The next day had started much like the previous ones, another sunny day without a single patch of cloud within its beautiful blue sky. In fact, it was probably a little too sunny. Although the fan was spinning loudly above our heads, I felt that it wasn't doing enough to keep us cool.
“I think it was Miss Scarlett with the candlestick in the ballroom.”
My sisters and I were in the lounge playing a game of Cluedo and at the final stages of our games, when we all had a decent idea of who had committed the murder, it helped us escape reality's heat. Our grandma was nearby, on the couch reading a thick book.
After Faye won our third game, with all of us now winning one, we began setting up for our final match.
“It's hot.” April moaned automatically to no one in particular as she helped with this, something that Faye and I had also been guilty of earlier. It had been such a regular occurrence that it wasn't worth the effort to respond, nor had she expected one.
“Hey, since we'll be heading to gymnastics in a few hours, why not put your leotards on early, eh?” our grandma spoke up a few minutes later.
“Ah, good idea.” April responded briskly, getting up and darting to her room, with Faye following behind to her own.
“Make sure Sam doesn't look at my clues.”
They clearly weren't aware that she had included me in her suggestion, not just them. There wasn't a pinch of doubt in my mind that she hadn't. Turning towards her, she was looking at me over her book with an expression that said; 'Why don't you join them?', confirming this.
I quickly looked away. Although I couldn't rule out that I was a bit tempted to, I had made up my mind last night; I would build up to it, rather than presenting myself all at once. I thought about mentioning this to her but before I could, my sisters returned to our company.
Throughout our final game, I was unable to resist taking glances at their uniforms. Despite seeing them dressed in them several times now, as they were now so close, I found that they were difficult to avoid. Attempting to look more focused on our game, I kept holding up my clue sheet, peering over it at them.
“I'm going to use the secret passage to go to the kitchen.” April announced during her turn.
As she stretched across the board to move her piece, I couldn't help but spy another peek at her leotard. This one was primary purple but had the shape of a yellowish golden sun on its left, going across its side towards the back. While admiring it, my eyes were suddenly caught by Faye's, who was looking at me with a blank expression. I immediately darted them back towards my clues.
I tried to be more careful for the remainder of the game but I don't think she suspected anything by it. After all, their uniforms were very eye-catching, something I doubted anyone could deny. In fact, even if I hadn't had an interest in them, I bet that I would have still looked nonetheless. Clothes like that were meant to be seen.
I ended up winning our final game, however any happiness I obtained from it hadn't lasted long as I soon became envious of my sisters. It seemed clear that their change of clothes had helped them with the heat as they were now outside, doing cartwheels and the like on the lawn. I kept inside, feeling very excluded, eyeing them as they played.
I found myself thinking of scenarios where I could join them, or at least drop a few hints about my secret. It sort of made me wish that they would tease me about not having my own leotard, where I could ask if I could borrow one of theirs sarcastically and see how they would react to it. Alternatively, I could respond by asking what they would think if I mentioned that I had a leotard of my own, pretending to be joking.
After several minutes of watching them, I became frustrated that this wasn't happening and I retired to my room, not wishing to see them any longer. It almost felt as if they were indirectly taunting me.
I opened my closet and stood there staring at my leotards, pondering if I should put one on too, if only to escape the heat. Within half a minute or so, with my mind now made up, I began to strip.
Standing there in the middle of my room, immediately feeling much cooler, I awkwardly attempted to take a look at my freshly donned uniform from other angles, made painfully difficult due to the fact that my room lacked a mirror. Both of my sisters had mirrors in their own rooms but it was only until this very moment, I understood how useful one could be.
I had elected to wear a gymnastics one this time, one that was primary black but was littered with the outlines of neon orange and pink stars throughout it. After two days of wearing ballet ones, I felt like I was neglecting the others. As well as that, I felt that it was much more proper to wear a gymnastics leotard without tights than a ballet one.
If I was feeling bold, I suppose that I could creep into either of my sisters rooms to use their mirror. As I couldn't hear them, I was certain that they were still outside. However, I dismissed that idea as I was bound to see my reflection wearing it before the day was over, with the added bonus of looking more like a girl thanks to my wig. Part of me was glad that I wasn't taking unnecessary risks, although another part of me was saddened in that this meant that I was still very much ashamed of it.
To take my mind off it, I laid on my bed, flat on my stomach, facing the door, reading one of my many Asterix comics. If April or Faye were to walk in now, I would be paralysed, having no where to run, nor did I have an excuse. However, I wasn't entirely convinced that would be a bad thing if it were to occur.
It was amazing how absorbed in something one could become only after only a short amount of time. I was nearing the end of my comic when I had noticed something move in my peripheral vision. Looking up, it was my door. Somebody was coming in. It was only until it was half-way open when I suddenly clicked, realizing that I wasn't in my regular clothes! Much like I had earlier thought, I was completely frozen solid, unable to move or even think.
