By Katherine Day
Jarod gains acceptance as Jane and turns 11 during the summer.
As Jane, she finds all sorts of friends and joy, particularly with her dress-making skills that wow adults.
Now she finds that being a girl is not as easy as it seems and it looks like her world may soon change.
Chapter Seven: Amy Finds a Friend
“Feel like getting some fresh air?” Amy asked Jarod on the 10th day of the absence of her children, during their two-week visit to their father’s home in California.
Jarod didn’t answer right away. He was curled up on the couch, engrossed in the Nancy Drew book he was reading.
Amy had waited until 9 a.m. to check on the boy this morning, and the day promised to be perfectly delightful, sunny and mild, with light winds. Such a combination of weather was rare in the northern climate in which they lived.
“Janey,” Amy persisted, using his girl’s name
“Mmmmm. Yes, Amy?”
“Do you want to go to the park, just to get out? It’s a nice day.”
“I guess,” he said without enthusiasm.
“You don’t seem to happy to go out?”
“Oh, I would like to. It’s just that I . . . ah . . . would have to change my clothes.”
He was wearing a light green print skirt that ended at mid-thigh and a sleeveless yellow blouse with buttons down the back. Amy had dug the outfit out of the drawer where Jarod had stored the clothes that Amy had given to Jarod; they were outfits Amy had worn as a high school girl, but were now to small for her.
“No, you can go as you are, as Jane.”
Jarod smiled: “You think I can?”
“Oh, yes, I thought we’d go to the park. Jessica and her dad might be there, remember them?”
“Yes, Amy. I liked Jessica, even though she’s young, like Emily.”
“They think you’re Jane, so you don’t have to change.”
Jarod smiled, but was apprehensive, anyway. He loved frolicking with the little girls, going on the swing sets and other activities in the play lot. But, it meant they’d have to walk, and perhaps the neighbors or even the Modjeska twins would see Jarod and make fun. It could be so embarrassing.
“I’ll drive, Janey,” Amy said. “I know it would be nice day for a walk, but no sense in letting all the neighbors see us go.”
“Oh, you look so pretty, Amy,” Jarod said. “I love that sundress.”
“You think it looks ok on me? It feels a little tight.”
“I could have taken it out a bit,” he said. “But, no it looks OK, Amy. I think Jessica’s daddy will like you in it.”
Amy did look a little squeezed in the dress, which had a square bodice, and the uplift bra she was wearing helped to promote her cleavage, showing the soft white flesh of her shoulders and arms. Her tummy ballooned out just a bit against the yellow material, and her burgeoning hips forced the dress to rise up as she sat down, exposing her healthy thighs.
“Oh posh, Janey,” Amy said unconvincingly. “I don’t care about that.”
Jarod knew, of course, that Amy did indeed “care” about how she would appear to Jim. He had overheard Amy talking to his mother about the nice man they had met in the park.
His mother had responded: “Well, why not take Jarod while your daughters are gone and go to the park a few times? Maybe he’ll show up. You said Jarod seemed to like playing with his daughter.”
Amy had taken to calling him “Jane” or “Janey” almost constantly now, rarely referring to him as “Jarod” or as a boy. To her, Jarod had become like a daughter, or niece and also a young female companion. The boy’s skill at the sewing machine had grown that summer and now easily matched hers; furthermore, his taste of female fashions was surprisingly knowledgeable.
For her part, Amy had taken to mentoring the young boy in becoming more girlish; her hints at his movements and makeup were gentle and easy, and Jarod had accepted them eagerly and with enthusiasm. Since acquiring Amy’s old clothes, he was always dressed as a girl, except when out in the neighborhood.
The play lot was busy, with children of all ages, up to 12, running to and fro, climbing ladders and monkey bars, taking the slides down and hopping on swing sets. The whole play lot rested in sand, to permit the children to fall without mishap.
Jarod found a girl about his same age, and they were talking earnestly near one of the slides when Jim and his daughter, Jessica, showed up.
“I thought I noticed you here, Amy,” Jim said. “Jessica saw you and your neighbor girl here and said, ‘Daddy, ‘Let’s go to the park.’”
“Nice seeing you again,” Amy said, priming her hair.
“Where are your girls?”
“Oh this is their two weeks with my ex.”
“You look very pretty, Amy,” he said
Amy noticed Jim was dressed in a fashionable light blue polo shirt and light tan shorts; he had tan muscular legs and was wearing sandals without socks. The color of his shirt matched the light blue of his eyes, which sparkled as he talked.
“Oh, it’s just an old frock and I seem to have gained weight since I last wore it.”
