Crystal's StorySite


Transformers (Sort Of)

by Catherine Linda Michel


Part Two

"Wait, wait, wait, Penny!" I almost shouted. "You don't mean that Jerry and I should(gulp)LIVE together until this is over? Please tell me that you don't mean that?"

"Oh, but I DO mean that, Donna!" and yes I DID notice the feminization of my name there. "Just think about it for a minute, please. You've heard the reasoning that your Mom and I have come up with. Can you think of ANY better way to handle this? If you can, speak up. I'm more than willing to listen to anything that would make this situation easier to handle, for everyone involved. Listen, I've got to use the ladies room. Why don't you accompany me and we can talk a little more about this. Mrs. Franklin, would you mind watching out bags and things for just a few minutes?"

"Why not at all, dear." Said Mom. I know that there are things that you can't have me knowing about this whole thing and I understand that you need to speak to Donna here, privately about them. I'll just wait here and I'll go to the ladies when you return."

Well, there was no help for it. I couldn't very well make a scene in the middle of a mall, could I? So I went…into that place where no man had gone before….the LADIES ROOM! Okay, laugh at me all you want, but of all the places I haven't been, the Ladies Room is the one place I never wanted to go! I'd heard that women even TALKED to one another in there! Guys don't do that. We go, we do, we wash up and we leave, never or almost never, saying a word to anyone in there. It just isn't done! Nonetheless, in we went, me and Penny.

Fortunately, the place seemed deserted when we got in there and Penny had a chance to set me straight on a few things.

"Okay, Donna." She began. "The first thing is, you know what those suits are capable of. You know how tough they are and what power they possess, right? So, if you or Jerry forget that fact, even ONCE, imagine what could happen. Why even if one of you were involved in an accident or something like that, there'd be questions about why you weren't injured. Suppose one of you forgot just how strong you are? Can you imagine what would happen if you, for example, tore or broke something you had no business being ABLE to break? With the two of you together, it would not only make it easier for me and Jim to keep an eye on you, but you two could keep an eye on one another! You would be able to remind one another NOT to use those suits power, right? I'll tell you, the more I think about this idea of your Mom's, the more I like it. You better think about this hard and long, Donna, because if Jim and I decide that this is the way it's going to be, you can bet your cute little ass that it WILL be this way, got it?"

"But Penny." I countered. "Jerry and I DO know just what these suits are capable of and we even found the standby feature that pretty much de-powers them! With it enabled, we are no stronger than regular people, for the most part. Please, Penny, I DON'T wanna live with my best pal as a……well, as a couple for God's sake! We're both guys and it would seem WAY too weird for both of us!"

"No, Donna, I think that this is a good idea and I think Jim will agree, especially if it's going to be several days or weeks before this is all done and you two are out of those suits. Look, kid, I DO understand, I don't want you to think that I don't, but I gotta think of what's best for the lab, don't you understand that? You have NO idea of what could happen if those suits are 'discovered' by the wrong people! Heads WOULD roll, I can tell you! Dr. Fine would probably be arrested on some trumped up charge, along with most of the lab and security people AND you and Jerry. Do you think you'd like being held in some government 'jail' somewhere, out of contact with everyone who means anything to you, and the world? Would you LIKE to end up being a 'lab rat' for the government?"

She could tell by the look on my face that I wouldn't like that at all.

"Well, we should get on with what we're here to do, and get back to your Mom. There's no telling when someone might walk in here and hear what we're talking about. Now go and do your 'business' while I do mine and we'll get out of here. Just remember, I'm really trying my hardest to do what's best for you, Jerry, your families AND the lab, okay? Trust me, Donna. This thing WILL work out for the best if we handle it just right."

Well, her words didn't reassure me at all, but as long as I was in there, I DID have to go, so I went. I don't wanna go into the inner workings of the suit, except to say that, while I wore it, I hadda do EVERYTHING the way a woman does, you get my drift? Good. I went, I wiped, I resituated everything(GEEZE what a pain!)and, before Penny and I left the ladies room, we, of course, HAD to 'freshen our faces' just in case someone else came in. Sigh. Women have it rough. The clothes, the makeup,(even though I really didn't NEED to put any on, Penny insisted that I 'go through the motions'). Oh well. Not wanting to get 'caught out', I complied with Penny's wishes and dabbed on a little lipstick and some powder. It still amazed me that the mask I wore would take makeup just like real skin would.

We rejoined Mom at our table and, while she left to go do her 'thing', Penny and I talked a bit more.

"Now, if Jim and I decide that this is the best course, you're going to have to play it up a bit, I hope you know that. What I mean by that is this. You and Jerry are going to have to LOOK like you're a 'couple'. Do you understand what I mean?"

"Yeah." I responded, somewhat disconsolately. "I know what you mean. You mean that we'll have to(gulp)hold hands and (eeyuck)kiss and stuff, right? Penny, I don't know if I CAN do that with Jerry. I mean, we've been best buds since we could both talk and we're both GUYS! It would be just TOO weird to do that with him!"

"But Donna, neither of you LOOK like you used to, right? No one, seeing you two together, is going to think that you're anything but what you LOOK like you are! A normal guy and a girl! Well, a man and a woman, but you see my point? Look, you don't have to SLEEP together for God's sake, but you WILL have to convince the rest of the world that you're a couple. No, you don't have to get all 'kissy faced' with one another, but holding hands and even going out for dinner and dancing wouldn't be out of the ordinary for a couple and you two will have to do just that. Look, this whole thing could be over with in a couple of days and this whole conversation could be a waste of time, but we've GOT to plan for the long run. What if you two are stuck for a few weeks? Then what? You can't just be living at home with your folks for all that time. People will wonder, like we said earlier, who you are and where Donnie is. Same thing for Jerry."

Oh, I knew Penny was right in this. I just didn't want to admit it! She continued,

Look, this whole thing might blow over in a day or two and we won't have to worry about it. Let's just table this for now until I can get together with Jim and hash it out, okay?"

"Okay, Penny." I finally said. "You win, for now. I just really hope we won't have to do what you have been talking about, 'cause if I gotta act all girly and shit with Jerry, I just might throw up all over his powersuit!"

Well, we talked for a few minutes more, until Mom came back from the ladies and then, off we went, in search of the "perfect" dress….for ME! Sigh. Would this day EVER end? Store after store, like some invading army, Mom, Penny and I went through them all. Finally, at a sport store of all places, I found something I liked.

