Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Housekeeper - Chapter 60

By Karen Singer

Chapter 60

While the wheels of justice may appear to move very slowly, most often the reality of it is that they are moving very fast.  The Internal Affairs Division of the FBI had no choice but to take the allegations against Agent Ted Jacobs very seriously.  But there was no way they were going to jump the gun and do things they shouldn’t when they didn’t have all the facts.  Especially not with an agent with the distinguished record and reputation that Ted Jacobs had.  So Internal Affairs kept everything about the case extremely quiet while they did their own bit of investigating. 
The problem was that everything in Jacob’s record said that Ted Jacobs didn’t do it.  He had to be totally innocent!  While at the same time, everything the pusher had related said that he did do it.  But it was the job of Internal Affairs to sort these differences out.  They didn’t want to ruin the reputation of an agent like Jacobs unless there was insurmountable proof!  And nobody from Internal Affairs was going to do anything at all that might spread a vicious and untrue rumor about Jacobs unless they had that proof!  The heroin the drug pusher had been caught with was already being analyzed by the FBI labs now.  Nobody was going to make a move until those results came back. 

Janice was thrilled when Candy told her that he was going to dress as Candy for his last day of school.  Thrilled and excited.  She was even happy about him getting his hair styled, although she did tell him in no uncertain terms that she fully expected him to eventually grow it very long.  But as far as she was concerned, it was a major step in the right direction.  In fact, she felt so happy about it all, that she went furniture shopping again Monday morning while Candy and Carol were in school.
After she had found the furniture she wanted and arranged for it to be delivered, she stopped at the fabric store and loaded the back end of her car with more quilt making materials. 
She had one final stop to make that morning.  She went directly to the building supply store where Roger… Candy bought most of his… her supplies.  She very proudly placed one of Candy’s new business cards – very prominently – on the bulletin board there.  When she stood back to look at it, the feminine pink theme of the card made it stand out far more than any of the others.  She had no doubt it would garner Candy more than a few calls. 

