BigCloset Classic

The Deception of Choice. Part II
Date: Wednesday, May 26 @ 19:10:57
Topic Big Closet TG Serials


"Girls must strive to develop a personality that could best be characterised as ladylike."

The Deception of Choice

Part 2

by Fleurie


These are Chapters 3, 4 and 5. David's life might be thought by those more concerned with physical rather than mental deprivation to have taken a more promising turn. Perhaps so but David is less than convinced; indeed in his mind the confusion mounts. As indeed it does in the author's.

Apologies if it still seems slow. Maybe after all it is wrong to blame David for it. Other factors could be at work.


Chapter 3.

The perfumed warmth of the room engulfed him. It was an alien place after the cell. The warmth was comfortable, easy, relaxing. It lapped round him. Not excessive but welcoming, restorative, so that his body felt at ease. He moulded into the warmth. It felt natural like a home coming. Less natural was the perfume. That too was not excessive. But it was insistent, feminine.

Tiredness washed over him. The nervous tension of the interview had drained him. He hesitated three or four steps inside the door. Uncertain. Unsure. Questions and doubts competed for his attention and both succumbed to a languor that deprived him of thought

He felt Laura's hands on his hips, guiding him. "Poor darling."

He let himself be half pushed to one corner of the room which contained a small sofa fronting a coffee table and an armchair.

"Sit for a moment. Relax. Sophie" That name again! He sensed rather than saw her smile.

"I'll bet you could do with a cup of tea or perhaps coffee" She stood in front of him as he allowed himself to sink into the sofa. "Just rest and I will get you something and then give you a brief run down on the regime here"

She looked at her watch. "Unfortunately I have another appointment to go to in fifteen minutes but I will drop back later."

She turned at one of two doors at the back of the main room. "It will give you time to explore, settle in and tidy yourself up"

Again the smile. "And to think of any questions you would like answered."

Her voice carried through the open door. "I am here to help"

" So feel free, as long as it concerns the whys and wherefores of this department and what is expected of you here. And how we can help you to profit from your stay with us"

Her voice washed over him. He felt his eyelids unbearably heavy. His body drank in the warmth . He was aware of her perfume, her femininity.

"You did say coffee didn't you? ......... Too late now anyway! Here it is. I could murder a cup myself."

Laura placed a small tray on the low table in front of the sofa and sat opposite in the armchair.

She poured and handed David a mug of coffee "Help yourself to sugar and milk"

David didn't reply. He just took the mug and cautiously sipped the black unsweetened coffee.

She waited. And then. "Well I suppose you know that this is called the Holding Wing? God knows what Wing is supposed to mean though. There are six girls here at the moment. Three in my charge, Emma and Anne besides yourself. Janet Saggren is the other queen bee and she looks after Christine, Mona and Alice. You will met them all later."

She looked at David and smiled. " Janet and I have this competitive thing going. We are judged on our girls' performance so I hope you won't let the side, the other girls and I, down. It is just back to schooldays really"

"There are communal activities and of course we all eat together, so the community spirit is most important. Not that one needs to make an effort. It just flows. Nobody asks questions or mentions the past. We just take everyone on their present merit."

Laura leant forward. "That is the golden rule really. Whatever baggage we were carrying before we came here. Whatever we have done or have been. That is another world. It is not mentioned."


"But I want, need to know ............." David started. "Why am I here? Who is Sophie?"

"Sshhhhhhhhhh! Laura put a delicate crimson tipped finger to her lips. "Don't go back to the past sweetie."

She leant back "So important darling. Here one starts with a clean sheet. Here one is a new person."

"And as for Sophie. Why you are Sophie now. How could it be otherwise? It has been decided and you have accepted."

It was like a brick wall. David felt the tiredness wash over him again. Felt the futility of argument.

Laura touched his shoulder gently and leant closer so that her hair brushed the side of his face, rested there and spilt its perfume over him. "Don't fret Sophie. Questions such as those can wait till later, maybe they won't even seem so important then." The hand on his shoulder squeezed gently.

"Just concentrate on getting through the next few days. I know it must be very difficult for you but we all want to succeed, and I will truly help you all I can. And the other girls you will find supportive. They are a good bunch."

David felt a soft pressure against his arm and realised it was her breast.

"But, but there must be a reason? And I am not a girl ...."

"Ssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." This time the crimson finger tip touched his own lips and the breast shifted slightly and moved with greater pressure against his upper arm.

"Better here than where you came from darling."

Laura glanced at her watch again.

"Look.....make yourself at home here. Besides the mini kitchen, there is a bathroom through there." She indicated the other door with a nod of her head. "I bet you could do with a good soak."

"Oh and after that." Her eyes sparkled with open amusement, "You might like to change into something rather more suitable, rather less revealing."

"There is a basic selection over there" She pointed to a built in wardrobe at the opposite end of the room next to a single bed, flanked by a dressing table. "We have a dress code details of which can be found in the general instructions. Basically it is to be clean, presentable and not to draw attention to oneself."

"The general instructions themselves should be .........." She glanced around. "Try the dressing table drawer. If not there let me know and I will rustle up another copy. Anyway if in doubt, ask!"

She rose to her feet. "If you get it wrong, someone will put you right never fear. Just hope it is Emma, Anne or myself"

David looked up "I don't understand. I don't understand. Why. Why."

Laura spoke over her shoulder from by the door. "Remember Tennyson .......... 'Their's not to reason why, their's but to do and die.' Not that dying's an issue, nor indeed an option here."

Laura opened the door "I will be back in about an hour Sophie darling. Then I can get you settled for an early night. Poor darling you must be quite exhausted"

"Don't worry your pretty little head about anything now. Tomorrow is another day. And you will need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for that."

With that she slipped through the door and as it closed behind her David heard the snick of a key.



