“You still here?”
I looked up from my computer monitor to see John McFarland, one of the financial analysts, leaning on the entrance of my cubicle. I leaned back in my chair and rotated a bit towards him and said, “Oh, has everyone else left already? I was just trying to get to a good stopping point.”
He glanced at his watch and said, “Yeah. After the managers left for lunch and never came back, everyone’s been slowly drifting out. What are you working on?”
I smiled and said, “Oh, I’m working on that accounting dashboard.”
John smiled and said, “Didn’t we have the same conversation a week ago?”
I laughed as I looked up at him and said, “I think you’re right.” I looked around the empty office and asked, “Are you joining the group at Tequila Tony’s tonight?”
John suddenly looked uncomfortable and studied the floor. After a few moments, he said, “Um, no. Actually, I was going to ask if you were free tonight.”
I took my hands off the keyboard of my computer and sat back and stared at John. Feeling a bit surprised, I said, “Are you asking me out on a date, John?”
John took a look over his shoulder and then looked around the room before saying, “Must be you. I don’t see another pretty woman in the room.”
I felt a little flustered. John and I had spent Christmas Eve together. That was my very first date with a man and I have to say I enjoyed his company. He kissed me on the cheek when he brought me home. The day after Christmas he drove me to an automotive store so I could get a new battery for my car. He even installed the battery for me. We talked once more on the phone, but since coming back to work, he hasn’t spoken to me.
And then, after everyone in the office leaves, he asks me out. It makes me feel he’s ashamed to be seen in the office with me. Most of the office is still stand-offish to me since I began my transition to female.
Fearing I’d just run him off, I said, “I appreciate the offer, John. But where have you been since we came back to work? You haven’t called or even stopped by my desk to say hi. Are you ashamed to be seen with me around your buddies?”
John’s face reddened and he averted his eyes away from me. He said, “No. No, of course not. To me, you’re a woman. I…I can’t even picture you as a man. I mean, really.” He paused a few moments then said, “Look. I’m really sorry. With all the end of the year insanity in the Business Office, I really haven’t had much chance to come up here. This is the first night I haven’t worked late since returning from Christmas.”
I felt my face redden. I felt bad as well as a little selfish. I looked at my computer screen and said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.”
John spread his arms and said, “No, you’re right. I was a complete ass. Let me make it up to you?”
I smiled at him and said, “Let me check my calendar.” I pulled my smart phone from my purse and tapped the screen a few times. I set the phone down on my desk and said, “Looks like I’m free tonight. What’s your plan?”
Last week John had taken me to Texas Roadhouse. I enjoyed it, but I had always imagined my first date would be more romantic. My guess for tonight was either Buffalo Wild Wings or Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
John smiled at me and said, “Thank you, Eve. I’ll come by around seven to pick you up. I’ll hope that’ll give you enough time to get ready. I made reservations at Gildersleave’s. You don’t have to wear a tux, but coat and tie are required. It’s a swanky dress up place.”
My eyes widened a bit as I said, “Yes, I’ve heard of it. My girlfriend and I almost went there once.” I saw the small grimace cross John’s face. I said, “Sorry. I’ll try not to remind you of my past.” Gildersleave’s was a fancy, night club with a ballroom style dance floor. Very expensive. I had bought myself a prom dress about a year ago and it was basically a short, blue sequined cocktail dress. This seemed like a good occasion to wear it.
Grinning, John said, “Great! I’ll see you at seven.” And then he was gone.
I just sat there for a few moments staring blankly at my computer monitor. I couldn’t interpret my emotions. John had just invited me on a second! date. I smiled at the monitor as I asked myself…do I now have a boyfriend? I grunted a laugh and smiled at the blank wall. It was fun to think about anyway.
I looked down at the clock on the monitor and decided I’d better wrap up what I was doing and head home. I have never gotten ready for a date as a woman and quite frankly the thought intimidated me. I was going to have get home, take a shower, do my nails, do something with my hair, re-do my make-up for evening, make sure my dress still fits, find the matching shoes, find the right necklace and earrings and not to mention, a small clutch to carry my house key, phone and some cab money just in case.
As a guy, going out on a semi-formal date only required taking a shower…
I stood there posing in front of my full length mirror, making kissy faces at the image reflecting back at me when there was a knock on the door. I froze. It had to be John. No one else would be knocking on my door at six fifty-eight on New Years’ Eve. I stepped up to the mirror and angled my head around a few times checking my make-up. I smoothed my skirt which didn’t really need any smoothing.
