The Mystery of the Girl in the Garden

The Mystery of the Girl in the Garden

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A Petticoat Detective Squad Adventure

Written by Andrea (with a little help from Daphne!)

Illustrations by Daphne


Children's adventure stories such as Nancy Drew or the Famous Five all revolve around a similar theme. That theme is usually about the child, or children, confronting adversity and triumphing in the end.

The story that follows is a variation on that theme and viewed from a different perspective. Our little tale concerns a young boy spending a holiday with his older girl cousin and favourite aunt. The children become obsessed with the mystery of the figure of a lonely girl who regularly appears in the garden of a nearby manor house. When our hero's cousin and a small group of school friends are invited to spend a couple of days staying at the manor to work on a school project, she is presented with the perfect opportunity to solve the mystery. To make her plan work, however, she must enlist her cousin's help and get him included in the party. The only problem is that the party must consist of girls only....

This story is written to depict a young boy's first innocent encounters with cross-dressing and his subsequent feelings. If the reader is seeking descriptions of explicit or adult sex then they will be disappointed because this sort of thing is not included here.

Chapter 1 - The Holiday Begins

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"She's there again."

Shirley was looking through her binoculars from the bedroom window in the direction of the manor house.

"Who is?" asked Tony. It was a rather pointless question as he knew what the answer would be. Try as he might, he just couldn't summon up his cousin's enthusiasm for the distant figure in the manor house garden.

Ever since his arrival at his Aunt Mary's house where he was to spend three weeks holiday, his cousin Shirley has been obsessed with the lonely figure who appeared twice a day in the distant garden. Shirley was twelve, almost thirteen, and more than a year older than her boy cousin. Her age, plus the fact that she was a girl had made Tony very reluctant to accept his Aunt Mary's offer of a holiday at her house by the sea. It wasn't just that Shirley was an older girl, but Tony had nothing in common with her and he didn't really want to leave all his friends behind at home. His parents hadn't been able to go on holiday that summer so they insisted that he go on the pretext that it would do him good.

The first thing Shirley had told her cousin about on his arrival was the 'mystery' of the lonely girl. She had first spotted the strange figure while looking at birds through her bedroom window and had noted that she appeared at almost the same times every day if the weather was fine. The routine was always identical; the mystery girl would come down the steps to the lawn at the front of the annex attached to the main house. She would have a short walk always accompanied by one or other of the people who had rented the annex for the summer and then sit on a garden seat to read. Her appearances would always last for an hour and she would then, accompanied by her companion, walk slowly back to the house.

Tony had once been persuaded to look at her through Shirley's powerful binoculars and he saw a very pretty girl a few years older than his cousin with long flowing blond hair and a haunting sad look in her eyes.

"I still don't know why you're so obsessed with her. She seems all right to me." The bored youngster picked up one of the magazines lying on the bed and began thumbing through it.

"Well, you must admit it's strange. She comes outside to the garden at the same time each day and although the other people staying there are seen around the village, you never see her."

"Had you thought that she might be ill or something?" Tony spotted something in the magazine far more interesting than his cousin's current obsession and he settled down to read.

"I told you that it was my first thought," said Shirley, "but I spoke to one of the people who are living at the annex when I saw them outside the post office. I asked him if there were any children staying there because we could make them welcome. He said that there were only grown ups living there and that they would only be there for a few months. So if that isn't strange, what is? I mean, what is he trying to hide?"

"I still think you're making something out of nothing."

"Well, I'll have a chance to find out some more this weekend," replied his cousin, who was peering through her binoculars again.

Shirley and four of her school friends had been invited to stay at the lodge which was situated inside the manor grounds for two nights on the coming Saturday. They were doing a holiday project on local history and the weekend at the lodge would give them a valuable opportunity to study the history of the manor and its attached priory. Aunt Mary was going away on business while Shirley was doing her project and because she didn't want to leave Tony alone in the house it was decided that he should accompany his cousin and her friends.

"By the way, don't forget. You'll be joining us instead of going away with mum," said Shirley almost as an afterthought.

"Do I have to go with you?" The eleven year old didn't relish spending three days with a bunch of older girls. Talk about boring! Frustrated, he flipped through the magazine and wondered why in the world he was even there.

"Mum and I thought you'd be bored tagging along with her," explained Shirley. "She'll be off at dawn on Saturday and won't be back until late on Monday. You can pretend you're helping us with the project, but you'll have the opportunity to snoop around for me and find out all you can about the mystery girl."

"I'm not sure that I want to spend the whole weekend with five girls, four of whom I don't even know."

"Well it's all arranged now, we've been told that we're sharing three double rooms at the lodge so it won't matter that you don't know the others because you can stay with me," Shirley said with an air of finality.

Still, Tony wasn't impressed with the idea of spending his valuable time cooped up with his cousin and her friends, but he decided not to argue the point. Besides, there were lots of grounds at the manor so he may be able to get away to explore them while the others were busy on their project. Although he wouldn't admit it, he'd developed a growing curiosity about the mysterious girl with the long blond hair; there was something about that sad expression on her face, which - as his cousin had suggested - raised questions that needed answers.

With the arrangements for the weekend already made, albeit without anyone consulting Tony, the rest of the week passed by without incident. Shirley kept up her routine of looking out at the goings on in the manor garden while Tony amused himself with frequent walks to the beach.

He had no idea what he was getting himself into.

Chapter 2 - The Transformation

Early on Saturday morning Shirley woke her cousin by bursting into his room and calling, "Come on sleepyhead! Mum's already left and it's time to get moving. We've got a lot to do!"

Looking at the clock he turned sleepily to the intruder and muttered, "What's the hurry? We're not being collected until this afternoon so we've lots of time."

"There's not as much time as you think. We've got to get to get you prepared." And with that she pulled off the bedcovers.

"Hey, stop that! What's to prepare? All we have to do is get ourselves ready for the weekend at the manor, and we packed our bags yesterday."

Shirley looked at him still lying on his bed trying to claw some of the bedcovers back. "Oh, didn't I mention it? We've got to get you ready because you'll be going to the manor disguised as a girl."

At first the eleven year old boy had difficulty in taking in the reality of his cousin's last remark, but it didn't take long before he understood the meaning of her words. "What do you mean I'm going disguised as a girl? How can I possibly do that? Don't talk so silly! I mean, why can't I go as I am and not pretend to be someone I'm not?"

"The only way I could get everyone to agree to let you come along was to tell them that you were my younger girl cousin Toni, spelt with an 'i'. You see, we were first of all invited to do the history project by the owners of the estate and they were obviously expecting a group of girls from a girl's school. My school wouldn't possibly agree to let me share a room with a boy, even if he is my cousin. And I really need you there to help me to find out about the mysterious girl in the garden."

"But how can you possibly imagine that anyone would be fooled into thinking that I was really a girl?" said a bemused Tony to his grinning cousin. "I mean I don't even look like one, do I?"

"Oh, I don't know about that," Shirley said in a sing-song voice. "With your build, a change of hairstyle and the right clothes you'd make a perfect girl. Clothes won't be a problem as you're smaller than me and mum's still got loads of the stuff I've outgrown, she never throws anything out."

Tony was still bewildered by all he was hearing. "But, does it mean I'll have to wear a dress or a skirt? I can't do that! Everyone will laugh at me!"

"Of course, silly! If you're a girl you'll naturally have to wear girls clothes. And don't worry so much. No one will laugh at you if you act like you're a girl."

"Well, I'll tell you what ... I won't wear a dress for you or anyone else for that matter!" Tony had never even thought about wearing girl's clothes before and he wasn't about to start now, no matter what his cousin said! No way!

"That's typical," said Shirley glaring at him. "You boys give everyone the impression that you're very brave and that us girls are the weaklings, but just ask you to do or wear something a bit different and you run away and hide. Surely you're not afraid of a few clothes, are you? If you are it's a very sad state of affairs. There may be someone in trouble over there and you won't help just because you're frightened to dress up in a disguise. Very brave of you I must say."

"I didn't say I was frightened," replied Tony trying to put up some sort of defence. If anything, he'd always thought of himself as a daring boy, and as much as he didn't relish wearing girls' clothes, he didn't want his cousin thinking him a coward. "I mean, I can do anything I want!"

"Oh good! That means you'll do it then! That's super! So, we'll start on your hair just as soon as we've had our breakfast. Come along, get your dressing gown on. We haven't got all day!"

With that she left the room and was soon followed by Tony who was still trying to figure out just how she'd got him to agree to her scheme.

"Does your mother know all about me going to the mansion as a girl?" he asked while they were eating.

"No," Shirley said matter-of-factly. "I forgot to mention it to her, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind as long as you agreed to it."

After they tidied away the remains of their breakfast Shirley guided her cousin into the spare bedroom after insisting that he wash his hair. The room was quite bare apart from an unmade bed, a chair and a chest of drawers. Shirley sat him down on the only chair and started to comb his still wet hair. The eleven year old protested when she started to insert some large plastic rollers.

"Don't worry, it'll go back to normal the next time you wash it," she said trying to reassure him. "I'll try to set it into a bob style so it will be easy to manage and we can dress it up if we need to look special."

After what seemed like hours of torture with rollers, hot dryers and sprays, Shirley gave a nod of approval as she completed the last stroke of her comb.