From the moment Roger got up Tuesday morning, the knot in his stomach continued to grow.  Foremost, that knot was over having his hair styled later after school.  The other little matter was one he tried his best to put out of his mind… but couldn’t. 
“What time is your appointment?” Jennifer had asked during lunch.
“Five o’clock,” Roger replied. 
“Great!” Jennifer laughed excitedly.  “I’m going to be there!”
Roger was surprised.  “Why?”
“Are you kidding?  I wouldn’t miss this for the world!”
All day long the knot continued to grow worse and worse until he almost felt ill by the time school ended.  There was only one more day of school left… and a half day at that.  Tomorrow!
As usual, Carol was waiting for him by his truck as he left the school building.  The two of them got into his truck and he headed for home, driving fairly quickly.  He didn’t know why he was driving so fast.  Maybe it was the knot in his stomach.  He had a lot to do though before he could get his hair done, and he had very little time to do it.
As soon as he could, he got into the house and stripped his shirt off.  He headed to the bathroom where he did a quick fresh shave to his face.  Having no time to worry about letting his skin recover, he went back to his bedroom to do his makeup – as fast as he was able.  He was interrupted only minutes after he got there though by Carol coming in to lace him into his corset.  As much as he was now used to the darn thing, he still hated it!  With his corset firmly laced, he went back to applying his makeup – a little too fast.  He finally decided it would have to be good enough and was somewhat surprised that it had come out as well as it did.  He didn’t have time to play with it anymore. 
As fast as he could, he added his bra and breast forms… ouch again to his nipples that were definitely bigger than ever.  He pulled on a nice pair of slacks, a nice blouse, and the heels he wore to church.  As the last piece, he added his wig that most likely he would be wearing for the last time.  He actually had mixed feelings about that.
Running out of time, he grabbed his purse and hurried toward the door.  Janice and Carol were there waiting for him.  Janice told him to smile and she took a quick picture of him… something Roger could have done without.  Then he was out the door and on his way too… the rest of his life? 
He found himself driving fast again… although he didn’t know why.  Logically, he should be trying to go slower to delay what was about to happen.  But his foot stayed glued to the gas pedal.  When he pulled into the parking lot, he noticed Jennifer’s car already there.  Was she there to give him moral support, or to make sure he actually went through with it, or to laugh at him?  Did it matter?
He walked through the door of the salon, and didn’t even get time to take in the feminine atmosphere of the place before Jennifer came up to him to give him an excited hug.  “I already talked to Marissa and she’s going to be doing your hair today herself,” Jennifer told him.
“Uh, yeah,” Roger replied as he tried to look around the place.  “I talked to her yesterday when I called.”  He was glad to note that the salon looked fairly small with only half a dozen stylist chairs lined up along the one side.  He wasn’t happy to note the three other customers in the shop.
“Well, I told her you’d be getting the works today!” Jennifer stated, her eyes still glowing with excitement.
“Uh… the works?” Roger asked. 
But his question went unanswered as a woman walked up.  “You must be Candy,” the woman said. 
Roger figured that had to be obvious since she knew he was really a man getting a woman’s haircut.  “Uh… yeah, that’s me,” he replied somewhat embarrassedly.
“I’m Marissa,” the woman said.  “I’ll be doing your hair today.  And I hear you’re getting the works?”
“I’m not letting him out of here any other way!” Jennifer declared.
Roger’s eyes darted back and forth between the two women as he searched for something to say.  The knot in his stomach was suddenly back – full force!  “Uh…”
But he didn’t get further than that before Marissa turned and walked back toward the styling chairs.  “This way Candy,” she said.  Jennifer grabbed his arm and led him back. 
“You seem awfully excited about this,” Roger noted quietly.
“Shouldn’t I be?” Jennifer asked.
Marissa was holding a protective cape out for him near the first chair in the row.  Since she was the owner of the place, Roger figured that was her main chair.  He would have been happier someplace else… like the very back.  Before he even sat down, he felt his wig being grabbed from behind and ripped off his head. 
“You don’t need this anymore,” Jennifer said as she set the thing on a small bare spot on the counter that was crammed full of junk.
“Uh… I guess not,” Roger replied. 
Once seated, Marissa put the cape over him and tied it around his neck.  Then she played with his hair for a few minutes while she and Jennifer talked about possible styles.  None of which Roger understood. 
“Okay,” Marissa finally said, “let’s get you out of there and get your hair washed.
“I washed it this morning,” Roger told her.
“Just go, Candy!” Jennifer ordered.
Roger got up and followed Marissa to the back of the shop where she had him sit in a chair that leaned back over a sink.  “One of the girls will be right with you,” Marissa said before she walked off.  A minute later, another woman came over and began washing his hair… several times.  When she was done she wrapped his head in a towel and led him over to another seat nearby.  As he sat, Roger noted that Marissa was working with another customer.  How long was he going to have to wait there?
But Marissa didn’t come for him, another woman showed up instead… pushing a small cart.  Roger was horrified to see that it was filled with many colors of nail polish.  “Nail polish?” he asked Jennifer.
“I said you need the works today,” she told him, so relax and enjoy it.”
Roger didn’t know how much he was going to enjoy it, but for some reason, he felt like he had no choice in the matter.  Why was that?  Before he knew it, the woman had removed his shoes and was washing his feet.  “My toes too?” he asked Jennifer.
“Stupid question,” Jennifer replied.  She and the woman spent several moments deciding on just the right color for Candy… not bothering to ask Candy what color he might prefer.  Together they picked out a very soft pink.
With the cape still covering his body and his head still wrapped in a towel, Roger endured having his toes painted, and before long he was watching as the woman started on his fingernails.  He was watching the process carefully, when all of a sudden Jennifer asked, “What do you think?”
Roger turned to tell her that he thought the color was fine.  Pretty actually.  But when he turned his head to say it, he realized that Jennifer wasn’t talking about his nails at all.  Instead she was holding up a pair of small gold hoop earrings.  “They’re earrings,” he noted.
“Goodness you’re observant today,” she said.  “I’ll bet you did really well when you were in school.”
“Very funny,” Roger replied.
“They’re for you, stupid.  I bought them and never wore them, but I thought they’d be perfect for you.”
Roger looked at them more closely.  “But they’re pierced… I mean for pierced ears.”
Jennifer rolled her eyes.  “Like I said, you must have been a genius in school!”
Before Roger could reply, Marissa was back.  “Okay,” she said, “let’s make you a little prettier.”
Roger was still trying to figure out if he should protest or not before he realized it was too late.  Marissa looked at his ear carefully, marked a spot with a pen, then she interrupted the woman doing his nails on the other side and repeated the process.  She and Jennifer conferred for a moment to make sure they both agreed on the spots. 
Marissa held out a mirror in front of Roger so he could see.  “That look okay?” she asked.
Roger really wanted to say no, he didn’t want his ears pierced at all.  But instead he simply said.  “I guess so.”
