Chapter 6.50

Liam

It was like I was in a haze or a dream. There. On the dance floor was a girl that looked just like Ginny Malcolm!

As I got closer I saw her orange hair, her petite face, her little mole above her lips. Without thinking, I wrapped my arms around her and whispered, “Thank God, you’re alive!”

Instantly, she pushed me away. “Hey, what’s your deal? Get off me!”

For a split second, I’d forgotten all about the curse and my idiotic problems. To Ginny, I was a woman. Charlene Darby. A stranger.

My shoulders sunk as I stammered, “S-Sorry, I thought you were someone I knew. Forgive me.”

She lurched her head back. “That’s okay. I have that kind of face. Don’t worry about it.”

Next, I heard a gasp and Charlene exclaiming, “Oh my GOD! Is that Ginny Malcolm?”

In a flash, Ginny’s face beamed as she flung her arms around Charlie. I’d never wanted my body back more in this entire nightmare. At least I wasn’t dreaming. That WAS Ginny Malcolm. She was alive and living here in Sulani. But how? And why hadn’t she contacted me in all of these years?

“Liam!” Ginny breathed. “I can’t believe it’s you! How are you?”

Charlie was at a loss for words. She just shrugged.

Then Ginny said, “Hey, I want to introduce you to Kaleo. He’s my…”

“Husband,” said a gruff voice coming from a guy who looked like he belonged in an action hero movie.

The word, “husband” took a moment to register and then it stung like a poison dart.

“No…no…” I whispered, “that can’t be true…” My stomach tightened so much I felt like I was going to puke. I had to get out of there.

Charlie

What the hell kind of psycho drama was this? If it’d happened in the movies, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we were in Sulani and I was staring at none other than Ginny Malcolm, love of Dr. Day’s life. WTF????

Oh she SOOOOO had some explaining to do.

“I…um…am shocked to see you but…glad.” I stuck out my hand to shake with Ginny’s husband’s. I noticed Dr. D’s face went pale and he’d fled the scene. Can’t say I blame him.

“Liam…you don’t know how many times I thought about you over the past two years. How are you?” Ginny beamed at me with a touch of sadness in her face.

I glared. It was time to get my bitch on. If Dr. Day couldn’t defend himself, I’d do it for him. This soooo wasn’t cool. “Two years? It’s been six. I thought you were dead, Ginny. Why the hell didn’t you contact me all of these years? Do you know what I went through? We were going to be married. You were my fiancé. Didn’t you think I had the right to know where you were?”

“I’m…sorry, Liam…it’s a long story. I didn’t regain my memories until two years ago and then by that time you’d moved on.”

I cocked my head. “Moved on? Why did you think that?”

“Ginny…why don’t we invite Liam over to our house so you can talk more? I don’t mind.”

I wanted Dr. Day to be there. I wasn’t sure what was going on with him right now but I knew he needed closure. “Can I bring my girlfriend, too? She’s worrying about me right now. I saw her leave in tears earlier.”

Ginny nodded. “Of course. I’d love to meet your girl.” Then she grinned at me and said, “I’m so glad you found someone special, Liam. I truly am.”

I searched everywhere outside the nightclub and then followed sand prints to a tiny lava springs.

God, Reed was even hugging Dr. Day. He must have known something was up. Like I wouldn’t have been upset by seeing Ginny. Only Dr. Day would care that much.

I walked up to them. “Hey…um…can I talk to Dr. Day…alone, please?”

The guys nodded. Reed blinked at me sort of giving me telepathy that he now understood the situation. Like yeah…this was the real Dr. D in MY body. It was like I knew our romance was over right then but I honestly didn’t care.

I stared at his stricken face and said, “God, Liam, I’m so sorry.”

Liam

Just hearing Charlene call me by my first name at this moment sent me into tears. I had been so emotional lately even before I’d seen Ginny. I’d heard that’s what happened to women during that time of the month–my emotions were definitely all over the place. And to make matters worse, seeing Ginny and her husband was like I was reliving her disappearance all over again only this time it hurt even worse. There was a finality to it. The death of our relationship for good.

“Is there anything I can do?” Charlene asked when I couldn’t respond. “God, I just want to slap her face and kick her ass.”