“You look just fine in it,” he said. It was his honest opinion; she did indeed look fine.
Jessica ran over to Jarod, grabbing his dress as he was talking with the other girl, an African-American who was a little taller. She had sinewy legs, wore shorts and a tank top and had dreadlocks.
“Janey, Janey, Janey. I’m here. Wanna play?”
“Hi Jessica,” he said, bending over to pat the child on her shoulders. “This is my friend, Latoya. Say Hi to her.”
He looked at Latoya, as if to ask if it was all right to play with the four-year-old. Latoya took the hint, and said: “Come Jessica, me and Janey will race you to the slides.”
Amy and Jim watched from the bench as Jarod (now Janey) took one hand and Latoya the other and they skipped over to the slides.
“That neighbor girl of yours is a charm, isn’t she?” Jim asked.
“She helps me out so much with the girls, and she can sew, too. I don’t know many girls who sew these days, but Jane loves it, and does so well with it.”
Amy and Jim soon found themselves in deep conversation, both sharing their backgrounds and their likes and dislikes. The three children giggled and ran about in the mild summer sun, before Jessica stumbled getting off a teeter-totter, skinning her knee. She started to cry, and Latoya and Jarod brought her to her father.
“We’re sorry, sir,” Jarod said in his high voice to Jim.
“It’s her own fault,” Jim said. He brought the young girl to his side, brushing the sand off the wound.
When the crying ended, Jarod introduced Latoya to Amy and Jim, saying that she was going into the 6th grade next fall, just as Jarod was. The whole group walked over to a picnic table, where they sat and began talking. Jessica was tired out from her cavorting and nestled next to Jarod.
“We’ve been here an hour,” Amy said eventually.
Jim nodded, looking at his watch, “So it has. I’ve got an idea. Let’s go to the beach this afternoon. I’m free today. Are you, Amy? And the kids?”
Amy looked puzzled. “To the beach?”
“Yes, and Latoya can come too if her mother says OK.”
Amy said: “Oh Jim, I don’t have suit.”
“Well, I don’t think it’ll fit, but I guess I could find something to wear.”
“Amy, I don’t have a suit either,” Jarod said.
“Oh honey, we can find one for you.”
It was finally settled. They were to go to the beach; Jim would pick them all up in an hour, and then get Latoya if her mother said it was all right.
On the way home, Jarod asked Amy: “Do you have a suit for me?”
“Yes, a swimsuit I wore in high school. It should fit you.”
“But Amy, I’m a boy. How would that look?”
“Darling, you’ll look like a cute girl.”
“But Amy, I don’t have . . . ah . . . you know . . .”
“Breasts,” she finished the sentence for him. “But then many girls your age don’t either. Otherwise, you look very much a girl. Don’t worry, Jane.”
“’Toya thought I was a girl.”
“Do you know her?” Amy asked.
“No, she just admired my pigtails. I told her you did them for me.”
“She has nice dreadlocks,” Amy said, as they turned down the street to their side-by-side units.
“But her grandma used to tie her pigtails, and she might like to wear them again. She thinks they make a girl look cute.”
Amy smiled as she turned into the driveway, commenting only. “But the girl has to be cute to start with, doesn’t she, Jane? And you and ‘Toya both are cute girls.”
There was one problem. When Jarod put on Amy’s old swimming suit, the skimpy bottom failed to fully cover his testicles and there was a chance his penis, small though it was, might pop out.
“Oh Amy, I love this suit,” Jarod said, looking at himself in the mirror. There would be no questioning his being a girl, given his pigtails, slender, soft arms and pretty legs, except for the bulge in the front of the bikini bottom.
Amy found another bottom; it was actually a skimpy pair of shorts that he could wear over the other bottoms. It was loose enough to cover his penis and testicles. Both the top and the bottom were pink, with a blue trim design, and seemed to match perfectly.
“There you are, my girl,” Amy said.
Jarod smiled, knowing he would look like any other 11-year-old girl at the beach. “Amy, thank you, I like being Janey so much, thanks to you.”
Amy knew he did, and as much as she loved supporting his girly tendencies, she was feeling guilty for doing so. Was she leading this loving, sweet boy to disaster? She hoped not, for he looked so happy being Jane.
The afternoon at the beach was one of the best day both Jarod and Amy had ever had; Jarod because he was accepted as Jane and he could be his gentle self, and Amy because of her growing friendship with Jim. He seemed like a perfectly excellent man, and he seemed to enjoy her company. He was seven years older, being 31, and he held a professional job with a trucking company, handling their sales programs.
