Seasons of Change - Book 1 - Part 1 of 3

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Seasons of Change
Part 1 of 3

by Joel Lawrence

Copyright © 1989,2012 Joel Lawrence
All Rights Reserved.

 


 
Admin Note: Through prior verbal and written agreements between the author Joel Lawrence, and Tigger, this story is being posted here with Tigger's permission to be included in sequence with his works. Seasons of Change belongs to Joel Lawrence and the text, along with the textual errors remains as is. Copyright © 1989 and reposted by Karen Mitchell in the summer of 1996 at other sites. This is the story that inspired Tigger to delve within Mr. Lawrence's universe and to create his sequence of stories involving the character of Ms. Jane Thompson. ~Sephrena
 


 
 
Chapter 1.
 
The train began slowing as it neared Westbury station. Michael know this was the name of the station because the conductor had passed through the car and announced it, and around him other passengers were heeding the suggestion that they check to ensure they had all their belongings. Michael gathered his books and the remnants of the snacks he had bought on the train and watched out the window and the train came closer to the station.

The scene had changed slightly from that which he had observed the last two hours. Rural surroundings had given way to the rundown environs of this old New England manufacturing village. He knew from experience that just outside the town grand mansions and historic farms still abounded.

Listening to the clack-clack of the rails wind down, he mused about the purpose of this trip. He had left St. Andrews just this morning, complying with his Mother's decision that he should spend this summer with her old school chum (his "Aunt Jane") when she left on her tour of Europe with Clifford Graves, her latest companion. He presumed that this decision was, in no small part, due to the straits he had gotten himself into the last semester at St. Andrew's.

It was clear that he was on very thin ice with the headmaster at St. A's. There had been the minor pranks, of course, but his involvement in the panty raid at Eastmore, and, the worse, being caught at it. During the extremely uncomfortable conference with the deans on Tuesday, he and his Mother had been advised of the suspension. He would be carried on the rolls of the school throughout the summer and Fall semesters, but would not be allowed to return until after the Christmas holiday, and then only if the school received some verification that satisfied them that his demeanor had changed.

His keen obsession his graduation from this highly regarded prep school had, in no small part, motivated his Mother's decision to send him to Westbury. Aunt Jane, she had said, was a certified teacher, which would satisfy state and school requirements that he be enrolled in school. Private tutoring, she had said to the headmaster. To Michael she had declared another motivation which he did not fully understand: that Aunt Jane was imminently equipped to convey refinement and discipline, a trait Mother had emphatically pointed out that he lacked. She had made vague references to "English methods", an allusion which escaped him, but which she said with a wry certainty that it was just what he needed.

He wanted to get back into St. Andrew's and this avenue seemed the only one open to him. But it was all of this uncertainty that weighed on his mind as the train neared the station. He knew nothing of "Aunt Jane", except a vague remembrance that he had met her at the estate in Connecticut one summer. He was to spend at least the summer with her, and, his Mother had said, dependent on Aunt Jane's sole judgement, might have to stay on until Christmas. The uncertainty of time, couple with his ignorance of the allusions his Mother had made about the particular "skills" this woman allegedly possessed, caused him some apprehension. More importantly, two other facts added anxiety; first of all, his Mother had been emphatic he was to submit totally to Aunt Jane's authority, and secondly that except for the small change he had left in his pocket, all his discretionary money had been placed in this other woman's control. Once he disembarked from the train, his options for self-determination would be minimal.

The train finally creaked to a stop, and he clasped his bag and headed for the entrance. The black porter had placed the portable footfall at the base of the stairs, and he stepped down to the station platform.

He was recognized before he noticed the woman. She called his name and he looked up to see a vaguely familiar face. She was an attractive woman, in her early thirties, dressed fashionably and with an air of superiority. Indeed, his first impression was that she purposely hid a softness about herself in the somewhat severe manner in which she wore her auburn hair....drawn back in a French roll. It was apparent that she shopped at only the finest stores, and he was sure he had seen her ensemble in one of his Mother's Bergdorf's catalogues just a month ago.

He was equally fascinated by the young girl he saw at her side, clearly her companion, for she followed Jane as she advanced toward him. The girl was about his own 14 years of age, yet strangely dressed in a style that seemed old-fashioned and oddly pubescent. She was a disarmingly pretty girl with long hair drawn back into a cascading pony-tail which was capped by a straw boater bonnet with a blue bow. She wore a patent shoes and a dress which was flounced out by petticoats evident to a degree at the hem. Her dress was a fancy one, the kind that girls wear only to formal or festive affairs. Her comportment intrigued him most, for she seemed reserved and shy, and clearly somewhat obsequious to the bidding of Jane. He was introduced to her and found her name was Beth. She seemed ill at ease, starting first to curtsy to him, then gingerly proffering her white gloved hand to his own.

The greetings were stilted, though Jane was cloying yet authoritative in her reception. With an air of superiority, she pressed a red cap into conveying his baggage and they set off through the terminal to the expensive car she had imperiously parked in the "No Parking" zone at the curb. His bags loaded, he climbed into the back seat of the car and his gaze alternated between the two females in the front seat and the countryside they emerged into. Jane's comments were few, though she made reference to his trouble at St. A's and the apparent conversations she had had with his Mother about "finding some 'temperance' (as she put it) in one's behavior. Jane concluded that, with time, all problems could be solved. He lapsed into silence and the car moved down a smaller road into farm country.

In time, they arrived at Jane's home, a large white Victorian house situate on many acres. She parked the car near the door and bade him gather his bags and follow her. The girl was no help, though she did hold the doors and steadied him as he struggled up the few stairs to the porch and into the foyer.

Jane suggested (or was it more "directed") that Beth escort Michael upstairs to his room to stow his overnight bag (his trunk was to follow) and then for the two of them to return downstairs to the study. Beth obediently complied, pausing at the foot of the stairs to await him. At the head of the stairs, she opened a white door and he entered, passing the girl and not noticing the room itself. It was only after he was inside that the incongruency of the room hit him.

The room was all pastel blue, but that was not its alarming feature. The four-poster bed was canopied, with a delicate flounce of sheer tiered fabric. Ruffles of eyelet and lace flounce cascaded from beneath the mattress, the bed itself covered by a bedspread of matching satin. Dainty shams of a wispy material sheathed the profusion of pillows at the headboard. The furniture was white and gold French provincial, chest of drawers and nightstands. A petite vanity draped with the same material sat beneath a large lighted mirror. Another three-sided mirror, like those in clothing stores, was implanted into the wall.

He was sure that Beth had directed him to the wrong chamber, but when he queried her about this, she diffidently assured him that there was no mistake. Appalled to be quartered in these dainty surrounding, he nevertheless deposited his small bag and followed Beth downstairs to where Jane waited.
 
 
Chapter 2.
 
Beth left Michael at the parlor door and he opened it and entered to find Jane seated in an overstuffed chair leafing through what appeared to be a sheaf of letters. At his entrance, she peered at him over the half-moons of her reading glasses.

"It is considered polite and refined, young man, to knock before entering a closed room."

"I...I'm sorry. I thought you had asked me to ..."

His words trailed off in response to the gesture of dismissal in the wave of her hand. "Never mind, we'll get to that later," she said, "Sit down," signalling the straight-backed Shaker chair near her own. He sat, chastened by the sharpness of her admonishment.

She continued to flip through the papers, pausing to read here and there, flipping backwards and forwards as though to confirm or recollect some point. The room was silent, except for the rhythmic sound of the clock pendulum and the rustling of the papers.

Finally she laid the papers in her lap and removed her glasses, massaging the bridge of her nose with thumb and forefinger. The sigh that accompanied this action conveyed a sense of exasperation, he thought, and he gelt unnerved at the continued stillness in the room. While she still kneaded with her fingers, she broke the hush that pervaded the parlor.

"I have been reading through the material your Mother sent me. It is clear that you have been less than exemplary in your first semester at St. Andrews, "she said, slipping the glasses back on and picking up the papers.

"Dean Hartwick's letter to your Mother is quite specific and equally condemnatory in detailing the circumstances of your suspension. He lists, by my count, some eight infractions in just three months." Removing the glasses again, she gazed at him scornfully.

"Are you hell-bent in being thrown out of there?", she queried reproachfully.

"Not at all, Jane. In fact I want very much to graduate. I can explain..."

She interrupted this unavailing attempt at explanation as though it were inconsequential to her.

"Well your deportment places the likelihood of your graduating seriously in doubt, young man. It says here that absent some documentation of a substantial change in attitude, your access to an Ivy school by way of St. A's is improbable. I know Dean Hartwick, partly by reputation, and he is not one to overstate matters. Perhaps you'd do as well to consider a public high school and a state university."

"Of course not," he protested, "I want to get back into St. A's. I acted foolishly, but I..."

"Ahh, some progress;" she broke in, "accepting even token responsibility is to be applauded. But these acts of yours are juvenile, Michael, and they convey a serious lack of self-discipline and obedience to established rules. Surely you can appreciate a school as old and traditional as St. Andrew's demands and enforces rules for a purpose." She paused, examining the letters again. "Look at these...'absent from dormitory at 3:00 a.m. and later detained by township police'...'open participation in and encouragement of a rebellious demonstration in the dining room'...." She peered over her glasses at him again before she added " 'a "food fight!"' ...participation in an extended course of deliberate harassment of one of the oldest and most distinguished members of this faculty....' My God, it goes on and on.

Doffing the glasses again and using them now as an accusatory pointer directed at him she added "It is in no small measure that your late father's generosity to his alma mater prompts their equally generous offer of a second chance. But I can assure you that the demands laid down for achieving that second chance are not permissive in the least."