Once I saw my new company's face, the mental bonds that had bounded me evaporated away, leaving me with a relieved sigh. It was only my grandma. She was looking at me, seemingly being surprised at my change of clothes, although her expression quickly changed to a pleased smile. I' couldn't quite understand this. Last time I saw her, she was practically asking me to join my sisters, prancing about in leotards. I felt that I was already half-way there and after watching them, in my mind, it would have been more shocking if I hadn't gotten the urge to change.
Perhaps she just wasn't used to seeing me like this. That thought was immediately unnerving. Of all the people in the world, it was her that I wanted to be able to accept this as easily as the sky is blue. It made me wish that whenever we were alone together, from this moment on, I would never be wearing my regular clothes. In fact, from her point of view, these would become my regular clothes.
“Hey Sam, it's time for your sister's gymnastics. Do you want to come? ... Actually, why don't I bring the tape here instead, since you're already in uniform?”
I accepted promptly. Not only did that save me from having to change, our lounge would be much more suitable for practice, being a fair deal larger. I was kind of amazed that this hadn't crossed my mind earlier. Also, I couldn't resist passing up some time alone again. I felt that I had wasted the last time I was blessed with this opportunity.
A moment or so later, I heard the garage door close with the usual thud, and with that signal, I joyously skipped out of my room still in my leotard, feeling very liberated. Once I reached the centre of the house, it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn't sure how I should spend my now free time.
Staring at the clear sky through the kitchen windows, being yet another sunny day, perhaps I should try my hand at sunbathing again? However, it was probably too hot for that, nor did I have the same amount of time as my previous attempt. Also, I felt that if I were to do so, I should switch into that bathing suit instead. Sunbathing in a leotard seemed a little ridiculous in my mind, despite being similar.
That said, the green grass of the lawn looked very welcoming. It was probably due to watching my sisters from earlier, but I was driven to get out there myself, playing carefree on the lawn. Yep, I made up my mind and now with a task at hand, I opened the sliding doors and skipped out there, now feeling as free as a bird.
Just like them, I spent five minutes or so playing. I first started out doing cartwheels and handstands, the latter I hadn't attempted for what felt a very long time and needed some practice in order to stop myself from falling over. Once I was able to master them, with the large open space, I decided to begin some ballet practice.
It was incredible that I was now able to do those huge leaps that I could recall on screen without having to worry about breaking anything. It made me think that perhaps we should continue our lessons out here, only to remember that we required a TV. Suddenly, I recalled that we didn't have a VCR, making it impossible to watch the tape she was bringing. Perhaps she was bringing that along too, although I wasn't sure if either of us would be able to set it up. Had she forgotten about this too?
I suppose it didn't matter much as I would still be keen on a lesson without it, allowing me to perform out here, and I felt that I could recollect many of the sequences I had seen. With an intense desire to try them out, I used Tom, our sole garden gnome, as my audience. I'd liked to think that he was enjoying my recital as every time I looked up at him, he continued to smile.
“What did you think of that?”, I asked him jokingly, after completing a complex series of movements from The Nutcracker.
It was certainly possible that I perhaps had a larger audience than just Tom. Some neighbours could be totally watching me right now, be it from their upstairs windows, or through a gap in the fence. I suppose it would have looked very funny from their point of view; the neighbour's kid prancing about in a leotard, putting on a ballet show for a garden gnome, talking to it. They probably thought I was crazy. It didn't concern me though. No matter how many people had seen me, I was unable to deny that I was completely enjoying myself, preventing any shame from forming. Much like Tom, if they were observing me, I'd like to think that they were in awe of my performance.
I continued this for another few minutes, attempting to do my best for my unseen spectators. It would have been amazing if once I had finished my session, the surrounding houses erupted in applause, where I would perform a curtsy to each of them, something that I had often seen in the ballet tapes we were watching.
Hearing a buzzing noise zoom by my left ear, I came to a jarring halt. Rapidly turning around, trying to find the source of it, I spied a bee which was hovering around me, clearly being attractive to my colourful leotard, mistaking it for some form of flower. Having a fear of stings, I immediately ended my performance, darting back inside and quickly closed the door behind me, ensuring that it hadn't followed.
It was at this point, checking the clock, I realized how much time had passed and I would have expected my grandma to return by now. My first thought was that, like last time, maybe she had a surprise for me, however I shook it off. I felt that that way of thinking would end up in disappointment more often than not. She may have just stopped for a drink, or something else trivial.
I thought about resuming my practice indoors, however I suddenly realized that I had yet to see my reflection. I walked over to Faye's room, the closest one with a mirror. Although the bathroom had a larger one, it was more horizontal than vertical, due to the sink in front of it, and I had quite liked leaping in front of them, seeing my entire figure all at once.
