I watched the countryside passing the other side of the glass, the glass of a bus window. My ‘boyfriend’ has revealed himself to be a grade one tight wad, first it was the flask on the train up to York then this.
"What?” I almost snapped.
"Er nice view,” Rory suggested.
Well there was no arguing that, the view across the moors is pretty spectacular but having been sat on the bus for an hour and a half already I'm not comfortable. For starters my corset, whilst not tight digs in as soon as I get halfway comfortable and I've been dying for a wee for the last half an hour – both things I could’ve sorted on the train. And then of course I'm wedged between my case and cheapskate – my mood is not good.
"How much longer?”
“’Bout half an hour I think.”
Oh joy. I returned my attention to the view outside, mindlessly playing with my oral piercings.
"Here, grab this!”
I thrust my case at my travelling companion and made a hurried duck walk to the toilets, my bladder just about to burst.
"Ladies are round the other side luv,” an old chap mentioned at the door.
"Er right thanks,” I allowed with a more than slightly forced smile.
I reversed direction and a moment later – joined the queue for the ladies. Seems that many of our fellow travellers had similar issues, no doubt with similar urgency. Wetting my knickers was one thing, using the ladies another.
For why I hear you ask? Well in case you’ve forgotten I'm not exactly what I appear to be, I might look like Trixiebell Heartswoon, pierced, painted goth princess but I'm actually Zak Askwith, male of the species. Why am I stood in a queue for the ladies at Whitby station, think greed, a pushy sister and my lack of ability in the ‘no’ department and whilst I've been acting the part since last weekend this is my first time using public conveniences.
The queue shuffled forward, my need growing exponentially as I tuned out the conversations around me, almost hopping in desperation.
"Go on dear,” a woman wearing the full Victorian setup invited, "You look more desperate than me.”
"Er thank you,” I grimaced taking the cue to queue jump into the just vacated cubicle.
Of course that's just one hurdle when you’re dressed like I am, skirts up, tights down and hindered by the corsetry, I had barely hit the seat before my bladder released its contents. Note to self, avoid drinking too much. I finished up, redressing took longer than I'm used to of course and I soon joined the other users in front of the mirrors washing, rearranging and reapplying. For the umpteenth time today I looked at my reflection and wondered what the hell I'm doing.
"That’s better,” I allowed returning to where Rory was stood with our bags.
"Hey Trix,” he glanced up from his phone, "I've worked out how to get to the digs, its about fifteen minutes walk.”
Walk! In these shoes? Why did I let Janey talk me into this?
I plastered a smile on my face, "Best get on then,” I grabbed the handle of my case and set off.
"Er Trixie,” Rory called out, "Its er this way.”
I stopped, took a deep breath, counted to ten, turned around and headed back towards my mate.
"Lead on Mc Duff,” I invited.
“Zak always says that,” Ro mentioned, "Never heard anyone else say it.”
Sugar, I need to be more careful.
"Guess I've er caught it off him,” I suggested.
"Yeah,” dopey agreed, "So, how do you know Zak? He never said.”
"At the hospital, we er talk when I get my coffee.”
"He said you worked there, what department?”
What department indeed? "Er Haematology?”
"Cool, that's blood and stuff right?”
"And stuff,” I agreed.
We were but two of many in a tide of elaborately dressed Festival attendees, the full spectrum of Emo and Gothness, a strange counterpoint to the ordinary citizens sharing the streets. There were other men in female garb, I saw at least two but unlike me they weren’t even trying to pass, their beards a dead giveaway. I on the other hand, look about as male as Jessica Rabbit, no one’s going to mistake me for a bloke.
"This is it,” Ro announced.
I looked up at the building in front of me, and up, and up. Its not like there’s any choice in the matter, I'm here freeloading and I guess even beds in a B&B come at a premium this weekend. In my head we’d be staying somewhere like Janey’s workplace, a modern chain hotel but reality is never what you expect.
Dragging my case up the steps, I followed my benefactor into our accommodation.