His ears burned perceptibly as he sat mutely through the litany and then the commentary on his behavior. Finding it difficult to persist in returning her stare, he averted his eyes in chagrin as she went on.

"Tell me please, what prompted these childish acts? Rebelliousness? Pubescent childishness? Were you attempting some feeble defiance of the authority and the rules through some misguided act of independence? Tell me, Michael, what prompted this asinine behavior?'

"They weren't my idea, Jane." I just went along with..."

Again she cut him off, haughtily and abruptly this time. "Just went along. Good God, young man, it's indecent. Those men at that school are charged with imparting discipline to you young fools every bit as much as they are to teaching you Latin. I trust your Latin skills are superior to your proficiency at self-control."

The comment was gratuitous and demeaning, and he gazed again at the floor as she continued her harangue. She stood above him now, having moved from the chair to be a nearly overbearing presence before him.

"Self control is everything in a young man who aspires to success--true success in this world. Most young men your age seem to realize this in spite of themselves. You must develop a deep and profound respect for the rules of the institution in which you find yourself. Initiative is one thing, but the performance outlined in those letters is moronic and bizarre. Open and willful neglect of convention and tradition will never be tolerated in the circles you aspire to. Do you understand that?"

She glowered down at him and his return of her gaze was fleeting as he meekly nodded assent. She stood silently a moment and then returned to her chair and settled herself gracefully yet seeming somehow domineering at the same time. Again she perused the documents. Finally she laid them down, removed her glasses and spoke deliberately and obdurately.

"I must take it then that your excuse for this insolent behavior is to be excused because you yielded to the "macho" pressures of your crowd, some of whom have been expelled. Clearly you have let your distorted sense of ego and identity get in the way of your common sense."

The lecture was beginning to wear him down. Twice now he had resisted the urge to rebut her insinuations, but he was restrained again by his Mother's insistence that he accede to Jane's direction and possible reproach.

"I suspect," she went on, interpreting his silence as agreement, "that must be the case. And if it is true, it is a trait you must disabuse yourself of. Blindly following the rabble out of a misguided sense of male bonding is ridiculous. More importantly, it is a repudiation of convention that people of breeding hold important. It is not any individual action, but the pattern of them that makes me believe you lack significant sensibilities." She referred again to the top sheet of the Dean's letter and quoted " 'exhibits an insolent disregard of refined behavior....' Would you not agree with that assessment?"

I don't know," he relied feebly.

"You don't know!" she scoffed in return. "Well I do, and my experience with boys just like you compels ME to agree with the observation. Now if you are so intent on graduating from that school, what solution do you propose for a modification of your attitude and conduct?"

He deemed the question rhetorical and knew his only answer would be another lame "I don't know", so he simply shook his head.

"I ask that question," she continued "because I am something of an unwitting player in your betterment. Your Mother is an old friend, and Dean Hartwick's concurrence in you're being sent here indicates he places some importance on my reassurance to him in the Fall that you have become civilized enough to return to classes."

There it was, he thought: the commission for this woman to manage his existence these next few months stemmed not only from the decision of his Mother, but was further endorsed by the Dean. He felt a sense of dread, a feeling in no small part derived by his belief that all this was leading up to something ominous.

"You see, young man, I have had experience with instilling gentility and refinement in difficult children of both sexes. I was, for many years, a headmistress -- coincidentally at Eastmore, the very school where you engaged in your midnight foray through the girls' under-clothing. I have had some small measure of success at cultivating grace and polish. And after meeting you, I believe I am prepared to undertake this task, as a favor to your Mother."

Silence again, leaving him to his thoughts. Her last words drew him forbiddingly further from a retreat from whatever penitential blueprint her mind was now devising.

"Let me put it this way," she said, as if a declaration of finality was beginning to form in her mind. "It is beyond dispute that you will not be readmitted next year without my commendation, and I am not planning to dispense that approval unless I see improvement. Secondly, that approval is not to be forthcoming unless you accede to whatever program I devise and do it with cheerfulness and resignation. Would you agree with that assessment."

With absolutely no comprehension of what she had in mind, he nevertheless surrendered to the inevitable and nodded assent.

"I'm still curious about this so-called "panty raid" at Eastmore. So sophomoric! Did you find it fascinating to rifle through those intimate garments? I have always been curious as to just what is it that prompts a young man to do that?"

His silence lingered and she went on.

"Probably more of 'being one of the boys', eh Michael? Still, it does give me an idea. Maybe that's the key. You know there is a practice prevalent in England for curbing defiance. The English call it petticoat discipline. Have you heard of it?"

He had not, and shook his head. The literal implications eluded him, and he surmised it merely meant submission to a feminine will.

She stared out the window, seemingly deep in thought, while tapping the stem of her glasses against her cheek.

"Yes," she announced with resolve, "that will be exactly it. Michael, I must exact from you a firm promise that you will unhesitatingly obey every command I give you, no matter how unpleasant or disagreeable you may find it to be. It will be, at least a start, to see if we can instill some self-restraint. If at any time I detect resistance, I will not hesitate to wash my hands of this endeavor and advise the Dean and your Mother accordingly. Is that agreed?"

It was an open pit, a solicitation of a promise to comply with her carte blanche. Later he would reflect that it had been his ignorance of what was to come and implicit reliance on her conventions that induced his promise to her. As soon as he had agreed, and re-agreed after a further restatement of her "rules", she told him to wait outside in the foyer and to send Beth in to her. He rose and crossed to the door, finding Beth seated on the Parson's bench outside the parlor. After relaying the message, he, too, sat down and waited.
 
 
Chapter 3.
 
From where he sat, Michael took in the vast walnut panelled foyer and the living room and dining room adjacent. He could barely glimpse the half open door to the huge, paneled library. He looked around, admiring the size and quality of the place. The house, Michael surmised, was really quite large. It was also very old. By standing and glimpsing through the Tudor windows, he could glimpse a pool, what appeared to be a riding stable, and a great deal of wooded property. In the brisk New England winter, he thought, it might be possible to practice cross country skiing in your own back yard.

Michael had been aware that Jane had worked for a time as a school headmistress -- she had told him so -- but he also recalled that his Mother had told him that she had worked as a business consultant before moving to this area. Somehow, Michael thought, she must have been a hell of a consultant to afford to retire to such a big place.

He was lost in the myriad of his thoughts as another drama played itself out in the adjacent parlor.

Jane looked up as Beth entered the parlor, politely curtsied and stood waiting.

"I have given him the ultimatum, Beth, and we will start phase two now. I realize it has been some time and you may have forgotten, but we need time to have him think things over and set the stage for this afternoon. I trust you will be good enough to handle lunch for me. It has all been prepared."

"Yes, ma'am," Beth replied. "Do you think he will be trouble?"

"I think not my dear. In many ways he has more to lose than you did when you came just six months ago." Turning a fond gaze at her ward, Jane continued, "You can be assured that by supper-time our intransigent young man will be accutely uncomfortable in his new metier. Anyway, see that lunch is set and then join us. You will have ample time to arrange things while he sleeps. Remember to use the colored sherry glasses. Oh, and tell Marie she can begin to set things up upstairs while we have lunch. He should be asleep in about an hour and she can finish things upstairs when he is."

Beth curtsied again and left the parlor to begin setting the luncheon table. As she passed Michael still seated on the parson's bench, a sense of deja vu emerged as similar events of half a year before played themselves out. 'How would THIS young man react to what the day held in store for him?' The thought intrigued Beth and an inward smile materialized with the reflection on the feelings of terror and panic that experience brought back to mind. Michael would soon experience those feelings, along with the accompanying sense of defeat and humiliation. In a way, he was to be pitied.

In just a moment after Beth emerged, Jane came out and impassively announced it was time for lunch. Still brooding from his earlier encounter with her, he followed her into the spacious dining room and sat at the only remaining place-setting after she had seated herself. He felt mildly gratified that his momentary lapse of manners at failing to assist her in sitting was not commented on. Indeed, she seemed oblivious of his being there. He was mildly grateful that she did not continue with her diatribe.

The door to the kitchen opened and Beth entered with a tea trolley laden with small sandwiches and soup. She placed one serving before each of them and left the room. The meal progressed in silence.

Throughout the meal, Beth came and went. She poured the tea, served the cake, cleared the table. And she did all this wordlessly, as though she was well trained in such things. Strange training indeed, thought Michael, for a school girl. His hostess seemed to read his mind, for she smiled and pointed to Beth. "Now this girl, she gave her parents quite a hard time. Still, removed from a harsh urban environment, Beth has turned out rather well in my opinion"

Beth seemed to look a little embarrassed by the sudden attention. " Thank you, Ma'am,..." she began to say. Jane softly but firmly interrupted, "Beth, I was speaking to our guest." Michael was surprised as he saw the young girl quickly go silent. He mumbled something polite about what a nice girl Beth was."Ahhh, Yes!", Jane smiled broadly. "She certainly is. Now. Oh, but the trouble she gave her parents over the years. Well! That much is over with at last. We see new improvement every day."

Beth returned with a tray of small glasses, one blue, the other bright ruby. The blue one she set down by Michael.

"It is my custom to have sherry at lunch. I welcome you to my house, Michael, and hope your stay is beneficial," she said, raising her glass ever so slightly.

He sipped the warming liquid, not fully accustomed to the wine.

As Michael sipped the liqueur, tired from his long overnight trip, Jane continued to talk, mainly embellishing the earlier conversation about proper behavior and the need for gentility and manners. Michael noted an occasional reference to Beth, about her earlier demeanor and the improvement she had shown. The conversation was somewhat personal,and he was glad the girl was out of earshot through most of it. It was also lulling, and,along with the wine, causing him to stifle an occasional yawn. Despite his fatigue, he did not object to a second drink, served to him by Beth.

