Amazing, Grace

Amazing, Grace.

To use a Bible quote – It’s a Pauline Conversion


It was the first time – there’s a first time for everything.

I had taken my time getting ready. The hot shower so that I could shave closer than usual. The slow almost sensual feel of the blade slicing across my mostly hairless soft skin – so nice.

Patting myself dry with soft, absorbent towels, then the powder puff adding a thin cover of scent.

Each piece of my outfit carefully chosen before I had had my shower.

The stockings, smooth, silky and sheer pulling excitedly on the suspenders. The erotic feel of each stocking clip against my thighs. The brush of one thigh against the other, of one calf against the other, of foot against foot. The heat being generated at the top of my thighs, at the groin where.... The feeling of the draught sweeping up between my thighs in a way you just don't get with, blecch, trousers. So much nicer.

The enormous satisfaction as I leant forward to flump my little breasts into the sweet satin nests. The feel of the bra as it cushioned my breasts so that they swung gently as I walked to and fro. The bra straps pulling at my shoulders, across my back and round my ribs. I felt secure, encased, surrounded with prettiness. The feel of the weight of the breasts as they pulled at my skin was …. joyful.

The matching panties. The pretty lace appliqued to the shiny nylon, clinging gorgeously to my smoothed skin. I smiled as I ran my hands down my sides and enjoyed the slide of fingers across the taut, sleek material. Enjoyable.

The calf-length cotton summer dress, lined to give that extra shimmer to the feel. Thin cotton with lace hem and trimming, asymmetric and high split to give a glimpse higher up my legs. Flowery with tulips and lilies; bright colours against a white background. The gorgeous swirl and flick as the weighted hem rolled around the tops of my calves. Delicious.

The three inch heels; the maximum that I felt comfortable with. Pretty sandals with the cute ankle straps and the sparkly motif at the front. The toenails, shining dark pink. Enticing.

My tanned cleavage contrasted with the softness of the dress which had a v-neckline which both concealed and revealed. Pleasurable.

Earrings, five thin gold chains hanging from a zircon stud, a high-neck necklace in a similar style, bracelets – one on the right and five on the left. Stylish.

Makeup - practised so often into the triple mirror on my vanity. With the computer tuned to ever so many Youtube sites so that I could learn my shades and colours and all the techniques to make my face look .... right.

And I had been careful with my makeup – so, despite it being an evening outing, I had gone with the less is better’ routine. My brown eyes had been done with the recommended shade of green and grey – and so on. All the girls know how to do it. You can find it all on the web.

Each element calculated to give me complete confidence that I was looking good. I want to feel ravishing, exciting, attractive – however impossible that might be - but I desperately needed to avoid any risk. I wasn’t going to be out on the town, drinking too much, drinking what other people bought for me sight unseen. No sir, no sirree.

I felt wonderful, confident and pretty. 5 foot 5 plus 3 inch heels; soft brown hair curled into a long bob, almost a pageboy, fluffing and swirling at my neck. I felt good. I felt as pretty as I could be.

I walked the couple of hundred yards down the well lit high street to my chosen winebar. I adored the click clack as my shoes carried me away from safety in my alone home.

In the bar I ordered a Strawberry Prosecco. The first sip was Friday night wonderful. After the second, I put the glass on the bar counter and admired the lipstick mark on its edge. I looked around.

I’d been to this bar a few times, so I knew where to sit to feel comfortable and in control. Inconveniently, my favoured corner was taken so I sat just a few feet away. The couple behind me were obviously on their end-of-work ready-to-go-home routine. I could hear the murmurs of ‘Got to go’ from one, and the other ’half an hour to my train, I’ll sit for a while’.

I sat there, relaxed and keeping an eye out for what might happen. I had no expectations, I had only been in the area for six months, I had no nearby friends and definitely no relatives and I was some distance from work as regards colleagues.

My job was in a print and copy shop. Much of my time was backstage working on orders from customers who couldn’t quite get their ideas right on paper. It was very satisfying giving them something that bit slicker and more professional than they had drafted. I had expanded most jobs so that now I expected to deliver web-sites and other extras wherever possible; and this was a useful contribution to better money.

I jerked round as second man from behind touched my shoulder so that he could lean past to put the dirty glasses on the counter. I sort of appreciated his thoughtfulness but I didn’t like the surprise.

“Hey, careful, Jim,” I said, the shock of seeing someone from work at a time and place like that made me lose all control.

“Do I know you?”

“Er, no, just that you look like someone I know called Jim, sorry.” I turned back away from him.

“Nnn no, that won’t do. My name is Jim and YOU look a bit like someone I know too.”

Shit.

He came round beside me.

“You DO remind me of someone. Let’s think.”

