Hard Pills to Swallow!

Hard Pills To Swallow –

I hear that confession is good for the soul. All my life I have heard that. Frankly, until feeling forced to make my own confession, I was of the mind that most confessions were where one is declaring one is an idiot or has been an idiot all along with no hope of change. So why it was good to state that one is a utter failure was beyond me. I mean, think about it. I turn on the television and some cop show has this idiot saying he did it. Then they haul the dude off to jail for years and call the case closed. I told myself that I would never, never, ever be so stupid as that. Yet, I was.

Afer a thorough session of self-abusive talk sitting in front of the mirror in my bathroom, I humbly descended the old wooden stairs in our bachelor's pad called home and entered my Dad’s office, sat down, and told him the truth about my awful smoking habit. I fully expected to be grounded and chained up for life just like those police programs. I felt so dumb and didn’t see what I was doing as smart or wise until my Dad taught me how really smart it was to confess my problems before they became too tough to handle in life.

When at first, I began my moronic and filthy habit, smoking was, well, seemingly a cool way to be accepted among my fellow students. My impression was that it was seen as edgy and just a little rebellious by them. I believed it made me look smart too. In my self-deceptive pride, I planned to do just enough smoking to look cool and yet not get hooked. I was sure I knew more than adults in this too. However, by the end of 9th grade and near the start of summer vacation, I knew I was hooked and I had done something beyond dumb. I needed to quit before it got worse. After swallowing my grody tasting pride, I confessed to my Dad the truth of my stinking habit and arogant pride. He just sat there silently and listened. I said the only thing I could say. I watched him lean back in his chair deep in thought as I ended my confession with my plea to the court, “I am sorry, Dad. I shouldn’t have started at all. I was being a dumb kid who wanted to look cool thinking I would never get hooked.” I hung my head low. He didn’t yell at me. I didn’t deserve this wonderful Dad who loves me so deeply.

My dad let out a heavy sign and just shook his head with only a tear in eye. Then, to my surprise, when I expected a volcano to blow, he came over to the couch I was sitting on and put his arm around me and laughed, but not in a judgmental way. He didn’t tell me I told you so. He just treated me with kindness I really didn't merit. His warm and kind words hit harder than any hard bare bottomed spanking ever could -- not that he ever had given me a spanking.

“Thank you for coming to me and telling me. I love you son. That will never change. Okay, Steve. I will help you as best I can. I have done dumb things too trying to look cool in school. Every kid does. When we have some time, I will tell you all the dumb things I did." At that, my eyes lifted and I looked into his windows of the soul and saw hope for me and for us. He continued graciously, "So, why should you be any different? But I already suspected you could have a bad habit. I noticed recently that your clothes smelled of cigarette smoke when I did some of your laundry.”

I knew Life wasn’t easy for my Dad raising me. My Dad had taken care of me since I was a baby. My mother died shortly she gave birth to me from complications. She only had the chance to hold me for a few hours before she was gone. I was an oops baby and she was forty-two when I was born. My older brother and sister, who were teenagers back then, helped Dad take care of me until I was a toddler. As each one moved out, one by one, I became his whole world.

Dad didn’t date and said he wouldn’t until I was sixteen, maybe even eighteen. He tried playing one on one basketball with me until I rebelled. Sometime, we would play catch in the back yard after work. He believed that he owed the love of his life his dedication to honor her sacrifice in giving birth to me by being a full time dad with no conflicts or distractions. To his credit, I never felt guilty for her death either. Rather, I sensed his love of me brought her back to life for him in some tangible way. I was a celebration of her continued life.

After consulting a good friend, Dad arranged for me to be put on nicotine patches prescribed by a doctor over a twelve month period and lots of vitamins. They were big pills. We bought them at the GNC down the street. They were 'chelated,' which meant they were supposed to be absorbed by my body more easily.

It wasn’t all I would change. I also had to drop my friends who got me hooked so I didn’t fall off the wagon. As much as I hated to admit it, Dad was right about that. They were a bad influence on me. So, in the matter of a week, I had three hard pills to swallow. Give up smoking which meant throwing away all my cigarettes and gum. Take big vitamin pills that were hard to swallow. And lose my bad ass friends whom I enjoyed hanging out with. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. The reward was a hug from my Dad and seeing him be proud of me again.

While I was cleaning my room the next day, Dad knocked on my door and said, “Steve.”

“Yes Dad.” He came in and patted me on the back.

“Have I told you lately that I love you?” I felt so good when he said that to me still after all I had done wrong.

I smiled and relaxed. “Yes, Dad. You have. You always do. I love you too.”

“And your mom loved you! I am certain she would be happy that you told me what was wrong and would be proud of you for facing the music.” he said. He never forgot to remind me of how much my mother loved me. But, there was certain resignation in his voice knowing that I only had one parent and he had to do his best to get it right because she couldn’t help him anymore with a different viewpoint.

