If you look exactly like your sister, never say "yes" when she asks you for help...
"Quit squirming, will ya?” scolded my sister Holly. “You're just making this take longer.”
“Well, it is just a little embarrassing,” I said, standing on a chair, wearing the outfit my sister was going to be wearing the next day at the drag races. It was a skimpy, red, white and blue sequined dress. Holly was making adjustments to it.
She rolled her eyes at me and said, “You always say that. Nobody is going to see you, silly.” She put the needle between her lips as she ran her hands along the hem. Taking the needle from her mouth, she added, “Besides, next year, if I'm still doing this, you'll probably be too tall to be my model. As it is, we're the same size in everything.”
Folding my arms, I said, “Thanks for reminding me...”
I jumped when the doorbell rang.
Holly didn't even look up as she checked out the over-all fit of the dress. “I bet that's Angie.”
Angie was the assistant to Melvin “Mad Dog” Slater who owned the drag strip and quarter mile dirt track on the east side of the Interstate. On weekends, he'd hire my sister and other girls to be eye candy at the tracks and present trophies.
I heard my mom open the door, followed by a muffled conversation for a few moments. Then Mom yelled out, “Holly! Angie is here!”
Over her shoulder, Holly shouted, “Cool! Send her on back, Mom.”
My eyes widened as I hissed, “Are you crazy? She'll see me!”
Holly dismissed me with a wave of her hand as she pulled herself off her knees to her full height. She picked up a few items that were lying on the chair I was standing on.
Then Angie walked in, looked up at me and said, “Hey Holly. Hey, here's the boots Mel wants you to wear tomorrow. Hey, when did you cut your hair? Looks cute.”
"I'm not Holly!” I said with a scowl.
Holly giggled as she stepped out from behind me. “That's my brother, Ang. Ang, meet Caleb. Caleb, meet Ang.”
Angie put her hand over her mouth as she said with surprise in her eyes, “Holy shit! Pardon my French, but hey, you two look just alike. In that dress and with his hair combed over his eyes like that, I thought for sure he was a girl.”
“That’s not funny!” I scowled.
Shrugging, Angie said, “Well it’s true. A little make-up and your hair fixed, you’d have guys drooling over you the same as they do with your sister.” Before I could protest, she continued, “Oh, that reminds me. Looks like you’ll be on your own tomorrow.”
Holly stopped fussing with the dress and looked over at Angie. “Oh? Why is that? Something happen to Sandy?”
Angie nodded. “Yep, she called Mel that she can’t do it anymore. It’s too short notice to find another model for tomorrow.”
Holly plopped down in a nearby chair and said with a disgusted voice. “Well, that sucks! Ang, you know I hate doing that stuff alone!”
Angie stiffened slightly and said, “I’m sorry. I have no idea where we could find another girl on such short notice.”
Suddenly, without them saying anything, they both turned to look at me.
“No!” I almost shouted. “You can get whatever stupid idea right out of your heads now.”
Angie said, “You look enough like your sister to be her twin. Don’t you want to help your sister out?”
“No. Are you kidding?” I said scowling.
“Wouldn’t you like to get some extra money?” asked Holly.
Narrowing my eyes, I asked, “How much money?”
Angie laughed. “Mel pays girls two hundred dollars to stand around smiling all afternoon and handing out trophies. And there’s always the possibility of doing local promotions which will bring in more money as well. Holly, you remember Lisa don’t you, from a couple of years ago. She caught national attention and now does runway and some magazine work in New York.”
“We know you’re not going to be a fashion model Caleb, but two hundred dollars for one day? That’d almost pay for that bicycle you were wanting.” Holly said, trying to sound reasonable. “Girls are always trying out for this job, so Mel is sure to have someone to work with me next week.”
“Let’s at least see what you’d look like,” suggested Angie. “It might all be a moot point.”
“You two are freakin’ nuts! I’m not dressing up like a girl!” I almost shouted.
Smirking, Holly said, “Caleb…you’re already wearing a dress.”
Frowning, I said, “That’s beside the point!”
Giggling, Angie said, “Oh come on! It’ll be fun!”
“For you.” I said. “It wouldn’t be fun for me.”
Holly pointed to her vanity and said, “Here. Sit down. Let’s have a look.”
“No!” I protested. “I don’t want to.”
Frowning, Holly said, “Like you have anything better to do! Come on. Nobody’s gonna know.”
I looked at my sister and Angie who were looking pleadingly at me. Against my better judgment, still in the dress, I took the offered chair and sat down. “Oh. I’ll do it. Just no video, okay? I don’t want to see this on YouTube.”
Holly giggled, “All right, this will be fun!” She pulled a chair up next to me and started gathering various make-up containers. Angie just stood behind me, her fist closed before her mouth trying to hide her grin.
Holly said, “I won’t put on a lot. I just want to see what you look like. Hold still while I put your foundation on.” She seemed to put putting a lot on by brushing on various powders, almost poking me in the eye with her eye liner and mascara. While Holly worked on my face, Angie played with my hair, trying to get it to look girlie.
After what seemed an eternity, Holly took a step backwards. She said, “Holy crap, Ang! It’s unbelievable!”
Angie stepped back to get a better look herself. “That…is totally amazing. I was just joking before, but that’s just crazy!”
“What?” I asked, my curiosity getting the better of my overall disgust at the idea of wearing make-up.
My sister motioned me to stand and said, “Well, come over here to my mirror.” Holly had a full length mirror mounted on her bedroom closet door. I walked over in front of the mirror and my jaw dropped.
“Oh my God. Is that me?” I asked, incredulous. “That’s not possible! I…I…I look just like a girl!” Angie had combed my longish hair over one eye and while Holly had thankfully gone easy on the eye make-up, she’d given me an incredible sexy look. Add in the rose pink lipstick and I was one hot looking babe.
Giggling, Holly said, “That’s you!”
Angie said, “My God, Holly! You two could be twins!” She laughed. “No kidding. You two could easily pass for twin sisters.”
“What’s all this commotion going on in here?” asked my Mom as she entered Holly’s room. She looked straight at Holly and me and stopped in her tracks, whatever words she was going to say next suddenly forgotten. Looking completely confused, Mom looked at me and said, “Holly?” She paused for a moment, and then said, “Caleb? What are you doing dressed like that?”
“Hey, Mom.” I said. “We’re just goofing around.”
Ignoring Mom, Holly said, “Here. Try on the boots.”
“Holly.” Mom said. When Holly continued to push my foot into the boot, Mom said with more irritation in her voice, “Holly!”
My sister looked up at Mom and said, “Yes, Mom?”
“What are you doing with your brother?”
“Just what he said, Mom. We’re just goofing around. He always models my dresses so I can see how they’ll look on me.”
Holly frowned at me and said, “What do you think you were just doing when Ang came in?”
Mom wasn’t convinced and said, “He wears your make-up too?”
“That’s new,” said Holly. “I may start doing that more often. It’s better than looking in a mirror!”
“I don’t think so,” I said in protest.
“No, seriously though, Mom,” grinned Holly, “Angie has a great idea. Caleb gets a job and out of the house and away from those stupid computer games over the weekend.”
Mom sat on Holly’s bed and said, “Oh? This I gotta hear.”
Holly then told Mom Angie’s idea of me modeling at the drag strip with Holly on the weekends. While she was talking, I felt extremely silly standing there wearing the short dress, boots and make-up.
When Holly was finished, Mom laughed, “You can’t be serious.” She stared at the three of us and said, “You are serious!”
“The jury is still out for me,” I said. “I think they’ll be out for a long time.”
Mom stood up and said, “Personally I think it’s a crazy idea. And you don’t have to guess what your father will say.”
