Twins

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Twins
By
Julie O

Edited By Robert A

Meals
By Jenny V
(My Sister!)

This story features characters from The Julieverse Stories
Jennifer Stevens appears courtesy of Bob Arnold

(There’s a list of characters at the end of the story)

Chapter 1

    I parked my Acura sedan in front of the three-car garage, stepped out and stretched before heading up to the front door of my sister’s house. I had just driven cross-country in less than five days and I was delighted to have finally reached my destination.

    Actually house isn’t an adequate description; mansion would be a better choice of words.  The garage was larger than one of the houses we had grown up in. Then again, most of the homes in this area of Cape Cod were all pretty impressive.

Her husband, Mark, was very wealthy, old school, rolling in money wealthy. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t begrudge her for marrying well; in fact I liked my brother-in-law a lot.

    My sister Heather stepped out of the front door and smiled.

    “Good to see you, baby brother,” she quipped.

    I almost flipped her the bird for that remark. Yes it was true she was older than me, but by only twelve minutes.

    We hugged and she led me inside.

    “How was your drive?” she asked.

    “No problems until I got near the Cape, the traffic was pretty bad on 495,” I replied.

    “I know what you mean, thankfully it will start to die off now that it’s almost fall,” she replied. “Thanks for coming, Ian.”

    I just smiled back. “Anything for my little sister,” I replied.

    She laughed. “You’re only one inch taller than me…that’s not that much.”

    “Funny, I feel the same thing about twelve minutes,” I replied.

    She playfully punched me in the arm.

    “So, what’s the emergency?” I asked.

    She smiled nervously as she led me out to the deck. “I…we… have a proposal for you.”

    When we stepped out on the deck I was surprised that, in addition to Mark, my mom, Mark’s mother and sister were already there. There was also a woman there who I didn’t know.

Chapter 2

    I suppose I should give you some background information. I was christened Ian Robert McGregor. Our mother had raised my sister and me in Newport, Rhode Island. Dad had been killed in a car crash when we were six.

    After Dad died, Mom took over his real estate company and she turned a modestly successful business into an extremely successful business. In fact, the income she got just from the summer rental business was enough to live on for the rest of the year. This enabled her to always be there for us as we grew up.

    I know that they say that twins are close and have a special bond. Well, I can’t speak for all twins, but my sister and I have always been close. I consider her one of my best friends in the world. Sure, we fight and have disagreements, but that’s to be expected.

    Still we also had our own lives. After graduation from high school we went our own ways. She had earned a full scholarship at Brown and I went to the University of Connecticut.

    She met Mark at a party. He was a law student at Harvard and they immediately hit it off.

    Mark Preston was from Boston and his father, Carter, ran one of the top corporate law firms in the city. While Mark was pretty down to earth, his family had lots of ties to the old Boston bluebloods. He once told us that while he couldn’t trace his family back to the Mayflower, they did arrive shortly afterwards.  

    In addition to being rich and successful, Mark was also dead ringer for Tom Brady of the Patriots; he often joked about people insisting that he give them his autograph.

    Our family liked Mark from the beginning and we were ecstatic when he proposed to Heather.

    Our family wasn’t prestigious; but it made up for this in being colorful, we had more than our share of black sheep going back to the founding of the country. In fact there was good evidence that part of our family fled Scotland after one of the Jacobite uprisings. To escape the repression following their defeat at Culloden they fled to the colonies with most settling in New England.

Many just wanted to settle down and start their lives over, but a few couldn’t resist trouble. They weren’t criminals, but they believed that there was nothing wrong disobeying a law they thought was unjust.

In my research I discovered that several were well known smugglers and many of them were the first to join the revolution. Several of our ancestors participated in the burning of the H.M.S. Gaspee in 1772. While this is now portrayed as an early act of liberty, the truth was that the Gaspee was interfering with the rather profitable smuggling activities that occurred off the Rhode Island coast; at least my ancestors were smart enough to pick the winning side this time. I also found that many served on privateers during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, which was both patriotic and profitable.

I also heard stories that my great grandfather had been a part-time rumrunner during prohibition. He used to pick up the smuggled liquor off the coast and then speed in past the authorities to safety; I guess old habits die hard.

    None of this seemed to matter to the Prestons as they readily accepted Heather into their family. I think they were happy that their only son was settling down.

    Anyway, Mark and Heather got married right after she graduated from Brown. The house on Cape Cod had been a wedding present from his family. They both lived on the Cape fulltime. Mark had a law firm and Heather taught high school English Literature.

    They had what looked like the perfect life. Unfortunately, bad things do happen.

    Around two years ago, Heather was pregnant with their first child when she was hit by a drunk driver as she crossed the street by her school. The good thing was that she survived, sadly she not only lost the baby but she wouldn’t be able to get pregnant again due to her injuries.

    They had been exploring other options ever since as both Mark and Heather wanted a family.

    As for me, I finished college a year early and was recruited by a high tech firm out in California. I got a great job working for a telecommunications development firm. The problem was that we were bought out by a larger firm and I was part of the downsizing. While I was upset to lose my job, they did give me a really good buy-out package, so I didn’t have to worry about my finances.

    It was on my last day of work that I got a call from Heather asking me if I could come out and see her. When I asked her what was up, she told me that she preferred to discuss it in person; she did tell me that everyone was okay health wise. I could tell that whatever she wanted to talk about was very important. Needless to say, I immediately packed up my things and headed east.

Chapter 3

    “How are you doing, Ian?” asked Mom as we hugged.

    “Good, Mom,” I replied.

    “You’ve lost weight since I’ve seen you last,” she commented.

    I smiled back…some things never changed.

    “Sorry to hear about the job, Ian,” said Mark as we shook hands.

    “I’m not that worried about it. I got a nice payoff and it should last me a while,” I replied. “I should be able to get another job in a year. I might take something out of the field just for something to do…or I might just travel.”

     “So they put a no-compete clause in your buyout?” he asked.

    “Yes, I have to stay out of the telecom business for a year, the good thing is that my technical skills are easily transferrable, I already have a few prospects,” I explained.

    “That’s good to hear,” he replied. “If you want I can take a look at your contract…I might find an out.”

    I nodded.

    Mark’s sister Kristina greeted me next.

    She was the same age as Heather and I and we had always got along well. Kristina was a very pretty brunette with short hair. I had asked her out once, but she said that I wasn’t her type, still we remained friendly.

    “So do you think you’ll look for a job right away?” she asked.

    I shook my head. “To be honest I’m kinda looking forward to a break. The takeover was pretty stressful.”  

    She nodded and I couldn’t help notice that she seemed to be in on whatever was about to be sprung on me.

    I decided to wait and see what happened.

    Mrs. Preston stood up and greeted me next. Margaret Preston always was dressed impeccably in the latest fashions. Even though she insisted on me calling her by her first name, I could never do it. Maybe because in many ways she looked like the type of woman you would expect to be a real snob, but thankfully looks aren’t everything. She was actually a pretty cool person. At Heather and Mark’s wedding reception she gave me a person by person family history of the Prestons. I learned that they also had their share of black sheep and that she had once been a cocktail waitress.

    “Thank you for coming out here on such short notice, Ian,” she said.

    I smiled and nodded.

    The mystery woman just sat in her chair drinking her wine. She was an attractive woman who looked to be in her thirties, but there was something in her emerald eyes that told me she was much older. I also noticed her long dark red hair that was styled in a long braid that ran down her right shoulder. I had always had a thing for women with dark red hair.

    I decided to take the first step.

    “Hi, I don’t believe we’ve met, I’m Ian, Heather’s brother,” I greeted.

    She smiled as we shook hands. “Yes, I know, I’ve heard so much about you. My name is Aileen Munro,” she said.

    “Pleased to meet you,” I replied.

    “Ian, can I get you a drink?” asked Mark.

    I saw that everyone was drinking wine and I nodded. “Sounds good,” I replied as I sat down.

    I can close my eyes and remember every detail about that afternoon. It was a beautiful early October afternoon. It was still sunny and warm and there was a nice breeze blowing off the water. I think part of the reason I remember everything so clearly is that I was about to be asked something that I never thought was possible.

Chapter 4

    “Ian, I am about to make you a proposal,” stated Mrs. Preston. “I would like you to listen to what I have to say before you ask any questions.”

    I looked around at the others. Apparently they knew what Mrs. Preston was about to ask me and seemed relived that she was the spokesperson.

    “Okay,” I replied.

    “Thank you,” she said. “First I want to state that no one is going to force anything on you. If you listen to our proposal and decline to accept, no one will hold it against you.”

    I looked at Heather as she nodded at me.

    “So, what do you want?” I asked.

    “As you know, thanks to the accident, Heather cannot get pregnant,” she said.

    She then explained how they had seen several specialists and they had all come to the same conclusion, that there was nothing that they could do.

    I knew how much Heather wanted to be a mother and it broke my heart.

    “We have decided to try a less traditional method,” she continued. “Aileen has special skills and she has agreed to assist us.”

    I glanced over at Aileen and wondered what sort of skills Mrs. Preston was talking about.

    “How?” I asked.

    “We would like you to be the surrogate mother for Heather and Mark,” said Mrs. Preston.

    I almost fell out of my chair.

    “As Heather’s twin, you would be the perfect candidate to have their child,” she continued.

    I was about to point out the obvious when Mrs. Preston put up her hand to cut me off.

    “Aileen has the power to transform you into a woman…you would be Heather’s identical twin sister. This would allow you to have the baby for them. Afterwards, she would change you back,” stated Mrs. Preston.

    I looked around at the others and noticed that none of them were laughing, so this obviously wasn’t a joke.

    “You would carry the child from conception to birth,” stated Aileen. “After you recovered, I would transform you back into a male. I have done this spell several times and it is extremely safe.”

    “I suppose you have questions,” stated Mrs. Preston.

    “That’s an understatement,” I replied. “Assuming that Aileen is telling the truth, why me, why go through this, why not just use a woman to carry the child?”

    “We looked into that,” said Heather. “Unfortunately, I’m now sterile.”

    “We talked about adopting, but we’d like one child to be ours,” added Mark. “I know this sounds selfish, but it means a lot to my family. Ian, I don’t care about the money, but if Heather and I don’t have a child…it would cause a major problem in my family.”

    Mrs. Preston explained that it was extremely important to Mark’s father that they have a child… a Preston to carry on the bloodline.

    “I take it he doesn’t know what’s going on here today?” I asked as I reached for my class.

    “That’s correct,” replied Mrs. Preston. “We will explain to him…and the rest of the family that you are carrying Mark and Heather’s baby.”

    “And how will you explain the fact that Heather doesn’t have a sister?” I asked as I held out my glass for Mark to refill.

    “The spell will also change your identity,” stated Aileen. “To the entire world, you would be Heather’s identical twin sister. The only ones who would know the truth would be those present when the spell was cast.”

    “So you mean I would have a female identity?” I asked as Mark refilled my glass.

    Aileen nodded. “It would be as if you had been born female.”

    “Damn,” I replied as I drained the glass and handed back to Mark.

    Aileen smiled. “I know this sounds crazy, but it works.”

    “Heather, what do you think?” I asked.

    “Ian, I really want a baby…one that is as close to being my own flesh and blood as possible. If you really were my sister I would ask you to do this,” she said.

    I nodded. “Mom, what about you?”

    “Naturally, I would love to be a grandmother, but I don’t want to guilt you into this either.”

    I turned to Aileen. “What are the risks?”

    “The spell has few risks. The issues you would have to deal with are the normal ones associated with becoming pregnant and having a baby. I do want to point out that nearly half the people who do this, don’t want to change back.”

    “Really?” I asked.

    She nodded. “I think it has something to do with having a child. If you decide to stay a woman, no one will force you to change back.”

    I absorbed her words. “Anything else?”

    Aileen looked at Heather and Mark, who both nodded.

    “You would have to conceive the child in a natural manner,” stated Aileen.

    I stared at her as I realized what she meant. I then looked at Mark and Heather.

    “Um, did you know this?” I asked.

    They both nodded.

    “And you’re okay with it?” I asked.

    Heather sighed. “It’s a trade off. Mark and I have talked about this and we see this as a necessary trade-off…that is if you are willing to do this.”

    “You know that I’m only into women, right?” I asked.

    “Your sexuality will change with the gender change,” interjected Aileen. “I know this is a lot to absorb.”

    I laughed nervously. “You have a talent for understatement, Aileen. Mark, do you have something stronger than wine?”

    He nodded. “What do you want?”

    I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t care, just as long as it is strong.”

    He stood up and walked into the house.

    “Are you sure this is the only way?” I asked. “Aileen, if you can change me into a woman, why can’t you just fix Heather?”

    “She already tried,” interjected Heather. “The physical damage was too severe.”

    “I’m sorry,” I mumbled.

    “Ian, you have no idea how difficult it was to ask you this,” said Heather. “We looked at every other option.”

    Mark returned with a tumbler that had what looked like scotch in it. He handed it too me and I took a sip. It was obviously a really high quality single malt and it felt nice going down.

    “When do you need my decision?” I asked.

    “We’d like to do this before the next full moon,” said Aileen. “Being a fertility spell, it will work faster during a full moon.”

    “When is it?” I asked.

    “Ten days from now,” replied Heather.

    “And if I say no?” I asked.

    Heather fidgeted slightly. “I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t be disappointed, but I will not hold it against you. I have tried to think about how I would react if the roles were reversed and to be honest I don’t know what I would do.”

    I smiled slightly.

    “Ian, no one expects you to say yes immediately,” said Mom. “However, I would like you to think it over it before saying no.”

    I took another sip of my scotch.

    “If you do this, I promise you will be very well compensated,” said Mrs. Preston.

    I immediately glared at her. “IF I do this, it will be because I love my sister. Do you think that I would consider doing this just for money?” I asked angrily.

    “Ian, she didn’t mean it that way,” said Mom.

    “Please forgive me, Ian. My words came out wrong,” said Mrs. Preston.

    “Okay,” I replied. I looked at my watch; it was nearly five in the evening. “I think I need to be alone for a while, if you don’t mind. I’ll be back in a week with my answer.”

    I stood up and after hugging my mom and sister I left.

Chapter 5

    I didn’t stick around for dinner as I had to get away and think about what I had just been told.

    If it was a joke it was extremely well played out. It also wasn’t something that Heather would have been a party to; she wasn’t the type.

    I ate dinner at a small seafood restaurant in Rhode Island, but I was too lost in thought to appreciate it.

    I loved my sister and had always said that I would do anything for her, but I had never thought about carrying her child. I also wondered what it would be like to be a woman…and to be pregnant. I wasn’t ready to contemplate making love to Mark.

    I stopped in Middletown and after three stops, I got a hotel room for the night. I debated going out and getting a bottle, but decided that I needed to have a clear head to think this though.

    I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered what it would be like to see my sister’s reflection looking back at me. Okay, it wouldn’t be her, but it would be close enough. At least Heather was attractive.

    Both Heather and I had dark red hair. I suppose it came from our Scottish ancestors. She had been named after our grandmother on my father’s side of the family and I had been named for my great-grandfather, an officer in the Black Watch, who had been killed in France during the Battle of the Somme. I wondered what my new name would be if I decided to be transformed.

    I was also slightly pissed off at Mark’s family as it was very selfish of them. What difference would it make if the children Heather and Mark raised where their own or adopted? I guess it had something to do with maintaining the family name, but what would happen if I had a girl? Would that satisfy them or would they demand a male heir too? I wished I had asked that question back at the house. Why couldn’t Kristina have a baby?  I suspected it all came back to the male heir creating the next generation. I doubt that the old guard of the Preston clan would be satisfied with Kristina having a child under another man’s name…or even worse having a child out of wedlock.

    I then wondered how they would react to Heather’s “sister” having the baby. Would that be close enough for them? I had a weird thought and I immediately pulled out my cell phone and called Heather.

    “Thank god you called, where are you?” she asked.

    “In a hotel just outside of Newport,” I replied. “I needed to be alone and think this out. Heather, I have a question; please answer it honestly, okay?”

    “What is it?” she asked.

    “If Mark’s family so desires an heir, will they accept it coming from me…I mean as your sister?”

    “Mrs. Preston and Kristina think so,” she replied.

    “Okay, so I will be your sister…they don’t have some strange idea of having me be you, right?” I asked.

    “Damn, you have been giving this a lot of thought haven’t you?” she asked.

    “And I’m sober too…for the time being, so answer my question please,” I replied.

    “No, they had no plan to replace me with you…wow you have a more vivid imagination than I remembered,” she answered.

    “You should talk,” I replied. “One other thing, how do you really feel about how this will work…I mean the fact that I would have to have sex with your husband?” I asked.

    “I would prefer that they could just use a turkey baster like Bree did,” she replied.

    I laughed. Bree was a cousin and a lesbian. She was married to her longtime lover Joanne. The last time I had talked to her she was pregnant with her third child.

    “Um, you know that it may take several attempts to get pregnant,” she continued. “If it makes you feel any better, Mark is very good in bed.”

    “Too much information, Heather,” I said as I laughed nervously.

    “Hey, you might as well enjoy it,” she replied.

    “And you won’t be pissed at me if I say no?” I asked.

    “I already told you that,” she said.

    “What about Mark? Will this screw up your marriage?” I asked.

    “No… but thanks for asking. I know that he is torn between following his family’s wishes and making me happy.”

    “Okay, fair enough….what will happen if I have a girl? Or is there some way that Aileen can guarantee that I will have a boy?”

    Heather paused. “Oh, I hadn’t thought about that. I’ll ask her.”

    “Thanks,” I replied.

    “So are you going to stay away until you make up your mind?” she asked.

    “I haven’t decided yet. You have my cell phone number so we can stay in touch,” I said. “Fuck, Heather, this is the most bizarre thing you have ever asked me!”  I then laughed.

    “It is pretty strange isn’t it?” she said.

    “Strange is an understatement,” I answered. “Well, I’m going to bed. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

    “Good night, Ian,” she said. “Thank you for being so understanding.”

    “Good night, Heather,” I replied.

Chapter 6

    I woke up early the next morning and despite the cool misty weather that had rolled in during the evening; I drove to downtown Newport and went for a long walk.

    Thankfully I had spent the last few years in the bay area of California, so I wasn’t totally wimped out by the chilly weather.

    As I walked I thought about the monumental decision that I would have to make in less than a week and a half.

    I had created a list of the pros and cons of the being transformed. It would be a unique opportunity to see how the other gender lived. I also wanted to help my sister.

    On the negative side, I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of being pregnant. I guess like a lot of single guys it was a mysterious event that was best left to others. Also being a total research and internet geek I had begun to search for websites that would tell me what to expect. To be totally honest…it was terrifying.

    I knew that women went through all sorts of physical changes, but I had no idea of their extent, and that was just with a normal pregnancy. I didn’t bother looking at the mental changes as it was too much to absorb so quickly.

    After walking around for an hour I found an open coffeehouse. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee was just what I needed.

    As I drank the elixir of life, straight up, no cream or sugar, I pulled out my notebook and began to add things to both lists.

    I wasn’t keen on losing a year of my life. Assuming that the transformation worked, I knew that my new body would have to be examined and checked to see if I could get pregnant. I also doubted that I would get pregnant the first time. I cringed slightly at the idea of having sex with Mark. I could only hope that if I did this I wasn’t a lesbian; although Aileen seemed pretty confident that I wouldn’t be grossed out by the idea of having sex with a man.

    I wondered what would be the implications on my life as a male. Assuming Aileen was telling the truth, my new female persona would have a life history and only those present when the spell was cast would know that Ian McGregor even existed. I wondered what my new name would be. I had checked a name website and couldn’t find any Scottish names for women that started with the letter I. I suspected that like most of my relatives I would be named after a relative.

    My next concern was the fact that Aileen said that I might decide to stay as a woman when this was all over. I suppose that becoming pregnant and giving birth might change a person’s outlook on life. That could mean that I might become a wife and mother for my own family. I shook my head as if this would disperse these ideas.

    I wasn’t against the idea of having a family, but I preferred to do it as the father.

Chapter 7

    Back in my hotel room I searched the web for sites on pregnancy. I also did a quick search of gender change and magic. Granted, this search didn’t come up with anything realistic, although I found more than a few interesting fiction sites that were filled with gender transformation stories. While they were fiction, I did take time to read a few of the stories as it did give me some things to debate in my mind.

    Many of them were simple stories of a male becoming female, often as a punishment or some sort of act of revenge. These stories didn’t interest me all that much. I found the stories that focused on the mental side of adjusting to a new gender, especially when the mind didn’t change. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think that Aileen was lying to me; rather, I just wanted to be prepared.

    Then there was the real-life story of Jennifer Stevens. Formerly a male, her transformation seemed to have been triggered by being hit by lightning. Years after her transformation the doctors still don’t know how it happened but the fact that it did happen was undeniable. The series of pictures of her transformation taking nearly three weeks to complete was a matter of public record. She’s had quite a bit of success as a late night talk show host and actress/director/producer. I suspected that the public curiosity over the transformation had opened some doors for her but she wouldn’t have been able to reach the heights she had unless there was some real talent there all along. She’d become good friends with Alexis Eden and I’d seen her quite a few times as she did cameo appearances as a wisecracking diner waitress on the Erin Flynn show. Rumors were flying that Jennifer and her co-star on her latest movie, Adam Tilton, were secretly married and that she was expecting twins. If the rumors were true I realized that my situation would be much less stressful than hers. At least only a relative handful of people would know about my change instead of the whole world.

    It was then that I thought of another reason to do the transformation. In addition to not having to work, I had few personal attachments in my life. Oh, I dated back in California, but it was never anything long-term. To be honest, I was starting over after the buy-out and if I were to contemplate a temporary gender change, this would be the time to do it.

    I then thought of another question to ask Aileen. I assumed that with my new personal history I would also have memories of growing up as a girl. The question was would they come to mind, or would I have to constantly be on guard as to not blow my cover.

    I looked at the lists and the two columns were pretty close. There were good reasons in both categories. I closed the book and shoved it in my computer bag. I decided that I needed to get back out into civilization.

Chapter 8

    The weather was still lousy, but there were still quite a few people in downtown Newport. I wondered if many of the stores would be closing up soon as they had done when I was a kid. It usually happened after the Columbus Day weekend.

    I noticed many of the old stores and restaurants that I had remembered from my childhood were gone, but I was pleased to see that Brick Alley, Salas’ and the Mudville Pub were all still open.

    I stopped in Brick Alley for lunch. It had been one of my favorite places when I was growing up here.

    The cheeseburger was as good as I had remembered.

    As I ate I noticed two women sitting across from me. What caught my attention was that they were both several months pregnant.  I tried to study them, without looking like a pervert. I noticed that they both seemed very happy.

    I pulled out my notebook and began to take some notes. I was so lost in my writing that I didn’t notice that one of the women had walked over to my table.

    “Ian? Is that you?” she asked.

    My head snapped up in surprise.

    “Yes,” I replied as I studied the blonde haired woman.

    “Don’t tell me that you don’t recognize me?” she chided.

    I cocked my head and then it hit me. I broke into a big smile. “Kelly Fry!”

    She held out her hand to show off her wedding ring. “It’s Kelly Walsh now.”

    I stood up and gently hugged her.

    “You married Joe?” I asked.

    She nodded.

    They had dated throughout high school. Joe’s family owned several restaurants in the area.

    “Cool,” I replied.

    “So what brings you back this way? I heard that you were in California,” she said.

    “I came out to see my family,” I replied. I decided to leave out the rest. “Heather is married and loves living out on the Cape.”

    She nodded. “I saw her a few weeks ago. I’m so sorry about the accident. How is she doing?”

    “Physically she’s doing okay,” I replied.

    Kelly nodded.

    “So what’s up with you?” I asked.

 “As you can see, I’m about to be a mother!”

    “Really? I hadn’t noticed,” I replied with a grin.

    Kelly laughed. “I know, I know… guys are told not to question if a woman is pregnant unless you see her in labor.”

    I had always liked Kelly; she had the same sort of warped humor as I did.

    “So, when are you due?” I asked.

    “Right around New Year’s eve, give or take a month. It’s my first and there can be some difficulty in predicting the date.”

    “How’s Joe taking this?”

    She beamed. “He can’t wait. My god I think he’s more exited than I am.”

    “Well, I better let you go,” I said.

    “It’s good to see you again, Ian. Oh, do you want to trade cell phone numbers? I know Joe would love to see you.”

    I nodded and we exchanged numbers, although I really didn’t plan on calling them. This trip wasn’t about catching up with old friends. We then hugged again.

Chapter 9

    I spent the rest of the day walking around Newport people watching. I noticed at least other ten pregnant women and I did my best to study them from a distance.

    For the most part they seemed happy, but then again this was Newport and they were all pretty well off, judging by their outfits.

    I laughed as I thought about what I was doing. I never really noticed pregnant women before and now, thanks to the decision that I would have to make, I began to see them everywhere.

    I headed back to my hotel room and began to look over the pregnancy websites again. The good thing was that I knew that, thanks to the Preston’s wealth, I would have the best doctors that money could buy. Still, I was a little freaked out when I began to read everything that could go wrong. The good thing was that thanks to medical advances, the chances of the mother dying were slim.

    I then read a section on multiple births and the risks associated with them. Obviously, I knew that multiple births ran in my family and I wondered about the Prestons. One baby would be enough; I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to have multiple children.

     I wondered how Mom had managed to get through carrying Heather and I for nine months. I picked up my phone and called her.

    “Are you enjoying Newport?” she asked after we finished with our greetings. “You know, you could come stay with me and not stay in a hotel.”

    “I need to be alone to think this out,” I replied.

    I told her what I had been doing.

    “You always were the logical one,” she stated.

    “Well, you can’t blame me for taking my time on this decision,” I replied. “Mom, what do you really think of this idea?”

    There was a long pause before she answered.

    “I was totally against it when Heather and Mark first told me about it,” she replied. “I didn’t like the way it backed you into the corner.”

    “And now?” I asked.

    She sighed. “I’m still a little concerned. Aileen seems to be a nice person and all that, but this is moving into a very unfamiliar area for most of us. I fully understand Heather and Mark’s desire to have a child, that, for all practical purposes is their own flesh and blood, but this is a very bizarre solution.”

    “Would you have minded if I had been born a girl and agreed to have their child?” I asked.

    “Probably not,” she replied.

    “Okay,” I replied. “Um, Mom, can we get together and talk about this in person? I have a lot of questions…concerning all aspects of this.”

    “Like what it is like to be pregnant?” she asked.

    I laughed. “That’s the first one.”

    “Why don’t you come over to my place for dinner tomorrow night?” she asked.

    “I’d like that Mom.”

    She gave me directions to her new place. It was a townhouse that was one block from the bay. It was only a few blocks away from the house that we had lived in when I was a kid.

    “Come over around 7,” she said.

    “Thanks, Mom, I’m looking forward to it.”

Chapter 10

    I had no trouble finding Mom’s new place. She greeted me at the door and showed me around.

    While the townhouse was new to me, I immediately recognized many of the furnishings.  Many of the pieces of furniture were antiques, inherited from her grandparents, but Mom had always insisted on using them not as displays but as everyday furniture. Her logic was that that’s what they had been built for and not to be displayed as artwork.

    “I’m glad to see that you kept these things,” I stated as I ran my hands over an oak bookcase. “I’ve always loved this piece.”

    “Well, when you settle down, it’s yours,” she replied. “Come on, let’s have dinner and we can talk.”

    Dinner was an old family favorite, lobster stew.

    “When was the last time you had this?” she asked as we sat down.

    “I think it was the last time I was back here,” I replied. “I thought I smelled it as you showed me around, thanks for making it, Mom.”

    “You’re welcome, dear,” she replied as she filled my bowl with savory stew.

    The stew was as good as I had remembered.

    “So what did you do today?” she asked as she butted a piece of bread.

    “More observations, more research, more things added to my lists,” I replied.

    “Any closer to making a decision?” she asked.

    I shook my head as I swallowed some of the stew.

    “That’s understandable,” she replied.

    “Mom, what was it like when you were carrying Heather and me?” I asked as I reached for the bread.

    “What do you mean?” she asked.

    “I mean, I’ve been reading up on the physical side of pregnancy, but what was going through your mind?” I asked.

    “It was one of the most special times of my life,” she replied. “I was thrilled when I became pregnant. Your father and I had been trying to start a family for a while. Of course I had no idea that I was going to have twins,” she explained. “Of course we were so excited when we were told that I was going to have two babies.”

    She then told me what it was like being pregnant with twins. Overall it had been a very uneventful pregnancy and my sister and I arrived very close to the date that the doctor had estimated.

    “Why didn’t you and Dad have more kids?” I asked as I refilled my bowl.

    “You and your sister were such a handful that we debated never sleeping together again,” replied Mom with a very straight face. “We tried leaving you out in the woods several times but you kept finding your way home.”

    “We were brats but we weren’t that bad!” I countered with a chuckle.

    Mom laughed. “I know that. No, we decided that when we wanted to start a family we were only going to have two kids.”

    “So you never regretted not getting pregnant again?”

    Mom shrugged her shoulders. “I would have liked to have experienced it again, but that’s not important any more.”

    I nodded.

    “So I can imagine what sorts of things are on the no list, but what sorts of things have you put on the yes side?” asked Mom.

    I took a sip of my Narragansett beer before answering.

    “Well, there are the obvious things, like I don’t have a job and am free right now,” I said. “I also really love Heather and would do anything for her…but please don’t tell her that!”

    Mom smiled. “That’s not exactly a secret. She knows you care a lot for her.”

    I nodded. “I also have to admit that the idea of seeing how the other side lives is pretty intriguing.”

    “And does that include getting pregnant?”

    I nodded. “I mean, it is a very interesting proposal. Haven’t you wondered what it would be like to be a man?”

    “Not recently,” she replied.

    “But you have, right?”

    Mom smiled. “Of course.”

     I grinned back. “Well those are the main things. I am worried about the whole having sex with Mark part and also the thing that Aileen said that I might not want to change back.”

    “That makes sense,” she said.

    “I’m also a little worried about how Heather really feels about this. I mean, I will look like her and will be carrying her husband’s child. I don’t want to cause stress between them.”

    “I don’t think you have to worry about that,” said Mom. “They have both talked to me about this. They are also deeply in love.”

    I nodded. “I understand that Mrs. Preston and her side of the family want a male heir, what happens if I have a girl? I’m not willing to do this multiple times for them.”

    “We’ve also talked about this. While there are no guarantees, Aileen says that the chance of producing a male baby is 75%.”

    “And what will they say if I beat the odds and have a girl?”

    “Heather and Mark have said that they will then adopt a baby boy,” replied Mom. “They really tried to do this on their own. Aileen even tried to help them, but Heather’s body couldn’t take it. I’m not telling you this to sway your opinion, but so you know that they really are deeply in love. If there was any other way to do this, they would have done it.”

    “Okay, that makes me feel better,” I replied.

    “Do you want some coffee?” asked Mom.

    I nodded.

    “Okay, I’ll make a pot. Would you please clean off the table?” she asked.

    “Sure, it would feel like old times,” I replied as I got to work stacking the dirty dishes.

    “Not quite, I now have a dishwasher,” she said.

Chapter 11

    After everything was cleaned up and put away, we sat down in the kitchen to continue our conversation.

    “I’m glad that you are being so meticulous in making up your mind,” said Mom. “I would be worried if you made a decision this important quickly.”

    “As you said earlier, it is the way I do things,” I replied.

    “Yes, but it would have been very easy to say no back at Heather’s house,” stated Mom.

    “So what did you all talk about after I left? I mean, what do the others think I’m going to do?” I asked.

    “Heather and Mark aren’t sure, Kristina thinks you’ll do it, and so does Margaret,” said Mom.

    “Kristina thinks that I’ll do it?” I asked.

    Mom nodded. “She thinks that in addition to wanting to help Heather that you’ll do it just for the adventure of being transformed.”

    “Wow,” I replied softly as I drank the last of my coffee. I got up and refilled my mug. “Do you want some more?”

    Mom smiled and held out her mug. “Thank you.”

    I sat down, still thinking about Kristina’s answer. “Very interesting.”

    “She’s definitely the wild one in the family,” noted Mom.

    I nodded in agreement. “Oh, what do you think my name would be if I transformed?”

    “Aileen talked to me about this. She said that it would be the one that I had considered when I became pregnant,” she replied.

    “Okay, I know it’s a family tradition to name children after our relatives; so what other female names did you pick out?”

    Mom smiled as she got up. “Funny you should bring this up. I dug out my old baby book the other day. I will right back.”

    A few minutes later Mom returned with the book. She paged through it and then handed it to me.

    I looked at the list of names.

    “Are all of these family names?” I asked.

    “Yes, from both sides of the family,” she replied.

    While most of Dad’s side of the family came from Scotland, there was also some English and Welsh in the mix. Mom’s side also came from Great Britain, although one set of her grandparents came from the Netherlands.

    “Who was Cailin?” I asked.

    “She was your great-grandmother on my Scottish side. From what I was told she was named for her grandmother who had to flee her village because she was accused of being a witch.”

    “Was she?” I asked with a wink.

    Mom laughed. “Maybe, but most likely she was just a strong intelligent woman who pissed off too many men.”

    I nodded, she sounded like someone I wished I knew more about.

    I scanned down the list and pointed at another one. “What about her?”

    “You mean Kalie?” she asked.

    I nodded.

    “She’s my grandmother and she’s the one who escaped Holland during WW II.”

    “Oh yeah, I remember you telling me about her,” I replied.

    Kalie and her husband escaped to England in 1942. They had been in the resistance and the Nazis had found out. They crossed to England in a stolen fishing boat and after the war they moved to the USA.

    “Did you ever meet her?” I asked.

    Mom shook her head. “No, she died in 1958.”

    “Both seem like pretty cool people, I wouldn’t mind either name,” I replied.

    “I hope you get your wish…that is if you agree to be transformed,” said Mom.

