Part 3. It is the path I walk, it may not be clear, but it is mine….

“Kail …We shouldn’t ...” I had finally got enough control of my self to push him away from me. I looked into his face and bit my lip, I could tell he was hurt.

“Jace … No ... Sara, why shouldn’t we?”

“I was a boy less then 24 hours ago…”

“And I was a girl.”

“It’s too soon.”

“No. it’s not,” he replied as I stared into his eyes, those same eyes, those same deep passionate eyes. I lost myself in them.

 

****

 

“Ok, K, What’s your budget?”

 “$500, plus my uniform and a black suit.” Kail and I were in the back of Mel’s car, Jimmy and Mel were in the front, Mel was driving and Jimmy had turned around to look at Kail.

“Damn Kait, that’s some change. How does it feel?” Kail was sitting and trying to cross his legs at the knee, but kept bumping against the back of Mel’s seat, so he tried to sit with his knees together.

“Its Kail now, Jimmy,” Mel told him.

“Kail?”

“Its similar enough to my old name that I wont feel like a totally different person, though I can’t seem to sit comfortably anymore.”

“Try not holding your legs so close together,” I suggested.

“Huh?” A moment later, “Oh yes, that’s much better.”

 

 

****

 

As we were walking through the mall, Mel commented to me on the different styles of clothing and colours. We had spent an hour following Kail around shops, listening to his tirade on lack of styles, before Mel convinced me to ditch him in the tailors with Jimmy, while we did a little present shopping. I was going to offer to stay and let Jimmy go with Mel, but Kail waved me off.

 

As Mel grabbed my hand and pulled me away, Jimmy let out a relieved sigh. “Kail may have once been a girl but I don’t think he will get the same enjoyment out of looking at clothes as he used to. I think he was getting bored.” I nodded as Mel led me towards a shop with a big sign saying ‘We do ear piecing,’ well, I say led. It wasn’t a direct path, but one which seem to weave via and through several shops which sold shoes, clothes, make up and perfumes.

“My friend would like to get her ears pierced.”

“Mel?”

“How many?”

“2 in each lobe, please.” Mel pushed me onto the stall

“Mel?”

 

****

 

“Hey don’t blame me, your mum called and told me to get it done.”

“But!”

“Now is the best time, your body will fight …”

“Mel!”

“Huh?”

“Do they look good?” I was looking in the mirror at my left ear, holding my hair out the way so I could get a better look at the two small studs.

“They will look better with some better earrings in… but your holes need to heal first.”

“Good, because they hurt like hell. And I would hate to think I was in this much pain for no good reason.” I looked at the tattooed and well pierced shop assistant, “Do you do navel piecing? You do? Good because my friend here wants hers doing.” I looked at Mel with a big grin, she sighed as she saw my expression.

 

****

 

The boys caught up with Mel and I in a women’s clothing store, where we were both finding tops which would be looser around our stomachs.

“What have you two done?” asked Kail, after only a second.

“Huh?”

“I know you too well, Mel. You’ve done something. Now spill!”

Mel flashed her stomach with its naval piecing and the polythene square protecting it from bacteria. “Sara convinced me to get it done, after I forced her to get her ears pierced.”

“Ok, so Sara why are ‘you,’ looking for a looser top?”

“Female Unity?” I said. Neither Jimmy nor Kail looked like they were buying it, Mel suddenly grabbed the top I was trying on and lifted it, revealing my naval piercing.

“Nice.” Kail said with a smile.

“I, err, made the mistake of saying just after Mel got hers that I didn’t really mind getting my ears pierced. Next thing I knew I was having this bit of metal shoved into my belly.”

“You think your dad will let you keep that Mel?” Kail asked. “He was pretty angry the last time you got it done.”

“I was 14 and used a fake ID card to get it. Besides, I’m not going to do something silly like walk around with it showing while he’s around. Anyway, enough about me. What did you get?”

Kail had several bags and Jimmy seemed to be carrying a couple as well. “Its nearly lunch shall we go get something to eat? And I can show you what I got.”

 

****

 

“Triple Bacon Cheese burger, Super size fries, Super size Pepsi please.” The feel of two stares on my back made me turn around. “What? I’m hungry.”

“Its OK, Mel, she’ll learn. When her size 6 becomes an 8. I’ll take the same please.” After a moment, “What? I’m a guy now, I don’t have to watch my figure as carefully.”

“I’ll take that as well,” Jimmy said with a grin.

“Just a salad and a mineral water please. You do realise I hate you all now, don’t you.”

 

****

 

“What is most sickening, is that I just watched you three devour such big meals, and now you’re trying to decide on what dessert you’re going to have. Ugggh. You,” she poked me in the ribs. “have gotta watch yourself. Those two I can put up with devouring half a cow and quarter of a pig.  You’re supposed to be on my side.”

“Yep, you’re supposed to be helping her devour the world’s vegetable supply.” Thud. “Ouch! Pointy shoes Mel, pointy shoes.” Jimmy hammed it up somewhat.

“You deserved that” Mel smiled, then leaned over and kissed him.

“So? Where are the others?”

“I got a text while Sara was being pierced. They should be here just after lunch, the car they were going to come in, broke down.”

“You know, you guys don’t need to wait around for me. I can get tested and meet up with you later.”

“Its OK. Most of the time you’re just sitting around waiting for the next person to be free, so we’re not going to leave you alone.”

“Especially not me.” I smiled at Kail.

 

****

 

“You really like him, don’t you?” Mel asked me in the toilets a few minutes later.

“Huh?”

“Kail, you really like him…”

“I do …but its hard …I mean I shouldn’t …he’s a guy and …”

“Did you enjoy your kiss, Sara?”

“Yes I …what how did you…”

“Know? Your lipstick was smudged, and his were slightly redder then they were when you went up. You should date him.”

“Won’t everyone think its weird? I mean we both just changed sexes …”

“Sara, we don’t care. Kait was my best friend, Kail, hopefully will be a good friend, but he is already doing better with Jimmy than he ever did as Kait. I can see them becoming good friends. Jimmy is doing the same as I keep doing for you, and correcting Kail when he does something overly feminine.  That look suits you by the way, your make up is so subtle, If I hadn’t seen you apply it, I wouldn’t know you had.”

 

I smiled, I was starting to come to grips with what the girls had told me, and what Mel had shown me that morning. “None of the others will question you if you want to date Kail. You don’t in all honesty strike me as someone who cares about what those in school care about.”

“Kail’s …”

“Kail’s parents. Well, if they have a problem, they will tell Kail to stop and he might. Then again, if he feels about you like I think he does, he will just sneak out to see you. I don’t think you need to worry, her mum likes you. Thinks you’re very polite and quiet, and she heard good things about you as Jace.”

“It seems weird.”

“You really got to stop over analysing every thing. You were in school, what? One day? I would be surprised if anyone even remembers you really. Kail likes you; do you need to worry about anything else?”

 I smiled “How did you get so smart?” She just grinned back at me.

