Luck Be A Lady -7-

Luck be a Lady

by: Catherine Linda Michel

Part 7

"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, ARRESTED?!" I practically yelled in Prue’s direction. "How the HELL did she get arrested?" I admit it, I was losing it, BIG time! I mean, from finding two new friends to help in our quest to reach L.A. and to find some answers and safety, to total despair in less than three seconds flat is a hell of a long way to go in a HELL of a short time!

"She said that she got busted in some place where she was trying to find someone to help us with I.Ds!" Prue sobbed. "What are we going to do, Billie? We can’t just leave her there, in the clutches of some small time cops! She’s a tough kid, but sooner or later, they’ll break her down and she’ll HAVE to spill the whole story about us! Of course, they’ll NEVER believe her but it’s only a matter of time before those people who have been chasing us get word about her story and then all hell will be out for noon!" I was trying to think but I was coming up with nothing. My mind just couldn’t deal with this one more thing! I guess it was like that proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. My poor brain just fractured a bit and the only thing I could think about was that this whole game was over. We were done and would soon be caught and questioned by the M.I.B. types that had been dogging our heels for the last week or so.

Kim and Pickles, drawn by my tone of voice and Prue’s tears, converged on us, demanding to know what was going on. Prue filled them in while I descended into a black pit of anger/despair/disgust. I was getting to the point where it seemed that there wasn’t any use in running anymore and, somewhere in my mind, the thought of just giving up and surrendering to the government types began to grow.

I had wandered over to the motel bed and was sitting there figuring how to give myself up without involving Prue, Kim, and Pickles. I couldn’t see any way to avoid getting Neri busted along with me, though. She was already in jail and there was no way I could think of to get her out. I sat there, my head in my hands and that long, luxurious red hair spilling all around my face, and feeling like my miserable luck had finally caught up with me. The worst part was, this time it was gonna bite a friend in the ass, along with me!

I was sitting there wondering if I could at least get back to my own body before I turned myself in when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see Prue’s other hand descending fast towards my face! Before I could react, it struck the side of my head with a sound that must have carried past the doorway and out into the hall! I fell backwards on the bed, the left side of my face burning as if it were on fire. My eyes teared up and, for a few seconds, all I could see was a blur. Gradually the blur began to clear up a bit and I could see Prue’s tear streaked face just a few inches from mine. She looked like a thundercloud, about to burst in my face and, in spite of myself, I drew back on the bed, suddenly all too aware of my female form and the fact that Prue was easily as strong as I was right then. I had never seen her this angry and it frightened me. I didn’t really know her, after all, and I had no real idea of what she might be capable. I only knew, right then, that she looked as angry and hurt as I have ever seen anyone look. Kim and Pickles made moves as if they were going to pull her back but she turned her furious face towards them and they stopped in their tracks and backed off a bit. Prue snapped her head back around, looking me in the eyes and then she lit into me verbally. "BILLIE! Are you just gonna sit there and drown in self pity or are you gonna get your head together and help me think of SOME way of getting Neri out of this mess? After all, it’s for YOU and the rest of us that she was out there trying to help us find a way out of this! She’s just a KID, for CHRIST’S sake and all you can do is sit there and snivel about your ‘bad luck??’ DAMN it, BILL", she shrieked at the top of her lungs, "snap OUT of it! We need you now!!" I couldn’t speak! I was so beaten down by what I considered my lousy luck and seemingly incapable of any thought beyond giving up. I had not only hung myself with my greed but I had also endangered four other people whose only faults were wanting to help me. Four people who had been fast becoming friends. Now, they would all hate me and it was all my fault! I turned over and buried my face in a pillow and began to cry.

Nothing that Prue said or did seemed to make any difference to me. I just sank deeper and deeper into self pity and guilt. Oh she screamed and slapped me a couple more times but to no avail. Somewhere in there, I remember hearing Kim and Pickles pleading with me as well but I didn’t hear what they were saying. I just buried my face deeper into that pillow and retreated from reality for awhile.

After some time, I became aware that it was quiet in the room. I lifted my face out of the pillow and looked around. I was all alone! I had never even heard anyone leave and I didn’t even know how long I had been alone. I got up and quickly searched the other rooms but there was no one there. All I found was a note, taped to the phone. It read:

"Billie. We have gone to try to get Neri out of the mess she is in. I don’t know if I ever want to see you again. I thought you were a MAN that I could depend on. Instead, you’re acting like some little airheaded girl! If you come to your senses, and read this, you can reach us on the mobile phone. The number is 555-1312 in case you’ve forgotten that as well! We have taken a cab to the police station to try to get Neri out and recover the van. In case you’ve forgotten, all of the alien equipment is in that van and we CAN’T have the cops finding that stuff! If we’re successful, we’ll return to the room, get you back into your old, male body, and leave you here to do whatever you think you should do. If you can’t get it together, then we’ll part company then. FOREVER!"

I sat there by the phone, reading that note and I began to get mad. Mad at Prue for talking to me that way, for slapping me, for not understanding that it WAS my fault that they were all in this mess with me! The trouble is, the longer I sat there, the more I began to get control of myself. Realizing that it WAS my fault, and knowing that I had to do SOMETHING about it, I went into the bathroom, washed my face and grabbed my purse and a jacket I found on the floor. I looked up the number of a cab company and called for a cab to pick me up at the motel in ten minutes. While I sat there waiting, I ran through what I considered to be my options. I could go down to the police station and turn myself in but that wouldn’t help Neri. I could just take off. There was still money in my purse. Enough to get me out of there and away from my friends before the M.I.B guys caught up with me That would give Prue and the rest time to get away but it still wouldn’t help Neri. Lots of thoughts went through my head in that ten minutes but it all kept coming back to this. Whatever I could think of, it would only help me, Prue, Kim and Pickles. Neri would still be stuck in jail. I finally gathered what was left of my dignity and courage and when the cab arrived, I told the driver to take me to the police station. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got there, but I knew I had to go there. If for no other reason, to try to comfort Neri and let her know that she wasn’t facing things alone.

On the way to the cop shop, I caught a glimpse of what looked like our van, headed in the opposite direction! I yelled at the cabbie to turn around and follow it and he pulled one of those screaming U-turns in the street and took off after the van. We followed it all the way back to the Motel and, as I paid the cabbie, I saw Prue and the rest get out of it, along with someone I didn’t recognize and enter the room we had been in before. The cabbie muttered something about "crazy dames" but I was too preoccupied to pay any attention to him. I just threw some money at him and took off running toward the room, as fast as those damned heels would let me.

I burst through the door to see Prue, Pickles and Kim talking with the stranger. He seemed to be explaining something, but when I came flying into the room, he quickly shut up and moved to the other side of the room. I looked at Prue and the rest but they seemed to be avoiding my eyes. I knew that they were disappointed with me and I had no idea how to make up for my flight into despair but I walked over to Prue and drew her aside. "Look, Prue." I said quietly. "I know you’re pissed at me and I understand why. I don’t have an explanation for what happened to me. Maybe I just finally let the ‘guilts’ get to me or maybe it was the hormones flowing through this sexy body, I don’t know! I only know that all of this IS my fault and I gotta try to help. Now what’s going on and who is this guy?"

