"Look . . . it's a workable plan. You need a job . . . the firm needs a new employee with your qualifications . . . I'm telling you. It's meant to happen!"
"My qualifications? My qualifications?!"
"You're a graphic artist . . . you've got the talent . . you've got the training . . ."
"And I've got the wrong sex!"
Josh settled back in his chair and grinned. "Bro, I think I can solve that little complication for you . . no problem!"
My name is Peter James Wright . . . "PJ" to everyone who knows me. All my life, I've wanted to be an artist. Two years ago I graduated with honors from a major eastern university taking a Master's in Fine Arts. Being something of a realist, I concentrated on the so-called "commercial arts"; graphic presentation, layout and design . . . that sort of thing. I knew it was a hungry world out there for artists and I figured that I'd be smart and use my art to pay the bills.
Two years later, I'm still looking for my first steady job. I'd badly underestimated just how hungry it was beyond the ivy tower.
Josh Arjer, the fellow with the ominous sounding plan, is my half brother by my late mother's remarriage. He's got a steady gig. He works for an ad agency; Whitman and North. He's in sales. It's a job that suits him to a tee. If I'm the "artsy" one, Josh is the "hustler". He can sell deep freezers to Eskimos and make them wonder how they ever got along without them. At the moment, he's trying to sell me on what has to be the most hare-brained scheme he's ever come up with.
The frightening thing is; I'm so desperate for a job . . . I'm listening.
Here's the deal: Whitman and North is a sleepy little firm that should have its main offices in "The Land That Time Forgot." The agency's heyday occurred sometime back in the mid-50's. Since then they've been living on a steadily declining pool of regular accounts and wondering if color advertising wasn't a "passing fad" after all.
Then, by some fluke, a major multi-national corporation; The Sprague Group, decided that they needed a captive ad agency for some of their smaller corporate holdings, and the name Whitman and North caught somebody's eye.
But there was a catch.
Several of Sprague's companies were heavily into government contracting. There's this federal contracting rule; to be eligible to bid, you have to have a certain percentage of each ethnic group . . . and both sexes . . . in all levels of your company. And that rule applies to all of your subcontractors too.
This was a serious problem for Whitman and North. As I said, they were still "lost in the 50's ". A woman in management was a radical concept to the minds that ran the firm. Now, being a small firm, the number of women required to be holding management level jobs was equally small. In fact, to be in compliance, Whitman and North only needed one woman.
At the moment, they were one woman short.
As it happens, they also needed a new graphic artist, especially now with a major presentation looming on the near horizon. Somebody managed to put two and two together and the word went out; "Hire a female graphic artist."
And that brings us back to Josh's plan.
I held up my hand and shook my head. "You're gonna suggest that we get me a granny dress, some socks to stuff down my bra, do a few sessions at the beauty parlor and pass me off as your sister that you've forgotten to mention for the last 22 years. That's something out of a bad sitcom, and I'm not having anything to do with it. Period!"
Josh just grinned a predatory grin that I'd long ago learned meant he had a scam he was just dying to run on somebody, (usually me), and shook his head. "Bro, would I do something like that to you?" (Yes.) "No. What we need is a way to transform you into a completely believable woman, something that isn't permanent, and something we can accomplish in the very near future."
He had me stumped. He knew the answer, you could see it on his face.
"I give up. You got a magic wand?"
Still grinning, Josh walked over to his laptop sitting on the dining table. "Maybe, I have something better; Technology!" He plugged the phone line into the computer and logged on to the "Net".
Josh . . . my brother 'The Salesman'. He had me. He knew my 'button'. Get me curious, and you can usually lead me around by the nose. I walked over to the table and looked over his shoulder.
There was a home page coming up. At the moment, the screen consisted of a tasteful presentation of the name "Nu-Gen", a subdued green marble background, and a placeholder for some kind go graphic . . . probably a GIF. Before it could come up, Josh turned to face me, blocking my view of the laptop.
"I would have been stuck . . . no good idea . . .except for a conversation I had a few weeks ago with Morrie. (That would be Morrie Feldstein. He was something of a maverick down at Whitman and North. He actually tried to keep up with the march of time. He'd even taken some programming classes down at the community college. As a result, he was in charge of Whitman and North's modest foray into web page design.) "Morrie was telling me about this new account he was working. Seems that there's this aerospace firm that's trying to branch out. I didn't pay too much attention after I heard what they were up to. It seemed way out in left field. But then this job opening came up . . . I did some checking . . . " He glanced over his shoulder at the computer. "Take a look."
It was a GIF; a photo of an attractive young woman in her mid twenties or early thirties. I still didn't get it and said so. "Pretty girl . . . so what?" Josh folded his arms and grinned triumphantly. "It's not a girl . . . It's a guy!"
I took another look. "Bull! Okay, maybe one of those guys that can do some makeup tricks and look good. Again; so what?" Josh tapped the mouse, and the screen changed; a "before and after" shot. I looked one more time. "Bull!" I admit; the "male" and "female" faces were somewhat similar, probably a family relation, but the male was male and the female was definitely female. And they weren't the same person!
Josh chuckled. He had my attention, and that was usually all he needed to "reel me in". "Swear to God, Bro. I've done some checking. Nu-Gen is a bona fide subsidiary of a real player in the aerospace industry. Kind of a 'hush hush, black sheep relation'. Still 'in the closet' you might say. But definitely for real."
We spent the next half-hour checking out Nu-Gen's web site. In essence the idea was; use a new 'space age' polymer, something called "memory plastic", to create a full body suit that would turn your hairy Uncle Jake into your sexy Aunt Jane with nobody the wiser. The site had lots of photos, lots of facts . . . some of them completely unbelievable. For example; on one page they were raving about attention to detail and they actually claimed; "Employing proprietary design features achieved through consultation with noted experts, it is now possible, using the new I-2000S series, for the wearer to simulate normal sexual intercourse." Give me a break! But Josh was sold. He just wouldn't listen to my protests. Ultimately, we were looking at an interactive catalogue that you could use to place an order for your custom "fitted" suit. When I got a look at the price list, I just about swallowed my teeth! The base model had a sticker price of well over three thousand dollars! Josh and I went back to calling each other names for a while.
Have I mentioned; given time, Josh can always "sell me"?
Just before 6 PM Wednesday night, we got out the tape measure and took a whole bunch of measurements of me. We then dickered over the "specs" of our "new girl". We wound up with; athletic, 20ish, "C" cup, (Josh had been holding out for "B". I found out why later), and over the shoulder length blonde hair. (I've got this thing for blondes.) We used Josh's AMEX Gold to place our order, specifying "two day air" delivery.
I thought a lot about what we were considering all day Thursday. I think I had mixed emotions. I was still convinced that this was all some kind of elaborate scam, that the pictures had been faked, or heavily retouched . . . or just real women to begin with. I'd finally have something to hold over Josh's head; the 'Great Scammer' himself scammed! They couldn't really do that . . . make a man look that good . . . with just a few pounds of plastic, no matter how high tech the material.
What if they could?
Was I ready to hold up my end of the deal?
Would I be able to? I'm a normal heterosexual male. I don't know how to behave like a woman. I'd never even considered the prospect. I had a sinking suspicion that there was more to it than not having to shave your face each morning.
By mid-morning Friday, I was beginning to feel a case of butterflies, watching out the window for the parcel service to show up.
But they hadn't shown by 5 PM when Josh got home from work.
He was furious. He called a toll free number we had for Nu-Gen. We got a recorded message stating that business hours were from 8 AM to 5 PM CST. We called the parcel service. A professionally helpful woman tried a "trace" for us, but the computer was fouled up and she couldn't give us any helpful information. She suggested we call back Monday. I think Josh was beginning to suspect that he'd been 'had', but wouldn't give me the satisfaction of admitting it. I quickly headed upstairs and left him to rattle around looking for something to vent his anger and embarrassment on.
Josh had left for a Saturday at work and I was sitting watching an old war movie on the "Nostalgia Cinema" when the doorbell rang. I'd put the thought of the suit out of my mind. The chime jarred me back to all my previous anxieties.
Sure enough, it was the parcel service. A perky little brunette apologized for the mix up. Apparently one of their jets had had engine trouble and had to divert. The parcel was tied up all last night while they got a spare plane out and transferred the cargo. She "hoped I understood . . . sign here please."
The box was about two feet, by one foot, by six inches.
I put it on the dining table and used my thumbnail to open the tape. The first thing I saw was a folio sized "Manual for Use" with the familiar green marble background. I pulled it out and underneath was what had to be "The Suit".
I think I was actually a little relieved when I saw it. It was a scam, of course. The Suit was just a thin parcel of flesh colored plastic (with some fuzzy, short, blonde fur at one end) in a clear plastic wrapper. I think I smiled as I picked it up and turned it over in my hands. Lots of folds but no discernible features. And if that was 'over the shoulder length blonde hair', somebody didn't know where shoulders were. The fuzz couldn't be more than an inch long. I was going to toss the thing back in the box and go back to the movie when I saw a little slip of pink paper that had been under the suit. In bold black letters it commanded "Read Me First"
I picked it up and read it.
"Don't be discouraged by first impressions of the I-2000S! We at Nu-Gen assure you; follow the enclosed instructions and this quality product will meet or exceed all your expectations! Nu-Gen Inc."
Thinking that somebody somewhere must be laughing at the thought "the damn fool might fall for that and actually read the manual!", I set the suit down and . . . skimmed the manual.
After the first few pages I gathered that the whole thing depended on two factors; moisture and heat.
According to the manual; the bulk of the suit was composed of a polymer "skin" that perfectly mimicked human flesh's color, texture and elasticity. I gathered it was quite thin, only a few mils thick, but very durable. I spotted an interesting fact in the manual; Human skin, the outer skin, is actually insensitive. It's just dead tissue. Our sense of touch is based in the inner, living layer of flesh. The manual claimed that because of the thinness of the "skin" there would be only the slightest reduction in "tactile sensation", except in those areas where the suit "added tissue". This "adding of tissue" was accomplished by placing numerous pads of various sizes and shapes throughout the suit. These pads were used to add contour and feature to the "finished form". Supposedly, the pads were made out of some very interesting stuff. At a temperature exceeding 108 degrees, the pads became absorbent. Between 82 and 108 degrees, the pads retained moisture. Below 82 degrees, they released moisture. When saturated, the manual claimed that the pads were able to convincingly mimic either fatty or muscle tissue depending on their placement and construction.
But the real secret of the suit was "memory plastic". Apparently, "memory plastic" was a fairly new development, rising out of research into materials for use in outer space construction. Simply stated; memory plastic could be "trained" to assume a specific shape. Bend it into any other shape, apply a specific stimulus, and it returned to it's "learned" shape. Apply a different stimulus, and it "relaxed". Interesting, if true!
