Making Up and Breaking Up

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Big Dick

Making Up and Breaking UpBreaking Up And Making Up“Well, Nobody’s Perfect!” Joe E. Brown ‘Some Like It Hot’by Nikkie Silk Chapter OneDanny stood at the bar and looked around the pub. It wasn’t his usual,but this one had looked bright and warm from the outside on a gray,rainy day. The after work rush wouldn’t start for a couple of hours orso yet, so there were only a few old boys who looked like regulars,nursing their pints and looking miserable, cursing the smoking ban. Acouple at a table in the corner seemed to be in the middle of anargument. The girl looked upset, and the man seemed to be trying toapologise to her for something.He had enough problems of his own to keep him busy for months, so hedidn’t have any time to spare for other people’s troubles. Danny ordereda pint, and as he waited for the barman to pour it, he looked round justat the moment the girl in the corner slammed her hand down on the table,angrily got up, grabbed her coat and ran out of the pub. The man withher had his head down and appeared to be crying. Poor sod, he thought,it looks like he’s been dumped. Danny knew how that felt.Turning back as the barman put his pint on the bar, Danny paid and tooka long pull of the beer. It was a decent pint, malty and dark, whichmatched Danny’s mood right now. He had just come from a meeting with hisDirector, who had told him that the company was going to have to let himgo. Let me go? Danny snorted, that was the kind of language a gutlesslittle weasel like him would use. As if it had been my choice to leave,not theirs. The company had been taken over by an American media companyand everyone knew that there would be lay offs. Danny had hoped hewouldn’t be one of them. A redundancy package which would keep him goingfor a while, and he thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to get himselfa new job. Danny thought could use his network of contacts to gethimself something quickly. In the middle of this internal monologue, he sensed the guy from thetable standing next to him at the bar, trying to pay his tab. Dannyturned to look at him out of curiosity. They were about the same age,but the man was taller and more well built than Danny. It reminded Dannythat his enforced free time would allow him to get to the pool moreoften, he could do with losing a pound or two himself. The guy wastrying to attract the barman’s attention, who was busy serving anothercustomer. He had been weeping, as his eyes were red rimmed, and Dannysuddenly felt sorry for him.‘Bad day, huh?’ Said Danny.He turned to Danny and said, ‘What? What did you say?’‘I said, it looks as if you’ve had a bad day.’He looked at Danny with an angry look on his face. ‘Really, you think so?’ The sarcasm aimed to sting, but Danny let it go.‘Me too,’ said Danny, ‘I’ve had a bloody awful one too.’‘Look mate,’ said the guy, ‘what do you know about me that lets you saysomething like that? You know nothing about me.’Danny shrugged and was going to turn away, when the man said, ‘I’msorry, that wasn’t called for. I’m just upset right now.’‘That’s OK,’ said Danny, stuck his hand out and said, ‘Danny, DannyAlbright. Alright Albright, they call me.’The guy looked down at Danny’s outstretched hand, considering whether toshake it or ignore Danny. He decided and shook the outstretched hand,saying, ‘Carl, Carl Jones.’‘OK, Carl, I hate drinking alone, especially today, how about I buy youa pint?’‘No, honestly, thanks but no,’ said Carl. He tried to get the barman’sattention, but he was now changing one of the barrels in the cellar. ‘Come on, Carl, it won’t hurt, I have had a shitty day too. Have a drinkwith me.’Carl looked at him, as if hearing Danny for the first time, ‘What’shappened to you?’‘Only been fired this morning,’ Danny looked at his watch, ‘beenunemployed precisely two hours now. I’ve been walking around sincetrying to get my head straight.’‘Yea, that’s shitty alright,’ Carl said, then realising what he hadsaid, ‘Oh, sorry, that wasn’t deliberate, shitty alright, I mean, that’syour name, right?’Danny laughed, ‘Well, the way my luck’s been running recently, that’snot too far off the mark.’‘Maybe I should buy you a drink then.’ said Carl, still flustered atwhat he had said.‘Nah, I asked you first, what’ll you have?’Carl asked for a pint of lager and Danny finally got the barman’sattention and ordered the lager. ‘You had some bad luck recently, then?’ Carl said, thinking he wouldprobably regret asking.‘You mean other than being fired, my wife leaving me, crashing the car,losing my winning lottery ticket and the goldfish dying?’Carl looked at him to see if he was joking.Danny laughed at the expression on Carl’s face. ‘Well the last twohaven’t happened yet, but the first three certainly have, all in thepast nine months.’Carl smiled for the first time since they began talking, ‘Thank God thegoldfish is still alive then.’Danny said, ‘Yeah, it would be if I had one.’ Which made them bothlaugh. ‘I’m sorry Danny, for what I said earlier I mean, about what do you knowabout me and all that. It was pretty nasty of me. I was well out oforder, you’ve had a rough time.’‘Yea, it’s been a bit rocky, I admit, but you looked pretty cut up overthere.’Carl debated about what and how much to say, before looking down at hisdrink and saying, ‘She was my girlfriend, or more exactly myex-girlfriend. We had been together a couple of years and she decidedshe wanted something different. I was trying to patch things up, and asyou can see it didn’t go well.’‘It always hurts when it happens, Carl, I know it’s trite but time doesmake a difference. It’s been 9 months since my break up.’‘Does it feel any better?’Danny thought for a minute, ‘It still feels bad, but not as often, ifthat makes sense.’They had finished their drinks, and Carl bought the same again, as hefelt he owed Danny one. As he waited to be served, Carl wondered whyDanny had spoken to him. He stole a glance at Danny as he chatted to anold timer who was also waiting to be served. He thought Danny looked abit scruffy, with his faded jeans, t-shirt, blond hair in a ponytail,but he seemed friendly enough and Carl felt it might be good to take hismind off Simone for a while. Carl guessed Danny also needed somebody totalk to after what had happened to him. The drinks arrived and Carlsuggested they move to a table instead of standing at the bar.Over the second pint, they found they had a lot in common; a love ofArsenal football club, Indian food, old movies and Elmore Leonardnovels. They agreed about the best Arsenal team – the unbeateninvincibles – but argued about politics. Danny was Labour and CarlConservative, but with a small c. They both loved ‘Some Like it Hot’ and‘North by Northwest’, but Carl loved Grace Kelly, and Danny thought EvaMarie Saint sexier.The second pint turned into a third, and when they finished theirfourth, Carl said he hadn’t eaten all day and suggested going forsomething to eat. Danny knew a great Indian place round the corner, andso they headed off there, both of them a little drunk by this time. Theyordered their food, and a silence descended. Carl broke it first, ‘Itannoyed when you spoke to me in the pub, Danny. I’m glad you did, Ineeded this, I would have gone home and stewed about things.’‘Me too, Carl, It’s been good for me too, thanks,’ They clinked theirglasses in the way that men do and said, ’Cheers.’Danny said, ‘Oh Lordy, I almost forgot, are you doing anything tomorrowafternoon?’‘No, why?’ Danny hunted around in his pockets and produced a ticket. ‘The companyhas a box at the Emirates and they have given me two tickets for thegame tomorrow against Chelsea as a sweetener. They’re like gold dust, doyou want to come along? Free food and booze and everything.’Carl felt a bit woozy by this time, but he thought why not? He couldnever get a ticket for that game and it would keep his mind off otherthings. ‘Yes, I would love to, if you’re sure.’‘No problems, I didn’t have a clue who to invite for the other ticket,so as a fellow gooner, you’re more than welcome.’They swapped phone numbers and after arranging to meet at Arsenal tubestation the next afternoon, they made their way to their homes, eachcarrying a burden that had been only partly lifted by their eveningtogether. Both slept badly, waking in the small hours as the reality ofwhat had happened the previous day sank in. Carl reached across to where his girlfriend would have slept, and hisheart dropped when he realised she was not there. Danny lay on his back with his hands behind his head as he worried aboutfinding a new job, deciding he would have to start calling people onMonday. They met as planned before the game and dropped into a pub for a drinkbefore heading to the stadium. When two London teams play each other, italways becomes a tribal affair; north London against south, Arsenal redagainst Chelsea blue, grit against swagger, yet another full bloodedencounter in a long running and bitter rivalry. It ended up close, asthey often are, with Arsenal edging the result in the last minute. Dannyand Carl were ecstatic, high-fiving and hugging each other at the finalwhistle, each of them relishing the opportunity to forget their problemsfor a while, and finding solace in the shared joy of being a fan.‘Danny, that was brilliant, thanks for the invitation, I would have hadto watch it on TV. Let me pay you back somehow. How about dinnertonight? My treat.’Danny looked at Carl, still giddy with excitement and smiled, ‘Sure, whynot? where do you fancy?’ ‘Why not Brick Lane? It’s Bangladeshi, great cooking.’ Carl’s enthusiasmwas evident and Danny willingly agreed as it had been a some time sincehe had been there. They managed to squeeze onto a crowded train whichgave Danny a chance to think about Carl. Danny didn’t have many malefriends as his girlfriend had pulled him away from the few he had beforetheir marriage. It seemed to him that she had seen him as a project, aman to be shaped and remodelled. Danny couldn’t believe his luck when Jessica came on to him. Jess waspretty, vivacious and dominant. She called the shots most of the time,and Danny followed her lead. She decided when they did things, wherethey went, even to when and how they had sex. She liked to play games inthe bedroom, usually with him being the submissive partner. Once ortwice she had him wear her panties during sex, which he had secretlyenjoyed, but had drawn the line when she wanted to use a dildo on him.He had gone along with most of it; Jess was beautiful, the sex wasgreat, and he loved her. Unknown to him, however, she had otheradmirers, and one of those eventually took her away from him. He had struggled after the break up; compared to Jess, other girlsseemed dull and uninteresting, and after a few disastrous dates, he gaveup. Online porn became his release, and he spent many evenings in frontof his computer, lost in the fantasy world on screen. He had neverrealised there were so many varieties of sexual fantasy available at theclick of a mouse. He loved the story sites as much as the video ones andspent many hours reading the stories he found there.Danny had tried to pick up with his old friends, but it seems that theyhad moved on, some had families now and didn’t want to reconnect. Dannyhadn’t set out to make friends with Carl, he had only spoken to him inthe pub because he felt sorry for him, but they seemed to click. Carlwas easy to talk to, liked many of the same things that Danny did andseemed happy to have found a friend. It had been good to see Carl sohappy at the football. He thought It had been a good idea to invite him.Carl gave up his seat on the train to a woman wearing a ‘Baby On Board’badge, and that made him feel good. He felt manners counted; it didn’ttake much effort to be kind. He took the opportunity to study Danny ashe sat on the train, seemingly lost in his thoughts. Danny didn’t lookas scruffy as Carl had at first thought. His ponytail was well caredfor, unlike the greasy, unkempt ones you often see. He stood a fewinches shorter than Carl, slim, and striking blue eyes which flashedwhen he smiled. He thought it had been generous of Danny to reach outto him in the pub, and Carl flushed at the thought of how he hadinitially reacted to Danny’s gesture. Everything had gone better afterthat and it had been good to be with someone after Simone had left himin the pub. He felt a sting as he thought of her and blinked away atear. Danny had been funny, despite his own problems, and Carl had beentouched when he offered him the ticket. That had been a true act ofkindness, thought Carl. He hoped that he and Danny would stay friends,he thought he would enjoy Danny’s company.They tumbled out of the train at Shoreditch and made their way to BrickLane where Carl had a favourite restaurant among the many that lined theLane. Home to waves of immigrants for hundreds of years, the latestincomers had been from Bangladesh, and their cooking had created whathad become Bangla Town. It’s a bright, vibrant and crowded place, butthey found a table in Carl’s favourite restaurant and quickly orderedsome beers and food.As well as talking about the match and how well Arsenal would do thisyear, they discovered more about each other as the meal went on; Carlcycled, Danny swam to keep fit, Carl liked dogs, Danny cats, and bothhated golf. Danny talked about his job as a graphic designer and Carlconfessed to being a management consultant. Without being fully aware ofit, each one felt drawn to the other, both needing a friend who couldhelp each other through a bad time.As the remnants of the meal were cleared away, Danny offered to pay hisshare, but Carl insisted on paying the whole bill in return for thefootball. They had a final beer together in the Pride of Spitalfieldsbefore setting off home, when to their surprise, they discovered thatthey lived only a mile apart from each other in Putney and agreed toshare a taxi home. As the cab stopped to let Carl out, Danny promised togive him a call during the week for a drink.As promised, Danny rang Carl, and they met for a drink in a local pub.Then one of them, they couldn’t remember who, suggested they go togetherto watch a movie they both wanted to see. Quickly, they became closefriends, meeting regularly for drinks or dinner or a film. They had cometo value each others company and began to share more and more aboutthemselves. Two strangers, brought together by chance, had discovered afriendship neither had intended, but which both now began to lookforward to.Chapter TwoOne evening, Carl called Danny to invite him over to his flat for dinnerthe following Saturday. For some reason, Danny hesitated, going tosomeone else’s place seemed a big step, and would take their friendshipto a new level. He shrugged and said, ‘Thanks, I would love to. Willthere be anyone else?’Carl said, ‘I’ve invited my upstairs neighbours as well. I have to tellyou, though, they’re gay. Well, lesbian to be exact, but they’re lovelygirls.’ Danny laughed, ‘So you want me as cover? Do you want me to be yourlatest boyfriend?’ Carl snorted, ‘You’re not my type, honey.’‘OK, what time? I’ll bring a bottle, right?’‘Is 7 OK? You don’t have to bring a bottle, but I’m guessing you will,anyway. It’s my homemade chilli, so a bottle of red?’Danny arrived at the address Carl had given him a little after 7. He hadwalked from his flat and had bought a bottle of good red wine on theway. He whistled as he saw the building, a detached Edwardian villa thathad been converted into apartments which looked expensive. Danny knewCarl had the garden flat, so he rang the bottom bell and heard itringing somewhere inside. The door opened and a strikingly beautifulwoman stood there. Danny said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, have I rung the wrong bell?’‘Not If your name is Danny, Hi, I’m Julia from upstairs, Carl asked meto let you in.’‘Hi, Julia, nice to meet you.’ They shook hands and Julia led himthrough into the apartment. Danny didn’t know whether to look at Julia’sbackside wiggling away in front of him or the apartment, both lookedequally stunning. Julia looked back as he sneaked a peek at her bum, shegrinned and said, ‘Come on through to the kitchen and meet my far betterhalf.’Danny thought Julia beautiful; long straight blonde hair, short tightblack skirt barely hiding legs that went up for ever and a smile to diefor. Danny felt his cock stirring and thought, ‘Stop it, she’s offlimits.’ They entered a huge room that must have run across the wholewidth of the house. At least two rooms had been knocked into one large,open-plan kitchen and dining area, with sliding doors that opened outinto the garden. The doors were closed as it was still too cold to gooutside, but Danny could see a well tended garden and patio areaoutside. Carl stood by the range cooker stirring what Danny assumed fromthe smell to be the chilli. ‘Hi Danny, you’ve met Julia, I see.’ Julia waggled her fingers at himover a large glass of white wine. ‘Let me introduce Siobhan, Julia’spartner. No, sorry, I mean wife.’A tall red haired woman stepped forward and offered her hand to Danny,‘That’s right, Julia made an honest woman out of me a few weeks ago.Pleased to meet you Danny.’Danny shook her hand and said, ‘Well, congratulations to both of you.That’s wonderful.’If Danny had thought Julia beautiful, then Siobhan almost took hisbreath away. A little taller than him, she had green eyes, and hair forwhich a pre-raphaelite painter would have sold his soul to get ontocanvas. She had the hint of an Irish lilt to her voice, which probablyexplained the red hair.Carl put a glass of red wine into his hand and said, ‘Here’s to Juliaand Siobhan, two of the sweetest and best neighbours that anyone couldwish to have. Congratulations on your marriage.’They all raised their glasses and drank to the toast.‘Is this a celebration dinner then?’ Danny asked.‘Sort of,’ said Carl, ‘I missed the wedding. Simone and I were in themiddle of breaking up and it had been a bad day.’‘Sorry about that,’ said Julia.‘Not your fault, Jools.’ said Carl.‘Well, at least she won’t cramp your style any more.’ said Siobhan.Danny caught Julia shooting Siobhan a look and wondered what that meant.Danny also noticed Carl had reddened a little and guessed that Carl hadbeen playing away from home and had got caught. He and Carl had nevertalked about why he and Simone had broken up, Danny didn’t want to openfresh wounds with his new friend. If Carl wanted to talk about it, hewould sometime.‘So, Danny, what brought you into Carl’s life?’ said Siobhan. She fixedhim with her eyes and he felt slightly intimidated by this beautifulwoman. ‘We bumped into each other in a pub, we got talking and it kind of tookoff from there.’ said Danny.Carl yelled over from the cooker, ‘It was the day Simone finally brokeup with me. Danny may well have saved my life that day.’‘Hardly, I was grateful to talk to someone as well, remember?’‘Oh, why?’ Julia had moved to stand the other side of Danny. Dannyrealised he was being book ended by two of the most glamourous women hehad ever met. Julia was a classic Nordic blonde, tall and slender, easyto laugh and with a naughty look in her eyes. Siobhan was smaller thanJulia, but with her shock of red hair and green eyes, she had an air ofmysticism that made Danny think of misty autumn mornings in thecountryside.‘I had been fired at lunchtime. Sorry, not fired, Let go was what theycalled it.’ ‘Arseholes,’ Julia said.‘Jools, you have such a potty mouth.’ said Siobhan.Julia grinned broadly, ‘That’s not what you say in bed.’‘Careful, or you’ll embarrass Carl’s new friend.’ Siobhan mock scoldedJulia.‘Oh, I don’t think he’ll be embarrassed by that. By this, maybe.’ Juliamoved around Danny and put her arms around Siobhan and pulled her into akiss.‘Oi, you two, stop teasing Danny,’ yelled Carl from the cooker. The twowomen giggled and Siobhan said, ‘Sorry, Danny, no offence meant.’‘None taken,’ laughed Danny. Glad they had stopped if only because hehad started to feel his cock swelling as he watched them kissing.Carl came across and refilled glasses.‘Right, food’s ready. I’ll dump the bowls of chilli and rice on thetable, and there’s some garlic bread as well so you can helpyourselves.’They sat down at the table, Danny next to Julia and across from Siobhan.For a moment Danny imagined he was being presented to the two girls asif for approval. He shook it off as his imagination and offered Siobhanfirst go at the chilli. Their plates were soon full of food and Dannysaid, ‘God, this is fantastic, Carl. There’s a real kick to it.’Carl smiled, ‘Thanks, I like making it, makes me feel warm and safe in afunny way.’‘So, Danny,’ Siobhan fixed him with those eyes again, he again felt hersizing him up, ‘have you found a new job yet?’‘Nope, not yet, it’s harder than I thought for out there, cutbacks allround in my business.’‘What do you do, Danny?’ Julia joined in. ‘I’m a graphic designer, mainly books and media stuff.’‘Isn’t that all freelance?’ Siobhan asked. ‘A lot is, but that takes time to build up. I spent my time in agencies,didn’t think I would need to go freelance.’‘But you are now?’ Julia spoke this time.‘Yes, I’ve had to. I’ve picked up some work, but it will take longerthan I thought to get it going.’Carl said, ‘OK ladies, you can stop the interrogation, Danny’s here toenjoy himself.’Carl had wondered if it would be alright to invite Danny to dinner withSiobhan and Julia. They could be mischievous if the mood took them andit seemed that was happening tonight. Carl didn’t think Danny would haveany problem with the girls being gay; nothing Danny had said led Carl tobelieve he would. Danny seemed to be laid back about everything. Carlfelt he should celebrate the girls’ marriage, as he had missed thewedding day, and with Simone no longer around, he wanted someone to bethere with him. Danny seemed to be a good choice, and so far he appearedto be OK with it.Danny still felt Siobhan’s eyes on him again and tried to change tack,‘Carl, this is a fabulous apartment.’Carl looked pleased at the compliment, ‘Thanks, I inherited some moneyfrom an aunt. It gave me the opportunity to buy this place and torenovate it. I had an architect friend draw up the plans, including theextension for the kitchen and dining area.’Siobhan looked at Danny and said, ‘You know, Danny, for a guy, you havea lovely bone structure, and your eyes are so pretty.’‘Thank you Siobhan, but nobody has ever told me that before, I canassure you.’‘Do you keep your hair that long all the time?’‘Yes, I’ve always preferred longer hair, I keep it in the ponytail mostof the time to keep it out of the way.’‘Mmm, let me see what it looks like if you let it out of the ponytail.’‘Siobhan, stop teasing Danny.’ said Carl.‘Pretty please, Danny?’ said Siobhan.Danny laughed, ‘No it’s OK, Carl, really.’He reached back and took out the scrunchie holding the ponytail and benthis head forwards so his hair fell down around his face.He looked at Siobhan, smiled and said, ‘Happy?’‘You have lovely hair. Let me try something?’Without waiting for an answer, she stood up and moved behind him. Dannyfelt her gather his hair together and remake the ponytail, this timewith it riding higher on the back of his head, level with his eye line. ‘There, that’s looks better.’ she said, moving back to look at him.‘That’s how girls wear their ponytail,’ said Julia.Danny felt himself go pink, and he quickly released his hair so that itfell back over his shoulders. Siobhan tilted her head to one side andsaid, ‘You know, with the right makeover you could look stunning.’‘Siobhan, why are teasing Danny?’ said Carl, ‘let’s go to the other roomand have a drink.’She looked a little put out, ‘What? Why isn’t it nice to say someonecould look pretty?’‘You don’t describe guys as pretty.’‘OK, he could look cute, is that better?’ Siobhan fluttered hereyelashes at Carl who blushed a little.Pretty? thought Danny. What the hell was she on about? He didn’t quiteknow what to make of Siobhan and Julia. They were both extremelybeautiful and by their words and actions, uninhibited. He didn’t haveany problem with gay people, he had worked with plenty in the designbusiness, and he liked their company. They obviously knew Carl well, andhe seemed comfortable with them. Danny realised he had been invited tomake up a four, but he didn’t mind that. It was good to see where Carllived and to meet some new people, especially two as exotic as Siobhanand Julia. The apartment was much more luxurious than his rented flat,and that reminded him that if he didn’t find some more work soon, hemight have to move to somewhere cheaper.They had all moved into a luxuriously decorated living space, Dannythought calling it a room wouldn’t do it justice. It had enough room fortwo large sofas, each facing the other in front of an open fireplace,with a low table in between. Julia and Siobhan sat on one of the sofasas Carl motioned Danny to sit on the other one.‘OK, what does everyone want to drink?’‘Brandy, please Carly,’ chorused both girls and Carl smiled weakly atthe name. He turned towards Danny, ‘They thought it was funny to call meCarly, as in Carly Simon, Carly and Simone? Only it’s not so funny nowis it girls, without Simone I mean.’‘Sorry, Carly, old habits are hard to break.’ said Julia and giggled.Danny thought she was a little drunk already.‘I’ll have a brandy too, please Carl.’ he said.‘OK, brandies all round, that’s easy.’ He went to fetch the drinks andDanny took the opportunity to ask Julia and Siobhan what they did for aliving.Siobhan laughed, ‘See, Julia, not everybody knows who you are.’Julia pouted, held her hair up behind her head and turned her headsideways and gave Danny a sultry look. Carl returned with the brandies and said, ‘Danny, Julia’s a model. Shegets cranky if you don’t recognise her.’‘I do not,’ pouted Julia.