Seasons of Change - Book 2 - Second Season

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Seasons of Change
Book 2
Second Season
The Continuing Story of Michelle and Aunt Jane

by Tigger

Copyright © 1996,1997,2012 Tigger
All Rights Reserved.

 


 
Author's Note: Second Season The Continuing Story of Michelle and Aunt Jane by Tigger Copyright 1996 Based on the Characters and Situations presented in "Seasons of Change", by Joel Lawrence, Copyright 1989 and reposted by Karen Mitchell in the summer of 1996. No part of Mr. Lawrence's original work has been changed in the writing of this story. ~Tigger

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction intended for the entertainment of adults in localities where it is legal for them to enjoy this type of work. If you are not a legal adult, you should not be reading this and moreover, you are abusing the trust someone put in you when they gave you access to the Internet. If it is illegal to read this, then you already know that you are violating the terms of your Internet access. Please leave. If you don't enjoy adult or erotic stories, why are you here?
 


 
 
Part 1: Michelle's New Sister
 
Jane was working at her desk in her study. Indian summer had arrived with a vengeance, warming the early autumn day and making the air softly sultry. Jane had been trying to organize her thoughts concerning Michael/Michelle in preparation for making her regular periodic report on her charge's progress. Normally, Jane phoned her old schoolmate, Barbara, but that was not possible. Barbara was off on another of her jaunts and was not available by phone. Not to her. Not to Michael, either, should Jane have allowed or should Michael have truly needed such a contact. Jane wondered how often Barb had been unavailable to him in the past. Would he be demurely sitting in her garden at this moment, elegantly turned out in Laura Ashley fashions if his Mother had had more time for him earlier in his life? Well, he *was* in her garden. Michelle had continued to make major strides towards getting out of her skirts and on with his life again.

Why that bothered her so much she could not say, but it did cause her some consternation. She had felt sad when her girls graduated in the past, but this was different, stronger. Sighing, she castigated herself for the non-productive tail chase her thoughts had devolved into. None of this was getting the letter written. With a physical and mental shake, she set her pen to paper and began the letter to Michael's Mother.
 
 
Dear Barb, October 1

How are you? Hope you enjoyed your trip. By the time you actually read this, we will have to make a decision about Michael's future here and at St. Andrews. I am sending this letter now so that you will have the benefit of my current thinking when we talk at the end of this month.

Everything is going well. I know this sounds cliche'd, but it is almost going too well. Don't know why I am concerned, but I am. Michelle, (pardon me, but that is how I think of your child now and I will probably mix my names and genders throughout this letter) is doing remarkably well. Amiable, mature, refined and polite. She now consistently strives toward, and achieves every goal I set for him, without complaint or demure. Just pleasant resolve. As I told you in our last phone call, I was very concerned when the boy I had planned on becoming Michelle's little sister did not materialize for us. Turns out that he went off the deep end and assaulted a security officer at the temporary juvenile lockup facility he was being held at while awaiting his preliminary hearing. The original plan was for the judge scheduled to hear the case (another of our sorority sisters) was going to offer him the choice of spending the rest of his minority at reform school or coming to me. After his attack on the guard, the state's attorney has decided to try the boy as an adult. He will be a guest of the state for the next few years. Frankly, I do not need that type of violence in my home but I was saddened for Michelle's sake. However, her recent progress has been unprecedented in my experience - I have released charges who had shown less progress than he has in these past weeks. And yet, it has been so fast. I would like to believe that his final 'tete tete' with his big 'sister' before he left us in August is at the heart of this maturing, I am still wary. Something has happened. Something that I did not cause and that is outside of my not inconsiderable experience in these matters.

I believe that a major part of his sudden development is his flowering romance with the girl I told you about after the dramatic production last month. You remember her? Karen Austin? She is a lovely girl with a very strong will and personality - reminds me of us when we were in school together. Very smart, very together and Michael adores her. I have been permitting them to date occasionally and to spend some time alone together on most weekends. Michael is permitted to do his courting in male dress, although he still cannot undo all of the little feminine touches I insist upon when he is home. And if his eyebrow lines are a little under-done the morning of a date, I don't mention it as long as he is following the other rules. I think the fear that I might "ruin" a date of his, or force him into some feminine fripperies when calling on Karen acts both as a spur and as a deterrent to our little girl-boy. He must really enjoy spending time with Karen because our little Michelle comes back from these encounters even more determined to excel in her feminine studies and deportment.

I went out with them two weekends ago to spend the afternoon at the historic Plymouth Plantation. Karen's Grandmother was supposed to come with us but had to cancel out due to the heat. She is quite elderly and not very strong. Karen almost canceled out to be with her, but in the end, Michael and her Nana prevailed on the girl to come along. In any case, I was very pleased with Michael's behavior that day. Even without the constraints imposed on him as Michelle, he was a gentleman throughout. He did not even take umbrage when Karen teased him about how he would look in early colonial dress - women's colonial dress that is. I think Karen was amazed at how well Michael carried off his role of Alice and is not above gently needling him about it at times. Michael merely smiled with benign dignity and gave her a hug. No blushes, no stammered denials, just simple acceptance of her little joke. If I did not know him better, I would have sworn he even enjoyed the exchange with her.

Now that I think about it, that may be the largest part of my misgiving about his emotional and mental state just now. With Karen, the Michael I saw is a confident young man, secure in his masculinity and in the regard of the young woman he was with, yet softer and more sensitive in his approach to her and to his surroundings. As I said, truly a gentle man in every sense of the term. And yet, when she is at home with me, dressed in her skirts and camisoles, Michelle comes across as the epitome of genteel young womanhood. Faultless manners, impeccable grooming and appropriate cosmetics combined with a demure and smilingly pleasant disposition. The latter I can accept because nothing less would be accepted and she knows that, but he seems to have jumped an entire phase of my learning process and that has me concerned. Normally, the experienced boy more clearly perceives the benefits derived by his "little sister" when he watches over her as she begins to change during the admittedly harsh days of initial petticoated humiliation. And yet, he has somehow become almost completely comfortable with his femininely-gentled masculinity. If this is an act, it is the best I have ever seen in all my days of petticoating adolescent males. If he is faking this, I don't know what I can do, short of completely exposing him as a sissy, to get his attention back. And I can't do that - the potential harm to both of us is simply too great.

Ah, I don't know. Maybe I have grown too comfortable with my time proven process of character reconstruction. Maybe I have become a creature of habit who wants things to go my way all the time. On the positive side, to give you an idea how comfortable Michelle is becoming with me, last week she played a prank on me worthy of a sorority sister. She slipped into my room one afternoon while I was out and replaced my cosmetics with some of the long lasting ones I used on her early on. Little minx knew I was going on a date that night and that I would be dolling up. Yes, I still use a heavy hand with the eye makeup when I am on the prowl, dear, and who taught me how, hmmmm? Well, I spent the next four days in full war paint until it finally wore off. Of course, Michelle spent those four days and a couple more in her little girl clothes playing with her dolls as punishment, but even that indignity was accepted with grace and good humor. The little stinker even teased me, in a sweetly feminine way of course, about my "high color". I almost choked trying not to laugh out loud because she did it so perfectly. You know, I could almost get used to having her around all the time if this is the way she is going to behave from now on.

The other good report I have for you is that since it is now the school year again, I, as School Mistress, have instituted home learning lessons. Dear? I think that much of Michelle's problem at St. Andrew's was simple boredom. That child is so smart it is scary, and I don't believe she has ever been properly challenged in the classroom in her life. She has been using that nearly photographic memory of hers to regurgitate the teachers' own opinions back at them. Well, I will challenge our little miss, although that will pose quite a challenge for me, as well. Our lessons, of course, have a decidedly feminine bent to them. Besides the obvious (Michelle is turning into a superb cook), we have plunged headlong into some very unique academic investigations. Geometry led us to building our own embroidery patterns, which in the normal course of learning led us to the study of blood chemistry. Getting bloodstains out of white embroidery linen is so difficult, isn't it, but it is better than having to start our sampler over again each time we stick our fingers with the needle. Our history project for the semester involves discovering the forgotten women of the past. I was surprised at the fervor Michelle showed for this effort and became suspicious that it might have been the opportunity to go to the library dressed as Michael and not interest in the project that prompted his dedication. However, Michelle continued the library research after I ordered no more boy clothes at the library. I am not a historian, but I think what she is developing may be suitable for publication.

In any case, Michael will be far ahead of his contemporaries when he returns to St. A's after the New Year. As I write these thoughts out for you, I have reached the conclusion that you can plan on that eventuality now, my dear. Whatever my misgivings, I think Michael will have earned his trousers by then. Well, I have to go and get this in the mail.

With Love, Jane
 
 
Jane stuffed and stamped the envelope and sat back in her favorite chair in the study. Outside her window, she saw Michelle, dressed in the soft sweater and skirt set she and Marie had just purchased for her. She was reading something very intently under a shady tree in the garden. Another psychology book, probably. Know thy enemy? Jane wondered if she was still the enemy. Maybe it was "know thyself", instead.

Sighing resignedly, Jane reached for the calculus textbook that a professor friend had recommended as a good review text. Keeping two steps in front of her young miss, academically, was not nearly as much fun as planning her sissy's next little embarrassment. Then she glanced again at the look of fierce interest and concentration on Michelle's lovely face. It might not be as much fun, but it was certainly satisfying in another, deeply personal way.

Michael sighed and put down the book he had been trying to read for the last fifteen minutes. It could not compete with his contemplation of this evening's date with Karen. He would go upstairs and find the male outer wear Jane permitted him for dating, then take the bus over to Karen's Nana's house where he'd change back into Michelle for Karen. The irony of that double switch, and the fact that Jane did not know of his double-double life amused Michael greatly. Here Jane was making this huge concession, letting him be a boy again for his girl, and he would change back to a girl for his girl friend. He chuckled softly at the image of Jane finding out.

Karen had threatened him with something she called a "chick-flick" for tonight's entertainment, whatever that meant. Going out dressed didn't frighten him when Karen there with him. She helped him, encouraged him, praised him and generally kept him out of trouble. She would not expose him to the humiliation and ridicule of being discovered as a boy beneath his skirts as he had once believed Jane would have done. Besides, outings like the one she had planned made Karen very happy. And very horny, he thought. The unfeminine grin curling his mouth was completely at odds with his perfectly made up face.

Later, they would return to her place for more of Karen's lessons in the arts of dancing and lovemaking. Making love to Karen, or having Karen make love to him was about the most affirming things he had ever experienced. His groin tightened in response to the deliciously sensual thoughts and he groaned as his tight satin panties painfully restrained his growing erection.

