SPECTACLE Part 1

"She said I could have modeled girls' fashions on any local catwalk. Even lingerie."
Part One: The Alcove
By Tracy Lane/Transfemme

1

A light April breeze was gusting up the driveway as I helped my mother load her bags into her '57 Chevrolet. Mom had been a Chevy girl since her sophomore years, back when Elvis was still young and the Beatles were playing artschool socials in Liverpool. She'd aged well through the intervening decades, looking no more than thirty due to her fine bone structure and trim, svelte figure. People often told me I got my looks from her, right down to the opal-green eyes and platinum blond hair.

"You sure you'll be OK here all alone?" Mom asked as I passed a well-packed hamper through to the back seat, "I'll be gone for more than a week this time." Always the sceptic in matters of the heart, she was fretting that I'd be the victim of a home invasion or something while she was off spending Easter at Aunt Lizzie's.

"I'll be fine," I replied for the umpteenth time, straightening my spine with a series of audible clicks. That hamper had been heavier than I'd expected. "Stop fussing, Mom, I'm not a baby any more."

"You're my baby", she replied, brushing my hand with a feather-light touch, "and this'll be longest we've been apart, since ... well, I just don't like leaving you here by yourself. Sure you won't come out to Lakecrest with me? Elsie's looking forwards to seeing you again."

This last statement chilled the marrow in my bones. Mom's Aunt Lizzie was the stuff of nightmares; a woman whose merest glance could reduce grown men to quivering orthodontists. Then there was my cousin Elsie, a socially challenged cyber-geek with coke-bottle glasses and an eating disorder. Dinner with Dr Hannibal Lecter was preferable to a week with Mad Lizzie Woodridge and her nerdlinger daughter.

Besides, I had other plans for the vacation.

"Sorry, Mom - I've got that history report due after the break," I answered, trying to hide my impatience, "Connie Radcliffe's coming over on Thursday to exchange notes, and I can't let her down, can I?"

"No, I guess you can't," Mom agreed thoughtfully, "in the meantime, Connie Radcliffe will be spending Easter with her own family; hunting easter eggs, eating home cooked meals ..."

"Jeez, Mom, I'm not going to starve", I interrupted, almost writhing with exasperation, "you left me enough of those frozen dinners to last six months. I'm eighteen years old, I won't burn down the kitchen. I know how to look after myself."

"Yes, I know," she said, stroking my cheek warmly enough to make me shrink with guilt, "I just can't help worrying. Eighteen isn't as old as you think it is, sweetheart. I'd never forgive myself if something went wrong while I was away ..."

"Nothing's going to go happen, Mom", I almost stammered, looking down at my feet. Like most teenagers, I felt totally mortified by maternal displays of affection. "I've got Aunt Lizzie's phone number inside. I promise I'll call you every night to let you know I'm OK".

"That won't be necessary, darling. I trust you." She gave me a tired, happy look and leaned forward to kiss me on the forehead. Her hair tickled my face. She had a clean, tender smell about her, a mixture of carnations and lipstick and Pond's hand lotion. A young woman-scent, despite her age. I fought down an overwhelming sense of embarrassment.

"All right", she said, running her fingers through my hair, "take care of yourself. I'll phone you up on Good Friday to see how you're doing". She turned away, opened the door and pulled out her keys. "No parties, no loud music and don't stay up too late."

"Yes Mom", I replied automatically. She needn't have worried, I'd given up sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll for lent. Like I said, I had other plans for the long weekend. I stood back as she turned the key in the ignition, gunning the Chevy's engine the way she always did before a long trip.

"Have a good time with Connie," she called over the eight-cylinder roar, then fixed me with a mock-stern look: "but not too good."

I nodded enthusiastically, trying to look as innocent as possible - which, in fact, I was. Connie Radcliffe wasn't coming over to exchange notes (or anything else). The whole story - history assignment and all - was a lie, a red herring to legitimize my absence from the Manson Family Reunion out at Lakecrest.

"Bye-Bye, honey." Mom blew me a kiss while she backed the Chevrolet down the driveway, dual exhausts humming in deep resonance. I followed her down to the street, keeping clear of the car's wide turning circle. I lifted my right hand in farewell, doing my best to look mature and trustworthy.

"Bye, Mom. Say 'hi' to Elsie for me."

"Will do." She swung away from the curb, gripping the wheel with both hands, and thundered off in hail of gravelstones and exhaust fumes. Top down, hair flying in the April slipstream, she looked maybe half her age, a precocious young cheerleader on her way to the Big Game. I stood in the street waving goodbye until the Chevy vanished over the crown of Summerhill Road ...

And literally bolted up to the house.

2

I was almost fainting with excitement by the time I reached the front door. It had been months since I'd had the place to myself, and I was trembling with expectation as I considered the day ahead of me. Locking the door with a swift, loud clack, I scampered through the living room, kicking off my sneakers without a second thought. I was free, alone to do whatever I pleased over the next four days.

