Wes Boyd's
Spearfish Lake Tales
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The Girl in the Mirror
Book 3 of the Bradford Exiles
Wes Boyd
©2005, ©2011

Chapter 10

The restaurant proved to be just a neighborhood breakfast-lunch place, nothing special, and since it was after lunchtime the traffic was dying out rapidly. The four of them found a place in a booth toward the front of the building, checked over the menu, and made orders. There wasnít a lot of talking, but a lot of thinking going on.

Bill was hit just as hard as any of them. Heíd had his doubts about the idea, of course, right from the beginning. It was clear that if Denis decided to go ahead with the whole transgender process, including all the electrolysis and surgery, he would be facing a hard road, and now they had a lot better idea of just how hard of a road it would be, and what was going to be involved. Yet, even in the few days that heíd been considering the idea, there seemed to be at least some merit to it Ė enough, anyway, to not rule the idea out flatly. And, while he and Arlene could certainly offer their advice to Denis, their son did have the power to overrule them, later if not sooner. So, it was clear it was going to have to be his decision, and Barb had made clear what they had already known in their guts Ė it would be easier and better if Denis made the move with their support rather than without it.

Bill knew damn well that he was uncomfortable with the idea, but on thinking about it, there were questions in his mind about the roots of that discomfort. Did it come from his own self image? Did it imply fear that Denis even considering this course reflected poorly on him, on Arlene, on their capabilities as parents? If the time came, would he have the courage to say, "Go ahead and good luck," and at least pretend to mean it, even if he didnít? Could he actually bring himself to say, "My son, the transsexual?" Well, actually, "My daughter, the transsexual?" How did that reflect on him? How would the failure to do it reflect on him?

That was mitigated, of course, by the change theyíd already seen in Denis. Even though this was only the third time theyíd seen him dressed as a girl, somehow he seemed a happier, more complete, a more well-balanced individual than he did as a boy. Heíd been desperately unhappy earlier this week, when Shae had taken the pistol away from him, but heíd been unhappy and morose for months, years, a genuinely troubled kid. It seemed unbelievable that just putting on a dress Ė and what that entailed Ė could fix everything. But again, it demanded further study. It was a clear warning that there were a lot of heavy thoughts ahead.

Lunch either dragged or flew by, there was no telling, it was rather timeless Ė all they knew was when they finished eating that they might as well head back to the store.

"I take it you didnít settle anything?" Carl asked once they were in the back room.

"No," Denis told him. "Not really."

"Iíd be surprised if you had," he smiled. "OK, I donít have more of the heavy thoughts that Barb laid on you before, just advice and ideas from here on. Now, whether you decide to go ahead with the sexual reassignment surgery, or not go that far, youíre going to have to explore things more fully, right? Like Barb told you, youíd be a fool to make that decision now, but youíre going to have to spend a lot of time cross-dressed to be able to make that decision, right?"

"Well, yeah, thereís the year of the Real Life Test," Denis nodded.

"If I recall correctly from earlier, this is only the third time youíve dressed, right? Denis, Iíll tell you right now, and this is my field of expertise, if everything else was a go, youíre not ready for a RLT. You look pretty good, but only pretty good. Youíd be called out as a boy by lots of people. Youíre going to need more practice, if only to help you make up your mind. To do that, you need to work on your appearance a little, and work on your mannerisms a lot. I kept my eye on you this morning, and several times you did things that would give yourself away. Thatís all right, youíre a beginner; you have to learn this stuff. Itís going to take a while."

"Like what?"

"Just as a for-instance, I saw you sitting with your knees apart a number of times. If you have jeans on, like Shae, you can get away with that in this day and age, but my mother would have raised hell with my sister if sheíd seen her doing that, even with pants. Am I right, Arlene?"

"My mother would have to me, too," Arlene grinned. "I noticed that, but it wasnít a good time to say anything."

"Another thing: it was all I could do to keep from laughing, and I know Barb noticed. Youíve got nylons under that bra, right? They itch a little, right?"

"Yeah, a little."

"No woman would scratch her breast, not in the company of men, anyway, and probably not in the company of women. And no woman could scratch where you were trying to scratch, inside her breast."

They all got a round of laughter out of that one, even Denis, who was a little embarrassed. "OK, I get the point," he grinned.

"Now, you take Shae, Denis," he went on. "Sheís had seventeen years to learn all those little tricks that are so natural to her that she doesnít even think about them. As feminine as you appear to be, youíve not had the basic training in those tricks since youíve learned a whole different bag of tricks. Now, youíre going to have to play catch-up. The best way to do that is to be dressed at every opportunity. Arlene, do I remember that you said you had a daughter before Denis?"

