Davy opened the door, blinking at the beautiful blonde in the antique Grecian clothing that stood there. “Yes?”
“You are a sinner,” she intoned, her voice holding an exotic accent.
Davy rolled his eyes. “Oh, please – ma’am, I’m happy with my life and—“
“You have sinned against me – against Love itself!” Her hands rose. “I am Aphrodite, the eternal embodiment of Love – and you have cheapened the gifts I gave to you!”
Davy frowned, stepping back a step. “…what?”
Her eyes met his and she intoned:
“Once a man were such as ye
Now the other shall ye be
First the male to lay eyes on thee
That male’s mate shall ye be!”
And she jabbed her hands to him, engulfing him in liquid light and fire.
Davy stood, held motionless by the light. As the brightness grew to painful proportions, he sank to the ground, eyes shut tight. Finally, the intensity was too much to bear, and he sank into oblivion.
“Miss?” Micky’s voice said as his hands gently shook Davy’s shoulders. “Miss, are you all right?”
The huddled form stirred. “Micky? Why’re you callin’ me ‘miss’?”
“You seem to have me at a disadvantage, Miss… and it’s obvious – you are a miss.”
“Micky, are you crazy? It’s me. David!”
There was a warm light in Micky’s eyes as he pushed the hair off her shoulders. “You’re not David – he’s a boy.”
Then Davy remembered the chant. “That freaky chick….” Struggling upright, Davy headed for the bathroom, and the nearest mirror. Brown eyes grew huge at the reflection presented there. Straight brown, shoulder-length hair framed delicate feminine features. Looking down, those eyes took in a form that was definitely female. “What did she do to me?” Davy cried. “I’m a girl!”
“Right in one,” Micky chuckled, coming into the bathroom and laying his hands on her shoulders – affectionately. “A very pretty girl.”
“Micky, what are you doing?” Davy shrugged off the hands. “Didn’t you hear me? I’m David!”
“I know,” he chuckled. “Aphrodite told me.”
“She told you! I think you’d better explain…”
“When I walked into the door, she told me a rhyme. Said that you used to be my friend Davy but now you would be much more to me.” He shrugged. “I didn’t believe it till I heard your voice. I don’t dig it, but I’m not arguing. You’re very pretty.”
“Would you stop it with that, Micky? It gives me the creeps. I’m your roommate, remember? Your best friend!”
“Whom I can’t call Davy anymore…that’s a guy’s name. Any suggestions?”
Davy stared at him in disbelief. “I don’t really care what you call me!”
“How about Danni?”
“Fine,” she responded. “Not that it does me any good! I’ve got to find a way to reverse this!”
“Why? Because I’m supposed to be a man, Micky! And I liked it that way!”
Micky put his arm around her slender shoulders. “I like it like this.”
Danni ducked underneath the arm. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear she put some kind of spell on you, too!”
First the male to lay eyes on thee That male’s mate shall ye be! rang through her mind.
“…or maybe she did!” Danni whirled to face Micky. “Aphrodite – she put a spell on both of us!”
Micky just smiled at her. “So?”
“So? She tricked us, Micky! First she put a spell on me to turn me into a girl, then she puts one on you to make you –“
“Fall in love?” Micky asked, still with that smile. “I fell in love with you the moment I saw you laying there. Even knowing who you were.”
“Well, I don’t believe in love at first sight,” Danni retorted. “No matter what you might believe!”
“My parents fell in love like that,” Micky said, following her into the next room. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
“Would you stop talking about love for a minute?”
“I can’t stop talking about it,” Micky said, laying his hands on her shoulders and then tilting her face upward so he could look into her eyes. “I love you, Danni.”
And he meant it. Danni could see it in the depths of his sparkling brown eyes. He truly believed he was in love. “Micky, I don’t know what to say….”
“Tell me how you feel about me.”
“You’re my best friend,” Danni replied. “I’ve always liked you. We’ve had great times together. But that’s a far cry from love!”
He nodded. “Danni…may I try to … to change your mind?”
She eyes him suspiciously. “In what way?”
“I want to… to court you.”
Danni’s eyes grew huge. “Like in dating? Flowers and candy and all that?”
“Flowers and candy and all that. The entire works.” He smiled warmly at her.
“Micky, I don’t know about all that…” Her face reflected a sudden horror. “I just thought of something – what about Kayla and Peter? What are they going to make of all this?”
“They’ll find out soon. They’re in Connecticut, visiting Peter’s father in the hospital, remember?”
“I’d forgotten,” she admitted. “At least that’s one problem I won’t have to deal with for awhile.”
He sighed and took her hands, pulling her to sit on the couch. “Danni.. I do love you. I want to make this as painless as possible for you – so how about we start with something small? Clothes shopping in the morning?”
