I guess I was in my 3rd year at senior school when I realised the advantages of truancy. You see, ever since I started senior school I'd been bullied and picked on by a couple of boys in my class, one in particular, but he'd influence some of the others to join his cause and make my life a misery. I figured if I wasn't there, they couldn't get me, so I began skipping the odd day here and there. Usually I'd skip the days which I shared classes with those I needed to avoid the most. First I'd take a day off every month or so. That soon became two or three days off every month. And by the time I was halfway through my 5th & final year, I was taking at least one day off each week.
Today, my year tutor had some serious words for me. She explained that due to my constant truancy, I was throwing away my most important school years, and with them my future. I knew she was over exaggerating the situation as I was fully aware that once I'd left school I'd be able to study my GCSE's at the local college without any hassle from the bullies. Yeah, it'd take me a couple more years to get them but at 15 years old, there's plenty of life ahead of me. I never explained my reasoning to my year tutor. I never used bullying as an excuse for my truancy. I just nicked off one day and turned up the next with little or no explanation. My year tutor informed me that a letter had been sent home to my mother, and that I was possibly facing a suspension or expulsion. Both sounded good to me.
I wasn't looking forward to going home though. Mum and I usually got on well, but Mum had no idea (until now) that I was truanting from school. I guess that nugget of information will change things somewhat.
“In here young man!” Mum hollered the second I entered. I did as I was asked and entered the study where my mum sat at her desk, holding what I assumed was the letter from the school. I hung my head as she blurted out the usual you're wasting your education & your exams are right around the corner. I stood silently as she went on, and on, and on, offering the odd 'I dunno' in response to her questions. The truth is, I was ashamed to admit that I couldn't stand up to the bullies, I was ashamed to admit that was being bullied in the first place. So no explanation from me seemed a better option than the real explanation. “We have a meeting with your year tutor on Friday morning where your future at Central Comprehensive will be discussed. I expect you to have a long hard think between now and then young man.”
The meeting with my year tutor and my mother didn't go well. I'd skipped school the previous day and as a result of this, my tutor explained to my mother that they had no option but to exclude me permanently. I was asked to wait outside whilst my mother and my tutor discussed my options for the remainder of my final academic year.
When mum left the office she had a face like thunder. I said nothing on the way home, trying to avoid her wrath for a long a time as possible. As we entered our home, Mum said “You young man, are grounded until further notice.” I tried to protest, but mum was having none of it. “Do you realise that the chances of another school taking you in with your record and at this time of year are virtually none!” I hung my head trying to look ashamed with myself, the reality is, this was great news, no more school, ever! “Which means I'm going to have to find a private tutor to teach you at home, which will cost me a small fortune!” I didn't try to push mum with any smart remarks, but I suppose I was pleased with the outcome, apart from being grounded that is. However, I knew I'd be able to sneak out and hang with my friends when mum wasn't around. What can she do? Put me under house arrest? I think not.
The next day, mum came into my room early and told me to get up. “From now on you will not lie in bed beyond 7.30am, including weekends. Do you hear?” She barked at me. I protested but got nowhere fast, before storming out of my room, down the stairs and out of the front door. It was early Saturday morning and therefore I had nothing to do, no one to meet up with and all the shops were still closed. I returned home around 8am.
“In here young man!” Shouted mum as I closed the front door. “I honestly do not know what to do with you!”
“Sorry.” I mumbled, as I entered her study.
“You've been thrown out of school, you're throwing your life away, you're disobeying me, and I'm the one who's expected to pay privately for your education or I'll be the one facing prosecution if you don't pull your socks up!”
“What!” I said, surprised “They can't prosecute you.”
“Oh yes they can young man.” She insisted. “You're under 16 and therefore I'm responsible for you.”
I slumped in the chair, head in my hands. Not knowing what to say or do. I didn't want Mum to get in to trouble because of my behaviour.
“Now, I've removed your hi-fi and all your cd's from your room.” Mum told me as I sulked on the chair. “If you want them back you'll have to earn them. Do you understand?”
“Good, now go to your room and stay there. I need to try to find an affordable private tutor so you can complete your course work and hopefully do half well in your exams!”
I got up from the chair and headed for the door.
“Why you can't be more like your sister I don't know, you'll never end up at university at this rate young man.”
I paused as she spoke, not wanting to piss her off any more than I had already. Mum always wanted us both to end up at uni. I guess it was a status thing, being able to tell her friends and clients all about how well her children are doing. My sister, Cheryl is 3 years older than me and studying criminal law & psychology at Bristol. I guess Mum always assumed I'd end up in higher education too.
Mum gave me a stern look over her glasses as if to ask why are you still here? I knew I'd better continue to my room, so I did.
We lived in a large Victorian terraced house near the centre of town. The lounge, kitchen & mum's study were on the ground floor, Mum's bedroom, the bathroom and my sister's old room were on the first floor, and my room was on the top floor, along with a spare room we used solely for storage. I entered my room and my heart sank as I noticed where my hi-fi and cd collection used to be. “At least my computer is still there.” I thought to myself as I slumped on my bed and flicked through a magazine.
A few hours passed before Mum shouted for me to come down stairs. I moped my way down stairs to find Mum in the hallway. “Right, I don't see why I should do all the cleaning around here so can you do the washing up and then hoover the ground floor? Tomorrow you can do the first floor.”
My sulk was never ending so I agreed with a grunt and did as asked. It was rare mum asked me to do any chores. Only when she was really pissed with us (my sister and I), would we have to help around the house. Mum had some errands to run so left me alone in the house. Once I'd finished my chores I headed back to my room, but for some reason I tried the front door as I passed. I was surprised to find it locked at the deadlock. “Bitch!” I thought, “She's locked me in!” I tried the back door and that was locked also, with the key removed. “Bitch.” I sulked up to my room, switched my pc on and spent a few hours surfing. But my thoughts were filled with the fact that mum had locked me in. I was furious.
Mum was gone longer than expected. I was bored with surfing the net, I'd read my magazine and didn't have any music to listen to since mum confiscated my hi-fi. “Sod it!” I thought, “I'm going out.” I put my trainers and hoodie on, went down to the sitting room, lifted the sash window and clambered out side. Just as I was pushing the window back down, Mums car rolled into the driveway and I was collared.
“Where do you think you're going?” Bellowed Mum as she hastily opened the car door.
“Err...” Was all I could muster, knowing I was in trouble. “But I finished my chores.” I added, hoping that would please her somewhat.
“I did not say you could go out when you'd finished them did I?” Mum stated. “You know full well you're grounded, and you know full well that means you are not allowed out of the house.”
I kicked at the ground, not knowing what to say. Mum was opening the boot and removing several bags of shopping. She gave me a hard stare. I knew what she wanted so I dutifully went and picked up the shopping bags before following Mum back into the house. “Do I really have to start nailing the windows shut?” Mum asked as I put the shopping bags on the table.
“No.” I replied.
“Well what do I have to do? Hmm?”
“I won't do it again.” I murmured.
“Well we'll just have to see about that won't we.” She said sternly, “Put the shopping away and then you can go to your room.”
I did as mum asked. She was definitely not happy with me, and the last thing I wanted was Mum giving me grief all the time. I got enough of that when I was at school. I returned to my room and surfed the net due to boredom more than anything. I ended up chatting to a couple of on line friends. Both agreed it was 'so unfair' when I told them I'd been grounded. Although I failed to tell them the whole story.
“And what do you think you're doing?” Asked Mum as she opened the door. The screen of my pc was in full view so I couldn't claim I was studying. I told Mum what I was doing. “Grounded means you cannot have any contact with your friends, and that includes chat rooms!”
“But Mum, I'll need to use my pc for studying.” I claimed, hoping she'd understand my logic and therefore allow my internet access.
“Well we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!” She replied, “But for the time being, no computer. Do you understand?”
Mum lectured me throughout the evening meal. Then told me to do the washing up before going back to my room. I couldn't believe how boring life was without music or internet access. We only had one TV which was in the lounge, so I reluctantly made my way down stairs and entered the sitting room. “Mu-um?” I moaned.
“Did I say you could come down?” She barked.
“No. I err... wonder if I could watch some TV?” I paused, “Please?
Mum glanced at the clock before saying. “Well, seeing as you asked nicely. Yes. But I want you in bed by nine.”
I began to protest. Since when did I go to bed at nine o'clock? But then thought better of it. “OK.” I said quietly. “Thanks.” I curled myself up on the armchair and watched whatever mum was watching. Holby or Casualty, one of the two. As the credits rolled up the screen Mum let out a very audible sigh, before picking up the remote and turning the TV off. I knew exactly what she was getting at and got up to go to my room.
“And I want you in bed. Do you understand?.”
“Yes.” I replied before moping back to my room. It took me ages to get to sleep so I decided to listen to some internet radio, seeing as Mum had taken my hi-fi. I guess I drifted off to sleep around 1am.
I woke suddenly to a loud knock and my door, followed by Mum loudly telling me to get up. “And I clearly told you NO COMPUTER!” She barked. I'd left it playing all night.
“Oh Mu-um. I was only listening to the radio to help me sleep, I always....”
“You just don't get it do you?” She shouted. “That's it young man. There's going to be some serious changes around here.” She added as she slammed the door and left me alone.
I sat up in bed and pulled my dressing gown on with a yawn. It was far too early to be dragged out of bed on a Sunday morning. I went for shower.