"I wouldn't have believed it, but your new hairstyle makes you look completely different!" she said with a satisfied smile on her face. "It makes you look even younger, which is a good thing really considering that you'll be wearing my outgrown clothes."

"Can I have a look at what you've done to me?" Tony was getting both concerned and curious. He was beginning to wonder if this was all a big mistake.

"No, you can wait until you're dressed then you can see the final effect. Now wait here while I get your clothes."

With that she left him alone in the room still wondering how he had let himself get into this situation. She returned after a couple of minutes carrying a bundle, which she dropped onto the unmade bed.

"I took the liberty of looking up your shoe size and it couldn't be better! You're exactly the size I was over a year ago and mum's kept some of my old shoes."

Tony looked suspiciously at the pair of pale blue open toed sandals perched on top of the unfamiliar bundle on the bed.

"Right, I'll leave you alone to get ready but I'll wait outside on the landing in case you need any help." And with that she was gone, leaving him alone to examine the strange garments she had brought in.

A few minutes later Tony - or should it have been Toni? - opened the bedroom door to reveal himself in his blushing glory to his cousin. The pale blue checked dress with its lace trim appeared to fit him perfectly. He was acutely embarrassed by the fact that the short flared skirt, which left three inches of visible bare leg above his knees, didn't offer much protection from exposing the frilly slip or the lace trimmed panties he was wearing. He felt both humiliated and embarrassed by his cousin's gaze. A pair of white knee length socks complemented the whole outfit together with the pale blue sandals.

"If you laugh I'll go and take everything off again," he said, his face burning even more at the sight of his cousin's huge grin. "I know I look stupid in all this."

"Oh, you most certainly do not look stupid, believe me. You look like a very cute ten year old girl! You really do! Even I'm having a hard time to convince myself that you're really my boy cousin. Come and have a look for yourself if you don't believe me."

She took his hand and led him to a large mirror on the wall at the top of the stairs; he stared at the reflection wide eyed. "That can't be me, can it? I mean, that looks like a girl!" was all he could say.

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"I know I look stupid wearing all this ... everyone's going to laugh at me!"

"Oh, Tony, you look gorgeous! I could never look as pretty in that dress! You'll be perfect as my little cousin." Shirley threw her arms around the bewildered little boy/girl and hugged him tightly. He wasn't prepared for this unfamiliar show of affection and gently eased away from her. "Come along downstairs, you've got the rest of the morning to get used to wearing that sort of thing." She led him gently by the hand down to the living room where there were several mirrors. This made it almost impossible for him to avoid seeing his transformation.

After watching her cousin staring and posing awkwardly in the mirror, Shirley had a thought. "Here, I think we need just one more thing," she said as she dug around in a cabinet drawer. Holding a tiny bottle up for him to see, she smiled most satisfactorily. "This should do just perfect!"

To Tony's chagrin, he was led to the dining room table and sat down where he submitted meekly to having his fingernails painted a pale pink. It was a painstaking process, having to sit so still for so long in those flimsy, alien feeling clothes as the cool, strange-smelling polish was applied to his nails; he should have said something, but he was absolutely speechless. Too much was happening too fast, and he wasn't exactly sure what he was supposed to do except as he was told.

"Is all this absolutely necessary?" he finally croaked as his cousin finished up. "I mean, this is going too far!"

"Hmmm ... I don't think so. We can't have any slip ups, see? If we don't do this just right, somebody might suspect, and you don't want that to happen, do you?"

"I guess not," the eleven year old boy conceded.

"Good. Now, if you blow on your nails the polish will dry faster and we get going."

She's right about one thing, Tony thought as he huffed and puffed and tried to hurry the drying polish along. I certainly don't want anyone to know what all I'm doing. It just doesn't seem right that I should have to go through all of ... this ... just to find out about some girl in a garden!

All that morning the petticoated boy couldn't get rid of the feeling of embarrassment caused by the short, flared skirt. It made him feel very vulnerable, especially when Shirley took him for a walk outside and down to the nearby park. She tried to get him onto the rides in the playground but it was much too soon for him to feel relaxed enough about his girlish appearance. Instead, they just sat on a bench at the side of a pond.

Tony was only too aware that his lace-edged panties and slip could be made visible any time the light breeze played tricks with his skirt. Even worse, the panties seemed to give scant protection to his most private area. He also thought about his ridiculous situation; there they both were, boy and girl cousins, but they were both wearing dresses and no one could tell that anything was wrong or different about them. Or could they?

Sensing her cousin's obvious unease at the situation, Shirley was beginning to feel that she had asked too much from him. She thought for a bit about backing down, but she just couldn't bring herself to doing so as she was quite taken by the way he had been transformed. Tony really looked like a very pretty little girl and she just couldn't keep her eyes off him. To think that under that cute little dress and all those curls was her boy cousin! It was almost like she'd cast some magical spell over him, just like in her story books.

The cross-dressed boy did look miserable though, so in an attempt to encourage him to relax Shirley put her arm around his shoulders and in the way that girls often do to each other she kissed him lightly on the cheek.

"By the way, I took the liberty of removing your clothes from your overnight case and replaced them with things more appropriate for a little girl. I hope you don't mind"

"Uh ... that's okay, I guess." Tony squirmed for an instant and then snuggled against his cousin's arm.

Shirley was unaware that her kiss had provoked an unexplained reaction in her pretty little companion. His automatic reaction would normally have been to pull away, but whether it was because he was wearing a dress or something else, he felt strangely comforted by her intimate action. There was another reaction that he had no control over because at the moment the lingering kiss was planted on his cheek he felt a stirring, tingling sensation 3/4 the likes of which he'd never before experienced! 3/4 hidden deep within the folds of his skirts. He was puzzled by this strange development but revelled in the feeling of pleasure that it gave him. Squirming about in his flimsy disguise, he couldn't quite come to terms with it all, but perhaps with time ....

Chapter 3 - The Manor

The morning passed and after lunch the two cousins were awaiting their lift to the manor. Tony was feeling a bit more at ease with his forced feminisation, but he still had momentary feelings of embarrassment, especially when he forgot about the revealing perils of his short skirt. He was also getting rather apprehensive about meeting others and was convinced that they would see through his girlish disguise, despite his cousin's reassurances.

Although the boundary wall of the manor was less than half a mile from the back of Aunt Mary's house the main entrance was at the far side, a distance of over three miles. It was for this reason that arrangements had been made for the two children to be collected and driven there by the mother of one of the other girls in the group.

The manor had been built on the original site of an ancient priory and the remains, which had been renovated recently, were one of the reasons for Shirley and the girls' project. Like all large country houses, the main structure had been altered and added to over the years and one of the biggest changes had happened at the turn of the century with the addition of a whole new wing which had become known as the annex. This annex was the part of the house visible from Shirley's bedroom window and had been converted into a self contained unit, separated from the rest of the house, with its own entrance gate at the opposite side to the main entrance and it's own section of garden. This part of the manor had been let separately over the years to a succession on temporary occupants and the girl who was the focus of Shirley's interest was one of these.

The owners of the whole estate spent only a few weeks living there each year but were well known in the area. The whole of the building was difficult to see from outside the high boundary wall because of a mature and dense fringe of woodland, which surrounded the formal gardens from the edge of the wall. The reason that the annex was visible from Shirley's window was that a gap had been cut through the trees to make way for the new entrance gate and drive.

Tony felt a little frightened when the car arrived to collect them. Anne, one of the other girls on the project, sat in the front seat next to her mother and he was grateful to be in the back next to Shirley. He wasn't sure how to react to Anne's mother's remarks about him being shy and that 'she' was such a pretty little thing.

His ordeal increased when they arrived at the lodge, which was quite a substantial building in itself and situated a couple of hundred yards from the main building. The rest of the group was already there and Tony wanted to run away as Shirley introduced him as her little cousin "Antonia," or "Toni," for short. He just wanted to get away from there and get rid of those sissy clothes forever. The blushing boy felt so humiliated when the group gathered around him making such a fuss over what a cute little thing he was. He was actually tempted in his desperation to haul up his little skirt and reveal to them all who he really was; of course he couldn't do that no matter how desperate his plight appeared.

The six were shown to their allotted bedrooms. Shirley and Tony were, of course, sharing and they both marvelled at the size of the twin bedded room with its en-suite bathroom. Shirley offered to unpack Tony's bag, which was just as well because he didn't really want to see what she had decided he should wear for the rest of the weekend. It was far better, as far as he was concerned, that all 'his' things hung out of site in the wardrobe mingling with hers.

After unpacking and tidying up they were all treated to a fabulous meal presided over by a pleasant, smartly dressed lady who introduced herself as the assistant estate manager. After they had eaten their fill the lady gathered then all together and explained what was expected of them during their stay. She told them that, within reason, they would have free access to most of the estate and grounds apart from the owners' private apartments and that they should also respect the privacy of the tenants who were renting the annex. It was explained that the annex was built much later than the rest of the house so it wouldn't be of any interest to the project and as a special treat the owners, who were returning the following day, had invited all the group to join them for dinner on the following evening.

