Out with Friends
By Jessica C
His bad mouth caught up to him…
Unknowingly his mother helps him to embrace Stephanie
I can’t believe that I am snuggling in a pretty winter coat, with Allison on one side and my girlfriend Staci on the other side. Haley and Staci’s older sister Sara are in the middle group of seats with Mom driving and Elle riding up front.
Allison is intrigued as she constantly turns to me saying, “I can’t believe a boy I’ve known is so girly.” She giggles hysterically when she hears that I dated Brad Street and that he kissed me. She jokingly says, “I hope you didn’t lose your panties to him.” My shocked expression told what I didn’t want to say.
She takes my hands and looks at my fingernails. I know she’s looking for a way to change the conversation. Haley instead adds fuel to the fire, “She was even sore like a girl afterwards.”
Mom slows the car and goes to the side of the road, “Haley, anyone else not knowing better. That better end anything crude being said today.”
Allison asks, “Can I ask Steph if she had fallen for him before? I know if a girl feels that way for a guy, it might happen easy enough.” She then nuzzles me pulling me over to her. “Don’t worry, I won’t be saying anything. Somehow I have no trouble sensing you have a girl’s heart and emotions.”
When I say, “Thanks Allison.” She smirks, “You know Stephanie; you don’t sound like Steven. You talk differently.”
Allie says, “Mrs. Hammond, I want to thank you for asking me to come. It is nice that you trusted me to know about Stephanie. We’re kind of an open family and my mother has always like Steven. He’s usually been active and getting into things. I hadn’t imagined it included makeup and girls clothes.”
Elle says, “I’m glad to hear you say that I thought I was going crazy about Steph’s speaking. No one had mentioned that; it is like Stephanie’s her own person and not my brother in a dress.” The conversation goes around the car.
Staci lightly laughs, “And did anyone else notice how modestly she holds down the hem of her skirt. It is like she’s afraid that a boy like Steve might sneak a cheap peek.”
I say, “I’ve seen other girls pull the hem of their skirts down like that.”
Staci says, “Maybe, if it is four inches shorter. You even cross your legs and hold them together like a modest girl.”
Allison looks over, “Staci, has Steven ever put his hand here or higher?” Her hand is now on my leg above the knee; she’s moving it to the inside of the leg.
Staci giggles, “I don’t want to say and get her in trouble with her mother.” Staci drops her hand onto my leg above the hem of my skirt. She whispers, “But his hand has fallen onto my legs when I was wearing a shorter skirt. But I think it would be cruel to tease her.”
Allie says, “I wonder if this bothers her, and how she’d take if a boy’s hand got this high, which I think would be naughty of him.”
My mother says, “I don’t like whispering in the car it makes me think somethings going on that I wouldn’t like. Stephanie looks a little embarrassed about something. What is going on back there?”
I say, “They’re teasing at my expense. Hopefully joking and treating me as one of their friends.”
Allie asks, “Does Stephanie have any dolls of her own? If she doesn’t it might be good if we can get her one today.” Allie looks over to Staci, “Do you have a perfume that is subtle yet different from what you’re wearing?”
Elle speaks up, “I think a little stuffed kitty or something would be enjoyable for you Steph or would you prefer a dolly?”
Haley says, “Steph should wait until we’re going through the shops to see if there’s a different fragrance. What do you think Staci, she’s your boyfriend.
“She’s my good friend, you all agreed she’s not my boyfriend Steven.” Elle had turned around and knew it hurt me when I heard that. Allie gives me a hug and expresses some sympathy. Staci says, “Gee, Stephanie don’t be so sensitive. I thought you wanted me to treat you like a girl today.”
We’re pulling into the parking area for the Village and I didn’t even remember crossing the river into Pennsylvania. The trip had gone fast.
I am sorry for a short moment that I wore a skirt, as I negotiate to humbly get out of the backrow and out of Mom’s SUV. My sister said I did as well as most girls.
We start off going through the stores together. I think that makes it quite crowded. Everyone else thinks it adds to the fun as we visit together. Mom likes us looking at all the Christmas items and candles. Since they are nice to look at and enjoy, but we’re not interested in buying them. Going in and out of the shops, the cold air sends shivers up my legs.
Staci whispers, “Does it get cold up under your skirt?” I murmur, “Yes.” I knew it made her happy. One shop has small cups of hot chocolate and others have hot tea or hot spiced apple cider. The hot spiced Russian tea is what I wanted, but Mom asks Allie if it is oaky if I share with her. Which is what we ended up doing. I got a cute hot chocolate mustache. It is the first time I can tell where I am drinking out of a cup because of my lipstick-stain on the cup.
