"So let me get this straight, you want me to be your girlfriend?”
"Just for the weekend,” Rory reaffirmed.
"And just why do you think I'd want to do that, beyond the obvious?”
"You get to go to the Festival for free?”
Well okay, it would be cool to go to Gothfest, the tickets sold out months ago so a freebie would be ace.
"Okay, you’ve got me there, Jane dumped you again I suppose?”
Jane’s my half sister, everyone assumes we’re twins as we share the same birthday, but in fact its only a wedding that relates us. Certainly made school interesting.
"No,” he replied defensively, "But you know she’s not into the scene, she’s going to London with the girls instead.”
"So what's with the girlfriend bit?”
"I've told everyone I'm taking my girlfriend.”
"Everyone like that moron Joseph with the top hat?”
"He’s not a moron, and the tickets are named, I sent off for them months ago.”
"Without asking Jane first I guess?”
"Couldn’t I just be ‘J Askwith’?”
"Yeah well about that.”
"What did you do?”
"Well you know they had that thing with the forgeries last year?”
It’d been all over the papers, something like five thousand punters had paid fifty quid a throw for forged tickets, there’d almost been a riot.
"Well they wanted photo’s, you know to id people?”
"Well I scammed a pic off the net.”
"Who looks nothing like my sister?”
"Its not that so much.”
"What is it so much?”
"Easier to show you,” he pulled an envelope out his pocket, Rory handed it to me.
I opened it and withdrew the hallowed tickets. They really had gone to town to prevent forgeries this year, barcodes, names and across one end, a colour picture of the ticket holder. The top ticket was very recognisably Rory but the second…
"Geez Ror, couldn’t you have just found some random woman?”
"I thought I might convince Janey to dress up.”
The picture was a good likeness – of a Goth Goddess, it was only head and shoulders but there was no avoiding her girlish assets.
To be so close to going but so far, I might’ve even put a wig on to pretend to be my sister but this. I studied the ticket more closely, shit, Ro really went for it, full weekend, all venues for himself and "Trixiebell Heartswoon?”
"Well I thought it’d be a laugh.”
"For who? Geez its no wonder Jane said no.”
"So you think its a no go then?” he posed.
"Correctomundo dickhead, number one I'm not a girl, number two I'm not a girl and number three...”
"You’re not a girl,” Rory finished, "Guess it’ll be wasted then.”
He took ‘Trixie’s’ ticket and with a sigh went to tear it in half.
"Whoa! don’t do that!”
"Er maybe we could find you someone else, someone better equipped for the job?”
"Tried everyone I know.”
"Nice to know I'm so far up the list,” I allowed.
"There is no one else Zak.”
To be honest I'm surprised he had a list. In fact I don’t see what Janey see’s in him, like me he’s a dedicated war gamer besides being into the Goth scene. My sister on the other hand is something of a disco diva, a girly girl, their common ground is me. what’s weird is I've known Rory longer than my ‘twin’, our parents got together when we were eight, I went to nursery with Ro.
I checked around the house again, all the curtains are closed, Mum’s gone to see Gran over in Mansfield and Jane’s at work, she’s some sort of manager at the Ibis. Me, well after Uni, a 2.1 in BSc Applied Mathematics, I'm the high-flyer, part time barista at the hospital coffee bar. The three of us live in the family home just outside Chessy – ironic really, Mum got custody of both of us when she divorced Dad, that’s Janey’s dad not mine, when we were fifteen, anyhow, having secured the house from curious neighbours I headed upstairs.
Half an hour later I was stood in front of Mum’s full length mirror wearing a dress ‘borrowed’ from my sister, my Dockers and the worst make-up job you’ve ever seen. Yep, you’ve guessed it I thought I'd give Trixie a try – nothing ventured as they say. Talk about a parody, I look like the worst Goth chick ever. Its not that I'm a rugby player or anything, quite the opposite, I'm the short arsed skinny dweeb, that aside I looked like a bloke in a dress with make-up and hair by a five year old.
