15 year old Peter had been expelled from school and is now permanently grounded at home. After being caught climbing out of the window by his mother, he has lost access to his own room and is staying in his sisters bedroom instead. This means the only clothing Peter has are his sisters! Peter has been wearing his sisters knickers, skirts and dresses for two weeks now. When his sister returned home for the weekend, she tries to help him in his predicament by buying him his first bra, shaping his eyebrows and piercing his ears. Peter is beginning to enjoy being a girl for a change.
(You'll probably want to read part one if you're new to this saga)
Mum and I silently watched the TV for a while as the clock ticked towards my bedtime. The clock chimed eight and as usual, I got up to get ready for bed. Washing my face took seemingly ages as I wasn't used to removing make up. I was expecting to turn back into 'me' once I'd removed it all, but no... I still look 'pretty'. My newly pierced ears and my shaped eyebrows gave my face a pronounced feminine appearance, even without any make up!
After brushing my teeth I went to my bedroom and slipped out of my clothes. I hung the dress back in the wardrobe, and carefully placed the hold ups on my dressing table chair. I stepped into a clean pair of white knickers and pulled on a nightie. I was somehow nicer wearing my very own knickers for a change.
I brushed my index finger over one of my finely arched eyebrows and observed my reflection, before rubbing a bit of remaining eye liner out of the corner of my eye. “At least I can touch my face again.” I thought as I looked to make sure I had washed all my make up off.
I pulled on my dressing gown and made my way back downstairs to watch some more TV. Mum glanced up as I entered the lounge and sat myself down. “Feel better love?” Asked Mum.
“Yeah kind of.” I replied, half sighing. “At least I dare touch my face again.” I added.
Mum chuckled, “Yes I know what you mean.” She paused and shifted her gaze. I could see she was looking at my chest area. “I'd have thought you've have taken your bra off for bed love.”
I looked down at my chest. “Do you think I should?” I quizzed.
“Well, its entirely up to you...” She said in return, “I just thought you'd be eager to get out of it.”
“Erm... I thought I had to wear it all the time.” I sheepishly replied.
“Well... yes.” She replied, “I wouldn't have got you them otherwise!” She added matter of factly. “But girls don't normally wear a bra in bed.”
“I suppose.” I muttered, “I'll take it off before bed.” I added as I smoothed my knee length nightie over my hairless legs as I curled up in the armchair. I glared at the screen as I pondered the days events. My new school uniform which, although not ideal, should be far better than what I have been wearing. I'm almost looking forward to wearing it... almost!
I also remembered my outburst at being bought a bra (or six). My subsequent chat with Cheryl and the way she made me look this evening! I glanced down at my chest, then to my smooth knees which emerged where my nightie ended, and back to my chest again. I guess wearing a bra does make me look more normal. From my point of view anyhow. Although I'm sure if my friends saw me like this they'd think I was anything but 'normal'.
Before long, the clock chimed nine and it was time to go to bed. Having said goodnight to mum, I climbed the stairs, removed my dressing gown and slippers before dropping the straps of my nightie so I could remove the bra and slid myself into bed.
The next morning I woke and washed my face, returned to my room, removed my nightie and tossed it on the bed. I opened the wardrobe and wasn't sure what to wear. Mum hadn't chosen something for me so it was up to me I guess. I remembered Cheryl saying “Just try to enjoy it Pete... I used to love trying different clothes on when I was your age.”
I decided I'd wear something different, something I hadn't worn yet; however, most of what I hadn't worn I hadn't worn for a reason... it was far too girlie! I gulped, shut my eyes and fumbled across the rails as if to let fate decide. I opened my eyes only when I'd half removed whatever I'd blindly chosen. I sighed. “At least it's not...” I thought as I noticed a baby pink dress on the very next hanger. The dress I held was pale blue, with little white love hearts all over it, getting denser towards the hem of the skirt as if they were falling like snow. It had white lace edging around its wide scooping neck, elasticated sleeves which puffed out, again with lace edging and a zip up the back. I wasn't keen on the little love hearts on it, but it was OK I guess. OK for a dress that is!
I changed into some clean underwear, specifically choosing a pale blue set to match the dress. The back zip was a struggle but I fastened it all the way up eventually. It fell just above my knee. I wasn't sure which shoes I should wear with it, so I wore my black ballet pumps. At least they're comfortable.
I didn't have to do any chores today, it being a Sunday and all, but I did tidy up the kitchen after I had my breakfast. I returned to my bedroom and listened to the radio whilst I tidied up the dressing table. Cheryl's make up was still out, so I placed it all back into her make up bag. Of course I had a good look at it all as I did so. All those tactile little objects, lipsticks, mascara, face powder & eye shadow, the pencils with a sharpener cunningly built into the lid. A bizarre pair of scissors caught my eye, which I eventually worked out to be eye lash curlers. “God they think of everything.” I muttered as I realised how they worked.
As I was tidying my dresser, I noticed the variety of head bands mum insisted I wore when studying with Mrs. Barnes. One of them was white with pale blue polka dots on which contrasted with my frock, so I decided to wear it. I slumped on my bed and flicked through a magazine for a while. I heard my sister get up around 9am. She tapped on my bedroom door and quietly asked, “Pete, are you up yet?”
“Of course.” I replied as she opened my door and peeped around it. “I have to get up at 7.30... even on a Sunday!” I reminded her.
“Oh yeah,” She whispered, “sorry!” she added before coyly creeping in and perching herself on my bed. Have you been downstairs yet?” She asked, still whispering.
“Yes. Why? Why are you whispering?” I replied.
“Did you go into the lounge?” She whispered.
“No, Why? Why are you still whispering?”
“Sorry. Good.” She said. “My friend Tina is asleep on the sofa. I didn't want you to barge in at silly o'clock and wake her with the TV or something.” She added with a “Phew!”.
“Well I'm glad I didn't!” I exclaimed. “How would I explain this?” I asked, holding the hem of my frock.
“Exactly.” Replied Cheryl, before biting her bottom lip.
“What!?” I asked dryly as I noticed her 'regretful' expression.
“Well...” She looked up at me, her expression riddled with guilt. “I figured the chances of you bumping into Tina were quite high, so I forewarned her.”
“Well I told her you might be up early and...”
I intercepted, “And you told her that your brother dresses like a girl, so don't get freaked out!?”
“No!... If you'll let me finish.”
“I told her that my sister is very shy so don't be surprised if she just blushes and runs to her room if you see her.” She said, as if she'd manufactured the worlds greatest excuse.
“So now I'm supposed to pretend I'm your sister to all your friends am I?” I asked, pissed off.
“No... of course not.” She insisted, squeezing my knee lovingly. “But what else could I say?.... I couldn't say my brother wears dresses so don't get freaked out could I?”
Cheryl was right. I nodded and said “I guess if I'm so shy I can just hide in my room 'till she's gone?”
“Of course you can.” Cheryl agreed, again with that I'm so great expression.
“There is one more tiny thing though....” She hesitantly added.
“Well,” Cheryl rubbed my hairless knee through the fabric of my frock, “I do like this dress.” She procrastinated. “It looks really nice on you.”
I sighed, knowing she was stalling. “And the tiny thing?”
“Oh er... She asked what your name was.” Cheryl bit her lip again.
I paused in horror before asking “And you said?”
“Well, you have to understand that I had to think fast?....”
I nodded. “Go on.”
“So it may not be ideal....” She stalled again.