My Dad didn’t stop there either. I could tell he put himself in my shoes and asked what he would want. He said he understood that I was a lonely, forgotten teenager and he would help me by finding me a new core of supportive teenage friends so I wouldn’t be so alone in my struggle. They turned out to be Eric, Carlton, Susan, and Meredith. They were all coming off smoking too to one degree or another. So, we would be a fellowship of supportive and understanding friends. Meredith and Carlton had already come off a similar twelve month step program and were cigarette free. Eric was about five months into the program. And I was the newbie of the group. Their parents were friends of my parents or friends of their friends. So, everyone had been vetted by my Dad.

My ‘break the addiction’ program started quickly when Meredith came over after my visit to the doctor, inspected my patches, which she would do once a week afterwards to make sure I was dosing myself correctly, and discuss any changes that might help me. She taught me how to put on the patches. Where they would work the best so no one would notice. She even set up the patches in such a way that I didn’t even need to reach for the box. I would just pull out what I needed from a zip lock baggy with a date on it. She was kind of cute and funny too. I would have liked to date her, but she had horrible cramps as a result of coming off the nicotine. She insisted they would soon go away. I hoped so because she could be, to excuse the expression, a real bitch when she was on the rag.

Susan and Carlton would come over on Sunday after they had gone to church together to chat and see if I needed any support during the week. They were boyfriend and girlfriend. So, my life was set for the next twelve months with supportive friends and a sense of common purpose.

The patches really helped me from the get go. They kept me calm and the cravings weren’t difficult to handle. They filled the need for nicotine my body had, but I missed the oral fixation at times. The vitamin pills helped my dad stay calm since I had to now start watching my diet or else I would get fat. I went on a strict diet and exercise program. Eric, who lived a couple of streets away from me, would join me in the early morning for a walk. He loved to talk and I would listen. After our walk, we went back to our homes and got ready for our day’s activities. I soon came to love this part of the day. I was an introvert and hearing Eric babble on was a great way for me to feel like I had real contact with someone during the day.

As a result, during our eleven months, it was Eric and I that developed the strongest support group. He and I had yet to really hit puberty full force. We were just about to grow and looking forward to becoming men. And, from him, I learned things about him that were, well, surprising to say the least. Along the way, I would find myself helping Eric free a woman from her confines and setting her free. It all started during one of our morning walks.

Eric was very animated and a real extrovert. “So, I have a plan to find out about the girls at school and get into their pants.” Eric was excited. I just listened on one of our walks.

“How?” Boy, did I feel wordy that morning. I looked around us to see if anyone would be able to hear our conversation since Eric was more interested in giving me his sales pitch.

He was so focused, he even triped on an uneven section of sidewalk. Undetered, he continued, “Let’s dress up as girls and eavesdrop on them by putting on their pants.” He snickered at his bad joke as he checked himself to make sure he was okay after almost falling down. It was no joke to me what he was suggesting.

“You’re kidding!” I rolled my eyes hoping he would rethink his scheme. We resumed our promenade.

Eric's confidence in his scheme was intense. He ventured, “No, I am serious. I have been watching this cool TV show called Bossom Buddies on Youtube. I think we could pull it off because we haven’t really grown yet. Here is my plan. What we can do is dress up this summer. If we can make a convincing go of it, then we could hang out at the mall and find out how to win the admiration of girls. It is not like we are jocks or bad boys anymore. We have to have find some edge.” His look at me was a kind of coup de grace when he added, "Don't you think?" I had no response. But, I didn't say yes either.

It took a few days of his badgering me, but he tricked me into it using convincing teenager logic. I gave in because I wanted to fit in and this weird plan of his had merit the more I thought about it. After being convinced, I found myself at his place, where he had laid out some clothes his sister wore years ago that fit us. He also had some Youtube videos teaching us how to be more girlish. I sat down and looked at the clothes and then saw him taking a pink pill. “What is that weird pill you are taking?” I asked suspiciously.

“Something my sister takes. She says it is girl’s vitamins. I figure it will help me get into the spirit of what we are doing.”

“Okay, but did you check the label to make sure you know what you are really taking?” In a fleeting moment, I wondered if getting to know how girls thought was really his motive for doing it. The extent to which he planned it and covered all contingencies also floored me.

“Yup. Trust me. They really are just girl vitamins. Anyway, I also got us panties and gaffs to hide our male equipment. My sister is self-conscious about how small her boobs are, so none of the outfits show we don’t have anything on top and have an unnaturally stuffed bra.” He pointed to some boxes and said, “Even better, we can stuff our bras with these small breast forms my sister wore. It will give our boobs a nice natural bounce. Our hair is long enough that we don’t have to worry about passing if we comb it right. And with a couple of month’s growth, we can easily pass without having to worry about combing it right.” It was clear to me that he had been working on this not just for a while. He had it all planned out for the future too.