“I have plenty of clothes…”
“Male clothes. Which you are not anymore.” He looked at her legs. “I bet your legs would be flattered in a skirt…” He tapped just underneath her shoulder. “And you need underwear for women – unless you want every man in the world thinking Danni’s a tease.”
Danni buried her head in her hands. “I don’t believe this,” she muttered. “I’m going to have to wear a… a…”
“A bra,” he whispered.
“That’s rich, that is! I’ve never tried to put one on before!”
He chuckled and pulled her close into her first hug as a female. “It’ll be fine,” he assured her, stroking her hair.
She let him hold her, giving into the comfort the embrace offered. “Looks like I’ve got a lot of adjusting to do.”
Micky left her in peace that first night, giving her time to think and time to adjust.
But the next morning, he was up with the sun, ready to help her through her first full day as a woman.
The smell of bacon and eggs woke Danni from a deep sleep.
Yawning, she peeked out from underneath the blankets that were pulled up to her eyebrows, seeing the familiar confines of the downstairs bedroom. Tossing back the bedclothes, she made her way to the door, stopping when the reflection in the dresser mirror caught her eye. “Oh…” she moaned. “It wasn’t just a dream….”
There came a gentle knock on her door. “Danni?” Micky called. “Breakfast – you up?”
“Unfortunately,” she muttered, looking at the unfamiliar curves that filled Davy’s pajamas. “I’m up,” she called back, opening the door.
He was dressed, smiling at her. “Great. I’ve got breakfast on the table. You want tea, coffee, juice….”
“Tea.” Shuffling to the table, she sat down, slouching down in the straight-backed chair, arms crossed.
Micky passed behind her, running an open palm down the length of her nearly waist-length hair. “Your hair needs brushing,” he commented as he poured the hot water for her tea and another cup for his coffee.
“I know.” Taking up her tea, she stared moodily at the kitchen wall. “I should just cut it off. It just gets in the way.”
Micky looked kindly at her. “I’ll cut it for you, then.”
“You? You expect me to trust you with a pair of scissors?”
He smiled. “I cut my sisters’ hair all the time. Mom said I’m really good at it.”
Flipping the stray locks out of her face, Danni grimaced. “After breakfast, all right?”
“Fine.” He set a plate with two eggs, bacon and toast in front of her.
“This is too much, Micky,” she said, picking at the food. “I’m not that hungry.”
“Okay,” he said amiably. “Let’s go ahead and cut your hair, then.”
Danni pushed her chair back. “Can’t wait to get your hands on it, can you, Dolenz?”
Micky chuckled and found the scissors.
Fifteen minutes later, he was brushing out her new style – it now skimmed her shoulders and had bangs straight across her forehead. “Well?” he asked, handing her a mirror.
She sighed deeply. “If I have to be like this, I guess it’ll do.” She handed the mirror back. “Man of hidden talents, aren’t you?”
“More than you know, honey.” He dropped a kiss on the new part in her hair. “Get dressed – something you can slip out of easy.”
Micky laughed. “Clothes shopping, Danni. Nothing more….sorry.” He wiped his almond-shaped eyes, giggling helplessly.
“Laugh it up,” she growled. “’Something I can slip out of easily’…what did you expect me to think?”
Micky’s smile dimmed as he went serious for a second. “You’re not ready for that, sweetheart.”
“I’m not ready for any of this!”
Micky reached to hug her, then let his hands fall to his sides. “Let’s go,” was all he said, grabbing his jacket. “I’ll be waiting in the car.”
Danni headed for the bedroom. Choosing an outfit at random, she came up with a loose-fitting, heavy cotton shirt and plain grey slacks. Dressing quickly, and studiously avoiding all mirrors, she snagged a pair of Davy’s boots, stuffing her feet into them hurriedly. Finally, she went out to the car where Micky was waiting impatiently, fingers tapping on the steering wheel.
“You look good,” he said as she got in and he pointed the large GTO toward the mall.
“I look like a chick,” she said pointedly. “What’s good about that?”
“Danni, cut it out,” he snapped, uncharacteristically angry. “You ARE a chick. You’re gonna stay a chick. Get used to it.”
She turned on the seat to look at him. “What are you so worked up over? I’m the one who has to live with this!”
“I’m worked up because I’m the one who’s in love with you!” he blurted as he parked the car.
“Are we back to that?” Danni asked. “It’s a spell, Micky! Nothing but a stupid spell!”
Micky shut off the car and before Danni could move, he had her in his arms and was kissing her passionately. When he let up, both were breathing hard. “Now tell me that is only a spell,” he whispered.
“Why did you do that?” she whispered.