Most of all, he praised Amy for her own beauty, even though she protested she was too fat. Instead, he seemed more interested in what she thought about everything, from raising children, to going to church, whether she drank and the coming national elections. And, he had a perfectly scrumptious body, slender, but sinewy and hard.
Jarod found ‘Toya to be a warm, interesting person, too. They giggled a lot, and played with Jessica, tickling her sometimes into tears, before being warned by Amy to stop.
The two of them entered the cold water of the Great Lake gingerly, holding hands and looking like two lovely subteen girls. Their presences did not go unnoticed by some other boys, about their same age, who came after them, teasing them to “get wet,” and them splashing water on them.
“Ignore them,” ‘Toya said, no doubt used to be followed by boys.
They, in turn, flirted with the boys, but then running away when the familiarity got too explicit and forward.
The trips to the beach were repeated the following day, a Friday, and it seemed like more fun than before. Jim picked up Amy and Jarod and then ‘Toya at her home in a mixed neighborhood of working class Cape Cods, all built 60 years before. ‘Toya lived with her single mother and three brothers, all older, and the yard and interior of the house were immaculately maintained.
“Can you sleep over tonight?” ‘Toya asked him as they were about to return home from the beach on the second day.
Jarod wanted to. That’s what girls did, sleepovers and slumber parties and girl talk. He wanted all of it. Only, he wasn’t a girl.
“I’ll ask my mom,” he said, dodging the question.
“Oh come on. My brothers won’t bother you,” she said smiling.
“I’ve never slept over,” he said. “My mom’s strict.”
“OK,” ‘Toya said. The two shared phone numbers and Jarod promised to call. He knew he wouldn’t sleep over; how would he be able to hide his male features?
Later that afternoon, after his mother got home, he called ‘Toya, to inform her his mother said “No.” In truth, he hadn’t asked his mother; he just knew it wasn’t possible, given that he was a boy and no doubt “sleeping over” meant dressing together and likely sleeping together.
“Come on, Jane,” ‘Toya pleaded. “We can work on each other’s hair.”
“Mom says no.”
‘Toya didn’t answer.
“I’ve never slept over anywhere, ‘Toya.”
After another pause, ‘Toya said, in almost a mean tone: “I thought we were going to be best friends.”
“Me too, but I can’t sleep over.”
“It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?”
“Yes, you don’t want to sleep in our house because we might have lice.”
Jarod was shocked.
“No. No. No. It’s because . . .” he halted, then added. “You’re the first nice girl friend I’ve had. I like you ‘Toya.”
“But you won’t sleep over, because I’m black.”
‘Toya slammed down the phone.
Jarod went to his room and cried. He knew the only reason he couldn’t sleep over was a reason he dare not tell: that he was a boy. Oh, how he wanted to be a girl.
His mother found Jarod a few minutes later, still sobbing into his pillow, all curled up on his bed, still dressed as he had been from the beach. She went to his side, sat next to him, comforting the child.
“Everybody thinks I’m a girl. They like me as a girl. But, I’m not a girl.”
With that, his sobbing grew even more intense.
“Well, honey, if you don’t want to be taken for a girl, then you’ll have to quit dressing and acting like one.”
“No, no, no. Mommy. That’s not it. I want to be a girl. I feel I should be a girl. But, I’m not.”
To Nancy Pinkerton now came the realization that her son was not just role-playing, or having a short term fetish with being female. He felt he was a girl, and she needed to get help.
Chapter 8: Jane Becomes a Problem
The next day Nancy didn’t have to leave for teaching until after 10 a.m., and Amy was pounding on her door by 9 a.m. When she opened the door, Amy burst through the doorway and flung herself into Nancy’s arms, beginning to cry uncontrollably.
Amy was carrying and sheaf of folded papers, with a blue cover.
“How could he do this? He wants to take my girls.” Her cries interrupted her talk.
“My ex. The bastard. He and that skinny new wife of his. They want my girls. They’re going to take Emily and Angela.”
Nancy held the shorter woman to her chest, cuddling the ampleness of her soft body. She continued to cry. Jarod, still dressed in his pink nightie and looking very girlish, appeared in the doorway.
“And they’re blaming Jarod,” Amy burst out.
“Me?” Jarod said in amazement.
The realization that Jarod had entered the room tempered Amy’s cries. “Oh Jarod, you lovely, pretty child. They’re blaming you.”
The boy looked puzzled, and his mother looked at him. “Jarod, honey, I think you better go up to your room now, while I sort this out with Amy.”
“Oh mommy, Amy. What did I do? I’m so sorry. I love you and the girls so much.”
“Go, Jarod. We’ll let you know later.”
