Tales of the Season: Charlene's Story - Chapter 18

Synopsis:

Another BigCloset TopShelf story. Charlene's first trip away from the academy. How long will she be at Thompson Academy?

Story:

Tales of the Season : Charlene's Story

By
Lisa Elizabeth

Chapter Eighteen

"The First Trip to Town"

"Oh my God, No!" Charlene yelled as she bolted out of bed. It was still dark and she was very confused. Another dream, only this time she was sitting at a very proper dinner, enjoying everyone’s company and making small talk when someone noticed she was only wearing a corset and a pair of panties! The exclamation came when she looked down and realized she was only partially dressed. That was enough to wake her.

She headed for the bathroom to wash her face and try to calm herself. "At least it’s not another of those ‘wet dream’ things!" She felt a shudder thinking about her last couple of nights. "No, the one who noticed my mistake was Diana in this dream! I must be dreaming about whatever stressed me out during the day. Well, that isn’t too bad, as long as I’m not having an orgasm from it!"

Charlene washed her face and rinsed her mouth with mouthwash. Not because of any bad taste, just something to do while she calmed herself and tried to think about returning to sleep. When that was completed, she turned off the light and returned to bed. Sleep was slow to return, but after a half-hour of staring at the clock, she finally dozed off.

*****

At two forty six AM the warning buzzer sounded and the security monitor jumped to life in Jane’s bedroom. Jane flung the sheets and jumped from the bed to see what was happening. Art watched as his newlywed wife, fussed over the volume and brightness controls to try to see what was happening with her student.

"Anything major?" Art asked as he propped his head up on one arm. "Another wet dream?"

"No. No… I don’t think so, she isn’t changing clothes or rinsing anything out. She is shaking and rinsing her mouth with mouthwash. It was most likely a nightmare of some sort." Jane watched her newest student until she turned out the light. The darkness covered any further activity so Jane reset the alarm and reset the monitor to standby. She then returned to bed and snuggled into Art’s shoulder.

"My methods are starting to get to her. I just hope Sandy and Carolyn do not upset everything I accomplished so far. I’ll call before we leave in the morning. Are you coming along for the day?" Jane looked at Art waiting for an answer.

"No, my love, Diana is going to rest all day and await your return. After all, I am here to see how Charlene fares after the hell of tomorrow!" Art smiled at his wife. "Now back to sleep, I have to leave at six AM so I can become beautiful for breakfast! I would hate to think of your punishment if ‘Diana’ were late for breakfast!" Art ducked the playful swing from Jane and the two of them giggled until they fell asleep.

*****

‘Click’ "Good morning! Today is Wednesday and this is Morning Edition!" These were the first words to invade Charlene’s consciousness. Other than the day of the week, it seemed to start the same everyday!

"How can anyone be in that good of a mood at this time EVERY day?" Charlene mumbled as she got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. As Charlene completed her morning duties, she wondered what this day would bring. She realized that Diana was still here so that would mean fewer clothing changes, but you never know, with Jane Thompson. She could have Marie as acting drill sergeant all morning. That wouldn’t be too bad since Charlene thought of Marie as a kindly aunt. Or, she could be given the day to study and complete her reports. That would be the most logical way to keep Joan and Charlene out of the way so Jane and Diana could visit. That made the most sense to Charlene as she finished her shower. As she stepped out of the shower, she noticed a bra and panty set sitting in it’s normal place. That meant Marie was in the bedroom this morning.

"Morning Marie" Charlene stated as she exited the bathroom.

"Bon jour to you Charlene!" Marie said in an overly cheery voice. "Ms. Thompson was very specific in what outfit she wanted you to wear this morning. Otherwise, I believe you do very well at getting yourself ready in the morning. I have left everything you need out, including the cosmetics I would use on you. You may change them if you think something would look better. See you for breakfast!" Marie pointed to things as she headed out the bedroom door.

The outfit was similar to one Charlene had worn the first few days of the clothes changing drill. A pale rose blouse with a matching tea length skirt. Under the skirt was one petticoat. The lingerie she put on in the bathroom were a rose colored satin. On the bed she found a matching garter belt and suntan shaded hose. The ensemble was finished with matching two-inch heeled sandals.

"Must be some silly thing about Ms. Phillips being here…" Charlene muttered to herself. She proceeded to get ready for the coming day.

After donning her clothes, checking her hair and makeup one last time, Charlene did a last twirl to make certain her petticoat wasn’t bunched. Seeing all was in order, she headed out the door toward breakfast.

Breakfast turned out to be a less strained affair than supper the night before. Jane actually looked more relaxed in some strange underlying way. It was like she was trying hard not to smile but couldn’t keep the good mood from floating to the surface. Charlene wrote it off as something to be wary of. She never liked when her school principal smiled like that. It usually was the calm before the storm.

"Children! It is now eight-thirty-five. We need to leave in six minutes! You both have nine o’clock appointments! Be ready, I’ll be at the front door with the car." Jane and Diana rose and left the room.

After the two ladies left, Charlene just looked at Joan with a shocked expression on her face. She finally thought to ask a question. "Six minutes for what? She doesn’t expect me to go away from here dressed like this?"

"You’re dressed just fine, go refresh your lipstick, grab a purse and be back here quick! When Aunt Jane says be ready, we have to be ready!" Joan replied heading for the stairs.

"But… But… But, I CAN":T go out dressed like this, what will people think?" Charlene gasped, trying to keep up with Joan.

"If you just act normal, no one will see anything but a girl! If you act all scared and weird, then people will look at you and call the men in the white coats because they will think there is a crazy girl walking around town! Now we have to hurry or Aunt Jane will be in a very bad mood the rest of the day." Joan explained as she hurried toward her room door.

Charlene hurried her lipstick application, grabbed a purse, shoved in lipstick, a compact and some tissues and headed back out the door. She saw Joan coming out of her room at the same time.

"I was coming to tell you to remember a purse. I’m glad you remembered it yourself. It makes you look more like a girl if you have all the right things with you. We better hurry, I hear the car." Joan hurried Charlene towards the steps and down they went.

Charlene had no time to think about what was happening, the next thing she knew, she was getting into the back of the same car she arrived in a week ago.

"Ms. Thompson?" Charlene asked, getting more timid as the safety of the academy disappeared behind them.

"Yes Charlene?" Came Jane’s reply. She was fully aware what the question would be and by the scared expression on Charlene’s face, she knew she had her off balance again.

"Umm… Sorry… Umm… where are we… Umm… going?" Charlene asked when she could find her voice.

"Oh! We are on our way to the ‘Marisha Chalet’. That will be our first stop of the day. I am certain you will find it quite interesting." Jane replied.

Charlene nodded her head too afraid to ask anything else. She just sank down a little more in the seat to try to hide from view.

Jane noted that Charlene was getting shorter, the farther she drove. She waited a little bit and as she pulled up to a stop light next to a commuter bus, she said. "Charlene, are you all right? You seem to be shrinking back there, please sit up straight so I can see you in the mirror."

Charlene almost jumped up hard enough to hit her head on the roof of the car. Then she looked out the window and saw the bus. There was a gentleman in the bus window, looking at her, when she made eye contact, he smiled and nodded. At that point, Charlene turned very pale and sat very still for the rest of the trip, only looking out the front window of the car.

Getting out of the car in the parking lot of their first stop was one of the hardest things Charlene had ever done. It took every ounce of will power to open the door and exit the car gracefully. Charlene tried very hard to put a smile on her face and headed after Jane and Joan toward the front door.

Charlene noticed the distinct odors associated with a beauty salon. He had been going to a salon, at a local mall, for a haircut for a few years now. There wasn’t anything really different about this one, other than being dressed as a girl and not knowing what was going to happen next.

"Charlene! This is Sandra, she will be taking care of you today. Behave for her as you would for me! I expect a glowing report when I return." Jane looked Charlene directly in the eyes, daring her to say something not in character.

"Yes, Ms. Thompson. Hello, it is a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Sandra." Charlene squeaked out in a very nervous yet quiet voice. After a stern look from Jane, she remembered to curtsey.

"Hi! Charlene, right? Well come on back with me and we’ll get started. Don’t worry Jane, she’ll be just fine! See you later! Oh! Hi Joan, I think Carolyn is almost ready for you." Sandy waved at the two ladies. She grabbed Charlene by the hand and led her back to the farthest chair away from the door. "By the way, call me Sandy. Sandra is what my mother calls me when I’m in trouble! Have a seat and we’ll get started." Sandy headed back to ask Jane a question.

Charlene, sat in the chair as ladylike as she could. When she looked toward the front of the shop, Jane was chatting with Sandy and they were looking back at her. Sandy finally shook her head, grabbed a couple of books off a table and headed back toward Charlene. When she arrived she laid the books in Charlene’s lap and proceeded to secure a shiny pink cape around her neck. "You might want to look through those and pick a style that you would like. Jane said you should pick one appropriate for living at the academy, whatever that means." Sandy laughed a little to herself as she settled in and started to look over her charge’s tresses.

Charlene tried to look through the books, but every page held a more curly style than the one before. She laughed to herself, ‘there isn’t any way I have enough hair for any of these styles’.

Sandy was looking over her shoulder and every time she did something, she made sure she rubbed her breast or her hip against Charlene. It took a few minutes, but Sandy finally noticed the little shortness of breath that all of Jane’s charges get when her antics were starting to arouse them. ‘It’s show time!’ She thought as she turned to pick up a brush and start on Charlene’s hair.

Charlene had been buried in the books trying to hide inside them, but not daring to look anywhere else. ‘This lady keeps rubbing her tits against me! Thank goodness I’m sitting and have that petticoat on!’ Charlene thought to herself. She felt Sandy start to brush her hair.

"What have we here? A hair piece? Charlene, why do you…" Sandy’s voice trailed off for a minute while she started removing the fall from the back of Charlene’s head.

Charlene sat petrified. ‘Oh god! She knows!’ Was the only thought to go through her mind.

"Hmm… Let’s see. Not really looking at hairstyles, very scared when coming in here, a fall on your head. You’re not really a girl are you?" Sandy whispered while looking directly into Charlene’s eyes. She could see the panic enter when she made that statement.

Charlene felt the panic rise in her. She didn’t know what to do, This lady KNEW! ‘Oh my God! Oh, my God!’ was running through her head.

Sandy grabbed the girl’s arm to steady her. "Don’t go fainting on me yet! We need to have a little talk!" Sandy turned the chair around so that Charlene faced her instead of the mirror.

"So, you’re a boy, being put through Jane’s program." Sandy stopped while Charlene tried to catch her breath. "Well, my little sissy-boy, we are going to have some fun today! You are going to act like the sweetest girl! Everything I suggest for you, you are going to gush about and beg Jane to let you do it! If you don’t I’m going to lift up that pretty skirt of yours and show everyone in the store what a little sissy you are. Nod yes if you understand me." Sandy said with an evil grin.

Charlene was visibly shaking from what she had heard Sandy say. She had no idea what would happen next. She knew she had to put on the best performance of her life if she was to get out of here with no one else finding out she was a boy in skirts. She looked at Sandy and reluctantly nodded her acceptance of Sandy’s terms.

"Good, let’s get started, shall we?" Sandy smiled sweetly and turned Charlene back to face the mirror before returning to remove the fall from Charlene’s head.

