Alexa Chapter 5: The Saturday Night Confession
I don’t know what was worse, the sudden blast of sunlight that seemed to hit me or Katie’s saccharine voice telling me to get up. “Leave me alone Katie.” I can’t believe how bad I feel. My head is pounding from the worst hangover I have ever had in my entire life. I’m blaming Jenny for the condition I find myself in. I’m sure I had no hand in how bad I feel.
“Get up Alexa,” Katie says to me. “You are the one who thought drinking Cosmos all night was a good idea. We have lots to do today.” I groan as my best friend acts all cheery, I roll out of bed and head towards the bathroom. As I walk, I realize I am not wearing nylons anymore, but still wearing the thong. That is definitely an interesting feeling in the morning. I take care of my morning business including brushing my teeth and once complete follow the smell of coffee into the kitchen where I find Katie with a smile on her face holding a cup out for me. I meekly thank her and ask if she has any Advil. Katie laughs and reaches into a cupboard and grabs a bottle of ibuprofen and hands it to me along with a bottle of water. ‘Not a shock that you need those” Katie says. “You two were so drunk when you came into AJ’s. Then you started drinking those Cosmos.”
Feeling embarrassed. I swallow down two Advil with a large gulp of water. “Sorry you had to babysit the two of us last night. Thanks.” I say to Katie. “Were we really that bad?”
Katie could barely keep a straight face. “You two were just stumbling down the hall laughing away. Luckily none of the neighbors came out. I’m still trying to figure out how you two were able to stay upright. The two of you just fell through the front door. I haven’t even looked in on Jenny after I pushed her through her bedroom door last night.”
“I’m guessing you helped me get undressed?” I ask as I sip my cup of hot black life elixir.
“You are correct. And that will be the last time. But then again I don’t think I would do it for anyone else. Plus, it’s not the first time. Do you remember Carly Johnson’s New Year’s Party? Now that is two times you owe me!” Katie says laughing.
“Thanks again. Did you say that you haven’t checked in on Jenny since last night?” I say, my mind finally catching up to what Katie has been telling me. “” Let’s go check on her. Maybe we can play a trick on her.”
“You are evil Alexa, I love it. Got any ideas?” Katie responds to my idea.
“Not really. I am not sure what kind of trick we could play on a girl. This is all new to me.” I say.
Katie said she will think of something as we tiptoe over to Jenny’s closed bedroom door. Katie turns the nob and slowly pushes the door open while I peak over her head, trying to get a glimpse of the blonde passed out on her bed. She has somehow pulled her duvet around her shoulders but is still wearing her dress from last night. We slowly open the door and work our way over towards Jenny. Before we can get there we hear a hungover voice tell us if we try anything we are dead. Before I know it Katie has flung herself onto Jenny’s bed and was cuddling up to her roommate. “Get away from me Kate.” Jenny groans at her roommate as I take a seat on the edge of the bed.
“Come on Jen, it’s time to get up and go shopping!” Katie yells, making my head hurt. I can’t imagine what it did to Jenny. Jenny lays there groaning before making a feeble attempt to sit up. She sees me sitting at the edge of the bed and looks right at me.
“We are never going out again,” She says with a weary smile as her head hits the pillow. “This is all your fault Alexa.”
I leave my spot at the foot of the bed and move up towards the other two girls. “I wasn’t the one who kept opening bottles of wine BEFORE we went to dinner.” I tell my blonde friend.
Jenny giggles at my comment. “God we were drunk. But it was fun. I had a blast list night. I wish we could do it again tonight. But then again, thank god we can’t.”
We pile on Jenny in a fit of laughter over her comment and urge her to get up and get ready. It was decided that I should take my shower in my own apartment just to save some time and then come back and the girls would have something picked out for me to wear. I get a little nervous over this set up, as this would involve me sneaking back and forth across the hallway. Katie says I should wash off all my make up before leaving and leave the wig and breast forms behind. I agree to this but I am still quite nervous. While Jenny is still trying to come to some sense of being, Katie grabs a disposable razor, and extra bar of soap and a bottle each of her shampoo and conditioner to take with me to get ready. After I am done I peek out the door to make sure the coast is clear and sneak across the hall into my own apartment.