Double mega maxi multi shit.

“Paul… ine, you look lovely. I’d never have guessed. Can I sit here a moment.”

So far deeper and deadlier and yukkier and ….. oh, shit.

I was beginning to panic. And not just your ordinary everyday panic. Hyper-ventilating, racing pulse, instant headache, feeling faint.

There was a hand on my forearm. Gentle, persuasive. “Slow down, slooooow down, sloooooooooow down, take a deep breath, steady and deeeeeeep breath, and relax.”

I did as suggested and really felt myself calm and recover. I raised my eyes to look him in the face. His eyes were steady, slightly worried as he focussed on me. His hand was firm on my forearm. Not forceful or tight, just firm.

“Now, take it steady, you’re safe here. Nobody is doing anything silly. You’re safe.”

“B b b b but.”

“Hush. I said ‘safe’. Nothing to worry about. Nobody being silly. Safe.”

There was a pause. Neither of us said anything for half a minute or more.

“You’re very pretty, actually. Not beautiful fortunately – otherwise I’d be too shy to talk to you. But what my dad would call ‘easy on the eye’. You look really good, lovely dress too.”

No way was this the tongue-tied lad from the office. At work, Jim was matter of fact, concerned only with the checking and proofing prior to the customer’s final approval.

And what was he doing in this bar anyway. What was he doing anywhere near here. I had to ask. My brain couldn’t actually manage a coherent sentence. “Here, how, why?”

“My cousin lives round here. I’ve been helping him with a project – it’s why I take Friday afternoons off. And he’s got to go home and I’m left here in a bar I’ve never been to with a girl I’ve never properly met. So, how do you do, my name’s Jim Armitage and I only know you as Pauline, yes.”

“Some people, like you, might see me more as a Paul…ine, but I prefer Grace of an evening. Grace Donaldson.”

“I’m really pleased to meet you, Grace. Have you perhaps a little while for us to talk together.”

“Now?”

“Why not?”

“I thought I heard you say you had a train to catch.”

“Only insofar as I wasn’t going to sit on my tod like a low-down Friday-night nowhere-to-go bloke. Now I’ve got a pretty girl to talk to. I can stay as long as you wish.”

This was not what I had planned.

“Pretty?” I knew I was looking at the counter but I was also trying to look to see his expression. Now that I think about it, it was the Princess Diana ‘oh little me’ peep (ugh, how girly).

“Yes, Grace. You are pretty. You look, I’m not sure of the right word, attractive, adorable, nice, sweet, gorgeous and just the sort of girl I’d talk to if I had the confidence.”

“Ha, sounds like the words are flowing pretty smooth and easy.”

“Only because you’ve, I dunno, you are just so different from any girl I’ve met before. It’s such an unusual situation. In a bar I’ve never been to in a part of town I’ve never been to I meet someone who I already know slightly at work and I’m already talking with her before I’ve got myself ready or wound myself up to do it wrong as usual.”

“You sound quite fluent to me.”

“You’ve never met me when it’s all going wrong. I’m a total embarrassment. It’s uugh horrid.”|

“Well, let’s then begin at a beginning. Hello, Jim, my name’s Grace. I’m glad we’re talking like this because, as you say, we seem to have got past the first uh uh uh grunt stage of a first blind date. I really don’t know much about you – but as for me, I’m 5 foot 5 inches, about 8 stone, because I’m none of this metric stuff. Brown eyes, brown hair and I work at a printshop near the City. Unlike what some put out on the websites and social media – everything I’ve said is true. ”

“Well, I can say much the same. My name’s Maximilian, I’m 5 foot 9 and I’ve recently had a trial for England Rugby at scrum-half. I work part-time at a German bank in the City – Under-Uber-Alles-Gotteblastit after finishing my PhD in Exotic Aquology. I had an enormous bonus last year and you have no idea what a wonderful gentleman I can be. Hear me roar, feel my engine.”

“Oh, Maxxie, I would never have guessed. And your friend Jim, who I was about to talk to – what’s his story?”

“That felt extraordinary – coming out with all that guff. I promise it wasn’t rehearsed. By golly, it felt slick. Thank god I’m actually not that sort of guy. Yuck.”

“Now, my friend Jim. He’s 23, lives in Epping in a three bedroom house inherited from his only aunt. She died a few years back, never having married after her fiancée died the second day after D-Day. Sad really, but she was like so many others. I never went to university but worked at everything from market stalls to waitering to shop assistant while I got various minor but useful qualifications to improve my CV. I’ve been at CityPrint for 3 years now, so I came about a year before you.”

He put on a silly voice “I enjoy walking, playing with my doggy and I hope for world peace.”

He smirked “The last bit might not be true.”