I exited the bathroom wearing my dressing gown and headed back up to my bedroom. I was surprised to find the door locked! Mum was halfway up the stairs when I was heading back downstairs. “Mum why is my room locked?”
“Because I told you 'no computer' and you used it, just like I told you you were grounded and I caught you climbing out of the window yesterday.” By this time she was right in front of me. I stood there petrified, knowing that now was not a good time to give her any back chat. “Your room is out of bounds and from now on you can use your sisters room.”
“But Mum.” I moaned, “I promise I won't go on my computer, please?”
“No.” She said sharply. “I've made my mind up. At least with you in your sister's room I can hear you from downstairs and I'll know you won't be playing on your computer.”
“But Mu-um, I need to get dressed!” I insisted, reminding her that I was only wearing my dressing gown.
Mum paused for a moment, I knew she hadn't though of that. “Well you'll just have to wear something of Cheryl's.” She said as she entered my sisters room. I followed. She opened the wardrobe to find something for me to wear “There you are.” She said, handing me my sister's old school dress, “It should fit”.
“Mum I can't wear that!” I protested. “It's...”
“It's to save me from nailing all the windows shut, that's what it is young man.”
“But please Mum. I promise.” I begged.
“I know you do.” She said with a smug grin. “And with you wearing this I'll be sure you'll keep that promise.”
“But mum... I'm a boy!” I insisted.
“All the better.” She opened a drawer next to my sisters bed, “You can wear these too.” She said, removing a pair of knickers and a vest. My eyes were almost popping out of my head, my vocal cords made a barely audible whimper as I realised what was happening. Mum continued, opening the next drawer down and removing a pair of white knee socks. “And these too. Now, I want you dressed and downstairs in ten minutes.”
“No buts! Dressed and downstairs in ten.” She insisted.
I stood shell shocked for a moment before stepping into the knickers, my eyes filled with tears as the humiliation sank in, I sniffled as I pulled them up to my waist. “And you can stop that sniffling young man, you've brought this on yourself!”
“Please mum?” I begged, tears flooding down my cheeks, “Don't do this to me.”
“Now you're acting like a girl.” She said sternly, showing no sympathy. “If you going to act like a girl you can dress like one from now on.” She insisted as she exited my room, slamming the door behind her.
I reluctantly removed my dressing gown and pulled the vest over my head. Like the knickers it had lace trim on every edge it had. I then removed the dress from the hanger. It was green & white gingham, with the school crest embroidered on the breast pocket, buttons all down the front and a matching belt at the waist.
“Five minutes.” Mum shouted from the ground floor.
I buttoned myself into the dress before pulling on the white knee socks. I checked my reflection in the mirror. I couldn't believe mum was making me wear this. I fastened up the belt before reluctantly heading downstairs for breakfast.
Mum was sipping her tea as I entered. “She barely looked up at me as she said. “After breakfast you can tidy up in here.”
I nodded but said nothing and sat at the table opposite her. I poured myself a cup of tea and buttered myself some toast. Once I'd finished I cleared up the table and washed the pots. I didn't know what to do next. My room was out of bounds. I had no reason to go to my sister's room so I went through to the lounge where my mum was now seated, reading the morning paper. “I've done the washing up.” I said shyly as I entered.
“Good.” She replied. “Could you put the bins out please?”
“Er.” I stammered, panicking at the thought of going outside wearing my sister's old school uniforms and her white knee socks.
“All you have to do is go out the back door, around the side of the house and put the bins out.” Mum stated, as if there wasn't a problem.
“But... I've no shoes... they're in my room.” I pointed out.
Mum paused for moment and thought about it. “Hmm....” ( I knew she knew I was right, I couldn't possibly take the bins out bare foot ) “Well.....” She said as she folded her newspaper and stood up, “We'll have to find some then won't we?” She said.
I followed mum back up the stairs to my sisters room. “I'm not wearing her shoes.” I insisted as soon as I realised I wasn't going to be wearing my own shoes.
Mum gave me one of her knowing looks before opening my sister's wardrobe, “You'll wear what you're told to wear young man.” Mum insisted.
Mum knelt down to route through the piles of shoes. I stood there silently waiting. Mum placed a pair of Cheryl's shoes on the floor. “Try these on.” She said. “I think they'll fit.”
I picked up the pair of plain black ballet pumps with a groan and slipped them onto my feet.
“Perfect.” Said Mum, “Now, Bins”
There was no way I was going outside wearing this lot, “NO!” I shouted defiantly.
“I beg your pardon!” Snapped Mum.
“I'm not going outside like this, you can't make me!”
“I'm getting sick and tired of your back chat young man.” Mum was really mad, but I was past caring how mum felt, I felt worse.
“So what are you going to do?” I shouted back.
“Well”, Mum thought for a moment, “I could start by inviting your friends over so they can see you in your school dress. And I'm sure they'd come over if I phoned them.”
“It's not 'my' school dress!” I insisted, “It's Cheryl's!”
“Well it's yours now.” Mum barked, “And I don't think your friends will be too bothered about who's dress it was, once they've seen you wearing it.” Mum was right, the humiliation would be too much to bear. This threat defeated me hands down. “Now, I don't want to ask you a third time. Put the bins out.”
I stamped out of the bedroom, thundered down the stairs and made as much noise as possible as I took the bin bags to the wheelie bin in the driveway. The wind whipped around my legs and up my dress as I re-entered the kitchen, slamming the back door behind me.
“You'll have the neighbours round if you continue making that much noise.” Shouted Mum from upstairs. “You know what they're like when they hear a commotion!”
I made less noise on my way back upstairs than I did on my way down. Our neighbours were very nosey and always claimed “we thought you were being burgled” or such like when they just wanted to be nosey. I entered my sister's room to find Mum emptying the wardrobe of all the clothes. “What are you doing that for?” I asked.
“Well you won't be needing any of them will you? Two school dresses and plenty of underwear is all you need.” She said in her ever so matter of fact tone. “Now I have some chore's for you to do. You can start by vacuuming the stairs and the landing. When you've finished you can report to me in my study. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” I sulked.
After finishing the vacuuming, Mum had me do the dusting in her study and the lounge, before having me scrub the kitchen floor, then I had to polish the banister on all 3 floors. By the time 5pm arrived I was knackered. I'd never done so much work in my life, let alone in one day. I stunk of sweat and looked forward to having a refreshing shower. I finally thought I'd finished when mum handed me a pile of vegetables she wanted washing and peeling ready for her to make supper. I did as asked without protest.
“Have you finished preparing the veg yet?” Mum asked as she entered the kitchen.
“Almost.” I replied as I rinsed the potatoes in a colander. “I need a shower.” I added, hinting that my chores for the day must be over by now.
“First you can hand wash your dress and hang it to dry.”
“Er...” I stammered. “Can't I just put it in the washer?” I asked, shocked at the thought of hand washing my clothes.
“No, you can hand wash it.”
“Can't I have a shower and change first?”
“No, take it off and wash it in the sink, there's some powder on the window sill.”
I looked around nervously. Did she really say 'take it off now and wash it in the sink?'
“NOW!” She shouted, scaring me out of my skin.
I undressed down to my knickers and vest as Mum looked on. I placed the dress and my socks in the sink along with some powder and began to hand wash them as mum instructed.
“When you've done that you can have a bath, not a shower because I want you to shave your legs.” Mum insisted. “You look silly with hairy legs sticking out under your dress.” I said nothing, knowing any protest would be futile. “You can hand wash your underwear after supper.” She added.
I wrung out the excess water from my dress before hanging it on the radiator to dry. I looked towards my mother for approval. “Good.” She said. “You go and have a bath whilst I make supper.” I nodded obediently, “Oh, and make sure you shave your armpits too.”
I slowly wondered upstairs and ran myself a hot bath. After a moments soak mum shouted “You have 15 minutes!”. I snapped out of my daze and hastily began to shave the hair from my legs, followed by my armpits. I cut myself a few times, mainly on my knees. Drying myself felt strange having hairless legs, I was half way to my bedroom when mum shouted “5 minutes!”. I quickly put on a clean pair of knickers and a vest, buttoned myself into the only item of clothing which hung in my wardrobe, the Central Comprehensive girls uniform, and finally pulled on a clean pair of white knee socks and slipped my feet into the little black shoes.
Mum was about to shout at me again as I appeared on the stairs, clean and dressed, ready for my supper. “Ah there you are.” She said, “Supper's ready.”
I sat at the table where a plate of meat and veg waited for me. “Feel better after your bath?” Mum asked.
“Yes thanks.” I replied politely.
“Did you remember to shave your legs?”
I nodded, not wanting to speak with my mouth full.
“Good.” She said.
I looked down at my dress and moaned. “Can't I wear something else?”
“No Peter, you can't.” Mum smiled. “Come to think of it, your sister never liked having to wear that dress either. She always complained.... I guess that's what makes it such a good punishment.” She added with an authoritative tone.
“How long do I have to wear it for?” I asked, hoping the answer would be say, a few days, maybe a week.
“Until your exams are finished.” She said. I knew she wasn't kidding.
“But mum that's like...” I counted the months in my head. “Seven... eight months!”
“Is it dear?” She replied dryly. “I suppose it is.”
“B... but, you can't ground me for that long!” Why was I even bothering to argue or reason? I knew she'd not budge.
“No of course I can't.” She replied smugly. “But I doubt you'll want to go out wearing your school dress very often. Will you? I'm more than sure you'll finish your homework and your chores before you even dream of going out with your friends.”