His mother led Amy to the kitchen, where she went to pour two cups of coffee, delivering one to the sobbing young woman and keeping one for herself. Amy wore a light robe, covering what appeared to be only panties and a bra. The robe had opened slightly and Nancy could see the soft plumpness of the other young woman. Nancy never could understand men; Amy even in growing heavy, carried her weight well, since she had obviously been an athletic young woman. And, she was what anyone would consider “cute,” with a pleasing personality. Why her husband left her for someone else was a wonder.
“Now tell me what this is all about,” Nancy demanded. “Take a breath and begin when you’re ready.”
Finally Amy began:
“Just 20 minutes ago, even while I was dressing, the bell rang. He had to buzz three times before I got there. The guy stood there and first asked, ‘Are you Amy Spaniola Tankersley?’
“Yes, I said, and he handed me this and left. Look at it, Nancy.”
She handed the papers to Nancy, but before Nancy could read what appeared to be a legal notice, Amy continued:
“It’s a notice to change our divorce agreement, to remove Emily and Angela from my custody and award sole custody to him and that skinny new wife.”
She started to sob again, and Nancy put her hand on Amy’s shoulders, saying, “But on what charges? They can’t just do it. It takes a court order.”
Amy cleared her tears. “They claim the girls are under imminent danger of improper influences, that they’re being corrupted because they’re spending so much time with Jarod. They call him an unnatural force, and this is temporary court order from a California court forbidding their return home.”
Nancy was shocked. “About Jarod? I can’t believe it.”
Amy continued: “The girls called me from my ex’s house the other night and all they talked about was Jane and Aunty Jane, wondering how she was. They were saying how much they loved her and what fun they had with her. Every so often, Emily would use the word ‘him,’ and soon my ex was on the phone, wondering about this ‘Jane.’”
“I merely said he was the 10 year old boy in the next unit whom I look after while his mother teaches. And he wondered why the girls called him ‘Jane.’ I said they were just role-playing, and he said: ‘Seems weird to have a 10 year old boy playing dolls and acting all girly. I don’t think the girls should be influenced by such a faggot.’
“He’s no faggot, I told the bastard. He’s just a sweet boy and the girls love him. And he replied, ‘We’ll see about that.’
“And this is the notice of the temporary court action, saying the children will not be returned ‘to keep them out of imminent danger.’”
Nancy was totally in shock; she looked the order over; it listed nine different instances in which Jarod, dressed as a girl, interacted with the children. There was a statement that a private detective had been hired just yesterday and had followed Amy and Jarod to the Park, noticing the boy being dressed as a girl and acting as a girl. There were no instances that showed any sexual behaviors by Jarod, nor any inappropriate hugging or touching. It just noted the “improper and unnatural” actions of a boy and speculated his girlish behavior could lead to corrupting the girls.
“My God,” Nancy said. “Jarod doesn’t even know what sex is yet.”
“I know, Nancy. But my ex has been after any excuse to take the girls from me. They’re all I have.” She began crying again.
After Amy settled down, the two began to talk honestly about the situation. Amy said she’d contact her attorney, saying she had confidence in him.
“Oh mommy, I heard. I heard. I’m so sorry, Amy.” Jarod appeared in the doorway, and then rushed to Amy’s side and she held him accepting his kiss.
“Oh honey, it’s not your fault,” his mother said.
“No sweetie,” Amy said. “It’s just my ex-husband playing games. It’ll work out.”
“Mommy, Amy,” Jarod said suddenly. “I’ll quit being a girl. I will. For Amy and Emily and Angela. And for you, too mommy.”
His mother brought the child to her, hugging him tightly, and soon all three were crying.
“This just isn’t fair, Amy,” Nancy said, when the tears stopped. “Let’s get to your lawyer. This’ll all work out.”
“I don’t have to be a girl, mommy,” Jarod said. “It’s just for fun.”
“Yes, honey, I know,” she replied, but she knew deep in her heart that Jarod was indeed a girl in soul and spirit and mind. How this would all work out, no one knew?
“I guess it’s time you start acting more like a boy,” his mother told Jarod after Amy left them to go home.
Jarod was crying now, and had cuddled up next to his mother on the sofa, his legs curled up under him. He was so fragile, this tender boy, his mother knew, and had become so happy when he frolicked about, wearing girlish outfits and doing things like sewing, playing with dolls and dressing up pretty.
His mother gently twirled on his pigtails, kissing his forehead gently with warmth and softness, helping him to be comforted. Yet, his sobs continued. She knew he was ill equipped to enter back into a boy’s world; yet, it was the world he would have to enter someday.
