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The following FICTION contains ADULT material that is not suitable for minors and should not be read by those who are under eighteen years of age or not yet legally an adult under the laws governing the reader. It also should not be read by those who find graphic depictions of sexual encounters between members of the same or opposite sex offensive.
Authors note: The following story is a sequel of sorts to one that I posted to Crystals Storysite earlier: THE NEXT ROUND IS ON ME. This story may be read independently, but here, the same set of circumstance is told from the perspective of a different character, than the principal character in the previous effort, and then proceeds a bit further.
I Think I Need A Drinkby: Virginia Kane
What a shock! Hearing the unique, squeaky voice of Lou Banner again on the phone, after not hearing from him for maybe fifteen years, hit me like a bolt out of the blue. He was one of the very best employees that had ever worked for me. I had to learn what the guy had been up to after all that time since wed last broken off contact.
I arranged to see him at the office at the end of the workday, so we could go off somewhere to renew a valued friendship that lasted over ten years. That guy had all the luck. His wife was a gorgeous, powerful woman. He was a timid soul. She was perfect for him. I got to know a great deal about their relationship when he was working for me, as he confided in me a lot. I dont know why, as my relationships with women werent very successful. I guess he felt comfortable discussing his home life with an older man.
We even got together occasionally for a year or two after he quit his job, as Lou still sought my advice about certain things, personal things. He had the world by the balls and didnt know it. I wish his wife had an older sister for me. I dont know what Id give for the chance to be coddled by such a fantastic woman. It was his ambitious, successful wife who insisted Lou quit his clerical job so she could work full time as a business consultant.
Now, he was asking for his old job back. Something between them must have gone seriously wrong. He said they were still married, but she was living and working in Paris, France. I was curious to find out what was up.
I got an earful. She left him, and was selling their house from under him. He wanted to keep it, but needed a job to be able to afford buying her out.
His woeful story about his being potentially left out in the cold was an opportune earful. I happened to be in the market for precisely the kind of place he owned with his wife. He made the place sound too good to be true. To make a long story short, I talked Lou into forming a real estate partnership with me. As equal partners, we bought his house with a blind bid from my attorney. His wifes employer sold it for far below market value to get rid of it. Seems they were eager to have her break all ties with Lou, and were willing to pay them the full market value for the house.
He ended up with a neat bundle of cash to spare, and still retained his half of the house. I did include one small condition on our new partnership. Lou had to take care of the maintaining the place. Im not known for being tidy. Having Lou handle the household chores was a shrewd move on my part. He loved to keep house. I hated that kind of nonsense.
What Lou never figured on was that I wasnt about to give him his old job back. His wife was sending him a hefty monthly stipend. With it, hed have plenty of money for his personal needs. If he went back to work, Im sure his wife would cut off his monthly check. No sense cluttering his life with a needless job to detract his attention from taking care of the house for me. It was too big a place to be cared for on a part-time basis.
Besides, I agreed to the deal so that hed be able to keep the same house his three girls grew up in. His driving need was to preserve the homestead that his girls associated with their own developing years. Their friends, the cherished memories of youth, the comfort of familiar surroundings would all remain intact, so theyd continue to consider this their home, as well.
What did I care? I got what I hoped for out of the deal. My ex-wife turned blue when she found out I was living in a virtual palace. She found out the hard way that she settled our divorce for far less than she had coming to be free of me. Serves her right! Our marriage was a one-sided street. She only married me to get at my assets, whereas, I married her because I felt I loved her and I believed she loved me, not my money.
By the time I found out the grim reality, it was too late to undo, and it cost me plenty to settle up with the cheating bitch. My lawyers were more than conscientious. They proved to me that she was making fun of me behind my back, all during our two-year marriage. I was footing the motel bills for her many dalliances with other men. Fortunately, they discreetly divulged the information to her lawyers, as well. She settled quickly for the offer my lawyers presented, hoping to keep the sordid details out of the courtroom.
After our divorce, she continued "entertaining" her lovers, using the money I paid her to stay out of my life, to set up a nice little business for herself as a professional courtier. Thats a polite way of describing her business endeavor. Discovering the truth was my initial experience with engaging the investigators, following on the advice of my attorneys, to unearth any gruesome facts that could provide me leverage for my advantage.
In the process of acquiring half of Lous place, I again followed the advice of my lawyers. The network of "private eyes" found out that Lous wife was living with a transsexual in Paris. They also discovered that Lou was often dressed strangely around the house, or at least, he wore some effeminate clothes on occasion when he attended to grocery shopping or other tasks that took him out in public. For the most part, Lou was a quiet homebody.