    We talked for another hour before I left. It had been a very eye-opening night even though I was no closer to making up my mind.

Chapter 12

    I spent the next few days hanging around Newport people watching and doing additional research. My lists were now both quite long and I wasn’t any closer to making a decision.

    I did have a new list of questions and after calling Heather I called Aileen.

    “I was expecting your call,” she said in a pleasant manner.

    “I was wondering if we could get together and talk,” I replied. There was no reason to mention what I wanted to talk about as that was pretty obvious.

    “I’d like that Ian. Heather mentioned that you were staying near Newport; I can be out there this afternoon if you’d like. Or would you rather come here and see me?”

    “Where do you live?” I asked.

    “Salem,” she replied.

    I hesitated before replying. “Please tell me that’s a joke.”

    She laughed. “Of course it is! Actually I live in Rhode Island in Misquamicut, right near the ocean. I’m sure you know the area.”

    “It’s been a while,” I replied. “Let’s meet in the middle at Narragansett.”

    “Excellent,” she replied as she named a seafood restaurant. “Do you know it?”

    “Yes, they have great lobster rolls there,” I replied.

    “Great, why don’t we meet there at 1,” she suggested.

    “Okay,” I replied.

Chapter 13

    We arrived almost at the same time and walked into the small seafood restaurant together. To all the world we looked like two friends meeting for lunch, it just goes to show how little most people know about what’s going on around them.

    Aileen was dressed in jeans, a sea green colored sweater and an L.L. Bean raincoat. She didn’t look that different from any other local.

    Thankfully it wasn’t very crowded and so we didn’t have to worry about people overhearing our conversation.

    We placed our drink order as we scanned the menu, although I already knew what I was going to have, the lobster roll.

    “So, I’m sure you have many questions, Ian,” she said as she set the menu down.

    “Just a few,” I replied with a grin. “So, how is it that you can transform people, are you a…witch?” I asked, lowering my voice near the end of my question.

    She shook her head. “No, I am a sorceress, Wiccan is more spiritual.”

    “And you do this for a living?” I asked.

    She smiled. “In a way, yes I do. I use my powers to help others. Mostly I help people with terminal illnesses make the transition to the next world.”

    “Why don’t you cure them?” I asked.

    She took a sip of her soda. “Death is a part of life, Ian. Even with powers, I can’t save everyone; so I ease their pain and help them adjust so that it will be a peaceful transition. My clients seek me out and are ready to move on and they know I can make their last days peaceful.”

    I nodded. “And what about helping people like my sister?”

    “I do that on a case by case status. I have certain criteria that must be met before I step in,” she explained.

    “Like what?” I asked.

    “Part of it is the specifics of the case, like why the person can’t get pregnant. I also do it based on the feelings that I get from the potential parents. Mark and Heather will be excellent parents,” she stated.

    The waitress walked over and took our order; we both ordered the lobster roll special.

    “I don’t often get to work with twins. The spell is usually very successful when working with twins,” she said.

    “Because of the similar DNA?” I asked.

    “That’s only part of it; what makes it work so well is the emotional ties between the siblings,” she said.

    “How long does it take…I mean how fast does the transformation happen?” I asked.

    “It usually takes an hour for the entire physical change. However, you’ll want to sleep for a while afterwards. When you wake up you should feel comfortable with the changes.”

    “What do you mean by comfortable?” I asked.

    “Well, you’ll still be aware of your life as Ian and this can make you feel some conflicts,” she explained.

    “And I’ll look like Heather?” I asked.

    “You’ll be her identical twin, so you’ll look very much like her,” replied Aileen. “Of course, there will be some differences that occur with aging and personality.”

    “And how soon after the change will I be ready…for…well, you know?” I asked.

    Aileen smiled. “We’ll have to do a full physical on you and then wait to see how your body is functioning. I wouldn’t worry too much as this spell has a very high success rate.”

    The waitress brought our food. It smelled delicious. It had been too long since I had real lobster rolls.

    “Okay, so is this considered white magic?” I asked. I then took a bite of the lobster roll and savored the first taste; it had been so long since I had eaten a real lobster roll.

    Aileen shook her head. “Actually there’s no such thing as white or black magic. While there are spells that are used to hurt others, it’s not the magic that is good or bad, it’s the person who uses it. We do have a code of ethics that is regulated; abuse of powers can lead to being stripped of them.”

    “I had no idea,” I replied as I picked up a fry and ate it.

    “We became self regulating many centuries ago,” she explained. She then told me that she was actually licensed to perform spells on humans. “I suppose that sounds strange to you.”

    I shook my head. “No, actually it makes me feel better about all this.”

    “I’m glad to hear that,” she said.

    I finished my first lobster roll and immediately started on the second one.

    “I do have another question; you said that some people decide not to change back, why?”

    Aileen shrugged her shoulders. “We’re not entirely sure. Maybe the transformation fills a void in their life, maybe it’s the fact that they brought a new life into this world, who knows?”

    “Well, I like my present life, so I’m not worried about that,” I stated.

    “I’ve heard that before,” she said as she nibbled on a French fry.

    I just smiled back. “Oh, is there a time limit on when I have to change back? I mean do I have it do it immediately after giving birth?”

    She shook her head. “No, in fact I prefer that you don’t change back for at least a week as you need to allow your body a chance to recover from giving birth. But the longer you stay female increases the probability that you will stay female. If someone doesn’t change back after a month they usually stay in their new gender for the rest of their life. They also tell me that they’re much happier.”

    “How many times have you done this?” I asked.

    She stopped and seemed to be calculating the number of transformations. “I think you’ll be number thirty.”

    I cocked my head and stared back. “You mean you’re not sure? When did start doing this?”

    Aileen laughed and then leaned closer. “I did my first transformation in 1922. We age at a different rate than do mortal humans.”

    “Wow,” I replied.

    “Does that shock you?” she asked as she finished her second lobster roll.

    “No, actually it makes me feel better knowing you’ve been doing this for decades. I was worried that you looked too young to know what you were doing,” I replied.

    She smiled back. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

    I laughed. “I guess that didn’t come out exactly like I wanted.”

    “I like you Ian, you have a good soul,” she said. “Do you have any more questions?”

    I rubbed my chin and then shook my head. “I think you answered them all.”

    “I’m glad to hear that,” she replied. “I have a question for you. If you don’t feel like answering it I won’t be offended.”

    “What do you want to know?”

    “Have you ever wanted to be a woman?” she asked.

    “Not really, I mean I guess I have the normal curiosity of what it would be like, why does that matter?”

    “No, I just like to know. I have had clients who were transgendered and it’s best to know ahead of time,” she replied.

    “Do you also do that? I mean, help transgendered people?” I asked.

    “I’ve done it, but I don’t seek them out. There’s an ongoing debate on that very issue,” she explained. “Basically, there are those with powers who feel we shouldn’t be helping humans at all. Basically we should let nature take its course.”

    “Obviously you don’t fall into that group,” I stated.

    She shook her head. “No, I believe we have powers to help others. I just focus mine on certain groups. I guess the reason I help people like your sister is that I like the change of pace of bringing life into the world. I understand death is part of life, but it does get to you after a while. There’s only so much one person can take.”

    I just nodded at first.

    “That’s pretty deep, Aileen. I respect you for what you’re doing,” I stated.

    “Thank you, Ian, that means a lot,” she replied. “So, you have any other questions?”

    “Just one, aren’t you going to ask me if I’ve made up my mind?” I asked.

    She shook her head. “No. When you’re ready you will tell us.” 

    “Thanks,” I replied. “By they way, I enjoyed our conversation.”

    “Well, I hope we can become friends. If you do decide to change, I will be by regularly to check up on you. I’m also a MD,” she explained.

    “Cool,” I replied.

    We skipped dessert and split the bill down the middle.

    “I’ll give you all my decision in a few days,” I said as we stood out in the parking lot.

    “I know that, Ian,” she said as we hugged.

    I watched her drive away and then I headed back to Middletown. I still had no idea what I was going to do, but I had a better feeling about Aileen.

Chapter 14

    The next morning I was up before dawn. I wanted to watch the sunrise, thankfully the weather had cleared up and I was treated to a magnificent show.

    I watched the sun slowly ascend out of the ocean. I think it was the first time in days that I hadn’t been lost in my thoughts about the transformation.

    Afterwards, I headed off to get some breakfast. As I ate my eggs and bacon I pulled out my notebook and slowly reviewed my two lists.

    Taking out a pen, I began to cross off arguments, both for and against the transformation. Two cups of coffee later I had whittled my lists down to one remaining point. I stared at it for nearly twenty minutes before pulling out my cell phone.

    “Good Morning Heather,” I stated.

    “What’s up, Ian?” she asked.

    I could sense that she was nervous.

    “Can you get everyone together? I’ve made up my mind,” I stated.

    “Sure,” she replied.

    “Great, I’ll be out there this afternoon,” I replied.

    “Okay,” she replied.

    “See you soon,” I said as I hung up.

Chapter 15

    It didn’t take me very long to drive out to the Cape as there was very little traffic.

    As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed several other cars and I knew that everyone had arrived. I parked next to Aileen’s car and then walked up to the front door. I suspected that Heather was watching me, but she didn’t appear at the door until I knocked.

    We hugged and she led me inside.

    “The others are in the kitchen,” she said.

    I just nodded as I followed her.

    Mom, Mark, Aileen, Kristina and Mrs. Preston were all seated around the large oak kitchen table.

    After the greeting, I sat down next to Heather.

    “I’ve decided to do it,” I announced softly.

    Heather started to smile and then she began to cry.

    “You okay?” I asked.

    She wiped away her tears. “Yes, I’m just so…well; it’s been an emotional few days. Thank you so much, Ian!”

    She then got up and hugged me.

    Mom hugged me next. “Are you sure about this?”

    I nodded. “Yes, Mom.”

    “So what was the reason?” she asked.

    I told them about the list and how I had narrowed it down to just one reason.

    “What was that, Ian?” asked Heather.

    “Love,” I replied.

    Heather began to cry again.

    “Wow, twice in one day, I haven’t be able to do that since we were seven,” I quipped.

    She laughed as she wiped her tears away.

    Mark shook my hand. “I can’t thank you enough, Ian. This means so much to us.”

    “You’re welcome, Mark.” I replied.

    Kristina hugged me next. “This is the coolest thing that I’ve ever heard of someone doing for another. You’re something else, Ian.”

    I smiled back at her.

    “Ian, you have no idea how happy this makes me. This is a wonderful gift that you will be giving your sister and my son,” said Mrs. Preston. She was the next to hug me.

    The whole time Aileen sat there without saying a thing.

    I looked at her. “Are you surprised?” I asked.

    She shook her head. “I knew you’d do it from the first moment I saw you. I could tell that you truly love your sister and would do anything for her. And I must agree with the others, it is a very kind thing that you are doing.”

    “Thank you,” I replied. “So when do we start?”

    “In a couple of days; I will need to prepare the potion,” explained Aileen. “I also need to perform a physical on you, just to play it safe.”

    “Okay,” I replied. “But just so you know, I passed my last company physical last month with flying colors.”

    She smiled back at me. “It’s a slightly different physical that I will be doing. Don’t worry, it will totally painless.”

    “When do we start?” I asked.

    “We can do it now,” she replied. “Heather, do you have a room that I can use?”

    “Sure, we have three guest rooms,” replied Heather.

    “It won’t take long, I just need to run a few tests,” she replied.

Chapter 16

    “Okay, Ian, what I need is for you to strip down,” said Aileen as she set down a large leather bag on the dresser.

    “Um, do you mean all the way?” I asked nervously.

    She turned and smiled. “Ian, I’m a doctor…and I have been one longer than you’ve been alive. What I need to do is check your aura and do it correctly I need you to be naked.”

    “What will you have to do?” I asked as I unbuttoned my shirt.

    “I will run a special crystal over your body. It will allow me to judge if you are strong enough to undergo the transformations,” she explained. “It’s totally painless and will only take a few minutes. It’s also more accurate that modern medicine.”

    “Why did you say transformations?” I asked.

    “Most people can undergo one physical transformation without any problems. However, I need to ensure that you can tolerate a second change back to your original form…assuming you want to be male again,” she explained.

    “Okay, why would a second change be so difficult?” I asked.

    “That’s an excellent question. While this is a very safe spell, any physical transformation enchantment stresses the body. By studying your aura I will be able to determine if you are strong enough.”

    “And if I’m not?” I asked.

    “Then I will not transform you,” she replied bluntly. “I don’t do this to hurt people. I would hate to leave you trapped in a body and identity that you don’t feel comfortable in. Does that make sense?”

    I nodded. “Just one more question, how did my sister find you?”

    Aileen cocked her head and winked at me. “Who said that she found me?”

    I stopped undressing and stared back at her. “So does that mean that you sought her out?”

    Aileen nodded. “I told you that I heal pain. I can also sense it. Your sister was deeply troubled because she couldn’t have a child. I didn’t tell you this earlier as I didn’t want to affect your decision.”

    “Thanks,” I replied. “If I had known that I would have said yes last week.”

    “That’s why I didn’t tell you. A decision like this has to come from the heart and not be swayed by others. It also can’t be made out of pity or martyrdom.”

    I just nodded and finished undressing.

    Aileen pulled the curtains closed and lit a single candle.

    “Okay, Ian, just lie on your back, this won’t take long,” she said.

    I did as she said.

    “You might feel a slight tingling as I run this crystal over your body,” she explained.

    “Whoa, that feels strange!” I exclaimed.

    She slowly moved the crystal over my body. Even though she wasn’t touching me with it I could feel where it was.

    “You have a very strong aura, Ian. Do you have any relatives with powers?”

    “Not that I’m aware of. Wait, there might be one,” I said. I then told her about Cailin. “What do you think?”

    “It’s possible; I can run a family genealogy on you if you’d like,” she replied.

    I nodded. “I’d like that,” I replied.

    “Okay, we’re done,” she said. “You can get up and get dressed.”

    “Is everything okay?” I asked.

    Aileen nodded. “Yes, you’re extremely healthy and shouldn’t have any issues with the spell.”

    “I’m glad to hear that,” I replied honestly.

    “Just so you know, I would like to do a second physical after the transformation…just to make sure that everything is okay,” she stated.

    “I guess that makes sense,” I replied.

Chapter 17

    The next few days passed by very quickly. You may think that I may have had second thoughts, but that didn’t happen. I had made my decision and I would stick to it. Granted I was very nervous about the impending transformation, I mean who wouldn’t be?

    To maximize the strength of the spell, I would drink the potion when the full moon would be at its highest point in the sky. Aileen tried to explain to me why this would increase the potency of the spell, but to be honest it was beyond my comprehension.

    She also explained to me in detail about how the transformation would occur. The actual physical transformation would take place over one to two hours. I would then fall into a deep and restful sleep. While I slept the identity aspects of the spell would occur so that when I woke up to the rest of the world it would be as if I had been born female. Only those present in the house would know my original identity.

    This part of the spell fascinated me more than the physical changes. I mean, I could understand magic changing the physical body, but how could it alter my identity, especially with the way our modern society tracked all aspects of our lives from driver’s license to photographs?

    I then wondered how I would adjust to two sets of memories.

    Aileen told me that it would be a little disorienting at first, but after a few days it would seem perfectly normal.

    When I joked about the “little disorienting” description, she laughed said that she was glad that I had a good sense of humor as it would make my adjustment much smoother.

    She said that the spell was designed to make my adjustment to my new gender as stress free as possible. This was all because the spell was designed to be beneficial. She told me about punitive gender change spells that were not only physically painful, but would also leave the person’s mental stated disrupted.

    There would also be a post transformation physical to ensure that I would be able to become pregnant, and then it would be up to nature.

Chapter 18

    I arrived in the bedroom where the transformation would take place wearing just a plush bathrobe. Aileen had recommended that I take a long soaking bath to relax prior to the transformation.

    Heather and my mom were the only others in the room besides Aileen.

    “I thought Mark and his family would also be here,” I stated as I sat down on the edge of the bed.

    “They only need to be inside the house,” replied Aileen. “In fact, if you wish you can be alone after you drink the spell.”

    I shook my head. “I’d rather not be alone…assuming that the rest of you want to be here.”

    “I’m glad you want me here,” said Heather, who sat down next to me. “Are you sure about this? I don’t want to guilt you into doing it.”

    I laughed. “I want to do this for you and Mark.”

    She leaned over and hugged me.

    Mom then came over and gave me a long hug.

    “Okay, let’s do it,” I stated.

    Aileen nodded and checked her watch. “The moon is at its highest now.”

    She poured a violet colored fluid into a wine glass and held it up to the light as if she was inspecting it.

    As she handed it to me she told me that it would have a slight herbal flavor and that most people thought it tasted rather pleasant.

    “How soon after I drink it will the changes start?” I asked.

    “Almost immediately. It shouldn’t hurt, and if it does, I will be standing by to assist you,” she replied.

    I took the glass from her and sniffed it before drinking it. She was right about the flavor as it sort of tasted like mild herbal mint tea. I drank it all and handed her back the glass.

    “Try and describe what you feel, Ian,” said Aileen.

    “I feel a sense of warmth sweeping through my body,” I replied. “It’s rather pleasant actually.”

    The warm sensation spread out throughout my body and I then began to feel a slight tingling. I began to rub my hands slightly. The whole time I was telling Aileen and the others how I felt.

    Without thinking, I reached up to brush my hair out of face.

    “Whoa,” I exclaimed. I could actually feel my hair growing longer as I held it.

    “That’s normal,” said Aileen. “Your hair will be quite long after the transformation and you might want to get it styled or shortened.”

    Heather was staring at me.

    “What is it?” I asked.

    “Your face…it’s changing…you look…you look like me!”

    I looked over at the large mirror on the dresser and saw that she was right. I now looked like Heather.

    “There are some minor differences,” noted Mom. “Heather has more freckles.”

    “Figures Mom would notice that,” I said to Heather.

    “Your voice! It’s so feminine now!” exclaimed Heather.

    I turned to Aileen. “It appears to be working from the head down.”

    “It happens that way sometimes,” said Aileen in a reassuring tone. “There’s nothing to be concerned about.”

    I looked down and could see that my breasts were developing. I opened up my robe and watched as they grew. It soon became evident that bra size would be another way to tell Heather and me apart as my breasts were at least a cup or two larger than hers.

    I cautiously reached down and cupped them. The additional weight on my chest felt strange.  I was also relieved when they stopped growing. I looked over at Heather and shrugged.

    “Damn, first you have nicer hair and now bigger breasts, some how this doesn’t seem fair! I thought we were supposed to be identical twins,” she stated.

    The fact that she was smiling told me that she wasn’t really upset.

    “I guess I won’t be able to borrow your clothing after all,” I commented.

    “Not unless I want them all stretched out,” she replied with a laugh.

    I slipped off my robe and could see that my body was entirely feminine from the waist up. My arms were less muscular and my hands smaller. My waist was thinner too.

    The changes continued as my hips began to expand. It was becoming quite evident that I would have a very shapely body.

    Heather noticed this too. “Well, little sister, if you decide to stay female, you could always become a model.”

    I was too busy watching my penis and scrotum being absorbed into my body and then transform into my vagina. I lost all track of time as it was so fascinating watching my body change.  Aileen later told me that this part of the transformation took nearly twenty minutes.

    In fact I was so mesmerized by the fact that I now had a vagina that I barely noticed my legs and feet changing.

    “The physical changes are complete,” noted Aileen. “How do you feel?”

    I looked up at her. “I…I feel great.”

    I then yawned.

    “I think you should go to sleep,” stated Aileen. “Don’t worry; I will stay with you until morning.”

    “So will I,” added Heather.

    “That’s not necessary,” I said as I stood up and pulled back the bedspread and sheets.

    “Yes it is, little sister,” said Heather.

    Mom gave me a hug. “I’ll let the others know that everything is going as planned. I’ll be up later.”

    I was going to argue, but as soon as I climbed into the bed, I was overwhelmed by exhaustion.

    “Okay,” I replied as I closed my eyes and feel into a very deep and restful sleep.

Chapter 19

    When I woke up the next morning I was immediately aware of the changes in my body as I discovered that I had to go to the bathroom. I jumped out of bed and dashed to the attached bathroom.

    Thankfully my new female instincts took over and I didn’t hesitate to sit down.

    “Honey, is everything okay?” asked Mom.

    “Yes, I just had to answer nature’s call,” I replied.

    “Um, do you know what to do afterwards?” she asked from just outside the door.

    It took me a moment to realize what she meant.

    “Um, I think so, but just to make sure why don’t you tell me,” I replied.

    I could almost hear her smiling as she told me what to do.

    “You left your robe out here, dear. Do you want me to bring it in to you, Cailin?” she asked.

    It hit me that she called me Cailin. So I was named after my great-grandmother! I began to search my new memories and immediately discovered I had a rather full life as a woman.

    “I guess everything worked,” I replied. It would take a while to get used to all this, just like Aileen said.

    “So, do you want the robe?” asked Mom.

    “Um, sure, Mom,” I replied.

Chapter 20

    “Well, how do I look?” I asked as I finished dressing.

    I had dressed casually in jeans and a sweater. All my clothes had changed to match the new me. I was pleased to see that I still wore jeans. I searched my new memories and found that I rarely wore dresses or skirts.

    I did discover that I wore makeup, but I didn’t put on any this morning.

    My jewelry consisted of silver hoop earrings, a silver chain with a silver charm shaped like a lobster on it. I remembered that the charm had been a gift from my dad and I rarely took it off. 

    I also had on a watch, and several silver rings.

My very long hair was now in a French braid that fell down my back.  Heather had braided it for me, and while I appreciated her help I had already decided that I would have my hair styled short as soon as possible, long hair was too much of a pain to take care of.

“You look great, Cailin,” said Heather. “Wow, it feels so normal to call you that.”

It also felt normal to answer to it. I still knew that I was Ian, but those memories were currently repressed.

The first thing I had done after I stepped out of the bathroom was to check my ID. Everything had changed and I was now Cailin Alanis McGregor of Newport RI. It seems that I now had a townhouse in Newport. I also had a new career, as I was now a free-lance photographer. I could close my eyes and picture all the weddings that I had photographed over the past few years. I was happy to have a great career and not some boring office job.

In addition to weddings, I did a lot of work for Mom’s real estate company and I had even had some work published in various magazines. I even remembered that I had been published in Rolling Stone for a story they had done on the Rhode Island based all female group “Band of Sisters.” I’d also done some promotional pictures and other special work for the Erin Flynn show.

In many ways it sounded like a more enjoyable career that what I had done as a male.

“How do you feel?” asked Aileen.

“I’m famished,” I remarked. “Is that a good sign, Aileen?”

Aileen laughed. “Yes, it’s a very good sign.”

“What do you feel like eating?” asked Heather.

“Blueberry pancakes would be great,” I replied.

Heather nodded as if she had been expecting this answer.

“I think we can arrange that,” said Mom as we headed out of the bedroom.

Mark and the others were waiting for us in the kitchen. To my surprise, actually shock, Mrs. Preston was making blueberry pancakes. 

“Your mom said that they’re you’re favorite,” she said as she glanced over from the grill. “How do you feel, Cailin?”

“Great,” I replied. “Actually, I’ve never felt better.”

“That’s a common reaction,” interjected Aileen.

Mark stared at me.

“What’s the matter, Mark?” I asked.

“I wasn’t sure that this was all real. You look great,” he said. “Thank you for doing this.”

I walked over and filled a mug with coffee. “You’re welcome, but this is just the start.”

Kristina didn’t say anything, instead she just hugged me.

“Well, everything is ready, so why don’t you all sit down,” said Mrs. Preston.

I sat down between Aileen and Mom.

Mrs. Preston placed a large platter of pancakes on the table.

“They look great,” I stated as I placed a few on my plate.

“I also worked as a chef for a few years before marrying Nate,” she said. “I don’t get a lot of chances to cook for large groups anymore, I’m glad that I haven’t lost my touch.”

Everything felt so normal, as if we had done this many times over the years. In fact I had to keep reminding myself that this was my first morning of life as a woman.

“So what are your plans, Cailin?” asked Kristina.

Before I could speak, Aileen interrupted. “She needs to rest and relax for a few days.”

“You heard her,” I said. “Mark could you pass me some bacon, please?”

“Enjoy it now,” said Mom. “You’ll need to watch your diet soon.”

I nodded. “I know, that’s why I’m eating it now!”

“Well, when you feel up to it, I’d love to take you shopping,” said Kristina.

“I also want to get my hair cut,” I added.

“Why?” asked Heather. “You have lovely hair.”

“It’s too long, little sister,” I replied.

Heather rolled her eyes. “It’s not that long and if you haven’t noticed, you’re not only my younger sister, you’re also shorter than me now.”

“No, I’m not,” I replied.

“You are, dear,” noted Mom.

I shook my head and it wasn’t until we both stood up did I realize that she was right.

“Crap,” I replied.

“Don’t worry about it…little sister,” joked Heather.

I was so tempted to give her the bird, but decided that it wasn’t very lady-like, so I just stuck my tongue out at her instead.

Chapter 21

I followed Aileen’s orders and took it easy the rest of the day and I was glad that I did. The physical side of the transformation was easier to get used to. It was still a bit strange feeling the way my body moved now, especially my breasts.

I found it a bit overwhelming at times with both sets of memories bouncing around in my head. As Cailin my life had been very different in many ways.

Following graduation, I had gone to URI instead of U-Conn. While I was there I had a boyfriend for two years. I later had a very intense relationship with a woman named Laura. After graduations I had a rather active sex life, with both men and women. Thankfully I was currently unattached.

I thought about having sex with a man, and instead of being grossed out all I could remember was how good it felt. I cringed slightly when I realized that I particularly liked giving oral sex to men. I also realized that I had dated Kelly’s husband Joe back in high school. In fact I had lost my virginity to him, yikes!

The good thing about this was that I wouldn’t be disgusted about having to have sex with Mark.  What worried me that there was a part of me that was looking forward to sleeping with him. In my new female memories I could recall sisterly conversations with Heather on how good he was in bed.

As I thought about this, I found my new body was responding to these thoughts. My nipples hardened and well, I felt myself getting wet. Shit, I hadn’t counted on this happening!

I knew that I would have to talk to Aileen about this. I mean, I did this to help Heather, not to break up her marriage.

I wasn’t able to be alone with Aileen until later in the afternoon. We went for a walk together out along the shoreline.

She listened intently as I told her what I had been thinking about.

“Well, is this a problem?” I asked. “I mean, Mark is a handsome guy, but I don’t want to be the other woman, is there anything you can do?”

“This reaction is always a risk with this type of spell. There’s also the possibility that Mark may fall for you,” she said.

“And you didn’t tell me this before now?” I asked, slightly annoyed.

“I said it’s a possibility, not a probability. If you feel the same way in a few days let me know,” she said.

“What can you do?” I asked.

“There are spells that I can cast, but I don’t like to use too much magic on one person,” she said. “Try and focus on the pregnancy aspect of this and that you’re helping your sister. These feelings should be able to counter the more base lust emotions.”

I nodded. “Anything else?”

“There may be… other ways of handling this, but we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it,” she said.

I wondered what she was talking about, but I decided to hold off asking her for now.

“Cailin, how do you feel about being female?”

I shrugged. “It’s okay. I mean, it’s obviously different, but it’s not bad either. In some ways I like my new life more than my male life.”

She just nodded as she bent down to pick up a shell.

“Okay, what’s up?” I asked. Her silence spoke volumes.

She didn’t initially reply as she studied the shell.

“Aileen, what’s up?” I asked.

“I don’t want to alarm you, but your reaction is very common for those who decide to stay in their female roles,” she said as she stood up. “It’s not set in stone or anything like that, but don’t be surprised if you prefer being female, especially after having a child.”

“Go on,” I said.

“You’re about to bring a new life into the world, and you know that you are doing this for your sister. The baby will not be yours to raise,” she stated. “You may decide that you want to start your own family. This feeling may grow quite strong over the nine months of your pregnancy. I did tell you that this was a possibility.”

I stared off in the distance. “I know, I don’t blame you for this. I mean you explained this could happen. Are you sure this is what’s going to happen to me?”

“No, I’m not sure. In fact a lot can happen between now and when you have completed your task. I don’t want it to be a surprise.”

“I appreciate that,” I said.

“Cailin don’t worry too much about what’s happening right now. As you settle into your new life things should fall into place. I do want you to know that you can always talk to me.”

“I appreciate that, Aileen,” I replied.

“Well, let’s head back to the house, I’m sure they’re wondering when we’ll be back,” she said.

    “Okay,” I replied. I was still nervous about my feelings, but it made me feel better knowing that Aileen was my friend.

Chapter 22

I decided to follow Aileen’s recommendations and take it easy as I adjusted to my new body and persona.

The good thing was that I didn’t have any additional feelings about Mark. Aileen told me that it was quite possible that my initial reaction to him was just an adjustment to being female. She said that my response would have been similar for any man. I hoped she was right as the last thing I wanted was to affect Heather and Mark’s marriage.

I guess the strangest thing about being female was that it didn’t feel strange. By the second day of being Cailin I was used to the way my new body moved.

After breakfast, Heather and I took a long walk. I suppose she wanted to talk in private as badly as I did.

“Can I ask you a question?” she asked.

“You just did,” I replied.

Heather rolled her eyes. “Damn, you’re just as much of a smartass as a woman as you were a guy.”

“Of course,” I replied. “Okay, what’s the real question?”

“These new memories, do they seem real to you?” she asked.

I nodded. “Every one of them.”

“Does that mean that you have memories of dating Joe?”

“Yep…and having sex with him too,” I replied.

“Um, how do you feel about that?” she asked as we sat down on a park bench.

“From what I remember neither of us really knew what we were doing,” I replied with a shrug.  “Dave was a much better lover.”

Heather nodded. “Wow, I actually have memories of Dave. Do you know where he is today?”

I shook my head. “The last I heard he was living in Boston and was engaged.”

Heather let out a long sigh. “I’m not sure that this is a good idea any more. I mean, I really want a baby, but I’m not sure that I want to do it this way.”

“I’m not worried about it. I trust Aileen and she told me that magic is neither good nor evil. If this gives you and Mark a baby, then it was worth it,” I replied.

“Aren’t you even slightly shocked by the fact that magic really exists?”

Again I shook my head. “I always suspected that there were things that we weren’t aware of. In some ways I’m happy to know that there is real magic out there.”

Heather didn’t reply.

“Look, you’ve always been a good judge of people. Do you think that Aileen is a good person?” I asked.

    “I suppose so,” she replied.

    “I feel the same way, Heather. I don’t think that she would have gotten involved with us if she wasn’t trying to help us,” I explained.

    “But at what cost?” asked Heather. “I mean, what if you decide to stay a woman?”

    “If I do it will be my decision,” I replied.

    “And that doesn’t bother you?”

    “A little,” I replied. “But if I stay as Cailin I will have an identity, a career, friends…a complete life.”

    “So…does this mean that you want to stay a girl?”

    “No, I haven’t made any decisions either way. Heather, I will be in this body for around a year, so I have plenty of time to decide. Even though I have memories going back to being a little girl, I’m still aware that until yesterday I was your brother. My old memories are still there and I liked being a guy.”

    “Okay,” she replied.

    “I do wish that we could conceive this child without having to have sex. I mean, Mark’s a great guy, but I feel weird about having to have sex with my brother-in-law.”

    “Probably more than once,” she replied.

    I nodded.

    “Mark and I have talked about this and we’re both cool about it,” said Heather.

    “That’s good,” I replied. “Um, Heather, I do have a request.”

    “What is it?” she asked.

    “I want to live in my own place…in Newport,” I said. “Do you mind?”

    “No, not really, but wouldn’t be easier for you to stay with us?”

    “Maybe when I get close to having the baby,” I said. “We won’t be that far apart, but at the same time I won’t be that close either. I want you and Mark to have your own lives too.”

    “I see your point of view,” stated Heather. “You’re worried about causing issues.”

    I shrugged. “Why risk it.”

    Heather nodded.

“I will also be close to Aileen and Mom, so I won’t be alone,” I replied.

“I guess that makes sense. Do you know who you’ll see for your doctor?” she asked.

I nodded. “When I was back in Newport thinking about this, I did some research. Remember Gwen Costello?”

Gwen was in our high school class and she had been voted most likely to succeed.

Heather nodded.

“She just moved back to Newport and she’s a pediatrician.”

“How did you find that out?”

“Kelly told me,” I replied. “If I have to go through with this, I would like my doctor to be someone I trust.”

“That makes sense, but I’m still going to check out Gwen’s credentials,” said Heather.

I laughed. “I’ll give you her website. Did you know she graduated from Harvard?”

“Really?” asked Heather.

I nodded. “Stanford too, that’s where she got her medical degree. Why would I make that up?”

Heather laughed. “Point taken; but I’m still going to look her up.”

“Well, I trust her,” I stated.

“I understand that,” said Heather. She then stopped walking.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I’m so dammed jealous that you are going to get pregnant,” she stated.

“I wish you could too,” I said. 

We then hugged and then headed back to her home.

Chapter 23

I stripped down for Aileen and my examination.

“So does this work the same way as the other exam you gave me?” I asked.

“Pretty much, I just use a different crystal,” she said.

“How will you know if everything is okay?” I asked as I sat down on the bed.

“I’ll run the crystal over your body and if it lights up then everything is fine. The color and intensity of the light will also tell me how fertile you are and from this I should be able to judge how quickly you will become pregnant,” she explained.

I snickered inadvertently.  “Sorry, I just never thought I would hear that.”

Aileen laughed. “It must be strange. Okay, Cailin, lie down on your back.”

I did as she requested. She started by holding the crystal over my belly.

“Wow,” she replied.

“Um, is that a good or bad wow?” I asked.

“Very good. This is the strongest reading that I’ve ever seen,” she said.

“So, does that mean that I can have the baby?” I asked.