Tears streamed down my cheeks as Charlene wrapped her arms around me. And then I gave in, body shaking, crying on her shoulder.

Suddenly, rage shot up through the pain. “Why, dammit? WHY? Did she hate me so much that she had to make up a lie to get away from our life together? I don’t understand!”

Charlene shook her head. “Honestly, I don’t think that was it at all. She said she’d lost her memory until two years ago.”

“Then why didn’t she call me two years ago?” I was panicking and losing my shit. I hated being out of control. Hated the familiar terror seeping into my body as the reality of the situation gutted me. Just like what happened with Brandy. Just like when she first disappeared.

Holding me even tighter, Charlene breathed, “It’s going to be okay, Liam. I promise.”

At that moment, I really wanted to believe her, but I just couldn’t.

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Chapter 6.49

Charlie

Something was off between Dr. D and Reed. I caught Reed glaring at him during the flight but he was extra special nice to me. When I asked Dr. Day about it, he said not to worry. We just needed to focus on doing what the guru said. Not gonna lie, I was kind of over the moon about it. I was picturing getting my body back and starting on a program of the new and improved me. Being Dr. Day taught me that working out and eating veggies was kind of fun. I wasn’t going vegan but I definitely liked broccoli and tofu. Who would have guessed?

Reed took us to a pretty uninhabited part of the island near the volcano. “This is the home of Shama Kazi known spiritist of my island. Let me talk to him first for you or he’ll put his dogs on you.”

The shack gave me the shivers. It was like out of a Halloween movie tropical style. This was where we were going to find our answers? I kind of had my doubts.

“Todd,” Dr. D said, “are you sure about this?”

But Todd only grunted.

When Reed got back, he said, “Shama Kazi welcomes you with open arms except he’ll need payment.”

“Money, of course,” Dr. Day said. “Don’t worry, Charlene, I’ll pay. Anything to get my body back.”

“No…he desires your feet.”

I totally freaked out at that but Reed assured me he only wanted pictures. I bristled. What kind of creep needed photos of random strangers’ feet? But if that was all, I didn’t care what awful things he did with them. I wanted my body back.

He wasn’t anything like I’d pictured either. The guy was actually kind of cute and young. Weren’t shamans supposed to be 99 years old and wise with all the experience of the ages? I gave him a look. “How old are you?”

“Charlene, who cares?” Dr. Day said. “Let’s just see what he has to say.”

Anger flickered in his eyes. “If you don’t like what you see, you can leave. I don’t have time for difficult people who come in here begging for my help then spit in my face.”

Geeze, what got in this guy’s rattan basket? I backpedaled. “Sorry, Mr. Kazi, I meant no disrespect.”

Dr. Day cut in, “Look, we’re hoping you can help us with our souls getting back to our bodies. Do you have something for us to do or say or a spell you can enchant us with?”

He answered with a smile. “Ah yes, I believe I have the antidote you’re looking for. It should work instantly, too.” He glanced at me. “I see you’re very uncomfortable in this body and you’re ravenous to get out. I will help.”

He gave Dr. Day a potion. I was a little worried about it but heck. What did we have to lose?

Dr. Day threw it back like a mug of beer he was guzzling.

I did the same. Warm tingles zipped through my body. It was working!

But then Dr. Day’s hair turned blue and slithered out of his head like a bunch of slimy snakes. “Ahhh!” I screamed. “Dr. Day! What’s happening to your hair?”

“Very interesting,” the shaman said. “It would seem I was wrong. Souls are like roots of trees. They intertwine with the body they inhabit. It looks as though both of you are clinging to the bodies you possess.”

“What do you mean?” Dr. Day yelled. “Will we look like this forever? Can we ever get back?”

“The hair is only a sign of what’s inside. It will last another fifteen minutes. Do not fear about this. But as for your souls…you must give up what you know of yourselves and move on. Only then will you receive what you wish.”

“Give up what we know? Like who we were in our old bodies?”

“That is what I believe. But I’m not sure. I will do some research for you and will contact you later if I find out anything. Now…I believe I am due payment? Take off your shoes, please.”

Dr. Day rubbed his head. “God, okay fine, we’ll take off our shoes. Just give me a minute to process this.”

