Breaking Up and Making Up

Breaking Up And Making Up

By Nikkie Silk

“Well, Nobody’s Perfect!”
Joe E. Brown ‘Some Like It Hot’

Chapter One

Danny stood at the bar and looked around the pub. It wasn't his usual,
but this one had looked bright and warm from the outside on a grey,
rainy day. The after work rush wouldn't start for a couple of hours or
so yet, so there were only a few old boys who looked like regulars,
nursing their pints and looking miserable, cursing the smoking ban. A
couple at a table in the corner seemed to be in the middle of an
argument. The girl looked upset, and the man seemed to be trying to
apologise to her for something.

He had enough problems of his own to keep him busy for months, so he
didn't have any time to spare for other people's troubles. Danny ordered
a pint, and as he waited for the barman to pour it, he looked round just
at the moment the girl in the corner slammed her hand down on the table,
angrily got up, grabbed her coat and ran out of the pub. The man with
her had his head down and appeared to be crying. Poor sod, he thought,
it looks like he's been dumped. Danny knew how that felt.

Turning back as the barman put his pint on the bar, Danny paid and took
a long pull of the beer. It was a decent pint, malty and dark, which
matched Danny’s mood right now. He had just come from a meeting with his
Director, who had told him that the company was going to have to let him
go. Let me go? Danny snorted, that was the kind of language a gutless
little weasel like him would use. As if it had been my choice to leave,
not theirs. The company had been taken over by an American media company
and everyone knew that there would be layoffs. Danny had hoped he
wouldn't be one of them. A redundancy package which would keep him going
for a while, and he thought it wouldn't be too difficult to get himself
a new job. Danny thought could use his network of contacts to get
himself something quickly.

In the middle of this internal monologue, he sensed the guy from the
table standing next to him at the bar, trying to pay his tab. Danny
turned to look at him out of curiosity. They were about the same age,
but the man was taller and more well-built than Danny. It reminded Danny
that his enforced free time would allow him to get to the pool more
often, he could do with losing a pound or two himself. The guy was
trying to attract the barman’s attention, who was busy serving another
customer. He had been weeping, as his eyes were red rimmed, and Danny
suddenly felt sorry for him.

‘Bad day, huh?’ Said Danny.

He turned to Danny and said, ‘What? What did you say?’

‘I said, it looks as if you've had a bad day.’

He looked at Danny with an angry look on his face.

‘Really, you think so?’ The sarcasm aimed to sting, but Danny let it go.
‘Me too,’ said Danny, ‘I've had a bloody awful one too.’

‘Look mate,’ said the guy, ‘what do you know about me that lets you say
something like that? You know nothing about me.’

Danny shrugged and was going to turn away, when the man said, ‘I'm
sorry, that wasn't called for. I'm just upset right now.’

‘That's OK,’ said Danny, stuck his hand out and said, ‘Danny, Danny
Albright. Alright Albright, they call me.’

The guy looked down at Danny's outstretched hand, considering whether to
shake it or ignore Danny. He decided and shook the outstretched hand,
saying, ‘Carl, Carl Jones.’

‘OK, Carl, I hate drinking alone, especially today, how about I buy you
a pint?’

‘No, honestly, thanks but no,’ said Carl. He tried to get the barman's
attention, but he was now changing one of the barrels in the cellar.

‘Come on, Carl, it won't hurt, I have had a shitty day too. Have a drink
with me.’

Carl looked at him, as if hearing Danny for the first time, ‘What's
happened to you?’

‘Only been fired this morning,’ Danny looked at his watch, ‘been
unemployed precisely two hours now. I've been walking around since
trying to get my head straight.’

‘Yea, that's shitty alright,’ Carl said, then realising what he had
said, ‘Oh, sorry, that wasn't deliberate, shitty alright, I mean, that's
your name, right?’

Danny laughed, ‘Well, the way my luck’s been running recently, that's
not too far off the mark.’

‘Maybe I should buy you a drink then.’ said Carl, still flustered at
what he had said.

‘Nah, I asked you first, what’ll you have?’

Carl asked for a pint of lager and Danny finally got the barman's
attention and ordered the lager.

‘You had some bad luck recently, then?’ Carl said, thinking he would
probably regret asking.

‘You mean other than being fired, my wife leaving me, crashing the car,
losing my winning lottery ticket and the goldfish dying?’

Carl looked at him to see if he was joking.

Danny laughed at the expression on Carl’s face. ‘Well the last two
haven't happened yet, but the first three certainly have, all in the
past nine months.’

Carl smiled for the first time since they began talking, ‘Thank God the
goldfish is still alive then.’

Danny said, ‘Yeah, it would be if I had one.’ Which made them both
laugh.

‘I'm sorry Danny, for what I said earlier I mean, about what do you know
about me and all that. It was pretty nasty of me. I was well out of
order, you've had a rough time.’

‘Yea, it's been a bit rocky, I admit, but you looked pretty cut up over
there.’

Carl debated about what and how much to say, before looking down at his
drink and saying, ‘She was my girlfriend, or more exactly my
ex-girlfriend. We had been together a couple of years and she decided
she wanted something different. I was trying to patch things up, and as
you can see it didn't go well.’

‘It always hurts when it happens, Carl, I know it's trite but time does
make a difference. It's been 9 months since my break up.’

‘Does it feel any better?’

Danny thought for a minute, ‘It still feels bad, but not as often, if
that makes sense.’

They had finished their drinks, and Carl bought the same again, as he
felt he owed Danny one. As he waited to be served, Carl wondered why
Danny had spoken to him. He stole a glance at Danny as he chatted to an
old timer who was also waiting to be served. He thought Danny looked a
bit scruffy, with his faded jeans, t-shirt, blond hair in a ponytail,
but he seemed friendly enough and Carl felt it might be good to take his
mind off Simone for a while. Carl guessed Danny also needed somebody to
talk to after what had happened to him. The drinks arrived and Carl
suggested they move to a table instead of standing at the bar.

Over the second pint, they found they had a lot in common; a love of
Arsenal football club, Indian food, old movies and Elmore Leonard
novels. They agreed about the best Arsenal team - the unbeaten
invincibles - but argued about politics. Danny was Labour and Carl
Conservative, but with a small c. They both loved ‘Some Like It Hot’ and
‘North by Northwest’, but Carl loved Grace Kelly, and Danny thought Eva
Marie Saint sexier.

The second pint turned into a third, and when they finished their
fourth, Carl said he hadn't eaten all day and suggested going for
something to eat. Danny knew a great Indian place round the corner, and
so they headed off there, both of them a little drunk by this time. They
ordered their food, and a silence descended. Carl broke it first, ‘It
annoyed when you spoke to me in the pub, Danny. I'm glad you did, I
needed this, I would have gone home and stewed about things.’

‘Me too, Carl, it's been good for me too, thanks,’ They clinked their
glasses in the way that men do and said, ’Cheers.’

Danny said, ‘Oh Lordy, I almost forgot, are you doing anything tomorrow
afternoon?’

‘No, why?’

Danny hunted around in his pockets and produced a ticket. ‘The company
has a box at the Emirates and they have given me two tickets for the
game tomorrow against Chelsea as a sweetener. They’re like gold dust, do
you want to come along? Free food and booze and everything.’

Carl felt a bit woozy by this time, but he thought why not? He could
never get a ticket for that game and it would keep his mind off other
things.

‘Yes, I would love to, if you're sure.’

‘No problems, I didn't have a clue who to invite for the other ticket,
so as a fellow gooner, you're more than welcome.’

They swapped phone numbers and after arranging to meet at Arsenal tube
station the following day, they made their way to their homes, each
carrying a burden that had been only partly lifted by their evening
together. Both slept badly, waking in the small hours as the reality of
what had happened the previous day sank in.

Carl reached across to where his girlfriend would have slept, and his
heart dropped when he realised she was not there.

Danny lay on his back with his hands behind his head as he worried about
finding a new job, deciding he would have to start calling people on
Monday.

They met as planned before the game and dropped into a pub for a drink
before heading to the stadium. When two London teams play each other, it
always becomes a tribal affair; north London against south, Arsenal red
against Chelsea blue, grit against swagger, yet another full blooded
encounter in a long running and bitter rivalry. It ended up close, as
they often are, with Arsenal edging the result in the last minute. Danny
and Carl were ecstatic, high-fiving and hugging each other at the final
whistle, each of them relishing the opportunity to forget their problems
for a while, and finding solace in the shared joy of being a fan.

‘Danny, that was brilliant, thanks for the invitation, I would have had
to watch it on TV. Let me pay you back somehow. How about dinner
tonight? My treat.’

Danny looked at Carl, still giddy with excitement and smiled, ‘Sure, why
not? where do you fancy?’

‘Why not Brick Lane? It's Bangladeshi, great cooking.’ Carl’s enthusiasm
was evident and Danny willingly agreed as it had been some time since he
had been there. They managed to squeeze onto a crowded train which gave
Danny a chance to think about Carl. Danny didn't have many male friends
as his girlfriend had pulled him away from the few he had before their
marriage. It seemed to him that she had seen him as a project, a man to
be shaped and remodelled.

Danny couldn't believe his luck when Jessica came on to him. Jess was
pretty, vivacious and dominant. She called the shots most of the time,
and Danny followed her lead. She decided when they did things, where
they went, even to when and how they had sex. She liked to play games in
the bedroom, usually with him being the submissive partner. Once or
twice she had him wear her panties during sex, which he had secretly
enjoyed, but had drawn the line when she wanted to use a dildo on him.
He had gone along with most of it; Jess was beautiful, the sex was
great, and he loved her. Unknown to him, however, she had other
admirers, and one of those eventually took her away from him.

He had struggled after the break up; compared to Jess, other girls
seemed dull and uninteresting, and after a few disastrous dates, he gave
up. Online porn became his release, and he spent many evenings in front
of his computer, lost in the fantasy world on screen. He had never
realised there were so many varieties of sexual fantasy available at the
click of a mouse. He loved the story sites as much as the video ones and
spent many hours reading the stories he found there.

Danny had tried to pick up with his old friends, but it seems that they
had moved on, some had families now and didn't want to reconnect. Danny
hadn’t set out to make friends with Carl, he had only spoken to him in
the pub because he felt sorry for him, but they seemed to click. Carl
was easy to talk to, liked many of the same things that Danny did and
seemed happy to have found a friend. It had been good to see Carl so
happy at the football. He thought It had been a good idea to invite him.

Carl gave up his seat on the train to a woman wearing a ‘Baby On Board’
badge, and that made him feel good. He felt manners counted; it didn't
take much effort to be kind. He took the opportunity to study Danny as
he sat on the train, seemingly lost in his thoughts. Danny didn't look
as scruffy as Carl had at first thought. His ponytail was well cared
for, unlike the greasy, unkempt ones you often see. He stood a few
inches shorter than Carl, slim, and striking blue eyes which flashed
when he smiled. He thought it had been generous of Danny to reach out
to him in the pub, and Carl flushed at the thought of how he had
initially reacted to Danny’s gesture. Everything had gone better after
that and it had been good to be with someone after Simone had left him
in the pub. He felt a sting as he thought of her and blinked away a
tear. Danny had been funny, despite his own problems, and Carl had been
touched when he offered him the ticket. That had been a true act of
kindness, thought Carl. He hoped that he and Danny would stay friends,
he thought he would enjoy Danny’s company.

They tumbled out of the train at Shoreditch and made their way to Brick
Lane where Carl had a favourite restaurant among the many that lined the
Lane. Home to waves of immigrants for hundreds of years, the latest
incomers had been from Bangladesh, and their cooking had created what
had become Bangla Town. It's a bright, vibrant and crowded place, but
they found a table in Carl’s favourite restaurant and quickly ordered
some beers and food.

As well as talking about the match and how well Arsenal would do this
year, they discovered more about each other as the meal went on; Carl
cycled, Danny swam to keep fit, Carl liked dogs, Danny cats, and both
hated golf. Danny talked about his job as a graphic designer and Carl
confessed to being a management consultant. Without being fully aware of
it, each one felt drawn to the other, both needing a friend who could
help each other through a bad time.

As the remnants of the meal were cleared away, Danny offered to pay his
share, but Carl insisted on paying the whole bill in return for the
football. They had a final beer together in the Pride of Spitalfields
before setting off home, when to their surprise, they discovered that
they lived only a mile apart from each other in Putney and agreed to
share a taxi home. As the cab stopped to let Carl out, Danny promised to
give him a call during the week for a drink.

As promised, Danny rang Carl, and they met for a drink in a local pub.
Then one of them, they couldn't remember who, suggested they go together
to watch a movie they both wanted to see. Quickly, they became close
friends, meeting regularly for drinks or dinner or a film. They had come
to value each other's company and began to share more and more about
themselves. Two strangers, brought together by chance, had discovered a
friendship neither had intended, but which both now began to cherish.

Chapter Two

One evening, Carl called Danny to invite him over to his flat for dinner
the following Saturday. For some reason, Danny hesitated, going to
someone else’s place seemed a big step, and would take their friendship
to a new level. He shrugged and said, ‘Thanks, I would love to. Will
there be anyone else?’

Carl said, ‘I’ve invited my upstairs neighbours as well. I have to tell
you, though, they’re gay. Well, lesbian to be exact, but they’re lovely
girls.’

Danny laughed, ‘So you want me as cover? Do you want me to be your
latest boyfriend?’

Carl snorted, ‘You’re not my type, honey.’

‘OK, what time? I’ll bring a bottle, right?’

‘Is 7 OK? You don't have to bring a bottle, but I’m guessing you will,
anyway. It's my homemade chilli, so a bottle of red?’

Danny arrived at the address Carl had given him a little after 7. He had
walked from his flat and had bought a bottle of good red wine on the
way. He whistled as he saw the building, a detached Edwardian villa that
had been converted into apartments which looked expensive. Danny knew
Carl had the garden flat, so he rang the bottom bell and heard it
ringing somewhere inside. The door opened and a strikingly beautiful
woman stood there.

Danny said, ‘Oh, I'm sorry, have I rung the wrong bell?’

‘Not If your name is Danny, Hi, I’m Julia from upstairs, Carl asked me
to let you in.’

‘Hi, Julia, nice to meet you.’ They shook hands and Julia led him
through into the apartment. Danny didn't know whether to look at Julia’s
backside wiggling away in front of him or the apartment, both looked
equally stunning. Julia looked back as he sneaked a peek at her bum, she
grinned and said, ‘Come on through to the kitchen and meet my far better
half.’

Danny thought Julia beautiful; long straight blonde hair, short tight
black skirt barely hiding legs that went up for ever and a smile to die
for. Danny felt his cock stirring and thought, ‘Stop it, she's off
limits.’ They entered a huge room that must have run across the whole
width of the house. At least two rooms had been knocked into one large,
open-plan kitchen and dining area, with sliding doors that opened out
into the garden. The doors were closed as it was still too cold to go
outside, but Danny could see a well-tended garden and patio area
outside. Carl stood by the range cooker stirring what Danny assumed from
the smell to be the chilli.

‘Hi Danny, you’ve met Julia, I see.’ Julia waggled her fingers at him
over a large glass of white wine. ‘Let me introduce Siobhan, Julia’s
partner. No, sorry, I mean wife.’

A tall red haired woman stepped forward and offered her hand to Danny,
‘That's right, Julia made an honest woman out of me a few weeks ago.
Pleased to meet you Danny.’

Danny shook her hand and said, ‘Well, congratulations to both of you.
That's wonderful.’

If Danny had thought Julia beautiful, then Siobhan almost took his
breath away. A little taller than him, she had green eyes, and hair for
which a pre-Raphaelite painter would have sold his soul to get onto
canvas. She had the hint of an Irish lilt to her voice, which probably
explained the red hair.

Carl put a glass of red wine into his hand and said, ‘Here’s to Julia
and Siobhan, two of the sweetest and best neighbours that anyone could
wish to have. Congratulations on your marriage.’

They all raised their glasses and drank to the toast.

‘Is this a celebration dinner then?’ Danny asked.

‘Sort of,’ said Carl, ‘I missed the wedding. Simone and I were in the
middle of breaking up and it had been a bad day.’

‘Sorry about that,’ said Julia.

‘Not your fault, Jools.’ said Carl.

‘Well, at least she won't cramp your style anymore.’ said Siobhan.
Danny caught Julia shooting Siobhan a look and wondered what that meant.
Danny also noticed Carl had reddened a little and guessed that Carl had
been playing away from home and had got caught. He and Carl had never
talked about why he and Simone had broken up, Danny didn't want to open
fresh wounds with his new friend. If Carl wanted to talk about it, he
would sometime.

‘So, Danny, what brought you into Carl’s life?’ said Siobhan. She fixed
him with her eyes and he felt slightly intimidated by this beautiful
woman.

‘We bumped into each other in a pub, we got talking and it kind of took
off from there.’ said Danny.

Carl yelled over from the cooker, ‘It was the day Simone finally broke
up with me. Danny may well have saved my life that day.’

‘Hardly, I was grateful to talk to someone as well, remember?’

‘Oh, why?’ Julia had moved to stand the other side of Danny. Danny
realised he was being book ended by two of the most glamourous women he
had ever met. Julia was a classic Nordic blonde, tall and slender, easy
to laugh and with a naughty look in her eyes. Siobhan was smaller than
Julia, but with her shock of red hair and green eyes, she had an air of
mysticism that made Danny think of misty autumn mornings in the
countryside.

‘I had been fired at lunchtime. Sorry, not fired, Let go was what they
called it.’

‘Arseholes,’ Julia said.

‘Jools, you have such a potty mouth.’ said Siobhan.

Julia grinned broadly, ‘That's not what you say in bed.’

‘Careful, or you’ll embarrass Carl's new friend.’ Siobhan mock scolded
Julia.

‘Oh, I don't think he’ll be embarrassed by that. By this, maybe.’ Julia
moved around Danny and put her arms around Siobhan and pulled her into a
kiss.

‘Oi, you two, stop teasing Danny,’ yelled Carl from the cooker. The two
women giggled and Siobhan said, ‘Sorry, Danny, no offence meant.’

‘None taken,’ laughed Danny. Glad they had stopped if only because he
had started to feel his cock swelling as he watched them kissing.
Carl came across and refilled glasses.

‘Right, food’s ready. I’ll dump the bowls of chilli and rice on the
table, and there's some garlic bread as well so you can help
yourselves.’

They sat down at the table, Danny next to Julia and across from Siobhan.
For a moment Danny imagined he was being presented to the two girls as
if for approval. He shook it off as his imagination and offered Siobhan
first go at the chilli. Their plates were soon full of food and Danny
said, ‘God, this is fantastic, Carl. There's a real kick to it.’

Carl smiled, ‘Thanks, I like making it, makes me feel warm and safe in a
funny way.’

‘So, Danny,’ Siobhan fixed him with those eyes again, he again felt her
sizing him up, ‘have you found a new job yet?’

‘Nope, not yet, it's harder than I thought for out there, cutbacks all
round in my business.’

‘What do you do, Danny?’ Julia joined in.

‘I'm a graphic designer, mainly books and media stuff.’

‘Isn't that all freelance?’ Siobhan asked.

‘A lot is, but that takes time to build up. I spent my time in agencies,
didn't think I would need to go freelance.’

‘But you are now?’ Julia spoke this time.

‘Yes, I've had to. I've picked up some work, but it will take longer
than I thought to get it going.’

Carl said, ‘OK ladies, you can stop the interrogation, Danny's here to
enjoy himself.’

Carl had wondered if it would be alright to invite Danny to dinner with
Siobhan and Julia. They could be mischievous if the mood took them and
it seemed that was happening tonight. Carl didn't think Danny would have
any problem with the girls being gay; nothing Danny had said led Carl to
believe he would. Danny seemed to be laid back about everything. Carl
felt he should celebrate the girls’ marriage, as he had missed the
wedding day, and with Simone no longer around, he wanted someone to be
there with him. Danny seemed to be a good choice, and so far, he
appeared to be OK with it.

Danny still felt Siobhan's eyes on him again and tried to change tack,
‘Carl, this is a fabulous apartment.’

Carl looked pleased at the compliment, ‘Thanks, I inherited some money
from an aunt. It gave me the opportunity to buy this place and to
renovate it. I had an architect friend draw up the plans, including the
extension for the kitchen and dining area.’

Siobhan looked at Danny and said, ‘You know, Danny, for a guy, you have
a lovely bone structure, and your eyes are so pretty.’

‘Thank you Siobhan, but nobody has ever told me that before, I can
assure you.’

‘Do you keep your hair that long all the time?’

‘Yes, I've always preferred longer hair, I keep it in the ponytail most
of the time to keep it out of the way.’

‘Mmm, let me see what it looks like if you let it out of the ponytail.’

‘Siobhan, stop teasing Danny.’ said Carl.

‘Pretty please, Danny?’ said Siobhan.

Danny laughed, ‘No it's OK, Carl, really.’

He reached back and took out the scrunchie holding the ponytail and bent
his head forwards so his hair fell down around his face.

He looked at Siobhan, smiled and said, ‘Happy?’

‘You have lovely hair. Let me try something?’

Without waiting for an answer, she stood up and moved behind him. Danny
felt her gather his hair together and remake the ponytail, this time
with it riding higher on the back of his head, level with his eye line.
‘There, that's looks better.’ she said, moving back to look at him.
‘That's how girls wear their ponytail,’ said Julia.

Danny felt himself go pink, and he quickly released his hair so that it
fell back over his shoulders. Siobhan tilted her head to one side and
said, ‘You know, with the right makeover you could look stunning.’
‘Siobhan, why are teasing Danny?’ said Carl, ‘let's go to the other room
and have a drink.’

