Crystal's StorySite storysite.org
No Contestby: Jennifer Jane Pope
"Clothes maketh the man" (old proverb) - they also maketh the woman, it would seem!
Being born small is not unusual - most of us are, otherwise our mothers would never survive the ordeal of childbirth - but to grow up being shorter, slighter and paler than the rest of the boys in your school and also to find, as you grow what little growth Mother Nature has decreed shall be yours, that your left leg is also going to be shorter than its fellow, you could be forgiven for thinking that gods, fate, life, whatever, had dealt you a pretty rough hand.
Short men tend to go one of two ways: many have a chip on their shoulder, which can develop into a mean and bullying nature, as if the mind somehow tries to compensate. Others have a much more balanced personality: they end up with a chip on both shoulders.
Brian Calloway fell into this latter category, in as far as he fell into any category at all. Bullied at school, at home he found things even worse, if that were at all possible. The middle child of three, he was the only boy and at the age of twenty and standing five feet three in his socks, he suffered the double indignity of having an elder sister, Jacqueline, who at twenty two showed no sign of finding a man and moving out, so still lived in the family home and a younger sister, Wendy May, who at fifteen and a half was already taller than he was by a good inch.
Jackie herself was no midget and supplemented her five feet six inches by the expedient of never wearing heels of less than three inches and by possessing the sort of personality that makes even six feet three men think they are actually looking up at her.
Not that his sisters were particularly unkind to brian, though Jackie would occasionally call him "shrimp" and Wendy May had a habit of sidling up to him and drawing herself to her full height, before planting a kiss on his forehead. It was simply that the girls made him feel his lack of height and stature even more acutely, because basically, they were kind to him.
Their father, a tall ex-guardsman, who regularly joked that Brian must have been fathered by the milkman, now worked much of his week in the city, coming home late on weeknights, if he came home at all and then spending most of his weekends pottering in the extensive garden that surrounded their old, four bedroomed late Victorian suburban house.
Mrs Calloway, a well preserved and perennially neat forty five year old, was in truth no taller than her son, but she, like her eldest daughter, had a penchant for high heels, so Brian was perpetually looking up whenever he had to speak to her. In addition, she had the same confident and outgoing personality that had passed down to both her daughters and spent her days flitting around the area, involving herself with this charity, that good cause and innumerable fund-raising coffee mornings.
To Brian, it seemed that if his mother and her lady friends just donated the cost of all the coffees they drunk and all the biscuits and cakes that accompanied this ritual, they could probably relieve the famine in a small continent and save themselves a lot of time and trouble.
Jackie had been working in a small, but very chic womens clothing shop since leaving school, some five years earlier and, by wit and force of character had risen to become deputy manageress of her branch, with the promise of another promotion imminent. Wendy May was cruising through school, with the promise of spectacular examination results just around the corner.
Brian drifted in and out of four or five jobs and two nightschool courses and then settled for a job at the nearby library, where he could indulge his passion for reading and where he could also greet customers mostly from a seated position. He was happy enough, but not truly content, for he realised that his life was just limping along - both literally and metaphorically.
Still, he worked and he saved and, because he did not go out to pubs, nor clubs, nor did he consider himself a fashion victim, his little pot of money grew and he was able to reward himself with a few treats. The first was to install cable television in his bedroom, where, when he was not reading, he found himself becoming steadily addicted to quiz shows.
Eventually, plucking up courage, he tried telephoning in on the contestants hot line numbers, using his own private cable telephone line that came as part of the television package. After three fruitless series of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and a phone bill that spiralled into three figures for each of the respective quarters, he gave up.
He still wanted to be a millionaire, of course, but this way, he realised, lay penury, if he were not careful. Mr Tarrant and his production company would have to do without his regular contributions!
However, Brians luck did finally take a turn for the better. On the dedicated quiz channel, the presenters asked a question that was so blatantly easy - werent they all, he realised, as the idea was to get people using those premium rate lines - that Brian, who had consumed half a bottle of wine that he had won by opening a packet of biscuits with the requisite token inside them, decided to ring in with his answer, almost out of spite to himself.
He listened to the recorded voice, ignoring the seconds ticking by at a pound a minute, pressed the correct tone buttons when told to, gave his name and address and hung up, only seconds before the deadline for the phone in arrived.
`Stupid, he said to himself, shaking his head and pouring himself another glass of wine. `Might just as well set fire to a five pound note, really.
When his name was flashed up on the screen just before another repeat of Candid Camera, Brian thought perhaps he must have drunk too much of the wine too quickly, but no, an hour later, his phone rang and a rather pleasant female voice informed him that he had indeed won and that the prize - something he hadnt even bothered taking any notice of - was a multi-media computer system.
