Chapter 4

Interactions and Reflections

 

The normalcy of the hospital hallways was strangely comforting to me.  Oh sure, you usually did not see patients with hooves sticking out of their gowns, and there were some background noises that sounded like a cheap jungle movie, but for the most part the hospital had an air of quiet urgency that you expected, not to mention that hospital smell.

 

Of course the main difference was me.  Everything looked so much bigger to me, including Barb.  I knew that was partly because she had grown taller but I felt tiny next to my friend.  At least the clothes were helping contain my bouncy new form, although the swish of the skirt and the weight of the purse on my shoulder were distracting.  

 

I resolutely put the new sensations out of mind and we soon reached the lobby.  It was bustling with activity and I suddenly felt very self-concious.  Barb motioned for me to wait while she went to speak with the receptionist.  I found a spot of wall to lean against and looked around while I cooled my heels.  Most of the patients seemed normal and I wondered if the transformations were slowing down.  The only obvious victim was a girl seated in the corner whose bulky sweatshirt was unsuccessfully trying to hide the fact that she had four breasts instead of the normal two, one pair below the other.  The fact that both pairs were nearly as large as mine made me feel both strangely aroused and sympathetic at the same time.

 

The girl gave me a frown and I realized I was staring.  I blushed again – what else was new today? – and resolutely turned my attention to the splendid view of the parking lot offered by the lobby windows.  The lot was very full and I began to understand why the doctor had wanted to free up beds.  It was just as well.  The sluggish, slightly numb feeling caused by the drugs they had given me was beginning to fade.  I was feeling more alert and even impatient at the delay while I waited for Barb, which probably explains why I jumped when she suddenly spoke in my ear.

 

“Looks like you still like girls,” purred my friend’s rumbling voice.

 

I spun as quickly as I could in my unfamiliar body.  My purse swung around me in a wide arc and nearly nailed a passing doctor.  “Sorry!”  I said to his retreating back.  I turned to face Barb. “No fair sneaking up on me!”

 

She gave me a toothy grin.  “Serves you right for staring.”

 

“I was not…well maybe I was.  She probably thinks I’m either jealous or a lesbian.”

 

Barb raised an eyebrow.  “So which is it?”

 

I was getting tired of her, well, cattiness.  I met her gaze and gave her a leer.  “Both.”  I giggled at the shocked expression on her face.  The drugs were definitely starting to wear off.

 

“Very funny.  Come on, the checkout desk is over here.  Try not to fondle any nurses, ok?”  She cut off any possible retort from me by heading across the lobby towards a bank of counters set into the wall.  I struggled to keep up with her long stride, my quickened pace making my unwelcome new anatomy jiggle.  By the time I caught up with her she was seated in front of one of the counters and talking to a dour faced clerk with iron grey hair.  The older woman peered at me around an out-of-date two dimensional monitor as I sat in the other chair and glared at Barb.

 

“You are Miss Latham?” she said.  Her eyes kept darting about, furtively looking at my chest, then my face, then back to my chest.

 

“Yes, ma’am,” I said in a sugary-sweet tone.

 

The clerk harrumphed at me and returned to her computer monitor.  She clicked around with her mouse, tapped on the keyboard, and muttered under her breath as she peered intently at the screen.  I looked at Barb, who shrugged.  I was amused to see that her tail was twitching from side to side though, for all the world like an impatient cat.  The clerk, meanwhile, seemed to no closer to figuring things out.

 

“Latham with an ‘M’,” she ventured.

 

“Ummm…yeah.”

 

A few more minutes of clicking and she gave a satisfied grunt.  “Daniel Latham?”

 

I gritted my teeth.  “Yes, that’s me, despite current appearances.”  The clerk blinked at me, her eyes darting down and looking at my chest again.  Suddenly angry, I cupped my new endowments in my hands and jiggled them.  “These are new. Like ‘em?”  Barb made choking noises.  The clerk retreated behind her monitor until I stopped my little show.

 

“We have records from the military and one previous visit for some stitches,” she growled.  “You are still employed by Sadler and Fisk?”

