Friday, September 23, 2016

The McComber Switch - Chapter 55 Part 1 of 3 – There Be Horses



The McComber Switch
By Karen Singer

Chapter 55 Part 1 of 3 – There Be Horses
April 3rd


Very early Friday morning, Susan was faced with three closed doors.  That didn’t surprise her at all.  Tommy’s door was the first one that was closed.  But then Tommy had no reason to get out of bed early – unlike herself and Clint.  She stopped and stared at the other two closed doors.  She had no reason to go into Jimmy Joe’s room on the right.  Despite it being her birthday, Jimmy Joe had no major plans for the day.  But Susan did need to go into Jasmine’s room on the left.  She opened that door and went in.  By the dim early morning light filtering through the window, all she could see of him was a bit of messy hair barely sticking out over top of the covers. 
“Happy Birthday, Jas,” she called softly.  The hair moved a bit, then stopped.  “Jas…happy birthday,” she said again as she sat down on the bed.  This time the hair moved a bit more, and a moment later, a head appeared and turned over to reveal a face.  “Happy Birthday,” Susan said again.
“Uh…thanks,” Jasmine replied.  He woke up enough to notice that it was still somewhat dark.  “What time is it?” he asked sleepily.
“Early!” Susan replied. 
“But it’s my birthday.  Can’t I sleep a little while more?”
“Not today,” Susan told him.  “We’ve got a lot to do today, so I need you up now.”
“A lot to do?”  And then Jasmine woke up enough to remember something.  “Mom!  We’ve got horses coming today.  Horses!”
“Yes dear, I know.  Your father is already getting dressed to start getting things ready.  And now I need you to get in the shower and start getting ready too!”
“Me?  But what do I have to do?”
“Start getting ready for your party.”
“But the party isn’t until this afternoon.”
“But you need to start getting ready now!”
Jasmine rolled his eyes.  “Okay.  I’m getting up.”
Susan smiled.  “Get your shower.  And make sure you wash your hair.  And don’t forget the conditioner!”
“Yeah, yeah.  Okay.”
Susan got up from the bed.  She stopped and watched him until his legs actually got out from under the covers. 
“I’m getting up.  I’m getting up,” he complained.
Susan smiled.  “After your shower, don’t dry your hair,” she told him.  “Just put your robe on and come find me.”
He looked at her for a moment.  “Okay,” he said.  “I’m guessing you’re going to do something with my hair then?”
“You guess right,” Susan told him before walking out.

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

“Tell me again why we’re doing this,” Clint said as he climbed into Pete’s truck.
“Because we’re both suckers for our daughters,” Pete laughed as he started his truck.  “Face it, they’ve got us wrapped around their little fingers, and there’s no way out!”
Clint shook his head.  “Yeah, except that my daughter is really my son.  So how did I still get roped into so much?”
“Doesn’t matter,” Pete replied.  “Jimmy is now Jasmine…or Jade, as most of the kids call him now.  And from everything I’ve seen, he’s now your daughter instead.  And since he…or she…or whatever you want to call him, is still your kid, I don’t think there’s any hope of things being any other way.”
“Maybe,” Clint replied.  “Or maybe it’s just that my wife got too many big ideas into her head, and once she’s that set on something, there’s no stopping her.”
“Not just your wife.  Don’t forget, my wife is just as much to blame for all this too.”
“And the result is that we’re going to deplete the family fortune – by a lot!”
Pete just laughed, but Clint sat there quietly wondering about things.  His son was going to have a fancy girl’s birthday, and his daughter was going to have a basic boy’s birthday – with no frills at all.  And he really wished things were the other way around.

