I tried drawing something less dramatic on my forehead, every attempt ended up with one nice brow and the other more like a drunken Ostrich had drawn it. The straight line I can do pretty well so it looks like I'm stuck with it until my brows grow back. There was more success with the eyeliner but I actually like my, signature Janey calls it, look – so much for toning things down.
"Can’t we lose the hair?”
"Why?” Janey queried.
"It’s, it’s, oh what’s the point!”
"Look Trix, once we can get rid of the nails we’ll get Zak back in one go, hair the lot but you’ll look too much like you with black hair, think of it as part of Trixiebell.”
"Don’t have much choice really do I?”
"Its only a couple of weeks, look I have to go, mums expecting me for dinner.
Rub it in sis.
The days quickly fell onto a routine, breakfast with Magda in the hotel’s kitchen then a morning of bed stripping and making then after a ‘lunch’ break our attentions moved to the public areas, hoovering and polishing everything in sight. After work is done for the day, I've been going for lunch with my sister then pretty much kicking my heels the rest of the day, there is only so much daytime TV I can put up with. Thursday night I vowed it would be different on Friday.
"Not seen you round here before,” the voice belonged to the body which dropped into into the seat opposite, "No ones sitting here are they?”
"So where’re you from then?”
What is it with this girl?
I continued pushing chips around my plate, I'd been promising myself sausage and chips in the Wimpy all morning but now I had them – well I really didn’t fancy them.
"Know some up there, you know Kelly, shaved sides, nose ring?”
"Ut uh,” I guess I might’ve seen her but that's different to knowing.
"You eating them?”
Am I? "Help yourself,” I offered pushing the plate towards her.
"Cheers, Jose by the way, its Josephine really but every calls me Jose.”
"Cor they lumbered you good an’ proper, pass us the ketchup.”
I took the chance to actually look at my uninvited ‘guest’, a scrawny thing of the wear it black, short and ripped, bad dye job end of EMO street goth that’s many peoples experience of the whole genre. Compared to ‘Jose’, I'm haut couture in my ‘Wednesday’ dress, perfect make-up and symmetrical piercings.
"So you rich then?”
"Don’t see many of your sort round here, there’s some come down from up Walton way sometimes, so you go Tapton then? Bet you get some stick wiv all them pierces an’ stuff.”
"Used to,” I allowed, its not like there was much choice.
"You dropped out then? Me Dad’d kick me out if I dint go,” she advised twisting her hair with one hand while shovelling my chips into her maw with the other.
"Them fings in your cheeks, Trace was gonna do mine but Stace’s went manky, took ages to fix.”
Do they hurt? I guess not, at first of course but I've pretty much forgotten about them, I suppose I could take them out.
"Mine’ve been okay.”
"There was this girl at Clay Cross, her tongue went mank, they had to cut it off.”
"I need to get home.”
She angrily turned on me "Don’t like the cumpney Trixiebell?”
"No its not that, I've got stuff to do.”
That seemed to mollify her a bit.
"Er see you about?”
"Yeah, fanks for the chips.”
I tried not to hurry too much then only got as far as the church yard before taking refuge on one of the benches under the trees. I drew my feet up and pulled my knees into my fake bosom, I don’t want this, even the damned schoolkid wannabes are picking on me. The first of several tears rolled down my face.
Oh I know its partly my own fault, my greed in wanting Rory’s ‘spare’ Gothfest ticket causing me to agree to stuff I should’ve vetoed. But the tattoo was down to Jane and really thought the nails would come off easily not need power tools to remove. A breeze up the fundament reminded me of the other thing, I didn’t expect to be wearing dresses longer than the weekend.
"There you are,” Janey sighed catching me before I walked into reception, "You forget your phone?”
I retrieved my telecommunications device from my bag, "Shit, its out of charge. What’d you want?”
"We’re going out tomorrow.”
"Out? Where? I've got to work anyhow remember.”
"Only while twelve.”
"Okay till twelve, where are you going?”