The rest of the evening was spent with the girls planning out their project for the following days and watching TV. Tony, feeling very uncomfortable, tried to stay in the background as much as possible especially when the rest started 'girly' conversations among themselves. He didn't really have anything in common with a group of girls and was afraid that he might let something slip which might give them a clue to his real identity. They finished their preparations and started to talk among themselves in earnest. Their conversation seemed to jump from one female topic to another so he tried to concentrate on the TV program.

"Do you go to ballet classes, Toni?" He realised that Gwen, one of the group was directing the question at him.

"Er, no," he tried to stop himself blushing.

"You really ought to," Gwen continued, full of enthusiasm. "At your age and with your build I think you would be good at it. And you'd look really cute if you had to wear a tutu. I had to wear one last year and it felt heavenly. I think every girl yearns for the chance to wear one."

"Well, I certainly don't." This remark came from a rather large girl called Tracey.

"Well you wouldn't," retorted Gwen, "we hardly ever see you in a skirt outside school never mind a tutu. I bet you found it really hard when you realised you'd have to dress like a girl for a change to come on this project."

A small argument followed and Tony was grateful to be able to slip into anonymity again.

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Boys weren't supposed to like things like this ... or were they?

Bedtime arrived and even then Tony was not allowed to forget his masquerade as a girl. Shirley produced a frilly pink nightie for him to wear and insisted he go to bed wearing rollers to protect his hairstyle.

The exhausted boy lay in bed, tired out after the day's exertions and wishing there were a way he could hasten an end to his situation. He reckoned that if he could find that there was no foundation to Shirley's concerns about the mysterious girl then he could think of a reason to be allowed back to her house and get out of skirts once and for all. Unfortunately, he also realised that even if her concerns were unfounded it was highly unlikely that he would be allowed to leave on his own. The only problem was that he had, well, kind of gotten used to the feel of wearing his dress and, although he would never admit it to anyone, he quite liked it. He revelled in the feel and the sense of freedom the skirt gave him; but, well, he was a boy after all, and boys weren't supposed to like such things ... or were they?

Tony awoke with a start; the sun was streaming through the window and at first he couldn't work out where he was. Then the reality of his situation came back to him and any lingering thoughts that the previous day's happenings were nothing but a dream were soon expelled. He became only too aware of the discomfort afforded by the hair rollers; not only that, but the nightie he had been wearing all night had ridden up and was at present bunched under his chin.

How embarrassing!

Chapter 4 - Tony the Detective

"Are you awake yet, sleepyhead?" Shirley's voice called from the bathroom. The boy in the nightgown realised that it would soon be time for breakfast, so he reluctantly clambered out of bed. After he was all washed up and his hair brushed out to a presentable coiffure, any hopes he had of being able to wear shorts or trousers that day soon evaporated when his cousin produced a dress in a similar style as the one he wore the previous day. This one was white and decorated with tiny pink flowers. When he was dressed he realised that the petticoat was, if anything, fuller than before making his skirt flare out and revealing even more of his legs. When he mentioned this fact, Shirley reminded him that he was supposed to be a 'little' girl and as such he must dress like one if his disguise was to work. She then emphasised the fact by tying two white bows of ribbon into his already feminine hairstyle.

"That looks great!" Shirley said, a satisfied smile showing her enthusiasm. "There's just one more thing. Here, you'll need these to help you play your role just right."

With that the young girl handed her cousin a little white purse and a small girl's doll. The doll was dressed in blue and white and had long golden curls. It was a bit worn and shiny in spots, but had obviously been taken care of by a long line of loving owners. Tony looked at the plump plastic face with the shiny red lips and sparkling blue eyes and made an ugly face. He held the childish toy and the purse as though they were poison.

"What am I supposed to do with these?" he asked in a mixture of confusion and disgust. "I'm not carrying a purse and doll around."

"Oh, sure you will. They're all part of your costume. You'll need the purse to keep your things in because as you might have noticed, there are no pockets in dresses. And all little girls your age have a favourite doll. Just carry it around sometimes and pretend to love it, that's all you have to do. It's expected."

"But, I'm not a real girl ...."

Shirley gave her cousin a dismissive look. "Oh, yes, you are. For the next couple of days, at least. I mean, for heaven's sake, Tony, you're wearing a dress and posing as my little girl cousin! So what if you are carrying a doll or a purse! Just do it, all right? Stop making such a fuss. Now come along, we're late for breakfast."

Tony braved the comments from the others at breakfast about how pretty his dress looked and how cute his dolly was without blushing too much. Oddly enough, except for Shirley and Gwen, most of the girls pretty much ignored him after they settled down and began talking amongst themselves; it was as though he was too young to be bothered with, and so he was left alone to eat his meal.

Afterwards, he managed to persuade his cousin that the doll would be best left behind in their room but she insisted that he took along the purse. He then accompanied Shirley and Ann to the restored priory library where the two 'older' girls were to do their research. While Ann walked ahead Shirley explained to Tony that she would suggest after a few minutes that as he couldn't be of much use to them there he should see if any of the others needed some help. This, she said would give him the opportunity to go and snoop around and see if he could find out anything about the mysterious girl from the garden.

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Alone in the woods with no one to see him,
Tony danced and giggled like a real girl!

The petticoated boy took his cue and walked towards the wood, which surrounded the whole of the manor's extensive gardens. Tony reckoned that once inside the cover of the trees he could approach the area of the annex without being spotted by anyone. He cursed at his cousin's careless attitude towards his clothing because the brilliant white of his borrowed dress would make it very difficult to remain undetected. Carrying that darned purse around made things even more difficult, and he thought about hiding it in the bushes while he played his spy game, but decided against it.

As he walked alone among the trees and the flowers he found himself beginning to enjoy the delicious sensation he was getting from his rustling skirt and petticoat. He started to dance and twirl around, giggling like a real girl as his skirts flared out; he didn't have to care because there was no one around to catch sight of his underwear and to laugh at his antics.

Tony made his way through the trees in the direction of the annex in good time, but his plan to get near to his goal was thwarted by a very high fence. This was obviously erected to give the tenants of the annex their own private garden area. As far as Tony could see the fence ran all the way from the house right up to the estate boundary wall. He walked slowly along the fence in the direction of the wall contemplating his next move. It was impossible for him to climb the fence as it offered no foot or handholds and was at least ten feet high topped with two-foot wide strip of trellis. Even if the climb was possible he was hardly dressed for that sort of activity. It began to look as though the mystery of the lonely girl would remain just that, a mystery.

Not willing to give up so soon, the cross-dressed boy looked carefully in the remote hope of finding some sort of gap or hole in the woodwork but the structure was fairly new and built from strong timber so he soon dismissed that idea. He was just about to turn back when he came across what appeared to be a pile of wood. Upon closer inspection, he saw that it was in fact several lengths if wicket type fencing. This, he assumed, was all that remained of the previous boundary fence, which had been replaced to give the annex occupants a more substantial boundary.

An idea suddenly came to him! If he were able to lift one of these sections of redundant fencing and prop it against the barrier it would make an ideal makeshift ladder. At least then he would have the chance to see over the top and maybe find out something which would satisfy his cousin. Maybe then she would see the futility of her little plan and he could finally get back into trousers where he belonged!

"However do I get myself in these predicaments?" he lamented quietly as he began to work.

Tony carefully lifted a section from the pile and found it to be surprisingly light. After he positioned it against the fence he was gratified to see that it reached the top just below the strip of trellis. He hesitated before starting to climb as he remembered times when he and his friends had made fun of girls climbing and showing their knickers, the boot was now on the other foot; at least in this case there was no one about to see.

The fence made an ideal ladder and in no time at all he reached the top and was peeking through the trellis. It was then he discovered that he had been offered another stroke of luck! Stacked against the other side of the fence was a pile of tree trunks, probably the remains of the trees which had been felled to make way for the separate entrance to the annex. All he had to do was to climb over the trellis and he would be able to walk down the timber pile almost as easy as walking down a staircase.

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"Dresses may feel and look nice,"
the flushed boy muttered to himself,
"but they are not very practical when
it comes to climbing about!"

Blushing slightly when he realised that he had another minor problem. He hitched up his skirts out of harms way above his waist and, holding them with one hand and his purse with the other, he clambered over the trellis and onto the pile of timber. Good thing there was no one around to watch; they would have gotten a grand look at his panties with his dress held up so high.

"Dresses may feel and look nice," the flushed boy muttered to himself, "but they are not very practical when it comes to climbing about!"

Once on the ground again Tony set off in the direction of the garden and soon found that the formal lawn was surrounded by sections of ornamental hedging and bushes. This was perfect because if he kept himself low he would be able to get quite close to the house without being detected. Slowly, he dodged from bush to bush until he was quite close to the edge of the lawn with its beds of flowers and ornamental fountains. He managed to find a vantagepoint with a clear view of the main entrance through a small gap in a bush. He wondered just what information he could get and just how he would obtain it.

As he knelt down and mulled his next move over in his mind he was suddenly aware of movement from the main door. Two people were coming out of the house; he tried to huddle in as close to the bush as possible cursing his little flirty skirt as he tried to get it under control. He started to panic as the two figures; one of who was the mystery girl started to walk towards him. She was older than she appeared when viewed from a distance, but with her long flowing blond hair and delicate features he had to admit that she was beautiful. Tony fell instantly in love with this delectable vision in her blue dress and felt an involuntary exciting reaction from the region of his panties. At that moment he vowed that if she was in trouble he would do anything to help her, dress or no dress.

