Billie's Christmas Present

Billie's Christmas Present

Bill’s team was in a hard-fought battle with their little league archenemies. They had split their previous two games and this was for the championship. It was the bottom of the last inning, the score was tied, and Bill was up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. The pitcher watched him dig in at the plate. He had already struck Bill out three times and he was quite sure that he could do it again.

Bill crouched as low as he could. His plan was to present as small a target as possible and pray for a walk. The guys on the team often regarded him with disdain for his lack of offensive ability. Sure, he was a good defensive second baseman, but he was a real lightweight at the plate. At only five feet tall, he was small for his age, taking after his mother. His lack of size had a negative effect on his self-confidence among his peers. He was often teased asking if the old-time Dodger shortstop ‘Pee Wee Reese’ was his favorite ballplayer. He would just smile at the insult.

It was as if the pitcher knew what he was thinking because the first ball was right down the middle and called a strike. Bill stepped out of the batter’s box and wiped his sweaty hands on his trousers. The catcher said loud enough for everyone to hear, “Come on kid. Get back in there. You know there is no chance in hell you can hit my pitcher."

With a determined look on his face, Bill stepped back up to the plate and dug his cleats into the batter’s box, crowding the plate. Again, the ball was straight as an arrow right down the middle.

What Bill did next shocked everyone even his coach. He assumed his normal stance. Again, the pitcher threw his fastball right down the center of the plate. Bully had no chance of hitting it with a swing so he did the unexpected. He placed a perfect bunt down the first base line. No one bunts with two outs and two strikes! Bill had the advantage of surprise. He didn’t have the bulk to be a slugger and lacked the power of his teammates, but he was the fastest kid on the field. He raced to first leaving behind a cloud of dust and a string of curses from the opponents.

The coach on third recognized what was happening and yelled at all the runners to go. The first baseman fielded the ball and raced Billy to the bag. That was a race Bill would never lose and he was standing on the bag as the winning run crossed home plate. Bill was mobbed by his teammates. He was a hero.

After all the congratulations, had died down, the team invited Bill to join them at the local burger joint to celebrate. Bill had to pass, he didn’t have any money. Ever since his father had taken off, ‘to find himself’, money had been real tight at home. His single mother tried, but as a waitress made just enough to feed and house them. His deadbeat father only provided alimony and child support on an occasional basis.

It wasn’t all his father’s fault though. When his parents divorced, Bill and his older sister, Millie, remained at home and lived with their mother. Then, six months later, Millie had been invited by her father to accompany him for a ski vacation. Bill was considered too young to go with his sister. There had been that terrible car accident on the snow packed roads of Colorado. It hospitalized his father with a bad back and killed his sister.

Bill thought he would lose his mother when she heard the news of her only daughter’s death. Millie and his mother had always been close, but were inseparable once his dad had run off. Bill was jealous of not only the time they spent together, but the closeness they established.

He had felt like a fifth wheel and was not included in womanly things they did like shopping, going through fashion magazines, and watching chick flicks on the TV. Being a boy, he was not asked to join them. When Millie was killed, his mom emotionally shut down. If it hadn’t been for his Grandmother ‘Me Maw’, Bill was sure the family would have fallen apart. She lived only 20 minutes away and Bill got to see her weekly as she hosted a big fancy dinner every Sunday after church.

After his teammates and their parents had disappeared. Bill took out a rubber band from his pocket and put his long blond locks in a ponytail. His hair didn’t contribute much to his masculine appearance but Bill kept it because it was the current fashion for men to have long hair. Besides, with money so tight, if he wanted his hair cut his mother would do it in the kitchen. That was a disaster every time. So, he went with the long hair fashion statement, much to his mother’s chagrin.

Hopping on his old bike, he headed home. Halloween had been only two days ago, and he still had almost a full bag of candy leftover. He would celebrate by stuffing his face with candy before his mother got home. Halloween was now the only holiday he enjoyed. It didn’t put any pressure on his mother to get him stuff. Two years in a row he wore his baseball uniform as a costume. Sadly at 13 he knew this was probably his last year trick and treating.

Christmas was coming, a time he looked forward to with mixed feelings. Since his parents had split up, his only presents were those that he got in his stocking. They never amounted to much but it was something that brought him great joy.

As he hit Elm Street, the chain on his bike broke again. Luckily, he only had three blocks to go. Boy…he wished for a new bike for Christmas, but there is no way one would fit in his size 7 sock. He got off the bike and resigned himself to pushing it on the sidewalk.

With his attention focused on the ground right in front of him, he almost missed it. There in the gutter was a fancy bag from a shop in the mall, someplace called Chrissy’s. He kicked it with his foot and realized there was something in it. He carefully peered inside and was disappointed, it was only something girlie. He thought it was a pair of pantyhose but, upon closer inspection, it was a pair of knee high stay ups. Whatever those were. He took one out and closely examined it, it was a woman’s stocking of some kind. At first, he thought maybe he could save it for a Christmas present for his mother; but the size chart on the package told him that they were way too small for his mother.

It was then the idea hit him. Even though it was marked as being size small, it was stretchy and could hold a lot of stuff. He came up with a plan. He would hide it until he hung his stocking up. Santa would have a chore filling this stocking.

He got home and hid his treasure among his stockings. He dropped his dirty uniform on the floor and took a quick shower. Then sat down in the kitchen, put his earbuds in, and zoned out to his tunes. He ate three candy bars and washed them down with a glass of milk. Before putting the candy bag away, he took out a cherry sucker and went to town on that. He was still high from his baseball accomplishment and couldn’t wait until his mother got home to tell her about it.

@ @ @ @

Helen, his mother, arrived a little after 6, tired from a long day as a waitress at the local diner. She was again disappointed that her son had not started dinner. She entered the kitchen and gave him a loving hug. She could tell he was really excited about something. She held him at arm’s length and noticed his red lips, it looked almost like the remnants of lipstick. She was too tired to handle that puzzle so she trudged up the stairs to change out of her waitress uniform.

Putting on her old worn housedress, she headed down to the kitchen to start their dinner. She sighed as passed her son's bedroom with its open door and she saw his uniform was in a pile on the floor. He was really a good kid, never got into any trouble, and received good grades in school. But he was far from being perfect. He had inherited his father’s sexist attitude about women and their roles around the house. He religiously did only what he thought was men’s work. He cut the grass and took out the garbage. It would seem household chores even putting his dirty laundry in the wash were beneath him.

She really wished he would take some of the pressure off her by helping more around the house doing what he referred to as woman’s work.

She walked into his room and gathered up his dirty clothes and threw them into the hamper. Walking by his open sock drawer she saw that things were a jumbled mess. She started to neaten things up when she had the shock of her life. In the back of the drawer she uncovered a package of woman nylons. Could this be what her son was so excited about? At first, she though they were a present for her until she noticed the size and that they were for young girl. One stocking had been removed and stuffed back into the package. Examining it, it was obvious that it had been stretched-out as if it had been worn. She shrugged and wondered if something was going on. Could his red lips really be lipstick?

Or her first second thought was her son had a mystery girlfriend visiting while she was out. She dismissed that as Bill had shown no interest in the ladies. Notwithstanding his efforts to be macho, his frail size made him unlikely to attract any teenage girl. His long blond hair, total lack of facial hair, delicate facial features with his small pointed chin had always seemed more feminine than masculine.

Combined with his insistence on wearing his hair shoulder length, meant he was frequently mistaken for a preadolescence girl. For the first time, Helen wondered if that was really her son’s intention. Her heart leapt in excitement. She had so missed the mother-daughter times she had with Millie. She had never been close with her son. He gravitated more toward his father.

Never having had any brothers growing up, she had no clue how young boys evolved from teenagers to men. Her next thought was that he was experimenting with women’s clothes as a way of exploring his sexuality. She had always thought he was too pretty to be a boy. She wondered if this wasn’t a plea for help. Between the recent news controversies over bathrooms and the Jerry Springer show, she was familiar with the entire transgender issue. Could her son be one of those? She wasn’t crazy about her son being a transvestite and prayed if he was into women’s clothes she would rather he be transgender where he could be a real woman. But she loved him more than life itself. She would support and even encourage him at whatever lifestyle he chose. As long as he was happy.

She had no idea how boys thought or acted. But if her female intuition was correct, her son had a girlie side. She knew that was not socially acceptable but if that made him happy, she would welcome having another female around the house, even if it was just make-believe.

She took a deep breath to consider her options. There was no way she could simply come out and ask her son Bill if he would rather be her daughter Billie. She needed to tread very carefully here. She put the nylons back the way she found them and came up with a plan.

In small steps, she would test her son’s reaction to feminine activities. She went to her daughter’s old bedroom that had been left virtually untouched since her death. She retrieved two pair of underpants, one of plain silk and a frilly lace pair. She put them in his underwear drawer and removed most of his boy pants and threw them in the hamper to wash. She planned to check on them every few days to see if they had been worn. She then went to her vanity and placed her makeup in locations she could remember so if they were moved she would know. Her trap was set. Now she had to wait and see what happens. If Bill asked about the underwear, she could claim they were mixed in with his stuff by mistake.

She entered the kitchen and started dinner. She asked Bill to help by cutting up some vegetables. While doing so, his hair kept falling into his eyes. To save money she had been cutting his hair for the past few years, when he would let her. Helen casually commented like she did frequently that he needed a haircut.

Bill did not want to hurt her feelings about her abilities as a barber. He simply shrugged off the comment like he did every time the subject came up and replied, “Whatever.”

That night as Bill lay in bed he conflicted about his Christmas plan. He knew his mother didn’t have much money. He felt a pang of regret for his greed. He would have to do something special to repay his mother. What that was he had no idea. He just prayed something would come up.

The next day at school, his teammates were engaged in their typical horse play during lunch and managed to break the rubber band holding his hair. His blond locks were everywhere, completely covering his face. He was totally embarrassed and he thought the teasing from his friends couldn’t get any worse until Jill Hawthorn, the student body present and hottest girl in school, came to his rescue and offered him a black scrunchie to hold his hair in place. He was reluctant to accept her offer but she wouldn’t take no for an answer and merely stepped behind him and did up his hair.

She remained behind Bill, the sweet smell of lilacs engulfing him. Bill stood in place afraid to move. Then slender arms encircled his waist and gripped his hips with delicate hands. Holding him firmly, Jill commented, “With your slim stature, I bet you do a lot of dieting.”

Bill was flustered and could only get out, “No, I do a lot of running."

Jill added in playful manner, “I wish I had your physique. Everything that passes my lips goes straight to my hips.”

It was one of those days, later in gym class all the boys were recovering from the mandatory three laps. The teacher in front of all the boys. Jokingly asked Bill what happened to your chest? It looks like someone stepped on it and caved it in.”

Everyone except Bill laughed.

Bill blushed beet red at the comment and was determined to start exercising. Beginning immediately when he got home.

@ @ @ @

With his bike, out of commission, Bill ran all the way home. Throwing his books on the couch, he sat on the living room floor and started doing sit-ups. He stopped only when he couldn’t get up anymore. He rolled over onto his stomach and started doing pushups. He kept at that until his arms felt like rubber. He couldn’t do any more regulation push-ups so rather than doing them on his toes he did them from his knees. He was laying there catching his breath when he heard his mother at the front door.

Helen had never seen her son exercising before. She wondered what had gotten into him. “What are you doing Bill?”

“Just exercising, I want to do something to develop my chest. I’m tired of being so flat on top.

Helen smiled and recognized he was doing girl pushups. When she was in school, the belief was doing those were a way to increase your bust. She wondered if that was her son’s goal. She commented to him, “Well carry on, I am going to make dinner, you have about 30 more minutes for your exercises. Just make sure you wash up before sitting down.”

During dinner, Bill sheepishly asked if there was enough money for him to get a haircut.

On the way in from work, the mail held a letter from her ex. In it was three month's back payment for alimony and child support. It also contained a promise to send a check every month as he had found a job as a cross country truck driver. She told her son about their financial windfall so for once there was plenty of money for extravagances like professional haircuts and such.

Helen looked at her son and replied, “Yes dear, I will get off early Friday and we can go after you get home from school.” She saw this as an ideal chance to try out her plan.

@ @ @ @

That Friday, Helen picked Bill up school and they drove to the local mall. Helen led Bill into the huge complex. Bill was confused; this isn’t where he remembered his barber being.

Helen led him to a salon where Billy balked at entering, until his mother pointed out a sign advertising this store specialized in Unisex cuts. He thought, ‘Great I can still keep my long hair just neaten it up a bit.’

A cute teenage girl escorted Bill to a chair where he was covered with a white cape. His mother went and talked to the stylist in hushed whispers who nodded her understanding.

The stylist started by shampooing his hair in a sweet-smelling shampoo. Bill just relaxed and enjoyed the experience. His mother sat in a chair and intently studied her son’s reaction to the pampering. She wondered why she hadn’t recognized earlier that his insistence on having long hair was an acceptable way for a young man to express his feminine side while still remaining in the mainstream of masculinity.

When the stylist was done with her son’s long hair it looked thick and shiny. Where before it had the frizzies and had a tendency to fly all over when it wasn’t in a ponytail, it now flowed down the back of his head and just touched his collar in a neat wave. The girl explained she had merely trimmed the split ends so his hair was still longish.

Helen was delighted. There was no doubt that the effect was undecidedly feminine with the ends in a girly flip curl. Helen thought that if this isn’t what he wanted she would know almost immediately by his reaction.

