Crystal's StorySite


Lady Writer

by Abby Rhodes




It wasn't long before I heard back from Danielle, in fact it was only four days later. She called me up around noon to say she wanted to talk to Anna Ryan. She liked her story and felt she could place it, but she wanted Anna to visit her in the city to talk about a contract. That was fair enough because she was a professional and I would never expect her to do this sort of thing for free. I wasn't sure how far I should go in my role as go-between for Anna. I didn't want to be seen to be interfering in her business by acting as her agent, but then again, I was Anna, so I needed more information.

Danielle politely refused to give anything away and repeated that she wanted to talk to Anna about it face-to-face so I could only say I'd contact Anna and get back to her.

I discussed the situation with Fifi and Fifi as usual was quite pragmatic about the situation. I could front up myself as Anna Ryan or front up as Ryan King and make a full confession, or I could send someone along to impersonate Anna. The impersonator, of course, would never be able to talk about the story and discuss contracts like Anna could.

Once I established in my mind, and it wasn't that difficult, that I would have to front up to Danielle, it was a case of Anna or Ryan, dress up or not, and I was unwilling to admit Ryan King wrote this story. It wasn't that I was ashamed of it, but it was still a story far away from Ryan's usual style and I was nervous about it. As I said, I wanted to keep Anna and Ryan separate, but then I thought - I can fool Danielle. That was the clincher. I suddenly looked forward to the challenge of going to her office and passing as Anna Ryan. I rang Danielle back and set up an appointment for Anna in two days time.

How to dress was easy. It would be a business suit because that's I wore when I wrote. Which one? I decided a neat dark suit with fine pin stripes with a skirt that came to about six inches above knee-level would be suitable. It was one of my favourites, bought on a trip to Saks, and I always felt sexy and businesslike wearing it. The rest of the outfit would be fine black hosiery along with three inch pumps, gold jewellery and a black shoulder-length wig. Immaculate but not overdone make-up would round out my look. I tried to relax for two days, but it wasn't easy.


On the day, I took extra care to look as good as possible because this was going to be my biggest challenge ever. I saw to it that my whole body was waxed, buffed and toned, then I selected bra and panties in black tulle encrusted with lace, and transformed myself into Anna Ryan with the suit I'd chosen plus a white silk tank top. If I say so myself I looked gorgeous. I drove into the city and (eventually) found a place to park. Fifi came on this trip with me because she said she had some shopping to do. She dressed conservatively in a dark suit similar to my own, plus a pale green satin blouse. Her heels were a least an inch higher than mine and her skirt was an inch or two shorter.

I went to Danielle's office and introduced myself to the receptionist. Diane has been with Danielle since she started as an agent. She's around fifty and can terrify novice writers with her steely exterior. She's also seen Ryan King many times but today she didn't seem to recognise Ryan under my Anna exterior. So far, so good. She told me Danielle would be only a few minutes and offered coffee. Five minutes later Danielle emerged and showed a short, bald man out and came over to greet me.

She looked me over thoroughly and there was no hint of recognition, just her usual brisk, efficient and friendly chat and we went into her office to talk. I'd taken the precaution of inventing a convincing sounding personal background for the occasion and I used my usual Anna Ryan voice, pitched just a little higher than my normal voice. No falsettos here. The chat went well and she made me an offer I knew was quite reasonable for a new author in an off-beat genre. She said she'd given the first few chapters to a publisher to read and the response was enthusiastic. She wanted to represent me and had taken the liberty of drawing up a contract. It was standard and I was prepared to sign it on the spot, but she advised me to get it checked over by a lawyer and mail it back to her.

We went on to discuss possible future projects and I was positive about ongoing stories, and then she hit me with the bombshell, slipping it into a sentence so that I missed it until it was too late. She said, "I liked the style of this story, Ryan. Is it based on true life at all?"

I had my mouth open and had started with, "Not really, I…." Shit!! She'd said Ryan, not Anna, and I hadn't noticed. She grinned at me and I felt myself blush. "Err,…" I stuttered, and she continued. "I'm impressed, Ryan. You completely fooled me and I think I'm fairly astute."

"But how could you tell it was me?" I asked.

"Two things. Firstly you kept using phrases that Ryan would use and secondly you have that scar on your right hand by your thumb. It's not very big, but it is distinctive. Do you want to explain all this to me?"

