Kingsburgh, California, The Briggs Family Estates
You can probably guess the state of mind I was in when I arrived back at the family estates after waking from my three-day coma. The funeral didn’t make things better. The whole thing was being covered by the local media, and most of the people who attended weren’t well-acquainted with my grandmother. You know the type, politicians and minor celebrities.
It all seemed so impersonal, so much pomp and circumstance that it left little room for the mourners to actually mourn. God, it was awful. Not that funerals tended to be the highlight of the week, but hell, it could have gone a lot better. The wake was a bit more tolerable, given that it was for close friends and family only, but since most of my relatives didn’t even recognize me, it made interacting with them a bit awkward when I revealed my identity.
So there I was three weeks later, spending all my time battling holodrones and wallowing in my own self-misery. Hoping beyond hope that I’d get a chance to bring those responsible for my grandmother and mother’s deaths to justice.
My eyes snapped open, and I peered up at the shower head, basking in the warm water as it trickled down my frame. I lost track of how long I’d been in there, but I was in no rush to leave. If not for Khala, I would have been a mess of sores and bruises, but my skin was as smooth and unblemished as ever.
“Are you ever going to get out?” Khala appeared on the opposite side of the shower, stark naked, illusionary droplets of water dripping down her alluring form.
“No, probably not.” I answered back, a faint smile touching my lips. “It feels good. Life hurts… Do I want to go back to that train wreck?”
I tried to look away, but Khala was pretty stacked. I swallowed, hard, as she sashayed toward me, a slow smile creeping across her face. When she got close enough, her hands caressed my neck. My heart beat harder inside my rib cage and I backed away, which is to say I pressed my back flat against the wall.
“What are you doing?” I asked, my voice little more than a whisper.
“What do you think?”
“All this stress, all this grief, and anger. You need a relief.”
I didn’t speak, but Khala seemed to sense my acquiescence. I admit it seemed strange. Hell, it was strange, especially with my great-grandmother’s consciousness ever-present in the back of my head, but, for a change, I didn’t give a damn. I wanted someone to hold me and make everything all better. What I really wanted was Tanner, but for now Khala would have to do.
Her lips locked around mine. They seemed so soft, so supple. It was amazing how realistic her illusions . I clenched my eyes shut and let her at it. Her weight pressing into me as her lips touched my neck. I gasped and my eyes flew wide open as her hands slid down my side and something warm caressed my privates.
It was her tongue, and damn was it amazing. I closed my eyes again, my muscles relaxing as warm water splattered down my body, setting my entire body aflame with pleasure. I moaned and heard Khala purr in response. A wave of pleasure washed over me as her tongue slid across a particular spot and I called out a name. I didn’t realize what I said at first, but when something warm slid into my vagina and I spoke it again, I realized I’d cried out Tanner’s name.
When I opened my eyes, a smile touched the corner of my lips and I found Tanner’s eyes looking into my own. Of course, I understood that it was Khala, but I didn’t care. Her cock, pounding into me, was another illusion. My symbiote couldn’t even part the lips of my vaginal cavity, but it seemed real. The only thing that shattered the illusion was when I advanced and pressed her against the opposite wall, and my hands touched bare tile. It didn’t stop our love making. I turned, pressing my back into the wall, and let Khala pound into me. I moaned louder and louder with each thrust.
I sank down to the shower floor, reveling in the glow and warmth of what we had done. It wasn’t until a satisfied smile spread across my symbiote’s face and her image faded away, that I experienced the first pangs of regret, guilt and horror. I’d allowed myself to be penetrated… Not in the literal sense of the word, but you know what I mean.
I’d been questioning my sexuality since before my transformation, and now that I had succumbed to the desires that had risen from some pit inside of me, I could no longer escape the truth. I liked Tanner’s girl dick.
Did that mean I liked guy dick too?
I pursed my lips and shuddered, testing the image of one Sim Grace in my mind. He’d been a flingball player and outspoken Conserver who’d been a rising star before falling out of the spotlight about six or seven years ago after suffering a major accident on the field. He was something of a heartthrob, which is why my mind latched onto him. That and the fact that he shared a last name with my business partner. Though I doubted there was any relation.
I imagined him kissing me, caressing my nether regions and plunging his cock into my pussy much the way Khala had, and gulped as I let the truth sink in.
