Chapter 3 – Ellie
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I was rudely awakened by mom knocking on the door. “Sweetie, are you awake yet?” she said.

I made some noises in acknowledgement and she came in and opened the blinds, causing way too much sunlight to come into the room. I didn’t really want to wake up, I’d been having such a nice dream. I was Kiara, and I was on the beach and I was wearing that dress, it was so nice and…..  oh. I guess, ummmm, dreams are weird? I guess I should chalk it up to some weird combination of yesterday’s experiences.

Mom started talking in a voice both caring but also somewhat strict “Sweetie, I know it’s Sunday and I’m okay with you sleeping in and all that, but I have to go right about now so we need to do this now. Plus, Ellie will be there in almost an hour as well, so you really need to get up anyways.”

I yawned and got out of bed. The alarm next to me revealed it to be 9:30. I suppose that was starting to get on the late side, though dad often slept in much longer himself on the weekdays. I looked back at mom and suddenly realised she was already wearing a coat and shoes.

“Take your pill so we can finish this and I can go before I’m late” mom said, as she pulled a small bottle and an injection needle out of her pocket.

Uhhhhhhhh, what?  Okay, so, mom is acting like this is perfectly normal, so just play along? Next to my alarm was a package with some white pills ‘’Cyproterone’’ the package next to it said. Wait are these the pills that caused my, I mean ‘Kiara’s’, body to be like this? Should I refuse to take them? But that would draw way too much suspicion to myself wouldn’t it? I just needed to play along. Four, no wait, three more days. I took one of the white pills out of the box and swallowed it, which seemed to be what I was supposed to do, as mom drew the fluid out of the bottle and into the needle.

“Uhhhh, can I do it myself, maybe?” I asked, the needle being terrifying both because it was a friggin needle and because I was obviously not supposed to get whatever was in that needle into my body. Or maybe I should to avoid suspicion? Would still be better to do it myself.

Mom sighed “I’ve told you before, sweetie, not before you are eighteen. Besides, I like… being involved with it like this” she said, as she approached calmly but surely.

I just had to let it happen. Mom softly indicated I should turn around, then pulled my pyjamas down at the back just a little, then I felt a quick sharp pain in my butt. Then.. nothing. It was done.

“There, that’ll last you for another two weeks. I have to go now sweetie or I’ll be late. I’ll be back tonight. Leftovers are in the fridge.” Mom said as she started to move towards the door, there she stopped and added “Don’t forget Ellie’s coming over in an hour!” And with that she went down the stairs and I heard the door open and close.

I’d just… let it happen. I half expected to suddenly have something really weird happen due to whatever it was that was now coursing through my veins, was it dangerous? But when nothing appeared to happen I decided that I had better try and get ready to appear normal to Ellie. Or well, whatever ‘’normal’’ was for the person I was pretending to be right now. It was both quite scary and kind of interesting to see Ellie again after all this time. We used to be as close as I was with Bryan, I wonder what she was up to now?

-

I started with my normal morning rituals. Started with getting some breakfast, which was pretty much the same as it had always been. There were some condiments missing or extra, but I was able to have a nicely familiar breakfast, most important meal of the day and all that. I brushed my teeth. There were  indeed a lot of new items at my bathroom stand thingamajing as I’d groggily noticed yesterday evening. A brush, some lip stick, something I’m pretty sure was mascara and some other things I wasn’t so sure what they were except ‘’make up’’. Was I expected to wear these things? Probably not today at least because it was supposed to be a study meeting with a friend, or so I hoped, but what about tomorrow? Maybe I could look up some videos on how to apply it or something? I had to admit, it was kind of fun to think about developing all these ways to live this double life.  It was kind of like I was a secret spy having to fit in for an infiltration mission or something. And sure, all this girl stuff was embarrassing, but it definitely was not boring!