It was just a workout outfit. All spandex and, the most important part, for me, stretchy as all get out! I quickly went through their stock, finding some that weren't quite so girly looking, color wise and I ended up with three of them. One all black, one sorta green, and one in some kinda electric blue color. I checked them for fit, and they all looked like they'd cover me completely from neck to ankle. It'd be a real bitch to have to use a bathroom, but other than that, they looked okay to me. I tossed them in the rapidly filling up shopping cart that Mom was pushing and she looked at me like I'd gone nuts.

"Honey?" She said, "If you want to look less sexy, those things aren't what you want. They'll define every line, curve and bulge you have!"

"Yeah, I know that Mom, but there's some things I can't tell you and, believe me, Mom, those things'll work for me just fine. Trust me?"

"Of COURSE I trust you, Donna, it's just that things like that are SO defining and…" Penny broke in just then.

"Mrs. Franklin? I know what Donna is talking about and it's okay. She knows what's going to work for her and I agree with her on this. Just relax and go with it, all right?"

"Well, certainly Penny. If you and Donna agree on this, I'm not going to question it. At least they are lovely colors, especially that blue one."

So on we went. Eventually I successfully talked Mom out of such things as a 'makeover' and ear piercing, and (gulp) waxing! I explained to her that trying to wax my body right then would be about as successful as trying to sail a cement sailboat in choppy water. The only hair that existed on it was on my head, my eyebrows and lashes and in the, um, pubic area. We finally hit the last store. Unfortunately for me it was Victoria's Secret™!

OH MY GOD! Have you ever been IN there? They have stuff in there that can make you orgasm without a girl even being IN them!

Mom was merrily going through things, occasionally looking at me apparently checking size or color. She actually held some of those things up against me! I coulda died from embarrassment! But she just acted like it was the most ordinary thing in the world and the salespeople in there didn't seem to even notice so I loosened up after a bit and tried to get into the spirit of things. Maybe I tried too hard, though.

"OH, MOM!" I remember shrieking. "That is just BEAUTIFUL and it'll look AWESOME on me! Just wait til my boyfriend sees it!" "IT" was a really pretty teddy with lace all over it and it was so sheer that I could see my hand right through it. I figured I'd shock Mom with this kind of behavior, but she just took it right in stride.

"Well then, Honey. We HAVE to get it for you. Let's see if we can find a few more things and then we'll be done for today."

The teddy went in the cart and so did a couple more lacy next-to-nothing things that I don't even know what they were. It was gonna be a long few days, or weeks, or whatever.

By the time we were ready to check out of there, we had spent almost 500 dollars of my hard earned money and, from what I could see, we had bought almost nothing, really. A couple of pairs of slacks and some tops, a few bra and panty sets, some pantyhose, two dresses, some costume jewelry, a purse and some hair things and a couple of slips. I think they call them scrunchies? We bought no makeup, in spite of Mom's objections

Since I really didn't need any and I wasn't about to spend any more money on stuff I wasn't going to need.

We paid the bill and started to leave the mall when, all of a sudden, Mom stopped dead in her tracks and shouted, "PURSES! We forgot purses….and SHOES! Penny offered to take our loot to the car while Mom and I set off in yet another search. This time for purses and shoes. The purse proved pretty easy to find, as Mom spotted on in a window display that just screamed to her, "DONNA!", and in she went to snag it. Shoes were an entirely different matter.

I must have tried on at least two dozen pairs of everything from what they call flats, to towering(to me) heels of three to four inches! We eventually bought two pairs of heels, both with three inch heels, one black and one white, two pairs of flats, also black and white and one pair of really COOL looking boots that I just fell in love with. Yeah, I know, that's a girly thing to say, but those things were coal black with blocky heels and they were knee high with a zipper up the side. They looked like they were made from some kind of reptile hide and I just, well, I wanted them, okay? They fit me like a glove and I actually wore them out of the store. Even though the heels WERE 4 inches high, my balance didn't seem to be affected at all and, if anything, they made my walk even sexier, although I didn't realize that until we got out to the car and Penny told me that.

I also insisted that we get some good, sturdy trainers, which Mom agreed to, and there went another three hundred dollars. Sheesh! 800 bucks for girl's stuff, and that was only for a couple of days! If this went longer than that, I'd have to rob a bank or something! Or find a job looking like a sex bomb. Yeah, RIGHT! I could just see myself, dancing in next to nothing, in some seedy bar, while guys panted and drooled and tried to stuff dollar bills in my flimsies and skimpies. NOT!

We finally made it to the car and the completely uncalled for statement from Penny about my sexy walk in those boots. Thanks a lot, Penny. By that time though, I was really getting used to being looked at, even by guys. I still didn't LIKE it, but it didn't bother me as much as it had when we'd started this day. We headed home and I relaxed in the back seat, just thinking about what I might have to do if this thing went on for more than a couple of days. Then I tried really hard to NOT think about it since I was making myself queasy thinking about having to cozy up to Jerry.

When we got home it was about 6:30 and Mom decided to order out for dinner. She and Dad opted for pizza, while Penny wanted Chinese and I wanted some big, fat, bar-b-que wings, with fries. Penny decided to pick her dinner up on her way to meet with Jim and Mom ordered the rest for delivery. I started feeling a little weak and I thought that I was just worn out from shopping, but, just for kicks I accessed the HUD display and in red flashing letters I read, RECHARGE SOON! Oh CRAP! I had forgotten about that!

I ran to my room and closed the door, yelling at Mom,

"Mom! I gotta recharge this thing! Please bring my food up when it gets here? Thanks Mom!" and I shot up those stairs like my ass was on fire. I made it to my room, threw the door open and hunted for the wall plug. Finding it, I quickly uncoiled, from a pouch cleverly concealed in my hip area, a thin, ten foot cord that had a standard plug on its end. Plugging it into the wall socket I immediately saw the red flashing letters go off and a scale appeared in their place, indicating that I had three hours to wait for a full recharge. Since I had been running the suit on reduced power, it had given me a little extra time before I needed to recharge. Thank God it hadn't happened while we were at the mall! THAT woulda been REAL tough to explain.

"Oh don't worry about a thing, officer. My daughter just has to recharge her electric personality!" Yep. Coulda been REAL embarrassing.

