Tales of the Season: Charlene's Story - Chapter 11


Another BigCloset TopShelf story. Charlie gets a new name!


Tales of the Season : Charlene's Story
Lisa Elizabeth
Chapter Eleven
A New Name!
Charlie had washed up for lunch as directed and was standing behind his chair waiting for Joan and Ms. Thompson to arrive for lunch. 'I wonder how much trouble Joan is in?' He thought as he waited.
The delay was very short. The door opened and in walked Jane Thompson along with Joan, holding her hand and talking to her as if she were a young child. 'Joanie' was carrying a doll in her arm. She went and slid a high chair up to the table and placed the doll in it. Joan quietly went to stand by her chair. She wouldn't even look at Charlie.
"You may sit, girls." Was the invitation from Jane.
Charlie stared for a moment at the way Joan was dressed. She wore a candy pink dress with double layers of lace around the neck. Short puffy sleeves with the same lace treatment. The bodice was a smooth, shiny satin. The skirt lay almost horizontal from the froth of petticoats that were showing from underneath, and it was VERY short! When she placed her doll, 'Bernice', in the high chair, you could see all the ruffles on her panties. At least three rows of lace from where Charlie stood. 'She looks like a four-year old! Only not really....' Ruffled ankle socks and black patent 'Mary Jane's' completed the picture of a very little girl dressed for a party.
Lunch was an interesting time. Ms. Jane and Charlie had a simple lunch of a BLT club sandwich and lemonade. 'Joanie' on the other hand was presented with a cup of soup, Chicken and Stars; one half of a peanut butter sandwich, with the crust removed, and a plastic child's 'sippy cup' with milk.
As lunch progressed, Jane started to lecture. "Children! You both are fully aware that if you act like an adult in this household, you will be treated as an adult. Childish behavior such as being consistently tardy or complaining about the commands I give, when you have made a promise to follow them, only results in you being treated in the manner in which you act. Joan? Do we need to keep you as a four year old for the rest of the day, or have you learned to follow what I ask of you?"
Joan's reply was in her best 'little girl' voice. "Aunty Jane, I am sorry for the way I acted. I was rude in front of Charles and disrespectful of you and your orders. I made a promise to follow those orders and I did not. I am truly sorry." Joan placed her hands in her lap and stared at her soup.
"Very well!" She turned her attention to Charlie. "Charles, have you learned anything about being on time and how you need to do things quickly and efficiently?"
"umm....I...ah.. Yes ma'am." Came the stammered reply.
"Charles, when you have something to say, formulate it and then say it clearly and concisely. All those grunts and odd noises detract from the message you are trying to convey. Try again!" Was Jane's reply.
Charlie thought for a minute, then spoke. "I believe I learned that if I am to remain in your school that you expect me to obey your commands quickly and to the best of my ability."
"Just so! The two of you have learned some valuable lessons this morning. Since it is such a lovely day, when we are finished with lunch, the two of you shall help Marie clean up and then go change into a nice sundress. Joan would you please take Charles on a tour of the grounds this afternoon? While you are out, I would like your assessment of his knowledge of our local plants. It will help me formulate a lesson plan for the coming school year."
"Yes Aunty Jane." from Joan.
"Yes Ms. Thompson." from Charles.
Both were said at the same time. With that business completed, the rest of lunch was eaten. Charles and Joanie helped Marie cleanup from lunch and were dismissed to go change their clothes.
"Charles, if you will wait for me, I will help you out of that dress." Marie stated. "You are not so familiar with how to undo the buttons up the back yet, yes?"
"Thank you Marie. I was wondering how I was going to change." Was Charlie's reply.
"Tante Marie? I could unbutton Charles if he wouldn't mind unzipping me?" Joan offered.
"Is that alright Charles? The sundress simply slips over your head. It is very light and no slip is required with it. You may leave on your lingerie and makeup, just don't tell Miss Jane, n'est pas?" Was Marie's offer.
"I believe I can manage with Joan's help, Marie. Thank you for asking." Charlie responded.
The two students went upstairs to change. At the door to Charlie's room they stopped to help each other out of their current outfits.
"Gosh Charlie you got off pretty easy today! Only dressed as 'Dorothy', at least she was older than four! You must not have upset Aunt Jane very much this morning." Joan commented as she unbuttoned the back of Charlie's dress.