When I get the door closed, I stand and look around. I have not really been here since Thursday afternoon and it seems somewhat foreign to me. It is very much a guy’s place, unmatched furniture, an empty pizza box sitting on the counter of the kitchen. I continue to look around and notice other minor things. There is no personalization other than a picture of the New York skyline that I think I paid $10 for it just to give the room some decoration. I continue towards my bedroom and look in. This room was just as spartan as the living room. A full size bed, a dresser with the requisite family picture on it, a desk with a lamp, a desk chair and a night stand with a lamp and clock radio. That’s it. This pretty much summed up the total of my life other than my TV and PlayStation. I sat down at the desk and took a deep breath. What was going on? Was I jumping into Alexa because my real life was so non-descript? I got up and looked and moved over to my dresser and picked up the family picture sitting there. Looking at it I realized there wasn’t much there for me. A father who never thought I was “man” enough for him. Two brothers who pretty much ignored me and a mother who I could never really read. She always showed love to me but it always seemed guarded. Like she felt guilty for it. As I sat there and thought of my family I collapsed onto my bed and broke down in tears. But I wasn’t sure why I was crying.
I must have really been lost in my sadness because I did not hear Katie enter my apartment. She called once and then entered into my room. Before I could even get my wits about me, she was at my side with her arm around me. She didn’t say anything but just held me. It took me a few minutes to get control of myself and whisper a thanks to Katie. Katie just smiles at me and tells me to go shower and shave. “When you are ready, come back over. No hurry. If you don’t want to go, we don’t have to. I just want you to be happy, little sis.” I laugh at her last comment and pull myself together and enter the bathroom. I jump in the shower and use the supplies that Katie has given me. After I shave my face, arms and legs I put on my robe and head to the door. I stop when I get there and turn around and look at my empty apartment. Before I can break down into tears again I quickly exit and head back into the girl’s apartment.
As I enter the girls’ apartment my mood changes. The sadness I was feeling before suddenly disappears. Katie gives me a sympathetic look before Jenny comes charging out of her room admonishing me for taking so long. Still feeling a little out of sorts I didn’t know what to say. Thank god for Katie who quips “Well if that is isn’t the pot calling the kettle black. Jennifer Ann Thompson upset that someone took too long to get ready!” Jenny mumbles something of an apology or curse as I force smile onto my face. Katie walks over to me and leads me by the hand to her room, saying over her shoulder, “Have some coffee Jen. You’re usually a bitch until after your second cup.” I giggle at this comment as the two of us head to Katie’s room to begin my latest transformation. Twenty minutes later I emerge from Katie’s room wearing a flared black skirt that stops an inch or two from my knee, a black and red stripped top similar to the one I wore yesterday that end at about my midriff, black opaque nylons and a pair of black boots with a two inch that went to just above my ankle. Katie had taken the time to do my make up very similar to yesterday and had fastened a red bow in my wig.
We find Jenny with her head in her hand at the kitchen table nursing a cup of coffee. She is really hungover. I do feel a little guilty about it, but she was having just as much fun as I was. Katie looks at the condition of her roommate and walks up to her and yells ‘good morning’ very loud. Without even looking Jenny again threatens to kill her roommate if she ever did that again. Katie laughs and tells Jenny to bring it on. Jenny looks up at me and asks if I ‘m hungover. After I tell her that I am she tells me “Good.” With a smile on her face. “I’m glad I have that party tonight. I don’t think I can take another nigh out with you.” As I sit back down at the table, I agree with her. At that point Katie returned to the table and asked about the party. Obviously she had no idea. Jenny answered her question, “My parents are hosting an 85th birthday party for my Grandmother tonight. I have to be home by 5:00 tonight. Sorry about that Kate. That’s kind of why we got a little crazy last night. I knew we weren’t going to be able to go out tonight. How bad were we?”
Katie looked at her roommate as she sat down at the table, “Jenny in the 2 years I have known you, you have never been as drunk as you were last night.” Jenny groaned at this explanation. “As I told, Alexa the flirt over here, you two were drunk when you showed up at the restaurant last night and you kept going. That neither one of you threw up is a miracle.” Jenny shoots me a dirty look and then breaks out into laughter. I join her as the three of us begin reliving the memories of last night, or in some cases having Katie fill in some memories that the alcohol had taken away. As we sit at the table we devise a plan for the day. Jenny would drive the three of us down to the Mall of America and then Katie and I would take the train back to campus. We got organized and started to get ready to go out the door.
We make our way down to Jenny’s car where we get in and proceed on our way to the biggest mall in America. We don’t make it too far down the road before Katie pipes up from the back seat “I’m hungry. Let’s stop somewhere before we get to the MOA.”
