Chapter 4 – Karen Comes Alive
Karen put on flats for the evening, but stayed in the same dress after considerable debate over whether it was too fancy for the Festival; they all agreed that she looked stunning in the dress, and it would be a shame to change. To ward off the evening chill that usually came in from the cool waters of the lake, Sally found a light blue sweater with bunnies embroidered on the front that Karen carried on her arm.
To provide a cover story, it was decided that she would be Karen Dawson, a cousin of Sally’s from Chicago. Mark’s story would be that he became enamored at first sight with Karen when she appeared on the campus to meet Sally for a visit. Thus, it was that the six of them, five girls (including Karen) and Mark, decided to go to the Festival.
As they entered, Mark took Karen’s hand, and soon the two were separated by a few feet from the four girls. There were three band stages at the Festival, one that featured older style cover bands, another that headed into heavy metal and funk, and a final smaller one that booked a mixture of jazz, blues and folk groups.
“We’re going to hear Third Dimension,” Mary announced, referring to a covers band.
“Where you going?” Carla boomed, speaking loud over the crowd noise. “I don’t know where you two love birds will find love songs.”
Karen blushed, but she hadn’t realized how easily she had taken to being escorted by Mark, to feel her hand so tiny and soft, it seemed, in the firm but gentle grasp of the handsome boy at her side. The two hadn’t spoken of it, but they seemed to melt together as if one. Karen could be sure when Mark took her hand, it had been so natural a movement.
“I guess we’ll stay with you guys,” Mark announced, suddenly stopping and turning to Karen, with a questioning look in his eyes. “That’s if it’s OK with you honey?”
The six settled onto the boards that constituted the seats set up for the Festival, near the back of the huge gathering, but still seated close enough to hear the music from the stage.
“What d’ya want, honey?” Mark whispered gently into her ear.
“Just something diet, Mark,” Karen said, giving the boy a shy, sweet smile.
Mark stood up, addressing the others, announcing that he was going for drinks and asking if any of the others wanted anything. They all stated their preferences.
“You can’t carry them all, Mark,” Mary said. “Let me go along and help you.”
“Oh I can go with him,” Karen said.
“No, honey, you sit and relax here. Mary can help me,” he replied.
Mark leaned over and gave Karen a brief, but affectionate kiss on her cheek.
Karen shivered slightly with the touch of his lips, and a wave of excitement rushed throughout her body. The kiss was brief, but loaded with meaning. Could a girl ever feel happier?
Karen’s reaction must have shown; she knew she must have grown red in the face and Mark’s kiss had attracted the attention of many of the strangers sitting near the group. Out of the corner of her eye, Karen saw a group of college-age boys ogle the four girls, accompanied by the pointing of fingers, nods of the heads and conspiratorial smiles. The night was still warm, and Karen hadn’t put on the wrap she had brought, as she sat her pretty shoulders and slender arms exposed. She sat primly, her hands in her lap and her shapely legs crossed.
One thing Karen had come to recognize: Among the five girls, she was easily the prettiest, and she was embarrassed by the thought. She had always been so shy, afraid to show herself for others to judge: her body was so slight and unmuscular that she was ashamed to show it. Now, that same body was the subject of admiration. And, she liked the idea.
Sally, who was sitting next to Karen, leaned over and said: “What is it with you two?”
“What do ya’ mean?”
“We’re just practicing our roles as lovers for the play,” Karen said.
“You could fool us, Karen. There was real feeling in that kiss. I could sense it.”
“Oh Mark’s just a good actor is all.”
“Well then so are you, Karen,” Sally said.
Karen couldn’t help herself; she broke out in a smile, and she knew it was more than “acting” that went into Mark’s kiss and her reaction. Was there really love developing?
Emily leaned into the conversation, and said, “You’ve really become quite a convincing girl, Karen. In fact, I think you’re the girliest girl among us, right Sally?”
“Oh easily, she is also the prettiest,” Sally said. “It must come natural to her.”
“And we’re all getting jealous,” Emily added. “Those boys over there. They’re not looking at any of us, just her.”
Karen sat there, looking ahead, not replying. She suddenly realized: Yes, being a girl was indeed so natural and easy. Was she not always a girl, and never realized it? She loved the idea of being soft and dainty, of having the attention of boys and of having a lovely, curvy figure. Her reverie was interrupted with the return of Mark and Mary with the drinks, along with Jimmie, the other young man from their acting class.
