Wes Boyd's
Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online

The Girl in the Mirror
Book 3 of the Bradford Exiles
Wes Boyd
©2005, ©2011

Chapter 12

Partway to Chicago, Eve took a full dose of Darvocet, so that it would be at full effect when the session started. Electrolysis was quite painful, and they’d found out early on that the drug would help. The electrologist was an interesting woman who did this for many of the people in the region going through the process. Eve was often pretty well out of it during the sessions, but Phyllis was a woman who liked to chat, and Shae soon learned that her son had gone through the SRS procedure with her help. At the time, they’d had to do it on a shoestring as she was out of work, but with a job retraining grant she’d learned the profession and gotten certified; there was probably no one person in the area who knew more transgendered people. Since so many were cut off from their families as a result of the process, Phyllis had become sort of a surrogate mother to many, and she was well liked, friendly, and non-judgmental. Unfortunately, that didn’t make the electrolysis, even from her, hurt any less.

On this morning, though, Shae was just a little groggy from the early start and decided to sit in the waiting room of the small walkup office not far from Dress to Desire, and she fell asleep within minutes. It was only fair, after all, since Eve would probably be sleeping the Darvocet off in the car for a couple hours after they were done.

In time, Phyllis came out and woke up Shae, teasing her about snoring so loud it made her hand shake. Eve was pretty well out of it, but could at least walk with help, so Shae helped her down to their car.

It turned out that there was a nice county fair going on in Blanchardville, to the south of South Bend – a bit of a drive, but well out of the danger zone around Bradford, and far enough away that Eve could sleep off the effects of the Darvocet. Without even asking, Shae pointed the Monza down I-65. In time, Eve came to, with a sore spot resembling a hickey on her throat, a spot that she’d never have to shave again; after another twenty or thirty sessions like the one she’d just endured, it would never be an issue in her life.

The fair proved to be a pretty decent one, with a nice midway, just getting somewhat crowded in the middle of a hot August afternoon. Shae was dressed in jeans and platform heels and a black tank top like normal, and Eve had on a nice demure summer print dress, clothing which tended to make both of them stand out in an era when casual attire for girls often involved shorts and huge, floppy T-shirts. But then Shae, as always, was much more noticeable anyway. They spent some time wandering the midway, checking out the games, and, especially in Eve’s case, checking out the guys.

Presently, they came to a "ring the bell" game, where someone had to swing a large mallet to drive a weight perhaps a dozen feet up a pole to ring a bell. It was obviously harder than it looked; they stood back in a little crowd, watching several guys try to show off for their girlfriends, with no success that they witnessed. There was much swearing and catcalling. "Typical high school boys," Eve snorted. "Looks all too familiar, doesn’t it?"

"Yeah, not much longer and we’ll have to deal with that again," she agreed.

One of the guys took a furious swing, not real well aimed, and the upward momentum of the weight died out about three quarters of the way up the track. There was laughter again from the gang around the game; Eve and Shae could hear snickers off to one side, coming from a couple of smaller guys who obviously weren’t members of the party. "Go ahead and laugh, you pussies," the guy said angrily.

Denis had been the butt of such incidents often enough that Eve could smell trouble, and for once she was glad it wasn’t aimed in her direction. Apparently Shae could smell it too, for she said back in a loud voice, "Who you calling pussy, shrimp?"

The guy’s attention had been on the two smaller guys, and he hadn’t even noticed her, but now he did. "You think you can do any better, big girl?" he sneered.

"Yeah, it shouldn’t be any problem to do better than a little shit like you," she sneered back from an elevation, that with her heels, made her just about a foot taller than he was.

"Oh, bullshit, it takes muscle," he snorted.

Shae stepped forward. "Tell you what," she said. "If I ring it, you leave. If I don’t, we leave. Deal?"

"Good enough, it’ll give me something to laugh at," he said. "I’ll even pay." He handed the guy at the game a dollar for three tries.

Shae picked up the mallet, hefted it a little to get the feel – it was lighter than it looked. She set it down and flexed a couple times to loosen up, then picked it up again, got set, and gave a hearty swing.