After getting dressed up in his sister’s clothes, I made an obeservation, “Hey Eric, I have this great idea. You can be Erica and I can be Stevie. What do you think?” Once again, he showed me how well he had thought this through.

Eric looked at me and laughed. “No, silly. Those names are too close. Look, if we meet a girl who knows us as boys, they will immediately figure out who we are. Our names need to be totally different in order for this to work. So, you will be Theresa and I will be Lillian. They are odd names and will easily be ignored by us when we are in our male mode.”

And, so began our girl lessons. For the next two months of summer vacation. Eric and I would do a daily lesson of looking like and sounding like a girl before and after a little time on our X-Box consoles. Our folks limited us to an hour of play a day so we didn’t get too hooked on games. And Eric figured out a way of being able to watch Youtube without his folks figuring out what he was watching. So, between our one hour of X-Box and our two hours of Internet, we had a lot to do. After that, we would go swimming or practice being girls because we had nothing else we could do.

His parents and my Dad worked, so we easily could find time in both our places to practice almost daily. And frankly, he got pretty good at it. I could tell he was working hard on it too. If only because it seemed important to him, it inspired me to work just as hard. I began to allow him to have us dressed up most of the time we were alone. It was kind of fun, actually.

Come the end of July, Eric, I mean, Lillian said, “Okay Theresa, I think we are ready for the real world. Now we get to see if we can pull this off.”

“What if we don’t. All our school friends will know what we did.” I didn’t want to blow it. Eric laughed again. I should have known he had this contingency covered too.

“No, Theresa, we are going to the other side of town on the bus. That way if we meet any girls, they will never run into us at school. And, none of our friends would be caught dead on the bus. It is a win win.”

I looked at myself in the mirror and twirled around to see how I looked. “You think I will pass, Lillian? This outfit is pretty plain.”

“Absolutely! If you weren’t a boy, I would want to date you on the spot.” Eric opined. I blushed to think he was right. I really did look like a girl in the mirror.

I giggled and turned to Eric and said in a syrupy voice, “Oh Lillian, you do say the sweetest things!”

Eric shook his head, “Just act normal please. Silly is okay between us, but if you make it sound too affected, you will get us caught.” He was right.

I was still very nervous. I smoothed my skirt and sat down trying to think of something that might stop him from pressing forward with this plan. “What happens if we do this again next week? Won’t the girls figure out we are wearing the same clothes over and over again?”

Eric came over and gave me a massage on my shoulders trying I think to relax me. He said in a calming voice, “Not to worry. Next to the Rivertown Mall is a Goodwill store. We can go in there and buy lots of clothes for cheap. We can even buy at the mall a couple of nice looking dresses in case we hit it off with some girls and we get invited to do something with them.” Eric was, if anything, efficent in his planning. That was, I think, how he talked me into doing this in the first place.

The next day, we found ourselves setting out for the bus. The mall on the other side of town wasn’t difficult to get to from my house via the bus since the bus stop was accessible through a field behind my house. In fact, that way gave us superb cover and no one in the neighborhood would likely ever know what we were up to. Along the way, we hid some boy clothes in a thatch of bushes and trees.

“Hey Theresa, the sway of the dress is so different when you are walking outside. Feels kind of neat with the warm breeze between our legs too, don’t you think?” Eric commented as we scurried to the bus stop. I looked at him acting totally as a girl now and began to wonder if getting to know what girls really thought was his true motivation. He had all the mannerisms down and even the walk and talk. Personally, I was still feeling very nervous. I didn’t want anyone I knew to see me like this because I just knew I would give us away. I felt incompetent and a fool next to Eric's perfect girl. The idea that someone from school would see us really scared me beyond belief.

I was thrilled that we timed it so we wouldnt have to wait for the bus that long. A minute or so after we exited the forest, it arrived. We got on the bus to the Rivertown Mall. The first real fear I had to conquer was if someone on the bus would recognize me on the way. I took money from my purse and paid the driver and we sat down. Yeah, I had a purse! And, in my girl lessons, Eric had drilled me on how to use it. Still, he checked to see if I was all there and did what I was supposed to do.

“Theresa, did you pay my fare too?” Lillian asked in a soft voice. It took me a moment being afraid as I was, but I realized what she had asked me.