Dad wasn’t real big on cross-dressing. Mom mentioned that Dad had walked out of the movie “Tootsie”. He really can’t hide his disappointment that I’m not a tall, broad-shouldered football jock.
“Well, we won’t tell Dad. It’s just one day, after all,” said Holly when Mom had left the room.
“I haven’t said I’d do it yet,” I protested.
“It’s a piece of cake, Caleb,” Holly said. “Like Angie said, you just stand there, look pretty and hand out trophies.”
Angie said, “I got an idea. Mel is still at the office. Let’s take Caleb over there and get Mel’s opinion. I mean, it’s his racing arena. We can’t assume he’d want to hire Caleb no matter how hot he looks without seeing him first.”
“I’m not going out in public like this!” I raised my voice, hoping Mom would hear and put an end to Holly’s mad scheme.
Angie smirked and said, “If you got the job, you’ll have hundreds of people staring at you.”
“That doesn’t help,” I said.
“Don’t be a baby, Caleb. What’s it going to hurt?” asked Holly as she picked up her purse and car keys.
“I really don’t think this is a good idea…” I protested.
“This is your brother?” Mel asked incredulously. He shook his head and said, “She’s gorgeous. Just like you, Holly. I don’t think it’d be a problem at all, as long as she doesn’t do something stupid like take a piss in public.”
“Stop saying ‘she’, please,” I said feeling overwhelmingly embarrassed.
“Since you’re getting me out of a bind, I’ll pay you both three hundred dollars tomorrow. I really prefer to have two girls posing with the winners,” Mel said as he just stared at me.
Just then, the door to Mel’s office opened and a man in his early twenties entered saying, “Hey, boss. I just finished checking out the Christmas tree and the traps and…” He suddenly became aware of Holly, Angie and me in Mel’s office, which apparently made him lose his train of thought. His eyes lingered on me and I felt my cheeks flush.
“Oh, hi Eric,” Holly said with that little lilt in her voice that comes when she’s talking to someone she likes.
Angie said, “Hey Eric. Meet Holly’s little brother, Caleb. He’s going to work with Holly tomorrow.”
Eric’s expression changed from the surprise of seeing three other people in Mel’s office to one of utter confusion as he said, “Her…what? You said brother?”
Before Angie could answer, Holly said, “Yeah. Caleb is auditioning for the modeling job with me tomorrow. We thought it’d be a little fun.”
The tall man scratched his head as he continued to stare at me and said, “He’s pretty enough, that’s for sure. He looks just like you, Holly. But shouldn’t he be an actual girl?”
Angie said, “Mel couldn’t get a girl to replace Sandy on such short notice. We’ll have a regular model next week end.”
Eric shifted his gaze from me to Angie. With obvious disappointment in his voice, he said, “Oh? What happened to Sandy? She didn’t say anything to me.”
Sounding a little pissed, Mel said, “Yeah. She called a few hours ago to tell me she’s quitting. Now look what I have to do in order to keep the business up.” Mel shook his head as he pointed at me.
“At no point in any of this have I said I’d do this!” I said, trying to sound as annoyed as possible.
Holly said, “Caleb, please take this job. I would love to have you with me. I’m asking you to please help me out.”
“Everyone will see me in a dress!” I exclaimed.
“No one will know it’s you!” Holly countered. “No one is going to walk up to you and say, ‘Hey, nice legs, Caleb!’ “
Eric said, “And those are nice legs.”
Angie said, “If only Holly’s legs were that nice.” Holly stuck her tongue out at her.
I stood there a moment, trying to evaluate the situation. I’d never worn make-up before and I have to say it annoyed the crap out of me from the feel and taste of my lipstick to how my eyelashes felt. Still, three hundred bucks to just stand around and Holly was right, no one would know who I was. When I had looked in the mirror back home, I didn’t know who I was.
“Okay, you win,” I said, feeling I was going to regret it. “I’ll do it.”
Holly leapt up and hugged me saying, “Yay! Thank you so much! I’ve always wanted a sister.”
“It’s just for one day!” I said a little too loudly.
“Ah, crap!” I grumbled as we approached our house. “I was hoping we’d beat him home so I could change.” Dad’s car was parked in the drive-way. Most Saturday nights, he was out bowling with his friends into the early hours. Or maybe it was bowling and drinking. Or maybe just drinking. I’m no longer sure.
“Don’t worry about it,” said Holly. “I mean, what’s he gonna do? The worst thing he can do is tell you to change, which is what you’re going to do anyway.”
“He could always beat me,” I said grimly.
“Don’t be stupid, Caleb,” admonished Holly. “Has he ever hit you? Recently?”
Holly pulled her car into the driveway and we both got out and started walking towards the house. I really didn’t want to go inside. Dad wasn’t going to hit me, but I didn’t want to get yelled at, and have my computer games taken away or something.
As we went inside, I was relieved to see Dad wasn’t in the living room. I might be able to make it back to the bathroom to wash my face. Holly sprinted back to her bedroom.
I was halfway through the living room to the hallway when Dad came out of the kitchen.
“Hey, Holly,” said Dad. “Have you seen your brother?”
I just shook my head.
“No big deal,” Dad said. “I was just curious where he was.”
I shrugged and hurried to my room.
“Hey, wait!” Dad shouted. I stopped and he looked at me a little more closely. “Caleb? What the hell are you doing?”
“Doing what, Dad?” I asked.
“Caleb! You look like some goddamned girl!” yelled Dad.
Holly re-entered the living room right then and said, “Well, gee thanks Dad. Do you ever listen to what you say?”
“That’s enough out of you, young lady,” snapped Dad. “I want to know why my son looks like my daughter.”
Before I could say anything, Holly said, “I asked and Caleb graciously agreed to help me tomorrow at the drag races as a trophy presenter. We were just doing a test to make sure he’d look the part.”
Dad just stood there a moment staring at both of us, his face turning a few different shades of red. After a few more moments of silence, he burst out laughing. “You know what? It suits him!” Still laughing, he turned and headed for the garage.
Holly saw me tense up. If there was a way to put me down, Dad would always manage to say it. Holly touched my arm and said, “Don’t worry about what Dad thinks, Caleb. You know he’s disappointed that you didn’t become the football star that a torn ligament prevented him from becoming.”
“I know,” I sighed. “But just once I wish I could hear him say, ‘I’m proud of you, son’ or some such. Even if I liked sports, I couldn’t live up to his expectations.”
Holly gave me a light, girlish punch on the shoulder and said, “But you know what? He just gave you permission to be a trophy girl with me tomorrow. You won, whether he knows it or not.”
We changed into our “uniforms” in Mel’s office about an hour before the drag races. I’d worn Holly’s jeans, t-shirt and a bra and light make-up driving up to the track. We didn’t want anyone to notice a guy going in and a girl coming out. Angie did my hair again while Holly spent a good twenty minutes fussing with my make-up.
“Quit complaining, Caleb,” said my sister as she worked her brushes to smooth my face and complexion. “You want to look good honey for all those cameras. You can’t have a flaw anywhere.”
“She’s going to need a wig until she can grow her hair out if she’s going to do this very often,” grumbled Angie. “I can fem her hair up a little since it is longer than most guys. But it’s still kinda short. She needs a flowing mane like you have, Holly. That’d be so sexy.”
“Stop calling me ‘she’,” I said to Angie. “I’m not a girl. I just play one on T.V.”
Angie stopped fussing with my hair and said, “Oh! What are we going to call this girl? We can’t call her ‘Caleb’.”
“Crap! I haven’t even thought about that!” exclaimed my sister. “What are we going to call you, my smoking hot brother?”
I actually had been giving it some thought, since I didn’t want to leave it up to Holly and Angie. I said, “Well, how about ‘Callie’?” I asked. “That way it’s close to my real name and we’re not likely to forget it at an embarrassing moment.”