I sat in silence and contemplated my fate. The best part of a year having to wear this thing. Suddenly I remembered the private tutor mum said she'd have to hire. Oh my god! Surely not! “But when I get my tutor... What are they going to say?” I pleaded. On top of that thought, another came crashing down on me. “What about Christmas? Cheryl & Granny will be here!”
Mum had obviously not taken all this into account and spent a moment thinking about my very valid points. “Well.” She began. “Your tutor will be in my employ and will therefore have to go along with it. I'll make sure it's a woman if it makes you feel better.”
I grunted in agreement. Having a woman tutor whilst dressed as a girl did make me feel better.
“And.” she continued. “If you show me some improvements between now and Christmas...” She pushed her glasses up. “I may let you wear your own clothes on Christmas day. OK?”
The emphasis on the 'may' spoke volumes. It was a case of put up and shut up. I decided to it was best to do just that.
The moment I finished my supper, mum insisted I clear the table and do the washing up. “And then you can wash your underwear” She added as she left for the lounge. I did as asked before I joined mum in the lounge. I sat quietly as mum pondered over today's crossword. Time ticked by very slowly.
As the clock chimed 8pm. Mum folded her newspaper and turned on the TV. This was a huge relief as I'd spent the last few hours in a silent room, wearing my sister's, or as mum insisted, 'my' school uniform listening to my own jumbled thoughts and the sound of mum silently doing her crossword. Mum chirped up. “If you get ready for bed now you can stay up and watch TV with me for a bit.”
Knowing all my clothes were locked in my room I quietly asked, “What shall I wear?”
Mum sighed, as if I was asking the obvious. “Well.... there's nighties in the bottom drawer, under your knicker drawer.” she explained. I hate the way she said 'my' knicker drawer, but chose not to argue. “Slippers should be under the bed and there's a dressing gown hanging on the wall.”
I sloped up to my sister's room, eager to get this dress off, it being the single most uncomfortable thing I've ever worn. I opened the drawer which revealed several nighties in blue, pink, white and a flowery one. I chose the blue one, obviously. I made sure I hung my dress up properly in case mum checked, before changing into the nightie, putting on my dressing gown and heading back to the lounge.
“Slippers?” Was the first thing Mum said as I entered the lounge. I looked down, realising I'd forgotten about them.
“Do I have to Mum?”
“Yes. I don't want you running around barefoot.”
I returned to get the slippers. I knew it. Pink. They did feel nice and warm though.
We watched TV for an hour or so. Mum made me a nice big mug of hot chocolate for me to drink whilst I received my bedtime lecture.
“OK, it's nearly bedtime..” She began. “Make sure you set the alarm clock for 7.15 as I want you up and dressed by 7.30.” I silently stared at my hot chocolate as she spoke. “Although you've been expelled from school. Monday to Friday will be considered a school day. Do you understand?”
“Good.” She said sharply. “I'll be collecting all your course work and teachers notes from school tomorrow afternoon. So we can begin to work out a syllabus for you until I find a suitable tutor. Now....” Mum altered her posture. “If you do well this week and don't give me any back chat, I'll not make you wear your uniform on the weekends. But rest assured young man... You will wear it during the week, and every week, until your exams are over. Do I make myself clear?”
I mulled over what she had said and nodded. At least this means I'll get my own clothes back for the weekends. I figured. “OK mum. I'll do my best.” I said.
“Good, that's exactly what I want to hear.” She smiled. “Now, off to bed with you. It's well past ten and bed time is supposed to be nine o'clock.”
“Oh but nine is far too early mum. I usually go to bed at eleven!”
“That was when you still had a place in school. From now on, it's nine unless I say otherwise, no questions. OK?”
“OK Mum.” I said as I left her alone and headed for bed.
Again it took me ages to get to sleep. This time I didn't have the option of radio. But I didn't really miss it. My thoughts were filed with a mixture of dreading the coming weeks and feeling my smooth legs as I seemed to effortlessly glide around in the bed. That bit felt kind of nice I guess. Strange but nice.
The alarm clock went off at 7.15 and as told, I got up, washed my face and brushed my teeth before returning to my room to get dressed. “Five days of this and I'll get my own clothes back for the weekend” was the thought which made me comply. By 7.30 I was in the kitchen, fully dressed in my sister's school uniform.
“Seeing as your schooling will be done here..” Mum explained. “...Your school day will begin at 8am, with a 15 minute break at 10am, lunch at 12pm, and an afternoon break at 3pm and your school day will end at 6pm.” I almost protested at having almost a 9 hour school day, instead of the 5 hours I used to do, but knowing my previous protests got me nowhere, I decided against it. Mum must have read my thoughts as she then added. “You've missed so many days of school over the last 18 months you have a lot of catching up to do, so a longer day should get you back on track.”
I nodded in agreement. Although I felt it unfair, Mum did have a point. And, at least I was free from the bullies, even if I was effectively under house arrest. “What do you want me to do today?” I asked over breakfast.
“Well, I need to collect your course work from school and I have a few potential tutors to call.” Mum replied. “My study will be your classroom, so after breakfast, I'll let you get a few things from your old room so you can set up a workspace for yourself. You'll need to bring your computer down, as well as your desk and the books which are relevant to your studies.”
After breakfast I cleared a space in the study where my desk would go, before lugging my computer down, then the desk & chair and finally the books I'd need. I was putting my pc back together when Mum said. “You'll need to remember to crouch down rather than bend over dear. You are wearing a dress!”
I blushed. “Sorry.”
Once I'd connected my computer, I asked Mum if I could boot it up to check it was working OK. “Yes of course.” She replied, “However, I will need to restrict your internet access. I don't want to visiting chat rooms when you're supposed to be studying.” Mum then proceeded to block my access to all chat rooms and probably the other 90% of the entire web. Leaving me access to educational, informational and news websites only. Boring, I thought. Mum then made me build a new time table, based on my old school time table, but taking into account the longer hours I'd be studying at home. Mum then perused my revised timetable.
After lunch, Mum went to my former school to collect my course work. On her return she had me organise everything into folders on her book shelf, along side the books I brought from my room. She then made a spreadsheet on her computer so she could keep track of my progress. “I can't believe you've got so far behind.” She fumed as she tallied my expected progress with my actual achievements to date. “I think you'll have to work through the Christmas and Easter holidays to get back on track!”
“No buts! You've brought this on yourself and I'm the one trying to pick up the pieces.”
I spent the next few days completing my current homework assignments. In the mean time, Mum interviewed several potential tutors (not in my presence, thankfully), before she decided on a lady called Mrs. Barnes. She was in her 50's I guess. Mum introduced me to her on Friday afternoon.
“Pleased to meet you Peter.” She said with an outstretched hand.
“Hello Miss.” I said, shaking her hand.
“I understand you've got quite a bit of catching up to do?” She said.
I nodded, “Yes Miss.”
“And your Mother tells me the reason you're wearing a dress is to stop you from running off. Is that correct?”
“Yes Miss.” I replied shyly.
“And has it worked?”
“Very good.” She replied. “Well then, I'll see you first thing on Monday morning. You may wait in the hallway whilst your Mother and I discuss your curriculum.”
Mum glanced at me, then towards the door. “Thank you Miss.” I said as I went to wait in the hallway.
I must have waited for a good hour before Mum and my new tutor exited the study. All the time I obediently stood by the study door, waiting to be told otherwise.
“He's ever so compliant.” Commented Mrs. Barnes.
“He's been as good as gold all week.” Said Mum. “I guess the uniform is working better than I ever expected.” Mrs. Barnes agreed with a simple nod. “Taking away his music and grounding him didn't seem to do any good, so the next step is always going to be a bit more drastic.” Again, Mrs. Barnes agreed with a nod. “Although if he genuinely tries hard, he can have some liberties back, as an incentive.”
“I couldn't agree more.” Said Mrs. Barnes. “Reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour. It's a concept which eludes many parents these days.”
I stood silently as they said their goodbye's. “She seems nice doesn't she?” Asked Mum once Mrs. Barnes had left. I nodded. “And you were very polite, addressing her as Miss.”
“Thank you.” I said quietly, still stood by the study door.
“Well, it's 4.30. I guess we can call it a day.” Mum said, checking her watch. “If you'd like you can change out of your uniform.”
My face lit up. At last. The first time since Sunday morning I'm allowed to wear my own clothes for a bit. I shifted slightly, ready to run upstairs, but hesitated, knowing Mum hadn't actually said I could change at this very moment. I looked at her for approval.
I restocked your wardrobe so there's plenty for you to choose from.
“In my room or Cheryl's?” I asked, ignorantly.
“Cheryl's room is your room now Peter.” Mum replied, in a matter of fact tone. “In fact, there's a surprise in there for you too.” She added with a smile.
“Really?” I said as I headed for my room. I opened the door to see my hi-fi sitting on the bookshelf, along with all my cd's. “Thanks Mum.” I shouted with joy. “Excellent!” I said to myself, opening the wardrobe to get a pair of jeans to wear. My heart sank. None of my clothes could be seen, only skirts and dresses. I leant over the bannister to ask Mum if I was missing something. “Mum...?”
“Yes.” She replied, from her study.
“Are there any pants I can wear?”
“I can't hear you. Come and speak to me properly.”
I went down stairs and into the study where Mum sat at her desk. “Are there any pants I can wear? Please?” I asked.