I checked my face for stubble, as I usually did. I didn’t want to let it grow too long, as a beard looked really bad on my face. The skin was completely smooth though. That was a major benefit of this I suppose, I never had to worry about shaving again. Wished that that could just stay. Oh well. That step done I moved on the next phase which was showering and…. oh fuck.

Maybe I could just not shower until this was all over? Then again…. I could skip it for a day maybe, but I would be smelling pretty bad come Tuesday, plus…. I have to admit part of me is kind of interested in…. the way ‘Kiara’ looked. I mean, that was weird, I know. It wasn’t like  sexual or anything. I just…. curiosity?

My hands trembled a little as I took off the pyjamas. There was a full length mirror on the back wall of the bathroom. Looking back to me, standing in her underwear was a girl. The uh… ‘panties’?  I suppose they were called I was wearing definitely didn’t make it obvious what was under them. And well, those were boobs. I put my hand on my hip. That was something else I really took notice off. I’d always hated how lanky I had been, straight like a stick, all that stuff. I’d intended to change that by putting on some muscle, have more of a figure that way. The past year, in part through judo, I’d started to put on a bit of muscle, but it hadn’t helped made me look much better so far, though dad said it did. Kiara on the other hand had pulled another approach, and it had definitely had much prettier results. Instead of her figure being straight her waist narrowed and hips expanded to give her a somewhat of an hourglass figure. Not to mention standing sideways her breasts gave definition one way and her butt another. It was weird to think my body looked a lot better as a girl then as a guy. I mean, there was still the nose and height and all, but….

Is this what attraction feels like? Am I attracted to ‘Kiara’ right now? That has to be it I suppose. I hadn’t really felt like that before, so it was a pretty new feeling, but it felt really good. But… that was really weird. I shouldn’t be attracted to ‘myself’. I suppose this was a rather exceptional situation though.

I managed to tear my gaze away from the mirror. Let’s get this over with. I unhooked the bra, did my best not to look at what that revealed, gods know what looking at those would do in these circumstances, then pulled down my underwear and got into the shower.

I couldn’t help it though, as I was waiting for the water to heat up I looked down. I had seen boobs before, on the internet, but seeing them like that when I looked down, attached to my own body? That was certainly a different feeling. I’d never really gotten why guys were always so obsessed with them before, but this… this was nice, them looking like this, them… being there.

And then there was the thing below that. It was weird, it was the one thing that was obviously still the same as it had been on my previous body. I mean, it was a little smaller and stuff, but that was it. And yet… it felt the most like it didn’t really belong? It was probably due to the rest of my body looking mostly like a girl, so it felt out of place or something. Or, oh wait, of course. It had to do with the attraction thing? That was probably it.

I tried to not look too much at my body and just quickly was it all. My breasts were a bit more sensitive than I thought they would be, which was…. interesting? But aside from that I was in and out in five minutes and put the underwear back on.

-

I had been staring at the closet for about 10 minutes thinking about what to wear when I heard a girl’s voice downstairs go ‘’Kiara, I’m here! Fuck, did she let herself in? I decided to just put on the outfit from yesterday, and just barely finished before she got up the stairs and opened the door.

I’d seen Ellie around now and again, we still went to the same school after all, but really I hadn’t kept up with her at all.  But even then I think I would have noticed it if she’d had her blond hair in a side cut before. I suppose it suited her? Aside from that she looked almost a little intimidating what with the leather jacket, though I think I’d seen her wear something quite similar to that before at least.

“Heya, what’s with the ‘deer in the headlights’ look?” she replied in a playful tone.

“I uhh…. I woke up way late” I replied as an excuse, which was even mostly true as well.

She eyed me up oddly “Are you okay, Ki?

“Yes!” I replied, perhaps a little too quickly “Why uhhh, why wouldn’t I be?”.

She looked a little awkwardly at that and sat down on the bed ‘’Uhhh, nothing. You just sound a little weird”. Dammit, this again. I don’t know how I’m doing it wrong, but I need to figure out how to fix it. “Anyway, did you finish your part yet?”