Woven throughout the suit were thousands of "memory threads" Supposedly, they had been "taught" how to take my measurements and by contracting, mold them into a "nominal female physique". The stimulus required was moist heat. A very specific temperature too. Like the "pads", the "threads" reacted differently to different temperatures. At 110 plus degrees, the threads "relaxed" into what the manual referred to as their "neutral" state. Drop the temperature to a range of 90 to 104 degrees, (body temperature . . . more or less), and they snapped into their "learned" shape. Drop the temperature below 90 degrees and they went into what the manual called their "dormant" state. I was to believe that the thing in the box was the suit in its "dormant" state.
The manual said that the first thing I needed to do to use the suit was to fill the bathtub with water heated to between 110 to 120 degrees, ("approaching the hottest of baths"), and just drop the suit in.
Imagine that; "dehydrated woman . . . just add hot water".
Taking the suit and the instruction manual, and leaving the rest in the box, I went upstairs and started the tub filling. Again, my curiosity had the better of me. I just had to try this out. When the tub was about one quarter full, I suddenly realized that I had no idea of how to measure the temperature of the water. "Approaching the hottest of baths" was rather vague. Considering the cost of the suit, I didn't want to run the risk of damaging it with water of the wrong temperature. Sitting on the edge of the tub, I wracked my brain for a solution. The thermometer in the medicine cabinet only went up to 103 or something. I didn't have an outdoor thermometer, and I doubted it would go high enough anyway if I did. How to measure temperature? Then I remembered we had a meat thermometer in one of the drawers down in the kitchen. Josh and I had used it (or perhaps I should say "misused" it) last Thanksgiving to incinerate a turkey. Leaving the water running, I ran downstairs and rummaged through the drawers till I found it. Taking it back upstairs, I was pleased to see that the tub was now half full. Shutting off the taps, I stuck the thermometer in the water. The needle quickly rose to 117 degrees. I congratulated myself on the good guess at the faucet settings.
Picking up the suit, I worried at the plastic sealing for a moment then finally tore off a corner with my teeth. The rest of the wrapper came off easily and I was left holding a ridiculous looking, papery feeling "cutout" of a vaguely feminine form, topped by a bristly thatch of blond fuzz. I stood looking at it for a moment feeling like six kinds of fool for proceeding with this farce, or ever entertaining the thought that this suit could possibly make good on any of its claims. But the money was spent and I felt that I had to follow the charade through to the end. Sighing, I gently set the suit into the hot water.
It promptly sank.
I glared at it for a moment, then went back downstairs to get a beer. As I trudged back up the stairs carrying the "cold one", I remembered that the manual had stated that the suit needed to soak for no less than ten minutes. Passing the bathroom without a glance, I went into my bedroom and pulled off my tee shirt and jeans, then my socks. Maybe it would work . . . what the hell . . . why not? I started to pull off my briefs, but then stopped. I don't know exactly why. Perhaps I'd just reached my level of discomfort, and the thought of checking on that ridiculous suit in the nude was more than I could take. Carrying my beer, clad only in my skivvies, I padded back to the bathroom and glanced into the tub.
And dropped my beer in surprise.
A nude woman, her head crowned by a full golden mane, floated partially submerged in my bathtub.
I stood there, open mouthed, just staring. On closer inspection, I could see that she wasn't a real woman. In fact, she wouldn't even make a particularly good mannequin. I was suddenly reminded of one of those inflatable "love dolls". Individually, her features were nicely drawn; high forehead, thin, arched eyebrows, a beguiling 'button' nose and full, sensuous lips. But the individual parts far exceeded the whole. And the face was expressionless in the most artless way. The hair was nice though, I give Nu-Gen that. It fanned out from "her" head, gently swaying to the motion of the water.
Three thousand dollars for a nice wig.
Continuing my inspection downward from the head, I was next struck by the breasts. Again; individually, I saw some real promise in those delightful little pink-tipped islands rising above the submerged torso. But they seemed impossibly high on the chest and out of proportion to the rest of the body. There were other problems as well. Running down from the base of the throat there was a large, obvious slit. Clearly, this was how one put the suit on. Following the slit to its conclusion, my eyes came to rest on a small ruff of golden fur crowning the suit's groin. Pubic hair. Nice touch I thought; matching the pubic hair to the golden tresses on the suit's head. At least the poor fool wearing the suit wouldn't have to pretend to be a natural blonde.
Remembering the claim of "simulated sexual intercourse", I cautiously reached into the water (which was HOT!) and fingered the false vagina. "Nice detail" was my first thought. Gently spreading the 'lips' and probing within the cleft rewarded me with a touch of silky smooth "flesh". Oddly, it was my curiosity as to how this particular feature worked . . . how the depth of a real vagina could be simulated, if the suit were on a male form . . . that decided me to try the suit on.
Pulling the (Hot . . . damnit . . . Hot) suit out of the water I flipped down the lid of the toilet seat, slid off my briefs, sat down, and began to wriggle my left foot down the leg of the suit and into its foot. The material of the suit was neither stretchy nor binding. In some way, it seemed to be a perfect fit for my own leg. In any event, it was no great chore to slide the sleek "skin" all the way up to the top of my thigh. The same was true of the right leg. The only real challenge was to fit each of my own toes into the (very detailed, down to the nails) toes of the suit. After just a moment, I was sitting on the toilet, up to my thighs in "woman". As I was smiling at the image that conjured, my fingers encountered a . . . call it a "pocket" . . . on the inside of the suit, just behind what would be the groin. Puzzling what this could be for (but having a strong suspicion) I quickly picked up the manual that I'd left sitting on the counter and turned to "Appendix B - Illustrations for Use". "Figure 3" made it very clear, via a quite specific line drawing, what was expected of the "wearer" at this point. There was a helpful little footnote suggesting that "Judicious application of petroleum jelly or similar" could ease any possible "discomfort caused by chafing". I ignored the advice and spent an uncomfortable moment tucking my . . . "self" . . . into the pocket.
Continuing, I slipped the buttocks up over my own then wrestled for a moment getting each arm into the arms of the suit. The experience was not unlike donning a tight pair of coveralls. I puzzled for a moment on how to proceed with the head, but could think of nothing else than to pull it over my own like a hood. I was a little worried that the material of the suit wasn't elastic enough to do this, and it would tear, but this didn't prove to be the case.
It was here that I realized the suit's eyes were closed.
I stood for a long moment trying to figure out what to do now that I was effectively blind. I started to reach for the manual, realized that I couldn't see to find it . . . and realized further that even if I did find it by touch, it would hardly do me any good in my present predicament. (Hard to read with your eyes closed, you know.) The absurdity of my situation finally hit home and I began to laugh. It was a muffled laugh.
The suit's mouth was closed too.
Fortunately, I could still breathe through my nose.
All through the "donning process" the suit had been gradually cooling. What at first had been uncomfortably warm, passed through pleasantly warm to no perceived temperature . . . in other words; 'body temperature'.
Suddenly, I was being squeezed from all sides . . . hard!
For a moment, I panicked, unsure what was going on, and then I remembered the manual's description of the operation of "memory plastic". Knowing what was happening eased my initial fear, but it was still a decidedly unpleasant experience. I had an odd memory of a toy called a "shrinky dink" I'd had as a child. It was a sheet of plastic with the outlines of cartoon characters you could color and cut out. Pop the cutouts in an oven and they shrank to one eighth their original size becoming dense figurines you could play with. I suspected I now knew how they felt about the process. This was carrying it too far. I'd played along. I'd embarrassed myself, and I was just being made more and more 'the fool'. I was reaching for the slit (which, of course, I now couldn't find!) to begin extricating myself, when two things happened at once: There was a distinct 'pulling' sensation at my crotch, and the eyelids and mouth of suit seemed to adhere to my own. With a tearing sensation, both the eyes and the mouth popped open. I happened to be facing the mirror when they did.
If I'd been holding the beer at that moment, I'd have dropped it again!
Staring back at me from the mirror was an absolute "knockout" blonde! She looked like she'd just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine! As she stared at me in open-mouthed amazement, my gaze (her gaze too) traveled down from her face to her . . .
Oh my goodness!
Make that a porno magazine!
. . . full, pouting breasts . . .
. . . pert, pink nipples in large, attention-grabbing areola . . .
. . . taut, firm belly . . .
. . . a slender waist swelling into beautifully proportioned hips . . .
. . . a thatch of golden fur not quite concealing a teasing glimpse of feminine sex . . .
. . . long sleek legs . . .
It was me.
I knew, objectively, that it was me staring back from the mirror. But, the illusion was so perfect; the woman in the mirror was so . . . real! I was feeling a sense of . . . disconnection . . . looking at this reflected vision. I raised my right arm . . . she raised hers. I dropped my arm . . . she dropped hers, and her breasts jiggled in the most erotic fashion. I could feel their weight move against my chest.
A sly little smile curled her luscious lips. With a toss of her head, she flipped the long, wet hair off her shoulder. Then, making a pouting little moue' with her mouth, she reached up and cradled her left breast in her left hand, the nipple peeking out between her middle fingers, her right hand twined in the hair over her right ear. As she continued to fondle that ripe, exquisite bosom, the moue' shifted into a pleading "take me now" expression. And it was me doing it! I consciously executed each of the actions, believing that in doing so, I'd break the illusion. I didn't know how to display a "take me now" expression. Or I thought I didn't. I just did what I thought a woman would do. On a man, the expression would probably have been ludicrous. Put it on this stunning woman face and it was . . . hot beyond belief. I hated to admit it but . . .
This was fun!
I had my own personal "live sex show"! Anything I wanted, this beautiful, sexy woman would do . . . no embarrassment . . . no questions asked. For my enjoyment, she shook her shoulders setting her breasts into the most delicious motion. Then, closing her eyes in anticipation, (well, slitting her eyes so I could still enjoy the show), she again caressed the delicious left breast and, reaching down with her right hand, she began teasing herself, gently circling her sex with long shapely fingers. Slowly . . . slowly . . . those fingers insinuated themselves and began to stroke. (I was still curious how the illusion of depth could be created. Apparently, the "pocket" was doing whatever it was supposed to do. I could feel a slight pressure against my groin as her fingers probed deeper and deeper, but from my/her finger's point of view, everything was just as it should be.) Approaching a fabricated climax, she moaned, opened her eyes and stretched out her left hand to me, her face urgent with counterfeit need. "Oh . . . Peter . . . I want you so bad!"
That took care of the illusion.
I'd tried for a breathy falsetto . . . I'd achieved something that would have made the most flaming fairy ashamed.
Dropping all pretenses at maintaining the illusion, I strode over to the counter and picked up the manual. I thumbed through it for a moment, pausing once to flick "my" rapidly drying hair out of my eyes. Here it was; "Voice" Section 8, page 19. Sitting back down on the toilet, I began reading the indicated page.
"One of the most difficult facets of convincingly impersonating a female is the voice." No lie! "It is interesting to note that physiologically, male and female vocal apparatus are almost identical." I skipped ahead. "Nu-Gen has therefore perfected a harmless, temporary method of achieving the necessary tightening of the male vocal cords to produce a completely believable feminine voice. The enclosed sample of "Formula A18, Vocal Aide" in its convenient spray bottle contains sufficient formula for at least twenty 'conversions'. Refills are easily obtained by contacting our Service Department at Area Code . . ."