“No dear.” She replied, not looking up from whatever she was doing.
“But I thought you said if I was good I could wear my own clothes for the weekend?”
“No.” She looked up. “I said if you were good you wouldn't have to wear your school uniform over the weekend.” She explained clearly. “You can wear what you choose as most of Cheryl's old clothes should fit you. If you can't find anything I'll find something for you.”
“Oh God!” I thought as I made my way back to my room to try to find something else to wear.
I listened to some music whilst I tried to decide what to wear. None of the choices were any more desirable than my school uniform. Mum tapped on the door before entering. “Not found anything yet dear?” She asked. I shook my head. Mum began looking through the wardrobe. “How about this?” She said, holding up a blue dress, a very girlie blue dress. “It's very pretty.” She added.
“I don't like it.” I replied.
Mum hung the dress on the wardrobe door and removed a skirt. “Well this one then.” She said, holding it against me.
It was a black knee length skirt with pink polka dots all over it. “At least it's not flowery.” I moaned as I took it from her.
“There's a matching top somewhere too.” She added, rummaging through the other chest of drawers. “There you go.” She smiled, passing me a pink short sleeved t-shirt with black polka dots on it. I removed my school dress, stepped into the skirt and fastened the zip at the back, before pulling the pink polka dot t-shirt over my head and straightening it up. It was definitely more comfortable to wear than my rigid uniform. I slipped my feet back into my ballet pumps and looked at mum for approval. “Very pretty.” She said. “Doesn't that feel better?”
I nodded before checking my reflection in the mirror. Pink spotty top, black spotty knee length skirt and ballet pumps. All topped off with my definitely boyish haircut. “I look sooo stupid.” I thought as I looked at myself in the mirror.
“Once your hair has grown out a bit you'll look quite sweet, possibly.” Said Mum to my reflection. My heart sank at this suggestion.
“But Mu-um.” I moaned, “I don't want to look like a girl.”
“Less of your moaning young Man.” She insisted. “Do you want to wear your uniform for the rest of the weekend?”
I shook my head. “No.”
“Good.” She said sternly. “Now come on, you can help me prepare supper.”
After supper, Mum let me watch TV until 8.30, when she told me to get my night clothes on.
When I returned to the lounge wearing my nightie, dressing gown & slippers, mum said “I want you to wear the blue dress hung on the door tomorrow.”
“Can't I choose something?” I asked, almost pleaded. The dress mum had in mind was horrid.
“No.” She said. “Cheryl hardly got any wear out of it and I'd like to see it get some use. It is ever so pretty.” She added.
“Too pretty.” I thought.
Half an hour later, Mum told me it was bed time and reminded me what to wear tomorrow. I said “goodnight.” before leaving her alone and heading for my room.
“I'm going to look so stupid in that.” I thought as I lay on my bed.
The next day, I woke up to my alarm clock and got out of bed. The 1st thing I saw was the dress Mum had insisted I wore for the day. I removed my nightie, selected some underwear and removed the dress from the hanger. I heard a tap on the door. “Hello.” I said as mum entered.
“Oh good you're up.” She said. “Can you wear your school dress for now as I have some chores for you. And we don't want you getting your pretty dress dirty do we?”
“Oh, err...” I replied, “No.”
“I've put a list of chores for you on the notice board in the kitchen. They're to be done every Saturday. Sunday's can be considered a day off, depending on your behaviour throughout the week.”
I nodded as I buttoned myself into my school dress, relieved that I didn't have to wear the blue thing mum liked. At least for a few hours anyway.
Once ready, I headed for the kitchen to find mum making me some tea and toast. I perused the list of chores on the notice board. Hand wash my clothes. Vacuum the hall, landing & stairs. Polish the bannister. Vacuum and dust the study and lounge. Scrub the kitchen floor and wash & put away any pots, pans & crockery. And finally, vacuum and dust my bedroom “This lot will take me hours!” I thought as mum prepared my breakfast.
“Make sure you do your washing first, that way it will be dry and ready to put away by the time you're cleaning your own room.” Mum stated. “Do you understand?”
“Yes.” I replied.
“And make sure you do your own room last.”
As soon as I'd finished my breakfast, I cleared away the dishes before hand washing my underwear and putting it to dry on the radiator. I'd almost finished vacuuming the stairs when mum told me she had to go out for a few hours. “Will you be OK on your own?” She asked.
“Yes, of course.” I replied.
“And make sure you change out of your school dress when all your chores are done.” She reminded.
“Yes Mum” I replied half heartedly, still not keen on having to wear the blue dress mum was so keen on me wearing.
“I've put some sandals out for you to wear with it. Now be careful as they do have heels, but they match perfectly.” She added on her way out of the door. Locking it as she left.
Mum was gone for ages. I'd finished most of my chores and was vacuuming my bedroom when I noticed the shoes mum insisted I wore with the blue dress. “I'll break my ankle in those!” I said to myself noticing the 3” heel. I'd never worn a shoe with a heel before.
Once I'd finished tidying my room, I reluctantly changed out of my uniform and stepped into the blue dress. The skirt section flared out as it had several layers of netted underskirt sewn in. I struggled for a while to get the back zip fastened up all the way. It had short, puffed sleeves with white frilly lace edging, and a square neck again edged with white lace. I checked my reflection in the mirror to see just how stupid I looked. I couldn't remember seeing Cheryl wearing it before and wondered where it came from. I was sat on the edge of my bed, fastening my feet into the blue satin sandals when I heard the front door open. Mum was home. She was on her way up the stairs by the time I'd fastened up the other sandal.
“Oh it's so nice to see that dress being worn!” Exclaimed mum as she entered my room. “Cheryl never liked it.”
“I'm not surprised!” I replied sarcastically. “I don't ever remember seeing her wearing it.”
“Don't be like that Peter.” Mum snapped. “Granny bought it for her when she was 14. How are the shoes?”
“High!” I replied, “I'll break my neck in them.” I added.
“You'll be fine.” She said. “Just take shorter steps when you walk, and be careful on the stairs.” She advised. “Well, stand up and let me see you properly.”
Shyly I stood up. “Woah!” I said, not used to the extra height I rose to.
Mum grinned. “You look almost delightful!” She passed me a hairbrush. “I'll make some tea. You brush your hair and I'll see you downstairs in a moment.”
I took the hairbrush and ran it through my hair, before slowly and carefully making my way down to the lounge.
“Oh I say!” A voice exclaimed as I entered. To my horror, my grandmother was sat with my mother on the sofa. “Isn't that the party frock I bought for Cheryl?” Asked Granny.
“Yes it is.” Mum replied. “Well come in Peter and say hello to Granny.”
“Hello Granny.” I whimpered. Wishing the ground would swallow me whole.
“Hello Peter.” Said Granny. “You look very nice.”
I said nothing, dumbstruck. Mum gave me a stern look, prompting me to reply. “Thank you.” I Murmured.
“Well come and sit down Peter. It's so long since I've seen you.” Granny said, gesturing to the chair opposite the sofa. “You Mother tells me you've been getting into trouble at school.”
Shyly I sat opposite Mum and Granny, making sure I smoothed my dress under me as I sat. They chatted about my expulsion from school and my 'petticoat punishment' as Granny called it, as if I wasn't there. “Well he's certainly less boisterous than he used to be.” Granny commented as I sat silently in their presence.
After more chit chat, mum suddenly turned to me and said, “Oh by the way Peter. You forgot to put your knickers and vests away. They're still on the radiator. Could you put them in your knicker drawer please?”
I felt myself going bright red. As if the fact I now wore knickers was more embarrassing than wearing this dress in front of my grandmother. “Oh, er.... I'll do it now.” I replied shyly, before exiting the lounge to put my washing away.
Granny entered the kitchen as I was neatly folding the small pile of white lacy underwear. “Well I must say, it's lovely to see you wearing that frock. Cheryl never wore it you know.” Granny said. “It was quite expensive you know.” She added.
I didn't know how to respond. I knew the expected response would be along the lines of 'thank you, it's very nice' or 'yes, it's lovely'. But in this case, I felt it best to simply say “Thank you.” I always liked Granny and didn't want to hurt her feelings. “I'd better put these away.” I added, making my escape.
On my return to the lounge, Mum asked, “Peter will you be a darling and make a pot of tea? And theres some scones in the pantry, could you bring those also?”
“Yes.” I replied.
A few moments later I returned with a tray of tea and scones. Carefully I placed the tray on the coffee table before sitting opposite Mum and Granny once more. “Oh thank you Peter.” Said Granny. “You're such a good gir... boy... sorry Peter.” She added, apologising for her mistake.
I blushed when granny almost called me a girl. Mum noticed my embarrassment.
“Oh don't worry Mother.” Mum said to granny, “It's an easy mistake with him looking so pretty.”
I wanted to return to my room and curl up and die, but not wanting to get into trouble, I did as expected and sat silently as the two of them chatted away though to the early evening. Eventually, the time came when Mum had to drive Granny home. Granny kissed me on the cheek and said how nice it was to see me, and how pretty I look, and how she looks forward to returning at Christmas. I blushed and said thank you. As Mum picked up her car keys, I asked if I could change out of this dress. “No.” Was her reply as she locked the door behind her.
I went to my room and listened to some music, waiting for mum to return. Exiled from my own bedroom and my computer out of bounds except for study left me with very little to do. Life is so boring these days, and I've only been under house arrest for a week!