Charlene’s mind was racing a mile a minute. None of the thoughts were coherent, they were just flying through her mind. She was shaken from her panic by Sandy’s voice.

"Found anything you like yet? I think we should look together for a minute, won’t that be fun?" Sandy smiled and gave Charlene a look that dared her to challenge that idea.

Charlene choked and finally found her ability to breathe again. She looked back at the book and decided she was beaten so she might as well play along. "That would be nice. I never know what to choose when I look at all these styles. Is there one that would look nice and not be too hard to duplicate?"

"Hmm… Well, Ms. Thompson wants something a little classy for today. I guess you have a few more places to go after we are finished here." Sandy replied, happy to see that Charlene had given in to her demands. "I think something like this would look lovely on you and it wouldn’t take more than fifteen or twenty minutes to redo in the morning." The hairdo was curly and had little tendrils that hung down in front of the ears. It was held back by a headband and was just a mass of curls that cascaded down to the middle of the shoulder blades.

"But, I don’t have that much hair!" Charlene looked at Sandy stating the obvious.

"Not a problem! Shall we begin?" Sandy said with huge smile. Sandy escorted Charlene to an area of sinks across the shop. "This is Michelle, she’s going to shampoo your hair. Charlene managed to get gum in her hair from her little brother. After they cut it out, it almost makes her look like a boy! I need her hair clean so I can add extensions until it grows out." Sandy laughed and looked at the shocked expression on Charlene’s face when she said her hair made her look like a boy.

"Hi! Sit over here and I’ll get you shampooed and ready for Sandy to work her magic! Gum! God, that is the worst! I know all you can do is cut it out. I’ll bet you had pretty hair before that happened…" Michelle continued to chatter on about gum, hair, what happened to some other people and goodness knows what else. Charlene was just glad she didn’t have to say much, just lay back and let this girl wash her hair.

The hair washing was the most relaxing part of the day so far! It always caused Charlene to almost fall asleep when the stylist at home did it. As always, the relaxation ended all too quickly.

"There! All done, let’s get you back to Sandy’s chair and I’ll leave you two alone." Michelle was smiling as she led Charlene back to a salon chair.

Sandy approached Charlene with a big smile on her face. "All clean? Let’s start with these extensions. They’ll give you long enough hair so we can turn you into a real ‘boy magnet’!"

Charlene’s breath caught when Sandy mentioned ‘boy magnet’. That was the last thing she wanted. She decided to chance a question. "Sandy? Will the style be easy to duplicate? I mean, there are times that Ms. Thompson doesn’t give me much time to change before we are busy doing something."

"Don’t fret over that sissy-boy! You will be cute as a button and you will know how to keep it up when I get through. Now smile and look like you are happy to be here!" Sandy replied.

Charlene got very quiet. Inside was a raging storm of emotions she had never felt before. She was angry at Sandy for treating her so bad and calling her a ‘sissy’. She was scared out of her mind, that someone would hear Sandy and discover she really was a boy in skirts. Then she was really upset because she had been enjoying the attention from Michelle when she had her hair washed. It was quite a range of faces that flickered across her face as Sandy started to separate her hair into sections.

The work of adding the extensions progressed slowly and a few times Sandy pulled Charlene’s hair hard enough for her to let out a little yelp.

"What’s the matter Charlene, not strong enough to handle a little hair tug?" Sandy asked. "Remember, you should be happy and smiling because of the beautiful hair you are getting today!"

"Most of the time it’s okay, but every once in a while you pull my hair pretty hard and it hurts! It has happened enough times that it is hard to keep a smile on my face." Was Charlene’s reply.

"Sometimes you have to suffer a little to be beautiful, sweets!" Sandy gave an extra tug to show her who was the boss.

It seemed to take forever for Sandy to finish attaching all the extensions. When she was finished she moved Charlene to a dryer chair and turned it on. "The glue that fuses the extensions is set by heat. You get to sit here and read magazines for a while. Here are a couple of good ones, just for you!" She handed Charlene a copy of ‘Vogue’ and ‘Seventeen’. "It should keep you busy looking at all the clothes, makeup and hairstyles for a while."

Charlene looked at the magazines and did her best to choke down her real emotions. She then pasted a smile on her face and said, "Thank you Sandy. I haven’t read either of these issues yet!"

Sandy leaned over and whispered in Charlene’s ear "You learn pretty fast! I think we will get along just fine, my little sissy-boy!" She then left Charlene to sit under the dryer.

Charlene’ cheeks turned red. This time it wasn’t from embarrassment but from anger. She had tried very hard to follow this Sandy’s rules and here she was still taunting her on a regular basis. Charlene bit her lower lip and glared at the retreating stylist for a minute. Then decided that compliance was the best course of action at the moment and went about looking through the magazines half-heartedly.

It seemed like forever before Sandy came back for Charlene. She led Charlene back to her station and there set the books of hairstyles on her lap again. "Now! Let’s see if we can pick out a style that will look absolutely stunning on you, shall we?"

"Okay." Was the only word that came out of Charlene’s mouth.

The two of them looked through the book three or four times, narrowing down the choices with each pass. Finally, Sandy steered them back to the style she had pointed out originally and declared it to be the one that would look best on Charlene.

Charlene, looked at the picture for a moment and then at Sandy. She finally decided she had to say something. "Sandy, if you had decided this was the hairstyle I would look best with, why did we have to look through all the other ones?"

"For fun! I told you we were going to have some fun! Other girls just love to look through the books and decide whether a style would look good on them or not. You do want to be like all the other girls, don’t you?" Sandy asked.

"I guess so. I mean, yes, I do!" Charlene realized her mistake as soon as she said it.

"You guess? You mean you don’t know for sure? Well, then I am just going to have to turn you into a real girly-girl! That way you won’t have a choice!" Sandy smiled and turned toward a cabinet next to her station.

It took about five minutes and then Sandy came back with a bottle and some long strands of cotton. She placed the cotton around Charlene’s head and then proceeded to wet down all of Charlene’s hair with whatever was in the bottle. After all the contents emptied onto her hair, Sandy placed a plastic cap over the top and set a timer. She then handed Charlene the same ‘Seventeen’ and told her to enjoy.

Charlene finally was reading an article on how to choose the correct hairstyle for your face when Sandy came over to her.

"Times up! Let’s get you rinsed so we can get on to the fun part!" Sandy smiled and led Charlene back to the sinks one more time. The warm water felt good as Charlene tried to relax and let some of the tension leave her body. Once again that part of this ordeal was over way too soon.

Charlene found herself back in the salon chair, this time Sandy started by sectioning her hair and wrapping it around a lot of rollers. All were wound fairly tight, but since Charlene had been trying to look like she was enjoying her salon experience, Sandy was being a little more gentle. After what seemed like eternity, Sandy added another very smelly solution to the rollers, placed a plastic cap over her head again and announced that part done.

Charlene figured it was back to the dryer and having to read ‘Seventeen’ again but Sandy motioned another girl over to her station. Charlene’s heart skipped a few beats but after a short conversation, the two ladies turned to Charlene. "Charlene, this is Tina, we were just discussing your nails. I thought acrylics about  ¾ inch past your tips would be fine, she said a little less than  ½ inch would be more practical, what do you think?" Sandy became quiet and just smiled at Charlene.

Charlene sat there and looked at Tina, then Sandy and finally at her own nails. Knowing full well that Sandy could expose her anytime she wanted, Charlene tried to be a little tactful. "I don’t really know. I mean, like, I want them to be feminine, but if they are too long won’t they like, get in the way of everything I have to do? I mean, I have to like, use a computer at the Academy and if my nails are too long won’t they like, cause like problems?" Charlene tried to sound like some of the girls she knew from the valley back home.

Tina answered first. "Yes they will, and it is really hard to get zippers up or jewelry clasped. I told Sandy that what she asked for was way too long, but Sandy always likes to go a little over the top! Have you ever had false nails before? (pause) No? Then we definitely want to go with the shorter ones! Sandy, you just leave… Charlene is it? Yes, just leave Charlene in my hands and her hands will be beautiful! I’ll go get my stuff, be right back!" Tina turned and almost ran across the shop to get her cart.

Sandy was a little miffed that Charlene didn’t just gush about wanting long elegant nails attached. She decided to whisper to her, while Tina was away. "I thought I told you to gush over everything I suggested, today, sissy-boy! What happened?"

"I… I tried to sound like I wanted long nails, but Tina just seemed to take over the decision of what length to make them! I’m… I’m sorry,

Sandy, I’ll try harder from now on. Should I ask her to make my nails longer?" Charlene looked at Sandy for an answer.

Sandy studied the scared teen’s face and then shook her head. "No! Tina is right, if you have never had acrylics before, the shorter length will be better. We’ll add length for one of the more formal occasions I’m certain Jane will have you attend in the future."

Charlene shook her head ‘ok’ and then it dawned on her what Sandy had said. "Formal… In… The future?" she managed to squeak out, just before Tina arrived with her cart of supplies. Sandy just smiled at Charlene and walked away.

Tina set up her work area and decided to do the pedicure first. "You’ll have to remove your pantyhose, follow me!" She led Charlene to a small changing room. "I’ll be right here waiting for you."

Charlene stepped inside, closed the door and unclipped her stockings. She carefully removed them and when finished, didn’t know what to do with the hose. Sticking her head out the door, she asked Tina, "What do I do with these?"

Tina took a look at the hose, "Wow! Stockings! I don’t see girls wearing them often! Do you have a hot date tonight, or is it just something Ms. Thompson has you do?

Panic hit Charlene. She audibly caught her breath. Tina noticed the look right away. Charlene finally gathered her wits and replied. "Umm… It’s a Ms. Thompson thing. I haven’t worn pantyhose since I arrived at the academy. It’s always stockings and a garter belt." Charlene’s cheeks flushed bright red.

"It’s okay! I mean, like I know she runs a finishing school, so I guess stockings do make you feel a little more sexy and they are classy! Just roll them up and put them in the pocket of your smock, they’ll be fine!" Tina replied and led Charlene back into the salon.

The pedicure was nice, although Charlene could have done without the red polish. Tina seemed to think it was the best color for the outfit and when she was done with Charlene’s hands, she would look lovely.

The application of the acrylic nails was a pain, literally! As Tina roughed up Charlene’s nail surface, there were times it actually hurt. Tina was very apologetic and was a lot more careful after the first few times. Eventually she finished and Charlene had ten perfect toes and ten beautiful nails. The soft red complimented Charlene’s skin tone perfectly. For a moment, Charlene even thought they were pretty.

"There! All set and you will still be able to type with a little practice!" Tina smiled at Charlene as she put away her tools. "Doing things like buttons and zippers will take a little trial and error, but you’ll get the hang of it fast enough. I have to go do a fill on Joan, see you later!" Tina waved and pushed her cart over to the chair Joan sat in.

Charlene spent a few seconds admiring her new nails, ‘They really do make my hands look like a girl’s!’ Charlene thought as she admired Tina’s handiwork.

"I knew you liked all this sissy-stuff, sissy-boy! Sitting there admiring your nails, just like the prissy girl you are!" Sandy whispered in Charlene’s ear.

