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Ruffles and Lace

By G.Winters

© 2017

Buckhorn Publishing at Smashwords.com

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Smashwords.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

A Note from the Author:

The author copyrights this novella. The reproduction of any part of Ruffles and Lace without the written permission of the author is expressly prohibited. This story is a work of fiction. All of the characters, their names and the places they visit, are purely from the imagination of the author. Any resemblance to persons, places, or things is not intentional and purely coincidental.

Erica Scott rode the bus nearly every day she didn’t have to run errands. It was so much easier, no worries about feeding the stupid parking meter in front of her store either. The bus transfer was easy, with little wait time, and it dropped her only a block away from her store.

She usually sat further back near the rear of the bus; it made it easy to jump on and off. It also allowed her to people watch, a favorite pastime. But today was Saturday; it seemed to be ‘old lady shopping day’ and the bus was full, loaded with wire-framed shopping carts and handbags large enough to carry a medium-sized dog. She was forced to sit up front because her favorite seats in the back were taken.

Over the weeks she rode the bus, she noticed a man sitting on the same bus but usually further up. His nose was forever buried in a video game of some sort. He had a nice complexion, soft blonde hair and gentle eyes. There was something about him that kept drawing her attention. What was it? His mannerisms seemed a bit effeminate but that could mean he was either gay or just a gentle soul. She hoped the latter, but she couldn’t for the life of her understand why that would make a difference?

She’d had such a rocky road with men in her life. High school was a nightmare; it always is for girls with a big chest. It wasn’t her fault she developed early. The high school boys were just a bunch of gropers; she’d heard her friends talk. So she waited until college for her first date, Mr. Macho, she called him, but not to his face. He turned out to be a total ass, more interested in her assets than her ideas. The thought that maybe he’d been raised by wolves, or jackasses made her smile even now.

The bus jostled everyone as it rumbled over a series of potholes, making all the shopping carts rattle. Once things settled down and handbags and shopping carts were realigned, she continued with her reverie. After Mr. Macho, what followed was a string of, as she looked back on it now, bad decisions leading to an engagement that could have been disastrous, if she followed through with it. Once she discovered her asshole fiancé fucking one of her bridesmaids in the coatroom at the Marriott where they held the rehearsal dinner, though, it was all over.

She sighed, girls were better, at least the gentler ones. Speaking of gentler, the man she’d been curious about just stepped onto the bus. She wondered who he was and what he did? Did he have a girlfriend? He wasn’t married, no ring on his finger. He certainly liked his video games, it seemed that nothing could distract him. Today, however, he was forced to stand and hold onto a strap or fall over, every seat was taken. She wondered if he’d look her way?

Once on the bus, Jodi looked about for a seat; seeing none, he grabbed an overhead strap and retired his online game to his messenger bag. He was on the cross-town bus on his way to work and was dressed casually today; his only accessory was the messenger bag he slung over his shoulder. It was the weekend and even though he had to work, at least he’d be comfortable. His skinny frame was concealed by the baggy sweatpants and sweatshirt he wore, sans any team logo, of course. It concealed other things he felt were too personal to reveal as well. He didn’t have to shave, having blonde hair and a beard that still refused to come in, even after he turned 26 was a source of frustration for a young man trying to establish himself.

Sure, it meant it was faster from bed to dressed to out the door. But that was hardly a consideration when he compared it to his damaged male ego. To compensate for the lack of a beard, he wore his hair kind of shaggy and long, as a tribute to his rebel youth he thought, and maybe a gesture to a lost girlfriend, Lana, who liked it that way.

Today the bus was crowded. Well, no matter, he only had a few more stops before he got off.

The bus pulled up at a stop and an elderly woman got up to leave. She was sitting next to a pretty redhead. Jodi noticed her when he got on, but he tried to be covert about it, men staring at pretty women wasn’t considered polite and might result in a bit of trouble.

“You’re welcome to join me here,” the redhead said, smiling and gesturing to the seat next to her.

He looked down quizzically then glanced about. Perhaps she was speaking to someone else. He turned back to her. “You sure?”

“Yes.” She was dressed in Yoga pants that fit a very nice pair of legs and a loose t-shirt with brightly colored running shoes. She was quite beautiful for what little makeup she wore. Her auburn-red hair framed a lovely face with high cheekbones and arched eyebrows that accented an amazing pair of blue-green eyes.

She nudged her bag out of the way and gestured for him to sit.

“Thanks. I’m Jodi by the way,” he said, sitting and extending his hand to her.

She shook his hand with a smile. “I’m Erica.”

“It’s nice to meet you.”

She nodded and continued to smile.

She had a pleasant smile; it was open and inviting.

“You looked a little bewildered standing there,” she said.

“I often do on my way to work, it’s my nature,” he grinned sheepishly, and then glanced at his watch.

She tilted her head slightly. “Do you normally work on Saturdays?”

“Every other weekend I ‘draw the short straw’, so-to-speak.” He offered her a small shrug.

“What do you do?”

“I’m an accountant. I work at Thompson, Shrift, and Reardon, downtown. I’m just one of the staff employees in a sea of cubicles, nothing special.”

“Oh, do you do business taxes?”

“When I get the chance, which hasn’t been all that often lately.”

“How come?”

He furrowed his brow. “It’s, well…it’s complicated.”

She seemed to pause a moment and study his face, and then, as if on impulse, she reached into her purse and pulled out a business card. “Here, this is my place. I know it’s not tax season yet, but I could always use extra advice, especially with organization.” She handed the card to Jodi. “I can’t afford much but I’m willing to pay you what I can. Call me if you have time to drop by and lend a hand, I’d really appreciate it.”

