Catching Up


Catching Up

by Kristina L S

A friend, adopted family, shared thoughts and dreams and fears...
in town for a few days, would you like to catch up....

This is a work of adult fiction.
No resemblance to reality should be inferred or expected.
Copyright KLS 2015.


Catching Up

By Kristina.L.S.

It's a curious thing how a friendship can develop, grow from nothing. Something small you say or do... or in this case, write... that affects or touches someone. No rhyme or reason to it really and you can never ..'do it' .. if you try, it just has to evolve on its own. Grow from that small seed and become something... or not. And if it does it may be amongst the most precious things you can ever have, a friend, someone that gets you and doesn't judge too much and … lets you be you despite their own fears and worries. Listens to your whining without shouting and generally backs you up. Perhaps ascribes strength or knowledge that you can't, because … well .. 'you' .. know what a jerk you are really and strong... pah. They become part of a loose handful that are now your family as those that might have been are not any more. More precious perhaps because of that.

So it was a nice surprise to be sitting on the lounge at home, Saturday night...what a party animal huh... watching a pommy serial about a lady soldier in Afghan. Not bad really, she was pretty cool in a slightly daffy way and tougher than you might think.

Anyway... Ten'ish and my phone rings... I glance at it curiously as that doesn't happen that much.. especially not at night and on a Saturday, 'Sal Home' it read and a little smile crept across my face. Tried to work out, what time is it there, early afternoon I think. Swiped a couple of times...ack, why does one swipe never do it... "Hey hon, how's things in sunny London...."

We chatted for an hour or two...cough, you know, girls and phones.... I guess it was one of those things where we didn't have many people we could chat to and just let it hang out.

In 'her' case circumstance, timing history Sally had never been quite able to be 'herself'. So there she was a pretty successful legal type working throughout Europe and Asia as a hard case negotiator for companies of all sorts. There was always that 'hidden' sadness that her life was not quite full, or perhaps correct. Even though married for many years and with a son. That girl inside had never left. Regrets and fears of loss if... so she was still Simon. But to me she 'was' Sally, easy peasy as they say.

We'd 'met' about Four years ago after I'd posted a thing on one of those writing sites. Stories about guys being girls in all sorts of ways, some unpleasant some fantastic in the true sense, some wonderful and uplifting and some grittier and real if not always pretty. I'd written a couple of things over the months since I'd found the place, but this one was different. Sort of autobiographical, slightly dark, but it was part of my life. I'd had a comment that was a little..ah... disparaging. Out of the blue I got an email. Thanking me for posting and praising my courage. Bemused at being called brave I wrote back.

Sal later told me that it amazed her that I had responded and thus started a correspondence. We learnt of each others life and slowly opened up; histories and fears and joys and failures. She told me of her travels and some of the 'quirks' of her clients and the 'joys' of assorted international legal systems. My mundanity and occasional slapdown. Family and such though in my case it was no longer a 'blood' one but a chosen one, people I'd 'met' and knew and trusted and yes... loved. A handful, but how many do you need to hold you even long distance when you get a kicking from the world at large. A kind word by email can mean a lot.

After some life 'moments' I had gone rogue... err, girl almost ten years back and it had cost me plenty, but hey, I was me and basically happy. Scrimping and saving, docs and therapists and, all that to 'present properly' sigh. Just for the record.. I hate electrolysis and 'group' is almost as bad. Now working as Lyn finally being 'complete' and if waitress had never been my life's ambition it beat the hell out of various alternatives. So.. the brave thing? Well... I had done what she had feared to. Not the same I always thought but I did get it and it didn't matter, she became 'family' too and maybe that was something that mattered to her.

Well I know it mattered and if there was a pinch of vicarious living in there that was cool too. Time and place and such I could and did she was stuck and didn't. So it goes, choices and timing. Life's a bitch, well I am now, hah. You have to poke a tongue out at the world now n then I reckon.

Oh yeah... the phone call, reminiscence mode off, snort..... funny how memory works, a few seconds of flashing thoughts to cover years.

"So Lynda my love, I'm in town down your way next week and will be free on Saturday. Wondered if you fancied catching up, you know a chance to dress posh and indulge in a bit of girl time outside work. Get waited on for a change eh."