"Sorry about the room,” Rory offered once we’d ascended to our home for the weekend.
It wasn’t a bad room, not big but the window overlooks the port area, it has a tiny en-suite and a double bed. Of course its a double, Ror was hoping to bring his girlfriend, my dear sister not some random girl his friend set him up with, the same friend who’s currently trying to square away sleeping in the same bed as his best mate.
"I'll take the chair I guess,” he offered.
Should I let him do that? I mean he’s coughed out for the tickets, the transport, the room and – damn it, he’s my best mate.
"We can share I guess, first sign of funny business and you’re outside.”
A look of relief crossed his face, "Thanks Trixie, best behaviour I promise, so erm I guess you need to unpack and stuff, I'll er just have a wee and um wait for you downstairs?”
"Where’re we going?”
"There’s a Siouxsie tribute band doing a gig I thought we could do.”
"Er okay,” I agreed, maybe not my favourite but cool enough.
"See you in a bit then.”
"Er yeah,” I mumbled following him to the door and locking it after him before collapsing onto the bed.
Of course, I can hardly go out in the same stuff I travelled in, blokes have it so easy, what am I saying, I am a bloke. Okay a bloke currently sporting tits and dressed like something from Twilight! I had vague ideas of just changing skirts, replace the cotton for maybe the sateen I think Jane called it.
My phone buzzed, a quick glance revealed it to be my sister, "Hello?”
"Trix? Can you talk?”
"Yeah,” I sighed, "Rory’s waiting downstairs, where’re you?”
"Train lav, you at the hotel then?”
"B and B,”
"So how’s it going then? I take it Ro’s not any the wiser?”
"Blatantly ignorant thankfully.”
"So what’re you guys doing now?”
"Going to some gig.”
"I was just gonna change my skirt.”
"No way Trix, do the body-con and use the iron for some ringlets.”
"He’s bound to smell a rat if you don’t do something. Shit, we’re just coming into St Pancras, speak later, bye Trix.”
Bugger, she’s right of course.
I carefully made my way down to the ground floor where I found Rory playing with his phone again.
"What’re you doing?”
"Just catching up with my Warhammer forum, thought Zak might be on,” he advised before looking up, "Whoa, hot chic-ca!”
"Why thank you, thought I'd make the effort.”
To be honest I feel like a trussed chicken, the ‘body-con’ is knee length and combined with the corset makes it impossible to do stairs or even walking very easily. And then there’s the neckline which exposes a good deal more chest than I possess – just the sort of outfit Trixiebell Heartswoon would wear – I guess for this weekend that’s me.
"So are we going then,” I prompted when he made no indication of moving.
"Er yeah, right, just put my jacket on.”
Rory is of the Victorian mode of Gothishness whilst I'm a disciple of The Cult school of EMO wear, skinny jeans and stuff but Trixie is well Trixie. If you were to try to describe it you’d be hard pushed to pin any label, there’s bits of allsorts but its still clearly on genre. But not just on genre but living it too.
"You all right?”
"These paths weren’t made for these shoes,” I opined having caught myself on a shop front.
The streets are now even busier with festival goers, everyone putting on the style for the evenings festivities. Pretty much everyone at least smiled greetings and once again I thought about how weird it was to be part of this, a step into an alternative universe of vampire worship, nineteenth century dress and late twentieth century popular music.
"Here,” Rory grabbed my hand and placed it on his arm.
Well I hadn’t planned on getting up close and personal but my tottering, restricted progress certainly became easier, I'll kill Janey for these shoes when I get home!
The gig was in some sort of meeting hall a street back from the fish market, passes were checked, scanned and confirmed and we joined the noise inside without further ado. We might be here together but together we most certainly are not, once inside I made that clear to anyone watching us.
"You want a drink?” Ro asked.
thoughts of a toilet visit in this getup put me off any idea of a pint alcoholic or otherwise, "Archers?”
"Right,” Rory allowed before heading to the bar.
