The British Kid
Copyright © 2011 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
The next couple of days came and went without incident. The princesses had helped Pauline to acquire the basics of a wardrobe, some bras, panties, tops, skirts, shoes and tights as well as two or three school uniforms. Most of it had come from the internet, which the school had agreed to fund and in return Pauline was going to pay for her own makeup and a visit to the hairdresser in town to get her hair cut into a short girl’s style.
Becky had shown her things to do with it and she was now coping with her own makeup and haircare, until they could get to town.
The cheerleading, was practised twice a week and the sports bra really helped Pauline from bouncing so much in her uniform. She’d met most of the other princesses and also found that most of the boys treated her with a strange sort of respect which she found hard to define.
Sarah and Becky were treated as girls, as they lived in role all the time, however, the accent, the small stature and girlish features meant that the boys saw Pauline as the genuine article and she was treated as a visiting alien of some sort, who half the boys fancied and the other half were afraid of.
Several of the boys liked to stand or sit near her just to hear her talk–Americans–or some of them at least, were fascinated by an authentic English accent; which tickled her pink.
Becky had shown her an article in a British newspaper, online of course, which held that a significant number of the American cinema going public preferred to have characters in fantasy or science fiction films talking with British or other foreign accents, it made it more acceptable to them for some reason. The British actors like Sean Bean, certainly weren’t complaining. It seemed ever since the success of Lord of the Rings, British actors were rushing about waving swords or featured American ones who affected British accents–the most outrageous being Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, a film which had featured in the school’s most recent film show.
Pauline had a small following who at first were a novelty then an irritation as they kept asking her to say, ‘Captain, Jack Sparrow,’ in a camp English accent. “No one talks like that in England,” she declared.
“Yes they do,” was the response, “Keith Richards does.”
“No he doesn’t, Johnny Depp exaggerated it, just like I am.” But they wouldn’t have it. It got to be very irritating when every time some of them encountered her, they’d say it to her and fall about laughing.
“It’s no good, girl, you’ll have to get yourself a Keira Knightly outfit and swipe ’em with your cutlass.”
“I think she actually had a rapier,” Pauline replied to Andrew’s suggestion.
“Foiled again,” he punned and the others groaned.
“It’s your cut-lass accent, me bucko,” added Dawn, which got even louder groans.
“I tell you what,” offered Ed Clampett, actually dressed as a boy for once, “Professor Swift has been a bit nicer to us since you started reading Portia.”
“God, I hope we don’t have to do Romeo and Juliet,” sighed Pauline, she’d got stuck with reading the part of Portia in her previous school in England and for a while it was a standing joke that the initial P in her name stood for Portia Burton. It got old very quickly too. Now it wouldn’t matter, she’d suspended so much of her belief in reality that everything seemed like a dream in some ways.
The school counsellor, an aptly named, Ms Patience Long, was astonished at Pauline’s story and wanted to do a session every day because she found it so engrossing. Pauline eventually managed to agree to once a week and get a promise of total confidentiality from her. They also agreed that if anyone asked Pauline why she was seeing the counsellor, it because of losing her mother. What was rather sad was that it was a live issue with Pauline, but it would have to wait until they’d dealt with the gender matter.
Reality was to come crashing back into Pauline’s life rather sooner than she’d have liked. Sarah, Becky and Pauline had been out to town to do some shopping and she’d had her hair styled. The length had been kept but it was layered a little and was easier for her to tease into a feminine style herself.
She’d also had a brow shape done, and they were all laughing at how red they were while they waited for the bus to take them back to school. Pauline was carrying a new bra and panty set, which was certainly more exotic than most of her lingerie and she’d had her bust measured which agreed with how Becky had done it a week or so back.
As they arrived at the school still in good spirits, Mr Uchiha sent for Pauline and Becky. “Looks like the solid waste has hit the atmospheric oscillator,” suggested Pauline as they walked to the headmaster’s study.
“Sure does, oh well, we go down together, eh?” suggested Becky.
“Absolutely,” agreed Pauline, “One for all and all for one, what?”
“I’ve heard that before.”
“Yeah, Three Musketeers.”
“ ’Course it was,” Becky berated herself. “Oh well, here goes nothing,” she knocked on the headmaster’s door.
They were bid enter and Mr Uchiha looked serious as he told them to sit. “I have some bad news for you Pauline. I thought you might wish to have Becky stay with you while I explained what has happened.”