She looked at me coldly. "Are you sure you want to try to help, BILLIE? The last thing we need right now is a panicky female like you seem to be, messing about and ruining anything we might come up with to get Neri out of jail!" When we arrived at the Police Station, they told us that unless we were family or her lawyers, we couldn’t talk to her until she had either gotten a lawyer or was released! We found out where she had been arrested and went down there and, with a little cash thrown around, were referred to this guy Henry, or "The Professor" as it seems he’s known as. We located the van just where Neri had left it and we went and picked him up and came back here. I swallowed hard and looked back at her, saying. "Okay, okay! I lost it. I admit it. I’ve been feeling really strange in this body and what happened to Neri just pushed some buttons I didn’t know I had! I’ll grant you that I should have been able to control my feelings but I couldn’t! All of a sudden it was like the whole world had crashed down on me and the only thing I could do was cry! Can you understand how strange that made me feel? I mean, all of my life, I’ve dealt with whatever rotten break that fate threw at me, always hoping that the light at the end of any tunnel I happened to see, wasn’t the headlight of an onrushing express train!"

I stopped for a minute to gather my thoughts and continued."Prue, I’m not USED to being a woman! I can’t deal with all the strange emotions and stuff that are going through me! You’ve had a lifetime to get used to them and learn how to handle them. I’ve only had a few days! To make matters worse, THIS body is much worse than the other one I was wearing! I’m not sure, but I think this body has a higher libido or something. I’ve felt out of sorts since you put me into it and, let me tell you, it hasn’t been fun. I can’t get used to being stared at by every guy that I pass, at least, I haven’t been able to get used to it in a day or two, and to make matters worse, I’ve found myself liking being looked at and looking back at them! Now, if you wanna be mad at me, fine. Go right ahead. Maybe I deserve it, and maybe I don’t but let’s set that aside for the moment and concentrate on getting Neri outta jail and ourselves outta this town!"

Prue glared at me for a minute or two and then she seemed to come to a decision. She turned to the stranger and introduced him as Henry. She told me that he had been talking to Neri when the bar they had been in was raided by the police. He had managed to sneak past the police lines and get away but everyone else in the bar had been arrested on charges of either prostitution, gambling, or underage drinking. Henry came over to us and said, Look, I don’t know what the hell is going on here but all I wanna do is get the hell outta town! This ‘Neri’ seems to be a friend of yours and I’m real sorry she’s in the slam but I don’t know what *I* can do to help her. I just deal in false identification stuff. They call me "The Professor" because I can make anybody into somebody else with my I.Ds. Listen, I got all my stuff in a bag in the van out there. This Neri was tryin’ to deal me down in price when the cops busted the joint and I just barely got outta there without gettin’ busted myself! If you want the stuff she was askin’ about, I can do it in about a half hour, right here in this room but you gotta pay me my full rate so I got some bread to split with. I ain’t hangin’ around here any longer than I gotta!"

Prue said,"Ok, Henry. Go ahead and do your thing. Give us some identification papers but I’ll show you the pictures of who they’ll be for besides the people in this room. One other thing, Henry. If I ever hear of you narking on us, I’ll find you, wherever you might be, and make you wish you’d never been born. You got it?"

Henry gulped a couple of times but, seeing the look in Prue’s eyes and hearing the tone of her voice must have convinced him that she was deadly serious, AND just plain deadly! He quickly went out to the van, accompanied by Kim and Pickles and was back inside in seconds. He found a place to work and began ‘doing his thing’ with a sheaf of paperwork. Kim and Pickles joined Prue and me on the other side of the room and we began to plot a way to get Neri out. We quickly discarded any ideas of using the alien stuff to change her looks inside the jail since we knew we’d be searched before being allowed to see her. We talked for about ten or fifteen minutes until Henry announced that he was ready for the pictures. Prue got the laptop and Henry got out a small Polaroid type camera and took quick snaps of all four of us. Then Prue sat down with him and showed him the rest of the pictures contained on the alien discs. I knew that we were taking a chance, showing Henry the pictures and the laptop but he didn’t seem to notice anything different about it. He fooled around for a couple of minutes, trying to get the camera the right distance from the screen of the laptop and then clicked shots of all the pictures Prue showed him. He then offered some advice for getting Neri out of jail. "Look, folks, I know that you don’t know me from Adam’s off ox, but I DO know about dealing with the law here. Chances are, your friend will be arraigned tonight in front of old Judge Reynolds at the courthouse downtown. Even if they bind her over for trial, they’ll have to set bail for her. She won’t be accused of any major crime, only something small like prostitution or gambling. If you can get down there and bail her out before they can check out her ID or prints you stand a good chance of getting outta here." I looked at Prue and she looked at me. Then we both looked at Kim and Pickles, astounded we hadn’t thought of this ourselves! Of course Neri would be allowed bail! Unless one was charged with a major crime, one was almost always allowed bail! I almost felt like kissing Henry, and Pickles DID kiss him! All of a sudden we had hope again!

If we could get Neri out on bail, we could change her looks, and those of whoever went to pay the bail. Then we could get out butts out of town with nobody, including the law, being the wiser! I felt like a real idiot for not thinking about this bail thing sooner but both Pickles and Kim told me that, in all the commotion, they hadn’t thought about it either. Now, the problem was, who was gonna go down there and post bond?

After a bit of conversation, we decided that it should be Prue, in her original form. She still had her real ID and, if she were questioned or any suspicion were raised, she would be totally legal as far as her identity was concerned. I raised a small objection about that, but was shouted down by the others. Hell, even HENRY shouted me down and he didn’t even know what we were talking about!

About 25 minutes later, Henry finished his work and presented us with identification for all the faces in the laptop as well as for the faces we were now wearing. The I.Ds were impressive in their simplicity. They looked, to my untrained eyes, absolutely real. They were even worn a bit as if they had been used for awhile. I asked him how he did that but he just smiled and said, with a grin, "Sorry, sweetheart. That’s a trade secret, ya know? Besides, you’re better off not known’ how I do this stuff. You oughtta just concentrate on looking’ pretty which you do VERY well, by the way." I actually blushed! I know I blushed because I could feel the heat in my cheeks! OMIGAWD, was this guy was HITTING on me? I heard Prue sputtering behind me, trying her best not to laugh out loud at me, but I was absolutely nonplused! I didn’t know WHAT to do. I think I just sort of smiled at Henry and turned and walked away but I believe I could have lit a cigarette just by touching it to my face!

I shot an angry look at Prue as I passed her and that was all it took. She burst into open laughter and Kim and Pickles joined in. That embarrassed me even more and I stalked into the bathroom and slammed the door. I looked into the mirror and took a really good look at the face and body I saw there. It made me angry to have to look like this but I had to admit that what I saw in that mirror WAS damned attractive. No, it was beautiful. That long lush red hair just spilled over my shoulders and down my back, framing an absolutely gorgeous face. I know, without a doubt, if I had ever seen that face and body while I was still Bill, I would have tried my damndest to get to know her. I took out the pack of cigarettes and my girly lighter, lit a smoke and just stood there, watching my self smoking, in the mirror. What amazed me was the naturally feminine way I was holding and smoking that cigarette!

I took puff after puff on that cigarette, wondering if I would EVER get used to looking like this and hoping I wouldn’t. I mean, it WAS a great disguise, don’t get me wrong. It just felt, well, wrong. Every time I looked in a mirror, I expected to see me. Plain old Bill Butler. Instead, I saw this goddess and it was so disconcerting that, for a moment, I would feel disoriented. Then, all the trouble I had caused myself and my friends would come rushing back in on me and I’d get depressed. But FAR worse than all that, standing there watching myself smoking and examining my reflection, I found myself actually admiring the sleek, sexy redhead that looked back at me! She stood there, mimicking my every move. A gorgeous sexy woman with a "come and get me if you dare to try" look on her face and I wasn’t TRYING to look that way!. It was just the way her, I mean my, I mean, SHIT! Yeah, it was MY face. Ok? Not the face I’d grown up looking at, but MY face! At least for awhile.