Bill got out of the chair and Helen told him to wait outside while she paid the bill. Bill stood out in the corridor and looked at his reflection in the glass for the first time. He thought he would be sick at what he saw. His mother seemed so happy at how it had turned out, so how could he tell her that he hated it without breaking her heart?

Just then, Jill led a gaggle of other girls from his school into view. He looked for someplace to hide when he heard a squeal. Jill ran over and engulfed him in a hug. Standing there with his hair in her hands she asked him, “How do you keep your hair looking so good?”

Bill was sure he was about to be teased about his girlie haircut. Since Jill seemed to love it; all her click fell in line with their leader. The other girls chimed in agreeing how great it was. Bill had never had this much attention from the other sex. He was floating on a teenage hormone high.

Helen came out of the salon to see her son surrounded by a pack of girls. She asked, “Well girls, what do you think of Bill’s new fashion statement?"

In unison, they all responded with a chorus of, “We love it!”

Jill then added, “Every girl in school is going to be jealous.”

Helen announced, “We were going to grab a burger before heading home. Would you young ladies care to join us?”

The group pushed together three tables and had a grand time chatting. Billy was the center of attention and he was lapping it up. As they got up to leave, everyone returned their trays. Kim returned first and cornered Bill. She was the fashionista of the group and commented, “Bill, when are you going to get your ears pierced? All the popular guys are doing it.”

Helen overheard the comment and told Bill, “There is a kiosk on the way out. Would you like to do that?”

Several of the girls had joined in and strongly encouraged Bill. They even offered to help him select his first pair of earrings. Bill was uncertain about going through with it as the girls ushered him to the kiosk. He told himself that he had no other choice. He sat on the chair and nervously waited to get his ears done. His mother stood and watched with a grin as wide as her face. When he was asked what, he wanted for his first earrings he turned to his new fan club and told them to select. Jan asked what his birth month was. Helen said his birth month was July. So, Bill left with two ruby red studs in his ears that stood out like Rudolph’s nose.

Helen watched for Bill’s reaction. He had never seemed so happy and she was convinced that she was on the right path. She was still planning on going slow and see where this all led. She hadn’t felt this good in years.

Monday morning, Bill sat eating breakfast. His mother must have commented a dozen times about how much she liked his new style. Bill hadn’t seen her mother so chipper, normally she was majorly depressed about going to work. He decided if all it took was a new hair style to bring her such joy he would stick with it. His mother deserved to be happy.

For the first time in a long time he was looking forward to going to school. He was sure his exploits on the diamond would be the subject of talk among his teammates. He also anticipated his new unisex look would still attract the girls like it did at the mall.

He was standing at his locker when Tom, the school's quarterback, ‘accidentally’ bumped into him, causing Bill to slam up against the lockers and drop his books. As Tom walked away, he sarcastically said, “Excuse me, miss.”

As Bill bent to pick up his things, he found Jill right there, helping him. She said, “Don’t pay any attention to Tom, he's a jealous jerk. I told him how I adore your new look. He doesn’t like me talking about other guys. If I were you I would watch my back until he calms down.”

Bill went between his classes as fast as he could with a watchful eye. On his way to lunch, Elaine cornered Bill in the hallway. As one of the popular girls, she had never spoken to him before. “Hi, Bill can I ask you a question?”

“Sure Elaine. What can I do for you?”

“There is a bet going around among my friends. You have never had a date with a girl that I am aware of. Now with your new pretty hair style, I say you are gay, some disagree. Can you settle the argument for us?”

Bill gave her a deadpan stare and answered, “I only like girls. Does that answer your question?”

Elaine nodded, "Sure, no offense intended.” She walked away, not totally convinced.

Bill went into the bathroom and put his head under a faucet to thoroughly soak his hair and then slick it down.

Bill went home and sat at the kitchen table to do his homework. He was just finishing up when he heard his mother come in. She called out a cherry hello until she saw him. She stopped dead in her tracks and her smile turned to a frown. "Bill, what happened to your hair? It was so cute this morning."

Bill recognized her disappointment immediately. He just couldn’t let her down so he said, “I took a shower got my hair wet and didn’t know how to fix it.”

“Oh, that's no problem. I would be delighted to show you how to get those lovely, bouncy curls back.”

Helen bounded over to her son and gave him a hug, “Let’s go upstairs and I will show you how to repair the damage." She sat him at her vanity and plugged in her curling iron.

It took only a few minutes to restore it to its feminine finery. Bill wanted to cry but kept a smile on his face for his mother’s sake.

Once she was finished she said, “Let’s go out to eat. There is somethings I want to get you.”

After a quick dinner at the local fast food joint, they went to Walmart. His mother bought him his own curling iron, a hair brush and some bath products designed to keep his locks looking full and luscious. Then she bought him a shower cap, to protect his hair in the shower. Bill wanted to vomit. The cap was pale yellow and decked out with a small flower design. He kept his feelings hidden and merely thanked his mother.

Helen was almost euphoric at their new treasures. She couldn’t wait to get home and set up Bill’s bathroom. She put his shampoo, conditioner and bubble bath next to the tub. She made a mental note to pick up a vanity with a mirror for his bedroom. When Bill was getting ready for bed, she checked on his underwear drawer. She saw that the feminine ones were untouched.
Over the next few days, Helen made it a point to not do laundry. Finally, Bill was out of clean underpants.

He looked at his choice in the drawer and decided he would go commando and not wear any. At breakfast, he confronted his mother, “Mom, I'm running out of clean clothes, when are you going to do the laundry?”

Helen smiled at him and calmly replied, “If you want clean clothes do the laundry yourself. I have more important things to do.”

“But Mom, that’s a girl’s job!”

His mother excoriated her son for his sexist remark. “Bill, this is the 21st Century, gender stereotypes are out. Lots of men help around the house. If you want a continuous supply of clean clothes, I suggest you learn to do it.”

“Give me a break Mom.”

“Bill, you get home hours before I do, all you have to do is your homework. You never seem pressed for time. I’ll tell you what, I could really use some help around here. How about I pay you.”

“What will I have to do?”

“You can do all the laundry, cook dinner during the week, and clean up after.”

“Oh, come off it Mom. That sounds like you want me to be your maid.”

Wagging her finger in his face she went on, “Look at it any way you want. It gives me a break and puts some spending money in your pocket.”

Bill gave it some serious thought and by the time he finished his dinner had decided to take the job. Rationalizing it was no different than working in a fast food joint like a lot of his older friends.

@ @ @ @

Every day he would leave for school with his hair in a feminine flip. He would immediately rush to the school bathroom and wet his hair so it laid down flat. When he got home he went to his new vanity and repaired the damage so his mother wouldn’t be disappointed. She daily commented how much she liked his new style. Bill hated it but liked making his mother smile.

The charade went on for several weeks, until a pack of girls cornered him at lunch. "Bill, I have seen you when you come to school. Your hair is always looking fabulous, so why do you wet it down and try and hide it? Don’t you like it? All of us love it and have commented to our boyfriends we wished they would take the time with their personal appearance.”

“I do like it.” Then not leaving well enough alone he added, “I love it and can’t wait to try different styles." The girls were deliriously excited arguing over what hair style would look best on Billie as they now all called him.

The next week, Bill was doing the dishes after the evening meal and Helen heard him swear. She went to check on her son and found him fuming standing at the sink. “What’s the matter, honey?”

“I spilled soapy water all over my shirt and jeans. Now I will have to do a load of wash so I will have something to wear tomorrow.”

Helen rushed to his rescue, "Here honey. From now on, wear this it will keep your things clean.”

“Come off it. That’s a frilly apron. Hel…heck, it is covered in lace, I will look like a girl wearing that.”

Helen smiled to herself and thought, ‘I love it when a plan comes together’.

“I see your problem.” Helen then told a little white lie. “Besides it is the only apron I own. There is no one around to see you. So, it’s this or nothing. You decide, wear it or take the chance of having to do the laundry every day.”

Bill put it on and tied the bow in back like he had been doing it all his life.

Helen came up behind her son and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

A few days later, she came home and found her laundry neatly folded on her bed. Rather than be delighted at the extra effort Billie had done, she decided this was a good teaching moment. She called Bill. She showed him that her dresses and blouses were wrinkled. She informed him that his job required him to iron her things, not just fold them when they came out of the drier.

Bill started to argue but; seeing the fatigue in his mother’s face, agreed. He would do that as well as his other chores.

Helen came home the next day and was welcomed by the wonderful aroma of dinner in the oven. The table was set and her son was standing in the living room in his lace apron, his hair beautifully done up. He was ironing her extra uniform. She went and examined what he had done and lavished him with praise, “This is as good as any professional laundry.”

Making his mother happy, Bill felt on top of the world.

Helen continued to check on the soft undies she had placed among his undershorts. She was sure her son wanted to wear them. He just needed a push so that his hyper masculinity didn’t feel guilty.

She came up with a workable plan. She went through his underwear with a fine-tooth comb and threw away anything that showed any wear. When Bill was down to the bare minimum she announced that she was going shopping.

When Bill went to his dresser the next morning, he found nothing but white cotton 'Haines for Her' underwear. He was furious and went to confront his mother with a pair dangling from his index finger. “Mom, what’s up with these?”

“Oh, you found them. Aren’t they wonderful? I am sure you’ll love them. I went to the regular store and found out how much jockey shorts cost. So, I was forced to go to Goodwill. They were having a sale, 12 for the price of 10. They’re seconds, but the imperfections were so small I couldn’t find them."

“But Mom, they’re for girls.”

“So, do you plan on showing your underwear to anyone?

“No, of course not.”

“I left you a few pair of yucky boy shorts for days when you have gym. “Try one on and show me how the fit. If it doesn’t fit, I’ll return them.”

Bill went to his room and tried them on, praying they were the wrong size. He reluctantly had to admit they fit and were more comfortable than his jockey shorts.

After working up the nerve, he went to show his mother. She almost swooned over seeing him model them for her. He was as noncommittal as he could be, not wanting to encourage his mother.

Helen watched her son as she had him walk around the room with an almost feline grace. His new underwear lifted and molded his heart shaped backside. The way they hugged his posterior made it wiggle seductively with his every step. She observed his movements with a critical eye and thought, ‘What he lacked on top was compensated for by his derrière.' She couldn’t wait to see what high heels would do for his walk.

Helen noticed they held his ‘boy’ parts snugly and almost presented a feminine front. “Well dear, don’t you have to admit they feel great?”

Bill blushed a bright red, and grudgingly mumbled, “Yes mom, they are comfortable.”

Helen clapped with glee, “Think of all the money we saved! I plan on doing all my clothes shopping at good Goodwill from now on.”

Bill turned and walked to his room muttering under his breath, “Just fucking great.”

Things went well for several weeks, then on a Saturday, Helen decided they would clean out the basement. It was dirty work, sweeping and cleaning their storage area. Both parties were covered in dirt when they got to a large trunk in the very back. Helen let out a whoop of elation.

“Bill, do you know what that is?”

“Not a clue!”

"This was your sister’s cedar Hope Chest. I gave it to her when she became a woman.”

Bill looked at his mother with a funny expression, “But she was only 16 when she died.”

“I know dear. That term is in reference for when Millie had her first period. Please take it upstairs and put it in her old room so we can go through it later. After you have done that, go take a bath and get cleaned up. I’ll call out for pizza. How does that sound?”

“This thing is heavy, it will take me a while to get it upstairs.”

“That’s alright. I’ll run you a hot bath, you can soak in it.”

@ @ @ @

It took Bill a long time to get the large trunk out of the basement and up the flight of stairs to his sister’s bedroom. By the time, he was done, he was exhausted and looking forward to a bath, his whole body ached.

He dropped his dirty and sweaty clothes in his room, grabbed his robe and headed to the bathroom. His mother was just leaving as he walked in.

Bill took one look at the tub and challenged his mother, “Mom, what the heck is going on?”

“Why Bill, what’s the matter is the water too hot?”

“No, it’s a bubble bath.”

“I know. You have worked so hard today. It’s a reward I thought it would be more relaxing. Don’t complain until you have tried it.”

Bill lowered himself into the hot water and found not only was it a bubble bath but it had a very strong lavender smell to it. Nonetheless, he lay in the water and found his mother was right, it was relaxing. He lost track of time and dozed off.

He was awakened by his mother knocking on the door and inquiring if he was alright.

“Yes Mom, I'm fine, I'm just getting out now.”

He stood and brushed the bubbles that were clinging to his body. He stepped out just as his mother walked in.

“Please mother, I’m not dressed.”

She dismissed his concerns with the wave of her hand, “Relax, it is nothing I haven’t seen before.”

She then handed him a warm towel she had just taken from the drier.

She left to let him dry himself and put on his bathrobe. She hadn’t seen him without clothes in years. She marvelled at how his body hadn’t started to develop. To her eye, his man package was insignificant. She thought, ‘If he gets married that is nothing his wife will write home about.'

His lack of size and light blond peach fuzz body hair came from her side of the family. She wondered if his lack of manly development might attribute to his questioning his gender.

Bill headed for his room to get dressed. His mother intercepted him and asked for his help in Millie’s room. He mumbled, “What now?”

