In ancient times, when the the box owned by the beautiful Pandora was opened
all the troubles of the world flew out and could never be put back.
So what will happen when a trunk with the name 'Pandora Wilkins'
Copyright© 2013 Louise Anne Smithson
All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: Picture from PublicDomainPictures.net. Free for commercial and personal use with restriction. Girl in Red.
Chapter 2: Lucy and Randi have a plan
For once Carol was back at the flat before I was and was busy helping herself to the remains of a casserole that I’d prepared.
‘Hi Nick! Did you have a good time with Lucy tonight?’ she asked.
‘Yes thanks,’ I answered but didn’t volunteer any more detail.
‘So where did you go?’ she asked.
‘We went to a night club in Soho, Lucy had some free tickets from one of her housemates.’
‘Are you old enough to be going out to night clubs?’ she asked.
‘Yes, of course, now that I’m eighteen I’m old enough to go anywhere,’ I replied.
Carol obviously now sees herself as the guardian of my welfare and morals, at least whilst I’m staying under her roof, but I can’t complain, she is being good to me.
‘Have you had any luck job hunting, this week?’
‘Not really. I’ve completed and sent off a couple more application forms for jobs in supermarkets, but haven’t heard anything,’ I replied.
In all probability I’d never hear another word from them as was usually the case these days.
‘Don’t worry; I’m sure that something will turn up.’
We chatted for a while and then I went to bed. As usual, I used the twenty or so minutes before I fell asleep to fantasize about me wearing a dress, looking truly beautiful and being admired by my friends and family. Only this time there was the additional image of me entering and then winning a competition as the most beautiful drag debutante. But I realised it was all just fantasy. I hated my cowardice which would always condemn me to a lonely and rather grey life.
Lucy rang me the following morning: fortunately Carol was still in bed at the time.
‘Hi Nick, I’ve just seen Randi again this morning, only this time he was in male mode. He really thinks that you should go in for that competition at the club. I told him that you would like to do so but didn’t have anything suitable to wear.’
’Did I say that? Perhaps they teach mind reading in her psychology course?’
‘Go on!’ I said, unsure where this conversation was leading.
‘He has come up with a really great idea, if you are willing to cooperate.’
My heart began to pound.
‘What sort of idea?’ I asked, trying not to sound too interested.
‘You know that I can’t sing or dance!’
‘You wouldn’t have to. Apparently some of these competitions can be a little bit dull, with wannabe drag queens lip synching to I Feel Pretty, or I Enjoy Being a Girl. Ideally they want to discourage such entries and encourage more originality, but as there are bound to be some they want to inject some light relief into the proceedings.’
‘In what way?’
‘Do you remember the white halter dress that Marilyn Monroe wore in the film ‘The Seven Year Itch?’ she asked.
‘Is that the one where she stood over the subway grating?’
‘Yes, that’s right. Randi could borrow a replica of it for you to wear and the club could provide you with everything else you might need to complete the outfit.’
‘But I have dark brown hair!’ I protested.
‘We know that,’ she replied eagerly. ‘They could also loan you a platinum blonde wig to go with it. Randi thinks that with the right makeup you could do a reasonable impression of a Wannabe Marilyn Monroe. The plan is that you should enter the competition supposedly intending to mime to Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, which is another regular entry. Randi has written a little humorous sketch in which he would interview you, taking the mickey, somewhat. Then as soon as you started miming your song, they will have an air blower ready to re-enact that scene from the film, where she stands over the grate and her dress is blown up in her face. Randi thinks the sketch would go down really well with the audience. Of course you wouldn’t get to finish your song, but you never wanted to in the first place.’
I could picture the scene in my mind: the ivory pleated dress, the high heeled sandals, the blonde hair and the makeup. It all seemed impossibly glamorous and although intended as a parody it was also the fulfillment of my night time fantasies. But how would I cope dressed like that in front of an audience? I didn’t answer. I didn’t want to turn down the idea, but couldn’t find the words to say what I really felt.
‘So what do you think?’ she asked, impatiently.
‘I don’t think I could, Lucy,’ I said in a hesitant voice.
But she wasn’t going to give up quite so easily.
‘All you’d need to do is put on a girly voice whilst Randi interviews you, and follow his script. As you are being ‘planted’ among the competitors you would be able to get changed at the club, and in any event you would need a rehearsal with Randi on Saturday afternoon. I could help you to get yourself ready. It will be good fun.’
Even now, with all this encouragement, I still couldn’t bring myself to give an outright yes.
‘What would Carol think about me appearing in public dressed as Marilyn Monroe?’ I asked.
‘I’ve no idea. Does she have to know?’ replied Lucy. ‘You could always stay at my place for the weekend.’
‘I suppose so,’ I replied without really thinking what I was saying.
‘So you’ll agree to the plan and enter the competition next week?’ she asked sounding really enthused by the idea.
My heart was pounding in my chest, and my mind began to reel. I took a deep breath.
‘Alright then,’ I replied, and suddenly felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my soul.
