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Live Long and Prosper            by: Brandy Dewinter         2000, All rights reserved

 

Chapter 5 - "It’s All My Fault"

It was nice to be able to sleep with Lainey in our cabin again. I really like nights at sea, at least when the weather is good, but the price of separate sleeping times while the other is on watch is a high one. I felt like I hadn’t slept as much as I usually do, waking several times to snuggle a little closer, but I still felt refreshed and energetic in the morning.

We bustled about getting ready for sea, getting underway an hour after dawn. It wasn’t long, though, before the first problem occurred.

I couldn’t get the mainsail up. Not all the way, taut and as it should be. The sheets were slack, of course, so it wasn’t wind pressure. I just couldn’t pull hard enough on the winch handle.

I was trying to shift my position to get some more leverage when the Breeze staggered a bit in an errant wave and I was thrown against the mast. I hit my chest on the right side, and I thought a bomb had gone of under my nipple. It hurt so bad I couldn’t even cry out, though part of that was that my throat choked up and I realized I had tears in my eyes. All I could do was slump to the deck and cradle my aching chest in my hand. That revealed another problem.

Lainey came running up before I even absorbed what my fingers were discovering, asking, "What happened?"

"I just couldn’t get the halyard taut, and then I bumped against the mast."

"Are you hurt?"

"Well, it certainly hurts, but I don’t think I’m injured. I suppose when we get to port I’ll have to have that winch looked at."

"Let me help you," she offered. "The Breeze can stay on autopilot for a few more minutes."

Nodding, I stood and we both reached for the winch handle. With Lainey’s help, it wasn’t really any problem at all, which made me feel even more foolish. When I finished tying off the line, she asked me a question with her eyes and I nodded, so she went back to the helm and I raised the other sails. It was a lot harder than I felt it should be, but I managed everything except that mainsail.

A part of my mind was seeking shelter in mundane thoughts about how long it had been since the winches were overhauled. That was mostly to keep me from thinking about the real problem.

My cradling fingers had found a lump behind my nipple. In fact, I soon discovered I had them on both sides. And that was not good news. Men can get breast cancer, too, though it’s less likely. Here we were, days from anywhere, and I had developed breast lumps, which had apparently spread to both sides almost immediately. All our care in checking my heart, all my work to keep fit on the filter cycle and with all the other exercise you get working a sailboat, all of that was no defense against cancer.

I had thought we were pretty safe from that. Neither of our parents had ever had cancer, and neither of us had ever smoked. Of course, it would happen out in the middle of nowhere. There were modern hospitals in the South Pacific, but they were few and far between. The closest one I knew of for sure was way back at Tahiti, probably a week’s hard sail away. I thought about telling Lainey what I had found, but decided not to. There wasn’t anything we could do about it that we weren’t already doing. We’d just have to see what we found in Taiohae.

By the time I had wrapped my mind around those concerns, the Breeze was a sailboat again, all sails drawing well and the auxiliary shut down. I made my way back to the cockpit and sat next to Lainey, shifting a little as I bent to fit the cushions.

"What’s wrong?" she asked, worry showing on her own face. "Are you hurt for real?"

"No, not really," I sighed. "It’s just that these shorts are slipping. They’re too damn loose."

"Put on a different pair."

"These are about as tight as any I had. They’ve all stretched or something."

Lainey looked pensive for a moment, a long moment. She looked at my hair, still in its braid, and then a smile I was really glad to see lit her face. She’d been looking pretty worried lately, her brows prominent in a frown, and her jaw looking firmer than usual.

She did have a suggestion, not that I liked it. "So go put on your Speedo again. It’s stretchy. We’ll be alone at sea all day, so no one will see but me, and I like it."

I just chuckled and shook my head, but a larger than usual wave made the Breeze wiggle a little and I felt like my shorts were slipping again. Lainey, took the wheel to see if changing our course a few degrees would help and I went to retrim the sails. While I was working, I watched her more closely and realized she was frowning again. I suppose it was concentration, but I decided that if wearing that silly suit would make her happy, I’d do it.