“I think this is where we started yesterday” I say.
“Don’t start Alexa or I will have to give Rob a call” Katie says.
I instantly go white as Jenny bursts out laughing. “Oh my god I completely forgot about that. Our new little coed got a boy’s number last night.” Jenny says to me as she places her arm around my shoulders. “It’s okay. We’re just teasing you. But it is kind of funny that you were the only one who got a guy’s phone number last night.”
I sheepishly look down at my purse and reach in and pull out a folded up napkin “Ah, actually I got two.” I say. The other two passengers in the car break out in squeals as I begin to feel a combination of embarrassment and nausea. I feel Katie hugging me from the back seat and telling me it’s okay. I do feel a little better once I get the hug from Katie but I am still confused by my actions of last night. Was I really flirting with guys? I know I refused to dance with any of them but I felt compelled to be part of the conversation as we were sitting at the table. And there were several guys hanging around our table all night. I look at the name on the napkin again, Derek, and I try and remember which one he was. Why am I doing that I think. I don’t want to think about guys. I have no interest in guys, but why did I feel a little honored by the fact that I was the only one who got a not one but two guy’s numbers last night?
We made it to the mall where we promptly found a bagel place. I ordered a bagel and a bottle of water. As good as coffee sounded right now, I was more dehydrated than anything. The oddest part of the whole experience, was Katie whispering in my ear what to order to fit in. I knew I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, but I kept thinking ‘I’m a grown woman damn it! I know what I am doing.’ When it dawned on me what I was saying I instantly froze. What am I thinking? I’m not a woman, I’m a man. But was this true? Was my psyche starting to change and push Alex further back in my being?
We sat down and ate our breakfast. It was when Jenny’s phone beeped with an incoming text message that the realization what time it was hit us. “It’s 10:00 AM! What time were you up Katie? And why did you think I wanted to GET up?” Jenny asked with a touch of anger in her voice.
“Oh relax Jenny. I knew you wanted to take Alexa and I shopping and I wasn’t going to wait around for you to haul your lazy ass out of bed. Besides who could sleep with the snoring you two lushes were doing!” Katie shot back laughingly.
I finally summoned up the courage to ask some questions about last night. With a head filled with shame, I asked Katie, “Did I.., Did I do anything stupid last night?” I sat there and tried to brace myself for the response. Here I was thinking I might have been dancing on a table or even done something even worse like kiss a guy. If that was the case I might have jumped off the top of the parking ramp.
Katie got a slightly wicked grin on her face. I am pretty sure that she decided it was time to mess with me. “Oh no, not at all. Except you threw yourself at that guy.” I can only imagine the look I had on my face, from the inside I feel my stomach starting to churn. Before I could even react any further, Katie reached across the table and gently grabbed my arm. “Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything to embarrass yourself last night. You were a perfect lady up until we got home. Except for the flirting with the guys. Jenny on the other hand! I thought she was going to run off if that one guy.”
I didn’t know it was possible to have your heart rise and sink so fast in one moment. Before I could even ask about the flirting, Jenny broke in all nervous, “What guy? Oh god, was it Tony Ferrara? I went to high school with him. I remember him last night vaguely. What did I do?” You could see that Jenny was very nervous about a possible hook up with some guy she knew from high school. Katie calmed her nerves by informing her that while she danced with him once, she tried to keep her distance from him. Kate said she stepped in once to put him in his place. She said we were so drunk that she was not going to let us out of her sight. She didn’t want anything to happen to us.
With Katie’s explanation of the Jenny and Tony affair, I went into ask my question about flirting. Katie responded that I wasn’t really flirting, some guys might have seen it that way but I was just being a friendly person and was willing to listen to what the guys at bar were talking about. “You did seem somewhat intrigued by one guy; I think it was Devan or something.
I broke her off in mid-sentence by responding “Derek”.
‘That’s right. Derek. You actually seemed engrossed in what he was saying about some writer or something. Is he the guy who gave you his phone number last night?” Katie asked. I simply nodded my head. “Hey don’t worry about it. Yes, we know the truth but you are a very good looking girl. Guys are going to try and get to know you.”
