Chapter 5: The Realization
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Max must have stared at his body in the mirror for hours. It seemed that way at least, and he only peeled himself away from the mirror when his legs screamed to have rest. He slowly put on his fluffy bathrobe, which looked much too large for him now, and tried to suppress a grin. He still didn't totally love his body, but he knew in his heart that he was happy with the changes. 

He padded out to the kitchen and opened his fridge to grab something to drink. He found himself slightly pleased that he didn't have to bend down as much to look through the shelves. Maybe this whole height thing won't be bad afterall? At least it'll keep the women off me. 

That last thought gave Max pause. He hadn't really thought about dating that much lately, since he’d starchy rebuffed any of the women who showed him interest at work. A few of his co workers actually accused him of being gay, and while that wasn't technically true, the rumor suited Max just fine. He just couldn't imagine trying to get romantic with someone while he couldn't bear to look at himself. Its not that he didn't find other people attractive, he’d long ago realized that he was pansexual in his attraction to other people, but he had no desire to push it any further. He’d considered that maybe he was asexual or aromantic, but their stories didn't really resonate with him. He was attracted, but he couldn't get past the gross feeling of his body. 

Now though, would that still apply? He’d stared at his body for what felt like hours, although it was probably only a half hour tops. Can I see myself getting intimate in this body?

Max tried to imagine something sexual, but it still didn't feel right. Something about being a man in a relationship didn't sit right with him, and he didn't think he could stand it.

As he was thinking through the ramifications of the statement his telephone rang. Not his cellphone, he still had not plugged that in to charge after dying while he was out. No, his actual wall mounted phone began to ring. The only person with that number is my dad.  

Fear shot through his body, but he knew better than to avoid his father, so he answered the phone. “Hello?”

“Boy, is that you?” His fathers signature yell filled his ears.

Wincing at the pain, and holding it a little father out, he tentatively replied “Yes father, it's me.”

“Did you leave the hospital this morning?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, good. Fuck those science nerds. Are you coming back to work, after your nice, week-long vacation?”

Max momentarily thought about objecting to it being a vacation, but after realizing the futility, decided to respond “No, I think I might need a couple days. I caught something in the hospital, and I might be contagious.”

“God damnit, you fucking slacker, that's why I don't go to hospitals. Alright, but call out this time. I’m done trying to cover for your ass while you lounge around in bed.”

Before Max could even reply the phone went dead, so he hung it up on the wall. It wasn't unusual to get spoken to that way by Max’s father. He was a cruel man, long before he settled down and had Max, and losing his wife didn't seem to upset that balance in the slightest. In fact, Max remembered being driven home from the funeral by his aunt, because Max’s father wanted to return to work for the rest of the day. 

Max grabbed his phone and made his way to the bedroom to lie down while it charged. Once it had enough battery, Max made a quick phone call to his supervisor who was initially furious, but became slightly less furious when he explained he was unconscious from the fall. Apparently Max’s father had just said he was sick. After explaining he would need two more days to kick a virus, he endured a few more minutes of lecturing, before his supervisor hung up. Then, rather quickly Max fell into a deep, much needed sleep.

**

Max awoke sitting on a soft white couch, immediately aware that he was outside, and it was very bright, but not uncomfortably so. He sat up and as his body shifted, his hair moved down onto his collarbone, in a nice neat braid. It’s so long! He thought to himself, examining how it was at least two feet long, measured from the back of his head. He couldn't keep his hands off it, and he was so excited with how great it looked. It was when he was looking down that he realized he had breasts. Not the small budding ones he’d had when he had fallen asleep, but full breasts, held snugly in a white tunic. For some reason that Max couldn't quite explain, this didn't upset him. He was calm.

“Hey gorgeous” a young woman said approaching him. She was beautiful, and much taller than him, maybe 6 feet in total. Her agile, fit body made her seem like some sort of goddess or athlete. She sported a white tunic like him, and two strappy sandals that made her seem like she was on the set of Hercules. “This seat taken?”

“No-” Max began to speak but his voice was high and lofty. Soft and beautiful like a song. This didn't upset him either, but startled by the change he said “I sound like a girl!”

“You look like a girl too” the woman said, sitting down next to him with her arm around the back of him on the backrest, and definitely closer than he was normally comfortable with. This excited him in a way he had never felt before. It wasn't the usual terror of being found out for being different, this excitement felt almost fun, like he was being chased in a game. “A really pretty one” she continued, reaching out with her other hand to hold Max’s braid. Her skin was so close to Max’s that he couldn't help but feel her warmth. 

“I'm not though” Max started unsure of himself “you know- a girl.” 

“Why of course not, you're a woman” the other woman purred, her face inching closer to Max’s. 

His breathing grew labored and unfamiliar butterflies buzzed in his stomach. She was so confident and sure of herself, Max was enthralled, but he tried to reason his way out of the situation. “I- Well, I was born as a male though.”

“You were born as you, sweetie. You grew up into a different version of you, but you were always the same soul, all that changed was the package. It sounds like the package changed recently, but that doesn't make you any less… you” As she spoke, her fingers played around with Max’s Braid and inadvertently tickled her neck. 

This line of thought confused Max a little, but he thought he understood the gist of what she was trying to tell him, even though her antics made it hard to focus. 

“You don't seem upset by the changes” she added, drinking him in, letting her lingering gaze inspect every inch of exposed skin.

“I suppose I’m not,” Max replied, trying to understand what this meant. “If I’m happy this way, is that a bad thing?”

“Of course not, darling. Your soul knows what's best for you, you just have to follow your heart.”  As she spoke she dropped Max’s braid and reached out to gently tap her chest over her heart. 

“Follow your heart. Someone else told me that recently and that I hadn't realized something yet”

“The Oracle, yes. What is it you think he was asking?”