I didnt care. I had a business to run. Lou kept up his part of the bargain. What the guy wore while he dusted and vacuumed the place was his own business. He always was a bit of a frump. He openly admitted being a timid househusband to me, and appreciated his wife being a domineering woman. If they got their jollies by "switch hitting" for each other, it wasnt any business of mine. Live and let live.
Im a fairly normal male. That is my choice. Even if the women in my life took advantage of me, I had no desire to seek solace by my spilling my guts to another man. The successful running of a business was my true mistress. I worked and schemed my way to the top over years to finally secure a significant share of ownership in the cold storage warehouse that consumed my passion and my time. At fifty, I was satisfied with my life.
Sure, I envied Lou, a little. He had kids. I didnt. That was the price I had to be willing to pay in order to become successful. I certainly wouldnt have done what he had to do in order to have a family. He let his wife take full charge of his life. I often compared him to myself, back when he would ask for my advice when he worked for me. What I suggested to him was what I believed was right for him, not what I thought would be right for me. I tried to put his interests first, not mine. Id have put his wife in her place, if she were my wife. Instead, I bit my lip and did what a friend should do. I told Lou what I thought was best for him.
Not long after we started sharing the house, I got this panicky phone call from one of his daughters. She sounded frantic. She didnt know where her dad was. She knew he approached me for a job and asked me for the address that he gave to me on his job application. The dope didnt tell the wife or kids anything. I tried to find out why, but he was being evasive. He was more interested in going back to work. Somehow, I had to break the news to him that he wasnt going to get his old job back and get him to advise his family of his whereabouts.
I couldnt hire Lou back. He was too "swishy" to be around the plant. If the guys found out we shared a house together, they might think the two of us had something weird going. They knew I was still licking my wounds from my bitter divorce. Id get a lot of razzing if they thought I was living with a queer, and it wasnt true. Lou had a wife and kids. It wouldnt be fair to Lou or me, if the guys at work started to make funny cracks behind our backs.
Thats the last thing I needed. To work for me, Lou had to act more like he did when he worked for me before. As I sat across a table from him at the restaurant, the waiter calmly called him "maam" as he responded to Lous request for a cleaner fork. Was I blind? Did Lou look like a woman? When the waiter left, I excused myself and went to the john. On my way back, I stopped at the bar and refreshed my drink. I needed it. I had to admit. Lou did sort of look like a plain Jane. He crossed his legs just like a woman did and constantly fidgeted with his hair. Jeez!
I decided to ask the bartender what he thought of my dinner companion. The guy knew me well. I was a "regular". He might lie, but it was worth the gamble. I needed an indifferent, objective opinion.
"Youve done better, Joe. Shes not a looker, but has a wholesome quality.
Some women have a natural beauty thats better left understated. I hope you do better with this one than you did with that bloodsucker you married. She still comes around, since you divorced her. She has a different guy with her every time she comes in. If you ask me, the lookers are nothing but trouble. My wife is a lot like this one, and shes all mine. Good luck."
I wolfed down my drink and got another refill. I had to think this out. If the bartender and the waiter thought Lou was a woman, I was blind. How was it I didnt see the obvious? Was my ignorance due to our past familiarity or did the dim lighting in the restaurant help make Lous feminine gestures more prevalent to others than his male features that I recognized seem?
After a third refill, I went back to the table and concocted a story about my needing to hire a woman due to regulations that were imposed because we supplied meat to several governmental institutions. He bought my line of bull. I had to feel Lou out, to learn if he resented being thought of as a woman in public. He was shocked when I suggested he could "fake it". I even suggested he could get some help to be more convincing in the role.
He got pissed and told me I was insane.
He gave me a real hard time for making the stupid suggestion all because he once confided in me about his wifes insistence on his role-playing. We argued over his needing a job, any job for the rest of the damn evening. The subject of his feminine appearance never came up again. I let it ride.
I suddenly realized that Lou was looking at me doe eyed. "Aw, for Petes sake, Lou! Stop looking at me that way! I swear that the idea has nothing to do with anything that you told me about what your wife wanted you to do for her, years ago." The look on his face said he didnt believe that lie.
"What would make it worth your while, Lou? How much would it take for you to give it a shot for say two weeks, or a month, not a minute more?"
It worked! I got him to open up! He was still bitter, but he divulged more to me about how he spent the past fifteen years, after he quit working for me than I expected. We talked quietly for another hour. Yet, we were getting nowhere. I wasnt even sure of where I wanted the discussion to go. All I accomplished was to get Lou more aggravated. I had to let him know why I knew that he dabbled in wearing womens clothes, and find out why his wife left him, leastwise more than he had admitted to me so far.