Carefully opening her door slightly so I could enter, I made a mental note of exactly how open it previously was. My sisters seemed to have some sort of supernatural ability to notice when someone had been in their rooms, April especially.
As I stepped in front of her mirror, I was a bit taken back with what I saw. Rather than the pretty girl that I had seen yesterday and the day before, I saw my regular self, me. This wouldn't have been a problem in itself, however I was clearly wearing a girl's leotard. I could feel a sense of shame coming over me, a feeling that I had thought that I had become immune to. I guess that I had become a bit spoilt. After that wig, I certainly didn't appear like a girl without it. Turning away in shame, I hurried back to my room to retrieve it. It was shocking to think that I had spent the last fifteen minutes outside, visible to anyone, looking like that.
Much like my tights, it was a bit tricky to put on. Previously my grandma had applied it, tying it up into a bun as well. Despite being able to get it on correctly, the bun was the real struggle. After a few minutes of getting nowhere, I returned to Faye's room to see if my reflection could help with this.
Back in front of her mirror, it was phenomenal how much of a difference that the wig made, even without its usual bun. I kind of wished that it was my actual hair, although if I was fortunate to be blessed with such a wish, I should probably just use it to be transformed into a girl altogether. In the end, I decided to leave it how it was, free flowing. Although it wasn't proper for ballet, I looked and felt much more girlish with it this way. Once my grandma returned home, she could help me put it how it ought to be.
With that problem fixed, there was one other thing that made my boyishness stand out; the bulge on my crotch. Being in a mostly black leotard, looking at it from the front, it surely wasn't as pronounced as it could have been, however I still didn't like to see it when dressed up this way, constantly reminding me of what I really was. I was about to return to my room to cover it up with a skirt, however I came to an abrupt halt. Remembering what room I was in, I realized that I now had access to dresses!
I turned around to face Faye's closet. My heart was pounding. I would soon be wearing my very first dress, making my heart swell with excitement! It felt like such an amazing moment, as if I should mark it down on a calendar in bright red felt, circled, with the words; 'Sam's first dress!'
Walking towards it with my hand outstretched for its handle, I was eager to see the dresses before me. Come to think of it, I couldn't recall what dresses she actually had. My sisters weren't seen in dresses very often, generally preferring skirts and T-shirts, although our mother would usually make them wear them for formal occasions. I knew that they wouldn't be as glamorous as those I had seen in The Nutcracker but that didn't faze me. Knowing that I was soon to be wearing a dress, no matter what one, was enough for me.
Finding them on the left of her clothes rack, I picked one up on its hanger, a peppermint green one. This one, like the others, were very plain, being a single solid colour without any decorations. I held it up to my torso, looking down at it, checking if it would fit, only to remember that there was a mirror nearby. Stepping once again in front of it with the dress across my front, I couldn't help but smile as at a glance, it really did appear as if I was wearing it.
This pleasing moment left me quickly as I got my bearings. I wondered what Faye would think if she knew I was here, standing in front of her mirror with one of her dresses in front of me, clearly thinking of wearing it? She would be mad enough with me simply entering her room but wearing her clothes would likely be a whole other level.
Trying to put myself in her place, it would be a bit strange if either of my sisters were wearing my clothes, although I don't think I would be angry about it. I soon found myself in a trail of thoughts. Did either of them envy my clothes as much as I did theirs? Perhaps they've also gone in my own room, looking at clothes to wear? Ah, I had to conclude that I very much doubted so, which hopefully would also apply to them with me. Girls' clothes were superior to boys' ones, something I felt that they could easily agree with, although I certainly wasn't going to ask them for confirmation.
No matter what they thought though, I was unable to resist the dress. It was great to be in a leotard, as it meant that I could simply wear it underneath. Staring at it, I was once again reminded of that day at the beach, which now almost felt like a distant memory, where I wasn't entirely sure how exactly to put on that bathing suit, although I considered myself quite an expert now. Rather than entering through the head, it looked like it were to be the opposite way with a dress, entering through the bottom. I found it sort of amazing that I had never thought about this until this very moment.
I had heard the phrase 'throw on a dress' from somewhere, but wasn't aware that it was to be taken so literally. Just as I was about to toss it over my head with a bright smile, I heard the unmistakable sound of the garage door opening, causing me to freeze. How would grandma react if she found me wearing my sisters' dresses?
It was difficult to envision actually. I was sure she wouldn't have any qualms with me wearing the dress itself but sneaking into their rooms, without their knowledge, could be crossing the line. Either as a punishment or to stay honest, she might then mention it to them. I would have liked to think that she would have enjoyed seeing me in a dress though, as I could clearly remember her joyful expressions whenever she saw me in a new leotard. Perhaps it would be enough for her to look pass any rules that I had broken.