As the odd couple approached ever nearer, the petticoated boy started to get worried; the bush wouldn't hide him if they walked past it. He fought a sense of panic building inside, and as he struggled to remain silent, he could hear the mysterious girl talking to her companion, an older man with greying temples and a dark suit.

"Just how much longer are you thinking of keeping me here?" the girl asked with a defiant air. Her voice was strong, almost demanding, which surprised the hidden boy.

"A couple more weeks should do it, then all the Company's funds will be back where they belong," her companion replied. "We've been through all this before and you're not going anywhere until then. Don't think you'll be able to blow the whistle on us even when you are back in circulation because we'll just say that you are imagining things. It'll be a reaction to your accident and we've told everyone that you've had a bit of a breakdown and no one will be able to prove otherwise. You know it was very convenient that you broke both your legs in that traffic accident because everyone will believe your ramblings are the result of a delayed shock."

So Shirley had been right all along! The mysterious girl was in trouble! And it sounded really serious! Tony was never so relieved when the pair stopped approaching his hiding place and the girl sat down on a bench just the other side of his bush. The teenaged girl was sitting so close to Tony, he could almost touch her. He had a clear view of the back of her head with its beautiful hair.

"Well, John, you won't get away with it. Now, just go away and leave me to read in peace."

"As you wish," the girl's captor said, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Much to the hidden boy's relief, the man retraced his steps and disappeared back into the house.

"OK, you behind the bush," the older girl said softly without turning around. "Who are you and what are you doing here?!" While it was obvious she was addressing Tony in his hiding place, she kept her face buried in the book, maintaining the impression that she was quietly reading.

"Just tell me what you're doing here," the girl whispered loudly. "It's a good thing it was only me who spotted you, otherwise there would have been all sorts of trouble."

Recovering his composure, Tony explained as quickly as he could the reason for his clandestine visit to the garden and confirmed that she was indeed in trouble.

Still without moving her head she replied, "Oh, my ... if you could help me, it would be marvellous! But we can't continue to talk like this. Apart from the fact that it's very difficult to speak to someone who can't be seen, there is a great risk that you'll be discovered. Could you come back later? We could meet in the woods."

"I could come back this afternoon. If we met somewhere by the fence I could keep out of site until you arrived. Won't they mind that they can't see you? What if someone decides to come with you?"

There was a trace of a giggle in the girl's voice as she replied. "Oh, no. They feel confident that they don't need to keep me under observation all the time. They know that my legs are still weak from my accident, so I'm not up to climbing walls or anything. But they would get worried if I were out of sight for too long. I've hidden away a couple of times since my arrival here and it's fun to see them chasing all over the place in a state of panic looking for me. What if we meet somewhere along the fence at about three o'clock? You'd better keep well out of sight just in case one of the others decides to tag along with me. I'll hum a tune if everything's okay and I'll talk loudly if anyone's with me. Please be careful, remember I spotted you this morning. By the way, what do I call you?"

"Uh, Tony, I guess," the now very nervous feminised boy replied.

In spite of the seriousness of her situation, the older girl giggled. "Well, it's nice meeting you, Tony-I-guess. See you at three."

The petticoated boy went back to the lodge as quickly as he could, being very careful not to leave any trace of his visit behind. He placed his makeshift ladder back where he had found it and waited in the lodge for the girls to return for lunch.

As he sat on a bench in the main foyer, squirming and fidgeting about in his borrowed panties and dress, Tony pondered his predicament. This wasn't turning out at all like he imagined! He couldn't get the girl in the garden out of his mind! She was so beautiful and aristocratic in her manner and despite the difference in their ages he felt that he was in love with her. Looking down at the frilly frock he was trapped in and the purse in his hands, he tried to imagine how much stranger his day could become.

The main problem when the girls returned was that Tony had difficulty in speaking to Shirley without the others overhearing. They were all too involved with their project, but Shirley also sensed that her cousin had found out something important. At last, they managed a few minutes alone together and he rapidly told her all about the mornings events.

"Look, go back and find out all you can." Shirley was extremely excited by what she heard and was thinking ahead to their next move. "I told you all along that there was something wrong. Once we know the details we can make plans on how we can help. This is really getting to be an adventure, don't you think?"

The boy in the dress nodded and shrugged. "I guess so," he said grudgingly.

"Oh, don't act so coy. I think you're having more fun than you let on."

Before the appointed time Tony retraced the route he had taken that morning and found an ideal hiding place quite near the pile of timber. He wondered if the captive girl would be able to come alone or if she would come at all. He hoped things worked out. He so wanted to see her again, even if it was at some risk to himself ... and his dignity.

He waited, crouched in his hiding place, straining to hear if anyone was approaching and then suddenly he heard it. Someone was walking in his direction humming a tune; this was the 'all clear' signal.

"I'm over here," Tony called out softly and revealed himself.

Seeing the tall, pretty girl standing there in the woods, her long flowing hair blowing in the breeze conjured up a picture of absolute perfection. She walked slowly over to where he stood, her delicate heeled shoes making a rustling sound in the sparse undergrowth. Her look was one of both surprise and puzzlement.

"Why, you're a little girl!" Her first words to him made him realise that instead of the eleven year old boy he really was, all she could see was a little girl of about nine or ten. He shuddered slightly because, well, there was the girl of his dreams and here he was wearing a dress. He felt demoralised as he looked down at his girlish appearance, and a wave of embarrassment as powerful as he felt the first time he had gone outside in a skirt swept over him. There was obviously no way he could explain himself at the moment, so all he could do was nod and grin foolishly.

"Why, what did you expect?" was all he could manage to say.

"No, don't get me wrong. All I could see this morning was a glimpse of your head plus something white. I suppose I didn't know who to expect but when you said your name was Tony and the way you talked, I just assumed that you were a boy. Judging from the way you're dressed, nothing could be further from the truth. I suppose it's Toni, short for Antoinette or Antonia?"

"Uh, Antonia?" Tony had to think for a moment back to what his cousin had told him. Who would name their daughter something silly like that? he thought for a fleeting moment.

"Well, Antonia, you're really cute. That's a very pretty dress you're wearing. And your nail polish matches the little flowers just perfectly!"

Oh, how these remarks made him squirm! He wanted so badly to tell her that he was really a boy in disguise but he knew he couldn't as this would only complicate matters further. Instead, he wisely asked her to tell him all about her problem, so she sat down on a fallen tree trunk and motioned for him to sit beside her.

The older girl took hold of his hand and began to explain her predicament. Feeling her hand gently holding his started to make the petticoated boy excited and he felt the now familiar stirring underneath his skirt. He prayed to himself that this reaction would remain undetected and hidden by the folds of his dress, but from the way he felt, that might not be possible.

Her tale was rather complicated as it turned out. Her name was Anthea and she was nearly eighteen years old. She'd been raised by several aunts and uncles ever since the death of her parents many years ago, and as the benefactor of a will giving her the major part of the family's business empire, she was due to take control of her inheritance on her eighteenth birthday.

Unfortunately some of the senior members of the company had been using money from the business to finance some illegal dealings. They had been very clever because the money borrowed from the company had always been returned once their illegal proceedings had born fruit, so the company's auditors would never know. However, on their most recent escapade, something had gone wrong which meant that there would be a delay in them replacing the money they had borrowed. This became a real problem because on Anthea's eighteenth birthday she was required to sign some papers regarding her finances and there was a big risk that the money missing from the funds would be spotted.

To gain enough time for them to put things right they decided to take Anthea away on the pretext that she had developed nervous complications as a result of a recent automobile accident, she would need a complete rest for a few weeks. Of course, when she was allowed to return, there would be no evidence of wrong doing in the company accounts. If she said anything about being imprisoned against her will it would be dismissed as nonsense and instead regarded as an ongoing reaction to her accident trauma.

Tony listened without comment and when she had finished her tale said, "What difference would it make if you got away before they were ready? I mean, you say that it's only for a couple more weeks, and then no one will believe your story?"

"Well, unbeknown to them I left a note when I realised what was about to happen and I know that it had to have been found. What I don't know is that if it has been fully investigated. Of course, if it has the police would be involved but they would be powerless unless they knew where I was. The problem is that if they get even the slightest suggestion that the police are nosing around here I would be spirited away to some other unknown hideaway. That's why I have to get away as soon as possible."

"Don't worry, we'll think of a way," said Tony reassuringly.

"Well, you'd better go now just in case someone does decide to find out where I am."

"I'll come back tomorrow afternoon, we'll have sorted out something by then." Tony then, for the second time that day, made his way excitedly back to the lodge.

Chapter 5 - Party Time!

When Shirley finally arrived Tony told her about his news, this time they had the luxury of the privacy of their bedroom.

"We'll both have to think carefully about this," she said after hearing her cousin's extraordinary tale. "But we haven't much time at the moment as we have to get ourselves all poshed up for the owners' dinner. We must make time later, but for now we have to pretend that there is nothing amiss so we'll have to act normally. Right? I'll take a bath first, then you can use the bathroom while I'm getting dressed, that way I'll be able to help you finish getting ready."

