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Heilman Change, The: A Story of Success
|If you were an American citizen with a subscription to any newspaper or magazine in the country, you’d heard of the Heilmans. They were self-made millionaires, rising from poverty in Queens to founding one of the nation’s most successful department stores, investing in a hugely profitable airline and owning two nationally broadcast television stations. They had more money than God, their women were beautiful and glamourous, their men muscular and handsome. They were known just as much for their personal lives as their corporate ones, with enough affairs, scandals, late-night partying and secrets to fill a series of tell-all novels. Each Heilman was better-looking and wilder than the former, and the more they misbehaved, the more they were loved and adored by the public.
Peter Heilman was a little different than the rest of Heilmans. He had model looks and tons of money, like the rest of his family, and he liked to have a good time, but the drinking and partying had begun to bore him. Besides, he was married now, and he loved his wife, so the sexual aspect had worn off as well. He was happier earning money than spending it.
Peter typed away on a business memo, his fingers flying fast as the words appeared on screen. He checked his watch. 6:47. He’d be leaving in about fifteen minutes. He saved the document and pulled up Solitaire to pass the time.
The door to his office opened, and in stepped his secretary, Paige. “Peter?”
Peter pretended to be hard at work. “Yes, Paige?”
“The hospital called. Marie’s in labor.”
Peter didn’t waste a second. He hurriedly thanked Paige and told her to lock up for him, he grabbed his car keys, and was off to the hospital.
It was on that day that Fuller Peter James Heilman was born. He was a healthy baby boy, weighing in at 8 lbs., 10 oz., and a tall 30 inch frame. A few weeks time revealed a thick mop of red hair. The American press inspected the newest Heilman intently. He had red hair, but no Heilman had red hair. Had Mrs. Heilman had an affair? Was he really their child? Was he adopted? Had the whole birth been fake? The press, of course, never actually hit on the truth, which was quite boring: little Fuller was the legitimate son of Peter and Marie Heilman, and probably one of the luckiest – and richest -- babies in the world.
5 YEARS LATER
Fuller lived the life of luxury, with his parents breaking the Heilman curse and celebrating their tenth anniversary, something no other couple in the family had done, besides the founding patriarchs, rest their souls. The problem for Fuller was that his parents were wildly at odds at how to bring up their son. Peter insisted that Fuller needed to live his childhood to the fullest and as normally as possible, since the rest of his life would be in the public eye. Marie thought that Fuller should be introduced early to the banquets, balls, shopping sprees and parties that being a Heilman brings. After all, her argument went, he was going to be going to them sooner or later, and might as well get him used to it. Peter and Marie couldn’t reach an agreement and they finally compromised, with Fuller getting a relatively normal life, with the exception of being brought out every now and then for the occasional party. They’d satisfy the press with a nice photo of Fuller every year or so. The child was a Heilman, after all, and he knew how to work the camera as well as any of his relatives.
7 YEARS LATER
“Why do they always want my picture, Dad?”
Peter turned and faced his son, a bright-eyed, carrot-topped boy of twelve. “Well, Fuller…” Peter thought for a second. “Its because you’re different. We’re successful, and when people see pictures of you, it gives them something to aspire to.” His eyes twinkled mischievously. “Plus, you’re our only child.”
Fuller’s brows furrowed. “Weird.” Then he smiled for the camera and didn’t even blink from the blinding flash. He’d gotten accustomed to the constant popping of flashbulbs, paparazzi screaming for his attention and people yelling his name. He liked his yearly photo, it was so normal and quiet. Just him, his Dad and a photographer.
The photos were developed. Fuller and Peter flipped through them, and Fuller personally selected his favorite for release. “That one.” It was printed and sent to his publicist, and then it was off to a doctor’s appointment for a physical.
The limo pulled up to the clinic and father and son stepped out. The paparazzi had followed them there, and the flashes were blinding. “Are you sick, Mr. Heilman?!” “How’s Fuller?” “What’s this visit for?” “Over here, Peter!” “Fuller, look this way!”