"We are going to Derby.”
"And just why would I want to go to Derby?”
"You doing anything else?”
"No,” I allowed.
"So we are going shopping then who knows,” she offered ending with a shrug.
"You want me to go shopping with you?”
"Why not? you’re my sister.”
"Temporarily, have you forgotten what I look like?”
"Dur! Course not, you are my pocket Goth Princess.”
"If I come, what am I supposed to wear, I've got like a choice of two dresses, this or one that’s X rated?”
"Hmm, I'll have a think, so I'll come down in the morning then.”
"Go on then,” I sighed.
"Cool, I need to get off, hot date tonight.”
"Might be,” she allowed.
"Perhaps I should come too, remind him of the girl he dumped over a hundred miles from home.”
"Oh he’ll pay for that Trix, don’t you worry.”
"How do you fancy being a bridesmaid?”
"Just kidding sis, you’ll be maid of honour!” she chortled.
"Jay,” I moaned, "Tell me your not serious?”
"Course not, had you going though.”
Dunno about going, petrified more like.
And so, against my better judgement I found myself once again at the railway station albeit without the case and with my sister rather than her boyfriend.
"You sure this is a good idea?”
"Don’t see why not.”
"Those boots look daft with that skirt.”
Janey looked down at her footwear, "I thought they’d give me a slightly edgy look. And since when have you been a fashion expert?”
"Even Zak has eyes,” I supplied conscious that we could be overheard.
"And what pray would Zak suggest I wore?”
I shrugged, "Not those, you look like a house wife trying to be hip and happening and just look daft instead.”
Not that I'm one to talk, rockin’ the whole Goth thing, girl Goth that is, the only break from the black scheme the hair on my head.
The southbound train slid into the platform and we hustled our way to a couple of seats for the twenty minute journey to our destination.
"We should try you in something more normal Trix,” Jane suggested as we alighted from the city hopper bus.
"Something less black?”
"What’s wrong with black and I do not need more girl stuff, we can get rid of these,” I waggled my nails, "Next week and then its adiós Trixiebell, hello Zak.”
"If you say so, what’ll you do about work?”
"I can probably get the coffee bar job back, it’s less than a month, I doubt they’ll have got anyone else. What?”
"You could continue at the hotel?”
"I can see that working, one day I'm Trixie, the next I'm Zak even Chelsey would work that one out.”
"Trixie could stay,” my sister proposed.
"Jane,” I groaned, "I don’t want to be Trixiebell Heartswoon.”
"Guess we could change your name?”
"You should so get that sis,” Janey enthused some time later.
I've been dragged into pretty much every shop in Derby over the last couple of hours, we might be the same age, essentially twins as we share the same birthday, the one that’s ten days away but I've been doing the ‘hard pressed’ younger sibling bit. After much cajoling and to shut my sisters bleating up I finally agreed to try on a dress in H&M.
"I said I'd try it not buy it.”
"Oh come on Trix, you have to admit it looks cute.”
I looked in the mirror, "Okay, its cute, satisfied?”
I'll admit its a nice looking frock, a fit and flare soft jersey affair, knee length in cream with tiny pink roses adding a splash of colour.
"Sick look girlfriend!” a passing sales assistant supplied.
"See,” Jane pressed, "I've been trying to tell her,” she mentioned to the jeans and t-shirt clad girl.
"Its all the black, kills the colour receptors,” she replied in all seriousness.
Now I've got a complete stranger having a go at Trixie’s wardrobe choices.
"Hang on,” Jane had one of those light-bulb expressions.
Two minutes later we’d swapped footwear, I've got the dockers and my sister the Mary Jane’s I set out in.
"Tell her she has to have it?” Jane appealed to ‘our’ sales advisor.
"You girl, are so rockin’ it like,” she enthused.
I'll not get any peace and it’s only fifteen quid, okay fifteen quid I don’t want to spend.
"Everyone’s looking at me,” I complained as we walked back through the Eagle Centre.
