Moving On

Moving On……..
By Dee Gregory

I should really move on, but it’s so hard and so painful. Having an empty home and an empty soul I still hurt from the loss of the one an only love in my life. Deanna, as I call her or Dee, as everyone else called her, died a few months ago. Her life was taken away by a drunk driver while coming home from an evening shift at AOL. God, how she loved that place. She’d been there since the early days and the money from her stock rewards gave her the option to retire years ago. She enjoyed helping others while working as a customer care consultant and refused to quit. She was warm, loving, and excitable and enjoyed every moment of life. I guess that’s what attracted me to her like a bug to a light. I still don’t know what she saw in me, but I’m so glad we had found each other. We had been so happy and the magic never waned. After just a few dates, she introduced me to her son, David, who I could see was the light of her life. I was then hoping I could bring her the same joy he did. Soon after that, David was joining us on many outings and we had become “The Three D’s.” David, who seemed close to her in age, had apparently been born while she was very young. Sometimes when they were together, you’d think they were boyfriend and girlfriend. But the way they talked, you might wonder if they were girlfriends instead. They talked about art, fashion, music, theatre; things guys usually didn’t talk much about, even with their girlfriends and wives. She I often suspected and guess I even knew that David was gay, but didn’t worry about it. If she was happy with him, I was too. Although he’d had his own apartment, he spent a lot of time at the house. You’d think he still lived there, but then again, he was always a pleasure to talk to and had always respected our ‘personal’ time.” In fact, David all but carried me through her loss. An avid runner and cyclist, he would get me out of the house for some ‘fresh air’ and exercise. That’s what probably kept him so thin. He was a tough competitor in the basketball court too.

Although Deanna and I had great wealth (mostly hers) we lived in a plain house in a quiet, tree filled neighborhood. No opulent gated or golf course communities for this down to earth girl. Most of the ‘play’ money went to gadgets, like the latest computer, camera, or audio-video equipment. I’m hurting again today because I’ve summoned enough strength of spirit to do some more ‘cleaning out’ of her closet. We’d always had separate walk-in closets and I avoided hers, not wanting to face the continuing reminder that she was no longer here. Even after months, facing this is so hard to do. Opening the closet, there are so many things in here from her life before and after our whirlwind romance and marriage. Little knick-knacks from our dates, theatre programs, ticket stubs, even pressed flowers from our wedding. Oh, that reminds me, our anniversary is coming up. David and I should do something special in remembrance. In here are high school yearbooks and photo albums. Even in high school, Miss Deanna Grant was a looker! Paging through the photo albums bring back warm, pleasant memories and also helps me revisit her life before me. Whoa! Hold on a minute! Turning back the page I see a picture of her with HERSELF. Did she have a twin she didn’t tell me about!?! Looking at this picture, I can’t even tell which one is her! Hmmmm…A mystery. OK……. Looks like it was taken in the living room. The reflection in the large mirror doesn’t show a person where the photographer should be. Maybe a tripod with a timer? But why? I wish Deanna was still here to tell me the story behind this picture, I’m sure it an interesting one. Maybe…..just maybe…. David could shed some light on this. Hopefully, he’s home from work. I’ll give him a call.

David loves being a nurse. It pays him well and is his way of giving back to society. Because of his mother, David doesn’t really need the job. As an infant and toddler, she had set him up with many of her ‘stock incentive rewards’ from AOL. These had grown, split, grown, and had been diversified, giving him independent wealth. This had paid for his education, school room and board, and now everything to sustain his life today. Working just gives him ‘mad money,’ and this job gives him plenty. David answers and will comer over at dinner, bringing Chinese take-out

Lights in the driveway, he’s here. Good. How do I ask about this, hmmmm. David walks in the door. Well here goes. “David, how’ve ya been? I’ll get some bowls and chopstick so we can sit at the table and talk.” After some small talk while settling in at the table, I bring it up. “Here’s the thing. I was trying to go though your mother’s closet to ‘thin it out’ and see what can be done with her things. I think most of it should be yours, but we’ve had this discussion before. I was looking though one of the photo albums. Heck, with digital photography, these things are becoming obsolete too. Here it is, David. Look at this picture. Did you mother have a twin sister she didn’t tell me about. They say everyone has a twin somewhere in the world, but this is scary. I cannot tell which one is her! Do you know anything bout this?” David seemed to go lost in thought at that moment and didn’t respond. “David. Do you know anything about this picture?” I asked again, bringing David back from his reverie.

