It was hard to believe, but Ken had missed all the warnings and reports on the strange phenomenon that people called the Gender wave. There was a good reason for it though. You see Ken had just run away from another foster home and was looking out for a chance to steal some cash.
Ken was headed straight for a life of crime. His mother had left him on the street as a baby with only a note attached saying that his name was Kenneth. So he was admitted to an orphanage and from there had been put into a series of foster homes. He hadn't been very lucky with the families that took him in and after harsh treatment, ran away from the homes every time. He would soon get caught after running away and would be put back into the orphanage and then put into a foster family again. It was a circle that would only end when Ken came of age and he would have to fend for himself.
Now at the age of 17, he had already spent a year incarcerated in Juvenile Detention and was well on his way to being a lifetime criminal. He hadn't used weapons yet, though it was probably only be a matter of time. For now he stuck pretty much to petty theft and related small crimes.
Ken was dawdling on the street looking for an opportunity. He was thinking about his past exploits and what he had to fear. One thing in particular rolled over in his mind again and again. He was very worried about that and feared being arrested for it all the time. Ken thought, 'Why didn't I hear anything about that woman that I fucked?' Well he hadn't just fucked her. He had just raped her in her own house. 'The police who questioned me yesterday for hanging around didn't mention anything. If she had reported me, they would have arrested me already.'
It had happened already a few months earlier. Ken had broken into a nice suburban house, while the owner, a young woman was at home sleeping peacefully. She had been awakened by the noise Ken had made as he searched for valuables. Ken was quick to grab her and tape her mouth shut, before tying her to the bedposts. Then he looked at the beautiful young woman and just couldn't help himself. He got aroused beyond his imagination. Ken had still been a virgin and though he had looked at women, he never dared enough to approach one. So he tore her clothing off and started to rape the woman. After the deed was done, he felt so guilty and bad, that he untied the woman and left in a hurry. He even forgot to take the stuff he had picked out. Ken would never forget the scared look on the woman's face. She didn't even fight back at him as he raped her. And she stayed motionless after he untied her, probably because she had been so scared of him. He vowed never do something like that again, ever.
At the moment Ken wasn't so much looking for something to steal, but for a place to crash. That didn't mean that he wouldn't look out and grab just any opportunity that came along of course. He liberated an apple at the grocery store before disappearing into the dark abandoned building across the street. He found himself a place to make an improvised bed and slept till about 10 the next morning. Ken woke feeling hungry and took a look out of the holes that used to be windows. It was very quiet outside, too quiet for this time of the day. There should be lots of people in the street. Ken was concerned. 'Had the people been evacuated?' But then there would be police patrolling the street. It didn't make sense. The shops should be open and busy. Directly next to the abandoned building was a newly refurbished 7-11. It wasn't open, either. Ken took in the sights and then zoomed in on the roof of the 7-11. The skylight was ajar. It wasn't that big a leap from the fire escape to the roof so Ken knew he had found his next opportunity. A quick jump to the roof later, Ken opened the skylight further and saw a few support beams that he could use to lower himself into the store. Even more important, those same support beams would serve quite well to climb back out the same way.
Ken lowered himself onto the support beams and watched out for alarms and cameras. He soon spotted all of them, yanked the wires out from the cameras and put a cloth in front of the detectors. Now he had free reign in the store. Ken still found it strange that the shop was closed. After lowering himself to the ground, he strolled through the 7-11, eating a few Twinkies for breakfast, drank some wine and found the petty cash box. He quickly broke it open and stuffed the bills in his pocket.
Approaching noon, Ken had enough of loitering in the store. He climbed back up to the support beams. As he hung with his arms on a beam, a shimmering wall, kind of like a heat haze, appeared out of nowhere from the wall. It went straight through walls, furniture and was headed straight for Ken. He held on with one hand, while trying to ward of the wall with the other. It didn't do him any good, the wall went straight through him, quickly changing him into a girl. The arm strength of the girl hanging on the beam wasn't enough to keep on hanging with only one hand. She reached up to the beam with her other hand, but missed and screaming with a very high voice she fell about 10 feet to the floor.
