A Starlight Summer
Author's Note: Another Monday, time for another chapter. I'm sorry about how slow this time is going. Every time I think its starting to progress, one of the chapters takes on a mind of its own. I do at some point hope to get her on her actual vacation lol. In this chapter, Mac's mother is not going to come across as likable. I was told that, well the reader told me how much they didn't like her here. Don't judge her too harshly, she's doing what she thinks is best. Don't judge Mac too harshly either. I hope everyone enjoys this chapter :).
Though at the time I didn’t realize it was a lie. Now I definitely did. Maybe it was the stress of the situation or maybe it was because I was tired of being pushed around. Or maybe it was because I was scared of the affection that Tess was showering me with. I was used to the stares or the occasional blushing but that’s all it ever was. Guys would even try to flirt from time to time but I always ignored it. Partially because I thought they were being polite but mostly because they were strangers. It was usually when I lowered my guard too. I’d either forget to wear my hood like at the grocery store or I’d wear a normal bra that didn’t squish my girls so much. Regardless, whenever someone did notice my true gender, I dealt with it.
No one had ever actually given my masquerade any attention though.
I didn’t really have any friends.
Not real ones anyway.
I had plenty of people that I knew and talked too on a regular basis, like Tess for instance. I never really considered her a friend though. We didn’t hang out together outside of school. Even in school we didn’t sit together at lunch or meet up in the hallway outside of our brief locker conversations. We were acquaintances. I had a lot of those. Not just in real life either. In some of the games I played and the forums, I visited online. I didn’t know any of those people in real life. It was easy that way. Sometimes it was hard enough keeping my lives separate from one another, adding friends would have just complicated things more.
I used to have them though.
Before “Ken” vanished into a disguise.
They were all gone now though. Well still there but gone from my life. I couldn’t take the risk. I also didn’t want them to think I was a freak. Ok, I’ll admit it, I was afraid to lose them. So I did the only rational thing I could think of and cut them out of my life before they could do the same to me. They were bitter and confused for a while but they got over it quickly. That’s how these things worked.
What does any of that have to do with being a Liar?
“I can’t do this!”
We were sitting in front of my vanity, she was in the process of putting some light makeup on my face. After my revelation that I was tired of pretending to be a boy, Mom had been ecstatic of course. The first thing she did was take me out shopping. She was like a whirlwind crazy lady, dragging me from one store to the next. We bought more clothes than I could fit in my clothes. Definitely more than I was ever going to wear. I tried to stop her but once Mom got going on something there was no stopping her. That was a couple of days ago. She’d been building up to this moment ever since. She made a lot of strategic purposes without me too. Ones she was secretive about and refused to reveal to me unless I agreed to this very moment.
“You’re the one who wanted to do this” she reminded me.
I nodded but that was two days ago.
I’d had plenty of time to think about it since.
Let’s be honest here.
I was scared.
Being Ken was safe and easy. I’d been “Ken” all my life. People associated the disguise with me. The problem is, that’s all it was. It might have been all it ever was. I tried thinking back on my life before, back when I thought I was a boy. Save playing baseball for that tiny bit of time, I never really was much of a boy. I didn’t like to rough house, I didn’t like to get dirty, I hated doing guy things. Jax tried to get me to watch sports with him but I thought it was boring. He tried getting me to camping with him but the great outdoors was messy and smelly. The only thing we actually ever truly bonded with was fighting. I loved being in the ring, learning new things. Jax once said I had an aptitude for it.
I had other non-boy like hobbies too.
Like the acting.
I’m not saying acting wasn’t masculine or anything. I’m just saying that most boys my age didn’t go out of their way to do it. I loved it though. I loved putting on a costume and pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Pretending. I was really good at that. When puberty hit and my body started to change in ways I never expected, I decided to still pretend. Pretend to be a boy. I was good at it. Apparently, I’d been doing it for nearly eleven years of my life. Being a boy was easy for me. It was all about the way I walked, what I wore, how I kept my hair. When my voice didn’t change, I changed it. When my breasts started to grow and my hips widened, I hid them.
I did a really good job too.
There were some things I couldn’t hide though.
For one, my laugh.
I had a really girly laugh.
I hated it.
