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Calm yourself, Jane. You’re a big girl… boy.

I looked down at the suit. The tie felt like it was suffocating me. Did guys wear these things? It had been Andrew who tied it for me, reaching up and wrapping it around my neck. It made me feel happy and odd at the same time; all of this felt odd.

Samantha worked at a superstore. They also sold most of the items on Allan’s list. At least I’d be able to knock out two birds with one stone. I’d get the supplies first though. I’d just avoid Samantha until I was ready to deal with her. Most of the things I needed were in the hardware department and Samantha hated the hardware department, or so she told me.

I moved down the aisles, quite aware that several people were looking at me. At first, I was convinced it was because they could tell I wasn’t a boy. Maybe I should have practiced more in front of the former boys. Eventually, I realized it was more likely because I was walking around in a suit.

I turned a corner and froze. Samantha was crouched down in the aisle, putting away several goods on the shelf. I looked up at the aisle sign. I was in the right place; this was hardware. What was she doing here? Finally, Samantha looked up and noticed me. Our eyes met, and instantly I knew she must recognize me. This wouldn’t work, Samantha and I were too close. The secret was out of the bag.

“Hi? Can I help you?” she asked, looking very awkward.

I stared at her aghast. She didn’t seem to recognize me at all. She looked away, a blush forming on her cheeks. Why was she blushing? I took a few steps forward, and she seemed to tense. Oh come on, she wasn’t this awkward around boys at school. This was Samantha we are talking about here.

“I thought you liked working in cosmetics.” The words popped out before I could stop myself.

I cringed on the inside. I was as bad as Daniel, giving away my entire façade with the first word. Samantha blinked, then seemed to blush even more. Why did she keep refusing to look me in the eye? It was getting a little annoying, but the more I tried to meet her eyes, the more she seemed to become embarrassed.

“I… I… was moved over here.” Samantha breathed.

“You let one of those guy coworkers you work with tell you what to do?” when Samantha gave a timid nod I let out an irritated sigh, “It annoys me when you let other guys push you around.”

Samantha had been telling me about this. There was a group of three guys at her work who were creeps. They dumped work on her so they could slack off. I had run into them once a few months prior and knew they were just a bunch of obnoxious players. They made Samantha feel like dirt, then demanded she did stuff for them to justify her self-worth. The reason they got away with it was that one of them was a department manager and had power over her. It made me angry that someone who was so strong could be manipulated like this.

“I… I’m sorry, do I know you?”

Her words caused me to blink, “Ye- No. We haven’t met. I’ve just… been… watching… you… from… afar?”

I cringed; now I sounded like a creepy stalker. So far I was screwing this meeting up. She still wasn’t looking at me. Any second now a security guard was going to tackle me to the floor. I’d be dragged away and placed on a sex offender list.

“What’s your name?” Samantha asked, looking up through her eyelashes.

Crap, I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I couldn’t tell her my name was Jane, could I? That’s not a very manly name. Maybe I could call myself Jayne. No, she’d see right through it. She’d know I look like me and then it is game over man.

“My name is… John, John Anigai.” I winced at the incredibly weak name choice; that’s a name only a crappy parody writer could come up with.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” Samantha asked.

She seemed to be recovering from her previous shyness. She still was only looking at me through her eyelashes, her head down in a demure pose. Well, I was trying to meet with her, and I did need the supplies on Allan’s list. I supposed that this worked as the chance meeting it was supposed to be.

“Yeah, I guess. I have this list of supplies I need.”

“Alright, I can do that,” Samantha’s demeanor seemed to be recovering, “What’s the first thing?”

“Well, I need some wire, I guess.”

Samantha enthusiastically nodded, leading me to several spools of wire. I glanced over them, realizing that Allan hadn’t specified which type I needed. Each was designated by a thickness and a length. I flicked a few, measuring out an arm length, wrapping it around my wrist, and muttering to myself. None of it really helped, I just didn’t want to look like I didn’t know what I was doing.

“Can I look at the list?” Samantha asked.

I handed her the piece of paper Allan had given me, I hadn’t read the thing all the way through myself but it seemed like some pretty standard stuff. Eventually, I settled on a thinner wire. Electronics all require thin wires; that made sense. 

“Alright, let’s see,” Samantha looked through the list, her eyes growing a little wide.

“What?”

“You need some zip ties.”

“Sounds right.”

“Electric clamps and a car battery.”

“Sure.”

“A small, waterproof, electric massager.”

“Yeah?”

“A ball gag?”

“Is that on the list?”

“Alcohol.”

“It doesn’t have to be the 200 proof.”

“Chloroform…”

“You guys sell that right?”

“A hot poker.”

“I guess…”

“Rubber gloves.”

