A Summer of Changes - Book 5 Chapter 1

Denise

Jane and Simon host a dinner party
for their bridesmaids and best man
but then the fur begins to fly!

A Summer of Changes
by Louise Anne Smithson

Book 5 Chapter 1

A dinner party

Having only recently recovered from her regular bouts of morning sickness, and aware that she would soon be displaying more visible signs of her pregnancy, Jane was determined to make her last dinner party for some time a glamorous and sophisticated affair. She had already told the three guys that they were expected to wear dinner jackets, and when John pointed out that his was still at his parents’ house in Birmingham, she arranged to loan him one of Simon’s to wear. Similarly, she had asked her two former bridesmaids to join her in wearing long evening gowns. Denise would have been happy to accede, as she always enjoyed wearing long slinky dresses during their modelling sessions, but she had to confess that she did not possess one and did not feel she could now afford to go out and buy one at this time. Jane responded by offering to lend her one for the evening, together with matching accessories. It was then that Samantha suggested that she and Denise should come early to help her sister with the preparations, and then help one another to get themselves ready. Both Jane and Denise were happy to go along with this idea.

As soon as they finished lunch on Saturday John drove Denise to Shepherd’s Bush to collect Samantha, and then he drove them both to Jane’s flat. She was carrying her dress for the evening in a cellophane cover, together with a small weekend bag for her shoes and makeup.

‘Aren’t you coming in?’ asked Samantha as John dropped them off.

‘No, Simon, Peter and I have been instructed to keep out of the way until at least seven o’clock, so I’ll see you ladies in about four hours’ time,’ he said before driving off.


Denise enjoyed her afternoon helping her two friends prepare the food and laying the table with Jane’s best cutlery - newly acquired as a wedding present. It brought back to her the happy memories of the preparations for Jane’s wedding. Although at times they could be bossy and scheming, Denise took great pleasure in the affectionate friendship that had grown up between her and these two sisters, and in their ability to work together as a team. However, she was happiest when the time came to get themselves ready. She no longer considered herself to be the novice when it came to fixing her hair or putting on makeup and was pleased when her help and advice was sought by one of her friends.

Jane had chosen a long black silk evening dress trimmed in silver for her to wear, which was hanging on the bedroom door. Denise had been advised to wear her padded control pants, and these days she usually wore one of her gaffs to hold back her penis, as a matter of course. She had also previously agreed with Samantha that they would both wear the pearl drop earrings and a matching pendants given to them by Simon at Jane’s wedding. Fortunately they would go well with Jane’s dress.

‘Denise, I hope you don’t mind, but I asked Samantha to raid your wardrobe this morning after you left and to bring along the basque that I bought for you as well,’ said Jane. ‘That black dress does tend to hug the figure, so it will give you a more pronounced waist.’

‘I’ve also brought you some stockings as well, to go with the suspenders,’ added Samantha.

Denise sighed in mock exasperation, but then smiled and took the offered garments. She then proceeded to take off the dress, slip and tights that she had been wearing and was helped into the basque by her friends who proceeded to tighten the laces until she had a pronounced waist. Once she had got used to the tightness of the garment, she sat down on the bed and carefully put on the nylons, pleased that she had decided to de-fuzz her arms and legs the night before. She then took her turn at Jane’s dressing table to make up her face, fix her hair and check on her nail varnish.

The black dress fitted her well and showed just enough cleavage, but without any danger of betraying the presence of her artificial breasts. She replaced her existing jewellery with those she had brought and the matching shoes and clutch-bag were produced to complete her outfit. A final squirt of perfume and she was ready to face the world. The three girls stood for a few minutes admiring one another’s outfits and checking up on details. Her two friends were certainly beautiful, but Denise knew in her heart that she was, as well. That thought gave her a great feeling of satisfaction and well-being.

John arrived at the appointed time bringing with him a bunch of flowers as a centre piece for the table, and a couple of bottles of wine.

‘Wow, just look at you three beauties! I am quite --- enraptured,’ he said, self-mockingly as he made a deep bow and presented the flowers to Jane.

‘Thank you sir, said Jane, doing a mock curtsey, as befitted her long dress. ‘However, you had better go and get changed as the others will be here any minute and they are getting dressed at Peter’s flat.’

‘Would you be able to help me with my bow tie Denise?’ he asked.

‘I suppose so,’ she answered, blushing slightly, and followed him in to the spare bedroom, in which he had been staying.

As soon as he was out of earshot from the others he turned to her.

‘And this is for the most beautiful lady here tonight,’ he said, handing her a pink camellia.

