6 – There for Others
By Jessica C
Teri and Attie along with getting to be at the celebration at the end of the fashion show, wanted to go out as teen girls. Their parents said, “No.” Attie requested, “Ryan call your sisters and tell them to go up to my parents’ room, then call your parents and say you won’t be home until morning… I’ll tell my parents we’re staying down here until it’s done.”
Ryan picked up Attie and swung her around, “Yes, yes! Chris said he knows the city.” They were looking to see where Teri and Chris were. They all went through a hallway passed the restrooms. When they were sure they were unseen, they continued to leave the hotel. Eva text Attie, Michael and I are in his vehicle in front of the next building.
Teri needed to scoot in tightly, sitting on Chris’ lap as Michael drove off. Michael says, “Wow, you girls were good in your show. I wouldn’t have enjoyed any of this if I didn’t know Ev. But you made it enjoyable. I can’t think of any high school girls able to pull off how well you did.” Our sister gave him a big kiss.
Chris agreed and gave me a big hug and kiss. I could tell he was excited to be with me and despite being a guy myself, I liked his show of affection. I knew nothing would come of it, except I now like being attractive as a girl. We went to a place we could dance and weren’t carded for being too young. Eva said it was because the place liked the notoriety of our being there. Pictures were taken by a news person. I had a wine when she first saw but by the time she took her first picture, it was with a Pepsi and it was that landed in the paper. Erica the reporter, photographer would become a friend.
Erica said she knew who we were and suggested we soon tell some others starting with our classmates. Our night went until 1:30. My parents had Madi and Polly already asleep in an adjoining room. Ryan would sleep there on the floor. Eva stayed with her friends after hugging the stuffing out of us. I stayed in the second bed next in our parents and Hattie slept in with the two Chris’ sisters.
Mom and Dad made a point of telling me my lips had been kissed. After that nothing was said, except, “Get to sleep, and for now we’ll focus on the fantastic weekend you had.”
Getting up by 6:00 and on the road quickly, we were home changed and to school before morning classes ended. Principal Andersen greeted us, “I guess your identity is known by a number of girls. So far they’re not saying anything, neither am I?” She drew me aside, “Terrance, you might want to use the restroom here in the office area and check makeup that should not be there.” I said, “Thanks.” And did as suggested. Other than that the school day was normal except the attention we’re receiving from a growing number of girls.
Not all who know are accepting that I could be Teri. Some think I was involved with the misperception. They thought there had to be some girl who looked like Hattie that did the modeling. They asked about cousins or other relatives. We didn’t do much to persuade people to believe one way or another.
With two and a half weeks until the prom and five weeks to the end of the school year. Hattie received a late invitation to the prom from Matt Bond. His close friend Josh was also lacking a date to take. It was Hattie and Matt pleading with my parents that caused me to go as Teri with Josh. I didn’t get as fantastic of a gown as Hattie. It was beautiful in its simplicity. The manager of the store was impress with my knowing how to carry myself. That was until she recognized me as a model.
She was then upset that I was not buying a more extravagant gown. She became defensive when neither my mother nor I appreciated how I was being treated. She offered us, “I’ll let you wear one of our more expensive gowns if you’d rent it for half its price?” Needless to say, I was very tempted until my mother spoke up. “You would allow us to pay more than your cost of a gown; so that you could advertise having her prom gown, I don’t think so.”
Mom gave me a tug and we were out of that store, when I asked. “Where are we going?”
Mom said if we hurry we should have the afternoon to shop at Ft. Wayne. We arrive by 1:00 p.m. and by 4:00 p.m. we had it narrowed to three gowns. My mother thought only two were proper for a fifteen year old girl. While I thought Mom was more lenient with Hattie, I finally agreed to choose one I loved; the sky blue gown with matching tooling and silver sequins.
Mom had already called my father earlier and had Hattie come with him. She decided we would stay overnight and enjoy a late dinner together. Hattie had brought the gown I chose to keep from our first fashion show. Mom decided to treat the weekend as a celebration for all that we had been doing. We had a family time to ourselves without any attention. Fortunately there had been two weddings in the city and there was no shortage of women nicely dressed. We passed for just another three of the many.
