The Passage

woman cooking

I wish to thank my editor, JP. Without his close supervision and eye for detail, this story would not have been possible!

The Passage
By Anon Allsop

Forward

In a story set in the early part of America's infancy, a young unwed American nobleman, Isaiah Evans, finds himself accused of wrongdoing after implying that he is married. Without his knowledge, close friends decide to provide proof that a wife exists. Their plan is to alter the appearance of a young indentured servant, who has recently arrived to the colonies. By using the the Medallion of Zulo, Duncan is to become the wife only as long as needed, but further entwines himself in a plot to get Master, Isaiah Evans to release him from his indentured servitude early.

Chapter 1

The year is 1654. As a Fifteen-year old English boy, standing on the sun-bleached deck of the Endbreeze, life could get no better than this. From under the shadows of her gently rippling sail, I scanned the coastline of Boston Town. This young colony would become my new home, continuing an adventure that began for me, months ago in England. Set back in the harbor was a thriving town, supported by fishing and cargo vessels loaded down with trade goods for mother England. Shielding my eyes, I scanned the docks and saw that several tall ships were moored there.

I wondered if perhaps my new master owned one of those great ships, or possibly one of the companies that supplied the goods that were being lowered down into their holds. What information about the man who purchased his passage to the America's had been very sparse. I only knew that my new master, Isaiah Evans was young and very wealthy, and a prominent figure in this town.

Ever since I had left home, my dream was to set out for the New World and hopefully capture part of it for myself. Owning a small parcel of land somewhere out here, perhaps just beyond the colonies where the world was yet raw. I inhaled the sea air deeply, as I climbed down to the boat taking me toward the shore. Yes, just owning a piece of this young land would be a great honor to my father and mother whom I had left far behind in England. Since I was from a poor family, I had resorted to the only way of traveling to the New World: by selling myself into indentured servitude. Using this new act, through an agent of Master Evans, I secured passage on the Endbreeze and set sail almost a half a year ago. The voyage had been long and tedious, and since this vessel was a merchant ship, we had been compelled to stop in several ports around Europe before setting out for the colonies.

Thankfully, as each stroke of the bo'sun's oar carried me closer and closer to this new land, I smiled with anticipation of what this world would bring to me. Behind us, the Endbreeze was anchored and waiting for her turn at the docks, heavily laden with trade goods for the fledgling colony.

As the boat touched ground, I hopped off and quickly hurried up to the dry sand, trying to escape the next rush of surf as it washed ashore. With a tip of my hat to those still inside the boat, I hurried away.

Up on the wooden dock that was bustling with people moving the merchandise from one area to another, I took pause, smiling at those inhabitants milling about on their daily business. I singled one out, and began to walk toward him, hoping he would know where I could find my benefactor and new master.

Approaching a balding man, I quickly looked at a paper that, until now, had been tucked in my coat pocket. "Excuse me, good sir, could you please tell me where I could find..." Once again I glanced at the name on the paper, even though I had read it many times, "Master Isaiah Evans?"

Chapter 2

The man studied my face for a moment then laughed, "Son, this village is full up with dandies enough to pop out your English eyeballs! And here you are, looking for a Master Evans? Do I look like the harbor welcoming committee?" His thick Irish brogue spat out his contempt for my English ancestors.

I slowly backed away as he laughed and elbowed another who was standing next to him, soon both were breaking into a fit of booming laughter, all at my expense. It was enough that it sent my young feet racing away, trying to put distance between myself, and the two Irishmen.

I paused at the edge of the cobblestone street, trying to figure which way I should go to find Master Evans, when I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I turned to face an elderly man. "Master Evans?" I asked, quickly removing my hat.

He smiled. "No, lad, I'm not Master Evans." He sized me up and down for a moment. "I know where thee can find him, that is, if thee first tell me thy reason for seeking Master Evans?"

"Certainly," I said placing my hat had back upon my head. "My name is Duncan Bailey. I am indentured to Master Evans. He is expecting me."

He looked down toward the ground and smiled. "I'll take thee to him...but I must warn you that he is...in somewhat of a fix right now." He took me by my shoulder and slowly ushered me toward a door that was low enough that even I had to duck down to enter. "Once thee and I are alone, I will explain."

I allowed myself to be directed into the small room, where only the simplest of accommodations were afforded this old man. Against the wall was a half-built rocker, apparently in the middle of construction. He pointed to a chair at his table and waited until I sat, then seated himself with a groan. "Now...about Master Evans?" I asked as he finally settled in.

The old man moved uneasily in his chair. "Master Evans has found himself in a bit of a fix, my good fellow. It would seem that thy master has stretched the truth to the elders in his village once too often."

"He lied to them? Why would that matter to anyone?" I snickered, "Surely Master Evans can handle himself enough to soften the anger of the village elders."

He smiled. "About half a year ago, he had let it be known that his wife would be arriving from England...then, Master Evans was accused of being with another man's woman. He wasn't but that doesn't help him in the least, there are many in the village who believe it and think that he had killed his wife before he left England, and was now running from the King's gallows."

I sat up straighter. "Did he?" I asked.

The old fellow laughed, then began brushing dried crumbs from a long ago lunch onto the floor. "Thy master was never married. He thought it might get him somewhere within Boston by fabricating this falsehood...now, unless he can produce his wife soon, he will be forced out of the village, losing all of his assets to a few of the elders."

"Seems like it would be easy for a man with wealth to find some wench that could play the part of his bride?" I watched the old man stand and pull a chunk of bread from a clay pot and slowly carry it to the table.

As he sat down he laughed, "Were it only that easy, my young lad." He sliced off two hearty pieces and passed one to me. "The village has a list of all the young females that enter Boston from Mother England, and they will be watching them for further signs of deceit."

"What of the surrounding areas? Surely one could make their way in from there?" I asked, pulling a portion of the bread off and eating it.

"Aye, but elders are watching everyone...it was only by chance I found thee first!" He bit down on his bread and chewed. "There may just be a way for thee to help thy good Master...and help me in the process."

"My good sir, I'm not sure what you have in mind. I'm just indentured to Master Evans, I know of no young females that can assist his charade," I responded in puzzlement; I didn't know where this old man was going with our conversation. "I am too new to this land."

He drummed his hand against the table. "It would be unseemly for a lass to be out, on her own, crossing the ocean. Unless of course, she were married," he thought aloud, his eyes slowly filling with the cunning of a fox. He inched closer, his face only inches from my own. "There are none that know of you...just how old are you lad?"

I was even more puzzled! "What does it matter? If I were 16, 20 or 25...I would still be unable to assist Master Evans!" Surely this old man could see the logic in my statement, or had his brain been addled by some sudden infliction?

He leaned back against the chair, "He knows nothing of what I plan, yet doing this...favor for Master Evans, might be a way of releasing you from your servitude early..."

I sat for a moment as his words soaked into my mind. "What could possibly end my servitude sooner? What is this scheme of yours?"

"With this." He smiled as he held out a strange necklace, I studied the charm upon the end as it spun a slow circle.

"And what will this charm do for me? Am I to use it to buy my freedom?" I started to reach out and grasp it, but he quickly pulled it away.

"Don't be so hasty, lad...if thee agree to do this, thee has much to prepare and very little time to do it in. Thankfully, none know thee are here and we could change you back after their scrutiny died down."

"What is that cheap trinket going to do?" I laughed, shaking my head.

"I wouldn't laugh, young one, there is a great power in this small necklace." He gently laid it down upon the table. "It has been around for hundreds of years...perhaps even longer!"

Smiling, I folded my arms. "And what is this great power that it can wield? How will it help me, and assist Master Evans?"

He held out a single finger, pointed upward. "One touch...just one single touch can alter who ye are into an entirely different form. One minute you might be a strapping young lad, the next minute transmuted into that of, say...a young lass."

I rolled my eyes and began to stand. "What you speak of is witchcraft! It is impossible!"

He held my arm lightly, stopping me from outright leaving. "Are thee willing to take a chance on it? Willing to give up a couple of short fortnights to try?"

"If it weren't for the opportunity to shorten my servitude, I'd laugh at you. But you create a compelling argument, one that I suppose, I should at least consider."

He smiled, patting my arm. "In the end, thee can always argue with him and say that thee are leaving him and return to England...only, thy true self would never go, instead thee could become thyself once again...as a free lad."

"And what is in all of this for you?" I narrowed my eyes, searching for some sign of deceit.

He gave me a look of surprise. "I am but a poor man. Look around thyself, all that thy see here is what I own. Once, long ago I was quite a furniture maker, but that was long ago...I am but an old man...wanting nothing more than to end his days in comfort. Thee doing this for Master Evans, and for a humble old man bringing thee to him, I should be paid handsomely."

I nodded, actually believing him. The lure of his proposal was intriguing...if only I could summon the courage to attempt his offer. If his magic worked, could I dress in the frocks of a young bride? If what he suggested was possible, I might be able to cut off many years of servitude...and strike out on my own much sooner than I had anticipated. After several minutes of silent contemplation, I nodded.

"I'll try and help in this way...but you will need to find a way to help me pass as this female. On top of that, guarantee that I will be able to return to that which I am now. There is no way that I can do this on my own so I'm sure I'll need help!"

He held up a bony finger and smiled. "We must first come up with thy costume, for the necklace to work, it must be new and unsoiled by any other." He stood up, gently placing the necklace back into his pocket. "I know just the person who can help us...a dressmaker only two blocks over. Eloisa is her name, and she gave the strange necklace to me. She is a very close friend who will help us, and not speak to others about what we plan."

I held up my hand, pointing to the necklace in his pocket. "How is this to work?"

"If the feminine finery is new, the costume will transform thee into a female thee would have been, had thou been born that way! Thy body would contort and reform until it fit what thou wore!" The old man stood up quickly, heading toward the door. I was left feeling that I may have made a grievous mistake...but freedom in this great land was well worth any attempt of releasing me from my servitude. No matter how costly it may be to my honor...or humility.

"And if it is touched against clothing which has been worn by another?" I asked as the curiosity began to gnaw at me.

"Thee would only become a copy, an exact duplicate of the soul who would have worn the item last," he replied, as if it were so blatantly obvious that I should know. "We must hasten, lad if we are to aid thy Master!"

As he laid his hand upon the door he turned toward me. "I will return as soon as I am able, use my bed and rest awhile. Remain quiet, do not go outside or allow anyone other than myself to enter." He pulled the door closed behind him, engulfing the room suddenly in its silence.

Chapter 3

I stretched out in his bed, trying to relax as he suggested. Sleep did not come easily, yet during the old man's absence I did manage to rest. I had no real idea how long I slumbered upon his bed, but was awaken by a voice just outside the door. I quickly leapt to my feet and crossed the room, placing my ear to the doors surface and my foot at the bottom to prevent easy entry.

I felt the push of the door against the side of my foot. "Open the door, lad." I recognized the voice of the old man and hesitated to remove my foot that blocked the swing of the door.

"Are you alone?" I asked, fearful of a trick.

"There is none about, aside from Eloisa and myself." I removed my foot and opened the door just a crack, peering through the sliver into the daylight.

"Come on, lad, these items are heavy," the old man grumbled.

I quickly stepped aside and allowed them entry, closing the door as soon as both he and the seamstress had passed. I followed him to the other side of the room where he laid a great pile of cloth upon his bed.

The old man rubbed his hands together and nodded, still looking down at his bed. "My friend, Eloisa, has come through this day." He indicated the woman with him. "We have everything thee will need to pull off this ruse."

I picked up a corset and examined the whale-bone stays that lined its surface. "And all of this is for me? Just how many outfits did this dressmaker give you?" My eyes wavered between the two of them.

His smile left his face as his gaze drift from me to the pile, at that moment the woman finally found her voice as she pushed her graying hair from her face. "Well...why only one! There is only one outfit here."

"How do you expect me to walk...wearing all of these garments? Is this what every female wears?" I shook my head with complete surprise. "Surely, you can't expect me to wear everything you have here?"

She nodded, shrugging her shoulders as she did so. "It is no more, and no less, than what every woman who has the money will wear..."

The old man interrupted her, speaking with finality. "The medallion will complete the ruse, you must only stay in this female form for twelve hours...although I would at least suspect a week, maybe slightly longer would be worth it to Master Evans." He smiled and peered into his pocket, carefully removing the necklace by its chain.

Once again, the thought of ending my servitude early played upon my reluctance to donning this alien disguise. After several minutes of quiet soul-searching, I gave in. "Tell me what I have to do."

The woman, Eloisa waived her finger, "First you must completely undress. Once you are unclothed, you must clean thy body...no regal woman would ever be caught wearing clothing with the stench that you have."

"These female changes...are you sure they can be undone?" I asked, picking up the washing cloth the old man offered.

"Most definitely, my good lad. When thee and thy Master Evans are no longer suspect...I will be here to change thee back in an instant." He smiled and made a motion for me to hurry with a wave of his fingers.

I cast him a sullen glance, "This had better be worth it." I grumbled, slowly reaching for the string on my shirt. "Ma'am, can you please avert your eyes?"

She gave a short laugh. "I can, but once you use that medallion, the point will be moot."

"And why is that?" I asked.

"You will be no different than me...a woman." Her words raced into my ears like a knife!

"Why then don't you use it? You are more suitable to being his wife than I am!" I was beginning to feel the fear in what I was about to do.

"I would be missed. You're young, and we have checked the ships logs...no one knows you are here, and you would not be missed." She pointed toward the water and swirled her finger downward in the air, with finality, she turned away and faced the wall.

Chapter 4

Tossing the cloth back into the bowl of water, I stood completely naked before them. "I am clean and ready...what is next?" I asked, feeling somewhat embarrassed standing before a middle-aged woman and wearing nothing on at all. Even though I had placed myself behind objects that would restrict her view, it didn't help hide the embarrassment I was feeling.

"We must dress thee as a regal woman for thy charade to succeed." The man spoke in old world English, from what I could recall...the woman's language was more like my own. "My friend here will give explicit directions for how thee should dress. For this to work, thee must follow her directions without nary a question. Once thee has been dressed, I will change thy form using the necklace."

Eloisa began to sort through the items and finally handed the first of the garments to me. "The first thing you must put on is a smock, also called a shift. This is a refined woman's innermost layer of clothing. It is worn by all women of all classes."

I took it and slowly pulled it on, she continued to explain what its purpose was. "This is a basic undergarment worn to protect a lady's outer clothing from sweat and body oils."

I waited until she adjusted it upon my body. When I was finally covered, my fear grew less and less. "Since your dress is a low-cut French gown rather than a gown with a high bodice, I chose a linen smock with a low, square neck for you, decorated with blackwork and narrow lace around the neck opening."

"Ma'am, these terms mean nothing to me. Will I truly be regaled in this form long enough to have need of them?" I frowned at them both.

"You will have to continue to dress yourself if you plan on remaining as a woman for any length of time. It would only make good sense to know what you are wearing and why," she scolded, then thrust another item into my hands. "Learn the names for them. You may never know, for the question won't be asked when you are ready...they only come when you aren't."

"These are your stockings, put them on, dear." I took them from her and gave the old man another frown. "Pay attention young man! These are made of fine silk yarn, and you will have to hold them up by a garter, a thin ribbon tied just below the knee." I watched her turn and remove the corset from the bed, and inwardly I cringed.

"Now it's time for the corset. Sometimes you may hear them referred to a 'pair of bodies', but whatever it's called...you must wear it. A woman's corset is a close-fitting bodice stiffened with reed and whalebone. Women don't wear corsets every day, but your petticoat bodices gives a fashionable enough silhouette for relaxed home wear--but for court, or meeting your husband..."

I shot the old man a reluctant glare. "I trust you're happy?"

He only smiled at my discomfort as she began to wrap it around me and continued to explain. "You will need a corset to give you the flat front line required for your French gown. Sometimes a smaller-busted woman can get away with a few bones down the front of her gown bodices and rarely needs to wear a corset. Unfortunately for you, this one is all I had at hand." She smiled, as if she really wasn't sorry at all. She then slipped a busk of horn down the front of the corset to make it very stiff and straight.

I again glanced at the old man, this time with fear in my eyes. "You said that the medallion will transform the body to fit the clothing...or something like that?" He nodded his reply. "Then, if what this woman said is true...It will be a substantial bosom that I will possess?" I quickly looked at Eloisa and frowned. "I don't think I wish for a large feminine bosom!"

She frowned and hesitated. "Do you think a man of his substance would be interested in a flat busted child? I doubt it. No, you will be just fine with what you end up with...the breasts of an adult woman."

"I think I will be a better judge of this," I hissed. "Especially when even after your change, I'll still only be shy of sixteen!"

"Nonsense!" she snapped, ignoring my griping. "You may be of that age on the inside, but you'll look considerably older. Besides, he had already informed the village that you are eighteen!" Her comment left me dumbfounded, unable to think of anything else to say!

Eloisa admired the fit of the corset, as she drew the strings tighter and tighter. "There, this will do. Now, the Spanish farthingale is next, which is sometimes called a 'verdingal', it's is a cone-shaped hoop skirt which gives the A-line shape that has become so fashionable at court in the past few years." She begins to walk to the back out of my eyesight, still talking. "Some outfits call for farthingales stiffened with rows of rope, which give a softer line, as well as some stiffened with willow bents, which create a very rigid shape indeed. For meeting your husband, though, I chose a willow-bent Spanish farthingale made of red taffeta."

Eloisa slipped it over my head and tied it to the corset at the sides. "This keeps it from slipping down and moving, and helps transfer the weight of heavy skirts to the torso rather than having it rest all on your hips."

"I can barely breathe!" I complained, my breath shortened from the corset.

"You'll get used to it," she replied sternly. "We all do."

Without a beat, she continued. "Next comes the 'rowle' or 'Bumroll'. Some women wear small, padded crescents around their hips to make skirts spring out more. The French gown I made has pleats that are stuffed with batting and stiffened buckram near the top. This gives them more spring, but perhaps a bumroll would give you an extra 'oomph' to your skirt."

Even though I was adamantly shaking my head, it had already been decided for me as Eloisa tied it around my waist. "Are you keeping track of all this, laddie?" she said with a laugh.

"I'm trying," I said frowning, which caused her to snicker softly.

"So now that we have all the structural items on, it's time for our creativity to come to the fore. Usually this is where a woman dons on her petticoat. However, the dress we've chosen is a French gown, and a petticoat is not really suited to the French Gown I have made. The skirts of this kind of gown are open in front to show off a fancy forepart, which is attached to either the front of the farthingale itself, or to a fitted, a-line skirt, called a kirtle." Eloisa stepped back for a moment. "Yes, I think you should wear a kirtle instead."

"I'm not sure whether I should be happy or not." I groused again, because the weight of this dress was growing with each item she placed upon me.

"I plan to have you wear a kirtle skirt over your farthingale. This green satin kirtle fits particularly well over this farthingale, and best of all I have had it already pressed." She seemed almost giddy in her excitement, almost as if she were a child dressing a doll. "After looking over several embroidered foreparts, I think this one will go well with the gown we've chosen."