I gave her a pleading look which said both 'please don't tell me you've given me a girls name?' and 'please tell me and get this painful conversation over with!'
“Rebecca.” She said quickly.
“Sorry.” she bit her lip, again. “I just saw that name on a poster a moment before she asked and it was the only other name on my mind....” She explained.
I thought about it for a moment, I tried to imagine being called Rebecca but somehow couldn't. “I'd rather be a Becky.” I eventually suggested. “I suppose.” I added.
“Whatever you like.” Said Cheryl. “I kind of like Rebecca for you though. I've been thinking about ever since... I mean, if you were really a girl... what your name would have been....”
“Mum said that too!” I interrupted.
I nodded, but hung my head, both embarrassed and ashamed. “Mum said I might be happier if I had a girls name until my exams are over.”
Cheryl looked taken a back. She thought before responding. “Well, I guess it was my idea that you started trying to enjoy dressing like a girl.. I mean... instead of just being Pete in a dress...” she paused, “...I just thought you might enjoy it a bit more... so I guess mum was thinking along the same lines.” She pondered her words for moment. “She does want you to be happy you know. In spite of the petticoat punishment.”
She rubbed my knee again, I clasped her hand. “Well.... I suppose I do.” I thought about how I looked last night, all made up. Cheryl said nothing but squeezed my hand and smiled in a way which said everything. I smiled back, feeling defeated, but in a nice way. Cheryl grinned and hugged me. I hugged her back, but whispered, “I might have to hide in my room 'till she's gone though.... you know.... play the shy little sister.”
“Fair enough.” Cheryl replied before hugging me again. “I'd better go and make her some breakfast.” She added, “But looking at you, she'll not bat an eyelid.” Cheryl paused again. “And your voice still hasn't broke so you could talk to her and still get away with it.” She advised before heading down stairs.
“This is going to take some getting used to!” I thought to myself as I contemplated being called Rebecca instead of Peter. “I wonder what Mum will think?” I slumped myself back on my bed and returned my attention to the magazine, instinctively straightening my frock as I did so. The elasticated sleeves had a habit of riding up unevenly which meant it needed constant attention. I seemed to be straightening my bra every five minutes or so too. Although I knew full well it was straight, I just felt a constant need to check!
By rights at this time on a Sunday I'd just be getting out of bed, grabbing some breakfast before going out on my bike or meeting up with friends (weather permitting). However Sunday's weren't the same any more, especially today, hiding out in my bedroom because one of Cheryl's friends is here and I'm wearing a dress!
Eager for something to interest me I looked around my walls. Cheryl's room is nothing like my old room, I had posters of cars and planes, a giant world map, all my books and what remained of my old toys... and camouflage curtains!
Cheryl's room, or My room as I've come to know it is a whole different ball game. Cream wall paper with thin pink pinstripes, hardly noticeable but obviously there. Pink curtains with little flowers on and a matching duvet. Fortunately her posters had all gone (mime - fingers down throat to feign puking!!), but unfortunately a selection of her favourite cuddly toys remained, neatly arranged on her bookshelf.
Cheryl also had a selection of books, but none of them interested me. No Fast Cars Annual, no Age of Exploration, no war! Only girls books sat there; novels with meaningless titles, hair & make up books, pop annuals, books on what to wear and one called What Not To Wear! The best of the bad bunch was the Argos catalogue, so I slumped back on my bed and flicked through its endless pages of consumer goodies.
Having exhausted all the digital cameras, hi-fi's, boys toys and everything else which half interested me, I inevitably ended up looking at the jewellery section and in particular, the earrings. Most of the choices available I didn't like, or I couldn't imagine wearing. However there were a few of the less ornate styles which looked OK, namely the small hoops and studs.
I heard a knock on the door. I looked up as Cheryl popped her head round it and said, “I'm gonna walk Tina to the bus stop in a minute so you don't have to feel trapped much longer.”
I smiled and said thanks.
“Choosing earrings are we?” She grinned, noticing the page I had the catalogue open on.
“Er... Just looking.” I replied shyly. “I haven't any money so....”
“Yeah” Relied Cheryl, knowing full well my pocket money was a thing of the past. “Well I could dig out some of mine if you'd like?” She offered.
I smiled and nodded in acceptance of her offer.
“Great.” She said. By this time she was stood fully in my room, with the door wide open, although I wasn't visible from the landing so I thought nothing of it. “I can post them to you because I'm not likely be back until Christmas.” She explained.
Cheryl seemed as surprised as I was when her friend appeared, poking her head around the door, “And you must be the elusive Rebecca?” She asked with a smile.
“Erm..” Was the only sound I made before going bright red. “Yes.” I peeped.
“Hi.” She said enthusiastically. “Sorry for barging in but...” she turned her attention to Cheryl. “...can we get going please? I don't want to miss the bus again.”
“Oh, er...” Stammered Cheryl, fully aware of my embarrassment. “Yes, er... me and er... Becky we're just talking about earrings.”
“Oh are you buying some new ones?” Asked Tina, glancing between myself and the catalogue.
My mouth moved but little came out. “Er... yes.” I eventually squeaked, then blushed some more.
“Er... yes.” Cheryl added to cover my inability to speak. “She er... had them pierced just yesterday.”
“Oh really!” Enthused Tina. “I bet you can't wait to get some different styles.”
I thumbed one of my studs. “Oh... er... sure.” I murmured.
“And I love that dress!” She added. Turning back to Cheryl she said. “Can we get going?”
“Oh... er... sure.” Cheryl replied, before being dragged out of my room by Tina. She mouthed a 'sorry' as she left.
I just blushed. My heart was racing ten to the dozen. I took a few deep breaths, waited to hear the front door close and went downstairs as soon as it did.
Mum was sat at the table reading the Sunday papers as usual. She glanced up as I entered. “I wondered when you'd show your face.” She said dryly.
“Oh it's OK.” She looked me up and down. “I understand you not wanting to bump into Cheryl's friends dressed like that!”
Without thinking I asked, “Don't you like it?” Thinking she didn't approve somehow. I looked down at my feminine chest and the pale blue dress which hung over it and smoothed it instinctively.
“Of course I do it's lovely.” She replied, “I meant wearing a dress... not that dress.”
“Oh... er... sorry.” I stammered, realising my mother thought I liked it too, hence wearing it.
Mum just smiled and turned her attention back to the newspaper.
I made myself a drink. There was an uncomfortable silence as I did so. I remembered Cheryl had told Tina that I (her brother) was actually her sister called Rebecca! “Mum must know!” I thought. “She and Tina must have chatted this morning and surely my name (cough) was mentioned!!” My mind was racing. I spent the next few hours watching TV. In the meantime, Cheryl returned, popped her head round the sitting room door and said, “Hi Pete!” Before joining Mum in the kitchen,
Eventually Cheryl joined me and apologised for my embarrassment this morning. She paused before adding, “Tina didn't suss you though!”
I knew I looked surprised. “She must have!” I insisted.
“She must have!”
“Why not?” Cheryl asked. “Look at you.”
“What do you mean? 'Exactly'?” She quizzed. “Look at you. You're short & skinny, you've got a cute little nose, and with your hair off your face like that you look really quite pretty.... especially with your new eyebrows!”
I still internally fought it every time is was referred to as 'pretty', but in spite of my best efforts, I was learning to just accept it. Every time I fight back I only get more grief. What's the point? I smoothed my frock over my knees and pondered my situation. Other people think I'm a girl now!