 

 

****

 

Our seats were no longer available when we got back to our table, the gang had turned up and taken over and looking around it appeared all the spare seats were taken. Mel shrugged and sat on Jimmy’s lap, so with no choice I grudgingly did the same, only to Kail.

“So …. You two are staying together.” Tike grinned. “Mike, you own me $20.”

“Mike!” Karen squealed slapping mikes arm. “I can’t believe you would make a bet like that.”

“Yeah,” said Jen. “Which reminds me, Karen. “You also owe me $20 dollars.” She grinned deeply, and Tike wrapped his arm around her, smiling a big Cheshire grin. “I told you these two would have a bet on.”

I looked at Kail, who looked back at me and then wrapped his arms around my waist.

“We need to talk.” I said.

“We do,” he replied.

“What time is your appointment?” asked Karen.

“I need to be there in 20 minutes.” Kail replied, looking at a wall clock.

Just then Mel’s phone began to ring. “Hello?” she said into it. “Oh, Hi, Mrs Neumer. Sara, it’s for you.” She passed the phone over to me.

“Errr, Hello?”

“Hi, Darling, I forgot to mention it this morning, can you buy yourself and James a mobile phone, and just charge it to your card?”

“Contract?”

“No, pay as you go, it’s mostly so we can call you if we need to. Don’t forget your dance wear, and don’t make plans for tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow? What’s happening tomorrow?”

“See you later, dear.”

“Mum?! What’s happening tomorrow?!”

I passed the phone back to Mel after I accepted that she had hung up on me..

“So…What’s happening tomorrow?” she asked with a grin.

 

****

 

“Dance wear?”

“Huh?” Kail and I were walking down towards the phone shop before heading off to the testing center. By agreement, I was going to the center with him ,and the others would meet us there later, once they had done their own shopping. Mel and Jimmy had taken Kail’s bags, and were going to put them in Mel’s car.

“Your mum said to not forget your dance wear. I could hear her on the phone.”

“Err …My mum has decided I’m not a graceful enough girl.”

“So you have to learn to dance?”

“Yep.”

“Nice. I’ll have a graceful girlfriend.” I looked at him and pouted. “Don’t worry, I’m only kidding, but what’s wrong with dancing? I love to dance. It can be so much fun.”

I shrugged, “I’ve never really been a big fan of it myself. Kail … about me being your girlfriend ...”

“What?”

“Aren’t you worried about what people will say about you?”

“Not really.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes. Sara, if I cared about that stuff I would be still in the cheerleaders, trying to fit in with the other mindless sheep. When I was a girl, I liked you. You were handsome, smart and you had a personality. Now that you’re a girl, you’re cute, still smart, and you have a personality. If I was still a girl, I might have difficulties, but since I changed, cute is really, really appealing to me.” I looked up at him, smiled and pulled him into a kiss.

 

****

 

“Hi, Can I help?”

“Yeah, I’m looking for a phone.”

“Excellent, would you like our easy pay contract, 100 free minutes…”

“No, no, I need a pay as you go.”

“Oh ... they are over there.” She pointed to the wall on the far side of the room.

“Bitch” Kail muttered to me as we started looking at what was on offer. “What do you need another phone for?”

“Mine is with a UK company, I’d have to import minutes, cheaper just to switch to a local provider.” I pulled out my phone and showed him the complete lack of signal.

 

 

****

 

“Kaitie McSammuel, I have an appointment for ...” Kail started.

“Certainly, young lady. If you could fill this form in and bring it back.” She was offering me the form, I looked at it and smiled.

“Wrong person.” I said, and nodded in Kail’s direction.

“Oh, my, I’m sorry. I do beg your pardon,” she offered the clipboard to Kail who took it with a smile.

“You think they might get this a lot, wouldn’t you.” Kail said as we sat down.

“She probably thought you were my protective boyfriend, being the gentleman and looking after me,” I grinned back.

“Maybe I should be.” He grinned back.

“Want a drink? I saw a can machine and a vendor just outside in the corridor.”

“Sure, Pepsi, please. I’ll get started on these,” He indicated the forms

 

****

 

I got back with the cans and looked over Kail’s shoulder as he filled in the forms. He was past the first page which was name, address, next of kin, school, skipped the 2nd page which was education, and had moved onto the 3rd which was apparent physical changes. It was split into several categories, a lot was tick boxes, probably to automate the whole process. It was mostly stuff like lost breasts, but gained pectorals, I slipped a hand and felt one when he ticked that box

“Yep, Definitely a change there.” He looked at me with a grin.

 

****

 

“Kail gone in for testing?”

“Physical strength tests. We had fun filling in the forms, and now he’s on to the first round of tests.” I must have looked a sight when they came in. I was sitting in the chair, legs crossed at the knees, reading an old copy of Glamour which I had picked up from the table. One of the cover’s catch lines was ‘25 ways to please your man.’

“Here again? I’m starting to feel like I live here,” said Tike.

“Well, you will have to come again when I go through,” commented Jen.

“I’m looking forward to it already.” He said forcing a grin.

 

****

 

“Hi, Guys.” Kail came and sat down next to me.

“How did it go?” I asked.

“I can lift 170lbs.” Kail said proudly, then pulled a weight lifters pose.

“Big improvement?”

“I’d say, Kait could lift what? 70 Lbs?” joked Karen.

“100Lbs.” stated Kail.

“How about you, Sara? How did you do on the tests? Mel showed her results around, but you kept yours to yourself.” Jen asked.

I flashed Mel a look and she shrugged.

“On weightlifting?” I asked, she nodded, I mumbled.

“What was that? I didn’t hear you.”

“200lbs”

“What?” Kail pulled back to look at me.

“How? You don’t look that strong?”

“I was before, could do more than that if I really pushed myself. The docs said it would probably wear off, unless I really work out. My muscle structure is very dense.”

“Hey Kail, you did say you wanted to date someone stronger than you,” joked Mel.

“I did,” Kail agreed, “But I think I’m going to have to start working out more.”

 

****

 

“Are you three back in school Monday? Or are you off for a little longer?” Mike asked.

“Back in for me on Monday,” Mel grimaced

“Ditto for me.” I said. “Will you be there as well?”

“Assuming they clear me, I will be.” Kail suddenly started to grin.

“What?” I asked.

“No more Mrs Greton.”

“Who?”

“Our P.E. Teacher, She’s the cheerleader coach, and she only teaches girls.” Mel replied.

“She is also a complete bitch.” Kail added.

“She has been down on Kait, Mel, Jen and myself ever since Jen and I started dating Mike and Tike.” Penny explained.

 

****

 

“Last test guys …  Wish me luck.”

“Nah, you don’t need it.” I got up and kissed him on the lips. “But good luck, anyway.”

 

****

 

“Well?? What did you get?” We all felt excited as Kail walked back from the front desk with the brown envelope. But Tike was practically jumping up and down in expectation.

“I’m not sure if I should open this now … Maybe I should save this …”

“Open it, or I’m going to kick your butt, McSammuel,” Jimmy threatened.

“Ohh, I’m not sure.” Kail grinned once more, then ripped it open.

“Well?”

“I’m safe.”