I coughed a little laugh, "Sally my dear I would love too, but I'm not cheap, bring your Black Amex won't you."

"Bah, I'm just a middle aged working stiff, a regular Mastercard will have to do."

"Oh bugger, so no Royal love story then huh, I'm pouting. Not sure I could do that whole royal thing though so maybe for the best. But dear me.... I have nuffin to wear...."

"I'm sure you'll manage, I've seen a few pics of you dolled up. So just dress up a little you tart, I will not be seen with some floozy. I can't have my rep sullied by a ditsy trannie acting out a variation of the Pretty Woman shopping scene, the grapevine would have conniptions."

Laughter bubbled across the line.

"Oh sure, you probably own that joint you work for by now. Senior partner and all that. You n Mrs Clooney."

"Not at all, she's in a different line, damn good though and you watch too much American telly, I'm a silk in a chambers and don't forget it you snotty child. Actually, I left some months back, so I'm a free agent. Sublet chambers in another firms rooms. Don't worry I have plenty of work, I can still afford to give my favourite Sydneysider a night on the town. Tell you about it when I see you."

Her slight English accent sounded amused so I knew she wasn't upset by things. Wow twenty years or more... wonder what happened.

"So my dear I will be in the Park Hyatt under the Bridge there and I have Bennelong booked for Saturday night at Seven thirty, we can stroll around the Quay and watch tongues loll at our gorgeousness. I was going to do ARIA but I know Matt is out of town whereas Mr Gilmore is in house at present. "

"Bloody hell, okay I'm tuggin' my forelock your ladyship. Matt is it, whoo weee, Hyatt and Bennelong right you are, I'll try not to dribble or swear too much. I promise not to slurp my wine but you will have to show me which fork to use." This said with a put on Eliza Doolittle accent.

"Quite right too, no dribbling or slurping and swearing in genteel feminine style only. What was it...move yer bloomin' arse.. hah. Forks, well buggered if I know, just wing it."

We both laughed at that.

"Okay see you in the Hyatt bar next Saturday about Five okay. You can do classy just fine, don't worry about it."

"Sure, cough cough, classy bloke in dress, standard Hyatt fare I'm sure. No worries."

"None of that you cheeky cow, you'll be fine, gotta go, see you then."

There was a slight growl in that line that made me smile. Shrug, well it'll be an experience anyway. She'd left her firm... sorry chambers, my my, that was a surprise, I wonder why.

~~~~~~~~

The following Wednesday just as I got home my phone rang, a mobile number I didn't recognise. I debated answering as a Super come Insurance type had been bugging me lately, but this was a different number, well the first few were anyway.

"Hello", said just a little tentatively.

"Hi there Lynda my love, how are you."

"Oh... Sally, didn't recognise the number. You got a new one then and a local too by the looks."

"Yes my dear, I am a new customer to that large Oz Telco conglomerate that everyone whinges about but has the best network, thus captures the biggest chunk of the market. So this is my new on the move contact now. All flash and modern too, it's probably smarter than me."

"Oh I doubt that... but... local..? You starting a colonies branch then?"

"In a manner of speaking. The house in London is on the market, should sell no problem and I am now the owner of a large and slightly overpriced apartment in Brisbane on the river. I'll give you the address when I see you, perhaps a tour some day too. That would be nice."

"Okay... uh, wow so you've shifted completely. I imagine there's a bit of story in all that so we shall certainly have something to talk about. Kept that bloody quiet you bitch. Not even sure what to ask just now."

"Really dear since when did we lack something to talk about. I have the phone bills to prove it." She chuckled gently and I could not help but laugh. "Never fear, all shall become clear. It was a good move for me, so don't worry."

"Okay if you say so.. that's good... and the old tyranny of 'long distance' huh, send me the bill you bloody cheapskate."

"Hah, you couldn't afford them my dear. I on the other hand am an unscrupulous overpriced legal type and thus can. But we shall be closer from now on so you can ring me on occasion. Most of my work these days is in Asia; Hong Kong, KL or Singapore primarily.. plus my son lives in Brisbane... so..."

Grinning and shaking my head I replied, "Ohh...Kay, that makes sense but I am really intrigued now. You might not be totally happy with life but you loved that job and I thought the firm you were part of.... I don't get it."

"Well my dear, things change. Events over the last year or two caused me to reflect." There was minor pause, a muttered few words off phone.

"Sorry my dear, I have to go and do some follow up with my lot on this case. Hopefully we can tie it up tomorrow. A Malaysian bunch trying to plump up a done deal on some South Coast Dairy property to my Shanghai client is out of options, they will have to settle."

"Pah, more foreign exploiters of the poor local farmer, you imperialist... ah enabler... bugger, couldn't think of a suitable insult." I knew she could tell I was joking by the almost laugh in my voice.

"Oh yes indeed, as I said, overpriced and unscrupulous and do add very clever. They're screwed." she chuckled evilly. "Besides it pays my bills and allows me to take a weekend and meet up with my favourite adopted daughter, so see you Saturday my dear.. " ...off to the side she spoke to someone else, 'yes coming in now'... " I have to run, see you at five-ish in the bar."

"Yes mother dear, I'll see you then, no way will I miss this, I won't sleep in the meantime ... oh and I remember, posh up, hell the bar bill for a few glasses of wine in that joint will probably be more than my whole outfit."

"Oh stop pouting, nothing but the best my girl, I'm sure you will look lovely" , laughing as she responded, " see you then, bye." The screen flicked and that little phone symbol faded off.

Well damn hon, I muttered to myself looking at the blank screen of my phone... I have no idea what you're up to but it sounds like a whole lot of changes all of a sudden.

Huh... oh the mother thing, Sally...well okay, Simon was in 'her' early Fifties to my early Thirties with her son a few years younger. So after a little while and we got to know one another she'd claimed me as a surrogate daughter of sorts. Something that made me feel pretty good to be honest. Hey I got a younger brother, that I'd never met.. an Optometrist and recently married. Long way to go for glasses though... hah. Still, to have someone I loved and trusted 'adopt' me like that meant quite a bit. I did sorta think though that Mad Auntie suited her better. Ya daft 'bitch', what is going on? Hey... maybe I get to play mad auntie some time in the future... now there's a thought.. eek.