However, I didn't want to test her. In fact, I could probably just ask if she would let me wear one, if only to try it on. I couldn't see her refusing. As it was the much safer option, I returned the dress to Faye's closet. It was a little disappointing though as I was so close to wearing it. If only she had been a minute later...
I returned to my own room to put on a skirt. As I was doing so, I could distinctively hear chatter. One voice clearly was from my grandma but the other took me a moment. It was Judy! I suppose at this rate, Judy would always be here for my lessons. It didn't really concern me though, especially if she was bringing me more things to wear, however I silently laughed it off. I had already been lucky enough.
Meeting them in the kitchen, I was astonished to find that Judy came in carrying a large cardboard box which she placed down on the table there with a thump. There was nothing written on it so I couldn't tell what it contained, however my heart swelled seeing it, being that it was likely another surprise for me. It was also very eerie though, occurring right after I had dismissed expecting anything. I was almost about to pinch myself to ensure that this wasn't some pleasant dream, however if it were, it certainly wasn't one that I would want to wake up from.
Noticing me walking in, along with my expression of joyous curiosity, Judy turned towards me with a smile.
“Hello Sam, I brought you some more clothes to wear.” she said. “Thought you might like to model them for us.”
A short while later, my grandma was in the kitchen making drinks for all of us. Judy had helped me carry the box to the middle of the lounge and I was looking through it, completely mesmerized with what was there. Dresses, skirts, tops, a bathing suit, a pair of tights, and a separate tutu, with several being very glamorous. Along with clothes, at the bottom there was a number of woman's fashion magazines too, making me think that it acted as a girl's dress up box, probably Judy's daughter. She was on the couch watching me with a radiant bright grin. I suppose that it looked like I was opening presents on a Christmas morning, and it certainly did feel that way.
My grandma had asked me to wait until she was there with the drinks before I tried any of them on. In my head, I kept mentally asking her to hurry up as I was extremely eager.
“Here we are.” she announced as she finally came in, placing the drinks down. Sitting beside Judy, she smiled and said to me; “Alright Sam, why don't you put on a show for us?”
I nodded with my own bright smile in response, although I surely didn't need to be asked. I wondered if I should begin getting changed in front of them as I could simply keep my leotard on underneath, however as I would need to remove my skirt for some of it, I decided against it. Even if Judy knew, I would rather avoid reminding her of it.
Lifting myself up from the floor, I pushed the box back to the kitchen, sliding it across the floor.
“Won't be a minute.”
Quickly looking through the box once more, I wasn't sure what to start off with. Now available to me, I was very keen on putting on one of the dresses, however I felt I should leave the best ones for last now that I had an audience.
I ended up choosing a simple yellow top with a denim skirt to begin with, probably being some of the most regular things in there. That said, this would be the first time I got to wear a normal skirt and the thin straps on the top stood out as well, so I was still very much excited to try them on.
After replacing my ballet skirt, I put on the top only to find that it was shorter than I had expected, leaving a small gap between it and the skirt, exposing my leotard. Turning to look at my shoulders, the straps on my leotard were much wider than the top's straps too. It looked a little weird and I felt that if this was worth doing, it was worth doing it right.
As I wouldn't be able to cover up my leotard, I decided to remove it, immediately beginning to strip. Normally I would have returned to my room to do this, however I didn't want to keep them waiting any longer. It must have been clear to them that it was taking much longer than it should have to put something on and sure enough, a few seconds later Judy called out; “Sam, do you need help with anything?”
“No, almost there!” I quickly replied, trying to dress as quickly as possible, worried that she might be getting up to check.
With both garments now on, I darted back to the lounge. As I was now lacking underwear, I made a metal note to ensure that I didn't make any sudden movements, just in case I accidentally exposed myself. Somehow I felt much more troubled about wearing regular girls' clothes without underwear, than wearing a very girlish pink ballet uniform in front of them both. I suppose that was normal, however thinking about it a bit longer, maybe regular boys would prefer the former option? Well, at least if they were ensured that nobody would be looking up their skirts.
What started off as a trivial thought quickly flourished into something else. I found myself thinking of Shawn and Michael, my two best friends, and which of the two options they would pick. It actually made me want to somehow propose the question to them, although preferably anonymously as I couldn't even begin to envision how to bring up that scenario.
Shaking that trail of thoughts out of my head, I entered noticing that they both had moved to the other couch, the one in front of my entrance. This way was easier for them as they wouldn't need to turn their heads to see me. Both of them smiled as they saw me come in, causing my own smile to become brighter.
“What do you think?” I asked.
