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 18

December 7, 1988

All in all, the fall went well for Shae and Eve, and they soon settled into dorm life. There were a couple of minor headaches – they were in a co-ed dorm, and although it was supposed to be a no-drugs, no-drinking study dorm, there were still considerable amounts of the prohibited activities going on around them, although they tried to keep away from it as much as possible. They were in a suite and shared a bathroom with their suitemates. The two girls on the other side were country music fans, the louder the better, and weren’t real good about doing their share about keeping the bathroom tidy, so Eve, who had always been something of a neatnik, took on doing most of the cleaning herself.

Their studies went well. As Shae had indicated, their freshman classes were pretty simplistic and didn’t have much to do with their chosen majors, but that was no surprise. They had several classes together, and now Eve could enjoy classes and studying, rather than endure them. To no one’s surprise, when mid-term grades came out she had all A’s, and in spite of tutoring her bigger friend, Shae didn’t do quite as well, although she had a couple of A’s of her own. But even in those days, all their classes weren’t the same. To be noted was that Eve had the 101-level course, "Intro to Psychology", where Shae selected "Intro to Drama", figuring that it might help her a little with her broadcasting presence when she got into electronic journalism in another year. The drama class involved some evenings at the theatre, no big deal at this point, and she enjoyed it, although as the year progressed the increased requirements of Shae’s sports practices began to cut into her time at the theatre.

The sports practices went well, if at an increasing pace. Shae was used to athletic practices, after all, she’d been doing them for years, and it wasn’t terribly different than what she’d been doing in high school, except for the fact that it was a little more intense and at a higher level. They had yet to actually start the season, but had had one formal scrimmage with a rather overmatched Anderson College squad. Anderson didn’t play in the same league, but were at least close by; still, it was clear that the Ball U crew had some serious power in their girls’ basketball team. As the fall progressed, Shae and Tawana spent some time working on their strengths, and how they could be played off each other. The two still didn’t like each other very much, but they at least recognized that working together, they could accomplish a lot more than if they were at cross purposes. They were really looking forward to opening their preseason games this weekend: they’d be facing Indiana University there, a much more powerful school in a basketball-crazy state, so that would be a real test of just how good they were.

Both Eve and Shae doubted that their suitemates would take the discovery of who was really living in the opposite suite very well – "shit a brick" was the term that Shae used, but she was much the more foul-mouthed of the two. Eve had become quite demure in some respects, and it helped keep up a good cover. After all, no matter what her face and body looked like, Eve was still technically a boy between her legs, and still avoided using public women’s rest rooms, just on general principles. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t used to it – in four years at Bradford, Denis could have counted on one hand the number of times he’d used one of the bathrooms at the school, and he’d still been slugged twice in those few times. The restrooms had really been an animal house at that place, and he, and later Eve, had long been used to doing their business before they left in the morning and keeping their fluid intake low, just in case.

But if they were careful, there wasn’t much chance of their suitemates finding out, and by now they’d learned to be careful. That didn’t mean they didn’t have some fun; they did some dating, not a lot, went to a few parties, none very wild. While Shae had had a brief but furious romance – if it could be dignified by using the word – with one of the guys from the men’s team last summer, she’d made it clear to him before Eve arrived that they’d have to break it off since it wouldn’t go over well with her roommate, who was pretty straight. Her real reason, of course, was she didn’t want to rub Eve’s nose in the fact that she still wasn’t equipped for that kind of fun, and neither of them wanted to get her close to a point where there was a risk of something going too far. All that added up to the fact that the two were among the quieter, straighter inhabitants of their floor of the dorm.

Their suitemates, Linda and Rhonda Sue, were more than a little on the wilder side, and with nothing having been said, both Eve and Shae were aware that there had been some pretty personal activities going on over there with visitors of the opposite sex. So, it was more than a little surprising to come back to their room one afternoon to find Rhonda Sue sitting in the hall, the tears rolling down her face. "Rhonda Sue," Eve asked. "What’s the matter?

She didn’t say anything, just pointed at the door knob, which had a towel tied around it – an almost universal symbol that the person inside was entertaining someone in bed and didn’t want to be disturbed. "What happened?" Shae asked. "Is she with some boyfriend of yours?"

"No!" she sobbed. "It’s . . . oh, Christ, I can’t believe it! I thought I knew her, and all the time she was shitting me."

"Rhonda Sue?"