‘You so do,’ said Siobhan. Julia picked up a cushion and hit Siobhan with it. ‘You’re supposed tobe on my side, wifey.’Carl took a sip of his brandy and nodded his head at the two girls,‘Julia’s a fashion model and Siobhan is a makeup artist. That’s how theymet, on some photo shoot.’Siobhan lay back on the sofa, ‘So, Danny, which way do you roll?’Danny must have looked confused, because Julia jumped in, ‘She means areyou straight or gay or bi or something else?’Carl started to object, but Danny held his hand up, ‘Don’t worry Carl, Idon’t mind. I’m straight, I like girls.’Julia giggled, ‘I like girls too, but it doesn’t make me straight.’Danny laughed, ‘OK, let me change my answer, so far in my life I havealways dated girls and got married to one.’‘Hey, me too,’ said Julia. They all laughed at that.Danny paused and then said, ‘Let me put it this way, I have no idea whatthe future will hold, but I don’t have any plans to change.’‘That’s what I said before I met Julia,’ said Siobhan. She put her armround Julia’s shoulder and pulled her close, ‘It’s a good answer, Danny.You seem to be someone who doesn’t have a binary outlook.’‘I have no idea what that means, Siobhan.’Carl rose to freshen everybody’s drinks and Danny felt a little drunknow. Siobhan took a sip of her drink before replying to Danny. ‘All I mean,Danny, is that most people think that gender is male and female, that’sbinary. I think it’s more complicated than that. Instead of having onlytwo colours, black and white for instance, there’s a whole palette ofcolours to choose from. You don’t have to be restricted to two types ofgender. It’s almost infinite and very flexible.’Danny sipped his brandy, and could see everyone watching him as hethought about what to say.‘So, I could decide to be gay tomorrow?’ He aimed for sarcasm, butsomehow it came out as a simple question.‘Gender isn’t about sexual orientation, and anyway, I don’t think beingattracted to someone is a conscious decision. I didn’t wake up onemorning and say to myself, I think I’ll be a lesbian today, I’ll go pickup a girl. I met Julia and fell in love with her, I didn’t set out to doit, but when it happened, I didn’t fight it.’‘You couldn’t possibly have fought me off, baby.’ Julia tucked her legsbeneath her on the sofa, ‘Have you ever fancied a guy, Danny? You’re aswimmer, right? All those sleek wet bodies in teeny tiny Speedos, didyou ever get a stiffy when you were in the changing rooms?’‘Not fair,’ Carl piped up, ‘nearly every adolescent boy gets a crush onanother boy.’Three pairs of eyes swivelled towards Carl, who went pink, ‘Well, yes, Idid.’‘Come on Carly, you can’t leave it there, give us the juicy bits.’ saidJulia.Feeling the effects of the wine at dinner and the brandies, Carl openedup more than normal.‘Well, I spent a school summer holiday with one of my friends one year,when my parents were away in Africa, and it wasn’t safe for me to go outthere with them. He and I got close, and we, well, experimented a bit, Iguess you would say. We used to go swimming in a lake near their house,and one day he suggested we go skinny dipping. There was nobody about sowe dropped our shorts and ran into the water. It was fun but then heswam through my legs, came up in front of me, and suddenly we werekissing. We used to go there whenever we could and we kissed a few moretimes, but I think we both got a bit scared, and it kind of ended then.’‘Very hot Carly, How about you, Danny?’ Julia asked.Danny hesitated, but he had drunk enough for his inhibitions to haveslipped away, and for some reason he had found Carl’s story liberating.‘Yes, there was a boy back in school, but it was just a phase.’Julia raised one eyebrow and drawled, ‘Really? Just a phase?’Danny felt himself getting pink this time. ‘It was the school play,Romeo and Juliet. We were an all boys school, so they needed one of usto play Juliet, and well, I was pushed into playing the part. I had tospend a lot of the time dressed to get used to wearing the costume. Theboy was playing Romeo, we clicked, and one thing led to another. I thinkhe got turned on by me in the costume. He only wanted to do anythingwhen I was dressed as Juliet. It was all adolescent stuff, we wouldkiss, and I masturbated him once, that’s all. I think he wanted to gofurther, but that was enough for me.’‘Yowsa!’ yelled Julia, ‘Danny for the win.’Danny laughed and then thought that he had never told that story toanyone. Why tonight? He didn’t know, maybe it had been the brandy andthe presence of Julia and Siobhan. ‘So, both of you had gay encounters back then?’ Siobhan sat back with asmug look on her face. ‘I think I made my point.’‘Didn’t you get crushes on a teacher? Isn’t that what schoolgirls do?’Danny thought he should fight back.Julia grinned like a cheshire cat, ‘I did, but it was a lot more than acrush, as sister Annunciata would be able to tell you. Then again, Iknew I was gay from an early age, and precocious with it. I was expelledfrom one school for seducing the French Assistante. She taught me someFrench that wasn’t in any phrase book. Although, I don’t think we neededany translation for what we were doing together.’Siobhan shook her head at Julia’s story, then said ‘Sorry, not me, I wasso shy I didn’t date anyone until I left school.’Carl said, ‘I can’t believe that.’ ‘Nope, it’s true, I would break out in spots if a boy came anywhere nearme, and being a redhead, well, that put everybody off back then. I wentto college to do my beauty course and there I had to overcome myshyness. By then my hair had become an attraction for a certain type ofguy, the artistic types would love to come and tell me how beautiful myhair looked. I slept with a few, but it never amounted to anything. ThenI met this creature here, who seduced me one afternoon as I was doingher makeup. She kept putting her hand up my skirt and asking me if shecould see if I was a real redhead.’ She grinned at Julia, ‘Classy stuff,but I fell for it.’She bent down and kissed Julia on the lips and they smiled at eachother.They turned back to face Carl and Danny. ‘So, you two don’t fancy eachother, then?’ said Julia.‘God, no.’ both men spoke at once. Siobhan and Julia laughed and Siobhan went on, ‘We’re only teasing you,but Carly does talk about you a lot, Danny.’‘I do not,’ said Carl, a little too strongly thought Danny.‘Anyway you boys,’ Siobhan stood up, ‘We have to love you and leaveyou. Julia has a show tomorrow evening, and trust me, she needs herbeauty sleep.’‘Cow,’ said Julia, who got to her feet a little more unsteadily.‘Say goodnight to Danny and Carly, Julia.’ laughed Siobhan.‘Nighty night, boys and girls.’‘Come on, babe, off we go.’ Before leaving, Julia gave Carl a hug and then Danny, ‘I enjoyed meetingyou, Danny. You’re lovely.’‘Likewise, Julia, it’s been a pleasure.’As Siobhan hugged Danny, she whispered in his ear, ‘If you ever want tobe Juliet again, I can help.’Danny felt an involuntary shiver run through him as he realised whatSiobhan had said. He blinked and said, ‘Thanks, Siobhan, but I don’tthink I will.’Siobhan let go of the hug, locked eyes with Danny and smiled, ‘You wouldlook lovely, I promise.’Siobhan promptly dragged Julia out of the door and it fell quiet in theroom. Danny sat back down on the sofa and said, ‘Wow, Carl, they aresome pair.’Carl smiled and said, ‘Yes, they’re wonderful girls. I hope they weren’ttoo much for you, they can be a bit overpowering at times.’‘No, I enjoyed it, thank you for the invitation, but I guess I should begoing too. Can you call me a cab, I don’t fancy walking to be honest.’‘Why don’t you stay here?’ Carl said, ‘I mean I have a spare bedroom, soit wouldn’t be a problem. We could have another drink and then call it anight.’Danny felt so comfortable on the sofa, and he didn’t fancy getting upand going home, so he said, ‘If you’re sure, Carl?’‘Positive Danny, the bed is made up and everything.’Danny thanked Carl again and lay back on the sofa. Carl refilled theirglasses and sat on the other sofa opposite Danny.‘You look tired, Danny.’‘Yep, I guess I haven’t slept that well recently, been worried aboutwork. It’s not coming together as I thought it would. But tonight hasbeen a blast, and I haven’t had so much to drink for a long time.’‘It turned out well, don’t you think? Siobhan took a shine to you,didn’t she?’ said Carl. ‘I guess so, but saying I could be pretty? I think not.’‘She can be very persuasive.’ muttered Carl.Danny’s eyes were getting heavy, and he felt that if he didn’t lay downsoon he would fall asleep on the sofa.‘Carl, I’m sorry but I think I’m going to have to go to bed if you don’tmind, I’m about to drop off here.’‘OK, let me show you the bedroom.’Carl took Danny through to the back of the apartment and opened a doorinto a bedroom. ‘There’s a small en-suite bathroom over there, and there are cleantowels there as well. sleep well my friend, I’ll see you in themorning.’‘Goodnight, Carl, and thank you again.’ With that, Danny leaned forwardand hugged Carl, startling him, but after hesitating for a moment, hehugged Danny back.‘Goodnight Danny,’ said Carl, who looked at Danny curiously for amoment, and then softly closed the door on his way out.Carl had been caught by surprise when Danny hugged him, but he had toadmit it did feel good to have someone hold him again. Carl sat on theside of his bed and wondered if it meant anything more than simply agesture of thanks from a friend. He shook his head, trying to clear outthe effects of the evening’s drinking, and decided that Danny had drunka little too much. He turned out his light and fell asleep in seconds.Chapter ThreeDanny couldn’t remember the last time he had felt this tired. Theworries of the past few weeks and the amount he had drunk this eveninghad caught up on him. He had surprised himself when he hugged Carl, butit had felt the natural thing to do. Carl had been so generous to invitehim to his place and then the offer of the bed for the night touchedDanny, and he had reacted instinctively. It had felt nice to holdsomeone close. Hoping that he had not upset Carl, he undressed to hisbriefs, climbed beneath the duvet and fell fast asleep.Carl was back at his school friend’s house and they were down at thelake. He was standing in the water up to his waist and laughing as hisfriend dived beneath the water and swam between his legs. Carl giggledas he felt his friend’s slippery body brush his inner thigh making hiscock stir a little. He was still laughing as his friend surfaced infront of him making Carl close his eyes as water splashed up at him. Apair of strong arms reached around him, pulled him close and he feltsoft lips brushing against his. He responded to the kiss, his own lipsopening to allow a tongue to slide into his mouth. Carl’s head spun ashe felt himself melting into the embrace, and he opened his eyes to lookinto Danny’s sparkling blue eyes. He woke with a start, his eyes snapped open as he recalled his dream,and his heart began to race as he realised it had been Danny in hisdream. God, had he actually been dreaming about kissing Danny? It musthave been all the brandy together with the confessions he and Danny hadmade and the hug Danny had given him. Brandy had always given him weirddreams. He rolled over and tried to sleep again, but all he could thinkof were those blue eyes. Danny woke up with his head throbbing and his mouth dry as sandpaper. Heblinked once or twice as he tried to remember where he was. Everythingcame back to him in a rush; the dinner, meeting Siobhan and Julia, theconfession, hugging Carl, and then staying over. Danny lay there andswore to himself. Why the fuck had he told everybody that story aboutthe school play. His face began to burn as he remembered telling it infront of Carl and the girls. He thought he had buried that memory yearsago, so why had it suddenly popped up in his mind and why, oh, why didhe decide to tell it? Then Siobhan, whispering in his ear if he everwanted to be Juliet again, she could help. He remembered the tingle hehad felt as she said it. Danny rolled onto his back and put his handsover his eyes as all the memories came flooding back. It had been the last year of school when they chose Romeo and Juliet asthe big drama club production of the year. Danny had been chosen to playMercutio, in his opinion, the best role in the play. He loved the QueenMab speech, with its allusions to magic and fairies and fulfilling yourdreams. OK, Mercutio gets stabbed early on, but Danny still thought it abetter role than the namby-pamby Romeo. Danny could still recall the daywhen the boy cast to play Juliet broke his leg falling off the wall barsin the gym. He could never play Juliet with a plaster cast on his leg.The following day the drama teacher approached him at lunch break andasked if he would be willing to swap roles and play Juliet.The teacher said that the costume for Juliet wouldn’t fit anyone else,and they didn’t have the time or the budget to get it altered. Danny hadbeen unwilling to give up the role of Mercutio, but the teachervirtually blackmailed him into it, saying that if he didn’t do it, theywould probably have to postpone or even cancel the production. Dannyprotested that he could never learn the lines in time, but the dramateacher countered that he had arranged special study time for Danny, sothat he could learn the part. In addition, a member of the local amateurdramatic society had offered to give Danny voice and movement coachingfor the role. Danny felt it was unfair, but he knew they