~~~~~~~~

Late Winter in Sydney which meant mild days mostly with coolish nights but we almost never had any of that pesky white stuff to mess about with, you know snow. Hell if we had more than the odd little flourish of it here the world was probably about to end. So as things went, pretty easy on the dressing front.

So of course I went with a sensible outfit with an eye to the style.. hey I was told posh okay. Who am I to argue... and of course when you get the chance....

Clean undies natch, just in case of that wayward bus. So knickers and bra, plain old white this time out, so it goes. A new cream shift style dress, crew neck sleeveless with an A line slightly flared skirt a bit below the knee. Brush stroke flowers in black and fuschia scattered over. Some smokey almost black hose, pair of 2 inch heel pumps, soft black. Hell, I'd love 4 inchers but when you're my height not whacking the head on the door frame takes precedence. Not a good look and it hurt. Makeup neat and not too OTT, smokey eyes, nails and lips in a plum, well it was Fuschia-ish enough for me. Black smallish shoulder bag and a brushed cotton Charcoal Trench over the outside, the flared 'skirt' of left enough of the dress skirt showing for nice contrast. Worn open of course the belt tied at the back. There is a limit to function over style you know. It did add enough warmth for the chill air and looked cool which was mostly the point. Brush the just past shoulder length hair, put in the dangly silver earrings. Quick spritz of 'Beautiful' and good to go. It is nice to dress up now n then..... Taaaxxi.....

It was just on quarter past five when I was dropped outside. Gotta lurve traffic. Bang goes Thirty of my sixty cash, good thing Sals paying tonight. Phew..deep breath, this is posher than I usually manage, hell, posher than I've ever managed. But hey, I'm worth it, I think that's an ad campaign by someone. Just hope the doorman doesn't brush me.. nah, they're too polite these days unless you're really out there... Nice, a little nod and wave and a point the way to the bar... cool...

Wandered down a short corridor and across in front of a staircase from above. Nice open area with views out to a small courtyard and across the Harbour. I strolled slowly along the length of the bar and scanned the room. No real crowd, a few tables and groups all chatting and intent on themselves. The barman glanced my way and went back to stacking cool to front and warm to back in a fridge.

