Crystal's StorySite


The Organization

by Carlito Esperanza

Part 2

Cheryl is back, reluctantly


In the weeks after I talked with Ellen things went along normally at the office. I called Mother and asked to spend my vacation with her. I told her that I would want to stay in and not have company during that time because I would be transitioning. She agreed. I put every available penny into paying off my credit card bill for the clothes and other things that I had bought. I didn't want any debt hanging over me if something went wrong.

I began to let my eyebrows grow out. I didn't just stop plucking them but carefully let them get thicker and lose some of their feminine shape. Although I continued to paint my nails, I didn't renew the acrylic extensions.

On the Friday when my vacation began I said my good-byes to the girls at the office and went to my apartment. There I removed my wig and placed it on the wig stand in the top of the closet. I undressed and carefully removed my ersatz breasts. I stored them away in the foam-lined boxes they had come in. I hung my dress in the closet and put my undergarments in the laundry. I cleansed and moisturized my face and took a long soak in the tub. As I got out of the tub I said "goodbye" to Cheryl and did my best to become Carl again. My clothes seemed rough and hung on me loosely. I had lost about 10 pounds as Cheryl.

While I was doing the laundry I packed my bag with Carl's clothes. Saturday morning I went by a salon and got a haircut. Something I hadn't done since Cheryl was born. Then I headed toward Mother's house. Somehow it was a bitter-sweet trip. I knew I was doing what I wanted to do, maintain my identity. But I had to admit that I had enjoyed being Cheryl. And I knew that I would lose something in my relations with the girls at the office. But I had made my decision and was determined to stick to it.

At Mother's house I parked in my usual place at the back of the house and went inside. Mother greeted me with a hug and said, "I'm glad to see you again." Since it hadn't been all that long since Cheryl had been there, I assumed she meant it was good to see Carl. I put my bag in my room and returned to the den.

Mother looked me over and said, "You've lost weight, Son."

"Yes, I've lost about 10 pounds but you didn't notice it because of the padded panty and other things that Cheryl wore. But I think I will keep it off for now at least."

"Does that mean that you may go back to being Cheryl again?"

"I guess it means that I haven't fully closed the door on that part of my life. I have just come to the realization that I am a heterosexual male and although I enjoy wearing women's clothes, I don't enjoy dating men and kissing them or having them try to grope me.

Mother chuckled. "I never enjoyed being groped either. It's a sign that a man is treating you as an object and doesn't respect you as a person. That was one of the things I really liked about your father. He always respected me and never tried to 'use' me." Mother got a far away look in her eyes and I knew she was remembering the good years she had spent with Dad before he was killed in an auto accident when I was about 10 years old.

After lunch I helped Mother wash the dishes. As we worked I asked her what she needed done around the house. "I'm not ready to go out in public yet but I don't want to just sit around here and moss over."

"Well, I've been thinking about redecorating the living room and den. If you want to paint while you are here, that would be great."

Mother went to buy paint while I rummaged around in my closet for some old clothes that I could paint in. While she was out she also bought me some better fitting clothes so that it wasn't so obvious that I had lost weight.

For the next two weeks I mostly stayed inside, painting the living room and den and watching TV. Ugh! I've heard it said that many painters drink 'to thin the paint.' I don't know about that, but I think that daytime TV would drive me to drink.

By Saturday of the second week I felt that I just had to get out of the house. I offered to go to the supermarket. As I was pushing my cart down an aisle and looking for something I almost ran over Mark. I mumbled, "Excuse me," without looking up and pushed on past him hoping that he didn't recognize me. Fortunately, he had never seen me except in a dress and with my wig on. So maybe he hadn't. After that I as careful to avoid the aisles where he was. I finished my shopping and checked out as soon as possible. I was really relieved when I made it back to the car and out of the parking lot.

On Sunday I went back to the city to get ready for work on Monday.

Monday morning I dressed in coat and tie for the first time in a long time. I made a special effort to be the first to arrive at the office. Once in my office, I closed the door and began to catch up on things that had accumulated during my vacation. Vacation just means that your work gets put off until you get back. Then you have to do double work for a few days to catch up.