I saw her glance toward a red velvet gown, sticking out from a bag she had carried in with her. She smiled and pulled it from the bag. Deftly, she began removing a gold silk forepart from the green satin kirtle and quickly stitched the new forepart on, the old man was directed to lace the matching sleeves into the armholes of the gown.

"All of this is much too tight on me!" I complained, "It's heavy and warm!"

"You are a long way from done, at least when this is all over, you will have an appreciation of how much effort it takes for us to get ready for our men. Now, quit your complaining and put this on!" She handed me a white silk partlet embroidered with a network design in white silk "whitework" embroidery. This partlet tied under my arms, and filled in the low neckline of her gown quite a lot.

She smiled as she adjusted the fit. "This will make you look quite beautiful and stylish!"

Eloisa clasped her hands and smiled. "At last! Time for the beautiful gown!" The old man helped her get me into the damnable French style gown, making sure the partlet was evenly tucked around the neckline, and laced it closed in front, as Eloisa fiddled with the fashionable large shoulder rolls to make sure they were straight. She then began to shake out the skirt so that it lay evenly around.

"I never would have imagined that there was this much clothing under a female's garment! How do you remember everything?" I sadly shook my head in despair.

"You will have to learn them all; either that or hope Master Evans has a maid or two for you." She headed toward the bed to search through the items, returning with one in her hand.

"What is that which you carry?" I asked, trying to see what she held.

It was a woman's shoe. They had thin leather soles and uppers of leather, velvet or some type of fabric. I couldn't see them clearly the way she was holding them. Copious amounts of the dress fabric that I wore kept them entirely from my view. Finally after much grumbling, she held them aloft for me to see. They were lined with wool, taffeta and satin. This particular pair was actually red leather "latchet" shoes, as she called them. The shoes have two side-flaps that fasten over a central tongue, tying with a yellow ribbon. She disappeared beneath my skirt and forced my foot into them one at a time, I winced in pain as she began to lace them.

"Good lord, woman! They are much too small for my foot!" I shouted. "Take them off or I'll never be able to walk again!"

The old man looked me squarely in the eye and growled. "The size is imperative as to a woman's small feet. Once the necklace is used, the pain thee are feeling will be moot. Thy feet will adjust to the size of this shoe, so quit thy yapping like some young cur!"

I frowned and gradually shifted from one foot to the other in a vain attempt to alleviate the discomfort I was feeling.

"Follow me." Eloisa took me by the elbow and sat me down at the table. Before me was a mirror. From the neck down I looked like a boy wearing a dress, although it was very tight. In surprise I stared, even though I had nothing up top, the corset did give the illusion of a slight amount of cleavage. Finally able to take the weight off of my trapped feet, I gave a sigh of relief. My hair was already slightly long for boys in the colony, but in England I was quite fashionable. I kept it in a rolled ponytail tied off with a blue ribbon given to me by my father.

In the mirror I watched as Eloisa removed the blue ribbon and let my hair fall to my shoulder blades. She then placed a linen cape over the gown. "This is to keep hair and hair oils away from the delicate silks." She then began brushing the knots from my hair with a bone comb.

I winced in pain. "Wouldn't it be easier to just pull it out by the roots?" I said sarcastically through gritted teeth.

Her response was to whack me on top of my head as a mother might discipline her child. I only glared at her smiling reflection after that.

She rolled the front of my hair into two poufs, using some type of substance to add body, and the rest was braided into a thick brown braid. She then threaded a blunt needle with a ribbon, which she called a 'hair tape', and proceeded to 'sew' the braid around the back of my head to keep it in place.

"I look like a fool," I grumbled. As I watched, she fixed a small bag, or 'cawle', as she called it, over the braid.

"I look like I'm wearing a one of your North American beaver tails on my head." I laughed gently touching it with my hand. Once again I felt the smack of her comb.

She began looking through various head-wear she brought along--a rather out-of-date French hood, a small flat cap, and several hats of differing shapes, sizes and colors. Finally selecting one, Eloisa decided to place a hat of white and gold brocade, embellished with several white feathers and a beautiful hatpin of enameled gold.

"The townspeople will see right through this silly outfit! I will be hung from the gallows the instant they see that I am in disguise!" I sadly shook my head in frustration!

Behind me Eloisa has been preparing the makeup that I will be wearing. "You are forgetting - when they see you, the magic will already have completed you."

I glanced toward the elderly man who said, "Eloisa is correct; once thee have transmuted, thou may no longer claim to be that of a male. Thou will truly be that of a female...and thou will be able to perform as a woman, in any event."

I lowered my eyes to the table, the realization of what they said sinking in. I was to become a young female! The wife of an American nobleman...a colonist!

My thoughts were broken as Eloisa began to prattle on about some nonsense. "You wouldn't often wear makeup, but for this appearance with your Master Evans, it really is required."

Eloisa applied a white foundation to my face and to what will become my bosom, then began applying red "ceruse", or vermilion, to my lips. She followed it with a touch of ceruse to my cheeks.

She backed away from me and looked at the old man. "Something's missing," he whispered.

Eloisa nodded and pointed her finger in the air. "Jewelry!" She quickly rummaged through a small wooden box and chose a rich jeweled choker, of garnets and pearls. This feminine item she placed upon my neck. It had a pendant depicting a dolphin, decorated with diamonds and emeralds.

"It's interesting to see the holes in your ears. Were you planning on doing some pirating?" She laughed at her own joke. "At some point, I'll be needing these back." She followed this with ruby and pearl earrings.

"I had it done on my way over; the sailors said that it's done on boys when they cross the ocean." I rolled my eyes as I felt the weight drag each lobe slightly.

She then began slipping some bodkins tipped with pearls into the poufs of my hair. Not quite satisfied with the effect, Eloisa also dons a long gold chain with a large pendant to the front center of the bodice I was wearing.

She walked toward the bed and picked something up from the pile. "It's a rather cloudy day and there's a slight chance of rain. This forces us to have you wear some protective clothing, so we'll need to put a 'safeguard', or protective outer skirt, over your gown to keep any unfortunate mud or water from it during your ride across town to meet your husband. A cape should conceal your bodice and sleeves." Eloisa smiled and looked at the old man. "Master Evans's young wife is ready to meet her husband!"

I glanced toward myself in the mirror.

"He looks like a female even without thy use of the transforming necklace," I heard the old man telling Eloisa.

"Imagine how pretty she'll be once you've touched it against the clothing she now wears," the woman spoke with glee as she began to gather up her unused items. In the mirror I watched as the old man swung out the necklace and allowed it to touch my neck, sliding slightly down into the collar of the dress I was wearing. I felt the cool metal...or was that a slight tingle, I could not be sure.

"What now?" I asked.

"We wait for the changes," came the only reply I heard.

Chapter 5

The reflection of Eloisa in the mirror spoke volumes, yet the old man's comment left no doubt as to what my actions will be forced to become. "It begins."

In a strange way, my reflection was soon to become a window into my soul. I watched in abject fascination as my eyes changed subtly, becoming more open and losing their squintiness! Leaning into the mirror, I studied my lashes as they darkened slightly, growing longer and curving upward in the process to seemingly impossible lengths!

A strange feeling washed throughout my body as I focused upon my face. My brows appeared thinner and seemed to become arched slightly, more feminine than they had been only moments earlier! Even my cheekbones slowly elevated upward until they appeared more pronounced and higher, as if moved by unseen hands!

Touching my cheek brought another realization to my eyes, no longer were my nails round and short...they had become more feminine with an oval shape! While long nails were unusual for the average 'working' woman in the colonies, my nails seemed to extend just a fraction beyond the tips of my fingers. This was a natural effect as I was supposed to be a part of the elite class of the Boston Town colony.

Slowly my eyes were drawn to the exposed skin of my chest to where the minimal cleavage I had once possessed when Eloisa laced the corset on me. Gradually, it began to deepen, further and further it pushed outward, filling and plumping up with large globes of female flesh! I sat and trembled as they began to fill out the loose cups of the clothing I wore, continuing on further until they seemed to threaten spilling from the very gown I had on!

"They're still growing! Make...make them stop!" I whimpered softly as I watched in fear! My voice sounded strangely to me, I touched the choker on my throat, no longer laying oddly because of my Adam's apple. "I...I sound like a...a girl!"

"No, honey..." Eloisa patted my shoulder. "You ARE a girl, a young woman in fact."

"And thee are getting womanlier, if that be a word!" observed the old man.

Beneath the gown I could feel other unseen changes. I could tell that my thighs were becoming slender, my legs perhaps slightly longer! I noticed that the slippers weren't bothering my feet, no tighter than the shoes I had worn when I arrived here in Boston!

My seat was changing too, becoming strangely softer with a feeling of being padded! The corset, which had been extremely torturous to me earlier, was now rapidly becoming more and more comfortable! "Oh...my God!" I whispered as I realized that I couldn't flex the muscles of my maleness anymore! Now when I tried, strange muscles further up would move!

I didn't have to actually see it, I just knew, I began to tremble, my once male appendage now replaced with a even more dangerous feminine opposite! I said dangerous because, I was sure that with the change came the obvious possibility of having a child! I tried to stand, but it was too quickly and little blackened spirals began to form before my eyes. I leaned against the table and wiped the perspiration from my lip with quivering fingertips. The old man was at my elbow in an instant; it was a good thing too as I saw the floor begin to spin. My knees buckled and I lurched suddenly forward into the blackness that engulfed my mind.

Chapter 6

I slowly opened my eyes. I was laying prone upon the bed. "Are thee well?"

Rolling my head to the side I could feel a breeze blow across my face, the intervals between gusts was evident that it was someone fanning me, pushing the air by hand and not caused by an open window. I touched my forehead, where a cool damp cloth lay folded. Again the male voice spoke, "Are thee well, child?"

"I...I..." I stammered, unbelieving that the soft voice emitted from my throat was my own. I could sense my eyes rolling back, but I once again willed myself to consciousness. I tried to raise my head and felt a hand upon my shoulder.

"No, honey, you lie still for a few more minutes." My eyes wavered toward the voice, it was Eloisa. "You fainted."

"Dropped like a sack of stones, thee did," interjected the man's voice.

"It's not uncommon for young ladies to faint...it's usually caused by the corset being too tight. For some strange reason, men find it a very feminine thing to do." She smiled and removed the cloth, dipped it into cool water, wrung it out and reapplied it to my head. "We'll give her a few minutes to rest, then take the new Lady Evans to meet her husband."

"Her? L...Lady Evans?" I was barely audible, but she heard me just the same.

"Like it or not, thou will have to proceed with this charade..." The old man advised, "While thee were slumbering, we heard that Master Evans was asked to appear before the elders only a week ago. They are considering a term in prison for him, should he not produce proof of his wife soon."

I pushed off the cloth and sat up before Eloisa could prevent me from doing so. "If...If that happens, my servitude may be sold to someone else?"

"Quite possible lad...lass." The old man corrected himself. "It might serve thee well to hasten and rescue thy husband from his captors. Any idleness may place thee in others hands, where thee may not be able to bargain thyself with."

I slowly rolled toward his side of the bed, the copious amount of the dress fouling my movement. The man offered his hand, I took it with a hesitant smile and gently stood to my feet. Once again, Eloisa began to smooth and shake out my dress.

"What is it that I call myself while I am portraying Lady Evans? I should have a given name, wouldn't you think?" I wondered aloud, realizing that my feet were no longer uncomfortable in the shoes. They were actually loose enough to enjoy.

"We were told that when he went before the elders the first time, he was also asked the same question," Eloisa said, looking toward the man. "I can't remember what it was he had said, though!"

The man stared at the stones upon the floor. "I believe he said her name was...Rebecca. I believe we should also be referring to thee as Rebecca."

"When you meet your husband, you will have to play the part of the dutiful wife...can you do this?" Eloisa asked, searching my eyes for the unknown.

I nodded slowly. "I think I can...I'm sure I can do well enough to not embarrass Master Evans."

The old man tapped my arm. "Unless in play, thou shouldst refrain from calling him 'Master Evans'. Use only his given name of Isaiah!"

I nodded. "I shall." Then contemplated what he meant by his use of 'in play'...this term troubled me greatly.

Eloisa glanced quickly at her friend. "We must hasten, Edmond. Rebecca should be seen by the elders of the village this evening. Can you act as her driver?"

I thought about the use of his name, it was the first time I could recall actually hearing one. My mind wandered back to our earlier conversations, not once did I ever remember him introducing himself to me.

My mind slowly returned to their discussion. Edmond nodded and shed his worn coat, removing a newer one from a hook upon the wall. "I know of a coach that would be suitable for Lady Rebecca to arrive in. It will only take a moment to retrieve both it and a team."

We both watched as he disappeared outside, closing the door behind him. As my mind drifted, Eloisa commented on the situation I found myself in. "What you are doing for Mater Evans is a great thing indeed."

I shrugged. "I am only doing it to shorten my duration of servitude." My eyes slowly returned to the mirror, reflected back was a young woman, a woman which could have been an older sister to Duncan. If not older, at least much more developed than other females her age...and sadly, it was me somewhere within that reflection.

She fingered the quilting of the bed. "Should there arise issues of your marriage, are you prepared to handle them?"

I glanced quickly at her. "Issues? What sort of issues?"

Eloisa paused for a moment, and I could tell she was stalling. "Issues that only occur between a man and a woman." Her face reddened slightly.

I felt my own grow warm. "Those issues will not happen between Master Evans..."

"Isaiah," she interjected.

I chose to ignore her. "...and myself. I am there only as a decoy for the elders...a wife for him to parade about the village. When I am through, I will revert back, and be off to the western boundaries of the civilization...perhaps as far west as Pennsylvania or the Indian territory that I have read so much about."

She tipped her head slightly. "You have the warm blood of a woman coursing through your veins, certain situations may arise which will confuse you...feelings that may call you to question your very decisions."

"I will be fine. I am a man after all." I straightened up proudly and tapped my chest.

My finger came into contact with one of my pillowed breasts, which caused me to look down. "No...you're not," she reminded, her voice echoing in my head.

"Oh God...what have I gotten myself into?" I whispered softly, under my breath.

Chapter 7

I sat behind the old man who was driving; my seat was slightly lower in the coach. Beside me sat Eloisa. "You never said your name was Edmond?" I shouted above the horses hooves as the clacked upon the cobblestone street."

"Thee never asked!" he shouted back. "Sit thee back and try to look regal, a 'real' Lady would never converse with her driver...other than to provide direction."

I eased back into the coach's seat. "Edmond is right, you know. You must think of how you should react before actually doing or saying something." She smiled and gently adjusted the ballooning skirt I wore.

"What should I expect when I meet Master Ev...Isaiah?" I rolled my eyes and frowned at my blunder.

"He does know that 'his wife' is in Boston; Edmond had alerted him. However, he has refrained from saying anything to the elders...but he does not know that you were once male. So I think he is going for a rather dramatic introduction of you." She laughed, although I wasn't sure if it was at my expense.

"How so?" I asked.

Edmond glanced over his shoulder at me as he continued to drive. "The elders believe thee don't exist, it is thy husband's intention to prove to thy elders, that thee do! Master Evans has staged a emergency meeting today, without them knowing thee are really in town! Thy elders are sure to be furious...it is with this element of surprise that Master Evans hopes to dissuade them of any doubt."

"I'll never pull this off, they'll see right through me!" I rolled my eyes and frowned, nervous tension slowly began to build in my stomach.

"Whatever it takes, thy better hope thee pulls it off! Thy alternative could mean a worse fate for all of us!"

"When we meet, should I bow, shake his hand...act miffed or what exactly should I do?" I quickly grabbed my hat as it lifted slightly from my head caused by the breeze of our motion.

"Bowing?" she laughed, "Never! Most likely he will take you by the hand and help you to the ground. You must act demure and just follow his lead. A curtsy perhaps would be in order, even drop your eyes slightly as you do so. A kiss upon his cheek would not be out of the ordinary. Remember, it has been awhile since you have been with him, or at least that is what the elders think."

I nodded, studying the homes and businesses as we clopped by. The townspeople that we encountered just stepped aside and allowed us to pass, and some even doffed their hats at us.

"Why do the men tip their hats as we pass?" I asked aloud, not really expecting an answer.

"They are being both respectful and courteous to us." I knitted my brows because I was confused by her response. She continued, "It is polite for them to respect a woman, especially one who is dressed as a very noble woman."

"Me?" I asked, sighing as I realized what she meant by her comment.

"You, Rebecca." She again reached across and adjusted the protective covering worn over my elaborate gown.

As we approached the gate of our meeting place, we were passed by another carriage heading out. In it was an older noblewoman was riding, driven by her uniformed driver. It was quite apparent that she wore a wig, powdered, combed thoroughly, and white as snow. I felt my hand snake toward my own tresses, Eloisa noticed and gave me a quick shake of her head.

"She is of the old world, while you are young and modern. You won't wear a lice ridden wig like her, no modern woman would! Many of your former English countrymen refer to the modern colonists like we are as...natural."

I lowered my hand down slowly and thanked her with a nod of my head. Inwardly, I gave a sigh of relief, for the wig looked uncomfortable and extremely hot. "Then, I am a natural...woman." I sighed under my breath, Eloisa closed her eyes and gave me another slight nod of agreement.

"Hush now...we are almost there," she said as she recognized the area we were entering.

Suddenly it felt as a thousand winged insects were suddenly fluttering in my stomach! I leaned against the side and slowly rubbed my temple. I trembled as I realized that I was trapped in this frail young woman's body! I was locked as a woman for as long as was needed to play out this ruse for this man!

I felt the coach slowing down to make a turn into a long tree-lined drive, toward a house that lay back away from the street. I knew that if I died today, they would be burying the body of a young woman...the wife of a colonial noble. That would be what they would all see, but I had to hold on to the boy hidden deep inside this feminine body... "Hold fast, Duncan Bailey! Hold fast to your dreams!" I said to myself, reminding me that I once was as male as the man who was playing my husband.

As the coach slowly rolled toward the stately home, I felt Eloisa's hand lightly grasp mine. "You are ready for this, child...you'll do fine."

I nodded as several older gentlemen spilled onto the topmost stairs, standing like important statues in a museum. Behind them pushed a tall young man; his splendid clothing bespoke his rank in society. "Rebecca!" several voices whispered as I sat quietly, held back in the gentle grasp of Eloisa.

Eloisa stood and turned toward me, deftly removing the protective clothing over my gown. Whispering softly, barely in an audible voice said, "Follow Isaiah's lead...act the dutiful wife. He will probably kiss you upon your neck as is custom, however he may kiss your lips. It is a sign of intimacy."

I avoided glaring my response to her, but through my fabricated smile I hissed, "It is rude for him to kiss my lips! I will allow him to kiss my cheek, but it will stop there!"

She squeezed my hand rather tightly. "He is your husband! It would be foolhardy, before all of these people for him to kiss you in any other way which is not intimate. Remember you are his wife...don't embarrass him!" Again she squeezed my hand, it was tight and hurt slightly.

I never even turned my head to acknowledge that anything had transpired between us, yet my heart was pounding like a drum in my chest! Following the man with my eyes to the side of the coach, I forced a smile.