 

At least until they fire me for spraying like a fire hose all over my cubicle, I thought but smiled and said, “Why yes I am.”

 

“The administrator said I have to update records for all transformees,” she said.  “At least I don’t have to write in a species for you…” she looked at me again, eyes flitting about again but at least staying away from my newly minted bosom.  “Do I?”

 

“Good question. I think I’m mostly human, so how about we go with that?”

 

“No need to be bitchy,” she muttered, just barely audibly.  I pretended not to hear.  “OK, so I just need to update your sex to female…”

 

“No, I’m not a girl,” I told her.

 

The clerk gave me what she probably thought was a sympathetic expression.  It looked patronizing to me. “Honey, you have to accept your new—“

 

“That’s not it,” I told her.  “I’m just not female.”  The clerk stared.  I knew I was being rude but she was annoying me and I was not exactly having a good day.  At least she was looking me in the eye now. 

 

Barb, the spoilsport, came to her rescue.  Or at least she tried. “She’s both; she’s a hermaphrodite.”

 

The clerk’s jaw dropped open.  She closed it and then mouthed Barb’s last word slowly.  She looked at girly little me, then back at her monitor, evidently trying to find the “hermaphrodite” checkbox under “gender.”  Finding none, she suddenly jerked to her feet and screeched “They do not pay me enough for this!”  With that declaration she stumbled out of sight through a door behind the counter.

 

After a moment or two went by with no sign of her or anyone else emerging from the door, I looked over at Barb.  “I guess we’re done signing out.”

 

Barb rolled her eyes at me but did not argue as I headed for the sliding glass doors across the lobby.  Being part lioness had definitely changed Barb’s outlook on rules.  Normally she would have made me sit until someone came back to the desk but she seemed nearly as rebellious as I was.

 

We both came to an abrupt halt as the doors suddenly slid open and a gurney attended by several nurses and medical technicians rolled in.  I stared in amazement at the gurney’s occupant, apparently another victim like Barb and me but a far more extreme case.  The sleeping patient looked like a giant snake, its heavy coils piled atop the gurney and spilling over the sides.  The snake-like body’s top scales were an intricate swirling pattern of black and emerald and gold, while the underside was a milky white.  The creature’s upper body widened into a nearly human torso complete with firm, scale-covered breasts but no arms.  Her head was nearly humanoid although hairless, with fine scales covering a girlish face that was coldly beautiful.  The odd thing – as though seeing such a peculiar combination of human and snake were not already odd enough – was the smug smile on the broad mouth of the sleeping snake girl.  She did not appear to be in distress so why was she here?

 

Barb elbowed me and pointed at the middle of the gurney.  I blinked as I followed her finger to a suspiciously large bulge about one-third of the way down the sinuous body.  As I watched the bulge moved and I could have sworn I heard a muffled groan from that same vicinity.

 

Barb and I stared at each other as the gurney raced off down the hallway.  “You don’t suppose…” she ventured.

 

“I don’t want to know,” I told her firmly.  “But it looks like she isn’t the patient.”

 

“Ew,” she said succinctly, a sentiment I agreed with completely.  We wordlessly picked up our pace and hurried through the hospital doors.

 

It was a relief to leave the confines of the hospital.  Just feeling the cool autumn air on my face and seeing the sun shine helped my mood immensely.  Of course my new body had to remind me it was there by coming up with yet another uncomfortable new feminine sensation:  my nipples reacted to the change in temperature by abruptly stiffening.  Glancing down I could see little tents in my blouse that were becoming more and more obvious.  I thought I heard Barb make a noise but when I looked up at her she was fumbling with her purse to find her keys.  Still, that enigmatic smirk was back on her face.

 

I decided I would not let my exhibitionist nipples or whether Barb had noticed them disrupt my improving mood.  “Where is your car?” I wondered as we reached the first row of the lot.

 

“Just over here,” she said, pointing a few aisles away.  “Having trouble keeping up short stuff?”

 

I bit back the first response that came to mind and instead simply said, “Yes, I’m taking about three steps to your two.”

