Springtime for Summersbythrillerauthor©
This is the fifth and final episode of the "Dressed for Disaster" saga about a man who escapes from the World Trade Center, fakes his death, and falls into the hands of a mad scientist, who transforms him into a woman.
Anne Summers had always thought that Christmas would be the worst time.
The death of her husband Patrick the preceding September had been such a devastating shock, she had barely gone through the motions that first December, in an effort to create a semblance of joy for her three year old daughter Lindy. In her fragile state, she had succumbed to the smooth advances of her investment advisor, Andrew Nash, a few weeks before Christmas, and for a time she even thought she might be falling in love again.
Too soon, of course, and as it turned out, with the wrong person. After the sensational murder of Nash by another woman in his apartment, her grief had quickly turned to rage, and she doubted if she would ever be able to love a man again.
Now, two days before the anniversary of her marriage to Patrick, she had plunged into the depths of depression, as if the arrival of spring had never come. If it weren't for Lindy, she might even have taken her own life, had she been able to find the courage to do so. After seeing her daughter off to school that morning, she sat listlessly in her robe and slippers, oblivious to the warm sunlight streaming through the high windows in her study.
Patrick had provided well for them, the insurance money enabling Anne to pay cash for a small but smart townhouse on Chicago's Gold Coast. The murder of Arnold Nash had been fortuitous, as he was about to invest Patrick's entire estate in highly speculative tech stocks. As Anne logged onto her computer that morning, a quick scan of her portfolio confirmed that she and Lindy were comfortably secure.
Her screen chirped at her. "You have an instant message from patricksummers. Would you like to accept?"
Anne's heart jumped to her throat. That was her husband's old address. What kind of a cruel prank was this?
Warily, she typed, "Who is this?"
"Do you believe in the migration of souls?"
Anne felt paralyzed, wanting to believe it could be him, knowing that it must be a hoax. She was about to log off when her computer chirped again. "Don't go, Anne. Let me prove who I am."
Still she sat glued to her screen, unable to lift her fingers to terminate this insane conversation. Then another message flashed across her screen. "Do you remember what you told me the night before I married you?"
Oh God, who was this? There was nobody on earth who knew that. Another message: "You told me something about yourself, Anne, which required such courage. You thought you had to tell me, and that it might turn me away, but it just made me love you more."
She felt tears began to stream down her cheeks as she lifted her hands, hesitated for a moment, and then typed, "Patrick."
"Not any more, Anne."
"Who are you?"
"I have to meet you to explain."
Patricia Summers got up from her computer and gathered her purse and shoulder bag. It was a beautiful spring day, and she decided against carrying a raincoat. She was not due at work for another forty-five minutes, and if she kept up a steady pace, she would be able to walk the distance without difficulty.
She had a spring in her step as she turned onto Michigan Avenue and headed south, past the magnificent storefronts and the planters of bright spring flowers. She was wearing a blue cotton shirtdress which flowed around her calves, and white sox and sneakers over her pale hose. The uniform of the working Chicago woman.
Pat needed the walk to think about her next move. For three months following the murder of Arnold Nash, she had kept a low profile, concentrating on mastering her new job as a sales associate in the men's department at Marshall Fields flagship downtown store. With one promotion already under her belt, she had saved up enough money to lease a Honda Civic, although she had not yet signed the papers.
She knew somehow that she was at a crossroads. She could continue to make a little life for herself, secure in her loneliness, or she could risk it all and try to reclaim what was rightfully hers. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that she really had no choice.
* * *
Anne paced around her townhouse, walking upstairs to her bedroom, where she picked up a photo album from her newlywed days, and then back downstairs to her study. As she turned the pages of the album, she tried to tell herself that it was impossible. And yet, as she looked at Pat’s smiling face in picture after picture, she felt sure somehow that he was alive, and that she had connected with him a few moments ago.
She closed the album and put it down on her desk. Tucked into the corner of her blotter was a scrap of paper with the name and phone number of Detective Frank Sturgess of the New York Police Department. She hesitated, and then picked it up and studied it. Finally, she reached for the phone and dialed his number.
"Detective Sturgess, this is Anne Summers. In Chicago."
"Mrs. Summers, how are you?"
"Fine. Do you remember talking to me a few months ago?"