"What the fuck are you doing in my dress!” Janey screamed.
what’s she doing here, sugar, its Wednesday, she does a split shift, "I can explain!”
"This I have got to hear, so lets have it Zak or is it Zoe?”
"Can I get changed first?”
"Oh no, you don’t think I'm falling for that, sit!”
Oh well, it was worth a try.
It didn’t take long to go through my tale, the offer of the Gothfest ticket, the picture on said ticket and my decision to give Trixiebell Heartswoon a try. For siblings we don’t argue much, despite or possibly because we aren’t directly related. By the end of my explanation she was almost in hysterics.
"So Rory didn’t put you up to this?”
"So when is this gathering of darkness Trixie?”
"That weekend you go to London, can I get changed now?”
"Whoa, not so fast princess,” she pushed me back down onto the bed.
"This weekend, its some big thing yeah?”
"And my boyfriend has already paid for the tickets?”
"Months ago,” I agreed.
"Well with planning like that I think he deserves to take his dream girl to Whitby don’t you?”
"Don’t be so soggy bro, his dream girl, Trixiebell Heartswoon!”
She stood me up and turned me towards the mirror, "Bro, meet Trixie!”
"Yeah like that's working,” I scoffed.
"I never said it would be easy.”
"Just saying I agree, I look nothing like the ticket photo.”
"We’ll just have to make sure you do, you got a copy of this picture?”
"Its on the net, shouldn’t be too difficult to find.”
"Ror, I think I've found you a girlfriend!” I announced loudly, passing him a pint of some obscure ‘artisan’ beer.
"Shush idiot, Amy’s round in the other bar.”
Amy’s my sisters best friend, we all went to school together, it was hardly a surprise she was in the Robin Hood, her parents run it.
"So like I said, I think I've found someone for the ticket.”
"Jane showed me the picture, there’s no way man.”
I was not best bit amused when Janey took the picture but after she explained her plan, whilst still dubious I went along with it.
"Not me you dumbcluck!”
"So come on then, who is this mystery girl? When do I get to meet her?”
"Someone I know at the Hospital,” that's the cover story I’d agreed with Jane, I could at least ad lib some back story that way.
"And?” he pressed.
"She’ll meet you at the station on the Friday but there’s a couple of conditions.”
"Why not before?”
I shrugged, "She’s working shifts.”
"What conditions?” he asked cautiously.
"One, no funny stuff.”
"As if! Jane’d have my balls on a spoke, what else?”
"You pay for everything.”
"That’s the deal for being your arm candy in front of Joseph and co. you’d be paying for my sister anyway right?”
"I guess so, is that it?”
"That’s it, shall I tell her yes?”
"She’d better look better than you in a dress.”
"Most definitely,” I told him.
"So what are you two talking about?” Janey asked plonking herself on Rory’s knee.
"Er nothing much,” Ro supplied.
"Be a love and get me a drink?”
"So?” she asked once Ror was despatched to the bar.
"Hook, line and sinker, look J are you sure about this?”
"Oh ye of little faith little bro.”
Last time I did that mum grounded me for a month, I know that won’t happen this time but it doesn’t fill me full of faith.
"These are all that same girl,” I noted handing the prints back to Janey,” where’d you get them?”
"Its amazing what you can find on the internet.”
"So what’re we doing?”
"You are learning how to do your make-up.”
"Well duh, you don’t think girls put it on once and that's it?”
"Course not, you’re always mucking about with it.”
"And you’ll have to put it on yourself while you’re away,” she pointed out.
"I still look like me.”
"Hmm,” Janey offered once again comparing the pictures to my fizz-ogg, "We might have to go to plan B.”
"You really want to go to this thing?”
"Er yeah,” I allowed cautiously.
"Okay, so you trust me right?”
"I guess, what are you cooking up?”
"Making you look like Trixiebell whatsername.”
"Heartswoon,” I filled in.
"Yeah, Heartswoon. Look at the pictures, tell me what you see.”