Marissa sterilized his earlobes then grabbed a contraption that Roger figured had to be some kind of a gun.  A minute later, the gun was over his right earlobe and he quickly felt a sharp pinch.  He could only describe what he felt afterwards as shock.  He felt the gun being taken away and Marissa fiddling with his earlobe for a moment, the she moved away to look. 
“I love it!” Jennifer exclaimed.
The process was repeated on Roger’s other side all too quickly.  Then Marissa happily held up the mirror for him to see.  He had small gold hoops stuck in his ears!  Still in shock, his eyes found Jennifer’s.  “Um… pretty?” he finally managed to get out of his mouth.
“I knew you’d love them!” Jennifer declared happily.
“Uh… yeah,” he chanced replying… although in truth he wasn’t really certain about that at all.  The woman doing his nails went back to work and Roger was forced to sit there and do nothing but contemplate the fact that he now had gold hoops in his ears.  Pierced ears!  The nail polish was absolutely nothing next to that!
As he sat there getting his nails done, he and Jennifer talked about many things – chiefly about earrings and care of his newly pierced ears now… and then the conversation drifted into hairstyles and things he might need to take care of it now.  Roger realized that he was going to have to go shopping again, this time for stuff to take care of his ears and his hair.  A few different pairs of earrings probably wouldn’t hurt either so he could change them out.  He was beginning to feel like the life of a woman was one continuous shopping trip – because there was always something else that needed to be bought!
Once his nails were done, he continued to sit there and wait.  Marissa was still busy with someone else and he was doing his best to not move his fingers so the nail polish wouldn’t get messed up before it dried.  He still had no idea if it was dry or not when Marissa called him back over to her chair.  He did his best to not let anything touch his nails as he got himself situated in the new chair.  The towel was removed from his head, Marissa ran her fingers through his hair, then she grabbed her scissors and went to work.  Since the chair faced the large mirror in front of him, Roger had no choice but to sit there and watch as his whole life was being changed… with a simple pair of scissors.
For most of the time, Roger couldn’t tell much about what Marissa was doing.  He did his best to answer the few questions she asked him, but he was glad that Jennifer was there to fill most of the conversation requirement.  He wasn’t naive enough to not realize that women talked constantly while having their hair done.  He wasn’t exactly comfortable with it yet… and wasn’t sure he ever would be.
He felt a cold bit of fear when they started talking about highlights in his hair… and when Marissa asked for his opinion, he took a mental big breath and replied, “Go for it!”  His ordeal in the chair grew a lot longer! 
In the middle of the highlight procedure, Marissa started attacking his eyebrows with a pair of tweezers.  Over and over again Roger had to keep himself from yelling ouch as she plucked hair after hair.  Ouch!
From the moment he had sat in the chair, Roger’s eyes had mostly been locked on the reflection of his own face.  Occasionally his eyes focused on Jennifer or Marissa instead, but mostly they were glued to the one primary subject – him.  And the longer he watched, the more “he” began to look like a “she” instead.  For the first half hour, his eyes took particular notice of the gold spots at his ears.  All too noticeable… yet small and not overpowering.  Pretty?  He wasn’t sure he dared call it that… or even if he could handle anything about himself that might be considered… pretty.  The concept was simply something that was still too alien to him.
Once the highlights were done though, the spots of gold at his ears became old news and didn’t hold his interest as much as the way his new hairstyle was shaping up… and seemed to be reshaping his face in the process.  There was an icy chill in his stomach that seemed to grow stronger and stronger the closer Marissa got to being finished.
“That should be it then,” Marissa finally said as she stood back for one last look.  “What do you think?” she asked Roger.
The icy chill in Roger’s stomach kept him from answering for a moment.  “I look…” he started.  But he didn’t want to say the words.  He didn’t want to say that he looked – like a woman!  Like a fairly good looking woman at that… mostly.
“You look fantastic!” Jennifer exclaimed. 
“Uh…  Yeah!” Roger agreed.  “I kind of… don’t believe it.”
“Glad you like it,” Marissa said.  “I think it came out pretty great myself.”  She removed the cape that protected Roger’s… Candy’s clothes and let him… her out of the chair. 
Roger stood, but his eyes were still focused on his image in the mirror… only now that he was standing, he was able to see more of himself.  He looked like someone else.  Totally like someone else.  The difference boggled his mind… and did nothing to help the icy chill in his stomach.  He didn’t know if he should smile, or laugh, or… what he really wanted to do – cry.
Forcing himself to move, he bent down to retrieve his purse that he had left on the floor by the counter, and couldn’t help but notice the soft pink on the tips of his fingers.  Nail polish!  So strange!  But of course the soft pink color went perfectly with the woman whose image he had been staring at in the mirror.  Not Roger’s image.  Not him.
He turned to head for the cash register, and nearly ran straight into Jennifer.
“Candy,” she said, “and I guess I have to call you Candy from now on, because there really isn’t much of Roger there anymore… at least not on the outside.”
That was the part that Roger kept trying so desperately not to think about… and kept failing.
“You look so different now.  Much better.  In fact, you’re starting to look somewhat pretty.”
“I am?” Roger asked, not sure whether or not he wanted to believe it.
“Yeah, you’re definitely getting there.  I think you’re going to have a much easier time passing in public now.  At least at first glance, which is all that most people will give you.”
Roger was still trying to come to terms with the word… pretty.  Was he?  He was totally unsure what to think of that concept.  Was it a good thing?  Or not?  He supposed that even to him, it depended on his point of view… Roger’s view… or Candy’s.  And one major thought that had visited his brain all day came to the forefront.  No matter how he himself really felt about becoming Candy, everyone else believed he was doing it because he really wanted to change his gender.  That’s what they all believed.  And since he had no choice but to go through with it all, it was best that they continue to believe exactly that.  He tried to put a smile on his face.  “I really look good?” he asked Jennifer.  “Because, I still can’t believe what I saw in the mirror.”  He turned back to look at his reflection again.  “Is that really me?”
Jennifer smiled.  Her voice was far more serious than since they had arrived.  “Trust me, that’s you now.  And you do look pretty good.  Candy, you really are starting to look like a woman.”
“Thanks,” Roger replied a bit sheepishly.  “I just hope everyone else thinks I look good enough now too.”
Jennifer reached out and touched his arm.  “Confidence, Candy.  That’s what you need right now.  Confidence!”
Roger nodded.  “I know.  Everyone at church tried to tell me to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and just let myself be… myself.”
Jennifer nodded.  “Now maybe that will be a little easier for you.”
Roger’s eyes searched his reflection again.  “I can’t believe that’s me,” he said.  “I guess… for the first time it’s all starting to become more real.  I’m starting to see what Candy really looks like.”  He paused for a moment.  “And maybe who Candy is going to be in the future.”