“Does Mum know about the name you gave me?” I asked shyly.
She nodded, “I had to... in case Tina asked about you... er... I mean Rebecca.”
“And?” I asked hesitantly.
“Well, She wasn't overly impressed with 'Rebecca'...”
“Neither was I!” I snapped sarcasticly.
“Sorry.” She said, chewing her lip. “Still, nothing is carved in stone and you'll always be Pete to me.”
I smiled. “I guess having a back up name is a good idea.... I mean.... If you'd introduced me to Tina as Pete this morning I'd have been mortified!”
“I think you were mortified.” Smiled Cheryl. “By the look on your face anyway.”
“I was... but if you had said “this is my brother Pete” it would have far worse!”
Cheryl agreed. She left me alone and returned a moment later with something in her hand. “Here,” she said, “you can have these.” She held a silver chain with a silver love heart pendent, and a matching bracelet made of numerous love hearts, all in a row. “They'll go really nice with your dress.” She explained as she fastened the bracelet around my wrist. “There are some matching earrings too... but you'll have to wait a few more days before you can take your studs out.”
“Thanks.” I sheepishly smiled as she fastened the chain around my neck.
“Did you remember to rotate them?”
“Good.” she smiled. “And the tea tree oil?”
“Great. They'll heal in no time!”
“Thanks.” I smiled, admiring the bracelet. Its silver love hearts were pretty much the same size as the tumbling love hearts on my dress. “Its funny how everything has to match.”
“Yes...” She grinned. “I noticed you put your blue bra on to match this dress.”
I blushed. “and knickers.”
“And hair band.” She added, glancing up at the blue and white spotted band which held my hair off my face.
I studied my attire for a moment. “I wasn't sure which shoes to wear though.” I wiggled my foot. “None of them seemed to be the right shade of blue.”
Cheryl looked down at my feet. “Well they look OK.” she said. “Ballet pumps do go with most outfits.”
I nodded in agreement.
“I did have a nice pair of white sandals though...” She added, “Come on... let's go and see if they're here.” she grabbed my hand and I followed.
Cheryl began routing in the bottom or her (my) wardrobe. I sat on the edge of my bed. “Here you go...” She said as she presented me with a pair of white strappy sandals with a smallish heel. I took them from her and kicked off my pumps. Cheryl looked down at my feet and suggested she paint my toe nails.
“What colour?” I asked.
“Well, blue of course!” She replied. “Unless....”
“No, blue's OK... it'll match my dress.”
“You're learning!” Cheryl winked, before proceeding to paint my toe nails and fingernails, in the same pale blue. I sat like a statue and Cheryl applied a little mascara to my eye lashes and some lip gloss on my lips whilst my nails dried. I fastened my feet into the sandals, stood up, straightened my sleeves, my bra and my frock before looking in the mirror. “Better?” Asked Cheryl.
I looked down at my feet and my shiny blue toenails. The strappy sandals did look nicer than my ballet pumps, but weren't as comfy to wear. I looked back in the mirror and took in the bigger picture once more. My hairless legs, my pretty dress, the jewellery, nail varnish, etc.. I nodded, “Thanks sis.”
We went back downstairs and mum said I looked 'very sweet'. She reminisced about the occasion she'd bought Cheryl this dress for, it was one of Mums friends daughters Christenings. I remember it well. Mum reminded me how well behaved Cheryl was and how unruly I had been. I ended up falling into a puddle of mud in the church yard whilst showing off. Mum sighed. “If only I knew then what I know now!”
“What do you mean?” Cheryl asked mum.
“Well look at him.” She said sternly, eyeing me over the top of her glasses. “He's been so much better behaved since I put him in your dresses...” She turned to me, “I doubt you'd have been so boisterous if put you in a pretty dress for that Christening would you?”
My head dropped. “No Mum.” I replied, remembering the telling off I got that day.
An uncomfortable silence followed.
Cheryl had to head back to Bristol mid afternoon. I was sorry to see her leave as she was my only friend these days. The rest of the afternoon I spent milling about. Watching TV and flicking through magazines. I helped mum prepare supper and did all the washing up afterwards. Later in the evening I had my bath and shaved my legs and armpits before putting on a nightie and rejoining Mum in the sitting room.
Mums idea of small talk was reminding me about doing my chores, and concerns over my studies, more of a pep talk than small talk really. I said yes and no in all the right places. Eventually the clock chimed nine and it was time for bed.
Mum said, “Now make sure you get your new uniform out ready for tomorrow.”
I nodded, said goodnight and left. As instructed, I removed my new school skirt from the wardrobe, along with a blouse and the regulation girls tie and hung them on my door ready for the morning. As I lay in bed I wondered if my new uniform would be any better than the old one. “At least it's mine and not a hand-me-down.” I figured. Before long I dropped off to sleep.
Next morning I woke up long before my alarm woke me. The first thing I saw when I turned on the light was my uniform waiting for me. I slipped out of my nightie and pulled on a clean pair of white knickers and a matching bra. I looked at myself in the mirror for a moment before pulling on the blouse, followed by the grey pleated skirt. It was a lot shorter than the old dress was, I noticed. I sat on the edge of my bed, removed a brand new pair of tights from their box and carefully worked them up my legs. Again I checked my reflection, before tucking the blouse into the skirt and making sure everything was straight and presentable. I struggled with the tie the first couple of times I tried to tie it. It was more of a ribbon than a tie in essence. I knew it was to be tied in a double bow but I was all fingers and thumbs! Eventually it looked OK, quite smart actually, I thought.
I selected a silver metal head band and as I did so, I noticed that Cheryl had left the mascara and lips gloss on my dresser. I was tempted to wear a little, but then I recalled mums words after Cheryl and I got dressed up on Saturday... “Maybe after school?” I thought.
I slipped on my ballet pumps, had one last look at my new uniform in the mirror and made my way downstairs. Mum was already in the kitchen when I entered. “Hi Mum.” I said.
“Good morning dear.” She replied, “Oh that looks much better!”
I half smiled a thank you.
“Don't you think?” She asked.
“Erm... Yes of course.” I replied honestly, “I'm so glad I don't have to wear that old school dress any more!” I added.
“Hmm..” Replied mum hesitantly, “Well, I still expect you to wear it when you do your chores on the weekend.”
“Oh mum... must I?” I moaned, hoping I'd seen the last of them.
“Rules are rules Peter.” She reminded.
After breakfast I entered the study and began refreshing myself with where my studies were up to. I noticed how nice my tights felt next to my legs. They also made me feel less exposed. The new skirt was quite short, acceptable I suppose, but had I been wearing socks I'd have been worried about my knickers showing as I sat, bent or reached for something. However wearing thick black tights felt almost like wearing pants... well, more so than just knickers and a skirt anyway.
“Good morning Peter.” Mrs. Barnes said as she entered the study at 8.50. “Did you have a nice weekend?” She asked.
“Yes thanks.” I replied.
“Jolly good.” She replied, before giving me a 2nd glance. “Not in uniform today?” She asked with a hint of authority.
“Oh er..... Mum got me a new one.” I stammered, before standing up so she could see I was in fact wearing a uniform.
“Oh yes... I see.” She replied, before nodding an instruction for me to sit.
Obediently I sat, smoothing my skirt under me as I did so. Apart from the first time I met Mrs. Barnes, she's never made any reference to my uniform, or the fact that I'm a boy forced to dress as a girl. I respected her for that, however today I was a little disappointed that she failed to offer an opinion on my new uniform. I prefer it, Mum certainly does, but Mrs. Barnes? No idea!