I took the pictures and compared them, they were clearly the same girl although wearing different stuff and make-up in some of them, "I can’t believe that's really her name.”
"Probably a stage name of some sort, so?” she prompted.
"Well she’s quite pretty.”
"I already know that, what else dumbo, how would you describe her to mum?”
"Okay,” I looked again, "Pink hair, she’s drawn her eyebrows on and she’s got some piercings.”
I looked again, "Nice rack?”
"Sorree,” I offered in meek defence.
"Okay, so to make you look like her you need the same.”
"Whoa, hang on sis, don’t you think that's going a bit far?”
"You want Rory to spot its you straight off?”
"Not at all preferably. Mum’ll go apeshit.”
"She won’t have to know.”
"How, even if I do agree to it, is she gonna miss me looking like that?”
"You take a trip.”
"Yeah, visit some uni mate or something ‘cept you don’t you come to the hotel and stay there, we’ll do your transformation there – you could even still go to work.”
"And exactly how do I pay for a hotel room?”
Damn, this is getting serious, dying my hair, piercings and Janey’s already coughed out for some boobs. Oh well, what the heck.
"That's my girl! We can get you immersed in being a girl, you’ll be a regular Goth princess.”
With that agreed, the next couple of weeks passed by quietly, Janey accumulated my ‘wardrobe’ and I practised with the make-up and walking in the silly footwear I was supplied with. The weekend before Whitby I packed a bag, told everyone I was going to Bristol for a couple of weeks and found myself installed in a ‘staff’ room at the Ibis, a tiny box room in the attic.
"Right Trix,” my sister started, "There’s bleach in the bag, I'll come back after my shift and we’ll finish the job.”
"Dur, you don’t think you get hair that colour over that black, gotta strip the colour first then the real colour we want will take.”
"Er right, that’s what you meant by finish the job?”
"What did you think I meant?”
"Not sure,” I admitted.
"Right then, I'll bring pizza later.”
Well at least I'm getting fed.
I stared at my reflection, my natural hair colour is a mousey brown but I've dyed it goth black since uni but here, staring back at me, my face is surrounded by the palest, almost white curtain of hair – unnerving to say the least. Guess it’ll dye back easy enough. With Janey not expected back for several hours I got comfortable on the bed, slipped my earbuds in and cranked up The Cure.
"Whoa, interesting look bro.”
"Yeah,” I agreed, "Food?”
"On its way, lets get on with this, we can eat while it cures.”
My stomach wanted to complain but I could see the sense in that.
"Okay,” I sighed.
"Lets get in the bathroom then.”
Jane re-wet my hair and was soon massaging the dye through my hair.
"You can get breakfast downstairs in the morning,” she informed me as she used some cling film to wrap my hair.
"That’s gonna be a good look,” I suggested.
"You don’t get room service, you could practice being Trixie.”
She started dabbing something on my forehead.
"Just sorting your caterpillars.”
"Eyebrows, sit there and I'll fetch the food.”
I had agreed to this makeover but I hadn’t expected things to move so quickly, not only is my hair now pink, nothing wishy washy but a vivid shade somewhere between hot pink and fuchsia but my eyebrows are gone, not trimmed or plucked, no removed completely with hair remover – I look like some sort of alien. And so of course the idea of a free breakfast set my stomach rumbling.
They say practice makes perfect and I have been practising the make up stuff for a couple of weeks so I made a fair job of the face painting. Dark red lips, a swoop of eyeliner and ruler straight brows drawn across my forehead – well I certainly don’t look like the Zak Askwith I know. Now dressing Trixie is another matter.
Simple seemed to be best for now, my wardrobe is almost entirely black so that bits easy enough at least. There was a shapeless dress with a white collar, I managed to get the tights on and the breast forms slopped into a plain bra giving me a bit of shape where it counts. The only hiccup was Little Zak, after some experimenting, changing from my boxers to close fitting girl pants and tucking him under, I felt ready to make Trixie’s debut.