Chapter 4

David remained slumped on the sofa. He tried to make sense of her words but found he could scarcely remember them. He looked at the coffee mug and found that he had not touched it after the first sip, in spite of his thirst. Now it was barely warm. He drank it and savoured the rich bitter taste. Although lukewarm he held it in his mouth, letting it soak into the soft inner skin and swill round his teeth, reluctant to swallow, reluctant to lose this contact with a world that had once seem so commonplace.

He looked down and saw that his shirt had ridden up and that the panties were fully exposed, the red embroidered flower coyly visible on his hip.

For the first time in .... how long? He felt a nascent tumescence. A yearning, a stirring in his groin. The bulge in the front of his panties was more pronounced. The tightness and constriction more evident. He touched the soft tactile fabric, ran his fingers along the front of the panties. He saw the white smoothness, the little red embroidered flower, the lace scalloping. And through his tiredness, despite the stirring of masculinity, he felt ashamed, unmanned.

He stood up hurriedly and looked around.

The room was spacious. Besides the sofa, easy chair and table, there was a single bed in one corner covered with a cotton counterpane in white with occasional violet flowers, perhaps, forget-me-nots scattered on it. Directly to one side there was a small table complete with a frilled bed side lamp. Between the kitchen and bathroom doors there was a built in wardrobe. In one corner there was a small array of book/display shelves surmounted by a TV set and video. The glass topped dressing table, complete with a main and two flanking mirrors was separated from the bed by a window.

A window.

All else faded alongside the importance of having a window. To have a window meant seeing the sky and knowing the time, measuring the days. It meant the hope of contact, the sight of other living creatures.... birds at least.....perhaps people. It meant that he was of the world again.

He went across to it and looked out. Beyond was a large walled garden, with beds of tulips, bordered with grape hyacinths. Peonies budding and flowering cherries and crab apple trees about to blossom. There was a lawn, or rather several lawns divided by walkways. It was perhaps in all a couple of acres in size.

He realised it was late Spring. End of April or the beginning of May. Perhaps about two in the afternoon on a bright, sunny day. He had left his life....... when....... late October? Six months ago. Far longer than he had estimated.

He was on the first floor. He pushed down the window catch and, much to his surprise, the window opened, not fully, but about a foot. Not enough for him to get through it: but enough for the scents of a May garden to invade his nostrils. Even to breathe in that most evocative of all smells; that of a newly mown lawn. To link him with life again.

David stayed there at the window for an age. Eyes closed most of the time, trying to forget now, to bring back then.

Finally he turned away.

He walked towards the wardrobe. Then checked and turned away. No not now. Later. Don't spoil the moment. He dreaded what might be waiting him there.

The bathroom was spacious. There was, besides a full length bath, a washbasin, a toilet and a bidet. A bathroom cabinet hung adjacent to the washbasin. The fittings were simple but elegant and of good quality. There was shelf alongside the bath upon which he saw a bottle of bath oil, a bottle of shampoo, and a shell shaped dish containing soap. He turned on the hot tap and as the steam rose he turned and opened the cabinet. Right at the front there were shaving things, soap, brush, and razor. Also toothbrush and paste. Behind a mass of bottles, unguents, the like of which he had never encountered. And did not wish to.

As the bath filled he shaved, luxuriating in the hot water, the sensual feel that a real badger hair brush always gave him. The soap lathered well although it did seemed rather sweetly perfumed. But it was difficult to judge. It was a long time since he had enjoyed such luxury. He cleaned his teeth whilst the cold water brought the bath back to a bearable temperature.

He took off his shirt, grey with use, and peeled his panties down over his hips and found himself having to squirm slightly to get them down over his thighs before stepping out of them.

He slid into the water, flinched a little at the heat, and lay there for a few minutes. God! He felt almost human again. He felt his hair float against the back of his neck. Float? Jesus it must be long!
His scalp prickled. Occasional doses of carbolic soap had not really cleaned it. He shampooed it relishing the feeling of cleanliness. That finished he poured a liberal amount of the bath oil into the bath, splashed it about and sank back to marinade in it. He half drifted mentally, his body more relaxed since............ His eyes closed.

He came awake suddenly. The water had already sunk to near body temperature. He seized soap and flannel and lathered and washed himself obsessively. What had she said? Back in about an hour? It must be past that already.

He became aware that bath oil and soap must have been matching. And very feminine. Not that it mattered. He seemed to be surrounded with scent. A little more could make little difference.

He dried himself and, a large, so soft, bath towel wrapped round his waist went back into the main room.

Again he hesitated. But he could not really put it off. She would be back any moment now and he needed to know if there was an alternative to wearing a towel for the indefinite future. He opened the wardrobe door. It was divided into a hanging space and a number of shelves and drawers on the right of it. It did not need a close inspection. The hanging space told it all. Skirts, dresses, slips, both full and half. Shoes, heeled, dainty, shoes nestling at the bottom on a rack.

David's feeling of well-being evaporated. He had expected it of course. In a bed-sit for Sophie what else was there to expect. Yet still he had hoped, fought against the certainty. He turned to the shelves and drawers rifling through them in desperation just in case, just in case he had been mistaken. Just in case there was some male clothing amongst the fripperies, amongst the skimpy satin, silk and lace. His hands slipped, slid through the clothes. He felt the soft parting of garments, the sensual sliding of silken softness on his palms, the occasional delicate roughness of lace, the unbearable erotic lightness of the fabrics. In one drawer his fingers encountered yielding convex shapes, domes on their base. Flesh soft. Lying there, waiting. The epitome of femininity which in a more natural form had been such an object of desire just a few months ago and yet which now, which now were full on menace.

He stood back and shut the wardrobe. He stumbled back to the sofa, collapsing on it, staring into a blank emptiness. His hour of what had seemed happiness swirled away, absorbed into the persistent perfume of the room. A persistent perfume which now contained fragrances contributed by his own body.