But I am a girl after all. I’m supposed to have a girl’s laugh. It's just when you’re supposed to be a boy and you laugh like a girl, it gets noticed. So I tried to not laugh around others. It wasn’t easy. It was also the least of my problems. The other one was boys. I could deny it all I wanted it but I loved boys. I loved the way they looked and the way they smelled. A particularly gorgeous one made me weak in the knees. I was a puddle of goo when they smiled at me. I wanted to be with them, I wanted to be held by them, I wanted to be kissed by them. They made me hot and bothered and at first, I tried to hide it. I thought I was turning gay. But girls were supposed to like boys. Not that a girl liking a girl is wrong its just well I wasn’t that kind of girl apparently.
Dr. Martin and I had a lot of conversations about it.
She told me that these feelings were natural. They might have been but not for me. I was trying to be a boy after all. I couldn’t let other boys see me staring at them or else they’d think I was gay. Blood in the water. The names were bad enough but if they actually confronted me about it, tried to fight me, I’d either get exposed as a girl or expelled for beating the shit out of them. Neither scenario was beneficial to me. So I tried to ignore my feelings. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t doctor approved either. I loved Dr. Martin, she was great. She just didn’t understand how difficult things were for me.
No one truly did.
“Honey its just makeup” said, Mom, after I didn’t respond for some time.
“It's not just makeup” I hissed finally.
Mom set down the eyeliner pencil she was holding.
Looking in the mirror, seeing what she’d done so far, yeah it definitely wasn’t just makeup.
There was a girl in that mirror.
A pretty girl.
I think I’d been in denial for far too long. Everyone kept telling me how much I looked like my mother. It's something that most kids expect to hear. “Oh, you look like your Mom or your Dad”, typical stuff. The problem is I was a daughter that looked like her mother. Mom was a model, a supermodel. I’d seen plenty of photos of her when she was my age. I saw those really bad Butcher Beach movies she was in too. I knew what Mom looked like when she was younger. Looking in the mirror now---with just the subtlest hints of makeup---I looked like her. I was Caroline Russell 2.0 and it scared the hell out of me.
I wasn’t supposed to be pretty.
I was Ken Hodge.
Ok so never really Ken but I was trying to be.
Ken was not supposed to be pretty.
I started to tear up, I couldn’t help it.
Mom put a gentle on my shoulder.
“I’m sorry sweetheart, it was too much, too fast.”
“Say no more,” she said, wrapping me in a tight hug.
I couldn’t remember the last time Mom hugged me like that. I found myself wrapping my arms around her too. It was nice. Is this what mothers and daughters did? Did they hug all the time? Cried on one another's shoulder? Is this what I would have to look forward too from now on?
No not from now on.
I was still bound and determined to finish school as “Ken”. I made that abundantly clear to my mother when I told her my decision. I was just going to take this opportunity to explore things more this summer. In the past, I only ever dressed as a girl on vacation. It really wasn’t all that different than dressing as a boy, to be honest. The clothes were cut different, some of them tighter on my body of course. They were still shorts and tees though. I never let her put makeup on me and I hated heels. I knew how to walk in them of course but I refused to wear them. Just like skirts and dresses. I could never wear bikinis either. Not that I would if I could but my condition didn’t really allow it. My protrusion down below was too small to tuck like transgender boys could do and it was noticeable enough in a bikini bottom to draw attention. So I resorted to wearing a one piece with a wrap around. There were other means to try and hide it but I didn’t want to go that far.
Though Mom tried, she didn’t press the issue.
There was something I didn’t tell her though. It was smaller now. Like I said, it was like the size of a five-year-old's penis. Or least it used to be. I’m not sure how something like this worked but as I got older, it seemed to get smaller. Dr. Crane---my specialist---told me that it might be a possibility. Though it would never revert to a normal size without corrective measures, it could be small enough to pass as a normal girl. It started to get smaller about a year ago. Still not small enough for a bikini but small enough that it could pass for a large camel toe. Ok, so I’ll admit I never actually tried the bikini thing, at least not for some time. Mom tried a few years back but we saw it wouldn’t work so we didn’t try again.
It's the reason I wasn’t telling her about the shrinkage.
I knew how she worked.
“So” she said, after our very long and awkward silence. “We have all afternoon, what do you want to do?”
What did I want to do?