Isaiah was tall and had wavy brown hair, it was pulled back into a short tail in the back. His clothing was impeccable, he carried himself with style and nobility as he approached. As he saw me, there was a brief twinkle in his powdery blue eyes, almost as if surprised by my appearance...but thankfully, he never let on.

"Rebecca, my love, at last you arrive!" He held out his hand, surprising me that my own, when placed in his, was very petite in size. Slowly, I worked my way through the coach's opening, aided by Eloisa who was bending the gown's billowing skirt to allow my escape.

Chapter 8

I finally stood upon the tiny crushed stone of the drive, and Isaiah took both of my hands in his and kissed them deeply. "You've been gone so long, my love, I had feared for your safety!" He spoke loud enough for them to hear.

My mind began to scramble desperately for answers to his implied question, and with a deep breath I found my voice. "I...I took ill before the ship crossed from England. When I finally was able to travel, my journey was long and quite tedious." I spoke softly, allowing my English accent to sell the country of my birth. "It is so good to be with you again, Isaiah."

Before I could speak further, Isaiah grabbed me in a great hug and kissed me deeply upon the mouth, his lips hungry with fabricated desire. At least, that was my hope. I did my best to try to return his act, closing my eyes to shut out the feminine response I was performing.

When he finally broke his kiss, he held his gaze upon my face, lightly touching my cheek with his large hand. I studied his own face for a moment, as would have been expected. He was clean-shaven with longer sideburns that came to the edge of his chin and turned slightly inward. His hair was a soft brown, set off by the pale blue of his eyes. Isaiah stood well over six feet in height, while I felt very tiny at just over five feet now since my change.

He gently took my hand and placed it upon his strong arm, leading me up the stairs toward where the old scowling men had gathered. As we passed, they gave me a slight tip of their heads, which I returned in kind.

Slowly the crowed filtered inside and the elders took their seats at a long table. After everyone had settled down, one of them cleared his throat. "We see now why you convened this meeting."

Another man, white haired with a young face, glared toward me. "And your name is...?"

Isaiah straightened, bristling at their audacity; they knew full well who I was...or should be. It was evident that they were very perturbed that he had just informed them of my arrival to Boston.

Even before Isaiah could exchange harsh words with the elder, I stepped forward. "I am Rebecca Evans, Isaiah's wife."

"How should we believe this farce?" He looked toward his companions seated at the long table. "Why is he now able to produce this...this female? Why has it taken so long for her to arrive when many others have arrived in well short of her travel time?" He scowled at me, his disbelief evident by his glare.

I straightened up, as what was left of the male blood in me boiled. "You, sir, know very well my name...what, pray tell, is yours?"

He glared at me. "How dare you...a mere insolent child...and a woman at that, address me in such a tone!"

"It is a simple question, good sir," I said politely.

Another gentleman at the table laughed and leaned forward. "Young Mrs. Evans, I am called Master Terhune. Can you please tell Master Kuhnart why it has taken you so long to arrive?"

"Why yes, kind sir, I shall," I replied with as much regal dignity as I could muster. I wanted to sound like the noble woman I portrayed. As I approached closer, I scrambled within my mind to come up with a reason which might embarrass the grouchy old man who had addressed me so rudely. Finally a reason came across. A reason which I thought was all too common among any community. Turning toward Isaiah, I asked, "Dearest? How long has it been since we last spoke in person?" I was stalling for time, I was sure they knew it.

His mind worked quickly. "It's been almost eight months, Rebecca." He gave me a curious look, but I knew that the length of time would be aware to all of them and yet might help me devise an appropriate answer.

I looked again toward the scowling old man who had addressed me so rudely, purposefully mispronounced his name. "Master Kuhnart, IF there is truly a need to know, well then...I shall tell you." Again my mind raced for something reasonable to say.

"There is lass! Out with the reason!" he barked, his face reddening with anger. "The elders, who are seated before you, will deem if your reason carries merit."

Enough time had passed that a brazen idea popped into my head! Hopefully it would be convincing enough to quell any suspicions from this group of old men.

"Just after my husband Isaiah left for the colonies, I found myself with child." I paused for effect - Eloisa gave me a shocked glance as I continued. "When I was sent for by Isaiah, I found myself into my fourth month. That infant, our child, was miscarried on the very day before I was supposed to leave for Boston. I was compelled by my mother to wait until I was sufficiently healed before embarking on the very next ship...the one that brought me here." I folded my arms in an almost unladylike manner, then I quickly dropped my arms to my side before I hoped anyone noticed. "But of course, what would a MERE man know of the affairs of women? How could a young woman explain the pain of a miscarriage to a man who might double in pain when he strikes a blow to his thumb with a hammer? Isn't it true that a man could never hope to know the threshold of a woman's pain?" I added even before I could stop myself, then wondered just what I was thinking by challenging him.

Master Kuhnart's face grew red once again in response, but this time he looked downward. At that moment, Isaiah resumed his acting role. "If I had only known, Rebecca...I would have been on the very next ship for England..."

I placed my fingers against his lips, quelling his verbal apology. "There is no need for apologies, dear husband. How could you have known?" I glared at the old man who had addressed me so rudely, as he tried to hide his face from my sight. Across the room from him stood an old woman who was also scowling at him, I could only assume that it was his wife.

I held my hand out, and Isaiah promptly placed his arm under it. "Now gentlemen, it has been a long voyage, and I am quite tired. Allow me leave so I may be reacquainted with my husband."

The men all stood and smiled but one, it was the bad seed who leaned against his fists on the table. "You may be able to fool the others at this table, but I am not as easily fooled!" He glared even more, giving him the expression of a bulldog. "I am not convinced you are actually his wife! There has been sufficient time for me to have the ship's manifest checked. There was no Rebecca Evans aboard the Endbreeze!"

Isaiah stepped forward. "Many who are aboard the ships from England aren't logged into the manifest, and you know that!" He glared back and pointed toward a young man standing at the end of the table. "Wasn't one of your own servants brought here without being upon a ship's manifest?"

The old man bristled because he could not dispute Isaiah's statement. "Servant yes! But we're talking of a so-called noblewoman! I will be watching, and I have others who will also be watching you too! Do not attempt to leave anytime soon!"

I paused, glaring at him once again. Slowly walking to the table with my gown billowing about my feet, I replied, "What have I ever done to you, that you should go to such great length to disapprove of me? Have I somehow caused you great anguish or pain? Why do you doubt me so?" I too grew angry at his reluctance of belief. "Or is it, sir, that you have something to hide that by taking it out on me? Perhaps you are trying to divert our attention elsewhere!"

He jerked his head as if I had slapped him. "Why there is no such...I..."

I looked at the rest of the table, and I saw that they all had smirks on their faces. To them I nodded and smiled, "Gentlemen, I take my leave." I was no longer asking this time; it was a finality.

As we filed out of the building, I heard one of the older men laugh, saying, "That little one has a bit of fire in her! A bit of fire indeed, wouldn't you say so, Simon?"

I felt vindicated and sensed a bit of the fire they spoke of. I had always thought of myself as a young man who spoke his mind. After my transformation, why shouldn't I have become a young woman who also speaks her mind? I walked slowly away with Isaiah, wondering if this was how a 'modern, natural' woman would behave. I could only hope the Simon I heard one speaking to, was the old white haired man I just told off. Inwardly, I smiled.

Chapter 9

Isaiah tied his horse to the back of the coach, and helped me into the seat before climbing in himself. Together we rode in the rear seat toward his home. I could tell that Edmond was listening in, but as yet, he stayed away from speaking. Eloisa sat opposite me staring out toward the sparkling Harbor. Finally Isaiah looked from me toward Edmond and laughed, saying, "You sure are a spitfire of a lass! Where did you find her, Edmond?"

I smiled, answering for Edmond. "I was on the ship, Master Evans. I am, actually, Duncan Bailey. As for the fire, I guess I get it from my mother. She too, had a fiery English temper."

"A young lad then! You pass for a woman remarkably well...how is this so?" He gave Eloisa a quick glance.

"It is a sort of magic, Master Evans," Eloisa answered softly. "It is not black art...he can be changed back when we are ready to do so."

Isaiah studied me for several seconds before responding. "So...which name are you going by while in this attire? Duncan or Rebecca?" he asked without turning his head away from me.

"Rebecca," I replied softly, not knowing how he was going to react to this new news. "It was the name you chosed, and now, the entire town knows me by that name, too. As long as I'm a woman, I will use that feminine name."

"How can you, a male, allow this sort of change to happen? For me to be changed as you, I would surely die!" He turned slightly, and his arm quickly was removed from behind my shoulders as he spoke to both Eloisa and me. Isaiah expression exhibited equal parts of disbelief, awe and amusement as his eyes darted between the three of us. "What you are saying isn't possible... It it can't be! To go from completely and totally male, to one hundred percent female... remarkable, simply remarkable, Duncan!" He shook his head in unbelieving astonishment. "Is this a remarkable time we live in? Simply fascinating!"

I felt a tremble race through my shoulders. "My former gender is of no consequence; I agreed to portray your wife as long as needed. Only for this act, I expect my freedom from servitude. As for the name, for now you must continue to call me Rebecca. To fail to do so may result in your ruse being discovered...and if that should happen, we all could be locked away in the stocks!" I stared at him, then returned my gaze to Edmond's back.

"You are a very smart...eh...young woman. If you wish to use the name Rebecca outside of playing the part of my wife, suit yourself. However, for what you are doing for me, I WILL reward you handsomely!"

"Don't forget Edmond and Eloisa. Without them, this all wouldn't have been possible. As for me, you know what I want," I reminded him, emphasizing my point once again.

He smiled at them both as they quickly glanced up, after hearing their names. "...I will also pay them handsomely." Isaiah studied the embroidery patterns on the front of my gown before speaking. "I find this...you... so fascinating!"

He quickly glanced toward the sun, then toward the others. "Since it has been such a long day, when we arrive at my...our home, I would like you all to sup with me...and...my wife Rebecca. There is much we need to discuss!"

"Oh?" I answered, thinking about my early release of servitude.

He gave me a handsome smile, and I felt my stomach began to flutter. Once again, the phantom insects were taking flight. Why should his smile bother me so? Why would I think of it as being handsome in the first place?

Chapter 10

As our carriage pulled in toward what I assumed was his home, I was surprised as to how average it appeared to be on the outside. Compared with the homes of people in Isaiah's class back in England, theirs were far more opulent than this two-story home. It couldn't have more than seven to ten rooms in total!

There were long overlapped boards which were stacked from bottom to top, these lined the outside of the home and created a pleasant siding. On the roof of both buildings were thin overlapped and staggered boards which had been lain with one row over the other until it reached the peak.

There were very few windows in the entire structure; from where I sat, I could see only four tiny, square windows of no more then the length of my arm. Two of the windows were up at the second floor and two at the first floor. Windows in the colonies were very scarce, usually having to be shipped from Europe unless you knew of skilled tradesman living nearby.

I could just make out a stone-lined walkway to the side of the home that led toward the back and out of my view. It appeared to have been lined with flowers and shrubbery, and was probably very pretty in the warm months. All about the home stood huge old trees, towering above like sentinel guarding the grounds.

Behind this large rectangular box-like home, was an even smaller, possibly two-room structure. It was apparent that this was neither the house's livery, nor a carriage house. Looking at it closely for windows, I noticed that there were none in the smaller building at all.

"What is that building?" I asked as Isaiah was helping me down from the carriage.

He turned his head in the direction I had indicated. "That is the home that...our servants live in." His hesitation reminded me that had I not extended my neck to help him, I too would have been living there with its current residents.

It would seem that as soon as he spoke, a skinny young man and a pudgy young woman stepped out of the house. The man trotted toward us and caught the reins, effectively holding still the carriage, while Edmond climbed down from the carriage.

Isaiah stepped down and assisted me to the ground, deftly lowering me down with each of his strong hands upon my now tapered waist. The woman stood at the bottom of the step, smiling as though she was meeting the Queen.

"Oh, m'ladyship!" she gushed. "It's such a pleasure to finally meet you!"

Her thick accent seemed like a cross between Irish and Scottish. I smiled at her as she quickly grabbed my hand. "Master Ku...uh...had a rider stop by and said you were in the village, I knew you'd be hungry and fixed some supper for you and Master Evans."

"Rebecca, this is Anne." She curtseyed and smiled brightly. "Anne, please set two extra plates as my friends will also be supping with us." With a nod of her head, she turned and quickly disappeared behind the wide door.

He smiled, still leading me by the hand toward the home's entrance. "Thankfully, we only have the two. Anne's young husband helps me take care of this house, horses and grounds. They entered into servitude when I purchased their passage over to this land."

I glanced backwards; Eloisa was a few steps behind me, and Edmond and the male servant were leading the horse into an additional building that appeared to be a livery.

With both of the servants out of earshot, Edmond preoccupied with the horse and Eloisa far enough behind that I was confident she wouldn't hear, I whispered softly to Isaiah, "Did you hear what Anne had said?"

Isaiah frowned. "No, actually I didn't...what did she say that I missed?"

It felt strange to be walking and talking with a grown man, with him holding his arm around my waist. I pushed the strangeness aside and continued, "She said a rider came by and informed them that I had arrived. The name she used, sounded like she was going to say Master Kuhnart, or someone sounding very much like that name." I paused to see if he was catching on. As his eyes narrowed slightly, I knew that he and I were now thinking alike.

"He did say that he would have us watched. The rider warning them just proved it!" Isaiah's jaw flexed in anger, and I glanced toward the door we were approaching.

"He must have sent out a rider as soon as we left." I pushed a long hair back under my hat. "They would have had to ride like the wind to beat us here!"

"There are quicker ways to ride that would have beaten us by several minutes; a single rider on a fast horse could cover the ground in a fraction of the time."

"So what do we do?" I asked, fearful of the answer.

"We must be watchful...and very careful!" He exhaled though his nose, the sound was made in frustration of our predicament. "I never would have thought Anne could be so devious..."

"Perhaps, it isn't Anne who is working with Master Kuhnart?" I commented.

Isaiah turned his head the same time as I did, and we saw the skinny man glance toward us as we climbed the steps into the house. I wondered if he was the spy.

The interior of the home was furnished remarkably well; it was obvious that Isaiah was a man of some substance. Just beyond the small foyer we were standing in, sat a comfortable looking sitting room. In the other direction, I could just make out the end of a large table. Opposite to where I stood, was a slightly ajar door to what looked to be a den or study. A curved banister ran up along the wall and ended in a hallway which disappeared from view.

As Isaiah was removing my cloak, Anne announced that the meal was ready. By that time, both the skinny man and Edmond had entered the house through a back door and came around behind Anne.

Isaiah gestured for me to enter his dining room. "Rebecca," he spoke as he held my chair, waiting for me to sit down. He gently scooted me in as he waited for Edmond to do the same for Eloisa. As he started to sit, he noticed the man and Anne standing toward the end of the room.

"Gerard, Anne, I think we are done with you for the evening. Eloisa can help Rebecca ready herself for bed. Please take what you need for your own supper and leave us to visit with our guests."

They both nodded and exited through a door that looked as though it was a kitchen. We sat in silence for several minutes as Anne and her husband transferred some of the meal into something portable for them to carry to their small home. Once we heard the door close, Isaiah calmly stood and watched them cross into their home.

"Now it should be safe to talk," he said as he sat back down beside me.

***

It was decided at supper that since the house was being watched, I must remain on the premises for a longer duration than the original time first agreed upon. While I wasn't exactly pleased, I didn't mind, because his house was exquisitely furnished for the colony and I knew that they would take care of me very well.

At about eight in the evening, both Edmond and Eloisa left. Isaiah and I retired to the privacy of his parlor. He stood quietly beside a small table in the corner and poured himself a cup of ale. "...Rebecca?"

"Yes," I answered to my new name, knowing that now was the time to lay our cards on the table.

"Eloisa has made you quite beautiful." I felt my face grow warm. "I find it almost impossible to believe that you were ever a male." He took a sip of the dark ale.

"It's true," I sighed and focused upon the small fire flickering among the coals in the fireplace. "It's not the way I planned to end my servitude, but whatever helps finish it earlier, is fine with me."

Isaiah inhaled deeply and studied the dark liquid swirling in the decanter that he had just sat down. "Kuhnart is most likely having the house watched, so I wouldn't doubt for a second that they might even spy in the windows as we sleep."

"Let them," I whispered. "I have nothing to hide."

"They expect us to be husband and wife." He took a sip of his drink and winced as it was swallowed. "We must make sleeping arrangements for your length of stay."

"I get the bed, and you can sleep down here on your couch." I patted the thick seat of the long couch.

"Don't you suppose they would get suspicious if I was to be found on the couch?" He pursed his lips in thought. "One never knows when Anne or Gerard will slip in to prepare breakfast."

The significance of his statement shocked me! "What are you proposing then?" I sat up straight and folded my arms across my bounteous, feminine chest.

"We're going to have to share our bed...at least long enough to convince them all that we are happily married."

"I have no problem with that, as long as you stay on your side of the bed," I bargained, still thinking like the schoolboy I once had been.

"I can agree to your concern, I will not make any advances upon you unless warranted." The last part of his comment troubled me greatly, but I said nothing as Isaiah sat his cup down and held out his hand to shake my own. Just as I had grasped his, I heard someone enter in the back room. The soft glow of a candle illuminated the walls of the kitchen as they approached.

From the shadowy figure's viewpoint, it looked innocently enough like Isaiah was helping his wife to her feet. "Anne!" I gleefully chirped as I watched the housekeeper's form came into view.

She curtseyed. "I noticed that your guests had left. I know you had directed otherwise, but I was wondering whether Lady Rebecca had gotten herself readied for bed. I see that she hasn't...would you still need any help to ready for bed...afore I turn in my own self?"

I felt a flush of embarrassment but smiled my way through it. "I don't think that will..."

"That's a splendid idea, Anne. You can assist Rebecca in putting away her clothes from her long journey." He smiled as Anne picked up my yet unpacked travel bags and started toward the stairs, I glared at Isaiah, but I slowly followed Anne. Thankfully, Eloisa had prepared for this possibility, packing new items into her own travel bags just in the event this would happen.

We climbed the stairs and walked toward the bedchamber I assumed was Isaiah's and mine. Once inside, I realized that it was quite spacious, yet I assumed not as much as those grand homes I had heard about, back in England. I followed Anne toward the bed where she placed the bags down and turned to open up a chest of drawers.

"I will only be a moment, M'Lady Rebecca. I know how you and your husband will need to be reacquainted after being separated by such a distance. I was gone once for only a day and a half, and Gerard took after me like a deer in rut." She suddenly looked up and touched her fingers to her lips in embarrassment. "I'm sorry, Lady Rebecca, I shouldn't be speaking to you like a vulgar street wench."

I nodded to her and continued to place the belongings that Eloisa packed into the drawers, separated in a way as I thought a woman might want her clothes. "That's fine, Anne. I understand," her words finally soaking into my head. Watching her example, I too folded a lacy undergarment and placed it beside others of its kind. As I did, I thought I'd play upon Anne's emotions as a woman, and come up with a reason for us NOT to 'rut like deer'.

