The Girl in the Mirrorbynitesider©
"You sound terrible, Jenni. What's going on?" Brian's voice was tender, but insistent on the other end of the line.
"Nothing, Brian. I'm OK. Why?" Jenni had been trying to perk up her voice ever since she dialed Brian's number. She didn't want him to feel like she only wanted to see him when she was down. Brian was always a good friend to her. Anytime of day or night, he would make time to see her and take her mind off her troubles. Yet never once had he made a pass at her or made her feel uncomfortable, even though he had had her number in his phone since the day she borrowed his phone on a stormy night at a bus stop downtown.
"Liar," came Brian's voice, playful but firm. "Come on, do you think I don't know you? I know when you sound sad, Jenni, and you sound sad. Do you want to come by for a bit and talk about it? I've got nothing going tonight. I was gonna play some XBox with a couple of guys, but they can get on fine without me."
"Oh, I don't want to mess up your plans. I'll just stop by another time."
"Come on, Jenni. You always tell me I play too many video games. Come over and give me something else to do. I'll make ice cream!"
Now the therapeutic power of ice cream is well documented, but Brian's homemade variety was so effective at curing the doldrums that it should have been FDA-regulated. He said that just making it by hand made it a perfect tool for rescuing the down-in-the-dumps. And it worked on Jenni every time.
"Argh, you don't play fair," Jenni answered, giggling as tears welled in her eyes. "I'll see you in a little bit."
Jenni put on her coat, checked for her keys and her phone, and then stepped out into the freezing cold to walk to Brian's house. It wasn't far -- six blocks, around two corners -- so she didn't bother driving. All in all it took less than ten minutes from her front door to his. Brian was already mixing a vanilla-coconut depression remedy when she rang his bell.
"Come on in, Jenni," he said. "I'm almost done. And I've got something cool to show you."
Jenni tossed her coat over the back of Brian's sofa just like she always did. She walked to the kitchen and peered over his shoulder at the ice cream mixer as he cranked it carefully by hand.
"So what's on your mind?" Brian asked. "What's new in your life?"
"Nothing," Jenni answered bitterly, her shoulders slumping. "Same old, same old."
"Could be worse," Brian offered. "You could be in jail."
Jenni scoffed. "Might not be too much worse. I went out with Amanda and Rebecca this weekend. We met some guys ... you know. Tonight, both of them are out with their dudes, but ..." Jenni's eyes welled up again, and she couldn't finish the sentence. Brian turned from the ice cream to embrace her.
"His loss, babe," Brian said, patting her shoulders reassuringly. "You know those bar guys. Not worth the effort it takes to catch them."
"I know, but ... I mean, who doesn't want to be noticed? To be the girl that some guy talks to his friends about? They have that, and I ... never will." She sighed and leaned her head on his shoulder. Brian was always so sweet and understanding. And she could hug him all night and he'd never make a move. Probably because she was so average-looking, she decided. Even when she could get a guy this close, he'd never take a second look at her.
"What are you talking about?" Brian chuckled and cast his eyes toward the ceiling. "You're exactly the kind of girl that guys get crushes on and beg their friends for advice about. Maybe you're just out of this guy's league is all."
"Whatever." Jenni shrugged and accepted the bowl of ice cream Brian offered her.
"It could happen. Come here, I want to show you something." Carrying his own ice cream, Brian led Jenni into the bedroom at the back of his apartment. There, in the corner, stood an antique walnut-framed floor mirror, the kind with little screws at the side so it can spin over the top and face either direction. It looked expensive, and heavy. What in the world is this doing in Brian's place? she thought.
"Since when are you into mirrors?" Jenni asked, walking over to the new addition. "It is kind of cool, but ... why?"
Jenni traced her fingertips along the woodwork. It didn't match with any of Brian's typical IKEA bachelor decor. What was he doing with something like this?
"I didn't pick it out. I won it as a prize. I thought you might like it; it's one of those antiquey things. So I brought it up here until I could show you. Then, something happened."
"What happened?" Jenni asked, examing the back of the mirror for a moment. Nothing unusual there, except that the wood was finished even in back. This was a high-quality piece of furniture.
"The mirror has some kind of special feature. Let me show you. Have a seat over there."