Holly grinned and said, “Hey, you’re really getting into this chick thing, aren’t you? Cool. Callie it is. Holly, Angie, and Callie…the three mascara-teers.” She then laughed at her joke.
There was a sudden knock on the door and Mel’s slightly muffled voice said, “You girls ready in there? I need you on the platform in five minutes.”
Angie shouted through the door, “We’ll be there, boss!”
Holly stood up and said, “I think that’s all the damage I can do for now. Let’s go meet our fans…this is your acid test, Callie.”
“Gee thanks,” I said. “You’re expecting me to crash and burn, aren’t you?”
Angie said, “Shush! Don’t say that expression at the drag strip.”
The three of us walked briskly out of the office towards the race track. Holly and I in our red, white and blue mini-dresses with the Pennzoil logo across our breasts. I had practiced walking in the boots and I felt pretty confident in them. Along with over-done make-up, heavy eye-liner and false eyelashes, Holly had gotten me some clip-on white plastic hoop earrings to match the dress. Her earrings were pierced, so I was guessing she was in less pain than I was.
As we climbed the few steps up to the platform, Mel was busy doing a sound check. It was already getting noisy with the un-muffled nitro-fed engines warming up. We were already getting whistles and cat-calls from the audience in the stands. A cold shock flushed down my spine as I saw literally hundreds of cameras all pointing at me. The worst was the television camera from the local T.V. sports team.
I felt my face flush as I said to Holly, “Oh my God, Holly! This is embarrassing as hell! I want to run and hide!”
My sister raised an arm and gave the crowd a wave. She said while smiling broadly, “You’ll get used to it. Just smile and wave, sis…just smile and wave.”
I smiled as best I could without forcing one and waved at the thugs, murderers, rapists and politicians perverts all, in the audience. Well, I was just guessing about the murderers.
Mel turned to us and said, “Okay, girls. Let’s get this party started!” He then picked up the microphone and said to the crowd, “Welcome everyone to Mel’s Racing Arena, the largest Raceway in the tri-state area. I want to thank each and every one of you for spending your weekend, and your money, with us! There’s going to be some great racing today folks, so let’s get started!”
As Mel began announcing the first two cars, I said to Holly, “We just hand the winner a trophy, right, then boot them off the stage?”
“No, Callie,” Holly said, rolling her eyes. “And we don’t hand out trophies for every race. We have a class trophy and an over-all trophy. One of us hands the winner the trophy and then we both kiss him on the cheeks.”
I frowned and said, “I have to kiss a guy?”
Laughing, Holly said, “Just on the cheek. It’s just like giving Aunt Ruth a kiss.”
I stood on the platform next to Mel and watched the first two cars roll to the starting line. I had always wanted to see a drag race close up, but Dad was never into motorsports and wouldn’t take me and for some reason it just never occurred to me to ride out with Holly on the days she modeled, or hosted or whatever the hell she does…I guess today’s it’s we.
It was pretty exciting with the cars’ engines roaring and watching the ‘christmas tree’ flash down to green. However, after a few races, it quickly got a little boring to me. Well, the one car blowing up at the starting line was exciting, at least for a few seconds.
Mel had Holly and I mingle in the pit area during the races to have our picture taken with some of the cars and the drivers. I felt completely humiliated. We were surrounded by people who were staring and smiling at us. I felt overly conspicuous wearing make-up and a mini-dress. But no one caught on that I wasn’t female. It took a while for me to realize that they weren’t looking for me to be faking. They just accepted who I appeared to be. It felt weird to walk past guys and hear them make comments about you. It both boosted my confidence and creeped me out at the same time.
It had been a long, hot afternoon when the part I dreaded the most was finally upon us — the awards ceremonies. Holly and I both had to disappear a few times during the afternoon to refresh our make-up so we’d look all fresh for presenting trophies. The ceremony took a while as there were trophies for first through third place for each of the classes.
As the first winner was called up to the platform for all the spectators to see, Holly whispered to me, “Just relax. Kissing a guy on the cheek is no big deal. We just have to hold it long enough for the photographer to get a shot. Make sure you leave lip prints on his cheek.”
“My feet are killing me and my earlobes are numb. I think the kiss will be the least of my problems,” I whispered back.
Holly laughed and whispered, “Yeah, if you were going to stay a girl, I’d recommend getting your ears pierced.”
The first winner came up on the platform and Holly and I stood on either side of him. Watching my sister for cues, after Holly presented the driver with his trophy, we both leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. We both had to stand on our tip toes as the dude was rather tall. Kissing him was a lot like my Aunt Ruth, only less stubble. What I really didn’t like was putting my lips on all that sweat and grime.
The evening sun hung low in the sky, peeking through the purplish clouds gathering around the western horizon. The cars, drivers and spectators were all gone. Holly and I, along with Eric and Angie and a couple members of Eric’s crew that no one bothered to introduce, were all gathered in Mel’s office. Mel wrote out checks for Eric’s crew and they left. Eric and Angie apparently draw a regular salary from the race track.
Mel was grinning from ear to ear. As he unlocked his desk and pulled out a cash box, he said, “Excellent job today, girls! I must say, you two generated quite a bit of buzz today. I heard both the guests and the media talking about you two as they were leaving the track this evening.”
Mel counted out two stacks of three hundred dollars. I said, “Is that good?”
“Talking about you,” Mel said, still smiling. “…is talking about the track. Very good publicity.”
Angie said, “It was funny though, when that Rick guy was presented with the top trophy, turned at the last second and lip-locked with Callie! I almost died!”
“I almost threw up!” I said, frowning. “Isn’t that against the rules or something?”
“Technically, yes,” said Mel matter-of-factly. “But I let it go. It’ll make a great photo and gives us more buzz.”
“Photo? Someone was taking pictures?” I said, suddenly alarmed.
“Duh!” laughed Holly. “A couple of thousand people taking pictures of the day’s big winner, you can bet someone got a pic of that. Don’t worry though. Nobody knows it was you, Caleb.”
Dad laughed as he read the morning newspaper before going to work. “Great picture of you Holly. That Rick Barrister is from a wealthy family. You might want to get to know him better.”
“Yeah, right,” muttered Holly as she scooped up some scrambled eggs.
“Can I see that for a minute, Dad?” I asked, feeling a bit worried.
Not bothering to swallow first, Dad said, “I gave you the funnies, what else would you want?”
“I just want to see the sports section for a second,” I said trying to sound nonchalant.
He handed me the newspaper and said, “Here take the whole thing. I need to get to work anyway.”
I turned to the Sports section and immediately sucked in my breath. “Oh…my…God! I am so dead.”
Holly stood up and came around the table saying, “Let me take me a look.” She took the paper from me and sucked in a breath. “Oh…my…God! That is so cool!”
Centered on the Sports section’s front page, in four color glory, was a large picture of me being kissed by Rick Barrister. The picture was unusually clear and detailed. The picture caught me while I was blinking and my eyes were closed, so I looked like I was really into the kiss.
Holly looked puzzled for a moment then said, “How could Dad miss the hair? My hair is so much longer than yours.”
“That’s not the point,” I said. “Thousands of people are going to see that picture!”
Holly shrugged and said, “So? I mean like really Callie. Nobody is going to associate that girl in the picture with you. I mean really.”
Frowning, I said, “I sure hope you’re right.”
Holly laughed, still looking at the newspaper. “Mel’s gonna love this! ‘Top racer Rick Barrister gets an enthusiastic kiss from Callie Simmons, trophy presenter for Mel’s Racing Arena, brings sighs from female racing fans in the capacity crowd.’”
