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Another BigCloset TopShelf story. Charlene makes a new friend and learns of what is to come.
Tales of the Season : Charlene's Story
A New Friend
Charlie stood before the study door as it closed. He was just a little lost. He had hurried and made it on time and now that the rush was over, it was a let down. Not that he really wanted to be inside that study at the moment, but that he was in 'hurrying' mode and now just had to stop! So much had happened since his arrival, he decided to sit and review all of it in his mind. He walked across the hall and at the last moment remembered to sweep his skirt before sitting down. "Damn! That could have been a problem!" He mumbled to himself. "Jesus! I hurry along being told I’m late and NOW I’m sitting here waiting! What is this woman’s problem anyway?"
Charlie was going over all the things that had gotten him into this situation, the fights, the bullying, losing his temper, and of course shoplifting! All of these things and the fact that he was now sitting on a very uncomfortable bench waiting for 'god knows what' to happen next had him deep in thought. He didn't notice Joan come down the hallway.
"Hi! Would you like a cookie?" Joan asked offering a plate of sugar cookies to Charlie. "I made them while you were sleeping so they are fresh!"
Charlie looked up at Joan startled. "I.. I.. Didn't see you!" He replied coming back to his current surroundings. He then realized how he was dressed and turned a very bright red. He was sitting in front of a girl about his own age dressed as a girl; the worst part was she knew he was a boy! "Umm... You asked me something?"
"Would ... You... Like... A... Coo...Kie...?" Joan asked slowly and then smiled. She then offered the plate to Charlie a second time.
"Oh! Thank you." Replied Charlie as he took a sugar cookie. He took a bite and then looked away from Joan and looked at a spot on the floor. It wasn't a very interesting spot, it just meant he didn't have to look at Joan and be embarrassed.
"I see Aunt Jane has decided on 'petticoat punishment' for you." Joan stated matter of factly. "I think it's a terrible thing to do to you."
Charlie looked up at Joan. "You really think so? I mean you're not just saying that..."
"No, I really mean it. But if that is what Aunt Jane has decided then you really don't have a lot of choice, do you?" Joan replied.
Charlie shook his head slowly and concentrated on the cookie. "I feel like a dork!"
"I understand. Well if you are going to be dressed that way let me tell you a few secrets to help you not get yelled at too often." Joan offered.
Charlie looked at her. "You... You would do that for me? Why?"
"Well, I've been here longer and you are the first person my age, so I thought we could become friends!" Joan stated.
"Oh! You would be friends with me, even though I'm dressed like this? Even though you know I'm a boy?" Charlie asked.
"Sure! I was sitting in that same spot waiting for the 'Head Monstrous' of Thompson Academy once too you know." Joan said with a giggle.
Charlie snorted. "Head Monstrous sounds right! I’ve thought of a few names for her myself. What do I have to do to make her happy?"
"Well, first off if she wants you to be a girl, then you have to act and think like a girl!" Joan replied.
"How do I do that? I only know how to be a boy! I don't know anything about being a girl." Charlie moaned into his hands.
"Don't do that. You’ll mess up your makeup and THAT will get you a lecture on proper grooming! Well, I can tell by the way that you are sitting, Marie tried to teach you a few things. Show me what she taught you." Joan coaxed Charlie to his feet.
For the next few minutes, Charlie showed Joan how Marie had taught him to walk in heels, and how to sit in a petticoat.
"That's not bad. But I noticed you were trying to rearrange your petti with your hands." Joan stated more than asked.
"Yes, well they keep getting bunched and caught up in my legs. I don't know what else to do!" Charlie complained.
"Okay, let me show you a few things about petticoats and how to enter Jane's study and what NOT to do to stay on her good side." Joan told Charlie.
The next few minutes were spent with Joan demonstrating the proper swing of the hips to keep a petticoat from bunching up. She also taught him how to curtsey properly and how to stand in a demure innocent pose before Ms. Thompson asks you to sit. After Charlie could do those tasks fairly well, Joan taught him the 'proper' way to sit on a chair for a young lady.
It took Charlie a few tries and finally Joan told him he was doing well for a boy.
"So what got you sent here? If you don't mind me asking." Joan asked, expecting an answer she already knew.
Charlie blushed a bright red. "I got into a lot of fights. I sent two guys to the hospital in California. My parents sent me to Indiana to try and keep me out of trouble but I managed to get into trouble with some new 'friends' by shoplifting and landed here! That, is the short version."
"Oh. Well I hope you learn your lessons well then. So you can go back home." Joan replied sympathetically.
"Learn my lessons? I don't even know what the lessons are yet! How am I supposed to learn them?" Charlie answered a bit bewildered.
"Just do what she asks of you. Do it to the best of your ability and you will be out of here in no time!" Joan told Charlie.
Jane had been listening to this conversation from the secret microphone in the hall. 'Very good Joan! You make a very good 'big sister' just as I knew you would.' She turned off the microphone, stood and straightened her self in the mirror, set her mood to 'Head Monstrous' and went to the door.
Both students looked up startled when the study door opened. Joan elbowed Charlie and motioned him to stand. He quickly stood and shook his petticoat as Joan had shown him and looked at Jane Thompson.