“Bill, come here please. While you were in your bath I have been looking through Millie’s stuff in the trunk and in her closet. It’s a shame to let them all rot away in storage. Your sister was a real clothes horse. Not only is her trunk full, but her closet and dresser are overflowing with everything a teenage girl could want. How about helping me decide what to keep, what goes to Goodwill, and what we might even want to sell? But before we make any decisions, I need to determine what shape they are in. I would also like to decide what is still in style; maybe we could have a rummage sale and make some money."

“Sure mom, what is it you need me to do?”

“You are about the same size as your sister.”

Bill didn’t like where this was headed. He replied “Yeah, so what?”

“Can I get you to model them so I can determine their fate?”

Bill thought, ‘Their fate or mine?’

“Mom, you’re crazy, that is such a Scooby Doo idea. I won’t do it!”

Helen immediately broke down and ran to her bedroom sobbing. Bill was conflicted, he didn’t want to play girlie dress up; but he also didn’t want to hurt his mother’s feelings. He went to his bed room and sat down and tried to figure out what to do. He could hear his mother sniffling. It broke his heart. He went to her door and lightly tapped on it.

“Come in.”

Helen was lying on the bed, her shoes on the floor next to her. She sat up, her face puffy from crying.

“I wish you wouldn’t cry mother. I’m sorry for being so stubborn, if it means that much to you. I’ll wear whatever you want.”

Helen gave a deep satisfied sigh. Her eyes sparkled with excitement. She grabbed her son and gave him a reassuring hug. “That’s great Billie. First, I would like you to go to your room and fixed your hair, it’s a mess. Lose the robe, just put on a pair of your new underwear then come back to Millie’s room.

Once the panties were on, he stopped outside the bedroom door feeling foolish and unable to go in.

Helen was getting impatient and called out, “Billie get in here this instant! I'm tired of all your tomfoolery.” Her impatience was clearly evident.

“But it’s cold with nothing on top.”

“I’ll take care of that. Now do as you are told if you are really sorry for hurting my feelings!”

“Yes ma’am.”

Helen sat on her daughter’s bed with a pretty pink chiffon dress spread out next to her. She was feeling really good how things were going. She thought to herself, ‘you can’t push a string, I have to let him progress at his own pace.’

Bill returned his arms wrapped around his chest to ward off the chill. To save money, their household heat was always kept low.

His mother asked if he was cold, “Yes, I’m freezing! Can’t I put on an undershirt?”

“We’ll take care of that in a minute honey. Once you’re dressed you’ll be warm. Wait and see.”

With that she handed him one of his sister’s padded bras. Bill resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “Uh Mother, you can’t be serious. That skimpy thing isn’t going to cover much, besides I have nothing to put in it.”

“Honey, that is why it’s padded. Besides it is just the first layer. I need to get the complete picture of what the dresses look like. Now stick your arms out, I’ll help you get this on.”

“Mom, can we discuss this?”

“Billie, relax this is needed if you are going to help me. You still are going to help, aren’t you?”

Bill wanted to say no, but his mother’s enthusiasm convinced him to let her have her fun. “Sure, I am mom.”

The look of pure glee on her face told Bill he had made the right decision.

Helen hooked it up and adjusted the straps. She was pleased her son hadn’t put up a bigger fight about wearing a bra. She was sure his mild protests were simply to protect his manly pride. She was determined to provide him a guilt free outlet for his suppressed feminine desires.

She stood back and examined her son ordering him to stand up straight and keep his shoulders square.

His mother frowned and said, “Tsk-tsk, that will never do”

Bill saw a ray of hope and relaxed. His euphoria only lasted a few seconds as his mother went on to say, “Your sister had blossomed into a very mature figure for her age, but early on she wasn’t so lucky. I believe there are some silicon enhancers your sister used before her form blossomed. They will give you the proper shape to fill out her dresses.”

Helen ducked into Millie’s closet and rummaged through a couple of boxes to retrieve two realistic breasts forms.

Bill steadied himself; he was ready for a showdown with his mother. She had gone too far this time.

Helen returned with two small skin coloured piles of wiggly looking flesh. From her life experiences, she was convinced every male had a fixation with large breasts, equating them with femininity.

She advanced on her son, like a lion closing in on a wounded prey. His mind went blank; he stood in stunned silence, riveted to the floor. His mouth opened and closed like a freshly landed fish.

She slipped them into the bra cups and again adjusted the straps. He didn’t move, the sissification of his predicament only added to his shame. He felt the addition of faux breasts took away the last vestiges of his masculinity. He felt dizzy but was resigned to his fate. He couldn’t think of any way to persuade his mother this was all a mistake without crushing her feelings. He decided to suck it up and soldier on.

Helen stepped back satisfied that she had given him a decent sized bosom. She thought, ‘With the padded bra and enhancers and with the underpants pulled up snugly his true anatomical shape was hard to discern and could easily be mistaken for a biological female.’

She mused, ‘By the time, Millie left home she had graduated to a full D cup bra. I have heard large breasts are passed down from mother to daughter. I wonder how large Billie would like to end up.’

Out loud she commented, “There that will allow the dresses to hang perfectly on you”. She was sure that deep down that was what he wanted.

She went to the bed and slipped the pink chiffon dress over his head. She went behind him and zipped it up. She took a step back and said, "Dear me, that will never do. Your sister must have been taller than you because that dress is dragging on the ground.”

“Can I take it off?”

“Don’t be silly there is another solution; don’t move I’ll be right back.”

Bill could smell a rat. He did as he was told and awaited his mother’s return. Helen hurried to her closet and found just what she was looking for. She suspected Bill’s feet were closer to her size than his sister, she returned with a pair of white three-inch wedge sandals.

“Here put these on.”

“Mother, I will break an ankle wearing high heels.”

“Nonsense, you’re an athlete you can handle something every girl in the country can do. Besides they are a wedge style, it’s not like I’m asking you to wear stilettos.”

He slipped his feet into the shoes; his mother got down on a knee to adjust the straps and secure them to his feet. She stood up and offered her hand to her son and led him around the room. It only took two laps and he was ready to go without his training wheels, she let go of him and stood back and watched.

“That’s great honey, how does it feel?”

“To be honest, I do like being taller. Do you think they make these in a man’s style?”

Helen smiled at the small quip. “Is that all you feel?" Inquired his mother.

What he wouldn’t say was, aside from added height from the heels, Bill was acutely aware of the way the soft fabric tickled his legs. He would die before admitting he was beginning to like the experience.

Helen had to ask, “Can you honestly tell me you don’t find wearing a dress more comfortable than your jeans.”

“Okay Mom, I’ll give you that one. But I can’t imagine sliding into second base in one.”

Helen giggled at that.

“Just one more thing and then we can eat. Walk into your room and sit down at the vanity and let me fix your hair and I’ll add just a touch of makeup.”

Bill sighed in exasperation and thought, ‘what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound. As long as it makes Mother happy.’

He got to his vanity and sat, very pleased with himself that he made it that far. Rather than congratulations from his mother, she demanded that he stand up. She then gave him lesson 101 on woman’s deportment, he was taught to stand with his back to the seat as close as possible. He was told to put his knees together then ease down gently, keeping his torso straight. Then he was made to smooth his skirt under him before sitting. He was also told proper etiquette dictated that a lady sit with an erect posture with both legs together. Once he had mastered that, his mother magically produce a blizzard array of cosmetics. He already had a nice, even complexion but the foundation smoothed it to perfection. She was going to leave his eyebrows alone but decided to narrow them, just a little.

Bill howled like a wounded animal as she plucked at a few stray hairs.

"You won't even be able to tell I did it." She assured him. Before he knew what hit him, she had his brows shaped, and his eyes, cheeks, and lips painted.

Helen studied her son's face and thought to herself that she might have over done his eyebrows a tad, but rationalized they would grow back in no time.

Bill took one look at the mirror and felt like he was Alice in Wonderland. Before him stood the quintessential teenage girl. Not the little league's champion second baseman. He composed himself and said, “Mother, this is all wrong I look like a woman.”

“Of course, you do, Billie. In fact, you look like sensational prom queen material, just like your sister.”

“But I’m not a woman.”

“Could have fooled me. Do men wear lipstick, mascara, bras, with matching panties and pretty dresses?”

Bill couldn’t muster the same level of enthusiasm as his mother. At that point, Bill realized that he had entered the Twilight Zone. “Mother, please can we just get this over with?”

“Of course, let’s go downstairs and eat our dinner. Then you can change into something more comfortable.”

With a death grip on the stairs handrail Bill made his way down to the main floor without incident. As gracefully as possible, he made his way to the kitchen table and sat like he had been instructed and waited patiently for his mother. The doorbell rang and Helen grabbed her purse and paid for the pizza. Bill made sure his back was to the door. She served the pizza. He picked up the first piece and his mother warned him to only take dainty little bits. It seemed to take forever to get through his customary two slices. When he said that he was done, his mother handed him a tube of lipstick and told him to touch up his lips before he went upstairs to change. Bill knew his mother had lost it, stepping to the small hallway mirror he did as he was told. Surprisingly, he did enjoy the feel and smell of the waxy coating on his lips.

He went to his room and tried to get undressed. He was embarrassed he had to ask his mother for help to get out of the dress and bra. He asked her what he was to do with the dress and other accessories. Helen told him to put them away in his closet and drawers. She had decided to keep everything he had on and it would be better for them. Then she added, “Besides they are now yours to keep and take care of.”

@ @ @ @

He was emotionally spent and dove into bed, pulling the covers over his head. The next thing he heard was his alarm going off. As he headed for the bathroom, the looking glass told him he hadn’t taken off his makeup off. He put on his bathing cap and jumped into the shower. He scrubbed his face with a lot of soap and a washcloth.

He ran his fingers through his hair and started to get dressed for school. He put on his jeans over his girly underwear. He went to his closet and grabbed the first shirt he came too. It wasn’t until he tried to button it that he realized they were on the wrong side. He clearly said, “What the fuck is going on?”

Running late, he looked for his old backpack. He went to the kitchen table where he remembered throwing it down the night before, he found that it was gone. In its place was a paisley-colored bag.

“Mom, what happened to my backpack?”

“That old thing? I threw it out. But don’t worry I got you a very nice shoulder bag.

“Give me a break, it looks like a purse.”

“Billie how can you be so cruel? I take the time to get you a present. Instead of thanks, I get attacked.”

“I’m sorry mom, it is quite pretty. Thanks.”

“I know now get going you’re going to be late.”

@ @ @ @

Bill jogged the mile to school, finding that a shoulder bag proved to be a nuisance compared to running with a backpack. As a result, he arrived just as the last bell sounded. He made a grand appearance and slid into his desk, throwing his bag to his feet. Everyone in the class glared at him. He had no idea why and he paid attention to the teacher.

All morning long he kept getting strange looks for the students and even the teachers. As he entered the lunch room, he looked for a welcoming place to sit. Jill with her posse were sitting in the middle of the cavernous room. Jill stood to get Bill’s attention and waved to an empty seat next to her. He walked over and she said, “Hi Billie we have saved a seat for you. Please join us.”

Bill was surprised at the warm welcome. He sat and opened his bag to get his lunch.

All the girls at the table were looking at him in a strange way. He finally had to ask. “What are all you staring at is my zipper down or something?”

Most of the girls stared down at their food. It was Elaine who spoke up. “It’s just that we don’t see boys wearing makeup that often.”

“What are you talking about,” retorted Bill.

Jill handed him her compact and what he saw made his blood run cold.

His lips were a faint rose color his eyelashes were thick and black and, worst of all, his eyes were still lined with black.

“I don’t understand, I showered this morning,” he stammered.

Jill leaned in close. “I bet I know what happened. You must have used kiss-proof lipstick, and waterproof eye makeup. Neither of those come off with just soap and water.

“Girls, let's help our friend.”

She rummaged through her purse and pulled out what to Bill looked like a wet wipe. She proceeded to rub it on his lips, and then showed him the pink color.

“If you are going to wear makeup you should always carry disposable cosmetic wipes for last minute clean-ups.”

Jill leaned in close so none of the others could hear. “Billie, tell me what’s going on.”

Bill looked for somewhere they could have a private conversation. He didn’t see any place that was convenient. “Meet me at the flag pole after our last class and I will tell you everything.”

@ @ @ @

After his last class, Bill headed for his locker. Only to be met with half a dozen of the school’s biggest jocks. He was pinned with his back to the lockers surround by 1,200 pounds of testosterone enraged muscle bound bigots yelling expletives at him. All he had wanted to do was make his mother happy and now for the first time in his young life Bill feared for his safety.

Bill closed his eyes tight and braced for the first blows to fall. He waited and waited and nothing happened. He suddenly smelled a cornucopia of sweet scents. He opened his eyes and found there was a phalanx of girls guarding him from the bullies. Some of them he didn’t even know.

The girls escorted him out of the building, giving each of the jocks a sneer of their own. The boys would soon realize that they would pay for their vicious attitudes when it came time to look for dates. The girls might not have heard of the Powder Puff Fortress, but they regarded Bill as a friend and they would not allow him to be brutalized.

Jill walked home with him, all the way to his front door, during which Bill laid his soul bare and explained everything. Bill was sure that she would see him as being weak for giving in to his mother’s wishes.

To his surprise, she threw her arms around his head and pulled their faces together. She kissed him with such a passion that Bill felt weak in the knees. She took his hand and, with her lipstick, wrote her phone number on his palm.

She held his face in her hands and said, “Please call me. Anyone who would do what you are doing for their mother is someone I want to get to know better. Don't worry, things will be okay.” She smiled as she walked away and waved to him at the end of driveway.