"Convenient spray bottle"? It must still be in the box.
I quickly padded downstairs. Understand; at that moment, I wasn't thinking about my appearance. I was anxious to see if I could complete the illusion that I'd made such an unbelievable start on. If I'd thought about it at all, I certainly wouldn't have felt nude at that moment. I felt more like somebody wearing a diver's wet suit.
The box was sitting on the dining table where I'd left it. I began to paw through the contents (again flicking hair out of my eyes) looking for the "convenient spray bottle". I soon found it, snug in its own Styrofoam packing. I pulled it out and began reading the label. The directions were quite straight forward. "Depress applicator once while aiming at the rear of the mouth. Inhale deeply as formula is introduced. Allow five minutes for operation of active ingredients. Note: A slight, transitory discomfort is not unusual. Do not exceed recommended dosage. Results should continue for not less than eight hours with decreasing effectiveness there after. Effects disappear in no more than ten hours from application. For contra-indications refer to . . ."
Do you know that feeling you get when somebody's watching you?
I looked up and realized two things. First: I was standing in full view of the kitchen window that overlooks our building's parking lot. Second: I was standing in full view of Kyle Tyler, the 15 year old boy from three doors down who was just now returning from some errand. We looked at each other for a second. I couldn't figure out why he was staring at me with such huge, round eyes. Then, I understood . . . Kyle wasn't staring at me . . .he was staring a gorgeous, blonde . . . Nude!
It struck me, standing there, that I had two choices: One: I could give Kyle a cheap thrill . . . a little something for his fantasies besides what he found in the Playboy he smuggled home every month. Or, two: I could rattle his cage a bit and teach him he really shouldn't be staring in other people's windows. I chose option two.
The blonde of Kyle's dreams suddenly shrieked (soundlessly, but being on the other side of the window, he didn't know that), grabbed a wholly inadequate dishtowel off the rack and tried desperately to conceal both her bobbing breasts and her female treasure. (I made sure she failed at both endeavors. Hey, I'm not so cruel as to deny Kyle all pleasure at this encounter!). Waving her hand furiously, she shooed Kyle away. To his credit, (he's a good boy) he turned crimson and fled to the safety of his own apartment. I closed the blinds, leaned against the counter and laughed till tears ran down my beautiful cheeks and dripped from my supple breasts.
Eventually, the mirth subsided to the point where I could complete my 'conversion'. Recovering the "convenient spray bottle" and taking careful aim, I gave myself a healthy spritz while taking a deep breath. I gagged as the spray seemed to go down the "wrong pipe". I wheezed for a few seconds, but finally managed to catch my breath. The stuff tasted awful! A pungent chemical reek that somebody had tried to mask with a sickeningly sweet fake cherry flavor. I waited for what seemed like five minutes but nothing happened as far as I could tell. "Testing, one two . . ." (It was all I could think of.) No change from my normal baritone. "Aw, hell! And everything else was working so . . . " I had intended to say " . . . working so well". I never finished. At the word "everything" my voice started to crack and fade. By "so" it was gone completely. I raised one delicate feminine hand to my slender throat and winced at the "slight discomfort" I was suddenly experiencing. It felt like some lunatic was gleefully scrubbing the inside of my larynx with broken glass embedded in steel wool. I swallowed several times trying to ease the suffering, and it finally subsided. I took a deep breath and tried again. "This crap had better . . . " " . . . work" was what I'd intended to say. I never finished.
The voice matched the woman . . . a throaty, seductive, deeply feminine contralto.
Well . . God bless the folks at Nu-Gen! If anybody could spot me through this perfect disguise, I'd eat my bra!
Which reminded me; I couldn't accomplish much in the nude. I wondered if the folks at Nu-Gen had even remembered to take care of that detail. It turns out; they had! Nestled in the very bottom of the larger box there was a smaller, boutique style box. Pulling it out, I carried it over to the couch and, making sure I wasn't in the line of any other windows, opened it and examined the contents.
The first item was a lightweight print dress in a subdued dark blue floral pattern. Very nice. Digging a little deeper, I found matching bra and panties in an antique white, very generous on the lace. (I guess somebody at Nu-Gen wanted to reinforce my newfound femininity.) Finally, I found a brand new pair of "self supporting" stockings and a pair of breezy white sandals. Quite tasteful . . . sexy without being sleazy. I started to slip into the panties, then paused. I thought of my "live sex show" and decided to have a bit more fun. After all, this had set Josh back over three thousand dollars! Might as well start getting his money's worth!
Sitting on the edge of the bed before the mirror, she stretches luxuriously, her arms crossed behind her head, her breasts proudly displayed. Languorously, she unfolds her arms and, placing her right hand on the bed behind her for balance she leans back and slowly runs her left hand down from her right shoulder, across her right breast (pausing briefly to tease the erect nipple), then slowly down across her firm belly. Her hand finally comes to rest on the pile of frilly feminine clothing lying beside her on the bed. Smiling a mischievous "You want it so bad, you're about to mess up your jeans!" smile, she very deliberately slides first one slender leg, then the other, into the delicate little panties. She pauses, allowing one last glimpse of her perfect golden treasure, then she snuggles the panties up over her hips and gives a musical little giggle that says; "Keep wanting it!"
Now her face takes on a calculated look of concentration as she slips her arms through the straps of the lacy bra, lovingly caresses the delicate, full breasts into each cup. Reaching around behind, the lace now molding and disciplining the tender flesh, she fastens the clasp of the bra.
. . . she fastens the clasp of the bra . . .
Damn it! How the hell do you fasten this infernal contraption! I struggled for a good five minutes trying to get the three hooks into the three eyes, and finally, more by accident than design, finally succeeded. Jeeze! It looks so easy when a woman does it! Well . . . maybe with a little practice. I brushed a stray strand of golden hair out of my eyes.
"The show must go on!"
Gazing out under her long lashes at her now desperate audience, she picks up one of the sheer stockings and holds the delicate lace of the built in garter against her cheek. She sighs with anticipation at the upcoming sensuous joy the silky fabric will provide as it caresses her leg. Gathering the stocking up in her fingers, she extends her shapely right leg and slowly, teasingly slides the silky, shiny fabric up, up, stopping when the rich flesh colored lace encircles the top of her thigh. Reveling in her ability to wrap any watching male around her little finger, she repeats the performance on her left leg. Then, for good measure, she bends over, her breasts all but tumbling out of her bra, and runs her hands lovingly up her legs, smoothing out the perfection of the stockings.
Satisfied, she stands and with feline grace, again she stretches, her arms over her head, back arched, breasts high and proud, her right leg bent at the knee, hips swiveled to the left.
Her face wrinkles in that familiar pouty moue', saddened at the prospect that the show is almost over. She picks up the floaty print dress and slips it over her head. Allowing it to settle in a swirl of fabric around her slender curves, she plucks a bit to make sure that her ample cleavage is shown off to good effect. With one fluid motion, she flips her long golden hair over her shoulder and, reaching behind, zips the dress up. Finally, in a complete change of character, she very modestly slides a sandal on each foot, turns, blows a saucy kiss at the mirror, giggles, and flounces out of view, breasts bouncing, hips swaying.
I don't know just how "the pocket" that was restraining my manhood was put together, of what it was made, but it was a damn clever design! Throughout the show, the "illusion" had remained flawless.
I glanced over at the clock on the nightstand; almost 2 PM. Josh'd be getting home in just over three hours. I couldn't wait for him to see what his money had purchased. I grinned. Damn! This plan was going to work! I could fool anybody! Anybody!
Then a devious little thought entered my mind and my grin must have doubled in size.
Rushing downstairs, I ransacked the drawers for a paper grocery bag. Finding one, I then began looking for the scissors. I had some delicate work to perform, and some practicing before the mirror if I was going to pull this off.
Josh wheeled his Taurus into the parking lot of the apartment, pulled into his space and shut off the engine. It had been a long day in a long week and he was tired. The pressure of landing the Sprague Contract was starting to build. He massaged his tired eyes and opened the door.
As he was climbing out of the car, he caught sight of a gorgeous blonde walking down the sidewalk between the apartment blocks, struggling with a heavy looking grocery bag. She was wearing a print dress that Josh could see was fairly low cut, but because of the way she held the bag against her chest, he couldn't get a glimpse of her. Damn! Her long honey blonde hair swung and bobbed with each of her determined little steps.
"What a babe!" was Josh's thought as she turned the corner and strutted past. The rear view was just as pleasing as the front. A tight little heart-shaped behind wiggled beneath the filmy fabric of the dress, as the skirt swirled around a flawless pair of legs. "Baby, where have you been all my life?" he muttered, enjoying the show.
She had just reached the path to his apartment block, when the bag split wide open, spilling groceries all over the lawn, sidewalk, and parking lot. She wailed a delightfully helpless "Oh Hell!" and stamped her foot just like a petulant little girl. Then, folding her skirt very daintily around her thighs, she squatted on her heels and began retrieving the spilled items.
Josh gave a knowing smile to Heaven, whispered, "Thank you God!" and rushed to the aid of this damsel in distress.
"Hi . . . need some help?"
She glanced up, startled, her cornflower blue eyes flying wide. "OH . . . oh . . . would you?" She smiled an alluring, demure little smile and flicked an errant wisp of honey colored hair behind her left ear. Her voice was a smoky, breathy, luscious contralto. Josh expected he'd be hearing that voice in his dreams for a long time. He bent down and began helping pick things up. "No problem! Happy to help out a neighbor. You are a neighbor, right?" She nodded brightly. "Yes. I'm brand new here. Thank you so much for helping! It's been such a weird day . . . now this!"
Josh chuckled, turning up the masculine charm. (Hot Damn! New meat in town! And he might just be getting first crack at it!) "Well, welcome to the neighborhood!" He stood, extending his hand. "I'm Josh by the way. I live right over there in 27F." As she stood, she leaned forward and Josh was rewarded with a fleeting glimpse down the bosom of her dress. (Deep, full curves pressing against a teasing glimpse of white lace. Josh felt a familiar stirring at his crotch.) Still smiling that demure (encouraging?) smile, she placed her fingertips into his hand, batted her long lashes and said, "What a coincidence! I'm PJ . . . I live in 27F too!" The demure smile dropped away like a mask, revealing a wicked, wicked grin.
"That's right you horny bastard . . . it's ME! What do you think of the new suit? Wanna go inside and screw?"
Several minutes later, I was sprawled out in my favorite spot on the couch. No longer concerned about "modesty", I let my skirt pretty much fall where ever it wanted to. At the moment, the hem fell about three-quarters of the way up my thighs, the material sagging between my legs. Glancing down over those amazing counterfeit breasts, I could just glimpse the lower hem of the stockings peeking out from under the edge of the skirt.