had boxed himin; if he refused, everybody would blame him for cancelling the show.Reluctantly he agreed, but he was heartbroken about losing the role ofMercutioStarting to learn Juliet’s lines, Danny discovered to his horror thatshe had double the lines he had already learnt for Mercutio. As well aslearning the lines, he had to try on the costume for Juliet. He hatedthe idea of wearing a dress, so unlike the Mercutio costume, which hethought way cooler. So, he turned up for the first fitting for the dressin a foul mood, determined to hate the whole thing. He felt disconcertedto find out a woman from the local amateur dramatic society was going todo the fitting. She had volunteered to do it so she could begin hiscoaching for the role. It surprised even more to find out she was prettyand only about five or six years older than himself.She introduced herself as Shirley and asked if he had ever played agirl’s role before. When he said he hadn’t, she cheerfully said that itwouldn’t be a problem, with his figure she thought he would do fine.Shirley suggested he should try on the dress first as it would be easierfor him to get used to the role in costume. She had him strip to hisunderpants, and his face burned to be like that in front of her, but shedidn’t seem to notice. He remembered the totally unexpected thrill whichflooded through him as she dropped the dress over his head and laced himtightly into it. Shirley made him wear some white tights under the dressand he shivered as he felt his nylon clad legs rubbing against eachother. She sat him down and applied his stage makeup before styling his hairwhich he already wore long. She helped him into the shoes that came withthe costume. They only had a small heel, but as he stood up, he felt howdifferent it made him feel. His calves felt tighter, and his bottomstuck out a bit more, so he had to adjust his posture to compensate forthe extra height. Shirley had him practise walking and moving in thedress which he found quite heavy and he had been exhausted by the timeshe called a halt. ‘Danny,’ she said, ‘I’m surprised and really pleased. You seem to havetaken to this much quicker than I imagined and you look so natural inthat dress.’ He remembered blushing at her words and the way they madehim feel. He met with her a few more times to practise and she seemedhappy with the progress he made. He found to his great surprise that hebegan looking forward to their sessions and he began to think thatplaying Juliet might not be such a bad deal after all. At the end oftheir last session, as he prepared to take off the dress, Shirley huggedhim, wished him good luck and to his astonishment, she kissed him on thelips. He felt himself kissing her back for a few seconds before shebroke the kiss.‘Oh my God, I’m so sorry, Danny I shouldn’t have done that. You look sosweet and pretty. Please don’t tell anyone, please?’He shook his head, unable to say anything, but he knew he wouldn’t tellanyone about the kiss. All he could think of the excitement he had feltto be kissed by her. They never met again, but he did spot her smilingup at him from the audience for one of the performances. He recalled the way his body responded to the touch of the boy playingRomeo. The boy had done a double take when he first saw Danny in costumeand thereafter took every opportunity to be alone with him as theyrehearsed their scenes. He touched Danny more often than necessary, butDanny didn’t mind, in fact he went out of his way to stand close toRomeo and when Romeo kissed him for the first time behind some of thescenery, he could remember the thrill that had flooded through hisadolescent body. Danny knew that he felt attracted to Romeo only when hewore the dress, but wearing the costume and makeup for Juliet, he seemedto immerse himself so deeply into the role, it changed his wholepersonality. Playing the role had brought to the surface emotions that he neverimagined; he felt softer, gentler and yes, feminine. When they were incostume for the play, he could barely keep his hands off Romeo, even tothe point of masturbating him once in a quiet moment during a dressrehearsal. Once the play had finished, and he had taken the dress off,he had felt no attraction for the boy playing Romeo. From that day untillast night he had not told a single soul what had happened. Dannyshuddered at what the others must have thought about his story. Well, hethought, Julia and Siobhan didn’t matter, but he worried about how hecould face Carl. Although Carl did share his own story, so if they bothignored each other’s indiscretions, it might be OK.He could hear Carl moving around outside the bedroom, so he decided heshould also get up. Having freshened up in the bathroom, he got dressedand ventured out and into the kitchen. Carl had beaten him to it,already brewing the coffee and putting out some croissants on the table.‘Morning Danny, how you feeling?’‘Horrible, my head is throbbing and my tongue’s stuck to the roof of mymouth. How about you?’‘About the same, there’s some painkillers on the counter and water orsome juice in the fridge if you want.’Danny took a couple of tablets and swallowed them with water.‘Thanks Carl. Did I make a fool of myself last night?’ Carl looked up and smiled, ‘No, no more than I did.’‘Thank God for that. Thanks again for letting me stay over, I reallyappreciate it.’‘You’re welcome, mate.’Carl’s headache eased off with the painkillers, but as he sat theredrinking his coffee, he couldn’t stop himself stealing looks at Danny.Every time Danny looked up, Carl could see those same clear blue eyesthat had appeared in his dream. Carl uttered a little moan as he triedto force himself not to look.‘Carl, you OK? not feeling so good?’ Danny asked. He kept catching Carlstealing little glances at him. Was he thinking of that stupid storyDanny had told everyone last night? Was Carl going to tell him that hedidn’t want to see him again because of it? ‘No, I’m good thanks, Danny. Anything you fancy doing today?’ ‘No, I guess I should be heading off home soon. What about you?’Danny felt relieved. If Carl wanted to do something together, then hemight not be so upset with him. The front door bell rang, making them both jump. ‘Oh, fuck, who’s that?’said Carl. He walked out of the kitchen and Danny heard him open thefront door and then he walked back into the kitchen followed by Siobhan.‘Hello boys, how are you this morning? Feeling grand are we?’ Her Irishlilt a little more prominent this morning. ‘Apart from a banging hangover, fine, thank you,’ said Danny, marvellingat how fresh Siobhan looked. ‘How are you?’‘Top of the morning, thanks, Danny.’‘How can you be so cheerful? You had as much to drink as we did.’‘It’s a Celtic secret, Danny. You benighted English wouldn’t understand.Anyway, do you fancy coming to the show tonight? It’s a charity thing sothere’s plenty of space for you to come along if you want to. It’ll befun, and there will be a free bar we can get you into.’Carl looked across to Danny and said, ‘I’m up for it. Danny, what aboutyou?’Danny said, ‘Great, I’m good too. Sounds like it should be fun.’‘That’s grand, it starts at eight o’clock, over in Docklands. We have tobe up there early, but you can share our ride back afterwards if youwait a little for us. I’ll put your names on the door and here are thepasses for the bar.’ She gave each of them a plastic card and said, ‘Ishould be able to come out and find you when you arrive. Text me whenyou get there.’She looked at Danny and said, ‘Mother of God, your eyes are striking,Danny. I wish you would let me get to work on you, your own motherwouldn’t recognise you.’Danny wished she wouldn’t keep saying things like that, because everytime she did, a ripple of excitement ran through him; he hated it, yetloved it at the same time. Danny blushed and Siobhan laughed. ‘See you tonight boys.’ Carl let herout of the front door and returned to the kitchen.Carl said, ‘She normally gets her way, you know.’‘What do you mean?’Carl smiled, ‘You’ll find out, I’m sure.’Danny shrugged, he wasn’t up for playing games, his head still throbbedtoo badly.Carl picked up his coffee and stood by the window looking out into thegarden. He thought for a few minutes about whether he should ask Dannyabout the idea which had been churning away in his mind. He turned tolook at Danny, checking emails on his phone and decided to go ahead.‘Danny, can I ask you a question?’‘Sure, bursa escort fire away.’‘You said last night the work search isn’t going too well, is thatright?’Danny put his phone down, ‘Yes, it’s taking longer to build up thefreelance work than I imagined and full times jobs don’t come up often.’‘You told me a couple of weeks ago, the lease is up on your flat soon,right?’Danny was puzzled; where was Carl going with this?‘Yes, and the landlord is making noises about a rent increase, whichwould be a problem for me right now.’Carl paused, ‘I don’t know if this would help, or even if you would wantto, but I have the spare room here, and if it helped out, you could movein here.’Danny had been so surprised he wasn’t sure he had heard Carl properly.‘Sorry, did you just say I could move in here?’‘Yes, if it would help you out, that is. The room is here and there’splenty of space here for us not to be on top of each other.’‘But, Carl, if I can’t afford my current place, I couldn’t afford tolive here.’Carl laughed, ‘No you idiot, I wouldn’t want rent, I own the placeoutright. A share of the running costs would be enough, food and billsand stuff like that.’Danny thought quickly. On one hand it would solve a lot of his problemsuntil the work built up, but on the other hand it would put him under abig obligation to Carl. He liked Carl, so he didn’t think there would bea big personality clash. There was enough space here for sure, all heneeded would be somewhere to set up his computer, but apart from that,he didn’t need much. As if reading his mind, Carl said, ‘There’s a spaceoff the kitchen that’s a storeroom at the moment, we could clear thatout for you to work in.’‘Carl, are you serious? That’s a big step for you to have someone elsesharing your place.’‘Danny, I am totally serious. I have shared before, and we get on well,so why not? I would enjoy the company to be honest.’‘Carl, that’s the most generous thing anyone’s done for me. If you’re OKwith it, I would love to take you up on it.’Carl beamed, ‘That’s great Danny, I’m so pleased. When do you think youwould need to move?’‘I know the landlord is keen to get more for the place so I don’t thinkthere would be any problem. I need to talk to him, but would nextweekend be too soon.’‘No, that’s perfect, I’ll get the storeroom sorted, do you need anythingspecial for your work?’‘Not much, I do everything on the mac, so fast broadband is all I need.’‘No problem then, Danny, I’ve got the fastest package I could getalready installed.’Danny’s head started to whirl, he hadn’t expected anything like this andhe needed to sort his thoughts out. ‘Carl, in that case, I’ll shoot off home and get started on organisingstuff. I don’t have much as the flat came furnished. I can put some ofit into storage, so I’ll only bring across what I need.’They agreed to meet later that afternoon before heading off together toJulia’s show. Danny walked back to his flat to help clear his head, andit gave him time to think about what had happened this morning. He hopedhe was doing the right thing; he and Carl were good friends, but sharingthe apartment would be different. Still, it would be a lifesaver for himat the moment. His business had been growing, but more slowly than hecould afford. Danny reassured himself that it wouldn’t be for long as hewould be able to move out again when business picked up. Carl felt pleased that Danny had accepted his offer to share. He missedhaving someone around now that Simone had moved out; he had neverenjoyed his own company much, so having Danny around would be nice. Itwould mean a few changes, but that wouldn’t be a problem. He had made apromise, and he intended to keep it.Chapter FourLater in the afternoon, Danny walked across to Carl’s and they headedout to Docklands from there. The show was in the ExCel centre inDocklands, and Danny suggested they catch the cable car across theriver. Carl agreed straight away as he had been keen to use it for sometime. It had been built for the London Olympics, but had turned into anexpensive white elephant afterwards. It only took ten minutes to makethe crossing, and it delighted Danny to see his friend so excited by thetrip. They arrived at the ExCel in good spirits and set about looking for theshow. There seemed to be a lot of flamboyantly dressed people millingaround as was to be expected, they assumed, at a fashion show. Carlstarted to text Siobhan to let her know they were here when Danny nudgedhim and pointed to a huge banner hung above their heads. ‘Did you know about this,’ Danny hissed at Carl. ‘No, I had no idea, she never said anything to me.’ At that moment, Siobhan arrived, looking like she had stepped out of aRossetti painting. Her hair flowed around her shoulders and heads turnedas she moved through the crowd and greeted both of them with a cheekkiss. ‘Hello you two, I’m glad you could make it. What do you think?’ Her eyeswere twinkling as she spoke.Danny looked up at the banner over their heads and said, ‘Er, TransDress2016?’ Siobhan tilted her head, smiled and said, ‘I told you, didn’t I?’‘No, actually, you didn’t,’ said Carl. ‘Ach well, it’s for a charity that helps provide dressing advice andsupport for transgender teenagers. It’s terribly difficult for them toget help when they need it. It’s a great cause.’‘I thought you said Julia would be in the show,’ said Carl. ‘Well no, I’m sure I didn’t say that. She is the producer and coach tothe models tonight. They’re all transgender girls and she volunteered toproduce the show and I’m supervising the makeup and wardrobe.’Danny looked around a little more closely at the people in the crowd andhe suddenly realised most of them were dressed either in an androgynousway or cross-dressed completely. His eyes widened as a beautifully madeup boy walked past wearing heels, a mini skirt and a transparent silkblouse, and who turned his head to smile at Danny and gave him a slowwink. Siobhan giggled as she saw Danny’s face and said, ‘Come on boys, let’sget you a drink, I think you need one.’ They followed her through thecrowd, their eyes flicking from one side to the other as they took inthe sights around them. The music and colour and atmosphere remindedCarl of the time he had been to carnival in Rio. all around them wereyoung people dressed in every style you could imagine; boys wearingskirts and see-through blouses, and girls wearing tuxedos, and a millionstyles in between. It was loud and brash, and to Carl exhilaratinglynaughty. His eyes kept focusing on some of the boys dressed as girls. Hefelt his heart run a little faster as he watched a boy who had the faceof an angel, stop Carl in his tracks as he turned and smile at him, Hefelt his face flush and he hurried to catch up with Siobhan and Danny. Siobhan ushered them into a private VIP room saying, ‘Have a few drinksand enjoy yourselves. I’ve got to supervise the makeup, but I’ll comeback for you later on.’ She blew them a kiss and disappeared. Theylooked at each other, both unsure of what to do next. ‘Hi, I’m Trixie, what can I get you two girls to drink?’ They turned to find a boy made up as a Goth looking expectantly at them.Danny’s eyes widened as he took in the black leather hot pants, fishnetsand the cropped mesh t-shirt, together with a belly ring which lookedlike a snake glittering from a bare midriff. ‘Well, girls? I haven’t got all day.’ Trixie laid a hand with blackpainted nails on Carl’s arm and said, ‘I’ve got white wine, red wine andpink wine. Well it’s rosé really, but it’s so much nicer to call it pinkdon’t you think? It’s a bit mixed up, like me. So what’ll it be, butchred, femme white or bi pink?’Danny started to giggle and Trixie pouted. ‘So, that’s white for you,you naughty girl, and I think pink for your lovely friend here. Don’t goanywhere, I’ll be right back.’ Rubbing Carl’s arm Trixie smiled at Carl,then turned and headed for the bar. Carl giggled nervously, ‘My God,what have we let ourselves in for?’‘I don’t know but I need that drink.’ replied Danny, watching Trixie’sbum wiggle provocatively across to the bar. Trixie looked back andsmiled at Carl before winking at him. Carl blushed a deep red and Dannygiggled at his friend’s embarrassment. ‘Hi, I’m Peta, who are you?’ A woman wearing a badge with the Charitylogo and carrying an iPad and a walkie talkie approached them, smilingbroadly.‘Uh, we’re with Siobhan.’ said Carl. She looked down at the iPad. ‘Ah, you’re Danny and Carl, right? Siobhanput your names down on the list. Welcome to TransDress, it’s great tohave you here. Like I said, I’m Peta and I do the PR for the charity.Are you friends of Siobhan?’‘Yes, we live downstairs from Siobhan and Julia.’ said Carl.‘That’s wonderful, Siobhan and Julia have been fantastic supporters ofthe charity, we couldn’t have put this on without their help. Anyfriends of theirs are friends of ours, for sure. Do you know anythingabout the charity? Do you have an interest in the TG community?’At that moment Trixie returned and Peta paused as Trixie gave Danny andCarl their drinks.‘That’s a femmy white for you, and a lovely bi pink for you, sweetie.’Trixie winked at Carl once again as he took his drink. ‘Is Trixie looking after you?’ said Peta, smiling.Trixie giggled, ‘I’d like to look after this one if he’d let me.’Trixie’s tongue slipped out between black lips and Carl blushed pinkagain.‘Now, now, Trixie, I’m sure there are others who need a drink.’ Trixie pouted and turned away. ‘I’ll be back, don’t worry,’ Peta grinned broadly, ‘Don’t worry about Trixie, ze is harmless. Zelikes to flirt.’ ‘I’m sorry, did you say, ze?’ said Danny, looking puzzled.Peta smiled. ‘Ze? It’s a gender neutral pronoun.’Danny still looked puzzled.‘A lot of non binary people feel alienated if people use he, or she, ifit doesn’t fit their gender identity. Ze is a neutral pronoun. Itdoesn’t reflect any specific gender identity. There’s a section on ourwebsite which explains it all. Look, I’m sorry I have to do the rounds,it’s great to have you here. Enjoy the show. I’ll try to catch you laterwith Siobhan, if I can.’ She flashed a smile and moved off to talk tosomeone else.Carl whistled softly, ‘Wow, it’s a completely different world.’ Danny grinned, ‘Well, you’ve made a conquest, Carl. Ze is hot for you.’Carl spluttered as he had taken a sip of his wine, then laughed at hisown embarrassment. Before long, they were chatting to others in the VIProom. Some were journalists, some supporters of the charity and somefriends and relatives of those in the show. Trixie kept them topped upwith drinks and quite soon Danny felt a little buzzed. He hadn’t eatenanything except for some crisps and his glass had been topped upwhenever it got even half way empty. Trixie seemed to be staying closeto Carl, who, to Danny’s eyes at least, didn’t seem to mind theattention too much. Peta stood up on a chair and made a short speech, thanking everyone forcoming to support the charity. She said that the show would be startingin a few minutes and she hoped everyone would enjoy themselves. Peoplebegan to file through the door and Danny and Carl moved with them.‘Danny, Danny.’ He heard Peta’s voice, and he looked around as shepushed her way through to him. ‘I just had a message from Siobhan. Can you wait here for her, she’ll bea minute. Carl, you can go ahead into the show.’Danny shrugged to Carl, ‘See you later.’ Carl said, and turned to followthe others, as Trixie appeared at his side and put an arm throughCarl’s.Danny grinned and hung back as Siobhan had asked, but he wondered whatshe wanted him for. The others had disappeared when Siobhan pushed openanother door and waved him over.‘Come on,’ she said, ‘we haven’t got a lot of time before it allstarts.’As he got to the door, Siobhan grabbed his hand and pulled him throughinto a corridor. ‘Where are we going?’ he said.‘Ssh,’ she put her finger to her mouth, ‘we’re right behind the audiencefor the show.’She led him down the corridor and pushed open a door at the end, Theywalked into a scene of what looked to Danny like chaos. People wereeverywhere in a small space behind what he guessed would be the runway.Models sat in chairs being made up, and there were racks of clothes allwith photos of the models who were to wear them. People with clipboardsand headsets were running around and trying to bring some order to thechaos. Danny spotted Julia who seemed to be in her element, barking orders toassistants and talking through her headset. She waved at Danny asSiobhan led him to a chair and gave him a headset to listen on. Over theheadset he heard Julia say ‘Showtime minus 15, people. Good luck andmake this a great show tonight.’He could feel the tension rising in the room, and it reminded him of thelast few minutes before his performance of Juliet all those years ago.Siobhan went to help one of the makeup artists and Danny tried to meltinto the background. Models were climbing into the outfits and Dannyrealised with a start that what he had assumed were female were eithertransgender or androgynous looking boys. Julia’s voice came over theheadset, ‘Five minutes to showtime. Places everyone.’Hairdressers and makeup artists were doing last minute touch ups and thetension in the room notched up even further. He heard the music begin inthe runway room and Siobhan pointed to a monitor feeding pictures fromthe other room. The camera swept around the room and Danny caught aglimpse of Carl sitting next to Trixie, who seemed to have a hand on hisleg. Danny felt a small pang as he saw Trixie move even closer to Carl.Was that jealousy he felt? Surely not. He switched his attention back tothe room, and the models were now lining up ready to go out onto therunway. ‘Showtime, let’s make it a great one.’ Julia’s voice cut through andmodels began to move out of the room. Siobhan came and sat next to himas the room began to empty. She brought her lips to his ear, ‘Excitingisn’t it? Don’t they all look so beautiful? Do you like that?’He nodded. He didn’t know if whether he was buzzed from the drinks orbeing involved in the charged atmosphere backstage but he almostquivered with excitement. His head spun as everywhere he looked therewere models who looked like beautiful girls but had been born male. Hefelt his cock stir as he thought about what it would be like to be oneof these models lining up in the most beautiful dresses or skirts andblouses. He wondered what it would be like to stride along the runwaywith everyone knowing he was a male beneath the female clothes. In thedesign world Danny had heard about the success of models like AndrejPejic and Stav Strashko, but he had never believed it could be possiblefor a man to look this good as a woman.Siobhan saw the look in his eyes and guessed that Danny felt overwhelmedby the excitement of everything going on around him. She hesitated for amoment, then grabbed his hand and pulled him up. She led him over to amakeup desk they hadn’t needed and pulled a screen round it. Nobodycould see them from the room. She pushed him down onto the chair and helooked up at her as he realised what she intended to do. Danny made to speak, but Siobhan put her finger to his lips and said,‘Danny, please let me do this for you, just this once. Nobody will everknow. I think you want me to, don’t you?’He looked at her and he knew he should have said no and walked away.But, something deep inside made him hesitate, and in that moment he waslost. He sat there like a rabbit caught in headlights, and Siobhansensed his resistance weakening. She sat beside him and pulled the makeup kit towards her. She knew she didn’t have much time, but she had donethis so many times, it wouldn’t matter. She quickly decided that anatural look would be the way to go, making the most of his bestfeatures but nothing too dramatic. At least for this time she thought.Danny had shaved before he came out and luckily his beard didn’t seem tobe too heavy, so a medium cover foundation and a little concealer wouldbe enough. He seemed almost in a trance as she worked, carefully butquickly, shading and contouring his face with blusher, helping toemphasise his lovely cheekbones.He had those lovely blue eyes, and she wanted to make them pop. She useda bronze colour eyeshadow across the lid with a darker colour blendinginto the crease. She used the same colours beneath the eye to make theeyes look as big as possible, with a little highlight in the innercorner of each eye. She didn’t have time to finesse too much as shedidn’t know how much more Danny would take. He seemed compliant, almosttrancelike, at the moment, but she didn’t want to push it too far. Shefinished off his eyes with a little eyeliner and then some mascara.There wasn’t much she could do with his eyebrows other than to brushthem as smooth as possible and hold them in place with brow gel. She finally started on his lips, drawing around them with a pencil tomake them look larger, and then used a brush with a soft pink lipstickto colour in his lips. The pink would look so sweet and complement hiscolouring without taking attention away from his eyes. As a makeupartist she loved this moment when she had almost finished and she couldsee what a difference her skill and experience had made.Danny had no idea what Siobhan was doing to him, but every few secondshe would think I have to stop this now, but every time he tried to saysomething he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He felt dazed the brushesslid across his skin and her fingers worked on his face. There wassomething soothing and calming about the way Siobhan went about herwork, and his mind drifted back to the time when he had been Juliet. Inthe end he gave in completely and sat there quietly and still as sheworked on him.She could hear the show going on around them and she prayed that nobodywould come looking for her right now. She sat back and made a few minoradjustments, but she felt happy with what she had done. ‘Danny, close your eyes, I’m going to let your hair down so don’t move.’She released his blond hair from its ponytail allowing it to tumble downto his shoulders. Grabbing a hairbrush she quickly brushed it out andarranged it around his face. She did a little touch up here and there,but then decided she could do no more..She turned a mirror round so Danny would be looking straight into it.She took a deep breath and said, ‘OK, Danny, you can open your eyesnow.’Danny hesitated, what would he look like? A bloke wearing makeup that’swhat. Why had he agreed to this crazy idea, he would look stupid? Hefinally snapped his eyes open, and it took a second or two to adjust tothe light, but he blinked once or twice and then everything came intosharp focus. His first foolish thought was that Siobhan had played atrick on him, putting a girl opposite him to make him think it was hisface in the mirror. A split second later he realised it was his face,but then again it wasn’t. He moved his head, and the head in the mirrormoved, so it must be his face; but it wasn’t one he recognised. His eyeslooked enormous and his lips were, well, sexy was the first word thatcame into his mind. His blond hair framed his face, making it looknarrower and feminine. It was surely a woman’s face that started back athim from the mirror. He couldn’t believe it was him. He touched his nosewith his finger to see if it was his face and he was shocked to feel hisfinger on his skin. It was him.