"Well, for all the good it did me, I think I really opened my big f***in’ mouth a little too much just before we ate." Charlie blushed.
"What happened? Something terrible? I hope not! Being put through this 'petticoat punishment' is bad enough!" Joan replied.
"Well...I ... I sort of referred to your Aunt as the 'Wicked Witch of the West' when I was trying to complete a circuit of the study with that damned dictionary on my head!" Came Charlie's reply.
Joan giggled at that and then leaned in to whisper to Charlie. "I can't say I disagree with you, but I should warn you, Aunt Jane is absolute death on profane language! That will get you into little girl clothes or worse quicker than anything else. Even calling her a 'Wicked Witch' will get you less punishment, since there is nothing profane about that!"
"Oh! I'll try to be more careful. Thanks for the warning." Charlie whispered back as he unzipped Joan's dress for her.
"See you in a few minutes! I'll meet you right here at the top of the stairs." Joan said as she headed for her own bedroom. "Don't forget to hang up all your clothes. Tante Marie is a sweetie but you don't want her to give you a lecture on the proper care of your clothing."
Charlie closed the door and started to change. Marie had left his next outfit laid out for him. There wasn't a new bra or panty there so Charlie knew he wasn't supposed to change them. However, there was a garter belt and stockings along with a pair of heeled sandals. Letting out a big sigh Charlie hung up the 'Dorothy' outfit took off the ruby slippers and realized he definitely wasn't in Kansas! The dress was a simple sleeveless sundress with a scoop neck and a lavender floral print. Charlie looked in the mirror one last time. He was still disturbed, by what it reflected back to his eyes. There stood a young teenaged girl! She was ready to go out for a walk, dressed as he had seen so many young ladies in southern California! While he was studying his reflection there was a knock on the door.
Startled, Charlie turned and said. "Come in!"
Joan entered wearing a very similar outfit to Charlie's only in a pale blue floral print. "You need to fix your hair and redo your lipstick." She stated.
"What?" Charlie looked in the mirror again. He still had the low pigtails and saw that indeed all of his lipstick was missing. "Oh!...Just....Just give me a minute.... I.. I ... I don't know what to do!" Charlie was searching around on the vanity for at least a brush.
"Let me help." Joan offered. "Tante Marie usually puts things away right away. She probably set up your vanity similar to mine, easier for her to remember where things are that way." Joan opened one drawer and there was a comb and brush set. She took the brush, removed the barrettes and the rubberbands and rebrushed Charlie's hair. Then she clipped the barrettes back into Charlie's hair just above each ear, 'to help keep his hair out of his eyes'. After putting the brush away she opened another drawer to find it full of cosmetics. "Pick the one Tante Marie used last and apply it."
Charlie opened four different tubes of lipstick before he found the one that looked right with what was left on his lips. He used a tissue to clean off the leftover lipstick and then reapplied a fresh coat to his lips. A close look to make sure all was right and then he blotted his lips as he had been taught that morning. "There! All set, I think."
"Not bad. Aunt Jane won't complain since you are new. If you stay, she will be more critical as you get better with the cosmetics." Joan stated as they left Charlie's room and headed down the stairs. They made a right turn and headed out into the gardens for their tour.
The tour was a wonderful thing, except for Joan's quizzing about all the plant life! Charlie had lived in southern California his whole life! All he knew were palm trees and desert plants. There were a few roses in people’s yards, but otherwise it was blooming cactus and the occasional redwood or sequoia tree that dotted the desert landscape. All these questions about the local plants were all new to Charlie, especially the Latin genus and specie stuff. Not only did he not know what the plant was, he had never bothered to learn the Latin names for any plant!
He finally told Joan he had no idea about the plants in this area of the country and even less about the classification system. They had never studied it in school and he didn't look it up on his own either.
"I'll just tell Aunt Jane exactly that. That way she will be able to tailor your studies to include the plants in the Southwestern United States!" Joan told Charlie.
"That might be cool! I'll probably be the only one who knows the Latin name for a palm tree!" Charlie replied with a laugh.
The tour continued with Joan pointing out the large meadows and pastures of the estate, along with the wooded areas and the various paths that could be used for walking, running or horseback riding. All with Aunt Jane's permission, of course.
"Horseback riding? The school has horses?" Charlie asked.