I was nervous as hell. While it was my second time to go out with John, this was my first real date-date. We weren’t just friends hanging out together. This was a planned romantic outing. I looked at the woman staring back at me in the mirror. I made a nervous grimace at the mirror. Girl, a man is picking you up for a date. You. You’re the girl. Oh God. A wave of cold washed over me. I took a deep breath and walked, heels clicking, over to answer the door.
When I opened the door, John just stood there a moment with an odd expression on his face. Then his face split into a wide smile as he said, “Hi, Eve. You look absolutely gorgeous. Stunning. Seriously.” He stood there a moment, his eyes running from my feet to my breasts, to my face, to my breasts and finally settling on my face. I felt elated that John said he thought I was gorgeous. Nobody had ever said that to me before. I have to admit, I liked it. But I also felt embarrassed as he just stood there staring at me.
John suddenly looked a little sheepish and brought his hand up. In his hand was a clear plastic box. “I have something for you. I know you never got to go to prom and we are going to a formal dance, so um…I brought you this.” In the box was a wrist corsage made up beautiful white carnations.
As John fumbled with the box trying to open it, he said, “The lady at the flower store suggested white flowers since I didn’t know what color your dress was. I hope these are okay.”
I wanted to exclaim, “What? Are you kidding? Of course!” I’d never been given flowers before. I smiled at John and said, “They’re beautiful John. It’s perfect.”
John grinned as he motioned for me to hold my hand out. He slipped the corsage over my wrist. He looked at me and said, “Beautiful flowers for a beautiful lady.”
I punched John playfully on the shoulder and said, “Don’t over-do it, John”
Feigning shock, John said, “I mean every word. Seriously.” He made a broad gesture towards his car. “Are you ready?”
“Let me get my purse,” I said. John nodded knowingly. I hurried back inside my apartment and picked up the small clutch that matched my dress. I started to head back for the door, and then hesitated. I frowned as I went quickly into the bathroom and grabbed my lipstick, and then grabbed my cell phone from the kitchen counter and dumped them both into the small purse. I’m still getting used to life without pockets.
John stood there and watched as the parking valet drove his car away. He winced when the valet chirped the tires while driving off.
I felt a little bad looking at John, knowing he’d sunk some major cash for this evening. I haven’t ever sat down with the other women in my office to talk about anything much less dating, so I don’t know how they felt about their guy splurging a chunk of their wages on them. Did they notice at all? Did they feel special? Or did they feel a slight pang of guilt? I looked at John and straightened a little. Hey girl, he invited you. You would have been content to watch Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve with a bowl of popcorn.
“You must be freezing in that dress,” said John. “Let’s go inside.” John then took my hand and led me up the steps to the entrance of Gildersleave’s. Again, mixed emotions. A tingle went down my spine when he took my hand. I looked down at my hand with the long, painted nails being held in John’s hand. It was an image I’d played in my mind since I was a pre-teen boy.
Another part of me couldn’t help but notice the typical male position of leading his female instead of me walking beside him as an equal. Instead he took the superior position of being in front as well as leading me by my hand. I tried not to over-analyze my date. I’ve been dreaming of this moment most of my life and I didn’t want to spoil it by thinking too much. I wanted to be as much like a genetic girl as I could, out for an evening and dancing and dining with my guy.
With my guy… Did I just think that? I suddenly felt cold from more than just the weather and a numbness washed over me. I suddenly became horribly self-conscious. I’d been living as a woman for my real life test for four months so far, and taking hormones for longer than that. It was irrational, but I felt like an awkward, clumsy male trying to fit into a dress and about to embarrass myself and John. I stopped, but John didn’t and almost jerked me off my heels.
As he turned around to face me, John asked, “Is everything ok? Is something wrong?”
I felt inadequate and exposed all of a sudden. I said, “I…I feel like everyone is staring at me, pointing and laughing.”
As I walked up the walkway, hand in hand with my Mom to the school’s entrance, I was both giddy with excitement and scared witless. I really thought she’d say no to my suggestion to go to school on Halloween dressed as a girl. Each class was having a costume contest and the school was letting us dress up for the full day. When I asked, I took Mom’s hesitation to mean no. But she shocked me in letting me dress as a girl.
“Mom,” I said very matter-of-factly. “I don’t think this is a good idea any more. We should go back home.” Strands of light brown hair from my wig played over my shoulders.
Mom shook her head as she looked down at me. “Nonsense honey. You’ll be fine. You’re adorable.”
“You suggested I go as a pirate, remember Mom?” I said. “Maybe we should go back and let me change.”
Mom laughed and said, “Evan, I didn’t buy that costume. Besides, wearing that dress was your idea, remember?” She glanced at her watch. “I have to get to work. I just wanted to make sure you got to school okay. You got the house key so you can let yourself in after school?”