 

****

 

“What? The only colour left in my size is pink?”

“I’m sorry, Miss. Unless you want flowers or hearts on your leotard.”

“Kathryn, We do have those long sleeved felt leotards …” the other shop assistant commented.

“We do, but they aren’t in the sale,” the women who was serving me said.

“Are some of them not pink?”

“No, they are in black or red, but they are made for girls with tails …”

 

****

 

“Well, what do you think?”

I had stepped out of the changing room to a pair of wolf whistles. The soft black material was square cut at the front, curved over the long sleeves then down and around near the bottom of my back. My tail was threaded through a reinforced hole just a little below the edge. I had wrapped my tail around my waist again.

“Looks good on you, Sara. Is it comfortable?” Mel asked.

“I think I now know why the boys at school used to watch us do Gym when ever they could,” Kail commented.

“Feels weird. Something to get used to.”

“You should get a couple. You could use them for Gym then,” Said Jimmy, “Most of the girls wear them.”

“Didn’t I get shorts for that?”

“You’ll look a lot better in that, Sara.” Kail said with a smile. Jimmy was trying not to look.

“And it’s what I wear.” Mel added. “Well …not in that material.”

I turned to the shop assistant who was smiling at me.

“Can I get another one of these, and two in red?”

“Sure can, I’ll be right back. Would you like to try them on?”

“Errm, are they the exact same size?”

“They are.”

“Then no, it’s OK. I’ll just get changed back into my normal clothes.”

Jimmy and Kail both looked crestfallen, though Jimmy tried to hide it when Mel looked in his direction just before I stepped back into the changing room.

 

****

 

I walked back into the house and sniffed, Mum was cooking, and it smelled delicious. “Hi! I’m home.” Mel had dropped me off on the way to Kail’s. He had kissed me goodbye at the door, and I was still feeling a little giddy from it. My new phone, an Ecom, apparently, even though it seemed to do everything, it was still a mobile as far as I was concerned. It was by the same manufacturers as Mel’s, so I had used her in-car charger to turn it on and set it up. I now had their mobile numbers and home numbers stored into it, well, more specifically, I had Kail, Jimmy and Mel’s . I would just have the fun of moving through my old phone’s memory and transferring the numbers, addresses, email addresses and of course, names, to my new one.

Mum stepped out of the kitchen and looked at me with the few bags I had. “Starting to enjoy shopping?”

“Not really…” She raised an eyebrow. “Well, OK, just a little.” I used my hand to emphasise just a small bit.

“Get your dance wear?” I nodded.

“Well let me see.” I nodded again and opened up the bag from the dance wear shop. I pulled out one of the black long sleeved leotards. “Good. Shoes?” I pulled out the ballet slippers.

“As requested.”

“Good. We’re going to have so much fun tomorrow.”

“We are?”

“Oh, yes!” She looked very happy with herself.

“Oh, dear …”

“Why don’t you go try on your full outfit

 

****

 

I walked back downstairs, the black leotard now tightly covering my body, white tights and the soft ballet slippers, walking into the kitchen as my mum pulled the beef joint out from the oven.

“Oh, dinner is almost ready, I’ll go up and get changed.”

“No time dear. Just lay the table.”

“Its Kat’s Turn. Where is he?”

“Out with your father, they should be home soon, but I would like the table done before they get back.”

I sighed and started pulling open draws till I found the one with the mats in it. “And his name is James,” Mum called out to me as I walked into the dining room. I don’t know if I have mentioned it, but downstairs, our house has a living room which faces onto the back garden. Large patio doors supply the room with all its daytime light needs. A large dining room faces forwards onto the drive and there is also a study, as well as the kitchen and a downstairs toilet. The Living room has been converted to a Dojo training room. Making the dining room become our living room, meant the dining room had moved into the study, which in turn moved upstairs to the spare bedroom next to my parents. I laid the table with the mats, putting three down the middle for hot plates and went back for the cutlery.

“What do I need, Mum?”

“Just a large knife and fork, Dear. Each.” What? Only once did I only lay the table with exactly what she asked for and she hasn’t let me forget it since. I was 13, and had been told off for not doing as I was told. I had been pushing my luck back then. I got what was needed and added them to the table along with the salt and pepper.

“Anything else, Mum?

“Can you open a bottle of wine? Red, please.” I started to do so.

“Mum? Is there a reason why you’re not letting me go and get changed?”

“Whatever gave you that idea?”

I put the open bottle next to her and stared her in the eyes. “Mum, I’m 16, not stupid.”

“You look really pretty, and I want you to get used to …”

“Get used to what? Practically exposing myself? Come on? Look at me, Mum, I’m adapting, I’m already jumping into the deep end. Holding me under the water isn’t going to change things.”

“When I changed, my mother helped me to adjust by …”

“Mum, you’re not Gran, and I’m not you. I don’t need to get thrown into the deep end.”

She looked at me and sighed, then tilted her head slightly. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?”

She looked at me and touched my belly button, and the ring which it now had.

“Ouch” I said, as she poked the tender flesh.

“You got your belly button pierced?”

“Well …I …” I nodded.

“You got yourself pierced without our permission?”

“Permission? I’ve never needed permission to do anything before.”

“You weren’t a girl before.”

“So?”

“So? Before you wouldn’t have even considered doing that, so we didn’t feel the need to tell you not to do it.”

“Huh?” This really did sound like I was being told off for doing something I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do, because never before had I not been allowed to do it. “I’m going up to get changed.”

“No, you are not young lady. You can wear that for dinner and get used to the feel.”

“I’m going up to get changed.” I turned and headed for the stairs.

“If you want to eat with us, you will stay dressed like that.”

“Fair enough, Mum.” I carried on upstairs to my room annoyed.

 

****

 

I got up to my room and started digging out something to wear, I considered a pair of jeans, but really couldn’t justify dirtying any more clothes, so I pulled on the stuff I had worn out, only keeping the white tights on from my dance outfit. It was starting to get a little chilly, so I pulled out a navy blue hoody from my old clothes. Even with the sleeves rolled up, it was still too big, but it was warm. Have to dress in that outfit if I want to eat with them, that’s fine, I just wouldn’t eat with them. I booted up my PC and logged into my email account, 8 emails from my friends back home wondering how I was doing in my new life in the US. I emailed them back apologising for not having responded sooner, but explained I had just had Morfs. I was just finishing off the last when Brandon, the first boy I met at my old school and a good friend sent me a message on messenger.

 

<BigBear>Hey Jace man! Hows the US?

 

I smiled

 

<DaCat>Pretty good, I met someone pretty hot on my first day of school. We had our first date that evening…

<BigBear>You lucky Bastard. What’s she like?

<DaCat>She had the cutest smile…gorgeous lips…

<BigBear>lol, you always were a poncy fucker.

<DaCat>3k miles of ocean making you feel pretty tough, is it?

<BigBear>You may have been able to run rings around me, but I could always pound you.

<DaCat>Pound the ground more like, :-> hows the guys?