We ate at a very fancy restaurant and had a very enjoyable time. When we returned to the hotel, the bride rom the reception there was returning to the ballroom for her wedding reception. It was her teenage sister, Ariel was who recognized us. Christine, the bride, invited us, “If you and your parents don’t mind neither Trent nor myside of the family have a shortage of guys, along with friends from his college. We could use a few more for our fair sex to be in attendance.”
Attie and I were a few of the young women who hadn’t been in heels all day so our feet and legs were fresh to dance. After a few dances we sat down and got into conversations with some young women. Most were very nicely dressed, wanting to talk about fashion. They appreciated our knowing how nice their dresses were. We soon found ourselves in a group of many women dancing together. When it slowed down for a slow song most of the girls were quickly partnering with guys who came and asked. Ariel did not wait to be one of them and asked me to dance with her. Truthfully, I first saw it as Terrance dancing with her. When she took lead, I was gently surprise that I enjoyed it being just the two of us.
Ariel says, “I hope you don’t mind, but I know who you are Teri. I know the mystic a about you as a model.” I expected she was going to ask me, which was true; my being a girl or boy. Instead she said, “Either way I find you attractive. I hope you don’t mind. I just like to be upfront about it.”
I was caught by surprise, but found her manner as comforting. We enjoyed our time dancing. “I hope you don’t mind if I’m not as forth coming. Truthfully, I’m not so sure about me either. But then I’ve never been seriously dating with anyone a boy or girl.” Ariel smiles and we enjoy our time together until people are invited to dance with either of the couple.
I got my purse to offer five dollars for the dance. Ariel pulls me into the line of people to dance with Christine. Ariel says, “You might as well be in this line, your sister is in the other. Besides it was Christine who invited you. Christine is the one who is going to know and remember you. …By the way don’t you love her gown? She had a seamstress hand make and fit it.”
I took extra note of her gown as we waited. I also learned that Ariel a senior in high school lives outside of Ft. Wayne in my direction. By now, I had my own cell for Teri and I exchanged numbers and more with her.
Finally, it was my turn to dance with Christine. I was impressed that she remembered me. She smiled, “It seems you two fit in well with our party. I see you’ve become acquainted Ariel as well. Our conversation was short as Ariel soon cut in.
Before the couple left for the night, there as the throwing of the garter and of the flowers. We were pressed to take part. I didn’t mind as I would not be reaching for the bouquet. It was funny to be in a group of girls and young women waiting for it.
She was to throw it on the count of three. Just as three was being said, I was pushed forward by Ariel and my sister, on both sides of me. I stumbled forward and automatically reached for the flowers as they came toward us. I caught the bouquet and took them and I immediately went to sit down. I was surprised as Brett’s family comes from the east where there is a tradition. The catcher of the garter belt, I’m told is to put it up on my leg of the maiden who caught the flowers. It was done as a good omen for the couple. And then the man and I were to dance.
I was escorted to sit on a chair in a circle of people. Marc was the person who caught the garter stood just over six feet tall and was handsome. He looked to be twenty-one and here I am only getting close to sixteen. Apart from modeling and the times my ego runs away with me, I am quite shy. I was shaking as Marc takes off my high heel shoe. The gleaming white garter with red roses is in his hands. One hand is at the bottom of my foot sliding back to my heel and the other over the front of my foot to my ankle. When his hands touched my legs I became worried about how excited I was becoming. I didn’t want to be a poor sport, neither did I want to embarrass myself nor others. Marc was up to the top of my calf muscle when he paused with my request. He assured me that I was doing well, but I feared I had reached the limit of controlling of my own body.
My Mom and Christine both stepped forward. I could see Christine mouth, ‘It’s okay to stop.’ Then she said it to Marc, “Marcus, I think Teri needs for this to stop.” I was so relieved.
Marc asked, “Please let me go just above the knee; I assured her I won’t do anything to embarrass her.”