"Ms Heartswoon, can I have a word please?” Janey requested as I exited the breakfast room. "Trix!” she emphasised.
"Er hi sis.”
"Not here,” she hissed, "Out the back.”
I followed her through the office and out into the car park.
"Looking good bro.”
"Har de ha.”
"I mean it, you certainly don’t look like my brother any more, well not too much.”
"How do you cope with these bra things?”
"I don’t actually want to.”
"Friday?” she teased.
"Alright, so what’s today?”
"Are you sure this is necessary?”
"Yes,” Jane told me for at least the third time.
"I don’t have to be Trixie.”
"Rory’s expecting a full on goth, goths have piercings, ergo you need piercings.”
There was some logic to that I guess, "But the whole lot?”
"Stop being a wimp.” here she comes, "Heya Dawn.”
"Hi Jane, Martin said you guys were here, so Trix, not keen on needles then?”
This was the cover story my sister dreamt up, the reason I was getting so much done in one go, I hate needles so as I'm likely to pass out might as well do everything. Well that's the idea.
"So lets get you marked up first.”
"Trix, wake up.”
"You’re finished,” Janey advised.
"Onwy er wun?”
"You passed out when Dawn got the needle ready, she’s done the lot.”
"Ot’s wom iv ma ong?”
"Well as you were out she did your tongue too, freebie.”
"You’ll be able to talk properly in a couple of days.”
I just rolled my eyes.
Dawn came back through, "Oh good you’re awake, right here’s your care package, use the wipes morning and night and turn the jewellery at the same time but don’t play with them right?”
"I'll make sure she doesn’t.” Jane replied for me.
"Well enjoy your piercings Trix.” she winked.
I looked in the mirror, if the hair and make up hid Zak before with my new holes I couldn’t recognise me.
"Dawn said that you should be okay with different jewellery at the weekend.”
"Iffwen?” these flippin’ tongue studs, yes there’s two, are bloody annoying.
"You might want to match stuff to your outfits.”
"Er ow ack,” I pointed out.
"Stop playing with them,” Jane ordered.
Easy enough for you to say sister dear, you haven’t got a face full of metal and ears throbbing. I'd certainly had a number done on me, apart from my tongue I now sport a nostril, septum, middle of my upper lip, a pair of snake bites, dimples, tragus and a couple of lobe holes – oh and my navel. Yeah, talk about a pin cushion.
“An I ot is anige?”
“Er,” Janey look rather contrite, “you kinda got a tattoo.”
“Atoo! Ot er uck!”
“We’ll get it removed.”
“Ets ee it?”
I let her unwrap the bandage from my wrist, wincing a little as the pad was removed.
“Oo ot oo ee idding!”
Encircling my left wrist, yep all the way round, is about the girliest tattoo i’ve ever seen, a bit swollen and raw but easy enough to see. What is it? Oh you’ll love this, its a floral affair, tiny pink, purple, yellow and blue flowers with a vine linking the whole thing and running through the whole ‘TRIXIE’ in a floral script. I’m not a big tattoo fan but as they go this isn’t bad except its on me!
“Ot er oo inkin!”
“Well the real Trixie has one like it so, you know, authenticity?”
“An on, er int oor ith ere? Ee ath ite a oo ats.”
“No no, just that, well I think it looks cute.”
“Oo ave it en!”
“Dawn said to let it breath over night but keep it covered for a few days.”
So of course now my eyes a constantly drawn to my wrist, grrrr!
"Lets have a look at your tits.”
"I want to check the edges are still stuck down.”
Oh I forgot to mention that didn’t I, before we went to see Dawn I had the ignominy of having my sister glue a pair of C cups to my chest. Apparently they should stay put for up to a month – not that I'll need them after next Sunday. In the meantime it looks like I get to experience the delights of bra wearing.
I bared my chest for inspection.
"Looking good Trix,” she allowed inspecting my new appendages.
"Oo ont a to all ee Ix I ere oo ow.”