"Get used to it sis,” Janey chuckled, "You’re really quite pretty when we can get you out of all that black.”
Apparently its the new dress which has changed peoples perception, earlier all I was getting was sneers and dirty looks. Yeah my ‘drab’ top and skirt are now in a carrier bag after I was pretty much forced to wear the new frock out of the store.
"I don’t want to be pretty, or looked at,” I grumbled.
"Well I quite like having a pretty sister.”
I stuck my doubly pierced tongue out at her.
“Very adult sis.”
"So what’re we doing now?”
"Janey!” an all too familiar face called out from Patisserie Valerie.
"Shit.” I allowed.
"Just follow my lead Trix,” Jane instructed before returning the greeting, "Mum!”
I tried to hang back as Janey led the way to where our mother was sat at one of the outside tables of the tea shop.
"I thought you weren’t coming,” Mum opined.
"We’re only five minutes late, we got held up in H&M,” Jane advised.
This is just mortifying and I've been set up good and proper.
"Well introduce us then Jane,” Mum suggested.
"Er sorry, Trix, this is my Mum, Carol, Mum this is Trixie, the girl I told you about.”
"Er hi,” I allowed quietly.
"Nice to meet you Trixie, no need to be shy, come sit down, I've already ordered.”
Every breath I expected mum to recognise me, my sibling was no help, smirking at me as she told mum about our shopping trip. Tea and cakes arrived and I used my cup to hide behind as they talked.
"Janey tells me you’ve just started work at the hotel,” mum addressed to me.
"Er yes, this week,” I almost whispered.
"How are you liking it?”
"Its okay I guess.” God I hope she doesn’t recognise my voice.
"My son and his friends are into all the Gothic stuff, do you know him at all, Zachary Askwith?”
"Mum,” Jane chastened, "She’s not from Chessy.”
"Oh you said luv. Sorry Trixie, he’s away at the moment, Janey thinks her brothers got a girlfriend, probably some beer swilling slapper with more holes in her than is natural.”
"Mum,” Jane hissed.
"Oh sorry Trixie, I didn’t mean you.”
"Its okay mu-Mrs Askwith, its a bit Marmite, my mum hates piercing and tattoos too.”
"You have tattoos?”
"It’s really pretty mum," Janey put in, "Show her Trix.”
I put down my cup and presented my wrist for inspection.
"Well its not my thing but it is very nice dear, oh I do like your nails, Janey’s terrible with hers, always chewing at them.”
"Mu-um,” my sister complained.
I spotted a chance for some revenge, "I used to before I got these, can’t chew them.”
"Maybe you should have yours done Janey?”
"Work expects you to look neat and tidy, your chewed fingers are not very professional are they.”
"No mum,” Janey sighed.
In truth my sister has always chewed her nails, she does paint them but the urge to nibble is deep seated so they often look battered and bitten to the quick.
"So you two got more shopping to do?” Mum enquired.
"Not really,” Jane supplied.
"Well I just want to get some knickers in M&S, you want to go back to the car, its on B4?” Mum suggested passing my sister her car keys.”
"Okay, see you in a bit.”
"You set me up,” I accused my sister as we waited for the lift to the car park.
"It was Mum,”
"What do you mean, she knows? You told her?”
"Course I didn’t tell her.”
"So how come she just happens to be at the Patisserie and expecting us.”
"Er well she knew we were coming down, she um rang when you were in the changing room earlier.”
We got into the empty lift.
"And you sort of forgot to mention that?”
"Well she wanted to meet you and we get a lift home.”
"So she knows her son is currently a pierced and tattooed girl?”
"I haven’t told her bro.”
"How could she not know? I was sat right there.”
By now we were at mums old Nissan Micra.
"I hate to break this to you Trix, I'm your sister and I when I look at you all I see is a pink haired teenage girl, hell, you don’t even sound like Zak. Lets face it, you were never exactly Conan to start and now...” she trailed off.
