Unknowingly his mother causes him to embrace Stephanie
…his bad mouth caught up to him.
Previously: “What do you think of going to Peddlers Village with Stephanie. I’d be amused to see if she enjoyed it more sharing the experience as a girl with other girls.”
Elle says, “I’d be comfortable going as a bunch of girls; even including Kari and Brad... Stephanie needs to wrestle a live a little in the world according to Stephanie. But I’m not taking a boy with me.”
Chapter 4 begins…
Come Thursday, Mrs. Miller takes Staci and me to the University and Briar’s Hall where Hope’s suite. It looks like a lot of the students are going home for their semester break. But when we get to Hope’s room there’s a group waiting for me. “Welcome Stephanie and it’s Staci isn’t it? This is Bri, she’s a psychology major. This is Shanice and Javan, they’re both science majors. And Bert is a pre-med major. We’re all in a research module for January, and for some of us on through the next semester.” All five women are up to greet us. Staci whispers to me with a giggle, “I think they were sizing you up for clothes along with greeting us.”
Mrs. Miller is standing behind us, “So you’re a legitimate group and this is a valid research project of the university?”
Hope says, “It’s part of a University Research Project and we’re working with Grad-Assistant Ms Jana Dean and the University’s Gender and Sexuality Research Program. Here is her card if you want to verify what we’re doing?”
“If it is okay I am going to ask Staci to go down to Danica’s room with Javan and Bert. Stephanie we’ll have you stay here with Bri, Shanice and myself. Hope says to Mrs. Miller, “You’re welcome to come or call back at five, but we’re hoping you’d allow us to take them to dinner. We can either give them a ride home or have them call you for a ride. I know you also have the option of them leaving with you now.”
Mrs. Miller is soon gone, Staci’s down the hall and I’m visiting with Hope, Brianna and Shanice. It’s first the usual collection of information and some casual questions. I was remembering things I didn’t remember knowing. I told them even when I wore a skirt for Brad, I wasn’t a girl.
Like Bri asks me, “Did you try to perfect your girl look after Brad gave you girl clothes when you were younger? Or did you dress up rarely as a girl?”
I said, “I wasn’t trying to perfect that. I did at time wished I could look better. Anyway it was when I was 11 I thought he was getting more interested in girls. And I liked the look of being a girl.”
Hope, “You’re saying since you didn’t want to lose him, you’d become better at being a girl.”
I am getting nervous, I’m growing anxious. “Did you say you wouldn’t judge me if I said something crazy, like I liked being a girl, his girl?” I pause, “Then yes, and I didn’t mind it I liked girl’s clothing. It feels nicer.”
Bri says, “We don’t think you’re crazy. Did you just like the feeling of girl’s clothing, or did you find yourself wanting to be a girl?”
“I liked being a girl, but I knew I can’t be. I’m a boy and I’m not going to be a girl no matter how much I think I am. I have a boy’s body that’s it.”
Shanice asks, “You know that there are many people who believe their body does not match who they are?”
“I know they’re called crossdressers. That is what I am, but I need to be Steven because I don’t just want to wear girl clothes. I will get over it! It might take some time. I just don’t like the idea of being shamed to the point I forget about being a girl anymore. I was kind of hoping you knew of a support group or you would help me to quit!”
Brianna says, “It’s not something you get over, if it’s really you. Crossdressers might decide how they’re going to live with something they like to do. But what you seem to be describing is that you know inside you’re a girl.”
“Well isn’t that the same thing,” I ask? “If I didn’t have on a dress; I’d still feel like I’m one of you. Either with you or when I’d be alone, I’d want to dress up like Stephanie.”
Hope says, “No, wanting to be a girl isn’t the same as crossdressing. Some boys realize they’re transsexual or transgender.”
I say, “I’d stop my searches any time it seemed to suggest that. I am kind of waiting for my sisters to move out so the temptation is gone. Then I can go back to just being Steve and not tempted.”
Someone asked, “How long have you been quitting being a girl?”
“Haley graduates from school this year, this time I should succeed.”
Shanice says, “I asked you, how many times have you quit being a girl? Didn’t you decide to quit when your older sister went to college?”
“Who told on me that I wanted to quit then? I didn’t think anyone knew?”
There was a knock on the door and there was a young woman standing there when they opened the door. She introduced herself to me, “Stephanie, it is nice to meet you, my name is Jana Dean, I work under Dr. Joanna Spriggs. Have you had enough talking for now?”