She looked a little put out, ‘What? Why isn't it nice to say someone
could look pretty?’

‘You don't describe guys as pretty.’

‘OK, he could look cute, is that better?’ Siobhan fluttered her
eyelashes at Carl who blushed a little.

Pretty? thought Danny. What the hell was she on about? He didn't quite
know what to make of Siobhan and Julia. They were both extremely
beautiful and by their words and actions, uninhibited. He didn't have
any problem with gay people, he had worked with plenty in the design
business, and he liked their company. They obviously knew Carl well, and
he seemed comfortable with them. Danny realised he had been invited to
make up a four, but he didn't mind that. It was good to see where Carl
lived and to meet some new people, especially two as exotic as Siobhan
and Julia. The apartment was much more luxurious than his rented flat,
and that reminded him that if he didn't find some more work soon, he
might have to move to somewhere cheaper.

They had all moved into a luxuriously decorated living space, Danny
thought calling it a room wouldn't do it justice. It had enough room for
two large sofas, each facing the other in front of an open fireplace,
with a low table in between. Julia and Siobhan sat on one of the sofas
as Carl motioned Danny to sit on the other one.

‘OK, what does everyone want to drink?’

‘Brandy, please Carly,’ chorused both girls and Carl smiled weakly at
the name. He turned towards Danny, ‘They thought it was funny to call me
Carly, as in Carly Simon, Carly and Simone? Only it's not so funny now
is it girls, without Simone I mean.’

‘Sorry, Carly, old habits are hard to break.’ said Julia and giggled.
Danny thought she was a little drunk already.

‘I'll have a brandy too, please Carl.’ he said.

‘OK, brandies all round, that's easy.’ He went to fetch the drinks and
Danny took the opportunity to ask Julia and Siobhan what they did for a
living.

Siobhan laughed, ‘See, Julia, not everybody knows who you are.’

Julia pouted, held her hair up behind her head and turned her head
sideways and gave Danny a sultry look.

Carl returned with the brandies and said, ‘Danny, Julia's a model. She
gets cranky if you don't recognise her.’

‘I do not,’ pouted Julia.

‘You so do,’ said Siobhan.

Julia picked up a cushion and hit Siobhan with it. ‘You're supposed to
be on my side, wifey.’

Carl took a sip of his brandy and nodded his head at the two girls,
‘Julia's a fashion model and Siobhan is a makeup artist. That's how they
met, on some photo shoot.’

Siobhan lay back on the sofa, ‘So, Danny, which way do you roll?’

Danny must have looked confused, because Julia jumped in, ‘She means are
you straight or gay or bi or something else?’

Carl started to object, but Danny held his hand up, ‘Don't worry Carl, I
don't mind. I'm straight, I like girls.’

Julia giggled, ‘I like girls too, but it doesn't make me straight.’
Danny laughed, ‘OK, let me change my answer, so far in my life I have
always dated girls and got married to one.’

‘Hey, me too,’ said Julia. They all laughed at that.

Danny paused and then said, ‘Let me put it this way, I have no idea what
the future will hold, but I don't have any plans to change.’

‘That's what I said before I met Julia,’ said Siobhan. She put her arm
round Julia's shoulder and pulled her close, ‘It’s a good answer, Danny.
You seem to be someone who doesn't have a binary outlook.’

‘I have no idea what that means, Siobhan.’

Carl rose to freshen everybody's drinks and Danny felt a little drunk
now.

Siobhan took a sip of her drink before replying to Danny. ‘All I mean,
Danny, is that most people think that gender is male and female, that's
binary. I think it's more complicated than that. Instead of having only
two colours, black and white for instance, there's a whole palette of
colours to choose from. You don't have to be restricted to two types of
gender. It's almost infinite and very flexible.’

Danny sipped his brandy, and could see everyone watching him as he
thought about what to say.

‘So, I could decide to be gay tomorrow?’ He aimed for sarcasm, but
somehow it came out as a simple question.

‘Gender isn't about sexual orientation, and anyway, I don't think being
attracted to someone is a conscious decision. I didn't wake up one
morning and say to myself, I think I’ll be a lesbian today, I’ll go pick
up a girl. I met Julia and fell in love with her, I didn't set out to do
it, but when it happened, I didn't fight it.’

‘You couldn't possibly have fought me off, baby.’ Julia tucked her legs
beneath her on the sofa, ‘Have you ever fancied a guy, Danny? You're a
swimmer, right? All those sleek wet bodies in teeny tiny Speedos, did
you ever get a stiffy when you were in the changing rooms?’

‘Not fair,’ Carl piped up, ‘nearly every adolescent boy gets a crush on
another boy.’

Three pairs of eyes swivelled towards Carl, who went pink, ‘Well, yes, I
did.’

‘Come on Carly, you can't leave it there, give us the juicy bits.’ said
Julia.

Feeling the effects of the wine at dinner and the brandies, Carl opened
up more than normal.

‘Well, I spent a school summer holiday with one of my friends one year,
when my parents were away in Africa, and it wasn't safe for me to go out
there with them. He and I got close, and we, well, experimented a bit, I
guess you would say. We used to go swimming in a lake near their house,
and one day he suggested we go skinny dipping. There was nobody about so
we dropped our shorts and ran into the water. It was fun but then he
swam through my legs, came up in front of me, and suddenly we were
kissing. We used to go there whenever we could and we kissed a few more
times, but I think we both got a bit scared, and it kind of ended then.’

‘Very hot Carly, How about you, Danny?’ Julia asked.

Danny hesitated, but he had drunk enough for his inhibitions to have
slipped away, and for some reason he had found Carl’s story liberating.
‘Yes, there was a boy back in school, but it was just a phase.’

Julia raised one eyebrow and drawled, ‘Really? Just a phase?’

Danny felt himself getting pink this time. ‘It was the school play,
Romeo and Juliet. We were an all-boys school, so they needed one of us
to play Juliet, and well, I was pushed into playing the part. I had to
spend a lot of the time dressed to get used to wearing the costume. The
boy was playing Romeo, we clicked, and one thing led to another. I think
he got turned on by me in the costume. He only wanted to do anything
when I was dressed as Juliet. It was all adolescent stuff, we would
kiss, and I masturbated him once, that's all. I think he wanted to go
further, but that was enough for me.’

‘Yowsa!’ yelled Julia, ‘Danny for the win.’

Danny laughed and then thought that he had never told that story to
anyone. Why tonight? He didn't know, maybe it had been the brandy and
the presence of Julia and Siobhan.

‘So, both of you had gay encounters back then?’ Siobhan sat back with a
smug look on her face. ‘I think I made my point.’

‘Didn't you get crushes on a teacher? Isn't that what schoolgirls do?’
Danny thought he should fight back.

Julia grinned like a cheshire cat, ‘I did, but it was a lot more than a
crush, as Sister Annunciata would be able to tell you. Then again, I
knew I was gay from an early age, and precocious with it. I was expelled
from one school for seducing the French Assistante. She taught me some
French that wasn't in any phrase book. Although, I don't think we needed
any translation for what we were doing together.’

Siobhan shook her head at Julia’s story, then said ‘Sorry, not me, I was
so shy I didn't date anyone until I left school.’

Carl said, ‘I can't believe that.’

‘Nope, it's true, I would break out in spots if a boy came anywhere near
me, and being a redhead, well, that put everybody off back then. I went
to college to do my beauty course and there I had to overcome my
shyness. By then my hair had become an attraction for a certain type of
guy, the artistic types would love to come and tell me how beautiful my
hair looked. I slept with a few, but it never amounted to anything. Then
I met this creature here, who seduced me one afternoon as I was doing
her makeup. She kept putting her hand up my skirt and asking me if she
could see if I was a real redhead.’ She grinned at Julia, ‘Classy stuff,
but I fell for it.’

She bent down and kissed Julia on the lips and they smiled at each
other.

They turned back to face Carl and Danny. ‘So, you two don't fancy each
other, then?’ said Julia.

‘God, no.’ both men spoke at once.

Siobhan and Julia laughed and Siobhan went on, ‘We’re only teasing you,
but Carly does talk about you a lot, Danny.’

‘I do not,’ said Carl, a little too strongly thought Danny.

‘Anyway you boys,’ Siobhan stood up, ‘We have to love you and leave
you. Julia has a show tomorrow evening, and trust me, she needs her
beauty sleep.’

‘Cow,’ said Julia, who got to her feet a little more unsteadily.

‘Say goodnight to Danny and Carly, Julia.’ laughed Siobhan.

‘Nighty night, boys and girls.’

‘Come on, babe, off we go.’

Before leaving, Julia gave Carl a hug and then Danny, ‘I enjoyed meeting
you, Danny. You're lovely.’

‘Likewise, Julia, it's been a pleasure.’

As Siobhan hugged Danny, she whispered in his ear, ‘If you ever want to
be Juliet again, I can help.’

Danny felt an involuntary shiver run through him as he realised what
Siobhan had said. He blinked and said, ‘Thanks, Siobhan, but I don't
think I will.’

Siobhan let go of the hug, locked eyes with Danny and smiled, ‘You would
look lovely, I promise.’

Siobhan promptly dragged Julia out of the door and it fell quiet in the
room. Danny sat back down on the sofa and said, ‘Wow, Carl, they are
some pair.’

Carl smiled and said, ‘Yes, they’re wonderful girls. I hope they weren't
too much for you, they can be a bit overpowering at times.’

‘No, I enjoyed it, thank you for the invitation, but I guess I should be
going too. I’ll call a cab. I don't fancy walking to be honest.’

‘Why don't you stay here?’ Carl said, ‘I mean I have a spare bedroom, so
it wouldn't be a problem. We could have another drink and then call it a
night.’

Danny felt so comfortable on the sofa, and he didn't fancy getting up
and going home, so he said, ‘If you're sure, Carl?’

‘Positive Danny, the bed is made up and everything.’

Danny thanked Carl again and lay back on the sofa. Carl refilled their
glasses and sat on the other sofa opposite Danny.

‘You look tired, Danny.’

‘Yep, I guess I haven't slept that well recently, been worried about
work. It's not coming together as I thought it would. But tonight has
been a blast, and I haven't had so much to drink for a long time.’
‘It turned out well, don't you think? Siobhan took a shine to you,
didn't she?’ said Carl.

‘I guess so, but saying I could be pretty? I think not.’

‘She can be very persuasive.’ muttered Carl.

Danny’s eyes were getting heavy, and he felt that if he didn't lay down
soon he would fall asleep on the sofa.

‘Carl, I’m sorry but I think I'm going to have to go to bed if you don't
mind, I'm about to drop off here.’

‘OK, let me show you the bedroom.’

Carl took Danny through to the back of the apartment and opened a door
into a bedroom.

‘There's a small en-suite bathroom over there, and there are clean
towels there as well. Sleep well my friend, I’ll see you in the
morning.’

‘Goodnight, Carl, and thank you again.’ With that, Danny leaned forward
and hugged Carl, startling him, but after hesitating for a moment, he
hugged Danny back.

‘Goodnight Danny,’ said Carl, who looked at Danny curiously for a
moment, and then softly closed the door on his way out.

Carl had been caught by surprise when Danny hugged him, but he had to
admit it did feel good to have someone hold him again. Carl sat on the
side of his bed and wondered if it meant anything more than simply a
gesture of thanks from a friend. He shook his head, trying to clear out
the effects of the evening's drinking, and decided that Danny had drunk
a little too much. He turned out his light and fell asleep in seconds.

Chapter Three

Danny couldn't remember the last time he had felt this tired. The
worries of the past few weeks and the amount he had drunk this evening
had caught up on him. He had surprised himself when he hugged Carl, but
it had felt the natural thing to do. Carl had been so generous to invite
him to his place and then the offer of the bed for the night touched
Danny, and he had reacted instinctively. It had felt nice to hold
someone close. Hoping that he had not upset Carl, he undressed to his
briefs, climbed beneath the duvet and fell fast asleep.

Carl was back at his school friend’s house and they were down at the
lake. He was standing in the water up to his waist and laughing as his
friend dived beneath the water and swam between his legs. Carl giggled
as he felt his friend’s slippery body brush his inner thigh making his
cock stir a little. He was still laughing as his friend surfaced in
front of him making Carl close his eyes as water splashed up at him. A
pair of strong arms reached around him, pulled him close and he felt
soft lips brushing against his. He responded to the kiss, his own lips
opening to allow a tongue to slide into his mouth. Carl’s head spun as
he felt himself melting into the embrace, and he opened his eyes to look
into Danny’s sparkling blue eyes.

He woke with a start, his eyes snapped open as he recalled his dream,
and his heart began to race as he realised it had been Danny in his
dream. God, had he actually been dreaming about kissing Danny? It must
have been all the brandy together with the confessions he and Danny had
made and the hug Danny had given him. Brandy had always given him weird
dreams. He rolled over and tried to sleep again, but all he could think
of were those blue eyes.

Danny woke up with his head throbbing and his mouth dry as sandpaper. He
blinked once or twice as he tried to remember where he was. Everything
came back to him in a rush; the dinner, meeting Siobhan and Julia, the
confession, hugging Carl, and then staying over. Danny lay there and
swore to himself. Why the fuck had he told everybody that story about
the school play. His face began to burn as he remembered telling it in
front of Carl and the girls. He thought he had buried that memory years
ago, so why had it suddenly popped up in his mind and why, oh, why did
he decide to tell it? Then Siobhan, whispering in his ear if he ever
wanted to be Juliet again, she could help. He remembered the tingle he
had felt as she said it. Danny rolled onto his back and put his hands
over his eyes as all the memories came flooding back.

It had been the last year of school when they chose Romeo and Juliet as
the big drama club production of the year. Danny had been chosen to play
Mercutio, in his opinion, the best role in the play. He loved the Queen
Mab speech, with its allusions to magic and fairies and fulfilling your
dreams. OK, Mercutio gets stabbed early on, but Danny still thought it a
better role than the namby-pamby Romeo. Danny could still recall the day
when the boy cast to play Juliet broke his leg falling off the wall bars
in the gym. He could never play Juliet with a plaster cast on his leg.
The following day the drama teacher approached him at lunch break and
asked if he would be willing to swap roles and play Juliet.

The teacher said that the costume for Juliet wouldn't fit anyone else,
and they didn't have the time or the budget to get it altered. Danny had
been unwilling to give up the role of Mercutio, but the teacher
virtually blackmailed him into it, saying that if he didn't do it, they
would probably have to postpone or even cancel the production. Danny
protested that he could never learn the lines in time, but the drama
teacher countered that he had arranged special study time for Danny, so
that he could learn the part. In addition, a member of the local amateur
dramatic society had offered to give Danny voice and movement coaching
for the role. Danny felt it was unfair, but he knew they had boxed him
in; if he refused, everybody would blame him for cancelling the show.
Reluctantly he agreed, but he was heartbroken about losing the role of
Mercutio.

Starting to learn Juliet’s lines, Danny discovered to his horror that
she had double the lines he had already learnt for Mercutio. As well as
learning the lines, he had to try on the costume for Juliet. He hated
the idea of wearing a dress, so unlike the Mercutio costume, which he
thought way cooler. So, he turned up for the first fitting for the dress
in a foul mood, determined to hate the whole thing. He felt disconcerted
to find out a woman from the local amateur dramatic society was going to
do the fitting. She had volunteered to do it so she could begin his
coaching for the role. It surprised even more to find out she was pretty
and only about five or six years older than himself.

She introduced herself as Shirley and asked if he had ever played a
girl’s role before. When he said he hadn’t, she cheerfully said that it
wouldn't be a problem, with his figure she thought he would do fine.
Shirley suggested he should try on the dress first as it would be easier
for him to get used to the role in costume. She had him strip to his
underpants, and his face burned to be like that in front of her, but she
didn't seem to notice. He remembered the totally unexpected thrill which
flooded through him as she dropped the dress over his head and laced him
tightly into it. Shirley made him wear some white tights under the dress
and he shivered as he felt his nylon clad legs rubbing against each
other.

She sat him down and applied his stage makeup before styling his hair
which he already wore long. She helped him into the shoes that came with
the costume. They only had a small heel, but as he stood up, he felt how
different it made him feel. His calves felt tighter, and his bottom
stuck out a bit more, so he had to adjust his posture to compensate for
the extra height. Shirley had him practise walking and moving in the
dress which he found quite heavy and he had been exhausted by the time
she called a halt.

‘Danny,’ she said, ‘I'm surprised and really pleased. You seem to have
taken to this much quicker than I imagined and you look so natural in
that dress.’ He remembered blushing at her words and the way they made
him feel. He met with her a few more times to practise and she seemed
happy with the progress he made. He found to his great surprise that he
began looking forward to their sessions and he began to think that
playing Juliet might not be such a bad deal after all. At the end of
their last session, as he prepared to take off the dress, Shirley hugged
him, wished him good luck and to his astonishment, she kissed him on the
lips. He felt himself kissing her back for a few seconds before she
broke the kiss.

‘Oh my God, I'm so sorry, Danny I shouldn't have done that. You look so
sweet and pretty. Please don't tell anyone, please?’

He shook his head, unable to say anything, but he knew he wouldn't tell
anyone about the kiss. All he could think of the excitement he had felt
to be kissed by her. They never met again, but he did spot her smiling
up at him from the audience for one of the performances.

He recalled the way his body responded to the touch of the boy playing
Romeo. The boy had done a double take when he first saw Danny in costume
and thereafter took every opportunity to be alone with him as they
rehearsed their scenes. He touched Danny more often than necessary, but
Danny didn't mind, in fact he went out of his way to stand close to
Romeo and when Romeo kissed him for the first time behind some of the
scenery, he could remember the thrill that had flooded through his
adolescent body. Danny knew that he felt attracted to Romeo only when he
wore the dress, but wearing the costume and makeup for Juliet, he seemed
to immerse himself so deeply into the role, it changed his whole
personality.

Playing the role had brought to the surface emotions that he never
imagined; he felt softer, gentler and yes, feminine. When they were in
costume for the play, he could barely keep his hands off Romeo, even to
the point of masturbating him once in a quiet moment during a dress
rehearsal. Once the play had finished, and he had taken the dress off,
he had felt no attraction for the boy playing Romeo. From that day until
last night he had not told a single soul what had happened. Danny
shuddered at what the others must have thought about his story. Well, he
thought, Julia and Siobhan didn't matter, but he worried about how he
could face Carl. Although Carl did share his own story, so if they both
ignored each other's indiscretions, it might be OK.

He could hear Carl moving around outside the bedroom, so he decided he
should also get up. Having freshened up in the bathroom, he got dressed
and ventured out and into the kitchen. Carl had beaten him to it,
already brewing the coffee and putting out some croissants on the table.
‘Morning Danny, how you feeling?’

‘Horrible, my head is throbbing and my tongue’s stuck to the roof of my
mouth. How about you?’

‘About the same, there's some painkillers on the counter and water or
some juice in the fridge if you want.’

Danny took a couple of tablets and swallowed them with water.

‘Thanks Carl. Did I make a fool of myself last night?’

Carl looked up and smiled, ‘No, no more than I did.’

‘Thank God for that. Thanks again for letting me stay over, I really
appreciate it.’

‘You're welcome, mate.’

Carl's headache eased off with the painkillers, but as he sat there
drinking his coffee, he couldn't stop himself stealing looks at Danny.
Every time Danny looked up, Carl could see those same clear blue eyes
that had appeared in his dream. Carl uttered a little moan as he tried
to force himself not to look.

‘Carl, you OK? not feeling so good?’ Danny asked. He kept catching Carl
stealing little glances at him. Was he thinking of that stupid story
Danny had told everyone last night? Was Carl going to tell him that he
didn't want to see him again because of it?

‘No, I'm good thanks, Danny. Anything you fancy doing today?’

‘No, I guess I should be heading off home soon. What about you?’

Danny felt relieved. If Carl wanted to do something together, then he
might not be so upset with him.

The front door bell rang, making them both jump. ‘Oh, fuck, who's that?’
said Carl. He walked out of the kitchen and Danny heard him open the
front door and then he walked back into the kitchen followed by Siobhan.

‘Hello boys, how are you this morning? Feeling grand are we?’ Her Irish
lilt a little more prominent this morning.

‘Apart from a banging hangover, fine, thank you,’ said Danny, marvelling
at how fresh Siobhan looked. ‘How are you?’

‘Top of the morning, thanks, Danny.’

‘How can you be so cheerful? You had as much to drink as we did.’
‘It's a Celtic secret, Danny. You benighted English wouldn't understand.
Anyway, do you fancy coming to the show tonight? It's a charity thing so
there's plenty of space for you to come along if you want to. It'll be
fun, and there will be a free bar we can get you into.’

Carl looked across to Danny and said, ‘I'm up for it. Danny, what about
you?’

Danny said, ‘Great, I'm good too. Sounds like it should be fun.’

‘That's grand, it starts at eight o'clock, over in Docklands. We have to
be up there early, but you can share our ride back afterwards if you
wait a little for us. I'll put your names on the door and here are the
passes for the bar.’ She gave each of them a plastic card and said, ‘I
should be able to come out and find you when you arrive. Text me when
you get there.’

She looked at Danny and said, ‘Mother of God, your eyes are striking,
Danny. I wish you would let me get to work on you, your own mother
wouldn't recognise you.’

Danny wished she wouldn't keep saying things like that, because every
time she did, a ripple of excitement ran through him; he hated it, yet
loved it at the same time.

Danny blushed and Siobhan laughed. ‘See you tonight boys.’ Carl let her
out of the front door and returned to the kitchen.