This duly arrived seven days later and two days after that, following many hours of reading, prodding, poking and trying to unplait the myriad cables that the machine seemed to require, Brian finally got everything working, complete with a free connection to the Internet and three months free connection charges, which had been a part of the prize package.
Within a week, brian was completely hooked.
He found chatrooms, ICQ and e-mails, all of which he could enjoy without being constantly aware of his physical deficiencies. He found a wealth of knowledge that surpassed even that which he had absorbed from a lifetime of reading and he also found sites that taught him more about sex and sexuality than he had ever dreamed existed.
One or two sites in particular became favourites; not that he himself had ever entertained the idea of dressing in womens clothing, of course, but there were some fascinating stories to be found in these sites and some of the pictures were quite unnerving. He concluded that they were either spoofs, or else someone was very clever with computer enhancement software.
For example, there was no way - absolutely now way - that either Katy Jane Harper or Vanessa St Clair could be anything but real women. Was there? No, of course there wasnt. After all, Vanessa St Clair, with her waist length, raven black hair and legs that just kept on going was his ideal woman - or would have been, if he himself had been ten inches taller and had two equilateral legs.
The contest, when it suddenly appeared in a page sponsored by Vanessa St Clairs own website, consisted of a series of multiple choice questions, mostly concerning either articles of womens clothing, or else characters in some of the more popular story series that appeared in this site. Having nothing better to do, brian downloaded the form and began filling in the boxes.
At the very end, there was a larger box and entrants were asked to write a slogan for Vanessas website home page. Brian thought, had a few attempts which he deleted almost as soon as hed typed them in, and finally came up with: "On a St Clair day, you can see forever."
It sounded completely naff to him, and he just saved the file and forgot about it, intending to either laugh at it again later, or else simply scrap it and forget all about it. However, although Brian had become relatively computer literate in a surprisingly short space of time, he was not quite as proficient as he thought.
The following morning, when he was despatching an order to one of the on-line book retailers, his completed questionnaire took wings and went, so he surmised later, halfway across the world. Which, in fact, it did - to California, in fact, where the web story site was hosted from.
Which was just as well, he thought later, whilst rereading the terms of the competition, for the prize offered was a complete make-over by Vanessa St Clair and her staff, something he considered as being of no use to him whatsoever.
The e-mail dropped into his In Tray a week later and Brian began to laugh.
`Bloody typical, he said, wiping away a tear of amusement. `Trust me to win something utterly pointless. He was about to delete the mail, but something stopped him.
`Bad manners, he whispered. `At least I should write back and say I cant possibly get across to the States. Then they can give the prize to whoever came runner-up. Probably someone whod appreciate it - which is more than I would!
The reply to his reply landed back in his e-mail that same evening and he read it with a sense of unreality. It was from Vanessa St Clair herself and she was happy to inform him that she was not in the United States at all. The story site was based there, but her site and her business were very much based in the United Kingdom, in England, just outside of Oxford, in fact.
Of course, she had no way of knowing exactly where Brian was, but she urged him to reconsider and promised him five start treatment and a day out he would remember for the rest of his life, even if he had to travel half the length of the country to claim his prize.
`Half the length of the country, eh? Brian mused. `I think Witney is a bit closer to you than that, Miss St Clair! Of course, he should have simply refused - politely, of course - pleading that he had too many other commitments, or that he actually lived just on the Scottish border (a white lie was permissable to save hurting feelings, he told himself, by way of absolution), but he didnt.
Instead, with his favourite picture of Vanessa St Clair posted on his desktop, he created a new mail and sat down to think how best to phrase this.
`Dear Miss St Clair (he wrote),
I have been a great admirer of yours for some months now and would be more than delighted to meet you in person. However, I feel I must tell you that I am not a transvestite, nor am I a transsexual, so whilst I would enjoy visiting your establishment, that part of the prize that would appeal to the other contestants who took part in the contest would have no appeal to me.
He posted the mail and expected that to be an end of it.
He was wrong.
I am always happy to meet with admirers, so would be pleased to welcome you here at any time that is mutually convenient. Besides, although you say you are not a transvestite, I am sure we could find something here that would make a suitable substitute prize.
Perhaps a pair of shoes, or maybe a jacket - we do stock some items that could be considered unisex in their nature.
I look forward to hearing from you again in the very near future,
Vanessa St Clair."
Brian read through this mail several times and began to laugh. Clicking on Reply, he wrote a few brief lines and mailed them immediately.