“That’s got some of the basic bits out of the way. Do we move on to the carefully rehearsed questions and televisual jokes like wot they do on the box.”

“Let’s not bother. Let’s try a biggy. Why do you hide behind that boring Paul mask when you look so good.”

“Jim, I’m scared. I’m terrified. I’d be in a whimpering heap on the floor if I wasn’t leaning on this bar and you weren’t, more or less, holding me up.”

“What.”

“Jim, this is the first time I’ve ever been out in public. I’m so scared that you wouldn’t believe it.”

“But what are you scared of. You look so good.”

“What you see on the outside has NOTHING to do with what’s on the inside. I guess you’ve never been the target for hate and nastiness and bullying and all the rest of it.”

“Oh. Ahm, Yesss. True. I’ve slid carefully down the middle of the road, I guess. But then clearly, you have suffered already.”

“I’ve not had it as bad as some – but even a bit of abuse stabs deep in the heart and soul.”

“Tell me. You’re safe here, with me. Tell me – that is, if you want to.”

“It’s the casual viciousness. Talking in class about a kid that’s ‘a bit different’. The haters will dig and push and stab and hurt either physically or emotionally or mostly socially until their target begins to die on the inside. And you can either defend the target – and suffer by inclusion, or you can join in and hurt someone who has a difference just like you do and you don’t want Them to attack you or you can be a nonentity ghosting along safe but complicit.”

“And what did you do?”

“At times I did them all. Obviously not at the same time, but when it happens you have to do your best not to be a target. If you know that you are already ‘Different’ – capital D in quotes – then you really really don’t want to be a target. I’ve been aware of my personal, er, preference and I’ve seen how ‘They’ – you can hear the quotes – how They deal with those who have the wrong sort of difference.”

“For all that the law says Gay Lesbian and Bisexual people have varying sorts of equalities, just watch the expressions and reactions when these allegedly nice people hear a famous man say something like, “Oh dear, I’ve got to get home to my husband’ or equally when a woman says ‘I have been so happy since I married my wife’. It’s not very pretty. In their own versions of the real world – they can and often do ignore niceties like legal requirements to love people who are not like them.”

“Have you any notion of the suicide statistics – and yes I’m well aware that you can prove almost anything with statistics – but apparently about 4% of the population at some time in their life attempt suicide; if you are LGB then the rate goes up to about 15% and if you are transgender then this rises to some 40%. Different groups and surveys phrased differently have different but broadly similar outcomes. One ugly commentary is that those who are homeless, sexually abused, recently disabled or unemployed have even higher rates of suicide attempt. Being young, poor, non-white is also bad news. All these factors will contribute to mental health and self-worth. [Williams Institute 2013]”

“The only major saving grace is that those who do retain support from family, friends and work cope immensely better. And interestingly, mere cross-dressers as opposed to the full-scale transgender folk are considerably less at risk.”

“Are you ‘just’ a cross-dresser, then.”

“You do put quite some emphasis on that word ‘just’.”

“Well, to be blunt I’ve never met a cross-dresser or any of the other boy-girl, er, types.”

“I’d suggest that you mean you’ve never noticed anybody in those categories. Do you need some guidance about the meaning of some of my phrases?”

“That, I’m not sure about. But I’m going to keep talking with you because you are the prettiest girl I’ve been with in ages. And I like you.”

“Perhaps now is not exactly the right time to press you on this. At least you haven’t run away. And you haven’t punched me, spat at me, screamed at me or told me to fuck off and die.”

“Is that the normal reaction?”

“Personally speaking, I don’t know. Until tonight, I’d never dared do more than dress up and once or twice when it was very quiet, walk to the corner of my street and back again.”

“It’s that scary being who you are?”

“Yes. That’s what we have learnt to expect. Part of it is being such a wicked vile ugly threat to real people. Personally, I would comment on several parts of that statement. We’re no threat. We’re not vile or evil or wrong or any of those words. We might threaten those who have a tenuous grasp on their own gender and sexuality – but get real, how is a boy wearing a dress an actual threat to anyone? But we wouldn’t get such a vehement, vicious and nasty reaction unless there was and is real fear.”

“And almost everybody brings sex into it. Apparently, we’re no more likely than the general population to be gay, lesbian or bisexual. That’s about 3% I’d guess although I’ve seen figures varying from 10% to 1% depending on who’s running the survey and what results they want to see and how they ask the question. If you ask ‘have you ever in your life had a homosexual experience’ then you’ll get a different answer than ‘is your current status primarily homosexual’.”