"She’s in there getting it on with Macy Fredenberg! She’s a lesbian! They’re both lesbians! My God, I was living with a lesbian and I didn’t know it."

Eve glanced at Shae, and they exchanged one of those looks that said a lot without saying anything. "Come on, Rhonda Sue," Eve sighed. "Come on in our room and sit down, you don’t have to sit out here in the hall bawling."

"Yeah, but shit, what can I do? I can’t bring myself to live with a fucking lesbian anymore. My God, how disgusting!"

"Calm down," Eve said gently. "Come on inside, let’s talk about it. You can’t make any decisions when you’re so upset you can’t think straight."

"I guess," she said, the tears still rolling. She got to her feet as Shae opened the door; they went inside; Rhonda found a place in the comfortable folding lawn chair they kept in the room, while Eve sat on the bed across from her.

"Rhonda Sue," she said gently. "You know that people have to do what they have to do to make themselves happy, don’t you?"

"Yeah, but a lesbian? How gross! How disgusting!"

"Has she ever made a pass at you? Ever done anything out of line?"

"Well, no," the distraught girl said.

"Don’t you think that she’s tried to keep it covered up for your sake because she knew you would take it badly?"

"Well . . . I don’t know," she said, calming a little now. Not much, but a little.

"Life is hard, Rhonda Sue," Eve said. "Sometimes the things people do will offend, even if they hope they don’t. You know that, don’t you? Don’t you think you do things that offend people once in a while?"

It took a long time of talking gently, but in half an hour or more Eve had been able to ask just enough questions that made their suitemate think just a little, and she was able to calm down. Finally, Eve was able to say, "Perhaps it’s time that you and Linda had a little talk and worked some of these things out."

"But . . . God, I don’t know how to do it."

"Would it help if I was in the middle of the discussion?"

"Well, it might," she nodded.

"Shae," Eve spoke up, "I think maybe you’d better go have a word with Linda and let her know there are some problems here that need to be dealt with."

"I’m not so sure how happy she’s going to be to be interrupted," Shae noted.

"Then she won’t be the only unhappy one here, will she?" Eve grinned.

It took a while to get Linda over in the room, and it was pretty tense there for a while – there were several times Shae thought she was going to have to break up a physical fight. But in over two hours of talking, never raising her voice, Eve was able to get the two to talk out their problems, including the revelation that Rhonda Sue had had the same situation happen with her best friend in high school – not Linda, another girl – also turning lesbian on her, which had made her feel very isolated. Now it had happened to her again. In less than another hour, both the girls were in tears, begging forgiveness of each other.

It was a long time before Shae and Eve were alone together again. "God, that was impressive," Shae told her friend. "I could have never had that patience. I would have busted some heads long before you got through to them."

"Let’s just say that I had a little practice in keeping my head from getting busted by talking my way out of having it done to me," Eve said. "But yeah, I think that went pretty well myself."

"Pretty well, my foot. I’m wondering if maybe business isn’t the wrong field for you."

"To tell you the truth, I’m wondering the same thing," Eve replied.

"Jeez, Rhonda Sue was pretty apeshit there for a while. What do you think she’d have said if she’d found out that Linda was trans?"

"I’m just as glad that’s not the case," Eve sighed. "I mean, I think your parents would be cool, but I’m not looking forward to the day they find out."

Other than a sheer, unforeseeable accident, there was only one remaining security concern: Mike and Joyce Kirkendahl, still in Bradford. Eve may not have looked much like Denis had the year before, but Mike and Joyce had known him well enough that they stood a good chance of seeing through Eve’s new appearance, despite the experiences with Vicky at the prom and Emily at the Spee-D-Mart back in the spring. They might be able to get away with a brief meeting, if Eve got out of Shae’s parents’ sight as quickly as possible. It was a theory that they didn’t want to test since there would have been a lot of explaining to do, most of it very awkward, and even with Eve’s parents help it would be very difficult.

The problem was that there was a good chance of something happening. It was only about three hours down to Muncie from Bradford, and that left the door open to surprise visits. From the beginning, Shae had made it pretty clear that if they showed up without warning there would be a good chance that she wouldn’t be around, what with ball practices and all. But that was a stopgap they hoped wouldn’t have to be used. Shae tried to temper things when she could by driving home to see her parents several times over the next few months, but she always felt a little sad at having to leave Eve behind, not able to see her own parents, or Shae’s who she obviously knew well. But as basketball season got under way, Shae was sure her folks would be attending at least some of the games. Obviously some of them would be away games, and there were several places they played that were closer to Bradford than Muncie. But when her parents came to Muncie, as they were sure to do sooner or later, Eve was just going to have to be gone. The best they could hope to manage was that Shae’s roomie would be an unseen presence when they showed up, and in some circumstances they might have to find a motel for her to spend a night in once in a while.

