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Old 05-02-2011, 05:34 PM   #5   [permalink]
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There was no mistaking the expression on her father’s face, however. His face turned from pink to red, and he glared at her in fury and contempt. The Bell family was old in its traditions, and still held the rule that only males could inherit title and estate. In his eyes, Cristobel’s transformation in Krystal was the most miserable failure imaginable.

“What the hell is this?” Mr. Bell roared, pointing a shaking finger in Krystal’s direction, “This is what you’d hand me in place of my son. A weak female? I demand that she be removed from this school. My wife and I will produce a new male heir. This woman is nothing to me! I reject any association with her, my son is dead! And that’s it.”

It felt, in a very real way, like Krystal had been stabbed through the heart. She had been dreading this moment for months. And it hurt just a badly as she had feared. Her father had dominated her life for as long as she could remember. She had always sought his approval and sanction in everything she had done as Cristobel. His rejection of her, though expected, seared at her like scalding water. Her mouth dried up and she felt like a yawning abyss was opening up beneath her. She could say nothing as he screamed at her.

Behind her, she heard Miss Piranha gasp in shock. Krystal realized that Miss Piranha was unfamiliar with her home life drama and the situation with her family.

Levelly, Mr. Innsmouth told him, “Mr. Bell, I believe you are familiar with the contract you signed. You’re offspring is enrolled at this school until she graduates, you cannot simply pull her out and send her to some charm school. Also, you have been informed by post that Cristobel Bell has had his identity legally reassigned as Krystal Bell, your daughter. You cannot simply declare her dead just because it is convenient for you.”

There was a small pause as her father digested this, and then he replied with a huff, “Alright, fine. If I’m stuck with another daughter, I’ll just disown her. Simple as that. No point in anything else, she can’t inherit my title, and I can’t marry her off to increase the strength of the family, no one would take a wife who used to be a man. In any event, I will not let this girl back into my house; the shame would be too much. Maybe you can hire her as a janitor after she graduates so she’ll have free room and board.”

Pain beginning to give way to anger, Krystal felt herself begin to tremble. Her mother, ever docile and obedient, clapped her hand over her mouth but made no other sound or movement. Suddenly, Krystal felt Miss Piranha’s hands on her shoulders.

“She can stay with me!” Miss Piranha declared, “If Krystal needs a roof over her head she can come live with me, I’ll take her in.”

Of course, with the patents in her name for the various inventions she’d been a part of, Krystal actually had quite a bit of her own money that was not connected to the Bell family fortune. The tissue regenerator alone probably generated enough funds for her to buy her own place. Just the same, she wanted to kiss her teacher at that moment.

“How very generous of you, Miss Piranha.” Mr. Innsmouth said drolly.

“Fine, as long I don’t have to deal with her.” Her father snorted, “Let’s see how far she gets without the Bell family to hold her up. It’s what she deserves for letting this happen to her.”

Shaking now with rage, Krystal felt torn apart, like she had been shredded from the inside out. But she held her ground, furious and determined.

For the first time in her life, she raised her voice to her father.

“I don’t care about your money!” She said sharply.

“What are you babbling about, woman?” Mr. Bell asked, clearly finding the idea absurd.

“You heard me!” Krystal said icily, “I don’t care about your lousy money! I don’t care about your worthless title, either. All I really ever wanted was my father. I guess I shouldn’t have cared about him either!”

Angrily, Krystal turned on her heels and stormed out of the room, not noticing that her father looked like he’d been slapped. He hadn’t expected that. Miss Piranha glared at him fiercely and then turned and followed Krystal.

“Wretched excuse for a man.” She muttered as she left.

With a certain amount of bemusement, Mr. Innsmouth regarded Artemis Bell.

“I believe you know the way out, Mr. Bell?”

Krystal stalked down the hallway putting on a brave face. She still had a problem with people seeing her cry. Although it was more acceptable as a girl, she still didn’t like to show too much weakness. She didn’t like to seem vulnerable. She kept her head up and kept walking, trying her damndest to look like nothing was wrong. Inside, she was in complete turmoil.

At first, anger flared in her at Zippy for the first time in a while. If Zippy hadn’t turned her into a chick, then she’d still have her father’s support. But no, that dissipated right away: If Zippy hadn’t done this, she’d still be a slave to her father’s will. She was better off the way she was now, she knew that deep down in her bones, as strange as it might sound. Her anger then turned more appropriately to her father. Her father whose archaic notions and prejudice had practically ruined her as a guy, and continued to grind at her now. She had accomplished great things here at Petri’s, many of them after her transformation. And all he could see was that she had breasts now.