Shortly before break time I went to the break room and waited. Cheryl had made a grand entrance but I wanted to just be there when the others came in. Barbara was the first one in. She glanced at me and said, "Hello, Carl." Then she did a quick double take and started to say something but just then Alice and Nancy came in. They didn't seem to notice me but Barbara said, "Carl is back." They both turned and looked at me. Then Nancy said, "What was the matter, Carl? Didn't like being a woman?"

I was ready for a good bit of teasing so I grinned and said, "No, the girdle pinched." Everyone laughed. Just then several others came in.

Sandra smiled at me and said, "Well look whose here."

There was a good bit of teasing during the break but nothing that I hadn't expected.

In the days that followed though, I sensed a slight distancing of the others from me. I was no longer just one of the girls as I had been while I was Cheryl. But it wasn't anything that bothered me.

I had gone about six weeks without dressing up when one Friday the urge hit me. I spent the evening making preparations. I bathed using hair remover and checked my eyebrows to be sure that they had not become too bushy. I glued on the breast prosthesis and carefully applied the makeup to hide the seams where the prosthesis ended and my body began, then I slipped on a white nylon gown and matching robe and stepped into slippers with 3 inch wedge heels. Although I wasn't going anywhere or expecting anyone, I put on the wig just to get myself in the mood. Then I shaped and painted my fingernails. I went through Cheryl's closet and chose the clothes that I wanted to wear the next day. I finally settled on a light blue vee necked sweater with a matching cardigan and a mid-calf length straight black skirt. I also practiced my feminine voice some.

Saturday morning I slept later than usual, had a light breakfast and began to dress. The straight skirt required a gaff and the padded panty. Next came neutral shade pantyhose. I chose one of the smooth cup white bras and a long half-slip. After I had put on the skirt and sweater, I sat to do my makeup. When I finished my makeup I settled the wig on my head and fastened it securely. From my jewelry box I chose dangling pendant earrings and a matching necklace. I put a ladies watch on my wrist and a couple of rings on my fingers. Pumps with three-inch heels completed my outfit. I walked to the full-length mirror, first checking myself to be sure that everything looked right, then admiring the way I looked.

I slipped on the long sleeved cardigan, picked up my purse and checked it to be sure that I had documents, money and lipstick and headed off to the mall.

In one store I found tweed knit separates - a long straight skirt and vest with a matching turtleneck sweater - at a very reasonable price. I also found a faux suede jacket and a paisley skirt that came below mid-calf. I could afford to dress for cooler weather without absolutely ruining the budget.

When I decided that I had done enough damage to my credit card for one day I stopped in a restaurant in the mall. As the hostess was leading me to a seat I heard a voice say, "Cheryl, what a surprise to see you here." I stopped and turned toward the voice. There sat Liz and Sandra. "Join us. We haven't ordered yet," they said. I signaled the hostess and slid into the booth beside Liz.

I took a quick look at the menu and ordered a salad and a cup of coffee. Then Sandra said, "I thought you had left us for good."

"No, I never meant to give up my hobby. But I decided that I really wanted to keep it that, just a hobby, not a full time lifestyle. That meant that I had to separate my work from my play."

Liz said, "OK, but we need to have a little heart to heart about that and this is not the time or place. Why don't you come over to my place tonight and we can talk more freely. Now, what do have in those bags? Did you make some great find?"

I knew that I was going to get a 'mother-daughter' talking to but I ignored that and said, "I think I did pretty well for not breaking the bank. Tell you what, I'll wear one of the outfits tonight."

Our order came and we ate in silence for a few minutes. Then I said, "I would appreciate it if you didn't say anything to the others about seeing me. It's just as well that they think that Cheryl is gone for good. OK?"

"OK, but that is going to limit your circulation because you will probably run into others just as you did with us today."

"That's true. I guess I will have to change the places I go. Or dye my hair." We all laughed at that.

We finished eating and I started to gather up my purchases. Liz said, "See you about seven then?"

"Sure, I'll be there." We paid the bill, hugged and kissed on the cheek and left.

At that point I changed my mind and went looking for the boots that would go well with one of the outfits I had bought. Since I didn't figure on wearing them a lot, I thought that less expensive ones would do. I could afford them if they weren't too expensive. After a little looking I found a pair with a two and a half-inch block heel that would go nicely with the skirt.