 

“Sorry,” she said, the teasing tone disappearing from her voice as she slowed her pace.  “You’re shorter than you were and I am not used to being so tall!  I feel incredibly self-conscious.”

 

“You do?  But you look so good!  You’re like an Amazon or something – tall and muscular but not muscle bound, you know?”

 

“Thanks,” she said with a smile.  “But that’s part of the problem too.  Before all this I was always one of those average girls hanging around in the background.”  She waved a hand to stop the protest I was about to make.  “I know, I was kind of cute but nothing that made the guys stare.  Now they do, especially when they see my tail!”

 

With that we arrived at her car, a metallic blue two-door sedan.   Sitting down inside, I fumbled with the seat belt until Barb wordlessly came to my rescue by passing the strap between my breasts.  I blushed for about the hundredth time that day and said “Thank you” in a quiet voice.  Barb squirmed a bit in her seat until the base of her tail settled into the crevice between the back and bottom cushions.  The rest of the tail curved around her hip and rested on the cushion between us.  Finally she settled into the seat and said, “There, are we all ready to go?”

 

I grinned at her exasperation.  “I guess we both have things to get used to,” I said as she started the car and pulled out of the parking place.  “So how do guys react when they see that you have a tail?”

 

She returned my grin.  “It varies.  Most of them just look completely shocked.  There are some that look even more interested, and others that get this disgusted expression on their face.  I can’t decide which ones worry me more – the ones that are turned on by it or the ones that look like they’re going to call an exorcist.”

 

 “If you pull your presto-chango bit on either sort they’ll run fast enough.”

 

“Probably, but what if I scare away someone cute who is not put off by my tail?”

 

I rolled my eyes.  “If they like you as a cat-girl, they’ll love you as a sphinx, right?”

 

She looked thoughtful at that and for once she was the one to blush.  “I had not given that much thought,” she mused.  “It would be different, wouldn’t it?”

 

“Oh my God!  I wasn’t thinking of that, you naughty girl.”

 

“Am I a bad kitty?” she wondered with a smirk.

 

I groaned. “You know, you seem to be taking this so much better than I am.  Don’t you wish you could just be your normal self?”

 

“Sometimes, especially when people stare.  I have tried to see if I can change myself into my old body but so far no luck.  I get this feeling....I’m not sure how to describe it.  It’s like I know there is more that I can do, different shapes I can take, but I’m not sure how yet.”  She shrugged.  “I haven’t had a lot of time to experiment.”

 

“I’m sorry.  I know you have been at the hospital a lot.  Which reminds me, I want to tell you how much I appreciate the time you’ve spent with me.  I don’t know how well I’d be handling this without a friend like you supporting me.”

 

Barb took one hand off the steering wheel to pat my hand.  “Glad I could help,” she told me.  “Besides, someone had to be there to aggravate you.”  She glanced down at the clock display on her dashboard.  “I’m going to have to leave soon though.  My parents want to see me and I’m concerned about them too.  My mom is hiding something and my dad hasn’t actually talked on the phone since all this started.”

 

“That’s not good.  You think something happened to him?”

 

“I won’t know till I get there.  Mom probably thinks she’s protecting me by not telling me.  Instead all she’s doing is driving me nuts…but then she was always good at that.”

 

I nodded, remembering how crazy my own parents used to make me.  “I can understand why you want to get going.  Why don’t you just drop me at my place or at work so I can get my truck?”

 

“Oh no,” she said.  “You need more clothes.  Those don’t really fit you to begin with, you know.  Or do you want everyone to see those big new nipples of yours?”

 

“Shit, you did notice!”  I thumped her shoulder with my dainty hand.

 

“Ow! Don’t interfere with the operator while the ride is in motion,” she told me in an officious tone.  She rubbed her shoulder with her left hand.  “And don’t forget that you’re stronger than you look.  That smarts!”

 

“Sorry,” I said sweetly.