The day plodded on as normal. Mrs. Barnes conducted each lesson with her usual emotionless efficiency and I dutifully tried my hardest. When lunch time arrived, Mrs. Barnes said with some concern, “Now then Peter... I can see some things have changed a little over the weekend....”
I looked at my knees, knowing what she meant.
“...For the better.” She added, empathising with my shyness. “It's nice to see a young... er... person making an effort with their appearance...”
I glanced up at her. At last, a complement! I thought.
“However, I'm not sure that bright blue nail varnish is fit for the class room...”
I spread my hand and looked at my nails. “Oh, er... sorry.” I replied.
“That's OK. You can clean it off in a moment.” She said. “And for future reference, if you wish to wear nail varnish then either clear or pale pink is acceptable. Do you understand?” She asked. “Oh, and no dangley earrings either.” She added
“Yes Miss.” I coyly answered.
“Good. Now run along.” She instructed.
I did as told and removed the nail varnish, before making a light lunch. Mum and Mrs. Barnes spent the hour chatting in the study as usual, whilst I sat at the kitchen table and ate lunch.
They both stopped talking as I entered the study. They we're obviously talking about me. I looked at them both in turn hoping they'd say something, as although brief, this silence was uncomfortable.
Mum broke the ice. “I was just telling Mrs. Barnes about your brief encounter with Tina yesterday.”
I blushed. Mrs. Barnes smiled. Mum continued, “And Cheryl was adamant that Tina honestly thought you were a girl.”
I wondered where this was going. Mrs Barnes added, “And I was saying to your mother about the possibility of doing some field studies, to museums and galleries...” she paused. “It would be beneficial to your final marks you know.”
On one hand I liked the idea of getting out of the house. Cabin fever was setting in somewhat. However, on the other hand, what would I wear, or more to the fact, what would I be allowed to wear?
“Yes it would be very beneficial.” Added mum.
I had to ask. “But er... What would I wear?”
“Well I think on such an occasion your own clothes would be fine.” Mrs. Barnes replied.
“What? My clothes?” My face lit up. “My own clothes?” I stressed.
Mum screwed her face as if to say 'I'm not so sure'. She obviously saw my expression change. “Well, I have made a rule regarding what you can and can't wear, however, under the circumstances I think trousers will be OK... only if you go out on a field study day.”
“Excellent!” I replied.
“Well that's sorted.” Said Mrs. Barnes, before promptly getting on with my next lesson.
Mum gave me a loving smile as she left us alone.
“Where are we going to go?” I asked, intrigued.
“Well I'm not sure, but it won't be for a few weeks yet.” She replied.
“Ages away.” I thought, somewhat disappointed.
The rest of the week went relatively quickly. On the up side, Mum allowed me to change out of my school uniform after supper as a rule. On the down side, my laundry pile by Friday was getting quite large as I'd worn 5 extra sets of clothes!
Also, the postman arrived late Friday morning with a small parcel which Mum signed for. Of all the things I was expected to do around the house, thankfully answering the door wasn't one of them. She entered the study and placed the parcel on my desk. “I expect this is from Cheryl.” She said before leaving.
I glanced up from my work and blushed as I read the address label. It was from Cheryl. Who else would write Rebecca instead of Peter?! I patiently waited until lunch time before opening the package. As expected it was a small selection of earrings for me, which I looked forward to trying.
Strangely, mum asked to take my measurements at lunch. Obediently I let her measure my chest, inside leg, waist and hips. The fact that she also measured around my padded bra as well as my chest didn't go unnoticed either, however I chose not to question her motives.
She left in the car mid afternoon and returned a good hour after Mrs. Barnes had left. On her return she entered the study and placed a couple of carrier bags on the floor by my desk.
“What's that?” I asked, intrigued.
“It's a pair of smart trousers and a jacket, some new smart shoes and a blouse for when you go on your field trips.” she replied.
My face lit up as she said 'trousers' but dropped as soon as I heard 'blouse'. “Oh, er... thanks.” I replied. “Can I see?” I asked.
“Yes of course.” She replied.
I opened one of the carrier bags and removed a pair of black trousers. I instinctively held them at my waist to check the length, and noticing they were a few inches too long I said. “I think they'll need taking up a bit Mum.”
“Oh I shouldn't think so.” She replied in her usual matter of fact tone. “This is the matching jacket.” She added, showing me a smart black jacket which was obviously cut for a girl.
I folded the trousers neatly and placed them over the back of my chair. Next I removed a shoe box. On opening it I realised why my new trousers wouldn't need taking up. The shoes mum had bought me were in fact boots. Ankle boots with laces all the way up the front and a chunky 3 inch heel. They looked old fashioned... Victorian maybe. I dreaded the idea of doing up all those laces. That is until I noticed the additional zip fasteners. Well thank the lord for small mercies!
I placed the boots back in their box as Mum removed the blouse for me to see. It was white and plain. No sign of lace or frills which was a definite bonus! “Nice.” I said.
“Good, I'm glad you like it.” Mum smiled. “I figured you'd need some shape wear too as this suit is fitted.”
“Shape wear?” I quizzed, this term was new to me.
“Yes dear.” Mum replied as she removed a girdle from the carrier bag.
“I'll never get in to that!” I exclaimed. “It's tiny!”
“Nonsense!” Replied Mum, “It's your size and it will give you a nicer shape.”
I took it from her and held it against myself. I looked long enough but seemed very narrow. “It's like a swimming costume!”
“Almost yes.” Mum replied. “But it has poppers here...” She explained, showing me the poppers in its gusset.
I folded it and placed it back in the carrier bag. Somewhat overwhelmed with my new outfit, and equally disappointed I'd not be wearing boy's clothes for my field trips I said thank you. I knew it all must have cost a fair bit.
“You're welcome dear.” Mum replied. “I'm sure you'll look very smart in it.” She smiled. “Now make sure you hang it all nicely in your...”
“I know Mum.” I interrupted. “I'll look after it.” I smiled, before taking my new outfit to my room and hung it neatly on a vacant hanger.
After supper I changed out of my uniform and hung it neatly in my wardrobe. As usual I wasn't sure what to wear, so I closed my eyes and blindly fumbled across the hangers. Stopping at random I grabbed the hanger tightly and removed it, before opening my eyes. A denim pinafore dress. Pretty bland really. I coupled it with a blue checked blouse which I'd also never worn either. It was only when I fastened up the cuffs I noticed the ruffled fabric decorating their edges. The collar was of a similar style. “God is there nothing that doesn't have some sort of frill!” I thought. The dress had big buttons up one side, from waist to under arm, which I'd never encountered before. It was knee length with wide-ish shoulder straps, these also had a big button which attached them to the bib. It also had pockets, a feature I'd noticed was scarce on many of Cheryl's clothes.
I did consider changing into something else when I looked at my reflection, but I do have a rule of 'wear what you grab', so on it stayed. I brushed my hair into a centre parting before holding it off my face with a head band. The thick black tights didn't look right so off they went. Although I like they way tights feel, especially on recently shaved legs, it was always a relief to get out of them.
I slipped my feet back into my ballet pumps and returned to the sitting room. As usual mum looked me up and down. “You seem to be making some nice choices.” She smiled. “Cheryl never wore that either.” she went on. “She thought it was too plain.”