I say, “It’s kind of heavy, but I’m glad I came. I hope they’re going to be friends and I don’t have to stop coming.” I slap my leg because I’m sure it sounded silly that I’d want to be back dressing like Stephanie.
“You’re willing to come back that sounds good to me. If we took you and your friend out for pizza and did some shopping, would you mind?”
“I wouldn’t mind and I know Staci and I both understood we would have a chance to eat with you. I’d like to get another skirt, so I don’t have to only wear Elle’s old stuff. It’s pretty nice, but not this year’s colors or style.”
I could tell everyone was amused by what I said. Brianna left, I think to get Staci and the others. Jana sits across from me, lightly smiling. “You must have been dressing as Stephanie a long time to be looking this good as a girl?”
“No just since last Friday when Brad came to our house. He asked me to go to the drive-in with him. When my Mom and sister suggested I could dress as hid date, I got upset. When I lost my temper and cussed out my sister. Well, Mom said, I needed to be dressing as a girl through today. But now it sounds like my mother’s planning on giving me a gift as Stephanie for Christmas.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she forces me to dress as Stephanie into next week, if not until New Year’s Eve.”
Jana asks, “You mother is forcing you to do this against your will?”
“Well, not actually. I’m sure she sees it as a chance for me to dress like this. I think she was surprised that I did it without her knowing. I sometimes had my sisters arguing among themselves about the other getting into their clothes. But I never got to fully be Stephanie before. I really didn’t know how to do what I wanted.”
Staci and the others are back. Staci comes over and gives me a hug, asking, “Were they as nice to you as they were to me? I liked visiting with them. I know it’s really about you, but it was helpful to me I liked it.” I looked at her and she said, “As your girlfriend.”
Hope asked, “Do you girls want to freshen up to go out for pizza?”
Hope’s room was part of a suite, so we used the restroom off the lounge. The college girls used Hope’s bathroom or various mirrors. Staci and I both changed our makeup because it was going to be evening. Several of the students not only changed their makeup but their clothes as well. I’m sure Jana noticed we were a bit jealous.
Hope said, “You two did very good in changing your look. Staci did you do her makeup?”
Staci emphatically says, “No, I did smooth out her eyeshadow but that was it.”
Hope and Jana show us two necklaces and a bracelet and earrings. If either of you would like to wear any of it help yourself. The earrings on the card are new and yours if you decide to wear them. Each set of earrings goes nicely with a necklace. I look at the others and I am hesitant but I give in and choose the earrings and bracelet I like. Brianna who is a sharp looking dresser, helps me with the necklace that goes with them as I put in the earrings. The studs I had in are back into my purse.
Six of us snuggly fit into Ms. Dean’s SUV; it is not knew but it is a nice looking vehicle for a young woman. Bri, Shanice and Bert rode in the car. O’Kelly’s was definitely a college place, and for some reason the vast majority of customers are female. Even the TV channels are turned to women’s basketball or music.
We order our pizza and get our drinks; Hope brought over a small plates of cheese sticks with two sauces. I’m surprised but between the cheese sticks and two pizzas everyone satisfies their appetites. Come seven o’clock they have a karaoke time. I got forced into a trio singing a Taylor Swift song, ‘Teardrops on my Guitar’. I wouldn’t have known it, if my sisters had not played it so often. It gave me goosebumps to be singing it while imagining of her video. It was of her on a bed singing it in a beautiful dress with her eyes made up with her lips sparkling. Before I went up to sing, Bri handed me a pink lip-gloss to put on. I couldn’t see my lips, but it helped me to imagine myself as Swift singing. The woman taking back my mic at the end, said, “We know which one of us is a teenager able to dream as she sings.”
Some other woman stood up in front of me on my way back to sit down saying, “You know you have her luscious lips and I could go for a kiss.”
She’s an attractive woman, I say, “You look as hot as I feel right now.” She lifts a hand, touching the side of my face as she leans into me. I close my eyes; the sensation of our luscious lips kissing puts me in a trance as she moves back. I open my eyes feeling like I’m still kissing and everyone is looking at me.
We stayed for two more songs, before Jana says we should be going. On our way out a woman with a tablet met us. “Did you know that you’re eligible to win Ellie Goulding tickets for January 14?”
I ask, “Is this legitimate? You’re joking aren’t you?”
She looks to and asks, “Jana can to verify for her that this is real. I’m guessing the crowd at 9:00 when we select a winner might like her as much as the crowd a little while ago did. It even could include a backstage pass. We’re giving one away tonight and three other pairs Friday and Saturday.”