Jane was droning on. "Yes, in time, all problems could be solved. It's so important for young people to curb their destructive behavior. In earlier days -- in Victorian England -- they had stricter standards of behavior. Young men and young ladies then knew their place. And they made out very well. Yes, in those days, society avoided a whole cache of social problems that plague us today."

She made a half gesture towards Beth. "A fine young lady now, our Beth is. Aren't you, girl?"

This time, responding to a more direct question, Beth politely responded," Yes,thanks you, ma'am."

He could no longer stifle the yawns which welled up, and he gave in to a broad yawn which he quickly concealed. He was suddenly incredibly sleepy.

"But enough of this. Michael, you seem tired. You should rest. Go up to your room and lie down."

Michael peremptorily thanked his hostess and Beth, admitting that it had been a long day for him. He carefully did not admit, though Jane could easily surmise, that the potent Madeira wine was also new to him. He did venture to say that Beth seemed a very nice girl.Jane nodded gravely as if confiding in him, after Beth had left. "She WAS quite a problem to her parents. Raucous, disobedient, destructive. A year removed from her previous environment was just what she needed. As I said, Michael, the Victorians knew how to bring up girl's."

Michael simply nodded, trying to figure out what this obviously eccentric statement meant to him or to anything, having difficulty focusing on very much around him.

"Yes.", she continued, " I find that, nowadays, young people need much more supervision. Otherwise they become coarse and unmanageable."

Michael listened, only half understanding. "Well, I guess they do, at that.", he suggested,almost instantly regretting his response. Curiously, the response seemed to greatly please Jane.

"Do you, now?" she asked. "Do you indeed! Well, my dear, I'm sure you and I will get along just fine! This is very good, indeed." Michael was happy that his she seemed so pleased, so little of his existence having done so that day. It boded well for his stay, he reasoned. And, it also seemed, it might indicate a short stay as well and her good offices, as well, both of which suited him just fine.

'This may not be such a predicament, after all,' he mused.

With that, taking up the suggestion, Michael excused himself and headed off to bed.

He climbed the stairs in rickety stance, having twice to steady his progress with a hand on the great maple bannister. He reached the room, opened the door and entered.

The sheets of his bed were turned down, a bedside light was on. Shedding his clothes in a disorderly pile on the chair near the bed, he removed his shorts and slipped beneath the covers. In moments he was deep asleep.

Michael stirred from sleep, confused at first with the unfamiliar surroundings. He gazed upward, and in the dim light he saw first the gauzy haze of the bed canopy, an eerie blue in the deepening afternoon shadows. He did not know it was late afternoon until he had glanced at the luminous glowing letters of the clock-radio and mentally translated the 4:30 into time. It took some moments for his foggy brain to rearrange the recollections of the day, then it fell into place and he recalled falling into the bed and quickly asleep. He had slept for nearly 3 hours.

He surveyed again the delicate furnishings of the room. It was so bloody girlish, he felt alien in these surroundings. He made a mental note to gently request that perhaps some chamber less dainty might be preferable. He hoped Jane would understand.

As he shifted his legs, he became aware of the smoothness of the sheets, and suspected they must be satin, and found another reason to pronounce the room unsuitable. But the silky touch imparted an unfamiliar yet exotic feeling. Childishly, he persisted in the slow motion of his body enjoying the tactile sensation the cool, slippery fabric provided.

His eyes now accustomed to the dim light, he surveyed the room yet again. His first internal alarm bell sounded when he could not see the overnight bag on the bureau where he was sure he had left it. He mentally retraced his first movements when he had entered the room and convinced himself that was where he had left it. It was not there!

Though he had been very groggy when he came up to bed, he was fairly sure that the had either dropped his shorts alongside the bed (as was his habit) or flung them on some nearby surface. Yet they were not on the floor nor on the chair or table. He sat up in apprehension and astonishment, and carefully scanned every object and surface in the chamber. They were not there! Neither, he noted, were any of his clothes. In near frenzy, he leapt from the bed to search beneath it, and in doing so, he upset the lamp on the bedside table. It crashed nosily as he lifted the dust ruffles and both scrutinized and felt beneath the bed. There was no question; all of his clothes were missing.

He was totally perplexed. Where could they be? Hazy as those moments before he fell asleep were, he KNEW that he had come into the room fully clothed and had undressed. His single solution to the problem was that, while he slept, someone had removed the clothes from the bed chamber. The logical next question was "Why?"

He sat on the edge of the bed, puzzled and distraught, and it was then he noticed the gown laid neatly across its foot. He grabbed it and spread it out before him. It was a peach colored satin robe, quilted with a bib-like front that was edged in small lace trim; clearly a girl's robe. In a state reaching panic, he stood and began negotiating the room, in hopes his own clothes were still there. He held the gown in one hand, as if it remained some feeble insurance against his nudity. He opened drawers and closets, but his search disclosed only womanly attire and no trace of his own things.

The sound of footfalls and the knock at the door startled him, and he eyed the distance to the safety of the bed and its covers. Before he could move, however, the door opened, and he was obliged to use the robe as a shield to feebly cover his unclad body. It was Jane, and as she entered, she threw the switch lever which illuminated the room with light from the table lamps. Her first glance was at the bed, and seeing it empty, her eyes quickly found him attempting to secrete himself behind one of the closet doors, the gown still in his hand.

"You needn't hide behind that door, Michael. Put something on and come out."

He was dumbfounded by all this. "My clothes are gone," he said helplessly.

"Don't be ridiculous! I can see you holding something perfectly acceptable to put on. Put it n!" she replied.

"You want me to put this on? I can't wear this. It's a girls robe."

"Of course you can wear it. And you have precious little alternative. I want you to come with me this moment, and you will either go in what you have or nothing at all. It is of no concern to me."

Her tone was indisputably definitive, and he was again bewildered by what was happening to him. She stood and glared at him, waiting. Ridiculous as it seemed to him,he drew on the robe and fumbled with the buttons. They were 'backward" and he found it complicated to fasten them. Nevertheless, he did, and emerged from behind the door timorously feeling foolish in this ruffled get-up.

"You look quite fetching" she remarked with some disdain. "Come with me."

His face reddened at her demeaning comment, but he followed her brisk pace down the upstairs hall and through the door she opened. He glanced furtively from side to side, hoping against hope no other member of the household would see him in this ridiculous outfit. He hoped he would soon be able to persuade Jane to return his own things.

The room he entered was a study adjacent to her own bedroom, he later learned. She made a peremptory gesture indicating he should sit, and he did, facing her over the desk.

"It is time we began your lessons, my dear young man. You have had your rest and time to think about tour conversation this morning. I might add I found your behavior at lunch fairly boorish, but that merely bolstered my earlier conclusions. I am convinced we will have it out of you by Friday..two days hence. That is the last day I will trifle with your conduct. After that, it is, as I said, out of my hands." He chafed again at this condemnation from this imperious woman. Guilt and remorse about the events that brought him here surfaced again. Along with those regrets, he felt a developing apprehension that was, in no small way, reinforced by his feeling of vulnerability sitting there in this ridiculous gown.

"I am going to give you a brief overview of the routine, Michael, and you will hear me out. That promise of compliance I exacted this afternoon is decisive and final. After you have heard me you will choose either to comply or we will be done with all this and you will go home tonight."

Here it was, he thought. This was where he would learn where this absurdity was all going.

"First of all, that garment you are wearing; you didn't like putting it on, did you? "she asked.

"Frankly, no," he spat out. "Where are my own clothes," he replied.

"Gone for some time, I must tell you. Tell me, though, how does it feel wearing that gown? It feels nice, doesn't it?"

"I feel like a fool. This is a girl's robe!"

"How discerning," she said sarcastically, "and now you come to the crux of it. While you are here, and until I deem otherwise, girl's clothes are what you WILL wear! Perhaps you may grow to like them, perhaps you never will. it is of no consequence to me either way. What insignificant to me is that in time, I assure you that you will be as adorable and sweet as lovely Beth."

He felt a surge of outrage mixed with panic at her words. Was this what she had alluded to before? How could she possibly believe he would wear such things. The objections to her suggestion flooded his mind and then, abruptly, ran headlong into the threat she had eloquently delivered that afternoon.

"Moreover," she went on, "we are going to begin in just a few minutes. Within an hour, you will not recognize yourself as the impertinent moron you have been...even so recently as at lunch. Beth is at this moment busy preparing things. Your indoctrination begins in just moments, Michael."

He began to protest. He would not be subjected to this nonsense. He could not be!

She cut him off. "It was just this that you promised, young man! Leave now if you want...dressed as you are. I will not help you. Call someone..your Mother perhaps. Dean Hartwick. This punishment is my choice for you and you will bow to this decision or face the consequences."

He felt tears of rage and misery forming within him and beginning to well in his eyes. He did not want her to see these tears, and he averted his face from her, feigning enraged disgust. He felt both outraged and helpless. The prospect she described was repulsive and detestable to him. How could he possibly submit to such debasement and the servile state she envisioned?

He wanted to run away from this place...flee before it went any further. But as quickly as that thought passed through his mind, he realized its futility, the mental image of a boy in a girl's satin robe hitch-hiking on the road outside was burlesque.

She left him undisturbed in his thoughts, letting the gravity of his situation to sink in. She could see and sense the discomfiture he was experiencing and she smiled inwardly. Thus was it all with all the bold, brazen young men. From experience, too, she knew that the defiance would diminish in direct proportion to the feminization that lay ahead. With some degree of compassion, she walked to his side and softly fondled his tear- stained cheek. He stoically pulled away from her touch, but remained silent.

"You will conform and submit, Michael. You will come to know that it will all be better for you that way."

