Alexa Chapter 3: Let’s Do This
I could hear the sound of an alarm in the background. I try to open my eyes but all I see is a mass of hair in front of them. It’s brown in color so it has me monetarily confused. Then the throbbing begins. Why did we drink so much last night? Why am I in bed with Katie and why is there a cat laying on my head? All questions my hungover brain does not want to answer. Next to me I hear a load groan as the alarm is shut off. Well at least Katie is in bad shape too.
“Good morning Alexa,” Katie says as she begins to straighten the wig on my head. “I don’t think you are allowed to come over anymore if I am going to feel like this in the morning” she says with a weary smile on her face.
“I don’t think I want to anymore” I groan clearly feeling the effects of last night’s events. How much wine did we drink? It is then that the other events start to come crashing into my mind. I allowed my best friend and her roommate to dress me up in women’s clothes and put make up on me and I didn’t stop them! It seemed so natural that I even walked across the hall to my apartment while I was dressed. One of our neighbors could have seen me and I would have been the talk of the building. What was I thinking? My life as I know it could have been over!
But then I thought about how much fun it was. How good I looked when I was dressed in that simple but beautiful dress. How I seemed to fit in with Jenny and Katie, like I was one of the girls. How I seemed to open up as a person. I was no longer the anonymous guy scared of everything. It was incredible! I felt alive while I was dressed. I felt I belong for the first time. It felt so…. natural. And that was where the dilemma began. How was I going to handle today? Was I really going to dress up again and go OUT in public? The butterflies start their circling pattern in my stomach. Between them and my head I feel like I am going to throw up. I lay back down and try and take stock of what is happening.
I think Katie senses my confusion. She tells me lay in bed for a minute. I hear her brushing her teeth and I decide that sounds good. After I hear noises from the other part of the apartment I grab the robe Katie left on the bed for me and replace her in the bathroom and take care of my morning needs.
When I am done, I move out towards the kitchen. I find Katie sitting at the table nursing a cup of coffee and looking at a piece of paper. I grab myself a cup of coffee and join her at the table. After the first sip I begin to gain my senses. I ask Katie what the piece of paper is. “Orders from General Jenny. I am to get you to take a shower here using our things so you smell more like a girl and have you ready for her to make over again when she gets back from class.” I ask her what time that was and I am informed that she should be back about 10:30. Looking at the clock on the microwave it is 9:40, I think. The numbers seem a little blurry. I relax a second thinking that I have plenty of time.
Boy was I wrong. Katie begins pulling me out of the chair and pushing me towards the bathroom. “I got plenty of time what’s the rush?” I ask.
Katie responds to my inquiry. “You know Jenny. When she says she wants you ready at 10:30, she wants you siting there waiting for her with all tasks completed. We need to get moving.” I allow Katie to drag me to the bathroom. Katie turns on the shower and tells me to strip and get into the shower. Even after everything that had happened yesterday, I still feel a little odd about disrobing in front of her.
“Turn around” I tell her. Katie laughs at this suggestion but does so to humor me. I get out of the nightgown and jump into the shower. Before I can get under the water I realize I still have the wig on and hand it through the curtain to Katie.
Katie starts telling me what to do. “Even though it doesn’t matter, you are to use our shampoo and conditioner. Use the stuff in the purple bottles. You are also supposed to shave nice and close. And check your legs.”
I hear her close the door and I begin the chores as I am assigned. I wash my hair and then use the conditioner. I reach for the soap and begin washing. It does smell better than my Irish Spring. I might have to switch brands. I finish all my assigned tasks. Touching up a few spots on my legs and finish the shower. I shave closely again. I look around again and realize I have nothing to put on. I yell out to Katie for a little help. She walks in and hands me the robe I had worn earlier. She tells me that she has laid out some clean underwear on the bed and brushed out my wig. “Put on your bra and panties and wait in the living room. Don’t forget your boobs either. I move off and get dressed. The anticipation of putting on the lingerie is exciting. I think even more exciting than yesterday. I get the garments on and situate the breast forms in the bra cups. I place the wig on my head, put the robe on and move out to the living room and wait.
Katie joins me about 15 minutes’ latter dressed and ready for class. “You look all ready for the General. I have to go to class, are you going to be OK here by yourself?” I nod my head. Apprehension running through my body. Katie takes a seat next to me and looks at me. “You are a really great guy for doing this Alex-a.” Katie says. “Are you holding up OK?
I have to pause and think about it before I can answer. I could lie and shrug it off but this is my best friend. “I think so.” I reply. “It is weird. I dreamed of dressing like this but never imagined how great it would feel. I also never dreamed that I would be doing it with the guidance of two beautiful girls.”
