"The Gift"

THE GIFT

Fiction by

Claudette St. Onge  2000, all rights reserved


Oh, once again to feel youth’s gentle flame,

A dream fulfilling defies Nature’s end;

To have the desire without guilt or shame,

As the twig receives a feminine bend.

PART ONE

It was Memorial Day, 1954. But Billy looked unhappy. Heck of a way to have to spend a day out of school, he thought. It seemed he couldn’t really do anything that was fun. His mom made him take a bath and put on a clean shirt and school pants. Then she combed his hair and gave him a stern warning.

"Now you can go outside, but you better not get dirty, young man, or you won’t be playing outside for a week. And be careful with your shoes, too. Keep them nice and shiny till Aunt Terri leaves. Absolutely no running."

She was always doing this. Every time any company came he had to stay clean and wear school clothes. He couldn’t even wear his sneakers. But, gee! This was Memorial Day! His father wanted to take him fishing, but after the phone call from his aunt the other day, his mother told him he had to stay home. What lousy luck! He poked at the ground with a stick as he sat on the cellar bulkhead. Mac, his border collie, sat and looked up at him quizzically, wondering why they weren’t running down the path in the wood lot to the camp Billy and his pals had built.

Inside the house his mother was taking a pan of brownies out of the oven. It would be nice having her sister visit today. Actually they saw each other fairly often, but she had expected to be alone today since her husband was going fishing with a pal and had offered to take Billy with him. But when her sister had called to tell her she was coming over with a little present for her birthday, she said that it was important that Billy be there. She said she had something for him, too, but not to tell him that. It was a surprise.

She and her sister exchanged birthday presents. But other than that, and a present from her husband, Jim, she didn’t make a big deal out of her birthday anymore. No parties or presents from her other relatives. It just came and went like any other day. Still, it was sweet of Terri to be coming over and showing that she remembered her birthday with some little present. Susan began lifting the brownies out of the pan with a spatula and stacking them on a glass plate.

Just about ten o’clock that morning, Aunt Terri’s Buick pulled into the driveway, and Mac recognized the sound of her car and ran over to it, his tail wagging rapidly. Billy looked up when he heard it and stood up. He began walking over towards it slowly. His aunt got out and straightened out her dress, brushing at her skirts which poufed out nicely from the petticoats under it. Then she opened the door to the back seat and took out a large, sort of flat package with a big ribbon and bow on it.

"Hi, Billy," she called to him with a big smile. She began to walk to the back door and he headed towards it, too. Might as well get it over with, he thought.

"Hello, Aunt Terri," he answered.

"My! You look very nice today, Billy," she said as they walked to the door.

"Yeah…mom always makes me get cleaned up when you come over," he said.

"Well," she said, "boys do look nicer when they’re clean, Billy." She smiled at him lovingly and they went in the back door to the kitchen. Billy stood there as his mother and aunt kissed each other’s cheeks and made ‘hello’s and began to walk slowly into the parlor.

"Smells like brownies," said Aunt Terri.

"Yes," said Susan, "and I just put on a pot of coffee. It’ll be ready in a few minutes. Let’s sit down on the couch." Billy followed along slowly, wondering how long she was going to stay. Maybe she’d only be here a little while and he could change into his jeans, tee shirt and sneakers and then do something that was fun. More fun than this anyway.

He sat down in a big overstuffed chair, his feet not quite reaching the floor.

His tenth birthday had been only two months ago, and his father had given him a new fishing rod and reel. So far he had only used it twice. He wondered if dad had already caught some trout today. This was going to be a crummy day for him. It had that feeling about it. His mother and aunt chattered away about some wedding that they had gone to the other day while he was in school. Women and girls always talk about such boring stuff, he thought. He wished he could at least watch some television, but he knew his mother and aunt wanted to talk.

The two women, both rather pretty and just a couple of years apart in age, were in their mid-to-late thirties. They sat with their legs crossed, white petticoats peeking from under their dresses. Some holiday, he thought. What a waste.

Finally his mother told him he could go back outside, but again warned him about not getting dirty. He almost ran out of the house and found Mac waiting for him at the back porch steps, tail wagging expectantly.

"Susan, don’t get too excited by the size of the box," said Terri. "It was a close-out sale at Schacter’s Department store. I really didn’t pay all that much for it. Happy birthday, Sis." She leaned over and gave her sister a little peck on the cheek.