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Wearing only his robe, Jasmine Jade sat on a kitchen chair while his mother worked on his hair.  His hair was still dripping wet.  So wet that he could feel it soaking the shoulders of his robe.  His hair was long enough now that it nearly touched his shoulders when it was wet and his mother combed it straight down.  But when she did that, it seemed to drip all too much water with each stroke of the comb. 
“You could have at least run a towel over your hair when you got out of the shower,” Susan told him.
“You said to leave it wet!”
“Well, it’s not just wet, it’s soaked!  Now hold still.”  She ran the comb down his hair again, then took her scissors and trimmed along the very bottom of his hair, trying to even up the edges.  She did that over and over again, all the way around his head before she finally set the scissors down. 
“Are you done now?” Jasmine asked, already knowing that his hair was just as long now as it was before.
“With trimming it,” Susan replied.  “Now let’s see what else we can do with it.”
What else?  Ugh!  But he sat there silently and waited while his mother disappeared then came back again.  When she returned, he wasn’t the least bit happy to see what she had with her.  Twenty minutes later, Jasmine had two very, very large rollers seemingly pasted vertically against his temples, slightly smaller rollers were now plastered firmly all over the rest of his head, and his hair wrapped around each of those rollers had been treated with a healthy dose of styling gel. 
“Okay,” Susan told him.  “You can get dressed now, but don’t you dare put on what you’re going to wear for the party.  We need to keep that clean!”
“Oh Mom!” Jasmine replied.  “Do I have to wear another skirt?”
Susan thought about that, then she considered everything that was going on that morning before the party.  “Better not.  Find some jeans that aren’t…too good.”
Jasmine was quick to disappear before his mother could come up with anything else to make his birthday uncomfortable.  Finding a pair of jeans to wear was easy.  Finding a top to go with them was easy too.  Getting the top on over all the huge rollers stuck in his hair wasn’t so easy.  In fact, it was somewhat of a challenge.  But eventually he managed it, and then chose a sweater to go over it that he wouldn’t have to pull over his head.  How long was he going to have to keep the dumb rollers in his hair anyway?  Hopefully not too long.
By the time he got back to the kitchen, his mother was well into creating a large pile of pancakes.
“Go wake your brothers and tell them breakfast is ready,” Susan told him.
Jasmine turned around and headed back down the hallway.  All the big rollers stuck on his head felt weird.  Surprisingly, his head felt cooler.  But that was probably because his hair was still wet.  He knocked on Tommy’s door.  “Tommy!  Breakfast is ready,” he called.  He heard his older brother reply that he’d be there in a minute. 
He headed for Jimmy Joe’s room.  He knocked.  “Jimmy Joe!  Breakfast!” he called.  He waited, but got no answer.  He knocked again.  “Jimmy Joe!”  Again he waited without an answer.  He took a chance and opened the door.  The room was dimly lit, but he could see the big lump still filling the bed.  He walked over to the bed.  “Jimmy Joe!” he called.  “Happy Birthday.  Time to get up.”
There was no movement from the bed, but after a moment, there was…sort of...a sound.  “Go away.”
He leaned over and shook the lump under the covers.  “Happy Birthday!” he said more firmly.  “Mom’s got pancakes made.”
“I said, go away,” Jimmy Joe replied. 
“But Mom said to get you up.”
“Ugh!” Jimmy Joe grunted loudly, showing how frustrated she was.  The covers came back revealing her head.  “I was having a really great dream, and you ruined it!”
Jasmine laughed a little.  “Sorry,” he said.  “What were you dreaming about?  Killing another deer?”
Jimmy Joe looked surprised.  “That would have been great too.  I can’t wait for deer season to get here again.”
“But that wasn’t what you were dreaming.”
“No.  This was even better.”
“Better than hunting – for you?”
Jimmy Joe sighed.  “Yeah, it was.  Tell Mom I’ll be there in a minute.”
“But what were you dreaming?”
Jimmy Joe shook her head.  “You don’t want to know.”
“Did it involve killing anything?”
“No.  Nothing like that.”
“Then I’m interested.  What was so great?”
Jimmy Joe looked at him for a long moment.  Then she looked at the open door.  Nobody else seemed to be around.  She lowered her voice.  “I was a model in a fashion show.  And I was rich and famous.  And everyone was talking about how beautiful I was.”
Jasmine looked at her incredulously.  Then he thought better of that.  “You did say that was your dream…or it used to be.  I guess you’re still dreaming about it – literally!”
Jimmy Joe blushed.  “Get out!  I’ll be there in a minute.”  Her face turned more serious.  “Don’t you dare tell anyone what I just said!”
Jasmine laughed a little.  “Don’t worry.  Nobody would ever believe me if I did.”