Four, five, minutes passed.

An inner voice suddenly screamed at him to get a grip. "For God's sake David ! Someone calls you Sophie. You are in a room equipped to receive a girl. You were given and, because there was no option, wore girls' panties for a couple of hours. So trivial after what has gone before. There must be explanations. Do not jump to conclusions. You are a man! Behave like one!"

He got up abruptly and went to the window and looked out trying to rediscover the feeling of hope that he had so recently felt. He realised his breathing was fast and panicky, sensed the blood throbbing in his temples, and realised he had been close to a panic attack. "Get a grip, Get a grip" He ordered himself again. Hysterical like a girl. He must be calm; must think, must............

A key clicked in the lock and Laura swept in. "Sophie love, so sorry I am late, got caught up with dreary admin. A woman's work is never done!" Again the chuckle that miraculously combined warmth and impish clarity.

David turned from the window to face her and was again struck by the brightness of her personality. If only they had met before .... .before this.

" I didn't know" He said. " I didn't now the time ... I have no watch and ........." " And I bet you fell asleep in the bath too" Sophie finished his excuse for him.

"Poor darling, I am afraid it has all been rather an ordeal for you. Never mind. I can get some food sent up here later. No need to eat with the others today. Save socialising till tomorrow. Just a light snack ........ indeed I will join you. And can get you sorted on the basics, put your mind at rest if possible. Convince you that nothing too dreadful is planned."

She had joined him at the window, standing close, smiling at him. Her words ran through his head, and he tried to keep track of their sense, to link them together. Whether because of being deprived of another human's voice for all those months, or of tiredness, or the awareness of her, he could not fully take in what she said. He could not fully knit together the overall purport nor formulate questions to examine in his mind.

"Yes" he said.

"First get some clothes on" Laura touched his shoulder. "You can't stay wrapped in a towel indefinitely."

"I looked in the wardrobe. There were only girls' clothes" David felt embarrassed., felt his cheeks redden.

Laura delicately arched her eyebrows towards mocking astonishment. "Then girls' clothes it will have to be. You are not really surprised are you?"

She took his arm and turned him to face her. "Nothing much now Sophie. But you do need to cover yourself. There are a couple of shirt dresses in the wardrobe from which to choose; in cut and style very similar to the once-upon-a-time shirt that you arrived in. And a lot more respectable unless you intend to continue to go around flashing your knickers at all and sundry. Besides any display of wantonness is strictly against House Rules." She smiled gently at him again and he found himself standing silently by her side as she opened the wardrobe.

She pulled out a stretch poplin shirt dress. " This one will do fine. Denim colour, buttoned all the way down the front just like your shirt but extending to your knees, with sleeves nearly to your wrists. Breast pocket. You must have worn shirts in the same general style already. It is no quantum leap"

David remained silent. Thoughts raced through his head, reasons, refusals, protests. He struggled to articulate, to bind together in a cogent logical argument the many threads of thought.

Laura suddenly became serious. Her face earnest, her eyes deeper, more sombre.

"Please Sophie. I know that you have had an unspeakably difficult time these last few months. I know that you are bewildered and lost, feeling completely disorientated in a world turned upside down, a world you do not recognise, a world where all familiar signposts are missing."

She paused, her hands holding both his upper arms tightly.

"But you need to move on; I can, want to, help you to do so."

She searched his face for response .

"We need to talk. You need to accept my help. Otherwise your future is bleak Otherwise I cannot see a future for you. Only pain and more hurt"

David saw the concern in her eyes. Could not but believe the sincerity there. But felt dead inside.

"Please Sophie. What have you to lose? Just cover yourself. If not this then choose something else, a shirt and simple cotton blouse, whatever. I just thought this was perhaps the most acceptable."

She read the blankness in his eyes. Her hands tightened their grip on his arms and he felt her shake him slightly. Felt the intensity of her will.

"Please Sophie. Hear me out this evening. Let us eat a civilised meal and talk and see what can be resolved. How I can help and what you need to do, to accept, if you want to take full advantage of life here."

"Just this evening Sophie, just for me. Just to please me."

"Nothing else Sophie, just the shirt dress, Just to please me. Please."

He turned and took the dress off the wardrobe door from where it hung suspended .

"Yes." He said. "For you. For this evening."

He turned towards the bathroom.

"The panties you were wearing before. They will do. Unless you want ..............." She half gestured towards the wardrobe shelves.

He checked his walk. She saw his shoulders stiffen. For a full moment she thought she had lost it.

"Yes." he said and entered the bathroom.

She looked after him and sighed. Then she went into the little kitchen and opened a bottle of Sauterne, pouring two generous measures. She thoughtfully sipped from her glass, and then topped it up before returning to the main room were she sank back on the sofa, placing his glass on the table. She needed the drink. It looked like being a long first evening. Maybe the alcohol would help. Maybe not. One never knew. It affected different people differently; the same people differently on different days and in different circumstances, different quantities.

She would have to play it by ear.


Chapter 5.

David retrieved the panties from the bathroom laundry basket into which they had been dropped. Better not delay. Better do it now before he thought too much. With eyes closed he inserted first his right, then his left leg and pulled them up, over his calves, eased them over his hips squirming to achieve an even fit. He opened his eyes to see the red embroidered flower sitting coyly near his right hip. He slid his hand inside the scalloped lace edging of the waist band and, feeling down, pushed his penis and balls back between his legs, wriggling to achieve a degree of comfort.

He paused. It was too late now to change his mind now. "Just this evening Sophie, just for me. Just to please me." She had said .

He picked up the dress. He wondered if one was supposed to step into it and pull it up, completely unbutton it and don it like a coat, or put it over one's head and drag it down. In the end he did the latter as he did with his shirts. Not that his shirts were in stretch poplin with horn effect buttons concealed under the front tab. Nor did they fall to just below his knees.. Nor come in quite this soft shade of blue.