"Oh, Terri! You shouldn’t be doing this!" Actually, she was somewhat excited and dying to find out what her sister had brought her. She untied the fancy bow and ribbon and slid the box out of the gift wrapping paper. Taking off the top of it, she could see two layers of tissue paper wrapped over a couple of items. She unwrapped the paper from the top one and lifted a pretty yellow dress out of the box.

"Oh, Terri! It’s gorgeous!" She stood up, holding the dress against herself, admiring the ruffles, big flounce and lace trim. "Terri, I can wear this when Jim and I go out to eat next week. And to church, too. It’s very nice. Thanks so much." She gave her sister a kiss on the cheek and looked back at the dress, her eyes shining.

"Umm…there’s something else in the box, too, Susan," said Terri.

"Yes, I thought there was….Let me see…" She unwrapped the second item and held up a dress that was the same as the first one, but it was for a young girl.

"What is…" she began, puzzled.

"It was a mother and daughter set," explained Terri. "I had to buy both to get the one I wanted for you. At first I thought maybe you could give it to Mary Ferland across the street for her little girl."

"Oh. Yes," said Susan. "She’d love it."

"Sue…when I was buying it, I started thinking about doing something else with it," said Terri. "It would be something fun to do today instead of just sitting here talking ourselves out and getting fat on your brownies." She laughed good naturedly, and wondered what her sister would think of what she was about to say.

"Well, I’m all for fun," replied Susan. "What is it?"

"Sis," began Terri, "you know how you always hoped you’d have a little girl. It must be a disappointment for you to have your only child be a boy."

"Oh, well," said Susan with a sigh, "I know I’ll never get everything I want in life."

"Well, maybe just for this afternoon, you could have your daughter," said Terri. "I bought a set that had the size dress in it that would fit Billy. Let’s dress him up for today. I think it would be so much fun. And we could take a few pictures of you and your "daughter" to keep in your family album."

"Put Billy in a dress?!" said Susan, laughing a little. "He’d start World War III if I even mentioned the idea of it." It was just like Terri to want to do something mischievous like this, she thought, still smiling at her.

"Oh, come on, Sue. We can make him do it, and it’ll be so much fun. We can bribe him with something….tell him we’ll take him to the movies or something. I bet he’d really look cute, too."

Susan thought about the idea. It would be lots of fun, and something she’d remember….having a daughter for a day! Her own little girl!

"Well, I don’t want to embarrass him….but.."

"Good!" said Terri, not waiting for her to finished. "Call him back in and get him to wait here a minute. I have another package out in my car. I’ll only be a minute." She got up and went out the back door.

Susan thought about what Billy would look like dressed as a girl. A smile appeared on her face and she went to the back door and called Billy. Leave it to Terri to think of something like this, she thought. Still, it probably would be a lot of fun.

Billy was looking in Mac’s ears for ticks. It was a noble duty all the boys did for their canine pals. His mom thought it was gross and probably involved exposure to all sorts of germs. Finished, he gave Mac’s head a friendly rough rub. Mac shook his head and ears vigorously, smiling at him like some dogs can.

Then he heard his mother calling him. He inwardly groaned and got to his feet and went towards the back door to see what she wanted.

"Come back inside, honey," she said to him from the top porch step. "There’s something we have to do."

Now what, he wondered. He was about to find out, never expecting that he would become the center of attraction.

"You mean put on a dress?!!" He could hardly believe his ears! "Aww, come-on, mom. I don’t wanna do anything like that. That’s crazy. I won’t do it."

"Oh, yes you will," said his mother. "Besides we’ll make it worth your while."

"Whadda ya mean?" he asked standing in front of the two grinning women.

"We’ll take you to the movies afterwards, Billy," said Aunt Terri.

"What’s playing?" he asked, thinking maybe there was a good space monster movie in town.

It’s a double feature, honey," said Aunt Terri. "The first one is The Enchanted Cottage."

"What’s ‘enchanted’ mean?" he asked.

"Well, sort of like haunted, dear," she replied

"Oh," he said, thinking it might have some ghosts in it. "And what’s the second movie?"

"Drums Along the Mohawk," said his mother. "It’s an Indian movie. Both of them are older movies that you probably missed."

"Really?! Hmmm."

"I’ll do something else,for you,too, Billy," said his mother.

"What?" he asked.

"I’ll buy you that Swiss Army knife you’ve been pestering me about."

Wow! Wait till the other guys saw him with it! He tried not to let them see

it was so important to him.

"Well, I guess so, mom," he said finally. "But what do I have to do?"

