A Proper Young Lady
Publication date: December 18th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
A woman with the complete form of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome might never discover that she has testes in her abdomen rather than ovaries and uterus. Danièle knows, and she grieves that she can never have her own children. She has a partial form of AIS that left her with ambiguous genitals,
a steady stream of doctors and psychologists, and parents determined to see her happy as a girl.
After Danièle’s best friend and childhood crush agrees to have a baby for her, Danièle learns that the clinic can extract sperm from her own gonadal biopsies, and she becomes the father of Melanie’s baby herself.
Ethan adores the graceful young woman named Danièle, while Melanie imagines a life with the father of her child. Danièle? She’s happy with her intersex body—somewhere between princess and little boy. But in a black and white world, she must choose—once and for all—who she will be. And whom she will love.
Find Confessions by Lianne Simon here!
MelaniePuffy white clouds drag their sorry reflections across the garden pond. Once in a while, some fish gobbles a bug stupid enough to fall into the water. On an old tree trunk that stretches out from the bank, a family of painted turtles enjoys the last of the evening’s rays.
From the bay window, I watch the sun set. When blue sky turns red and purple, I punch in my sister’s number. If my mother’s sick, I don’t wanna know. But I gotta find out.
Beatrice picks up. “Melanie?”
“Yeah. Mom there?”
A minute passes as a couple of chipmunks gather some of the fallen acorns in the fading light. My imagination keeps wandering out into the garden, expecting to see the father of my child come walking up the path. Ethan—the dude had better be some kinda special.
“Are you settled in?” My mother’s voice sounds chipper, like maybe she’s okay after all.
“Hi, Mom. Yeah, I’m unpacked. You sure about this check?”
“Would I have given you your inheritance if I didn’t trust you?”
“No. Guess not.”
“Well then. Ask Danièle to help you invest the money. All right?”
“Yeah. Sure. You okay, Mom?”
“I’m fine, honey.” One of my sister’s kids squalls in the background. “I’d better go. I promised Beatrice I’d entertain the boys.”
“I love you, Mom.”
I toss the phone on the bed and lean back against the window frame. My life’s here now. With Dani. The image of us standing in front of my mother’s grave sends a creepy chill down my back. Yeah. Maybe forever. Might as well be married.
I brush a hand across my abdomen. Not much there yet. Did I really go through IVF and get myself pregnant for the girl?
Well, yeah. I promised to have a baby when we were old enough.
Not for Dani, though. Not her.
As a kid, I wanted my own little one so bad that my best forever friend pretended to be a boy so she could be the father. When the doctors told Dani she couldn’t bear children, I promised to have one.
For Daniel. His baby.
Well, it made sense at the time.
I shake my head and force my gaze back out the window. Moonlight has turned the garden into a wonderland of silver and midnight blue. A breeze sends ripples across the pond’s reflected stars. Jet black trees sway to some silent beat, waving their arms above it all.
Sometime later, a fat drop of water spatters against the window and down the pane. Others join in, till a steady chorus patters syncopation on the metal roof, till my eyelids succumb to the reassuring music.
Lianne Simon’s father was a dairy farmer and an engineer, her mother a nurse. She grew up in a home filled with love and good books.
Tiny and frail, Lianne struggled physically, but excelled at her studies. In 1970, she was awarded a scholarship to the University of Miami, from which she graduated in 1973. Fond memories of her time there remain with her.
Some years later, after living in several states, and spending time abroad, Lianne settled in to the suburbs north of Atlanta, where she now lives with her husband and their cat.
While seeking answers to her own genetic anomalies, Lianne met a family whose daughter was born with one testis and one ovary. As a result of that encounter, she spent more than a decade answering inquiries on behalf of a support group for the parents of such children.
Lianne hopes that writing this book will, in some small way, contribute to the welfare of children born between the sexes.
Movement in the garden snags my attention. The breath catches in my throat. A wraith drifts along the path beside the lake, white hair floating in the breeze, her body wrapped in stars and silver moonlight. That you, Dani? What’re you up to?
The ghostly vision passes under the trees and comes to rest, a pale blue glow beneath sheltering arms of black. Spellbound, I perch above the garden and wait while the moon drifts across the night sky.
The wind picks up again. Lightning flickers in the distance. The trees whisper to each other above our heads.
A curious longing tightens my throat. Is this what I want—me and Dani alone in the garden of my imagination?
Raindrops start their chorus again—a warm summer lullaby tapped out on the window and roof above. A branch scrapes the wall outside. Mist rises from the ground.
Yet the apparition moves not.
Are you nuts, girl? It’s raining.
Lightning flashes a portrait of her seated form. Then darkness. Her after-image floats across my vision. The garden remains shades of midnight blue and dark grey.
After a moment of indecision, I step into the hallway and ease my bedroom door shut. In the dim light I rush to the stairs and pad in silence down to the grand ballroom.
Across the dance floor, past the support columns, beyond the kitchen, a glass wall stands between me and the outside world. Rivulets of water distort my vision of the garden. Where was the stupid door? In the darkness, I don’t remember. So I run along the wall, one hand on the glass. On the left, the barrier ends in the quiet darkness of a hallway.
I find the garden-side entrance past the kitchen in the other direction. The security panel beside it blinks red. Wonderful. Cooper’s probably gonna shoot me when I set off the alarm.
Eyes closed, every muscle tense, I push the door open and stumble outside into warm rain, a stiff breeze, and darkness thicker than I imagined.
Moon and clouds above send their ghostly children dancing in blue and silver shadows across the garden. I draw in a deep breath of the moist air and shuffle my way closer to the water. With the stone pathway under my feet, I turn back toward the manor and scan the darkness for my bedroom window.
Yeah. This way. As long as I stay on the flagstones, things should be okay. I take a step into darkness. Then two. Ankle-deep mud greets my third and steals away my balance. I teeter over a black abyss.
In a flurry of motion, something white grabs my arm, pulls me to a stop, and holds me in its relentless grip.
When the echoes of my scream die away, Dani nudges me toward the manor. Once inside, the girl punches a code that makes the security system happy.
The wall sconces seem bright as daylight after the darkness outside. Dani stands there like a statue, dripping on the tile floor. The redness in her eyes says she’d been crying—something I’ve never seen her do before. Ever. “Are you okay?”
“Brilliant. Just brilliant.”
“Let’s get out of here then.” Before Cooper shows up. I tug her a step toward the ballroom, but she shakes her head and leads me down the hallway to an elevator.
When we get to my room, she pauses in the doorway. “Can I borrow a nightgown?”
Her robe is soaking wet. I get that part right away. But her room’s just around the corner. She must have a dozen clean ones there.
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