Katie blushes at my comments and give me a hug. “God, I wish I didn’t have class. I really want to help make you up again! I should skip.” I tell her not to. School is more important than this I tell her. I really didn’t care if she skipped or not. I just wanted some time alone to think about the situation. I shoo Katie out the door.
I grab another cup of coffee and begin to review the last 18 hours. How I went through maybe one of the most embarrassing moments of my life when the girl I had a secret crush on informed me that she knew I had crossdressed in the past. How I then was able to live out my dream and allowed myself to be dressed as a woman. I remember the elation I felt but I also remember the nervousness I had as I was led to the mirror for my unveiling. I think that was the point the butterflies went back into their cocoons. It seemed like this is who I was. I proved that when I made the dash for my apartment. But now looking back on this I realized that everything that happened was proving a point to me. The makeup, the clothes, the friendship was something I always wanted. I felt alive! But could I continue on my own? Would I be able to continue this way? I knew that I would probably lose my family if I did, but did I care? I had never had a problem with my mother but would she accept me this way? Would she be allowed to? I know that Dick-head would lose his mind over this and I’m pretty sure so would my brothers. But did I care? Was I meant to live my life the way they wanted me to? I was very confused.
Luckily I didn’t have much time to ponder these questions. Jen came flying through the door like a tornado. She seemed excited to begin the second day of her project, but she seems much more serious. Maybe she is still hung over. “Good morning Alex-a”, she says as she sits down opposite me, “are you ready to get started on round 2?” I can sense a little concern in her voice as she asks me. I wonder what happened between last night and this morning?
I nod my head yes, but apprehensively. The idea of going in public is still causing me to be nervous. I want to help Jenny in her project but keep wondering what the consequences will be. Will I really look the part when I am out? Will I be laughed at by people as they realize I am a guy? Is this whole thing going to affect my relationship with Katie and Jenny? Of all of the questions I have this is the one that nags at me the most. I’m not just talking about my secret crush on Jen but also my closeness with Katie. Even after what she said last night I can’t help but feel she will look at me in a different light. I suddenly feel the need to express some of my concerns to Jenny.
“I think I’m ready, but can ask you something Jenny?” A look of apprehension come across Jenny’s face as I say this. She almost looks terrified.
“Sure” she manages to say weakly.
I take this as a cue that I need to tread lightly. Taking a deep breath, I ask “What do you think about everything that happened last night?” I felt the question was vague enough to allow her to express her feelings without going too deep.
Jenny thinks for a minute before responding. “Actually I though it went well. I was able to observe how dressing you affected not only how you moved but also how you interacted with both Katie and I. I think I was able to gauge your reaction to situations that presented themselves to you. All in all, I thought it was a good beginning.” The clinical response that Jenny gave me really threw me. I was hoping it would be something a little more personal. Maybe I am just a lab rat to her. I begin to question my resolve in helping her but remember I said I would do it. I do not want to disappoint Jenny even though I now feel that any shot of being with her has gone down the tubes.
Trying to hide my disappointment and apprehension, I nod. I can tell that Jenny seems a little uncomfortable after our conversation. Trying to diffuse the tension, she stands up with what looks like a forced smile and says “Ok then, let’s get started.” Jenny motions me to her bedroom to begin the transformation. Sitting in the chair she begins applying the make up to me. “I’m going to try and make this a little lighter today. More natural for a girl our age.” When she completes her task she grabs a couple of bags from off the floor.
“Oh we are finally going to tap into yesterday’s purchases?” I ask trying to add a little smart ass tone to hopefully diffuse the tense feeling.
Jenny giggles at my comment., “Yes, we are going to try some of the purchases today, smart ass.” I feel a little better that Jenny giggled. She seemed so conflicted earlier. She hands me a skirt and what looks like a long sleeve sweater to put on. Before I can begin putting them on, Jenny yells out for me to wait and runs out of the room. She returns seconds later holding the pantyhose I had worn last night. “Hopefully you and Katie didn’t put a run in these last night.” She says with a smile but of with kind of an accusational tone. Was that it? Was she jealous of me and Katie?
After putting on the pantyhose and checking for runs, which thankfully there are none, I put on the skirt. The skirt is black and after I get it on and adjusted properly I notice the length. It is not any shorter than what Jenny typically wears but to me I feel completely exposed as I realize that it stops just above my knees.