I looked down at my attire. “It is too plain.” I replied, somewhat dryly expressing my disapproval of tonight's choice.
“Well why wear it then?” Mum asked. “If you don't like it?”
I'm not sure she believed me when I told her that I'd just shut my eyes and grabbed something. “No... really I do... that's what I do every night.” I explained. “And I tell myself, no matter what I choose, I have to wear it.”
“And do you?.. erm.... always wear the first thing you choose that way?” Mum stammered. I beckoned to my outfit and nodded. “Well I suppose you're stubborn enough too do so.” She dryly added. “Still... you do seem to always choose something nice.” She added with a tad more cheer.
“Well that's because Cheryl has plenty of nice clothes isn't it?” I meant to add sarcasm to that statement, but it came out with sincerity instead! 'God' I thought, 'She's going to think I'm starting to enjoy this!'
“Oh!” Chirped mum. “What was in the parcel.... Rebecca?” She added with a smile.
I blushed. Being called Rebecca was alien to me “Oh I'd forgotten about that!” I claimed as I leapt up to retrieve it from my desk. “Cheryl sent me some earrings to wear.” I said as I returned.
“Are they nice?” Mum asked.
I perused the several pairs of earrings before passing them to Mum.
“Oh I like these ones.” She said, holding up a small metal flower shaped stud for me to see. “I think these are a bit too old for you though.” She added holding a pair of long dangley ones.
“I am 15!” I claimed.
Mum did a double take at my protest, before looking me up and down. “Of course.” She replied.
I looked myself up and down. I knew what mum meant. Maybe I should stop just shutting my eyes and blindly choosing something to wear. It's only a matter of time before I end up wearing Grannies favourite dress again! Mum passed me the earrings back. “Thank you.” I said as I took them.
Before long Mum did her usual glance at the clock, sighed and then glanced at me. As she did so the clock chimed and it was time for me to change into my night clothes. On my return Mum proceeded to list my chores to me, a procedure there was no need for as they were fully detailed on the kitchen notice board.
The next morning I awoke long before my alarm went off. After washing I reluctantly buttoned myself into my old school dress. “I'm so glad I don't have to wear this thing everyday” I though as I made my way to the kitchen to begin my chores.
Several hours later, I was cleaning my bedroom (last as usual), when Mum entered. “Do you want to try on your new suit?” She asked rhetorically as she opened my wardrobe and removed it. “Best to ensure it fits properly.”
“Oh... er, OK.” I replied, packing up the hoover.
Mum placed the jacket and trousers on my bed along side my blouse. “You'll need the girdle too.” She said as she removed my new boots from the box. “And you might feel better wearing tights too.” she added.
“Under trousers?” I quizzed.
“Yes... but thin ones I think.”
I did as I was told and selected a pair of thin black tights from my underwear drawer. Mum left me alone as I squeezed myself into the girdle. “God I can hardly breathe in this.” I said to myself as I carefully pulled the tights up my hairless legs, followed by the trousers and blouse. The trousers were way too long until I fastened myself into the high heeled Victorian boots. I looked at my reflection in the mirror. The trousers fell perfectly to the floor once I had the boots on and flared nicely over them. The blouse was short and fitted so I chose not to tuck it in. For the first time in weeks I was wearing trousers again! However I didn't look any less feminine as the trousers were obviously women's trousers, being fitted on my upper leg and flaring out towards the bottom, where my boots were just visible. The jacket was short and fitted too and accentuated the feminine shape the girdle gave me. That coupled with my pierced ears, shaped eyebrows and longish hair, I still looked like a girl in spite of the fact I had trousers on. I went down to the kitchen so Mum could see me.
“It's perfect.” Mum said, “You look great!”
“I'm not sure I could go outside in this though?” I added.
“Why ever not?” Mum asked.
“Because I look like a girl Mum!”
“Well that's good Peter, you look very smart.”
“But outside!?!?” I pleaded. “Visiting museums and galleries!?!?” I tried to explain. “Why can't I just wear my own... er... boy clothes?”
Mum gave me a knowing look before explaining. “Well... since you let Cheryl shape your eyebrows and pierce your ears you look more like a girl than a boy... regardless of the gender of your clothing”
I blushed before looking at my reflection again in the hallway mirror and tried to imagine myself in my old jeans, trainers and hoody. Mum was right. “I suppose.” I conceded, having one last look at myself.
After a moments silence Mum said I should change as not to ruin my smart new clothes. I returned to my bedroom and changed into something more casual. A short denim skirt and a skinny t-shirt. I decided to keep the girdle on as I knew it'd take some getting used to. On observing my reflection I realised just how much the girdle altered my shape, giving me a much more feminine appearance.
On my return Mum noticed I still had the girdle on and made a comment. I explained that I needed to get used to wearing it and Mum agreed.
The rest of the weekend and the following week plodded along in its normal way. The only notable exception was when Mrs. Barnes announced that my first field trip would be the following Thursday, and we'd be visiting a stately home which is also a working museum. I was excited to be finally getting out of the house, but reluctant that I'd be going dressed as a girl, regardless of the fact Mum was letting me wear trousers for the occasion.
I did however have fun wearing the variety of earrings Cheryl had sent me and learning how different styles worked better or worse with a variety of clothes. I also began paying more attention to my sisters fashion books... trying to learn more about how women 'accessorise'. Mum noticed that I was trying out new looks and kindly gave me a small selection of necklaces, bracelets and rings to play with, along with some more make up.
I asked if it would be OK for me to wear make up on my field trip and Mum said, “Well you are 15 after all, so yes, a little make up will be fine.” I spent every night that week wearing a bit of make up and Mum gave her critique as to how I'd applied it, frequently stating that “less is more!” Especially for a girl my age!!
As I laid in my bed on Wednesday night I eagerly anticipated the following day. My first time out of the house in months! My smart trouser suit was hanging out ready and I'd decided to wear just a little eye liner and mascara and some clear lip gloss.
I woke, bathed, shaved my legs and armpits, squeezed myself into my girdle, pulled on a pair of thin black tights and applied a touch of make up before dressing in my smart black trousers and white blouse. I accessorised with a pair of flower shaped studs and a love heart necklace before pulling on the jacket. The girdle, like my bras was padded so it gave me a small bosom. When I entered the kitchen mum said I looked really nice. “Are you looking forward to your field trip?” she asked.
“Hell yes!” I replied. “I cant remember that last time I went outside!!” I added.
“I can!” Replied Mum. “You were climbing out of the sitting room window in that horrible hoody you used to always wear.”
All of a sudden that day came flooding back to me! That was the last time I'd been been allowed to wear my own clothes!! I'd gotten so used to wearing Cheryl's skirts and dresses since then my old clothes seemed bland in comparison.
“Now, you must remember Peter,” Mum said in her matter of fact tone, “...that today you're going to have to be called Rebecca!”
My face dropped as Mum explained this one simple fact.
“Unless you'd prefer a different name... erm... girls name that is.”
“Er... no... er...” I stammered, “Rebecca is fine... or Becky.” I admitted. “Cheryl did choose it for me after all.” I paused, “Does Mrs. Barnes know my girl name?” I asked.
“No.” mum replied. “I didn't want to presume you were altogether happy being called Rebecca... or Becky, as you seem to prefer.” She paused again as I stood there dumbstruck. “I'll leave it to you to tell her if you'd like?”
I'd forgotten all about 'Rebecca', but Mum was right. I could hardly be called Peter any more! “Does my hair look OK?” I asked. “None of the hair bands seemed to go with my outfit.” I added.