It had been a couple of days since my run-in with Brian. After getting over the initial shock of it all, my parents and I had a long talk. That’s when I dropped the whole vacation bombshell on them. Of course, Mom freaked. She tried to use the “you’re a seventeen-year-old girl and there’s no way I’m letting you” excuse/argument. Like I suspected Jax was on my side. I didn’t even have to rope him into it either. He fought my case, using responsibility, maturity and a “need to find herself” as his argument. It took some convincing but Jax and I were able to finally win Mom over. It was all pretty anti-climatic actually. Mom quickly came around to the idea, she even saw some merit in it. Though she did give me “rules” I had to follow:
1.I wasn’t allowed to leave the country.
2. I wasn’t allowed to throw any parties.
3.No Drugs or Alcohol of ANY kind.
4.No One was allowed into the house unless I got permission first
5. NO BOY MODE
The first three were pretty obvious and nothing she had to worry about from me. I had no intention of leaving the county for starters. The state sure but not the country. I didn’t let her know about that though. I figured I’d fill them in as soon as I was on my way. Rules 2 and 3 went together. Also a No Brainer for me, I mean I had no friends for starters. There was no one to invite to a party or into the house for that matter. I guess Rule 4 could be folded into that as well. Rule 3 was easy. I’d never actually touched any drugs or alcohol of any kind. I wouldn’t even know where to get drugs, well the illegal kind. Alcohol I had to be twenty-one. None of my fake IDs were for over the age of eighteen. Yes, I had a few fake ones. Basically so I didn’t raise questions if I was out in “boy mode”.
Speaking of Boy Mode, that last rule wasn’t fair.
I was running scared.
I’ll admit it.
My mother clearly figured it out too because she wanted me to stick to my guns.
I opened my mouth to answer her question, she stopped me.
“Before you say something, need I remind you that laying around on your butt all day is not a good enough answer.”
I sighed. “So then what’s the right answer?”
Oh God, I hated that smile.
The bane of my existence.
My mother’s mecca.
Ok, so I’m over exaggerating a bit on that last part but not by much. I think my mother and my sister spent more time here then they did at home. I never really could understand the pull. Maybe its because I spent the first eleven years of my life being a “boy” or maybe it was because I didn’t really care to shop. Most of the time I would go to the store, get what I want and leave. My mother called it a “Man’s way to shop”. It was one of the reason that she hated taking me shopping. Her complaining about the way I liked to shop was the chief reason I hated going shopping with her.
And yet here I was.
Not by choice that’s for sure.
“You wanted to torture me, didn’t you?”
We just pulled into the parking garage, Mom finally found a spot toward the top. She rolled her eyes as she shut the engine off.
“Stop being so overdramatic.”
“What are we doing here, again?”
“You need some more outfits,” she said as she got out of the car. “Plus I think a quick salon visit might be nice.”
“Salon, you said nothing about a salon!”
I got out of the car quickly. Mom was already making her way toward the elevators. For a woman wearing high heeled boots, she was moving remarkably fast. I actually had to run a bit to catch her. She was already at the elevator, stepping inside. I barely got in myself before the door closed.
The parking garage was five stories, whereas the mall itself was only three. We had to park at the top, so the ride down to the third floor was pretty quiet. There wasn’t even any of that annoying elevator music to keep us company. Just as well. I passed the time thinking about how crazy my mother was. When I told her I wanted to try this whole girl thing, I never thought she’d take it this far. I mean sure I was a girl but Mom was going all out full girly mode. I wasn’t expecting that. I should have, considering how girly Claudia was. I just thought maybe Mom might keep it a little more low key for me. She knew I was new to all of this and I wasn’t exactly the most feminine thing around. When she did some clothes shopping for me the other day though, she went a little overboard.
Lots of little shorts, tight jeans and tiny tank tops.
Clothes that showed off my figure.
Clothes that screamed “GIRL!”.
I knew what she was trying to do. She was trying to throw me headfirst into the deep end. You gotta sink to swim. She was trying to overwhelm me with all things super girly so that I could get the full immersion. It was a nasty and cruel thing to do. She justified it all by telling me, “you’ve been denying yourself for too long, you have a lot of catching up to do.” When I’d done the whole girl thing during vacations, I usually just went very low key with things. Some unisex shirts and shorts. The bare minimum as it were. Mom wasn’t going to let me do that this time.