"February it was, yes, I remember."
"You asked me to call you if anyone contacted me on behalf of my husband."
"That’s right. Have you been contacted?"
"Not exactly. Look, Detective, I need to ask you something. You told me that a man named Pat was abducted in New York last September. And that he might be using a different identity now."
"Detective, tell me what happened."
"To the man. The man who was abducted. What happened to him?"
She heard a deep sigh. "Mrs. Summers, what I’m about to tell you is pretty rough. Do you think you can handle it?"
"Detective, I’ve been through a lot since September. I think I can take it. Tell me what you know."
* * *
Pat looked at her watch and quickened her stride. Lost in thought, she had missed a few lights, and she would have to step up the pace to make it to Marshall Fields on time.
She brushed past two good-looking men, crossed against a light, and ignored their catcalls as she left them behind. It was still hard for her to think of herself as attractive, although she could tell from the faces of the man she passed in the street, and encountered in the store, that she was.
Had she done the right thing, contacting Anne? Most assuredly not, but she couldn’t help herself. As their anniversary day approached, she found herself unable to take her mind off of Anne. Maybe it was simply spring fever, after a brutal Chicago winter, but her sap was on the rise, and after so many months of pain and isolation, she desperately needed human contact. With the one person who knew her best.
Had know her best, she corrected herself. When she was Patrick Summers, before the mad Dr. Vendetta Frankenwiener had forcibly transformed him into a woman. How could she even think about presenting herself to Anne now? For months, she had vowed to let Patrick die a hero’s death, and leave Anne and their daughter to their memories of him. Why couldn’t she leave well enough alone, and let them get on with their lives?
As her need to see them became stronger, she thought about transforming herself back into a man. She had even gone so far as to spirit men’s clothing away from Marshall Fields, and to try them on in her apartment. But it was hopeless. The surgery and hormones had done their work. Even dressed in men’s clothing, she was unmistakable female.
* * *
Sturgess chose his words carefully. "On September 11th, a man named Pat went to the Greenwich Village apartment of a Dr. Vendetta Frankenwiener, after responding to a personal advertisement which, we believe, involved some kind of role reversal study. Sometime that evening or the following morning, Dr. Frankenwiener drugged this man, and subjected him to medical experiments."
"What kind of experiments" Anne asked him.
"She castrated him, filled him full of female hormones, and performed what is called sex reassignment surgery. She also modified his face and his voice."
"Oh my God!"
That’s all we know until December, when she was found dead in her apartment, strangled by a nylon stocking. There was no trace of the abducted man, whom we suspect was her killer."
Anne sat in stunned silence. "Mrs. Summers?" he asked her at length.
"Have you heard from him, or her?"
"Anyone who claims to have seen, uh, her?"
A throwaway question: "Did you know a man named Arnold Nash?"
She gasped in surprise. "What does he have to do with this?"
"Did you know him?"
"He was my financial advisor."
A long pause. "Mrs. Summers, I’d like to come to Chicago to meet with you. Tomorrow."
* * *
Pat went to an Internet café during her lunch hour, and sent the following message to Anne: "Do you remember the place where we had our first date? Go there tonight at eight o’clock. Wait for a woman with a red umbrella, and do as she says. I love you. Pat."
The rest of the day was a blur, although sales records show that she had a brilliant afternoon. When her shift ended at six, she caught a taxi on State Street and was back in her apartment in twenty minutes. For almost an hour, she sifted through her closet, selecting and rejecting outfit after outfit. What dress did a girl wear to meet her ex-wife?
Finally, she selected the black cocktail dress she had last worn the night she murdered Arnold Nash. A quick shower, and she was dressed and putting on her makeup. She thought about changing into something simpler, but it was nearly eight, and she didn’t dare be late. She almost forgot her red umbrella as she ran out of her apartment.
* * *
Her stomach churning, Anne sat alone at on outside table at an Italian restaurant on a quiet corner off Rush Street. She was shaking as she studied the passersby on the sidewalk, looking in both directions for the person she had married, and lost, and now might be coming back to her. What would he be like? It was too fantastic, to horrific, to imagine, and yet she found herself fascinated by the prospect.