Still giggling (what a sexy sound!) over Josh's discomfort, I took another sip of my beer. "Admit it man; you didn't have a clue! You were just about panting!" Josh finished putting away the last of the groceries (again), and popped open a beer of his own. "Okay, okay . . . I admit it. But I had good reason! Have you seen yourself in a mirror?" It's a good thing all Josh could see were the suit's smooth, downy cheeks. My own stubble-covered cheeks were probably flame red. "Yeah . . . I've . . . uh . . . yeah. I checked it out after I first put it on." Josh flopped down in a chair across from me, looked me up and down and took a healthy pull on his beer. "Hey . . . could you not sit like that, please?" Obliging, I stood, repeated the carefully rehearsed smoothing gesture that had been part of the "bait" out on the sidewalk and sat back down, thighs primly pressed together. I even tugged on the hem till it fell over my knees. Then I smiled as innocently as I could. ('Gee, big Bro . . . what's the trouble?' . . . batting eyelashes . . .) "Better?" Josh just frowned. "I still can't believe it's you. I keep expecting you to come down the stairs laughing at the joke." I nodded. "I know Bro . . . I know. But it's me all right. If I could take this thing off easily, I'd show you." Glancing at the clock over the TV, I realized I'd been 'en femme' for over six hours. It probably was time to shed the suit so Josh and I could seriously consider our next moves, and I said as much.
Josh considered that for a moment, took another swig of his beer and cleared his throat. "Umm . . . before you take it off . . . I was wondering . . . I mean, I've seen you dressed . . . nice face . . . nice hair . . . nice . . .uhh . . . " He gestured vaguely with the can. "How about the rest? Does it look as good?"
Without saying a word, I stood, flipped my hair over my shoulder, (I was getting pretty good at doing that!), reached around behind and unzipped my dress. Teasing off first one shoulder, then the other, I held it against my breasts for a moment, then let it fall in a heap around my ankles.
I had Josh's full attention.
Reaching behind me, I breathed a silent prayer to the gods of lingerie and flicked the catch of the bra. To my surprise, it immediately came undone and released my glorious boobs that promptly bobbed and swayed in their new found freedom.
Josh's eyes were getting wider by the moment.
Letting the bra fall to the floor, I slid my hands down my sides and slipped my fingers into the sides of my panties. I looked right into Josh's eyes, winked, and bent over from the waist, sliding the panties down around my knees as I went. Straightening, I ran my fingers through the hair at my temples and struck what I hoped was a dramatic pose.
Considering Josh's . . . "reaction" . . . I evidently succeeded.
He whispered an amazed "Holy smoke!" and stared open-mouthed at my lovely simulated sex. I gave him my best sexy purr. "Like what you see, big boy?" He looked up, then pointed at my crotch. "Does it . . . I mean, can you . . . ?" I shrugged. "How would I know? I haven't had much of a chance to try it out. The manual says it should work like a charm, and the manual hasn't been wrong yet." I switched back to that sultry purr. "You wanna find out?" His look of embarrassed, indignant anger set me laughing again. I relented, slid the panties back into place so I could walk, collected the dropped items and headed for the stairs. "Put on a couple of burgers and I'll see if I can get out of this thing. Then, we'll figure out the next step."
Passing my bedroom door, I tossed the female clothing onto the bed. Remembering I was still partially dressed, I also slid out of the panties and hose and tossed them in as well. I guess I was already growing used to my new persona because the lingerie didn't arouse my interest this time. Perhaps my mind was elsewhere, thinking about the next step in 'the Plan'. A pity really. I've always loved watching a woman take off her stockings. Maybe next time.
Whistling a little tune, (and noticing that a woman whistling sounds pretty much like a man whistling . . . funny, I'd never noticed that before), I strode into the bathroom. In all the excitement, I'd forgotten to drain the tub and it was still half full of now cold water. Opening the drain, I picked up the manual and began looking for the instructions on removing the suit. I easily found the relevant section.
"Removing your I-2000S is, in many ways, simply the reverse of donning it. CAUTION: to safely remove the suit without damaging the memory threads, it is IMPERATIVE that the suit be heated in water of between 110 to 120 degrees temperature for not less than ten minutes prior to removal. FIALURE TO FOLLOW THIS INSTRUCTION WILL RESULT IN DAMAGE TO THE I-2000S AND WILL VOID THE MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY!"
Oh bloody hell! I remembered how hot the water seemed earlier. This time, I got to be inside the suit when it went into the cauldron. The tub had finished draining. Closing the drain, I started the taps running. The manual continued.
"It should be borne in mind; the head of the I-2000S also contains a significant number of memory threads. Therefore, the head must also be immersed in heated water prior to removal. DANGER!: It is NOT necessary for the head to remain submerged for a continuous ten minute period. It is sufficient to submerge the head for several consecutive brief periods, provided that ultimately the head is thoroughly saturated and attains a temperature in excess of 110 degrees. (NOTE: some users of the I-2000 series have reported excellent results employing an easily obtained diving snorkel.)"
A snorkel? I tossed the manual aside and began laughing. I could just picture myself, wearing the suit, submerged in the tub, a snorkel jammed in my pretty little mouth. The things a person would do to land a job!
All this time, the hot water had been splashing into the tub. Listening to the gurgling, bubbling fluid, I suddenly became acutely aware of the several beers I'd consumed throughout the day. I stood up, and by reflex lifted the toilet seat. I reached down for my . . .
And realized; I was in trouble!
I had to go . . . and soon! But my "drain" was deeply ensconced within the confines of the suit. To get at my tool, I had to get out of the suit. But to get out of the suit, I had to soak it in hot water for at least ten minutes! I grabbed the manual and began looking for a solution . . . a quick one! I found the "U" section and almost immediately spotted "Urination . . . see 'Elimination' " Thumbing frantically . . . "C" . . . "D" . . . Ah! "E" . . . . "Elimination, Section 29, pg. 36" By the time I found the right page, I was doing a panicky little dance.
"The designers of the I-2000S have taken great lengths to ensure that the illusion of femininity is perfect in every respect. Realizing that during prolonged periods of use, it may become necessary for the wearer to attend to normal bodily functions, the designers have provided a uniquely advanced . . ." God! Spare me the sales pitch! I've already bought the damn thing! I scanned further down the page till my eyes lit on a sentence half way down. "Wearers may therefore use female accommodations secure in the knowledge that, even here, the appearance of normal female anatomy will be preserved." To hell with this! I was at the point were I could only hope that the manual was saying what I hoped it was saying. Dropping the seat, I sat back down and . . . "let go".
The sensation was rather odd. I could feel the release, I could hear the urine striking the water, but I couldn't really tell how it was getting from point "A" to point "B". I sneaked a quick peek between my legs.
So . . . that's what it looked like when a woman took a leak. Interesting. I could see that this suit was going to be a real educational experience, in ways I hadn't even considered.
Sitting at the dinner table, I finished off the last of my burger while still toweling my hair. The suit had come off with surprising ease, if you discounted the difficulty I'd had holding my breath while soaking my head. Suddenly, that snorkel idea didn't sound so ridiculous after all. The suit was now hanging from the shower rod, peacefully dripping into the empty tub. All in all, not a bad afternoon's work. I was looking forward to my next "foray into femininity".
Josh was idly tapping his fork against his plate, thinking. I washed down the last bite of burger with the last beer from the fridge. "So, what's the plan?" I glanced over at the clock on the stove. Another two hours at least till my voice returned to normal. Josh glanced up and frowned. "You have no idea how weird it is; sitting here listening to that sexy voice come out of your head!" I nodded. "Think how it feels for me. From now on, I'm gonna make it a point to leave the suit on till my voice starts to change back. Don't want to freak out the mailman if I have to talk to him to accept a package or something." Josh nodded. "That's a good idea. We've both got to start thinking that way. If we're not careful, and somebody figures out what's going on . . . we're both gonna be down at the unemployment office!"
We sat quietly for a moment.
"Uh . . . I want to thank you for putting up the money for this, for coming up with the idea . . . you know man, for everything."
He seemed lost in thought. "Don't worry, Bro . . . I trust you. You'll pay me back. Besides, you'll be doing all of the work."
"Just the same . . . thanks, man. So, what's next?"
Josh looked up and smiled. "Tomorrow's Sunday. Since I don't have to go in to work, I thought we'd blow more of my money and get you some working clothes."
I just grinned.
I was beginning to discover some interesting changes in my behavior when I wore the suit. Oh, I don't mean any kind of Jekyll / Hyde transformation or anything like that. It was still me in here. I was still conscious of my actions and in control of them. The changes were more subtle. Wearing the suit brought out a . . . playful . . . teasing . . . aspect of my character that I'd never seen before. Again, the suit didn't "create" this aspect, I suppose it was always there. The suit just let it "come out and play", if you know what I mean. The trip to the Mall turned out to be "playtime" in a big way.
All during the twenty-minute drive, I was trying to pull the same prank I'd pulled on Josh yesterday. I gave a languorous stretch, arching my back and really sticking those boobs out. Then I quickly looked over to see if I could catch Josh staring at them. I started crossing and uncrossing my legs . . . playing with the hem of the dress . . . hell, even hiking it up a bit to see if he'd look at my legs. I guess I just wanted a chance to yell "Gotcha again!" I was disappointed when he only paid me normal attention and concentrated on his driving.
When we pulled up in front of one of the Mall's department stores, I just sat petulantly in the car. Josh had gone about a dozen steps when he realized I wasn't following. Leaning in the driver's window he asked, "What's wrong?" I gave him that sexy pout I'd perfected in the mirror and in my best little girl voice I whimpered, "A gentleman always opens a door for a lady." Josh glanced to Heaven for strength, stomped around to my side and flung my door open. I giggled, gave my shoulders a shake setting those boobs jiggling, swung my legs out the door, (just like that hosiery ad on TV), stood, and pranced off toward the entrance, swinging my hips in victory.
I made damn sure I beat Josh to that door too, then just stood there, hands clasped behind my firm little butt, smiling innocently. Give Josh credit, he knew when to admit defeat. Without comment, he opened that door for me too.
We walked through the women's wear section of the department store, but Josh quickly pronounced all those items too "low budget". I thought some of the suits and dresses were quite nice and said so, but Josh insisted that we go "first cabin" if we did this. He wanted the woman who appeared for the interview to be a "Class Broad" (his words) and felt that she should dress accordingly. Who was I to argue? We finally wound up in an upscale woman's clothing store.
Now, I've never been what you'd call a "clothes horse". I like my tee shirts and jeans. Occasionally, you can force me into a suit and tie, but it takes a lot of effort.
Suddenly, I was seeing the world from a whole new perspective. I was wearing a gorgeous, sexy body, and I wanted clothes that would show it off. Josh and I spent almost three hours conducting a mini-fashion show with me as the staring model. The saleslady, a professional looking woman in her 50's was very helpful. Josh explained that his "little sister" had just landed a job with a prestigious firm and needed a "starter wardrobe", and off we went.
I was having a blast. It can be fun to have people staring at you, admiring how you look. I can see why women like to be fashion models.