At home I took a bath and laid out the straight skirt and vest. Even though the sweater had a zipper at the back of the neck, I knew that I needed to put it on before I put on my makeup. I put on the gaff, the padded panty and pulled on beige pantyhose. I pulled on a long half slip and then put on a smooth cup white bra. The sweater slipped easily over my head but I knew that if I had long hair or had already put on my makeup it would have soiled the sweater and mussed my hair.

I sat at my dressing table and worked on my makeup - foundation, powder to set it, blush, eye shadow, mascara, and lipstick. Then I seated the wig on my head, fastened it and brushed it out. I pulled on the boots and zipped them up. Finally, I put on the skirt and vest. I walked to the mirror and looked myself over. Satisfied that all was properly done, I gathered up my purse and headed to Liz's apartment.

Liz greeted me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Then she asked, "Would you like some coffee or a soda?"

"If you already have the coffee made, that will be fine."

"Sugar and cream?"

"Neither. I drink it black."

"Oh, that's right. I had forgotten."

She brought two cups and set them on the table between us and sat in the chair across from me. I could tell she was checking to see if I was staying in character or if I had slipped back into Carl.

Finally she said, "I was really surprised to see you today. I thought you had been burned somehow and that Cheryl was gone for good."

"No, I didn't get hurt or offended. Thanks to you, Sandra, Renee and Ellen, and the rest of the gang too, for that matter, I had a wonderful opportunity to see what it is like to live as a woman 24/7. That is something that I'm sure many like me dream about but few ever have the chance to experience. Some things did happen, however, that made me realize that, however much I may look like a woman and however much I may act like a woman, I am not a woman. And I have no desire to be a woman. Deep down inside, I think like a man and I feel like a man. I suppose that Mark treated me as much like a lady as anyone could asked to be treated. His kisses were tender and I'm sure that many girls would be thrilled to have that kind of treatment and be kissed like that. But I didn't get any thrill. I didn't want to be kissed or embraced no matter how much I tried to convince myself to relax and enjoy it. Sexual reassignment surgery or a homosexual relationship is not in the books for me.

"On the other side, I still enjoy the feel of the clothes. I still get excited by the smell of the makeup. I still like to look in the mirror and say, 'Hey, you look good!' But that isn't enough to build a life on. And the alternative is to separate Carl and his work from his hobby just as some men work all week to get to play golf on Saturday."

"Well, I hope you realize that you are trying to walk a very fine line. You saw today how you can accidentally encounter people who know you and they will always ask questions."

"Yes, I really should have known that I couldn't expect to go to the mall on Saturday and not meet someone that I knew. I will have to find some other place to shop."

"That sounds like a very solitary life to me. Wouldn't you enjoy more social life as Cheryl?"

"I guess that is just the price of doing things my way."

"Sandra and I have friends outside the office. We play cards, bowl, go to plays and do other things together. Would you come along if we invited you to some of those things?"

"Do you mean as Cheryl with no questions and no explanation? Or do you mean as Carl in a dress?"

Liz scowled at me and said, "Oh, come off it. Have we every treated you that way? We know you and we know that you are as much a lady as anyone. You would be Cheryl McArthur, a co-worker from the office. All you have do to is be Cheryl and you don't seem to have lost your touch at that."

"I think I would like that. It would give me a chance to dress and to have some social life."

"Ok, then I'll invite you along the next time we get together."

The rest of the evening was spent in chit-chat about the office and casual subjects. After a while I expressed my thanks to Liz for her concern and for her willingness to go out on a limb for me with her friends. I gathered up my purse and started for the door. At the door Liz embraced me tightly and said, "Please be careful, Hon. I would really hate for anything to happen to you." Then she kissed me on the lips.

I said, "Thanks, I'll do my best."

At home I cleansed my face and slipped in to a gown and robe and sat down to evaluate my day. Liz was right, I couldn't just roam around in public and expect not to meet people that knew me. And I really didn't want to slip back into being Cheryl full time. But her offer to take me into another circle of friends was fascinating.

Sunday morning I felt the need to go to church. I dressed in the faux suede jacket and paisley skirt that I had purchased the previous day and drove across town to a church that I knew had a woman minister. The sermon was good. The people were friendly. But somehow I was ill at ease throughout the service. I had a deep-seated feeling that someone knew I was not what I seemed. As I left the service I resolved not to attend church again dressed. I would go as Carl.

