Dana walked through the FBI offices with a young man in tow. She knocked on her boss’s door. He called for her to enter. Dana opened the door wide for the young man to shuffle in. Dana’s boss put down his glasses and looked at the man. “Who’s this?”
“Mark, let me introduce you to Elliot Judson Cross,” Dana said.
Mark Cannon stood and accepted the young man’s handshake. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Cross.”
“You too, sir,” Elliot said quietly.
Mark studied the man from his dark slicked back hair, brown eyes, and baggy pants. He seemed familiar somehow, but Mark couldn’t place him. “Is there something we can do for Mr. Cross?” Mark asked Dana.
“Mr. Cross is actually one of our witnesses, and we are here to talk about his future,” Dana said, enjoying the fact that Mark had no idea who Elliot was.
“I’m afraid I’m confused,” Mark said.
Dana took a contact container out of her purse and handed it to Elliot, who took out each brown contact revealing cobalt blue eyes. Mark frowned for several minutes before moving closer to Elliot and noting the scar that ran along his cheek. The scar that Jenna Matthews had from one of the blows from her father. “I’ll be damned,” Mark said in a hushed tone and walked around Elliot taking in the whole outfit of baggy jeans, oversized button-up shirt, and cowboy boots.
Shaking his head, he looked Elliot up and down again. “Even without the contacts, I would not have guessed this was Jenna Matthews.”
“Pretty amazing, isn’t it?” Dana said.
“Yes,” Mark said.
“I’ve always want to be a guy, or at least guy like, but my father would never allow it. I mean, I wasn’t allowed to wear super baggy clothes ever. Everything had to be pink or purple, yellows and whites,” Elliot explained. “Dana and I talked about this for a long time last night. This is my chance to be a guy. There’s no one to stop me.”
“Are you sure?” Mark asked. “That’s a pretty big change.”
“This is my chance to see who I really am. There is no one to influence what choices I make. I can develop a whole new persona based on who I am inside,” Elliot said. “I’m not Jenna Matthews anymore. I’m Elliot Cross.” Mark still looked skeptical. “I was going to have to choose a new name and a new location. I’ll be going somewhere that no one knows me. This is my chance to explore this side of myself that I’ve always had to keep hidden.”
“Okay,” Mark said slowly and sat down in the black leather chair behind his desk. “Tell me more about what you’d like to see your new life be like.”
“I really like to cook,” Elliot said. “I’ve been looking at different culinary schools, but I don’t want to go super far away from home. I’m hoping one day this will all be over and I can be reunited with my mother and girlfriend.”
“So where do you think you want to go?” Mark asked.
“I’d like to check out Ashland, Kentucky. It’s a small city with a decent culinary program at their community college,” Elliot said.
“And what about your sexual identity?” Mark asked.
“I’d like to talk to a therapist about it,” Elliot said. “I don’t know if I can find one in Ashland, but maybe if I start with someone here, they can help me find someone over there.”
“Okay,” Mark said. “Let’s get the ball in the works if that’s what you want to do.”
“It is,” Elliot said.
Later that evening, while Elliot was making dinner, Dana asked, “Are you really sure about the trans thing? What if you get back with Cara and she doesn’t want you to be a guy?”
Elliot stopped cutting vegetables and looked at Dana. “I spent a lot of time thinking about that last night, and honestly I don’t know what I will do if that happens. It’s funny that when I was little, I used to dream about being a boy. I never even looked at guys when I started having sexual feelings. It was always girls. It was more than wanting to connect with them at a girl on girl level. I wanted to protect them and provide for them. Although, I don’t think Cara would go for that. She’s very strong headed and determined to make her way.”
“I don’t know much about being a transsexual, but I know it’s hard. Probably harder than being gay,” Dana said, picking up a cherry tomato and popping it into her mouth.
“Maybe,” Elliot said. “But, I’m pretty certain about this. Interestingly, I think my forced separation from Cara has helped re-ignite these feelings in me. When I was with her, I’d never considered becoming a guy because I knew she loved me being a woman. At this point, my future is so uncertain that I need to find something that I can control and this is it.” Elliot tested the boiling water before putting the pasta in it and then went back to cutting vegetables. “After I had got my hair cut the other day, I’d already started feeling my masculinity increasing, but when you colored my hair and gelled it back, I saw the man who’d been hiding inside me looking back at me in the mirror. It was weird how euphoric I felt.”
“Well, talking to a therapist will definitely be a good starting point, and you totally rocked the guy look today,” Dana said.
“I did, didn’t I? And I like thinking of myself as Elliot instead of Jenna. Jenna was a scared little girl who had no control over her life. I don’t want to feel that way anymore.” Elliot stopped cutting and looked at Dana. “I know this seems sudden, but it’s really not. It just really hit me last night that I could do this. There’s no one to come out to, other than you and Mark. Maybe a few other agents. I don’t have to try to convince my parents this is who I am, which would never happen. My father would kill me before he’d let me transition to a man. He might have been able to eventually deal with me being a lesbian, but he would never have allowed this.” Elliot pointed at his body with the knife.
Dana pointed at the knife. “Be careful, please. I will get in big trouble if you stab yourself.”
Elliot laughed. “Sorry, I was just getting carried away. You have no idea how exciting this is for me. I’m starting to feel free for the first time in my life.”
“Well, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble passing for a man. You walked through, and entire office of FBI agents, who are supposed to be trained to see every nuance, and no one gave you a sideways glance. And you fooled Mark, who had talked to you several times as Jenna.” Dana smiled and nodded. “I totally think you can pull this off if it’s what you really want.”
“It is. The only way I’m going to know if this is really who I am is to live as Elliot,” he said.
“Well, forgive me if I mess up and call you Jenna occasionally, but if Elliot is who you are, we will help you live as Elliot,” Dana said.
“Thank you.” Elliot picked up the vegetables he’d cut and put them in the skillet to sauté. “Why don’t you start setting the table? This will be ready soon.”
“Yes, sir,” Dana said with a salute and started setting the table.