“Her name was Wendy and she was a very close friend of mom’s. Sometimes I think mom shared more with her than with me. Maybe it was a girl to girl thing. Wendy moved away just before mom met you, but they stayed in touch. She didn’t really look like that you know. She just did it as a ‘lark’ so they could be ‘twins’ a few times. Wendy could be quite a chameleon. Why do you ask about the picture?” “Cause I’m intrigued. David, the resemblance is uncanny, I’d love to meet her and talk to her personally about it,” was my reply. “Doug, I don’t know if I could even find her. I know she moved away and had stayed in touch with mom…” David trailed off. I mused; “You know, I been thinking about this since we talked this afternoon and our wedding anniversary is coming up soon. I though it would be great to have a nice dinner and celebrate your mother and the joys she brought to our lives. From this, I’d have to guess ‘Wendy was it?’ had to be a close friend too, and I’m sure she’d have some great stories.”

A week later the phone rings at the house. “Hello” “David, what’s up? You found her? Great! Will she come to dinner? Yes? Conditions? OK, I’m listening…. The Chandelier Room at the Plaza Hotel downtown…. But I wanted a brighter, more festive place…. ok, ok…. The Chandelier Room. No pager, no cell phones, no interruptions… this evening is for remembering your mother and no one else… ok… What!?! Won’t that be a little strange? Yes, I DO want Wendy there. I’m not sure about her being your mother for the evening, but if she insists…..ok. Saturday the 23rd, 7:30pm. One more thing? Have dinner with Wendy the following Friday as herself? So I can get to know the real person? OK….. I guess that’ll be fine. OK, OK…. I promise.”

[Saturday the 23rd] OK, use valet parking or save money when I get there. I have a single stem rose on the car seat beside me like I always gave Deanna on our dinners out. The cell phone rings on the way to downtown. “Hello.” David is on the phone…. “I can’t make it,” he mutters. “Emergency room doesn’t have enough anesthesiologist, so I’ll have to miss tonight’s dinner. Please tell me all about it later.”

“But wait, how will I know her? How will she know me?” I was stressed. “Doug, calm down. We were going to meet at the bar. She’s going to look like mom. I know you can recognize her. It’ll be fine, I’m sure. Besides, I’d love to see the look on your face when you see her.” I let him go with “David, it won’t be the same without you. Goodbye.”

Hell with it, I’m doing valet parking now. There were only two places in town this upscale and classy, the Plaza and the Regency. I’d have chosen the Regency, it brighter and livelier. The Plaza is great for a quiet, romantic, candlelight dinner; the kind of dinner in which you would propose to your future wife. I still can’t believe David isn’t here am I’m meeting a total stranger. Restaurant left, bar right, here goes. Oh Shit! With a lump in the throat bigger than a grapefruit, I stand here in shock. She is wearing the same dress as she wore on our last big formal outing to dinner ant the theatre. The one with the angled neckline and spaghetti straps on the other shoulder. Her brunette hair falls about her shoulders. But it can’t really be her! Can it? She turns, she moves gracefully like Deanna always did. “Douglas, where have you been? And where’s David?”

“Wendy? Deanna?” I’m in shock, at a loss for words.

“Darling Douglas,” She smiles that all knowing smile. My knees go weak… “You’re in a state; please sit down. It’s actually Wendy, but for tonight I’ll be ‘Dee’ as my tribute to her and as a gift to you for all the joy she said you had given her. We both loved her very much”

“I don’t know what to say.” Fumbling for words. Tears begin to well up in my eyes….

“Douglas, we will not have that! Tonight is a celebration and we are going to have a wonderful time.”

Only Deanna called me Douglas and I was beginning to lose the separation of the reality I know and the vision before me. “Oh. Yeah, David. He called me while I was on the way here. Apparently he’s gonna be tied up at the hospital for the evening. Some kinda staff shortage emergency. I’m rather upset with him for not coming, but the boy’s got such a good heart. I really admire his commitment to serving people.”

“That’s my son… I guess I did OK with him. You know he really loves you”

“Deanna, he’s wonderful. I couldn’t have made it through the last few months without him. Ever since….” Tears well up again.

“Douglas…… tonight is not going to be about that. It’s about us. It our wedding anniversary, isn’t it? You remembered my rose. That is so sweet. Any other surprises for me?”

She says that every year. “Oh my God, Darling…. I didn’t think to……….”