When Helen got home she walked in to be greeted with a delicious aroma of a simmering pot-roast. In the living room stood Billie, wearing one of Millie’s dresses, protected by his frilly apron. He was concentrating on whatever was on the ironing board. Behind him was a long line of her clothes all neatly ironed. Helen was overwhelmed and all she could think of to say was, “Hi honey I’m home what’s for dinner?”

They sat down to dinner and Bill played maid as he served his mother. He finally explained about his day, leaving off the kiss at the front door.

Bill was walking on air all weekend. He gladly acted as a fashion model for his mother. His only objection was when Helen produced something from her hope chest and asked if he would wear it for her with the promise it would give him a classic hourglass figure. It was a 1950’s vintage corset with a built-in bullet bra. He finally put his foot down on that one even if it was a high heeled foot.

Things were going well until Sunday evening when Helen had Billie try walking in a pair of his sister’s 5 inch stilettos. He tried, but the results were comical, he bounced around the room like a bumper car. Even Helen agreed they were a bridge too far and he went back to the 3 inch sandals determined to buy her son a pair of fashionable heels at the first opportunity.

Around dinnertime, the phone rang. It was Bill's high school principal saying that he wanted to see both Helen and Bill in his office first thing Monday morning. The two of them had their own ideas about why Mr. Anderson wanted to see them the next day.

Helen was sure that it was to assure her that the incident with the boys would not be allowed to happen again. She had intended to call the school and give the principal a piece of her mind. She would be able to do that in person instead.

Bill thought that the principal would be scolding them because he had come to school wearing makeup. The rules were very clear that only light makeup was allowed and he had looked like a girl out on a date. Everyone had given him angry looks all morning and at least one teacher had to have complained about him.

His mother did not notice how quiet he was through dinner and clean up. He made an excuse that he was really tired and he went up to bed. He was suddenly sorry that he had gone along with his mother's crazy ideas of dressing him up. If he had not agreed, he would not be in trouble now and she would not have to go to school to have a talk with the principal.

@ @ @ @

Bill was out of bed as soon as his alarm sounded. He made quite certain that his face was completely devoid of makeup before he jumped into the shower. He knew that his mother would be disappointed, but he washed the curls out of his hair so that he was left with just long hair that he could put into his preferred low ponytail. He thought that she would accept the explanation that the principal would want to see him as a boy would work.

He was frustrated to find that none of his regular flannel shirts were in his closet. Instead, there were the light-weight shirts in various pastel colors that apparently, his mother had bought for him. He would have been happy with a sweatshirt, but he couldn’t find those either. He settled for a pale blue shirt that felt like it was made from silk. His undershirts had been replaced with lacy trimmed white tank top things, which to him looked like a cutoff negligee. He wanted to fight it but thought no one would see what he had on. At least he could wear his jeans and trainers.

He was eating his normal breakfast of toast and skim milk when Helen came out to the kitchen. She smiled at him when she saw that he had started the coffee maker for her and she only needed to pour a cup to get her morning caffeine. Her smile faded a bit when she saw Bill's hair, but she nodded in appreciation of his choice of blouse. While he had not done his hair this morning, he had not made an issue of the fact that he couldn’t find his old shirts. She decided to say nothing about his hair right now as she was in a hurry to talk to Mr. Anderson.

"That is a nice color on you," she commented, watching carefully for his reaction. "Do you like it?"

Bill gave her a stink face and felt caught between two bad choices. If he said no, he was sure that he would hurt her feelings. If he said yes, she would push more things like this at him. He wished he knew what he could say to make her stop without making her cry. If this went on much longer, she would have him wearing dresses to school.

"I do like the color, blue has always been my favorite, but it's not quite as warm as my other shirts," he said. "At least it is not cold outside yet."

Helen waved dismissively. "Oh, you can wear a pretty sweater when it starts to get colder."

"Why is your hair like that?" Helen asked. "Don't you like the curls?"

Again, Bill tried to think fast. "I thought that it might be good to go to school like this today. Especially after last Friday."

Helen evidently found his reasoning sound because she nodded in agreement. They quickly finished their breakfast and headed off to school in her car.

They arrived before most of the buses that transported students from the outlying neighborhoods. What kids were in the halls paid them no attention as the two of them went to the administration office. When Helen told the secretary who she was, they were shown to a small conference room and told that Mr. Anderson would be there in a few minutes. There was coffee and fruit juice on the table, so Bill helped himself to an orange juice.

After about ten minutes, Mr. Anderson came into the room followed by three women with stern expressions on their faces. The principal was a thin and scholarly looking man with black framed glasses and a ramrod-straight posture. Combined with the looks on the faces of the women, it felt like they were facing some sort of court with Mr. Anderson as the judge.

This was not what either Bill or Helen had expected as they had anticipated speaking with only the principal. A quick round of introductions ensued. It appeared that two of the ladies were from the school district's child psychology department, the other was from Child Protective services.

All of them moved into Mr. Anderson’s office, leaving Bill alone. He took a seat near the door where he could hear what was being said behind the closed doors. At first, Bill couldn’t make out what was being said, but as tempers flared, the volume and intensities sent the words through the door. It was readily apparent that Bill’s mother was being accused of forcing him to dress as a girl. Bill had chills down his spine when they threatened his mother with having Bill removed from her care. Mr. Anderson asked for calm. At that point, two of the ladies exited the office and suggested that Bill accompany them. Bill was led away while Helen continued to talk with Mr. Anderson and the other lady.

Once they were in the vice principal's office they confronted Bill. “Relax young man, you are not the one in trouble. By the way that is a lovely blouse you are wearing. Who made you wear it?”

Bill stared at her in wide-eyed amazement, “What makes you think it’s a blouse?”

“Bill, give us some credit. I am sure you noticed it buttons on the left side. Where a man’s shirt buttons are on the other si

Bill slouched in his chair and waited for the other shoe to drop.

“We have reports you have been wearing makeup to school. That, in itself, is a matter of concern, but what is really upsetting is that we have heard it was your mother who is making you do those kinds of things.”

“Who told you that?”

“Mr. Anderson’s daughter had a conversation with one of your classmates who said your feminine hairstyle and makeup were all because of your mother’s insistence.”

Bill could see where this was going and didn’t like it one bit. He had always been taught to never lie but in this case, he felt that it was a necessity.

“That's a lie, I like my hair. The makeup was a mistake. I was experimenting with my mother’s stuff and didn’t get it washed off; my mother had nothing to do with it.”

One of the ladies asked skeptically, “Why would you want to put on makeup?”

Billie’s stomach was tightening up and he had to think fast.

“I had a sister who was killed in a car accident. Everyone has always said we look a lot alike. I couldn’t see it so I thought if I used makeup it would be a better test.”

The two women left Bill alone.

Fifteen minutes later, Bill got a call to come into Mr. Anderson’s office. He walked in and found the room crowded, Mr. Anderson was in there, along with his very concerned mother, the three ladies from district and standing behind them was Jill.

Mr. Anderson motioned to the hard-back chair right in front of his desk. Realizing he was hung on his own petard. He sat down as demurely as he could. Trying to stay in character he crossed his ankles and placed his hands in his lap.

Mr. Anderson stood up and leaned forward with his hands on his desk.

“Billie, we seem to have a problem here. Someone is not telling the truth. I intend to get to the bottom of this.”

"Jill here tells us you told her your mother was, if not making you, at least encouraging you to dress like a girl.”

"Did you tell her that?’

Bill licked his dry lips and told the truth, “Yes sir, I said all those things.”

“Now you are saying it was all your idea. Do you see why we are confused?”

Bill turned his gaze to Jill. “I can explain, I really, really like Jill and told her those things so she wouldn’t think me a sissy.”

The three ladies and Mr. Anderson went into a huddle. When they broke, one of the ladies from the district's child psychology department took over the discussion.

“Bill, we are not sure you are telling us the whole truth. But we are in agreement that you need some one-on-one counseling. We will work up a schedule for after school sessions.”

"The representative from Child Perfective Services insists that your mother get help too. From what we have heard, if nothing else, she needs help in handling her daughter’s death.”

Mr. Anderson said, “Now you and Jill get going so you won’t be late for class.

Bill held the door for Jill and was dreading what was coming next.

Once in the hall, Jill reached over and grabbed Bill by the bicep, digging her nails into his arm.

With a grimace on her face she said, “If we are going to be friends we can never lie to each other. Now were you telling the truth in there?”

Bill replied with a tone of exasperation, “No, not all of it. They were talking about charging my mother and placing me in a foster home. I couldn’t let that happen. What I told you on our walk is the God’s honest truth.”

Jill wiped the scowl off her face and adopted a softer tone. “Are you telling me you would rather the entire town think you are a sissy then get your mother in trouble?”

“Yes, that sums it up.”

“The other thing you said in there was that the truth?”

“The other thing?”

“Yes dummy, about liking me?”

Bill blushed crimson. “Yes, that was the truth.”

Jill took Bill by the hand and the walked toward their first class. At the door, she asked him, “How about we see a movie on Friday?”

“Sure, what time to do want me to pick you up?”

“I don’t want to go out. Bring a pizza and I will rent a movie and we can hang out at my house. My parents are going out of town and will be gone until Sunday night, so we’ll have the place to ourselves.”

Jill disappeared into her classroom leaving a lovesick Billie starring after her.

@ @ @ @

It was fortunate that Jill only lived a couple of blocks away from his house. After a quick stop for a takeout pizza, Bill stood nervously at Jill’s front door. She opened the door before the chimes had died down. “Come in Bill. I’ve been waiting for you.”

She took the pizza and laid the box on the dining room table. She motioned for Bill to sit while she went to retrieve a soda for each of them. She placed them on the table and took a seat across from Bill. They sat and ate while enjoying a delightful conversation. They felt totally at ease, there was none of the normal teenage awkwardness or sexual tension.

After they were done, Bill took the initiative and cleaned up.

Bill asked, “What movie have you picked for us?”

“I didn’t get one. I thought I would rather just hang out and get to know you better.”

A smiling Bill agreed instantly.

Jill took Bill by the hand and led him to her bedroom. The room was exactly what Bill expected. It was all pink and lace with a menagerie of stuffed animals on the canopy bed. She went to the bed and cleared it by sweeping everything on to the floor. She sat and patted the seat next to her as an invitation for her guest to join her. Bill maneuvered through the minefield of stuffed animals and sat next to her. The two just talked and talked and came to enjoy each other’s company.

They both became parched and Jill went downstairs to get them more sodas. She returned carrying two full glasses of Coke with ice. As she maneuvered toward the bed, she tripped and spilled both glasses on Bill. Soaking his shirt and pants.

Bill jumped up in shock. Jill was all apologetic and ran to her bathroom to get a towel.
In her absence, Bill tried to keep from dripping onto the floor.

Jill took the towel and tried to soak up the mess she made. Giving up in exasperation she ordered Bill to take off his pale-yellow silk shirt and pants saying she would wash them.

Bill resisted mightily, until Jill just took matters in her own hands. Being about the same size and a couple of years older. She was his equal in strength she merely reached over and pulled his shirt over his head. Jill gasped in surprise when she discovered rather than a boy’s undershirt Bill was wearing a lacy camisole. Jill with a mischievous smile said, “I love your taste in lingerie. What else do you have on?”

“Just my panties,”

Jill’s eyes bugged out, “Oh, I have to see. Please show me.”

Bill stripped his pants off and turned a hundred shades of red and stood there while Jill picked up his wet things and ran them to the laundry.

When she returned, she went directly to her closet and found an old pair of slacks that she threw to Bill to put on.

Bill tried to pull them up but they were too small and he couldn’t get them over his hips.

She solved that problem by getting a long skirt with an elastic waist. Bill objected but, like dealing with his mother, he knew resistance was futile. He put it on and the next logical step was the matching top. It turned out to button in the back. He slipped his arms in and Jill stepped behind him to do up the dozen small pearl buttons.

Once he was dressed, Jill was profuse in her praise on had good he looked. Bill was conflicted between being proud and ashamed. In the end, he did what he thought Jill wanted. He would do about anything for one of her smiles.

She talked him into walking for her. Bill was in shock, it seemed every female in his life wanted him in skirts. The two of them walked back and forth several times, Jill took the opportunity to give him advice on how a girl walks.

Bill's clothes were dry and Jill went to get them. Back in her bedroom she happened to glance out her window, there parked across the street was her now ex-boyfriend Tom sitting in his truck.

Jill had to think fast, Tom had obviously seen that her bedroom light was on. If Bill left the house, he would be dead meat at Tom's hands.

Her plan was simple: Bill wouldn’t leave; her cousin Wilhelmina would. After explaining the situation to Bill, he eventually saw the logic of her argument.

Jill knew it would have to be a dramatic change. She went to her mother’s room and found a long dark brown wig. It would hide Bill’s blond hair effectively. She rummaged through her closet and found an old floor length velvet prom dress. She had Bill put it and the wig on. She sat him down at her vanity and gave Bill a makeover. She made it heavy and dramatic. Black eyeliner accented his big brown eyes, light shades of eye shadow to bring out his deep-set eyes. His long lashes took the mascara beautifully and curled nicely. He had gorgeous eyes now. Ones that any girl would be proud of. Her pièce de résistance was a pair of black four inch heels, making Bill’s height greater than hers. She put on a pair of flats to emphasize their height differences.

