Only Sixteen 17

Only Sixteen 17

By Susan Brown

I am not a doctor or solicitor, so please forgive me if the medical and legal stuff isn't accurate. Let's face it. It's only a story. If I was a doctor or solicitor, I would be much richer than I am now!

Previously...

‘As I left today, there were rumours.’

‘About what?’

‘Armstrong. He had been called out of a lecture for some reason. He evidently didn’t look like a happy bunny.’

‘I wonder why he was called out?’ I replied but suspecting that it was all to do with me.

Hannah shrugged.

‘Well, we’ll know soon enough. Let’s hope the little sod gets the sack. Anyway, enough of him. Want a drink?’

‘Okay, a hot chocolate is calling me.’

‘Calling you what?’ she replied almost innocently.

‘Right,’ I said and then proceeded to tickle her.

Did I say that she’s extremely ticklish?

She ran screaming down the quay with me chasing after her.

An old lady sitting on a bench eating her sandwich looked up, frowned and then shook her head.
Wasn’t she ever young once?

And now the story continues…

68

We arrived back home and could smell good smells coming from the kitchen.

It was close to teatime now or is that dinner time? I’m always confused about what is right. I’ve always called it teatime.

It doesn’t matter. All I do know was that I was hungry, although I did eat a lot in Penzance not that long before but I’m a growing girl.

Mum was one who didn’t like to stint on portion size. I was lucky that I was as thin as a rake and didn’t gain much weight if I ate the occasional cake or three.

Although to be fair, I did appear to be getting a wee bit more padding in the rear end and I was getting a more girlie shape, something that I was very pleased and proud about. As for my budding breasts, I wasn’t obsessed by their size, but I did measure them, almost daily, purely as a scientific exercise, of course. Interestingly, one was a couple of centimetres larger than the other. Something to be concerned about?

I enjoyed the steak pie with mash, peas, carrots and gravy you could stand your spoon up in. Hannah, the pig, finished hers before everyone else. I swear that she must have been a greedy Labrador in a previous life!

After finishing our meal and doing the thankless chore of washing up Hannah and I went next door for a bit of quiet time. When I say quiet, I needed to get up close and personal to her and the presence of one or other parent kind of cramped our style.

I knew that Mum and Dad were aware of just how up close and personal we were, but we still felt a bit uncomfortable about doing anything in the way of intimacy around them. At night, we managed to do things that were probably illegal in some countries, but unfortunately, I was a bit noisy when things got interesting. I had, in desperation, started to stuff a sock in my mouth at these times, far from ideal, especially when I wanted to do something with my tongue…

Too much information? Sorry.

Anyway, my cottage was an ideal place to get away from it all. The place was kept clean and tidy by Ivy inside and her husband Len outside.
There were a few letters on the mat, but luckily nothing nasty. I always dreaded getting another one of those poison pen things that I had before. Luckily, everything was quiet on that front, for which I was truly thankful.

We went into the kitchen and grabbed a few cokes from the fridge. I always left a small supply of goodies there, just in case.

We drank straight out of the cans to save the washing up and made our way into the sitting room.

I opened the French windows that led out to the garden, and we sat at the wrought iron garden table out on the patio. A garden that was lovely and had a nice pond at the end where the resident ducks seemed to have a whale of a time or is that a duck of a time?

There were some fish in the pond, and I wondered what they were. A few were goldfish, I knew that, but some of the fish were larger and had unusual colours. One day I would find out a bit more about the pond and its residents. There were some frogs and the occasional newt in there, I noticed. Newts were protected in our country so I would have to be careful what I did with the pond.

As I sat there, I looked down at myself. It still amazed me how I had changed from the shy introverted poor excuse for a boy that I pretended to be. I was wearing, as usual, a sun dress, lemon in colour. It was a colour that suited my new, more sunny personality, or one that I would like to have if it wasn’t for all the problems I had at that moment.

