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Author's Chapter Notes:

A Fanfic of 'Being Erica' The CBC TV series that concluded 12/2011

Can writer Joanna's regret about Suzy the Psychic help her win 'Ellen DeGeneres' Next Top Model* and make a good impression on her TG Fiction book tour?

SUZY

 Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended. .

 


When you are a writer for a living, as I finally was, thinking about things was part of my stock in trade. I cursed the necessity for secrecy surrounding this time travel therapy. What a great story I could write if only I could reveal what was going on with me. Of course I would write it as fiction since it would never be believed if I held it out as the truth that it was actually.

I took my first trip back and time and found that being receptive and kind to Dee Dee instead of mocking her yielded a true friend to me in Junior High. The result of that friendship in Junior High was gaining her father for a Doctor who prescribed male puberty preventing hormones thru age 18. When you add together that I never went thru male puberty with the female hormones I scored in college it resulted in the woman’s body I was now blessed.

While that trip back in time was powerful, It had not gotten to the core of why even with a body like this, I had never transitioned openly. As my body had gotten more and more lovely, it took a lot more effort to maintain the illusion of my appearing male. I borrowed every trick in the book from my FTM brothers. I would have made it much easier on myself if I had just let things take their course and be the woman outwardly that I was inwardly.

What I had gotten was the perfect outlet for my true self since underneath the drab disguise of pseudo-masculinity was a babe. All I had to do was uncover her to enjoy her even if I didn’t dress up. All thru Junior High and High School, I had friends who kept my secret and Joanna got to be out with them. I kept it all covered up from my parents who had freaked when Joanna showed up that day. I had to even more closely imprison Joanna in the closet.

After my second trip back in time, I managed to purge myself of the influence my parent’s bigotry had rubbed off on me. But when it came to standing up for myself and being my true self, I just could not do it. All I had to do was accept the scholarship that my new friend Beth had gotten for me and went off to Harvard with Dee Dee as Joanna. Yet I still chose to stay at home and in the closet.

I was beginning to understand what Dr. Erica was trying to tell me that I had left out whole aspects of my life with my secret focus that if only I had transitioned sooner then all would be well in my life. Instead of thriving with a mostly female body, I had to work even harder to keep the true me covered up not only mentally but physically as well. In order to straighten out my life with the right decisions, I would have to find a way to instead of hiding my challenges, deal with them out in the open. When I was able to stand up for myself then a fully transitioned Joanna would result since that is who I really am.

At least in the present things were going okay in my new life as Joanna. I was meeting in the secret TG support group that I had been given an introduction. What had really spurred my recounting of my story so far was that even though I was easily the most blessed physically, my confidence out in public with the girls from the group was lacking.

If I had some self confidence then to a casual observer, they would assume I had to be the girlfriend of one of the group and could not be part of it. Instead the incongruity was jarring as it was obvious in spite of how appearances were that I was very much a part of the group. Imagine my surprise when some of the girls who didn’t pass nearly as well as I did not want to be around me. Someone explained that with all the attention I was drawing to myself, those small flaws in the girls around me were enough with the senses made aware to have them clocked as well as me.

”Earth to Joanna! You’ve been studying that menu so intently like it’s the text book for some course that you have to pass or get left back. I know you must know that menu better than I do and I’m an owner here at Goblin’s. What gives girlfriend?”

”Sorry, Brent. Sorry, Ivan. I was thinking that I’ve made so much progress but there is so much more that is left for me to get right. Ivan, I’ll have the special with an Arnold Palmer.”

”So a penny for them. Okay a whole dollar!”

I don’t know that I’m ready to be out in public with the girls. It’s not that I mind being with them, I love being with them. It’s just that I’m so nervous that I get clocked and so do some of the girls with me who would not be clocked ordinarily.

”Ordinarily, I would not meddle and let you find your own way in your own time, Joanna but we have that book tour coming up. Selling yourself sells books.”

”What do you have in mind, Brent?

”If this emotional crisis has been taken care of in adolescence, then your mother would have had any number of options to allow you to naturally overcome your shyness.”

”Little things like classes in Ballet, Piano, Singing or Acting. Maybe, she would have even get you involved in a girl’s sport like Figure Skating, Gymnastics, Cheerleading or Beauty Pageants. Right, Brent?”

”That’s right, Ivan. We don’t have time for those so I have just the crash course that you need, Joanna.”