Carl said, ‘She normally gets her way, you know.’

‘What do you mean?’

Carl smiled, ‘You’ll find out, I'm sure.’

Danny shrugged, he wasn't up for playing games, his head still throbbed
too badly.

Carl picked up his coffee and stood by the window looking out into the
garden. He thought for a few minutes about whether he should ask Danny
about the idea which had been churning away in his mind. He turned to
look at Danny, checking emails on his phone and decided to go ahead.
‘Danny, can I ask you a question?’

‘Sure, fire away.’

‘You said last night the work search isn't going too well, is that
right?’

Danny put his phone down, ‘Yes, it's taking longer to build up the
freelance work than I imagined and full times jobs don't come up often.’
‘You told me a couple of weeks ago, the lease is up on your flat soon,
right?’

Danny was puzzled; where was Carl going with this?

‘Yes, and the landlord is making noises about a rent increase, which
would be a problem for me right now.’

Carl paused, ‘I don't know if this would help, or even if you would want
to, but I have the spare room here, and if it helped out, you could move
in here.’

Danny had been so surprised he wasn't sure he had heard Carl properly.
‘Sorry, did you just say I could move in here?’

‘Yes, if it would help you out, that is. The room is here and there's
plenty of space here for us not to be on top of each other.’

‘But, Carl, if I can't afford my current place, I couldn't afford to
live here.’

Carl laughed, ‘No you idiot, I wouldn't want rent, I own the place
outright. A share of the running costs would be enough, food and bills
and stuff like that.’

Danny thought quickly. On one hand it would solve a lot of his problems
until the work built up, but on the other hand it would put him under a
big obligation to Carl. He liked Carl, so he didn't think there would be
a big personality clash. There was enough space here for sure, all he
needed would be somewhere to set up his computer, but apart from that,
he didn't need much. As if reading his mind, Carl said, ‘There's a space
off the kitchen that's a storeroom at the moment, we could clear that
out for you to work in.’

‘Carl, are you serious? That's a big step for you to have someone else
sharing your place.’

‘Danny, I am totally serious. I have shared before, and we get on well,
so why not? I would enjoy the company to be honest.’

‘Carl, that's the most generous thing anyone’s done for me. If you're OK
with it, I would love to take you up on it.’

Carl beamed, ‘That's great Danny, I'm so pleased. When do you think you
would need to move?’

‘I know the landlord is keen to get more for the place so I don't think
there would be any problem. I need to talk to him, but would next
weekend be too soon.’

‘No, that's perfect, I’ll get the storeroom sorted, do you need anything
special for your work?’

‘Not much, I do everything on the mac, so fast broadband is all I need.’

‘No problem then, Danny, I’ve got the fastest package I could get
already installed.’

Danny’s head started to whirl, he hadn’t expected anything like this and
he needed to sort his thoughts out.

‘Carl, in that case, I’ll shoot off home and get started on organising
stuff. I don't have much as the flat came furnished. I can put some of
it into storage, so I’ll only bring across what I need.’

They agreed to meet later that afternoon before heading off together to
Julia’s show. Danny walked back to his flat to help clear his head, and
it gave him time to think about what had happened this morning. He hoped
he was doing the right thing; he and Carl were good friends, but sharing
the apartment would be different. Still, it would be a lifesaver for him
at the moment. His business had been growing, but more slowly than he
could afford. Danny reassured himself that it wouldn't be for long as he
would be able to move out again when business picked up.

Carl felt pleased that Danny had accepted his offer to share. He missed
having someone around now that Simone had moved out; he had never
enjoyed his own company much, so having Danny around would be nice. It
would mean a few changes, but that wouldn't be a problem. He had made a
promise, and he intended to keep it.

Chapter Four

Later in the afternoon, Danny walked across to Carl's and they headed
out to Docklands from there. The show was in the ExCel centre in
Docklands, and Danny suggested they catch the cable car across the
river. Carl agreed straight away as he had been keen to use it for some
time. It had been built for the London Olympics, but had turned into an
expensive white elephant afterwards. It only took ten minutes to make
the crossing, and it delighted Danny to see his friend so excited by the
trip.

They arrived at the ExCel in good spirits and set about looking for the
show. There seemed to be a lot of flamboyantly dressed people milling
around as was to be expected, they assumed, at a fashion show. Carl
started to text Siobhan to let her know they were here when Danny nudged
him and pointed to a huge banner hung above their heads.

‘Did you know about this,’ Danny hissed at Carl.

‘No, I had no idea, she never said anything to me.’

At that moment, Siobhan arrived, looking like she had stepped out of a
Rossetti painting. Her hair flowed around her shoulders and heads turned
as she moved through the crowd and greeted both of them with a cheek
kiss.

‘Hello you two, I'm glad you could make it. What do you think?’ Her eyes
were twinkling as she spoke.

Danny looked up at the banner over their heads and said, ‘Er, TransDress
2016?’

Siobhan tilted her head, smiled and said, ‘I told you, didn't I?’

‘No, actually, you didn't,’ said Carl.

‘Ach well, it's for a charity that helps provide dressing advice and
support for transgender teenagers. It's terribly difficult for them to
get help when they need it. It's a great cause.’

‘I thought you said Julia would be in the show,’ said Carl.

‘Well no, I'm sure I didn't say that. She is the producer and coach to
the models tonight. They're all transgender girls and she volunteered to
produce the show and I'm supervising the makeup and wardrobe.’

Danny looked around a little more closely at the people in the crowd and
he suddenly realised most of them were dressed either in an androgynous
way or cross-dressed completely. His eyes widened as a beautifully made
up boy walked past wearing heels, a mini skirt and a transparent silk
blouse, and who turned his head to smile at Danny and gave him a slow
wink.

Siobhan giggled as she saw Danny's face and said, ‘Come on boys, let's
get you a drink, I think you need one.’ They followed her through the
crowd, their eyes flicking from one side to the other as they took in
the sights around them. The music and colour and atmosphere reminded
Carl of the time he had been to carnival in Rio. all around them were
young people dressed in every style you could imagine; boys wearing
skirts and see-through blouses, and girls wearing tuxedos, and a million
styles in between. It was loud and brash, and to Carl exhilaratingly
naughty. His eyes kept focusing on some of the boys dressed as girls. He
felt his heart run a little faster as he watched a boy who had the face
of an angel, stop Carl in his tracks as he turned and smile at him, He
felt his face flush and he hurried to catch up with Siobhan and Danny.
Siobhan ushered them into a private VIP room saying, ‘Have a few drinks
and enjoy yourselves. I've got to supervise the makeup, but I'll come
back for you later on.’ She blew them a kiss and disappeared. They
looked at each other, both unsure of what to do next.

‘Hi, I'm Trixie, what can I get you two girls to drink?’

They turned to find a boy made up as a Goth looking expectantly at them.
Danny's eyes widened as he took in the black leather hot pants, fishnets
and the cropped mesh t-shirt, together with a belly ring which looked
like a snake glittering from a bare midriff.

‘Well, girls? I haven't got all day.’ Trixie laid a hand with black
painted nails on Carl’s arm and said, ‘I've got white wine, red wine and
pink wine. Well it's rosé really, but it's so much nicer to call it pink
don't you think? It's a bit mixed up, like me. So what’ll it be, butch
red, femme white or bi pink?’

Danny started to giggle and Trixie pouted. ‘So, that’s white for you,
you naughty girl, and I think pink for your lovely friend here. Don't go
anywhere, I’ll be right back.’ Rubbing Carl’s arm Trixie smiled at Carl,
then turned and headed for the bar. Carl giggled nervously, ‘My God,
what have we let ourselves in for?’

‘I don't know but I need that drink.’ replied Danny, watching Trixie’s
bum wiggle provocatively across to the bar. Trixie looked back and
smiled at Carl before winking at him. Carl blushed a deep red and Danny
giggled at his friend’s embarrassment.

‘Hi, I’m Peta, who are you?’ A woman wearing a badge with the Charity
logo and carrying an iPad and a walkie talkie approached them, smiling
broadly.

‘Uh, we’re with Siobhan.’ said Carl.

She looked down at the iPad. ‘Ah, you’re Danny and Carl, right? Siobhan
put your names down on the list. Welcome to TransDress, it's great to
have you here. Like I said, I’m Peta and I do the PR for the charity.
Are you friends of Siobhan?’

‘Yes, we live downstairs from Siobhan and Julia.’ said Carl.

‘That's wonderful, Siobhan and Julia have been fantastic supporters of
the charity, we couldn't have put this on without their help. Any
friends of theirs are friends of ours, for sure. Do you know anything
about the charity? Do you have an interest in the TG community?’
At that moment Trixie returned and Peta paused as Trixie gave Danny and
Carl their drinks.

‘That's a femmy white for you, and a lovely bi pink for you, sweetie.’
Trixie winked at Carl once again as he took his drink.

‘Is Trixie looking after you?’ said Peta, smiling.

Trixie giggled, ‘I'd like to look after this one if he'd let me.’

Trixie’s tongue slipped out between black lips and Carl blushed pink
again.

‘Now, now, Trixie, I’m sure there are others who need a drink.’

Trixie pouted and turned away. ‘I’ll be back, don't worry,’

Peta grinned broadly, ‘Don't worry about Trixie, ze is harmless. Ze
likes to flirt.’

‘I'm sorry, did you say, ze?’ said Danny, looking puzzled.

Peta smiled. ‘Ze? It's a gender neutral pronoun.’

Danny still looked puzzled.

‘A lot of non-binary people feel alienated if people use he, or she, if
it doesn't fit their gender identity. Ze is a neutral pronoun. It
doesn’t reflect any specific gender identity. There’s a section on our
website which explains it all. Look, I'm sorry I have to do the rounds,
it's great to have you here. Enjoy the show. I’ll try to catch you later
with Siobhan, if I can.’ She flashed a smile and moved off to talk to
someone else.

Carl whistled softly, ‘Wow, it's a completely different world.’
Danny grinned, ‘Well, you've made a conquest, Carl. Ze is hot for you.’
Carl spluttered as he had taken a sip of his wine, then laughed at his
own embarrassment. Before long, they were chatting to others in the VIP
room. Some were journalists, some supporters of the charity and some
friends and relatives of those in the show. Trixie kept them topped up
with drinks and quite soon Danny felt a little buzzed. He hadn't eaten
anything except for some crisps and his glass had been topped up
whenever it got even half way empty. Trixie seemed to be staying close
to Carl, who, to Danny’s eyes at least, didn't seem to mind the
attention too much.

Peta stood up on a chair and made a short speech, thanking everyone for
coming to support the charity. She said that the show would be starting
in a few minutes and she hoped everyone would enjoy themselves. People
began to file through the door and Danny and Carl moved with them.
‘Danny, Danny.’ He heard Peta’s voice, and he looked around as she
pushed her way through to him.

‘I just had a message from Siobhan. Can you wait here for her, she’ll be
a minute. Carl, you can go ahead into the show.’

Danny shrugged to Carl, ‘See you later.’ Carl said, and turned to follow
the others, as Trixie appeared at his side and put an arm through
Carl’s.

Danny grinned and hung back as Siobhan had asked, but he wondered what
she wanted him for. The others had disappeared when Siobhan pushed open
another door and waved him over.

‘Come on,’ she said, ‘we haven't got a lot of time before it all
starts.’

As he got to the door, Siobhan grabbed his hand and pulled him through
into a corridor.

‘Where are we going?’ he said.

‘Ssh,’ she put her finger to her mouth, ‘we’re right behind the audience
for the show.’

She led him down the corridor, pushed open a door at the end and walked
into a scene of what looked to Danny like chaos. People were everywhere
in a small space behind what he guessed would be the runway. Models sat
in chairs being made up, and there were racks of clothes all with photos
of the models who were to wear them. People with clipboards and headsets
were running around and trying to bring some order to the chaos.

Danny spotted Julia who seemed to be in her element, barking orders to
assistants and talking through her headset. She waved at Danny as
Siobhan led him to a chair and gave him a headset to listen on. Over the
headset he heard Julia say ‘Showtime minus 15, people. Good luck and
make this a great show tonight.’

He could feel the tension rising in the room, and it reminded him of the
last few minutes before his performance of Juliet all those years ago.
Siobhan went to help one of the makeup artists and Danny tried to melt
into the background. Models were climbing into the outfits and Danny
realised with a start that what he had assumed were female were either
transgender or androgynous looking boys. Julia’s voice came over the
headset, ‘Five minutes to showtime. Places everyone.'

Hairdressers and makeup artists were doing last minute touch ups and the
tension in the room notched up even further. He heard the music begin in
the runway room and Siobhan pointed to a monitor feeding pictures from
the other room. The camera swept around the room and Danny caught a
glimpse of Carl sitting next to Trixie, who seemed to have a hand on his
leg. Danny felt a small pang as he saw Trixie move even closer to Carl.
Was that jealousy he felt? Surely not. He switched his attention back to
the room, and the models were now lining up ready to go out onto the
runway.

‘Showtime, let's make it a great one.’ Julia’s voice cut through and
models began to move out of the room. Siobhan came and sat next to him
as the room began to empty. She brought her lips to his ear, ‘Exciting
isn't it? Don't they all look so beautiful? Do you like that?’

He nodded. He didn't know if whether he was buzzed from the drinks or
being involved in the charged atmosphere backstage but he almost
quivered with excitement. His head spun as everywhere he looked there
were models who looked like beautiful girls but had been born male. He
felt his cock stir as he thought about what it would be like to be one
of these models lining up in the most beautiful dresses or skirts and
blouses. He wondered what it would be like to stride along the runway
with everyone knowing he was a male beneath the female clothes. In the
design world Danny had heard about the success of models like Andrej
Pejic and Stav Strashko, but he had never believed it could be possible
for a man to look this good as a woman.

Siobhan saw the look in his eyes and guessed that Danny felt overwhelmed
by the excitement of everything going on around him. She hesitated for a
moment, then grabbed his hand and pulled him up. She led him over to a
makeup desk they hadn't needed and pulled a screen around it. Nobody
could see them from the room. She pushed him down onto the chair and he
looked up at her as he realised what she intended to do.

Danny made to speak, but Siobhan put her finger to his lips and said,
‘Danny, please let me do this for you, just this once. Nobody will ever
know. I think you want me to, don't you?’

He looked at her and he knew he should have said no and walked away.
But, something deep inside made him hesitate, and in that moment he was
lost. He sat there like a rabbit caught in headlights, and Siobhan
sensed his resistance weakening. She sat beside him and pulled the
makeup kit towards her. She knew she didn't have much time, but she had
done this so many times, it wouldn't matter. She quickly decided that a
natural look would be the way to go, making the most of his best
features but nothing too dramatic. At least for this time she thought.
Danny had shaved before he came out and luckily his beard didn't seem to
be too heavy, so a medium cover foundation and a little concealer would
be enough. He seemed almost in a trance as she worked, carefully but
quickly, shading and contouring his face with blusher, helping to
emphasise his lovely cheekbones.

He had those lovely blue eyes, and she wanted to make them pop. She used
a bronze colour eyeshadow across the lid with a darker colour blending
into the crease. She used the same colours beneath the eye to make the
eyes look as big as possible, with a little highlight in the inner
corner of each eye. She didn't have time to finesse too much as she
didn't know how much more Danny would take. He seemed compliant, almost
trancelike, at the moment, but she didn't want to push it too far. She
finished off his eyes with a little eyeliner and then some mascara.

There wasn't much she could do with his eyebrows other than to brush
them as smooth as possible and hold them in place with brow gel.
She finally started on his lips, drawing around them with a pencil to
make them look larger, and then used a brush with a soft pink lipstick
to colour in his lips. The pink would look so sweet and complement his
colouring without taking attention away from his eyes. As a makeup
artist she loved this moment when she had almost finished and she could
see what a difference her skill and experience had made.

Danny had no idea what Siobhan was doing to him, but every few seconds
he would think I have to stop this now, but every time he tried to say
something he couldn't bring himself to do it. He felt dazed the brushes
slid across his skin and her fingers worked on his face. There was
something soothing and calming about the way Siobhan went about her
work, and his mind drifted back to the time when he had been Juliet. In
the end he gave in completely and sat there quietly and still as she
worked on him.

She could hear the show going on around them and she prayed that nobody
would come looking for her right now. She sat back and made a few minor
adjustments, but she felt happy with what she had done.

‘Danny, close your eyes, I’m going to let your hair down so don't move.’

She released his blond hair from its ponytail allowing it to tumble down
to his shoulders. Grabbing a hairbrush, she quickly brushed it out and
arranged it around his face. She did a little touch up here and there,
but then decided she could do no more.

She turned a mirror round so Danny would be looking straight into it.
She took a deep breath and said, ‘OK, Danny, you can open your eyes
now.’

Danny hesitated, what would he look like? A bloke wearing makeup that's
what. Why had he agreed to this crazy idea, he would look stupid? He
finally snapped his eyes open, and it took a second or two to adjust to
the light, but he blinked once or twice and then everything came into
sharp focus. His first foolish thought was that Siobhan had played a
trick on him, putting a girl opposite him to make him think it was his
face in the mirror. A split second later he realised it was his face,
but then again it wasn’t. He moved his head, and the head in the mirror
moved, so it must be his face; but it wasn't one he recognised. His eyes
looked enormous and his lips were, well, sexy was the first word that
came into his mind. His blond hair framed his face, making it look
narrower and feminine. It was surely a woman’s face that started back at
him from the mirror. He couldn't believe it was him. He touched his nose
with his finger to see if it was his face and he was shocked to feel his
finger on his skin. It was him.

‘Well,’ said Siobhan softly, ‘What do you think?’

Her voice broke the spell the face in the mirror had put on him and he
jumped. He looked up at her, his eyes shining, and he found it difficult
to speak. He shook his head instead, and Siobhan's heart sank, he didn't
like it, he was angry. He finally found his voice, ‘I can't believe it,
it’s beautiful.’

She heaved a sigh of relief and grinned, ‘I didn't do a bad job did I?’
He shook his head again, ‘I still don't believe what you've done. I look
so feminine.’ He smiled and looked back in the mirror, tilting his head
one way than the other, not quite taking in how she had made him look.
At that precise moment Carl, Julia and Trixie walked round the edge of
the screen.

‘This is where you’ve got to, We've been looking for you both…’ Julia's
voice trailed off as she took in the scene in front of them. Trixie
broke the silence first.

‘I knew femmy white was the right drink for her.’

Chapter Five

The show had finished and Trixie had grabbed his hand, ‘Come on, let's
go find your friend.’ It felt strange, but he didn't mind Trixie holding
his hand. Trixie had slipped an arm through his when they walked into
the show, and Carl had initially been embarrassed, thinking that
everyone would be looking at him and laughing. When he realised that at
this show nobody would bat an eyelid, not even a heavily mascaraed
eyelid at him being with Trixie, he began to relax. Trixie was great
company; wickedly funny and charming in equal measure. Carl began to
enjoy the show and didn't mind when Trixie put a hand on his leg. He
knew he had drunk a bit, but he was aware of what was going on. He
didn't encourage anything, but he didn't go out of his way to discourage
the attention he was receiving either.

Trixie lent close to him and whispered in his ear, ‘Are you enjoying the
show?’

Carl nodded, fascinated by the models as they strutted up and down the
catwalk. Some were androgynous, some he felt had to be women he thought,
despite what he had been told. They were so convincing.

Trixie lent close again, ‘Which one do you like best?’

Carl felt so confused, he knew the models were male, but they looked so
good. He gulped as one of the models wearing a silk blouse slashed open
to the waist with a pair of harem pants, struck a pose at the end of the
catwalk, flicked his hair and looked Carl straight in the eye. God,
thought Carl, he looked so sexy.

Trixie slid a hand back onto Carl's leg and felt him twitch at the
touch. Carl was now almost hypnotised by the show and he began to feel a
little hot. The music died away and as the show came to an end, they all
stood to applaud as the models dragged Julia out onto the runway to
share in the applause. Julia spotted Carl and motioned for him to join
her backstage. Trixie came with him and they found Julia basking in the
glow of the success of the show. She gave Carl a hug and introduced her
to Trixie. Julia raised an eyebrow to Carl when Trixie looked away, but
Carl choose not to react.

‘Have you seen Siobhan?’ Julia asked.

‘I saw her disappear over there.’ One of the assistants offered, waving
his arm towards a small screened off area. Julia led them all over and
she walked round the screen and they all followed. Carl assumed Siobhan
was making up one of the models, and it was only when the model looked
up at them he stared into Danny’s sparkling blue eyes.

Carl heard Trixie say something, but all Carl could think about was how
beautiful his friend looked. Siobhan spoke first, ‘Don't you think he
looks great?’

Danny felt close to fainting and covered his face with his hands. Julia
said, ‘Danny, you look wonderful, but I think we should all be getting
ready to go home now.’ She gestured to Carl that they should leave and
with Trixie they moved away. Still stunned by what he had seen, Carl
didn't know what to think. How on earth had Danny let Siobhan do that?
He knew she could be mischievous. He knew how persuasive she could be,
and he guessed that Danny would have been like putty in her hands. Carl
knew Siobhan liked to play games with people and he knew she had set her
sights on Danny

Danny appeared after a few minutes with the makeup removed and his hair
back in the familiar ponytail. He looked embarrassed and sat quietly in
the car on the way back. When they arrived back at the apartment Danny
scurried away to his room as Carl said goodnight to the girls. Carl made
himself a drink and considered knocking on Danny’s door to see if he
wanted one, but he thought Danny might want to be on his own.