I look to Jana before I begin giving my information. I ask, “Can my alter ego go in my place if I can’t?
Char steps back and looks to see if I’m for real. She smiles, “If you win tonight I will make sure you get one of the two backstage passes.”
There is a boutique next door to the pizza lounge. Four ride back to the residence hall. There are long skirts that I quickly fall in love with. I’ve seen college students wear them and I have always often been jealous. But I wait for Staci to select a skirt and a top. I wanted to see if they really would buy something for us. Staci bought the blouse which was less expensive. The skirt she got is five dollars more expensive than the one I like. Jana watches me when I go back to the skirt and pattern I like.
She asks, “I like that, but what did you like that caused you to select that skirt?”
“I’ve seen a good number of college girls wear it when our family would go to the mall or out to eat. I don’t really know why, but I kind of like the women I usually see wearing them. I think it will look good on me and be fun to wear.”
It is only as its being purchased I realize one could see into the skirt.
They’re driving us home; Staci calls her mother to pick her up at my house. Jana asks, “Do you think it would be okay if I talk to you and your moms?”
I knew my mother was hoping for something like that and I’m sure she would have asked before I went a second time. I call my mother asking if it would be okay if Jana came in and talked with her. Brianna was included.
Mrs. Miller was to my house before we were. She and my mother greet us at the door. My mother says, “After you introduce us to the two guests, I want you to quickly go and change into whatever you purchased.”
“Mom, Ms Dean purchased it for me, I just got to choose it.”
Mother says, “Quickly upstairs, change and come down.”
I was right, my legs clearly show from mid-thigh down. I change into a pair of leggings as well as the skirt. I was afraid of what my mother might say. When I went back to show them my skirt. Mother said, “That is a smart look on you, who did you say picked it out, they have good taste.”
I curled up my legs and sat on the floor near my mother. Mom said, “When visiting with adults as a young woman it is proper to sit up on a chair like the rest of us.”
Jana cautiously spoke up, “That is one of the things I am talking about. Her natural tendency in being a young woman, might include being like a younger girl. There are a number of possibilities why.”
“The tendency of such a young woman wanting you or you wanting to brush her hair or have you help her in some other way is not unusual.” Mother and I look at each other knowing that has happened in the last week.
We talk more, when Jana said, “Stephanie said her punishment of wearing girls’ clothes was over today.”
My mother says, “I’m pretty certain she knew as early as Monday evening she could have stopped. She even acted up once like she wanted me to extend the punishment. I didn’t, but I was open to Stephanie continuing. Finally yesterday, I began to buy her some Christmas presents, thinking it looks like she will be around come Christmas.
“I am more than happy to have her; as buying something nice for her is much easier. As far as I’m concerned she can be Stephanie through Christmas, even up to New Year’s Day if she’d like. I thought she’d exhaust her taste of being a girl before this and at least by then.”
Elle’s there and she says, “I tried telling my mother before you did. That I don’t think this is something Steven will get tired of, or out-grow. I go to another university, but from what I hear it’s an accepted understanding. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Stephanie, Steven was helped by a group like yours.”
Jana says, “I agree, but if, and I’m use to calling her Stephanie. If we’re to have her in our research and support group we need Rose and Stephanie to both agree for her to particpate. If insurance helps some that extends our research and small group dollars.”
Brianna and Jana turn to Staci, “If you would like to help out and be in a peer group we would need permission. You would not be anywhere near as involved as your friend, but I think it would be helpful for you as well as Stephanie.”
Mrs. Miller and Staci take their information and go home. Mrs. Miller did invite us to go with them to the Christmas Eve Candlelight service.
Jana says, “Because of the holidays and the pressures that often come with it. We have group meetings Tuesday and Thursday of next week. Steph or Steve could attend one of both sessions. I’d give her some one on one time one of those days. I’d use Brianna or Danica as your big sister. They do not actively take part in the support group, but the big sister is there for you and you will be her only little sister as you go through this. If you decide you’re a little brother or a peer that will be okay as well.”
I look to Brianna, “I don’t know Danica, but I’d be happy to have Brianna as a big sister.”
It is now after 9:30 when Jana’s phone receives a message. It is Char and she’s left a text message. “Please tell Stephanie, she won the tickets to see Ellie Goulding and it includes the backstage pass. But it is only for Stephanie and her guest. We will have word to her, when our caravan will be leaving that morning. I hope she does not mind staying over if our time with Ellie runs late.”
