Chapter 10

Cate Fox and the Case of the Fading Magic by Emily


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Synopsis: There's a lot on Cate's mind. She finds an unsuspecting ear talk to.

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I woke up to Sophia’s alarm which she promptly turned off. I guess she’s home.


I groggily opened my eyes and she slowly got out of bed. “What time did you get in?” I asked. 


“Late,” she sleepily replied.


“I was worried about you,” I honestly stated.


She looked at me inquisitively. “You were?”


“I mean, two girls went missing, then magic is fading. My roommate disappeared for the evening.”


“I didn’t think you’d notice,” she laughed.


“It was quiet,” I smiled. “Too quiet.”


“Well,” she confessed, “I was out meeting up with a friend.”


“Yeah, I saw you at the club.” I sat up and stretched my arms out.


She stopped and looked back at me as if she’d just been caught. “You did?”


“James, right?”


She then turned bright red. “You weren’t supposed to see that.”


“Sorry. What’s the big deal?”


“He’s a Were. It’s complicated.”


“It didn’t look very complicated from where I was sitting.” I was debating on whether or not to share my own experience at the club with her.


“Dating a Were comes with obvious complications. I’m straight.”


I thought about her groping me and turning me those first few days. “I actually thought you were into…” Me? “Girls.”


“Nah, I was always into boys. Even as Seth. Being gay, and the homophobia around me contributed to my self-hate.”


“Then what about last week? With me?”


She giggled. “Cate, I like you, and you just needed a nudge to embrace your femininity. I’m glad it worked.”


“Hey, I’m not embracing anything.”


“Putting on a bra seems to be second nature to you now. Anyway, I’m going to get you to wear a skirt one day.”


“No, you’re not.” Then I realized Amanda, Jessica and Sally already got me into a little black dress last night. But Sophia doesn’t need to know that. “Anyway we were talking about you. Is this James treating you right? If not, I’m going to have to kick his ass.”


She turned red again. “We are so not talking about this.” She stuck her tongue out at me, then collected her shower supplies and walked out of the room.


Maybe I’ll tell her about my experience with Brittany later this afternoon. I reached for my cellphone on my nightstand. I had a few text messages.


One was from Amanda. “OMG. What happened with you and the girl you left with? Give me the details, girl!”


I rolled my eyes, and responded. “I’ll tell you before class.”


The next message was from Sam. “I want to confront Brandon today. When are you available?”


I thought about it and responded. “I have a half hour between history and femme. 9:30?”


She responded quickly. “Great. Meet in the quad.”


The third message was from Alyssa. “When are you coming home? Everyone is asking about you.”


I didn’t really know what to say. When do I leave here and return? Hopefully it will be soon. But If I don’t find Ashley Tart? Am I here for the entire semester? I replied, “I honestly don't know.”


On that note, it was time to start my day. I collected my shower caddy and headed towards the showers.


* * *


Before I was even able to sit down at my desk, Amanda started interrogating me.


“Dish, girl!” she excitedly said.


“What’s there to say?” I slyly said, sitting down. “I met a girl. We left together.”


“That’s all?”


“We went back to her place for coffee.”


“Mmmhmm,” she looked at me as if she didn't believe me. “Is that what you want to call it? Coffee?”


“Sometimes coffee is just coffee.”


“Sure it is. Just coffee. I met my girlfriend for coffee too.” She winked at me. “Hey, you didn’t tell me you were into girls, too.”


I rolled my eyes. “One. You didn’t ask. Two. Last night was a one-time thing. I didn’t come here to date.”


“Wow, Cate. I didn’t take you for the studious academic type.”


“It's just that I did the whole adolescent dating scene once before already. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.”


“Ms. Fox.” Mr. Sanders interjected. “I would love to know what your dating life has to do with our class today.”


Jesus, this guy is prompt. I grinned and faced forward.


After class was over, I lingered in the doorway, unsure if I wanted to take Mr. Sanders up on his offer to talk. After yesterday’s episode with the toenail polish, I thought maybe it would be nice to talk to someone who isn’t being paid to be my shrink. Besides, Sanders struck me as a no nonsense kinda guy, who isn’t interested in feelings and won't ask about my parents.


“Mr. Sanders,” I said, approaching his desk. 


“Yes, Ms. Fox.”


“About your offer.”