Mum stood up and shifted my usual centre parting over to one side slightly, before routing in her hand bag and finding a clip to hold it in place. “That's better.” She said, before a look of minor panic swept her face and she rushed upstairs.
“What?” I asked as she left.
A moment later she returned with a small black leather hand bag. “You'll need this!” She said, breathless. “I almost forgot!”
“Why?” I asked as she forced the bag into my hands.
“All ladies need a hand bag!” She stated. “And you'll need a hair brush, your make up, a vanity mirror, a purse! Oh God! A purse for your money!” Mum hurtled upstairs again and returned a moment later with a small black purse, into which she placed a £20 pound note and a few coins before passing it to me and telling me to get my make up.
I'd not seen Mum so flustered for ages. I did as instructed and trotted up the stairs in my heels and placed my lip gloss, mascara, eye liner and a hair brush into the hand bag.
“Have you got everything you need?” Mum asked, flustered, as I returned.
“Yes I think so.”
“Good.” She replied.
“Stop panicking Mum!” I said, “I'll be fine!”
“Are you sure dear?” She asked.
“Yes!” I replied. “I have been outside before... and Mrs. Barnes will be with me.”
Mum spent a moment gathering her thoughts. “I'm sorry love... these last few weeks have been er... hard for both of us and today is... well... significant to say the least.”
I gave her a huge hug. “I'll be fine.” I reassured once again.
“Are you sure you're sure?”
“Yes!” I stated. “And before you ask... I'll use the ladies if need be and I will sit down!”
Mum laughed. “You're one step ahead of me!... I meant to mention that.”
“No need.” I replied. “I know I'm not a girl but I do have half an idea what girls do .”
“I know Peter... er.... Rebecca.” She smiled.
“Becky.” She smiled.
“I love you Mum.”
Mum said nothing but hugged me tightly. As we held each other, the door bell rang. I (for a change) answered the door as knew it would be my tutor. “Hello Mrs. Barnes.” I said as I opened the door.
“Hello Peter.” She replied as she stepped inside.
Mum and Mrs. Barnes said their hello's before they both eyed me up and down. “Doesn't he look nice!” Said Mum, breaking the silence.
“Yes you look very smart Peter.” Replied Mrs. Barnes. “Although I have a feeling you'd rather not be called Peter today?” She added calmly.
“Oh er... yes...” I nervously replied. “...er.... Rebecca.” I blurted, blushing.
“Oh that's a pretty name.” She commented with a smile.
“I think he prefers Becky.” Mum suggested.
“I think I'll stick to Rebecca.” Mrs. Barnes stated. “I've never been a fan if shortening names.”
Mum and Mrs. Barnes chatted over a cup of tea as I nervously waited for our departure. I kept sweeping my hair away from my eyes as it was getting quite long and I'm more used to wearing a hair band. I returned to my bedroom to get one, but placed it in my hand bag as I did kind of like having it down for a change, “Best to have everything.” I thought to myself. I noticed my small selection of nail varnish on my dresser and quickly applied a layer of pale pink, as I knew Mrs. Barnes would approve of that.
“Are you ready Rebecca?” Mrs. Barnes shouted.
I appeared at the top of the stairs, blowing my nails to speed up their drying. “Almost.” I replied as I carefully walked down the stairs in my high heeled boots and trouser suit, admiring my nails.
“She looks ever so grown up.” Mrs. Barnes commented as I joined them in the hallway.
“A proper young lady.” Mum added with a smile. “Here...” She said, passing me her digital camera, “...I'm sure having a photographic record will be beneficial to your studies.”
“Thanks Mum.” I grinned as I took it from her and placed it in my hand bag.
“Now make sure you look after it.”
Mrs. Barnes made small talk on the way to the working museum. The weather was overcast but that didn't bother me. I was out of the house and enjoying the drive. I thought about when Mrs. Barnes referred to me as 'she' before we left. Being referred to as 'he' didn't seem right and being called a 'she' at least matched my appearance. I also though about mum saying 'a proper young lady'. She sounded almost proud of me. I anticipated being called Rebecca all day long. This is going to be weird, I thought, but not as weird as it would be being called Peter all day!
“Here we are Rebecca.” Said Mrs Barnes after about half an hour. She turned into the drive which led to a sizeable stately home.
“Wow!” I said as we approached it. “That's huge!”
“It certainly is.” Mrs. Barnes replied. “...and it's largely residential too.” She added.
“You mean people still live here?”
“Yes. Only a small portion is set aside as the working museum.”
“Blimey.... imagine hoovering all that!”
Mrs. Barnes chuckled as she pulled into a vacant parking space. The entrance led into a sizeable courtyard which had a working smithy and kitchen garden. We watched a demonstration of a horse shoe being made, followed by a huge shire horse being shod. I took several photo's with mum's camera and Mrs. Barnes took several photo's of me stood by a variety of of old carts and other exhibits.
Next was the Victorian kitchen. A group of visitors listened as the tour guide, who was in full Victorian dress, explained the workings of a Victorian kitchen and how it differed greatly from modern kitchens. She also explained how the hierarchy of the maids worked; from the housekeeper at the top, the lady's maid, the cook, the parlour maid down to the kitchen maid and scullery maids. As she talked, a lady in traditional Victorian dress worked the kitchen.
“Now, as you can see....” Said the tour guide. “The cook is working very hard and could do with some help... so I need three girls to volunteer and get 1st hand experience of life in a Victorian kitchen.” She looked expectantly at the visitors and picked out two girls from the school group. “Now we need one more girl... a little older maybe?” She looked directly at me as she spoke. I froze!
“Well go on Rebecca.” Encouraged Mrs Barnes. “Give me your hand bag and I'll take some photos.”
Nervously I stood alongside two other girls who had been chosen to get first hand experience of life in a Victorian kitchen. Mrs. Barnes smiled at me reassuringly as I glanced across the faces of the other visitors.
“Well... now we have our brave volunteers.” Smiled the tour guide, “But can anybody tell me what's wrong with them?” She said directly to the younger children in the school group. “Anybody?” She prompted.
One little girl put her hand up and said, “Their clothes.”
“Well done!” Said the tour guide, “Their clothes are far too modern to work in a Victorian kitchen, so I'll take our three volunteers to get changed into something more appropriate whilst the cook tells you all about the kitchen.” Some of the children giggled as their two friends, and me were herded into another room. I felt the look of horror sweep across my face. Mrs. Barnes smiled an encouraging smile.
In the next room was a variety of Victorian dresses and undergarments. The guide asked us our names and I squeaked my response, fearful I'd be found out as a boy. “Well, I think Claire and Joanna should be our scullery maids, who'll do all the washing up, and you Rebecca can be our kitchen maid, who helps with the cooking, keeping the fires stoked and ensuring there is a constant supply of hot water available.”
An outfit was selected for Claire by another lady, called Rita, who took her to a side room to change. A few minutes later Claire returned dressed in a grey Victorian dress, white pinafore and a little white hat. Joanna giggled, Claire blushed... I just panicked on the inside. Joanna was next and returned a moment later dressed identical to Claire.
Now it was my turn. A costume was chosen for me and I was taken to the next room where Rita asked me to remove my outer clothes. Nervously I removed my jacket and passed it to Rita who placed it on a hanger. Next I removed my boots and trousers.
