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Author's Chapter Notes:

Now with something to do these holidays, Sam and his sisters were going to require a few more leotards.

As it was now so late, our grandma suggested that we ate something from the McDonalds' drive-through nearby rather than having to cook something at home. My sisters, like most kids our age, cheerfully agreed. Normally I would be there with them but once she had said this, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed as it meant that my plans had now been laid to waste.

When we arrived home, I had planned to resume my ballet practice in my room. Once dinner was ready, one of my sisters would have found me to advise of this. Sure, it would be shocking and awkward but I couldn't think of any scenario where it wouldn't have been, but at least then, it would be over.

The optimistic side of me even thought that they could accept this. Although I was teased by them when they first saw me in that girl's bathing suit, it had stopped within only a few minutes and with my grandma's support, they had never brought it up since, and I'm sure that she would be willing to support me again.

“Okay. My treat since you all did so well today.” my grandma added.

“What about Sam? He didn't do anything.” April piped up a few seconds later, only just realizing that she had referred to all of us.

My heart froze as I heard this. Surely she wouldn't tell them what I had actually been doing, would she? Thankfully she didn't say a word but although I was looking forward at the road ahead, I could tell she had turned slightly towards me again, expecting me to say something myself. The choice of words she had used kind of made me feel as if she had predicted this to occur.

“I did ballet! Before starting, we went to the store and brought a leotard for me as well! Just like you two, I'm wearing mine as well, underneath my clothes. Mine actually has a skirt too! And I loved it!”

That's what I wanted to say but I couldn't. I simply couldn't. Although it would have only taken seconds to express, the devastation that it would have would be horrendous, lasting much, much longer. I didn't know what was worst; keeping this secret locked away, or releasing it to the world.

For now though, I kept it in, staying silent. If I were going to share it, it would be in a position where I could demonstrate. That way they may be able to respect the effort that I had put in, rather than just thinking that I simply liked to dress as a girl. Come to think of it, they didn't need to know about my skirt, although it was part of my secret, it wasn't the main one.

“So, what would you like to eat?” she asked us, pulling up to the intercom.

I hadn't realized how hungry I was until I smelt the scent of our food in the air. My practice must have taken quite a toll on me. My sisters seemed to be the same as it hadn't taken us long to get through our burgers.

When we arrived back home, all that was left was my drink. Glancing at the clock, it wouldn't be long for bed. Although I had wanted to get some more practice done, I felt a bit too tired for it. After a yawn or two, I decided to proceed straight to bed. After all, I would be doing some more ballet tomorrow. Because of this, I went to bed smiling.

The following morning started like any other this summer. It looked like it was to be another fine day with only a few patches of cloud within its sky.

As I got ready for it, getting dressed, I noticed that I had left my ballet uniform on my bedroom floor. I actually felt a bit guilty about this as part of my deal with my grandma was to treat it with care and respect. If I hadn't already put my underwear on, I probably would have just worn it again. I was actually a bit tempted to but knowing that I'll be wearing it later on today was enough to satisfy me.

Like my grandma had requested, I picked it up from my floor, found a spare hanger for it, and proudly hanged it up in the middle of my closet, being the first thing that I would see the next time I opened it.

I must admit that I was a bit worried about my sisters finding it but despite it being in plain view, it didn't seem likely they would ever need to look in my closet for anything. I could have placed it to the side, hiding it behind something else, however I sincerely wanted to know it was there, reminding me of all the fun that I've had spent in it. Along with that, it was also a pleasure to look at. Compared to my other clothes in there, this one stuck out like a very vivid painting.

“All right, girls. Your gymnastics begins soon. Are you ready?”

It was a couple of hours past noon when our grandma announced this. Although my sisters didn't know it, I was just as happy as them, perhaps more so, to hear this. I almost wanted to skip to my room to put on my uniform but before any of us could get up to do this, she added to them; “Don't worry about getting changed this time. You are going to need some more leotards since you'll be doing this every weekday.” Both of them verbally cheered hearing this.

Just as I was about to ask if I could come to, already with my mouth open, ready to speak, I stopped myself, thinking how suspiciously energetic I would sound replying so quickly. However, my question wasn't necessary as my grandma turned towards me and asked with a smile that only I could understand; “Sam, would you like to come along as well?”

