Penny’s E-Diary August 11, 2016 “She’s Back” – Part V

     Meanwhile, Nadine stared into her now empty cup, apparently without realizing it. Something was still weighing on her mind. Glancing down I saw my cup was empty as well. “I could use a refill, how about you?” I asked.

     Nadine blinked. “Huh… oh, more hot chocolate? That sounds good.”

     I started to get up, but she got to her feet first saying, “I’ll get it. You take it easy. I’m keeping you up, I can at least play hostess.”

     For a moment I was going to remind her that my little guy was really the one who’d kept me up already, but I held my tongue. I was starting to feel a bit tired, but I wanted to know what she hadn’t told me yet. Whatever it was, it had troubled her up something fierce, and that bothered me.

     I guess it must’ve shown in my face because I saw the look of worry in my friend’s eyes as she served up the hot chocolate.

 

     “Are you getting tired?” she asked gently. “I know I’ve been keeping you up even later than your son.”

    “I’m all right,” I smiled, “But I am worried about you. When you came in tonight, you looked ‘troubled’ more so than if you’d simply had to put up with wolf-whistles and catcalls.”

      She nodded and sat down again. “I guess I’m still trying to wrap my head around what I saw… and what I almost did.”

     The tone in her voice as she spoke those last few words, sent a chill down my spine.

     “The evening started out as usual. I went out to dinner by myself and got the usual questions about why someone so beautiful was on her own. Was I waiting for someone? Would I like some company? Mind you I almost said yes once, but thought better of it.”

     That piqued my curiosity. “Oh? Was he that good looking?”

     “Oh, yeah,” she nodded with a wistful look, “She was.”

     “Ooo… attracting girls now are we? You should have taken her up on it, you might’ve had a good time,” I smiled.

     “I kind of wish I had,” Nadine sighed and fell silent.

     At that point I knew I was getting to the heart of whatever happened that upset her so much. A part of me didn’t want to push things any farther, but something told me she needed to get it out of her system. So I reached across and took one of her hands saying, “Hey, I’m here for you, tell me what happened. Please? I can’t stand sitting here watching as it eats at you.”

     That earned me a small but uneasy smile. “Are you sure you want to hear about it? It wasn’t one of my better moments.”

     “How so?” I asked.

     “I think… I know, I came pretty close to breaking every bone in some asshole’s fucking body.”

     I almost asked if she was serious, but I already knew she meant every word of it. Finally, I said, “Tell me what happened.”

          She nodded. “After dinner I decided to go catch the new all-female Ghostbusters movie, which was great, by the way. I loved it. Totally hilarious, and Chris Hemsworth was a riot. The man is great at comedy, let me tell you. Anyway, I was just coming out of the theater when I spotted Lisa and Marisa standing in line to get tickets and quickly did a U-turn. Unfortunately, they’d already spotted me and started calling out to me.”

     “Busted!” I teased, fearing she was going off on a tangent. As it turned out, she wasn’t.

     Meanwhile she sighed, “Yeah, I was and I knew it. Turning around, I smiled and started coming towards them when I spotted a girl I knew Marisa wasn’t too thrilled about standing just a few people behind them. She was rolling her eyes in their direction, not that they could see, and I quickened my pace in the hopes of preventing any trouble. But as I did so, some guy a couple of years older than her stopped and said something to her, which she totally ignored. Next thing I know…” here she paused and shook her head.

     “He what? Did he grab her or something?”

   “He punched her in the face,” Nadine snapped, while balling her own hands into fists. “No warning,  no raised voice, he just went ahead and belted her in front of everyone.”

      Even I had not been prepared for that. I was expecting an argument or the guy grabbing her by the arm. But not this.

     Nadine was starting to shake with anger as she continued, “And that wasn’t the worst part. I heard him saying she deserved it. You see he’d complimented her looks and she didn’t even so much as smile or say thank you.”

     I barely kept myself from yelling “Say what?” out loud and waking up my little guy. But I managed it somehow, and just hissed the words instead.

    “Yeah,” Nadine nodded taking a deep breath before continuing. “He’d punched her for ‘disrespecting’ him. At that point I didn’t care if anyone saw or not, I used my speed and got between them. My first instinct was to grab his hand as he started to try and take another swing at her. But I knew if I did, not only would I catch it, but I would start squeezing.”