It WAS a great body, though. I mean, it was FAR more limber than I had ever been and much lighter too. If not for the heels that Prue insisted that I wear, I felt like I could have jumped 10 feet in the air. It was weaker, though. I had trouble just lifting things I used to be able to carry without a thought. And then there were the hormones. I was having some strange thoughts, in this body. Much more so than I’d had in the first form I had disguised myself in. In fact, just standing there, watching myself smoke and trying to calm down, I was turning myself on with the sexy moves that I didn’t even know I was doing, or COULD do! My nipples were hardening and there was a heat, ummmmm down below that was building with each passing second, each sexy move that this beautiful woman that was now me, was making in that mirror. I tossed my head just to se all that red hair float around my head and feel it brushing against my shoulders.

I seemed to feel things much more acutely, in this body. My emotions were almost out of my control and my thoughts were, well, let’s just say, different. I was looking at Prue and other women.......differently. I can’t describe exactly how or what I was feeling. I had and still have, no real understanding of what I was really feeling. All of a sudden a thought went through my mind, strictly unbidden and it scared the crap out of me when I realized what I had just thought. I need a MAN! As that thought percolated through the first several layers of concrete that must comprise my skull, trying to penetrate to some neural matter, I freaked again! Only for a second, but it was a REAL freakout! For just a few seconds I surrendered to that thought and was actually fantasizing about having a strong, handsome, well built stud lying on to of me! Penetrating me! The cigarette fell, almost unnoticed into the sink and my hand began to rub my groin area through the dress I was wearing. First gently, hesitantly and then with increasing vigor until I was almost lost in the sensations, and the thoughts in my mind were only about being possessed by that male image I had dreamed up.

I could hear someone moaning softly and my breathing was getting more and more ragged and then I realized it was ME moaning! I almost came out of it right then but the feelings from down below were too strong by then. I was lost in my fantasy and before too long, I was shuddering in what could only have been a female orgasm!!! The waves went through me again and again leaving me shuddering and hanging onto the sink with my other hand so I didn’t fall on the floor. Over and over the waves of emotion went through me and, when I finally got a little control back, I brought my hand up from my crotch and it was wet! So, for that matter were my crotch AND the insides of my legs! I could feel the juices slowly running down my pantyhose clad legs and THEN the shock set in. I had just ORGASMED as a WOMAN!!

Well, a LOT of thoughts tied to go through my brain at that point but none of them seemed to be making any headway past the shame I suddenly felt. I felt dirty and cheap and well, I guess used. Finally ONE thought penetrated my dazed brain and that one thought was, That was NICE!!! I mean, some part of my confused mind was telling me that the feelings I had just experienced were nice and it would be even better to do it again! I was trying to find my way out of that mental maze when I suddenly became aware of someone knocking on the bathroom door.

I heard Prue’s voice asking me if I was ok in there and would I please come out so we could begin planning. I swallowed a couple of times and, realizing that there was no way out of this short of taking a bath or a shower, I called out to her. "Ummm, Prue? Would you please come in here? I think I have a problem."

I unlocked the door and Prue eased her way in, looking at me with a somewhat concerned expression on her face. The minute she laid eyes on me, however, she knew what had happened and she rushed to me and hugged me tight.

"Oh, Billie." she crooned in my ear. "It finally happened, didn’t it? I wondered just how long it would be before you tried some experimentation but I don’t think that NOW is the time to be doing it, do you? I mean, we’ve got Neri to get out of jail and "The Professor" to get rid of and..."

I stopped her right there and said, in a voice that was quivering, "Prue! My God! What did I just do? How did that happen? I didn’t mean to do that! I was just standing here, smoking a cigarette and I happened to notice how sexy I looked in the mirror and the next thing I knew I was shaking all over and juices were running down my leg! Did I do what I think I did? Omygawd, Prue! What happened?" Yeah, you guessed it, I was losing it again. Well, it seemed to be my day for losing it but can you blame me?

I mean, there I was, a normal(?) guy in his thirties, on the run with several new friends from some secret government agency goons, standing shivering in a motel bathroom having just fingered and rubbed his(?) way to his(?) first female orgasm AND I had liked it! HELL, I had LOVED it! And I wanted MORE! Prue couldn’t keep me from sinking to the floor in shock, amazement, fear, shame and, yet, wonderment! Was I going to want more of that? Was it ok to WANT more of it? Was I turning gay or something? Worse, at least to part of my mind, was I beginning to LIKE being female? The room seemed to get a bit grey and then faded out completely.

When the lights came back on I was lying on a bed with what turned out to be a cool washcloth on my forehead. The room was quiet and I noticed that I was under the covers wearing nothing at all. I laid there for a few minutes, trying to remember how I got here but nothing was coming to mind. Then, like a lightning bolt out of the blue, it hit me! I remembered what I had done in the bathroom and the thoughts that had gone through my mind at the time! I started to groan a little bit, the memories becoming clearer and clearer and Pickles must have heard me because she came over to the bed, sat down on the edge of it close to me, and took my hand in hers. "Are you feeling any better, Billie?" She asked me in a concerned sounding voice. "You passed out in the bathroom and Kim, Prue and I had to carry you to the bed. Prue said there had been some kind of an accident and she had undressed you before we got in there. Prue told us about how you were feeling about having dragged all of us into the mess you’re in and that you had probably just let it all get to you too much and fainted. Anyway, we put you in the bed here and I’ve been watching you since they all left." "Left?" I croaked out. "Where’d they go?" "Well hon, Prue and Kim took the Professor to the bus station and then were gonna go bail Neri out of jail. They asked me to stay here and keep an eye on you so you wouldn’t be alone when you woke up and, of course, I said sure!"

She babbled on for another few minutes about how they were going to get Neri out and then come back here and change her and all that but I wasn’t really listening. I was too ashamed of myself. I just wanted to sink through the bed and the ground beneath it and never have to deal with ANY of this stuff again, EVER! How could I have done what I had done? I felt my face starting to redden again and I guess Pickles noticed it too because she said, "Look Billie, I don’t give a rat’s patoot about who or what you used to be. I really only know you as the good looking redhead you are now. Oh sure, I know you are really a guy under all the sexy girlflesh and maybe you’re feeling ashamed or something about it. Well, sweetie, you can CAN the macho bullshit! I don’t mean to be insensitive, hon, but what you are right now is all that concerns me. We got problems and we need you to help solve them. You ain’t gonna get anywhere feeling sorry for yourself or blaming yourself for dragging us into the stink with you. >From what Prue has told me, she WANTED to come with you and she doesn’t blame you one whit! As for Kim and me? Shucks honey, me and Kim ain’t had this much excitement in our whole lives. Well, I ain’t, anyhow. Kim was in the army and stuff but I’ve just been a quiet country gal tryin’ to get through life with as few problems as possible."

She paused for breath and then continued. "Shoot, Billie. This is excitin’! I mean, one minute I’m just another truck stop waitress in a dead end job in a dead end town and, the next minute there’s fightin’ and runnin’ around and secret agents and ALIENS for God’s sake! Not to mention watchin’ my brother get turned into a honest to God woman right in front of my eyes! You couldn’t PAY me to go back to that damn truck stop and the dull life I was havin’. So you see hon, this ain’t your fault at all. Me and Kim NEEDED something to break us outta the rut our lives have been in. Oh, shoot, I KNOW there’s some danger but it’s worth it. So you just quit blamin’ yourself for any of this mess and concentrate on gettin’ your mind right, ok? Heck, darlin’ who knows? After all this is over with, we might all get to go on Jerry Springer’s show!" And then she laughed. "Now you just lay there for a bit and get your strength back, hon. I gotta see to all this stuff the Prue and Kim left here. They didn’t wanna take all that alien foororaw with ‘em to the copshop. They thought it might be bad if they were caught with it."

