Finding Zoey - Part 2

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Finding Zoey – Part 2

By Katherine Day

(Copyright 2019)

(A sequel to a 2018 story about a boy who finds joy in being a pretty girl and the twists and turns that feature his new adventure.)

It had been an exhausting, chilly trek from Frederick Douglass Middle School for seventh grader Tommy Lundstrom, but the six-block walk through six inches of wet snow did little to dampen his enthusiasm. He was looking forward to spending the next three hours wearing a new skirt and blouse combination he had found recently at a second-hand store.

His mother would be at work until at least ten o’clock that night and, thankfully, his little sister, Tonya, was to be at her friend Melanie’s house until about eight o’clock. That meant he could safely parade about the house as a chubby, cute teenage girl named Zoey.

Five months before, on a rainy day in late August, Tommy and Tonya turned to a dress-up game to break their rainy-day boredom; it’s something they had done several times before when they were younger, with Tommy often putting on dresses and acting like a girl – an experience he had found to be both thrilling and satisfying.

On that rainy day, Tonya told him that he looked like a pretty girl when he dressed up, brushed his long dark brown hair and put on light lip gloss and moderate blush. And Tommy surprised himself when he agreed “I look just like a girl.”

The two children felt the “pretty girl” should have a feminine name and settled on Zoey after rejecting Tammy and Terry as being too closely associated with his own name. Thus, Zoey was born and she would spring out of the cocoon of boyhood several times a week when twelve-year-old Tommy was charged with watching over his eleven-year-old little sister while their mother worked as a waitress at Maurice’s, a high-class restaurant downtown.

Thus far, Tommy had kept his cross-dressing a secret from their mother. He originally began his girlish adventures by borrowing from their mother’s dresser drawers and closet, and he had always been careful to try to return the items exactly where she had left them. Several times, she complained that she couldn’t find something, only to locate it later, usually commenting, “I don’t remember putting that there. I must be losing my senses.” So far, however, she didn’t suspect anyone else getting into her clothing items.

His little sister was a willing conspirator in this deception and in fact had originally encouraged Tommy to dress up. She continued to enjoy her brother as Zoey, gleefully calling him her “big sister.” It was a role he cherished, but on this chilly January day, he wanted to spend a few hours alone, without his sister’s nagging over how what he should wear, how he should fix his hair and what kind of makeup to use. He wanted to just live for a few hours as Zoey trying on the several outfits he had purchased at nearby thrift shops with money he earned baby-sitting weekends for the two young children of Sherri Cominsky, a single mother who lived down the block.

“I’m a girl, I’m a girl,” he said aloud, looking into the mirror and finding an image that confirmed his proclamation. He was in his mother’s bedroom, since it was larger than his small room and gave him space to twirl about in the skirts. Also, it had a full-length mirror on the inside of the closet door.

The view from the mirror showed a soft, somewhat chubby girl in a plaid, schoolgirl skirt that ended just above the knee, exposing a tantalizing hint of a white, fleshy thigh. A peasant blouse with short, cupped sleeves and a digging bodice that revealed a cleavage formed by training bra that held his two breasts. Tommy had fashioned his longish brown hair with a slight bob. Yes, indeed, he was a comely girl.

“I’m Zoey Lundstrom,” he proclaimed breaking out in a broad smile. He saw a bottle of perfume on his mother’s vanity and dabbed a few drops behind each ear as he‘d seen his mother do. It was just a few drops and he thought the odor would be gone before anyone would notice. The scent made him feel more girlish.

His reverie was shattered when he heard the backdoor open and his sister’s voice, yelling, “Zoey, Zoey, where are you?”

He froze, not expecting her for several hours, and then sheer fright gripped him when he heard some giggling and another girl’s voice. It sounded like Melanie O’Connor’s voice, and Tommy certainly didn’t want to have her see him in the skirt and blouse. Even though Melanie was his sister’s age, Tommy liked her and often had played with her in the past, and he didn’t want her to discover his feminine enjoyments. No way could he change back to his boy outfit, remove his makeup and muss his hair in time to avoid Tonya and Melanie seeing him. Maybe he could hide in the closet, he thought momentarily, quickly reconsidering since his sister would likely know he’d be in his Zoey mode. She’d soon find him in the closet, and that would be even more humiliating. There was no place to hide.

“Zoey, are you in mom’s room?” he heard his sister yell, again using his girl’s name.

“Hey, Zoey, it’s Melanie. I wanna see Tonya’s big sister.”

Damn Tonya, Tommy thought. It was obvious she had already told Melanie about Zoey. “I hate you, Tonya,” he yelled back, tipping off the two girls that he was in their mother’s room.