I appreciate your kind offer, but have to tell you that I doubt that any of the shoes you might have would be of any use to me. For a start, my left leg is a full inch shorter than my right and that my right foot is a size seven, whilst my left is a size six. Trying to take that little handicap into footwear of the kind you look so splendid in would be tantamount to my trying to walk uphill on a drunken glacier.
"Brian (she wrote back, the following morning),
If you really feel that you would prefer not to come here and meet me, I certainly understand. However, regardless of your physical shortcomings, I do think that you are missing out on a good day and you were, after all, the contest winner.
Maybe lunch, or even dinner, as a substitute prize?
Friend? Brian stared at her picture on his screen, his thoughts in a whirl. Friend, she had said. He regarded the goddess like creature, resplendent in her high boots and black leather dress, that teasing little smile and those oh so huge eyes.
`Well, bugger it! he exclaimed, finally. `Why the hell not? Cant do any harm, after all and Ive hardly got a full social calendar.
He brought his e-mail window up and began to type.
Not owning a car, Brian had to take two buses and a taxi to get to the address Vanessa gave him. The shopfront was the only one in a row of Edwardian terraced houses, in a very quiet area that was a good ten minutes walk from the nearest cluster of shops he had passed in the taxi on the way here.
The sign above the window proclaimed "St Clair Sophisticates" and nothing more. In the small window stood a female mannequin, dressed in a smart, but otherwise unremarkable two piece black velvet suit. If the neighbours had any idea of the true nature of Vanessas business, they certainly hadnt gleaned it from her spartan display.
Inside, the racks of dresses, blouses and other items of feminine apparel looked perfectly ordinary and brian was greeted by a perky young girl assistant, dressed in crisp white blouse and plum coloured, knee length skirt. Her hair was fairish, and her smiling features adorned with a galaxy of freckles.
`Im brian - Brian Calloway, Brian began, nervously. His throat felt as if he had just swallowed an apple core. The girls smile grew wider.
`Of course! she exclaimed. `You won the contest, didnt you? Do come on through. Vanessa is expecting you, of course, but she was called away at the last minute and shell probably be another quarter of an hour. Shes left me strict instructions to make you feel at home.
`My names Emma, by the way. She held out a delicate hand and Brian took it, marvelling at how, despite the high heels he could now see she was wearing, that their eyes were on the same level. As if sensing his thoughts, Emma giggled.
`Vanessa reckons my dad must have been a pixie, she exclaimed. `Im just about four ten in my stockings, so I have to wear heels, or else Id barely be able to see over the counters, would I? Now, do come through and Ill get you a coffee, or would you prefer tea?
With his customary limping gait, Brian followed Emma through a series of doors and, as she stepped aside to allow him to precede her into the cosy little sitting room, he saw the look in her eyes.
`Poor you, she declared, softly. `Vanessa did tell me, but Id forgotten. Does it hurt? The look of concern in her eyes was so genuine that brian felt himself warm to her. He smiled and shook his head.
`No, he replied, making for the security of one of the two high backed armchairs, `not even the slightest bit. I was born like this, you see, so theres nothing broken.
`Life can be so unfair at times, Emma grimaced. `But enough of that. Coffee, or tea? And we have chocolate chip cookies, too. My favourite, she added, as Brian indicated that coffee would be fine.
Vanessa St Clair in person was even more stunning than her pictures could have suggested. She arrived just as Brian was finishing his coffee and beamed broadly when she saw him.
`No, dont get up! she said, as he made to put his cup aside. `Ill just sit here and kick these damned shoes off. She gestured to the towering heeled red court shoes she was wearing. `Theyre new and this morning is the first time Ive tried to walk more than a few yards in them. Youd think Id know better by this time, wouldnt you?
She threw herself into the empty armchair and kicked the offending shoes off with a disarming lack of ceremony.
`Ye gods, but that feels so much better! she sighed. Brian regarded her as if in a trance. Even without her heels, he knew that she would tower over him by several inches and she was built, as her pictures had suggested, like an amazon warrior woman, with those legs stretching out from beneath the hem of a black suede skirt that was only just short of being indecent.
Emma reappeared just then, carrying a tray on which were two fresh cups of coffe, a milk jug and a sugar bowl. She looked across at Brian and smiled, encouragingly. He returned the smile as he took the proferred cup.
`Now then, Vanessa said, when her diminutive assistant had gone, `tell me a bit about yourself. Her velvet voice was as seductive as her huge eyes and Brian quickly found himself giving her a précis of his life story - not, he reflected ruefully, that it required much précising.
