No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – 6 – Meeting New Friends

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
- 6 – Meeting New Friends

By Jessica C

Come Friday, I saw Mom and Sage off from the apartment and I’m settled in waiting Cortney’s ride. I have an overnight bag in case I’m comfortable staying there to go swimming at the beach. It is like being in a different world. The Hamptons, Dowells and Powell’s are there. Some are connected by money or long blood lines. I asked Cortney, “However did you get to be a police person? I would have thought your family wouldn’t be too happy about that.”

“Let’s just say, we’re all free thinkers and have the freedom to do what we like. Mine is hands on law work. I’ve become a pretty good detective. The precincts I work in don’t mind getting some perks from my family connections it impacts on where I’m, working.”

Moving around and introducing myself, I meet a couple Bridgette and Cathy Riley-Strong and their daughter Ashley. Ashley has graduated from high school and is also going to start Fordham in the fall. Her mother Bridgette has a consultant business somehow helping people make needed adjustments to their workplace and/or home.

When I ask if she could help a person like me? She says, “I’d rather hire you part-time to work with me. It would give you room to grow and define yourself. I'm suspect you would have some beneficial insight to help some men I work with.”

Ashley’s several years younger than me and we are comfortable talking to one another. She says, “Cynthia please be patient with what you’re going through. It is quite an adjustment. I followed your case in the newspaper. I read it on line, plus more than is in the newspapers.”

I get a glass of wine and we sit down and talk. She compliments me for not wearing too much makeup. She says it is a problem many have in transitioning from male to female.

Cortney finds us talking and it is the three of us for a while. Then Cortney suggests she shows me where I’d be staying tonight. She calls it a cozy room, though it is spacious to me. She even shows me a closetful of dresses she says I can use if I find the right size.

I feel a little underdressed for tonight, so she goes through several dresses she thinks will fit. The white dress she chooses is beautiful with colorful embroidery work over the front. I close the door to the walk-in closet behind me and quickly change. I like the dress but Cortney agrees with me that my pantyhose doesn’t go with it.

Cortney finds white stockings along with a pair of strappy heels. We do not have time to transform my look completely as they’re calling us to dinner.


When we approach the dining room I am singled out by Henry and Margaret Dowell to eat with them at the main table.

Sitting across from me is Kimberly and by all appearances her parents. She asks, “You’re going to join us at the salon tomorrow? We’re going to Lincoln Center tomorrow night.”

I surprise them saying, “No, if I stay tonight I was hoping to go swimming tomorrow.”

Mrs. Dowell turns to me saying, “We were hoping you’d like to sleep in, and then be pampered before going to a performance at the Lincoln Center. I’m sure you haven’t experienced anything like that.”

I believe they mean well but I’m afraid of having a panic attack. “Sorry, but Cortney said we might go swimming. I’m already feeling a little overwhelmed. I don’t quite fit in.”

I’m nervous and push myself away from the table and walk away. I’m not sure where I’m going, but find a door to the outside. Bridgette is soon there and asks, “Are you comfortable enough to walk?” And we do, I am not sure how long we walked but the sunlight is changing.

We’re returning to the big house and Bridgette says, “You know you are more than welcome to stay the night. I am sure there are some who would change their schedule to accommodate you. Or we could get you back to your apartment yet tonight.”

Cyndi says, “I don’t want to look ungrateful; I’m sure they see it as a great gesture. But I was taken captive and cut up. Now this feels like they’re trying to fit me in their mold. I guess I personally need to go back and get on with my life. Does that make sense to more than me?”

Bridgette smiles softly, “It makes good sense to me. I think it will be a good reality check for them as well. If they don’t understand that needs to be their problem.”

It takes a while to collect my things and change out of the pretty dress. Both Cortney’s folks and the most of the Hamptons tried to change my mind. They even say I could go swimming in the morning.

I didn’t mean to giggle, but their efforts came across humorous to me. Mr. Dowell said, “You’re now being rude, not appreciating what we want to do for you.”

“That is not what I’m intending. I was hoping for a simple weekend. I became anxious with changes I didn’t expect. If that is a problem, then let it be seen as such.” Mrs. Hampton seems to be especially close to Bridgette. She picks up my suitcase and helps me to make my way to Bridgette’s vehicle. Despite others trying to get me to stay, we’re soon leaving.


Julio is driving their vehicle, but he seems more a friend than a chauffeur. I am still taken with how long it takes getting from one place to another. It is not like we’re out in the country where I’m from in Indiana.