Michael realized, even if Aunt Jane did not, that it was Karen's acceptance of his feminine side that gave him the confidence he now wore along with his male clothes. Karen liked *him*, enjoyed being with *him*! That made everything else easy to bear. Heck, Karen enjoyed her 'girl friend' so much, he'd taken to working even harder to perfect those little skills and habits. Her pleasure was a much stronger motivator than his own self interest or Jane's increasingly hollow threats. He was even starting to like Jane, although he had been as yet unable to express that. Surprisingly, he'd been disappointed when his "David" had not shown up. That was just as well, though. He could spend more time with Karen.

Sighing softly, he picked up his book, brushing off his skirt as he stood. It was hot and he was thirsty. He strolled toward the house and saw Jane talking on the telephone through the window in her study. Maybe she would like a cold drink, too. He was moving toward her study door when it crashed open. Jane was frowning and looking very concerned about something. "Michelle, Karen is on the phone for you and she sounds very upset. She won't calm down long enough to tell me what is wrong."

Michael broke into as fast a run as he could manage in his calf length skirt and heels. Snatching up the phone, he forgot himself momentarily and used his Michelle voice. "Karen, what is it?"

"Michael? Is that you?" Her voice was breaking on every syllable and he could feel her misery.

Michael deepened his voice and replied, "Yes, luv, it is me. What is wrong?"

"Oh god, Michael, Nana collapsed," racking sobs broke from the girl and she struggled to regain control. Words came out in a rush as she tried to talk faster than her tears. "and I could not get her to wake up. I called 911 and they just took her away. I begged and begged, but they wouldn't let me go with her. I am too upset to drive. Michael... What if she DIES???"

Michael cut in with sharply commanding tone that brought Jane's head up in surprise. She did not think he could speak that way. "Karen. Where are you?"

"Home, Michael. I am home." came the weepy, near hysterical reply.

"We will be there in fifteen minutes. Hang on, luv." Michael hung up the phone and turned to Jane. "You heard?" She nodded. The girl's voice had been loud enough to carry the short distance to Jane. "Let's go. She needs me." He turned and headed purposefully toward the door.

Jane caught up with him at the main entrance hall and put a restraining hand on his shoulder. "Michelle.... MICHAEL!" He turned to her, an impatient glare on his face. "Michael. Look at yourself. You can't go dressed like that. You have to change, first."

Michael looked at himself with a critical eye in the hall mirror and shrugged. He ran up to his room and came down seconds later, still outfitted as a girl, but carrying his matching purse. At Jane's disbelieving splutter, he smiled grimly. "This will have to do." as he headed again for the door.

Jane, however was still concerned for his security and well being, and stopped him again. She saw his determination to go to Karen. "Are you sure you can pull this off? In all likelihood, we will be going to the hospital."

"I have to do it this way, Jane.. For two reasons. One, there isn't time - Karen needs me and she needs me now."

Jane nodded, recognizing the depth of his feelings for this girl. "And the other reason, Michelle?" She asked softly as they hurried to the Lincoln.

"Nana only knows Michelle." He said softly. "She has never met Michael and does not know that I exist as anyone other than her granddaughter's special girl friend." Jane was floored and wanted to ask a thousand questions, but Michael was already buckling himself into the passenger seat of the car. Jane promised herself that she would follow up on these revelations after the crisis had passed.

The trip to Karen's house was passed mostly in silence. Not because Jane wanted that way, but because as soon as they were on the road, Michael pulled down the window visor lighted makeup mirror and began repairing Michelle's face with cosmetics from her purse. Once that was done (and done very well, from what Jane could see out of the corner of her eye), Michael lapsed into a sober meditative mood that she interpreted as his way of dealing with the enormity this action. Never had one of her charges willingly exposed himself to an outsider as a girl boy, before. Jane felt a deep pride in her charge's willingness to make this sacrifice for a friend.

Or was it a sacrifice? What had Michelle said? Nana only knew Michelle? And Jane knew that Michael spent much of his free time with Karen at the grandmother's house. The grandmother spoke with a French accent. When Jane had called her to discuss Michael's visits, she had thought nothing of the name the woman saying "Michelle". Jane had thought she meant "Michel", the French translation of Michael. The imp had been voluntarily dressing outside her house. For Karen, obviously. No wonder he had changed so much so fast.

Another thought struck her. Had the pair been sexually active? She shook her head at the absurdity of that question. Michelle had spent the night the night of that date sleeping over at Karen's. Michelle had said that Nana only knew Michelle, so it had been as a girl that her charge had spent the night. And girls on a sleep over share the same room. Yes, they had been sexually active and if Michael's male confidence was any indication, they had done it quite well. It also explained why Michael had not bridled at Karen's teasing about girl clothes at Plymouth. Contraception? Lord, she hoped so.

They pulled into Nana's drive and a frantic Karen ran down to meet them. Michelle jumped out of the car before it was fully stopped and meet her halfway. Her ward pulled the distraught girl into a comforting hug that was at once masculinely protective and possessive, and femininely gentle and caring. Michelle held her until she had calmed enough to talk to him a bit and then the pair moved quickly to the still running car. Both young people got into the back seat and Michelle told Jane what hospital Nana had been taken to for treatment.

Michael rummaged in his purse and pulled out a hankie which he gave to Karen. Shock showed on her face as she finally realized how he was dressed. Dazed, she blurted, "Michael, you're Michelle!"

Strangely, that broke the tension a little and both Jane and Michelle laughed softly. "You don't know the half of it, Karen dear." Jane said. That made Michelle smile again.

"True, Aunt Jane." He turned back to Karen. "Look, luv. There is a lot you don't know, but I promise to tell you the whole of it later, okay? For now, though, I think you and Nana need Michelle more than you need Michael." Karen looked at the beautifully feminine face that had become so fascinating to her in the past weeks and saw the caring. Nodding, she cuddled closer to her boy/girl friend and let herself be held in silence for the remainder of the trip.

The hospital emergency room was what all hospital emergency rooms are: semi-organized chaos. The two teens were completely ignored by the busy medical staff and Jane saw that Karen was about to dissolve into tears again and Michelle was about to explode. She intervened to prevent both. Jane was not ignored and in short order, the attending physician bustled up to tell them what had happened. The news was positive. Karen's quick action and the fast response of the EMT's had saved Nana. She was weak, and she was in Intensive Care, but the doctor was optimistic about her chances. Karen almost swooned in relief. She would not be able to go home for a while, but she was awake and alert.

The two youngsters sat down in the waiting room to wait for permission to visit Nana. Jane sat across from them, letting Michelle provide what comfort she could. It was then she noticed the surreptitious glances Michelle was giving someone at the admittance desk. Curious, she looked to see what was bothering her. A nurse was pointedly staring at the pair and Michelle had noticed. After closer inspection, she smiled. She knew that nurse, and she knew why the woman was staring.

A month ago, perhaps even a week ago, she would have let Michelle stew, worrying about the woman's marked interest in her. However, Michelle had been behaving impeccably, and moreover, had done something she felt merited a reward. Standing, she strolled over to Michelle and sat beside her. She moved her lips to his ear. "Relax, dear. She is staring because she knows me, not because she has figured out you are not a real girl. She is a friend who helps take care of my little girls when they get sick. She knows what I do to my little boys and she is trying to figure out if you or Karen or both of you are one of my petticoated boys, but she is the soul of discretion. Just take it easy." Michelle gave her a wobbly smile, took a deep breath and began to relax.

An administrator came up and inquired about their connection with Nana. When informed that Karen was her granddaughter and the girl's guardian while her father remained overseas, he frowned. "Well, your grandmother can't go home for several days at least. I am afraid we will have to call Protective Services to come take care of you." He walked away before anyone could say anything.

Karen went very still. "Oh god, what will they do with me?" Then she realized what the options available to that agency and nearly panicked. "No! Not a foster family. I can't take that on top of all this. Being a stranger and alone. Why can't I just stay home? I am seventeen. I can drive."

Michael tried to comfort her, pulling her even closer. He looked at Jane, his artfully made up eyes becoming wide and beseeching. "Aunt Jane, couldn't Karen stay with us?" His voice broke into a sob of his own and he swallowed to regain his own composure. "Please?"

"Well, they are calling Protective Services. That may take it out of our hands." She stopped, considering how Michelle would react. "I do have some contacts there. I might be able to work something out if we catch them early enough."

Michelle smiled at her. "Please, Aunt Jane."

She nodded. "All right, Michelle. I will go make a phone call and see what I can do. One thing, however." Her tone was sharply commanding before she once again whispered into her charge's ear so that Karen would not hear her words. "If we do this - if Karen comes to live with us, even for a short while, it won't change your situation around home, Michelle. Are you prepared to be Michelle with her around?"

Michael smiled wanly at her. "As you have probably guessed, Aunt Jane, I usually am Michelle with her, anyway. Now she will merely learn why I am so good at being a girl." Jane smiled at this, and after giving Michelle a kiss on the cheek, bustled off to find a phone. She was determined to have Karen in her home.
 
 
Part 2: Autumn Colors and Other Surprises
 
 
Dear Barb, October 20

Things have changed greatly since my last letter to you, and as you are still not available to me by phone, I have decided to send you this note. Karen Austin, the girl I told you about, is now living in my home with Michelle and me. I won't go into the particulars, but three weeks ago, the girl's grandmother had a heart attack and a stroke. Michelle asked me to take the girl in and I did, bending some bureaucratic arms in the process. Subsequently, it was determined that she would need full time care in a nursing home and could not go back home to supervise Karen. The woman is alert, just weak. One thing led to another (your child is a steamroller when he really cares about something, Barb), and Nana prevailed on the girl's father (who is too important and too busy to come home and care for his mother and daughter) to appoint me as Karen's guardian during the grandmother's convalescence. Since a full recovery is unlikely, although more likely than the father coming home, this means I will remain Karen's guardian until she reaches her majority. You might be surprised to hear that I don't mind a bit.

It turns out that Michael had already shared Michelle with this young woman, and that Karen was even more instrumental in your son's rapid improvement than I had first guessed. She now knows everything, and although she was shocked (to say the least) to find out how Michelle lives, she recovered quickly. Now she functions as Michelle's big sister while he is home and petticoated, and as his girl friend and confidant while they are together outside the house. She agreed to this the night we discussed making the guardianship arrangement permanent.

We did have one little blow up. She "tattled" on Michelle last week. Seems Michelle had been less than politic in one of her exchanges with her "big sister". An upset Karen decided to use me to get back at Michelle. That was fine with me, because I had one last little test I wanted to try on our little girl boy. I told her that, since Karen's school was holding a Sadie Hawkins Day Dance (Karen had already asked Michael), I wanted Michelle (NOT Michael) to find a date so that she and her sister could double date. Karen would still protect Michelle, but the little dear would be in a muck sweat from then until he was safely inside my door again after the dance. I even wondered aloud if Michelle would get her first boy-girl kiss.

