You can love twice

[12 Years ago]

There I was, full of late teenage hormones, in bed with my girlfriend of the past three years Annie, with both of us ready to do the dirty deed and…

“I’m sorry Annie. I can’t do this. It is not right.”

“Eh? What have I done wrong?” she answered trying to comprehend what had just happened.

“I can’t have sex with you. It just isn’t right.”

“Why? I’m on the pill and didn’t I just put a condom on you?”

“Yes, that is all true,” I replied trying to work out what to say. The only words that came to mind were…

“It isn’t you. It is me. I’m not ready for this. I’m so sorry Annie.”
I knew they weren't the right words as soon as I'd said them.

She was almost crying now.

“What did I do wrong? Please tell me so that I can make it better?”

I didn’t reply straight away.

“Don’t tell me that you fancy that Janice Roberts? God knows she’s been trying to get you away from me for months.”

“No Anna. It isn’t her. You are the most wonderful girl anyone could want. It is me. I’m not ready to have sex with you or anyone at the moment.”

Now she was crying.

“I’ll be the laughing stock of the school. Everyone knows that Mum and Dad were going to be away this weekend and … well you know.”

I held her tight.

“Then we will have to make sure that they think we did do the dirty deed. I don’t want to hurt you so why don’t we make out that we did it and then I dumped you. That way you will be the heroine and I’ll be the villain.”

“You’d do that for me?”

I hugged her again.

“Annie, let me promise you this,”

Now I was winging it.

“Firstly, I love you and really don’t want to see you hurt. This way, I’ll take a big reputational hit not you. Then, I promise you that there is no one else in my life. I truly do love you and that is why I don’t want to go to the next step.”

“But when?”

“I don’t know but I need to sort a lot out in my mind before I enter into a relationship with anyone.”

Then she went rigid.

“Oh my god, you are gay!”

I laughed.

“That is the last thing I am. I fancy women. The mere thought of a man sticking this dick up my bum or me doing that to him makes me sick. Sorry, that is not me.”

Annie looked at me long and hard.

“I think you are telling me the truth. I know when you are lying to me.”

Some tears welled up in her eyes.

“What is so wrong with you that you won’t make love to me?”

“I can’t put what it is into words. I’m so sorry.”

I hugged her again.

“At least let me make you cum so that you can tell your friends with a straight face and not lie?”

“You would do that for me?”

“I love you Annie. I really don’t want to hurt you at all. I have to sort something out inside me before I can go the whole way with you or anyone.”

“I knew that you were different from all the others.”

As sudden fear went through my whole body. Had she suspected?

“You were always kind and patient with me. Not like all those other boys at school.”

“Thank you darling. That really helps me.”

An hour later I made as discrete exit from Annie’s home as possible and went to mine. I was still trembling when I climbed into bed that night.

Annie kept her distance from me for the rest of the school year. I saw her and wondered if I’d done the right thing that night. Sometimes as I watched her, tears welled up inside me. I didn’t know if they were tears of relief at not going the whole way of of joy for not putting her into a really horrid position when I had to tell her about myself, the real me.

Not long after the end of the school year, I left home and went down to London to as I put it to my parents, ‘get a life’, free from the small Yorkshire town in which we lived. Mum and Dad tried to get me to stay but I knew that I could never be myself in that town. People knew almost everyone else. Gossip about who was doing what to whom was part and parcel for the women in the town. The men mostly went off to Leeds, Huddersfield or Manchester to work so were spared the worst of the stories.

I arrived in London and dossed down with a Cousin for a month or so until I could get on my feet and get a job. Luckily, I fell in with some students so was able to rent the smallest room in their house from them.

The first night I slept in my own bed in my own room wearing a nightdress without fear of being outed was a real relief. The others in the flat didn’t mind as long as I did the housework, their washing and general skivvying in return for a reduced rent they were cool with me dressing as a woman in the flat but as a man outside.

