A sequel to Snowed Out
Now You Have to Lay in It
By Shawna Stimple
Vanessa Ashe watched her two children stumbling over their own words, desperately trying to explain away her son, Charlie’s appearance. He was wearing his sister’s girliest winter outfit, and his hair and makeup were done better than any of the girls she’d seen that week. She knew her child. He wanted to be a rock star, not some teen queen heartbreaker. So why was he made up like some pink princess?
She listened intently as Lucy explained the events of the day, while Charlie sat on the sofa with his head hung in shame. She thought to herself, “He’s got his legs wide open. Anyone could just look up his skirt. How did no one notice he was a boy? Even in those shoes, he stomps around like a gorilla.”
Lucy finished her story, and looked at her mother, desperately hoping that if they were grounded till they were forty, maybe they could still watch TV. Vanessa thought for a few moments, and then reached her decision. “First of all, I understand that this was out of necessity. You should have dressed warmer Charlie. You never listen when I tell you to wear a coat. I am glad that you’re okay. It would kill me if anything happened to you. However, you could have told that sweet woman the truth. No one would have judged you for trying not to freeze to death. I’m sure Edna would have bought you some new clothes, instead of a makeover. Where is your car by the way, and how did you think you were going to slip this by me? I’m not an idiot, and extensions don’t just come out whenever you want them too. Plus you’re blonder than the day you were born. I mean… come on, really? You must think I’m stupid.”
“I don’t think you’re stupid mom. Honest.” Charlie said, surprising everyone with his sudden outburst. “I wasn’t trying to deceive anyone. It just kept escalating.”
Lucy added, “We didn’t plan on anything. We just got swept up in the moment. My car is at the rental office. Edna figured you’d drive us there tomorrow. She just wanted to make sure we got in safely. She really is a sweet woman.”
Vanessa knew she had great kids. They just didn’t think sometimes. Most kids don’t. After a few minutes of deliberation she reached a decision. “I know you weren’t trying to deceive anyone. You won’t be grounded. I don’t want to disappoint that nice lady though. It looks like you’re going to have to go to that dance tomorrow.”
“Wait. What?!” Charlie almost screamed.
“It’s that, or tell her the truth. It’s up to you Charlie.”
“Do I have to?”
“I’m sorry son, but you’ve made your bed. Now you have to lay in it.”
“What about Lucy? Does she get off scott free?”
“No. She has to skip skiing tomorrow, to help me teach you to be a little more graceful. You really lack any feminine charm. I won’t have my daughter clomping around like some sort of ogre. Now off to bed. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.”
At seven the next morning Charlie was ruthlessly awakened by his mother, pulling off the covers. He tried to stay asleep, but the cool mountain air hit him hard, as he was only clad in a thin pink nightie. He quickly found the robe his sister had left, and made his way downstairs for breakfast.
After breakfast, he asked for some pants, but his mother insisted that he remain in the short skirted sleepwear for training. After being given a pair of 3 inch pumps, his mother and sister drilled him for hours on how to carry himself. He was made to walk back and forth, and up and down the stairs with a book on his head, until it was like he was floating through the room. He realized it was easier if he let his hips naturally sway.
They had him sit and stand, and cross his legs over and over, until it became second nature to sit that way in a skirt. Elocution lessons were the worst. He felt like Eliza Doolittle as he repeated phrase after phrase, until he they were satisfied with his speech. After a few hours, his mother pronounced him ready, and sent them upstairs to get dressed. “We need to go into town to get you both new formals. Charlie, You can wear a pair of my jeans. You’ll have your fill of dresses later.”
In a fresh bra and panty set, Charlie sat while his sister went to work on his face. Subtle makeup was all she needed, but she made sure to add a dramatic flair to his eyes, and to thoroughly highlight his lips. “Always show off your best feature.” Lucy said, as she happily painted her brothers face. She was having more fun with this, then she wanted to let on.
She offered him a simple white spaghetti strap tank top, and a pair of her mothers jeans. She took pity on the boy, and gave him a pair of pink chuck taylors to wear as well. She figured he’d be more comfortable in those that any of her other shoes. “Just remember to walk gracefully.” she kept saying.
Seated back at the vanity, she went to work with a brush, and a teasing comb, and she recreated the style from the day before, this time with a simple white headband. Finally she replaced his earrings with a simple set of faux diamond studs, and Charlene was ready to walk out the door.
Downstairs, Charlie, Lucy, and their mother, all dressed in similar outfits, threw on pink winter coats, and headed towards the mall. Charlie felt a silly carrying “his” bowed purse, but his sister assured him that purses could be flashy. “They add flair to a simple outfit.” she said, as he held it like it would give him cancer.
When the trio arrived at the mall they found the formal shop. After trying on dress after dress Charlie finally picked one that his sister didn’t make an ew face at, when she saw it. After purchasing the accessories, they started to make their way back to the cabin, but were stopped suddenly, as a little shop caught their mother’s eye.
“Could you fit in me and my daughters? I know it’s short notice.” Vanessa asked as they walked into the nail salon.
The receptionist said, “It won’t be a problem ma’am. We operate on a first come, first serve basis.”