`And you enjoy reading transgender theme stories, she said, musingly, when he had come to the end of his monologue. Brian shifted his position a little uncomfortably.
`Not because theyre transgender stories, he began. `I read a lot of stuff and some of the stories in that site are pretty good. Of course, a lot of them are the same old theme warmed over, and those I tend to not bother with, but there are some that are surprisingly good.
`I know exactly what you mean, brian, Vanessa agreed, nodding, `but you shouldnt be altogether surprised at the quality of the best stuff in that site. Some of the regular contributors are published authors in other fields, albeit under different names, myself included.
`Yes, I saw you had two stories in there and they were among my favourites, Brian said. `And youve had other stuff published - in real book form?
`Oh yes, she confirmed. `Quite a few now; mostly science fiction and fantasy. Maybe youve heard of me under my professional pen name? She mentioned a male authors name and Brians eyebrows shot up.
`Thats you? he exclaimed. `You mean you wrote the Alcan Planetary Series? Vanessa nodded.
`Still writing it, in fact, she said. `The tenth volume is due out in a couple of months time. She laughed, a musical, contralto sound that made brians spine tingle.
`Crazy, isnt it? she said. `I change from being a male to a female, yet I have to change my name back to male before a publisher will give me house room. Brians eyebrows rose higher still.
`I - I -, he stammered and finally found some words that were at least passable. `I couldnt believe what it said about you, he said, `and now Ive actually met you, it seems even more impossible.
`That I was born male, you mean? Vanessa replied, easily. `Well, I can tell you, brian, its taken a lot of money, a lot of patience, a lot of heartache and no little pain to look the way I do today. Im nearly forty, if you werent aware.
`No, I wasnt! brian gasped. `I assumed, from your pictures, that you were at least ten years younger than that and seeing you here has done nothing to alter that impression.
`Well, thank you for the compliment, young man, she smiled. `I knew I was going to like you. And dont feel embarrassed if there are any more questions youd like to ask - I promise you, they wont be anything I havent heard before. Life is a peculiar box of tricks, when alls said and done.
`Thin people want to be fatter, fat people want to be thinner, people with straight hair yearn for curly hair and people with curly hair would give their right arms for straight hair. Tall people wish they were shorter, short people envy tall people and there are men who long to be women and vice versa, though Ive never quite got my head round that one, if Im being honest.
`After all, she smiled, `we girls have all the best clothes to wear, dont we?
Vanessa wasted little more time before declaring that she was ravenous and that she had arranged for a car to collect them and take them to one of her favourite restaurants.
`Ive also asked Emma to join us, she added. `I have another call to make first, so I thought I could drop the pair of you off and join you a bit later. Em knows what to order for me.
`What about the shop? Brian asked. `Isnt Emma looking after that?
`You probably wont have seen them on the way in, Vanessa replied, `but I have a total of six girls working here, especially on a Saturday. Emmas duties today are almost exclusively to take care of you.
Because I am so short, Brian thought to himself, and you thought Id feel better with a female whose even smaller than me. He felt himself warming to the tall transsexual.
`You dont really have another call to make, do you? he asked, quietly. Vanessa studied him for a few seconds and her smile returned.
`Lets just say that it could wait, but its easier to kill two birds with one stone, okay? And I dont have to walk into a strange restaurant on the arm of someone Id need a stepladder to talk to when were not sitting down, Brian thought. Nice touch. Very considerate.
Emma had changed out of what was obviously her shop unifrom and was wearing a pretty, dark blue dress by the time the car arrived for them. She had tied her less than ruly hair back with a matching ribbon and carried a simple navy blue clutch bag. Vanessa dropped them outside a very select looking eating place and promised she would join them again as quickly as possible.
`Shes very nice, your boss lady, Brian said, when the waiter had seated them and left them with the menus. Emma laughed.
`Shes a gem, she agreed. `One of the nicest people Ive ever met, I reckon. Gave me a job when I was in some potentially serious trouble and helped me get my head straightened out. Without her, Id probably be dead in some gutter by now.
A sudden thought occurred to Brian.
`Youre not - he began and then faltered. `What I mean to say, he started again, `and tell me to mind my own business, if you like, but -
`Am I like Vanessa, you mean? Emma finished the question for him. `No, she laughed, `I was born a girl. I was talking about a different sort of trouble - drugs and the sort of heavy shit that goes with all that. Vanessa knew my mum and she offered to take me under her wing. That was three years ago now.
`You look as though youre doing all right now, I must say, Brian commented. Emma smiled, her freckled nose wrinkling attractively.