“Yeah, but I don’t like guys, I like women.” I say
“So you’re a lesbian then.” Katie says and she and Jenny break out in laughter. But I notice that Jenny’s laughter doesn’t seem to be quite as hearty as Katie’s. Is that it? Is Jenny a lesbian? It really doesn’t seem like she is. I have seen her go out with several guys and I even have busted her with a guy at a party before. Is the whole idea of a “paper” just a scam to get me into women’s clothing? I will have to think about that a little.
We finish our small breakfast and move out into this obnoxious mecca of shopping that I have never been a fan of. Katie is well aware of my feelings on this place. But as I stroll around in my new persona I am getting a little bit of an idea why it is so popular. There are hundreds of stores in this place and several are not the same as you see at the typical malls around the Twin Cities area. The three of us spend the next several hours getting lost in the various stores. Walking around seems to be good for my hangover as soon I was enjoying this adventure. The three of us were laughing, checking out various things and trying on clothes, even I was trying on clothes! I was nervous but I did it. We finally stopped at around one o’clock for a light lunch before continuing on.
The girls dragged me into a Victoria’s Secret, I think just to embarrass me. I looked around to make it look good. I could see them giggling the whole time. I walked by a display with a red bra, thong and garter set. With a wicked grin I grab my sizes and head towards the counter. After paying for the lingerie, I rejoin my friends who are standing there with their mouths open staring at the bag in my hand. “What? I thought it looked sexy so I figured why not?” I explain to the two of them. After a second they burst out into laughter and give me a big hug. I am complimented on my choice by Jenny who agrees it is a sexy combination and Katie makes some sort of comment of how she was proud of her little sister. I can tell that the three of us are being starred at by several other customers in the store, but I personally don’t care. I just played a good joke on my friends and got some sexy lingerie to boot.
The three of us continued our tour of the various stores. We tried on dresses, skirts, shoes and everything else you could think of. Jenny and Katie each bought a few things but I purchased nothing other than my items from Victoria’s Secret. Jenny tried to talk me into buying a pair workout pants and a sports bra at The Nike Store, but I told her that was a little much. I came close to buying a pair of sneakers, or whatever girls call them at The Nike Store but I couldn’t justify buying women’s “athletic shoes”. By the time any of us stopped to look at a clock it was ten to Four. Jenny decided she would head out leaving just Katie and I to fend for ourselves to find a way back home. We both gave Jenny a hug goodbye and told her we would miss her tonight. Jenny, for her part, made us both promise not to go out tonight without her. We promised, even thought I had no plans on going out. I did enough of that last night.
After Jenny departed, Katie turned to me and asked if there was any store I would like to go to that we hadn’t hit yet. Looking sheepishly, I asked Katie if we could go to the Disney Store. Jenny just started laughing “I wondered when you were going to drag me in there” she said. Since I have known Katie for so long, she knew of my love for all things Disney. Actually one of the few pleasant memories of my father was my first visit to the Magic Kingdom when I was about four. Jenny could see my smile get bigger after she agreed to go. We hooked arms and made our way to one of my favorite stores whether I was named Alex or Alexa.
I had forgotten how big the store was. It was nowhere near as large as the Disney Store in Downtown Disney, but it was still pretty spectacular. Katie and I lost ourselves for about an hour as we played with some of the various toys, checked out some of the movies and books and looked at the various clothes. Katie did convince me to get a set of Minnie Mouse ear’s with ‘Alexa’ embroidered on them. I found a pair of silk pajamas that were black pants and a top with an outline of a Mickey Mouse head repeated all over on them that I had to have. Even though they were women’s and a little larger than I would normal wear I had to buy them. Katie bought herself a pair of pink Minnie Mouse lounging pants that I was tempted to buy for myself. I looked at Katie and indicated that we needed to get out of there before I spent all of my money. We departed with our new purchases and continued to work our way through the mall.
After a short time, we decided it was time to head back so we went down and caught a train downtown and then switched over to a train heading for campus. Approximately an hour after we left the mall, we were back in Katie and Jenny’s apartment with the spoils of today’s trip and more stories to tell of Alexa. We both decided we really didn’t want to go anywhere to eat tonight and decided that it would be a good night to lay low, order some food, and maybe watch a movie. Just veg out. I was all in favor of this after all the drinking we had done the previous night and Katie just laughed. She urged me to go change into my new pajamas while she ran out the front door. I went into Jenny’s room this time to change into my new Mickey pajamas. I left the underwear on and the forms in place. I looked around on Jenny’s vanity and found a scrunchie. I removed the bow from my wig and tied it into a pony tail high up on my head. I heard Jenny come back in and move off to her room, I am assuming to change. Once I had myself together I headed back to the living room, where I found my fluffy Viking blanket that I had gotten for my birthday a couple of weeks ago and my pillow. I wrapped the blanket around me and took a spot on the couch.