”I’m almost afraid to even ask. What might that be, Brent?”

”Break out your highest stiletto heels, Joanna. I’m sending you to Spoke’s Model School.”

”Really? Not Charm School?”

”That’s so nineteenth century! The arrangements are all made. They have your measurements so you don’t even have to pack. The next two weeks you are going to spend in total immersion as a model. The limo will pick you up here and take you to the agency as soon as you finish your lunch here. Ivan, told me that you had to have one last good meal before becoming a starving model.”

”I accept, not that either of you were going to give me any choice. The writing is at a good place right now and even I can see that I need this.”

I drew them both into a group hug as I continued to speak, “Thank you both, my wonderful friends. I wonder what this will be like, hopefully I’ll find the strength to see this through to the end.”

”Girlfriend, you’ll be surprised what you can do if only you can put all thoughts of not doing it out of your mind.” said Ivan with a grin as he left us to get out orders.

Before long, Ivan came back with both mine and Brent’s lunches and we began to eat them. It was good that I was eating since I had an excuse for another thinking session. Since I really didn’t have much of girlhood, I really had no clue what this modeling boot camp had in store for me. From the tight lipped smiles on both Brent and Ivan’s faces, I saw that they were holding something back for a surprise.

I just hoped that I would be up to whatever it was. Even more I wanted to do well so they both would be proud of me. It felt good having someone proud of me again. I missed so much that approval from my parents ever since I came out to them even though I put it back in the closet things were never the same for us.

”Joanna, I’ve fudged a couple of things for your stay so that we can keep the story of you being TG out of the mainstream media till we are ready to hit with your first book. Your personal dresser for your stay is being employed by 50 50 Press. She has signed a confidentiality agreement not to disclose your status.”

“What’s her name, Brent?”

“Her name is Rita Martinez and she’ll arrive in the limo and assist with your clothing change prior to arriving at your destination, Rita will abide by the rules in place there unless they would interfere with maintaining your secrecy. Rita is a SFX makeup artist and you will be wearing a special makeup allowing you to be just like the other girls even nude.”

”Wow, you don’t ever do things by half measures, Brent! Thank you so much for making this as authentic as possible for me. I’m sure that I will learn a lot.”

I had finished up lunch and nodded to Brent that I was ready to go. Brent escourted me outside where a large white stretch limo was pulling up to the curb as we approached. Brent opened the door for me and I tucked myself inside.

”Thank you, Brent!”

”Good luck, Joanna!”

Brent closed the door for me and the limo left as I turned to see a very well put together young Latina in the seat beside me.

”Hi you must be Miss Martinez, I’m Joanna. I’m glad to be able to work with you for the next two weeks.”

”Hi Joanna, please call me Rita. We have to get your outfit changed before we arrive. Just put yourself in my hands and I’ll make this as easy as possible for you.”

”Thanks Rita. I’m all yours.”

Rita closed off the back of the limo and made the glass one way so we had privacy as she had me take off everything. She had her full SFX kit which was needed since she used an appliance to make my groin fit in with the rest of the beautiful female me. Not only was she expert in doing the makeup both places. My lips looked luscious. She was more than a pro getting me dressed in the car with the most excellent lingerie and gown. All the accessories were added including what she said were my training pumps which were only two inch spike heels.

”You’ll be going up a half inch a day till you get to the sky scraper heels. The School realizes that any sensible woman would not be caught dead in model height heels. They find that there are less injuries that way as long as all of the heels used are pre broke in properly.”

”That will help even though I’m sure that most of these women will have learned how to handle heels when they were girls. While a refresher to them, this will be a challenge for me. One that I am eager to meet and enjoy learning.”

”With the way you look now, Joanna, no one would guess that till recently you were a tomboy.”

”I hope to keep it that way. Thanks, Rita.”

The sign in the Archway of the entrance to the mansion that we pulled into to the driveway, read “Ellen’s Next Top Model”. Greeting the arrivals at the door was none other than Ellen DeGeneres. Our driver stopped the limo at the red carpet when it was our turn. He expertly opened the door for me and helped both Rita and I out of the car. Just as the other pairs had done, we walked side by side and were greeted by Ellen at the door.

Just inside, Rita was diverted to a side room where the other dressers were enjoying refreshments while I followed the line into the large central room. The room was spacious and dominated by a large chandelier and with spiral staircases leading from the wings up to a balcony overlooking from the second floor.

