Reconnecting and More
Designing a prom gown instead of a suit,
Turned Andrew’s problem into an opportunity…
Andrea is now in focus…
Once, I regain my composure, I stay in the girl’s restroom to redo my makeup. It is like I am rewriting my history at San Anselmo High School, getting to be a girl here. My face is not overdone but it is brighter and a bit more cheerful. Other girls may notice. I feel more like another student here than Andrea the designer of women’s fashions.
Jenny’s next class is American history with Mr. Gould, who recognizes me and approves my being in class. It is with ten minutes left in class that he asks his class, “Can anyone correlate Andrea Stephens being here today, with current American history? Several hands go up. One person says, “We’re going back to a more traditional view of life that is contrary to how Andrew’s living.” Two others voice, “Many of us and I am sure her are not wanting to move backwards; losing the rights and acceptance many have gained.”
Mr. Gould asks me, “Do you see yourself in this struggle, where you might not be accepted as you are now?”
“I guess I have been accepted where I am and I’m so busy I haven’t seen it about me. There are others who are struggling just to be free or remain together as families. I see their cause as a greater issue. My presence at rallies or protests has been as an individual.”
Jenny speaks up, “But, I hear, you recently purchased part ownership in a pub.” A guy interrupts, “Sounds like a guy wanting a watering hole without being hassled. That’s neat for a high school guy. I mean…”
Jenny, “Shut up, I was talking. I think it’s for college people and others in the LGBT community continued to have a place to safely gather. Today is the first time, I’ve seen Andrew again. I don’t like her being put on the spot, but he seems very happy being Andrea. I don’t’ see it as a threat to others if she sees herself like this.”
Mr. Gould says, “I didn’t see it as putting her on the spot, just correlating it to what’s going on. She’s the one coming here as Andrea instead of Andrew.” I am ready to walk out of class, but I’m hoping the bell will ring to change classes. Mr. Gould gives an insincere apology in case I was offended. I just said good-bye as the passing bell rings.
I opt out of going to Jenny’s next class, to go back to Ms Wilkens classroom. Two students mentioned to her what happened in the previous class. She comes to me personally saying, “I’m sorry. I was hoping if you came back that we could get into a dialogue about how education plays out in your life as a successful business person. I won’t ask you to do that now. Relax, it is nice to have you here.”
“It would be okay, I just ask if it goes negative to move on. I don’t need the hassle.”
She didn’t need to bring it up. One student voiced loudly, ‘He wouldn’t be wasting his time coming to school if he doesn’t have to.’ Ms. Wilkens responds, as class begins, “Mr. Ross, maybe if you could see how learning relates to your life, you’d be more interested. Don’t you have a band and dabble in disc jockeying?”
“School has nothing to do with that. I write songs and school didn’t help that either.”
I speak up, “Do you make enough to pay taxes? What if you had a song good enough for someone to steal it from you?”
Ross is a bit agitated, “Are you saying I don’t. I make more than you think. I’m just smart enough; that not all of it is recorded.”
“No, I’m saying, you possibly could and being smart about it could be important. I have an artist friend who mixes art and music to help some of my advertisements. The less she or I know, the more someone could take advantage of our situation. She/we need to pay someone for the music we use… It also looks bad if we don’t speak well. I don’t like sounding ignorant and having others tell me so in public.”
Ross says, “I’m not ignorant. Do you know how hard it can be, figuring out how many songs of 2 to 5 minutes I can use in a four hour gig?”
“I suspect changing seconds into minutes and knowing the time in between is important. You must be good in math.” He says, “I’m better than I was. You’re probably going to say that’s education. I also learned more poetry, Ms. Wilkens knows that.”
I ask, “How many in the music world push the gender boundaries?” He says, “Could you create some various satin tops of a band to look good?”
“Most groups now a days don’t all present the same look. I could do you and probably the others, but do you want to pay my going rate? …I wait for the silence that I expected. Before saying, “For you, I could probably make a workable deal. But it’s interesting what you’re doing and who I am as relating.”
I ride back with Jenny to her house and my mother’s there with her mother. Her father, a sister and a brother will all be there tonight. Her mother asks Jenny, “Do you need to be in with your sister or can I trust the two of you together?”
Jenny asks, “Can I ask Blair over so we can have a pajama party?”