Charlene stiffened and almost jumped straight out of the salon chair. It took her a second to calm down and then glare at Sandy. Rather than bite at Sandy and be subjected to possible exposure as a boy in a dress, Charlene decided to play the game. "Sandy you scared me! I hope I didn’t ruin the wonderful job Tina did on my nails." Charlene waved her hand in front of her face and looked at each nail closely. Turning back to Sandy, she smiled and said, "Aren’t they lovely?" She stuck both hands out as she had seen some of the girls in California do.

"Yes, they are! It’s time to finish your hair, so Carol can do your makeup for you." Sandy started removing all the rollers she had placed in Charlene’s hair. When she was done, she took her back to the sink, rinsed her head, added another chemical and rinsed it out too. Finally she toweled off Charlene’s hair and returned her to her station.

Charlene took a quick peek in a mirror as she walked past, she thought she looked like a drowned rat! ‘Hopefully I don’t look too bad when this lady is done with me!’ she thought as she sat back in the chair.

Sandy fussed, dried, picked and scrunched Charlene’s hair for the next five minutes. She surveyed her handiwork for a minute then took a small pair of scissors and did a little trimming of the bangs. Finally, she pronounced Charlene done.

"So-o-o… what do you think?" Sandy asked as she turned Charlene to face the mirror.

Charlene was expecting the worst! A head just full of juvenile curls, like this ‘Shirley Temple’ person her mom used to talk about. She looked in front of her and thought the girl in the next chair had the exact hairstyle she had asked Sandy for, then realization dawned on Charlene. It wasn’t another girl, it was her!

Only it wasn’t! The person in the mirror was a very bright blonde! The hair framed her face and softened her look. There was no doubt in your mind that when you looked at this person she was a girl!

"Th… Tha… that’s me?" Charlene pointed to the image in the mirror, and the image pointed back at her. She suddenly pulled her hands up and covered her mouth as she gasped audibly.

"Yep! You turned out okay. After I get a few sessions with you, there will be no doubt you’re a girl! Now, just quit getting gum in your hair and you’ll be all set!" Sandy smiled and Michelle giggled over the ‘gum’ comment. "Now, let me see if Caro is ready for you." Sandy looked over toward the chair Joan was sitting in.

Sandy waved at the lady and she nodded her head, so I was escorted toward Joan. I have to admit, I thought Joan was good looking before we came to this place, but now she was absolutely beautiful! Her hair and makeup were just perfect! She was enough to make the boy in me think very unladylike thoughts!

"Oh my goodness, you look beautiful!" came out of Charlene’s mouth before she could stop herself.

Joan looked up, smiled and said "Thank you Charlene, Carolyn is the absolute best makeup artist in the area, I’m certain you will be just as beautiful when she is done with you!"

Charlene had been staring at Joan for a minute while this Carolyn person did a few finishing touches to her hair. Sandy whispering in her ear jolted her from her admiring stare. "Just think sissy-boy! You’ll be just as beautiful in a little while! Doesn’t that make you just gush with excitement?"

That startled Charlene enough to make her gasp a little. Then all the nervousness returned. ‘Did Carolyn know he was a boy? Did Sandy tell anyone about him? God! How do I act when I’m in this chair?’

"Okay, Charlene! Ready for you!" Carolyn smiled and motioned to the now empty chair.

"Where did Joan go?" Charlene asked as she sat in the chair.

"Just behind you! You were busy looking at something when we were done, so I told her not to bother you, just go over and have her nails filled." Carolyn talked as she placed a cape over Charlene’s clothes.

"Oh…" was Charlene’s only reply as she noticed Joan talking with Tina, as she had her nails redone.

"First we are going to remove what makeup you have on. It looks like you have been taking lessons from Marie, is that true?" Carolyn asked.

Charlene was surprised. This lady just seemed to act like this was something she did for everyone that walked into the shop. "Umm…. Yea… Umm… Marie taught me how to do my makeup. I… I really hadn’t learned much about it before…"

"Ah… Mom wouldn’t let you play with makeup yet!" Carolyn nodded her head in a knowing way. "That’s okay! We’ll have you looking fabulous in no time! Now! Pay attention, I’m going to show you a few tricks, that even Marie doesn’t know!"

"First we start with face care! You have to remove makeup properly and then cleanse your face and moisturize it, otherwise you will get acne." Carolyn went into ‘instructor mode’.

It seemed like an awful lot to remember. Cleanse with this, then use an astrin… astringent… yes, that was it, then a toner and finally a moisturizer. All this and Carolyn hadn’t even started on makeup yet! Charlene finally had to ask a question. "Carolyn? Is all this stuff really needed?"

Caro stopped and looked at Charlene. "Not for a ‘tomboy’. All you do is wash your face and go! But, if you are at Ms. Thompson’s finishing school then yes, all this is necessary for you to look your absolute best all the time! Oh! Please call me Caro. No one around here calls me Carolyn. That’s only when I’m in trouble!" Caro smiled at Charlene and then returned to business.

"We are now ready to start your makeup. Pay close attention, I know Ms. Thompson will probably have you try to duplicate what I teach you today, okay?" Caro asked.

Charlene nodded her head and tried to sit up straighter and pay attention. Still believing that if she did everything Jane Thompson asked of her, she could get back to being Charlie and go home!

Caro took her time, matching foundation shades to Charlene’s skin, then showed her how to properly dab it on and set it. She did one side of Charlene’s face and then had Charlene do the same thing to the other side. This went on through, foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, blush and lipstick.

Charlene tried hard to please this lady, knowing that she would probably report back to Jane before they left. If nothing else, she wanted her to say she was a willing student.

"Voila! To quote Marie! You are more beautiful than before!" Caro stated as she turned Charlene to face the large mirror behind her workstation.

Charlene had seen her hairstyle so that didn’t surprise her. What shook her more was the perfection of her makeup! Her skin was flawless, the color subtle, yet it made her softer and her eyes sparkled!

Charlene looked hard at the reflection in the mirror. As hard as she looked there was no sign of ‘Charlie’, just Charlene.

Caro allowed the shock to subside on Charlene’s face when she had first seen herself in the mirror. ‘This one came out very well! No doubt she is anything but all girl! Well, on to the next phase.’ She thought before talking to Charlene.

"Charlene! I’m going to talk to Ms. Thompson a moment. Be right back." Caro said as she headed toward Jane Thompson.

Charlene just nodded her head while looking in the mirror for some indication that Charles was still there. There just wasn’t any! She must have been enthralled by her reflection since she didn’t notice Jane and Caro return to where she was seated.

"Charlene? My you look absolutely lovely! Carolyn, my dear, you and Sandra have outdone yourselves with this girl! How can we ever thank you for bringing out such inner beauty?" Jane exclaimed in her well-rehearsed manner.

Caro was beaming as usual and replied "Well, Jane, I was wondering if Charlene would mind being my model for my cosmetology class this morning? I can show the girls all the tricks to make themselves as lovely as Charlene. Plus! It will give Charlene a chance to meet some other girls her own age. Won’t that be great, Charlene?" Caro asked with a smile.

If it weren’t for the makeup on Charlene’s face, the casual observer would have seen all color drain from her cheeks. As it was, Caro and Jane noticed the look of fear creep into her eyes.

"How long is this class, Carolyn?" Jane asked, checking her watch.

"It’s just an hour. Are you on a tight time schedule today? I could plan on using Charlene another time?" Caro offered. The pleading look on Charlene’s face was almost too comical for Jane to keep a straight face. But years of doing this very thing to many a young man kicked in and Jane replied without missing a beat. "No, That will be fine. We do have another appointment, but it isn’t until after lunch. I was just going to do a little window shopping with the girls until then to educate them in the correct style of clothing for a young lady of their position in society. However, I believe that your class and the additional instruction in makeup is something Charlene needs more of at this time. Charlene, you may stay and assist Ms. Beale with her class." Jane said as if it was granting Charlene’s secret wish. "I’ll return in an hour. Would it be alright for Joan to attend the class also?"

"Well, Joan doesn’t really need this class, it’s about the basics and she is pretty good with her makeup." Caro replied. "But, Charlene may be a little more comfortable with her here. Oh! That’s why you want her here, how silly of me. Of course she can stay! I’ll just use her to help some of the other girls when they are having problems. See you later Jane!"

With that the conversation was over and Jane headed toward the exit. Charlene just sat in the chair not knowing what to do next. She had just had a shock of what she looked like after being transformed and now she was to be the model for a makeup class with a bunch of girls her age!

‘At least Joan is here. I’ll know her at this class anyway. God! How did I get into this mess? Well, I guess it could be worse, Jane could have taken me window shopping! When mom went window shopping, she always stopped at two or three stores and tried on clothes… Oh God! She wouldn’t make me… Oh God! She probably would!" Charlene started visibly shaking when she thought about having to try on clothes that she, Jane and Joan saw while ‘window shopping’.

While Charlene sat there thinking horror stories about walking past stores with Jane, the girls for the cosmetics class started to arrive.

The amount of chatter from the group of girls gathering for the makeup class soon brought Charlene back from her waking nightmare about shopping. Upon seeing the growing group of girls, she finally realized just what Caro had volunteered her to do!

"Girls! Quiet down now so we can get started! Young ladies!" Caro finally got their attention, they settled down and looked her direction. "We are going to do this in the back room where we always meet. I have a guest model today, so all of you will get a chance to see and answer questions." Caro walked over to Charlene. "This is Charlene. She is a new student at The Thompson Academy and has just had her colors and foundation matched today. We are going to see what a difference the correct makeup can do for you. Come along Charlene." Caro then led the procession of girls into the back of the store.

Charlene was scared out of her mind! Here she was in the middle of a pack of teenage girls. Every teen male’s dream! Only she was dressed as a teen girl! A rather ‘high class’ teen girl, but none the less, a teen girl. This only made Charlene seem more shy and reserved. She figured the best thing to do was be quiet and look as embarrassed as she felt. When she entered the back area, Caro pointed to a stool in front of the classroom area.

Charlene tried to be as prim as she could muster while trying to sit comfortably on the stool. Caro went through all her welcomes and introductions. Then she turned to Charlene.

"Alright girls! Here is Charlene! I have just finished her makeup, I want to know what you honestly think of it." Caro asked the class.

There was a bit of silence and finally someone said "Her complexion looks flawless! How did you do that? Another voice asked how she had made her eyes sparkle. And so the ice was broken and the questions started flowing. After taking more questions than she could remember, Caro decided to start answering the girl’s queries.

"First, we will remove the makeup from one side of Charlene’s face." Caro noted the look of horror on Charlene’s face. "Don’t worry Charlene, we will have you returned to your stunning self before the end of class." Caro then proceeded to use some makeup remover and cold crá¨me to demonstrate the proper way to remove makeup. After Charlene’s face was clean, Caro asked the class "What do you think is her best feature?"

There was a lot of whispering and pointing from the girls, all of which had Charlene squirming in her chair for fear that they saw through her masquerade.

Joan was the first to respond. "She has a cute nose." There was a lot of nodding from the other girls along with some more pointing and nods of agreement.

"I agree. Anything else? I see a lot of you looking but no one saying anything I can hear!" Caro prodded the other girls.

"Charlene has very pretty eyes! They look large even with her makeup removed." A tall athletically built girl said from the back row.

"Very good Mindy! I like her eyes too, although her nose is great, Joan. The eyes are something we can use makeup to greatly enhance. A nose can be done in a few simple steps! We’ll start with the nose and I’ll show you." Caro stated and then reached onto her makeup cart for some foundation.