“I don’t see any problems, but I want to check something out,” she said. “You can get dressed Cailin.

I sat up and could see that the crystal was still glowing. Its color was bright lavender.

“So what do you need to look up?” I asked.

Aileen pulled a leather bound book out of her bag and began to page through it. Several times she paused and the crystal up to the book as if she was comparing it.

“Is there something wrong?” I asked nervously.

Aileen shook her head. “Not exactly, but according to my readings you have a 50-50 probability of having multiple births.”

I gasped. “You mean twins?”

“Or maybe even more,” she replied.

“Isn’t that a good thing?”

She closed the book. “Multiple births can be risky, to both the mother and the babies.”

“How risky?” I asked.

“Depends on the number of babies,” she replied. “We’ll have to monitor your pregnancy, especially at the beginning.”

I nodded. “So do we tell the others?”

“That’s up to you, Cailin,” she replied. “But I would if I was in your shoes…which I recommend you put on along with the rest of your clothes.”

“Point taken,” I replied.

Chapter 24

    That night after dinner, I told Heather and Mark about the examination.

    “So what do you want to do?” asked Heather.

    “I want to press on,” I replied. “We’ll just need to pay close attention to the pregnancy.”

    “This is a big risk, Cailin,” said Mark. “I mean, we appreciate what you are doing, but neither of us want you to risk your life.”

    “Thank you and that means a lot to me Mark,” I replied.

    “I can assist Cailin with her pregnancy should there be any problems,” said Aileen. “However, this isn’t a guarantee.”

    “So if there are complications there might not be things that you can do?” asked Heather.

    Aileen nodded. “But between my powers and modern medicine we should be able to deal with most issues.”

    “But not all, right?” asked Heather.

    “Look, I want to go ahead with this,” I interjected. “Nothing is guaranteed one-hundred percent.”

    “Cailin, we don’t have to go through with this. I mean we can just tell my family that we tried and you weren’t able to get pregnant,” stated Mark. “The last thing either of us wants is for you to risk your life.”

    He really was a nice guy and I understood why my sister was so in love with him.

    “I want to do this. I mean, I’ve gone this far, so why not go the rest of the way?” I asked.

    Heather and Mark both nodded.

    “So it’s agreed,” I stated.

    Aileen reached into her bag and pulled out a silver chain that had a white crystal hanging from it.

    “Cailin, this crystal will turn green when you body is ready to become pregnant,” she stated.

    I put the chain around my neck and held the crystal in my hands.

    “When you see it start to turn green you should try to conceive,” she continued. “It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get pregnant the first time, or even the second time, but it does increase the chances.”

    “Thanks, Aileen,” I said.

    It really hit me that I was going through with this and there was a very strong possibility that I would soon be pregnant.

Chapter 25

    I won’t bore you with the details of the next few days. I stayed at Heather and Mark’s home and waited for the crystal to change.

    The good thing was it gave Heather and I a chance to hang out together.

    I also got my hair cut shorter. Heather couldn’t believe that I did it, but it was way too long for me. The good thing was that the salon that she took me to made good use of the hair. They belonged to an organization that helped women suffering from cancer to get high quality wigs. They also assisted women who had alopecia.

    “At least your hair went to a good cause,” said Heather as we left the salon.

    I ran my fingers through my hair. “I also like my new style,” I replied.

    “It does look nice,” replied Heather reluctantly.

    “Hey, you want to head over to Newport and check out my condo?” I asked. “I feel a little funny about actually going there on my own…even though my memories tell me that I’ve lived there for three years.”

    Heather nodded. “Sure, that would be fun.”

    In my life as a woman, I had bought a condo that overlooked the bay. The good thing was that thanks to Mom, I got a really sweet deal.

    It was strange, but I seemed to have adjusted better to my new gender than my new memories. It was a little disturbing knowing that the spell had changed not just my body, but the memories of everyone I ever knew…and even people that I had never known.

    As soon as we entered my condo, it immediately felt familiar. I sorted through my mail and other than a few bills there was nothing that required immediate attention. I carried the mail with me as we walked further inside.

The walls of the main hallway were covered in my photographs. I could recall the circumstances and history of every one of them. As Ian, I had dabbled in photography, but I could immediately see that I was a much better photographer as Cailin.

    One of the bedrooms was my studio and it was filled with photographic equipment. The good thing about digital cameras was that I no longer needed a darkroom. I could actually close my eyes and smell the chemicals.

    “Do you want to take anything back with you?” asked Heather.

    I nodded. “I want to grab some more clothes. It shouldn’t take long.”

    “I can’t believe how familiar this place feels,” she said.

    “I know what you mean,” I replied.

    One thing bothered me about my place and that was it was very empty. I mean it was fully furnished, but it was missing something. I decided then and there that if I stayed as Cailin I would get a cat for a roommate.

    Twenty minutes later we left.

    “Thanks for coming with me,” I said.

    “No problem. While we’re in town do want to eat lunch?” she asked.

    “I’d like that,” I said.

    We went to one of favorite seafood places and ordered clam chowder.

    Halfway through out lunch Heather stopped eating and stared at me.

    “What’s wrong?” I asked.

    “The crystal…it’s now light green in color,” she stated softly.

    I looked down and could see that she was right. I didn’t know what to say.

    “Do you want to head back?” she asked.

    I nodded.

    Heather smiled softly. “It’s okay, Cailin, I know how you feel. I’ll call Mark and let him know.”

    I nodded again. I put my spoon down as my appetite had gone away.

Chapter 26

    By the time we got back Mark was waiting for us.

    “So how do you want to do this?” I asked.

    “You two go do what you have to do. I’ll be in my office,” said Heather.

    I really didn’t know what to day.

    Heather smiled and hugged me. She then gave Mark a long kiss.

    “Look, this is just a necessary step for us to have a family. I trust both of you completely, so you have nothing to worry about,” she said.

    “Okay,” I replied.

    Mark and I went upstairs to the guestroom.

    “If it makes you feel any better, I’m nervous about this too,” he said.

    “It does, Mark,” I replied as I began to get undressed.

    Part of me just wanted to get this over with…and part of me wanted more than just a sex act. Mark was very handsome and part of me was excited about having sex with him.

    When we finished undressing we got into bed. At first we both did our best to treat this as a simple act of reproduction…but as we touched each other I could feel passion rising in my body. My nipples got hard, my breathing got heavier, and I could feel growing anticipation of the sensation of Marks’s cock entering my body.

    Mark also became more aroused and we began to kiss, soft at first, but soon it was deep and lustful. His hands instinctively rubbed my nipples which caused me to moan.

    As we progressed it became obvious that we didn’t just have sex…we made love and I experienced my first female orgasm since I was transformed. I wish I could say that it was no big deal…but that would be a huge lie. It was fantastic. I mean I had my memories of what it was like, but they did little to prepare me for how wonderful it was. My whole body felt alive as I came.

    When we finished I let out a big sigh and then, without thinking I said. “Holy shit….that was incredible.”

    Mark snickered. “I’m sorry, but that wasn’t what I was expecting.”

    I ran my fingers through my hair. “I had no idea how good it would be.”

    “Is it better…I mean better than being a man?”

    I didn’t hesitate with my answer. “Much better.”

    Mark just nodded.

    “Let me know when you’re ready for round two,” I said.

    Aileen had recommended that we make love several times during the period that crystal was green.

    “Are you sure?” he asked.

    “Hey, we’re trying to make a baby. Aileen said that I was fertile, but it might take more than one time,” I replied.

    It pains me to admit this, but I desperately wanted to make love to him again.

    We made love two more times.

Chapter 27

    The crystal stayed green for nearly twenty-four hours and during that time Mark and I had sex many times. I felt guilty about the fact that I enjoying it so much. I mean, he was my sister’s husband!

    I hoped that I was now pregnant as if this went on much longer I didn’t know if I could control myself.

    To play it safe I went back to Newport and waited to see if I was pregnant. Thanks to the internet I found numerous websites that listed the symptoms of pregnancy. After reading five or six of them I was pretty well convinced that just about every bodily function was a symptom of pregnancy.

    Thankfully Aileen stopped by and gave me short list of signs that I should be aware of. She also said that should I think I was pregnant she would come by and run some tests.

    She also brought over dinner and this allowed us to eat and talk in peace. Although part of me secretly wanted to have some nosey person to eavesdrop on us; it would be worth it just to see their face.

    As we ate, I told her about my sexual reaction to sleeping with Mark.

    “I feel pretty guilty about it,” I confessed.

    “I understand that you feel uneasy, but you probably would have felt the same way with whoever you were with,” she stated.

    “I know, you told me that before, but I do feel safer staying here,” I admitted.

    “Well you know if you didn’t get pregnant this time that you’ll have to do be with Mark again,” she stated.

    I just nodded.

    “Was it that good?” she asked.

    I grinned as I nodded. “It was the best sex that I’ve ever had.”

    Aileen smiled back. “That’s nice to hear. You’ll retain all memories of being a woman should you choose to change back. It will give you a great insight into how women experience sex.”

    “I think I did a version of that with Mark,” I confessed. “I knew what turned me on and I did that to Mark.”

    Aileen just smiled back.

    “Obviously I’m not the first person who has done that,” I said.

    “No you’re not, but it’s nice that you wanted Mark to enjoy the sex too,” she replied.

    After we finished dinner we went over the list of pregnancy symptoms.

    “In some ways it looks like initially it’s easier to detect if I’m pregnant than if I’m not,” I bemoaned.

    Aileen nodded. “Just pay attention to your body. The biggest problem you have is that while you have implanted memories of being female, you haven’t actually experienced your body’s cycles. Granted should you have your period we’ll know that you didn’t conceive.”

    “I just don’t want to be constantly bugging you,” I said.

    “Cailin, you can call me any time,” she said.

    “Thanks,” I replied.

    “So what about the rest of your life?” she asked.

    “I actually have a few jobs coming up this week,” I said.

    “Good, I want you to keep busy,” she said. “When you get pregnant you should be able to keep working, in fact it’s better for you to keep active.”

    “I’m not sure how many people will want a pregnant woman filming their wedding,” I said with a laugh.

    “I don’t know, I think many women would like it.”

    I smiled back at her. “I do like taking photos.”

    “The transformation often gives the person their dream career. By the way, from what I’ve seen you are an excellent photographer.”

    “Thank you,” I replied.

    “In fact, I may have some work for you,” she continued.

    My eyes lit up. “What do you have in mind?”

    “There’s a site up in Maine that has some unusual rock formations. It’s been used by my clan for centuries and I would like a detailed photographic record of it.”

    “Um, is that allowed?” I asked.

    Aileen smiled. “Of course!”

    “Good, I didn’t want to violate one of your rules and get changed into a newt,” I stated.

    “Oh we don’t do that anymore. Besides that spell isn’t a permanent transformation. If I cast it on you… after a few days you’d get better.”

    I groaned. “So you like Monty Python too?”

    She nodded. “I love them.”

    “Cool. So when do you want to do the shoot?” I asked.

    “How about we go up there the weekend after Halloween?” she asked.

    “Um, what about the whole pregnancy thing?” I asked.

    “Well, if you’re pregnant it wouldn’t be a problem. If you need to sleep with Mark again, it wouldn’t be until the following week,” she said.

    I nodded. “So where in Maine?”

    “It’s on one of the islands off the coast. We would have to stay in Bar Harbor and go out on a boat for the day. The island is privately owned and no one lives on it. Don’t worry about expenses I’ll pay for everything.”

    “Sounds like fun,” I replied.

    It wasn’t until after Aileen left that it hit me that I was falling for her. Okay maybe it was because of the spell as I remembered how I felt for Mark, but somehow this felt different.

    Physically Aileen had many of the physical traits that I had found attractive when I was a guy. I had always been drawn to redheads. But there was more than just physical attraction.

    I also liked the fact that she was very intelligent. Every time we had been together we had fantastic conversations, which was something that I found very desirable.

    Of course, the fact that she had powers was also a turn-on. But it wasn’t the primary reason I liked her. The best way I can describe it’s when you discover something new about a date, something that you’ve never come across before. I once met a girl back in California at a party. We really hit it off. However when I found out she was a cop it was an added turn-on. I guess it was because I had never met a female cop before.

    This was becoming more complicated than I ever could have imagined.

Chapter 28

    “I’m sorry, but it looks like I’m not pregnant,” I said.

    It was a rainy Saturday morning and I had driven out to the Cape to tell Heather and Mark the bad news.

    “On the plus side, Aileen says that very few people conceive the first time,” I continued. “I’m sorry.”

    “Cailin, you have nothing to apologize for,” said Heather.

    “Your sister’s right,” added Mark.

    “I guess we’ll just have to try again,” I stated as I reached for a cranberry scone.

    “Are you sure you want to?” asked Heather.

    I nodded as I took a bite of the scone.

    “We all knew that it might not happen immediately,” I said a moment later.

    “How many times do you want to try?” asked Heather.

    “Hopefully we’ll get it this next time…but I’m in no hurry,” I said.

    Heather glanced at Mark and then looked at me.

    “Does that mean you prefer being a woman?” she asked.

    I shrugged. “Let’s just say that I like my life right now. I really like being a photographer.” I then told them about my upcoming trip with Aileen.

    Heather smiled. “You like her!”

    I grinned. “She’s nice…but there’s more to than that. We’re becoming friends and maybe it will lead to something and maybe it won’t. I just feel comfortable around her.”

    “Have you told her this?” asked Heather.

    I shook my head.

    “You should,” interjected Mark as he got up to get some coffee.

    Heather and I both turned and looked at him.

    He smiled back. “What? Honesty is a good way to start a relationship.”

    Heather looked at me and grinned. “Did I marry a great guy or what?”

    I nodded.

Chapter 29

    Heather had to run some errands and tagged along. I wanted to tell her my reaction to sleeping with Mark. I was worried how she’d react, but I couldn’t keep it in any longer.

    “Mark’s pretty good in bed, isn’t he?” she asked.

    I stared back unable to reply.

    “Come on, little sister, don’t look so shocked. I mean, at least your first time with a man was a good time,” she said.

    Thankfully she had a smile on her face.

    “Obviously you’re not surprised,” I said.

    “Aileen said that you would have a heightened sexual response. Mark told me about your reaction,” she said. “I also figured that’s why you took off so quickly afterwards.”

    “Mark told you?” I asked.

    Heather laughed. “Cailin, don’t worry. I’m really glad that you enjoyed yourself. I mean I wish that this wasn’t necessary, but if I have to share my husband, I’m glad that it’s with you.”

    I let out a sigh. “I was about to talk to you about this very subject.”

    “I figured you would,” she replied. “So tell me more about your feelings for Aileen. Are they the same as you had a guy?”

    I shook my head.

    “No, if I had met her as Ian I would have asked her out by now…but now…I don’t know, maybe I’m waiting for her to make the first move, does that make sense?”

    “You’ve become submissive,” she replied.

    “I wouldn’t say that,” I countered, slightly defensive.

    “Don’t be upset, it’s kind of normal,” said Heather.

    “I suppose,” I replied. 

    “Oh, just so you know, I’ll support your decision either way. I really like you as my brother, but it’s also pretty cool to have a sister now.”

    I smiled back. “Thanks, Heather.”

Chapter 30

    The next few weeks flew by and soon I was checking my fertility status again.  Aileen loaned me the crystal so I checked myself on a daily basis.

    As for my life, it was going pretty well. I really liked my new career and I decided that when this was over I would stick to being a photographer…no matter what gender I was.

    I have to admit that my gender status was not the most pressing thing on my mind. Granted, part of this was due to the spell itself.  Even my first period didn’t freak me out. Okay, it was a little weird, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

    Aileen said that the acceptance of my new gender wasn’t a minor addition to the spell. She said that without it even the most willing person would face unnecessary stress. In fact the person might have a mental breakdown due to dealing with so many new aspects of their life.

    She said that her cousin helped several people who had their genders changed without the benefit of the adaptation part of the spell.

    No, my issues were with my feelings. Thankfully, my feelings for Mark seemed to have faded, although I was worried that they might reappear the next time we made love.

    My feelings for Aileen continued to grow. The fact that I didn’t act on them didn’t help one bit. I wanted to tell her, but I couldn’t get the nerve up to do so. I felt like an idiot, I mean I was brave enough to change gender and to try and have a child for my sister, yet I couldn’t tell another woman that I was in love with her.

    And no it had nothing to do with the fact that we were both women. My female memories reminded me that I had several lesbian experiences. They also told me that they were all very…correction, make that extremely enjoyable.

    I found that I was starting to obsess about Aileen. The one good thing about this was that it kept my mind clear from entering other relationships.

    The last time I had been over at Heather’s house, Kristina came onto me. It wasn’t subtle either.

    She pulled me aside and asked me how I liked being a woman. As we talked about it, she asked me if I still liked women. When I told her yes, she leaned over and kissed me, and whispered in my ear. “Good.”

    Thankfully we were interrupted by Heather’s call to dinner. But the next day I got a text-message from Kristina saying that she’d love to get together with me some time.

    Don’t get me wrong, Kristina is very attractive and I like her a lot, but…I was too wrapped up thinking about Aileen.

    I finally decided that I would have to talk to Aileen about my feelings. I just hoped I could get the nerve to do it.

Chapter 31

    The second time with Mark was very enjoyable, but thankfully it didn’t go beyond sexual pleasure. It was a major relief that I was no longer in love with him. I’m not saying that I’m a saint or anything like that, but there’s no way I could live with myself if I broke up my sister’s marriage.

    Mark and I made love six times while the fertility crystal was at its brightest. I hoped that this time I would become pregnant.

    Unlike the previous time, I didn’t immediately flee back to Newport.

    Heather noticed the difference and when we were alone she brought it up.

    “Is everything okay?” she asked as we walked along the shoreline.

    I smiled and nodded. “Never better.”

    She smiled back.

    “You have no idea how relived I am that I didn’t have a repeat of those feelings,” I continued.

    “I’m glad to hear that,” she replied. “So what about the other emotional issue?”

    “Always to the point,” I countered.

    “Yep, so what about it?” she asked again.

    “I’m going to tell her next weekend when we’re up in Maine,” I replied. “I figure that’s as good a time as any.”

    Heather just nodded.

    “Um, do you think she already knows?” I asked.

    “Probably,” replied Heather as she stopped and picked up a shell.

    “Of course, I mean she has powers, of course she knows,” I muttered.

    “Cailin, she doesn’t need powers to tell how you feel about her.”

    “Is it that obvious?” I asked.

    Heather nodded. “Mom even asked me if there was something going on between you two.”

    I rolled my eyes. “Great!”

    “I think the only one who hasn’t noticed is Kristina, but she is too blinded by her own feelings towards you.”

    I stared at her. “Nothing has happened.”

    “I know, but Kristina is nice…a little forward, but very nice.”

    I shook my head. “I never imagined I would be talking about things like this with you.”

    “Well, I never thought you might be having my baby, so we’re even!”

    We both broke up and starting laughing until we were crying.

    “Come on, let’s go back to the house…it’s starting to get really cool,” said Heather.

    “Okay,” I replied. “Thanks for… everything.”

    “Hey, that’s what sisters are for,” she replied.

Chapter 32

    My emotions were mixed as Aileen and I drove up to Maine. On the one hand I was very excited about the photography job and on the other I was nervous as hell about confessing my feelings for her.

    The drive up was very nice.  While it was early November the temperature was pleasant. There was a slight chance of rain near the end of the weekend, but it looked like we would have two nice days to head out to the island.

    Aileen explained to me that officially the island was owned by the state and was set aside as a nature preserve. A permit was necessary for anyone who wanted to visit.

    “The thing is, the island is a nesting site for several species of endangered birds, so the cover story works quite well,” she explained.

    She then told me that the island was sacred to the members of her clan.

    “So how did you get the state to protect it?” I asked.

    “We have members of our clan in the state government. There are also trusted humans who have helped us preserve it,” she explained.

    “How do know you can trust them?” I asked.

    “Some of the clans decided years ago that they would work secretly with humans. We police our own and provide protection from those you don’t hold humans in high regard,” she continued.

    “You mean…others like you with powers?” I asked.

    She nodded. “And others…”

    I could see from the expression on her face that she was serious.

    “You mean like vampires and demons?” I asked.

    “Yes, but not all of them are bad; in fact I have a very good friend who is a vampire. In many ways we are very much like humans. Most just want to exist beside humanity and live out our lives in peace. Unfortunately there are those who see no reason to respect humanity.”

     “So the legends are true,” I remarked.

    “More or less, many have been exaggerated over time,” she said.

    “You said that you police your own…how?”

    “We have laws and those that violate the laws are put on trial. If they are found guilty they are punished,” she answered.

    “You mean you have your own police and legal system?”

    “Exactly. We work within the human legal system and if a case involves a magical being we take over. It had served to keep the peace for ages,” she replied.

    “Don’t you worry about your secret getting out?”

    She shook her head. “Most humans don’t believe…or even want to believe. Those that do are often scoffed at. It makes covering up incidents much easier.”

    “Were you ever involved in these sorts of cases?” I asked.

    “No, I’ve always been a healer. But my cousins are heavily involved and they have told me some wonderful tales,” she said.

    “You mentioned about spells that forced gendered change,” I said.

    “My older cousin Amelia has been involved in several of those,” replied Aileen.

    She then told me about two cases. One involved a college student at Ohio State that was transformed into a woman via a revenge spell and the other involved a body swap.

    “The woman who changed the person at Ohio State, she was human?” I asked.

    “Yes, humans have the ability to learn and cast some spells,” replied Aileen. “If an abusive spell is cast, the person who did it, human or magical, falls under magical jurisdiction.”

    “So what happened to her?” I asked.

    “She is in custody and in the form a cat,” replied Aileen.

(For more read Personal Foul)

    Aileen then explained how the woman had tried one last spell after she had been discovered. Aileen’s cousin had provided the intended victims with a protection spell that bounced the spell back at the woman.

    “She will stay in that form until she shows some repentance,” explained Aileen.

    “What happened to the person who was transformed?” I asked.

    “The spell couldn’t be reversed, but Amelia fixed it. She is now like you, she has a female identity and from what I’ve heard she is very happy.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “She’s living with her girlfriend in Ohio. They are both teaching in a small liberal arts college near Columbus,” replied Aileen.

    “That’s good to hear. So what about the woman who underwent the body swap?” I asked.

    Aileen turned briefly and smiled. “She is very special. I could talk to you for hours about Iona….but I’m getting hungry, let’s look for a place to eat, okay?”

    I nodded, but I hoped she would tell me more about Iona.

Chapter 33

    We stopped for a leisurely lunch before heading back on the road.  We pulled into Bar Harbor and stopped at the bed & breakfast that was owned by a friend of Aileen.

    “I could use a walk after all that driving,” said Aileen.

    “Sounds good,” I replied.

    Aileen gave me a tour as we walked through the town.

    The bed and breakfast was just two blocks away from the pier where the boat was moored that would take us out to the island.

“By the way, I appreciate the fact that you trust me enough to tell me about …well these things,” I said.

    “Considering what you have undergone so far, I figure that you can be trusted,” she said. “Of course, trust is a two-way street, don’t you agree?”

    She glanced over and smiled softly at me.

    “Oh…of course,” I replied softly. “Is it that obvious?”

    “Yes and I didn’t need my powers to notice your feelings towards me,” she replied.  “I’m also a pretty good poker player.”

    “Um, do you mind…I mean…,” I began to stammer. I could feel my face getting warm as I began to blush.

    “Cailin, you are a lovely woman and I am very flattered that you are attracted to me. I’m not offended in the least,” she replied.

    “I don’t really know what to do next,” I stated.

    “How about we just keep this as friends? Technically I’m your doctor so it wouldn’t be very professional of me to have a relationship with you,” she explained.

    “Oh…of course,” I replied.

    “That doesn’t mean I don’t like you,” she continued.

    “Really?” I asked.

    She nodded. “I like you a lot.”

    “So where do we go from here?” I asked.

    “Like I said, let’s keep this as friends for now. Should you decide to stay as Cailin, we can see what happens. Okay?”

    I nodded. “That sounds fair.”

    Okay, I was a little disappointed, but at least she didn’t say no.

    “Cailin, should you become pregnant you will have enough to deal with. The emotional side of what you’re going to go through will be very taxing. I will be there for you as a friend and we’ll just see where it goes.”

    “Thank you,” I replied.

    “Just so you know…if you weren’t my patient I would have asked you out by now,” she continued.

    “So dating humans is allowed?” I asked.

    “Absolutely, it’s just a little complicated,” she said.

    “In what way?”

    “We age at different rates…but there are ways to get around that,” she explained.

    “I hadn’t thought of that,” I replied.

    “Let’s not worry about that right now. The main thing you need to focus on is the journey you’re about to enter…but just so you know, you won’t be alone.”

    I smiled back at her. “Thank you.”

    “You’re welcome,” she replied. “Now, let’s go back and change for dinner.”

Chapter 34

    We had an early dinner and we got up before dawn. Being it was off season we were the only guests at the B & B so we were able to speak freely. The owner was a woman named Ginger and like Aileen she also was blessed with powers.

    The good thing about this was that we were able to open around her. She seemed very pleased with what I was trying to do for Heather and Mark.

    “It’s so nice now that the leaves have fallen off the trees and I can finally relax,” Ginger stated as she fixed breakfast. “Don’t get me wrong, I love running this place, but it’s been non-stop since the spring.”

    A large black lab named Thor was lying just outside of the kitchen watching her every move. It was obvious that any food that fell from Ginger’s hand wouldn’t hit the floor.

     “It looks like you’ll have a smooth trip out to the island, Aileen,” said Ginger as she casually tossed Thor a piece of sausage. Thor caught the food and swallowed it in one graceful movement and was immediately watching for more.

    “I’m grateful for that,” replied Aileen. “I did take the liberty of mixing up a couple of anti-motion sickness spells…just in case.”

    “That’s always wise,” replied Ginger as she walked towards the table with a platter filled with a huge stack of blueberry pancakes, which was followed by bacon and sausage.

    Aileen laughed as she saw the amount of food that Ginger had prepared. “How much do you think we’re going to eat?”

    “Sorry, I’m not used to cooking breakfast for just three people,” she replied. “Don’t worry, none of this will go to waste; I’ll take the leftovers down to the pier and trade them for a few lobsters.”

    As I ate I struggled to wake up. 

    Aileen noticed this and asked me if I was okay.

    “I guess I’m a little tired from the drive,” I replied as I sipped some tea.

    “How many days ago were you with Mark?” she asked.

    “Last week,” I replied as I thought about it. “Actually it was eight days ago. Um, Aileen, do you think that I might be pregnant?”

    “It’s possible. I mean that’s why you’re doing this. Change in sleeping patterns can be an early symptom,” said Aileen. “The only problem is that I didn’t bring the right crystal with me.”

    “I can borrow one and we can check when you get back,” interjected Ginger.

    “Sure,” I replied as I nervously took a small bite of sausage.

    “Have you noticed any other changes?” asked Aileen.

    “Maybe…I’m not sure,” I replied.

    “Cailin, what is it?” asked Aileen.

    “I’m a little embarrassed to talk about it…but my nipples were a little tender this morning. I thought it was just due to the different shower head,” I replied.

    Aileen smiled at me. “That’s two.”

    “I’ll definitely get the crystal,” added Ginger.

    “You really think so?” I asked.

    “I won’t know until I get the crystal. Do you want to delay the trip?” she asked.

    I shook my head. “If I’m pregnant now…I’ll be pregnant later today. I want to take the photos for you.”

    Aileen nodded. “Okay, let’s get going.”

Chapter 35

    It may sound silly, but I guess I was in denial about the fact I could be pregnant. I hadn’t counted on finding out on this trip either. I had hoped that if I was pregnant I wouldn’t find out until we got back to Rhode Island. I decided to try and not think about it until after we got back. I stared at myself in the mirror and hoped that I really was pregnant.

    For the trip out to the island I carried my camera equipment in a waterproof bag. As a photographer living in a coastal state I had done a lot of work on the ocean. The last thing I wanted was to have my equipment damaged.

Aileen carried a bag with a lunch that Ginger had prepared.

    “How long will it take us to get to the island?” I asked as we walked to the pier.

    “Around ninety minutes,” replied Aileen. “Do you want the seasickness charm?”

    “I usually don’t get sick…but why take chances,” I stated.

    Aileen nodded. “I feel the same way.” She handed me a small blue crystal that was hanging from a silver chain.

    “It looks like sea-glass,” I noted as I inspected the crystal.

    “That’s because it is,” she replied. “It holds the spell better.”

    I slipped the chain over my neck and then zipped up my LL Bean coat. It was very chilly and I knew it would be even cooler as we got on the water.

    The boat was a twenty foot long cabin cruiser. Its name was Selkie.

    “So is the captain another family friend?” I asked.

     “He’s half-human, his grandmother is part ocean-folk,” she replied.

    “You mean like a mermaid?” I asked.

    Aileen nodded. “However, they hate that name.”

    “Okay, thanks for letting me know,” I replied. “So does he know about me?”

    Aileen nodded. “I had to tell him other wise he wouldn’t take us out there. Don’t worry, I’ve known Sean for years and he’s like a brother to me.”

    We saw a burly man with a large red beard wave to us from the bridge.

    “Good morning, Aileen,” he greeted.

    She waved back. “Hello Sean. This is my friend Cailin.”

    “Pleased to meet you, Cailin,” he replied.

    “The honor is all mine,” I replied.

    He laughed at my reply. “Well, then, welcome aboard The Selkie.”

Chapter 36

    We got underway just as the sun was rising. It looked like it would be a beautiful fall day.  Even though it was still a bit cool, I went up to the exposed bridge so I could take in the sights as we headed out to the island.

    “So you’re a professional photographer?” he asked.

    “Yes, I love it,” I replied.

    “What sort of work do you do?” he asked.

    “Whatever I can get,” I answered with a smile.

    I told him of the variety of jobs I had done, including going on fishing charters.

    “You mean that some rich tourist actually paid you to go out and watch them fish?” he asked in disbelief.

    Thanks to my memories I could tell him stories of what I had supposedly done.

    “And how much did you charge them?” he asked. “If they were from New York City I hope you really stuck it to them.”

    I laughed. “As much as I would have enjoyed that, I worked on a flat rate for the boat captain. I did it to help pay for college. The good thing was that I got paid even if they didn’t catch a thing.”

    He laughed again. “I like you Cailin…even if you are from Newport!”

    “And what’s wrong with that?” I countered as we began to playfully banter back and forth.

    “Too many rich snobs there,” he replied.

    “Those are the summer rental people…the locals are down to earth,” I replied.

    “So what did you do in your other life?” he asked casually.

    “I was an electronic engineer…but I was downsized,” I replied.

    “Sorry to hear that…but it did allow you to do this,” he said. “I think it’s damn nice what you’re doing. You must be really close to your sister.”

    “She’s very important to me,” I replied. “Do you have any brothers or sister?”

    He nodded and told me about his family. He had seven brothers and six sisters. I couldn’t imagine having such a large family.

    As we headed out to the island, Sean pointed out the local wildlife. We saw many species of birds and a lot of seals. I took photos whenever possible.

    “You should see a lot of birds out on the island,” he noted. “There’s also a harbor seal colony there.”

    “Aileen told me about that and she said that’s why it’s protected.”

    “It works as a good cover story,” he replied. “The locals are quick to report tourists who violate the rules.”

    “What about the locals, do they go out there?” I asked.

    He shook his head. “They think the place is haunted.”

    “Is it?” I asked with a sly smile.

    “Not to my knowledge,” he replied. “Magical yes, haunted no.”

    “Well at least it keeps unwanted visitors off the island,” I said.

    “We have an additional security system,” he replied.

    “What’s that?” I asked.

    He pointed to a harbor seal. “They let me know if anyone is trespassing.”

    “Really?” I asked.

    He nodded.

    Aileen joined us on the bridge.

    “So how long will you need?” he asked.

    “Four hours,” she replied.

    He nodded. “That’s good. I have ‘official’ permission to stay there for six hours. We can relax and have lunch there before coming back.”

Chapter 37

    Sean moored the ship along side a wooden pier. There was a large sign stating the island was off-limits without permission.

    Once the boat was tied up Sean pulled out a Sudoku book and leaned back on a bench in the main cabin.

    “Call me if you need anything,” he said.

    “Thanks Sean,” replied Aileen as we headed down the pier.

    As soon as we stepped off the pier I felt a strange sensation, like a slight tingling all over my body.

    “Did you feel that?’ I asked.

    Aileen nodded. “Pretty cool, huh?”

    “Okay, what is it?” I asked.

    “Tell me what you felt,” she asked.

    I described the feeling.

    “It means that your family has a magical line in it,” she replied. “I’m still looking into your family heritage, but this confirms that one of your ancestors had powers.”

    “Does this mean that I could have them too?” I asked.

    “It’s possible, I mean you have a very strong aura,” she replied as she led me down a dirt path.

    “What happens if we find out that I do?” I asked.

    “We might be able to develop them. When people don’t know they have powers they don’t have the opportunity to develop them. Still the fact that you have an artistic career is very promising. Many people who don’t know their magical heritage choose careers that allow them to express themselves in a creative manner.”

    “What about Heather?” I asked.

    “I’ll have to check her out,” said Aileen.

    “And…if I’m pregnant, will the baby have powers?”

    Aileen stopped and turned around. “It’s very likely. There’s nothing to worry about as it will have no impact on the birth. There will be some decisions to be made after the birth.”

    “Like what?” I asked.

    “Heather and Mark will have to decide if they will allow the child to develop their powers or keep them repressed…that is if we tell them,” said Aileen.

    “I think we should,” I said.

    Aileen smiled and nodded. “So do I. But we will have time to think about this.”

    “Okay,” I replied.

    The path led through a heavily wooded area of the island.

    “We’ll be at the site in a moment. Let me know if you feel anything, okay?” she said.

    “Okay,” I replied.