Hmm, no Simon as I ran my eye back across the room taking a little longer this time, the only person on their own was a woman to the back near the windows looking North rather than the 'posh' views East to the Opera House. She was nicely dressed in a soft black trouser suit and pale blue silk blouse, nice hair and she smiled as I looked at her.

Picking up her glass she lifted it my way then stood with her left hand out open to the side. My eyes ran back across the bar and returned to her as she smiled widely and then laughed.

I refuse to admit my jaw dropped, 'goldfished' as some might say. Nope didn't happen. I will admit to mouthing audibly.. " You Fucking Bitch." as I walked toward her. The smile got wider as she put her glass down and widened her arms. As I got close enough and completely composed, yeah right, she laughed again.

"Come on then Lyn dear, give your Auntie Sal a hug."

Which of course I did and held on for a minute or two wondering where the big white rabbit was and who exactly was Alice. As we let go and looked at each other there were tears in her eyes. I spoke first.

"I say again.. you fucking bitch, you never said a bloody word. That's... I dunno, but damn. You may need to push back dinner, several drinks and a bit of talk is in order."

"I do apologise my dear and it was a little rude of me not to say anything over the last year and I suppose to spring it on you like this. I hope you'll forgive me. A drink first and then yes we will talk of course. What will you have?"

"I'm tempted to go a triple scotch or maybe a posh bottle of bubbles but a glass of Riesling will do thanks."

"Right you are my dear."

I watched as she strolled to the bar and ordered from the smiling barman who poured efficiently and smoothly. Took a little more notice as she strolled back and everything I saw said successful modern business woman. Nice suit, a light wool probably, high soft black pumps with dark hose, pearl drops in each ear a single string around her throat the open silk blouse. Hair carefully but simply styled and just sitting on her shoulders a few strands of grey visible in the dark brown. Makeup neat and understated and a nice manicure with soft Rose colour. Elegant, no question.

She handed me my glass as I noted the tears had cleared and she was smiling again, sat and swivelled on the stool to face me.

"Well... what do you think?" a small flourish of the hands looking completely feminine.

"You're still a fucking bitch but you look terrific, elegant and stylish and maybe I hate you."

She laughed gently, "No you don't and thank you."

"No I don't and you're welcome. So talk.. this is... a surprise."

She raised her glass and sipped as I saluted and took a sip of mine then glanced at the glass... nice. And waited.

"Well my dear, how is it I sit here with you like this. You know well my thoughts on who I am and why to date that was not the public reality." I nodded sipping gently.

"After Elizabeth died I was at loose ends emotionally. You know how dealing with such can ... mess you about, cancer and the inevitable is not much fun. Anyway, you know all that. Short version is I began to ah, express my feminine side a little more here and there at home and then at work. It was noticed."

"I imagine that was a load of laughs, you legal types can be a stiff arsed lot."

"Quite, perhaps more in London than here, but maybe not. Anyway my small dalliances with makeup and certain clothing, blouses and more feminine suits prompted a gentle approach that I needed to maintain the standards of the chambers."

She paused and took a long sip obviously running through a memory. I nodded and sipped myself just watching and saying nothing, trying to picture that scene and smiling a little.

"None of that was a surprise but my staff were. I am the only QC in chambers that had an all female staff, clerks and solicitors, they were wonderfully loyal." I raised an eyebrow at that and Sally smiled.

"Ah no, that was not the surprise, I was sure they would be loyal, I pick well and carefully." She paused and took a sip with a smile.

"No, the surprise, though really why it should have been I can't say now. They of course knew almost immediately that I was dressing a little more femininely and didn't bat an eyelid. The surprise was that they all had pondered on my nature over time, my thoughtful understanding of the female as one put it. I can tell you my dear and I think you know, that made me cry and they applauded my tears."

She teared up a little as she spoke and I smiled, reaching to hold her left hand. Yes I got that one okay.

"It was then and there that I decided to stop hiding and become Sally for real. Of course I had to tell my son, which I feared, though he was rather sanguine when I did so. Almost casual, just laughed over the phone and told me he had wondered about me on occasion himself. Damn, you can't keep a secret from people anymore it seems. Makes all the angst seem faintly ridiculous."

She grinned at that and took another sip, noted that her glass was empty and with a glance to mine which was half full and I shook my head, she stood and headed for the bar.