I continue getting more anxious as we’re driving back. Finally Bridgette says, “I’m getting a little nervous about dropping you off at your apartment; not knowing if you’ll be alright. We have a good size living area. It is nothing fancy, but we have a nice guest room. I would be more comfortable with you at our place and not alone.”

Cyndi responds, “Ashley says you have two young daughters waiting for you. Won’t it be inconvenient to tend to them and put up with an anxious stranger?”

Cathy speaks up, “I don’t think we’ll need to take care of you as much as to help provide a safe place for you to relax.”

Bridgette says, “If needed we’ll be there for you? So are you willing to stay with us tonight?”

Cynthia says, “Your kindness would be greatly appreciated. I don’t know why I’m so weak and can’t get through this on my own?”

Ashley says, “Are you for real, thinking you should be working through this on your own?”

Cynthia says, “Well the physical injury, um stuff is all healed. The other stuff is all in my head and it’s not like I’m brain injured.”

Ashley says, “Becoming a woman as well as a person going through such events as yours is not just dealing with the injury but learning to be the new you. There’s a lot of emotions and changes to deal with. I’ll confess to you. it took me over a year before my panic episodes got to a place I could manage them.”

Cynthia asked, “Ashely would you mind coming with me as I get ready for bed?” I now realize that having my sister Sage helping me before, meant more than I realized. Ashley and I are visiting as I get my makeup off and I’m cleansing my face.

Ashley’s noticing something. “Cynthia, it seems that your body has changed since I first saw you on the news.”

Cyndi admits, “Yes, it’s becoming more of a woman’s body. They’re saying it is changing because my testosterone has declined so much. Plus I’m having hormone therapy and the hormones my body is making more has an impact on me body.”

“There is part of me that enjoys developing a feminine body with the curves of my growing hips and buns. I want to see how much my breasts grown on their own before I consider any implants.”

“What I don’t like, is I sometimes go out thinking as Chad and I turn around when someone tries talking to Cyndi. There’s part of me that resents not being Chad.”

I am pulled in with Ashley as she gets ready for bed, but then we both go out to the living area. The smallest girl, Tanya, is still a nursing infant and Bridgette has her on her left breast. I’m use to a nursing Mom to cover her and her baby. Things here are more open and people are comfortable being themselves.

There is another older woman Melanie that they introduce me. She’s not a grandma though she’s more than old enough. She’s holding Claire on her knees with two hands cupping her head and back. She’s whispering to Claire when I hear my name mentioned. “Claire has noticed you. I think she’d like you to hold her.”

Cathy says, “Be careful she still likes the idea of nursing.”

I say, “She looks like she’s two that is much too old to be nursing.”

Cathy asks, “Let her stand on the floor and we’ll see?” Cathy begins to lift her blouse and Claire walks to her breasts. Cathy winces as Claire begins to suckle. “No Claire, don’t bite down that hurts.” Claire nurses for two minutes when Cathy breaks the suction; Claire moves to the other breast. Cathy looks at me, “Hopefully she’ll lose her interest soon or I will need to stop her from nursing. I think in another year, I would like to become pregnant again.”

Bridgette calls my name, “Cynthia, something you might want to think of down the road is if you’d like to have a fertile egg planted in you so you too could carry and give birth to a baby.”

Part of me quickly thinks it is an absurd idea, but for some reason I do not jump to say so. Instead it is a few moments before I say. “Do you think that would actually be possible?”

“Before I ever had my monthly visitor, I thought that was the way I’d need to have a baby,” says Ashley. Ashely reveals she was what she called a ‘street rat’ before Bridgette became her foster and then adoptive mom. She was a boy and on the streets of New York City until she was fourteen.


Come morning, I ask about getting home to my apartment and Bridgette suggests I first call Maggie. I get Maggie’s message box to leave a message and it is fifteen minutes before she calls me back.

“I got a message that you had slept over at Bridgette Riley’s. But I also heard from the Dowells that you troubled them last night.” Maggie says, “I was worried that you were trouble over whatever happened or didn’t happen there. I hope we’ll take time to talk when I get home later. I’m out visiting with a friend right now.”

Ashley asks me, “Would you be open to going to Times Square and do some people watching?”

I reply, “It’s not like I’m a native New Yorker watching the visitors. I was one of them and got myself in trouble.”

Ashley says, “Yes, but you were a guy then. I kind of think it is funny watching boys vying for the attention of the girls and women they think are attractive, after having been one of them.” She’s right, I’ve already seen that. But while I was on trial I had not taken the time to enjoy it.