     “Squeezing?” I repeated. That didn’t sound all that bad.

     “As in I wasn’t going to stop until every bone in that hand was broken, along with the rest of his arm,” she replied quietly.

     “What stopped you?” I asked, feeling a little sick at what I was hearing.

     Nadine looked at me and said, “The expression on your face, it’s the same one I saw on both Marisa and Lisa’s. If they hadn’t been there…” she shook herself. “Anyway, I caught his next punch and went all Bruce Lee on his ass instead. But even as I did, a part of me still wanted to hurt him a whole lot worse than I did. The resentment I felt from all the crude catcalling, ass slaps, and gropings was screaming for me to not only beat his ass, but rip his throat out. Literally.”

     “But you didn’t,” I pointed out. “I know you. You didn’t let it get that far.”

     “Barely,” she sighed.

     “Then what happened?” I asked.

     “I looked up and saw Marisa and Lisa were helping the girl who’d been hit. It turned out to be Diane, the one who was pissed at Marisa for not choosing her to be the new head cheerleader. She was looking awfully grateful for their help as well as mine. As for the asshat, a couple of his buddies had apparently started to try and pull me off him. Only the rest of the crowd, most of them women had blocked them. And then the police showed up. Of course, the jerk’s friends started giving them a bullshit story.”

     “Naturally,” I nodded.

     “So I released some mist and got them singing like canaries about how their friend started all the trouble by assaulting Diane. Of course, I got the creep to confess as well and that was all the police needed to take his ass away.”

     “He’s not going to forget,” I told her.

     Nadine smiled, “I made sure of that. You see I gave him and his buddies a special suggestion. One that will keep all of them from disrespecting any woman ever again.”

     “Good for you,” I smiled, but her face was still troubled. “What?”

     “I really wanted to hurt that guy,” she murmured.

     “But you didn’t,” I assured her. “You’re better than that and them.”
“I know, but I came so close…”

    “Welcome to the human race,” I cut in. “With all the powers you have, you’re still a person. A good one at that. Don’t ever change.”

    That made her smile. “Thanks. But, I have to know. Everything I’ve experienced lately as a woman, is it always like that?”

     “Not always, but more often than it should be,” I told her honestly. Then I eyed her curiously and asked, “Are you thinking about going back to just being a guy?”

     She shook her head. “No. Isabella’s growing. She’ll need someone to help her navigate this world. It’s very different than the one she remembers.”

     “She’ll have me, Lisa and Penny,” I pointed out.

     “Thanks,” she smiled, “But I think ‘Nadine’ will be hanging out with you all from time to time as well. Someone needs to watch all your backs as well sometimes. Girls have to stick together.”

     “Indeed we do,” I smiled. As if on cue, I heard my little guy begin fussing again. “And there goes the rest of my night,” I said standing up.

     But once again my friend beat me to the door saying, “No, you and Richard get some sleep. I’ll take care of him. He’ll need to get used to seeing Aunt Nadine hanging around every so often. And I’m more of a night owl than the rest of you.”

     I was too tired to argue and headed back to bed. It’s morning now and sure enough both my guys got a good night sleep after all. Nathan was back and thanked me for the hot chocolate and the talk. I thanked him for being willing to walk a mile (and them some) in high-heeled shoes.

Penny’s E-Diary August 11, 2016 “She’s Back” – Part IV

“Needless to say I learned all to quickly that my experience back that the bar was not uncommon,” Nadine sighed.

“Sad but true,” I commiserated. “Let me guess, it started with the whistles and the ‘Hey, Baby, you lookin’ good’ routines.”

Bender

“Pretty much,” Nadine nodded, “At first I was tempted to steal from Bender in Futurama by saying something like ‘Shut up Baby, I know it!’.”

I tried not to laugh, but she did the voice of the robot so perfectly I couldn’t stop myself. Still I quickly pointed out that I hoped she hadn’t said that. Sometimes talk like that could lead to confrontations. Some guys did not like being talked back to and could get pretty aggressive.

badge

“Or it could get a badge flashed in your face,” she replied shaking her head.