My mouth dropped at this news. “Omg…Dr. Day, am I stuck in your body forever?”

The dude must have taken a thousand pictures of our feet. What a weirdo!

Liam

The news hit me hard. It was like a heavy weight blanketed me. I was destined to be Charlene Darby for the rest of my life. What were my parents going to say? Or think? Would they not believe me just like Reed, thinking I was trying to take away my inheritance with a ruse?

In order to cheer us up, Reed suggested we go to a local bar called the Forbidden Mermaid. I got the feeling he was celebrating his victory over me. To him, this proved I was lying after all, and now, “Liam” was his. Charlene was all too happy to fall right back in his arms.

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But how could I blame her? At least she was able to move on with whatever life she could make in my body. I needed to do the same. Just thinking about having to go through three more years of college to get my pHD all over again gave me a sinking feeling. My life literally sucked. Cursed forever.

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“I can hear the music from here, Charlie. This is going to be fun!” Reed said.

Charlene turned her head. “Come on, Dr. D! Drinks on me!”

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I rolled my eyes. Drinks on her meant drinks on my bank account. That was another subject we were going to have to hash out. How to split my funds.

As we entered, the music base reverberated through me. I had to admit, the bar was breathtakingly beautiful with gorgeous paintings and stained glass of mermaids on the walls and lasers flashing everywhere.

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The patrons were all surrounding a girl who was dancing in the middle of the glass floor.

And then when I got a good look at her, all of the blood rushed out of my head.

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“Ginny?”

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Chapter 6.48

Charlie

Todd and I rushed over to my new apartment. There I found a very angry Dr. D.

“What the hell is this, Charlene? I specifically told you to come alone!”

I stepped back a little. He was TOTALLY scary when he got mad.

“T-Todd just came for moral support, Dr. D. I mean…who knew what I’d find and…”

Dr. Day shoved me out of the way and pushed Todd.

“Out! Now! And don’t come back until I say so.”

Todd gave me a sheepish look and stumbled out the door.

“My God, Dr. D, what the hell is going on?” I asked.

“Follow me,” he said as if he’d just attended a funeral.

“Oh no…it couldn’t be…”

“It is.” Dr. Day headed toward the bathroom door and everything added up. Honestly, I had blissfully totally forgotten about it because YES I was a guy right now.

When I entered, I had to stifle a laugh. Dr. Day must have bought out the whole drugstore. I’d never seen so many different kinds of pads, tampons, and even period cups!

He buckled over as if a cramp shot through him.

“Are you okay, Dr. D? I mean the first two days are the worst but you’ll get through it.”

“I think one is permanently stuck. It won’t come out. I…um…need your help.”

I cocked my head. “You just use the little stringie thingie. Did you try that?”

He nodded and said, “It fell off and then I panicked and called you. It hurts now. I think I’m suffering from toxic shock syndrome!”

I rubbed his back. “No…you’re fine. I’ll help you out. If that happens, you just have to dig…” But then I stopped myself. Did I really WANT Dr. D digging around there? Like HELL NO!

So, I performed the unsticking procedure. He grimaced and moaned the whole time. You’d think I was doing surgery on him. Men were such babies. God! We had to suffer the monthly curse almost our whole lives. He suffered once and you’d think the world was coming to an end.

*****

Liam

I fucking wanted my body back. NOW. Why the hell did that dickwad genie do this to me? What sadistic pleasures did he get by turning a man into a woman? Now I understood what women went through every single month. It wasn’t fair. Pain throbbed in my back and stomach and even down my legs. All I wanted to do was lay around. And what was worse, I wanted to lash out at everyone and everything.

After I retired for a bit, Charlene came in and checked on me. She was being so sweet and understanding. But I wasn’t appreciating her intrusions for some reason. In fact, her being so nice irritated me.

“Dr. D, please get out of bed. I made you something that will help take the tension off.”

I finally did as she’d asked, but I wasn’t happy about it. “The only thing that will take the edge off would be if you stuck a knife in my pelvis and did a mercy killing.” Standing only worsened the pain.

She glared. “Dr. D, stop acting like a ginormous baby and eat these cookies. I promise, it’ll make you feel better.”

Against my better judgement, I ate one. And then I ate three. For some reason, I had a voracious appetite.