Peter rolled his eyes and put his arm around Fuller, pulling him closer. “We’re both healthy, guys. Thanks!”, he yelled over his shoulder as they walked in.
They met the doctor, a portly gentleman of about sixty. He’d delivered Fuller and had been the family physician for years. Fuller was comfortable with him and went him, leaving Peter waiting out in the waiting room, making business calls on his cell phone.
The time passed. About forty minutes later, Fuller emerged with the doctor in tow. He plopped down on a chair and read a magazine while his father conferred with the physician.
“He’s relatively healthy, Peter. Problem is that he needs more exercise. He seems to be a little underdeveloped.”
Peter was incredulous. “We can’t put him in team sports, you know that. The press ruins it for the other kids and the parents don’t leave him alone.”
“I know, Peter, I know. My suggestion is a personal trainer.”
“He’s twelve years old!”
“I’m not saying Pilates or anything like that. Just some push-ups, sit-ups, laps around the track. He needs to get more sun and bulk up a little. He’s already started puberty.”
Peter sighed. “Okay. Thanks. C’mon, Fuller.”
They walked out of the office, meeting the force of photographers once again.
Fuller toweled his face off, wiping the beads of sweat from his brow with one quick motion. This working out stuff was hard. He saw Andre, his trainer, coming back, and he quickly returned to doing crunches.
“I saw you resting, kiddo. You tired?” Andre had platinum white hair and a muscular build, and Fuller liked him a lot. They had a good connection. Fuller sat up, breathing hardly. “Where’s my Mom, Andre?”
“Other room. You wanna go talk to her?”
“Yeah. I’ll only be a second. I just don’t feel very good.”
Andre nodded and waved him on.
Fuller walked into the weight room, scratching his neck and arms. It was so hot in here already, and he was really itchy, all of a sudden. “Mom?” Was that his voice? It sounded really different.
Marie sat up and wiped off her face. “Hey, honey. Something wrong?” She stood up and put her hands on his shoulders.
For the first time, Fuller noticed what was happening to him. His eye level was now even with his Mom’s, instead of being slightly below hers. “Fuller? Are you okay?”
He opened his mouth, but nothing was coming out. He was starting to panic, sweat pouring down his face. It was so hot…and this hurt so much…
He was now much taller than Marie, probably by a good five inches. He looked down, not even noticing how concerned his mother was for him. His body was growing not only upward, but outward. His white t-shirt was stretching tighter and tighter, his nipples and the new crack between his pectoral muscles becoming clearly visible.
He was lily-white, absolutely terrified. “Fuller Peter James Heilman! Talk to me, young man!” His mother’s face was inquisitive of Fuller’s panic, but she clearly didn’t notice his growth at all. Fuller finally managed to squeak out some words. “Mom…I – do you notice…am I different?” Marie stared at him. “Different? No different than you were this morning. You’re the same son I’ve raised since day one. Fuller, what is wrong?” Fuller didn’t answer, but pulled away and ran out of the room, sprinting into an adjacent weight room, full of mirrors. He stood in the middle of the room, tears streaming down his face, mixing with the sweat already caked on it. He scratched his arms and legs, but the pain wouldn’t stop. He grabbed his left bicep with his right arm and watched as his hand was forced open, his biceps growing and developing. The growth moved down to his forearms, hair lightly sprouting on them as they too improved and grew. Then his hands, the small, pale hands, started growing strong, the veins bulging, the hair on his knuckles coming into view. His skin was starting to darken, the unhealthy pale white color darkening to a beautiful golden bronze tan. A small V-shaped tear had appeared in his collar, his shirt being forced apart