Micky smiled tenderly at her, caressing her lips and chin with his thumbs. “Because you needed it.”
She shook her head. “I still don’t think this is a good idea….”
He released her and cleared his throat. “Well, we’re here… might as well get this over with, right?”
“Right.” With a quick glance at him, she exited the car and headed into the mall.
Micky made up a story on the spot about Danni’s luggage having been lost on the way to the States and her losing everything. A saleswoman took Davy to get underthings while Micky picked out some clothes for her.
When she returned, Micky smiled at her. “How’d it go?”
Danni gave a sickly smile. “Just great!” Leaning closer to Micky, she ground out through her teeth, “That was the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done in my life! Do you know what she wanted me to do? Get undressed in front of her!”
Micky deadpanned, “Did you?”
“What do you think? Does she look like the type to take no for an answer?”
“Sounds like me,” he quipped, pushing garments into her hands. “Try these on.”
She examined the garments. “Dresses! Skirts! I don’t want these! I told you that!”
“Try them on,” he repeated. “I’ve just not gotten to the pants yet… I’ll get those while you try these.” Leaning into her, he hissed, “Girls wear dresses to formal events… and in our line of work, we have to attend those, remember?”
Danni cast a quick glance at the saleslady, who seemed oblivious to the tension. “Fine. I’ll try them on,” she said quietly. “But get those trousers, will you?”
“On my way.”
She headed back into the fitting room, arms filled with clothing. Twenty minutes later, she was still there, debating whether to emerge or not. At that moment, she would have given anything to be able to hide out in the tiny room forever.
Micky knocked on the door. “You all right in there?”
“Just dandy,” came the sarcastic reply. Opening the door she stepped out. “How they wear these things I’ll never know,” she muttered, tugging at the skirt.
Micky’s almond eyes were huge. “Danni….” He whispered. “You’re beautiful!”
She gestured at the green silky blouse and darker mini-skirt. “Is this really necessary?” she asked, ignoring his stunned look.
“Gorgeous,” he whispered, gathering her into his arms and kissing her again.
She pushed him away. “Micky! We’re in the middle of a store!”
His cheeks tinged with pink. “I’m sorry… I just can’t help it… You are SO beautiful….”
Danni closed her eyes in frustration. “Look. I know this is strange. Why don’t we just buy these clothes and go home? I think it’s time we had a long talk.”
Their talk broke down when Danni began to cry. She’d been telling Micky about her family and how they didn’t believe in love at first sight – again – and suddenly she began to sob. When the sobbing ended, she screamed out, “THIS SUCKS!”
“Hey, calm down,” Micky said, taking her hand. “It can’t be that bad…..”
“You try telling my father that his only son has just become his fourth daughter!”
“You didn’t have a choice, honey.”
“I know that,” she ground out, paying no attention to the endearment. “But it’s not going to make it any easier to tell him. You know he hasn’t been well.”
Micky thought for a moment. “Would it be easier to tell him that Davy was killed?”
“I don’t know…” She rubbed her eyes, trying to dispel the beginnings of a headache. “Maybe that would be best….”
“Maybe…” Micky leaned back and sighed. “I do wonder how Peter and Kay are making out….”
“We’ll know soon enough,” Danni replied absently. “When did you say they were coming back?”
“Supposed to be two weeks.” Micky checked his watch. “They should have been in Connecticut this morning.”
“They’ll be calling tonight, then,” Danni observed.
As if on cue, the phone rang.
Micky and Danni looked at each other for a second, then Micky answered it. “Yeah?” His face brightened. “Hey, Kay! How’s things?”
“Not bad,” came the disembodied voice. “Peter’s family seemed to have accepted the story about me being Mike’s sister.”
“Great!” Micky smiled. “Hey, what about Peter’s…. uhm…. How are they taking the fact that he can’t….”
“See?” Kayla supplied. “Very well, all things considering. They’re concerned, but I can tell they’re impressed by how well he’s adjusted.”
“Well, it’s been just over a year….” Micky cleared his throat. “Uhm… Kay… Something’s… happened here.”
“What is it, Micky? Are you two all right?”
“Oh, yeah, we’re fine… We’re… uhm…” He considered, wondering how to put this. “We’re like you and Peter now… minus the blindness.”
“Like me and Peter…” She gulped hard. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
“Well… tell me what you think I’m sayin’ and I’ll tell you if you’re right!” Micky grinned as he spoke, winking at Danni.
“Micky, if you don’t tell me what’s going on in about three seconds, I’m gonna come through this phone line and choke it out of you!”
“Davy’s named Danni now.”
“Oh, my – PETER! GET OVER HERE!”
“What?” his voice was clearly heard. “What’s the matter?”