As she fell down to the floor, her left leg landed sideways on a shopping cart, turning it to an awkward angle to her body. It promptly caused her tibia to snap. The new girl didn't have time to notice that, as she hit her head hard on the floor and lost consciousness.
The young girl came to lying on a cold floor. At first she was still groggy and didn't know where she was exactly. Then her memory returned. The support beams, the wall, and the fall. She looked down at her body and saw breasts encased in a tank top. Her shapely legs stuck out from a very short skirt. Ken panicked and started screaming in a very feminine high voice. At that moment the front door opened and a large woman stepped in.
Seeing the strange screaming girl on the floor of her shop, made her scream out in surprise. Ken heard the woman and desperately tried to get up in a hurry to escape. But as soon as she put some pressure on her left leg, she screamed it out from the pain. Looking down in pain, she saw that it was probably broken. In the mean time the store owner called the police and soon two female officers showed up.
The woman owning the store checked her shop and quickly noticed that the petty cash was missing. The officers prepared a preliminary investigation and asked Ken some questions that she wasn't able to answer in her confused, detached and painful state. They called an ambulance while one officer checked the girl that used to be Ken and came to the conclusion that she had probably broken her Tibia. The girl calmed down a bit, when she was offered some water. Then before the officers could ask the first question, the store woman came nearer and reached into the top of Ken's tank top to pull the money bills out of her bra.
Ken was stunned, 'She wore a bra? And the money had been stuffed in there? But she put it in her pants pocket right?'
The first police officer asked, "So what is your name, girl?"
Ken focused her attention on the policewoman. She was still very confused about being a girl and all. "Ken."
The other officer said, "No, no, your new name, not the old one."
Ken got even more confused, "What new name? What happened? Why am I a girl?"
"Don't you know? Didn't you hear the news about the Gender wave?" The first officer looked at Ken questioningly.
Ken looked back at her bewildered. He didn't have a clue what she was talking about. She just looked bewildered at the officers and didn't say a word.
The first officer had an idea, "I'm guessing that you're a runaway, am I right?"
Ken just nodded in silence.
She continued, "Right, well in a nutshell, there was this thing that people call a Gender wave. It swept all across the planet. It switched the gender of every living person. Meaning men changed into a women and women changed into men." She paused for a moment. Ken listened to her with astonishment. "The names of the people are changed according to their last living maternal lineage, and what their parents would have named them if they were born the other gender. So what is your name?"
Ken didn't know what to say. He hadn't known his parents. "I still don't know. My name was Kenneth Doe. I never knew my Mom."
The second officer cursed, "Shit, we're not getting anywhere. Say, are you registered anywhere?"
Ken looked down in shame. "I spend a year in Juvi. And I lived in the Sacred Heart Orphanage."
The first officer pulled out her cell phone and punched in a phone number. "Hello, this is police officer Andrea Berlucci. We have a young girl here that used to be a resident in your orphanage under the name of Kenneth Doe ... Oh you remember him? Good. We really need her new name ... Yes I will hold."
A moment later she listened intently, "Okay thank you very much." Andrea turned to Ken. "Your new name is Elyse Gabriëlle Doe.
Elyse, as her name now was, looked at Andrea unbelievingly. For a moment it looked like she was going to say something. But then Elyse burst out in a hysterical laughter.
Officer Andrea Berlucci didn't stand for it, and slapped Elyse hard on her cheek. This changed her laughter into crying. Andrea offered Elyse a shoulder to cry on and Elyse leaned into her. When the EMT's arrived, Elyse was still sobbing on Andrea's shoulder. Elyse received an inflatable splint before being loaded onto the gurney and wheeled off to the ambulance to be transported to a nearby hospital. The police officers meanwhile finished up in the shop. Officer Berlucci asked, "We caught the girl red-handed in the act, so we can indict her. But are you pressing charges Mrs. Pender?
The store owner, Mrs. Pender calmly said, "Only the cashbox was broken, but I retrieved the money. Some things were eaten and she drank some wine. She didn't destroy property like others would. I'd let it slide. She's been punished enough already."
The other officer asked, "Are you sure? She might walk and do it again with more damage."