Karen's response was completely unexpected. She exploded. "He's MINE!" she screamed at me. "Pants or skirts or whatever. I WON'T be a party to that. I won't let HIM be a party to that." Well, I was taken aback. But what really shocked me was Michelle. She told Karen to calm down, that it was okay. Karen whirled furiously on him, "What is this? Do you want to go out with a boy?" Michael calmly told her that no, he did not. The only person he wanted to go out with was her, but recalled that when I had agreed to take her in, he had promised to obey me and to try to trust me. He said he would do it, but would feel better if she would go, too, so he would not be alone with a boy like that. That stopped me. To my knowledge, that was the first time Michelle had exhibited that type of faith in me.

Of course, I relented. She still got punished, but he went to the dance as a boy - but with a new, salon styled, big hair permanent and with frosted highlights. Sandy outdid herself this time. Even there, Karen was one step ahead of me. She had a straw farmer's hat for her hillbilly to wear over his frosted curls.

For all that, I have little more to teach Michael. He is everything I hoped he could become when I took on his case. I will keep him in skirts a while longer, because I like him that way. Selfish, I know, but Karen likes it, too, and what Karen likes, pleases your son. He wouldn't mind much, even if he had a choice in the matter.

What I propose is that you plan to spend Thanksgiving here. You could have dinner with us, and see the lovely young woman your daughter might have been. You will see the fine young man your son has become. You might also want to take a look at the woman I have every expectation will become your daughter in law. I think a graduation party where Michelle gets her trousers back, full time, would be nice. Of course, I will keep this a secret from Michelle, although I may need to include Karen in on the planning.

Please call me as soon as you have read this and my earlier letter to you. Now, I must leave. The girls are going into town to check out costumes for a Halloween Ball at the local country club. I have decided to permit Michael to dress as he pleases. The pair of them have been brainstorming ever since I told him that. They seem determined to keep their plans a great secret - especially from me. I will make sure I have fresh film in the camera.

Sincerely yours Jane
 
 
Jane frowned as she reread the letter she had just finished. She had wanted to be far more blunt and order her school chum to attend, but she hadn't. Good manners combined with her growing fear that the problem might worsen helped her to hold her tongue. She was becoming more and more fond of Michelle with each passing day. One of the things she realized was that not once in Michelle's sojourn in her home had Barb initiated any contact with her about her son. Jane had made all the calls, written all the letters. Not once had Barb even asked if she could speak to her son. Of course, Jane had told her, early on in the project, that she strongly recommended against such contact, except for real emergencies. Still, most of her other boys' mothers had conveniently forgotten that request at least one time during their little darlings' sojourns under her supervision.

Frustrated, she readied the letter for posting. Her two charges wanted to go into town looking for costume ideas. Then, a thought struck Jane. If Michelle was going to the party as Michael, why not let them make an outing of it, just the two of them. It would let them connive in secret, and she could do some more work on the planning for her next new charge. Not having a resident big sister was going to make this one difficult. Besides, Michelle had not driven since her arrival, and would enjoy the treat. She would give them the good news at lunch.

It was a tossup who was more flabbergasted - Michael at Jane's offer, or Jane at Michael's response.

"But, Jane, I had planned on going to town as Michelle, so I can't drive. My license shows me as a male. I don't plan on speeding," he hastened to add as her eyebrow shot up, "but it would still be too big a risk in the event someone else caused an accident."

"But, Michelle, I said you could go to the party as you wished. I fully expected you would need to find a costume suitable to your character's gender."

Michelle smiled softly. "Yes, Aunt Jane, but it is just that I thought that, since I still had to stay in character here, I would look for a costume that let me do that while not getting me in trouble here for unfeminine behavior. I thought I would talk to Sandy and Carolyn about how best to do that without ruining all their efforts." Michelle paused, remembering another time Jane had "permitted" him to dress as a male. "That is, if you don't mind me seeking their assistance in this. I know last time you told me I had to do the transforming all by myself."

Still off balance, Jane shook her head. "No... No, that's fine, Michelle. That was to serve a purpose. This is in the way of a real reward for real effort. In fact, I will call Carolyn right after lunch and tell her to go along with whatever you ask. I will also tell you that whatever they do can be undone after the party if that is what it ultimately takes for you to pull off whatever it is you have in mind. You have earned this, Michelle. I really am quite proud of you."

Michelle went completely still. Surprise, then pleasure, and finally pride flashed across her face. Karen simply sat there, beaming at her sister/boy friend. Suddenly, Michelle stood up. "Please excuse me, Aunt Jane" he blurted out in a choking voice, and then ran from the room. Jane rose, intending to follow, but Karen stopped her.

"She'll be okay, Jane. Let her be. He is just so happy, and for all your efforts, Michael is still learning to cope with the softer feelings you have introduced him to. He is embarrassed that his joy reduced him to tears in front of you. He'll be back when he has regained control and repaired his face. You should be pleased. He is becoming quite the lady."

Jane looked at Karen with a sardonically raised brow. "Oh? Perhaps, too much the lady, Karen?" Jane was aware that her charges were still intimate. And had been concerned about repercussions until she had ascertained that Karen and Michael were being careful to use contraception after that first night together.

Karen gave her guardian a thoroughly female look of pure pleasure. "No, Jane, Michael is all man when it counts - just more caring and sensitive than other boys of my experience." The pair shared a look of smug satisfaction.

Michelle returned apologetically to the table, but Jane waved them off, hiding her own emotions under a facade of firmness. "Now, since Michelle can't drive, I will give Karen the keys to the Lincoln. It has more space than her little car, and you might find something today and need the room. Now go get ready. Go on, shoo!"

Both teens laughed and jumped to their feet to leave, but Michelle had one more shock for Jane this day. Before leaving the room, she shyly came over and kissed Jane on the cheek. "Thank you, Aunt Jane." she whispered, before once again rushing headlong out the room, leaving a thoroughly bemused Jane behind.

Karen drove the big car with more caution than she normally used with her zippy little Honda. Once they were on the road towards Kingston, she relaxed enough to talk. "You okay with this trip? I know that this has not been a fun place for you. Seems like all of Jane's feminizer cronies are in that town. They may not be able to resist taking a piece out of you."

Michelle nodded. "It will be okay. I have learned a lot lately. Mostly, they just want to play with me. When I give as good as I get, they just have fun. Besides, they have more to lose than I do. This is area is pretty conservative. Their businesses could suffer badly if it became known what they were doing with Jane."

Karen nodded at the insight. "You don't mind going dressed? I mean, this was a perfect opportunity to be a guy, again. Jane even gave you the go ahead for Carolyn and Sandra to put you back together after the ball. You could have spent a whole week looking like your studly self instead of living in skirts."

"Naw. Besides, are you going to leave me?"

The large car swerved violently as Karen jerked the steering wheel in surprised shock. "Hell, no! I told her and I will tell you, Michael Nash. You are mine! The formalities are just that - mere formalities. You are mine and I am yours. You are stuck with me, Miss or Mister. End of statement."

Pleased by her response, Michael chuckled. "I love you, too, darling. So, getting out of skirts is not an issue with me, anymore. You like them. I expect I will be wearing them on and off the rest of my life because pleasing you is a big priority in my life." His voice trailed off. Karen urged him on, asking him to finish the thought. He visibly steeled himself and after taking a deep breath, whispered. "And I like them, too."

"Oh, Michelle, I am so glad. Really I am. I was worried that once Jane signs off on your return to that damned school, I would never have my girl friend back again. And if you had done it for me like it was some damned sacrifice, I would have known, and I would have hated it."

Unlike Michelle who was fashionably turned out in skirt and blazer set, Karen was wearing her beloved jeans. The jeans had been a minor bone of contention when Karen had moved in - Michael had asked to wear them, but Jane had refused. "Karen already knows how and when to be a lady, Michelle. You are still learning. Of course, to be fair, I could ask Karen to refrain from wearing them until you are advanced enough that I will permit you such liberties..." Michael had not liked that idea at all. First, because Karen loved wearing her jeans, and he would not want her deprived because of him. Secondly, she looked awfully sexy in those skin tight denims and he would not want himself deprived of that pleasure, either.

So, Jane had relented, and Karen continued to wear her jeans for both their pleasure. Jane, being Jane, was unable to resist a few stinging jabs about "who wore the pants in this relationship..", but as long as Karen was happy and looking so sexy, Michael was able to handle those with grace and a smile. What he did not realize was that it was precisely that comfort with her games that Jane had been looking for, and had now found.

Michelle reached across the seat to gently squeeze the denimed thigh, and then rested his hand there. They rode like that most of the way, until the outer limits of Kingston and the university campus came in view. At a stop light, Karen saw Michael staring wistfully at the sign proclaiming pre-registration for the spring term. He merely shook his head when she asked if something was the matter.

They drove toward the business square where Marisha Chalet sat, and Karen carefully parked the car. She shutdown the engine, and turned to face her lover. "You want to go through with this? It could really destroy her, you know."

"Hey, it was your idea, remember? You said it was the right thing to do, that it would bring closure. Now you are getting cold feet? For all my little bravado back there on the road, Sandy scares the hell out me. She has been a lot easier on me since August, but she knows just how to get to me, and she loves doing it. She has a way of getting me so turned on that I get rock hard, and then she cuts me to ribbons with it."

Karen took his hand. "Don't worry about it, sweet. Anything she makes rock hard, I can help make nicely pliable again, and I promise you'll love it." Her voice was a husky whisper that grabbed him by the groin and twisted sensuously. "Seriously, we could do something else and still get the effect you want."

Michelle considered that carefully. It was tempting. Finally, he shook his head. "No, this is the right way. She has to see me as I am, now. Not as she chooses to see me in her mind. We can't get over the past until she does."

Karen smiled. That was the answer she'd wanted, but she'd needed to know he understood, too. "Okay, let's go. I saw Caro at the window looking at us. She must think that Jane is having to drag you in, again. Sandy must be getting out the frosting kit again." she said with a smirk.

The patrons of the shop only noted how lovely the two young women who entered the shop were. Carolyn and Sandra came up to greet them and then ushered them into the back room. Sandy spoke first. "Well, Jane called." she said with a dejected tone in her voice. "She told us this was your show, Michael. What do you want us to do?" She looked very sad and Michael wondered why.

Carolyn spoke. "We know that you are going to the Ball and that Jane said you could pick your own costume. Tell us what you have in mind and we will see what we can do. Frankly, you have become so facile an actress, you could pull off anything."