    The path dead ended in a small clearing. There were large stones that surrounded the opening in a semi-circle. The stones were four to five feet tall and were rectangular in shape. I also noticed that there were twelve stones and that they appeared to be equally spaced. What was strange was that none of the rocks had moss growing on them.

 I felt a sensation that could best be described as a feeling that I had just entered a very sacred spot.

    “Wow,” I stated softly.

    “I know,” she replied.

    I told her what I had felt and she nodded.

    “I get the same feeling every time I come here. Now, here’s the really special thing about this place.”

    There were carved symbols on each of the rocks.

    “They look very old,” I said as I stared at them.

    “We’ve determined that they date back to right after the Roman invasion of Britain. We suspect that some of the Druid Priests fled Britain and ended up here.”

    “Wow, that’s so cool,” I replied.

    “It gets better,” she stated.

    She pulled a blue crystal out of her bag and held it up to one of the stones. Strange markings suddenly became clear. They looked like scratches at first, but the more I looked at the markings it was evident that it was some form of writing, but as to the language, I had no idea.

    “What do they mean?” I asked.

    “We’re still not sure,” she replied. “We do know that they predate the Druids.”

    “This is fantastic!” I exclaimed as I set down my camera bag and began to take out my equipment. “So who did it?”

    “We have a theory. The photos will be sent to a friend of Iona who may be able to confirm a theory that some of us have.”

    “What is that?” I asked as I began to take pictures of the stones. I immediately examined the shot to make sure that I had gotten them.

    “Would you believe an offshoot of the Minoans?” she asked.

    I stopped taking pictures and looked at her. “The Minoans? How did they get here?”

    “We know that after their civilization collapsed that survivors spread out around the world. I saw an article in National Geographic a while back that showed a newly discovered Minoan language and it looked very similar to the markings on these stones.”

    “So what does your clan use this place for?” I asked.

    “We hold ceremonies here…like the celebration of the solstice, and we also hold memorial services here,” she said.

    “Makes sense as this place has a feeling of great power,” I stated.

    Three hours later we finished documenting the markings on the stones.

    “I got some great shots, but I would like to see if I can enhance them,” I stated as I packed up my things.

    “I really appreciate it, Cailin,” said Aileen. “Are you hungry?”

    “Famished,” I replied.

    “Me too,” she replied. “Let’s head back to the boat for lunch.”

Chapter 38

    I barely noticed lunch as I examined the photos I had taken. I wanted to make sure that we had gotten good photos of each boulder.

    “I think we got clear shots of all of the stones,” I stated as I handed my camera to Aileen. “Let me know if you want to go back and reshoot any of them.”

    Aileen began to cycle through the photos. After a few minutes she handed the camera back to me.

    “It looks like you got them all. Thank you very much,” she stated.

    I nodded as I took the memory card out of my camera and handed it to her.

    “I know how important this is to keep secret,” I said.

    Aileen nodded and carefully placed the memory card into her bag. “I’ll count this as an added expense.”

    “So, are we ready to head back?” asked Sean.

    “Yes, we got everything we were looking for today,” said Aileen.

    “Great. Oh, I got a call from Ginger, she got the crystal,” he said.

    I had been totally wrapped up in my work and had forgotten that I might be pregnant. I looked at my watch and estimated how long it would take us to get back to shore. It would be a long trip.

Chapter 39

    “Are you ready?” asked Aileen.

    I looked up from the bed and nodded. I was naked and lying on my back.

    She lowered a silver chain with a small pink crystal over my belly. At first I didn’t feel anything, but as she swung it slowly in a circle above me I began to feel a slight tingling.

    I noticed that the crystal began to glow. It was faint at first, but with each passing moment it grew brighter.

    “Does that mean what I think it does?” I asked tentatively.

    Aileen nodded. “Yes my dear, you appear to be pregnant.”

    Her words hung over me…I was pregnant.

    “I still want to confirm this with a medical test,” she said.

    I tried to speak, but was overwhelmed with emotions. I felt tears rolling down my face. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t upset…these were tears of joy.

    I sat up and instinctively wrapped my hands around my belly as if to protect the new life I was now carrying.

    “Are you happy, dear?” asked Aileen.

    I could only nod.

    She smiled and then hugged me.

Chapter 40

    “Do you want to call your sister?” asked Aileen.

    “I would rather tell them in person. Can we stop there on the way home?” I asked.

    We were sitting in the kitchen as Ginger cooked dinner.

    “You sure you want to wait?” asked Ginger.

    I nodded. “This is something that needs to be told in person.”

    “Well, I’m very happy for you,” said Ginger.

    “Thank you,” I replied. 

    “Now, I’ll be there for you as you progress through this,” said Aileen.

    “I appreciate that. You know, I feel really good about this…I know that it’s not something that I thought I would ever have to experience, but now that it is real, I’m really looking forward to going through this.”

    “I hope you feel the same way in a few months,” said Ginger. “Don’t get me wrong, I loved my children, but there were days that I dreaded getting out of bed…especially with the twins.”

    “You’re a mother?” I asked.

    Ginger laughed. “Honey, I have five children and six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.”

    I was stunned and I looked at Aileen in obvious disbelief.

    “I told you we age at different rates,” said Aileen.

    “I was born in 1792,” stated Ginger in a matter-of-fact manner.

    “Wow,” I replied.  To me she looked to be in her mid-thirties.

    “Um, can you still get pregnant?” I asked.

    Ginger nodded. “I could…maybe if I met the right man.”

    “That’s pretty cool,” I replied.

    “Now I have a question for you, Cailin, after you have this child for your sister, do you think you’ll want to start a family of your own?” asked Ginger.

    “Um, you mean as a woman?” I asked.

    Ginger nodded. “It’s pretty obvious to me that you like being a woman.”

    I shrugged my shoulders. “I have no idea right now. I haven’t made up my mind either way.”

    “But you do like being a woman, right?”

    I nodded.

    “More than being a man?”

    “Ginger, let her make up her own mind,” said Aileen with a smile.

    “I’m not trying to sway her, I’m just pointing out my observations,” she said.

    I looked at Aileen. “What do you think?”

    “It doesn’t matter what I think, Cailin, it’s what you think,” Aileen replied.

    “I know, but what do you think?” I asked again.

    “You do seem very comfortable as a woman,” she replied.

    “And from what you’ve observed in others who have done this…is this what you’ve seen in others who have stayed as women?” I asked.

    Aileen nodded. “But it’s your choice, don’t be influenced by what I or others say, you need to do what is right for you.”

    I nodded. “You’re right, I guess it doesn’t matter right now anyway as I have nine months to think about it.”

Chapter 41

    On the way down to the Cape, we talked more about my conflicts about my gender.

    “It’s very common for someone in your shoes to have very big mood swings about this, especially if the pregnancy had complications” she explained. “I’ve know a few that after experiencing labor they wanted to be changed back to male the very same day.”

    “Is it as painful as I’ve heard it can be?” I asked.

    “It varies from person to person,” she replied.

    “Is that it? It varies from person to person?” I asked with a laugh.

    “Have you seen a woman give birth?” she asked.

    “Only in a film in human sexuality back in high school,” I replied.

    “But you’ve seen newborn babies in real life, right?”

    I nodded.

    “Okay now imagine something that big coming out of your vagina,” she continued.

    “Oh…I see your point,” I replied.

    “Try not to worry about it…you’ll have plenty of other things to experience before that,” she continued.

    I looked over at her and she began to smile…and then we both began to laugh.

    We arrived at Mark and Heather’s by early afternoon. I didn’t call ahead as I wanted to surprise them.

    Mark and Heather were outside doing some yard work as we pulled up.

    “I thought you were in Maine,” said Heather as she greeted us.

    “We were,” I replied.

    “Your sister is such a great photographer that we finished early,” said Aileen.

    “So, did you have lunch?” asked Mark.

    I shook my head. “We had a big breakfast.”

    “Well we’re just finishing up, come on you can join us,” said Heather. “We picked up some really nice cold cuts.”

Chapter 42

    I helped Heather set out the food and we talked about the trip.

    “I’ll get the drinks, what do you want love?” asked Mark.

    “I’ll have some of that Pinot Noir,” replied Heather. “It’s really good.”

    He turned to Aileen.

    “A glass of wine sounds great, thank you Mark.”

    “What about you Cailin?” he asked.

    I shook my head. “I can’t, can I have something non-alcoholic?”

    Mark and Heather both turned and stared at me.

    I broke out in a big smile as I nodded. “It looks like I’m pregnant.”

    Heather threw her arms around me and we hugged. I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry…but when she did I also broke down.

    Mark came over and gently hugged both of us.

    When we pulled away, Aileen handed us a box of tissues.

    “When did you find out?” asked Heather.

    “Yesterday afternoon,” I replied I told them what had happened.

    “So, how accurate is this?” asked Heather as wiped away some tears of joy.

    “I’ve never had a false positive on this test…but we’ll still follow it up with the more traditional tests,” said Aileen.

    “So this would mean that you’re just under two weeks pregnant, right?” asked Heather.

    I nodded. I could see her doing some math in her head.

    “So we’re looking at July or August,” she said.

    “Give or take a few weeks,” added Aileen.

    “I hope it’s not the later,” I replied.

    “So when do we tell everyone else?’ asked Heather.

    “We better wait until we get the medical tests,” I replied. “I don’t want to get their hopes up.”

    “Unfortunately it might be two more weeks before the tests will be accurate,” said Aileen. “There are limitations to modern medicine.”

    “You mean you’re going to wait two more weeks before you tell Mom and the others?” asked Heather.

    “Better that than telling them I’m pregnant and it turns out I’m not,” I replied. “I trust Aileen, but we need to make sure.”

    “Okay…but I’m willing to bet that Mom knows before then,” said Heather.

    I shook my head. “I’m not taking that bet.”

    We started laughing.

 “Thank you so much for doing this,” said Heather. “I have no idea how I will ever pay you back.”

    I smiled back. “You’re welcome.”

    “How do you feel?” asked Mark. ‘I mean emotionally about this.”

    ‘I would lying if I didn’t say that I’m still adjusting to the idea that I’m pregnant. It does freak me out a bit.” ” I replied. “The good thing is that I have you guys and Aileen to help me.”

    “Well you can count on both of us. If you need anything at all just let us know,” said Mark.

    “I appreciate that,” I replied.

    “You know that whenever you want to you can move in with us,” said Heather.

    “I know, but I think that I’ll be fine at first. Aileen said that I can keep working until I’m just about due, and I’ve never been good just sitting around. I think I would drive both of you crazy if I moved in now.”

    “Okay, but the offer is always there,” said Mark.

    We spent the rest of the afternoon with them before heading back to Rhode Island.

    “Are you sure you want to leave, you can spend the night if you want,” said Heather.

    “No I need to do some work with the photos I took for Aileen.”

    “Okay… how about I come by tomorrow and we can do lunch, okay?”

    I smiled. “I’d really like that, Heather.”

    A short time later Aileen and I were driving down the road.

    “That went well,” I said.

    “You made them both very happy. I know they’ll be great parents,” she said.

    I nodded.

    “You okay?” she asked.

    “Yes, but I’m still in shock about this. I mean I did this change so I could have their child…but it didn’t seem real until now…does that make sense?”

    “Perfect sense,” she replied. “If you acted differently I would be worrying about you.”

    I stared out the window for a while.

    “I wonder if I’m going to have a boy or a girl,” I stated wistfully.

    “Do you really want to know?” she asked.

    I shrugged my shoulders. ”I guess it doesn’t matter as long as it’s healthy.”

    “I can do a test and I can let you know,” she said.

    I looked out the window. “I’ll think about it…I guess Heather and Mark should have a say in this.”

Chapter 43

    Heather stopped by the next day as promised.

    “How do you feel?” she asked.

    “I’m okay, so far no morning sickness,” I replied. “So where do you want to go to eat?”

    “Let’s just walk around,” she said. “Thankfully it’s a nice day.”

    “Let’s just walk, it’s not that far,” I said.

    “You feel up to it?” she asked.

    “Aileen wants me to keep exercising throughout my pregnancy…damn you have no idea how weird it sounds to say that!”

    “I know what you mean…my little brother is going to have a baby,” she replied with a slight laugh.

    “You know, that seems so long ago,” I stated as I slipped on my jacket and hat.” I have to really think about what it was like to be a guy.”

    “Besides the obvious…what’s the biggest difference?” she asked.

    I thought about my answer for a while.

    “I guess it’s the emotional side…I’m still getting used to them,” I replied. “The physical changes aren’t an issue anymore.”

    “Even sex?” she asked.

    “The second time I was with Mark…it felt very normal…yes it felt good, but it didn’t feel all that strange,” I replied.

    She nodded. “How are things between you and Aileen?”

    “We’re friends…and I’m her patient. She says that she likes me…a lot, but she doesn’t want to go any further until after I have the baby,” I replied.

    “How do you feel about that?”

    “Disappointed…but I understand it…in many ways it makes sense,” I replied. I told her about the conversations I had with Aileen. “I guess my gender identity will be in flux for a while.”

    “Have you had any regrets?” she asked.

    “I wouldn’t say regrets…I’m still a little freaked out about what is going to happen the next nine months. I mean, I definitely want to go through with this. I’ve been looking at some of the websites about pregnancy and it’s amazing how the body changes…and it’s also pretty scary.”

    Heather nodded. “That’s an honest reaction.”

    “I know you wanted to do this…and I wish you could have. All I want now is to have a healthy baby for you and Mark.”

    “I know that, Cailin.”

    We arrived in the downtown area. Some of the restaurants and stores were closed for the season, but there were enough of the regular places to choose from.

    “How about Brick Alley?” I suggested.

    “Not exactly a healthy choice,” she replied with a wink.

    “Hey, it’s not that bad…and besides I am eating healthier,” I replied. “I’ve stopped drinking.”

    “Good girl,” she replied.

Chapter 44

    “So how’s your appetite?” asked Heather as we looked over the menu.

    “No difference…so far,” I replied.

    “I suppose that Aileen has been telling you what to expect,” she said.

    I nodded.

    “Can I ask a favor?” she asked.

    I put the menu down. “What do you want now?” I asked with a large grin on my face.

    Heather laughed.

    “Seriously, what do you need?” I asked.

    “I really want to be a part of this...I was hoping that you would keep me informed…with everything regarding with how your body is changing. I know this sounds stupid…”

    “No it doesn’t,” I interrupted. “I understand why you’re asking me this.”

    Heather smiled at me. “Thank you.”

    “Hey, we’re sisters,” I replied.

    Heather nodded.

    I noticed that there was something else wrong.

    “What else is on your mind?” I asked.

    “Is it that obvious?” she asked.

    I nodded. “It’s my woman’s intuition,” I stated.

    Heather rolled her eyes.

    “No, seriously,” I continued.

    “How will I explain this to my baby…I mean, what will I tell them?” she asked.

    “You’ll tell them that that you’re their mother,” I replied. “You’ll tell them that you would have had them yourself if you could have. I’m just carrying this baby…you will be the one who raises him…or her, that’s what’s important. Let me put it this way…if Mom told us that someone else gave birth to us, would it matter to you?”

    “I see what you mean,” she replied. “When did you get so smart?”

    “I’ve always been smart,” I replied with a wink.

    Heather laughed.

Chapter 45

    After lunch we walked around Newport for a while and talked. We stopped outside of a maternity shop and I stared at the outfits on the mannequins.

    “I’m glad that I will have some time before I have to start wearing clothes like that,” I stated.

    “As maternity clothes go, those aren’t bad,” said Heather.

    “I can’t imagine what it will be like to be that big,” I said as I continued to stare at the outfits.

    “Do you want to go in and look?” she asked.

    I shook my head. “No, let’s go get some coffee.”

    As we walked towards a coffee house, I turned to Heather. “Do you want to know if the baby is a boy or a girl?”

    “What do you mean?” asked Heather. “Isn’t it too early to tell?”

    “Aileen says there is a way she can tell,” I explained. “I wanted to ask you first.”

    “I’ll talk to Mark and see what he thinks,” she replied.

    I nodded. “That’s cool…but what do you want?”

    Heather nodded. “I’d like to know…I think Mark will want to know too,” but I’ll ask him first.”

    “Call him and see what he thinks,” I suggested.

    “You think I should?”

    I nodded and Heather pulled out her phone.

Chapter 46

    Mark said that he would like to know and so I called Aileen. She said that she would come by the next day and run a test on me. 

    “So we’ll know tomorrow?” asked Heather as soon as I hung up.

    I nodded. “Of course we won’t be able to tell anyone for a while…I mean officially I’m not even supposed to know that I’m pregnant yet. Most of the home tests don’t work until the fourth week…give or take a week.”

    “Wow, you really have been studying,” she said.

    “I got an A+ on my latest test,” I replied.

    Heather laughed.

    “Seriously, I have been studying… thanks to the internet,” I replied.

    “I’m glad to hear that,” she stated. “I can’t wait until we can tell Mom.”

    I nodded. “Somehow I think she’ll know before we tell her…we never could slip one past her.”

    “I know what you mean. When I called to tell her that Mark had proposed she knew it before I could tell her,” said Heather.

    I rolled my eyes. “Heather, didn’t Mark propose to you over dinner?”

    She nodded.

    “And you called Mom when…right after midnight? What else would she think?” I asked.

    “It was 11:30,” replied Heather as she began to giggle.

    “I think we can tell Mom tomorrow after Aileen does the test on me,” I said. “It’s up to you when you want to tell Mark’s family.”

    “Okay,” replied Heather.

Chapter 47

    Heather and Aileen arrived around the same time the next morning, a little after ten.

    Over a pot of coffee we talked about the test. Thankfully I didn’t need to get completely naked for this one; all I had to do was expose my belly.

    “All I have to do is hold this crystal over you and see what color it changes to,” she explained.

    “How long does it take?” I asked.

    “I should know almost immediately. We can do it right on your couch if you want,” explained Aileen.

    “Sounds like a plan,” I replied.

    A short time later I was laying on my couch with my sweater pulled up to expose my tummy.

    Aileen held the crystal over me. I could see it change color from white to purple.

    Aileen pulled the crystal away and then she placed it back over my tummy. It turned purple again.

    “So what does that that mean?” I asked.

    Aileen reached into her bag and pulled out a well worn leather-bound notebook. She paged through it and then closed it.

    “Are you going to tell me?” I asked as I sat up and pulled my sweater down.

    “You’d better sit down,” she said.

    “I am sitting down,” I replied.

    Aileen nodded. “I was talking to Heather, but it’s good that you’re sitting down too.”

    Heather sat down next to me. “Is there something wrong?”

    Aileen smiled as she shook her head. “No…everything is fine. Cailin, you’re going to have twins.”

    I started to open my mouth and…then I blacked out.

Chapter 48

    “I can’t believe I fainted!” I stated with disgust as Heather and Aileen helped me sit up.

    “It’s perfectly understandable,” said Aileen. “How do you feel?”

    “Physically fine…twins… are you sure?” I asked. I was still in shock.

    Aileen nodded. “You’re going to have fraternal twins.”

    “Just like Heather and me,” I stated. “A boy and a girl.”

    “That’s correct,” replied Aileen.

    “Are you okay with this?” I asked Heather.

    “If you mean am I happy that I’ll have two babies instead of one? I’m ecstatic, Cailin…but I’m worried about you too,” she stated.

    “I know there are some risks with multiple births…but there shouldn’t be any reason to worry about it…I guess. I just didn’t count on two,” I answered.

    “You’re right Cailin, there are some risks, but now that we know we can monitor you and the babies,” explained Aileen.

    “Well Mom survived having us, so I guess I can do it,” I stated. “Twins…”

    Heather gave me a hug.

    “Thanks,” I replied. “Um, I suppose you should call Mark and let him know the good news.”

    Heather looked at Aileen, who nodded. Heather took out her cell phone and told Mark the good news.

Chapter 49

    As soon as Heather finished her call with Mark I called our Mom.

    “I’ll be right over,” she said.

    Ten minutes later Mom was hugging us.

    “When will you tell Mark’s side of the family?” asked Mom.

    “In two more weeks…give or take a few days, I have to make this look like I found out with a standard pregnancy test,” I replied. “Of course, I won’t be able to tell them about the twins for a while.”

    “I had a feeling that you were pregnant,” said Mom.

    I gave Heather an “I told you so” look and she broke up laughing.

    “Does this create any complications for Cailin?” Mom asked Aileen.

    “No more than any other woman,” Aileen replied. “As I told them, the good news is that we know about this early so we can monitor her for any problems.”

    “What was it like for you Mom?” I asked.

    “The last few months weren’t that much fun,” she replied. “Just getting out of bed in the morning was a monumental accomplishment. You and your sister weighed a combined sixteen pounds.”

    I let out a long sigh as I looked down at my belly. I tried to imagine what it would look like in eight months.

Chapter 50

    The next couple of weeks seemed to drag by. I knew that I was pregnant, but I needed medical confirmation.

    My body was starting to agree with Aileen’s confirmation of my pregnancy. I started having morning sickness.

    Mom was sympathetic, although it didn’t stop her from kidding me about it too. I didn’t mind as I knew it was all good natured. I was also happy to be close with her again.

    The tenderness in my breasts also increased, especially in my nipples.

    I began to take pregnancy tests once I entered my fourth week. My first test was inconclusive, but the second test confirmed that I was pregnant.

    I called Aileen and asked her what we should do now.

    “I recommend that you make an appointment with Gwen,” she replied, referring to Dr. Gwen Costello. “By the way, I met her the other day, she’s quite impressive.”

    “Okay,” I replied.

    “You can give her my name as your regular doctor,” continued Aileen.

    “Thanks,” I replied. “I guess we can tell Mark’s family too.”

    “I’d get the confirmation from Gwen first,” suggested Aileen.

    “Okay. I’ll call you later,” I said.

    I called and made an appointment with Gwen’s receptionist. Ten minutes later Gwen called me back.

    “Cailin, this is Gwen, I just talked with my receptionist…I can get you in this afternoon,” she said.

    “Thanks, I’d appreciate that,” I replied.

    “I’m looking forward to seeing you, it’s been a while,” she said.

Chapter 51

    I had always liked Gwen. She was the class brain and she was also one of the most likeable persons in our class. As Ian, I had asked her out a few times, but nothing serious ever happened between us.

    Her office was only a few blocks away from Mom’s office. I checked in and was immediately shown to a waiting room.

    “Cailin, it’s good to see you,” greeted Gwen as she walked into the room.

    Gwen was a few inches shorter than me, and her blonde hair was styled short. She still looked like she could compete in cross-country running.

    “I’m glad to see you too, Gwen,” I replied as we hugged.

    “How did you know I was back in town?” she asked.

    I told her about running into Kelly.

    Gwen nodded. “She’s doing quite well. I’d love to chat and get caught up, but I suspect that can wait. So, you think that you’re pregnant?”

    I smiled as I nodded. I told her the sanitized version of what I was doing for Heather. We also talked about my health in general.

    “I’m so sorry about Heather. I heard about the accident. I just want you to know how nice it is that you are doing this for her,” she said as she took notes. “And who is your regular doctor?”

    I told her.

    “I’ve never meet Dr. Munro, but she has an excellent reputation,” said Gwen.

    “She feels the same way about you,” I replied.

    Gwen smiled. “I guess we should meet then. Okay, so you think you’re four weeks pregnant?”

    “That’s about right,” I replied. “I’m not seeing anyone else right now and I know exactly when I received Mark’s sperm.”

    I told her about my morning sickness and other symptoms.

    Gwen nodded. “And you had a positive with a home test?”

    “Two different ones,” I replied.

    “You haven’t changed a bit, Cailin,” she said with a smile. “Before I have my nurse draw your blood is there anything else you want to tell me?”

    Naturally I skipped the whole magical transformation thing, but I did tell her about the possibility of having twins.

    “I know it’s silly, but I have a strong feeling that I might have twins,” I stated.

    “It does run in your family, so we’ll keep an eye out for that. Now, I should have your test results back tomorrow morning. I will call you and if it is positive I want to set up your appointments. With your permission I would like to call Aileen and see your medical records.”

    I nodded.

    “And I would also like to get together with you for dinner some evening and catch up on old times,” she added.

    I smiled. “I’d like that a lot.”

Chapter 52

    Gwen called the next morning and told me that the blood test confirmed that I was pregnant. We made an appointment for later that week.

    I immediately called Heather and told her that it was now official.

    “I’ll let Mark’s family know,” she said. “Do you want to come out here?”

    “I’ll come out this weekend. I have a photo shoot this afternoon and another one tomorrow morning,” I stated.

    “Okay,” she replied. “But I know Mark’s family will want to see you. I’ll set up lunch for Saturday, okay?”

    “Sounds good. Oh, Gwen says hi,” I stated. “I really like her as my doctor.”

    “I’m glad to hear that,” said Heather.

    “We’re going to get together some night and go over old times; do you want to join us?”

    “I’d really like that,” she replied.

    “Cool, I’ll let you know when,” I said. “Oh, I’ll call Mom and let her know.”

    As soon as I got off the phone with Heather I called Mom to let her know that my pregnancy was official.

    “I’m waiting to hear back from Heather and find out when we’re meeting this weekend,” I stated.

    “Do you mind if I ride out there with you?” asked Mom.

    “Not at all,” I replied.

    “How you doing with all this?” she asked.

    I sighed before answering.

    “Why don’t you come over for dinner tonight…and we can talk, okay?”

    “I’d like that a lot Mom. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any regrets about doing this…but it does freak me out a little knowing I have two lives inside of me. I mean, the spell has helped me adjust to being female, but that stuff’s a piece cake compared to this…if you know what I mean.”

    “I do my dear. I’ll see you around six, okay?”

    “I’m looking forward to it,” I replied.

    I called Aileen next. She had just got off the phone with Gwen.

    “You have a very good doctor to help you through this,” said Aileen.

    “No, I have another excellent doctor to help me,” I replied.

    “Thank you.”

    I told her about the get-together that we were arranging with Mark’s family.

    “I think I’ll skip it,” said Aileen.

    “I wish I could too,” I said. “Don’t get me wrong, I like my in-laws, but I don’t look forward to being the center of attention…you know ‘carrying the next generation of Prestons’ and all that.”

    “That’s understandable,” she said.

    “I suspect that they will want to run my life,” I confessed.

    “I don’t think you’ll have a problem standing up for yourself…and I know that Heather and Mark will support you as will Mrs. Preston and your Mom,” said Aileen.

    “I know that…but Mr. Preston can be pretty demanding,” I said.

    “I think you’ll do fine,” she continued.

    “I hope so…you don’t have any confidence spells do you?”

    She laughed. “I can’t see a reason why you would need one.”

Chapter 53

    I helped Mom prepare dinner as we talked.

    “How’s the morning sickness?” she asked.

    “It sucks,” I replied. “Nothing like starting your day by having to rush to the bathroom to get sick. Did you have it?”

    She nodded. “It only lasted a few weeks.”

    “That’s good to hear,” I replied as I cut up some cucumbers and carrots for the salad.

    “You know why you get morning sickness?” she asked.

    I shook my head.

    “It’s because you realize that you have another life growing in you,” she replied with a straight face.

    I laughed at the lame joke.

    She then told me some of the things she tried to ease morning sickness.

    “I’ll try some of them,” I replied.

    “Have you noticed any other changes?”

    I shook my head.

    “You will,” she replied.

    “I’ve been looking at the websites,” I replied as I finished the salad.

    “When are you seeing Gwen?” she asked.

    “On Friday,” I replied as I began to set the table.

    “I’m glad you have a doctor that you like,” she said as she checked on the chicken in the oven. “It looks like it will be ready in five more minutes.”

    “Good, it smells delicious,” I replied.

Chapter 54

    We talked about seeing Mark’s family on Saturday.

    “The good news is that they are ecstatic about me being pregnant,” I said as I ate.

    “Let me guess about the bad news, they want you to go to their doctor,” stated Mom.

    I nodded. “Among other things; Heather said that Mrs. Preston and Kristina will work on Mr. Preston.”

    “What are the other things?”

    “Mark’s father wants me to quit working…that’s not going to happen!”

    “Good god what year does he think this is?”

    “09…1909,” I replied with a grin.

    What else?” asked Mom.

    “He suggested that I move to their home in Boston,” I replied. “That’s not going to happen either.”

    “Don’t worry, we’ll set him straight,” said Mom.

    “I know that I can count on your support,” I replied.

    “So you plan on staying here for the entire pregnancy?”

    “Up until the end and then maybe I’ll move in with Heather and Mark. If I’m really going to have twins it will be a real pain to get around,” I replied. “I like my life…as Cailin and I love my job too. Also Newport’s my home.”

    “Do you think you’ll stick around after this is over?” she asked.

    “I might…I have time to think about it…there are good reasons for doing it,” I replied. “I sort of have the feeling that after giving birth it might be difficult to go back to being a guy.”

    “You know that I will support your decision, whatever you decide,” said Mom.

    “I know that,” I replied.

    “What about Aileen?” asked Mom.

    I looked over at her and could see that she was smiling,

    “You know too?” I asked.

    Mom rolled her eyes.

    “And you don’t mind?” I asked.

    “Honey, I just want you to be happy.”

    I nodded. I then told her about the conversation that Aileen and I had while we were in Maine.

    “Well at least it wasn’t a no; if it is meant to be then it will happen,” she said.

    I nodded.

    “I do know one thing…I plan on staying here…whether I am Ian or Cailin,” I stated. “I realized how much I missed my family.”

    Mom leaned over and hugged me. “You have no idea how much that makes me happy.”

Chapter 55

    The rest of the week flew by and before I knew it I was driving out to Heather and Mark’s place on the Cape.

    Mom and I talked along the way.

    “Oh, how did your appointment with Gwen go?” asked Mom.

    “It went well. She gave me a list of vitamins I should start taking and she also went over things I shouldn’t do. For the most part I’m already doing everything right. She does want me to cut back on caffeine. Actually she wants me to quit drinking all caffeinated drinks.”

    “You’ll thank her for that one,” said Mom.

    I glanced over at Mom.

    “Why?” I asked.

    “As your pregnancy progresses you will be spending a lot of time going to the bathroom, you don’t need the added affects of caffeine…trust me on that one.”

    “This is going to a long eight months without coffee,” I stated.

    “You can still drink coffee…but just do it in moderation…or start drinking decaf,” she said.

    “Where’s the fun in that?” I asked.

    Mom laughed. “Oh, just so you know Heather wants to have Thanksgiving at her place this year.”

    I had totally forgotten about it.

    “Um, sure,” I replied. “Actually it will be nice; I haven’t really celebrated Thanksgiving much the past few years.”

    “You could have flown back,” said Mom.

    “I know,” I replied.

    “Have you thought about Christmas?” she asked.

    “To be honest…no,” I replied.

    “You’ll be between seven and eight weeks pregnant around then; that’s when you’ll really start to notice the changes.”

    I nodded.

    “Mom, it’s weird, I know the spell has helped me adjust to being a woman, I mean I don’t give it a second thought when I shave my legs now…but why do I feel so apprehensive about the babies?”

    “You mean that you’re wondering of you did the right thing and if you can make it through the next eight months?” asked Mom.

    “Yes…weird huh?”

    “No…you’re reaction is very normal. I think many women have doubts at first,” she said.

    “Did you?” I asked.

    “Me?” asked Mom as she pointed at her chest.

    “Sorry, it was a stupid question.” I replied.

    “I was both elated and terrified when I found out I was pregnant,” she said.

    “But I thought you told us that you and Dad had been trying for a while to have a baby,” I said.

    “That’s true, but trying and knowing are two different things. I worried that I would do something wrong…and if it was the right time to start a family…but with each passing day I knew that it was the right thing to do.”

    “The big difference is that you knew that you would also be raising us,” I said.

    “Do I detect a note of regret that you will be turning the babies over to Heather?” asked Mom.

    I held out my fingers to show a slight gap. “Just a little.”

    “Really?” she asked.

    “I guess it’s this whole ‘bringing a life into the world’ thing, it’s an eye-opener,” I replied.

    Mom reached over and placed her hand on my shoulder. “I’m very proud of you.”

    “Thanks, Mom,” I replied.

Chapter 56

    There was a silver Mercedes sedan parked in Heather and Marks’ driveway.

    “I guess Marks’s parents are here,” said Mom.

    I nodded.

    “You okay?” she asked.

    “I’m just nervous,” I replied as I parked next to the Mercedes.

    “Don’t worry, you know that you’ll have me on your side,” continued Mom.

    “Thanks,” I replied.

    Heather and Mark greeted us at the front door and escorted us inside.

    “My parents and Kristina are in the living room,” said Mark.

    “Don’t worry, Cailin, we outnumber him,” added Heather as she took our coats. 

    There was no need to state who she was referring to.

    We walked into the living room and were met by Mr. and Mrs. Preston and Kristina.

    At first there were the expected congratulations and questions about how I felt. I politely answered all their questions.

    Everything was going well until Mark’s father began to speak.

    Carter Preston was a very formidable looking man. Oh, he was handsome, but there was always an aura of intensity emanating from him…even when he smiled. I supposed that’s what made him such an excellent lawyer. He had dark piercing blue eyes. Like Mark he appeared to be in excellent physical shape.

    “Cailin, have you thought about our offer of moving in with us?” he asked.

    I nodded. “I appreciate the offer, but I’m very happy living in Newport…besides I do have a business to run.”

    He shifted slightly in his chair. “You plan on working?”

    Even though this was a question, it came out more like a statement.

    “Sure, why not?” I replied.

    He took a sip of his coffee. “We can take care of you…if that’s what you’re worried about.”

    I felt as if I was being cross-examined, but the good thing was that I was expecting this and I was ready with my answers.

    “I know that, Mr. Preston, but I have a business to run. I can’t just step away from it for nine months.”

    “Business? You take pictures,” he replied with a slight laugh.