She cupped his chin and turned his face up to meet her gaze.

"Come now. Make it easy on yourself."

He closed his eyes tightly squeezing the accumulated tears to trickle down his cheeks, then let his head fall as she released her hold. He felt drained and chagrined; his spirit and will incapacitated.

"Come, Michael...come with me."

He sat motionless for a moment then, with passive resignation, he yielded to her exhortation, and followed her out of the room.

Her footsteps led him through his own bedroom and directed him through the mirrored door which separated it from the spacious bathroom. Clouds of steam filled the room as the bathtub was being filled. He glanced into the tub and saw billows of soap bubbles floating on the rising water. Marie, now dressed in a crisp white uniform, was arranging towels on the vanity. The pastel room, being prepared for feminine pursuits, was like a dungeon, and he yearned to be out of this place. He felt servile and embarrassed. He was genuinely fearful.

As he stood there, awkwardly, Marie turned off the flowing water, and Jane's voice behind him ordered him to disrobe and enter the tub. As if anticipating his modesty, Marie turned around and busied herself at the vanity. Concealing his nakedness behind the robe, he slipped it off and quickly sought refuge beneath the concealing blanket of lather and sank into the warm water, burying his body to his neck.

Jane stood over him.

"I need not tell you how to scrub yourself, I presume," she said, tossing a cloth into the tub, "but merely to tell you to do it thoroughly. Impeccable cleanliness at all times is the rule of this house."

She turned to accept the articles Marie had gathered. Holding up a bottle of shampoo, she again advised him to use it, three times, she said, leaving the lather on his head for at least three minutes, showing him the clock on the wall. She set the bottle down on the ceramic edge of the tub.

It was the sight of the safety razor that startled him, for he knew instinctively that she did not intend him to use it in the traditional male fashion. He was correct, for she was explicit in her directions that every single hair on his legs and under his arms was to be eliminated and that his failure would invite the penalty that it would be done for him. The razor was placed beside the decanter of shampoo. Jane spoke brusquely as she issued her initial instructions.

"You have precisely 30 minutes. When you are finished and completely rinsed, there are towels there on the vanity, "she said gesturing. "YOU will also find a pair of underpants you are to put on. If you are chilled, put the robe back on. But be absolutely certain you are wearing those panties. There is shaving cream near the sink. Every facial whisker is to be gone, so make it a very close shave. Come into the bedroom when you are done.

Then both of them left him alone in the steamy bathroom.

"Remember, 30 minutes, or we come in and do it to you ourselves." Jane had said as she closed the door.

He lay there a moment and felt a slight chill in spite of the warm sudsy bath. THe bottle was labelled "Miss Clairol", a brand name that was vaguely familiar, though he could not recall any significance about the product except that it was shampoo.

He felt very alone and depressed. Yet he knew that the minimal time he had been allotted was waning. Gingerly he picked up the pink disposable razor and gingerly applied its blade to the skin of his left leg.

Nearly a third of his appropriated interval was consumed by the shaving. He had some difficulty reaching the thigh areas, and he had been obliged to stand up to execute the maneuver. While standing he also used the reflection of his upraised arms to guide the razor through the thatch of underarm hair, feeling the stinging rasp as he scraped the tender skin smooth. The activity was novel, but not dissimilar to shaving his face, something he had to do twice weekly. Except for the uncertainty of events to come, the bath was a neutral experience thus far.

Likewise the washing of his hair. He poured some of the golden liquid into his palm and massaged it into foam on his hair, rinsing and repeated the shampoo three times as she had told him. He quickly rinsed off with the shower wand and opened the tub drain as he stepped out onto the soft pile of the bath rug. He towelled briskly off, then hurriedly shaved his face, his eyes occasionally straying to the diaphanous garment that sat prominently to his left. He managed to finish the shave without a nick, his beard being sparse to begin with.

The briefs, though made of satiny tricot and without a fly, were not remarkably different than his own shorts, and it was thus not much of an onus to slip them on. He was, however, aware of their silkiness in his groin, a thought that took him back to that moment he had awakened just an hour before. Notwithstanding their lack of frills or lace, he was accutely aware that he was wearing girl's panties. The thought mortified him.

Though he was not cold in the still steamy room, his sense of timidity about being so scantily clad in front of these women prompted him to put the objectionable robe back on. A glance at the clock told him he had completed his tasks with two minutes to spare.

His legs tingled from the abrasive edge of the razor, but they were smooth and bare of any trace of hair. He hoped these efforts passed muster, for he knew her threat to rectify any mistakes in his labors was not an idle one.

With one last glance in the mirror, and a check that he had satisfactorily rinsed out the tub and hung the towels, he reached for the doorknob with a growing sense of dread.

In his absence, the bed had been remade, the shammed pillows leaning against the headboard and a ridiculous stuffed animal lounged against them, facing a delicately dressed doll on the blue satin coverlet. Marie and Jane were both there, busy at the vanity. The room was still bathed in the pastel light that filtered through the dainty lampshades, but a blaze of light streamed from the ring of small bulbs that ringed the vanity mirror, and from the recessed florescent lights above the full length mirror.

"Sit here, Michael," Jane said. "We are about ready."

He sat in the chair she indicated, feeling not unlike a patient awaiting some dread medical procedure. All around him lay signs of the female world that was rapidly taking control of him. Even the chair he perched on wore a skirt! He wished he were a thousand miles away.

He could see them opening drawers and examining the contents. Within those drawers he could see mounds of wispy garments. The top drawer of the dresser was filled with panties. Girl's underpants. In an unimaginable profusion. There were dainty yellow cotton hip-huggers; the waistband trimmed in tiny eyelets. Much more substantial peach briefs with lace side vents. Ridiculous red and white stripped string bikinis. A waterfall of dainty, girlish pastels flowed before him. Michael grabbed a handful of panties. He smiled remembering the panty raid at school that got him in such trouble. A ruefulness hit him again.

Jane turned around to him and said "Stand up Michael and let me see the panties you have on." He stood and shamefully opened the robe to expose the panties with their silver satin ribbon trim.

Jane said to Marie, "Yes, I thought they were white. We'll go with the white things this time."

She gathered up an article of feathery fabric and held it up. It looked like a t-shirt, in a way, though with thin shiny straps. It had a silky look, airy and loose. It was definitely a "non-masculine" garment. The thin shoulder straps were fastened to the with embroidered bows on the front. Also, he hadn't noticed the delicate lace inserts on each side. "This is called a camisole, Michael, and it is worn when a slip is not worn. Please pay attention and learn this, for I don't plan to repeat it."

She set down the camisole and picked up an item which sent chills through him, for he knew precisely what it was before she even began to tell him.

"And this, of course, is a brassiere...a training bra, actually, for a young lady with so little in front needs just the least bit of foundation. You will wear a bra at all times while you are here. Even at night until I say otherwise. If you are caught without the proper attire at any time, you will be dealt with, and I mean it. Panties and bra, regardless of whatever else you have on. Do you understand? Now stand up and take off that robe."

He sighed, it help ease the queasiness in his stomach. He stood on rubbery legs and let the robe fall to the floor. Marie advanced on him bearing the shimmering band of satin which was to be his tribulation and guided his arms through the straps, moving behind him to fasten the back. This activity took some moments, and it was later, when he toyed with removing it, that he discovered that the hooks locked in a way that they could only be released with another's help. She then slipped the camisole over his head, directing again the placement of his arms so she could adjust the straps, and then she pulled and adjusted the smooth, somewhat constricting garment down to his waist.

"You may be seated again, Michael. What I have to show you now demands some lengthy explanation."

At first he thought that the garment she held up in front of her was a set of curtains. As she unfolded it, he could see it was a skirt- like affair, with delicate circles of soft lace and eyelet arranged around a cone of silk, cotton, nylon. It was long, soft and flowing, with a ruffle hem and drawstring at the waist.

"This, young man, is a petticoat. You heard me mention petticoat discipline this afternoon, and it is from this garment that that term derives. I can think of few articles of lingerie that are more girlish and juvenile. This little item is the symbol of your station for some time to come, and it gives me great delight to put you into it. In fact, you are going to be favored with four layers of these tonight."

He was more chagrined, not only at the flimsy skirt she held out to Marie, but at the teasing and abasing words which she had spoken. He followed Marie's request to step into it, and his eyes met the gleeful twinkle in Jane's as Marie pulled the band of the petticoat up to his waist and tied the drawstrings. Three others followed, these pulled over his head, making a rustling sound as they settled into tiers of frilly circumference around his mid-leg. The crinolines flounced outward as the bulk of each rested on the one before it.

He was thankful he could not see himself in this ludicrous predicament, but it was as though Jane read his mind, for she summoned him over to the lighted mirror and forced him not only to look, but to swirl the skirts back and forth. She was clearly not impressed with his manner of swishing the skirts, for she made an off- handed but exasperated comment to Marie about how much needed to be done.

Standing there, the brightly reflection looked back tauntingly at him, mortified and humiliated. He looked like a goddamned girl. He felt lower than he had ever felt. True, there was a strange delight in the touch of these fabrics, and, he had to force himself to admit, an odd sensation of titillation in wearing clothes so obviously feminine. Were it not for the proximity of the two women standing behind him, he might have managed a slight smile of pleasure. But, of course, they were there, and their's was a demeaning presence. Nevertheless, amid this strange mixture of impressions, the overwhelming one was indignity.

The chair he had earlier been seated in was now moved to the vanity and he was directed there. At this point Jane stood to leave.

"I leave you to Marie's expert talents, Michael. You will mind her as if I were still here. When she is completely finished with you, you will come back down to my study." With that she left.

