Double Dare 6 – Who Dares Wins
by Maeryn Lamonte
Stephanie survived her first week at school, but only just. She was definitely falling apart towards the end, and probably would have if it hadn't been for Portia. Still it'll probably be easier to put him/her back together the way he/she was meant to be now.
There are still quite a few loose ends left to tie up, not least amongst them being what will happen when the new Stevie turns up at School on Monday morning.
There aren't many things more welcome to a hungry body and an ailing soul than a large plate of lasagne. I dug in with great relish enjoying everything about this meal. If the food wasn't enough, there were the relieved and genuine smiles of my parents and best of all the comforting presence of Portia sitting ever so close beside me.
“So this means no more dressing up then?”
“I'm not sure what it means Dad. I don't think I'll be going to school in a skirt on Monday though, and I doubt I'll want to go to church in a dress either. Beyond that I can't promise anything, but you can tell the vicar that you're no longer supporting my cross dressing if you like.”
“I'm not sure I understand, I thought you were through this.”
“Well in a way I am, but generally when you go through something then you end up in a different place, and that's where I am now. It's going to take a bit of exploring and there may be a few changes that I'm sure you'll want to discuss, but on the whole I think it'll end up being better. For everyone.”
After the meal, Portia and I washed up and put things away, then I wanted to take my girlfriend up to my room so we could have a bit of privacy. Mum and Dad weren't that happy about it, until I mentioned that I'd already slept in the same room as four beautiful girls and nothing had happened.
“If it makes you feel any better about it, I'll put on a dress and behave like a girl while we're up there.”
They decided that wouldn't be necessary, that they thought they could trust me, so Portia and I enjoyed an hour of uninterrupted privacy before it was time for her to go home. Dad offered to drive her, but I said I was happy to walk her, as long as the ban on my wandering around the streets late at night had been lifted. Apparently it had and we ended our evening with a leisurely stroll back to her house, and long and languorous kiss on her doorstep, which might have lasted longer still, had the porch light not gone on and interrupted us.
“I'll came round for you at about nine tomorrow then.”
“I'll be waiting. Goodnight Stevie.”
I slept in pyjamas that night and felt good about it. The thing about clothes is that it's easier for a woman to get away with wearing a man's things than the other way round, and both the Stephanie and the Steve inside me felt happier with this arrangement. I could feel those two different parts of myself and they were linked, like conjoined twins, inside me. They were blending more and more into one person even after such a short time, and whilst Steven would have been ok wearing a nighty if Stephanie had wanted or needed it, the reality was that right now I felt just as comfortable, if not more so, wearing my boy clothes.
I woke early, before the alarm, and dressed fully as Steven. Ok, not quite fully. I'd become too used to the pleasant feel of soft knickers and tights, so had those on underneath. I just hoped that we weren't going clothes shopping anywhere where the changing rooms were potentially exposed. I packed the top and skirt in a bag, so as to keep my promise to Portia, and stepped out of the house at half past eight. I hadn't eaten breakfast – probably nerves – but suspected I might be invited in to the Allen's, especially if Portia wanted to change before we went out. If not, we could always find a café when we arrived in town.
As predicted, Mr Allen was standing behind Portia when she answered the door. I decided on formalities first.
“Hello Mr Allen, pleased to meet you.”
“Hello erm, Steven right? You look familiar, have I seen you around somewhere?”
Awkward. Oh well, best get it out of the way.
“Er yes, do you remember Stephanie?”
“Portia's friend from last week? Oh my, yes I see it. You must be her twin. I'm sorry you must get this all the time, but you look just like her.”
There didn't seem to be an elegant way out of this, especially with Portia giggling in the background. I gave her the bag of clothes and she dashed upstairs to change.
“Er, tea if you have it please.”
“As long as you don't mind the tea bag in a mug sort.”
“That will be great sir, thank-you. Er milk no sugar.”
A short while later I had a steaming mug in my hands and a plate of muffins under my nose.
“Portia made them; I suspect with you in mind.”
How could I refuse? I took one and was halfway through it when Portia reappeared giving a delighted twirl. The skirt and top weren't quite her colour, but she still looked pretty amazing in them.
I quickly downed the rest of my muffin and tea while Portia gave her Dad the obligatory peck on the cheek and we made for the door.
“You know we're going to have to tell your parents before they figure it out.”
“I suppose. It's a shame though, I kind of like Stephanie being able to come round for sleep overs and come up to my room without Mum and Dad freaking out.”
“Still I'd hate for them to find out after we'd taken advantage of their trust.”
“You're no fun.”
“I know, but there are some things you don't mess with and one is your girlfriend's parents.”