Danny closed his door and threw himself on the bed. Why had he allowed
Siobhan to do that to him? He had been so embarrassed when the others
had come round the corner of the curtain. Carl would think he was such
an idiot. He had to hope that he could laugh it off with Carl as a joke
that went a bit too far. His mind drifted back to when Siobhan had let
him see what she had done. He had expected to see a grotesque caricature
in the mirror, lipstick on a gorilla he thought. Instead, he had almost
fainted when Siobhan revealed the mirror. He could hardly believe how he
looked, somehow his face had looked slimmer, his features smaller and,
well, feminine. His eyes had sparkled, and he realised that Siobhan had
been right - he could look pretty. He shuddered and thought, well that’s
not going to happen again.

Danny finally fell asleep and dreamt of the school play once again.
Dressed in his Juliet costume, he watched as Romeo slowly approached
him, took him in his arms and kissed him, his tongue invading Danny’s
mouth. He felt powerless to resist as Romeo’s hands pressed down on his
shoulders and he fell to his knees as a huge cock emerged from Romeo’s
cod piece. Danny took it in his mouth and as he began to suck, the cock
grew bigger and bigger until Danny could no longer keep it in his mouth.
He let it slip out and looked up to see Carl staring wide eyed back down
at him. Danny woke up choking and sweating. For the rest of the night he
tossed and turned still disturbed by the dream.

He was relieved that Carl had already left for work before he emerged
from his room. He left Carl a note asking if it would still alright for
him move in. He prayed that Carl wouldn't hold the evening against him.
Carl rang that evening and reassured Danny that he was welcome, and that
he would help him out with the move next weekend. Danny let out a long
sigh of relief, things seemed to be back on the straight and level.

Chapter Six

The following week Danny sorted out his belongings, using the
opportunity to clear out a lot of what he no longer needed down to the
charity shop. On Saturday, he and Carl loaded his remaining possessions
into a small hire van and moved it all into Carl’s place. As promised
Carl had cleared out the storeroom and Danny set up his work desk and
computer. He logged onto the Wi-Fi network and found to his relief
everything seemed to work perfectly.

They ordered a takeaway that night and celebrated the move with a couple
of bottles of red wine. Carl felt good about inviting Danny to share;
the apartment had felt empty since Simone had left and it would be good
to have someone around who made him laugh as much as Danny. He caught
himself a couple of times looking into Danny’s bright blue eyes and
thinking how sweet Danny looked when he smiled. He shook off the feeling
and deciding he had drunk enough, he said goodnight to Danny and took
himself to bed.

Danny stayed at the table for a while longer, thinking how lucky he had
been to meet Carl and how well they were getting on. He liked Carl a
lot; he had never had such a close male friend before and he thought
they made a good pair. He thought himself more passive than Carl, who,
although kind and gentle, seemed more assertive than Danny. Carl also
seemed to be looking out for Danny which made him feel good.

Danny had said that working from the flat, he would take responsibility
for cleaning and would do the cooking in lieu of not paying rent. Danny
enjoyed cooking, so it wouldn't be a big problem for him. Carl told him
that wasn't necessary, but Danny could see that Carl was pleased about
his offer.

On Sunday Danny spent putting the rest of his clothes away then invited
Carl to the pub for a late lunch. They walked down to the river and sat
watching the river for a while as they ate. Carl took a pull at his pint
and quietly asked, ‘Danny, were you OK with what Siobhan did at the
show?’

‘Yes, I guess so. It was a bit of a laugh, she's persuasive, isn't she?’
Carl laughed, ‘Oh yes, she could charm water out of a rock I think. You
know, she did one hell of a job on you. I couldn't believe what a change
she made.’

‘I know, when she let me see myself in the mirror, I nearly passed out.
For a second, I thought it was a trick somehow.’ Danny giggled, ‘Trixie
had the hots for you, I remember.’

Carl laughed, ‘If I’d had a couple more drinks God knows what might have
happened.’

They both laughed and finished their pints before heading back to the
flat. Carl said he would be heading off on a business trip for a few
days, so they both turned in early. Early the next morning Danny heard
Carl moving about, so he pulled on his dressing gown and headed to the
kitchen.

‘Morning Carl, fancy a coffee and toast?’ Shouted Danny to Carl through
his bedroom door.

‘Great thanks,’ shouted Carl back.

Carl emerged from his room with a small suitcase just as the toast
popped up and the coffee machine gurgled. Carl had on a beautifully cut,
dark blue business suit with a white shirt and matching silk tie. Danny
had never seen Carl in a business suit before, and he realised with a
slight start that how good Carl looked in the suit.

‘I haven't seen that suit before, is it new? It looks great on you.’

Carl looked pleased at the compliment, ‘Yes, it's new, Armani.’

Danny whistled, ‘Very nice. Where are you off to?’

‘Bristol. It's not a bad place but the client’s a cheapskate, I’ll
probably be in a cheap hotel and they will try to squeeze every penny
out of the budget. Still, I’ll be back Friday.’

Carl's phone pinged, ‘That's my uber outside, see you Thursday evening
when I get back.’

Danny watched as Carl wheeled his case down the hall, ‘Have a good
trip.’ For some reason he couldn't fathom, Danny felt a pang as Carl
closed the door behind him. Danny planned to work on a commission which
he had to deliver later that day and he managed to finish it
mid-afternoon. He sat back in his chair, happy with what he had done,
and as he sent it off to the client, the doorbell rang. He opened the
door to find Siobhan standing there.

‘Hi Danny, how are you?’

Danny hadn't seen her since the night of the show and he blushed,
remembering what had happened then. ‘Hi, Siobhan, I'm good thanks, come
on in.’

Danny made them both tea, and they sat at the kitchen table watching the
rain which had started earlier pounding down outside.

‘About that night at the show,’ started Danny, aiming to tell her that
it had been a mistake, and that it had been a one-off, never to be
repeated event. But, before he could say anything else, Siobhan
interrupted him.

‘You're welcome Danny, next time we’ll spend more time on it, but I
wanted to talk to you about your design skills. Peta, the charity PR
girl called me this morning. She heard you were a designer and wanted me
to ask you if you might be interested in doing some work for them. Their
designer quit recently and they're looking for someone else. They don't
have much money but she said they could pay for any work.’

Siobhan had wrong footed Danny; he completely forgot what he had been
about to say.

‘Well, yes, of course I'd be interested. Business is getting better but
anything would help.’

‘OK, I thought you might say that so I took the chance to set up a
meeting with her on Thursday, if that's OK with you?’

Danny nodded, ‘That's fine. Thanks Siobhan, that’s great.’
Siobhan frowned, ‘There's only one small thing, Danny. Peta is adamant
that anyone who does work for the charity is involved in the TG
community.’

‘Siobhan, that means I can't do it. Why on earth would she give me any
work?’

Siobhan smiled, ‘That’s OK because I told her you are about to come out
as TG, and she said fine, but she had to see you dressed to make sure. I
said that wouldn't be a problem.’

Danny thought he would faint, ‘You said what? Are you mad? I can't do
that.’

Siobhan looked calmly back at him. ‘Sure you can, Danny. Didn't the
other night prove that? You looked so good. You seemed to enjoy it.’
‘But, that was a one off, I couldn't possibly carry it off.’

‘Danny, think about it, you would get the chance to work with a high
profile charity, that has got to be worth it to get you some publicity,
surely?’

Danny thought Siobhan had gone mad. How could he possibly do this? There
was no way he would do it. Although she had a point, the publicity would
be worth its weight in gold.

Siobhan could see him wavering, and she knew she had to keep nudging him
towards accepting the notion.

‘Danny, let me make you an offer. Let me help you to see what could be
done, let me get you dressed and made up and if you still don't think it
would work, I’ll call it off with Peta. If you think you look OK, we can
spend the next two days getting you prepared for the meeting. How does
that sound? Surely it's worth a little time to see?’

Danny dropped his head into his hands. It sounded madness, but what if
she were right? Would it be worth trying?

Siobhan pressed on, ‘What's the worst that could happen if you did this?
If Peta doesn't like your work, you’ve lost nothing, everything goes
back to normal. If she does, then you’ll have some work and the chance
to get yourself some wonderful visibility. By the way, where’s Carl?’
‘He’s on a business trip, won't be back until Friday.’

‘OK, then, Julia’s on a shoot all this week, I'm only booked for a
couple of jobs this week, so it's just us two. That's karma surely,
let's have dinner tonight upstairs in my flat and see if it would work.’
Danny was still shaking his head when he heard a voice that sounded like
his, say, ‘OK.’

Chapter Seven

He must have decided about half a dozen times to call Siobhan to say he
wouldn't go through it, only to pull back. He was still dithering at
seven o'clock, the time they had agreed to meet. He grabbed a bottle of
wine from the rack and walked up the stairs to the girls’ flat. Why on
earth was he doing this? He needed the work for sure, but deep down he
knew something else was driving him on. Ever since he had confessed the
Juliet story, he had been thinking more and more about how that made him
feel. Somehow by sharing a memory that he had kept buried for years, a
desire which had been quietly smouldering in his subconscious had turned
into a small flickering flame. The night at the show had fanned the
flame into such a fire so that that when Siobhan had made her
suggestion, his head wanted to say no, but his heart had said yes. Even
as he knocked on the door he panicked, and his knees began to wobble.
She answered the door and smiled broadly when she saw him.

‘Danny, don't look so scared, I'm not going to bite you, come on in.’

He thought she looked beautiful in a long skirt and simple peasant
blouse with her hair tumbling down over her shoulders. He sighed and
forced himself to walk into the flat.

‘I've brought this,’ he said, waving the bottle around. She kissed him
on the cheek and took the bottle.

‘Thanks babe, let's go into the kitchen and open it up, you look as if
you could do with a drink while I finish the cooking.’

He followed her into the kitchen, a stunning ultra-minimalist affair,
everything seems to be concealed behind cupboard doors and nothing on
the worktops except around the cooker where Siobhan was cooking. Danny
looked around, noticing the exquisite little touches that the designer
had used.

‘It's fabulous,’ he said as Siobhan poured him a glass of wine.

‘It cost a bloody fortune, but one of Julia's exes is a designer and she
did it wholesale.’

They clinked glasses and Danny watched as Siobhan finished cooking what
looked like spaghetti vongole.

‘Christ, you don't have a shellfish allergy do you? I always forget to
ask.’

Danny shook his head, ‘No, I love shellfish.’

They ate in the kitchen. Siobhan, sending his nervousness, kept up a
stream of chatter and saw that Danny began to relax a little. They
finished the food and Siobhan packed everything away into the dishwasher
and came to sit opposite Danny.

‘OK,’ she smiled, ‘one last chance for you to run away. No? Good, let's
see what we have to work with.’

Danny's heart now started to beat faster and he let out a big breath to
try to calm himself down.

‘No need to get worried, babe. Nothing bad is going to happen, I
promise. I think you're going to enjoy this. Now what I want you to do
is to have a shower, shave yourself as closely as possible and wash your
hair with the bottle of shampoo I've left in the shower. How much hair
do you have on your body?’

‘Not much, I think, but does that matter?’

‘It might, depends on how much skin we end up showing. There's a pair of
panties on the shelf in the shower room. Put those on when you've
finished, there's a robe there as well. Come back out and we'll get
started.’

Danny was trembling by this time. Siobhan grabbed his hand and led him
through the flat to the bathroom and gently pushed him through the door.
He leant up against the door and managed to control his breathing enough
to look around him. In one corner there was a big glass shower enclosure
and a marble counter with two washbasins below a huge mirror all lit by
concealed lighting. On the counter lay a razor and shaving cream right
next to a pair of white lace panties. Danny let his hand run over the
lace and he shivered as he felt the silk beneath his fingertips.

He pulled himself together and took off his shirt, trousers and
underpants. He looked at himself in the mirror and turned sideways. He
thought, not too bad, I guess. Flat stomach, no love handles at least.
He took out the scrunchie holding his hair in its usual ponytail and
stepped under the shower. He stood under the shower, the hot water
helping him to relax as he washed his hair. He wrapped a small towel
around his hair before shaving as closely as he could and using some
moisturiser which Siobhan had left.

Danny picked up the pair of panties from the counter, hesitated for a
second before putting his feet into them and pulling them up his legs.
Think of them as a pair of Speedos, he told himself. As they settled
around his cock and balls, he closed his eyes and made a small noise in
his throat, so sensual did they make him feel. No way, he thought, did
these feel like a pair of Speedos. A robe hung from a hook also of silk
and he loved the feeling as it slid over his skin. When he pulled the
little belt tight, it fell to the top of his thighs and as he looked at
himself in the mirror one last time, he wondered what he had let himself
in for.

With his face red and feeling vulnerable, he walked out of the shower
room to find Siobhan waiting with a glass of wine in her hand.

She thought he looked sweet in the robe which barely covered anything,
his embarrassment obvious. She offered him the glass, ‘Here, have this,
I think it will help.’

Danny took the glass and had a good sip. ‘Thanks, I'm so nervous about
this.’

‘No need, babe,’ she said as she took his hand and led him through to
the bedroom. A large dressing table stood along the wall with lighting
either side of a large mirror which had been covered with a towel. The
table was covered with neatly arranged boxes of cosmetics, brushes,
pads, tissues, and makeup. Siobhan stopped me in the middle of the room.
‘OK, Danny, time to take off the robe.’

His fingers were shaking as he undid the belt and let the robe slip off
his shoulders. Siobhan looked him up and down and smiled, ‘Very nice,
Danny. I think we have something to work with. You’ve got lovely legs
and you have a nicely toned upper body, your hips are quite wide and
your shoulders aren't too big, You'll do, I think.’

‘Swimming,’ he mumbled, ‘that's what does it.’

She laughed, ‘I bet you look as good in Speedos as you do in those
panties.’

Danny blushed crimson, he had forgotten about the panties.

‘Bless you, Danny, there's no need to be shy with me.’ Easy for her to
say, he thought. ‘Well, the good news is that I don't think you have
enough hair to worry about tonight, but I would like you to shave your
legs before we meet with Peta. It will make you feel more feminine.
Let's sort your hair out first.’

She pushed him down onto a chair and pulled off the towel wrapped around
his wet hair. She ran her fingers through the hair a few times before
saying, ‘Hair isn't my speciality so for tonight I'll keep it simple,
but for the meeting we'll try something a bit more stylish.’

Danny felt Siobhan too presumptuous in assuming that he would go through
with everything, but he felt too nervous to protest. He had already
begun to feel a thrill about being in this position and he could feel
his cock beginning to stir in its little lace prison. No, he thought,
please don't let me down now, but he felt himself getting harder and he
tried everything he could think of to calm down, but nothing seemed to
work. He could only hope Siobhan wouldn't notice.

Drying Danny’s hair, Siobhan knew it wouldn't be perfect, but she
thought she could make something decent out of it. Luckily, Danny had
kept his hair conditioned, and in good shape for a man. She noticed him
squirming in the chair and guessed that he was getting excited. Men, she
thought, are merely slaves to their cocks. Wasn't it Socrates who had
said that having a penis was like being chained to a madman. The only
cock she had any interest in these days was the big black one that Julia
strapped on to fuck her with. That cock didn't worry about how big or
small it was, didn't start asking if it was better than all the other
cocks she'd ever had and stayed hard forever. She had long concluded
that men could never free themselves from their egos long enough to love
anyone fully.

She loved it when Julia finally penetrated her after a long and erotic
session of foreplay; a culmination of their mutual love in place of the
act of domination and control it seemed to be for most men. After they
both climaxed they would lay and kiss and cuddle, the cock sometimes
still inside her, in a way that men could never emulate. She had
reciprocated at times, fucking Julia with it, but she didn't get the
same enjoyment as Julia seemed to experience. They were happy that way;
Julia had always been the dominant personality, seducing Siobhan in the
first place and taking the lead in their love making.

Danny's struggle with his particular madman confirmed for her that she
had been right about him all along. From the first night when he had
confessed about Juliet, she had seen something in his eyes that told her
he had buried something deep that was yearning to come out. The show had
been pure coincidence, but Siobhan had wondered how far she could push
Danny. Now, she thought she might be able to take him all the way, to
help him experience what he clearly felt inside. She had also wondered
about Carl and Danny, there seemed to be something between them, even if
they didn't realise it themselves.

She finished drying and styling his hair. Not a bad job, she thought as
she fussed a bit with it. She would love to see it styled properly and
thought she could call in a favour or two from one of the hairdressers
she knew on the circuit.

‘OK, Danny, let's get you made up. I'm going to do something for
daytime, as if you are going to meet Peta for your business meeting. I
think we want to take attention away from your chin and nose. You have a
nice shape to your face, not at all masculine.’

Danny pulled a face.

‘Don't pout, it doesn't suit you. I’m going to use concealer for the
beard areas, although you don't seem to show too much there, it will
help. Some foundation, blusher and maybe highlighter to accentuate your
cheekbones, which are lovely by the way. Then, I'm going to bring out
those gorgeous eyes of yours with some delicate eyeshadow, nothing too
fierce, and then some mascara to highlight your eyes. Then we'll finish
off with some lipstick. With your colouring and eye colour, I think you
could be more adventurous, but for now let's keep it simple. You liked
what I did at the show, didn't you?’

He nodded, his mouth so dry he couldn't answer her.

‘OK, we're going to do something similar, but I want you to watch and
remember what I'm doing. You'll be doing this yourself soon, so pay
attention.’

Danny heard Siobhan saying something, but it didn't make any sense. He
had fallen almost in a trance, and her words hit his ears as a jumble of
sounds. But he knew he needed to ask her something before they went on.
‘Siobhan, why are you doing this?’

She stopped talking and looked down at him. He looked to her like a
scared child, his eyes wide, wanting to ask a question but not wanting
to hear the answer.

‘Danny,’ she said gently, ‘if you don't want to go through with this,
all you have to do is tell me. It would be our secret. Nobody else will
ever know.’

‘No, I understand that, but why are you doing this?’

She sighed, ‘I like you Danny. I think you are one of the nicest people
I have met in a long time, and I think I can help you. Not only with
your work, but with something I believe you want, or need, to do deep
down inside. I want to give you your chance to see what that feels
like.’ She paused, but as he didn't say anything, she went on.
‘Honestly, babe, if you want me to stop, tell me and we’ll go no
further.’

This is it, thought Danny, all I have to do is stand up, and it's over.
But, if I don't, then God knows what will happen.

He paused for a second, a voice in his head screaming at him to leave,
before shaking his head, ‘No, no, let's go on.’

Siobhan smiled, ‘OK, babe, onwards and upwards.’ She pulled a plastic
smock around him and fastened it the neck. The cold plastic made him
shiver as it slid across his skin. She pulled his hair back carefully
with a makeup band and sat down opposite him.

She worked carefully, this was makeup 101 for her, but she talked to
Danny though the whole process, telling him exactly what she was doing
and why. Siobhan reasoned that if he knew what was happening, then he
would calm down a little, and she did want him to be able to do this by
himself. Nothing she would do tonight would be irreversible, so she
wouldn't pluck his eyebrows for now, but if he did go for it, there were
some changes she would love to make that he couldn't hide so easily.
She took her time, making sure that Danny understood each step. She
could sense him relax at last, his breathing had slowed down, his eyes
followed her every move, and he began to ask questions, which had to be
a good sign. She smiled to herself as she thought that she had been
right all along, there was something inside Danny that she would help to
release.

Danny became entranced by what Siobhan was doing to him. She explained
everything patiently and carefully and although she said he could do
this himself he thought he could never imagine him doing this. He began
to ask her questions as she worked and he began to like this feeling of
being pampered. Siobhan eventually announced herself happy with the
makeup and it was time to move on. She unclipped the cape and asked him
to stand up. Siobhan had covered the mirrors in the room so he couldn't
see what she had done yet, but his tongue slipped along his lips and he
could taste and feel the lip gloss she had used. It felt odd, but not
unpleasant. He wondered what it would be like to kiss someone wearing
lipstick. God, he thought, where did that come from? He wasn't going to
be doing that for sure.

Siobhan had laid out three dresses earlier that she thought might suit
him; a two-piece suit in coral pink, a dark blue dress with a
contrasting loose jacket, and a dark skirt and white blouse combo. As a
professional clothes horse, Julia always had clothes from modelling
assignments and there were dozens of outfits that she could have chosen.
She thought that these would also be closest to fitting Danny. All of
them were a little demure, but she thought that would be safer for him
to start with.

‘OK, Danny, firstly, let's get you into some stockings. I guess you know
how to put these on from your Juliet days.’ she said.

He nodded, struck dumb by the thought of what was to come. Siobhan
handed him a packet saying, ‘These are holdups, I hate tights
personally, these are much more exciting, don't you think?’

Danny swallowed, recalling how much he loved to see Jess in stockings,
but she used to wear a suspender belt as well. He sat on the edge of the
chair and took each stocking as Siobhan handed the to him. He remembered
he had to roll them into a doughnut shape and then pull them up his leg.
The feeling of the nylon sliding up his leg nearly undid him, but he
managed to get both on without disgracing himself. Siobhan watched him,
smiling as she realised how he felt. The more it excited him, she
thought, the more he would go on. She had him stand up and the
stockings, as they always did, enhanced his legs and made them look
longer.

‘Now for your bra,’ she announced, having concealed it behind her back
for a moment.

‘Oh,’ he stuttered, ‘Do we have to, I mean, can't we do without?’

Siobhan fixed him with her eyes. She had known he was quite submissive,
he would hardly have gone this far if he wasn't. ‘Yes, Danny, I want you
to wear it. It will help you to feel like a woman, and if you feel
feminine, then it will be easier to act like it.’