Mum returned home a couple of hours later. I sat up to attention on my bed as I heard mum climbing the stairs. “Why didn't you tell me Granny was coming?” I asked as she entered my room.
“It was a surprise.” Mum replied.
“But I didn't want to see her dressed like this.”
“Well Granny thought you looked very nice.” Mum replied. “And I was very pleased with your behaviour. In fact, she asked if I'd take a photo of you.”
“What?” I replied, shocked. “But I look so stupid in this.” I stated, holding the dress out as I spoke.
“Well I told Granny that it wouldn't be a problem. So come on, I'll get the camera.” Reluctantly I followed Mum down to the study. “You stand over by the book case. And do try to smile!” she added dryly.
Mum took a couple of photo's before previewing them on her computer. “Hmm... not bad.” She said. “But they could be better.” She left the study and popped upstairs, returning a moment later. “You'll look far nicer with your hair off your face” she said, placing a blue satin head band in my hair.
“Oh Mu-um!” I moaned. “Do I have to?”
“Yes you do.” she replied, before taking more photo's of me. “That wasn't too hard was it?” She asked before checking the new photo's on the computer.
I watched over her shoulder as she cropped the two 'best' ones to size and clicked print. I looked really looked stupid in all three of the photo's she printed off. “Thank you Peter.” she said. “Granny will be very pleased with these. Now, you go and get yourself ready for bed.”
Eager to get myself out of this dress I did as asked. I entered my bedroom to put my nightie on, only to notice a cream floral dress hanging on my wardrobe door, along with a pair of low heeled pink shoes placed on the floor beneath it. At least the dress Mum chose for tomorrow wasn't anywhere near as bad as today's, even if it was covered in flowers.
The next morning I awoke as usual at 7.30, made myself some breakfast as Mum was having her usual lie in (a luxury I wasn't allowed any more). I ran myself a bath and shaved my legs & pits before getting dressed. The dress mum chose was quite short, much shorter than anything I'd worn so far, falling about 8” above my knees. Feeling naked I sat on the edge of my bed slipped my feet into the shoes Mum had selected for me. They had a low narrow heel, and were much more comfortable than the 3” sandals I'd worn the previous day.
I quietly went downstairs and watched TV until Mum got up, around 10am. She wasn't too happy that I'd watched TV without her permission, but didn't punish me due to the fact I'd been 'so good' of late.
The day dragged on as only Sundays do. After supper, Mum asked me to prepare my things ready for my first day with Mrs. Barnes the following Morning, adding, “And you'll find some head bands which match your school dress on your dressing table. Make sure you wear one for school.”
I grunted in compliance as I prepared the books I'd need for the next day.
Throughout the week, Mrs. Barnes made no comment to the fact I was a boy wearing a dress, or a head band for that matter. Although my 'school day' was from 8am until 6pm, Mrs. Barnes taught me from 9am until 3pm, and gave me strict instructions as to what I should study the rest of the time. She seemed OK I guess, a little old school so to speak. She kept telling me not to put my elbows on the desk and to stop slouching from time to time. But other than that, she was fine.
On Friday afternoon, when Mrs. Barnes was preparing to leave, She asked me to wait in the hallway whilst she had a word with my mother. I closed the study door behind me and quietly stood in the hallway whilst they chatted. Eventually I was asked to return. “Mrs. Barnes says you've done very well this week Peter. So well done, you should be very proud of yourself.” Complimented Mum.
“Thank you.” I said, relieved that they were pleased with my progress.
Mrs. Barnes spoke next. “If it's OK with your Mother, you may finish your studies for the week now instead of 6pm as usual.”
I looked at my Mother and waited for her response. “Do you have any work to finish off today?” She asked.
“No.” Replied, “Although I should go over the periodic table a few more times, just to make sure I understand it properly.”
“Very well.” Said Mum, “Well, once you've done that you may change out of your uniform and we'll call it a week.”
I sat back at my desk and perused the periodic table. Mrs. Barnes packed her things and left. “See you on Monday Peter.” She said as she left.
After half an hour or so, a packed up my books and went to the kitchen, where Mum was preparing supper. “Can I get changed now?” I asked.
“Yes of course.” She replied.
I found a plain black skirt in my wardrobe, and a dark blue t-shirt to wear with it. The skirt was quite short but at least it was plain. I slipped my feet back into my flat school shoes and went back down the stairs for supper. “You look nice dear.” Said Mum as I entered, glancing down to my feet. “Couldn't you find any other shoes though?”
“Erm... I like these ones, they're comfortable.” I replied. “Are they OK?” I asked.
“I suppose so, it's just heels improve your posture so much.”
Mum turned her attention back to making supper. I sat at the table and waited patiently for Mum to serve. It was only when I heard the front door open I noticed a third setting at the table.
“Oh that'll be Cheryl.” Said Mum.
A panic swept over me as Cheryl entered the kitchen. “Something smells good.” Said Cheryl, dropping a couple of heavy looking travel bags on the floor. “Hi Mum.” She smiled, giving Mum a kiss on the cheek. “Hi Pete.” She said, turning her attention to me.
“Hi.” I yelped, petrified, wondering if she had any idea as to my punishment.
“Your timing is perfect Cheryl.” Said Mum. “Supper is just about ready. You sit yourself down and I'll serve.”
Cheryl pulled out a chair and sat her self opposite me as mum served supper. I said as little as possible whilst Mum and Cheryl chatted about university and such. After a momentary silence, Cheryl gave me a puzzled look and Said. “Hey, isn't that my t-shirt Pete?”
“Erm...” Was all I could muster before Mum butted in.
“Ah yes.” Said Mum to Cheryl. “You know I said I'd grounded him when he got expelled from school.”
“Yes.” Said Cheryl, giving me a disapproving look, before turning her attention back to Mum.
“Well....” Mum continued. “I caught him climbing out of the front window after I specifically told him he was grounded. So I took his hi-fi and cd's off him as punishment so he decided to listen to the music on his computer instead.”
Cheryl gave me another disapproving look. I hung my head in shame, knowing what revelation was coming.
“So I decided his room was out of bounds and moved him into your room, and to stop him from climbing out of the windows he's been wearing your clothes ever since. That was almost two weeks ago!” Mum added, before continuing her meal.
Cheryl took a sharp intake of breath when Mum delivered the punch line. I wanted the floor to swallow me up. A grin swept across my sisters face. “You've been wearing my clothes?” She asked.
I nodded regretfully. “Er..” was all I could say.
“Which ones?” She quizzed.
“Well he's wearing your old school uniform during the week and he can wear a skirt or dress of his choosing at the weekend.” Said Mum on my behalf, “That's the current arrangement anyway.” She added.
Cheryl gasped. “Well let's have a look then?” She insisted.
By this time I'd finished my supper, so I had no excuse but to comply to her request. I shyly stood up and stepped around the table so my sister could see me wearing her short black skirt along with her old school shoes.
Cheryl laughed out loud. “Fantastic!” She said, before bursting into laughter again. “You've got better legs than I have! And you've shaved them too!!”
“Mu-um. Can I go to my room please?” I asked, blushing.
“My room! You mean.” Corrected Cheryl.
“No.” Said Mum. “You have to clear up in here first.”
“You've got him doing the chores then?” Asked Cheryl.
“Oh yes.” Replied Mum. “He cleans the kitchen each night. He washes all his, er.. your clothes by hand and spends Saturday bottoming the rest of the house.”
“Really?!” Asked my sister, obviously shocked.
“All part of his punishment.”
“Isn't this all a bit hard on him?” Asked Cheryl in a softer tone, feeling sorry for me.
“Well, he got expelled from school, he disobeyed me numerous times and I'm the one having to pay ￡18 per hour for a private tutor in the hope that we can salvage his education. No, I don't think it's hard on him at all.”
Both Cheryl and I blurted, “Eighteen pounds an hour?!”
“Yes.” Said Mum. “I'm paying over ￡500 a week to try to get him through his exams.”
I had no idea Mum was having to fork out that much for Mrs. Barnes. It was obvious I'd have to try my best to make it up to her.
Cheryl changed the subject. “Hey, you should make him wear that horrible frock Granny bought me years ago. Do you think it would fit him?”
“Yes it does.” Said Mum. “He wore it last Saturday when Granny visited.”
Cheryl's eyes almost popped out of her head when Mum told her this. She was obviously not being serious.
“It was horrible.” I mumbled.
“Go and get the photo's Peter.” Said Mum. “They're on my desk.”
“Oh I can't wait to see this.” Exclaimed Cheryl, grinning from ear to ear.
“Do I have to?” I moaned. Wishing the attention would shift away from me and my clothes.
“Well she'll see one eventually anyway. Granny has one of them framed on her mantle piece. She's very proud of it.” Stated Mum.
Defeated, I went to the study to get the 8” x 10” colour glossy photos and handed them to Cheryl on my return.
“Oh you look gorgeous!” Grinned Cheryl as she looked at each one. “Oh and look at his shoes!!”
I was too embarrassed to reply, so I cleared the table and began doing the washing up. Mum and Cheryl retired to the lounge.
Once I'd tidied the kitchen, I sloped off to my room, avoiding any more unwanted attention. I kicked off my shoes and slumped on my bed. A good while later I heard a knock on my door. “Pete?” Said my sister's voice, “Are you decent?”
“Yes.” I replied.