"Oh, nothing much, sweetheart," said his mother. "Just let us dress you up nice and pretty and have Aunt Terri take a few pictures of you and Mommy together."

"Pictures?" he asked.

"Yes, honey," answered his mother. "I always wanted a little girl, and for this afternoon you can be Mommy’s daughter. Won’t that be nice? And Mommy can keep a few secret pictures to remember the little girl she had one afternoon."

"Are you sure you’ll keep them secret?" asked Billy.

"Oh, yes, Billy," she replied, her fingers crossed behind her back. "No one will see them except you and me and Aunt Terri."

"Let’s go into Mommy’s room and get started," said Aunt Terri, getting up from the couch.

His mother leaned forward, hugging him and kissing his cheek. "Thank you, sweetheart. You’ll make Mommy very happy."

"Still sounds silly to me," said Billy as he accompanied the two women towards his mother's bedroom.

The contents of the second large package his aunt had taken from the car were lying on the bed; a whole bunch of girly things right next to a yellow dress.

But first he was told to take off all his clothes. He did, but was at that age where he was starting to feel kinda funny being naked in front of ladies.

His aunt held some panties open for him to step into. They were shiny pink with white lace around the leg openings and across the back of them. Ugh!

Then his mother stepped close and patted him all over with some pretty smelling powder. It made him sneeze once and his mom apologized.

"What do you think, Susan?" asked Terri. "Camisole and petticoat or a bouffant slip?"

"Oh, they’re both darling," replied his mother. "But I think the slip really is sweet. I love the lace and bow on the bodice of it, and the ribbon bands and bow above the lace hem, too. It looks yummy!"

Yummy, thought Billy disgustedly! He began to have second thoughts about this whole thing. Then he thought of the Swiss Army knife and, sighing, continued to let them dress him.

He looked down at his chest and where his legs usually were. There were shiny shoulder straps trimmed with lace and there was more lace and a little shiny bow on the top of it. The skirt of it went down to the top of his knees, but because of the way it poufed out, he couldn’t see his feet. It had three layers to it, and the inner layer was surprisingly smooth on his legs. And it was so pretty and girlish it made his stomach feel funny!

"Susan, Memorial Day usually marks the beginning of summer fashion, so I got him some white Mary Janes," said Terri. "Nice, aren’t they?"

"Oh, yes, Terri!" said his mother enthusiastically. "And I love the little lace ruffle on the white socks." She slipped them on his feet as he sat on the edge of her bed, turning the top of them back down so the lace covered his ankles. Then came the shoes. Just his luck….they fit!

"Stand up, sweetheart," said his aunt. "It’s time to put your dress on now."

Did she have to say ‘your dress’, he thought. He also thought about how both of them had been calling him ‘sweetheart’, ‘honey’, and ‘darling’ all morning long. Jeeezz!

When his mother lifted the dress over his head, she told him to make sure his hands and arms went into the puffed sleeves as she pulled it down. His aunt fixed the dress over the skirt of the slip, brushing away some wrinkles as his mother began buttoning up the back of it. Then she took both ends of a wide white sash attached at the sides of his waist and pulled them tight and tied a big bow at the back of his waist.

His mother came around in front of him again, standing next to her sister as both women looked critically at him.

"Hmmm," said his mother. "We’ll have to do something with his hair…"

"How would it be if I gave him a pixie cut? asked Terri. "He’s cute enough to get away with short hair."

"Could you really, Terri?" asked his mother. "That would look cute."

"Sure," said Terri. "I did plenty of them when I worked at the salon. I’ll leave it long enough on the sides to attach a bow to it, too."

A bow in his hair! He was beginning to feel very squirmy in his panties!

"Mom, you gotta promise you’ll let me get a crew cut tomorrow," he said.

"We’ll see, dear," she replied. "And sweetheart, call me ‘Mommy’ for the rest of the afternoon. It sounds nicer, honey. And say ‘Auntiie’ instead of aunt, too, dear. Now Mommy’s going to put on her new dress, too." She took off the brown and gray shirtwaist she was wearing and put on the pretty yellow dress, and asked Terri how it looked.

"Oh, Sis!" answered Terri. "It really looks lovely on you."

Susan went over to the far end of the room and looked at herself in the full length mirror. It was pretty. And Billy’s was just as pretty!

Then they sat him down in a chair and wrapped a folded bed sheet around him to keep the cut hair off his dress. While his aunt began to cut and shape his hair, his mother pulled a chair closer to him and sat down and began to paint his fingernails red.