She spent 20 minutes coaching Bill in walking with the heels. When he complained, the shoes hurt his feet, Jill merely smiled unsympathetically and told him he would get used to it. It is the price of fashion. He minced about at first but quickly adapted thanks to Jill’s coaching and his previous experience with his mother. As a counter balance to Bill’s ultra-feminine ensemble, Jill slipped on a pair of black slacks, a white blouse, finishing it off her almost masculine look with a black leather coat.

It was now dark and Tom was still camped out in his truck. The two conspirators decided it was now or never. Bill stood at the front door with his heart racing and his legs feeling like jelly. It was one thing to dress like a girl at home for his mother. It was another altogether to go out into the real world dressed like this.

“Shall we go?” said Jill as she thrust a purse into Bill's hand.

“I can’t. Tom will recognize me and beat the shit out of me.” Bill's feet seemed to be glued to floor, not letting him leave the house.

“Nonsense! You have nothing to worry about. You are not only 100% passable as a young lady, but also very pretty. If anything, Tom might hit on you, certainly not hit you.”

Bill digested what Jill had just said and wasn’t all that sure being called “pretty” by a girl he fancied was really a compliment. It destroyed the last of his male psyche.

Bill stiffened his resolve and let Jill lead him out the door. He stood quaking as Jill turned and locked the front door. She then took him by the hand and led him down the walkway toward the sidewalk.

Tom saw the front door open and he got out to lean on the front bumper. As the two reached the sidewalk, Tom stood in their path. “Hi honey, who’s your friend?”

“None of your business, but this lady is my cousin and my best friend Wilhelmina she will be visiting for a few days. Now get out of the way!”

Jill tried to walk around him. Tom reached out and grabbed Jill by the arm. Bill started to go after the bully, Jill reached out with her free hand and held Bill back.

Tom asked, “What happened to us?”

“You happened Tom, with your actions last Friday in school. You showed me your true colors, I can never be with anyone who treats others that way.”

“Hey, I was just showing that wimp Billie that his kind is not wanted around here.”

“For your information, Bill is twice the man you are. If you or any of your friends lay a hand on him I will make you sorry.”

Tom laughed at the threat and said, “Just how are you going to do that?”

“Easy. I will spread the rumor that we broke up when I caught you wearing my panties.”

“You can’t do that!”

“Oh, yes I can and I will! Just try me! You and all of your friends will be spending the rest of high school celibate and dateless.” Jill took Billie's hand and they walked on down the sidewalk, leaving Tom watching them.

They strolled home in the dark, occasionally stopping under a dark spot to steal a quick kiss. Bill was in bliss.

This was beyond his wildest hopes; he hated to ruin a good thing but had to ask, “Jill, why are you doing this?”

Jill took Bill by the arms and turned him so he was facing her.

“I am not completely sure. All I know is you are so much different than all the muscle heads I normally date. I find myself attracted to your soft sincere side.”

Then she went on, totally surprising Bill. “As Bill, you make a great friend, as Billie or Wilhelmina if you prefer, I find myself physically attracted to you. I can’t explain it, maybe I have a repressed lesbian side. I just know that, dressed like you are really turns me on in a way no muscle-bound meat head ever has. Can we just go with the flow for now and see where it leads us?”

Arriving at his front door, Bill’s plan was to rush upstairs to his bedroom before his mother would see how he was dressed. That plan evaporated the minute the front door was opened.
Helen was standing right there, her arms crossed in front of her chest. Bill stopped dead in his tracks. Jill pushed Bill into the house and also stopped when she saw the waiting greeting party.

Helen stood awe struck, staring at the two teenagers and said, “Who do we have here?”

“Hello Mrs. Williams, I’m Jill from school. I walked your daughter home to make sure she got home safely.”

Helen was delighted and insisted neither move until she got her camera. She returned and took several portraits of her daughter and what appeared to be her date. She was determined to have the best one framed so she could put it over the mantel. Jill gave Bill a sisterly hug and left. Bill rushed upstairs answering all his mother’s questions with “Not tonight. We can talk tomorrow.”

Saturday Bill related the story as it happened. Helen listened unsure of what to make of it. It had a ring of truth to it, but she felt there was something more going on.

@ @ @ @

Monday, Bill headed to school feeling depressed. Christmas was only weeks away. He had no money and no idea what present to get his mother, and now he had a girl he wanted to impress. He racked his brain trying to think of what he could get or do for the women in his life.

His mother had her first mandatory appointment with the social worker assigned to her case and she came home a beaten woman. Bill had made an omelet for their dinner. He greeted her in his apron and his hair curled, hoping to cheer her up. She was grateful for Bill’s effort; but ordered Bill to take off the fancy apron, saying he was never to wear it again.

She never ate the dinner, she merely pushed the food around her plate. When Bill asked, what was wrong, his mother broke down and cried. Bill insisted she talk to him. Eventually, she confessed she had been warned that if social services found Bill dressing as Billie for his mother again he would be taken away from her. They told her that they did not believe that Bill's cross-dressing was of his own desires, but her own.

“How would they know what we do in our home?' Asked Bill

“They have warned me they will stop by for unplanned home visits. I’m sorry honey, Billie needs to go back in the closet and stay there.”

Later in the week, Bill had his first appointment with a school appointed therapist right after his last class. A dejected Bill headed for his school locker. To his surprise, Jill was leaning against his locker waiting for him.

“Hi Bill. How did it go?”

“Terrible! The bitch told me that if my mother continued to dress me up like a girl she could go to jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

“That’s bull. My aunt is a lawyer there is no law against a man wearing a dress.”

“No, you’re right, the city's point of view is still that my mother is forcing me. No matter how hard I argued she wasn’t, they wouldn’t listen.”

“Bill, let’s walk and talk. Are you sure your mother isn’t forcing you at least subconsciously?”

Bill shrugged, “I really don’t know. I do it because it makes mommy happy and it seems to make Millie’s loss more bearable for her.”

He blushed and scuffed his feet, “I will admit that, when I wear her clothes, it makes me feel closer to my sister. It makes her loss easier for me too, especially with the holidays coming up.”

Jill marveled at how introspective her friend was. “Billie, if it makes you and your mother feel better, I don’t think you should stop.”

“But I don’t want to get Mom in trouble. The social worker told me she would be stopping by unexpectedly to check on me.”

Jill again walked Bill home. Both lost in thought.

Jill invited Bill to come over after school on Thursday, explaining that her mother Elizabeth had a club meeting and her dad would be at work, so they would have several hours to be alone.

Bill asked if there was anything he could bring. Jill’s reply surprised him when she asked if he had a picture of Millie. She would explain when he got there.

@ @ @ @

On Thursday, Bill ran all the way home. He changed his clothes, took the framed picture of his sister off his night stand, and rushed to Jill’s.

Jill greeted him at the front door with a smile and a quick kiss on the lips.

“Did you bring it?

Bill handed the picture to Jill, she held it up next to his face and said, “Come with me, we have a lot to do.”

Bill followed her up to the bedroom where Jill had laid out peach lingerie, nude stockings, and a garter that also matched the lingerie. A white blouse and a navy skirt were hung on the front of the closet door. Below the skirt sat a couple of pairs of mules, one with two inch heels and the other with four inch heels.

Bewildered Bill asked, “What’s going on?”

Jill set Millie’s picture on her vanity. "Bill, I want to try something, if you will allow me.”

“What do you have in mind?” asked Bill.

“I want to see if I can make you into Millie’s body double. We will keep this entire thing on the down low, so no one gets into trouble. From what you tell me, your mother is depressed and I suspect you are headed that way as well." She paused for a moment and said sadly, "I saw the same kind of behavior with my aunt when her husband died. I don't want the same kind of thing to happen to either of you.

"Now, I have always been a problem solver. Your mother needs something to bring her out of her funk and I think together we can give her what she needs. Imagine her expression when Millie walks in on her. She will know it is only an illusion but it might be just what she and I think you both need.”

Bill was unsure but realized Millie would be the ideal present for his mother, but he had his reservations.

Bill took Jill by the hand and looked her in the eyes. “What you are saying makes a lot of sense.”

Jill stopped Bill, “I hear a BUT coming.”

“Yes, I am afraid so. Our relationship is still in its infancy and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. Besides I’m not a transvestite.”

“Bill, you are such a stereotypical blonde headed ditz. Of course, you’re not a TV. What you are is a loving son, willing to swallow his macho pride to do something special for his mother. I consider Bill to be one of my best friends. I am sure we can have a future together. Billie/Wilhelmina is a part of the Bill I am developing strong feelings for.”

Jill smiled as she thought back a few days when she transformed Billie into a real hottie. “The other day, when I got you all dolled up as Wilhelmina, tell me how you felt.”

Bill thought for a minute. The silence was deafening between them. Finally, Bill’s thoughts came clear. He prayed what he was about to say wouldn’t alienate his new friend.

“I am going to be totally honest with you. As a teenage boy, I have been less than happy with my appearance. I spent a lot of time on the net trying to figure out why I felt this way. Being undersized I have to always try to overcompensate by being as manly as I can. What you did by changing a geekie boy into Wilhelmina, an illusion of a pretty adult, changed not only my exterior but also caused a metamorphosis to my personality. It set me free of all the pressures to prove myself as a man. I have given it a lot of thought, being a glamorous Wilhelmina was a way to bridge the psychological chasm between Bill and Billie, you set free the inner me.

"The way Tom looked at me was both disturbing and thrilling. The way you treated me was exhilarating. I don’t think I would like to be that way long term. But, like a vacation, it is someplace I would like to visit frequently. I have to confess it might be easy to lose myself in the role of Billie.”

Jill was thrilled at what she was hearing. She had always been a dominant personality that she had to suppress in her normal boyfriend’s relationships. She sensed that a relationship with Billie would set her personality free and she could be herself. She was also going to pursue her friendship with Bill.

He explained he loved his sister and wasn’t certain if his pretending to be her wasn’t in some way mocking her memory.

Jill just about jumped down his throat as she turned to him and looked him sternly in the eye. “Being Millie is a way of honoring her memory. As long as you make an honest effort to be the best Millie you can be.”

Bill gave that some thought and consented to go ahead. Jill decided to move forward with her plan. She studied Millie's picture and said, "I don't have clothes that match what Millie is wearing here, but I know that you will look just like her sister when we are done."

Bill wasn’t convinced and she nudged Bill in the direction of her bathroom and said, "This will be better for you if you make sure that your legs and arms have no hair. When you last dropped trousers, I noticed your leg hair, it may be fine and blonde but was still there and very unladylike. That is why I fitted you with a floor length dress.

Handing Bill a strange bottle she said, “I bought you some hair remover, so you can use it on your legs. As long as we are going that far you should also use it on your arms and pits. Make sure that you do not get it on your head!"

Bill let himself be pushed into the bathroom. He could see that Jill had prepared things for him in here also. Bath towels had been set out and the bottle of hair remover she had mentioned stood next to them. He kicked off his trainers and sat on the edge of the bathtub to read the directions on the bottle. When he was done, he set it down again and just sat with his head on his fists, wondering what he had let himself in for.

Jill seemed to be very enthusiastic about helping him dress up as Billie, which was confusing. What was she planning? Should he be worried? He had started out being dressed up in Millie's old clothes and he had been embarrassed. But he had gotten comfortable with that. While he was a guy, he wasn't an athlete or a muscle-bound thug like some of the boys at school. He knew that his mother was happier when he appeared as Billie, but she had acknowledged that she knew that it was her son Bill in the dress, not her daughter Millie.

If wearing a dress and some makeup made her happy, he was willing to do that. But removing all his body hair seemed sort of severe. If that that is what Jill thought best, he was willing to trust her.

He stepped out of the shower denuded and as he dried off realized gym class was going to be a problem. There was only one more before Christmas break he would have his mother write him a note to get out of it. He had no idea how long it would take to grow back, but prayed it would not be noticeable. He would wear sweat pants and avoid taking showers until he was normal.

Stepping back into Jill’s bedroom, he used the wet towel to cover his private parts. Jill smiled at his modesty and pointed to his underwear. She turned her back while Billie got dressed.

After her was dressed she sat him down at her vanity and using Millie’s picture worked her magic. After an hour, Billie could easily be mistaken as Millie’s identical twin. Jill was delighted in her efforts. The two spend the afternoon just hanging out in Jill’s bedroom. They were eventually discovered by Jill’s mother. Bill was scared to death, but Jill simply introduced Billie as a new girl in school. Jill’s mother was very gracious and invited Billie to stay for dinner.

Bill excused himself saying his mother was expecting her home for dinner.

Jill walked her girlfriend to the front door and said goodbye with a sisterly hug. While in the hug she whispered into his ear, “We’ll have to do this again soon.”

@ @ @ @

Three days later, Jill sat next to Bill during lunch. “My mother is not going to be home until late. Would Billie like to come over for dinner?”

“Are you kidding me? I would love to. What time would you like me to be there?”

“As early as possible, I want to teach Billie to do his own makeup. How does that sound?”

“Okay, I guess. Is there anything you need me to do?”

“Shave your face real close.”

Billie showed up at Jill’s house, carrying the clothes he wore home escaping Tom. They were freshly washed and neatly packed in a small traveling case.

Jill met Billie with a huge and a mischievous grin. "Come on Billie I’m going to teach you how to bring out your inner diva.”