I told him about hiring investigators before investing in the house. I also told him that I was concerned about him doing something stupid, once he knew that I knew more about why his wife left him behind. That made him all the madder. He refused to talk to me about it any longer. We didnt say a word to one another during the short ride home. He immediately went upstairs while I put the car away in the garage. He locked his bedroom door, and I felt like a damn fool for being so callous toward a good friend.
In the morning, Lou and I barely talked. I left the investigators reports out so he could find them. He didnt answer the phone all day, even though I tried to call several times. He had me worried. I called a psychologist that the company used to assist an employee that had decided to seek gender reassignment in the past. I spoke to her for over an hour. We made plans.
I left the plant right after talking to the psychologist. Lou and I started to bicker as soon as I got into the house. I explained that his daughter had contacted me in her attempt to locate him. He broke down and admitted he was reluctant to talk to anyone about being abandoned by his wife.
He was obviously still severely depressed over it. I was glad that I was able to convince the psychologist to come over right away. He gave me some shit about not wanting to see anyone, but finally agreed to go to my doctor in the morning. I breathed a sigh of relief. He wouldnt resist seeing one, if a doctor suddenly appeared. She did. They talked.
After an initial interview, he got a shot, and the doctor suggested in private that I contact his wife and daughters immediately and have them return home as soon as possible. When I called them, I was pleasantly surprised to discover they were already poised, ready to do whatever I suggested. I told them the doctor felt Lou needed to reunite with the people in his life that were most important to him. They agreed and were on their way.
Lou spent a long time that evening with Dr. Parsons alone. She knew her business. Later, the doctor had told me what she thought I should know, after Lou went to sleep. I advised her about his familys response to her request. She felt they would be the best medicine for Lou at the moment.
I didnt feel obliged to handle the assignment, but Dr. Parsons insisted that I be present with her when Lou first woke up. I felt his family should be there, not me. She disagreed. When his whole life fell apart, I was the one he reached out to for help. She felt it was important to maintain that bond, for the moment. I had conveniently solved his initial dilemma regarding the keeping of his house by my getting involved. If I withdrew too soon, she thought he might feel as if he was being abandoned, once again.
I sighed and nodded. What did I get myself into, this time? Id bend over backward for the guy, but I wasnt willing to be his nursemaid. Buying the house with him was a smart economic and domestic move on my part. I got a free housekeeper out of the bargain, but I didnt relish being his father image, too. I should have bought the place outright.
When his daughters arrived that evening, I showed them that we kept their rooms intact, as that was Lous primary motivation for keeping the house. I tried to make them feel as Lou had wished, that this still was their home.
I agreed to do whatever was best for Lou. When he got up, Dr. Parsons gave him a fine lecture about dealing with his problems. I got an education in the inner workings of the mind as well. As she spoke, I correlated many things she said to the remnants of my own misguided youth. Many of her references to the attitudes he developed over time were meaningful to me, even if my own history contained no desires to ever dress up like a girl.
Lou appeared different. His complexion had more color to it. Since he first arrived in my office, over a month before, his face was sallow and his eyes seemed to lack something. Now, he seemed cheerful. His face beamed. Anyone could see that this woman doctor was a good influence on him.
She purposely called him "Louise" in my presence. He didnt resent it, but smiled when she said it. The comment made my skin crawl, but I did my best to conceal that from Lou. I didnt want to interfere with the tactics she was using when I wasnt present to gain his confidence in her.
Dr. Parsons placed some of the blame on his wifes shoulders. I couldnt see where that would do any good. Yet, she carefully let Lou know that she understood how Lou felt toward his wife. He blamed his wife, as well.
Dr. Parsons wanted Lou to sit down with his wife to openly address how he felt about her leaving him behind. Her words were deliberate and clear. As a result, she confided, Lou would learn how to survive without his wife. She convinced Lou that he would be able to leave his former life with his dependency on his wife behind him, if necessary, to set out on a path to seek his own fulfillment, whatever that might be.
She sent me out to summon Lous wife and daughters. I dont know what went on when they went into Lous bedroom together, but they emerged hours later in a cheerful mood. His wife came up to me and kissed me on the cheek. We had known each other for twenty-five years. That was the first time she ever showed any sign of affection toward me. I hated her guts for what she was doing to Lou, but tried not to show her how I felt.
After a week, Lous bossy wife had to return to her precious job in France. Good riddance to her, I thought. She was the only one who didnt stay at the house, anyway. She was an interloper, as far as I was concerned. She spent the whole week sleeping at a nearby motel, and came by to see Lou only in the daytime, when I was busy at the plant. If she ever went to bed with Lou, it wasnt when I was around. They were cordial, as far as I could tell, but seemed to have come to some sort of a mutual understanding. She kissed him goodbye at the door the way a man kisses his wife before leaving town, but in reverse roles. It was as if they loved one another, but both knew that their intimacy was superficial.