Jenni sat down on the end of Brian's bed. They had been friends for four years, ever since he had loaned her his cell phone when hers died at the bus stop during a thunderstorm. At first Jenni had thought he would use the fact that her number was stored on his phone as a way to hook up with her. But he never even asked her out privately -- he only contacted her to invite her to parties and other group events. He was always tender and respectful toward her, and she enjoyed the safety she felt in his friendship. She knew she wasn't pretty, and that was probably why he hadn't made a move. But he treated her well all the same, and that meant a lot to her.
"What's the special feature?" she asked. "Can it check your e-mail or something?"
Brian sat down next to her and pointed into the mirror. "Look at that lady."
"Uh huh," she sighed. "Nothing special to see there! Unless you have a magic mirror."
Brian smiled. "Maybe. This mirror, I swear, it shows you the best things about yourself. Amplifies them, even. It helps you to see what there is to like about you. Take a look. Just open your mind and think about the things you like about you."
Brian brushed his fingers encouragingly across the back of her right hand. Wait, was that innocent? Something about the feeling left tingles in her skin. A shade of sensual arousal lingered, enough to make her cast her eyes down to her hand and curl in her lower lip slightly. Had it really been so long since anyone had touched her at all? Was she longing this much for the slightest shred of affection? That felt good. Her eyes met his and she quickly drowned whatever longing sparkled in them with a deluge of friendly appreciation.
"Thanks, Brian. I just don't see anything."
She covered her right hand with her left and gazed at the mirror in front of her. She saw herself as she was -- normal. At first she thought of the word "ordinary," but its negative connotation reeked of self-pity. She didn't dislike herself. She felt comfortable with who she was and how she looked. She just didn't see herself as especially attractive, especially sexy, especially ... special. She was normal.
Her brunette hair was light enough to catch rays of sunshine that, to her eye, betrayed every split end and tangle. But it was dark enough to make her skin seem pale by comparison. She liked her hair color, and had never given any thought to dying it red or blonde or black or any strange color. She just knew her hair wasn't an asset to her physical appearance.
She brushed her fingers through it absentmindedly. Brian noticed.
"Your hair, Jenni," he said tenderly. "You always take care of it so well. You keep it all shiny and soft."
She smiled and blushed a little. Actually, as she looked in the mirror, she noticed that she was having a good hair day. The split ends and wild curls that usually showed up at the bottom of her hair weren't appearing. And it seemed shinier than usual, coming down the sides of her neck in smooth, graceful waves. At the touch of her fingers it floated softly into place, rather than falling like wet paper on her shoulders and neck.
She laughed. "Yeah, I am having a good hair day," she said. "I wonder what I did differently today?" Smiling, she turned her head from side to side and admired the result. "Huh. Thanks."
"See, there is a lot to like about the way you look," Brian added.
Jenni shrugged. "That's one. There's a lot to dislike, too," she said.
Tugging at both her hands (there was that feeling again!) Brian guided her to stand, coaxing her toward the mirror.
"What in the world can you dislike about this?" he said. He chose his worlds carefully, Jenni noticed. Probably trying to avoid sounding like anything but a friend. But she found herself somehow deeply longing to hear him just come out and say she was sexy.
"You have great skin," he added. "Everything about you is just what guys want."
She laughed and turned her face to examine the pimple she had found just yesterday on the crest of her left cheek. She brushed her soft hair back. Where was it? Maybe the other side? Now she turned to see the right side. No blemishes. Apparently, she had done her makeup extremely well today. But before, even when she really worked at it, in her mirror she could still distinguish the trace of what she was trying to cover up. Now it was like those pimples were never there. And the tiny beginnings of wrinkles around her eyes had disappeared, too. In fact -- her eyes widened as she noticed, her fingers tracing over her cheeks as she drew back strands of hair searching for vestiges of her blemishes -- even the skin on her hands looked better than ever. Soft, smooth, supple ... now how had that happened?
Brian, noticing her surprise, smiled a little and cast his eyes into those of her reflection. The result had his reflection gazing into her own eyes.
"How do you like my mirror?" he said, his feet twitching a little.
"Is that what it is? Is this some kind of special mirror that changes how you look?"
"You could say that," he answered.
"I should get one. I can't even see my skin blemishes."