My phone rings that a call is coming in that is Dr. Monica’s office. I also see I missed calls and have a message. I answer the call and Brook from Monica’s office makes sure she has me. “Can you wait a moment, Dr. Monica has something to say to you?”
“What about,” I ask?
She puts me through to Dr. Monica. She asks, “Are you somewhere private that we can talk?” I say yes to that and that I’m sitting down though neither are true. “Your approval for the surgery has been turned down. We will need to put the request in again and provide more justifying information. I’m sorry. It shouldn’t be a problem just a delay.” I’m stunned and silent. I had worked up the courage to do it. I hear as Monica says we’ll need to apply, filling out all the forms and information again. She’s nice and she takes time to make me feel hopeful. When she says good-bye I am discouraged.
Mom asks me, “What’s wrong?” My phone rings again and I expect it’s from the doctor’s office. Discouraged I ask, “What now?”
It is JC, she’s not listening but telling me, “You need to go over your summer designs for the twenties line and get them right back. Do you hear me?”
I say, “No, I’m in California taking a break.”
JC says, “It’s not really a request. X-Press International isn’t asking, Tompkins just thought it might be better coming from me. You have good designs, but they want you to finish up preparing them for production. I have done two designs for my line, so you’re not hanging out there alone. Please don’t say ‘No’, get them done and back…” JC asks, “Do you have your computer with our design programs with you?” She knows very well that I do.
I have a straight line flapper dress as well as one in material that will flatter the shape of the body wearing it. I have one of those packed with me. A third is a lace dress from the same era, with both the long traditional dress and another one like it but shorter and designed for those wanting to be more active in today’s world. JC asks, “Can you have them done and back to me in the morning?”
“You’re asking me to stay up all night and I’m to be part of a pajama party. Tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. is more like it.”
JC says, “You know that won’t due. Send what you can at 7:00 and the rest by noon our time.”
I become sarcastic saying, “Thanks a lot for the leeway that’s very generous of you.”
JC finally asks, how I’m doing. “Did something bad happen out there? What’s your problem?” I know she’s sincere, but I don’t want to hear it and I say good-bye and hang up. I sit down to cry and my mother comes over to me. “Tell me what the news is? I can tell something is not pleasing you, but it can’t be that bad.”
I grab her hands and pull her down next to me. “My surgery’s been canceled. Monica says we need to redo everything and submit it again. She says, all we need do is to provide more information and justify why. It stinks, I hate going through everything proving it’s good. I’m not them but I can understand it already, why can’t they?”
Mom says, “It took two calls to tell you that?”
“No,” I bark, “JC says I need to finish five designs and have them ready in the morning. It doesn’t matter I’m away on a break. I said five o’clock tomorrow afternoon. She told me, “No, Tompkins wants them in the morning at the latest. If I have three ready at 7:00 in the morning I can take another three hours to finish the other two. As I said that stinks.”
Mom’s pretty sure I can and will do it, as much as it stinks; it’s part of my business. Right now she embraces me and lets me cry as she compliments me.
Jenny is there, she asks, “Do you need me to cancel for tonight?”
“No, if it is alright for me to do this using the kitchen table after dinner in my pajamas. You and Blair might actually enjoy seeing me work on my designs. I even have one of them here that you can help by modeling it for me.” Jenny loves that idea.
I have the flapper dress that will cling to Jenny’s body showing all her curves. I for one am interested in seeing the dress and her curves. Jenny asks, “Will you be done by 10 or 10:30 tonight?”
“I’ll try to stay awake and do as much as I can. If I get ideas of what I want to do, I keep working. I have lost too many images of designs by going to sleep before I capture them.” Jenny giggles about how I express myself.
It has been almost three years since I last saw Blair. Blair and Jenny remain great friends despite Blair’s now going to a private school. She comes over at 7:00. She is the image I think of when I think of a California girl. A naturally blonde girl with a golden complexion, blue eyes that help set up the glow of the girl herself. She has a slightly more mature stature, I’m guessing she’s seventeen closer to eighteen. Girls around other girls often lose the inhibitions they may have around guys. Though I’m still Andrew, Jenny and Blair see me as another girl.