by a new pair of large, well-rounded pectorals. His shoulders were wide and broad, like a surfer, with his collarbone dipping symmetrically into the center of his pecs. He ran his hands over his stomach, feeling it becoming hard and strong as a brick wall, his abs bursting out on his already attractive chest. He was beginning to look like a Greek god. His eyes were wide, his face streaked with alarm. He bent over and grabbed his legs with his new pair of hands, and felt his calves grow, thickening and bulging with power, thick as footballs and shaped like diamonds. He quickly pulled off his sneakers, just in time before his feet exploded, stretching his socks tight, ripping right through the heel and the toe, swelling to size 12˝. His shorts and boxers started tightening, his hamstrings and thighs pushing them to the breaking point. Small rips appeared, his new bronze legs appearing. The rips grew longer, until finally his shorts were torn off, leaving hilariously tight boxers stretched over him. He gritted his teeth in pain. He rubbed his crotch, grabbing his tiny member, feeling his hand again being forced apart as his privates grew long and hard. His eyes rolled back into his head, and his mouth dropped open. He was liking this. Instead of a Tootsie Roll and grapes, he had a cucumber and oranges in his pants. He grabbed his buttocks and felt it grow outward, filling in and becoming round and defined. His boxers were stretched so tightly now it was like they were even there. Testosterone started to flow freely through him, and he started to reach adulthood in body and mind. He was more sexually free, more aware, more comfortable in his own skin. He rubbed his face and felt it grow stubbly and rough, the feel of sandpaper growing on his neck, cheeks and chin. He could feel his sideburns grow down and fill in, and watched in the mirror as his long, thick red hair shortened, receding into his scalp, darkening and straightening. He ran his fingers through the new short cut he had. He licked his lips and felt the whiskers. His face had begun maturing, his soft jaw growing defined and square, his neck thickening, the veins pushing out on his forehead. His lips curled, he shut his eyes, scrunching his face in and letting out a manly roar from all the pain. His face was having spasms and he couldn’t control it. His eyebrows went up and down, up and down, thickening as they went. His chin was beginning to push out farther from his face, a small cleft appearing. He opened his mouth and saw his new permanent adult teeth, which had somehow appeared in place of his baby teeth. His cheekbones rose higher on his face and his jaw widened, giving his face an added dose of power. He grabbed his head and moaned in pain. His mind was changing, filling with adult thoughts and actions, knowledge of sexual acts, driving a car, balancing a checkbook, a college education. He fell forward, and the pain let up. He still had the knowledge of the change and his brain was split – he had both the innocent mind of a child and the educated brain of an adult.
Fuller’s heart was racing at a million miles a minute. His tan body glistened with sweat, and his perfect chest heaved with heavy breaths. He had begun to panic again. There was no trace of the scrawny redhead in this attractive, muscular man. What if they started searching for him as if he’d been abducted? What if he got arrested for his own kidnapping? He collected himself and decided to take one thing at a time. After much searching, he found a sweatsuit to wear. He started walking out of the club but the receptionist called after him. “Mr. Heilman!” He turned. “You forgot your keys, sir.” He was incredulous. “My keys?” “For your car, sir…” Fuller thought. “Oh, right! My, uh, car.” He took the keys and walked out, hitting auto-unlock. A beep greeted his ears and he saw a red Mercedes flash its lights. He hopped in and drove off, relieved that driving seemed like second nature to him.