The bedroom door opened and Tonya burst in followed by Melanie; they were all smiles. “I wanna show off my big sister,” Tonya explained, as she rushed to give Tommy what could only be construed as a sisterly hug.

“But I was only doing this for fun,” Tommy said quickly, “Just wanted to see what it felt like to wear girl’s stuff.”

“You’re cute, Zoey,” Melanie said, giving him a warm smile.

“Doesn’t Zoey look like I said she would, Mel? A real girl?”

“And so pretty, too,” her friend agreed.

Tommy angrily pushed his sister aside, screaming out “what are y’ doing here now? And what did you tell Melanie?”

In his anger, his voice rose to a high girlish pitch and he started to cry. Zoey was to be his and Tonya’s secret, and yet she told her best friend and now everyone in the world would know about him. Not only would they learn he liked to wear girl’s clothes, but that he looked like a real girl, too. Worst of all, he was embarrassed to have Melanie find out as well; he liked her and considered her to be his best friend. Now, what did she think of him?

Weakened by the imagined realization that a lifetime of humiliation awaited him, he collapsed on his mother’s bed, sobbing uncontrollably.

“Zoey, don’t cry,” Tonya pleaded, coming to his side.

“No, don’t cry. You’re so pretty and I like you as Zoey.” It was Melanie who moved to his other side, so that his body was squeezed between the two eleven-year-old girls.

Tommy’s sobbing soon subsided and he sat up on the bed, with the two girls sitting at his side. “I thought it was just our secret,” he said, looking at his sister.

“I’m sorry, Zoey, but Melanie is our best friend. She likes you,” Tonya said.

“But she’ll think I’m a sissy or something.”

“No, Zoey, I won’t. I think you and Tonya are my bestest girlfriends,” Melanie said. “You’re fun to play with.”

“But . . . but . . . I’m a boy,” he protested.

“Not now. Look in the mirror,” Melanie said, giggling.

The images of three tween girls were reflected from the mirror over Tommy and Tonya’s mother’s vanity. A tomboyish looking Tonya and a petite, delicate Melanie were sitting on either side of a chubby, cute girl with eyes made red by sobs. The girl in the middle was him, Zoey. Tommy was uncertain how to react, wondering whether he should reject the idea that he looked girlish and seek to regain his boyhood. Yet, as he looked at the image of Zoey, the girl was smiling. He liked the idea of being a girl.

“Don’t you see a girl in the middle, Zoey?” Melanie asked.

“I guess,” he said, still not willing to admit the truth.

“Come on, Zoey, you’re a girl. You’ve always been a girl,” she persisted.

Tonya agreed. “Remember how much you liked playing with Melanie’s Barbies?” she asked.

Tommy flushed, recalling the times when they were younger and he and Melanie often played together, many times ending up in her bedroom dressing and undressing her dolls. Sometimes Tonya would join them, but usually she was out rough-housing it with the boys in the neighborhood.

“I got an idea,” Tonya said, a mischievous glint in her eye.

“What?” Tommy asked, not certain that he’d be comfortable with one of his sister’s “ideas,” which often led them into trouble.

“Brett’s home now, isn’t he, Mel?” she asked her friend.

“Yeah, he is.”

“And your mom’s still at work, right?”

“What are you thinking?” Tommy asked, suspicious of his sister’s plans.

“Let’s the three of us go over to your house, Mel, and see what Brett says when he sees Zoey,” Tonya said, a little giggle following.

“What? No way,” screams Tommy.

“Why not?” Tonya argued. “We’ll say you’re my cousin from Springfield, or something. He won’t know you’re really Tommy in a skirt.”

Tommy wasn’t convinced. “No, he’ll find out. He’ll kill me,” he protested.

He and Brett had often done things together, usually centered around Brett’s fascination for airplanes and space exploration. Just a few months ago, they designed a tiny remote-controlled helicopter out of plywood, some metal parts, and a small engine they bought at a crafts and hobby store. The two boys had spent hours at it, often arguing over various engineering issues, but in the end triumphing in successfully getting it off the ground by several feet and getting it to fly about 50 yards before they lost control. It crashed, but wasn’t too badly damaged. They vowed to get it flying again, but they never worked on it much afterward. Brett got busy as he joined a junior football team, where his skill at quarterback drew the attention, and soon his interest changed from aeronautics to football. He had become a “jock,” and Tommy and Brett’s time together largely ended.

“No, he won’t, besides you look so much like a girl, he’ll never know,” Tonya continued.