I grinned through my blushes and said, "I suppose I have to." I thought quickly. "I have a proposition. Can you come up to my place on Saturday night for dinner? Come prepared to stay the night so you can get drunk if you'd like to. It's a bit far away from town to drive home in the dark anyway. What do you think?" Danielle had been to my place before and liked that part of the State.

Sensibly, she asked, "Are you inviting me as Ryan King or Anna Ryan?"

"Both," I said, "Since we're one person."

"Hmm. All right, what time should I be there?"


"Okay, I can't wait to hear the story, Ryan, I mean Anna. I'll see you at six on Saturday." She stood up and I did too. She looked me up and down again and I don't think I've ever been so thoroughly inspected in my life. She was looking carefully at my skirt and I could see the unasked question about what I wore underneath the suit hanging in the air.

"Thanks, Danielle, I'll see you Saturday." I opened the door of her office and found Fifi sitting talking to the receptionist. I heard the words 'not fit to hold a pen' from Fifi and saw the receptionist turning purple and gathering herself up to accuse Fifi of some sort of literary blasphemy, so I took Fifi by the arm and led her out the door while Danielle gave her the once-over from the door of her office, eyebrows raised.

As the elevator went down I said "She recognised me."

"I'm not surprised," said Fifi. "You use all those expressions Ryan King does, plus you've got that scar on your right hand by your thumb. How many times would she have seen it?"

"Dozens. Why didn't you tell me this before?"

"I don't know. It just didn't occur to me until you said she recognised you. Is she repelled?"

"Not at all. She's coming for dinner on Saturday and probably staying the night."

"That's promising. Can we stop in the village to buy meat?"

"Of course we can."

I drove back home via our village and wandered towards The Bookstore while Fifi shopped for meat. She'd be a while because she liked to discuss where the meat had come from and what the animal might have been fed and how well it had been looked after. The local meat provider was probably lucky that organic meat was one of the house specialities, because he avoided having to listen to a lot of speeches. Suzanne was outside The Bookstore cleaning the window and greeted me with a big smile.

"Hi Anna. How are you today? Nice weather we're having, isn't it?"

"It certainly is," I responded, "But I hear we might be getting a storm in a day or two." Suzanne continued to smile and then stepped closer to me, so she was almost but not quite touching me. She said, " Anna, I'm not sure what kind of lifestyle you lead, but Bethany and I think you two are really attractive and smart and we were wondering if you'd both like to come over for a few drinks one night soon."

She stopped and for a moment I didn't get the lifestyle bit, but then it occurred to me she was talking about sex. They'd mistaken Fifi and me for lovers, and lesbian ones at that. I stammered, "Well, we'd love to come over, Suzanne."

Selfishly, I thought it would be a good opportunity to see if Ryan King stood a chance with her. I'd ask carefully worded questions about him and see how she reacted. Fifi liked the girls too and I knew she'd like to visit them. "What about next Wednesday, say seven?"

"That's perfect," said Suzanne. "We're really looking forward to getting to know both of you better."

"Great," I said and went into the shop. "Hello, Anna," said Bethany. "Did Suzanne mention coming over for drinks one night?"

"She did, and it's next Wednesday," I said. Bethany beamed and told me how much she was looking forward to the evening. I went on down the shop to check out the crime department.

I left to another set of smiles, and clutching a new James Lee Burke, about ten minutes later because I thought Fifi should be through shopping and I found her outside talking to Suzanne. Fifi confirmed she'd love to go for drinks and we finally headed back to the house.


Saturday night was a bit of a worry for me. Danielle knew I posed as Anna Ryan and I wondered if I should dress en femme for the visit, but I finally decided I should be Ryan King. She didn't know I dressed most of the time and I didn't want to shock her with too much too soon. I was happy to talk to Danielle about my cross-dressing lifestyle but only after I'd extracted a promise of confidentiality from her. I had doubts about even mentioning confidentiality to Danielle because I couldn't see that she would ever jeopardise our business partnership and I didn't want to offend her, but somehow I felt it needed to be mentioned, if only in passing.


When Saturday night came, I greeted her at the door dressed in smart casual male clothing. I could tell from the look on her face that she hadn't been quite sure how she would find me.