Under my dress, I was wearing some nice white silky panties and a matching bra. My hair was long and waved slightly in the soft breeze. I had hair extensions but hoped one day that I wouldn’t need them as I wanted my hair to grow out. Completing the look were some nice white wedge-heeled slingback sandals. I licked my lips. I would have to refresh my makeup soon. Another thing that was so nice about being a girl. Applying makeup wasn’t a chore for me at the moment. It was still new and something that underlined my femininity.

I wondered, not for the first time what my ever so loving natural parents would say if they saw me as I was now.

Then there was my brother. My sister Anne was happy with my new status. The last time I saw my brother was not a pleasant experience. I hoped that when I met him, he would be happy for me…

‘How are you, Em, you were away with the fairies there?’

I shook my head and came out of my trance-like meditative state, looked at Hannah and smiled.

‘Okay. It hasn’t been the best of days though. I keep wondering whether I can stay at the college after all that has happened.’

‘They won’t let that slimeball of a lecturer get away with it.’

I shrugged.

‘Nothing would surprise me. They might close ranks and protect him. All I know is that I can’t stay at the college if he’s still there.’

‘What if you get another lecturer?’

‘I would still come across him. The man’s a creep. No, it’s all a bit of a mess and I’m worried about what I would do if things go against me. The nearest college that teaches the courses I need is in Exeter, I think. I’m not sure that I could travel that distance every day, knowing how crappy the public transport is.’

‘I’m sure it won’t come to that. If they do try to protect him, there would be a stink and I would accidentally tell the media about it.’

‘Well, let’s hope we don’t need to go down that route. Anyway, have you finished your coke?’

‘Yes.’
‘Any suggestions about what to do now?’

‘I need to check something in your bedroom, want to come?’

‘I thought you’d never ask!’

69

Sometime later I was in bed with my Hannah, feeling slightly hot, sweaty and a bit out of breath for some reason. We were naked and had had one of the nicest times you can imagine. Being in my cottage, it didn’t matter much that we were a bit noisy.

Clothes were scattered about on the floor. I think that we were in a bit of a hurry to test out the bed springs!

Eventually, after an extended kiss and cuddle for lack of better words, we reluctantly got up and went for a shower. It’s nice showering with someone you love, don’t you think?

As the water cascaded down us, she cupped my breasts.

‘You’re getting quite a big girl now,’ she said and then kissed me.

‘Not as big as you,’ I replied, rubbing one of her erect nipples…

Sometime later, we dressed and hand in hand, went back next door. It was getting dark now and there was a chill in the air. It would soon be time to put away my summer clothes and get some more, more appropriate clothing for winter. No doubt Hannah would help me with some choices. She loves clothes shopping, and I was getting to be a bit of a convert myself!

The next morning, we were up early. Hannah had to go to college and was going to use the bus, meeting Mandy and a couple of other girls at the bus stop. I, on the other hand, didn’t need to get up early, as I was going nowhere whilst my future hung in the balance.

Hannah wanted me to go in to find out as soon as possible what was happening about Professor Armstrong, but I didn’t want to go near the place until I knew exactly what was going on. I had been promised that I would get some sort of answer today, but I wasn’t holding my breath.

I decided therefore to do a bit of home studying in the hope that it might take my mind off my problems.

That didn’t mean that wasn’t going to miss Hannah. As she shot off down the lane, I watched her go with a pang. This love business was hard going sometimes!

Mum was off to do some early grocery shopping, so her car had already gone, but Dad was in the kitchen drinking a cup of tea when I walked in.

I was going to grab a coffee to help wake me up.

‘Hi Dad,’ I said kissing his slightly stubbly cheek.

‘Ouch, bristles.’

‘Sorry, I’ve not long got in. I’ve had an all-nighter.’

He yawned.

‘Nothing serious?’

‘Can’t say much, but we caught them, and they won’t be causing any trouble for a long while.’

‘My dad, the hero.’ I said smiling as I sat down opposite him.

He laughed.

‘Not me I gave the orders and others did the collar. Still, it was a good night’s work.’