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Just because it was his birthday, didn’t mean that Jasmine could get out of cleaning up after breakfast.  But that was something he did so often that he hardly thought about it.  He wasn’t quite done loading the dishwasher though, when he heard the dogs next door start barking.  He couldn’t see what was going on, but a minute later, he saw Nichole out in her backyard watching something.  He quickly finished what he was doing and ran to grab his jacket.  He didn’t even ask if he could leave the house.  He ran for Nichole’s backyard.  “Nichole!” he called as he ran across the yards. 
 “Jade!” Nichole replied excitedly. 
Now that he was outside, he saw his father up in his Uncle Pete’s pickup truck that was loaded with hay bales.  “Hi Dad,” he called up.
“Hey Jas,” Clint replied.  “Happy birthday…I think!”
Jasmine smiled.  “Thanks.  What’s all the hay for?”
“Target practice!” his Uncle Pete replied.
“Target practice!” Jasmine replied uncertainly.  It was a moment before realized his uncle was only joking.  He finally smiled.
“Happy birthday, Jade,” Nichole told him.  Excitedly. 
“Yeah, you too!” Jasmine Jade replied.
“Thanks, but I’ve still got a few more days.”
“Close enough!” Jade replied.  “Besides, we’re both celebrating today.”
Nichole brightened at that.  “We sure are!”
Jasmine turned back to his Uncle Pete who had grabbed one of the bales of hay that his father had thrown down off of the truck.  He watched as his uncle carried the bale over next to another one and set it so they were side by side.  “What are you doing?” Jasmine asked.
“Building an area for you to perform in, or dance in, or whatever.  And of course you can sit on these things too,” Pete told him.  “And the rest of these will go toward feeding all those horses…that I thought we had cancelled!”
“You better not have!” Nichole exclaimed.
Pete smiled.  “Don’t worry.  Your mother would probably kill me if I did.”  He looked at Jasmine.  “What’s the matter?” Pete asked.  “Can’t get good radio reception or something?”
Jasmine was confused.  “What are you talking about?”
“All those antennas stuck on your head.”
Jasmine rolled his eyes and blushed.  “I need to ask Mom if I can take them out now.”
Pete looked at him with a quizzical look on his face.  “Why?  If our cell phone tower ever goes out, I’m sure we can stick you up on the hill and everything will work just fine.”
“Uncle Pete…” Jasmine complained as he tried unsuccessfully to stifle his laughing.  “I guess I better go get these things out of my hair.  I’ll be back as soon as I can!” he told everyone as he hurried home.
“Mom!” Jasmine called as he ran into the house.  He found his mother in her bedroom.  “Mom.  Can I finally get these rollers out of my hair now?  Uncle Pete keeps making jokes about them.”
Susan laughed.  “No dear,” she said.  “I’m afraid you need to put up with them for a little while more.  We’ll take them out when you get dressed again after lunch.”
“After lunch!  But that’s hours away!”
“Sorry dear.  It’s all part of what we’ve got to put up with for pretty hair.”
Jasmine wasn’t sure if he cared about having “pretty” hair or not.  “But I’m going to be wearing a hat all afternoon,” he argued.
“But your hair is still going to show, and I won’t have my daughter looking second rate – especially on her birthday!”
Jasmine had noticed that once again his mother had called him her daughter and had referred to him as a her.  “So I’ve got to put up with this all morning?”
“It’s not that bad Jas.  Just go and have a good time.”
Jasmine shook his curler filled head and went back outside.  He was in time to see his Uncle Pete driving the truck from their backyard into his. 
Nichole ran over when she saw him.  “I thought you were getting the rollers out of your hair.”
“Mom says not until later – after lunch!”
“Bummer!”

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

By the time all the hay had been dropped off, John and Jed came out to help too, along with most of the boys in the family.  Together, they all lugged every picnic table from every yard into Pete’s back yard.  The more people who showed up, the more Jasmine felt embarrassed about everyone seeing the curlers in his hair.  Jimmy Joe certainly seemed to be enjoying his situation though.  The amused smirk on her face over the issue couldn’t be missed.  But despite that, Jasmine stayed out where he could watch everything.  There was too much going on, and he didn’t want to miss any of it.
Once the picnic tables had been moved, Clint and Tommy moved their gas grill over to Pete’s house too.  By the time they got it there, John and Hunter were bringing their gas grill over for the party too.  There were going to be plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone.  Jasmine Jade, Nichole, Allison, Olivia, and Ashley were all tasked with blowing up lots of balloons, and while they were doing that, under Marcy and Susan’s direction, Ethan, Pete, Clint, and Tommy hung big colorful birthday banners and streamers from the eves on the back of the house.  There could be no doubt at all that the backyard of Pete and Marcy’s house looked ready for a party. 
With most of the preparations made, it was finally time for everyone to grab a quick lunch.  And Jasmine was more than ready to get the stupid rollers out of his hair!