On the way home after church I stopped at a restaurant and had lunch. At home I undressed and put Cheryl away - wig on the block in the top of the closet, breast forms in their foam-lined boxes and dress in the closet. I cleansed my face and washed out Cheryl's underwear. Then I lounged around watching football the rest of the day.

Neither Liz nor Sandra mentioned having seen Cheryl over the weekend. Three weeks passed before there was any mention of the conversation at Liz's apartment. Then on Thursday Liz stopped by my office and said, "A week from tomorrow three of us are planning to go to Atlanta to see 'Fiddler on the Roof'. Would Cheryl like to make it a foursome? We will have to leave by five p.m. to get there by curtain time."

"Wow! That would be great. I've wanted to see that play for a long time. But I will have to leave work early to get ready. I think I can arrange that, no problem." I gave her the money for my ticket.

On Thursday I stopped by Ellen's office to tell her that I needed to be off the next afternoon. She raised an eyebrow and asked, "Is your work up to date?"

"Yes, everything is in good shape."

"Then I don't see any problem in you taking half a day of personal time. But I 'm glad you stopped by. Come on in and push the door too." I did as she asked and sat as she indicated.

"We have a small problem. Do you remember Lisa Barringtine that you met at the convention?"

"She's from the home office. Some kind of assistant to the president, isn't she?"

"That's right. Well, she is coming in a couple of weeks and will spend a week here. Sort of a performance review for the whole office. It would complicate things significantly if I have to explain Cheryl/Carl to her. Would Cheryl help us out by coming back for a couple of weeks? I am thinking next week to get everyone back in the habit of working with her and then the week that Lisa will be here."

I sighed and said, "I really wanted to separate Cheryl from my work. But if it is necessary I guess she could come back. But I will need some more winter clothes. I have bought a few pieces but not enough for a week's work."

"Yes, I foresaw that and have arranged for a small bonus to help there."

"Oh, and will you talk to the girls and advise them so as to ease Cheryl's return?"

"Of course. That will be no problem at all."

"Thanks." I rose to leave.

Ellen said, "That's what I like about you. You're a team player even when it isn't exactly what you wanted to do." She smiled and I turned and left her office wondering what I had let myself in for.

At noon on Friday I went home and took a long bath. After I dried off, I put on beige panties and glued on the breast forms. That necessitated a bra. I chose one of the very lacy beige bras. Then I shaped and painted my fingernails. I pulled on the padded panty and neutral shade pantyhose then a full slip with wide lace around the top and hem. I slipped the skirt over my head and settled it on my waist. I sat at my dressing table and applied my makeup, working carefully, mindful that I would be meeting people whom I hoped would become new friends. I put on the faux suede jacket and fastened the wig securely before I brushed it out a little. Last I fastened on a gold pendant necklace, put rings on each hand and a gold watch on my wrist. Stepping into the brown pumps with 4-inch heels that matched my outfit, I walked to the full-length mirror and turned slowly examining my image. Picking up my purse, I checked it for money and documents and placed the proper shade of lipstick in it. Then I drove to Liz's apartment where we met to begin our trip.

As I walked toward Liz's apartment I was aware of another car arriving and two women getting out. We arrived at Liz's door at almost the same time. I rang the bell. Liz greeted us with a warm smile and invited us in. She said, "This is Cheryl McArthur who works with me." And to me she said, "This is Debbie and Holly Griffin." Liz picked up her jacket and we all headed to her car. Holly and I sat in back.

As we rode we chatted about jobs and school and inevitably about boy friends. I was certainly glad for history and the stories that Renee had made me rehearse. It seemed that Holly had very limited experience with boys. And she sounded like just a bit of an air-head. I learned that she was studying psychology at the local university. Then she asked, "Do you like to roller-skate?"

"Yes, it was practically the only recreational activity we had in the town where I grew up. We all hung out at the rink."

"Great! Let's go skating some time. Have you ever ice skated?"

"No, but I imagine it shouldn't be too difficult."

"You're right. When they open the rink at the mall we will have to try it."

At the theatre we found our seats only a few minutes before the curtain opened. I had seen the movie but it was interesting to see the play and hear the live music.