“You didn't seem to mind last week.”
“Last week I was as much your girlfriend as you were mine, and it was different, even if they probably wouldn't see it that way.”
“You really know how to ruin a mood. You know there's going to be fallout from last week either way?”
“Yeah, I know.”
Time to change the subject before this morning gets too heavy.
“So yesterday. Your idea about me needing to be both Steven and Stephanie, how's that going to work?”
“I don't really know, but it seems a bit like you're already doing it.”
“What do you mean?”
“It's hard to put into words. It's like when you were either Steven or Stephanie you were suppressing the other part of you. Today you feel... well kind of relaxed and laid back. You're not trying to keep any part of you hidden. It's a bit like when I found you yesterday, you were already wearing some of both Steven and Stephanie's cloths together; now you're wearing some of both of their personality's instead.”
“Er, actually the clothes bit as well.”
I leaned into her ear. “I'm wearing knickers and tights under my jeans.”
“You see? You're not trying to push any of yourself away. I mean why are you... you know wearing...”
We were out in public and I guess she realised she was talking out loud.
“I guess it felt right. It was something I wanted to do and...”
“...you did it.”
“So how's this going to end? Am I going to allow myself to do anything I want until I end up being some mixed up freak halfway between man and girl?”
“No, because there's a difference between suppressing part of you because you're afraid and making adjustments to fit in with society. I mean sometimes I feel like running down the street topless – no actually I do. Not very often, but it happens. The thing is I don't because I know I don't want to live with the outrage I'd cause.
“A lot of life is about figuring out how to live with the people around you, also figuring out which of the desires inside you are right and which aren't. A lot of the time those decisions are easy to make – black and white – like I would never walk into my parent's room stark naked. I wouldn't want to shock them like that, I don't have a lot to gain from doing it and it doesn't fulfil some deep seated need. Others are more grey, where you're not convinced that other people's opinions are right. Like, I don't know, my Dad hates the twenty mile an hour speed limits near schools. Not because they're wrong. Whenever schools are in session he obeys the speed limits religiously, and especially at the beginning and end of the school day, but why should the twenty limit exist on a Sunday as well when there's no-one inside the school?
“I know, silly examples, but I wanted to give you the idea that the same kind of thing exists outside your gender issues. Now you apply the same thing to the way you are. No-one gets to tell you how you are inside. That's you, and if you try and be someone else you're going to end up the kind of emotional train wreck you were as Steven. At the same time though, you know that if you choose to live as a sort of half and half man/woman mix, you're probably not going to find any sort of happiness because one, it won't express who you really are inside and two, not many people will be prepared to accept you like that.
“I guess you are going to have to decide at some stage whether you want to live as a man or a woman, because those are the choices society offers, but whatever you decide, on the inside you should still be totally you.”
“What do you want me to be?”
“Oh no. This is your decision, please don't make it about me. I don't want to be responsible for squeezing you into another shape that's not a good fit. Besides I probably already told you too much about the way I feel.”
“Ok, let me put it this way. If I were to decide to live as a man, because, let's face it, that's the easier option. If I were to do that, how do I stop the Stephanie part of me being squashed again?”
“You let her out, and no, I don't know what that's going to mean. It may be that there's a part of the Stephanie you that you can integrate into the persona you present to the world without them thinking you're too weird. It could be that you'll have to put on a dress every now and again and, in the right circumstances, what harm is that going to cause? It may even help. I mean that week after the dare when you were dressed as Steven but acting like Stephanie, it felt weird. I mean when we went out on the Friday, because you looked like a girl and you behaved like a girl, it was easy for us to accept you as a girl. When you looked like a boy but acted like a girl, it just felt... off.
“However you choose to live, you're going to have to find ways of keeping all of you in balance. I think a large part of that is going to involve surrounding yourself with people who love and care for you and will stand by you no matter what.”
She smiled and kissed me.
“Now you're getting it, and above all, don't worry. Tomorrow when you wake up, if you feel like you totally need to be a girl, put on a dress and come round, we'll do girl stuff together. Like I said, I like Stephanie; she's fun. If on the other hand you feel like a guy, get dressed like this and I'll find something more interesting for us to do.”
“And in fifty years’ time when I have a pot belly and hair growing out of my ears?”
“We'll burn that bridge when we come to it. Who knows, I may be a hideous crone by then myself.”
“Not if you're mum's anything to go by – Ow!” She had sharp elbows.
“Were you checking my mum out?”
“Only saying that if you end up looking like her when you're older you'll still be the hottest girl around.”
“You were weren't you? Oh gah, you fancy my mum.”