Thankfully, Lou didnt feel bad when she announced her departure plans. He wasnt thrilled over her leaving again, but showed her that he knew he wasnt the man in her life anymore. The way he said goodbye to her, sounded as if he meant more than he was willing to admit to her, out loud.
As she walked slowly toward the waiting cab, it appeared that she still wanted to cling to Lou somehow too, but she knew it was better for both of them if she went her separate way, before she changed her mind. I was happy to see her go. To me, she was as bad for Lou as my ex-wife was for me. The sooner he was rid of her, the better off hed be.
His three girls returned to school, but came home frequently on weekends. His face lit up as soon as they walked through the door, giving him a quick peck on the cheek. I couldnt avoid seeing their boisterous arrivals. Hey, it was my house, too. Besides, it was good to see Lou smile as they came prancing in with regularity. I soon became "Uncle Joe" to them. They were good girls, good for Lou. I felt proud when they started calling me uncle.
Lou avoided me more and more. I knew he was dressing up like a woman when I wasnt there. I could care less, as long as he didnt flaunt it in front of me. Whenever Id get home, he was busy in the kitchen, preparing food. Id plop in front of the tube, until he announced that dinner was ready.
Lou and I hadnt been out to dinner together since the blow-up. Lou was late getting up in the mornings, too. I missed sharing breakfast with him, but he was still reluctant to have me see the way he looked in the early mornings, so he stayed in his bedroom until after Id left for the plant. A plate of food, ready for the microwave awaited me, but it wasnt the same, eating alone. Id feel better if I new what his plans for the day were.
He was seeing Dr. Parsons at her office on a regular basis. He wouldnt tell me, so I had to call her to say I was willing to pay for the cost of her consultations. She assured me his wifes insurance covered the expense.
I was becoming less of an influence over Lous recovery. That was good. Things like that were best left to professionals. I didnt need a guilt trip to occupy my mind. I did what I thought was right. Giving him a job was still one thing I wanted to avoid. When I talked to Dr. Parsons, I asked if he still was expecting me to rehire him. She didnt say, but countered by asking me several questions about why I was reluctant to accept Lous changes.
How did she know? What was I supposed to say to her? All I wanted to do was make the best of a worsening situation. If I had known he was going to start dressing up like a woman, Id have never gotten involved. I let her know where I stood. The less I knew about it, the better Id like it!
"Then, why did you call me, Joe? Arent you living with him? Dont you see him every day? I only see Lou once a week, for an hour. Surely, you have more opportunities to talk about it with him than I do. Open up, Joe! Hes a friend. He wont bite! Hes a timid person. Youve been avoiding him as if he has the plague. If you have questions, I suggest you ask him, yourself."
"I know that hell ask me for his old job back, again, the first chance he can get. I cant give it to him. He looks like a woman more every day. If the employees at the plant find out we live in the same house, theyll all think we have something going. Im not going to open that can of worms. I dont need the aggravation. Do me a favor. Get him off this womans clothing kick as soon as you can. Do that for me, and Ill be happy to give the job matter further consideration. Until then, I dont want him near the plant."
"Its about time for you to be totally honest with Lou, Joe. Hes not that aggressive. He expects you to speak up. I cant tell him that you have no intention of hiring him back. Finding out from me would appear as a stab in the back by you. Do you want him to regress? You fancy yourself to be a strong willed man. Prove it. Tell Lou the truth. Let him decide which is more important to him: dressing up or getting the job back. Keep in mind that hell still be viewed as effeminate, even if he never puts on another article of feminine attire. See what happens when you tell him honestly how you feel. Trust me. Youll feel better."
"Ill think about it." Shit! After hanging up, my first thought was to move out of the house. I only stayed to make sure Lou was beyond hurting himself. Hell, I could never forgive myself if the guy did something stupid because I decided to bow out. I suddenly wished my greed and lust for vengeance on my ex-wife hadnt been such an influence on my hasty decision to buy the place in partnership with Lou.
Still, Lou was easy enough to get along with. Hell, Id have to let him know that I cant take a chance on hiring him, sooner or later. Might as well face the music, now. I picked up the phone.