Marie occupied herself arranging items -- some familiar, others foreign to him -- on the dressing table. A he stared at himself in the mirror, he was quite certain that he was not going to like what was coming next.

Marie began with a hair dryer, directing its warm flow over his hair, using a small brush to first dry it and then coax it into a lightly curled fullness. He saw this through half-closed lids, the air flow causing his eyes to water when it touched his eyes. When he did clear his eyes, and the warm air dried his hair, he was startled to see that his hair was a lighter blond than it had been. He could not readily account for this, then concluded that it must have had something to do with the shampoo. And indeed it had, for just that afternoon Jane had selected the proper shade of tint she wanted. The color was now a more golden color, not loud or garish, but a soft amber shade with gold highlights.

Marie busied herself now behind him, at the back of his head. He could see that she was taken hair pins and placing them there. What she was in fact doing, was making a knot of hair in preparation of the next step. When she had done, she moved into the bathroom and returned with what appeared to be a fleece, of a color remarkably...not exactly like his own. He would later learn that it was called a fall, and it had been washed with the same shampoo that his own had been, and Marie had curled and styled it while he had slept.

She inserted the comb of the fall into the knot she had fashioned at the back of his scalp, bring a tear to his eye as it pulled his hair. Some more pins anchored the artificial tresses to his own hair. She then returned to his own hair, and with a hot iron, drew ringlets of it into soft curls.

When she was satisfied with the curls, both real and artificial, she produced a large blue satin ribbon and, wrapping it around the juncture of the fall and his own hair, tied it in a bow.

The image that reflected back to him was a peculiar mixture of familiar and obscure. He knew it to be him, the features were his own. But the cascade of curls which brushed against his bare shoulders, locks (for they had to be so labelled, now), different in color from what they had been that morning...all these cast an alien representation of his true self. Not having lost a bit of the chagrin he felt at his plight, he was fascinated with what he saw, as though he were looking at a distaff twin of himself.

His reverie was interrupted by Marie's voice, and he again assumed a hang-dog look and manner befitting his feeling of distress. She was holding up a skirt (of tafetta, he was later to learn). it was navy blue, and though it had a sheen like satin, this luster was more muted. Marie slipped this carefully over his head and her handiwork and lowered it to settle atop the bollowing petticoats. The skirt fastened, Marie reached into the closet and brought forth a lighter blue, pastel blue garment. This one did have the luminous gloss of satin, and as it was put on him, it fell loosely over the top of the skirt, The cuffs were elastic, so that after Marie had adjusted the sleeves, they blooused out at the wrist. Michael had seen that the collar which dropped down the back was piped with a contrasting color, nautical style. He stood immobile as Marie adjusted the middy blouse and affixed at the neck a ribbon which matched the one in his hair.

The next item was one he could, and, indeed was directed to do himself. He put on the long white stockings she gave him and pulled them to their height to his knees. Unfortunately, this deed was not done to her satisfaction, and as she made him stand, he could watch in the mirror as she folded down the tops of the stockings and let the lace trim form a cuff just below his knees.

The shoes followed next. By this point, Michael was resigned to foloow the taciturn woman's insturctions blindly. He slipped his feet into the patent leather pumps and let her fasten the straps and buckles.

He was dressed. he preseumed this was all of it and he could depart to show tasha what she had wrought. He was wrong.

Marie had him sit once more at the vanity and she brought forth a tray of small jars. Here again was an operation that filled him with foreboding. She was going to make him up. he had been made up before, for the stage in school plays. But somehow, this occurrence imported more than just dramatic requisites. Nearly more than anything he had experienced thus far, the prospect that she was about to paint his face made him queasy.

She began with a thin brown pencil telling him to keep his eyelids as still as possible as she traced a fine line beneath and just above each eye. Next, she took a small spong-like brush and brushed it over a cake of light blue and trasferred the color to his closed eyelids in long, delicate strokes. Again he was bade to curb his fluttering eyelids as she withdrew a bristled wand from a tube and daubed sienna particles of mascara on his lashes, stroking synthetic length and body into them.

When he looked in the mirror again, he was astonished at how the cosmetics had softened his eyes and added to the feminine countenance that stared back.

Marie dabbed spots of carmine rouge on his cheeks and then roughly stroked them until they blended into a faint pinkish blush on his cheeks.

The final significant moment of that queasy, menacing feeling he had felt to a greater or lesser degree this last hour and half, came when he saw the tube of lipstick being uncapped and the ruby shank rise from it as she turned the base. Long after this night, whenever he either had lipstick applied to him or had to apply it to himself, he would reflect on this moment. It was as though it symbolized the finality of the transition and the submission.

He felt a sadness as he mimicked the awkward contortion of the lips she demonstrated, and the color was spread over his lips.

Now she sent him to Jane. He glimpsed himself briefly in the mirror as he left the room and felt like he inhabited another body.

Michael closed the door to the bedroom as he entered the hallway. Although he didn't realize it at the time, he was also closing the door on his past life. A new lifestyle, carefully crafted and controlled by women, was opening for him. In his present helpless condition, he was unable to resist. Gradually, events he was powerless to influence, would shape him into a new, far more pliable young person.

Standing out in the hallway for the first time was a disorienting experience for him. At least, in the bedroom, he was more enclosed; shut off from the outside world. Here in the wide, ornate upstairs hallway, with its rosewood end tables and Persian carpets, he felt naked. The light was much brighter, it seemed out here. Also, inside bedroom, he had been forced to don this costume. At least, much as he hated his petticoated predicament, he had an excuse; a means to rationalize it, this isn't my fault. Now, standing alone in the open hall, what could he say if anyone met him. Here I am, a 14 year old boy, in petticoats, skirts, and a middy blouse. It was terrifying. Terrifying, but also, he hesitated to admit it, a little exhilarating.

Everything felt new. For instance, he immediately noticed the feel of his naked legs. This must be how girls feel all the time when they're wearing skirts, he thought. As he walked, he was embarrassed by an annoying itching on his freshly shaven thighs. He stopped, placed a hand on the wall to steady himself, and rubbed his legs together in an attempt to sooth his itching thighs. It was then that he noticed the pleasing sensation of his smooth tricot panties, the playful tickle of the ruffle hems of his petticoats; all four of them, and the smooth silkiness of his chemise. It was, he had to admit, a sexy sensation. Surely if he wasn't being coerced into wearing these clothes, it might even be fun- for a little while. Alone, in the privacy of his bedroom, with no chance of anyone finding out, it could have been quite arousing. But Jane had not given him any choice, that much was certain. And he didn't even know how long he would be humiliated in this most feminine fashion.

With that thought, he remembered Jane, waiting for him in the downstairs study. After his tense, strictly timed experience in the bathroom, he know he had better be prompt, much though he hated it. He left the wall, half cowering behind an endtable, and walked to the stairs. Almost immediately the sensation of the numerous petticoats surprised him. It was almost impossible to walk with these frilly girlish undergarments tickling his thighs. But far worse was the sound! In the silent hall, with its expensive carpet, polished brass fixtures and heavy furniture, the sound of his own walking surprised him. It was awful! The skirts!--he felt so utterly ashamed, actually swished as he tried to walk. He had never expected anything so demeaning. He was sure everyone in the house would be able to hear him. How could he ever enter a room with other people present dressed like this. With every step, the billowing female garments pulled and bounced and swayed. The sound of all this material pulling over itself made an absolutely sensuous sound. But not with me in it, he thought. Not with me being forced to wear these clothes. He paused and shook his head in dismay.

Everything that had happened so far, he suddenly realized, was contrived to bring him more and more under female control. And each step was far more degrading than the previous one. He wasn't sure how much more he could take. If Jane ever actually wanted him to go outside like this, he was sure he would panic.

He stood at the top of the stairs fidgeting nervously. He squirmed his shoulders uncomfortable in their new restraining garment. To him, the bra, a symbol of utter degradation, had dozens of tight, biting elastic straps. He pulled his arms and shrugged his shoulders trying to relieve the bra straps awful bite. He felt utterly powerless. Still, he reasoned, at this point, all resistance was useless. He knew, with fearful certainty, that he had better submit to Jane's cruel demands, and right away, or face even worse, unimaginable punishments.

With that thought, he steeled his nerves for the awful walk down the stairs. He felt naked as he stepped, with unaccustomed daintiness, onto the huge open stairway. A wave of shameful humiliation washed over his as the multiple layers of petticoats rustled and tickled him with each step. Now, a new embarrassment, as he descended the stairs, his entire skirt actually "Bounced" on the floating petticoats. He wanted to close his eyes. By the time Michael reached the first floor, his cheeks had turned a deeper shade of red than Marie had initially painted them.

He sashayed, shamefully, towards the study. Besides his embarrassment, Michael began to worry what other unpleasant surprises his "aunt" Jane might have in store for him. He felt tears begin to well up in his eyes as he stood before the heavy wooden door of her study. As the tears flowed, he knew that he would have no choice buy to accept whatever Jane demanded of him. He would have to change his behavior, or endure more of this unbearable, girlish torture. Timidly, the panty clad boy knocked on the door. "I'll be with you in a minute," Jane explained after opening the door. "Now, show me that you're going to behave yourself, dear. Sit quietly on that bench until I'm ready." With that, and not a word about his girlish appearance, Jane re-entered the study and closed the door.

Michael surveyed the long, hardwood bench opposite the doorway. It was unusually plain, considering all the elaborate ornate furnishings Jane had selected for her home. The imagery of a young school boy (or, shudder! schoolgirl, for that matter) waiting outside the principal's office was not lost on him. With an unceremonious plop, he heaped himself, and his billowing costume, on the hard wood bench. Michael sat, with his ankles crossed and knees spread wide, in a most un-girlish fashion. He still seemed, despite his lovely long tresses, billowing petticoats and ruby lips, to be very much a boy in a skirt. From the careless way he had seated himself, his lovely petticoats were all bunched up beneath him. The hem of his pretty flared skirt had been creased. Thus it was, seated in this way, with his arms spread along the backrest of the bench, that Beth found him.