I suddenly buried my face in the cloth I had been folding, pretending to cry into it. Anne quickly came to my side, placing her arm around my shoulder in an attempt to comfort me. "I'm sorry, Anne, ever since our first child was stillborn..." Again I broke into a fit of sobbing, and I hoped that my acting would have made Shakespeare proud. "I don't think I could ever...again."

"I understand completely. I'm sorry for even making a reference to...to that...subject. But, it'll be okay someday, you'll have a whole passel of children racing around this place. So many, that Master Evans will have to build on just to house them all!" She gave me a quick, motherly hug. "You'll see, in due time you'll be receptive to Master Evans. You'll have others, boys and girls, too many to count on one hand!"

I was remarkable - I had even caused a tear to fill my eyelid and gently roll down. "Do you really think so?" I asked, trying to sound as if it was what I wanted to hear, thankful that my ruse would distract her away from whether or not Isaiah and I were acting as a married union or not.

After we had finished unpacking, Anne helped me remove the copious amounts of clothing first placed upon me earlier that morning by Eloisa. I stood in the center of Isaiah's room and waited as she readied my sleeping garment, still desperately trying to make her believe that I was distraught over the child that I had lost. As she helped me into bed she straightened the covers. "If it'll help, I'll tell Master Evans that you are feeling poorly? Don't let the loss of your child prevent you from loving that husband of yours. He's a good man."

I nodded and quickly turned toward the center of the bed, letting her know that I was done talking and wanted to be left alone. I heard her sigh sadly as she closed the door. Somewhere down the hallway she met Isaiah coming to bed. Even though the door was closed, I heard her speaking softly.

"She's still bearing a world of sadness; her heart was broken when she lost that child of yours." She grew quiet and several seconds of silence passed before she continued. "...Lady Evans wanted me to tell you that she's feeling poorly tonight." Her voice had a great amount of compassion that surprised me; it was nothing like I had first suspected. "Before I leave, will you be needing anything, Master Evans?"

"No thank you, Anne, go on to bed."

"See you in the morning."

"Good night, Anne." Isaiah spoke softly, because he was just outside the door. Slowly it opened and he crossed to the small window where he watched the blurry, distorted image of Anne move off toward her quarters. I felt him sit down on the bed and remove his boots.

"That was a pretty good acting job you did on Anne." He glanced back toward me as I stayed on my side of the bed. "What did you tell her that had her all worked up so much?"

I rolled onto my back; it was strange feeling my breasts under the silk I wore shifting. "I let her believe that the death of our child was preying on my mind so much that I didn't think I could ever bear to have a child again."

He chuckled and dropped his other boot on the floor. "Well...it worked." Slowly he dropped his breeches to the floor and removed his shirt. Had I been a real woman, I suppose I would have admired his build - it was quite remarkable to view. I continued to study him as one by one, he blew out the candles that Anne had lit, slowly returning to the bed and climbing in.

"Don't forget, you're staying on your own side," I reminded him from the safety of my side of the bed.

"I won't move," he replied softly as we both rolled to face the opposite wall, placing our backs toward each other. The day had been long and I was truly tired, and it wasn't long before I fell asleep.

Chapter 11

I woke up upon my side, the early morning light was just breaking over the horizon and illuminating the room in its glory. For the briefest of moments I became disoriented in the room, realizing that I had not been sleeping in a real room since England. I inhaled deeply and yawned, pulling the goose down pillow under my head, relishing the coolness of its underside where my right hand rested. Glancing upon my left hand, I realized that since leaving my English home where I had grown up; I was no longer that boy who had stepped upon the ship.

My finger twitched and drew my eyes back to it, again it twitched, moving ever so slightly. I heard a fly buzzing overhead, strange for so late in the fall. I followed it with my eye as it flew overhead. As it began to race past my face, I tried to brush it aside, when I did, the hand that was laying before me moved not an inch. Instead, I moved beneath the covers.

My eyes opened with a clarity that spoke volumes, instantly locking upon the wrist and arm attached to the hand, which was obviously not my own! Slowly I rolled back my head and peered over my shoulder; behind me was sleeping a man, his arm draped in protection over me. Again I followed it to the fingers...fingers that now lay dangerously close to my breast, moved there by my own action of rolling over!

"Oh no!" I gasped, remembering that I had agreed and allowed myself to be transformed into a woman. Now his hand was the unwelcome intruder into my space, too close to touching my feminine parts that I wanted to remain untouched. I gently pushed Isaiah's hand aside and back toward him, determined to keep him on his own side if it killed me.

Each morning that passed seemed to be replayed over and over just like this one. For almost a month I would wake with him spooning behind me, arms draped over my body. Sometimes his erection made itself known to my hip, thigh or even worse, my backside. I tried to take it like a man...well, as best I could. I don't think he ever really realized how he was just prior to waking up, though I could recall several mornings that I had awakened with a stiff penis of my own. Thankfully, I never gave an inch or allowed him anything! I was determined to only portray the wife...never allowing him to act upon the female that unwillingly now shared his bed.

But the greatest thing bothering me, as it continued, was that I became less and less concerned at his closeness! Often, I would awaken to find him sleeping with his hand over my slender waist, on my now widened hip or once even upon my breast. At times, even his knee would be found between my thighs, the closeness of his direct warmth strangely inviting. In fact, some of those cool fall mornings, it was strangely welcome to have him near. It was as if my feminine body was relishing the tapping into of his warmth. But I also worried about where this would lead.

One evening as we were lounging in his parlor, Isaiah poured himself a drink. I could tell he was about to speak, but then he hesitated. Finally, as if he decided to get it all out in the open, he cleared his throat.

"Rebecca? What do you suppose it would take...to get you to agree to remain as my wife for...longer?"

"Longer? How much longer?" I felt the air suddenly leave my lungs. "That was not part of our bargain!"

He hesitated and swirled his drink, staring into the bottom before speaking further. "It's not what you are thinking...well, not completely. But I need you to think clearly. Please hear me out."

I interrupted him as I bore daggers into him with my eyes. "How dare you! I'll go to the elders!"

He again smiled, his eyes twinkling in the candlelight. "That won't be necessary, Rebecca. I am a man of my word and I won't do anything to harm you. However, if you help me further, I'll release you from your servitude early...AND see that you receive two hundred fifty acres of land that I own just west of here...if..."

I frowned. "That sounds too generous. What...what will I have to do for this...extra offer? What weight does 'if' carry to your plan?"

"If...if you can produce a son for me." He sat down his glass and turned to face me.

"I...I can't give you a child! I...I'm a boy!" I felt my blood rushing out of my body with fear. "If you remember your facts correctly, boys can't have children!"

"You were a boy," he replied quickly. "A boy I have never met."

I felt like crying right then and there. "That would mean we'd have to..."

"Consummate our marriage." He sighed slightly, and gently reached for my hand. I pulled it away so quickly that I caused myself to fall onto the long couch. He was alarmed at my falling, and was beside me almost as soon as I landed.

"Are you okay? Did you hurt yourself?" he asked as he helped me into a seated position.

"No!" I cried, pushing him away. "You stay away from me!"

"Right now, you are as female as any woman! Rebecca, you're beautiful, desirable and young. I could make you wealthy beyond your wildest imagination, should you agree to stay. I...I will grant your servitude completed immediately, if your answer would be yes."

He held my hands, as his gaze locked on my eyes. "I'll give all you could ever imagine, if you say that you'll stay and act as my wife for as long as it takes!"

"Sign over the servitude papers right this moment, and I'll consider it," I demanded, bartering for more time, knowing full well he'd never consent to it.

"No signing...until you have given me a son." He slowly stood. "It is a simple business proposition. I need an heir and you can provide the perfect vessel for him."

I shook my head. "Why me? Why not tell them that we've broken up and allow me to go with my dignity. Then you will be able to marry any female out there that catches your fancy! SHE can give you that son!"

"Because you are here now, and you are impossibly beautiful. I can imagine no other as the mother of my son. With your beauty and my...my looks, our child can't help but be handsome." He actually looked embarrassed to admit he was aware of his looks aloud. "Besides, you have no ties to anyone in this land besides me, and we are already supposed to be married. It would only be natural for a married couple to produce a child." He watched me for several seconds awaiting a hopeful answer.

I felt myself crumbling under his gaze. "I can't do this with you...I...in my mind, I am male!" I cried. "These people will see right through me!"

He began shaking his head. "No Rebecca, in everyone's eyes you are far from male." His gaze darted quickly toward my exposed flesh. "You, my love, are all woman, whether you like it or not. All of your gestures and actions show that you are a woman of class."

"We have not been wed in the church!" I shouted at him. "I will make love to no one I am not married to!"

"Rebecca, it doesn't matter anymore. Everyone who knows us...believes we are already married!" Isaiah folded his arms across his broad chest. "I'm certain that all who were in that room the day you arrived, are thinking we have been...very acquainted each and every night. You becoming pregnant with a child wouldn't disappoint them. If anything, it would make them all go away!"

"You're insane!" I shouted. "I cannot do what you are expecting!"

"Let me show you something." He held out his hand, but I was very hesitant to take it. "I'll not do anything; I just want to show you something which may help you decide."

I cautiously took his hand and followed him toward the door where I hesitated. "Where are you taking me first?" He pushed the door aside and walked to a heavy-looking safe, and began to remove a key from around his neck.

He opened it and stepped aside, behind him were stack after stack of gold coins! "There is more money than you could possibly hope to see in a lifetime. TWO lifetimes, in fact. You do this for me and half of it is yours."

I trembled, as my eyes fixated on all those glistening coins. I would never have another chance to earn that much money in my entire life. I swallowed hard, my mouth suddenly dry. Could I allow myself to become a total woman? I realize that though I look like one on the outside, I was far from one on the inside. This act of marriage would complete this façade in its entirety. I would push myself totally into a feminine role. Could I do it?

I bent down and retrieved one of the coins. "Spanish gold?"

He smiled. "Does it matter that it isn't English?"

I looked at the valuable coin again, then back to the countless piles contained within the huge steel safe. I couldn't believe I was even considering it like a man who would buy a horse! Still, the glittering gold was almost intoxicating, making it very hard to think.

"How did you come by so much Spanish gold?" I asked, my eyes widening at the glistening coin I held within my slender fingertips.

"When I arrived, I came from a settlement further south where the climate is much warmer than it is here. One day, there was a great storm which caused a Spanish ship to become disabled in the surf. After a tremendous pounding, it broke apart, and much of it washed upon the shore. In the ensuing confusion, I was able to spirit away much of the coin before anyone found the wreckage." He looked back at it. "It took me most of the evening to collect what you see here."

My mind began to race, and it seemed that the speed which I thought blistered the very fabric of my being. Could I do something as outlandish as copulate with this man and conceive a son for him? "I...I would just have to produce a child...for some of this gold?" I asked, still searching for my own answer.

"A son is all that I ask...so, will you do this for me? Do I take your query as a 'yes'?" He tipped his head, hoping my hesitation was a sign of contrition.

"The land too?" I whispered aloud, he moved so he could search my eyes as my obstruction began to falter.

"The land, the gold, servitude...everything, it's all yours." He smiled, slowly closing the thick door of the box.

I closed my eyes, unbelieving that I was even considering his offer! "Isaiah, what you are asking of me is...so hard to fathom. It is almost impossible. Why?"

He took my hand and searched my eyes with his own. "I want nothing more than to have a son. I want a boy whom I can leave all of this to!" His gesture indicated our entire surroundings. "You have become a beautiful woman; I have no doubt that you could also create within your womb a beautiful son for me."

"I know nothing of the act you are suggesting..." I quietly replied. "I am not a seasoned female who knows how to initiate desire...in the way you would want. Intimacy. A child needs love - how can I give that type of love to a child I don't really want?"

"What good young mother doesn't have these same types of questions?" he replied, slowly opening up his desk drawer and removing a large certificate.

"What is that? What is that for?" I asked.

"It's your servitude papers." He leaned down and dipped his quill pen in the ink. "We will learn how to create this child, together...when the time is right, you can be transformed back and go on your way." He quickly signed his name in great flourished pen. Once again he dipped the quill. "All this needs to make it legal, is your signature."

I looked at his signature, the steel box with the ship's gold and the pen in his hand. His offer was almost too much for my newly feminized mind to bear. But with a great amount of hesitation, I took the pen from him.

"You will never regret this, Rebecca," he whispered.

"Before we...do this act, I want to be drunk. I don't ever want to know what happened...between us." I bent down and paused. "Do I sign my given name, or Rebecca's?"

"Sign with Duncan's name..." He watched over my shoulder as I again hesitated. "Are you setting me up for some sort of trick?"

"Will this seal our deal?" he asked as he removed the key from around his neck and handed it to me.

Without saying another word, I took the key, pushed it inside my corset, deep into my cleavage and signed the certificate.

As I laid the quill down, I couldn't help thinking... "My God, what have I just agreed to do?"

Chapter 12

My hand was trembling as I downed the dark liquor. Isaiah sat quietly in the other room, waiting for his opportunity at my feminine body. Again I poured from the ornate bottle, and downed the burning liquid in one instant. I could feel my face growing warm as I again filled the cup. Even though I was no longer trembling, I was still far from ready. I held the bottle over the cup's opening, then pushed it aside and began drinking from it directly.

"Drunk...fine. Dead...no," Isaiah said, walking in the room and took the bottle from my hands and poured it into the small glass.

I stood to my feet and staggered slightly. To stumble as I had, meant that I was very close to being fully inebriated. I picked up the cup he had just filled and once again downed the fiery liquid.

I held it out once again. "Your body is small. This much liquor will drive out the inhibitions...but is it worth the price you'll pay in the morning?" I only shook the cup in response, wanting him to fill it once again.

After quickly downing it, I sat back and stared at the floor. I watched in disconnection as the empty cup, was slowly removed from my fingers by Isaiah.

I watched as he walked to the side of the room and pulled a rope; seemingly in only minutes, Anne appeared. "Yes, Master Evans?"

"The Lady of the house has found herself...tired, please prepare her for bed using the clothes I have laid out, and then take her to our bedchamber." Once he said what he wanted, he left the room.

One by one, Anne removed my protective covering. Slowly I seemed to grow lighter as each item fell to the floor. In a fraction of the time it took to dress that morning, I was standing completely naked in front of the chubby housekeeper. She took a strange oil, scented with perfumes and applied it to where the stays from the corset had left their indents around my waist.

I drunkenly faced a mirror in the room. Isaiah was right...I was very beautiful. Wearing nothing at all allowed me to inspect my feminine body really well, for perhaps the first time. Since they had used new, unworn clothing when I had changed, I had been transformed into a woman that I would have probably been, had I been born that way. My drunken eyes studied the feminine creature before me in the mirror. I was amazed how perfectly round, full and pert my breasts were, impossibly rising and falling with each breath I took. And yet, I was seeing it with my own eyes like it was all new to me. Amazed at what I had become so many months ago, yet fearful that I would be unable to return to my old body should my soul become used to this form. I gently felt the sloping roundness of one and became surprised at the strange, tingling response my light caress gave me...all becoming too familiar.

Could it be that staying in this body for so long had begun to transform my mind as well? How could I explain away the strange feeling I was having just by touching myself when seemingly, only weeks ago, this would have never done a thing to me!? Would each day that I remained Rebecca push me further toward the abyss of womanhood...perhaps too far that I might never return? I hoped not, for what I was about to do would push me far enough into womanhood that I shuddered to think of the next several months! I only prayed that I had drunk enough.

I dropped my hand as soon as Anne returned carrying a huge amount of lacy confection. As it settled around my ankles, I realized that she had placed me inside of some kind of sleeping silk. But this one I felt was different, and I slowly realized that this one was meant for a wedding night! "I know what you're doing, drinking your way into submission. Master Evans's ale won't hide the pain of your child's death...but it might help you return to being a woman tonight!"

I only groaned my response, just trying to stand was all that my mind could comprehend.

As soon as she had completed her task, she laid over my shoulders a cloth and began to remove the little pearl tipped bodkins, borrowed from Eloisa...they had been placed into my hair that morning. As the last of it was removed, it fell down in great flourishing curls to almost the bottom of my shoulder blades. In the candlelight, my hair took on a reddish hue.

"Follow me, Lady Rebecca." She picked up the candle and led me down a long hallway, patiently waiting as I used the wall to keep me upright. Finally she paused before a rather ornate door. "Your bedchambers, ma'am." After a quick smile, she used the candle she was holding and lit another handing it to me. With that, she retreated back down the hall, turned and went down the steps.

I was feeling no pain as I pushed the door open and walked toward a table where I sat the candle down. All around the room were several that were positioned to beg romance, and enough lighting to allow us to see what needed to be done.

Like a prisoner climbing the gallows, I lightly tread toward his bed, stopping just a few feet shy. "I am here," I slurred in my drunken stupor.

He slid off the bed and stood, his robe hanging loose about him. "My God, you are more beautiful than I could have ever imagined! You truly make a stunning example of what a woman should be! Even after this many weeks of your nearness...only now my eyes have opened to see what lies beside me each and every eve!"

I stood swaying. "And you're now jessst noticing?" I laughed slurring slightly, giving him a wave of my hand. "I've noticed since the day I arrived that I'm be...be..beautiful." I pointed it out as obvious. "It's ssssort of hard to hide behind clothing when thesssse are always there to remind a girl!" I grasped the undersides of my breasts and raised them slightly. He noticed, even drunk I could see him watching as I released them and allowed them to resume their earlier pert positions.

I staggered past him and stood beside the bed, holding onto the headboard for support. "Lesss get this over with." I spoke like I was about to load a wagon, or trim a sail.

He smiled. "Making love to a woman is like riding a fast horse. You must start slowly and then at some point, give her the reins and let her run free." He touched my cheek, and I pulled away from him slightly. Again he reached out and touched my cheek with just his fingertips, allowing each to slowly trail down my neck. I summoned the courage to remain still. Gently, he caressed my skin until his hand was behind my head, and then he slowly began to draw me toward his waiting lips.

As our lips touched, I felt the fingers of his other hand tracing lightly upon the underside of my breast. This effort was not missed by my traitorous feminine body! Our kiss was continued for longer than I could think, gradually changing from a light touch of the lips, to full blown passion. At some point, I felt his tongue enter my mouth!

I was growing warmer by the minute, while he continued his erotic assault upon my breast, slipping the fine silks from my shoulders. His face lowered to where he could attack the exposed flesh with his soft lips. I could feel my insides quivering with some strange feminine desire...a need that was as alien to me as anything I could ever recall, and yet growing hungrier by the moment.

Even in my inebriated state, I could feel his hands exploring my body, lowering until they rested between my smooth and silky thighs. His touch caused my knees to give and I fell gently on his bed, laying prone upon my back. One by one, Isaiah untied the ribbons that held together the sleeping silk, then gently laid it to each side of me.

I could only stare at the candle's flame that was dancing from its wick; it sat before a long mirror and reflected back a lovely glow. So mesmerized was I, that what Isaiah was doing to me, and allowing for it to happen confounded me, even in my drunken state. It wasn't until a kiss upon my thigh caused me to jump. Gasping for air as if I were to suddenly have snow thrown upon my naked flesh, I felt an electric pulse race throughout my body.