“Oh those Boots are perfect for the period!” Rita exclaimed. “Now if you remove your blouse, turn around and hold onto this bar...” She explained.
I shyly turned away from her, removed my blouse and held onto the bar above my head, wearing only my girdle and tights.
“...now I'll not fasten it too tight.” Rita said as she wrapped a corset around my waist, and explained that all girls my age wore one in Victorian times.
“It's very tight!” I said as she pulled the laces.
“Nonsense!” She replied, “Girls used to have their waists reduced by around 4 inches... often more... I've taken about 1 inch off yours.” She explained.
Before long I had numerous underskirts and petticoats on beneath a heavy long grey dress, which was topped off with a full length white apron. I was unable to put my boots on due to the corset, so Rita helped me back into them. “These boots are perfect for your outfit Rebecca.... but much easier to get on.” She added as she fastened the zip for me.
“How did Victorian women dress themselves?” I asked, knowing that if I couldn't bend to put my boots on, neither could they.
Rita explained that they all helped each other as she plaited my hair tightly to my head, which was the traditional style for servants. Soon I rejoined the two other girls and we were herded back in to the kitchen. All three of us blushed as both the children and adults smiled and giggled at our Victorian maids outfits.
The cook immediately put us to work for what seemed like an hour, but Mrs. Barnes assured me later that it was no more than 10 minutes. The tour guide and the cook both thanked us for our hard work and told us to return at the end of the tour to change back into our own clothes.
“You look great Rebecca!” Mrs Barnes exclaimed. “And I love your hair like that!”
“I'm not sure I can spend another hour or two in this corset!” I said to Mrs. Barnes as we were led out of the kitchen into the next section of the museum.
“Don't worry dear. You'll get used to it I expect.” She said, “Plus, it's all part of the Victorian experience.”
“I had no idea they wore this many clothes!” I replied. “for an 18 hour day too!”
“Yes, the working classes had it hard back then.” Mrs. Barnes explained. I nodded in agreement.
The guide said, “Now can our Victorian girls be careful not to trip on their skirts on the stairs.” as the tour led us through numerous rooms and up and down several sets of stairs to the various galleries. I held my skirts up as advised and a few of the visitors commented on how many underskirts I wore. This prompted some interest from one of the teachers, who began grilling me on how it felt. A small group of pupils listened as I parroted what Rita had told me about Victorian girls wearing corsets which narrowed their waist, straightened their back and made it hard for them to breathe properly, in spite of having a long hard working day from 6am until 11pm. Layer by layer the teacher showed her class the many underskirts and petticoats I wore beneath my outer garments. I wanted to die but played along. I kept glancing at Mrs. Barnes who took the occasional photo and smiled reassuringly at me.
Mrs. Barnes and I called in at the on site café for a bite to eat before visiting the gift shop. I bought a guide book with the money Mum had given me and a few post cards. Mrs. Barnes commented on how comfortable I looked, baring in mind my Victorian dress. To be honest it felt OK, it was just another dress as far as I was concerned and they all feel a little alien to a 15 year old boy.
After lunch we rejoined the tour, me still in my kitchen maids uniform and Claire and Joanna both in their scullery maids uniforms. All three of us were the centre of attention and the subject of many snap shots. I didn't mind too much, after all, it was just nice to be in different surroundings for a change.
Before long the tour was over and myself, Claire and Joanna were taken back to the Victorian Kitchen to change back into our own clothes. The two girls changed first and left with their teacher, who thanked me for helping her tell the class about how Victorian ladies dressed. We said our goodbyes before Rita took me to change.
“How does the corset feel?” She asked as I removed my layers of undergarments.
“To be honest under all this I'd forgotten I had it on!” I replied. “Well, not forgotten but got used to it.” I added more honestly.
“Yes, Sandra, your tour guide said you looked very comfortable wearing the costume throughout the tour, and judging by what that teacher said you'd make a good guide yourself.”
“Oh er...” I stammered, “I'm still at school.”
“Well of course, but we do have weekend jobs.” Rita replied. “How old are you?” She asked.
“15” I replied.
“Really?” She asked. “I though you'd be a bit younger! Still, as long as you're over 14 it shouldn't be a problem.” She explained. “Is your school local?”
“Er... well, I have a tutor who teaches me at home. Mrs. Barnes who I came with.”
“Oh I see.” Rita replied. “Well, if you ever want a weekend job you should apply, we need all the help we can get on the weekends”
We chatted as I changed back into my trouser suit. I say chatted, more Rita explaining to me what it's like to work in a working museum, which isn't really work, it's more of an acting role and explaining how things used to be done to groups of children mainly. “You three did more work in ten minutes than the cook has ever done!” She admitted, “It's just our way of giving children an idea of how easy life is these days in comparison to the olden days.”
Once I was back in my own clothes, Rita escorted me out to the kitchen where Mrs. Barnes was waiting for me. “I've been trying to convince her to take a part time job here!”
“Really?” Said Mrs. Barnes, glancing from me to Rita.
“Yes.” Replied Rita. “We need all the help we can get and Rebecca was not only comfortable wearing a traditional Victorian maids uniform, but communicated extremely well with both the children and the teachers I understand.”
Mrs. Barnes gave me complementary smile. “Yes I noticed.” She agreed. “And I'm sure you'd like to get out of the house a bit more often.” She added, turning to me.
“Oh yes.” Replied Rita, “Rebecca mentioned she was being taught at home.”
Mrs. Barnes and Rita chatted for a few moments as I took a few photos of the kitchen now it was free of visitors. Before long, we said our goodbyes and headed back home.
“Rita seemed quite keen on you.” Said Mrs. Barnes. “Would you like a part time job?”
“Er...” I stammered, “It's not as simple as that.”
“Why ever not?” She asked.
“Well.... for a start I'm grounded until next summer...” I replied, “...and I'm sure Rita would change her mind once she found out my real name is Peter and not Rebecca.”
Mrs. Barnes thought for a moment. I knew she understood my point. “Well, with regards to you being grounded, I'm sure you mother would be flexible seeing as this is a good opportunity... learning and earning.”
I agreed with a silent nod. But that doesn't alter that fact that I'm a boy.
“Well, Rita did give me some information so I'll mention it to your mother.” She said. “I'm sure we can work around the other stuff.” She added.
As we drove home I wondered what it would be like to actually work at the museum. It would be good to get out of the house more often, but then again.... having to wear all those undergarments and a corset every Sunday was far from ideal. Still, all in all the day was most enjoyable and as far as I can tell, not a soul guessed my real gender.
Eventually we pulled into our driveway and entered the house. “Did you have a good time?” Mum asked as we entered the study.
“Yes thanks.” I replied as I routed in my hand bag for Mums camera. “We got plenty of photos.”
“Rebecca even ended up wearing a traditional Victorian kitchen maids costume!” Mrs. Barnes gushed. “And she looked excellent!”
“Really?” Mum replied, obviously surprised. “Did you get a photo?”
“Oh yes plenty.” Mrs. Barnes replied. “She and two younger girls donned the traditional dress and helped the cook in the kitchen. And Rebecca also explained to a group of school children and their teacher what it was like to wear a Victorian dress and all the layers of undergarments!”
“And a corset!” I added.
“A corset?” Mum asked.
“Yes, three of us were chosen to help the cook, which involved wearing the full traditional dress. Then later a teacher asked me about the costume and her entire class gravitated towards me as I explained what Rita had told me about Victorian clothing.”