As we left the theatre Liz said, "We were in such a hurry to get here that we didn't eat. I don't know about you, but I could do with some food before we start back." We all agreed but did not see a restaurant close to the theatre that we liked so we drove out a ways toward home and stopped at a mall that had a nice restaurant.

After we placed our orders Liz and Debbie excused them selves and went to the powder room. Holly and I continued to discuss the play and the music. After we finished eating Holly took my hand and said, "Let's go fix our lipstick." I retrieved a pair of $20's from my purse and handed them to Liz to pay my bill while we were gone. In the lady's room we relieved ourselves and repaired our lipstick. We were alone. Holly turned and took both my hands in hers and said, "You're beautiful but you are a boy. What's your name? Bill? Robert? James?"

I blushed beet red and stuttered as I answered, "What on earth are you taking about?"

"Don't worry. I'm not going to say anything to Mother or Liz. But I just have this sixth sense that tells me that you are a boy."

"Well your sixth sense is wrong!"

"Oh, getting testy about it. That only confirms my feelings. But don't get upset. Like I said, I'm not going to tell anyone. I just had to confirm that I was right."

"Well, if you think I'm a boy, what makes you think so?"

"If I knew, I would tell you. I don't know. I guess you could call it woman's intuition. Not anything that I can put my finger on. Just a certainty that I am right."

"What do you want me to do, pull my panties down and show you?" I was bluffing hard.

"No that won't be necessary. I can see that I have embarrassed you enough already. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything. But I did and I'm sure I'm right."

"OK. So suppose you are right. What are we going to do?"

"We go back out just like I hadn't said a thing. And only you and I will know that I know. It will be our little secret."

We rejoined Liz and Debbie in the lobby. Liz looked at me and said softly, "You look like you just saw a ghost. What's wrong?"

"Later," I said.

We walked on out to the car and continued toward home. Holly chatted normally and I tried to hold up my end of the conversation but my heart was beating almost out of control. At Liz's apartment we said goodnight to Debbie and Holly. Then Liz said, "Come on inside. You need to talk. I don't know about what, but something is wrong."

Inside, I fell into a chair and buried my face in my hands in sobs. "Holly read me! When we went to the restroom after we ate she said, 'Don't worry. I'm not going to say anything to Mother or Liz. But I just have this sixth sense that tells me that you are a boy.' She said that it would be 'our little secret.' But that really wiped me out."

"I can imagine. But I think you can count on her keeping her word. Anyway, calm down and go on home and rest. If I hear anything I will let you know."

I was so nervous that I could hardly drive but I made it home without incident.

As I was undressing the thought came to me, 'If Holly read me when I thought I was doing so well, how many others had or would read me?" I sat at the dressing table with my face covered with cleansing cream and shook at the thought. Finally, I managed to finish getting ready for bed. I slept fitfully and had nightmares of being exposed in some public place.

Saturday morning I called Liz and said, "You know that Ellen has asked Cheryl to work the next couple of weeks while Lisa Barringtine is here from the home office."

"Yes, Ellen mentioned that Cheryl was coming back as a favor to her while Lisa is here."

"I'm going to call her and tell her that I just can't do it. The risk is too great for me and for her. What if Lisa reads me?"

"Calm down, girl. I don't know what caused Holly to act like that but you do fine. And it will be very difficult for Ellen to explain Carl to Lisa since there hasn't been anything said about a change in personnel here. And if by chance Lisa does read you, which I think is very unlikely, then Ellen will handle it. You won't be taken out and shot at sunrise. You were not trying to fool anyone to get a job. Putting you in a dress was mine and Ellen's idea. It worked out very nicely, too, until you decided that you didn't want to be em femme 24/7. Chin up, girl. You can handle this."

After that pep talk I felt better and didn't call Ellen. But I did make a decision and begin to act on it. If Ellen needed Cheryl now, she would surely need her again. And there was the matter of the convention next year. That, too, would be a call for Cheryl. I spent the rest of the day working on my résumé and searching the Internet for possible employers. No matter what happened with Lisa, I wanted out. As soon as I could I was going to find a job for Carl where he wouldn't have this problem.