With nothing better to do for the moment, I grabbed the remote and thumbed the TV on, switching to the SciFi™ channel, completely forgetting how I was dressed for the moment. I was halfway through the latest STARGATE™ episode when Mom knocked on the door.

"Are you decent, honey?" she called through the door.

"Yes Mom." I answered. Just watching STARGATE™ and chilling out while I recharge. Is the food here?"

"Yes it is, Donna, and I brought it up for you along with some paper towels and a damp washcloth. I know how messy these wings are, especially the way you like them with extra bar-b-que sauce."

"Thanks, Mom. Just put them on my desk willya? I can reach it from here and I won't have to unplug and re-plug in that way."

She put the wings on my desk and hung the wet cloth over the back of my metal desk chair. Then she said,

"Your Dad and I are going to eat by the TV. Will you be able to join us later?"

"Well, Mom, I gotta recharge for at least three hours and it's 7:30 already. I figure by ten or so I'll be ready to come down, but I'm also pretty wasted by all that shopping so I might just crash after I'm done. Don't expect to see me down there, but if I can, I'll come down for a little while, okay?"

"Certainly, sweetheart. I understand. Listen honey. You don't think I went overboard at the mall, buying things for you, do you?"

"Oh God, Mom. I'm not sure about anything right now. I mean, on the one hand, you did get me some really nice things, even if it WAS with my money, but on the other hand, it's all women's stuff that I never thought I'd ever need or want! What the heck are we gonna do with all of it once this is all over? Have a yard sale? Give it to the Salvation Army?" I started chowing down on the wings while I talked.

"Look, Donna. I know that I might have seemed a little, well, off today. I think it was partly the idea of shopping for a daughter I never thought I'd have. Even though I know that you're still my son under that suit, it still seemed so nice to be buying things with, and for, a daughter. Can you understand that at all?"

"You know what, Mom? I actually think I can understand. I know you always wanted a daughter and sometimes I felt really bad that you never had one. I tried to be the best son I could and I guess I hoped that I could make up for you not having a daughter by doing that."

"Oh, sweetheart! You have NEVER given me or your Dad a single moment of regret or concern. I want you to know that. We couldn't be more proud of you! It's just that, well, there are things a woman dreams of doing with her daughter that I've never had the chance to do, and most likely never will. I'm getting a little too old now to think about having another baby, so I guess you're it. I just don't want you to think that I've ever been disappointed in you in any way. It was just so nice to live a couple of my dreams with you today." And I could see a little tear beginning to trickle down her cheek.

I wiped my hands and mouth and stood up from the bed where I'd been sitting, eating my wings, and hugged Mom tightly, saying in her ear,

"Mom, I love you more than I could ever say. If I'd had a choice of parents to pick from, I couldn't have made a better choice than you and Dad. You two have always stood right beside me through my whole life so far, and even with all this crazy stuff that's happening right now, you two haven't taken a step back and I know you never will. If it makes you happy to think of me as your daughter for however long this situation goes on, you go right ahead. I'd be proud to play the role of daughter for you, okay?"

Then I started to cry a little bit and we just stood there, hugging one another and crying just a little bit. Finally she pulled back from me and smiled up at me.

"Thank you sweetheart." She said with a little catch in her voice. "You don't know how happy this will make me. I guess I knew that you would do this for me, great kid that you are, but it means a lot to hear you say it the way you did. I love you Donnie or Donna, whichever."

"I love you too, Mom. Now SHOO outta here so I can finish stuffing my face with those great wings, okay? Go downstairs and keep Dad company while he watches wrestling. I know you hate it but he thinks it's great, even though he knows it isn't really real. Soap opera for guys, right Mom?"

"Right, sweetheart, right." She reached over and grabbed a couple of Kleenex™ from the box on my desk and wiped her eyes clear of the tears. "When you're ready to come down would you do me a favor?"

"What's that Mom?

"Would you wear that nightgown and peignoir we bought at Victoria's? I know you'll look so sweet in it and I want your Dad to see you in it as well. He thinks I've gone right off my nut, thinking of you as a daughter. Maybe if he sees you in that he'll realize that I wasn't crazy, going shopping with you the way I did. Would you do that for me honey?"

Well, I knew this kinda thing was gonna come up and although I was pretty wasted from all the shopping, I agreed to wear what Mom suggested. Maybe I agreed out of some sort of convoluted logic or illogic, I don't know, but all of a sudden, it sounded like a really nasty trick to pull on Dad, and I grinned at Mom.

"Okay, Mom. You got it. As soon as I finish these wings and grab a shower, I'll put on that frilly, silly girly nightgown and shock the crap outta Dad. Now scram and let me finish eating. Love ya Mom."

She gave me another quick hug and a kiss on the cheek and then scooted out the door, grinning like a Cheshire cat. It made me feel kinda good to see my Mom like that. Happy and actually excited about something. Not that she wasn't happy with her life, it was just, well, a kinda boring life, I thought. She and Dad went our for dinner once a week, always to the same restaurant on the same night. They did have a few other things they did together, but most of the time, Mom was alone in the house while Dad and I were at work or school and I imagined that she probably got a little bored all alone like that.

Well, I finished all two dozen of those big, juicy wings dripping in sauce. I also polished off almost a full two liter of Mountain Dew™ that I had in my little refrigerator in my room. Well, Bar-b-que sauce tends to make me thirsty, okay? Anyway, after finishing that, I got undressed and grabbed a quick shower, remembering to not get my hair too wet. Even though it wasn't real hair, it acted like real hair and I didn't want to be bothered with blow drying it that night. Then I put on that sexy nightgown and the wrap that went over it, a peignoir, Mom called it.

I gotta admit, when I looked in the mirror to see how it looked on me, I was turned on by ME! If I had still been a guy…..wait a second. I AM still a guy! Well, YOU know what I mean, I woulda been turned on by the gorgeous gal I saw in that mirror. 'Dr. Fine?' I thought to myself. 'You sure do good work, I gotta hand THAT to ya!'

Leaving my room, I went downstairs and 'made an entrance' into the living room where Mom and Dad were still watching TV. Neither of them looked up when I first walked in, but, when I walked over and stood in front of the TV, two things happened. Dad actually dropped the piece of pizza he was eating and Mom's face just lit up with happiness. She jumped up and hugged me saying,

"Oh thank you sweetheart! You don't know what it means to me that you actually wore that for me." And she started that crying thing again.