“My part?” Not good, not good. If this was a spy mission this was the part where things get problematic.

“Uh yes, you said you’d finish your part before today so we could put the two together, did you forget or what?” Ellie said, narrowing her eyes.

Thinking back, there was a presentation thing that we had to do for physics, two groups each week, that I was doing with Bryan. Of course me and Bryan had picked the absolute latest week possible to do it, but I suppose in this timeline I’d be unlikely to be doing it with him, and apparently way earlier. Think on your feet, she’s getting suspicious! “Uhm, sorry” I responded “I kind of forgot”.

Ellie looked at me comically “Who are you and what have you done with Kiara?”. I knew from her tone it was a joke, but it still made me quite uncomfortable. “Just start up your laptop and we’ll do it together then”.

So I got my laptop and sat down next to her on the bed while Ellie had meanwhile laid down with her arms spread wide. Upon turning my laptop on I quickly discovered another problem: Kiara’s password was not, in fact, ‘our’ birthday. Fuck. Uhhh Mom’s birthday? Nope. I tried to think at what else it could be, but I really didn’t know what else it could be. That left only one option, a bad option. “Uhhhhh, Ellie, I don’t suppose you know my password, do you?”.

“Uh, yah? It’s the date you started HRT, right? You really woke up on the wrong side of the bed today, huh?

Date I started HRT? I don’t….. what? I knew asking about it was probably the wrong idea, but I needed the contents of that laptop. What choice did I have?

“Uhhhm, Ellie? What is uhhh, what is HRT?”

As soon as the words left my lips I’d realised I’d made a mistake. Ellie looked at me with wide eyes as she stumbled up from the bed and went to stand in the door opening. “Okay really, who are you and what… what have you done with Kiara?” The same sentence from before, but there was no hint of playfulness left instead it sounded more like… fear.

What now? I messed up too much. She is going to realize and then she will call the cops. What kind of excuse can I make to talk this right? I racked my mind but couldn’t think of anything. That only  left…..

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t meant to, I just wanted mom back, please just hear me out?” I managed to reply, my voice trembling as I felt the by now familiar tears started to run down my face. Dad would not approve.“I’m…. I’m ‘Sean’.”

Ellie looked as if she’d been struck “What? What do you mean?”

“It’s uhh, Bryan and I, we were….”

“Bryan?” Ellie interjected, her voice thick with disgust, clearly she was not a fan of his, “What did he do?”.

“Nothing! I mean, okay, he called me over, right, told me he had this thing he wanted to show me…”

“And you went? Kiara, you know you can’t trust him for shit, you should have at least asked me to come with!”

“I uhhh, I haven’t spoken with you for years” I replied, causing Ellie’s expression to shift from anger to utter confusion.

So I explained about the artefact Bryan had found and what it did. She of course was sceptical that such a thing could actually be found, so I repeated Bryan’s explanation of how it ended up getting in Bryan’s hands. Ellie said it was ‘’typical’’ that Bryan had in the end still basically gotten it by stealing.

“So I just…. I just wanted to try and get mom back, but then I used the device and then I suddenly was… like this!” I ended my explanation.

“Like what?” Ellie responded

“Like…. I didn’t look this way before I used it!”

“You…. oh god, you said you were ‘Sean’? You never transitioned?” She asked somewhat incredulously.

“Uhhhm… if I correctly understand what you mean then ‘no’?” I answered hesitantly.

That seemed to confuse her further. “So, let me get this straight… Alys. Alys died? In your timeline I mean? In a car crash?” In nodded “And so you lived your entire life with your shitty father?” I considered objecting to the “shitty” part, he’d provided me for all that time after all, but I decided to not open that can of worms and just nodded again. “And we were never even friends?”

“Well, we were friends, but we stopped being friends about two years after the accident.”

Ellie still had that look of complete confusion on her face. Then she sat down on the bed next to me again. That was a good sign at least? “So…. Now what?” She said.