Thanks to my cousin, I got a job with a recruitment agency in Holborn. As first, I was the office dogsbody but when four agents went down with the flu, I stepped into the beach and soon shoed the boss that I was as good as, if not better than them so I got a ‘proper job’. It enabled me to earn a decent living and start saving towards becoming the real me.

That all happened twelve long years ago.

[The Present Day]

It was a Sunday. How can I forget that day? It was the day of the monthly Farmers Market that is held in the delightful city of Winchester. My job was helping out on our stall that sold our excess watercress. Bob Young and I were partners in a smallholding that grew the plant on the Meon river about 15 miles to the east of Winchester.

There are a few producers in the Valley but a lot less than at its heyday when the railway would run special trains to London just carrying the produce. It is this produce that gave the local preserved railway ‘The Watercress Line’ its name.

We sold our very special variety of Watercress to a wholesaler in Covent Garden. He supplied a good number of the top London Restaurants. What we have left over we sell at the Farmers markets in Alton, Odiham, Andover and here in Winchester.

Just after 11:00 Bob said to me,

“Go and see if Davey has any of the cheese left? Take a couple of cartons with you and do a trade. We are almost out anyway so I can handle what left.

I smiled back at Bob. He’d been good to me since we met almost four years before. I’d be hitching a lift to nowhere in particular when he stopped on his way home from delivering a load of Watercress to London.

I’ll never forget his words

“Nowhere in particular? Been there myself for the past three years.”


“I was a merchant banker. One day I said ‘fuck this for a game of soldiers”. So I quit and travelled around looking for inspiration. I found it, oh, about twenty miles from here. Perhaps it would do the same for you?”

“Yeah and that includes you getting inside my pants?”

He laughed.

“Don’t tell me that you are gay. How many times have I heard that one?”

“No, I have a wife and a young child at home. If she caught me playing around then I’d be ball-less in no time at all.”

I was speechless for a moment.

“Why not hop in and come back with me. At least stay the night, get a wash, wash those clothes of yours and have a good meal. If you want to go then I’ll take you to somewhere you can get a lift. If you want to stay, then there is a job for you for as long as you want it.

I smiled to myself once again. I’d stayed and thanks to my ideas business had boomed and resulted in Bob making a partner in the business. I even pay income tax so how cute is that eh?

Bob’s wife Paula had seen right through me in an instant but didn’t say anything so we sort of bonded. Now she was my best friend.

I grabbed two boxes of watercress and headed off in search of David Horseman. He ran a small herd of Buffalo and produced Mozzarella cheese. I guessed that Pizza was on the menu for Tonight.

I found Davey down the side street that led to the main shopping area of the City.

“Hi Davey, wanna trace some cheese for this?” I said offering the Watercress.

“Hi Fi. Yeah sure. You know how the missus likes to spice up her creations with your stuff.”

He reached into one of the coolers that lined the back of his stall and pulled out a lump of the white cheese. After wrapping it he gave it to me in return for the Watercress.

“You came just in time. I’m down to my last cooler. How’s business been for you?”

“We are almost sold out as well. Glad to hear that you are doing well after last year.”

“Thanks Fi. Yeah, it was a close call.”

One of Bob’s herd had tested positive for Bovine TB. Thankfully a second test proved negative. Once BTB gets established in a herd often, the only way out is to slaughter all the animals and that can be disastrous financially for a small producer like Bob.

“Thanks Bob. Give my regards to Jan and your brood.”

Bob laughed. He called his five children, ‘his brood’.

“Thanks Fi. Say hello to Paula from us all.”

“I will. Bye.”

I left his stall and did a bit of browsing on a few other stalls. I was about to return to my stall when I bumped into someone.

“Oh Sorry,” I said.

The woman I’d knocked into turned to look at me and let out a small yelp.

“Arrgggghhhh No.”

Then I saw who it was. It was Annie.

My heart stopped a moment or three before I got myself together.

“Hello Annie,” I said in a matter of fact way.

“Is that all you have to say after all this time?”

“Annie, it is really nice to see you again but this is neither the time nor the place to have this conversation. Why don’t you follow me to somewhere a little quieter eh?”