Dad just sat there, with a look on his face that was unreadable. Shock, maybe? Awe? Confusion? I dunno. All I DO know is that he said absolutely nothing for about three minutes. Then he shook his head like he was trying to clear his vision and said.

"Well if that isn't the damndest thing I've ever seen, I don't know what is. Son, you just shocked the you know what out of me. I mean, I knew that that thing you're stuck in looks like a beautiful woman, but I never thought you'd take to it so fast or wear something like that." And he pointed at my nightgown set. Do you feel comfortable in that get up?"

"Well actually Dad, I do. I know I'm still a guy under all of this, but this really doesn't feel all THAT bad, you know? Besides, I sorta promised Mom I'd wear this for her tonight and, well, here I am. What do ya think?" I pirouetted a couple of times to show off the pretty gown and peignoir. ME! Pirouetting! Oh well. It meant a lot to Mom and after all, we were alone in the house so what the hell.

"Okay, Mom. I did it. Now I'm headed for bed, okay? I'm really wiped out by the events of the last two days and I need some real shuteye. I can finish my recharge while I sleep. I want to thank both of you for standing by me through this lunacy. I love you both very much. I'm really sorry all of this happened"

Both Mom and Dad stood and hugged me. Dad said,

"Hey! You're still my son, no matter what you look like right now and none of this is your fault from all I can ascertain, so forget that 'sorry' bit. Let's hope that this'll get settled in a day or two and we can put it behind us. In the meantime, I think you have made your Mom really happy by pretending to be her daughter for her for awhile. I love you, my son. Now get up those stairs and get some sleep."

Mom let go of her hug and said,

"Your Dad is right, Donnie(yes, I noticed the change in my name). We couldn't have asked for a better son than you and now you're my daughter as well, at least for a little while. Thank you SO much sweetheart. I love you."

"I love you both too, Mom and Dad. Goodnight. And I headed back up the stairs. Mom and Dad had just really made me feel a lot better about all the lunacy of the last two days and, for the first time since the accident at the lab, I actually felt kinda good about myself and the prospects for getting out of this mess. Even if it took a week or two, I figured that, with their support and love, I could handle anything, even this.



I slept that night, secure in the knowledge that, no matter what, my parents did really love me. Now I know that that should be a given. That is to say, that a child's parents SHOULD love that child, regardless of it's behavior or it's direction in life, but I have heard, and read, of parents throwing a child out of the house for any number of supposed things that the parents couldn't or wouldn't deal with. So when mine reassured me of their unconditional love and support, it was a real load off my mind.

Certainly, I'd expected nothing less from them, but it was very nice to have my expectations borne out, especially with the weirdness of the past day or two. I didn't yet know how long Jerry and I would be "stuck" in our exosuits, but at least now I knew that I didn't have to worry about love and support from my parents. I hoped that Jerry's parents were saying the very same things to him.

In fact, the only thing on my mind that next morning as I awoke, was the curious reaction I'd gotten from Jerry's sister, Claire, when she first saw me. Certainly that suit was very attractive and very well built, but I'd have thought that Claire would understand that what she saw was not real, that it was only a suit in which I was presently stuck much the same way that her own brother was. She'd actually seemed jealous or something when she'd looked at me! Well, I'd deal with that little situation when it came up again, if indeed it did. For now, I had to concentrate on getting out of my bed and cleaned up for my third day of captivity.

Well, it SEEMED like captivity to me, being stuck in that damn suit. I mean, I couldn't even get a, well, I couldn't get, um, excited in a male way while I was in that thing! I mean, I could get excited, but it didn't show, if you take my meaning. For example: I could GET excited, but I couldn't grab hold of anything and reach satisfaction like I could before. I could RUB down there and that seemed to do something, but it sure wasn't the same type of feeling. I knew that Dr. Fine, genius that he was, had built much more into these latest designs than Jerry and I were aware of, as yet.

Just looking at the HUD display and the sheer amount of information that seemed to be waiting to be accessed, indicated to me that these latest suits were as far ahead of their immediate predecessors as THEY were from the original first designs. There were things there on that HUD that I didn't even understand. Things like: BA and FA and M&BA. I was going to check them out, but Mom must have heard me waking up and she called up to me.

"Donna! Rise and shine, dear. Get decent and come down for breakfast. Penny has been up for hours and she has already been out to talk with Jim. I think you are going to want to hear what they have decided."

Oh shit! NOW what? My mind went off at about three or four different tangents and my thoughts were as scattered as the pieces of a shredded document, but where Mom was concerned, as I'm sure you all know by now, you didn't argue, you didn't even try to discuss. Once her mind was made up, that was it. So, from feeling like there was a light at the end of the tunnel for Jerry and me, I went to thinking that the light was the headlight of an onrushing freight train.

I had already begun rehearsing arguments against what Penny has postulated the previous day, that being that Jerry and I take up residence in an apartment, paid for by the lab, and that we would be expected to act as a couple, for security reasons. While I knew that Penny's plan would be maybe the best for all concerned, I was VERY unwilling to act as the female half of a married or even 'going steady' couple. Although I looked, for all the world, like an attractive woman, I was still a teenage boy under it all, and acting like a real woman was not only the farthest thing from my mind, it was the LAST thing I wanted to have to do.

Well, I showered, even I really didn't have to, (I explained that earlier) and got dressed in a very simple set of clothing, basically just a pair of slacks and a conservative top. Feminine of course, but not SO feminine that I would give anyone the idea that I was becoming comfortable with looking the way I did. Of course I wore the proper undergarments. Well, I HAD to wear the bra. If I didn't, my um, breasts would flop all over the place and, while it didn't hurt (well they weren't REAL, you know) it was still very distracting, both to me, and also to anyone looking at me. The panties? Well, they just seemed to fit better than my old Jockeys™ and they didn't make a bulge or show, under my slacks which fit a lot tighter than any of my old jeans had.

Slipping on a pair of what Mom had called 'flats' I left my room, headed downstairs to the kitchen. When I got there, I saw Mom and Penny seated at the table, involved in a discussion. Dad was nowhere in sight so I assumed that he had already left for work. Mom and Penny both looked up at me when I entered the kitchen and, while Penny sort of smiled at me, Mom gave me a horrified look and jumped up saying.

