Salamander 2 part 12

by EMW

Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th, of December, 2035


I slept in on Saturday, all the recent excitement and working had taken its toll, wearing me out. When I did stir I found Gwen had left me some breakfast before she went off to work the morning shift. It consisted of a few slices of toast and a cup of coffee that was now stone cold. I zapped the coffee in the microwave possibly for a bit too long leaving it volcanically hot, I considered warming the toast but decided against it. I watched some of the kids cartoons on the telly as I ate my cold toast and now burning hot coffee. One good thing about my powers was I never had to worry about burning my mouth on a hot drink. Although at high temperatures my taste buds didn't seem to work right so it tasted weird.

I had a wash and put on some clean clothes, then did a little tidying up. I was just considering starting on some of my homework when I heard the key in the door and Gwen wandered in having finished work at the clothing shop. She was wearing the bright coloured shirt and brown corduroy trousers that served as her work uniform. The place she worked didn't have its own uniform so they picked clothing from their range and then instructed the employees to buy them at their own expense. They tended to pick things that didn't sell very well either as an attempt to encourage people to buy the same stuff or to get rid of the unwanted stock. Even with my limited and recently taught fashion sense I could see that from the painfully bright neon blue velour top and brown corduroy trouser outfit Gwen was sporting it must be the later rather than the former, as I couldn't imagine anyone choosing to wear that get up.

“You're up then, I was worried you'd still be asleep when I got back. You barely stirred at all when I said goodbye this morning,she said with a grin, I stuck my tongue out at her.

She wandered into her room to get changed out of her work clothes.

“Should I make a start on lunch,I called to her.

“Have you forgotten we're going to Joyce and Dorothy's for lunch?”

I had forgotten,Oh yes I remember.

Gwen came back into the living room now dressed in much less outlandish casual clothes, she checked her watch,We had better make a move and head over there if we are going to get there on time.

I slipped on my shoes and coat while Gwen did the same then we made our way out the door. I clattered down the steps two or three at a time and then waited at the bottom while Gwen followed more gracefully. Once we were out on the street Gwen took hold of my arm and we walked side by side over to Joyce and D's house.

It was getting pretty cold out, the wind was up and the cold bit at my face and ears. I pulled my coat tighter and felt Gwen pull herself closer to me to avoid the wind. Winter was going to be tough. I worried a bit about the extra cost of heating the flat given our already strained resources. Gwen didn't really mention the bills I think to keep me from worrying but I had sneaked a peek now and then and I knew how marginal our finances were. The extra strain of running the heaters might be too much. I wondered if I could help that by providing some of the warmth with my powers. I supposed that might mean I would need more food to fuel all that energy so the money saved on heating might well balance out the extra cost of food. Still worth considering.

We arrived at Joyce and D's a short time later, Joyce greeted us at the door waving us quickly inside,Come in dears before you catch your death of cold. It has really got quite nippy of late,she said. She was dressed in a plain yellow dress with her hair tied back with a similar colour yellow ribbons. She gave both of us a hug once we got inside and helped us with our coats.

We made our way over to the kitchen where D was busy helping to prepare lunch.

“Hey D,I said,What ya making?”

“Hey Tish, just doing some beans for lunch, wanna help?”

“Sure what do I do?”

“Just cut the stalks off and then chop them into small chucks like this,she demonstrated what I needed to do so I gave my hands a wash then grabbed a knife to help out.

Joyce and Gwen were doing some mixing together with Gwen stirring a bowl of something while Joyce threw in ingredients she was chopping up. They chatted away like old friends which made me smile it was nice they were becoming close. Pretty soon everything was done and we left it to cook. Joyce and Gwen had gone into the living room while D and me finished off the last of the cleaning up. When we were done I heard Gwen making ooh and ahh noises the sort of thing she did when she thought something was sweet or lovely.

I went to investigate but ran into D stood stock still I front of me,Oh no!” she said.

“What is is?!” I asked worried.

“Please anything but that!”

“What what!”

“Sweet zombie Jesus mum's got my baby pictures out,the look of terror and discomfort on D's face was extremely amusing I wondered what she was up to in the pictures, it sounded like good blackmail material to find out.