“Sure.” He glanced at his watch again. The bus was approaching his stop. “This is my stop, I have to go, thanks again.”

She offered a cheerful wave and he was out the door.

Erica wondered what the ‘complication’ was? What would tie up a guy so much he couldn’t take on an extra client or two? She shrugged. “Well, if he calls, he calls,” she muttered as she held her purse, ready for the door to open two stops later. She had to pick up her car at the auto repair place and then it was a day of shopping at thrift stores and estate sales to look forward too.

At work Jodi pulled the card out again. Now that Lana was out of his life, maybe he could find the time to help Erica, anything to take his mind off things. Lana taught him a lot of things; she introduced him to his wild side, but he needed stability now and Lana was anything but stable.

She was gone now and probably already in LA. She sort of left without much warning; he knew there were no strings tying her down, she was kind of a free spirit in that way. She got a call from a friend who knew a friend and she was gone.

He sighed. It was fun while it lasted but now he was faced with having to figure out on his own what was next in his life; something he hadn’t done in a while.

He read the card: ‘Ruffles and Lace: A Vintage Boutique’. He leaned his chin on his hand and wondered if she’d trade a scarf or two for his help? That would be nice. Suddenly he blushed, he couldn’t risk anyone knowing about him, especially at work. He sighed, perhaps no scarves after all.

He put a finger under his bandage on his right side to pull it down a bit. It was too tight, but tight was what he needed if he didn’t want anyone to discover anything about him. He looked around to see if anyone was watching; they weren’t. They were all buried in their own personal minutiae looking for errors in the records.

A moment later, Jodi stood in the restroom washing his hands. He didn’t want to get too close to his co-workers, so he often spent his breaks and lunchtime sitting alone a restroom stall, or in a nearby stairwell. The next few floors of the building weren’t leased out at the moment so that provided enough privacy. Most of his co-workers seemed to accept his standoffish nature; maybe they thought he was anti-social, or hopefully just really shy. He preferred the latter, but regardless, it was the price he had to pay for his foolish desire to please his ex-girlfriend.

He sighed and turned to the ledger sheet on his computer terminal when he returned from his break. It’s not that he didn’t like accounting; it was just something that was easy for him. He took a big breath and let it out slowly then shoved Erica’s card back into his pants pocket.

Marley, another accountant across the aisle, leaned back in her seat and offered him a friendly wave. He smiled meekly, offered her a little wave in return, and turned back to his terminal. His colleagues scared him a little; what would they think if they knew about him?

Maybe he’d call Erica Monday; she was kind, even friendly. He needed friendly right now; Lana left such a huge hole in his life. Most importantly, she wasn’t a co-worker, someone he needed to see every day. He just had to find a way to manage how close he’d let her get to him.

He finally worked up the courage to call Erica’s shop the following Wednesday afternoon. She was enthusiastic about his help so Thursday after work he walked into her store.

The place had an amazing display of vintage antiques – just like the card read. It was filled with racks of beautiful lace and ruffled dresses, blouses, and lingerie; stuff he might have seen in his great aunt’s closet if he’d ever looked, she was rather rich.

There was a rack on the wall filled with shoes, some vintage and some new; there were boots, flats, and stiletto heels; even button up Victorian knock-offs. He ran his hand along the fabric as he worked his way towards the back. It was such a sensuous sensation. It was hard to control his emotions, but he did.

“Hi,” he said softly. “You said you needed help with your receipts?”

“Oh, wonderful, thank you, I’m so glad you called yesterday. Follow me, I’ll show you what I need help with.” She must have been dressed in one of her gowns; it flowed softly around her as she led the way into the back of the store.

He followed her as she moved gracefully through another door and into her office. She pulled up several large paper sacks filled with notes, scribblings, and receipts. She handed them to him and gestured to the far wall where her desk, another pile of disorganization, sat. “You can use my desk.” She heard a tiny bell ring and she stepped away to handle another customer.

He sat down and within minutes it was obvious that he had a colossal mess on his hands. She was right when she mentioned organization; it was a nightmare.

A few minutes later, she walked back into her office to check on him. As she looked over his shoulder and leaned forward she touched his back. He jumped at her touch.

“Oh my, I’m so sorry. Are you hurt?”


“The bandages, did you sprain something?”

“Oh, eh no, it’s for something else.” He looked up; his eyes were momentarily filled with fear. He needed to change the subject. “Look, these receipts are a mess.”

“I know…can you help?”

“I can but...” He shrugged meekly. “I need more time than a few minutes in your office. Can I stay after you close and concentrate on fixing this? No extra charge, of course.”

“Sure, but can I help?”

“What?” He hesitated…a single woman alone after hours? That was awfully trusting, but the bigger issue was what if she discovered what he wanted to keep from everyone?

“Please,” she pleaded. “The whole thing is my mess in the first place, at least let me help fix it. My business partner bailed on me six months ago and left me with this mess. She was the organizer; I was the buyer. Now it’s just me,” she said lifting her arms into the air in exasperation.

He took a big breath and let it out slowly. What she was asking was difficult, aside from the fact that they would be alone together. Still, the pile of notes and scribblings in front of him were going to take weeks to rectify and she would be a big help, especially with his limited understanding of how her business worked. He glanced at the sacks of receipts still on the floor in total disarray. Maybe if he arranged a simple ground rule of no touching. He looked up at her; the hope in her eyes was unmistakable.

He nodded his head. “Okay. I’ll come by tomorrow night after you close. We can set things up in here.”

“Fantastic.” She moved to hug him but then she hesitated. She smiled meekly and offered her hand, which he took. “I really do appreciate this, Jodi, thanks.”