“Douglas, it’s ok, your being with me is the only present I need this year. I’ve missed you so much”

The evening continued like a dream. We talked about what had happened since…umm….what’s happened in the last few months. It was like the early days when we were dating each other and not seeing each other every day. We talked about David, recounted old times, laughed. We even danced body-to-body close on the dance floor. She smelled the same, looked the same, felt the same. Even her kisses, caresses, and touches were exactly as I remembered. We took a moonlight stroll along the river holding hands. It was like time was standing still and I was reliving the past. It was a little funny how she remembered the specific details of one night out to dinner and a jazz club in our early days. Strange, cause she never really talked much about it before. Before we knew it, it was very late in the evening…. ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’ I never wanted the evening to end. The next words from her mouth hit me like a bolt of lightning……..

“Why don’t we go back to my room for a nightcap? I’m not ready to say goodnight, and I don’t sense that you are ready either.” Her room? She has a room? Here? Oh hell, how can I say no to Deanna? Thank God I chose valet parking. Her room looked over the river with a view of the Regency Hotel on the other side. Standing on the balcony in the chilly night air, she leaned back into me as I wrapped my arms around her. Kissing her neck, I slid the spaghetti straps off of her bare shoulder and began kissing it. We kissed, groped, made out like school kids again. As our passions heated up, she excused herself to the bathroom. “Why don’t you pour some champagne, and make yourself comfortable. I’ll be out in a few.” came through the door. It is SO GOOD, hell, WONDERFUL to have her in my arms again. Looking at the clock, it’s just before midnight. Just as the last flute is poured and set on the mini-bar, the bathroom door opens. She’s a picture from our wedding night; wearing the same off white lingerie; corselet, garters, stockings, the same old necklace and earrings, everything. She unbuttoned my shirt with the same exact movements she always used. Any fleeting reminders in the back of my head that this or she wasn’t real were lost in the love that cursed through my veins. My shirt unbuttoned, she springs up onto the bed, rolls her eyes smiling and says “Where is my husband? And why isn’t he here with me?” We both laugh and I happily crawl into the bed beside her.

Tears welled in my eyes as we began to make love. “You’re absolutely priceless, Douglas. I hope these are tears of joy.” “Yes, my love, I haven’t been this happy since the last time I saw you. “ “I love you, too.” she purred, throwing her leg over mine. Staring into her eyes, she was so perfect, just like on our wedding night. Our lips meet again; our kisses unrestrained, like newlyweds again. Our lovemaking was, as always, gentle and insistent; driven by warmth and passion. Even our rhythms were unaffected by time. We enjoyed all the beautiful, exciting ways we had always made love. And then being exhausted, we both drifted off to a deep sleep.

With a yawn, I stretch out my arms wondering if it all was a dream. But it’s not. I’m in her hotel room, but where is she? There’s a wrapped package and a elegantly handwritten note on the bureau.

Douglas:
It was such a joy to spend the evening with you.
It was easy to see why Dee loved you and loved making love with you.
The room is paid for….no need to worry about it.
I’m looking forward to OUR date on Friday.
I do hope you’ll keep your promise.
Regency Hotel at the marina bar 7:00pm
Dress Casual, were going on a boat ride.
You’ll recognize me from my gift.
With Love,
Wendy

I WAS lost in the dream, the illusion. It WAS WENDY last night, but she was absolutely amazing. I would never believe anyone could be Deanna, never. Amazing. Do I open the package now?… Sure. Inside is a DVD Labeled “Do not view until Friday, just before our ‘date’………….Wendy”. This should be interesting. I will wait then. Ok….time to get back to the ‘real’ world. I take a shower get dressed and head downstairs.

Leaving the hotel, I’m tempted to ask who paid for the room, but I don’t. I catch my reflection in the brass by the doorway; I’m smiling. I haven’t felt this good in a long time, well ever since she …well….Either way, last night feels like a gift from God, allowing us to be together and, I guess, say ‘goodbye.’ one last time. The car comes up and I tip the valet well. Getting in, I hear a chirp from the glove box that indicates messages on my cell phone. I pull over, unlock it, and retrieve my phone. Getting back on the road, I pick up the messages. There’s one.

“1st message. Sunday, 700:am. Doug, it’s David. I called the house late last night; and got your machine. Disregard that message, by the way. I would’ve thought you’d have been home by then. Either you were having such a fun time with Wendy that you didn’t want to return calls until today, or something’s wrong. I really hoping it’s the first of those. Call me when you get this. End of messages.

