In ancient times, when the box owned by the beautiful Pandora, the first mortal woman,
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 5: A job offer
The following day Lucy and I arrived at the club at about 12.45. I was wearing her shirt dress, brown wig and high heels. Once again she’d helped me to put on some makeup and to style my hair, but we’d not been as ambitious as the previous evening. Nevertheless I knew that I looked like a smart and attractive young woman, and felt quite confident as we travelled into central London. We parted company at the club entrance.
‘Alright, Nicki, this is it: I’m afraid you’re on your own now. How are you feeling?’ asked Lucy.
I had been in an optimistic and confident mood but was now I’m beginning to feel a little nervous.
'A little bit anxious,’ I admitted.
‘As far as your presentation is concerned, you have been fine so far today. I’m now going to my University library in Gower Street, but if you like I’ll wait for you at the Starbucks in Tottenham Court Road from 2.00pm. Good luck.’
I entered the club and a young woman asked me to take a seat outside the office as I was a little early for my appointment. (At least I think it was a young woman, but in this environment I couldn’t be absolutely sure.)
After about five minutes or so Randi (this time in male mode) together with a middle-aged guy, emerged from the office. They were followed by two of the previous night’s winners, who were also both en-femme but this time wearing everyday clothes rather than their costumes. It was clear from their conversation that they’d both just been offered a job and were looking forward to starting work. As soon as the two recruits had left I was invited to step into the office.
‘Ah yes, our Marilyn Monroe look-alike, what should I call you?’ asked the middle-aged guy.
‘My name is Nick, but it might be simpler to call me Nicole or Nicki as I’m wearing a dress.’
‘Alright Nicole, I’m Jack Nelson, the owner of the club, and I believe you’ve already met Randi.’
I smiled in acknowledgment, and was invited to take a seat.
‘We were both very impressed by your appearance last night but, to be honest, we weren’t too impressed by everything else,’ he continued. ‘You walked like a man, were unsteady on your heels, and didn’t know what to do with your hands. The pitch and timbre of your voice were both good but you clearly have not been listening carefully to the way that women speak and what they say.’
I was a little taken aback by his bluntness.
‘Maybe, but you are judging me by professional standards. Yesterday was the first time I’d ever dressed as a woman or appeared on stage.
‘So Randi tells me, which I suppose is some kind of excuse. Your make up was also quite impressive, did you do that by yourself?’ he asked.
‘No, my cousin did it for me,’ I admitted.
‘Oh that’s a pity.’
There was a brief pause.
‘If I was so bad why have you asked to see me today?’
‘Because we both think that you could be good, with a little more practice. Randi and I are planning to put together a new show early in the New Year and we might be interested in employing you then, if you can get in some more practice in the meanwhile.’
‘But that’s three months away. I can’t see me getting the opportunity to spend much more time as Nicole before then. I don’t have a job, all the clothes I’m wearing are borrowed from my cousin and I live with my sister who currently knows nothing about last night.’
‘Come on Jack, surely we could help her out with a job behind the bar or as a waitress in the meanwhile, to provide her with the opportunity to get that practice that she obviously needs,’ said Randi.
‘How old are you?’ he asked.
‘Alright Nicole, I’m willing to give you a six week paid trial as a barmaid at ten pounds fifty an hour, but there will be conditions.’
‘What sort of conditions?’ I asked.
‘I am willing to invest some money in helping you develop your presentation skills experience as a young woman, but only on the understanding that you are making real progress towards eventually becoming a competent performer.’
‘What do you mean by that?’
‘I’ll pay for you to have some hair extensions, nail extensions and stick-on silicone boobs. The club will also provide you with your working clothes but in return, I’ll expect to see some rapid progress in the way you walk, talk, gesture, and in your ability to use makeup, and look after your hair.
‘But won’t that mean I’ll have to dress as a woman full-time?’
‘We’ll only be able to judge you at work. What you choose to wear when you’re at home will be your own affair, but you will inevitably have long hair and boobs, so I suppose you are going to look like a girl whatever you put on.’