Mrs. Pender laughed, "I don't think so. Not in her present condition. She'd be more likely to walk the streets than break in. And she did point out the weak spots in my security system."
The police officers closed their notebooks. "Okay then. I'd say we're finished here."
Later that night when off-duty, Andrea Berlucci checked in on Elyse while on her way home. Elyse was happily dreaming in her sedative induced sleep. Andrea looked at the young girl and thought, 'I sure hope she doesn't take to a life of crime. She could end up a hooker or worse now.'
Elyse woke up refreshed in the morning and for the second time in twenty-four hours wondered were she was. The bed she laid in was so nice and soft. But her leg was itching. Elyse automatically tried to scratch the spot, but her fingers brushed against a hard surface instead of her leg. Then the memories flooded back into her mind. Yesterday she had been changed from a boy into a girl and had broken her leg at a break-in that she was busy doing.
A male nurse came in her room, "Hello Elyse, how are you feeling this morning?"
"Weird, how do you cope with..."
The nurse smiled. Elyse thought, 'He has a nice smile. No! What am I doing, don't look at men that way.'
He said, "Changing Gender? It isn't so bad I think. There are some things that I have to get used to though. Do you need some help getting out of bed?"
Elyse nodded and soon was on her way to the toilet with the help of the male nurse whose name tag read Fuller. Elyse reached it not a moment too soon. She started to feel sick and hurried to the bowl to throw up violently. After cleaning the mess she made, she was about to sit down to relieve herself, but nurse Fuller held out a cup and asked, "Can you pee in this cup for me please?" before leaving her on her own.
Elyse didn't like the idea, but did as he had asked. After wiping herself dry, just as they instructed her yesterday, Elyse called Nurse Fuller again and was helped back into bed. Fuller left her alone to do his work and some girl came along and gave her a newspaper. Elyse started to read about the changes in the world, when a woman entered her room. "Hi Elyse, how are you doing?"
At first Elyse didn't recognize her, but then it clicked. "Andrea. Right?"
Andrea Berlucci smiled back at her. "Yep, that's me. So how are you doing?"
"Not so well, I threw up this morning."
Andrea looked thoughtful. "Maybe I can talk to the doctor?"
"There is no need for that," sounded a deep voice behind her. It was Nurse Fuller again. "I already know what is wrong, or rather, what is right with Elyse."
"Well please enlighten us Mr. Fuller," said Andrea.
Fuller laughed, "Call me Bert. Well it really isn't that serious. Elyse is just pregnant."
"What?" Elyse widened her eyes and felt a panic taking hold of her. "How can I be pregnant? I've been a woman for less than a day."
Andrea tried to calm Elyse down. "Hey, don't get so upset. I heard about a possible reason for this. When a pregnant woman changed gender, the baby switched over to the man that impregnated her."
She paused before continuing, "So can you tell us who you had sex with Elyse?"
Elyse thought hard, "You mean the woman I had sex with when I was still Ken?"
Andrea nodded confirming. Elyse started, "I didn't have any ... Oh no!" Now Elyse remembered and thought back in shame about the time she broke in and raped that woman in her own bedroom.
"What?" asked Andrea.
Elyse fell back into the cushions. With a trembling voice she started, "A few months ago I broke into a house at night. A woman was asleep and woke up. I tied her up and had sex with her. It was my first time." Elyse's lower lip trembled as she stopped.
"So in fact you raped her," said Andrea looking sternly at Elyse.
Elyse couldn't bear looking back and lowered her head, nodding. Then she started to weep softly. Andrea felt sorry for Elyse but stayed firm and professional.
"Can you tell me the name or place of the house?"
Elyse shook her pretty head. "I don't know the street, just how it looks and the general area."
Bert commented, "I don't think they will let you out of here."
Andrea stood firm, "She'll be under my guard and I'll bring her right back."
It took some convincing, and the hospital didn't release Elyse unless she was in a wheelchair and in a hospital van. But finally Andrea got clearance for the trip. A while later Elyse was guiding Andrea and the driver through the city. It took a few hours, but finally Elyse found the house and pointed it out to Andrea. Andrea wrote down the address and they drove back to the hospital where Elyse was wheeled back to her room. Andrea went to her work and did some checking on the resident of the house that Elyse had pointed out to her.