Jana shows the text to me and my mother. She uses her tablet search to connect with the pizza lounge web-site. She shows my mother my Karaoke song number. Elle asks me, “Where did you ever learn to sing like that?”
Elle wasn’t surprised I heard her and Haley singing the song enough. She was surprised that I imagined myself as a girl singing songs as a girl. She asked and I told her which songs I had learned to sing. Elle finally says, “That explains the shiny lip-gloss.” I was embarrassed that I still was still wearing it in front of my mother.
Mother says, “I’m a bit surprised you were comfortable at Jasmine’s Pizza Lounge. Singing there is just a bit more of a surprise. I think your sister Elle would be a good choice to go with you to the concert if you’re possibly staying overnight.”
I ask, “Why are you so surprised I would be comfortable at the pizza place?”
She says, “I guess I shouldn’t have been. You are probably use to estrogen filling a place.” Mom pauses, “You do know there’s quite a blend of women there from lesbians, transgender, straight and crossdressers?”
I naïvely ask, “And how do you know what kind of a place it is?”
My Mom says, “It is a place I go to, especially near the end of the work week and not wanting to be hit upon by men.”
I giggle, “But other women might hit upon you.”
“Women have been more accepting of a ‘no’. Plus it is less likely to be about sex, more likely someone I’m interested in knowing.” Mom says, “You’re old enough to understand since your father died; I miss the companionship we had. I am in no rush for a partner.”
Mom says, “Why don’t you say good-bye to Jana and Brianna and go get ready for bed.”
I say goodnight and head upstairs. I stop and listen to them from the top step.
Mother thanks Jana, “I do appreciate she made contact with your group through Hope. And thank you for giving me the heads up to where you were taking them to eat. If I hadn’t known beforehand I might have been wondering.
“I hope she doesn’t think poorly of me as a mom or her father’s wife for going there. I didn’t mean to say, I am the one who sometimes seeks to make connections with another woman. I’ve gone out with a few men since my husband died. It is not that I don’t like men anymore. It is easier to carry on conversations and to allow my heart to be touched.”
Mother says, “You probably think I’m the one in need of a support group. Maybe that is why Stephanie is the way she is. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have shared this with you.”
Jana says, “You sound like one of the healthier mothers I’ve come in contact with. My own mother is a lot like you but the few times she’s relaxed and has gone out like that. She ends up feeling guilty and judgmental of herself.
“Do you know you don’t have any reason to feel guilty about Steven feeling like Stephanie?”
Brianna giggles, “The psychology department would do well to develop a program for mature women who have become single. Not a grief group as much as a group that hears their grief but supports one another in moving on.”
She says, “I don’t mind dating men at all, but I do like the ability to treat other women my age as complete people. That includes our being able to emotionally be in touch with one another. It isn’t about sex for me.”
Mom says, “Do you think you can guide Stephanie to see life that way?”
Brianna says, “I’m not likely to guide her as much as help her/him to explore who she is.”
I had fallen asleep at the top of the stairs by the time Elle saw me. “You need to take a shower and get ready for bed. I am surprised you aren’t all wired needing to talk to mom or me.”
I say, “That was my problem, I was waiting to visit with mother but they kept talking and I fell asleep.
I shower, trying not to get my hair overly wet. My nightgown is nice and snuggly warm. When I go down to my mother, she’s taking a shower. Luckily Elle came down and sees my brush in my hand. I asked, “Do you think, my liking you or mom to brush out my hair is my wanting to be a little girl?”
My sister takes the hairbrush, “Please sit up properly on the edge of the chair.” She says as she brushes my hair, “You’re developing some natural curls. It is as though your hair has been waiting until now to show off.”
Our mother is out of the shower and ready for bed, when she comes out to us. “I think you two better get some sleep. I decided we’ll be going to Peddlers Village tomorrow. I heard they have some snow and it looks like a winter wonderland.”
When I went to bed, all I could dream of was being a girl with leggings under an attractive outfit. I would borrow mittens and a cute knitted hat. But alas I did not have a nice girl’s winter coat to wear, not if both my sisters go and I know that’s the plan. It gives me a restless night’s sleep. I’m awake early and I put on the short fluffy robe my sister let me have.
I got to the tea pot and poured hot water over my raspberry something teabag. I went to sit in the nook hoping I could brood alone. But my mother was there and soon asking why I’m so glum, “I thought you would be happy.”