In a few moments and with the use of two different colored foundations, Caro made Charlene’s nose appear larger. Then a quick removal and she made her nose look smaller. Charlene thought it made quite a change in her appearance.

"So which looked better on Charlene?" Caro asked. Everyone agreed that making your nose look smaller would be the better way to go.

Caro then proceeded to show them how to improve their eyes. She only did one side on Charlene for demonstration purposes, when she was done, she told Charlene she would have to match what she had done.

Matching the three colors of shadow, liner and the white powder highlights took Charlene about three times as long as it took Caro to do. Finally, with the help of one of the girls named Michelle, she finally got it so it looked like the eye Caro had done. Charlene actually felt a bit of pride in her accomplishment. She returned the coaching favor for Michelle and even called Caro over to help when they were both stuck on how to finish making Michelle’s eyes sparkle.

By the time the makeup class was over, Charlene was chatting with a couple of the girls like they were old friends. This surprised Caro. When she asked Joan about it, Joan had no answer. Joan figured Charlene would have been just as scared and quiet as she had been at her first makeup class all those months ago.

The hour was up and Jane returned from her small excursion to ‘The Style Shoppe’. She had left to confer with Brenda Franson about Charlene and to make certain appropriate juvenile styles of clothing were available for her to try on. She was very pleased. So far the day had been going as planned and Charlene seemed to be learning what it was like to be on the receiving end of some of the bullying she had dealt out over the years. Jane knew there was still a lot of anger inside her and that she wasn’t letting it show yet. That just meant a rather large explosion when the time came. It would be mostly bluster, but Jane would still be ready for it when it came. As she walked into the salon, she did not immediately see Charlene. Joan was with Caro and the gaggle of girls from the cosmetics class were still milling around trying different things they had learned on each other. Needless to say, she was a little confused!

"Carolyn? Where is Charlene? I expected her to be ready to go by now! I don’t see her." Jane said as she walked up to Joan and Caro.

"She’s right there, Jane! A regular little social butterfly if you ask me! You sure she’s new to all this? Caro responded pointing out Charlene in the middle of the group, demonstrating how to put on eyeliner for another girl.

Jane stood and watched for a moment. In all her years of training boys to be civil, refined young ladies, she had never had one become involved in any of the classes she arranged. Unless she had forced the situation, of course… This was something she would have to file away and watch carefully with Ms. Hawkins. Something had happened while she was here. Just what was to be determined later. Maybe Diana would have a little insight tonight.

Jane walked over to Charlene. "Charlene! We have an appointment in forty-five minutes. Are you ready to leave?"

Charlene stopped in mid sentence when she heard Jane’s voice. She turned to see her standing there with that smile on her face that she didn’t trust. She replied "Yes, Ms. Thompson, I am ready to leave." She started looking for her purse.

"Charlene! Where are your manners? I should think you would introduce me to your new friends. That would be the appropriate thing to do!" Jane stated. She could see all the girls Charlene had been talking to were just as embarrassed as she was.

"Of course, Ms. Thompson, I’m sorry, I was rather… Umm… pre-occupied when you arrived. Ms. Jane Thompson, I would like you to meet Michelle and Janet. They were my partners for different portions of the makeup class. Michelle, Janet, this is Ms. Jane Thompson, of Thompson Academy." Charlene did a short curtsey and stepped back a half step.

"A pleasure to meet both of you. I hope to see you again when Charlene comes in for styling and makeup lessons. We really must be going. Come along Charlene." Jane finished with the pleasantries turned and headed for the door where Joan was waiting for her arrival.

Charlene looked at both Michelle and Janet, rolled her eyes, shook her head and followed Jane toward the door. The two girls had to use every ounce of self-control not to laugh as Charlene left the salon. After Charlene was gone, they decided that maybe wanting to attend Jane Thompson’s finishing school was not as high on their list as they once thought.

The trip back to the car was made in silence, which was fine with Charlene. She had many things to mull over in her mind. The one that bothered her most was how everyone in the makeup class had accepted her so easily as another teenage girl. This bothered her male self-image the most. After all, Charlie was all boy! Rough and tumble always getting into trouble one way or another. Charlene, was all soft and easy and always seemed to be prim and proper even when she didn’t want to. That was the confusing part. Was it the clothes? Was there something about dressing as a girl that just naturally made one more quiet and reflective? Charlie didn’t know but it seemed Charlene was going to find out, if Jane Thompson had anything to say about it!

Jane was thoughtful as she drove toward their lunch destination. She had previously had recalcitrant boys that took to skirts easily, mostly she could see through the ruse that they tried to portray and she had a few ways to make certain that Charlene was not like that. She thought about it quickly and decided that the afternoon at ‘the Style Shoppe’ would tell her more about what was going on in her latest charges’ head.

Charlene sat quietly and looked out the window. She saw they were pulling into a Country Club. ‘No surprise there! This lady probably OWNS the place!’ went through her mind as Jane pulled to a stop at the entrance to the dining area.

Two valets quickly came around the car and opened the doors for Jane, Charlene and Joan. This took Charlene off guard and the valet noticed it. "Sorry to have surprised you, I hope you enjoy your meal!" The young man had a hard time taking his eyes off Charlene’s legs.

Jane noticed his stare. "Jonathon! Ms. Hawkins is my newest student. I should inform you she is only fourteen!" She gave the young man a look that warned him to act nice ‘or else’.

"Sorry Ms. Thompson! I was just noticing how lovely Ms. Hawkins is. Not that you or Ms. Carlson aren’t as lovely…" Jonathon’s face was beet red and he was losing his cool composure, being found out like that.

Jane let out a little laugh. "Dear Jonathon! I will tell you a little secret. When you find yourself digging a deep hole that you do not wish to be in. The first thing you have to do is stop digging! To let you know, we will only be here for lunch!" Jane handed the stunned boy a five-dollar bill and headed for the club entrance.

Joan was giggling over the encounter while Charlene was pale and terrified. Charlene had never had anyone, let alone a boy pay attention to whatever she did. No one ever paid attention to her at all! The experience put Charlene back on her guard. Joan noticed and whispered in her ear. "Sandy and Caro did a great job on you! You have no idea how pretty you are, so take the attention you just got as part of this experience because you will get a lot more if Jane decides to keep you for a while."

Charlene just looked at Joan in shock! The expression was one of a fish out of water. Charlene’s mouth opened and closed a few times, but nothing came out! The Doorman, who wished the two of them a lovely meal, brought the two girls back to reality.

Charlene was now scared silly once more. Here she was in a country club, about to sit for lunch with all manner of people and she was just ogled by the valet outside. To say that she was unnerved would be an understatement. She was always darting glances around to see if anyone was pointing or laughing at her.

Joan finally noticed and whispered to her "Take a deep breath! Everything you learned at the house is exactly what you do here! You look more like a girl now than I do, so take a deep breath and act the part! Just do everything you would do back at the house and you will be fine."

Charlene looked at Joan, nodded her head and took a deep breath. It did help a little, then she decided to concentrate on doing everything properly at the table.

Jane watched as Joan took the lead in trying to calm Charlene’s fears. ‘I knew she was ready to be a big sister! So much compassion in that one. I definitely did not see that side of her when she first arrived.’

After everyone had been seated by the Maitre’di, Jane said to the girls "We have time for a light lunch. Please order appropriately." She then looked over her menu.

Charlene thought about a light lunch. She had been nervous enough at the salon that she hadn’t thought about eating. Now in this place she wasn’t sure just what a lite lunch consisted of. After a short look at the menu, she decided the fruit plate and a glass of diet soda would probably be approved by Jane.

Every few minutes, someone coming over to the table to talk to Jane interrupted Charlene’s thoughts. This led to a round of introductions, the politeness that Joan displayed was mimicked by Charlene. This seemed to please Jane as she complimented Charlene’s appearance and made certain everyone knew she was her newest student. Some of the names sounded like ones Charlene had learned in American history. Rockefeller, Chase, Morgan, and Steinbrenner were a few of the ones she remembered. They were all well off and had others with them that seemed to do their bidding.

Eventually lunch was served and Charlene made sure she cut the pieces small and chewed until her mouth hurt. She was not about to be reprimanded in such a nice place. During all of this, Jane questioned Joan and her about the fashions for the rest of the summer and coming fall seasons. This topic seemed to hold a great deal of interest for Jane today. Normally she was more interested in world events so this was a bit of a change. Jane was just talking about the return of knee high boots as a fashion for fall when an older lady came gushing up to the table.

"Jane, dah-h-hling! How good to see you again." The lady spoke.

This surprised Charlene. It was a good thing she was taking small bites and small sips of her drink, otherwise, passing food through your nose was most likely a faux pas, Jane would notice immediately!

Jane calmly finished her bite and turned to the new arrival. "Edith! I didn’t know you frequented this club for lunch. How are you?" Jane greeted her long time friend.

"Just having lunch with a group of ladies from the cotillion committee for the town Labor Day celebration." She noticed Joan sitting next to Jane. "Joan dear, how nice to see you again. Are your studies going well?"

"Hello, Mrs. White. It is very nice to see you again too. Yes, they are going quite well. Ms. Thompson is a very good teacher. I am progressing through my studies at a very good rate." Joan replied.

"That is so good to hear. I would think your piano training is getting quite good! I may be able to talk Jane into letting you give a recital at the Labor Day celebration. Maybe as part of our cotillion?" Edith looked to Jane. Without giving her a chance to reply, she continued. "Who is this lovely creature? You must be a new student of Jane’s." Edith said, looking directly at Charlene.

Jane, always slightly annoyed at Edith’s high brow antics answered. "Edith White, may I introduce you to Miss Charlene Hawkins, Miss Hawkins, this is Mrs. Edith White." Jane nodded toward Charlene in some sort of cryptic signal.

Charlene saw Jane’s nod and the threatening look that accompanied it. She stood and offered a limp hand to Mrs. White. "Pleased to meet you, Mrs. White." As a final thought, she dipped a small curtsey.

The smiles on Jane and Edith’s faces told Charlene she had done the right thing.

"Jane! Are you certain she is new? Such a charming a young gu-url! You simply must allow her to be part of my cotillion. With Charlene and Joan there, every eligible boy from miles around will want to attend!" Edith White was almost giddy with the prospect of Joan and Charlene being in her cotillion.

Joan smiled politely but Charlene started to panic. If she didn’t have makeup on, Jane, Joan and Edith would have seen her face visibly pale! Charlene felt her stomach flip as she thought about this cotillion thing and the fact that there would be ‘boys’ there. They would think he was a girl! ‘Oh god!’ was all she could think before Jane responded.

"Edith! What a lovely thought! I am so sorry to have to turn down your offer this time though. The R.O.T.C. commander, Mr. Brent Hayden, recently contacted me. He is short two girls for his float honoring our service men and women in the Labor Day Parade. I already promised him the girls would help by being on the float and attending their display afterward. I truly am sorry, I think both girls would have enjoyed the cotillion." Jane apologized to Edith.

Edith looked a little downhearted. Normally Jane jumps at a chance to have her girls attend one of her cotillions. After thinking over what the girls were doing for the parade and the current state of the armed forces, she decided this was a very good thing. "In that case, I accept your decision to not participate in the cotillion. I think it is very patriotic of the girls to be a part of something that honors our armed forces. However, I do expect to see them both at the Oktoberfest dance. You will ensure that they are in appropriate outfits, like the last girls?"