After what seemed like an age Shirley emerged from a steam filled bathroom and motioned for her cousin to take her place. Divested of his girlish frills for a short time, the eleven year old boy enjoyed the luxury of the huge bath filled with lots of hot water and was able to forget about skirts and dresses and ribbons and dolls. His cousin banging on the door interrupted his self-indulgence, however.

"Come on, have you finished?"

Tony emerged draped with a huge fluffy towel. He blushed to see his cousin resplendent in a full length pale blue party dress. She had re-styled her hair and was wearing a little make up as well.

"You look nice," he said. "Quite grown up, in fact."

"Thanks for the compliment," she replied, kissing him affectionately on the cheek. "Now, come and sit over here we'll have to start getting you looking something special yourself. We haven't much time, so hop to it!"

The blushing boy sat on a stool by the dressing table while Shirley started to arrange his hair with hot rollers and curling tongues. He wasn't sure about this especially when she added a sparkling pink hair ribbon, but he didn't dare say anything, reckoning that she knew what she was doing. He did protest however when his cousin started to apply lipstick and powder to his face. She brushed his protests aside, saying that all little girls like making up their faces when going to parties.

"Now let's get you dressed," she said as she finished the final touches. She then walked over to the wardrobe to sort out his special outfit for the evening.

Tony just gaped at the garment his cousin pulled out of the closet. Instead of something in a similar style to her own dress, this one was short, pink and frilly. All he could see were row upon row of frilly net as she held it up on its hanger as if for his approval. He also noticed that her other hand contained other pink and frilly things, none of which he could identify.

"What's wrong? Don't you like it?" Shirley sensed her boy cousin's unease.

"I thought I'd be wearing something like your dress," he said, his discomfort still growing.

"Don't be silly, you're supposed to be a little girl and this sort of thing is much too grown up," she indicated her own splendid gown. "All girls your age wear little dresses like this for parties and special occasions. It's the latest style for them. Now come on, I'll turn my back while you put these on."

The older girl handed him a pair of pink panties, which were the same colour as the dress she still held on its hanger. The trembling boy took them nervously and examined them closely. They were a boy's worst nightmare, decorated with row on row of lace frills. Having little option he dropped his protective towel and slid them up his bare legs and over his naked bottom. He was immediately aware of the cool sensation they gave once in place.

"You may as well put these on now before the dress," Shirley had turned back to face him and dropped a pair of pink frilled ankle socks and some shining white party shoes onto the bed. As she watched her boy cousin primping about in his panties and socks, she fought the urge to go over and hug and kiss him. It was amazing how girlish he looked, even without putting on his dress!

"Very good," she said with a subtle smile. She then dug through her case and produced some cotton balls and a couple of small bottles. "Come here and have a seat. I don't want to mess up your dress in case we spill any of this."

"Oh, do we have to ...?" Tony looked at the tiny bottles with dread. "My nails already have polish on them."

"Yes, we have to. After all, this is part of your disguise. People would think it rather peculiar that a girl dressing up for a dinner party didn't bother to put on new nail polish. Pink is all right, but this red is really bright, just the kind that a little girl like Antonia would want to try on, especially with the dress you're going to wear. Now, sit still and hush up."

Tony sat as quietly as he could in his lipstick, panties and socks, trying his best to cooperate as his cousin removed the pink polish from his fingers and replaced it with the bright red. He couldn't help but feel a sense of panic as the brush touched his finger with the gaudy colour, and Shirley was quick to notice.

"This is going to make you look really cute, you know. No one will ever suspect who you really are."

"But I hate that stuff! It's so sissy!"

"Well, that's part of the job, I guess," the older girl said as she worked. "We all have to do our part if we're ever going to solve this mystery."

When she was done, he had to admit that the bright colour did make his hands look even more girlish than before. Following Shirley's instructions, he blew on them for a bit while she put away some things and got the rest of his disguise ready.

"Now for the dress. It's good that with these little frocks you don't need petticoats as they have everything already sewn in."

ptds mgig4.jpg

Shirley helped her cousin "Antonia"
get dressed for the party

She made Tony turn around and put his hands up while she slid the fluffy garment over his head. He closed his eyes at that moment because he really didn't want to see the finished effect. He was aware of a tightening around his body as his cousin fastened the buttons up the back and then he felt her fiddling around tying something, which further pulled in his waist. He realised that he was now partially trapped because there was no was he could get this garment off without her help.

"Now let's have a look at you!" As she turned him around he opened his eyes and was immediately confronted with his reflection in the dressing table mirror.

"I can't wear this! It's way too short!" Tony's protests went unheeded, of course. The little pink dress had puffed sleeves, and an excess of frill down the front and a large sash bow tied at the back around his waist. Worst of all the skirt was supported by several layers of net, which made it stand right out, barely covering his underwear. Obviously this was the reason for the matching panties. To his horror, he realised that he looked just like a little ballerina. His cousin's friend Gwen was right; maybe he should have taken ballet lessons after all!

"No, it's not, you silly! It's just right. They'll never think you're a boy dressed like this." Shirley beamed at him. She had a pretty good idea from her cousin's expression how he must have felt and she was enjoying his discomfort immensely. "You look lovely, just like a little doll. I never realised that boys could look so cute. Now, just remember you are wearing a short flared skirt so be careful when you sit and don't ever bend over."

How could he forget in this ridiculous outfit? It wasn't what it covered but what it didn't.

"I feel really stupid! If any of my friends saw me now, I'd never hear the last of it!" For an instant the image of being confronted by his schoolmates popped into his mind and his face turned even more red than before. Fighting off a shiver, the petticoated boy bit his painted lip and awaited whatever more surprises his cousin had in store for him.

"Now just a couple more things before we go down." Shirley turned round and picked something up from the dresser. Before Tony realised what was happening she sprayed him liberally with perfume. He visibly cringed with shock as the sweet smelling cloud enveloped him, but somehow he liked the smell. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all....

His cousin then handed him the doll she'd made him carry earlier and told him that he'd better take it with him as little girls all liked to take their best dolls with them on special occasions. Standing there in his ballerina dress and the doll dangling in his hands, Tony voiced his protest one final time.

"Is all this necessary ...?" he whined futilely.

"Oh, hush! Now come on. The others will be waiting for us. I've thought up a plan which may help to free Anthea so I'll tell you about it later." She patted his little doll and smiled. "Don't forget your little friend."

Even with all the makeup on his face, Tony's face burned bright red as he hugged the small figure close to his body and followed his cousin as downstairs to join the other four girls.

Tony's feelings weren't helped by the other girls, all of whom were dressed in similar style to his cousin. For what seemed like an age they crowded around him, touching his hair and his dress, kissing him on the cheek and saying how cute he looked.

"I said it once and I'll say it again," Gwen said with a smile. "You really ought to see about taking ballet. As cute as you are in this dress, you'd be the star of the show!"

"Oh, phooey!" Tracey said, her face screwed up into a frown. "Just because you're a girl doesn't mean you have to be a sissy. Wearing stuff like that and playing with dolls? Why don't you grow up?"

Ann stepped alongside Tony and put her arm around the blushing boy. "Tracey Walters, really! Just 'cause you're a big soccer star doesn't mean you have to tease little Antonia." Tony winced to hear himself being referred to as 'Antonia.' "I wish I had a little sister like this to play with she could wear all my old hand-me-downs. Not everyone is cut out to be a tom-boy."

Which was exactly the thing the cross-dressed boy didn't need to hear.

The sumptuous meal that followed was presided over by a pleasant lady and gentleman who were the estate owners. The friendly couple obviously enjoyed the company of children because after dinner they suggested they play some party games. Games such as pass the parcel and musical chairs followed. Tony had a distinct advantage over the others during musical chairs because he wasn't hindered by his skirt like the others. Once he had got over the feeling of embarrassment caused by the fact that he continually offered glimpses of his panties when he ran around, he started to really enjoy himself. Everyone, even the begrudging Tracey, was impressed with his agility and enthusiasm, and they all had a wonderful time. More importantly, the rustle of his underskirts and the feeling of the sensuous material brushing against his legs were absolutely sensational, although he would never admit that fact to anyone.

When the games had finished Shirley suggested that they go outside to cool off. It was a pleasant cool summer's evening and it wasn't yet dark. She led Tony over the lawn out of earshot and started to explain her plan.

"When you see Anthea tomorrow," she said quietly so as not to be overheard, "tell her that we leave for home first thing on Monday morning. She can see our back garden quite easily so when we are home we will hang a towel on the washing line as a signal. If she can think of a signal to let us know she is ready we can use one of those ladder things you told me about to get over the wall. We'll meet her by the fence and take her back to our house and they'll never know where to find her."

Tony agreed that it was a brilliant idea but then he felt the cool breeze against his legs and shivered.

"Are you getting cold?" asked his cousin.

"Well, it's all right for you because your dress covers your legs and this one doesn't cover much at all."

"Oh come on," she replied. "You know you're enjoying wearing it. I could see that in the house."

Tony couldn't deny this, but he wouldn't admit it; instead he averted his eyes and his face went red. Rather than say anything, he just looked down at his little frilly dress.

"I thought as much," she continued. "You were really having a good time in there running around flashing your knickers, weren't you?"

This comment made him go even redder and he didn't know what to say or how to respond. All he could manage to say was a hoarse "I guess so."