“Look who we found all alone by the drink stand,” Mary announced.
Karen looked up to see Jimmie, smiling in his effeminate way, standing before her. A sudden shot of fear engulfed her: certainly he might detect her real identity.
Sally, sensing the situation, quickly stood up, and said to Jimmie: “This is Karen. She’s my cousin from Chicago.”
Karen and Jimmie nodded. Momentarily, the boy looked questioningly at Karen, as if he must have recognized, then, nodding and mumbling, “Nice to meet you,” turned away and took a seat in between Emily and Sally.
Mark sat next to Karen, handed her a soda and gave her another quick kiss. This one was no less electrifying than the earlier kiss and Karen shuddered with excitement. At the same time, Mark’s left hand caressed her slender arm, gently kneading the soft flesh, making the girl realize just how tender she was. Karen’s excitement grew.
How wonderful it felt to be a girl! Why couldn’t it be forever?
“I bought you a present, Karen,” Mark said when hey returned to the room together.
“You did?” she said, enjoying her role now as a girl.
Mark opened a dresser drawer and removed a white box, tied artfully with a pink ribbon and a bow. There was a scent of lilac that seemed to emanate from the box, as he handed it to Karen.
“That’s for me?” she blushed as she took the box.
“Who else is so pretty? Of course it’s for you? I even wrapped it myself.”
“Oh Mark, you’re such a darling,” Karen said, playing the role to its maximum.
“Well, open it, Karen.”
Karen felt so flattered that she held the box in her lap for a long moment, gently caressing the bow with one hand.
“I hate to open it, Mark. You did such a pretty job tying it up.”
“God, you’re such a girl,” he said, smiling. “Just open it up.”
Karen carefully removed the ribbon, so as not to ruin it, her slender, pretty fingers moving gently. Finally, the ribbon removed, she carefully placed it on her bed, and she could see Mark’s anticipation was growing, eager to see this pretty girl open her gift.
Finally, she opened up the box, and slowly moved aside the white tissue paper, reaching in and removing a peach colored frock, full of ruffles and lace. She lifted it up, held it by two thin straps and smiled.
“Oh Mark, it’s lovely. For me?”
“For you,” he said. “I couldn’t have such a pretty girl in those ugly old PJs.”
Karen stood up, holding the nightie before her by the straps. She moved to the mirror and looked at it and a bright smile burst across her face.
“I can’t wait to try it on,” she said.
“Well go now,” he said in a commanding tone. “Take your shower and pretty yourself up and then come out and show me how you look. I can hardly wait.”
Karen looked at her friend, who was now standing next to her, several inches taller. She stood up on her toes, lifting one leg off the floor and put her arms around Mark, and kissed him.
“You’re so sweet, Mark,” she said, feeling very much a girl.
Karen was eager to get showered and ready for Mark to be received warmly in his strong arms, but she also wanted to look soft, warm and sensuous for him. She donned a faintly scented body lotion, rubbing it all over, looking at herself in the mirror and marveling at how naturally feminine her body was. She detected some growth of beard on her face, even though she had shaved only that morning, and worried that it might chaff Mark in their hugs and kisses, she shaved again. It was a reminder again that she had been born a boy, and a momentary realization that when this acting charade was over she would no longer be Karen, but Kenny again, a pathetic example of boy soon to be a young man.
She puzzled over this dilemma as she shaved, examining her slender shoulders and thin arms that were so convincingly female.
“I’ll enjoy being Karen while I can,” she thought, looking into the mirror. “My oh my, I do look pretty, don’t I? I should have been a girl.”
As she mused, she realized her penis had grown hard and she was beginning to feel tense. She had a desire to play with it, to milk it into action, but quickly stifled the thought. She concentrated on completing her shave, and readying herself for Mark. The activity softened the offending member, silently cursing that she still had these male characteristics that somehow intruded upon her girlhood.
She was surprised when she returned to the room, wearing satin peach-colored panties, adorned with a light blue lace, under her new nightgown. She had let her hair flow freely and loose about her head, giving her a carefree appearance that belied her own tension at wondering how she would act being with a young man and being his lover. She was naïve about so much.
What surprised her was that Mark also had showered and shaved (he must have used another boy’s shower) and stood before her scented with a musky, fresh smell of male cologne. He wore a skimpy pair of shorts and a light nightshirt, unbuttoned that hung carelessly off his broad shoulders and exposed the muscular chest and flat, firm stomach. His thighs were hard and he looked warm and inviting.