She hadn't been to the house for a while, but she always told me how much she loved the area, the greenery and the peace and quiet. She looked ravishing, dressed in a white chiffon shirt unbuttoned over a white silk camisole and a bronze coloured satin skirt that came to a few inches above her knees. Her shoes were very high and strappy and the same bronze shade as her skirt and her jewellery was simple natural stones. As I said, she looked really good.

One thing that had never happened to Danielle before was Fifi. She'd seen her at her office during the week, but then Fifi had been dressed quite normally. The last time Danielle had visited the house was just before Fifi came to live with me. Tonight Fifi had chosen a French Maid's uniform that was shorter than any of her others. It was white satin and displayed a huge volume of white tulle petticoats, so that the effect was of these incredibly long legs clad in white nylon, exaggerated by high-heeled pumps (were they four inches or higher?), with a froth of tulle and satin sitting above them. The skirt of the uniform was almost horizontal because of the petticoats. Anyway, she appeared behind me to greet Danielle and take her bag. I introduced her as Fifi and didn't offer any other explanation about her position in the house or her appearance. Danielle had her mouth open at the delectable white froufrou on legs.

"Come on through," I said to Danielle. "Let's get a drink and we'll talk." She followed me through to the living room and we sat in the big comfy armchairs facing one another across the coffee table. Fifi appeared almost immediately and asked what we wanted to drink. I asked for a beer and Danielle asked for the same and Fifi went off to get them. Danielle's eyes followed her out of the room, again with her mouth open.

"Stunning, isn't she?" I said. "Fifi is probably the living definition of a dream girl, but she's also a complete physical male despite her looks." Her mouth was still open. "Fifi sort of works for me, does the housework and acts as muse and critic. Trust me, I prefer women as sex partners. I'm not gay and neither is Fifi. We both like to dress as women and that makes us both transvestites, although I somehow think that Fifi goes way beyond that. I gather she hasn't worn anything remotely resembling male clothes since she was around thirteen, if I've got the story right. I really don't know her full story, although I'm sure it's a good one."

"Jesus Christ, Ryan." Danielle finally broke her silence. "I don't quite know what to say. I'm in a house with the most feminine person I have seen in my entire life, and she turns out to be a man. And you also have this same, er… habit of dressing as a woman, and a very attractive woman as well. Has the world gone mad? Is it just me?"

Danielle was starting to sound a little theatrical now, and I think it's one of the traits that make her such a good agent - she can empathise herself right into a story.

I laughed. "No, we just enjoy life on our own terms. Can I just clarify one thing before we go on, Danielle? You will keep anything you hear or see tonight confidential won't you? You're too good an agent, and a friend, to lose." I didn't even wait for an answer, because deep down I did trust her.

"One thing about the transvestite community," I said, "is that we get a lot of bad publicity for what is something we enjoy and often have very little control over. I dressed like this tonight because I knew you would feel more comfortable, but I had to think about it. That's a reflection of my concern that you understand where we're coming from, and my wish to make sure you weren't offended. Having said that, I don't think you would even have come up for the weekend if you were that disgusted or repelled."

I paused for breath and Danielle jumped in. "Ryan, don't you ever think for a second I would tell a soul about this. I'm not repelled or disgusted, but I am fascinated. I've read, I don't know how many, thousands and thousands of books and manuscripts, and this is one theme that crops up quite regularly and it always intrigued me. To find my favourite writer involved, someone I've always perceived as a masculine, not to mention handsome, heterosexual male was a surprise, but I'm certainly not prejudiced or anything like that. In fact, I can't wait to hear more. Having said that, Fifi blew my mind. She's gorgeous."

"Yes she is. I've often thought that if she was woman I'd be after her and I have to confess I have sometimes, as recently as this morning, wished she was a woman. As I said, she has that effect on every male with red blood."

"I suspect that even women with red blood might fancy her," said Danielle. At that point, Fifi walked in with the beers and passed them around and sat down on the third chair with a beer of her own.

Danielle looked at her and said, "I was just telling Ryan what a stunning looking woman you are, Fifi.' Fifi looked appropriately pleased. "I want to know more about the two of you, Fifi, how you feel about women and men and about what it's like to cross-dress, and so effectively. I'm actually jealous, because I don't think I could ever be as pretty and feminine as either of you." That wasn't true because Danielle, as I said before, is an attractive redhead and she's pretty and feminine without a doubt. She took a long slug of beer.