She missed Pat at first, and did a double-take when a beautiful woman in a black dress hesitantly approached her table. If it had not been for the rolled-up red umbrella in her hand, she would not have recognized her. Anne stared in astonishment as Pat pulled back the chair across the table from her, smoothed her skirt behind her, and sat down self-consciously.
They looked at each other in silence for some time, a sad expression on Pat’s face. Finally she spoke.
"You look wonderful, Anne."
"You look amazing."
"I thought you would be shocked to see me like this."
"I heard about what happened to you."
"You did? When?"
"This afternoon, from the New York Police Department."
Was this a trap? Pat looked around nervously.
"They’re coming to see me tomorrow."
"Pat, tell me what happened."
"It doesn’t matter now. I guess I should have known I couldn’t run forever. Oh Anne, I’m so sorry."
"Sorry? For what?"
"For letting this happen to me. For what it did to you and Lindy. How is she?"
"She misses her Daddy."
Pat felt a tear in her eye. "I should never have come back."
"Don’t say that."
"I should have let you think I was dead, let you remember me the way I was."
"But you couldn’t do that, could you?"
"No," Pat said with a sad smile, "I couldn’t do that. I love you too much."
"Oh, Pat, I’ve missed you every day and every night. You’re not going anywhere. Ever again. I’m taking you home with me. Right now."
Pat knew it was a mistake, but she was aching for Anne, and she knew they had very little time. "Aren’t you hungry?"
"I’ll fix us something. Come on, Pat, walk me home."
* * *
Lindy was asleep when they got to the townhouse, and Anne let Pat peek into her room and look at her for a minute. Then they quietly closed the door and went into the beautifully furnished living room.
"Nice place. I’ll have to fake my death more often," Pat said as Anne poured them each a glass of merlot. Anne sat down next to her on the sofa, and each sipped her wine for a few minutes before Anne spoke again.
"How do you like being a woman?"
"I hated it at first. Now, I’m kind of getting used to it."
"Do you miss being a man?"
"Sure I do. I miss the freedom. Most of all, I miss what I could do with you."
Anne moved closer to Pat, and put her hand on her knee. Put took it, and slid it up her thigh. The feeling of Anne’s delicate fingers on her silky leg was electrifying.
Anne put down her glass, and took Pat’s face in her hands. "I’m still your wife. Can you feel anything for me?"
Pat desperately wanted to. "I don’t know. I want to try, but I don’t know how."
"I’ll show you, silly."
* * *
Dressed in one of Anne's nightgowns, Pat lay in their old bed next to Anne, who was snuggled up against her the way she used to snuggle Patrick. The clock on the nightstand read four o'clock. In the dim light, Pat could make out the look of absolute contentment on Anne's beautiful face.
Pat closed her eyes and relished her memories. Anne had been so tender, so loving, as she explored Pat's new body with her soft fingers, kissing the new places in a knowing way. Pat thought she could actually feel her nerve endings spark as the long-dormant place between her legs came alive again. She had not reached orgasm, but she had gotten off the ground, and the thrill of bringing Anne to climax again and again was even more satisfying.
She felt Anne stirring beside her, and she heard the drawer on the nightstand slide open. Anne rolled over and rested her chin on Pat's chest. "Do you remember Mr. Magic?" she whispered. Her name for the vibrator which Pat had used to pleasure her after an occasional premature ejaculation.
Anne switched it on, and lovingly began to play with Pat's breasts. It was incredibly arousing, and soon her nipples were hard with desire. Anne lingered there, and then moved Mr. Magic down towards Pat's bush. She twirled it around the stump where Pat's penis had been fashioned into a clitoris, and slowly began to insert the vibrator into Pat's vagina. The pleasure was so intense, Pat started to cry out. "Hush, you'll wake Lindy," Anne scolded her as Pat felt wave after wave of passion sweep over her. When she came, the spasms were so powerful, and lasted so long, that Pat cried out again, tears of joy streaming down her face.
* * *
Pat waited in the bedroom while Anne got Lindy dressed and saw her off to school. Then Anne returned to the bedroom with a tray filled with coffee, juice and croissants, and they both sat Injun-style on the bed in their nightgowns while they had their breakfast.
"What time is this detective getting here?" Pat asked at length.
"He said he'd be here around ten o'clock. Oh Pat, I'm so sorry I called him. What's going to happen to you?"