"Yes, Susie."

"OK, that helps. If youíre going to have another one, youíre going to have to spend some time teaching her some of those things, but at least youíve been through the process once. And, Denis, Iím sure Shae will help. You still with me?"

"Yeah, I can see that. And whatís more, I can see that Iím going to have to be dressed as a girl a lot to get used to it, before I can make up my mind to go ahead with the SRS, the sexual reassignment surgery."

"Absolutely. Now, most of the customers in here are more interested in looking pretty much like a glamorous, gorgeous woman than they are in looking like a real woman. In a sense, a caricature of a woman, not the real thing. Theyíve got some interesting things to teach, and it wouldnít hurt you to learn some of them, since itís something else youíd probably want to learn." He let out a sigh. "Shae, I donít want to sound in the least critical, but youíre such a tomboy that you could stand to learn some of them, too. Youíre so tall and slender that you could be a real knockout, but I think you need a little help in knowing how to show yourself off. Youíve been depending on your height to do that, and youíve let some other stuff go."

"Well, yeah," Shae nodded.

"I know itís a hell of a long way over here for you, but the two of you might like to sit in on some classes here some time. But thatís not what I was leading up to. Like I said, while this place is mostly focused on appearing glamorous, I do have some experience in helping people pass as real. For example, I find it interesting that youíre dressing relatively small breasts."

"Blame me for that," Shae said. "I remember when I first got them, they seemed to get in the way. Besides, I remember thereís a limit to how full you can stuff with nylons, and look halfway real."

"Good girl," he smiled, looking up at her. "A lot of the people who come in here want big hooters to show off. I wouldnít wish breasts the size of some I sell on a real woman if she was my worst enemy. I mean, my wife is a 44FF, and it is absolute hell to herd a chest that size around."

"You have a wife?" Arlene exclaimed. "And youíre in this business?"

"Oh, yeah," he smiled. "OK, so itís weird. She knows it. Sheís known it for thirty years. We put three kids through college on it. She isnít complaining. We understand each other. But getting back to the point I was making Ė those breasts donít look bad, Denis. But they donít look good, theyíre not quite right. A lot of people might not pick out whatís wrong, but like I just said, Iíve been doing this for thirty years, more than that, and I see things other people might not. Some people might see that thereís something thatís not quite right, but couldnít tell what it is. Stuffing a small bra with nylons is all right for fooling around, but they donít have the right weight, they donít move right, and let me tell you, they donít feel right, especially if someone else is doing the feeling. And that means something like a hug as much as it does anything else. Now, this is actually a sales job, but I think you need some decent breast forms."

"Breast forms?" Denis said.

"Artificial breasts," he smiled. "Bra fillers, actually. There are several types. The best, in my opinion, is the kind thatís often used for mastectomy patients, but there are others. Would you like to check some out?"

"Yeah, sure. I never gave much thought to that."

"Youíre going to have to, now," Carl smiled. "Iíd suggest something a little bigger, but not by much. We donít want something big enough to look fake. But the best forms are not cheap."

Denis glanced at Bill, who shrugged and said, "Go for it, whatever seems to work best. Youíve been such a big help that we have to do some business with you."

"I appreciate that," Carl smiled. "But like Barb indicated, itís so rare to see a supportive family doing this that Iím really pleased to just play a part. OK, Denis, letís pick you out some decent hooters."

"Thereís something Iíve been wondering about," Denis said shyly. "I see pantsuit outfits here, and Iím wondering how a guy could wear them. I mean, uh, my stuff would show, especially if I got a hard on. I mean, I donít very often, but . . . "

"Good grief, you are a beginner, arenít you?" Carl laughed. "You donít know how to tuck?"

"I never even heard the word. I mean used like that."

"You should be tucked, even if youíre wearing a loose dress, just to avoid accidents." He glanced up at Arlene and Shae. "Uh, genetic ladies, you might like to go look at shoes or something for a minute or six. I have to talk about something that could cause red faces."

"I donít mind if Denis doesnít," Arlene grinned. "Weíve already figured out that weíre going to hit places that are a little weird or awkward, and I suppose we might as well add embarrassing to that list. Besides, this might be something I might need to know so I can help out."

"Your call, Denis," Shae grinned. "Iím curious."

"Oh, go ahead. This is probably not going to be the last time something like this comes up."