    “No, I’m a photographer…and I have won my share of awards too. It’s a very competitive field and I have worked hard to build up both my clients and my reputation. I plan on keeping the last few weeks open, but up until then I plan on running my business.”

    “You can’t be serious…you aren’t thinking of the baby. We can provide you excellent care and the best doctors in Boston,” he stated. “I’ve taken the liberty of drawing up a short list of doctors for you to look over.”

    “That’s not necessary; I already have an excellent doctor,” I replied.

    He looked at his wife in shock. “Margaret, please talk some sense to her. We can’t risk our grandchild to just any doctor.”

    Before Margaret could speak I replied.

    “I’m not seeing just ‘any’ doctor. Dr. Costello did her pre-med at Harvard and graduated from Stanford Medical with honors… and she is considered one of the best doctors in her field in New England I’m lucky to have her as my doctor. Besides, I know her and I trust her…and one more thing, yes I am carrying your grandchild, but more importantly I am carrying my sister’s baby. I agreed to do this for her and Mark because I love them…I didn’t jump into this without thinking and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt them…or the child that I am carrying. I also have my own life… and part of the agreement was that I would live my own life,” I stated firmly.

    I almost thought I could hear his teeth grinding.

    “Dad, we fully support Cailin,” interjected Mark. “We also know the sacrifices she will have to go through for us.”

    Mr. Preston’s jaw dropped slightly.

    “Dad, times have changed. Women don’t just lie around and wait for the baby to be born,” interjected Kristina. “I have several friends who worked right up to the birth and they all have had healthy babies.”

    He turned and looked at Margaret. “Margaret, please talk some sense into them.”

    She shook her head. “Don’t expect me to side with you on this, dear. I agreed with Cailin.” 

    He shrugged. “It looks like I am outvoted.”

    “This wasn’t up to a vote,” I stated. “Mr. Preston, I know you only want what is right for the baby…and so do I. I won’t do a thing to risk the child I am carrying.”

“Cailin, Heather told me that you two were in the same high school class with your doctor,” said Kristina.

    “Well, we were in the same class, but she was a class by herself,” I stated. “She was only fourteen when she graduated with us… and she finished her undergraduate degree before she was eighteen,” I stated. “But the cool thing about her is that she didn’t act different than the rest of us. She was very well liked, even though she was younger and a heck of a lot smarter.”

    “She’s only had her practice in Newport a short time and already she is one of the most popular doctors in town,” added Mom.

    “I see,” said Carter. “Margaret told me that you have another doctor, Cailin.”

    I nodded. “Dr. Aileen Munro is my regular doctor. Her practice is on the mainland, but I still see her….like Gwen, I trust her…a lot.”

    Carter nodded.

    I could tell that he was miffed that I wasn’t going to see his doctors and I fully expected him to do a background check of both Gwen and Aileen. I wasn’t worried about either one. Aileen was a real doctor, in addition to having her magical practice.

    “I know you’re concerned about the fact that I live alone, but Mom lives nearby and I’m less than a mile from the hospital,” I explained. “If I feel that I cannot get along by myself I will move in with Heather and Mark.”

    Mark and Heather both nodded in agreement.

    He looked around the room and could see that he was alone.

    “Well, I hate to give in…it doesn’t come easy for me, but I can tell that I’m not about to change your mind, Cailin,” he said.

    “I could have told you that,” said Mom with a smile on her face. I could tell that she was very proud of the way I had stood up for myself.

    Carter then broke out in laughter.

 “Okay, Cailin, I guess that I am a bit old fashioned concerning some of my ideas. I just hope that you don’t think less of me for trying.”

    I got up, walked over and gave him a hug.

Chapter 57

    The rest of the afternoon went by without any problems. Mark asked Carter to go with him to pick up the lobsters and this allowed the rest of us to talk as we prepared the rest of dinner in the kitchen.

    Kristina gave me a gentle hug.

    “I’m so proud of you!” she stated. “You really stood up to him.”

    Heather came up next and we also hugged. “That was pretty cool.”

    Margaret also seemed pleased.

    “Carter is a good man, but he’s the victim of his own upbringing,” said Margaret.

    “I’m glad that Mark is cool about all this,” I said.

    “Oh we took great steps to humanize him as he grew up,” said Kristina.

    “I think he came out just right,” said Heather.

    “I also think that you did a wonderful job raising your children,” said Margaret to Mom.

    Mom smiled back.

    As we talked I noticed how good I felt. I was surrounded and protected by a circle of wonderful women. I also had a wonderful doctor in Gwen and of course there was Aileen.

    I also knew from what Aileen had told me that I would have swings regarding my gender, but at the moment I felt so at peace with being a woman. But the doubts about getting pregnant drifted away that afternoon.

Chapter 58

    On the way back to Newport, Mom and I talked about the afternoon.

    “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” I remarked.

    “Carter never stood a chance,” replied Mom. “I’m very pleased that you can still handle yourself. I was a bit worried that the gender shift might have affected you, but obviously it didn’t. I’m happy that you have maintained your independent streak.”

    “I had good role models growing up,” I replied.

    Mom laughed. “It’s strange, I have memories of you growing up as a girl…even though I know the truth, and you were just as strong as you were as Ian.”

    I nodded. “I know what you mean. The memories I have of this life seem so real.”

    “Do you have any issues confusing them with your male memories?”

    I shook my head. “No, they’re separate.”

    “And you haven’t had any problems keeping them apart?”

    I shook my head again. “I guess it’s a part of the spell. Aileen said that since this was a beneficial spell it was designed to minimize problems. The cool thing is that while my life is obviously different, my personal likes and dislikes are the same. I mean, I still like watching football.”

    Mom laughed. “In case you have forgotten, I was the one who took you to your first Pats game…and that was when you were a boy.”

    “I know Mom, and I know that many women like sports…it’s just that I was a bit worried that I would turn out differently. As for my professional life, I like my current job a lot. I mean, I was good at what I did…but there was no real satisfaction if you know what I mean.”

    “You are an excellent photographer…much better than you were as Ian,” she said.

    “There might be a reason for it,” I said.

    “What do you mean?” she asked.

    I told her what Aileen had told me.

    “So what does this mean?” she asked.

    “It means that we may have a magical lineage. She said that when people don’t know that they have powers they show up in different ways…so my skills as a photographer may be an outlet.”

    Mom nodded.

    “Do you want her to check your aura too?” I asked. “It doesn’t hurt.”

    “Maybe,” she replied. “This could explain my second sense for knowing when to close a deal. Have you told Heather?”

    “No not yet,” I replied. “We’ve been preoccupied with other things since I found out.”

    Mom laughed. “That’s true; still you could have told her this afternoon, I’m sure Carter would have been excited to know about this.”

    “Oh yeah that would have been good!”

Chapter 59

    Aileen came over the next day and confirmed that Mom also had a strong aura. Mom didn’t seem bothered by this revelation.

    “I always suspected that I was different...granted not in the magical sense,” she said as she sipped her coffee.  “Does it come from my side of the family?”

    We were sitting around my kitchen table.

    “Most likely, I’m still checking,” said Aileen. “I should have the records soon.”

    “What about the babies?” I asked.

    “If there is a magical lineage then they should develop powers, although in most cases the powers in males are recessive. If nothing is done, they will grow up like you have. Your daughter’s powers will find an outlet like they have in you two,” said Aileen.

    “What would it take for them to be like you?” I asked.

    “Training and education,” she replied.

    “So there is no chance of them just popping out?” asked Mom.

    Aileen shook her head. “Centuries ago we took steps to prevent this from happening. There were too many innocent people being hurt.”

    “You mean at Salem?” asked Mom referring to the witch trials.

    “Not exactly. Actually no one with powers was among those murdered at Salem; in fact some of my clan stepped in to stop the madness. Unfortunately some people’s powers did ‘pop-out’ unexpectedly. In some cases they hurt others around them…and in some cases they were the victim,” she explained.

    “So will my powers ever develop further than being able to take a great photograph?” I asked.

    Aileen thought about her answer. “Maybe.”

    I glanced over at Mom and then back at Aileen.

    “What do you mean?” I asked.

    “I didn’t want to tell you this as I didn’t want it to affect your decision regarding your gender,” said Aileen. “If you stay female, your powers could be developed.”

    “So does that mean anyone who finds out they have powers could learn to use them?” I asked.

    Aileen shook her head. “No. As a male your powers were naturally recessive. But now that you’re female you have…a second chance to develop them.”

    “Wow…I can see why you didn’t tell me about this,” I said.

    “Cailin, I don’t have a problem helping you with your powers if you decide to stay female…but I don’t want you to decision to be based on having powers. Your decision regarding your gender should be what feels right for you,” she said.

    “And if I stay female and don’t do anything regarding my powers…then what will happen?” I asked.

    “Life would be like it is now,” said Aileen. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you this before…I should have checked your family heritage first.”

    “It’s okay,” I replied. “I did this to help Heather and Mark.”

    “Yes, but it does make your decision more complicated,” said Aileen.

    “Is there a time limit on this?” I asked.

    Aileen nodded. “Your training must begin within a year of completing the purpose of the spell.”

    “So she will have a year after she gives birth to decide?” asked Mom.

    Aileen nodded.

    I let out a sigh. “I appreciate you telling me this, Aileen.”

    Aileen didn’t reply and as I looked at her expression I realized another reason why she didn’t tell me before.

    “Oh,” I stated softly.

    “I think that you two need to talk privately,” said Mom as she stood up.

    “You don’t have to go, Mom,” I stated.

    Mom smiled at us. “Yes I do. Aileen, it’s obvious that you two care a lot for each other. I just want you both to know that I don’t have a problem with it. In fact, I think it’s wonderful. However, you two need to talk.”

    I tried to speak, but I realized that I was about to cry so, I just got up and hugged her.

Chapter 60

    After Mom left, Aileen and I sat in silence for what seemed like hours, but was in reality only a few moments.

    I decided to break the ice.

    “Aileen, my feelings for you haven’t changed because of this,” I said. “I still love you.”

    “I also love you,” she replied.

    There was another long silence.

    “So what do we do now?” I asked.

    “I think we should do as we talked about earlier and keep this as a friendship…until after you give birth,” she said.

    “Why?” I asked.

    She let out a sign. “I had a relationship with someone in a similar situation like you once before…and it ended badly. She decided that she wanted to be a man…and…well, I like women. I don’t want to force you into anything either.”

    “Oh…I’m sorry,” I replied.

    Aileen wiped away a tear.

    “I guess all we can do is wait,” I said.

    Aileen wiped away another tear and nodded.

    That’s when I began to cry too.

Chapter 61

    While we were still ‘just friends’, I now knew where I stood with Aileen. Granted I was intrigued the possibility of having powers, I was more excited about the possibility of having a meaningful relationship with Aileen.

    The next few weeks flew by as I got used to the idea of being pregnant. So far the physical changes were minor, but both Gwen and Aileen told me that would soon change.

    Thanksgiving at Heather and Mark’s home was really fun. The only thing was that I got a little tired telling everyone how I felt. There must have been twenty to thirty people over for Thanksgiving. Many of them were relatives, both mine and from Marks’ side of the family. I knew they meant well and I did my best not to act annoyed.

    I also discovered that somehow almost the entire city of Newport knew I was pregnant. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but I was soon overwhelmed with old friends calling me and congratulating me. They also told me what a great person I was for doing this for Heather. One of my friends from high school was a reporter for the local paper and she wanted to do an article on me. I told her in no uncertain terms no. I wasn’t doing this for publicity.

    As for my life, I continued to work. December was a busy time for me with holiday parties and portrait requests. I didn’t mind as it kept me busy.

    I was also determined to stay in shape and I joined a workout group for expectant mothers. Gwen had recommended it to me. Aileen also thought it was a good idea. When I said that I could work out on my own, she said that it would be good for me to be around other pregnant women. I had to admit that she was right.

    I knew several of the women from my high school and a few from weddings that I had photographed. I went three to four times a week and I soon found that I looked forward to it.

    In mid-December, Heather, Gwen and I got together for dinner. Heather drove out from The Cape and stayed the night. After Gwen left I decided to tell Heather what Aileen had told me.

    “You mean that you could have powers?” she asked.

    “I could, if I develop them,” I said.

    “That’s so cool,” she said. “When can I get tested?”

    I told her the Aileen could stop by the next day.

    “So I wonder what my outlet for my powers is?” she said.

    “Judging by the feast you put together for Thanksgiving I would say it was cooking,” I replied. “I mean, you cooked a meal for a small army and everything was perfect.”

    “Maybe you’re right,” she said.

    I excused myself to go to the bathroom. When I came back Heather asked me if I was okay.

    “I’m just peeing a lot,” I admitted. “Gwen told me that this would happen.”

    “Any other changes?”

    “I feel a bit tired at times, but that is also normal,” I replied.

    “Any cravings?” she asked.

    I shook my head. “Too early for that.”

    Heather nodded. “You don’t look any bigger.”

    “The babies are still pretty tiny,” I replied. “I should start to show in a few weeks.”

    Heather shook her head. “I can’t believe how calm you are about this…I’m sorry, but I’m still having trouble imagining you pregnant with twins.”

    “I’m calm on the outside,” I replied. “Speaking of fear, how are you and Mark doing, I mean you’re going to have two babies soon.”

    “We’re doing okay. I think the hardest thing is not telling anyone that it’s going to be twins. Thankfully we have a large house so room won’t be an issue,” she said. “Um, should you stay as Cailin we want to know if you have any problem with us telling the kids later that you were the birth mother? I mean they should know…don’t you think?”

    “I don’t mind…what will you tell them if I shift back to being a guy?”

    “We haven’t discussed that,” she said.

    “Why?”

    “Because we have a feeling that you aren’t going to change back. Cailin, you seem so happy as a woman,” she said.

    I nodded. “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

    “I just have a feeling that I’m going to have a twin sister for the rest of my life.”

    “Anything is possible,” I replied.

Chapter 62

    Thankfully everything was pretty calm through the holidays. It wasn’t until early January when the storms began to hit, both in the terms of weather and in the changes to my body.

    Newport was hit by a large nor’easter that pretty much shut everything down for a couple of days. Now I had a fully stocked pantry and a good supply of firewood, and I had been through many storms like this growing up in New England so it shouldn’t have been a big deal. But I found myself an emotional wreck.

    One moment I was calm and collected and the next I was crying uncontrollably. I called Aileen and asked her to come over. Unfortunately the roads were closed and instead of acting rationally I lost my temper. I then began to sob as I thought I was going crazy.

    Thankfully Aileen called my mom.

    Mom arrived a short time later and comforted me and explained that my hormones were causing my emotional storm.

    “So this is normal?” I asked. There was a tone of desperation in my voice.

    Mom nodded as she made some hot chocolate for us.

    “Why the hell didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this?” I exclaimed angrily.

    “We did,” replied Mom calmly.

    I grumbled and then looked at her.

“Well, you didn’t tell me it would be this bad!”

    Mom barely contained her amusement at my predicament.

    I crossed my arms and glared at her. “This isn’t funny!”

    “I know dear…but it will pass,” she replied. A sly smile appeared on her face.

    I wanted to be angry but I couldn’t help but smile.

    “Mom, how long does this last…I mean could I go another six to seven months like this?”

    “It depends on your body…but you’ll get used to it,” she replied as she filled a mug for me.

    I sat down at the kitchen table. “I’m not strong enough to survive this!”

    Mom walked over with the mugs and after setting them down, she gave me a long hug.

    “Honey, you’ll do fine,” she comforted.

    I began to cry softly as she hugged me.

    “Do you feel better?” she asked as she sat down next to me.

    “A little.” I replied as I blew on my hot chocolate. “I guess I better call Aileen and apologize for being such a psycho.”

    “There’s no need, she’s been expecting this to happen. She said it’s a good sign.”

    I took a sip of my hot chocolate. “I had no idea it would be like this.”

    “You’ll survive… we all do,” she replied. “The good thing is if you go back to being a male you’ll be a very sympathetic husband for you wife.”

    “If I go back,” I replied as I took another sip.

    “And if you stay female then you’ll know what to expect should you decide to have another baby,” continued Mom.

    “I just want to get through this one first,” I replied.

    “Speaking of which, we’re going to have to do some shopping,” said Mom. “You’re breasts look a bit larger and soon you’ll start to show in the belly.”

    “My bras are a bit tighter,” I confessed then tugged gently at the straps digging into my shoulders.

    “When this storm passes we’ll go over to the mainland and hit some of the malls, there are a lot of good sales going on right now.”

    “Which storms?” I asked with a grin.

    “The snow, but in time your emotional storms will pass too,” she replied.

    I didn’t argue as I knew she was right. I also liked the time I was spending with her.

    “Did you get cravings?” I asked.

    Mom nodded.

    “What were they?” I asked.

    “Chinese food,” she replied. “Your poor father had to drive all the way to Providence one night to get me some eggrolls.”

    I laughed.

    “He took it all in stride,” she continued.

    I sighed. “I wish he was still alive.”

    Mom nodded. “That makes two of us.”

    I sipped my chocolate. “Mom, I know you still love him…but why haven’t you remarried?”

    “I haven’t met the right man,” she said.

    “I hope you do,” I replied.

    “Thank you dear,” she said.

    I drank the last of my hot chocolate. “Mom…what do you think Dad would have thought…about what I’m doing?”

    She smiled softly at me. “Honey, he would have been very proud of you. He would have been happy that you were helping your sister.”

    “Do you think he would care if I stayed female afterwards?”

    Mom shook her head. “He would have wanted you to be happy.”

    I nodded. “Thanks.”

    “Do you want some more?” she asked.

    I shook my head. “But can you spend the night here?”

    Mom smiled and nodded. “I would love to.”

    “Thanks,” I replied.

Chapter 63

    When I told Heather about the impending shopping trip she begged me to come along. I readily agreed and we decided to go the next weekend.

    Even though it was winter I still had a fairly full schedule of jobs. By now I was convinced that the entire city of Newport knew I was pregnant. Just on a whim I did a Google search to see if there was a “Cailin McGregor is pregnant” website. Of course there wasn’t, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

    The morning we were to go shopping I stepped out of the shower and gasped. I could see some slight swelling. I must have been too asleep to notice when I got up. I carefully ran my hands over my belly as if I was trying to feel the babies I was carrying. I stood there for a few minutes rubbing my belly as tears began to fall.

    To be honest, up to this point I really wasn’t positive that I was pregnant. As soon as I finished dressing I called Aileen and told her.

    “According to the websites this is a bit early,” I replied.

    “Don’t forget that most of those sites are for single birth…you’re carrying two. Besides, those websites are just estimates of when things happen,” she explained. “So how do you feel about it?”

    “I have to admit that it’s pretty cool,” I replied. I told her how I had stood in the bathroom naked.

    “That’s pretty normal,” she replied. “So what are you doing today?”

    “Mom, Heather and I are going shopping,” I replied. I told her about my bras being a bit tight.

    “I recommend that you go for comfort,” she said.

    “I plan on it,” I replied.

    “When is your next appointment with Gwen?”

    “In a week,” I replied.

    “Good,” she replied.

    “When is my next appointment with you?” I asked. It had been a week since we had been together.

    “How about tonight?” she suggested. “We can do dinner.”

    “I’d like that…do you want to spend the night…I do have a guest room,” I said.

    “We’ll see,” she replied.

    “Okay…I’ll call you when we get home,” I said.

    “Take care, Cailin,” she replied.

Chapter 64

    Of course I had to show off my slightly extended belly to both Mom and Heather.

    “Wow,” replied Heather. “It’s really happening.”

    I just nodded.

    Mom and Heather gave me a group hug and it was all I could do to stop from crying.

    I didn’t eat much that morning for breakfast, but by the time we hit the road I felt famished.

    “Um, I know we just left, but can we stop for breakfast?” I asked.

    “We can stop at Newport Creamery,” suggested Heather.

    “Sounds good, it’s been a long time since we’re all gone there together,” replied Mom.

    It only took us ten minutes to reach the Middletown location. It had been one of our favorite places to go when we were kids.

    I looked over the menu and my eyes were immediately drawn to the Belgian waffles. I was about to order the waffle with fruit when I suddenly changed my mind.

    “Can I get the waffle with the works?” I asked the waitress.

    Heather laughed. “For breakfast?”

    I should explain that the waffle with the works comes with a choice of fruit, ice cream, and whipped cream.

    I just nodded. “I’d like vanilla ice cream with apple cinnamon.” 

    “Cailin, you can’t be serious!”

    “It sounds good to me,” I replied. “Oh, and can I get bananas with that too?”

    The waitress smiled knowingly. “Of course, dear.”

    “Thank you,” I replied. “Oh and a side of bacon too.”

    The waitress just nodded. “Anything to drink, dear?”

    “Coffee and a large class of apple juice.”

    The waitress smiled and took Mom and Heather’s orders.

    “Let me guess, cravings?” asked Heather.

    I laughed. “How did you guess?”

    “I’ll be even more amazed if you actually eat what you ordered,” she replied.

Chapter 65

    “That really hit the spot,” I stated as we walked back to the car.

    “Mom, please tell me what I just saw was normal,” said Heather.

    In addition to my initial order I also had a chocolate Awful Awful, their version of a milkshake.

    “It’s very normal,” said Mom.

    “I can’t believe you ate everything,” said Heather.

    “I’m eating for three now,” I said. “Don’t worry; I’ll be at the gym tomorrow.”

    Thankfully we were able to find some good bargains. My new bras were two cups larger…and they felt much more comfortable. The saleswoman was shocked that I was able to tolerate my old bras.

    I also bought a few sweaters and a couple of pairs of pants. Mom suggested that I get the type with elastic waists. I would thank her for this suggestion later.

    I also enjoyed just hanging out with my mom and sister. I realized how much I missed them and that I would be staying close after I had the babies.

    “I don’t know about you two, but I’m getting hungry,” I remarked.

    “You’ve got to be kidding!” stated Heather. “You ate enough that you shouldn’t be hungry until tomorrow!”

    It was only when I noticed her grin did I realize she was joking.

    “How about Mexican?” I asked hopefully.

    “I don’t know if there’s one around here,” said Mom.

    “Let’s ask one of the salesclerks,” suggested Heather.

    The closest place was a chain restaurant that I normally wouldn’t have considered stopping at, but I had the urge for some spicy food.

    I looked at the menu and then asked the waitress what was the spiciest thing on the menu.

    “Do you want chicken, beef or pork?” she asked.

    “I don’t care as long as it’s hot and spicy.”

    She looked around and then leaned closer. “Unfortunately most of the entrees are rather tame. But I can ask the chef to jack up the heat on whatever you want.”

    “Great,” I replied. “I’ll have the arroz con pollo please and don’t spare the heat please.”

    The waitress smiled. “Don’t worry, I know where you’re coming from…I craved Cajun food during my last pregnancy.”

    My eyes lit up. “Really? Where did you go?”

    She smiled back. “I’ll write out the address for you. It’s just outside Fall River, but it’s worth the trip. Is this your first?”

    I nodded. “How many children do you have?”

    “Three,” she replied. “And each one came with a different craving.”

    The food was pretty good and it really hit the spot. To be honest I sort of liked this part of being pregnant as food had such wonderful flavor now.

Chapter 66

    Heather decided to spend the night with Mom and drive back to The Cape in the morning. I hugged both of them and thanked them for the wonderful day.

    “We’re going to be here for you throughout this,” said Heather.

    “Thanks,” I replied.

    As much fun as I had had that day, I was very excited to see Aileen arrive. I wore one of my new sweaters in her honor.

    Of course I showed her my belly.

    “It looks like you’re progressing according to schedule,” she said.

    I told her about the cravings that I had that day.

    “It’s fine to give into them, but watch your weight gain,” she said.

    “I’m already planning a trip to the gym tomorrow,” I replied.

    She smiled back at me. “Good for you. So do you have any preferences for tonight?”

    I shook my head. “Surprisingly no.”

    We ended up going to an Italian place.

    “You’ll be entering your second trimester soon and you should see an end to some of the turmoil that you’ve been experiencing,” she said.

    “Thank god,” I replied. I took a sip of water.

    “However you could see a lot of physical changes…besides the obvious large belly,” she said with a smile. She then told me some of things to expect.

    “By the way, I’m sorry for the way I acted with you,” I apologized.

    “Cailin, I would have been shocked if you hadn’t freaked out,” she replied with a smile.

    “Thanks…but I still feel stupid for the way I acted,” I replied.

    “There’s no reason to…your hormones were going wild,” she said.

    I shrugged and took another drink of water.

    “Oh when you see Gwen next I think you should mention that you think you may have twins so she can do an ultrasound,” she said.

    “Really?”

    Aileen nodded. “Even if she can’t detect them yet I think she should be aware of it.”

    “And what do I tell her… I have a hunch I’m carrying twins?”

    “Exactly,” she replied. “Many women know when they have twins…it’s not that uncommon.”

     “Okay,” I replied.

    “Besides, you should start to see some rapid weight gain,” she continued.

    Our food arrived. We both had ordered lasagna and it was delicious.

    “Um, Aileen, I’m been doing some reading about multiple births and there are a lot of risks.”

    “Yes, that’s true, but the spell will protect you…and the babies,” she said. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be complications, but you and the babies will survive.”

    “That’s good to know,” I replied.

Chapter 67

    After dinner we went back to my place.

    “Oh, I’m expecting a report on your namesake,” she said.

    “Really?” I asked anxiously.

    “I should get it this week, as soon as I do I will bring it over,” said Aileen.

    “Cool,” I replied. “Where is the report coming from?”

    “Our achieves. They’re located back in Scotland,” she replied.

    I nodded. “I would like to go there…when this is over.”

    “You’ve never been to Scotland?” she asked. “I’m surprised considering your family heritage.”

    I shook my head. “I just never got around to it.”

    “Maybe we can go together,” she said.

    “I’d like that…I’d like that a lot,” I replied.

Chapter 68

    “So, how’re you feeling today?” asked Gwen.

    I told her about my mood swings and cravings.

    “I can’t believe how much spicy food I’ve eaten this past week. I was even tempted to put Tabasco sauce on my oatmeal this morning,” I replied.

    Gwen laughed. “That’s a new one. Actually craving hot spicy food is very common,” she replied.

    I then showed her my belly.

    “I’m a little surprised it’s this noticeable so soon,” she said.

    “Um, I think I might have twins,” I admitted.

    Gwen just nodded. “It does run in your family so I wouldn’t be surprised. I could do an ultrasound, but it might not confirm it,” she said.

    A short time later I was looking at the two lives I was carrying.

    “I have to admit that I’m impressed, you don’t usually get such clear determination of multiple births so soon,” said Gwen. “Usually the ultrasound misses the second fetus until later.”

    “I guess I better call Heather and Mark,” I replied, even though they already knew.

    “I’m glad we discovered this so soon as it will change the frequency that I will be seeing you,” said Gwen. “I’m sure you know that there are added risks for multiple births.”

    I nodded. “I’ve done some online research.”

    Gwen nodded. “Well just so you know, you’ll be my first set of twins that I’ve had since I opened my practice here. But don’t worry; I know what I’m doing…and if I have any questions I can also search online.”

    We both began laughing.

    “Well, you better get cleaned up and dressed. I’ll see you in my office when you’re done.

    I then pulled out my cell phone and told Heather about the ultrasound.

Chapter 69

    I called Heather again after I got home.

    “How’s Mark’s family taking it?”

    “They’re thrilled. Of course Marks’s dad asked us if we would try again and talk some sense into you about moving in with them.”

    I just laughed at this idea.

    “I thought that would be your reply,” said Heather.

    I told her about what Gwen had told me.

    “Oh, she wants you to come with me for my next appointment,” I stated.

    “Why?” she asked.

    “She wants you to start planning for the twins,” I replied. “She knows an excellent doctor out your way that specializes in twins. She said that it would be good for you to get a doctor’s view on dealing with the complications of multiple births.”

    “I guess that makes sense,” she said. “Wow, I just remembered how we always used to get the same medical problems at the same time!”

    “I know, do you remember when we got the chicken pox the same week?”

    “I felt so sorry for Mom,” she replied. “Well, I guess this will be payback.”

    “I have a question for you. I know you’ve taken the last year off from teaching, but do you plan on going back?” I asked.

    “Mark and I have talked about it. I would like to hold off until the kids start school. I know this sounds hokey, but I’m really looking forward to being a mom.”

    “It doesn’t sound hokey. In fact I’ve been thinking about it myself,” I replied.

    “Really? What do you mean?”

    “Well, I was excited when I saw the ultrasounds of the babies…and then it hit me that I’m carrying them for you. I thought about how different I would have felt if I was going to be the one who would be raising them.”

    “Wow,” she replied.

    “Aileen said that I might feel this way,” I continued. “Look, I’m totally happy for you and I know you’re going to be a great mother…and I have no regrets about doing this.”

    “I really owe you, Cailin,” she replied. “I love you so much for doing this for Mark and I.”

    “Hey, we’re sisters,” I replied.

Chapter 70

    Winter was very brutal and we got stuck in a cycle of one storm after another. I was getting bigger, but thankfully my hormones calmed down. I did experience some darkening of the skin, but both Gwen and Aileen told me that this was temporary.

    In early February I received a phone call from a staff member of the Erin Flynn show.

    “Good morning Ms. McGregor, I don’t know if you remember me, I’m Della Stratton,” she said.

    “Of course I do,” I replied.

    Della was in charge of public relations for the Erin Flynn show and she had hired me the last time they had shot some scenes in Newport. The good thing was that for a cable network detective show they had a sizable budget.

    “We’re going to be shooting in Newport this week and we were hoping you were available,” said Della.

    “What do you need?” I asked.

    She told me that they wanted some shots taken from behind the scenes as the show was shot. Alexis Eden, the star of the show insisted that the show use locals whenever possible.

    “When do you need me?” I asked.

    “I know this is short notice, but are you available tomorrow? I apologize but our shooting is dictated by the weather. We wanted scenes with freshly fallen snow.”

    Our latest storm was dropping the last of five inches of the white stuff on Newport.

    “Sounds good. I can certainly confirm that the snow will be nice and fresh. Where will you be shooting?” I asked.

    “Downtown on Thames Street,” she replied and then she gave me the details. She told me that in addition to shooting some photos of Alexis Eden, I would also be taking some shots of Jen Stevens who was co-starring in the episode.

    It was close enough for me to walk.

    “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I replied.

    While I was happy to get such a good assignment, I was more interested in the possibility of talking to Jen Stevens.

Chapter 71

    It was clear and cold the next day as I walked over to where the film crew was setting up.

    Della met me at the security trailer and gave me my credentials.

    “You’ll have free range as long as you stay behind the scenes,” she explained.

    There was some paperwork to sign. I agreed to turn over all photos shot to the production company.

    “I know we can trust you…but we have to be careful. The paparazzi would love to get some photos of Alexis and especially Jen in some embarrassing situation,” said Della.

    “I understand,” I replied.

    They shot the first couple of scenes out on Thames Street. Now you would think that closing down a main drag would be a problem, but it wasn’t. Several of the businesses that they shot in front of were closed for the season. They also paid the owners of the businesses to open up and money has a way of making people more understanding. People tended to remember seeing the businesses on television and there had been clear increases in business at those establishments when they re-opened for the summer.

    They then moved into one of the stores to shoot some scenes. I didn’t pay too much attention to what the scenes were about as I was too busy doing my job.

    It wasn’t until they were finished the days shooting that Alexis Eden came over and talked to me.

    “It’s good to see you again, Cailin,” said Alexis. “I was really happy to hear that you would be taking the photos.”

    “It was fun,” I replied.

    “Cailin, I was wondering if you could do me a personal favor,” continued Alexis.

    “Sure, what is it?” I asked.

    “I’d like you to take some photos for me. We’re done shooting this episode and I’m throwing the crew a party,” she explained.

    “I’d be happy to,” I replied.

    “I also know that I can trust you,” she continued. “These photos are for private use only.”

    I nodded. “You can trust me, Alexis.”

    “I know that, it’s just that I need to protect the privacy of others,” she continued.

    “Jen Stevens?” I asked.

    Alexis smiled. “Among others.”

    She gave me the details and location of the party.

Chapter 72

The party was held at Brick Alley. I suspect the ownership was pleased to have a large private party in the middle of winter on a weeknight.

I had to show my ID to security before I was allowed in.

I walked inside and saw Alexis Eden and Jen Stevens. A young woman with red hair was standing next to Alexis and it was obvious that they weren’t just friends.

Alexis immediately waved me over and gave me a hug.

“I’m so happy you agreed to do this,” she said.

I nodded.

    She then introduced me to Jen Stevens and the young woman whose name was Jirra Reid.

    As we talked, I noticed that Jen momentarily gave me a strange look. Jirra had a similar look on her face then both Jen and Jirra exchanged glances.

    Before we got any further I took off my coat and I noticed all three women were looking at me.

    “Yep, I’m pregnant with twins,” I replied as I ran my hands over my belly. “I’m acting as a surrogate for my sister.”

    All three congratulated me.

    “I wish I’d had known,” said Alexis. “I mean it must have been tough on you today.”

    “I don’t mind…I can get around pretty easy right now,” I replied. “Besides, I need to keep busy.”

    “How far along are you?” asked Jen.

    “Around seventeen weeks,” I replied. “Thanks to the fact that there are two of them I look like I’m further along.”

    “So you’re doing this for your sister?” asked Jirra. “That’s so cool. You two must be really close.”

    “She’s my identical twin,” I replied. “Unfortunately she was in a car accident and she can’t have children. When she asked me to if I would be her surrogate I said yes.”

    “Wow,” replied Jirra. “That’s one the nicest things I’ve heard.”

    We talked for a few minutes before I asked Alexis what sort of shots she wanted.

    “I’d like you to take candid shots and then be available for group shots,” explained Alexis.

    I nodded. “Sounds like a plan. How long will you staying in town?”

    “A few days,” she replied. “Why?”

    “If you’d like you can stop by my home and pick out the photos you like and I can put them on CDs for you. I can also produce as many copies you want.”