I made small talk with the women there, learning their names and a bit about them. There was a pageant feel to this as we were on display being filmed with cameras from Ellen’s show. Well I was there to find out how to deal with being on camera and I had to agree that the immersion was very effective. Soon I learned to not make my awareness of the cameras stop me and even use the coverage for my advantage.

Ellen entered after the last girl had had a chance to mingle and called us to attention. There was this beautiful blonde girl in a long baby blue gown that was a match for my own caped wonder that had ended up in the middle of us all as we turned to face Ellen.

”I am very pleased to be here and help you all to learn first hand what it is like to be a model for TV cameras. Portions of your stay here will be broadcast and cameras will be almost everywhere. Unlike that 13 week competition of similar name, We’ll crown our winner in only two weeks. The eliminated models will continue with the separate training and one will have a chance to join the finalists. Daily segments will be a part of the Ellen show each day for the two weeks of ‘Ellen’s Next Top Model’ As I call your name, please come forward and receive your Ellen broach which will identify you as still in the running. And we’ll start with Joanna.”

I felt that I did well as the first one to come forward, greet Ellen, have her assistant pin the broach on me and then turn back to join the other contestants. One by one the others repeated the same tasks until last of all the woman in the dress which matched mine in color was called up, Stacy.

Knowing just what clumsiness was possible in a gown, the worst case scenario occurred with her as she stepped on her hem and tore her skirt off leaving her legs bare which were revealed to be artificial. They looked more like metal poles than legs. The group seemed to be divided, with some in shock and doing nothing, others began immediately to make fun of the woman being bold with their taunts.

I alone went into action, covering the space between us as gracefully as I could, walking with a purpose. As I walked, I removed the cape tied at my back and re oriented it in front of me. When I got to her, I formed my cape into a wrap skirt which covered her up. I gave her a hug and started walking her off into one of the side rooms. Before we could get there Ellen told everyone, “Freeze!”

I had no intention of freezing but one of Ellen’s production assistants took my place at Stacy’s side and led her into the side room we had almost reached. With Stacy taken care and I ending up facing Ellen, I froze with the others.

”Joanna, I am so very sorry for what I have to do next.”

Ellen turned right toward me and smiled that pififul smile that she does right before she pushes the trap door button on ‘Know or Go’.

”Joanna, your broach represents your life in the competion. Where is your broach?”

”Ellen, I used my Ellen broach to secure my cape into a skirt for Stacy. I gave it to Stacy.

Joanna, I have to ask you to leave. Please exit via the doors you came in at and you’ll be told what happens next. I am so sorry to see you go.

With as much class as I could muster on the outside, I did as I was told and gracefully walked out to the door where I had come in. Just below the surface was a multitude of emotions waiting to get out. I could not see why I was being punished for doing the right thing while those who had made fun of Stacy got off scot free. I left the cameras behind as the mudroom doors closed behind me. But the door to the outside was not an ordinary door for me and I ended up in Dr Erica’s office.

”Don’t worry, Joanna. You’re safe here. You’ve been thru quite an ordeal so I thought you might like a chance to compose yourself.”

”Thank you Dr. Erica. I had such hopes for this after Brent and 50 50 went to the trouble to set this up. Now I know why he and Ivan were holding back, Ellen! Wow, I’m such a fan!”

”And how do you feel about the way that Ellen made you leave?”

”I was a little angry and a lot hurt that I was punished for doing the right thing. Stacy needed my help and all I was doing was doing what I would have wanted someone to do any time I was in the same situation being outed.”

”Did you do more than it was absolutely necessary to get things righted?”

”I guess. That production assistant that took over for me when Ellen called out was walking beside us most of the way over. I guess that the cape was fully secured with the ties and the broach that came with the cape. It was melodramatic for me to put that added protection on Stacy.”

”That’s a pattern for you. You get all tied up in helping someone that it ceases to be the good thing in the beginning but becomes twisted up in co-dependency. Helping is good, Joanna, but you have to learn when it is too much. Giving them the dignity to overcome their challenges and become stronger in the process.”

”Is it really a pattern for me, Dr Erica?”

”Joanna, you wrote: Tell me about how everything started between you and Suzy.”

”Well I did not meet her as Suzy. She was my new teacher for Spanish, Miss Adams. Mrs. Watson did so well getting students to fall for Spanish in the Junior High survey class when we had a quarter each of Spanish, French and Italian that she could no longer teach both at the Junior High and High School and meet all the demand. Miss Adams who I later knew as Suzy started teaching Spanish there and she taught me all three years of Spanish I took in High School.”