Michael glanced at Karen, who nodded back. He reached into the oversize shoulder bag he carried and withdrew an 8x10 manilla envelope from it. "Before we go further, you should know that our plans are secret, especially from Jane. If you can't agree to that, we will do something else - try another salon." Determination colored his voice. Both women looked at him in disbelief. He would go to another salon, chancing discovery?

Finally, Carolyn spoke. "We already knew that, Michael. Jane told us and asked that we keep your confidence. We promised her and we promise you that, too. Don't we, Sandy?" The other woman nodded.

"Okay, look at this." He pulled a photo from the envelope and laid it on the table. It was a promotional picture from a famous historical movie. "We saw this and the similarity of our facial structures to these people. And I remembered the outfits you got for Beth and me for that parade float. Now, this is what we want to do...."

The planning took the better part of the afternoon, what with Carolyn and Sandy having to leave periodically to work on their customers. Gradually, both women got into the spirit of the enterprise and all but took over from the two excited teenagers. Finally, Sandy was toting up what to have as they reviewed their lists one last time. "...... cosmetics, hair dye, spirit gum." she concluded. "Okay, I think that does it. While I was out on the floor the last time, I called the costume shop around the corner and told them to expect you soon. Michael, that shop is not, to my knowledge, party to Jane's activities, so be careful while you are being fitted. It might be wise to have Karen assist you instead of their people while you are changing into your costume for fitting and alteration. Oh! I almost forgot." She ran to a nearby closet and returned with a familiar box. "Here, you might need this." Michael took the box and thanked her.

Carolyn smiled. "Thank you, Michael" she said emphasizing the 'you', "for letting us be a part of this. I know we made your life hell, but that was part of the plan. I'd like to think we have become less your enemies, now, and more like friends."

Michael stood and gave each woman a demure kiss on the cheek. "Not like friends, Carolyn. You are friends. It just took me awhile to figure out that not all friendships start out friendly. Now, I have to go or the shop will close."

"Michael? If you and Karen would like, I could visit the afternoon of the party. Help you both get ready. That dye can be messy, even if it does wash out with the special solvent soap."

"If you don't mind, Caro, I think that would be wonderful."

"Miiiiii-chaeeell" Karen wheedled. "Could we go? I am tired and hungry and those fittings will take an hour at least. Especially mine! I am gonna get turned into a human pin cushion. I just know it."

They got home around nine pm to find that Marie had kept supper warm for their return. Jane insisted they take dinner in the study with her on trays as she quizzed them on their day. Michael was mischievously evasive on the subject of where they went and what they bought. "Oh, but I will tell you that Caro promised to come over Saturday afternoon and personally handle my makeover."

Karen swatted him with a lace throw pillow. "Hey, don't forget about me. She promised she would do my make up, too."

Michael put on Michelle's cattiest look, and said sweetly. "Oh, dear, that's right. Well, maybe you should call her, Auntie Jane, and see if she could be here by nine am, instead." Both women fell on him with pillows then, and Jane's formal, Victorian study became a slapstick comedy of screeching laughter, petticoats and pillow feathers. Michael could not remember having a better evening in Jane's house.

The sealed garment boxes with the costumes arrived the Thursday before the party. Michelle and Karen locked themselves away in Karen's room (Jane permitted Karen the privacy of a locked door that she still chose to deny Michael), and tried on their costumes. The alterations were perfect, thus saving the teens from having to ask Marie's help or worse, from trying to fix the clothes themselves.

Caro arrived in time for luncheon on Saturday. After the meal, the three conspirators adjourned to Karen's room for the grand transformation. By tacit agreement, both Marie and Jane avoided the upstairs that afternoon, afraid they would peek if they had the chance.

At five thirty, Carolyn found Jane and told her that they were ready for the unveiling. Jane and Marie hurried to the parlor, both carrying cameras to record the event. Carolyn returned and took her place on the settee beside Jane. From outside the parlor, Michael's voice, a much deeper voice than Jane was used to hearing called. "Ready in there?"

Jane responded tartly. "I was ready two hours ago. Now get in here."

Karen's soft laugh followed. Moments later, Rhett Butler escorted Scarlet O'Hara across the threshold of the room. Scarlet was in a classic reproduction of the famous movie ball gown, its de'collete' bodice showing an expanse of creamy cleavage. Her hair had been darkened with dye and hung in sausage curls around her head. Opera length satin gloves covered her arms, and on her left cheek, beneath her twinkling eye, was a black beauty patch. With one hand in Rhett's, and the other holding her heavy skirt, Scarlet curtseyed low to her royal audience.

Rhett was in black evening wear, complete with tails and a cane. His hair had also been dyed black, while his skin had been artfully darkened and coarsened by Caro's cosmetic artistry. His brows, and upper lip were covered by hair that had not been there at lunch. False brows and mustache, to be sure, but it was a very, very good job. His hands were covered by formal white gloves and gleaming boots adorned his feet. Bowing low to the women, he 'made his leg' with the grace of a Regency Corinthian.

"My God, Caro.... it is like they stepped off the movie screen into my house." She looked more closely at the boy she had worked so hard to make into a girl, and shook her head in confusion. Scarlet giggled, and Jane's head came up in shock.

"Now, you blew it." was Karen's disgusted comment. "We would have made it out of here without her knowing if you could have kept your mouth shut."

"Naow, Rhett-dawlin'," said Scarlet in a terrible Southern accent and in Michael's voice, "Ya'll know I was gonna tell her lil' ol' self befo' we left, anyway."

Jane could not seem to get her mouth to work - it just hung open. Caro was having spasms, trying to keep from laughing out loud. Marie was stunned. Finally, Jane choked out, "Michael? I mean, Michelle, is that you?"

Michael came over to kneel in front of Jane in a swirl of silks and satin. "Yes, Jane." came the soft, incongruously male voice in reply. "It is me."

"But, why? You could have been anyone - anything. Why a female?"

Michael's answering smile was beautiful to see. "Because, dear Jane, this *is* me, now. Or at least, a part of me. You see, two ladies that I have come to care about, like this in me. More importantly, I have come to like it, too. I am still a man,.." he stopped to consider that and shook his head, sending the sausage curls bouncing saucily about his face, "No, I am more of a man, because none of this..." and he swept a hand over the female finery, "threatens me anymore. It is part of me, and I have come to like me quite a bit in the past weeks. I wanted you to know that, Jane." With a muffled "oh, god", Jane wrapped her arms around her charge and clung tightly, tears rolling down her cheeks. Then, she jumped to her feet and ran from the room. Michael made to follow her, but Marie stopped him. She was also crying, but smiling. "I will see to her, Michael. She will be fine. You and your young lady just go and have fun."

Caro repaired the damage to everyone's makeup, and then took pictures with both forgotten cameras. Finally, she ushered them out the door, and went to find Jane. She thought a good drunk and a happy crying jag were definitely in order. Jane had to have some good bubbly in this house somewhere. She would just have to find it.

No one got up for breakfast the next day. Michelle, seeing the problem, mixed up a "hair of the dog" favored by one of his mother's consorts, and served tall frosty restoratives to each hangover victim. A few hours later, when hunger set in, Michelle made omelets and muffins to fill empty stomachs. When his own (the last, naturally) was done and he came to sit at the table, Karen was regaling the women with a recount of their exploits. "You remember Page, don't you, Jane? The boy who made Michael's life hell at the play? He was there as a pirate, and he was so enamored of little Miss Scarlet. He even prevailed on her to dance. God, I was afraid he would drool the makeup off the fake boobs Sandy gave her. Strange thing, though, his pants fell down, and he wasn't wearing any undies. He was quite the spectacle, hopping off the dance floor, trying to hold up his pants with one hand, and keep his dickie covered with the other." Karen looked up to Michael as he set his plate down and settled into his chair. "However did that happen, Michelle, dear?" she asked in the sweetest, most innocent of tones.

Michelle gave an entirely unladylike snort. "He should not have been carrying a real knife on that stupid belt of his. Knives are dangerous." was all Michael had to say for the ladies to howl with mirth. With a satisfied smile, Michael continued, "My only regret is that he went home afterwards and missed the unmasking. Karen and I won first prize for best costume by a couple. I would have loved to see his face when he realized that he had been hitting on a guy. I do hope someone tells him." Then a thought struck Michael and he looked slyly at Jane. "Aunt Jane? There isn't any chance that Page has gotten in trouble around here? You know, you might talk to his mom, offer to help her with him a little..."

Jane spluttered. "Oh, no. None of that. I don't take students from the immediate area. They are too likely to be recognized, no matter how well I do my job. Besides, his father is an arrogant paternalistic idiot and he would never agree, more's the pity."

"Too bad. I would even stay on past Christmas to help with that scene, and I would not feel a whit of guilt about it like Beth did with me."

The offhanded reminder of his approaching departure cast a pall on the impromptu brunch and it broke up shortly thereafter. Caro had to leave for home, Jane went to her study, closing the door and Marie gathered the dishes to clean. The two young people decided to go for a walk.

Things settled back into the familiar routine for Jane's household. Studies and school consumed much of Michael's and Karen's time. Both took the College board exams the week after the ball. Michael went back the next week for further testing, saying only that he was working on several options when it came to college and that the tests were a part of that.

About two weeks before Thanksgiving, Karen heard shouting coming from Jane's study. Concerned that her lover had gotten in trouble again with her mercurial guardian, she peaked in through the open door in time to see Jane slamming her antique phone down onto its cradle. "DAMN that woman! HOW can she DO that to him?"

Jane put her head down on her desk, looking utterly desolate. Karen crept in, and put her hand on Jane's head. "Jane? What is the matter?" When Jane mumbled that it was nothing, Karen disagreed. "No, I have never seen you upset over 'nothing' and you are upset. Now give."

"Oh, it is nothing, really. Nothing I can fix, anyway. That was Barbara - Michelle's mother. She was answering my last two letters." Jane went on to explain her plan for a surprise graduation party for Michael. "She just called to tell me she was going on another vacation with her newest new boyfriend. Seems they will be making a holiday tour of the Caribbean. They leave tomorrow and won't be back until after New Year's. As to Michael's future at St. A's, I am to "do what ever you think best, darling. You seem to do so much better with him than I do." Damned woman. To do anything you first have to try enough to care and care enough to try. When I think of the waste of a fine human being she almost caused with that type of neglect, I want to do bodily damage to her."

Karen moved behind Jane, massaging the stress out of her shoulders. "Well, you care, Jane, and so do I. Matter of fact, there are a lot of folks here who care about our Michael-Michelle, so that is all that matters. If she does not know what she has in him, it is her loss and our gain." she kept on stroking. "He is special to you, too. Isn't he, Jane."