`I am, she said. `Thanks to Vee. Shes really something.
`Yes, I can see that, Brian concurred and tried desperately to ignore the curious butterflies sensation in his stomach that her proximity had begun to trigger.
Vanessa joined them after only fifteen minutes, confirming in his mind Brians suspicion that she had deliberately held back in order that he might enter the restaurant with a female companion more his own stature, but the subject was not mentioned again. The meal was superb, as were the three bottles of wine that they consumed with it and time seemed to hang in a sort of limbo for Brian, so that they were once again in the chauffeur driven car and heading back to Vanessas shop before he had time to realise it.
`Now, Vanessa said, as she led the way back through to her private sitting room, `lets show you a little something I remembered after our last e-mails. She motioned Brian to sit back in the chair he had occupied previously and Emma perched herself on its arm.
`When you mentioned about your left leg being shorter, Vanessa said, crossing to the dresser that occupied most of one wall, `I wondered if you wore a built up shoe. She turned back to him and smiled. `Now, of course, I see that you dont.
`No, Brian said. `I have in the past and I still have one pair at home, but theyre very expensive and they always look so ungainly. People notice the platform too easily.
`In the seventies, Vanessa said, `platform shoes were popular with men as well as with women. Shame theyve only made a comeback with girls now, otherwise that would be the answer. Here, what do you think of these?
She had taken a cardboard box from the dresser cupboard and now she handed this to Brian. Uncertainly, he fumbled with the lid and lifted it, his eyes widening with amazement when he saw the contents. The shoes were black leather, with platformed soles, one - the left - slightly thicker than the other, but not really as noticeable as if only the one shoe had been raised up. In addition, he saw that the right shoe was slightly longer than its counterpart and that the shoes would fit him perfectly.
There was only one drawback. Both shoes stood on tapering stiletto heels, for they were womens ankle strap court shoes. He stared at them for several seconds and then looked up at Vanessa.
`I hope you havent gone to a lot of trouble, he began, but she smiled and shook her head.
`They were actually made for a client come friend of mine, about two years ago now, I think. He - she - had much the same problem as you have, though she was a few inches taller, I have to say. I remembered them after I wrote to you last. Id forgotten all about them, after she emigrated to Australia. I had them made as a present, you see, but when she went off like that, well ...
`Ah, I see. Brian looked down at the shoes again and shook his head. `Well, theyre beautiful, he admitted, `and very cleverly made. Same as you said, unless you looked closely, youd never realise. But, he finished, replacing the lid on the box and offering it back to Vanessa, `same as I said, theyre not for me, thank you all the same.
`Well, maybe not, Vanessa replied, carefully refraining from taking the box from him, `but maybe I could have something more suitable sorted out for you. Call that your prize, if you like.
`You could at least try them on for size, Brian, Emma added, giving him a friendly nudge on the shoulder. `Go on, theres no need to be embarrassed, I promise you. Theres just the three of us here.
`No, I couldnt, Brian insisted, trying to give the shoes back to Vanessa again, but something told him that he was going to. For some minutes, Vanessa diverted the conversation onto a completely different tack, whilst leaving the box in Brians lap. Meantime, Emma excused herself and returned with a tray containing a new bottle of brandy and three glasses, plus a selection of mixers.
By the time the hands on the antique mantleshelf clock had moved around to four oclock, Brian realised that he was just a shade less than sober and was astonished to hear himself agreeing to at least "try the damned things on, seeing as how youve gone to so much trouble". He placed the shoe box on the carpet, bent forward to unlace his own shoes and was then midly surprised when Emma suggested he should also take off his socks.
`Slip these on instead, she suggested, holding up something that Brian initially took to be a pair of stockings. Instinctively, he recoiled, but Emma laughed and shook her head.
`Its okay, she said, `theyre only like pop sox. Theyre thinner than what youre wearing and itll make it easier for you to slip your feet into the shoes. Here, let me do it for you. Before Brian had chance to object, she had pulled his socks from his feet and was replacing them with the flimsy looking black nylon ones.
`There, she said, drawing the second one half way up his calf, `that wasnt so bad, was it. Now, lets have the shoes and see if they do fit you.
They did, though their height arched Brians insteps incredibly, so that he was actually surprised when Emma was able to buckle the ankle straps snugly and sit back on her haunches.
`All done, she declared. `An absolutely perfect fit, too. Now, if I just get up firt, you hold my arm and try standing. Theyre bound to feel a bit strange at first.
`Youre not kidding, Brian retorted. `Ill never be able to stand in these. Theyre really far too high. However, helped by Vanessa and Emma together, he rose unsteadily into a vertical position and stood between the two women, wobbling precariously.