“Yes, I did. Sorry, my mind was elsewhere.” We moved to the back of the bus. I tried to relax and look pretty with my eyes on the floor of the bus not wanting to look at anyone directly least they uncover our horrible deception. My hair was nice and long for a boy, but on the short side for a girl I thought. I had learned to do a good job of makeup. And my outfit was okay. It was a simple summer dress his sister had worn years earlier. It was what Eric called an A line dress. I had flats on that she had out grown also. They covered my toes. My nails were done though. If I wasn’t so scared, I might have even said I looked cute. Although, with wearing old clothes, I hardly felt pretty. One of the things Eric said he hoped we could do if we were to continue this venture was to buy clothes at the mall. I made a mental note to say to him that we could eavesdrop on girls that way too. I really wanted to wear something better than his sister’s hand me downs. She might be in college, but we needed a more current style so we looked more the teenagers we were.

As we rode the bus, I had time to think about what he said. The breeze and the sway of the dress really were different. It made me think more like a girl than a boy in fact. I even was keeping my legs together so no one would see my panties. And, in wearing the clothes, I had developed female mannerisms too. So, maybe it would work after all. I could feel my confidence improving with every mile. Midway there, I began to look around me. No one quesitoned whether I was a girl or not. Eric was right. Being away from our neighborhood gave me the freedom to relax and be a girl, even if I wasn't.

Our bus got to the mall and made its turn there to return back to my home. That meant it stayed there for ten minutes allowing customers to get on with all their packages and for the driver to take a break too. If I hadn't felt better, I would have stayed on. But now, I felt much braver.

Lillian smiled at me. I think she could see that I was ready. She and I got off and headed into the mall. We calmly walked down the mall window shopping.

“You hungry?” Lillian asked.

“No, I am still too nervous to eat. Maybe during our next visit.” Although I felt better, I just knew that if I ate something and got sick, it would all fall apart. I owed too much to Eric's friendship to let that happen.

She nudged me as if to reinforce how well it was going. “People seem to accept us being girls. No one has pointed to us or looked strangely at us.”

“No, no they haven’t. But, I just don’t want to go to the food court yet. Walking around and getting used to being with people seems to be helping my anxiety.” I was glad that Lillian let me win this argument. Walking off my nerves was pleasant.

About a half hour later, Lillian, inquired, “Okay, what would you feel comfortable doing now?”

In a quiet voice, I said, “How about the Goodwill store. I think this just walking is working. But I would like to have something better than this to wear if we are going to the food court and talk to real girls. I don’t feel dressed right after seeing how the other girls around us our age are dressed.”

Once again, Lillian, aka Eric, had a well thought out answer. “True, but there is a Forever 21 just around the corner. They don’t cost much more than what we can get at Goodwill and the clothes are new. Let’s get some clothes that will be just for the food court. Trust me.” I looked into her eyes. The confidence must have been contagious as I agreed in the end.

For the next hour, Lillian and I shopped in the Forever 21. We went into the changing room together and scoped out each others choices. When we left, we had a set of three inexpensive outfits that were on clearance. All of them dresses making us girly girls. We figured that jeans wouldn’t work since they could show our male bulge.

Satisfied with our success, we headed home. After checking that our cache of boy clothes was secure, we just went into my home in our brand new dresses and changed there. We then hid our girl clothes in a special corner of my attic. My dad came home and found us playing on my X-Box. He was none the wiser.

After our first visit to the mall, the visits to the mall became a weekly Saturday activity. We would go in mid-morning and return around four o’clock to where we had stashed clothes before returning home. Sundays for me were visits from Meredith who would go over my medications and make sure that I was dosing correctly.

When Meredith came the next time after mall visit, I was suprised at how sad I was to see her. Instead of her being a role model for our mall adventures, she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt as usual. It really didn’t help me judge what kind of clothes Eric and I should wear to the mall. In a strange sort of way, my opinion of her had changed too. I used to think she was cute and well dressed. Now I saw her as too plain and needing a make over. Funny how Eric’s little scheme was changing how I looked at girls. No longer did I feel like dating her. But, maybe she could help me understand Eric better. I noted how much he enjoyed acting like a girl and wondered if she could help me understand him better.

I pondered for a moment and thought maybe I had a way of asking her without letting on what we were doing. I was sure, in my new found confidence, that I could ask her just the right questions. I began with asking her, “Meredith, did you feel cravings even though you were on the patch?”

“Sometimes. Have you been feeling any?”

“No, surprisingly. I expected to feel them. You must be dosing me right.”

Meredith smiled and breathed a sigh of relief as she handed me my vitamin pills to take, “Good! I was hoping I was doing it right. Is there anything else I can do for you then?”

“Yeah, would you tell me what you know about Eric. Do you know how he got hooked? He won’t tell me anything and is very tight lipped about it.” I swished down my pills with a glass of water. I waited for a response. Something I learned from Eric.

“It is kind of a strange story. Promise you won’t tell him that I told you or anyone else?”

'Good, I have her confidence,' I thought. “Yes. Cross my heart and hope to die.” I laughed. “But, seriously, I would like to know." I added a sincerely stated, "He is my friend.”