Jane had long since ceased being amazed at this girl's empathy and grasp of human feelings. She merely nodded. "Yes, he is. I have never had a bond with one of my pupils like this before. It is almost as if he was my own. As if he were my son." She laughed a harsh, derisive laugh. "Funny, isn't it. I love him like a son, and I haven't figured out how to show it."

"He knows, Jane. No boy I know does what he did for you at Halloween without loving the person he is doing it for. He knew it could have backfired on him at the party, big time, and he still went through with it because you had given him the choice." Karen became silent. "You know, we really don't need his mother. I think your whole circle of friends would love to give Michelle a proper sendoff. What do you think of this idea..." And with that, the two women began to plan.
 
 
Part 3: Restorations and Revelations
 
The quiet was eerie. It was a little after eight on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, and Jane was completely alone in the house. Marie had left Wednesday to spend the holiday with family in Boston. She would return shortly to help with the final party preparations. Karen and Michelle had gone to Providence for the morning. That was part of the plan she and Jane had hatched to get Michelle out of the house long enough to finish the final touches for the day's festivities.

Karen had asked Michelle to go to Church with her for the celebration of the first Sunday of the Christmas Advent Festivities. Michelle had initially been reticent, not wanting to go into Church "wearing a lie". Jane had held back during the exchange, knowing she could have easily have forced his acquiescence, but not wanting to. Fortunately, Karen was well in command of the situation, as she had seemed to have been with so many others. "Is it a lie, Michelle, dear? Really?" Michelle seemed to waiver, and Karen had moved in. "It is not like you are going to take the veil, luv. You are just going to sit in the pew, listening to beautiful music, looking lovely."

Michelle had blushed beautifully, and finally had given in. So early this morning, the pair had dressed in their new holiday finery, and headed off to Providence in Karen's Honda.

Jane could not really remember the last time the house had seemed this empty - probably because since she had purchased it, the house had not been empty. She had taken on her first petticoating project within mere weeks of moving in, and had always had at least one skirted boy underfoot since. And now, she was losing this one without a sure replacement in hand. The mother of the boy she was to take on was uncertain she wanted to inflict Jane's "torments" (the Mother's words) on her misunderstood son. If that one fell through, as had the last, Jane would have only Karen once Michael headed back to St. A's.

Of course, that was not insignificant. Karen had become very important to Jane in the short time they had been together. Jane had all but forgotten the simple pleasures of sharing things with another true female. As competent as her sissy-boys became at acting like young women, and as much as many of them came to enjoy their feminized states, Karen shared things with Jane that her boys could not. Case in point was the shopping trip they had taken to buy the clothes she and Michelle had worn today. It had been fun, and in an entirely different way than when she went shopping with her "girls". When Jane took the boys shopping, she enjoyed their fear of being unmasked, and the little humiliations her friends heaped on their curly heads. But there was that slight chance that something might go wrong, that the boy might be uncovered by someone who was not in on the conspiracy. So Jane had to be constantly alert in those situations and that detracted from her pleasure in the activities.

With Karen, there had been none of that tension. She had actually been able to enjoy the experience of shopping. She had been able to enjoy and share Karen's pleasure in finding pretty things for herself and for Michelle. It had been...... nice.

The real problem, Jane was forced to admit, was that she was already missing Michelle. She had never before let a boy stay after his rehabilitation was complete. They left her immediately to get on with their lives. She was usually a little sad to see them go, and missed them for awhile, but was soon diverted by the next little test or task she had planned for her latest "girl". This was very different.

"You might as well admit it, Jane Thompson." she spoke angrily into the silent room. "You admitted to Karen that you loved Michael Nash as the son you never had, but the real truth is that you love him best as Michelle. And you have no right to keep Michelle at Michael's expense anymore." She savagely swiped at the tears that had welled up in her eyes, infuriated with herself that she could not be happy for Michael's sake that today ..... that today was his last day in skirts.

Well, probably not his last day. Karen liked Michelle, too, and Michael had as much as told her that he accepted Michelle when he had elected to be Scarlet instead of Rhett. But she would no longer see Michelle every day, nor, in fact, should she. Michael would need the next month to reestablish enough of his male mannerisms to survive the last term at St. Andrews.

The door bell's ring broke her reveries. That must be the first of the guests, arriving to help with the final party setups. Good. Jane was tired of feeling alone and lonely.

The Honda pulled onto the estate around two pm. Much to Jane's amazement, everything was ready. The two young people entered to the foyer smiling, and looking to see where Jane might be. Jane opened the door to her study, a stern look on her face. Sharply, she ordered. "Michelle? I want to see you in my study. NOW, young lady, this very INSTANT!"

Michael's face fell dramatically. What HAD he done? He had tried so hard the past few weeks - not on the feminine things, but to show Jane how much he had come to care for and about her; to show that he actually loved her. He had even permitted himself to believe that she cared for him, too. Now he must have done something to upset her, but he could not imagine what it was. Would this mean she would have to delay his planned departure for St. A's?

Jane turned and reentered the study, her back stiff and straight. It was the way she had been those first, horrible weeks. Sighing inwardly, Michael turned to follow her, consciously thinking about his presentation for the first time in weeks. He did not realize that Karen was following close behind him until her white gloved hands came up to cover his eyes just before he reached the study threshold. Michael faltered with the loss of vision, but Karen prodded him on into the room before he could stop or free his eyes.

"SUUURRRRPPPRRIIIIZZZEEE!" The combined yell of several female voices caused the blinded boy to jump backwards into Karen, almost tripping them. Karen's hands came away as she struggled to catch them both. Once he regained balance, stupefied wonder rendered him speechless and motionless. The study looked like a New Year's Eve Party gone wild. Brightly colored pink and blue crepe paper festooned the room and a banner that proclaimed "Congratulations, Michelle - Welcome Back, Michael" hung proudly on the wall behind Jane's desk.

Then Michael took in who was there. Everyone who had had a hand in his journey of self discovery. Carolyn and Sandra, Miss Franson from the dress shop and Mrs. Bedford, the nurse whose stares had unnerved him at the hospital - they were all there. And of course, in the center and out in front of everyone else, was Jane and Marie. Then, a hand tapped his shoulder and he turned to see "David?" the name was a whisper. "David, is that you?"

The fondly remembered gentle smile curved the lips of the young man in front of him. He was turned out in a finely made, charcoal gray suit. Michael did not know what else to do, but hug his friend. "God, I am glad to see you. I have missed you. Karen, come and meet David.."

"Ahem" That single syllable stopped him cold. He turned toward Jane who was looking at him with a cocked brow and a sardonic smile. "I believe I told you, young lady, that *I* wanted to see you."

Smiling now himself, Michael went to stand in front of Jane, and then curtseyed deeply as he had the night of the Halloween Ball. Jane pulled him into a tight hug. She pulled back, and ordered "All right, everyone sing, please..."

The women and David started to sing, "For he's a jolly good fellow..."

Sandy put her fingers to her mouth and blew a shrill whistle, shocking everyone to silence. They turned to her in amazement. She grinned. "Can't sing that, Jane. Not yet, anyway." She pointed to a chair that had been covered with a bed sheet. A table, covered with combs, scissors and a myriad of bottles, stood beside it.

Jane nodded, smiling mischievously. "Quite right, Sandra. Michelle, please sit in that chair." What followed was a complete demolition of what had taken Michael an hour that morning and over six months of learning to accomplish. Sandra moved behind the chair and started to dampen his hair with another foul smelling concoction. Carolyn stood in front of him and began working on his face. Marie and Miss Franson took a position on each side of the chair and began working on his hands and nails. It took over an hour, but finally, the ladies stepped back. Michael wanted to see what had been done, but the room's mirror was covered in crepe. Jane stepped up to him. "Michael, please go to your room and put on the clothing Marie has laid out for you."

Completely ill-at-ease now, Michael slowly left the study and went up to his room. He thought he knew what to expect, but he was wrong. The changes in his femininely appointed room shocked him. It wasn't feminine anymore; it was a young man's room. The light pastel blues of the walls and moldings were still there, but every accessory had been replaced by ones more suitable to a boy's room. Every female touch, every feminine touch of lace and bit of whimsy had been ruthlessly eradicated. The bed's canopy had been removed; a brightly colored hunting lodge quilt replaced the satin bedspread. The tiered fabrics that had upholstered the various pieces of furniture had been replaced with pieces that matched the quilt. Had he felt this disoriented when he had first seen the room in its girl's room decor? New cotton briefs, socks, a dress shirt and tie, and a shoe box sat on the foot of his bed. On his dressing table, no longer a vanity, was a man's jewelry box opened to display, a new wristwatch, new tie clasps and cuff links. The sink counter in his bathroom now contained a variety of aftershaves, men's colognes and other male toiletries. Opening his armoire, he saw that all of his dresses and other things were gone - replaced by several new suits and sports jackets. One was already laid out for him. He changed from the skin out, still careful to properly tend to his lingerie and dress. A near hysterical bark of laughter broke through his confusion when he started to button *this* shirt from the wrong side. Deja vu all over again.

Was that first blouse *really* that long ago? Another lifetime, or perhaps another age.

Only after he had finished, did he let himself look in the three sided mirror where he had practiced so many new and discomforting mannerisms. Nervously, he kept his eyes lowered as he turned to face himself. As he should have expected from Jane, the suit fit him perfectly. Michael took several deep, cleansing breaths before he could lift his eyes to view his head and face. For several heartbeats, he could only stare in stunned wonder at his own reflection. Michael had thought about this moment ever since that last meeting with David in the garden, wondering how he could ever be "normal" again. He wasn't "normal"; he was better. A mature young man calmly returned his hesitant gaze. His hair was no longer curly, or even highlighted. It was longer, fuller than before, but not unusually so. Even the color was back to what it had been when he used to be a boy. "Used to be a boy?" he asked himself. "Where the hell did *that* come from?" No answer was forthcoming. Why, even his brows looked less fine, less arched. Carolyn must have added some subtle coloring to make them look fuller.

Finally, he couldn't delay any longer, so he left the room and headed back down to the party. As he entered, a rousing chorus of "Now he's a jolly good fellow" marked his return. The loud emphasis on the added word "NOW" in the traditional song broke his mood and made him smile for the first time since Jane had ordered him to the study. The party turned into a lovely, loving memory he would hug to his heart for the rest of his life. The food was marvelous, and the company even better. Each woman made a point of speaking to him alone, praising him on how far he had come, and how much they had enjoyed him. "Especially after you finally wised up." was Sandy's semi-caustic aside. "Although," she continued thoughtfully, "You were sure fun to tease early on. I thought you would come out of the chair a couple of times."