I knew what was happening, and what was about to happen. Because of the alcohol, I could not respond to the strange emotional stimuli that I was feeling from him, only responding to him in the natural way this body would under the circumstances. By lubricating my female opening with its slippery fluid. It was as I wanted, to feel nothing, somehow though, I was sorry that I couldn't enjoy it more as a real woman would.

But I wasn't real - I was some sort of made-up ruse to fool his neighbors...

I felt him gently pull my thigh aside, carefully bending my knee and placing my foot upon the bed. The other thigh soon followed, until I was spread out like a Christmas goose. Once again his kisses began upon my breast, and I could feel him tonguing my engorged nipple. Conscious of what was truly happening or not, I began to breathe raggedly. A strange pleasure permeated outward of my body. His kisses began dancing downward until they fluttered lightly upon the inside of my exposed thigh.

Closer and closer he came to the area where our 'business' would conclude, shorter and shorter came my breath. I could feel his soft hair in my hands, and my grasp seemed to hold him fast to me.

Suddenly, his tongue danced across the opening of my womanly gate! Strange colors spun and swirled before my drunken eyes as I continued to feel him assail my nether region! I felt my hips betray me and slowly push against his face, trying to force him into me further! It was at that moment that I realized that I no longer could control my actions; I was doing just what thousands of women have done with their men!

Further and further he continued his attack upon my traitorous body, until I could no longer control or stifle my desperate cries of passion. I felt a quake rush throughout my entire being, a tremor so sudden that it took the very breath from my body. It was a passion-filled tremble that shook me down to the core of my very soul!

At some point in my lover's attack, I felt the firm muscle of his gently touch the inside of my thigh, it had engorged itself with need. Hungry and powerful, it pulsed to the beat of Isaiah's heart. My own was pounding so loudly that I would have sworn that Isaiah could hear it...was it from fear or lust?

I gasped as Isaiah began to climb upward, my soft feminine form acting as his ladder. As he touched my lips with his own, the lightning that I felt was driven home by his male essence entering my body! It happened slowly at first, then gradually once he found the correct angle and position.

I closed my eyes, hoping that it would hide the new shame I was feeling. I felt like nothing more than a prostitute, one who sold her soul for coin. Gently, he drew my knees up on each side of his hips, pumping into me with abandon. Faster and faster he continued until I was forced to open my eyes and view the spectacle I was feeling.

Once again my body conspired to remind me that I was merely a female. I was just another woman created for man, preparing her womb for a child she would someday carry. Little flashes of light began to dance inside my head, then a wash as great as that which created the heavens and earth fell upon my mind. I was no longer a boy, playing the part of a girl. I was a girl, suddenly thrust into the part of a woman! Again and again the energy crashed against my mind like waves upon the hull of a ship in a storm. I was experiencing my first real feminine moment, an epiphany which would change me forever!

My hands were holding onto Isaiah's shoulders when I felt him shudder with an uncontrolled passion, he was only able to thrust into me three more times before he buried himself and grunted. I could feel his seed as it crashed against my womb, most likely trapping me in this body until I would produce his son. There would be no turning back now, not until I was able to fulfill our bargain.

He held me like that until he grew softer, then eventually he rolled to my side and gently stroked my naked chest and flat stomach. "Now what?" I whispered quietly aloud, my mouth barely able to form the words, seemingly no longer in the grasp of the ale's effects.

"Now we wait..." he replied, kissing the top of my breast. "We wait for our son."

Chapter 13

I awoke in the morning, only a sliver of the brilliant sun penetrated into the darkness of the bedchamber. In a chair facing the room, I could just make out Isaiah. He saw me looking groggily at him and he said, "I drew the curtains. I know how it feels to wake up after a night of heavy drinking."

I rubbed my eyes, content to stay hidden under the vast amounts of pillows and quilts. "Thanks, I guess." I yawned and rolled onto my back.

"Would you care for some tea?" he asked politely. I watched him stand up and face away from me, preparing the tea.

"Sure, I guess so." I sat up and adjusted the pillows behind my back, realizing for the first time that the sleeping silks I wore, were still untied. I quickly tied the top shut before sitting up the rest of the way. "Did we..."

"Yes," was his only reply as he turned and handed me the hot cup of tea.

I tried to recall any part of last evening, but all I could remember was that his nearness was making me feel strange. My head was pounding with a great beat, I squinted and looked away from the shaft of light. "I feel ill," I whispered; even the sound of my own voice too great a noise.

"The drink," he reminded me, as I drew my knee up under the cover. The muscles between my thighs were very sore, my wide hips were also sore at the point of the joint. It was almost the same feeling that I had when I rode our mule for a long way once with my father. But Isaiah wasn't my father, and the ride that he must have taken me on was nothing like that of a mule!

I blew over the steaming cup and took a sip, and the warmth helped me forget, for a moment, the deed I had just conspired in last night...and the sharp pounding of my headache.

Isaiah stood quietly. "I have business in town. Would you care to join me?"

I shook my head. "I'm too ill..." I could feel my stomach begin to lurch slightly.

Suddenly, the chamber pot appeared at my knee. "Just in case."

I lay back quietly and nodded, Isaiah moved toward the door and paused. "I'll send for Eloisa. She can help you while I am out."

I sat the cup of tea back on a side table and closed my eyes. Before I dozed off once again, I remembered saying... "Next time, I'll refrain from the alcohol."

What did I just say? Would there be a next time? I wondered as I drifted off to sleep once again.

Chapter 14

The door's closing caused me to open my eyes. Eloisa stood at the foot of the bed. "I'm actually surprised to find you here...in this bedchamber. Usually he lets his guests sleep in the other bedchamber," she commented, removing the still unused chamber pot and pushed it back under the bed. "So...did he trade rooms with you?"

"No." I sat up and swung my feet over the side of the bed, pushing the warm quilts away as I did so. "He was here too."

"But...I thought?" She looked around the room with surprise, having forgotten that we had planned together to share our bed. Deep down, I felt sure that she never expected me to allow myself to actually share his bed. However, when money and land talked to me, she was proved wrong.

"He wants a child. An heir to carry on for him. He wants a son." I scratched my breast in a very unladylike fashion, then yawned. I was thankful that I was feeling much better than when I had spoken with Isaiah earlier in the morning.

"And you're going to give it to him?" She expressed the shock she held in her voice.

"Not give. He's paying me. He signed my servitude papers prior to..." I pointed back toward the bed.

"Surely you realize that it just doesn't always happen with the first try! Are you prepared to continue for however long it takes?"

"I told Isaiah I would. With a son, I'll get land and gold...that's enough for me!" I smiled and climbed down from the bed, my sleeping silks cascaded down toward my feet. It would have been obvious to anyone that they had been much higher than my waist prior to standing. I felt a pang of embarrassment.

For almost five full minutes nothing was said between us. I assumed that what had transpired last night between Isaiah and I was sinking into her head.

"What do you remember of your evening with him?" she finally asked, her curiosity getting the better of her.

I glanced up and shrugged. "Other than being real sore here..." I rubbed the inside of my thighs and my hip, "...I don't remember much of what happened."

"Having a child is no easy walk in the park; a baby causes great pain for the woman!" Eloisa scolded me as I made an attempt at making the bed. She moved around to the opposite side of the bed and stopped me. "Being drunk so that you can make love, is just another way of hiding from responsibility."

She pulled back the covers and pointed toward the center of the bed, where a small browned dry patch lay in its center. "You are no longer a virgin - that fact is now evident by the blood left upon the linens. These items will need to be cleaned!"

I shrugged. "So what? I don't plan on being a woman any longer than I have to. As I figure it, I'll give him his son and then I'm off with my gold, heading toward the land he has promised me."

"Shame on you for doing nothing more than prostituting yourself, all for land and coin! Acting no better than some cheap, drunken harlot! Have you ever given thought that if you leave directly after having the child, it will lessen its chances of survival? A baby needs its mother's milk!"

I laughed and tucked my hair behind my ear, also transformed longer because of the feathery hat she had place on me when I had been changed. "You can scratch off the drunken part, I don't think I will do that again...I feel like dung! As for the milk, what do I care?"

She pointed her finger at me and frowned. "You'll care! As soon as you have that baby, something inside of you will tell your body to begin producing milk...your breasts will swell painfully and you will be FORCED to nurse the infant, just to give yourself relief!"

I sat back on the bed in shock! I said, "How long will that have to happen?"

"It depends, I've heard of woman who nursed their own children until they started having teeth, I was told of one who nursed until he was almost eighteen months."

I quickly looked back at her. "That's almost...TWO YEARS?" I shouted, "I can't be a woman, let alone play his wife for two years!"

She nodded slowly. "If you've agreed on it you'll have to. A man's honor is no greater than his word...I trust you value your honor?" I grew quiet, as what she said sunk into my head. Finally after several minutes she cleared her throat, causing me to look up. "There is one other thing that I'm wondering if you thought out."

"What would that be?"

"What if you do become pregnant..." She paused.

"Then I'll have his son and be out of here as soon as possible!" I interrupted, rephrasing what I had said earlier, then drank down the cold tea that Isaiah had made for me in the cup earlier this morning.

"Have you given it any thought that it may be a girl? What then will you do?" She gave me a motherly look, chiding me for agreeing to his offer in the first place.

As her words sunk into my addled brain, I felt the cup slip from my fingers and crash to the floor. A gasp broke from my throat, and my eyes welled up with tears.

She came around the bed and began to pick up the broken pottery. "We'll hope for the best that you'll have a son."

I held my hands over my trembling lips. "If it isn't, as God is my witness...I'll run!"

Chapter 15

Eloisa helped me dress for the day. This time though, my clothing was a more subdued style and nothing like what I wore on that first day, seemingly long ago. I sat lounging in Isaiah's small parlor, the couch was long and quite comfortable. Eloisa sat in a tall straight-backed chair, and we were both enjoying tea and bread that she brought along.

"When I saw Isaiah this morning, he asked if I'd check up on you...he said you weren't feeling too well." Eloisa sipped her tea and sat it down on a saucer, then sat both on a side table. "He had said you were ill."

"Yeah, ill," I mumbled.

"Pardon?" the older woman asked as my voice was clearly too low for her to hear.

I glanced up. "Isaiah said I was ill. That's about as far from it as possible. I was flat out drunk!"

She shook her head sadly. "Drinking to numb your senses?"

"You could say that!" I sighed. "I needed to be in a place where what I was about to do, wouldn't be felt."

"As a former male, you should be glad to experiment with your body. How often would you have this kind of chance otherwise?" She smiled and broke off a tiny piece of her bread to eat. "I think you have been given a grand opportunity! To pass up this chance would be idiotic."

I laughed under my breath, my voice reminding me that I could be a woman for a very long duration.

Eloisa glanced up at me several times, I could tell she wanted to ask me something but was hesitant to speak. Finally she spoke, picking at the edge of her own dress. "Do you remember what he was like?"

"He? By that, do you mean Isaiah?" I knew what she meant, but I was stalling.

"Is he a gentle lover?" She looked down, avoiding eye contact.

"I was a male only a few weeks ago, and you ask me this type of question? Did you forget that I was drunk beyond my mind last night when we were alone!" I pinched my lips tight, wanting nothing to do with her question.

She let it go, but in my own mind I too wondered how he had been. The part of me which could remember, assumed that he was most gentle and quite passionate. "Wishful thinking, perhaps...fantasy?" I shuddered as I pondered these womanly thoughts. I quickly glanced up at Eloisa, afraid she would see right through me. I had nothing to fear though, she was staring into the great fireplace beside us.

I sighed; troubling me wasn't the fact whether he was gentle or not...what bothered me was not knowing if I was even remotely satisfying to him. It was such a feminine thought to form in my head, but still nagging was its answer. I bit my lip and picked at the embroidery upon my forepart, I wouldn't dare ask him, but I had to know this answer if I was to play pretend to be his wife for any great length of time. But why should I care?

Was it the young male in me that always wanted to be the best at everything, who was seeking this answer? Or, was it the young, inexperienced woman in me, bubbling to the surface, vainly wanting to please the man whose life she had been thrust upon?

I rubbed at my temples, muttering aloud, "I'm giving myself a headache, fretting about this nonsense!"

"Making love should never be considered 'nonsense'!" Eloisa chided. "If that's what you think, you have no right carrying his child!"

Her words caused me to look at her in surprise. "Why did you say that? I never said making love or having a child was nonsense!"

She shook her head and stood. "I heard you with my own ears! You just said that it was nonsense!" Eloisa walked to the window in frustration, glaring at me as she did.

"No...no...no. You misunderstood me," I tried to reason. "I said FRETTING about...about..."

"That's what I thought!" She turned in a huff. "Do you realize that many women, even those much healthier than you have died during childbirth...and you think it's nothing more than...than...nonsense!"

I looked down at the floor; it was time to explain before I lost one of the only friends I had in this village. "In my mind, I've been worrying about whether I was...was satisfying to Isaiah when we..." I felt frustration, knowing that the feelings I was wrestling with were not male in the least, rather more like the young woman I had become.

"Made love?" She slowly smiled. "Of course you were! You're young, beautiful and desirable...what's not to love?"

"But being female hasn't always been something that I am used to." I again rubbed at my temple, "That's the nonsense I've been wrestling with...not the way you were thinking."

"Of course that type of thinking is nonsense! You are a woman both on the inside and out. What goes on in that mind of yours is feminine in nature and has nothing to do with how a man thinks...at least, not any more." She walked over to me and sat down on the couch.

"That's not entirely true." I sighed, "I still remember what it feels like to be a male. But...there are times over the last few weeks, that being a female is becoming normal, and it is pushing its way forward into the front of my mind."

"Oh?" Eloisa's brows knitted slightly, her expression showing concern. "How so?"

"The first time I woke up with Isaiah's arm over me and he was spooning behind my back...his nearness was scaring the daylight from me! Now though, after many days of waking in the same position, I have a strange comfortable feeling envelope me...almost like a pleasant protection."

"Well, that would be normal for a woman to feel that way with her husband." Eloisa patted my leg, adding her motherly support.

"But...that's not all. Sometimes when I lie awake, I can feel his...excitement pressing against my thigh. When that happens, I begin to wonder what it would be like to use him in the way nature intended." I took a sip of tea and set the cup back down. "More and more, I want to let him do...it to me...while sober."

"That's quite a surprise, knowing from how you had felt earlier!" She leaned against the back of the couch, trying to absorb all that I had said.

Chapter 16

Almost six weeks to the day that I had been transformed, I again found myself with Eloisa. We were walking behind the house, enjoying Isaiah's small gardens. Eloisa kept studying me, so much so that it was beginning to unnerve me.

"When you stare at me, what is it that you are looking for?" I wondered aloud, the irritation showing in my voice.

"You're seeming very comfortable in your ruse. Could it be that you're accepting being a woman even more?" Eloisa observed.

"Hardly!" I snapped. "I just want to get all of this over with."

"Do you feel that you may be pregnant?" she asked, pausing to admire a flower along the pathway. "Most women would know!"

"How the hell should I know?" I snapped. "I may be acting like a woman, but I know nothing of being one!" Turning to face her I folded my arms over my corseted waist. "You seem to be the one with all the answers, how about you telling me?"

She took a step back, surprised by my outburst. "Are you feeling well?"

I felt my eyes lower, I had just snapped at the only real friend I had here in the colony...well, other than Edmond and Isaiah. Tears began to well up in my eyes. I quickly tried to wipe them away. "I...I'm sorry. I'm just not feeling very well lately."

"A woman's life isn't very easy, and having a child won't make it any easier." She gently rubbed my shoulder, the act seemed to cause my unexplainable tears to flow faster.

"This day is just been hell for me!" I sobbed. "I made Isaiah so angry this morning, he left earlier than usual...I've been crying off and on all morning, I just can't seem to stop!"

Eloisa gave a slow seemingly knowing nod. "Have you any...bleeding? Down below?"

I shot her a quick glance. "When I went into the privy...there was a spot on my under smock...but it was tiny."

She sighed and gave me a hug. "There won't be any baby this time, it's my guess that you are just beginning your feminine cycle."

"Is that bad?" I asked, dabbing each eye with my kerchief.

"All women have them...you're just new to it. With your mood swings, snapping at Isaiah and myself like you did, bleeding...it usually points to one thing in a young woman."

I grew quiet, realizing that our first attempt at making a son for Isaiah had failed. "What do I do now?"

"It'll be over in a week, after that..." She shrugged her shoulders.

"What will I tell Isaiah?" I asked after several minutes of silence.

"He'll understand - he's been around women enough to deal with one." We paused at the end of his property and looked out over a hedge where we could see passersby as they went about their business. "But it will mean that you'll have to either give up your agreement, or just try again. The main thing is that there won't be any more trying until your womanly cycle is passed."

I felt tears bubbling to the surface again. Eloisa gently hugged me as I cried.

That evening as we sat in his parlor, I apologized to Isaiah for making him angry. It wasn't easy telling him what was happening to me, letting him know had failed in our attempt a producing a son for him. He gathered me into him, gently holding me close, one strong arm caressing my hair. The touch was comforting and strangely welcome.

The onslaught of pain was as Eloisa told me it would be; it hit as the day progressed. I had intense cramping down low in my stomach and back, keeping me doubled over on the couch for most of the evening. The only comfort came when Isaiah allowed me to rest my head in his lap. As I did, he gently rubbed my back in the area where I felt the greatest discomfort.

I was slowly finding out for myself that a woman's life wasn't as easy as I had first thought. All of this left me wondering if I hadn't bit off more than I could chew when I agreed to Isaiah's proposition, and whether I could see it to fruition.

I had never realized when I had first spoken to Eloisa that 'cramps' could become so painful when factoring in a woman's body! The first and second day of this cycle, as Eloisa referred to it, was pure hell! I stayed up in the bedchamber, balled into a fetal position. I only felt relief as the days progressed into their later stages. After the fifth day I felt remarkably better, and with only minimal bleeding present, I ventured outside the room.

What I went through could only be described as a punishment caused by one fool woman's desire to entice her husband to eat an apple. I blamed all of this upon Eve of the Bible...it was all her fault. Women would pay for her act for the rest of time itself, for now, I too would pay...and I didn't like it one bit!

It was remarkable to me: given a choice, why would anyone want to relive this sentence over and over during her young life? I was reminded that women didn't have the option that I had. They also did not have a choice to live a dual life, having the chance to return back to my former body. But, unfortunately a deal was a deal...and I had made one. I wanted to keep my honor intact, no matter what form I was in.

Chapter 17

I knew most likely, there would be a day when Isaiah would resume his advances and try to get me to produce a baby boy. But the day was slow in coming. Isaiah had somehow changed over time; it seemed he was trying to be more understanding and actually allowing me to come around on my own terms.

He and I would lie in the dark on the bed and...just talk. I had grown from just being a vessel for him to thrust into as in those first few weeks, to being an actual confidant to his wants and dreams. I found it greatly refreshing, yet compelling.