‘In some respects that will be a good thing for you, as the more time you can spend dressed as a girl over the next six weeks the better,’ said Randi.
‘But what am I going to wear when I’m not at work?’
‘You could perhaps borrow some clothes from your sister or your cousin, and you will be earning a reasonable wage and there will be tips as well, so maybe you should go out and buy some clothes for yourself,’ he continued.
‘But my sister doesn’t know anything about last night,’ I said.
‘Well maybe it’s now time for you to tell her, if you really are looking for a job,’ said Jack.
‘I don’t know what to say. Can I have a little time to think about your offer?’
‘Any of the other competitors from last night would jump at such an opportunity,’ said Randi.
But this time Jack relented slightly.
‘Alright you can have a few days to think about it but we will need to know by next Friday whether or not you are willing to begin work for us the following week.’
‘Thank you, I promise to let you know by Friday.’
I shook both of their hands and went to leave. Randi saw me out.
‘I do hope you say yes, Nicki, I think you have the potential to do well as a female impersonator.’
‘Thanks,’ I said, not knowing whether to be thrilled or horrified by the prospect offered to me.
I made my way through along Berwick Street to Oxford Street, and then to Tottenham Court Road in a dream, unaware of my surroundings and not caring whether the many people around were looking at me or not. I was trying to make sense of my feelings. In one respect it was the answer to so many of my dreams, but at the same time it would force me to face the demons that I’d been hiding from throughout my life. I couldn’t help it, but I cared about what members of my family thought about me, and I had no idea what my mother and sister would say when they found out? What about my father and my other relations? What would other people in the village think? I’d always assumed that my wishes would be kept a secret from my family and friends. But, on the other hand, they were only talking about a six week trial, with no guarantee of anything afterwards. Perhaps, I could go in for the trial without everyone in East Anglia finding out? But my sister would have to know.
I arrived at the coffee bar with ten minutes to spare and there was no sign of Lucy waiting for me. I therefore purchased a coffee and attempted to pull myself together taking stock of my circumstances. Here I was, in the centre of London dressed as an attractive young woman, with long hair and wearing makeup. This was a situation that I’d sometimes had fantasies about in the past in those precious few minutes before I fell asleep. It felt both frightening and yet gratifying at the same time.
‘Hi Nicki, you look pre-occupied.’
Lucy had approached without me being aware of her presence.
‘Sorry, I was miles away.’
‘So, what happened? Did they offer you a job?’
‘Yes, but there are some conditions attached and so I don’t think I’ll be able to accept it.’
‘Let me get myself a cup of coffee and you can tell me all about it.’
Ten minutes later I’d related to my cousin all that had been previously been said.
‘How would you fancy working as a barmaid?’ asked Lucy smiling.
‘I could do the job easily enough, and the pay is quite respectable, but it would be a bit strange to do so, dressed as a woman every evening.’
‘Well they won’t be employing you for your skills in bar work.’
‘I suppose not.’
‘So why won’t you be able to accept their job offer?’
‘I don’t see how I can. Carol would have to know and then she would tell Mum who would freak out and all hell would break loose. I’d be dragged back to Suffolk in disgrace and condemned to spend the rest of my life, gutting chickens.’
‘You’re making a lot of assumptions there. I suppose you can’t really avoid telling Carol but you don’t know for certain that she would tell your mother. Even if your mother did find out, are you sure that she would react so badly.’
‘She would, and she would, believe me!’
‘Alright so they both find out and they both react badly as you think; so what? You’re an adult now. They can’t force you to do anything that you don’t want to.’
‘You forget that I’ll need to continue to live with my sister, and would rather not be disowned by my mother if I can avoid it. I’ve lost contact with my father as it is.’
Lucy thought for a while.
‘Be honest with me, Nicki, if you didn’t have to worry about Carol and your mother, how would you react to the offer?’
‘I suppose I’d be tempted to give it a try, just to see how I got on,’ I said and then blushed as if I was admitting some terrible secret to my cousin.
‘I thought so. In fact I’ve always thought there was something a little feminine in your character; that is why you are my favourite cousin.