I hang up and hit David’s number on speed dial. David doesn’t miss a beat, “Doug, Where are you?” “In the car on my way home,” I reply. “You didn’t go home last night????” Uh, oh. What do I say? “Uuhhhm, no. We spent the whole night together. David, she was amazing! I would tell you that she was channeling Deanna, not acting. There were times that back of my head kept saying ‘This is an illusion. Deanna’s not really here. This is Wendy.’ AT the same time, my eyes and my heart were suspended in the dream of having her back and nothing had changed. I spent the night in her room with her. David, I’m sorry. I loved your mother and she was everything to me, but Wendy was so intoxicating that I needed to be with her. I hope you’ll understand.” David’s excited answer followed. “Doug! Really? Did she stay in character all night, or did she show you the ‘real’ Wendy too? Either way, it’s no problem. I’m happy for you. Wendy could be so much like mom. At times, even I had trouble telling mom and her ‘twin’ apart. … SO…, are you coming over here, or do I have to meet you at the house for the whole story?”

I really wanted to go ‘home’, maybe to see if Deanna could really be home waiting for me, or maybe to just get fully linked with reality. “The house,” was my answer. “OK. See you there!” David almost yelled into the phone.

I get home before David and check the machine for messages. There’s one. I press the messages button. Saturday,11:48pm. Doug, it’s David. I thought you’d be home by now and I wanted to know how everything went. Again, I’m really sorry I couldn’t make it; BUT you will have to tell me EVERYTHING, especially why you’re not home yet.. I hope everything’s OK. Call me when you get this. End of messages.

Done that. I collapse into my recliner, exhausted from the adrenalin rush of the last 24 hours. Just as I’m drifting off to sleep, David knocks and comes in the door with a gigantic smile on his face. “I see you’ve got your smile back. OK, tell me EVERYTHING!” he beamed as he crossed the room.

I didn’t know where start. “How about the first time you saw ‘her,’ he chimed in. “David, seeing her sitting at the bar totally threw me. I couldn’t breathe and I almost ran out the door. I just wasn’t ready to see your mother sitting there in the bar. And then when she smiled at me I was totally lost. I didn’t know how to address her or what to say. My head was spinning. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry……She talked me through it though. Right away, she asked about you, just as she, well, your mother would. From there on, it was like a dream. It was more like I had stepped through a window back in time, than it was happening in the moment. To tell ya… It was like God had granted us one more moment together. It was blessed, magical. It was UNBELIEVABLE. I still am trying to convince myself it was real. If it weren’t for her gift and note, I’d swear I imagined the whole thing.” Without hesitation, David jumped right in, “So you had drinks and dinner and then….? Wait… Gift?” I motioned to the DVD by the phone. He walked over and picked it up. “This is cryptic. I guess we’ll find out about this later…. So, after dinner….?” I told him about the dancing our walk along the river. And going back to her room for drinks, but I wasn’t going to tell him of our ‘intimate’ moments. “Oh yeah,” he started again, “I understand about the intimate stuff, but did she show you the real Wendy?” I replied in the negative. “She probably didn’t want to spoil the moment. That makes sense. You are going to follow through on you promise…? Aren’t you?” I had to know what kind of woman could pull of what she had done last night. “Of course. Besides, I still haven’t met the ‘real’ Wendy yet.”

The week passed with everyone asking what was going on. Everyone but me seemed to notice the change in my attitude. I knew I felt better, but I must’ve really showed it. By the time I got home Friday after work, the anticipation was killing me. I got dressed first and then fired up the DVD player. I couldn’t tell if the ‘twin’ picture I saw was done at the same time, but here they were. They were teasing and forcing the viewer to decide who was ‘live’ and who was ‘Memorex,’ like the old commercial. Try as I may, even using stop frame I could not tell one from the other. Looking at my watch, I knew I’d need to try again later. The were spinning together like a game of ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ saying “I’m Dee” “No, I’m Dee!” “No, I’m Dee” The scene faded to black, and then the face of a gorgeous, voluptuous redhead dissolved into view, saying “I hope you enjoyed my little visit down memory lane. Dee and had such fun doing that. Oh, just in case you haven’t guessed, I’m Wendy and I’m very excited about being able to be myself with you tonight. See you soon.” Oh shit. Now I’m getting the jitters. All right Doug, get yourself together. You did promise. But, there was something….. about her part of the video. I’ll look at it again later.

