"Ashley I'm home!" she heard her mother call out as she came in the door. Her mother had been out doing some last minute shopping after work.
Her mother had appreciated the extra hours at work covering for Missy, the usual primetime makeup artist, who was on holidays in Switzerland with her boy toy. The extra hours sure came in handy, as did the matching paycheck.
Ashley looked back into the mirror of her room once more. In the mirror was a teenaged girl with red hair in cascades of waves held up on one side with a small pearled hair clasp. On the floor around her were various other outfits she had tried on so far today in her efforts to get ready.
They were supposed to go out to her grandmothers for a christmas dinner. A task she was not looking forward too as Grans would have no knowledge of Ashley. She had tried so hard today to get ready. Her makeup was flawless and understated but very well done. She was still no match to her mother but she had tried a number of times today.
The problem was she was supposed to be Joshua today and not Ashley.
She had woken up this morning fully intending to not be Ashley. She had picked out some nice clothes for Joshua to wear the night before. However 'getting ready' had not been fun. In fact every time she came out of the bathroom to get ready she went into her room and not Joshua's and got ready. Five times she had gotten totally ready and then looked in the mirror cursed and got undressed. Something she was about to do yet again.
Even her parts were glued and covered in place. Under the makeup under her red eyes was even more redness. She had been crying most of the day. It was a fight to be anything other than Ashley. It had been so since that kiss.
The day after the Halloween dance all she wanted to do was return to being Joshua. She had even tried that morning but she just couldn't remove her parts. She felt awful with even one of her breasts removed and had quickly glued it back on.
Ashley carefully brushed her red and brown crushed velvet dress under her. The dress with it's 3/4 sleeves and drawstring back fit her very well. It hugged all of her curves making her truly look like a girl and not a boy in a dress. Her hips flared out the skirt just nicely while her thin waist, that no longer needed the cincher to bring it in, gave her a figure most girls would envy. Placing her red polish hands with the few bangles on her right wrist into her lap. A lap where her black full silk slip was over her nude colored pantyhose.
That Saturday morning had been a fight. In the end she chickened out, her only reasonable explanation, and got ready for school in her school uniform. Her school tie was undone as was the top buttons on her white blouse when she got downstairs. Her mother was still in her white, well offwhite now, old bathrobe. Her mother had been more than a little surprised to see her daughter again.
"Ashley are you sure?" she had asked her.
"I need to get to school mom."
"You don't have to do this."
"I promised to help sell those cookies at the mall."
"Look Ashley I really think.."
"Mom please.. Not now just let me do this."
Her mother reluctantly let her go with a sad look on her face. She was told to call for a ride when she was done. That day at school had been less than fun as almost all of the girls had realized that it was Ashley's first kiss from a boy and had teased her to tears a few times. Some of the other girls had been kinder and stood up for her. In a very real way she had real friends at her school now. Tess, Trudy and Jessica had become friends with her on a level she had never had in her old school.
Going shopping with her girlfriends or talking to them during the evenings had become a regular event. She knew she shouldn't be doing this.
Going back to being Joshua had been extremely hard for her. At school she had had to work hard to talk like him. Before just removing her parts had put her into boy mode. Since that day it was not the case though. Everyday she would look in the mirror and see Ashley trying to be Joshua. As hard as she looked it just wasn't Joshua anymore.
Every night she would go to bed crying silently for her lost boyness. In a sense she was mourning her brother. But that was silly as she was really Joshua. She just couldn't find him.
Not that she didn't try. She went out dirtbike racing every weekend she could, even winning a few races on her 250. She tried to put on a brave and happy face for her mother. She was fairly sure she had succeeded in fooling her mother that she was really Josh. Certainly most of her friends at school hadn't noticed anything.
I few times one of the girls at school would come up and as her "Ashley what are you doing pretending to be your brother? Is he racing again?". It had been tough as she slipped and answered in her own voice when this happened. A few times she tried to brush it off.
The problem was it kept happening. She had been pulled away from the boys room, more than once, into the girl's room. During those times the tears were very hard to choke back as she went and sat to do her business.
One of the last times she was at school in her own clothes, her Ashley uniform she corrected herself, her mother had slipped in another vial into her gaft without her knowing. Thusly she had spent the day running to the bathroom to change her pad, and once, rinse out her stained panties. The other girls at school had, of course, noticed this and offered their condolences. She was offered far more 'home remedies' for various symptoms than she ever wanted. It did make her realize that "women talking" in the bathroom was more than just makeup tips and gossip. There was also this total connection with the other girls that went beyond anything she had experienced as a boy. As Joshua the most connection he had with guys, was the pissing your name in the snow thing. Which, when she thought back on it, didn't really make any sense.
She didn't even look up as her mother sat beside her.
"Ashley are you ready yet?" her mother asked in a soft voice. A voice she knew instinctively was full of love for her.
"I'm sorry mom! I tried to dress as Josh really I did!" she started.
"Ashley I think you look quite lovely. But that isn't what I meant. Are you ready to talk to me about this yet?"
"I uh ... it's just I uh..."
"Ashley I have noticed that since that dance the only child I have had around is my daughter. My son has not made a return."