During one of our quiet conversations, with the moonlight illuminating our chambers, I came to realize that I was beginning to really grow fond of Isaiah. The quiet man would let me talk with him as an equal, never using the male and female boundaries in any of our discussions. I laid upon my back, he on his side facing me, his soft voice reminding me of a summer whisper gently wafting across a mirror-like pond. I hung on his every word, hungry to listen to the next bit of information that sprang from his lips.

He grew quiet and with his head supported with his right arm, he listened to me. Just listened to my rambling on about a visit with Eloisa to her shop in town, slowly a smile grew upon his face.

"What brings the smile out upon your face?" I asked, my voice low and very soft.

He only shook his head and smiled, making him seem even more like a young boy. "Did I suddenly grow antlers?" I laughed, feeling the top of my head as if I really believed what I was saying. This act caused him to chuckle.

I could see his eyes twinkling as he studied my face. "What can you find that is so interesting?"

"You, Rebecca." He rolled onto his back and looked at the ceiling. "I know what you used to be, but I can't help thinking of you only as you are." I heard him sigh; I felt it was of frustration.

I raised up and leaned on my left elbow, my long hair falling over my arm and onto his. "Speaking truthfully, I too know what you mean. The longer it seems that I remain as Rebecca, the harder it will be to return to being Duncan."

"Duncan. Now that's a name I had almost forgotten." He exhaled deeply, his breath causing a chill upon my arm. "I had never seen you outside of our first introduction before the elders, just the thought of you being someone different is still strange to me."

"I haven't forgotten it, but sometimes it is harder to remember." I pulled my hair back behind my shoulder, letting my right arm lower and rest upon his.

"I could easily forget Duncan had ever existed...it wouldn't take much effort." He absentmindedly scratched at his shoulder where my hair was tickling him.

I looked deeply into his eyes, the sparkle there upon them, danced brightly with some untouchable feeling that I had yet to fathom. I couldn't pull my eyes from him, unbelieving what words were about to spring from my soft lips.

"For tonight, let's pretend he never did exist...only Rebecca and Isaiah occupy this bed." He glanced slowly up at my face, and it took only a second for the realization to finally sink in. I felt his hand slowly slide up my back and draw me down to his waiting lips.

How does one progress from a simple, passionate kiss to unbridled, unfettered love? It is a question that has perplexed vast multitudes of scholars since time began. In the briefest of moments, I lay kissing him...then in the next moment, I was straddling his waist as he drew my sleeping silk over my head and deposited it on the floor.

So quickly did my female mind take over that I had settled down upon his erect penis that it surprised even me! I felt a slight tingle race throughout my body as he settled into me. The workings of my rapidly feminine thinking caused my hips to shift until I could envelop him further into me.

"Where did you learn that from?" he gasped.

"I don't know...but it feels sooo good!" I whispered as Isaiah slowly thrust into me.

Further and further we descended into our union that all time was swallowed by the ever-changing shadows of our chamber. It was only the advance of the bright sunlight that caused me to awaken. My body was still resting beside his, partially on top...almost as if we had been joined together by our union.

I sat up and gently removed myself from the bed without awakening him, and I stood silently beside his sleeping form I watched Isaiah breathing on top of the covers. My eyes became drawn to his crotch, focusing upon the area that gave me so much pleasure only hours before. I slowly reached out and caressed it, running my fingertips along its length. As it began to stir, I felt amazement. Whoever said that women didn't have power had never been able to do that with a simple light touch! I was almost giddy with excitement!

Gradually, his penis climbed upward into an erect tower of flesh. I touched him lightly, my fingers tracing along its surface. As I held him, he opened his eyes groggily. "Are you enjoying yourself?" he asked groggily.

"Yes...yes, I think I am," I replied, taking him firmly into my grasp and manipulating him erotically.

"As a young man, I would have never realized the power a woman possesses in the grasp of such a small hand!" I whispered, watching how Isaiah's legs spread to allow me greater access.

Suddenly I felt his warm hand upon my backside, pulling me into the bed and rolling me onto my back. "You started this, now I'm going to finish it."

He never had to say any more as I felt my knees parting under their own power, exposing my sex willingly to this man, my husband, once again.

Chapter 18

"Pregnant? Are you sure?" I asked incredulously. "Sure, we made love many, many times...but pregnant?"

"It's been over a month since your last cycle, hasn't it? You've been keeping track of it as I showed you on the calendar?" Eloisa asked. "Making love many, many times has that effect upon a female."

"I'm eight days past my cycle," I whispered, unbelieving what that simple calculation was telling. "Aren't you sure that perhaps I have just skipped one of these womanly curses?"

"You said that you were feeling poorly?" she asked, gently touching my forehead.

I laughed. "Only in the mornings. By noon, I feel just fine!"

"We women like to refer to that as morning sickness...I'd say you're pregnant!"

I began laughing as I skipped like a child to the window. "At last!" I chirped, holding my hands over my smile.

"Your chore is far from over. Now you have to wait through all of the swelling from your body...and not just in your stomach! Pregnancy is no piece of cake for us women!"

I ignored her words and giggled. "I can't wait to tell Isaiah! He'll be so pleased!"

***

I should have listened to Eloisa; I had never been through anything as painful as when I carried that child. The first three months began with a strange morning illness and a bloated feeling. Gradually, over the next three months it was replaced with backaches, swollen legs and oh so little sleep.

By the end of my pregnancy, I grew and grew so much that my middle felt as though I would completely split in two! White and red lines slowly inched their way across my stretched and extended stomach. I felt so bloated that I grew fearful of what anyone thought of me, yet when I was around Isaiah, he doted upon me as if I was the only person in existence.

I would feel this squirming within my body, or see a strangeness move across my abdomen. Was it an elbow, or possibly a knee? I never really knew, but that movement brought home what the union which Isaiah and I enjoyed those several times did have its consequences...my growing middle was proof enough.

When I had first changed, I had to lean forward just to see my feet with my bosom being slightly larger than average. Now, with my swollen stomach, well into the throws of pregnancy, I no longer could see my feet. Every day, the child inside my belly would roll and kick, punch and squirm. Its mere presence emphasized the fact that I was no longer male, for only a very feminine body could only maintain the life within, as I now was doing.

Deep into my pregnancy, only three days after the winter solstice, I was suddenly bathed in a colorless liquid, which could only have come from inside of my body. I sent Anne to find Gerard. As they helped me into bed, I begged Gerard to saddle our fastest horse and ride to find Isaiah who was in town on business, and from there, go directly to get Eloisa and bring her back.

Anne quickly built up a small fire in our bedchambers fireplace, to help remove the chill from the room.

Isaiah arrived first; I could hear his horse galloping upon the stones in the road. The horse breathed heavily as Isaiah dismounted and ran into the house and up the stairs. He slowed as he entered the room.

"How is she?" he asked Anne as I had only been resting between the great intervals of pain I felt.

"The contractions are growing closer. Did you bring Eloisa with you?" she asked as she dabbed the sweat from my brow. "She has been screaming as they get stronger, trying to push that child out of her."

"Gerard gave the horse to me so I could return quickly. He ran the last two blocks to Eloisa's and is bringing her here in her own carriage." I felt his hand touch mine, gently he raised it upward and kissed my fingertips.

"What took you so long?" I asked, my voice raspy from the screaming I had done.

"I'm here, you rest...okay?" He gave my hand a squeeze, I responded with a weak smile.

I could feel the contraction long before it ever hit, building like some tidal surge until it crashed against the shore like a runaway ship in the harbor. "Squeeze my hand when the pain gets too much!" Isaiah offered as I lifted my head in unbearable agony.

At that moment, Eloisa entered and took over. "I told Gerard to stay down in the kitchen to stoke the fireplace and stove...then find some blankets to put the baby in."

Their words became mumbled as the pain of childbirth swarmed over me, engulfing me under its spell, unable to hear or speak! Hours seemed to pass, each one bringing more and more pain, each contraction stronger than the last. From time to time, I would briefly open my eyes and watch the oncoming twilight descend upon this late December night.

By evening, when I thought I could last no longer, I was rewarded with a faint cry sounding like it was far off into the darkened night. Louder and louder it became until I could actually make out the wailing of a small child.

A cool cloth wiping against my face brought me to my senses, I opened my eyes and looked toward my stomach. I could actually see Anne smiling as she sat upon a chair at the end of the bed, no longer was my belly a block to my view.

Isaiah again brushed the sweat away from my brow. "You okay, Rebecca?"

I nodded and sought out Eloisa, who was standing to my right. In her arms was a small bundle. "Our son?"

She smiled and bent down over me, and said, "Your daughter!"

I took the small infant and held her close as Isaiah place more pillows behind my back. "A daughter?" I sighed, looking apologetically at Isaiah.

Chapter 19

True to Eloisa's long ago words, the longer I sat there holding our daughter, the greater was the full feeling I felt. I grew aware of a strange something happening deep within my breasts. Also true was what Eloisa had said that the baby would take to nursing; within minutes of holding her near my swollen nipple, she began drinking in earnest.

I watched her little temples flexing as she drank from my bosom. The only sound within the room was the swallowing of our daughter as she drank of my milk.

By the time most had gone to bed, it was morning. Beside me laid Isaiah as I once again nursed our daughter, it seemed to be every hour and a half to two hours between her feedings. Each time I grew to know by the fullness of my bosom, I could almost estimate the time, when she would need to nurse.

As she finished one of the times nursing, I laid her upon my shoulder and patted her back, silently humming to myself when I noticed Isaiah watching me.

"You make a wonderful mother..." he whispered softly.

"Really?" I looked down as she slept, my slender finger tracing along her round cheek. "She's beautiful." I sighed.

"She looks like her mother." He quietly sat up and kissed his daughter's forehead.

"Do you really think so?" I asked with a proud smile.

"The spitting image." He gently kissed my cheek, brushing my hair behind my shoulder.

"I'm sorry I couldn't give you that son you wanted." I whispered my apology, trying to refrain from waking the baby.

"That's okay, I'll love her just the same...perhaps next time?" he said smiling. "Have you thought of a name for her?"

I was startled. "I haven't thought of that at all...do you have one?"

He sat back and thought awhile. "We want to give her a name that she'll be happy with for the rest of her life. What was your mother's name?"

"Luttie...I don't think even I'd like to be named that!" I said with a soft laugh. "Since it's still December...what about Angelique... Angel for short?"

"Angelique...Angel...it's beautiful, I like it." He smiled and kissed her forehead once again. "Welcome to our family, Angelique!"

Chapter 20

I stood beside our bedchamber window and peered through the distorted glass at the few passersby as they trudged along the snow-covered street near our home. This house was one of the few around which actually had glass windows; most were made of skins soaked in whale fat, allowing in a diffused light.

Occasionally a wagon would cross, drawn by an oxen or sturdy mule. The morning sun shone brightly through the barren trees, reflecting off of the brilliant snow below.

Such was my sentence, transformed into a beautiful young woman...a mother trapped in this body for who knew how long, at least until I was able to produce a son for Isaiah. I sighed and switched Angel to my other breast as she nursed; I had become so used to the feeling that it was second nature to me.

Nevertheless, I felt cooped up in the house because I could not take Angel outside in the winter. Don't misunderstand me, I felt a bond with this little girl that I could never explain, mere words escaped me. And yet, just outside the window, the soft snow seemed to beckon out to the child in me. Calling softly for me to once again run and play, as I had in the English countryside of my youth. I looked down at that angelic face, toward the tiny eyes closed in bliss, and could almost feel the youthful veneer of childhood, raise from my shoulders. I had grown somehow, my motherly responsibilities saw to it...I had my own child now.

Chapter 21

It was now late February, and spring couldn't come soon enough for me! I deftly raised Angel to my shoulder and began to pat her back, once again, doing something that months ago would have been as alien to me as walking on the bottom of the ocean...yet, here I was. My motherly patting was rewarded with a audible burp, the wet bubbling sound caused me to reach for the corner of the cloth over my shoulder and wipe the spittle from her lip. Even her burp had a smell that would have once caused my stomach to churn, but now...nothing.

I smiled, kissing our infant on her soft cheek. Eloisa was right - without her mother she would have had a very rough few months. While I wished she had been born a boy, I was glad I had stayed and experienced this little beauty, as she has grown remarkably since her birth! I sighed as I handed her to Anne, who at once whisked her across the hall to clothe her for the day while I closed my nursing silks and sat upon the bed.

I sadly shook my head as I looked down at myself, now where I once time had a flat, albeit feminine stomach...was a soft swell of what Eloisa called 'baby fat'. No longer were my breasts perfect in that youthful quality. Over time they had matured, veins just below the surface of my skin now creating sustenance for Angel to suckle, still hanging with youthful perfection, but now they were even larger, engorged with the fluid for our dear Angel.

"What has become of you, Duncan?" I whispered softly. "Are you still in there?"

"I'm here ma'am," Anne answered from the other room. Her voice caused me to jump. "Will there be anything else, ma'am?" she asked as she poked her head inside the doorway.

"No, Anne, I'll be fine...I think I'll rest a bit until Isaiah returns home from town."

"Angelique is sleeping quietly. She should give you a break for a couple of hours." She nodded and slowly exited the room.

I leaned back against the pillows and stared at the ceiling, my mind searching out answers to so many questions. All of my actions — how I sat, gestured, walked and talked — were naturally feminine. And I had to admit that I loved making love to Isaiah! Could it be that I had forgotten what it was like to be male? It seemed so. Would I be able to once again settle into a male role after a son was born? I could only hope so.

I thought about carrying another child, gambling with my very life once again that a male heir could be produced for Isaiah. Would there be another one? What hope did I have that I could produce a son for him?

I thought back to that day I had been transformed - how strange it was to watch women's breasts swell into the cups of the dress Eloisa had me in! I remembered watching that little metal swinging harmlessly. One sudden touch upon my neck swiftly brought on changes no male should ever have to experience.

In an instant I bolted upright. "The medallion's touch!" I quickly looked toward the door, "Why couldn't Angel be transformed as I had been? Could she become the male heir of Isaiah?" I swung my feet to the floor and stood, making my way to the room where Angel lay sleeping.

Gently pushing her door open, I peered in as she slept. Once again, I saw her small frame, dewy soft skin and round cherub cheeks. I leaned against the rail of the crib she used, reached over and tenderly caressed her cheek. I contemplated the unthinkable, sentencing this young child to a fate against that which God intended.

I pushed my hair over my shoulder and frowned, wasn't I also sentenced into a fate against the one determined for Duncan? Why shouldn't it be any different for Angel? What harm would it be if she never knew that she had once been a female? If none told her, she wouldn't have any inkling as she grew into manhood!

I would know. Isaiah would know. Eloisa, Edmond, Anne and Gerard would all know. I nodded to the sleeping child. "You are going to grow into a gloriously beautiful woman, and young men will flock to your side like moths to flame." I touched her soft curls at the base of her head, the hair on top yet to really grow in thickly. Perhaps she would be plain in the eyes of others, common to anyone who would see her...but in my eyes, our eyes...she was the most beautiful child on this earth! Tears started to form in my eyes, so I quickly wiped them away.

Behind me came a noise, I glanced backward and saw Isaiah standing in the doorway. Quietly he approached and placed his arm around my shoulder. "She's sleeping..." I whispered as he, too, looked over the crib's rail.

"She's beautiful." He smiled, leaned over gently and kissed her forehead. He slowly straightened up and kissed me. "She has a good reason to be - she has you for a mother. She'll grow up to be as stunning a female as you..."

I placed a finger to my lips and motioned for him to follow me out of the room. As I pulled the door closed he followed me back into our bedchamber. "Anne is working downstairs on lunch; she said it would be done in an hour or so."

I nodded and began to look at my clothing for something to wear. "Did you finish what you needed to get done in town?"

"All done," he said with a smile. "I arranged to plant some land that I have across town this coming spring," he said as he threw another log onto the bedchamber fireplace to remove the late winter's chill.

"Is that my land?" I asked as I pulled down a gray dress.

"No, this is different...this is in town, yours is a few miles west of here." He watched as I turned my back to him and began to remove my nursing silks.

His shadow fell against the wall, and I saw him step behind me. I felt his warm hands against my cool shoulders, his lips fell upon the base of my neck. A slight tremor raced throughout my body, as its destination fueled the swelling of my nipples. "Do you think we can try again? It's been a few months..."

I felt the air leaving my body in one great sigh, and my knees felt as though they could buckle at any moment. I felt the dress slip from my hand, falling to the floor as my head gently rocked forward, his kisses worked behind my neck, long hair began cascading over my naked chest.

Tenderly his hands stroked upward from my waist to the underside of my breasts, the warmth of his palms fueling the fire inside of my body! He turned me to face him, his lips smothering me with passion. Together we fell into the bed as I deftly pulled at the strings of his shirt, baring his chest to my wanderlust.

What may have seemed as mere moments to a spying onlooker, was an eternity of passion to a young mother. Our lovemaking was dangerous and filled with desire, so inflamed we were, hurrying to finish before Anne announced dinner and caught us in our quick tryst.

He knew how to play my body - he was like the great Leonardo da Vinci and I was his Mona Lisa! I knew that long after I reverted back to my former body, I would remember how he made love to me. His maleness stroked both my inside and out with its erotic passion; if only I could strive to do the same to a woman! Perhaps with the ending the same, his warm seed crashing against the walls of my womb, the feeling was blissful, yet left me yearning for more. I wanted him to make love to me again.

But alas, it had ended all too soon. As Anne's steps climbed the stairs, Isaiah was dressing himself and I quickly bounded into the bed, grabbing my book from the table. She tapped upon the door slowly. "Master Evans, Lady Rebecca...lunch is ready."

"Thank you, Anne, we'll be right down," replied Isaiah with a wink in my direction.

Chapter 22

Early June found us enjoying the warm spring afternoon, and a smile played upon my lips as Angel and I sat outside on a rocker that Edmond had built for my seventeenth birthday. Although only I knew of it as my seventeenth birthday, everyone else thought I just turned nineteen.

"What's with all of your smiling?" Eloisa asked as she took Angel from my lap and placed her upon her own. At almost nine months, Angel was sitting upright very well, and at times she could even stand on her own...although supported by one of her parents or by an object she could hold.

"I'm pregnant!" I said happily.

"Are you sure?" she asked with raised eyebrows.

"It's been three months since my last bleeding cycle..." I pulled my shoulders up towards my neck, causing my larger corset to rise slightly, it was more of a childlike, gleeful reaction than anything. "I had a bout for the last few weeks of that morning illness like last time, but now it is getting better."

Eloisa seemed to be computing in her head. "Probably either three or four months along."

I thought back to that wintry day, just after putting Angel down for her nap. I knew that was the day we conceived the little one growing inside my womb...I was sure of it! "I think you may be right."

She shook her head. "What's with you and these late fall births? You do realize that you'll be nursing two at the same time? I bet you haven't thought of that!"

I shrugged my answer to her concern and leaned against the back of the chair, enjoying the warm sun upon my face. "Do you think this one will be a boy?" I asked, my voice only a whisper.

"Perhaps, though if God wanted us to know for sure, he'd have given us that ability long ago. No, you'll just have to wait it out like the rest of the other mothers."

"I do hope it's a boy." I sighed, gently stroking my stomach where our 'son' would develop.