We are in a shop with a lot of jewelry and decorative pins. I spot a heart shaped locket. I had always envied girls being able to have them. The sales woman asks, “Are you three girls together?” It’s Ally, Staci and I and we say yes.
”This is a very nice locket, no? I have only three good ones left. They’re regularly $34.95. I would let the three of you buy them for $15.99 and I’d take a picture of the three of you and put it in your lockets for another five dollars.”
Staci and Allie both like the idea, but Staci says, “How would we explain the picture of the three of us?” Mother says, “I’d buy Stephanie’s and pay ten dollars to each of yours.” We are quickly fixing our hair and makeup. And we are each out of our coats standing close together for the picture.
We have to come back in fifteen minutes. I saw a necklace that I saw Elle likes. I’m hoping it is not too expensive as I still need to get her a Christmas present.
Brianna from the college walks by me and as I notice her, I say “Hi Brianna.” I then I realized she hadn’t said hello to me, worried I’d be offended that she said something in public.
Staci tells Allie, “Brianna is a friend of Steph’s at the university. They give support to Steph and friends like me.”
Allison asks me, “Are you thinking about staying a girl?” I can see her surprise. “That explains better you’re looking so good. If we got an appointment together next week for a makeover would you enjoy that?”
“I’ve already spent too much.”
Allie says, “My Mom and I will pay for them both then.” I try to turn her down, but she says, “Your mother already bought me something and said she pay for lunch. You can’t back out unless you stop dressing as Stephanie. I don’t think you can do that.”
We went and looked at women’s apparel. I looked at leg warmers. Staci says, “Unless you can find the right one for you. They’ll look old fashion and that’s not good.”
Staci picks out a skirt she wants me to try on. Somehow on the way to the changing room a shorter skirt is stuck in its place. I’m out of my skirt complaining when I discover the change. It is nice so I do try it. The others agree I look very nice in it. But like most of the things we look at today we don’t buy it.
We’re back and pick-up our lockets and Mom helps me put on mine. First I think, ‘No one will know how much I love it. I realize and admit to myself that they probably understand more than I give them credit for.’ That helps the rest of the trip become more enjoyable.
Elle’s necklace is more expensive than I wanted to pay, fortunately not that much more.
When we get to the main restaurant, we have a thirty minute wait. It is mostly women shopping together or families. I enjoy looking at the other people. Especially how the women our age look. There are many of us, yet most are wearing something different and sharp looking for them. It would have been jeans and a sweater or sweatshirt and jacket for guys.
I waited ten minutes before going to the women’s room and there is a small wait. Longer that I usually have to wait as a guy. Once I’m out of the toilet stall and up to the mirror fixing my face. I smell the fragrance of the woman next to me. It is new me, that’s something I wouldn’t have known a week ago. I ask, “Would you mind my asking what fragrance that is?”
She says, “It is one of the new Chanel No. 5 Chance fragrances.”
I say, “No wonder it is so beautiful.”
She asks, “Would you like a light spray on your wrists?”
I close my eyes, “I could not ask that.”
She smiles and says, “You didn’t ask, I asked you. I am sure your friends would be pleased for you.”
I smile agreeing, “Yes, they were wanting to find a fragrance for me. I don’t think this is what we would have gotten.” Lee takes my hand and lightly sprays my left wrist. I rub my wrists together bring them to either side of my neck.
“Thank you ever so much.” She said the pleasure was hers, and I think she was sincere.
Allie and Elle were the only two who noticed and knew the fragrance. “Chance Eau Tendre” says Elle. “Just before I came home at Christmas, I was invited to s special reception. I went to Macy’s let them give me a spray. Then I went to the reception. The Dean of Performing Arts noticed and she actually thanked me for dressing up and showing class. She had another person visit with me and then I was invited up to a place setting for a student at the front table. That was a very nice evening.”
Mom says, “You can tell me later how, but for now I am happy for you.” Two hours later we were entering a store and the woman who shared her perfume was already inside.
She stops my mother asking, “Is this young lady your daughter? We met earlier and I was most impressed by her.”
Mother says, “I suspect you are the elegant woman who so impressed her.”
Ms. Morgan hands my mother and me a card, “If she can regularly present herself this well in appearance and manners. I would be interested in her interning with us this summer. I am high up in this corporation and we hire young people each summer to work and shadow us. I could use a good experience this summer.”
The woman pauses, “She is your daughter isn’t she?”
“She is mine and yes I am generally well pleased with her. Though seemingly she showed her best side to you.”
“My name is Eliza, young lady and what is yours?”
“I’m Stephanie, Stephanie Hammond, but…”
She asks, “Well, do you think you could present yourself on a regular basis as you’re doing today? I’d have you as a summer assistant to help me, meet people on my behalf and be a courier doing as I’d ask?” She turns to my mother, “I’d be able to verify who I am and that everything is proper and that she’d be safe and well paid.”