I made a move to go into the room but D stopped me,Don't go in there Tish, I beg you it's not a pretty sight! Save yourself!”

I slipped past her grinning and dashed into the room. She tried to chase me half heartedly but I was too quick for her.

“Oh she looks so cute in that outfit,said Gwen just as I made it close enough to see. Joyce was scrolling through some photos on their TV the current one was of a much smaller D with blonde hair obviously before her MORFS induced change to purple. She was dressed as a sunflower in some sort of school play.

I covered my mouth to keep from laughing, she did look cute.

“Oh this is a nightmare!” said D crashing grumpily down into an armchair. I sat on the sofa next to Gwen so I could enjoy the show.

“Come now dear, there's no need to be embarrassed. I haven't gotten to the set when you had decided you were going to be a cowboy so you wore a costume for a whole month,Joyce said.

“You're enjoying this aren't you.

“It is one of the many pleasures of being a parent taking embarrassing pictures you can use to torment your children into adulthood. I don't often get a chance to show them to friends, besides I'm sure there are similar pictures of Amanda somewhere,said Joyce.

I gulped thinking of some of the outfits I had been forced into for various church plays of festivities. Undoubtedly somewhere there would be albums full of incriminating photos of the old me. It was one good thing about changing so completely no one would tie those to me. I breathed a bit easier at that thought.

While we waited for lunch to be ready we saw lots of pictures of D growing up. I found it interesting that even going back before her change the girl in the pictures was undoubtedly D. Once the food was ready and Joyce had finished embarrassing D we sat at the table and served up. Joyce had made some sort of stew with various vegetable dishes and a fruit tart for pudding. It was all wonderful rib sticking food just the sort of thing for this sort of weather. We got stuck in, I was pretty famished by that point.

During the meal Joyce regaled us with tales about D growing up, which made my big friend squirm like nobodies business. We heard many embarrassing tales of the young and innocent D which made her turn redder and redder. I listened with interest, I hadn't been here to see D grow up so it was interesting to hear about her childhood.

“When she was 10 she came to me one day and said she'd decided to become a ballerina,said Joyce her eyes twinkling with amusement,She was already quite a large girl for her age but she was quite set on this. We managed to get her the necessary footwear which was not that easy I can assure you, though some things never change. What size are your feet now dear, 15? 16?”

“Something like that,said D exasperatedly her head down eyes focused on her food.

“Anyway we got her the equipment and got her going with ballet lessons, trouble was I'm afraid she inherited more from me than physical height, she also got my inability to dance with anything approaching grace. She tended to clomp around in a quite ungainly fashion. Still she was determined and she stuck at it with the stubbornness of a ten year old sure she will be the best dancer ever. The dance teacher eventually took us aside and suggested perhaps ballet was not really Dorothy's thing, she suggested she try something like football or rugby or some sort of martial art where her tendency to stomp about and step on people's toes would be more useful.

“Gah!” said D and banging her fore head against the edge of the table repeatedly,why me!”

I giggled I didn't really mean to add to my friends discomfort but I couldn't help laughing a little.

“I remember Mandy insisting she was going to be a famous clown when she was quite small, probably younger than that,Gwen started.

'Oh dear guess I was tempting fate by laughing,' I thought to myself.

“She, then Mort of course, dressed up in one of Mother's old dresses and put make up on himself. Pranced round the house calling himself Bozo. He used to do little shows in a makeshift tent we set up,Gwen paused then went serious,Me and even Grant Jr, who was closer to us back then, thought it was very funny and probably encouraged him. When Father found out he was less amused by his son wearing a dress and make-up.

Gwen's words brought the incident suddenly back to my mind, I didn't remember how I got punished, I just remember my fathers face dark like a thunder cloud staring at me anger burning in his eyes the first time of many I saw that look. The table went quiet for a bit.

“I think Tish would make a good clown. I've seen her try and put on make up,said D trying to brighten the mood.

Gwen and Joyce chuckled at that and even I managed an embarrassed smile thinking back to my disastrous attempt to apply make-up for the first time at D's insistence that I needed to learn it. I had looked a little clown like and subsequent attempts had only been marginally better.