“Well, now I’m trying to just get through the four days until I can fix all of this again.” I replied, tentatively, hoping that she wouldn’t put a stop in those plans.

“Fix…. things?”

“You know, go back to normal, give Kiara her body back and stuff.” I replied.

Ellie hesitated for a second before she answered: “If you change the past, wouldn’t it just mean she never existed in the first place?”. Huh. I’d never even considered that. I guess I thought that if I changed the past then Kiara would just come back and be able to continue living her life as if I’d never even been there? Would it be like…. would it be like I was murdering her then by changing the timeline?

“But if that’s true…..” I hesitated a bit, I really didn’t know much about these sorts of quantum physics “Wouldn’t that mean I also created Kiara and all that by changing the past in the first place?” Did that mean I killed my father, or the version of my father that existed in my timeline instead? And what about all the other people it affected? I really never even stopped to consider the consequences did I? But another part of me said that it didn’t matter anyways, as at least it had saved mom.

Ellie looked at me real weird “So between your voice and you not knowing about our project or even about HRT at all, you’re really not lying are you?” she said tentatively. I nodded slowly, unsure if I should nod or shake due to the double negative. “Huh” she said, sounding defeated “can you give me a couple of minutes to let this sink in?” I nodded affirmatively again, but realized that she wasn’t looking at me anymore, staring intently at the ceiling instead.

-

I thought over the implications of the whole timeline shit a bit, but honestly it just made my head hurt and nothing seemed to be the right solution. On the one hand it might have been wrong to change the past in the first place, but does that mean it would be wrong to change it again or would the fact that I was trying to mostly change it back make it better? In the end I decided that I had no idea about the ethics of anything like this and so decided pragmatically I should just change it until there were no more major problems and then make sure not to touch the damn thing again, in case it was actually highly unethical or something.

So I needed to find a way to both save mom and stay normal so that she and dad stayed together. I realised with a twinge of pain that that would mean that Kiara would never exist. I felt sorry for her. By all accounts she seemed to have people who cared about her, mom and Ellie at least seemed to, it seemed wrong to erase her like that. But if I’d created her in the first place then that made it okay, right?

“So…..” Ellie started, and I was glad for the distraction from the ethical quagmire I had landed myself into “You are still like the same person, right? The first 9 years you were the same person, and then circumstances diverged to make you two a bit different, right?”

“I guess so?” I replied. What is she getting at?

“So then….. Kiara” Ellie said, seeming to have found the confidence back with which she barged into my room earlier “How has it been…. being in this body?”

Is she trying to insinuate something? “Weird” I replied curtly.

“Good weird or bad weird?” Ellie responded, looking at me with an intensity that made me rather uncomfortable.

Hmmmm, well I guess it hasn’t been all bad? Sure people were staring at me and stuff, but Kiara doesn’t look that bad or anything. Then I realized that with my pause Ellie was liable to read way too much into it. “Weird weird” I responded.

Ellie simply raised an eyebrow at that explanation “Elaborate.”

She really was an expert in leaving me seeking for words. “Well like…” I started hesitatingly, “Being in a transgendered body like this is-

“Stop” Ellie interjected sounding annoyed but not angry, “Not ‘transgendered’. Transgender, or trans for short.” She then looked at me expectantly again, apparently still wanting an answer to the previous question. 

“Oh sorry.” I started again, “So uh, as I was saying, being a transgender is-

Ellie sighed deeply, cutting me off again. “No, it is an adjective not a noun” she explained “you are a transgender woman. Trans woman for short. Or just woman for real short” she smirked at me.

“I uhhh,” I replied, “Sorry. I don’t know all the terminology and stuff. Dad always said it like that”.

“Yeah that sounds like something he’d do. Don’t worry, it’s okay if you were taught wrong, just live and learn and all that.” Ellie replied, lying back down on the bed.

“Okay so like. It’s just weird, looking and sounding like…. OH!” I suddenly perked up “can you help me with that? With like, sounding more normal? Both you and mom commented on it.”