I lightly replied; “Okay. ... It'll be good to get out of the house.”, trying to sound as neutral as possible, although I wasn't able to hide the slight smile that was on my face to which my sisters thankfully didn't appear to have noticed.

As we drove there, my sisters were very joyously discussing which leotards they were going to choose. Our grandma had stated that they could pick four more, making a total of five for each day of the week for their gymnastics. She hadn't mentioned me but I was sure to be included.

I immediately froze as I realized this, becoming overwhelmed with dread. How exactly was I meant to select my own leotards with my sisters being there?! Had my grandma expected me to? As it wouldn't be in her character to make another trip only for me, had she trapped me in a position where I were to confess my secret in exchange of being rewarded with a number of leotards? Thinking about this made me feel sick to my stomach.

I spent the rest of the drive in an anxious worried state, not at all paying attention to my sister's conversation. Was there a way out of this? I still could make it appear that I came along for the drive, not caring about its purpose, but I had to admit, I would be sort of devastated if my sisters returned from it each with four new leotards that I had missed out on.

This wasn't fair. If I were a girl, this wouldn't be happening at all! I would be part of my sister's conversation, discussing our favourite designs and choosing them once we got to the store, probably trying them on too. Once again, I found myself thinking about how better it would be if I had been a sister, rather than a brother.

I heard the clunk of metal, the sound of the car's door opening, when I had realized that we had arrived. My sisters got out and almost skipped over to the store's entrance, with my grandma and myself following behind. I would have asked her about getting leotards for me as well, however as she had parked directly outside the shop, there wasn't enough time for me to do so without us being within earshot of my sisters.

As I walked through its doors once again, still containing a very mesmerizing view, I spied the same cashier who was there the previous day. She noticed me as I came in, presenting me with a smile. I quickly looked away. I hadn't wanted to be rude but I didn't want her to drop any hints that I had been here yesterday, hoping that she would make the connection that my previous purchase was a secret from my sisters, to which she had now become a part of.

I found that it was completely impossible for me not to be envious of my sisters while we were there, to the point where I wouldn't have been surprised if I turned green and started to emit a radioactive haze. They were both going back and forth between the racks, speaking energetically about which ones that they thought looked best, and then running to the changing rooms to try them on, often reappearing in them to show each other and our grandma. They were very lively, darting about as if they were high on sugar.

I had wished that they showed them off to me as well. I had been walking around the store aimlessly, attempting to keep up an appearance of finding this boring, but instead I decided to stay beside my grandma so I could eye them as well. It took every fibre of my being to do this without showing signs of my admiration for them though.

While they were making use of the changing rooms, I attempted to look through the racks myself. Being here again was an opportunity that I couldn't waste. However, it became frustrating as similar to me, it didn't take them long to get in and out of their leotards, allowing me only seconds to really be able to browse through them myself.

I quickly found that this wasn't a very effective process and I then attempted to stay behind them, outside of their line of sight, while I went through the racks. It took quite an effort to browse while constantly looking up, keeping an eye on where my sisters where so if they did glance in my direction, I could duck behind a rack or make it appear as if I was just drifting around the store.

It must have been obvious to my grandma and the cashier of my awkward method of browsing and I could tell that they had traded glances at times. I didn't really care though, just as long as my sisters didn't notice.

About ten minutes later, our grandma announced; “All right, we don't have much longer before your gymnastics begins. You'll better start deciding on what leotards you want.”

Hearing this, I was overcome with a thought. As my grandma had yet to mention getting any leotards for me, perhaps I were to share the ones that my sisters would choose, after all when they were to be wearing them, there would still be eight left for me. Like my sisters, now that I would be doing ballet every day, one leotard wasn't going to be enough.

I really didn't like the idea of sharing clothes with my sisters, especially not in secret, but they were sure to be washed after we wore them. April's ones may have been a bit too big for me but Faye was roughly my size. Being such elastic garments though, there was a possibility that I may fit into both. If this was indeed to be the case though, I would have liked to have at least a small say in what their choices were if it was at all possible.