My mother says, “I know who you are Ms. Morgan. You must be in Philadelphia with family to be up here today shopping.” Eliza seems pleased that my mother knows whom she is.
Eliza says, “Your group’s presence seems to agree that this is a good place for women to come enjoy the day.” She says, “Since you know of me, do you think it might work out for your daughter to work with me this summer?”
My mother says, “I am not quite sure how to answer you. Stephanie has a unique set of circumstances. I am very proud of her.”
Eliza speaks to Allison, “How would you like a similar experience, so Stephanie wouldn’t be without a friend in the area? I’m suspecting you’re a good friend and know her well.”
My mother speaks up, “Why don’t we let the others continue to shop and we find a place to visit.” Mom asks Elle to make sure she can call and find out where they are.
We go back to the restaurant and a small conference room is made available to us. I’m confused about her name and ask, “Could you explain, when I first met you, you introduced yourself as Lee. You then introduced yourself as Eliza Morgan?”
“I am glad you caught that but waited till we were a smaller group out of earshot of others. I go by Lee when I’m out on my own trying to relax and get away. I was named for my grandmother Elizabeth, but have gone by Eliza since I was a small girl.”
My mother looks at me wondering what if anything she should say. My mother says, “I know you say you’re open minded, but a lot of people talk the talk, but don’t walk their talk.”
I say, “Ms Lee, my mother’s not sure about telling about me. It is just recently that I’m comfortable being Stephanie. And I’m not sure this is me. I don’t think I could promise anything right now and be healthy about it. My regular name is Steven. You have been very nice to me and our group. I am sorry for misrepresenting myself and any inconvenience and embarrassment it’s caused you.”
She is very nice about everything, “Your mother is right. It is a good time for me to walk my talk. Let me say, I am still impressed with you as a young lady. And I do understand you need the space and time to find out who you are. I will not be expecting to hear from you. My hope is purely that you do well.
“I do know some counselors prefer a transgender girl to take some extended time as a woman. If that is recommended for you this summer, you do have my card. If that would be the case, I’d hope to hear from you by the end of March.”
“That is very nice of you but even if it would be recommended,” my mother says, “There is no way she’d have enough of a wardrobe and things to consider it.”
Ms Lee turns to leave, “If that were her main problem; she should still call. She deserves a chance to have a future as much as anyone. Most places won’t offer that.” She leans and gives me a kiss to the cheek, “I’m impressed.”
I’m kind of glad to be back shopping. I notice Allison is staying closer to me while Staci talks more to my sisters than me. I mentioned that to Elle once we were alone. She says, “Staci still likes you very much Steve. She even is accepting of you as Steph but its Steven she wants for Christmas.”
I decide to relax and enjoy the day as Steph and my time with Allie. I thought Allie took me into a woman’s store of intimate apparel just to get me to blush. She actually saw a sale sign for bras. I found looking through the different bras to be more interesting than I thought it would be. Allie, holding a bra up in front of me, shows me what she’s looking for. When she has two set aside a saleswoman asks, “Would you want to try those on.” She asks, “Have you ever been properly fitted for a bra.”
I show my ignorance, “It’s just a matter of personal preference and knowing your cup size.”
The woman says, “If you’re together and don’t mind I can show the both of you.”
Allie grabs her bra choices and me saying, “Yes, I’d like that.” We’re in a larger changing room and Allie is soon down to her bra and unbuttoning my blouse. I’m freaking out, knowing the woman is going to see that I’m wearing breastforms. The sales woman encourages me to relax, “You’re not the only woman using them by far and you blended well the seams. Even wearing breast forms, your bra choice makes a big difference in your appearance.”
She measures Allie carefully taking more measurements than I understood why. Brenda, the saleswoman says, “Why don’t you put this one on, and I’ll find another like it but I think better suited for you.”
The woman leaves and Allie says, “She doesn’t realize yet you’re a boy so keep your mouth shut.” …She turns around and takes off and puts on the new bra away from my seeing. The new one is pretty but Allie says, “It doesn’t fit like I thought it would.”
Brenda is soon back and agrees. “This one has delicate stitching, but I think you’ll find it better fits your build.” The woman even helps Allie adjust the straps. She turns to me, “You see how it gives her good support, yet it cradles to her breasts shape. The other showed the bra off better than it did her.” Turning back to she says, “Allie you can even use these to push you up showing you off more if you want.”
Allie says, “When dressing up, I like to use them. But what would look good for Stephanie?”