For a minute I thought she was laughing at me but, as she continued to giggle, it slowly dawned on me that she wasn’t laughing at me. She was laughing with excitement and joy! I sank back on the bed, trying to sort out everything I had experienced that day and all that had gone on through the last few days. I tried to look at things from Prue’s point of view and from Kin and Pickles’ as well. I realized that she was right. Prue HAD volunteered to come with me that first day! Kim and Pickles had involved themselves and had ALSO volunteered to come along. I hadn’t talked anybody into anything! I just laid there in amazement.

In just a very few minutes this seemingly simple country girl had, somehow, put everything in focus for me. Well, most of it anyway. There WAS still the bathroom thing I had to deal with, but everything else just seemed to fall into place and made sense! My ego had caused me to try to blame everything on myself and my supposed "bad luck". As this seeming catharsis or epiphany or whatever it was, was going on in my head, a thought began to niggle it’s way to the front of my brain. Fooforaw? Alien stuff? They’d left all the alien equipment here?

I bolted straight upright in the bed, causing the covers to slide off my umm prominent chest. "PICKLES!" I shouted. You mean to tell me that they went off without any means of protecting themselves if they got caught?" I was, of course, thinking of the ray guns or whatever you wanna call them. I knew the power of the one that I had used and I knew that it could have gotten Prue and Kim out of ANY trouble they might run into, if they had to use it. Of course it MIGHT cause more trouble than it solved but, with the body changing stuff, we could have slipped out of almost any problem.

I jumped out of bed, completely forgetting that I was stark staring naked under those blankets and ran over to where Pickles was standing, looking at me in a somewhat embarrassed way. As I ran, I suddenly felt all the extra flesh swaying and jiggling and I stopped dead in my tracks. Well, most of me stopped. Some things took a few seconds to come to a complete halt and, is that space of time it filtered into my brain that I was in a motel room, in the nude, wearing a sexy female body, with a more of less complete stranger!

It took me a couple of minutes of frantic movement to convince myself that I just didn’t have enough hands to cover up all that I needed to cover up and I stopped trying, frustrated. Pickles just stared at me. I stared at Pickles. Suddenly the whole thing seemed SO ridiculous that I started to giggle. Then Pickles began to giggle as well and the next minute we were both ROARING with laughter! I was TRYING to be serious but, somehow I just couldn’t. I laughed so hard I couldn’t stand up and had to sit down in a chair to catch my breath. Pickles just supported herself against a wall and we both continued to laugh until we finally ran down.

Gasping for breath, I said "Ok. Ok. I know how this looks but I REALLY wasn’t gonna attack you! Well, that did it. We both dissolved into helpless laughter again and it took several minutes before either one of us could speak intelligently or intelligibly. Pickles staggered over to the bed and grabbed one of the blankets and handed it to me, wordlessly. I think she knew that if she had said ANYTHING, we would both be helpless in our mirth again. I tried to thank her for the blanket but I couldn’t speak. I was too breathless. I just gave her a thankful look and wrapped the blanket around me, covering my, as Radar O’Reilly would have said, nudidity since it was making me breathe funny. Finally I felt I had enough control to talk again and I began to tell her what I had been feeling. I left nothing out, practically telling her my whole life story before I was done. I finished by telling her what I had done in the bathroom, although I know my face was as red as a beet while I was telling her. Her expression changed from one of intense concentration, listening to what I was saying, to one of understanding and well, compassion is the only way I can describe it.

She rushed to me, the hilarity of but a moment before seemingly forgotten, and wrapped me in a fierce bear hug, murmuring calming words of understanding. "Oh, Billie, honey! No WONDER you fainted! Hell, the first time *I* experienced an orgasm I thought I was gonna die, but WHAT a way to go! I can just imagine what it must have felt like to you, being that you’re really a man and all! Tell me, hon, was it THAT much different from what you remember feeling when it happened to you as a man?"

I stood there for a bit, snuggled in Pickles’ reassuring hug, contemplating what she had just asked me. Did I have an answer? If I DID have an answer was I man or woman enough to tell her? Was it different? Was it better? How DID I feel about it? All those questions and more ran through my brain in about 3 nanoseconds. When I finally DID answer her, I’m sure it wasn’t the answer she was looking for. "Pickles, I honestly don’t know. I don’t remember much of it after those first waves of pleasure began running through this body. I can tell you that it WAS different, but I can’t really tell you HOW it was different except to say that it felt like my whole body was involved in it as opposed to just one specific area. I also know that I felt like it would never end and I didn’t want it to! Then, I’m afraid, everything got a bit fuzzy and the next thing I can remember, I awoke on that bed over there, naked and VERY confused."

I paused to think a bit and then continued. "I mean, I AM a guy, after all. What I did in the bathroom has left me feeling very ashamed and yet, strangely turned on and wanting more, but too ashamed of what I had just done to even THINK about doing it again. It was........different, and I’m afraid that you’re gonna have to be satisfied with that answer until I can think clearly again. Right now, though, I need to get dressed and take a look at what Prue and Kim left here."

I gently and reluctantly removed myself from Pickles’ hug and went in search of clothing. The clothes I HAD been wearing were pretty much ruined. Well, they at least needed a GOOD washing. I dug around in the duffle bag of clothing that I had found on the alien ship and the pile of stuff that we had bought and, with Pickles’ help, found some things that more or less looked like they fit and went together. Then, with a little help from Pickles again, I used the makeup machine to "fix" my face. Even though the alien makeup was all but indelible, the wear and tear *I* had put it through did fade it and smudge it a bit.

Pickles seemed pleased at the effect of the denim mini-skirt and crop top we had found for me to wear and she DID help with the makeup, suggesting different colors and the like. When I looked into a mirror again, I was amazed yet again, by the vision that greeted me. I want you, the reader to do me a favor. Look in any mirror you might have handy. Notice the face that you have worn all your life. Now, imagine that the face you normally see, the one you’re used to, has ben suddenly replaced by the face and body of the most gorgeous display of beauty, of the OPPOSITE sex, that you have ever seen. That’s how I felt EVERY time I looked in a mirror.

Absolutely freaked out, but turned on by the beauty displayed there at the same time. God, I wanted to screw myself! I DID notice, though that I did seem to be getting used to it. I had worn this body and face for three days now and small things were beginning to make themselves known to me. I was having less trouble moving the way a body like that should move and I didn’t seem to mind it at all. In fact, I kind of ......posed, there in that mirror, pursing my lips and making kissy faces at it! Then I giggled! I mean, a full fledged, feminine, "delighted with what I see," giggle! The only shoes I had to wear were the ones that went with the other outfit I had been wearing but they were black 4 inch heels so they looked okay with what I now had on.