Loosening my t-shirt at the waist, I hurried past the staircase, dodging though to the main hallway. My pulse slammed into overdrive as I imagined all those delicious satin treasures closeted away in the Back Room. The walls seemed to flash by in a strobing montage of frames, prints, and fashion illustrations.

The Back Room was a spacious, two-level extension with picture windows, spotlights and high ceilings. It was festooned with potplants, drawing tables, dressing torsos and sewing machines. Mom used it as both a design studio and a reception area when she was meeting with clients. It was a feminine, creative place, rich with her aromatic presence: scented bath oils; long departed roses; a touch of Chanel. I loved this room almost as much as I loved her.

The back wall was lined with mirrors. They dominated the studio from corner to corner, but were little more than a facade for the long, walk-in closet which housed my mother's private collection. Very few people even knew it was there, mainly because it contained the pieces she never intended to sell.

Mom's design sense leaned towards the strange and the fantastique. She often drew her inspiration from the excesses of fashion history - La Belle Epoch, French Rococo; anything with a Parisian flavour. Needless to say, it had been an absolute wonderland during my early childhood, seeding my dreams and igniting my most volatile desires. In the course of years, the Back Room had become my stage, the theatre on which I enacted my most secret fantasies.

Did Mom suspect? Possibly; there was very little she didn't know about me.

Halting by the wall of mirrors, I scrutinized my reflection critically, putting a slim hand to the back of my neck. Removing a sequined elastic binder, I allowed my thick, blond hair to cascade past my shoulders. The image in the mirror immediately began to alter. With my hair sweeping down in a shimmering arabesque, I looked small and fragile; a pretty teenaged girl in oversized blue denim.

A shiver swirled through my tummy like a dash of ice water. Quivering with delight, I threw off my t-shirt and jeans, tossing aside the meaningless vestments of my male identity. Turning back to the mirrors, I adjusted my hair to cover my slim shoulders, almost dizzy with anticipation. I felt short of breath, my thighs started to shake with high-wire tension. I was impatient to finish the change, eager to climb into my costume and begin the afternoon's performance. Stepping closer to the mirrordoor, I studied my face and figure for imperfections. There were very few, even at this range.

I was rather fortunate in this respect. Possessing a sexually ambiguous appearance, I could easily pass for female. I had the androgynous lines and huge, liquid eyes of the Waif. My Mother once remarked - in all seriousness - that I could have modeled girls' fashions on any local catwalk.

Even lingerie.

I padded over to the closet, reveling in my bare thighs, my smooth, ivory skin. It was so wonderful, so liberating, to shed my male identity. Nearly three months had passed since I'd emerged from my gendered prison; twelve agonizing weeks locked in a boy's rancid body, counting off the empty, interminable days. Well, all that was finished now.

3

Stepping through the mirrordoor was like entering a world of whispering velvet shadows. The Walk-In was my portal to another realm, a place of enchantment and silken magic, a shrine to all things feminine. For me, it would always epitomize the exotic and the mysterious; the questions I could never ask, the knowledge I could never share.

My veins were throbbing with sultry heat, my belly felt as tense as a coiled spring. Aroused, exhilarated, I wandered naked along the rows of brassieres and corsets and garter-belts and bustiers and luscious, gleaming panties, my head spinning like a vortex. I was drowning in a whirlpool of shame, bliss, guilt - and longing. Longing; vast and endless.

Reaching the end of that tunnel of forbidden pleasures, I arrived at the Alcove.

The Alcove was Momma's private dressing room, a little salon housing her favourite pieces. Over the space of maybe a hundred visits, it had become my theatre of dreams. Its charm and fascination were bound up with its essential femininity; the room was heavy with the presence of woman. I could almost taste my Mother's perfume in the pastel-print wall paper.

The Alcove was set out like a 1920s lady's boudoir, furnished with art deco lamps and trinket boxes. A small but elegant make-up table stood at the far end of the chamber, its dark, enameled surface littered with cosmetics and picture frames. Next to the table was a hand-carved chest of drawers. It was an antique, over ninety years old according to my mother.

I knew from prior incursions that it was full of imported hosiery; French Dior stockings, Spanish thigh-highs, Italian lacetops. There was full-length mirror beside the chest and low, padded stool near my feet. Overhead, a flurry of European underwear hung from a customized clothing rack set into the wall. The Alcove resembled a high class lingerie store; tiers of shimmering unmentionables seemed to stretch off as far as the eye could see.

Mine.

All mine, for the next four days.

4

Reaching up, I took a black garter-belt off a clip-hanger. It was an intricate web of midnight lace, woven into complex floral patterns. Six adjustable suspenders hung from the red-trimmed belt, their cleats covered with precious scarlet bows. It was an extraordinary piece; regular belts only have four garters, but my Mother has a passion for the unusual. Needless to say, it was hauntingly beautiful.