Jane thought for a moment. She remembered the period correct costumes she had made her boys wear. They both looked like that actress… Sandra Bullock in ‘Miss Congeniality’. After thinking for a moment, she replied. "I’ll mark it on the calendar. I believe Marie has those outfits in storage. I’ll ask her to check for sizes and such when we arrive home."

"Marvelous!" Edith replied, very pleased to have Jane and her girls at one of her functions. "I’ll just leave you all to your lunch. It was nice to see you again dear. Ta-ta girls!" With a wave of her hand, Edith White went off in search of someone else to talk into coming to her ‘High Society’ functions.

Jane took out her personal planner and made a few notes, when done, she looked at the two students. "Well girls. It looks like your social calendar is filling rapidly! I dare say, we shall all be very busy over the next few months." Jane noted the look of resignation on Joan’s face and the fear in Charlene’s eyes. Her message had conveyed it’s meaning to both students. Joan now knew she wouldn’t be leaving soon and Charlene was worried about being found out in a social situation. ‘Not bad for only having to make one comment!’ Jane thought as she sipped her iced tea.

The rest of lunch was eaten in relative silence. Jane did this so that each girl could come to grips with their own situation. When she felt the timing was right, Jane spoke. "Girls, please finish, we have to leave or we will be late for our next appointment." After that comment Jane wiped her mouth and folded the napkin on the table. Charlene knew this was the signal that lunch was over.

As the trio headed for the exit, Jane remarked "Girls! Now would be a good time to powder our noses we have a lot of things to accomplish this afternoon." Jane walked directly to the ladies’ powder room door and entered.

Charlene stopped short and was run into by Joan. "Oomph!… Ummm… sorry." Charlene mumbled after making sure Joan was okay.

"What’s wrong?" Joan asked. She had been out with Jane enough that using the ladies’ room was no big deal anymore.

Charlene whispered "I can’t go in there!"

"Why not? Just go in, enter a stall, do what you do at the house and leave! Just make sure you stop and wash your hands and reapply you lipstick, otherwise Jane will have a fit!" Joan whispered back to Charlene.

"You sure? I mean, well I guess… well the way I’m dressed… Oh! I don’t know what I mean anymore!" Charlene was upset and confused as she finally decided she should just go into the rest room and do as Joan suggested.

Jane listened in the restroom as the click of two sets of heels indicated her students had finally entered the sanctuary of the lady's powder room. ‘I see Joan did her job to get Charlene to enter without having to call me. I’ll have to compliment her tonight.’ thought Jane as she finished her business and went to wash her hands, touch up her makeup and wait for the two students.

Joan automatically went through the same motions as Jane did. Charlene was still a little scared and hesitant about what she should be doing after leaving her stall. She watched Joan and tried to copy everything she did, aware that Jane was standing there watching her. After she had completed everything and all was back in her purse, she looked at Jane.

Jane just nodded her head and pushed the door open as she led the way out of the clubhouse and back out to her car. The car was sitting there idling by the entrance as they exited the restaurant. Jonathon was right there to hold open the doors for Jane and Charlene. A different valet took care of the door for Joan. In a very short time, all three were settled and Jane was headed off to their next stop.

It was only a ten-minute drive to ‘The Style Shoppe’. When Charlene saw the window display, she knew that was where they were going to stop next. She had just started to calm down after the trip to the bathroom. At least her stomach had kept lunch down! However, just looking at all the frills, lace and petticoats in the display window caused Charlene’s stomach to lurch. She could just imagine how many dresses she would have to try on.

"Come along girls! We are just on time for our afternoon appointment!" Jane waved toward the entrance of the store.

Charlene wasn’t sure what to expect, but she knew it probably was not going to a pleasant afternoon. She trailed behind Jane and Joan as they approached the store.

The tinkling of the front door bell brought Brenda Franson’s attention to the trio entering her store. She knew Jane was coming and immediately started to size up the new student, Charlene. ‘Very nice! She will look very nice in most of the outfits Jane likes for her first visit.’ Betty thought as the small group threaded it’s way toward her position in the store.

"Jane! Joan! How nice to see you again! Who is this lovely young lady with you today?" Brenda embraced Jane and gave a little ‘air kiss’.

"Hi Brenda, it is nice to see you again too! This young lady is Miss Charlene Hawkins. Miss Hawkins, I would like you to meet Ms. Brenda Franson. She is the owner of this fine shop and a very good friend!"

Charlene stepped forward, did a little curtsey and replied softly "A pleasure to meet you." Charlene extended her hand in a limp fashion as she had seen Joan do earlier.

Brenda was impressed. Taking Charlene’s hand she replied. "I see Jane has been teaching you a lot! Joan was here just a couple of weeks ago, so I know you haven’t been at the academy long. You have learned quickly my dear. Let’s step over here, I believe we have some lovely summer dresses that will flatter your figure and make all the boys stare at you all summer long!" Brenda continued to hold Charlene’s hand and guided her over toward a rack of frilly dresses.

There were those words again! ‘boys staring at you all summer long.’ That was the third or fourth time today, Charlene had heard that phrase and it still caused her to jump. She didn’t want boys to stare at her! She wanted to do the staring! However, this lady didn’t seem to know Charlene was anything other than a young student at Jane’s academy so Charlene figured she had best go along and try not to give herself away.

Brenda noticed Charlene looking at the rack of dresses as they approached. Letting her worry for a few seconds she finally intoned "I see you like our new summer dresses! They are gorgeous, but Jane called and gave me a rundown of your coloring and sizes! I had Sally go around and pick a few outfits ahead of time so you wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all the choices. Jane did say you were a bit of a ‘tomboy’ before coming to her school so I thought a girl nearer your age would choose things more appropriate!" Brenda smiled at Charlene as she led her past the rack of dresses and into a fitting area.

The first area they passed through was just a row of cubicles, exactly as you would find at any clothing store. They went past six or seven doors and then went through an archway at the end of the hall. Once inside Charlene could see that this was a private showing area.

It heralded a return to an earlier age, something to Charlene that was ancient, like the nineteen-sixties! The walls were off-white with a small, elevated stage at one end. There were four banks of mirrors set about the stage at angles so that a viewer could see all sides of the dress when you stood in the middle of the stage. Two small settees covered in off-white watered silk thread were positioned so that the mother, aunt, whoever, could be comfortable while their darling daughter tried on a myriad of dresses and frills. The valances, behind the mirrors, were draped in a diaphanous fabric, lending elegance to the otherwise dated room décor. A small curtain hung in front of the stage with a bank of lights partially hidden from view. There was a panel of switches next to the stage that appeared to control all the lighting, so one could see how the dress looked in daylight or evening light.

Charlene noted that Brenda Franson was leading her over to a rack of clothes set by the back wall of the stage. Next to the rack was a linen covered table with many piles of lingerie in an assortment of styles and colors. As they approached this area, Charlene had the sickening feeling she was going to be changing clothes a lot this afternoon.

Charlene’s fears were not only well founded, but she was given the added stressor of having a very pretty salesgirl named Sally assist her in changing clothes.

"Hi! I’m Sally! You must be Ms. Thompson’s new student. I’ve helped a couple of her newer students, including Joan with her first fitting. Just relax! It will be a lot of fun! Think of it as a game of ‘dress-up’." Sally was perky if nothing else. Her smile and enthusiasm were infectious and Charlene had to smile and take a deep breath.

"I must admit, I’ve never seen this many frills on clothes before. What in the world do you do with all of this?" Charlene asked Sally.

"It’s easy, once you get the hang of it. It took me a couple of weeks working here before I figured out how some of the clothes were to be worn. From your look you were probably a tomboy before Ms. Thompson got hold of you!" Sally said, appraising Charlene.

"You could say that." Charlene blushed through her makeup.

"I thought so! It seems Ms. Thompson gets a lot of tomboys. She does a great job of turning them into ‘proper’ young ladies!" Sally let out a giggle. "I hope you don’t have to wear all this stuff when you go home!"

That comment made Charlene snort! ‘Not likely!’ she thought.

"I don’t think my mother goes for this much frill on a regular basis," she told Sally after regaining her composure.

Sally smiled at her response. "Let’s get started, otherwise Ms. Franson will be in here wondering what happened to you!" With that comment, Sally walked over to the dress rack and looked at a list hanging next to it. She checked the list, then walked over to the rack and selected two hangers.

The hangers were covered with a garment cover so Charlene had no idea what the first outfit would be. As Sally headed for the pile of lingerie, Charlene decided she should step into the cubicle and start to undress. "No sense making this go any slower than I have to! God! Jane is probably timing me!" Charlene muttered under her breath. That last thought about Jane timing her brought out another snort.

"What’s so funny?" Sally asked as she followed Charlene into the cubicle.

"Oh! Well, nothing really. I mean well, Jane, I mean Ms. Thompson has been timing my ability to change clothes quickly for the past week and I figured she was probably doing it now!" Charlene replied.

"That’s weird! How fast are you supposed to be able to change?" Sally asked.

"For casual and makeup touchup, about thirty minutes. More formal I think she was happy with an hour, but I had help with that." Charlene replied.

Sally looked really surprised. "You mean she actually sets a stop watch and sees how long it takes? Goodness, It takes me an hour just to get out of the bathroom in the morning!"

Both people giggled at the remark. Then Sally got down to the business of trying on clothes. She slid the covers off the first outfit of the day. It was a rose colored, tea length dress with a lot of eggshell colored lace all around the neck, arms and hem. There was an embroidered detail of roses on the bodice using a matching colored thread so the bodice was monochromatic except for the lace trim. There was a thin eggshell colored belt, which hung loosely around the waist, and the flair of the skirt told Charlene there would be a petticoat or two under the skirt when she was dressed.

"The other garment bag holds the two petticoats that go under the skirt." Sally told Charlene. "Here is appropriate lingerie and stockings for this outfit. I’ll just step out. Call when you are changed and I’ll help you with the petti’s and the dress." Sally then left the cubicle.

Charlene took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. "Here we go again!" she muttered to herself. She proceeded to change into the new lingerie. When she was done she took the first petticoat and stepped into it. After she tied it off, she called Sally. "All set, Sally!"

Sally entered the room and was surprised to see that Charlene already had on one of the petticoats. Normally the girls that came into the shop tried to delay getting dressed in this much frou-frou as long as possible. "I see you are in a hurry to get dressed. Hot date tonight?" She giggled at the shocked look on Charlene’s face. "We’ll just slip this second petti and your dress on, then we can see about makeup."

The second petticoat slipped over Charlene’s head and slid into place. Sally did some fluffing and rearranging of things to be sure it hung correctly. She held up the dress for Charlene to slip under. All the practice at the academy had prepared Charlene for how to get in and out of garments like this, so she knew what to do without coaching from Sally.

The dress lay over the petticoats just right, with just a hint of the tulle edge showing. The bodice was close enough to Charlene’s size that it hugged her upper body and emphasized her imitation curves. After Sally demonstrated the proper way to hang the loose belt off her hip, Charlene turned to look in the mirror.

It was still a shock when she looked in the mirror. There stood a very pretty young girl in a very nice dress. The style was a little young for her apparent age otherwise there wasn’t anything unusual about the image in the mirror. That was the most disturbing part. The fact that Charlene was all one could see, no sign of ‘Charlie’ anywhere.

