Part 35 – The Unexpected

I stepped out of the salon, glancing over my shoulder and catching sight of my reflection in the glass storefront. A smile touched my lips, and I studied it again, nodding in satisfaction at what I saw.

My hair was no longer solid purple, but streaked with black and pink and styled in what Sally called a ‘messy bob’. It was everything I could have hoped for and so much more. I had conflicting feelings about it, to be honest. Yes, I looked sexy as hell, but I only liked the way I looked because of my twist. It wasn’t me… or, at least, it wasn’t before my twist. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and that scared me more than anything.

The smile faded, and I turned away from the reflection, my lips creasing into a frown. The door creaked open behind me, but I didn’t turn to face the newcomer. I knew without looking it was Carrie. Eager to escape and make sense of my warring thoughts I slipped out when she was paying.

Though, I liked how I looked, I hadn’t realized that it would take so goddamned long. I enjoyed all the pampering at first, but all that time spent sitting in one place, holding still left me feeling stir crazy. I wanted to do something. Almost anything would have been better.

“You look nice,” Carrie said and at last I turned to meet her no longer frowning.

“Thanks,” I replied staring down at my chest. “I’m still a little weirded out, looking like this, and having these compulsions.”

I looked up in time to see Carrie drawing closer. She reached out, enfolding me in her arms and stood there holding me. After a moment, she pulled her hands away and reached up, cupping my face and looking me in the eyes. “I know what you’re going through. It was the same for me. I can’t promise you it’ll be easy, but I can promise I’ll be there every step of the way. Being twisted… or even a girl isn’t the end of the world, even if it seems that way sometimes.”

I nodded, and a single tear rolled down my cheek. She wiped it away and smiled motioning toward the parking lot. “Come on, let’s go home.”

Without another word, we moved to the car and though we didn’t speak for the rest of the ride back, I didn’t mind. Here or there when she stopped the car at a light or crosswalk, Carrie would glance at me, as if worried I’d disappeared when she wasn’t looking, only to offer a reassuring smile and return her attention to the road.

When we reached the house, Carrie let us inside and once we’d climb the stairs, I looked about frowning as I realized the house seemed quiet. A little too quiet.

“Drew!” Carrie called, sighing and dropping her keys on a tray mounted to a wall along at the top of the stairwell and slipped her purse inside a coat closet around the corner.

“Back here!” A voice answered from down the hallway.

“What’s he doing back there?!” she asked peering at me out of the corner of her eyes. When she turned away, I could swear I saw a smile touch the corner of her lips. I furrowed my brows and opened my mouth to speak, but she was already moving down the hallway.

She paused just long enough to motion with her hands for me to follow before disappearing around the bend. I trailed her, heart thumping in my ears, and biting my lip. I had an inkling that not all was as it should be, but as the gears and cogs turned in my head I couldn’t, for the life of me, puzzle out what it might be.

A few feet down the hallway, she was waiting for me, a gentle smile touching her face. “He’s waiting in your room, why don’t we see what he wants?”

That was when all the pieces fell into place and realized what Carrie and Drew were up too. She placed a hand on my back, and another on my shoulder guiding me forward. Though my heart still pounded in my chest and my hands trembled, I didn’t resist.

When the door opened into the spare bedroom, I stopped standing in the doorway, mouth hanging agape and eyes wide like saucers.

A tall white full-size platform bed with a double row of pull-out drawers had replaced the airbed. A matching dresser and a vanity that was a shade or so off but a close approximation of the other pieces of furniture occupied the opposite wall. I peered at the latter, realizing that it looked familiar and stepped toward it to get a better view.

“You like it?” A voice asked, and I spun around to find Drew standing in the closet a tool belt, with a full complement of hand tools, strapped about his waist and his hair matted with sweat.

The closet too had changed, before it had been bare aside from a few boxes left inside. Now, it housed a column of shelves and drawers down the center, two rods on the left, and another on the right. It looked pretty well put together, but I guess that was to be expected since he worked as a foreman for his family’s construction company.

“Still needs some work,” Drew continued thumbing his hammer oblivious that I hadn’t answered him. “Sometime further down the line we can pull out the carpet and slap a coat or two of paint on the wall, but at least for now you’ll be comfortable.”

I glanced down, forcing myself to keep a blank expression on my face as I peered at the dull-green carpet. It was one of the ugliest shade’s I’d ever seen, but I was happy to live with it if it meant a safe place to sleep. I gave the room one final glance, swinging around on the balls of my feet. The bed and dresser looked like they were constructed from pre-fabricated materials and, if the faint scuff marks were any sign, were used. Not surprising, furniture wasn’t cheap, and I’d showed up with no warning.

The vanity, was another matter. At first glance, it seemed to be made of more durable materials, but I’d doubt I know for sure without stripping off the pain. My eyes lingered on it the longest, realizing why it looked so familiar. It was the same one which had graced Carrie’s old bedroom in her parent’s home.

I smiled, turning my attention back to Drew, and rushed toward me step-father, warm drops staining my cheeks. He grunted and stiffened when I threw my arms around him, but soon his arms enfolded me. I whispered ‘thank you,’ over and over into his chest.

“This was all Drew’s doing,” Carrie pronounced after I’d pulled away from the hug, my cheeks already starting to turn a little violet. “He wanted to surprise you while we were away, but it took a little longer than he expected, and…”

“That’s why you took me to the hair salon,” I finished for her with a nod.

“Well, I had a little help from the boys. The new hair looks great. I like it.” Drew grinned at me, and after catching a side-long glance from Carrie added, “I would be remiss if I did not take heed of my blushing bride’s new do. You look fabs, honey.”

Carrie rolled her eyes and kissed him on the cheek. “You’re a dork, Andrew Christianson, but I love you.”

He smiled back and pecked her back on the lips. “You two hungry? Amanda and the twins aren’t due back for a few hours. It may stretch the limits of my abilities, but I think I can handle cooking for just the three of us.”

Drew slipped through the door, and Carrie rolled her eyes before motioning for me to follow. Disappearing through the door a moment later, but I lingered. I looked around the room, one final time, a smile touching the corner of my lips, before I too exited the room closing the door behind me.