Zak would’ve been down in the pit giving it his all – its just how he is, how I am, Rory right alongside but Zak’s not here. It might not be exactly my preferred music but I couldn’t help but start jigging around but Trixie dancing couldn’t be the same as Zak. Somehow I found myself doing a very sinuous thing, arms over my head, eyes closed almost rooted to the spot, yeah Trixiebell dancing is certainly different.
"Lets go eat,” a pumped Rory suggested.
The gig was only just over an hour and it seemed much less, I was not as er, sweaty as Zak would’ve been. And having not eaten since sharing Rory’s packed lunch on that damned bus my restricted belly even managed a rumble.
"Er okay,” I agreed eyeing the busy streets, "Where?”
"Hang on,” he pulled out his phone and wandered along the street to talk. It wasn’t a long conversation, "A mate of mine’s got a table at the Dolphin, we can eat with them.”
"Where’s that?” and who’s that?
"Just across the bridge, they’ve got a band on later.”
The Dolphin was heaving, as an official venue we had to do the ticket thing again, the door thing – he I think was built like the proverbial brick shithouse, carefully inspected everything and even seemed to check I had the right piercings. Anyhow we were allowed inside, into an atmosphere of beer and bon hommie.
Not that idiot? We have met several times, well Zak has at any rate, he’s one of those guys who takes things too far, wearing all the gear at an event is one thing but he wears the top hat and suit all the time, even to the supermarket. I think even Trixie’d dress down for that. Oh and Rory almost worships the bloke, god help my sister if they ever go further than friends with benefits.
We waded through the bodies to where Joseph and a motley bunch of Victogoths were sat around the window table.
"You made it,” Joe pointlessly stated.
"Yeah, just done the Bansheed gig,” Ror advised as they exchanged handshakes.
"This the girlfriend then?”
"Er no, she’s away in the Smoke , this is a, er, friend,” Ror paused, "Trix this is Joe Barnsley, Joe meet Trixiebell Heartswoon.”
"Very pleased to meet you Trixiebell Heartswoon.”
"Er thanks,” I advised inwardly throwing up, "And you, just Trixiebell will do.”
"Well Trixiebell, find a seat, you guys want a drink, Ror?”
Mindful of the toilet issue I decided to stick to my schnapps and lemonade, "Archers with please.”
our ‘host’ headed for the bar and after a bit of shuffling I was wedged between a chap doing a Sherlock impersonation and a woman in full Victorian.
"Amanda,” she offered as I tried to get comfortable.
"I heard, bit of a mouthful.”
"Most people,” well my sister and Magda at the Ibis, "Call me Trix.”
"First time Trix?”
"Er yeah, I've wanted to come for ages,” I'm sure I heard her say ‘I bet’, "So when Ror offered me a ticket I jumped at it.”
"Offered a ticket?”
"I mean offered to get me a ticket.”
Joe returned with our drinks, "Here you go Trixiebell, I've added you two onto the food order.”
"Cheers Joe,” Rory mentioned.
Well it wasn’t as bad as I'd expected, the Victogoths were actually a nice enough bunch, I still think Joe is a dickhead lech but he did pay for our food. I felt somewhat out of place though, oh we’re all into Goth but whilst I'm at one end, everyone else at the table is of the more vanilla end of things. What I mean is that other than Joe they’re weekenders, they spend most of the time as normal citizens, I bet they even travelled in mufti only changing once they arrived here.
It was somewhat after the witching hour when things broke up, by which time I was need of Rory’s arm to stay vertical on the walk back to the digs. No I’m not drunk, I'll admit to happy – what do you expect after half a dozen shorts?
"You want the bathroom first?” Rory asked once we gained our room.
"Er no, I er have stuff to sort first.”
No kidding, I hadn’t really got this far in my head, the whole sleeping with the enemy thing. Jane supplied my pyjamas, decidedly unsexy grey with a teddy bear motif, Little Zak‘ll be well hidden at least. Then of course there’s the removal of cosmetics – of there’s ever a time when I'll be found out its tonight or in the morning.