"Neither can I," he replied. "What else do you notice is different?"
She peered at her reflection. She couldn't put her finger on it, but something ... or maybe it was just the feeling she got from putting on her favorite outfit for going out. The skinny jeans, the long, tight sleeves, the bare shoulders on her top ...
"My shoulders!" she said, noticing suddenly.
"What about them?"
"I look really tan!" she answered, delighted, bouncing up and down on her toes. "What's the deal with this mirror? Where did you get it?"
"I won it as a prize, actually," he answered. "I'm not sure how it works. I really don't know how it's possible."
"Me neither," Jenni replied. "It's not blurry or dark or anything, so I don't understand how it hides the things I don't like. But I love it!"
"It does more than that," Brian said, his voice suddenly a little more airy. He seemed to be nervous now, letting something out that he had been afraid to say. "Anything you see -- anything you believe or want to be, that's what you can see in this mirror."
"What, it's some kind of iPad thing?" she asked, looking at him now. "It changes the image however you want it?"
"Not how I want it," Brian said. "It changes -- it presents you as you want to be seen, as you believe you can be seen. I don't know exactly what the rules are. I've tried doing really crazy stuff with it and it doesn't work. There appears to be some connection between what you want to see and how possible you think it is. But it does some wild stuff."
Jenni stepped back from the mirror now. She had to admit, she liked how it made her look. But this was a little weird. "Wild stuff?"
Brian nodded. "It doesn't hurt or anything, and if it makes you more comfortable I won't watch. In fact, I'm going to step into the other room for a bit so you can try it out however you want, without me or my opinion influencing you." He turned toward the bedroom door.
"wait, what?" Jenni called after him. "Try it out?"
Brian turned to her as his hand reached for the doorknob. "Just take a look at yourself and try to imagine what you'd like to change, how you'd like to look. Think about what you would look like if you were intensely attractive -- but still you."
"You're a man. Why don't you do it for me?"
"I don't think it will work right. Besides, that will just make you look hot to me." He swallowed, pursing his lips, possibly swallowing a sentence before continuing. "It's much more important to see yourself as beautiful, isn't it?"
Jenni turned back to the mirror and gathered her hair above her head. She watched it cascade down from her fingers in gentle chestnut waves on her neck -- a neck that looked really long and slender with her hair all raised up off of it. She grinned as she saw, in the reflection, Brian licking his lips looking at her neck.
"I tell you what," she said, turning to face him. "I want to try it out, but you stay here with me and make sure nothing weird happens."
Brian hesitated. It was as if he knew something weird WAS going to happen. "I don't mind," he said, his hands shaking a little, "but you may want to try some things you won't want me to see."
She giggled again, turning back to the mirror. "You mean like messing with my boobs or something? Can this make those bigger, too?" As soon as she said it, her reflection's shirt tightened. Tiny shadows emerged on the tips of her breasts. The hem of her top rose even with the waistband of her pants.
"Whoa, what!? Did that just happen?" She lifted her hair above her head again, letting the brown strands fall so softly and sensuously on her neck and shoulders. As her hands rose above her shoulders, her reflection's top raised up, baring a smooth, tanned stomach.
"Wow, look at me!" She extended her arms out at shoulder level, admiring the strip of midriff bared in the mirror. She wondered how much this techno-toy of Brian's could simulate. How big could she be?
The Jenni in the mirror swelled again. Now her top was clearly starting to strain, and cleavage -- cleavage, she had never had cleavage! -- was clearly visible under her neck. Forgetting Brian was in the room, she indulged herself in imagining what she'd look like seriously huge -- she bounced on her toes as breasts the size of cantaloupes bobbed softly in front of her. She looked good -- really good. The sway and jiggle of the flesh in the mirror made her really want to touch them. And the eyes -- the reflection of her eyes that met hers -- something in them seemed to invite her, to beg her to touch the girl in the mirror. There was a gleam in her eyes, an allure in her smile -- had she ever looked like that before? Geez, a look like that would bring a boy running, surely.
Her tummy, almost totally exposed now under her hopelessly stretched top, had also changed from what she remembered. Gone was that smidgen of muffin top she had long hated. A trace of muscle tone carried a "V" shape down the sides of her tummy to meet somewhere under her pants. The upper end of the V wrapped around her round, pert breasts -- dents of nipples visible pointing straight outward on the tip of each one.