`Bring your legs together and keep your knees straight, Vanessa advised him, gently. `Take your time and get used to the way your weight is now distributed. Itll feel totally different from anything youve ever experienced before.
`You can say that again, Brian gasped, trying to follow her instructions. `Good grief, this feels very unsafe. However, much to his surprise, after only a few minutes he began to grow accustomed to the new, enforced stance and, after a little more cajoling and with Emma holding his arm for balance and support, he ventured to try a few steps.
The thicker platform beneath the left shoe compensated perfectly for the shorter limb and it took several minutes of practice and a couple of near disasters, before Brian found that he was able not to try to limp in the manner to which he had for so long been accustomed. When he finally made two passes across the room unaided, he felt stupidly pleased with his efforts.
`Well done, Vanessa applauded. `Thats pretty good for a first attempt. See how much more gracefully you walk in those, eh? Brian grinned again, realising for the first time, now that he had become more confident, just how much taller the shoes made him, too. With the two inch platform on the left foot and the one inch platform on the right, the heels had now raised him a mean height of around five inches, so that he now looked over the top of Emmas head and did not have to look up nearly so far when he spoke to Vanessa.
`Amazing, he said. `Now I know what it would feel like to be nearer average height. He snickered and shook his head. `Shame I couldnt wear these out in public, he said, almost regretfully.
`Well, maybe you could, Vanessa said. `Of course, youd need to change the rest of your clothing, otherwise it would look ridiculous for sure, but we could sort something out.
`No! Brian shook his head emphatically and turned to walk back to his chair. Carefully, he lowered himself back into the seat again and leaned forward to tackle the first ankle strap.
`Well, of course, its your decision, Vanessa said, softly, `and you did make your tastes perfectly clear to me before we even met, so I shant push you.
`Shame, though, Emma said. `You could have a bit of fun. Ill tell you what, she added, jumping to her feet again, `why dont I show you around all the stock rooms and then maybe, if you fancy a bit of fun, you could try on a couple of things. Maybe not skirts and dresses, but there are some unisex wetlook pants that wouldnt look too out of place with your - I mean those - shoes.
`You dont have to wear anything outside, naturally, but you could at least try it in here, in private.
`And what if someone walks in on us whilst Im doing it? Brian demanded. `You must have plenty of other customers call in here. Vanessa looked at the clock and then consulted her wristwatch.
`Its just gone four thirty, she said. `On Saturday afternoons we close for persoanl callers at four, so therell only be the three of us and maybe Cathy and Sylvia sorting out mail order stuff, and theyll be in the rear warehouse section.
`I also own the two adjoining houses, she explained, rising to her feet. `Ive had interconnecting doors installed, so the premises are a lot larger than they look from the outside. Ill just go through and check first, if youd prefer.
`Well yes, I mean, no! Brian cried, trying to stand up himself and forgetting that he was still wearing the high heeled shoes. Emma had to reach out a hand to steady him. `I mean, he said, shaking his head again, `that its getting late, isnt it. It took me nearly two hours to get here this morning and Ive got no idea what time the various last buses run.
`Not a problem, Vanessa said, assuredly. `By car, its not much more than half an hour to where you live. Ill have Arthur drive you back this evening. That way we can also have dinner somewhere. Ive enjoyed your company, Brian and I can see Emma has taken a bit of a shine to you, too. Just sit back down and have another drink, whilst I check everything is clear.
`Just relax and enjoy yourself, she added, crossing to the door. `Have a bit of fun and start to laugh a bit. Like we said, theres nothing here for you to get uptight over.
An hour later, Brian realised that he was most definitely drunk, if not actually falling down drunk, for sober there was no way he would have allowed himself to be talked into anything like this. He stared down at himself in amazement and wondered if he had actually passed out and whether this wasnt, in fact, just some alcohol induced dream.
He still wore the red shoes, but now his legs and feet had first been encased in full length, sheer black stockings, held up to the tops of his thighs by the six red garter straps of the frilly suspender belt Emma had decided would be appropriate. Somewhere along the way, he had lost not only his outer clothes, but his underpants as well, for now the only thing that covered his manhood, apart from the dress itself, was a pair of matching red panties, again all frills and lace, but with an elasticity that easily drew his male bits and pieces back up between his legs.
The red basque had at first been treated as just a joke and he and Emma had laughed when she had produced it, but the freckle faced little minx had managed to talk him into at least wrapping it around himself and allowing her to fasten the front hooks and then, before he had time to realise it, she had begun tightening the back laces, drawing in his waist and flattening his stomach, so that he had felt almost as though she were trying to cut him in two.