"My own mother doesn’t recognise me,” I sighed before clambering into the car. "And what do you mean teenage girl? I'm the same age as you, we’re both twenty four next week.”
"Mum thinks you, that’s Trixie you is eighteen.”
"And where’d she get that idea?”
"I did sort of hint that when I told her about you starting at the hotel, throw her off the trail a bit.”
"What did you do that for?”
"Duh, we do talk remember, I just said we had a new chambermaid, she asked about you.”
"Which is why she wasn’t too surprised how I look?”
"In one Einstein.”
"What are you girls talking about?” Mum asked as she opened the car door.
"This and that, Trix is getting her clit pierced.”
"You know Mum, down...”
"Oh my, what is the world coming to!”
I don’t work Sunday so I took the opportunity for a lie in, not as long as I'd like as Mum seems to have taken a shine to Trixie so we’re going to The Elm Tree Inn at Heath for Sunday lunch. Usually such an excursion would include Rory as my sisters SO but thankfully he’s currently persona non gratis, well that's what Jane said yesterday anyhow. A suspicious mind might link the new dress to a pre arranged turn of events.
"Have a nice time Trixie,” Kamil, the Polish lad who mans reception weekend days, offered when a toot outside signalled the arrival of the rest of my family.
"I'll try Kamil, see you later.”
I readjusted my spiderweb cardigan and tried not to clomp out to the car.
Jane gave me a weird look, you changed something Trix?”
"My er metalwork,” I agreed.
I've been wearing the black stuff in my holes all week, to be honest I haven’t really thought about just changing it – removing full stop yeah but not just altering my ‘look’. A return to the original jewellery took a few minutes but its much less ‘in your face’ so to speak.
Mum gave me a quick glance, "Much prettier, why pretty girls want to punch holes in themselves I do not know.”
The meal at The Elm was weirdness itself, Mum and Janey jabbering away like usual in a series of conversations that Zak would’ve been active in but as Trixiebell Heartswoon I didn’t have context. I nearly outed myself a couple of times so I ended up sipping my Swedish cider and just observing the other patrons in the garden and listening to mum and sis chatting.
"I guess,” I allowed as I touched up my lipstick alongside my sister in the ladies.
"You okay for this afternoon? we’re going to Gran’s so we’ll drop you off on the way.”
"Give her my love.”
"Yeah, will do,” she looked in the mirror at me, "You remember that time when we were like nine.”
"When you insisted we were both princesses and dad caught us parading around in mums lacy nightdresses and heels, nope, don’t remember it at all.”
She play slapped my shoulder, "You! Good call on the cardi by the way, wish I'd thought to bring one.”
"Must be the girl germs I've caught,” I joked.
Sunday afternoon – pre Trixie this was Warhammer™ time, me and Rory, the other regulars at Games Workshop in the back room. Yeah a regular macho fest, occasionally a new girlfriend would come, sit in a corner for a couple of hours then disappear never to be seen again. We were game jockeys to the nth degree, we got through to the regionals a couple of years ago but competing isn’t really our thing, its the playing.
Today however I'm sat on my bed in my borrowed PJ’s watching Countryfile and munching on a bag of McCoys from the vending machine in reception. Oh I considered Kamil’s offer of going for a drink when he came off shift but I'm not in a drinking mood. I even considered going to the gaming session but that’d be just too weird and too likely to end in being outed – you can’t fool nerds for long.
No, for this week I can put up with Sunday night TV, next week Zak‘ll be back!
I peered into the mirror, nada, not one single hair, you’d’ve thought that after almost three weeks there’d be something on my brows. But no, the nearest thing to eyebrows I've got on my face are the two lines I drew this morning. Each day I've looked, each day of my third week of being Trixie the chambermaid I’ve been disappointed.
"I thought you said they’d grow back?” I accused my sister.
"Gemma Smith’s grew back in a couple of weeks,” Jane stated.
"I can’t be me with these on my face.”
"We get some of those brow stencils, "Don’t be such a worrier sis.”