<BigBear>Good, schools been boring without you, though there are a new round of first years to put in their places. Sendy is coming down on us this year, though. No more of our normal tactics. We’ve agreed to lay off everyone, like we did with the last headmaster to try this.

<DaCat>He joined near the end of last year, I’ll give him a month before he apologises.

<BigBear> That long? The Denzil Twins have already started misbehaving, and we only spread the word 2 days ago.

<DaCat> Ha.

<BigBear> So where you been for the last week or so? Expected you on more, even if you have found yourself a girl.

<DaCat> MORFs

<BigBear>What? Really? No shit? Damn I thought you had already been through a big change. Still got your Claws and Tail?

<DaCat>Yeah, they’re still there, eyes look human now though, and I’m completely furless, except my tail. My hair and tail are red.

<BigBear> you’ll have to send me a picture sometime. GTG, my dads stood in the doorway tapping his watch

<DaCat>Ha, see ya around.

 

Brandon Baines, BB or Big Bear, was an extreme hybrid Morfs, he looked like a wookie from Starwars, only he hated people telling him that. His mum used to call him her little Chewey, and he would do the roar back to her. Ever since she left his father for a toy boy though, he has hated that name, and being referred to as a Chewey. His dad was similar, a very big man. The first time I met him though I will never forget. They have a big pet, a mix between a dog and a horse if you ask me, its as big as I was. Brandon had led me into his garden through the back gate, and as we crossed the grass, this large animal bounded out of the house and straight forwards, I took an involuntary step back, then launched myself for a tree and Brandon jumped forward to catch him.

“This is Tiny.”

“Tiny?” I asked in shock

“Well…he started of as a really small dog, but Morf’s hit him and he grew into this.

“Tiny?”

“He already responded to the name. He’s friendly. Hates cats though.” Well he was friendly, right up to the point he sniffed me, he growled, I ran straight at the tree and he ran after me. I jumped extended my claws and climbed the tree as quickly as I could. He missed my foot by mere centimetres. The dog was the softest thing though …once he got to know me.

 

“You coming down for dinner?” It was Dad, who was leaning in the doorway.

“Mum said I couldn’t unless I wore my stupid dance outfit.”

“Stupid? She said it was very pretty”

“What is she doing, Dad?”

“Trying to make you comfortable with being female.”

“Then why is she forcing me to be uncomfortable?”

“I don’t think she wants you to be uncomfortable, but she had difficulties adapting, and doesn’t want you to have the same trouble.”

I spun the chair around to face him, I had crossed my legs at the knee. “I’m not Mum, Dad. While I won’t say I’m over the moon at being a girl, I’m hardly in any position to fight it.”

“Belly piercing? Never thought you would do something like that.”

“I wouldn’t have, but Mum got Mel to get me to get my ears pierced, so I got Mel to get her belly pierced, let slip that the earrings looked good on me and then found myself with the belly piercing.”

“Can I see?”

I nodded, and lifted the jumper and my loose t shirt underneath. The polythene was still in place, but you could see the little curve of metal. Dad nodded. “If I ask you to take it out?”

“I would Dad. I kinda like it though.”

He nodded. “You might as well come down and join us for dinner. Your mother didn’t want you looking like a girl in her older brothers clothes.”

I sighed and followed him out of my room. It might have sounded like a suggestion, but I’m not daft enough not to take his suggestions like that and not follow through with them.

“She could have just said that. So what did you and James do?”

“I took him fishing.”

I smiled, Kat fishing, remember what I said about Avatar for the Skirt Goddess? Add in that the Skirt Goddess abhors sports such as Fishing, and this was passed down to her Avatar.

“And?”

“We had a good time. He thoroughly enjoyed himself.”

“What?”

“Yep. Your little brother caught a whopper of a fish, almost as big as he is. A NightRazor eel.”

“Aren’t those dangerous?”

“Highly poisonous, it was part of one of the classes survival training.” Dad said proudly, “James didn’t even flinch.” We walked into the kitchen.

“What the hell is that?” a five foot long 4 inch thick eel-like creature laid diagonally across the kitchen table, I could see the slit down the middle of the head where it split open vertically. Mum was looking angrily at James, who was smiling proudly at me.

“It’s my catch, Sis, look what it can do.” He grabbed the head of the eel and squeezed it from the sides.

“NO!” Dad and Mum said at the same time. The head shot open and a fluid spat out, the world dulled, all the colour draining out of it. I saw a blob of the fluid fly in my direction, I sidestepped out of its way. The world brightened up once more and the colour returned. I turned and looked at the spot on the wall where the blob had hit, it was bubbling, and the paper, a light blue was turning brown.

Mum ripped James away from the creature, which I didn’t doubt anymore was a NightRazor Eel and proceeded to give him a lecture on the dangers. I looked at the stain as my dad poured some Bi-Carb on it, and gulped, for it was eating into the wood.

“That almost hit me …” I said in shock. It could have been my flesh it ate through, it could have been me and not the wall. That was the second time that little shit had tried to kill me. I walked over to my little brother, clenched and cocked my fist to hit him, stopped, leant forward and said, “I hate you.” I looked at the eel on the table then said “I’m not feeling hungry. I’ll see you in the morning.” I turned and walked back up to my room, ignoring the shocked gasps.

 

****

 

“That was not a very nice thing to say to your little brother.” Dad was once more leaning in the doorway.

“He almost killed me, Dad. I saw how quickly it went through the wall.” I had my back to him, sitting in my computer chair. I ran a hand over the leather arm rest, while I followed my blue and red painted nails that one of the girls had done while we were waiting for Kail to finish his results.

“He didn’t know. He was just trying to show you what he caught.”

“That make it OK, does it?” He spun my chair round and looked into my tear ridden eyes, I had already seen my reflection, I knew my eye make up had run, it must be worse now.

“He is a wreck. All day he has been bragging about how cool his sister is. How pretty she is. You knew Kat looked up to you when you were her brother, and now you’re his sister, he looks up to you even more.”

“That’s the second time he has almost killed me.”

“But he didn’t”

“No he hasn’t. I’ve been lucky. The first time I was willing to forgive, but no, not this time. Everyone knows NightRazors spit acid. It’s year 1 stuff.”

“He thought it was empty.”

“Yeah… right! Kat maybe be many things, but stupid isn’t one of them.”

“I want you to come down and apologise to your little brother.”

“No.”

“Sara. …”

“Why should I apologise?”

“Because I told you to.”

I just stared at him.

“And I’ll ground you for a month if you don’t.”

“Feel free,” I said.

He sighed,  “At least come down and join us for dinner.”

“I’ve lost my appetite.”

“Come and sit, you don’t have to eat, but you do have to join your family at the table.”

 

****

 

I stared at my roast potatoes as the others quietly ate their meals. Mum and Dad had tried to start some pleasant conversation like we normally had, but I wasn’t playing, I didn’t ignore them, but I kept my answers short. ‘What did you do today?’ got the answer ‘stuff’ for example. I contemplated picking up the knife and playing with the food, but decided against it.

“Can I be excused now?” I asked.

“No.” Dad said

“Why not?”

“We are having a family meal together.”