Rory vacated the bathroom and I took his place. By the time I was cleansed, showered and dressed for bed Rory was busy storing the zzz’s, that’s a relief at least. I climbed under the covers, turned off the light and curled up as far from Rory as possible.
I woke up with a start and took a few moments to remember where I was. Cautiously checked to see where my bed mate was, thankfully still sawing at the air across the bed. I remembered the pub last night, I really am pulling this off, no one seems to have an inkling that I'm a Goth princess answering to the name Trixiebell Heartswoon.
It was tempting to stay under the duvet a bit longer but it occurred to me that without make up I'm more likely to be found out, regardless of my facial decorations and hair colour. Damn, I slipped off the bed, grabbed my make up bag and dashed to the bathroom, locking it behind me. I looked at the face in the mirror, two days Zak lad, two more days and this whole shenanigans will be over.
"Morning,” Rory offered having apparently waited out my use of the bathroom to reassemble Trixiebell Heartswoon.
"Morning, I'll see you down at breakfast.”
For Trixiebell, appearing relaxed still involves full make up but at least Jane had agreed that I didn’t have to wear the corset all of the time. For now at least that means I'm wearing that dress Trixie debuted in last week, you remember the one with the white collar. Well anyhow I can at least relax over breakfast.
"Boyfriend hungover lass?”
"Er, yeah a bit,” I allowed.
"Full English? Tea?” our landlady suggested.
"There’s juice and cereal on the dresser.”
A couple of other tables were occupied by, what I'd say were weekenders – they were dressed in mufti but other than an exchange of greetings they ignored my outlandish appearance. I helped myself to juice by which time my tea was arriving.
"There you go lass, its nice to have a girl eat some food, most girls your age don’t eat a thing when they stay, fraid of putting meat on their bones, you’d think the old Count only went for well fed lasses!”
I shrugged, "I've got garlic?”
"Ha, ha, ha,” she chortled, "A sense of humour too, oops, best look at your food.”
Rory arrived at the same time as my breakfast.
"You look different this morning.”
"I do?” what have I missed, has he recognised me? "How?”
"Something, your hair, that's it, your hairs different.”
I sighed with relief, "I've not done it to go out yet.”
"So you sleep all right?”he went on pinching a piece of my toast.
"Er yeah, hands off.”
"Hungry after last night.”
"Well you didn’t exactly hold back with the beer.”
"Good night though eh Trix?”
Well I'll concede that.
"So what’re we doing today?” I countered.
"Gigs start lunchtime, whatever you like this morning.”
"I've never been to the Abbey, wouldn’t mind a look, we get free entry with our festival tickets.”
"Really? Tell you what, you go look for vampires and we’ll meet up later, there’s that gig Ray was on about last night, that German group.”
“Krankewere,” I supplied.
"That’s ‘em, they’re at the Rowing Club half twelve, meet you there?”
I looked at my wrist to check the time and found only my new tattoo, just you wait Janey.
"What time is it now?”
"Er half eight, oo brekkie!”
"You want more toast lass? I can see your man here has been pinching it,” the cook offered.
"No its alright, I'll just have some of his!” I quickly grabbed a slice of his fresh supply.
Half eight, out of here at nine, a good three hours to explore on my own.
I finished my food and headed back upstairs to get ready for the day - Trixie wouldn’t be seen dead dressed like this at Gothfest.
I've wanted to come to this weekend since Uni, I even tried to get a ticket a couple of years back but student finances don’t really allow for hundred quid festival tickets not if you want to eat and have a social life the rest of term. But now, whilst not exactly rich I've got the opportunity to experience the gigs and whole festival experience. I started walking towards the old town, I've learnt my lesson, I’m shod in the combat boots I managed to talk my sister into allowing.
Yesterday, last night really, bolstered my confidence, no one, in a town full of weirdo goths, looks more than twice at another pincushion goth gurl. Add in the pink hair, ornate make up and my goth with a twist of punk clothing, for 99% of the population that can only mean one thing which definitely isn’t Zak Askwith. I strolled along humming from Christ’s Supper’s set last night in the Dolphin, at one with the world.