So off to the car I go… I’m hoping I’ll get there before her and spot her first. Valet parking, yes. I walked out to the Regency’s marina’s bar. The sun was low in the sky and I didn’t see her there. I really didn’t want a drink so I found a bench in the late afternoon shadows where I might go unnoticed. 6:55, no sign of her yet… Oh my, here she comes. She wearing a south pacific islands type wrap over what appears to be a swimsuit. Walking with confidence, she is any boys, or even man’s wet dream. She doesn’t look at all like Deanna. In fact, her breasts seem larger and hips fuller. Her legs, sleek and gorgeous, slide out from the wrap as she walks. As she walks into the bar, every eye watches her enter. No surprise there. After ordering a drink she sits quietly at a table near the entrance to the bar. The sun slips though the trees as if to spotlight her. Wow, she’s stunning. A gentleman walks up and is quickly, yet politely, dismissed. She turns her back again and I rise, walking over to where she sits to surprise her. She spots me smiles, and rises. So much for surprising her. “Wendy, I presume…” brings an even bigger smile to her face. Close up, she’s even more stunning. “Douglas… Can I call you Douglas?” Gulp. I wasn’t ready for that. Without thinking I answer “Yes.” “I’m so glad you fulfilled your promise. My promise is that you you’ll not regret the decision.” She looks at the dainty, expensive watch on her slim wrist. “Oh my! We need to get moving. Come with me.” I followed without hesitation. Just past the marina is a small riverboat with the sign; ‘Sunset Cruises’ The gentleman at the ramp smiles and ushers us up the ramp as if we were expected. I look around, and see no one else but the crew. “Do we have the whole boat to ourselves?” I ask myself under my breath. She replies with; “Yes. Tonight, I’m not sharing you with anyone else! Besides, I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about. Speaking of that… if you have your cell phone with you, turn it off right now and give it to me. No interruptions tonight either!” I surrendered. She placed it into her small purse.

The boat eased away from the dock as we headed upriver toward the sunset. We walked up to the front rail to be rewarded by a cool breeze in our face and a beautiful view of the setting sun. A thousand questions ran through my mind, especially about last Saturday. “Wendy, as you’ve already guessed, I have a thousand questions.” She rewarded me with a cocked head and a smile. “Darling, you can ask me anything…” Without thinking, I blurted out, “When I first saw you tonight, I couldn’t help but notice you, how do I put this? You do not have exactly the same shape as Deanna had our last meeting. Uhmm, you weren’t as ‘well rounded’ before. And you face doesn’t’ have exactly the same shape and structure either.” She couldn’t help but smile at my embarrassment. “Yes Douglas, I am not an exact match in any way to our beloved Dee. Let’s step back and have a seat on this bench here.” As soon as we sat down, as if on cue, the wine steward brought us champagne.

“Dee and I had been close friends for a long time. I won’t bore you with the history leading up to that point. It’s not important anyway. We would go out and do things together, have fun together, get in trouble together. We shared every thought with each other. It got to the point we were finishing each other’s sentences and always knew what the other was thinking. So, as a lark, I found a dress and shoes matching her favorites, put on a brunette wig and was ‘Dee’ for Halloween. I wasn’t very good, but we all got a good laugh about it. She teased me about it again and again, ‘If you’re going to be me, you’ve got to do much better than that.’ So we made it our project for me to become her ‘twin.’ We made some calls and found a special effect makeup artist to help. There are things you can do to ‘minimize’ your size and reshape you body. It wasn’t cheap, but we didn’t care at that point. He made a cast of our faces to create a mask to change my face to hers. Luckily mine is a little narrower than hers and he fit my positive mold into her negative mold and we now had a thin, pliable, yet strong, mask that would fit my face perfectly and allow me to show all of her facial expressiveness. It was feathered at the edge so no seams would be visible under the makeup. The rest was practice, practice, practice…. We only showed David, who pointed out flaws that Dee missed. Until I had perfected the illusion, we didn’t share this with anyone, and very select few after that. I could be her, and no one could tell us apart. All this happened just before I had to move away. You showed up on the scene soon after that. You missed a lot of fun, we’d go out as identical twins, I’d also fill in for her when she wasn’t up to a date or a party.”