In talking with Bill and Arlene long before, they’d pretty well reached the conclusion that Mike and Joyce shouldn’t be allowed to know about Eve while they were still in Bradford. It could reflect badly on Mike out at the warehouse if the word were to get out that his daughter had not only known about what was going on, but had been deeply involved in the cover-up, and doing it right under her own parents’ noses for more than a year – in fact, only a few months away from two years. And, with the unbelievability – and sensitivity of the transgendering process – they’d figured that Bill and Arlene should be involved in the announcement.

There was at least one point of relief – with basketball season coming up, it was pretty clear that if Mike and Joyce showed up, it would be around a game schedule, and they were pretty sure it would be cleared in advance.

"Yeah," Shae agreed. "I’d like to think they’d be cool, but you never know. God, you have the coolest parents."

"I think so," she sighed. "And I miss them. It’ll be nice to see them over the holidays, but I’m going to have to learn to do without them, and without you. I guess that’s growing up, and I don’t like it very much right now. As much as I think I’m doing the right thing, I know I’m going to be facing a Rhonda Sue reaction the rest of my life if the secret gets out."

March 21, 1989

In the two years since the first day they’d visited Dress to Desire, and since Denis decided to be called "Eve," the anniversary of that day was a milestone that Eve called her "naming day." The year before, it had been celebrated with a dinner at the Rileys, but there could be no chance of that this year. Shae and Eve celebrated anyway by going to a classy restaurant and having a nice dinner. They hadn’t been sure they were going to be able to celebrate on March 21, Eve’s naming day, because Shae had been wrapped up in the NCAA tournament until just a couple days before.

They’d had a good season, and it showed. After a terrific race down to the wire, Ball State had beaten out BGSU for the MAC conference championship, which carried with it an invitation to the NCAA tournament. It was something to be tremendously proud of – Tawana and Shae had proved to be the core of the Ball U ladies, even as freshmen. While Shae still was nothing much as a shooter, and she didn’t have quite the advantage at rebounds she’d had at the high school level, she was still a presence under the net not to be trifled with.

There was only one thing wrong with being MAC Champions, and with getting to the Sweet Sixteen before being edged by Alabama State: nobody much cared, even around the campus. Women’s basketball at Ball State – and elsewhere – was still pretty much a child of Title IX, rather than having any standing of its own. That fact was brought home to them time and time again, for they often had league games co-scheduled with the men’s team, the women playing as openers. When the game started, there might be as many as fifty people in the stands. The crowd would increase all the way through the game, but it was people coming in for the men’s game, who weren’t particularly interested in the women messing around out on the floor. They’d check out the cheerleaders for the men’s game, but the women were pretty well considered to be some kind of pointless freaks. That got driven home especially when they didn’t play with the men – they’d be lucky to draw a crowd of as many as 300 to an echoing arena designed for ten times that many. Even in the Sweet Sixteen round for the national championship, where tickets for the men’s games would be scalped for hundreds of dollars, they played to nearly empty stands.

It was disheartening, to say the least. For years, Shae had more or less targeted herself at getting into the WNBA, or at least taking a shot at it. But now, she was getting a taste of what the real world was like. The WNBA was just about as good at drawing crowds as the college kids, and that the pros were at best struggling financially. On top of that, while Shae and Tawana were powers on the relatively minor league Ball State team, Shae was becoming more acutely aware that the strongest area of her game was a fluke. She was very strong on defense, and a great rebounder, especially when playing against high school kids who at their tallest might still be a foot shorter than she was. There were taller kids, however, playing around the colleges, though few her height – but most could rebound and shoot, too. So, increasingly, doing something else was looking better and better to her. At best she wasn’t going to get rich in the WNBA if she could get there at all. Not that she’d give up the dream, she’d still shoot for it and hope that it might work out, but having a good, solid position to fall back on was clearly more important than ever.

But with the one-point loss to Alabama State a few days before, the season was over, and it would be months before basketball would become an issue in her life again – and they would be months in which she knew several things would be changing.