I tried to think of something embarrassing about Gwen that I could say, but she was one of those annoying people that never seemed to do anything embarrassing or at least never when I was around to see it.

Now that D and myself had been sufficiently embarrassed, it was time for pudding. A delicious fruit tart with custard, just the ticket on a cold day. Once lunch was over we all helped with the clean up then Gwen and Joyce went off to talk. D and myself were shooed away so we plonked ourselves down on the sofa to watch some Saturday afternoon TV.

“So you psyched about our cinema trip tomorrow?” asked D.

“It should be fun,I replied.

“why is it there is never anything on in the afternoon?” asked D flicking through the available channels in disgust,It should be a good laugh to kick back a bit have some fun with Gwen. She's been all serious and work like of late. Though I guess that runs in the family.

“We're hard working people,I said grinning at D.

“Yeah you make the rest of us look like slackers. Bah there is nothing on!” she exclaimed throwing the remote down in disgust,Come on let's go up to my room and listen to some music.

We went upstairs to D's room, I knew her well enough to know what to expect, sure enough her room looked like someone had detonated a large bomb in the middle of it. Clothing, books, Disks, and all sorts were just strewn about the floor higgledy piggledy. She even had one of her bra's hanging off the light fitting.

“Oh I was looking for that one this morning,she said and snagged it tossing it into an open drawer stuffed with a random assortment of clothes. She swept a pile of neatly folded clothing Joyce had obviously left on the bed for her off onto the floor,Here grab a pew.

I had never been the tidiest of people but with the small amount of space me and Gwen had between us I'd had to improve. Even at my worst though I wasn't a patch on D, I was amazed she could find anything.

“I'll put some music on, now where did I put that ... ah!” she said and dived under the bed, she was under there for several minutes rooting around with just her legs sticking out, she returned holding one glove,No not there,she then rummaged in a precariously balanced pile of books,Hmm no, maybe it was,and she went over to one of the cupboards and began throwing things out behind her onto the floor.

“What are you looking for?” I asked from my spot on her bed.

“The remote for my media player,she replied.

I shifted slightly and found I was sitting on something square, I retrieved it to discover it was a remote.

“Is this it?”

“AH! Cool you found it!” she came over and took it from me then sat down on her desk chair propping her feet up. She aimed the remote at a nondescript box sat on a shelf under a pile composed mainly of socks. She fiddled with the remote and the box flared to life a small display folding out,How about some Twisted Kitten?”

“Never heard of them,I didn't know half the bands D listened to.

“They're a pulse rock group, morfs survivors who have unusual vocal range.

It sounded like fairly standard rock music to me, though the chorus had this annoying high pitched squeak in it.

It was almost painful and I must have winced a bit,You alright?” asked D.

“I keep hearing this piercing squeak.

“Oh, you can hear that? This album is a special format to include non human range frequencies, you must be picking some of that up. I can hear some of it too, it's one of my little morfs gifts slightly improved hearing range. If you are just hearing squeaks you are probably just getting the very edge as I hear a melody. I'll turn it down a bit, is that better?”

“Yeah, so you can hear outside of human range?”

D nodded,not a lot some of the more extreme pulse rock acts go all outside human range and I get very little out of it but where they go a little bit outside I can hear it.

“I never noticed that I could hear things like that before.

“Might be you were listening to the compressed versions, audio compression algorithms are optimised for normal human ranges so they slice off anything outside it to save space. Might be you've never listened to one of the special formats with the extra frequencies in before.

“Hmm probably.

We sat nodding to the music for a bit, I focussed on the strange high sections that before had been piercing shrieks, with a little less volume I could just about detect there was a tune there. I was still missing a lot though like I could hear only a small fraction of what was going on. It was still fun to think I was hearing something most people couldn't hear.

While we listened to the music I was thinking about the week to come and I remembered the club was Monday,So with the cubes club, do you ever play or are you just admin?” I asked.

“Some times,said D her eyes closed head nodding along to the music,I used to but I'm a bit big really, I have strength but not really any useful powers. I usually get put in some sort of defence role if I play at all.

“How did you get started in there?”

“I signed up pretty early on and got to know some of the other girls pretty well, Hannah suggested I do some of the organising stuff. She decided I'd be good at organising things.