From her place near the two smaller guys, Eve could see her friend’s muscles bulge – she knew Shae had been working out in the weight room at school at least every other day, but normally it didn’t show much. Now it did. The mallet hit with a healthy whack! and the weight slid most of the way up the pole, falling short of the bell by only inches – still better than they’d seen any of the guys do.

"See, you can’t do it, either," the guy laughed.

"Just getting warmed up," Shae grinned at him. She set the mallet down, flexed her muscles again, judging her swing, realizing that she didn’t need to hit the lever harder – just better. She stepped back again with the mallet, got set, and those muscles bulged, with her long arms giving her an extra bit of leverage. Clang! went the gong at the top. She turned to the smart mouth. "Bye, bye, shrimp," she smiled at him.

"You think you’re hot shit, don’t you?" he snarled as he turned to go.

"I am," she smiled. She could see – everyone could see – him getting ready to throw a punch, but then thought better of it, for two reasons: this was a girl, and more importantly, she still had that mallet in her hand.

"Laugh, you cocksuckers," he snarled in the direction of the two guys standing back with huge grins on their faces. "We’ll just have to fucking see about that. Come on, let’s get out of here."

It was a standoff for a second, but they turned to leave. As they did, Shae got set with the mallet again, yelled, "Hey, shrimps!" As she saw them turn their heads, she gave a mighty swing like John Henry, and Clang! was again heard around the midway.

"Smartass," the guy snarled as he walked away.

"Miss," the guy that ran the game said, "You ain’t the first girl I’ve ever seen do that but it don’t happen very often, I’ll tell you that. Do you have trouble keeping your boyfriend in line?"

"Not a bit," she grinned. "Three ringers for a teddy bear, right?"

"Yeah, but I’ll bend the rules for a girl like you."

"No, don’t bother," she smiled. "If I took you up on it I’d just have to carry it around all afternoon."

"Oh, I’ll carry it," Eve grinned.

"OK, Eve," Shae laughed, "You just got a teddy bear."

A few seconds later, Eve was carrying a lavender teddy bear about a foot high as they walked away. "Hey," they heard the taller of the two guys who had watched the scene say. "That was pretty impressive. Thanks."

"Yeah," the other guy said. "Thanks a lot. God, you’re impressive. It’s good to see someone put those bastards in their place for once."

"Don’t tell me, let me guess," Shae grinned. "Those are the school bullies; they don’t beat up on anyone unless they’re smaller and they’ve got them outnumbered."

"Right on the nose," the bigger guy laughed. "They are going to be pissed that this story gets around school, but it will be lots of fun to tell it. We owe you. Can we buy you and your friend a soda or something?"

Eve looked at the two. The taller one was more than a foot shorter than Shae, considering her heels, was thin, had dark brown hair, wore glasses, and might as well have had "nerd" written all over him. The smaller guy was more about her size, maybe even smaller, slight in build, dark-haired like the taller one, and nervous appearing, acting very shy. "Sure," she smiled, "We’d love to take you up on it. I’m Eve, and this is my friend Shae, the gentle giantess."

"I’m John, this is my brother Paul," the bigger guy replied. "Shae, something tells me you play basketball."

"Michigan Class C state champs last year," she nodded. "You guys do sports?" she asked, knowing it was a dumb question by the looks of them but trying to be friendly.

"No," Paul replied. "There’s too many guys like those around."

"I know exactly what you mean," Eve nodded. More than you’ll ever know, she thought.

It proved to be a fun afternoon. The four of them spent hours wandering the midway, playing some of the games, riding most of the rides, and just getting to know each other a little – but not too much; if last names were mentioned neither Shae nor Eve caught them. The guys proved to be from Woodstock, one of the outlying towns in the county, much like Bradford from the sound of it. Both were seniors, just days less than a year apart in age. They were both planning on going to college – they weren’t sure where yet, maybe Indiana Northern, maybe Valparaiso if they could get in; John was thinking about architecture, and Paul hadn’t made his mind up yet. But they were nice guys, reserved, and the two couples had enough in common that it was fun to get to know each other. Both of the guys seemed amazed that two good-looking girls would want to have anything to do with them.