"I'll see you now, Charles! Thank you Joan for keeping Charles entertained while I finished my business." Jane motioned Charlie to enter her study. "Please tell Marie we will have dinner shortly."
Joan rose gracefully from the bench, curtseyed and said, "Yes Aunt Jane." Then she left to find Marie.
Charlie walked to the front of the chair he had been in a little over an hour ago and stood there, waiting for Jane to ask him to sit. He was scared, but remembered to stand in the pose that Joan had coached him. Right foot slightly in front of his left, both hands clasped behind his back, head looking straight ahead and a small smile!
Jane walked around her desk. When she reached her chair, she stopped to look at Charles. "You look quite lovely Charles! It looks as though Marie has worked her magic on you. It seems that she and Joan have been coaching you a little." She paused and saw the blush spread across Charlie's cheeks. "You appear to have taken their instruction to heart. You may sit!"
"Thank you Ms. Thompson." Charlie said as he curtseyed and then swept his skirt and petticoat. He perched on the edge of the chair, just as Joan had coached him a few minutes earlier.
"Charles, do you know why you are here?" Jane asked, raising one eyebrow.
The look of fear was evident on Charlie's face. "I... I believe I am here so I wouldn't go to jail." Was his response.
"That doesn't answer the question! Let's try again, shall we?" Jane had a smile. "Why are you here?"
Charlie thought for a moment then said carefully, "I believe I am here to learn to be different! What I have done in the past is to fight my way out of things. The shoplifting was just going along with the crowd, which got me into the mess I am in now. Is that correct?"
"You are mostly correct, Charles! I am impressed! Most of the children do not understand why they are here until I have to tell them point blank! You have an inkling of why you are here and so far give me every indication that you truly WANT to change. Would you agree with me so far?" Jane asked, removing her glasses and setting them on the table.
"Yes ma'am." Was Charlie's reply.
"That being the case, I feel that your anger control problem would best be corrected by being taught to be a young lady. Ladies do not fight. They do not display vulgar behavior. They find 'other', less violent ways, to handle life's situations. You, Charles will learn to be the perfect young lady. As you stated earlier, Joan is a good role model for you. She too started out, like you, with an 'either or' situation and look at her now! I fully expect to see some results from you by this Friday, or I will wash my hands of you and return you to Judge Ruth!" Jane gave her ultimatum to a nodding Charlie.
Charlie finally let the words sink in. Then the look of panic came across his face. "I only have until Friday? Ms. Thompson, how the hell am I going to change so quickly? What am I supposed to do? I really don't want to be away from my family until I’m eighteen!" He was almost hysterical.
"Charles!" The force of Jane's voice caused Charlie to become quiet. "I did not say you had to become a perfect young lady by Friday. I said I expected to see you honestly TRYING to adhere to my commands in a cheerful and mostly enthusiastic manner. Not everything I ask of you will be easy, nor will they be to your liking. I expect obedience immediately. If you can show me THAT by Friday, I will be convinced that you truly want to be here and not in a juvenile detention center in Indiana."
The relief that washed over Charlie was visible. With a big sigh, Charlie said. "Oh! Thank you Ms. Thompson. I will do my best to remain here."
"I am certain you will. Another thing, foul language will not be tolerated in this house! I have been known to wash out a few mouths with soap. I believe we are done here for now." Jane stated as she looked at the clock above Charlie's head. "I see it is way past dinner time, Marie will be waiting for us. Shall we go?"
Charlie rose from the chair. 'God that chair is uncomfortable’; he thought as the numbness left his rear end. "Yes Ms. Thompson." Charlie curtseyed again for good measure and followed Jane out of the study and down the hall for dinner.
Joan was waiting behind her chair when Jane and Charlie entered the dining room. Charlie stood behind his chair and waited until Joan sat before he swept his skirts and did the same.
Marie served up her usual wonderful dinner. Charlie had to listen to Jane go on and on about breeding and good behavior. She stopped and corrected Charlie's use of silverware twice, but this was done in a 'school mistress' manner and not in the demeaning tone that she had used at lunch.
Charlie responded well and tried very hard to remember all he had been through at lunch in order to get through dinner. By the time dinner was completed Charlie was surprised to see that he had not soiled his dress. Usually there would have been a spot somewhere from his hurrying to get away from the table. Since these meals were much slower paced and he was expected to take very small bites, he remained clean! 'A nice side benefit and something I won't get yelled at for!' he thought.
"Children this has been a long day for all of us. Joan would you please do the cleanup? Marie will need to assist Charles with getting ready for bed." Jane's tone was more an order than a request.
"Yes, Aunt Jane." Was Joan's reply as she rose from the table.
"Charles! There is still a lot to do in order to get you ready for bed." Jane directed her gaze at her newest student.
"Bed, Ms. Thompson? It's only seven O'clock!" Charlie exclaimed.
"Ah, Charles! You have much to learn about being a girl! Marie is waiting for you upstairs to complete all those things that you will learn to do automatically. This, I will tell you, it takes time to become pretty!" Jane told Charlie, "Now! Off you go! You have much to learn tonight."
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