I looked round her bomb site of a room,I can see you're organised, everything in its place,I said with a smirk.

D grinned,I'm better with people I can boss them around.

“So what is it with Winston?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well first time he saw me he just ignored me, next time he wants to have me join up with the supers. After that he didn't seem pissed that I turned in Trisha, and then in the club he's all polite and eager to talk with me and stuff. I don't really get it.

“Hmm ...D got a thoughtful look on her face staring at me.


She looked at me some more then shrugged,No it's nothing, I'm probably wrong.

“About what?”

She just sort of made a dismissive gesture with her hands, well if she didn't want to tell me I wasn't going to get worked up about it.

“What is his power anyway, I know he's fairly strong as he threw me across the room in the club.

“He's an Ice and Metal elemental, and he's got some minor telepathic thing made him immune to Trisha but I don't think he can read minds or anything just one of those people paths can't read.

“Hmm I've never seen him throw ice about.

“It's an offensive use of powers he's smart enough not to get caught doing things like that, he may be very arrogant but he is pretty clever.

She paused then looked away for a bit as if deciding something,We dated once.


“Yeah, it didn't really work though, our respective egos are too big for us to get on really, plus the whole superiority thing got to be a drag after a while.

“How'd that come about though?”

“Well you've seen what he's like normally I wouldn't give him the time of day when he's with his cronies but he approached me at the club. He can be charming when he wants to be, he asked me out to see a movie. It was the first time anyone had asked me, I think most boys are intimidated by the height.

“Wow, when was this then?”

“Not long before I met you, it was over really quick though. After one movie he started treating me like I should defer to him like a good little woman. I was having none of that so I dumped him.

“He doesn't seem to broken up about it.

“He was really ticked when I did it but you'd need a howitzer to dent that ego. He put it down to me not being powerful enough. Still it was nice to be taken out and he's tall enough that he could kiss me without needing a step ladder which is something most boys can't manage.

“So it was nice while it lasted.

“Yeah, he is a charmer and you've seen him in the gym outfit he's easy on the eyes. It was nice to feel like a normal girl for a bit enjoy a little romancing.

I smiled at my friend now picturing her and Winston out on a date together. While I was sure D was right that their two personalities would not have meshed very well, it was obvious she had enjoyed the experience if nothing else.

“Dorothy! Amanda! Are you up there?” called Joyce's voice from down the stairs.

D went to the door opened it a crack and called back,Yeah Mum we're in my room.

“Would you come down for a minute? We have something we'd like to tell you two.

D looked confused and looked at me questioningly, I shrugged and got up from the bed. We made our way downstairs and found Joyce sat at the table. Gwen was bringing the teapot and Mugs in from the kitchen.

“Tea?” she said.

“Ta very much,D replied grabbing a chair opposite Joyce.

“That'd be lovely,I answered and took a seat next to D.

Gwen poured the Tea and distributed milk and sugar. Once we were all set up with a mug of tea we sat waiting for Joyce to say what it was she wanted to tell us. Joyce sat looking into her tea thoughtfully as if working out how to phrase what she was about to say.

After a while D got impatient,So?”

“No need to rush me Dorothy,said Joyce chastisingly. She took another sip of her tea then looked over at the two of us,You know we were using the fuss over Amanda's being attacked to try and influence school policy?”

We nodded and she continued,Well we, that is to say myself Gwen and a few other parents of MORFS survivors, have decided we need more say in the way the school is run. Many of the parents contacted me after I appeared on the news keen to have something done and it appears I have been, somewhat against my will, made the leader of this cause. In order to take the next step we have decided that we need someone sympathetic to our cause on the school governors, and I have been volunteered.

“So you're going to become a governor of the school?” asked D.

“Possibly, we will see how far I can get. I still have my doubts that the current regime, shaken though it has been by recent events, will accept my being given any sway over things.

“What sort of influence over the school would you have?” I asked.

“In reality probably very little, but enough to make some impact. Not all of the board are anti-MORFS but they are being manipulated by some who are. With some of those people gone and a voice for MORFS students perhaps we can sway things a little in our favour.

“Well I hope you win and become a governor. I think you are perfect for the role you'll make sure they look after all the kids not just the MORFS survivors,I said.