”What made Miss Adams stand out for you as a teacher?”

”She ran her class room in such a new age style. Our class was immersive so everything was done in Spanish. Sometimes instead of doing the class work from the book like normal, she let us have a free day doing anything we liked just as long as we all spoke Spanish. Those goof off days made us work harder and learn more difficult vocabulary so we would have the words to communicate those topics all over the place that we ended up discussing.”

”When did she become known as ‘Suzy the Psychic’?”

During one of our goof off days, the topic turned to things psychic. I’m pretty sure she steered the conversation in that direction. She revealed some of the things that had happened to her which led to her coming to rely on her psychic talent being real. At another day she told us that she was going to do a talk show on WSB AM (The voice of the south) Radio in primetime and she was going to be billed as Suzy the Psychic. The broadcast was a hit and became a regular event on WSB radio.

”How did you and Suzy bond as people?”

”It was when I had Spanish last period and all the bus folks had left while I was waiting for final dismissal to go to an after school club. I was just fooling around and Joanna was visible more than George. I managed to gracefully place my back under the surface of the desk while I was still sitting in it. I picked up an item that dropped and before twisting back. Mrs. Watson had entered the class visiting with Suzy. Suzy turned to Mrs Watson and declared “La Tortuga!” I instantly bonded with Suzy since she had recognized me with a female reference. I kinda forgot that all turtles are referred to as feminine in the abstract in Spanish.”

”So when Suzy’s radio show became popular and the religious right began a crusade against Suzy what did you do?”

”I organized a campaign to not just keep Suzy teaching Spanish, I raised funds which powered a counter organization which began to crusade against the crusaders. It wasn’t enough to show the truth and let justice prevail. It got to the point that they could not even do the legitimate activities since they were so hamstrung with being punished.”

”And did it end there?”

”Instead of getting a gender therapist like I should have in college, I supported Suzy in her counseling practice. I could have made progress even if it were too late for me to follow Dee Dee to Harvard. Suzy could have done fine on her own but instead she made a living off of people following my example to give her preferential treatment. ”

”:And if you had eased off in both places?”

”We ended up smothering her light in kindness. She never got strong enough to withstand adversity. There came a time when everyone forgot about her and she became lost in obscurity. Her light should still be burning bright to light the way for others but it’s gone out and who knows where she is now.”

”And if you could go back now?”

”I’d try to find the resolution in High School that we also help by letting people show they are strong enough to stand on their own once the playing field is evened. “

”Let’s find out!”

The room spun around as the temperature dropped and suddenly I wasn’t in Dr Erica’s Office anymore. I was in Senorita Adam’s classroom and my back was under the writing surface of my desk. I looked up and Senora Watson entered the class. Senorita Adams pointed me and spoke.

”Ella es Juana La Tortuga!”(She is Joanna the Turtle)

As they giggled at the observation, I gracefully slid back upright in my chair and smiled at them both but especially at Suzy. Senora Watson looked at me and asked.

“Tu no eres Jorge, Tu eres Juana. Es verdad?”(You aren’t George, You are Joanna. True?)

”Es verdad! Es verdad pero necesitamos no digamosla hablar de Juana.”( True, but let's say we need not talk about Joanna.)

”Este esta escondido. No hablamos sobre este. Verdad?” (This is hidden. We do not talk about this. Truth?)

”Es Verdad! Gracias, Senora Y Senorita.” (It is Truth! Thank you, Mrs and Miss.)

“Senorita Adams, como lo sabes?” (Miss Adams, how did you know?)

”Vamos a hablar de ella más tarde.” (We are going to talk about her later.)

I could see that they were both sincere in keeping my secret. I already knew how Miss Adams learned about Joanna, She’s psychic as if I needed any further proof. The announcement releasing the walking students came soon after and I was off into the hall. I paused in earshot outside the door which I left open to see what Mrs. Watson might say to Miss Adams after I left.

”Suzy you really are psychic. That poor child! As the Georgia Educational Association liaison, I have news. The dolts on the Board of Education are in an uproar. Instead of being thankful for good publicity about students really learning from a unique teacher, they are ready to burn you as a witch. Our contract is ironclad so they can not sensor your freedom of speech in the media and have agreed that your contract to be an on air personality for WSB Radio is valid. However they say that they are accumulating evidence of a breach of the morality clause based on the innuendo.”