My breath caught in my throat as I fastened the luxurious fragment into place. It sat taut against my nipped waist, a translucent strip of sheer decadence. Cool, teasing fingers seemed to drift over my naked flesh as I started toying with the straps, stretching them down to mid-thigh, then releasing them with a satisfyingly loud snap! Moistening my lips, I sank into the sweet depths of my fantasy. I could almost feel my body change and melt beneath my gently probing palms...

Surfacing for air a few minutes later, I selected a pair of tan stockings from the chest of drawers. The choice of colour was an impulse; I normally wear black denier when indulging in one of my performances. But today was unique. In some obscure way, I was becoming aware that I was crossing some sort of boundary, one I'd never realized existed until now. Placing my right foot on the padded stool, I slipped the hose over my toe and drew it carefully up my calf.

Attaching the stockings was a complicated process (particularly since the belt had an extra set of suspenders). My hands shook as I adjusted the straps into position. Cross-dressing is a kind of agony: a sweet, sensuous torment that leaves you breathless with yearning. The stockings seemed to soften the shape of my legs while accentuating their natural curvature. I smoothed them out against my thighs, tugging gently at the insubstantial material.

The racks above me were slung with lingerie of every description; slips and cammies, basques and corselets, French-cuts and bikinis. Rising up on tip-toe, I started searching through the hangers for a matching set of bra and briefs, one which would complement the garter belt perfectly. A minute later, I found precisely what I wanted.

Placing the brassiere on top of the drawers, I paused to study the underwear a little more closely. They were a pair of wickedly high-cut thong panties; diaphanous black satin edged with a brazen red trim. The triangle was a mass of insolent scarlet frills, the waist band was encrusted with tiny rosepetals. They looked almost insufferably naughty stretched between my fingers. And I couldn't wait a moment longer to try them on!!

A huge smile stole across my face as I bent over and stepped into the thong, wriggling my tushie as I slipped them up my slender, stockinged thighs. The lace brushed against the denier, sending a thrill through my entire nervous system. I looked into the mirror, simmering with rapture. This was the most wonderful part of my dressing ritual. Drawing on a pair of panties was like assuming an entirely new body. A soft, yielding body, pliant and sensuous.

I ran my fingers over my stomach, tracing little circles around my belly button. Lips parted in near-ecstasy, I began to undulate slowly in the mirror, my hair spilling down my chest like a blond avalanche. I closed my eyes, caressing myself with gentle, questing strokes. And once again, I experienced that sense of change - of transformation - as if my form was shifting and running beneath my fingers.

Long minutes rolled by. Time seemed to spin out into some infinite blue void, where I drifted on a sea of immeasurable joy. The whole world seemed to fold and bend around me, and for one infinite moment, I felt as though I were falling - falling so deep and fast that I would never stop.

Drawing back from the brink, I opened my eyes and leaned against the wall. Hangers clashed and fell from the rack; I ignored them. I was breathless with exhaustion. Large indigo flowers seemed bloom across my field of vision. I willed my pulse down to a more acceptable level, gradually collecting my wits. I'd visited the Alcove at least a dozen times over the past few years, and although I'd often felt its subtle magic, the sensation had never been this ... intense.

The mirror continued to hover beside the antique chest, daring me to peer into its crystal depths one more time.

And I did.

I was beautiful. More beautiful than I'd ever imagined, more beautiful than a boy has the right to be. A delicate, rose tint suffused my face, neck and shoulders. My lips looked darker than maraschino cherries. My eyes were wide, glittering emeralds flecked with diamond highlights. My trim, girlish figure seemed to have altered in the Alcove's muted atmosphere. Arms a little rounder, waist a little thinner, hips a little wider. Even my features - effeminate though they already were - seemed to have softened into an ageless, childlike pout.

If only I could look this way all the time, I thought wistfully, picking up the brassiere and sliding my arms through the straps. I'd wanted to be a girl most of my life, and I would have traded almost anything to have my wish granted. That was my concept of paradise, the image I took to bed with me every night: to suddenly wake up young, female and stunningly attractive. What more could a boy possibly want?

Reaching back, I clipped the bra into place, then made some minor adjustments across the chest and shoulders. Like the panties, it was a tight fit - far more constrictive than I'd expected. Mom was a small lady, never having worn anything bigger than an A-cup so far as I new. Nonetheless, her bras usually hung limp across my flat chest. By contrast, this one felt at least two sizes too small.

Still watching myself in the mirror, I swept my hair back over my shoulder to give myself an unobstructed view of the brassiere - and everything else I was wearing, of course. Striking a catwalk pose, I planted my hands on my hips and admired my reflection from a variety of angles.

And was struck speechless by what I saw...


The complete version of this story will soon be available through Doppler Press. Stay tuned for more details.



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