“Thank you Amanda, it's nice to know I have support from all of you. It will make it much easier to overcome my reluctance.

D stood up and walked over embracing Joyce in a big hug,We're proud of you for doing this Mum,she said.

I jumped up and hugged her as well, Gwen was the only one not joining in the hugging action. I guess she was still a little reserved around Joyce, or maybe it was more her upbringing to always be prim and proper, she looked pleased though. We broke our hug and Joyce looked quite happy. At D's suggestion we all went into the living room to watch a film. D picked out a movie and we all relaxed on the comfy chairs. We watched some old comedy film and then it was time to go home.

Gwen and I waved good bye to Joyce and D then we made our way back home. It was really cold out by the time we left D's house and the two of us clung together for warmth. It was a relief to get home and get in the warm again. We had some hot coco before bed huddling together on the sofa in our pyjamas. I had seen Gwen wear frilly silky girly things to bed on occasion but even she was kitted out in thick woollen pyjamas now that it was getting colder. Even with the heating the flat was not the best insulated place so could get pretty cool. I snuggled up warm in my duvet and got some sleep.

Come morning I didn't want to get out of bed I just stayed wrapped up in my duvet as I heard Gwen bustling about the kitchen.

“Wakey Wakey, Amanda,she called bringing a plate and mug into the living room,Don't forget we are going out with your friends.

I peered at her from a gap in the bundle of bedding I was wrapped up in. I was looking forward to seeing D and Jane but it still felt cold out. I pulled the duvet tighter round me tucking my feet and hands right in so that I was completely covered head to toe.

“Come on now, you need to have a shower and then your breakfast so Chop chop,Gwen said firmly.

A hot shower did sound like a nice idea even if I was cold afterwards. I tentatively tested the temperature with my hand, it wasn't too bad. I slinked out from under the duvet and padded my way into the bathroom. I luxuriated in a shower in nice steamy hot water. About halfway through the hot water ran out and I was suddenly under a jet of cold water. I made a little involuntary squeaking noise and tried to move myself out of the cold water. My hair was still full of shampoo I didn't want to be cold but I needed to wash myself off. I decided to try and be Little-Miss-Waterheater I held one of my hands up in the flow of the water and let began heating my palm up like I had to dry my clothes. It worked after a fashion, the water flowed over it slightly warmed and it was better than it being freezing but I needed more experiments to get that trick right.

I washed up got dressed in some clean warm clothes and then headed back to the living room. I made myself some toast and slurped down a cup of tea beginning to feel a little better and more awake. I sat with Gwen who was watching the news.

A short while later there was a knock on the door,I'll get it,I said.

I opened the door to find D waiting,Hey D.

“Hiya, you and Gwen ready to go?” she replied.

“Nearly let me finish my Tea and grab my coat.

I led her into the living room.

“Hey Gwen,she said.

“Hello Dorothy. How are you today?” Gwen replied.

“Pretty good.

I downed the rest of my tea and put my cup in the sink. Then went and grabbed my shoes, I was busily lacing them up while Gwen, already dressed in her coat, held my coat out for me.

“Thanks Gwen,I said grabbing the offered coat and hurriedly put it on.

We made our way out the door and off into town. We couldn't walk three abreast for most of the way so I tended to shuttle back and forth between Gwen and D as we talked.

“So where are we meeting Jane?” I asked.

“She got a lift in with her Dad so we'll meet her at his shop,replied D.


“So Gwen what do you think of Brad Jones? Tish doesn't seem to be a fan,D asked.

“Oh,Gwen's expression went quite joyous as she answered,He is very very nice to look at. Maybe Mandy will see that this time.

“You think she'll change her mind?” asked D.

“I think the last time Mandy saw a film with him in she had the wrong hormones to appreciate his charms.

I kept quiet, I wasn't really sure either way how would feel about the film. Perhaps it would be a learning experience a chance to see how I felt without the pressures of school getting in the way. The two of them were giggling away like little school girls about previous films by Mr Jones. I had never taken D for the girly giggling sort but it seemed she just needed the right subject.