The headlights from Candy’s truck pulling into the driveway caught Janice’s attention as she looked out the window to see who it was.  She quickly looked around.  “Carol,” she said urgently, “quick, take what’s left of the money and get it back to my room.  Just stick it in the closet out of sight.  Quickly now, before he comes in!”  She watched as Carol made a mad dash for her bedroom. 
She looked back out the front window.  It was dark outside, but not dark enough that she didn’t notice Candy walking around to the passenger side of his truck before heading for the house.  She saw him pulling several bags out and… something much bigger.  Seeing him trying to juggle everything, she hurried for the front door to open it for him. 
Carol came back from the bedroom.  “All done, Momma,” she said.
“Thank you dear,” Janice replied as she opened the door and held it wide so that Candy could get into the house.  Her eyebrows went up the minute he came clearly into the light… not because of all the stuff in his arms, but because of the way his face looked.  “Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed as she closed the door behind him and started grabbing the bags and… two large mirrors out of his hands.  “Let me see you,” she said as she tried to set everything aside.
Roger stood there, and did his best to smile.  He was going to ask what Janice thought, but the words wouldn’t come out of his mouth, so he remained silent.
“I don’t believe it!” Carol stated in awe.
“You look wonderful!” Janice finally exclaimed.  And you had your ears pierced… and they did your nails too!  You didn’t even tell me you were going to do any of that!”
“I… didn’t know myself till I got there,” Roger explained.  “She even plucked my eyebrows.  I can’t tell you how much that hurt.”
“Oh I know very well.  I have to do it myself every week!” Janice replied, still looking him over and still very surprised at the results.  “Carol!  We need another picture!”
“Must we?” Roger asked dubiously.
“Oh, absolutely!” Janice replied.  “Absolutely.”
Roger did his best to smile and look happy while Carol took half a dozen pictures of him.  And through it all, Janice mentioned several times how happy she was with what he had done and with the way he looked. 
“I got two mirrors,” Roger said to get the subject off of himself.  “Carol had mentioned that she wanted one too.  If you don’t mind, I’ll hang them tonight.  I just need Carol to tell me where she wants it.”
“No problem,” Carol replied excitedly.
An hour later, Roger stood in front of the large mirror that he had hung on the wall of his room, staring at his new reflection.  Not Roger’s reflection… but Candy’s.  He stared for the longest time at himself… at his new self… and what he looked like.  It was now becoming far more real than ever before.  He was now seeing Candy… and not Roger.  Roger was slipping away faster and faster, only to be replaced by a woman… by Candy.  Was he still himself anymore?  He wasn’t totally sure. 
Today he had gone to school as Roger.  Tomorrow he would be going to school as Candy.  Would he ever get to be Roger again?  Did Roger even exist anymore?  It was one of the many things that had run worriedly though his mind all day. 
Finally tearing himself from in front of the mirror, he got undressed to get ready for bed.  Carol gladly unfastened his corset for him and he washed the makeup off of his face… his face… that with the plucked eyebrows now looked more feminine than ever. 
He went back to his room to hang his clothes up… and discovered that every last piece of his male clothing had been removed from his room.  Something inside of him died even further.  Like it or not, Roger was gone, and Candy was there to stay.

1 comment:

sarah penguin said...

Another fine chapter :) *waves* :)