The skirt WAS a bit short but, DAMN, I had great legs! I was actually beginning to get used to wearing this body and even being a bit, dare I say it, a bit proud of the glamorous looking woman who smiled back at me. I sighed and, of what THAT did to those plump protrusions on my chest! I was standing there, admiring myself when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Pickles looking at me with a funny look on her face. I turned to her and asked her what was wrong. "Oh, nothing, I guess." She replied. "It’s just that, well, seeing you gazing at yourself in that mirror kind of made me wonder if you’re beginning to LIKE looking like that! I mean, you were moving and posing like a woman natural born and the look in your eyes was.....well, blissful, I guess. Maybe I’m wrong, but I hardly think I am. Is what I’m saying making any sense to you, Billie? Am I right? I don’t wanna embarrass you any more than you already were but I just gotta know." God knows, *I*’d be ecstatic if what *I* saw in the mirror looked like you do. "I dunno, Pickles." I replied. "I think I AM becoming more at home in here. I’ll grant you that it IS a beautiful body and face. It’s still a shock every time I see it in a mirror but not as big a shock as it was the first time I saw it, and each successive time, it seems to be less of a shock. I mean, I STILL want my old body back. I was born a man and I can’t wait until I am one again, but if I HAVE to wear a woman’s form, there are a LOT worse than this one." She nodded at my answer, seemingly satisfied with my answer. Then we attacked the pile of things that Prue and Kim had left in the room. They had left EVERYTHING that I had recovered from that wrecked UFO, taking nothing with them that could cause them any problems if something went wrong. Even the gun taken from that MIB guy was here. Since there was nothing more that Pickles and I could do, I spent some time reading the "instruction manuals" that accompanied each piece of equipment. I even tried to do some searching on that laptop that was, in reality a body changing device. I found a section marked; WARNING! INJURIES TO BORROWED FORMS! In reading over that section, I found that injuries sustained to a borrowed form were pretty much unhealable. Once someone wearing a borrowed form was injured, the only way out was to take a different form. Someone ELSE could switch into the injured form and it would heal very rapidly but if the original wearer tried to get back into it, the body would return to it’s injured state. "Earth" medicine would have little or no effect on injuries to borrowed forms. "Well," I thought to myself, "THAT sucks!" That means that I can never return to that less noticeable blonde woman’s form that I had originally been wearing.

It also meant that I was gonna have to be a little more careful of getting hurt while wearing these forms since injuries prohibited one from ever using the same form again. There WAS something very interesting further on in the manual, though. I found a section entitled; AVOIDANCE OR PARTIAL INVULNERABILITY TO INJURY. Basically it said that one could avoid being hurt if one used a certain setting on the "laptop" while switching into a body.

This setting allowed one to shrug off injuries that would harm, even cripple someone, under normal circumstances! There WAS a penalty to pay for this, though. That was, that if one were subjected to an injury, while in a borrowed form, while the wounds/bruises would not only not appear, but the impact from any such injury would be almost unfelt, the injury would, after 30 minutes of time as measured on Earth, LOCK the person into the form he or she then was wearing and would render the body switching machine ineffective ever after. Fortunately, we had not known about this when I had first hurt myself while wearing that blonde form. Had we known and had we used that particular function, I would have been uninjured but locked into that form for the rest of my life!

Oboy! I sat there thinking about what I had just read and realizing that I had better read through this whole manual. I guess what they say about "when all else fails, read the instructions" isn’t just a guideline! Pickles was busy watching something on the Television so I did read through the whole manual. There were actually very few other surprises, though. The only other one I found that disturbed me had to do with how much time one spent wearing a "borrowed" form.

It said that if one wore a form for more than 2 weeks straight, switching to another form would be difficult, if not impossible. Apparently, if one wore a form for that long, it kind of "set" the mind into the form, making it extremely painful at the very least to change again. Death was also a possibility, in extreme cases, such as having worn the form for more than 30 consecutive days. Well, I thought, this is interesting and something I need to make the rest aware of. After all, it’d be their choice to make about staying in their borrowed forms or changing them or even returning to their old forms. Great! Just one MORE problem to add to everything else! I was lost in reading the other manuals and didn’t notice time as it passed. When the door burst open and Prue, Kim and Neri walked in, I was taken totally by surprise and damn near jumped out of my skin! I jumped up and ran to Neri, having no problems running in those heels, I noticed. I grabbed Neri and hugged her tightly, telling her how glad I was to see her and apologizing for having left her in such a spot. She gently disengaged herself and, holding me at arms length, looked at me intently.

"Listen, Billie, I’m just fine. There was never any real cause for alarm. This was just one more arrest for me. It’s not the first and, the way things are going, it probably won’t be the last. What worries ME is, are YOU okay? Prue told me about you "losing it" and kinda retreating from reality for a little while. You LOOK okay, but, are you, really? I know how hard all of this has been on you, especially being sort of forced to wear a woman’s body for almost a week now." She looked so concerned, standing there looking at me intently. It was difficult to remember that this mature looking and sounding woman was really just a 17 year old wearing a disguise, albeit a damned GOOD one. I couldn’t meet her gaze for long, though. I was too ashamed of having been so selfish and egotistical as to have believed that everything had been my fault. I know that my face was slowly coloring again and, Neri, seeing that, said, in a joking tone of voice, "Oho! Look here everyone! Our little sexpot is blushing! How pretty it makes her look, too. Oh, Prue, isn’t our little girl precious? You better watch it, little one! If any guys see you blushing like that you’ll have to fight ‘em off with a big stick, or do you want to do that? Maybe you’re thinking about that very thing, huh? Maybe thinking that it might not be so bad to have a bunch of hunky guys paying some attention to the sexy little redhead you are now? Well, Prue, what do you think? Should we take our little sex bomb here, out for an evening on the town and let her meet some cute men?"

The more she talked, the redder I got and I could actually feel the heat in my cheeks. I knew she was teasing me and, somehow, I felt like giving a little bit back to her. I looked up from the floor and gazed right into her eyes and said, in a kind of bemused tone of voice, "You know Prue, she might be right! Maybe it IS time I got more familiar with this body and what it can do. I might have to wear it for a long time, at least until we reach somewhere we can feel safe and I certainly could use a good time out on the town. I think that, after what I’ve been through today, I might be able to handle going out for a few drinks and maybe even some harmless flirting with some, as Neri calls ‘em, "hunky guys! I AM a woman right now and it seems totally normal to me. Besides, I don’t plan on being a monk, or should I say Nun?"

I looked at Prue and then, back at Neri. I gave them the sweetest smile I could muster and turned on my heel and walked slowly away from Neri, giving it all the feminine sway I could muster. Damned if I was gonna let them get my goat this time! I walked as sexily as I could, over to the bed, sat down and crossed my legs at the knees, just like a woman would. I kept that smile on my face as I looked back at Prue and Neri. They were still standing where they had been, shocked looks playing over their faces.

Prue looked at me and asked,

"Bill," pointedly using my real name. "Are you all right? This doesn’t seem like you! Is that body starting to get to you? Maybe we’d better give get you back in your old form as soon as possible. I knew this might be a mistake. We should’ve chosen a less blatantly sexy female form for you to wear. Neri, get the machine! This has gone far enough. I can’t stand to see Bill acting this way. He’s a MAN for God’s sake and he shouldn’t be forced to wear a woman’s body just so he can be safe from these government goons! No wonder he lost it earlier!"

Prue’s voice kept rising in pitch and getting louder until I couldn’t take it anymore and I started to giggle again. Finally I just burst out laughing and slowly collapsed backwards onto the bed. I was laying there holding my sides and laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. Neri must have caught on because she began to laugh as well and soon she was as helpless from laughter as I was. Prue’s face got redder and redder until I thought she was gonna blow up like an overstressed pressure cooker.

After a few minutes I calmed down enough to talk again and I said, "Prue, chill out. I was just trying to get the two of you going and it looks like I was successful. I’ve never seen you so concerned and IN CHARGE! "Neri, GET THE MACHINE!!!" As I said that, the laughter welled up in me again and I collapsed backward on the bed again. Prue sputtered, trying to say something but being unsuccessful at getting the words out. She advanced on the bed and stood there glaring at me. I couldn’t help it. At that point EVERYTHING seemed funny to me and I began to make incomprehensible noises, trying to talk and laugh at the same time.