It was true, loosing her title and fortune had hurt, but it had also freed her up to be her own person for the first time ever. When she thought about it, as Cristobel her life had been nothing but stress and anger, and fear. Fear of her father, fear of disappointing him in even the slightest way and tarnishing the Bell family name and all the well laid plans his father had made for him. As Krystal, she felt calmer, more focused, and more at peace. And happier, she admitted, much happier. It had been his complete rejection of her, completely disowning her entirely that had really hurt the most.

She’d been expecting this, but it hurt just the same. She’d been disowned, and now she no longer had any claim to her family title. She had no father.

The black pit of despair, illogical in its way, that came with that last thought was almost too much for her. She broke down and started crying. By the time she got back to her dorm, she was completely in tears. She got to the dorm room and opened the door, hoping to be alone with her misery.

Instead she found Zippy and Stitchy sitting around tossing ideas back and forth for the cancer cure. From the looks on their faces, it wasn’t going very well. There were also a lot of notes and references to something Stitchy had come up with involving ball lightening for Miss Gojira’s class. The both looked up as Krystal entered. She must have looked pretty bad because Zippy instantly stood up. Stitchy actually gasped.

“Oh no, Krystal, what happen?” Stitchy asked concern.

Krystal opened her mouth to say something, and then just fell onto the bed between the two of them, sobbing uncontrollably. Stitchy put a massive arm around her and Krystal found herself falling against the giant girl’s shoulder. In an instant it all came flooding out of her and she told them both what had happened, the words gushing out of her mouth as fast as the tears from her eyes. When she and finished she felt Zippy squeeze her hand. It was a simple gesture, but Krystal felt grateful for it just the same.

She looked at Zippy’s face and saw that it was aghast, her mouth open and her eyes wide. And there was that trace guilt that Krystal always noticed whenever Zippy was reminded that her actions had cost Krystal more then just her previous gender. The funny thing was, Cristobel would never have understood that feeling. Krystal did all too well.

“I knew he was going to remove your title and claim, but to cut you off entirely?” Zippy almost whispered, “That’s insane! I can’t believe he’d do that.”

“Yeah, well, he did.” Krystal sobbed glumly.

Zippy put her arms around her and hugged Krystal tight, “Oh, Krystal, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.”

Krystal hugged her back, happy for the affection and concern of her friends. No, even were it possible to change back, she knew she would never take it. Her life was so much better now that she was Krystal. She would have to go on without her family. She had the best friends in the world, the realized.

Stitchy stood up, angry and irritated, her face tinged with indignation.

“Nasty, mean Mr. Bell! He make Krystal cry!” She declared in fury, “Stitchy mad!!!!”

“No, Stitchy will not smash.” Zippy admonished her.

“That not what Stitchy meant, mom.” Stitchy rolled her eyes, “Stitchy think he no good father. Mean Mr. Bell no deserve Krystal.”

After a while, Krystal managed to calm down. The pain was still raw, but she was managing. She bit her lip; first Miss Piranha, now this. What a horrible two days this had been. Glancing over at Stitchy, she invariably began to think of Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein, loosely based on the experiments of the real scientist, whom Shelly had met at some point. She’d read the book several times, but always had the notion that something about it eluded her. Thinking about it, she realized she had never quite realized that the true horror of the story wasn’t the monster himself, but rather Frankenstein’s treatment of it. Everyone knew the monster wasn’t evil, just misunderstood, but she had never quite pinpointed the truth of it. She sighed heavily as she realized that the true monster of the novel was Frankenstein’s rejection of his ‘child’ when it didn’t turn out to be what he’d expected. Now, sitting here without a family, even surrounded by friends, Krystal felt she now finally knew how the monster felt.

Hatred brewed in her for her father, for everything he constantly put her through. She began to think of changing her name. If she was going to be disowned, then why not? Maybe she should move in with Miss Piranha? Hell, maybe she should change her name Krystal Piranha? No, that sounded like a song from the 60s.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. Stitchy bounded over and opened the door. The door swung open to reveal the well dressed form of Constance Bell, standing with her purse held in front of her. She began greet politely, but flinched when she saw Stitchy.

“Hello . . . Ah!” She gasped, before composing herself, “You must be Stitchy.”

“I Stitchy.” Stitchy nodded, proudly as always.

Krystal stood up, surprised, “Mother?”

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