 

Barb gave me a feline growl.  “Yes I noticed your ‘headlights’ were on when we were in the hospital parking lot.  Don’t blush again, but you obviously have a woman’s nipples and they are going to react to things like the cold or your emotions.  You need to cover those up, not to mention the fact that you need more support than that undersized sports bra.  That means something sturdy and at least slightly padded.”  I nodded.  This was more like the normal Barb – practical to a fault.  “We’ll just get you a few basics.  It won’t take long if you’ll cooperate and then I’m off to St. Louis.”

 

“What do you mean ‘cooperate’?”

 

“I don’t want to hear any whining about not being a girl, ok?  Your body is mostly female now and needs clothes that fit.  I won’t make you buy dresses – at least not yet – but you will get some proper underwear and a couple of outfits.”  She glanced over at me.  “And some shampoo, conditioner, brushes…definitely a hair dryer…lotion…some decent soap because I’ll bet all you’ve got is hand soap…”

 

Fortunately we were not far from the mall so Barb had to cut short her list of feminine products in order to park the car.  She did not have to work hard to find a space.  “Everyone must be staying home,” I told Barb.  Unlike the hospital, the mall seemed almost deserted.

 

She nodded and sighed as she shut off the motor.  “There are a lot of people that think that the transformations are caused by some kind of virus or something.”  She laughed and grabbed her tail in her hand, waggling the tip at me for emphasis.  “Ever hear of a virus that could do this?  Or give me the ability change shapes?”

 

“I know what you mean, but I can also understand why people might react that way.”

 

“Yeah, I guess if I hadn’t already changed I might be hiding in my apartment too.”  She shrugged and patted my hand.  “Come on, let’s get you all dolled up!”

 

“Hey!” I yelped as she got out of the car.  I had to hurry to disentangle myself and my purse from the seat belt before I could follow her towards the mall entrance.  “You said just a few basics!”

 

She grinned over her shoulder at me.  “Gotcha!”

 

I groaned and hurried to catch up to her.  I realized as we walked through the mall’s concourse that being with Barb was the same as always.  We teased, made each other laugh, and generally enjoyed each other’s company.    At the same time it was completely different.  Barb stayed closer to me, her taller new form towering over my shorter one.  She would touch my shoulder or hand to make a point or get my attention.  She glowered at some guys who stared at us.  All in all, she was acting like a big sister – or a protective lioness with her awkward cub.  That image made me laugh to myself, but not quietly enough for Barb’s sharp feline ears.

 

“What’s got you giggling?”

 

“I did not giggle.  I laughed.”

 

“Hah.  You are in such denial!  That was a pretty little giggle, girlfriend.”

 

I decided to demonstrate my maturity so I stuck my tongue out at her.

 

Barb smirked.  “Put that away unless you intend to use it!”

 

I wiggled my eyebrows and said, “Maybe I will use it if you ask nicely.”

 

“Oh behave!” she laughed as she grabbed my hand and led me into one of the big department stores.  She had me get a shopping cart and follow her down the toiletries aisle.  I was amazed as I watched the pile of stuff that grew in the cart.  There were several soaps; one for hands, another for the face after removing makeup (as though I were going to wear makeup!) and another for showering.  A big bottle of hand lotion joined the soaps.  A hefty bottle of shampoo and a matching bottle of conditioner were next.  “I’m not sure which will really work with that mane of yours so we’re getting a couple different ones,” Barb explained.  The soaps were soon followed by several combs and brushes and several types of hair spray.  I started to get a little numb to it at this point and worried about how my limited credit would withstand this blizzard of girly stuff, especially when I saw the industrial strength hair dryer she was lugging over to the cart.

 

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I protested.  “That thing’s enormous.  I’ll need two men and a boy just to hold it for me.”

 

“Look, Lady Godiva, those new tresses of yours need the right tools to care for them, unless you want to be one big mass of knots.”

 

“What good are tools if I don’t know how to use them?  Maybe I should get that haircut.” 

 

Barb dropped the hair dryer box into the cart and gave me a long look.  “Danny, it’s your body and your hair.  I can’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do.  But will you listen to some advice?”  She waited until I nodded.  “Don’t make any changes just yet.  Get used to your new self before you go altering it.  What if you decide in a week or three that you do want long hair?  You’ll be waiting a long time to regrow all this.”  She stroked the curls dangling by my ear.