“My brother wouldn’t hurt you, Zoey,” Melanie added. “He’s always liked you.”

“He won’t like me dressed as a girl. He’ll think I’m a sissy or something.”

“I bet he won’t know Zoey is Tommy,” Tonya echoed.

“Yeah, come on, let’s do it,” Melanie said.

“And, Zoey, you must remember that from now on, you’re a girl,” his sister address with a mischievous smile. “You’re a she, not a he. And don’t forget it.”

“Yes,” he nodded.

Twenty minutes later, Melanie O’Connor, along with Tonya and Zoey Lundstrom, walked out the front door and headed to the O’Connor house, two houses away. Zoey tried her best to rush them along to avoid being seen by the neighbors, but the other two girls held her back, insisting on walking slowly and deliberately.

“Walk like a girl, Zoey,” Tonya said.

“How’s that?” she asked.

“I think girls take shorter steps, and maybe walk with feet straight,” Melanie suggested, demonstrating the maneuver in an exaggerated manner.

“Like this?” Zoey said, seeking to mimic Melanie.

“You got it, Zoey; now you really are a girl!” she said, giggling.

When the girls reached the O’Connor house, they couldn’t find Melanie’s brother Brett at first, searching into the boy’s bedroom, the kitchen and living-dining area. Suddenly, they heard the first beats of heavy metal music arising from the basement.

“Bet he’s in the rec room working out,” Melanie said, heading through the kitchen to the door to the basement.

“No, let’s not go down there. He won’t like it,” Zoey said, trying to hold back the other two girls.

‘Come on, Zoey,” pleaded Melanie as Tonya sister pulled her arm. Reluctantly, Zoey followed the two girls into the basement.

Before Zoey reached the bottom of the stairs, she heard Brett yell at his sister, “What are y’doin’ here? Get out.”

Zoey was two steps from the bottom and turned to go back up the stairs, before being restrained by her sister who pulled her down the remaining stairs and into the basement, where she was astounded to see Brett standing, holding a barbell with two large weights, wearing shorts and a sweat-soaked tee-shirt that had already grown tight against his expanding body. Meanwhile, the music blasted out of a boombox. The boy Zoey spied was hardly the same one she had played with just a few months earlier; she realized it had been several months since the two had spent any time together and in the interim Brett had muscled up his formerly slender body and had even seemed to grow a bit taller.

“Hi, Brett,” said Tonya, giving him a teasing look.

Brett’s scowl that had been aimed at his sister changed quickly as he spied Tonya; even though the two children were two years apart in age, they had always enjoyed playing with each other, possibly due to Tonya’s rough-housing ways.

“Oh, hi,” Brett said, now smiling.

“I just wanted you to meet Zoey,” Tonya began. “She’s my cousin, you know, from Springfield.”

“Your cousin, I didn’t know you had a cousin,” the boy said.

“We don’t see her much, but she’s pretty nice,” Tonya said.

Zoey blushed, surprised that Brett didn’t recognize the girl as Tommy, his friend. She turned her head down, trying to avoid eye contact.

“Don’t be shy,” Brett said. “I’m nice, right Tonya?”

Melanie frowned. “You’re not always nice, Brett.”

“What do you know? You’re only my little sister.”

“Brett is nice, Zoey,” Tonya interjected.

Zoey continued to look down, afraid to look at Brett for fear of being recognized as Tommy. Little did Zoey know, but her shy behavior only made her look more like a little girl.

“She’s kinda cute,” Brett said.

Zoey wanted to turn and run from the basement rec room, but something held her still. Finally, she raised her head a bit, so as to get a better look at Brett. What a marvelous body the boy had; it was something that Zoey (as Tommy) had always envied, wondering why she was soft and weak while most boys had rippling muscles. Now, dressed as Zoey, she found herself dreaming what it would be like to be held by a strong boy like Brett.

“Hi,” Zoey said, her voice low and muffled.

Brett smiled at Zoey. “What grade are you?”

“Me? Seventh.”

“Nice, just a year behind me. I’m in eighth.”

Just then, Zoey was prodded by her sister. “Talk to the boy, Zoey,” and turning to Brett, she added: “Zoey’s kinda shy Brett, but she can be lots of fun.”

“Yes, I bet,” he smiled. “Talk to me, Zoey.”

Tonya pushed her closer to the sweating boy. “Yes, talk to him, Zoey.”

“What do ya’ want me to say?” Zoey said, unsure how to proceed.

“What do ya’ like to do?” Brett asked kindly, as if to encourage the shy girl.