Jill took Bill directly to her room, throwing the clothes in a corner. With Bill, still in his boy clothes, Jill gave Billie a quick tutorial in countering his face to hide the rough edges and give him a more feminine appearance.

Bill was a quick study and learned all the tricks in only a few minutes. The concept of shading and high lighting took a bit of time.

Jill was finally satisfied he had it, saying, “Good you have the basics down pat. School's out. Let me show you what can be done from here.”

She proceeded to give him a total makeover. Explaining not only what she did every step, but the why of it. He sat stoically realizing any resistance would not help his position with Jill. He sat demurely and fought to control the occasional tremor that racked his body. As a boy, he knew that he was not supposed to wear makeup, let alone like it. But he was enjoying it and he was seriously confused. Was it the makeup or the closeness of Jill that he enjoyed. He prayed it was the latter.

When she was done, both parties realized that Bill’s face was buried under layers of paint. In its place was a creature that looked like a woman waiting for a night on the town.

Jill surprised Bill with a gift, a conversion kit for turning pierced earrings into clip-ons. She rummaged through her jewelry case until she found a glamorous pair of long rhinestone chandelier earrings and their matching necklace.

Jill stood back and admired her creation, “You know Billie, with the right cocktail dress, you would be a knockout. The guys would be falling all over themselves to compete for your affections.”

Bill blushed cherry red and replied, “Thanks a lot. That is what I have always wanted a bunch of Neanderthals drooling after me. I have spent my life trying to avoid those types. It’s not like I suddenly want to attract their attention.”

It was at that moment that Jill realized that Bill had zero interest in men. She was relieved as she had heard the rumors at school that he was gay. Before they could proceed any further, Jill heard her mother’s car pull into the two-car garage located under her bedroom.

Bill panicked, “Quick Jill! You have to help me get this makeup off before I am found by your mother.”

Jill understood Billie's worry, she felt very much the same way. But one of them needed to at least seem to be calm. “Sorry, there isn’t enough time for that.”

Billie headed for Jill’s large closet and said, “Well hide me then.”

“That won’t work either. I think it is better to hide in plain sight.”

A bewildered Bill inquired, “What the hell are you talking about? This isn’t the time for riddles.”

“Simple. We will give my mother the new girl she met previously. We’ll just throw a dress on you and tell her we were up here playing dress up.”

Bill was not convinced but saw no other choice but to go along with Jill. She quickly scanned her closet and couldn’t find anything that would work, Billie’s lack of breasts made a dress a difficult decision. She had to find something that would hide that fact. She went to her dresser and dug out a non-descript baggy grey sweat suit. She threw it at Billie saying, “Quick put these on. They're baggy enough to hide the fact that your chest is missing.”

Bill put it on and slipped on his white trainers, just as Jill’s mother walked in.

“Hi girls what’s going on? Hope you are not getting into trouble.”

“No mother, we were just experimenting with our makeup. There is a Christmas dance coming up and I was trying to decide what the best colors are for Billie.”

“As long as you don’t have a boy up here I'm happy. Why don’t you girls come down stairs now? I brought home Chinese and there is plenty for us as your father called and told me he has a dinner meeting with clients.”

Mrs. Hawthorn fixed Billie with a mock glare and said, “Young lady, don’t try and back out again. I want to get to know my daughter’s friends. Now both of you wash up and come down to eat.”

Bill started to object but was stopped dead in his tracks, “I won’t take no for an answer. If need be, I’ll call your mother and talk to her.”

Bill managed to get out, “That’s alright Mrs. Hawthorn. I’ll text my mother and explain that I am eating here.”

As they sat down at the formal dining room table, Mrs. Hawthorn poured herself a glass of wine and gave the girls a glass of milk.

Billie said, “Thank you Mrs. Hawthorn.”

"Please call me Liz." She smiled at Billie and said, "We do not stand upon formality as such. Jill calls me Mom, but I am much lenient with her friends. Speaking of names, isn’t Billie an unusual name for a girl?”

Billie was thinking on his feet now, fear of discovery almost had him babbling.
“Yes, it is. My given name is Wilhelmina. I never liked that so I go by Billie.”

“I can understand that. My name is Elizabeth that is why I go by Liz.”

Liz and Jill attacked their dinner using chopsticks. Bill, not wanting to embarrass himself, asked for a fork. As they ate, they made small talk. Liz kept trying to draw Billie out asking questions about school and where she was coming from.

Bill told a small white lie and told the story, after his parents divorced he went to live with his father. But decided to return home to live with his mother.

Bill about choked when Liz asked Billie who she was going to the Christmas dance with.

Jill stepped in to save Bill. “Mom, Billie doesn’t have a boyfriend yet.”

“Jill, she's your friend why don’t you fix her up with one of your friends. You could double date.”

“Please mom, that's not necessary. Billie and I are going together. I dumped Tom so we will go and just hang out,” Jill said as she gave Bill a wink.”

“Are you telling me that you two are romantically involved?

“No mother, I see Billie as the little sister I never had.”

“Jill, I'm not comfortable with two girls going together. That just seems wrong in so many levels.”

“Mom get with it, you are so old fashioned. This is the 21st Century. A lot of students go to dances without dates.”

Bill decided to keep his mouth shut. No matter who won the argument, he felt assured he would be the big loser.

The discussion went on for several minutes. It ended amiably with both women agreeing to disagree.

The three ‘ladies’ had an enjoyable meal. Bill was never able to relax, always afraid he would say something that would reveal his true nature. Most inquiries directed in his direction were handled in monosyllabic responses.

Jill tried to cover for Billie by telling her mother, “Mommy, you must understand that Billie is really very shy.” Then with a teasing gleam in her eye she went on, “You think she is uncommunicative around us. With boys around she acts like a mute. From what she has told me, she has never even kissed a boy. I am working on helping her in that area.”

Bill nonchalantly reached under the table and kicked Jill lightly in the shins.”

After the two girls cleared the table, they put the leftovers back in their containers for Bill to take home. Bill then had a chance to talk to Jill in private. “Jill, I have to get home before my mother gets off work. How am I going to get changed and remove this makeup without your mother seeing? Bill running out the front door won’t work.”

Jill hugged her friend in an attempt to get him to relax.

"Don't worry so much!" she said. "You only live a couple of blocks away, remember? I'll tell my mother that you're going to go home and you leave as Billie. Then you call your mother to tell her that you are on your way. You could go in the back door at your house so that no one will see you and you change back to Bill."

"What if your mother wants to drive me home? And I’ll never get all this makeup off." Billie asked, typically looking for problems.

"I'll just tell her that it's only a block or two and that you don't need a ride. It's still light out, so she won't have a problem. The sweat suit you are wearing has a hood. Just pull it over your head. The suit is androgynous enough, so it would serve for Bill and Billie. Wait here, I’ll run to my room and get you some make-up remover towelettes. You can clean your face as you walk home. They may not get everything off, but should by you time to get to your bathroom to complete the job."

Their plan went off without a hitch. Liz did offer to drive Billie home, but gave in quickly as Jill predicted. Bill hunkered down inside the sweatshirt and with his leftovers in one hand and the towelettes in his pockets took off for home. Bill took his time walking home and used the entire pack and rubbed until his face was raw. Bill tried to sneak into the house unobserved. But as fate would have it Helen was in the kitchen making coffee. Bill excused himself and went right to his room to get changed and check his reflection in his mirror. His concern over his rapid transformation from Billie back to Bill proved to be unnecessary as the evening passed without anything unusual happening. I wish Billie could be here again," Helen said as they sat in the living room, but it’s just too dangerous.

"I wish we did not have to worry about Protective Services bothering us, why can’t they just leave us alone" Bill replied.

His heart ached for his mother. He wanted to be able to become Billie for his mother whenever he or she wanted. Having someone tell him that he could not was frustrating. Maybe there was some way to get around the authorities. He made a mental note to discuss the problem with Jill. But he wanted to become more of what Millie had been for his mother, so even without the clothes he tried. He picked up his mother’s copy of Women’s Day Magazine off the coffee table and snuggled up to his mother as he flipped through it. He would occasionally make a comment on one of the adverts and get his mother’s opinion.

Helen did not go to bed at the same time as Bill. After all, tomorrow was a school day.

Once he was upstairs, Bill very quietly let himself into Millie's old bedroom. He had seen a home movie tape in the box where he had found Millie's picture. Maybe he and Jill could use it to help him learn to walk in heels the way Millie had.

@ @ @ @

At school the next day, he and Jill spent their lunch hour talking about Billie and his sister. He could not become Billie at home without running the risk that the city might show up unexpectedly and catch him in a dress or makeup. That would be a disaster for both mother and son.

"When I saw how much it meant to my mom to have my sister back, even a little bit, it really hurt to have those people tell her that she would go to jail if Billie ever made an appearance."

Bill told her about the home movie of Millie. That sparked an idea in Jill’s head. She told Bill to bring the tape the next time he came over.

@@@@

Jill studied the tape like she was preparing for her SAT’s. Once she felt she had Millie’s walk, posture and gestures down pat, she became Billie’s tutor in femininity. She gave him lessons in deportment and makeup. She was a hard taskmistress. Her criticisms were made with affection and a true sense of desire to teach Billie so that his feminine mannerisms would be instinctive. Jill felt like a maestro, orchestrating Billie’s conversion to a duplicate Millie.

Jill amazed herself in how much she got into being in charge. Bill brought up the issue of protective services just dropping in and catching him in girly mode. Jill’s solution was brilliant and suggested to Bill he reserve it for holidays and Sundays. No bureaucrat was going to work on their day off. Bill knew now what he was going to give his mother for her Christmas present. He was going to give her Millie. After that Billie was as compliant as a puppy going through obedience training.

Jill was sure she could have gotten him to do almost anything simply by convincing him it would help his Millie impersonation.

Several times a week the two would review the tape and Jill would drill Billie. One time Bill balked at learning to walk in five inch stilettos. Simply the steel of determination in her voice convinced Bill to do what he was told; even if he broke an ankle. Her tutoring not only in being feminine but more importantly in his sister’s unique mannerisms, like the way she would toss her hair and unconsciously play with her school ring. To be as authentic as possible Bill found his sisters ring in his mother’s jewelry box. It was a little tight getting it over his knuckle but with the aid of soap he could wear it. She had a unique way of smiling that was foreign to Bill. But with a lot of practice he was able to replicate it. Watching the home movie often brought Bill to the verge of tears. Whenever Millie interacted with his mother he could see how happy it made his mother to have a loving daughter. He was determined to give that joy back to his mother. Even at the cost of his male pride. Bill proved to be a good student. He could apply his own makeup and learned to walk in heels in a matter of a week. He wasn’t ready for the runway but he could walk as well as any high school girl. The two even experimented with Bill sounding like his sister. She had a peculiar laugh that Billie eventually was able to reasonably duplicate. That was a lot harder. So, Jill did some research on the net and found places where people advised crossdresser’s on how to sound feminine. Bill had a tendency to go into a falsetto, a habit that Jill finally broke him of.

He became comfortable enough with this new persona, that he was totally relaxed in front of Jill’s mother at their frequent dinners.

School had never been better for Bill. Jill’s threat had its intended purpose. Bill no longer feared for his welfare. The jocks avoid Bill like he had the plague. He was a welcomed member of Jill’s posse. They entire gang hung out together not only at lunch but before and after class. Bill had never been happier. He still did as much of the housework as he could. After school, he would rush to Jill’s house for the special time together. If he didn’t eat dinner at Jill’s house, he would arrive home in time to cook for his mother. While she ate, he would do light housework. He would wear the lacy apron to cook in and while doing his chores as much for his satisfaction as to make his mother happy.

The two did receive an uninvited visit one night around dinner. As Helen answered the door Bill threw his apron in the dishwasher until their guest left.

He would go to Jill’s house whenever he could. Everything was great until Jill brought up the school dance again. She tried every female trick in her book to get Billie to accompany her and her friends to the dance. Bill was terrified of upsetting his girlfriend, he thought going out dressed as a girl to a school function was too risky.

They eventually compromised and Bill agreed he would meet Jill at the dance in full boy mode.
Bill wore his best suit and Jill wore a gorgeous red velvet dress and heels.

Bill asked Jill to dance the moment she walked in. The first few songs were fast, Bill joined Jill and her friends in a lose group on the floor. It was a while before the DJ played a slow number. Jill but her arms around Bill and pulled him into her body. She felt that Bill was aroused and it pleased her. Then with her arms around him she felt something that she shouldn’t on a boy. It was a bra strap. She leaned back and smiled as Bill said “I couldn’t resist. Do you mind?”

Jill responded by playfully snapping the strap. The two were never separated the entire night. The whole gang went out for pizza after the dance. Bill and Jill rode in the back of Kim’s car, necking the entire ride. When they dropped Bill off, he floated into the house truly on cloud nine.

It was only a few days until Christmas, school was out for the holidays and Jill took to coming to Bill’s house preparing for their dress rehearsal. Jill had Billie stocked with all the required cosmetics. Together they had gone through Millie’s cloths and found the outfit she wore in the home movie. A virgin white floor length prom dress. With lots of rhinestones around the collar.

On Christmas Eve Jill gave Bill his present but made him promise to open it when he was alone. It was a flesh colored gaff. She was almost embarrassed to give it to him. But got his promise he would model it for her someday.

After Bill and Helen had a nice meal, they decorated the tree and hung their stockings. Bill had decided not to use his nylons and went with his normal stocking. He had sold his baseball card collection and used the money to buy a bottle of perfume for his mother at Walgreens. He wrapped it with care and lovingly placed it under the tree.