    “That would be great. Wouldn’t you rather have us stop by your studio?” asked Alexis.

    “My home is my studio,” I replied with a grin.

    “Is tomorrow afternoon too soon?” she asked.

    “No, not at all,” I replied.

    “Great,” replied Alexis.

    “Well, I guess I better get to work,” I replied.

Chapter 73

    Most of the time when I worked wedding receptions and parties it was all work and no play, but this night was different.

    Alexis insisted that I get a chance to eat and relax. I sat at a table that had some of the film crew. We talked shop concerning the filming techniques used on the show. They also asked me questions about the type of cameras I used. I showed off my newest camera, a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. It took still pictures at an astounding 21 megapixels and shot some incredible High Definition video as well. I think it caused quite a fuss with the crew since the video it produced seemed to rival the quality of their incredibly expensive TV cameras. Like most TV shows now they shot using high quality video cameras then gave the footage a film look in post-production.

    I also found that the crew seemed like a big family. They also genuinely seemed to love working with Alexis.

    One of the camera operators told me that she had almost quit the business due to dealing with all the prima donnas, but that she now had a change of mind after working with Alexis.

    “She knows everyone…I mean she even knows the names of my cats!” stated the woman whose name was Nancy. “I sometimes wonder if she’s real.”

    “What about Jen?” I asked.

    “She’s a real character. I mean, she’s a big-time star and yet she really enjoys doing a small part on this show. She’s totally cool.”

    Jen had a reoccurring part as a wisecracking waitress at a diner the cast frequented in the show.

    “When we first heard that she would be on the show many of us were worried…sometimes big stars are even bigger pains in the asses,” said Nancy. “Her first appearance was supposed to be a one-shot cameo but the viewers just fell in love with the character. She’s been a joy to work with since then. It’s always a happy set when Jen’s around.”

    The crew told me that she had a slightly bigger part in this episode.

    “I’m looking forward to seeing it, I’m a big fan of the books and the show,” I replied. “It’s rare that a series or a movie is as good as the books.”

    “Did you get a chance to talk to Jirra Reid?” asked another crew member named Barb.  She was one of the lighting technicians.

    “Just briefly when I arrived,” I replied.

    “For someone so young she’s a very talented writer. I wouldn’t be surprised if she got nominated for an Emmy for her work on the show,” said Nancy. 

    “She’s also a nice person…they make a great couple,” added another crew member named Bob.

    I noticed that the other people at the table gave Bob a dirty look.

    “It’s cool,” I interjected. “You don’t have to worry about me.”

    “We’re all rather protective of them,” said Nancy. “Alexis came out, but she doesn’t want the press bothering Jirra.”

    “That’s understandable,” I replied. I looked at my watch. “Well, as much as I’d love to continue talking; I better get back to work. Do you want a group shot?”

    “We’d love one,” said Nancy.

Chapter 74

    Alexis, Jen, and Jirra arrived at my home a little after two the following afternoon.

    “I can show you the photos on my computer,” I said as I escorted them back to my studio.

    They pulled up chairs and sat down to see the photos I had taken the previous night.

    It took an hour to get through all of them.

    “Outstanding job, Cailin,” said Alexis. “How did you get so many candid shots? Knowing my crew they usually know when a camera is around them.”

    “It’s no big deal, I just have a talent for blending in, although that’s not as easy these days,” I replied with a laugh.

    “Don’t sell yourself short, you’re an excellent photographer,” commented Jen.

    “I agree,” added Jirra as she looked at the photos.

    We then went over the shots they wanted on the CD. I also made up a second CD that would only go to Alexis, Jen, and Jirra.

    “I can have the CDs for you tomorrow,” I replied.

    “That would be wonderful,” replied Alexis. “I’m also going to put them into an electronic picture frame for the crew.”

    “Would you like some tea?” I asked. “I can also make coffee, but I’m off the stuff right now.”

    “That would be great,” replied Alexis.

Chapter 75

    It was strange, I was sitting in my living room with two celebrities and it felt like they were old friends. I also felt a strange bond with Jirra, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

    As we talked I noticed that both Jen and Jirra seemed to be holding back, as if there was a question they wanted to ask me.

    I don’t know what happened, but I was suddenly hit with a feeling that I could trust these people with the truth about my gender. I was positive that I could trust them completely.

    “Jen, I know you’re very open about your gender change,” I started.

    Jen laughed. “That’s one way of putting it. Actually it wasn’t like I had a choice.”

    “Have you met anyone else who has undergone something similar?” I asked cautiously.

    All three stared at me. From the look they were giving me I could tell that I hit a nerve and I decided to go for broke.

    “The reason I’m asking… is that I used to be male,” I confessed.

    “How is that possible…you’re pregnant?” asked Alexis.

    I told them the condensed version of my transformation.

    “You mean you willingly transformed in order to help your sister?” asked Jirra.

    I nodded. “She’s my sister and my twin…I had to help her.”

    “That’s sweetest thing I’ve ever heard,” said Alexis.

    “You definitely can trust us, Cailin,” said Jen. “And yes we know of others. I got a strange feeling you were different when we met last night…so did Jirra.”

    I looked at Jirra. “How did you know, Jirra?”

    “I was also transformed…but not willingly,” she replied.

    She then told me an incredible story of how she had once been male and had been transformed into a woman.

(For Jirra’s complete story please read The Fresh Start Series)

    “I now have a second sense when it comes to others like us,” said Jirra.

    “You mean you know others?” I asked. I knew about the others that Aileen had changed, but this was something totally different.

    “And there are many others,” added Jen.

    “My doctor…the magical one…told me of others, but you’re the first that I’ve met,” I replied.

    “Do you plan on staying female?” asked Jen.

    “Maybe,” I replied. I told them what Aileen had told me and I told them my current feelings.

    “I suspect that you’ll stay as Cailin…especially after giving birth,” said Jen. “I can’t imagine going through such a monumental experience as being pregnant and not being changed.”

    “I read rumors…in some of the celebrity scandal sheets…of you wanting to get pregnant,” I confessed. 

    Jen nodded. “Those are just rumors…and not the worst that I’ve read about myself. But it is true that Adam Tilton and I are together again. Actually, getting pregnant has crossed my mind more than once. I do have a lot of questions about it.”

    I smiled and pointed at my chest. “Well, I’m no expert but you can ask me anything you want.”

    For a moment I thought Jen was going to cry, but she quickly recovered her poise.

    “Thank you, Cailin, that’s very kind. I may just take you up on that offer.”

    “I’ll give you my phone number and email; that applies to the rest of you,” I stated.

    “Thank you, we’ve also talked about it,” said Alexis as she looked lovingly at Jirra.

    “Really?” I asked.

    Jirra nodded. “My transformation has ties to an ancient fertility rite…and I’ve got a rather strong urge to get pregnant…it’s hard to fight sometimes. The good thing is that I’m not attracted to men…the bad thing is that many people who only know me as Jirra Reid know that I used to be male…the transformation didn’t include my identity. I don’t know how I could explain getting pregnant to them.”

    “So they think you’re transgendered?” I asked.

    Jirra nodded. “I’m more than a little envious of your transformation in that it included your identity.”

    “Maybe I can ask if you can be changed,” I asked.

    Jirra shook her head. “I’ve already asked. The magic that changed me was quite strong and there could be adverse side effects if they use additional magic on me.”

    “So you’ve met other magical people?” I asked.

    Jirra nodded.

    “I’d love to meet them,” I stated.

    “I’ll talk to my friend and see what she says,” said Jirra.

    “Cool,” I replied. “Maybe she knows my doctor.”

    “It wouldn’t surprise me…she does have family in New England,” said Jirra.

    I nodded and then I remembered something Jirra had said.

    “Jirra, you said that the urge to get pregnant is strong, what will you do if you give into it?” I asked. I was suddenly very concerned for Jirra. I can’t imagine how awful her life would be if she was exposed.

    “We’ve discussed how we’re going to handle it,” said Jirra as she glanced lovingly at Alexis.

    “When the show ends I’m retiring from show business,” said Alexis. “I plan on being a private citizen and we’ll live in peace…raise a family…I can’t wait.”

    Alexis then leaned over and gave Jirra a tender kiss.

    ‘I hope everything goes well for you,” I said. “Thank you for sharing your secrets with me.”

    “Well, we do seem to have a knack for running into others,” said Jirra.

Chapter 76

    I finished up the CDs and the photo frames for Alexis the next day. Thanks to my connections I was able to get a bulk discount on the frames from one of my suppliers. Alexis arrived by herself the next day.

    Alexis was very pleased with the results and she paid me a bonus on top of the price of the shoot and materials. I told her the bonus wasn’t required, but she insisted.

    “I like helping people I like. Oh, Jirra and I plan on getting married when she finishes college. We would like you to be our photographer at our wedding,” said Alexis.

    “If I’m still doing this I would be honored,” I replied.

    “You will be and you’ll still be Cailin,” she said. “You seem so happy…and you’re also in love.”

    I cocked my head and looked at her. “How did you know that?”

    “When you talked about the woman who transformed you…it was pretty obvious. How is it going?”

    I sighed. “We talked about it, but we’ve agreed to put off any decisions until after I give birth.”

    “I think it will work out. My relationship with Jirra was shaky at first…but I knew she was the one. I hope it works out for you too.”

    “You and Jirra make a nice couple. It must be hard to keep it quiet,” I said.

    “It is. Thankfully the paparazzi leave me alone as I generally shun the spotlight. I never wanted to be a celebrity. Granted I love the show as it’s something I believe in…but when it’s over I would like nothing better than to retire to my home out on Cape Cod with Jirra.”

    “You live on the Cape?” I asked. “What part?”

    It turned out that she lived less than a mile from Heather and Mark.

    “That’s so cool,” I replied.

    “Maybe you can introduce us to your sister and brother-in-law…I would like to know more people out there.”

    “Sure,” I replied. I tried to imagine how giddy Heather would be when I introduced her to the star of her favorite show.

    “What are you and your sister doing about a baby shower?” she asked.

    “I suppose my sister is going to have one,” I replied. “I’m not sure what the rules are for a surrogate birth.”

    Alexis waved her hand dismissively. “Who cares about rules? I have lesbian friends who have them and I know people who have them for adoptions.”

    I nodded.

    “If you don’t mind, Jirra and I would love to attend,” she continued. “I think it’s important for both you and your sister to celebrate this blessed event.”

    “I’ll keep you informed,” I replied.

    Alexis smiled at me. “I hope we can be friends. I like you a lot and so does Jirra. I also like the fact that Jirra has good people around her…especially those who have a shared experience.”

    I smiled back at her as I felt a tear run down my face. Alexis leaned over and gave me a long hug.

Chapter 77

    Alexis wanted to know if I had any plans for dinner that night. I said no and then asked if they had any preferences.

    “It’s your town, I’m sure you know all the good local places,” she said.

    “Do you want seafood? I know a good place…it’s not fancy by any stretch of the imagination,” I replied.

    “All the better. Jen and I have noticed that we’re almost never recognized when we eat at the local places,” she replied.

    “Well, I should drive as it’s not easy to find, why don’t you call Jen and Jirra and have them come here,” I replied.

    “Okay, and why don’t you call your sister and see if there’s a baby shower being planned.

    “She won’t believe me,” I replied as I picked up my cell phone.

    I asked Heather about the baby shower.

    “Kristina is putting something together; I think she’s planning on doing it in April or May. Why do you want to know?” asked Heather.

    I told her about Alexis’s offer.

    There was a long silence on the other end of the phone.

    “You still there?” I asked.

    “Yes…are you serious?” she asked.

    I turned and handed the phone to Alexis who started talking to my sister.

    After a few minutes Alexis handed the phone back to me.

    “So what do you think?” I asked.

    “I knew that Alexis had a home out here…but I never thought that I would meet her,” said Heather.

    “She’s very cool,” I stated.

    “This is wild…my little sister is friends with Alexis Eden,” said Heather.

    Alexis then reminded me about meeting Heather before the shower.

    It was easier to pass the phone back and let them make the arrangements.

Chapter 78

    “So where are we going?” asked Jen.

    “It’s just a little seafood place…the tourists wouldn’t consider stopping in it,” I replied. “They have great chowder.”

    The restaurant I picked doubled as a fish market. It wasn’t fancy but the food was excellent and not pricey. Being it was a week night it wasn’t very crowded…mostly locals and a few sailors.

    On my recommendations we had the clam chowder. We also had their seafood sampler appetizer which included clam cakes and their spicy stuffed quahogs.

    For dinner we all had lobster

    The waitress, a beached blonde woman in her early fifties named Jo, asked us how our dinner was as she took our orders for dessert. 

    My family had been coming to this place for years and I can’t ever remember Jo not working there. She was also a real character and often engaged in playful give and take with the customers. I wasn’t sure, but Jen appeared to be taking mental notes on Jo’s behavior.

    Jirra smiled. “This lobster was wonderful.” 

    Jo smiled. “It should be honey…it was crawling around in the ocean yesterday,” she said. She then looked at Jen and Alexis. “I’m sure you hear this all the time but I have to tell you that you two look very familiar. I know, you look like Alexis Eden and you look like Jen Stevens!”

    Alexis smiled and nodded.

    “Come to think of it…they were in town this week filming that detective show,” continued Jo.

    “We heard about that,” said Jen, barely holding back a smile.

    “For a moment I thought I had some celebrities in here,” continued Jo.

    A local walked by, shook his head and laughed. “Like big movie stars would come in this dump.”

    “Dump! What do you know! You put ketchup on your lobster!” snapped Jo as she gave him a look of disgust. She then pretended to throw her serving tray at him. It was obvious they were old friends.

    The local shook his head. “Have to do something to make the food edible,” he countered.

“Just for that remark I’m should charge you the New York tourist rate! Besides if those celebrities would venture out of Newport and come in here they would love the food here.”

    Alexis looked at Jen who nodded.

    “I don’t think this place is a dump… and yes I’m Alexis Eden,” she said.

    Jo looked back and from the look on her face I could tell she wasn’t sure if she was being goofed on.

    Alexis pulled out her driver license and showed it to Jo.

    “I hope you take my word that I’m Jen Stevens…I don’t want to dig out my ID,” said Jen with a grin.

    “The food here is wonderful, Jo,” said Alexis.

    Jo smiled. “I thought it was you…I love your show Ms. Eden…and I’m a huge fan of your movies, Ms. Stevens.”

    Alexis smiled. “Please call me Alexis.”

    “And I’m Jen.”

    I watched Jen and Alexis sign every autograph and pose for several photos. They were both very gracious and nice.

    On the way back to into Newport I asked them about it.

    “I kinda wanted to put that one guy in his place…what sort of cretin puts ketchup on lobster?” said Jen with revulsion. “Besides I have a warm spot in my heart for waitresses now that I play one.”

    “I don’t mind doing it either…besides we were finished with dinner. I hate it when I’m bugged when I’m eating,” said Alexis. “You know, I would also like to shoot a scene there the next time we’re down this way.”

    “They’d love that,” I replied.

    “Do you think that Jo would agree to be in a scene?” asked Alexis.

    “I doubt you could do the shoot without her!” I replied.

    We went into my home for tea and coffee.

    Jirra helped me in the kitchen.

    “So how much longer do you have at Penn?” I asked as I filled the kettle with water. 

    “A couple more years,” she replied as she placed the mugs on a tray along with the sugar, honey, and container of milk. “I could finish early…but I like to have my summers off. My mom lives in New Mexico.”

    “Cool,” I replied. “What about the rest of your family?”

    “It’s pretty much just me and my Mom. My dad was killed a few years ago and a lot of the family has rejected me. They think I’m transgendered and it doesn’t sit well with them.”

    “I’m so sorry,” I replied. “Um, if you don’t mind me asking…how did you lose you dad?”

    “He was killed in Afghanistan when I was in high school,” she replied.

    “I’m so sorry…I lost my dad when I was a kid,” I replied.

    “Oh…I’m sorry too. Um, Cailin, do you still miss him?”

    “Every day,” I replied.

    “Me too,” she replied.

    I nodded as I checked on the coffee.

    “So you don’t have any brothers or sisters?” I asked.

    Jirra shook her head. “Well, that’s not exactly true…I have several really good friends…I consider them my sisters…there’s also this guy back in New Mexico, he’s like a big brother.”

    “That’s nice,” I replied. “Do they know the truth?”

    “Most do…I’ve been lucky concerning those I tell,” she replied. “I’ve been blessed with some great friends…it helps to get though the rough days.”

“I hope you consider me your friend now,” I replied.

She smiled. “I do.”

“And if I stay as Cailin…I hope that I get to meet some of your other friends,” I replied.

    “I’d like that too,” said Jirra. “Can I ask you a question?”

    I nodded.

    “Do you like being pregnant?”

    “It has its ups and downs…but overall it’s been a wonderful experience,” I replied as I ran my hands over my belly. “Why do you ask?”

    “Like I said earlier, I have these urges at times…it’s part of the spell that transformed me I guess…when I see a pregnant woman or baby I sometimes go all gaga,” she replied. “The good thing is that I’m not attracted to men.”

    “Well, when it’s the right time I hope you have as wonderful an experience as I have had so far,” I replied.  “Since we have a lot in common, you can always talk to me…especially about being pregnant, I’m no expert and I don’t have all the answers, but I know how talking to others has helped me.”

    “Thank you,” she replied.

Chapter 79

    That night when I went to bed, I thought about my new friends. In many ways it seemed like everything was lining up to convince me to stay as Cailin. I really liked my current life and that I was once again close with my family.

    I thought about Jirra and how hard it was for her. I felt so lucky to have a female identity to go with my gender. It made life much easier.

    I also knew that I was changing inside. Yes, part of the way I acted was due to the transformation, but there were subtle changes that I was now aware of. I liked being able to express my emotions…and in a way I dreaded having to go back to hiding them. I loved being able to express my love for people around me.

    I also thought about what Aileen had told me before I was transformed; that some men stayed as females because they found what was missing in their lives…I was realizing how empty my old life had been.

    I gently rubbed my belly and thought about the two new lives that were inside me. I knew they were Heather and Mark’s children…there was no thought of going back on that. However, I knew that I wanted a family of my own…and with each passing day I knew that I wanted my role to be a mother.

    I then wondered what the next few months would be like, but I decided that those thoughts could wait for the morning. I was finding that it was becoming difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position and it usually took me a few tries before I found the right one. It was then that I felt the urge to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t help but laugh as I got out of bed and headed to my bathroom.

Chapter 80

    With passing day I noticed how my body was changing, specifically how quickly my belly was growing. By early March I was obviously pregnant and getting around was becoming more difficult.

    I found that I had to watch my movements as I was suddenly very clumsy. Both Aileen and Gwen told me that this was normal, especially considering I was carrying twins.

    The good news was that everything was progressing along normally. Heather started coming with me for my appointments with Gwen. I was glad that she was doing this as it created a stronger bond between us and between her and the babies.

    Another good thing about living in Newport in the winter that the word had gotten around about what I was doing. I had a multitude of old friends stopping by to assist me whenever I needed it.

    Heather and I went out to lunch after my latest appointment and we ran into Kelly and her daughter in a coffeehouse.

    Now as a guy I really never had much time for babies, but as Cailin I found that I was fascinated by them.

    Kelly’s daughter, Laura was gorgeous and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

    Kelly was equally fascinated by me.

    “I can’t imagine what it’s like to be carrying twins,” she remarked. “By the end of my pregnancy I was so glad when I gave birth. I could barely walk by the ninth month…and don’t get me started on the back pains!”

    We all laughed, although I didn’t laugh as much as the others.

    “Do you have a due date yet?” asked Kelly.

    “Gwen says that if everything goes as planned it should be in mid-July…but she said that with twins I could also go early,” I replied.

    After Kelly left, Heather mentioned my fixation with Laura.

    “Was it that obvious?” I asked.

    Heather nodded as she sipped her coffee. I was drinking Chai.

    “Oh, changing the subject, Aileen called me this morning, she has the file on my namesake,” I stated.

    Thankfully the coffeehouse was almost empty and we were able to speak freely.

    “Really, when will she be bringing it over?” asked Heather.

    I had told her of the possibility that we could have a magical lineage.

    “This afternoon,” I replied.

    “Do you mind if I stick around?” asked Heather.

    I shook my head. “It concerns both of us…in fact I’d like Mom to be there too.”

    “If we do have a magical line in our family…what do you think I should do concerning the babies?” asked Heather.

    I shrugged my shoulders. “If I was you I would talk to Aileen.”

    “But what do you think?”

    “I think if we know…you should let your daughter know. She can make the decision when she’s older if she wants to learn more about her powers. It’s no different than repressing a natural skill.”

    Heather nodded. “I’m just worried about how this will interact with her upbringing. I mean, Mark and I go to church…not every week…but it is important to him.”

    “Aileen explained that there’s a difference between having powers and being a Wiccan.”

    “In what ways?”

    “People are born with powers…Wiccan is a religion and not everyone who is a Wiccan has powers. At least that’s what Aileen told me. She says that while many with powers follow a more natural earth based belief…she does have family members who follow the more traditional religions,” I replied. “I mean, if it turns out that we do have powers in our family tree…and if I can develop mine…I don’t see myself changing my life drastically.”

    Heather nodded.

    “I mean look at Aileen. She used her powers as an offshoot of her medical training,” I continued.

    “Good point,” replied Heather.

    “And even if your daughter doesn’t develop her powers they will still show up in some aspect of her life.”

    “What about my son?”

    “Aileen said that in most males it stays repressed, so he’ll be like us and his powers will come out in some sort of life skill.”

    Heather nodded.

    “What does Mark think of this?”

    “He finds it very interesting. I think that if it turns out that we have a magical line in our family I should have Aileen sit down with both of us.”

    “That’s a great idea,” I replied. “Oh, any word on the shower?”

    “Kristina is working on it. She’s very excited about Alexis and Jirra coming.”

    “Have you had a chance to get together with Alexis yet?”

    Heather shook her head. “We’ve talked on the phone a few times. She’ll be out on The Cape in early April as they’ll be done shooting this season’s shows. I’m shocked how down to earth she is.”

    “She’s really nice…and I like Jirra a lot too. I hope you get a chance to meet Jen Stevens sometime…she’s a real character.”

    Heather shook her head. “I can’t believe the life that my little sister leads.”

    I put my hands on my belly. “Not so little these days…and speaking of which, I need to use the restroom.”

Chapter 81

    Aileen arrived at my home a little after four.

    “Sorry for the delay,” she apologized. “Someone wiped out on the bridge and it took a while to clean it up. The good thing was that no one was hurt.”

    “I’m just glad that you’re okay,” I stated.

    “Thank you, Cailin,” she replied as she sat down at my kitchen table. Mom and Heather also sat down.

    The kettle on the stove went off and before I could get up Mom waved me down. “I’ll get it, dear.”

    “Thanks Mom,” I replied. I was a little fatigued and didn’t argue.

    “Aileen do you want some tea?” asked Mom as she poured the water into some mugs.

    “That would nice, thank you,” she replied. She then turned to me. “So you’re a tea drinker now?”

    “Only because Gwen suggested that I shift away from coffee…I can’t stand decaf coffee,” I replied. “Actually, I’m acquiring a taste for tea.”

    Aileen nodded.

    Mom set the mugs down on the table and as our tea brewed Aileen opened up her well-worn leather case.

    “I think you’ll find this very interesting,” she stated as pulled a stack of papers out of the case.

    “Why don’t you just tell us,” I suggested.

    “I will, but I wanted to show you the proof,” she replied.

    Heather, Mom, and I all nodded simultaneously.

    “You do have a magical heritage,” said Aileen. “The original Cailin was accused of being a witch. Of course she wasn’t, but she had powers and she used these to heal people. That was enough to be accused of witchcraft and she barely escaped being murdered.”

    “Murdered?” asked Mom.

    Aileen nodded. “Oh, they would have called it a trial…but it would be no more than a legal murder.”

    “So how did she escape?” asked Heather.

    “Some of the people she healed smuggled her out of her village. She then went to Edinburgh where she married and raised a family. I checked and you do still have relatives there,” said Aileen as she began to hand us copies of documents.

    “Did she know that she had powers?” I asked.

    “It seems unlikely,” replied Aileen. “She was orphaned at a young age and was separated from her clan…I suspect they thought she was also dead.”

    “It must have been awful to have powers and not understand what was happening,” I remarked.

    “The good thing was that she continued to help others and from what I learned she was a well-known midwife,” said Aileen.

    “So each generation passed on the magical line…without knowing it,” stated Mom.

    Aileen nodded. “It’s more common than you might think. In your family the magical line was unknown…but in some families knowledge was deliberately withheld. Powers are like any skill and need to be developed. However, even in my clan not everyone picks the path that I have.”

    “Did you have a choice?” I asked.

    Aileen nodded. “My mother had decided not to develop her powers. My sister and both studied our powers, but only I fully developed my powers.”

    “And this slowed your aging?” I asked.

    Aileen nodded. “Part of this is that to fully develop one’s powers it takes time. The decreased aging allows for this additional period of education.”

    “It must have been hard…I mean to see your family age at a different rate,” I said.

    “It was a sacrifice…but they understood and encouraged me to follow my own path. My sister didn’t as she fell in love and couldn’t imagine staying young as he aged.”

    “So you have to find a mate with powers?” I asked.

    Aileen shook her head. “Not always, I can also choose to age at a normal human rate.”

    “How?” I asked. “Do you lose your powers?”

    “No, I would keep my powers, but once I shifted to human aging it is a permanent decision. Actually it’s not that big a deal and many of us do it after we’ve mastered our skills. I’ve been debating doing it for a while as I like the people in my life.”

    I almost asked her if that included me, but I didn’t.

Chapter 82

    Heather had to leave and Mom left at the same time.

    “Well, since you’re over here, you want to have dinner with me?” I asked.

    “I’d love that,” she replied. “What do you say to letting me cook?”

    “Sounds good, but I don’t know how well my kitchen is stocked…I’m well overdue to make a trip to the grocery store,” I confessed.

    “I’m sure I can put something together,” she replied as she got up and began to look through my cupboards and fridge.

    “Thank you for the research on my family,” I remarked.

    “It was my pleasure, Cailin,” she said as she began to set aside ingredients.

    “So, what are you going to make?” I asked.

    “I haven’t decided yet,” she replied as she looked in the freezer. She pulled out a foil wrapped object. “Do you recognize this?”

    “It’s chicken breast,” I replied. “It’s not that old.”

    “It looks like it came from the last ice age,” she commented as she put it back. She then shifted to the fridge. “Let me see if there’s something else more appetizing…and with less freezer burn.”

    “Okay. You’re a lot like Heather,” I remarked. “She loves a cooking challenge too.”

    Aileen smiled as she looked through the rest of my kitchen. “How about breakfast for dinner?”

    “Sure…what do you have in mind?”

    “I’m glad to see that you have Portuguese sweet bread…so how about French toast?”

    “That sounds great,” I replied.

    “Do you have real maple syrup?”

    “Of course…I wouldn’t touch the fake stuff,” I replied. I told her where it was.

    Aileen looked in the fridge again and pulled out some Canadian bacon.

    “I see this is going to be a real international meal,” I commented.

    Aileen nodded as she set the ingredients on the counter.

    “Now, let me see, I thought I saw something in your cupboard…ah here it is,” she said as she took out a package of Sticky Fingers scone mix. “How about cranberry vanilla scones too?”

    “Sounds great…oh, there are dried cranberries in the cupboard…I usually add some to the mix…they have a tendency to skimp on the fruit,” I remarked.

    “Okay, and I’ll also make a fruit salad with the bananas, grapefruit and oranges,” she continued. “And of course fresh squeezed orange juice.”

    “Wow…and if I had been alone I would have tried to cook that chicken breast.”

    “Tried is the right word so just sit back and relax,” she remarked.

Chapter 83

    Our mid-evening breakfast was excellent; the only thing that would have made it better was if I could have had real coffee with it…but the tea wasn’t bad. The other good thing about the dinner was that it gave us a chance to talk.

    “How did your checkup with Gwen go?” she asked.

    “Everything is progressing normally,” I replied. “I feel like a bull in a china shop…make that a cow…a pregnant cow…a clumsy pregnant cow!”

    Aileen laughed. “That’s also normal…especially considering you’re having twins.”

    “Gwen said the same thing; she told me to just take things at a slower pace,” I replied. “That’s hard for me.”

    “I know,” she replied. “Yet you know when to show restraint.”

    I took a sip of water as I thought about what she had just said.

    “You mean like this afternoon?” I asked cautiously.

    Aileen nodded.

    “Well, we’re alone now…I guess I can be more open,” I continued.

    Aileen nodded as she took a bite of a scone. She swallowed and then sighed.

    “Cailin…this isn’t easy for me either,” she said.

    My felt my heart beating in my chest as I analyzed her words.

    “Um…does that mean you care about me?” I asked.

    “Yes…and not just in a friend mode,” she replied. “It’s complicated.”

    “You mean my gender,” I stated.

    She nodded. “I think we’d be friends regardless of your gender…but I could only love you if you were a woman. I know I shouldn’t have said that…as I don’t want to influence your decision.”

    There are moments in your life that are absolutely crystal clear…you know what the right decision is…there is no doubt…and this was one of those moments.

    “Aileen…I’ve made up my mind…I want to stay as Cailin,” I replied.

    “We’ve talked about this,” she countered.

    I nodded. “I know…but it isn’t just my feelings for you…I really like my life now…it has purpose. My old life…was missing so many things…I didn’t know what it was until now. I have a career that I love…I have new friends that I feel extremely close to…I’m also so close to Mom and Heather…I don’t want to lose that,” I confessed. “I also want to be a part of the lives of the babies I’m carrying. It wouldn’t be the same if I was male. I know Mark and Heather will be their parents, but I want to be their aunt.”

    Aileen nodded as I spoke.

    “You don’t seem surprised by what I just said,” I remarked.

    “No…I’m not surprised,” she stated.

    There was a long silence between us.

    “So…what do we do?” I asked.

    Aileen looked straight into my eyes.

    “This goes against all my common sense,” she replied softly. “But…I’m so tired of being logical.”

    I didn’t reply…I couldn’t as I had no idea what to say.

    Aileen didn’t say anything either…she just reached over and took my hands into hers…and as we held hands we stared into each other’s eyes. I knew right then and there that I was with my true love.

Chapter 84

    I know it may sound anti-climatic but we didn’t do more than that. It was enough that we were now in love.

    We mostly talked and we both had a chance to air out our feelings and emotions. We also agreed to let nature take its course. This was very different for me as I was used to jumping into a relationship with both feet; but somehow this felt like the right way.

    Before Aileen left she held my hands and spoke softly to me.

    “Now I want you to take care of yourself…and the lives you are carrying. You will have a lot to deal with the next few months…but you will not be alone, Cailin. I will be there with you every step of the way.”

    I smiled back. “You have no idea how good that sounds to me…I don’t have any regrets over doing this for Heather…but I do have more than a few fears.”

    “That’s to be expected,” she replied.

    She then leaned close and kissed me gently on the lips.

    “Good night, Cailin,” she said. “I love you.”

    “I love you too,” I replied.

    I watched her walk away to her car and then stepped back inside. I then called Heather.

Chapter 85

    “Sorry to call you so late,” I stated after I told her about Aileen and me. I also told her that I was going to stay as Cailin.

    “Don’t apologize! I would be more upset if you didn’t call. I’m so happy for you, little sister,” she replied.

    “I know in my heart this is the right path for me,” I continued. “I almost wonder if this was predestined.”

    “Maybe,” she replied.

    “You don’t sound that surprised,” I remarked.

    “I already told you that I suspected that you would stay female,” she replied. “I really don’t care what gender you are…I’m more excited that you’ll be living close by from now on. I’ve really missed you.”

    “Thanks,” I replied. “What do you think Mom will say?”

    “I think her reaction will be similar to mine…it’s so good to have you back,” said Heather. “And before you ask…she’s going to be so happy to hear that you and Aileen are dating. She really likes Aileen.”

    “So you have been talking behind my back?” I asked in a false tone of annoyance.

    “Oh we’ve been talking about you for months!”

    “Humph! And I thought you were nice!”

    We both started to laugh.

    We talked for another hour before it was time for bed.

Chapter 86

    Spring comes in very slowly on the coast of Rhode Island, but with each passing day there were slowly increasing signs that winter was finally over.

    By mid-April we even had the occasional day that you could go out without a heavy coat.

    I couldn’t believe how large I was…and I still had several more months to go. The good thing was the Gwen did an excellent job in allaying my fears. So far everything was normal and the babies were healthy.

    This doesn’t mean that everything was perfect in my life. Without going into great detail let’s just say that I was dealing with all kinds of annoyances from hemorrhoids to worrying about urine leakage. I began to wonder what would happen next.

    Aileen also helped me with my other fears. I worried that I wouldn’t ever get back into shape.

    “There are methods that I can use to undo some of the side effects of your pregnancy,” she told me as we ate breakfast one morning after leaving the gym.

    “Magical or traditional medicine?” I asked as I ate a piece of toast.

    “Both,” she replied. “The good thing is that the spell is designed to return your body back close to the way it was before you got pregnant…another nice side effect is that this will happen with any additional pregnancies.”

    I nodded as I took a sip of my juice.

    Aileen smiled. “I notice no protest about the possibility of getting pregnant again.”

    “Not if it means that it will be our child,” I replied.

    “So you would do this for us?”

    I nodded. “I’m greedy…I want a family too…our family.”

    “I’d like that too,” she replied. “I would love to have a family with you.”

    I ate the last bite of my eggs.

    “Oh, Kristina called me last night. She wants to throw the baby shower in mid-May and she wanted to see if we were free,” I stated.

    “That should be fine,” she replied.

    “This will be another new experience for me…I’ve never been to a baby shower before,” I remarked.

    “That makes two of us,” said Aileen.