Gasping, I almost shouted, “They used my name? Oh my God! They…they…they used my name!”
Holly set the newspaper on the table and said, “Holy shit, they did, didn’t they. Don’t worry, sis. They used Callie’s name, not yours.”
“Stop calling me ‘sis’ and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see a resemblance between Caleb and Callie.” I said, folding my arms and slumping into my chair at the kitchen table.
Holly laughed again and said, “Oh, really?” She suddenly stood up straight and in a wimpy voice said, “I’m Clarke Kent!” And then she pretended to remove a pair of glasses, deepened her voice and said, “I’m Superman!” She then spread her arms and shrugged.
“That’s a movie,” I protested. “That’s an actual picture of me!”
Holly shook her head and said, “Look, doofus. Unless you plan to go to school wearing your hair that way, wear big hoop earrings and false eyelashes, I really don’t think anyone will make the connection.”
“I’m not going to school today.” I said slumping further. “Pretend to be Mom and call the school and tell them I died or something.”
“Just go,” scolded Holly. “Trust me, no one will notice. If someone asks you about the girl with your same last name, just say she’s your cousin. Besides, all your friends are geeks who aren’t likely to read the Sports section.”
“Hey, Caleb! Wait up!” called a voice from behind me. I had been enjoying being in my own thoughts as I walked leisurely down the crowded hall to my next class.
I turned around and saw my pimple-faced friend Isaiah breathing hard from running to catch up to me. “Hey, Izzy. What’s up, man?”
Still catching his breath, Izzy said, “I just wanted to ask you…” He paused to suck in a few short breaths. “I’m curious if you know that bodacious babe on the front sports page in the paper this morning. She has your last name and I know your sister works at the race track.”
Frowning, I said, “She’s my cousin. And I know her more than I know.”
Izzy blinked at me a couple of times, and then said, “Do you know if she’s single?”
I couldn’t help but laugh and said, “Izzy, the day a girl like that would go out with either one of us is the day Hell freezes over.”
Izzy shrugged and said, “According to Dante’, the ninth ring of Hell is ice, so it already has frozen over.”
Shaking my head, I said, “Forget it, Izz. It ain’t gonna happen.”
“Well, I know one thing for sure! I’m going to tractor pulls next Friday night and I’m going to get my picture taken with her!” Izzy grinned from ear to ear.
“Don’t count on her being there,” I said, feeling queasy.
Izzy kept grinning and said, “Of course she’ll be there. The race track owner’s got a gold mine with your sister and cousin.”
Feeling embarrassed about being fawned over even though I knew Izzy didn’t know it was me in the picture, I said, “You can’t see her face! She might be ugly.”
“Jeb was at the drag races Sunday and he saw her,” Izzy said casually. “He said she was drop dead gorgeous.”
I frowned and said, “Well, I’m sure she has a lousy personality…”
I had just turned on the game console when Holly popped her head into my room and said, “Put your face on, sis. Mel wants us to meet him at the garage at the track all dressed up for business. He wants to do some publicity pictures.” She then disappeared behind the door.
I threw the controller onto my bed and stormed into her room. “Holly!” I shouted. Then in a more normal volume, I said, “That was a one-time deal, remember? He’s going to get a new girl, right? So there’s no reason to take pictures of us…me…is there?”
“Yeah…Mel wanted me to talk to you about that,” said Holly looking a little sheepish. “He wants to extend the deal, at least for the next few weekends. He wants us both to work this Friday at the tractor pulls. And Saturday night for the quarter mile dirt track races.”
Holly sat before her mirror and began putting on her make-up. I said, “Why? This is stupid! I…I’m not a girl. Once was a fluke, but I can’t keep pulling this off.”
“Mel thinks so. The fans think so. I’m jealous, girl. More people were asking him about you, than me. Get started with your make-up. I’ll help you when I’m finished with mine. I think I can fix your hair like Angie did.” I just sat there for a few moments. Finally Holly looked away from the mirror and said, “Scoot!”
I went sullenly into the bathroom where Holly kept some extra cosmetics. I stared at my face in the mirror, and then stared at the cosmetics sitting on the bathroom counter. “I don’t want to do this!” I said out loud. I thought, I don’t have to do this.
From her room, Holly called out, “Mel’s going to pay us for the publicity pictures. And it’ll only take an hour or two.”
I stepped back into Holly’s room while holding a bottle of foundation. It bothered me that I now knew how to use cosmetics. I said, “And Friday? Will he have a new girl by then?”
Holly stopped putting on mascara and turned to me and said, “No silly. He wouldn’t be spending money on taking pictures of us, if he was just going to get a new girl for Friday. And don’t worry. You’ll do fine. Tractor pulls are more casual events and we’ll probably be spending most of our time posing with fans.”
“Can we refuse certain people?” I asked, thinking of Izzy’s plans to get a picture with me.
Holly waved me off, turned back to the mirror and said, “Go get started with your make-up. I’ll be there in a minute.”
The last rays of the sun were striking the top of the garage at Mel’s Racing Arena as we pulled up and parked just outside the large open door. The bright fluorescent lights already had the interior brighter than day. Holly and I, both wearing our uniforms, got out of Holly’s car and quickly strode inside, the sounds of our boots echoing through the large garage.
“Come on in, girls,” Mel called out as he motioned for us to come towards him. He was busy talking to who I assumed was the photographer. There were several light stands with the flash umbrella already set up. A woman sat at a table where cosmetics were arranged before her.
As we approached, Mel pointed to the photographer and said, “Girls, this is Tod Bingham from Bingham Photography. He’ll be doing the shoot. Sitting at the table is Ms. Mary Fisk. She’s a make-up artist with Bingham Photography. We’ll try to do this pretty quick.”
I raised my hand to get Mel’s attention and said, “Um, Mel. Why are you going to take pictures of me? Why not the new girl? I was just going to fill in for last Sunday.”
Looking annoyed, Mel said, “For one thing, there is no new girl. The public want to see you two. From the pictures taken tonight, we’re going to make a calendar, some posters to sell at local auto parts houses and a full size cardboard standup. And yes, I plan to compensate you girls for use of your images. We’ll come up with a contract or something later.”
“Mel,” I said, my voice starting to become whiney. “I can’t do this! You need to get another girl.”
“Come over here for a minute, Callie,” Mel said with a gesture to follow as he walked a short distance away from the others.
When we had gotten far enough away, Mel almost whispers, “Please, I need you and your sister to do this. I heard from parts stores, car dealers, you name it, after Sunday. Everyone wants you and your sister to model at their events. I can act as your agent. This could be a sizeable amount of money for all of us. So you have to dress as a girl for a few weekends. It hasn’t killed your sister, has it?”
I laughed and said, “My sister is a girl. It’s normal for her to dress as a girl. I don’t like to wear make-up and dresses. It’s embarrassing. Find a real girl, Mel.”
Looking frustrated, Mel said, “Are you allergic to making money? There’s…there’s magic with you two that I haven’t seen in several years. Every once in a while, a pair of models click and it’s pure magic. Everybody wants them for their events. Everyone wants them to advertise their products. It’s a win, win, win for all of us. Do I have to get down on my knees and beg? Because I will.”
Waving my arms in frustration, I said, “Mel, come on, man!” Lowering my voice, I continued, “I’m not a girl! I can’t have pictures of me in your skimpy uniform plastered all over the place!”
Frowning, Mel said, “Don’t you understand the opportunity I’m giving you? You can make quite a bit of money just by showing up for events and doing little more than smiling. About five years ago, one of my girls…um…Linda…no…Lisa Carter, went national. She endorsed, modeled, posed and smiled her way into a fortune. I think she even went on to make a few porno movies. “
“Mel, I can’t do that! I’d be found out. I’d never be able to dig out of that shame and humiliation,” I said, getting tired of the conversation.