“Maybe if I’d noticed the changes?”

This made the girl laugh boisterously “you silly girl, he knew you had seen those, he wanted you to realize something in here” she said again pointing to his heart. “Something that you’ve always known, but never felt the strength to confront. Don't you think it's odd you can't stand to see your male body naked. Don't you find it strange, that the idea of exposing your skin makes it impossible to be comfortable in an otherwise erotic situation?”

“I’ve always known I was different… It’s because my body isn't right. It isn't the way I want it to be, and that it makes me …”

“You know the word” she said calmly, taking his hand in hers “you just have to say it.”

“... It makes me dysphoric.  I'm not comfortable with the gender I was assigned, I want to be… no, I am a woman” the weight of saying those words was a weight lifted off her shoulders, and she felt like she could breathe again for the first time in years. Followed quickly was a wave of emotion that brought tears, and ugly sounding sobs.

The taller woman pulled her close, so that she could cry as much as she needed. It was exactly what the sobbing woman needed, and after a few moments she turned to look the other woman in the eyes. “Thank you, I think I needed to be honest with myself, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find the strength.”

“That's okay sweetie, you were finally able to put words to the awful feelings you've had the last few years. You're finally free, but it's almost time to wake up now. You have a long day ahead of you”

And with that the world seemed to spin, and she found her vision fading once again, as she was laid down to sleep again on the soft white warm couch. 

**

With a start she woke from the dream. Back in her bed, just as she’d left it, but the sun was no longer in the window. The clock read 4:39 AM, and she knew that she’d slept for almost 18 hours in total. 

That dream had been incredible, she had felt so free, so authentic and pure. She looked down to her body and found that while it was not the body she had possessed in the dream, that her body had definitely changed while she was asleep. For starters, her breasts were much more pronounced, and full. They seemed much more natural, and less like they were still developing, even if they weren't very large. She wasn't sure, but she thought that her whole body was more petite, and thin. 

Racing out of bed, she immediately tripped to the floor as her legs didn't quite support her the way she remembered. Standing up and taking it a little more slowly, she found her bearings and continued towards her goal; the full length mirror. 

She hadn't put on any clothes before falling asleep, so in the mirror she saw herself in all her glory. She was very petite, but still very womanly and mature. She didn't think that she was actually any younger looking at herself now, but her face had a youthful and smooth feel. She also noticed with a sigh, that she no longer had the troublesome plumbing she was born with, and it looked so much neater without that hassle between her legs. It was a relief, her whole appearance gave her a tremendous sense of calm. She’d always truly been a woman, even if she couldn't admit it to herself. But now she could admit it, and now her body wouldn’t cause her the pain she’d let numb her whole life.

She knew that she wasn't him anymore. She was the same ‘soul’ of course, as her dream friend had reminded her, but that old name would grate on her ears and she found no familiarity or comfort in it anymore. She knew that, especially with a face and body like this, that she'd have to pick a name.

She racked her brain trying to think of something that would suit someone like her. Something youthful and fun, yet serious enough to command respect. 

Maxine? No, that's too close to the original. Victoria? Nah, too gothic. Annabelle? No, not gothic enough. Madeline? No, not quite there, but close. 

She knew she needed a name, but her excited brain couldn't be serious enough to let her pick one. 

Maybe I’m overthinking this. Let's start with the basics. Jennifer? Elizabeth? What about Samantha? Formal when it needs to be, but easily shortened with friends. Yeah, Samantha sounds perfect. 

“My name is Samantha” she said aloud, testing the sound of it to her mirror. Her voice was still a little lower than it had been in her dream, but definitely still very much a woman. If the last few days had been any indication, she may have more changes ahead of her. “I’m Sammie, and I'm a girl” she laughed at the absurdity of everything that was going on, but more so out of happiness at the young woman that she’d become. 

Sam spent the next few minutes making faces into the mirror and getting used to the sound of her voice. She was in love with her body, and she felt like she'd been cheated her whole life up until this moment, having to pretend to be a boy. It was like the movie The Wizard of Oz, where her whole life had been black and white, and now she was finally living in color. 

Just then her cell phone rang, and she froze. She couldn't answer the phone like this, they’d never believe who she was. She slowly walked over to the phone, and turned it over to read the screen. 

“Unknown number. What?” She considered it a moment, before deciding ultimately to let it go to voicemail. If it was someone important, they’d dial her again. 

The ringing stopped but before she could put it down it began ringing again, this time with a caller ID Label reading ‘Its Seph, you asshole- pick up.’

Startled, she fumbled for the answer button and said “hello?”

“Well, welcome back sleeping beauty, how'd you sleep?”

“Seph!” Sam cheered.

“Great guess, you little troublemaker. Why do all millennials avoid answering if they don't know who's calling? You know what, nevermind- I don't care. What name did you pick?”

A little taken back Sam finally put the dots together “Seph, you knew I was trans! I didn't even know I was trans! So this was the gift I couldn't get anywhere else?”

“You can't choose Seph, that's my name, and that last name will be impossible to remember. Seriously, what name did you pick, girl?”

“Samantha” she said, a smile working its way onto her lips.

“Thank Gaia! That's adorable, and I approve. UGHH, I’m so glad you finally hatched, you big, dumb, egg. It was getting ridiculous. Alright, so breakfast and then shopping, both are my treat. Are you excited?”

Sam was speechless, and there was so much she needed to figure out. At least Seph would probably be able to help, since she’d already altered her reality. “Yeah, that sounds lovely. Where should I meet you?”

You sound lovely, and I’ll meet you at your house in ten minutes.”

Before Sam could respond, Seph had hung up. What does one wear when none of your clothes fit and a literal goddess is coming over?

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