Jenni sighed happily, tracing her hands down her sides, feeling the pronounced shape of her hips now. The girl in the reflection did the same, although she seemed to be more showing off her body than exploring it -- like a dancer, or a stripper, rather than a girl looking herself over. And her body really did look perfect. Her waist was a little slimmer, but not much. And it curved like an hourglass into tender ... she couldn't think of another word but sexy thighs and hips. All the way down her legs, too, she oozed allure.
She smiled again, drawing her hair across her face, blushing brightly. "I kinda want to make out with me," she said, giggling. "What do you think?"
"What do you think I think?" Brian answered, his hand still on the doorknob but his body turned around to watch her reflection change. "You're a goddess, Jenni," he said, his voice shaking a little.
Jenni bit her lip and turned back to look at the mirror, afraid to meet Brian's eyes. Her reflection stared at her, a soft smile on her lips, her face tilted slightly to the left, showing off a sliver of neck behind her amazing hair. Her eyes -- the eyes in the mirror, anyway -- they sparkled, they rippled, they shimmered like a pool inside a cave. The girl in the mirror was pulling her closer with her gaze. Was she really doing that? And why couldn't she stop? She took two slow steps toward the mirror, her hips swaying, knees bending, beckoning at the same time as she was coming close. Her reflection seemed to be teasing her. And it was working. Jenni felt more desire than she had felt in a long time. And for a woman -- a woman who was herself! Was it normal to find yourself stunning, sexy, attractive?
"Is this what it's like to be one of those confident girls?" she said, half laughing, half shaking with nervousness. "I feel amazing." Finally she found herself standing directly in front of the mirror. She raised her right hand and spread her fingers, watching as her reflection did the same. Her reflection's eyes never left her own. She felt wanted, desired, aroused ... her fingertip came down toward the mirror's surface ...
"What the heck!?" She sprang back, holding her hand, staring at the tip of her extended middle finger.
"What's wrong?" Brian said, striding over to her and peering over her shoulder at her hand.
"That didn't feel like glass," she said, turning back to the mirror where the Jenni there continued gazing at her with love and temptation. "What IS this thing?"
"What does it feel like?" Brian asked as she laid her hand against the mirror again.
She cooed, a throaty purr floating out of her throat, her body turning to press her face to the mirror. "It feels ... alive..."
Now Brian knew the mirror had some fascinating attributes, but he wasn't prepared for what he saw next. Jenni had her eyes closed, enjoying whatever it was she was feeling, but the girl in the mirror -- Jenni's reflection -- had hers open. Their cheeks pressed together through the medium of the mirror's surface, the Jenni in the mirror gazed at their joined fingertips with an expression of marvel and contentment on her face.
Jenni drew in breath sharply, her body tensing, but she didn't pull away from the mirror. She seemed shocked, though. For a moment Brian thought she had noticed that the Jenni in the mirror wasn't looking in the same direction as she herself was. But no, that wasn't it. This was even more strange. Jenni in the mirror had curled her fingers away from the real Jenni's and was actually using her fingertips to stroke the length of Jenni's fingers.
"What's happening," Jenni whispered, more a statement than a question.
"I ..." Brian was speechless. He stepped forward again to stand just behind Jenni, but he didn't know whether to pull her away from the mirror. She seemed so happy standing there with her reflection caressing her fingers. Brian decided to stay close but watch what happened.
"It feels like ... real," Jenni sighed, her lungs emptying with a heavy sigh. "I love this," she said as she turned the back of her hand to the mirror. The reflection of Jenni didn't turn her hand -- she continued caressing, this time stroking her fingertips over Jenni's knuckles and wrist. She was clearly no longer a reflection. The differences in their bodies were obvious, but now Jenni in the mirror was even acting independent of the real Jenni.
Jenni's head moved heavily, as if she were drunk or, more probably, dizzy with arousal. Her eyes met those of her reflection, which burned with intense passion. Jenni pressed her lips to the mirror. The reflection girl welcomed her and Brian could even see the curve of the reflected girl's lips indenting the mirror's surface outward -- as if the two women were actually two people separated by a perfectly clear membrane.