"Nothing, if we play this right. He's never seen you before, has he?"
"Because I am going to be you this morning. I can't ask you to lie for me, and I don't think you'd be very good at it anyway. I've got nothing to lose, so let's go for it."
"How can you be me?" Anne and Pat had similar coloring, and each had blue eyes, but the resemblance ended there.
"Look at me, Anne. We're the same dress size now, aren't we? I'll have to tie my hair back, and maybe I can borrow a pair of your reading glasses if they're not too strong. It's all a matter of attitude."
They showered together, shampooing each others' hair and shaving each others' legs, and Anne showed Pat a little trick with the hand-held shower which almost got her off again. Then Anne helped Pat tie her hair back with a scrunchie, and started handing her some lingerie. "What are you going to wear?"
Pat disappeared into Anne's walk in closet, and emerged with a navy blue dress that Patrick had always liked. As she sat on a tuffet and began pulling on her nylons, Anne said, "You look like you've been doing that all your life."
"I had to learn fast," Pat said lamely.
"Come on, Pat, did you really think I didn't know your little secret?"
Pat blushed furiously and started to stammer.
"Pat, I knew you tried on some of my clothes sometimes, and I even found your stash one day. And you really should have been more careful with your computer. Those cookies are like neon lights."
Pat hung her head. "And you still loved me?"
"I thought it was kind of cute, and figured that it was better than having you chasing other women."
"And how about now?"
"Look at you, sitting there in my slip and stockings, worried about whether I think you're a sissy! Oh Pat, I love you, maybe even more without that male ego."
* * *
Detective Sturgess rang the doorbell at precisely ten o'clock. He presented his identification to the woman who opened the door, and introduced the man standing next to him as Sergeant LaScala of the Chicago Police Department.
"I'm Anne Summers," she said to them. "Please come in." She showed them into her living room and offered them coffee, which they declined. She left them briefly to pour herself a mug in the kitchen, then returned and sat down primly in an oversized club chair, her coffee perched on her knees. She took a sip, crossed her legs, and looked up at them expectantly.
"Mrs. Summers, thank you for seeing us. Sergeant LaScala is investigating the murder of Arnold Nash, but first I have a few questions about your husband."
She said nothing.
"Mrs. Summers, if I may ask, why did you call me yesterday?"
"I don't understand."
"I mean, what prompted you to call me, after so many months. Did anyone try to contact you on behalf of your husband?"
"No, as I told you yesterday. I don't know why I called you really, except that tomorrow would have been our wedding anniversary, and I suppose I was just reaching out for anyone who might have any information about him. I'm sorry if I troubled you."
"No trouble at all, Mrs. Summers," Sturgess responded gently, while LaScala stared at her with a stony face. He was fat, with a bad comb-over, and he looked decidedly unpleasant.
"How long did you know Arnold Nash," LaScala asked her.
"We met in September, shortly after my husband's death. He was recommended by one of my friends as someone who could help us handle Patrick's estate. Invest it, I mean."
"And did you see him socially?"
"Yes, he asked me out a few times, and I finally began seeing him in December."
"Did you become intimate?"
She shot him an angry glance, and then responded, "Yes, Sergeant, eventually we did."
"And were you seeing him at the time of his death?"
"Yes, I was. I was expecting him here for dinner that night. In fact, I called him that evening to ask where he was, and he told me something had come up, and he couldn't make it."
"Was that the last time you heard from him?"
"Yes, the next thing I knew was when his murder was reported on the morning news." A little tear showed in her eye. "I'm sorry, Sergeant, but it's been a very difficult year for me…"
LaScala was unmoved. "Have you ever met Patricia Exman?"
"The woman he was with? No, I had no idea he was even seeing her." She blinked back a tear and looked down into her coffee. "I had no idea he was seeing anybody else."
"Do you have any knowledge of her whereabouts today?"
She looked up, puzzled, and said, "No, Sergeant, I already told you. I've never even met the woman."
Sturgess broke in. "Mrs. Summers, let me take you back over something. Do you know a woman named Patricia Summers?"
She looked completely lost. "Patricia Summers? I knew all of Pat's relatives, and so far as I know, there were no Patricias."
"Did you know that your husband was a transvestite?"