“Don’t worry about the length. We are going to work on dealing with that. It looks good on you. You have the legs to pull it off.” Jenny reassures me. Then she hands me the top. Like I said the grey top looks like a sweater but feels so much lighter and softer. Jenny helps me put it on without disturbing my wig and make up. The top barely covers my stomach, reaching to just my waist. I have the same feeling I did as I put on the skirt but just roll with it. Jenny then produces what to me is a simple pair of women’s shoes, black in color with a heel of only a couple of inches. Jenny begins in, “First lesson of the day, these are called pumps. They are one of the most common shoes you will see women wear. If you get nothing out of this experience you will at least know what your girlfriend is talking about in shoes and clothes.” I take the offered shoes and sit down and place them on my feet. They are a little tight but seem to fit OK. I stand up, and walk towards the mirror to check myself out.
Any of the apprehension I was feeling seemed to melt away as I look at myself in the mirror. I look even more natural than I did last night. More importantly I feel more natural than I did last night. The image in the mirror is one of a typical college student. Sure she is a little more dressed up than some of the other girls you see roaming Dinkytown but would not look out of place going into McDonald’s or Caribou on a typical day.
I looked closer at the face today than I did last night, I notice that my features do not seem overly masculine. My jawline doesn’t seem as square and I do not have a large nose. I wonder if I looked this feminine when I am Alex. I start to wonder about this and try to remember what I looked like. I get scared at this point. Am I forgetting Alex? It hasn’t even been a full day? Is the person in the mirror really what I am? I start to feel ill and look for a place to sit down.
Jenny realizes what is going on and rushes to help me sit down on her bed. The concern is evident in her voice. “Alex are you OK?”
I nod my head and look at her. The concern she has in her eyes is even more powerful than that of her voice. She seems scared. I can’t believe that the girl I had a secret crush on can feel such empathy for me. The look shakes me out of my minor panic attack. I feel reinvigorated by her concern. Maybe there is a chance for us I start to think. I gain my composure and stand back up.
“Thanks Jenny. I just started to get a little scarred. The last couple of days have just been a little overwhelming.” I say. “But there is one thing.” I add
What’s that?” Jenny asks.
“It’s Alexa not Alex.” I state confidently.
Jenny jumps off the bed and gives me a big hug. Laughing as she does it and apologizing for calling the wrong name. We both start giggling. But as we move to the living room I still can’t shake thinking about how much I truly look like a woman. Is this why I always had trouble with girls? I had never really been able to keep a girlfriend for more than a couple of weeks. Most of the time it ended with the classic “it’s not you it’s me” break up from these girls. I don’t think I ever broke up with anyone, I always got dumped.
I also wonder about my relationships with guys. I never really had that many close male friends. I wasn’t bullied or anything like that. I always got along with everyone but I never really hung out with a group of guys. I always thought it was because I was kind of a nerd not a jock, even though I tried. I was on the football team but was always too small to play in a game except at garbage time. I never really gave it any thought because I had Katie but now I start replaying High School in my head before I am interrupted by Jenny.
“Alexa are you sure you are OK?” Jenny inquires.
“Yeah, I mean yes.” I reply. “I’m sorry just thinking of something.” Hopefully that will dissuade her enough to drop it, but I can tell that is not going to happen by the look on her face.
“Alex-a, sit down we need to talk.” I shake a little as she says this.
I sit down on the couch across from Jenny and try and gauge what is on her mind. Her expression is almost completely blank. I try to adjust myself with the skirt. I remember seeing many girls always smoothing their skirt before they sit, so I stand back up and try and keep the back smooth as I re-take my seat. I keep my legs close together as I try to find a comfortable way to sit.
As I finally get situated, Jenny starts in. “Alex, sorry Alexa, I want to ask you a few things about how you are feeling. Not only about last night but this morning as well.”
Even though I knew this question was coming I didn’t know how to respond. I was torn between telling Jenny the truth and lying. How could I tell the woman I had a secret crush on that when she dressed me I felt like a new person. A person who was nothing like the person I had been for the last 21 years of my life. How the loneliness and fear had drained away and a vibrant woman had replaced that person. OR did I just tell her it felt weird. I summon up my courage and began speaking.
“I really don’t know how to completely answer that. I have thought about it all morning, but I...” The words did not want to come out. “I enjoyed it, I guess.” I feel the butterflies begin a bombing run in my stomach. Is this the time to ‘man’ up and state my true feelings? I try and press on with my answer choosing my words carefully. “The clothes felt great but it’s what is going through my head that is causing me some issues.”
“Such as?” Jenny asks.