The look on Prue’s face was priceless and, every time I looked up at her towering over me, it just got funnier. Finally, Prue jumped onto the bed with me and began tickling me! As helpless as I had been before, I truly WAS helpless now! Her fingers were everywhere on my body and all I could do was laugh and quiver while she had her way with me. I was shrieking with laughter and trying to beg her to stop. She had an almost evil grin on her face and she was saying, "So!" You were trying to mess with my head, eh Billie! Well, let’s see how you handle having your BODY messed with!" Her assault on my poor laughter tortured body continued, finding every single place I was ticklish and there seemed to be a LOT of them. Finally, I was able to beg her to stop, telling her, "P...P......Prue! Pleeease s..s...s..stop! Omygawd, PRUE, I’m gonna pee my PANTS!!! EEEEK!!" I pleaded with her, but to no avail She just kept it up until I actually DID pee my pants! Well, it FELT like I peed my pants. There was something else, though. Something I had felt only once before, not that long ago, in the bathroom! All of a sudden, Prue’s tickling slowed and became something different. She changed to almost caressing motions all over my body, soothing me and exciting me at the same time! Finally, She stopped, looking me squarely in the eyes. Something passed between us right then, I still don’t know what it was, for certain. I DO know that, at that exact moment, our relationship changed. From being just two friends, we had suddenly become something else. What that was, I didn’t know then but I could tell that Prue was feeling the same things I was. Her expression changed and she got this "faraway" look in her eyes. For a moment, neither of us spoke. Finally, I ventured, kinda timidly, "Um, Prue? Do you think you could let me up, please? I’ve REALLY gotta pee."

She moved slightly and I slid out from underneath her. There were a million questions going through my head but the main thing was I DID have to go! I scurried to the bathroom, shut the door, skinned down my panties and hiked my little skirt and squatted on the toilet seat and let go. When I was finished, I just sat there for a few minutes more, thinking. Trying to sort out all that had happened that day. I knew that something had changed between Prue and me and I hoped that it meant what I thought it might mean.

I had been falling in love with Prue from the first time I had set eyes on her and I had hoped that, someday, she might feel the same way about me, but I was a woman right then! Was Prue falling for Bill, or Billie? Was Prue bisexual, or a lesbian, or maybe she was just as confused as I knew *I* was at that moment. When she was caressing me, just a few minutes before, was she caressing Billie, or was she somehow, seeing me as my real, male self?

A shiver ran through my body as I sat there thinking. Finally, I finished my toilette and dressed. I gave my appearance a quick glance in the bathroom mirror and opened the door, re-entering the room proper. Neri, Prue, Kim and Pickles all looked in my direction when I entered but I kept my cool, for once. Maybe that day had taught me something. The old Bill would have tried to bluster his way past any lingering embarrassment over what had happened, but Billie just sauntered over to all of them, outwardly as cool as a cucumber.

I looked at Prue, then at Neri and cleared my throat before speaking.

"Okay, you two. What’s the plan? Have you come up with anything or is it gonna be all u to me again? They both looked at me like I was from Mars." (No pun intended)

"Well, Billie," Prue began, "we WERE waiting until we were sure you had your head back together before we talked about any plans. Are you sure you are ok now? Because if you are, we DO have to make SOME plans. My thought is we forget all this back roads running around and hit the main highway straight into L.A. the fastest way."

All of a sudden, everyone was trying to talk at the same time. It seemed that each of us had a different plan and no two were exactly the same. At the same time, everyone seemed to be pointedly ignoring, or at least not mentioning, anything about what had gone between me and Prue on that day. I could see a speculative look in Neri’s eyes, but she too, said nothing about it We didn’t have time to discuss that anyway. It was too urgent to get back on the road and away from the trouble that this town had brought us. At least now we had identification for every form contained in that alien laptop and would not have to take quite as many risks in the future..

I paced while the others planned, trying to figure out why I felt differently in this body than I had yesterday. It seemed that I was getting USED to it and that was making me uncomfortable. Not concerned, mind you, just concerned that I might get TOO used to it. With every hour that went by, I felt more at ease in this female form. My mind seemed to be almost at war with itself. One side wanting to get back to being just plain Bill and the other side beginning to appreciate the benefits and differences between Bill and Billie.

As I paced back and forth across the room, the others talking and planning, I could feel the hips swaying back and forth, the subtle body motions needed to maintain balance, the heavy breasts swinging and bouncing ever so gently in their confining bra and the legs lightly brushing against one another. It’s a totally different way of moving, a kind of a sexy feeling for a former man, such as myself, and there’s no way to explain it sufficiently to someone who hasn’t had the chance to experience it. Even the hands and arms move differently, with the arms held slightly higher and the wrists slightly bending, to avoid brushing against the hips when they swing back and forth. Then too, there’s the lack of pockets, someplace to put one’s hands, so one tends to rest the hands and arms by placing them on the wide hips thus presenting a totally feminine posture to anyone looking on.

At one point, I looked back toward the rest and noticed them watching me. Neri had a knowing look on her face while Prue looked a bit worried. Kim was actually studying me and Pickles had a big grin on her face. When they saw me looking at them, they all fell back into their argument/discussion. I stayed out of it because I really had no ideas or even thoughts about what to do next. It seemed that every time we changed plans, or directions, or whatever, the MIBs only needed a comparatively short time to get wise to us and be right on our butts once again. Maybe Kim had the right idea about the MIBs having a way to track those alien machines.

I decided that I might as well do SOMETHING while the others planned so I sat down with that laptop and opened the files, beginning to read. I was looking for anything that might tell me if there even WAS a way to track the machines. About halfway through examination I noticed a listing of the components. I called up that list and began tracing each one of them. Lo and behold, I found one that didn’t quite seem to fit! I quickly got out the manual and compared what was written there with the list shown on the screen and there WAS one component listed that the manual didn’t mention.

Further reading and comparison between the list on the screen and the list in the manual showed that the additional component was an "add-on" that was required for ANY alien equipment brought to a different planet. Now the question was, could we remove that tracking device? I called Kim over and when he, now she, came over, I explained what I’d found. Kim was immediately interested and began looking over what I showed her. Kim called up a schematic on the laptop and began searching through it to find the tracker. Then she shut down the laptop and turned it over, examining the back of it. She asked if we had a tool kit and I replied that there was one in the van, along with a small one I kept handy just in case. It was in my luggage.

I got the small one out while Neri went out to the van to retrieve the other one. When we brought them to Kim, she waved us away and set to work taking the back off the laptop. I was, I think, justifiably concerned about Kim doing that. What if she screwed it up somehow and we couldn’t return to our original forms. I definitely didn’t want to be stuck forever in that sexy redheaded female body, regardless of how much at home I was beginning to feel, in it. I didn’t want to get in the way, though so I stood back and let Kim do her thing. Before very long at all, she had the back off that laptop and was gazing into it’s guts.

She was mumbling to herself and referring back to the printed schematic constantly. I could see that part of the problem would be that the printing was in an alien language. The only thing to go by was that there was one more component listed in the schematic on the screen than there was in the printed one in the manual. I finally couldn’t take it any longer and I stepped toward the door, intending to go outside and have a cigarette in an attempt to calm down and cool off. I grabbed my purse,(MY PURSE!) from the couch near the door and grabbed my smokes and lighter from it. I opened the door and stepped outside, lighting a cigarette as I went.

I closed the door behind me and found a place where I could try to enjoy my smoke without being concerned about being seen by anyone. I was still uncomfortable enough in that form that I didn’t want to have to deal with being stared at by some horny male passer-by. It’s funny. Even being in a completely different form than the one I was born in, I still felt that need to smoke. Yet, as I stood there, smoking that cigarette, I couldn’t help but notice how much differently I was doing it. Instead of leaning against the wall with a hand in my pocket and the other hand negligently hanging down at my side, holding the cigarette, I had one arm crossed in front of my body, under my breasts, supporting the other arm which was bent at the elbow and holding the cigarette up near my face, with the cigarette delicately held between the first two fingertips.