“All right. Eric liked to hang out with the cheerleaders at the high school who would gather around the back of the elementary school that was next door to the high school. They gathered there during football practice during the week and smoked in order to keep their weight off. He liked to show them he could be just like them so he could hang out with them too. He was cute so they made him wear a cheerleaders outfit as a joke so he could smoke with them. They thought if he wore a uniform with a skirt he wouldn’t tell on them. He said he understood and agreed. After a couple of years, he found himself hooked just like you did as he went on to smoke in other locations.”

“So, he was wearing a cheerleaders outfit when he smoked in the beginning? Do you think putting on a girl’s cheerleader outfit could cause him to want to smoke again?”

“I dunno. Why do you ask such a silly question, anyway?”

I had to think quickly. “I was just curious if I do the physical things I used to do when I smoked if it will cause me to want to smoke again.”

“Depends. It could. Of course, if Eric wanted to wear cheerleader outfits because he was kinky then it would have nothing to do with smoking and he might not want to smoke wearing one again. It could even be because he wants to be a girl and smoking with the cheerleaders gave him the chance to be a girl.”

“You’re daft! Why would he want to be a girl?” I asked sounding incredulous and not trying to sound curious, which I really was. And, I wanted to sound as though we weren't doing anything at all.

Meredith looked at me with a serious sober expression. “Don’t be bigoted that way Steve. There are some boys who want to be girls because they are what is called transgender. It is a real condition. I am sure if Eric had it, he would find an excuse to continue to wear the clothes of a girl as much as he could. I would help him if he were to do that because he needs a friend.” She finished making up my meds for the week and put away her purse. I was glad she didn’t see my face when she mentioned that he would find a way to wear dresses if he was transgender. It started me thinking of how I could bring up the subject with Eric.

I paused for a moment to debate about telling her what we were doing. But, I concluded that would violate our friendship. I simply said, “You are right. I am sorry. I shouldn’t be bigoted. Thank you for your help again with my meds. Of course, I can see that if he did mind putting on cheerleader outfits, I guess that would explain why he didn’t want to share that with me. I would be embarrassed to bring it up if I did something like that for fear people would find out. People might think I was queer or a sissy. I need to be a better friend.”

“I am glad to hear you say that. I thought you would understand. You don’t seem like the bigoted type. You promise that you aren’t going to share that with anyone, are you!?”

“Oh no! I just couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t tell me how he got hooked.”

My focus was clear after hearing that. I was bound and determined to help Eric any chance I got. It was obvious to me that he had this condition she mentioned. I resolved to learn about it and help him as much as I could. The dressing up as a girl took on a whole new aspect.

As luck would have it, at school, there was no problem of anyone finding out I had been shaving my body hair since I was on the patch. I was given a medical pass for my sophomore year from having to do any physical education. I would have to do some sport during my junior year instead. There was a fear that the nicotine I was taking could sweat out of my body and hurt the other students somehow. That was fine with me.

So, I relaxed and jumped full on into our feminine masquerade knowing that it was helping my friend, Lillian, come out of her closet. I was helping her become whom she was meant to be which only seemed fair. She was helping me quit smoking.

Slowly, we got bold enough to sit next to other girls in the food court and actually talk to them. If needed, we exchanged secret emails and would agree to see each other during the next weekend. The nice thing about this mall was that it attracted the students of our rival school. That gave us cover. We explained that we came there on the weekends to see our family and lived in the next town just down the road. It was easy to keep them feeling that we didn’t live close to them as well as a convient way of bowing out of obligations such as a slumber party or dating.

There was, however, one fear that I had to over come even with the knowledge I was helping Eric. “Come on Theresa, no one will notice us. I promise. You have seen how many times I go in without you.”

“It just feels strange going into the girl’s bathroom at the mall.” I was sure someone would find out that I was there. I whispered back to Lillian. Lillian just winked and went into a stall and put down her big purse. I wondered what she carried in there. Thankfully, she had organized my purse.

“Excuse me, do you have a green?” A nice brunette girl in a Hollister t-shirt and jeans put her hand on my shoulder. I almost jumped. “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.”

“Oh, yes.” I reached in and grabbed a tampon for her. I cheerful handed it over to her with my dainty hand with its well polished nails.

“Thanks, I just started and realized that I left mine at home. You are a life saver.”

“No, problem.” I said with my carefully rehearsed line from our practice sessions. “I have been there myself.”

Lillian was right. There was nothing to worry about. After we went in, the girls there either didn’t even notice us, or in the case of the brunette, didn’t question that I wasn’t a girl. I went into an empty stall, closed the door, and sat down to pee so they wouldn’t see me stand to pee. I was also careful since I noticed you could see through the gap in the door not to show my privates. I kept my panties on my knees to help disguise my groin area. It meant I had to push my penis down before I started. I held an extra tampon I had in one hand just in case someone walked by so it would look like I was just checking.