‘Well,’ said Siobhan softly, ‘What do you think?’Her voice broke the spell the face in the mirror had put on him and hejumped. He looked up at her, his eyes shining, and he found it difficultto speak. He shook his head instead, and Siobhan’s heart sank, he didn’tlike it, he was angry. He finally found his voice, ‘I can’t believe it,it’s beautiful.’She heaved a sigh of relief and grinned, ‘I didn’t do a bad job did I?’He shook his head again, ‘I still don’t believe what you’ve done. I lookso feminine.’ He smiled and looked back in the mirror, tilting his headone way than the other, not quite taking in how she had made him look. At that precise moment Carl, Julia and Trixie walked round the edge ofthe screen.‘This is where you’ve got to, We’ve been looking for you both…’ Julia’svoice trailed off as she took in the scene in front of them. Trixiebroke the silence first.‘I knew femmy white was the right drink for her.’Chapter FiveThe show had finished and Trixie had grabbed his hand, ‘Come on, let’sgo find your friend.’ It felt strange, but he didn’t mind Trixie holdinghis hand. Trixie had slipped an arm through his when they walked intothe show, and Carl had initially been embarrassed, thinking thateveryone would be looking at him and laughing. When he realised that atthis show nobody would bat an eyelid, not even a heavily mascaraedeyelid at him being with Trixie, he began to relax. Trixie was greatcompany; wickedly funny and charming in equal measure. Carl began toenjoy the show and didn’t mind when Trixie put a hand on his leg. Heknew he had drunk a bit, but he was aware of what was going on. Hedidn’t encourage anything, but he didn’t go out of his way to discouragethe attention he was receiving either.Trixie lent close to him and whispered in his ear, ‘Are you enjoying theshow?’ Carl nodded, fascinated by the models as they strutted up and down thecatwalk. Some were androgynous, some he felt had to be women he thought,despite what he had been told. They were so convincing. Trixie lent close again, ‘Which one do you like best?’ Carl felt so confused, he knew the models were male, but they looked sogood. He gulped as one of the models wearing a silk blouse slashed opento the waist with a pair of harem pants, struck a pose at the end of thecatwalk, flicked his hair and looked Carl straight in the eye. God,thought Carl, he looked so sexy. Trixie slid a hand back onto Carl’s leg and felt him twitch at thetouch. Carl was now almost hypnotised by the show and he began to feel alittle hot. The music died away and as the show came to an end, they allstood to applaud as the models dragged Julia out onto the runway toshare in the applause. Julia spotted Carl and motioned for him to joinher backstage. Trixie came with him and they found Julia basking in theglow of the success of the show. She gave Carl a hug and introduced herto Trixie. Julia raised an eyebrow to Carl when Trixie looked away, butCarl choose not to react. ‘Have you seen Siobhan?’ Julia asked.‘I saw her disappear over there.’ One of the assistants offered, wavinghis arm towards a small screened off area. Julia led them all over andshe walked round the screen and they all followed. Carl assumed Siobhanwas making up one of the models, and it was only when the model lookedup at them he stared into Danny’s sparkling blue eyes. Carl heard Trixie say something, but all Carl could think about was howbeautiful his friend looked. Siobhan spoke first, ‘Don’t you think helooks great?’o fainting and covered his face with his hands. Juliasaid, ‘Danny, you look wonderful, but I think we should all be gettingready to go home now.’ She gestured to Carl that they should leave andwith Trixie they moved away. Still stunned by what he had seen, Carldidn’t know what to think. How on earth had Danny let Siobhan do that?He knew she could be mischievous. He knew how persuasive she could be,and he guessed that Danny would have been like putty in her hands. Carlknew Siobhan liked to play games with people and he knew she had set hersights on DannyDanny appeared after a few minutes with the makeup removed and his hairback in the familiar ponytail. He looked embarrassed and sat quietly inthe car on the way back. When they arrived back at the apartment Dannyscurried away to his room as Carl said goodnight to the girls. Carl madehimself a drink and considered knocking on Danny’s door to see if hewanted one, but he thought Danny might want to be on his own. Danny closed his door and threw himself on the bed. Why had he allowedSiobhan to do that to him? He had been so embarrassed when the othershad come round the corner of the curtain. Carl would think he was suchan idiot. He had to hope that he could laugh it off with Carl as a jokethat went a bit too far. His mind drifted back to when Siobhan had lethim see what she had done. He had expected to see a grotesque caricaturein the mirror, lipstick on a gorilla he thought. Instead, he had almostfainted when Siobhan revealed the mirror. He could hardly believe how helooked, somehow his face had looked slimmer, his features smaller and,well, feminine. His eyes had sparkled, and he realised that Siobhan hadbeen right – he could look pretty. He shuddered and thought, well that’snot going to happen again.Danny finally fell asleep and dreamt of the school play once again.Dressed in his Juliet costume, he watched as Romeo slowly approachedhim, took him in his arms and kissed him, his tongue invading Danny’smouth. He felt powerless to resist as Romeo’s hands pressed down on hisshoulders and he fell to his knees as a huge cock emerged from Romeo’scod piece. Danny took it in his mouth and as he began to suck, the cockgrew bigger and bigger until Danny could no longer keep it in his mouth.He let it slip out and looked up to see Carl staring wide eyed back downat him. Danny woke up choking and sweating. For the rest of the night hetossed and turned still disturbed by the dream.He was relieved that Carl had already left for work before he emergedfrom his room. He left Carl a note asking if it would still alright forhim move in. He prayed that Carl wouldn’t hold the evening against him.Carl rang that evening and reassured Danny that he was welcome, and thathe would help him out with the move next weekend. Danny let out a longsigh of relief, things seemed to be back on the straight and level.Chapter SixThe following week Danny sorted out his belongings, using theopportunity to clear out a lot of what he no longer needed down to thecharity shop. On Saturday, he and Carl loaded his remaining possessionsinto a small hire van and moved it all into Carl’s place. As promisedCarl had cleared out the storeroom and Danny set up his work desk andcomputer. He logged onto the wifi network and found to his reliefeverything seemed to work perfectly. They ordered a takeaway that night and celebrated the move with a coupleof bottles of red wine. Carl felt good about inviting Danny to share;the apartment had felt empty since Simone had left and it would be goodto have someone around who made him laugh as much as Danny. He caughthimself a couple of times looking into Danny’s bright blue eyes andthinking how sweet Danny looked when he smiled. He shook off the feelingand deciding he had drunk enough, he said goodnight to Danny and tookhimself to bed.Danny stayed at the table for a while longer, thinking how lucky he hadbeen to meet Carl and how well they were getting on. He liked Carl alot; he had never had such a close male friend before and he thoughtthey made a good pair. He thought himself more passive than Carl, who,although kind and gentle, seemed more assertive than Danny. Carl alsoseemed to be looking out for Danny which made him feel good.Danny had said that working from the flat, he would take responsibilityfor cleaning and would do the cooking in lieu of not paying rent. Dannyenjoyed cooking, so it wouldn’t be a big problem for him. Carl told himthat wasn’t necessary, but Danny could see that Carl was pleased abouthis offer.On Sunday Danny spent putting the rest of his clothes away then invitedCarl to the pub for a late lunch. They walked down to the river and satwatching the river for a while as they ate. Carl took a pull at his pintand quietly asked, ‘Danny, were you OK with what Siobhan did at theshow?’‘Yes, I guess so. It was a bit of a laugh, she’s persuasive, isn’t she?’Carl laughed, ‘Oh yes, she could charm water out of a rock I think. Youknow, she did one hell of a job on you. I couldn’t believe what a changeshe made.’‘I know, when she let me see myself in the mirror, I nearly passed out.For a second, I thought it was a trick somehow.’ Danny giggled, ‘Trixiehad the hots for you, I remember.’Carl laughed, ‘If I’d had a couple more drinks God knows what might havehappened.’They both laughed and finished their pints before heading back to theflat. Carl said he would be heading off on a business trip for a fewdays, so they both headed off to their rooms. Early the next morning Danny heard Carl moving about, so he pulled on his dressing gown and headed to the kitchen. ‘Morning Carl, fancy a coffee and toast?’ Shouted Danny to Carl throughhis bedroom door.‘Great thanks,’ shouted Carl back.Carl emerged from his room with a small suitcase just as the toastpopped up and the coffee machine gurgled. Carl had on a beautifully cut,dark blue business suit with a white shirt and matching silk tie. Dannyhad never seen Carl in a business suit before, and he realised with aslight start that how good Carl looked in the suit.‘I haven’t seen that suit before, is it new? It looks great on you.’Carl looked pleased at the compliment, ‘Yes, it’s new, Armani.’Danny whistled, ‘Very nice. Where are you off to?’‘Bristol. It’s not a bad place but the client’s a cheapskate, I’llprobably be in a cheap hotel and they will try to squeeze every pennyout of the budget. Still, I’ll be back Friday.’Carl’s phone pinged, ‘That’s my uber outside, see you Thursday eveningwhen I get back.’Danny watched as Carl wheeled his case down the hall, ‘Have a goodtrip.’ For some reason he couldn’t fathom, Danny felt a pang as Carlclosed the door behind him. Danny planned to work on a commission whichhe had to deliver later that day and he managed to finish it midafternoon. He sat back in his chair, happy with what he had done, and ashe sent it off to the client, the doorbell rang. He opened the door tofind Siobhan standing there. ‘Hi Danny, how are you?’Danny hadn’t seen her since the night of the show and he blushed,remembering what had happened then. ‘Hi, Siobhan, I’m good thanks, comeon in.’Danny made them both tea, and they sat at the kitchen table watching therain which had started earlier pounding down outside. ‘About that night at the show,’ started Danny, aiming to tell her thatit had been a mistake, and that it had been a one-off, never to berepeated event. But, before he could say anything else, Siobhaninterrupted him.‘You’re welcome Danny, next time we’ll spend more time on it, but Iwanted to talk to you about your design skills. Peta, the charity PRgirl called me this morning. She heard you were a designer and wanted meto ask you if you might be interested in doing some work for them. Theirdesigner quit recently and they’re looking for someone else. They don’thave much money but she said they could pay for any work.’Siobhan had wrong footed Danny; he completely forgot what he had beenabout to say.‘Well, yes, of course I’d be interested. Business is getting better butanything would help.’ ‘OK, I thought you might say that so I took the chance to set up ameeting with her on Thursday, if that’s OK with you?’Danny nodded, ‘That’s fine. Thanks Siobhan, that’s great.’Siobhan frowned, ‘There’s only one small thing, Danny. Peta is adamantthat anyone who does work for the charity is involved in the TGcommunity.’