Before I go to shower, Jenny replaces my pajamas with a pair of teddy bear pajamas. I’ll need to wear a pair of panties to hold and hide part of me. I try to hide as I take off my clothes and get into the shower, but Jenny and Blair insist that I’m one of the girls and need to change with them. Jenny says, “My mom’s warning has to do with sex and not seeing each other as girls.” Blair and Jenny both tease me about my nipples being beyond simple budding. Jenny and Blair hold me down on Jenny’s bed to see if my breasts respond to being touched. I already knew they would. Blair shows me how a woman’s breasts respond.
After we shower and I’m dressed in the teddy bear pajamas both Blair and then Jenny want to model my flapper dress. Mom shows up to take a picture of both of them. Mom already had a picture of me, so it is no problem seeing how different figures change the look of the dress. It is one dress that I think the person is wise to wear a pair of flats with it.
I have finished two and then four designs on the two flapper style dresses and I have two sent off to Vee, by 10:30 that evening. The other two by midnight. Mom brought out a version of my shorter lace dress, this one being of a knit fabric. My mother insists to Jenny and Blair’s delight that I model this dress for them before they went to bed. She has even brought the blue bra and half-slip that I like wearing with it. Mom helps me to put my breast forms back on and then slip into the dress. I do not realize until I am slipping it on that this is the shortest version of this dress that I’ve made. I can barely move and remain modest. Actually it is not meant to be worn modestly.
But as I come out in the dress mother began playing Carole King’s CD “You Need a Friend” Mrs. Connors pushes Jenny out to dance with me. I’m moved, and though I’m not ready for the surprise we enjoy the dance together. The dress pattern for production is far from complete. I designed two different meshes to be under the dress. One is very sheer, but I felt safe in designing it. The other would have the lace over various colors of satin. Anything over a size eight will have some darts. The fabric on smaller sizes will mold to the figure of the woman. Both the shorter lace version of the dress and the full-length dress have a version with the plain classic cotton mesh underneath.
The versions for Angie’s Silver Threads line are all about the quality of the material, extra care to the lining and being sewn together with small but noticeable changes. Imperfects here go to the waste pile and not to discount sales. I do add more silver or gold thread and bling to these dresses. Previously we have produced the Silver line in numbers one twentieth of the production of Andrea’s Threads. This time we gear up for personalize on line requests. It seems unreal to me with some of the dresses beginning at $400, with personalized versions going close to a thousand dollars. I share with Jenny who is back out with me come 2:30 in the morning. “It helps in keeping the costs of Andrea’s Threads at their modest price.”
It is 4:00 a.m. when I send my last batch of finished designs with the sign-off forms to Vickie and X-Press.
I pull Jenny into bed with me, where we both crash and quickly go to sleep. It is nice to have her with me. We mutter about going to North State University, but I’m not sure if we agreed to anything.
I know Jenny woke up before six, but she lied still and fondle my budding breasts and gave me soft kisses until she finally got out of bed. She got out when I started to return my affections for her. It was good that she did get out of bed as I would not have had the will to stop.
Blair playfully throws some cold water onto me.
I wear one of Jenny’s robes to see Jenny and Blair off to school. When I’m eating breakfast, Mr. Connors asks me. “How much longer are you going to keep this image before you go back to Andrew full-time?” JC Harper, X-Press International, Mom and I know about 50% of my followers expect that I will ultimately go back. Only a third of those loyal to me realize that I’m now more committed to being Andrea. I had hoped in April to begin telling about my transition.
During their lunch time, Jenny messages me that a minimum of seven girls want to meet me and the store most of them shop at. One of my conversations there is with Tina who makes most of her own clothes as her family is relatively poor. She’s hassled because she does not have brand recognition clothes. It is not a new problem; many girls have gotten grief since brand names have become part of status recognition. I have a roll of labels with Andrea’s Threads trademark with the word ‘My’ following it. I’m willingly give twenty to first time requests.
She’s a very good seamstress. I don’t mind my name being associated with her work and have invited her to a summer internship. JC had already recommended I begin such a program, but Tina is the first one I invite. Andrea Miller at Hillside knows I’m willing to take one or two of her students.
My spring line has been out since before February but is just now indicating we should have a very good spring. Our trip west includes an appearance Saturday with JC at the San Francisco fashion show. I do not have a group of models that work for me, so the JC/X-Press’ group of models helps to show for me as well. It is the first time I wear dresses from Angie’s Silver Threads for a show. We do receive good reviews as my clothes are now better known and growing in popularity.