 

I sighed.  “Why do you have to be so sensible?  You’re right, of course.”  I looked dubiously into the cart.  “What am I supposed to do with all this though?”

 

“It’s not all that hard.  The soaps, shampoo, and conditioner are pretty obvious, just read the directions.  You may have to experiment to find the right combination for you.  Brush your hair out thoroughly after you shower and use the hair dryer.  Not too much though or you’ll look like a poodle.  Then brush it again before bed.”

 

“I suppose I can’t just leave my hair in this thong-thingy till you get back?”

 

“Nope.  I may be a few days so you’ll need to wash it at least once.”

 

“OK.”  I looked around and when I was satisfied that the aisle was empty I motioned Barb to come closer.  She obliged, leaning down so I could whisper in one leonine ear.  “What about…well…hygiene?”  I was embarrassed to ask but having my own female equipment was scaring the hell out of me.  To her credit Barb passed up the opportunity to tease me more.

 

“You should be ok for a few days.  If you were a normal girl I’d tell you to wipe after peeing…but the doctor said you use your male parts for that.  I would say just wash down there with the body soap when you shower.  You might ask the doctor that question too.”

 

I nodded and stepped back.  “All right.  So we’re done then?”

 

She grinned.  “Are you kidding?  We need some clothes first.”  With that she spun the cart around and took off down the aisle to that forbidden territory known as the women’s clothing section.  I had not been in one since I was a little kid and my mom would drag me there when she went shopping.  I remembered arguing with her that I could hang out in the toy aisle or even sporting goods until she was done.  Of course she would not let me and I had to hide my face and hope none of my friends saw me amongst all the feminine finery.  I just knew they would tease me about buying girl’s clothes. 

 

I was fairly sure that Barb would not let me hide in sporting goods either.  At least none of my friends would recognize the new me.

 

Barb got one look at the expression on my face and took charge.  She led me around like a nurse with a blind patient from rack to rack, examining different blouses and pants and making thoughtful growling noises.   She had me stand in front of one of those three-paned mirrors and I was confronted once again with the new me.  The redhead in the mirror looked vaguely puzzled.  She seemed cute rather than pretty in her white blouse and green skirt but her curvaceous body would catch the eye of any red-blooded male and some females. 

 

“I still can’t believe that’s me,” I whispered and watched my new reflection mime the words.  I tried a tentative smile and suddenly the girl in the mirror was almost beautiful.

 

“You should smile more,” said Barb as she returned with an armful of clothes that she dropped onto a bench by the mirror.  She stood beside me and held up one under my chin.  It was pretty basic, kind of like a t-shirt but made of a soft ivory material.  “This is just a simple top but I think it would look nice.”  She held up a similar top in pink.  Before I could protest about the color, she wrinkled her nose.  “Not with that hair and skin,” she muttered.  And so it went for several minutes, with most of the selections going back into a pile on the bench and a few going into the cart.  Most of the keepers were very basic affairs in soft whites and pastels. One, though, was a pale green combination of a tube top and a soft sweater that that I thought went really well with my new green eyes.  I must have said something, because that one went into the cart.

 

“OK, now pants.  I think we should stick with slacks for now.  They fit looser than jeans and they’ll go fine with all the tops.  We can think about jeans and more skirts later.”

 

“Much later,” I amended.  I really was not paying too much attention to her.  I was too busy watching my new self in the mirror.  Darn it, I had looked good with that green top.

 

Barb laughed.  “These should fit you based on the measurements the hospital gave me.”  She dumped several pairs of folded slacks, in shades of dark blue and green, into the cart.  “I got a couple of different sizes. You’ll need to try them on when you get home and see what works.  Please don’t take the tags off until you’ve tried them so we can return the ones that don’t fit, ok?”

 

“Right, leave the tags on,” I said.  I tried another smile.  It really did light up my face and I realized I was getting a little turned on by my new reflection.  Barb interrupted my musings by abruptly snapping her fingers under my nose.

 

“OK, Princess.  If you’re done checking yourself out can we get going?  I still have to get on the road.”