“Oh Karen,” the boy said upon seeing her. He stood there gawking at her.
Karen didn’t know what to say. What a hunk! That came to her mind quickly, just picking up on what she heard her girl friends say often upon seeing a particularly sexy young man. She realized she was thinking like a girl.
“I love how you look,” the boy said. “So casual, and natural. What a girl!”
Karen blushed and rushed to him, reaching to hug him, while rising on her toes to kiss him. He tasted delicious and she felt herself suddenly engulfed into his body, smothered by his manliness. She smelled the cologne and with it his lovely male odor. She felt so weak and fragile in his arms, imagining that he could crush her without much effort.
His hands explored her body, moving under the nightgown and into her panties, carefully avoiding his tiny, but now hardened penis. Karen panted heavily, moaning softly as his caresses became more insistent. Soon they were on her bed, legs intertwined as they hugged and kissed, their lips exploring each other’s body, their bodies soon glistening with sweat as their embraces grew more intense.
Suddenly, Mark eased up on his caresses and moved away from Karen. She could hear his panting and heavy breathing and saw he had found a small towel that he must have had at the ready. He placed the towel over his crotch, letting out a big sigh and relaxing.
“You masturbated,” Karen said, trying to keep the disappointment from her voice.
“I’m sorry,” he said slowly, as if trying to catch his thoughts. “I couldn’t help it. You’re just so . . . so . . . ah . . . sexy, I guess. What else can I say?”
“Oh Mark, I know. This is so weird.”
“You know you’re really all girl, darling,” he said. He had turned to lay on his back, and Karen was on her side, looking at him. (“What a hunk,” she thought again.)
“But I’m not, Mark,” she said, tears beginning to form in her eyes.
“You are to me,” he said.
“That’s sweet to hear,” Karen said, realizing how ridiculous it was. She was only “play-acting” as a girl and the play would be ending in 10 days. Then it would be back to being Kenny.
“You know, Karen,” Mark began, hesitating a bit. “I’ve never been with a girl like this before. I’m a virgin.”
“You can’t be right,” she protested. “You’re such a hunk (‘there’s that word again’) and I would have imagined you’d have girls every night of the week.”
“You’re cute,” he said. “But I’ve always been kind of afraid to be with a girl like this. Maybe I’m gay or something.”
“You didn’t act like that with me,” she said. “I only felt you were on me as if I were a girl.”
The two stopped a reflected for a while, Karen laying back on the bed, both looking into the ceiling. She imagined they made a lovely couple: a “hunk” and her pretty girl friend. It brought a smile to her face.
“I’m a virgin, too,” she said after a few moments. “In fact, Kenny never had a date. He was always so shy. Besides, who’d want to go out with him.”
“Well I know plenty of boys who’d wanna go out with Karen,” he said. “But they’ll have to beat me up first.”
She leaned over to kiss him; he responded and the two embraced quietly, content to lay together in each other’s arms, as the lovers they were.
Karen awoke as the first morning light entered the room, brightening the room. She felt content and relaxed and soon the scent of her partner filled her senses, a slightly sour, but sweet scent, reflecting as she remembered an evening of sheer bliss. Never had she been so happy.
Mark snored lightly and regularly, and Karen found it just an adorable noise. She realized she had a leg linked with his leg and one of her arms was draped over his shoulder. She kissed him lightly on the cheek, trying not to awaken him. She needn’t have worried since he was in a deep sleep. Was this what married life was like, she wondered? To have a man close to her, and such a man, so strong and masculine, yet gentle and sweet and considerate.
She began imagining awakening each morning to such feelings, to getting up to make him a hearty breakfast and maybe even his lunch to take to work. She enjoyed the thought of laundering his clothes, of taking his underwear out of the hamper and smelling his masculine odors before placing them in the washer. She pictured herself ironing his clothes, her hair up in curlers while wearing an apron. Preparing his dinner and prettying herself up for his arrival home from work to receive his ravenous kisses. Is that what life has in store for her?
Karen wondered what it would be like to bear his children, to grow large with a child in her belly and then to give birth. Oh what a wonder!
Then she began to cry, sobbing softly so as not to disturb him. A profound sadness came over her. She could never bear a child; it’s against all science known to man. She was, alas, not a woman, not even a pretty girl. She was a boy! Karen quietly turned away from her lover.