He pulled up to his parents house. His Mom’s car wasn’t there – he remembered that she was still working out – but his Dad’s convertible was in the driveway. He was still curious as to how the receptionist knew who he was, and how he had gotten a car. Even his Mom hadn’t seemed to notice her son changing from pale sixth-grader to studly hunk right before her eyes. Maybe if he explained to his Dad what had happened…
He opened up the door with his keys and quietly stepped in. Peter was walking around the corner with a cup of coffee, and he immediately saw Fuller. “Oh, no…not so soon…Fuller…” It wasn’t until Fuller heard his name that he saw his Dad. He tried to say something but Peter was too quick. He set down his coffee on a table and ran over to Fuller, giving him big hug with tears streaming down his face. “I’m sorry, son, I’m so sorry…did it hurt? I hope it didn’t hurt. Oh, Fuller…” He put Fuller’s face in his hands and wiped away the tears from his son’s eyes. Fuller was crying too. Peter gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Let’s go into the living room. I’ll explain everything.” Fuller went and sat on the couch, and Peter sat down next to him. “I’ll start from the beginning. Centuries ago, when the Heilmans were just starting out, the Salem Witch Trials were occurring. Your great-great-great-great-grandfather was a boy about your age.” Peter stopped and looked at Fuller, who was obviously not a boy anymore. “I’m sorry, I mean, the age you were this morning. Anyway, they arrested his schoolteacher, whom he liked very much, and charged her with witchcraft. She was found guilty and was to be hanged the following morning. He risked his life to save her, and it isn’t known how he did it, but he did. He got her out of the jail and told her he knew she wasn’t a witch.” Peter’s eyes twinkled; he loved telling a story. “But she was a witch. A good witch, though. And she blessed him with the gift of maturity and looks, a gift that affected him and all of his male descendents. Namely, we get to skip past those awkward teenage years and go straight to the good stuff, and we look good doing it.” Fuller interrupted. “But why does the change hurt so much?” Peter sighed. “Did yours hurt? Mine didn’t hurt at all. Your grandfather - my Dad – says his hurt like crazy. Maybe it hops a generation, or its some quirky gene, or something.” Fuller’s eyes widened. “How old am I?” Peter grinned. “That’s the first question I asked your grandpa when I first grew up. The change doubles the age, so you’re 24 years old. When it happened to me, I was thirteen and a half, so I instantly 27. It doesn’t have a set time to begin, but it usually starts at the onset of puberty.”
Fuller badgered Peter with more questions, and found out many more things about the change that affects the Heilman males. Only men who have experienced the transformation notice it, everyone else treats you normally. The changes that occur with the body are semi-genetic, in that you will inherit the father’s good traits – Peter and Fuller had the same color hair, and the same jocky build – and dodge most of the bad ones, meaning every Heilman is a bit more perfect than the first. Male pattern baldness had long since been wiped out in the Heilman gene pool.
Fuller and Peter talked long into the night, discovering things in Fuller’s mind that had appeared as a result of the transformation, but building a new connection between a father and his newly adult son.
When 4 AM hit, Fuller was practically on the floor. He and Peter finally went to bed. Fuller was up at 6, energized after only two hours of sleep. He pulled on a pair of boxer briefs and slipped on some sneakers, walking out on the patio to watch the sun rise.
It was a new day.
10 YEARS LATER
Fuller was out to dinner with some business partners, and one of his more long-winded compatriots was in the middle of an incredibly long story. Fuller ate his sushi and smiled every now and then, pretending to be interested. He was just about to “use the bathroom” when a waiter tapped his shoulder.
“Excuse me, Mr. Heilman?”
“It’s your wife, sir. She’s gone into labor. Your mother-in-law just called here to tell you, and she also said that you need to turn on your cell phone.”
Fuller tipped the waiter, quickly excused himself from the table and rocketed out to the hospital.
Fuller let Christina know he was there and she was rushed out to the delivery room. He collapsed in a hallway bench and collected his thoughts. What if it was a boy? Would he have to explain the Heilman transformation?
He ran his hand along his face. He’d gotten so used to it by now. He’d go on days, weeks, months at a time just living normally, not even thinking about the changes he’d been affected so deeply by. How old would he be right now? He thought for a second…twenty-two. He’d only be 22 years old? It seemed so young. He was almost to his thirty-fifth birthday. He’d even found a gray hair on his scalp yesterday, and it had made him realize how old he was. Pretty soon he’d have to start dying his hair…
“Mr. Heilman?” A nurse was next to him. Fuller snapped to attention. “Yes?”
“Christina did it. Painless birth, without a hitch.”
Fuller breathed a sigh of relief. He and Christina had decided not to see what sex the baby was. He was so curious… “Is it a boy or a girl?”
The nurse smiled. “They’re boys.” Fuller didn’t catch her meaning at first. “Excuse me?”
“You, Mr. Heilman, are now the father of identical twin boys.”
The Change had been passed on.
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