“Right here in my purse,” I said as I gave the cute pink bag a shake.
Mom leaned down and kissed the top of my head, which was at that moment covered in a long, girlie wig. “Bye honey. See you when I get home.”
“Bye Mom.” I said with a wave as she started to turn and walk away. It was then I started to notice getting some stares. I could feel my face redden as I looked at the ground and hurried to the door.
“Are you Evan?” asked a girl standing just inside the door. She was Amy from my class. I nodded, feeling I just wanted to die. She continued, “I thought so. Is this your costume for Halloween?”
“Yes,” I said quietly as I walked past her. She turned and started walking with me.
“My Mom wouldn’t let me wear a costume. She says it’s against our religion or something.” She looked over at me and said, “That’s a very pretty dress. I know it’s a wig, but I do like your hair. It looks like mine!”
I looked over at her and my wig did look a lot like her hair. About the same color and long flowing strands bouncing around her shoulders.
“Thank you.” I said with a weak smile.
As we entered the classroom, Amy said with a laugh in her voice, “You make a very pretty girl.”
As I entered the noisy classroom, some of the other kids stared and pointed. There were zombies, ghosts, pirates, Supermen, Spidermen, princesses, and some things I couldn’t describe, but everyone looked at me.
“Is that Evan?”
“Why are you dressed like a girl?”
“That’s a stupid costume, Evan. What’s up with that?”
“He’s so pretty!”
“He’s so gay you mean.”
“He better not go into the girl’s bathroom!”
“Are you going to try out for cheerleader? Ha ha…”
Ms. Sullivan rapped a ruler on her desk. She said, “That’s quite enough, children. Everyone looks wonderful in their costumes. Get to your desks. We still have work to do today.”
I sat at my desk feeling humiliated. I really didn’t expect this kind of reaction. Maybe some ribbing, but not like this.
The girl sitting across from me leaned over and in a loud whisper said, “Be sure to keep your knees together.” Several girls who couldn’t help but over hear laughed. They laughed again when I did put my knees together.
By the time the lunch bell rang, most of the class had gotten over the fact that I was wearing a dress, wig, a little make-up, nail polish, earrings and pretty girls shoes. I just sat there when everyone started getting in line to head to the lunch room. I had lost my appetite.
Amy came over to me and said, “Not going to lunch?”
“No.” I said glumly.
“Why don’t you sit with me and my friends?” asked Amy. “No, really. We won’t make fun of you.”
I hesitated for a second, and then decided I’d go. I tried to steel myself as I nodded to her and stood up. I got in line with Amy and three of her friends.
Rachel said, “I love your dress.”
Samantha said, “Oh, me too! And your hair! It doesn’t look like a wig at all.”
I smiled weakly at them and said, “Thanks. That’s very nice of you to say.”
Tommy turned around to look at us and make a gesture suggesting he was sticking his finger down his throat and said, “Gah! I think I’m gonna hurl.”
After going through the lunch line, I set my tray down next to Amy’s and sat down. I said to her, “Thanks for letting me sit with you today, Amy.”
“Sure!” Amy said. “I know this is just for Halloween, but you are very pretty.”
“Thank you,” I replied. “I really didn’t think I’d cause a scene.”
With a dismissive wave of her hand, Rachel said, “Boys! They’re like soooo immature. In a couple of years, they’ll be trying to ask you out, not make fun o f you.”
I giggled. It felt good to giggle. I said, “I really don’t think so. And don’t go thinking that just because I’m dressed like a girl that I like boys.”
Amy laughed and said, “We’re just teasing you. But you know…” Amy studied me for a few moments. She continued, “…you seem more normal this way. I don’t think I’ve seen you smile this much before.”
I felt my cheeks redden. How could I tell her that sitting here at lunch, dressed as a girl and sitting with other girls, talking girl stuff was one of my many dreams. And I really don’t think I like boys, but I do daydream stuff like, instead of being a football hero or soldier like other boys, I dream of being a princess and swept off my feet by a knight in shining armor.
Samantha said, “Hey, if you want, when we go outside after eating, I can show you how to braid your hair. I know it’s a wig, but I’d love to show you!”
I smiled and said, “Sure!”
As we walked across the playground towards the tree that provided the most shade, three boys from my class approached. They were pointing at me and laughing. They had bullied me before.
“Well, lookie here! The fag is hanging out with the girls,” said Roger, the largest of the three. “And look guys! He’s carrying a purse! You really are a sissy, aren’t you?”
Amy folded her arms and said, “Leave him alone, Roger. He’s just playing. That’s his costume. We’re just helping him.”