Mel snorted. “Only if you’re stupid, kid. Chances are, you’ll be old news by the end of summer. But until then, you’ll have a lot of chances to earn a lot. I’ve had six requests for appearances by you. Just you. Not with Holly. You. How can you walk away from that?”
Stunned, I asked, “Really? How could I be more attractive than a real girl?”
Mel’s face reddened slightly as he said, “Now don’t think I’m gay or anything, but Callie, I have to admit, you are smoking hot.”
I thought, wow. Now that’s funny. People think I’m as pretty or even prettier than Holly. It would be hilarious to lord that over her! She’s not as hot as her own brother. I felt myself grinning.
“How much money are we talking about?” I asked.
Mel looked from side to side before answering and just said, “Serious...” He paused for a second or two and then continued, “…money.”
“Okay, you convinced me,” I said with resignation. “I’ll do it. But no porno movies.”
Mel just laughed and led me back to where the others were waiting.
Mel clasped his hands in a loud clap as he said, “Ms. Fisk. If you would start on Callie’s make-up, we’ll get this show on the road. I want to be done by ten.”
I sat down and endured Ms. Fisk redoing my make-up. I thought she was going too heavy with the eyeliner, false eyelashes and the dark, smoky eye shadow. But when she was done and held up a mirror for me, my breath was taken away by the totally gorgeous girl looking back at me. Dad would go into cardiac arrest if he saw me. Or maybe he’d just laugh…
“Holy crap, girl!” exclaimed Holly as she came over for her turn with the make-up artist. “I can’t believe how beautiful you are!”
“I don’t even understand how it’s possible, to be honest,” I said as I stood up.
My sister laughed as she sat down and said, “Because you look just like me! We’re the same size and everything. I bet in two years or so, you won’t be able to do this anymore.”
Mel said, “All the more reason to take advantage of it now.”
Frowning, I said, “Mel, you just want to make money off us.”
Mel just shrugged and said, “Yeah? And?”
We spent the next couple of hours posing in and around some of the race cars stored or being worked on in the garage. I had a blast sitting behind the wheel of several race cars and Mel would cringe but otherwise remain silent as Holly and I would either sit or lay across the hood of one of the cars.
While we were getting what I thought were our last set of photos, Mel had disappeared. Holly shouted when the photographer was done, “Mel! It’s after ten. We need to be going.”
Mel came back through a door carrying four, quart cans of motor oil. He said, “We need to get one last shot of you two posing sexy and holding up these cans of oil. This picture will be a full sized cardboard cut-out that I’ll place in auto parts places around town. I’ve got a licensing deal that lets me promote these oil products along with the track and I’m going to take advantage of it.”
Holly turned her car from the access road to the race track onto the highway that led back to town. Holly turned to me with a big grin across her face and said, “Well, gorgeous, what did you think of your first real modeling session?”
“I have to admit, I had fun. I never really cared about being the center of attention before, but to look like this and being fussed over and the photographer saying things like ‘beautiful’ and ‘gorgeous’, it kinda starts to get to you.” I looked over at Holly and said, “I hope you don’t think I’m gay or something for saying this, but I kinda hate to wash my face now.”
Holly laughed slightly and said, “So you enjoy being beautiful and getting attention. We’ll make a girl out of you yet.”
After driving for about twenty minutes, Holly rolls her car into the driveway and shuts off the engine. She bit her lip before saying, “We have a problem. Dad won’t care that I’m wearing too much make-up, but he’ll go ape-shit if he sees you.”
I frowned and said, “No he won’t. He doesn’t care about me. He just laughed when he saw dressed like a girl before.”
My sister shook her head and said, “I’m not so sure, with you looking like such a little tart. Look. I’ll go in first and distract him. The moment his back is turned, you run to the bathroom, okay?”
I nodded and followed her to the front porch. Holly then ran in and sat on the ottoman and said excitedly, “Hey Dad!” Dad turned to face her, putting his back towards the door. I then charged through the door, got cleanly past Dad and into the hallway. Just as I started to dart into the bathroom, Mom starts to walk out of it.
Mom just says, “Be careful, Holly!” and continues on out into the hall. I rush in and close and lock the door. Through the door, I hear Mom say in a surprised voice, “Holly! How did you get over here?”
Izzy sat next to me at lunch. Several other guys I hang out with were also at the table. Izzy looked around the table and said, “Anybody going to the tractor pull tonight?” He was answered by a chorus of “no’s”. Grinning, he continued, “Well, my dad got us tickets. But that’s not all. My dad said he’d pay the twenty bucks to have my picture taken with that Callie girl.”
Kyle laughed and said, “That’s not how it works, dweeb. You buy a picture and she signs it. They’re not going to let a pimple sack like you get that close to those girls.”
Izzy shook his head, his red curly hair quivering. He said, “No, you’re wrong! Tonight only they’re letting you have your picture taken with them. I want my picture with Callie. She is sooo hot!”
Kyle grinned and said, “Oh yeah! That bitch is smokin’! I’d do her in a heart-beat.”
Hunter laughed and said, “Shit, Kyle. You couldn’t do her if you had half an hour!”
I felt my face flush. It got worse when I couldn’t hold it back. I felt sick that my friends thought I was hot and also a little annoyed that I was just a sex object to them.
“That blonde one is pretty hot too,” said Hunter. “
Scowling and with a genuine anger in my voice, I said, “That’s my sister, dipshit. Careful how you talk about her.”
Hunter rolled his eyes and said, “Well, you have a hot sister. You can’t complain, Caleb. She exposes herself every week of her own free will. What’s-his-name that owns the race track wouldn’t hire her if she wasn’t hot. So chill, dude. It’s not like I said I wanted to fuck her.”
Kyle said, “What about Izzy’s girlfriend? She has the same last name you do. Is she your sister too?”
Turning my disdainful glare at Hunter over to Kyle, I said, “No. She’s a cousin or something.”
Kyle laughed and said, “That sucks for you dude. She’s family.”
I’m not sure why, but I said, and quite truthfully, “I’ve seen her naked.”
Looking horrified, Izzy blurted, “Bullshit!”
I said, “God’s honest truth.”
Looking defeated, Izzy said, “Man, I wish that had been me!”
Hunter said, “Nobody wants to see you naked, Izzy.”
Flustered, Izzy said, “That’s not what I meant!”
“I really don’t think I want to do this anymore,” I said to Holly as I put on my lip gloss. “Today at lunch my friends said some, well, crude things about Callie…me”
My sister snorted and said, “Was it the same sort of crude things that you say about any girl you think is cute, when you’re with your friends? Give me a break, Callie.”
I leaned into the mirror to check my lips and said, “Izzy has a crush on me.”
“You know, Isaiah? The red haired kid” I said.
“Oh yeah. The pimple farm,” said Holly flatly. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure there are dozens of boys with a crush on you.”
I stopped fluffing my hair and gave Holly an annoyed look. “Is that supposed to help?”
Holly laughed and said, “No.” She stood up and smoothed down her dress, which didn’t need smoothing. She shook her head to tousle her hair and said, “Come on, sis. Let’s go break some hearts.”
We followed the cacophony of roaring engines and yelling crowd to the dirt track where at other times you might find quarter mile flat track motorcycle races and other times sprint cars. I had never been to a tractor pull and was shocked as we approached the infield to see the stands overflowing with fans.
As we crossed the infield where Mel had bulldozed up some hills and mounds and dug out some mud pits, I yelled to Holly, “I can’t hear myself think!”