“I’m open to it. It would be nice to have someone show me around. I need to make new friends; it would be nice to be with you.” We catch the subway and get off at Times Square. As we walk around, I can tell some people kind of recognize me. But I don’t think, most know from where or how. Soon two college age boys are trying to hit on Ashley and me. We soon get them to move on.

We’re near the Abercrombie store and see a thin boy looking at a female mannequin. Ashley asks, “For someone special?” When the guy is indirect and says, “Kind of.” Ashley responds, “Do you know the size you’d like to try?” He begins to turn to us, and then turns back. “We’re not laughing, we could be of help.”

Finally he makes a half turn, “I wouldn’t dare.”

I ask, “Why not?” Ashley asks, “Are you just waiting or with others?”

Bert introduces himself, “My Mom and sister are already in there. We’re from a small town in Pennsylvania.”

Ashley asks, “Do you have other brothers and sisters?”

Bert says, “Two brothers, but they weren’t asked to come. Mom knows they don’t like shopping.”

Ashley says, “But your mom and sister do. I bet they encouraged you to come with them.”

Bert said, “How did you know?”

Ashley says, “I didn’t for sure, but I suspect they knew you would like too. Would you mind if we went in with you to look for them.” He pulls out his phone and shows us a picture of his sister and then one of his mother. We finally find his mother standing outside of a changing room.

When she sees Bert, she says, “I was worried about you being alone, but it took a while for your sister to get in to try two outfits. Were you still looking at that same outfit?”

I ask, “Was it a red print dress?”

She says, “No that one was further away, his sister liked that one too.” Ashley introduces both of us as new friends of Bert’s. His Mom says, “He has good taste in women’s fashions, don’t you agree?”

Ash says, “This would be one of the safer places for him to try one if he’d like to.”

Mrs. Rawlings looks at her son, “You know Bert, both your sister and I both know…” She pauses, “If you wanted to try one, you could look for a size eight or ten.”

I tell him, “I saw the rack they’re on; there’s both a red print and a yellow print dress.”

Bert starts to gasp for breath. Then Ashley says, “Relax, your mom is encouraging you that it’s okay.” Bert stares at his Mom as he tries to relax. The changing room door opens and his sister steps out. She’s showing her mom her outfit and notices her brother.

Her Mom says, “That looks very nice on you Regina. Do you want to guess who’d like to try that red print dress you liked?” Regina smiles but upon seeing us, she decides not to say anything.

I say, “That’s okay, Ashley was the one who got him to admit it.” Regina is looking at me, I’m not sure but she suspects something.

Regina says, “Did your friend Ashely help you to come out too?” I ask how? “She says, “You still need to have your Adam’s apple shaved.”

Ashley tells me, “That’s hardly noticeable.”

Gina says, “You’re right I was guessing. And I’m sorry, Cyndi was it?” My eyes are watering and Gina says, “I think my brother could pass like you do. I’m sorry but I was worried you had other motives.”

Ashley says, “Let’s move on we don’t need this.”

Gina hurries to get my arm, “I said, I’m sorry please don’t go. You have to admit being in New York, people are like that.”

Ashley critically says, “I’m a city girl, I’m not!”

Mrs. Rawlings says, “Could you show us where the rack with those dresses are?” We show them the dresses and Bert agrees that the yellow print would be nicer for him. He takes the dress as he now needs to wait for a changing room. His sister Gina says, “I can change and be out in a minute.”

Bert’s mom holds the dress until he finally gets to use the changing room. She hands him something and whispers as he goes in, “I brought these in case.”

Ashley encouraged his sister to go in with her makeup, before he came out. Ashley prods me to try on the red dress, “I think you’d look better in the red dress.”

Mrs. Rawlings says, “You know you look like someone who was in the news. She too had the name Cyndi.” Again I’m embarrassed. Mrs. Rawlings says, “You don’t have anything to be ashamed of. I for one am glad; you look like you’re comfortable with yourself.”

We waited around to see how Bert looked in the dress. We all find out it, ‘Sophie’ is Bert’s girl name. The five of us have a late lunch as Sophie dares to wear a pair of sandals and go to lunch in femme.”


I was happy for him, but emotionally tired for myself when we get back to Ashley’s home. I’m invited to stay, but feel a need to get back to my apartment. I’m invited to take the needed time but to call Bridgette if I’d be interested in working for her.

The evening is spent downstairs talking with Maggie…

To be continued…

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