We entered the mall proper after the very short elevator ride.
I was always flabbergasted by the mall, especially this early in the day. It wasn’t even noon and it was already jam-packed with people. Lake View Galleria wasn’t the only mall in the city but it was definitely the largest and most popular. Three floors, a crap ton of stores and far too many kids my own age. Some of them might even be classmates. I suddenly felt really naked. I pulled my hood as far down over my head as I could and tried unsuccessfully to pull on the bottoms of the tiny shorts Mom got me to wear. I hated shorts, they showed off my bony, chalk white chicken legs.
Plus Mom made me shave this morning.
My legs were all smooth and they creeped me out.
Mom looped her arm through mine, smacking at hands.
“I think we need to hit the shops first,” she said, leading me to my doom. “Then lunch before we hit the salon.”
I tried digging my heels into the floor but the damn thing was marble or something.
As it was, my new girly flip flops had very little traction anyway.
When we got to our first teen girl-oriented shop, I tuned out. Mom took charge and started picking out things she liked. I had tunnel vision the whole time. She kept holding things up to me and putting them in the chart after asking me what I thought. I didn’t even get a chance to say anything before she moved onto the next article of clothing. I hated that. I just couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t protesting. I mean she was taking charge of my life and I was a silent passenger to the whole thing. The strange thing was, Mom had great fashion sense. I guess having a former supermodel for a mother was a blessing in that respect. I still couldn’t help but wonder who she was really shopping for?
“Go try these on," she said, pointing to all the things currently overflowing our cart.
“All of it?”
“Is something wrong, sweetie?”
This was it, my moment.
I opened my mouth to say something and…
Fucking chicken again.
“No Mom, I’m fine.”
Why was it so hard for me to tell her No?
I mean I stood up and took charge of my vacation, why couldn’t I take charge of this? Was I that much of a pushover and a coward or was it something else? Was I scared of my mother? Or was I really scared of myself? This had been my decision after all---deciding to try being a girl---and yet so far I’d done nothing to embrace it. Well, at least nothing on my own. As soon as I made the decision, Mom took charge of it. I let her too. The last few days it had been the Mom Show. She went shopping for me. She made me shave my legs. She made me wear these stupid clothes. She made me sit in front of that mirror with that makeup. Never once did she ask Me what I wanted.
And I was letting her do it.
Sighing, I looked at the cart full of clothes.
Clothes I hated.
Clothes I wanted to burn.
“Something wrong, honey?”
“No,” I said, defeated. “Its just a lot.”
Mom laughed. “We’re not buying all of this. We just need to see what fits and what looks good on you. You’ll see.”
Mom was using “You” in that sentence but there was a lot of “We” as well. I couldn’t help but wonder as I looked from her to the clothes and back again if this was really about me at all? When I told Mom I wanted to give being a girl a shot, she said she'd help. I’d been here before though. The last few summers like I mentioned. It had always been a small, low key thing though. I would wear some clothes on a boat for a few weeks then I’d come home and they’d go away. I never fully committed to it though. It was almost as if I was a cross-dressing boy and not a real girl. Mom tried to be supportive but it visually pained her too. At the end of the summer, all those clothes went away and I was back to being Me again.
I didn’t have that option here.
I made that decision.
I made that promise.
Taking an armful of the offending garments, I trudged off to the changing rooms. I stripped to my skivvies quickly, trying not to think about it. I also tried to put my mind somewhere else. Then I smiled. A play. It was simple enough that I was surprised I’d never thought of it before. I was an actor after all. I’d been so wrapped up in all this emotional drama and things, I’d almost forgotten that. Clothes were nothing more than a costume right? Maybe I could make the Girl Me a costume as well? I’d done it before. Every summer in fact. I would put on the clothes, make a small effort and “play the girl” for my mother. I knew it wasn’t supposed to be acting but it really was. I didn’t know how to be a girl, a real one I mean.
I would often use the word masquerade when describing my “Ken mode” at school but was it really? Wasn’t Kenzie really the masquerade?
Taking a deep breath, I put on the first outfit.
I stepped out of the changing room and let my mother gush over me.
I rolled my eyes.