I ran through what she had told me, an edited version I was sure, but fair enough for now. I suspected things were not quite so rosy at some point though, I mean she was here, seemingly permanently. I wondered at that as she strolled back.

"I can see the wheels turning my dear, you are no fool. Of course things were not always quite so pleasant. I did the rounds of assorted Therapist types and Doctors to see what was what and so on. I shan't go into that, you know it all I'm sure. My fellow silks were less than impressed with my decision when I... ah, came out to them some months later as things became more obvious. Curious expression that, coming out. Suffice to say they made things very difficult. I stuck it out for as long as needed, finding my girls good positions and then quit the chambers. It was surprisingly easy."

"Okay I think your glossing a little but that's okay we'll get to it eventually. So umm.... " I waved my hands up and down in front of her and blushed. " So where are you so to speak."

Laughing at my slight embarrassment she grinned, " I have been on hormones now for just over a year. My breasts are my own and came on rather nicely." It was her turn to blush a little. "It was a little.. odd, going through a sort of puberty at my age and the, sensitivity was awkward at times. Wonderful though I will say." She grinned and poked her chest forward, "A full B cup in just over a year, probably as far as I shall go, which I am quite happy with. Seems I came on faster than most. I know it took you somewhat longer. My body has shifted a little, but as yet no surgery. That will come but probably another six months or so."

"Hmmpphh" I groused to a sheepish grin from Sally and then I grinned myself. " Yeah it did take a while but I'm a long skinny thing, it sorta goes with the territory. I won't hold it against you."

"So here I am. I tidied up as needed in the UK. Sorted my documentation, which is not nearly so complex these days as it was. Moved lock stock and lingerie to Brisbane and set up office. I still have some work back there so shall be back and forth. But here I am to stay. I have enough work, live comfortably..." She paused and with a small shake of the head, grinned at me again with a tear in her eye.

"You inspired me my dear. I always said you were brave although you poo poo'd it every time. I still don't know if I would have done this if not for you so I am eternally grateful. Thank you for being my friend and my child in spirit."

Oh crap, tears filled my own eyes and I blinked big time for a second or two.

"Oh piss off ya silly old moo, I didn't do nuffin, and brave, don't make me laugh, I'm just a perverse thing that likes to mess with people a bit. Umm, it is what it is, brave has nothing to do with anything." I fell silent not knowing quite what to say.

Sally smiled and shook her head gently,"I know better, so allow me my beliefs. It takes courage, even for the likes of myself. Easier perhaps when you can financially look after things without problem. You had it a little tougher."

She grinned and leant forward to give me small hug, "Another glass I think, I know I need one."

I waited till she returned and we drank and chatted. She told several slightly amusing anecdotes of the bemused and shocked encounters of her fellow professionals to this extraordinary transformation in their midst. A few slight sadness tinged ones as well, but then how would it be otherwise. It aint ever easy.

A while later, we nodded and rose. A quick visit to the loo... together, hah that was slightly weird for a moment.

"So my dear, shall we stroll around the Quay to Mr Gilmores place of business. I feel the need to eat well and spoil you a little." She offered her arm and I curtseyed gently and threaded mine through hers. With a nod to the barman we strolled out into the evening and off to one of the better restaurants in town.

"Does he do fish n chips then this Gilmore bloke. I'm bloody starving"

She stopped dead for a moment then laughed aloud, " The best bloody fish n chips you ever had I wager, You snotty child."

Laughing we wandered enjoying the cool air and people watching as we were in turn. Sometimes things work out just fine, good to know. Here's hoping.

( Matt Moran and Peter Gilmore are two of the most highly rated Chefs in Sydney or Australia for that matter. Known internationally and part of that relatively modern sensation the celebrity chef. Both seem reasonably unaffected, thankfully )

~~~~~~~~

Any thoughts, comments or questions welcome, I'm not too precious, though answers might be harder to come by.

This little thing was inspired, if that's the word, by a recent get together with 'Sally'. I hope she approves and if I'm a little rusty, like old guitar strings left on too long, maybe it stands up okay. Might even try to finish a few things that have been sitting about in a dusty corner of my Stories file for a few years.

For Sally and all those in a similar position, a modern 'fairy tale' of sorts. Cheers.

Kristina



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