Pondering this, I formed an idea. Sensing an opportunity of being able to potentially influence their choices as well as putting an end to my painful way of browsing, I approached my sisters, practising in my head what I was about to say to them.

“This is boring. Can I help you find something so we can get out of here faster?” I asked, using a slightly whiny tone.

For a change, I was pretty impressed with how well my fib sounded, not at all like my usual ones were I would nervously stutter with a forced expression. Perhaps my lies weren't so bad when I weren't so caught off guard with them.

Although I could tell that they were a bit surprised at my willingness to help them, I was confident that they actually believed that I was bored, rather than doing this for any other reason. It was Faye that took me up on my offer.

“Yeah, I'm looking for two. One with mermaid scales and another with a pegasus on its front. I saw them earlier but I can't find them now.”

With this, it immediately became a lot easier to browse and I felt like kicking myself for not asking them earlier. I had actually spotted the leotards she was after recently, or possibly similar ones, and had a rough idea where in the store they were, however now that I could browse much more freely, I wasn't in a hurry to end it.

I wish she hadn't been so specific about the choices she was after. If she had simply wanted a certain colour, I could have chosen something I would have liked as well. I very much doubted that I would enjoy wearing ones as girlish as those, but I felt that there was absolutely no way that I could provide her with suggestions without exposing my actual intentions for helping her.

She eventually found them both before I did. As they both got changed into the leotard that they wanted to wear today, I rapidly became aware of how quickly this opportunity was sliding through my fingers, almost about to end, causing me to almost shake with anxiety.

I had to stop delaying this. With a deep breath, I marched over to my grandma to ask about the leotards for me as well. However, as I was half way to her one of the changing rooms' doors opened in front of me, blocking my path.

April walked out of it wearing a dark purple leotard that had purplish pink curvy lines surrounding it, coated with glitter, which looked to me like abstract vines. Noticing me behind her, she turned to me and said; “Pretty neat, eh?”

“Yea.” I replied as indifferently as I could. Although I didn't hate it, it was a bit too pinkish for my tastes.

Now that they were both changed into their uniforms, the three of them marched towards the counter to purchase them. I stood nearby, watching as the cashier tallied them up on her till, all while depressingly thinking that I could have had a pile of leotards for myself as well.

I hated myself for it but I had given up. I suspected that my grandma had brought me along expecting me to concede, providing me with plenty of opportunity, but with my sisters here, I just wasn't able to muster up the courage to do so. Despite being such an easy task to do physically, I was constantly overpowered with distress and uncertainty whenever I had attempted to.

However, I was positive that our ballet training would still continue nonetheless. Although they weren't entirely to my liking, I would probably be using my sisters' spares when my own leotard needed washing.

Once we had finally exited the store, a wave of regret and relief washed over me. The latter was due to knowing that my sisters were none the wiser about what I would shortly be doing.

After a small sigh, I had a spark of an idea, causing a glimmer of hope to swell within me. Not letting it go to waste, I suddenly spoke.

“Hey, can I go to the toy store nearby, while you drop them off? Please?”

My aim was to say it casually, not in the obvious joyous tone that it had come out with. Even my sisters happened to notice the smile that came along with it. It didn't worry me though, as after all, there was no denying that the toy store was an actual fun place to be, although I knew that I would have a lot more fun at the place that I was really planning on being.

Our parents weren't the type to leave us unsupervised in public but I was hoping that she could make an exception. I think my unintentional smile may have helped, as after seeing it, she smiled herself and said; “Oh, alright, but don't leave the store.”

It was clear that she knew what I had in mind, and allowing me to do so, I almost wanted to run up and hug her. Needless to say though, within my sisters' presence, I wouldn't be doing that, but I did respond with a very polite “Thank you.”

I headed in the direction of the toy store, walking slowly. Once I knew that the car would be out of sight, looking behind me to check, I quickly turned around and almost ran back to the leotard store with my contagious smile still stuck to my face.

There was still a few people within the area at this hour but at this point, I didn't care at all. Even if someone had noticed me entering, nothing could subdue the happiness that was now thriving within me.

“Welcome back.” the lady at the register said, looking up at me as I marched into the store. On her face was the same smile she had when I had entered before, although there was also a hint of confusion too. No doubt due to my unexpected return. It felt good that I was now able to return the smile she had provided me this time round.