"Have you told Isaiah?" she asked as she played with Angel.

"Not yet - I wanted to be certain."

"Are you?" she asked.

"I think so. I'll say something to him tonight." I sighed contentedly, happy to be once again so close to returning to my former body.

Chapter 23

Sometime during the afternoon, I heard a hard knock upon the door. I had just placed Angel down for a nap and was descending the stairs, about to go into the kitchen and see if I could assist Anne with the preparation of supper. I frowned as I walked toward it, wondering who would be visiting at this time of day.

I was about to pull it open just as Anne was walking around the corner. I said, "I'll see who it is, Anne."

"Thank you, Ma'am, I'm all covered in flour from the bread I'm making!" She stopped, hesitating for a moment to see who it was.

As the door swung aside I felt my heart jump, for before me stood the crotchety Master Kuhnart. He wasn't really that old, perhaps not even sixty, but his hair had already turned white. He didn't wait for me to ask him to enter, pushing past me as if I weren't there at all.

"Where is your so called husband?" he demanded, his tone being arrogant and haughty.

"He is away, in town tending to his business. Is there something I can help you with?" I replied, in a softer timbre, hiding my contempt for this bullying man. I quickly stepped around him, stopping his advance further into the house. Anne stayed put, and I could see that she neither trusted this man, nor liked him at all.

"I do not do business with a mere woman. I want only to speak with the man you call your husband." He glared at me as he spoke, his icy stare almost boring a hole through my body.

"I guess then, Master Kuhnart, you will have to see him in town. Ether that, or you may tell me, and I will relay your query." I folded my arms defiantly. There was an oddness in the way he was behaving that made me suspect something was wrong, even more than his anger warranted... something that I couldn't put a finger upon.

He looked frustrated - talking to a woman was not what he wanted. He turned and without even asking, walked to our corner table and boldly poured himself some of Isaiah's ale.

"Excuse me?" I snapped with astonishment. "In England, as I believe it is here, we do not help ourselves with someone's ale unless it is offered! And, I might remind you...it was NOT!"

He sneered, his eyes narrowing. "I'll ask for nothing that I can take...wench!"

I was flabbergasted. So much, I couldn't even speak! Behind me, reflected in a mirror I could see Anne's mouth had dropped open at his insult.

He looked past me at Anne, "Leave, servant!"

Anne bristled. "See here, old man..."

His face turned red with rage as he shouted, "LEAVE NOW, SERVANT!"

"You sir, have no right to speak to myself or anyone in my employ as you just have! I ask you to leave my house at once, no...I DEMAND you do so instantly!"

He took the drink he poured and leaned against the table. I could see he was in no hurry. His stall tactic intended to intimidate or threaten me. Finally he sneered, taking a drink from the dark brew. "Fine then. If that is the way you want...so be it, imposter!"

"Anne, go and find Gerard," I ordered. I studied the old man's eyes; he had been crying at one point. I could not tell if it was in fear or anger, but he was taking it out on me.

Behind me, I heard her scurry off, slamming the kitchen door as she raced to find her husband.

"Yes, I thought so," he hissed. "When confronted, the liar usually crumbles like cheap stone."

"What is this all about?" I asked, afraid that I already knew. "She's gone, now out with it!" I demanded. "Why do you come and insult those of us who inhabit this house in such an insolent manner? Get out of my house immediately!"

"Your house?" He laughed, "You are in no position to demand possession of this house, nor the title as you have fabricated since you arrived!"

I took a startled step back, my mind scrambling to figure out how much he knew. I stiffened and faced him head on - if there was any of my old male blood still inside of me...it was beginning to boil now.

"You...you pompous old windbag..." I stammered.

"You stood before me...you so-called wench, making up lies before all the elders!" he hissed, "You call yourself, Rebecca...shouldn't it really be Duncan?" He begin grinning, and it was a vile, evil sort of sneering grin.

"Duncan? Duncan who?" I lied, my heart began pounding with fear.

"You know very well that your name is, Duncan Bailey! I had the Manifest double-checked, although the name didn't appear, several aboard ship remembered a young lad indentured to one, Master Isaiah Evans!" His words echoed through my head like a cannon being shot. I trembled, catching myself at the back of the long couch as he continued. "He...no, you...was reported to be young and thin, like a woman. I believe you are that young lad, parading around in female clothing, acting as the wife to Master Evans! What is in this charade for you...boy?"

I quickly saw where he was going with his accusation as I replied, "This Duncan Bailey probably jumped ship as soon as he arrived, and is hiding somewhere within the village as we speak. I am 100 percent female...and not some boy parading around, dressed as a woman!" One child and another on the way should be proof enough to end that argument from anyone.

"You lie!" he snapped. "You could be just saying this to throw off my investigation!"

"How would you explain our child, Angelique?" I said smugly, reminding him of the sleeping child only one floor above as I pointed my finger into the air. "Would you be so informed, perhaps your spies would know that I am now pregnant with our second child?"

"Well...you may not be Duncan Bailey..." He groused, seeing that I had a point. "Perhaps you are his sister or cousin from England?" He waved his arms at me, animated in his sheer anger.

"Sister? Cousin?" I shrieked, "It's obvious that I had Angelique long after I arrived in the colonies! Just looking at her would prove to anyone that she is Isaiah's daughter!"

His look turned dangerous. He glared his anger, and it became like daggers to my heart as he stepped close. His spittle flecked from his mouth as he shouted. "As I live and breathe, I'm positive that you are his sister, nothing more than a cheap whore who has spread her legs for her brother...just to keep him in this home! A home which should have been mine!"

His incestuous comments pushed me past my breaking point, and for one brief instant...Duncan returned to the surface. I firmed my jaw and swung a roundhouse right at his cheek. It wasn't just a slap, and it couldn't even be considered a smack. I was smaller than most women, but a really furious woman can bring a lot of power to bear in her anger. At that moment I was that woman. My swing wasn't that of a docile English female, but rather a rough English teen. What I threw was a punch, fist balled in anger and knuckles up...swinging as hard as I could!

The blow landed squarely on his eye, and he spun, dropping the ale to the floor as he fell. He turned his head toward me, surprised from my action as he struggled to his knees. "Get out!" I screamed. "Don't you EVER come back into my home and insult my servants, my husband, my children, or myself with your foul mouth and idiotic accusations!"

He slowly climbed to his feet. He was thoroughly embarrassed, having been brought down by a small woman. I pointed to the door as he backed toward it. "I...I..." he stammered, as tears began to well at the corner of his eyes.

"Get out!" I ordered as Gerard and Anne raced in from outside, through the kitchen door.

Gerard stepped up quickly and placed himself between Kuhnart and myself. "You heard Lady Rebecca...Get out before I'm compelled to throw you out!"

Kuhnart paused, then gazed sorrowfully toward the floor and nodded; it was then that I watched a tear strike the floor. Without another word, he walked outside and pulled the door closed behind him.

Gerard turned and studied me for several seconds, then he slowly smiled and nodded. It was as if this man of few words felt pride in how I defended myself along with my family's honor. I found out that day, that I could trust this husband and wife as I could trust either Edmond or Eloisa.

"That knot forming under his eye...was that your doing?" He touched his eye in the place where I had punched Kuhnart.

"It was," I admitted. "He said that I was Isaiah's sister and that I had allowed my own brother to impregnate me...just to keep my husband's assets from falling into his own hands."

"I wonder how he's going to explain that shiner you gave him?" Anne giggled.

I sighed. "How am I going to explain to Isaiah what happened? This will embarrass him greatly."

Gerard bent down and began wiping up the ale where it had spilled. After several seconds he glanced up at me and said, "I think that what you did, will only make your husband love you all the more."

I stood quietly, staring at the closed door and spoke aloud without really thinking. "I hope you're right..."

I never did tell Isaiah what happened.

Chapter 24

After supper had ended, and all was clean and put away, Anne retired to her quarters with the remainder of the meal for Gerard' and she to dine. Isaiah and I had moved into the sitting room where I nursed a sleepy Angel.

Isaiah carried his cup to the little corner table and began to get a drink ready for himself. "You'll never guess who I saw today," he mentioned while pouring.

I looked up as I raised Angel to my shoulder for burping. "Eloisa?"

"Nope," he replied as he took a sip.

"Edmond?" I asked.

"Well, I did see him earlier this morning. He asked if you...and as he says, his 'Angel' were well. I told him you were both doing fine."

I smiled as I moved Angel to my other breast. "That was nice of him to ask."

"You give?" he said with a smile. "You'll really love hearing this!"

I glanced up, his own smile caused me to start smiling. "Yes I give! Who was it then?"

"You remember Master Kunhart? He's the one who was so rough on you when you first arrived." He took another sip and started to snicker.

Playing dumb, I knitted my brows knowing full well what was coming. "What of him? What is the old coot trying to start now?"

Isaiah cocked his head sideways, he frowned his displeasure at me calling Master Kuhnart names...I knew it, but it was true. "He stopped me on the street this afternoon, sporting a black eye. According to him, he said he stepped on a hay rake and the handle swung up and smacked him in the eye. It was all I could do to keep from laughing as he told me the elders had called off their investigation of us. Isn't that wonderful news? All the while Master Kunhart spoke to me, his eyes were still watering."

"Imagine that..." I laughed weakly.

Isaiah walked back to where I was sitting. "Do you know what that means?" he asked, sitting down on the couch beside the two of us and watching Angel nurse.

I pursed my lips in thought. "...could it be that they're going to finally stop spying on us?"

"There's more." I glanced over, and I saw his eyes sparkled as he touched the soft curls that framed Angel's face. "It means that you can change back."

I sighed, then I reminded him, "I agreed to give you a son. Remember, you can have no female heirs. With no father or brothers on either side...should something happen to you with only a daughter, you lose everything!"

He smiled and nodded. "I know, but it doesn't matter to me anymore. And I'm really okay with it!"

I raised Angel to my shoulder for burping, and she was sound asleep. "It doesn't matter anymore? Why?"

"I've grown to love our daughter. I'll take my chances...maybe someday, they'll change that stupid rule."

I looked down at the floor. "Oh...then we may have a problem."

"What's that?" he asked as he sat his empty cup down and gently took Angel from me. We stood and quietly made our way up the stairs to the nursery.

"Let's put Angel to bed first, and then I'll tell you," I whispered as we stood at the top of the stairs. He shrugged and waited for me to open her door for him.

I kissed our daughter lovingly upon her chubby cheek, then Isaiah did likewise as he placed her down into the crib. Quietly we stepped out of the room and eased our way back down the steps.

At the bottom, Isaiah turned and caught me at my waist, pulling me into him. "So, what's the problem you alluded to?"

"It has all to do with my changing back right away as you said." I placed my hands on his arms, resting my head nearest his beating heart.

"That's a problem? I thought it's what you wanted?" he asked, showing the surprise in his voice.

"Eloisa had told me that there are two times you just can't use the medallion...it won't work. One way is if you are going through your feminine cycle." I stood embraced within his hug and counted off with my finger.

"So we'll wait a week or two," he shrugged, not really knowing the true length of a monthly bleeding cycle. "We'll change you back after it's done!"

"This time, we'll have to wait longer than that." I raised my eyebrows and sighed my answer.

Isaiah stared at me, "What's the other reas..." His voice trailed away as my words sank into his mind. "You're pregnant? Really?"

I nodded and smiled. "You may just get your heir yet!"

He hugged me tightly and then once he realized, he released me altogether as if he were afraid of breaking me. "But...that means...damn! Rebecca, I'm sorry."

I held my finger to his lips. "What do you have to be sorry about?"

"I know you want that land...the money I've been holding for you." He dropped his head and looked away.

"I'm not worried - it'll be there when I'm ready!" I held his cheeks and made him look at me. "I said that I'd give you an heir, and I will! Let's celebrate in our bed tonight."

Chapter 25

Our second daughter, Elizabeth, was born on October 22, 1657.

I lay upon our bed and nursed her, beside me sat Isaiah holding Angel. Isaiah was whispering into Angel's ear as she pointed out her sister's fingers, nose, eyes and just about anything else that the young tot saw. She was being very gentle, which surprised me as I wasn't sure how she would react to seeing my naked breast and not actually being fed from it. I had already decided to start weaning her from breast milk the closer it came to the baby's arrival.

It would be very hard to describe my feelings, as I looked upon the two young girls produced from Isaiah's union with me. I was very confused with emotions that played upon my mind, partially I suppose that it was because Elizabeth hadn't been the son that I hoped I'd have. Don't get me wrong, she came from within my body and I would fight the devil himself to protect any of them. But I knew Isaiah wanted a son and somehow I felt as though I failed him.

"She's tiny. Was Angel that small?" he asked, pulling Angel's hand away from Elizabeth's eye. I glanced over as Angel took her fingers against her own eye and gently touched the long dark lashes. "That's right, honey, they're your sister's eyelashes."

I smiled, proud that Angel was learning well for a child just past seventeen months. "I think they were both around the same size." I gently picked up Elizabeth and placed her against my shoulder, with a soft cloth protecting me from any spittle.

I was rewarded by a soft burping sound, so I once again lowered the tiny infant in my arms to the opposite breast. Angel reached out and touched the exposed flesh for only a second before Isaiah pulled her hand away and I could cover it up.

"No-no Angel," he said with a smile. "I don't think Mommy wants you there anymore."

I laughed. "She'll have a pair of her own soon enough!"

"She's only a year old," he teased. "That sort of stuff will come along later..."

I glanced knowingly at him. "It'll come sooner than you think. One minute she'll be holding onto you...the next minute she'll be all grown up and wanting to be held by someone else altogether."

He looked down at Angel. "Well, I'll wait until that day comes. For now, she's mine...all mine!" He began to nibble at her neck which caused her to start squealing with laughter. She tucked her chin down and raised her shoulder to prevent him. I loved to watch them play - it was something I could never tire of!

I glanced downward as I could feel cool air against my nipple; Elizabeth had fallen asleep and lost her suction. Even though she slept, her tiny mouth was still moving as though she was latched on. I smiled and repositioned her once again and she took right off, nursing contently with closed eyelids.

Isaiah grew quiet, I glanced up and saw him watching the baby and me. "She's very beautiful!" he sighed.

"You're a lucky man to have such beautiful daughters," I whispered.

He sighed, slowly moving his head from side to side. "Not lucky...blessed. Blessed to have had you as their mother."

I smiled, reaching out and giving his hand a gentle caress. Once again, cool air caused me to look down, seeing my daughter again asleep at the nipple. I gently pulled her to my shoulder and adjusted my nursing silk to cover myself.

The door slowly swung open as I burped the tiny child, and Anne stepped inside. "It's getting late. Do you wish for me to put Angel to bed?"

Isaiah glanced toward her. "Thanks Anne, I'll take care of her."

"Ma'am, do you want me to take the baby for you?" I nodded kissing the infant's soft hair, relieved that I didn't have to get out from under the warmth of the covers. Anne took Elizabeth over and laid her into a bassinette which Edmond had built, finished only a week ago.

I kissed Angel, whose open-mouthed kiss was wet and quite sloppy. "We need to work on that kiss of yours!" I laughed as I wiped the slobber away with the cloth from my shoulder. "Hey you, where's my hug?" Angel complied with a great squeeze around my neck as her father stood.

"Come on, it's time for all good little girls to go to bed!" He spun her away quickly, her feet fanned out and the movement caused her to giggle.

"Not too much of that or she won't want to sleep!" I called out after them, as he whisked her toward the nursery.

As the door glided closed, I started tying shut the my nursing gown shut. Once again, I looked down at the full, mature breasts of an adult woman. It would have been hard for the boy in me to ever imagine having to birth two children, but the woman in me knew full well what it took to get here. I sighed, trying to remember what it had been like to be a boy. Those days seemed like a lifetime ago.

I adjusted the covers and fixed the pillow at my back, the slight movement of my breasts reminding me once again of what I had given up to help both Isaiah and me. I glanced toward the window with its distorted glass surface, feeling that I somehow failed Isaiah once again, by not giving him a son.

A promise was a promise and I wasn't holding up my end of the bargain...but somehow, when I held my daughters, I felt as complete as any person could ever feel! I couldn't explain it to myself or any one else.

I could feel tears welling in my eyes and I took the cloth up to dab them away, but my confusion persisted. Was I worried that I couldn't transform back after this was all over? Was I worried that...possibly I didn't want to?

I pressed my head into the pillows, staring up at the ceiling. "Only a few months to go... Isaiah said that I didn't have to produce a son for him. He said that I could change back as soon as I was ready. Am I ready? Will I ever be ready?"

I could hear them in the other room - he was humming softly to Angel. Without seeing, their routine was as set in my brain as day and night was to the rest of the world. I knew he would hum to her and gently rub her back until she fell asleep. "God, he is a good man," I sighed with a smile.

How could I let Isaiah down? I had promised him a son and if I couldn't produce one...how could I justify taking what he offered? Wouldn't that be reneging on our deal? Was I capable of sticking it out until I could produce a son for him? What if I stayed and the next one was another girl? Would I continue on and on until we finally had a son?

I sighed, my breath tickling my long hair, causing it to move against the smooth skin of my chest. I had known of a family back in England that had nine sons before having a daughter. Was I prepared to wait that long?

The door swung open, and Isaiah stepped inside and picked up the burping cloth, folded it and placed it on the table beside our bed. "How are you feeling?"

I smiled, "Tired, sore, my hips hurt a bit."

"You had a hard day!" He sat on the side of the bed and pushed my hair out of my face. "You need your rest."

I nodded, closing my eyes, only for a minute. Sleep slowly pulled me under. I felt the bed move slightly, then the most tender of kisses fell onto my soft lips...was I dreaming?

Chapter 26

Our lives settled into such a routine as any young family would. Isaiah kept to his business of running his properties and I tended the children with Anne's help. Weeks turned into months - winter became spring and spring became summer. Angelique was a few months past two and walking...or should I say running. Elizabeth could now sit up on her own and both seemed to be growing like weeds.

Eloisa and I met often, our sitting room or gardens was our usual meeting place. There we would discuss anything that came into our minds, mostly it was of the girls.

On one particular afternoon, she broached the subject of my leaving. "Elizabeth is almost seven months old, and Angel is now past two...when were you planning on weaning Elizabeth from breast milk?"

I sighed. "Angel was just past a year when she stopped nursing, I guess I'll wait until that long."

"I see," was her only comment.

After several minutes she glanced up toward Angelique's window. "It will probably be hard to leave them...but it's something that I guess you'll have to do."

I frowned and looked away. "I suppose," I replied. There was a strange sadness gripping my heart, an empty feeling that I thought would make me cry.

I grew sullen. 'What about me had changed?' I wondered. I had always looked forward to the day I could become Duncan again. Yet that name sounded so odd to my ears, almost like a stranger's name. But I knew that the stranger was me and at some point in time, I would have to face reality and return back to who I once was, no matter how strong the pull of motherhood was to me.

But throughout the afternoon, I couldn't help feeling that penetrating sadness as it overwhelmed me. I found myself trying to do anything to take my mind from the situation, long after Eloisa left for home.