“In September, you’ll be entering middle school, and you’ll have to be a boy there,” she said.
She knew he was frightened over the prospect that he would surely become subject to bullying and teasing over his feminine mannerisms and his general physical weakness.
“I’ll have to enroll you in summer day camp for the rest of the month,” she said. “It’s obvious I can’t ask Amy to look after you, since that will endanger her chance of keeping her children.”
“Mommy, no. Please, no. Can’t I stay here alone?”
“I know you hate it, but you’re going to have to face up to the fact that you’re a boy, honey.”
He buried his head in her bosom now, crying uncontrollably. Soon, she joined in sobbing, so sorry that she had encouraged his feminine tendencies, and not looked for another man in her life to serve a role model for the boy. Women always surrounded him; no wonder he acted as he did.
Jarod spent the last three weeks of July in the summer camp, being dropped off at 8 a.m. by his mother, who picked him up at 5 p.m. It turned out not to be as fearful an experience as he had faced the year before when there was a concentration of sports like baseball, in which his only claim to fame was to have struck out five times in a row, and basketball, where his weak arms made it difficult to shoot the ball from more than a few feet from the basket.
This year, in deference to the reality that many boys these days were not physically fit, either being obese or awkward due to too much time spent on video games, the internet or television, there were craft and other sedentary activities. He found out, too, that he no longer was the weakest boy in the group; that honor went to Terrence, an overweight youngster with slender, unmuscled arms and legs, chubby thighs and even breasts.
Jarod and Terrence became fast friends, both drawn together by their general lack of physical strength. They both usually ended up last in running games or other activities, with Terrence almost crying in exhaustion.
The counselors, however, were gentle with those boys who failed in such activities, encouraging them to keep at it.
“Sometimes I wish we could be in the girls camp,” Terrence said to Jarod one afternoon, as they were sitting together during a “quiet hour” under a shaded tree.
Jarod smiled, merely nodding at the suggestion, still not willing to admit he often thought the same.
“Ever want to dress like a girl?” Terrence asked.
“I suppose,” Jarod mumbled.
“I bet you have,” Terrence pressed. “You wear your hair in pigtails. That’s like a girl.”
Jarod blushed. “I like to. It keeps hair out of my eyes.”
Terrence continued. “I put on my sister’s stuff a few times. She’s fat, too, and I look kinda cool in a dress.”
Jarod looked at Terrence, seeing the softness of his body, the round shoulders and smooth arms. “I bet you do look nice.”
“I hate myself as a boy,” Terrence confessed.
Jarod looked at this boy, seeing that in his plumpness there was no hint of masculinity; he had never seen breasts as big on a boy before, which Terrence always tried to hide by folding his arms across his chest at the swimming pool. That action, however, only accentuated the cleavage, and Jarod had felt he was looking at a fat girl.
“I’ve never told anyone that before, Jarod,” the boy said. “I think I can tell you that for some reason.”
Jarod considered his reply carefully. “I guess we’re somewhat alike.”
Terrence giggled in a high, girly fashion. Both boys still had high voices, typical of boys their ages who were often mistaken for their mothers or sisters on the phone.
“Yeh, we both hate sports,” Terrence said.
The two became partners during the rest of the summer camp, and Jarod soon confessed to having the same thoughts about being a girl.
“I’d like to make a dress for you sometime,” Jarod told Terrence one the second last day of the camp, which was to end by August 1.
“Really, do you sew?”
“Yes, I’ve made lots of clothes. I was planning next year to enter dressmaking contests at State Fair.”
“Wow. I bet you look cute in girl stuff,” Terrence said. “I love your pigtails.”
Jarod got up from the bench, and twirled about, in a feminine motion, flicking his arms about, and twisting on his pigtails.
Somehow, Jarod survived the three weeks of camp. His mother’s teaching assignments were ended for the summer and she would be home until school started. Jarod and Terrence exchanged phone numbers and promised to see each other before school started. The two boys snuck into the woods adjoining the camp on the last day of camp, and hugged each other, both coming to tears.
Jarod found the soft, plump body of Terrence to be such a comfort, and they suddenly began kissing, and Jarod began experiencing the hardening of his tiny penis for the first time in his life. He felt Terrence’s hands caressing him, his slender arms as the two kissed.
“Oh, what are we doing?” Terrence said, suddenly, pushing Jarod away.
“I know,” Jarod said. “This is weird.”
“I’m going to miss you Jarod.”
The two boys came back together again, briefly hugging and sharing brief final kisses, knowing what they were doing must be wrong, must be evil. Yet, it felt so comfortable and nice, Jarod thought.
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