We got to the main pedestrianised area of town and were able to all walk side by side Gwen took my left arm and D decided to take my right they dragged me along between them eager to start the shopping experience. Having done this once before with D and Jane I was somewhat prepared for what was going to happen. Gwen seemed very enthusiastic about the whole thing. I guess she had missed being able to just have some fun now she was the grown-up of the house. It made me smile to think that me and my friends were giving her some time off to be just Gwen.

We reached the shopping centre and walked into the electronics store that Jane's father ran. He was standing behind the counter, D waved to him as we went in.

“Hello Mr Collins, Jane about?” she said.

“Yes she's just in the back using my computer, I'll go grab her for you,he looked at me,Hello again, it's Amanda isn't it?”

“Yes sir,I replied politely,this is my sister Gwen.

“Pleasure to see you. I'll just go retrieve my daughter for you,he said and slipped through a door behind him.

A short while later Jane came through the door and came round the counter. She gave D and me a brief hug and a friendly hello to Gwen.

“So then you off poppet?” asked Mr Collins.

“Yes Daddy,
I'll probably walk home since we are planning to see a film,Jane replied.

“Righty Ho, well have fun girls.

We all waved goodbye and then the four of us headed out back into the shopping centre.

“So where to first?” asked D.

“How about shoes?” suggested Jane.

“Cool, we can get Tish to try on some big heels.

“I don't need to be any taller,I complained.

“Oh shush, it will be good practice to try out some heels,Gwen said.

“And not to mention sadistic enjoyment for the three of you,I complained and the three of them laughed conspiratorially.

They dragged me into a shoe shop and began picking out what I would be forced to try on. They picked out these ridiculous stiletto jobs with a sort of brown snakeskin pattern, they did match my scales a little. Once they had gotten some in my size I was told to put them on, once I had gotten the things on I tottered around for a bit. I nearly went all my length several times and eventually I was allowed to take the cursed things off.

“Well maybe they are a bit tall for you,said Gwen.

After they had gotten the humiliating me with stupid shoes out of their systems they settled down to shop. D needed some new boots, so we began looking for something suitable. I found myself looking at the wicked shoes thinking they looked quite nice on my feet maybe if I could find some with less of a heel. We searched for some boots for D but had trouble finding things in her size, so we went to some of the more specialist shops. We ended up in a place called 'Wings and Tails' that did stuff for MORFS people and as a result carried a greater variety of sizes as well as stuff for strange body types. D found some nice looking black boots in her size and arranged to try them on. I examined the various wares the shop stocked. Most of it was geared towards people with tails, wings, or other common MORFS alterations.

I had a look at their coat section since I was in need of a winter coat. Most of it didn't really suit me but one coat caught my eye it was a long black snakeskin leather coat that shimmered. Its colour shifted in the light and seemed to alter its tone and brightness as I moved. As I got closer the patterns on it seemed to shift and the coat blended in to the things around it. I reached out and touched it partly to see that it was real, it was soft and relatively smooth.

“Nice isn't it,said a voice behind me, I span round to see young woman she was slightly shorter than me with long blonde hair and behind her a pair of white wings protruded, as she came nearer I also saw a tail whipping about behind her. She was dressed in a plain blue tshirt and jeans which seemed to have been tailored to fit her differences.

“Yes it's amazing,I said,What is it?”

“New synthetic, some MORFS kid I know cooked it up it's tough as hell and has these weird reflective and refractive properties that makes it blend and shimmer like that. They're calling it chameleon cloth. Devilishly hard to work but once you made something with it it'll last. Very comfortable and insulating.

“Must be pricey then,I said a little disappointedly.

“Reasonably,she quoted a figure it was way too much for me to even think about it.

“Way out of my price range,I said.

“Hmm," the woman said looking me up and down thoughtfully, "maybe we could do a deal.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, I've been looking at doing some advertising and finding models is tough, I either can't afford them or they are not appropriate for our clientèle. I think you'd make a pretty good model and in exchange I'd give you a coat. I'd need your parents permission but in general what d'ya think?”

I looked at the woman and had trouble believing she wanted me as a model to promote her products, but I did like the coat and there was no way I could pay for it even on what I could make on my part time job.

“I guess I'm interested,I replied.

