Adam sat on the steps of the KOK-house, forearms resting on his legs, hands clasped loosely
between his knees. He stared blankly at the sidewalk, not seeing the sneakers that stopped in front of
him until the person the shoes belonged to spoke. "Hey."
Adam looked up, with a false smile. When he saw who it was, the affable mask disappeared and the
disquiet he was feeling currently showed on his face. "Hey, Dave."
Dave dropped his bookbag on the steps as he sat down beside Adam. "How's it going?"
Adam snorted in self-disgust. "Shitty."
Shitty was actually a poor descriptive of how he felt. He was a mess. He couldn't sleep. He
couldn't eat. He couldn't get it up, even for the sweetest TriPi pussy on Greek Row. His grades,
which were already dismal, had slipped even more. His duties as KOK President drained him. He
avoided his frat brothers as much as he could, and barely talked to his two best friends, Dave and
Worst of all, he felt better the second Adina appeared.
"Maybe this'll help," Dave said, reaching into his shirt pocket. He removed two business cards and
passed them both to Adam.
Adam frowned. "What are these?"
"I know you're still having problems with Adina, even though you won't talk to me about it," Dave
said. He pointed to the cards. "So maybe you'll talk to someone else."
"You want me to tell some stranger that I want to wear women's clothing?"
"It's up to you," Dave said. "I just hate seeing you miserable, man."
"I hate being miserable," Adam said unhappily. He rubbed the two cards between his fingers.
"Which one do I call?"
"Can't help you there, buddy," Dave said, rising to his feet. "One of those doctors will make Adina
go away, the other will let you accept her. You have to make the choice."
Dave picked up his bookbag and ambled away, leaving Adam alone.
Adam stared at the cards, only somewhat surprised by Dave's intervention. Despite the party
atmosphere, KOK Brotherhood ran deep, and Adam and Dave's friendship ran even deeper than
that. Plus, Dave had always been a bit of a bleeding heart, more so now that he was dating Leah. It
was just too bad Dave wouldn't tell Adam what to do.
Rising, Adam made his way into the KOK-house, nodding absently at the greetings he received. He
went upstairs to his room and locked the door behind him.
Adam sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the mirror hanging on the inside of the closet door. He
pulled off his colorful knit cap and studied his reflection with troubled blue eyes. After a moment,
he unzipped the leg pocket on his olive green Dockers and pulled out a tube of Cherry Jubilee
lipstick. He leaned closer to the mirror, parted his lips, and applied the bright color. He capped the
lipstick and looked critically at the results.
Adina liked the color. Adam didn't.
He was so fucked up.
Adam glanced at the two business cards sitting on the floor in front of him and chose Adina's fate.
Hands shoved deep in his pockets, Adam paused in the doorway and glanced around. A part of him
wanted to bolt. To hop into the car and speed away, not stopping until he fell off the side of the
world. Of course, that would be hard to do, considering his ride already left after dropping him off.
Besides which, it was Dave who had said the magic words that had prompted Adam out of the car to
"Whether you're Adam or Adina, I'll still hire you. Remember that."
Dave was so cool.
There were about a dozen people, both men and women, in the room at the center. Folding chairs
had been set up in a circle, and beverages and munchies were placed out on a table. Flyers and
information for other center activities were posted on the honey-colored walls. A dry erase board
announced what meeting was being held in the room.
"Doors are for walking through, not standing in, hon."
Adam started, jerking around to see a bemused-looking blonde woman with apple-round cheeks and
bright blues eyes. "Oh. Uh..."
She smiled gently. "Hi, I'm Jane. Are you here for the Transgender Group?"
Adam had one last chance to flee. All he had to do was answer no. "Yeah. Yeah, I am."
Jane's smile grew. "Welcome, then--"
"Adam," he supplied.
"Adam." Jane slipped her hand through the crook of his elbow and led him into the room. She
cleared her throat loudly, and the others in the room turned their attention to them. "Everyone, this
Adam was assailed with greetings -- thankfully, not like an AA chorus -- and he was pushed gently
onto a folding chair. It seemed his arrival was the signal to start, which was a good thing. If he'd had to wait, he
would've gone ape-shit.