Now I am really nervous. Between the butterflies, the coffee and the remnants of last night’s wine I begin to feel sick. I race to the bathroom and empty what little I have in my stomach. Why is this happening? Why am I so nervous? Jenny runs after me and holds my head as I try and empty myself. I thank her and excuse myself and brush my teeth again and look for some mouthwash. As Jenny leaves I stare at myself in the mirror. I decide right there what I need to do and head back to the living room and return to my seat.
I can see that Jenny has a look of concern in her eyes. I still can’t help but be attracted to them and the resolve of my decision just seconds ago seems to begin to melt. Before I make a comment, Jenny begins talking.
“Alexa, would it help if I tell you what I have observed?” I nod my head silently as Jenny begins her comments. “Alexa there two areas I have watched. The crazy part of all this is how intertwined they have become. The whole goal was to see how someone would react when they were dressed in the clothes of the opposite gender. Once Katie and I had gotten you dressed and put make up on you I noticed little differences in how you act. Your movements were a little more, ‘dainty’ for lack of a better term, more feminine. You carried yourself a little differently than you would as a guy. I think putting you in the situation proves my theory about wearing women’s clothe not only changes movement but attitude and will work great for my paper. You were a great ‘lab rat’”. Jenny finishes, giggling as she says lab rat.
I actually giggled at that too. “I always knew you thought of me as nothing more than a lab rat.” I reply, enjoying the levity.
As I am laughing I notice a different look in Jenny’s eyes. It is not one of concern but one more of questioning. It makes the situation a little tense again. I control myself but notice that Jenny is starting to look around again like she did yesterday when the “Great Experiment” began. After a few seconds of silence Jenny looks directly at me, but I can tell she is having a difficult time.
Almost reluctantly Jenny asks, “Can we talk about you and what is going on in your mind?” As she says this she begins to lower her eyes, almost as if she is embarrassed by her words. Why would she be embarrassed? I am the guy sitting here in a dress! I should be as red as a fire truck!
I try and collect my thoughts. I ask her. “Does me being dressed like this bother you? She shakes her head. I almost think she is crying. Now is the time that I lay it on the line. As much as I am in love with her, I know I have to be true to myself. “I can’t believe how great this has felt.” I say. “This is something I have always dreamed about but was never strong enough to do on my own. What do you think of what has happened?”
Jenny slowly raise her head. Her eyes are red; she has been crying. She looks directly at me and begins speaking. “I didn’t know how you would react to all this but I am in complete shock at what happened. It was like the moment you put on the dress you came out of your shell. Don’t get me wrong, you were always a nice guy but you were kind of a loser., no offense. Always sitting at home playing your stupid video games or when you did go out you seemed to be sulking the whole time. But Alexa is completely different than Alex. You joined in, heck you even took command in the kitchen. I have never seen Alex do that. I have been walking around in shock since last night. If I hadn’t seen it for myself I wouldn’t have believed that it was the same person.”
There is the comment that now has me confused. Are Alex and Alexa the same person? Are they siblings? The yin and yang of my personality? That is where I am confused. Where is Katie when I need her. I need to talk this out and the only person available is part of the issue. I take a deep breath and try to begin. “When I saw myself for the first time last night, something inside of me changed. I don’t think that it was just the fact I was wearing women’s clothes. When I looked at myself it felt...” Before I could get out the word I wanted Jenny completed my sentence.
I nod my head in shame. Jenny runs over and hugs me tightly as I begin to lose it. I begin to try and speak through my sobbing. “I don’t know what happened. I had liked wearing my mother’s things and dreamt of trying it but yesterday it was like an explosion. I wasn’t Alex anymore I was ALEXA!” The tears are streaming even faster. I look at Jenny who is holding me and tears are streaming down her face. I try and use every ounce of energy I have but still can’t stop myself from saying “You think I’m a freak don’t you.”
I feel Jenny move away from me. Now I’ve done it. I’ve alienated a friend because of this dream and then before I can begin to want to kill myself I hear Jenny say something I never thought I would hear.
“I love Alexa; why would I think you are a freak?”
Jenny envelops me with a tight hug. What did she say? She loves Alexa? I’m sure it is just a platonic love but she said she loved me. ALEXA! My head starts spinning and the tears begin again. We hold each other for several minutes as we both try and calm ourselves. Jenny’s revelation, though not what I hoped, empowers me. I give Jenny a light kiss on the cheek. I wanted to do more but one step at a time.