"My GOODNESS Donna! Your hair is a mess! Didn't you even TRY to fix it up a little bit? It looks like a rat's nest!" Without another word, she left the kitchen, returning moments later with a brush and a spray bottle of something.

"Now you just sit down here at the table young lady." She began. "You are going to have to learn how to do your own hair and I am going to start teaching you how, right now! So pay attention!" Having said that, she began brushing tangles out of my hair, spraying that stuff, whatever it was, all over everywhere it seemed, and all the while, keeping up a steady conversation with herself which went something like this:

"If you expect people to believe you are what you appear to be, you're going to have to take better care of your hair than THIS, young lady! Why, as beautiful as your hair is, I'd think you'd WANT to keep it looking as good as it possibly CAN look. THIS is totally unacceptable!" and so on and so forth.

Well, after about ten or fifteen minutes of that and Mom seemed to be marginally satisfied. I tried to tell her that hair care had never been in my schedule of education and that I was still her SON under all this, but although she seemed to accept those facts, she also seemed to be absolutely set on my acting like what I appeared to be. Never mind that I had no real idea of how to really BE a woman. Sometimes I thought that Mom wasn't that far from being mildly deranged. Certainly when she got an idea in her head, nothing would change her mind. I had learned, at a very early age, that arguing with Mom was a lot like cursing the weather. It might make you feel better, but it wouldn't accomplish anything at all. All anyone could do was go along with her and hope for the best, which is what I did that morning.

I sat there patiently waiting until she was done messing with my hair while Penny just smiled a little smile at me. That smile unsettled me as well. After Mom was done with my hair, she went and fixed a plate of bacon, eggs and toast for me and sat it down in front of me saying,

"Now, young lady, you eat some breakfast. You're going to need your strength. After you're done, Penny and I need to talk with you."

My stomach dropped into somewhere near my heels when Mom said that. How the hell could I eat when I knew what was coming? I knew that Penny was gonna tell me that the apartment idea was a good one and that Jerry and I would be moving to one very soon. I ate really slowly, hoping to put off as long as possible, what seemed to me to be the inevitable, impending doom. I remember thinking, 'Yep. That damned freight train is getting closer and closer, and I'm tied to the friggin' tracks!'

A little while later, after I'd finished my last meal, (well that was how I was thinking of it) Penny hitched her chair closer to mine and took my hand in hers. Looking into my eyes, she began to speak.

"Now Donnie. I know that what I'm going to tell you isn't what you want to hear, but listen to the reasons for it before you panic or get upset, okay?"

My heart seemed to be ready to leap out of my chest and my breathing got a bit ragged. NO! I did NOT wanna hear this!

"Jim and I have been in contact with the lab already this morning. They concurred with my thoughts about you and Jerry. The decision has already been made and preparations are already underway, so there is no way out of this and no way to change it. The two of you are going to be moved into a small condo on the outskirts of town. It will be paid for by the lab, out of a slush fund that Dr. Fine had set up for emergencies, so neither you nor Jerry will be out any money. The two of you will be set up with documentation and a cover story of being a young couple just starting out. It will become known that both of you are what's called 'trust fund babies'. That is to say that people will be told, via rumors, that both of you have considerable trust funds which will mean that neither of you will have to enter the local work force."

She paused then and seemed to consider her next words carefully.

"You will HAVE to appear to be a normal, loving couple, with all that that entails. That means, public displays of affection from BOTH of you and acceptance of those displays by both of you. We all feel that this is the best way to keep you two as anonymous as possible and to protect your families from any possible harm, either from you and Jerry, if you should slip and misuse one of the suits, as well as from others who might find out about you and want the suits for their own uses. Jim and I will also have a condo in the same unit as you and Jerry so we can keep an eye on you. Additionally, both condos will be outfitted with the very latest wireless intercom systems and you will be given prepaid cell phones as well. Whenever either or both of you leave your condo, Jin and I will shadow you. We'll be armed, you won't."

I noticed at that point, that Mom had left the room and Penny and I were completely alone in the kitchen.

"Considering the capabilities of the suits you and Jerry are stuck in, we don't feel that you need any further 'armament'. Certainly nothing short of a LAWS rocket can even make a dent in either of the suits, so we won't have to worry about that aspect of protecting you. In actuality, we will likely be more concerned with protecting the public from you! Donnie, all it will take is ONE incident where you or Jerry forget and utilize ANY of the capabilities in them and there will be more problems than you can shake a stick at! We are going to have to insist that you both keep the suits in the 'powered down' modes and that you pay particular attention to yourselves and your surroundings. You know that, if you bump against something that could bruise of cut anyone else, nothing will happen to either of you, but people will expect you to be hurt by such an occurrence and, if you don't ACT like it hurt, they'll get suspicious."

I interrupted at that point, having heard much more than I ever wanted to hear.

'But Penny!" I began. "Isn't there SOME other way of doing this? I mean, I'd rather be restricted to the LAB than this! I can't act like Jerry's girlfriend or, gulp, wife! I don't even know how to BE either one of those, and I certainly don't WANT to, especially with my best friend in the world! C'mon Penny! There HAS to be another way!" Okay, I was pleading. If I'd thought it would have helped, I'd have been on my knees, begging. I did actually think about doing exactly that, by the way.

"No, Donnie, there is no other way if we want to keep everyone safe from any harm. Look kid, I know that this is going to be really hard on both of you, you more than Jerry, but it's the best solution we can come up with right now. Believe me, if ANYTHING else can be done, it will be, but for the immediate future, this is the way it's going to be. Now I know we can't force either of you to accept this, but we hope that you will both see the sense and logic of doing things this way. Please, Donnie. Don't make this any more difficult than it has to be, okay? You'll only have to be acting in public. When you and Jerry are alone in your condo, you can just be yourselves, and remember, this is only until we can find a way to get you out of that thing."

She stopped talking then and just looked into my eyes. I couldn't find my voice for a few minutes and, when I finally did, it came out scared.

"Oh God, Penny. I'm so sorry for getting us all into this mess. Look, I can see your reasons and I can understand why the lab wants us to do things this way. What I can't see is myself acting like Jerry's significant other. I mean, we ARE both guys and we know each other almost as well as we know ourselves. I don't think Jerry is going to go for this any more than I am, but if he DOES agree with it, I guess I have no choice but to go along with it as well." I sighed. "Maybe we won't have to do this for more than a couple of days anyway, right? I mean, Dr. Fine is gonna come out of the hospital any time now, isn't he? He'll be able to get us out of the suits and our lives can go back to normal, right?"

