John and Silke
John awoke, astonishingly rested. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt so rested. Nonetheless, he was too comfortable to be getting up just yet. The feel of the blanket against his skin was strangely intoxicating. The sunlight shone gently in through the half-open shades, and the smell of coffee wafted in from the kitchen. Coffee was just the thing for a Sunday-morning hangover…except…he didn’t feel the slightest bit hung over. He opened his eyes, blinking to adjust to the intense sunlight as he surveyed his surroundings. He was certain he’d fallen asleep on the couch in Ariana’s living room. He even vaguely remembered her putting a blanket on him and kissing him goodnight. This room – he wasn’t sure he’d ever been in it before. The view out the window was vaguely familiar. It looked a lot like the view from the back room on the second floor of Ariana’s place, which she used as a study. Except that this definitely wasn’t her study – for one thing, this was a bed. A nice one, at that. Queen size, four pillows, and the softest sheets John had ever felt, not to mention the thick feather comforter. At the foot of the bed, he noticed two stuffed animals. He yawned, and was rather shocked to notice that his voice was two octaves higher – maybe I’m coming down with something. I should get a glass of water.
As he made his way to the bathroom down the hall, something felt odd. He couldn’t put his finger on it. The hallway looked exactly as he remembered it, except somehow different. As he reached the bathroom door, he realised what it was. Things seemed somehow higher up. Must be all the wine last night. I ought to cut down.
He walked into the bathroom, which was still steamy from what he assumed must be Ariana’s recent shower, and filled the cup with water. As he sipped it, he reflexively cleared the mist off of the mirror, which, like everything else, seemed a few inches higher than he remembered it. After a minute, he could actually see in the mirror.
Holy shit. This is a dream. I’m going to wake up any minute now, I know it. This makes no sense. This shit just doesn’t happen. Come on, wake up. This is freaking me out. It’s stress. That has to be it. It’s probably my subconscious dramatising my fear of embarrassment in class. I hate being called on. Everyone does. And so that’s what this is about.
As he tried to catch his breath, he studied his reflection. Except this was not his reflection. His reflection was 6’1”, with short but stylish brown hair (he’d basically retained Ariana as a consultant for such matters), chiselled features, an angular jaw, muscled (but not ostentatious) arms, and a good helping of stubble in the mornings – young, virile, and attractive.
There was definitely no virility in the image that stared, aghast, back at him, with soft features, a perfectly smooth face, shoulder-length auburn hair, a slightly upturned nose, lithe, slender arms, sensuous curves, and breasts. The figure couldn’t be taller than 5’5”, and was wearing sheer blue silk pyjamas and an expression of abject horror.
He wasn’t coming down with something. That was just his voice.
OK. I’m a girl, then.
He (She?) made his way downstairs, following the scent of coffee and the sound of activity in the kitchen, not sure how Ariana would react to this peculiar turn of events. Coffee, that’s what I need. I need to think about this, and I can’t think without some coffee. It’s beginning to look like it isn’t a dream.
Silke, are you up?” It was Ariana.
“I guess you decided to sleep in today. Weren’t you going to make breakfast?”
Silke? Right then.
John Silke made his way over to the coffee maker, and found himself in yet another odd position at eye level with Ariana. He was only an inch or so taller than she was now. Ariana put an arm around him.
“Girl, are you OK?”
This was going to take some getting used to.
“Yeah, fine. I just need some fucking coffee or I’m going to collapse.”
“Well, the fucking coffee’s ready. It’s fuckin’ hazelnut,” Ariana smiled quizzically.
He sipped his coffee, trying to collect his thoughts. Ariana was still standing there, a look of concern on her face. Her boyfriend is transformed into a girl overnight, and she’s worried about the coffee? She hasn’t said a word about it. Apparently, this was nothing out of the ordinary for Ariana. It wasn’t just John that had changed.
“You’ve got a message from Kevin, by the way.” Lovely.
“Did he say what it was about?”
“No, just to give him a call as soon as you get a chance. He sounded worried.”
What could Kevin want? John didn’t even want to think about seeing Kevin like this. Damn, the coffee tasted good. Just focus on the coffee. Focus on the coffee and draw it out.
“I’ll call him once I’m done with my coffee.”
“OK. Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Yes, completely. I’m fine. OK?”
“Last night was nice, wasn’t it?”
“Definitely.” He wasn’t sure what ‘last night’ was for Ariana, but he had certainly enjoyed last night’s wine and massages. He had missed the feeling of Ariana’s hands working through all the tension on his back. But something, yet another thing, was off. Ariana was wearing nothing but a decidedly skimpy nightgown, and he wasn’t the least bit turned on by it. He gulped down the last of his coffee, grabbed the cordless phone, and ran up to the room in which he’d awoken.
He looked around. Was this where he lived? He’d find out soon enough. It looked nothing like the bedroom he was used to. Everything was so neat. No clothes or underwear on the floor, books and papers all perfectly organised. The walls were painted a pale blue colour, which matched the comforter and the carpet. There were candles on the bedside table, the desk, and the windowsill, and a painting that he faintly identified as a print of one of Dégas’ ballerinas was hanging on the wall above the head of the bed. Jesus.
He absently began making the bed as he dialled Kevin’s number, half hoping he’d get a machine. He didn’t.
“I think we ought to talk. Can you be over at my place in like an hour?”
He grabbed a towel that was hanging on the door of the room and returned to the bathroom to have a shower. His hands shook as he started the water running. Once he had the temperature right, he threw his pyjamas onto the floor and stepped in. this was going to be a very quick shower. He stepped under the water now that feels nice and began to soap himself up. Within five minutes he was out. He hadn’t even been in long enough to fog up the mirror. Seeing himself unclothed in the mirror, he groaned: yep, no doubt about it.
With wet hair reaching slightly below his shoulders, he suddenly realised he would actually have to blow-dry it. This took some doing. Finally, it was dry enough. He put it in a ponytail and ran back to the bedroom. He threw open the closet how did he not know that there was a walk-in closet here? and tried to find something to wear. Skirt, skirt, dress, halter-top, capri pants…Definitely unacceptable. Finally, he happened upon a pair of basic jeans and a black v-neck t-shirt. Throwing those on, he was almost out the bedroom door, when he noticed an odd…jiggling sort of sensation. Fuck, I have to wear a bra, too? He found one in the top drawer, something simple enough that he’d have a prayer of getting it on right, and began to put it on. He couldn’t get a good grip on the hook things behind him, and kept fumbling, swearing profusely with each attempt. After another fifteen minutes, he had it on. The band was twisted and irritating as hell. Fuck it. I’ve got ten minutes to get over to Kevin’s.
He ran down the stairs, past Ariana, and out the door.
“If you want to talk about it later, you know I’m there, right?”
Chapter 1Chapter 3
Copyright 2006-2007, Elise R. Hendrick, All rights reserved.