“What was my offer?” he replied, focusing more on erasing the whiteboard.


“To… chat. About being a Displaced.”


He stopped erasing to look at me. “Of course. I’m here after my last class each day. Pick a day. After 6.”


“Thank you” I said, and left the room quickly. I don’t like asking for help, and I don't want people to know I asked Mr. Sanders of all people.


* * *


I sat down on a bench in the quad and waited for Sam. I wasn’t there for a minute when Sophia walked by. I looked at her eyes to verify whether this was really Sophia or just Sam in disguise. It was the real Sophia.


“What’s up?” she asked. “Why are you out here?”


“I’m waiting for Sam,” I replied. “We’re gonna talk to Brandon, Brandi or whatever you call him or her.”


“Just you and Sam?” she asked warily. “That sounds like trouble.”


“It’ll be fine,” I said, waving it off.


“You’re brusk and confrontational. Sam was breaking into rooms and pretending to be other people. You need someone to keep you both in line.”


“Do you know someone like that?” I asked, raising my eyebrow.


She smirked at me.


“Hey, you had Mr. Sanders last year right?” I asked.


“Yes. What a fuddy-duddy. Self-absorbed man. Boring professor. I think he resents working here. He was rude to me back when I was Seth, too. Total asshole.”


“So he’s like me?”


“I wouldn’t say that Cate.”


“You’re right, I’m not that old. How old would you say he is?”


“Older than this town,” she giggled. “I dunno. Late 70s? 80s? A hundred and ten?”


As she was talking, Sam came up beside her. “You ready?” Sam asked me.


“Sophia is going to join us,” I replied, gesturing at Sophia. 


“Since they're actually in my class,” Sophia added.


Sam nodded to let us know she was OK with that arrangement.


“What can you tell me about Brandon?” I asked Sophia.


“They’ve been in a few of my and Lulu’s classes,” Sophia explained. “Everything is opposite of what you’d expect. Their curse causes full-time dysphoria. So when you see a feminine person wearing baggy clothes. That’s Brandon. Brandon goes by he or they pronouns. When you see a masculine person wearing more form fitting feminine attire, that’s Brandi. Brandi goes by she or they pronouns. Because their gender fluctuates each day - sometimes multiple times a day, most of us just use ‘they’ and say both names. They’re cool with that and understand.” 


We walked to the far end of the quad that was shaded. Today they must be Brandon. They were sitting by themself eating lunch. They had a cute feminine face. They wore no makeup. They were wearing the male version of the uniform. Unlike my uniform, theirs was not tailored and was a few sizes too large. They had their hair tied up in a simple knot.


“Brandon?” Sophia asked. “Are you busy?”


Brandon looked up, recognized Sophia, then looked at us. They nodded and put their sandwich down.


“This is Cate and Sam,” Sophia said, introducing us.


“Hi,” Brandon meekly said.


“They have a few questions for you.”


“OK,” Brandon replied..


“What kind of sandwich is that?” I asked.


“Tuna on rye,” they replied.


Sam nudged me with her elbow. “We’re not here about lunch.”


I smirked. “So we were wondering if you knew anything about Ashley and Lulu.”


“They’re in my class,” Brandon said, shrugging. “Well, were. I haven’t seen them in a while. What about them?”


“It appears as if their magic is fading,” Sam added.


Brandon raised their eyebrows in a moment of excitement then returned to normal. “Must be nice.”


I looked at Sam. We both were wondering who would ask the question.


“Why are you coming to me with this?” Brandon asked before we could ask another. “Other than to torment me with something I cannot have.”


“You were seen…” Sam said, “umm-”


“Happy,” I finished.


“Last weekend,” Sam went on. “And once the other week.”


A slight smile of recognition formed on Brandons lips. “Those were good days.”


“What happened?” Sophia asked. “If you don't mind us asking.”


“I don’t know. Those days, it felt like my ring finally worked right.” They held up their hand to show us their mood ring. It was currently pink. “For the first time, I was finally the real Brandon. I felt right in that masculine body. I went out and played some one-on-one basketball with the Weres and smoked them. Then again this weekend. I felt like the real Brandi. I let my hair out. I wore a dress. I was euphoric for the first time in years. My body finally reflected my inner gender. I could wear what I really wanted and be myself. Then that went away and everything went to shit again.”