Pauline felt like she’d been hit with a large mallet and it had completely numbed her. She just nodded, unable to say anything.
“It’s about your father, I’m afraid.”
Pauline said nothing but huge tears ran down her face. Becky put an arm round her to support her. Normally Uchiha would have suggested it was unnecessary, but today he said nothing.
“He’s been involved in an accident while they were testing some new aircraft. He’s still alive but very badly injured.”
Pauline simply sat and nodded the tears continued to fall.
“There’s a car on its way from the local airbase, they’re going to fly you to see him. I’ve suggested that Ms Henderson goes with you, if she’s agreeable.”
“What?” gasped Becky, “Is that a good idea–I mean.”
“You’re perfectly acceptable as a young woman as is Pauline. I’m astonished that no one has even thought to dispute your claim to femaleness, even Professor Swift has been heard to wax lyrical about your rendition of Portia.”
There was a knock at the door, the secretary poked her head round it to announce the Airforce were waiting outside to take Pauline and a friend to the airfield.
“I can’t go like this,” Pauline said weakly.
“They’re expecting two young women to be collected, I’m afraid.”
“We’ll have to explain–I’m a boy.”
“That would cause so many problems, they didn’t seem to have difficulties in accepting that P Burton was a girl,” Uchiha explained.
“But my dad might?”
“If I understand correctly, and I could well be very wrong, he’s unconscious, so he might not be able to see you or even remember you, depending on how badly hurt he is.”
Pauline said nothing but closed her eyes and collapsed on the floor, the thick Chinese carpet cushioning her fall.
She came round with the school nurse wiping a cold wet cloth across her forehead. “Are you alright, young lady?”
“Yeah, I think so. Sorry, have I been sick?”
“No,” the nurse smiled.
“Oh, I am now.” With that she began to heave and the nurse just happened to have a receiver to catch it in. Becky had wisely waited outside, as had Uchiha, who when he heard the retching worried as much about his carpet as he did his pupil–cleaning a Chinese carpet is a total pig.
Ten minutes later, Pauline was escorted back to her room and she and Becky were told to pack for a few days trip. Pauline included one outfit of Paul’s just in case. Then without further ado, they were placed in the airforce registered Chevrolet and whisked off to the airbase.
“We’re gonna fly you girls by helicopter to Johnson and a airplane from there will take you to your dad.” They both nodded as there wasn’t much else they could do.
The helicopter was noisy but felt strange rising almost perpendicularly into the air. As Paul, he’d have been fascinated and asked loads of questions, but as a girl, she felt a little overwhelmed by the way the deception had grown beyond her control–that coupled with the worry about her dad, meant that she was functioning very much on autopilot.
For her part, Becky, talked to the woman sergeant who’d been sent to babysit them all the way to the hospital, which was at the airbase. Becky, again would normally have had loads of questions about the geeky side of helicopters, never having flown in one before but like Pauline, she kept them to herself. Better to be thought a girl than proven otherwise.
The helicopter flight lasted about ninety minutes and they alighted with cases at Johnson airbase and were escorted to an office, where they were given ID badges after posing for quick digital photos. “Make sure you have these at all times, or you could be arrested or even shot.” Pauline was suitably horrified by such a suggestion and shrank back from the large corporal who told them, while Becky thought he was bull-shitting them. However, she pinned on her badge which declared her name as ‘Rebecca Henderson’ and helped Pauline pin hers on as well.
They were left to wait while their flight was organised and helped themselves to a sandwich each, not knowing when they’d eat again. After eating, and snaffling some crisps and chocolate as emergency rations, they went off to the ladies and freshened up. It was also the first time they could actually talk securely.
“This is absolutely stupid. What am I supposed to say if my dad wakes up and asks what the hell I’m doing in a dress?”
“I don’t know, tell him you dressed in a hurry - in the dark. Oh just tell him you’re transgendered.”
“It’s all a bit sudden, isn’t it?”
“He won’t know that though, will he?”
“We’re not exactly very close, so it might work. I’m just beginning to wish we hadn’t started all this,” Pauline referred to her dress. “Why wouldn’t you let me travel in jeans–you did?”
“You need to reinforce your feminine identity, just in case they think your dad had a son.”
“Yeah sure, so they’ll decide he had a rather peculiar son, is that it?” She made funny face at Becky who was quite tense and giggled far harder than was deserved.
