Man learns of a secret plan and sets his own in motion to help his family...
| (NOTE: This is an homage to the story "Parallel Lives" on Fictionmania and its derivative work found on Tgstorytime. There are similar plotlines in all three works but this work now goes beyond the original storyline and diverges from the derivative work. It will still keep the same general idea even though it moves off on its own. Please take the chance to read both works if you can find it. They are good!)
After my evening at the Howard place, I spent the next day at my original house, taking inventory of what I could find about the Howard Family and especially what I could dig up regarding the children's original mother. Terrance was still the easy, outgoing person that I had met last evening but the public persona still masked something. There was no real mention of any woman in his life when I was myself, my male self, and a quick scan over his Facebook showed the same. People that were friends with Myka also didn't seem to display any sort of change other than the fact that where Myka may have been in one set of pictures, another person filled in the void. Strange how that seemed to happen.
Just as a check, I took out my driver's license and placed it on the table next to the locket and as I opened and then closed it, I made sure to look at the details.
Christopher Lassiter Myka R. Howard
I had lost 10 years between myself and being Myka but obviously the rest of the information would be different as well. Height was 5'6", weight hovered around 120, eyes were brown and hair black. Even the smile on the card itself was a bit different for me to look at, though it was a perfect resemblance on my own face. I opened the locket again and reverted back to my original self before I turned back and looked at the monitor. There was some work to be done.
I kept my eagerness down deep inside me for more exploring of the person that would be Myka, making sure to take care of Amanda and the household I was currently living in, while at the same time paying more and more attention to my surroundings. Part of my lunch 'power' meetings that I held weekly involved several people from local industry and my connections from the company still kept in touch frequently. Even though I was no longer in the business, it was nice to still hang out with people I frequently did stuff with, whether it was the occasional round of golf or poker night.
At the next meeting, I sat down with Ralph, a manager from BanCorp, a friend of mine from college days who had entered the business around the same time that I had joined the company and we piggy-backed off each other to help mutually our careers. When my company took the hit, his bank had managed to weather its exposure due to some information I had passed along (no profit for me...but I bailed out a friend) and thus his position had been saved. Thankfully, such friendship didn't go unrewarded and the loan package we received had been graciously accepted.
"Hey, glad to see you, Chris." He shook my hand firmly before he motioned to another person joining him. "Hope you don't mind, I brought my colleague with me today." I looked past Ralph as Terrance came by and offered his hand. "This is Terrance Howard, a candidate for our Junior VP slot coming soon."
I shook his hand as politely as possible, somehow managing to avoid any sort of tell or emotion that might have caused him to worry about things. I was looking at him through a different set of eyes and the entire time we spent at lunch, I made sure to make small chat alongside putting on the ole charm offensive. Afterwards, when I got back home, I called up Ralph to check in on things, my secondary purpose, but more so about Terrance and what else I could find about him in this life.
"Married? Nope, not that I'm aware of." Ralph was a bit of a talker and so I had an easy time pumping the guy for information. "The kids are some of the best I've seen but they definitely don't have a mother figure in their lives, you can tell. Terrance takes off a lot and he also works a lot. The bosses cut him a lot of slack but truth be told, you know how it works."
"Yeah..." was all I could answer. I knew what that implied: the promotion was something they were willing to give him because of his merit but they would need him to commit to more hours, potentially placing a breaking point on the back of his family, and either he would up and quit or the kids would be adversely impacted. Either way, not a pleasant situation to find himself in. I definitely didn't pity him at all, though a part of me was also sure about something.
I knew I had to go back and try again, just to see what would change.
Finding the right time to make a change took some planning and thus I hadn't touched the locket since that time spent making notes on who I was. I spoke often with Ralph and soon narrowed down my chance: the bank was holding a gala evening where the major candidates would be given an opportunity to see how things would hold up and an unannounced testing of each. The major personnel would be in attendance and the chances for them to make or break their cases would be decided then.
Seeking this chance out would be a godsend for Terrance, that was undeniable, but it also was a chance to really see how much I could help him out in his life, perhaps a little more to help out the kids as well. It didn't occur to me what I was doing was somehow different than what I should've done. A simple phone call or a conversation would've been easy to do...but that didn't feel right of me. Not sporting, as it were.