Danny took the offered wispy piece of material, which matched the
panties. By the way he looked at it he obviously didn't know how to put
it on.

‘Put in back to front and then swivel it round and put your arms through
the straps.’ Siobhan told him.

With trembling fingers, Danny managed to put it on and get it the right
way round. He felt the bra tighten across his chest and the straps
across his shoulders. He shivered, but he thought it felt so erotic.

‘But I have nothing to put in it.’ he whimpered.

‘Look use these for now, I’ll sort something else out for when we see
Peta.’ She handed him some tissues, and they managed to fill the bra
out, although it looked odd. A surge of emotions flooded through Danny
as he stood there in the lingerie and stockings. It felt so exciting to
be dressed like this and he felt his movements change somehow, more
fluid, softer, gentler, less masculine, more feminine. His eyes sparkled
as he turned to Siobhan.

‘I feel so different, it's incredible.’

She smiled, ‘Welcome to femininity, Danny. Be careful it's addictive.’

She picked up the three outfits and held them up against Danny. She
finally chose the dress she thought would suit his colour best. She
unzipped the back and bunched it up in her hands and slipped it over
Danny’s head. It slid down over his shoulders and he wiggled as it fell
done to his knees. She quickly zipped it up and although it hung a
little loose and tad too long, she could get it tailored for him the
next day. She knew this would be the one for him to wear to the
interview.

She had him turn round and made a few adjustments to the dress and his
hair before standing back and looking him up and down.

‘I do declare that my new girlfriend is ready to see herself.’

Danny felt himself blush at the words, but he felt a delicious tingle at
the same time. He surprised himself to be so excited and impatient to
see what he looked like. Siobhan led him across to the full-length
mirror and paused before she took away the sheet hanging over it.

‘OK, Danny my girl, remember our agreement, if this looks good, you will
go to the interview, right?’

Danny couldn't quite remember making that firm an agreement, but he had
become too excited and nervous he would agree to anything.

‘Sure, I mean, yes.’ he blurted out.

‘Shoes,’ shouted Siobhan making Danny jump. ‘I forgot shoes.’ She opened
a cupboard door to reveal racks of shoes floor to ceiling. She grabbed a
pair and asked Danny to sit down. ‘I'm guessing you're not too different
from Julia, she has large feet, but don't tell her I said so.’ She had
picked out a pair of black ankle boots with a solid heel which should be
easier for him to begin with. She took his foot and slid it into the
boot. It seemed to fit, so she slipped the other one on as well.
‘Let's see if you can stand up, be careful it might feel awkward to
start with.’ She held his hand as he stood up, and then almost fell over
as she let go of his hand.

‘God, it's like learning to ride a bike all over again.’

‘But these will make you feel much nicer than a bike, believe me.’

Still wobbling she led him to the mirror and this time she asked him to
close his eyes. A few seconds later she said, ‘You can open them now.’

He hesitated, fearful of what he might see. He opened one eye a fraction
and then both snapped open as he saw his reflection. He stood there
unable to speak at first, his eyes darting from one point to another.
It had to be him as the figure moved when he did, but he looked like
someone else entirely. Reflected in the mirror appeared to be a woman in
a dress and makeup, her hair in an unmistakably feminine style, her legs
encased in shimmering nylon and a pair of dainty boots on her feet. His
hand darted to his face as he saw how his eyes stood out in a way he
could never have imagined.

‘Oh my God, Siobhan, how did you do this, I can't believe it.’

‘I only enhanced what’s there, Danny, this is you, absolutely all you.’

He turned to look at her, his eyes glistening, almost on the brink of
tears.

‘Do you like it?’ she said.

‘Oh yes, I do, but it's still hard to believe.’

He turned from side to side, entranced by what he saw. Siobhan smiled as
she watched, she pictured a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis,
unfolding its multi coloured wings and turning into a beautiful new
creature.

‘So, Danny. Will you be going to the interview?’

Danny looked at her with wide eyes, still in shock from what he had
seen. ‘Do you honestly think I can?’

Siobhan came and stood beside Danny, put her arms around him and said,
‘On my life, Danny, sure you can.’

Danny’s mind reeled, never in his wildest dreams would he have thought
he would look, or feel like this. That flame which had been lit inside
him had become a bonfire, overwhelming him with the emotions it was
creating.

He turned to Siobhan, his eyes shining, ‘Yes, I will, if you'll help
me.’

‘Of course, I will, Danny. Let's call that enough for today, shall we?
The last thing we need to do is teach you how to clean off your makeup.
It's fun to put it on and wear it, but it's even more important to take
it off properly and to moisturise your skin.’

Siobhan patiently took Danny through how to cleanse his makeup fully and
to apply moisturiser. She packed him off to his apartment with
instructions to have a proper bath and shave closely, not just his face
this time but his legs and chest as well, ready for the next morning.
Danny was still in a daze as he went back to his apartment and fell into
his bed. He lay awake for a while, thinking of what he had felt as
Siobhan had dressed him and his fingers inevitably fund their way to his
cock which stiffened as soon as he touched it. A few seconds later his
climax burst from him in a way that he had not experienced for a very
long time.

Chapter Eight

The next morning Danny walked up to Siobhan’s apartment, his heart
pounding not with trepidation this time, but with anticipation. Siobhan
opened the door and ushered him inside. She stroked his face with her
fingers. ‘Mmm, feels smooth, did you do the rest as well?’

He nodded, ‘Yes, but here wasn't much there to be honest.’

‘Trust me Danny, you’ll feel the difference shortly. I want you to put
on what I've laid out for you and I’ll see you back out here when you're
done.’

He went into the dressing room and found a new set of underwear, fresh
stockings and a new dress this time on canary yellow. His fingers began
to tremble as he pulled the panties up over his legs and he closed his
eyes when they reached the top and cradled his cock and balls. He pulled
the stockings from their packet, this time they were white and he
quickly rolled one and began to slide it up his leg. The sensation as it
slid across his newly shaved skin was almost more than he could bear. He
moaned out loud as he pulled the second one on and had to steady himself
as his legs turned to jelly.

He gathered himself together and managed to fit the bra, and after
adjusting it he also managed to slip the dress over his head with only a
little difficulty. He realised he didn't have any tissues to stuff the
bra and was about to come out of the dressing room when he heard the
bell ring.

‘Shit,’ he thought, ‘Don't tell me she's got visitors. They can't see me
like this.’

He heard the door close and then Siobhan called out, ‘Are you ready
yet?’

He squeezed open the door and whispered, ‘Is there anyone there?’

‘No, you fool, it was a delivery.’

‘Oh, OK, I'm coming out.’

You sure are, thought Siobhan.

He emerged from the room, looking shy, but Siobhan thought he looked
sweet in the brightly coloured dress.

‘I have a surprise for you, Danny. Close your eyes and hold out your
hands.’

He did as she asked and he felt something heavy and wobbly drop into his
hands.

‘Open your eyes now.’

He looked down to see he was holding see two flesh coloured objects.
He stared quizzically at Siobhan.

‘Look, you couldn't be wearing a bra stuffed with tissues all the time
could you? They’re breast forms, good ones too. I had them overnight
delivery.’

He suddenly felt a little afraid, this sounded a lot more serious.

‘Don't look so scared, Danny. They are fixed with some adhesive which
holds them in place but they come off quite easily. You’ll love them.’
He wasn't convinced, but he had trusted Siobhan this far, so he said,
‘OK. But can I try them without the glue first?’

She grinned, ‘OK, scaredy cat.’

He took the dress off, and Siobhan slipped them into the bra cups and he
immediately felt the extra weight tug on the straps and he had to lean
slightly backwards to compensate.

‘Wow, they’re heavy.’ he said.

‘Not everything about being a woman is grand, Danny.’

She helped him put the dress back on and smoothed down everything. He
looked down to see two mounds protruding from his chest. He couldn't
help but put his hands up to them and jiggle them around. Siobhan
snorted, ‘It's better when someone else does that, you know.’

Danny went bright pink and thought, well no-one is ever going to touch
these. Siobhan guessed what he was thinking and smiled to herself.

Siobhan said, ‘I have a job today. It won't take long, it’s a film star,
she always asks for me when she's in town for interviews. It's good
money, but she fancies me, so I have to flirt with her. I think she
would run miles if I went any further, but I get a better tip if I let
her stroke my leg a bit. I’m going to do your makeup, and I’ll video as
I do it. Whilst I’m gone I want you to clean it off, watch the video and
try it. Don't worry if it goes wrong, clean it off and do it again. I’ve
put a pair of shoes out with a higher heel, I want you to practise in
those as well. I think you’ll cope after how well you did yesterday.’

Siobhan set up a small camera so that she could film the makeup for
Danny as well and record what she was saying. Danny was now enjoying the
whole makeup ritual and especially how it made him look and feel when it
was finished. He didn't think he would get tired of seeing the
transformation into his new persona. The feeling of lipstick on his
lips, the sight of his eyes coloured and with mascara on his eyelids, it
all entranced him. He wasn't exactly sure why Siobhan insisted he learnt
to do it himself, but he was so in love with what he did, he went along
with it.

She finished, showed Danny how to view the film and gave him his new
shoes before she left, promising to be back in a couple of hours. Danny
decided to try the shoes first before redoing his makeup. The shoes
fitted well enough, but they were higher than the ones he had worn
yesterday, so he had to hold onto the wall to steady himself as he tried
to stand up. Shit, he thought, I'm going to break my ankles on these.
How the hell do women walk in these. They obviously did, he reasoned, so
if they can, he could.

He found with the extra height on the heels and the weight of his new
breasts, he had to adjust his posture. The breasts pulled him forwards a
little, and the heels made him stand up straighter and forced him to
walk on his toes more. Gradually he gained confidence, and by taking
shorter steps and putting one foot in front of another he was able to
walk a few steps without feeling like Bambi on ice. About an hour later
he thought that's enough, I’ll try that again later. What he had loved
was the feeling of his stockinged legs rubbing against each other as he
walked. He thought he would set up the camera and have a go at his
makeup.

He managed one go at it and it was a disaster, nothing was straight and
everything looked as if it had been put on with a trowel. Patiently, he
cleaned it off and tried again. Better this time, not great but a big
improvement. He sighed and did it all over again, pausing the film at
different spots to catch up on what Siobhan was saying. By the end of
the third go, he was tired but much happier with the result. He glanced
at the clock and was surprised to see it was nearly three hours since
Siobhan had left. He thought he would practice in the heels once more
and this time, he was walking a lot more confidently. He tried a few
turns which went well enough, so he was feeling pretty pleased with
himself.

The bell went and Danny thought, that's strange, Siobhan must have
forgotten her key. He thought he would surprise her with his skill in
the heels so he walked over to the door and opened it to find a young
man standing there.

‘Hello, Miss, I’ve come to service your boiler.’ he waved an ID card
under Danny’s nose.

Not for the first time in the last few days, Danny thought he would
faint.

‘Er, OK.’

‘Don't worry Miss, I know where it is. I've done this one before. Make
us a cup of tea will you love? I’m parched. Haven't had a cup for
hours.’

He moved past her into the flat and all Danny could do was close the
door and totter off after him.

‘Where’s the redhead girl lives here? Irish name, can't remember it
myself. You a friend?’

Danny nodded and started opening cupboards at random to find a kettle
and mugs.

“I'm Sam, by the way, pleased to meet you. You’re…’

‘Oh, Danny,’ Danny tried to soften his voice as much as he could, but he
thought it sounded odd.

‘Kettles over there in that cupboard, Danny, told you I've been here
before. Have you got a cold? You sound a bit throaty.’

He must think my voice sounds like I’m ill, thought Danny.

‘Er, yeah, bad cold, just getting over it.’ Danny faked a cough.

‘Two sugars please Danny, and milk.’

Dann had finally found the mugs and the sugar and plugged the kettle in.
He needed a stronger drink than tea but that would have to do for now.
Sam was laying out sheets to protect the work tops and wouldn't stop
talking, but most importantly, he didn't seem to notice anything strange
about Danny.

‘What do you do Danny?’ Sam now had the boiler panel off and was digging
around inside.

‘Graphic designer, books and magazines.’ Danny was getting a bit more
confident now as Sam had not yet screamed that he was a bloke dressed in
women's’ clothes.

‘Nice, anything I might have seen?’ Sam took the tea from Danny and
stirred the sugar into it.

‘Woman’s stuff mostly, so probably not.’

‘My girl reads all that stuff, Vogue is it?’

‘Yes that's right.’

Suddenly Sam seemed to be looking at him more closely than when he first
came in and Danny’s heart sank, thinking he had been made.

‘Look Miss, I hope you don't mind me saying something personal.’

Oh God here it comes, thought Danny. Please, please don’t make too much
of a fuss.

Sam went on without waiting for an answer. ‘You have the most beautiful
eyes I have seen in a long time. You should be a model, I say, just like
that other girl here, Jools, I think it is.’

‘Well said, I agree.’ Siobhan's voice made them both jump. ‘You left the
door on the latch, happens sometimes if you don't close it properly.
Sorry for being late, I had to do some extras for the client.’ She saw
the look on Danny’s face, ‘No, not like that you dirty minded minx.’
She turned to Sam who appeared to be finishing and packing his gear up.
‘Has Danny been looking after you alright?’

‘Yeah no problem Miss, but she should take care of that cold she's got.’
Siobhan looked puzzled and glanced at Danny who coughed theatrically.
She laughed realising what had happened. ‘Oh yes, I’ll make sure she
rubs something on her chest.’

Danny glared at her but Sam laughed. ‘Good one, Miss.’ He was still
laughing as he went out the door.

Danny collapsed onto a chair and Siobhan was trying and failing to stop
laughing. ‘I'm so sorry, Danny, didn't you get my texts?’

Danny slapped his forehead. ‘Damn, I must have left my phone downstairs
this morning.’

‘That's your first official blonde moment.’

Danny laughed, ‘Honestly, I thought I would wet myself when I opened the
door thinking it was you, and laughing boy stood there. God, I need a
drink, and not more tea.’

Siobhan opened a bottle of wine and poured them a glass each. ‘Well I
have to say, you did pretty well for your first unscheduled public
performance. Sam seemed very struck with you.’

‘Probably left his glasses in the van,’ giggled Danny.

They touched glasses and Siobhan looked at Danny closely, ‘I thought I
asked you to redo your makeup?’

‘I did, this is the third attempt.’

Siobhan raised an eyebrow, ‘You're not telling your Aunty Siobhan any
little white lies are you?’

‘No, honestly, you can check the waste bin for the cleaning pads, I must
have used a year's supply.’

‘I'm impressed my padawan. You have learnt well.’

Danny giggled, ‘All thanks to my Jedi Master.’

‘And don't you forget it. Now how about the walking?’

Danny stood up and walked up and down a few times. ‘Good, good, Danny,
we’ll tackle stairs tomorrow.’

‘Why were you late back?’

Siobhan sighed, ‘Sorry about that. First of all, she was late.
Something, or someone had put the moody cow in a foul temper. She was
shouting at everyone, me included. I don't mind, comes with the
territory. She tried it on with me as usual. “Come closer, what lovely
legs you have, can I just touch them? Oh your hair is so nice, it would
look lovely on my pillow.” And on, and on. She grabbed my bum this time
as well, which I wasn't keen on. She then said she didn't like what I
had done and made me redo it. She made me wait around until she had
finished the interviews and then stormed back in because someone had
asked her if roles were getting more difficult to get at her age. She
knew she’d pissed me off, so she gave me an extra big tip, or at least
made her poor bloody P.A. give it to me. She insisted on giving me a
goodbye kiss on the lips as I left. Still, it pays the rent.’

Danny was laughing hard by the time she finished.

‘OK, OK, it is kind of funny. But now I get my own back, I’m going to do
your eyebrows.’

Danny stopped laughing. ‘Do you have to? It sounds painful.’

‘Danny, Cara Delevigne can get away with it, but you can’t. I will thin
them out a little and maybe give them some shape. It won't be radical. I
promise.’

Danny was right, it was painful, but only for a few seconds each time.
When Siobhan let him see, he liked what she had done. They were thinner
than before, and a gentle shape to them made all the difference.

‘See, you should trust me. Now for something nice, I’m going to do your
nails. This is one thing that will make you feel so much better. Nails
are important, if they're done well, they tell everyone a lot about you,
and the colour you choose gives its own signals as well. I'm going to
complement the colour of the lipstick I want you to wear, there's a MAC
lip colour which will be perfect for you. So, I think we’ll stick with
MAC, how about this? Impassioned.’

Siobhan showed Danny the colour and he nodded, he would have done
anything she suggested right now, he was so completely under her spell.
He was entranced as she cleaned up his nails, they weren't long but just
tidying them up made them look better. It was when Siobhan started to
brush on the colour that Danny began to feel a tingle of pleasure in
what she was doing. To see his nails transformed by the colour was
almost magical to him.

He didn't comprehend what was happening to him, but he felt so different
now. He was being swept away by emotions and feelings that were now
bursting to the surface from where they had lain sleeping until Siobhan
had woken them. He stared at his nails, the most visible element of his
transition that he could see, and he knew he wanted this to go on and
on. He wondered how he would feel about having to go back to being Danny
again after this was over, but that was for another day. Tonight, he
revelled in what was happening to him.

As his nails dried, Siobhan suggested they order a takeaway for tonight.
Danny readily agreed, he hadn't eaten since breakfast and that was just
toast. The agreed on Chinese, so Siobhan rang the order and she opened
another bottle of wine. She made Danny open the door when the delivery
arrived, and to his great surprise he got a lovely smile from the
delivery boy.

‘I'll have to keep an eye on you, my girl, the boys like you.’
Danny laughed, but he felt a tremor run through him at Siobhan's words.
They had a lovely girly evening as Siobhan called it, and Danny felt
himself slipping further and further into this new persona. It was
becoming harder and harder for him to think about being Danny. Whoever
this new person was, he knew he liked it more with every passing second.
The evening had to come to an end and as Danny cleaned off his makeup,
he knew he couldn't wait for the next day to come.

Chapter Nine

Wednesday passed in a blur for Danny. Siobhan made him put on his makeup
without the film to help him. He did it once and then she made him do it
again before she accepted he could do the basics without making a mess
of it. Secretly he had impressed her, he wanted to get it right, and she
thought his design sense gave him an interest in getting it right.
The rest of the day involved more and more practise; walking, sitting,
and how women behave and act differently from men. Siobhan had never
thought too hard about what she did naturally, so it came as a challenge
when she had to teach Danny. He learnt quickly, but it would take more
than a couple of days to train out his male habits. At the end of the
day, he could at least walk in the heels, sit properly, and move and
behave more like a woman. She thought he might be able to carry it off
if he didn't panic too much, and she would be with him. Wednesday
evening arrived and as they shared a glass of wine, Siobhan said,
‘Right, it's graduation time for you. We’re going out tonight for
dinner.’

Danny went pale, and he almost fell over. ‘What? No, I can't do it, I'm
not ready.’

‘Tomorrow, we’re going to go up to Soho and I want you to go out tonight
with me so you’ll know what it feels like. We won't go far, there's a
gay friendly place round the corner. We can walk there and no-one will
be the wiser, I promise you.’

‘What if someone recognises me?’

‘Danni, look at yourself in the mirror, your own mother wouldn't
recognise you, so there's no chance anyone else would. Do you trust me?’

He nodded, still aghast at the thought of going outside.

‘Well, if I say it's going to be OK, do you believe me?’
He nodded again.

‘So, get your heels back on, girlfriend. We’re going out.’

It was only a short walk to the bar and restaurant that Siobhan knew,
but it was a walk of terror for Danny. He kept his eyes fixed on the
ground all the way there and he scurried in after Siobhan. They greeted
Siobhan as an old friend, and she introduced Danny as a new friend of
her and Julia’s. They were shown to a table and Danny remembered to
smooth out his skirt as he sat down. Siobhan nodded in approval and
said, ‘There, that wasn't so bad, was it?’

‘Apart from the fact that I’m seconds away from having a nervous
breakdown, no.’

Siobhan laughed, ‘Come off it, you did great. You look great, it's
confidence that makes the difference. Try to relax and we can enjoy
ourselves.’

People in the restaurant took no notice of them, most were too intent on
impressing the person they were with to worry about anybody else. Danny
began to relax slowly, but he gave himself a shock when he picked up his
wine glass and saw his newly painted nails wrapped around the stem.
Siobhan noticed him looking and said, ‘That's why being a woman is so
much fun, wearing lovely clothes and makeup. You’ll love it, I promise.’
‘Siobhan, can I ask you something? Something personal?’

‘Hey you can ask. If I don't want to answer I won’t, but go ahead.’

their‘What was it like the first time you and Julia, you know…’

She laughed, ‘You have to be more specific babe. Kissed? Held hands?
Went shopping? Shagged each other?’

Danny's face went bright red. ‘I mean, Julia knew she’s gay, but it was
the first time for you, right?’

‘Well, I didn't over-think it for sure. I knew Julia was into girls, and
when she asked me out for a drink after a show, I wondered if something
would happen. I liked her, but I had never even kissed a girl before. We
ended up getting a bit drunk, and when she kissed me outside the bar all
I thought was, this feels nice. It just seemed right and we ended up in
bed together. Julia knew what to do, and I followed her lead. Some of
what we did was an eye-opener for me, but it felt so good. We never
looked back from there. Why did you ask?’

‘Oh, just curious, that's all.’

Liar, thought Siobhan, but she kept it to herself.