"Are you okay?" Sally asked.

Charlene took in a quick breath. "Umm… Yea. I’m… I’m fine. I was just thinking." Charlene looked a little more critically into the mirror, examining her makeup. "I think the makeup I have looks right for this outfit. What do you think?" She tried to save the situation and set Sally back to being her helper.

"I agree. I think those colors will go just fine with most of these outfits, we may have to change lipstick once or twice, otherwise, your makeup looks great! Did you do it?" Sally responded, back in sales mode.

"Partially. Our first stop was at "Marisha Chalet". I had my hair, nails and makeup done before we came here. I guess the makeup was correct for me." Charlene replied with a shrug.

"Oh! Carolyn did your makeup?" Sally asked. After Charlene nodded, she continued. "No wonder you look so good! She did my makeup for prom. She also did it when I was a bridesmaid last year. I never look that good when I do my own makeup!"

Charlene didn’t know what to say, so she just nodded her head like she understood what Sally was talking about.

"Well, you look ready for your first cat-walk! Just walk out to the end of the stage and stop. Ms. Franson will instruct you from there. See you in a few minutes!" Sally pointed toward the stage and then hurried off to do whatever her next job was for this day of changing clothes.

Charlene slipped on the matching heeled sandals and fastened the ankle straps. A deep breath and she was ready to leave the changing room.

It couldn’t have been more than fifteen or twenty feet from the changing area to the stage area, but it seems like a five-mile walk when you dread what you know is coming next.

As Charlene stopped to get her breath, the lights dimmed and the stage lights turned on. A light bit of piano music started playing and Charlene thought that Joan had been talked into giving an impromptu recital. That would be typical Jane! She was trying to figure out whether to walk out onto the stage or wait when she heard Ms. Franson’s voice behind her.

"Charlene? Now! All you have to do is walk out there to the end of the stage and stop. Ms. Thompson will ask you to turn one way or the other and then she will have you spin around in a circle. After that, she will ask you to try on the next outfit. Sally is putting that together now so it will be in the changing room when you finish. Ready?" Brenda Franson asked Charlene.

Charlene took a deep breath to calm herself and nodded. "I can do this. It’s only Jane and Joan out there. This isn’t any different than showing up for a clothing inspection at the house." Charlene muttered to herself. With that as her final straw to grasp onto, Charlene headed onto the stage to show her first outfit.

Charlene walked to the edge of the stage and stopped. After a few seconds, she assumed the stance that Jane preferred her students use when in her office. ‘Stand straight, feet and knees together, hands clasped behind your back, look straight forward and smile!’ Jane’s voice droned through Charlene’s mind as she stood there waiting for instructions.

"Very pretty!" came Jane’s voice from beyond the glare of the lights. "Turn to the right please, Charlene. (Pause) Now turn to the left please. (Pause) Face the back of the stage please. (Longer pause) Please turn back toward me. (Pause) Yes! Very pretty! That is very flattering on you. You may change into the next outfit."

Charlene hurried back to the changing room to find Sally waiting. "I’ll help you out of the dress and petticoats. You can change your lingerie while I hang all of the clothes."

Charlene slid out of the dress while Sally lifted it over her head. The same procedure followed for the top petticoat. While Sally was organizing those two items, Charlene untied and stepped out of the final petticoat.

"Call when you need help! Oh! The box contains a couple of silicone breast forms. Ms. Fransen thought you might need them for the next outfit." Sally pointed to a box next to the black bustier on the table.

Charlene nodded and Sally left with both arms full of frills. Looking at the lingerie, Charlene decided she better hurry before Sally or someone else came in to ‘help’ her change her lingerie. So far, everyone was treating her like she was a girl and this was the most natural thing in the world. ‘No sense in screwing up this deception.’ Charlene thought as she removed her garter belt and hose.

The new lingerie were things Jane had Charlene in and out of a few times, so she knew how to put on most of it. The only problem was with the bustier. It had twenty small hooks up the back and Charlene’s hands just didn’t seem to turn the correct way to get them all hooked. The ‘Breast Enhancers’ as the box said were shaped to cradle what little Charlene could actually pull forward as Marie had done in a similar situation. This pushed her chest flesh up and toward the middle giving the illusion of ‘C’ cup breasts and quite a bit of cleavage! The box claimed to increase a girl’s bust by two cup sizes. Charlene thought they looked huge! Everything was in place, black bustier, black garter belt, black hose and black ‘Boy Cut’ panties when Sally knocked on the door.

"Ready? I have to show you a few things about this dress." She said as she opened the door before Charlene could answer. "I see you had a little trouble with the bustier. Let me help." Sally redid the bottom four hooks and then checked the box for the breast forms. "Turn around, let’s see." She said as she urged Charlene to turn around. "Looks very nice! That much cleavage will definitely get the boys attention!" Sally giggled. After seeing the shocked look on Charlene’s face she decided to get back to business. "This dress is strapless. So you need a decent bustline to hold it up. That is where the breast forms come in. As a little added insurance we install hooks and eyes under the arm of the dress and on the bustier. That way you can just hook the dress onto the bustier and it won’t slip down. It’s more important with this dress since it is satin. Even though it is lined, it will still slip down without the hooks." Sally explained as she showed Charlene the little hooks on the inside of the dress and the eyes on her bustier.

"Just step into the dress and I’ll show you how it works." Sally handed the dress to Charlene.

The dress was dark blue satin. Floor length with a small train out the back. Strapless, it rode just above the cups of the bustier, leaving enough cleavage to draw unwanted attention to Charlene. Before zipping up the back, Sally showed Charlene how the two hooks just dropped into the eyes and held the dress up. With the dress hooked to the bustier, it actually sat an inch higher than Charlene thought it would and covered a bit more of her new found cleavage. Sally produced a pair of black three-inch heeled sandals and helped Charlene put them on, since she was in the dress and trying to figure out what to do with all the skirt material. Once complete, Charlene looked in the dressing room mirror.

Charlene had lost count of how many times she had been surprised by the image in the mirror today. ‘What was this? Number ten or number twelve?’ She thought as she stared at the image in the mirror.

"Pretty awesome, huh?" Sally said after letting view her image for a few moments.

Charlene shook her head back to reality. "Yes. Sometimes I look in the mirror and the me I know just isn’t there! Like now it sort of shocks me and scares me a little."

"Scares you? Why would it scare you? It’s just a game of ‘dress up’." Sally replied.

"Umm… well, I’ve never done this much ‘dress up’ until I arrived at Ms. Thompson’s. It’s all so new and different." Charlene replied, hoping her answer would satisfy Sally’s questions.

"Oh! I’ll bet you were a ‘tomboy’ then. Ms. Thompson does seem to get those once in awhile. But every one I’ve seen ends up just as girly as Joan in a month or so. Don’t worry, your jeans will still be there when you get home!" Sally said with a smile.

Charlene laughed with Sally over her jean comment. Then realized it had only been a few days since she was last in jeans.

Charlene walked to the stage and saw Joan heading off toward another changing room. Joan waved and smiled, then hurried into her area to change clothes. "Guess this clothing thing is something Jane does to everyone!" Charlene muttered to herself as she approached the edge of the stage.

Another round of turning and then a little walking back and forth and Jane dismissed Charlene to change again.

The next three hours were a whirlwind of clothing changes. Charlene had to model everything from lacy party dresses a six-year old would love to formal gowns appropriate for prom or the theater. Each had it’s own matching bra, panty and garter belt. Jane ‘Hmm’d’ and ‘Ahhh’d’ at the various outfits instructing Charlene to turn, walk, sit, twirl, all so she could see the outfit from various angles.

After showing a proper British schoolgirl uniform to Jane, Charlene returned to the changing area to find the clothes she had put on that morning on the hanger along with her original set of lingerie.

After a deep sigh of relief, Charlene changed back into the outfit she had started the day. Remembering to check her makeup and hair before leaving the changing room, she felt like another of Jane’s tests had been passed. She made it through this ordeal without anyone in the shop finding out she was really a boy under all the frills and makeup. This thought made Charlene smile as she left the changing area. She waved goodbye to Sally when she saw her gathering the last of the clothes and covering them on their hangers.

"We are over here Charlene!" Jane said from the checkout area of the store.

Charlene walked over toward Jane and Joan. She could just make out that Jane was leaving instructions for the delivery of whatever she purchased to the academy.

"Thank you so much Brenda and I’ll expect the packages delivered by five o’clock!" Jane said to Brenda Franson.

"No problem Jane. It was good to see you again. Nice to see you again too, Joan and a pleasure to meet you Charlene. I am certain you will learn a lot from Ms. Thompson. See you next time!" Brenda said her good byes and turned to go arrange for delivery of whatever Jane had bought.

Charlene didn’t give it much thought. She figured there wasn’t any mention of buying any clothes for her. She knew she had a closet full of girl clothing in her room and she was certain that she could convince Jane to allow her to return to being male after Diana left. Charlene decided that this entire afternoon was just Jane’s way of going through the clothes changing drill one more time.

Jane’s voice broke Charlene from her thoughts of freedom. "Joan, Charlene, we must hurry, Marie will have dinner ready and I do not wish to be late!" Jane headed for the car at a brisk walk.

As Jane was heading toward the car, something in a store window caught her eye. She made an abrupt change in direction and headed into another lady's boutique. This one was called ‘Simply You’.

The ‘ding-dong’ of the door chime announced their entrance and it didn’t take long for a lady about Jane’s age to greet them.

"Hello, welcome to Simply You’! How can I help you ladies today?" The lady asked.

"I’m Jane Thompson and this is Miss Joan Carlson and Miss Charlene Hawkins. I saw a summer weight coat in the window as we passed by. Is it appropriate for rainy days?"

"Yes, it is. It is a lightweight coat, they use a water repellant built into the thread so it never needs to be re-treated. My name is Betty Hanson and I am the owner of this store. It is nice to meet all of you." Betty had escorted the three of them to the rack of coats while she talked.

"We need two of them, one for each of the girls. Joan came to my school last winter and only has heavy coats. Charlene is in the middle of a wardrobe realignment and this will fill out her trousseau very nicely." Jane stated.

The next twenty minutes were spent trying on coats. Joan ended up with an off-white one while Charlene seemed destined to be in shades of rose or pink. Jane finally decided the pale pink one was her color and then a matching purse had to found to go with it! After an extensive search through the purses, a suitable one was found and they were checking out, for the third time that day.

"Thank you ladies and please stop back again." Betty said as she handed the credit card receipt to Jane.

"You seem to have quality clothing here, we most definitely will be back. Come along girls we are late."

The ride back to the academy seemed to take a lot less time than going into town had that morning. What Charlene didn’t know was that Jane always takes the more scenic route into town on a student’s first trip. It seems to soften her charges up a little more by letting them fret over their situation a little longer. In some cases it had even led to the break-through that Jane needed for them to embrace their feminine side and act completely female from that day forward. Those were far and few between, but one can only hope that the technique had served her well with Ms. Hawkins.

Arriving back at the mansion, Charlene let out a sigh of relief. Jane heard it and thought that it was a good sign. After the episode with Michael and his attempted suicide, Jane was much more careful in her observation of new students. The addition of the microphone and security camera in the bedroom had been particularly hard for her to do. She hated having to violate her student’s privacy like that but her fear of a repeat of Michael finally made the decision for her. Setting the camera to only go on when set from her study or her bedroom had been her rationalization that her students would have privacy as long as there were no problems.