“Did you know Ashley was seeking the same thing?” I asked.


“Ashley? She didn’t have a curse. She was living her best life.”


“We think she was trying to find a way to remove curses to help others.”


“That’d be cool,” Brandon said.


“But it’s hurting Lulu,” Sam said, raising her voice.


“Whoa, whoa,” I said, holding Sam back. “Obviously everyone has a different opinion on their curses. When did this curse reversal start?”


“Two weeks ago,” Brandon replied.


“That was right after Ashley went missing and Lulu’s magic started fading,” Sam exclaimed.


“Do you think I had something to do with that?” Brandon asked, with a confused expression on their face.


Sam, Sophia and I exchanged glances.


“I love my classmates,” Brandon emphasized. They looked at Sophia. “You. Lulu. Julia. Feeling your love and caring for me gets me through the day. I couldn’t harm any of you.”


Sophia certainly had a look of guilt and embarrassment on her face.


Sam stood there silently.


I let my head sink. Another dead end. But at least I still had tomorrow’s meeting with the diner waitress.


“I think we should all get to class,” Sophia suggested.


I turned to Brandon. “Thank you for your time.”


Sam, Sophia, and I started walking towards the class buildings. As I walked I thought about Brandon. Oddly enough I hadn’t felt any dysphoria being in Emma’s body. Is it annoying? Yes. But seeing how Brandon was, made me feel like I’m able to tolerate it. I thought about my own situation for a moment. 


What if I start to like being Cate? Nah. I already feel like I’ve stolen her life. It feels like I am erasing parts of her. To start liking it? It Feels wrong. 


* * *


The rest of the day flew by, before I knew it, it was late afternoon. Those same questions lingered in my mind. The nail polish episode. The fact that I actually enjoyed last night. It’s almost a shame I only see my therapist weekly. I’m sure I’d have a lot to say to her in this moment. But thankfully I already secured a secondary outlet. 


I passed the Sciences building and saw a light on in Mr. Sander’s classroom. I mulled it over whether to pay him a visit. I had nothing better to do at his point. I’m killing time before my date at the lake.


I knocked on the classroom door and opened it a smidge. 


“Come in,” I heard Mr. Sanders say.


“It’s Cate Fox,” I said.


“Come in Ms. Fox.” He stood up from his desk and stretched. “I was expecting you.”


He was? I originally wasn't going to stop by today and instead wait until Monday.


“Come, have a seat.”


I instinctively sat at my desk from class.


“Ms. Fox, this isn’t class.” He pulled an extra chair from the side and dragged it to his desk.


I sat in the seat he got for me. I asked the question that’s been burning in my mind since the first time he pulled me aside. “You’re a Displaced too, right?”


“I am,” he confirmed.


“Nobody seems to know that. They think you’re a Normie.”


“Because I prefer to keep that to myself.”


“I would’ve thought that maybe your students would be able to relate to you better if they knew you were a TG too.”


“I’d rather they just see me as their Science teacher.”

“Is it because you teach Science? You can't explain your condition scientifically?”


He smiled and nodded. “Perhaps. What brings you here?”


“I had an episode yesterday in Femme class. I had a panic attack when I tried to paint my nails. I can’t get over that I stole this girl’s life and now I’m erasing it.”


“Common Displaced sentiment. What’s your name?”


I curiously raised my eyebrow and wondered if Mr Sanders was senile, too. “Cate Fox.”


“No, no. Your real name, Ms Fox. Before your accident.”


Right. Nobody’s asked me that in over a week. I was under instructions not to reveal my name as Jack, anyway. “Jim,” I lied.


“You’re one of those ARs right?”


“AR?”


“Age Regression. How old were you?”


“42.”


Mr. Sanders had a big smile like he would when a student answered the question correctly. He then opened up a desk drawer and pulled out two lowball glasses and placed them on top of student papers on his desk. “My name is Jackie, by the way. I was 18 when I was displaced and left with this frail body. That was four years ago. That means-” He then pulled out a bottle of whiskey. “We’re both 21. You like whiskey, Jim?”


I smirked. “I do.” I chuckled to myself. Here I was looking for a way to get beer, and all I had to do was chat with my science teacher for a few minutes.


He unscrewed the cap and poured a finger of whiskey in each glass, put the bottle down and slid one glass towards me. “Sorry, they don’t put ice machines in classrooms.”