“I told you not to worry.” Lillian said softly when we were exiting.

I blushed. “You are braver than I. I was about to faint when she asked me for a tampon.”

As if to justify everthing to me, Lillian added, “But, you didn’t. See, this is teaching you self-control which is probably helping you from grabbing cigarettes.”

“I guess there is that.” Of course, there was a part of me that knew the truth. Eric really was Lillian.

The biggest bump in the road was losing my chocolate Labrador dog, Sasha, to old age. I was extraordinary emotional during October. It was nice that Eric cried with me. But, part of me wondered why. He didn’t seem the emotional type. I began to wonder if this dressing up as a girl thing meant something more to him than for me. For me, I was, frankly, curious. For Eric’s sake, I found myself continuing to research what it meant to be transgender and discovered taking female hormones could do that to you. I began to think the pink pills were his sister’s birth control pills and he was taking them to be more like a girl every day.

Now fully convinced that Eric really was Lillian, I began to bring up subjects that were bound to be helpful to him at the food court and when were about. I noticed the more that I talked about them, the more intently he listened to the conversations.

One particular day, at the mall, I began to discuss with a girl named Carol why she used matte lipstick instead of glossy lipstick.

“I like it because it doesn’t shine. I put on gloss eye shadow instead. It creates a whole new look.” She pulled out her makeup kit and showed us. “What do you think?”

I immediately saw how stunning she made it look. “How long did it take you to learn to do that? You look incredible!” I sounded even more girlish than I realized. But, it was sincere, not silly.

“I spent a few hours this last week practicing at home until I could nail it again and again. I have gotten a lot of positive reactions at school and a few boys even asked me out. I played hard to get but tomorrow I am going out with Jeremy. He is this cute Justin Beiber type. Very cool and a bit of a bad boy too.” She giggled. “But, I won’t let him know that. Gotta keep the mystic.” The rest of the girls giggled too. I looked over at Lillian and he, I mean she, was taking it all in.

By Christmas, our going to the mall days were over for different reasons. Puberty had reared its ugly head for Eric and he looked less Lillian every day. He was developing muscles. I noticed he was depressed and I confronted him. Eric hinted that he may be transgender. Dressing up helped him feel better he told me. Trips to mall to go shopping still happened, but at times we would not see the girls we had seen before.

For myself, my looks hadn’t changed that much. In fact, in some respects I had an easier time with each passing visit to the mall. I passed easily for a girl while it was getting harder for Eric to do the same. For example, instead of acne, like Eric was experiencing, my skin was softer and cleaner than his blotchy skin. I wondered if it was because I was using moisturizers at night to help soften my skin. Something I picked up from the girls at the mall was to use my sleep as additonal makeup time. I tried to tell Eric that, but it didn’t work. I spent much of our time together more and more helping him get made up and learning techniques to hide his increasing manliness. I became real good at hiding his acne and blotchy skin with my makeup kit and hours on youtube watching makeup videos. It was somewhat surprising to me since I was certain he was taking female hormones. I wondered if it could be that they weren’t strong enough. Maybe he should see a doctor.

I was glad when I talked to my doctor in March. Dr. Clarkson had been my pediatrician since I could remember. I went in for my annual checkup and discussed my puberty with him with an eye of how long I could pull this off myself before I became like Eric. “Dr. Clarkson, my breasts feel sore and my nipples too. I don’t know what to make of it.”

He looked over my file and told me and my Dad, “I have reviewed your prescription for the nicotine patches. There isn’t an indication of it creating a hormone problem. However, it could be contributing to your having gynecomastia because it is affecting your pituitary gland’s production of hormones. Man boobs are a rare condition for boys and more likely to happen if you are obese. Since you have only a few more months on the patches, I am going to have you come back in at the end of April and then run some blood tests as well as in June. I don’t want to put you on any female hormone blockers or hormone replacement therapy until your addiction to nicotine is dealt with first and out of the way.”

My Dad asked, “Will his chest problem be permanent?”

“Oh no! In most cases, this goes away in six months to two years. Some boys, when they start puberty, produce excess estrogen under stress, usually being overweight, and their breasts and nipples become sensitive just like a girl going would going through puberty. I want to run the blood tests after he is weaning off the nicotine to make sure that his hormone levels are where they should be. If I do them now, it would just show he has too much estrogen anyway. No doubt it is the stress of weaning off the nicotine. He is at the end of the program and the dosages are decreasing rapidly. That is probably causing him stress.”

Then he turned to me. “I think it is more important that you kick the smoking habit than worry about your chest, young man.”

“Yes, Sir. I understand.” I answered politely. I wondered if this is why my skin was nicer than Eric’s. But he was taking estrogen. Why wasn’t his skin better.