I frowned and said, “Besides. This dress doesn’t have pockets. I have to carry my keys and lunch money somewhere.”
“He has to carry a purse, guys!” sneered Jaden. “His dress doesn’t have pockets. Oh, what ever shall I do?” They all laughed a little too hard.
“Look, you worthless little faggot, after school, I’m going to beat the living shit out of you,” growled Roger. “Your pretty little dress with no pockets is going to get a little dirty.”
Chuck chimed in with, “You won’t be able to hide, sissy!”
Stepping in between me and Roger, Amy said, “Leave him alone, jerk. He’s not doing anything to you.”
“Real boys don’t wear dresses. If he’d looked stupid, I might say, okay, he’s making fun of girls and let it go at that,” Roger said. “But he went to a lot of trouble to look just like a girl. I bet he’s even wearing panties.”
He was right. My mom had to go buy a package of three panties because my sister said she’d burn any of her panties if I wore them. Little did she know that I wore her panties quite often.
Roger brushed past Amy and said, “Move out of the way, Amy. I don’t want to hit a girl.”
Amy shouted, “But you’ll hit him?”
I tried to step back, but Roger came at me quickly and pushed me to the ground. He said, “He deserves it! Worthless little faggot!”
“What’s going on? What’s all this noise you’re making, Roger?” said Carl who just seemed to come from nowhere. I laid there on the ground looking up at a group of girls and boys standing next to me, thinking this just gets worse and worse. Carl was a tough guy. A real tough guy. One that even the bullies were afraid of.
“Just trying to scare this little sissy, Carl,” said Roger. “Just look at this fag, all dressed up as a girl and hanging out with girls and..”
“Shut up, Roger,” said Carl in a calm but annoyed voice. He walked to where I was still on the ground and bent down and extended his hand. He smiled at me and nodded, and I felt more at ease. I took his hand and he gently helped me back on to my feet.
To me, Carl said, “Are you okay?”
I brushed the dirt and grass from my dress and said, “I think I’m okay. Thank you.”
Carl took a few steps towards Roger. He said, “You’re going to beat up this kid just because he dressed as a girl for Halloween? Or are you just jealous that he gets to hang out with girls who wouldn’t even bother to tell you what time it is? If you want to beat him up, you’ll have to beat me up first.”
Roger shuffled his feet nervously as he studied the ground for a moment. “Now Carl, you know I’m just funnin’ with him. I mean, Halloween is supposed to be scary, right?”
Folding his arms and scowling, Carl said, “Beat it, Roger. And take your droids with you.”
“Thanks again, Carl,” I said.
“No problem,” Carl said as he turned and walked away.
Later that day when school ended, I dreaded walking home. I waited until most every one had left the building. I almost jumped out of my skin when a voice came suddenly from behind me.
“You’re still here?” asked Carl. “I really don’t think Roger will try anything. I’ll walk with you though, if you want.”
“I hate to put you to any trouble, Carl…” I said.
Carl held up a hand to stop me. He said, “I wouldn’t have offered if it was any trouble.”
I smiled at him and said, “Thanks. I really appreciate it.”
I felt safe with Carl walking beside me. I desperately wanted him to hold my hand, but I knew that wouldn’t happen.
Annoyance darkened John’s face for a brief moment and then he smiled. “Everything’s fine, Eve. This isn’t your first time out in public as a woman. This isn’t even your first time out in public with me.” He then gestured around to the chilled throng standing outside Gildersleave’s . “Look. I guarantee that nobody here is looking at you thinking you’re a guy. If anything, they see a very pretty girl who happens to be with me. And besides, in this light, your Adam’s Apple is only barely noticeable.”
I poked him in the ribs and, wincing yet again, this time from pain, John led me into Gildersleave’s, He led me to a door just a few yards from the main entrance. He flashed a card to the doorman and we were let inside.
Still holding my hand, John followed one of Gildersleave’s staff to our table. It was on a raised floor with a picture window behind the table. This was obviously one of the nicer tables in the night club and I can’t imagine what John paid to reserve it. I smiled when I remembered being on his side of a date.
John held my chair out for me and eased it forward as I sat down. As he took his own seat, he asked, “What are you smiling at?”
I didn’t want to tell him about the times I tried to impress a girl on a date. So I sincerely said, “This is very nice, John. Really wonderful.”
John grinned and said, “I’d hope you’d like it. This is the place to be on New Year’s Eve.” He paused a second before adding, “Unless it’s Times Square, I guess.”
“That’s a little far away,” I said. John just nodded.
The waiter handed us each a menu and John ordered us champagne. I started looking over the menu and almost gagged. The prices were outrageous. Just a salad cost more than a steak elsewhere. Poor John. I wonder if he realized how expensive it was.