Along in the afternoon, they rode the Ferris Wheel, John with Shae, and, in a separate seat, Paul with Eve, snuggled close together, the teddy bear spread across their laps, his arm around her. It felt, well, nice, and she could feel the nervousness he displayed all too well. She could just imagine Denis with his arm around a strange girl on a Ferris Wheel, how unbelievable it would be that it was actually happening to him, but Eve felt something like the wise woman of the world, even though it was the first time for her, too.

They didn’t really do much in particular, just hung out; as the sun was getting low, they ate chili dogs and curlie fries and rode some rides again. Finally, it was getting to be time the girls had to hit the road, and they told the guys so.

"It sure has been nice to be with you this afternoon," John told them.

"Yeah, it was really memorable," Paul added. "Thank you very much."

"Oh, it was nice being with you, too," Eve told them. "It was very nice."

"Do you, uh, think maybe we could see you again sometime?" John asked hopefully.

"It would be nice," Eve nodded. "But we’d better not plan on it. My folks don’t like me going out with boys; we sort of snuck out this afternoon and came here because nobody we know would be likely to see us. That made this afternoon even more memorable for me. You’re very nice guys; maybe we’ll trip across each other again sometime."

"Yeah," Paul said hopefully, "It would be fun."

"Oh, it would be," Eve said, taking him in her arms. "I’m sorry, Paul, but that’s the way it has to be, but let me give you my special thanks for being so nice to us. She pulled him tight, and, rather to his surprise, kissed him on the lips. Taking her cue from her friend, Shae bent down and gave John a quick kiss – and then they exchanged partners, to share kisses again.

"God, you’re cool ladies," John said, the awe evident. "I hope it works out we run into each other again."

"You never know," Shae grinned.

A few minutes later, they were in the car, heading back to Bradford as the shadows grew long, the teddy bear riding in the back seat. "Maybe I shouldn’t have done it," Eve said. "But you know who Paul reminded me of?"

"Denis?" Shae grinned.

"Yes, and how thrilled this time last year he’d have been to get a kiss from a pretty girl," Eve sighed. "Not that I wasn’t thrilled too, innocent though it was. Shae, do you realize that was the first time I kissed a boy?"

"How much you want to bet it was the first time for him, too?"

"It wouldn’t surprise me," Shae shook her head. "Boy, if they knew."

"Yeah, one of those awkward times," Eve laughed, then let out a sigh. "It proves me right, though. I gave John a pretty good kiss, and you know what?"

"What?" Shae smiled, surmising the answer.

"I liked it," Eve smiled. "I mean, you and I have kissed several times, always for an audience, of course, but it always felt, well, wrong."

"Lesbian, you’ve said more than once."

"Yes," Eve grinned. "I didn’t get that feeling at all, with either John or Paul. Well, Paul was so surprised that it would be happening to him I didn’t get much feeling, period. Darn, I wish we could have worked it out to see them again."

"You want a little more of that, huh?" Shae grinned, knowing the answer from the smile on her friend’s face.

November 16, 1987

A cold winter wind rushed across the student parking lot as Shae and Denis walked out to the Monza. They didn’t waste time, since Shae didn’t have it to waste; she only had about fifteen minutes to get Denis home and get back to school for volleyball practice. But it had been that way for months during the Michigan fall girls’ basketball season.

"Damn," Shae said as they neared the Monza. "Goes to show ya how long ago Saturday was, doesn’t it? What’s that phrase, the glory is gone?"

"Sic transit gloria mundi," Denis smiled. "The glory has departed."

"Yeah, has it ever," Shae shrugged. "Oh well, it was great while it lasted."