‘Great, I’ll make the necessary arrangements with Randi, and email you a script,’ said Lucy sounding genuinely pleased. ‘Can you come round to my flat next Friday evening for a dry run? In fact, why not stay at my flat on Friday evening, so we can devote the whole of Saturday to getting you ready. I have an inflatable mattress that you can use to sleep on.’
‘I don’t see why not; will I also be able to go back to your place to get changed after the show?’
‘Yes of course, we’d better not leave you to make your way home on Saturday night dressed as Marilyn Monroe.’
’If only I could.’ I thought to myself.
‘What do I need to bring with me?
‘Just bring a change of clothes for when you return home on Sunday and your toothbrush. I’ll arrange for everything else that you might need. What shoe size do you take?’
‘Ideal! The club will probably provide them, but if necessary I’ll loan you a pair of mine!’
‘Alright then, I’ll see you on Friday night,’ I said rather flatly, although my heart was pounding in my chest.
‘In the meanwhile you could do some research on Marilyn Monroe on You-Tube. Her version of Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend is from the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and, as you know, the scene on the subway grate is from ‘The Seven Year Itch.’
I was in a state of shock as I put the phone down. I was at last going to achieve my greatest ambition, something I’d been dreaming about virtually every night since I was four. I would spend the evening dressed as an attractive young woman. Maybe it was a part of a staged comedy routine, but for most of the evening I would be able to pretend that it was really me.
‘Who was that you were talking to on the phone?’ asked Carol, emerging from her bedroom a few minutes later.
‘It was Lucy again; she’s just invited me to stay at her flat for the coming weekend.’
‘Alright, but don’t get up to anything silly, or else Mum will blame me if her precious little boy should come to any harm.’
‘Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,’ I replied, with a quiet smile.
I arrived at Lucy’s flat at the appointed time on the Friday evening and was invited inside. I noticed the 1950s ivory-coloured cocktail dress, on a hanger in her front room. It had a halter-style bodice that buttoned behind the neck, leaving the back bare, together with a calf-length soft-pleated skirt.
‘So is that the famous dress?’ I asked.
‘Only a replica: after all, the original recently sold for more than four and a half million dollars,’ answered Lucy.
‘This dress is considered a twentieth century icon, you are lucky to have the chance of wearing it.’
I didn’t respond.
‘So have you had a look at the two video clips on You-Tube, Nick?’ she asked, changing the subject.
I nodded, not wanting to admit that I’d watched each one at least a dozen times over the previous week, or that I’d also been out and bought the DVDs of both films. After all, I didn’t have that much to do in the evenings other than vainly fill in job application forms or compose variations on my somewhat thin c.v. The two films were not exactly masterpieces of cinematography, but Marilyn Monroe was truly lovely in each one. The idea that I might be able to imitate her seemed simply ridiculous, and I’d begun to get cold feet about the whole project.
‘Lucy, I know that you and Randi have gone to a lot of trouble over this weekend, but I’m beginning to wonder whether it is such a good idea.’
‘It is a great idea. That sketch is very funny and you’ll look wonderful, believe me,’ she replied, decisively.
‘It’s the getting up in public in front of a large audience, that concerns me,’ I replied.
‘How many members of the audience do you know, or will know you?’
‘None, as far as I’m aware, apart from you, that is.’
I didn’t respond, still trying to make up my mind about what to do.
‘Well, it’s up to you, Nick, nobody is going to force you to enter, but remember that if you turn down this offer you may never get another opportunity in your life to look quite so gorgeous,’ she continued, smiling sweetly.
‘You’re making fun of me!’
‘No I’m not, honestly Nick. I think most men and most women wonder at some point what it would be like to be a member of the opposite sex, but relatively few ever get to find out as most people do not look very convincing when cross-dressed, but you are one of the minority that would do so.’
‘It isn’t the dressing up, that worries me,’ I replied, thinking as I did so that it was that aspect which truly excited me, if I could only do it in private. ‘It’s doing it in front of an audience. I’m not an extravert.’
‘Nobody is, to begin with, it just takes a little practice and then you will grow in confidence. The whole point of wearing a lovely dress like that is to be able to show yourself off to other people, especially if you’ve the benefit of an attractive looking body and a pretty face.’
Is she referring to me?’
I didn’t reply, Lucy therefore continued with her persuasion.
‘I think you’ll find that once you’re wearing the wig and some makeup you’ll feel a lot more confident about things, but, as I said before, nobody is going to force you to go in for the competition if you don’t want to.’
Once again, I hesitated before answering.
’Why can’t I just be honest about how I feel?’
‘Look, Nick, you’ve come over tonight, so at least let us try out the clothes and the wig. If you’re still unhappy, we can forget all about it.’
If I don’t say yes soon, she’s going to give up, and then I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.
‘Alright, I’ll see how it goes tonight, but I’m making no promises regarding tomorrow.’
‘Great, now take your trousers and shirt off, I want to inspect your arms and legs before we go any further.’
I did as she said.
‘Don’t worry, I’m not very hairy,’ I said.