He began to wonder if the Swiss Army knife was worth all this.

Finally both women were finished. His aunt used a hairpin to fix a pretty little yellow bow in his hair on the side of his head.

"Oh, yes, Terri!" said his mother. "It matches his dress and looks so darling!"

"Susan, let’s put just a little bit of lipstick on him."

"And a little mascara, too," said his mother.

Finally they were done and both women stood in front, looking down at him with big smiles and clasped hands. His mother especially, had a dreamy-eyed look of happiness to her expression.

"Oh, Terri! I never thought he could look like this," said his mother. "He looks so cute! I really do have a daughter after all."

"I knew he’d look cute if we dressed him up," said Terri. "And you would have, too, if you had thought about it. He has delicate features."

"Sweetheart, come here and give Mommy a big hug." She held her arms open to receive him. He got up from the chair and went over to her and she bent forward, embraced him and kissed his cheek.

"My very own little girl! Oh, darling, you look so nice!" She kissed him again, hugging him tight.

Boy! Did he feel funny. Really weird. It was a way he had never felt before, and it scared him a little.

Then his mother demonstrated the way nice girls sit down, smoothing her dress behind her and out to the sides a little. Both women also began to give him instructions: not swinging his arms when he walked, walking a little slower and taking slightly smaller steps, sitting up nice and straight and with his feet and knees together and his hands in his lap. And they told him to speak in a soft but clear voice, and not to use any slang.

"And don’t you dare go for a pee standing up while you’re Mommy’s little girl or Mommy will have to spank you with the hair brush. Understand?"

"Yes, Mommy," he answered quietly. It had been over a year since she had used the hair brush on his bottom, but it was still a painfully clear memory.

"Mommy," he asked, "can I see myself in the big mirror now?"

"Let Auntiie put this on you first, dear," said Terri as she fastened a dainty gold chain and tiny pearl bracelet on his left wrist. "There. Isn’t that pretty,honey?"

"What do you think of your daughter,Susan?" asked Terri with a mischievous smile.

"Terri, I can hardly believe it!" said Billy’s mother. "He looks so cute. In fact he’s actually pretty. Just like the girl I always wanted. I bet if Billy had had a sister, she would have looked just like this."

"I thought the pixie cut came out well," said Terri. "Does a lot for him."

"Definitely!" said Susan. "Give me you hand, sweetheart, and we’ll look in the mirror together."

She took his hand and they walked together and stood in front of the mirror as she moved in back of him and a little to the side, her left hand on his left shoulder and her right resting on his right arm.

"Now," said Susan, "see how nice and pretty Mommy and her little girl look together! Isn’t it wonderful, darling!" She smiled down at him, her face a picture of motherly joy.

Holy cow! He really looked like a girl! The lace hem of his slip showed a little below the dress, and the short puffed sleeves had white trim with little pink chenille bows. The little rounded white collar looked so dainty! Some rows of little white rusching went across the bodice. The white sash encircled his waist tightly. But the skirt of the dress poufed out, just like the dresses the girls at school wore. He kept staring at the mirror. Both dresses looked exactly the same. They really did look like mother and daughter! He was really starting to feel very strange. And he was sure he had never felt like this before!

Mommy bent forward, putting her cheek against his. "Please, honey…smile. You’ll look even prettier if you do." She gave him a little tickle in the ribs. He squirmed and giggled, and of course, smiled.

Wow! He really did look pretty! Something very strange was trying to become a thought in his mind, and it scared him. He tried not to think about it, or to let the words of it form in his mind.

"Hey, girls! Turn this way for a moment," said his aunt. They turned towards her and there was a bright flash as she took a quick picture of them together. That began a series of pictures they wanted to take. During the next half hour the two women thought of cute poses for the two of them, and also of Billy alone, wearing white gloves and with a little white purse hanging from his shoulder by a strap. He had a big smile on his face when they took the pictures. Susan took one of Terri sitting on the edge of the bed with Billy sitting next to her and her arm around him. Petticoats peeked out from under both their dresses. There was one picture in particular that they thought was the really darling. It was a profile shot of mother and daughter, with Billy standing on tip-toes and Mommy bending down a little. They both had their lips all puckered up like they would just before they kissed, and with their hands raised just a little from the sides of their dresses for balance. Then they did another one of the same pose, only with Billy and Mommy actually kissing this time. After the camera flashed, Mommy reached around his waist and hugged him tight to her, giving him a big kiss on his cheek.