“Oh dear, Lord,” I muttered aloud while leaning back in my chair. Having actually been a prostitute I knew that routine all too well. Depending on the officer, you’d have to talk your way out, get arrested, or ‘come to an arrangement’. The few who preferred that last option, were always more than eager to pull out their ID whether or not you’d been soliciting. If they already knew you were in the ‘biz’ that was all the excuse they needed to harass you.

Now it was my turn to shake my head again. “So, one of the cops around here actually thought you were soliciting?”

“No, that happened on one of my first outings over in Charleston,” she told me. “I’d decided to hit the mall over there in order to expand my wardrobe since I was starting to go around like this again.”

“Didn’t want to be seen in the same outfit more than once?” I teased. As much as I hate to say it, I was starting to really like having girl talk with someone closer to my age, so to speak. I love Marisa and Lisa to pieces, don’t get me wrong. But they have a lot to learn about life still, whereas Nadine had experienced way more than even me. But I felt more comfortable talking this way with her, even if she was still learning what it meant to be a woman in this world.

While all that was going through my mind she answered, “Something like that. I knew I could borrow clothes from you, Lisa or Marisa, but… I didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing just yet. I knew the girls would insist on going everywhere with me but I felt that might defeat the purpose.”

I knew exactly what she was saying. “They’d try and shield you by going places they felt more comfortable going,” I nodded.

“Exactly!” she smiled.

“And you didn’t tell me because…?” I prompted.

“I would’ve asked you to show me all the bad stuff and I didn’t want to drag you back down that path,” she replied.

I knew what she meant. The two of us had had many talks over the last two years. As Nathan, he probably knew more about my life than even Richard did. Not that I was keeping anything from my man on purpose. He didn’t like prying into areas of my past I wanted to forget. But with Nathan, it was like having a big brother or favorite uncle you could tell anything to and know you’d never be judged.

“Well,” I said after a while, “If you decide to keep going around like that, I wouldn’t mind heading out with you once in a while. I like a bit of a girls night out once in a while, you know. Not that I don’t like going out with Lisa and Marisa, mind you…”

“But they’re still on the youngish side,” Nadine finished with a nod. “There are certain places they’re still not old enough to go to.”

Dirty_Habit_DC_bar.0.0

“Plus, they’re young enough to attract even more attention to us,” I added.

That got me a raised eyebrow from my friend. “Considering what I’ve seen these last two months, you’d attract just as much attention as those two put together.”

That made me laugh because I knew it was true. Not that I’m being too full of myself. It’s just, a lot of what we’d been discussing was still happening to me. In some ways it was flattering, in others… it was disconcerting. Having been in ‘the game’ as long as I had been, I’d noticed a certain trend growing among some of our clientele. A certain ‘aggressiveness’ had been emerging, more so than what I’d seen in the past. Oh there’d always been certain men who liked to play rough, but this kind was different. It wasn’t just play, there was a darker edge to them and I was seeing it more and more in younger as well as older men and that was worrying.

I began to wonder if Nadine had noticed such a trend or was it just me?

TO BE CONTINUED…

Penny’s E-Diary August 11, 2016 “She’s Back” – Part III

“I could not believe the total lack of tact the man had,” Nadine continued. “And that wasn’t the half of it. Before I could I remind him where my eyes were, he put his hand on my forearm and started stroking it with his thumb.”

This time I couldn’t stop myself. “Let me guess, that’s when he started telling you how pretty you were, and what a crime it was that you were sitting there all by  your lonesome. Am I right?”

Rolling her eyes, she nodded. “Then he suggested I join him and his friends at their table so we could all get to know each other better.”

“Did you tell him you were waiting for someone?” I asked.

“Oh yeah,” she groaned and took another sip of her hot chocolate. It seemed to calm her down, at least a bit. For when she spoke again her voice was more controlled as she continued her story. “Of course, he didn’t believe me. Kept telling me not to be shy. But when I insisted someone was coming, he kept pressing me to come over to his table and we could all wait together for my ‘friend’ to show up. Otherwise, every Joe in the place would be pestering me for the rest of the night.”

“So what did you do?”

“I bit him,” she replied simply,

I stared at her in shock. “In front of an entire room full of strangers?” I cried in disbelief. “I thought you liked keeping a low profile on the whole vampyre bit!”

“Okay, I should have been more specific,” she corrected herself. “I didn’t lean over and bite him, my forearm did it for me.”