As the gym was less than ten minutes away, I unfortunately didn't have the time that my sisters had gotten. However, when I was here previously, I did come across a couple that I thought were great choices, keeping a mental note of where they were.

Just as I was lifting up my arm to take one of them from its rack, I stopped suddenly, realizing that there was a problem. There were several sizes available for it but I hadn't a clue what my size was. It had been my grandma who had selected my previous one.

Taking the one that looked like it may have fitted me the best, I held it up to my torso, looking down at it, checking if it would fit. As soon as I did that, I suddenly became aware of what a girlish gesture it was. I had seen in movies and TV shows girls doing this very thing with dresses. I couldn't think of a time where I had ever seen a guy do this, making me blush slightly with embarrassment.

Being such flexible garments though, I wasn't sure how well that would work with leotards. I could have taken a selection over to the changing rooms with me to find my size, however I wanted to waste as little time as possible.

Although I wasn't fond of it, I had an idea. I turned around, facing the counter. Like before, the cashier was observing me with a small smile. Her gaze made me a bit nervous but as I was the only one in the store, I couldn't blame her for watching me. I suspected that she had seen me performing that gesture and probably knew what I was about to ask.

“Excuse me. Do you remember the size of the leotard that I bought yesterday?”

“Child medium.” she immediately responded without so much of a thought.

Her prompt answer caught me by surprise, expecting her to need to look it up somehow. I suppose that I did stick out like a sore thumb though as I doubted that she saw many boys within the store, and even less of them picking out a girl's leotard. I was probably the first and only one, making me feel a bit disgraceful.

However, I pushed that out of my mind. The premise that I would have four new leotards before the day was over was enough to keep me bright.

My question must have had an impact on her as she brought up a conversation with me as I went to and from the racks, searching for other leotards that I would have liked to wear.

“So, are you doing gymnastics as well?”

I was a bit hesitant to respond but I didn't want to be rude either. I guess it sounded better to state that I was using these for something, rather than that I had just liked to wear them. Although I didn't think she would find out, my grandma would have wanted me to stay truthful as well.

“No, I'm doing ballet.” I said politely. “My grandma is teaching me.”

I added the last bit a few seconds later. I didn't want her to think that I was wearing these in a class full of girls, or boys for that matter.

“Oh, the leotards you've got there are more suited for gymnastics. The ones for ballet have the ballerina over their stands. I suppose it doesn't matter though.”

I hadn't noticed that. Looking up at them, I thought that they were just part of the store's decorations. Most of the other racks had gymnasts on them. Now knowing this, as I went through the racks, it became obvious of the two types of leotards there were.

The gymnastic ones were what my sisters were wearing, as well as that one of mine. They were a lot more flashy, generally having multiple colours and many made use of that sleek shiny material. Most of them didn't make use of skirts but the few that did were attached to the uniform, not being a separate removable piece, often being very short.

The ballet ones were plainer, generally being a single colour although a few of them had some sort of decoration on their front as well, usually a ballerina, a jewel, or ballet shoes. The tops of some of them were very different from their gymnastic counterparts, some having very thin, almost invisible, straps or puffed sleeves.

What stood out the most was their skirts, which about half of them had. Although these ballet ones were lacking in overall design and colours, I felt that the ones that had skirts made up for it, with many of them having multiple layers or being very frilly, sometimes fading into another colour at their hems.

I guess I preferred the gymnastic ones a little more but as I would be getting several, I felt that I should select some ballet ones too. After all, it was ballet that I was doing and I felt that I should be using the correct uniform for it.

To be honest though, after performing that pirouette, I learnt how much fun a skirt could be. It made me feel a bit ashamed to think this, but along with that, with a skirt, they did a lot to hide the fact that I was actually a boy. If I was to wear girls' clothes, I came to the conclusion that it was best to appear as one.

“How long have you been dancing for?” the cashier asked from behind me.

“Not long. After this, I'm having my second lesson, although it's mostly just watching an old tape.” I replied, being more focused on my selection as I was trying to avoid wasting any further time.

“Care to show me?”

I automatically turned around and looked up at her once I had registered this, initially thinking that I had misheard her. Was she serious?