"Lou. Its me, Joe. Dont cook anything for supper tonight. Lets us go out to dinner. Dress up, uh, -- conservatively. Ill pick you up at six. I want to talk about where this thing is going. Its been a month and I dont want you to continue hiding from me. I know how youve been dressing up. I dont like the idea, but it -- its not a good idea for you to constantly dodge me. Wear whatever you think is right. Well find out if this thing can continue." I quickly hung up the phone without giving him or me a chance to back out.
It was after three in the afternoon. I left the office early and stopped at a local bar to brace myself for what was about to happen when I got home.
Lou met me at the door when I got home. It was a shock. He looked good, too damned good. If I didnt know better, Id swear he was a woman. That would only make this harder. I told him he could come back to work if he looked good enough to fake it. Now I had to tell him that I couldnt afford to face a scandal at the plant. Theres no way he could work for me.
"Before you say anything, Joe. I want you to know that I landed a new job. Ill be a clerk in an office for a friend of Dr. Parsons. Itll only be part-time, so I dont think it will detract from my household duties. I dont think Im ready to handle a full-time job, anyway. Now, where did you plan on taking me to celebrate?"
"Wait a minute! Youve been planning to go to work as a woman? Whos brilliant idea was that?"
"Yours, Joe. Dont you remember? You suggested it the night we had the big fight, the last time we went out to dinner together."
"That was only to get you to stop acting like a fag, Lou. It wasnt a serious suggestion. You were too swishy as it was. I thought that youd give up on wanting your old job back if you had to look like a real woman to get it. It seems I underestimated your veracity. You look a lot better in a dress than you did in those silly pants with stirrups."
"You threw down the gauntlet, Joe. Whats the matter? Surprised with the results? You wanted to know what it would take for me to give it a try it for two weeks or a month, not a second more. Remember?"
"I I I "
"Stop trying to sound like a Spanish singer and help me with my jacket. Youll have act like a gentleman with me from now on. You expected me to act like a lady, didnt you?"
"Lou, this has gone far enough. That was a stupid challenge. Ill be honest. I couldnt hire you. I shouldnt have tried to trick you into acting more like a guy. The job wasnt available. Now take that stuff off and put some regular clothes on. This isnt funny. You proved your point. You can imitate being a woman, but youre not going anyplace with me. I dont want to have to look at you like this. Its too --- too, "
"Suggestive? Is that it, Joe? Well, I have a surprise for you. I enjoy looking attractive. If you dont take me out, Im going out by myself. I had my hair done. Can you tell? When the hairdresser turned me around to look at the mirror, my juices started to flow. Im not wasting it on a night in front of the tube in my bedroom.
Whatll it be? Should I call for a cab, or are you willing to drive. You need to eat dinner out. Theres nothing waiting for you on the kitchen table. You can be a gracious gentleman and stick to your word, or fend for yourself."
"Stick to what word?"
"You called me at Three Oclock and asked me for a date. I accepted."
"A date? I called to tell you I knew you were ducking me and dressing up when I wasnt around. I figured it was time I told you the truth about the job not being available and wanted to take you out on neutral ground, so wed be able to discuss it civilly. I figured you couldnt pass for a woman and would give up the idea, and wear mens clothes. I didnt expect you to look so damn good in a dress and high heels."
"Well, thank you, I think. If I look so damn good to you, you should have no problem with being seen with me. Think of what your ex-wife would say if she saw me draped across your arm. Shed have a royal fit!"
"Sure! Shell have a fit of laughter when she finds out youre a guy!"
"All the better! Think of it! Shell think you prefer to be seen in public with a freak like me, rather than stay married to a bitch like her. MY wife will eat her heart out too, once she receives pictures of us together, having a good time. We can send your ex-wife pictures of us out together, too.
Oh, Joe! Please. Take me out. I need reassurance that I can pass. With you at my side, to protect me from harm, I wont run and hide if someone should happen to detect my deception. I plan to work as a woman. If you can give me confidence to face the outside world, I know I can get away with it. This is a big step for me. I need your help. Puhleeeze?"
I gave in. What choices did I have? Lou would only continue to dress up behind my back and eventually someone would put two and two together. If some bigot caught on and he exposed Lou, Id probably have to pick up all the pieces. I made a mental note to call Dr. Parsons. If I was going to continue being involved in this charade, I wanted professional advice on how to handle the issue. I knew nothing about quelling a confrontation.
No one guessed the truth at the restaurant. Lou was a perfect lady in public all evening. After a while, I got into the spirit. We even danced. If we didnt, people might wonder why. Lou was a good dancer. He clung to me, like Id like a woman to do while dancing. If I didnt know better, Id have been more aggressive. Appreciative stares by men and women as well, erased the fears of discovery that clouded my mind as we approached the dance floor for the first time, before dinner was served.