“You tell him, Micky,” Kayla said. “I’m going to go sit down!”
“Peter… what happened to Mike’s happened to Davy.”
“And I’m in love with her.”
“Peter, are you there?”
“Yeah….” He cleared his throat. “Kay, tell Mom we’re leavin’ in the morning!” A faint Spanish curse, then, “Micky, we’re on our way. We’ll be there in five days.” And Peter hung up.
Micky blinked at the buzzing phone before sitting it in its cradle.
“How did they take it?” Danni asked.
“They’re coming home.” Micky sank back onto the couch.
“But they just got there! Aren’t they going to stay and see how Peter’s father is doing?”
“’Tell Mom we’re leaving in the morning’.” Micky smiled. “I had no idea he was gonna do this.”
Danni shook her head. “In a way I’m glad they are coming back. At least Kay knows what I’m going through!”
“And Peter knows what I’m going through.” Micky sighed. “But I’m dreading it because of one thing.” He looked at her seriously, and added, “You do realise that once they get back, we’re gonna have to share a bedroom again?”
“Maybe so.” She gave him a warning look. “But those beds stay apart, you got that?”
“Only if you want them to be pushed together,” he nodded, and she realised he was not teasing her now. “Till then it’s the two twins.” Then he grinned “Though after sleeping in a king, you may be spoiled…”
“I’ll suffer,” she retorted dryly.
Micky laughed and pulled her into another hug.
Micky smiled over his coffee at the lovely unsmiling woman sitting across from him. “I think we should go ahead and move your stuff into the upstairs bedroom,” he announced without preamble.
Danni nearly choked on a mouthful of her tea at the blunt statement. “What? Why, Micky? Peter and Kay won’t be back for days yet!”
“Right.” Micky put his cup down. “And it’s going to be strange, a man and a woman sharing a room. I’m proposing we go ahead and begin now, so it won’t feel that way when they get back.”
Danni set her cup down, leaning back in the chair. “Maybe I should just sleep on the couch,” she sighed.
“You tried that after they were first married,” Micky reminded her. “Their lovemaking kept you awake.”
“Maybe you ought to sleep on the couch!”
“Can’t. Same reason.” He folded his arms. “Face it, honey – we’re stuck with each other.”
She threw him a sour look. “I hate it when you’re right,” she grumbled. “Gives you a big head!”
Micky smiled, then sobered. “I’ll clean out Davy’s closet – none of that stuff will look right on you anymore.”
“I spent good money on those things,” Danni protested. “I should be able to save something!”
His brows drew together in a thoughtful frown. “And if we pitch the eight-buttons, our uniform look’s shot.” He looked at her. “Mrs. Purdy?”
“Nope! No way!” Danni shot out of her chair. “She’ll turn all my things into miniskirts like she did for Kayla!”
Micky rolled his eyes. “She turned one of Kay’s shirts into a minidress! One! If I tell her not to, she won’t.” He leaned forward. “Look, what choice do you have? If you want to keep some of that stuff, I mean!”
“I know. But I don’t have to like it!”
Micky smiled. “Then go pick out what you want altered – and I’ll take them to her.” He froze. “Uh-oh.”
Danni swung around to face him. “What’s the matter?”
He was blushing furiously. “She’ll need your….measurements.”
One delicate brow arched. “You come anywhere near me with a measuring tape and you’ll draw back a nub!”
Micky raised both ands. “Not me, silly! Her! Like in the store!”
“But…Mrs. Purdy….I’d have to…” She shook her head violently. “I can’t do it!”
Micky licked his lips, thinking – then suddenly smiled. “You won’t have to.” He moved to the anything drawer and pulled out a measuring tape. “Relax – I’m not going to.” He lay it in her hands. “You are.”
“Micky, I don’t even know what to measure!”
“Didn’t you ever spy on your sisters?” he asked with a wicked gleam in his eyes.
Danni blushed furiously. “Well….”
“Well, then. Add that to what the saleslady measured in the store.” He gave her a push toward the stairs. “Just remember to take them off when you do!” He grinned. “I’ll wait down here.”
Micky turned as the rattle of the stairs drew his attention. Danni had emerged at long last, a piece of paper crumpled in her fist. “Got them?”
“Yes.” Stuffing the crumpled paper into her pocket, she headed for the pile of Davy’s clothes Micky had gathered.
“So have you made a decision?” he asked, coming around to join her.
“I don’t know,” she answered, sorting through the garments. “Maybe the jackets I can still wear, but not a lot else….”
“So….” He said, holding up a yellow and black shirt. “What of this do you want altered?”
Danni picked out three pairs of slacks, along with a Nehru shirt. “Let’s see what she can do with these. Maybe she’ll have some ideas about the rest of it.”