Jennifer (the saleslady) would inspect each outfit while Josh watched over her shoulder. They'd quietly confer as I strutted my stuff around the aisles. In the end, we picked out four complete suits, three dresses, and several blouse/skirt/slacks combinations that Jennifer assured me I could mix and match with the rest to create an adequate wardrobe. She carefully measured my feet and picked out four pairs of shoes, mostly conservative, low heeled pumps in "goes with anything colors. Finally, she selected a very nice, leather, shoulder bag type purse.
I just about choked when she tallied it up and presented Josh with a bill for just over four thousand dollars! Josh, bless him, didn't even turn an eyelash. He just plopped down his Gold AMEX. I was so chastened by the amount that I quickly picked up the lion's shared of the boxes and began toting them out to the car. I suddenly didn't feel like playing mind games and insisting that Josh be a gentleman and carry everything for his " delicate little sister". We were just about out the door when Jennifer called out, "Oh, Hon . . . why not stop off at Victoria's on the way out? Nothing like a little sexy underwear to give spark to a power suit!"
Now Josh was grinning.
If "clothes make the man" then sexy, slinky, silky underwear makes the woman.
Man . . . in some ways, I was the 'kid in the candy store' Bras of every description; lightly padded, push-up, "miracle", demi, strapless . . . Panties in every color of the rainbow; lacy, frilly, satiny, virginal, daring, sleazy, thongs, "g-strings" . . . half slips . . . full slips . . . camisoles . . . corsets (ouch!) . . . body hugging teddies . . . garter belts . . . stockings, (oh! the stockings!) . . .
I tried them all.
And poor old Josh, he didn't get to play this time. The all woman sales staff made it clear; he could pay the freight, but the dressing rooms were off limits, strictly "woman's country". Perhaps that added a little extra thrill for me. Standing there at the mirror, looking at that amazing body as it displayed all those forbidden views of woman's under-dress, I felt like a spy in enemy territory. Undiscovered and getting away with something.
I want to say here . . . I'm about as sexually "straight" as a guy gets. A real "plain vanilla", "X / Y-chromosome", "bowling with the guys" type. I truly don't think I'm a cross dresser, or transvestite, or what ever the currently "politically correct" phrase is. I don't' think I really have any problem with cross-dressing, per se. I don't have anything against the folks who are "into it". They've never done anything to hurt me so "live and let live." I just honestly think I'm not one of them. I suppose that doesn't seem too believable with me standing here in a mirror feeling all "hot and bothered" over these camisole, g-string and white stockings I'm wearing. Again, I have to say; the suit changes so many things. If it had been me, "in my own skin" as it were, I wouldn't . . . I couldn't be doing this. I'd just dry up and blow away from embarrassment. But in the suit, it was the "live sex show" from yesterday all over again. I was just calling the shots and watching as this sexy blonde carried out the instructions.
Four hours from the time we started, we were back in the car heading home, several dozen boxes heavier and Josh five thousand dollars lighter.
We made one last stop at one of those chain drug stores. I browsed the makeup aisle for a bit then selected a "complete" cosmetics selection from one of the major designers. I also picked out several fairly neutral shades of lipstick. Finally I scanned the periodical section and grabbed two woman's magazines. One promised "complete make up tips for work or play" and the other advertised a "beginner's guide to fabulous make up."
And so, finally, we came down to it. The big interview was scheduled for 11 AM Tuesday morning.
I spent all morning Monday "en femme" trying on my various outfits and practicing my makeup. Makeup's not as easy as you might think. I've got a natural artist's eye and touch. Still, the first few attempts were pretty. . . "striking" . . . might be a polite term. By the fifth try, I was up to "cheap streetwalker". However, by mid-afternoon, I'd finally arrived at something that I felt closely approximated the pictures in my magazines. I'd also made a pretty good dent in my supply of cosmetics and used up a whole jar of cold cream. Tired, and somewhat on edge, I went through the ritual of removing the suit and carefully hung it up to dry. I then went for a long walk. Usually, that cleared my head, but not today. I was just as edgy when I got back home and saw that Josh had come home early. I found him puttering around the kitchen.
"Where the hell have you been? I came home early just to prep you for tomorrow."
I collapsed on the sofa. "Back off Josh. Since when do I have to tell you when I'm coming or going?" Almost immediately I regretted my words. "I'm sorry man, I'm just nervous is all."
He walked around to his chair and sat down, his "businessman mode" clearly evident. He even had his briefcase with him. "You should be nervous. This is a big interview you're going to and it's already cost me a fortune to set it up." Seeing me tense up to strike back, he quickly continued. "But, nervous is good . . . it'll give you quick reflexes tomorrow. Besides, I know Old Man North inside and out. I can get you past him, no problem."
I felt my heart pressing against the walls of my throat. "You mean the owner of the firm is gonna be conducting my interview?"
Josh grinned. "Don't sweat it, Bro. That's actually a point in our favor. Old Man North has been around two years longer than dirt. He's one of the last surviving relics of the "Old School". That's one of the reasons we're in the mess we're in down there . . . why we don't have female executives. North still clings to the notion that women are inherently evil creatures put on this Earth solely for the purpose of tempting man into sin."
I scratched my head. "And this helps?"
Josh nodded. "I've been checking into the other two candidates for the job. We've really lucked out. They're both "new corporate women". Real hard chargers out to climb the business ladder. North gets one good look at them and he'll probably have a coronary on the spot!"
"While I, on the other hand . . . ?"
"Bro, all you got to do is wear that conservative gray number, keep your hands folded in your lap, bat those big baby blues and play 'naïve little virgin'. After seeing the other two, North'll hire you on the spot, guaranteed!"
I went to bed early that night . . . and tossed and turned for hours. Somewhere around 2 AM I finally drifted off to sleep. A terrible nightmare woke me just as the alarm went off at 7. I can't remember exactly what the dream was about . . . except that it had something to do with being sacrificed to a volcano.
Josh had left for work early and I pretty much had the place to myself as I went about my "conversion". I took extra time with everything, carefully measuring the water temperature, being unusually careful about slipping into the suit, drying myself off completely. I even brushed out my long golden hair . . . three hundred strokes . . . till it was a glossy, shimmering cascade flowing over my smooth round shoulders.
It took three times for me to get my makeup right. I wanted to accentuate my beauty without looking like I'd done anything, just like the magazines said. I finally got the look I was trying for; "farmer's daughter waiting for her first kiss".
I had laid out my clothes on my bed before I started with the suit. Now, I folded my arms under my ersatz bosom and tapped my foot thinking. The outfit was a conservatively cut charcoal gray blazer with matching skirt, the hem falling just below my knees. I had a bone colored silk blouse to go with it, which I intended to wear buttoned almost to the throat. I'd selected a simple white bra, one that didn't emphasize my breasts and held them firmly in place. (Somehow, I didn't think my "bouncing boob" routine would win me any points today.) A full cut panty brief, plain but for a delicate lace panel on the front and a full slip with elegant lace detail at the hem and breasts completed my under dress.
Except, that is, for my stockings.
Originally, I'd intended to go with a pair of sheer black pantyhose. I thought about it for a while and even went so far as to put on the panties, then the hose, then slip into the skirt. Checking out the effect in the mirror, I decided that it would be too "provocative" for Old Man North. (After a moment, I also realized that here I was, staring at a half nude woman wearing silky black stockings, a gray skirt, and a stern little frown of concentration, her golden hair flowing down over her shoulders and around two lovely little nipples bobbing about atop two exquisite breasts . . . and I wasn't even noticing the breasts! Was I getting a little to far "into character"?)
I unzipped the skirt, stepped out of it and slid the pantyhose off. Rummaging in my new "unmentionables" drawer, I found a pair of "nude to the waist, silk mist" pantyhose, and started to slip into them. Without really knowing why, I stopped, pulled them back off, removed my panties, put the hose back on, then pulled the panties up till they completely concealed the dark waist band of the hose. I can't explain it but wearing the hose and panties this way made me feel at once both sexy and demure.
The bra came next. I still fumbled with it for a moment, but I was already becoming much more adept at this particular facet of the 'dark art' of donning female attire. I pulled the slip over my head then slipped into the blouse. I'd already noticed that for some reason, women's clothing buttoned on the opposite side from men's. Chalk it up to "differences of the sexes". I slid the skirt over my head, so as not to ruck up my slip, and zipped it up. I slid my feet into the conservative black pumps I'd chosen then shrugged into the blazer.
I very carefully checked out the result in the mirror, turning this way and that, making sure that my stockings weren't baggy, that my slip wasn't showing. I primped my hair a bit, checked my makeup one last time, and decided I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Slinging my purse over my shoulder I strode (confidently, I hoped!) out the door.
I was halfway down the sidewalk when I realized; I hadn't done anything about my voice!
Practically running back inside, I grabbed my "convenient spray bottle" then spent an anxious several minutes waiting for the "slight discomfort" to announce that I was indeed ready to face the world on feminine terms.
I was still trying to swallow the pain away several minutes later, waiting for the bus to arrive.
The advertising agency of Whitman and North occupies a large suite on the fourth floor of an old gray stone office building downtown. In its heyday, this building had been a prestigious location, and the size of Whitman and North's suite was a cache' of it's success. Now, all the fashionable firms were long gone in favor of the new glass and steel towers several blocks over. The old gray stone was left with a few travel agencies on the ground floor, some small time insurance brokerages, dentists with waiting room furniture that dated from the 60's and tenants that leased space by the month. That isn't to say that the building was "seedy" . . . just . . . "sleepy" . . . out of the mainstream.
A good analogy for Whitman and North.
All that would change if they managed to land the Sprague Contract.
I checked the directory in the lobby then boarded the elevator. When the doors opened on the fourth floor, a kindly looking older gentleman actually stepped out and held the doors for me. I gave him a genuine smile and nod of thanks . . . not so much for holding the doors, but for reminding me that; to the world, I appeared to be an attractive young woman. He wouldn't know that was the reason for the thanks, but he deserved them anyway.
I paused outside the door labeled "Whitman and North Agency", smoothed my skirt, took a deep breath, and silently repeating "naïve virgin . . . naïve virgin", I stepped inside.
I was in a large reception area with several couches against the walls. Low coffee tables offered magazines for guest's perusal. A middle aged woman seated behind a receptionist's desk glanced up at my entrance and smiled. "May I help you?"
"Yes, please. I'm . . . Pamela Wright. I have an appointment with Mr. North."
Damn! I'd almost said "Peter Wright". Josh and I had discussed names the night before last while preparing my resume. I'd started suggesting some completely fictional name, something like Cathy White, or Jeannette Peterson. Josh had over ruled that idea. "Remember, this may be 'your' name for a long time. And more than that, we need to keep the possibilities for 'mistakes' as low as possible. One slip . . . if you forget and automatically sign 'PJ Wright' instead of what ever you make up . . . the game's over. You should probably pick something that we can abbreviate to 'PJ' . . . you're used to responding to that. It's a nice 'unisex' name that you can now use to advantage."