"Tell you what," I said, as I returned to the cockpit. "Today, I’ll fix brunch. If you don’t mind."

"Deal," she agreed quickly, smiling again. It looked a little less . . . real than usual, though. I don’t think her face really relaxed. The harder planes at brow and chin were still there, despite what showed on her lips and in her eyes. Still, it was better than nothing, so I went below.

‘Brunch’, when you’ve been a long time at sea, is not your typical ham and eggs sort of thing. I did find some ground beef way in the back of the freezer that we seemed to have forgotten about, and with that I was able to make some hash. There was no bread for toast, but we had some crackers, which was going to have to be close enough. At least we still had coffee.

I did change back into that Speedo, which was still a bit damp from its fresh water rinse and a bit uncomfortable. It was better than those too-loose shorts, though. At least I didn’t have to worry about suddenly finding them dangling from my fanny, with who knows what showing. Maybe I was just over feeling so stupid when I wore it.

Lainey appreciated it, too. As I rose through the hatch, and she saw what little there was covering my legs, she let out a long, low whistle that made me blush worse than I had done in years.

"Keep that up and I’ll go change," I threatened.

"The way you look, I should have bought you some more," she countered.

Taking her plate, she leaned back against the cushions and looked at me again, clearly enjoying what she was seeing.

"Stop that," I said, though I just had to smile at her blatant appreciation.

"Why? I’m just sorry I didn’t make you wear those things before.

You really have good looking legs, you know?"

"No, I don’t know," I said. But I did sort of look at them myself. They were a lot smoother than I expected. I guess all the hair had hidden their real shape, and since men’s shorts stop at the knees, which are inherently sort of lumpy, the line to my hips had seldom showed anyway. I ran my fingers along my thighs, testing to see if they felt as sleek as they looked. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked at Lainey’s legs, and I had to admit that mine looked almost as good as hers - and I had always thought she had great legs.

God, what was I thinking? It was just that my legs looked so different with the hair removed. I didn’t even care what they looked like anyway.

I looked back at Lainey, to see if she had caught me admiring myself, and found instead that she had a distant, worried look.

"What’s the matter, love?" I asked.

"Oh, um, nothing. Well, I was just thinking about the changes in us, and, um, wondering what the cause might be."

"I wish I knew," I said, which for some reason caused Lainey to jerk in her seat, and then really frown.

The rest of the day followed our normal at-sea routine, pretty much. However, whenever I had an excuse to go below for a few minutes, I pulled off my shirt and tried to see if ‘things’ had gotten any worse. That was probably stupid, because I checked so often that I couldn’t really tell if there were some sort of slow change, but even if I wasn’t sure, I still felt the lumps were getting bigger and that my nipples were swollen more than they had been.

Then I would plaster a false smile on my face and go back on deck.

That afternoon, when I was brushing Lainey’s hair, I noticed something unusual for her, too.

"Lainey, did you do something to your hair?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it’s, um . . ." I ran out of words, because I wasn’t supposed to have noticed the condition that made the present difference significant.

"What?"

Oh, well, it was too late now. "It’s just that your hair is, um, well, less blonde at the roots."

"Dark roots? Don’t be silly. You know I’ve never dyed my hair."

She said that in a funny way. The first part was like a reflex, but half way through her statement she got very thoughtful. It ended like a formal statement with no emotional content.

I figured she was worried because I had been unclear, so I tried again. "They’re not really ‘dark’, just, well, they’re more honey-gold than, um, really pale blonde."

"Damnit, Adam, quit beating around the bush. I know my hair turned white over the last few years. I appreciate your providing an excuse, but with the things that are going on, we need to be clear."

With that, she got up and went below, leaving me to scramble into my vest and lifeline. In a couple of minutes, she was back on deck, the lines of her brows and chin sharper than ever. But she didn’t say anything. She just looked sharply at me, not angry, just inspecting, and then stared out to sea.

After several uncomfortable minutes, I asked, "Are you okay? I don’t think it looks bad or anything."