"How on earth did you decide that cross-dressing was what you wanted to do?" She looked at both of us one after the other. I knew that talking about herself made Fifi uncomfortable, so I said to Danielle, "Like I said, Fifi hasn't told her story to anyone but I'm sure one day we'll all hear it. I'll tell you about me tonight and you might have to make do with that for now."

Fifi interrupted. "Some day, I promise, I'll tell everything, and if Anna's book is a success I wouldn't mind her making my life into a story one day. It's very dramatic, too dramatic in some ways, and I still haven't come to terms with my past, but I do appreciate the compliment and, like Ryan, I trust you Danielle. If I didn't I'd have stayed in my room. What Ryan said about you not even being here if you had real problems with cross-dressers is quite right. Most people run for the hills when they hear the word transvestite."

"My turn to thank you for the compliment, Fifi," said Danielle. Danielle looked relaxed and I made another close inspection. She'd gone to a lot of trouble to look sexy and the bronze skirt was sliding along her great legs, getting shorter all the time. She caught me looking and then caught my eye and I saw a speculative gleam. Did she have an agenda, other than a weekend visit?

I drained my beer and Fifi went for more. She brought two back and went off to get dinner started. Again, Danielle followed her every move.

"I read somewhere that most cross-dressers start very young and often come from homes where the females outnumber the males, giving a feminine bias to the domestic proceedings. Was that the case with you, Ryan?"

"It certainly was," I said. "Four sisters, my mother, and a father who was always on the road selling books. His territory was from the East Coast to the Mississippi. He had a team of twelve people working under him and didn't cover the whole region personally, but he'd be in Chicago and then he'd be in New Orleans, Boston or Miami. It was my father who inspired me to read and later on to write but my day-to-day role models were all female and because my older sisters were popular and attractive they spent hours and hours on feminine things like make-up, hair and clothes. I'd sit and watch them from a time when I would have been about four and my oldest sister was around fifteen.

"My mother had a very active social life as well and took a real pride in looking smart and well-dressed. In fact, she often out-prettied my sisters. As for cross-dressing, my second youngest sister Angie used to dress me in her or Ellie's clothes from the time I was five or so. I can't remember the first time it happened, so I might have been even younger. My first memory is one day asking Angie to let me wear her clothes and I seem to remember it was because I'd done it before and enjoyed it.

"Ellie's the youngest of my sisters. Going up, there's Ellie, Angie, Holly and Kate. I think even at five I wanted to emulate those girls, be one of them. I never felt embarrassed about being dressed up and made-up, I simply enjoyed it. I suppose most boys would have rebelled sooner or later as they got older, but I loved the feel of the clothes and Holly and Kate said I looked cute as a little girl. If someone's praising you because you look good, why would you fight it? Holly actively participated in these adventures by helping all three of us younger siblings dress and get made up. She was twelve or thirteen when I was doing this and Ellie and Angie were eight and ten respectively. When I say I loved the feel of the clothes, I'm quite sure that the tactile element is a huge factor that converts many men from wool and denim to silk and satin. In that respect I suppose there's an element of fetishism for smooth and slippery fabric, and rightly so.

"Don't get me wrong, I had boys as friends as well and we talked about the usual things boys talk about, like movies and girls and guns and dead animals. I was going to say it wasn't all fun but I'd be telling lies because it was all fun. Angie and Holly regularly took me and Ellie out to the park or the mall while I was dressed up and they treated me like a sister. It was Angie who first called me Anna because they needed a girl's name to call me by while we were in the mall one day and the name stuck. I ran into my best friend Stan a couple of times while I was Anna and he never showed any sign of recognition, so it was a wonderful secret between me and my sisters. Eventually I didn't wait to be dressed up, I went ahead and did it for myself. Make-up was something I only got when one of the girls did it, but by eleven or twelve I could do a reasonable job for myself."

"Didn't your mother ever say anything? Did she even notice?" asked Danielle.

"Surprisingly enough, yes. She was well aware of what the girls were doing with me, but she never said anything. The only dissenting voice was my oldest sister Kate. I use the word dissent, but that isn't quite the right word. I think Kate was worried that I was being warped and I can remember her asking if I was happy to be dressed as a girl. Of course I was. She worried even more when I was twelve and still dressing up, but by then she was away at college and didn't see me that often. I sometimes wonder why my mother let it go on and didn't make any attempt to stop it. Maybe one day I'll ask her."

"I find it incredible that your sisters did this. Do they know you still dress like that?"