‘If I wasn’t mad keen on being a doctor, I wouldn’t mind joining the police.’

‘We are always looking for bright people...’

Just then my phone rang.

I picked it up.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that Emma?’

‘Yes.’

‘Hello Emma, it’s Miss Roberts at the college, can you pop up to see me this afternoon at about three?’

‘Is this about my problems with Professor Armstrong?’

‘Yes, I don’t really want to discuss it on the phone though. Can you come?’

‘Yes, I’ll be there.’

‘Thanks, I’ll see you then, goodbye.’

I put my phone down.

‘They want to see you?’

I nodded.

‘Mum’s not around this afternoon, she’s got this meeting with the Women’s Institute, I think.’

‘Yes, that’s right.’

‘I’ll catch a bus. I’ll have to have a look at the timetable.’

‘There’s no way that you are going alone. I’ll come with you.’

‘But you need to go to bed?’

‘I’ll go up in a minute and have a few hours sleep. Being a policeman means that you get used to lack of sleep and anyway, I want to go.’

I got up, walked around to him and gave him a big hug.

‘You’re the best Daddy in the world!’

‘Oh God, you are beginning to sound like Hannah when she wants to get something from me.’

‘Sorry,’ I said smiling and reluctantly letting him go.

‘Right, I had better get some shut-eye. We’ll have a sandwich or something before we go. We’ll leave here at about 2 o’clock. OK with you?’

‘Yes Dad and thanks again.’

‘That’s what parents are for.’

‘Aww.’

70

Karen was once again on reception, and we were swiftly sent onto Miss Roberts’ room.

‘Take a seat please,’ she said after I introduced Dad.

‘Thanks for coming. Now I won’t beat about the bush. Professor Armstrong has resigned on the grounds of ill health.’

‘Ill health,’ I said, ‘he looked pretty fit to me.’

‘Yes well, not all illnesses show as you should know, considering that you are studying to be a doctor,’

She said that with a smile on her face and I knew that she was speaking tongue in cheek.

‘We were told that he had mental issues and he wanted to have time to get those issues sorted out. Due to the nature of the, shall we say, accusations against him, time out wasn’t an option as far as we were concerned. After a while, he was persuaded that it would be in his and the college's best interests that he should find alternative employment once he had gotten over his ongoing problems.’

‘So, he won’t be back?’ asked Dad.

‘No.’

‘And what’s to stop him spouting his poison at another college or school?’ he continued.

She shrugged.

‘He knows that we are aware of his transgressions, and he has had his card marked. However, between us, he will find it very difficult to find another position. Word gets around if you know what I mean.

I would have to be happy with that, I supposed.

‘Now, she continued, ‘as far as you are concerned. A letter is on the way to you from the vice chancellor apologising for what has happened. He would have liked to have seen you, but he is on the way to Geneva for a meeting and he has asked me to apologise on his and the colleges' behalf. He said that he would see you, if you wish, on his return next week.’

‘OK,’ I replied.

‘The thing is,’ continued Miss Roberts, ‘Do you wish to take this further? We have discussed this matter, but you didn’t make a formal complaint in writing. Also, you have to make the decision as to whether you wish to continue studying with us.’

‘How many people know about all of this?’ I asked.

‘We have been keeping things under wraps, mainly to protect you but this is a close-knit community, and I would bet a pound to a penny that rumours are rife.’

I nodded.

‘Hannah said as much, some speculations are doing the rounds. Some of them are wild and inaccurate. It’s a question as to whether my staying on here would affect my chances of getting a good grade. I would hate for the tutors to hold anything against me.’

‘Fair point, but I can assure you, in confidence, that Professor Armstrong is not well-liked by the faculty. He is an excellent if not brilliant teacher, but he has, in the past, rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way. Also, it was known that he had favourites and that isn’t good for student morale. He was warned a few years ago about his behaviour, but the warnings have not been heeded. In short, He will not be missed here.’

‘What do you think Dad?’