Cheryl opened the door and sat on the edge of the bed. She felt my punishment was a bit unfair. I agreed. But she went on to say that I had brought it on myself. Again, I agreed. “Granny calls it 'petticoat punishment'.” I added.
“You look OK in that skirt though.” She said kindly. “Who's idea was it to shave your legs?”
“Mum's.” I replied. “I have to shave my arm pits too.”
Cheryl's eyes almost popped out of her head again. “Really?!”
“And how do you feel about that?” She asked, brushing her hand over my nylon clad lap.
“Well....” I pondered, “I'd rather not have to... but I guess I deserve it.” My head dropped. “It could be worse I suppose?”
“How so?” Cheryl asked.
“Well at least I'm grounded. I couldn't bear having to go outside dressed like this.”
“Oh you look OK!” She said, “At least you don't have hairy legs.” She smiled, stroking my hairless knee.
My eye's rolled as if to say 'yeah right!' Cheryl smiled, I smiled back.
We chatted for a few more minutes before Cheryl left me alone. I gave her a hug and thanked her for understanding. “Are you coming down stairs or staying up here all night?” she asked.
“I'll be down in a bit.” I replied, glancing at the clock. “But my bed time is 9.” I added.
“NINE?!” She asked.
“All part of the punishment.” I shrugged. “Ready for bed at eight, bed time at nine.” I stated, parroting Mums rules word for word.
Cheryl frowned on my behalf, “OK.” She said. “I'll see you in a bit.” Before leaving me alone.
I changed into my night clothes and listened to the radio until around 8.15, before joining Mum and my sister in the lounge.
“I had a feeling you'd not be wearing your own pyjamas.” Said Cheryl as I sat down wearing one of her old nighties.
“Oh... er....” I grunted as I sat myself down in front of the TV.
Mum went to bed not long after the movie started, stating that I was to go to bed as soon as it finished. After a few moments Cheryl said “You know Pete, you do look quite comfortable wearing my old clothes.”
“Erm...” Was all I could reply before Cheryl continued.
“I mean....” She paused, “Mum said you can't wait to change out of your school dress and into something nicer on a Friday.”
“Well...” I replied. “Anything is better than wearing that!” I paused, “Apart from that 'thing' I had to wear when granny visited last Saturday!” I added.
Cheryl giggled, “Yes. I hated wearing that dress so much too. I think I only wore it a couple of times all in all.”
I smiled. “I'm not surprised. I nearly died when Granny arrived, I had no idea She was coming over.”
“Oh poor you.”, Cheryl said sympathetically. “Still, you looked OK earlier, quite trendy really.”
I cast my mind back and visualised myself wearing the short black skirt and skinny blue t-shirt. “Yeah that was OK I guess.” I agreed.
“So what are you wearing tomorrow?” She asked inquisitively.
“I don't know.” I replied honestly. “Mum tends to choose something for me so we'll see eh?”
“Why don't you choose what to wear?”
“Well I did tonight, but last weekend I couldn't decide so Mum chose for me.”
“Yes I know how you feel.” Cheryl said. “I was always spoilt for choice too. Which skirt? Which dress? Which top? Which shoes? It can be quite overwhelming! And that's before doing my hair and make up! I used to spend hours trying different combinations before.....”
I butted in, “It's more a case of wanting to wear jeans and a t-shirt and NOT one of your old dresses.” I explained.
Cheryl gave me a sympathetic frown of support before calmly saying, “Well... Mum's made her mind up and you can't for the time being. So you may as well try to enjoy it.”
I paused for a moment before saying, “What is there to enjoy about wearing your old school uniform all week and then wearing whatever 'pretty' monstrosity Mum chooses on the weekends? I look like a boy dressed as a girl and feel totally ridiculous all of the time!” I snapped. “This is horrible.” I added, chocking back a tear with a gulp.
Cheryl Paused before saying “Fair point.... I'll have a word with Mum and see what I can do.”
“Thanks Cheryl.” I said. “I'd really appreciate it.”
By the time the movie ended I was definitely ready for bed, having been up since 7.30am. I gave Cheryl a hug and climbed the stairs to bed. I guess I wasn't surprised to find that mum had put something out for me to wear the following day, along with a note saying, “You know the drill, chores first, then you can change. Love Mum. x”
Mum had put out the black skirt with pink spots & a pink strappy top, along with the pink low heeled court shoes I'd worn last Sunday.
Saturday morning I was up and dressed in my school uniform and doing my chores long before Mum and Cheryl got up. I was hanging my washing on the radiator when Cheryl entered the kitchen, stretching and yawning as she said “Morning Pete, you're up early.” Quickly followed by, “Jesus I'd forgotten how much I hated that dress.”
“Yeah it's not what you'd call fashionable.” I said as she flicked on the kettle. “Aren't I the lucky one?”
Cheryl offered to make me a cup of tea but I declined, having plenty to do and wanting to get finished early.
Later that morning, Cheryl and Mum went into town, leaving me to my chores. I'd long finished when they returned mid afternoon. I was making myself a snack, wearing my black spotty skirt, pink strappy top and pink court shoes when they returned, bags in hand.
“Hi Pete.” Said Cheryl cheerfully. “You look er.... nice.” She smirked.
“Oh... er... thanks.” I replied.
“Be a love and put the kettle on will you?” Mum asked, kicking off her shoes and sitting at the table.
Cheryl took some things up to the top room, my old bedroom. “He does a good job doesn't he.” She said on her return. “The house is spotless.”
“Yes he's quite good when he applies himself.” Mum replied.
I made a pot of tea and sat at the table with Mum and Cheryl. I sat quietly whilst they chatted amongst themselves. I noticed Cheryl glancing at me every so often. All of a sudden she said, “Pete?”
“Yes.” I replied.
Cheryl glanced at Mum before replying. “Well, I was talking to Mum earlier and she eventually agreed with me that your having to wear my old school dress all week long was a little harsh.”
“Considering you've behaved so well over the last few weeks.” Mum added.
My eyes lit up. Cheryl continued, “So you'll be pleased to hear that you will no longer have to wear my old school dresses any more.”
I grinned from ear to ear. “Really!” I said. “Excellent!”
“Don't get too excited Peter.” Said Mum, “You're still a long way from getting all your own things back!”
My expression slipped back to neutral. Cheryl slid her chair back and went to the hallway, returning a moment later with a couple of carrier bags. “What's that?” I asked.
“It's your new school uniform. It's much more your age.” She said, removing a short pleated school skirt from one of the carrier bags. “There's a couple of nice blouses too!” She smiled. “Much nicer than that thing!” She said, pointing to her old school dress on the radiator.
“I suppose.” I mumbled
“There's also a little tie to wear with it. We didn't bother with the blazer, but we got you plenty of tights which are also more grown up than knee socks.” She added as she picked up another carrier bag. “They're in here along with a few other bits too.” She said, passing me the bag.
I reluctantly took the carrier from her and placed it next to me on the table. “Oh er thanks.” I replied, suspecting 'other bits' meant knickers and vests and things
“Well aren't you going to have a look?” Said Mum insistently.
I did as told and began removing the items from the carrier bag. “New knickers.” I said with a sarcastic tone, “New vests, opaque tights and....” I gulped as I noticed what else was in the carrier bag. “I can't wear this!” I insisted, removing a white bra, before glancing at Mum and Cheryl for some support.
“Well, don't you think you look a bit flat?” Said Cheryl, looking at my chest. “Especially in that strappy top, you really need some.... er..... shape.”
“But I am flat!” I insisted, raising my voice. “I am a boy.... remember?”
“Peter!” Mum said sternly. “Don't push your luck and DO NOT raise your voice!”
I looked towards Cheryl for some support. “I'm trying to help Peter.” She said, “I'm on your side remember?” She held my hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze before turning to Mum. “Mum... do you mind if I speak to Peter alone in his room?”
Mum nodded and Cheryl led me upstairs, reminding me to bring the carrier bag with me. She sat herself on the edge of my bed and beckoned me to sit next to her. I smoothed my skirt over my knees as I sat. “What's up?” She asked, holding my hand.
I paused momentarily before replying. “Last night you said you'd have a talk with Mum about having to dress like a girl.... and.... and then you get me all this!”
“Yes, and I did have a talk with Mum. I explained how ridiculous you feel looking like a boy and dressing like a girl so Mum agreed that you should be able to make a bit more effort to look like a girl...”
“But that's not what I meant.” I said. “I just meant I looked and felt stupid having to wear your old clothes all the time...”
“Yes Pete, I know that I really do...” She squeezed my hand to reinforce her understanding, “...But the fact of the matter is Mum HAS made her mind up and you ARE subject to her rules until that time.”
“So....” Cheryl continued, “I talked Mum into getting you something more grown up for school and some of your own underwear. It can't be nice wearing my old knickers all the time!” She added.
“So now I'm wearing my very own knickers!” I snapped sarcasticly. “And who's idea was the bra? Yours or Mums?”
“I'm only trying to help Peter!” Cheryl snapped back. “And yes, the bra's were my idea. I figured you'd look less like a boy in a dress with a bit of shape.”
“But I am a boy in a dress.” I insisted. “Nothing is going to change that!”
“I know Pete.” She replied calmly, “It's just.... I think you should try to enjoy it rather than fight it all the time.... it's not like anybody but me and Mum are going to see you is it?”
“You, Mum AND Granny.” I added.
“Yes, and Granny occasionally.” Cheryl agreed, “Look, we've bought you some really nice underwear and a new school uniform which...” Cheryl began empty the carrier bag, “... you must admit is far better than what you have been wearing.”