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The McComber Switch - Chapter 54 Part 2 of 2



The McComber Switch
By Karen Singer

Chapter 54 Part 2 of 2 – Busyness
Mar 27 – April 1


After dinner, Jimmy Joe walked into Jasmines room.  “I heard you went hunting today with Grandpa,” she said.
Jasmine turned to look at his sister.  “Don’t remind me.”
“So how was it?”
“Ugh!  One of the worst experiences of my whole life!”
Jimmy Joe laughed.  “You big sissy!  Did you shoot anything?”
“No!  And I’m not going to!”  He lowered his voice.  “But Grandpa sure tried to get me to.”
“So why didn’t you?”
Jasmine just looked angrily back at his sister.  “Get lost!” he finally said and turned away from her.
“Dumb sissy!” Jimmy Joe replied as she watched him head for his desk.  “Hey, where’s that notepad I dug out yesterday?”
“Back in the closet where it belongs.  Why?”
Jimmy Joe didn’t answer.  She opened the closet door and found it on top of the pile of clothes again.  She pulled it out, then went to his desk where she opened one of the drawers and pulled out a package of colored pencils. 
“What are you doing?”
“Get changed,” Jimmy Joe told him.
“Huh?  What for?”
“Cause I want to draw you again.”
“You can’t!”
“Hey!  You promised to model for me anytime I want.  So let’s find you something better to wear so I can draw you.”
“That was a long time ago!” Jasmine protested.
“So?  You promised.  Remember?  Any time I want.”
“Maybe.”
“Maybe – yes!” Jimmy Joe said firmly as she started looking through the closet.
“But aren’t you supposed to not be doing this anymore?”
“Says who?” Jimmy Joe replied.  “Besides, Mom let you play with your tools.  She let you fix the tiller this morning.”
“That was different!”
“But you did it.  So why shouldn’t I be allowed to do this?”
Jasmine had no answer for that. 
Jimmy Joe spotted a dress in the closet that seemed promising.  She pulled it out.  “Here,” she said.  “Put this on.”
“And suppose I don’t want to.”
“Do it anyway.  Or I’ll beat you up again.”
Jasmine rolled his eyes, but he took the dress.  He looked around.  “Aren’t you going to leave?”
“Why?” 
“So I can change!”
Jimmy Joe shook her head, but she walked out.  “Come on over to my room when you’re ready.”

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

The TV shows were getting ready to change and the prime time shows would be starting soon.  Susan realized that neither Jasmine nor Jimmy had come out to the family room yet.  In fact, things had been awfully quiet back in their bedrooms.  She got up from her seat and walked down the hall to see if they were going to watch TV with the rest of the family or not.  She was surprised to find both of them in Jimmy’s room.  And she was surprised to see Jasmine in a dress again.  But what surprised her, and angered her a bit, was seeing Jasmine standing and posing, while Jimmy was drawing him.  “What are you doing?” she asked somewhat angrily.
“Oh, hi Mom,” Jimmy replied.  “I’m drawing Jas again.  Only I’m fixing the dress he’s wearing.”
“What do you mean you’re fixing it?  And you’re not supposed to be doing any of this stuff anymore.  You’re the one who decided you didn’t want to be a girl anymore!”
“This doesn’t have anything to do with being a girl or not,” Jimmy Joe replied all too confidently.  “Do you know how many men are fashion designers?  I think most of the great designers are men.  And besides, you let him play with his tools!  You even had him fix that dumb tiller thing this morning.”
“That dumb tiller thing was broken!”
“So?  You still let him fix it.  So if he can play with his tools, why shouldn’t I be allowed to draw stuff?  I sure don’t do much else around here that’s interesting.”
Susan was going to point out that she was still getting to hunt.  But she refrained.  Besides, she was wondering if Jimmy had made a point with her arguments.  There were a lot of men who were top-notch fashion designers.  And…she did let Jasmine use his tools.  She walked over and took the drawing pad away from Jimmy.
“Mom!” Jimmy complained.
But Susan just stood there looking at what she had drawn.  Even though Jimmy Joe hadn’t done much drawing lately, the drawing was still exceptional.  And what she had done with the dress Jasmine was wearing looked truly excellent.  Actually, what she had done with everything but the lines of the dress, because everything else about it was different.  “Why do you need him for this?” Susan asked.
Jimmy Joe was surprised by the question.  “Cause I gotta see how everything hangs and I need it to try to get the proportions at least somewhat right.”
Susan nodded.  She had to admit, “This is very good.”
“Thanks,” Jimmy Joe replied.  “Can I keep drawing and finish it?”
Susan didn’t really want to, but she handed the pad over.  “Are you going to watch TV tonight?”
“Yeah!” Jasmine replied enthusiastically.
“Not till I’m done!” Jimmy Joe complained.
Susan looked to Jasmine and jerked her head toward the door.  “Take off!” she said.
“Mom!” Jimmy Joe complained again.
“You want to draw him?  Then do it when he’s not doing anything else.  Try being a little more considerate.  If not, you won’t be getting that back again.”
Jimmy Joe tried to consider herself lucky.  At least she could draw again and have fun designing some clothes.  At least that was something.