“Will the estrogen in my body give me bad acne, Dr. Clarkson?”

“Probably not. Although, excessive estrogen or testosterone may contribute to you having acne. Each body is different. You really can’t know. Some boys and girls get bad acne during puberty, some don’t.” At last, I had my answer. Eric, or rather Lillian, was starting a female puberty and it was causing her skin to look bad. Also, based on my online research, Lillian needed to be taking hormone blockers. So, the estrogen and the testorene in Lillian's system were waging war. He really needed a good doctor to help him now. Just how could I arrange it. And, my man boobs were bound to make him feel jealous too.

That Saturday, I showed up at Eric’s place to find him answering the door in short hair. “What is this all about?” I asked. “Why the short hair?”

“I don’t have the pass anymore for getting out of physical education. So, I have to accommodate for that. By cutting my hair, it works. I also chose swimming so they think I am shaving body hair to make me swim faster. Plus, someone suggested that my long hair was causing my acne to be bad.” That last part had me concerned. Now it would be harder to convince him to see a doctor. I would have to wait longer.

He then picked up a wig and said, “And, I can use this wig too. It makes more sense because it can be a different color than my own making it harder to recognize me. You should do the same.”

“I suppose so.” It scared me though. I had gotten used to having long hair. “But I don’t like wigs. I think I will stick with my natural hair for the time being.” I said still somewhat taken back by seeing him with such short hair. For the first time, I felt he wasn’t being truthful with me. I wondered if someone at school was picking on him. However, his explanation seemed to make some sort of sense.

For the next few months, we had various outings to the mall. I started to look forward to them as I knew they were helping him.

Time flew and soon it was late April. I had gone into do blood work that week and had gotten used to having sore breasts. I felt sorry for Eric. He was having a tough time finding outfits that hid his being the man he was becoming. Clearly, the guy juice was stomping the girl juice big time.

I was thrilled he found something he loved and worked well on him. “Hey Lillian, I think this outfit makes you look very pretty.” Eric was in a billowy dress. It had a luscious floral print and was cute. I liked how the sleeves hid how muscular his arms were becoming. The dress flowed down to below his knee and hid his very muscular thigh too. There was a nice pastel belt to make it look very sophisticated and girly too.

“I’ll take it!” he said. I noted how disappointed he looked though. It was as his world was falling apart. The fact that he wore it out of the store spoke volumes to me. We wandered around for a bit.

“My feet are killing me Theresa, can you just wait for you out here next to the fountain? I am going to go to the bathroom real fast and then we can go home.”

“Sure.” I sat down and enjoyed the running water down the water features central basin as it emptied into the small pond. I didn’t notice the security guards looking at us. I suppose I should have. But, I was feeling depressed because I knew that Lillian was looking too manly now. Her time needed at the mall needed to end before she was found out.

I was comtemplating how to approach her when a policeman came up to me snapping me out of my funk. “Excuse me miss, do you know why I am here?”

“No, can I help you?” I asked sounding very innocent I am sure. He looked at me for a moment as if I was lying. I cast a gaze at him as if to say what are you talking about. He read my face and answered me.

“We have been observing you and your friend for the last month come here. Can you come with me please?”

Flabbergasted, he led me to a detention room in the mall. I was hit with a battery of questions. “What is your name?”, “Are you are girl?”, etc. He then read me my rights.

I found myself balling. “What am I being charged with? I don’t understand!”

“Placing video recording equipment in the ladies rooms and filming women going to the bathroom.”

“But, I didn’t do anything. I don’t know anything about that!” The turn of events had me stressed out like never before. And frankly, I was acting very girly in my responses. Not only that, I shocked myself by insisting that I didn't mind being dressed as a girl and didn't want to change into boy stuff.

My ultimate indignithy was when they told me that Dad was called and finding out that he came down right away. But, he wasn’t allowed to see me right away. After about four hours of brutal interrogation with a child advocate present, I was released into Dad's custody. He look surprised to see me dressed like a teenage girl, but didn’t say anything. I called to him, “Dad, I know what you are thinking. It was Eric’s idea. He wanted us to find out about girls.” I saw him disappear into the office with a cop while I waited outside the room fearing the worse.

After about twenty minutes, he came out. “It is okay son, I got the whole story. Let’s get you home. By the way, you sure look like your mom. She would be very amused.” I so appreciate him as a Dad. Even as he found me, he accepted me as his own child.

He walked me out to the car and I fell asleep as soon as we pulled out of our parking place I was so tired. I woke up from the long drive home from the mall to find we were pulling into our garage. Dad just let me sleep on the way home. After we got home, we went inside. Dad came into my room with me. I put my purse down, smoothed out my skirt, sat down on my bed, crossed my ankles, and pressed my legs together. I didn’t even think of changing into my regular boy clothes. I was still numb from having been arrested at the mall.