"Oh yes! Aunt Jane keeps her two favorites up near the house in a stable, the rest are quartered on the other side of the meadow. She has, I believe, ten or eleven more down there. Would you like to see them?" Joan asked.
"Sure! I like horses. We, I mean my family, usually go riding a couple of times during the hot part of the summer. Most of the trails are in the mountains, so it is a lot cooler up there." Charlie replied.
It took the two about twenty minutes to walk back to the stables from where they were on the grounds. When they entered the stable, there were 'Teddie' and 'Garters', Jane's two favorite horses. Charlie moved quickly to pet the nose of each and looked around for something to give them. He settled on a small amount of feed from a bucket hanging across from each stall. Each horse greedily ate the offered treat and let Charlie pet them to his heart's content.
"Do you think Ms. Thompson will let me ride them?" Charlie asked.
"You can ask. I think that riding them would be a reward for something you do well. I have never ridden them, I just never had the desire to try it." Joan replied.
"Hmmm-mm. A reward. I wonder what I will have to do to be able to ride them?" Charlie was thinking out loud.
"Just do your best at whatever Aunt Jane asks. There is a purpose to whatever she asks of you. Most of the time you will have no idea why she asks, but doing it is far better than defying her. You saw what happened to me this morning. You would think I should know better by now." Joan replied.
"I hope I never get her that mad at me." Charlie commented.
The conversation wound down after that and Charlie returned to petting the two horses. After a few more minutes Joan spoke.
"We need to finish the tour, otherwise Aunt Jane will come out looking for us. I, for one, have had enough of being dressed as a four-year-old for one day!" She said.
Charlie let out a sigh. "I guess you're right. But it is so nice to be here with the horses and away from your Aunt. Since I really don't want to see what I look like as a four-year-old girl, we had better go." With that comment, they left the stables.
Joan led Charlie around the stable toward a small garden area that was her favorite spot to sit and read. As they came into the sitting area, there was 'Old Tom' and his son, working on the garden.
Charlie had been looking at the flowers, trying to remember some of the names that Joan had told him and didn't see Tom at first. He was startled back to reality when Tom spoke.
"Good afternoon Miss Joan. It is a beautiful day to visit the garden. I've just planted a few more Mums so that things will be quite pretty until late fall." Tom said as he removed his hat and nodded to the two students.
"Hello, Tom! Yes it is a beautiful day. Oh how rude of me, this is a new student of Ms. Jane's. Let me introduce you." Joan said as she grabbed Charlie's arm and dragged him in front of Tom. "Tom, let me introduce Miss... Umm...Charlene Hawkins. Miss Hawkins, this is Tom, Ms. Thompson's gardener."
Joan whispered in Charlie's ear. "Say hello and curtsey sweetly!"
Charlie curtseyed, more out of reflex than by any plan and stammered out, "Hi...er...I mean hello Mr. Tom, pleased to meet you."
"Pleased to make your acquaintance Miss Charlene. Please just call me 'Tom'. I don't like getting too formal around here, I figure you girls get enough of that from Ms. Jane by attending her school." Tom replied with a smile.
"Umm... yes we do...Umm Joan, I need to go back to the house, excuse me." Charlie turned around and headed for the house as quickly as his heels would allow. He was trying very hard not to throw up his lunch. His stomach was rolling and he was fighting back tears at the same time. He flew through the kitchen door and ran up the stairs to his room. He made it into the bathroom just in time to lose half of lunch. Charlie was finally able to see through the tears from vomiting when Joan came into the bathroom.
"Are you alright? What happened out in the garden?" Joan asked, genuine concern in her voice.
"I... I was really shocked when we met Tom. Then you introduced me as...as... CHARLENE! I...I thought ...Oh my GOD, he's gonna know I'm not a girl. Then my stomach just turned into a big knot and I had to leave before I threw up all over you or him." was Charlie's reply. "Why the hell did you introduce me as a girl, named Charlene?"
"Well, D'UH! What was I supposed to say. 'Oh, hi Tom this is Charles, he's dressed like a girl because he was a bad boy!', now THAT would have gone over big!" Joan responded sarcastically.
"But...but... I'm a boy! Now, Tom thinks I'm a girl named Charlene!" Charlie moaned. The more he thought about it, the worse his stomach felt. "Oh GOD, I think I'm gonna puke again."