“Wait a minute. You took her place on dates too?” I was stunned. “Did you ever ’replace’ her on one of OUR dates????” Already knowing the answer to the question, I was still shocked by her reply “Yes Douglas. Don’t you remember our wonderful evening at the jazz club?” she answered perfectly in Deanna’s voice and inflection. “Oh my God! Oh my God! Well, that also explains something else.” blurted from my lips. “What’s that dear?” she inquired, back in her own voice. “I always wondered why she never really talked about that evening. I had the feeling, in some way she had been a disappointed and she wouldn’t tell me.” She laughed, trying to keep it to herself. “And then, last Saturday, she was suddenly remembering everything about that night. Hey, why are you laughing?” “Oh darlin’” she giggled. “You didn’t disappoint in the least!” She placed her hand on my thigh, squeezing gently. She continued with, “You probably want to know why we did that to you, don’t you? From the moment she met you, all she could do was talk about this ‘perfect prince’ that she had found. She’d gush on and on and on. I finally told her that NO man could live up to her description. She came back with; ‘Oh yeah, why don’t you replace me on our date to the jazz club Saturday, and you’ll see.’ You were still dating and we figured you wouldn’t catch on. Afterward, I told her every detail about the evening like we’d done every time before, so she wouldn’t stumble over the details later. I guess she wasn’t comfortable enough with her ‘verbal history,’ so she didn’t talk about it. There was one thing I didn’t tell her about the evening though….” “And…..?” came from my lips. “I did tell her she had found the perfect prince, but I didn’t tell her it was also the evening I fell totally and madly in love with you. I loved the classy way did everything, and the subtle ways you stroked my cheek, my breast, my body in that dark corner of the club, but I loved her too much to do anything but steer clear, worship you from afar, and live vicariously though her stories. Douglas, you made her so happy. I wished so deeply I could have that happiness too. When she died, it just didn’t feel right to contact you. When David called, I knew my opportunity had come. So I made this separate date with you as part of my requirements. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Wendy, I am flattered. In shock, but flattered nonetheless.” “Douglas, I’ve loved you from the moment I first met you and after that it was no surprise to me about Dee’s adoration of you. Saturday was really as much for me as it was for you. It was always my dream to make love to you, even if I was doing it as her. It’s now my dream to be, in the least, your friend and hopefully so much more….. I’d even be willing to recreate ‘Dee’ anytime you need her again. In fact, I can be about anyone you want be to be”

Wow. I draw in a long breath and let it out, trying to gather my thoughts. The night air has turned cool and I buy more time by draping my lightweight jacket over her nearly bare shoulders. She looks up at me with doe eyes as I look down into her beautiful her face. God, I think I’m falling in love with her. Her face reaches up to mine and I can’t stop myself from the kiss that follows. She rises and I draw her up into my arms, wrapping her up, feeling her warmth, her softness, smelling her perfume. God, I DO love her. We moved inside where it was warmer. I loved the feeling of her body next to mine. When we docked, she informed me she had a room here at the Regency and would love having my company for a nightcap. Why was I not too surprised? In the elevator to her room we were alone and couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. Wendy wasn’t like Deanna at all; she was much more forward and direct. In my heart I hear ‘Deanna. I love you, but it’s time for me to move on.’

When we reached the room, she wasted no time on dropping her wrap to the floor revealing a thin, body-hugging bronze swimsuit. She eyed me like a tiger ready to pounce. She walked over and unfastened the buttons on my shirt with a speed that would seem impossible with her fingernails. The belt followed and pants were dropped so fast I didn’t have time to think. Smiling, she pushed me forcefully back onto the bed. She slid the straps from her shoulders and peeled the swimsuit downward revealing voluptuous breasts and curvaceous hips. I could also see she was a natural redhead. She pounced, sliding her body tightly in next to mine. Her hand to my chin pulled me in for another long, forceful, passionate kiss. She new every trick, including some I hadn’t known, in stimulating a man to erotic pleasure. As she’d catch her breath, I could see she was stimulated and excited also. Our lovemaking worked into a crescendo that led to a simultaneous orgasm. “I guess you DON’T regret your decision to meet me today after all,” she said with a beaming smile. “Dee was so right, you are a wonderful man.” Exhausted she slid off of me and asked, “No regrets?” Did I really need to answer that question? “No my love, none. I would have told you as soon as one week ago that I could never love again. But, thanks to you, I’m ready to try again.” We spent the rest of the evening in each others arms sipping champagne while kissing and caressing one another. We fell asleep in each other’s arms.

Awakening the next morning, I reach out to her and found an empty pillow. Wide awake now, I cursed, “Shit. She did it again.” Another note, in her elegant handwriting, awaited me on the counter.