“That’s fine. I like mine neat anyway.”


He picked up his glass. “To our body’s former inhabitants. Cheers.”


I picked up mine. “Cheers.”


We clinked our glasses and we both took a sip.


I felt the burn of the whiskey hit my tongue and go down my throat. I could tell it was smooth, but for some reason I coughed. “That’s some good whiskey, Jackie.”


Mr. Sanders laughed. “First time drinking whiskey in that body?”


“Yeah,” I said, taking another sip to dull the pain. “Despite that… it’s rather smooth.” I tried to suppress the next cough.


He laughed. “Don’t tell Hathaway I’m drinking with students… or minors.”


Normally I would insist I wasn’t a minor, but we both knew what he meant. I was quiet as I swirled the whiskey in my glass taking in the woody aroma.


He sat back in his chair and admired his own glass of whiskey in his hand. “I didn’t like this stuff in my old body. But since becoming an old man, I’ve come to appreciate some of the more refined stuff.” He looked over to me. “Still having those nightmares?”


“Yeah. I see my body’s former inhabitant pleading with me to save her.”


“Tell me about this girl. Is her name Cate?”


“No. Her name is… Emma. A Slider slid into her, then me a minute later.”


“I see. Jim, there are two sides to Displacement. You got it easy. Emma and I. Well, we got dicked over.”


It was weird to hear Mr. Sanders curse. Clearly he dropped his stuffy old man facade. “How so?”


“Like I said. I was an 18 year old woman. I had just graduated high school. I had a scholarship to Cornell. I had a boyfriend. I had the whole world ahead of me. Then that fateful night… I was getting in my car. When this frail old man comes behind me and holds me up at knife point. Then he grabs my face.” He paused. “And here I am.” He took another sip. “This body is Eighty-fucking-two. That’s sixty four years of my life stolen from me.” He looked in my direction again. “And Emma? That slider that attacked you both? Were they an adult?”


“Yeah some random adult male in a crowd. I didn’t catch his age.”


“That poor 14-year-old girl just had her adolescence ripped away from her.”


I took a sip. “I think about her a lot. I can’t shake the guilt of erasing her…”


He nodded. “But at least you acknowledge that. In your memory, you keep her with you.” He held up his glass. “To Emma.”


“To Emma.” 


We both took another sip.


“Did they ever find your old body?” I asked.


He nodded. “They did. She was found drugged up in a prostitution ring in Europe.”


“Jesus Christ.” I wasn’t surprised. It was common for missing persons to either wind up dead or trafficked. It was my job to make sure I found them in the first 48 hours. Ashley Tart being missing for three weeks didn’t bode well for this case.


“But sadly, that wasn’t the Hopper. No. He got away. The person forced into my old body was some poor backpacking tourist. Completely traumatized by that whole experience. Needless to say, she did not go to Cornell.” 


I was silent. This wasn’t the conversation I was expecting when I came here.


“You have questions, Jim? Ask them.”


“Does the guilt go away?”


“It doesn’t. I still see the Hopper in my nightmares. The same face I currently see in a mirror. Then I think about what they did to my body… my former body.”


“How are we expected to cope?”


“Oh, they’ll throw therapists at you. Claim they tried to reintegrate you with society. But Normies won’t take us. This was the only place I could find a job. You may be lucky since you’re so young. You can graduate and move somewhere and start anew, but deep down you’re always a 42-year-old guy who stole some young girl’s life.”


I took offense to that. “I wasn’t the one who stole it.” 


He chuckled and finished off his glass of whiskey.


“What’s so funny, Jackie?”


“You came in here complaining that you felt guilty for stealing it. Now you admit you didn’t. They should pay me what they’re paying the shrink.” He chuckled more. “What do you think of your classmates?”


“They’re alright.”


“They don’t know how good they have it. Most of them were given an amazing gift. And nobody got hurt.”


“I know some who are victims.”


“Oh, yes, some are. It’s just a shame we’re not able to find the ones that want to be fixed and help them.”


“I was told the first day here that was illegal.”


“That’s why I try to take more of a mentoring approach. I just want to give these young girls the opportunity that I missed.”


“It’s noble. So you’re 21 and I’m 42?”


He nodded.


“You play the part of a curmudgeon Science teacher really well.”