Elyse was bored in bed till Bert brought her some books to read. She welcomed the distraction, glad to have something to do. But the subject of the books was not so much to her liking. The first book she picked up to read had the title: 'Pregnant, now what?'
That evening Andrea made an off duty house call on the person living in the house where Elyse said she'd raped a woman. She already had seen the information on the owner. It was owned by a lawyer that now went by the name Richard Baxter. So she would have been a woman before the wave. Andrea rung the bell and a good looking man opened.
"Yes Miss, can I help you?"
Andrea smiled, "Are you Mr. Richard Baxter?"
Rick screwed his eyes, "Yes I am. Why do you want to know?"
"I'll get to that in a moment. May I come in please? I'm police officer Andrea Berlucci. I want to talk to you about something."
Rick was intrigued, "Sure Miss Berlucci, come on in, it is Miss right? Can you show me some ID please?"
Andrea showed Rick her badge and ID and replied to him, "Yes, it is now."
Both laughed at the small joke and sat down in the living room.
Rick started, "So Miss..."
But Andrea interrupted, "Andrea, please."
"Okay Andrea, what is on your mind?"
"Well, I'll come right to the point. I want to know why you never reported being raped by a burglar some 2 months ago."
Rick paled noticeably, "How do you know about that?"
Andrea apologized, "I'm sorry to surprise you like that. I'll tell you the story. We have a young girl in the hospital, who fell down after breaking into a 7-11 during the Gender wave. Actually the wave caused her to fall. She broke her leg and was admitted into the hospital. This morning we found out that the girl is pregnant. She admitted to breaking in here and raping you when you were still a woman."
Rick stood up and started pacing. He thought to himself, 'Maybe I was wrong not to report it.' Meanwhile Andrea continued, "You were pregnant before the wave, right?"
Rick halted his pacing, "Yes I was. So now this girl is carrying my baby?"
"Yes Mr. Baxter. I am curious why you never reported the incident."
"Call me Rick. What is this girl's name?"
Andrea hesitated. Rick pressed on, "I can find out by myself if necessary and I'm not going to hurt her. I'm a lawyer. Maybe I can help her with her legal problems."
"Okay Rick. Her name is Elyse Gabriëlle Doe."
Rick raised his eyebrows.
Andrea smiled, "She's an orphan at the age of 17."
"She's a minor?"
"Yes. She also admitted and I verified it, that about a year ago she spent a year in Juvenile Hall."
Rick had a dubious look on his face.
"Do you still want her as your client?"
Rick looked at Andrea. "Do I have a choice? She's the mother of my child now."
Andrea nodded in agreement and together they talked a little more about the case and Elyse.
Later that night Richard Baxter had a lot to think about. 'I was so scared that night that I didn't even notice he was a minor. I shouldn't have been so afraid of him threatening me if I had reported the rape.' When Rick was still a woman she had desperately wanted to have a baby. But she feared having intercourse with a man. She liked women better. The Gender wave had been a godsend to her. Now she was a man who could date women as he pleased. But now he was too shy to start asking a woman out.
After Rick had found out that she was pregnant she was very elated to finally have her own child. But the Gender wave had taken that from her. Now she had the chance again to have that child. Even if it meant that he had to face the person that raped her.
The next morning Elyse had a visitor. A good looking young man introduced himself as Richard Baxter attorney at law. "Hello Miss Doe. I would like to represent you at your trial for breaking and entering into the 7-11."
Elyse looked thoughtful, "I can't pay you, Mr. Baxter."
"Don't worry about that right now Miss Doe. Please tell me everything that happened."
Elyse told Rick everything and all about herself, including the rape and how distraught she felt. During the interview Rick started to like the girl. She wasn't as bad as he'd feared she'd be. She'd just had some bad luck and had made some poor decisions. He'd had many reservations coming here to ask the girl to give up the baby to him. But now he even considered living with this girl. She was quite good looking and had a nice smile when she occasionally smiled.