She was a hugger; he had to be mindful of that. He nodded as he swept the remaining receipts back into the first paper sack. He gathered the other sacks as he stood and placed them on an empty shelf nearby then followed her out of her office. It was going to be a long couple of nights ahead, but she seemed like a nice person and he wanted to do this for her.

At six o’clock the following evening he walked back into her shop. The tiny bell announced his arrival. By now he’d had time to remove his tie and change into an over-sized polo shirt. It wasn’t totally casual, but it would have to do. He walked back to the back of her store and saw her standing near a small rack, sorting.

“Hi,” he said with a small wave. He was surprised to see her dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and ballet flats as she turned to greet him. “Thank you so much Jodi, this means a lot to me.”

He nodded and led the way to her office. “I need to establish a simple ground rule Erica, I sort of have a few sensitive places and I really don’t want anyone to touch them, okay?”

“Of course, I’m sorry about yesterday, it won’t happen again. Is there anything else?”

He raised his hand and scratched the back of his head. “No, that’s it I suppose.

“Can I get you something to drink? A glass of wine, perhaps?”

“Just water would be fine,” he said watching her turn and head back to a small kitchenette in the next room.

The bandages made her curious. Maybe it was a big birthmark; some people are oversensitive about those things. She shrugged her shoulders and filled a glass with tap water then filled a glass with white wine for herself. She returned to her office and took a seat next to a table she had placed there earlier. He already had some of the receipts dumped out on it. She handed him the glass of water.

“Thanks,” he said setting it aside.

They worked for several hours sorting the receipts and scraps of paper. She was helpful in deciphering her notes and the little scribbled records he added to her pile. Plus she was beginning to understand his method of organization, which would help in the future. They finished one bag and Jodi stretched, apparently trying to ease a few kinks after a long day at the office.

The polo shirt stretched across his chest and Erica looked up at the unusually large bumps displayed by the tightness of the shirt. Breasts? Was that what the bandages masked?

He pulled back from his stretch and noticed her staring at his chest. He looked down and quickly crouched over attempting to cover his chest with his arms. His face was burning red. “Please don’t tell anyone, Erica…please.” He looked into her eyes pleadingly.

“Jodi, what’s wrong?”

“You saw, didn’t you? Oh, damn it,” he whimpered, and then he shouted as he stood up. “I was afraid something like this would happen.”

“Jodi, I don’t understand. Why are you getting so upset? What’s wrong?”

“I tried so hard to keep this a secret and then I got careless and you saw them, didn’t you? I took the bandages off this afternoon before I came over because they were starting to hurt me.” He stood there shaking. “I thought my shirt would be baggy enough to hide them.”

“Jodi, why are you acting like this?” She stood and took his hand to bring him over to a small couch near the office door. “Sit down here and tell me what’s going on. What is it that you think I saw?” She reached out and gently touched his arm.

“These,” he said pointing to his chest. “My breasts. It was a stupid decision…my ex thought it was a good idea at the time. So now…I’m saddled with them. There are not a lot of male accountants who have breasts; man boobs maybe, but not something as large as these. If people, like my colleagues, knew I’d be humiliated, you won’t tell them will you? They’d call me a sissy or somebody’s bitch. I am not a sissy! I hate that word!” He was beginning to become agitated. “So what if I like feminine things, that doesn’t make me gay!”

“Okay Jodi, okay. I’m not going to tell anyone. Please, just calm down.” Erica, gently rubbed his arm and attempted to get him to relax. “I’m listening, just tell me how this happened, okay?”

He took a big breath and tried to settle himself. He looked into her eyes; her smile seemed so trusting, so supportive. His tried to calm down and regain a little composure. Could he trust her? What if she laughed at him? Could he take that sort of ridicule? She hadn’t said anything yet; she might as well hear the whole story, she already knew part of it.

He closed his eyes and started to reflect on what brought him to this moment. When he finally felt he could go on, he decided that he had to tell someone, and Erica seemed to be someone he could trust. He turned to tell her and told her what happened.

“I met this girl in college, her name was Lana. I was always timid around women and maybe she picked up on that, I don’t know. She was totally gorgeous, way out of my league, and then, much to my surprise, we started going out. What attracted her to me was a mystery, at least to me. About a month or so later, she found an apartment and we moved in together. It was her idea, she was kind of bossy that way, which certainly didn’t bother me, she was wild and passionate about life and I was naïve and a little timid.”

Erica nodded, encouraging him to go on.

“One night, after we spent the evening cuddling, she admitted to me that she was more interested in girls than boys. I was a little taken aback; after all she was my girlfriend, wasn’t she? Before I could object, she said she liked me because I seemed more feminine than most boys, and that, with a little work, I might pass as her cute new girlfriend when we went to her favorite club.”

“The thought sort of intrigued me. I did like the feel of women’s lingerie; she’d asked me to wear some of hers before. On a lark, I tried them on and I enjoyed it, especially when we made love. But I told her I was not gay, that I liked girls. She nodded and kissed me on the lips, saying ‘I like girls too, they’re soft and smell nice, and when we kiss it’s almost electric. Plus, they know how to treat a woman like a woman, never just a ‘slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am’.”

Erica smiled, she’d had similar thoughts in the past, but something was always missing.

“I looked up and her eyes were gleaming with mischief. She pulled me off the couch and into her bedroom. She plunked me down in front of her dressing table and pulled out her makeup stuff. She said, ‘Now pay attention sweetie, sooner or later you will have to do this yourself.’ A half hour after that, even though she only did my eyes and lips, I was mesmerized. From that moment on, I was her new girlfriend and I did most anything she wanted me to do; even these,” he said pointing to his breasts. “But I’m still not gay.”