Dearest Darling Douglas:

I do so much hate doing this to you again,
but I have several things that I need to take care of.
I promise to be in your arms again very soon.
The room is paid for….no need to worry about it.
ALL My Love,
Wendy

How could I be angry at her? I showered, dressed and headed home. I fired up the cell and called David. Getting his voicemail, I remembered he had to work this morning. I really wanted to share my happiness, especially with David, who had always been there for me and was so much more of a friend than a stepson. Oh well … later then.

Arriving home I fire up the DVD, to get another look at my new love. She and Deanna were so cute. I enjoy watching the ‘twins’ again. But I want to see Wendy….God, she’s beautiful. Could I be this lucky twice in one lifetime? I’m thirsty. I freeze frame the video and get a drink. Sitting back down, I gaze at her face and wonder how she created the video so quickly and where it was filmed. The background is dark, so I crank up the brightness enough to see the background, turning her into a brilliant white ghost. In the background I see…. Hey. That’s here, in this room. I see the new music CD I’ve been listening to for a few weeks still standing up in the stereo cabinet in the background. What was she doing HERE? Who let her in? OK, it must’ve been David who let her in. I grab the phone and dial, reaching his voicemail. Angrily, I leave a message. “David! This is Doug. I need an explanation! Call me when you get this! Bye.”

Early that afternoon David calls. “Doug, you sounded angry. What’s up?” he inquires through the line. I launch into him. “David I cranked up the video brightness to see that she had filmed her video ‘gift’ in MY living room. David, what the hell was she doing in my house before I’d even met her? We had always agreed that you could come and go as you please, but you’d bring no one else in the house without my prior agreement. She’s wonderful, but what was she doing here without my knowing about it?!?” David’s voice was calm and controlled. “Yes, Wendy was in the house and I’m sorry I made an exception to your rule. But when she told me about her idea of a video gift, I liked the idea. As you know, my PC here at the apartment is a simple unit geared primarily for web surfing. All of the video equipment and the computer with video editing capabilities are at the house. I just thought it would be easier than moving everything elsewhere to create that short clip. Again, I’m sorry.” That calms me a little bit, but something is sill not right. “David, can you, I, and Wendy get together tonight and discuss this. Something doesn’t feel right and I want the three if us together to sort this out.” The line is quiet. David seems to be thinking about it for a moment. “OK, Doug. After dinner about 8:00 all right with you?” “That’ll be fine,” I respond and hang up the phone.

I pull into a space near David’s apartment. It’s in an old school building that’s been converted to high-end 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Looking around, I wonder which car is Wendy’s. She probably has a rental anyway, I figure. Soon after ringing his doorbell, Wendy appears at the door and invites me in. She’s dressed more conservatively than I would have expected a plain blouse and long, floral skirt. Not seeing David, I wanted to know, “I don’t see David. Where is he?” With a very serious look on her face, Wendy asks me to sit on the couch. “Douglas. David will be back later. I wanted to talk to you privately before we bring him back.” She sits in the chair beside me, facing me and starts, “Douglas, as you may have guessed, you are not the first man I have had intimate relations with. When Dee and I would go out, she would talk to and enjoy the company of men, but she was always ‘holding out’ for her perfect prince to show up, which meant she always went home alone, at least until you. She could see you were very different and very special. I on the other hand, would hunt down the hottest hunk in the place and leave with him. Our night at the jazz club ended all that. To be fair to you, there is one more very important thing I need you to know about me before our relationship should progress any further. Please understand that everything I said and everything I’m saying about my feelings for you are absolutely true and what I’m about to share with you changes none of that. The heart that beats within this woman you see before you loves you so very, very much. Do you understand?” Confused, I answer, “Yes, I understand.”

She turns away from me, retrieving a DVD out of her purse by the door and inserts it into David’s player. Turning on David’s large screen TV, the blank screen is soon replaced by video I had seen before of Wendy and Deana. When the two start turning and saying “I’m Dee” “No, I’m Dee!” “No, I’m Dee,” she pauses the video and repeats, “Remember that everything I said and everything I’m saying about my feelings for you are absolutely true and what I’m about to share with you changes none of that. The heart that beats within this woman you see before you loves you so very, very much. Are you ready to go on?” I nod and the video resumes. Soon after that, one of them stumbles and walks off the screen. Deanna walks up to the camera until her head and shoulders fill the screen. She smiles at the camera and,rolling her eyes, says, ‘I knew one of us couldn’t keep it up. And now it’s pretty easy to decide who the real Dee is. Did you choose correctly? Did you choose me? If you chose me, then all the work I’ve done to fool you has been worthwhile. That’s right! I am NOT Dee Grant!”