”They are hoping I will voluntarily terminate my contract midterm in lieu of them acting against me formally. I won’t do it. That will give them just what they need to blackball me in GA and any where else they are narrow minded. I do a lot of good teaching and I don’t want to give that up.”

”Hang in there, Suzy…”

”I sensed someone behind me and I turned and bumped directly into Dr Erica. I wasn’t sure who she was supposed to be but she grabbed me by the shoulder and led me down the hall away from the open door around a corner. We only stopped when she was able to direct me into an empty class room and closed the door. It was only then that I realized that she was dressed as a lunch lady .”

”Hi Dr Erica. Why are you dressed as a lunch lady?”

”Dee Dee needs to fill you in on the change of plans and she’s down in the cafeteria volunteering with the cheerleaders preparing for a donated dinner for the less fortunate. I think it may have something to do with Jenna being on a flight to Germany with her Mom, who has an emergency assignment as a nurse at the hospital at Ramstein AFB.”

”But Jenna is the Pink Panther Mascot. Oh! Lead on!”

I was glad I had Dr Erica or ‘Blanche the lunch lady’ to lead me through the hall ways to the cafeteria and into the Kitchen where we found Dee Dee. Dee Dee thanked Blanche who went to the back to work on something while she led me the larder room which she closed and locked behind us. She seemed worried and gave me a hug of greeting.

”Jenna’s gone to Ramstein AFB and we don’t have a Pink Panther for tonight. This is our last event for the school year. I know this is short notice, but can you fill in tonight to help us meet and greet our guests and do the entertainment routines with us?”

”Of course I will, Dee Dee. I take it the normal cover up routine is in place for me for tonight as the secret mascot?”

”Got you covered, Jo Jo. Lucky it’s Friday because your parents think you are going to a weekend church camp. You are really going to spend a Joanna weekend with me afterward. What’s on your mind, Jo Jo? I can tell its more than this.”

”Two things. One is that the Board of Education is going to crucify Miss Adams over that psychic gig she has at WSB radio and try to get her banned from teaching.”

”What’s your take on what we should do?”

”The trouble is the misinformation and trying her in the media. If we can get a group of leaders who will lend voice and money to the effort of getting the truth out. This would not be out for revenge or to smear the flunks who want to witch hunt a good teacher. Revenge and fighting the battle for her would both harm her in the end and we want to help.”

”I’m proud of you, Jo Jo. I know that Mother and Daddy would want to help so we can discuss it with them this weekend. What’s the other thing?”

”Suzy the psychic, our Miss Adams, really is psychic. She sensed that I am Joanna and she confronted me with it while Mrs. Watson was there to tell her about the Board witch hunt. I admitted it so they both know and they both say they will keep my secret.”

”I think they will. Okay as before you need to be Joanna under the costume so I’d like you to go ahead and go to the secret room and get ready. Momma brought over what you’ll need to change into and left it in this carry-on . Take it and go get ready then come back here. You can take the greeting duty for the early arrivers while we change into our uniforms for tonight.”

”Okay, I’m off.”

I took the carry-on that Dee Dee had indicated and exited the larder and the kitchen. I made my way down the hall. Eventually I found myself in front of the secret door and standing beside it none other than Miss Adams.

”Aren’t you going to invite me in where we can have a private chat?”

”How do you know about that?”

”Hello! Psychic here but more than that Teacher here.”

”Duh! Of course, just let me get this.”

After checking that we were unobserved, I opened the secret door and let both of us in with my bag and then closed it behind us and turned on the lights.

”Joanna, after what you overheard in the hall after you left, I felt that our discussion should be sooner rather than later. Thank you for what you intend to do. I sense that your heart is truly in the right place and that the people you will lead can get the truth out where I can’t right now due to the media spin.”

”Wow you are really good Miss Adams. I’m sorry for listening at the door. I wasn’t trying to pry into your challenge. I’ve had others to disappoint me after I disclosed being Joanna to them. I’ve heard of things like what I’m planning helping with hysteria with someone in the TG community doing good and I wanted that for you.”

”When we are alone, please call me Suzy, On the subject of you being Joanna, I’d like to give you a reading now. I know that you have not asked for one but I want to do this for you. After this, I’d like for you to leave that aspect of counseling out of our relationship. After this is over and you are an adult we can renew a closer friendship.”