‘It’s up to you Emma. Whatever you decide, we will support you. But Miss Roberts, if Emma stays here and there is any reoccurrence of this type of thing happening again, I will personally take it further.’

‘I understand,’ replied Miss Roberts, ‘so Emma, what is your decision?’

I really wanted to stay, and it was only one person that had caused all this trouble and I was sure that the faculty just wanted things to get back to normal, as did I.

‘I will stay, as long as I do not get any comeback from what’s happened, and the details are kept secret, as much as possible. I do not want anyone to know about my gender situation unless I tell them myself.’

‘I quite understand. As far as we are concerned, we only wish for you to have a happy and productive time here.’

After that, the meeting wound down and I was relatively happy with the outcome. I was to be allocated a new professor for my studies and I understood that it would be Professor Hamilton. She had a good name around the college and was considered to be something of a favourite with the students she taught. I was told that she had already been informed about my situation and she was very supportive. I was to meet her the following day.

‘So Emma, are you happy with the outcome?’ asked Dad as we drove away.

‘Yes, I suppose so. As my Nan used to say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Meaning we’ll see.’

‘Yes, true. But Emma, you must tell us if you have any hassles.’

‘I will, I promise. Thanks for coming with me.’

‘No problem. What with work and long hours, I don’t see enough of my family and anything I can do to help, you know that I’m there for you all.’

‘Yes, you are the bestest Daddy in the world!’

He groaned.

‘Give me strength,’ he mumbled.

We arrived back home and it was still reasonably early.

Hannah wouldn’t be home for ages. Dad went back to bed for a bit and Mum hadn’t arrived home yet.

I was bored and just didn’t fancy studying after all that had gone on that day.

I decided that I would go out for a run. I wanted to keep fit and healthy, and I had eaten far too many nice, horrifically calorific goodies lately and I needed to keep my trim svelte-like shape. Well, not so svelte now that my bottom was getting an interesting shape and my bosom was gradually growing into something that I hoped I would be proud of. Not that I wanted Dolly Parton-sized breasts, but something this girl would be proud of.

I changed into my running gear, left a message on the kitchen table, grabbed my drink bottle and I was off.

I decided to run down to the quay and then go onto the beach. There were a lot of people about and I felt a bit safer in numbers. There were also plenty of people on the beach. The sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze. Parents with young kids were dotted about, some brave enough to dip their toes in the water. Not me, I didn’t like swimming in the sea at the best of times let alone at this time of year when Autumn is around the corner. I know they say that the water was warmer, as it has had the whole summer to warm the sea up, but I’m a bit of a wimp, and proud of it!

I passed a couple of parents by the water's edge. They were holding a little girl by her hands, and she was squealing with delight as the water came up over her feet. I smiled sadly. I wished that I had been a little girl like that, with loving parents to love and protect me. I had missed out on things like that and I had never had a happy, loving childhood...

Enough of this, I thought.

That was the trouble with me going out on a solo run, I had too much time to think.

Running through the soft sand made my legs protest a bit but then I was on firmer ground down by the shore. I was finally able to stretch my legs a bit and I was soon out of puff as I tried to do a few sprints. It was exhilarating though and the sight of the blue sea on my left and the stunning scenery on the right soon took me out of the slightly depressed mood that I had been carrying for the last few days.

According to my watch, I had gone about a mile and a half along the sandy beach and so I decided that it would be a good idea to turn back. I was looking forward to getting into the shower and then, hopefully, Hannah would be back and we could decide what we wanted to do that evening.

As I ran, my thoughts turned to the college as I wondered if things there would be OK for me now. I knew that once the word got around regarding my somewhat unique situation, I would be the target of a few hostile people. When I decided to come out full-time as a girl, I was under no doubt that I would have my critics and people hostile to who and what I was. Hence the physical attacks by those boys and the mental ones by the professor.

Much has been made of how tolerant our society was becoming, but, in practice, I had seen that tolerance was limited, especially where gender acceptance was concerned.