Katie returned to the living room wearing her new Minnie pants along with an oversized Gopher Hockey T-shirt and promptly sits on the opposite end of the couch from me. She looks at me and smiles. “Stand up. I want to see those PJ’s.” I follow her request and stand up and drop the blanket. I do a little twirl as I show off my comfy new pajamas. “They are so cute!” Katie sequels. You look like any of the girls hanging out in the dorms.” Her comment hits me as funny. I hadn’t thought about it for a while, but did I really look like a girl? I knew that the makeup, wig and breast forms give the impression of a woman, but do I really look like a woman? Yesterday’s concerns about Alex’s love life come creeping back, but I do not want to deal with them right now. I want to enjoy my time as Alexa. I try and push Alex back farther into my psyche. He was kind of loser anyway. I am Alexa, hear me roar!
We start discussing our various options for dinner. It comes down to Chinese or pizza. I finally ask Katie what would be typical for a girls’ night in. She looks at me kind of funny but replies pizza. So we decide on pizza. ‘Do we need to order two?” I ask in my smart ass way. I am promptly hit with a throw pillow. After deciding we would order from Frank’s Pizzeria we spend the next 5 minutes arguing over what toppings we want. Finally, we order and relax while we waited for our dinner. I could tell that something was bothering Katie. She seemed awfully quiet. I tried to coax it out of her but she keeps trying to change the subject. Talking about some of the clothes we looked at today, or about our adventure at the bar or laughing about the stories we made up about the people we encountered o the train. Anything but what was bothering her. She stalled long enough for the pizza to arrive. Getting up, she told me to answer the door. I didn’t really think about it and went and answered the door.
Expecting to see a college guy, I was shocked to see a short, kind of nerdy high school kid with straggly long brown hair wearing a Frank’s t-shirt. He was acting very nervous as I smiled at him while standing there in my new pajamas. Eventually I notice a blush come to his face along with a smile as he asks “Fahey?” I reply yes and he informs me it will be $15.75. I smile at him because I knew he is checking me out. I definitely felt good that I could have this effect on a young boy. I knew that Alex could never have this effect on girls. Well maybe on one recently released from prison maybe, but not under normal circumstances. Katie approaches the door and I can see a slightly lecherous grin spread across her face. “Alexa quit flirting with the boy, you’re making him feel uncomfortable. Here you go, and keep the change.” She says as she hands the delivery boy a $20 bill. I sat there somewhat embarrassed myself as I notice the boy blushing even more. He stammers a thank you and leaves as quickly as he can and the two of us begin to giggle as we close the door and make our way back to the couch with our dinner.
The two of us spent the time while eating still talking about the shopping trip to the Mall of America. I think I about gave her a heart attack when I told I had actually enjoyed the trip to the MOA as a woman. “YOU! Alexander Michael Quinn enjoyed going to the Mall of America? The same person who said he would rather have root canal than ever step inside that Shrine to Capitalism ever again!” At first I started laughing at the comment, as did Katie to my reaction. But after a minute I realized what she had said. She had said ‘he” and had had used my full name. My male name. It sounded almost foreign to me, but I knew it was me. I had been in Alexa mode for so long this weekend it was like Alex was someone else. The guy who lived across the hall and played video games all the time. I wanted to enjoy tonight as Alexa and be one of the girls, so once again I pushed any thought of Alex to the back of my psyche.
I must have had a look of confusion because Katie asked how I was doing. How I was handling the whole “Alexa” experience. I wanted to answer her truthfully but didn’t really know how. I started to dance around the edges and telling her that I felt fine but I don’t think I came off as convincing. Katie slides closer to me. “Alexa Marie Quinn tell me the truth. How is all of this going? How are you feeling about all that has gone on the last few days? Tell me. I want to know what you are thinking.” I have been friends with Katie long enough to know there will be no way of getting out of this. I have always had some sort of weakness around her. I also knew that I could be completely honest and she won’t judge me.