I finally get control of myself and lightly ease Jenny back so I can look at her. Jenny looks up at me with those red, tear filled eyes and says. “Surprised?” I stare at her in disbelief as she goes on after a second. “When I met Alexa for the first time yesterday I knew that the real you had come out. Alex was always a friend, but Alexa is so much more. She is confident, she is funny, she is engaging and a very warm person. I had more fun last night hanging with her and her sister Katie than I have had in a long time.”
I hear her but not really. All that is repeating in my head is that she loves me. ME.
Jenny giggles a little bit, “Another thing I liked about Alexa is she is pretty daring., Running across the hall like that! Alex would have never gotten near the door, let alone through it.”
I start giggling and lead Jenny down the road to more giggling. We gain our composure after a few minutes and it is finally my turn to talk again. “I can’t believe I did that either! I did it so nonchalantly. I can’t thank you and Katie enough for last night. You made a dream come true.”
Jenny thanks me for what I have said. “It was not a problem. It was great to see you so happy. But can we talk a little more about what is going on?”
Here comes the nervousness again, “Ah, sure.” I reply, not knowing where she is headed.
Jenny takes a deep breath and begins in “When I watched you yesterday it was so natural. Even this morning when you sat down. You realized it was not comfortable in the skirt when you sat down and you got up and smoothed out the skirt like all girls have been trained to do since the beginning of time. And I have noticed how you carry yourself. You need a little help in how you walk, but you carry your head high and you walk with confidence. Do you feel that you are acting different?
“I do,” I reply. “I feel so different. I know I am the same person but I feel so, normal dressed like this. I don’t understand this.”
Jenny sits back and thinks for a moment. “How about we change the plan a little. Rather than putting you through little scenarios here and there, how about you stay as ‘Alexa’ all week end? We are still going to do the things I said but we will play it by ear and see what happens, but you will be Alexa the whole time. Are you game?”
I think for a minute, this what I always wanted, but was I willing to do it for a whole weekend? And how was this going to affect what I felt for Jenny? I was scared of all these things and a whole lot more but the chance to live out a fantasy seemed to far outweigh any of the fears. “Let’s do this.” I say.
The reaction form Jenny at first was one of pure joy and excitement. She started babbling on about the things we needed to do. “First we are going to get you to work on your movements and mannerisms. We need to get you to a point where you are doing this almost naturally. Then we will work on your voice. Then we will go out. Shopping maybe out to dinner. We will play it by ear.”
So for the next few hours we work on my walk, my voice and my mannerisms. I never knew how much work it would take to really pull this off. I didn’t need to do much work on my walk, just a reminder to place one in front of the other a l and to remember to let the ball of my foot to hit first. Jenny had me soften my voice a little and she worked with me at speaking at a different octave. Actually that came a little easier. I kind of sound sultry. Mannerisms were the worst. Jenny kept catching at how I stood and how I placed my hands. A couple of hours’ instruction was never going to take away 21 years of habit but as time went by I was getting better. The only real problem I was having was there seemed to be the tension in the room when we were taking a break from my ‘training’. It was like Jenny had a hard time looking at me face to face. At one such break I sat down and Jenny went to get us more coffee from the kitchen when Katie came crashing through the door.
“How is my sister doing this afternoon. Is the General working you hard?” Katie asks.
“I heard that.” Jenny says as she comes walking back into the living room with the pot of coffee and a cup for Katie. “We have been working hard all day. I think that Alexa is ready for her first adventure.”
Katie is completely excited. So is Jenny. I watch Jenny as she hands Katie her cup and as she freshens each of our coffees. There seems to be a change in her. The awkwardness that seemed to be there before is gone. She looks right at me and I do not see any apprehension in her. I wonder what that means? It has me rather confused.
“So where should we go?” Jenny asks.
“We definitely need to take Alexa shopping. If she is going to be a woman, she needs to learn our favorite sport.” Katie answers. “My only issue is I have to work at 5:00.” Katie is a waitress at a fairly nice restaurant downtown. She loves it and has tried to get me to apply there as a cook many times.
“Bring your uniform and we will drop you off. Heck maybe we will even eat there tonight.” Jenny tells Katie. I freeze as I hear these words. It would one thing to go shopping somewhere where I could blend in, but to be seated some where people have a chance to review what I look like scares me. Before I can even object, Katie stands up and grabs my arm.
‘Give me a second to change and I will be ready. I am going have Alexa help me.” Katie replies as she drags me to her bedroom. Once again I find myself sitting in Katie’s room. Just her and I. As Katie is getting changed she says to me. ‘I dragged you in here because I wanted to see how it is going? Did it go OK this morning? Jenny wasn’t too much of a task master was she?”