After replying with a polite “Thank you”, I was about to perform my regular curtsey to them but due to my lack of an undergarment, it could have been a little dangerous. I wondered if they picked up on this, although they didn't say anything about it.
“Be right back.” I stated, turning away to put the next items on, but before I could, Judy called out.
“Hey, have you ever seen a catwalk, Sam?”
“A cat walk?”
Well, I suppose I had but I wasn't sure why she had brought it up, especially now of all times.
“Yes, care to show us?”
With a very confused expression, I slowly got down on my hands and knees, miming a cat, doing a few short steps this way. This felt very odd to be doing and when I looked up at them, they were both staring at me, grinning extensively, seemingly trying not to laugh. I suppose that this did look as stupid as it felt, and I quickly got up to my feet, red with embarrassment.
“Haha! She didn't mean a cat's walk, Sam, but a catwalk, one word. It's a type of walk, what models do.” my grandma informed me through a chortle.
“Here let me show you.” Judy said in the same happy tone that my grandma had used, fresh with laughter.
Getting up from the couch, she exited the room where I had come in from, only to come back in right away. This time her walk was much more pronounced, with one leg positioned squarely in front of the other, constantly facing forward at us.
Once she got a short distance away from the couch, she stopped, placed her hands on her hips, turned to her side, paused for a moment, and then did a twirl in each direction, clearly meant to show off her dress. After another quick pause, she turned away without as much of a word, using the same style of walk she had come in on.
My grandma started to clap in applause, and seeing this, I followed her lead. It certainly had been a performance, abit a small one.
“That's a catwalk, Sam”, she stopped and said. “Although if you prefer to do a cat ... walk, you're very much welcome to.” she added with a grin, walking her usual way back towards her seat.
It actually looked like fun, having a similar elegance of ballet. I was suddenly reminded that we were missing out on my lessons but I didn't really mind. Nothing could stop me from passing up this opportunity.
Back at the box of clothes, I went through it again, finding something else to wear next. I decided to get through the tops and skirts to start off with, and before I knew it, it became increasingly satisfying to find a set that would match each other, sort of like a game. Once I had my next pair on, a light blue laced top with a navy layered short skirt, I performed my first catwalk into the room.
Much like before, they were both smiling, staring at my clothes just as much as me.
“Very pretty.”, “Cute.” they commented.
It felt amazing to be admired, especially while wearing these, feeling almost like a lovely dream. I still hadn't pinched myself to ensure that it wasn't one, but I wouldn't be doing that until I had at least finished the box. If it was one, perhaps due to the nature of dreams, I would find that the box was endless. I suppose that I would have to wake up sooner or later, but right now, I could have probably wished that I was in a coma. As much as it was fun to think about, I was indisputably convinced that this was all very real, making it all the so much better.
“Makes me wish I had brought my camera.” I heard Judy say through the applause from behind me as I was walking out the room.
This almost made me freeze and I wasn't sure what to think about that. Even if I wasn't wearing these, I didn't generally like having my picture taken as I often found myself looking dumb or dorky in them, and at times this was amplified due to having my eyes closed due to the camera's flash. However, there was a definite part of me that was interested, thinking back to that previous thought, where I would have liked to mark this historic day down on a calendar.
“That's a good idea. Would you mind, Sam?” my grandma inquired.
I was a bit concerned about where these pictures might end up, but I couldn't explain why I felt this way in front of Judy. Since I was wearing the clothes she had brought, I would feel a bit heartless if I refused, and I suspect that most girls would have loved this, which would probably help enforce the role I was doing my best to play. I supposed that I owed her this. My only hope was that whoever may see these photos, they would simply see a pretty girl playing dress up.
“No, that's okay.” I replied with some slight nerves that hopefully neither of them would pick up on.
“In that case, do you know where Mum & Dad keep their camera?” she asked getting up.
I knew where it was located but if I were to lie, I speculated that it would allow me to avoid these photos without coming across as if I didn't want to partake in them. However, my better judgement knew best. Lying to my grandma was an absolute no, and I didn't want to face her wrath when she found out, which I was confident that she inevitably would.
“In the garage.” I said, going with her to point out where it was stored.
Opening the storage closet where it was kept, she noticed our numerous amount of cameras. My Mum, who had previously worked as a photojournalist as well as a hobbyist photographer, had quite a collection. The one that caught her eye though, picking it up from the shelf, was her old video camera.
“Hey, why not video instead, Sam? It'll be more like a real show that way.”
I actually had a feeling she would say this, thinking about it on the way here. I didn't have any objections to this as I couldn't see how a video would be any worse than regular photos. In fact, part of me was interested in seeing the footage, with myself appearing from their point of view, and I wouldn't need to worry about my eyes being caught closed.
“Alright. There's a tripod here as well.”