Erica nodded and sat there; her eyes sparkled in the light. Then she hugged him. “Oh Jodi, you are SO not gay, believe me.”

“How do you know?” He followed her eyes down to his crotch, now bulging in his excitement. “Oh.” He moved his hands to cover his embarrassment leaving the bumps on his chest exposed.

She leaned back and looked into his eyes with a welcoming smile. “Would you show me?”

“What? My breasts?”

She nodded.

He hesitated. “I’m trying to find a reason why I shouldn’t, but at this point I guess I can’t find one. You already know they’re there and even then you didn’t freak out, like I did.” He blushed bright crimson and slowly removed his shirt.

She was amazed at how beautiful he was. His breasts were full and almost defied gravity. The little areolas sprouted proud nipples that sprung out now that he removed his shirt; she gauged them to be a full size ‘C’, a pleasant size for his body shape.

She studied him and a thought began to blossom. He was slender, maybe a size ten, if that, perhaps closer to an eight. His mannerisms were indeed more feminine than masculine. She wondered if he ever wore heels? Wait, he might have mentioned wearing them with his former girlfriend. His hair needed a new cut, but she could see a few possibilities, even without a stylist.

“They look funny, don’t they?”

His question brought her out of her thoughts. “No, no, they look beautiful. You are beautiful.” She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “I knew the moment I saw you that you were someone I wanted to know. There is a sense of fragility about you, yet beneath it all there’s such amazing beauty and strength. You seem to be more a woman than a man, Jodi. In fact, I suspect you’ve always been more feminine than masculine.”

“How could you see that?”

“I could see it in your eyes. Each day when you walked onto the bus and the other day when you walked through my shop, I saw it. A haunting beauty…I was captivated by it.”

He blushed again, lowering his eyes.

She fell back against the back of the couch draping her arm across her face and sighed. “When I was in college, I used to hang out with a group of girls who were rather wild and willful. We would party and drink, then head to the clubs to tease guys and girls alike.”

“There was this one guy who we met one night at a popular club. He was sitting alone at the bar looking rather forlorn. The girls started to tease him. It started out rather innocently, a little trash talk and a little frisky rubbing up against the poor guy. He was embarrassed to say the least. But the group took it the wrong way and started to accuse him of being gay. Being gay in those days was still taboo.

He claimed that he wasn’t gay, but that didn’t seem to matter to them. Before long they’d brought him up onto the stage to stand next to the DJ and then they told everyone he was a sissy and that they were going to make him their bitch, pouring beers over his head, holding out panties and trying to paint lipstick on his lips. It really turned ugly after that. I left, disgusted, and never hung out with any of them again.”

She turned to Jodi. “I heard a couple of weeks later that the guy slashed his wrists in a dorm bathtub late one night. None of those bitches ever said a word. He didn’t deserve that. So what if he was shy and effeminate? Did it challenge their sense of self? Were they afraid that he might have made a better woman than they did? I never understood them, nor did they understand me…nor did I want them too.”

She tilted her head with an enigmatic smile. “Would you ever want to wear one of the dresses in my shop? It would be alright with me if you did.”

His face burned brightly red. “Not in public, I couldn’t.”

“Perhaps.” She paused a moment in thought. “Why don’t you come by my place tomorrow morning early, say seven o’clock.”


Erica offered him a winsome smile. “Look, I’m not a person who is going to dominate you like Lana did. She pushed you into doing some things you might have, in hindsight, been reluctant to do. Your breasts for example, they are lovely, but you have to admit they do get in the way of being a man. Did she make you take HRT?”

He looked up, confused by the term. “What’s that?”

“Hormone Replacement Therapy, hormones, estrogen. It will modify everything, even the way you think. Your breasts are a side effect, along with your hips, complexion, hair, well, just about everything. Even your penis.”

His hands involuntarily covered his crotch. “What about my penis?”

“Over time it would shrink and so would your libido. Even the thought of penetrating a woman would seem unthinkable for you.”

“Oh…she didn’t do that. My breasts came from a cream she found on a website. It’s from South America or Indonesia or someplace, we couldn’t afford surgery.”

“So, no implants?”

“We talked about that, she wanted them bigger, but she left before we could do anything about it.”

“Good, because they are perfect just the way they are, they seem so natural.”

Jodi blushed again as he began to pull his polo shirt back over his head.

“You have great potential, but, from now on, things between us will only work if you truly want to do it, do you understand what I’m asking? I’ll offer things or make suggestions to you and it’s going to be your choice to accept them or not. I may push a bit, but I need you to tell me when I’ve pushed too far, or not far enough. We will become partners in this. That’s the only way it will work for both of us, okay?” she offered her hand to him. “Deal?”

He shook it solemnly and smiled. “Deal, I guess. So what do you have planned?”

“If you’ll let me, I want to dress you in one or two of my nicest gowns.” She held up her hands apologetically as he started to protest. “Purely for promotion, you’ll be the perfect model for me.”

He still was unconvinced. “You’re sure? I don’t have to parade around in front of customers, do I?”

She flashed a grin. “Never, I want you to be my model for a photo shoot.”

“But Erica, I look terrible in a dress, I tried it once with Lana. We ended up going with a wig and some heels. It was her compromise, but I still felt stupid.”

“That may have been then, but this is now,” she said tilting her head coquettishly. “You have no idea how beautiful you are, Jodi. As a man you’re okay. But as a woman, with a little makeup, a proper dress and shoes, you’re a knock out. Trust me. And I can manipulate the image on the computer so that you look even more provocative. Okay?”