"I’m fine," she said tersely, then stood up again. "I think I need to write in my journal for a few minutes, to organize my thoughts."

It was getting on toward evening anyway, so I tried to smile away her concerns, not very successfully, and she took her ‘logbook’ and went to the foredeck. It wasn’t really much of a logbook. I had, with her permission, read a few of the early entries, and it was more of a journal of impressions than a real log. I kept a navigation ‘record’ that was our real logbook, but I let her call hers whatever she wanted.

**************************************

Log of the Twilight Breeze
21 October 2004
Long 140.05 deg. W
Lat 8.24 deg. S

(At sea)

 

I know what’s wrong with Adam, and it’s all my fault. I just don’t know what to do about it, or how to convince him.

He’s an engineer, and he’d never believe me without proof, but I’m as sure as I can be that I know what it is.

Actually, it’s not really my fault. It’s that Tirce woman. She really is a witch. Adam will never believe in magic, but she said that she’d grant us wishes, and I let a poorly-considered one form in my mind, and I know that’s what’s causing the changes in Adam.

Adam got me to thinking about that, today, when he said he ‘wished’ he knew what was going on. Now, I do know.

The actual wish I wrote out was, "I wish my husband would have a long, healthy, and happy life." I figured that would be fairly harmless. If she granted it, then fine. If she didn’t, well, then it didn’t matter. Even if Tirce considered it three wishes or something, then any part of it would be worthwhile. At least, I thought so.

But I remember the day we set sail from her island, and I was watching Adam as he set the sails. I remember thinking that I really thought he would be happier if he were a little less structured. And what did I have in mind at the time - at least as a contrast to show what was missing? A bimbo cheerleader. Dear God, she must have picked up on that thought and that’s how she’s going to interpret my wish. She’s turning Adam into a girl.

It’s so obvious now. All his body hair falling out was just the start. Now, a couple of days later, he has a little stubble on his legs, but it’s fine, and faint, and, well, about like a girl has. Hardly anything shows on his arms or his chest, or anywhere else for that matter.

Maybe that was, oh, ambiguous or something, but I should really have picked up on it when his waist started to shrink and his hips to, well, swell is not the right word, because I think they’re smaller overall, but they’re a lot rounder, and they look wider for some reason, even though his shorts are loose. Then, today, his nipples look just like an adolescent girl’s. I’ll bet if I felt them, I’d find small lumps pushing out. Today, when she came up from below with her vapid smile and those ‘cute’ little points showing through her shirt, it was finally enough to become clear to me.

OH, dear God! I just wrote ‘her’! And ‘she’!

The rest of the symptoms make perfect sense now. The sensitivity of her, HIS new breasts is just what you’d expect, and the smaller size of his penis is, well, just what you’d expect. He, or she, or whatever is getting younger, too. That explains the black roots in Adam’s hair. I don’t know why it’s not brown like when he was younger, but it’s clearly not his current gray. Even his problem with the mainsail halyard is a sign of losing his male strength.

I think Tirce must have done something to his mind, too. My ‘old’ Adam would never have allowed me to braid his hair, even though some men with long hair do braid it. And no ribbon, for sure. And that little domestic scene this morning, where she - HE - puttered about in the galley making brunch. I wonder how long it will be before she’ll be asking me for help with her makeup.

She’s going to be young, so that will give her a long life. And she’s looks disgustingly healthy, with bright eyes, lots of energy, and, well, the typical cheerleader thing.

And that’s not all of it. My wish included a ‘happy’ life for him, also.

I know how that’s going to work out, too.

I’m turning into a man.

I didn’t really pick up on that until today, either. My own changes were less apparent, at least in the beginning. But now that I’ve accepted even the possibility that Tirce’s magic can change Adam into a girl, well, the changes in me are pretty obvious, too. Where Adam’s waist is shrinking, mine is expanding. Where Adam’s hips are becoming rounder, mine are starting to show hollows like a man’s do. I suppose if I’d have had a bigger bosom, changes there would have been more obvious, but there wasn’t a lot of volume to lose, and it wasn’t until I thought about Adam’s new sensitivity that I realized my own nipples were less responsive than they used to be.