“Personally, I think that a big part of our ‘threat’ is that we are in public view. I looked at some porn sites one time – and the range and variety of the frankly often weird and ugly fetishes and perversions available on the web is startling. I nearly said fuckin’ disgusting but then that’s my personal opinion of some of them. And the huge percentage of these activities take place behind closed doors, in private and for the individual’s or couples’ or groups’ particular pleasure.”

“On the other hand, we are the only group of people who eventually have to be out in public. Except for those who are staggeringly exhibitionist or whatever – they do not display their unusualness in public. Which makes them pretty safe. We don’t get the out-of-sight out-of-mind option.”

“I didn’t have a clue. Is that why you reacted so strongly?”

“Yeah, Jim, because doing this is scary horrid. To be coarse, I’m amazed I didn’t piss myself I was so frightened.”

“Er, …………. Oh. …. But you’re feeling okay now.”

“Your chat-up line to a frightened girly-boy was absolutely terrific. Being told I was ‘safe’ worked really well. Thanks so much.” And to emphasise my gratitude, I patted his arm.

I wondered if that was wrong because he instantly caught my hand and held it, held it onto his arm. I could feel the warmth of him, almost feel his pulse thundering against my fingertips. I wondered for a moment whether to snatch my hand away. Then the moment passed and it was too late to escape without making a scene. In my stumbling brain, this was too good to be true but it was so nice too.

And I still felt safe. Gosh, it was a wonderful feeling.

“Not being more than averagely nosy, please tell me you don’t fit any of those ‘going to commit suicide’ boxes.”

“Not especially, and fortunately it’s not ‘going to’ but ‘in their life have come really close. Well, I’m young, but I have no recollection of actual sexual abuse. I reckon I got more than my share of bullying but that’s not incredibly rare. But once I got out of school, there wasn’t too much at college and I’m glad to say I don’t see any at work. My family is almost non-existent. My mum died a while ago and Dad is now living in Portugal as an OAP surviving on his various pensions – lucky man. I’ve got a couple of aunts and uncles so several cousins – but we’re not close either geographically or family-wise. Just me, really and the friends I’ve picked up on the way who haven’t drifted off.”

“So you have some good friends?”

“Yes, but before you ask, I’m confident that none of them know anything about Grace.”

“I do now – so can I count as a friend.”

“Not until tonight – and don’t count your chickens before they’re casseroled.”

“Do you want to go out and eat or do they do decent snacks here?”

“Coo, that was a quick change of tack.”

“You’re the one who mentioned chickens? Indian, Chinese or, please not Kenfucky.”

“Why not have a look at the menu you’re leaning on.”

“Brains as well as beauty!”

“Please, Jim. Don’t be silly. It’s going to spoil the whole pretence.”

“Grace. I’m really not pretending. You are pretty, you’re quick-witted which is something I always hope for in a girl. You’re friendly which gets you into the girl hyphen friend category. As far as I’m concerned it’s all good.”

“But I know I’m not ‘beautiful’ so don’t say such a stupid thing. I know what I am.”

“Now stop right there. You are not a ‘what’. You are real. I am seeing a real person in front of me. I see Grace and she looks very, let’s say, satisfactory then. Very easy on the eye as I said. And compared to the in-the-corner don’t-make-waves Paul who I know from work, there’s absolutely no comparison. If I met the two of you, impossible though that might be, then I’d say that Grace is the more real person. Which I guess is exactly the truth. And for a bit more truth, I’ll agree - because I think you want to hear it and I’ve said it once already – you’re not beautiful …. but you are very attractive, very interesting, very pleasing to my eye. I want to know you better. I think I kind of like this Grace I’ve just met.

“But I have to …”

“Have to what? Hide away by pretending to be Paul at work. I’m going to have a helluva time not noticing Grace when I go to work. You are so much more alive. I never really noticed Paul. But you – there’s no choice. I have noticed you. I’m going to keep noticing you and it’s going to be a real shame when you’re at work disguised as Paul.”

“But underneath ..”

“Don’t look underneath. Look inside. That’s more or less what you’ve told me. Inside. Inside, you’re a girl. So, be the best girl you can be. I’ll keep you safe if you’ll let me.”

“But …”

“But what? You look like a girl. You smell like a girl, mmmmm yes. You talk like a girl as far as I’m concerned. You dress like a girl. You’re prettier than many girls. You think you’ve always been a bit girly. How many more things do you need to say ‘I’m a Girl’ before YOU believe it. As far as I'm concerned you're a girl. You're not a pretend girl or a boy who thinks he's a girl. Everything about you tells me you're a more real girl than you ever have been as a boy. What's it going to take to prove it to you. YOU ... ARE ... A ... GIRL - believe it. And you're SAFE."

Safe. Well, well, well. Goodness gracious me. Or rather Grace IS me. And Grace is feeling that Safe might be real. Oh, please.



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