We both laughed.


“The class would not respect me if I acted like my old self. This is how my grandfather acted. A serious man. No nonsense. People respected him.”


“Did you find being a man easier? Especially an older one?”


“Yes. I get respect and people listen to me. But now my age is becoming a factor. But I’d trade it all to get my youth back. Especially since I’m treated like some dinosaur. I’m younger than some of the dead-ages of some of the students in class!”


A few seconds went by. I figured while I was here I’d try to get more information for my case. “I’m curious,” I asked. “Did you know Ashley Tart?”


“Yes. She was my student last year. Very bright. Kinda reminded me of my old life. It’s a shame what happened to her.”


“It is.” I looked outside and saw that sunset was approaching. “I should get going.” I downed the remaining whiskey in my glass. “Thank you Mr. Sanders for the whiskey.”


He nodded. “Have a good weekend Ms. Fox. Stop by anytime.”


* * *


That went by better than I thought. I felt Mr. Sanders and I had similar personalities. It was easy talking to him. Maybe I could get out of seeing Virginia and see him weekly instead. Especially if it comes with a glass of whiskey.


Meanwhile as I walked away from the Sciences building, I realized I had no idea where the lake was. It wasn’t on a campus map. But in fairness, the map only showed campus buildings. I hoped I’d find Brittany back in the quad. 


I found her sitting outside Colby Hall, looking just as radiant as last night. Except this time she was illuminated by the evening sun rather than moonlight.


She saw me and smiled. “Hey, New Girl.”


“Hey,” I replied with the patented Jack Baker smile. “I wasn't sure where the lake was, so I figure I’d look for you here first.”


“Good call. I was worried you weren’t going to show up at all.”


“Well, I was kinda thinking about you all day.” 


“Oh,” Brittany said, raising a smile. “I hope all good things.”


“Very.”


“If I knew I was going to be running through your mind all day, I would’ve worn my running sneakers.”


I chuckled. “You have my sense of humor.”


Brittany walked towards me and put her hands around my hips. I found myself drawn into her kiss. And just like that, I felt our bodies press together and we were lost in our kisses.


I was caught a little off balance as she pulled back from the make out session. I hope nobody saw that.


“Were you… drinking?” she asked.


Busted. “I may have shared a drink with a friend.” I knew that look on Brittany’s face. I’ve seen it in my ex-wife and several past lovers. She didn’t approve of my drinking. Now I kinda wish I kept breath mints in my bag. I’ll have to remember that for the future.


“Shall we have dinner?” she asked. She was probably holding back a lecture about a 14-year-old girl drinking.


“Yeah.” I wasn’t sure what to expect, But I was enjoying her company too much. I’m actually just grateful she didn’t dwell on my whiskey breath. Hell, she could make me meatloaf and I’d eat every bite.


“Follow me,” she said, holding my hand.


She led me to the far end of campus, where the buildings disappeared and the grass stopped being manicured. We walked through a field of tall grass and came out to a secluded beachfront on a lake.


On the beach was a blanket with a picnic basket on top of it.


She led me to the blanket where we both sat down. I sat crisscrossed. Since she was wearing a skirt, she sat on her feet with her legs together. I don't know why I felt compelled to copy her, but I did, and it felt oddly more comfortable for this body.


I looked at the obvious romantic picnic on a lake and felt weird about it. “I feel guilty. I should be the one doing this.”


“Why is that, Cate?” Brittany asked.


“Cause I’m the guy,” I said out of habit.


Brittany leaned over and whispered into my ear. “We’re both girls, here.”


“I guess it’s just habit.”


“Hey, I gave you the opportunity to pursue me. So I'm doing the pursuing here. We can take turns if you want.”


“That sounds like a good compromise. So what did you bring?”


Brittany opened up the basket and pulled out two water bottles and two sandwiches wrapped in tin foil. “I made some muffalettas.”


I took a sandwich and peeled back the foil to find a cold sandwich stuffed with various deli meats and olives. Then I got a whiff of the scent of the meats and olives. “This might not be pastrami, but this looks amazing.”


“I’m glad,” she said with a smile.


I took a bite of the sandwich then looked at my date and replied while chewing, “Oh, this hits the spot.”


Brittany giggled at my lack of table manners. Or would that be blanket manners without an actual table? “How was your day?”