"Probably not," Carl laughed. "OK, Iíll try to keep this from being too bad. When you were little, your testicles, your balls, were up in some channels at the top of your scrotum. When you went through puberty, they slid down to where they are now. You can gently push your balls back up into those channels where they came from. It feels funny as hell the first time you try it, and it may take some gritting your teeth and practicing, but after a while you get used to doing it. Then, you fold your penis down over them, and hold it in place with something like a girdle. We have some special underwear here called gaffs that also work, but theyíre not as comfortable as a girdle and more for wearing with a swimsuit or something like that. It works pretty good but it takes some getting used to."

"A swimsuit? I never thought of that!"

"You canít do a string bikini, but you can get away with a conservative two piece, or actually a fairly hot one piece, as long as the neckline is a little conservative," Carl explained. "It doesnít need to be something you buy here, at your size, anyway, but it has to hide the breast forms and gaff."

"And my dick canít be seen? Wow!"

"Itís detectable sometimes, depending on the person," Carl smiled. "But as long as the rest of the presentation is sound, it sort of looks like youíre wearing a heavy pad for your period, so you can get away with it. Not only visually, but maybe even if youíre groped, depending. Part of that comes from practice, and it helps if you donít get an erection, too. After you get well along in estrogen therapy, that wonít happen much at all, at least it doesnít for a lot of people. I donít know personally, but Iíve had trans people say that it gives a little indication of what it will be like to have that stuff gone. I mean, you can still feel it between your legs, but if you reach down where itís supposed to be, itís not there. I might add that if youíre tucked and youíre hit down between the legs, like playing a game or in a fight, well, itís not as good as a cup, but itís better than being unprotected. The bottom line, though, is that youíre going to have to practice being tucked a lot, just like youíre going to have to be dressed a lot. Now, you want to check out some breast forms?"

"Yeah, and I think one of those gaff things, too."

The next hour was involved in trying out several things; at the end of the hour, Carl had passed on a lot more information. Denis had on a different bra with some slightly larger breast forms, and it was clear that they did look more realistic. There had been some other purchases, too; Billís credit card had taken a serious hit before it was over with. "That ought to hold you for a while," Carl grinned. "Realistically, most of what you need from now on you can buy in a regular store, as small as you are. For now, try to concentrate on real, rather than hot; you can tack that on later. I mean, you have to walk before you can run, you know."

"Thatís pretty clear," Denis grinned.

"A final thought," Carl said. "I probably should have gone over it sooner, but things happen, and Iíll be the first to admit I like the sound of my own voice. What with you being in high school, youíre going to have to switch back and forth a lot if youíre going to keep this covered up. Sometimes that involves some real mental switcheroos. One of the things you might want to consider to help you define who youíre trying to be is a different name, more feminine."

"A different name?"

"Letís face it, you look more like a Denise than you do a Denis, and itís been hard to not call you that. Denise is not a bad name, and if itís that close itíd simplify the paperwork changes up the road. I mean, itís close enough that you can always claim that your folks couldnít spell when they named you, or it was just a screw-up on the birth certificate. But Iíd suggest something a little further away from that, something that will help you define when youíre supposed to be male and when youíre supposed to be female."

"Thatís a point," Denis nodded. "Iíve given some thought to something along those lines, but Iím not so sure Iím that thrilled with Denise. I mean, it is pretty close."

"You get to choose," Carl laughed. "Thatís like a lot of things involved with this, you get a bigger choice than most people imagine. Itís nothing you have to solve today, but you should put some thought to it pretty soon."

*   *   *

"Tell me," Bill said from behind the wheel of the Buick as they headed east down the Chicago Skyway toward Bradford in the late afternoon. "A week ago right now, did anyone dream that weíd have had anything even close to the experiences weíve all had this week?"

"This has been one to remember," Shae sighed from the front passenger seat Ė she was so long-legged that she usually had claim on a front seat in any car; it could be real misery for her to fold up enough for a long stretch in a back seat.

"I couldnít have imagined a bit of it," Arlene shook her head. "Iím having to pinch myself regularly to make sure Iím not dreaming. But I think we learned a great deal more than we ever expected to today. How about you, Denis?"

Denis let out a sigh. "Thereís a lot more to it than I imagined, and in every direction," he said slowly. "But thatís not necessarily bad, just different, and now I have a better idea of what it is."

"I take it you didnít get turned off on the idea, then?" Arlene asked.

"No," he said. "Well in a sense, Iím a little less enthusiastic than I was, now that I know more about the realities. That just means Iím going to have to think about it more, find out more. Just trying to work out the time line, it means that Iíve got over two years before I have to make a final decision. I think I want to press ahead in that direction if for no more reason than to see if I can get a better idea if it will work."