They had a quiet evening together before Bill gave his mother a kiss on her cheek and he went off to bed. It was a bit earlier than he normally turned in and he just explained it to Helen that he wanted to make sure he was asleep before Santa made his appearance. Helen smiled that is exactly what Bill and Millie would say when they were little.

Before getting ready for bed, Bill checked his closet to ensure that the next day's wardrobe was all there. He made sure that the pretty dress he and Jill had smuggled in was hanging properly and without wrinkles. The three-inch heels that matched the dress were on the floor. He checked to make sure he had everything he would need in the sequined mesh beaded antique cocktail clutch Jill had given him for his big day. The lingerie he would be wearing sat on the shelf above the dress. Bill's goal was not to dress in a risqué or slutty manner, but to appear to be the attractive teenager his sister had been.

Before he went to bed, Bill spent half an hour brushing his hair and then tying it back into a ponytail with a series of hair bands. It was a trick that Jill had shared with him. By preparing it the night before, it would be less likely to appear matted or wild come morning.

Nightgowns were a thing of the long past because of the danger of a visit from Child Protective Services and he had to wear his boy pajamas to bed after taking his shower. Bill found it sad and more than a little frustrating that they did not have the same freedom in their home that other people did. All because the authorities believed that he was being forced to dress up like a girl. He could imagine the looks on their faces if they were to show up Christmas morning. The thought made him grin at the same time the possible consequences scared him.

Christmas morning, Bill woke up to the smell of frying bacon, his favorite breakfast. He pulled on his robe and headed to the kitchen. On the way, he noticed the tree lights were on and his stocking was bulging with presents. He walked in on his mother standing over the stove. The smells made his mouth water.

Helen turned from her chores and said, “Merry Christmas dear, pour each of us a glass of orange juice while I finish frying the eggs."

There was already a platter full of bacon and a basket of hot biscuits on the table. Bill poured two glasses of juice and took a seat. Not realizing it, he sat like a girl and crossed his legs. They enjoyed a filling breakfast and then retired to the living room.

Bill sat on the couch and his mother retrieved his stocking and handed it to him. Bill was delighted with his presents, a new baseball, several packs of baseball trading cards along with the obligatory fruit; an apple and orange. There were a few other wrapped presents from distant relatives under the tree, the best one being a hand-held electronic game. At last, it was time for his mother to open his present. She gushed over it like any mother would and told Bill it was a perfect scent.

Bill asked, “Are you sure you like it?”

In response, she squirted herself several times. She asked, "Can you smell it?”

“No, not really.”

That was a mistake. Helen then pointed it at her son and proceeded to squirt him. He tried to flee but his mother chased him around the room pumping away with the flowery liquid. They both collapsed in a giggling fit on the floor.

They turned on the television and sat next to each other and relaxed. Not surprisingly, the movie was a rerun of ‘A Christmas Story’. They were lounging around relaxing when there was a timid knock at the front door. Helen was still in her night clothes so she asked Bill to see who it was.

Bill cautiously opened the door, to his delight it was Jill.

“What are you doing here?”

Jill pushed open the door and engulfed Bill in a loving hug.

“Can’t a girl visit her boyfriend on Christmas morning?”

“Sure, come on in. We have left over biscuits and juice would you like some?”

“I would love something to eat, but would rather have a cup of coffee if you have any.”

“Come on in, I’ll make you some. I'm sure mom would like a cup too.”

Jill sat at the kitchen table while Bill made a pot of coffee, wearing his apron. Bill wasn’t sure what to say, so he remained quiet. Jill finally broke the silence, “I love the perfume you are wearing. What is it?”

Bill was flustered and said, “I’m not wearing perfume!”

Jill gave him a scrunchie face. “Billie, don’t you lie to me. I’ll turn you over my knee. I can smell you from here.”

As Bill was to find out later Jill's threat to spank him was not the empty threat that it sounded like.

“It is a present I got for my mother. She tested it out on me as a joke. Okay?”

Teasing she replied, “It's perfect, I really think that scent becomes you. You should wear it more often.”

Bill was flustered so he said, “If you like it that much I’ll get you some.”

Horrified at the prospect, Jill answered, “No way Jose, each girl has to have her own sent.”

Bill stood his ground and firmly announced, “But it isn’t my scent.”

With a grin on her face, Jill said, “It is now. Tell me the name so I can get you your own bottle.”

Bill felt light headed. Here was the girl he had a crush on teasing him about wearing perfume.

Jill spent the morning with Bill and his mother. When Helen stepped out to change clothes, Jill asked Bill if everything was ready to go. Bill smiled and lifted his shirt to show he was already wearing his lacy camisole. Jill reached over and ran her hand across Bill’s chest teasing his perky nipples when she encountered them.

Around 12:30 a car pulled into the driveway and honked. Jill stood up and said, “That must be my parents. I have to run." Kissing Bill on the lips and hugging Helen, she hurried out the door.

Helen stood and took the empty cups and saucers into the kitchen. Upon her return, she told Billie, “I think we should start getting ready for our tip to your Me Maw’s."

Bill leaped up from the couch and ran up the flight of stairs, yelling, “First dibs on the shower.”

He took a long steamy shower and shaved his legs, arms, pits, and his face. Then slathered moisturizer everywhere he could reach. He opened the door a crack to make sure the coast was clear and he darted into his bedroom. He locked the door and started his transformation.

He slid the pantyhose up his legs, smoothing them out to prevent any creases in the material. The breast forms Jill had ‘borrowed’ from a friend he attached with adhesive, then quickly fastened the bra behind his back to provide additional support for the forms.

Releasing his hair from the bands, he spent several minutes brushing out any kinks that had formed until his blonde locks looked smooth and shiny again. He could not put on his makeup before the dress because to do so would muss it up. The dress he took out of the closet was a rich, sapphire blue. Millie's had been ruby red, but he and Jill had not been able to find a dress to match that color. In the end, Jill had suggested the blue because it would complement his hair so nicely. Besides, they did not want Helen to think they were trying to resurrect Millie, only know that her spirit lived on in her brother.

Before he started on his makeup, Bill draped a towel around his shoulders and in his lap to catch any stray powder. Then it was a matter of applying foundation, fixer, blush, eyeliner, and lipstick. When Bill was done, Millie's very pretty sister was looking Bill in the eye. The last thing to go on were the chandelier earrings, necklace, and Millie's ring.

His mother tried to come in to see what was taking her son so long. She was shocked to find it was locked. Bill had never done that before. “Bill what’s going on. Hurry up we are going to be late.”

“Oh mom, give me a break. Doesn’t a guy deserve some privacy? Go down stairs I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Alright but hurry. You know how I hate being late.”

Bill started to put on his heels but realized his mother would hear their telltale sound. He checked himself one more time, and then slid the draw strings of his clutch purse over his arm. He quietly stepped out of the door holding his shoes in his hand. Helen was standing at the door with her back to him. He crept down the stairs before stopping at the last step to slip on his heels. He quietly took the last step and said in his Millie voice, “I’m ready to go mother.”

Helen spun around and what she saw made her knees go weak. She had to grab the door handle for support. When she didn’t say anything, Bill asked, “Mother are you alright?”

“My lord Millie. I have never been better.” It did not take Helen long to recover and tell herself that it was not her daughter standing before her. “What’s going on?”

“Merry Christmas mom. This is my gift to you. Do you like it?”

She stuttered out, “Billie, you look like a grown woman. You could be Millie’s identical twin. I love it. How?”

“Jill helped me. We have been practicing for weeks. I wanted to surprise you. Can I ask a favor? To honor my sister for today could you call me Millie?”

“Of course, Millie. You about gave me a coronary but I have recovered.

Is that what you want to wear to your grandmother’s?”

“Sure, unless you don’t want me to.”

Helen answered with a smile; she was pleasantly surprised and pleased at how the dress, hairstyle and make-up had transformed her son. It was still Billie but it wasn't difficult to think of him as 'her' for a day. She went and retrieved her perfume bottle and gave Millie a few squirts for good measure saying, "Only the best for my girl! Don’t move a muscle I have to record this."

Helen retrieved her camera and snapped a quick dozen shots and headed for the door.

Bill felt dreamy, he couldn't believe this was happening and as he looked in the hall mirror and inhaled the expensive cologne he felt faint for a moment. He felt his mother steady him and kiss him and smile with deep love in her eyes. He felt so happy.

Helen brought Bill back to reality with a slap on his plump posterior. “Millie, get your beautiful ass in the car. I told you I hate being late.”

Millie sat in the passenger seat, nervously fiddling with the purse in his lap. Unsure of the reception he was going to receive at his Grandmother's house.

He needn’t have worried. Helen opened the door and led the way in, “Mother, Merry Christmas, I have brought a special guest to spend the day with us, come say hello to your newest granddaughter Millie.”

Helen's mother, Mildred, came out from the kitchen and didn’t say a word; she merely threw her hand over her mouth in surprise. Billie was frozen in place until Me Maw rushed past her daughter and engulfed Billie in a loving embrace.

“It is so nice to see you dear. My, but don’t you look lovely. Looking at your outfit, I feel underdressed. I will have to change before us girls sit down for dinner."

Billie was forgetting his manners until he finally asked, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Before you knew it the three ladies were in the kitchen in aprons putting the finishing touches on dinner.

It was a lovely meal and Billie was treated like a lady. He was even allowed to have one glass of wine with dinner.

After everyone had eaten their fill, Millie was clearing the table. There was a knock on the door and Grandma answered it. There was an elderly gentleman in the doorway. She said, “Come in Fred. Girls, this is my neighbor Fred I invited him over for dessert.”

“Mildred, it was so nice of you to invite me over. Holidays can get lonely for an old widower like me.”

“Fred, this is my daughter Helen and that lovely creature standing with her mouth open is my granddaughter, Millie. Come in and have a seat. Millie, would you mind getting Fred a piece of pie? While you do that, I will pour us adults a glass sherry.

Fred sat and ate and drank for the better part of an hour.

After his third class of sherry, he picked up a small framed photograph of a small boy in a baseball uniform. He studied it closely before turning to Millie and asking, “Is this you?

A deadly silence fell over the room. Bill stomach was doing summersaults. He would probably die of shame if this stranger knew he was a boy dressed like a girl.

Mildred had forgotten about the picture. She started to come clean when Billie interrupted her. “Excuse me, Me Maw. Let me explain. Yes sir, that’s me. It was taken a long time ago when I was going through my tomboy stage.”

The other women in the room relaxed as Fred accepted that explanation.

As he got up to leave, he said to Millie, “If you don’t have a boyfriend, I have a grandson about your age. I know he would love to take you out sometime.”

Helen saved the day, sort of, when she said, “Millie isn’t allowed to date yet. When she starts dating boys I’ll give you a call.”

Billie blushed three shades of red. His heart raced, what did her mother mean buy ‘when’?

Fed gave Mildred a kiss on the cheek and left, waving good bye.

After the door was closed and locked, Mildred asked, “Millie, will you please accompany me into my study while your mother finishes cleaning up in here?”

Mildred sat her grandchild down, and held his hands in hers, and knelt at his feet.

“Alright Billie, tell me what’s going on.”

“Me Maw it's simple. Mother has been depressed so much lately that I wanted to do something special to cheer her up. I wanted to give her back her daughter, if only for one day.”

Mildred nodded. “I have noticed how happy your mother has been all evening. What you have done has brought her back to life. You are to be congratulated.”

She stared deeply into Billie’s eyes. “Son, I know you. It is fine that you are doing this for your mother; but there is something else going on here. Now tell this old woman the rest of the story.”

Billie caved and replied, “You’re right, initially this was intended solely for Mom. However, as the charade went on, I realized that it was just as much for me as it was for her. I miss my sister too. When I play her, it brings us closer. Can you understand that?”

Engulfing Billie in her arms, she pulled his head into her chest, “Certainly dear. I know exactly how you feel. You are to be rewarded for what you have done. I want you to know that Millie is welcome in my home anytime she wants.”

Bill stood to leave and was stopped by his grandmother. “Millie, you should know that when you get home there is a present waiting for Billie in the garage. Merry Christmas.”

When Bill and his mother got home, the first place he headed for was the enclosed garage. There, sitting next to the work bench, was a brand-new bike. The fact that it was a girl’s bike only made Bill happier. Every time he rode it would remind him of this very special day. Bill went back into the house and headed up stairs to his bed room. Opening the door, he found a long virgin white silk nightgown on his bed. His mother was standing behind him, “Millie please wear it for me. I don’t want Millie to just go away.”

Bill made a snap decision his heart filled with love, “Mom, would it be alright for Millie to visit every Sunday?”

“Of course dear. I think we both would enjoy that.”

Jill’s mother kept asking Jill what had happened to Billie. With Jill’s insistence, Billie was a frequent dinner guest at the Hawthorn house. The relationship between the two teenagers continued to grow until it blossomed into love.

For the next four years, Sunday dinners were special for everyone. Billie became quite proficient at turning himself into an attractive woman. Jill, as Bill’s special girl, was also invited for Sundays with the Williams. At times, the ladies would go out for Sunday dinners. Millie was accepted as a woman.

This kept up until Bill went away to college. He stopped going home on most Sundays because of his coursework.

Jill was already well into her studies toward a psychology degree when Bill joined her at the university. Helping Bill over the years had super-charged her in such a way that she felt strongly about being a champion for people and helping them along their path to mental health.