“And the eight-button ones?” he pressed.
“Well, they’re too short to wear them like Kayla does. I’m still close to the same height, not shorter like she is….”
“You think you can get by with pairing them with a pair of pants?” he asked, all seriousness.
She shrugged. “I don’t see why not.”
“Well that solves that then,” he said with a smile. “What do you want me to do with the rest?”
“We can take them down to the Salvation Army, I guess.” Danni fondled a green print shirt. “And I liked this one,” she lamented.
Micky took it from her hands and tossed it into the pile of clothes she had selected for Mrs. Purdy to alter. He moved the eight-buttons to another pile and began to lay the others in garbage bags. When he was done, he asked, “You want to come with me?”
“Sure.” With one last regretful look at the discarded clothes, she turned to the door.
Later that afternoon, Micky stepped back from the new, somewhat Spartan closet. “There. What do you think?”
“Is this where I say that I don’t have a thing to wear?” Danni quipped.
Micky blinked, then began to howl with laughter, collapsing on the bed beside Danni and clutching his sides with one hand while the other wiped his tearing eyes.
“What’s so funny?”
“That was so… so… female!” he howled. “You’re…adjusting…”
She grabbed the pillow, hitting him over the head. “Knock it off, Laughing Boy!”
“HEY!” Micky grabbed another pillow and the fight was on!
They dueled with all their might, not stopping until one of the pillows burst, filling the air with a blizzard of tiny feathers. Finally, exhausted but laughing, they fell onto the bed, gasping for breath.
“You’re not a bad pillow fighter, Micky!” Danni gave him a sideways glance. “Practiced on your sisters, did you?”
“Nope, Mom wouldn’t let us,” he quipped. Then, without warning, he lunged and tackled her, knocking her flat on her back and straddling her, grinning from ear to ear as he held her wrists beside her hears. “Practiced on you guys!”
Danni’s breath stopped as she lay on her back, immobilized. In the fall, her shirt had ridden up and was dangerously close to coming unbuttoned. “Uhm…Micky?”
“Hm?” he asked, grinning, the teasing still in his eyes.
“What are you doing?”
The teasing faded, as did his grin. “I….” His voice dropped to a whisper as his eyes skimmed her body, slightly exposed by the position she was in. “…Danni….”
She followed the direction of his eyes. “Maybe you should…. Stand up?” she said softly.
Mutely, he shook his head once – before his head lowered and his mouth captured hers.
Danni’s eyes widened, and she struggled briefly, before realising that Micky’s grip was unbreakable. Slowly, the eyes closed, and she relaxed.
His kiss was very thorough, though he kept his tongue to himself. He broke the kiss long enough to nuzzle her neck, then nip her earlobe before kissing her cheek with a sigh.
Danni’s eyes fluttered open. “Why did you do that?” she whispered.
Micky released her wrists, but did not let her up. Instead, he kissed her on the lips again, wrapping his arms around her shoulders as he did so.
Danni’s arms came around him, seemingly of their own volition. Finally, she pushed him gently away. “I asked you why you did that.”
“Because I love you,” he whispered, laying his head on her shoulder and nuzzling her neck gently.
She silently mulled that over. Micky truly believed he loved her. And, if she was honest about it, she hadn’t put up much of a fight just now. “I don’t know what to say….”
He pulled away. “I’m… I’m sorry… it’s too fast, isn’t it?”
Danni nodded silently, biting her lip.
Micky hugged her again, holding her tight for a moment. “I’m so sorry….”
“Just… cool it for awhile, okay? Don’t push me….”
Micky nodded against her shoulder. “Just… if I forget… please forgive me….” And wetness splashed onto her shoulder.
“Micky?” She reached up to turn his face toward her. “Why are you crying?”
“Because I love you…and this is hard… I’ve hurt you, Danni….”
She pushed him upright, then sat up herself. “Don’t be silly, Micky. This is hardly your fault!”
He sighed, reaching to take her hand. “I do love you... so much…”
“I know you believe that. That’s what makes this so difficult. You’re my best friend, Micky. I don’t want to hurt you, either.”
Micky’s eyes were unusually deadly serious as he gazed at her. “First of all, Danni – I don’t believe it. I know it. I love you.” He sighed. “But thank you for not wanting to hurt me.”
She nodded, scrambling to her feet. “One day at a time, right?”
He smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “More like one hour at a time.”
She gave a small, tight smile. “Point taken.”
Micky stepped from the shower and sighed as he reached for his pajamas. He wasn’t used to having to dress in the bathroom. “Just one of the changes I’ll have to make livin’ with a lady in my room, huh?” he asked his reflection.