‘Siobhan, that means I can’t do it. Why on earth would she give me anywork?’Siobhan smiled, ‘That’s OK because I told her you are about to come outas TG, and she said fine, but she had to see you dressed to make sure. Isaid that wouldn’t be a problem.’Danny thought he would faint, ‘You said what? Are you mad? I can’t dothat.’Siobhan looked calmly back at him. ‘Sure you can, Danny. Didn’t theother night prove that? You looked so good. You seemed to enjoy it.’‘But, that was a one off, I couldn’t possibly carry it off.’‘Danny, think about it, you would get the chance to work with a highprofile charity, that has got to be worth it to get you some publicity,surely?’Danny thought Siobhan had gone mad. How could he possibly do this? Therewas no way he would do it. Although she had a point, the publicity wouldbe worth its weight in gold. Siobhan could see him wavering, and she knew she had to keep nudging himtowards accepting the notion.‘Danny, let me make you an offer. Let me help you to see what could bedone, let me get you dressed and made up and if you still don’t think itwould work, I’ll call it off with Peta. If you think you look OK, we canspend the next two days getting you prepared for the meeting. How doesthat sound? Surely it’s worth a little time to see?’Danny dropped his head into his hands. It sounded madness, but what ifshe were right? Would it be worth trying?Siobhan pressed on, ‘What’s the worst that could happen if you did this?If Peta doesn’t like your work, you’ve lost nothing, everything goesback to normal. If she does, then you’ll have some work and the chanceto get yourself some wonderful visibility. By the way, where’s Carl?’‘He’s on a business trip, won’t be back until Friday.’ ‘OK, then, Julia’s on a shoot all this week, I’m only booked for acouple of jobs this week, so it’s just us two. That’s karma surely,let’s have dinner tonight upstairs in my flat and see if it would work.’Danny was still shaking his head when he heard a voice that sounded likehis, say, ‘OK.’Chapter SevenHe must have decided about half a dozen times to call Siobhan to say hewouldn’t go through it, only to pull back. He was still dithering atseven o’clock, the time they had agreed to meet. He grabbed a bottle ofwine from the rack and walked up the stairs to the girls’ flat. Why onearth was he doing this? He needed the work for sure, but deep down heknew something else was driving him on. Ever since he had confessed theJuliet story, he had been thinking more and more about how that made himfeel. Somehow by sharing a memory that he had kept buried for years, adesire which had been quietly smouldering in his subconscious had turnedinto a small flickering flame. The night at the show had fanned theflame into a fire so that that when Siobhan had made her suggestion, his head wanted to say no, but his heart had said yes. Even as he knocked on the door he panicked, and his knees began to wobble.She answered the door and smiled broadly when she saw him. ‘Danny, don’t look so scared, I’m not going to bite you, come on in.’He thought she looked beautiful in a long skirt and simple peasantblouse with her hair tumbling down over her shoulders. He sighed andforced himself to walk into the flat. ‘I’ve brought this,’ he said, waving the bottle around. She kissed himon the cheek and took the bottle. ‘Thanks babe, let’s go into the kitchen and open it up, you look as ifyou could do with a drink while I finish the cooking.’He followed her into the kitchen, a stunning ultra minimalist affair,everything seems to be concealed behind cupboard doors and nothing onthe worktops except around the cooker where Siobhan was cooking. Dannylooked around, noticing the exquisite little touches that the designerhad used. ‘It’s fabulous,’ he said as Siobhan poured him a glass of wine. ‘It cost a bloody fortune, but one of Julia’s exes is a designer and shedid it wholesale.’They clinked glasses and Danny watched as Siobhan finished cooking whatlooked like spaghetti vongole. ‘Christ, you don’t have a shellfish allergy do you? I always forget toask.’ Danny shook his head, ‘No, I love shellfish.’They ate in the kitchen. Siobhan, sending his nervousness, kept up astream of chatter and saw that Danny began to relax a little. Theyfinished the food and Siobhan packed everything away into the dishwasherand came to sit opposite Danny. ‘OK,’ she smiled, ‘one last chance for you to run away. No? Good, let’ssee what we have to work with.’Danny’s heart now started to beat faster and he let out a big breath totry to calm himself down.‘No need to get worried, babe. Nothing bad is going to happen, Ipromise. I think you’re going to enjoy this. Now what I want you to dois to have a shower, shave yourself as closely as possible and wash yourhair with the bottle of shampoo I’ve left in the shower. How much hairdo you have on your body?’‘Not much, I think, but does that matter?’‘It might, depends on how much skin we end up showing. There’s a pair ofpanties on the shelf in the shower room. Put those on when you’vefinished, there’s a robe there as well. Come back out and we’ll getstarted.’Danny was trembling by this time. Siobhan grabbed his hand and led himthrough the flat to the bathroom and gently pushed him through the door.He leant up against the door and managed to control his breathing enoughto look around him. In one corner there was a big glass shower enclosureand a marble counter with two washbasins below a huge mirror all lit byconcealed lighting. On the counter lay a razor and shaving cream rightnext to a pair of white lace panties. Danny let his hand run over thelace and he shivered as he felt the silk beneath his fingertips. He pulled himself together and took off his shirt, trousers andunderpants. He looked at himself in the mirror and turned sideways. Hethought, not too bad, I guess. Flat stomach, no love handles at least.He took out the scrunchie holding his hair in its usual ponytail andstepped under the shower. He stood under the shower, the hot waterhelping him to relax as he washed his hair. He wrapped a small towelaround his hair before shaving as closely as he could and using somemoisturiser that Siobhan had left. Danny picked up the pair of panties from the counter, hesitated for asecond before putting his feet into them and pulling them up his legs.Think of them as a pair of Speedos, he told himself. As they settledaround his cock and balls, he closed his eyes and made a small noise inhis throat, so sensual did they make him feel. No way, he thought, didthese feel like a pair of Speedos. A robe hung from a hook also of silkand he loved the feeling as it slid over his skin. When he pulled thelittle belt tight, it fell to the top of his thighs and as he looked athimself in the mirror one last time, he wondered what he had let himselfin for. With his face red and feeling vulnerable, he walked out of the showerroom to find Siobhan waiting with a glass of wine in her hand.She thought he looked sweet in the robe which barely covered anything,his embarrassment obvious. She offered him the glass, ‘Here, have this,I think it will help.’Danny took the glass and had a good sip. ‘Thanks, I’m so nervous aboutthis.’‘No need, babe,’ she said as she took his hand and led him through tothe bedroom. A large dressing table stood along the wall with lightingeither side of a large mirror which had been covered with a towel. Thetable was covered with neatly arranged boxes of cosmetics, brushes,pads, tissues, and makeup. Siobhan stopped me in the middle of the room.‘OK, Danny, time to take off the robe.’His fingers were shaking as he undid the belt and let the robe slip offhis shoulders. Siobhan looked him up and down and smiled, ‘Very nice,Danny. I think we have something to work with. You’ve got lovely legsand you have a nicely toned upper body, your hips are quite wide andyour shoulders aren’t too big, You’ll do, I think.’‘Swimming,’ he mumbled, ‘that’s what does it.’She laughed, ‘I bet you look as good in Speedos as you do in thosepanties.’Danny blushed crimson, he had forgotten about the panties. ‘Bless you, Danny, there’s no need to be shy with me.’ Easy for her tosay, he thought. ‘Well, the good news is that I don’t think you haveenough hair to worry about tonight, but I would like you to shave yourlegs before we meet with Peta. It will make you feel more feminine.Let’s sort your hair out first.’ She pushed him down onto a chair and pulled off the towel wrapped aroundhis wet hair. She ran her fingers through the hair a few times beforesaying, ‘Hair isn’t my speciality so for tonight I’ll keep it simple,but for the meeting we’ll try something a bit more stylish.’Danny felt Siobhan too presumptuous in assuming that he would go throughwith everything, but he felt too nervous to protest. He had alreadybegun to feel a thrill about being in this position and he could feelhis cock beginning to stir in its little lace prison. No, he thought,please don’t let me down now, but he felt himself getting harder and hetried everything the could think of to calm down, but nothing seemed towork. He could only hope Siobhan wouldn’t notice. Drying Danny’s hair, Siobhan knew it wouldn’t be perfect, but shethought she could make something decent out of it. Luckily, Danny hadkept his hair conditioned, and in good shape for a man. She noticed himsquirming in the chair and guessed that he was getting excited. Men, shethought, are merely slaves to their cocks. Wasn’t it Socrates who hadsaid that having a penis was like being chained to a madman. The onlycock she had any interest in these days was the big black one that Juliastrapped on to fuck her with. That cock didn’t worry about how big orsmall it was, didn’t start asking if it was better than all the othercocks she’d ever had and stayed hard forever. She had long concludedthat men could never free themselves from their egos long enough to loveanyone fully. She loved it when Julia finally penetrated her after a long and eroticsession of foreplay; a culmination of their mutual love in place of theact of domination and control it seemed to be for most men. After theyboth climaxed they would lay and kiss and cuddle, the cock sometimesstill inside her, in a way that men could never emulate. She hadreciprocated at times, fucking Julia with it, but she didn’t get thesame enjoyment as Julia seemed to experience. They were happy that way;Julia had always been the dominant personality, seducing Siobhan in thefirst place and taking the lead in their love making. Danny’s struggle with his particular madman confirmed for her that shehad been right about him all along. From the first night when he hadconfessed about Juliet, she had seen something in his eyes that told herhe had buried something deep that was yearning to come out. The show hadbeen pure coincidence, but Siobhan had wondered how far she could pushDanny. Now, she thought she might be able to take him all the way, tohelp him experience what he clearly felt inside. She had also wonderedabout Carl and Danny, there seemed to be something between them, even ifthey didn’t realise it themselves. She finished drying and styling his hair. Not a bad job, she thought asshe fussed a bit with it. She would love to see it styled properly andthought she could call in a favour or two from one of the hairdressersshe knew on the circuit. ‘OK, Danny, let’s get you made up. I’m going to do something fordaytime, as if you are going to meet Peta for your business meeting. Ithink we want to take attention away from your chin and nose. You have anice shape to your face, not at all masculine.’Danny pulled a face. ‘Don’t pout, it doesn’t suit you. I’m going to use concealer for thebeard areas, although you don’t seem to show too much there, it willhelp. Some foundation, blusher and maybe highlighter to accentuate yourcheekbones, which are lovely by the way. Then, I’m going to bring outthose gorgeous eyes of yours with some delicate eyeshadow, nothing toofierce, and then some mascara to highlight your eyes. Then we’ll finishoff with some lipstick. With your colouring and eye colour, I think youcould be more adventurous, but for now let’s keep it simple. You likedwhat I did at the show, didn’t you?’He nodded, his mouth so dry he couldn’t answer her.‘OK, we’re going to do something similar, but I want you to watch andremember what I’m doing. You’ll be doing this yourself soon, so payattention.’ Danny heard Siobhan saying something, but it didn’t make any sense. Hehad fallen almost in a trance, and her words hit his ears as a jumble ofsounds. But he knew he needed to ask her something before they went on.‘Siobhan, why are you doing this?’ She stopped talking and looked down at him. He looked to her like ascared c***d, his eyes wide, wanting to ask a question but not wantingto hear the answer.‘Danny,’ she said gently, ‘if you don’t want to go through with this,all you have to do is tell me. It would be our secret. Nobody else willever know.’