I had taken some deep breaths and reached for Christine’s hand as she knelt at my side. I asked her, “Christine, could I have a sip of water to collect my composure?” Christine’s smile was warm, “You don’t need to continue. You have done fine and I am very appreciative.”
I said to her, “If you let me have a moment to compose myself, I will be okay. I’d like the chance to do this. We are a week from our 16th birthday, I am a big girl so to speak.” My Mom gave me a sip of champagne thinking it was water. She too was nervous for me. I said, “Mom, would it be okay if I lifted my dress to where I am comfortable. If so I am sure I will be okay.”
It was the concern of Christine and my Mom that allowed me to know I could stop or control the next moment. Marc was ready to stop, but one hand was still in anticipation of putting on the decorative garter belt.
“Marc let me lift the skirt of my gown to where I am comfortable.” With that I reached the bottom of my dress, where his hands had gone out of sight. I lifted the dress to the top of my knee and back another four inches. I giggled, “That better make you content because it will not go any further than what you see.” He lifted the garter in place for a photo and jokingly threatened more before he took it back off.
Christine hugged me, whispering, “You are one of the bravest young men I know.” I responded in her ear, “Also a young girl at heart.” We hugged and exchanged air kisses.
Marc and I had slow music to dance to and here I was in the arms of a handsome man. He talked as we danced, his breath was going over my ear. I found my dance with Marc exciting me once again. After we finished, Hattie gave me a difficult time as she knew the dance with Marc had its impact on me.
Hattie and I saw our parents talking to a woman and a man earlier at the reception and we were briefly introduced to them and now before we headed to our rooms for the night. Once back to our rooms Dad said, “We’d like to talk to you about the opportunity to do something good for someone else for a change.” We looked at each other, like what?
Dad said, “I hope you heard Mr. Stuartt’s a surgeon, and well Mrs. Rhodes introduced him to us later. There’s going to be a benefit for a young girl who needs surgery but insurance and Social Security Disability are both saying it’s not covered by them. During this benefit they would be trying to auction off various things to raise some hefty money for a Jayne Johnson.”
We’re listening, but Dad sounds like he’s already expecting us to say ‘no’. “All they’re asking is for each of you to model just one outfit. It may be feel like they’re asking a lot of you with all you have going on. But we really think you should be willing to do something for someone else.”
Hattie finally interrupts him, “Dad! We don’t have a problem with it. It’s just that we to know when, what we’re to be modeling and to respond saying yes!” I ask, “If we’re doing it. Why just one outfit. Maybe Marcus or Lisa of Belk would be willing to contribute something special.”
Our parents explained, Jayne’s medical problems and shows us pictures of her with some of the contraptions and braces she’s had to wear. It is a skeletal deformity that has already required surgeries and now has a major surgery to supposedly put her back together with a long rehabilitation with various devices to help with the change. It was hard for us to believe what Doctor Stuartt said. ‘Supposedly she would be able to have a normal teen life if the surgeries are successful as he had suggested.’
I say, “I don’t think either of us has a problem with helping to raise funds for her. I just think they should be upfront with her and give her realistic ideas of what’s likely to be the result.” I guess Stuartt had some pictures of other patients that our parents bought into.
Well the fund raiser was this coming Saturday in Fort Wayne, which meant what dresses we were to model needed to be quickly selected. Hattie and I would have to hurry and decide what accessories we had or needed.
I guess we put Marcus and Lisa on a spot by offering the possibility of special items for the auction. Getting dresses to us takes time, but to be able to have outfits the correct size for giving away is way more demanding. The accessories as well as our hair and makeup. That is along with two gowns we would model given by highly rated dress shops in Ft. Wayne. One concession, we did say no to each of us modeling lingerie.
Being high school students, we have the regular year end reports due and tests to be taken. Hattie’s friends are a little upset that we took on another project. We were to go out with them on Friday night with a group of guys. Jamie had guys that were going to take us out to a dance. Mom had already complained I was dancing with too many boys as it were.