He nodded slowly, smiling meekly. “Okay, we can at least try. But I have my doubts.” He sat quietly for a moment then looked into her eyes. “What if I change my mind?”

“That’ll be fine, but I’ll bet you, you won’t.”

“You’re sure?”

She nodded and kissed him on the cheek. “You’ll see.”

It was just after seven on Friday when he walked into her store. The same tiny bell announced his arrival.

“Come to the back, Jodi,” she said almost lyrically as she peeked around a tall set of frames covered in black paper.

When Jodi arrived in the back of her store she stood outside a dressing room holding a beautiful vintage cut-lace gown. It was black and nearly floor length with a high collar. The bodice was cut away and revealed the wearer’s shoulders and part of their breasts. “I want you to try this on,” she said holding it out to him.

He glanced around frantically. “What? Here?”

“Of course, there’s no one here but us, and you can use the dressing room behind me. I promise I wont peek,” she giggled and then she gestured towards a table. “I’ve laid out some accessories for you that I think will work well with it. What shoe size are you?”

He stood there puzzled, looking over the accessories. He responded almost automatically. “A woman’s size 10 and a half. I have small feet and hands for my height.”

“Perfect, I have just the pair for you. Put this stuff on while I get them off the rack.”

He shouted to her as she moved quickly through her garment racks to the shoe display. “I won’t wear a wig!”

“You don’t have to! All I want you to do is model some dresses for me; you have the perfect body for it.”

She returned holding a pair of black stiletto-heeled sandals.

He stood holding the dress against his body and looking into a floor-length mirror. “Erica, I can’t get photographed in a dress like this! I’d look stupid. I only ever dressed in girls’ clothes with Lana, they were short and skimpy and looked stupid, but she didn’t care. We only went to special clubs, late at night, where nobody knew me.”

“You won’t look silly, sweetie. I want to post the photos on my webpage or make posters for promotion of the store.” Erica stood behind him and looked at his image in the mirror. “I can even obscure your head if that makes you feel better but with a little makeup no one will ever take you for an accountant, I’m sure of it. You’ll look spectacular! You have beautiful features. You’ve got kind of this tom-boy thing going that is all the craze right now.”


She nudged him towards the dressing room. “Come on, hurry up before any customers arrive.”

He turned back to her and poked his head through the dressing room curtain. “Erica, you’re sure about this?”

She grinned. “More so every minute I look at you. Now scoot, the store opens at nine.”

He dressed quickly and, of course, looked stunning, just like she imagined. She gave him black lace panties and a matching demi-cup bra to wear under the dress. The jewelry she added was a soft gold chain adorned with white cut-glass crystals set in a spray of stones similar to the stars in the sky. The shoes he put on were elegant and fit him like a glove. He walked well in them, obviously practiced.

She took him to a dressing table and did his makeup, which was mostly around the eyes. She put some hair product in his hair and spiked part of it out. Then she pulled him over to several large white-framed paper panels.

“Stand there,” she said, pointing to the little ‘X’ on the floor. She moved behind a camera and began to take some photos. Large lamps, placed strategically around the area, flashed with each click of her camera.

She looked at the tiny image that flashed on the camera’s LCD screen. It was small but the image didn’t lie, there was a haunting seduction to him that drew the camera into his beauty. A few more shots and she was finished with this part. It all went flawlessly.

She walked over and pulled out another dress, white lace this time, and then she set out the necessary accessories for him. He quickly changed again, going from black undergarments to white. The necklace was changed to white gold with tiny cut-red glass set in a chain around the center. While she waited Erica flipped the background screens around to black and another round of photographs were shot once he changed, some close, some full length.

When they were done he changed back into his street clothes while she disappeared into her office. She walked back out after reviewing the images on her computer and pulled him into a big hug. “They look amazing! I knew you would look wonderful.”

He blushed and scoffed. “I don’t, I bet I looked like a gorilla in drag.”

She smirked. “You do not.”

He stood there defiantly and frowned at her. “You’re going to have to smudge everything on those photographs, Erica, I could never pass, especially with women, they are so hyper-critical; nothing gets past their eyes.”

“Okay, you’re right, you do need to practice a few things before you go out into the general public,” Erica said, rising to the challenge. “But nothing that a photograph will reveal. However, - I’ll bet you dinner tomorrow night that you will have every man in that bagel shop on Grove Street, the one near your office, checking you out when you walk in tomorrow morning. Every man will want to be with you and every woman will want to be you. Bet ya!”

He had to grin at her moxie. “And if I win and people snicker?”

“I’ll pay and you’ll never have to wear another dress in public ever again. Furthermore, to sweeten the bet, I will dance a jig in a jester’s costume, quoting Shakespeare, in front of the whole crowd, in that shop, the next day. But I’m not going to lose,” she said, with a wicked smile.


The next morning, he arrived at her shop at 7am, groggy eyed and sleepy.

He walked to the back of the store and found her rummaging through a rack of blouses.

“Here, put this on,” she said pulling a dark saffron colored blouse with a neckline that clearly would put his breasts on display.

“I can’t…”

“A bet is a bet, I get to choose what you wear, and you have to agree to it.”

He slumped his shoulders and took the blouse; it was a satin silk and the material felt delicious. She handed him a pair of tan slacks, a lacey cream-colored demi-bra and some matching panties to take into the dressing room. Secretly, he thought they were very pretty and he wanted to wear them, he just didn’t want Erica to think that she’d won so easily.

“There should be some knee-high hose in a box by the dressing room door, use the tan ones,” she shouted as she moved through the racks of clothes toward the front of her store. “I’ll look for a pair of shoes while you change.”

Moments later he stood outside of the dressing room, feeling anxious.