Finally Rick said, "Well that wraps it up. Is there anything else that you want to know?"
"Just one thing is bothering me Mr. Baxter. Why are you doing this for me and why are you being so nice?"
Rick pursed his lips, "Would you believe me if I said that it is because you're such a nice and beautiful girl?"
Elyse blushed from the compliment. "No, Mr. Baxter I wouldn't believe that. In the past my lawyer just did enough work to as needed. He didn't care if I was convicted or not. You seem different. You really care about my future, why?"
Rick looked intensely at Elyse, "You want the truth?" Elyse nodded.
"Okay, because you are carrying my baby."
Now Elyse's face went pale. She gasped for a breath. "You are ... you were ... Oh." Elyse started to cry.
At first Rick didn't know what to do. Then he sat down on her bedside and comforted Elyse.
Through her tears Elyse said to him sobbing, "You must hate me."
Rick held her at a distance, "I don't hate you. For a while I was upset and scared. I didn't know what to do after I got raped, especially after I found out I was pregnant. But then I looked forward to having a baby. I am still looking forward to the child." Rick let go of Elyse who stopped crying. Then he continued while pacing the room. "I do want full custody on our child though."
Elyse looked teary eyed at him, "You can have it. I don't want to be pregnant."
Rick's features hardened somewhat, "Okay Elyse, I will take care of the baby after it is born and I will compensate you." Rick went back to his seat and sat down. "Is there anything else Miss Doe?"
"No Mr. Baxter, nothing more." Elyse answered solemnly.
Rick didn't say anything anymore, packed his things and quietly left the room. Elyse watched him leave before starting to cry again.
Later that week Elyse was ready to be released from the hospital and Rick came to the hospital again to escort her to her trial. Andrea and her partner accompanied Rick. Andrea asked Elyse, "Where are your clothes, Elyse?" Elyse pointed to the closet, and Andrea retrieved a tank-top, a miniskirt and her bra & panties, all washed and neatly folded.
Rick coolly said, "Those are not appropriate attire for court. You'd be arrested for soliciting in those. Here put this on." With that he threw a bag on the bed.
Elyse opened the bag and took out a nice red dress. "Why do I have to wear a dress?"
Andrea smiled, "You can't wear any pants with the cast, anyway." She shooed Rick and her partner out to help Elyse getting dressed. Elyse donned the new underwear Rick had bought for her before putting on the dress with Andrea's help. It was a good fit and made her look more like a young woman instead of a girl playing hooker.
Elyse hobbled down the aisle on crutches behind Rick Baxter. Soon they reached the defendant's table and Elyse made herself a little comfortable on the chair. She sat for only a moment, when the bailiff said, "All rise, Judge Stone presiding."
Elyse scrambled to get to her feet. But before she could get more than half way, the judge said, "Please be seated." With a sigh Elyse sat down again.
The bailiff called out, "The people versus Elyse Gabriëlle Doe, charges are breaking and entering."
The judge said, "How do you plead, guilty or not guilty."
Rick stood up, "We plead guilty with mitigating circumstances, your honor."
The judge looked at Rick, "Don't I know you? I had you in my court earlier I believe."
"That is right your honor, but that was before ... when ... we were still..."
The judge sighed, "Yes, I know Mr. Baxter. Now I'm interested in the mitigating circumstances. What are they?"
Rick stepped forward, "Well for one, the store owner doesn't press charges."
The prosecutor piped, "But your client was caught in the act by the police."
"I know that, but it wouldn't have happened if the Wave didn't happen to pass by at that moment. It caused her to fall and break her leg. In fact we could sue the store owner for hazardous circumstances. But we won't. Also my client only broke in there because she was hungry, down on her luck and the skylight was left open."
The judge interrupted, "You make an interesting case. What do you have in mind, counselor?"
"I would like my client to throw herself at the mercy of the court, and ask for a suspended punishment. In her present condition she isn't likely to fall back to her previous behavior and I see possibilities for her to re-integrate into society as a normal upstanding citizen."
The prosecutor had his objections, "I'm asking for at least two years imprisonment. After her cast is taken of in about a few months, with no place to call home or family and a history of running away, she'll be back stealing or doing other crimes."