Play the Role.
I smiled. “I’m not sure I like this one,” I said, dropping the masculine in my voice.
Mom didn’t even blink when she spoke, “That’s why we have so much honey, we need to find out what fits you.”
There’s that “We” bit again.
I went back into the changing room.
` The montage began.
Outfit after outfit. I stripped, dressed, faked a smile and a preen, took the bullshit compliments in stride then did it all over again. Over and over again. I lost track. I’m not sure exactly when it stopped being an act though. I think it was when I found a top and shorts that actually felt comfortably. The shorts were not tight and hugging my butt like an ass-glove and the shirt didn’t go out of its way to show the world I had boobs. Putting both on, I caught myself smiling in the mirror. Stepping out of the little room, Mom smiled at my smile.
“You like that one, don’t you?”
“I want more like this” I said, waving a hand over my body.
“No,” I said, interrupting her. “Like this. Those other clothes are uncomfortable. I like this.”
Mom looked like she was about to protest but nodded. She took the cart with all the clothes I rejected. I smiled at her backside. So maybe I wasn’t such a pushover after all. At least when I found something that suited me. Mom came back a few minutes later, with more outfits like the one I currently had on. I tried those but didn’t really need too, she did a good job matching them all. Satisfied, I changed back into my original clothes. I then followed Mom to the register when the girl there chatted while she rang us up.
“Oh these are so cute” she gushed, like a giggling idiot. “You’ll look awesome in them!”
Play the Part.
Mom smiled too as she paid. We left the store. We got outside before we shared a laugh. Mom caught the bullshit too it would seem.
Hitting the other stores was much easier.
I found outfits similar to the ones I bought before. As long as I was now in control of what I wanted to wear, things with Mom went a bit smoother. I even managed a pair of jeans or two out of the deal. She tried unsuccessfully to steer me toward a skirt. She also tried a dress once but I blatantly refused. The only real contention we had was in the lingerie store. Mom insisted I try wearing a more feminine looking bra. I liked my sports bras though. They were comfortable and they had the support I liked.
“They’re ugly though,” she said, as I started grabbing what I wanted.
“No one is going to see them but me.”
Mom looked like she was going to say something then realized who she was talking too.
“You better be the only one seeing them!”
A moment later, a saleswoman materialized out of nowhere.
“Good afternoon ladies!”
I nearly jumped.
She oozed right out of a clothing rack like the fucking T-1000.
She was middle-aged like my mother but unlike Mom, she didn’t take care of herself. She didn’t look old but she looked older than my mother. There was a great deal more age lines on her face and quite a bit grayer. She was shorter than us too, even with the heels. Mom in her heeled boots towered a whole head taller than this lady. I couldn’t help but smirk at that. The woman had a fake smile plastered on her face but it was clear she hated Mom. It was hard not to be jealous of the Great Caroline Russell. Ok, the Former Great Caroline Russell but she was still there even if she was only Caroline Hodge now.
“My name is Helen, I’m the Sales Manager, how may I assist you today.”
“My daughter and I are having a bra debate.”
I tuned out the rest of it.
Mom and Helen went back and forth. They tried to include me but I didn’t really care. Bra sizes were mentioned then they discussed styles and things. I put a few more sports bras into the cart.
“Honey, what do you think?”
I gave her a blank stare.
Mom sighed. “What do you think of this?”
Mom was holding up a bra.
I shrugged. “If we get a few can we leave?”
Yeah I really was done bra shopping.
Mom happily put a few into the cart.
When we got to the underwear, I wasn’t debating it. I HATED normal panties. They were just too damn girly for me. I went straight for the boy cut variety. Mom didn’t try arguing. She knew there was no way I was budging on those. I got several pairs then wandered over to the entrance while Mom went to check out. I tried looking disinterested as I looked at some bras near the door. They looked normal enough, just too girly for me to wear. I found myself absently touching one of the cups though, just to be sure.
"Those are great” said a chirpy voice behind me.
A perky sales girl about my age was suddenly at my elbow.
They’re all T-1000s in this place.
“They’re for girls like us,” she said then in a whisper added. “You know, with very little up top.”
I felt embarrassed and instinctively covered my chest with a hand.