The Abbey wasn’t open when I got there so I joined other early birds in a variety of mostly Victogoth outfits on enjoying the cliff top views and after a short look around St Mary’s church I made use of my pass to explore the Abbey ruins and the Cholmley mansion next door.
I squinted at my phone again, the last three tries at a selfie had come out so bad I binned them straight off.
"Trixie, I thought it was you.”
"Oh hi Amanda, you any good at taking photos?”
"I manage,” she grinned waving something with a lens the size of the Hubble telescope.
"Oh right, you think you could take one on here for me?”
"As long as I can take some with this too?”
"Er sure,” I allowed passing her my phone.
"Smile,” she instructed, "So where’s your boyfriend this morning?”
"You’ve got more than one?”
"Er no, course not, he’s er, do you know he never said what he was doing, what about Ray?”
"Still sleeping the Dolphin off, thought I'd come and get a few shots before it looks like a vampire theme park up here.”
I giggled, "They do look a bit daft with the capes an’ all.”
We were wandering along now, Amanda taking shots of me, the abbey, the ‘vampires’ as we walked.
"So what’re you doing after this?”
"Hadn’t really thought, I'm meeting Rory for that gig Ray was on about last night but that's not till after twelve.”
"Snap, tell you what, why don’t we have a girly morning, bit of shopping, there’s a nice cafe with fresh cakes?”
its more of a plan than I started with.
"Won’t you get talked about, hanging out with the punk?”
"Let them, they’re only jealous.”
"Jealous? What of?”
"You of course, your hair, your piercings, your whole look.”
"You kidding me?”
"Nope, straight up, we’re all, what’s the term, like ice cream.”
"Yes, vanilla to do anything so drastic, oh there’s a few nose rings, even the odd hair streak but secretly they, we, want to be you, young, not giving a toss as to what everyone else thinks.”
"Wish my mum thought like that,” I mumbled as we paused to let another overweight gent on top hat and cape wheeze past on the 199 steps.
"Take it she doesn’t approve?”
"Lets just say we agree to disagree on the subject,” not a lie, she tuts every-time she sees as much as a lip ring. she’d be apoplectic if she saw me at the moment.
I guess the old town area has developed in answer to demands, the Whitby Duck shop rubbing shoulders with coffee bars and outdoor retailers. The place was by now pretty busy, Victorian dresses not helping in the narrow confines of the shops.
"Did you see that girls nails?” Amanda asked.
"In the shop?”
"The one on the till.”
"Definitely out there,” I noted.
They were certainly that, each one a tiny work of art, my black talons looked well boring by comparison. I reckon similar thoughts were going through Amanda’s head.
"Come on, lets get our nails done,” she enthused.
"I'm not exactly flush,” I admitted.
"My treat, come on, I saw a nail place back by the square.”
oh well, why not, it’ll clean off on Sunday.
"Coffee,” Amanda stated as we returned to the street.
"Er right,” I agreed still entranced by my new finger decorations. My plain lacquered and quite short nails were no longer, instead I really do have talons fully half an inch over my finger tips. Oh they’re black, but a sort of deeper black highlighted by some gold ‘dangles’ and 3D designs under the lacquer. Amanda had a similarly ornate treatment but in a two tone maroon and ivory with tiny pearls.
"These aren’t very practical,” I mentioned following my friend along the street.
"Practical is over rated, here we go,"She led the way into the cake shop where we snagged a just vacated table.
"Ray, look we’re not gonna make it…..Trixie….Horse & Griffin….I'll tell her….love you too.” Amanda closed her phone, one of those old clam shell things, "Didn’t seem that upset, we’ll meet them for lunch afterwards.”
"What was the message?”
"Oh, the usual, don’t spend too much.”
"Ha!” as if.
"Come on then, times a wastin’”
"I'm gonna get a lip ring,” my companion announced as we perused the jewellery at the piercing booth. We’ve been doing the sales tent on the dockside, a lot of the expected Victogoth stuff, certainly nothing that I fancied parting cash for.