"All right, everyone, settle down and let's get started." The middle-aged guy who called for order
was the only person with a notebook. He sat in one of the chairs in the circle and addressed Adam.
"Adam, welcome to the Transgender Support Group. I'm Dr. Steve Steward and I run the group.
Please, call me Steve."
"Right. Steve. Got it." Adam tried to sound relaxed and confident, as if it was common for him to
attend this sort of meeting. Hell, he'd faked being Adam the Great KOK President With No Mental
Problems over the past two months and mostly pulled it off, so he could fake being cool here.
Steve directed everyone to introduce themselves to Adam, before getting the meeting underway.
"So, how was everyone's week?" Steve said. "Who wants to start?"
"I will," Jane said. "My week was abysmal. One of John's ex-girlfriends saw me at a restaurant
and made a horrific scene. I can still hear that bitch's cackle."
Murmurs of sympathy from the group. Steve asked, "How did it make you feel?"
"Devastated. Humiliated," Jane replied. "Homicidal."
"How did it make John feel?" Steve asked over the titters of laughter.
"Depressed," Jane said. She dropped her chin and twisted her hands in her lap. "And deeply
ashamed. He almost didn't let me come out tonight."
"Are you glad that John did let you out?"
Jane lifted her head and smiled at Adam. There was a bright sheen to her eyes. "Oh, yes, because
we have someone new, and I'm much prettier than John."
Laughter all around, except from Adam, who gave her a wan half-smile.
"Now, Jane, you and John are both good-looking," Carrie said. Her lazy eyes focused on Adam.
"But we don't know if Adam would be interested in either of your selves." She leaned forward, her
blouse gaping, exposing the shadowy valley between her breasts. "Do tell, Adam: are you gay?"
Adam tensed. "No! I'm not gay!" he said almost angrily. "I like fucking women and women only.
Even as Adi--" He cut himself off, defensively folding his arms over his chest, and repeated, "I like
Carrie smiled and leaned back. "See. He's not interested, dear."
"You must be a cross-dresser then," Mark said to Adam. "That's the fancy label most heterosexual
males fall under."
Adam shifted uncomfortably, shrugging. "I guess." He felt his face burning.
"Group, what are the four things nearly all gender identity dysphoric people feel?" Steve asked.
The answer was shame, guilt, confusion, and fear, Adam learned, once he'd unscrambled the
"I would guess that you're feeling all of those, Adam, and that's natural," Steve said, jotting
something in his notebook. "It's one of the reasons you're here, is it not?"
Adam shrugged again, even though it was true. He wished that it wasn't, that he was just stuck in a
long, trippy dream and he'd wake up hungover and horny, like normal. Damn Doofer and his
"I think it's safe to say everyone here had, and still has, trouble accepting their second self," Steve
said. He smiled at Mark. "Except for Mark, who is going on four years as a man."
Mark nodded in acknowledgment to the polite applause. Adam tried not to goggle too obviously as
the meeting went on.
The group began to share stories of their early fears -- some which had gone away, most had not --
about being "different." Adam learned rather quickly that everyone in the room was as fucked up as
him, although they accepted it more.
Apparently, there were three types of messed up people in the room: transgenders, transsexuals, and
cross-dressers. Transgenders were gender ambiguous, showing characteristics of both male and
female. Transsexuals were those who felt as though they were the opposite sex and sometimes went
through sex-change surgery to alter their physical gender to the "correct" one, like Mark. Cross-dressers, like Adam supposedly was, were usually insensitive, testosterone-laden, oversexed (was
that possible?) males who could only get in touch with their emotions and feminine side by
becoming a woman outwardly. How a man divined that by putting on women's clothing he'd find
the balance lacking in his life was a question no one had the answer for, other than "by chance."
By the time the meeting was over, Adam already felt better. He wasn't a total sickwad. Fulfilling
his need to be Adina wouldn't be easy, not everyone would understand, but it was okay to be her.
Dave was waiting at the curb when Adam exited the center. "Well?" he asked, once Adam was in
"I think I'm going to be all right, Dave," Adam told him, with a smidgen of a smile.
"Good," Dave said, "I'm glad."
"I'm glad you're glad, because Adina will need a ride to the next meeting."
"As long as she doesn't wear the purple couplet. Purple is so not her color."
Adam laughed. Dave was so cool.