    “What, you’ve never been to a baby shower?” I asked.

    She shook her head. “I’m talking about human showers.”

    “Is there a difference?” I asked.

    “Magical ones usually involve a human sacrifice, usually a virgin if we can find one”, she said as she sipped her coffee.

    I rolled my eyes. “And people say I have a warped sense of humor!”

    Aileen laughed. “I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. So who else will be coming?”

    “Of course Mom will be there. In addition to a bunch of my in-laws and some of Heather’s friends, Alexis Eden and her partner Jirra will be there,” I replied. “I think that my cousin Bree might also show up.”

    “It sounds like it will be an interesting group,” replied Aileen. “I don’t think I would miss it for the world.”

Chapter 87

    While I read on various pregnancy websites that many women stay sexually active late into their pregnancy. I suspect that those that do weren’t having twins. By now I was having a hard enough time just finding a comfortable sleeping position. The hell with sex, I would kill to be able to sleep through the night without having to get up and waddle to the bathroom.

    All kidding aside, I was so happy that Aileen was in my life. Now, we didn’t have sex, but we did kiss and cuddle.

    Aileen and I also saw no reason to hide our relationship. My family was totally cool about it; in fact my cousin Bree told me she always knew that I would end up with another woman.

    Most of my friends were accepting too. I was a little worried about my business but for every client that I lost I picked up two. I also got a lot of business sent my way by Alexis Eden. Newport attracted a lot of celebrities and I guess they figured they could trust me if they needed photos taken. The author of the Erin Flynn novels, Faith Collins even hired me to shoot her portrait for her next book.

    I didn’t mind getting jobs from knowing people as all they did was open the door for me. I still had to follow through.

    I did slow down on the number of jobs I was taking as it was getting more difficult to work. Thankfully I had enough money in the bank to get by until after I had the twins.

    Mark’s parents still wanted to help me, but I politely declined. I was very proud of being a successful businesswoman.

    I was also very content with my new gender. It wasn’t as if I didn’t enjoy being a guy, but my life was far from complete as Ian.

    I thought about my life before I became Cailin and I was convinced that there was some sort of cosmic hand in what had happened. I suspected that losing my job was all part of a master plan. Oh I was good at my old job…but there was no passion…it was just a job. Now I had a career that I loved.

    I was also so happy to be back on the East Coast. I hadn’t planned on moving back after I had lost my old job and I had debated moving up to Seattle or some place like that. Now I can’t even imagine living anywhere else.

Chapter 88

    Aileen, Mom, and I drove up to Heather’s house together for the baby shower.  It was a beautiful late spring day, bright blue sky, big puffy clouds and just warm enough to be comfortable.

    Heather insisted that I didn’t buy her anything. She said that I was giving her the greatest gift that anyone could. Of course I ignored her. I was giving her a photo album. Inside the album were coupons for photos that I would take for her. The album wasn’t empty as I had prints of the ultrasounds inside.

    I was now in my third trimester and I was beginning to wonder what the twins were doing in there. I could constantly feel them moving around …which was pretty cool. As a guy I couldn’t imagine how wondrous this was.

    “How’re you doing?” asked Mom.

    “I’m fine,” I replied. “I shouldn’t have a problem making it to Heather’s place.”

    Thankfully the traffic was light that day so we didn’t get delayed.

    We arrived at Heather’s a couple of hours before the event as Mom wanted to help them set up. I planned on sitting back and relaxing. I wasn’t lazy but I knew that no one would allow me to do anything anyway so I might as well enjoy myself.

    “You get bigger every time I see you, Cailin,” said Heather as we hugged.

    “I know,” I replied. “I just hope you can handle them.”

    “Have they been active today?” she asked.

    I nodded. “Feel for yourself.”

    She placed her hand on my belly. “Wow!”

    Kristina and Margaret were already there and they greeted me.

    “So where’s Mark?” I asked.

    “He went fishing with Dad and some of his co-workers,” said Kristina. “Thankfully they have a nice day…Mark loves fishing, but he doesn’t do well on rough days.”

    “Who does,” I replied with a smile.

    Kristina and Margret knew that Aileen and I were dating and they seemed cool with it. I had heard from Heather and Mark that Carter wasn’t happy about it, but he kept his opinions to himself.

    Heather disappeared into the kitchen to check on the food. She had insisted on preparing the food herself as her contribution to the party. The others were decorating the living room in a beach theme; with towels, inflatable beach toys and other props.

    I followed her into the kitchen and sat down at the kitchen table.  Heather got very intense in her kitchen and I knew to keep the questions to a minimum.

    “What are you cooking?” I asked.

    “I’m going for a Cape Cod theme…cod fish juice cocktail, cod fish salad, codfish chowder with codfish balls, codfish casserole…and codfish cranberry pie for dessert,” she said.

    “Not possible, the authorities would have already arrived to declare your kitchen a toxic disaster,” I replied.

    She laughed. “Okay, you got me…but I still cook codfish cakes for breakfast.”

    I smiled as that was our dad’s favorite breakfast. I never liked them, but the aroma always brought back fond memories.

    “Do you use Tabasco sauce on them?” I asked.

    “Of course…is there any other way!” she replied with a grin.

    “Does Mark eat them?” I asked.

    She nodded. “He likes them too.”

    “So how many people are coming?” I asked.

    “Thirty,” she replied as worked. “Some of my teacher friends are coming, although they want to throw me a separate shower.” 

    “Cool,” I replied.

    “Thankfully, Mom suggested that I set up a registry,” she continued.

    “I know that you and Mark are well off, but with twins every bit will help,” I replied.

    Heather nodded. “We’ve already enlarged the nursery.”

    “That’s good,” I replied. “Oh, I have something to ask you.”

    Heather stopped what she was doing and looked at me. “What is it?”

    “I’m starting birthing classes next week…I’d like you and Mark to attend…that is if…”

    Heather broke out in a huge smile. “Of course we will! My god Cailin, we’ve been wondering how we would ask you about this very thing!”

    She rushed over and gently hugged me.

Chapter 89

    I knew most of the people who showed up for the shower. Of course I was very pleased to see my cousin Bree and her partner JoAnne show up. Like most of the women in our family, Bree had red hair. She was a ten years older than Heather and had actually been our babysitter when we were kids.

    “I never thought I would see you pregnant,” she remarked as we hugged. “But it suits you, Cailin.”

    “Thank you,” I replied. I then introduced them to Aileen. I wasn’t surprised that they hit it off immediately.

    I was also pleased when Alexis and Jirra arrived.

    We hugged and caught up on what had happened since we last saw each other. Even though Alexis was a big star I only saw her as a friend. As for Jirra, she was a kindred spirit.

    “I’m happy that you have someone in your life now,” said Alexis. She then leaned forward and whispered. “Any problems with the family?”

    I shook my head. “Not with the female side.”

    Alexis nodded. “You’re fortunate. One of my sisters still has her nose out of joint because I came out; thankfully the rest of the family is cool.”

    “That’s good to hear,” I replied.

    “Oh, Jen sends her regards. She wanted to be here but she’s in the middle of a major production back in LA. She’s also subbing for Wayne Zachery again on Around Midnight this week,” continued Alexis.

    I nodded as I watched the other guests greeting Heather. A few were pointing in my direction. I suddenly felt as if I shouldn’t be there. I also felt a sense of panic as if everyone in the room knew my original gender.

    “You okay?” asked Jirra.

    I shrugged nervously. “I don’t know, I mean I was looking forward to this…but suddenly I feel out of place here.”

    Alexis shook her head. “Nonsense! This shower is a celebration of the new lives that are being brought into this world and you’re a major part of it. To top it off, I doubt your sister would allow this to happen if you weren’t here.”

    I felt a growing sense of panic and I began to look for a way out of there. I could feel my heart beating faster...and soon it felt like was going to come through my chest.

    Aileen walked up and slipped her arm around my waist.

    “Cailin, you’re trembling. Are you okay?” she asked in a concerned way.

    “I don’t know…I have a strange feeling…almost as if I don’t belong here,” I replied anxiously. “I know…I’m just being silly.”

    Aileen shook her head. “No you’re not. Let’s go out to the kitchen and talk, okay?”

    I nodded.

    “Alexis, why don’t you and Jirra come with us, okay?” asked Aileen.

    “Sure,” replied Alexis.

    “Am I okay?” I asked apprehensively.

    “I think so, but I want to talk to you out of ear-shot from the rest,” whispered Aileen.

    When we got out to the kitchen I told them how I felt. It was strange, but as soon as we were away from the others I felt fine.

    “It was like I was intruding…and that they all knew my secret,” I explained. “It’s weird, but that’s the first time that I felt like a male in a very long time…it didn’t feel good either.”

    “I’ve heard of this happening,” stated Aileen. 

    “Really?”

    “You were overwhelmed by all the feminine energy in the room,” she said. “It’s a common side effect of some gender change spells.”

    “Really?”

    She nodded. “How do you feel now?”

    “Fine…you know…that actually makes sense,” I replied. “So what do I do? I mean, will it start up again when we go back out there?”

    “You don’t need to do a thing...it shouldn’t happen again.” she said. “If it does, just excuse yourself as if you’re going to the bathroom, okay?”

    I let out a big sigh. “Sorry about that. Thanks for helping me.”

    Aileen leaned close and kissed me.  “My pleasure.”

     I turned to Alexis and Jirra. 

    “Thank you both,” I stated.

    “It was our pleasure,” said Alexis.

    “I can relate to what you just went through,” said Jirra. “I’ve had more than few gender panic attacks in my life.”

    “I’m so sorry to hear that,” I stated. I then looked at Aileen. “Are you sure there’s nothing you can do to help her?”

    Aileen shook her head. “I talked to a friend of mine who said that there’s nothing we can do until we know more about the magic that transformed her. I’m sorry.”

    Jirra turned to Alexis. “Sounds like what Amelia told us.”

    Aileen smiled. “Amelia…Amelia Taylor?”

    Jirra nodded. “You know her?”

    Aileen laughed. “She’s in my clan and she’s also the reason that I became a doctor. How did you meet her?” 

    “I met her through a friend of a friend. Do you know Iona Beddau?” asked Jirra.

    Aileen nodded. “Small world, she’s also a member of my clan.”

    “Wow,” replied Jirra. “This is so strange.”

    “It’s a small world,” I said.

    Jirra nodded. “Yes, but what’s strange is that we keep running into people who are connected…and have a gender issue.” 

    Aileen broke out in a big smile. “Now I know you! I should have made the connection myself! Iona mentioned she now had a group of friends, many of who had once been male. She told me you all helped her with a case she was working on.”

    “We’re still looking for a catchy name,” said Jirra with a slight laugh.

    “Something that would look good on a t-shirt and have a snappy catch phrase,” added Alexis.

    We were then interrupted by Heather.

    “Um, Kristina wants to start the party, are you coming out there?” she asked.

    I would have preferred to talk more with Jirra but duty called. “Sure we’ll be right out.”

Chapter 90

    Just as Aileen had said my panic attacks didn’t return

    I was glad as the party was a lot of fun.

    The meal was incredible. Heather really threw herself into the beach theme...thankfully without the cod.

    For starters there were mock strawberry daiquiris, mini burgers and hot dogs, pickles (bad jokes run in the family), and Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers.

    The daiquiris were made with fresh strawberries, fresh lime juice, apple juice concentrate, and real vanilla extract all whirled in a blender and poured into chilled glasses and garnished with slices of strawberry and lime. A small cocktail umbrella held the garnish together.

    The burgers and hotdogs were served on colored rolls. Heather had a local bakery specially prepare the rolls. Their colors were yellow, green, and blue which matched the colors of the decorations. She also said that since I was carrying both a boy and girl it made more sense to have a neutral color theme.

    The main meal started with cream of tomato soup with croutons. The croutons were made of Portuguese bread and were very tasty. The soup was made from tomatoes that she had frozen the previous season.

    Next came individual Mac and cheese served in small soufflé dishes. She used mini penne pasta.

    For veggies she served baby peas and a salad of baby greens with a mild Italian dressing.

    Dessert was a vanilla ice cream cake made with layers of pound cake and vanilla ice cream, iced whipped cream, and decorated with colorful marine life; specifically mama and baby starfish, crabs, lobsters, turtles, and seahorses.

    To finish it all off there was also a bag of sugar cookies in the shape of marine life iced in the same pastel colors used on cake. As with the decorations on the cake the cookies were a mama and baby theme. The bags were blue and had a green ribbon to look like the ocean.

    Heather had prepared cards with all the ingredients for the guests so there wouldn’t be any dietary problems.

    “Heather, this is fantastic…how long did it take you to do all this?” asked Alexis.

    “It didn’t take that long…besides it was a labor of love,” she replied.

    “I can see the marine life and the colored rolls for the beach theme…but didn’t you go overboard with the baby peas and baby greens?” I asked.

    Heather shook her head. “Nope…besides baby showers are supposed to be over the top and slightly silly. It’s a sea baby theme.”

    As we ate dessert, Heather opened the gifts.

    I was really impressed the effort everyone put into the gifts.

Heather loved my gift of the photo album and the certificates for future photos.

“This is really sweet…but you didn’t have to get me anything else…I mean you’re giving me two babies,” she remarked.

“Look inside,” I stated.

She opened the album and a huge smiled appeared on her face as she saw the ultrasounds.

“Sorry they are a bit blurry, but I didn’t take them,” I remarked.

Heather got up and gave me a big hug.

    Alexis and Jirra gave Heather a year’s supply of diaper service.

    “We figured with two babies you could use something like this,” said Alexis.

    “It’s a wonderful gift,” said Heather.

    One of Heather’s friends noticed the name of the company. “Oh they’re very good; I used them for my last child.”

    By the time Heather had opened every box I was convinced she could open a baby shop of her own.

    “There’s one box left,” noted Kristina as she inspected it. Then she walked over to me and handed me the box.

    “What’s this?” I asked.

    “This is from us,” said Heather. “Now just open it up and say thank you.”

    I nodded and opened up the small box. Inside was an envelope I picked it up and opened it. Inside was a card for an all expense paid week vacation for two at a spa in New Mexico. The spa was called Caldera de Gaia.

    “We figured that you could use a vacation after this,” said Heather.

    I was too stunned to speak.

    “We wanted to send you somewhere nice and Jirra recommended the spa,” continued Heather. “It’s the one she lived at.”

    “This is…very thoughtful,” I stammered as I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. “Thank you…thank you all.”

    “We felt it was the least we could do for you, Cailin,” said Kristina. “I mean you’re doing such an incredible thing for Mark and Heather.”

    I continued to cry as I hugged everyone in the room.

Chapter 91

    The party slowly broke up and soon the only ones left were Heather, Mom, Aileen, Jirra, Alexis, and me.

    “We really caught you off guard didn’t we?” asked Heather.

    “I never saw it coming,” I replied honestly.

    “You’ll have a wonderful time,” said Jirra. “Just let me know when you’re going and I’ll call ahead for you. Jen said that you’d have the use of her cottage there for your stay. She’s got a large guest room so don’t worry about if she’s there or not. Jen also has a condo in LA and she asked me to tell you that you’re welcome any time you need to stay there as well.”

    “I can’t wait,” I said. “Thank you so much.”

    I had already asked Aileen to go with me…I would have told her but that wouldn’t have been polite. Of course she said yes.

    We were also able to speak freely as Jirra told the others her background. Naturally we all agreed that we would keep her secret private.

    “So you must know Iona’s friend who is the expert on the Minoans?” asked Aileen.

    Jirra and Alexis both nodded.

    “You must mean Dr. Hallie Pappadimos,” said Jirra. “She’s also in the group.”

    “That’s her…I might have found her a new site,” confessed Aileen. “I have some photos that Cailin took for me on an island that is sacred to my clan…and there are markings on the rocks that look like Minoan. I compared them to markings in a book I checked out of the library and it looks like Linear H.”

    “I would be happy to call her and put her in touch with you,” said Jirra.

    “That would be fantastic,” said Aileen.

    “It sounds like you run in some exciting circles, Jirra,” I said.

    “My life hasn’t been dull since I was transformed,” she replied. “The group we formed sort of deals with some of the more interesting things that seem to pop up around us.”

    “Really?” I asked. “Are you part of this group, Alexis?”

    “I’m sort of a secondary member,” she replied with a smile. “Actually it’s nice to be a supporting cast member for a change.”

    “And many of these people have had gender changes?” I asked.

    Jirra nodded.

    “If you ever need a photographer please consider me,” I asked hopefully. The idea of meeting others who had a similar gender experience excited me.

    Jirra smiled back. “Of course, what a great idea. I can’t wait to introduce you to the rest of the group. We’ve had some really cool adventures.”

    “Just wait until after I have the babies!” I replied.

    “Of course,” replied Jirra. “But just so you know we’ve had several members who have already had children.”

    Just then I felt one of the babies move and I must have made a face.

    “You okay, dear?” asked Mom.

    I nodded as I caressed my belly. “They’re just a little active right now.”

    “Um, Cailin…do you mind if I…um,” stammered Jirra.

    I remembered what she had said about how she sometimes felt around pregnant women and I smiled back at her.  I motioned for her to come over and I took her hand and placed it on my belly. A large smile appeared on her face as she felt one of the babies move.

    “That’s so cool!” she exclaimed. “Thank you.”

    “You’re welcome, Jirra,” I replied.

    Alexis and Jirra left a short time later. Alexis had to be up in Boston Monday morning for an early morning shoot and Jirra had to get back to Penn.    

    Since Mark wouldn’t be back until the next day Heather invited us to spend the night. We readily accepted.

    “So they’re spending the night out on the boat?” asked Mom.

    Heather nodded. “I love Mark, but if he did catch anything he’d better bring it home already cleaned and cut up into fillets. I’m not cleaning his fish!”

    We all laughed at her comment.

    “I wasn’t kidding,” she added.

    “Changing the subject; what do you think about Jirra and her group?” I asked Heather.

    “I think it’s pretty cool. I agree with you that you were destined to follow this path…you might as well take advantage of this opportunity.”

    “Thanks,” I replied. “It really does seem like divine intervention.”

    Heather nodded. “That’s a good way of describing it. Mark and I had just about given up on having a family without adopting. There’s no way we can ever thank you enough for doing this.”

    “I appreciate that,” I said.

    I then reached into the bag of cookies and took out a seahorse.

    “You made a mistake with this one, Heather,” I said.

    “No I didn’t,” she countered.  

    “All the other cookies are mama and babies…but in seahorses the male carries the babies,” I explained.

    She cocked her head and stared at me.

    “And therefore they are even more appropriate,” she stated proudly.

    We all began to laugh at the inside joke.

    “Good one Heather,” I remarked.

    She just smiled back. “It was my pleasure.”

    “So you did it on porpoise?” I asked.

    There were some groans at my bad pun.

    “Yep…just for the halibut,” she countered.

Chapter 92

    I eagerly marked each day off the calendar; not because I was sick of being pregnant, rather it was over concern for the babies. Even though Gwen said that everything was progressing well she did point out that there were often complications with multiple births. With each day I knew that the babies would better off and more likely to survive a premature birth.

    Mark and Heather began to attend childbirth classes with me. Aileen also attended when she could, much to my delight.

    I was also pleasantly surprised that there was another surrogate mother in the class. Her name was Carol and she was a twenty-one-year-old woman who was having a child for a sterile couple. She barely knew the family and was doing it for the money.

    She explained that she needed money for college and she had run out of options. Aileen later told me that this wasn’t that uncommon and that some companies dropped their flyers off at colleges and universities. She said that they also target military spouses.

    I didn’t think any less of Carol for what she was doing…and in a way I felt sorry for her. She must have been really desperate for money to do something like that. At least I would have a connection with the new lives I was bringing into the world. She would never see her child again after she turned it over to the parents. But I also wondered what I would do if it was the only way left to raise money for college.

    After one of our classes in early June we went back to my place for dinner. My grill was back out on my deck and we had picked up some chicken breasts on the way home.

    Aileen and Heather prepared a marinade and Mark took charge of the grill. I was content to just sit down and watch.

    One of the tips that both Aileen and Gwen had told me was that whenever one of the babies kicked or moved that I should rub gently back.

    I was also still very comfortable living in my own place and even though Mark and Heather had a room ready for me I was in no hurry to accept it.

    I had a large support group in the Newport area and with each passing day I was more content to stay where I was.  Thankfully Heather and Mark accepted my decision, although his parents kept asking me when I would move. Even Margaret was starting to push me into moving out to The Cape.

    “Oh, Kristina has started a birth pool, they’re all trying to pick the date you give birth,” said Heather as we ate.

    “You’re kidding,” I stated.

    Mark shrugged his shoulders. “Believe it or not, as conservative as some members of my family are they are all big time betters.”

    “What’s the price?” I asked.

    “Everyone who enters is putting in $50.00,” said Mark.

“Only 50 bucks? That doesn’t seem all that big time to me,” I stated.

    “It’s more the status of winning than the amount,” he replied. “I think they’re up to almost a grand.”

    “So are you in this pool?” I asked.

    Mark shook his head. “We’re not allowed…Kristina thinks we may have inside information.”

    “Well you do know the date of conception,” I replied with a slight laugh.

    “Yes, but there’s more to it than that,” said Heather.

    “Just for argument sake, what date would you pick?” I asked.

    “July 20th,” said Heather.

    “I’m for July 27,” said Mark.

    “Aileen do you want in on this?” I asked.

    “What’s the wager?” she asked.

    “That’s up to you guys,” I replied.

    We decided that whoever won would get a bottle of their favorite wine from the others. We limited the price of the wine to $50.

    “So what date do you pick Aileen?’ I asked.

    “July 22nd,” she said.

    “What about you, Cailin?” asked Heather.

    “I’m going for the 4th,” I replied.

    Heather looked at me. “Do you know something we don’t?”

    “I just have a feeling that they’re going to want to see the fireworks,” I replied with a laugh.

    “So do we want Mom in this?” asked Heather.

    “Why not,” I replied. “Why don’t you call her?”

    Mom picked the 14th, Bastille Day.

    “Do you think we need times…in case of a tiebreaker?” asked Heather.

    “I don’t think it will necessary,” I replied.

Chapter 93

    Aileen and I sat out on my deck after Heather and Mark left. It was a beautiful June evening. We sat together and watched the night sky.

    “Well, if you’re right then you only have a few weeks left,” she said.

    I nodded. “I really don’t care as long as everything goes well. I know all the tests have gone well…geez; I can’t imagine what it was like in the past. I’m a bit of a nervous wreck now and I know what’s going on with the babies.”

    “It was a lot scarier,” said Aileen.

    “Um, I have question for you…you’ve mentioned that you have family around here…when do I get to meet them?” I asked.

    “I was going to wait until after you had the babies. Most of my family lives in Maine and in Nova Scotia. I also have some family in San Diego. The rest are still back in Scotland.”

    “Where in Maine?” I asked.

    “All over…although most live along the coast… we have strong ties to the ocean,” she said. “I have talked to them about you and they can’t wait to meet you. Iona is really looking forward to meeting you.”

    “Cool…I was a little worried about how I would be accepted,” I replied.

    “Now I have a question for you…do want to develop your skills?” she asked.

    “I’ve been thinking about that…I’m fine with who I am…but I do want to learn more about my heritage,” I replied.

    Aileen nodded. “After you’ve recovered from this I can start to teach you some basic spells.”

    “Like what?” I asked.

    “I know a really useful incantation that you can use to increase the temperature of water. It’s very useful when you’re taking a bath.”

    I laughed. “I would like that. So how does this work? I mean, can’t anyone learn an incantation?”

    “Some can be learned by humans, but unless you say the spell exactly right…and unless you’re concentrating, it’s just a bunch of words. The same goes for spells that involve mixing of ingredients. If you are slightest bit off all you are doing is making a mess.”

    “That makes sense,” I replied. “I think I’ll do better with the incantations…I’m a sloppy cook.”

    Aileen laughed. “I’ve noticed. Were you like that as Ian?”

    “Worse…I was a horrible cook as a guy, at least now I’m functional in the kitchen.”

    “To be honest I stick more to the crystals and incantations myself. I used to dabble in the spells more when I was younger,” she said.

    “Um, I know you said that you’re going to shift your aging….that must be a very difficult decision,” I stated.

    Aileen shook her head. “It was actually a very easy one…it isn’t a sacrifice when you’re doing it for someone you love. Just so you know…I already did it.”

    “What?” I asked in shock.

    Aileen nodded. “Right after the baby shower. I know you’re the one…it was a very easy choice.”

    She then leaned close and kissed me.

Chapter 94

    The next weekend I worked a party for the christening of a new charter fishing boat. The life of a professional photographer isn’t all working for television shows.

    I doubt I could have done it without Aileen’s help as she carried my equipment. By the time the job was over I realized that I would have to take a sabbatical. The shot would have been a piece of cake if I had been able to move around…and by the time it was over I was exhausted.

    I spent the following few days rescheduling my contracts and passing a few off to some other photographers that I was friendly with. Thankfully everyone was very understanding and a few were shocked that I had worked as long as I had.

    The good news was that I already had several big jobs booked for the early fall. In addition to several weddings, Jirra passed a huge contract my way. Her roommate at Penn ran a foundation that assisted transgendered teens, many of whom had been abused.  The woman, whose name was Celeste Farnsworth, wanted me to take portraits of the teens, as she felt that it would help with their self-esteem. She also wanted me to shoot the grounds of the foundation which was located in Connecticut. These photos would be used to promote the foundation and aid in fundraising. I immediately accepted the contract and then I called Jirra and thanked her.

    As I was around eight months pregnant, Gwen insisted on seeing me every week. She also briefed Heather and me on what to look for when I started going into labor.

    “Judging by your size you could have an early birth,” she said. “Your babies are very healthy and so I wouldn’t worry much. You shouldn’t have a problem with natural labor either. I have also taken the liberty of telling the hospital to expect you soon. Now, do you plan on going any where else in the next month?”

    “Only the occasional trip out to Heather and Mark’s,” I replied.

    “And what is the plan should you go into labor if you’re out there?”

    I looked at Heather and we both shrugged our shoulders.

    “Oops,” I replied.

    Gwen laughed.

    “I suspect driving real fast and hoping for no traffic isn’t a good plan,” I continued.

    “No…not unless you want to give birth in your car,” replied Gwen. “I took the liberty of contacting the closest hospital to Heather. Here are the phone numbers.  I want both of you to keep these numbers with you at all times. You should also make sure that your close friends and families have it too. I’ve also included my cell phone on the card.”

    I took the cards from her and handed one to Heather.

    “Thank you,” I replied. I immediately took out my cell phone and programmed them into in. Heather did the same. “I’ll make sure Mom and Aileen have them too.”

    “Good,” replied Gwen. “Okay, now for the next question; how are your breasts?”

    “Still painful… and leaky,” I admitted.

    Gwen nodded. “That’s to be expected. Heather, how’re you doing?”

    Heather really wanted to breastfeed the babies.

    “I’ve being doing what you told me, I’m just not sure that I will be able to feed both of them,” she confessed.

    “I was afraid of this,” she said. “Your production should increase once you start feeding them…but the first couple of days are vital.”

    “Um, why can’t I help?” I asked.

    “You don’t have to do this Cailin,” said Heather.

    I shrugged. “I know how important this is for you. I can use a breast pump and you can feed them for a while.”

    “How did I get a sister so nice?” she asked.

    I shrugged my shoulders. “Magic?”

    I thought she was going to either pass out or punch me for that one.

Chapter 95

    Heather and I stopped for lunch at Newport Creamery after the appointment. I know it wasn’t very fancy, but it was becoming a post medical appointment tradition.

    “I wonder if Aileen has something that can help you,” I said as I looked over the menu. “Do you want me to ask her?”

    Heather nodded. “Besides being healthy for the babies…I really want to do this.”

    “I know that,” I said. “But even if you can’t…I know it won’t affect your ability to be a great mother.”

    “Thank you,” she replied. “So how are you doing…especially about the act of labor?”

    “Slightly terrified,” I replied with a nervous laugh. “I mean, I look at the size of the babies…I think terrified is a good description. I just hope it all happens quickly.”

    Well, I’ll be there with you the whole time,” she said.

    “Thanks…oh, if and when I ask for drugs…don’t think I’m kidding,” I replied with a smirk.

    Heather began to laugh.

    “I do want you both in the delivery room,” I said. “I think it’s important for both of you to be there.”

    “Thank you,” she replied.

    The waitress came and took our orders.  I went with their three cheese grilled cheese sandwich. It had American, Swiss, and cheddar on Texas toast. I also had a salad. Heather had a BLT.

    “So have you narrowed down the list of names yet?” I asked.

    Heather nodded. “Actually, we decided on the names the other night.”

    “And you were going to tell me when?” I asked with a smirk on my face.

    “We’re going to name the girl Katherine, after Mark’s grandmother,” she said. “We’ll probably call her Kate.”

    “That’s a nice name,” I replied.

    “And we decided to name the boy Ian,” she stated.

    I was speechless.

    “Well we decided that since you’re staying as Cailin it’s the least we can do to honor you,” she said.

    “Wow,” I replied as I fumbled for a Kleenex. “Damn it, you’re making me cry.”

    Heather handed me a tissue.

    “Thanks…have you told Mom?”

    Heather nodded. “She loved it.”

    I ran my hands over my belly. “Well, Kate and Ian, do you like your names?”

    I felt a kick.

    “I think they approve!” I said with a grin.

Chapter 96

    Needless to say that with each passing day I monitored my body for signs that I would soon be giving birth. Mom told me that I would know when it was time.

    I told Aileen about this and she agreed.

    “Many women know when it’s time and this is without any physical signs of labor,” she said. “However, those with powers often know a day or so in advance.”

    “Know…in what way?” I asked.

    “You’ll just know,” she replied as we walked into my home.

    “Do you want something to drink?” I asked.

    “I’ll get it, what can I get you?” she asked.

    “Just a glass of cold water would be nice,” I replied.

    “With ice?” she asked.

    I nodded as I carefully sat down.

    “I never knew such simple act could be so difficult,” I remarked.  “Damn, I’m fat.”

    “I think you look beautiful,” replied Aileen.

    I smiled. “You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”

    She shook her head as she returned with the drinks. “No, I really mean it.”

    “Thank you,” I replied.

    “Do you think you would ever want to get pregnant again?” she asked as she sat next to me.

    “Only if was our child,” I replied. “Do you want children?”

    Aileen nodded. “I would love to start a family…especially with you.”

    I leaned close to her. “I would love that too.”

    She leaned over and kissed me.

    We were then interrupted by my doorbell going off.

    I sighed and was about to get up when Aileen shook her head. “Please let me.”

    I settled back down. “No argument here.”

    Aileen answered the door and I could hear her talking to someone.

    She returned carrying a letter.

    “Were you expecting a piece of registered mail?” she asked.

    I shook my head.

    Aileen handed me the latter and she sat down next to me.

    “Well, aren’t you going to open it?” she asked.

    I looked at the envelope and say it was Mark’s father’s law firm.

    “What now?”I exclaimed as I opened up the letter.

    “Well?” asked Aileen.

    There was a note from Carter Preston and a certified check for one hundred thousand dollars.

    Dear Cailin,
            I just wanted to give you a small token of appreciation.  Mark said that you have stopped working until you have the babies and I didn’t want you to worry about your finances.
      Sincerely Yours;
                    Carter

    I looked at the check and showed it to Aileen.

    “What should I do with it?” I asked.

    “Cash it,” she replied.

    “You can’t be serious,” I replied with shock.

    “Why not? I think he means well by it,” she said. “I think it’s his way of trying to be nice…what’s the harm in keeping it?”

    I looked at the check and laughed.

    “What’s so funny?” asked Aileen.

    “The universe…this is the same amount that I was given when I lost my old job as Ian,” I replied.

    “The universe does have a good sense of humor.”

    I nodded. “Can you hand me my cell phone…I need to call Carter and thank him.”

Chapter 97

    Carter was very nice and seemed genuinely happy that I accepted his gift. He said that the money wasn’t payment for what I was doing…he just wanted to show his gratitude.

    After I hung up, Aileen kissed me.

    “What was that for…not that I’m complaining or anything,” I replied.

    “That was for being nice to Carter,” she stated.

    I nodded. “Do you think I should tell Heather about this?”

    Aileen shook her head. “I think the fact that he sent it from his office meant he didn’t want anyone else to know about it.”

    “I guess I’ll go by the credit union tomorrow and deposit it…I have no idea what I’m going to do with it,” I said.

    “I’m sure you’ll think of something,” she said. “You feel like eating?”

    I nodded. “I’d love to have some chowder…but I’m beat.”

    “I’ll go pick it up…you do look tired,” she said.

    “Thank you,” I replied. “I love you.”

    “I love you too,” she said as she got up to leave.

    I looked at the check again and shook my head in disbelief…life was strange.

Chapter 98

    I put the money in a CD for six months. I was fine financially, and I figured I could do something else with it after I was done with the pregnancy.

    The last week of June, Heather and I went to see Gwen for the weekly checkup.

    “So are you ready?” asked Gwen.

    “What do you mean?” I asked.

    “Do you have your bag packed and everything like that?” she asked.

    “I’m still a little early, right?” I asked.

    “Come on, Cailin, you’ve done enough research to know that this isn’t an exact science. The babies could come at any time now,” she said with a smile.

    “I’ll pack a bag today,” I said.

    “I have a list of things that might be useful to bring,” she said as she handed me a piece of paper.

Heather and I looked it over.

“Socks?” I asked with amusement.

“You feet could get cold…don’t forget that labor could take hours,” Gwen said.

“Music?” I asked.

“A lot of my patients bring their IPod with them,” she replied.

“Makes sense,” I replied.

“Any questions?” she asked.

“Just one…when do you think that I’ll go into labor…nothing scientific…just your gut feeling,” I asked.

Gwen smiled. “My instinct says early July.”

I looked at Heather and smiled. I looked back at Gwen. “We have a pool and I picked July 4th.”