With me now fully awake, Dad could tell me the rest of the story. “It’s okay Steve. Eric confessed and then they told me the rest of the story. He has been using you to cover his secret filming of girls at the mall’s bathroom for a while. He confessed that you were innocent and made you think you were helping him come out as a transgender. Also, I was shown that he has videos of you going to the bathroom in the girls room too. So, you are one of his victims too.”

I numbly reacted. “Really! I thought bad things didn’t happen in mall bathrooms.”

“They do. If someone wants to do evil, they will find a way. I hope you understand that this doesn’t mean that this kind of thing happens all the time. He turned you into an unwitting accomplice. Thankfully, he admitted it.”

“Oh no! I honestly thought I was helping him. After talking to Meredith, I thought for sure he was transgender.”

I saw Dad wince at what I said. I just sat there shaking my head. Dad then sat next to me and patted me on the knee to comfort me.

“Speaking of Meredith, I am afraid the bad news doesn’t stop there. What is also serious is what Meredith did to you. I need to talk to you about it.” He looked over to a picture of my Mom. “When it rains it pours. While Eric was confessing, I got a phone call from the doctor today about your blood work. It caused quite a stir and a little investigation ensued. It turns out that Meredith tricked you.”

Shocked back into reality, I looked up at him and earnestly asked, “What did she do?” I held back tears. Dealing with Eric’s treason was bad enough, but now Meredith too.

“She swapped your nicotine patches.”

“With what? They have been working just fine to curb my cravings for cigarettes. Were they fakes?”

“That’s what we need to talk about. She was having hormone issues because of smoking. So, the doctor set her up with hormone patches so she could even out her hormones. But, she still craved nicotine and wanted to extend her patches. She said she realized you weren’t as addicted as you thought you were. So, starting last year, just after she met you, she would swap out your nicotine patches with her estrogen patches. And then there are the pills she was giving you to, as she thought, counteract them.”

“What pills?” I asked worriedly. I couldn’t believe it could get any worse.

“She stole hormone blockers from her great grand uncle who is an adult care facility and was on some sort of prostate therapy thinking they would counteract the female hormones she was giving you from taking effect. All she heard was that they were hormone blockers. What she didn’t know is that she was giving you male hormone blockers and increasing the effectiveness of the estrogen patches.”

It hit me right away, “Oh Daddy! That means I really am growing breasts, doesn’t it!?”

“Yes, and it explains why your clothes are fitting differently too because you are going through female puberty.”

“My clothes?”

“Yes, remember the last time I took you shopping for jeans, we had to put you in husky jeans. The lady told me when you weren’t listening that a girl’s jean might fit you better. I talked to Dr. Clarkson and he said that your weight has been redistributed to your hips.”

He took me in his arms and I just sobbed. Two good friends of mine turned out to be using me. Yet, that was not why I was really crying.

Dad added, “It’s okay Steve. We’ll straighten this out. Get changed. Come downstairs. We’ll work it out.”

It was time for me to tell him even more bad news. “Dad?”

“What?”

“I don’t want to change!”

“Don’t worry. I know. I am sure the doctors will get you back on the track to turning into a man. We will find a way to undo the hormone thing. It might mean some corrective surgery or liposuction.”

“No Dad, that is not what I mean.”

My Dad looked perplexed. “What do you mean?” he said.

“I mean Dad. I really like becoming a girl. I like dressing up like this. I am saying that I am a girl. I don’t want to be a boy again. In all those trips to the mall and helping Eric, I found out that I was a girl. So, I don’t want to get changed. I want to keep changing into a woman. I love who I am becoming.”

My lesson about confession was learned. I had to confess to my Dad the truth.

Dad’s face went ashen. He was having trouble with what I was telling him. I asked nervously, “Dad, are you okay?” I started to tear up again.

He began to tear up too. “I don’t know. This is just a lot to handle. Are you sure? Are you really sure?”

“Yes Dad. When Eric talked me into doing it, I thought I was helping him. He was hinting that he was really a girl in a boy’s body. As we went out more and more, I found I didn’t mind being a girl at all. I mean, I wasn’t thrilled to find out this is who I really was. Still, it was such a lovely discovery. It just felt so authentic. I liked feeling comfortable about who I was for once. I realized as I was helping him, I was really helping myself.”

Dad was biting his lip. “Dad, I love you.”

“I love you too son. I mean. Sorry. What do I call you?”

“Well, what do you want to call me?”

“I always liked the name Margaret. She was a girl I admired in first grade.”

“I like that name. It is your call. You are my Dad.”

My Dad smiled and hugged me. “And I always will be, Margaret.”

Confession isn’t stupid. It is smart when you have a Dad like mine!"

Copyright © 2017 by AuP reviner [ revised February 2018 ]



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