`I cant breathe in this, he gasped. `Youll have to take it off.
`Youll be okay, Emma replied, giggling. `Just breathe with the top half of your chest, shallower breaths and try not to panic. Talking of which, your chest could do with some help, I reckon.
And, whilst Brian stood there, endeavouring to re-establish a breathing pattern that would prevent him from asphyxiating, she popped two life like breast forms into the basques brassiere cups. They felt cold against his flesh, but Emma assured him they would soon adjust to the warmth of his body.
`You know, she said, `you really dont have any body hair, do you? Do you shave your legs? Brian shook his head, his cheeks burning, for his almost total lack of anything anywhere on his body had been a source of embarrassment to him for as long as he could remember.
`No, he replied, averting her gaze, `what you see is what Ive got.
`Lucky you, she said, with evident feeling. `I have to do my legs at least once every three weeks. Its a real bind and, oh my, I say - youre legs are really quite something in those heels and stockings. You look delicious, so lets find you a dress, before I give in to the temptation to take a bite out of you.
The dress was simple, sleeveless, black and short, reaching down only to mid thigh. Emma zipped up the back and Brian felt the fabric moulding itself to the figure the basque had created for him.
`Brilliant! she exclaimed. `A perfect fit! She walked around him slowly, looking him up and down, nodding gently all the while.
`You know, she said, at length, `you really do have a very nice body and your legs are long in proportion, like a females.
`Well, one of them is long, anyway, Brian joked and they both started laughing.
`No, honestly, Emma said, `I mean what I say. You are almost beautiful.
`Now youre taking the mickey, Brian muttered. `No one would ever think me beautiful, nor anywhere near it.
`Maybe not as the Brian youve always been so far, Emma agreed, `though you do have a sweet face anyway. But like this, looking at you now, I really could eat you, youre so scrumptious.
`Emma, Brian pleaded, `please dont say things like that. I know what I am and Ive never really been much good with girls, even though I live with two sisters. Probably, he added, with a rueful grin, `because I live with two sisters.
`Youve never had a girlfriend, then?
`Well, no, not really, Brian admitted. `None of the girls I ever fancied ever fancied being seen out with a little guy like me.
`How dyou know that? Emma demanded. `You ever ask them?
`Well, no, Brian admitted, `not directly, but I could tell.
`Oh, could you now, Emma said. `And what about me?
`What about you? Brian replied, startled by the directness of the question. Emma sighed.
`Well, she said, `Im shorter than you, arent I, and thats even without your new heels.
`And? Brian regarded her cautiously, not wanting to say anything that would make him feel an even bigger fool than he already felt.
`And would you ask me out? Emma said, flatly. `Would I fancy you? Do you fancy me?
`Oh god, yes, Brian replied, before he had even realised the words were out of his mouth. `Of course I fancy you. Youre lovely!
`And so are you, she smiled, taking his hand between hers. `So, why not ask me out? Brian stared at her, open-mouthed and she laughed again. `Okay, Ill save you the trouble. Yes, Id be delighted to go out with you.
`Oh! Right. Yes. Brian pressed his lips together for a moment. `I mean, thank you - me too.
`Well, thats that settled then, but well sort out the details later, Emma said, brightly. `First, however, I want to ask you a small favour.
`Yes. Emma stood up on tiptoe and planted a small kiss on his lips. `I want you to let me do your face.
`Do what to my face?
`Make it up properly, silly goose! she exclaimed. `Just to see what you look like. I mean, from the neck down you look terrific, but your face, sweet though it is, isnt quite right, especially with your hair all short like that.
`Oh, go on! Emma urged him. `It wont take long and itll all wipe off afterwards. Just to see what you look like. After all, you were supposed to win a free makeover, so having come this far, why not give it a go? brian opened his mouth to protest, but instead just sighed.
`On one condition, he said, quietly.
`Yes? Emmas eyes sparkled up into his.
`I need another drink first. A very large one!
`I cant believe Ive let the pair of you talk me into doing this! Brian hissed, as the two women helped him from the back of Vanessas Mercedes. He stepped onto the pavement, drew himself to his full new height and looked about apprehensively.
The pavement outside of the Italian restaurant was far from crowded, but there were several knots of people approaching and retreating from both directions, for the evening was, as yet, still very young. He swallowed, nervously and made to turn back to the car.
`I cant! he whimpered. `Take me back, please! Vanessa grasped his arm and pulled Brian back to her.