‘I thank you sir for the flower, but such comparisons between ladies are odious and un-gentlemanly,’ she replied primly, doing a quick curtsey, in imitation of Jane.

She had to admit to herself that she was quite pleased he had said it, nevertheless.

‘I am afraid I will not be able to pin the flower on to Jane’s dress without marking it, but I will keep it on my dressing table and think of you whenever I see it,’ she continued and kissed him on the cheek.

‘I am sorry if I disappointed you with my reply to your question at lunchtime, but I was just trying to be honest with you.’

She took one of his hands in her own.

‘I appreciate that. It is going to be a difficult time for both of us over the next few weeks, and, as I have said several times before, you should not get your hopes up that we will come through it together. I would not think less of you if you wanted to back out here and now.’

‘I think we’ll just play it by ear’, he answered kissing her once again, but this time on the lips..

Denise repaired her lipstick and re-touched her makeup whilst John quickly got changed into his dinner jacket.

‘I thought you wanted me to tie your bow tie for you’, she asked as he attached a clip-on one.

‘It was a dastardly ruse to get you on your own,’ he said smiling. Then, putting his arm round her shoulder, he led her out of the bedroom.


Simon and his friend had arrived whilst John was getting changed, and they were having a preliminary glass of wine with Jane and Samantha. It was clear to Denise from the moment she stepped out of the bedroom, and without any word having been spoken, that they both now knew all about her. She also knew in her heart that neither of them had previously harboured any suspicions, and that she and John had no doubt been the object of recent ribald discussion between them. Simon, who despite his high-powered profession, had always been a little in awe of his wife and her two young bridesmaids, looked at Denise in sheer amazement. Peter, on the other hand, had a barely concealed look of fascinated disgust — as if he were looking down a microscope at a fly’s eyeball. John, after his initial bravado now seemed a little embarrassed by the situation but Denise found herself able to put on a gracious smile to everyone.

There was just one awkward moment with nobody knowing what to say.

‘Well aren’t you going to offer our guests a drink?’ Jane said to her husband.

‘Yes of course,’ he answered, blushing, ‘what would you both like’.


Ten minutes later the party took their seats around the circular dining table and began to eat the starter of smoked salmon on little squares of toast, which was already waiting for them. Simon began to pour some more wine and Denise was invited to sit between John on her left and Simon on her right. They in turn had Samantha and Jane sitting next to them. Peter sat directly opposite to her, which suited Denise as it made any social chit-chat between them impractical, but it did mean that they were directly within one another’s line of sight. She was conscious of his continuing unspoken disapproval of herself and also amused to see the designs he had of impressing her flatmate. Samantha’s body language, on the other hand, showed that she was less pleased with the seating arrangements, visibly shrinking if he touched her. She therefore directed most of her attention and conversation to her cousin, or to Denise, and only responded to Peter when politeness called for it. As a result Jane and Simon made most conversation with their best man, somewhat to his irritation.

Samantha offered to clear the table after the starter, whilst Simon served up main course, consisting of three pheasants cooked in Bordeaux red wine, with vegetables and croquet potatoes. He then sought to refill the glasses, but Denise discreetly held her hand over hers to stop him from adding any more, aware that it would be difficult for her to go to the toilet dressed as she was.

The main course proved to be a great success: there were no vegetarians, vegans, fruitarians or those suffering from exotic food allergies in the party to complicate matters, only the occasional discovery of pieces of lead shot in the game. It was followed by a traditional syllabub, which was truly delicious but Denise and Samantha only touched a small part, both being conscious of their waistlines. The conversation gradually began to mellow, oiled by plenty of good quality wine, and gradually moved on to other things than their respective jobs, and Jane’s expected baby.

Inevitably, the unspoken topic - the elephant in the room - had to come up in conversation at some point. It happened in a quite inoffensive way, with Samantha asking her flatmate about their work schedule for the next week.

‘I am hoping that Sue will have enough work for you alone on Wednesday morning as I have another appointment with my therapist first thing, and then there are a number of minor changes I would like to make to the ordering system.’

‘How are you getting on with your therapist?’ asked Jane, before her sister had a chance to respond.

‘It is early days yet, he still hasn’t even given me a date for me to get my female hormones.’

‘If it were up to me, I would prescribe you with a cold shower followed by some useful hard work,’ said Peter, from across the table.

There was an audible intake of breath from around the table. Denise looked up, and smiled sweetly at him.

‘In that case, it is just as well that I am consulting a qualified therapist rather than an ignorant bigot,’ she replied in a calm voice.

‘Pete, that was uncalled-for, I think you should apologize to Denise,’ said Simon, trying to calm the situation before it got out of hand.