"Well, then, we'll have to make sure you can wear a skirt more often. I think you don't even mind carrying your little dolly around, either. Am I right?" Shirley couldn't help but smirk as her cousin struggled to reply. She then led the way back to the house smiling to herself and thinking that it wouldn't be so bad after all having a boy like Tony come to stay more often. If she could find a way to get her mother to agree to him wearing dresses she could pretend that she had a little sister. Then they could have some real fun!

That night the two cousins discussed the details of Shirley's plan and then slept soundly.

The next day Tony, this time in blue and white gingham, helped the girls with their project until it was time for his rendezvous with Anthea. He was a little perturbed by the fact that his cousin had decided that he should have his hair in little girl bunches complete with white ribbons. He had also protested vehemently about the gingham dress she wanted him to wear. Not only was it extensively trimmed with lace edging, but the skirt was extremely short. Shirley dismissed his complaints by saying that he had enjoyed wearing a short dress on the previous evening.

"Besides, you're the one who complained that your other skirt was too long and got in the way, so this one should be better suited, right?"

"I .. I suppose," was all the boy in the dress could say.

As he stood before the dressing mirror and pouted, Tony thought to himself that it was as if his cousin was trying to make him look even younger than he was supposed to be. Little did he realise how right he was. His only consolation was that she allowed him to remove that gaudy red nail polish and painted his fingernails the more subtle pink.

The appointed time found him back in his hiding place by the fence awaiting the arrival of Anthea. His heart started to pound when he heard the soft sound of her humming a tune. This was the all clear signal so he called quietly to her and showed himself. The teenaged girl looked a picture of loveliness in her pale green dress with matching shoes, her long hair pulled back from her face by a hair-band. He was momentarily unable to speak as he took this vision in; he so wanted to tell her that he loved her.

Anthea smiled when she saw her new friend and she greeted him pleasantly. "Hello, sweetie. My, you do look nice! Oh, another pretty dress! Is it new?"

He wanted to scream "Boys didn't look nice and nor did they wear dresses!" But, of course he couldn't tell her the truth so he just said, "Thank you. I, uh, no, it's not exactly new, I guess."

"Well, it looks just perfect on you. So, what's the next step?"

When he had finished hurriedly telling her of the plan she just looked at him as if trying to take it all in. This worried him because he thought that she might think the whole thing was impossible but her face suddenly lit up with a big smile.

"Of course, if you look at the annex there is a window immediately above the main door and that is my bedroom. We normally lunch at about twelve and I sometimes go and rest in my room for an hour or so afterwards. I'll open a window to let you know I've seen your signal then I'll make my way to our meeting place."

"Will you be able to manage? I mean with your legs?" Tony asked with sincere concern.

"Oh, don't fret so, my sweet. They'll be all right. They're getting stronger every day." Anthea suddenly stepped forward and threw her arms around him in a tight hug. She was taller than he was and he found his face buried into her shoulder, the smell of her perfume sent him into a swoon, it was so heady. "Oh Toni, you don't know what all this means to me and my family. We'll be forever in your debt!" She released him from the embrace but still gently held onto his bare arms; as she looked closely into his eyes he could see that for the first time that the sad look had disappeared.

"Well, uh ... I'd better be off. Look out for the signal tomorrow." He really didn't want to leave her but he just couldn't control his emotions any longer, so he thought it best if he went quickly. Once safely back over the fence he sat for a while to try and unscramble his thoughts. For the first time in his young life he found himself attracted to a girl, admittedly she was far to old for him but he reckoned that under different circumstances they could have become friends. Maybe even close friends. The only problem was that she thought he was a little girl and he couldn't work out how he was ever going to tell her the truth.

Tony then set to work; he removed his makeshift ladder from the fence and carried it plus another to the perimeter wall. Once on top he dropped one of them over in readiness for use the following day. He was gratified to see that as it was summer the grass and bushes on the verge outside the wall hid the

improvised 'ladder' from sight. He then returned the second 'ladder' to its pile and returned to the lodge to report to Shirley.

Chapter 6 - Escape!

The following morning found the pair of cousins safely delivered back to Aunt Mary's house; it was almost eleven by the time they got themselves organised. Tony was wearing yet another dress, this one in pink, and when they were inside the house he suggested he change into his own clothes.

"What's the point in that?" asked Shirley. "If all goes well we'll be off to rescue Anthea in about an hour. You know she's expecting to see you as a little girl, so you'll only have to get changed again."

Tony was a bit annoyed that he was still to be trapped in skirts, but was somehow glad that he could remain his feminised self for just a while longer. After all, now would not be the time for embarrassing explanations to Anthea because she would have enough on her mind as it was. Reluctantly, he muttered, "I suppose you're right."

The pair hung out a towel onto the line and then retired to Shirley's bedroom to keep watch. Then at about a quarter past twelve they noticed a window open.

"There's the answer to our signal!" Tony enthused. "We'd better get going."

"Right. You just go and lock up the front door. I'll be with you in a minute."

Tony did as he was asked. He was dismayed, however, when Shirley appeared downstairs; she had changed into trousers and a jumper.

"Hey, that's not fair! How come it's okay for you to wear trousers when I still have to wear a dress? Can I change, too?"

"I changed into these because they might be more practical as we don't know what will happen. None of my trousers will fit you, and since you still have to be a convincing little girl, you'll have to stay in a dress. Now let's get going."

Tony wasn't happy at all with his cousin's reasoning but the two set off across the fields towards the manor wall. They found the makeshift 'ladder' and were soon securely hidden near another one which they had positioned ready for Anthea's appearance. Suddenly they heard a noise.

"I think she's coming," whispered Tony as he tried to peek in the direction of the noise.

"Keep down, it might not be her and we don't want to be seen if it's not."

"It's okay. It's her all right. She's just climbing over the trellis." Tony, followed by his cousin, stepped out from their hiding place and approached the ladder.

Anthea started her descent as soon as she saw that the two children had arrived. Tony saw right away that the older girl's hair had been tied back into a long ponytail, probably to keep it under control and out of the way; he also noticed with some frustration that she was wearing a green trouser suit teamed with a white purse and matching shoes. It only made sense, the flustered boy reasoned, since she knew she might have to do some climbing to get away, but it just didn't seem fair. In spite of his self-pity, however, he was glad to see her as she safely negotiated the climb and walked towards the two rescuers.

How come I'm the only one wearing a dress? he thought to himself. And I'm the only boy! He tugged at his short skirt for a moment and felt that shameful tingling beneath all that silk and lace. Oh, well, he sighed to himself. I guess it could be worse.

He just didn't know how.

Tony quickly regained his composure and introduced Anthea to Shirley. After replacing the 'ladder' back onto its pile, the trio climbed to the top of the perimeter wall. Scrambling about self-consciously in his short dress, he pulled up the ladder and positioning it ready for their climb down to freedom Anthea gave Tony a huge smile, and for a moment he forgot his misery. In no time they were heading towards the safety of the house. It had all been too easy.

Once inside Anthea asked Shirley to telephone the police and wrote down exactly what she was to say. Shirley dialled from the phone in the hall while the other two listened on the extension in the kitchen. The phone was quickly answered at the other end.

"Hello? I have some information regarding Anthea Vance." Shirley spoke with as much authority as she could muster, but the person answering didn't appear to understand. Shirley then, word perfect from Anthea's script, continued, "Would you please check with someone in authority?" The line went quiet for a few minutes then a different voice spoke.

"If you have anything to say about Anthea Vance, or if you know anything at all about her, please tell me." The new voice sounded very serious.

Anthea then took over. "Hello, I am Anthea Vance. To whom am I speaking?"

When the conversation got under way the cousins left her to discuss all the details and went to wait for her in the lounge. They stood up when she re-joined them a few minutes later grinning and looking excited.

"The police knew all about it. My note had been found, just as I knew it would. Apparently they figured out what's been going on with the business but they have kept it quiet until they knew where I was. They'll be sending someone round here and paying a surprise visit to certain people at the annex." She looked radiant and suddenly rushed towards the surprised Tony, threw her arms around him, lifted him off his feet and twirled him around. "I really don't know how I'm going to repay both of you."

Tony was aware that her action had caused his skirt to ride up exposing his panties, but there was nothing he could do. Instead, he blushed and giggled breathlessly.

"You don't need to repay us anything, Anthea. We just did what was right."

"Well, you are my little hero," the older girl said, kissing the petticoated boy on the side of his mouth. "I'll never forget this as long as I live!"

He was relieved when she released him and the three of them went up to Shirley's bedroom. By sharing the binoculars they kept watch on the annex to see if there were any developments.

"Looks like they've missed you," said Shirley after a few minutes. Even without the aid of binoculars the other two could see three figures rush from the main door. One stayed pacing up and down while the other two disappeared into the woods. They returned after a few minutes and the three, soon joined by a fourth, stood gesticulating wildly. "I wish we could hear what's being said," laughed Shirley still with her eyes glued to the binoculars.

Suddenly two of the distant figures ran down the steps, leapt into a car and sped off. "They obviously suspect I've got away from the grounds," Anthea laughed. "I don't know where they think they are going to look for me, though."

At that moment the doorbell rang and the three 'girls' went to Aunt Mary's room to see who had arrived. They saw a man and woman standing by the door; a car was parked in the driveway.