I take a deep breath and try to begin speaking but I can’t. My mind is racing and trying to concentrate on one thing is difficult. Where do I begin? Do I tell Katie that I love the clothes? Do I tell Katie that I love the person I am? Do I tell Katie about how much in love with Jenny I am? I can’t think straight and my nerves are starting to get the better of me. I get up and walk into the kitchen. I remember seeing a bottle of Stoly in the freezer the other day and I grab it and pour myself a glass of the ice cold alcohol and take it and drink it down in one gulp hoping it will settle my nerves. While it does taste good, it doesn’t interact well with the pizza and the nerves. I have to take a second to make sure nothing comes back before returning to the couch where I begin to open up about my life as Alexa.
I look at Katie and all the emotion comes to the surface. “I don’t even know here to begin Katie. The last few days dressing as Alexa have been some of the most fun I have ever had. The clothes are beautiful and soft, but I always knew that. Take these PJ’s that I am wearing. As a guy I could never even think of wearing something like this. The only guys that I know that can pull off pajamas like this are those big macho guys you see on TV that are just horn hounds on Valentine’s Day or something like that and they would never have the top on, just the bottoms. But siting here, wrapped in this comfy silk I feel wonderful. Can you imagine me coming down on Christmas morning in these and what King Richard would say? I would be instantly ripped for being a fairy or something along those lines. But I have never felt so comfortable in my life.”
Katie smiles at me with a twinkle in her eye when I say this. “I agree that those do look comfortable. I am going to have to borrow them sometime’
“Not on your life.” I retort.
Katie chuckles at my comment but continues on with her probing. “But what about the other things? Like walking around in a skirt the last couple of days? How did you feel about that?”
“I have loved it. It was, I don’t know how to say this, but freeing? No that really isn’t the word I am looking for. To say it felt natural would be an understatement. I have felt like a different person. I don’t think I have been acting at all while I have been dressed. I have felt more confident, more open ..”
“More fun” Kate interrupts.
“Yes more fun” I reply with a smile. “As Alex, I just so self-conscious about everything. I noticed it last night at the bar. If I was typical Alex, I would have just sat in the corner. I don’t understand what has come over me. Whatever it is I think I like it.”
“Alex, I have enjoyed watching how you have acted over the last few days. For the first time you seem to be happy. I will admit it was odd to watch you become Alexa. I have known you since we were what 12, 13 years old? I have watched you go from a scrawny boy and grow into a man. You might have not exactly been The Rock or Jarred Allen, but a guy. I should know that better than anyone” Katie giggles after her comment, while I blush remembering our one brief fling. She continues on in her analysis. “But you have been someone who always seemed afraid of something. I don’t know if it’s your brothers or your Dad, but you were in this shell. I have seen the glimpse of the warm hearted loving guy I have known since middle school, but those sightings were few and far between. I have seen you in your highs and your lows. Then came Thursday night and the birth of Alexa. I saw something in you I don’t think I have ever seen. I saw a smile that felt real. I saw a happy person.”
Under my breath I whisper “Not completely.” I guess I said it a little louder than I thought because Katie proceeded to ask me what I was talking about. I began to scramble to come up with a way to dodge the answer I truly wanted to give. Ever since this little ‘experiment’ began I have fallen deeper in love with Jenny. Now I feel that this little experiment has put me into a position that I have to make a choice. A choice that I do not want to make. To cover the verbal mistake, I made earlier I tell Katie “I don’t want to let go of Alexa.” My eyes beginning to fill with tears. Katie moves over to my end of the couch and gives me a huge hug.
“DO you have to let Alexa go? I offered you up to Jenny as a test subject because I remember catching you in your mother’s things. Before you realized I was there I could see a look I had never really seen on you. You look contented, happy. I knew your home life sucks so I thought that this adventure might bring some happiness to you, even for a short time. But now I see a person I truly love being around and person who enjoys being around me. We have always been close; hell you are the closest thing I have to family. I want you to be happy that’s all. Do you have to give this up?” Katie asks.
The reply confuses me. What was Katie suggesting? “You want me to stay as Alexa? I will be the laughing stock of campus! Everywhere I went people would point and snicker.”
“That’s not happened yet” Katie tries to refute my argument.
“Yeah, but that was just out shopping. Here on campus, there are guys constantly checking girls out. I wouldn’t stand up” I say trying to avoid the truth.
“But what about the bar? None of those guys knew the difference, and they were definitely checking you out.” Katie’s argument against me dropping this charade continues. I look at Katie and ask her why she wants me to keep being Alexa. Her response is simple and one that I know is mostly true. “Because you are far happier as Alexa than Alex.”