“That’s nice, Can I be excused now?”

“Once you have finished your dinner.”

“I have eaten everything I want to.”

“Your Mum spent hours …”

“It’s OK, Dear. If she doesn’t want to eat the meal I spent hours preparing, cooking and then dished up, then I don’t think we should push her, even if she feels the need to insult the cook by not even trying a small amount.”

I could see where Mum was going with this. Guilt me into a little, then a little more and a little more till I had cleared my plate and she had her way.

“Thanks, Mum.” I got up and walked out of the dining room.

“Sara! Get back here!” Dad yelled. I turned on my heel and stood in the door way.

“How do you think your Mum feels? Spending hours preparing a meal, and you don’t even touch it.”

“Mum feels? James feels, you feel? How about how I feel? How about you consider the fact that less than a week ago, I was a happy guy with a girlfriend. I’ve been a girl less than two days, and I’m getting in trouble for not being feminine enough. For not being considerate of others, enough.”

“While under our roof you will follow our rules,” Mum said, looking at me.

“Fine, Problem easily solved.” I turned and stormed upstairs.

****

 

I grabbed a bag. Jeans, T shirts went in first, then my underwear, including the few bras I had, I grabbed a couple of the plainer skirts and added those to my rucksack. I quickly donned some socks and my trainers, grabbed my new coat, pulled it on, strung the rucksack over a shoulder and headed downstairs towards the door.

“Where do you think you are going?” Dad asked as I got to the bottom of the stairs.

“I’ll find somewhere.” I turned to look at him. “Good ...”

There was a bright flash.

 

****

 

“… Bye” Dad had moved. Mum was now standing right in front of me, between me and the door. My bag was no longer on my shoulder.

“You would really leave?” Mum had tears running down her cheeks.

I just nodded.

“Because I wouldn’t let you dress back up in boyish clothes?”

“Boyish clothes? Mum? I’m leaving because you’re trying to make me into something I’m not, and you’re not letting me have a word in edgeways. You’re both being unreasonable.”

“Unreasonable? We only have your best interests at heart.”

“What’s with you two? You start of being really helpful. Dad was a little closed off, but now he’s opened up and you’ve closed up. Couldn’t you just treat me like you used to?”

“Sara, when I was your age, I also transitioned into a young lady. I took it hard. My friends stopped talking to me, the kids at school picked on me. All because I carried on trying to look like a boy and act like a boy, like the boy I no longer was.” She stared at me. “My mother, your grandmother, did the best thing for me. She threw out all my old male clothes and forced me to wear a dress and act like the young lady I appeared to be. I was merely trying to do the same…”

“The same for me Mum? Look at me. I’m not exactly trying to look like a boy here am I? My friends, they know and they accept me anyway. I had fun today, we did some shopping, went and hung out in the testing centre while Kail got tested. Then we did some more shopping, watched a movie. Some more shopping, then came home. I might have rebelled against my change back in England, where I had friends who only knew me as Jace, but here, they know me as both, and they don’t care.”

“Sara… I just wanted like we had yesterday when I helped you get ready for going out…”

“Mum, I liked yesterday, but I’m used to having independence and after having it since I was old enough to dress myself, I’m not letting you take it away just because I switched sexes.”

“If you had been born a girl…”

“Mum, if I had been born a girl, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. You would trust my judgement and let me dress myself, like you used to let Kat do. Now where’s my bag?”

Dad moved forward “You can have it back in the morning. If, after what we have discussed with you, you still wish to leave … we won’t stop you.” He indicated we should move into the living room.

 

****

 

I sat nursing a cup of tea Dad had made me, curled up in my armchair, I could do that now, it used to be a tight fit so I would drape myself over the arms. I was staring at Mum and Dad, who were sitting on the sofa. Nothing had been said for several minutes. We just sat their looked at each other and quietly drank our teas.

“We don’t want you to leave. You’re too young, and your education is not complete.” My Father finally gave in, I shrugged at his words. “And I know you don’t want to leave.”

I looked at him as he said that. It was true. I didn’t. No matter what, I still loved them, and leaving home wouldn’t solve my problems, just compound them, and my bed was really comfortable. However I wasn’t going to give up my independence without a fight.

“Sara, I  ...” Mum hadn’t said a word since my outburst near the door. “… I’m sorry. I didn’t realise, I just remembered how my mum treated me after my change, and tried to do the same for you.” I had taken off my hoody to reveal the mini-skirt and loose fitting crop top I had gotten earlier. I hardly looked like a tom-boy.

“Mum …”

“No, let me finish, I guess I just didn’t realise how much it was hurting you.”

“Mum …” I put down my tea cup and crossed over to the couch, sat next to Mum and hugged her. “I  ... Shouldn’t have responded like I did  … I’m sorry I’ve been kinda snippy all afternoon.”

“You have?” she looked at me and put her hand on my forehead.

 

****

 

“Sara you also have to realise you’re not a boy anymore, you need to be more careful. Which is why were going to impose …”

“No, Dad. No new rules, no new restrictions. Treat me the same as you would have done if I was still male.”

“There will be a few changes.”

“But …”

“One, you’re no longer going to mow the lawn. James can do that.”

“What?” James yelped from Dad’s armchair.

“You can do some of the housework, instead.” Mum said.

“What?” It was my turn. “Isn’t that the maid’s job?”

“We don’t need a maid, we have a daughter who needs to pay off her clothing allowance.” Dad smiled at me.

“Huh?” I groaned. “You told me …”

“Somebody has a certain leather jacket, which doesn’t quite come under the standards of a necessity, and falls under luxury.”

I groaned, Mum and Dad for the most part would pay for clothing which was considered a necessity, school uniform, neat clothing, I then had a budget for normal clothes, and finally, anything they considered a luxury I would have to pay for. If I wanted a pair of jeans, they would pay, unless they were designer, then I would have to pay the balance between them and a normal pair. As a boy, I just wore what felt good, comfortable and was practical for my needs. As a girl, I knew some fashion items had been mixed in by my friends. “We’re going to let the rest of them slide, though.”

I sighed in relief, there was quite a bit of what I wouldn’t have called necessities. “So I’m the house maid?”

“Only till you have paid off that jacket.” James laughed

“Don’t know why you’re laughing, James, I seem to remember you picking up a few luxury’s as well.”

“Huh? But I’m only 12 …”

“About the right age  I think.” Dad said with a nod.

“That’s when I had to start paying for my extra stuff,” I said with a smile.

 

****

Movement woke me up. I was curled up against my father, head against his shoulder, his arm around mine. I remembered leaning against Mum and cuddling up to her while we watched a movie on TV. It seems Dad had replaced Mum so I wouldn’t be disturbed, and now Mum had come back and taken Dad’s spot on the couch, so Dad was in the middle with Mum and I sitting on opposite sides. I smiled, and closed my eyes again. This was nice.

 

****

 

I woke up as I was put carefully on my bed. “Night, Princess” my father said as he stepped out of my room and closed the door behind him.

“Shelly said there might be some mood swings … I just didn’t expect …” I heard my mother say.