Danny began to chill out as the wine went down and when the time to
leave arrived, he felt so much more at ease with himself. He enjoyed the
evening with Siobhan; having a night out with a girlfriend was different
to having a night with mates. They talked about everything, from makeup
to politics to sex. Danny shared some of the stories about Jess and the
games they had played which merely reinforced in Siobhan’s mind that she
had been totally right about Danny.

By the end of the evening Danny felt relaxed and happy. As they walked
back, Siobhan hooked her arm into Danny’s and they strolled back looking
for all the world as two girlfriends on their back from a night out. As
they turned a corner, a man almost walked into Danny. He froze,
expecting exposure and a torrent of abuse. Instead, the man smiled and
said, ‘I’m sorry, I should have looked where I was going. Hope you're
OK.’

Siobhan giggled as Danny let out a huge sigh of relief. ‘See, you’ll be
alright, Danny. I promise you.’

At the door Siobhan said, ‘Go and take off your makeup like I showed
you. Get a good night's sleep and I’ll see you in the morning.’ She
kissed him on the cheek and Danny said, ‘Siobhan, I don't know why
you're doing this for me, but I am so glad you are. I can't thank you
enough. See you in the morning and thank you again.’

‘You're welcome Danny, goodnight.’

She watched him close the door and tried to answer that question for
herself. Why was she doing it? She shrugged, it had seemed like a
harmless little game to her at first, but she could have stopped a long
while ago. She now wanted to see how far Danny would let her take him.
Julia always said she didn't always think through the games she liked to
play.

Chapter Ten

Danny slept fitfully, worrying about the next day, but at some point he
fell asleep and it was already late when he woke. A quick cup of coffee
followed his shower and a close shave. He headed upstairs to find
Siobhan looking radiant.

‘OK, Danny get your war paint on, then we’ll get you dressed.’
Danny did a passable job on his makeup and Siobhan did a little repair
here and there but she was happy enough. Siobhan laid out fresh lingerie
and stockings for him. He got changed in front of her, no longer shy
about doing so. She stopped him before he put the bra on and said, ‘I
want to make sure those don't slip today.’

She produced a can and sprayed something onto Danny's chest.

‘It's just an adhesive to make sure they stay in place.’

She saw the look on Danny's face and said, ‘Don't worry it comes off
easily enough, so it says on the can, anyway.’

She took each form in turn and placed it on his chest and even Danny had
to admit to himself that it felt better than merely slipping them into
the bra cups. He put the bra on and fitted the forms into it and felt
with a delicious tingle that now familiar tug on the straps. Siobhan
handed him the dress that she had collected from the local tailor and it
fitted him perfectly. He slipped on his heels and stood up in front of
Siobhan and even did a twirl in front of her. ‘Will I do?’

She laughed and said, ‘You’ll do fine, remember what we’ve done and
it’ll go swimmingly, mark my words.’

They took the tube to Soho where the charity was based in an office
above a massage parlour. At this time of day, they found a carriage
only half full, so they were able to grab two seats together. Danny made
sure to keep his knees firmly together, but couldn't stop his heart
beating like a steam hammer and several times felt close to fainting. He
kept his eyes to the floor, trying desperately not to make eye contact
with anyone. He was sure that if he did, they would leap up and shout,
‘That's a man dressed as a woman.’ No-one did, of course. He had
forgotten that on the underground, everybody tries to avoid eye contact,
believing themselves safe inside their own bubble of personal space.
Siobhan nudged him as they reached their station and Danny stood,
gripping his portfolio case tight. His heart beating so hard he thought
other people could hear it, he followed Siobhan up the escalators into
the Soho sunlight.

It was the first warm day of the year, and the Underground had been
stifling, and as he stepped out of the station, he felt the fresh breeze
around his legs and he thought, that’s one good thing about wearing a
skirt, it keeps you cool. They walked down the street, Danny treading
carefully on his heels. He was getting used to them, but he still feared
putting his foot down awkwardly and falling over. Siobhan smiled to
herself as she watched him from the corner of her eye. She knew he was
nervous, but he was doing well. If he could find some more confidence,
he would have few problems passing as a woman with some more practice.

They walked up the stairs to the charity office, Danny hanging onto the
rail for support and he hesitated outside the door. He still had time to
turn back, he thought. Siobhan looked at him and nodded, understanding
his feeling. He blew out his cheeks, sucked in a deep breath and walked
through the door. Siobhan followed and asked the receptionist to let
Peta know that she and Danny had arrived for a meeting.

Siobhan spelled out her name to the receptionist, and Danny thought she
probably had to do that a lot with her name. She paused, looked at Danny
and held his eye as she followed up with ‘and this is D A N N I.’

He hadn't thought about his name and he was astounded Siobhan had. He
smiled at her and whispered ‘Thank you, I like that.’ Siobhan grinned
and they sat down to wait for Peta. A few minutes later Peta emerged
from behind reception and squealed as she saw Danny. She rushed over and
threw her arms around him with a huge hug.

‘Danni, it's so good to see you. You look gorgeous. Let me have a good
look at you.’ She held onto his hands and took a step back, ‘Wow, you
look great, I love that dress, it really suits you.’ She turned to
Siobhan and drew her into a hug too. ‘Siobhan, I haven't had a chance to
say thank you to you and Julia for all the work you did for the show. It
went so well and we had a great result, so many positive reviews. My
phone has been ringing off the hook. Anyway, come on through.’

Peta held on to Danny’s hand as they walked into a meeting room behind
the reception area. They sat for a few minutes sipping water and
chatting about the show and the coverage the charity had received.
‘It means it's even more important to find a new designer fast, Danni.
There's a lot of work coming up following the visibility the show gave
us. By the way, I love your name, Danni. cute to make it a diminutive of
your old name.’ Danny caught sight of Siobhan smiling broadly just out
of Peta’s eyesight.

‘Thanks,’ said Danny, ‘makes it easier to remember.’

‘Exactly, I did the same when I transitioned. Peter became Peta. So, are
you dressing full-time now Danni?’

‘Er, pretty much.’ Danny said, trying to keep his voice soft and low. ‘I
need to expand my wardrobe though.’

‘I know, I know,’ said Peta, ‘but you’ve got some good contacts with
Julia I guess.’

Danny looked at Siobhan who jumped in, ‘Yes, Julia gets tons of stuff,
our flat is overflowing.’

‘Anyway, Danni, I think Siobhan told you we like to keep our business
within the TG community, if we can. Nobody understands us better than
ourselves, right?’

‘For sure, Peta, I agree and thank you for giving me the opportunity to
show you my work.’

‘Well when Siobhan said you were a designer and about to transition, I
thought it's a sign. Have you brought your portfolio?’

Danny opened his portfolio case and his iPad, on which he had stored his
digital stuff. He felt more comfortable now they were onto his work, but
it still shocked him to see his pink nails as he flipped through his
presentation on the iPad. Peta seemed to be responding positively to his
designs and even Siobhan looked impressed.

‘OK, Danni, that's enough I think.’ said Peta, ‘You’ve got some great
work there especially the digital stuff. If you're happy then so am I.
It would be great to work with such a talented designer and for you to
be TG, well that's the icing on the cake for me. When can you start?’
‘Well, whenever you want Peta, I have some projects I’m working on, but
I’m happy to take on what you can give me.’

‘Excellent, I think Siobhan told you we don't have a lot of money, but
I’m sure the visibility you’ll get with us will be priceless I think. We
are getting so much coverage at the moment.’

Danny smiled, ‘Peta, if you’ll have me I would love to work with you.’
Siobhan was grinning her head off.

‘So that's agreed,’ said Peta, ‘by the way, was that your boyfriend you
were with at the fashion show, Danni?’

Danny opened his mouth to say no, but Siobhan beat him to it.

‘Yes, that's Carl, they live in the flat below Julia and me.’

Peta beamed at them both, ‘That's great, look, here's an idea, we've got
a press party on Saturday night, why don't you and Carl come along? You
can meet the rest of the team and we can introduce you to the press, it
would perfect. Please say you can come, Danni.’

Danny was horrified, how had he got himself into this mess? He said, ‘I
don't know, I’ll have to check.’

Siobhan said, ‘Don't you remember Danni? That party we were invited to
has been cancelled, of course you and Carl can go.’

Danny glared at Siobhan, what the hell was she talking about?

Peta stood up, ‘I'm sorry Danni, but I have to take another meeting.
We’re trying to influence the Government to take more action against
hate crimes. There’s been an upswing in attacks recently and the police
aren't doing anywhere near enough to stop them. It's been great to meet
you and I look forward to working with you. Oh, and don't forget,
Saturday night, you and Carl, I look forward to seeing you both there,
you make a lovely couple.’

Siobhan said, ‘Oh they won't forget, they’ll be there Peta.’

Peta leant forward and kissed Danny on the cheek, ‘You look great,’ she
said, ‘Carl’s a lucky guy.’

Danny opened his mouth to confess everything, but all he said was,
‘Thanks Peta.’

They left the office and Danny managed to get down the stairs in his
heels without falling over. As soon as they were out of the office, he
grabbed Siobhan and hissed at her, ‘What was all that with Carl and I
going to the party? I can't do that.’

She smiled and said, ‘Well, I thought that went well, don't you?’

‘Yes, well, I guess it did, but this thing about Carl being my
boyfriend, where did that come from?’

She took his elbow and guided him towards a nearby restaurant. ‘Let's go
celebrate with a glass of Prosecco, shall we? We can talk then.’

Chapter Eleven

Danny was still fuming but he couldn't have a row with Siobhan in the
street, so he followed her into the restaurant. Siobhan managed to get a
quiet table in a booth at the back and she slid in and waited for Danny
to do the same.

He stood there looking embarrassed until Siobhan asked, ‘What's up?’

‘I drank too much coffee, I need the toilet.’

Siobhan stifled a laugh with a cough and said, ‘OK, I’ll come with you,
girls go the toilet together all the time.’

He looked horrified, ‘I can't go to the ladies.’

‘Well, Danni with an i, you can't go to the gents like that, can you?’

Siobhan thought he was going to faint as she grabbed his arm and
virtually frog marched him into the ladies. Luckily, it was still early,
and they were alone inside. Siobhan shoved him into the cubicle and
stood guard while he finished what he had to do. Danny emerged with his
face as a red as a beetroot, and Siobhan told him to fix his lipstick
while waiting for her. He felt his hands trembling, but he managed to
reapply hisI lipstick without getting it on his teeth. Siobhan joined
him and she smiled at him in the wall mirror.

‘Wasn't so terrifying was it?’

He shook his head, ‘Only because you’re with me.’

The door opened, and a couple of women walked in chatting, took a quick
look at Danny and Siobhan and then resumed their conversation. Danny
scuttled out as fast as he could and Siobhan followed at a more
leisurely pace.

Siobhan ordered a bottle of Prosecco and after the waiter had poured
their glasses Siobhan touched glasses with Danny and said, ‘Well done
Danny, you did so well today. Peta is totally sold on you. To be honest,
I think she might have a little crush on you.’

Danny moaned softly. ‘No, that can't be, surely? Oh my God, what have I
got myself into? What am I going to do?’

‘Look, there’s nothing to worry about, is there? You did so well, even
in the toilet, the women didn't bat an eyelid, did they?’

‘No, I guess not, but Peta expects me to turn up on Saturday with Carl,
what about that?’ He began to whimper, ‘I’ll have to come clean with
Peta, call the whole thing off.’

Siobhan grabbed Danny’s hands and held them tightly. ‘Look at me, Danny,
I won't let you do that. You’ve put too much effort into this to crap
out at the first small hurdle. You can do this.’

Danny snorted, ‘Small hurdle? Yes, that would be my flatmate being my
boyfriend, only he’s not gay, and he doesn't know he’s my boyfriend. Is
that the small hurdle?’

Siobhan almost said something, but bit it back at the last moment.
‘Danni, all you have to on Saturday is to tell Peta that Carl has been
called away on business, and you’ll be coming on your own. These things
happen all the time. She will be too busy with the press to worry about
Carl not turning up. Now, take a deep breath and relax. You've got some
new work and the chance to be part of something big. Have some more
Prosecco and cheer up, for God’s sake.’

Danny looked startled, and then began to giggle, ‘I’m sorry, you're
right. I'm behaving like a wuss.’

He touched her glass with his and said, ‘I also need to thank you,
Siobhan. You have done all this for me and you've been awesome. Thank
you so much.’

‘You're welcome Danny, it's been a blast, and I meant it, you've done
fantastically well. You're a natural. Are you sure you didn't dress any
more after the Juliet thing?’

He shook his head, ‘No. the other night was the first time I had even
told anyone about it.’

‘How do you feel about what we’ve done now?’

He thought for a moment, ‘I guess I shouldn't admit this, but in the
small moments between being completely terrified, I’m beginning to enjoy
myself a bit. Does that make me a freak?’

Siobhan laughed, ‘God no. There are millions of men out there who wear
their wives’ or girlfriends’ clothes when they can. Anyway, who wouldn't
want to wear pretty underwear and clothes, and put on makeup?’

Danny laughed, ‘I feel so different when I'm dressed.’

‘Different, how?’

‘It’s difficult to describe, but I feel calmer, softer, gentler maybe,
more at ease with myself. I felt the same way I did as Juliet, it's like
I’m living out another part of my personality. But it’s exciting too.
Not sexually, I mean, although it's so thrilling to be dressed like
this. I feel so naughty.’ He giggled, ‘Are you sure this isn’t freaky?’
‘If it makes you feel like you say it does, then to be sure it's not
freaky, it's beautiful. So are you, Danny.’

He blushed at her words, and she smiled, ‘You look so sweet when you
blush. Maybe Carl would like to take you to the party.’

‘Well that's one thing that isn't going to happen. By the way, if I do
go on Saturday, can I change in your flat? I can't do it in mine can I
with Carl around?’

‘It's when you go on Saturday, not if, and sure you can use our flat.
Now let's get you home, girlfriend.’

Danny felt a tingle as he realised what Siobhan had called him.

Chapter Twelve

They hailed a cab outside the restaurant and they were soon back at the
flat, but Danny desperately needed to take his shoes off and use the
toilet. As Danny kicked off his heels and ran to the toilet, Siobhan
laughed and yelled, ‘I’ll make some tea.’

Great, thought Danny, he could do with a cupright now. He finished,
washed his hands and emerged yelling, ‘It's so much easier going to the
loo as a man.’ He saw Siobhan standing in the kitchen and looking at him
oddly, her eyes as big as saucers.

‘I thought you were making some tea.’ he said as he walked towards her.
‘Danny...’ she began to say as Danny walked into the kitchen. He
couldn't understand why she looked so scared. He watched as she put her
hand up to her mouth and her eyes moved away to the side, looking at
something on the other side of the kitchen. Danny followed her gaze, and
he almost fainted as he saw Carl sitting at the table.

Carl had managed to complete his project quicker than he had expected,
and by Wednesday evening he realised he would be finished by Thursday
lunchtime. He didn't fancy staying another night in the budget hotel
that the client had booked for him, so he checked out in the morning and
at lunchtime he headed to the station. The non-stop service got him back
into Paddington by mid-afternoon and his Uber car pulled up as he came
out onto the street. Carl was always happy to be back in London, and he
had worked hard this week and simply wanted to get back to the flat,
have a drink and relax. He would write the report at home on Friday, so
the weekend would be free. He idly wondered if Danny wanted to do
something together at the weekend.

Carl opened the front door and shouted to see if Danny was home. He
didn't hear any reply, so he dropped his bag in his room, picked up his
mail and sat at the kitchen table reading. Sometime later he heard the
front door open and Siobhan shouting something about making tea. Good,
he thought, Danny must be with her. Carl knew he wasn't good at being on
his own, and this week he had missed Danny’s company and looked forward
to catching up with him.

He looked up as Siobhan breezed into the kitchen, saw him sitting there
and stopped dead. Her mouth dropped open, and she looked shocked.

‘What's up? You look as if you've seen a ghost,’ he said, completely
puzzled by her reaction.

He heard the toilet flush and what sounded like Danny saying something
about the toilet. It was Carl’s turn to look puzzled as he watched
Siobhan turn and said ‘Danny…’ He turned to look at the door as a woman
walked through. She too stopped, and he thought she might pass out with
shock. Time seemed to stand still as they all looked at each other
without saying anything for a fraction of a second, and then they all
started to talk at once.

‘Carl, it's all my fault…’ said Siobhan.

‘Oh, fuck, I'm so sorry…’ said Danny

‘What the hell is going on?’ said Carl.

Danny and Carl both started to speak, and Carl held his hand up and
said, ‘One at a time, please. Siobhan, you first, who is this?’ he
asked, nodding towards Danny.

Siobhan opened her mouth but Danny beat her to it.

‘Carl, it's me, it's Danny.’ He sat down on one of the chairs because he
thought he would otherwise fall down.

‘Danny? What are you talking about?’ Carl suddenly recognised Danny’s
blue eyes. ‘Oh my God, it is you. What the hell is going on?’ Carl felt
his heart jump as he looked at Danny, who looked about to burst into
tears.

Siobhan jumped in. ‘It's all my doing, Carl. You remember Peta, the PR
from the charity? Their in-house designer resigned, and she needed
someone to replace them. I told her about Danny being a designer, but
she only wanted to use someone in the TG community. I told her that
Danny was actually beginning to transition.’

She paused and Danny put his head in his hands.

‘Danny agreed to go to an interview dressed like this, to see if he
could get some work. We spent the last few days getting him, I mean her,
Danni, that’s with an i, ready. He had the interview today…’ her voice
trailed off. ‘We thought you would be back tomorrow, so you wouldn't
find out about it.’

‘I finished the project early and got home this afternoon.’

Danny looked up and said, ‘I'm so sorry, Carl. I’ll move out of the flat
as soon as I can.’

‘Whoa, hang on,’ said Carl. ‘What are you talking about?’

‘Well, after this, you won't want me staying will you?’

Carl didn't say anything for a while, then looked first at Siobhan and
then Danny.

‘You two are priceless, you know, coming up with such a crazy idea. Did
you honestly think you were going to get away with it?’

A big grin spread across Siobhan’s face, ‘Well, he got the job, or,
rather, she got the job.’

Carl laughed, ‘I wish I had been there to see that.’

‘No, really. He was great, knocked her out with his portfolio.’ Siobhan
looked anxiously at Danny, who looked like he wanted to be sick.

Carl looked at him, ‘Danny, that's great, you are a talented designer so
I’m not surprised they want you.’ Danny looked up as Carl spoke. ‘And as
for moving out, why do you want to do that? I thought we were mates?’

Danny looked at Carl to see if he was serious. ‘You mean that?’ he said.

‘Yes, of course. Why did you think I would want you to leave?’

‘Well, after this, I thought you would hate me…’

Carl smiled, ‘No, we’re friends. That counts for more than anything,
doesn't it? Of course I don't want you to leave.’

Danny shook his head, ‘Well, I don't think it's going to happen anyway,
Peta wants me to go to a press party on Saturday night. I don't think I
can go through it all again.’

Siobhan said, ‘Before anybody says anything else, I need a drink, anyone
want to join me?’

‘There’s a bottle of white wine in the fridge, I could do with one too,’
said Carl, ‘Danny, you too?’

He nodded, and Siobhan poured them all a glass, before she too sat
around the table.

Carl took a sip and said, ‘Why can't you go through it again? I think
you look pretty convincing to me.’

Danny couldn't believe his ears. ‘You really think so?’

Siobhan butted in. ‘See, I have been telling him, her, whatever, the
same thing all this week. Now, will you believe me?’

‘Well, there's the other thing too,’ said Danny, glaring at Siobhan, who
immediately went bright pink.

‘What other thing?’ said Carl, wondering why Siobhan looked so
embarrassed.

‘Um, I sort of hinted that Danny had a boyfriend.’

‘More than hinted,’ said Danny.

‘Who?’ asked Carl.

‘Well, er, you actually,’ said Siobhan.

‘What? Me? What made you do that?’ Carl felt stunned by what Siobhan had
said.

The normally imperturbable and super cool Siobhan squirmed now. ‘Peta
remembered you from the show and asked if you were Danny’s boyfriend. I
got carried away and said yes. I honestly didn't think it would matter.
You would never have found out. Then Peta invited Danny and you to the
party on Saturday night.’

‘And Siobhan accepted for both of us.’

‘But we talked about that, Danny can say you were away on business and
go on his own. I'm so sorry, Carl. It was me and my big mouth.’

Carl looked from one to the other, started to giggle, and then laughed
out loud. ‘You should see the look on both your faces. You look as if
the world is about to end in a few minutes.’

Siobhan began to smile and punched Danny gently on the arm. He began to
grin too and then all of them were laughing out loud. Siobhan refilled
their glasses and suddenly the mood in the room had turned. Carl managed
to stop laughing first and held his hand up to get their attention.
‘Tell me about this party on Saturday.’

‘It's a press party to follow up on the fashion show, which has been a
great success for the charity. Peta wanted Danny to meet the other team
members there.’

Carl stayed silent for a moment, struggling with his thoughts, and then
said something he hoped he wouldn't live to regret. ‘Danny, I know
Siobhan said you would go on your own, but what if you had someone there
to support you?’

Both Siobhan and Danny’s mouths fell open at the same time.

Siobhan spoke first, ‘Carl, who do you mean?’

‘Me, of course.’ He said it with rather more confidence than he felt.

‘But you can’t.’ said Danny.

‘Why not? If it would help you, I’ll do it.’

Siobhan emptied the remains of the bottle into their glasses, and
without even asking opened another.

‘Do you know what you're saying, Carl? You would come with me? You know
I would be dressed like this?’

‘Danny, yes I know, and yes, I would do it.’