I shuddered, and climbed up to my feet, freezing despite the hot water cascading down my naked body. I switched the water off and stepped from the shower, padding myself off with a towel retrieved from a nearby rack. The linens from the estates were a fair bit softer than those of the Conclave, but I was still having issues. Khala’s healing abilities would prevent my epidermis from callousing, so it was likely I would be stuck with it for the rest of my life. I mean, while it was nice, it got irritated all the time. Hell, I had to be sure to buy extra soft clothing to keep myself from getting friction rashes. Okay, so Khala cleared those right up, but it was still unpleasant.
I grabbed my robe, an enormous pink fluffy affair that prompted my cheeks to burn every time I put the thing on, but felt amazing against my skin. Remember, Ms. Soft and Sensitive skin, right?
Back in my room, I stopped dead in my tracks and eyed the door as three dull thuds resounded from it. I scowled, glanced down at my breasts and pulled the folds of my robe closer together to better cover my cleavage, activated the wall switch and found the eyes of a bonded host looking down at me.
The figure that stepped inside my room would have been the epitome of tall, dark and handsome if it weren’t for the blue hair and magenta eyes which made him even more striking. I brushed the hair out of my face and stared up at him, frozen as I fought away certain lascivious thoughts that rose to the surface with a sudden and very violent intensity. Great, I just came to terms with being attracted to men and who should appear, but Mr. Wet Dream himself.
“I understand your going by Kayde now.” He slipped one of his hands inside a pocket and walked over to my nightstand, picking up one of my hair ties, and eyed me in my pink robe.
“Yeah,” I mumbled and turned my back toward him, closed my eyes and took several deep breaths. It helped… a little. “What do you want, Grey?”
“This is how you greet an old friend? No, hiya Grey, it’s so wonderful to see you or what you been up to? Just, what do you want, Grey?”
I scowled, folded my arms across my chest and spun around on the balls of my feet to better look into his eyes. Grey had always been tall, but now instead of having close to eighteen centimeters on me, he had over thirty. The last time I’d seen him, we’d both been right around eighteen so he might have put on a few centimeters in height, but it was damn hard to tell given I’d lost so much of mine.
“I saw you at the funeral. You were so broken up about Kaya Briggs’ death, it made me curious. I asked, and when I found out it was you, well, it made a bit more sense. Surprised the hell out of me, though.
“A lot’s happened.” I attempted to sound nonchalant, but the truth was my grandmother’s death was still a difficult subject. I couldn’t keep my voice from shaking.
“Well, something tells me there’s a pretty good story behind all this,” he waved a hand at me and slipped both hands back into his pockets. “I mean, you were never the poster boy, girl whatever, for the conclave and the whole gender swap thing while not exactly a shocker is weird.”
Not exactly a shocker? What the hell was that supposed to mean?
“I gotta say though, you turned out–”
“Don’t!” I held my hand up, cutting him short before he finished. I gritted my teeth and shook my head. Grey loved the ladies and well, they loved him back. He was damned charming, and he’d drawn so many in hook, line and sinker, with a simple smile. I had no intention of becoming his next conquest.
“Would you just tell me what you’re doing here?”
He fingered the collar of his shirt and coughed. “The Conclave cCouncil is meeting in three nights. They would like you to attend.”
I blinked, casting a sidelong glance at Grey and bit my lip. It wasn’t like my old friend to play the messenger boy, but one person held enough sway over him to get him to do pretty much anything. His dear old grandmother, Reyna Feldstone. She’d long vied for a spot on the council, and if I guessed right, she may have gotten her wish. If my suspicions were true, that would mean that there wouldn’t be a single member of the Briggs family on the council’s ruling body for the first time since its inception more than a hundred and sixty years ago.
I nodded, waiting long enough to get the time from Grey and then wished him goodbye.
He turned as if to leave, but stopped, cleared his throat and threw a thumb over his shoulder. “You wanna grab a bite to eat or some coffee or something there’s this great new shawarma place on main that I’ve been dying to try out.
I don’t know what made me say yes, but my cheeks turned a bright shade of red when I accepted his invitation. I was dying for human interaction. My uncle was so distant I went entire days without seeing him, I couldn’t go near Tanner without having a conniption fit and most of my cousins seemed to have gotten it into their head I had something to do with my grandmother’s death. Suffice it to say, I didn’t have much in the way of company.
I seemed in a better mood as I dressed. By the time I had my hair dried and was sporting a fresh set of clothes, I had a bit of a smile on my face. Sure Grey might be a bit self-involved, but he and I had had some good times in our teen years and if I was going to be honest with myself, he was damn easy on the eyes.