I like San Francisco for its recognition of diversity and being smaller size in comparison to larger major cities. The additional word is my clothing lines are doing well as they’re introduced to the west coast. We are now coast to coast as well as selling internationally via the internet and X-Press International. Many internationally, who like American styles like us for style and affordability.
I am glad that Jenny came to the show in San Francisco, but surprised she had Lyle there for her and Stuart come for me. Jenn says, “I love you, but as my best friend. If you like Stuart, I hope he’ll come to North State University as well. I want a friend from here for me and hopefully being good for you as well. I really think you need to date more guys to see how much you’re attracted to them.”
I am initially offended as I want to go out with her. I work to go along and not make it a big fuss. My notoriety gets us in one club not regularly open to high school students. We have a good time and I’m surprised that I like Stuart.
Stuart asks, “If I came to NSU, how would you feel about me being there. I communicated to the football coach there. That I would be interested in playing football. I think he’s very interested but he’s wondering why a California player with my speed would come there.” Stuart says, “I told him, I don’t come from a football school and did not get serious consideration. But he didn’t think that was a strong reason.”
“Saturday, I told him I met you and would be interested in going to college near you as well. I didn’t mean to insinuate I am a boyfriend. But he asked me if I knew you were transgender. I said, to him that’s not a big issue. I told him I’m not gay, but that I see you as a woman.”
Stuart says, “I know you’re also Andrew and I’m not sure how I’d deal with that. But I feel like it is important you know I mentioned you. I should not have mentioned it, but I did. I know I like you more since we dated, but I can’t say I’m serious about a relation with you.”
I say, “I’m not ready for a serious relationship, but it’s funny to hear a football player would be interested in something because I’m there.”
Stuart says, “I heard you were going to transition, but that is not going to happen now. Does that mean you are still interested in being a boy?”
“I don’t know you enough to discuss my personal life or anything as serious as that. But no, it is not about me wanting to physically be a guy. That is all I will say further about that. I know Jenny is interested in wanting a friend from here to be there, if she comes to NSU.” I know he is hoping I say, volunteer more, but I’m not there. I don’t want to be his reason for coming.
Mom finds it amusing that I have two friends interested in seeing us off at the airport. I also notice several photographers taking an interest in who is seeing me off. Once we’re in the air, Leah calls us back home saying, “Your participation at a California fashion show made the news, but it was more that you’re a celebrity. It showed you with Jenny, women and even good looking boys taking interest in you.”
Leah continues, “But come next spring you can find someone else to miss spring break for you. Being your big sister, it seems strange that I’m still watching after you.”
I say, “Hopefully next year, my business will be running smoother and I won’t have a hectic college schedule. If need be, I will only take three classes at a time.” Leah is surprised when I tell her I don’t need the degree as much as learning more of what I need. Both of us are surprised to hear Mother agree with me.
Mom says, “Don’t look so surprised. Anyone who cares about you is worried you are doing too much. Getting your graduation from high school out of the way, kind of justifies the pace you are keeping. After you graduate, you will take a good vacation!”
Back on my tablet, someone has sent me a picture of Stuart giving me a hug, with caption saying, “Andrea’s threads are attracting new friends.”
“Yuck, Mom it’s started.”
Mom looks at my tablet and says, “What that boys like you?”
I say, “That too and that I like them. And that there is some watching me and wondering. They think it’s amusing and there’s a picture to sell.”
Heidi a steward,dess comes over to us and leans down, asking if there’s something wrong that she can help us with. I show her my phone. Heidi says, “You’re known and someone took a picture of someone you like.” I show her a picture of Jenny and me.
I ask, “How am I to know who I like or care about with others trying to decide for me?”
Heidi says, “I’ve seen you before. If I understand correctly, you’re not even sure if you’re a boy or girl? That has to be hard.”
I say, “Thank you. I’m both, but I want to live my life as a girl. I wish you had time, I would just like to tell someone like you. Hoping you understand and would be a friend.”
Heidi give me a grin, “I can give you a few minutes now and more when we land.” She holds out my hand, looks to my Mom. “Do you two trust me to just be a friend?”
I get up and go with her…
Story to be continued…
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