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

For Reverend Cosinger, this was the holiest time of the year.  And they were fast approaching what he considered to be the holiest and most important day of the year – Easter Sunday.  The sight of so many people in his congregation on that Sunday before Easter gladdened his heart.  The sight of the two children dressed and looking so wrong in the very middle of his church ripped much of that gladness away.  Blasphemy!  How long was Jacob McComber going to try to undermine the good name his church?  How long was he going to insist on inserting those two pieces of sin right into the middle of something that should be joyful, and free of sin, and completely holy?  How long was this outrage against God going to continue?
As he gave the morning announcements, he did his best to ignore the two twins who each looked all too wrong for the sex he knew they actually were.  In fact, the two had been being the other twin for so long now, that he could hardly tell anymore what each of them really was.  And the new shorter haircut on the girl only made that situation worse!  It was pure blasphemy right in the middle of God’s holy house.  Because of the blasphemous twins, he still couldn’t bring himself to say that it was the McComber family that was sponsoring the Easter Festival activities next week.  He simply used the phrase, “ladies of the church,” instead.  It was as close as he could come.
He couldn’t help but continually wonder if Jacob McComber would insist on those two pieces of sin being at church next week.  Easter Sunday!  As far as he was concerned, on that holiest of days, it would be like Jacob trying to slap the very face of God!  And he knew all too well that most likely those two twins would be desecrating the Easter Sunday service next week.  Maybe it was time he had a little talk with someone about it.  The question was – who?  He had no doubt at all that Jacob McComber was just waiting for him to raise another complaint about those two…children! 
Once again, when it came time for his sermon, he found it impossible to ignore the blight in the middle of his church.  Most weeks it had been only one of them, but today there were two again.  The Reverend had no doubt at all that Jacob was leading up to something with those two now.  No doubt at all!  And if he were to place any bets, he just knew that Jacob McComber had something big planned with those two for Easter Sunday – next week!  Just thinking about it made him angry – and his voice as he spoke carried that anger – despite the words he used to the contrary. 

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

On Monday morning, the school was buzzing with excitement.  Even before anyone headed for their classrooms, most of the kids had noticed Jimmy Joe’s new haircut.  And when she was asked about it, she flat out told everyone that she wasn’t going back to being a girl again.  The other news that got out quickly before anyone headed to their classrooms, was that Elliot had actually won the shooting match he had entered.  Both items were enough for the buzz of excitement and interest to start running through everyone at the school. 
In Mrs. Ansley’s class, the excitement started slow and then seemed to explode.  It exploded the moment one of the girls opened her party invitation and yelled, “Horses!”  From that moment on, all hope that Mrs. Ansley had for a quiet morning seemed to vanish.  She heard about Jimmy Joe not going back to being a girl at all when she overheard the conversation between several of her students.  And if Jimmy Joe wasn’t going back to being a girl, did that mean that Jasmine Jade wasn’t going to ever be a boy again either?  She would have asked him about it just then, but he was still over by the door handing out party invitations to every single girl that walked into the room.  Nichole wasn’t in the room just then, she was out visiting Mrs. Boyle’s classroom, the next grade up, to hand out a few invitations there. 
And horses?  The girls were going to get to ride horses at their birthday party?  It sounded awfully nice to Mrs. Ansley.  Some kids were really lucky!  But then, could she call Jimmy Joe and Jasmine Jade lucky?  Their problems started with them being punished.  But now it seemed they liked being each other – a little too much!
The only moment of uncertainty in the room came when a couple of the girls asked Jade if he was going to be the one at the party, or if his sister was going to be there instead.  Jade had to tell them that he would be there, but that Jimmy Joe was going to get to ride the horses with them.  The fact that he was going to be the main twin at the party, seemed to make some of the girls a bit uncertain, but the fact that they were all going horseback riding completely overwhelmed any doubts that any of them had. 