On Monday I went to work and it was as if Cheryl had never left. There were no comments about the change. And the old intimacy was back. The others just felt more at ease with Cheryl. As the week went on there was just a little tension in the air as everyone wondered what would happen the next week with Lisa there.

I know it sounds crazy, but I needed a break so on Thursday I called Holly. "You said that you like to skate. Do you know where there is a good rink?"

"I do. And it isn't too far from my house."

"How about going skating tomorrow night or Saturday?"

"Oh, I would love that. How about Friday night? Mother is traveling and won't be back until noon on Saturday. What time do you want to go?"

"Say about 7:30. I'm not much of a night owl. I'll pick you up."

"OK. See you tomorrow night at 7:30."

Since I didn't have a skating outfit, I got out the hip-hugger jeans and sorority sweatshirt I hadn't worn since the day I move Carl out of the old apartment many months earlier. I checked my profile and made sure that the gaff did what it was supposed to, give me a flat front. I put on a pair of deck shoes. Then I did my makeup. Finally, I seated the wig on my head and fastened it securely. I didn't plan of falling, after all, I had been a fairly good skater, but I didn't want to risk embarrassment if I did fall.

I arrived at Holly's house promptly at 7:30. It was a ranch in a nice neighborhood. Holly answered the door in a bathrobe and her hair still damp from the shower. She invited me in and said, "I'm sorry I'm late but I got involved in a big discussion with my major professor and let the time get away from me. Come on back to my room. I won't be long getting dressed."

I sat in the chair at her desk as she indicated. She slipped out of the robe and hung it in the closet. She was wearing only panties and a bra. She was almost as tall as I and displayed a beautiful body, shapely without any visible fat. She turned to face me and asked, "Do you like what you see?" Then she walked over and bending, kissed me lightly on the lips. I was completely taken aback by her boldness. I had figured her as a shy one with little experience. Before I could react she turned, sat at the dressing table and began to dry her hair. There was no conversation for several minutes while the noisy hair dryer did its work.

As she dressed, we talked. She told me about her family. Her father had been a university professor, a clinical research psychiatrist. He had died a couple of years ago of a heart attack. Her mother taught English at the university. "With that background," I said, "You are a bit old to just now be working on an undergraduate degree."

"Did I say that I was," she asked with a twinkle in her eyes? "No, I'm working on a Master's in Psychology."

"Oh-h-h. I'm way out of my league here. I've just got a lowly bachelor's degree in computer science."

"P-s-s-ha, don't let the degrees bother you. We are really very normal people, most of the time. Its just when we get off on a technical tangent in our specialized field that we get odd."

"I see. And what is your specialized field?"

"I was afraid you would ask me that. It is transgender and related areas such as transvestites. My thesis will explore why men become transvestites and why some go on to become transsexual and others remain steadfastly heterosexual."

"So it was more than just feminine intuition that caused you to read me, wasn't it?

"Yes, I imagine so, but you are very good. I don't think that Mother even has a clue."

"And now do I become one of your subjects to be researched for your thesis?"

"Only if you want to. Although I do think you would be a very interesting subject. Do you plan to go for SRS?"

"No, I'm a committed heterosexual." She just nodded.

She finished her makeup, rose from the makeup table and walked to the closet. She slipped on a sweatshirt and a pair of hip-hugger jeans and put on socks and deck shoes. "Now, at last I'm ready. Shall we go?"

Friday night is high school football night in the fall and the rink was practically empty. We skated a while and flirted with the rink manager but in less than an hour we left.

As we drove away, Holly scooted over as close to me as she could get, given the console between the seats. She put her arm around my neck and began to rub my leg with her hand. "Are you propositioning me, young lady?"

"Why would I proposition a good looking woman like you? Do you think I'm a lesbian?" Then she laughed.

When we got to her house, Holly said, "Come on inside. I want to find out more about you. You really may be just the kind of person I need for my study."

Once inside the house she said, "Those jeans and the gaff that you must be wearing must be uncomfortable. Why don't you slip into something more comfortable." She tossed me a light robe and began to peal off her jeans.

I pulled off the sweatshirt and reached for the robe. Holly walked over and put her hand on my breast and asked, "Are they the results of hormones? They don't look or feel like implants."