“I thought I would too, but I’m not.” ‘How could I tell my mother, after she had already spent so much? That I need a winter coat. I’m sure a pretty coat that I’d like to be wearing, would probably cost close to a $100. That’s a hundred dollars, we don’t have to waist on my dream.’
Mother asks, “So what’s bothering you. I thought you like being a girl and seeing life on our side.” She pauses, “If you want you can go back to being Steven. Your discipline is over, but I thought you decided to experience at least Christmas?”
“Yes mother, I kind of like the idea, but it’s getting to expensive. And now I need to wear my winter coat. I haven’t taken good care of it and it’s nothing like what a girl would enjoy wearing.”
Mother asks, “Have you thought of wearing Elle’s old coat?” The one that I could think of has been in the extra closet since Christmas of last year. It use to be pretty, but it had to be dusty, musty and well worn. I wore it more than once when it was still nice. But it would be musty smelling, squished in the back of the closet and it would almost be as embarrassing as wearing my coat.
Mother is trying to keep a straight face until she can take my sadness no longer. “I took it down to the Martinizing Dry Cleaners yesterday. You know where Allison’s mom operates the place? Mrs. Ottoman says it should look real cute. She wanted to know who it was for. I told her I had a niece visiting, who might need it. I think she will love seeing the smile on your face when we go get it.”
“But Mom, if anyone might be able to guess who I am it’s Allison’s mother and then she’ll tell Allison. What have you done?”
“That is what I could afford to do. And you know very well that if someone is going to know; the person couldn’t be nicer than Allison or her mother. I thought it might also be nice for Staci to have another girl she could confide in.”
I am drinking my tea and its warmth helps me to feel better and to relax. Haley comes bouncing down into the kitchen. She sees Mom but I’m around the corner and out of sight. Haley says, “Mom have you told Stephanie about Elle’s old coat? I don’t know if you’re going to be able to coax her into the drycleaners to try it on. I think she’s become a little spoiled in getting so many nice things; she become a little diva.”
“I have not,” I spout off as she comes into sight. “But I’m going to be very embarrassed if Allison comes to know about me.”
Haley says, “Allison wouldn’t be a bad person to invite along. She’s very attractive and she’s a good one to enjoy the day with. I thought she was a friend anyway?”
Yes she’s nice to me but that’s with Steven. She would be a little put off seeing me in a nice skirt outfit. And I’m not a spoiled Diva!”
Mother says, “You each should get a breakfast bar, some fruit and then get ready by nine to leave.
I enjoy getting ready the gray leggings go nicely with the pleated skirt and blouse I’m wearing. I even have one of those long bulky sweaters that will keep me warm enough to jump in and out of the car. We pick up Staci, because she’s on the way to the cleaners. We’ll pick up Janice after that.
Mom drives and stops on the street in the pick-up parking place. She turns around and hands me a twenty dollar bill. “I think that should cover the cost, now get going?”
“I’m not going, I’m not ready if Mrs. O would recognize me?” Mom presses a button for my door to open and Staci gives me a good push. I grab Staci’s hand and drag her to come with me. We quickly scoot into the store as the wind is briskly cold and my sweater is not that warm. I’m hoping not to see Mrs. O, but that would have been better than turning around to the counter and seeing Allison. I stay in character as Stephanie, but I say, “Hi Allison.” Now she knows she should recognize me.
She looks to Staci and then back to me, I can see the ‘Oh’ shape of her mouth as she says, “OMG Steven. Staci cutely says, “Its Stephanie, Steven’s cousin.”
Allie says, “Who are you trying to kid. I doubt she’d have the same scar over that knuckle.” She presses the turnstile to bring the H’s around. She takes off the coat and hangs it on a hook near us. “My Mom said you need to try it on to make sure it fits and you like it.” She lifts up the plastic cover and takes it off the hanger to help me try it on. Once the sweater is off and I move to the opening of the counter. Allie says, “You do make a cute girl, you even walk like one of us.” She’s holding the coat open as I stick in one arm and then with her help the other arm. I turn to her because that’s where the mirror is. Allie smiles, “You like it don’t you. It looks good on you.”
I hold out the money to pay her, trying not to say anything. However, I do respond to seeing myself in the coat with the fur like collar and sleeves. “Thanks Allison, I’ll have to tell you sometime.”
Staci says, “Allison why don’t you come with us to Peddlers Village, you’d love it.”
Allie’s eyes pop wide open, “Are you the one’s my mom said might invite me to go with them? Mom said, I could go if I wanted too. That’s why I’m not really dressed for work.”
Story to be continued…
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