”Why Suzy?”

”They would bring you into the media circus with me and that would take you away from the path that you are on and that you could be on and into a permanent media spectacle. “

”The media can be a force for good or not so good. How long did you have in mind? I would like to be ready in my costume to help greet the guests of the dinner tonight.

”Not long and I will help you into your costume so you’ll be able to be ready with my help about the same time as if you were doing it alone.”

”You are coming to a crossroads in your life when you become an adult. In order to truly be Joanna, you must make a leap of faith to trust that you have friends and family of choice who will help you not to stumble as you take your first steps into the light.”

”Do your best to make it possible for you to make that leap of faith by putting in place your network of family of choice and friends. While the best network can’t make the right decision for you, they can be there to catch you when you fall.”

”Forgive the transgressions of those family who should support you but work against you. Do this not for them but for yourself so that you can cope with them leaving you on your own to meet this challenge. Ballast is to discard when the time is right to propel you upward to greater heights.”

”Do your best to help others in their journeys even with different challenges. Find something you want to share and teach it to others.”

”Change is difficult but it is so necessary. While it may seem to be a female behavior to stay at your parent’s home as an adult, that resistance to change leads to defeat. Strike out on your own to give you the freedom to follow your destiny.”

”Put in place the safety net that you will need as an adult while you are still a child. That way the future won’t seem as scary if you have prepared for it.”

While Suzy was talking with me, she was helping me first become Joanna again and then into the costume. I hung on her every word so we truly did multitask this conversation with my getting ready. When we had finished, we paused our chat while we both looked at me to see if I passed muster.

”You look great Miss Pink Panther. My work is done here. As much as I would like to help you, I can’t take the function away from a real gender therapist and you need to hire a real one as soon as you turn 18. “

”That’s what I see I need to do now too, Suzy. I’ll make the preparations before I turn 18 so that I’ll be ready to make the right decision.”

”That’s all I can ask, Joanna. Dr Erica is doing good things for you so help her help you.”

”Are you a Doctor like Dr. Erica?”

”We are in different aspects but I know of her work mostly through you. You should go now. I’ll tidy up and see myself out.”

”Thank you for everything, Suzy. Bye for now.”

As I went back thru the secret door, instead of going out into the school, I went into Dr Erica’s office but thankfully I was dressed as I had been when I originally arrived in the office.

”Dr Erica, Suzy sends her regards. She’s a big fan of your work.”

”She should be. You see that things started out just like before when you intervened but when things started getting rough for Suzy, You was a true friend behind the scenes. you led the effort that evened the playing field. Suzy became stronger thru the adversity and she parlayed her success on the Radio into a foundation that supported excellence in teaching with thinking outside the box. Her being Suzy the Psychic became a footnote when she became known as Suzy the Visionary”.

”What about the Dunderheads on the witch hunt?”

”The community showed the Dunderheads so much compassion in Suzy’s name that they flew, not drove out of town, hoping to find a remote corner for them to practice their hate speech where people did not know their playbook.”

”It was such a relief to me that I was through with the hating and revenge since it only harmed me in the end and harmed the person that I was trying to protect. While I have left that co-dependency behind, have others remained? Did I make the right choice to go to Harvard with Dee Dee?”

”Not yet Joanna. You still part with Dee Dee and go to Georgia Tech. However, just one meeting with Suzy after graduating High School leads you to get into Gender Therapy in College even though you still stayed stealth. Instead of flunking out of Tech, you get your EE degree and end up going back to get a Masters and Doctorate as well.”

“So I'm Dr. Wolfe, PHD now? That’s better but still living a lie. I guess I still have some co-dependencies left that have held me back from making the right choice. Could I think about what Suzy said to me and then perhaps add a regret later?”

“That seems like a wise choice, Joanna and that would be fine. Are you ready to face what awaits you as you leave my office and finally make it out the front door of the mansion?”

”I’ve learned that sometimes you have to go it alone to do the right thing and as long as your motivation is not revenge or punishment that things do come out right in the end even if it takes a long time to get there. Even though I am impatient at times, It is important to know I’m on the right road if I make the right choices in my life. I’m ready.”

Dr Erica came from behind the desk and gave me a hug. I composed myself and walked out the door into the light which in this case was the exterior of the mansion. Another assistant from the Ellen show gave me a hug.