"Yes, they do. At least, Holly and Angie do and I think Kate possibly worries that I might. I visit Holly and Angie regularly when I'm dressed. In fact they probably haven't seen Ryan for some years. They both live in New York, but Ellie went to Hong Kong with her husband not long after she got married about eight years ago and I haven't actually seen her in five years. If she asked me if I still dressed up I wouldn't hesitate to tell her yes. Kate lives in Philadelphia and I don't see her very often. Don't forget that I dress as a woman almost all the time. I'm very lucky, because so many cross-dressers only get to do it once in a while.


"To carry on with the story, I have to add that my father never knew and I always felt he wouldn't approve at all. In fact my mother warned me that he shouldn't find out. He had no real impact on our day-to-day lives because of his long absences but he was just as loved as the rest of us. If my mother, on the other hand, had disapproved it would have been stopped immediately. I still can't think why she didn't intervene, but she would call me Anna and somehow I knew it was okay. She never had any trouble or confusion over my two identities. I suppose she may have felt it was easier having another girl around the place. Boys can be quite boisterous you know."

"Tell me about it," said Danielle, "I've got three older brothers and I can remember feeling desperate for a little femininity around the family home sometimes. Your mother intrigues me. Did she ever give any sign she might be seeing someone else while your father was on the road? It must have been difficult for her with him away so much."

"Well, I'm not sure. The thought has crossed my mind and this was the late eighties when more and more women were spreading their sexual wings, but there's no proof apart from one piece of circumstantial evidence. I was in the habit of going through my mothers drawers on a regular basis. She had a selection of lingerie that was different from my sisters. My sisters went for mainly nylon panties, bras and slips and that's what they dressed me in, but my mother had panties and slips made of silk and satin that were dripping with lace and little bows and motifs, as well as nylon lingerie. Of course, I tried them all on when I got the chance and I loved the way they felt against my skin.

"One day I found a pair of her very finest Paris-made silk panties scrunched up in her bottom drawer and that was unusual because she always washed her lingerie the day after she wore it. These silk panties were not only scrunched up but also had something like oil on them and I always assumed it was baby oil. It was a time when my Dad had been away for a week or more already. For all I know it could have been something from a bikini wax but it wasn't something I felt I could ask my sisters about. The next day they were back in the top drawer washed and ready for use. So, yes, it's possible she had an affair at some time. Or a bikini wax. I know she got calls from guys occasionally and I remember her laughing off invitations to go out to movies or clubs.


"My life was quite normal apart from these outbreaks of cross-dressing that lasted from an hour or two up to several days, but I was obsessed, once I found how much I enjoyed dressing up, with how girls looked and how they acted. I never stopped watching them and my sisters never tired of letting me wear their clothes and cosmetics right through until they went to college. I became very close to Ellie because she was closest to me in age and looked after my dressing needs as we both got older. We explored femininity together and I often slept in her room. I had a series of nightgowns of the babydoll variety, those being my favourites at the time, and I seldom wore boy's pajamas unless I had Stan or another friend over for the night, or my father was home. My girl clothes were kept in Ellie's and Angie's rooms just in case. I have to stress that I never did anything inappropriate with any of my sisters. All of us were modest at all times.

"Between the time Ellie went to college and the year I started I slackened off a little. Because I was the only person left in the house apart from my parents, I got a little shy about dressing and tended to do it only in my room. I suppose the girls were my support group. I sometimes wandered around the house and my mother never blinked an eye when she saw me and always called me Anna at those times. Maybe I was just unsure of myself but my mother didn't seem to be.

"During my childhood I had some close calls with visitors to the house but most who saw me that knew Ryan didn't recognise me and that includes my father on two occasions. I presume he thought I was a friend of one of my sisters visiting. He looked at me like he thought he knew me but couldn't quite remember my name. Bear in mind that if we had visitors I usually let them see me as a male, never as a female unless I was completely made up. I was careful not to appear as a boy in drag. My sisters never changed their attitudes as we got older, but they were used to me and always used the name appropriate to how I was dressed at any given time. From about the time I was seven they passed on all the things they grew out of or didn't want any more and I acquired a sizeable wardrobe of my own."

"But what about school, what about college, what about girls? There must have been some interesting times after you left home."