The next thing Charlie knew, he was sitting in a row with his mother and sister while they got their nails done. He wondered how they were planning to make his nails look pretty, when all they’d done so far was rough them up. Still he managed to join the conversation, as they all talked about clothes and fashion. He just thought about what he liked to see on a girl, and answered with the feminine lilt he’d been taught earlier that morning. Before he knew it, they all had acrylic French tips, sticking out past the tips of their fingers. It took some getting used to, but by the time they picked up Lucy‘s car, he was quite adept at using his hands as though they’d always been that way.
Around 6:45 Vanessa was finishing up the dishes, when Lucy came down the stairs wearing a simple pink knee length strapless party dress, with ruffles at the seams. She made a big theatrical production when she announced, “May I present to you, the new and improved, Charlene Ashe.”
Charlie slowly descended the stairs, as his sister made her big to do. When he stepped into the kitchen, his mother was speechless as she took in what could only be described, as her beautiful daughter.
Charlie was wearing a red knee length sheath, with a black belted waist. He stood in a pair of four inch strappy sandals, and wore a 3 strand loose fitting pearl necklace, with simple pearl studs in his ears. He looked adorable with his hair pilled high on his head in a loose messy bun, with strategic curls left hanging out the back. She was amazed as he swayed his hips, walking towards her, holding his black clutch purse just below his faux bosom.
“What do you think?” he asked, with a doe eyed innocent stare.
Vanessa held her mouth agape for a moment, before saying, “You’re beautiful.”
“Thanks.” Charlie said. “It’s not what a boy normally wants to hear, but tonight I’ll take it as a compliment.”
Like clockwork, at seven on the dot, they heard a knock at the door. Edna came in with hair teased to the dickens. She had to duck to enter the kitchen. She took one look at the siblings standing next to each other and said, “I do declare. You have the most beautiful daughters this side of the Mississippi.”
“Thank you.” Vanessa said. “They’re something alright. Thank you so much for being so good to them.”
“No trouble at all. I knew when I saw them that they were something special. We gotta run thought. Dance starts at 7:30. I promise I’ll have them back by ten in one piece.”
Charlie and Lucy threw on their coats, and followed Edna to the car. Charlie didn’t want to admit it, but he was starting to like Dolly Parton. He found himself humming the tune of “I Will Always Love You” as they were pulling into the parking lot of the youth center.
Inside they found a table and sat while the gym filled with the local teens. Charlie looked terrified as the boys kept eyeing him and his sister. They were foreign entities in this small town, and everyone knew it. Lucy danced with several boys throughout the night, while Charlie sat at the table, counting down the time till they left. Edna notice him sitting alone, when she came over to chat a little.
“You doin’ alright darlin’?” she asked.
“I’m fine. Lucy sure is popular.”
“You’d probably be just as popular if you didn’t seem to have fuck off written on your forehead, honey.”
Charlie was surprised by her sudden outburst of profanity. “Excuse me?”
“I know you’re shy, but you won’t have to see any of these boys again, so maybe you should try smiling at ‘em. What’s the worst that could happen?”
Charlie thought about what she said, and after ten minutes or so, he tried to look a little more inviting. It’s not like he’d have them sitting at his doorstep begging for another date. It didn’t take long for a young man to come ask him to dance.
“Hi. I’m Carl. What’s your name?”
“Charlene, but you can call me Charlie.”
“Well hello Charlie. Ain’t you lonely sittin’ over here by yourself.”
“A little.” he had to admit.
“Well I’d be honored to have this last dance.”
“Would you now?” he replied a little playfully.
“I sure would. How ‘bout you give me the privilege?”
“If you insist.”
Carl was a surprisingly good dancer, as he led Charlie around the dance floor. He made sure not to hold him too close, and was a perfect gentleman the entire time. When the music stopped everyone retrieved their coats, and Carl walked Charlie out to Edna’s car.
“You’re a beautiful lady, if I do say so myself.”
“Thank you. You’re a pretty good dancer.”
“Thank you. I s’pose I’ll cut to the chase. You wanna go out sometime?”
“Oh Carl. I’m flattered. I really am, but I’m from out of town, and you’re not really my type. I’m sorry.”
“It’s no problem. Can’t blame a fella for tryin’. I hope you have a safe trip home.”
“Thanks Carl. Have a nice night.”
The entire ride back, Edna and Lucy picked on Charlie, asking him about the cute boy he was dancing with. It was all in good fun, and Edna was happy she could help a young girl come out of her shell.
After she dropped them off at the cabin, Charlie could swear he saw her crying, when she hugged them good bye. She really was a sweet lady.
The next morning Charlie was dressed in the jeans and tank top, and his mother handed him some money for a haircut on the way home. He was grateful that he didn’t have to explain this to his father. God knows how that would have gone.
“I’d recommend a buzz cut, if you don’t want him to notice.” Vanessa said, as she hugged her children before they got in Lucy’s car for the long drive home.
The drive was relatively uneventful, save the discussion with the hairdresser. She couldn’t believe that the pretty young thing standing before her wanted all her beautiful hair cut off, and her gorgeous nails removed. At a rest stop, Charlie changed clothes and carefully scrubbed the makeup from his face. He hoped his father wouldn’t notice his thinner eyebrows, but it would be easier to explain than showing up dressed to the nines. He looked forward to going back to school, and his life returning to normal, but he’d never forget his outrageous weekend. It’d be a story to tell, if he ever found the courage to tell someone. At least he’d learned a thing or two. Like how to walk in heels.
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