Seeing my alarmed expression, she quickly added; “Tell you what, I'll let you have a free leotard.”

She got up and walked around the counter to one of the racks, looking through it. At this point, it became clear she wasn't just having me on. Before I could even start to think about how I was going to respond to her, she found the one she was looking for. Actually, she had found two, holding them up in each hand to show me.

Both were a light baby blue with short sleeves, ballet ones. They were very plain, having no real decorations on them. The only difference between the two was that one had an attached skirt.

I really didn't know how to react to this. It seemed to me that not only did she want me to show her what I had learnt so far, but she would have liked to see me perform it in a leotard as well. I needed to stop and think it over for a moment.

I wish that I could say that it had been a difficult decision, but if I were to be sincere, it really wasn't. Despite knowing that it would be very mortifying, this lady had already seen me in one only yesterday, and probably already knew what I was doing since my grandma had spoken with her. Overall, I considered that spending a couple of minutes or so performing some quick ballet moves in exchange for another leotard would be well worth it.

Without saying anything, I slowly moved my hand up, pointing to the one with the skirt. It wouldn't have been one that I would have otherwise selected, but I had to admit, it wasn't horrible. I was glad that she had chosen some blue ones, rather than the baby pink ones that were hanging beside them.

“This one?” she said smiling, holding it out for me to take.

Almost snatching it, looking away, I hurried over to the changing rooms feeling my face becoming as red as a beet. I couldn't believe that I was doing this.

I held it up in front of me, just staring at it, lost in thought. I guess that I would have found myself in a leotard sooner or later today, so I suppose that now was just as good a time as any. Just as I was about to undo the button on my pants, I heard the cashier's voice again.

“Hey, did you want some tights too?” she asked through the door.

“Yes, please.” I replied.

She hadn't mentioned if these were also free but I suspected that they were, although my grandma probably wouldn't mind paying anyway. Along with the leotards, I was sure to require some more tights as well.

Hearing her march back over from the counter, where the tights stand was located, she slid a packet of plain white tights under the door for me.

Just like the last time I had worn these, these were a real struggle to put on compared to the leotard. I must have spent a good few minutes trying to pull them up all the way to the top. However, once I finally had everything on, it was a pleasing comfortable fit.

I couldn't help but be a small bit hesitant in exiting the changing room but after looking down at it now surrounding me, there wasn't a pinch of doubt within me that didn't think that this had been a very easy worthwhile trade. It felt great to be back in a leotard again, especially a new one. With a nervous smile, I turned the door's lock and stepped out into the store.

Similar to my grandma yesterday, the cashier was waiting for me and her smile grew larger as she saw me, causing me to blush. I hurried past her, over to the area in front of the counter, the only part of the store which had a large exposed area, allowing me to perform what I had learnt so far.

I spent the next few minutes performing some ballet moves, stating their names if I could recall them. I also attempted a few sequences from Swan Lake that I could remember, although I was very limited with the space I had and they probably weren't performed half as well as the professional dancers that I had seen.

The cashier didn't seem to mind though. She didn't say a word and just watched, clearly enjoying my performance as her smile never disappeared. I was just glad that she hadn't burst out into laughter, something that my sisters probably would have done if they were in her position.

With another glance at her, I noticed that she wasn't watching me, rather someone behind me. Stunned, I quickly turned around in panic. Thankfully, it was only my grandma walking in. Clutching at a sudden knot in my chest, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I was astonished at myself for how careless I had been. If it had been anyone else, I didn't have enough time to run. Not that it would have mattered though as I probably would have died of embarrassment right on the spot.

“What's all this?” she asked with a grin, eyes fixed on my new uniform.

Still recovering from my shock, the cashier responded before I could, no doubt noticing this. She explained the situation and praised me at how good I was. They were soon in a lively conversation about me. I would normally hate being the topic of discussion but as it was full of compliments, I had nothing to complain about.

I resumed my search for leotards while they talked between themselves. I hadn't noticed it earlier but it had taken my grandma lot longer to arrive back then it should have. I had thought that she may have stopped for coffee somewhere but then again, I'm sure she wouldn't have wanted to delay our lesson. Perhaps she just wanted me to have some freedom to choose my leotards in peace, without any distractions? If so, that hadn't gone as planned, but at least now I didn't have to worry about sizing, nor getting changed later on.