"They can't be the police," said Shirley anxiously, "it's the wrong sort of car."

"Yes, they can," replied Tony. "They'll have come like that so they don't raise suspicion."

"Okay then, Miss Smarty Panties, as long as you know so much about it, you answer the door," Shirley answered.

Tony suspected that she was frightened that their visitors might be from the annex, and he was also a little concerned, to be honest about it. Screwing up his courage, he went down the stairs and walked nervously towards the door, the clip-clopping of his borrowed little-girl shoes against the hardwood floor sounding so formidable. The large figures visible through the coloured glass looked intimidating and he felt very small and vulnerable, especially as he was wearing his cousin's dress.

It turned out that his fears were for nought; just as he suspected, the two figures at the door were indeed plain-clothes police who had come as a result of the phone call. They all went upstairs and were just in time to see a fleet of 'proper' police cars converge on the manor. The three 'girls' cheered when they saw some people being taken away. They were especially pleased when the two who had driven away in the car returned and fell into an unexpected trap.

When all the excitement had died down the policewoman explained to them just what had happened since Anthea's abduction. Apparently George, the family chauffeur, had found the note Anthea left concealed in the car. She'd known just how fastidious he was about keeping the cars clean and tidy especially, as in this case, when a car had been taken out by someone from outside the immediate family. The police had been alerted and the crooked goings on at the business had been discovered. They hadn't at that time taken any direct action until they were sure that Anthea was safe. They had however made preparations for immediate response just as soon as they were able.

The policeman and his female colleague said that a car had been arranged by Anthea's family to collect the newly rescued girl and that they would stay with them until that happened.

They all sat around and watched TV until the doorbell rang announcing the arrival of Anthea's car. The door was answered by the policeman who ushered into the living room a large man in chauffeur's uniform. Anthea ran to him and gave him a hug.

"Oh George, I knew you would find my note!" she said kissing him on the cheek.

"We've all been very worried," he said. "Now we really must go because the family are all anxious to see you."

Anthea turned to the two cousins. "I'll contact you as soon as things are sorted out. Then I'll be able to thank you properly."

They went with her to the front drive, and just as she was about to get into to large black car she turned and kissed Tony on the cheek. "You've been very brave," she whispered, and with that she was gone.

"Well, I think it's safe to leave you girls alone now, so we'll be on our way. Thanks for all your help, we'll be in touch tomorrow," said the policeman.

Until that remark, Tony had completely forgotten about his appearance. During the past few days he had become so used to wearing dresses and acting like a girl it had become quite natural to him. He blushed as they took their leave saying, "Goodnight girls."

The two cousins spent the remainder of the evening talking over the events of the past couple of days. Tony, still wearing his dress, was no longer resentful that Shirley was in trousers. He had come to enjoy the deception of masquerading as a girl and secretly wanted to remain in skirts for as long as possible, although he realised that, after that day was over, he would no longer have any reason for doing so.

The two of them were exhausted by the events of the day so Shirley proposed that they both went to bed. "Mum will be home very late so we'll tell her all about it in the morning."

Tony quickly washed and for the first time in a few days was able to go to bed in pyjamas. After fussing with polish remover and making sure all traces of makeup were gone from his face, he pulled off his dress for what he thought would be the final time and clambered into bed. Tired as he was he couldn't get to sleep straight away, as well as Anthea and her plight he kept thinking about his introduction to the female side of things. He wondered if he would ever get the opportunity to revel in the delights of wearing a dress again. He also pondered how he would never be able to discuss these thoughts to anyone.

Especially his school chums!

Chapter 7 - Revelations

Tony woke feeling someone shaking him violently; it was Shirley, still in her dressing gown, insisting he get up immediately. "Come on, Mum's back and she's already up, so let's go and tell her all about Anthea."

She pulled off his bedcovers so, grumbling that he was still tired, pulled on his own dressing gown and followed his cousin downstairs to the kitchen where they found Aunt Mary preparing breakfast.

The smiling woman looked puzzled as the two children ran in. Shirley gave her a hug saying that she had missed her and that they had a lot to tell her. Her face turned into a frown as she pulled away from her daughter's hug and took her nephew by the hand.

"Tony, what have you done to your hair?" The youngster suddenly realised that even though it looked rather dishevelled it was still styled like a girl's hairdo.

"Oh, Mum, don't bother about his hair now," interrupted Shirley. "I've got more important things to talk about."

With that she, with Tony butting in on occasions, retold all the events which had happened during the past few days. When she had finished her mother just looked at the two of them as if she didn't know whether or not to believe this rather improbable tale.

At last she spoke. "Are you two sure you're not exaggerating or making all this up?"

"No, of course we're not," answered Shirley. "The police will tell you if you ask them."

"Well I might just do that," Aunt Mary with a smile. She then turned to Tony. "Now tell me, what on earth has happened to your hair?"

Shirley came to her cousin's rescue as he struggled to find the right way to explain his girlish hairstyle. "Well, Mum ... you know that I'd arranged for him to join us on the project instead of going with you?"

"Yes, it was to save him from getting bored while tagging along with me."

"Well, you see," Shirley was struggling to find the right words, "the only thing was that it was to be an all girls' party, so there was no way that he could come along as he was."

Shirley's mother looked puzzled for a moment the realisation dawned. "You mean he spent all the weekend pretending to be a girl? How did you do that? I mean, what in the world did he wear?"

"Oh, you know you always keep my old clothes in the spare bedroom so I just got some dresses and things which fitted him perfectly."

They were saved giving her the rest of the explanation by the telephone, so the somewhat bemused lady went out into the hall to answer it. It was quite some time before she returned and when she finally did she had a big smile on her face.

"Well, 'girls' ... I apologise for doubting your story," she said. "That was the police and it seems that they are very grateful to you two young 'misses' for all your help. They said that they won't need you to do anything else as the people responsible have apparently admitted to a whole series of offences. They also said that Anthea's family is very grateful and that they would be contacting you soon. It certainly appears that I have two little heroines in my house, doesn't it?"

The two cousins were relieved by this timely intervention because it had saved them from more embarrassing questions. Shirley's mother wasn't done with them just yet, however.

"I think we'd better keep quiet about Tony's deception when we tell his parents all about it," she said. "They might not appreciate the thought of their little boy parading around all weekend in dresses. Now I suggest he go and wash his hair and get it back to normal while I have a little talk with Shirley."

The rest of that day, and most of the next, seemed to fly by. Shirley was helping her mother catching up with all the washing and ironing plus assisting with the housework. Tony, now back to his 'normal' appearance kept busy exploring the nearby countryside and didn't have the opportunity to talk with his cousin. Secretly he kept wondering if he would ever have the opportunity to wear a dress or skirt again. As much as he hated to admit it, he'd grown to love the feeling wearing such pretty clothes had given him. He realised that there was no way he could ever tell his parents about his yearnings and how could he possibly ask them to let him have a dress of his own? He did have an idea that he could ask them for a kilt, then at least he could pretend it was a skirt but he wondered if he could ever summon up the courage.

It wasn't until after tea on Wednesday that the two of them had the opportunity to talk in private. "Did your mother say anything about me wearing your dresses?" asked Tony.

"She said that I shouldn't have tricked you into it," said Shirley. "But she agreed that no harm was done. She still says we mustn't mention it to your parents. You did make a pretty little girl though, you know. You looked so cute, especially in that ballerina party dress and carrying my old doll around like that! Despite your protests I know you enjoyed it, so don't pretend that you didn't."

Tony just grinned; his red face told his cousin more than any words ever could.

The next afternoon when Shirley and her mother had gone to the local shops Tony, who was in the garden playing, heard the phone ring. On rushing to answer it he heard a familiar voice although he couldn't figure out who it was at first.

"Antonia, is that you?" said the voice on the other end of the line. It was obviously a female, but he still couldn't think of who it might be. He was about to ask who it was when she continued, "It's Anthea here, sweetie. I'm sorry I haven't been in contact before, but things have been rather hectic around here as you can imagine."

"Oh, hello, Anthea." The eleven year old's heart started pounding as he spoke to the girl of his dreams. "It's good to hear from you."

"We're all so grateful for what you and Shirley did. Everything is being sorted out and your timely intervention has saved the company an awful lot of money. My uncle said that he is arranging for both you and Shirley to have some money put into trust as a thank you gesture. This will be made available to you when you grow up. We would also love to see you both, and your Aunt, of course, so we will send the car to collect you on Saturday. If it's all right you can all spend the night with us and we'll treat you to a rather special time. Well, I can't talk now as things are still rather busy. Phone me back later with your answer. Please try and come I'd so love to see you both."

With that she was gone and Tony was left alone with his thoughts. She still thought that he was a girl. Even if he eventually managed to tell her that he was really a boy, he was afraid that she would be put off even speaking to him. He resigned himself to keeping her illusion of him as a female because that way, at least, she would keep in contact.

On their return Tony excitedly told Shirley and his Aunt about Anthea's invitation and they both, especially Shirley, started to make preparations for their trip.

"But I'll have to get something new to wear," said Shirley. "I'll need something special."

"I thought that was coming" said her mother. "Okay, we'll go into town tomorrow and get you something appropriate."