“I suppose.” I moaned quietly.
“And if you're going to wear a strappy top you really do need some shape.” Cheryl said as she picked up the bra, “Here look, it's gel filled.” She explained, passing it to me.
“This is so weird.” I said as I inspected the gel padding in each bra cup. “I don't want to wear a bra.”
“Come on,” She said calmly. “At least give it a try, you'll get used to it.”
I nodded “It's not like I have much choice.” I said quietly as I picked up the bra.
“I'll help you.” She said, taking the bra from me. “They can be a struggle to get on at first.” She added. I removed my top and Cheryl instructed me how to put on the bra. Once it was on I made sure it was straight and in more or less the right position. I looked up at Cheryl for approval. She adjusted the straps a bit before saying “Perfect.” with a smile, before passing me my top. I pulled it on and instantly noticed how much more like a girl I looked, and felt. “How does that feel?” She asked.
“OK I suppose.” I moaned as I glanced in the mirror, “But now I look like a girl.” I added as I felt my new shape.
“Well that's the idea.” She said with a knowing smile, pushing my hair away from my eyes. “And once your hair has grown out a bit you'll probably look quite pretty.”
“But I don't want to look 'pretty'.” I sulked.
“I know” She said. “You want to look gorgeous.” She added with a grin.
“I do not!” I protested.
Cheryl laughed at my protest before calming her self with a deep breath. “Sorry.”
“Thank you.” I replied as I returned my attention to the mirror. “This is too weird.”
“Just try to enjoy it.” Said Cheryl to my reflection. “I used to love trying different clothes on when I was your age.” She added as she tousled my lank hair. “And a couple of months your hair will be long enough to do something with.”
“Yeah and then you can get my ears pierced and you'll have really turned me in to a girl!” I snapped.
“Oh calm down!” Cheryl sighed, “I'm only saying it might be nice when your hair is a bit longer.”
“Sorry.” I said calmly.
After a moments silence, Cheryl said, “I'm going out later with a couple of old friends.”
“Where to?” I asked.
“For a meal and onto a club possibly... not too sure.”
“Who are you going with?”
“Susan and Marie, I'm don't think you know them.”
“Oh.” I said bringing the conversation to a halt.
Cheryl began fiddling with my fringe again. “If you like I'll show you how to do your make up when I'm getting ready?” She looked me in the eye as she spoke. She was being serious.
I didn't know what to say. “Make up?” I blurted hesitantly.
“I'll be fun!”
“Oh come on, what else are you going to do? Go out with your friends??” She said in a sarcastic tone. “Trust me. I am on your side, remember?”
I nodded, “OK Sis.” I said quietly, “Thanks.”
We both went back down stairs to the kitchen.
“Does your bra fit OK?” Asked Mum.
“Erm... yes.” I shyly replied. “Er... Cheryl helped.”
Mum gave me a cold stare and paused, as if waiting for me to say something else, “Well?” She said. “Aren't you going to say thank you?”
“Oh, er.... sorry.” I stammered, “Thank you.”
“I think he looks lots better with a bit of shape.” Said Cheryl. “Don't you Mum?”
“Yes I suppose so.” Mum Replied.
“And I'm going to give him some make up tips later on too!” Cheryl revealed, giving me a wink.
“Do you want to wear make up Peter?” Mum asked.
“I er... I dunno....” My head dropped and I found myself looking at my chest, “I suppose I should give it a try.” I said, looking back at them both. “Cheryl says I might enjoy it.”
“Very well then.” Said Mum, “So long as you don't let Mrs. Barnes see you looking like a tart!”
“I promise.” I replied obediently, before realising Mum was joking.
We all had supper and watched some TV for a few hours. Mum glanced up at the clock. “What time are you going out Cheryl?” She asked.
“Half seven.” She replied. “I'd better have a shower and get ready soon.” She added as she sat up and checked her phone for messages. “We may as well do it in your room Pete.”
“What?” I asked rhetorically, tearing myself from the TV
“Our make up!” She replied matter of factly. “It'll be easier seeing as you're the one with the dressing table.”
“Oh, er... OK.”
“Pete mentioned getting his ears pierced before Mum.” Stated Cheryl.
“I did not!”
“Did you?” Mum said over her glasses.
“Yes you did!”
“No!” I relied to Mum, “I didn't” I pleaded to Cheryl. “Well not like that anyway. I didn't say 'I wanted' my ears pierced!” I explained.
“I only said you mentioned it.” Cheryl glared at me. “And I was only going to say I thought it was a good idea. That's all.”
I knew I was being bullied and I knew Mum would come down on me if I retaliated rather than on Cheryl. I gave in. “Sorry.” I said, thinking about what it would be like to wear earrings. Would they look good? Would I like them? Would it hurt? “I guess they'd heal up if didn't like them.” I said cautiously, “I suppose.”
“Well only if you want to.” Sighed Mum, as if she was the one who'd given in to me!
It was like I'd won some moral victory by talking myself into doing something I never wanted to do!
“I could do them tonight!” Said Cheryl.
“Don't I need to go to a salon or something?”
“Not at all!” Insisted Cheryl, “I pierced my own ears.” She added. “Plus, you are grounded.”
I knew I'd cornered myself in to getting this done. “Will it hurt?” I asked.
“Not much.” Cheryl replied. “But you'll have to pay special attention to them whilst the holes heal.”
Cheryl went on to explain about turning them regularly, and how to clean them and when I can take them out and blah blah blah. All I was thinking is 'will it hurt?'. I nodded or grunted occasionally so she'd think I was listening.
After a few moments Cheryl glanced at the time before saying. “I'm gonna have a shower. I'll see you by the dresser in ten OK?”
I nodded. Mum glanced over at me. “Are you looking forward to it Dear?” She asked.
I sighed. “Kind of.” I admitted. I looked down at my feminine chest. “Cheryl said I should try to enjoy wearing dresses instead of hating it.”
“And what do you think?” Asked Mum. She was actually asking my opinion for once!
“I suppose she's right.”
Mum took a breath before replying. “Well, In my opinion you weren't supposed to enjoy this punishment.... however, after Cheryl and I talked this morning about the severity of your punishment, Cheryl suggested you might be happier with some of your own clothes rather than wearing her cast off's all the time...” I nodded intermittently as she spoke, “so as long as you're happy then I'm happy. You are still my son and I still love you.”
I looked her in the eye as she said the last bit. She'd not said that for ages. My heart felt warm. I smiled a thank you.
“You go and meet Cheryl.” Smiled Mum as she clasped my hand. “And don't let her do anything you don't want to, OK?”
Reluctantly I headed for my room. I sat my self at my dressing table, where I noticed an array of make up waiting for me. I looked at each item as I waited for Cheryl to appear.
Cheryl was wearing a short dressing gown when she entered. She closed the door behind her, pulled a chair next to me and told me not to worry. She picked up a tube of something, squeezed a blob of goo onto her thumb and forefinger and rubbed it into each ear lobe and then onto each eye brow. She told me it was to numb my ears so the needle wouldn't hurt.
Next she proceeded to do her own make up, and explained what she was doing as she went. She spent a good ten minutes just explaining how to do eye liner, eye shadow and mascara! I had no idea so much work went in to it all. Cheryl rubbed a bit more of the numbing stuff in to my ear lobes and again my eye brows. “They should be numb in few more minutes.” She said, before applying her lipstick.
“Why did you put it on my eye brows?” I asked.
“I thought I'd shape them a bit, if you don't mind?”
I nodded. 'In for a penny' I thought.
The ear piercing didn't hurt a bit. The gel Cheryl put on my lobes numbed them up a treat. Before long I had a gold stud in each ear. Cheryl reminded me how to care for them whilst the holes set before plucking my eye brows. Once my eye brows had been shaped Cheryl gave me an eye liner pencil and told me how to apply it. It took me a few goes before I got it right. Then she gave me an eye shadow and gave me instruction on how to apply that also, followed by the mascara. “You've done quite a good job.” She said, “Considering you've never done it before.”
I looked at my reflection. Seeing my eyes bordered with black eye liner and eye shadow, along with my finely arched eye brows took me aback somewhat. “That so doesn't look like me!” I exclaimed.
“I Know!” Cheryl replied. “You look quite sweet.”
“I'm not sure about looking sweet.”
“Why not? The whole point of this is so you don't look like a boy dressed as a girl any more.” She reminded.
“I guess you're right” I replied quietly.
“Of course I'm right!”
“There's no getting out of this is there?” I replied sulking.
“Well you've made your bed Peter!” She replied in a matter of fact tone. “So you may as well enjoy laying in it!”
I nodded in agreement. I'd got myself in to this hole. At least it was all in the comfort of my own home I guess.
“Which lippy do you want?” Cheryl asked, turning her attention back to my dressing table.
I pondered for a moment. “I dunno, Pink I guess will match my top.” I replied, trying my best to be constructive.
“Well I was going to suggest a different outfit.” Replied Cheryl as she headed for the wardrobe and removed a dress. “This is nice.” Cheryl held a short black dress with a red floral pattern on it. “With these sandals I think.” She added, removing to a pair of black heeled sandals from the wardrobe, “They should fit.”
I looked at the red flowers which covered the little black dress. “Red?” I suggested.
“Huh?” Said Cheryl as she hung the dress on the wardrobe door.
“Lipstick.” I reminded, “To match the flowers?”