Feeling a bit better, I sat on the couch with her.

“See? I told you the cookies would help.”

My eyes turned to slits. “Nothing will help until I get my body back.”

“Okay, yeah, so like about that…Todd says he found a shaman guru guy who might be able to help us out. Like he may be able to perform some sort of voodoo type thing. Only problem is…we have to go to Sulani.”

“Sulani?”

“Yeah…that’s where the dude is. I figure why not? We haven’t been doing such a great job at breaking the curse on our own.”

“Hmm…” I said. “I’m not sure we should trust a ‘guru type guy’. What if he makes matters worse?”

“Look, Dr. D…what’s worse than you suffering my periods? I mean, like, I can handle them. I’ve had them for the past ten years, but men just don’t have the mental capacity like women do. So what do we got to lose?”

She had me there. I used to think men were tougher in emotions and strength, but now? I’d been living in my own dream world. Women were way stronger than men if they had to suffer silently like this every month. I couldn’t even imagine giving birth to a child. I looked at Charlene with a greater appreciation. “I wonder that you would want to go back to this body at all. You’re a braver person than I am.”

“Honestly, Dr. D, being a guy isn’t all that fun. You have to hide your dick constantly when it decides to have a mind of its own. Seriously, that gets old.”

That made me laugh. “Yes, I guess you’re right about that.”

She gave me a playful look. “Now that we’ve decided we hate living in each other’s bodies, how about we do something we both like?”

I was intrigued. “Like what?”

She then suggested we have a Henry Puffer marathon. I hadn’t watched those movies since I was a kid. We made a bet that Lady Ravendancer Goth appeared in the second movie, but I knew she showed up in the first.

“What the hell?” Charlene shouted at the tv. “She’s in that mirror for one split second. That’s not fair, Dr. Day!”

I wiggled my eyebrows. “And now you have to do my laundry for one week.”

She pouted. “I hate laundry.”

******

After the third movie, we talked about Reed. I thought it’d be a good idea to tell him about what was going on. According to Charlene, the guy was basically in love with me, and I didn’t want him pining away needlessly.

So, the following day, we met up with him at my house. He glared at me. “You expect me to believe that nonsense? It’s just your feeble attempt to separate us.”

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I then relayed the time that only I knew about when Reed accidentally sent me a dick pic. I’d never even told my brother about it.

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He seemed to believe us then.

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I cautioned him not to explain the situation to my brother. There was no sense in getting any of my family involved. Not yet, at least. I’d decided this was our last chance. If the Sulani guru couldn’t help us then no one could. I’d then tell my whole family and try to get on with life as a woman.

Reed assured us that he could help find the shaman and he suggested he’d like to come along on the trip. I must admit, having him navigate the cliffs near the volcano relaxed me. He was a native, after all, and I didn’t want to be the lead in the search. Especially with Ginny’s memory looming over me like a specter. I’d taken a vow never to go back to Sulani again, but I was desperate.

Nervous jitters swept through me as we arrived at the Oasis Springs Airport.

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Todd came along as well for moral support. (And because it was his idea.)

After we’d checked our bags and went through security, Todd said, “I’m going to get some snacks. I’ll be right back.”

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Just then, Reed came up to Charlene.

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“Charlie, I’ve got a double chocolatte mocha for you, darling. Your favorite.”

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She lifted the side of her mouth. “Aww…you remembered from our date. Thanks, Reed.”

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It was good to see how Reed was embracing the fact that Charlene was residing in my body and that the break up wasn’t her fault. “I think I’d like some coffee, too, Reed. Where did you get it?” I asked, looking around.

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He blocked my way and thrust a finger in my face. “Ohhh, don’t think for a minute I’m going to help you out, you little hoe. Liam might be put under your spell, but I’m not that stupid to believe any of your lies. I’m only going along with this charade so when your tricks don’t work, I’ll take Liam home and get him some help.”

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Damn. I should have known that no one but Todd would believe us. And who could blame him? “Fine, Reed. You’ll find out the reality of the situation soon enough.”

“Whatever, bitch. Just stay clear of us once we get back from this trip or I’ll report your ass to the dean and get you expelled. Hypnotising unsuspecting people is against the law.”

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