That a friend can see what I feel floors me. I didn’t realize it was that obvious. I try one more argument. “What about my family?” I say. Even as the words come out of my mouth, I know Katie’s reply. How did I know? Because I have had the same argument going through my head.
“It’s your life Alexa. It’s not Char’s, or Danny or Adam’s. And it’s certainly not Dick’s. If they can’t accept you for what you are, then screw them.” Katie mimics exactly one side of the argument in my head. I start feeling pressure. I tell her my parents and brothers are one of the reasons I don’t want to keep trying to be Alexa. That even though I am not close to my family, their acceptance of me would be very important to me. I need that support and even though Katie is always telling me she and I are family it isn’t the same as blood. Katie begins to open her mouth to refute that argument, but stops herself. I see a look on her face like she is trying to figure something out. After a second she asks. “OK I can understand wanting your family to approve, but what are the other reasons.”
I freeze at that comment. I try to rewind the tape in my head. What did I say? I realize I said ‘one of’ instead of ‘the’. Oh god what do I do now? I can feel myself start to sweat. Katie can sense my uneasiness. I feel trapped. I want to get up and get more vodka but I am paralyzed. Jenny urges me to tell her what it is. Tell her what has me so worked up. I stare at her for a second then say something that I never thought I would say out loud.
“I am in love with Jenny”
I said it! I had given up the biggest secret I have ever kept from my best friend to her. Katie stares at me with her mouth agape for what seems to be an eternity before wrapping me in the biggest hug I think I ever felt. Wow, this went better than I had thought. Maybe I have a chance. Katie keeps repeating “Oh My God” over and over in my ear while it seems her grip on me tightens. She pushes back from me and says “This is so cool! My best friend and my roommate! Oh my god!” Katie literally is jumping for joy as she releases me. I can’t believe how she is reacting. It is like she just won the lottery or something. I try and calm her down but there is no chance of that. She is just too damn excited. She finally looks at me and asked if Jenny knows. I shake my head no.
“Do you see my problem here? If I was a woman, I would throw away any chance at getting Jenny. That’s why Alexa has to go away.” I say.
Katie calms herself and looks at me. It is like a switch has been flipped. “I see what you are saying. I have never known Jenny to have any lesbian feelings. But the way you two have been the last couple of days it wouldn’t surprise me if she did.” I blush as Katie says this. And as titillating as a ‘’lesbian’ fling with Jenny is, I know it’s not possible and I tell this to Katie. Katie asks me how much I knew about Jenny.
“Not much really. She has never really told me much about her family other than they are loaded and really don’t care what she does.” I inform Katie.
“Jenny does come from a rich family, and not just rich, old money rich. Her great-great grandfather was one of the biggest wheat millers in Minneapolis. The family has more money than God. I think she said that at one time the family owned about a mile of shoreline along Lake Minnetonka. Her family is very snooty too. Remember how stuck up she was freshman year? She was brought up to believe that her family is royalty in Minnesota, that she could do whatever she wants. She came into our room one day and started bitching about the music I was playing. She kept telling me to turn it off and I refused. She actually tried to grab my phone and I stood up to her. I threatened her and told if she ever touched my things I would kick her ass. I didn’t care who she was but she needed to learn to respect others and not everyone is going to bow down to her. I think that was the first time any ever stood up to her. Things got better after that. She was still kind of stuck up but we got along OK by the end of the year we were best friends.” Katie grinned as she finished reminding me of freshman year. A year that I personally hated. I hated the dorms and could not wait to get out.
“How did she wind up at the ‘U’? I mean with her kind of money I figured she would be out east? I ask.
“It’s a family thing. They are huge donors to the school so they all go here. They pride themselves on going here. The Pillsbury’s, The Dayton’s, The McMillan’s, they all go to Ivy League schools but not the Thompsons. Her old boyfriend, Robert Dorsey the third, or Trey as he is known and loathed in this apartment, goes to Princeton. His family is another of those Lake Minnetonka set.” I asked what had happened to him. Katie proceeds to tell me, “they had started to fight more as time went along as Jenny came down out of her ivory tower, assisted by me and that Trey did not like it. Right before you moved into the building, he actually tried to hit her one night but I walked in on them arguing. He ran out of here with Jenny calling him every name in the book as he ran down the hall.” Katie looks like a proud parent as she tells the story of Jen’s break up.
