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Spearfish Lake Tales
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Joe/Joan book cover

by Wes Boyd
©2015, ©2016

Chapter 14

Having Cat ask me if I minded if she spent the night with Mark – and having Andy stay in my room with me – was totally unexpected, in spite of the fact that the two of them had seemed to be getting pretty close the last few days.

“Cat,” I asked, “Are you sure you want to do it?”

“Pretty sure,” she replied, looking embarrassed. “Look, if you say no, I’ll understand. This is, uh . . . well . . . Mark and I, uh, we sort of want to feel things out and see what happens. I realize that it puts you out with Andy a little, but we’ve got two double beds in this room and you’re good friends and all.”

I was not exactly totally crazy about the idea, but I didn’t want to get Cat upset with me, either. After all, we had plans to go to Europe in a couple of months, and perhaps spend over three months wandering around, so if I didn’t handle this right I could get that whole experience off on the wrong foot. I certainly didn’t want that. “Cat,” I said, “this isn’t going to louse up going to Europe, is it? I mean, wanting to hang around with a boyfriend all summer rather than going with me?”

“It shouldn’t,” she shook her head. “Mark may be working at some resort up north this summer or something, so I couldn’t spend much time with him even if I didn’t go to Europe with you. I don’t know if this is going to go anywhere in the long run, but, well, we . . . uh, well, like I said, we want to see what happens.”

Yeah, and your hormones are killing you, I thought. Oh, well, not letting her do it would probably be worse than letting her do it. “I guess, so long as Andy is all right with it too,” I said finally.

“I think he will be. Mark is supposed to be asking him right now.”

“All right,” I told her. “Just don’t let it louse up our going to Europe. Getting pregnant could really mess it up.”

“I’m not going to get pregnant. I’m on the pill.”

“Yeah, but it fails once in a while. Make him wear a rubber, too. There’s no point in taking that much risk.”

“I suppose,” she sighed.

“Have a good time, but just be careful,” I told her. “This is riskier than you think, and there’s also more riding on it than you think. I’m not just talking about Europe, either.”

“Don’t worry. It’s just going to be for fun,” she smiled as she went to go next door and tell the guys, while I sat back on my double bed, thinking hard.

One of the things that I as Joe had never fully understood was how women could be willing to chance the risk they take when they have sex with a guy, especially outside of a committed relationship. I had not been a virgin when I married Cindy, and we hadn’t been married the first time we tore up a bed together well before we tied the knot. I had done the deed with several different women by the time I first got going with Cindy, and the experiences ranged from pretty bad to fairly good. The one thing the pre-Cindy experiences had all shared was that there hadn’t been a hint of commitment with the girls involved.

I didn’t think a whole lot about it at the time, but I suppose I was pretty lucky all the way around in that nothing irrevocable had ever happened. Let’s face it, the risk of pregnancy lies mostly on the shoulders of the woman involved. The act involved may be as much fun on either side but a woman has much more at stake if something unexpected happens. It is easier for a man to walk away from a child – at least if the man is a jerk – than it is for a woman to do it.

I suppose that, as Joe, I had rather cynically believed that a woman was willing to take the risk in order to use it as a steppingstone to a permanent relationship, even with the evidence of a couple of very brief incidents pointing the other way. There had been no chance of anything lasting longer than the next hour, and from time to time I wondered why the woman would take the risk. At that point, the risks for the woman had been considerably reduced thanks to the birth control pill coming along a few years earlier. But, if I thought back to what it had been like a hundred years before when there had been no effective birth control, I still didn’t understand it, although I suspect that a lot fewer women back then had active sex lives before marriage. But some did.

Now that I was a woman I was beginning to understand what was going on a little better, although I certainly didn’t have it all perfect at that time. At least some of it was certainly hormone-driven, but I was beginning to realize that a woman could have desires just as strong as a man, and perhaps even stronger in some ways.

It had been a long time since I’d had sex as Joe. Cindy and I had gone at it hot and heavy in the first years we had been together, but it was already starting to fade by the time she first got pregnant with Anita. It had dwindled even more afterwards, and it had been over a decade when the accident occurred. I hadn’t really thought about it very much, figuring that it was the result of both of us aging. Honestly, I didn’t think I missed it much – not enough to make an issue of it with Cindy.

But that was then. Now I was younger, and at least as far as my body went my age didn’t apply. Probably hormones were driving some of my feelings as much as Cat’s, but for whatever reason, I was getting horny and my fingers weren’t doing the job of keeping it under control as well any more. I will admit to still having male instincts and feelings affecting my opinion, but I was still pretty curious about what it would be like when it was my back against the bed although I wasn’t sure I was ready to find out.