“Well… I guess… you don’t want to get your hands dirty…”

“A… shovel?”

“I…”

Samantha’s look darkened as she met my eyes with her own. She had a serious look on her face and I swallowed. What the hell was Allan thinking? This list sounds like a list from a freaking serial killer! She was going to run away screaming, and I was heading to jail. That freaking idiot.

“I know what this is.” Samantha’s hand turned into a fist, crumpling the paper list just a bit.

Here it was. I had to run away. This was a complete and utter failure. I’d live the rest of my life as a pervert in a male body. My hopes and dreams were just fluttering away.

“You’re into BDSM, aren’t you?”

Wait. “What?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, since you’re a businessman you probably need to keep appearances,” Samantha lowered her head and moved closer to me, “Its’ okay. Would this be your first time with this kind of thing?”

“I…” I took a deep breath, “Yes, I was just curious. That’s it. I like the whole dominate submissive thing. Not a deranged murderer at all.”

 “I’ve been kind of curious too,” The smile on Samantha’s face dropped into a look of surprise as she shook her hands, “I’m not saying I do that kind of thing or anything. I’ve just thought about it. I mean, I’ve never even had a boyfriend before or done anything with a boy. It’s just that sometimes you’re curious and you read some stuff. Not that I’m a creep or anything. I mean I’m a virgin and I’ve… oh shut up Samantha… someone please stop me.”

I frowned, “What do you mean? What about Derrek?”

Samantha had told me about her boyfriend Derrek, the one that left the country. Supposedly, they had started a sexual relationship for a while before he took off. She was never that upset about it, which is why I always thought she broke it off with him.

“How… do you know about Derrek? The only person I’ve ever told that to is Jane.”

“Right…” I fought the urge to keep the expression on my face smooth, “She told me.”

The expression on Samantha’s face dropped into a look of depression. Did I say something wrong? For a second, I was terrified that she figured out who I was.

“So you’re another one of the boys into her, huh?”

“What? No… no, not at all. She’s my… er… cousin.” 

Samantha glanced me up and down suspiciously, “A cousin? I guess you kind of look a little like her. You’re not… like into her are you?”

“Ew, no, I’m her cousin, that’s gross.”

“Cause she has that little brother, Daltom, and sometimes he looks a little too into her if you know what I am saying.”

It was my turn to blush, “They’re just friends. There is nothing going on there. That’d be gross.”

Samantha raised her eyebrow, but didn’t say anything else. Is that what she thought of me? That I was some kind of pervert interested in my own half-brother? The thought of it put me in a bad mood. We gathered the remainder of the supplies in relative silence. She kept glancing over at me, wanting to say something. Maybe it was the look on my face, but she kept her mouth shut. Once we gathered the supplies, I turned to leave.

“Wait, I…” Samantha blushed again, lowering her head, “Jane is just always so good with guys. I thought you might be another one of the guys into her and I was kind of afraid of that… I guess she is just my best friend, why does she have to be so perfect? Sometimes, I just kind of get jealous for no reason. I don’t know, I’m sorry, I know she’s your relative. I didn’t mean to make you mad.”

I glanced back at her with an incredulus look on my face. This caused her to shrink back even more so I smoothed out my features. She thinks I’m perfect? Samantha looks beautiful, even standing there in a Walmart polo. Her curly, blonde hair done up perfectly. I could never get my hair to look like that. She gets perfect grades. She is talented, writes, and participates in all of those other sports and activities after school. Hell, she’s practically the most popular girl in school and she sees me as perfect?

“Trust me, I have absolutely no interest in Jane.” I responded flatly. “I only came here to see you.”

Samantha’s eyes seemed to brighten as I ground my teeth. I was terrible at this. Once again I gave away too much. She probably thought I was a complete freak now. I’d just have to tell the guys we’d have to switch to a plan B. Hopefully, they’d come up with one by the time I got home. I turned away, ready to hide my shame. What a disaster.

“Um, would you like to… I don’t know, go out or something?” Samantha asked.

I turned back and glanced at her with surprise. What? She was asking me out?  Her face started to turn crimson once again. What was with her today? It was like I didn’t even know Samantha.

“Yeah, sure, Tomorrow, eleven. I’ll pick you up at your house.” I turned and began to walk away before I could embarrass myself any farther.

“Don’t you need to know my address or my phone number or something?” She called after me.

“I already have them,” I shrugged and continued to walk; great, now I sounded even more like a stalker.

I barely heard a response from behind me, Samantha muttered “so hot” under her breath. I shivered; what the heck was she talking about? I didn’t know where she was coming from. I found myself annoyed at my own sex for being so confusing. I straightened out my sports coat and sighed to myself. Then the reality of the situation just came crashing home on me.  It looked like I was about to go on a date with my best friend.

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