Throughout dinner, my eyes were drawn to his demure bosom. I planned to ask Lou how he managed to have cleavage when we returned home. That crease between the mounds on his chest was genuine. I needed to shake my head a few times to keep his image from exciting me. Home. Bringing a woman home was something I had not considered. What would the neighbors think if they saw the two of us arrive home from a night out on the town together? Surely, theyd recognize Lou.
I decided to prolong the return home. After all, if our neighbors were in bed when we got back, they were less likely to see us arrive. As the evening progressed, we danced to all the slower tunes. Lou clung to me. His warm body was as scintillating as a womans. Smiles on the faces of other men dancing with their dates hanging on to them conveyed a strange message. These same guys that saw me drinking at the bar, many times late into the night without a partner to take to the dance floor for years were rooting for me. They thought Id finally gotten lucky.
Little did they know my date was not what they assumed she, uh, he was. To keep our secret intact, I made the moves Id have made with a girl that I was interested in. My hand on Lous back traced tiny patterns that made it appear I was caressing Lou. He sighed when I did it, and snuggled up closer in my arms. Hell, dancing with Lou was no different from dancing with every girl I ever hoped to bed after treating her lavishly. I closed my eyes and forgot about who was dancing with me, enjoying the tenderness of an intimate embrace. With eyes closed, I nuzzled Lous ear. The move didnt go undetected. Lou gripped my hand in response and sighed. What the hell did I go and do that for?
When the dance ended, Lou took my face in his hands and kissed my lips. It wasnt a very long kiss, just a peck. My stomach lurched. "Dont try to do that again," I whispered. Lou nodded. If I balked, the crowd might wonder why I wasnt going with the flow.
We walked off the dance floor and left for home. We didnt talk on the way. Hell, I had completely forgotten why I suggested an evening out in the first place. Once we were safely inside of the house, I asked Lou to sit down in the den. We had to talk.
"Why did you try to kiss me while we were dancing?"
"I dont know, Joe. I got carried away. Im sorry. It seemed to be the right thing for me to do at the time. Your hand was on my back, making those little circles between my bare shoulder blades. It felt good to me, to think you were having a good time with me.
I wanted to show you that I thought it was nice of you to treat me like a real lady. I guess a real lady would have done the same thing. I recall a few that kissed me for treating them to an evening of dining and dancing."
"Well, for a couple of minutes, you were a real lady to me. People noticed us. I did what Id have done with a real date. I guess you did, too under the circumstances. Just dont make a habit of it.
You looked too good for me to remain aloof while we were dancing. I was afraid it might have drawn more attention to us if I tried to keep you at arms length. I figured Id keep up the image of a normal happy couple having a good time. If we ever do it again, Ill have to do the same thing. Id appreciate it if you didnt get carried away again. Were you offended by my caressing your back?"
"Not at all. It was a new experience. You were gentle. My wife was always rough with me when she made me act like "
"Im not your damned wife, Lou. I may be fifty years old, but Im still a man. Dancing close with someone that looks as good as you does things to any guy. I have to admit. You did get me percolating, Lou. Out on the dance floor, there were a few moments I wanted to forget that you arent properly equipped to satisfy me. It isnt fair of you get me all riled up, without any recourse, just so you can get used to being seen as a woman in public.
This charade is going to be harder to keep in perspective than I thought it would be. If you expect me to take you out again and want me to treat you like a woman again in public, so you can get used to how people react to you when you dress this way, were going to have to agree on some limits. Wed better establish them clearly beforehand."
"What do you mean by limits, Joe?"
"I dont mind helping you get used to whatever roles Dr. Parsons thinks you should explore in order to live comfortably. I know you had it rough, playing the obedient counterpart to your aggressive wife for years. Come to think of it, even your daughters talk to you as if you were their mother, instead of their father when they visit us on weekends. Is that something new, or did they always treat you that way?"
"I dont know. How do most other girls talk to their fathers, Joe?"
"Thats the point. I dont know, either. Maybe other girls talk to their fathers in the same way yours talk to me. Your oldest girl asked for my permission to use my car to run some errands. She actually sweet-talked me. Is that how girls normally talk to their fathers? It was actually nice. I liked it."
"I dont know, Joe. My girls always confided in me. I raised them, so they seldom asked their mother about things, especially the facts of life. Being the hip they clung to while growing up, I was the natural authority the girls went to for advice. Perhaps the mannerisms they use follow the roles we fulfilled in the household. I wouldnt have had it any other way. Their mom was a terrible confidant. She was always too busy with her lousy career.
They only went to their mother when they were sure I couldnt solve their problems; like choosing a college or a curriculum; things of that nature. In our house, I handled the day-to-day details. My wife handled the crises."