They would have put off the celebration of Eve’s naming day if they’d had to, but it hadn’t been necessary – and it was just as well, for now – just today there had been something else to celebrate. Earlier that day, Shae had heard the news from her father: the long awaited transfer, delayed more than a year, had finally come through. Disappointingly, it wasn’t to Denver, as they had hoped, but to Adairsville, to be the warehouse manager. It wasn’t a major disappointment, though: Adairsville was considered an even bigger and more important warehouse than Bradford. If, as her dad suspected, he’d be there four or five years, the next move would about have to be back to Denver – or possibly to retirement. He and Joyce were still on the young side to be considering it, but even at this distance it was worth giving serious thought.

The date he was expected to take over the warehouse was the middle of July, which didn’t leave much time to make all the arrangements for buying a house, selling the one in Bradford, and making the move. Shae had already been told that any time she could put into the process would be appreciated. Especially to pack up any of the things that she thought she might want to move to Adairsville for the future and get anything she didn’t think she’d want in the future thrown away. As soon as school broke, in little over a month, she was clearly going to have to devote some time to that.

On the other hand, it would negate any concerns about her parents finding out about Eve. They were clearly going to be too busy to make a surprise visit to Ball State before the move, and afterwards, Adairsville was just too far away. That took a load off of both their minds.

There was one more thing to celebrate on this day, and it made the timing of the move even more difficult, but it was so important that Shae knew she’d have to make it work: Eve had heard today that the date had been finalized for her SRS: Monday, June 5, a year to the day since they’d graduated from high school, and Eve had started her RLT.

The RLT had been loosely supervised by one of her counselors in Chicago. Several times over the past year, Shae and Eve had made a long day trip to Chicago so Eve could meet with him. Shae wasn’t privy to the actual conversations, of course, but Eve had reported that they’d gone extremely well; both the required counselors thought that she’d made an excellent adaptation and was an excellent candidate for surgery. So, in a little over two months, Eve would be in St. Priscillasville, Vermont for the procedure, one of only a handful of places in the country it was done. Bill and Arlene planned to be there, of course, and Shae was also planning on getting away from her parents’ moving for a few days, no matter what the schedule was like, to also see her through it. Eve would be laid up in St. Priscillasville for over a week, and then would be recovering rather tenderly for the next month or more at the Riley home in Wheat Ridge.

All that coming at one time was enough to make their heads spin. There were some things they couldn’t talk about very well in public in the restaurant, but of course they could talk around them – in two years, they’d had a lot of practice at that. "So," Shae asked. "Are you nervous?"

"In one sense of the word, yes," Eve admitted. "I know it’s going to be painful for a period, and I’m not looking forward to that. And yes, I’m nervous about actually doing it. Shae, I’ve dreamed of this for a dozen years in one way or another, realized that it was possible for half that long, and it’s been a reality on the horizon for two years. Now, I have a date to work with. I have a lot of hopes and dreams behind this, and of course I’m going to be worried that it’s not going to work out as well as I hope. If I hadn’t felt for a long time that this was really the only course open to me in the long run, other than to be at best a failure as a human being, I would have backed out a long time ago. I expect to have reservations right up to the time they put the mask over my face. But I don’t mean it any less than the first time I told you about it. God, I’ve come a long way in two years."

"That sounds pretty sure to me," Shae agreed. "I can’t imagine being that sure if I was in your shoes."

"That’s because you never have been and never will be," Eve told her. "Shae, I admire you more than you can imagine for trying to understand this over the past two years, and your willingness to help even though deep in your heart you don’t understand. But, I ask you: remember Denis. Aren’t things much better today? Don’t I have a much better chance at being happy?"

"Yeah, it shows every day," Shae agreed. "In fact, if I hadn’t seen it every day, especially this last year when there were comparisons every day, it’d be hard to believe."

"It would be possible to halt the process at about this point," Eve noted. "I could continue to live like I am now for a long time, and I think I could be happy with it. But I think I’m to the point where it makes more sense to take the last step, to open up a few doors that aren’t open to me now, and bury some of the practical concerns."

"Yeah, that’ll change things," Shae agreed. "I can tell you this much: don’t expect it to be the last step. It’s just going to open more adaptations for you."

"That’s what I’m actually looking forward to," she smiled. "Life can get still more interesting."