”So sorry sweetie. The dramatics were for TV but you passed the test. Stacy was acting a part we asked her to play. She’s not really shy at all about showing her metal limbs and she likes to prove that its about her ability not her disability. Of course given the fact that she acted as though exposing her limbs upset her in order to give an occasion to anyone shallow enough to deride her for her appearance meant that your reaction was exemplary. I’m to take you to a green room where you’ll know what is going on inside and be prepped with Stacy to be ready for your big entrance.”

I’ll look forward to meeting the real Stacy. Lead on!”

We went thru a side door thru a maze then into the room where makeup artists were standing by to make us look our best. Stacy was already there and was being made up. I was taken to the chair beside Stacy’s. I gave Rita a quick hug and then got into the chair where she did her magic with me. Stacy was in a stunning gown which did not cover up her amazing metal limbs.

”Hi Stacy, I understand you were playing a role. I really admire the person that Georgia just told me that you really are. I hope that I did not offend you.”

”Not at all Joanna. I am flattered that you were so taken in by my acting role. I have to admit that even knowing who I am now that if someone presented in the same way then I would have had to have reacted in the same way. Not all of us so challenged have the same gifts that I have but perhaps more will find them through me.”

”Ladies, you can see on the monitors that Ellen has called forward each of contestants who derided Stacy and took their broaches and passed them thru to the second chance competition. In a moment you two will be queued to walk out as Ellen announces you both as the Winners of this competition and both having an exemption from elimination at the next test.”

”Stacy and I stood hand in hand at the door to the green room which was open and we could hear what was going on for ourselves. We both had our Ellen broaches pinned to our gowns.”

”While we could not reward being abusive to a participant and those who did paid the price by entering the losers bracket, We also could not reward those who just stood by and did nothing when someone was in need. While the rules are important, the exceptions we make show our humanity. For that reason, both Joanna and Stacy are awarded the winners of this challenge and will have immunity from elimination in the next challenge. I’d like you to meet again, Joanna and Stacy.”

We walked out and joined Ellen on her right side with Stacy being closest to Ellen.

”We asked Stacy to play a role for this challenge that is not how she is in real life but how many who have this challenge actually are at present. In reality Stacy does not shy away from exposing her legs and she revels in the ability they give her. We asked her to place herself in a position that was not true to her being and did amazing. Congrats Stacy, you are in line to become Ellen’s next top model. One of your perks for passing the test is that you get a special tutor for the next test, Please welcome Stacy’s tutor, super model, Tyra Banks.”

Tyra came out being her usual fierce self and joined Stacy. Tyra lifted Stacy’s arm into the air as a victor’s salute. She took her place between Ellen and Stacy where room had been made for her.

”We’ll have more later from Tyra including an interview letting us know all about her next project. But for now, Tyra and Stacy will be going where they will have a chance to get acquainted. Thank you Tyra and Stacy.”

Tyra and Stacy walked off to applause. Stacy seemed giddy with her luck in being able to spend time with Tyra. Next came my turn as I closed up the gap and stood at Ellen’s right hand.

”Next we have Joanna who was the only one of the girls who tried to help Stacy as she portrayed distress at having her limbs exposed. Not only did you comfort her but you also were very crafty in making a skirt out of your cape which matched and looked great but also held on in place. She had to undergo a second test of her composure under duress when we claimed she was eliminated from the competition due to her removing her broach to use in securing the cape as a skirt. Joanna passed that test with flying colors and obviously we made an exception to the broach rule when using it helped another girl. Joanna, you too have won this test and have immunity from elimination at the next test. You too have the services of a Super Model coach through the next test. Please welcome super model, Linda Evangelista!”

Linda came out every bit as proud and an even louder reception than Tyra. Linda is still Canada’s number one super model. I was a very happy camper as she took her place between Ellen and I and she raised my hand in the air as a winner’s gesture. Ellen gave Linda a stage cheek kiss as she greeted her.

”We’ll have more later with Linda as we all are longing to catch up with what she has been doing lately as she is interviewed later. For now. Linda and Joanna will be going off to be acquainted but we’ll see more of both of them later.”

We walked off to an even greater applause than Tyra and Stacy got and I was giddy just to be in Linda’s presence. As we neared the door that should take us into privacy to let us know each other, I could not help but wonder if it were to be a real door or a magic door that might take me anywhere. Only time would tell.

Chapter End Notes:

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended. .

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