"You were content with that arrangement?"
"Sure! Whats wrong with it?"
"Its unnatural, Lou. You were a wuss. Most men leave the day-to-day to the wives and handle the crises. Men cant be bothered with the mundane prattle. Thats what women are for."
"You saw that etched in stone somewhere?"
"No, but its the normal way things are done. Ask anyone."
"We did, Joe, several times. Not being the breadwinner often made me insecure. We went to counselors. They seemed to think we worked things out fairly well between ourselves without interference from any outsiders. Some people are better suited to handling crises than others. Gender has nothing to do with a persons ability to attend to mundane tasks or crises.
Once I accepted my wifes superior earning capacity, everything went well.
"My problem is coping with having to fend for myself again, since my wife ran off with another man. I can handle running a household. My fears stem from not being a good provider. Without your help, Id have lost this home. Ill never forget that, Uncle Joe. The girls understand, too. They seem to look to you as the provider in their mothers absence, as well."
"You should have been born a woman, Lou. It would have made things a lot easier and youre quite capable of looking the part. Having a family of my own is the one thing I missed out on in life. You have no idea how much I envied you when we were much younger. I smoked every cigar you handed out to celebrate your childrens births with a lump in my throat.
You lucky dog! You had a chance to father to three beautiful children. All I got was a mistress, my business, nothing more. My feeble attempt to start a family of my own was a horrible disaster.
The bitch didnt want to have kids. All she wanted was my money. What a fiasco that was. Im glad to be rid of her. At least your wife, selfish as she is, was willing to bear children for you. Youll have them to cherish for the rest of your life. Me, I have nothing but bitter memories.
For the life of me, I cant believe youre willing to mess up all the wonderful benefits you were lucky enough to get out of life by cavorting around in a dress now, Lou. Whats the great attraction here that makes you hell bent on trying to look like something that youre not? Do you want to risk losing everything you worked for to fulfill some crazy idea that maybe you should have been a woman? Do you get some kind of perverted sexual thrill out of prancing around like this? Go look in the mirror. Can you honestly tell yourself you can continue to be the girls father looking like you do?"
"You must be totally blind, Joe. I was never the father image to any of my girls. Their mother saw to that. She was the proverbial pillar of strength in our house. She yielded an iron-fisted diplomacy that I could never dispute. I didnt have it in me to stand up to her. Its the way I am. It has nothing to do with gender. It has everything to do with personality. I didnt even want to defy her when she announced that she was leaving me. I wanted her to go. I wanted a chance to influence my daughters without her interference.
I can do that now, thanks to you. My motives may not have been pure, but I gladly entered into the partnership with you to retain a place the girls can always return to with confidence. This will always the home they can come to when the want love and tenderness. With any luck at all, not one of my three babies will become carbon copies of their mother. Ill see to that.
I always provided the warm spot they needed when things went wrong. I had to wipe away their tears as well as change the soiled diapers. To me, the task of being a househusband began as an imposed sentence, but it didnt stay that way long. I took that bitter lemon and made lemonade from it with as much gusto as I could muster.
Do you think that I could ever be so cruel to abandon my girls to the care of a spouse, the way my wife did recently, or the way your ex-wife once abandoned you, after she took advantage of the love you felt for her. Not me, my friend. You couldnt do it either. The only differences between you and me are the circumstances. True, I was luckier than you. I have three kids that have a much closer bond with me more than they could ever feel towards my darling wife. Hell, they like you better than her!
Why do you think she left them? She had to. She finally realized that she got the short end of the stick by pawning off the responsibility of bringing up the girls on me. Her greater earning power caused her downfall.
When it dawned on her that the girls needed me, depended on me, loved me, more than they loved her, she became vindictive. She even tried to force me out of this house, to isolate herself and the girls from me, detract from their clinging to me for the comfort and love they sorely needed. She set up their educations so that the girls could stay at school, year round, until they outgrew their bond with me, and so she could convince them I was merely a useless pawn to be discarded after my usefulness expired. She wanted to be rid of me, so she could take my place in their hearts.
Well, thanks to you, her plan backfired. She doesnt hate me, Joe. My wife envies me. Shes stuck in France, with her new lover. That guy will never be able to give her what she wants. Hes not equipped for it, according to your private detectives. By the way, thanks for the wonderful means you so willingly left lying about to tell my daughters, with third party verification, that their darling mother sent them off to school so she could be free of her responsibility to be on hand to guide them as they reach maturity."
"Lou! Stop it! You sound as if you came out of a fracas as the sole winner! Listen to yourself. You sound like a conniving woman! Youre only making excuses for your behavior. None of this explains why you want to dress in womens clothes. You could have done it all like a man!"