She giggled. “Its nothing to be ashamed about and with one of those you don’t have too, they’re padded, you know to make us look bigger.”
Why in the hell would I want them to look bigger?
Thankfully Mom showed up and saved me.
She saw me looking at the bras though and smiled. I flushed red in embarrassment. I rushed out of the store before she could say anything.
We had quite a few bags now.
And I was getting hungry.
“Why don’t you go to the food court, get something to eat, I’ll take these to the car and come join you.”
She didn’t have to tell me twice.
I quickly made my way toward the elevator, navigating the throngs of people with ease.
The Food Court was on the second floor of the mall. I rode the elevator alone, staring out its glass sides at all the people. Too many people. Trying not to think about it, I entered the already packed court. I found my usual: Dave’s Hotdogs. I got my usual too, a large double cheeseburger, fries, rings and a large chocolate shake. Finding a seat near the trashcans, I started to dig in. Say what you will about me but I never did develop a dainty, girly appetite. The great thing is that I could eat what I wanted and not gain weight. I burned calories fast. That and I would work off this meal later. It was one of the perks of owning a Gym.
I was halfway through my burger when I noticed I was being watched.
I only slightly noticed them.
A couple of tables over there was a group of guys my age. They were trying to be subtle about it but I knew they were looking. At first, I thought they were gearing up to start crap until I realized how I was dressed. The tiny shorts, the girl’s hoodie. Shit. My hood was down too and though my hair was pretty unisex, Mom managed to style it a bit this morning before we left. She also managed to get some light lip gloss on my lips before I protested the whole makeup fiasco. With the clothes, the hair and the gloss, I looked like a fucking girl. Ok so I was a girl but boys didn’t usually know that.
One of them stood up. He had sandy blonde hair and dimples. Cute ones. Shit.
He came wandering over.
“Hey” he said, leaning on the chair across from me.
“Hey,” I said, not sure how to respond.
“I know you?”
“I don’t think so.”
“I’ve seen you before?”
I shrugged. “I live in the city, its possible.”
It wasn’t. This guy thought he was being smooth. I’m sure it worked before. On other girls. I thankfully was not like most of them. I’ll admit he was cute but there was no way in hell I was letting some guy try to pick me up in a mall food court.
Dave’s smile faded slightly but he didn’t stop trying. “My buddies and I are going to see a movie, you want to tag along?”
I looked over at his friends.
They were looking our way.
They were cute too, in their own way.
I wasn’t going there though.
I sighed heavily. “Because I’m shopping with my mother.”
“Is she as cute as you?”
I groaned. I wanted to bust this guy’s nose. Instead, I looked up at him and smiled. How could I do this without making myself a target?
“You seem like a nice guy, Dave. You’re cute, you have that going for you at least but you see I’m just not that interested. I like them really butch, you know big biceps, buzzed heads and breasts bigger than your head, you understand?”
The color drained from Dave’s face.
“Yeah, thanks anyway.”
He turned and walked back to his table. He dropped into his seat. His table was close enough so I’m sure his friends heard our conversation. They started to laugh. I couldn’t help but smirk. Dave and his buddies stayed long enough for Mom to show up. They were leaving when she was arriving. Dave, it seemed still couldn’t grasp the concept of my supposed lesbianism because he kept staring even though he knew I wasn’t interested.
“Who’s your friend?” asked Mom, watching the boys leave.
“No one” I said, feeling myself blush.
Mom gave me a knowing smile.
I ignored it.
We sat and ate lunch in relative silence. Well, I was silent anyway. Mom was talking about the rest of the day. I didn’t really like the sound of it. Instead of speaking up though, I kept my mouth shut again. Mom was a whirlwind that you couldn’t stop. I’d seen the shows on the Weather Channel, the Tornado chaser ones. I knew what happens during a tornado. So it was just best to let the whirlwind do its thing, let nature take its course and pick up the pieces afterward. It was a horrible analogy on my life at the moment but I was too much of a coward to stand in her path. So I’d hide in my little-armored vehicle and wait until she passed.
Fun times ahead for me.
Author’s note: As I’m sure all of you know, comments are life blood to an author. I’m not begging or demanding, but I certainly would appreciate anything you have to say (or ask). It doesn’t have to be long and involved, just give me your reaction to the story. Thanks in advance...EOF
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