Finally I asked Gerard if he would drive me into town; perhaps the small change would help settle my mind. Anne took Elizabeth from me, as I had just finished nursing and Elizabeth was about to take a nap. At the last moment, Angel begged to go along and I relented.

So in our bustling finery, Angel, Gerard and I slowly rode into town in our carriage. Gerard left us off outside Eloisa's shop and we agreed to meet there at an appointed time later that day.

I passed by the poulterers, paused, turned around and then entered. There was an awful stench of wet feathers that caused both Angelique and I to cover our noses. I ordered two chickens to be delivered to our home tomorrow, as I thought that the meal would make a nice change from our summer routine.

After I left, thankful that I could once again breathe clean air, I strolled into a dress shop...a competitor of Eloisa's. I decided that although the dresses there were beautiful, Eloisa's were much better. We only remained there a few minutes, then I slowly walked down the street.

Our next stop was at the village corsetiere. I needed to order a new corset as the one I had been wearing felt too small. Apparently, the children had matured my body in ways that I couldn't fathom. As we strolled through the shop, I noticed several beautiful silk garments folded in a bin. As I had been holding Angel for some time, my back and shoulders were aching tremendously, I placed her down on the floor so I could peruse through the stack of lovely sleeping silks.

The matron entered the room, a long tape over her shoulders and around her neck. "May I help you, Ma'am?"

"These are quite beautiful," I remarked, looking intently at the stitching. I had tried making my own clothing since becoming a woman, but I had yet to acquire the skill as this woman possessed.

"Thank you - they're some of my best work!" She smiled and patted Angel on her head as she toddled around my billowing skirt.

"I would love one of these in my size. Oh, and I need to be measured for a new corset, I've recently had another baby and the one I have on is much too tight."

She smiled and examined me. Behind me I heard a noise, but we ignored it and the matron pointed toward a room and smiled. "You can go back there and get down to your underthings. We can get a better measurement without all of this on."

I nodded and took a step toward the room where she had indicated. I turned quickly and called Angel to follow.

Silence.

I began to panic, looking behind large bolts of silken material and piles of under clothing. "Angel!" I shouted.

"Oh my dear!" The older woman gasped as she and I noticed the door at the same time, it was slowly swinging open, pushed by a breeze. "The child has gone outside!"

I ran into the busy street, "ANGEL!" I screamed. She was nowhere to be seen! I began to race along the dirt path, first one way then the next...all to no avail.

"Angelique!" I cried, tears of fear racing down my cheeks. I stumbled in panic and rounded a corner running headlong into a man.

He caught me and helped me steady myself. "What's the hurry?" he asked, his voice strangely familiar.

I glanced up into his face; his white hair reminded me of the man I argued with long ago. But there was no longer any passionate hate in his eyes. He recognized me and ignored my crazed panic as I fought to remove myself from his grasp. "Wait! Wait a minute...what's wrong?" he pleaded.

"My child! My daughter Angel...she's missing!" As I cried out the words he quickly looked up and down the street, his eyes rapidly taking in everything he saw.

"How old is she?" he asked calmly.

I fought against him and cried uncontrollably, "I...I..."

"My God, woman, you have to keep your wits about you! How old?" His controlled voice caused me to gather my mind into a semblance of control.

"Two. She's two!" I wiped the tears with the back of my hand.

He removed a cloth from his pocket and handed it to me. "What was she wearing...what color of dress?"

"Blue...it was blue. Oh God, I think it was blue!" I cried as doubt entered my mind.

"Her name...what was her name again?" He turned me to face him, holding my shoulders in his fatherly grasp.

"Angel...Angelique. But...but we call her Angel!" I stammered with panic for her safety.

At that time, several others had gathered and began to spread out in search for Angel. "Go out, look for her little girl!" he requested of the crowd. "She's only two, her hair is the color of her mother's... brown. She's only been gone for a few minutes, she couldn't have gotten far! She's wearing a blue dress and answers to the name of Angel!"

Master Kuhnart turned me toward him and held me, as I cried into his chest. "We'll find her...we'll find your child," he spoke, gently rubbing my back.

For several agonizing minutes we waited, then far off behind me I heard someone shouting. "What was that they're saying?" someone asked. Closer and closer came the reply as one person fed the words to another.

"They've found her! She is fine!" Master Kuhnart whispered, his tired voice choking with emotion.

I cried with joy as I pushed my way toward that voice. "Angel!" I shouted, tears coursing down my cheeks, I could taste the salty water as it touched my lips. Never had I ever been so happy as I was when they placed my lost daughter into my eager arms. "Thank you...thank you!" I cried, kissing the man who found her as he stood smiling proudly.

"She wandered toward the mill - another few feet and she'd have fallen into the water under its wheel!" His voice began to tremble as the shock of it all sank into him. "My God, she could have died!"

He sank to his knees, trembling at the knowledge that he had just saved my daughter's life. Even I felt weak at the thought of losing forever the eldest of my girls.

Master Kuhnart handed a coin to a man. "Get this man something to calm his nerves." He then looked back to the trembling rescuer. "You've earned that and much more...come by my business when you have steadied yourself and I will pay you handsomely."

I couldn't believe my ears! It was as though this man had himself transformed. "You don't have to do that...Isaiah and I can..."

"Nonsense!" he said, cutting me off. "I owe you that and much more!"

I hugged him and cried into his chest. "I...I don't know what I would have done had I not run into you. Thank you...thank you from the very bottom of my heart!" I gently kissed his cheek as I hugged him with one arm, the other desperately clinging onto Angel.

He smiled and squeezed my hand. "That's much more pleasant against my cheek than the last time we spoke." I laughed through my tears, hugging my daughter tightly to my chest.

He thanked those around us as they once again ventured toward the paths they had been diverted from. He must have shaken twenty hands by the time they had all left. After we were as alone as one could be on the streets of Boston, he and I walked slowly along.

"Thank you for what you did for Angelique and me." I smiled and again hugged him with gratitude.

"Friends?" he asked, pausing beside his business.

"Friends. I'll never be able to repay you for organizing the crowd...and...and..."

"And calming a frightened mother?" He looked down, "That day..." he sighed, and there was a slight tremble in his voice. "I've never forgiven myself for the way I treated you...I'm so sorry. My wife passed earlier that morning, I...I took out my anger on your family. I took my anger out on you...for that, I am extremely sorry. I knew that I had to reconcile with you before I was laid to rest."

Suddenly I recalled the tears in his eyes. They weren't because of what I did to him, but because he was grieving for the loss of his wife! It all became so clear to me at that moment. It was true that he had been greedy, but I knew from that day that there was more to him than I had thought.

I smiled, reaching up and wiping a tear that had trickled down from the corner of his eye as he continued. "Greed and her death had turned my heart to stone. It took a sock to the eye to make me realize what had become of me!"

"I'm so sorry about your wife...but about that sock in the eye..." I began.

"Don't. I deserved it and so much more." He stood a little taller, the great weight of that day seeming to lift from his shoulders.

"And what of the spies you set out upon us?" I tilted my head as I asked, surprised as he laughed aloud.

"There were no spies...there never were. I just said that to try and scare the two of you. I'm sorry for the lie." He gave me an embarrassed grin.

I began to smile. "Master Kuhnart?"

"Simon," he replied with a smile. "Please call me Simon."

Angel reached out and touched his hair. He made a face at her. I squeezed his hand, "Simon, what are you doing for supper tonight?"

Chapter 27

The elegant carriage pulled up and Simon stepped down, then his driver pulled it on into our livery. Gerard gave me a questioning glance, but I only nodded back to him as I stepped out to greet Mr. Kuhnart.

As I turned around with him and began to enter the house, Anne was astonished to see who walked beside me. "It's fine, Anne," I whispered as we passed.

Isaiah stood from the couch and walked over to greet us. "What brings this pleasure, Simon?

He shifted from one foot to another. "Your lovely wife has invited me to sup with you and your family."

Beside me I felt a nudge from Anne, but I chose to ignore it at that moment. Again I felt the nudge, "Ma'am? Could you come into the kitchen for a moment, I need to discuss the seating arrangements."

I smiled inwardly and followed her into the warm kitchen. "Supper? Here?" she asked with surprise. "If I'd have known he was coming, I'd have scrounged up some sort of poison to feed him!"

I laughed. "That won't be necessary, Anne. Master Kuhnart has apologized and there are circumstances you are unaware of, which caused his blowup at me. All has been forgiven."

"I'd forgive him alright!" she said as she picked up one of our heavy skillets.

I smiled and slowly returned, leaving the confused woman to her duties.

In the sitting room Angel was running her comb through Simon's wispy hair, and he was taking it all in stride. First Angel combed it one way then the other. Simon didn't mind, for the entire time he sat laughing.

From that day forward, Simon became as close and dear to our children, almost as though he was their grandfather. Sometimes, I even thought he felt the same way about them.

Chapter 28

My milk had begun to dry up as Elizabeth was approaching one year old; by the time she arrived at fourteen months, I no longer was able to nurse her. I grew moody, knowing that my time with these two lovely girls of mine was approaching an end.

Isaiah too, grew quiet and sullen, I wasn't sure though if it was the responsibility of tending to the girls alone after I will have gone, or my absence altogether, that fueled his sullenness.

The final day was driven home when Isaiah met me as I was coming down the stairs. He was standing at the base holding a piece of paper and a sack.

"What's that?" I asked honestly, yet unaware of what he had.

"It's the certificate for the land and the gold I had promised." He looked down as he placed them into my hands. He quickly turned and walked toward his study, I followed him in.

"This isn't necessary," I replied. "I don't have to be paid for anything...I never did give you that son I had promised."

He was facing away, I could see him wiping a tear away. "I released you after Elizabeth was conceived, I told you could go back to being Duncan when you were ready."

"So...you're saying..." I felt my throat tighten.

"You...you're free to go." He leaned against his desk, his hands trembling as I stood silently behind him. "I'll have the papers drawn up, by evening."

I stepped toward him and placed my hand on his arm. "Please...please look at me, Isaiah!" I cried.

"I...I can't. I don't want to make this any harder on either of us...you must go...you have to go!" He wiped his tears with his hand, still unmoving and facing away from me.

So this was it - I had produced his children and there was nothing left for me here! He no longer needed me around...no longer needed a son. My lip trembled, I wanted to say goodbye but he wouldn't turn around. "The money...the certificate, I'll pick them up here...after..."

He only nodded his reply, wiping tears as I left him alone.

As if in a fog I left and ascended the stairs, each little girl was asleep in the nursery. It pained my heart to say goodbye to those sleeping daughters of mine! I had never felt the anguish like this, even when Angel was missing paled in comparison!

"Keep them safe, God," I cried my prayer as I left them sleeping with a kiss. Tears raced downward, only to drip from my chin like rain.

I stood outside the home and drank it all in - it had been mine, too, for almost three full years. I swallowed hard and turned my back to the only real home I had ever known. I cried as I fell to my knees upon our lawn, unwilling to make myself move toward my destiny.

Chapter 29

I walked all the way into the village, straight toward Edmonds. As I passed the dress shop of Eloisa's, I cried all the more. Bitterly I wept as I stood outside the old man's home, feeling that it was suitable as the place of Rebecca's birth...it would also be as the place of her death.

With each rap I made against the door, I felt as though the life was already being ebbed from my soul. "Rebecca!" he smiled as he opened the door, I fell into his arms under a fit of sobs. "What is wrong with thee?" he asked, helping me to a chair and closing the door.

"It...it is time for me to return. Isaiah is done with me!" I cried.

"Nay child, thy husband still loves thee!" He limped toward the table and took a seat. "He only wishes thee gone because he knows it is what thee truly want."

I sat back in the chair, the dress I wore pillowed around me. "But he said..."

"Thy husband only said what he thought thee wanted to hear." He reached across and patted my hand. "If thee gives an old man a few seconds, I'll fetch thy clothes thy wore on that day when thee first met me. These clothes will transform thee back to thy boy thou once were."

He gently stood and hobbled to a shelf, then he took down a crate and carried it to the bed where he placed it down. One by one he carried the clothes to the table that I worn so long ago.

I stared at the alien clothes, knowing it would seem so strange to wear them once again. My eyes followed Edmond as he overturned an oddly shaped crock and shook the medallion to the table.

There before my eyes was the instrument of my transformation so long ago, the strange cherub looking exactly like the faces of my daughters. I felt my hand against my stomach, which was trembling. Under that hand, was the womb that produced those two lovely girls. Could I turn my back on that...on my beautiful daughters? On the man I loved so dearly?

Edmond picked up the medallion by the chain and gathered the shirt I had worn when I stepped off the Endbreeze, then slowly limped toward me. "One touch against thy shirt is all I need."

It was all I could do to gather the strength to raise my arm, slowly the little spinning metal swung toward my hand.

At the very last moment I raised it up and struck his hand sideways, avoiding contact with the instrument of my change. "Why did thee do that?" Edmond asked, surprised my action.

"I...I can't go back! I can't leave my family!" I began to cry. "They are all I have! It's not about a son anymore, I can't leave them! Please, you must understand!" I cried more, though they weren't the cries of anguish. Now, they were the tears of a realization of what I needed to do, of what I had to do!

He slowly sank to the chair on his side. "What of your destiny?"

"Don't you see, Angelique, Elizabeth and Isaiah ARE my destiny!" I placed my hand to my heaving bosom. I knew I must return to my husband and daughters once and for all.

Suddenly the door opened, and Eloisa stood framed in its opening. "What's wrong, Rebecca? I saw you crying when you passed...I ran all the way here! Trying to follow you with my tired legs is next to impossible, but I knew you were headed here."

I stood up and hugged her. "I'm not changing back! I've decided that I'm staying as I am! I will live out my life as Rebecca!"

The news made a large smile spread across her face, and she hugged me tightly. As we hugged I felt her pull away slightly, shock enveloping her face. "Edmond...what has happened?"

I turned to see years beginning to wipe away from the old man's face! he held his hands out before him in stunned silence. "It...it must have touched my hand!"

"You are becoming the boy...you are transforming into Duncan!" She gasped as the changes continued to spread throughout his face and hands.

I realized then what needed to happen, it was as though the fates had determined would be our destiny. "Edmond, you can take my place! You can have the land that has been deeded to me! All you have to do is agree to be me for the rest of your life!"

"Forever?" he whispered, slowly standing to his feet and testing the flexibility of his now younger legs. "A man could become used to thy youth!"

"It's yours now. I give it all to you!" I smiled gleefully and closed my eyes, thankful that life was once again good. As I opened them, I focused on Eloisa, who had a sad look in her eyes.

The boy Edmond had become, noticed it too. "Come with me Eloisa, thee can assist me in taming this new land. Thee can be my wife, share my home...perhaps raise our children?"

I felt my heart skip with joy. "Yes, Eloisa, there is nothing keeping you here! Use the clothes of yours and make yourself young once again! Boston is always ready for a young seamstress, you can continue doing what you know how!"

"To be young again?" she whispered. "The chance to have a husband...children?" Her smile widened, and a twinkle in her eye appeared as she looked toward the youthful boy before us. "Dressmaking can wait awhile, I want to savor the chance of having children!"

"We could marry? We can start anew as husband and wife?" She cried joyfully. The boy smiled too, as he took up her wrinkled hand.

The young man hugged me, his grasp pressing my breasts into him. Eloisa's gaze went from us back to the medallion, and a slow smile spread across her face as she deftly picked it up by the chain and placed it once again in the jar.

She grabbed the jar, and Edmond, now Duncan, by the hand began to lead him to the door. I quickly threw the clothing that once was mine to him as she pulled him on through its opening and out into the street. As I slowly followed, I heard Eloisa giggle. "Come on and help me build myself into a proper young wife!"

With wings upon my feet, I gladly turned myself toward home and the family I loved.

***

I threw open the door and stepped inside. Isaiah came out of his office to see what was the commotion. As soon as our eyes met he had a momentary spark of happiness leap into them, then it died as quickly as it appeared.

"You came for the certificate?" He sighed. "It's where you left it. I still have not had the papers drawn up for ending our marriage."

I walked up to him and grasped his face with both hands. "Forget about the papers. I don't care about the certificate anymore! I came back for my husband...and I'll never leave again without him again!"

He hugged me, burying his face into my neck. After a few moments of softly sobbing, he raised his head up once again. "And the girls?"

"And the girls," I replied with finality as I wiped away my tears with my hand. "My name is Rebecca Evans. I am a woman, and your wife, and the mother of our daughters. We are a family, and I will never go away again!"

Behind us a soft knock was at the door, I dried my tears and walked toward it. On the other side was Edmond...now Duncan.

"Isaiah, I don't ever believe you've met Duncan Bailey." I stepped aside as the youth entered the house. He was smiling profusely.

Isaiah's eyes grew wider as he realized that somehow, Duncan the boy who I had been, was standing before us.

"But..." Isaiah stammered. "It's you...Duncan...How?"

I took the boy by the arm and ushered him inside. "It's Edmond...I gave the property to him. He became my old self with the help of the medallion. The certificate to end my servitude now belongs to him!"

The boy gave Isaiah a short wave. "Thanks...I guess."

Isaiah began to smile broadly, once the realization sank in. "Is there any more you two are withholding from me?"

"Just one other thing..." I smiled as I slowly walked up to him. "Eloisa is also using the medallion to make herself younger, she's marrying Edm...Duncan. The two of them will be building new lives on the land you gave to me. And we're going to help."

Isaiah quickly grabbed up the document and returned, handing it to the boy. "You two are more then welcome to it! If it hadn't been for you, I never would have gotten this beautiful family that I have! Anything you want or need is yours!"

The boy smiled and took the certificate from Isaiah. "I've got to be going, I have a very pretty girl waiting on me, trying to plan a very quick wedding!"

We watched him race back toward town, his feet moving him faster than he has gone in many a year. I closed the door and turned toward my husband. Smiling coyly as I leaned against it. "Are the girls still napping?"

He glanced up toward the stairs. "They probably will be for another hour or two."

"Anne and Gerard around?" I slowly sauntered toward him, arms folded, behind my back.

He looked down at me, his eyes focusing on much more than my face as I saw them dart quickly toward my vast cleavage. "They're...busy. I...I uh...I gave them the day off since I...I wanted to be alone."

I moved in closer to him, my hand sliding along his thigh. "Do you still prefer to be alone?"

He quickly gathered me up in his arms. "Not anymore!"

As we turned toward the stairs, I whispered into his ear, allowing my tongue to lightly touch its interior. "Let's see if we can do something about getting that son you wanted."

He laughed and hugged me close. "Son or daughter, as long as it's healthy."

Chapter 30

Did I ever give him that son? We have two, Edmond was born on August 12, 1659 and Simon on June 15, 1660.

It's funny how a passage may be just a walk down a simple lane or a great ocean excursion into the unknown. My path seemingly, was infinitely more vast than that! With it, I created a passage from my English youth, to somehow include the woman I've become. I would never give up that opportunity, and each and every day as I look upon my family...I thank that little cherub upon the necklace for giving this life to me.

No longer did I have to search, in this new land of the America's, I had truly found my destiny. Found in a small colony, where I would raise my children beside the man I loved.

I was home.


The End



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