Karen decided that for the next ten days she’d enjoy being a girl. It may be the last time in her life that she could live such a role. Her strange behavior of being a boy acting as a girl could easily be explained since it was for an acting spot in a play that would be performed once in public on the night before graduation from the summer program. She was pleased to have been chosen for the part of Ophelia and began to believe in her own mind that she was the ideal girl to play the part of such a fragile, vulnerable young lady.
She took Professor McIver’s advice literally: she would live the part of Ophelia in the last ten days of the camp, dressing always as a girl, using primarily clothes from Sally along with some accessories from Mary and Carla. Karen had purchased a few sets of panties, two bras (size A) and three camisoles, along with several pairs of pantyhose and thigh highs.
Mary and Sally suggested to Karen that the trio should do some clothes shopping to fill out Karen’s closet, a trip that was proposed to happen after classes on Monday.
Karen was excited by the prospect of playing such a major role, but was fearful, too. It would be the first time her mother and younger brother – who would drive to the camp for the performance – would see her as a girl. She wanted to be totally believable in the role, and that would mean she’d have to erase any sign of masculinity from the performance. How shocked would his mother be? And, almost as worrying, was how mean and nasty would his brother be?
Many thoughts raced through Karen’s mind as she dressed for class that day, her memories of being a girl in the arms of her lover and the ecstasy of those sweet embraces coupled with the reality that she was after all boy with a mother and a brother who would hardly see her for what she was beginning to feel she really was.
Since the day was to be warm, maybe as high as 90, Karen chose to wear a pair of navy blue shorts that hardly reached mid-thigh and a light violet-colored tee-shirt. Underneath she wore a bra, to which she had inserted small foam pad to form tiny breasts, and panties. She wore white sandals and no stockings. She tied her hair into a high ponytail, fixed with light blue ribbons. In the mirror, she wondered: Do I look too young, like a middle school girl instead of the college age freshman she was?
“Aren’t you the cute one!” exclaimed Mark as she left the bathroom.
Karen couldn’t help but blush, since she felt that she did indeed look “cute.”
“But don’t I look too young in this, Mark?” she asked, giving a quick turn so that he could see her from all sides.
“Maybe, but you look too good to change, like real ‘jail-bait,’” he said with a smile.
“I could change,” she hastened.
“No way, besides we’ll be late for breakfast. Let’s just go. You look fine.”
The four girls, Carla, Mary, Sally and Emily, had already staked out a table in the cafeteria when Mark and Karen arrived. Jimmie had also found a seat at an adjoining table, and was saving the seats, Karen realized, for she and Mark. A pang of guilt and fear raced through her mind, realizing that just the night before she had been introduced to Jimmie as “Karen Dawson,” Sally’s cousin from Chicago.
Sure enough, Jimmie had a strange look on his face as the pair joined him after saying “hi” to the four girls. Karen felt everyone in the cafeteria was looking at her as she carried her tray of fruit and yogurt and coffee to the table.
Jimmie caught on right away.
“Damn,” Jimmie said in his high, overly feminine tone. “Aren’t you the cute one? And such a performance last night, too? A ‘cousin,’ eh?”
“I’m sorry, Jimmie, we didn’t know what to say when you showed up,” Karen said.
“Besides that was Sally’s idea,” Mark interjected.
“Well, you look adorable, dear,” Jimmie said. “I’ll be honored to be with you. Sit down both of you.”
“You’re a sweetheart, Jimmie dear,” Karen said, sitting next to him on the bench.
Conversation stalled for a few minutes while the three of them ate their breakfast, before Jimmie broke the silence.
“You really had me fooled, Kenny.”
“Darling, I’m Karen,” she said playing along.
“Of course, Karen, I so wanted that part, dear, and you stole it from me,” Jimmie said.
“No she won it fair and square,” Mark interjected.
“I thought I be a better girl,” Jimmie said. “But I have to admit you’re pretty convincing.”
“She’s more than convincing,” Mark said emphatically. “She’s all female. Well, nearly all.”
They all three laughed. Karen still wondered whether Jimmie was truly satisfied and might try something to sabotage her role. She felt his effusive gushing went over the top and may have been masking his true feelings of hurt and betrayal, feelings that could result in disaster.
“Well, I see we have lost a classmate,” Professor Stanton McIver said as he opened the class. The windows were wide open but the slight breeze hardly did much to allieviate the stifling heat from the classroom. Since the school was located next to Lake Michigan and its usually cool waters helped to cool the buildings, only a few were air-conditioned. McIver like all of the class was in shorts and a tee shirt.