"A couple of times, Sandy? Try a hundred times. Your comments on my masculinity or rather, my lack of it, almost demoralized me."

Sandra smiled at him. "Ah, honey, all Jane's boys get like that." she said with a gentleness he had not expected from her. "Just too full of hormones for anything else - not with a bold, sexy female like me challenging everything you think you are." she gave him a salacious leer right out of a grade B movie, and they laughed easily together. "Besides," she continued, warming to her subject, "Wearing nice lingerie, being pampered, getting all dolled up - all that stuff is sexy. It is sexy on women, and it is sexy on men. It is just plain sexy, hon. Your body, especially your penis, knew that even if your mind was fighting it. I just used that fact to dig into your head a little deeper." Then her sly smile became a sexy challenge. "And don't think I have forgotten how .. umm," she licked her lips salaciously, "How well built you are down there, stud. Come back some time when Jane isn't going to have my ass for it and I will keep that promise to put that thing between your legs to good use." With that bomb, she kissed him hard on the lips and sauntered off, hips swinging.

Karen came storming over to him, green fire flashing in her eyes. "And just was that all about?".

"I don't know," Michael said. "I am not sure if it was a promise or a threat." Then he hugged her and gave her a kiss. "Thank you, luv. I would not be here like this without you. In the end, you were my turning point."

The party broke up at about six pm. The women had to work the next day, and David had to catch a train to be back in time for school. Hugs and kisses were exchanged, and surprisingly, each of the women had a special gift for Michael, but he did not have time to open them before they left. Nor did it seem that they seemed to want him to, either. It was all very strange to his mind. Well, he would remember his manners and send a nice thank you to each of his new friends.

"Michael?" Jane called to him. It seemed odd answering her when she used that name, now. "Would you drive David to the train station? I have added you to my insurance policy, and now, your license will work." she added with a teasing grin. Thanking her, Michael led his friend to the car for a long drive and a talk. It was the perfect ending to the day.

The gifts were stacked on his bed when he returned. With mixed emotion, Michael saw that his last dress, as well as the lingerie and accessories, had been removed from the room while he was gone as well. Shrugging against feelings he did not want to analyze at that moment, Michael opened his gifts. He should have known. Smiling to himself, he wondered if Jane had known about the gifts.

Michael was early for breakfast. He had forgotten how much simpler his morning ablutions were as a male, particularly if he was not trying to maintain a double life - boy in the morning, girl in the afternoon - as he had for the play. Jane was already downstairs, too, sitting in her usual place at the head of the table, drinking coffee. A pile of papers and other documents were on the table beside her. She looked up at him, frowned slightly, then forced a smile to her face. "Good morning, Michael. Did you sleep well?" Actually, he hadn't. The room felt alien to him and he had been restless, but he smiled and answered that he had. The oddly strained smile Jane gave him did not reach her eyes. "Good. These are for you." She slid the pile of paper toward him. "There are your checkbook, your credit cards and the report of your trust fund accounts for the period you have been with me. My brokers have taken over the management of your accounts, and you will find detailed reports of their activities. I think they have done quite well, but of course, you are welcome to discuss their performance with them, or to change to someone of your own choosing."

Michael took the papers and set them aside. "I am sure that everything is fine, Aunt Jane. I will look at them later. Perhaps you could help me with going through them? Mother never has, and I have no idea what any of this means."

His simple statement and request for help almost destroyed her. She still did not really believe Karen's assurances that Michael trusted and cared for her. Maybe he did, after all, at least trust her a little, to ask her help with his finances. "Of course," she said with a calm she did not feel. "This afternoon, perhaps?"

"At your convenience, Aunt Jane." At that moment, Karen came into the room, stopping a moment to stare at Michael in his slacks and polo shirt, before recovering enough to chirp a cheerful good morning.

For all the apparant good feeling shared among the threesome over the next few hours, Michael felt an undercurrent of tension swirling around him. Every time he saw Jane looking at him when she thought he did not see her, there seemed to be almost an aura of melancholy about her. If she saw him looking at him, the same plastic smile came. Conversation between them was strained, and the easy banter that had developed over the past few weeks was nonexistent. Only in her study, when she patiently explained each financial document to him, did she seem comfortable with him. Was that because she had fallen into her "School Mistress" role again, and he had become "the student", and as such, someone she could relate to better than she could a freed "Michael Nash"?

Lunch was difficult, with Karen trying, with little success, to involve both Michael and Jane in normal conversation. Finally, at dinner, Michael concluded he understood the problem. Did he want to solve the problem was the question. For Jane and for Karen: the answer was yes. For himself? Insight flared, and he understood that he could not be happy with Jane unhappy. She had simply become too important to him as a person. And, in all honesty, it was his choice this time. That made a difference somehow. He glanced at Karen, cocking a brow as he had seen Jane do so often when she was about to set a fox in his personal chicken coupe. She seemed to understand and smiling at him, nodded slightly. "Aunt Jane, I forgot something important. May I please be excused for a few moments?" Jane jumped at the sound of his voice in the silence that had descended on the dining room, but nodded and gave him leave to go. Michael hurried up the stairs, and after a quick stop in Karen's room, he went to his own. Inside, he pulled out the gifts he had received the day before from each of Jane's circle.

Michael reentered dining room about fifteen minutes after departing. Jane glanced up from her soup, ready to order him to his seat before the soup was inedibly cold. She did a classic, thoroughly satisfying double take before dropping her spoon noisily into the dish in surprise. Michelle was back. Michael had borrowed the outfit, including the flats, that he had worn that first time for Karen after the play. On his head was a softly curling blond wig, that Sandy's note had said was made to match his most attractive styling and color. Miss Franson had given him a complete set of lingerie and hose. Caro's contribution was a set of cosmetics designed to match Sandy's hairpiece and his skin, and Mrs Bedford had given him a set of costume jewelry (earrings, pendent and a bracelet) and a set of press on nails in a suitable color of light pink for everyday wear. "M...mm... Michael?" Jane spluttered out. "But.. But.."

"No, Jane. Michelle." he walked over to Jane and taking her hand, drew her out of her seat, into a hug. "We have come too far, I think, for either of us to be comfortable with Michael. Not this abruptly. Maybe, not in this house, ever. I don't know, but I also don't much care. I do care about you. Let me give you this gift, Jane."

"But you need to remember how to be male! Next month..."

"Next month will be fine. I will do my practicing outside of the house. Karen will help. At home, I will continue as before."

Home? He had said "home". "But Michael... I mean, Michelle, you hated this."

"Hated, Jane. Past tense. You did your work well. I can, as you once told me I would have to, tell you that I honestly enjoy the masquerade. And I have come to love you. So, let me be what you love best in me, for you and me. Okay?"

Jane broke down into racking sobs. Michael, although versed in things feminine, still suffered the male's genetic impotence in the face of a woman's tears. He held her close, casting pleading glances to Karen to come help. Karen merely shook her head, grinning like a loon through her own happy tears.

Jane finally calmed down and wiped her eyes with the napkin Michael handed her. "I won't hold you to it, you know."

"I know, Aunt Jane. It was and is my choice, but I think it is the right one for all of us." Then he whispered in Jane's ear. "Besides, Karen really likes Michelle. Makes her horny."

Jane sputtered a choked laugh and looked back and forth between the two young people. "Okay," she finally grinned herself. She made an attempt to regain her composure and dignity after her outburst. Why, she is embarrassed, thought Michael. I wonder if she would blush if I teased her about it right now? But just as the thought came, he rejected it, knowing that it would be insensitive on his part and might destroy the gain he had made. Michelle seated Jane and then himself. "If that really is your choice, I will have Marie return your dainties and other things tomorrow, Michelle. Your blouse seems to have gotten quite wet."

Michelle grinned. "Thank you, Aunt Jane. You might tell her to bring back only the more grown up fashions. Shirley Temple has retired and I do need room in the armiore for Michael's things, too."

Jane gave him her most sardonic, mocking smile, and his heart stopped for a second. God, she could still do it to him. And she knew it, too, darn her. "Oh, well. If you insist." she said as testily as she could with her heart so full. Her daughter was back now, too. Life was good again - at least until Michael had to leave.
 
 
Part 4: Holiday Gifts
 
Christmas was only two weeks away and Jane was looking forward to her first "family Christmas" since she had left home for school. In the past few years, she would get together with friends on Christmas Eve, and try to do something nice for her charges of the moment that would not set her program back too far. This holiday did not have that imposed restraint. Jane felt like the Grinch after his heart had grown ten sizes. She and Karen had planned gifts for both Michelle and for Michael, so that she could have nice things when she visited, and he would have things that were suitable for his future endeavors outside of the cloister of her home.

Jane looked up as Marie entered the study. She smiled as her longtime confidante, friend and fellow conspirator handed her the day's mail. As always, it was sorted by type, and by addressee. On top, was an official looking letter with a State return address. Jane picked it up and started reading it before she realized that the letter was for Michael. She should have put it down. She no longer had any justification for previewing and censoring his mail, but she could not put that, or the other similar letter aside once she started reading it. Whatever had Michael done? When had he done it? And most important of all - *why* had he done it?

Jane was waiting in the sitting room just off the foyer when Michael and Karen returned from their outing in town. Michael was involving the two women in his shopping for the other, wanting to make sure that their gifts were perfect. She smiled at that insecurity, it had to be a male trait, because as far as she could tell, all of his selections for Karen had been right on target. She called to them. "Michael, please come in here a moment. I need to talk to you for a moment, please."

Michael stuck his head in the sitting room door. "You want me to change first, Aunt Jane?" She shook her head no, and handed him the papers she had gotten in the mail.

As Michael began to read, Jane spoke. "I was not spying on you, Michael, at least not now. It has been my standard procedure to have Marie to open all mail and give it to me, particularly any mail addressed to one of my students. There are good reasons for that. Security for one: I need to know if one of my girls has a correspondence that might be dangerous to him or to me. Another reason is that I do not want bad news to reach one of them without my knowledge, because I make them very vulnerable. Lord knows what might happen if word of a death or serious illness in the family reached one of my skirted boys at a particularly bad moment. None of that excuses this, Michael, I should have remembered to tell Marie to stop opening your private mail, but now that I have seen it, I would like an explanation. Obviously, this was the second set of exams you took in November, but why?"
 
 
State Board of Regents of Education December 12

Dear Mr. Nash,

Congratulations. Based on your transcripts from St. Andrews Academy, your performance on the state tests in the subjects you studied in your Home Learning Program under Ms. Thompson, and your exceptional performance on the State Home Learner High School Equivalency Diploma Exam, I am pleased to award you the State Regents Diploma you will find enclosed with this letter. Again, congratulations on a job superbly done.
 