“Don’t worry about it. She was probably just tired. It’s been a hard couple of days …”

“She was very content on the couch, wasn’t she.”

“I was a little shocked when she started to purr.”

“Want me to make you purr, Darling?” I rolled over and tried to shut them out

 

****

 

One, elbow to the head, Two, elbow to the throat, Three, back hand to the temple. The dummy jumped in shock as each of my blows landed. I roundhouse kicked the dummy’s temple, jumped, twisted in the air and came in with the other foot. I was in the wood panelled training room. It wasn’t big enough to hold all of our equipment and have room to move, so Dad had modified it somewhat. A section of the floor had been designed so it could be lifted up by hydraulic jacks to reveal an area containing some punching bags and the training dummy. I was in the black shorts and t shirt I had picked up for school P.E. before I got the oh-so-revealing leotards.

“Not wearing a Gui?” Dad asked from the doorway as he came in.

“Couldn’t get one in my size …” I jump kicked the training dummy, “… that wasn’t in pink.” Reverse kick, followed through by an elbow.

“You like beating on those training dummies, don’t you,” he said with a smile.

“More realistic then the heavy punch bags you prefer,” I replied as he began his warm up.

“Maybe, but my heavy punch bags cost only a fraction of what that dummy cost.”

“Then why have the dummy?”

“Your mum likes to know how much strength she is using, so she can practice not killing people by accident.”

“Makes sense.” I had seen Mum bend metal bars as thick as my arm. She wasn’t someone you wanted mad at you. Dad had once jokingly said how glad he was she didn’t suffer from PMS. Though not anywhere within earshot. “Want a warm up spar?”

“Sure, I could do with a light workout.” He grinned, I grinned back, then walked over and pushed the button to lower the punch bags. We both moved over and took spots opposite each other with the lowering bags between us. “We start when the platform clicks.” When the bags were fully down, a click would indicate it had finished.

“Agreed.”

 

****

 

Light work out my arse. He came at me hard and fast. To start off with, I had to pull back as he pushed me around the mat. I tried to counter, but he was intercepting and blocking each of those. I forced open his defence and got a blow in. It landed, but only lightly, and it left me open for a kick, an opening he took. I saw the foot leave the ground moving towards me, I tried to react but my body didn’t move quick enough.  Then the light in the room dimmed, the foot slowed down, I moved and caught it. The power, though, was more then I could stop, so I jumped, and used the foot for momentum. I cleared his head and came down behind him. As he began to turn, I swept his feet out from under him, or at least I tried to.  His body went with the kick, twisted around, and landed where he had been, only now he was facing the right way. His fist came in at me, but it was moving slower then it had been before, at least it was to my eyes. I blocked and countered, he managed to block my own attack and came at me again.

 

****

 

We were both sweating buckets and breathing hard when Mum came in. She took one look at Dad and me, and chuckled. I turned to look at her. She wasn’t wearing her Gui, but a black leotard and black tights and her ballet slippers. Mum had trained in a number of dance styles since she’d become a girl, none much beyond the amateur level, mostly for fun, though I had heard that sometimes being able to dance was useful when trying to be undercover. Apparently people don’t expect the couple showing off on the dance floor as anything other then a couple who like to dance.

“Do you still want to move out?” Dad asked in between pants. I kept my guard up since we hadn’t either of us signalled an end to the fight.

“No, I was being silly.”

“A little.” Mum agreed. “But I didn’t help matters, and I should have picked up on how uncomfortable you were. Since you’re staying with us, your punishment still stands.”

“Punishment?”

“Yes, for shooting a certain Peter Felms.”

I sighed. “I’ll start on the housework.”

“That’s not your punishment. Your punishment is to learn how to be graceful and ladylike. Go take a shower and come back down, dressed in your leotard.”

“Can I appeal for a more lenient sentence?”

“No.”

“I throw my self on the mercy of the Pa.”

“After the arse kicking you just gave me,” he groaned theatrically, “he has no mercy. Besides I want to see this outfit you’re so ashamed of.”

I sighed.

 

****

 

“Ok, I hope you two are happy, humiliating your first born like this.” I stepped into the workout room, I had showered and dried my tail hair, but I had managed to keep my head dry. Then I had pulled on the leotard and a pair of black tights and added the soft ballet slippers. I had even brushed out my hair and had a go at clipping it back. My makeup was very light, but I thought I might as well make an effort. It might reduce the punishment.

“Ahh, good, I was just about to send out the search party for you.” Mum smiled as she looked at me. She indicated I should go over and join her. Some of the panels had been opened to reveal large mirrors I hadn’t even realised were there. I stood next to her and she turned me to look in the mirror.

“What do you see?”

“Me, and you,” I said, masking my smile.

“You and I.” Mum said automatically. “Look again.”

I did. Mum was standing next to me, black lycra leotard, black ¾ length leggings, not tights as I first had assumed, and a pair of ballet slippers. She also was wearing a pair of ankle warmers, one of which had slid down below the bottom of her leggings. I was dressed similarly, only with full tights, and no ankle warmers. I also had a square topped leotard, while hers was V neck. “Look how I’m standing,, compared to you.” She was standing straight, back slightly arched, head held straight, legs together.

I, on the other hand, was standing legs shoulder width apart, arms folded under my breasts, head tilted, and generally slouching. “Work hard, and I might, … might” she repeated the word for emphasis, “let your father take you for your driving test this afternoon.”

I looked at her sharply. “Really?”

“Yes. But only if you work hard and do everything I tell you without question. Ok?”

“Can I ask you to explain? As long as I still do it?”

She nodded.

 “Ok.”

“Good. I think we shall start with Ballet. In my opinion it is the most graceful of the dance styles I know. First position is this.” I looked at her body position as she moved into it and copied her.

 

****

“Straighter back, Sara.”

 

****

 

“How are my girls?” Dad asked as he came in the door. I was walking backwards and forwards across the room, a book resting on my head, one foot moving in front of the other, my tail carefully swishing in counterpoint to the sway of my arms.

“Hi, Dad.”

“Hi, Sweetie.” He kissed Mum and looked at me. “How is she doing?”

“Better then I expected. Pity she didn’t Morf a few years earlier. She could have been a good ballet dancer with a few years training.”

“Thanks to the powers that be for small mercies,” I said as I turned and started to walk towards them. But there was a smile on my face as I kept my head straight for the book.

“Oh?”

“No offence, Mum, but I don’t think there is a muscle in my body that doesn’t ache right now.”

“Sure, that’s all my ballet training and nothing to do with you and your father trying to kill each other earlier.

“I felt the same way when your mum tried to get me to help her out. I think I’ll stick to something light, like sparring.”

“I think I might join you with that, Dad ….” I shot a quick look at my Mother, “… as soon as I’m allowed, that is.”

“Keep that up young lady and it will be when you move out.” She sighed, “Go on, that’s enough, go take a shower and get changed.” I passed the book to my mum and headed towards the stairs.