"Care for a jellybean?" she asked coyly. The poor petticoated boy was so startled by Beth, he nearly jumped off the bench. In an instant, he realized his plight. He felt so mortified, so embarrassed, so utterly ashamed, at being caught in a skirt, by a girl, his own age. What would she think of him? He turned away from Beth, sliding roughly to the opposite end of the bench. Michael stared at the ground, unable to stand the prospect of her inevitable teasing. Beth remained silent as she approached the shivering panty clad boy. She walked to his side of the bench, then turned, and with a practiced ladylike gesture, smoothed her skirt beneath her as she sat on the bench. The result was that her petticoats fell evenly and her skirt remained unwrinkled.

"If its any help, I think it's a nasty thing she's doing to you" Beth said with genuine tenderness. Michael, his trepidation and shame so great, could only gesture weakly. "Really, I do.", Beth added. "Most of the time, Jane`s not so bad. But sometimes, she can be so mean that I can't stand her." Michael, slightly relieved that he was not being further humiliated, was able to relax slightly. Beth offered a tissue and the skirted boy wiped his tear- stained cheeks. Gradually, he confided in Beth that he felt so utterly humiliated. For her part, Beth tried to be supportive, friendly and understanding. "Did she give you the speech about when SHE was the Head "Monstrous" of a private school?" Beth asked giggling. "Well, from what I've heard," She continued, "She got Bounced out of there. Seems she was too nasty for most of the faculty to stand."

Michael smiled in spite of himself. "How long," he asked Beth eagerly, " do you think she'll keep me like this?" He was still so embarrassed he could hardly look directly at her. Beth tried to reassure him. "She's only doing it to upset you, Michael.Just don't let it get to you. And above all, don't give her any reason to keep doing it." Michael shivered in his skirts. "But what does she want," he implored. "Look, just behave yourself, she'll soon see this is ridiculous. I'm sure she'll lose interest. I bet she's just afraid of you, Michael. That must have been some heck of a report.

In this way, Beth gradually, skillfully drew Michael out of his shell. "I guess I was pretty wild." he finally admitted. "There, you see", Beth responded. "Jane's a just afraid you'll wreck her place. Now, if you just play it cool for a little while, I'm sure she'll stop this nonsense." This last suggestion finally succeeded in gain Michael's confidence, as it was calculated to do.

Jane had learned long ago, through many similar experiences, that constant direct force and threats were an inefficient way to break the spirit of a rebellious boy. Even with prolonged petticoat punishment, the final result was always uncertain and never the complete degree of subjugation she desired. Which was why, in Michael's case, Jane had decided to subjugate him, not merely with petticoat discipline, but also with a sort of good cop/ bad cop treatment. Jane, of course, was the bad guy. She, with Marie's artful assistance, directly threatened Michael. It was Jane who forced the poor boy into panties and petticoats and he knew it. But Jane also planned to use Beth as the "good cop" in Michael's transformation; at least for the present. It was Jane who would force him onto each successive stage of feminization; but it was Beth's job to make him accept it.

Beth, for her part, played her role skillfully. She knew well, from personal experience, what Michael was going through. Still, she didn't let that knowledge mollify her manipulative actions. Beth knew well that her only chance for freedom lay in helping Jane completely subjugate and transform Michael. Besides, she recalled, she would only have to play the role of the good guy with Michael for a little while longer. Beth suppressed an inner smile of vengeful anticipation.

Meanwhile, Michael was anxious to have an ally, a friend, anyone to whom he could confide in. "What does she want me to do?" he asked Beth anxiously. Now was Beth's turn to expand on the treatment which Jane had so forcefully begun. "Just try to cooperate, for a while." Beth explained. Michael just snorted with indignation. Cooperate! after what she's done to me! Ohhh! What I'd like to do to her...", he retorted. "Well then," Beth sighed, "if that's your attitude, you better get used to petticoats, I think you're gonna be wearing them for quite a while. Yes, indeed, my dear," she added, "at least through the summer. Maybe longer." Michael was aghast. Petticoats, for the next TWO months! HE was mortified. He was actually scared at the prospect. It was too degrading to think about. "Please," he was actively pleading with Beth now, "what do I do? I could never stand it! HOW can she be so mean?"

Beth explained to him that if his behavior improved, Jane might relent. For example, she pointed out his unladylike manner of sitting. Under Beth's guidance, Michael uncrossed his ankles, placed his patent shoes flat on the floor, and pressed his knees together. He smoothed down the lap of his billowing skirt and folded his hands in his lap. "Much better", Beth praised him. "still, Jane can't like what you've done to your outfit. After all the trouble she went through to get you dressed up, and there you go wrinkling everything." She then pointed out to the petticoated boy his wrinkled clothing. Beth had Michael stand and helped smooth out his skirt. "The best way to get out of trouble with Jane," Beth explained, "is not to get into trouble in the first place. This is one of the first things she'll check."

Michael stood before his seated companion as she continued to give him pointers, subtle, girlish pointers, on how to behave around Jane if he ever wanted to regain his freedom and his pants. While Beth spoke, she steadied Michael with her left hand while smoothing down the folds of his skirt with her other hand. Repeatedly she ran her hand, delicately, gently, down the skirted boy's rear. Stroking the back of his skirt, ostensibly to smooth the wrinkles. But as Michael stood there, up straight, heels together, toes pointed out, hands folded in front of himself, he was aware of a different effect. The warmth of Beth's hand on his thigh, the gentleness of her stroking, the teasing folds and frills of his petticoats all combined to create a warm pleasing stirring deep within his tricot panties.

"And another thing," Beth explained, "try to avoid getting your petticoats all tangled up during the day. It's just something that happens as you walk around with all this lacy stuff." Michael said nothing but to himself thought that was the one pleasant thing about this situation. The pleasant way the ruffle frilled petticoats worked their way between his legs. "Never, what ever you do, try to fix your petti's by hand!" Beth admonished. "That's all the excuse Jane would need to punish you" As an alternative, Beth stood up and demonstrated a "more acceptable" way to walk. As Michael observed, Beth sashayed down the hallway and back. "We don't walk like this all the time, of course. But when you think Jane is watching you, or you want to unbundle your petti's, this is the safest way to do it." Beth then told Michael to try it. Although he was initially reluctant, he quickly conceded when Beth reminded him about Jane's strictness. With self conscious awkwardness,Michael tried to walk down the lush carpeted hallway outside Jane's study as he had seen Beth do. She made suggestions and had him repeat his attempt several times, "to make sure you can fool Jane." On his last attempt, as Michael walked with his back to Beth, she allowed herself a smile at the sight. Michael was attempting to walk as Beth instructed him; swaying his hips to the left and then the right with each step. Also, she emphasized the importance of taking only little mincing steps. The result was a young boy, a training bra, petticoats, and a skirt, promenading down the hall. She had to admit, he already had an acceptable mince!

He looked so funny, she had to bite her lip to avoid laughing out loud. The time for that, she recalled, would come soon enough. Surely Jane would be pleased with her when she reviewed Michael's progress. And the tape recorder hidden under the hardwood bench would confirm Beth's sincerity and commitment to Jane. Surely Jane would at long last favorably consider Beth's own desire for freedom. But she was afraid of hoping for too much too soon.

When Jane opened the door to her study a few moments later, she was indeed pleased by what she saw. Instead of the disobedient young man she had to endure that morning, she saw the facsimile of a lovely young lady. True, much of that effect was due to her own, and Marie's skillful efforts. But the deportment of the young man in question was also quite improved. This certainly wasn't the way a rebellious 14 year old boy would sit. Michael's hands were neatly folded in his lap, he sat up straight, (showing off the minimal padding of his training bra), his knees and heels were together and his shoes flat on the floor. Beth had done her job well, Jane mused. She admitted the petticoated prisoner. Michael, eager to please, and avoid prolonged humiliation, stood up and sashayed as instructed. He lifted his rear and swayed left and right, taking the little mincing steps he thought would lead to his freedom. How foolish. How little he realized the each step only brought him closer to complete feminized subjugation.

Jane seated herself in a leather bound wing back chair. "Come here, please." she ordered Michael. The bra-clad boy stood before her, trying to win his freedom by enhancing his subjugation. Michael stood with his heels together, toes pointing apart, and back straight. He looked up, pushed his shoulders back (trying not to cringe as the tight elastic of his training bra pulled at his flesh). Finally, as Beth had suggested, he clasped his hands behind his back; palms together, fingers pointing down. Michael felt fearful and degraded by this behavior. He knew how pathetic and ridiculous he must look. But somehow, he hoped, this would be sufficient to assuage this domineering woman.

Realizing exactly what her captive must be thinking, Jane made sure she rewarded the behavior she wished to promote. She complimented him and expressed satisfaction with his appearance. "But remember", she warned sternly, "you must continue this much improved behavior through Friday, or I shall immediately dismiss you." She spent some time reviewing her litany of complaints against him, but she held out the promise that he could be reformed. This greatly encouraged Michael, who assumed this indicated a release from his petticoat discipline. But Jane did not elaborate, preferring to allow Michael to deceive himself. After a short while, he was dismissed and sent to the dining room to await dinner.
 
 
Chapter 4.
 