Mom talked Tuesday night with me, “Terrance isn’t it enough that you’re modeling as a girl. Jamie shouldn’t be lining up dates for you with boys.”
“Mom, we were dancing with boys during the weekend and the week before.” I say, “The boys here should at least know I’m another boy. They just like getting their picture with a good looking girl, especially a model.”
Mom says, “You said the ‘boys should know’ do you mean there are some you plan on dancing with, who do not?”
Hattie says, “Nice going Teri…” “Mom it’s just that we were bait for some guys from Haddonfield guys coming here. Marcy wants to get her boyfriend jealous because he’s kind of been cheating as well as taking Marcy for granted.”
Mom asks, “So Terrance was to be cute little Teri. And Marcy and was going to date another one of the hunks. What were you going to do if guys from the two towns got into a fight or some jealous girl from there came over and was upset with Teri?”
Hattie begins to giggle uncontrollably. “That’s funny Mom, Teri being in a girl fight. It would be embarrassing if Teri lost the fight. Don’t worry, I will protect my little sister.”
I yell, “I’m five foot seven now!” Hattie speaks up, “And I’m now five foot eight now little sister.”
I said, “Not fair, I thought the boys are usually taller.”
Mom said, “Quite often but you’re living proof not always. It’s not fair but maybe it wouldn’t be the two of you modeling if Terrance was the taller one. They do prefer that you both get a little taller while staying lean.” We are not thin my models’ standards, but that too is supposed to be what people like about us. Most models wear size 0 while Attie’s a size two and I’m now usually wearing sizes three or four. We do know how to wear and look good in the other’s clothes usually.
Wednesday, we had to make our second quick trip to Ft. Wayne, to try on our gowns. Both seamstresses had beautiful gowns of their own design and had altered them to fit us. Cora, the seamstress working with me is a delight and humorous. I didn’t always cooperate and she is very fastidious in the alterations with the gown. She finally got upset with me and after we were done apologized to me. Mom and I agreed it was me and not her that was improper. Being disciplined and particular went along with the discipline she needed to have such beautiful gowns.
Come Thursday, we have two dresses each from Lori and Marcus. Lori and Marcus had each sent two sizes of the same dress. Lori’s were a size two and size six and Marcus sent a size two and size eight. They were given with signed authentication from the designers which would bring much better offers. Hattie and I had practiced in our dresses at home.
Lori had suggested both of our dresses be modeled with extra flare when we showed them. Leah being home for the summer made sure we became a little more daring that usual. Mom wasn’t fully pleased but even Dad agreed with Leah’s ideas.
Despite being a week night, we and our friends got together with the guys from Haddonfield. I was partnered with a senior named Chad and Attie’s guy was named Jeremy. Grandma asked if their grandfathers’ were part of the British invasion. She laughed at us when we asked, what invasion was that?
Grandma wanted to give me her mother’s hat pin in case I needed it, when we went out. When she explained how a woman might use one to protect herself I giggled. I did decide it could be a nice hair decoration, so she gave it to me. I had to promise to give it to one of my children someday or to one of my sisters.
Grandma Reed had come for her regular two week visit and would be going with us to the benefit in Ft. Wayne tomorrow and Saturday night. I’m kind of glad that she is joking around with me. She and I had grown apart the last few years.
Well, back to tonight and our time out with the guys from Haddonfield. We went over to Jamie’s and from there be became the group and met the guys. We went out to eat pizza and then returned to Morgan’s house which is big and spacious. It was chosen because Marcy’s boyfriend lives next door.
Ironically Chad was in the midst of problems with a girlfriend and actually asked I do something to leave my mark on him. It didn’t take much listening to him to realize he just lacked the ability to talk with girls in general. And I wasn’t changing him in one night. My suggestion was he makeup with her and use the summer learning from her what she and other girls liked to do. I painted both of his pinkie fingernails and gave him a note he was to give to his girlfriend at school.