After seven minutes or so, I had finally made my selection. I was still wearing my extra one but fortunately nobody else had entered. I started off avoiding the racks at the front of the store for this very reason but as time when on, I forced myself to in an attempt to help me become more confident about wearing it.

It had actually been a lot more difficult this time, choosing four rather than one. There were so many that I would have loved to have and wear, easily the majority of the store, however as I didn't have all the time in the world, I picked out a number that I felt that they had just that little extra bit to them. To keep things even, I ended up choosing two of each type, two ballet and two gymnastic ones. My grandma was pleased with my choices and after the cashier tallied them up, we were eventually on our way.

“Hey, why did you take so long to come back from the gym?” I asked curiously.

“It's a surprise. I'll show you once we get to my place.” she replied, smiling at me.

Hearing this, I couldn't help but notice that there was an extra shopping bag in the seat behind her. It didn't have any branding upon it so I hadn't a clue what it contained but whatever it was, I was sure that I would have loved it. Knowing this, it was difficult to sit still during the drive. That contagious smile had returned and I felt that it wouldn't be able to leave me for the rest of the day.

Once we arrived, stepping through her door, along with taking off my shoes, I automatically took off my top layer of clothing too. It just didn't seem right to be wearing a leotard, only to hide it underneath something, I thought to myself, patting it over my stomach.

Happily skipping in the remaining way, my grandma, walking behind me, asked; “Why don't you get the TV ready? I'll prepare your present in a minute.”

This didn't take long. The tape was already in the same position we had left it yesterday, however I rewound it a short distance to the start of the segment as it had been in the middle of one. While doing so, I kept my ears alert, attempting to make out the sound of my gift, trying to work out what it could be, however all I could hear was the crumple of its plastic bag.

She entered the lounge with her arms behind her back, obviously holding it there.

“Close your eyes.” she declared with a grin across her face. Smiling, I immediately complied. I felt her hands upon my shoulders and she directed me into one of her other rooms. I kept trying to guess what it was. All this seemed to be too much trouble for just another leotard or tights. Could it have been ballet shoes? If so, I didn't see why I needed to close my eyes and walk for them.

We came to a stop a few feet later. I was very tempted to peek, however I knew my grandma would be disappointed if I had so I kept them shut tight.

Not at all what I was expecting, I felt her place something over the top of my head. It was tight, similar to a beanie but wasn't made from cotton. What on earth was this thing? Some sort of ballet hat was all that I could think of. She spent several seconds adjusting it, pulling my ears out from under it and tugging it up on my forehead. There must have been a very confused expression on my face as I hadn't a clue what she was doing or for what purpose.

It all immediately became clear when I felt the next thing brushing against my ears as she pulled it over the top of the previous beanie like thing. It was a wig! I had almost opened my eyes in realization, but she quickly said “Almost there. Keep them closed.” with a stern but cheerful tone.

After a few more seconds of maintenance, making use of a comb, she placed her hands on my shoulders and I heard the words that I had been eagerly awaiting; “Alright, open your eyes.”

In front of me was a pretty girl with flowing blond hair, wearing my leotard. wait, was that actually me?! I was in front of her mirror again, staring at my reflection. I was completely dumbfounded. If my grandma hadn't been standing behind me, it would have almost been as if I was looking through a glass window, but even still, I needed to move my hands, just to confirm that it really was me I was surveying. I was in near disbelief at how much of a girl I looked like. Heck, I doubted that even my sisters could have recognized me like this.

“I am such a girl!” I said blissfully, without a pinch of shame coming along with it. What I had planned to say was “I look like such a girl!” but I guess in my emotional state, my words got jumbled up on the way out. I didn't care enough to rectify it though. I just stood there, mouth open in bewilderment, examining my reflection, being very difficult to look away.

I took the opportunity to do a few twirls, getting a good look at my new uniform and wig, as well as perform a few curtseys to myself. Watching my reflection, I even felt that the way I acted like this was gracefully girlish. It was as if I was watching an entirely different person.