I recount the events of the morning, including the vomiting incident. Katie shows genuine concern. I start to try and tell her about my feelings and what is going through my head when a loud command to get moving comes from the ‘General’.
“Will you two quit gossiping and get a move on it! Katie doesn’t have much time.”
Katie finishes dressing and grabs her uniform for work. We head down stairs and all get into Jenny’s Camary. “Where should we go?” Jenny asks.
“I think we should go to Ridgedale. It’s not too far away and has plenty of stores that we like. Plus, it’s not too busy and far enough away we probably won’t run in to anyone from school. But first I am starving, let’s get some lunch.” Katie responds.
“You are always starving.”
That comment came from my mouth! If it would have just been Katie and I, that would be a normal comment. But with Jenny included in our group, I tended to be a little quieter. Was this part of the change I experienced last night? I wasn’t quite sure. Katie turns to me in the back seat and stares at me for a second in confusion and then starts laughing.
Jenny for her part begins laughing as well. “Alexa is correct; you are always starving Katie. How do you stay so thin with as much as you eat?”
“Katie has always been like this. I have seen eat a whole pizza by herself and think nothing of it. How do you do it Katie?” I question form the back seat. I’m starting to get this girl thing I think.
An evil glance is shot my way, then giggling by Katie. “I really don’t know. I don’t stick my finger down my throat. I guess it’s my metabolism. And no one was supposed to know about that Ms. Alexa “I can eat a bucket of KFC” Quinn.” The giggling is nonstop. I knew then and there that the full friend teasing has begun.
‘Well there is no way I can eat as much as you two, so I am going to take us to somewhere a little more my style. How about we go to Ruby’s?”
“I’m up for that. They have a great Soup and Salad Bar. That sound good to you Alexa?” Katie asks me.
Feeling trapped I agree. I look out the car and realize I have about 10 minutes to summon the courage to enter into the real world. Can I do this? The interesting part of all this is there does not seem to be as many butterflies in my stomach as there was earlier in the day. Am I starting to get that comfortable as Alexa? As we pull up to the restaurant and get out, Katie pulls me aside and tells me to just follow her lead. The three of us head into the restaurant and are seated quickly.
As we take our seats, I look around. The restaurant is fairly empty. What appears to be a few business lunches, a couple of young mothers with their children and the three of us. I feel a little more relaxed. The waitress takes our order and I begin to try and settle into my role. The girls and I sit and chat about everything and about nothing. Both girls marvel at how relaxed I seem. If they only knew that I was terrified I was inside. I try not to be obvious, but I am continually looking around. Constantly worried that I have been read.
The lunch and conversation seem completely normal, even though I am constantly being tutored on how girls eat. Katie is her usual bubbly self, but it is Jenny’s demeanor that is surprising to me. Gone is the awkwardness of the morning. Jenny seems to be back to her normal self. When our eyes meet now, the is only friendship and caring. The other thing I notice as I look at her is that the sadness seems more distant than ever. She seems truly happy. This is so different than she has been in the past. What has changed since yesterday? I can’t say that it really bothers me. I love to see the joy in those beautiful blue eyes. My love for her grows even more. But I know there is no way that love will ever be reciprocated.
We finish lunch and get up to leave for Alexa’s first shopping excursion. Thankfully it will be short, as Katie has to be at work in a couple of hours. We hop in the car and make the short drive down the street to the mall. “Here we are. You ready Alexa?” Katie asks from the front seat with a huge smile across face. Jenny then turns around and looks at me sitting in the back. Now I have both of them looking at me with what almost appear conspiratorial smiles on their faces. I try to adopt a similar smile. I am wondering if the fake smile I have on my face is hiding the absolute terror I am feeling. Lunch at a fairly empty restaurant was one thing but now I was about to enter the sacred territory of women, the mall. Not only that but I would be going dressed as one of them.
I summon the courage to nod and the girls jump out. Katie opens the back door and I slowly slide out of the car. My mind is telling me grab on to the seat, the seat belt anything so I couldn’t get out of the car. But to no avail I get out of the car. Katie hooks arms with me and starts leading me towards the Nordstrom’s entrance. She whispers into my ear “Just relax. Look at things, maybe hold them up to yourself. Don’t just stand around. That will be a giveaway.” I nod at her instructions.
As we get closer to the doors, Jenny hooks my other arm. “Just follow what Katie says. Act confident like you did with us last night and you will have no problem.”