While Charlie lost another portion of lunch to the 'porcelain god' Jane Thompson entered the room. "I thought I heard an elephant come stomping through the house earlier, is everything alright in here?" She asked. One look on the floor told her all she needed to know. "Joan, explain what happened!"
Joan recounted the portion of the walk where they encountered Tom, how she had introduced Charlie as 'Charlene', then the mad dash back to the house and finding him in the bathroom vomiting.
"Very well! That does present a bit of a problem since now Tom knows you as Charlene. I think it is best if we all got used to calling you Charlene while you are dressed as a girl. That will eliminate any confusion should Tom or his son be around while you are here. I'll go fetch Marie, she always knows how to calm an upset stomach." Jane spoke as she turned to leave. "Joan, if you would watch Charlene until Marie gets here to take over, please." It was a command and not a request.
"Yes, Aunt Jane. Charlene will be fine until Tante Marie arrives." Joan replied with a quick curtsey.
Charlene sat on the floor exhausted. Physically from the vomiting and emotionally from someone thinking he was a girl named Charlene. Finally after a few minutes he looked at Joan. "Why me? Why do I always find myself in situations with no way out?" After that comment, Charlene let out a few soft sobs and tears started flowing from her eyes. Joan reached above Charlene's head and handed her a few tissues. After wiping the tears away and blowing her nose, she looked at Joan. "Thanks." was all she could manage before another sob and more tears started to flow.
"No problem. Do you think you can stand?" Joan asked.
While Charlene thought about that, Marie came bustling into the bathroom with a tray.
There was a cup of soup; some saltines and a glass of defizzed 7-UP, along with a cold compress. "Thank you Joan, I'll take care of Charlene. Ms. Jane would like you to report on Charlene's knowledge of plants while I take care of her and help her get cleaned up."
"Okay, Tante Marie. I'll see you later Charlene. 'Doctor' Tante Marie is the best at easing upset stomachs!" Joan stated as she turned to leave.
Joan left the bathroom and Charlene found herself alone with Marie.
"Miss Marie, I don't want to be a girl! I mean, I...(sob) I.. know that is what Ms. Jane says, but, but... (sob) I just think everyone is going to call me a 'sissy'! I don't know what I would do if that happened." Charlene told Marie in between sobs. When she was done talking more tears flowed down her cheeks as she stared at the floor
"Ah, Mon Petite. Has anyone laughed at you or called you a sissy? I should think not! I believe if we clean you up and redo your makeup, that when you look in the mirror you will see Charlene and not Charles. At the moment, Ms. Jane commands you are to be the young sweet Charlene. I, for one, do not see any Charles here, only Charlene. The better you become at being Charlene, the less chance anyone will know you are Charles under all the frills." Marie said as she helped Charlene up and gave her the 7-UP to sip. A few crackers and couple of more tissues and Charlene was feeling better.
"Thanks Marie, you are a great help. Well, I guess I should change into something else, I seem to have ruined this dress and I damaged these stockings also." Charlene stated while surveying her current state of dishevelment.
"First you need a bath! Do not argue! I know it will help to calm you and ease the pain from your body. Now start to strip out of those clothes, I will start the bath, Shoo!" Marie playfully swatted Charlene on the fanny.
That brought the first real smile to Charlene's face since the meeting with Tom in the garden. "Yes, Marie." Was her reply as she left to complete her task. Stripping to her lingerie, Charlene padded back into the bathroom.
"You will soak until the water turns cold. Then add more hot water and soak some more! I have added medicinal salts to the water to help you relax. Now into the tub young lady!" Marie pointed to the tub as she closed the bathroom door on her way out.
Charlene slipped into the tub and laid back to relax. It only took a few minutes and everything finally started to calm down. Her stomach relaxed, as did the knots in her shoulders. She noticed that she didn't want to cry anymore either! 'Must be those medicinal salts.' She thought as she lay in the water. 'Hmph! I've been here a little over one day and not only am I dressed as a girl, I NOW have a girl's name! Charlene! Where the hell did Joan come up with that? If that isn't bad enough I just finished sitting on the floor puking and crying like a little sissy! Charlie old boy, life can be a bitch sometimes! I just wish I knew what to do about all this.'
Those thoughts and many others, too numerous to list, continued to float through Charlene's head while she soaked away all her current troubles.


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