As if he was reading my mind, John said, “Order whatever you want. Don’t worry about the prices.”
I smiled at John and looked back at the menu. I had to be careful anyway what I ordered. Since I’d slimmed down just before transitioning, I couldn’t eat as much as I used to. I did want to be able to finish the plate. It would always bother me when a girl I took out to a nice place and she’d order the most expensive thing on the menu, and then only eat a few bites.
The waiter brought the champagne bottle and two glasses and asked if we were ready to order. I asked for a few more minutes and he left. And yes, I did notice he was cute. I giggled to myself that I now allowed myself to notice such things as cute guys. Not that I didn’t notice before, but I always tried to suppress those feelings.
John took a sip of his drink and said, “There’s that smile again. What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing,” I said. “Well, actually, I’m thinking about how wonderful it is to finally be able to express who I am. And to marvel that here I am, on a date with a rather handsome man.”
John broke out a wide grin and said, “Thank you. Is it okay if I ask you some things about yourself? Last time we were out, I’m afraid I spent a great deal of time talking about me, and I know almost nothing about you.”
I took a drink and again amused myself at seeing the lipstick on my glass. Not that I hadn’t seen that before, but I guess I was just being amused by everything.
“Sure, John,” I said. “I mean, you can always ask…”
John gave me a sheepish smile and said, “Well, I don’t want to grill you and make you uncomfortable, but I’d just like to know a few things to help me understand how you arrived where you are now.”
“You drove me here. Don’t you remember?” I said.
Smirking, John said, “Ha, ha. No, seriously. I know what you’re doing wasn’t an easy decision. I’ve seen the talk shows. You risk everything — friends, family, your job — for this. But…but what I can’t get my head around, is how do you know? How do you know this is the right thing for you?”
I really didn’t want this conversation as I’ve had it about a zillion times. But John seemed sincere and if there was a possibility of building a relationship with him, he deserves to know a bit more about me.
I shrugged. “It’s something I’ve always felt. As far back as I can remember. Even before I knew boys were an outie and girls were an innie.”
John looked confused for a moment before saying, “Really? How could a child really know?”
I sat up a little straighter as I felt my muscles tighten. I said, “I can’t speak for all transgendered people, but I do remember being a young boy going to bed each night praying that I’d wake up a girl. Maybe you don’t know exactly what, but you do know something is wrong.”
John flushed and said, “I’m not trying to start anything. I don’t know about this stuff. I’m just trying to get a handle on it.”
“We’re a very misunderstood group,” I said as I shifted uncomfortably in my chair.
John said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was a sore point.”
I sighed and said, “I know you’re trying to understand me. It’s just I’m tired of reading comments to articles about transgendered kids on the web where clueless people call us vile names and how it’s impossible for children to be transgendered, ad-nauseum.”
John shrugged and said, “Fair enough. But I’m not one of those people, Eve. I may be clueless, but hey, I only see you as a woman, I like you and I enjoy your company.”
I said, “I appreciate that. You have no idea what it means to me to be able to sit here with you as a normal woman out on a date. I finally feel free.”
John reached across the table and put is hand over mine and stroked the back of my hand. He said, “I hope you never have to feel uncomfortable in your own skin again.”
I nodded and said, “I tried to be quote, unquote, normal. I didn’t play with dolls because I was told boys don’t play with dolls. I tried to date and be interested in women like a normal guy. But I always knew I was lying to myself.”
“Did you ever have an interest in guys?” asked John.
I studied John’s hand on my hand for a few moments. His question wasn’t as easy to answer as it seemed. I thought back through my life on how I’d suppress crushes I’d have on boys. “Not really,” I said. “I’d have a few quick crushes, but I always tried to deny I did.”
I paused for a moment, and then allowed a small smile. I said, “But there was this one guy I thought was really special to me. Not because we dated or anything, but we had a special relationship, that sadly faded quickly. He was a big guy for his age. He protected me from the bullies a couple of times from elementary to part of middle school. In the ninth grade, he came out as gay. I always thought he kinda liked me, but as a kid was confused about his feelings.”
John took another sip of his drink. He said, “So you and this guy never had a serious type relationship?”
A sudden sadness washed over me. I said, “No. He never talked to me until one Halloween I went to school dressed as a girl. He protected me from a dirt bag bully, and then walked me home. I think at the time, he was afraid to admit he liked boys, but felt safer liking a boy wearing a dress. We became friends, but not close.”
Even though he was looking uncomfortable, John asked, “Did you ever tell him you liked him? Or that you were transgendered?”