Zoey was perplexed. How was she to respond? Would she dare admit she liked to play with dolls? No, she was really too old for that. Maybe she could say she liked poetry, which she did. (Tommy had been writing poetry since the 4th grade; it was all flowery stuff and she never showed her efforts to anyone, not even her sister.) No, that was no good.

Finally, she thought of an answer. “I like to dress pretty.”

“Well, you are pretty. Nothing wrong with a pretty girl wanting to be pretty,” Brett replied.

Zoey could think of nothing to say, merely blushing at the compliment.

“She also likes to look at boys,” Tonya interjected mischievously.

“I do not,” Zoey protested, turning pink. She was angry with her sister; this was going too far. How could she have gotten herself roped into this situation? She was no girl; she was a boy.

“You do, too.”

“Do you like looking at me?” Brett said, seizing upon Tonya’s remark.

Zoey turned her face away from him, afraid to answer. She had always liked Brett, envying him for his strong, masculine body. And, she realized, he also had a handsome, face.

“Do you?” Brett persisted.

“You’re nice,” Zoey mumbled a reply, still refusing to look at the boy, keeping her eyes looking down to the floor.

Brett bent to see Zoey’s face and examined it closely. He smiled at first and then a puzzled look clouded his face.

“Don’t I know you, Zoey?” he asked. “It seems I’ve seen you before.”

This was awful, Zoey thought. Had he realized she was not a girl named Zoey, but Tommy, his friend.

“Well, she is our cousin,” Tonya said quickly, coming to the rescue, hoping that the boy would realize there might be a family resistance in this “cousin” from Illinois.

Brett stood upright and Zoey slowly turned her face up in order to look at him. The boy examined the girl named Zoey a bit closer. “Yes, that must be it. You look a lot like Tommy, too.”

Zoey became terrified; she wondered whether Brett had discovered the secret. She felt trapped in this basement facing a humiliation that she’d never live down: the truth that she was not a real girl. She wanted to turn and run, charging up the stairs and out of the house, but Tonya stood in the way. What was she to do?

“We have to go,” Melanie said, coming to the rescue. “We promised Zoey we’d show her the custard stand before it got too dark.”

“We did?” Tonya asked quickly. “We never planned that.”

“Yes. We did,” Melania answered quickly. “You remember we wanted to get you a custard, didn’t we Zoey?”

Zoey nodded, shaking her head vigorously in the affirmative, looking for any excuse to escape the basement and the fear of being exposed.

“How long you in town, Zoey?” the boy asked.

“I don’t . . .”

“Another week,” Tonya said, finishing Zoey’s sentence.

“No, I’m going home tomorrow morning,” Zoey protested, not wanting to give Brett a chance to see her again as a pretty girl.

Tonya shook her head and said merely, “Zoey will be around for a week, Brett.”

Brett smiled. “Really, I’d like to see her again. Maybe I could take her ice-skating or sledding after school tomorrow.”

“I’m no good on skates,” Zoey protested. “Besides, I’m supposed to leave tomorrow.”

“You are not. I forgot to tell you that your mom called and said she knew you were having fun and that you could stay another week,” Tonya said.

Zoey wanted to call her sister a liar; she always had a mischievous streak in her and now she was setting her big brother (as Zoey) up to be the girlfriend of the handsome neighborhood boy.

“How about it, Zoey?” Brett asked. “Wanna go skating or sledding?”

“She really is a pretty good skater,” Melanie said.

“Are you really, Zoey?” Brett asked.

“I guess,” Zoey answered, still keeping her head down. The truth was that ice-skating was one of the few athletic skills she had ever developed. In fact, Zoey had become a great fan of figure skating, actually dreaming of being able to duplicate the grace of many of the great girl skaters, like Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan.

“Let’s go tomorrow then Zoey. OK?” Brett suggested.

Zoey didn’t know how to answer; she merely turned to her sister and looked at her with pleading eyes as if to cry out, “Please help me.”

Tonya smiled back, but surprised that Zoey was replying to Brett, “We’re not sure yet what mom has planned for tomorrow, so maybe Zoey can’t go then.”

“Some other time, then?”

“We’ll talk about it, Brett,” Melanie interjected.

“Bye Brett,” said Tonya, grabbing Zoey by the arm and quickly dragging her out of the basement, with Melanie following.

Brett yelled after them, “I’ll be talking to you, Zoey.”

Zoey put on the women’s coat she had taken from her mother’s closet, feeling both scared and excited by the attention she had found in the attention she got from the handsome, strong Brett – her onetime boyhood companion. Suddenly, she found herself thinking of being a girl in arms of such a boy. (To be continued)

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