Rick had his reply ready. "Your honor, with her present condition I didn't just mean her broken leg. My client is two months pregnant. I don't think it is in my client's best interests to have her baby delivered in jail. Also I know that the father will not want the child to be born in jail."
Now Rick had the judge's full attention. "Miss Doe, do you know who the father of your child is?"
Rick answered before Elyse could speak up. "I am the father your honor."
The prosecutor gasped, while the judge screwed his eyes. "You are aware that the defendant is only 17 years old Mr. Baxter, and that this may be a conflict of interest?"
"Your honor if I may explain. Two months ago a juvenile burglar broke into a house and raped the woman in her own home. She was very scared of her attacker. So she never reported it. Then she found out that she was pregnant from the intercourse but really looked forward to having the baby. As you all know, things changed this week and babies exchanged from womb to womb. As for me representing Miss Doe, I offered my services and told her the truth about who I am, giving her ample time to seek other representation."
The judge understood the situation now. "Alright, Counselor, you have a point. Those are special and mitigating circumstances. What are your intentions?"
"I will provide housing, food and if she wants a study for Miss Doe. I will do this at least until she delivers the baby, and maybe even longer. I will take full custody of the baby and compensate Miss Doe for her time and effort."
The judge leaned back hearing the explanation of the lawyer. "Miss Doe, I would like to hear what you think." The judge looked at Elyse. "And you do understand that you are entitled to representation by another lawyer if you so desire."
Elyse got up clumsily, "Your honor, I don't want another lawyer, I know that Mr. Baxter might have a conflict of interest. But I also think that he is more concerned for me and my case than any other lawyer would be. As for the case, I realize that I should be the last person to ask favors. But I just found myself pregnant without any future to look forward to. I really want to get a second chance and make some different decisions. I understand if you deny me this chance. God knows that I don't deserve it. I just ask for a chance for the baby."
The judge smiled, "Very well spoken Miss Doe. Are you sure you're not a lawyer in disguise?"
Some people in the courtroom laughed, till the judge rapped his gavel for the room to be quiet. "My ruling is a suspended sentence of 1.5 years. If you appear before me for even a traffic violation, I'll not hesitate to impose that sentence on you." Then the judge hit the table with his gavel and said, "Case closed."
Elyse looked at Rick. He said, "You are free to come with me, provided that you stay out of trouble."
Elyse hugged him before she realized what she was doing. Then she apologized, "Oh, I'm sorry."
"That's okay, Miss Doe." Rick still kept himself professional toward Elyse. Elyse felt disappointed by Rick's cool behavior. He led her outside and they got into his car.
A short drive later the car stopped before a familiar house. Elyse looked at Rick with a question mark in her eyes, "Why are we here at your house Mr. Baxter?" Rick winced momentarily at the formal address from Elyse. "I thought that would be more comfortable here, so I thought to put you up in my home. I have separate bedrooms and you can lock the door if you want to, though I advise you not to do that."
Elyse raised her eyebrows hearing Rick say that. He tried to save himself out of his embarrassment, "I mean, you might fall down and can't get up without help."
Elyse kept her face neutral, "Okay Mr. Baxter. I see your point."
Rick helped Elyse out of the car and into the house. He was about to show her around, when he thought of something. "I guess you already know where everything is, so I'll just show you to your room."
Elyse felt guilty and embarrassed but followed Rick to a bedroom, which though nicely decorated, was very impersonal. It really was a guest bedroom. The closets were empty, and though there was a vanity, it too was empty.
Elyse turned to Rick, "I hate to ask you like this, but I don't have anything else to wear besides this dress."
Rick smiled, "I know, I'm taking you shopping now. That is if you're ready?"
Elyse quickly responded, "Sure, just a moment. I need to use the toilet first."
Elyse had a hard time trying to pull down her panties far enough and to sit down well with the cast on her leg. She did manage it though awkwardly and using a lot of time. When she finally came out, she found a restless Rick waiting impatiently. Elyse smiled a wry smile, "Sorry, but it wasn't easy with this cast."