But it did have some resemblance although the sleeves were not wrist length but more mid-forearm, and the hem......

God they must really be getting to him. What did sleeve lengths matter?

He had to take a stand. Had to re-assert David again. She, Laura, had promised to help. But to help on what? What had she really promised?

He turned towards the door, catching a glimpse in the full length mirror adjacent to the door of a slender figure in a pretty blue dress. He closed his eyes, his face also turned away, just to be sure, feeling blindly for the door handle.

Laura looked up at his reappearance.

Thanks Sophie........ Thanks so much. I know it hasn't been easy for you and I do appreciate it so."

She had a cordless phone in her hand. "Just arranging for some food at about seven, if that is OK with you."

She patted the sofa next to her. "Come and sit down here. We can put all that behind us and try to relax for the rest of the evening"

She offered the glass to him as, awkwardly, he collapsed rather than slid into the place alongside her. He had been betrayed by the constriction of the skirt and had slightly overbalanced at the last crucial moment leaving the skirt hem now rather higher up his thighs than it was designed. Tactfully she affected not to notice.

"You deserve a drink sweetie. You deserve a whole bottle!"

She watched him over the rim of her own glass, hazel eyes sparkling as he held the glass close to his lips.

"Cheers Sophie. I hope we can make life here better than perhaps you expect at the moment. It certainly won't be for lack of trying, nor for want of sympathy and a desire to help."

She raised her glass with a little flourish.

"And thanks, thanks again." She said. And she smiled .at him.

He found himself raising his glass back, toasting in the direction of those eyes.

"Cheers!" He said. It was an automatic response. Without thinking. Inconceivable that one did not respond. The curse of courtesy.

It was not the return he had envisaged when struggling into his panties in the bathroom a few minutes ago. It was not the masterful David taking charge of things.

"I thought" Laura said "That we could start with the House Rules, the General Instructions." Get the serious stuff out of the way before the meal. It would also give you a structure in which to ask your questions, might even pre-solve some of them. It will perhaps also help in your understanding of what is possible and what not. Oh ... just the general background. The feel of the place."

"Probably raise even more question I suppose." She pulled a wry face. "Never mind I will try to do my best to answer them."

She looked at him, raised her glass to her lips and smiled.. She picked up a file lying on the table in front of her and handed it to him, opening the cover as she did.. "This is your copy. It was in the dressing table drawer"

David held the open file on his knees and read:

'INSTRUCTION AND GUIDANCE FOR THE BENEFIT OF RESIDENTS.'

'To ensure that you gain maximum benefit from your stay here it is recommended that you read, study, and fully absorb the instructions and guidelines contained herein.'

'Whereas your stay here is intended as a restorative period to prepare you for rehabilitation and to instil into you those precepts of behaviour enabling you to fully function in a wider social environment, it does demand compliance by you to various simple rules. Such rules are essential to the smooth running of this Centre, the comfort and well being of the other inmates, and to your own protection.'

'The Rules are not punitive, nor are they so intended.'

'They are however so formulated to conform to the Aim of this Centre, to prepare you to be an asset to any future community to which you may belong, as well as to enrich you, both as regards your own personality and your appreciation of the fullness and diversity of Life and the choices it offers.'

'Such Rules will therefore be strictly enforced and are immutable.'

David raised his eyes from the page aware that Laura was regarding him closely. She had leaned closer. He felt her shoulder touching his, a loose strand of her hair wafted on his cheek, so she also could see the page. Her perfume was a delight in his nostrils.

He looked at her." This is nonsense! Residents ..... benefits .... own protection .... maximum benefits?" He shook his head "Its gobbledygook!"

"Yes" Her hand moved to rest on his. "Yes, nonsense, but nonsense you must heed. Most official documents read like nonsense, and the great majority are" She sighed. "But this Sophie is important. In that it is an exception. Only by heeding it can you make sense of it, can you survive where its writ runs"

"But it doesn't say why? It doesn't say why I am here, it doesn't ..................." David half rose in his agitation and the file slid from his knees and nudged against his glass. Only Laura's quick reactions saved his wine from completely spilling on the floor. As it was much of it swamped the table.

"Drat" Laura rose swiftly, tripped to the kitchen door and reappeared with a cloth and the wine bottle.

One hand mopped, wiped clean the table as the other refilled his glass and topped up her own.

She proffered the refilled glass to David. "Take a swig. Take a swig and listen to me."

David sank back and took a hard swallow of the sauterne. It felt cool, fresh and tingled in his mouth.

"Listen darling. Please. Listen." Her hands found his. "What is passed is passed. I told you before. I cannot change that, cannot help with that. No-one can. All we can together do is in the here and now."

"We have to start from here" She released his left hand and laid her right hand instead against his cheek, turning him so that he could not evade her eyes.

"We have been here before Sophie. We must move on. You have to be strong. If you want to fight back, you have to give yourself a chance. You have to evaluate. And to evaluate you have to listen. You have to fully understand."

She turned the page.

'AIM.'

'The Aim of the Centre is to produce a rounded, well adjusted member of society, confident in herself and her ability to contribute fully to the well-being of the community at large.'

Apart from that the page was blank.

David took another large swallow of his wine. All he could see were the words "herself" and "her"

To his mind came the sensation of feeling the soft flesh-like globes in the wardrobe. The soft emblems of femininity. Soft emblems of female sexuality lying in his wardrobe. His soft emblems of sexuality. His sexuality surrounded by the silky softness of femininity.

He was aware of her hand on his cheek again turning him to face her.

" Sophie" Her voice was urgent and low. "You must be strong. You must not let preconceived ideas of masculinity and femininity cloud your judgement."

The hand on his hand tightened. "You are what you are. What you feel yourself to be. Nothing, nobody can change that. Remember Wilde's 'Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.' Only the weak, the insecure, attach such importance to external trappings and need to be seen to constantly conform, obey, follow stereotypes."