She tried to say something as her eyes fixated on my breasts. Her mouth moved but nothing came out of it.

She nodded her head so I turned and headed back towards my stall. When I got there, Bob was starting to dismantle the stall.

“Bob, this is Annie. I knew her from before. I need to talk to her for a bit.”

He looked at Annie and then back at me. He just nodded his head. Bob was a man of few words these days.

I handed him the cheese and walked behind our van where it was reasonably quiet and we had less chance of being overheard.

I turned and faced Annie.

“Yes, this is what was wrong with me that night all those years ago,” I said trying to get a first salvo in.

“Why? When? But why didn’t you tell me? I thought that we were close?”

What she said was oh, so true. I’d been dreading that this day would ever happen and buried away down here in deepest, darkest Hampshire I was almost sure that it would never happen but it did happen. Now I had to make the most of it.

“And what would you have done if I’d told you that I wanted to be you? Be like you? Wear your Clothes, makeup and everything?”

Before she could answer I added,

“I told no one at home. I only told my parents when I’d transitioned. They couldn’t understand why I’d done it. The same would have gone for pretty well everyone we knew at that time. Then when the time came for us to have sex, I couldn’t do it. It just didn’t seem fair to do it and then leave you.”

“What? You were going to leave anyway?”

“Don’t you see, I had to. I was all screwed up inside. I wanted to be you. Can’t you see that?”

Annie went very red in the face so I did the only thing I could think of, I hugged her.

At first, she wanted to pull away but then she relaxed.

“I’m so sorry Annie. I didn’t want to hurt you but there was no way I could tell you about the real me.”

Then she mumbled,

“It all starts to make sense now.”

I let her go and looked at her face.

“What are you doing now?” she asked.

“Part running a Watercress farm in the Meon Valley.”

Her ears pricked up immediately.

“I’ve just moved into a house in Bishops Waltham.”

That meant that we were virtual neighbours.

“What do you do?”

“I’m deputy head of a school in Havant.”

I smiled. It had always been her dream to be a teacher. She’d obviously done well for herself.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Bob closing the back door of out van. He was ready to go. Lunch would be waiting for us as soon as we got home.

I frantically scrabbled around for a pen and a bit of paper. I found it and scribbled my phone number on it.

“Here’s my phone number. If you want to get together give me a call,” I said giving it to her.

“Don’t you want to meet?”

After a slight hesitation, I replied

“It is not up to me. I left you in the lurch. If you can forgive me then I’m willing to meet you.”

She took my phone number but looked doubtful.

So I gave her another hug and said softly,

“I’m so sorry Annie for that but if you are willing to find out a bit about the real me then I’ll share it with you. No strings unless you want them.”

“There you go again, putting it all on me.”

“Yes but how many transgendered people have you met and really got to know?”

She didn’t answer.

“If you want to find out what it is like being born with the wrong body then I’ll tell you.”

With that, I left her standing forlornly in the car park.

As we left the City behind us, Bob asked,

“Was that her?”

“Yes. I never thought that we’d meet but she’s moved to Bishops Waltham.”

“You should have invited her for Lunch. You know how good Paula is in estimating the amount of food for us.”

I smiled back at him.

“She’s not some lost waif you know.”

At that we both laughed.

Later that day, Paula took me aside and said,

“Bob said that you ran into ‘her’ today?”

I sighed. I’d known this inquisition was coming. Paula had a PHD in Psychology.

“Yes I did. I gave her my phone number.”

“Did you get hers?”

I shook my head.

“That’s where you did wrong. The onus is all on her. What if she bins it? What then?”

“I get on with life just as before.”

“But it won’t be ‘as before’ will it? Things have changed with you and even with us.”

“Us? Why?”

“You could suddenly decide to up sticks and leave us. You don’t have ties here.”

“And what about the partnership? Don’t you know me better than that?”

“That won’t stop you if you truly want to run away. It didn’t before now did it?”

She was right.

I sighed again.

“Let me promise you this, I will never suddenly leave here. I like it here with you, Bob and the kids. Where else would I go eh? No. I’ll stick it out whatever happens.”