 
The letter was signed by the State Regents Chairman. Michael looked up at her. "I am sorry you had to learn about it this way. I meant to tell you sooner, but I am not returning to St. A's, Aunt Jane. I am staying in this area. I will be taking courses at the University in Kingston during the Spring Term as a non-degree student since this and my SAT's were too late for the application deadline."

"But, but, why?"

"Because St. A's, and the Ivy League school are not my dream now, if they ever truly were. If I have learned anything from you, it is to be absolutely sure I know what I want, and to take responsibility for the actions necessary to achieve that." He turned his face to Karen, a gentle look on his face. "I want to stay here."

Jane nodded. "All right, I can understand that, but what will you do? What will you study? The Ivy League schools are the best business schools in the country, you know."

Michael nodded. "I am going to become a research psychiatrist, Jane. I want to go to Medical School. I want to learn what makes people tick, but mostly, I want to understand what makes me tick."

Jane studied him carefully, trying to understand where this was headed. "This is very sudden, Michael, for such a radical change in plans?"

"About as sudden as the changes in me that happened since June. I knew in September that I did not want to go back to St. A's, I just did not want to admit it, even to myself. So, when I sent off my SAT application, I sent another one off for the state exams. Remember? I needed two checks."

"Where will you stay? It would be hard for you here in this house with the new student and all."

"I have not worked that out, yet."

Karen perked up for the first time. "He could stay in Nana's house. It is just sitting empty now, waiting for me to reach eighteen. He could sort of house sit for me."

Jane nodded. "That would work, I suppose, although you won't be eighteen yourself, yet, Michael." she shrugged. "Well, you will be close enough for me to keep an eye on you." He was STAYING, her mind cheered. For now, that was enough. She realized that it was more to be close to Karen than for her sake, but it was still better than she could have hoped for. Smiling again, she said, "Well, now that that is done, would you like to change for dinner, Michael, or are you starving?"

Smiling, he shook his head. "I need a shower. I think I will change, Aunt Jane." making her smile grow wider.

Later, while Karen saw to getting some coffee made, Jane decided to make use of the opportunity, and asked Michael, now dressed as Michelle, what had started him on his new track.

Michelle flushed, but faced Jane squarely. "I am ashamed to admit, Aunt Jane, that it was a desire for revenge."

That was not what Jane had expected. "Revenge?"

"Yes, on you and your comrades in crime." Michelle sighed, thinking of the carefully laid out plans he had not dared commit to writing. "I had decided that I was always going to have these feminine little habits that you had forced on me and that in an all boys school, those little nuances and movements were going to make my life hell on earth. So, I plotted to be here in the area, so I could watch you, and wait for the opportunity to destroy you." Jane blanched at blunt statement. Michelle saw it and nodded. "Yes, strong words, but that is how I felt, and looking back on it, I could have done it."

"Really, Michelle?" Jane tried to sound dubious, but he was so confident.

"Really, Jane. You are vulnerable, and I don't know why something has not already happened to you. All you have to protect yourself with is the threat of using those pictures, and later on, the good will of your former students. If the threat is insufficient, or if the good will is lacking, or worse, is replaced by a will to do harm, you can be hurt. I was going to wait until I saw you want something really badly. Maybe a lover, or a husband - then I was going to drop everything I knew on the desk of some scandal sheet. You would have been the greatest thing since Heidi Fleis or the Mayflower Madam. Oh, you would not have gone to jail - you had permission to do what you did. But your network of supporters and helpers, the judges, the social workers, Caro, Sandy and the rest - they'd be hurt and hurt badly, personally and professionally. How many society matrons would trust their debutante daughters to a beauty salon or dress shop that participated in such perversions on helpless young men?" He stopped as he saw Jane grimace as his words hit home. "But then, Karen happened, and suddenly, I derived some benefit from being..... not quite so manly. And then David, as Beth, asked me to try for his sake if not for my own. Once I stopped fighting so hard, I started to enjoy it more, but then I started worrying that something was wrong with me. That is when I got hooked on psychology."

"When did you stop wanting to hurt me that way?"

"It started when you let me stay with Karen. A lot happened that night that was wonderful, and none of that would have happened if not for Michelle. Which means if not for you. I started trying to be more objective. I came to the conclusion that you were, for the most part, really trying to help."

"Only 'for the most part', Michael?" her voice soft.

Michael wished he had kept his mouth shut. "Jane, let me answer your question with a question. You don't even have to give me the answer. Can you honestly say that every trick and test was purely for my benefit and not for your own enjoyment of my discomfort and humiliation? Did it have to be that harsh a lesson in each and every case?" Jane wanted to tell him that, of course, everything she had done had simply been the best way to help him, that there was nothing needlessly cruel in her program. But she knew that was not true. Part of her reason for doing this type of work was the pleasure of watching her skirted and pantied little boys deal with the embarrassment and terror that her deliciously evil little games roused in them. Michael came over to kneel in front of her. "I've come to love you, you know. You are the first woman who ever cared enough to be hard on me when I needed it. And that is the final reason I put aside plans for revenge. You were right. Right for and about me, anyway."

"Oh, Michael." Jane's call was a sob, and the two of them clutched at each other, sharing tears. Jane, because he had seen the worst of her, and still loved her; Michael, because she was Jane, and he had been forced to hurt her.

Karen returned carrying the coffee tray. "Hey, what is going on here? Why are you both so upset? What happened?" Quietly, still holding Jane, Michael explained what had happened. Karen slammed the tray down on the coffee table. "Damn it, Michelle, I told you not to tell her that. Go to your room, young lady, get your hairbrush, and bring it to me here." Michael looked at her in shock, not believing what he just heard. "Now, Michelle, unless you want to sleep alone for the next two weeks, you will get that brush and then hustle your cute little butt back down here.", Karen added in the sweetest of tones. Michael hurried from the room and returned with the antique, silver hair brush that Jane had given him. He handed the long handled implement to his lover, eyes downcast. Karen took a seat in one of the Chippendale chairs that sat off to one corner of the room. She gave Michelle a dark look. "You know the position, Michelle, I suggest you assume it unless you want me to add to your punishment."

Jane watched, unbelieving as Michelle slowly walked to Karen and then draped herself over Karen's lap. She really should stop this, but lord, Michelle was blushing furiously and it had been so long since she had last seen that. Then Jane's eyes nearly bugged out when Karen carefully drew Michelle's skirts up over her back and pulled her panties down to her knees. The first stroke landed with a loud splat, and Michelle's squeal of surprise. Jane could not have stopped this now, even if she wanted to.

Which she didn't. Michelle was Karen's now, and she had things well in hand.

Jane stood, and strolled over for a better look. Michelle looked over to see her coming and her face became a darker shade of red. "Well, Michelle, I am pleased to see you still wear proper hosiery and not pantyhose."

"Karen...>Owww< ... likes them better than ..>mmmf<.. pantyhose." Michelle managed to pant out between brush swats. Karen was raining a steady pelter on Michelle's round, hairless bottom.

Jane grinned, thoroughly enjoying the exchange and the spectacle. Tears were starting to make Michelle's mascara run in dark rivulets down her face. Karen looked up at her guardian. "Well, Jane, would you please check for color and heat? See if this bad girl is done yet?"

Pleased with the idea, Jane sauntered up and gave the bright pink globes a thorough inspection. When she laid her hand on one, the coolness of her hand made Michelle jump in pained surprise. An evil twinkle in Karen's eyes told Jane the required response. What fun! "Well, darling, that place there," she said running a single nail along the sensitive, burning flesh. My, my, my. she thought, how it quivered. "Is not nearly as colorful or as hot as the rest of her. And of course, no part of her bottom is as colorful as her sweet face."

Karen proffered the brush to Jane, handle first. "Would you like to correct the omission, Jane?"

Jane was sorely tempted, and might have taken Karen up on the offer had it not been for the conversation that precipitated this. It was one thing to be spanked sensuously by your lover. It was another thing entirely for it to come from someone you have just begun to trust after a rough start. "No, thank you, dear, I would rather just watch and enjoy the, ummm, color and pageantry."

Karen began to spank again in earnest, and finished with a flurry of ten strong strokes that left Michelle broken and in tears. Without being asked, Jane again rested her hand on the burning bottom, letting the coolness of her touch bring some comfort.

"Michelle, I want you to get up, now, and go fix your face. Come right back here when you are done." Michelle rose and quickly turned to face away from Jane. This put his front directly towards Karen. Her mouth went open and then she grinned. "Ooooooo, Michelle, what do we have here?" Jane saw Karen reach up to grip something just below Michelle's waist and then heard Michelle's groan of frustration and pleasure. It was Jane's turn to blush. "Well, I am certainly not going to do anything about that right now, you naughty thing, but you might as well leave those panties behind. There is no way you are going to get them on over THAT!"

Blushing furiously, Michelle slipped off the satin bikini and moved towards the door, keeping his back to Jane. Karen called out. "Michelle? Sweetie? You better not do anything about that swelling, either. Its all mine. I've earned it." Michelle almost ran from the room. Both women sat down, laughing giddily.

When they calmed a bit, Jane turned to Karen. "You did not have to spank him over that, dear. Really, I asked him."

Karen shrugged. " I asked him to leave that alone, Jane. He did not have to tell you, even if you asked. Don't worry about it. It is okay. Besides, a good spanking makes him horny as hell." she added with an anticipatory smile.

Jane nodded. "So I gathered."

Karen continued. "And another thing, it will give him back a bit of the humility he's lost lately."

Jane considered that. "He was not being mean, Karen, not really. In his own way, I think he was trying to make me see, without telling me directly, how vulnerable I and my little cadre could be to a really determined student. And Michael would have been very determined, I think, had he not been lucky enough to find you. I think I really needed to hear that from him. If only to reconsider the possible ramifications of what I do with my charges." Jane's pensive look gave way to an almost girlish, conspiratorial grin. "Would you really have denied him your favors for two whole weeks, Karen?" Jane knew that the two rarely slept apart, and had convinced herself that they were that rare breed - a life bonded pair.

"Good thing we don't have to find out, huh?", Karen chuckled.

A thought occurred to Jane, "Dear, suppose he decides that you need some, ummm, not so gentle correction directly to the seat of a problem? He is big enough to do it. Quite well, too, I should think."

Karen thought about that concept for a moment, and then a very feline, very sexy feminine grin lit her face. "Oh, I do hope you're right, Jane, and soon, too." Michelle came back into the room to find his two favorite women giggling helplessly in each other's arms on the sofa.