That being said, I had to build up some time to get to know Terrance's cues, his body language, and the way he conducted himself in such meetings. That, in turn, required me to spend more time with him and there was a surefire way I could do that. I wasn't too apprehensive about the change or the length of time that I may have to invest in the project, namely because it seemed that whenever I was in the life of one person, the other simply ceased to exist. As Myka, Christopher Lassiter didn't exist and Amanda was a Hopkins, a single woman. As Christopher, Myka didn't exist and Terrance was a single father. A more rational mind may have decided to spend some extra time pondering just how this exactly played out...but I wasn't caring really about rationality. Not at a time when a locket opening and closing allowed me to slip inbetween two separate lives living close yet so distant worlds.
Given that this was a few weeks out, I decided to spend some time getting to know the work environment at my wife's place of business, the County Hospital. A few times, I paid her a visit under the guise of bringing her changes of clothes, some food, bringing in some goodies for the other nurses on call. All of this brought me rave reviews and more than one hot makeout session in the shower. All of it, though, not really why I was coming. I was making as much mental notes as possible on places that an administrator would park, what type of job they would seemingly do, but that was limited really from the outside looking in. I also made a point to learn names and faces of Myka's work associates, friends that she had pictures of on FB, and even made sure to memorize things like rooms and places where she may have work to do.
After a few more days, and giving myself some time, I kissed Amanda goodbye as she left for a graveyard shift at the hospital. Once she was gone, I took out the locket and opened it. I made sure that I was out of the house and the doors and windows were closed and secured before I closed the locket.
Changing into Myka was getting more and more easy every time that I did it, yet again another thing that should've made me a bit concerned but my mind was already off of that and into game-mode. I had a mission in mind: learning as much of Terrance Howard, the man, as I could and to make sure he got that promotion. Everything else could fall by the wayside.
I walked back to the house and saw that a few lights were on and, for some reason, I had a bag slung in the crease of my elbow, something that I saw Amanda and other women do, and a set of keys to a car jingled in my hands. Looking down, I saw that I was wearing a business suit, the A-line skirt and matching blazer with a white blouse completed the professional image of a woman coming back from her job. Even the sight and sensation of walking in shoes with a heel seemed a bit much at first but instead of dwell on it, I turned and made my way to the door.
"I'm home!" I called out as I entered the house and immediately two sets of feet came running down the stairs and I barely had time to put my bag down before little Jayson launched himself into my arms and wrapped his arms around me.
"Mommy!!!" He gave me another warm squeeze as his sister joined him, though she merely settled for clinging to my legs and giving them a squeeze.
"Long day?" came Terrance's voice from the stairs as he came down slowly, wiping his hands on a towel before he leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Even though I had spent the past few days looking up things to help him and had even seen him at the lunch, it was still a bit overwhelming for me not to react as his wife now should. I merely nodded before I buried my head against my son's hair and playfully meep-meep him on the nose. This, of course, set Hillary up in a riot and she started to crawl up my leg or try to. I didn't really care at this point what happened to the hose I suddenly found myself wearing, it was just fun to be back with them.
"Okay, let mommy settle in. Did you have a good day?" As I put my shoes away in the closet and placed my purse down on the table next to it, I spent half the time focusing on their stories and the other half just feeling myself adjusting to everything that was going on. Terrance had them already changed and brushed their teeth as I came up and spent the next half hour listening to their stories. Each seemed more than eager for me to listen to them but I merely reminded them that this was Friday and they had the whole weekend to tell me about it. I don't know why I thought that would work (it didn't) but the sheer exhaustion soon washed over them and I had little trouble tucking them in and reading Jayson's Paw Patrol and Hillary's Princess Sofia books.
"Good night, sweetie," I whispered, giving Hillary a kiss on the cheek and did the same to Jayson who, at his awkward age of 6, seemed to think getting kisses from his mom was gross. I merely rolled my eyes and gave him the kiss anyway before I turned on their nightlight, switched off the light, and walked out.
I looked downstairs at the sight of Terrance cleaning up from dinner and a part of me wanted to help him. There was an even bigger part of me that wanted to help myself, where that idea had come from was still something I was not too sure about. Still, I thought about and decided to play it safe, for now, and walked downstairs to join him in the kitchen. We spent the next 20 or so minutes talking and doing the dishes, putting things away, and the time I spent with him helped settle my mind down. As he walked to the bedroom to change and shower, I took a few moments to look at my reflection in the window. If this was going to be my life for the next few days, well, I had better make the most of it....