 

“Sorry,” I said.  “It’s not every day I wake up with a pair of D-cups, you know?”

 

She snorted.  “D?  I don’t think so, girlfriend.  That bra you have on is a D.”

 

“No way.”  The thing was tight on me, very tight.

 

Barb gave me a feline grin as her only reply.  She grabbed the surprisingly full cart and we headed for the checkout aisles at the front of the store.  I gulped as I watched the mounting total on the cash register until Barb thrust her credit card at the clerk.

 

“Hey,” I protested.  “You don’t have to do that!”

 

“I know, but I want to.  Call it a kind of birthday present – or maybe a coming out present?”

 

The clerk, a nerdy teenager with hair desperately in need of a comb looked from me, to Barb, and back to me.  I could see the curiosity in his eyes but I just smiled sweetly at him and deliberately bounced on my heel, making my breasts wobble ponderously. I nearly lost it when his eyes got as big as dinner plates.  I swear his eyeballs bounced in time with my bosom.  Barb thought it was pretty funny too until she had to ask for the receipt three times before my new admirer could tear his eyes away.

 

“You are turning into one hell of a tease,” she said as we left the store, each carrying several plastic bags and leaving a dazed store clerk in our wake.

 

“Why Ah’m sure Ah have no idea what you mean,” I replied in a poor imitation of a Southern belle.  

 

Barb waggled a finger at me.  “See, that’s what I’m talking about.  You’re getting a lot more ornery.”

 

“I think the drugs have just about worn off.  I feel more like myself – well, you know what I mean.  Whatever they gave me in the hospital had me kinda numb and out of it.  I’m feeling a lot better now.”

 

“Right.  Come on, we have one more stop to make.”  Barb guided us towards the center of the mall.  A few storefronts later she grabbed my hand and said “Here we are.”  When I saw where she was headed my pleasant thoughts evaporated entirely.  The sign above the store read “Kathy’s Kreations” in bright pink letters with lacey white borders.

 

“Wait a minute!  I’m not getting anything from this place!”  Kathy’s was a local chain that was as well known for its lingerie as it was for its adult toys.

 

“We have to, Princess.  Kathy’s carries custom lingerie.  No one else is going to have anything in your size.  Well, except maybe a maternity store and I don’t think you want to wear a nursing bra.”

 

I bit my lip at the thought of nursing.  “OK.  But stop calling me ‘Princess’ or I’m going to put you over my knee and spank you.”

 

Barb gave her growling laugh and pulled me into the shop.  It was every bit as girly as I had feared.  The small shop was filled with circular racks bursting with lace, silk, and pastel colored fabrics that made me feel like I was afloat on a sea of femininity.  I was just about to tell Barb that I was certain there could be nothing in this shop for me when we heard a musical voice greeting us.

 

“Can I help you ladies?”  The owner of the voice was, quite simply, breathtaking.  She stood about my height but that was all we had in common.  Her limbs and body were slim, almost delicate, and yet somehow wonderfully curved.  She wore a rose-colored dress whose short skirt exposed nearly the entire length of her firm tanned legs.  Perfectly smooth shoulders rose from the sleeveless top whose plunging neckline revealed the pert swell of her breasts.  Her throat was an elegant column that led to a face that was exotically beautiful.  Enormous, canted eyes dominated her features.  They were a grey so light that they were nearly silver.  High cheekbones, a small but pouty mouth and a determined little chin gave her a look that was somewhere between haughty and childlike.  Her ash blonde hair was held back from her face with an elaborate silver clip and cascaded in a perfectly straight fall down her back.  The hairstyle exposed her ears and somehow I was not at all surprised to see that they were pointed and so tall that the tips were nearly even with the top of her head.  I blushed as my eyes met hers and I realized I had been staring.  She did not look away but instead gave me a faintly quizzical look.

 

Barb was the first to recover.  “I’m sorry, but I have to ask.  Are you…”

 

“An elf?  Yes I suppose I am.  Trust me; I’m just as surprised by my ears as you must be of yours.”  Those luminous eyes flicked to Barb’s cat-like new ears before looking back at me.  She seemed about to ask something when Barb spoke again.