“Your forearm,” I repeated.

She nodded. “He hadn’t removed his hand from it and had actually started squeezing it while insisting that I go with him. So, I grew a mouth there and let him have it.”

I couldn’t help smiling. “Oh, I wish I could’ve been there to see that. What did he do?”

“Well he jumped back so hard, he fell off the stool and landed on the floor. I made sure I looked as startled as everyone else. A couple of his buddies came over and helped him up, while he started accusing me of having a taser or something. I was ready to play all ‘innocent’ but didn’t have to because one of them pointed out I still had a drink in my free hand and he’d had a hold of my other arm. That just pissed him off more and he shot me a dirty look then stomped back to their table. Sadly, that wasn’t the end of it. One of his friends began apologizing and taking over his friend’s seat. Naturally, HE offered to get me another drink and before long his hand wound up on my thigh.”

    thigh

“Really?” I said in mock surprise. “How long before your thigh decided to take a bite out of him?”

Nadine grimaced at the memory. “It didn’t. Much as I wanted to, but I decided to ask for his opinion of my perfume. Naturally he leaned in close and I let him breathe in some of my mist and changed his mind that way. As he got up to leave, I gave him an extra dose so he could take it back to the table so his friends could get a whiff. Which they did! And thus I was left alone until Michael showed up half an hour later.”

“Nicely done,” I told her approvingly.

She smiled but it quickly faded, and her expression became more thoughtful again. “Afterwards I didn’t think too much about it because by then we were hunting for the Cannibal and… well you already know how that went down.”

“Oh yeah,” I nodded and took another sip of my chocolate. It was the only way I could keep from shivering at the memories of what she’d told us all. I’d been surprised that she hadn’t asked Lisa or Marisa to leave the room, but I didn’t protest. They weren’t children by a long shot. Both of them were young women who needed to know the truth about what dangers might be lying in wait for them or one of their friends. The world could be cruel, but I at least felt a bit safer having them and Nadine in my life. But I also knew not everyone was as lucky as me, and I never let myself forget that fact.

Looking over at my companion I asked, “So what got you thinking about your experience in the bar again?”

Catcalling

“I’d gone over to the college where Brian works, to see what classes might be available next fall,” she began. “I know I could simply look them up online, but I really like that campus. And I don’t stick out too much like a sore thumb in the evenings. There are a lot of other people who are my ‘apparent’ age taking classes and I just enjoy a change of scenery once in a while. Anyway, while I was there, I spotted a couple of girls about Lisa’s age walking ahead of me. Coming the other way were some guys heading the other way who started hooting and whistling at them out of the blue. At first I thought they knew the girls, but apparently they didn’t because I saw how uncomfortable their smiles were as well as how fast their pace increased. And it got me thinking again about what had happened to me.”

“You know that kind of thing goes on all the time, right?” I asked.

“Yeah, but some of those guys were closer to my ‘apparent’ age,” she pointed out with a look of disgust on her face. “I mean, teenager boys doing that kind of stuff is bad enough. But these jerks were in their mid-twenties, I would’ve thought they’d know better by that age.”

Here she paused to shake her head, then continued. “That’s when I started wondering how often stuff like that went on. Did it happen to Lisa and Marisa, or any of their friends? If so, why did they never mention it?”

I was about to answer her, only she started talking again and I decided to sit back to see where this was all headed. Besides, if it came up later, I’d have time to look up the saying about fish, how they don’t know what water is. Women grow up with this. For girls like them, it may just seem like a nuisance. Me, I’d had to pay more attention to stuff like that. Figure out who was a threat, who was a sale. Worst in a way were the ones who were both.

 I told myself not to think about the past. Besides, this was all new to my friend, even if she could go back to being a he any minute. I wouldn’t wish the sense of being trapped on anyone, and I liked that Nadine was trying to walk a mile in our too-narrow heels. But that was only a dip of the toes in the water of a woman’s experience.

“And what about Isabella? She’s still very young but one day she’s going to start ‘blossoming’ and then what? She’s still trying to get used to how people act these days compared to what she was used to back in the 1860’s. That’s when I decided to start going around as Nadine again. I wanted to know firsthand what women have to deal with…”

TO BE CONTINUED…