Penny sighed then, too. She got this really serious look on her face and said,

"Donnie, I have something else to tell you. I was hoping I wouldn't have to, but….well, Dr. Fine is in a coma. Apparently he received much more serious injuries than anyone suspected when the lab collapsed. No one knows when or even IF he will ever come out of his coma, and without his help, the lab equipment can't be properly rebuilt. These latest designs that you and Jerry are stuck in are so advanced that none of the old stuff that could have helped you get free from them, will work. Dr. Fine had designed all new ways of getting you out of the suits and none of the engineers who helped build it, is able to reproduce it without his supervision. His notes are pretty much unintelligible and he only kept handwritten notes, as you know, so, until he comes out of the coma, I'm afraid that you and Jerry are going to be stuck just as you are. It could be tomorrow, or it could be never, when he comes to. I know that this is one more shock on top of another, but you need to know."

Well, CRAP and DAMN! Things had just gone from bad to impossible in one fell swoop. I felt faint, but something kept me from passing out. I did feel a slight constriction in the whole suit, but I was too concentrated on what Penny was telling me to notice it much at the time. Thinking back on it later, I realized that the suit must have somehow actually sensed the temporary loss of blood pressure to my head, and it automatically tightened itself on the rest of me to force blood back into my brain!

Penny didn't have much more to tell me, so we just sat there for a little while longer, discussing the logistics of what was gonna happen. Now this might sound strange, but there WERE a few things in this that struck me as not being totally negative. To begin with, I'd be out of my parent's house and away from their control. Oh, don't get me wrong, I loved them without reservation, but as a teenage guy, there was a singular lack of privacy when it came to my social life. Okay, I would be living as an adult WOMAN, but it would still be away from the restrictions that my parents placed on me, and I saw that as a plus. Neither Jerry nor I would have to be working for a living and that was a plus in my mind as well. Everything we needed or wanted, within reason, would be supplied to us by the lab. Yet another plus.

Okay, on the down side there was the fact that we'd have to act as if we were, (eyuck!) in love with one another while we were in public, but how bad could that really be? A little hand holding, maybe a kiss on the cheek or something like that, but nothing more than that, or so I thought at the time. Then, there was something that, curiously enough, hit me harder than anything else had up til then. That was the fact that I wouldn't be able to drive the 'BEAST!'

It would have to be placed in storage until this whole thing was over! Now you gotta understand. That car was my creation. It was the one thing that I had done all by myself. All the work, all the money, all the time I had put into making that car my 'signature,' as it were, would be the very thing that could give Jerry and me away! It was TOO recognizable as 'Donnie's car', and therefore, a real security risk. I gotta tell you, the thought of not being able to pilot the 'beast' proved to be the final straw and I broke down and actually cried right then.

I mean I blubbered like a friggin' baby! Penny actually took me into her arms and tried to comfort me, but it was as if the floodgates had opened and there was no way to close them. Even Mom was unable to console me, even though she came back into the kitchen when she heard me crying and hugged me as well. I finally had to excuse myself from the table and I ran to my room, slamming the door shut and locking it behind me. I threw myself on the bed and just let it all go. I must have cried for quite awhile and I also must have fallen into a little slumber, because the next thing I knew, Penny and Mom were pounding on my door, begging me to let them in. When I looked at my clock radio, it showed that two hours had passed!

I got off my bed and, on my way to the door, I glanced in a mirror, noticing that my face wasn't all puffy or red like it would have normally been. 'Well', I thought, 'at least there is one good thing about being in this damn suit. When I blubber like a woman, it doesn't show and my makeup doesn't run all over the place. Whoopie'

The rest of the morning is pretty much a blur in my memory. I remember little bits and pieces, but nothing with any real substance. The next thing that I remember clearly is pulling up outside the condos with Penny driving. There was another car already there and I recognized Jerry and Jim, Jerry's 'shadow'. Jerry looked as upset and concerned as I was, but I couldn't even think about that, really. All I could think about was that my life was changing WAY too fast and I couldn't keep up with the changes.

Well, we all got out of the cars and Jim and Penny took us to the condo that would be ours, Jerry's and mine. It was a very nice place, with a lot of open space and plenty of deep, soft carpeting all over the floors. There were two bedrooms I was very glad to see, and they were both of a size. Only the basic furnishings were there though, and Penny explained that it would be better if Jerry and I picked out the rest of them ourselves. I think I was still in some kind of shock and Jerry didn't seem to be in much better shape than I was just then, but shopping we went. Penny and Jim accompanied us of course. Ostensibly to help us pick out appropriate things for our respective rooms, but really to make sure we didn't slip up or give ourselves away.

Suffice it to say that, about 5 hours later, we had pretty much gotten everything we thought we might need to furnish the condo. Penny and Jim had also gotten what they wanted for THEIR condo as well. It was all to be delivered the following day, so instead of going directly back to the condo, we decided to get something to eat.

I think, by that time, most of the initial shock had worn off and Jerry and I were in much better shape than when we had started the day. We actually laughed a few times, like when Penny insisted that I get a vanity for my bedroom. We DID decide that, if we were gonna have to do this, we were gonna set things up the way WE wanted them. We demanded and got top of the line computers with all the bells, whistles and peripherals as well as top of the line stereos and TV/VCR/DVD/CD players all for our respective bedrooms. We also got the biggest, most impressive looking wide screen TV with everything built into it for the living room. We even wangled internet access with DSL! My thoughts through all this were, 'If we're gonna HAVE to do this, I'm gonna get everything out of it that I can.' And I'm certain that Jerry was thinking the same way. We finished off with kitchen stuff, plates, silverware, that sort of thing, and then I remembered one thing more that we had to have.

Three complete gaming systems, one for each of out bedrooms and one for the living room. Yeah, I know. I was thinking like the teenage boy that I was, not as the adult looking woman that I appeared to be, but I was also thinking that we'd be spending a lot of time in those rooms and those X-Boxes™ would get a real workout. By the time we were done shopping I was certain that we'd spent a LOT of the lab's money, but I didn't feel bad about it. Well, not THAT bad about it anyway. I knew that, once this was all over, all that stuff would either go back to the stores or be sold, with the money going back to the lab, but I was gonna stick it to them for as much as I could while I had the chance. Oh yeah. I had progressed from shocked and dismayed, to angry by that time.