Siobhan had a smile on her face as she refilled their glasses yet again.

‘Carl, if you're sure, I would be so happy. Just for the support, I
mean, not as a boyfriend.’

‘God, of course not.’ said Carl. ‘No touching or stuff like that.’

‘You are sure aren't you? You're not having me on?’ said Danny.
Carl shook his head, ‘No, I mean it.’

Siobhan raised her glass, ‘To Danni, and Carl.’

They all drank to the toast, and they all thought it made them sound
like a couple.

The evening had ended after a couple more bottles of wine and a Chinese
takeaway. Danny couldn't remember exactly when, but at some point in the
evening he stopped being conscious of the way he was dressed. He felt at
ease being Danni and started to enjoy the experience. Carl and Siobhan
exchanged a quiet look as they saw how much he seemed to be enjoying
himself in his feminine persona. Danny and Siobhan told Carl about what
they had done over the last few days and the interview with Peta. They
were all rolling around with laughter at some points in the story until,
eventually Siobhan said she had to go to bed or she would end up
sleeping on the sofa. She staggered off after kissing Carl and Danny
goodnight, leaving them sitting on the sofa to finish off the last of
the wine.

Carl looked at Danny over the top of his glass. ‘Danny, do you feel OK
with all this.’ He waved his arm vaguely in Danny’s direction.
‘Dunno honestly. It was a bit bizarre at first, I must have thought
about saying No to Siobhan about ten times a minute, then when she did
the first makeover, it began to feel alright. I mean, I thought I looked
alright. It felt odd, but nice. Like a dream I guess. It didn't feel
quite real. Like an out-of-body experience. It felt like there was
another person trying to get out.’ He giggled, ‘Maybe I’m a
schizophrenic. At one point I kept thinking about Jack Lemmon in Some
Like It Hot.’

‘With Siobhan as Marilyn Monroe,’ said Carl.

‘Does that make you Tony Curtis?’ Danny almost fell off the sofa
laughing.

At that point they decided they should call it a night before it got too
silly. Danny found he couldn't get up from the sofa in his skirt and he
thrust out a hand to Carl.

‘Help me up, please.’

Carl grabbed his hand and pulled Danny up from the sofa who overbalanced
and fell against Carl. He instinctively put out his arms to catch Danny
and ended up with his arms around Danny, looking into his blue eyes and
he felt his heart jump. Danny felt Carl’s arms around him and he didn't
want him to let go. For a split second they stood there, each waiting
for something to happen and then they both jumped back and began to
laugh sheepishly.

‘I'm so plastered, I have to go to bed,’ mumbled Carl.

‘Me too, goodnight Carl. See you in the morning.’

Each went off to their own rooms, their minds racing with what had, or
hadn't happened. Danny fell onto his bed, his hands over his face as he
tried to make sense of it all. Sure, he felt drunk, but sober enough
that when he looked into Carl’s eyes he had seen the same look that
Romeo had given him all those years ago. God, he thought, what a fucking
mess I've made. He rolled over and thumped the bed with his fist. This
has to stop, I can't put my friendship with Carl at risk. It had felt
good when Carl put his arms around him, though, and with that thought in
his mind, he fell asleep.

Carl sat on the edge of his bed, and all he could think of was Danny’s
face, looking for all the world as if he were asking Carl to kiss him.
He fell back onto the bed and moaned out loud. No, he couldn't do this
again he thought. Look what it had caused last time. The last image that
flashed into his mind before he fell to sleep was Danny’s tongue sliding
across his pink lips.

Chapter Thirteen

They both woke late, Danny had fallen asleep still fully dressed and his
head pounding. He lay there for a few minutes unable to think clearly,
and then the memories of the evening barged their way into his mind.
When Carl had held him, Danny had felt like he had with Romeo; he had
almost kissed Carl before they had taken a step backwards. What a farce
that would have been. He groaned, how would he be able to face Carl now?

The first thing he had to do was to get out of the dress and clean
himself up. He swore that he would never dress again, it caused too much
trouble. Every time he wore a dress something happened that he couldn't
control. He couldn't cope with the emotional turmoil it set up in him.
He would have to call Peta and tell her the truth. It was a pity,
though, he had begun to enjoy the feeling of being Danni for a while. He
stumbled into the bathroom and set about removing his ravaged makeup as
Siobhan had taught him.

Carl slowly woke up, a massive headache beginning to form behind his
eyes. He opened them once, and then rapidly closed them again. He
wondered if Danny felt as bad, and then what had happened last night
flooded into his mind. Carl remembered how he had felt when Danny had
fallen into his arms. He had come so close to kissing him and he thought
he had seen a glimmer in Danny’s eyes at the moment before they both
pulled back. God, what would have happened if he had kissed him? Carl
felt his face go red as he thought about how close he had come to
disaster. He groaned, how would he be able to face Danny now?

He needed some coffee and paracetamol first before deciding to do
anything. He took off his Armani suit trousers, thinking he hadn’t been
the best idea to sleep in them. They would have to go the cleaners
today. He pulled on some Levis and a white t-shirt before heading out
into the kitchen. Having taken a couple of paracetamol with some orange
juice, he started the coffee percolator and sat down at the table.

Having cleaned himself up, Danny put on a pair of loose sweatpants and
an oversized t-shirt. He heard Carl moving around outside and he smelled
the coffee brewing. He hesitated before opening the door, but he knew it
couldn't be put off any more. He eased open the door to see Carl with
his back to him, in blue jeans and a white t-shirt. Before he could stop
himself he thought how good Carl looked. He shook his head, he had to
stop thinking like that.

Carl heard Danny open his door, and he didn't want to turn around. He
wondered if Danny would still be dressed as a woman and he frankly
didn't know how he would react if he was. He finally turned around with
a cup of coffee and felt almost disappointed to see Danny in sweatpants
and a t-shirt with his hair in its ponytail. The second thing he noticed
were those damn blue eyes, and he moaned inwardly.

‘Coffee, Danny? Paracetamol are over there if you need them.’

‘Coffee, please, Carl. Can I take the whole bottle?’

‘Only if you want to end up in A&E at the hospital,’ said Carl.

‘Don't tempt me, the way I'm feeling, that might be a good option.’

Danny took a couple of tablets, and coffee in hand, sat down opposite
Carl.

‘Look, about last night…’ Both spoke at the same time and they laughed.
Danny held his hand up, ‘Me first, Miss.’

Carl smiled and nodded.

‘I wanted to say that I've thought about everything and I have decided
not to go tomorrow. I'm going to tell Peta the truth and move on. It's
easier all round. What were you going to say about last night?’

Carl was caught off guard, he hadn't expected Danny to say that. He took
a long drink from his coffee to give him time to think.

‘Oh, it doesn't matter. Why? I thought you were keen to go ahead last
night. You seemed to be so at ease with yourself. I haven't seen you so
happy for a while.’

‘I don't want to impose on you. I know it would be embarrassing for you
to be seen with me, and for everyone to think we're together. I couldn't
do it to you.’

‘Danny, I wouldn't have offered if I didn't want to do it. It will only
be for one night after all.’ He paused, and felt a rush of blood as he
said, ‘Anyway, I could never be embarrassed to be seen with you looking
as good as you did last night.’

Carl’s words hung in the air, as both of them thought about what they
meant.

‘Carl, that's nice of you, but I’ve made up my mind.’ As he said it, it
occurred to him there might be something more behind Carl’s
encouragement.

‘OK, Danny, if that's your decision, when will you tell Siobhan?’

‘It's nothing to do with Siobhan, it's what I want to do.’ Danny said
tetchily.

‘OK, OK. It's your decision, I know. Look, I’ve got to start my report
for the project, so I’ll see you later on? Fancy a drink at the pub?’

‘Yeah, that would be great, Carl. I've got a commission to work on so
that would be good.’

Both headed off to their rooms, each thinking that somehow they had
upset the other.

Danny didn't have anything to work on, as his pipeline had dried up, but
he didn't want Carl to know that. He spent the rest of the day making
cold calls and trying to chase up old contacts. He got a couple of small
jobs from the calls but they wouldn't pay much, almost doing them for
nothing to keep the contacts alive. Maybe he had been too hasty in
deciding not to go for the charity work, it would give him an income
stream and he was sure he could leverage it into other work. He pushed
back his chair and stared at the wall. He thought about what Carl had
said about him being so relaxed when he was dressed as Danni; was it
true? When he became Danni, he did feel different. He stood up and went
to the wardrobe where he had hung the dress he had been wearing
yesterday. He would have to get it cleaned and pressed.

He picked up the panties and the bra from the chair where he had laid
them this morning. His fingers ran over the silky material and he felt
his cock stir as he did so. He closed his eyes as his fingers pushed
down his sweatpants and wrapped themselves around his hardening cock. He
found himself pushing down his sweats, kicking them into a corner of the
room. Almost without thinking, he pulled the panties up his legs and
sighed as they cradled his balls.

His cock had now become fully erect, and he began stroking it with one
hand whilst the other caressed the material now stretched across his
backside. He closed his eyes once more and his hand moved faster along
his cock. He felt his climax approaching and at that moment it burst
forth into his hand, he realised he had been thinking about Carl.

Carl had tried to concentrate on his report but his mind kept floating
off to last night. He thought Danny had looked so pretty in the dress
and the makeup Siobhan had created. His hair was different too, how had
he achieved such a feminine style? Carl sighed, what was happening here?
He kept coming back to that moment when Danny had fallen against him. He
had been sure he saw a longing in Danny’s eyes, but neither of them had
done anything. Carl felt his cock begin to swell as he thought about
that moment. Well it was a moot point, he thought, as Danny had decided
not to go ahead with the charity work, so there would be no need for
them to go the party.

Carl finally got his attention focused on his report and by late
afternoon, he had wrapped most of it up, it only needed a little
polishing. He pushed back his chair and decided he would celebrate with
a drink. He knocked on Danny’s door.

‘Danny, I’m heading to the pub, do you want to come?’

‘OK, give me a minute, got to change.’ Danny called back.

Carl sent a text to Siobhan, ‘off 2 pub, u want 2 come?’

His phone beeped with a reply, ‘sure c u in 2 mins. Jools 2’

Danny came out of his room as the doorbell rang.

‘I asked the girls if they wanted to come, is that OK?’

Danny shrugged, ‘Yeah, it's fine by me.’

Carl opened the door and Siobhan and Julia burst in, all smiles and
kissing cheeks. Julia hooked her arm into Danny’s. ‘How have you been
Danny? What trouble have you got into while I've been away?’

Danny looked desperately at Siobhan, but she had her arm in Carl’s and
was facing the other way.

‘Nothing much, how about you? How was the shoot?’

‘Daaahling, St Moritz is so last year, don't you think?’ she drawled.
‘They were all a bunch of upper class pillocks, Darling this and Darling
that. Hated them, but the money was good.’ She squeezed his arm, and
they followed the other two out of the door. ‘Now, tell me the truth
about what you and wifey got up to.’ They were walking a few paces
behind the others and Danny wished he knew what Siobhan had told her.

‘What did she tell you?’

‘Everything Danny, no secrets between us.’

Danny gulped and knew he had gone pink. ‘Well, if you know why do you
want me to tell you?’

‘Touché, Danny boy. You and her got up to something that I know. But she
won't tell me what. Yet, that is. But I will wheedle it out of you
before the night is finished.’

Danny heaved a sigh of relief, Siobhan hadn't told Julia, so he wasn't
going to say anything. They chatted on the way down to the Duke’s Head
and were lucky enough to find a table with a view of the river. The sun
glinted off the water where rowers from the nearby rowing clubs were
still out on the river. It was one of those spring evenings when you
could almost smell summer around the corner. Julia made everyone laugh
about the people she had met on the shoot for an upmarket society
magazine. There came one of those pauses that happens when the laughter
dies away and nobody says anything. Siobhan broke the silence. ‘So,
Danny, my boy, are you up for the party tomorrow?’

Three pairs of eyes looked at Danny who immediately began to squirm.
‘Party,’ asked Julia, ‘what party?’

Siobhan turned to her, ‘Danny and Carl have been invited to a party by
Peta from the charity. Danny’s going to be their new designer.’

‘Wow, that's great, Danny.’ Julia stretched out her hand to touch his
arm. ‘You must be so pleased.’

His eyes zigzagged wildly from one to the other, before he finally said,
‘Well, you see, it's like this…’ His voice trailed off.

‘Do you still want to go?’ Carl tried to help his friend out.

Siobhan frowned as Julia said, ‘Why wouldn't he go?’

Danny had turned bright red and swallowed before saying, ‘Well, I don't
want to put Carl out.’

Siobhan looked at Carl, ‘Would you be put out, Carl?’

‘Well, er, no, not at all.’ he shrugged at Danny, it was over to him
now.

Julia looked from one to the other, ‘What’s going on here? Is there
something I’ve missed? Someone talk to me for fuck’s sake.’

Siobhan said softly, ‘Peta will only give Danny the design job to
someone who is TG.’

‘But, Danny’s not TG,’ spluttered Julia. Then her eyes widened and her
hand went up to her mouth. ‘Oh my sainted aunt, that's what you two were
doing this week.’ She grinned, ‘If wifey here did you I bet you looked
awesome, Danny. But why is Carl involved?’

Danny had covered his face with his hands, so Carl answered, his eyes
still on Danny.

‘Siobhan told Peta that Danny and I were an item, and then she invited
us both to the party.’

Julia put her fist in her mouth to stop laughing, ‘Oh my God, I think
that's the sweetest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Danny you must go,
and Carl too, why not?’

Danny took a deep breath, he had finally made his decision, ‘OK,
everyone, I will go, but only if you all shut up about it right now. Not
another word about it until we get back, is that understood?’

Siobhan and Julia smirked, and Carl thought, ‘Oh my God, it's on.’

‘Can I ask something?’ said Julia.

‘No, not another word.’ said Danny.

‘OK, OK. Keep your panties on.’ Julia bit her lip as she tried to stop
grinning.

They chatted a little more before it started to turn cool and they
decided to head back. Siobhan grabbed Danny as Julia chatted to Carl.
‘You OK, babe?’

‘Actually, yes,’ he said, ‘Now I’ve finally decided, I'm a lot happier
about it. I had some bad moments but, it's fine now. I don't think I
could do it on my own, so having Carl there will be great, but probably
embarrassing for both if us. I hope he’s OK about doing this.’

‘Oh don't worry about Carl, he knows what he's doing.’

Something about the way she said it made Danny look at her, but she
didn't say anything else. As they reached the flat, Siobhan turned to
Danny, ‘If you come up to our flat about one o'clock tomorrow, we can
get started for the party.’

‘Do we need to start that early?’

‘Danny, my sweet, there is a lot you need to learn about being a woman.
For example, it is never too early to start getting ready for a party.
Boys can throw on trousers and a shirt, we girls have a lot to do.’
Danny gulped and nodded, ‘OK, see you then.’

The two girls disappeared upstairs as Carl and Danny went inside. It
turned into a quiet evening, Danny cooked a meal for them both and they
ate in silence. Carl was the one to break it. ‘Danny, look, if you're
wondering, I am perfectly happy to do this. Truly.’

‘Carl, thank you, I still don't understand why you would do it, but I am
really grateful, I couldn't go through with it without you there.’

Carl felt a tingle at what Danny had said, but what he didn't know was
that Danny had felt the same as he spoke the words.

‘You're welcome, Danny.’

Danny cleared the dishes away and Carl suggested they watch a film on
Netflix.

‘OK, something to cheer me up.’ said Danny, ‘but not Tootsie.’

Carl laughed. ‘How about La Cage Aux Folles then?’

Danny threw a cushion at him. ‘Absolutely not.’

They settled on Hot Fuzz which kept them chuckling all the way through
to the end. Somewhere during the film, Danny realised that he liked
being dressed this way, and being here with Carl. It reminded him of a
night in with Jess, but with a big difference. He felt like Jess might
have done. He felt an overwhelming desire to cuddle up with Carl on the
sofa, but he knew that would be impossible. As the film ended, they said
goodnight and went off to their rooms, and both fell into a troubled
sleep wondering what the next day would bring.

Chapter Fourteen

Danny woke first and had started the coffee machine before Carl
appeared. The morning became bright and warm enough for them to open the
patio doors and sit outside with their coffee and some fresh croissants
Danny had fetched from the local bakers. Carl said he planned to ride
out to Richmond Park and the Surrey Hills, and would be back sometime
after lunch. Danny thought it was more about keeping himself out of the
way. Carl wheeled his bike through the garden and Danny caught himself
staring at Carl's thighs in his Lycra cycling shorts.

After Carl had gone, Danny was left to confront a thought which had been
niggling away at him for the past few days. He had always thought
himself straight, but the events of the past few days, the dressing, and
the all feelings which had been released had begun to unsettle him.
Danny had finally admitted to himself that he was attracted to Carl,
which only added to his confusion. Uneasy thoughts churned in his mind;
he wasn't gay, he simply wasn't, couldn't be, could he?

He remembered what Siobhan had said about gender not being binary. Was
he bi? Or, what was it she had said, one of the many different colours
of gender? She had also said that sexual attraction isn't about gender.
Shit, he thought, why was life so difficult? Maybe I'm just a screw up.
Anyway, he had to keep his feelings for Carl to himself, it would be a
disaster if he let that show.

He needed to do something to keep his mind off what would happen later,
so he grabbed his swimming gear and headed off to the local pool.
Swimming always calmed him down, the monotonous rhythm and concentration
on technique would always relieve any stress he felt. Except this time,
as he pulled his speedos on, he began to feel his cock come to life as
the tight material cradled him. What was up with him? He hurried into
the pool with a towel over his groin and slipped quickly into the water.

For a while it worked; he managed to relax as he did lap after lap,
keeping his mind firmly on his technique. Someone bumped Danny’s foot,
so he took a break at the end of his lap and let the other swimmer move
past. Danny watched as the newcomer swam powerfully up the lane, tumble
turned and then back again. He touched the lane end and stopped next to
Danny.

‘Nice stroke.’ said Danny.

‘Thanks, you’re not so bad yourself.’

‘Out of practice, I need some more time in the pool,’ said Danny who
became a little flustered by what the other guy had said. Perhaps he was
being oversensitive, seeing innuendo everywhere.

‘You should come more often, maybe we could do some lengths together?’
Danny pushed his head underwater, mainly to cover his embarrassment. He
took a sideways look at the swimmer; a bit younger than him, broad
shouldered, brown eyes and full lips. He looked at Danny with a smile,
‘I’m Mark, you are…?’

‘Danny, nice to meet you Mark.’

‘Likewise, Danny. It's nice to have some new talent down here.’ Mark
looked Danny straight in the eyes as he spoke. Danny was now totally
flustered. Were Mark’s words innocent or was there a coded meaning in
them? Danny felt a tingle as he looked at Mark. These past few days the
way his body reacted seemed to be almost out of control. Danny dropped
his eyes from Mark’s gaze and said, ‘Well, maybe, when do you come
swimming?’

Why had he said that?

Mark smiled at him, ‘I’m here every Saturday morning, some evenings too.
We should meet up sometime, grab a drink maybe?’

There was no mistake, Mark was hitting on him.

Danny blushed, ‘Er, well, it's a bit difficult…’

‘Ah, you've got a boyfriend? Sorry, no offence meant, but had to try my
luck with a hottie like you.’ He smiled broadly at Danny, making him
feel a little giddy. ‘I’ll see you around if you come down again.’ Mark
swam off, leaving Danny stunned. Danny watched him climb the steps out
of the pool and gulped as he saw Mark’s speedos tighten around his
buttocks as he left the water.

Mark had obviously thought he was gay. Danny felt more confused than
ever, especially given the way his body had betrayed him about Mark’s
pass. He had definitely felt a thrill as he realised what Mark was
getting at. He swam over to the steps and headed to the changing rooms.
Danny felt glad that Mark had left by the time he got there, he couldn't
cope with any more stress right now.

Just after one o'clock he pressed the bell of the upstairs flat and
Julia opened the door. She smiled broadly, ‘Come on in Princess, it's
your time to shine…’

Carl arrived back from his ride in mid-afternoon half expecting Danny to
have backed out of it and to be waiting for him. However, he was nowhere
to be seen and Carl assumed he had gone upstairs with the girls. He made
himself something to eat and contemplated what he wanted to wear
tonight. It wasn't formal party, but he wanted to be smart for Danny’s
sake. He laid out a pair of pale blue chinos and a tight white dress
shirt he would wear buttoned up but without a tie. He fussed over a
jacket and finally chose a light white summer jacket with a light
diamond pattern that he thought would match perfectly. He showered,
shaved, dressed, and made himself a drink to steady his nerves.

More than once he asked himself why was he doing this, and yet he knew
why. Carl knew he had become more and more attracted to Danny, but
seeing him dressed as a woman had knocked him sideways. Danny had looked
so sweet and vulnerable at the same time, so much so that Carl had
simply wanted to wrap his arms around him and hold him tight. Carl had
not hesitated for a second when the idea of going to the party with
Danny had come up. He simply knew he wanted to see more of his friend as
Danni.

Chapter Fifteen

Carl sat outside enjoying the late afternoon sun when he heard the
doorbell ring, ‘This is it,’ he thought. He took a quick peek in the
mirror to check he looked alright and paused, took a deep breath and
opened the door. He was slightly surprised to see Siobhan standing
there.

‘Hi Carl,’ she paused for effect, ‘here’s your date.’

She stepped aside to reveal Danny standing behind her, and his heart
leapt. Oh my God, he heard himself whisper to himself as Danny lifted
his eyes from the floor to smile shyly at Carl.

