to look authentic tonight. Ive never tried before, so please dont expect miracles. I know it sounds silly to make such a fuss over a dream, but, to me, it was a very compelling vision, perhaps a warning not to be ignored. This may resolve my inner doubts about being gay once and for all. I really appreciate your wanting to debunk the dream. Once I get the cockeyed notion out of my system, there wont be any lingering doubts to interfere with planning a future."
"Thats precisely why Ill help out. I want your mind to be on your work and not be preoccupied with a fantasy. We could miss some important stress calculation that could spell big trouble later on, once construction begins. Its easier to rectify a design problem on paper than it is once its in concrete, steel and wood."
"I see your point." Michael felt a wee twinge of regret. If a man were to be in his future, the one he was sitting with would be the kind of man he would hope for.
Yet, the man seemed more interested in the design, than in Michael. Perhaps he was only toying with Michael, using willingness to see Michael dressed to get him to devote more free time and effort to the project. Hed soon find out.
To be continued.
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