"Any masculinity that you feel resides within y..........."

"Lovelace."

The interruption was unexpected. Not in the script.

"Sir Richard Lovelace. Died 200 years before Wilde was born."

"Yes" Laura said gently.

"I am sorry to interrupt. It is a common mistake. Ballad of Reading Jail and all that. People think, but it was ...........Lovelace not Wilde"

"Are you alright Sophie." Laura sounded concerned. "Perhaps we should take a break? Have dinner first?"

"No" He looked at her, searching for contact, for understanding. "No. Let us continue. You are right. There is no advantage in ignoring the facts. No advantage in railing at fate. Nothing to be gained in trying to understand now."

"No, no advantage" she said and at that moment he did read into her eyes a sympathy that went further than the job that she was doing, and he felt he had reached her.

"Then we will look at the Rules together but......." This time it was his hand that went to turn the page but she stopped it, lithe elegant fingers laid on the back of his hand restraining without pressure.

"Let me tell you this first. What you will see you will not like. What the Rules will demand of you, may well be anathema to you at first sight."

"But listen. What we said, what I said, earlier is true. What may offend you does so because it preys upon weakness. It offends because it frightens. Men shy from the thought of wearing panties, a bra and a dress because of fear that others men may think they are not men. Perfume on a woman excites the senses and is intoxicating. On a man it is the same scent but the man is terrified of it because of insecurity about himself. Men questioned about the after-shave they like best always lie. It is the bane of market researchers. They pick the bland, the least scented. When purchasing they buy the opposite. There is no logic. A man in a skirt can eat, drink and sire children as well as one in jeans."

She paused and smiled at him, trying to build on the new born sense of intimacy. She risked it.

"Better perhaps in the last instance" She saw for the first time his lips relax and the corners edge towards a smile. And in his eyes she saw the trust that was newly there. So much easier when they had smiled.

"And it beggars belief. So foolish! Eddie Izzard wears make up and is still accepted as a great comedian, David Beckham wears Posh's knickers and is photographed in a skirt. This year's fashions for men feature the metrosexual look with pink as the 'in' colour for men. Pink suede shoes and jackets. And no-one cares. No-one gives a damn. Certainly no-one questions their masculinity. Not to be worn in the deprived areas of the great cities perhaps but if you are England's football captain and international athlete OK. It is just a question of confidence. Of belief in yourself. Belief in the inner man, or woman."

Laura paused. Allowed him time to digest her words.

"Here Sophie you have perhaps your own inner turmoil, but no-one else will notice. What you are required to do is the norm."

"And Sophie, Sophie. The alternative is not bearable. At the very best you will return from whence you came. And this time it will be a really long time before you are again given this chance. Even then nothing will have changed."

David opened and closed his mouth. Once. Twice.

"The others are like ..... like me." He seemed to have difficulty in speaking. His voice was a hoarse whisper.

"Yes they are all like you." She held both his hands again. "Sophie there are only girls here. Just as you are a girl here. You are the sixth here at the moment and......." She paused, seemed to search for words. "Sophie the concept of differences between one girl or another does not exist here. No, but no irregularities are acknowledged. No-one is in a special category. When the Rules mention girls they include all within these walls."

Again Laura hesitated. "I could be in trouble for even suggesting that there are, could be, any differences, but .... but two of the others will, I think, have had to face roughly the same soul searching as yourself."

"You will find it does not matter. You have nothing to fear from the opinion of others here Sophie. I truly believe that they will be very supportive."

"Oh." David closed his eyes for a few seconds then with a kind of shrug let his fingers find the edge of the next page and slowly turned it.

"And finally, hold on to the fact that this is the Holding Wing. Not a final resting place. From here you will move on. Nothing here is permanent. Think of it as just a hurdle."

Laura eased back slightly and from the corner of her eye watched his face as he read.

'RULES'

'1.) Behaviour:'

'All girls will strive to develop those aspects of their personality, comportment and general behaviour which could best be characterised as ladylike. They will learn and practice those social skills which will give them the ability to move in all circles with the confidence of knowing that their deportment, language, and awareness of their social responsibilities cannot be faulted.'

'Language is to be refined, a soft well modulated speaking voice is essential. A confident body posture is to be cultivated with emphasis on grace at all times. Girls will be expected to be good listeners but with the ability to converse intelligently on subjects appropriate to their sex.'

'Training on the above is available in-house; schedules and programmes will be evolved to provide for each girl's individual needs.'

'2.) General Appearance:'

'a] Dress':

'The guiding principle of the dress code is that it should support the girl in her desire to progress and to achieve the confidence in herself which is a necessary concomitant of Rule 1.) above.'

'The Centre has no wish to stipulate closely the exact garments to be favoured, on the contrary believing that the fostering of a healthy feminine interest in fashion in the individual is a sine qua non of her progress to that pride of appearance so essential to confident comportment and social ease.'

'What will not be tolerated however is a style of dressing or individual clothing which draws attention in a flagrant, or attention seeking way to a girl, or which is provocative in that it emphasises the sexuality of an individual, or the sexual nature of such individual. Basically the clothes provided here are in the classic mode designed and chosen because they enhance the wearer by understatement and rely on simple good taste for their allure. It is recognised however that girls can adopt even the most demure of garments to give a sexual wantonness that is foreign to the original intention.'

'In this context, going bra-less, or wearing a bra not adequately fitted and appropriate to the contours of her upper body or to the accepted norms of the feminine figure, would be deemed to be wilful attention seeking, and would render the girl involved in contravention of this Rule.'

'Full wardrobes are provided for girls covering all foreseeable contingencies during the weekday routines. Girls are allowed, with the permission of, and at the discretion of, the in-house management, a certain latitude at weekends and to this end may wear their own clothes. In order not to discriminate against girls not having access to any such clothes, the Board of Management has established a small fund that may be used for such a purpose.'