I'll give Penny and Jim some credit. They tried to keep our spending down, but as angry as I was about all this, they had little luck in doing so. Yes, I know I was acting childishly, but hey, I WAS a child, really. Turn ANY not-quite-18 year old loose with a seemingly unlimited credit card and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Anyway, we went out to eat, after the biggest part of the shopping was done. I felt tired, but it didn't show, thanks to the suit. While we ate, we discussed 'the plan' as much as Jerry and I would allow it to be discussed. We were in public after all, so we really couldn't talk about much of anything having to do with the situation or the suits anyway.

Now one thing that hadn't changed in all this was the appetites of two teenagers. Jerry and I loaded up our plates at the buffet we ended up going to, like we hadn't eaten in days. Penny and Jim looked at us askance and Penny even whispered that I, at least, should try to eat like a lady. HAH! Fat chance of that happening. I was hungry and I was gonna eat and I was gonna eat the way I wanted to eat. The hell with the rest of the world. So with plates overflowing with rare roast beef, pork, potatoes and gravy and a small portion of vegetables, Jerry and I made our way to a table. Jim, bless his heart, just chuckled at the amount of food on our plates. I heard him whisper to Penny that this was something she'd just have to let go. She sighed and looked at us, but to her credit, she didn't say anything more. I guess she maybe figured that, if anyone asked, she'd just say that we had high metabolisms or something. I didn't care. I just tucked into that plateful of food.

Okay, I DID try, really hard, to at least eat like a lady. Normally I would have dived in, with knife and fork flying and watch your fingers if you try to reach in for any reason. This time, I sat up straight, took small bites and chewed with my mouth shut. I didn't even try to talk with my mouth full, a major accomplishment from my point of view. I did, however, go back for seconds and dessert. Penny sorta frowned at that, but I didn't care. I think, at one point, I even stuck out my tongue at her!

Once we were done with our dinners, we went back to our respective homes to say goodbye for awhile to our families. We went to Jerry's home first. Entering the house, we were met by Jerry's Dad and Mom, Fred and Ginny, his sister, Claire. Again I got that strange look from Claire and, while Jerry talked with his folks, I determined that I had to try to find out what the heck was up with Claire. I managed to catch her eye long enough to motion to her that I wanted to talk with her alone. She nodded and we excused ourselves from the main group. Penny started to follow us, but I motioned her off. She didn't seem to like it much, but she acceded to my wishes and let us have some time alone.

Claire led me into the kitchen where we sat down at the table.

"Claire," I began. "I'll get right to the point here. What's with the weird looks you've been giving me since this all came down?"

She looked at me really hard and didn't say anything for the longest time. Finally she did speak.

"Okay. First of all, I do know that that's you inside that thing, Donnie. It really freaks me out, I guess, that you look so damn pretty and sexy and all. I've known you for a long time and I'm having a really tough time dealing with the fact that you look, move and even sound like a real woman. I mean, I've been female all my life and you make me look like such a plain Jane and it's just not FAIR! It's not enough that my brother comes home looking like the hunkiest man I've ever seen and nothing like his normal self, but his best friend, GUY friend, comes here looking sexier and more female than I do! You gotta tell me, Donnie, you aren't turning gay or something, are you? I mean that would just freak me out WAY much! I always thought you were a real hunk, and, well, I always hoped that maybe you'd ask me to go out sometime. If you're turning gay on me, that'd just suck, ya know?"

So THAT'S what was on her mind. I had kinda wondered if that wasn't it. Hell, I HAD thought about asking her out sometime when she got a little older. I took her hand in mine and said,

"Let me put your mind at ease about one thing, Claire. I am NOT turning gay! I just happened to be testing this female suit when the accident happened and now I'm stuck in the damn thing for God knows how long. I don't know how much you know about these suits and I don't know how much I can actually tell you without getting us both in trouble, but believe me, I am as male as I ever was. I'm just, um packaged a bit differently for the time being. Now, because of security reasons, your brother and I are gonna have to move into a different place for awhile. It's only until we can figure out how to get out of these damn things and I can't get out too soon, I can tell you that!"

"But Donnie"! She protested. "You and Jerry aren't old enough to have a place of your own yet. Besides, I mean, okay Jerry can be a real pain in the butt sometimes, but he is my brother and I'll miss him, as weird as that sounds. Plus, with you looking like that, I mean, what's gonna happen with the two of you all alone in some apartment or something?"

"Trust me, Claire, NOTHING is gonna happen between me and Jerry! I'm still all guy under this thing and I have NO interest in Jerry other than being best buds with him like we've always been! Look, I know how this must all look to you, but I swear that none of this was planned. I can't tell you more than that, but you gotta believe me, Claire. This" and I indicated my appearance, "is the LAST thing I wanted to have to deal with. Think of how you'd feel if you were trapped inside a guy suit. That'll give you some idea of how I feel right now. I know nothing about actually being a woman and, even though the way this thing is built, it makes me move and sound like one, I still FEEL like my male self, inside my head, ya know?"

Claire just sat there, taking all this in. She seemed to be trying very hard to understand and I hoped that, in time, she would understand. She was very mature for a 15 year old.

"So," she continued. "What you're telling me is that you and Jerry are stuck in these suits, whatever they are, and you're gonna have to share an apartment or something until you can get unstuck. What I don't understand is, why? I mean, you guys could just stay home, couldn't you?"

"No Claire, we can't." I responded. "Because of some security stuff I can't tell you about, it's been deemed, by the people who made these suits and who own them, that all of us will be safer if we aren't associated with our families until after we can get out of them. I'm afraid that I can't tell you any more than that. I'm sorry."

Well, she hemmed and hawed around for a few more minutes, but when she realized that she wasn't gonna get any more information from me, she gave a big sigh and said,

"Okay, Donnie. I guess I sorta know what you're trying to tell me. I guess also that I WAS a bit jealous of how you look and stuff. You say that there's nothing gonna happen between you and Jerry and I guess I believe that as well, but will you promise me something?"

"Sure, Claire. What?"