Michael walked into the dining room to find that the table had been splendidly set and the smells of cooking drifted in from the kitchen. Beth was already there, standing demurely behind her chair. She advised him that it was a rule of the house that neither of them was to sit until Jane entered the room and was herself seated. He stood timorously behind the tall-backed chair, imitating Beth's diffident carriage and pose. Jane entered the room despotically, and sat and placed her napkin in her lap. Following Beth's every lead, Michael seated himself and copied each movement, constantly fearful of committing some error of manner which would incur Jane's wrath. Dinner passed slowly,it seemed,yet he knew when the clock sounded seven times it had not been that long.

Conversation was succinct, most of it limited to Jane's continuing lectures on deportment and good breeding. Michael was grateful that precious little reference was made to him, for he had expected some attention to be focussed on him. He stole an occasional conspiratorial glance at Beth, and smiled gratefully at the girl's apparent concern at his plight.

Supper ended and over the demitasse, Jane finally centered her deliberations on him.

"I think we shall make an early night of this.," she said, glancing at the grandfather clock. "It will take a while for you to be prepared for bed, Michael. You have not done too badly today, after you and I had our little talk. I expect even better conduct tomorrow,for we have a lot of lessons to cover."

"Now say goodnight to Beth, and go upstairs. Marie is waiting for you." With that the was dismissed. He folded his napkin, and flashed a shy smile of thankfulness in Beth's direction as he bid her goodnight. Standing, he painstakingly walked from the room,remembering Beth's exhortation about his bearing and posture. As he passed through the foyer and up the stairs, he was again cognizant of the ruffle of the dainty petticoats and the taffeta skirt with each step. He hoped to himself that Beth's assurance that giving in to Jane's whims was the surest way out of this contemptible dilemma. He entered the forbidding bedroom that had become so symbolic of his exploitation.

AND SO TO BED...

Marie told him to undress, and she watched sternly as he followed her instructions to correctly hang the skirt and blouse and align the shoes neatly alongside the others on the shoe rack. Each petticoat was removed, and with the camisole, neatly folded and meticulously consigned to its appropriate place in the drawers. Marie directed him to the bathroom, handing him a soft powder blue nightgown of sheer material. He was to remove the panties, but to retain the bra and slip this new garment on. The ballet- length gown was adorned with lacy trim and petite ribbon trim and its ruffled-edge flounce fell just below his was knees. He deposited the panties in the clothes hamper as she had told him and returned to the bedroom to find her again busy at the vanity. She left the room only briefly to fill two small bowls with water which she carried back in and set on the table. One had a thin froth of foam atop it, and she brusquely plopped his right hand in it.

She sat along side him and examined his face. Picking up a pair of tweezers, she located some errant eyebrows and plucked them. The yank of the instrument extricating the tiny hairs smarted, but she was oblivious to his complaints. She continued the process,shaping the brow into a more graceful arch. In addition to the misery this operation dealt him, he felt worry that this particular routine imparted more of a permanence than the cosmetics or other indignities he had suffered.

Next she extricated his wet hand, replacing his other hand in the water. With an array of surgical-like gadgets, she manicured each nail. She then took a small bottle of nail polish, and stroked a layer of high gloss enamel on each nail, cautioning him to remain still until the varnish had dried.

As the enamel dried on his fingers, a tingling effect as it hardened tightening against the nails, Marie silently busied herself with removing the wiglet from the back of his head and the hairpins that had held it there, She brushed out the tangles, and then, with a comb, drew out a small strand of his hair, holding it in one hand while she dampened the strand with her other hand. With no waste of motion, she picked up a brush roller and began winding the hair around it, pulling it almost painfully tight against his scalp and securing it with a pin. She worked proficiently,repeating the process scores of times as she covered his head with the small cylinders.

He sat mutely, watching this new indignity being imposed in another purposeful belittlement of his virility. When she had completed her chore, she moistened each rod with a liquid that she dispensed from the nozzle of an aerosol container. She explained to him that the solution set the curls, as she told him he would see more clearly in the morning. In the light from the mirror he could glance down at his hands and see the sparkled that each fingernail gave off.

Almost as if on cue, Jane entered the room as Marie was tidying up the table. She examined her new protege, and smiled approvingly.

"All ready for bed, I see. Well, I want you to get a goodnight's rest, for we have a full agenda tomorrow." Placing her hand on his shoulder and caressing his skin through the silkiness of the nightdress, she went on. "Normally, you would remove your makeup before retiring, but I want you to be very aware that you have it on as you fall asleep tonight. Keep a mental image of that softly painted face you see. That's to be you for the future. Sweet, feminine, pretty little Michael."

Her words and the smile mocked him, and she could see the self- conscious blush spread over his face. She persisted.

"In fact," she said, taking up a lipstick tube, "Let's see you how well you have learned to put this on tonight."

Again he saw the tube rotate in her hands and a column of crimson emerge as she handed the cylinder of paint to him. He hesitated, how he hated this derisive abuse that she seemed to so enjoy. With a sense of disgust and near self-loathing, he took the tube and felt ridiculous again as he daubed the red stain on his lips.He accepted the tissue she proffered and blotted the color as she instructed.

"You're making some progress," she said. "In a while you may even become proficient. Indeed, we'll spend a lot of time tomorrow learning how we make ourselves pretty."

The choice of words irked him. Jane, apparently unsatisfied with his appearance had opened a compact of blush and with a camel hair brush, daubed added color over his face.

"Mind you, there will always be times when you are submitted to Marie's governance and mine. Part of your training it to feel the distress at being subdued by a woman's hand, feminizing and softening that rough exterior, making you appreciate the importance of having that coarse masculinity of yours suppressed under the guidance of a gentlewoman.

She seemed to emphasize each of these points with another whisk of the scarlet powder on his features.

"Such is your fate for the time being, Michael. To be an adorable, winsome little boy in skirts. I shall see you in my study for coffee and rolls at 8:30 sharp."

With that she directed him into bed, waiting at the door after Marie had departed, Once he had settled his head on the pillow and drawn the coverlet up over him, she smiled again and turned off the light and closed the door.

It had just gone 8:15.

Michael awoke and was immediately conscious of the barbs of the curlers again. As it had been the previous afternoon, it took a second or two to become familiar with his whereabouts. Then the realization settled on him and the remembrance of the preceding day began to play itself out like a film in his mind's eye.

He glanced at the clock and was glad to see he had not overslept. Jane had been emphatic the night before that he was to be before her by 8:30. He sat up in bed and picked up the detestable peignoir that matched this gown he wore. His feet slid into the satin slippers beside the bed, and he stood as he drew the second gown over him. The reflection in the mirror of the surrogate maid that he had become watched him as it aped his every move.

As he stood there and contemplated the "girl" in the mirror, he felt a recurrence of a feeling he had experienced more than once the preceding evening. The figure that stared back at him was not he, yet was. THIS was an appealing lass, he thought, an opinion that made him wince at what he was acknowledging!

Still, this odd sensation of coalescence with that figure in the mirror tantalized him. He was grateful he was engrossed in this inspection and these sentiments in private, for the dread of being seen like this still terrified him.

He had been peripherally aware of another sensation, which,as he now focussed on it, excited him in a more customary and familiar manner. He had woken with the usual daybreak erection,and the feathery touch of these wispy garments against his glans caused an electrifying stimulation there. Indeed, every part of his skin was being stimulated by the soft luxury of the material. He swirled the gown in an abbreviated pirouette, feeling self-conscious, but not caring. In spite of his own emotional aversion to all this, he felt both a flush of sensual tingle and an irrational envy of girls who experienced this pleasurable luxury all the time.

Michael entered Jane's study now filled with the more instinctive sense of despondency and embarrassment which was engendered by his costume and countenance.

He sat in the chair before her desk and accepted the strong coffee she offered him.

"This morning will be devoted to some practice with clothes and makeup, Michael," Jane announced. "Your face is a mess!"

He had noticed the dark circles under his eyes while he was cavorting with his mirror image in the bedroom.

"The reason we usually remove our makeup before bed. Though I told you otherwise last night, remember that in future."

She sipped thoughtfully at her cup.

"On the other hand, I don't like my boys and girls running around the house without at least a little color...even in the morning. So plain and ordinary! Therefore, after you wash up in the morning,a touch of color is expected. You will learn how."

He was mentally recording these instructions, for she had said at dinner he was to learn all these arts and would be punished if he deviated from the routine of the household.

"Now, about this morning. As you must be aware by now, this whole process is designed both to subject you to alien and unconventional lessons in attempt to inhibit what I have perceived to be a recalcitrant attitude. It is part of the English method I told you about. But there is more to it than that."

She paused, sipping at the cup and letting this sink in.

"My experience," she continued "(and this is the true essence of the 'English method'),she said parenthetically, "is that boys subjected to the regimen of petticoat discipline gain an insight into the feminine side of themselves, and of the world around them. I personally think that this is a valuable insight, for this world is filled with men who are totally insensitive to feminine things and disdainful of the elevated role of woman. So that is another component of your training."

"But enough of that. Think of it as just another bonus to your education. We shall talk again throughout the coming days about what it takes to be like a young girl of your age."

The colloquy was getting a little ahead of him, and he was attempting to sort it all out. He knew that the underlying theme forecast things that he would not like, but he was in an inferior position to object. She continued.

"So we come to this morning's program. When girls are young,they spend hours practicing with clothes and with makeup. Now while I don't expect you to display that same enthusiasm for the activity, it is a skill that believe to be important to your development. So this morning you are going to practice getting yourself dolled up and darling and precious."

God, he hated her choice of words. This tribulation never seemed to end, nor did it subside with the passage of time. New indignities seemed to spawn from her inventiveness. He speculated in vain about what she had in mind.