Taking it back with us to the lounge, I helped set it up and got it ready to record. I certainly wasn't an expert with these but I knew the basics. There was already a tape in the device but as we couldn't get it to playback, we weren't sure if we could tape over it. Luckily we found a brand-new one, still sealed in plastic, within the camera's bag.
“I'm surprised that your parents didn't take it with them, Sam. It would be great to see footage of their trip.” my grandma mentioned.
“Actually this is their old one. They recently upgraded to a newer model.”
“Well, it still looks quite flash to me.” Judy added, inspecting it.
“I'll be right back.” I stated, heading out of the room.
I suspected that they thought that I was planning to make use of the toilet but instead I headed towards my room. Once there, I put my regular underwear back on for safety and peace of mind. I wouldn't want a potentially shocking and awkward moment to be captured on video.
Back in the lounge, after ensuring that the red recording light was on the camera, we resumed the show. As I was getting changed into my next clothes, I supposed that these moments when I wasn't there would be a waste of tape but it probably wasn't worth the trouble to have them start and stop the camera each time. It did make me attempt to dress faster though.
When I returned to the lounge, now with the camera's lens intensively watching me, it did make me feel like at least another person was in the room. It did make me a little anxious at first but as I kept coming back, I noticed that it was actually beginning to help me, making it feel that the compliments and applause I was getting was so much greater. Whoever may be watching, I did want to put on a good show for. Along with that, since I was lacking a nearby mirror, unable to see myself dressed up like this, I became very keen on wanting to see this footage myself.
Once I finished my sixth catwalk, I noticed that there was more tops than skirts in the box, so I was forced to recycle them. The very vivid tutu didn't seem to go well with anything, being such a jarring difference to anything else in there.
However, once I had gotten through all the tops, outside of the dresses, the only thing left was the bathing suit. It was quite dull and certainly wasn't as intense as many others I had seen but I felt like it was my duty to get through everything. The only problem was that it was skirt-less. Looking at all my options though, I had a funny idea.
I crawled out there on my hands and knees, marking my arrival with my best meow. I didn't know much about fashion but even I knew that what I was wearing was a horrible mess of colours; a grey bathing suit with a thick navy blue stripe down each side, an orange, pink, and yellow, netted tutu, and finally, some dark green tights. All three combined made for one very ridiculous outfit, one which I doubted would have gotten any praise, even from them.
Therefore, to be a bit different and for a change of pace, I decided to match it by doing something equally ridiculous. They had gotten a chuckle out of it last time, and sure enough, they both smiled large grins and looked at each other before breaking out in laughter. It was still a little embarrassing but also pleasant in knowing that I was able to humour them both. Crawling in, looking up at it, I realized that the camera had no context for this little joke of mine. Hopefully, there would be nobody else who would be seeing it.
As I proceeded down my catwalk, Judy called out; “Here puss, puss, puss.”
Indulging her, I meowed as a sign of acknowledgement and approached with some curiosity, attempting to do my best cat impression. Once I was within her hand's reach, she patted me on the head. I was quickly alarmed that this may cause my wig to become loose, but thankfully it stayed in place. Even my grandma reached over to join in and I attempted to purr for a bit, only to realize that I couldn't produce the same sound a cat would make, so I just resorted back to meowing using a jubilant tone.
While my grandma was patting me on my head, I got a slight startle as I felt Judy begin to stroke me down my back. Not because I was particularly sensitive to it, but it had been unexpected. I had stroked across my own skin over a bathing suit a few times now, having a wondrous feeling to it, but it was much stranger when someone else was doing it. I wasn't use to having this amount of physical contact, probably never having so much of it before, and it made for a very unusual feeling.
Once their material affection had started to die down, I began to crawl back with a final meow. From behind, I heard Judy jokingly say; “Good kitty.”
Back at the box, I was quite ecstatic that I had now reached the moment that I had been eagerly awaiting, the dresses! Looking through what was there, I was a bit conflicted as to which I should choose for my first one. I wanted it to be special in some way, not simply being the most blandest one there.
I ended up choosing a little black one, being my favourite colour. It lacked sleeves with a skirt length that reached just past my knees. Although highly plain, having no decorations, it still looked nice. Unlike the dress I had seen in Faye's room, this one appeared to be stepped in, rather than thrown over me, having a number of buttons down its back. It was only at this point I realized that everything I had worn so far had been a near perfect fit, and it appeared that this dress, as well as the others, wouldn't be an exception.
Perhaps the girl who had this box before me was about my size, but I couldn't help but think that maybe my grandma and Judy had gone through it already, filtering out anything that wouldn't have fitted me. After all, it did take them a long time to arrive back home. If this really was the case, were these actually all the clothes they had, or just the ones they had particularly wanted to see me wear? It made me envision them doing this, discussing which clothes that I would look 'cute' and such in.