Rick just smiled back at her and helped her silently into the car. At the mall everyone opened and held open doors for her. At first Elyse found it to be annoying, but then changed her view, as it was handy as she hobbled along on her crutches.
In the shop Elyse just wanted to grab some clothes that might fit her well enough, pay and leave the shop fast. But Rick held her back. "You have to try everything on. Women's clothing does have sizes, but it is more of a guideline. And you need to learn how to color coordinate your clothes."
Elyse sighed in frustration before disappearing with a handful of clothes into a dressing room. She came out almost directly again, "I can't change my clothes on my own like this."
A young man came up behind her, "May I be of service? I'm a salesperson here."
Elyse didn't look forward to showing herself in her underwear to any man. But then she realized that the sales person had been the opposite gender just a few days ago.
The young man smiled innocently, "I can help you discreetly with anything, unless you prefer your husband to help you."
Elyse looked up to him annoyed, "I'm not married."
The young man blushed, "Oh I'm sorry. I thought that ... Never mind. Here let me help you."
With the help of the young man it took just a short time before Elyse was ready to show the first set of clothes to Rick. He approved of the first ensemble. Several hours later Elyse was quite fed up with trying on everything. Several sets of clothes had been discarded when either Rick or Elyse didn't like them.
Finally they were finished at the store. Elyse sighed from relief, but her nightmare wasn't over yet. Rick took her next into a shoe store. Elyse had to try on several pairs and even high heels were not forgotten. Fortunately for Elyse they were discarded as not being practical in Elyse's state.
At long last shopping was over, on the way home Rick stopped at a Chinese restaurant for some takeout. Back home Elyse sighed from relief. Finally she could put her leg up. Rick served her food and they ate in silence. Afterwards Rick cleared the table and together they watched a little TV.
Elyse soon felt tired and exclaimed, "Good night, Mr. Baxter. I'm going to bed."
Rick felt disappointed again by the formal way Elyse addressed him. In a cold tone he replied, "Yes. Goodnight, Miss Doe."
Now it was Elyse's turn to feel disappointed. She thought, 'Maybe I shouldn't be so distant to him.'
But she just nodded to Rick and disappeared into the room she would call hers for the next 7 months.
Elyse stripped out of her clothes with difficulty, she would have liked the help of Rick, but felt too embarrassed to ask him. She did manage it on her own though, and put on the new nightgown that Rick bought her. She still didn't feel comfortable wearing something like that, but at least it was comfortable to wear. Elyse just shrugged and after completing her new evening ritual, got into bed.
At first sleep wouldn't come and Elyse just lay awake feeling an itch beneath the cast. She thought of all the things she had been through since the change and her strained relation with Rick. Without wanting to, Elyse silently started cry. She cried herself to sleep thinking about all of it and her future.
Elyse woke up refreshed. For a moment she wondered where she was, but then she remembered, she was in Richard Baxter's guestroom. The man she was pregnant from. Well it was her own fault, really, she had raped him when he was still a woman before the gender wave struck. Elyse found it strangely quiet in the house. It was already quite late in the morning.
Elyse got out of bed and went straight for the toilet. She still had the urge to throw up in the morning. Then after coming out of the toilet, she went to the kitchen to have a drink to get the bad taste out of her mouth. She noticed a note on the table when entering the living room. The note said: "Elyse, I've already left for work. You can watch TV or read a book. There are some sandwiches still in the fridge for lunch. I'll be back around 6 with dinner."
Elyse sighed before looking around the house. Rick had been right, she did remember the house. Everything seemed familiar to her but now she looked at everything differently. Instead of looking what was worth stealing, she now looked how to live here.
Elyse watched a little TV and looked at the books Rick had in his bookcase. He had quite a mixed collection. But the books were all in the case at random. She started to rearrange them by alphabet and found several books about cooking though they looked like they had been hardly used. Just like the kitchen looked like it had been seen little use as well. As it was nearing noontime, Elyse checked the fridge and pulled out readily bought sandwiches. Elyse thought, 'Why does he buy them? With a few ingredients he could make fresh ones.'