Jane handed her coat to Marie on her way in the door, gave Diana a hug and then the two of them disappeared into Jane’s study, closing the door behind them. Joan headed up the steps to put away her coat and freshen up for dinner.

"Ah Cherie!" Marie said. "You look tres magnifique! You are very beautiful! Now, hurry upstairs and freshen up for dinner. It will be on the table in seventeen minutes!" Marie finished hanging Jane’s coat in the front closet and hurried back to the kitchen.

"SIGH……" A very loud audible sigh escaped Charlene’s throat. Gone all day and now back to the ‘hurry for this’ and ‘hurry for that’ routine of this… this…. Academy place! A second sigh as loud as the first escaped past Charlene’s lips as she headed for her bedroom to wash her hands and redo her lipstick for dinner.

*****

Jane and Diana entered the office after a brief moment of pleasantries in the hall. Jane had Diana close the door while she hurriedly opened the cabinet doors where she kept the security monitor.

"Pleasant day today, dear?" Diana asked in order to get Jane’s attention.

Jane was preoccupied trying to get the monitor turned on and adjusting the volume on the control console. She had forgotten Diana was even in the room. When Diana spoke, she jerked up with a start.

"Actually Charlene did quite well! She was scared about going to town, which is appropriate. Then Sandy did her marvelous job of ‘discovering’ her secret. That kept her off balance and very meek for most of the morning. Caro did a superb job on her makeup, it would never enter your mind that she was anything other than she appears. The fashion show was more like she was on auto-pilot, she went through the motions but I could see there was no joy in it for her, yet. She has not figured out that most of what she tried on will be delivered here in a few minutes. I believe she thinks this was some sort of torture exercise devised by me!" Jane responded to Diana’s query.

Art/ Diana let out a laugh. "Who said it wasn’t some sort of torture exercise?"

Jane gave Diana a dirty look, but Diana just kept laughing. Jane turned her attention back to the monitor to see Charlene’s reaction to the day’s events.

*****

Charlene walked into her bedroom, kicked off her heels and headed for the bathroom to relieve herself and ‘freshen up’ for dinner. "God, it feels good to walk flat-footed again." She continued on to the bathroom. Less than ten minutes later, Charlene emerged from the bathroom, slipped her heels back on and headed for the door. As she approached the door, there was a knock followed by Marie’s voice.

"Cherie, are you decent?" Marie asked.

"Come in Marie." Charlene responded.

The door opened and Marie entered followed by two rather large young men carrying a large box and an armload of garment bags. The look on Charlene’s face was priceless. Marie just wished she had her camera.

"Place the box on the bed and hang the bags on the bar by the closet." Marie instructed the men.

After they were finished one looked at Charlene, "Thank you for shopping at ‘The Style Shoppe’, I hope you enjoy your new wardrobe. Bye Marie, Bye Miss." He tipped his hat and motioned to his partner to leave. They left and shut the door behind them.

Charlene stood there looking from the garment bags to the box on the bed, to Marie and back again. All the time her mouth was moving like a fish out of water but no sounds were coming out.

Marie moved over to the closet door and then spoke to Charlene. "I took the liberty of removing most of the clothes from here. I knew you would need the room for your new wardrobe. There is also plenty of room in your dresser and in the vanity for your lingerie and cosmetics. I have informed Ms. Thompson that dinner will not be ready for another hour, I was not certain when you would be back, so I just put everything in the oven when you arrived home. Now you have plenty of time to put all your lovely things away properly before dinner!"

Charlene was staring at Marie like she had gone mad. "My… My new wardrobe?" she squeaked out.

"Yes, Cherie, all those lovely outfits you tried on today? They are all here including the lingerie. If you like I’ll be back in few minutes to help you hang up everything, I would like to see what you bought today! I must check on dinner before I come back, why don’t you start putting your new lingerie away while I am gone?" Marie touched Charlene on the shoulder as if to nudge her toward the large pink box on her bed. When Charlene finally started to move towards it, Marie left the room and headed for Jane’s study.

*****

Jane and Diana watched the arrival of Charlene’s new wardrobe on the security monitor. Charlene didn’t seem depressed, just very surprised when the two men delivered all the clothes.

"Didn’t you tell her you were buying a new wardrobe?" Diana asked.

"I told her what I tell every new student! We have appointments so you have to hurry up. Most of the time when you go shopping, I would think that most males assume you buy something. I imagine Charlene figured this was just one more of my little tortures before I relented and let her back into ‘boys’ clothing." Jane replied.

"Well, she definitely didn’t expect all those clothes, that’s for sure" commented Diana.

"I noticed. This is still a game of dress-up to her. We will have to find some other way to tear down her brutish bravado." Jane said thoughtfully.

Marie entered the room to see Charlene sitting on the edge of the bed not certain if she should touch the box on her bed or not. One would think it would bite her if she touched it!

*****

Charlene sat on the edge of the box looking at it for a few moments. "What am I going to do? If all this is for me there is no way Ms. Thompson is going to let me go back to being Charlie any time soon." She said as she looked at the large pink box. "I wonder if all the lingerie is in there. What a silly question, of course it is! You know Jane Thompson wouldn’t do things half way. If anything, there are extra pieces of lingerie in there!"

Charlene sat for another couple of minutes mulling her situation over in her head. She finally decided she better start to put things away before Marie came back to help her. She knew Marie would ‘oohh and aahh’ over each delicate piece before folding it carefully and placing it in it’s appropriate drawer.

Charlene finally stood and opened the box. Every piece of lingerie was carefully wrapped in pink tissue paper. Another deep sigh and Charlene picked up the first wrapped piece to see what it was.

After unwrapping four or five items, she knew every piece of lingerie she had tried on was in the box. It was devastating! She had figured today was just a show to put her through her paces and keep her scared. She had been very nervous except for that Sandy woman, who really did scare her. Now it seemed as if Charlene was here to stay for a very long time! That caused Charlene to shed a few tears. This time they weren’t tears of frustration or ‘crocodile’ tears. These were tears of regret. Regret for all the things she had done that sent her to this place in the first place.

"How could I have been so stupid! Why did I have to fight at school? Why did I have to steal when I was visiting my Aunt and Uncle? Why was I a bully all those years…" Charlene wailed as she sat down on her vanity stool and cried. She cried for a good five minutes and finally looked in the vanity mirror, there sat a girl with streaked makeup. It was easy to see she had been crying. The black streaks down her cheeks gave it away. The redness of her eyes showed deep, deep sorrow. If Charlie saw a girl in that state, he would have asked what could possibly have happened that was so-o-o terrible. The only problem was Charlene knew what was so terrible. Charlie! Charlie was the one that got her into this mess. Charlie was the one that caused all the trouble, all the stealing and all the years of being a bully. Charlie did it all. Charlene grew very angry at herself and finally out of frustration and not being able to blame anyone else, she threw the pink thong in her hand at the mirror. Then she broke down into another round of tears.

*****

"I believe that is my cue to return to Charlene’s room." Marie said as she headed for the door. "Dinner will be a little delayed, I have set the oven to keep it warm, it will be fine." With that last comment Marie closed the door and headed for Charlene’s bedroom.

A long deep sigh came from Diana’s direction. "What?" Jane asked with her eyebrow raised.

"Janey my love, if you only realized how effective your technique for shattering the male ego was! Charlene is not in jeopardy of killing herself. I know you have seen that too. This is not a repeat of Michael!" Diana said. The nodding of Jane’s head showed she had heard him. Diana continued. "What you have done is make him or her realize that this is not a game. There is no other choice now, but to bow to whatever you demand. I believe you are seeing the first true remorse that Charlie has ever felt for the things he has done."

"Charlene! We must remember to always use her name, not his. I believe you are correct, this child is right where she should be in the grand scheme of things. Today is designed to break down any leftover male bravado and make her realize there is only one way out of skirts and that is through me. I believe this trip accomplished that very well." Jane said to Diana.

"I’ll stay tonight and share the watch with you. I know how you fret over your young ones." Diana said in Art’s voice.

Jane looked up from the monitor. A small smile crossed her lips. "If only it were so easy for Charlene to change her orientation to life!" She returned to watch the crying figure on the monitor.

*****

Marie entered the bedroom singing to herself. You wouldn’t think she had a care in the world as she closed the door and turned to look at the despondent Charlene.

Marie was always the mother hen or the friendly aunt to the boys that arrived here. This one would be no different. Marie’s smile changed to an expression of concern as she hurried toward Charlene.

Charlene had heard the door open and close between her sobs. She looked up just in time to see Marie’s smile change. This made her sob again, knowing that Marie was on her way to comfort her.

"Cherie! What is the problem? Are you alright?" Marie sat on the bed next to Charlene. She wrapped an arm around Charlene’s shoulder and sang a soft French lullaby into Charlene’s ear. This caused the floodgates to open and Charlene started hiccup-sobbing all over again.

After a few minutes, Charlene’s crying settled down and she sat up from her position, snuggled into Marie’s arm. Marie handed her a tissue, which Charlene used to wipe away some tears and blow her nose. Then she looked at Marie with the expression of a lost puppy on her face.

"Tell me what is causing such a sorrowful look on your face little one. I can not believe anything can be so terrible as to cause you such pain. You should unburden it to me and I know you will feel better. I promise!" Marie said to Charlene after she had dried her eyes a second time.

Charlene looked like she would cry again after Marie spoke but decided she probably could tell someone what was on her mind. In a flood of emotion, Charlene told Marie about always being the small one in school. She was always picked on by the other children and getting into all kinds of fights. How becoming the school bully and terrorizing all the other kids helped her seek revenge on weaker children. She told about visiting her relatives and being caught stealing. Charlene finally told Marie about how maybe Ms. Thompson was right. Maybe Charlie was such a bad person that the only way to save her soul and make a decent life was to get rid of him and only let Charlene emerge as the controlling factor in her life. All of this came out in a rush of words and when it all ended, Charlene started crying again and buried her head into Marie’s shoulder.

Marie stroked Charlene’s shoulder and held her for a few moments. After the crying started to subside once more she handed Charlene another tissue and waited for her to compose herself.

"You need to talk to Ms. Thompson after dinner. Her area of specialty is psychology and she is very good at helping young people find out who they really are. Right now, when you look in the mirror you only see Charlene. That is how it is supposed to be to comply with Ms. Thompson’s demands. I assure you that as Ms. Thompson promised, it will not always be so. She has never broken a promise yet that I am aware of and I have worked for her for many years!" Marie told Charlene while she helped her wipe away her tears.

"Okay." Came out of Charlene in such a small voice that even Marie barely heard it.

"Now! We need to put away all your lovely things and we need to hurry! Otherwise dinner will be ruined!" Marie stood up and dragged Charlene with her. The two of them managed to put away all the lingerie and as Charlene surmised, Marie had to ‘ooh and ah’ over each piece before tenderly folding it and placing it in it’s appropriate drawer.

The hanging bags went a little faster as Marie only had Charlene hold up four or five of the outfits to show her how they would look. In less than fifteen minutes Charlene’s complete new wardrobe had been put away.

"Cherie. You have about fifteen more minutes until we eat! I would suggest you try to repair your makeup. Crying has totally ruined your face!" Marie said as she headed for the door.