"What are you thinking of in terms of a time line?" Bill asked.

"The big problem is the RLT," Denis said. "Hell, if I was ready to start it now, I couldnít, not in Bradford, anyway. Thereís no way I could get away with it in school. And I canít transfer to some nearby school, thereís too much going back and forth between the schools, for sports, other activities, and socialization Ė like boyfriends, girlfriends. Thatís fine, because Carl convinced me that Iím not ready to start the RLT now, not physically, not mentally, and Iíll bet I can use the year to get ready for it, especially with all the other stuff like counseling and the seminars Carl invited Shae and I to. And itís got to mean a lot of trips to Chicago, since weíll have to get most of that stuff done there. Thereís just not anybody closer, except maybe for electrolysis, and Iíll bet anyone we found closer who could do it would freak out."

"Carl seems to think that you wouldnít need anything like as much as Barb required," Shae offered.

"Yeah, but Iíll need some, no doubt about it," Denis agreed. "At a couple hours a session, it could take a lot of trips. Even with scheduling other appointments on the same trip, itís a lot."

"A lot of it could be done on the weekends," Arlene said. "But there are things like the counseling and the endocrinology that would have to be done during the week."

"Maybe we could hit it hard over the summer," Denis shrugged. "Weíve got a year; there might be some times I could take a day off school for an appointment. But, then, it may be even longer for some of it. Everything is more expensive than I imagined. I mean, I figured Iíd have to dip into my trust fund to do this at all, unless you can float me some money and I can pay you back later."

"Maybe not," Bill said. "Iím sure insurance would cover at least a part of it. I mean, the endocrinology and counseling, no problem. Electrolysis, no way, and it wonít be cheap, several thousand bucks, anyway. I really, really doubt the company insurance would pay for the surgery, but they cover some goofy things, so Iíd have to take a real hard look at the policy to be sure. In any case, on your time line the SRS wouldnít come until after youíre eighteen, so it would be possible to dip into your trust fund. Look, you canít give me a final answer tonight, and I canít give you one, but the trust fund money was supposed to be for college. If you do the SRS out of it, we just have to come up with more college money, so it comes out of our pocket either way. But I think if this works out that we all agree to go ahead, it can probably be covered."

"Dad!" Denis said, surprised at the announcement. "Iím real grateful at the way youíve taken this whole deal; I never expected youíd take it this well. I never expected that. Thanks, really."

"I said, if we all agree," Bill said flatly. "I donít think Iím convinced yet, Iím pretty sure your mother isnít, and I hope you arenít. But, as weíve said before, weíve got at least two years, and there are problems we havenít considered at all. Letís just take a swing at another one as a for instance. Youíre talking doing your RLT in your freshman year at college, right?"

"Sounds like a logical time," Denis admitted. "Iíd be out of Bradford. The summer might be a little more difficult, but I might be able to do a summer session or something."

"Iím presuming that youíre thinking living in a dorm," Bill smiled. "That means, of course, living with what Iíve learned today to call a genetic girl. Have you given any consideration to how loud sheís going to scream if you should slip up and get outed?"

"Ooooohh, yeah," Denis shook his head. "No, I hadnít thought about it, and it wouldnít be pretty. Iíd be pretty dead, maybe. I know that some colleges have single rooms, if you pay extra. Or I could get an apartment off campus. I kind of think that Iím going to want to do college stealth if I can, rather than letting someone in the administration know, but that might be an option, too."

"There is one other idea," Shae submitted. "Find a roommate who knows whatís going on and wonít mind."

"Youíre saying you?" Bill asked.

"Itís a possibility," Shae nodded. "I mean, I donít know where Iím going to college yet; it depends on where I get the best deal from the athletic department, and some other factors. But get past that, often they let you select your roommate if you know someone."

"But Shae!" Arlene protested. "That means youíd be living in your dorm with a boy!"

Shae let out a sigh. "If Denis is going through an RLT, Iíd better not be living with a boy," she said. "Iíd better be living with someone who thinks of herself as a girl and hasnít been fixed yet. I mean, anything else and the RLT is a failure, anyway."

"Well, yes," Arlene said reluctantly, seeing the logic Ė and the reality. "But still! What would your parents say if they found out?"

"They better not find out," she sighed. "Not anything about what we talked today is even being considered. If they did, any security would be blown to hell." She let out another sigh. "Did you ever see any of those old monster movies from the thirties, like Frankenstein? You know, where the villagers come out with torches and pitchforks to destroy the monster?"