Fifi arrived to announce that dinner was ready and we moved into the dining room to eat steak and drink good wine. There was silence for a bit, apart from noises generated by eating, and then I continued my story.


"School for me was fine. Common sense says you don't wear panties to school because there's an excellent chance someone will notice. Think of the locker rooms and wrestling in the school yard. When I got home, however, it was time to get my panties on and it was always seemed to be something of a relief. As I said, Ellie was really a close friend as well as a sister because she was next up in age and we did things together. Once I got to college, life became more interesting again because Ellie and Angie were still there in my first year and Ellie for a year after that."


"Girls? I got into girls and over the years I've had many dates and a couple of nearly serious longer-term relationships. I had this notion that somewhere there was a girl who wouldn't mind my cross-dressing – (Fifi made a sort of snorting noise) – but when I made a point of discussing the idea of the transvestite lifestyle if there was something on television or in a magazine, the reaction was always completely negative. But I kept trying. There was one girl I really liked, and I liked her enough to seriously consider giving cross-dressing up completely. I met her not long after I left college and I was still thinking about sacrificing my panties when she came across a pair at the bottom of my laundry basket. Because they weren't hers she decided I was being unfaithful. I tried to change her mind but there was no way I could tell her they were mine.

"As I said, Ellie and Angie were still in college when I arrived and life took a turn for the better, because as soon as I said I missed going out with them it became just like it used to be, but with better clothes and make-up. There was no dressing me up like a younger sister this time. I was still younger, but I was as tall as the two of them. They went through their wardrobes and in no time at all I was another co-ed. That first day, I remember looking at myself in the mirror and I saw Anna for the first time in a while, but a new, improved Anna. I was wearing a fairly short plaid skirt and a white sleeveless top and my legs were freshly shaved. Angie had borrowed an auburn wig from a friend down the hallway and I looked great. I was made up and they took me out and showed me around and introduced me to their friends as their sister Anna. From that time on they saw to it that I was never at a loss for a social occasion. I had access to their wardrobes and cosmetics and soon found my own personal wardrobe growing as they took me out shopping and continued to pass along stuff they didn't want any more.

"Because I passed so well it was never a problem going into shops and boutiques and I particularly enjoyed lingerie shops. In fact, nothing's changed where lingerie shops are concerned. After six months I had my own make-up and my own wardrobe and didn't have to depend on hand-me-downs any more. Because I was in a dorm, all my stuff was kept in the girl's room. My main problem was money, not opportunity. That and boys, who hit on me constantly whenever we went out.

"I'm going to make a confession now that I've never made before. I went out with a couple of them. One was a friend of Angie's. She'd double-booked herself for a rock concert and was frantically trying to find a way out, the trouble being that she liked both guys. What she did was invite Ellie and the guy who was her boyfriend at the time and then I saw her looking at me speculatively. What she said was, 'you wouldn't let your favourite sister down would you, Anna?' I didn't know what she meant for a minute, but she wanted me to go to the concert with the second guy. She looked at me with her big eyes and said "Pleeaase" in a tone of voice I couldn't refuse. All I said to her was, 'Okay, but I'm not having sex with him' to which she said 'You won't get the chance; he wants to be a preacher and he's saving himself for Jesus. He's a really sweet guy though."

Fifi poured more wine and went off to see to dessert. I stopped the story because I could see Fifi was hanging on every word, as was Danielle. "I can't wait to see how this comes out," she said.


When Fifi came back I resumed. "Pete turned out to be a real doll. Sweet and funny and not at all sexual. He was good-looking and I could see why Angie found him attractive, but it was clear he wasn't about to try to get into her panties. For sex, that is. I had a great time and Ellie and her date had a great time and I went out with Pete a couple of times after that, double-dating with Angie and Chad. The most interesting part was the kiss goodnight after our first date. I suppose I should have thought ahead, but I didn't, and it caught me by surprise when he kissed me goodnight on the lips.

"I went out with him once on my own. It was his last night in town and he was on his way to divinity college, or whatever they call it, the next day. We went out to a restaurant and got drunk and I believe I might have had sex with him if he'd asked, but of course he didn't.