I am starting to get a little better picture, but it still doesn’t tell me everything. I asked Katie if she ever knew anything about the sad look Jenny always seems to have and she shakes her head. She says she has seen it too, but this weekend it seems to have disappeared. My heart began to soar that maybe it was me that had given her some happiness, but then the questions began again, was it Alex or Alexa? Was this a sign that I should stay as Alexa or will Alex win Jenny’s heart. I was so confused. I needed time to think but I also needed advice.
“Katie what should I do? I love Alexa but I love Jenny too?” I ask Katie, almost pleading for her to guide me.
“I can’t tell you what to do and I wouldn’t dream of it. You have to decide what will make you happy.” Katie responds to my implied plea. I know she is right but I was hoping she would give me insight.
‘Katie, can I ask you one more thing? I say.
“Of course.” She replies.
“Where did Alexa Marie come from? I say with a smile on my face trying to lighten the mood and get my head out of the war that is going on inside of me.
“I don’t know just made it up! I think it sounds cute!” Katie says. ‘It sounds a hell of a lot better than Alexa Michelle does. I just kept the middle initial.”
I laugh at her answer and thank her from the new moniker. We decide to move away from the subject and watch a movie. To be completely honest I don’t even remember what the movie was because I soon fell asleep. When I awoke at 7:00 AM I realized that Katie had done the same thing. Remembering that I am still a college student, I realize I do have to study and I have to work at my job at Caribou Coffee this afternoon, I slowly slip off the couch and grab my backpack and laptop and head for the door so I can go back to my apartment. Before I reach the door, I remember my keys and wallet in the purse. I grab the purse and enter into a place that I had not really been in days. Figuring I cannot hold off any long and I have to be Alex I begin the process of saying good bye to Alexa. I feel sad as I strip off the soft pajamas and head into the shower and wash off the remnants of Alexa’s makeup. Tears start to come to my eyes but I tell myself I can’t let this control me. The weekend was fun, but that was it. I am a man named Alex and I just had the opportunity to live a different life for a short period of time. Today reality comes back.
I spend the rest of the morning attempting to complete my studies. I leave for my job that afternoon still feeling sad over Alexa’s departure. The whole time I am replaying the weekend in my mind and thinking about the fun I had and how accepting everyone was of Alexa. However, I notice as the day goes along, and the auto pilot of my job takes over, I have moved back into my Alex persona. Alex Quinn, the quiet kid living life in a shell and I struggle with it. When I got home, Jenny was waiting for me because she wanted to go over a few things for her paper. I obliged her as best I could, but I could tell there was very little enthusiasm on either of our parts as we talked about this weekend. Since Katie was at work we didn’t have a chance to get her thoughts on the subject. The conversation was fairly brief and clinical, as several have seemed to be with Jenny when it is just us two and leaves me even more confused as I head back to my apartment.
The next few days are so non-descript it is hardly worth mentioning, other than a great urge to dress as Alexa. I did sleep in my new Mickey Mouse pajamas on Sunday and Monday nights because I could let them go, but I refrained from any other dressing but the urges mounted. By Tuesday afternoon I was going crazy. After class I drove to a Target store and picked up a simple bra and panty set and a very simple dress. I cruise through the makeup aisle and grab what I think I need, foundation, mascara, lipstick, etc. I slip through the self-check and head back home with my new purchases. I quickly strip and put on the bra and panty. I feel a peace come over me as a sit there in the lingerie. But I also feel a sadness. Trying to shake off the sadness I slip on the simple dress and move to the bathroom to put on my makeup. The sadness continues as I struggle trying to remember how the girls had performed their magic over the weekend. Looking in the mirror I see that my handiwork isn’t bad, but know where near as well as the girls had done.
I continue to stare at myself in the mirror and think about the weekend that just passed. I think about life as Alex and think of what life could be as Alexa. I realized I really, truly enjoyed Alexa more than anything. She was funny, outgoing and not bad looking. Alex on the other hand was a meek, little guy who wouldn’t get a second look from most women. Despair starts to hit me as I can feel Alex and Alexa fighting over my very being. Alex has a family and a life without too much ridicule. And as much as I wanted to be Alexa, I would probably have to give them all up. The emotional roller coaster I was riding during the ongoing war in my head proved to be too much and I slumped to floor bawling like a baby. I don’t know how long I had been on the floor crying, but the next thing I knew, Katie was standing over me with a look of fear on her face. All I could do was look from my spot on the floor and say
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