 

“They’re a hassle aren’t they?  Hair styles weren’t designed for big ears.” 

 

The elf laughed and the store suddenly sounded as though it were filled with little chiming bells.  “I know what you mean.  I’m willing to put up with long ears though, if being an elf means being skinny enough to wear this dress!”  She laughed with the carefree abandon of a young girl and Barb and I could not help but laugh along.  “Anyway, I’m Kathy.  How can I help you today?”

 

“I’m Barb and this is Danny.  Wait – your name is Kathy?  As in Kathy’s Kreations?” wondered Barb.

 

She smiled and nodded.  “Yes that’s me.  Or at least it was a few days ago.  My sister keeps telling me I need to pick a new name.  ‘Who ever heard of an elf named Kathy?’ she keeps asking.  But how can I change the name of my shop?”

 

“I suppose Galadriel is taken,” I mused.  Kathy the elf laughed and stepped closer, touching my shoulder briefly.  She was even more breathtaking close-up and I was quickly lost in her eyes.

 

“Oh trust me, I’ve heard nothing but Tolkien jokes for the last two days.  If one more person asks me if I know where the One Ring is or how to get to Rivendell I’m going to scream.”

 

Barb nodded sympathetically.  “I’m sorry but we’re short on time.  We thought you might be able to help us.  Danny was changed as well and she needs some new underwear -- nothing too frilly, just a few bras for everyday wear that will fit her.”

 

Kathy turned those intense grey eyes on me again and looked me up and down critically.  “We may have something, but first we’re going to have to measure.”

 

“I have measurements from the hospital—“

 

Kathy waved a hand to halt Barb.  “And what does a nurse know about fitting clothes?  We need proper measurements.  Come with me Danny and we’ll take care of you.”

 

I didn’t like the sound of that and was about to say so when she firmly took my hand in hers and started pulling me towards one of several changing rooms at the back of the store.  “Did I mention we’re in a hurry?” called Barb as I was dragged away.

 

The changing room was barely big enough to hold both of Kathy and me and once again I was confronted with my new reflection. The two girls in the mirror that covered one wall could not have been more different.  The redheaded busty girl looked huge next to the ethereal blonde elf – I felt like a big old cow standing next to a fine Arabian mare.  Then I realized I was actually feeling defensive about my new body’s appearance!

 

“You’ll need to take that blouse off, honey, and the bra,” said Kathy briskly.  I gulped and hesitated.  As a man I would not have stripped in front of a girl in such a situation.  As a girl it should not matter.  But I was neither and not sure of what to do.  Kathy tilted her head and smiled at me.  “I cannot measure you through the blouse.”

 

I nodded and began fumbling with the buttons until I finally had them all undone.  I gingerly removed the white blouse to reveal my breasts straining at the confines of my sports bra. 

 

“The bra, too, please.”

 

“Can’t you measure me this way?” I wondered.

 

“No, that bra is compressing you way too much.  You’ll have to take it off.  I know this is strange for a former guy but you really shouldn’t fret so much.”

 

I blinked.  “You know…?”

 

“I know you were a man until a few days ago.  I know that you’re not at ease with your new body.  I also know that you did not turn completely into a girl.  Am I right?”

 

“Um, yeah.  Three for three. How do you know all that?”

 

She grinned.  “Take off the bra and I’ll tell you.”

 

I grumbled but did as she asked, twisting and squirming my way out of the stretchy fabric.  My breasts burst free of the bra with a slightly painful bounce that made me wince.  I was hardly out of the feminine contraption before Kathy slid her tape measure around my chest, just below my breasts.  “The guy part was not hard to figure out,” she told me.  “You walk and talk like a man!”   She made a note on a slip of paper, then loosened the tape and moved it up my body until it was even with my nipples.  I shivered as the tape brushed my nipples and the traitorous things hardened, standing up from the slopes of my breasts.  Kathy grinned again.  “Definitely need something padded,” she said and made another note on her paper.  “As for the rest, well, ever since I went all elf-girl I seem to have a really strong sense of empathy.  It isn’t mind reading or anything; I just seem to pick up impressions about people’s feelings and their personality.”   Kathy took a few more measurements as I digested that.