"That’s easy for you to say.”
"Well come on, we’re supposed to be at the nail place in like fifteen minutes.”
Nails – yeah, get rid of the talons and Zac is back – no more daily face painting, I can lose the pink hair, the skirts.
"Sorry luv, if I managed to get them off your real nails will be wrecked, these are pretty much welded to your real nails.”
"So they’ve got to grow more?” I queried trying not to get girly weepy.
"At least half the nail length luv, or we’ll damage the nail bed.”
"Isn’t there anything you can do?”
"I can re-lacquer them,” she offered.
"Hey, come on sis,” Janey pulled me closer as we both sat on my bed.
My sister gained a new set of practical nails at the nail bar and instead of losing mine they’ve just changed from black to a dark red that matches my signature lipstick colour.
"It could be months before these things grow out,” I pretty much wailed.
"Its not all bad,” Janey started, "You’ve got a job and somewhere to stay.2
"I had that before,” I pointed out.
"Well I've always wanted a sister.”
"Not sure I quite qualify.”
she shrugged, "Works for me, you’re certainly a duck.”
"Cheers!” I huffed.
"You know what I mean, you look like a girl, you sound like a girl, you even act like one, ergo you must be one.”
"That really makes me feel better,” I noted with just a hint of sarcasm.
"Come on Trix, its not that bad, girls have fun too you know.”
"Its all right for you, you don’t have pink hair and more piercings than – well a lot.”
"You sure you don’t want me to bring your computer down, I can borrow the car in the morning.”
It was tempting, I've been using the public terminal in reception to keep up with my email and stuff but some of the sites I visit are not things you look at in public. But moving my computer here, well that's a bit too permanent.”
"That’s Zak’s, and anyhow Mum’d get suspicious if my stuff started disappearing.”
"Well just say if you change you’re mind.”
I laid on the bed literally contemplating my navel, well more precisely the barbell currently decorating the piercing. Well that and the constant weight on my chest, its not that I'd forgotten about ‘my’ appendages just that I've become used to their presence. When we started all this it was a lark, a bit of fun, fooling Rory, getting to Gothfest, it would all be over in a few days but now…
Then I found myself checking out the main reason for Trixie’s continued presence, my nails, the now blood red scratchers mocking me whilst making my hands look even more feminine than than pre Whitby. it was tempting to blame Amanda for my predicament, the extensions were her idea after all but that wouldn’t be just, I was a willing accomplice albeit a naive one. No, the more I think about it the more its clear that whilst Janey perhaps overstepped the mark with the piercings and tattoo this whole mess is my fault.
Man up Trix, geez I'm even thinking of myself as Trixie now. I found my phone and hit the speed dial for my sister.
"Someone sounds happy today,” Chelsey mentioned as I pushed the hoover around reception, "I thought you lot were always miserable.”
"Its a nice day,” I allowed with a shrug.
"Smiling suits you Trix, you should do more of it.”
I shrugged, "Maybe I will.”
In truth it was less happiness and more acceptance, acceptance that Trixiebell Heartswoon will need to be about for a bit longer, moping about it really will make me a depressed EMO.
"Ooo,” I allowed as Jane carefully pulled the second silicon enhancement from my chest.
"Wish I could take mine off sometimes.”
"You don’t mean that.”
"Says someone who’s had tits for like three weeks, its not all fun you know.”
"Never said it was but it feels good to not have them dragging at my chest even if its only for a few hours.”
This afternoons instant mastectomy is the result of my internet session after my navel gazing last night. I decided to embrace the situation, let Trixie have more life than an outing to the Wimpy bar. I’m not sure how my searches got there but a site selling prosthetics popped up and I noticed some care instructions – essentially suggesting removal ever few weeks for cleaning and to let the skin ‘recover’.
Janey’s working this weekend so no sisterly shopping trips or family dinners this week, instead the revitalised Trixie needed to attend to some maintenance. Apart from the breast forms there was personal laundry to do and on Sunday a solo shopping trip – well my limited lingerie has been taking a bashing and whilst the wages aren’t great my expenditure isn’t either. And so I set off to shop for some essentials.