"Thank you, Marie. I’ll be down as soon as I can fix this mess!" Charlene replied with a small smile. She watched Marie leave and then turned toward the vanity with all her new cosmetics. Looking in the mirror, she mumbled "This could take a little time!"

After completing her makeup repair, Charlene hurried downstairs for dinner. She arrived at the bottom of the steps just as Jane and Diana were leaving Jane’s study.

"Good evening Ms. Phillips, Ms. Thompson. Are you headed for the dining room?" Charlene asked in as polite a voice as she could muster.

"Good evening Charlene. You look lovely this evening." Diana replied

The trio continued to the dining room where Joan was waiting for their arrival. After everyone was seated, Marie served her usual fantastic dinner.

Dinner became a review of the day for the benefit of Diana and Marie. Charlene was quizzed over her choice of hairstyle and the fact that she had extensions added and then the blonde hair color, which brought out the blue of her eyes so well. This line of questioning kept a rosy glow on Charlene’s cheeks since she wasn’t used to getting such compliments. Charlene was also asked about the clothes that appeared after they arrived home. Joan had similar questions but Charlene received the lion’s share of inquiries.

Jane remained fairly quiet during dinner. Diana asked all the questions and Jane only added commentary on which outfit looked particularly good on either of the girls and how Charlene’s new hair length and color was absolutely perfect for her facial shape and skin tone.

Charlene was just starting to eat a wonderful fruit and chocolate parfait when Diana asked. "Charlene. You don’t seem particularly happy with today’s outing. I would think a young girl, such as yourself, would be bubbling over at the prospect of a complete makeover and wardrobe."

Charlene stopped mid bite, carefully finished what was in her mouth and then replied. "I wasn’t prepared for all the changes that happened today. Adding the extensions and the change in hair color was… a surprise! The complete new wardrobe was totally unexpected. My closet was rather full this morning and I didn’t expect to buy much of anything to add to it."

Jane nodded her approval. Diana continued to probe.

"Your salon visit was a surprise? I would have thought Jane would have instructed you on the proper presentation for a young lady. A salon visit to create ‘A New You’ so to speak, would be very appropriate!"

Charlene blushed a little at the remark of her becoming a ‘proper’ young lady. All things considered, it seemed Diana had no idea Charlene wasn’t really a Charlene. She thought how to reply and stay in character.

"Ms. Thompson has worked very hard at getting me to understand the finer points of becoming a woman. I guess I just didn’t think I was ready for such a drastic makeover in both my hair and wardrobe. But I must be ready or I am sure Ms. Thompson would not have taken me on this day long trip." Charlene replied.

Jane spoke for the first time during this conversation between Diana and Charlene. "You did very well today. I only noticed one or two mistakes in you behaviors. They were minor, however we will work on them over your time here so that they do not recur. Marie! I must compliment you on making such a wonderful meal when we were not here at our appointed time. One of the other things we will work on is making certain we are on time from now on."

Jane wiped her mouth, set down her napkin and rose to leave. She turned to Charlene and Joan. "The rest of the evening is yours to do as you see fit. Ms. Phillips and I will be visiting for the evening and will retire at nine-thirty. She is leaving tomorrow and I am certain she will need some sleep before the morning. If you need anything, just find Marie." Jane turned and headed out the dining room door.

Before she exited, Diana spoke. "Jane, dear? I would like to see what this new wardrobe looks like that you bought for Charlene. I don’t believe she needs to put on a fashion show, although that would be very nice. I just would like her to show me what the outfits look like. Maybe hold them in front of her so I can get an idea of what they look like on her. It won’t take long, I’ll meet you in the parlor when we are through. Is that alright with you, Charlene?"

Charlene looked at Joan for help. She gave Charlene a little nod and took a quick look at Jane. Charlene looked at Jane, who also nodded her head. There seemed little choice. Charlene would put on a fashion show for Ms. Phillips.

"That would be fine, as long as I am not stopping you from visiting with Ms. Thompson." Charlene replied hoping Diana would take the easy way and decide to visit with Jane instead.

"Wonderful! I haven’t had a chance to look over a completely new wardrobe in a long time. It will be fun, you’ll see!" Diana said with the biggest grin on her face. She rose to follow Jane out the door. "Oh! Who’s turn is it to help Marie tonight?"

"Mine." Joan stated. "Charlene helped last night and we were in a hurry this morning so it’s my turn to help Marie."

"Oh good! I’ll just ‘powder my nose’ and meet you at the top of the stairway, Charlene. Have a good evening, Joan. See you in a minute Charlene!" Diana smiled and waved as she left the dining room.

Charlene let out a deep sigh and visibly slumped in her chair after Diana left the room.

"What are you thinking, Charlene?" Joan asked from across the table.

"More clothing changes! Why couldn’t she just go talk to Jane for the evening and leave me alone?" Charlene let out another sigh and shook her head.

"It might not be too bad. Want me to come with? I might be enough of a distraction that she won’t ask you to try anything on!" Joan said with a smile. Inside, Joan knew exactly what Charlene was going through. On her first trip to town, Diana Phillips wasn’t there but Darla insisted that the two of them parade around like fashion models for Marie. That was almost worse than trying the clothes on in the first place! Marie oooed and aahhed about how lovely the items looked on her. It was very embarrassing.

"That would be nice. If she does insist I try on some of the clothes, I’ll need some help with a couple of the dresses. My arms just don’t twist that way!" Charlene replied as she rose from the table and started clearing her place. Having to show Ms. Phillips her new wardrobe had taken away her appetite.

Charlene placed her dishes in the kitchen and then headed for her room. She knew Diana wouldn’t take too long to powder her nose and she didn’t want her just standing around in the hallway waiting. Charlene couldn’t imagine what type of punishment Jane would think up if she found out she had kept Diana waiting. As Charlene neared the top of the stairs, she heard Diana’s voice behind her.

"Ah! I see you are already on your way to your room! That is wonderful! I can’t wait to see what lovely things you picked out today!" Diana exclaimed as she made her way up the stairs. She ushered Charlene into her room and sat on her vanity stool. "I’ll just sit here. Now show me every piece of clothing you bought today! I want to see it all!" Diana smiled and the enthusiasm in her voice made Charlene feel she was genuinely interested in the clothes and not in trying to embarrass her.

The next hour was spent carefully taking each piece of clothing out and showing it to Diana. Sometime during the showing of the lingerie, Joan entered the room and took a seat on Charlene’s bed. Charlene had smiled at her when she noticed she was there.

Diana praised each item as more beautiful and feminine than the previous one. Charlene thought it was a little overkill, but the lingerie was very nice and all made of silk, satin and lace. Not a cotton panty to be found! Showing the outfits was actually a little easier. All Diana wanted was for Charlene to hold up the dress or top and skirt in front of her so Diana could get an idea of how they would look.

This made Charlene happy since she didn’t have to change clothes every five minutes. Eventually she ran out of clothing that had been purchased that day. When she told Diana that was the last outfit, she seemed disappointed.

"That was such fun! I should have come along today, but my schedule has been so hectic, I thought the rest would do me some good. I use this place as a get-away from my everyday life. Jane has such nice taste and she is always instructing young girls, such as yourselves, in the finer things in life. It is like a vacation from the hustle and bustle of the real world to visit for a few days." Diana let out a sigh. "I’ll be leaving after breakfast tomorrow so I’d better get back to Jane or she’ll think you kidnapped me! Charlene, thank you for such an enjoyable time! I always enjoy the company of younger women. It is so invigorating! Joan, it was nice of you to come and offer moral support for your friend. I’ll see both of you in the morning. Good night!" With that comment Diana got up and left Charlene’s room, closing the door behind her.

Joan and Charlene looked at each other. Joan started to smile and finally started to giggle. Charlene looked at her new friend and started to giggle too.

"I don’t think she knows I’m a boy!" Charlene told Joan.

That comment made Joan laugh out loud. If only Joan could tell Charlene what she found so funny about that comment!

*****

"Janie, I don’t think you have to worry about this one being another Michael! I don’t believe he is a Caitlyn either! So tonight we should be able to enjoy ourselves before I leave to go back and teach young people to be good psychotherapists!" Art said to Jane as he removed his wig and placed it on it’s wig form.

"I’ll agree that at the moment Charlene does appear to be coming along nicely. She has followed the plan almost perfectly! I think after Michael, Kenneth and Caitlyn I am just being overly cautious at this stage of the game. I know my technique works! It has helped many boys and a few girls become proud well respected people in our society!" Jane replied with emphasis. She walked over to the vanity where Diana was disappearing and Art was returning. "You need to hurry up, dear! I really do want my husband here… all night long" she whispered the last three words in Art’s ear.

*****

"Some evening to myself!" Charlene muttered under her breath as she scanned the late edition of the newspaper. "Spend all day in a salon, then act as a human ‘Barbie’ doll and all evening making nice to some lady friend of Jane’s!" Charlene let out a big sigh. "I’ll never get that assignment done on time! Jane will probably make me rewrite that term paper on time again just for torture!" Charlene giggled a little at that thought. She thought of all the kids she knew at home that would die if they had to write that length of a term paper. After reading a few of the main articles and couple of the business section articles, Charlene took the paper over to Joan’s room and knocked on her door.

"Just a moment!" Joan said from behind the door. It took Joan about three minutes before she opened the door, she had just showered and had on a robe and her hair in a turban.

"You washed your hair? I was told not to wash mine for at least two days!" Charlene exclaimed when she saw the turban on Joan’s head.

"That’s because you had a perm done today! I just had a trim and set. I won’t get a perm for another three or four weeks. What’s up?" Joan asked.

"Oh! I… I brought the paper over for you. Some evening to ourselves, huh?" Charlene asked Joan.

"Yea! I sort of figured it would go like that. When I got my new wardrobe, Darla Ann was here and she wanted to put on a complete fashion show for Marie! I was so sick of changing clothes after that day." Joan shook her head.

"You went through this too? What happened to all your clothes? I mean the ones you brought with." Charlene asked, surprised that a girl as pretty and well dressed as Joan wouldn’t have this type of wardrobe at home.

"Umm… Well… I was a bit of a tomboy when I showed up here. You know, jeans and tee-shirts kind of stuff. The first day, Marie took all my clothes and packed them away. I was told that when I learned to be a perfect young lady, they would be returned to me." Joan replied, not certain how much to tell Charlene.

"They did the same to me! Only I was told I had to wear only girl’s clothes in order to stay." Charlene paused in thought for a moment. "Maybe she did that to you as sort of a force you to learn to be a lady thing. You know, like ‘No pants until you learn to be a lady!’ like a carrot dangling in front of a donkey. That would make sense." Charlene replied.

"Well, I didn’t like it any more than you did! I mean I did bring my own clothes. But since I’ve been here I’ve gotten used to all this super feminine stuff and it isn’t so bad!" Joan replied with a smile. "If she’d just give us a little more time than the bare minimum to get ready for things, it would be a lot easier."

Charlene nodded her head along with her friend. The two of them commiserating about the injustice of Jane’s teaching techniques.

"I’d better go take a shower or Marie will be up here insisting I shower with her in the room! Goodnight Joan." Charlene said as she turned to head back to her own room.

"Goodnight, Charlene. I’ll see you at breakfast!" Joan replied and then shut her bedroom door.

Notes:

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