"You are? What happened to vanilla?”
"Oh sod that.”
"Welcome to the dark side,” I hammed.
They were running a ‘walk in’ service so barely fifteen minutes later Amanda was sporting her labret piercing, not a ring but a barbel to allow it to heal first. I succumbed to new jewellery for my cheeks, medusa and snake bites, classy black. Well I got them at a discount with the festival pass.
"So what’s it feel like to be a nasty girl?” I asked.
"Nasty!” she gleefully told me. "Now something for Trixiebell.”
"I've got enough holes.”
"I was thinking more on the lines of clothing.”
"I saw just the thing earlier, come on kiddo.”
The choice of the Horse & Griffin for lunch was soon clear when we needed our passes to get inside, a gig by The Cure, one of my favourite bands and clearly I'm not alone. It was only a short set, thirty minutes after which the place pretty much emptied, the next session isn’t for an hour and there’s stuff to go to elsewhere.
"Enjoying yourself girls?” Ray asked as we waited for our chicken and chips.
"I reckon so,” his SO replied.
"How was Krankwank or whatever they’re called?” I asked.
“Krankewere,” Rory corrected.
"Bit grunge for me, what about you Ray?”
"Not my first choice I have to say.”
"Trix?” Amanda hinted I should follow her.
Followed her into the ladies, I might look like I'm a girl but this bit terrifies me, the communal toilet thing.
"I said he wouldn’t notice,” she huffed between checking her new hole in the mirror.
"Men,” I suggested. "They’ve not noticed these yet either,” I noted waggling my fingers.
"You need a wee?”
"Come on then.”
Once the food turned up we both really hammed things up, licking fingers, waggling hands about, Ray finally noticing Amanda’s digital decorations.
"You had your nails done love?”
"Finally! You like?”
"Not very practical, what’re you going to do at work on Monday?”
"They can like it or lump it.”
"I got mine done too,” I pointed out to Rory.
"I thought they were black before?”
"Men!” Amanda chorused beside me.
"We’ll see you on Middle Earth later,” Amanda called out.
"Yeah, later,” I acknowledged as the four of us split into two couples. Since lunch we’ve visited the Captain Cook Museum, watched three more gigs and done a trip on the steam bus.
"You having a good time?” Rory asked as he waited for me to redo my face.
"Okay,” I turned around, "What do you think?”
"What am I looking at?”
Geez Jane, what do you see in him?
"Dur!” I pointed to my new dimple decorations.
"Oh right, interesting look.”
I rolled my eyes, "Men.”
"Has he noticed yet?” I whispered.
"What do you think?”
"I'll take that as no, so what do you think?”
Earlier, when I was arm twisted into buying the frock I'd been carried by the moment, Amanda’s new found ballsy attitude. Actually leaving the B&B in it was however another thing – oh its nothing risqué but its pretty far away from what I was comfortable with. The top is actually quite fitted with a lot of chest on view, its the skirt that's er, edgy, a flouncy affair, full at the back and almost knicker exposing at the front. I've got a net top under it, fishnets on my legs and those stupid heels on my feet.
"I just knew it was you when I saw it, and the new studs look ace.”
"I feel like everyone's looking at me.”
"Don’t knock it girlfriend, if you’ve got it flaunt it.”
"I thought Rory’s eyes were going to pop out.”
"He on a promise?”
"You know, later back at the b&b?”
Oh that sort of promise, yeah a promise that if he tries anything I'll have his nadgers on a string.
"Have to see how the night goes.”
There was more music, more alcohol, more food and a bit of jigging, every-time I got up I gained an audience and a few ribald comments. By the time we started the walk back to beds I'd pretty much forgotten what I was wearing, that I'm not Rory’s girlfriend, that Trixie is just a temporary aberration. Indeed it was me and not my sisters boyfriend who started to get a bit frisky outside of our accommodation.
© Maddy Bell 28.04.17 (amended 10.05.17)
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