I shook my head and looking out the window said, “No. We ran in different circles in high school. And then…” My voice trailed away. I took a sip of my drink and continued, “He uh….he was killed in Afghanistan by an IED.”
John looked really uncomfortable as he said, “Oh wow. I’m so sorry. That’s terrible…I…” Words seem to stick in his throat.
I gave him a weak smile and said, “It’s okay.”
There was a long, embarrassing pause in the conversation. John looked into his glass as he swirled his drink around. I picked up my menu, but just stared blankly at it for a few moments.
The waiter stepped up and said, “Are you ready to order?”
John looked up at him and said, “Give us a few more minutes, okay?” The waiter nodded and walked away. John looked over at me with a look of desperation and said, “Look. I’m really sorry to have brought up some bad memories…”
I waved him off and said, “I said it’s okay. You didn’t know.”
John nodded. He said, “Don’t worry. I won’t ask about your family.”
“Um, hi, Evan,” said my sister over the phone.
“Oh. Hi Deb. Merry Christmas,” I said, feeling very nervous talking to Deb after the fight with her and my brother Pete a couple of months ago.
“Merry Christmas, Evan,” said Deb. “Look…ah…I don’t approve of what you’re doing. But it is Christmas and we’re all we have…” Her voice trailed away.
“Thanks for calling, Deb. I never asked for your approval. I’d just like some understanding and acceptance. We’re family. We’re supposed to stand by each other.”
With irritation in her voice, Deb said, “Look. I don’t want to start another fight with you. But that’s the problem isn’t it? You didn’t ask Pete and me before you started this. You just did it. You show up one day at the house wearing make-up and a dress that didn’t really fit you and we’re just supposed to just accept that? Did you ever consider our feelings?”
“Deb, of course I did. I was afraid of how you’d react. I knew Pete would be a hard sell, but I thought you of all people would be understanding.” Tears were starting to well up in my eyes.
“Why?” Deb almost shouted through the phone. “Because I’m a woman? That I’d just throw open my arms and say welcome to the team? I’m sorry, Evan. But I just can’t understand why a man would want to become a woman.”
I nodded uselessly with the phone. I said, “I’m not sure I can explain it. I was just born this way. I just didn’t wake up one day and decide to be a woman. Trust me. I’d much prefer to have been either a boy or a girl. Being both is a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
With a cry in her voice, Deb said, “If you’d just talked to us…”
Interrupting and not trying to hide my anger, I said, “There’s no talking to Pete! His reaction would have been the same. Maybe worse.”
“Maybe,” said Deb with a sigh. “Look. I need to go. Like I said. I just called to say Merry Christmas, Evan.”
Fighting back tears, I said, “Same to you, sis.” I started to hang up, but said, “Can I ask one thing from you for Christmas?”
“Like what,” Deb asked.
“Can you bring yourself to call me Eve instead of Evan?”
There was a long silence. Just before she hung up, Deb said, “Merry Christmas, Eve.”
John closed his eyes as he put the last cut of steak in his mouth and said, “Mmm! That has to be the best steak I’ve ever had! Just wonderful.”
I was still working on my salmon. I was going to get just a salad, but I remembered how I and some of my friends complained about a date just getting a salad. The other extreme of course was for your date to get the most expensive item on the menu, and then just nibble it. So I managed to find some middle ground. I said, “Everything here has been wonderful. Great choice, John.”
John wiped his mouth with a thick maroon napkin and said, “Yes. And the evening isn’t over yet.” Tilting his head towards the dance floor, he said, “Would you care to dance?”
I smiled and said, “I thought you’d never ask!” As we both stood up to go to the dance floor, I thought to myself how I actually hoped John wouldn’t ask. I was never a very good dancer, and now I was expected to dance backward and in heels. I took John’s offered hand and he led me to the dance floor.
It was a large floor and with only a dozen or so couples dancing so far, there was plenty of room for us. I was hoping for a bit more crowding so my stumbling around would be less noticeable.
I looked at the other women dancing with their companions. Only two others were wearing short cocktail dresses similar to mine. Most on the floor as well as in the night club wore elegant floor length gowns. I frowned at my lack of preparedness for a formal evening. I just mentally shrugged as I liked my dress and so far I hadn’t been arrested by the fashion police.
“There’s that frown again,” John said. “You’re giving me a complex.”
I laughed softly and said, “It’s not you. I was just thinking.”
Smiling, but using a stern voice, John said, “Well stop it! Seriously.”
We found a spot on the floor and I nervously took my position in front of John, worried I was going to make a spectacle of myself. John took my hand and placed his other hand on my waist and I put my hand on his shoulder. I felt more at ease when John just gently rocked us back and forth with very slow turns so I could keep both feet on the floor and we both just seemed to glide. After a few moments, I gained confidence and looked up at John with a broad smile.