When I exhaled, instead of just blowing the smoke out in any old direction, I tilted my head back slightly and blew the smoke upwards, away from my face. It seemed very odd and yet, very natural to be doing it that way even though I knew that it was a very feminine way to smoke a cigarette. I wondered about that but, having read what I’d read about the machine, I was beginning to understand that it was part of an acclimatization process, designed to make it easier for the wearer of any of the forms to appear to be naturally, what they were perceived to be. I finished that smoke and lit another, enjoying the outside air after having been cooped up in that room for awhile, especially after what had gone on inside that room today. I thought about a lot of things, not the least of which was, would it be SO bad if I WAS trapped in this body for the rest of my life? Granted, it WOULD take some serious adjustments in my lifestyle, but then, what was so hot about my old life anyway? I wasn’t what you might call a screaming success with women, having had only about 6 or 7 dates within the last year. None of them went anywhere, most of them were your standard "one night stands’. The body I was now wearing was designed to be admired and desired. Granted, it would be desired by MEN, but it would be interesting to be the chased for a change instead of being the chaser. Sort of "seeing how the other half lives" if you will.

That last thought brought me up short as what was left of my maleness came bubbling up inside me and made me choke on that last lung full of smoke. What the HELL was I thinking? It HAD to be that damned acclimatization thing working on me again. Man was it insidious! I was gonna have to watch it a lot closer or, before I knew it, I’d be going out on dates with guys and liking it! I crushed out that cigarette and stepped back inside the motel room, breathing a little raggedly.

It appeared that some kind of decision had been decided upon by the other four because there was no more arguing going on. Kim was still working at that laptop but the rest were just kind of sitting around in various stages of relaxation. Prue must have noticed the look of consternation on my face because she immediately got up and crossed the room to stand in front of me, asking, "Billie, are you ok? You look as if you’ve just seen a ghost or something!" She looked at me searchingly as if she could read on my face, what was in my mind.

"OH, Prue," I began. "I wish I knew what was going on inside me right now. While you were gone I read those manuals that came with the machines and found out that there is something included in them that makes the wearer of these forms comfortable with being inside them. Maybe that’s what’s been happening to me these past few days. Since you and Neri put me inside this body, I have been feeling strange and out of sorts and VERY emotional! Prue, could it be the hormones rushing through this body that are playing merry hell with my thinking? I mean, I’ve been having these flashes where I find myself thinking that it wouldn’t be so bad to have to live in this body for the rest of my life. I’ve also been having thoughts about, well, men and what it’d be like to date and, umm...so forth."

I paused for breath and to gather my thoughts, then continued.

"It’s scaring the hell out of me, Prue! Half the time I don’t even think about looking like I do right now, anymore! It’s getting more and more comfortable, to me, to be in this body but I don’t WANT to be a woman! Damn it, Prue, how the HELL can I be a woman if I’m in love with you? You want a MAN, right? You don’t want a woman. You’re not a lesbian, Oh GOD, Prue.....!"

At that point, I broke down, crying, something else I’d been doing a lot more of in the last few days. Prue grabbed me and held me in her arms, trying to calm me down but that only seemed to make the tears come harder and faster. I don’t know how long I stood there, cradled in Prue’s arms, crying. It must have been for a few minutes at least but it seemed as though the tears would never stop. When they did finally begin to slow a bit, I snuffled a couple of times, gently disengaged myself from Prue’s arms and ran into the bathroom, closing the door behind myself. It seemed like I was spending a LOT of time in that bathroom, lately!

I stood in front of the mirror, rinsing my face with cold water and trying to get myself under SOME kind of control. I was SO embarrassed to have broken down in front of Prue, again! What was she gonna think of me? When I felt as if I had control of my emotions again, I turned and left the bathroom, only to almost run right over Prue, who was standing right outside the door. She grabbed my hands and led me to the bed where she made me sit down. She sat down beside me and began to speak, saying, "Oh, Billie, I am SO sorry I raged at you earlier! I should have realized that it HAD to be the unaccustomed hormones in your body that were making you act the way you have been. I’ve been such a bitch to you and you’re only doing your best to get us out of this nightmare. Now, look. I don’t know if I love you. I haven’t known you for very long, you know. I DO know that I DO respect you. You’ve been willing to submerge your masculinity to try to protect Neri and me and I DO have, umm, other feelings for you, rolling around inside me. I don’t know for sure what they are right now but I think I COULD love you, given time." She paused for breath and then continued. "Look, Billie, let’s just put this on a back burner for now and concentrate on getting to L.A. Once we get there and find a place to hole up, THEN we’ll have time to switch you back into your male body and maybe explore these feelings." She grabbed me and hugged me again.

"I DO want you to know that I admire your guts for doing what you’re doing and I gotta thank you for including me on this adventure. You have to admit, that this whole thing HAS been exciting! I mean, sure we stand a chance of getting caught and held, maybe forever, by some nebulous secret agency but when in your life have you EVER had such a wild adventure? Every DAY has brought something new and different!" I looked at Prue and her face was positively aglow with excitement. My GOD, she looked lovely just then! I wanted to take her in my arms and kiss her and I almost did. Until, that is, I remembered the form I was in and thought about how strange it would look. Then I thought again and the thought was, "What the HELL! These people in this room are in the same boat that I’m in! They are ALL in different bodies than the ones they were born into, except for Pickles." So I DID grab Prue and I kissed the hell out of her! We were both breathing kinda raggedly when I backed off of that kiss a little bit. I recognized what I felt as feminine arousal in myself but I didn’t find it strange. I just found it, well, arousing! Prue had a faraway look on her face with just a little bit of puzzlement thrown in. I wondered if she felt as turned on as I did but I didn’t ask her. I just let her go and stood up.

I straightened my clothes, turned to the others and said, "Okay! What are we sitting around here for? Let’s get our asses in gear! What’s the plan?" Kim, Neri and Pickles just looked at me for a moment and then they all rushed me and grabbed me into a group hug! I heard, "Way to go, Billie!" and That’s the way to be!" and a lot of other complimentary things, all babbled at me in a confusion of voices. Somewhere in there Prue joined the hug and it became a sort of an affirmation of our mission and our growing friendship. When we broke the hug there wasn’t a dry eye in the bunch but they were tears of happiness and hope. Somehow, I knew, at that very moment, that, no matter HOW this thing turned out, I would ALWAYS be friends with these people and they would always be MY friends! Somehow, that made all that we had gone through and everything we WOULD be going through, seem not so insurmountable.

We all sat down and, after calming a bit, they told me what they had come up with for a plan. Kim had been successful in removing the tracker from the laptop and was busy trying to come up with a power source for it so it could be used to throw the MIB types off our trail. She also had an idea for removing the trackers from all the rest of the alien gear! Now that WAS good news! We decided to stay one more night, with Kim working on the trackers, Prue, Pickles and I going out for provisions and clothing and things and Neri staying with Kim to keep an eye on things.

When Prue, Pickles and I left, we took one of those alien weapons with us and left one with Neri along with the rest of the equipment. We were all through taking chances and if any of us ran into trouble, we were going to be prepared to shoot our way out of it if necessary. We made plans to meet somewhere in case Neri and Kim had to get out of the room in a hurry. We also packed everything up just in case they DID have to move without warning. None of the stuff was so heavy that Neri and Kim couldn’t carry it for short distances. Everything heavy went back into the van. Finally, we arranged for check in calls on the half hour. If either group failed to make the check in call, the other group would head for the rendezvous point, post haste. Kim would continue to work on the alien gear, one piece at a time to remove any tracking devices she found.