While eating the bland sandwiches Elyse noticed a dirty spot on the kitchen counter. So after finishing her food she picked up a rag and cleaned the spot. Then she noticed more dirty spots and soon she was cleaning the whole kitchen. She wasn't finished after that, because she noticed some dirty clothes strewn around. So she started to wash all the clothes lying around and the dirty ones from the hamper as well.
When Rick came home with a few pizza boxes, Elyse was still busy vacuuming the floor. Rick's eyes bulged out. Everything was tidied and cleaned. Even his books were alphabetized and categorized in the bookcase.
Elyse looked up from her work, "Oh, hi Ri ... Mr. Baxter. I didn't notice that you were home already."
For a moment Rick's spirit soared up as Elyse was about to start calling him by his first name. But then it sank again as she corrected herself and became formal again. He wanted to tell her to call him by his first name, but swallowed those words and said instead, "What have you done to the house?"
Elyse smiled brightly, "I noticed some dirty spots and started cleaning. I guess I got carried away a bit."
"You think? I almost don't recognize my own home anymore." Rick said in a sarcastic tone.
Now Elyse looked crestfallen. "You don't like it that I was cleaning?" Her lower lip started to tremble and quickly she turned around, dropped the vacuum cleaner and fled as fast as she could go with her leg in a cast to her room.
Arriving there she threw herself on the bed and started crying. Rick in the meantime realized the blunder he had made and looked around. As he put the food and briefcase down, he thought, 'I've got to admit the house looks great. I shouldn't be so harsh on her.'
Rick went to Elyse's room and knocked on the door. From inside the room a muffled and choked voice sounded, "Go away."
"The food is ready on the table." Rick's voice sounded pleading and convincing. But behind the closed door came the muffled voice of Elyse again, "I'm not hungry, please leave me alone."
Rick tried to open the door and found it unlocked. Slowly he opened the door wider and saw Elyse lying on the bed crying. Elyse heard something and turned to Rick. On a whining tone she said, "Why do you come into my room?"
Rick came in further and sat down next to Elyse on the bed. "Listen Elyse, I'm sorry."
Elyse interrupted him, "You hate me and you only tolerate me because of the baby."
Rick took her head in his hands and made her look at him. "That's not true, Elyse, and you know that."
Elyse still kept on crying, "But if wasn't pregnant would you still be so nice to me?
Rick didn't answer, but his silence spoke for him. Elyse continued, "I didn't think so. I'm just so afraid being pregnant. And then you didn't like my cleaning."
Rick hugged Elyse, "But I do like it Elyse. It was just the surprise that I didn't expect. Hey, I'm really sorry that I hurt your feelings. Can we get past this? Please?"
Elyse dried her tears, "Okay. I'm sorry for getting so upset so easily."
Rick waved it away. "There are a lot of new hormones racing through your body. And I know that it'll be worse for the coming months. So you're excused. Now let's eat first."
Elyse smiled a little, "Okay."
Together they went to the kitchen and soon they were enjoying the pizza. Halfway through the meal Elyse asked, "Rick, I mean Mr. Baxter..."
Rick interrupted, "Elyse, please call me Rick. There's no need to be formal."
Elyse gave him a little smile back, "Okay, Rick then. Now, I would like some money."
Rick screwed his eyes. "What do you need money for?" His tone betrayed his suspicious feelings.
Defensively Elyse exclaimed, "Hey, no need to ask me like that."
Rick visibly relaxed. "Okay, so I'm a bit suspicious. Can you blame me, knowing your history?"
Elyse looked down in shame. "I guess not. But I meant it when I said that I wanted a second chance. To me that means no more lying or stealing."
Rick looked at her, "Then, what do you need the money for?"
Elyse looked back at him with disdain, "Well since you still don't trust me, I noticed how unhealthy you live with the junk food, readily made sandwiches, pizza and Chinese takeout. So I want to go shopping."
Rick looked at her with big open eyes, "You want to cook?"
"Well, I'll try to make an effort. I don't know if I'm any good at it."
Rick laughed, "You've got my blessing." He pulled out his wallet, "Here is a hundred, it'll be enough for a taxi and the groceries."