“So go find her and make peace properly. All the schools have internet sites. They give the names of the head and deputy heads. She should be easy to find.”

I was beaten into a pulp and Paula knew it.

“I’ll do that tomorrow.”

“You’ll do it tonight."

{Yes Miss!}

I did find the school that Annie was working at in less than five minutes. Then I sat back and wondered what to do next. We had a busy week ahead of us as one of our ponds needed a good deal of attention and my skills as a brickie were going to be put to good use. Bob was ok as my helper but give him any actual bricks to lay and you’d soon regret it.

I was just contemplating what to do next when my phone bleeped. Someone had texted me.

For a moment I hoped that it was Annie but it was only Paula.

“Bob says that the pond can wait a day.”

That was that then. I’d be off to Havant in the morning. Then I stopped and wondered what to do when I got there. If I saw her at the school, what we had to say to each other would be around the school in less than a blink of an eye. Then I came up with a plan. I’d follow her home from school.

Then that idea turned sour. What if she was married and had a family? The last thing they needed was an old flame from her past turning up on their doorstep unannounced.

This was not going to be as easy as I’d imagined.

I sat back and thought… ‘If only we hadn’t bumped into each other like that…’

But we had so I had to live with it and get on with my life. I was happy here and really didn’t want to move on. I’d found two people who accepted me for what I was and let me do my own thing with my life. I owed them a lot.

The next morning, I did as I did every working day, I walked the short distance from my cottage to the bigger farmhouse and Paula’s kitchen for breakfast. Here, we’d plan the activities for the day and, well get the business of running the company over with in a couple of minutes. Besides, Paula did a mean scrambled egg on toast for Monday Breakfast. Our own eggs and Paula’s become a dab hand at bread making. We’d had a local trout for dinner on Saturday so I’d expect the leftovers would be in with the eggs. Life in the country can be hard at times but when it is good, it can be really good.

“Morning all,” I said as I opened the door to the kitchen.

Bob and Paula returned my greetings.

“Just in time for the eggs.”

I grinned back.

“Dead on the dot of half-seven as always,” I replied.

I sat down at the table and poured myself a cup of coffee.

The two of them were looking at me.


“Come on. What are you going to do about her?” asked Bob.

“Can’t a girl have some breakfast first?”

Neither of them moved a muscle.

“Ok, firstly, I can’t just go barging in on her at the school. That would never do. Secondly, we don’t know if she is married and has a family. That means even if we knew where she lived the last thing they’d want is someone like me turning up on their doorstep unannounced. Ok?”

Bob laughed.

“I told you, she does have a brain.”

I poked my tongue out at him.

“So, I’ll follow her home this afternoon and then the same for a couple of days also looking to see if there is someone else in her life. Then and only then and if I am sure that she’s alone, I’ll knock on her front door. That a good enough plan for you then?”

Paula laughed.

“What’s so funny.”

“I owe you both dinner at the Crown. I didn’t think that you would be logical about it. Well, my dear, sometimes you are a bit of the old cow in a china shop aren’t you?”

“Not so much of the old cow if you please,” I retorted.

We all laughed. The was settled and we had a plan.

After Breakfast I went to the pond and started preparing the existing brickwork while Bob went to the builder’s merchants to get some cement water proofer. When he returned we’d get on with the task at hand.

After about an hour, I got a sense that I was being watched. I stood up and turned around and got a bit of a shock. There was Annie with a huge smile on her face.

“I wondered how long it would take for you to sense that I was there,” she said proudly.

“How are you today? Sorry for yesterday.”

“I didn’t sleep a wink last night. I kept seeing you … well the last thing I expected was to see you… Goddam it. I had a little speech all worked out and now I can’t remember a thing.”

“I didn’t sleep very well either. The shock of seeing me with boobs and everything. Well, you could have made a big scene but you didn’t. Thanks for that.”

“I guess that I was doo dumbfounded to say much. Are you going to stay down there or are you going to come up here so we can talk?”