"Could I, Joe? My maturing girls dont want their father to guide them into how to behave like responsible adults. It would be like asking a wolf how to protect a chicken coop. Its a mothers job, and Im going to do my best to fill the vacancy left open by my over-ambitious wife. She put this pot on the roaring stove and left it to boil unattended.
I was more of a mother to our children than she ever was. With a little wile and tact, Ill use the new guise of needing to express myself in a feminine manner to provide them with the proper guidance as they approach full maturity. I dont want them to be so aggressive as to force their husbands into a servile life of domesticity, unless their chosen marital prospects can deal with it as effectively as I have.
If that happens, Ill be the helpful mother-in-law to see that my girls treat their househusbands better than my wife treated me. I cant do the job justice in a pair of pants, Joe. I need them to recognize me more within my role, not with my birth gender.
If they marry assertive, powerful men, Ill help my girls to become the best loving wives and mothers that they can be. Itll be far easier as a woman. Face it, Joe. The mans job is complete when the future is secure and the seeds are sewn. A womans job is never over. I had to perform both jobs. The male part of it is over. Now I have to prepare to do the other part."
"I think you flipped your wig, Lou."
"Its not a wig, Joe. This is my hair. Do you like it?"
"Whether I like it or not doesnt matter one bit. You have to put an end to this silly ruse. The girls know youre their dad, Lou. Faking motherhood? What good will it do? The girls cant ignore the truth. What difference does it make to them what kind of clothes you wear to do the job? Be yourself!"
"Thanks, Joe. I knew youd understand."
"Understand. What are you talking about?"
"You said: Be yourself. This is me Joe. This is how I have to be to do the job justice. The girls understand. Weve discussed it together and they all agree that they want me to express my inner feelings in whatever way Id be most comfortable. They all agreed that theyd rather introduce me to their young men as their mother that raised them rather than their wimp of a dad. Eventually, the husbands will be told, but when is a decision for the girls to decide."
"Where does that leave me? I cant live here with you parading around in dresses. What would people say?"
"What did they say tonight, Joe?"
"Thats not what I mean. What will everyone think if they found out that I live with a guy that looks good enough in a dress to be a movie actress?"
"With a bit more practice, theyll never know. Today, I had my hairdresser lighten my hair color. You didnt even notice the change. How many of our neighbors expect a man to have this shade of blonde hair? Unless you have a loose lip and ruin everything, I look different enough to pull it off.
"Ive been busy taking poise and grace lessons for the past month. I still have to think and remember how to cough as a lady, but I now cross my knees and get into cars in a very sexy way, dont you agree?"
"Thats great! How do I explain your presence in my home, if I choose to bring a woman home? Answer me that!"
"With ease. You lived with your sister for a long time. What did you tell your girlfriends, then? The girls already started calling you Uncle Joe. Think of them as your nieces. Its not as good as having daughters, I can assure you, but you can provide them with an adult male image, if you try."
"My sister? Look, Lou! In her entire life, my younger sister never caused me half of the grief you caused in the past month! Besides, shes much younger than I am. I didnt have to worry about people talking behind my back when I lived with her. We even resemble one another. I proudly introduced her to everyone I know. Think I can do the same for you, now that Ive told everyone that she was my only sister?"
"Why not? Whos going to remember something as trivial as that after so many years? You bought her a house to live in. You can say you did the same for me. Whats the big deal? You can even say we decided to share a house, since youve sworn of having a wife of your own."
"Damn it, Lou. Youre making this hard for me to spell out. Im fifty, but I havent gone out to pasture, yet. Get it? Seeing the way you fill out that dress does things that you cant resolve. Im not into homosexuality, but you could stop a freight train by waving your leg at the engineer. How do you expect me to continue staying here? The only possible way it would work would be for you to tone down the way you look. What I know about your past sexual habits with your wife only makes it harder. Damn, that was a bad way to put it.
Arent you afraid Ill molest you, Lou?"
"Afraid? Should I be? I thought you swore off women."
"I swore off marrying another woman, damn it! Im a man! I still have some needs and urges. I can contend with them when theres no temptation, but if you think I can hang around here seeing you here with your boobs on parade, hanging out like that, day in and day out, youre wrong! You better think up something, fast or Ill lose my self-control! You seem to have everything else figured out. Think up something to help me! Meanwhile,
I think I need a drink, Lou!"
"Make a drink for me too, Joe. Im sure that together, we can arrive at a workable solution, --- once the alcohol lessens our inhibitions. While you are at it, try calling me Louise from now on. Maybe that will help."
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