She checked the weapon we were taking with us and found it free of tracking devices. We all hugged quickly and then, Prue, Pickles and I left. We headed for the local K-Mart where I knew we could find just about everything we would need, food, drink and clothing. We ran into no problems driving across town and in a surprisingly short amount of time, we were pulling into the parking lot of the local Chain Discount Store. Pickles and I had compiled a list of things we thought we would need while Prue drove so when we parked the van, we were ready to conduct a lightning raid, so to speak.

Prue led the way inside where we grabbed a couple of shopping carts and separated. Pickles and Prue went for the clothing sections while I headed for the groceries. Along the way, I passed the stationary and I grabbed some pads of paper, some pens and pencils and assorted other items that I thought might come in handy. From there I went directly to the food area and loaded the cart with canned and dried food. I also grabbed a couple of cases of soft drinks and some juice boxes, as well as several bags of assorted candy.

On the way back to the front of the store, I passed by the sporting goods and detoured to take a quick look around. I found some fishing line, heavy stuff and grabbed several spools of it. I also picked up a couple of pairs of binoculars and some hunting knives that looked rugged and well made. I looked greedily at the rifles and shotguns but I knew that there would be a waiting period before we could pick them up so I reluctantly, passed them by. A Coleman stove, fuel for it, a couple of lanterns and some flashlights with batteries completed my selections and I headed for the registers to wait for Prue and Pickles.

While I was waiting for them, I decided to make a quick foray into the shoe department to see if I could find some more suitable footwear. The four inch heels I was wearing looked good on me but were VERY impractical for anything but attracting attention to myself. I found some very durable looking sport shoes and some really nice boots and, before long, I had two pairs of each. MUCH better, I thought! At least I would be able to run and maneuver in those new shoes MUCH better than I could in those CFM pumps that Neri had gotten for me.

By the time I was done in that department, it was pretty much time to meet Prue and Pickles so I hurried up to the registers where I found them waiting for me. All in all, from start to finish, we were in the store for a bit less than an hour, a new record for three women shopping, I believe! Prue and Pickles had a couple of carts full of clothing and I was starting to worry about finding space for everything, in the van. I shouldn’t have worried though because by the time we packed everything away, there was still plenty of room for all 5 of us plus the alien gear. We had checked in, while we were in the store and everything back at the motel was okay. We called again when we got out to the van and had everything put away and no change in the status quo was reported. We got in and drove back to the motel, stopping at a fast food joint to get some hot food. We called in once more before we got back to the motel and Neri said that there had been a car kind of moving slowly around the parking lot, but it didn’t look like the ugly black machines that our pursuers drove. It still concerned me, though and I told Neri to keep a sharp eye out for that car and if it showed up again, to call us and then get herself and Kim out of there in a hurry!

I relayed the news to Prue and Pickles and they seemed as worried as I was. Sometimes, reflexive paranoia is a GOOD thing. I hoped I was wrong and my suspicions would be unfounded but, better safe than sorry, I’ve always believed. The closer we got to the motel, the more worried I got but, nothing seemed wrong or out of place when we got there and Neri greeted us at the door of the room. She grabbed the bags of food and quickly opened them, sharing out the food to everyone. We ate quickly and packed up the alien machines preparatory to a quick getaway. Then we took them out to the van and stowed them inside the safe except for two of the weapons. From here on out, we were NOT gonna be unarmed.

Kim took a couple of the batteries I had bought and wired them, somehow, to the tracking device. We left the motel and drove to a truck stop where she planted it under a tractor trailer that was idling in the parking lot and we got out keisters the hell outta Dodge! That specially built van was a dream to ride in and it had power to spare. In no time at all we were on the interstate and headed west. We had decided that our best bet was to head directly to L.A. and hope that the tracking device would throw the MIBs off our trail. If nothing else, we could, I felt, either outrun their vehicles or use the weapons to make sure they never followed us again! Ok, Ok, I was feeling a bit bloodthirsty, but I’d had all I could stand from those bozos and I was sick and tired of being hunted! We were all agreed that, if it came down to it, we would destroy the machines AND ourselves before we would let them fall into the hands of our pursuers.

We had fueled up before hitting the interstate so we were good for a long run and Prue had the van humming along at just under the speed limit. I guess the day had been pretty tiring on all of us because, before too long, Kim, Pickles and Neri were fast asleep and I was beginning to nod off myself. I had a flash of guilt because I thought, "Prue must be as tired as we are." I looked over at her and asked her but she said she was fine and would wake one of us before she felt too sleepy to drive. I gave her a big smile and leaned over to kiss her softly on the cheek. She smiled back and patted my face telling me, "It’s been a rough day on all of us Billie, but maybe harder on you than on anyone. You’ve been through a LOT today so you just get some sleep. We’re gonna need you bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow and for the next couple of days if we’re gonna make it to L.A. unscathed and undetected. So just sit back, close your eyes and try to get some sleep Billie, okay? Don’t worry, I’ll be fine for a stint behind this wheel.

"Okay, Prue." I murmured as I sank back into the comfortable seat and closed my eyes. You be sure to wake me if you need a break though, all right?" "You got it, Billie." She replied. "Now, GET SOME SLEEP!!!" She thundered.

"Ma’am, yes! Yes’m! Aye aye, sir! You got it! Sleeping now! See? My eyes are shut and I’m snoring! ZZZzzzZZZzzz!" I shot back at her, jokingly. Prue aimed a half hearted swat at my head, missing by about two feet and said, in a long suffering tone, "Quit being a smartass, Billie. I’ll pull right over, ark this van and give you the spanking you seem to be begging for!"

"Ooooh! Kinky!" I shot back, but I settled into the soft cushions and closed my eyes. "Seriously, Prue, you’re one in a million and I’m glad you decided to join me on this mad dash to the coast. Night, m’luv." I must have dropped off almost the instant I closed my eyes because I don’t remember anything else until a bump woke me and I slowly pried my eyes open to see a sickly looking dawn. I rubbed the goopy stuff from the corners of my eyes and tried to focus my thoughts AND my vision. Pickles was driving so I assumed that we must have stopped sometime during the night to switch drivers. If we HADN’T stopped, I wished I’d been awake to see the driver exchange! Pickles must have noticed me moving because she asked me if I wanted some coffee.

"Coffee?" I replied. "No thanks, Pickles but I’d KILL for a Pepsi!" I dug in my purse for a cigarette and lit up, rolling down the window so the smoke could escape. One or two coughs into that cigarette and I was beginning to feel almost human again. I set the smoke in an ashtray and looked back at the others to see how they were doing. Kim was stirring and I called back at her, softly.

"Hey Kim. Reach in the cooler and grab me a Pepsi, wouldja?" Kim obliged me and I popped the top, taking a long drink from the ice cold can. AHHHHHH! I’ll tell ya, folks, I feel sorry for those who drink coffee. There’s nothing like a big mouthful of fizzy Pepsi to get a jump start on a day. I finished my smoke and the Pepsi at almost the same time. I tossed the butt out the window and placed the empty can in a bag behind the seat.

"You ready to take a break, Pickles? If there’s a rest stop anywhere near here, you can just pull in and I’ll take over driving. As soon as I find a bathroom, that is. She thought for a second or two and then said, "Okay, Billie. There should be a rest stop coming up in the next few miles and, to tell the truth, I COULD use a break. I took over for Prue about an hour or so after you fell asleep and I’ve been driving steady since then. Actually *I* could use a bathroom myself! A few miles down the road, there it was, a rest stop. Pickles eased the van into a parking spot and we raced each other to the bathroom, locking the doors of the van behind us. Pickles beat me to the bathroom but only because she was more used to running as a woman than I was. It was a bit disconcerting to have all that wiggling, jiggling and swaying going on and I got a bit distracted.

We finished our business in there and were coming out when a car pulled into the parking lot!



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