So I was not exactly resentful of Cat; in fact, I envied her more than a little. I didn’t know if she was a virgin at the time, although in retrospect I suspect she wasn’t, but whether or not she seemed ready for what was likely to happen.

A few minutes later Andy walked in, carrying his overnight bag. “Joan,” he said as he tossed the bag onto the other double bed. “I just want to make sure you’re all right with this. If you’re not, it doesn’t have to happen.”

“No, that’s all right,” I shrugged. “I guess it might as well happen, since I suspect Cat might be a little hard to live with for a while if it didn’t. How is Mark taking it?”

“He seems pretty pleased,” he laughed. “I don’t exactly know how to say this, but for a guy there’s a big difference between a good prospect and a sure thing.”

“It seems to me that it’s pretty much the same for a girl,” I snickered. “Maybe it’s just that guys don’t recognize it.”

“Could be,” he smiled.

Don’t get me wrong – I liked Andy. He was a good guy, nicer than many of the other guys around Venable, and he was a fellow climber of course, but the way this situation had been set up made things a little on the awkward side. “I suppose we’d better make the best of it,” I suggested. “I won’t mind if you don’t. Since we have two beds, you staying with me isn’t a problem. You’re a buddy, after all, and we can make it work.”

“Thanks. There’s no reason we can’t get along for one night.”

“Andy, just one thing,” I said. “Just because they’re going to do it in the next room doesn’t mean that we’re going to do it too.”

“I can respect that. It’s just that . . . well . . . I guess I envy both of them. It would be nice to know what it was like, I guess.”

“You’ve never done it?” I asked.

“No,” he shook his head. “I mean, not that I haven’t wanted to, but, well . . . it didn’t work out.”

“What didn’t work out? Did you have a girlfriend and it didn’t work out?”

“That pretty much describes it. Linda and I went out, well most of the way through high school. We, well, we went out together a lot, even though we knew we weren’t going to . . . well, she wanted to save it until we got married, so I never pushed her too hard about it.”

“A lot of girls seem to think like that.”

“Yeah, and they don’t always carry through on it, either,” he snorted.

I could see he was upset about it although he was trying to not show it. “And she didn’t?” I asked softly beginning to get the picture.

“Of course not,” he said, almost philosophically, although I could see he had been hurt by it. “See, she wasn’t planning on going to college, so she got a job at home, nothing special, just working as a waitress, but last summer she said she was going to stick it out for me. That sure didn’t last. I found out about it when I was home over the holidays. She didn’t last a month before she was going out with some guy she met at the restaurant, and it didn’t take another month before they were doing . . . well, you know what I mean, what she never wanted to do with me.”

“Oh, Andy,” I sighed. “I’m sorry that happened, but I guess some girls, well, their word isn’t as good as it could be.”

“I was pretty down about it for a couple of days,” he smiled. “And then all of a sudden it hit me that if she wasn’t going to be that loyal she wasn’t worth the trouble in the first place.”

“That’s darn good thinking,” I told him. “Especially since you’re going to college, where you stand a good chance of meeting someone who’s a little more on your level.”

“That’s what I thought once I started thinking again. This girl, Linda, well, she isn’t exactly the smartest girl to ever graduate from our high school, but I thought we might have something going. I guess not, but now at least I’m not wasting any more of my time on her. I still wish she’d been as easy with me as she was with this guy she met.”

“You mean, so you could know what it was like?”

“Well, yeah. But I guess I’ll find out sooner or later.”

We talked about it a little more, and it was clear that Linda’s two-timing him hurt more than he let on, although it seemed like he’d learned a lesson from it. From what he told me Linda had to have booted a pretty nice guy who would have been good for her for the sake of a little fun. Her mediocre short-term desires had overcome her long-term goals, and while I didn’t have any idea of who she was, it seemed like she was going to be the loser in the long run.

In the end there was nothing much left to say besides, “I guess we’re going to have to get up early if we want to get back to Venable before dark, so I guess I’d better get a shower so I can get some sleep.”

“You go first. It’s your room and all. I can wait.”

I gathered up my stuff, including my pajamas, and went into the bathroom, thinking very hard. I knew what was going on in the room next door – or what ought to have been going on by that time, and my mind was full of it.

Women do take more time in the bathroom than guys do, at least partly because there is more for them to do. Since I knew Andy was waiting, I kept it as short as I could and decided to take a pass on washing my hair since I didn’t want to mess around with drying it. Once I had dried off my body, I pulled on my pajamas and a robe, then went back out into the main room. “Your turn,” I told Andy.