Thus was "Pamela Jane Wright' born.
Apparently, the receptionist didn't notice my hesitation because she casually reached over, picked up the phone and pressed a button. "Mrs. Huddleston? The young lady is here for the 11 o'clock . . . all right." She hung up, gave me another smile and indicated the passage to my right. "Down that way, last door at the end of the hall." Then she winked and whispered, "Good luck!" I thanked her and still silently repeating " . . . naïve virgin . . ." I headed off down the hall.
The door read "Wilson North", nothing else. I opened it and peered inside.
It was another reception area, smaller, this time with a matronly looking black woman behind the receptionist's desk. She looked up and gave me the oddest, most piercing stare I've ever received from a stranger. "Miss Wright?" I nodded and stepped in. "Yes ma'am. I have an appointment with Mr. North." She nodded and indicated a sofa against one wall. "He'll be with you in just a moment." Then she went back to her paperwork and pointedly ignored me. I sat down, placed my purse in my lap and concentrated on keeping my knees together. The black woman, whose nameplate suggested that she was indeed 'Mrs. Huddleston', finally glanced up at the clock on the wall then picked up her phone and punched a button. "Mr. North . . . your 11 o'clock interview is here . . . yes, sir." She indicated the door behind her with the end of a pencil. "He'll see you now."
Old Man North was a patrician looking gentleman of indeterminate old age; clearly over fifty, probably under one hundred years old. He rose from his chair when I opened the door, (Old School manners; a gentleman always rises when a lady enters) and walked around his desk to greet me. "Miss Wright? Welcome." He offered his hand and I again used that 'fingertips in the palm' technique. He seemed to like that because he didn't try to shake my hand, he just held it for a moment. (I had the strangest image of him actually kissing my hand. He was such a courtly old gentleman, it would have seemed perfectly normal if he had.) "Sit down, won't you?" He indicated a chair opposite his own massive throne. I remembered to press my skirt against my thighs as a I sat, then resisted the urge to cross my legs. (Not ladylike!) Instead, I tried to copy a posture I'd seen elegant women adopt sometimes. Sliding my little butt to the left, I pointed my knees to the right, then angled my legs back to the left, crossing my ankles. For good measure, I further protected my modesty by placing my purse squarely in my lap.
North indicated my portfolio on the credenza behind him. "I've examined your work. Very impressive!" I lowered my gaze and tried to look pleased beyond measure. I wish the folks at Nu-Gen had figured out a way to incorporate a "blush response" into the suit. A "maidenly tinge" to highlight my delicate cheeks would have gone perfectly right now. I murmured a shy little "Oh, thank you very much, sir!"
For the next half-hour or so, North and I chatted about my background, my education, my likes and dislikes. Surprisingly, I found I could answer most of the questions honestly, particularly the questions relating to my art and education. The old man finally paused, steepled his fingers beneath his chin, and asked "The Question".
"Tell me my dear, what do you feel you can bring to our firm if we choose to hire you?"
Peter James Wright would have been out of the gate like a shot, off and running. False modesty aside; I'm a damn good graphic artist. And that's not just me talking. Noted critics and teachers, people whose opinions really matter in the industry, have praised my work. I've been told I have a natural artist's command of line and color and the imagination to make them work for me. I'd have shown the old man the depth of my talent by drawing his attention to the pieces in my portfolio. I'd have raved about past reviews I've received. In short; I'd have been sitting there singing my praises long after the old geezer had crumbled into dust.
Pamela Jane Wright meekly pointed out her portfolio, mentioned, (in as few words as possible) her impressive academic credentials and then quickly wound up by almost whispering; "And I hope I'd be a valuable addition to any creative team that your firm would wish to form." Then I dropped my gaze back down to my lap and prayed that Josh had read the old man correctly.
North placed his hands on the desk, palms down . . . an Old Testament judge preparing to pass sentence.
" I see no point in continuing this interview."
Damn! Too much! I'd laid the 'naïve virgin' routine on too thick!
I just about slid out of my chair when North stood, again offered his hand and said;
"Miss Wright . . . welcome to the firm!"
I can't remember much of the rest of the day.
Old Man North escorted me to the other end of the floor and showed me my new studio. (MY studio!) He nattered on for a while about the proud heritage and past success of the firm. He gave me a lengthy pep talk about the ongoing Sprague Contract negotiations and then he left me with a paternal little pat on my shoulder. To this day I can't remember a word he said.
I was in a happy little fog.
I'd landed my first real job as an ARTIST . . . something I'd worked for all my life. The fact that I was standing here, encased head to toe in space age plastic like some kind of freeze dried entrée, balancing on my heels as my bra straps dug into my shoulders . . . it all seemed small price to pay.
To feel the pride and accomplishment I felt at that moment, I would have happily dressed as a Shetland pony!
There was a procession of people coming by to meet "the new girl". I missed most of their names. I do remember Mrs. Huddleston coming by at one point with some forms for me to sign, treating me to "The Stare" the whole time. What the hell was her problem, anyway? Josh came by with the rest of the Sprague Team and he and I played "strangers meeting" till the rest left. Then he shut my door, just about whooped with joy, grabbed my hand and began pumping it in a most ungentlemanly fashion. "God damn bro! You did it! You did it!" I grinned like an idiot and shook his hand so hard my boobs just about jumped out of my bra . . .in a most unladylike fashion! We laughed and talked for a while longer, then Josh got down to business. "Okay . . . take the rest of the day off . . . rest up . . . you're really gonna hit the ground running tomorrow morning." I smiled, too happy to care about the workload hanging over my head, collected my purse and headed for the door.
On my way through the main lobby downstairs, I glanced up at a clock on the wall and realized I'd missed the next bus home. Oh well. There'd be another along in twenty minutes. Thinking about that, and about the thirty minute ride, I figured I'd better find a rest room rather than sit and squirm and hope to make it home in time. Spotting one of those blue and white men/women signs over a side passage, I headed off to "take care of business".
I was actually standing in front of the urinal before I realized my gaffe'
Staring around in panic, I was relieved (no pun intended) to notice that, but for me, the men's room was empty. I spun on my heel and fled. My luck continued to hold. No one saw me come out the door, pause to gather my composure, then casually stroll into the ladies' room where I "belonged".
We had ten days till the Sprague Delegation arrived for the final presentation.
The work hit me like a ton of bricks. Ten days to create all the art work for a major presentation. I'd always wanted to be a graphic artist and brother that's how I spent most of my waking hours for those next days!
There were two bright spots to all this.
First: Word quickly spread around the office; "Don't bother the new girl, she's busy!" Except for Josh who seemed to be coming into my office every five minutes to demand a rework on my latest piece, (my loving brother . . . God curse him with terminal boils!), and Beth; our work group's secretary, I was pretty much left alone.
Beth was a real piece of work . . . emphasis on "piece". If I was struggling to create the impression of a naïve virgin . . . Beth should be wearing a sign around her neck reading; "Come and Get It!" Sometimes she was so shameless around the men that it made ME embarrassed to be a woman! I got a pretty chilly reception from her too. I asked Josh about that one night before I went upstairs and tried to drown my self by soaking my head in hot water.
"Beth? Yeah, I bet you got the cold shoulder from her. There's a girl determined to screw her way to the top of the secretarial pool. I guess she's kind of stumped on how to curry favor with you."
The second 'bright spot' was; I was so distracted with work, I wasn't constantly thinking about being Pamela, and as a result, things started coming naturally much sooner than I think they would have otherwise. This may sound a bit odd, and I'm not sure quite how to express it. Initially, I was constantly being reminded that even though the suit was an amazing replica of a woman, it was still me inside it. I was a guy in a very convincing drag. But as the days passed, I no longer felt that way. It's not that I actually started to believe that I was really a woman either. My mind was "elsewhere" and I just didn't think about it at all.
I started to develop feminine habits, completely without design. Where Peter would absently chew on the end of a pencil while thinking, Pamela would twirl a strand of her hair, or spin the bracelet around her wrist. I started crossing my legs when I sat, completely without realizing I'd done it. In the restroom, I'd check my makeup without even thinking about it.
Speaking of the restroom; at home, I took no notice of my ability to relieve myself while standing (when I'd finally managed to shed Pamela). At work, it was just as 'natural' to always be sitting down. By the fifth day at work, the "mistake" with the lobby restroom could no longer occur. It would have seemed strange to look up and not see the tampon vending machine.
Unconsciously, I was undergoing a change in the way I "related" to the world as well. The best illustration of this is something that happened during my seventh day as Pamela. Josh sometimes took the team out to a "grab it and run" lunch. I was in the ladies' room washing my hands when I noticed an attractive businesswoman coming out of one of the stalls. She was turning to leave when she noticed that there was a crease in her stockings behind her knee. Stooping from the waist she placed her hands on that ankle and repeating that classically feminine gesture, she ran her hands up her leg, rucking up her skirt in the process, till finally she was hiking up the panty of her pantyhose. As I stood there gawking at her in the mirror, the only thought in my mind was; 'Oooh . . . what lovely stockings! And that shade of beige would be perfect with my brown skirt! I wonder where she got them?'
Slowly but surely, the presentation began to take shape. I was quite pleased with it. Everything was going well.
Then, on the day before the meeting, it all seemed to come crashing down.
I was going nuts trying to finish one last illustration that I just couldn't seem to get right when Mrs. Huddleston (she of "The Stare") came into my office. She laid some papers right under my nose and said; "I have some forms that require your signature Peter, do you have a moment?" I glanced up from my interrupted work and tried not to snap. " I'm just swamped Emma, could you set them on my desk?"
And there I was, getting "The Stare" again. If Emma Huddleston had been a man, I'd have slapped her for trying to undress me with her eyes. I was about to demand an explanation for her behavior when it hit me. She'd called me 'Peter' not 'Pamela'.
And I'd responded.
I began to wrack my brain for some way out of this latest slip, and it must have shown on my face. She raised an imperious hand and silenced me. "Spare yourself the effort. I've figured it out. I was just on my way out to lunch. Join me. We have some things to discuss."
There was a little deli in the same block as the office and Emma selected an intimate booth in the back. I'd been thinking that the best defense in my case might be a good offense, so before we'd even gotten settled, I demanded; "How did you know?" She stared at me, her face quite neutral and said; "I'm the personnel manager. I first became suspicious when your brother brought in your resume and insisted it go on the top of the stack. I really started putting two and two together when I remembered an application submitted two years ago by Josh's half-brother Peter James Wright."
I wanted to slap my forehead. The resume I'd sent in right out of college. They'd "round filed" it so fast, I'd forgotten I'd sent it in.
Huddleston just pinned me in "The Stare" like a deer in the headlights. "Quite a coincidence I thought; Josh Arjer putting in another resume from someone with the same initials as his brother, even if that someone was supposedly a woman. I must admit, I was quite surprised when you walked in the door for the interview. I was expecting something from "La Cage Aux Folles". Seeing you, I wondered if I might be wrong . . . if it might just be a coincidence after all. Then, yesterday, I got some paperwork from Nu-Gen, and all the pieces fell into place."