‘Hi Carl, what do you think?’

Carl couldn't quite believe what he saw. Last night he had thought that
Danny looked nice as a woman, but this evening surpassed everything.
Danny’s normally straight blonde hair now tumbled to his shoulders in
curls, framing a flawlessly made-up face with a small silver necklace
dangling at the throat. Danny wore a white lace midi dress with a mesh
top and sleeves with a white shawl over his shoulders and clutching a
small clutch bag in his hands. Danny’s nails were coloured a flame red
which matched his lipstick, the eye makeup was dark and smoky, making
his blue eyes sparkle. Siobhan had worked her Celtic magic on Danny,
creating a look which to Carl appeared both sophisticated and sexy.
Somehow she had completely transformed Danny into Danni.

‘Do I look alright?’ Danny said, a note of worry creeping into his voice
as Carl had not replied.

Carl gulped, trying to find his voice. ‘Alright? No, you don't look
alright. You look fabulous, Danny.’

Danny blushed and dropped his eyes to the floor before looking up at
Carl coyly.

‘Do you really think so?’

That look almost did for Carl and he felt his own face turn pink.
‘Oh, yes, you look stunning.’ He suddenly realised they were still
standing in the hallway and he stepped back, ‘Come on in, have we got
time for a drink before we go?’

‘Never thought you would ask.’ said Siobhan over Danny’s shoulder. They
walked into the kitchen where Julia joined them. Carl opened a bottle of
Prosecco from the fridge and Julia fetched the glasses. She stood next
to Carl and whispered, ‘Take good care of our girl tonight.’

Carl nodded, ‘Of course.’ Then wondered what Julia had meant exactly.

Carl was in the middle of pouring the wine when Danny said, ‘Are you all
sure I can get away with this?’

As one, all three of the others said loudly, ‘Yes.’

‘Alright, alright,’ said Danny, ‘No need to shout, I’m so nervous.’

Everyone laughed and Siobhan said, ‘To Danni, with an i.’

‘Danni,’ they said and clinked glasses.

‘Thanks Siobhan for everything you've done, and you too Julia, I will
take good care of your dress.’

‘You're welcome, sweetie. Just promise me you’ll enjoy yourself, you
look wonderful.’

Carl’s phone beeped. ‘It's our ride outside so I guess we better get
going.’ Danny hugged both Julia and Siobhan before they finally pushed
him out of the door.

‘Enjoy yourselves, don't be late home, you kids.’ shouted Julia. Then,
to Siobhan she said, ‘They look , lovely together. Do you think they
know how they feel about each other?’

‘If they don't after tonight, they never will.’ She grabbed Julia's
hand, ‘Come on, let's go upstairs, I'm getting wet thinking about those
two.’

Carl held the door of the cab open for Danny as he sat and slid into the
back seat, remembering the last-minute instructions from Julia about how
to get into a car without flashing your panties - keep your knees
together and swivel on your bum, unless there are paparazzi there, in which
case give them a flash. Carl slipped into the other seat and told the
driver where they were going before smiling at Danny.

‘You look so good, Danny, how do you feel.’

‘Like I'm about to throw up.’ He grimaced.

‘Hey, it's going to be fine. Remember all the people there tonight will
be on your side. They will love you I'm sure.’

‘God, I hope you're right. Let's not stay too long, eh?’

‘Up to you, Danny. I'll follow your lead.’

The ride gave Carl a chance to sneak a better look at Danny. The dress
looked beautiful on Danny and enhanced his complexion and blonde hair.
He wore sheer white stockings or tights and a pair of strappy sandals
with heels. Carl couldn't stop himself thinking about Danny in stockings
and his cock began to tingle at the thought. As well as the necklace he
had on a matching bracelet and earrings which glittered when Danny moved
his head. The lipstick made his lips looked so kissable, and his
eyebrows had definitely been shaped into a graceful arch. The eye makeup
drew you into those dazzling eyes. Trust Siobhan to get that right for
such an occasion. Carl’s pulse began to race as he watched Danny. He
mentally kicked himself not to do anything stupid tonight.

Danny caught Carl looking at him and said, ‘What? Is something wrong?’
Carl smiled, ‘Absolutely nothing Danny, you look wonderful tonight.’
Danny blushed, but he felt a glorious tingle at what Carl said. He had
wanted to look good for Carl, it was the least he could do to repay him
for escorting him to the party. He knew he would never have gone on his
own, so he had desperately wanted not to embarrass Carl this evening by
the way he looked.

Siobhan and Julia had gone all out for tonight; the hairdresser friend
of Siobhan had done miracles with his hair, and the trip to the local
spa for waxing, manicure and eyebrows had been scary but the results
were worth the pain. The bikini wax had been the worst but Julia had
insisted on it, saying that to look like a girl you had to feel like one
and that no girl would be happy with ‘her pubes sticking out
everywhere.’ It had been a rush but when Siobhan had finally allowed
Danny to see what they had done, he was at a loss for words. Wearing
Julia’s dress with white stockings and a pair of strappy heels, Danny
had almost collapsed at the sight. Julia and Siobhan were grinning their
heads off as they watched Danny primp and preen in front of the
full-length mirror. Whatever happened tonight, Danny knew the debt he
owed his two girlfriends.

It wasn't long before the cab drew up in front of the bar where the
party was being held. Carl opened the door and instinctively put his
hand out to help Danny out of the cab. Danny froze, looked at Carl's
hand and then put his hand out and grabbed it. It was when Danny took
his hand that Carl felt a thrill run through him.

‘Thanks,’ mumbled Danny, averting his eyes from Carl as he let go of his
hand after he had got out of the car, and pulled the shawl around his
shoulders as if it were an invisibility cape. He took a deep breath,
forced himself not to turn around and jump back into the cab, and walked
towards the bar door. Carl stepped in front of Danny and held the door
open for him. Danny smiled and said, ‘Thank you.’

‘You’re welcome honey.’ Carl smiled back.

Danny glared at him, but Carl had already looked away. They walked on
into the bar and Danny felt Carl’s hand touch the small of his back and
he felt strangely happy at the gesture. It was the same thing Danny had
done to Jess to reassure her if she was nervous.

‘Danni, Danni. Over here.’ Peta pushed her way through the crowd and
hugged Danny. ‘Oh my word, you look gorgeous, sweetie. That dress and
your makeup fires up the colour in your eyes. And I so love what you've
done with your hair. Do I detect the hand of Siobhan in this?’

‘Yes, she gave me a makeover this afternoon.’ Danny thought they were
words he never imagined he would hear himself saying.

‘Carl, I'm so glad you could make it.’ She gave him a quick peck on the
cheek. ‘What do you think of Danni? Isn't she so pretty? You're such a
lucky guy.’ Peta kept her hands on Danny’s arms a little longer than
might have been necessary.

Carl smiled, ‘Yes, she's gorgeous.’ He sensed the attention Peta was
paying Danny, and without thinking about what he was doing he put his
arm around Danny’s waist and pulled him close. Danny stiffened but
couldn't say anything, and Carl didn't take his arm away.

‘Let me get you a drink and introduce you to everyone.’ Peta signalled a
waiter and within a few moments they had glasses of wine in their hands
and were chatting with several of the people from the charity. Danny
began to relax, and whatever fears he may have had about how he would be
received disappeared as he realised that nobody was judging him.

Everybody seemed to be friendly and welcomed him as one of them. That
gave Danny a jolt; is that what he was, one of them? Danny had a sudden
urge to run, to escape from this madness. It had gotten completely out
of hand, what on earth was he doing here?

He glanced down at his hand holding the wine glass and his newly painted
nails looked so beautiful. He felt the tug of the stockings and the
pinch of his heels as he moved his weight from one leg to the other. The
feelings that surged through him were beginning to scramble his mind.
What had started almost as a joke had somewhere along the line turned
into something completely different. This wasn't for him; he should
leave now, end all this and go back to being plain old Danny. He took a
deep breath, closed his eyes for a moment and the panic attack passed.
He felt Carl standing next to him and he glanced at him, willing him to
say ‘Let's go home.’ But Carl was chatting to a guy with a beard who was
telling him about his female to male transition. Carl seemed to be
listening intently and enjoying himself as Peta appeared at Danny’s side
and laid her fingers on his arm.

‘Are you enjoying yourself, Danni? You look a little flustered.’

‘Oh, no, I mean yes, I am. I guess I'm not used to be being around so
many people while I’m dressed. It takes some getting used to.’

Peta nodded, ‘Yes, I remember the same feelings, but you are such a
natural, Danni. We’re all the same here and I am so looking forward to
working closely with you.’ She gave Danny’s arm a gentle squeeze.

‘Oh, me too, Peta. And thanks again for the chance to work here, I am so
grateful.’

Peta smiled and looked straight into his eyes, ‘I'm sure we can find a
way for you to show your gratitude.’

Danny blinked, was Peta now hitting on him? Or was it simply his
overheated imagination playing tricks with him? He was so confused, why
had life got so complicated so quickly?

Peta clinked a knife against her glass to get everyone’s attention. When
the noise had died down she began to speak, ‘Hi, everyone, thanks for
coming out to meet with us tonight. We appreciate the efforts you have
all made on the charity’s behalf and I hope the members of the media
here will get to meet as many of our people as possible. Oh, and on the
subject of coming out, I would like to welcome the newest member of our
team, our designer, Danni Albright. Danni here has just begun her
transition, and she's here with her partner Carl.’

There was a good round of applause and some whistles, but Danny didn't
hear any of it as he was about to pass out with shock. Carl saw Danny
wobbling and grabbed him around the waist to stop him toppling over as a
press photographer snapped a picture of them both.

‘Danny are you OK?’ whispered Carl.

‘Fuck, fuck, fuck,’ said Danny, aghast at what Peta had said. ‘I need to
go home, Carl, let's get out of here.’

‘Ok, let's say our goodbyes first.’

Carl whisked Danny round the people they had met and finally bumped into
Peta. Carl sad, ‘I think we should get home, Danni is feeling a little
the worse for wear, all the new people she's met, I think she's had
enough for tonight.’

‘Ok, I understand, Danni, I’ll be in touch Monday to start the ball
rolling.’ Danny nodded, wishing he was on the opposite side of the world
at this moment. Peta hugged him and gave him a kiss on the lips,
‘Goodnight Danni.’

‘G’night Peta.’ was all Danny could manage.

Danny almost ran out of the bar and when Carl caught him up a few steps
outside, he could see Danny was crying. Carl’s heart ached as he saw his
friend in tears and he instinctively wrapped his arms around Danny and
pulled him close to his chest. Danny still sobbed and Carl stroked his
back to comfort him.

‘Danny, what's the matter?’

Danny snivelled, ‘What's the matter? Peta’s just announced to the world
that I'm transitioning and you're my partner. Apart from that, nothing’s
the matter.’ Danny started to cry again, and Carl hugged him tighter.
‘Danny, don't worry, there's no harm done.’

Danny looked up at Carl, his eyes red with tears, ‘But, you’ll be
dragged into it as well. Can't you see that?’

Carl shook his head, ‘I don't care.’

‘How can you say that?’

Carl could bear it no longer, he bent his head forward and kissed Danny.
It took a few seconds before Danny realised what had happened, but he
felt himself begin to kiss back. Then, something went off in his mind
and he pulled back, looked up at Carl and said, ‘No, no.’ He broke out
of Carl’s arms and ran off as fast as he could in his heels.

Carl slumped back against the wall, ‘Shit, Shit, shit. How could you be
so stupid?’ he muttered, banging his head back against the wall. ‘Danny,
I’m sorry,’ he called, but Danny had turned the corner by now. Carl
followed round the corner only to see him getting into a cab further up
the road which disappeared into the night.

Carl had no idea what to do, so he walked into the nearest pub and
ordered a large brandy. It burnt his throat as he downed it and he
thought he probably deserved that. A second one didn't improve his mood,
and Carl decided he had better get home before he ended up sleeping on a
park bench. He hailed a cruising taxi and within half an hour the cab
pulled up outside the apartment. There were no lights on in his flat,
but it seemed as if the girls were up as their lights were still on. He
knocked on Danny’s bedroom door but there was no answer, and it looked
as if Danny had not been back. Pouring himself another brandy he slumped
onto the sofa.

He leant back, closed his eyes and all he could see were Danny’s eyes
looking up at him. Fuck, what have I done? Right when my friend needed
some comfort I do something stupid like that. He felt like throwing up.
The bell rang, and he thought Danny has a key, so who the hell is this?
He looked through the peephole to see Siobhan standing there. Shit, what
does she want? Hasn't she caused enough trouble?

He thought about not answering, but she pressed the bell again and he
reluctantly opened the door.

‘Yes, what?’ he said, not wanting to let her in. She took one look at
his face and said, ‘I don’t care what you feel about me right now, but
there is somebody you need to talk to.’ She moved aside and Danny
appeared from where he had been out of sight around the corner. It
looked as if he had been crying again, and he looked about as miserable
as a human being could be.

Siobhan pushed Danny through the door and said, ‘You two, talk to each
other, now.’

She closed the door leaving them looking at each other.

‘I’m sorry,’ both of them said at the same time. It broke the tension
and Carl said, ‘You want a drink?’

Danny nodded, ‘Yes please.’

Carl poured two large brandies and took them through to where Danny sat
on one of the sofas. Even though Danny had been crying, Carl thought he
still looked wonderful. Carl sat on the other sofa and neither of them
spoke for a while. Danny broke it first.

‘I'm sorry for running away, but I was so upset, I didn't know what to
do.’

‘You have nothing to be sorry for Danny, it was my fault, I shouldn't
have done that.’

Danny nodded, ‘Why did you do it?’

‘Can't we just forget it? Please? Can't we still be friends?’

Danny shook his head, ‘No, I need to know, Carl. It's important.’

Carl looked away, tears beginning to prick the corners of his eyes. He
knew Danny wouldn't let it go now. He owed Danny the truth, even if it
ruined their friendship. He blew out his cheeks, ‘Danny, I’m bi-sexual,
I like to be with men and women.’

‘Carl, I know what bi-sexual means, why didn't you tell me?’

Carl looked at him, ‘Not the kind of thing you drop into a casual
conversation is it? Do you want a coffee, and by the way you should know
I go both ways?’

Danny looked away, ‘No, I guess not. Is that why you split up with
Simone?’

‘Is that what Siobhan told you?’

‘No, she didn't say anything, just that we needed to talk to each
other.’

‘Oh. Well, yes it was. She found out only because she found my browsing
history one day and confronted me. I hadn’t done anything while we were
together, except for looking at porn sites, but she didn't believe me. I
had a couple of affairs with men before I met her, but nothing more than
that. She couldn't accept it. Siobhan and Julia knew all about it, they
had met one of the guys before I hooked up with Simone.’

Danny nodded, some of what the girls had hinted at the first night he
met them now began to make sense.

‘So, do you fancy me, Carl?’

Carl winced at the way he said it. ‘Honestly, not at first, we seemed to
click as friends and I liked it that way. We seemed to complement each
other, and it felt good to have you as a friend. I guess there's no
point in denying it now, but I did become more attracted to you, not
that I was going to do anything about it. I didn't want to ruin our
friendship.’

‘So, what changed?’

‘Do we have to go through this, Danny, Can't we drop it?’

Danny pressed on, ‘So, what changed, Carl?’

Carl heaved a sigh, ‘When I saw you at the fashion show, when Siobhan
had made you up, I couldn't get you out of my mind. You were so pretty,
and I liked the way it made you look. Then, when I came home early and
you and Siobhan walked in, you shocked me certainly, but I couldn't get
over how natural and lovely you were. I thought you were so sweet and a
little vulnerable, which always gets me. It engages my protective
instinct. When the idea of going with you to the party came up, I jumped
at it and when I saw you earlier tonight, well, you blew me away. You
were, I mean, you are, gorgeous.’

Two pink spots appeared on Danny’s cheeks and he looked away.

‘When you ran out of the bar and I found you crying, all I wanted to do
was look after you. When you looked up at me, all I could think of was
kissing you. So I did. I’m sorry, please forgive me, it was
inexcusable.’

A long pause followed as both of them took sips of their drinks.

‘Carl, thank you for being so honest. It means a lot to me. I enjoyed
being your friend, it meant a lot to me.’

He’s now going to tell me he wants to move out, I've fucked it all up,
Carl thought.

‘This whole thing has been so confusing for me. I mean, I've always
thought of myself as straight, but that first night with the girls was a
revelation. Ever since I told that story about me being Juliet and
Siobhan going on about helping me to do it again, it has been on my mind
all the time. I couldn't get that image of me as Juliet out of my head.
I kept thinking of how great it had made me feel. When we went to the
show, the models knocked me sideways. How could boys look so much like
beautiful girls? Siobhan just pushed me a little further along each
time, and I thought it would be a bit of harmless fun to let her make me
up.’

He paused to sip his drink again.

‘But when I saw what she had done to me in the mirror, I couldn't
believe it. She had made me look like a girl, and I loved it. It touched
something in me that I must have buried. Even so, I tried to shove it
away. But, when the job offer came up, Siobhan pushed me a little
further with this crazy idea that I could pass as a woman, or at least
someone beginning to transition. She nudged me every time to go that bit
further, and you know, I didn't push back, in fact I willingly went
along with her. I realised it made me feel so good. I felt so different
when I was dressed.’

His eyes were glistening as he spoke. ‘It allowed a different, and much
nicer me to emerge. I know I should have told her to stop, and I thought
of doing it dozens of times, but I couldn’t. I felt so good that I
wanted it to go on and on.’

He took another sip of brandy. ‘It terrified me when I went up for the
job, but it seemed to go well, which made me want to go even further.
Something had changed in me. As Danni with an i, I felt so much calmer
and happy than Danny with y. I didn't know why, it just felt right. It
was no longer about the job, it was about me and some kind of journey I
had embarked on. But, when you caught me that afternoon I wanted to
chuck it all in. I thought you would want to throw me out for being a
freak, but you were so calm and nice about it. It floored me when you
offered to go with me. You accepted me as I was, and that meant so much
to me.’

Danny took a deep breath; he knew this next bit would be difficult. ‘I
also knew that I was getting attracted to you. I didn't know why, but I
kept thinking about you, how attractive you were, how much I liked being
with you. But, I also didn't want to spoil our friendship. Above all, I
wanted to impress you and for you to be proud of me when we went to the
party, so I agreed to all the plans the girls had for me. Siobhan called
in a favour from a hairdresser, they whisked me off to a local salon to
get waxed, my eyebrows done, my nails varnished, and I loved every
minute of it. Siobhan spent ages on my makeup. Julia lent me this dress,
and I felt so complete when I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt
pretty and feminine and knew that’s how I wanted to be. So, when I came
downstairs and saw the look on your face, I knew I looked special. I
almost felt like I was floating on air because of the way you looked at
me. It felt so nice when you looked after me at the party; I felt safe
and secure in a way that made me want it to go on and on. Your touch on
my back reassured me when I needed it, and when you put your arm around
me I went weak at the knees. I knew then I had found who I wanted to
be.’

Carl opened his mouth to say something but Danny held his hand up.

‘Let me finish please, Carl. I was also terribly scared by my feelings,
both about myself and about you. To say I was confused is the
understatement of the century. It spooked me when Peta said what she
did, and I totally lost it. Then when you kissed me, it tipped me right
over the top. I had to get away, and that's why I ran. I’m sorry.’
‘God, you have nothing to be sorry about, Danny. I feel terrible, I
should never have done what I did.’

Danny paused to dab his eye and then went on. ‘I ended up by knocking on
the girls’ door and they let me in and I blurted out everything to them.
I’m sorry, but I didn't have anyone else to talk to. They were great,
just listened and didn't preach; told me that I had to tell you what I
felt, that you would understand. I didn't know then what they meant. I
thought you would hate me. Then Siobhan grabbed my hand and dragged me
downstairs.’

Danny looked away and then back at Carl.

‘Here’s the funny thing, Carl. What freaked me out tonight wasn't that
you kissed me, but that I enjoyed it. I wanted to kiss you back and for
you to keep kissing me. That scared me more than anything because I
didn't understand what was happening then, but I do now.’

Carl stared at him, holding his breath, not daring to hope.

Danny looked at Carl and said, ‘Would it be OK if I asked you to kiss me
again?’

Carl finally let out his breath. ‘Danny, are you sure about this?’

‘Carl, please don't say no, I might not be able to cope with it if you
do.’

‘Danny, there's nothing on this earth that would stop me if you want me
to.’

Danny blushed, lowered his eyes and said, ‘Yes, I do.’

Carl moved across to the other sofa and sat next to Danny. He took
Danny’s hand and with his other hand gently brought Danny’s face up to
face him. Carl looked into those blue eyes and he knew he had fallen in
love with Danny. He bent forward and their lips touched, gently at
first, and then with increasing urgency.

Danny put his hand behind Carl's head and pulled him harder onto his
lips as Carl's tongue found his. Carl put his arm around Danny as they
kissed, their lips mashing together. Danny slipped backwards, bringing
Carl down on top of him. His arms went around Carl and clasped him
tight.

Their tongues were duelling fiercely now as Danny felt something hard
poking into his groin. With a shock he realised it was Carl's erection
and he thought, this is it, I'm kissing a man. Something Siobhan had
said flashed into his mind, this feels nice. He heard himself moan, and
somewhere inside him a dam broke, and he knew this was what he wanted,
maybe had always wanted, and would want time and time again.

The End

If you have got this far, thank you and I hope you enjoyed the story.

For non UK readers, a gooner is slang for a fan of Arsenal football
club.



If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
up
100 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 36776 words long.