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

The word about Elliot winning the contest, the word about Jimmy Joe and Jasmine Jade not being themselves anymore, and of course, the word about having the horses at the party, spread all over the school in almost record time.  And naturally, they were the main subjects of conversation at the teacher’s table during lunch.  But one of those topics was very much a concern for several of the teachers – and it wasn’t anything to do with the horses!
How am I supposed to grade him if he’s never in my class anymore?” Mr. O’Conner asked John Mason.  “At least I’m seeing him a couple of times a week now…or I was.  But suddenly he’s not going to be there at all anymore?”
John nodded.  “It is going to be a problem.  And we’re too close now to the end of the school year to cut him from the class entirely.”
“Not to mention that he’s one of my star pupils,” Mr. O’Conner replied.  “He loves the stuff we do in there.  It wouldn’t be fair.”
“And the same for his sister in my Home Ec class,” Mrs. Marker complained.  “What am I supposed to do as well?”
John nodded. “I agree.  We’re going to have to work something out for both of them.  I’ll talk to their parents tonight and figure out how we should handle this.  I don’t want to see either of them cheated out of anything for either class.”
“I guess we could still require them to come to our classes at least twice a week,” Mrs. Marker suggested.  “Like they are now…or I guess, like they were.  As long as their parents continue to make sure they keep up with the work, I think that would work out just fine for me.”
John nodded.  “Sounds reasonable.”  He looked to Mr. O’Conner.
“I can live with it,” Mr. O’Conner replied.  “That’s what we’ve been doing for the last month.”
John nodded again.  “I’ll suggest it when I talk with their parents.  He looked to Mrs. Marker.  “But that brings up another little problem that their mother asked me to check with you about.”
“Now what?” Mrs. Marker asked.
“It seems the new Jasmine…”
“Jade?”
John nodded.  “He doesn’t seem to want to be in your fashion show coming up in May.  His mother wants to know if he still needs to keep sewing or can he stop.”
Mrs. Marker thought about that for only a moment.  “Those outfits the girls are making are a big part of their grade.  I’m afraid I can’t see letting either of them out of it – no matter who is doing the actual sewing.  And I know for a fact that it’s Jimmy Joe that designed everything, but that Jade is doing most of the work to make the things, so I’m seeing it as kind of a joint effort.  And as for him not being in the fashion show, I guess I can understand that and I don’t think I can actually require him to be in it, but it is a bit disappointing.  Those outfits his sister designed and that he’s done most of the work on, are some of the best we have for the show.  And I think he actually looks plenty good enough to model them.”
John nodded.  “I’ll tell their mother then that they need to keep working on everything, but that you understand he won’t be in the show now.”
“But please convey to their mother how disappointed I am about the show, and that I do think he would have been fine in it.  But I do also understand.  I’m disappointed, but I won’t plan on him being there.” 

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

The party invitations had been given out on Monday, even though most of the girls who got one already knew they were getting one.  It was the part about the horses that nobody knew before.  The girls were all excited about it, but that excitement didn’t completely register with all the parents of those girls.  It wasn’t the horses that were the problem.  Most parents were pretty much thrilled over that part, if not completely jealous.  The problem was in which Jasmine was now going to be at that party…particularly the sleepover part. 
The invitations had been given out on Monday, but while Susan was at work Tuesday morning, she got several phone calls from concerned parents.  Most of them she was able to assure that the party would be well monitored at all times and that no “funny business” would be going on at all among the girls.  But there were a few parents who still had reservations.  They weren’t sure yet if they were going to allow their daughters to attend the party or not.  Susan hoped the parents would finally relent.  Their daughters would no doubt be missing out on a lot of fun if they didn’t.