"I can hardly call you Zak, and you need to get used to your name, don’t want any slip ups with Rory do we?”
"Es ot,” I sighed.
"Oh and I've got you a job for the week, we’re short a chambermaid.”
"Aimber ade? Oo ot oo be iddin!”
"You get paid and I can cover the room better.”
"I arnt oo at ike is.”
"Don’t see why not, I'll find you a uniform, Magda’ll show you the ropes.”
"Ane!” I moaned.
"I'll treat you to dinner at the Pincers,” she proposed.
Damn, she knows all my buttons, you’d think we really are twins.
And so the week was set, I'll be Magda’s laundry slave for six hours each day, changing bed linen, cleaning lavs and hoovering carpets. After two the days my own, which for me means hiding in my room listening to The Smiths. I can’t even pretend I'm still Zak in here, my dear sister confiscated all my lad stuff on Monday, right down to my wallet.
So I'm Trixiebell Heartswoon 24/7, not the real one in the US of course but I've got her hair, Janey tidied my mop up to match the photos on line, I have her most obvious piercings, apparently she has places I don’t have pierced too, so to all intents and purposes it will be Trixie who meets Rory on Friday. I’m not particularly hairy, I struggle to grow more than a bit of bum fluff, but what I did have, well that says it really, there’s hardly a hair left on me that's not pink and on my head.
"Come on,” Jane chivvied.
"Where’re we going?”
The swelling in my face is pretty much gone so at least I can talk almost normally.
"Do I want to?”
I wasn’t exactly keen to realise we were heading into town, the last thing I need is someone I know recognising me. as if reading my mind my dear sister returned to drag me onwards.
"No one’s going to recognise you Trix, come on.”
I let myself be dragged up towards the church but before we got that far Jane pushed me into a shop. Whilst I've never been in I recognised it as ‘Roots’, one of those places selling joss sticks and crystals.
"What’re we doing in here J?”
"This way,” she insisted.
"I can hardly breath.”
"Give over, I knew we’d missed something then I saw some goth types when I was out with Ror last night.”
The something was a corset and when I come to think of it she’s actually right, no self respecting goth this weekend will be sans corsetry. The example I'm now wearing, whilst constricting isn’t too extreme being more about fashion than body sculpting. After everything else its actually quite a small thing.
"He say anything?” I croaked out.
"Nada, wish I could see his face when you turn up at the station tomorrow.”
"You sure this is a good idea?”
She gave me a look, "You’re not backing out now, oh no.”
"I never said I was.” I offered in my defence.
"You do that and we’re going straight home.”
That’s unlikely to end well given my current appearance, Mum’s got quite catholic tastes.
"Rory or mum, you’re choice.”
Hardly a choice.
I dragged my borrowed suitcase onto the platform feeling even more ridiculous than I have all week. Jane insisted I wear the corset over the full skirted frock she’d found in Oxfam, my make up is more intricate and my confidence as low as its been all week. I’ve ‘acquired’ various bits of jewellery, some from Janey but mostly from the charity shops so I clink and jangle as well as totter on my heels. Yup, no one’s going to mistake me for anything other than what I appear.
My tongue, itself wearing a pair of barbells, idly played with my cheek piercings, I paused to check my appearance in the glass front of the waiting room. Hair – check, make up – check, jewellery – check, I straightened my jacket and headed along to where the cause of all this was waiting.
"Rory?” I knowingly queried coming up to where my best friend was stood checking his phone.
He did a double take when he looked up and saw me, "I ah yeah.”
"Trixie, Trixiebell Heartswoon,” I offered my hand.
Then it was my turn to be surprised, instead of just shaking my black nailed fingers, he stooped to kiss my hand instead.
“Zak said you were beautiful, but not how much, er Rory Tobin, my er friends call me Ro.”
"You can call me Trix or Trixie.”
The train pulled in and we joined the queue to start our journey.
Well here goes nothing!
© Maddy Bell 26.04.17
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