It had been pretty darn good. Bradford had been the girls’ basketball team to beat all season long, and it was only managed once in the regular season, by a much larger school that was on a roll, and then only by a last-second ‘Hail Mary’. But that one fluke loss – and the fact that they were the outstate team – meant that as far as the Detroit papers were concerned The Bradford Bulldogs were the underdogs going into the state finals against Detroit St. Dismas. The urban school was the traditional power in any sport in their class since the school could recruit athletes from all over the metro area, while outstate schools like Bradford had to make do with kids who lived in their district. Bradford had walked away from St. Dismas in the finals the year before, and despite the sound thrashing the city school received, the papers didn’t indicate that it had been anything but a fluke.

St. Dismas had come onto the floor on Saturday evening all set to avenge their defeat in the finals the year before, and they had special reason to think that they’d run the game. Their star, a jive-talking black girl named Tawana Patterson, had been named "Michigan Miss Basketball" by the Detroit papers, which again routinely ignored anything that happened outside the Detroit metro area. But the foul-mouthed, trash-talking Miss Basketball was the same Tawana Patterson who discovered that she wasn’t able to shoot past Shae the year before, and wound up fouling out trying. The fact that the refs were from outstate made the St. Dismas fans think the game had been stolen, ignoring the fact that outstate schools thought that the school’s recruiting meant they’d stolen most of their titles over the years.

Miss Basketball had apparently practiced against someone Shae’s size, but not with her moves; Shae couldn’t handle her as well as she had the previous year, but this year she’d been even better at rebounds, which helped make up for it. The thing that saved them as much as anything is that they had decided before the game to change their tactics from the semi-finals held earlier in the day. They decided to not try overly hard to penetrate the St. Dismas defense, and depend on Cindy Dohrman’s shooting from outside, backed up with Shae’s rebounding. St. Dismas had been expecting an inside game, but Cindy nailed a season-high record of three-pointers, and Shae had been able to convert several near misses into stuffers – she didn’t really have a slam dunk but was close. The game had been close until the final minute, when another one of Cindy’s outside shots put the Bulldogs up by four points; seconds later, Shae was able to grab a rebound from a shot by Miss Basketball, and got the ball to Cindy, who raced downcourt and sunk it. Seconds later, the buzzer sounded, and the St. Dismas team, skunked at the state finals again by the upstart defending champions, slunk off the court without even the courtesy of a handshake.

The celebration had gone on for a long time. The girls’ basketball team had brought the Bulldogs the only state championships in any sport they’d had in a quarter century. With both Cindy and Shae graduating, it looked like a long dry spell coming up – unless, of course, the volleyball team got lucky, which they might, considering they had both Cindy and Shae, too. In previous years they hadn’t been nearly as overpowering as the basketball team, but Cindy in the backfield and Shae at the net had scored a lot of volleyball points over the years.

But that was Saturday, now it was Monday, and the volleyball team had been practicing for weeks without the girls from the basketball team, who now had to be integrated into the program, so it was catch-up time with lots of work to do.

Wearing his baggy jeans and sweatshirt, Denis got into the Monza and fastened the seat belt. He and his folks had made a rare appearance at a basketball game to go to the state finals on Saturday. Neither Denis nor his parents were sports fans, and there was still the potential for trouble if he was without overwatch. The two and a half months of school so far hadn’t been anything like as bad as last year. The Mansfield kids were no longer factors of course, and Gary Apling had been caught with marijuana and was spending some time at the county youth home, so that toned down much of the problem from years past. On top of that, the deaths of the Sharp and Mansfield kids had caused the school to crack down on student behavior, and that helped a lot. Still, Denis had been an easy target for so long that their concerns were genuine, especially considering what was going on with him out of sight. Except for a couple of classes he was never out of Shae’s sight, and always met up with her outside the classrooms. He always rode to and from school with her, like the last couple months of the year before, but the kinds of things the two talked about when no other kids were around sometimes wouldn’t have been believed if they’d been overheard.

Even as Denis closed the door, Shae could see the relief as he let Eve start to wash over him. It was getting progressively harder for him to be Denis, especially considering some of the changes in the body under those baggy clothes. Eve’s body was starting to take notice of the estrogen therapy, now; even though there hadn’t been a lot of muscle mass there to begin with, it had diminished and become more feminine. The shape was changing, too – Eve was starting to develop some real hips, and had noticeable breasts, although still small. The day was coming, though, when they’d be prominent enough to cause concerns. Her voice was getting a little more feminine, too, although part of that was from the training at Dress to Desire, and Denis could control it some. "Another one down," she said with relief.