"Oh, sweetheart! Thank you so much for being Mommy’s pretty little girl."

"Mommy," he said in a soft voice, almost a whisper, "I feel funny, Mommy."

Susan sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled him so he was standing to the side of her legs.

"What do you mean, honey?" she asked. "You don’t mean you feel sick, do you?" She smoothed his hair and let her hand run down his cheek, caressing the little ‘girl’ that was making her so happy on this day.

"No," he answered, "just funny somehow."

"Well, why is it funny, sweetheart? Do you mean strange, dear?"

"Yes," he said slowly, "that, too."

"Is there’s something else you want to tell Mommy?" she asked.

He nodded his head up and down, unable to speak or look his mother in the eye.

"It’s okay, sweetheart. Don’t be afraid. You can tell Mommy." She could see he was troubled over something.

"Well…I..." he started, not really wanting to say it, "it feels…"

"What, sweetheart?" she repeated. "It’s okay. Tell Mommy."

He looked down in embarrassment, unable to look her in the eye when he said it.

"I think I kind of…well…sort of like it, Mommy." Immediately he began to think he shouldn’t have told her.

"You mean you like being dressed up and looking like Mommy’s pretty girl?" she asked tenderly, holding his hands.

Still unable to look at her, he continued looking at the floor and nodded his head.

"Oh, honey!" she said reaching out and pulling him gently to her. "That’s wonderful! Don’t be embarrassed. It’s okay to like pretty things, sweetheart. I always thought you probably had a nice gentle side to you way down deep inside. Let’s go stand in front of the mirror again." She took his hand and they walked across the room to the mirror.

Meanwhile, Terri who had heard the conversation as she advanced her film to another frame and put a new flashbulb in, smiled slightly. What he had just said didn’t surprise her. She knew some little boys were curious about girls, even to the point of wanting to know what it would be like to get dressed like one. The rest of the day would go a lot easier than she had originally thought.

"See how pretty our dresses are, dear! Do you like wearing the same dress as Mommy?" asked Susan as she stood in back of him at the mirror again. He nodded his head, a smile on his face. "Mommy is so glad you like being her little girl, sweetheart. We’ll have lots of fun today."

He was smiling again, now that he knew Mommy wasn’t upset. And she said that it was okay for him to like pretty things. Just then Mommy bent forward with an arm around both sides of him and lifted up the hem of his dress.

"And look how nice and pretty your slip is, darling," she said. "See all the lace and the big pink bow. Isn’t it yummy, sweetheart!"

"Yes, Mommy," he replied. "It’s pretty and makes a swishy noise when I walk, too." She smiled at him and caressed his cheek. Then she knelt down in front of him and held his shoulders.

"Would you like to be Mommy’s little girl for the rest of the day, sweetheart? It would make Mommy very happy."

He giggled at the idea and nodded his head, and his mother hugged him close to her. He couldn’t remember his Mommy hugging him so much before.

"Time for our gloves and purses, girls," said Terri. "We don’t want to miss the beginning of the movies."

"You mean I’m going to the movies dressed like this?" asked Billy with alarm.

"Yes, dear," said his mother. "Look in the mirror again, honey. What do you see? A boy or a girl?"

"A…a girl," he said slowly. "But it’s a girl that looks like me, too."

"And that’s what everyone else will see, too, dear," said Susan. "No one will laugh at you, darling. You’re a pretty girl for today. Here...let Mommy help you put your gloves on again."

He grinned at the idea that everyone would think he was a girl! And Mommy sure seemed happy! Auntiie bent down a little to the side of him.

"Billy, why don’t we give you another name for today…a girl’s name. Would you like that, dear?" asked Terri.

"Oh, yes, dear," said Susan. "I was going to name you Nancy if you had been a girl when you were born. Do you like that, honey?"

"Yes, Mommy," he answered. "There’s a pretty girl in my class named Nancy, too." Susan hugged him again. She just couldn’t keep her hands off him. He was such a cute little girl! Her little girl!

His pretty gloves on, he slipped the strap of his purse over his shoulder and stood next to Mommy. The two women looked down at him, both smiling.

"Ready to go, sweetheart?" asked Terri.

"Yes, Auntiie," he answered.

They all went out and got into the front seat of the Buick, and Billy, now Nancy, was in the middle. Dresses and petticoats pushed up against both sides of him.

"Maybe I should have got into the back seat, Mommy," he said.

"No, dear," said Susan. "Mommy likes you sitting close to her, darling."

 

ON TO PART TWO


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