It may have all been wishful thinking on my part, but in the case that it wasn't, it only increased the respect I had for them both, further motivating me to continue my performance as best as I could.
Once I had quickly undressed out of that bizarre outfit I was previously wearing, I stepped into my very first dress, savouring the experience, never wishing to forget it. It almost made me want to have myself recorded doing this, but knowing that I would be seen in it momentarily was enough for me.
I carefully took each strap in each hand and positioned them to sit above my shoulders. I then moved my hands across my back towards the buttons. While going through them, I had noticed that some of the other dresses had zippers down their backs instead. It made me wonder if there were any other types.
Attempting to locate a button in one hand and its respective hole in the other, I began to fasten it, or at least attempted to. The buttons kept sliding from my fingers, or simply wouldn't go through their holes, almost as if they were disappearing. As the seconds ticked by though, I found it to be very difficult, quickly becoming frustrating. I felt that I was getting nowhere, and I started to question if I was doing this right. Was this really something that every girl did when they put on a dress like this? It felt as if this was some form of puzzle, like a Rubik's Cube, that I needed to solve in order to wear it.
After what felt like several minutes, with not a single button fastened, it approached infuriating, almost as if the dress was mocking me. It seemed as if there was an anti-boy lock on it, shouting out at me; “You're not allowed to wear this! It's for girls only!”
Although my hands were beginning to get sore from being held in the same awkward position for so long, this only made me more determined to wear it. I thought about running towards a mirror but quickly dismissed it as cheating. Like my leotards, I wanted this to become second nature to me, no matter how long it would take.
“Ah, we thought you might have trouble with them.” I heard from behind, startling me.
It was just my grandma. I suppose that it was taking me far too long to reappear, making her get up to check on me.
“Here, let me help you. Turn around.”
Turning back around again, she quickly fastened up the buttons on my back without so much as a hitch, making me feel very inadequate. Although I wanted to do it by myself, I guess that I couldn't have been expected to get it right my very first time, and I would have plenty more opportunity to try.
“If you have any more trouble, just call out, Sam.” she replied with a smile to me and my dress.
She turned around, heading back towards her seat, to which I quickly followed, making an effort to perform an exceptional catwalk due to the occasion. Meeting eyes with the camera and its red light, I was certainly going to ask to watch its footage once we had finished.
A dress was quite a bit different from what I had expected. Being primary supported by my top half, rather than my hips, the skirt was a lot more free to flow about compared to a regular one and I could feel it brush across my legs with each step I took. Reaching the end of the catwalk, I emulated the same twirl that Judy had done, noticing that my skirt, being so light and breezy, flared up easily with only a minor spin. I couldn't resist doing another, being a bit careful not to expose my underwear.
Peering up, they were both beaming at me causing me to become flustered, but in a good way. I suppose that it was the first time any of us, myself included, had seen me in a dress. Whatever may happen though, I would ensure that this day wouldn't be my last time either. Now that I had a taste of one, it wasn't something that I would be willing to give up.
After their compliments and applause with a curtsey to each of them in return, including the camera, I nearly skipped the remaining way back, keen on putting on another. However, now out of their view, I couldn't avoid attempting several more spins before I did, making my skirt become almost horizontal. It was just too much fun. Staring down at it, I felt a bit like a peacock, exposing my previously hidden stunning array of feathers.
I found it easier to remove the dress, compared to putting it on, although I still need to place my hands in some difficult positions. My next one, a plain white summer dress, having no sleeves with minimal straps and a skirt that reached just above the knee, I was able to throw right over me.
As I walked with it down my catwalk, it was clearly a dress meant for a bright sunny day, much like this one, and I was half thinking of asking if we could continue this out there. However, I suppose that it would be quite an effort of moving, needing to bring the camera with us and finding suitable seating. The loungers, being too low to the ground, didn't seem quite appropriate. Most importantly, and what I probably should have thought about first, was that there wasn't any place I could change out there.
I continued through the dresses, immediately feeling amazing once I had a new one on, although very few of them were easy to get in to. Eventually they began to take turns helping me get fitted into them. My drive to do this myself had started to lapse when I realized that it would take a lot longer without their help, nor was it the time to learn. While she was zipping up the back of one, Judy had actually mentioned that I should wear dresses more often, in order to get more practice with them. She said this with a slight chuckle but I fully believed she had meant it, something that I absolutely planned on doing.
Eventually, I had the final one on, an emerald green sleeveless one that had a bow that tied around the waist, with a skirt that reached just above my knees. It also had a number of white beads in a decorative arrangement around the neck. Once it was fitted snug around me, I marched out proudly, being the best I could be, attempting to finish off with a bang.
As I announced that I had finished off the box, I could tell from their expressions that they were as disappointed as I was about the news.