I smiled back at her and as I put down the club hammer and chisel that I was using to remove the old crumbly bricks I said,

“Don’t you have school today?”

“It is a training day so no I don’t have to be there.”

After climbing up onto the bank I said,

“The tool-shed over there has a couple of chairs. Let’s go and sit there.”

I led her to the tool-shed. It was really Bob’s ‘Man Cave’ for the times when having two women in his life got a bit much for him but I was sure that he wouldn’t mind us using it for a bit.

“Here you go,” I said offering her a seat.

She sat down and looked at me earnestly.

“Where do you want to start?” I asked.

“At the beginning? All good stories seem to start there don’t they?”

I sighed.

“Ok, so after we left school, I left home a couple of weeks later. Dad was being a real pain in the proverbial and wanted me to get a job and pay my way. He was also determined that I’d be a man not some wimpy woman. Mum, was the good wife and didn’t publicly disagree with him. So I left. Mum sent me on my way with a couple of grand in my bank. ‘This was for your university but use this to get yourself settled somewhere’, she said. So I went to London and found a room in a student house. I got a job in an Insurance company and started to save my money. The students let me off a load of my rent if I did the cleaning and their laundry. So, there I stayed for two years. I changed jobs and started working at a start-up in Shoreditch. After a year, they went public and gave the employees some shares in the process.

I’d saved a good deal of money and this was the rest I needed for my transition. So I started to live as a woman. This freaked the students I was living with out something rotten. So I got the boot. After a while I found another girl in the same boat as me so we got a flat together. Boy, was that hard. She was on the verge of topping herself almost every other day. I lasted less than a month. Then I met Roy.”

I stopped and swallowed. Before I could continue, Annie said,


“Why what?”

“Why did you want to become a woman?”

I smiled back at her.

“Just like most others in my situation. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a woman and was born with the wrong body. Gender Dysphoria I think they call it now.”

“Why? Why did you date me?”

“Because I fancied you something rotten,” I replied and after a slight pause I added,

“Then I got cold feet. So many times I was on the verge of telling you about the real me but every time I just couldn’t do it. Then one thing led to another and we ended up in bed together. That's when I knew that I couldn't go any further”

“Did you love me?”

I nodded.

“Yes. Yes, I did and…” I sighed

“And what?”

“In the words of Barry White, you were my first, my own, my everything. Truth be told, I never really got over you. Yesterday really turned my life upside down.”

“Mine too,” she replied looking down at her hands. I knew from past experience to let her carry on when she did that.

“I was married twice. Both went wrong. Neither of them were, well you. I was always wondering what you’d do, you’d wear and everything. Seeing you yesterday, a whole lot that has gone wrong with my life seemed to fall into place. I get the feeling that you are in the same boat?”

My heart quickened at that news.

“Does this mean that you’d like to get to know this version of me?”

“Yes, yes I do but I get the feeling that I know her already. That was what made you so different to all the other boys I dated. I only realised last night what it was. The female you was there all the time only that I was too stupid enough to realise it.”

I didn’t say anything but took hold of her hands and looked into her eyes.

Both of use were close to tears. Then we kissed lightly and the tears came. They were not tears of sorrow but of joy.

When we broke off, Annie said as she wiped the tears away from both of our eyes,

“Around dawn this morning, I realised that all my anger at you leaving like that was wrong. I wasn’t ready to be told that the love of my life wanted didn’t want to get into my knickers but to actually wear them. Can we start again?”

“I’d love that. I really would.”

We hugged each other again and sat for a while in the sunshine just happy to be together again.

A little later, Annie said,

“Something told me to accept this job down here. For some reason, I was too busy to go to the market in Havant on Saturday so I went to Winchester. It was almost as if we were destined to meet again.”

“Same here. I normally don’t to that Market. Bob and Paula do it together but Paula had a bit of an iffy stomach yesterday morning so I went instead. Passing ships and we collided all right.”

The old saying, ‘all’s well that ends well’ certainly proved to be true with us.

[Authors note]

This story idea came to me while sitting on a rock high above Death Valley and listening to the Doors song 'Love me Two times'.

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