Brenda asks me to take my bra off so she can measure me more accurately. I find the attention somehow pleasing and personal. “Would you mind if I go and select a few for you to choose from?” Once she’s out of the changing room I begin to fan myself. And Allie says, “Calm down, it’s only a bra fitting.” She takes a piece of ice from her drinking cup and rubbed it on me. I didn’t complain, knowing my need.
Brenda is sook back and Allie took a peach colored lacy bra from her, “Cute Steph, what do you think.” Steve wanted to say, ‘peach isn’t my color’. But I pause realizing I do like how the bra looks. It is like the one Allie just put on it looks delicate as well as attractive. I ask, “Why are bras done so beautifully when others are not likely to see them?”
Allie says, “Because you see it and it brings joy to your eyes. Your mother, sisters and some of us friends like you feeling attractive and liking yourself.” I begin putting it on, wishing my breasts were real, wonder how it would feel to them.
Brenda stops me saying, “We need to adjust the straps so they don’t cut into your shoulders or try to lift your breasts two inches higher.” The last image is kind of funny. I’m now noticing like Allie’s the inside of the cups shows more of my breasts. I actually like the appearance of cleavage though it is not very much.
Allie is changing into another bra and I am looking, more it’s like another girl than the boy I’m supposed to be. Allie tells me, “I think you already have the prettiest of your bras on. Allie says, “I like the soft touch where my nipples are.”
Brenda says, “That is a nice feature of that bra, though another girl usually will be able to tell if your nipples are aroused.”
Both bras are priced around $35, but with their sale prices the two cost less than thirty dollars together. Allison says, “We’ll get them, if we can wear them now.” Brenda asks permission and then helps to take the tags off. I’m trying to protest about my bra. Allie asks, “What you don’t like your bra or you don’t want to wear it now?”
I say, “You know that I like it; it’s nice a feminine. It’s just that I was only willing to try it on and see how it looks. I do not intend to buy one.”
Allie says to Brenda, “They’re both to be rung up on my card.”
When we are fully dressed and step out of the changing room, not only is Haley there, but our entire shopping party. My mother sees that my blouse has another button undone and smiles. Allie is quick to say, “We even got a proper fitting and lessons of what to look for, didn’t we Steph?”
I complain, “Mom, I didn’t want to, but Allison bought one for me.” And she says, “So the first thing you do is to complain. You should be thankful and telling us about it.”
“Mom,” Steve’s voice started to break through. Collecting my composure, I change and say. “I think I did Mom. It’s just that I don’t need a new one. And I didn’t intend for Allie to feel she should buy it for me.”
Mother says, “It is fortunate for the two of you that Haley saw you two in here. Because I lost track of you and you didn’t answer your phone.”
Elle says, “From seeing your blouse, I would say you are very happy to have a new bra.”
Allison says, “My mother wanted me to make sure I did something to show my gratitude for coming.” Mom told her that she didn’t have too. Mom was surprised when Allie told her the brand name. She was relieved when she heard the sale price. Mom and the others all spent time looking at the bras and finding one for themselves.
Mother got into a discussion with Holly the sales manager, as she paid at the cash register. Holly said, “We have done quite well this year; I decided to allow customers the joy of getting them before Christmas. Tomorrow the sale will only be 25% off and customers will go through a lot more buying two or three each.” She says, “I pity the woman whose husband buys it for her. It will either be way too large or cause her breasts to look like they want to leap out. Has your husband ever done that to you?”
Mom’s not saying anything, but Haley says, “Our Dad walked out leaving us high and dry three years ago.” Holly apologizes saying, “I am sorry, I that was so insensitive of me. Let me have your receipt and I’ll void out a charge or two.”
Mom says, “Don’t worry about that” and takes her bag of items. I hug Mom once we’re outside saying, “That would not have happened if I stayed with you.”
She says, “Your hug makes if feel more than worth it.” The lights around the village are coming on and snow flurries are in the air. Mom takes a number of pictures with all of us. Two with Allie, Staci and I together and another of us sisters. We continue to look around and it is six thirty when we get back to the car. Mother listened for the changing weather forecast and decides we have enough time to get home safely.
It takes a little over an hour and where we live the weather is fairly good. It took time for Staci and Sara to get out and unload at their house. They had done more shopping and buying than the rest of us. When we get to Allison’s house the Ottoman’s wave us into their house. Mrs. Ottoman had planned and prepared a meal for our arrival back. She’s delighted in how I look in the coat she cleaned. “I am so happy that it cleaned up so well for you. It looks like you enjoyed your girl’s day out. Allison already sent me a few pictures. You looked very happy.”
Mrs. Lois Ottoman says, “If your mother doesn’t mind, I’m having you sit next to me and she can sit across from us.”
Story to be continue…
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