"But I dressed as a boy!"
"No you were Ashley dressed up as a boy. There is a difference. What has happened to my son?" Ashley started to sniffle.
"I tried really hard mom. I just couldn't be Joshua. Even without my breasts I was still Ashley. I just couldn't seem to change back."
"I know you tried sweetie." her mother hugged her sniffling daughter to her chest. "It killed me to see you trying so hard."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"Honey I know this may shock you. But mothers don't know everything. How I tried! Gods you have no idea how far out of my depth this all is."
"This was all supposed to be temporary."
"I know sweetie. At first I thought it was just a little costume thing. Like you were just acting the part of Ashley. But I have watched you grow into a young, woman when my mind is yelling at me you should be growing into a young man."
"Maybe we should go see...her again."
"That quack that wanted to put you on hormones?"
"Ah ...No! I will find you someone better."
"But she is free." this was a major sore point. The veterans society only covered this one therapist, whose experience was more in line with grieving consoling than gender issues. She knew her mother would prefer some others but most of those all cost money. Money they didn't have yet.
"You should fix your face and I'll get ready." her mother rose to go to her room.
"Uh mom don't you mean I should get changed into Josh's clothes? I mean like gran doesn't exactly know about me right?"
"Of course she does!"
"WHAT?" Ashley was stunned.
"Sweetie. How many children does your Aunt Dorothy have?"
"Two last time I checked? Why what does...oh."
"Yes. Our family has ...contacted me about you."
"Mom! What did you say." Her mother turned to face her with a serious look on her face.
"Ashley, how do I say this, at this time you are my daughter. Which is what I told them."
"But I'm your daughter! I mean son!" she blushed at her slip.
"Yes... I have both a daughter and a son. In one child and it... it...oh." and her mother ran away.
Ashley heard the heartfelt sob before the slam of her mothers door. She felt awful for making her mother cry. But the question was did her mother see her as a boy or girl. Or even worse, did it really matter?
In a free association test she identified herself as a boy. Yet she also knew she was a girl.
Ashley went to her vanity and sat infront of her makeup and thought for a moment. She had been so preoccupied with herself lately that she wondered just how tough this was for her mom. It was the work of a few moments to fix her makeup and then refix her hair that had come loose. She stood once more and looked at the mirror. In her reflection she only saw herself. She did not see a sign of Joshua. She knew she should but as hard as she looked she just didn't see him.
Sighing to herself she packed her purse, that matched her dress, and put on her shoes before leaving her room. She stared at her old room. The door to Joshua's room was open and it looked so alien to her. Had it really only been a few weeks when she got home to find her new room? In the closet of her own room, which was definitely a girls room, was all her jeans, skirts, dresses. Some were recent purchases that she had chosen without her mother, abit with help from her girlfriends. Others were already here.
Her mother had explained that many were some she had worn before for performances. While others, such as her jeans and button front tops, were stuff a normal girl would have. Her bed, that was oh so comfy, had a used looking few stuffed toys. There was pictures that showed a young girl, her apparently, in tutu and leotard doing ballet.
She turned around and looked at her old room. She could remember every nick nack and whosit in the room. Yet it was like looking at a movie of someone else. The emotions that should be there were not. She knew they should be and it really bothered her. With a sigh she walked to her mothers room. Not even noticing that she walked in her two inch heels with a gentle sway and almost no noise on the carpet. At her mother's door she paused.
"But Mom she's, I mean he's my son! I can't .."
"Well yes I love her. It's tearing me apart knowing I should help her get rid of her."
"It's not that easy Mom."
"Are you sure it's no trouble if she.."
"You better n..."
"What do you mean they are all expecting her?"
"But even I didn't know she would be here today and I'm her moth.."
"I am not being a silly little gi.."
"But I .."
"Okay fine! Have it your way but if she gets hurt I'll tear their eyes out!"
Slam! Went a something against the wall near her head. Knocking gently on her mother door she waited.
Sniffle"Yes sweetie?" Ashley stepped into her mother's room ready to cry for hurting her.
"Mommy? I'm sorry I never meant to hurt you." Her mother's eyes filled with tears as she smiled. Before she knew it she and her mother were locked into a hug that felt so good.
It did not take her mother all that long to change into a dress that resembled her own and then work on her hair and makeup. Her own hair and makeup also got touched up by her mother. Her comment of "That is so unfair it took me half and hour to do my makeup alone." got a snicker out of her mother as well as a quick lesson in makeup. She could see her mother was in her element and she found herself getting excited by how the simple tricks made such a huge difference.
Ashley found it silly that she had to take off her shoes to put on boots that really had little warmth to them so that she wouldn't wreck her shoes. But she did it anyways. As she sat in the side of the focus she reflected on the day she had with her mom. Would she have been this close to her mother if she had been Joshua? The answer was no.
Maybe being a girl was alright from time to time. Ashley made a small promise to herself as she swung her feet in, knees together being almost normal now, that she would not worry about whether she was a girl or boy for the rest of the day. As she buckled herself in she felt a long gone smile appear on her face.
"Ready?" Her mother asked her. In a moment her smile disappeared and was replaced with fear.
Was she really ready to have her family see her?
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