John looked down at me and smiled back. He said, “That’s more like it. A beautiful smile on a beautiful woman.”
I felt my cheeks get warm as I softly said, “Thank you.” I looked up to John and for the first time fully realized just how tall he was. My five foot ten height always made me self-conscious, especially wearing three inch heels. John’s six-three frame I felt put him at just the right height. I oddly felt more feminine.
John said, “Forgive me for not saying anything before. But I did want to say how much I love your dress. You look stunning in it and it really shows off those gorgeous legs of yours.”
I wanted to say something stupid like, “What? This old thing?” But instead I just blushed again and said, “Thanks. That’s nice of you to say. I have to admit. You look very handsome tonight. You should dress up more often.”
John grinned and said, “I don’t even own a tie. One of the reasons I took the job at that place was the lenient dress code. I’m guessing you’ve always been a fashion plate?”
I laughed and said, “Before I started my real life test, I wore mostly t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. I hated ties and suits.”
John then laughed and said, “And now you wear suits and high heels every day.”
I said, “Yes, but at least they’re not men’s suits.”
And then, without thinking about it, I drew myself closer to John and rested my head against his shoulder while we danced. It felt so natural. It gave me comfort and a sense of security.
We danced to three more songs before John had to go relieve himself. I went back to our table to give my feet a break. It was getting close to midnight and we wanted to be on the dance floor at the stroke of the new year.
It took a moment or two for me to realize that my cell phone was buzzing in my purse. I retrieved it from the small bag and answered without looking at who was calling
“Hello Evan? Sorry, Eve.”
“Hi Deb!” I said to my sister. “This is a surprise.”
“Pete didn’t want me to call,” said Deb over the phone. “But dammit, Eve. I miss us being a family. I still don’t really like what you’re doing and I’m having a hard time grasping the idea that I now have a sister. I…”
“Well, gee Deb. Thanks for the call,” I said in a harsh tone. “But I need to go.” I really didn’t want my great mood smashed by getting angry at my sister.
“Wait wait wait, Eve,” Deb said. “I’m sorry. Look, I just called to say Happy New Year. I…I…shit Evan. I wish you were here like the old days. Pete and I are watching the Rocking Eve show like we used to do with Mom and Dad. So we’re a boring family. Are you watching too?”
I smiled into the phone and said, “I’m out dancing. I have a date.”
I heard Deb gasp and then she said, “No way! You mean with a guy?”
I laughed and said, “Yes, with a guy. A very cute guy I might add.”
Deb said, “Wow. Well that certainly beats what Pete and I are doing. I…I’m happy for you, Eve. No, really. That’s great you’ve found someone. Does he have a brother?”
I giggled and said, “I’ll ask.”
There was a long pause before my sister said, “You know, Eve. Maybe we should meet for lunch or just coffee sometime soon. I think I’d like to get to know my sister.”
A little shocked, I said, “I don’t know if I can get you a date with his brother or not, if he has one.”
Deb gave an annoyed laugh and said, “Don’t spoil the moment. You know what I mean. But I need to run. Pete just told me the ball is about to drop. Happy New Year, Eve. And have fun on your date.”
“Thanks Deb. Happy New Year to you too,” I said with a lifted spirit. “Say hi to Pete for me…or well…maybe not.”
“Take care.” The phone made a clicking sound as the connection dropped.
I watched John make his way across the room, moving around people and tables. He was definitely cute and I couldn’t help but wonder why he picked me from all the single women in the office to take on a date.
“It’s almost midnight, m’lady, “ John said when he arrived at our table. “Would you care to dance into the new year?”
I said, “I certainly would!” and took John’s hand.
“I really enjoyed tonight,” I said. John and I were sitting on my couch, his arm slid behind my back. He played with my hair. I had invited John in for coffee after he had driven me home. We were one of the last couples to leave Gildersleave’s.
“Me too,” said John. “I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed New Year’s Eve more.” He smiled at me and continued to twirl my hair.
“For me, I can honestly say it was the best New Year’s Eve ever,” I said, returning John’s smile and gaze.
There was long pause as we just sat there. It still had not become real in my head that I had actually been out on a date with a man. I really wished I hadn’t wasted so much time.
John suddenly leaned closer and whispered, “Damn, you’re beautiful.” The next thing I knew, his lips were pressed against mine. He surprised me, but I didn’t pull back. Instead, I closed my eyes and slid my arms around his neck and pressed into his kiss.