The faint smile and the twinkle in her eyes reassured me that she was joking. Still if she was going to play those sort of games...
“Hey, I was just making sure I'd still fancy you in thirty years or so.”
She batted me and stuck her lower lip, so I did the same to her until she couldn't help but burst out laughing. We carried on that way for a while then settled into a comfortable silence. There was something I needed to say though.
“It wouldn't matter you know?”
“What you looked like in thirty years. As long as you were still the person you are right now on the inside I'd still love you as much as I do right now.”
She grabbed hold of me and we somehow managed to keep walking towards town with her trying to burrow her way inside my chest.
“Steph tell you to say that?”
“I am Steph. Just as much as I am Steven. So yeah, kind of.”
“Hey girly boy.”
Oh hell. Jon and Matt. I guess the mall was a hangout for a lot of guys from school, but what were the odds of bumping into these two?
“What's the matter, all your dresses in the wash, or did your mummy make you wear little boy clothes today.”
“Listen guys, you had your fun. Can't you just give us a little space now?”
“Oh I don't think so. You know we haven't forgotten how stupid you made us look a couple of weeks ago, and as for last week, I mean that was just wrong in so many ways.”
“Mind you it does explain a few things. I mean why Portia has always been such an ice cold bitch. Maybe she fancies girls. Maybe she gets her jollies from turning pansies like you into girls so she can...”
It didn't really matter who was saying what, they were both out of order. I stepped forward furiously with enough emotion showing to shut up their stream of filth.
“You can take that back.”
“Or what pansy-girl? You going to burst into tears at us?”
“Come on Steve, they're not worth it.”
Portia pulled at me arm and I allowed myself to be led away.
“Hey not so fast poofta. You're going to do something for us.”
“Why would I?”
“Glad you asked. Remember those photos we have of you dressed as a girl? Be a shame if the newspapers got hold of them wouldn't it?”
“The head told everyone that there would be hell to pay if anyone leaked what's been happening at school to the press. You wouldn't risk it.”
“I'm not talking about you poncing around school in a girl's uniform. I mean the original photos from two weeks ago when you went for a girl's night out in a frilly pink dress. That has nothing to do with the school. Put the picture of you in a dress alongside this one,” he took a photograph of me with his phone, “and the newspapers have the story they've been sniffing after all week.”
They'd probably do it as well, and get away with it. After last week I could probably handle the flack that would follow, but it wouldn't be fair on my parents or Portia and the other girls.
“What is it you want?”
“Oh it's not that hard. I mean now that you're in tight with such beautiful babes as the lovely Portia here, you can swing it so that a couple of them would go out with us tonight can't you?”
This wasn't good. I mean once you give into blackmail once you're caught.
“There is no way...”
“I guess I could have a word with Jenny and Debbie for you,” Portia interrupted me, “but you have to promise to leave us alone afterwards.”
“Oh we promise alright.” If sincerity were a place, these guys would be on the opposite side of the planet. “Oh and they've got to be ready to put out as well.”
“We'll meet you in the park this afternoon, about six.”
They backed off looking very pleased with themselves.
I turned to Portia and hissed, “What do you think you're doing?”
“Planning something. Look I know you haven't been a girl for very long, but just trust me that we aren't totally helpless, and that we will always do what's necessary to help our friends.”
She pulled her phone out and started texting. She wouldn't show me what she was doing and that had me, if anything, more worried.
We spent the morning wandering around the shops. At one point Portia asked me how I felt about having my ears pierced. It took me a moment to sort out my feelings and in the end I decided I was quite up for it. I didn't though, not then. I figured I'd put my folks through enough recently and I felt they deserved a break. There was always next weekend though, or maybe the weekend after that.
We did a lot of nothing in the Christopher Robin sense – you know, when grown-ups ask, 'What are you going to do?' and you say, 'Nothing,' and then you go and do it – and had a lot of fun doing it. I couldn't quite lose the nagging concern about what was going to happen in the park later, but every time I tried to raise the subject, Portia told me not to worry about it, that it was all taken care of.
After lunch at the local fish and chip shop, Portia decided it was time to head back.
“Amanda, Jenny and Debbie want to meet my new boyfriend,” she told me. “They want to see what's so special about you, then we have to plan out what we're going to do when those two morons come along.”
It was like meeting the girls for the first time, but not. They treated me like a totally different person, I couldn't do the same for them. Eventually though we got over the initial awkwardness and in no time they were chatting to me almost as freely as they had to Steph. There was a different-yet-the-sameness about the whole thing, partly down to me having Steven in the mix and partly down to them treating me differently with trousers on. We did find a new balance easily enough though and soon the same openness in our conversation re-established itself.