I continued to blush, not sure what to feel about what she’d just said.
‘I think you should at least give Carol the benefit of the doubt and see how she reacts to the news. If you like, I’ll come with you when you tell her. If she really freaks out, I’ll say it was my fault and that I led you astray.’
‘I need to think about it,’ I said.
‘Don’t think about it too long. You will not get another opportunity for such a trial.’
‘I know, just give me a little time this afternoon to think about it.’
‘Alright then, after we’ve finished our coffee let’s go and have a look at the market, but I’ll be expecting a decision from you by the time we go home.’
We made our way through Seven Dials to the Covent Garden Market, which is always a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially in late September whilst the weather is still fine. In many respects it was like a dream come true, being out in broad daylight wearing a dress, with long hair and makeup. Nobody looked at me at all oddly or treated me disrespectfully. Lucy went out of her way to treat me just like any of her girlfriends, pointing out things that she liked or else thought might suit me, and making no reference to my former self. Yet I couldn’t fully concentrate on what we were doing. Part of me was enjoying myself, whilst another part felt sure that everyone I came into contact with must see through the disguise realise that I was really a man, and be secretly laughing at me without me being aware of it. Also I couldn’t help but think about the offer that had been made to me. The possibility of spending several weeks working as a girl really excited me but there was also the prospect of having to tell Carol, who would want to tell my mother.
At about five p.m. we had another coffee together as it was beginning to get cooler outside. Whilst we were there she got one of the waitresses to take a photograph of the two of us, using her mobile phone.
‘Well Nicki, have you enjoyed your afternoon?’
‘Yes, very much, thank you.’
‘So what do you plan to do?’
‘I think I’d like to go ahead with the trial.
‘When are you going to tell Carol?’
‘She’s normally home early on Thursday evenings.’
‘Why don’t you invite me to dinner at your place on Thursday evening and we’ll break it to her together.’
‘Alright then, I’ll do so if you’ll come with me and support me. In some ways you did lead me astray, but I’m glad that you did do so,’ I replied smiling. I’d better let Randi know that I won’t be able to make a decision until I’ve seen Carol.’
‘Don’t worry, I’ll explain your situation to her when I next see her. I’ll also print out a couple of the photographs from last night and the one we took this afternoon, so you’ll be able to show them to your sister.’
‘I think it is now time to return to Hornsey where I’ll begin the process of changing back into Nicholas once again.’
‘Unless I have a message to the contrary, I’ll come round to your sister’s flat after I finish college on Thursday and we can work out what we’re going to say to her.’
‘Let’s see how she reacts to the news first, before you show her any pictures.’
Fortunately Carol was still out with her friends when I arrived home at about 10.00 pm on Sunday night, having changed back into my own clothes and removed all visible traces of the makeup I’d been wearing. I went to bed early as I wanted to avoid any prolonged conversation with my sister as to what I’d been doing during the weekend. Also I needed some time to try and take stock of everything that had happened to me over the last few days, and how I felt about it. I therefore left her a note hoping that she’d had a great weekend and explained that I was feeling tired and so had gone to bed. I heard her come in to the flat soon after midnight, but she must have assumed that I was asleep and went straight to bed without knocking on my door. The following morning I deliberately emerged from my room only when I knew that Carol would soon be leaving for work and would not have time for a lengthy conversation. She didn’t appear to notice any difference with my eyebrows, and of course my arms and legs were well covered.
‘Hi Nick, I’m afraid I can’t stop now. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see you over the weekend,’ she said.
‘That’s alright, I had a good time with Lucy. By the way, I’ve invited her for dinner on Thursday evening to thank her, if that is alright with you.’
‘Thursday will be fine with me, just as long as you are not expecting me to do the cooking; I haven’t seen Lucy for some time.’
‘No, don’t worry, I’ll do all the preparations,’ I said.
‘In that case, here’s thirty pounds in case there’s anything extra that you need to buy for the meal, but I must dash.’
With that I was left alone with my thoughts once again.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudo!
Click the Good Story! button above to leave the author a kudo:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.