'The weekend clothing can be of a more frivolous and indeed luxurious nature. This concession is granted to enable the girl to further explore and develop, through the exercise of choice, her essential femininity. However girls are again reminded of the need to avoid any suggestion of wantonness or excess in their attire.'

'b] Make-Up.'

'As with the Dress code, here the guiding principle governing the regulations is to support the girl in her desire to progress and to achieve that confidence in herself which is a necessary concomitant of Rule 1.) above.'

'Each girl is provided with an extensive range of cosmetic products which will enable her to fully express her natural instinct towards the achievement of individual beauty. It is a basic tenet of the Centre that beauty is within the reach of all girls and that the pursuit of such is indeed an essential step on the road to acquiring the confidence in oneself that this programme is intended to nurture.'

'It is expected that all girls will acquire and hone the skills necessary to the application and selection of such cosmetics, perfumes etc. A sluttish appearance whether due to inexpert application, poor judgement, or a wilful tendency to vulgarity, will be treated as a contravention of the Rules.'

'c] Hair.'

'No specific regulations. It is expected that girls should be aware of the characteristics of her own hair and how it can best be styled to enhance the features, bone structure etc., of her face. During periods of change of cut, or for reasons of compatibility with an overall fashion look, wigs may be worn at the discretion of in-house management. A selection of suitable wigs is available from them.''

'3.) Personal Hygiene.'

'A girl is expected to be scrupulous in all matters of hygiene. Any suggestion of laxity in these matters will bring serious consequences. This is for the girl's own benefit and for the benefit of the community in which she lives. No excuses will be accepted.'

'Girls are expected to maintain a high standard of fitness and bodily well being. Exercise facilities are available and there are aerobic classes on a regular basis.''

'Feminine hygiene products are automatically supplied.'

'4.) Recreation.'

'Recreation is organised on a community basis. All girls are expected to fully contribute and will be required to take turns in organising such under the guidance of the in-house management.'

'Participation is not optional as such activities form a vital part of the strengthening of the individual girl's awareness of her life in the community.''

'5.) Responsibilities.'

'In detail these are as determined by the in-house management.'

'Overall each girl has the heavy responsibility towards herself, that she does her utmost to draw the maximum benefit from her stay here. Her co-operation and acceptance of what the Centre is trying to do for her is essential.'

'Each girl has also a strong overall responsibility to the other girls in her community. She herself will doubtless at the end of her stay here be able to bear witness to the invaluable support and friendship that she has found here. It is profoundly to be desired that she herself will be able to feel proud of her contribution to the well being of the others here.'
'These rules are intended to be obeyed without question.'

'Clarification on any aspect of them can be obtained by consulting the in-house management. Should the Rules not cover any specific eventuality arising from, or if differing interpretation can be ascribed to, the said Rules, then the in-house management's decisions and interpretation are to be taken as binding and should be obeyed as if they did indeed form written part of the said Rules.'

'The in-house management is responsible for ensuring that all and any decisions that they may make as to the interpretation of, or decisions on, particular aspects not elsewhere specifically covered, should follow closely upon the known spirit of the above Rules as laid down above and elsewhere.'

'Any girl who wishes to protest against any of the judgements, interpretations or decisions as delineated above, may formulate her objections in writing and submit them to the Board of Management not later than three days after she has been made subject to them. This in no way absolves her from instant obedience to any of the said in-house judgements, interpretations or decisions. Consideration of her appeal will be retrospective only.'

'No submissions will be entertained which question the direct application of the Rules as clearly stated above.'

'Any girl who submits any claim, wantonly, carelessly, frivolously or capriciously, will be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Management.'


Laura watched as David's eyes reached the bottom of the Rules pages. Nothing had been said. She had wanted him to finish quickly. Not to get bogged down. Not to get sidetracked from the task of reading them in their entirety.

As for David.......... He had seemed almost asleep. Just his eyes flicking quickly from side to side.

He had only skimmed the words. That was best. There was no point in examining them. Not that there was much to evaluate. As he had said it was largely gobbledegook.. Some devil in the detail though, and more, much more, in the interpretation.

The whole thing was carefully drafted to be so boring as to deter anyone from trying to understand it, let alone to consider reading between the lines.

He made to turn over another page.

"No. That's enough for now darling." Again she laid her hand gently on top of his.

"The rest can wait for another day"

She looked at her watch. "The meal will be here soon. Just time to kill this"

She poured the rest of the wine into his glass.

"And to find another" She smiles as she rose in one graceful movement ans started towards the kitchen. She stopped, half turning. She hesitated, but he had seen her uncertainty and was now looking at her. She may as well continue. Chancing her arm again.

"Sophie .it probably is the wrong time to mention it, but... but stand up dear and smooth your dress down behind your legs as you sit down again. It is bit revealing otherwise"

And it doesn't do the dress much good either she nearly added. But that would come later.

"Perhaps you would like to freshen up before the meal too"

"Yes. I'm sorry." He rose and from the kitchen doorway she watched the gangling boyish form, gauche and awkward looking in the already crumpled dress, go towards the bathroom. He looked crushed, crumpled too.

He really would have to learn to sit she thought. His dress wrinkled and awry like that will give quite the wrong impression. She giggled inwardly.

As she re-emerged from the kitchen she was greeted on cue by a gentle double tap on the door.

"Come in Anne" She called.

Then "No wait, I'll open it. I forgot about the tray."

She opened the door and inside, passing sideways through the door to accommodate the tray better, came the neat, slight, figure of a girl who smiled demurely at Laura, and, with a slight inclination of her head causing her bobbed hair to sway, moved to lay the tray on the low table.