Mel came running down from his platform towards us. When he got near us, he yelled over the noise, “We have about half an hour before the first event. I need you two to go pose with each driver and his truck for pictures. During the events, you’ll be down over there where fans will get their picture made with you. Hah. They’re lining up already.”
I looked and sure enough, about fifteen people, most of them teens with a parent or two were already standing in line. To my horror, the first one in line was Izzy. I could see him follow us as we headed to the pit area to get shots of us with the drivers and their monster vehicles. Mel was calling it a tractor pull, but it was mainly a monster truck show.
I have to admit, I was really enjoying being a model, even though it meant being a female one. It was fun posing around or even on the trucks and tractors with the drivers either posed next to us or in the driver’s seat. There were ten trucks in all with a few of them actually famous. Mel was not happy that it took us almost forty-five minutes to finish the pictures.
“Okay, girls,” said Mel as he led us from the pit area. “I need to get this show started so you two head over to the photographer. There’s already a good line started. I have a feeling I’m going to make a killing off those pictures!”
I said, “We get a cut, right?”
Mel frowned and said, “Of course, honey. You never know why something takes off, but you girls are a gold mine right now, and I’m going to take care of you. In a few months, it may all be over, so enjoy it while you can!” He then walked back towards his stand.
Holly punched me in the shoulder and said, “Don’t insult Mel. He’s always been fair with me and never cheated me out of a dime. Show some respect!”
Rubbing my shoulder, I said, “Sorry. I was just asking.”
As we approached the photographer, I saw that the line had grown by another thirty or so people. I turned to Holly and said, “We’re going to be doing this for hours!”
Holly shrugged and said, “Did you have something else planned this evening? Just remember sis. It’s easy money.”
I became really uneasy watching Izzy’s expression as we got closer. He was standing there slack-jawed, staring directly at me. It bothered me that one of my school buddies was so infatuated with me. I could just imagine what was going through that pimple-coated brain of his. That’s when it really hit me. I have fans. There are people I don’t know talking about me, have pictures of me and I felt suddenly disgusted and dirty when I thought what they might be doing with those pictures.
“Hey, girls!” said the photographer with a wide grin. “We’re just about ready to get started as soon as they bring the tractor around that we’re using as background.” He turned to check his camera.
Holly stretched her arm out over her head and waved as she shouted, “Hey y’all! It’s great to see you all here at Mel’s Racing Arena, the largest Raceway in the tri-state area!” The people in line waved, cheered and shouted. All except Izzy, who still just stood there with his mouth hanging open.
I was taken by surprise when a voice said, “I…It…It’s great to finally meet you, Callie. You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.” I looked over and it was Izzy. I gave him an uneasy smile. I go to school with this kid and I’ve known him for years and he’s idolizing me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the first picture.
Addressing Izzy, the photographer said, “Okay, kid. Stand on that spot on the ground there and we’ll get our lovely ladies to stand behind you. Just hand me your order form first.”
Looking very nervous, Izzy quietly said, “No offense to Holly, sir. But I just want Callie in my picture.”
The photographer shrugged and said, “We can do that. No problem. Same price though. Callie, you want to pose next to him? We have a lot of people waiting, so let’s do this.”
I stepped close and put my arm around his shoulder, his curly red hair tickling my arm. I turned on my practiced model smile and waited for the picture.
“Can I have a kiss?” asked Izzy. “Just on the cheek is all.” He looked really embarrassed and I was surprised he had the guts to ask. In all honesty, though, I’d rather slit my wrists than kiss Izzy.
The photographer looked around from behind his camera. “Is that it, kid? Any more requests? No? Good. Cassie, can you put a big lip print on his cheek so we can move this along?”
I hesitated for a moment, and said, “I think that’s against the rules…”
Holly leaned over and whispers, “Just kiss him! This might be the biggest moment of his life and we have a lot more pictures to take.”
Surrendering to my fates, I leaned in, closed my eyes as I couldn’t bear to watch and kissed Izzy on the cheek. There was a flash and I heard the photographer say, “Perfect! We’ll call you when your picture is ready for pick up. Next!”
Izzy lifted his hand up, his fingers almost touching my lipstick print on his cheek. He looked dazed and his eyes glazed over. He finally stumbled away, oblivious to everything around him.
Holly leaned close to my ear and whispered, “Wow. He’s really got the hots for you. You couldn’t see his face, but when you kissed him, he instantly hit nirvana. If we’re lucky, he’ll be the only one to react like that.”
“This is insanity.” I said. “Why would total strangers even want a picture of me? Of either of us?”
Holly shrugged and said, “What about that picture you had taken with the Hooters Girl at their booth in the county fair?”
“That’s different.” I said flatly.
I didn’t answer. She had me there.
The photographer said, “Come on, girls. This little fella…” he pointed to a man at least six foot four, “…wants a picture with both of you.” We took our places on either side of the large man and we put on our best smiles as he draped his arms around our shoulders. And I just kept thinking…why did I ever agree to do this…?
The picture taking continued for about another twenty minutes after the event ended. A lot of people wanted their picture taken with us, including a group of three nuns.
As Holly and I walked back to Mel’s office to change, I said to her, “You know, sis, what a lot of those guys are going to be doing with our picture, don’t you? And does it disturb you as much as it does me?”
She laughed and then said, “Oh, I’m sure. I can’t help what they do with them. It’s kinda sad, really, if all they have.” I just nodded and we walked the rest of the way in silence.
Wednesday at lunch, the following week after the tractor pull event, Izzy came hurrying up to the table in the lunch room where I and some friends were seated. He sat down in the empty chair next to me and waved a manila envelope at us.
“Look what I got, guys. This is totally awesome!” Izzy fumbled with the clasp on the envelope for a few seconds before pulling the flap back and extracting an eight by ten photograph. He then proudly held up the photo for all of us to see. On the picture was a close up of Izzy’s pimple peppered face glowing with an ear-to-ear grin, a lip print prominently on his cheek and finally me smiling with my head up against the side of Izzy’s. I wanted to run and hide.
Kyle took the photo carefully from Izzy’s grasp to get a closer look. “That’s a great pic, Iz. You got her to kiss you? Wow. She’s both cute and brave.” He handed the picture back to Izzy while saying, “Good job, Iz.”
Hunter then took the picture and gave a low whistle. “Damn! She is mighty fine. Much better looking than…” He glanced over at me. “…her cousin? Your sister, right? Sorry, no offense.”
Before handing the picture back, Hunter glanced at the photo and then back at me several times. “Damn! Talk about strong family resemblances! You look just like your sister and Callie.” He squinted at me and as he handed the picture back to Izzy, he added, “You don’t have some deep, dark secret, do you Caleb?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked nervously.
Hunter leaned over the table and said, “Well, have you and Callie ever been photographed together?”
Kyle laughed and said, “Hey, let’s start a rumor!”
Izzy said, “Don’t you dare try to ruin my dream girl!”
Laughing as well, Hunter said, “It’s a great conspiracy theory! Callie…Caleb’s secret double life! This is one rumor that could spread like wildfire though the school!”
Scowling, Izzy almost shouted, “Don’t be ridiculous!” People began to stare at our table.
Fear of exposure inching up my spine, I said, “Yeah, come one guys knock it off. That would make my life a living hell, not to mention hurting Callie’s career.”
Looking genuinely pissed, Izzy started to stand up saying, “That’s right. That Mel guy probably has an army of lawyers and would sue you into oblivion.”
Hunter said, “Izzy, I’m just joking with you. We’re not going to really say anything. Sheesh, grow a sense of humor! Look at Caleb. He’s not pissed, is he? Can’t you take a little ribbing?”
Actually I was pissed. What Hunter was saying, even though he thought of it as a joke, could easily get away from him. I said, “That was pretty low, Hunter. Even for you.”