She laughed and shook her head. “You are so beautiful, and you don’t even realize it. Turn around and look.” She turned his shoulders so he could see himself in the mirror.

“I don’t know, Erica, I just don’t see it.”

“Wait until I’m done.” She handed him a pair of beige sandals with three-inch block heels. “Here, put these on.”

He sat down on a bench while she opened up her makeup case. Once he buckled the sandals he sat and she applied a foundation, followed by some eye shadow and lip-gloss. She trimmed and shaped his eyebrows then added color to help define them. She fussed with his hair for a few minutes until she managed to find a look that satisfied her. The final touch was a pair of false eyelashes; nothing fancy, just enough to enhance.

“There. Look at you now.”

He turned to the mirror and stared at his image. Once again, she had transformed him, but in a different way. It was more informal, sort of business casual. Not quite so provocative as before.

She stood packing her camera in her purse. “Okay, when we get there, I want you to wait a moment until I’m set, then follow me in so that I can film the whole thing from start to finish. Trust me, before you leave you’ll have neck-bones cracking left and right. Come on.” She grabbed his hand and led a reluctant Jodi out of her store.

“One whisper of ‘sissy’ and I’m out of there,” he grumbled as she pulled him to her car. No matter what she said, he was still a man in feminine clothing.

At the bagel shop, Erica went in first and positioned herself by the front window where she could capture all the action.

A few minutes later, Jodi entered the store. The conversation was lively but as she walked through the door and passed by each table, their voices grew silent. Everyone began to watch her.

She approached the counter and ordered a mocha-latte with caramel in a soft voice. Several clerks behind the counter scrambled to fill her request, nearly running over one another. She handed the clerk at the register a five-dollar bill to pay for it and the clerk fumbled with her change as the coins fell to the floor.

“Keep the change,” she said, adding another dollar to the glass jar by the register. She returned her wallet to her purse and picked up her coffee.

With coffee in hand, she turned and started to walk out. As she passed each table, the men looked off but quickly returned their stares as soon as she passed.

After she left, Erica continued to film, getting their responses. Comments like “Wow. Who was that? Where did she come from? Some guy is one lucky SOB to have her as a girlfriend. Did you see her ass? Amazing.” Several men noticeably adjusted their pants.

Erica grinned. She had more than enough evidence and Jodi was buying dinner tonight, maybe dessert. She turned off her camera and slipped out the front door.

She opened her car door and sat behind the wheel. “Wait until you see this, sweetie,” she said to Jodi in the passenger seat. Jodi scowled and shook his head, but deep inside he was so excited his heart was racing.

Erica just beamed. “You’ll see, darling, and you will be paying tonight too.”

“Humpf, you’d better get your jester costume out,” he grumbled fastening his seatbelt. She laughed and drove out of the parking lot.

Back at Erica’s store, they sat in the backroom and watched the video on a big screen TV. Jodi couldn’t believe his eyes, or his ears. He was starting to believe that he could become a she.

“I told you, you’re beautiful and all the men in that shop this morning confirmed it.” She turned off the video and looked at Jodi. “Now will you stop fussing about being my model?”

Jodi nodded with a meek smile.

“Good. Pick me up at six at my place, and wear something nice, I want to go downtown, just us girls. Here’s my address,” she said handing him a note.

“But Erica, I have nothing appropriate to wear if you insist that I go as a girl.”

“That’s easy to fix,” she said grabbing Jodi’s hand and leading her out of the office and into the racks of clothing.

She began to rifle though several racks of blouses until she settled on a cream-colored silk one with a high collar. Next to it was a black satin blouse, she pulled that one out as well. She walked further towards the front and sorted through the women’s slacks. A tan poly-knit caught her eye and next to it was a black poly-rayon pair of slacks that almost looked brand new. She selected both.

She grabbed Jodi’s hand and pulled her to the shoe racks. “Ten and a half, right?”

Jodi nodded. Her eyes followed Erica’s hands as they scanned the shoe rack. Her hand settled on a pair of flats and Jodi frowned.

“You like them high, don’t you?”

Jodi offered her a subtle shrug.

“Typical male. Here,” she said pulling a pair of stilettos and a pair of black flats off the rack, “you’ll thank me later when your feet protest those vanity heels.” “Take this all home, they’re yours, consider them a down payment on what I owe you for yesterday’s shoot.” She grinned and turned towards the back of the store.

Jodi started to protest but Erica’s finger shushed her on her lips as she finished with a wink. “A bet is a bet,” she whispered sweetly.

Erica picked up a bag that contained what Jodi wore to her store that morning and laid it on top of the pile in her arms.

Jodi looked into Erica’s green twinkling eyes, her lips curled up into a smile. She had won, and she was going to collect. Deep down inside Jodi was happy; she wasn’t a sissy. She was a woman. Well, at least on the outside, on the inside she might need a little more convincing.

At a quarter to six, Jodi picked up Erica from the front door of her apartment wearing that cream-colored blouse with the black poly-knit slacks and the black heels Erica gave her.

“You look fantastic!” She said as Jodi took her hand.

“Thank you,” Jodi replied sheepishly. “You look incredible yourself,” she added as she handed her a small bouquet of roses.

She turned and stepped back inside. “Let me put these in water before we go.” She paused a moment to admire them then dashed to her kitchen.

A minute later she returned to join Jodi at the top of her porch stairs.

Erica walked down the steps towards an unfamiliar car wearing a black silk blouse with a subtle-pattern and a full-length asymmetrical skirt over a pair of four-inch black heels. Her hair was pulled back and up with auburn ringlets framing her face. Around her neck she wore a simple gold necklace with a locket attached. Her nails were painted amber to match her hair and her makeup was smoky and sultry. She took Jodi’s hand and looked into her eyes. She was smoking hot and Jodi’s face felt warm.