"Thank you Laura "

Laura made a little dismissive gesture with her hand. "No Thank you darling. It is kind of you, but I wanted you to meet Sophie before tomorrow, and thought this would be a good informal opportunity to do so. Besides I know that you are just dying to meet her yourself." She smiled and gave Anne's elbow a conspiratorial squeeze. " I'll bet you and the other girls have been gossiping in anticipation ever since you heard."

She turned towards David who, after initial hesitation on hearing voices, had realised that the bathroom was not going to provide him with sanctuary indefinitely. Taking firm hold on what little composure remained to him he had slipped back into the room and now stood there an embarrassed, somewhat bedraggled figure, eyes down cast, hair unkempt, bare footed, stoop shouldered, draped in a dress which looked as if it had haphazardly just fallen on him.

"Sophie!" Laura beckoned David to the table. "Meet Anne! Anne! Sophie! I am sure you two are going to be great friends!" Laura .took Anne by the hand and led her closer: as she approached, Anne took a couple of quick steps and, seizing David by the waist, leant forward and air kissed him on both cheeks, her own cheeks soft against his. Her hair fragrant, her perfume delicate in his nostrils.

David was conscious of the lightness of her touch and her femininity. And also that she was in fact a he. Or at least not quite a she.

"Sit there Anne dear" Laura gestured to the armchair. "Join us please. Have some wine. Really you must help us otherwise Sophie and I will both be pie-eyed before long."

"Even if you have eaten, sit and join us while we nibble"

"If you are sure Laura .........?"

"Don't be a goose Anne!" Laura turned to David. "You don't mind do you Sophie?"

One hand briefly touched his knee. " I know you are tired. Such a busy day and so much to absorb; to come to terms with." " The poor dear has had a really bad time. Hopefully things will be better now though". This last comment to Anne.

"But I so wanted you to meet Anne. So that tomorrow when we do the rounds and you meet the rest of the girls, you will find at least one friendly face you know already."

Anne slid, her hips swivelling gracefully, into her seat. The wine unruffled in her glass, her skirt smoothed to perfection.

She winked at him.

"I am sure you won't need any help Sophie. Everyone is absolutely dying to meet you. And Laura is an angel. Really. She will see to it that things go well. I owe her a lot." For a moment there was a darkness, a sadness at the back of her eyes. "I do not know what I would have done without her. And that goes for all the other girls."

"Rubbish Anne. You do exaggerate so. Just doing my job. Sweet of you but Sophie won't need me with you and Emma around."

Laura raised her glass. "To Sophie! And to her time here with us!" "To Sophie" echoed Anne.

David felt mentally bruised, battered. He sank back into his corner of the settee. Tired, tired beyond belief. Not the fatigue of physical effort that is healed by sleep. But a deeper malaise almost that seemed to twist and tease his mind so that his thought processes no longer functioned. Questions, ideas, impressions whirled around in a way that made concentration impossible. He feared that sleep, if indeed sleep came, would only aggravate the turmoil.

Laura and Anne bent together, sorting out the contents of the tray. Food such he had not seen in six months. "I do hope you like asparagus Sophie? So seasonal it seems a pity not to gorge oneself when they are available. And then the cold roast beef. I do so hope you like it rare rather than ruined! And a simple green salad, although the kitchen here do a mean dressing!"

David watched Anne as she and Laura busied themselves. She, or he was slim, about 5' 8", David's height in fact. She was beautifully made-up in a subdued understated way. Her complexion flawless with just a hint of blush. Eyeshadow really was just a shadow, a bluish bruising. The eyelashes a little too dark to be completely free of mascara. The eyebrows delicately arched but perhaps too low. Her lips again a subtle red, not too full, the lipstick delicately applied. Her chin was a little too pronounced perhaps, the features a mite too coarse. But it was difficult to say. He suspected the make up was indeed expertly applied to the face's contours. Not a beauty but certainly attractive. It was not that that told him she was in fact a man.

Nor was it the voice. Soft, rather deep and husky certainly but it could have been a woman's voice. Her speech was certainly phased as a woman's would be, as were the speech patterns. Or very nearly.

She was dressed in a three quarter length dress in some soft, deep maroon material with little draw string ties at the shoulders leaving her arms and some of her shoulders uncovered. The waist was gathered in and the sculpted top followed closely the curve of her breasts. Her shoulders were too broad he thought; perhaps the draw string top was a mistake. But it was marginal and her armpits were shaved as were the arms themselves. The was little or no evidence of male muscle development. Her wrists and hands were again a little too big, but her fingers and nails carefully manicured, the latter painted in a bright version of the maroon of her dress.

Her feet, as she sat demurely opposite him, were clad in classic shoes, rounded toe, nothing too exaggerated, in a black suede, with medium heels.

It was the sum of all the things that betrayed her. All the little things that by themselves would have passed as feminine, but taken as a whole alerted one to something being not quite what it seemed. And once one thought that, admitted the possibility, then her body gestures, her movements betrayed her. They were schooled, and elegant. But they were too schooled. Without natural grace. Sometimes there seemed to be the split second's pause as a movement seemed to wait upon the brain's decision. The body seemed to need instruction as to the right way to act, needed confirmation of the appropriateness of the gesture.

All that said and done though, 'she' was the correct pronoun. Masculinity in her was just an echo from the past.

"Sophie! Wake up!" Laura smiled at him. " If you think Anne attractive then the least you can do is to pay her a compliment, rather than keep it to yourself!"

"I am sorry. Really. Of course Anne is lovely .........Anne you look super. You both do. You and Laura. I think you are ... Both. Lovely"

David slurred to a stop embarrassed. They both laughed. "You poor darling!" Said Laura. "Aaaaaaaaaw thanks." Said Anne. "But I can see you have such potential yourself that I am already madly jealous!" David thought he detected a quick glance and the suggestion of a frown from Laura and Anne herself fell quiet.

"Girls, you're not eating! Anne dig in. Here's a spare plate. Asparagus cannot be returned to the kitchen. It would be an illegal act!" Laura rushed in to fill the silence.