Kyle looked at me and said, “Don’t be a pussy, Caleb.” Hunter and Kyle looked at each other and both started laughing.
“Look, I’m sorry, okay?” asked Kyle as he caught up with me as we walked through the parking lot after school.
“I don’t even know if I want to ride with you to my house. I can walk, it’s not that far.” I said. “You and Hunter need to watch your words. Can you imagine what would have happened if anyone else had heard you?”
“Dude, chill out. You seem to be taking this way too seriously,” said Kyle. He was right. I was protesting a bit too much. Before I could reply, his cell phone rang and he pulled it from his belt holster and answered it.
Kyle turned to me as he replaced the cell phone back in its holster and said, “That was Hunter. Do you want to just go home or come with me? He and his dad are putting the engine of that ’74 Mustang back in. He wanted me to pick up some oil on the way over. They might need some extra hands too. Wanna come?”
I said, “Sure! I’ll just need to call home so my mom will know where I am.” Hunter and his dad were rebuilding a ’74 Ford Mustang to its showroom muscle car glory.
A few minutes later, Kyle parked his car outside the auto parts house. Moments after entering the store, I stopped in my tracks. Right there at the entrance was a life-size cardboard image of Holly and Callie holding up cans of oil and smiling.
Kyle called over to the guy behind the counter, a guy who I think graduated last year. I didn’t really know him, but Kyle comes in this store a few times a month. “Hey, Scott! Nice decorations!”
“Kyle! Yeah, we got that in today, along with a few posters. I’d show you one, but they’ve sold out already.”
Kyle nodded and said, “They’re definitely hotties.”
After we got up to the counter, Scott said, “You know I’ve done the blonde?”
Kyle gave him a quizzical look and side glance at me. He said, “Oh, really?”
Looking smug, Scott said, “Yeah. She was unbelievable. I’m planning on doing the other one soon to see if she’s as hot as the blonde.”
I leaned on the counter and idly picked up a pen and started twiddling with it. I said, “You know, that ‘blonde’ is my sister. I don’t keep track of her boyfriends, but I feel quite confident she wouldn’t get within fifty feet of you. And for the other one, I know for a fact you have no chance with her either.”
Looking deflated, Scott said, “She’s your sister? For reals?”
I nodded. Kyle nodded.
Looking down at his feet, Scott said, “Well, maybe it was someone who looked like her.” He looked up, avoiding eye contact with me and said to Kyle, “So, what can I do you for?”
My cell phone started to ring, so I stepped away before answering it. The caller ID showed it was Holly calling. Interesting timing. I said, “Hey, Holly.”
From the phone, Holly said, “Mom told me you going over to Hunter’s to help work on a car?”
“That’s right,” I said. “An old muscle car.”
“Well, forget about doing that, girlie,” admonished Holly. “Look at your hands and nails. There’s another drag race this Saturday and remember how hard it is to get the grease completely off your hands and out from under your nails?”
I looked at my hands with the almost femininely shaped nails. I said, “Can’t I just watch?”
“You know you won’t be able to keep from getting your hands into it,” said Holly. “Your mechanicing days are over, girl. For a while at least. Where are you? I’ll come get you.”
I stepped further away and said in a low tone, “Now hold on, Holly. I’m not a girl twenty-four seven. I still have all my hobbies and interests!”
“You might not dress all the time as a girl, but you need to think all the time like one,” said Holly. “I’m serious, sis. You need to always keep in mind what your job is if you want to continue to be a successful model. You’re very popular right now. You don’t want to lose that.”
“Okay, sis,” I said, defeated. “I’ll let them know I’m not going with them.”
We walked slowly back to Mel’s office after wrapping up another drag race and anxious to get out of our high heels. It was getting easier for me. I actually started enjoying getting attention from the crowd. And, kissing the winners no longer bothered me.
“Good job today, girls,” said Mel as he went through the receipts. “Oh! I need to tell you about next week. No races next weekend. But, there’s a big car show in the Community Center and the Lexus dealer wants to hire both of you to be eye candy with his cars. He wants you to wear formals though. I’m sure your prom dresses will be fine.”
“Formals? Really?” moaned Holly. “My prom dress was way too short for this event. I’ll have to buy a new dress.”
Plopping down on the couch in Mel’s office, I said, “I haven’t been to my prom yet..and I’m not wearing a dress to it.”
Giggling, Holly said, “Maybe that Isaiah guy will ask you to the prom!”
“That’s not funny!” I said acting offended.
Still looking through the paperwork on his desk, Mel said, “I really don’t care about your boyfriends as long as it doesn’t interfere with work.”
“I…I…I don’t have a boyfriend!” I shouted.
Looking serious, Holly said, “You know…we might want to get you one, just to keep the guys off you. Just sayin’…”
“I don’t think so!” I said quickly.
“I know!” said Holly. “Get one of your geeky friends to date you. That way you don’t have to worry about having sex!”
“What about this one?” I asked while holding up a gown in front of me. Holly and I were out looking for formals to wear to the car show. Naturally, I had to go as Callie. I noticed that I seemed to be spending more and more of my time as Callie.
“It’d be great if you had boobs,” said Holly. Don’t even bother looking at strapless gowns. And you need to be looking at those two racks. Those are the rental dresses.” Fortunately for us, Mel had agreed to pay for renting dresses instead of making us buy any.
I hung the gown back on the rack and went over to look at the rental dresses. I frowned. The rental dresses just didn’t seem as pretty as the new ones. I walked over to where Holly was holding out a silver sequin dress.
“Oh, Callie! I think I found your dress!” Holly said with genuine excitement. “It’ll hide your lack of boobage and I think it’ll look really pretty on you.”
I took the dress from her and girlishly held it up in front of me. “Do you really think so?”
“Mmmhmmm,” nodded Holly. “You’ll have to beat guys off with a stick wearing that dress.”
“Well, by all means let’s get this one,” I said, frowning.
Holly snatched the dress from my hands and looking smug said, “Alright, we will!”
“What about you?” I asked as she head towards the sales counter.
“I already picked mine,” she said. “That blue one on the counter. I’ve been waiting for a good reason to wear that dress!”
We had to rent shoes to go with the dresses. Matching pumps with three inch heels. I could feel my feet begin to hurt already.
We arrived at the Community Center about an hour before the car show opened. There were already some people milling around outside. The Channel 7 Action News van was parked near the entrance and the female anchor was yelling orders at her crew. Just outside the door stood Mel, with another person next to him.
“Holy shit, ladies!” whistled Mel as we approached. “You two are really hot. Girls, I want you to meet George Ferguson. He owns the Lexus dealership that you will be modeling for.”
George extended his hand and said, “Nice to meet you ladies. Did you get a chance to look over the brochures?”
Mel had given us several Lexus brochures as well as some spec sheets for the cars we’ll be modeling for. Holly and I memorized them as best we could so we could be more likely to answer questions from the public.
Holly shook Mr. Ferguson’s hand and said, “Oh yes. I think Callie and I probably memorized them!”
I shook George’s hand with a girly limp grip and he flashed a dazzling smile at me. The way he looked at me made me uncomfortable. George said, “I feel very fortunate to be able to get you two lovely ladies for this event.”
Smiling, Holly said, “We’re happy to be here, Mr. Ferguson.”
Returning the smile, George said, “Please. Call me George. If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you where we’re set up.”
We followed George into the huge community center. There was quite an array of new cars and pick-up trucks. Bikini clad girls and few others in formals were either chatting with each other or helping dress the area for the dealership they represented. As we neared the Lexus display, I was surprised to see Angie moving potted plants around and adjusting signs.
“Angie!” shouted Holly. Angie looked up for a moment, smiled, waved and went back to what she was doing. I noticed George frowned slightly at being interrupted as he was about to begin speaking.