But the really unambiguous proof showed up when I went below to check out my ‘blonde’ roots.

I’m growing whiskers.

I have a stubble on my chin and my upper lip, about like Adam gets every day at this time, except mine doesn’t show much because the hairs are blonde. I don’t know why it took several days to show up, which doesn’t really matter. The fact that I need to shave is all the proof needed that something is happening, and how do you analyze magic anyway? It just is.

With that ‘clue’ I did a quick examination and my clit is almost an inch long. It was lying back between my labia, and soft, but there’s not much doubt about it. I also noticed that my face is getting, oh, what’s the word? ‘Craggier’? Anyway, my brows and chin are heavier. I think I’m physically heavier, too, overall. We don’t have a scale on board, but little things, like the creak when I step on a ladder, and oh, even the way the boat moves when I move, make me think I’ve gained weight.

I think I’m taller, too. Adam hasn’t mentioned it, but I think I’m as tall as he is now.

And my white hair really is turning blonde again, so I guess I’m getting younger, just like he is. I suppose I should be flattered by that. It would seem that I’m to be part of Adam’s ‘happy’ life, only as her husband. Or at least her boyfriend.

End log entry
Elaine Bridger

****************************

 

After she finished writing in her journal, Elaine looked at me sort of sadly, and went below. I wish I knew what was bothering her. Ever since I pointed out her blonde roots, she was really distant. Not pouting or angry, just distracted. For the first time in a long time I thought about looking in her ‘logbook’, but if she was working through things in her mind, then I felt she deserved the privacy.

I heard her getting into our bunk, and the cabin light went out. Being alone at night on the sea can be good or bad, depending more on your mood than anything else. I was feeling more alone than I had felt in a very long time. The lumps in my chest were definitely growing, and while a gentle caress was really nice, any sort of real pressure at all hurt a lot. I figured even if we got to a hospital in time to ‘fix’ whatever was wrong with me, it was just a matter of time until something else showed up. Somehow, once you get any form of cancer, it seems like you’re susceptible to more of it. Certainly the other symptoms, like the hair loss and changes in my waistline indicated there were widespread problems with my body.

And then there was the other problem. Once I was sure Lainey was in bed, I slipped the Speedo down and, um, examined myself; my dick and testes. They were definitely smaller, and the ‘family jewels’ inside the sack felt different, softer somehow, or spongy, not like they had before. I was, at that particular time, VERY conscious of the fact that prostate cancer was the biggest risk for an otherwise healthy middle-aged man. I didn’t know nearly enough about it to know if it could have triggered the other symptoms, but between my swelling nipples and shrinking manhood, it seemed like my body was losing cohesion somehow, slipping out of control. Maybe that explained my feeling of energy and, oh, youthfulness, like when alcohol, though a sedative, makes people the life of the party by shutting down the reasoning centers in the brain.

At some point, I realized I was thinking back on the wish I had left with Tirce, and ‘wishing’ it were possible for wishes to come true. They don’t, of course. People make things happen. Mostly, as Edison pointed out, through, ‘1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.’

But it looked like my own wish was not even going to get started.

Or maybe . . . maybe I was being too self-centered. Maybe the way for my wish to come true required me personally to be out of the way. Ha! Wouldn’t that be something? I had wished for Lainey to be happy, of course. I just hadn’t ever figured the path to her happiness would require me to get out of the way.

Well, so be it. I wasn’t going to do anything before we saw a doctor, but I wasn’t going to let her ruin her life to extend whatever was left of mine by some trivial amount. The way things had worked out, the royalties from her books amounted to more income than my pension anyway, and she could always write more so finances would not be a problem for her unless I squandered a lot of money.

And there was an easy way out of that, alone at night on the wide sea.

But the sea would still be there after I saw a doctor.

 

(continued in Part 6)

 



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Live Long and Prosper 2000 by Brandy Dewinter. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.