“You're learning girl!” She smiled.
“I'm not a girl!”
“I'm sorry Pete.” She said. “I just don't really see my little brother any more.”
“What do you see? A freak?” I snapped.
“No-o,. Not at all.”
“Sorry I didn't mean to snap.” I said, smoothing my skirt. “This is just all so wrong.”
Cheryl sat next to me and placed her hand in mine. “Pete... I don't think you're a freak. And I'm sorry if I referred to you as a girl... It's just, you do look really sweet and I can't see 'my brother' in you at the moment.” She bit her lip, “I mean..... I know you are my brother, but just now when you were doing your eye make up you seemed more like a little sister.”
A tear rolled down my cheek. I sniffed the next tear back. “I guess I've ruined my eye liner now.” I sniffled, trying to make light of my tears.
“It's waterproof.” She smiled. “Just try not to smudge it eh?”
“Sorry.” I replied, carefully drying my tear with the back of my finger. “I'll stop acting like a girl now.”
She tightened her grip on my hand and looked me in the eye. “No I'm sorry Pete.” She paused, “I didn't mean to upset you. It's just, I've never felt so close to you before today. I love you so much you know?.”
My sister had never said anything nicer to me. We never got on too well before she went to university, but today I've felt a close bond with her. I tightened my grip on her hand. “Now you are going to make me cry!” I replied as lent forward and gave her a hug.
Cheryl gave me squeeze. “I love you Peter.” She whispered softly.
“I love you too Cheryl.”
We hugged for a moment before Cheryl drew back, selected a lipstick and passed it to me. “Here, this one I think. It's not too red”
“Thanks.” I said as I took it from her, removed the lid, formed an 'O' and applied it. “How's that look?” I asked as I checked my reflection.
“Fab!” She said. “I can't wait to show Mum!”
I gulped in fear.
“You'll need to wear some black underwear with this dress.” She said as she removed a black bra from the carrier bag and a pair of matching knickers. “Do you want some tights?”
“er... I... er....” I stammered.
“Tell you what, I've got some hold up's you can have, they'll be nicer than these opaques.”
“What are hold up's?” I asked ignorantly.
Cheryl giggled. “They're like stockings but without the suspender belt. You get changed whilst I go get them.” She replied as she darted up to my old room.
I stripped my clothes off and stepped in to my new black knickers before fiddling with my new bra. Once I'd made sure my bra was straight I stepped into the dress and pulled the straps on to my shoulders. I made sure it was straight before sitting back at my dresser.
I was lost in my reflection. For some bizarre reason seeing myself with pierced ears and make up made this whole 'petticoat punishment' thing seem different, more acceptable somehow. Part of me didn't feel as silly as I felt when I looked more like a boy.
Before long Cheryl returned with the 'hold up's' in her hand. “Now try not to ladder them.” She said as she passed them to me.
“I'll try.” I said before sitting on the edge of my bed and carefully pulling each stocking up each leg. Cheryl passed me my shoes which I dutifully fastened myself in to. I stood up and turned towards the full length mirror.
“How do I look?”
“You look fab Pete...” She grinned. “How do the hold up's feel?”
“Er....” I felt them as the clung tightly to my legs. “OK I guess. A bit strange.”
“You'll get used to them.” She said with a grin.
I grinned back before admiring my reflection for a moment longer.
“Come on!” said Cheryl, “Let's show Mum.”
She grabbed my hand and led me downstairs without hesitation. All of a sudden we were in the lounge. “Well Mum...” Cheryl exclaimed, “What do you think?”
Mum looked up at me and her jaw dropped. A few seconds later she composed herself. “My word!” She said. “I can hardly recognise you!” Her gazed looked me up and down several times. “Very feminine.” She added.
I stood there gob smacked and thumbed the hem of my dress, not knowing what to say.
“He did all his own make up you know!” Cheryl informed Mum.
“Did you?” Mum asked.
“Er... yes...” I replied shyly, “Cheryl told me what to do though.”
“Well you should be proud of yourself.” Complimented Mum. “You've done a very good job considering it's your first time... and that dress looks very nice on you.”
“Oh... er... thank you.” I smiled. “Cheryl chose it for me.” I added.
A moments silence ensued before Cheryl said she needed to to get herself dressed and she darted back up stairs in her dressing gown, leaving Mum and myself alone.
“Well you can sit down if you want dear.” Mum suggested as I stood rooted to the spot.
I trotted to my usual chair and sat down, smoothing the short dress under me as I sat. I rubbed my thumb against the sheer fabric of my hold up's. They felt quite strange, nice but strange.
“How do the tights feel?” Mum asked, “This will be the first time you've worn them is it?”
“Oh.. er... yes.” I nervously replied. “OK I guess.” I added as I straightened one of my legs so I could have a proper look at them. “They're Cheryl's hold up's.” I pointed out. “She said they'd look nicer than the opaque ones.” I nervously added. All this terminology was new to me.
“Well make sure you don't ladder them.” Mum advised.
Cheryl returned wearing a skirt and a blouse and looking like she was ready for a night on the town.
“You look nice.” I said as she sat on the sofa and slipped on her shoes.
“Thanks.” She said, smiling at me. “Not half as nice as you though!” She winked.
I blushed and said nothing. Nervously stroking a bit of my fringe behind my ear.
“Oh I'd forgotten Cheryl was going to pierce your ears.” Said mum as she noticed the gold stud in my ear. “Did it hurt?”
“No not at the time.” I replied confidently. “But they are beginning to throb a bit now.” I added, cautiously feeling my ear.
Mum smiled at me. As did Cheryl. “Only a week or so and you'll be able to try out different styles.” Said Cheryl.
“Uh?” I grunted.
“Different styles of earrings silly!” She grinned, “You know, hoops, dangley ones, different studs...”
“Oh... er... yeah.”
“I feel we can hardly keep calling you Peter.” Said Mum, “I mean, not whilst you look so....”
I looked at Mum as if to ask 'what the fuck!'.
“Sorry love....” Said Mum, “but surely you know what I mean?”
Cheryl grinned. “I know what you mean Mum.”
I knew what she meant too, but there was no way I'd admit it. Both Cheryl and Mum were obviously awaiting a reply from me, but I didn't know how to reply. Or how to best reply more the case!
“How does it feel Pete?” Cheryl asked. “You look so much better that you did this afternoon.”
“OK I guess.” I replied, shuffling in my seat. I noticed the lace top of my stocking appear from the hem of my dress. “I guess I don't feel as silly as I did either.” I said quietly, “I mean... I do, but I don't.”
“How so?” Asked Mum.
“I don't know...” I paused whilst I mentally constructed an answer. “I guess wearing girls clothes made me feel silly and er.... humiliated. And now I kind of..... look like one.... a girl.... it feels.... different?”
“Nicer!” Suggested Cheryl. “More feminine?”
I nodded. Not wanting to verbally admit to them. Again I felt I had to say something in response. I looked down at my little black dress with the red flowers on it, and the hold ups I wore. I saw in my minds eye the black lacy bra and matching knickers I was wearing and remembered how my make up looked. I ran my fingers through my shabby hair. “I guess when my hair's a bit longer...” I said.
“Definitely!” Said Cheryl as she perched herself on my chair arm, placing her arm around my shoulder. “Can I get a photo?” She asked quietly, giving my a hopeful look.
I rolled my eyes, “So long as you don't show anyone!” I insisted.
“I wont.” She replied, “And if anyone sees it I'll just say it's my sister!” She suggested. “Deal?”
“OK.” I sighed.
Cheryl took her phone from her hand bag and I posed whilst she took a couple of shots. “Thanks gorgeous!” She said as she passed Mum the phone so she could have a look.
“Very nice.” Said Mum as she passed Cheryl the phone back.
“Can I see?” I asked. I smiled as I looked at the photo's of what could only be described as 'a girl'.
“I see what you mean now.” I said.
“Told you!” Said Cheryl. I passed her the phone back. “Thanks” She said, before glancing at the clock. “I'd better get going.” With that, she gave me a quick hug and a kiss before grabbing her bag and setting off to meet her friends. “See you later Mum.” She said as she left.
“Bye love.” Said Mum before turning to me. “Shame... it would have been nice to get a photo of you both together.”
“Maybe tomorrow eh?” I suggested before sitting back down.
Mum smiled and returned her attention to the magazine she'd been reading.
A while later Mum looked up and said, “I don't know what I've had called you if you had been a girl you know.”
I silently pondered what Mum was getting at for a moment. “Do you want to give me a girlie name now too?” I asked, with both sarcasm and concern.
Mum thought about her answer before replying. “No....” She said, “But maybe you might want a girls name until your exams are over?” She paused. “I mean, you did say you preferred looking like a girl rather than just dressing like one.... I just wondered. That's all.”
“Oh.... I don't know Mum.” I looked at my long slim stocking clad legs poking out beneath my little black dress with the little red flowers all over it. I Looked at the way the gel in my bra made my chest stick out. “I guess I enjoyed today more than I expected.... I mean.... I was horrified when you gave me a bra.” I gulped. “But with all the make up and stuff....” I stroked my leg. “I guess I like the way it all feels.... in a way.” I looked up at Mum.
Mum smiled and said, “Well so you should. You look very nice Dear.”
I smiled and fiddled with my hem. "Thanks." I said.
“Just make sure you don't wear it during the week.” Mum Said, "I don't think Mrs Barnes would approve." She added.