"No, neither hormones or implants. Purely synthetic. They are just silicone and glued on. But makeup covers the line where the prosthesis ends and I begin."

She smiled. "That's the best I've ever seen of that kind. You must have spent a fortune."

"Well, they didn't come cheap if that is what you mean."

"OK, be modest if you like. Put on the robe and then take off the jeans and gaff." So I did. I fastened the robe and turned back to her

We walked back to the living room and she said, "Would you like something to drink. We have Scotch and Vodka. Or would you prefer something more ladylike?"

"Thanks, I'll just have a soda if I may. I don't drink."

Holly brought two sodas and we sat on the couch. For the next hour she pumped me for the story of my life, especially as related to my crossdressing. When I told her about my experience at the organization she smiled and said, "Wow! That is every transvestite's dream, isn't it?"

"Well, it was mine until I got it. But before long I concluded that no matter how much I like to wear a dress and all that goes with it, I'm really a man and I don't get a thrill from kissing a man."

"Then why are you still doing it?"

"Oh, I quit dressing up a while back but my boss pleaded 'extenuating circumstances' and asked me to come back for a couple of weeks as Cheryl while we have a 'visiting fireman' here from the home office. I'm not thrilled about it even though I enjoy the dressing. I really want to separate my work from my hobby."

As we talked Holly moved close and began touching and rubbing and finally kissing on my neck. It was obvious that her intentions were more than a clinical interview.

The next Monday started off normally enough. I wasn't even aware when Lisa entered the building. I first saw her at break time. The chatter was subdued during the break. There was a stranger present. During the day I became aware that Lisa was spending several hours with each of the employees. She asked what they did, how they did it, how they felt about the organization and how things could be improved. I also learned that she was asking about Cheryl.

By Wednesday she had made the rounds of all the others so I wasn't surprised when she came to my office. After we had gone through all the routine questions and answers she asked, "Would you be interested in a raise and a move? You have done so well here that we would like to have you at the home office. Of course we would have to make the move worth while to you and we are prepared to do that, say a 25% raise."

I was totally taken by surprise. If she had fired me, I would not have been surprised. I would have just figured that she read me, or that someone squealed on me. But to be offered a move to the home office and a substantial raise, I just wasn't prepared for that.

When I recovered from the surprise I replied, "That is a very attractive offer but there are some personal matters that I will have to consider before I can reply."

"That's no problem. I don't expect an answer today, or even this week necessarily."

I was in a quandary the rest of the week. I was torn between the possibility of a significant increase in pay and my determination to separate my hobby from the rest of my life. I didn't give Lisa an answer by Friday. I told her that I would have to talk things over with my family and see how such a move would work out with the rest of them. That was vague enough that she didn't press me for details.

Friday afternoon I called Mother, packed a small suitcase and headed home. I parked in back in my usual place and entered the kitchen door. Mother looked up and started slightly. "Well, I'm surprised to see you Cheryl. I though you were gone."

"I though so too. But it is a long story and I need your counsel. What's for supper? I've been so upset that I haven't eaten right in days. And suddenly, I feel like eating."

Mother made soup and sandwiches. As we ate I reviewed the events since the last time I had visited. When I mentioned Lisa's offer of a transfer and a 25% raise, Mother's eyes widened and she said, "That sounds like a lot but you have to remember that the cost of living in Washington is significantly more than here. After you discount increased rent and transportation costs and maybe food and the cost of a winter wardrobe, that might not be much of a raise at all. And even if the raise is significant, is that what you want to do? You obviously haven't abandoned dressing up completely but do you want to go back to dressing 24/7?"

"No, I really don't, for any amount of money. And I have begun to put out feelers for a different job, one where I wouldn't have this pressure. But that may take a while and I may be unemployed while I am looking. And I don't really want to have to put in on you."

"Oh, foolish pride. You are always welcome here. Don't let that hinder you making the right decision."

That was as close as Mother came to suggesting what she thought the right decision was. But it helped me settle my own mind. I would leave the organization before the end of the year, one way or another.

The end.



Carl did leave the organization and was briefly unemployed. He moved back to his mother's for a month before finding a job with a space science firm in another city not far from his home town and moving there. Ellen gave him a good recommendation with no mention details that might compromise his new life. And Holly's research project? Well, that's a story for another day.




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