She had me. We both knew it. I put on my best "businessman manner" (not easy when you're wearing a blue knit dress, "scanti-hose" and a damned uncomfortable bra). "All right Huddleston, you've got me. What do you want to keep quiet?"
She looked at me for the longest time . . . not "The Stare" . . . just looking.
"What do you think of Beth, your work group's secretary? Be honest, please."
The non sequitur brought me up short. I stammered something about " . . . efficient, hard working . . .", something inane. I don't remember what I said exactly. Mrs. Huddleston sighed and spoke quietly. "An honest answer Peter." She put just enough emphasis on 'Peter' that it felt like a slap on the face. Fine, let's take the gloves off . . . why not? "I think she's a little slut who's collecting sack time like bonus miles . . . just waiting to trade them in for another step up in the secretarial pool. The only reason she's paying any attention to me is to see if I might be a lesbian so she can work me too."
Emma got the saddest expression on her face and looked away. Then she just sat there, thinking. Finally, still gazing off into the distance; "Did you know that Beth has a Degree in Literature? That she minored in Romance Languages, she speaks fluent Italian and French? I was here the day she came to work. I did her interview. She was an eager, intelligent, personable young woman. She wanted to be a writer. She was applying for the secretarial job to 'get her foot in the door' for the first copy writer's slot to open."
Emma finally met my eyes. "But opportunities for women in business aren't that common, no matter what the papers say. The days turned into months . . and the months into years . . and Beth's opportunity never came. She just sat in the secretarial pool. The only writing she did was correcting grammar errors in someone else's letters." She paused, and there was . . . something else in her eyes now . . . I couldn't quite read what it was. "You know how it can get, don't you Peter? The growing desperation as it all passes you by? Beth's mind wasn't taking her where she wanted . . . needed . . . to go . . . so she started using her body instead."
"Beth started playing 'The Game'."
"If you can't see that for the tragedy it is, then I pity you more than I pity Beth."
We sat there in silence for the longest time. Emma's words had painted a picture that I didn't like . . . that hit too close to home for comfort. Finally, to break the silence; "So you're going to blow the whistle on me because I stole one of those rare opportunities?"
"I'm not going to blow the whistle on you Peter. It's not really my place to do so. I understand you're doing some very good work on the Sprague Proposal, and I want to see the firm land that contract as much as anyone else. You've chosen to do what you're doing . . . you've joined 'The Game' Peter, whether you realize it or not. It's your decision . . . and you'll have to live with it. I hope you remember that in the coming days. That's all." She started to get up, but I stopped her.
"What do you mean; 'live with it'? What are you threatening?"
"I'm not threatening anything . . . Pamela . . . I'm just saying; remember it's your choice to be here, 'in the game' . . . when it starts getting ugly."
With that, she was gone. I sat there for a long time trying to figure out what she meant.
I started finding out the very next day.
We'd rented a private dining room at one of the swankiest hotels downtown. All the presentation materials were in place. The room was ready. The curtain went up at 6:PM with a formal "black-tie dinner" for the Sprague Contingent. Josh and I spent the morning making sure all the details had been attended to, then we went home around noon to change into our best evening wear.
I spent two hours in the bathroom, struggling for a sophisticated look. I even put my hair up in a "French braid" that I'd seen described in one of my magazines. It just about wore my arms out of their sockets before I finally got it done, but I loved the elegant look it added to my open features. In the end, I have to say; I was getting good at this makeup thing. Pamela was a very impressive sight there in the mirror. (Well, at least from the neck up. I'd taken off my business suit when I got home. I didn't want to get makeup all over my blouse. I'd just thrown an old tee shirt over my bra and panties.) I winked at myself in the mirror. I had a very chic evening gown that I'd shopped for on a rare afternoon outing from work. It was Basic Black with just enough of a slit up the side to show off one shapely knee, and just enough décolletage' to show cleavage, but not enough to be obvious about it. A string of faux pearls around my neck, some pearl studs in my (recently) pierced ears, my "silken mist" pantyhose and 3 inch black heels and I'd "knock em dead"!
Josh was rummaging in my "unmentionables" drawer when I walked into my bedroom. Stifling a giggle, I barked, "Hey! How many times have I told you? If you want to wear my panties, you've got to ask first!" He glanced up and his expression stopped me cold. "This isn't funny, and you better pay attention now. This is important." He looked back into the drawer and finally found what he wanted. He tossed me a pair of sheer black stockings with very lacy hems and my black lace teddy. "Put those on."
The teddy was mostly sheer black nylon with a few strategically placed lace filigrees over the nipples and the crotch. Together with the matching stockings, it was a little treat to myself . . . for the occasional encore of the "live sex show". . . I'd never intended to wear them in public. "You want me to wear that to an important dinner?" Josh sat on the edge of my bed and wouldn't look at me. "Just put it on damn it. It's time you understood something." His sharp tone was really beginning to worry me. I pulled off the tee shirt, took off my bra and panties and started to slip into the teddy. Josh went on, still staring out the window. "The Sprague Bunch is being headed up by Kevin Sprague, the Chairman's eldest son and 'heir apparent'. He was down here last month, scouting us as one of the possible candidates for the contract. I got to take him out . . . wine and dine . . . As the evening wore on, it became apparent that dinner wasn't the only thing I was expected to provide."
Suddenly, I couldn't believe what Josh might be suggesting. I paused, one stocking half way up my leg and snapped, "You can't be heading where I think you're heading . . . you can't possibly be suggesting that I . . .?"
Josh spun around and glared into my eyes. "This is a make or break deal. It's just that simple. Old Man North is going to be retiring in the very near future. If he goes, and we don't get this contract . . . that's going to pretty much be the end of the firm. Pete . . . I can't make you do this. I don't even know if anything like what we're both thinking is gonna happen. I'm just saying . . . it might be necessary to . . . to . . . be "nice" to Sprague . . . that he might expect . . ."
Who was this person, sitting on my bed, suggesting this . . . this . . .? I couldn't speak. I couldn't find the words.
After a moment, Josh stood and started to walk out the door. He paused, and without turning; "Do it or don't . . . it's all up to you at this point." And he was gone.
I stood there, one stocking half way up my leg, trying to make sense of what had just happened. I couldn't. Finally, I pulled the stocking up the rest of the way, fastened it, repeated the process on my other leg and finished getting dressed.
The dinner was a huge success.
The Sprague Contingent (several division directors, some legal types and even a secretary) all listened politely, asked good questions at appropriate times, and generally expressed sincere interest in the presentation. At the head of the table, Old Man North nodded and smiled and played benevolent patrician.
Seated on his right was Kevin Sprague.
Kevin's age was hard to determine. I'd guess early to mid forties. He was tall (at least six feet) and trim. He had dark wavy hair and piercing brown eyes. I suspect that if I'd been a real woman, I'd have been paying more than "professional" attention to him. As the dinner wore on, it became apparent that he was paying more than that to me.
Several times he steered the conversation toward the graphic elements of the presentation so that I had to take the spotlight. He always paid close attention to what I was saying and remarked twice how impressed he with the quality of my work. Josh's story of Kevin's previous visit had me rattled, and I tried to convince myself that I was over-reacting. Kevin's attention was certainly well within the bounds of polite society. He didn't leer at me, or make any kind of innuendo. He was always urbane, and sophisticated and personable. I began to believe that he might be just what he appeared to be; a charming man reacting normally to an attractive young woman. I remembered my "sex shows". Pamela Wright was one hot little number. What did I expect? I started to relax a bit. I even glanced over at Josh once and he gave me a reassuring smile. The formal presentation ended at 9:30 and the dinner began to break up at 10. I thought I was going to get out unscathed when I saw Kevin speaking to Josh. They exchanged some words, I saw Josh stiffen, say something to Kevin, then walk out of the room without a backward glance. I felt something cold slither down my spine and began collecting my things for a hasty retreat.
Suddenly, Kevin was at my shoulder.
"Pamela, I have some questions regarding your part of that marvelous presentation. Would you care to come up to my room for a few minutes and answer them for me?"
I stammered and flailed for an escape from the trap and finally managed a lame "Oh, thank you Mr. Sprague, but it has been such a long day, and I'm so tired . . ." He headed me off and I caught the first glimpse of the dark side. "Call me Kevin, please. I'm sure it won't take long. I've so wanted to meet the young lady responsible for all this wonderful art. How can I make any informed recommendation to the Board, if I don't know at least a little something about the people we're considering hiring?" The implied threat was obvious; play ball or blow the deal. I retrieved my purse, nodded and tried to smile. "Well . . . for a few moments . . . certainly." He smiled, all urbane gentleman again.
Kevin had a suite of rooms on the eighth floor. He escorted me up, unlocked the door, and motioned me in with a courtly little bow. I was still trying to believe that this was all quite innocent, that he really did have some questions, or, at worst, just wanted a little more of my company all to himself.
He indicated a large sofa against one wall. "Please, make yourself comfortable." I sat down and tried to keep both legs in my dress, but the damn thing kept falling away from my left leg. God . . . did it look like I was flashing that calf at him intentionally? He opened a large armoire revealing a wet bar. "What can I offer you Pamela? Sherry? Some white wine? Something stronger?"
"Oh, no thank you. Nothing, please. I really must be going soon and . . ."
"Nonsense! The evening is still young." He came over carrying a glass of sherry for me and what looked like bourbon for him. He offered me the wine and of course I had to accept. Damned if I was going to drink any of it!
Then he sat beside me on the couch.
Not right beside me, but there were several other chairs he could have used just as easily.
"I must say again how impressed I was . . . we all were . . . with your presentation tonight. You're a fine young talent and I think you'll go far in this business."
I managed to contain my growing panic. "Thank you sir. That's very kind."
He laughed. " 'Sir'? Goodness, you make me sound like your father! I'm not that overbearing, am I?"
I tried to smile, to find that teasing, playful air that had come so easily before . . . but it was gone. I was scared.
I wasn't Pamela . . . I was Peter . . . I was a man . . . just like Kevin. Why then did I feel so powerless, so vulnerable? There were big stakes riding on the next few minutes, but that wasn't what was pressing against me . . . making me want to grab my purse and just start running. There was an animal threat emanating from Kevin . . . predator and prey . . . it didn't revolve around sex, it revolved around conquest and possession. Suddenly, I couldn't take any more. I started to rise. "I'm sorry Mr. Sprague, I've really got to be . . ."
And he grabbed my wrist . . . hard.
"Pamela . . . you really must learn that beautiful young women need to make time for some things if they ever expect to get anywhere in business."
I tried to free my wrist, and found that Kevin was stronger. "Let go of me." His grip just tightened . . . painfully. "You really must learn how the game is played." Then he had my other wrist.
. . . forcing me back down onto the sofa . . .
. . . forcing my arms back over my head . . . back against the wall . . .
. . . forcing a kiss . . .
I tried to turn away . . .