Christmas Eve dawned with a touch of frost and a promise of snow in the air. Jane had been up and working in her study for several hours, when the phone rang. She answered it, listened, and then began to plan.

At lunch, she told the two teens of the call. "So, Dennis Luchessi will be joining me after the New Year. I suspect I will call him DeeDee." she said thoughtfully. Karen, who knew that this case had been on and off several times in the past month asked how she could be sure of that arrival after so many false starts. "Well, it seems that he lost his control again, this time he struck a teacher and scared her badly. The principal expelled him, but the teacher brought charges against him. It was the final straw, even for his Mother. I put her in touch with a judge who works with me, and he has been given the choice. A few weeks, which of course will be months, with me, or reform school."

Michelle had kept quiet through Jane's explanation, but then bellowed. "He struck a woman, and you are going to have him here? In your home? Alone???" Michael had made no effort to use his 'Michelle' voice, surprising both women with the vehemence of his outburst.

Jane tried to soothe him. "Well, certainly, Michelle. I have had students with a violent past, before. Once they have their little outburst, like you did, they get the faces smacked and they get with the program."

"Suppose he hits you back, Jane? Have you considered that?"

"You did not, dear. Don't worry so."

"I do worry. I nearly belted you when you finger whipped me. Only seventeen years of training as a gentleman stopped me. He, obviously, does not have that training. And another thing. When you pulled that stunt on me, David was behind me, and I guarantee he was ready to jump me from behind if I even looked like I was going after you. Karen is tough, but she is not going to be a match for a young male in a rage, which he will be in at that point."

"Well, I take your point, Michelle, but what do you suggest I do? I have already told the judge I will take him on. I do not go back on my commitments."

Michelle gave a thoroughly unladylike snort. "No. You wouldn't, would you. I guess the only thing for it is for me to stay on as 'big sister' in residence, at least until you get him past the first hurdles. When he is ready for solo, I will leave like David did and go stay at Nana's house. But, you have to promise that you won't do any of the rough stuff unless I am there."

Jane looked at him, unbelievingly. "But what about the University? Your schooling?"

Michelle shrugged. "I got my schedule in the mail today. All my classes are between ten am and two in the afternoon. I can leave as Michelle, change at Nana's and go to school. Then, I reverse the process on the way home." He grinned. "I may need some more wigs so that Sandy can style them instead of me, and some of those fake eyebrows."

"I can't believe you are even considering this." Jane said in amazement.

"I love you both. Did you know that the original meaning of 'husband' was care giver?" His warm eyes fell on Karen. "I have to take care of you two or not be true to that love." He pulled two small, gaily gift wrapped boxes from beneath his chair. " I was going to give you these tomorrow, but now seems more appropriate." He handed one to each of the women. Jane opened her's first. Inside was a ring with three stones, two green peridot gems flanking a diamond in the center of the setting. Jane looked up, tears in her eyes. "That is a Mother's Ring, Jane, with three stones indicating three children. The diamond is Karen's birth stone, and the peridot are Michael's and Michelle's." Jane's hug nearly strangled him, and she held on for what seemed like an eternity.

Karen's cough brought them back. "May I open mine, now?" she said with some asperity. Michael nodded, and she tore open the paper. Another ring, this one with a solitaire diamond in a simple gold setting. Her eyes flew to Michael who knelt down on one knee in front of her.

"Karen, I love you. Please marry me." A shouted yes answered him as she scrambled out of her seat and knocked him on to his back on the floor. When Jane finally helped the pair to their feet, she was chuckling.

"Michael, do you realize, that you just proposed in skirts, to a woman wearing pants? Whatever will you tell your grandchildren?"

"That she said yes, of course." he dead panned.

It was the end of January; DeeDee had been living with Jane and the two teens for almost four weeks. She had made incredible progress. Never had Jane seen a boy work so hard, or perfect the attitudes and intricacies of his new, petticoated and skirted condition so quickly. And not once, even when she had pushed very hard, had DeeDee shown the inclination for violence that had sealed her fate and brought her to Jane. Today, however, Jane had gotten a hint of something that might explain what was going on. She called to Karen and asked her ward to come into the study.

Once they were behind closed doors, Jane asked. "All right, Karen. What did Michael threaten DeeDee with that has her nearly peeing her knickers? She angered me today, and when I told her she would be punished, she burst in tears and begged me not to punish her like I had Michelle."

Karen gave Jane what she hoped was a confused stare. "Michael, Jane? Threats?"

Gotcha, thought Jane. "Yes, dear. Michael. Threats. And don't try to lie. You aren't good enough at it, yet."

Karen sighed. "Oh, all right. Michael did not know if you could resist pushing DeeDee too hard without him here to be your knight in shining satin. So he improvised a little." Jane said nothing, but lifted her brow and gave a "come on" movement with her hands. "He told DeeDee that the reason he leaves the house every day is to go to school because he hit you, and you would not let him stay at home for school anymore."

"I see, and where, pray tell, is he going to school?"

"The all girls school over in Newport." she said quickly. "He also said that he had to take gym classes from a sadistic woman gym teacher who found out he is really a boy, so his life there was pure hell. He told DeeDee that his only other choice was to go to reform school, same as DeeDee, with his face still prettied up and his hair all styled." Karen's voice was low and conspiratorial. "I understand that, at that point, DeeDee turned white and then ran to the bathroom as fast as her skirts would permit."

Jane shook her head. "Oh, lord. And he said I was mean and devious. That stinker. No wonder DeeDee is being so good. Hell, I wish I had thought of it myself."
 
 
Epilogue: Five years later
 
The huge mansion was a show place. Rows of chairs, separated down the middle to make a center aisle had been set up on the lawn. A canopied alter had been arranged at the head of the aisle, alongside a piano that Marie was playing background music on.

Michael, no, make that Dr. Michael Nash, psychiatric resident at Children's Hospital, made his way to the altar. He was accompanied by David, who stood beside his friend as they turned to face the assembled crowd. Marie broke into the opening bars of the Wedding March, and everyone turned to face the rear of the aisle.

A lovely young black girl led Miss Karen Austin toward the altar. Actually, that girl was Jane's first African American student. Before coming to her, Tyrone, now Tyna, Davis had been a smallish boy, who'd been trapped in a gang environment. He'd been forced again and again to prove his toughness, and the violence had been escalating. His mother was a nurse, a colleague of Mrs. Bedford who had referred the mother to Jane. Tyna looked lovely, and only she thought everyone would recognize the black pixie with crown of braided curls, as a local boy. Today would definitely be the beginning of the end for this student. Two birds with one stone - a marriage and a break through - a good days work all around.

The service was traditional, and if *all* the members of the official party were wearing identical lingerie, well, that was a special secret Jane would hug to herself. She knew because she'd been asked to choose the undies. By Michelle, no less. Of course, she might have chosen something a little less..... confining than the lace up, steel boned corselette if she had known that Karen and Michael would give her one to wear. "You will be part of the official party, won't you Auntie Jane?" had been Michelle's response to Jane's near refusal to wear the damn thing.

With the start of the service, she went over to the bride's side of the aisle, and gently helped an older lady to walk down to stand behind the bride and groom. The minister looked up and asked, "Who gives this woman to be wedded to this man?"

Nana answered in a surprisingly strong voice. "I, her Grandmother, do." Jane wished the girl's father could be there, but he had died in a terrorist attack in the Middle East two years ago. But it was wonderful that Nana had lived long enough to be here and share this day. She had taken the transformation of her granddaughter's friend "Michelle" into her granddaughter's fiance' "Michael" with surprising good humor and acceptance. Confidentially, she had told Jane that her Mother had used similar trials on Nana's brother, and that it was too bad Nana had not petticoated Karen's father a few times. "Might have made him a more caring human being and a father instead merely being the source of the sperm that created her."

The minister grimaced, shook his head, then asked. "Who gives this man to be wedded to this woman?" Barb had been invited, but was too busy partying in Fiji.

Jane answered. "I, his Aunt Jane, do."

Michael spoke up, surprising everyone but Karen, "And she is one who is Mother to me in all but the matter of my birth." That did it. Jane spent the rest of the ceremony in happy tears.
 
 
A letter from Ms. Jane Thompson....
 
 
June 15

Barbara,

Once again, you have proven yourself a fool. The boy you gave birth to, my son, was married today. He was sad that you could not find time in your busy schedule to celebrate his union. Thought you should know that. I find it hard to believe that I ever called you friend. Stupidity of youth, I guess.

You have chosen your life. I wish you joy of it. It won't match what I have, though. You see, Michael and Karen just told me that I am going to be a grandmother in a few months. Of course, they will continue to live here as it is their home. That will naturally curtail my activities with my young men, but I think that the prize is more than worth that price.

Goodbye, Barb. I won't contact you again.

Jane Thompson
 
 
Jane knew she would miss her petticoating games, but all good things eventually end. Jane looked up from her letter as Michael knocked on the open door. "Aunt Jane, Karen and I are about to leave." He entered the room and swept her into a fierce hug. A tall, dignified, relatively slender man with gentle eyes and graying hair followed him in and waited patiently while the two embraced. In hitching voices, they promised to be careful while the other was not there to look after them. When they broke apart, Michael remembered his mission. Turning to the man, he introduced him as "Dr. Edwin Markov, my thesis advisor and mentor at Brown Medical School. Edwin, this is my Aunt Jane who taught me everything about, well, you know." Jane's brows shot up in surprise, looking first at her suddenly fidgety Michael, and then at the self assured man in front of her.

His voice was soft, "Yes, Michael, I do know." He put out a well manicured hand which she took in hers. A frisson of heat curled in her belly as she looked again at the handsome man standing beside her son. Something about him pulled at her. "A pleasure, Ms. Thompson. You can be very proud of your Michael. His unique background and training will make him an outstanding research psychiatric physician."

Unique background and training? Confused, Jane tried to read the man, and then, it hit her. His eyes! The brows were fine - very fine, and beautifully arched; the lashes long and unusually full. Someone had spent a lot of time shaping those brows and lashes. Jane's gaze shifted to Michael who blew her a kiss as he quietly slipped out of the room. Then Dr. Markov gallantly kissed the hand he still held. "A lovely room, Ms. Thompson. You have some beautiful antiques in here. Victorian, I believe? I understand from Michael that you are a student of Victorian England and its practices. I would love to discuss it with you, as I have something of an interest in that period, myself.

Jane shivered deliciously, and silently thanked Michael for his not-so-subtle attempt at matchmaking. Maybe good things did not have to end. Maybe, sometimes, good things just grew up and matured into something even better. She was suddenly excited about the future again.

The end?
 
 
End of Second Season



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