Erica glanced past Jodi as they approached the car. “Where did this car come from?”

“I rented it for tonight. I couldn’t very well take you to dinner on the city bus,” she said, grinning.

Erica slipped into the passenger seat of the Audi A5 sedan. The supple leather felt luxurious as it wrapped around her. Jodi sat behind the wheel and when she started the car it rumbled aggressively. “Lana taught me how to drive heels, it took a lot of practice,” he said with a subtle smile

Jodi took her to an Asian place downtown for dinner and the meal was delightful. She dabbed her lips when she was finished. “Let’s go to my place for wine,” Erica offered.

Jodi nodded still a bit apprehensive, and followed her out the door. After she was seated in the passenger seat Jodi came around and sat behind the wheel. She pulled out of the parking lot and drove down the street.

She glanced over at Erica. “So, here’s a question: why don’t you have a boyfriend or even a husband? You are an incredibly attractive woman, Erica, I would imagine that men would be falling all over themselves to go on a date with you.”

Jodi turned a corner at the stop sign as Erica thought quietly about her question.

“I’ve dated men before, I almost married one. And then the bastard cheated on me, with a bridesmaid no less. After that, a string of boyfriends began to convince me that I was unhappy and looking in the wrong place.”

“Unhappy with men or with their relationships?”

“Both. Most men think with their dicks. They’re generally self-serving, arrogant, and never willing to consider a woman’s point of view. So then I started dating women. At least I found common ground with them, well some of them anyway.”

Jodi turned another corner and continued down the street. “Some of them?”

“Most of them…I had a problem with the dykes, the real man-haters. The ones who felt they had an axe to grind and why wasn’t I going to join their ranks.” She shook her head and sighed. “It’s not that I hated men, I just didn’t want to date them.”

The car came up to a stoplight and Jodi waited until it turned green. “I’m a man,” she said blushing profusely. “Sort of.”

“Oh Jodi, sweetheart,” she said caressing her cheek, “you’re so much more than any man I’ve ever met, trust me.”

“Oh.” Lana used to say something similar, but somehow Jodi thought it meant something different.

Erica looked out the passenger window and sighed. “Anyway, there were other women, gentler and more understanding, and I’m still friends with some of them, but something was missing.” She turned to Jodi. “I never found the deep connection I was searching for.”

Jodi stopped at another light a block away. “Wow, you’ve been on quite the journey.” The light turned green and she continued on. She turned to Erica. “Do you feel like you’re treading water now?”

She looked at Jodi and smiled enigmatically. “Maybe…but I’ve met someone recently who intrigues me.” She reached across and pushed a lock of Jodi’s hair behind her ear.

Jodi blushed as she glanced quickly over to her. She wasn’t sure what to think. Here was a beautiful, smart, sexy woman who transformed her…literally. Could she become intimate again, so quickly after Lana? Part of the challenge of being with Erica was that she just didn’t know what to do. And because of that Erica scared her a little.

They pulled up outside of Erica’s apartment complex and Erica took Jodi’s face in her hands. She kissed her, passionately. Jodi felt a bit tentative at first, then she realized that she really did want her…all of her, so she met her passion with some of her own.

It was still awkward for her and she didn’t quite know when or how to move things to the next level. With Lana is was clear, she was the boss and Jodi always did what Lana told her to do. With Erica…she sighed, she was still a mystery. And, she slumped her shoulders and grimaced, she did have work in the morning to consider as well. “Well…Erica, ah…damn, can we table this tonight? I really have to work early tomorrow morning and…well, ah…”

She leaned back with her arms still wrapped around Jodi’s neck. “Sure sweetie, I understand. Too fast, huh?”

“Sort of, I’m sorry, I just…”

Erica placed a finger on Jodi’s lips. “Shush, darling, I’ll see you next week for another photo shoot, okay?”

Jodi got out of the car and walked around to open Erica’s door.

Together they walked to her front door holding hands. “Good night, Erica,” she said, smiling. “I had a wonderful evening.”

Erica leaned forward and kissed her again. She felt her body tingle in Jodi’s arms. She leaned back and smiled. “Good night Jodi, I did too.”

As Jodi drove away Erica turned and pulled her keys out of her purse. “That girl is going to get a few big surprises in a couple of weeks,” she chuckled, “and I can’t wait to hear her reaction.”

That night Jodi snuggled under the covers with thoughts of the bagel shop and Erica swimming in his head. He was dressed in a man’s t-shirt and jogging shorts, he still couldn’t bring himself to accept all that had happened in the past twenty-four hours. He reached for his cellphone and opened the message center. He started to send Erica a text then thought better of it. It was, after all, past mid-night.

He set the cellphone down on the side table and it chimed indicating that he just received a text. He opened the message center on the phone. It was from Erica. Hi, I hope this doesn’t wake you. I just wanted to let you know that bet or no bet, I had a lovely evening tonight and I hope we get to do it again soon.

He smiled, paused, and then replied: Me too, I’m glad I lost the bet; it was the nicest evening I’ve had in a very long time.

Erica quickly replied: You’ve become very special to me, Jodi. Your trust means a lot to me.

Jodi responded: Your faith in me means a lot too, but I have a ways to go before I feel I can pass comfortably, even in a bagel shop.

Erica smiled at the bagel shop reference; Jodi had no idea the effect she had on people, walking correctly or not. She replied: Good night, Jodi.