“You don't sound all that convinced,said the woman.

“Well, I'm a little surprised you'd want me to be a model.

“Why not, you're young good looking and a hybrid. Just the sort of person I want to attract.

I shrugged not sure how to express what I felt about it,I would like the coat and there is no other way I could afford it so it seems like a good trade.

“Ah a business head on your shoulders, I like it. So if you talk to your parents about it we can come to an understanding.

“Well my sister is my guardian she's just over there,I said pointing at Gwen.

“Right ho, let's go talk shop as it were.

She walked over with me to where Gwen was and introduced herself, it turned out her name was Charlie. She explained her proposal to Gwen who very earnestly went over the details of what I would be required to do and what I would get out of it. She managed to negotiate Charlie up to a whole outfit for free since she pointed out it was even better for Charlie if I was wearing all her wares. Charlie would offer me a selection of outfits to choose from rather than giving me free reign so she could select what she was advertising. Hands were shaken forms were signed and all of a sudden it seemed I was a model.

D and Jane were very enthusiastic about the endeavour even though I was a little doubtful about being on camera. Charlie picked out a few things that she wanted to promote and rather than just let me pick my three style critics insisted I had to try everything on first. The first outfit was very short blue skirt and a tight yellow t-shirt. D, Jane, and Gwen thought it looked wonderful but I was very uncomfortable in it, the skirt didn't go down far enough. I felt very embarrassed just having my sister and friends see me in it let alone strangers.

The next outfit was a pair of small denim shorts and a low cut top also in blue with the word princess in silver glitter. I didn't really like this outfit either. It wasn't quite as bad as the previous one but it still seemed a little too much flesh was showing than I was comfortable with. Plus having princess emblazoned across my chest just seemed wrong.

The third outfit was a brown woollen skirt with a stripy v-neck top to go with it. I liked this one a lot better it covered me more and I thought looked quite nice. D and Jane derisively suggested it was granny clothes. Gwen seemed to like it but didn't say anything.

The fourth outfit was a pair of tight black jeans and a tight v-neck top that was black but with threads of sliver running through it. I modelled it for my friends and sister and by their expressions I figured they had picked this outfit as the winner. I took a look at myself in the mirror it did look quite nice, the outfit hugged my curves without showing too much flesh. It looked good and was something I could wear every day without getting arrested or loosing a limb to frostbite.

Sensing she that number four was a winner Charlie got me to try on the coat with the same outfit. It looked pretty good, the chameleon cloth shimmered and moved making me both blend in and stand out. The simple black and silvery outfit was good beneath the more extravagant coat. Charlie showed me that the coat was reversible it's inside a nice plain black for situations that required something more subtle. All kitted out we went outside with Charlie and her camera to take some shots of me in the coat. There was a nice little garden nearby and so I was sent to pose in the trees.

“Tish, you look like you're lining up for a firing squad,said D,Smile a little, think free coat!”

I tried to smile but I was quite uncomfortable having to pose. Charlie looked thoughtful then leaned over to D and Jane and said something I couldn't hear.

They began pulling silly faces to get me to smile but what put did it was Gwen pulling a really daft expression. She was always to prim and proper and to see her eyes crossed cheeks puffed out and tongue sticking out made me burst out in laughter. Charlie had been waiting and there was a staccato flash as the camera took picture after picture in quick succession.

We moved about to various picturesque locations in the small gardens and we repeated the process. Gwen's faces were less funny now that it wasn't quite such a novelty but it still brought a little smile to my lips which was sometimes enough. Other times D and Jane would surprise me with one of them sneaking off ahead to the next location to leap out unexpectedly. After half an hour of such games Charlie had enough shots for her purposes, she showed me what she had taken some of them looked pretty good I was a little surprised the girl in the pictures was me. Charlie thanked me and then gave us all a friendly wave then headed off back to her shop.

“So Tish you going to be a big time model now!” asked D with a grin.

“She has the looks but I've see the way she eats she'll get kicked out of the skinny model club for scarfing down plates worth of food at every meal!” said Jane with a smile.

I was about to make a witty reply but my tummy decided it was time to announce I was hungry and growled loudly.