Gwen nodded. “I haven’t had a delivery on the 4th yet…that would be fun.”

Chapter 99

The good thing about Newport is that it doesn’t get real hot during summer. I really appreciated this as getting around was becoming more and more difficult. I couldn’t believe how big I was and I wondered how much longer it would be until I went into labor.

I never went anywhere without my cell phone as it had all the important numbers programmed into it.

I also thought about how my life had changed. When I had entered into this agreement, I fully planned on returning to my life as Ian, but that was before I realized how full my new life would be. I didn’t mourn my old life; instead it would be a fond memory. I also looked to the future with Aileen. I had many loves in my life as Ian…but I never knew real love until I met Aileen. I felt so complete with her and couldn’t imagine life without her.

Even though I had picked the fourth for the baby pool, I didn’t have any real feelings that I was about to start labor. I picked it mainly because I always loved the fireworks that accompanied Independence Day.

In Newport there were several big fireworks displays over the bay. Thankfully we could see some of them from my townhouse.

I invited Mark, Heather, Mom, and Aileen over for a cookout prior to the fireworks. I also offered Heather, Mark and Aileen the chance to spend the night and avoid the usual awful traffic leaving Newport.

Chapter 100

Several of my friends and neighbors stopped by my home on their way downtown to watch the fireworks. They wanted to see how I was doing and to wish me all the best. I really appreciated their concern.

    I also got a few phone calls. Jirra and Alexis called from the spa in New Mexico. The next call was from Jen…she was on location and she just wanted to see how I was doing.

    “I’m certainly popular today,” I stated after I hung up the phone. “Do they know something I don’t?”

    Even though I had picked the fourth for the pool, I didn’t feel any closer to having the babies than I had the day before. Well, that’s not exactly true, I had a dream the night before that I was going into labor, but I didn’t feel that this was a real sign. I didn’t even bother to tell Aileen or the others about it.

    “Maybe, I was inundated with calls and visitors in the days leading up to when I had you two,” said Mom.

    “It’s not that uncommon,” added Aileen.

    “Well, I wouldn’t mind it happening soon,” I remarked. “I can barely get around now. I also miss not having a drink on the fourth.”

    “Poor baby,” quipped Heather as she sat down next to me.

    “Some sister you are!” I replied with false indignation.

    “Look on the bright side, soon you will be able to have a drink,” she said.

    “I’m more concerned with getting back into shape,” I replied. “I’m such a blimp.”

    “You’re fine,” said Mom.

    “I agree,” added Aileen. “Gwen said that your weight is normal.”

    “Normal…if I was a whale,” I stated. “I mean, if I went to the beach they would try to push me back into the ocean.”

    “Bad joke…and trust me your weight is fine,” said Aileen.

    I shrugged as I looked down at my enormous belly.

    Mark walked over and asked if anyone needed anything.

    “I think we’re fine,” said Mom. “Thank you for asking.”

    He nodded. “Oh, all the paperwork is ready,” he said. “I ran it past a friend who specializes in surrogate births.”

    “I’m glad to hear that,” I said. “It’s just a formality and these are your children.”

    “We know that…but unfortunately the law is the law,” he replied with disgust.

    “Can I ask you a question, Mark?” I asked.

    He nodded.

    “Why are you a lawyer…you really don’t seem to like it all that much,” I remarked.

    “It’s what is expected,” he said.

    “It doesn’t have to be,” I replied. “What would you rather be doing?”

    He glanced at Heather who nodded.

    “I like the law…it’s just that I would rather be making a difference…I’m thinking about becoming a County DA,” he said.

    “Wouldn’t you have to be elected for the position?” I asked.

    He nodded.

    “He’s had several people approach him about running,” said Heather.

    “And will you do it?” I asked.

    “We’ve been talking about it,” he said as he looked at Heather.

    “I’m all for it,” she said enthusiastically. “And it’s more than a few people.”

    “That’s wonderful Mark,” said Mom.

    “It’s not the best time to do this,” he said.

    “Nonsense,” countered Heather. “People start families all the time...you can always come up with a reason to put off your dreams.”

    Mark smiled at her. “We’ll see…we have a couple years before the next election.”

    “So, much the better,” she said.

    “I think you should do it,” I added.

    Just then the first rocket went up and exploded over the bay. As we watched, I felt the concussion of the explosions…and also the movement of the babies. I ran my hands over my belly as if to calm them and let them know everything was okay. Aileen must have noticed and she slipped her arm around me.

Chapter 101

    We stayed up until around eleven talking. Mom left first and I wasn’t that far away from falling asleep.

    Mark and Heather were in my guestroom and I offered to share my bed with Aileen, but she declined.

    “Your bed is a little too small for the four of us,” she quipped before kissing me good night. “Besides, you have a very comfortable couch.”    

    Even though I was exhausted, it took me a long time to get comfortable. I must have changed position a dozen times before I finally found one that was comfy. I drifted off to sleep a short time later.

    Unfortunately, a good night’s sleep wasn’t meant to be. I woke up around two in the morning with cramps. At first I thought it was just indigestion…and I sat up in bed and slowly got out of bed. I was used to my body acting up at night and I wasn’t that concerned…however as I started to get up from my bed I felt my water break. 

    At first I didn’t know what to do…my mind went blank…all the classes….all the research…all the hours studying what to do… and my mind went blank.  I just stood there in my bedroom. However as the gravity of the situation sank in I knew I had to do something…I didn’t want to cry out…so I reached for my cell phone and called Aileen.

    It rang twice before she picked it up.

    “Cailin?” she asked.

    I could hear the confusion in her voice and it also sounded like she was still half asleep.

    “Aileen…I’m going into labor….can you come up to my bedroom…now?”

    I then groaned as a contraction hit me.

    Aileen was up in my room in a flash. 

Chapter 102

    “How far apart are the contractions?” asked Mom as she joined Heather and Mark in my bedroom.

    “They’re down to twelve minutes,” said Aileen.

    Thank god that Aileen was there as she helped to calm me down.

“We have time so everyone should get dressed, I’ll help Cailin get ready. Oh, Heather, would you call Gwen?” asked Aileen.

    Heather nodded. “Hang in there little sister.”

    I smiled…before grimacing from the next cramp.

    “I’ll help you Aileen, I’m already dressed,” said Mom.

    Aileen nodded.

    Twenty minutes later I was being helped into Mark and Heather’s car. Mom carried my bag with her.

    “Well…at least… we won’t have… to worry about traffic,” I stated. “I’m just glad that I didn’t go into labor while the fireworks were still going on.”

    “Always joking,” said Heather as she sat next to me.

    “It’s either that or panic,” I replied with a forced smile. I then gasped again in pain.

    Aileen looked at her watch. “They’re getting shorter…we’re down to eight minutes. It looks like the babies want out.”

    “About time,” I remarked as I ran my hands gently over my belly.

    Mark drove and Mom followed in her car.

    “Everything is fine, dear,” said Aileen. “Gwen is standing by at the hospital and they are waiting for you.”

    I nodded.

    Thankfully it was a very short drive and all the lights we hit were green.

    Mark pulled right up to the front of the hospital to let me out. They began to help me out of the car when a rather portly security guard waddled over, shined his flashlight in Mark’s face, and in a very authoritarian tone told Mark that he would have to move his car immediately to the parking garage or he would get in “deep” trouble. He obviously had an overblown attitude about his job.

    Mark politely tried to explain that he would move the car as soon as we got out.

    The security guard rudely snapped back that there was no parking in front of the hospital. The guard stood right in front of Mark and ignored the rest of us as we got out of the car.

    Mark, who was doing a wonderful job controlling his temper, tried again to tell him why we had parked there.

    The guard impolitely put up his hand to Mark’s face as if to shut him up.

    “No excuses buddy! Now, I want you and the women, get back in your car and park it in the garage. I gotta keep this space clear for people with medical emergencies… are you stupid…do you understand what I’m saying?” the security guard bellowed.

    He was shouting at Mark and it was really starting to piss me off. The fact that he ignored Aileen, Heather and me only made me even angrier. All he had to do was look at me and he could see that this was the kind of emergency that he was told to keep the space clear for.

    I grimaced as I was hit by another contraction, and Heather and Aileen had to support me.

    “You okay?” asked Heather.

“Yes,” I gasped.

The security guard was still yelling at Mark.

 I had a sudden image of giving birth in the parking lot and it infuriated me that some obnoxious rent-a-cop was being such an a-hole. I decided right then and there that enough was enough. To hell with acting like the lady I’d become for a few minutes while I squashed this annoying bug.

“Hey blimpo! Quit yelling, turn your lard ass around and look at me!” I exclaimed loudly. “If you’d use your eyes and brain instead of your running your mouth you’d see that I’m pregnant here!”

He spun around quickly and faced me.

“Are you blind or just incredibly stupid?” I exclaimed. “I’m going into labor with twins…I think that ranks as an emergency don’t you, Sherlock?” Another contraction hit and my knees nearly buckled as I groaned in pain.

The guard just stood there with hands on his bulging waistline. Even in the dim light I could see the red color rising in his chubby cheeks. I briefly debated the possibility that him having a stroke would put this idiot out of my misery. I pushed that idea aside then wished that he’d go into labor and shove that bowling ball he seemed to have eaten for his supper out his butt. Maybe then he’d have a little sympathy for pregnant women.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have called you Sherlock. At least Sherlock Holmes had a clue as to what he was doing in all those stories. You don’t even come close so stop being such a complete moron…or we’ll call a real cop to come and take you away for impersonating a police officer.”

I could tell from the look on his face that he was furious with me, but before he could open his big mouth I gave him what Heather later described as “the glare of imminent death.”

    Before I could say another thing, Gwen appeared with several members of the hospital staff. They eased me into a wheelchair as the security guard watched in silence while they wheeled me inside.

As we entered the hospital I heard Mark calmly tell the guard that he would now move the car.

    “Is everything okay, Cailin?” asked Gwen. “You seem a little agitated.” 

    “I’m okay now,” I replied with relief. “Blowing off a little steam at that pompous idiot felt good.”

    As Gwen escorted us to the birthing area of the hospital, Aileen briefed her on my condition.

    “Well, Cailin, It looks like your wait is almost over,” said Gwen.

    I was about to reply when I winced in pain.

    “You okay?” asked Aileen.

    “I guess so,” I replied.

    “Just relax, Cailin...your body will know what to do,” said Gwen in a calm voice.

Chapter 103

    I was helped into a hospital gown and after a quick exam; Gwen confirmed that the babies were on their way.

    “How’s the pain?” asked Gwen.

    “It’s getting pretty intense,” I admitted as I grimaced.

    She nodded. “Do you want an epidural?”

    I nodded. We had talked about this and I didn’t see any reason to change my mind now.  “Please…how long do I have?”

    “Not long, it looks like you’re ready to give birth,” she replied.

The nurse prepared me for the epidural. First she gave me a shot to numb the area and twenty minutes later they gave me the injection. It was worth it as it eased the pain so that it was manageable.

Gwen turned to the others. “Aileen I know you will be assisting me, the nurse will show you where to change.”

    Aileen leaned down and kissed me and departed. “See you shortly.”

    She was followed by Mark and Heather.

    “What about you Mom?” I asked.

    “I’m staying out in the waiting area…someone has to be there to meet Marks’s family,” she said as she held my hand. “Don’t worry, dear, you’re in great hands.”

    I felt a tear roll down my face. Mom smiled softly and wiped it away. “Honey, I’m so proud of you…I will see you shortly.”

    “I love you, Mom,” I replied before I felt another cramp.

    I watched her as she walked away.

Chapter 104

    By the time Aileen, Mark and Heather arrived in the delivery room I could tell that I was ready. I was also both frightened and excited at the same time.

    My mind went completely blank again and I couldn’t remember a thing from the birthing classes. Thankfully Heather and Mark were there to tell me what to do. They were so calm and collect and I doubt that I could have survived labor without them.

    Of course Aileen was there too, but she focused on assisting Gwen; still her presence helped me.  I felt blessed to be surrounded by so many people that loved and cared for me.

    To be honest, I lost all track of time as I got closer to delivery. I was told later that I was in labor for almost two hours and I’ll have to take their word for it.

    I do remember how composed Gwen was and I knew that I had made the right decision in picking her for my doctor. There is no substitute for having a calm doctor.

    Suddenly everything became crystal clear as Gwen told me to push as the first baby was going.

    Even with the drugs I was on, I was in pain…but it was a very rewarding pain…it had purpose and I knew that I would survive. Still it was probably the worst pain that I had ever experienced.

    “Push, Cailin,” ordered Gwen.

    Heather had one of my hands and Mark had the other. They were encouraging and comforting me.  I could feel their strength and it really helped me survive giving birth.

    “Here comes the first one,” announced Gwen. “Come on Cailin, push…one more push.”

    I screamed as the first of the twins came out.

    I could see the baby in Gwen’s hands. I heard the baby cry and instinctively knew that it was fine. I felt a wonderful sensation of relief.

    “It’s a girl,” she announced. “Everything looks fine, Cailin.”

    I glanced up at Heather who winked and I did my best to smile back.

    “Great job, Cailin,” commented Aileen.

    I nodded slightly. I was happy, but at the same time I knew this ordeal was only half over.

    As if she could read my mind, Aileen looked at me. “Don’t worry Cailin, the other one should be coming out soon.”

    “How... much… longer?” I gasped.

    “It could be a few minutes…don’t worry everything is going beautifully,” said Gwen. “The second one is usually easier.”

    “I…hope so,” I replied as I tried to catch my breath.

    With each passing minute I grew more apprehensive. Was there a problem? What was taking so long? I could feel the baby coming…it seemed to take forever.

    Thankfully everyone else was calm and collected. Aileen and Gwen reassured me that everything was progressing as expected.

    “How long has it been?” I gasped out. “It feels like an hour.”

    “It’s been ten minutes since you gave birth to Kate,” said Heather as she clutched my hand.

    I glanced at her in disbelief.

    “We’re with you Cailin,” she stated.

    Five minutes later I gave birth to the second twin, a little boy…Ian.

Chapter 105

    “You did great, Cailin,” stated Gwen. “In many ways it was one of the easiest deliveries I’ve done. And best of all, both the mother and the babies are all healthy and doing fine.”

    The hospital had set up a room to accommodate Heather and me. She would be staying in my room with the babies until we left.

    I was exhausted…but in a very satisfying way. I had brought new life into the world…I had done it. I felt like I had just completed a monumental quest. I was also amazed how great nature was…I had just given birth to twins…and just as Gwen had said, my body would know what to do. 

    I see no need to bore you with all the post-birth details, just let it be said that Heather was beaming as she held the twins. Seeing her with the babies I knew that I had made the right decision …all the changes in my life…all the sacrifices were worth it.

    Mark was also ecstatic that he was now a father. He had a rather goofy smile on face as he held the twins for the first time. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen in my life. I also knew that he would be a wonderful father.

    We had a regular stream of visitors including many of Mark’s family. While most of the attention as directed towards Heather and the twins, I wasn’t forgotten.

    Margaret thanked me for what I had done, as did Carter.

    They both told me that if there was anything I needed all I had to do was ask. Their joy in becoming grandparents was genuine.

    Mom was also beaming and I could tell that she was very excited on being a grandmother. She told us that she was very proud of both her daughters.

    Thankfully, Gwen and Aileen knew when it was time to shoo the crowds out and let Heather and I get some rest. Mark was the only one who was allowed to stay.

    My friend, the reporter from the local paper, stopped by and again asked if she could do a story on what I had done. Again, I declined as I didn’t do it for publicity. She was disappointed, but understanding.

    I did keep my promise and helped Heather in feeding Kate and Ian.  I used a breast pump and bottle fed the babies.  I didn’t feel right about directly breast feeding the babies. While I fully knew that these were now my sister’s babies, I felt a connection to them that would never go away.

    To help Heather with the feeding, Aileen had provided her with a charm to aid her in producing milk. It seemed to be helping and Heather said that the only side effect was that her breasts had suddenly increased in size. I joked that I knew what she was talking about. It was a conversation that I never could have imagined having a year earlier.

    Heather and Mark were totally infatuated with the twins. It was evident that they were they most precious things in their lives. I smiled and thought about what it would be like when Aileen and I had our own children.

    “Aren’t they beautiful, Cailin?” she asked as she held them. 

    “They’re gorgeous,” I replied. “Thank you for inviting me on this journey.”

    Heather smiled back. “I should be the one who is thanking you…you gave me two beautiful babies…I can never thank you enough.”

    “Just be the best mother you can…that’s all the thanks I need,” I replied.

    “How do you feel?” asked Mark.

    “Tired…and sore…exhausted…smaller…but overall not bad,” I replied.

    Mark smiled back. “Anything else?”

    “Very happy and content,” I replied as I yawned.

    Mark nodded.

“I’ll also be glad to go home,” I continued.

    “You sure that you don’t want to stay with us?” asked Heather.

    I shook my head. “You have enough to take care of and it looks like you’re doing better with the feeding.”

    “We’d love to have you stay with us,” he said.

    “You two have a family to take care of. Aileen is going to stay with me for a few days and Mom won’t be far away,” I replied as I yawned.

    “Do you want me to leave?” asked Mark.

    I wearily shook my head and drifted off to sleep.

Chapter 106

    I was given a full check up by Gwen and given a clean bill of health. She then gave me permission to go home.

    “I do want to see you in my office in a few days…and don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions,” she said.

    “Thank you for everything,” I replied.

    She also gave Heather and Mark permission to take Ian and Kate home.

    It felt strange putting on regular sized clothes again. I dressed in workout clothes as they were comfortable.

    It also felt strange to be normal size again.

    Both our families were there to see us out. Mark and Heather reluctantly agreed to let Carter drive them home. I would leave with Mom and Aileen.

    Heather and I hugged each other for a long time before we got into separate cars.

    “Take care, baby sister,” she said.

    “I will, and you do too…little sister,” I replied with a grin. “I’ll be by this weekend sometime.”

    “You’re always welcome,” said Heather. “By the way…you’re still my little sister.”

    We hugged again before they left.

    “Let’s go home,” I said as I got into Mom’s car.

    It only took us a few minutes to get to my place. I found that Mom and Aileen had cleaned it while I was in the hospital.

    “You didn’t have to do that,” I said. “But thank you.”

    “You’re welcome,” said Mom.

    “Do you feel like eating?” she asked.

    I nodded.

    “Just relax, I’ll fix us lunch,” said Aileen.

    I sat at the kitchen table and watch Mom and Aileen prepare lunch.

    “Gwen was very impressed with my recovery…I take it that was due to the spell, right?”

    “Part is due to the spell…and part to your own body,” said Aileen. “All the hard work leading up to giving birth paid off.”

    “So what happens now?” I asked.

    “You should rest for a few days…just like Gwen said,” replied Aileen. “I know you want to get back into shape…but you don’t want to rush it.”

    I nodded. “No problem there…I’m still pretty tired.”

    “How do you feel…emotionally?” asked Mom.

    I thought about my answer first. “I’m a little empty…don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for Heather…but there’s something missing now…does that make sense?”

    Mom and Aileen both nodded.

    “Post-partum depression is common in many births…it’s also not uncommon in surrogate births,” said Aileen. “I have some things that can ease the effects.”

    “A spell?” I asked.

    Aileen shook her head. “Nope…just lots of love and attention.”

    I felt my face get warm as I blushed. I glanced over at Mom who just smiled back.

    “I’m glad to hear that,” stated Mom. “You two make a lovely couple.”

    “Thanks, Mom,” I replied.

    “I appreciate your support too,” said Aileen.

    “Looks like everything worked out for the best, Heather and Mark have the family they always have wanted and you have found the life you’ve been looking for,” Mom continued.

    “Only thing that would make it better is if you had someone too,” I added.

    Mom laughed. “I think you’re right and maybe it’s time that I started dating again.”

    “Good,” I replied.

    “After all, I am probably the best looking grandmother in Newport,” she quipped.

Chapter 107
Conclusion

    Thanks to my daily workouts and the strict diet that Aileen had put me on, it only took me a few months to lose the weight that I had gained during my pregnancy. I was also glad that I had worked out as long as I had when I had been pregnant.

    As I had won the pool, I was awarded a bottle of my favorite wine. Aileen designed an entire dinner around it and it was delicious. It was worth the extra workout to burn off the calories.

    While we were definitely a couple, we still maintained our own places…although we spent a lot of time together. We also began to look for a house that would be ours. Aileen agreed to move out to the Newport area. Mom was busy looking for something that would fit both our needs. Of course I would need room for my studio and Aileen wanted a large kitchen. We also wanted room for the family we would one day have.

I had the money from Carter to use as a down payment, and combined with the money from Aileen’s home and my townhouse, we were set financially.

    Aileen also decided to shift her practice to Newport. She said this wasn’t a big deal as many of her clients lived all over the area.

    I was glad to start working again and found my business booming. I particularly loved working with the girls and staff at the foundation for transgendered teens in Connecticut. I took great pride in taking the best possible photos of the teens and was thrilled by their reactions. I also made initial plans with Celeste Farnsworth to teach a photography class to the teens.

    As expected, Heather and Mark were fabulous parents for Kate and Ian. I went out to their place often. The children were growing up so fast and they seemed so happy. All of this confirmed that I had done the right thing.

    I did volunteer for babysitting. Aileen suggested that I should get the full experience… including changing diapers.

    Heather and Mark also agreed to allow Kate to be taught about her powers when she was old enough. Like most males, Ian’s powers were repressed, but Aileen noted how strong his aura was and that it was possible that he could also develop his powers too.

    As for me, Aileen had taught me a few spells and I found that I had quite an aptitude for it. The first one I mastered was the temperature spell. Just as Aileen had said it came in handy when taking a bath. All I had to do was concentrate and speak the words to reheat my bath water. It also came in handy for reheating a cup of coffee.

    Aileen met with Dr. Hallie Pappadimos and showed her the photos from the sacred site on the island off the coast of Maine. Hallie was very excited about it as it as it turned out that it was very close to the island where she had been transformed. I had to admit that it was exciting to discover a world that had been unknown to me just a year earlier.

    In early October Aileen and I cashed in the gift certificate to the spa in New Mexico.  It was everything Jirra had said and then some. The mud baths were heavenly and I spent many relaxing hours in them.

    Jirra’s family and friends were very nice to us and it was almost like staying with friends. Jen’s cottage was fantastic. Aileen and I really hated to leave and we decided that we would definitely go back.

    I talk to Jirra and Alexis on a regular basis. I have also met a few of their special friends. I feel honored to be accepted into their ring of friendship.

    I thought about how my life had changed so dramatically. There were no regrets. I had loved my life as Ian, but it was lacking several things. I now had a job I loved, I was once again close to my family, and I was deeply in love.

    I cannot imagine life without Aileen and we are making plans to have a family.  We plan on waiting until we get our new home.

    I’m really looking forward to becoming pregnant again, especially because I now have an idea what to expect, but more importantly it will be Aileen and my child. As with my first pregnancy, I will have to conceive the child naturally. To get around the obvious issue, Aileen has discovered a spell that will allow her to impregnate me. Officially we will have to say that I was artificially impregnated with a sperm donor, but we will know the truth. I can’t wait!

The End

(Cailin and Aileen will be back in future Julieverse tales)

References

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/earlypregnancysymptoms....

http://www.pregnancy.com/

http://www.parents.com/pregnancycalendar/week.jsp?week=4

http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/240_1034.asp

http://pregnancy.about.com/cs/twinsmore/a/aatwinlabor.htm

Julieverse Characters in Twins

Iona Beddau- Originally a man called Roger Lyons; after a short tour in the navy, Roger began a defense contractor. It was on a flight back to San Diego that Roger met Iona, a young sorceress who swapped bodies with him. The switch became permanent when an accident killed “Roger”. Now forced to live out her life as Iona, she also discovered that she had magical powers. Iona currently lives in San Diego with her Aunt Kayla and is currently engaged to a mortal man named Bill Somers. Her mother is Fiona Beddau, who works as a prosecutor for those who violate magical law. Iona also maintains contact with her sister, Jenny Lyons. Jenny is an artist who works in Columbus Ohio and has also discovered that she has magical powers. She is the only member of Iona’s original family who knows the truth about Roger. (Turbulence Series)

Faith Collins – Former investigative reporter for the Boston Globe and now an international known mystery writer, best known for her Erin Flynn books, personally selected Alexis to play Erin in the series. Married to Max Bowie. (Corruption)

Alexis Eden – Onetime college student and currently movie and TV star. She is the star of the Erin Flynn series being filmed in Boston. While on vacation in New Mexico, she fell in love with Jirra. They are currently engaged. (Fresh Start & Coeds series)

Celeste Farnsworth – Originally Jeremy Green; was abducted and feminized by Margo Simon. Celeste was then sold to Sherman Farnsworth, a self-made millionaire.  Instead of using her as a sex slave, Celeste became his wife. Sherman dies of a heart attack and Celeste used his wealth to create a foundation for abused transgendered teens. She currently attends Penn and lives with Beth Williams and Spirit, her dog. (Combined Forces, Celestial Awakenings, Coeds)

Professor Hallie Thorn Pappadimos – Born Harry Thorn, he was transformed into a young woman by an ancient Minoan object. She is now living with her lover Kim and their daughter. Hallie spends half the year in Crete working on the Minoan archeological site that is connected to her own transformation. Her father is Richard Thorn the movie producer.  (Purpose, Ambition, Revenge of The Goddess; Athena’s Assassin)

Jirra Reid – Born Josh Reid and was transformed into a girl at age eighteen in a freak accident at a spa in New Mexico.  Josh was taking a hot mud bath in a large copper caldron; a lightning strike transferred him physically into a female.  Jirra is still trying to find balance as she adapts to being female.  Her nickname is Roo, a take off on her new name which means kangaroo. (Fresh Start, Fresh Start 2, Coeds)

Jennifer “Jen” Stevens – Born Robert Stevens. Transformed by a lightning strike over a period of about three weeks while unconscious in the hospital. Her transformation was leaked to the public during her hospital stay. Jen left her old job and became a successful TV and movie star and is now producing movies. Substitute hosts the “Around Midnight” talk show. A friend and mentor to Jirra Reid after meeting her a few months after her transformation. Long time friend of Alexis Eden after meeting her while Jen was hosting the talk show. Jen Stevens adventures are chronicled in Bob Arnold’s Zapped! series and she is used here with his permission.

Amelia Taylor- Sorceress and medical doctor, who is trained in both human and magical medicine. Related to Iona Beddau. (Turbulence Series & Personal Foul)

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There goes all my spare time this weekend

Another Julie_O and with several of my favorite Julie_O characters in it.

It's gonna be a late night tonight.

John in Wauwatosa

P.S. Thanks for the treat, Julie, Bob! You've produced quite a sizable output of stories this year and have kept the quality high, I am impressed, Julie.

P.P.S. I'm still working on that Timeout/Zapped crossover stuff, Bob, honest! I have this song by the GoGos about being stuck in my car in traffic, its perfect for the ... Oops, that would be telling. Best of luck with your Zapped, the Lost Pages. The bits you've floated here in the past were great.

But you're not a scientist. Surely you believe in all this superstitious nonsense. (MAD Magazine)

Could be worse, could be raining. (Young Frankenstein)

But you're not a scientist. Surely you believe in all this superstitious nonsense. (MAD Magazine) Could be worse, could be raining. (Young Frankenstein)

Wow Julie!

I hardly know what to say. This was sweet and loving. The special guest stars were very cool and added a lot to the story. Better yet we have another member for the Club.

Hugs!

grover

Plan? Ain't got no Plan!
"Beyond Thunder Dome"

So wonderful Julie

You've done it again. This is an absolutely marvelous read, full of love and hope and all those wonderful, warm feelings we so need. "Greater love has no man than this...", Ian certainly proved the truth of those words, and his love was rewarded by even more in return, and the filling of a void inside himself he didn't even know existed. Wow, after reading this, I just feel really good; thank you, Julie!

Sincerely,

Scott

Calvin: You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
Hobbes: What mood is that?
Calvin: Last-minute panic.

Sincerely,

Scott

Calvin: You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
Hobbes: What mood is that?
Calvin: Last-minute panic.

Spot on, Grover and Scott, this one is about the power of love

Some Julie_O stories are about abuse and the abused seeking justice.

Some are about the abused or those whose lives were disrupted by accidents/tragedy trying to rebuild their shattered lives.

Many have bitter or semi sweet endings, some have happy endings but after trying times, as in real life. This one reminded me of the premise in How Do You Spell Sister? a fun work of Julie's a couple years back.

That and this story are proof of the sayings *blood is thicker than water* or *no greater love ...* as Scott noted ... I could mention other sayings.

As in many of her stories but it seems particularly strong here, it comes down to is the power of love, both fraternal, familial and between future soul mates. This story is powerful proof of the value of sacrifice and that sometimes we get back so much more than we give, perhaps even more so when the gift we give is precious, dear and unselfishly/freely given.

Very good read and very memorable new characters.
Julie also made use of the interactions with the new characters and some of her previous mainstream Julie-verse characters to expand on their stories and characters.

Bravo Bob and Julie.

John in Wauwatosa

P.S. I STRONGLY suspect a couple of the mainstreamers will eventually become mothers given their reactions to the main character in the story.

But you're not a scientist. Surely you believe in all this superstitious nonsense. (MAD Magazine)

Could be worse, could be raining. (Young Frankenstein)

But you're not a scientist. Surely you believe in all this superstitious nonsense. (MAD Magazine) Could be worse, could be raining. (Young Frankenstein)

A very good story...

I found it very interesting. Characters great. I am just starting to read stories from this universe, and I did find myself wanting to read more after completing this (one otherwise very unproductive afternoon I'm afraid).

I knew you couldn't

resist something about food, all your stories have that touch. This one was different in that the transformation was done willingly, and I liked that. Ian to Cailin was smoothly done, and all the things that happened reinforced the fact that being Cailin was the right thing.

Having done research of my own, and being with pregnant women as they grew, I really enjoyed the descriptions of what was happening as Cailin progressed in her pregnancy.

As usual you told a good story, and I liked it a lot. Thanks.

Maggie

POV

Ian to Cailin was smoothly done, and all the things that happened reinforced the fact that being Cailin was the right thing.

The right thing for Cailin. But is it the right thing for Ian? How much of that acceptance came from the spell? The decision to help his sister was made by Ian of his own free will. Can the decision to remain Cailin truely be called free will?

KJT

"Being a girl is wonderful and to torture someone into that would be like the exact opposite of what it's like. I don’t know how anyone could act that way." College Girl - poetheather

Well....

everyone else has said it all with Scott's comment better than I could ever do. Simply great. Your best since Fresh Start, at least for me!! Just the type and quality of story that we want and need to keep Stardust right here.

Leia Marie

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.

Leia Marie

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.

Brilliant Story

Thank you Julie for another brilliant story, full of love and with a wonderful ending! I'm really happy to see that Cailin and Aileen will be appearing in future stories and I'll be fascinated to know what powers Cailin will develop and to see how their life together turns out.

Pleione

Thanks!

Thanks for another great story, Julie!

Awesome Story

Another great story from the Julieverse. I love how you blend the charachters from the different stories you have done. Very well done and I can't wait for the next story.
Thanks, Steve.

Wonderfully Sweet

I cried a lot of happy tears reading this. It was filled with so much giving and loving. *sigh*

I loved everything about this story except for the identity spell. I went into more detail about the identity spell in a comment on one of your other stories here. I won't go into it again here. It certainly wasn't bad enough to keep me from enjoying this story.

Thanks very much. I look forward to reading more about Cailin and Aileen. :)

- Terry

Just a quick comment

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has left a comment about this story...and all my others. I do appreciate you taking the time to do so. I love writing and I don't do it for the comments, but it is nice to get confirmation that people are reading my work. I don't always reply to every comment, but I do read them all.

I also want to thank Bob Arnold for all his hard work. In addition to everything else he does, he takes the time to critique, assist, and edit my work. It means so much to me.

Also, I want to thank my sister for helping me with the meals.

Love,
Julie O.

Twins

Julie,

After reading your last couple of stories I started to try and guess what you would do next. Evidently you do have a template for these stories and you follow a formula. This story though, didn't follow your typical formula. A wonderful story about how a Brother loves his sister so much that he would do anything for her.
I loved how you got Jen, Jirra, Alexis and some of the other characters from your "Juliverse" into the story.
I am usually not too surprised by your stories but this one was very good. I hope to read more about Cailin and Aileen in some future stories and if this one was any indication, they will probably be excellent ones.
Barry

I love the JulieO universe

I love the JulieO universe and have read everything I have found, I enjoyed this story as I enjoyed the rest and I look forward to the universe expanding with more adventures with all of the characters.

Thanks for sharing this story with us

Megumi :)

2,000+ reads

tell you all you need too know about this excellent Julie O story,

Sometimes it's just nice to read a story without anything nasty happening, If you couple that with two of the main characters meeting and falling in love then you've got a nice way of spending a relaxing Saturday afternoon

I'm not to sure why i've not read more of the Julieverse...Pressure on time i suppose is the main reason...But that oversight on my part is something i have every intention of rectifying

Thanks Julie i really enjoyed this story... And i do so love happy endings!

Hugs Kirri

Twins

Hey Julie,

I just want to say thankyou for such a charming and wonderful story. I loved it right from the get go. I`d like to echo some of the other comments and say just how nice it is to read a story that sidesteps any nastiness and which refrained from being to graphic, all of which made it just a very, very nice story, really well told.

I`m a big fan of your writing and this story for me is one of the best so far. It`s an uplifting and feel good story of the best kind. Twice it had me in tears!

Please, please keep up with the great work and I really hope you`ll return to the characters of Cailin and Co soon as I think they have much, much more mileage in them yet.

Thankyou once again for this little gem of a tale. More of the same soon, please!

Luv Amy.

Thank you

Just found this Gem, I can't believe I missed it.