*   *   *

They sat and talked for some time in the restaurant, and all the while there was a question in the back of Shae’s mind that she really wanted to ask. There was no way to do it in the restaurant, she wasn’t sure if she could ask it anyway, and wasn’t sure how Eve would take it. But, the curiosity had been there for some time, and after they returned to their dorm room and got ready for bed, Shae decided to ask it. There might never be a better time.

Eve was wearing a rather frilly flannel nightie, as she usually did; Shae usually just slept in a T-shirt and panties. It was not the first time Shae had reflected that, in spite of everything, Eve was still technically a male and had the equipment to prove it, although if that fact were to come out there’d be all sorts of repercussions from the dorm residents and the college. But as far as the two of them were concerned, it was interesting but irrelevant. But still . . . "Hey, Eve," Shae said, "I know you’re all worked up about the surgery being scheduled, but can I ask you something and if you take it wrong, you won’t get pissed with me?"

"We don’t have many secrets from each other," Eve grinned. "I don’t know what you could ask intelligently that would get me upset with you."

"Look, I don’t know how else to ask this," she said. "I know you’re looking forward to the surgery, but do you have any regrets about never using the equipment as a male?"

"Not really," she sighed. "I admit to some curiosity about how it’d be different from one gender to the other. I used to masturbate, but that ended a while ago. I often think about what it’s going to be like to be with a man, but like I told you a long time ago, I can’t remember when I’ve dreamed about being one. It’s been months since I’ve had an erection, I don’t even bother to tuck unless I’m going to be wearing pants. You know that."

"Yeah, but still," Shae shook her head. "I mean, I think if I were you, I’d be more curious about it."

"Like I said earlier, you’re not me," she replied. "You remember when we kissed in school, and how we always used to talk about how it seemed like a lesbian experience? Despite everything, as a woman I’m a straight, and I really don’t think I can get turned on by one."

"I know," Shae sighed. "But look, Eve, what I’m trying to say is that if you’d like to give it a try, well, I’m willing."

"You know," Eve snickered. "When you stop and think about it, that’s one of the stranger offers that can be made, much less that you’ve made."

"I realize that," Shae smiled. "Again, it’s one of the stranger things that can be said, and anyone who heard us wouldn’t understand unless they’ve been where we have, but gender and the language don’t get along real well together around us anymore."

"No, they don’t," she grinned. "And they haven’t for a while. Thanks for the offer, Shae. I hope you don’t mind me turning you down, since I don’t think it would work."

"Not a problem," Shae grinned. "All I’m saying is that I wouldn’t want a few years up the pike for you to have regrets because you never tried it while you had the chance."

"There is that," Eve sighed. "Like I said, I don’t think it’ll work, but when you put it that way, yeah, I might have some regrets about not trying. I don’t want to put you out, and I think it’d be pretty lesbian, but I’m willing to give it a shot if you’re really willing and not just saying it."

"I mean it," Shae told her friend. "I guess I’d feel guilty if I didn’t ask you."

Shae had seen Eve naked several times over the past two years – the physical gender difference had come to mean little to them. When looked at from that viewpoint, she was a little incongruous – the body, the face, the appearance of a good-looking woman, a better-looking woman than Shae herself – but that limp and flaccid but normal-sized penis sure spoiled the effect. Under these circumstances, as she peeled off her T-shirt and panties, it was just a little hard to keep from laughing, but she gritted her teeth, threw back the covers, and lay down as Eve came to join her.

The cuddling felt good – they’d done that, in a nonsexual sort of way, many times – but everything else was a bit strange. Yes, lesbian. They kissed, they hugged, they fondled, they caressed, they cuddled . . . and after an hour or more, it was clear it wasn’t going to work. "We might as well get some sleep," Eve said finally. "I didn’t think I could get an erection anyway, the estrogen has been after me too long. Too bad you didn’t think of this a year ago, but I don’t think I could have gotten it up with you then, either."

"I’m sorry, Eve, I didn’t think of it," she replied. "And maybe you’re right, it is a little lesbian and you’re a little straight."

"I thought that might be the case, but at least I gave it an honest try," Eve smiled.

"Yeah, you did," Shae grinned. "At least it removes one doubt in my mind."

"What doubt?"

"Whether you’re going to make a better woman than you are a man. At least in bed, it won’t surprise me in the slightest."

"I never thought it wouldn’t work out that way," Eve smiled. "And I think I’m just as happy. At least in my own mind I can tell myself that I was a virgin as a man."

<< Back to Last Chapter
Forward to Next Chapter >>

To be continued . . .

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.