“Here we are, ladies,” George said, his voice smooth and clear. “These three cars are the most expensive we have on the lot. One of the things I need for you to do is shoo away little children with sticky fingers. No, really, I’m serious.”
Smiling, I said, “We’ll do the best we can, George.”
“I need to get some things from the dealership,” George said. “I should be back before they open the doors.” He again flashed me a smile and hurried away.
“Angie!” said Holly again. “What are you doing here, girl?”
“Hey you two! Wow. You girls are stunning!” Angie said shaking her head. “I’m here because I work for Mel. I do whatever job he needs me to do.”
Mel grunted and said, “That she does. That she does. Hey, excused me a minute. I’m going to see if I can sell some advertising.”
After Mel had walked away, I tried to look serious and probably just looked pouty instead. I said, “That’s something that’s been bothering me a lot lately, Angie. You said we were stunning. Really? Are you really saying I’m ‘stunning’?”
Giving me a “what’s up with you?” expression, Angie said, “You don’t analyze a compliment, Callie, but yes. You are most definitely stunning. Absolutely gorgeous.”
“But how is that possible? I’m still a guy, but guys are lusting after me, one of my school friends is in love with me. I mean, everywhere I go, guys drool over me.”
“And you’re complaining?” laughed Angie. “But seriously, Callie. Ease your mind. Your sister is totally gorgeous, with or without make-up. And like it or not, right now, you look exactly like her. I mean you look like twins. I expect in a year or two, your features will take on a more masculine appearance. But right now, if Holly is gorgeous, then you are gorgeous. Look at you! Your dress is beautiful, your make-up is perfect, your hair is feminine, and I just love your earrings.”
“But why isn’t Holly just as popular?” I continued to press Angie. “Mel tells us that my posters are selling almost two to one over Holly’s.”
Angie looked thoughtful for a moment, and then answered, “Since you are a guy, there’s some innate masculinity emanating from you, but since you are so obviously and gorgeously female, it comes off more of an exotic quality, rather than masculine. And I guess that’s what guys are finding attractive.” Angie laughed and said, “Stop worrying about it, girl! Just enjoy it and have fun!”
Holly laughed and said, “That’s what I keep telling her! I wish I had guys drooling over me!”
I frowned and said, “Yeah, but you’re a girl.”
Angie said, “Have you looked in a mirror lately, hun?”
I pondered that for a while. Maybe I was over reacting to guys desiring me. It wasn’t me, Caleb they wanted. It was Callie. They had no reason to believe I wasn’t a genuine girl. Angie was right. I just needed to roll with it and have a good time, because there was no way this was going to last forever.
About then the car show’s promoter walked out to the center of the community center and welcomed everyone to this year’s show. He talked for just a few minutes, but ending saying, “Remember, you can touch the cars all you want, but not the girls.”
The first half hour of the show wasn’t too bad. I actually knew some of the things people asked about the cars Holly and I were promoting. I was shocked when someone brought the current issue of Hot Rod Magazine to have Holly and I sign the picture of us that was inside.
“Can you hold down the fort Callie?” asked Holly. “I need to go to the little girls’ room.”
“Sure,” I said. “It’s pretty quiet right now.”
About thirty seconds after Holly left, from behind me, I heard, “How’s everything going?”
I turned and it was George. “It’s going great Mr. Ferguson. We seem to have a high traffic area.”
George smiled and said, “Well, that’s what I had hoped with you two here. And please, call me George.”
“Sorry George,” I said with a sheepish smile. “I keep forgetting.”
“It’s quite alright, miss. May I call you Callie?” George stepped a little closer towards me. He was close to violating my personal space.
I smiled and said, “If I can call you George, then I guess you can call me Callie!”
George flashed a toothy grin at me and said, “I really feel fortunate that I was able to get both of you tonight. I was afraid you’d have a date with your boyfriend tonight.”
It wasn’t until after I said, “Oh, I don’t have a boyfriend,” that I realized I probably shouldn’t have admitted that.
George suddenly looked shocked and said, “I have to say I’m surprised that a creature as stunning as yourself wouldn’t have that special guy…or two or three.” He grinned again after his comment.
I said, “Well, I’m just too busy right now for a boyfriend.”
George looked serious as he said, “Oh, I can relate. Managing six dealerships in the tri-state area keeps me hopping.”
Not able to hide my surprise, I bubbled, “Wow, really? You have six Lexus dealerships?”
Moving closer to me, George chuckled in a tone one would use with a child and said, “Oh, no, sweetie. Just one Lexus lot, but I have five other lots that I own as well. In this area.”
“You must be rich,” I said stupidly.
George smiled and said, “Let’s just say I’m comfortable. I like to enjoy my money. What good is it collecting dust in a vault, eh? No, it’s much better to use it for fine wine and dancing. Do you like to dance, Callie?”
I blushed and said quite honestly, “Well, I don’t dance very well.”
George shook his head and said, “I’d bet you’re a wonderful dancer.”
I laughed and said, “I wouldn’t take that bet!”
He smiled and I swear his eyes twinkled and said, “Oh, I’d take it. I’m sure I wouldn’t lose either way.”
I grinned at him and said, “Well, I bet your feet would lose.”
George laughed a short laugh and said, “I like you, Callie. You’re a beautiful woman, you have a sense of humor and you have a quality I can’t put my finger on.”
I thought to myself, you wouldn’t want to put your finger on it.
George hesitated for a moment, and then said, “I was wondering, Callie, did you have any plans after the show closes at six tomorrow evening?”
I said, “Well, I…”
“If you have plans, that’s fine,” said George. “But if you didn’t, I was hoping to invite you to dinner and some dancing afterwards.”
Holy shit. A guy, standing right in front of me, just asked me out on a date! People are always shouting out asking for dates, but I always treat them as joking. But here was a guy, asking me out and waiting for an answer. Why wasn’t Holly here to tell him no? What do I say? What do I do? I know I have to decline his offer, but my brain was vapor locked.
I said, “Well, um, no, I don’t have any plans…”
George smiled, “So you’ll go? I’ll wear my steel toed dancing shoes.”
I laughed and said, “I don’t know...”
“I have reservations for two at Ciccone’s for tomorrow night, and the lovely lady who I had invited had other plans come up and had to cancel. You know how hard it is to get reservations there and it would be a shame to cancel when an even more lovely and delightful creature could join me instead.” George flashed his dazzling smile again and said, “You wouldn’t want me to dine alone, would you?”
I felt very frustrated. I wanted him to go away. He had his charm cranked up to eleven and he was getting to me. I couldn’t go on a date with George even if I thought he was totally awesome. Looking at my feet, I said, “Well, no. Of course not. But I…”
“So you’ll join me then?” George asked as he closed in to almost touching me.
“You’re very nice and it all sounds wonderful, but…”
Still smiling, George pressed on and said, “What will make it wonderful will be if the most beautiful woman in town joins me. You are that woman, Callie. You are lovely and delightful and I’d find it an honor if you would join me for an evening of fine food and dancing!”
“Just dinner and dancing?” I asked, making the mistake of looking into his eyes and seeing his undeniable sincerity and being washed by his charm. I thought he was going way overboard. But he did seem very nice and sincere about just wanting to use his hard to get dinner reservation.
My will power worn down and the prospect of a free dinner, I said, “I will.” I gave him a weak smile.
Beaming, George said, “I’ll look forward to it! Pick you up at eight?”
What I just said started to sink in as I smiled nervously, “Sure. Eight will be fine.”
He touched my arm and said, “See you later, sweetie.”
Holly came back a few minutes later and looked at me and said, “You look ill. Something wrong?”
“I have a date with George.” I said simply.
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