"This demonstrated for the first time for me how dressing up as he opposite sex can alter your view of relationships, or indeed your own role in the wider world. Sometimes, even if you're not a real girl, you act like a real girl, because you've been taken over by your disguise, your mask if you like, and your own innate senses and morals get submerged into those of your alter ego, who is, after all, you. That night, I somehow became Anna Ryan, a totally female Anna Ryan, and I wanted this guy to love me, as a woman. That never happened again; I never reached the point where I wanted a guy to take me as Anna, and just love me. It was really scary in retrospect." I looked across the table at Fifi. "Does that make any sense to you, Fifi? Did it ever get you like that?"

"Yes," was all she said.

"About that time it was brought to my attention that I wasn't doing too well at college. I was out too often and the whole episode with Pete had unnerved me, so I spent more time studying and doing practical stuff, hanging out with Angie or Ellie mainly just at the weekends unless there was something special on. I did double date one more time with Ellie and two friends, but I was careful not to show too much interest in the guys."

"I have to ask you this, Ryan. Did you go to the prom, and who as, sorry, as whom?"

I laughed. Danielle was feeling the wine. "Yes, I did go to the ball, and as Cinderella. Well, it wasn't the prom exactly. It was a dance thrown by Angie's sorority and she wanted me to see what it was like dressed up in a ball gown. She went about finding me a date and she came up with a guy who looked real good in a tux but had the brains of a small crustacean. It was good thinking on her part, because I didn't want some smart college guy ferreting out my secrets. Anthony was an athlete and totally addicted to football and I suspect he would have had trouble spelling Anna. Anyway, we went downtown to find me a gown and shoes. I tried on about thirty dresses and finally settled for a pale blue chiffon number encrusted with sequins, and a pair of strappy high heels in the exact same shade. I remember I was so excited I even splashed out on new panties to match.

"Anthony turned up in a limo to collect me and he looked like tuxedos had been invented for him. I tried to get him to talk on the way to the dance, held at a downtown club, but I was wasting my breath and monosyllabic describes him perfectly. But wonder of wonders, he danced like Fred Astaire. Certainly better than me, who had never danced in high heels. All that moving backwards was dangerous and I mainly just stood in one place and shook various parts of myself. I had a fabulous night and when some blonde hussy stole Anthony away from me around midnight I didn't care. The sensation of dancing, being in that wonderful gown was enough. The layers of chiffon wrapped themselves around me as I twirled and I felt beautiful. All in all, it was one of my favourite occasions."

"Do you wear panties all the time? Are you wearing them now?" asked Danielle. The question took me by surprise by its suddenness. I felt myself blush, though God knows why. I'd just been describing my pleasure in wearing a chiffon ball dress.

"Yes, and yes, "I answered. "I'm a committed cross-dresser and I don't do things by halves. Well I do actually, because the panties are the only female thing I'm wearing tonight."

Danielle grinned. She knew she'd caught me off guard. Fifi was grinning too. Fifi passed the wine around again and it occurred to me we'd consumed quite a lot.

"That's about all there is to my story," I said. "From then until now it's been a question of, What Will I Wear?" The answer is almost always women's clothes if I don't need to be Ryan King. Even then I usually just change temporarily out of whatever it is I'm displaying myself in."

Danielle was looking a little cross-eyed, but she brought herself back to attention and said, "I'm really glad I came up, Ryan. Thank you for telling me your story, it entrances the voyeur in me and puts everything in quite a different perspective. I would never in a thousand years have thought you liked to wear lingerie. One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you was to understand why because, frankly, Ryan, I do fancy you as a man and I was afraid you'd somehow gone over to the other side. So you've still never met a girl who showed signs of tolerance?"

I shook my head. "No," I said, "and I worry that as I get older I won't. The thing is, I need to maintain a masculine façade as Ryan King and I can't take a chance on my secret coming out. As I get better known as a writer, and I intend to, the story about my passion for lingerie would become more and more valuable to anyone who saw the value in revealing my secrets, either for money or just for the sake of scandal."

Danielle frowned. "Yes, you're quite right, Ryan. The grubbier weeklies would have a field day with a story like that. Well, what are we going to do about it? Only have one idea. I only have one idea. Good lord, I think I've had too much to drink. How about promoting your new erotic thriller across the country as Anna Ryan? Would that appeal to you? It would mean you'd have to show off those great legs to women everywhere and talk to groups of them about the art of writing about love. Sound appealing?"

Of course it did. I stood up and went around the table to where Danielle was sitting and swept her up into a hug. "What a magnificent idea," I said.

Danielle kissed me and said, "I've got another idea. If you show me your panties I'll show you mine."




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