‘I’m afraid that not very isn’t good enough. Your arms, legs, shoulders and back will be visible with the dress that you are going to wear, so you’ll need to be completely smooth all over, especially your arm pits which will be on display as well.’
I let her run her hand over my bare arms and legs.
‘You’ve nicely shaped legs for a guy but we are going to need to de-fuzz them before you put on the tights, but don’t worry it won’t take long and the hair will soon grow back again afterwards.’
‘I just hope that Carol doesn’t notice in the meanwhile,’ I said as my cousin began to spread depilatory cream under my arm pits and to shave my legs.’
‘There’s no reason why she should, as long as you don’t wander round the flat in shorts and a skimpy vest for a week or two,’ replied Lucy.
Half an hour later she was finished.
‘There, how does that feel?’
I’d not really thought about it before, but it was a nice feeling to have totally smooth arms and legs for once.
‘Alright, I suppose.’
‘Here put these on for now, and try and tuck your manhood out of the way so that nothing will be visible’ said Lucy.
She handed me a pair of elasticated knickers, and some white coloured nylon tights. They both looked brand new to me.
‘You seem to have gone to some expense on my behalf.’
‘I just bought a few items of underclothes that you will need, but the club is going to pay for them.’
I followed her instructions, carefully gathering up each leg of the tights and then inserting my leg, then pulling them up. This proved to be a truly pleasurable experience, especially now that my legs were so silky smooth. I must admit that I’d thought about trying on tights on several occasions but had never had the courage to do so before. It was so silly, I could easily have bought myself a pair from any supermarket and then tried them on in private, yet I’d always been too frightened to do so.
‘How do they feel?’ she asked.
‘It’s a really nice sensation, isn’t it,’ I said, a last allowing myself to express a little bit of enthusiasm.
She smiled and gently ran her fingers over my legs, making them tingle.
‘Yes, I suppose it is a nice feeling on the first few occasions but the novelty wears off after a while, especially if you have to wear them every day.’
‘That won’t be an issue for me,’ I replied.
Lucy changed the subject.
‘Now we’ll have to do something about giving you a pair of boobs. Randi has provided you with these,’ she said handing me a couple of silicone breast forms, but we’ll have to be careful how we attach them as you won’t be able to wear your bra tomorrow night, as the dress does not have a back to it.’
‘So how will I get them to stay in place?’
‘The bodice should provide them with a certain amount of support as long as we tape them in place, but we’ll have to be a little careful as there’s also a plunging neckline. We must therefore stick them in such a way that the adhesive tape will not be visible.’
‘It all sounds rather complicated.’
‘We’ll see how we get on this evening. Lie down on my bed and I’ll fix them for you, and then you can try on the dress.’
Once again I followed her instructions. She took nearly half an hour and used a good deal of a roll of flesh coloured medical tape to stick my two false boobs securely in place.’
‘Are we going to have to do this again tomorrow?’ I asked when she was mid-way through.
‘So you are willing to go ahead tomorrow night,’ she said.
‘I’m not sure, I’m still thinking about it.’
‘As far as your breasts are concerned let’s see how we get on tonight before deciding about tomorrow.’
‘Alright,’ I agreed.
A few minutes later she’d finished and my new boobs appeared to be firmly in place.
‘Now stand up carefully, and hold them in place for a moment, whilst I go and get your dress.’
She helped me to step in to the dress, and I inserted my new boobs into the bodice, whilst she tied the halter round my neck. A little bit of re-arrangement was then required to ensure that they were comfortable, looked natural and would not be visible.
‘How do you feel?’
My arms and my back felt bare, my front felt a little bit like a trussed chicken, but my legs felt wonderful.
‘OK, I think,’ I replied. ‘How do I look?’
The door of her wardrobe was open, blocking the mirror.
‘Just wait, I’ll show you in a minute! Now step into these,’ she said handing me a pair of white high-heeled sandals, similar to those worn by Marilyn in the film.
I sat down on the bed put them on. Again, I’d never worn high-heels before, and that was another new sensation.
‘Last of all comes the wig, she said producing a platinum blonde wig, which she carefully placed on my head, and then began to brush into a style.’
Once she was satisfied with her efforts and turned towards me.
‘Well then Nicole, or perhaps I should now say Marilyn, I’ll just put a little lipstick on you and then it will be time to have a look at our efforts.’
At last she closed her wardrobe door, and for the first time I could see myself in the mirror.
‘Wow!’ was all I could think of to say: I didn’t look at all bad.
‘We’re going to need sort out your makeup properly tomorrow, but otherwise I think we now have everything you might need. Randi will provide you with some faux diamond clip-on earrings and one or two other bits of jewelry for you to wear.’
I was too stunned by the sight of the image in the mirror in front of me to listen to what she was saying.
‘Well, young lady, are we agreed to go ahead tomorrow night?’
I still didn’t answer. It was as if I was living in a dream.
‘Nick!’ she said sharply.
‘Sorry, what did you say?’ I said, coming back to earth.
‘Are you going to go in for the competition tomorrow night?’
‘I guess so,’ I answered blushing, but also feeling good at the same time.
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