Oh I know I've been dragged around the shops by mum and Janey from time to time, even just last week but its a different matter when you’re on your own. Tights of course are easy to buy, even Zak could manage that but pants and er titty holders, well you need sizes for a start and then there’s colours and styles – I had to use the ladies to check labels in what I was wearing. I intended to just go for basic stuff but of course I was quickly seduced by the acres of undies available.
The rest of my wardrobe is a bit limited too so without any sort of plan I wandered the stores for a couple more hours adding to my haul. It might be a bit of a cliché but I found myself sat in the Wimpy again, this time I cleared my grill and treated myself to a banana longboat. I smiled to myself, I could get used to this, it was interesting squeezing the banana between my tongue studs, fun even.
"If it aint Trixiebell,” Jose stated catching me unawares as I juggled bags outside the Wimpy.
"Er hi Jose.”
"This that Calow girl I was telling you about Kell,” rent a gob went on.
Her companion was, I'm guessing, the Kelly she mentioned last time we crossed paths. She looked a timid thing, behind the heavy make-up she’s probably quite pretty, she didn’t look particularly comfortable as she held onto Josie's arm. There’s something going on there, not sure what but clearly Jose is the boss of things.
"Told you she had them cheek fings.”
"Er hi Kell,” I offered.
For her part Kelly just gave a pert little nod.
"Aint seen you about.” Jose pressed.
"You got a job?”
"Yeah,” I allowed.
"Bit of a sell out Trix.”
“Food costs money,” I shrugged.
Kelly tugged at her friends arm.
"Gotta go posh!” and they took off at a run.
"You want to go eat when I finish?” Jane asked when I got back ‘home’.
"Erm could do, its not with mum is it?”
"She’s gone to Aunt Mary’s, just the two of us.”
"Was thinking Leonie’s.”
I gave a shrug, “fine, see you in a bit.”
"Trix?” Janey queried.
"I'll just get my bag.”
To be honest I felt a bit exposed, that’s not right, underdressed id more accurate I suppose. For three weeks I've been in various layers of skirts and tops or otherwise in pretty demure dresses, even that frock in Whitby wasn’t really too risqué but here I am stood in pretty basic jeans and T feeling a bit uncomfortable. Well I guess they are girls straight leg jeans, the T-shirt is actually a girly cotton cropped affair revealing my midriff and a pair of moccasin style shoes complete the outfit.
Its not just my clothing that’s changed, I finally managed to draw a pair of more natural looking if still thin brows and instead of the cupids bow lips, a lighter shade and shape has really changed my appearance. The unruly pinkness has found its way into a sort of bun affair and a pair of tiny gold hoops and childish flower studs adorn my ears. I even found some ‘body’ jewellery in that Claire’s place so my other facial decorations are wearing tiny sparkles, pretty but less in your face if you’ll excuse the pun. And my exposed navel has a new matching dangly.
"So what brought this on?” Janey asked once we were seated, she’d been looking at me strangely all the way across to the retail park.
"You know damn well what Trixie, this, this almost anti Goth look, not that I don’t approve.”
"Dark and moody isn’t very practical for changing bed linen, thought I should get more appropriate stuff.”
"Those jeans don’t look much of an improvement,” my sister opined.
"They are a bit, er tight in places, I bought some cheapo leggings and T shirts for work, these are for going out.”
"I think we’ve given birth to a monster,” she chuckled, "You really are an Askwith woman!”
"Necessity,” I offered, "If I'm gonna be stuck like this for a bit I might as well make the most of it.”
My tattooed wrist caught my eye, looks like I'll have my girly decorations for some time yet, I spent nearly two hundred pounds today! But I can’t remain a Gothic nun, I need to have some sort of life until Zac can reappear – whenever that is.
© Maddy Bell 02.05.17
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