When no answer was forthcoming, he sighed again and walked into the bedroom, buttoning his top as he did so.
Danni looked up from the book she was reading. “Did you say something?”
“Nope.” He crossed to the bed and pulled his covers down, then slid the small rosary from under the pillow and turned his back on her as he used to do to Davy, whispering his prayers.
She waited till he’d finished before she spoke. “Why do you always turn away like that?” she asked.
He shrugged, replacing it. “Habit, I guess. Mike was never comfortable with me saying my rosary, so I’d turn my back and whisper the decades.”
“You don’t have to do that with me.”
Micky smiled slightly. “I don’t?”
“I say a few prayers of my own,” she informed him. “I just tend to do it silently. But it doesn’t bother me to see you practice your faith.”
“Thanks.” He sighed. “Guess the clown has a serious side too, huh?” He snuggled into the covers and closed his almond-shaped eyes. “Good night, love.”
“Good night, Micky.” She turned off the bedside reading lamp and, laying her book aside, settled under the blankets.
The next three days passed in a blur of routine. The incident on the bed had no repeating, and the pair grew comfortable staying in the same room.
At noon precisely on the fifth day, the rental car with the distinctive cough pulled up outside the pad.
“They’re home,” Micky said, not raising his eyes from the pot of chili he was concocting.
Danni finished setting two places, then went back to the cabinets and pulled out two more bowls. “I hope they’re hungry,” she said. “You made enough chili to feed an army!”
“Always do, love,” he cracked as the key turned in the lock.
Peter walked in, cane swinging and a decidedly deep frown on his face. “Micky? Dav…Danni?”
Danni cleared her throat. “Over here, Peter. By the table.”
His head turned and his useless eyes widened as he moved that way. “You are a girl!” he gasped.
“Déjà vu all over again,” Micky cracked as Kayla walked in.
Kayla took one look at Danni and stopped dead still, the small suitcase she carried crashing to the floor. “Oh my….” She breathed. “I gotta sit down!” She made her way to the couch, falling on it heavily.
Peter’s attention turned instantly to his wife. He made his way to the couch and sank beside her. “Honey? What is it?”
“Memories,’ she replied. “Seeing Da…Danni is like going through the whole thing again….”
Peter hugged her from behind. Micky walked over and draped a hand on Danni’s shoulder. “It’s okay, Kayla,” he said softly. “This wasn’t done for some stupid experiment. And we aren’t conditioned.”
Kayla’s sharp eyes caught the seemingly casual gesture. “Then what exactly are you?” she asked, looking pointedly at Micky’s hand.
“I love her,” Micky said bluntly.
Behind her back, Peter shook his head slowly.
“It’s the curse,” Danni explained swiftly. “The same curse that changed me into a woman made Micky fall in love with me!”
Peter raised his head and sighed. “So HE has been conditioned. And you…?”
Danni shook her head. “No. Not conditioned. Just altered.”
Peter nodded. “Kay, be my eyes. What does she look like?”
“Well, about the same height as Davy – slender -- straight shoulder-length hair…. She looks like Davy, Peter – only feminine. It’s hard to explain!”
He nodded slowly. “I see. Well…” he cleared his throat. “Dad’s…dying,’ he reported. “He was a little… uhm…discomfited to find his oldest son has gone blind, but – what is so funny, Amorita?”
“That didn’t startle him nearly as much as your bringing home a wife you’d never told them about!”
Peter chuckled. “True… I’d have given anything to have seen his face when he saw you! I did like his ‘Who the hell are you!’ crack!”
“You should have really seen his face when I said ‘I’m your son’s wife, who the hell are you?’!”
That set Micky and Danni into giggles.
Peter laughed. “Yeah, and there was silence for a very long time, if I remember right!”
Kayla laughed. “He was speechless, all right! But he more than made up for it later!”
“Yeah….” Peter’s cheeks became tinged with red. “Now you know why I never brought anyone home before --- Dad’s rather… er… colourful vocabulary.”
“Your father?” Danni asked in amazement. “But I’ve never heard you swear – at least not in English!”
Peter laughed. “Yeah, Dad’s vocabulary is very colourful – in English. He’s the one who taught me the other swear words I use.”
“That’s enough, Peter,” Kayla admonished. “He made up for the vocabulary in a big way, didn’t he, Shotgun?”
“He sure did,” her husband said with a sweet, loving smile, pulling her closer to him. Micky shot a longing look at Danni as Peter finished for their benefit: “He told the entire Tork clan to welcome their newest member and he blessed her – blessed her, if you can dig it!”
“Don’t sound so surprised, Peter,” Kayla said. “Did you think he wouldn’t like me?” she asked saucily.