@ @ @ @

Would you please hurry up?" Jill's tone was becoming stressed as she waited for her husband to finish in the bathroom.

"I'm almost done," he assured her.

"I'm glad we have that appointment with the real estate agent next week," Jill said from the door of the closet-sized bathroom. "We really need to find a larger house."

"I know, dear. At least with the additional work I'm doing at the newspaper, we will have more money for rent or a house payment."

Jill nodded, even though Bill could not see her at the moment. "That's good too. I want a house with a larger bathroom and more closet space. I keep finding Billie's things mixed in with mine. And we are always fighting to get into the bathroom on the days that Billie comes to visit."

Billie stepped out of the small room to confront his wife. "This is all we could afford at the time." He gave her a light kiss on the lips.

"Be careful!" Jill scolded. "You just spent half an hour getting your makeup the way you want it. Don't mess it up or we'll be here for another half an hour while you fix it."

"You want me to look nice for my mother and grandmother, don't you? I mean, we could always retire Billie and I could just stay Bill all of the time." This was an empty threat and they both knew it. Bill had come to thoroughly enjoy the times when he transformed himself into Billie and he would miss it too much to give it up. For her part, Jill had confessed to him that Billie's presence did something to her and for her that she liked. Their nights after returning from their visit to Bill's mother and grandmother were definitely fun filled. Sometimes too much so.

"Not on your sweet ass!" Jill barked as she stepped back around the bathroom to look her husband in the eye. "Billie is going to continue to be a guest in this house, or else!"

Billie smiled at his wife. They both knew that he was teasing and he definitely did not want to fight Jill on this. He was the same size as his wife and outweighed her by about thirty pounds, but the spanking that she had given him once still made him flinch when he thought about it.

"Yes, dear. We need to add makeup to the shopping list." Billie said.

Jill had gone back to the mirror. Her voice was strained as she was obviously working on eyes. "I swear. You seem to go through makeup faster than any natural woman I know."

Bill shrugged, even though she could not see it. "Beauty has its cost. Besides, it takes a lot to change Bill into Billie and to try to be pretty." His voice was a bit sad as he reflected that Billie was passable as a lady and he would have been happy if he could be pretty. He perked up a bit as he added, "You use my makeup too. That isn't necessarily hygienic you know."

"Oh please," Jill retorted. "You and I have the same germs. The only thing that we do not have in common is that you can't get pregnant."

She stepped out of the bathroom, having spent a fraction of the time getting ready that her husband had. She spread her arms slightly to display herself.

Billie stepped into his wife's arms and returned the light kiss. "You look beautiful." He rubbed her belly and said, "How do you feel?"

"Pretty good. I think that the crackers really do help my stomach settle down. I don't want to embarrass myself at your mother's house."

Billie held up her coat and helped her into it. "You will never have to worry about that at my mom's house," he said. "If we were to split up, they would throw me out and keep you."

Jill returned his smile and allowed him to escort her to the door. Chivalry was not dead, even when it came in a dress.

@ @ @ @

Helen heard a car door slam and she looked out the window to see that the kids had finally arrived.

She looked up over at Mildred and said, "They're here."

Mildred had moved in with her daughter during Bill's third year at college. Bill and Jill had moved in together at school and had eloped shortly after. They were blissfully happy and they began visiting home more frequently after that.

There was a knock at the front door and it opened just as Helen and Mildred came around the corner. Jill stepped gracefully through the door, wearing a stylish blue skirt and crème blouse that showed off her curves and legs to good advantage. She had developed quite a sense of style over the years, even while she had pursued her license as a psychologist. She carried her purse in one hand and a large tote bag full of gaily wrapped presents to be put under the Christmas tree in the next room.

Behind her Billie bumped through the door, carrying his own burden of purse and tote bag. As he came around his wife, Helen smiled as she got a good look at him. He wore an emerald green dress that fell to just below his knees. The sheer hose that he wore showed off his sharply hairless legs that rivaled Jill's. His blonde hair just brushed his shoulders, but it would have been longer except for the waves that gave it a cascading effect.

"Hi Mom. Hi Grandma," he said in his well-practiced Millie voice. He closed the door behind him and stood before his mother and grandmother to give them a good look at this year's wardrobe. When he dressed up with Jill, he was Billie. It had become a tradition that Bill would come to Christmas dinner as Millie. He and Jill worked hard to get dolled up elegantly for these visits, almost as if they were trying to top the previous year's dinner.

It wasn't like Bill and Jill were strangers to their families. They had moved into a house only a few miles away after school and they made it a point to visit his family and hers every other week. Billie was no stranger to Helen and Mildred either as Bill would visit as Billie every other week. Millie’s visits were reserved for holidays and the Sundays. Helen never tired of seeing her son appear as her pseudo daughter. She still missed Millie terribly and it had been almost fifteen years now.

The four of them exchanged hugs and kisses before moving into the family room to unload the presents they had brought along. Helen had already brought in carafes of coffee and hot water for tea. While Mildred waited for her tea to steep properly, Helen asked, "What have you two been up to lately?"

Billie was bursting to let his family in on their news. He was so excited he was sure he piddled his panties. Thank God Sue had insisted he wear a panty liner. He waited until his wife was settled and got them both a cup of herb tea before he answered, "I have some exciting news. I agreed to take over the Lonely-Hearts column at the paper as well as managing the sport section." He smiled at his wife for a moment and continued, "I'll let Jill tell her news."

Jill returned his smile and crossed her leg over her knee. She sat a bit straighter and said, "Now that I have completed my PHD in psychology, I have been accepted as an associate at the clinic. I'll be starting in a few weeks."

"Congratulations, Doctor!" Helen and Mildred chorused.

"Thank you," Jill acknowledged. Her happiness at getting a permanent position almost made her wriggle. "They had been looking for a gender counselor for a while now, but they wanted the right person. I guess the time I spent working with them as part of my degrees showed them that I had what they wanted."

Jill had been specializing in helping patients with gender issues since she had completed her undergraduate degree. It had started as a way to understand Bill and how to help him. It had grown into a desire to help others who might only need to dress in a different manner or who had gender issues.

"That is wonderful to hear. I have a bottle of wine in the refrigerator," Helen said, coming to her feet. "We can have a glass as congratulations and a celebration."

Helen returned from the kitchen with glasses and the promised bottle. As she began pouring out glasses, Jill coughed as if clearing her throat and said, "No wine for me please."

Billie smiled slightly as his heart raced with excitement. His antiperspirant had failed completely and he knew he was about to stain his new gown. There was more news to come and he wanted to blurt out the news. He bit his tongue literally, knowing the consequences at home would be dire if he went against Jill’s will. He had agreed with his wife that he would let her tell it in her own way. That spanking had really hurt!

Jill had always been a leader. Neither had any idea how dominant she was until their second year of marriage. Their first argument had demonstrated that to them both. Bill agreed with Jill's decision the hard way. He was a follower so their personalities meshed. She took charge in everything in and out of the bedroom.

Helen looked up at Jill in surprise. She knew that this was one of her daughter in-law's preferred labels and she had made sure that she had a bottle just for the holiday.

Seeing Helen's hurt look, Jill knew that she needed to explain quickly. "Bill and I agreed that it would be better if I did not have any."

Jill's smile said more than words and Helen caught on quickly. Her eyes practically lit up and said, "You mean?"

Jill nodded vigorously, her face splitting with a big smile. "We knew a couple of weeks ago, but we were waiting to make sure. The doctor thinks that it's going to be twin girls!"

"Won't that cause you some problems with work?" Mildred asked. She knew that a pregnancy could play havoc with a woman's emotions; she had learned that from her own and Helen's pregnancies. Mental health professionals needed to be more level-headed than their patients.

"Yes, at some point it will," Jill answered. "I made sure that the clinic knew almost before I told Bill. I will have to take a leave of absence at some point, but I will stay working as long as I can. Bill wants me to stay home right away so that he can wait on me hand and foot." She reached out to caress his cheek lovingly. "He's a real worrier. I promised him that I would take care of myself.

"What are you going to do for the time that you are out of work?" Mildred asked. A single income family would struggle in today's economy. Who knew if Jill would even go back to work?

Bill looked at Jill, she nodded that she was finished with her news and he began, "Well, there is some more news, maybe good, maybe so-so. You see, I submitted a chapter of a story I have been thinking of to a contest and it won first place. If I can write a complete book that is as good as that chapter, it will get published and we will have some extra income as a result."

“My goodness, how will you find the time?" Mildred said. "Both of you working full time jobs and twins to care for.”

Jill jumped in here, “We are going to do what we can to help Bill make a go of being an author. We've decided that he could work from home and the newspaper agrees. That way he can take care of domestic chores and watch our girls. It’s the perfect solution. Don’t you agree Billie?”

This was all news to Bill, but he could see the logic of the situation. He meekly nodded his concurrence. His heart was racing though. They had talked about the advantages of breast feeding the kids and he would be damned if she expected him to nurse the twins.

This was another surprise to Helen and Mildred. It seemed that the kids were full of news and surprises this Christmas.

"What kind of story is it?" Helen asked.

Now Billie looked embarrassed. "It's a combination sports and romance story about a woman who falls in love with a young baseball player, but written from the viewpoint of the woman."

Helen nodded. She could see where the idea for the story could have come from. "Have you written much yet?"

Mildred couldn’t help it she had to joke, “I take it that the story is autobiographical. Has Millie started liking boys?”

Bill shook his head and responded emphatically, "No, I don’t want anything to do with boys!”

Jill knew it was a sore point with her husband but couldn’t resist teasing him. “Honey, don’t forget your one and only date. His name was Ken, wasn’t it dear?"

She turned to look at Helen and Mildred. "He was Fred’s grandson. Ladies, you should have seen Billie. She was Ken’s prom date. Billie begged to go to my beauty shop for a makeover and, afterwards, we went dress shopping. He wore a gorgeous sequined red maxi dress. Waiting for his date he was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Ken even brought his date a corsage. They made a darling couple. I took a roll of pictures.”

Jill took a deep breath to continue with her tale, Bill took the opportunity to jump in and correct the impression Jill was making.

“I wasn’t so much nervous as scared stiff. I only went as a favor to Grandma because she begged me. That entire episode was a nightmare. Ken was really possessive. He told everyone I was his girl. He wouldn’t let me out of his sight. On the ride home, he wouldn’t keep his hands off me. A dozen times he asked for my number. He had me backed up to the door and was trying to lock lips with me at the door. I hate to think what would have happened if Jill hadn’t rescued me. She ran Ken off telling him, 'Get out Billie is spoken for.'”

Bill ignored the dagger looks Jill was shooting his way. “Back to my story, it's actually pretty far along,"

He could not quite meet his mother's eye as he said, "Jill has been helping with the story a bit. You see, Jill and Billie go to the ballpark on Sunday day games."

Before he could continue, Jill broke in and said, "And Millie flirts with a couple of the players on the visiting team! Then I have to run interference for him when they might get too interested!"

Everyone laughed except Bill.

Jill looked at Helen, who was starting a grin at Jill's frustrated tone. "Would you please tell your son to be careful? Millie seems to get more attention than I do!"

“No way, you're a gorgeous woman.”

“True but with his legs and sexy butt he is a man magnet in his pink short shorts.

Bill was getting really uncomfortable in the direction the conversation was going.

At that revelation, Helen and Mildred almost fell off their chairs with laughter. Jill only sounded upset, because her face was split with a broad smile. The only one who was not laughing was Billie and his face was beet red with embarrassment.

All he could say was, "I only wear those shorts because it is so hot in August. It's research for my book. It's how my main character would behave." It just added to the ladies' mirth.

Once Helen could breathe again, she looked at her son who was dressed like her daughter and said, "You are such a flirt."

Jill added, “Mother, you have no idea. When he is parading around in that cute pink baby doll nightie, he drives me wild.”

“Please Jill, that’s too much information.” Helen complained.

Bill wanted the floor to open up and swallow him. What could be worse than your mother and wife discussing your bedroom activities?

"Mother! It's just research!" Billie protested. His face could not have gotten more red, but his voice never left the soprano tones he had developed all those years ago. Anyone just walking into the room would have seen and heard four women talking, well three laughing hysterically and the fourth protesting her complete innocence.

Now Mildred spoke up. "Young man! This is a respectable family. There is no room in your marriage for a five-some”

“Me Maw, what is a five-some?”

“Count them: Millie, your baseball boyfriend, a wife, plus two in the oven. That makes five to me.”

Now Bill laughed.

He tried to shut her up with his reply. “You’re right. Our bed is only a Queen, five would be too crowded and it would cramp my style.”

That took Mildred back. She had no comeback. She was smiling as much as Helen was.

Helen said, "If you and Jill have that going on, we do not want to know about it! There are some things that mothers do not want to hear about from their children!"

Bill was flustered at his Grandmother's earthy comments. He got up and headed for the kitchen, “What’s for dinner? I hope you made plenty, I’m starved and Jill is eating for three.”

They sat down to a dinner of roast chicken and mashed potatoes. It was like there were just four mature ladies having dinner together and chatting sociably. The conversation seemed to focus a great deal possible baby names.

At some point, each of them looked around the table to reflect upon how things had changed so much and how happy they all were. It was the kind of day that you hoped to be able to enjoy many times more over the years.

Life was good. Sunday dinners continued to be ladies only.



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