 

****

 

“He is as bad as she said, I was only in the room a few minutes and I wanted to slap him.” I caught the back end of their conversation as I came down the stairs from my room after another quick shower and outfit change. Black skirt and white blouse, I had considered trousers, but after Mum’s carry on yesterday and lecturing I received as we went through the training she wanted me to do, I thought a touch of femininity wouldn’t go amiss. I slowed down on the stairs to listen in more.

“Were refusing to take him on then?” Mum asked.

“I wish I could. No, I’m giving him to Remorra to deal with.”

“Risky. She might try and break him, but that’s what you want. isn’t it.”

“It's not a negative outcome, but I’m hoping they will meter each other out.”

“Two extremes finding a middle ground? Oh boy, I don’t think I want to be in their training sessions.”

“She is also one of the few people there with the mental control to withstand his telepathy.”

“Strong?”

“Timmy seemed to think so. He spent 5 minutes in the room and left. When I caught up to him later he was being sick in the toilet.”

“Sara.” I turned to look at James.

“Huh?”

“I’m Sorry, I Wub you.” He was trying to look cute, bottom lip out, eyes fluttering. It was a trick Kat had used on me when I was Jace, and one that had worked more often then not. He was in jeans and T-shirt.

“Going some where, squib?”

He looked at me, a little confused. “Out …meet some friends I made yesterday.”

“Good. Don’t try the fluttering eye lids and bottom lip on them, or you will be labelled a sissy.”

“Oh they won’t mind. I met them at Ballet Class.”

“What?”

“I’m taking ballet with a local school,” he said, kinda proudly.

“What?”

“I’m …”

“MUM!” I stormed into training room.

“Yes Dear?” Dad and Mum looked at me as I stormed in.

“What’s this James is saying about becoming a Ballet Dancer?”

“Oh, he will be taking lessons once a week with a local school.”

“Are you trying to get him beaten up?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, unless America is a hell of a lot more tolerant then England about these things, if they find out at school he takes ballet lessons, he will be the laughing stock and punch bag.”

“It wasn’t my idea.”

I looked sharply at dad.

“Wasn’t mine either, I just chose to support it.”

I turned on James.

“I saw the sign in town,  Sis, I wanted to be a Ballerina, now I get to be a Ballerino.”

“A what?”

“Male Ballerina.” Mum offered.

“And you supported it?”

They both nodded. “It's his choice Sara.”

“My opinion doesn’t matter, does it?”

“In this? You can air it, but in the end, it’s James decision. Now come on, we need to get down so we can get your test taken.” Dad said and jingled his car keys. I reached for them, “Once you’ve passed your test.”

 

****

 

“You know he will come to regret it, don’t you.” I said as we pulled out the drive.

“No I don’t, and neither do you. But either way, it will be his mistake to make.”

“But you do think it’s a mistake?”

“This doesn’t leave the car.”

“Ok.”

“I hate ballet.”

“You’re not the only one.”

“You know we will have to attend any of his dance shows, don’t you.”

“Ahh…crap. I mean damn.”

“Shucks?” he asked with a smile.

“Can I use shucks?”

“More then crap you can. And damn is considered pretty bad round here as well.”

“Ok then. Ahhh Shucks. Hmm doesn’t have the same ring.”

“Well its good to know I haven’t lost my son under all that make up.”

“You thought you might do?”

“I wasn’t sure … stranger things have happened to a person after Morfs. I lost myself for a while, became an aggressive moody teen.”

“What happened?”

“I started working for your Grandfather, and then met your Mum.”

 

****

 

“Dad? Why we pulling into the car park at the bank? Aren’t we going to the DMV?”

“Nope. Since... we kinda already broke into the DMV’s computer system and added pass records for yourself, it would look a little suspicious if you turned up and asked for a test, even though you already have a license, and I can’t really get them to break in again and change it. We don’t have the ability to remove, just add.”

“So?”

“So, I’m having someone test you. If you pass you can have your license, if you can’t, you don’t.”

 

****

 

“Katie, This is my daughter Sara. Sara this is Katie, she is a driving instructor here.”

“Boss,” she nodded to dad, then looked at me. “Hello, Sara.” She was a leggy blonde in blue overalls with no make up.

“Hi ,Katie.”

“Shall we get started? Your Dad said you have had some prior driving instruction before, and I need to test your road sense.”

“Yep…” I looked at Dad, who nodded.

“Can you test her like it was a proper DMV test?.”

“Sure can. Come this way, Sara.”

 

****

 

“Your dad was right. You can drive, though I noticed it took you a few minutes longer to get the seat right and check your angles. Not been in that body long?” We had just pulled onto main street and were heading towards the other side of town. Katie had had me do a variety of manoeuvres, from parallel parking, to 3 point turns.

“Nope. I was as big as my Dad less than a week ago.”

“Damn. Morfs can be so nasty at times, though in your case it seems to be all good.”

“I was a boy.”

“Really? Well …congratulations and welcome to the better sex.”

“Thanks … I think,” I said, to which she laughed.

“Don’t worry, I’m only playing. Do you have a boyfriend yet? With those looks …wait …you do have a boyfriend? Damn girl, you move quickly.”

I swallowed. “Well …I’m not sure if you could call him my boyfriend …we haven’t been on a date with him as my boyfriend…”

“Have you kissed?” I nodded, “Have you made arrangements for a date?” I nodded again. “He’s your boyfriend,” she said with finality. “Turn right here and keep going straight.”

“Err, Katie, this is a dead end …”

“Don’t worry.”

“But? Brickwall, looming.”

“Ignore It,” she said with a laugh. I hit the brakes. “It’s all just an illusion. Look again.” I did, the road dipped just ahead into a sharpish drop. “Back door into the carpark, too steep to exit, but OK for going in.” She smiled at me. “50% of people stop like you did. The area is all angled to hide the drop, and the wall is patterned to cover it up a bit.” I eyed her as we slowly moved on. I could have sworn it had been solid road just a moment before.

 

****

 

“She didn’t passed,” Katie told my father as she took over the driving seat from me. He had been waiting for us near the elevator.

“Oh…”

“Nothing major, nothing a bit of practice driving on the right wont fix.”  

“Thanks Katie.”

“No problem, Sir, I’m a little sad I had to fail her.”

 “Dad …” I sighed then shrugged, “We going home?”

“Not yet. I need to get some paperwork done in the office. I got some done while you were out but there is some more to do.” I nodded, and lent against the elevator wall as it began to rise.

 

****

“This your office?”  I looked around the sparsely decorated room. Minimalist in design, it had a black leather executive chair behind a black Mahogany desk. Two smaller seats sat in front of it for guests. A large mirror rested opposite the desk. A pair of large windows looked out over the city below. The carpet was a Navy blue, with the banks corporate logo made out in red in the middle.

“Yep. Your Mum’s is next door.” He sat down in his chair and logged back into the computer. I walked around to lean on the back of his chair.

“Anything I can do to help?” I said, looking over his shoulder as what he was working on popped back up onto the screen. I managed to read ‘High powered, and unknown origin’ before he got the screen minimised.