I later heard, it caused a rash of Haddonfield girls to put polish on their boyfriends’ fingernails. The first thing they wanted was for their boyfriends to take them someplace they liked. I got a note from Haley. She wrote, “He had to drive me thirty miles to the closet good oriental restaurant. There was no TV in the whole place, he actually relaxed and talked with me. This might have been my best preparation yet for going to college.”
School the next day wasn’t easy as I was tired most of the morning. I went to school as Terrance and had to pack to leave for the benefit after school. Jamie and Morgan decided to come to Ft. Wayne to attend the benefit. Their moms also wanted to see us model. Their dads and mine were out golfing at first light.
The four of us Jamie, Morgan, Attie and I as Teri enjoyed staying up late and sleeping later. Well Attie and I had 9:00 a.m. salon appointments. Cora was there; she wanted to make sure Bonnie put in hair extensions and gave me the full treatment in getting ready for tonight. I’d either need to attend school next week as Teri or chance damaging my hair before the prom by taking out the extensions and curls. I threatened my mom against taking any pictures less one get back to Ms. Briggs.
Those I model for would love me to have longer hair that was styled better. I forgot to threaten Grandma, but she would only have laughed if I did. Dr. Stuartt had a young assistant who took Attie and myself out for lunch. We got to eat with two women who were now actresses and internet personalities. Andi has over two million viewers on one of her sites. We’re told another actress formerly from Ft. Wayne would be at the benefit tonight.
There were some other famous people; I would have liked to meet but during the short time we had I was usually being kept in various groups of women. One woman who I thought was going to give me an air kiss, wrecked my makeup. It’s only saving grace was, Cora got me back to her dress studio. Several young women helping her and me did not seem much older than myself.
Alas Ariel found me when we went over to the benefit facilities. I was dressed up in a corset when I had the need to relieve myself going to the toilet. Ariel was a big help though I was totally embarrassed to have it. It took a lot of effort to do what was needed and not spoil what others had done to me.
Once the program started it was fast moving with a conglomerate of introductions, auctions, entertainment as well as information on Jayne. Jayne is in fact fourteen and is excited about her upcoming surgeries. Seeing how far she had progress from being a young girl, I too was now rooting and expecting the best for her.
Wearing a corset for Cora’s gown was a first for me and became one of my bigger joys in modeling to date. I had not originally told Cora when it was being tightened and I fainted. It caused a slight delay in my appearance, but everything was running at least five minutes late. I rather enjoyed how I looked all corseted up in the gown.
The next outfit, I got to wear Lori’s light pink summer evening gown. They were hoping it would bring a thousand dollars or more. I did not stop with their short runway but walked through a broad aisle and around a number of tables showing the dress to young professional women. Where Cora’s gown drew a bid a thousand above its appraised value. With two choices of Lori’s evening dress already there. When I mentioned, “Lori, the designer is an up and coming fashion designer. She has signed authentication for this dress. You can go to her website and seeing more dresses modeled by Attie, others and myself. A young actress from Ft. Wayne now living in New York City put up a bid of five thousand dollars. She stipulated her desire was for Attie and me to come to New York to attend an event with her there.
Another professional woman got up bidding five thousand five hundred with the stipulation I come to Boston. I soon found myself in the middle of a bidding war that ended at just under ten thousand dollars with Jenna winning. Jenna had suggested five hundred of that go to me for travel expenses. Mom and someone with the benefit agreed that my expenses were not part of that or any other bid.
Where we live a benefit would do well to raise hundreds of dollars sometimes a few thousand. Tonight’s auction and gifts raised over a hundred and seventy thousand dollars. Way more than anticipated. Our part ended up to be smaller than we had expected, but was a great eye opening experience around people with money.
That I was totally immersed in being Teri was a big thing for me. My love for modeling grew immensely. Time with Jamie and Morgan seeing what Attie and I do was a treat for us. It took even more effort than I was accustomed to. Come the end of the night, actually the morning found me falling to sleep with Morgan on her bed.
When I woke up in the morning Morgan was on top kissing me. She told me I was the one who began kissing her. The way I was feeling I wouldn’t have doubted it. The good news was both of us were intact and the only things messed were our night clothes…
Story to be continued…
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