Jennie and Debbie had come wearing unusually cute and girlish outfits for what I knew of their normal tastes – after all I did still have a significant amount of each of their clothing hanging in my wardrobe – but I didn't really twig until six o'clock started to loom closer and the girls set about their preparations for the unholy tryst with Thing one and Thing two.
Amanda ducked out early. It seemed she was responsible for getting the two in the right frame of mind, something she was best qualified to do because her Dad owned an off license. Jenny, Debs and Portia talked through the final stages of the plot, with me listening in with growing appreciation and not a little disquiet.
“You really think they'll go for it?”
“Never underestimate the male capacity for stupidity, present company accepted of course.” Debbie blushed bright red as she realised what she had said and in whose presence.
“Stevie's enough of a girl to realise you're right, aren't you?”
I found myself nodding. Actually I genuinely thought they were right.
“I'm still worried though. I mean things could still turn bad.”
“Which is why we chose this location. It's secluded enough to put them at ease, but if you look through here.”
Portia led me over to a divide in the bushes which led to a small gate out of the park.
“In a minute or two the local and regional press will get a tip that the 'boy in a dress' from one of the local schools will be somewhere around here between six and half past. By six the street will be teaming with reporters, so if either Dumb or Dumberer gets too frisky with the girls, one scream will bring everyone running and there'll be a slightly different story to the one we planned.”
Sure enough at six o'clock things started to come together. We began to hear the sound of cars and vans pulling up in the street, just as Jon and Matt came into view. They weren't exactly walking straight either, courtesy of the six-pack of lager Amanda had liberated from the offie and left on the ground in their path.
Morality never really a strong suit with these two, they had decided that the finders keepers rule applied and had run off with their discovery. Now, with the contents of the cans shared evenly between their two stomachs, they were definitely beginning to feeling the effects.
Jenny and Debs stood to greet them and did a masterful acting job, keeping smiles fixed in place despite the beer-breath and other alcohol enhancements, and led them into the bushes. I don't know how they managed it, but in next to no time they had Jon and Matt twisted well and truly around their little fingers. Then Debbie's voice drifted over to us.
“You know this is great, but it's nowhere near as much fun as the other week with Steve is it Jen?”
“No that really got me hot.”
“Hey what's that creep got that we don't?” Matt, or maybe Jon. It was difficult to tell through the drunken slur.
“Well it was when he got all dressed up in Portia's clothes, that made me so horny. Portia too, you shoulda seen what they got up to just after.”
“Hey that's no big, we could do that. It's a shame you don't have any spare clothes otherwise we'd show you.”
“Well we could always swap clothes. I mean that would be so much more... Ooh I'm getting all hot just thinking about it.” Jen was quite the consummate actress.
“Well I don't know...”
“Aw come on, no-one's going to see us in here. It'll be fun.”
There followed a lot of giggling and fumbling and a few minutes later Jen and Debbie came running and stumbling out of the bushes wearing jeans and tee-shirts that didn't look totally out of place on them, laughing so hard they could barely keep on their feet.
“Hey weren't those guys wearing dresses over there,” Portia said in a loud voice, closing the trap. “They ran into the bushes over there.”
A mini stampede of reporters came charging into view just as Matthew and Jonathan appeared running after the girls and their clothes. They weren't half as convincing as I had been, but they did look cute in their frills and lace. Flash bulbs were firing off all over the place and the boys were swallowed up in a whirlpool of reporters asking questions they had no way of answering.
Amanda met us outside the public bogs with a couple of carrier bags of clothes so that Jen and Debbie could change into their normal outfits.
“You know that went better than I could have hoped for,” Portia chuckled. “Those guys won't dare come after you now.”
“Yeah, I reckon by the time this has all blown over everyone will have just about forgotten Stephanie's short visit to school,” Amanda added. “I think this will work out really well for all concerned. Except perhaps for Cute and Cuterer back there.”
We all burst out laughing again.
“Ok so what should we do next?” Jen asked as she came out of the toilet looking fresh and ready to party, Debbie following close on her heels.
All eyes turned to me expectantly.
“I was thinking about those dance moves we were practising the other night. It'd be a shame to waste all that hard work.”
“Cool,” Portia's eyes were dancing with excitement. “Do you want to go like that or...”
“Well, dancing is a lot more fun when you're wearing a dress.”
“I was hoping you'd say that.”
She and Amanda grabbed my hands and dragged me into the ladies loos where a third bag was waiting. It contained makeup, shoes, a bra, some more of those homemade cup-fillers and... Portia's pink dress.
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