“They’re surely not laying on a flight just for we two, are they?” asked Pauline.
“I understood it to mean they had a regular shuttle between various airbases and that’s what we’re waiting for.”
“Oh, that makes more sense.” They went back to the waiting area and Pauline picked up an airforce magazine which included an article about her dad. She read it and then looked at the photo. Tears filled her eyes.
“What’s the matter?” asked Becky but Pauline couldn’t answer. She showed the article and Becky took it scanning it quickly she picked up the main points. She smiled. When Pauline had recovered, she added, “At least it doesn’t mention you at all.”
Pauline nodded, agreeing that was a good thing, but also acknowledging that she was worried about her dad.
The flight to her dad’s home base was aboard a regular airliner, only one owned by the US airforce, but it felt similar to being on board an aeroplane anywhere, and the food was just as bad. They managed a short sleep, but Pauline was too worried to sleep for long.
“Welcome to the Richard M Nixon Airbase,” announced the chief steward on the aircraft as they touched down. “Please wait until we stop moving before undoing your seatbelts.” The pilot manoeuvred the large machine until it lined up with the stages and the light above them pinged and they could finally stand up and stretch.
They were treated as minor VIPs, escorted by the woman sergeant their luggage was collected for them and they were shuffled through reception to an awaiting car which drove them across the base–some two miles–to the hospital.
Pauline was glad the sergeant, Nancy Brew-Hoffman, was there, it saved her saying anything much at all. However, when they were shunted into an office and a doctor in a Persil-white coat followed them in, Pauline’s tummy flipped and she felt quite sick.
The doctor, a rather tall man with thick, short cut grey hair bent down and looked at the two girl’s name badges. He looked Pauline in the eye, “I’m afraid your father was badly injured in the crash. He’s currently unconscious, and fitted up to several machines. So don’t be surprised when you go and see him. If you speak, especially to him, be careful what you say because people who are unconscious might still be able to hear you.”
“Is he going to die?” asked Pauline in a very quiet voice.
“I don’t know, young lady,” the doctor squeezed her shoulder with his large hand, “That’s very much in the lap of the gods, I’m afraid.”
She was led on her own into the cubicle where Tim lay on a ripple mattress which made occasional puffing noises as the mattress produced a current of air to prevent bed sores. She was horrified and barely recognised the bruised and burnt face, covered in bandages, the body swathed in more dressings and tubes and leads seemed to be plugged in everywhere, beeping or ticking, lights and LEDs flashing.
This thing, almost unrecognisable as a man, let alone her father, was her dad? And she was worried that he wouldn’t recognise her? The nurse with her said, “It’s okay, ya know, he cain’t hurt ya.”
“Are you sure that’s my dad?” popped out before she could stop it, “he’s a tall man with fair hair and...”
“Accordin’ to his dog-tags that’s your dadd-ee.”
“Go ahead, speak to him, darlin’, he won’t bite.”
Pauline nodded and gingerly stepped forward, then clearing her throat, she stepped forward again, and touching the bandaged hand said quietly, “Hello, Daddy, I’m here, it’s Paulie.” She used the name he used to call her when she was young and before her mother died.
“It’s me, Paulie, Daddy, I’m here.”
The fingers of the hand twitched and she nearly withdrew her own hand in fright. She watched the eyes moving under the closed eyelids, wondering what her dad was thinking–can you think in a coma? Did he recognise her? Tears began to fall and she stayed with him for ten or so minutes before the nurse led her away back to the others.
“How is he?” asked Becky.
Pauline shrugged unable to speak, the tears silently flowing down her cheeks.
“Oh my,” said Becky and hugged her.
Later back in their hotel, the two girls shared a room with Nancy staying in the next room, they talked.
“I don’t know if he’s going to die, he’s all burnt and covered in bandages.” She began to cry again.
“Hey, you gotta be brave for him, you gotta make him get better.” Becky put her hands on Pauline’s shoulders. “You gotta help him–he’s your daddy.”
“I don’t know if I can.” Pauline wept and her friend pulled her into a hug.
“Hey, girl, you can do this, remember you’re a girl and we’re stronger than boys–you can do this.”
“I’ll try,” sniffed Pauline, who while enjoying the hug pushed her friend away. “Thanks, Becks.”
“Nah, that was someone else, my name is Becky now.”
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