“What the hell?”
Tossing her keys on the side table, she turned toward the hallway.
Unless Rod Stewart himself had broken into her apartment to serenade her with “Do You Think I'm Sexy,” something strange was definitely going on.
Not only was her longtime fiancé, Bill, more of a Kenny Rogers kind of guy, he shouldn’t be home for another hour. She’d gotten lucky and finished the house she’d been working on early and came home to relax.
A chill slid the length of her spine as she eased her way toward the hallway. Not only curious, but also a bit confused, she followed the blaring music.
The door stood ajar as she approached the bedroom.
The music pounded in her ears as she steadily tiptoed to the door.
Peering through the small opening, she stilled with shock. A hot-pink feather boa floated gently to land across the bed.
He’s with another woman!
Over the last six months, they hadn’t spent so much as an entire day together. Their sex life gradually became nonexistent. It was obvious that this relationship was in the gutter, but to have him cheat on her in their home? She felt as though she’d been slapped across the face.
Nevertheless, the fact that their relationship was dwindling didn’t halt her anger from boiling over. Who’d he think he was? She was every bit as unhappy as Bill, but she wasn’t out sleeping with everything that walked by. She possessed a certain level of loyalty, of pride, and yes, even faith.
Unable to contain the anger roiling inside of her, she rallied the remaining shreds of her courage, and pushed open the door.
“Oh. My. Gawd!”
Her heart stilled, her breath caught, seized tight in her lungs.
A tall, blonde woman danced in front of the chaise lounge. Her long blonde hair swayed past her hips as she gyrated to the beat of the music.
As Eden forced her brain to function again, something odd, even odder than the very tall woman in her bedroom, consumed her attention.
The woman dancing was rather large, tall. Her broad frame familiar.
Her shoulders were wide and muscular, her legs covered with hair. What threw Eden most was the scar across the woman’s left thigh. Bill received the same scar while playing football with the guys last year. He’d had to have eleven stitches, and been such a baby the entire time. At the time you would’ve thought he was in the process of donating a kidney against his will.
No, it couldn’t be … could it?
Spinning to face her, the woman stumbled mid-gyration. Bright blue eyes bore into hers with sheer horror. The smile upon cherry-red lips vanished instantly.
Stars danced before Eden’s eyes. Her mind, unable to comprehend the situation, threatened to shut down. To blanket her with blissful unconsciousness.
The woman stared at her. Bill stared at her, through perfectly lined, perfectly shadowed eyes, past cherry-red lips and high, blushed cheekbones. The need to faint pressed against her, squeezed her like a vice.
This is some kind of joke. It has to be.
“W-what the hell’s this?”
Appearing to gather his wits, femininely clad Bill hurried to shut off the stereo. Only after Bill moved did she remember they weren’t alone. Someone else sat on the chaise. With a frame equal in size to Bill’s, he lounged lazily against the soft, micro-fiber material of Eden’s favorite reading place. A small smile played across his glittery-pink lips.
Eden’s thoughts slammed into one another as she struggled to understand what exactly she’d just stumbled upon.
Do not faint, do not faint, do not…
Slowly, Bill approached her, hands raised in what appeared as surrender “It’s not what it looks like,” he said.
Is he serious?
“So, you weren’t just giving that … m-man,” she stuttered, “a lap dance.”
“Okay … I … it is, but let me explain.”
“Please do.” Standing, the other man shimmied. The tight, black-leather skirt slid past his ass, to the top of his thighs.
His bright pink eye shadow glittered as he patted Bill’s cheek. “This is a bit awkward, baby,” he began. “I’ll call you later.”
Bill smiled, and nodded.
Picking up the leopard print purse Eden hadn’t noticed until now from the bed, he slid past her, then out of the room. Moments later, the sound of the front door closing reached her ears.
She was too angry to listen to anything Bill had to say, but she needed an explanation. She’d driven her fiancé into the arms of another man? She’d never been overly self-confident, but this would rip what confidence she possessed to shreds.
“Who was that?” Eden asked through clinched teeth. “And why in the hell do you have on that wig?”
Hastily snatching the wig from his head, he smoothed a hand over his deep brown hair.
“That doesn’t matter.”
Like hell it doesn’t!
“Eden, why don’t you sit down?” he urged in a soft voice. A voice that used to calm her, now only made her twice as angry. Of course, that could be because it now came from a Max Factor covered Bill.
“Explain to me right this second who the hell that was and why you were—are those my shoes!” she wailed.
“No!’ he quickly assured her. “Yours wouldn’t fit. These are mine.”
“Y-you tried on my shoes?”
Her stomach churned.
“Just once, then I got my own,” he replied guiltily.
She struggled to understand the sight before her. Bill. Her Bill. Football and beer on Monday nights, poker with the guys on Friday Bill.
Now he stood before her, make-up covering his face, a lace teddy stretched across his chest, and a thong the only thing covering his dangly-bits—and not very well at that.
How the hell had this happened? How’d she not know the man she’d spent the last ten years of her life with was, in fact, gay?
“Eden, we need to talk,” he said softly, easing toward her.
“Why don’t you sit down?” he urged.
“I don’t think so. Who knows what you’ve been doing in here?”
She had nothing against homosexuals, but being cheated on and deceived for nearly a decade tore her to pieces. Made her want to lash out at anyone, no matter their age, race, creed, or sexual preference.
She wanted out of this room, out of Bill’s presence. She knew what he wanted to talk about, what he needed to tell her, but she didn’t think she could take hearing it out loud. Seeing it firsthand was bad enough. To actually hear the words…
“I know you’re gay,” she began calmly, despite the pain welling within her. “I know you’re a cross dresser. That’s kind of obvious from the pink, feathery thong up your ass, and I know we’re over. What more could you possibly have to tell me?”
Her skin dotted with goose bumps.
What could possibly be worse?
“Eden, I think I want to become a woman.”
Why’d I ask?
For a moment, she told herself she’d heard him wrong. Her head swam; the room wavered before her eyes as though she’d opened them underwater
“Eden? Are you all right?”
“Did you just say you want to become … a woman? As in, become a woman … completely?”
Warily, Bill nodded.
“I wasn’t sure until recently. I … I meant to have a talk with you, an appropriate talk with you about it, then this happened.” Bill slid his fingers through his wig-ruffled hair.
Her heart pounded against her chest. The thudding so powerful, for a moment she feared the organ would burst through her ribs. Her vision blurred further, breath seized in her lungs.
“Eden, you don’t look so good.”
Too much. This was all too much. Pressing a palm to her forehead, she felt herself start to sway.
Her name carried to her faintly, a bare whisper barely breaking through the pounding in her ears. Suddenly, stars sparkled in a brilliant assortment of colors before her eyes. Yellows, pinks, greens, swirled together, finally blending, becoming black as she fell to the floor.