"Yeah," Denis said ruefully. "Iíd say that describes what would happen pretty well. I can just imagine Reverend Swift with a Bible in one hand and a pitchfork in the other."

"There is another option," Bill commented. "Denis, I havenít told you this, but your mother and I have discussed it in general terms, and itís not a done deal. Iím probably looking at a transfer a year or two up the road, probably back to Denver, although thatís not for sure. You could just put it off until weíre out of Bradford. I mean, just leave Bradford a boy and show up in Denver as a girl."

"I donít want to put it off," he said. "At least, I donít want to put off getting started. You heard what Barb said about estrogen therapy; the longer I put it off the harder itís going to be. If it were dead sure that you were going to be out in Denver by fall, itíd be one thing. But, itís not sure, and like you said, it could take years. Thatís something else. We at least have the door open in Chicago, have some idea of people to talk to. Weíd probably have to start all over again in Denver. And that assumes you go to Denver. What happens if you got sent to Adairsville? Itíd be better if I got outed in Bradford! I mean, they use real sharp pitchforks in rural Georgia."

"Very true, all of it," Bill conceded, admitting as well his lame attempt to put things off further into the future. "That means weíre just going to have to be real serious about security. Shae, I hate to have to ask you this again, but are you going to be OK with working with us on this, and keeping it a secret? I mean, just among the four of us and no further?"

"Of course I am," she replied instantly. "I wouldnít have come today if it were any different. That doesnít mean that I may not have a problem with my parents, but I think if we all pull together we should be able to handle it. Right now, I think weíve got a pretty good story for them, and it helps that itís true. I told them about the locker business and that Iím trying to watch over Denis, and weíre trying to make it look like weíre boyfriend and girlfriend to cover it up. They think itís a good idea, and if things go all right they wonít have to know that itís also a cover story for something even deeper." She let out a sigh. "Denis, Iím going to say something, and I donít want you to get pissed about it. I told my folks that I want to make it out of high school a virgin, and hanging out with you, rather than some of the other guys I could be going with, makes that a lot more likely. They agreed with me."

"There would have been a time not long ago I would have been pissed," he smiled, "But not after today. Oh, boy; hereís one of those weird statements again. Are you ready?"

"Iím not sure," Arlene grinned.

"Right now, I think I want to lose my virginity to a boyfriend, not a girlfriend," Denis laughed. "Now, that can be taken in several different ways, none of them what you would call normal."

There was silence for a second. "Yeah," Bill agreed dryly. "I think I understand what youíre trying to say, but however you think it, the implications are weird. All right, I guess we press ahead for now and try like hell to keep anyone from finding out. Arlene, on Monday, could you see what you can do about getting an appointment set up with a counselor and an endocrinologist, or do you want me to do it? If itís a weekday thing, youíre probably going to have to be the one to take him. Maybe I could go with you the first time to help you find the place, and get things going."

"Once we get into summer, I could help," Shae said. "At least till basketball practice starts, anyway. Maybe we could check out a couple of those seminars Carl holds, too."

"Iíll call," Arlene conceded. "Iíve got more free time; I can probably help with a lot of that. Itís the least I can do for my possible future daughter."

"Thanks, Mom," Denis smiled. "I realize this may be the weirdest thing youíll ever do in your life, and I know itíll be hard. But thanks."

"Oh, I always wanted to have another daughter, anyway," she smiled. "Have you done any more thinking about a different name?"

"Not really," Denis replied. "Iíve kicked around several in the past. What would you think of Heather?"

"It might be all right," she said. "But Iíve been thinking about what Carl and Barb said about having to switch documentation around, and Iíve got an idea that would simplify a lot of things. Donít change your name, not at all."

"You mean, Denise? Iím not crazy about it, and itís too close to Denis."

"I was thinking your middle name," she smiled. "Just switch the names around casually, it could be explained away on most documents."

"Come on!" she snorted. "Everiss? What kind of a womanís name is that?"

"You had a great-grandaunt who used it all her life," Arlene smiled. "Except she always called herself ĎEve.í"

"Eve," Denis replied thoughtfully, rolling it around on her tongue. "Yeah, that might work. And yeah, I could see how it could really simplify the documentation problem."

They heard Bill snicker from the front seat. "I know itís a little corny," he said. "But there is a symbolic side to that one I canít ignore. Think about it."

"Dad, youíve lost me," Denis said.

"Adam and Eve," he laughed. "God made woman from man."

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