My first real kiss with a man! I think just the idea that I was finally kissing a guy as a woman was more exciting than the actual kiss itself. To be honest, I really didn’t think it’d be all that different from when I used to kiss my former girlfriend. But she didn’t have a stubble I had to deal with and oddly I didn’t get this turned on.
The kissing became more intense as John rolled me over onto my back. He massaged what there was of a breast as he slid his tongue into my mouth. My breathing was heavy as I sucked on his tongue and entwined my fingers through his short hair as I held his head. John pressed his hips into me and I knew he was definitely turned on. He slid one hand up the skirt of my dress and gave my butt a squeeze. His hand then slid across my panties to my crotch and he touched what hard-on I could still produce and his hand stopped.
In fact, his kissing stopped as well as massaging my boob. He just laid there on top of me, pulling his face away from mine to stare blankly at the far wall with his hand still touching my hard but reduced privates.
As he pulled his hand from out of the skirt of my dress he said, “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry, Eve. I…I…I just can’t go on with this.” He pulled away from me and stood up next to the couch.
I sat up and said, “Why? What’s wrong?”
John just stood there a moment, a great sadness marring his handsome face. He said, “You’re a very pretty woman, Eve. I mean that. Seriouisly. Looking at you, kissing you, there’s no question that you’re a woman. But…but, when I felt your cock…I…it struck home that you’re not yet a woman. I uh…I thought I could handle a woman with a penis. I…I…I…”
I stood up visibly shaking. I said, “How dare you. You knew I had a penis when you asked me out. You knew I had a penis when you danced with me. You knew I had a penis when you…when you kissed me! Until you touched it, I was a woman to you and now I’m not?”
“It wasn’t real before,” said John. “Intellectually, yes, I understood you still had your…parts. But now…I’m just not gay. Eve, you’re a beautiful wo…”
“Stop!” I yelled. “Just stop it!” I started crying. Pointing to the door, I said, “Just leave, John. Please. Just leave my apartment.”
John lifted his arms as if to embrace me. He said, “Eve…”
“Leave!” I said sternly. I closed my eyes and sighed. “Please just leave.”
John hesitated a moment and wearing an expression like he’d just shot someone, he turned walked to the door. He turned back and looked at me with a questioning glance. I shook my head and he opened the door and stepped out. The door clicked shut.
I collapsed onto my couch, throwing myself face first onto a throw pillow and began crying my eyes out. I kept rolling the questions how could he feel one way towards me one moment and then just suddenly change and how could he do this to me, over and over in my head.
As I entered my cubicle I could see John entering the office area and turned to approach towards me. I sighed as I sat down in my chair and turned on my monitor.
Lana, who sits in the cubicle across from me asked, “So Eve, did you do anything exciting for New Years?”
I heard John stop near the walls of the cubicle. A little more loudly than I needed to, I said, “Nope. Nothing at all.” I then just shrugged.
Lana said, “Maybe next year you can join us. We usually have a good time.”
I said, “Sure. I might do that next time.” I heard footsteps walking away from my cubicle. I smiled at Lana and said, “Yeah. Maybe next time.” I fought back a sudden urge to start crying.
I just stared at the screen as it prompted me for my login as I replayed some of the events from the previous night. I really didn’t think John would have wanted sex and I’m not sure I did either. I really was enjoying making out with John. But when he freaked after accidently touching my dong, I felt humiliated. Maybe trying to have a relationship at this stage in my transition is just too much to ask for.
I was reading through my email when my cell phone rang. I looked at the number and again was surprised to see it was my sister.
“Hello?” I said wondering why she’d call me.
“Hey Eve,” said Deb. “I just wanted to ask how your date went?”
I shrugged uselessly at the phone and said, “It was okay. It didn’t really end on a good note.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said my sister sincerely. “But it was your first real date. They’ll get better. Maybe we can…um…discuss your date over lunch?”
Not disguising the shock in my voice, I said, “You want to have lunch with me? Today?”
Deb sighed and said, “Yes. You know, Eve. I was thinking last night. Life is short and we’re all we have. I don’t know if Pete will ever come around but I’ve decided I want to get to know my sister better. Having someone to girl-talk with would be so great.”
“Thanks, Deb!” I said excitedly into the phone. “You have no idea what this means to me. Where would you like to meet?”
Deb said, “Let’s go totally girlie on this. There’s a place not far from you called Renata’s. Their menu is mostly those dainty little sandwiches that men hate and salads. It has a great ambiance. Can you be there around a quarter to twelve?”
“I’ll be there!” I said.
“See you then, sis,” said Deb. Then she giggled before hanging up.
I just sat there for a few moments staring into space and smiling.
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