“Kay…. I told Dad the Truth about us. All of it.”
“You did what?” she whispered tautly. “I thought we agreed that we wouldn’t, Peter!”
He sighed. “Dad’s dying, Kay. He agreed to keep our secret… but I couldn’t let him go without his knowing – without a chance for him to try to understand.”
She hugged him tightly. “I’m so sorry, Peter.”
Peter smiled and found her lips unerringly.
Micky whimpered and turned away, after one longing look at Danni.
“Peter? Kayla?” Danni said, trying to catch their attention.
Peter smiled and leaned his forehead against his wife’s. “I think we’re being paged.”
Kayla turned to them, smiling. “Yes, Danni?”
“Can we talk?”
Kayla nodded. She gestured toward the bedroom.
“I think we need to talk too,” Peter said, and Micky whispered, “All right.”
Inside the bedroom, Kayla asked, “How are you doing?”
Danni shook her head. “I’m…. adjusting. It’s hard, though – not only do I have to adjust to an entire new body, an entire new identity…..but I have to deal with Micky on top of everything else!”
“He really does love you,” Kayla breathed.
Those words propelled Danni off the bed she was sitting on and she paced for several steps before she admitted, “I know… at least he thinks he does.”
“No think about it,” Kayla said with a grin. “He does. It’s as plain as it was when Peter and I first started out.”
Danni sighed. “Kay, I don’t love him. Not like that….” She broke off…and then sank back down onto the bed and told Kayla about the incident on the bed. “….and it was like my arms and mouth had a mind of their own!”
Kayla burst out laughing. “I’m sorry!” she gasped, seeing Danni’s perturbed expression. “But it wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t so damned familiar!”
Danni paled. “Oh my stars… you think I am falling for him!”
“Danni, I don’t know if you’re falling for him…but it sure doesn’t sound like you put up much of a fight. There’s got to be some reason for that!”
Danni keeled over, hands over her face. “Oh, great….” she moaned.
A few minutes earlier, Micky sighed as he saw the bedroom door close. “I hope she can help Danni,” he said.
“Kay’ll do her best,” Peter promised. “But I’m worried about you.”
“Me?” Micky came over and sat beside his friend on the couch. “Me?” he repeated. “Why?”
“You’re hung up on her,” Peter answered. “You already said you love her, and you believe it. I can hear it in your voice. And she doesn’t love you.”
“No…she doesn’t.” Shame tinged his voice. “Peter… I did something a few days ago…” and he told his blinded friend about the incident on the bed. “…and I can’t apologise enough…”
To Micky’s surprise, Peter began to laugh. “Micky, did she ASK for an apology?”
“…no….what’s so funny?”
“Do you have any idea how many kisses I stole from Kay right after the change? It used to infuriate her – after. Almost sounds like you two are following the same pattern.”
“Well…” he admitted. “Does seem like it…but we don’t have to share a bed!”
“That’s too bad,” Peter mused, with a wicked grin.
Micky looked at him, wishing for about the millionth time he could read the emotion in the dead eyes. “What do you mean by that?”
“Besides the obvious?” Peter drawled. “It brought us closer, Mick. Shared experience is a powerful thing, and the physical bond just deepened it.”
Micky sighed. “She’d never go for it. There’s no way I could convince her that I can’t sleep without her – or that she can’t without me.”
“Probably not,” Peter agreed. “But, if you’re really sure of this, my advice is to stay close to her, be with her – even if you have to push a little.”
Micky smiled. “Touching you,” he whispered, alerting Peter before his hand landed on his shoulder. “Thanks, man.”
Danni and Kayla emerged then, and Micky stood up. “Danni…can I talk to you on the beach?”
“Micky, they just got back,” Danni protested. “It’s not polite to cut out on them!”
“You two go on,” Peter said, smiling. “I need to talk to Kay alone anyway.”
Danni shrugged. “Let’s go.”
After a moment, Peter asked, “Are we alone?”
“They’re gone. What did you want to talk about?”
“Micky is deeply in love with Danni. Maybe all she needs is a push.” He was grinning again.
“Hmmm…” Kayla sat down beside him, curling up against his shoulder. “I think she’s more than half-way there already. Did Micky tell you about the pillow fight?”
“He sure did. But you remember what brought US together more than anything?” He kissed the top of her head. “Having to share a bed.”
“How could I forget….You’re not thinking of…”
“I certainly am.” His smile grew. “Will you help me out?”
“They’ll kill us, Peter!”
“We almost killed them when they did it to us. Payback is sweet.”
“Now you’re speaking my language,” Kayla crowed. “When do we do it?”
“Now, while they’re on the beach!” he laughed.