`Take it easy, she whispered, patting his other shoulder. `Just keep your voice soft and low and I swera, no one will ever know. Youve seen your reflection in the big mirror - you know how you look and what you look like!
Indeed, he had - and he did. After Emma had spent half an hour working away on his face and then finished that off by positioning a curly blonde wig on his head, Brian had almost fainted when he saw the image he now presented. Standing before him in the mirror was one very sexy young woman, dressed for an evening out, perfectly made up, even to the heavy eyelashes.
All traces of his former self seemed to have been banished and Brian had stood, transfixed, for several minutes, unable to trust himself to speak. Emma had been delighted and had kissed him again, only this time more passionately and he tasted the mingling flavours of their lipsticks as their tongues had caressed each other.
The effect of the alcohol was as nothing compared to the effect of that first, real kiss and Brian had walked back through the buildings to Vanessas sitting room as though in a trance. The moment she saw him, Vanessa had leaped up, clapping her hands delightedly.
`Wonderful! she shrieked. `I knew it! I knew youd look gorgeous! She turned to Emma and suddenly there was a slightly different light in her eyes.
`Ah, she said, softly, `and I see Im not the only one who thinks so. Maybe we should celebrate?
Looking "gorgeous" within the privacy of Vanessas rambling establishment was one thing, he thought, as they entered the restaurant, but how on earth had he ever let them talk him into coming out in public like this?
Brian struggled to maintain his poise as they had instructed him, feeling the pressure from his compressed waist and manhood with every teetering step he took and expecting, at every moment, that his secret would be discovered and that someone would cry out, exposing him to ridicule and scorn.
But nothing of the sort happened and, as the three elegantly attired females made their way through to the bar, to await their table reservation, the only looks they attracted were of either admiration or jealousy, depending mostly upon the sex of the viewer, or, in one or two cases, Brian suspected, as he saw interested female eyes turned to watch their progress, on something just a little more complex than mere gender.
`You see? Vanessa whispered, when they were all seated in a private little alcove in the bar area. `I told you there was nothing to worry about. And doesnt it feel splendid, being so elegant and such an obvious focus for so much admiration?
`Half those eyes were trying to undress me, Brian complained, keeping his voice soft, as Vanessa had instructed him earlier. `I could feel them, boring into me.
`More than half of them, darling, Vanessa said, grinning wickedly. `And who can blame them?
`Theyd get a bit of a shock if they ever succeeded, Brian said, stifling a giggle and both his companions smirked.
`The only thing we need to decide upon now, Vanessa said, when the obsequious waiter had taken their drinks order, `is what we are going to call you. I mean, we can hardly call you Brian, can we, not when you look the way you do now?
`How about Cally? Emma suggested. `Thats near enough to your surname and Ive always quite liked that. I watch all the repeats of Blakes Seven, you see, she added, by way of explanation.
`If you like, Brian replied, non-committally, though secretly he quite liked the name, for he had watched the same programme a few times himself and right now, sitting in such glamorous surroundings and with two beautiful and equally glamorous companions, he could not remember feeling better in his entire life.
Just a few hours ago - though it seemed like half a lifetime - he had been Brian Calloway, nondescript, underheight, underweight little librarian and now here he was, passing as a near enough beautiful girl, in which role his height and build were just about perfect. The comparison was not lost on him.
`Well then, Cally, Vanessa said, when their drinks were finally set before them, `heres to you and your new life! She raised her own glass, Emma did the same and Brian/Cally found him/herself mirroring them.
`To Callys new life! Emma exclaimed and they chinked their glasses over the table.
`To Callys new life, Brian echoed, quietly and then, as Cally, he smiled and repeated the toast.
`To Callys new life! she cried and decided it wasnt worth bothering just yet as to what her new life - if indeed she decided she wanted a new life at all - might really be like, not when there was the prospect of a lovely meal, dancing in her new finery and then, as Emma had not been shy to point out, the sort of end to a day that any man - albeit a man who looked as much like a woman as Cally now did - would remember for a very long time to come.
Cally looked down at the red shoes, the shoes that had given her the height and confidence, the shoes that had banished the old Brians limp - there had never been a client friend of Vanessas, of that much at least she was now pretty sure, but she wasnt about to challenge Vanessa on the subject - not here, not now.
Later she might worry about how much of this had been planned in advance and what the future might hold long term, but for the moment, faced with the immediate alternatives, it really was no contest ...
The End (at least, it is for now!)
And yes, I daresay therell be another adventure for Cally and Emma, but for the moment, this little story is dedicated to all my fellow fashion victims and shoe lovers.
I hope youve enjoyed it as much as Cally ultimately did!
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