We stride into the store arm in arm and the girls lead me to various departments. The first test comes as we look at various dresses. Jenny finds a royal blue one that she thinks would look good on me. In a hushed tone, Jenny says “Next lesson this is called an A-Line dress. See how it is narrow in the waist and kind of flares out?” I nod my head in understanding. “I think that this would look good on you, especially for dinner tonight. Go ask the clerk if you can try that on.” Jenny commands.
“Can’t I just take it into the dressing room and try it on?” I ask.
Katie answers before Jenny can “Women’s stores aren’t like guys’. The clerks keep track of everything if possible and they have to unlock the dressing room for you. Now go.” I see Jenny and Katie continue to look through the racks. I look over at the clerk hanging some dresses on a rolling rack. She is only about 30 feet from me but it might as well be 500 miles. I try to remember every bit of the lessons Jenny gave me this morning and the advice Katie gave me as we came in. I walk as confidently as I can towards the clerk.
Keeping one foot in front of the other and holding my head high I strode up to the clerk. I take a deep breath and begin to speak in my newly trained feminine voice. “Excuse me, I would like to try this on please?
The clerk turns and greets me with a smile. “No problem at all, why don’t you take dressing room 3.” As she leads me into the dressing room area and unlocks a door marked number 3. “Here you go. If you have any questions or need some help, just call. My name is Sarah.” The brunette clerk moves of as I slip into the room and take a deep breath. Does Sarah know I’m really a guy or did I just pass my first test? My hands start to shake a little as I stand there not knowing what to do. At least I’m not feeling the butterflies doing their bombing runs in my stomach. I sit for a minute and ponder what to do.
I figure I better try on the dress or face the wrath of Jenny and Katie. I slip of my skirt and top and step into the dress. I slip my shoes back on and then begin struggling with the zipper at the back of the dress. How do women deal with zippers in the back? Then I recall how many times my mother asks me or my father for some help and the times Katie has asked for help. I figure I will have to show the girls anyway so I step in to the outer room and call for Sarah. “Excuse me Sarah, could you give me a hand? Sarah enters the room and immediately recognizes the issue and zips me up.
“There you go, that dress looks perfect on you.” Sarah says as I start to look at myself in the triple mirror in the dressing area. She is right it does look good. Did I just say that? I did and I can’t believe how true it is. I continue to look at myself and notice a smile on Sarah’s face. I think I might have her fooled. My confidence soars. This is a woman who sees other women all day long so you think she would be able to pick out an impostor. I ask if I can go out and show my friends and Sarah voices her permission and I stroll out of the dressing area and out to where my friends are.
The girls are to engrossed in perusing the racks to notice my presence. I clear my throat. Katie is the first to turn around. “Oh my god! That is beautiful.” She screams, I cringe at her comment but surprisingly it’s not because it draws attention to me but to all three of us for how loud she is.
I notice Jenny. She has a huge grin on her face. “You look incredible! It is made for you!” she exclaims. I feel really good at how I look and the acceptance I have received not only from my friends but also from Sarah, the store clerk. I twirl around a little again and move over to another mirror and look at myself again. Even though it is a simple dress, cut straight across just below the neck and sleeves that reach the elbows, it might the most beautiful thing I have seen. I can’t stop smiling. I really do like a typical coed trying on a beautiful dress. This is an incredible feeling. I don’t know if I want to let this go.
The girls join me at the mirror. I don’t which of us three has a bigger smile, we just stand there for a second enjoying the view. Finally, Katie speaks, “You have to buy that!”
Reality hits. “With what?” I ask “I don’t have $128! I mean I do but they won’t take my credit card. It says Alex on it”
“I’ll help” Jenny adds. “And they will take your credit card. They won’t even look twice. You can say it’s you dad’s”
I try and find another way out. “What about all those other clothes? That would be way too much.”
“I kept receipts. Every woman knows to keep the receipts. I can return what we don’t use. My parents will never know the difference.’ Jenny replies, shooting down my argument. “I will make you a deal. You pay for the dress I will pay for the shoes and you can keep the stuff I bought yesterday.”
I ponder the offer put before me. $128 is more than I have ever paid for a single item of clothing before, male or female. Heck, other than a suit that my parents bought for me, I don’t I have an article of clothing that cost me more than $75 and that was a winter jacket. As I ponder this I realize what I am thinking. I’m actually making a deal to own even more women’s clothes. Why are Jenny and Katie making this so easy? Is this really what I want? I had never felt so free in my whole life but this is not who I am. I am a man but the last few days have been the happiest I think I have ever been. I am snapped out of the confusion by Jenny.
“So what do you think?”