“Just another day in paradise. Going back to school when I graduated over twenty years ago.”


She giggled. “This is my first go ‘round. But yeah, I can’t wait to graduate and put school behind me. I’ve noticed that you’ve started to make some good friends in the week you’ve been here.”


“I’m not sure I’d call them friends. Maybe acquaintances. They’ve grown on me I suppose.”


“You know loyalty is a key trait of a Kitsune. Are you sure you’re not one?”


“I still don’t know what that is,” I replied. I heard someone call me that earlier, but I couldn’t remember who.


“A kitsune is a supernatural fox from Japanese folklore.”


“Is this because my last name is Fox?”


“Fox girls are beautiful, intelligent and loyal.”


I laughed. “I’m not sure that describes me. Except maybe the intelligent part.”


“But they’re also mysterious. They’re sometimes tricksters with a dark past.”


“And you think that’s me?”


“Put a pair of fox ears on and we’ll see.” Brittany giggled.


“I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’m not a furry.”


“I never said you were. But maybe your soul is that of a kitsune. Reincarnated into whatever you were, before you were Cate.”


“A firefighter.”


“Oh, and brave too! You should totally be a Kitsune for Halloween next month.”


I rolled my eyes. Maybe I should change my last name to something boring. Like Smith.


Loyalty, that lingered in my head. She’s right, I am loyal to my real friends. I’d do anything for Max. Were these girls my friends? What if something happened to them? Sophia is afraid of the same thing that is happening with Ashley and Lulu happening to her. Sam is worried about her girlfriend. How far would I go to protect these girls that I just met?


“Cate, are you OK?”


‘I’m great.” I replied. “I was just thinking.”


She held my hand and at the moment the sun disappeared behind the tall grass. As the sunlight disappeared a cool breeze came through and I shivered. Brittany must’ve noticed and put her warn hands on my shoulders and rubbed them. Something I would’ve done - if I was the guy.


I was about to take another bite of my sandwich, but Brittany started to lean over. I put my sandwich down and lean in towards her for the kiss.


After 30 seconds of that, we broke off the kiss.


“So” she said. “It’s Friday night. The last night of the peak full moon. We have nowhere to be in the morning. Want to spend the night?”


Chills went through my body. Damn hormones. I smiled at her. I couldn’t stop myself from saying “Yes.”


She smiled and took a bite of her sandwich.


“But I have boundaries.” I said.


“That’s fair.” she said while chewing. She swallowed. “Anything to spend more time with you.”


Another flood of hormones. I felt giddy like a school girl. Ah fuck, I am a school girl. 


When the sandwiches were gone, she laid down on the blanket and invited me next to her. I laid beside her and we just listened to the frogs and cicadas. Oh who am I kidding, we started making out. And when we were done with that, we folded up the picnic supplies and went back to her place. 


I told myself - just coffee, Cate.


But again, that’s not what happened.


Reactions: 😮 1

Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for me to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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danifish879

Wow, I love this chapter! I was looking forward to the date with Brittany and I actually kinda like that we got the cliffhanger midway through. I wonder if Cate's realized her date is Brett from earlier in the story. The whole conversation with Mr. Sanders was a very welcome surprise. I was hoping the victimhood of age regression/progression swaps would be touched on at some point and I feel so bad for Jackie. Can't wait for chapter 11 now
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Emily

I enjoyed this chapter too! I re-read it last night. Writing the Mr. Sanders scene was fun!
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marter

She's Brett? I didn't pick up on that at all. Good catch
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marter

I feel so awful for Jackie. I've struggled with feelings of my life being stolen b/c in trans and I've read that it's something other trans people expensive as well.
I really hope Cate figures this all out and we have a happy ending.
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Emily

That is a great way to look at Jackie/Mr. Sanders. There's a lot of trans allegories in this story, and I'm glad all of them are being picked up on.
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danifish879

Okay so upon rereading this, I know that Brittany doesn't explicitly say that she is a Were and/or that she was Brett but she really doesn't come across as malicious or manipulative during the time she spent with Cate. She was shocked and upset once she did figure it out, but I still feel like Cate was too hard on Brett/Brittany about it.
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Emily

Totally. But Cates reaction is very cishet male and overreacted that she hooked up with a person with a part-time penis. Later (much later) she lets up on him and admits she overreacted.
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