“Mr. Hansson has left us and I see Miss Hansson has joined us,” he said. “Would our new class member rise and introduce herself.”
Karen rose from her seat, gave a slight curtsey, and began:
“Good morning, I’m taking Mr. Hansson’s place. I’m Karen Hansson and I’m pleased to join the class and only hope I am worthy of the trust that Professor McIver has placed in me. I promise to be the best Ophelia I can be.”
Karen curtsied again, and as clapping filled the room, she sat down.
“I’m pleased to see Miss Hansson has understood an actor’s challenge,” McIver continued. “She has realized that she must be Ophelia for the next ten days, and that means she must be in the role 24/7. I applaud you Miss Hansson and to those others of you in this room who also have realized that they must ‘live’ a part in order to play it. Now let’s get to work.”
As class recessed for a break, Jimmie walked by Karen, whispering in her ear, “bitch.” He was gone before she could respond.
“I’m feel bad about Jimmie,” Karen confessed to Carla, as the two sat on a bench during the lunch break.
Carla and Karen left their other friends, who stayed in the air-conditioned cafeteria, and went out into the hot summer heat for a “breath of fresh air,” in Carla’s word, persuading Karen to join her. Carla had noticed Karen’s mood changed after the first class and wondered whether it had anything to do with Jimmie’s comment. At first Karen demurred, saying it was nothing until finally admitting that Jimmie had called her a “bitch.”
“I’m not a bitch, Carla,” Karen said.
“No, you’re not, Karen,” Carla said, taking the other girl’s hand in hers. “You’re the sweetest, most generous person I know, honey.”
“You’re just saying that to make me feel good.”
“Really, you are. How could anyone call you a bitch? You gained the part fair and square and if Jimmie doesn’t like it, he can lump it. Everyone thinks you’re perfect for the part. Did you hear the applause you got from the class?”
“That was so nice of everyone,” Karen nodded. “But Jimmie wanted it so bad. I don’t want him to hate me.”
“You’re foolish to think that way, Karen. If you’re going into the theater, you know most people don’t get picked at auditions and fail and fail and fail until finally clicking,” Carla said.
“Do you think he’ll try to hurt me in some way? He’s stronger than I am, I think.”
Carla laughed and said, “We’re all stronger than you are!”
Karen blushed. It was true, she realized, that she had always been so inadequate in sports or anything having to do with muscular strength.
“But don’t worry, Karen,” Carla continued. “You have lots of friends. We’ll look after you.”
That afternoon, Professor McIver announced that several parts would have understudies, adding that he didn’t think they’d be needed, but that it would make for reality and add to the student’s experiences. The one that shocked Karen was the word that Jimmie would understudy the part of Ophelia, meaning that he would be in all the rehearsals, watching Karen as she acted the part.
As the professor made the announcement, Karen looked in Jimmie’s direction, catching his eye and smiling in a friendly way, even though she was fearful of his appointment as understudy. The response she got from the effeminate boy shocked her further: his smile in return seemed to say: “I’ll get you yet.”
Was she right in giving the boy an evil intent through his smile only? Or was she right? She had always been taught to try to be friendly and open with everyone, since she firmly believed most people wanted to be kind and generous in response. In this case, however, she felt a pang of fear about what she saw in Jimmie’s look.
As Mark and she readied themselves for bed that night, she again wearing the lovely nightgown and he in his bikini briefs, she told him of her fears. They cuddled together on Karen’s bunk, which had already seemed to gain a feminine scent, since she had showered with a soft, caressing soap and applied a sweet smelling body lotion. They both lay on their sides, facing each other, trying intently not to escalate into a full-fledged groping and kissing session as they had the previous night. “We need to be professional about this,” Mark had said, and Karen agreed that to get too involved could lead to awful consequences in the future. Back in the minds of both of them, of course, was the fact the Karen was to revert to Kenny after the play, and that there could no longer be a Mark-Karen love relationship.
“That fag!” Mark said, upon hearing about the situation with Jimmie.
“Mark, don’t use that term,” Karen scolded. “You know better.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want you to get hurt, even by him.”
“Maybe he would have made a better Ophelia,” Karen ventured.
“Don’t be silly, my dear. He’s so over the top in his acting. You are so natural and so fitting of the part, too. Really, you are.”
He leaned over a kissed her gently on the forward, and she began crying, and moving her body tightly against his to receive his comforting hug. They fell asleep in each other’s arms again that night.
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