“So… You run cargo for a living?” Grey asked, hands clasped across the table, peering over his neck across the diner.
My childhood friend had spent the last few minutes staring at a set of doors across the far wall. The wait staff came and went through them as they delivered food to their hungry patrons. Considering that it was pretty late in the afternoon and I would have heard his stomach growling from across the room, even without enhanced hearing, it didn’t take an aerospace engineer to figure out what he had on his mind.
“Cargo, certain illicit substances, the occasional sex worker, whatever a girl’s gotta do to make a living.”
Grey blinked and his eyes settled on me. He stared at me for a second, just before his face cracked into a smile and he released a low throaty chuckle.
“You almost had me for a moment there.”
I shrugged and let out a chuckle of my own. “Just checking if you were paying attention.”
He shook his head and leaned in close. “Trust me, you have my rapt attention.”
My cheeks burned again. I tried not to let it show, but I failed. If Grey noticed I was blushing, he sure as hell didn’t comment on it. Which was just as well, I hated that a few simple words could make me flush.
He paused after speaking my name. A part of me imagined it must have sounded odd to his ears, but I couldn’t say for sure.
“I couldn’t say what’s going on with you and the Conclave, but I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors. It’s no coincidence that you’ve turned up right after the Endeavour has been found, is it?”
It was my turn to blink. Grey was anything but stupid, but I hadn’t expected him to put those pieces together.
“And becoming bonded? You’re about the last person I’d expect to join with a symbiote.”
I scowled and bowed my head. “It’s complicated. Don’t spread this around, but I’m the one who found the Endeavour, and I ended up host to Khala because, well, I damn near died.”
His eyebrows shot straight back, and he leaned back in his seat, letting out a long breath of air. “Wait a second, did you say Khala? Wasn’t she bonded to your mother?”
I should have known that talking about my symbiote would prompt her to appear, but I had no idea what prompted her to take on the likeness of my mother. If my symbiote’s abrupt appearance surprised Grey, he sure didn’t show it. No surprise there. If he’d known Sophia Briggs, he would find Khala’s choice in appearance a little disconcerting.
“She was,” Khala said, seating herself beside Grey. “Now she’s bonded to her daughter.”
“Is that right?” Grey flashed a grin that showed just a little too much of his pearly whites. “How exactly does that work?”
“Stasis pod.” Khala cocked her head, displaying a smile that looked so fucking wrong on my mother’s face.
“So, I take it your mother was dead for a while?” He asked, returning his attention to me.
I nodded. My hands shook, but I slid them under the table so he couldn’t see. “I can’t say much. I signed an NDA, but everything that’s happened has left me pretty shaken. There are things, Grey, things that have happened that have left me wondering if any of us are safe.”
“Sounds pretty serious.”
“More than you’ll ever know.”
“Yeah, well maybe, but if you ever want someone to talk to or just listen. I’m here.”
I nodded and let a smile touch my face. “Who’d have thought all those weeks ago, that getting transformed into a woman would be the least of my worries.”
Grey’s eyebrows shot way up. “I sort of had you pegged a little differently.”
“Well, you know there were always those rumors about you. The sort of bullshit you always hear from Conservers. The way they talked, they made you sound like a sissy boy. I probably wouldn’t have put much stock in it, but sometimes you just seemed so uncomfortable in your own skin I thought the rumors might be true. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t care either way, but your damn sight easier on the eyes now, if you don’t mind me saying.”
“You think I’m a trans girl?”
My whole body trembled as I averted my gaze. I glanced back at him, shaking my head. It was crazy and yet…
My mind flashed to my youth, long before I knew Grey, when I was always getting bullied by the other boys, especially the Conservers, because they believed me to be a faggot. I wasn’t athletic or really good at anything except being a smart ass. Most of my friends had been girls. Hell, it wasn’t until I hit puberty and started getting second glances from the fairer sex, that I moved past the whole scrawny effeminate dweeb thing. If we met back then, it would only be logical for him to make the jump, but some of the person I tried long and hard to bury must have lingered if Grey picked up on it. Was it any wonder it had shaken me?
“Kayde, it’s Kayde now.” I stared him down, shaking away the last of my confusion and doubt. Why the hell should I care what anyone else thought?
“Kayde, then. Sorry if I upset you.”
“No,” I said turning to watch as the server returned with our food. “Don’t be, it’s good to see a friendly face.
As we dug in, our conversation switched to more pleasant things, and for that moment, it was two friends talking about old times. I almost forgot about my troubles. Almost.