"Quite against the Rules!" Anne giggled.

"Now, Now girls" said Laura, shaking her head but permitting herself a slight smile. "Watch it."

David realised he was slightly drunk. No alcohol for six months and now, how many glasses?

He found himself raising his glass and taking another sip.

Laura turned to Anne. "Sophie has been reading the Rules. I think the poor darling is quite dazed."

Anne nodded. "Poor dear. I know I was. And quite terrified!" She leant forward. "I don't know what Laura has told you Sophie. Nor what lies in your past. But at least you are amongst friends here in myself and Emma, and the other girls of course. And as for Laura .... Well ... She is just amazing."

Anne leant forward, intent, "Apart from obedience to the Rules, nothing here is forced, or punitive, or invasive, or ........" She searched for words. "Come to terms with ... accept the Rules and this can be a new beginning. When you move on from here maybe you can retrace your life. Maybe you can progress. But here and now .... This is a haven Sophie."

Anne leant back. David noticed that she seemed to tremble slightly.

"At least it was, is, for me." She swallowed hard." "Compared with the Hell that was before ....."

"You poor darling Anne!" Sophie rose from the sofa and put a protective, loving arm about her

"Enough of the past! Sophie give her a refill! She must help us out otherwise we shall be both quite incapable".

"And we are neglecting the beef and salad. We will be exhausted and quite faint before tomorrow even commences."

For a minute or so there was silence as they served themselves with the finely sliced red, rare meat, and the tossed salad.. David found himself doing so in a dream. He felt hunger, but hunger had been such a constant over the last months that it could be ignored. He served himself, said 'thank you' at the right time and ate out of a forgotten automated politeness that belonged to another world. He sipped the wine recklessly, no longer caring too much.

At least Anne was right in describing what had gone before as Hell.

Anne seemed to recover her composure. She chewed delicately, according to the Rules, in a lady like manner. She looked up and smiled at David.

"Just so that you know. Nothing is too terrible. There is nothing really to fear apart from your own imaginings, your own pride."

She paused, gathered her thoughts. "All of us here will accept, welcome and care for you. You can count on us."

Anne stood up, and again with a slight inclination of her head so that her hair swayed and shone, turned to Laura. "If you will excuse me, Laura, but I must go. I have still a few things to do on my programme if I am to be ready by Friday"

"Of course" Laura smiled at her. "Just thanks for coming to meet Sophie. It was kind of you and I know Sophie appreciates it."

Remnants of good manners asserted themselves in the back of David's mind and he struggled to his feet. "Yes Anne." He said. "Thanks for coming. Delighted to meet you. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Sorry if I ..........." He tailed off wondering why he was apologising. He realised that he had indeed now drunk too much after too long abstinence.

Anne smiled at him, again took his arm and leant forward to plant a kiss on his cheek. "Sophie dear, great to meet you, I am sure we will be great friends. Don't worry about tomorrow. It will seem so much better then."

"Bye Laura. Thanks for the wine and meal" This as she exited through the door. "Bye Sophie."

The door closed behind her.

" She is such a delightful girl" Laura said. "You are so lucky that she is here to help you. It makes all the difference"

"But I still don't know ..................." David struggled with his thoughts, fending off the combined effects of exhaustion aggravated by alcohol. " Why girls, and why me, I am not a girl, and, and, and why ........"

Laura took him by the arm. "Shush darling. Bed now. Tomorrow is another day. And a long one and one which will present you with new challenges. New decisions to be made."

"Don't anticipate what may be in the future. Take each day as it comes."

She smiled and squeezed his arm slightly. "After all today didn't finish too badly did it? Good wine and food with the company of two delightful and attractive women."

As David was about to nod his somewhat befuddled agreement he heard her add.

"What more could a girl want?" And saw her eyes laughing at him.

"Bed, Sophie, bed. I will take the tray out with me." She busied herself piling plates.

"I will drop in and help you prepare tomorrow at seven. No more room service I am afraid. Back to harsh reality. Breakfast will be with the others at eight thirty. So we will have to get a move on. Nothing too elaborate the first day but one must show willing!"

"I must arrange for you to have your own watch. Do remind me should I forget."

You will find all you want in the bathroom. Toothpaste the lot!"

David just stood there, lost.

"And I have laid out a nightie of the bed. No-one to see you but if it worries you there are pyjamas in the wardrobe. But do try the nightie! We must make some progress. Friday is only three days off."

There was a clatter of the tray, a tinging of glass against glass, and she was at the door.

"Do open it for me please. There's a dear!"

David started and went with her to the door. "But the lock .....?"

"The lock? Oh we don't need that now. Where on earth would you go?"

"But before..." David said.

"Before was before " Laura smiled. "Just a formality. Just to stop you wandering, wasting all our time."

"There is nowhere for you to go. You must believe it"

And she went out into the corridor. "See you at seven" came to him as he closed the door behind her.

David wandered back into the bathroom. He found it impossible to think. Between tiredness and alcohol he was out on his feet. He cleaned his teeth and washed his face briefly.

At least it was warm and quiet and he could control the light.

He went to the window and looked out for a few minutes, and then finding sleep claiming him, drew the curtains, blocking out the moon, and turned back towards the bed..

As she had said, across the bed was a champagne satin nightdress, long, thin straps broadening to lace across the breast.

He threw it onto the floor and slipped naked between the clean bliss of pressed cotton sheets.

And then it was morning. He had not heard her enter but Laura was there drawing the curtain, letting in the early sun.

"Wake up sleepy head" She said.

She came to his bed side. Picked up the discarded nightdress and shook her head sorrowfully at him.

"Oh Sophie." She said "Really. I had so hoped!

She folded it carefully and replaced it in the wardrobe.

"We will have to do much better today. Today it starts."
TG crossdress school Rated-M
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