I got out my hairbrush and started in on my hair. The old Joanie had kept her hair fashionably short for those days, but I knew that the trend would be toward longer hair (and Joe had liked long hair on women anyway) so I had been letting it grow out. It was slowly becoming more and more of a chore, and once again I wondered why I wanted to take so much time with it. To make myself more attractive to guys, of course – stupid question, stupid answer. Why did I want to attract guys? Because it was what was expected of me, of course, whether I really wanted to attract guys or not.

I was not unaware of the fact that this could be the perfect opportunity to settle several issues. Sooner or later I wanted to find out what it was like myself – I mean, I had known what it was like as Joe, but it probably was going to be considerably different as a woman, but I had no idea of how different. I had made up my mind months before that I wasn’t going to just grab any guy who came along, that I wouldn’t be a slut about it, and I would try to not let it affect my reputation, at least very much.

Andy was a nice guy, not bad looking, and gentle. He was also looking to put Linda behind him, so that made him even more acceptable. What’s more, he was a friend, a buddy, and a fellow climber. Why not?

Because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, that’s why not. But maybe it was time to put that worry behind me.

Feeling more than a little nervous, I took off my robe and tossed it into a nearby chair, then got into bed less than a minute before Andy came out of the bathroom, wearing his pajamas. “Ready for bed already?” he asked conversationally. “I won’t be long.”

“Andy,” I said softly as I threw caution to the wind, “You don’t have to sleep over there if you don’t want to.”

He seemed shocked. “Joan, are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

“I don’t know,” I told him. “Look, I’m not making any promises, and I’m especially not making any promises of anything that might turn into something that would last longer than tonight. I’m not saying we’re going to go all the way, and we might not get much farther than part of the way until we see how it feels. But if you’re willing to not let it go any further than I want to go, I’m willing to give it a try.”

“Joan, are you sure of this?”

“No, I’m not sure, but I want to find out.”

“It’s all right with me whichever way you decide, Joan.”

“Then turn out the lights and let’s get started.”

In only a moment he was beside me in the bed, both of us still wearing pajamas, and within seconds we were cuddling and kissing. It felt strange.

Part of the reason I had been reluctant to do this was that I was still much more Joe between my ears than I was Joan. Going to bed with a guy seemed very unnatural and downright queer to me. (Yes, I know, using that word is politically incorrect half a century after it happened. But the term “gay” wasn’t in common use at that time, and “homosexual” seems too stiff and formal. Live with it.)

 I can’t say how long we lay side by side, our arms more or less around each other, just kissing and doing a little light petting. I will say that Andy was a lot better at French kissing than Cindy had ever been, so apparently Linda had taught him something useful, or they’d had a lot of practice, or something. However it came about, I really enjoyed it, especially when I found his hand cupping my breast.

It felt good – I can’t tell you how good it felt, other than it made me eager to feel it there some more, to want to go farther, in spite of my gender confusion. Maybe I was really a woman after all, I thought, rather than just being Joe in a woman’s body. That was a good feeling, and settled several things in my mind. That was something I couldn’t put into words at the time, though, and it seemed somehow normal to let things progress in the usual way.

Some time later I found myself on my side, my arm around him with his around mine, listening to him whisper, “Was that all right, Joan?”

“Just fine,” I whispered back. “Couldn’t have been better.”

I was satisfied in different ways. Satisfied sexually, of course, like I had never been before as Joan and only rarely had been as Joe. But I was also satisfied that I really could make love like a woman and enjoy it. I suppose it’s not unfair to say that Andy made a woman out of me just then in more ways than he could possibly have imagined.

We took a long break, giving our hearts a chance to slow down and our bodies the opportunity to recover, and our talk became a little more conversational. “When you had your tongue on me down there, it was wonderful,” I said at one point. “Is that something you learned from your girlfriend?”

“No, we never got that far. Not even close. But I’ve heard guys talk about it and decided I had to try it.”

“Was it all right for you?”

“Kinda neat, actually. It was fun driving you wild with it.”

I was silent for a while before I sighed, “Andy, I hope you don’t mind, but I’d rather not return that favor.” I couldn’t tell him, but it would have pushed my man-on-man reservations a little bit too far. (It would be years before I would get up the gumption to try it and realize what I had been missing.)

“If you don’t want to it’s all right with me,” he smiled. “But would you like to do it again?”

“I’m ready if you are.”

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To be continued . . .

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