“Speaking of meals it sounds like you could do with lunch,said Gwen taking my arm,What do you say girls a spot of lunch?”

My tummy growled even louder,Blimey,said D with a grin,we'd best get Tish fed or it sounds like she'll go cannibal!”

They all laughed at me which made me put on a grumpy face,Oh come on gloomy guts let's go get lunch,said Gwen pulling me along back to the main shopping area.

We settled for the food court and I had some pizza, a salad, a ham sandwich, some of Gwen's fish and chips, and I finished with a large Ice cream. Jane watched me grumpily mutteringit's just not fairwhile she had a small meal. I felt a little guilty about having to eat so much as it was not cheap, but Gwen insisted I make sure I wasn't hungry. Sarah had given her specific instructions about it saying I needed to keep my body fed or I might stop regenerating or it might leave me very weak. Either way she made sure I ate a good sized meal.

D was taking her time to finish so I took the time to explore my new clothes. The chameleon cloth was amazing stuff, in it's bright configuration it really stood out and I was a little concerned that my natural shyness would mean I would be too afraid to wear it like that.

Once everyone was finished eating it was time for the main event so to speak, and we made our way over to the cinema. We got our tickets and then some popcorn and drinks then found some good seats. We settled in to watch the trailers and adverts while munching popcorn waiting for the film to start.

Eventually the film started, it seemed to be the standard run of the mill boy meets girl who is unattainable for some reason. Boy pines after girl but becomes good friends with them, girl eventually realises at the last minute during their wedding to another man that the boy is the one they really love. Cue dramatic slow motion reunion between boy and girl with uplifting music.

I found it was a fairly pleasant film, I spent some time trying to work out how I felt about the male lead. He was certainly attractive and maybe I could feel some level of attraction but then I felt almost the same way about the female lead. It left me confused and frustrated, in the end I just put it out of my mind and tried to relax and enjoy the film.

I left the cinema with my questions about my preferences still unanswered. The rest of my friends and my sister seemed to be quite taken with the film though. I think D was actually crying at the end much to my surprise though she made some excuse about dust and then looked away. Jane was gushing over the lead Brad Jones with my sister, both of them were die hard fans of the man.

“Wow he was so good in that film, so hansom I could just eat him up!” said Jane.

“Oh he was just fine,said Gwen with a far away look in her eyes.

“He was far too good for that no good woman.

“Yeah I don't get that he's this amazingly good looking guy with people falling over themselves to get but he wants that bossy mouthy loud American brat!”

“Damn stupid Hollywood script writers!”

D seemed to have regained her composure by this point and turned to me,So what did you think, Tish?”

I considered my answer for a bit then said,It was a bit formulaic.

“Those sorts of films often are, they're eye candy.

I shrugged,I guess it's not my sort of film.

“Fair enough,said D with a smile.

“Did you at least revise your opinion on Brad Jones?” asked Jane.

“I don't know, the whole thing confused me,I replied my eyes felt a little hot I guess some of my frustration at not just knowing what seemed like a simple thing was getting to me.

Gwen put her arm around me,Hey don't worry too much about it Mandy. Other girls have had years to figure out what they like and don't like. You've been thrust into a new body with new hormones and been shaken up and down. It'll probably take some time for you to figure it all out. You've only been this way for a few months give it time.

We had a little group hug moment as D and Jane also joined in comforting me.

“Come on let's see about getting you some more feminine experience by teaching you about make-up!” said Gwen with a wicked grin.

After that it was a blur of weird powders coloured creams and gels. I came out of it alive but not unscathed, the lady in the shop had painted me up in all sorts of colours that went with or contrasted my scales. Gwen had insisted I looked lovely, I felt like a clown with all that slap on my face. Still it had been quite a fun day out with my friends and sister. Jane waved goodbye to us as she went off to get a lift home with her Dad.

When the remaining three of us got back to our house D said her goodbyes, reminding me the club was on tomorrow so I should bring my PE kit. I waved her goodbye then headed in to join Gwen taking care to hang my new coat up least it get crinkled.

We had a light tea of sandwiches, watched some TV together, then got an early night. It had been a strangely tiring day and I was sure tomorrow would be tough going, as it turned out I didn't know how right I was.

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