“Was there anything else in the box, Sam?” Judy asked.
She said this in such a way that reminded me of a teacher asking the class for an answer to a question, seemingly making it clear that she was looking for a specific answer. Thinking back, there were some magazines too.
“Yes, there were a few magazines as well.”
“Well, we were thinking that we all could browse through them, picking out the clothes we all liked. Why not bring them here?”
I didn't think that I had ever browsed through any fashion material before but from the way she described it, it certainly sounded fun. Skipping back with the pile of them, I laid them out on the coffee table in front of them.
“Sit between us here, Sam.” my grandma said, patting the empty space.
Squeezing between them, we picked out a magazine to begin with and went through it page by page, picking out which garment we each thought was best across each spread. As I was in charge of flipping the pages, I automatically skipped pass any that didn't offer a selection, mostly being ads or articles. Although they weren't as common, some pages only had a selection of boy's and men's clothes so those were skipped as well. I'm sure nobody was interested in those, I certainly wasn't. In the few times when the pages had a selection of both boys' and girls' clothes, I always choose the latter and not only to simply keep up appearances, I was sincerely choosing the ones I genuinely would have loved to wear.
Despite it not being a game, I was reminded of playing Cluedo from earlier, with it being astonishingly enjoyable. Some pages were quite difficult to decide what to pick, with us some times choosing two. When we differed on choices, often we would take a moment to explain why, which was very intriguing to hear. I had been involved in the same sort of conversations with my friends about TV shows, movies, and cars, but never in a million years would I thought I would be having the same pleasing conversation about dresses.
Judy flustered me a few times, pointing out dresses that she thought I would look adorable in. In the back of my mind, I was thinking that if she was keen on getting them, I would be absolutely keen on helping her confirm her theory.
Most of the magazine was made up of casual wear but now and then, there were a selection dedicated to swimwear and different types of dresses, like ones for parties & ballrooms, as well as wedding dresses, including some for bridesmaids and flower girls.
“Have you ever been a flower girl before, Sam?” Judy asked.
“No but I'd like to.”
To be honest, I don't think I had ever been to a wedding before and hadn't a clue what a flower girl actually does, however whatever it was, I definitely would have been willing to do it for those dresses alone.
We eventually finished the magazine and continued on to the next one. I did notice that some pages had been ripped out, but I didn't inquire about the issue. There was still plenty of content to go through.
However, on the next one, we came across a selection filled with dancewear, making us all suddenly recall that this was initially supposed to be a ballet lesson. My grandma, glancing up at the clock, stated that we wouldn't have any time left for it unfortunately, and we would need to finish after getting to the end of the current magazine to collect my sisters, but I didn't actually mind missing out on it, as I had a spectacular experience either way.
We reached the end about five minutes later.
“Ah... I hadn't done that in years. I remember doing this with my own mother years ago now. Used to do it with my daughter when she was a girl too.” Judy said through a yawn and a stretch.
“I remember doing that too. I wish that I had a daughter though.”
“Well, you have a cute granddaughter at least.” she replied, stroking my hair.
“So, Sam, did you enjoy all that? Did you have any favourites?” she asked as a follow-up.
I wasn't sure if she had meant the dresses I had worn, or the ones in the magazines, but I realized that my answer was the same, either way.
“Not really, I loved them all!”
Still a bit worried that my wig could become loose, I began to get up.
“Well, I better get changed.” I said, turning around to do a final curtsy to them before I left.
“Wait a minute, Sam.” my grandma said as I was skipping towards my room, halting me in my tracks.
I turned around curiously.
“We've been thinking... Since we haven't had a lot of time for your lessons, Judy & I were thinking that if you wanted to, you could stay with Judy for a week, and she could continue teaching you.”
This I certainly hadn't expected. I had to pause for a moment to process it.
“Your grandma tells me that you don't have many dresses at home, so if you wanted to stay with me, you'll be in them all the time.” she added with a laugh.
I looked between the two of them. I really didn't know what to say. It was no doubt a very intriguing option, feeling like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and after all she had done for me, after not knowing me very well at all, it would surely be a great way of showing my gratitude towards her.
However, it was my sisters that kept me grounded. How would we explain that to them, and what would they think? Lying clearly wasn't going to be a possibility. I was going to stay at an old lady's house, one that they had never met before. Close to asking my grandma about it, I stopped, trying to think of a way to say what I was thinking without spilling the beans to Judy. I think I must have muttered something as she quickly picked up on my predicament, almost as if she was a mind reader.
“Don't worry. You can tell them that you're staying with a friend. That's technically the truth, right?” she said grinning, as if she could hear my internal thoughts. It was a little scary at how well she could do that.
“Okay! Let's do it.” I replied as a smile began to light up my face.