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Wednesday marked the beginning of a new month – April.  The problem with that Wednesday, was that the twin’s standing appointment with Doctor Brian McComber was set up for the first Wednesday of every month.  Which meant that it was time again for their next dose of hormones. 
Clint managed to get off from work again, and he and Susan were at the school to pick up all three of their kids as they were leaving the school for the day.  Both Clint and Susan felt mildly ill about what they had to do.  Neither of them wanted their kids to get another dose of hormones, but neither of them still had any solution to the problem.  Oddly, the two that should have been most concerned with what would happen, were less concerned – though neither of them said anything about it.  For their own separate reasons, each of the twins didn’t mind as much that they would be getting yet another dose of the life-changing drugs. 
When they arrived at Doctor McComber’s clinic, they had to wait a little while for an exam room to open up.  It seemed that the doctor was busier than usual that day.  But eventually, Tommy was left behind in the waiting room while everyone else went in to wait for the Doctor to get to them.  Fortunately, the wait wasn’t long. 
Brian entered the exam room with his usual basket containing the things he would need.  He nodded to both Clint and Susan.  “I had hoped we’d be long past doing this by now,” he told them somberly.  “I never imagined we’d still be doing it at this point.”
“Us either,” Clint agreed. 
Brian looked to Jimmy Joe.  “I guess there’s still no chance of you changing your mind anytime soon?”
Jimmy Joe smiled.  “Are you kidding?  Things are going better than ever!”
Her reply only caused more concern in Brian.  His concern was felt even more so by Clint and Susan.
Brian nodded.  “Okay then.  I guess we better get on with it then.  Who’s first?”
“You might as well do me first and get it over with,” Jimmy Joe told him.  She immediately started unbuttoning her shirt. 
Brian looked skeptically at Clint and Susan.  Jimmy Joe’s attitude seemed to be very different this time.
Once she was down to just her underpants, Jimmy Joe stopped and smiled at her uncle.  “Want to see my muscles?” she asked.  Then she raised her arms and bent them at the elbows, showing off the muscles that had been developing over the last few months in her arms.  “Pretty good, aren’t they?” she asked.
Brian only looked at her skeptically.  He wasn’t at all happy to see the way she was behaving this time.  He wasn’t sure if this was better than the way she had behaved previously or not – which had always been nothing but horrible! 
“Jimmy!  Stop that!” Clint said sternly. 
Jimmy Joe lowered her arms and climbed up on the exam table.  Brian moved in with his stethoscope and began his examination.  He looked her over thoroughly, but it didn’t take him long to decide she was still in very good health.  All the outdoor exercise she was getting with Jed wasn’t hurting that category.  It was this new attitude she seemed to be showing that had him the most concerned.  “Okay,” he finally said.  “Lay down and let’s get these hormones into you.”
There was no hesitation or complaints at all from Jimmy Joe.  She just laid down on her side and waited while her uncle got everything prepared.  Brian did note that she looked more than a little uncomfortable during the entire procedure, but she didn’t say one additional word about it.  When it was done, she got up from the exam table to get dressed.  Again, she didn’t say a single word, but her face didn’t seem as determined anymore.  She simply remained quiet and reserved while she watched her brother getting undressed.
As Jimmy Joe pulled her clothes on, she paid more attention to Jasmine removing his clothes.  She particularly tried to get a look at his body now.
“Um…do I need to remove my bra too?” Jasmine asked when he was down to just his panties and bra.
Brian shook his head.  “Not really.”
“Yes!” Jimmy Joe said at almost the same time.
“No you don’t,” Brian reiterated softly. 
Jasmine smiled gratefully.  He was about to climb up onto the exam table, when his mother suddenly said, “Jas!”
He turned to her. 
“Take your bra off, please.”
Jasmine was obviously a little disappointed.  But he reached behind him and unfastened his bra. 
Jimmy Joe watched her brother carefully.  She knew the bra he was wearing wasn’t all that large, but it was certainly a lot bigger than any that she had ever worn.  As his bra came off, she particularly noted that his breasts had seemed to fill the inside of the bra – without any other stuffing in there.  And once the bra was off and his naked breasts were exposed, there was no doubt at all as to the prominence of their size.  The size she should have been!  She bit her lip as well as biting back any further comments she might have made.  She finally turned away to finish getting dressed, unable to look at him anymore.
Ten minutes later, Jasmine got up from the exam table, the fresh dose of hormones inserted into his body as well.  He was concerned about what this latest dose would do to him.  Very concerned!  But at the same time, he wasn’t overly worried about it.  He had been living most of his life for the last few months as a girl.  So what if his body developed a little more.  Would it really be all that bad?  He’d still never admit it, but there were now a lot of things about his new life that he was finding very…interesting.  He just didn’t want anyone to know it.