Something connected in his heart when he read those simple words from her. She made him smile, something that had been lacking in his life even before Lana left. He liked that…a lot. He was smiling still as he replied: Good night, Erica.

The rest of the week was quiet, yet Jodi’s thoughts were constantly drawn back to Erica and her kiss. That night, in front of her apartment was magical. He felt stupid for putting on the brakes with such a lame excuse, but it happened.

Standing in a stall in the men’s bathroom, he felt a resolution coming, the next time he wouldn’t stop, he trusted Erica more than she realized, maybe more than Lana because Erica wanted to be his partner. Lana never wanted that.

For the rest of the week, work was still the same, Jodi continued to dress in frumpy men’s business suits and wrap his chest in elastic bandages every day. He wasn’t quite ready to ‘come out’ so to speak. He was still afraid of how his colleagues would react. He took his lunches in solitude preferring to sit in his cubicle, or a stall in the men’s bathroom rather than visit the break room. He was afraid that they would call him names. He detested the word ‘sissy’; nothing would set him off faster.

Over the following weekend Erica finally persuaded him to accept that his fears were unfounded. “You are chasing phantoms, sweetheart. I’ll bet you half the girls on your floor will applaud your efforts to dress as a woman and the rest will either ignore you or secretly wish they were you.”

Jodi scoffed, but quietly considered her words. Would they?

On Sunday, Erica picked out a modest looking grey women’s business suit, size ten, and handed it to him. “Wear this Monday and see what happens.”

“I’ll bring it back on Tuesday.”

She smiled and shook her head, “Its yours.”

He started to protest but she shushed him. “Just like the bagel shop, you can never know until you try.” He nodded briefly…she was right, of course.

The next day, Jodi left for work dressed in the woman’s business suit she got from Erica. She wore a white cotton blouse tucked into her skirt with a red silk ribbon tied in a bow at the neck. The pumps Erica gave her were only three-inches high and a simple patent leather black. She applied a modest amount of makeup from a few things that Erica let her borrow; she remembered what she did with her makeup and she tried her best to repeat it. Just without the false eyelashes, they were itchy.

She fussed with her hair a moment and sighed. It was as good as it was going to get. It wasn’t perfect, but she thought it might be passable. Perhaps she’d let it grow out more.

The evening before she had looked online at several videos on walking and talking like a female. Although she was a beginner, she was beginning to build her confidence, at least at home. There was even a video on tucking, something that Lana always insisted on. She found an old athletic sock and cut it up, then she followed the rest of the instructions. The final look was acceptable to her critical eye, she hoped it would pass muster with her colleagues. Women were so much more critical than men.

Jodi stood at the bus stop waiting with her nose buried in an online game; it was an old habit, something to cut the boredom of a crosstown ride. She was so absorbed in the game, she didn’t notice the bus until it pulled up and opened its doors. Not looking up, she just stepped on, scanned her bus pass on the kiosk, and walked to a seat. She was so incredibly nervous as she looked around hoping to see Erica, but she was missing this morning. Nobody else batted an eye at her change in wardrobe; they were all absorbed in their own worlds. Soon she relaxed a little.

When she finally stood in front of her building she hesitated. How would her colleagues react? She’d known them for two years now, but as a man not a woman. Would they tease her? Call her a ‘sissy’ or a maybe worse? The thought made her shiver as the elevator doors opened on the third floor.

Her heels clicked on the tile floor as she moved past reception to the general office spaces where her cubicle was. Sally, the receptionist offered a simple smile and a wave as Jodi passed her. Jodi waved back. Sally’s reaction seemed odd, but welcoming. Still, it was better than a snicker.

Within minutes after she sat down, several of her coworkers gathered around her cubicle and commented on her new look.

“I’m so glad you finally dropped those mannish looking suits, Jodi, they looked kind of baggy on you,” Kathy said standing at the corner of Jodi’s cubicle. Claire, from down the aisle, nodded enthusiastically.

“Yeah, totally burlap bag-like,” Marley chimed in. She peeked over the top of the cubicle wall with a huge grin, pushing her glasses back up her nose.

Feeling braver now that Kathy had broken the ice, Claire piped up next. “We kind of knew you might be pretty, we sort of discussed it once or twice in the break room. But you were so quiet all the time we didn’t want to intrude. Did you win a makeover or something?”

Jodi’s face felt warm. “No, not really, a friend helped.”

Then Sarah walked in to join them. “I just saw Jodi on the bus.”

Kathy pointed to Jodi. “Nonsense, she’s already here.”

Sarah grinned and gestured towards the elevators. “Come see for yourself.”

Jodi joined them, as confused as the rest of the women until they went down to the lobby and watched another bus go by. On the bus a huge banner splashed across the side. It was an image of Jodi’s face wearing the upper part of the white gown next to an ad for Erica’s boutique. Across the street, a huge vertical banner was placed on a tall building with a full-length image of Jodi wearing the black lace dress and another ad for Erica’s boutique beside it.

Jodi’s cellphone rang…it was Erica. She couldn’t help but laugh at the timing.

Erica’s voice sounded excited. “Do you like the banners?”

“They look amazing, but you should have warned me.” Jodi glanced again outside.

“No, you look amazing. And I did warn you. I said I would use the photos in promotion of my store and you said okay. If I told you where, you would have insisted that I didn’t do it or you would have stayed home today and hid under the covers. Am I right?”

Jodi meekly answered her with a whisper. “Yes, and I still feel like hiding.”

She giggled delightfully, “It’s like I’ve known you all my life. I can’t explain it any other way, sweetheart. Own it girlfriend…you are stunning. I’ve sent you a link to some videos online for you to look at tonight. They should help with a few things you need to practice, okay?”

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