“He was an absolute charm!” Gushed Mrs. Barnes. “So much so, Rita wanted her to work there on the weekends!”
Mum looked puzzled. “Who's Rita?”
“Oh er... Rita is the lady who helped me change into the Victorian clothes, then later, she said I'd be make a good tour guide.” I explained, “I said I was still at school and she suggested that I should get a weekend job helping out with the tours.”
“I see...” Mum added hesitantly. “And would this weekend job be as Rebecca or Peter?”
We all fell silent for a moment until I said. “Well, Rebecca I guess.... which is where the problem lies.”
“Quite.” Mum retorted dryly.
“I say Peter, would you make your Mother and I a pot of tea please?” Mrs. Barnes asked.
“Of course.” I replied, leaving mum and Mrs Barnes alone.
I returned a few moments later with a tea tray and placed it on the desk between Mother and Mrs Barnes. “Would you like me to pour it?” I politely asked.
“No thank you.” Mum replied. “But you can change out of your smart suit please.”
I did as asked and changed out of my trouser suit. It was barely 3 o'clock so I changed into my school uniform, held my hair off my face with a hair band and returned to the study.
“Your photos are brilliant Peter.” Mum said as she passed me the camera.
“Mrs Barnes took some of them.” I said as I took it from her and connected it to my PC.
Mum and Mrs. Barnes gathered around me as I copied them from the camera to my PC so they could see the photos on a larger screen. I blushed as I saw myself in the Victorian dress with my hair plaited tightly to my head, stood next to the two younger girls dressed as scullery maids and the cook. Mrs. Barnes told me to write an essay about the visit and to include some of the photos.
I did as I was told and Mum and Mrs Barnes retreated to the kitchen so I could work in peace.
About an hour had passed when Mrs Barnes came to see how I was getting on with my essay. She picked up a few spelling and grammatical errors but over all she was pleased with it, although it wasn't finished. I'd put a few photos in of the smithy, the kitchen garden and of course the cook with her three helpers. I also included a paragraph explaining the Victorian dresses and their numerous layers of undergarments including the uncomfortable and constricting corset.
“You didn't appear to be either uncomfortable or constricted in your corset Rebecca.” She mentioned after reading my account.
I explained that my waist had only been taken in about an inch and that in reality, the Victorian girls would be taken in a good 4 inches, often more. “So mine was quite comfortable and it didn't really reflect what is was like to wear one far tighter, for an entire 18 hour day of hard work.”
Mrs. Barnes smiled. “Well I think you've been very brave today Rebecca and the experience you've had has been invaluable.” She also mentioned that she and mother had discussed the possibility of me working at the museum and that mother would give it some consideration. With that, she packed her things and said she'd see me in the morning. I thanked her for the trip and said goodbye, before tuning my attention back to my essay.
The clock chimed 6pm and my school day was over. I joined Mum in the kitchen and asked if she'd like some help with supper. “No thank you dear.” She replied. “Here, I've made you a cup of tea.” She added, placing it on the table and beckoning me to sit.
She made light chit chat about my field trip and how my essay was coming along before adopting a much more serious tone. “Now Peter... about this idea of working at the museum on the weekends.”
“Well, it was something that Rita... the lady who helped me into the Victorian dress mentioned...” I replied, “...but I don't think she realised that I was really a boy... so I doubt anything will come of it.”
“Yes this true.” Mum agreed, “However, it would be a good opportunity for you and history is one of your favourite subjects Mrs Barnes tells me.”
I nodded in agreement, I do enjoy history.... and getting out of the house once a week would be a blessing!
Mum continued, “Now, I have Rita's contact details so I guess having a chat with her won't do any harm...”
My face lit up.
“But seeing as you have such a busy study schedule, as well as your Saturday chores means that Sunday is the only day you have to yourself.” She explained. “Are you sure you want to give that day up too?” She asked.
I thought for a moment before replying. “Well, I've been cooped up in here for so long.... which is all my own fault....” I added as I didn't want Mum to think I was blaming her, “...so the idea of getting out once a week is quite attractive.”
“Yes I'm sure it is, but you realise you'd have to do it as Rebecca and not Peter.”
“And you don't mind?” She asked.
I shook my head. “No.”
“Well...” Mum sat back in her chair and pondered. “Like I said, having a chat with Rita won't do any harm but in the mean time, I want you to have good hard think about it.”
I nodded and thought for a moment before saying, “The way I see it is.... I've spent the last five weeks wearing only Cheryl's clothes which I know was intended to humiliate and belittle me into being good instead of a pain in the arse...”
Mum raised her eyebrows at my language, but continued listening.
“...which I know I was and I'm really sorry. I'm sorry I got expelled, I'm sorry you're paying a small fortune for Mrs. Barnes to educate me but after all.... I'm quite proud of myself for buckling down and taking my education more seriously.”
Mum nodded and smiled, “You should be proud of yourself Peter.” She agreed, “So far your behaviour and your studies have been exceptional.”
“And as far as having to wear only Cheryl's old clothes is concerned... well... at first I hated it...”
“Yes I know.” Mum interrupted.
“...but since Cheryl had a word with me about it I don't mind so much any more...”
“...So dressing and acting like a girl at home is exactly the same as dressing and acting like a girl at the museum.”
Mum nodded as she could obviously see my point.
“...and the money could help towards paying for Mrs. Barnes and the experience will help towards my studies.” I added as part of my final statement. “It's win win as far as I can tell.”
“Well you have put a lot of though into it haven't you.” Mum sounded impressed, “However, you haven't considered what would happen if your true gender was discovered.”
I though for a moment, “Well to be honest Mum I've been worried about people noticing I'm really a boy all day, but as far as I could tell... nobody did. Not the school kids, nor the teachers or other visitors, none of the staff noticed and baring in mind I undressed in front of Rita and she still didn't realise I was a boy, I think it should be OK.... as long as they don't need to see my birth certificate!” I smiled.
“Well you do seem to have thought of everything.” Mum replied. “But like I say, I'll have a think about it first, so don't get your hopes up.”
“Thanks Mum.” I smiled.
I finished my cup of tea and went to my bedroom to change out of my school uniform and into something nicer. I chose a short floral ra-ra skirt which was folded up in one of Cheryl's drawers along with a black top, opaque black tights and my favourite ballet pumps. My hair still had a few kinks in it from the plaits Rita had given me so I left it down for a change. I redid my lip gloss before joining mum in the kitchen.
“You look nice.” Mum said.
“Thanks.” I replied. “I found this skirt in one of Cheryl's drawers.” I said as I ran my hands over it numerous layers. “I quite like it.”
“I can tell.” Mum smiled as she served my supper. “There you are Becky.” She said as she placed my plate in front of me.
“Thanks Mum.” I replied.
Later that evening I overheard Mum on the phone in the study. I wasn't sure who she was talking to but I assumed it was Cheryl as I heard my name mentioned a couple of times... my girl name that is. A moment later Mum shouted me so I joined her in the study.
“She's here now love.” Mum said to the phone, before saying, “It's Cheryl.” To me.
“Hi Becky. I hear you've been out for the day.”
“Yeah it was great, Mrs. Barnes took me to a working Victorian museum...... (blah blah blah)” We chatted for about half an hour as I told Cheryl all the ins and outs of the day, including the corset, the school kids, Rita's suggestion the I work there on the weekends. “...and I don't think anybody realised I was really a boy!” I added.
“Well of course they didn't sis....” Cheryl replied. “...you're well cute!”