“Not really. Just something I might be taking a hand in if the bumbling carries on, though right now it is out of my jurisdiction.” I heard a beeping. “Sorry Sara, would you mind stepping outside? This is something I have to take and you shouldn’t hear.”

I nodded and walked out of his office. He waited for me to close the door behind me, then I heard a snick as the door locked. I sat down in the secretary’s chair and pulled out my mobile phone. My new eCom was a pretty standard affair, if not a little smaller then my old one. I was not completely familiar with how it dealt with the menu system, so I started scrolling through it and seeing what things it could do. Internet was priced on bandwidth, so I quickly checked my emails, noticed one from BB, thought about using the camera to update all my online profiles. I smiled and a moment later I was posing on one side of the room with the camera on the other, the timer taking a photo every 20 seconds.

 

****

I was doing one such pose when Dad stepped out his office. I had stood with my bum stuck out, my back arched, fingers entwined and arms straight down. He stepped out of the office and stopped sharply. “Sara?”

I blushed sharply and quickly ran to grab my phone.

“I don’t think I want to know do I?”

“I was just making some pics to update my profile.”

“Uh-huh. Shall we get going? Your Mum just called, and dinner will be ready in about an hour.”

“Ok.”

 

****

 

“We need to make a stop off on the way. Pick something up for next Friday,” Dad said as the elevator moved down towards the carpark.

“Next Friday? What’s happening next Friday?”

He looked at me, and this smile crept up on his face, “Didn’t your mother tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“Oh! I’m shocked. I expected her to have told you. No matter. I promised I would let her tell you.”

“Dad!”

“Nope. The car’s over here.” He led the way from the elevator to his car, unlocked all the doors, then tossed me the keys. “I’m feeling a little tired. You drive.”

“Where to?”

“Head east out of town. On the freeway.”

The freeway? I hadn’t passed my test and he wants me to take the freeway? ‘Damn, I hope he has a good insurance policy.’

 

****

 

“Left here, then pull over on the Right.” I followed his instructions pulling up in front of Mum’s car.

“Where are we?” I looked around a bit more, now that I didn’t have to concentrate so much on the traffic. “And why is Mum here?” I looked at him but he was already getting out. “Dad?” I growled softly. Deciding not to risk open my door with the traffic, climbed over the gear stick and followed him out onto the pavement.

“This way.” He said and led me into a ladies dress shop.

 

****

 

“This is my daughter. Do you have anything which would suit her?” Mum asked a women with a tape measure around her neck. Mum was standing on a small pedestal. wearing a black velvet ball gown, which judging by the way a second women was fiddling with it, was being measured and fitted for her.

“Hmmm. Yes, I do have something that would be perfect for you.”

“Huh? Mum, what’s going on?”

“Didn’t your father tell you?”

“No he didn’t.” I turned to turn on him, only to not see him where I thought he would be, I turned a bit more and saw his car pull away. “What the?”

“Seems your father has just done his vanishing trick.”

“His what?”

“Whenever Kat and I would be shopping, he would suddenly disappear, just like that.”

“But…”

 

“I think this would look good on her and I don’t think it would need much resizing.” The women came over and held a full length ball gown up to me. It was in a dark blue

“What do I need another dress for?” I’m sure I have at least 4 I haven’t even taken off the hangers yet. Not to mention potential outfit combinations with what my friends referred to as my separates.

“I checked, you don’t have any formal ball gowns.”

“Why would I need one of those?”

“We have been invited to a ball this Friday.”

“Why would I need one of those?” I asked again. “Surely it’s an adults only affair.” I hoped, I preyed.

“Nope, we have all been invited. Apparently we’re late editions to the guest list at one of the organisers request, to help with our acclimatisation to local social circles.” Mum turned to look at her dress again in the mirror. “Now try on that dress! our agreement still stands, young lady.”

“I thought that only applied to the lessons.”

“Whatever gave you that idea?” She smiled at me as I reluctantly took the dress from the smiling assistant.

 

****

 

“How can anyone breathe in these things?” I asked as I stepped out from the changing room and up onto the small pedestal the woman had indicated I should stand on, I was a little wobbly in the heels I had been given to wear. Unlike the heels I had worn to dinner the day before, these shoes had a really skinny heel and I thought I was going to break my ankle until I got my balance in them. I hadn’t been given chance to suggest a smaller heel not that Mum would have listened to my suggestion anyway, so i just concentrated on not falling off the platform. The hem of the dress had been only a fraction of the ground. The dress was strapless, a tight fitting bodice closed around my torso with what felt like a vice like grip. Since I had been informed that there was only very light corseting, I decided that I would hate to feel strong corseting. Especially considering this one was making my chest rise up and down with every breath, I could only imagine it would be worse with proper corseting. Mum nodded as she looked at me. This was the 3rd dress I had tried on. The previous 2 had been ‘inappropriate’ or ‘not quite right’. Mum was sitting on a stool looking at me with a smile on her face. “That’s the one.” 

“What?” I looked in the mirror. ‘Thank god it wasn’t the pink one’, was the first thing I thought of, the 2nd dress had been pink, almost identical to this one, but in pink. I had hated it from the start. This one was in a very light blue. I suppose it did look OK. The bodice had to be drawn closed by strings on my back, so I doubted I would be able to do it up easily on my own. It curved down under my armpits to finish low on my back, and yet left my shoulders, and shoulder blades, free. The skirt hung from my hips to ripple around my legs.

“It looks like it was made for her,” said one of the shop girls from the doorway with a smile.

“The hem needs lifting,” said the women with the tape measure around her neck, who I had learned was the owner of the store. “Hmmm.” She walked behind me and suddenly pulled the strings on the bodice tighter, before tying them off. “The bodice is the right size for her though. Is it OK with you, Mrs Neumer?”

“Yes. My daughter looks lovely. Thank you.” Mum was positively beaming. “We’ll take it, and a pair shoes. Can you get some in the right colour?”

“I have a pair in her size, already dyed to match.” She turned to look at the girl in the doorway, “Karie, would you get them please?” She looked back at my mother. “They are a little taller though I’m afraid.”

“Oh?”

“3 inches.”

“Ahh ... Well I’m sure they will be lovely.”

 

****

 

3 inches? I’d already felt like I was walking on stilts. Mum had gotten a pair of the same shoes from the shop, so I would have a week to learn to walk in them confidently, she then made me wear them out of the shop and for the rest of the evening. They weren’t hard to walk in, just different, the small heel forced me to take smaller steps then I would have liked, and my calves were soon complaining about the new angle. The pale blue on the dyed shoes was a near perfect match for the dress and I also had a small clutch bag dyed to the same colour. They had been left behind for us to pick up on Tuesday. Our gowns would be done by then, apparently, and we were to go in for a final fit. I was being picked up from school to go straight there. I collapsed onto my bed and looked across at my new school uniform hanging from a pair of hangers on my door. Tomorrow would be my first day at school as Sara. I reached down and opened the buckles holding the ankle strap closed so I could kick them off, eyed my phone and decided to give Kail a call.

 

I wondered if he was as nervous about tomorrow as I was.

 

To Be Continued...


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