Micky and Danni came back in and the four had a chili lunch. After practice, they sat down to rework some songs. After a pizza supper, they went to bed.
Danni went up first. Mick was finishing tightening his snare as he saw her disappear into the bedroom.
“BLOODY HELL!” came Danni’s voice. “Who did this to the beds?”
“Did what?” Micky cried, erupting into the bedroom. “Oh, HELL!” he cried, shocked. I didn’t think he’d actually DO it!
“Micky, tell me you didn’t do this,” Danni demanded. “Then I won’t have to commit murder!”
“Danni,” Micky said, gazing deep into her eyes, letting her see the truth there. “I had nothing to do with this!”
“Then who….Peter?” Danni shook her head in denial. “Peter wouldn’t do a thing like this!”
“Kay would…” Mickys eyes went huge.
“Yes, she would!” Kayla appeared in the doorway. “I seem to recall having the same thing happen to me not so very long ago.”
“But….Kay…” Micky protested. “You had to…we don’t…”
“We’ll see about that,” was her enigmatic smile.
Micky looked at Danni, then at Kayla. “So… you’re saying the couch isn’t an option – for either of us?”
“I think, that in your own way, you two are as programmed as Peter and I were. Make of that what you will.”
She left and Micky sighed. “Danni, I’m sorry… I had no idea they were gonna…”
“I know,” Danni looked up at him, eyes huge. “The thing that bothers me is that she just may be right.”
Micky dropped a small kiss on her forehead and gathered his pajamas, heading for the shower. Danni took hers in the morning, he took his at night.
Danni quickly changed into a pair of Davy’s old pajamas, which she was still using, and sat gingerly on the far side of the huge bed. Try as she might, she couldn’t bring herself to get under the covers.
Micky returned, his hair straight and damp, and blinked at her. “Havin’ trouble?” he asked softly.
“I can’t do this, Micky.”
He looked at her for a long moment, then reached under one of the pillows. Nothing. He sighed and came around to sit beside Danni, reaching under that pillow. “Ah!” He pulled out his rosary. “Danni…we have to do this. Will you…pray with me? For strength if nothing else?”
Silently, she nodded.
He held out his arm in a silent invitation. At her look of surprise, he grinned. “I need both hands for this.”
She moved tentatively closer, not sure what to expect.
Micky lay his arm gently around her and scooted close, using both hands to hold the beads. “Ready?” he whispered.
Micky closed his eyes. “Holy God, look down on us and answer these prayers we lift to Thee…” He began the decades, pausing after each bead to pray for his family, one person by name, then for Kayla and Peter, then for Danni, then for himself, then for strength to deal with their new situation.
Danni leaned closer to him, soothed by the soft, steady litany of his prayers.
At last, he whispered, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit I pray…Amen.” He squeezed his hands together once, then dropped a kiss on Danni’s head as he lay the rosary back under his pillow. “I feel better.”
“That was beautiful, Micky. Why do you keep this side of yourself hidden?”
He shrugged. “It’s easier to be the clown than to let people know I’ve got a deep faith that gets me through life. You and Kayla are the only ones that know.”
Danni looked surprised. “Not Peter? He’s the only one of us I would have called really spiritual, before tonight.”
“Not Peter.” He smiled. “I’ve never shared a bedroom with Peter.”
“Touché.” Turning, she reached for the alarm clock to wind it. “We’d better get some sleep.” She replaced the clock without setting the alarm, since they had a human alarm clock right downstairs.
Micky pulled back the covers, but made no move to get in. He held them up and looked at Danni, chewing his lip.
“Well, what are you waiting for?”
He nodded toward the exposed sheets. “Get in.”
“All right,” she said, casting him a confused look as she slid between the sheets.
Without a word, Micky drew the covers to her chin and kissed her forehead before snapping off the light by her side and moving around to his side of the bed. He slid in between the sheets and snapped off that light. They lay in silence for a few minutes.
“Micky?” Danni asked quietly.
“Hm?” he asked, just as quietly.
“Does this feel as strange to you as it does to me?”
Micky considered that. He rolled over and propped himself up on one elbow, looking down at the lovely woman beside him. “Truthfully? No. This feels….right.”
“Somehow I thought you’d say that,” she sighed. “Let me rephrase that. Are we going to sleep, or lay here staring into the dark all night?”
Again, Micky considered it. Then he brushed his lips against her cheekbone and whispered, “I’m going to try to sleep.” He rolled over, turning his back and laying down again.
Following suit, Danni turned on her side and closed her eyes, willing herself to sleep.
“Night, love,” Micky whispered.
Danni didn’t answer. She was already asleep.
Micky smiled into the darkness before surrendering to sleep himself.
CONTINUE ON TO PART TWO