Ellie seemed to consider it for a while. I technically hadn’t answered her question after all. “Maybe? I think your pitch is already pretty good, prolly cause of your voice training and stuff, I guess your vocal chords are still trained to speak higher, but you’re doing the resonance all wrong.”

-

After that we looked up some resonance exercises on my laptop which Ellie told me the password of. I made a mental note of the date in case it would come up again. On a whim I checked and it was also my  phone’s password. We also checked and it turned out that ‘Kiara’ had done her part already. So we combined practising the presentation and me experimenting with getting my voice to sound like people would now expect it to sound.

 After about two hours I felt I both could do the presentation and Ellie said my voice sounded ‘’good enough’’. She did say to keep practising. It did sound…. better. Just, really nice. I’m not sure if it was just because it fit with the way I looked now, or had to do with that attraction part again. But when I did like I did it now. Putting the resonance at the front of my mouth instead of in the chest, then the pitch, and then finally Ellie had told me to a bit about how to shift tone as well….

It sounded like a melody escaping from my mouth. My voice had always been, fine I guess, but this…. was something else.

After a brief pause for lunch Ellie also helped me with a bunch of other stuff she said I would need for school tomorrow. She taught me how to apply mascara, eyeliner and lipstick. She didn’t bother with the rest. Apparently Ellie didn’t know how to use that stuff either. That kind of surprised me, I thought girls would know all this stuff? According to Ellie Kiara had known, said she had always been the “girlier” of the two of them, which was an interesting thought. Maybe mom had shown her how to do it? Luckily it also wasn’t necessary according to Ellie, as Kiara only wore that for special events.

Lastly she had me paint my nails. I got to pick the colour myself, Kiara had quite the collection. I ended up going for a neutral black, though Ellie gave me a very sparkly topping to put on it. I messed it up the first time, but Ellie just had me use something to get it off again and reapply it. It was kind of fun, sort of like painting, but painting yourself? I hadn’t done much creative stuff in years, so it was just kind of nice.

After that we worked a bit more on the rest of our homework, though we ended up talking through much of it. It was weird, I hadn’t talked with Ellie in years, but it didn’t take long for it to feel quite comfortable again. Was probably due to the fact that for her it had only been yesterday we had talked. Or well… her and Kiara of course, not ‘we’. I was surprised to find the topic go to video games. I kind of thought girls generally didn’t play those much. But apparently Ellie and Kiara played plenty, including some of my own favourites.

I can honestly say that I was quite sad when Ellie said she had to leave to get back home before dinner. It had been nice to be talk with a friend that was somebody else than Bryan for once. When I got back I should hit her up. Maybe we could  still be friends? Then again…. things wouldn’t be the same if I was a guy. Not to mention dad would disapprove as soon as he figured out we weren’t dating.

I ate some of the leftovers in the fridge as mom had instructed. I looked a bit around some trans websites that Ellie recommended I check out. After a bit I closed it though. It was all very uncomfortable reading. Besides, that wasn’t really what I needed right now. I didn’t need to learn what Kiara had done, just had to try and get through it now so I could undo it. This was just distracting me from that goal. Just gotta focus on that goal.

So instead I packed my bag for the next day and played some games. Mom was back quite late. We talked a bit about how her day had been. Apparently she’d been on a date with somebody named ‘Dan’ and they’d gone to the museum and then dinner. It was sort of weird to realize my mom was dating, but I guess it made sense with dad gone. Apparently this wasn’t the first date and wasn’t likely to be the last either. She commented on my voice and how a day of rest really had solved it. That at least had been taken care of. 

Today nearly went very wrong with Ellie finding out. But as it was it went better than I could have expected. With her help I was able to fix my voice and learn all the makeup stuff I needed. We’d even picked out a good outfit for tomorrow. I took off my underwear and put on my pyjamas. I resisted the urge to look at myself too much, it would only cause weird feelings. Only two more days. And thanks to Ellie I was more confident than ever that I could do it.

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