‘No I will not! I object to the National Health Service being used to cater for the idle whims or sexual gratification of perverts,’ he responded angrily.

Then, turning directly to Denise, he continued.

‘So you want to be a woman — well tough luck - you never will be one — so get over it and do something useful with your life like a real man instead of mincing around in long dresses all day pretending to be something you’re not.’

Denise’s cheeks reddened, but she managed to keep control of herself. She returned his eye-contact across the table.

‘For a start I am intending to fund my transition and any therapy by myself, and secondly it is no business of yours what my doctor prescribes to treat a recognised medical or psychological condition, or what I choose to wear.’

‘Pete, you have had too much to drink. I think you should now leave,’ said Simon.

‘I’ve had enough of this freak show,’ he said getting up to leave. ‘How do you think I have felt having to look at --- that --- all evening?’ he said indicating Denise with distaste.

Denise flushed with anger and went to stand up, but, as she did so, she suddenly felt light-headed and fell down in a faint into John’s lap, bringing a half-eaten bowl of syllabub on top of her.

‘Look at that. He can’t even bear to listen to some home truths without fainting: it is truly pathetic,’ Peter said as he strode towards the door.

John helped Denise to sit up and Jane began to clean her down, whilst Simon held open the door to ensure that his friend left. However, before he could do so, Samantha came over to him with fire in her eyes.

‘So you are so proud of yourself for being a ‘real man’, when in fact you are nothing but a loathsome, disgusting, worm! I would slap your face if it were not for the fact that it would make my flesh creep just to touch you,’ she said with utter disdain. ‘Denise is a lovely person and a thousand times more admirable than you will ever be. Now get out of my sight!’

He was clearly taken aback by the depth of her anger, and left without further invitation.


It did not take long before Denise was seated again and the mess cleared up.

‘I am sorry to have been such a wimp, I was about to give him a piece of my mind, but the room suddenly started to spin,’ she said, still looking pale.

‘Don’t worry, you were doing pretty well to begin with and then Samantha left him in no doubt of what rest of us thought of him,’ said Jane. ‘I don’t think I have ever seen her look so angry — it was just like a lioness defending her cub.’

‘And now I have spoiled your beautiful dress as well,’ said Denise with tears beginning to roll down her cheeks.

‘No I promise you haven’t, the mark will easily clean off,’ added Jane putting her arm round her friend’s shoulder to comfort her.

John, who had been looking intensely embarrassed throughout the whole incident, offered to drive Denise and Samantha home.

‘No, we’ve all had far too much to drink; it would really round off the evening if you were to be arrested for driving under the influence, as well as everything else,’ said Denise. ‘I’ll call myself a cab.’

‘At least let me pay your taxi fare, as partial recompense for the drunken behaviour of my so-called friend,’ said Simon.

‘Thank you very much’, interposed Samantha, without reference to anyone else. ‘I’ll take her home and see that she is ok.’

‘Alright, but let me change out of this dress and take off the basque first, I have hardly been able to breathe all evening.’


John arranged for a taxi whilst Jane and Simon cleared up the meal and Samantha helped Denise to get changed. There was an awkward five minutes once she emerged wearing her own clothes and before the taxi arrived. Nobody knew quite what to say. At last Denise herself broke the silence.

‘Jane, I am so sorry to have spoiled your dinner party and your dress. I will arrange for it to be cleaned.’

‘You didn’t, you haven’t, and you won’t,’ she answered decisively. ‘None of this was your fault. I am only sorry that we inflicted the company of such an ignorant pig on to you. Believe me, I was really pleased and grateful to have you as my bridesmaid and now we are both proud to have you as a friend.’

Simon nodded in agreement.

Denise coloured a little but looked a little calmer.

‘Thank you. It is just that everything about my transition has been so easy until now. His reaction to me took me by surprise.’

‘I suppose you were bound to come across a Neanderthal at some time. If it ever happens again you will be better prepared’.

‘I hope so.’

‘At least you had everyone else on your side.’

‘Yes,’ she said absently.

The intercom buzzer sounded to denote the arrival of their taxi.

‘Thank you again for the lovely meal,’ said Denise recovering herself.

‘I am glad you came’, said Jane, giving her friend another hug.


John saw Denise and Samantha out to the waiting cab. Samantha got in first and started to explain to the driver where they wanted to go. Denise stood for a moment looking into his eyes trying to ascertain what he was thinking. He kissed her on the forehead and said, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow,’ then opened the door and helped her to get in.

As the cab drove away she could see him standing by the roadside looking pensive.

(Next time Samantha has a confession to make.)



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