I stood outside the library, holding the silver serving tray, the heels making my feet ache. The maid’s uniform exposed my legs to all who came and went in the lobby, though the passing foot traffic really didn’t seem to notice.
I wondered how such a sight would go down among those friends of mine who I’d not seen now in months. What would people think had happened to me. Had I just faded away as so many people in America seem to have done so over these recent years. Did I simply cease to exist one day?
In some way, of course, I had ceased to exist. I’d traded my career, my friends and my past for what? A pair of black panties and fishnet tights?
I focused my mind. No. It was so much more than that. I’d found so much more than I’d lost. I was now something different. I was myself.
It was probably an hour before I heard Mrs. Gravely call out for me. I came in promptly, only to be greeted by the sight of Mrs. Gravely rising to her feet and turning to me to say, “38, be sure to clean up these things, won’t you. Oh, and you may like to chat with Jennifer. She is your sister, I believe. Feel free to spend at least 15 minutes with her. We will expect you at dinner, of course.”
With that the statuesque form of Mrs. Gravely swept from the room. So that was it? I had fifteen minutes with my sister.
“Why don’t you sit down, ‘Andrea’?” said Jennifer once Mrs. Gravely had left the room. I didn’t like the intonation she’d put on my name.
“Jennifer,” I said, “what the hell is going on?”
“Well, ‘Andrea’, it seems to me that my crossdressing brother has got himself into something a little over his head,” she said with mock sarcasm.
I was still unsure what I was dealing with here. I said, “Are you here to help me?”
Jennifer looked at me with something close to pity.
“Oh, Andrea,” she cooed. “Don’t you understand? We’re already helping you. We’ve always been helping you.”
I sat down and stared at my sister.
“I’ve always known,” she said. “I really have. From the first time you went through my panty draw. Yes, I knew all along.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I lied. Sure, I’d seen inside her panty draw when I was an eight year old, but she’d not known anything about it. Or so I thought.
“Yes, you do,” she insisted.
“Don’t you understand? You’ve always been ‘Andrea’,” she continued. “All we’ve done is make it easier for you to be yourself.”
“What? Do you know how I got here? You think that was help?” I said incredulously.
“Oh, yes. You came by river, I believe,” she sipped a little more tea.
“’Came by river?’” I stammered. “I was shanghaied and put on a ship. That’s kidnapping.”
“But Andrea, you do realise you can leave any time you like,” replied Jennifer.
I stared at her. It was probably true. I could walk down to the road and just start walking if I wanted. Of course, there’d be some explaining to do but I suppose there wasn’t much stopping me. Except of course, Veronica. I didn’t want her to be whipped to ribbons.
“The real question, Andrea, is whether you want to leave. I mean, be honest. You are happier like this aren’t you?”
The question hit me like a train. I felt my head spin as I realised she was right. Was I like the canary that, knowing the cage was open, would return to it by choice?
“Look at you. The fishnets look beautiful, by the way. Very fetching,” and she chuckled the way she used to when we were kids.
“You really think I didn’t know? How sweet,” she mused.
I was silent. I didn’t need to speak. And Jennifer, who knew me as well as any soul on earth, just sat and watched. She was watching my bewilderment and enjoying it.
At length I said, “But what about my old life?”
“Oh, don’t worry. You really don’t think we’d sink any ships. Steve thinks you’re taking a little time to get over a little health challenge. I believe Devina mentioned to him that it was a little ‘mens health’ situation that may take a number of months.”
I cast a worried look across the tea set.
“Oh, he’s thrilled. Apparently, the arrangements with the San Francisco office have proved very lucrative.”
I wrestled with the thought that this might be my world now.
“Lucrative,” I said. “What will I do for money?”
With that Jennifer sighed and reached for her handbag. She drew out a large envelope and after rifling through some papers extracted what looked like a bank letter. She handed it to me and I stared at an up to date statement.
I ran my eyes down the figures, a little surprised by the numbers.
“Oh yes, look. That seems to have been a very profitable night,” she said looking at one of the days last week. I recognised it as the night I’d entertained the group by being on stage with Mr. Butterworth. I blushed at the thought.
“You really don’t need to worry about things like that,” she said, as though talking about something of no consequence.
Our time was nearly up.
“You’re free to leave at any time,” she continued.
“But what’s your involvement with these people, Jennifer?”
“Oh really, Andrea, let’s not ruin this, shall we? It’s been such a pleasant chat. I shall be dropping in again in a week, you know. If there’s anything you need, just let me know.”
Just let her know. Exactly how, I wondered, was I supposed to do that.
As if on cue Mrs. Gravely entered the room.
“Chop chop, 38. The kitchen isn’t going to clean itself. You have work to do.”
That night, after I’d finished my duties in the kitchen I had the good fortune to have the evening off. I took the time to go and sit down by the river for a while. No one was watching me. I felt quite free, to be honest. Perhaps I really could walk out of that front gate. Perhaps I could just leave all this behind.
As I walked back to my room I considered this. Perhaps that would be the best path to take.
I was still thinking about this as I put on the little pink nightdress by my bed, and climbed between the crisp clean sheets of the bed. My head nestled in the soft down pillows. Freedom. Freedom to do what?
I was thinking about this when I heard a soft tap at the door. I got to my feet and walk to the door and opened it a crack.
30 was outside dressed only in a long blue satin nightdress.
“Let me in,” she said in a whisper and moved towards me.
I opened the door and she slipped in, pressing it closed behind her. She hurried over to the bed and slipped under the covers.
“30,” I said about to protest.
“Shut up,” she said. Always blunt. I liked that.
I climbed in the bed and felt her snuggle up beside me. She wrapped her arms around me.
I lay there and relaxed. A moment later I reached over and turned off the light.
Feeling her body, muscular but warm and soft, against me I felt like I was glowing with joy. I could feel her breasts on my back as she held me. Her arms encircled me, one hand wresting on the cage between my legs.
She sighed and I felt her face buried in my hair. I could feel each inch of her long legs touching my own. How fragile I felt. This person, so physical, and me so small against her. It was wonderful. I realised I was enjoying her physicality in a totally different way to anything I’d experienced before. I wanted to feel every inch of her touching me.
It wasn’t long before I heard her breathing shift and she fell into a slumber.
I heard Jennifer’s words come back to me. “I’m saving you from yourself.”
I snuggled against 30’s form and for a moment I treasured the protection her strong arms about me delivered.
I slowly realised that whether or not my sister knew it, she was right. Yet, however I much I might be secure here, events were about to unfold that would make me curse the day I’d ever sneaked into Jennifer’s room and tried on her black frilly knickers.
+++Become a Patron!