"One day closer," Shae agreed as she buckled her own seat belt. "Jeez, I’d love to swing by my house and look at the mail, but I don’t think I’m going to have the time."

"Expecting anything?" a voice now recognizably Eve’s asked casually.

"It’s probably early," Shae shrugged as she started the car. "But after the finals, I’m expecting more recruiting. It’ll be spring before I have to give a definite answer, but the next month or so will probably tell the tale."

They’d long since agreed that they were going to try to attend college together and room together. Which college, though, was still up in the air, and it still might not come off. In addition to the normal requirements, like having programs that more or less matched their interests, it had to be far enough away that it’d be unlikely that any other Bradford kids would go there, at least out of the class of ’88. That ruled out a lot of potential offers; Shae had already had a couple good ones from Western and Eastern, but they knew already that there would be Bradford kids there. Also, the athletic scholarship had to be good enough to make it worth the effort, too, a full ride or nearly so, and those didn’t come along every day.

Finally, Shae hadn’t exactly been stellar as a student, good enough, but not great. Although both conceded that Denis had better potential, his grades through much of high school had been even worse because of the problems he’d gone through and resulting depression. That much was clearing up, to everyone’s surprise – when the first quarter honor roll had come out, people asked if there was some mistake, because he was among the all-A students, which he’d also been in the last quarter of the year before. Only Shae and his parents knew just why that was, of course – and, as much as anything, it had helped to convince them that maybe the kid was onto something. But, that didn’t matter as far as the colleges were concerned, while the grade point averages did, which probably ruled out Michigan State, much as both of them would have liked to go there.

"We’ll come up with something," Eve smiled. "You like to come to dinner tonight?"

"I could probably be talked into it," Shae grinned. "I want to get a look at the mail before I come over, anyway. What are you planning on having?"

"Broiled turkey medallions. I think dirty rice and broccoli to go with it."

"Sounds good," Shae replied. "You’re feeding me pretty darn good."

"Dad and Mom are both complaining that they’re putting on weight," Eve snickered. "But I really enjoy it."

Although it still looked like Denis in the car, Eve had taken over completely. There were a number of subtle changes that helped Shae tell the difference. Denis was rather foul-mouthed, sloppy with the language, and used slang a lot; Eve swore only if really upset or very appropriate and was much more careful and precise with her English. Shae wondered if Eve was even aware of the change. It really was rather amazing, but Shae had become used to the occasional round of surrealism in what had gone on over the last several months.

Shae drove quickly across town. It helped if they got out of the student parking lot before the buses left, because the buses on the streets tended to plug up the whole town. If she was lucky and moved quickly, she’d be back close to the school before they started to pour out of the parking lot in a nose-to-tail stream; get caught, and it would mean a real race to the locker room to change into practice clothes.

She also knew she wasn’t the only one changing right after school; in twenty minutes, the baggy, shapeless clothes would be gone from her friend, she’d usually shower, and there would appear a good-looking teenage girl with a taste for dressing well. She had become used to it, of course, but reflected once again, that if anyone else knew what was going on – and that she knew about it and was complacent about it – well, they’d just shit.

"Guess eating with you means we don’t get to go out bumming again tonight," Shae commented. "We’d just about get there and we’d have to turn around and come back."

"Maybe Saturday, if you don’t have a Saturday practice," her friend replied.

"Not for a while, although in a couple weeks we’ve got a Saturday tournament. I’ll lose a Saturday every now and then through March, except for Christmas break, of course."

"I suppose we’d better do it while we can, then," Eve nodded. "Maybe the mall in South Bend? We haven’t been there in a while."

"They have a multiplex there, don’t they?" Shae grinned. "Maybe we can make a day of it, catch a couple of chick flicks."

"Sounds good to me. It will be very nice to be out of Bradford for a day."

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To be continued . . .

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