 

“But that last part that you said, about not being all girl?” 

“Well…I just seem to feel that there is a strong duality in you.  Girls feel one way to me, guys another – even the ones who have changed genders.  You feel like both, and yet something altogether different as well.”

I sighed and looked down.  “I suppose that’s about right.  I’m a hermaphrodite.  A freak.”

 

Kathy leaned in close to me and stroked my cheek with a slim finger.  I reluctantly raised my chin to meet her gaze.  “You are not a freak.  You’re just something new and, if you don’t mind me saying so, intriguing.”

 

That was all it took.  I had been half turned-on ever since we got to the mall and her nearness and her delicate touch had my cock hardening rapidly under my skirt.  Even worse, I once more felt the warmth and wetness that signaled that my female parts were joining the party.  I groaned and turned to hide the growing tent in my skirt.  “Very intriguing,” she repeated.

 

“I’m sorry,” I said.

 

“You shouldn’t be.  I’m flattered!”  She sighed and looked towards the door.  “I know you don’t believe that and I’d love to spend some time convincing you but your friend really wants to get going. Tell you what, come see me sometime when the lioness out there isn’t in such a rush.”  She put her hand on the door knob.  “Get your clothes back on and come out when you’re more…composed.”  Then she was gone in a swirl of ash blonde hair.

 

It took me several minutes to get my clothes back on and for the tell-tale lump in my skirt to go away.  I still felt wet, as though I had peed my panties, but I had no idea what to do about that.  By the time I left the dressing room Barb was standing there with a Kathy’s Kreations bag added to the collection in her hand.  Kathy herself was talking with a couple of teen-aged girls by the cash register

 

“Sorry,” I told her.  “Still figuring out these clothes.”

 

“I know,” she said.  “I’m sorry if I’m being pushy, I just really want to hit the road.”

 

“I understand, let’s go.”  I was a little relieved to be honest.  I wanted to talk more with Kathy but I was also worried by how strongly my body was reacting to her.

 

I waved to the elf girl and said “Thank you!” as we left the store.

 

Kathy waved back.  “Thanks for shopping with us.  Come back soon!”  Her eyes were on mine when she said that and I felt my heart beating faster.

 

“She was nice,” I said to Barb as we headed back towards the mall entrance.

 

Barb rolled her eyes.  “You are definitely still a guy.  Nice?  She practically jumped you right there in the store.”

 

I gaped at Barb.  “She did not!”

 

“Danny, do you realize that slutty little elf girl is old enough to be a grandmother?  Kathy’s Kreations has been around for a long time and if she’s telling the truth she must be in her fifties at least.”

 

I raised an eyebrow and looked at her.  “I’ll be ok, ‘mom.’  It’s not like we’re dating or anything.” 

 

Barb just shook her head and changed the topic, pointing out that the mall seemed to be getting busier.  We speculated about when people would get over their fears and things would return to normal as we walked to her car and loaded my new wardrobe into it.

 

I settled into the passenger seat of her car and watched her fuss with her tail until she could sit comfortably.  “You know, people may be getting over their fears but I wonder how long it will be until we feel normal?”

 

Barb gave me a long look but said nothing until she had put the car in gear and we were leaving the parking lot.  “I don’t know, Danny,” she said.  “But I know we will get there, hopefully sooner rather than later.”

 

We said little else as she drove to my apartment.  She seemed lost in thought, most likely worrying about her parents.  For my part I was thinking about all the things that had happened that day.  Dr. Kosar’s calm professionalism; the hospital clerk’s melt down; Barb’s friendship and protectiveness; Kathy’s invitation; all were going through my head.  Before I knew it we were pulling into the apartment complex’s parking lot and Barb was helping me carry bags to my door.  We hugged and she promised to call as soon as she reached St. Louis.  Then she was gone and the apartment door was closing behind me.

 

I sagged against the door.  “Alone at last,” I whispered into the silent room.