I still couldn’t tell. But now, knowing about the night in the jazz club and our honeymoon, I’m not surprised. What’s about to happen next will shake the foundations of my entire world. I glance over and Wendy has leaned forward and is now watching me intently for my reaction. The video continues with “Since I’m not Dee, let’s see who I am.” Looks like I’m going to see how Wendy pulled this off. At that point Deanna digs a fingernail deep into the skin at the inner edge of her cleavage. Shuddering at the pain she must have felt, I’m surprised that she doesn’t bleed. She drags her fingernail up ripping skin to her collarbone. Morbidly amazed, I watch her do the same on the other side. She digs her hands into each ‘rip’ and peels her breasts away from her chest, which now looks like a man’s chest! My mouth has already fallen open while the flat-chested ‘Deana’ speaks again “Surprised? But wait, there’s more.” She takes both hands up to her temples and digs into them, pulling the hairline away from the skin. With effort, she now removes what is obviously a wig, tearing away ‘skin’ across her forehead. Short sandy blonde hair is visible underneath. ‘Oh my God, could this be David?’ I think to myself. Back to the video, fingernails then dig into the face behind the cheeks, distorting the face as it peels forward, then off, to reveal David’s youthful face beneath. In his own voice, David remarks; “You know all those studies that say a young man becomes gay when he’s a little too close to his mother. I guess I should be their poster boy, huh?” The screen fades to black.

Looking over at Wendy, she sits up with her attention still focused on my face. It then hit’s me!!! I start babbling; “I spent the night with Deanna and that was you and you are….” “Someone who loves you very much…” she interrupted in her voice. He interrupted in her voice. Uh…”Shit!” David/Wendy leans forward using calm quiet words, “Douglas, if you’ll hear me out, I’d like to talk to you….” My mind is racing but her…, his…, her… words sooth me. She begins; “Darling, everything I said before still applies. Especially everything when we were together and you didn’t know what you know now. David is gay, but Wendy is a one man woman, and as you know she is every bit a woman. I know we both enjoyed being together as man and woman. I promise, never to break the illusion of what ever woman I may present to you. I promise you will never ever be able to tell who or what is beyond what you see and what you feel. As Dee, I loved you and as Wendy I love you. The question is can you suspend a piece of reality like you did on your anniversary, when you accepted me as the Deanna you loved and not as an illusion.’ If you’d like, Deanna can share formal evenings out with you. Wendy can share fun and exciting evenings with you. And David can still be your best friend, doing all the ‘guy stuff’ you boys do together. And you can have whichever you want, whenever you want without worrying about any embarrassing slip-ups. What I want to know, Douglas, is………. Can you still love this woman sitting here before you? Especially knowing how much she loves you and wants to please you?”

She makes a great point. I never would’ve known. And she was honest enough to share her ‘truth’ with me. It also took great faith to believe I wouldn’t kill him/her. But can I do this? Can I be intimate with a woman, knowing she’s really a man? I was intimate with Deanna, knowing she really was Wendy. To be with either of them again would be pure pleasure. And then there’s David. He has been such a good friend; I’d really hate putting that friendship at risk. It is Deanna’s blood, at least part of her DNA that courses though the veins of the woman, definitely a woman, which I see before me. She has brought joy to my life again and I don’t want to lose her love. I’m ready to move on. I start with a question, smiling; “So, how did you get the name ‘Wendy’?” Wendy answers with a smile that would blind anyone. “Dee kept calling me the “Twin Dee,” which we shortened to “Wendy. So….Douglas…. can I have a kiss?” Smiling, we stand and I pull her in close. We melt together in a passionate kiss. She perks up with “Let’s go out and have a drink, maybe at ‘our’ favorite jazz club? It is Saturday night. I can change to something a little less conservative in David’s bedroom.” Anticipating a fun, hot, exciting evening I send her to change with a whispered, “Hurry, my love…” She scurries off to David’s room. It’s already been an interesting evening and it can only get better. Tonight I can take her to my bed. She steps out of David’s room closing the door behind her. As we leave his apartment, she locks ‘his’ door. She smiles, “David gave me a key. He can let himself in when he gets home later…”