. . . he just continued down my throat, my chest, I could feel his tongue through he thin material of the suit . . .
. . . "So beautiful" . . .
. . . releasing my right wrist, freeing his hand to insinuate itself into the slit of my skirt . . . up my thigh . . . my hip . . .
I tried to push him away . . . too strong . . . too heavy . . . I was pinned beneath him . . .
. . . his hand now pushing the material of my dress up my legs. . .
. . . my other wrist free . . . his other hand on my . . .
. . . my skirt now completely up around my hips . . . his weight forcing my legs apart . . .
"Please . .. stop . . . I can't . . . I'm not really . . . "
A snap . . . the fastenings on the crotch of my teddy.
. . . and the pressure against my groin . . . rhythmic . . . painful . . . building in intensity . . .
"Stop . . ." . . . a plea . . . " . . . stop . . . " . . . a whimper . . .
. . . a final thrust . . .
His eyes . . .animal . . . peering into mine. "You like it, don't you?" I can't answer . . . can't breathe . . . can't think . . . "Say you like it . . . say it, bitch!"
. . . his hand on my throat . . .squeezing . . . the pressure against my hips . . . my groin . . . "Say you like it, you filthy little . . .!" Anything to make it stop. "Yes . . . yes . . . " A sob . . . a plea . . .
Then he was off me. I was aware of the light coming on in the bathroom. My right shoe had fallen off. I grabbed it and ran. He didn't follow. He had what he wanted.
I put the shoe back on in the elevator. Maybe the lobby was crowded, maybe it was deserted. I didn't see . . . didn't care. There was a taxi by the curb. I huddled in the back seat and managed to whisper my address. Once, on the way home, I saw the cabby leering at me in the mirror. What did he see? . . . Think?
The snaps on my teddy were still open. I couldn't bring myself to touch . . .
Somehow I got home . . . got inside . . . got out of my clothes and into the bath.
The hot, hot water felt good . . . cleansing. I stripped off the suit, not caring if I was damaging it, hoping I was, and flung it into a corner. Then, I crawled into bed, pulled up the covers . . . and slept.
I never heard the alarm go off the next morning. The phone rang sometime later. After a while, it rang again. I ignored it and just lay there, staring at the ceiling, trying to sort out my thoughts.
The clock on my nightstand read 11:18 when I heard the door downstairs open.
In a moment he was standing in my bedroom door.
"What the hell are you doing still in bed?!"
I rolled over and tried to ignore him. He walked around and looked down at me, concern starting to appear on his face. "Hey, PJ . . . are you alright? What's wrong, you sick?" I wouldn't answer, wouldn't look at him. "Did something happen last night?" By the tone of his voice, I could tell . . . the business . . . he was more worried about the deal than about me. I snarled up at him, "Yeah . . something happened alright! After you threw me to Sprague, he took me upstairs and . . . and . . ."
"The son of a bitch raped me!"
Josh's mouth dropped open. "Dear God! You don't mean he found out and actually . . . "
"No!", I shouted in frustration. "Man and woman . . ."
And Josh . . . my brother . . . visibly relaxed. "That's what we talked about, isn't it? What's the big deal? So what if Kevin had some fun with a plastic pussy? You faked a little dirty dancing and . . ."
I think that at that moment I truly hated Josh . . . more perhaps than I hated Kevin Sprague. I threw off the covers and fled to the bathroom. "You don't understand!"
I heard Josh standing for a minute outside the bathroom door. When he spoke, his tone was cold and commanding. "Now you listen to me. It's too late for you to see the Sprague delegation off. They're already on their way to the airport. Old Man North was looking for you all morning. Everyone was. You get your act together, put on your little girl suit, and get your butt down to the office. And I mean right now!" A moment later I heard the front door slam.
I stood there, looking at Peter in the mirror, trying to read something in his eyes.
The suit lay in a heap in the corner where I'd tossed it last night. It took a second before I could bring myself to touch it, but I finally picked it up and gave it a thorough inspection. It didn't appear damaged. It was what it had always been; a ridiculous looking, papery feeling, vaguely feminine shaped outline with a short brush of yellow fuzz on top of the head. I carefully hung it in its accustomed place on the shower rod and reached for my "convenient spray bottle". Somehow, the pain in my throat felt good . . . felt 'right'. A few minutes later I was on the phone.
"Mr. North's office, Mrs. Huddleston speaking."
"Emma, its . . ." Pamela? Peter? I didn't know what to say to her. " . . . it's me. I need to speak to Mr. North." There was a brief pause, then, her brusque tone replaced by a gentle murmur, "One moment child, I'll connect you." She knew, or at least she had a good idea.
"Wilson North speaking."
"Mr. North . . . it's . . . Pamela . . . Pamela Wright. I'm very sorry about not coming in this morning. I . . . I'm not feeling well."
"Ah! Of course my dear, of course." Was the answer too quick? Did he know about last night at well? Did he even care? "Don't concern yourself. You just stay home and rest. While I have you on the phone, I wanted to say how pleased I am with your work. You should know that the Sprague people were impressed with it . . . most impressed! If we should get the contract, it will be in large measure due to your contribution." Was there hidden meaning in that? "I just wanted to say; thank you my dear, thank you very much."
"Thank you sir. I . . . I'll be in tomorrow morning."
The next morning, as Pamela got off the elevator, you could feel the celebration in the air.
I walked through the door into the reception area and Mrs. Blane, the receptionist, greeted me with a delighted shriek. "Pamela . . . We got the contract!!!" I tried for a bright, enthusiastic smile. I guess I either succeeded or that Mrs. Blane was so far gone in the moment that she didn't care if I stuck out my tongue and wiggled my ears.
There were little parties going on all throughout the firm. As I made my way to my office, I was bombarded from all sides by exultation and congratulations. I smiled and nodded and said, "thank you, congratulations, isn't it wonderful" till the words lost all meaning. I finally made it into my office and collapsed behind my desk. My mind was drifting when I heard a gentle tapping on the door frame. Glancing up, I saw Beth, the secretary, standing there. "Ms. Wright, do you have a moment?"
"Of course, Beth. Come in."
She stood uncertainly in front of my desk. "Did you hear? We got the Sprague Contract."
"Yes Beth. I heard."
She looked shyly down at her toes, and it was real emotion this time, not the feigned 'come on' that she used on the men. "I've heard that the firm is going to be expanding. That there'll be new openings in the secretarial pool, in administration . . . even in the creative divisions . . . artists . . ."
" . . . copy writers."
I had a horrible, vicious thought; 'Yes Beth . . . maybe a big step up for you. And best of all, this time it wasn't you who had to spread your legs to get it.'
Still staring at the floor she continued.
"I've heard that your artwork was a big factor in getting the contract. Everyone's talking about it . . . about the presentation dinner . . . about you . . ."
God. Did everyone know?
She looked up and met my gaze.
"I know how much you did for us. How important it was. I know . . ."
It was there, in her eyes; genuine compassion . . . shared pain . . .
. . . understanding . . .
Suddenly, I was so ashamed. I had been wrong about Beth . . . terribly wrong. I started to think about the night before last, but shied away from the memory. Kevin Sprague had violated me. But it had been the violation of a school yard bully terrorizing a weaker child. Though Kevin didn't know it, would never know it, he had raped an illusion. He hadn't really touched me . . . not the real me . . . at least not physically. When I'd finally made it home, I was able to strip off Pamela and toss her in a corner.
What did Beth do when she got home at night?
I remembered Emma Huddleston's words about choices and 'playing The Game'. Perhaps Beth had made a bad choice. Did that give me the right to scorn her? To feel so superior to her? Had all my choices of late turned out the way I'd planned?
And worst of all; if it had been Peter working here instead of Pamela, and if Beth had offered, would I have been quick to turn her down?
Or, would I have used her too?
How different was I from Kevin Sprague?
She turned to go, but paused at the door. "I just wanted to say . . . thank you. That's all. Thank you Pamela."
"You're welcome Beth. Thank you."
The final irony played itself out that very afternoon.
All the senior staff was called into Old Man North's office at two. Chairs had been set out for all of us, and I noticed that Josh took a seat as far away from mine as possible. I was puzzling over that when Mr. North called the meeting to order.
"As you all know, I'm moving toward retirement. It is true to say that the acquisition of the Sprague Contract has opened a new door for our fine firm. A door into a shining, promising future, paved, I hope, with success for all of us. Sadly, it is a future in which I will not take an active part." There were polite murmurs of feigned sadness at the Old Man's pending departure. He finally stilled them with a raised hand. "Now, now . . . This is as it should be. 'The old makes way for the new'. It is 'the new' that I've called you together to discuss."
"We are moving forward, into the future. But to chart our course we will need young, strong hands at the helm. We need leadership that can benefit from the wisdom of the past, but can also take daring, bold new directions. It is time for our fine firm to waken from the slumber I know we've fallen into, and step boldly into the coming millennium."
You could feel people lean forward in their chairs. We all knew where this was leading.
North paused, scanned the faces, then sat very erect in his chair.
"It is my great pleasure to announce to you today, the addition of a new General Partner to the firm. A person who is the very embodiment of this bold new thinking, this exciting new direction. A person without whom the fundament of our new future could not have been laid."
And North looked directly at me . . .
. . . and smiled . . .
"Lady and Gentlemen, I give you; The Firm of Whitman, North . . ."
I sucked in a breath.
" . . . and Arjer"
The days have passed.
Pamela Wright still comes to work everyday, to her office at Whitman, North and Arjer. The charade is impossible to escape, for obvious reasons. I could quit, I suppose, but then what would be the point of all that has gone before? Quit and I'll be back where I started; an unemployed artist. I won't even be able to claim Pamela's success. How could I explain?
Considering what it took to land this job, I don't relish the prospect of what it might take to land the next!
If I sound bitter, I want to say; I'm not. Well . . . not really.
I live in my own apartment now. I can afford it. It isn't out of anger with Josh that I moved out. He'd never been anything less than honest with me. I remember my first night as Pamela, sitting at the table over burgers and beers . . . the distant look in Josh's eyes as he'd said, "Don't worry Bro, you'll pay me back . . . and you'll be doing all the work." That he might have foreseen everything that's happened, or perhaps even have planned it . . . that's a thought I leave untouched. Josh may sometimes be manipulative, but he isn't an evil or wicked person. Greedy; yes . . . power hungry; yes. But he has his good side too. For two years, he put a roof over my head and never even considered asking for anything in return. Josh Arjer . . my brother . . . he'd give you the coat of his back . . . after he'd checked the pockets for loose change.
I moved out because sometimes a "girl" just needs "her" own space.
I can honestly say I'm happy.
I'm doing the job I've wanted to do all my life, the job I love; creating "art". If part of that "art" is the constant creation of the illusion of woman, well, so be it. It's not such a great price to pay. We all have "faces" we choose to show to the world. Mine just takes a little more hot water than yours.
Does my acceptance of my situation seem strange to you? Why?
After all . . . Lots of people have to "get dressed" to go to work.