By now I had reached the side of the quay where the steps were. I sat down for a few moments, slightly out of breath and a bit sweaty, as I took my running shoes off and emptied a ton of sand out of them. I also took off my socks which were also a bit caked with sand and brushed them. Sand had also gotten between my toes, and it took a few moments to sort myself out.

Soon I was back running, and I found it a lot easier on the roads than I did on the more resistant sand.

71

I arrived back home, and all was still quiet. I crept upstairs, avoiding the step that always made a creaking noise when I stood on it. Dad was probably still asleep, and I didn’t want to wake him.

On the bedside table was my phone. I had left it at home when I went out for my run.

There were missed calls from Hannah and a message left.

‘Hi Emma, where are you, out with the milkman, postman or carpet salesman again and forgot your phone? Anyway, I’m going to be a bit late. My tutor wants a word about my last paper. I don’t know why, it’s brilliant, as usual. Anyway, see you later. Lots of kisses.’

I put the phone down smiling. She had that effect on me.

I got out of my rather damp kit, put on my robe went into the bathroom and had a shower and washed my hair.

Three-quarters of an hour later I had dressed again and was outside on the terrace drinking a very welcome cold coke.

I was wearing a pale pink t-shirt and capri’s, very chic, I thought. I had my hair in a ponytail, and I liked the look. I wore minimal makeup as I wasn’t going partying and believed that less is more if you know what I mean. Some girls, I knew, caked it on and it didn’t look very natural. I was blessed with a clear complexion so why would I hide it?

Was I getting vain?

I shrugged, who cares?

I was still getting used to all things girlie, after years of suppression and I would enjoy it as much as I could.

I was just about to go downstairs when my phone rang again.

Picking it up, I noticed that it was from Antonia, my cousin who also happened to be my solicitor. I hadn’t spoken to her for a while.

‘Hi Antonia, how are you?’

‘Fine thanks and you?’

‘Not too bad.’

‘Right, I must be quick because I have a meeting with a client shortly. I got a call from your father earlier today.

‘What did he want?’

‘Firstly, he wanted to know where you were. I told him that I wasn’t at liberty to tell him that. He got abusive and I told him that the conversation was being recorded and he calmed down somewhat.’

‘That sounds like him.’

‘Yes, not very nice, is he? Anyway, I asked the reasons why he wanted to contact you. He was a bit vague and wouldn’t get to the point until I pressed him. It turns out that he wanted to know what you received from your Nan in the will. He somehow knew that certain parts of the will were sealed from him and others and he believe that you may have benefited unfairly. He threatened legal action if he does not get answers and I told him to go ahead and try it, if he's willing to lose a lot of money in legal fees.’

‘Has he got a leg to stand on?’

‘No, but that might not stop him. As you know, there is no mention of your cottage and certain other things in the main will, so he still doesn’t know about them. These items are only mentioned in the sealed codicil, which specifically states that only you and your brother and sister are made aware of its contents.’

‘So, what is he after?’

‘I think that he has guessed a few things and has wondered how you managed to get to college and how this was funded. It appears that a letter addressed to you arrived at his house and it was from a certain Professor Armstrong who told him a few things about you. I do not know what was in the letter, but I suspect that it wasn’t favourable to you.’

‘How did Armstrong get my old address?’ I asked, feeling sick to my stomach.

‘He must have managed to get the information somewhere. Perhaps from the college?’

I was feeling a bit faint, and my heart was pounding.

‘Emma, are you still there?’

‘So, he probably knows that I’m now Emma, that I’m in Cornwall and that I have been able to finance going through college and probably other things that I don’t want him and my mother to know?’

There was a pause.

‘I think that you can assume that Emma.’

‘Oh God!’

To be continued...

Please leave comments and let me know if you want this to continue. Oh, and if you can, please do the kudo-thingie... thanks! ~Sue

To be continued...

Please leave comments and let me know if you want this to continue. Oh, and if you can, please do the kudo-thingie... thanks! ~Sue



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