“You are so adorable.” my grandma exclaimed observing me, tickling me on my sides. I soon broke out into giggles as she became more intense with her fingers, eventually causing me to stumble over, trying to free myself from her grasp, to which she also began to laugh heartily.

After a very satisfying moment of laughter between the two of us, I lifted myself up from the floor, wiping my tears from my eyes, and gave her a large hug around her waist.

“Thank you for this. I love you.”

I could tell that she was taken back a little, clearly not expecting this, but I couldn't blame her. I had never been the hugging type, but after all this, I felt that I couldn't express my gratitude in words alone.

“Thanks, Sam. I love you too.” she said, stroking the top of my wig.

A short while later, we were both in the lounge, in front of the TV. Like yesterday, she had made a drink for both of us but mine had barely been touched as I was so much more focused on my dancing. My grandma had tied up my wig in what she called a ballet bun so it wouldn't get in my way, making it a lot shorter, however I was pleased to find that I still passed as a girl with it this way, or at least I thought I did.

After ten minutes or so, there was a knock at the door. “Who could that be?” my grandma said, getting up to answer it. I didn't think much of it and continued to practice, although I took the opportunity to take a sip of my drink as it was soon to get cold.

I heard her talking to someone very casually, a woman, almost like a friend. Whoever it was, they had been at the door for sometime, far longer than what a postman would have taken.

With the music from the TV playing, it was a bit difficult to make out what they were saying exactly, however my ears easily picked up a sentence that immediately put butterflies in my stomach, almost causing me to gag.

“Would you like to come in for tea?”

My first thought was to run and hide into one of her other rooms but it would be impossible for me to do so without running pass her entranceway, no doubt noticing me. It was an uncomfortable thought but it was clear that she had wanted to introduce me, making any use of hiding futile.

Staring at the windows, pondering that maybe I should just escape out of them, I did have a spark of a better idea. Thanks to my wig, nearly forgetting about it, I could simply attempt to act like a girl, trying to be as girlish as possible. I didn't know if my grandma had already stated the truth of my gender to whomever it was but it was worth an attempt at the very least. This was probably the best option available to me.

I spent a few seconds attempting to make out my reflection in the windows of her glass cabinets which held her collection of ornaments, ensuring that I looked the part. I could hear both pairs of footsteps marching in and my right leg began to twitch with a worried anxiety. In an attempt to hide it, I quickly resumed my dancing, trying to force my focus on the performers on the TV.

With my heart racing at the sound of each step they took, they finally came to a halt behind me. I slowly turned around, all the while wishing that what I actually was wouldn't be obvious.

“Sam, this is Judy, a friend of mine. I've invited her in for tea.”

Judy was an old lady as well. She looked to be similar in age to my grandma, probably a bit younger. Her hair wasn't as grey and she clearly put a bit of effort in her appearance, wearing gold earrings and lipstick.

It was a bit distressing in that my grandma had referred to me by name, only to remember that Sam was a unisex one. As I had nearly always heard it in reference to me, I had become a bit biased in thinking that it was a boys' name only. I was never very fond of it �“ preferring others if it had been up to me �“ but at a time like this, I wouldn't have traded it in for the world.

I kept watch on her face as she surveyed me up and down, trying to gauge from her expression if she was aware of what I actually was. If she had discovered it, I wasn't able to notice. She just examined me with a regular smile across her noticeably red lips.

“Hello Sam. That's a pretty leotard you're wearing.” she said politely.

“Thank you.” I replied smiling courteously in a voice higher than my usual, attempting to sound like a girl as best I could, bowing down, presenting her with a curtsey as a sign of my gratitude.

They both beamed at my attempt of refined elegance, clearly not at all expecting it. Perhaps I had overdone it, I thought in worry.

Chapter End Notes:

I'm sorry about the long delay on this. Along with personal matters, I had felt I had written myself into a corner for a large length of time. I was previously writing this story as it flowed out from my fingertips, not really having an overall goal for it in mind.

However, I'm pleased to say that I've now planned ahead for the next several chapters. With this, I aim to produce chapters at a much faster pace. Thanks to anyone who stayed with me.

Please let me know of any feedback, be it positive or negative. It's very much appreciated.

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