'When this is all over, will you and Jerry give me the real scoop about all of this? I mean the REAL story, not what they SAY you can tell?"

"Claire, I can promise that I will tell you as much as I can. There might end up being parts of this that Jerry and I won't be able to tell anyone, not even you, as much as we might want to, okay? That's the best I can do. I hope it's enough. I'm afraid it'll have to be for now. One other thing, Claire and this is VERY important. You can't tell ANYONE about any of this! Not your best friends, not anyone. I can't stress too much how important this is. If you DO tell anyone, it could endanger me, Jerry, you, and both of our families! So you gotta promise, your BEST promise, that you'll keep all of this only to yourself and your Mom and Dad, okay? Please Claire, you gotta promise. I would hate myself if anything bad happened to you or to our families because you couldn't keep this secret!"

"Oh man! You really know how to hurt a girl, don't you? You tell me the biggest, deepest secret I've ever heard and then you tell me that I can't share it? You really DON'T know anything about being a girl, do you? I'll tell you what I WILL do. If you can promise me that, when this is all over, you'll give me the straight story, I'll not only keep your secrets, but I'll even help you learn how to be the girl you appear to be. I can teach you LOTS of stuff! Oh, Donnie, it could be FUN!"

Oh boy. NOW what had I gotten myself into? Now the girl I'd maybe wanted to date sometime, wanted to teach me how to become more feminine? YIKES!!! On second thought though, this could be a good thing. Claire was a lot closer to my real age than Penny was and she COULD teach me some stuff that I would need to know. I would still need to learn from Penny, because she was closer to my apparent age, but I'd need to know things that only a teenage girl would know too, at least that's the way I was thinking right then.

Now before you ask, let me clue YOU in. NO! I was not giving in to some hidden 'feminine side' of me. As far as I knew at the time, I had NO feminine side. I was a guy. Macho, tough (or so I believed) and male to my very core. I had never had any desire to try women's clothes nor had I ever wondered what being a girl was like. I just never thought about things like that. It was only an accident that I appeared to be female and that would be rectified as soon as the good Dr. came out of his coma, right? Right.

Well, the most that I could promise Claire was, if Penny, Jim and the rest of the security department would allow it, I would tell her all I could, but only after this was all over. Claire seemed to accept that as well as my warning about possible harm to our families and her last words that night, on the subject, were,

"Okay, Donnie. Or do I call you Donna now? I guess that'd probably be more appropriate, wouldn't it? The only thing is, DAMN you still make me jealous! It just isn't FAIR that you can look that good by accident and I have to work so hard to be pretty! That makes me SO mad, but I guess I can't really blame you. I mean, you didn't get yourself stuck in there on purpose, right?"

"Exactly right, Claire. I'd MUCH rather be stuck inside the suit that Jerry is wearing, if I had to be struck at all! You can't imagine how embarrassing this is for me, you know? Anyway, so we have a deal, right Claire?"

"Yes Donna, we do." And that was the end of our conversation. I found out later that Penny had been eavesdropping at the kitchen door and was prepared to jump in and interrupt if I said too much. Apparently I hadn't, because she left us alone until I was finished talking to Claire.

By the time I was done talking to Claire, Jerry had finished talking to his parents and was ready to leave. He wasn't taking very much of his own stuff with him, though. His own clothes wouldn't fit him, of course, and some of his possessions would be a dead giveaway to anyone who saw them where they didn't belong. He did take some of his programs and games for his computer and for the X-Boxes™, and some CDs but that was about all. He said his final goodbyes and we left, headed for my home. Yes there were tears and crying and all that, but everyone knew that this was necessary and wouldn't be forever.

Unfortunately, on the way to my house, something happened. We came across an accident that must have just happened seconds before we came along. There were no people around other than those involved in the accident and one woman was trapped in her car, while the driver of the other car was out of it, but unconscious.

We stopped, of course, and checked out the man outside his car. Penny and Jim said that he was breathing okay and didn't appear to be hurt very badly, but they were concerned about the woman who was trapped. They tried to open her car door to get her out as the car was leaking fuel and could catch fire or even explode, but they couldn't budge that door.

Well, I looked at Jerry and he looked at me, and we both knew what we had to do. I yelled at Penny and Jim to stand away from the car and Jerry and I powered up the suits. The systems came online right away and I could feel the difference in the way I moved. Jerry grabbed the car door and I braced against the car right next to the door. Jerry pulled back on that door and I pushed in the opposite direction and that car door popped off like a cork coming out of a champagne bottle! Then we straightened the bent steering column like it was made of taffy! We sort of stood back then, and let Jim and Penny take over. They, very carefully, eased the woman out of her car and, by that time, she was unconscious.

Now, while Jerry and I had been doing our thing on the car, Penny had called the police and rescue squads and we could already hear sirens coming our way. Penny and Jim made certain that both victims were breathing okay and weren't bleeding too badly and then we piled into our cars and got the heck out of there. We didn't need to be answering any embarrassing or even potentially dangerous questions from the cops or anyone else! I felt kinda bad about leaving those people at the scene of the accident, but I also knew that Penny and Jim were very right. We HAD to get out of there before the cops or ambulance arrived and questions got asked that we couldn't answer.

I can tell you this, though. I felt very proud of myself and of Jerry. We had finally had a chance to use those suits and it felt good to know that we had not only done the right thing, but we had also field tested the suits to boot. What a feeling! I felt like a real superhero! COOL!!!

The rest of that evening was pretty much anti climatic. The scene at Jerry's house was repeated at mine, except that my Mom didn't seem to be able to fully grasp that I would be going away and would be out of contact until this was over. Well, by now you know Mom, right? She did finally accept the facts though and I took pretty much the same sort of stuff from my room, that Jerry had taken from his. Tears, crying, all that. Yeah, I was kinda upset about having to move out like that, but I was also still riding an adrenaline high from what we had done at that accident scene.

We left my house and headed back to the condos. On the way there, we heard on the radio that there had been an accident at such and such an intersection and they were warning people to stay away from the scene until the police and ambulance crews could get things cleaned up. They also said that the police were asking anyone who had any information about some people who had stopped to help, to come forward and help identify them! EEP! Had there been witnessed we hadn't seen?

My adrenaline high vanished almost immediately and was replaced by fear. Would we be identified? Would this whole thing be blown wide open by the press or by well meaning witnesses?


Chapter Four


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