"But what about Tony?" Shirley asked. "I mean, Anthea still thinks he's a little girl."

"Yes, I hadn't thought of that," his Aunt turned to look at him. "Well, as I see it, if you go with us as a boy you'll have to be prepared for some embarrassing explanations and I won't blame them if they start to think that we are a rather strange family."

"Can't he go as a girl then?" Shirley interrupted. "Really, Mum, he looks so pretty in a dress. You've got to let him. That way we won't need to explain anything."

His aunt looked at the pair of them with a doubtful expression on her face. Finally she said, "Well I'll leave that decision to Tony. He doesn't need to decide right. Why not think about it and tell me in the morning?"

That night Tony's thoughts were still troubled. He so wanted Anthea to think of him as a boy and not a little girl. In the end, however, the thought of being able to wear dresses again and not having to give embarrassing explanations won the day.

He told them both of his decision at breakfast. Shirley, of course, was enthusiastic but her mother still had reservations. After some thought she said, "Well let's do this properly then. I've already arranged for the two of us to have our hair done, so I'll phone to ask them to squeeze in one more. Then we'll have to go and get him a couple of special outfits as well. Now there's just one more thing before we go. Shirley, you'll have to help him get ready because he'll have to go out with us looking like a girl. He can't very well go to the hairdressers and trying on dresses looking like a boy."

Just then the telephone rang and was answered by Aunt Mary. After a short conversation, she made an announcement.

"That was a message from your mother and father," she said. "They have had to extend their stay for at least another three weeks, so I've agreed that it's okay for you to stay with us until the end of the school holidays".

Tony felt a little thrill course through his body. That meant he would be staying here for another month, maybe more! That meant that ....

Aunt Mary interrupted the youngster's reverie. "Well, come on, 'girls.' We've got a lot to do, so let's get going."

Before they could get started Tony's aunt quizzed them about the sort of age he was supposed to be as a little girl. She also told Shirley to find him some additional outfits from among her outgrown things because to do all this right he would need more clothes than the couple of special outfits she was going to buy for him.

Very soon Shirley presented 'Antonia' to her mother for approval. He was wearing a pure white cotton sleeveless summer dress with a very short flared skirt supported by a mass of frilly petticoats. His hair had been tied in 'little girl' bunches and he was wearing white ankle socks with buckle shoes. After a moment of staring at her cross-dressed nephew, Aunt Mary admitted that he did indeed make a pretty little girl.

"So, 'Toni" is short for 'Antonia' you say?" Aunt Mary smiled at her fidgeting nephew and sighed. "Well, I must say that it makes perfect sense now that I see how cute you look. You look rather like an 'Antonia' dressed in your cousin's clothes."

The quiet "thank you" Tony replied disguised his real feelings. As quiet as he was, the cross-dressed boy felt fabulous; his reservations about wearing really short frothy skirts had disappeared the night of the dinner at the lodge and he was revelling in the glorious feeling of being back in skirts once again.

Their first point of call was at the hairdressers and soon Tony's hair had been transformed into a mass of loose curls cascading around his face. He was both enthralled and worried by this, but Shirley assured him that it would all wash out ... eventually.

Tony's new experiences continued with seemingly endless visits to an assortment of dress shops and at the end he was very satisfied with the two new outfits his Aunt had bought for him. One was a party dress, similar in style to the ballerina dress he had so enjoyed wearing at the dinner at the lodge. This one was pale lemon trimmed with white and had the essential matching panties; trying it on in front of the dressing mirror, he looked and felt just like a fairy, it was so light and fluffy! His other outfit was a little more grown up, consisting of a green mini kilt with matching waistcoat together with a white lace blouse and long white boots.

When they had completed their shopping Aunt Mary treated them to dinner at a restaurant. It was there he had another first time experience when he had to visit the ladies powder room. Even when they returned home his feminisation continued with the provision by Shirley of a baby-doll nightie. She explained that there was no way he could go to sleep with a hairstyle like his in pyjamas.

Chapter 8 - Conclusion

The following morning they were collected by the same car and driver who had collect Anthea on the previous Monday evening. Tony was wearing yet another of his cousin's dresses, this one in pink and white stripes and he carried the inevitable purse. Shirley's old dolly, of course, had to accompany them and she had her own seat in the car. Tony played the 'little girl' role to the fullest extent, holding his dolly's hand and tending to her hair as though he'd done so a million times. Aunt Mary thought it was remarkable just how convincing her nephew appeared as he pretended to play with his borrowed doll, and she literally had to bite her tongue to keep from telling him what a wonderful little girl he made.

They were made very welcome on their arrival and Anthea greeted both 'girls' with a kiss; this had more effect on Tony than she could possibly have realised. Anthea entertained them by showing them all around the huge modern house with its extensive grounds. Later, while Aunt Mary discussed the arrangements of the 'girls' trust fund, the threesome went to watch some trout in a nearby river.

That evening they were all treated to a special dinner and Tony wore his new party dress. Again he wore make up and smelled sweetly of perfume. And again he was the centre of everyone's attention when he arrived on the scene.

This time, however, it wasn't just because of how he was dressed. Tony and Shirley both were honoured by Anthea's relatives for their efforts in helping the teenaged girl escape.

"These two young ladies took a terrible risk to come to our beloved Anthea's rescue, and we want to thank them for their ingenuity and bravery," Anthea's Uncle Robert said in a very serious voice. "These are indeed two extraordinary young people. I only wish there were more children like them in this world today...."

Tony was burning bright red, from the top of his curly head to the tips of his toes, as everyone at the table clapped their hands and clinked their glasses together. Aunt Mary beamed with pride, and she pressed the two children to stand and curtsey in polite response. This brought a roar of approving laughter and an even greater shade of red to the cross-dressed boy's complexion, and he thought his heart would explode as he stood before the group, plucked the hem of his skirt in imitation of his cousin, and bowed his head shyly.

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"You've been very brave," Anthea told
the cross-dressed detective as she gave him a kiss.

Anthea concluded the honours that evening with presents for the two 'girls.' For Shirley she presented a small, but very beautiful diamond pin in the shape of heart, the likes of which the younger girl had never seen nor owned before. The two girls hugged and giggled like a pair of school girls, and everyone smiled to see them so happy.

Tony felt his mouth turn dry as he was asked to stand and receive his gift. "My grandmother gave me this when I was very young," the seventeen year old said with a soft voice. She held up a delicate gold chain before the young boy's eyes and let it dangle for the longest time; suspended there before him, as though in flight, was a tiny golden fairy. "This was my good luck charm when I was little and I want you to have it. You reminded me so much of a little fairy that first day in the garden, hiding behind the bushes like that and offering to rescue me ... I just knew you would bring me good luck. I hope she does, too."

With that Anthea draped the spider web-thin necklace about the trembling boy's neck and fastened it, allowing the gilded fairy to rest just below the hollow of his throat. The teenager then gave the blushing child a kiss on the cheek and whispered into his ear, "You'll always be my little fairy, Toni. Always ...."

Not surprisingly, the petticoated detective felt that horrible tingling sensation in a place he never even thought would tingle, and he couldn't help squirming about uncomfortably! But this time he was in front of a whole room filled with people watching his every move! His emotions, the attention he was receiving, the touch of his beloved's hand on his, the smell of her breath ... it all was too much for him to deal with and he started crying, much to the delight and sympathy of everyone sitting around the table. Aunt Mary motioned for the tearful boy to take his seat, and he spent the remainder of the evening clinging to her skirts like the shy little hero he was supposed to be.

That night, just as he was getting ready for bed, Tony held up his new necklace to look at and thought about what Anthea had said. He was good luck to her, there was no debating that. If he hadn't agreed to his cousin's silly plan and put on those ridiculous clothes and acted like such a ... well, who knew what might have happened? He realised right then and there that he wanted oh, so badly to wear his new dress again and again! But then he thought sadly that this may be the last occasion he would feel its delicate caress against his legs. As he stared at the tiny fairy he wondered just how many other little boys of his age possessed their own party dress.

The next morning after spending the night in a huge bed, Tony in his new kilt outfit, had another wonderful surprise. Anthea came down wearing an outfit that was almost identical! They could have been sisters, dressed in such similar clothes. It was a strange feeling to be dressed so alike but he realised that he had a problem. The sight of his beloved Anthea in that outfit especially as it so closely resembled his own began to get him aroused again. But this time he was wearing a little kilt with no petticoat and as it was very difficult for him to keep his excitement from being noticed, he spent a lot of time sitting with his hands placed primly in his lap.

Their visit over, Shirley and her mother slept for most of the journey home. Tony, however, just couldn't sleep because there were too many things running through his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about Anthea, but he also knew that if they met again he would probably have to tell her the truth about his real identity.

He also wondered how or when he would ever be able to wear dresses or skirts again; after all, he now had two little girl outfits of his very own. If the right situation ever presented itself who knows what might happen. He lifted his feet onto the seat and hugged his legs tightly in a typical little girl pose, squirming about in his panties and kilt. Gone completely, at least for that moment, were his feelings of embarrassment about wearing skirts. Quite the contrary, he had grown to love the feel and freedom that these clothes gave him. Summer vacation, he remembered as he looked over sleepily at the little doll still sitting in it's own seat, wasn't over just yet...


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