"Marie is now laying out your first ensemble. She will attend to your hair, which, I will warn you, is apt to be quite curly this first time. She will also guide you through this first session. She is going to supervise your training this morning and I am going to appraise your progress. I think the first phase will take about an hour. Pay close attention to what Marie shows you, for it will be important to you later."

She stood and refilled the coffee cups, proffering the plate of croissants to him. He selected one and bit into it.

"After she has done with you -- and you will be doing a good bit of it yourself -- you will come back here for my inspection. Looking lovely and proper, I presume. Is that clear."

She noted the subdued nod of his head as agreement, but would not let that affront pass.

"Michael, when I say something or ask a question, I expect a polite and audible 'Yes ma'am' in response Both good little boys and good little girls are expected to display that politeness."

"Yes, ma'am" he muttered"

"A little better; we will work on that. Now, by my reckoning,it should take someone about half-an-hour to get dressed and made-up. So after I have inspected you, you will return to your room and do it all over again. it may be a whole change of costume, or merely a correction of some shortcoming I discover. But in each case, you will cleanse away all traces of the makeup you have on and redo it from scratch. New colors, new cosmetics...whatever Marie decides. Is that also clear?" She knew the time she was allotting to the procedures was scant, but that was part of the indoctrination.

"Yes, ma'am," he articulated this time, equally without enthusiasm.

She glanced at the clock.

"We will be having lunch at 12:30 today. By my reckoning, that will permit you at least four practice sessions. Perhaps you will be developing a little art and proficiency by the end of the morning."

She sat on the edge of the desk, directly above him, and went on, "Now, if you are late, or if you are not properly put together each time, you will be punished. I believe this exercise to be a very meaningful part of your education. Unless I see some cooperation and progress by noon, you may be repeating the lessons well into the night."

As he finished the bun and coffee, ruminating, no doubt on her words, she, too, deliberated on this whole plan. The timed drill she had derived from her brother's reminiscences from his military days,and it was pure harassment. "An inspection every thirty minutes in a totally new uniform" was a way in which drill instructors taught not only uniform assembly but instilled discipline. The frustration that Michael would be augmented by the repetition of the acts she knew he found to be abhorrent. Friday was but one day away and she was certain she was winning the war of wills in this struggle for compliance.

She also knew that her threat of prolonging this enterprise into the evening was an idle threat. Whatever level of competence had been achieved by 11:00 or 11:30 would suffice for today. The finesse of feminine arts and skill would take weeks, not hours. No, before noon she had another devilish scheme in mind.

Whatever measure of competence Michael had achieved by 10:30 would no longer be implemented on himself. Her thoughts had earlier strayed to Beth and the events of the previous evening. After Michael had left, Beth began whining again about having done as Jane had instructed and snivelling about be able to leave here now. In the brief tiff that had ensued, Beth had exhibited a degree of surliness and insolence that warranted some firm correction. Moreover, she could not suspend Beth's management while concentrating on her new protege. She smiled inwardly at her own shrewdness. Beth would know that defiance meant reversion to more childish fashions and appearance, and was probably anticipating at least an hour of that punishment. What Beth could not foresee was that Jane would place Beth at the hands of Marie to effect the transfiguration of Beth into a more infantile appearance. The Shirley Temple outfits, Jane decided. Two little petticoated goldilocks at lunch! Beth of course would be devastated, not only by the retrogression into those clothes, but by the shame at having it done so that Michael would see the humiliation of it. It was delicious!

Lunch would suffice for the punitive period, and afterwards they would be allowed to change -- sundresses perhaps -- for Beth was to take Michael on a tour of the grounds this afternoon. Michael's first outing in ruffles, with the inevitable meeting of the groundskeepers, Hal and old Tom. Jane enjoyed another warm inner smile which spread to her lips as she contemplated the poor young man before her.

Michael had finished now, and Jane noted the time. It was just going 9:00 a.m.

"Get started now, Michael, my dear. Marie is waiting. I'll expect you back here at 10:00."

Michael entered the bedroom and found Marie had laid out clothing on the now-remade bed.

"Miss Jane had me lay these things out for you. But the other times I am to give you just a list and you must do everything yourself. Please do it well, for she gets very upset. Now come here and I will start on your hair."

He sat on the now familiar skirted stool before the mirror and she began extricating the pins and pulling the tight rollers from his hair. He felt a sense of relief to be rid of their prickly barbs. As she pulled each rod away, the tight coils of hair sprang back to his head and remained a taut ringlet. When she had removed all the curling wands, she began combing, teasing and pinning the tresses, fashioning a petite hair style that was, in essence a wreath of golden ringlets about his head.

He was cognizant of the time ebbing as she finished. She showed him the panties and satiny garter belt, showing him how it fit around his waist (outside the panties, Miss Jane insisted). The cami he was conversant with from the previous day, and the half-slip was, in essence a single shimmering petticoat. Marie was, however, most explicit in the manner in which he was to put on the gauzy nylon hose, and, after he had donned the other garments, she coached his rolling them up and letting them glide up his smooth legs. He was sensitive to the silky constriction with which they bound his legs and an odd coolness they imparted.

He felt ill at ease as he stood up and Marie's hands fumbled beneath the skirts while she demonstrated how to fasten the garters to the top of the hose. Marie emphasized the constant need to always inspect the whole effect in the mirror, turning this way and that to ensure everything was in place.

He sat at the makeup table and followed her coaching as he attempted to duplicate her expertise with eyeliner, shadow and mascara. He had a little better luck with the rouge and he had already gained some mastery of the lipstick. The eyes did not look right, but the clock was rapidly approaching 10:00. He still needed to dress.

He put on the blouse he handed him, a white cotton blouse with a petite peter pan collar. AS with the robe the previous afternoon, again he found the buttons to be backward, and he fumbled his way through them. Next he slipped the plaid pleated jumper over his head, careful not to disturb his hair, and slid his feet into the pumps on the floor. He had scarcely half a minute to negotiate the hallway to Jane's study. He smoothed the skirt of the dress and knocked discretely on her door.[Comments and critique, Jane?]

He raced back to the bedroom for the next change. As he burst in, already pulling the jumper over his head, again, trying not to mess the curls, he glanced at the second list. It required he removed the garters and hose, and he did this in the bathroom, dropping them in a heap on the hamper. He spread the cold cream over his face as Marie had told him, rubbed it in and cleansed all traces of the cosmetics from his face. He washed quickly with a soapy cloth, dried and returned to the bedroom.

The second costume called for petti-pants and anklets. Apparently he could keep the slip and cami on, so he must find the lacy petti-pants. He opened several drawers, amazed at the profusion of dainty things laid out in them, then finally found the dainty sateen bloomers slipped into them, experiencing again the thrill of the soft material on his bare legs and against his groin. He pulled the sox on and busied himself again before the mirror. He was more carefully this time sketching the lines below and above his eyes, and he found that the brown mascara wand had a shape which made application easier. A paler rouge this time, then the blush and the ubiquitous lipstick, this one a more peach shade. Marie offered the occasional instruction, and he made what correction she could as she admonished him. In the rush of meeting the deadline, he did not have much time to reflect on the distress of playing the sissy to Jane, though he was not unaware of the unmanly pursuits he was being forced to engage in.

The dress took some time to find, a lacy and very ornate party dress amid the profusion of such frocks in the spacious closet. It had a peach satin sash,and it took a precious four minutes to affix it properly. Mary Janes this time, with the further delay that their tiny straps and buckles consumed. He rummaged through the drawers to find the short white gloves and raced out the door with some five minutes to spare. He ambled more slowly down the hall this time, again keenly mindful of the swish that whispered from the rustling brush of ruffles beneath the skirt and the whirring note that the rubbing nylons made against each thigh.[More analysis/tutoring?]

He repeated this drill twice more. The second costume was not unlike the first. A pinafore (he had to ask Marie for help in locating it, the term being totally alien), hip-huggers, two petticoats this time and he had to squirm back into the garters and gingerly draw the delicate hose back on. The makeup took a little less time, though he was more meticulous about it after Jane's last tongue-lashing. In fact, he felt a sense of achievement as he finished the blush and applied the lipstick in an even margin within his lip line.

It was the shoes that gave him trouble this time. Instead of the flats he was used to, these had a 1" heel, and his pace down the hall was more unsteady this time. Moreover, the pace of the changes had dislodged some of the curls, and despite the neat appearance he thought he presented and the more careful application of the paint, she was less than complimentary about his efforts. Amid the feelings of silliness that pervaded this appearance, he felt strangely disheartened that he had not met her expectations.

And so it was that she directed Marie herself to conduct the last change of apparel, repair the makeup and the coiffure. He resignedly returned to the now-disheveled room and stripped off everything he had on.

The last outfit was a true indignity. The more androgynous underpants were replaced now by very ruffled, little girl's panties. Three layers of petticoats shorter than those he wore last night were draped over these; starched, stiff crinolines which stuck out far from his legs. The anklets returned, embroidered with small roses. Mary Janes again, which Marie charitably fastened. The dress itself was another party dress, this time a princess party frock with a short skirt that allowed the crinolines to peek out from the fringe,and an enormous satin sashed bow that Marie lavishly fashioned in a large bow in back.

She then painstakingly corrected the mass of curls using her combs brushes and the curling iron. Then she added a touch of fresh color to his cheeks, eyes and lips. As he stood before the full-length mirror, watching her affix the large bow in his hair, he observed that the outfit was obsequious not only in its femininity, but in its childishness. He looked like a teenager masquerading as an eight-year old. More importantly, he was acutely aware that he was a teenage boy masquerading as a pretty seven-year old girl. He almost wished he were back in one of the more grown-up styles he had worn earlier. With a profound sense of chagrin, he clacked down the hallway in his patent shoes, petticoats bobbing, and went to lunch.
 
 
To Be Continued...
 



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