Without even thinking a grin comes across my face and I say “Deal”. I’m not sure what gets to me more, the fact that I agreed to spend $128 on a dress or how enthusiastically I said it. I return to the dressing room and change back into ‘my’ clothes. When I come out I move over to my new friend Sarah and tell her I will be taking the dress. As I realize what I just said, Sarah begins to process the transaction. I reach into my purse and pull put my Visa. I shake a little as I slide the card through the machine and sign. I don’t alter my signature and Sarah doesn’t notice. As the sale is completed, she places the dress in a garment bag and hands it to me. She thanks me for the purchase and again tells me how good the dress looked on me. I move off to my friends as I seem to have passed another test and I was now the owner of beautiful blue dress.
Jenny and Katie are all smiles as we move towards to the shoes and begin to look for a pair to match. Not finding anything at Nordstrom’s that the girls liked we moved into the main mall area. We seem to hit every store in the mall. The scariest store for me was Victoria’s Secret. I almost created a scene by trying to stop from going in. But I relent to the girls wishes and enter the store men only go into at Christmas and Valentine’s.
I look at several item’s just to make the girl’s happy. As much as I want to buy something, I know I can’t. I do notice Katie buying a few things. I have never known Katie to buy much from VS, but figure it is just part of the shopping experience. We move out of the store, thankfully. Of all the stores we had visited, I had been more nervous in this store than other. Was it the fact that I was sure I would be “Found out” or was it that I wanted to max out my credit card?
We finally work our way in to Macy’s where we immediately head to the Women’s Shoe department. Jenny finds a beautiful pair of shoes that would match my new dress perfectly. They are a sandal with an ankle strap. While they do have a higher heel than I have ever tried to walk in before, 3 and half inches, I cannot deny that they would go perfect. I relent to the girls’ pressure and take the display shoe up to the male clerk who is working. “Excuse me, I would like to try this shoe, please.”
“Sure thing, what size?”
I panic trying to remember the size that Katie had mentioned yesterday as we were trying on a shoes. Not remembering I blurt out “Nine”. The clerk smiles, nods and heads into the storeroom. I take a seat nearby and the girls sit down on either side of me while we wait. Katie asks what size I asked for, and I say nine. She nods at my answer and the three of us continue our wait.
The clerk, Joshua, returns with the shoes. I slip off the shoes I am currently wearing. I get a little nervous as Joshua takes my feet in his hands and slides the shoes on. I don’t think anyone has put shoes on me since I was about 5 and that was my mom. I am surprised by the light pang of excitement that shoots up my spine. What is going on? I hear Joshua asking me something but I can’t make it out as I am lost in a fog. The question finally breaks my trance and I hear “Why don’t you stand up and see how they feel?”
I stand up a little wobbly but finally gain my balance. Remembering all that Jenny taught me earlier, I make my way towards a mirror sitting on the floor a few steps away. I take a look at both shoes from different angles in the mirror and turn around to rejoin my friends and the clerk. While I have a smile on my face, I am completely shaking on the inside. Did Joshua know I was guy? He hasn’t let on but that could just be the outside demeanor he has to project. He asks me how they feel and I let him know they felt good and that I would take him. Joshua places them back in the box and asks if there is anything else. Nervously I shake my head no and he turns to the cash register with Jenny in his wake as I try to get my self organized.
Katie senses my nervousness and places a hand on my arm, reassuring me that I am doing fine. She then glances at her phone and realizes the time. She looks over at Jenny and announces, “We need to get going. I work in half an hour.” Jenny completes the transaction and the three of us gather up our bags and head towards the mall entrance and work our way back to the car. I again feel like everybody in the mall is watching me, but unlike earlier I feel much more confident. I feel like I have now passed three different tests and none of the shop clerks made any comment. As we walk through Nordstrom we walk right by Sarah as she is straightening some racks out. I thank her again for help earlier and she tells me she was happy to help and tells me to come back again and reaches into a pocket on her own dress and hands me a card. “Sarah Thomas, Fashion Consultant” it reads. I slide it into ‘my’ purse and tell her I will be definitely be back.
We all get into the car and all begin giggling. Jenny is the first to speak, turning from the driver seat to look at me in the passenger seat. “You did great today. I don’t think anyone picked up on you once. You do look and act every bit a girl.”
Katie reaches from the back seat and gives me a huge hug. “I’m proud of you. I could tell you were scared but you did great! But we can’t sit around here praising you. I need to get to work, so let’s going Jenny!” Jenny puts the car into gear and we depart the place of Alexa’s first public excursion. As we pull away I sense that it will not be the last time Alexa walks through this place.
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