‘No, I understand that, but why are you doing this?’She sighed, ‘I like you Danny. I think you are one of the nicest peopleI have met in a long time, and I think I can help you. Not only withyour work, but with something I believe you want, or need, to do deepdown inside. I want to give you your chance to see what that feelslike.’ She paused, but as he didn’t say anything, she went on.‘Honestly, babe, if you want me to stop, tell me and we’ll go nofurther.’This is it, thought Danny, all I have to do is stand up, and it’s over.But, if I don’t, then God knows what will happen. He paused for a second, a voice in his head screaming at him to leave,before shaking his head, ‘No, no, let’s go on.’Siobhan smiled, ‘OK, babe, onwards and upwards.’ She pulled a plasticsmock around him and fastened it the neck. The cold plastic made himshiver as it slid across his skin. She pulled his hair back carefullywith a makeup band and sat down opposite him. She worked carefully, this was makeup 101 for her, but she talked toDanny though the whole process, telling him exactly what she was doingand why. Siobhan reasoned that if he knew what was happening, then hewould calm down a little, and she did want him to be able to do this byhimself. Nothing she would do tonight would be irreversible, so shewouldn’t pluck his eyebrows for now, but if he did go for it, there weresome changes she would love to make that he couldn’t hide so easily. She took her time, making sure that Danny understood each step. Shecould sense him relax at last, his breathing had slowed down, his eyesfollowed her every move, and he began to ask questions, which had to bea good sign. She smiled to herself as she thought that she had beenright all along, there was something inside Danny that she would help torelease. Danny became entranced by what Siobhan was doing to him. She explainedeverything patiently and carefully and although she said he could dothis himself he thought he could never imagine him doing this. He beganto ask her questions as she worked and he began to like this feeling ofbeing pampered. Siobhan eventually announced herself happy with themakeup and it was time to move on. She unclipped the cape and asked himto stand up. Siobhan had covered the mirrors in the room so he couldn’tsee what she had done yet, but his tongue slipped along his lips and hecould taste and feel the lip gloss she had used. It felt odd, but notunpleasant. He wondered what it would be like to kiss someone wearinglipstick. God, he thought, where did that come from? He wasn’t going tobe doing that for sure.Siobhan had laid out three dresses earlier that she thought might suithim; a two piece suit in coral pink, a dark blue dress with acontrasting loose jacket, and a dark skirt and white blouse combo. As aprofessional clothes horse, Julia always had clothes from modellingassignments and there were dozens of outfits that she could have chosen.She thought that these would also be closest to fitting Danny. All ofthem were a little demure, but she thought that would be safer for himto start with. ‘OK, Danny, firstly, let’s get you into some stockings. I guess you knowhow to put these on from your Juliet days.’ she said.He nodded, struck dumb by the thought of what was to come. Siobhanhanded him a packet saying, ‘These are holdups, I hate tightspersonally, these are much more exciting, don’t you think?’Danny swallowed, recalling how much he loved to see Jess in stockings,but she used to wear a suspender belt as well. He sat on the edge of thechair and took each stocking bursa escort bayan as Siobhan handed the to him. He rememberedhe had to roll them into a doughnut shape and then pull them up his leg.The feeling of the nylon sliding up his leg nearly undid him, but hemanaged to get both on without disgracing himself. Siobhan watched him,smiling as she realised how he felt. The more it excited him, shethought, the more he would go on. She had him stand up and thestockings, as they always did, enhanced his legs and made them looklonger. ‘Now for your bra,’ she announced, having concealed it behind her backfor a moment.‘Oh,’ he stuttered, ‘Do we have to, I mean, can’t we do without?’Siobhan fixed him with her eyes. She had known he was quite submissive,he would hardly have gone this far if he wasn’t. ‘Yes, Danny, I want youto wear it. It will help you to feel like a woman, and if you feelfeminine, then it will be easier to act like it.’Danny took the offered wispy piece of material, which matched thepanties. By the way he looked at it he obviously didn’t know how to putit on.‘Put in back to front and then swivel it round and put you arms throughthe straps.’ Siobhan told him.With trembling fingers, Danny managed to put it on and get it the rightway round. He felt the bra tighten across his chest and the strapsacross his shoulders. He shivered, but he thought it felt so erotic. ‘But I have nothing to put in it.’ he whimpered.‘Look use these for now, I’ll sort something else out for when we seePeta.’ She handed him some tissues, and they managed to fill the braout, although it looked odd. A surge of emotions flooded through Dannyas he stood there in the lingerie and stockings. It felt so exciting tobe dressed like this and he felt his movements change somehow, morefluid, softer, gentler, less masculine, more feminine. His eyes sparkledas he turned to Siobhan. ‘I feel so different, it’s incredible.’She smiled, ‘Welcome to femininity, Danny. Be careful it’s addictive.’She picked up the three outfits and held them up against Danny. Shefinally chose the dress, it would suit his colour best she thought. Sheunzipped the back and bunched it up in her hands and slipped it overDanny’s head. It slid down over his shoulders and he wiggled as it felldone to his knees. She quickly zipped it up and although it hung alittle loose and tad too long, she could get it tailored for him thenext day. She knew this would be the one for him to wear to theinterview. She had him turn round and made a few adjustments to the dress and hishair before standing back and looking him up and down.‘I do declare that my new girlfriend is ready to see herself.’Danny felt himself blush at the words, but he felt a delicious tingle atthe same time. He surprised himself to be so excited and impatient tosee what he looked like. Siobhan led him across to the full-lengthmirror and paused before she took away the sheet hanging over it.‘OK, Danny my girl, remember our agreement, if this looks good, you willgo to the interview, right?’Danny couldn’t quite remember making that firm an agreement, but he hadbecome too excited and nervous he would agree to anything.‘Sure, I mean, yes.’ he blurted out.‘Shoes,’ shouted Siobhan making Danny jump. ‘I forgot shoes.’ She openeda cupboard door to reveal racks of shoes floor to ceiling. She grabbed apair and asked Danny to sit down. ‘I’m guessing you’re not too differentfrom Julia, she has large feet, but don’t tell her I said so.’ She hadpicked out a pair of black ankle boots with a solid heel which should beeasier for him to begin with. She took his foot and slid it into theboot. It seemed to fit, so she slipped the other one on as well. ‘Let’s see if you can stand up, be careful it might feel awkward tostart with.’ She held his hand as he stood up, and then almost fell overas she let go of his hand. ‘God, it’s like learning to ride a bike all over again.’‘But these will make you feel much nicer than a bike, believe me.’Still wobbling she led him to the mirror and this time she asked him toclose his eyes. A few seconds later she said, ‘You can open them now.’He hesitated, fearful of what he might see. He opened one eye a fractionand then both snapped open as he saw his reflection. He stood thereunable to speak at first, his eyes darting from one point to another. It had to be him as the figure moved when he did, but he looked likesomeone else entirely. Reflected in the mirror appeared to be a woman ina dress and makeup, her hair in an unmistakably feminine style, her legsencased in shimmering nylon and a pair of dainty boots on her feet. Hishand darted to his face as he saw how his eyes stood out in a way hecould never have imagined. ‘Oh my God, Siobhan, how did you do this, I can’t believe it.’‘I only enhanced what’s there, Danny, this is you, absolutely all you.’He turned to look at her, his eyes glistening, almost on the brink oftears.‘Do you like it?’ she said.‘Oh yes, I do, but it’s still hard to believe.’He turned from side to side, entranced by what he saw. Siobhan smiled asshe watched, she pictured a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis,unfolding it’s multi coloured wings and turning into a beautiful newcreature.‘So, Danny. Will you be going to the interview?’Danny looked at her with wide eyes, still in shock from what he hadseen. ‘Do you honestly think I can?’Siobhan came and stood beside Danny, put her arms around him and said,‘On my life, Danny, sure you can.’Danny’s mind reeled, never in his wildest dreams would he have thoughthe would look, or feel like this. That flame which had been lit insidehim had become a bonfire, overwhelming him with the emotions it wascreating. He turned to Siobhan, his eyes shining, ‘Yes, I will, if you’ll helpme.’‘Of course, I will, Danny. Let’s call that enough for today, shall we?The last thing we need to do is teach you how to clean off your make up.It’s fun to put it on and wear it, but it’s even more important to takeit off properly and to moisturise your skin.’Siobhan patiently took Danny through how to cleanse his make up fullyand to apply moisturiser. She packed him off to his apartment withinstructions to have a proper bath and shave closely, not just his facethis time but his legs and chest as well, ready for the next morning.Danny was still in a daze as he went back to his apartment and fell intohis bed. He lay awake for while, thinking of what he had felt asSiobhan had dressed him and his fingers inevitably fund their way to hiscock which stiffened as soon as he touched it. A few seconds later hisclimax burst from him in a way that he had not experienced for a verylong time.Chapter EightThe next morning Danny walked up to Siobhan’s apartment, his heartpounding not with trepidation this time, but with anticipation. Siobhanopened the door and ushered him inside. She stroked his face with herfingers. ‘Mmm, feels smooth, did you do the rest as well?’He nodded, ‘Yes, but here wasn’t much there to be honest.’‘Trust me Danny, you’ll feel the difference shortly. I want you to puton what i’ve laid out for you and I’ll see you back out here when you’redone.’He went into the dressing room and found a new set of underwear, freshstockings and a new dress this time on canary yellow. His fingers beganto tremble as he pulled the panties up over his legs and he closed hiseyes when they reached the top and cradled his cock and balls. He pulledthe stockings from their packet, this time they were white and hequickly rolled one and began to slide it up his leg. The sensation as itslid across his newly shaved skin was almost more than he could bear. Hemoaned out loud as he pulled the second one on and had to steady himselfas his legs turned to jelly. He gathered himself together and managed to fit the bra, and afteradjusting it he also managed to slip the dress over his head with only alittle difficulty. He realised he didn’t have any tissues to stuff thebra and was about to come out of the dressing room when he heard thebell ring. ‘Shit,’ he thought, ‘Don’t tell me she’s got visitors. They can’t see melike this.’He heard the door close and then Siobhan called out, ‘Are you readyyet?’He squeezed open the door and whispered, ‘Is there anyone there?’‘No, you fool, it was a delivery.’‘Oh, OK, I’m coming out.’You sure are, thought Siobhan.He emerged from the room, looking shy, but Siobhan thought he lookedsweet in the brightly coloured dress. ‘I have a surprise for you, Danny. Close your eyes and hold out yourhands.’He did as she asked and he felt something heavy and wobbly drop into hishands.‘Open your eyes now.’He looked down to see he was holding see flesh coloured objects. Helooked quizzically at Siobhan.‘Look, you couldn’t be wearing a bra stuffed with tissues all the timecould you? They’re breast forms, good ones too. I had them overnightdelivery.’He suddenly felt a little afraid, this sounded a lot more serious.‘Don’t look so scared, Danny. They are fixed with some adhesive whichholds them in place but they come off quite easily. You’ll love them.’He wasn’t convinced, but he had trusted Siobhan this far, so he said,‘OK. But can I try them without the glue first?’She grinned, ‘OK, scaredy cat.’He took the dress off, and Siobhan slipped them into the bra cups and heimmediately felt the extra weight tug on the straps and he had to leanslightly backwards to compensate. ‘Wow, they’re heavy.’ he said.‘Not everything about being a woman is grand, Danny.’She helped him put the dress back on and smoothed down everything. Helooked down to see two mounds protruding from his chest. He couldn’thelp but put his hands up to them and jiggle them around. Siobhansnorted, ‘It’s better when someone else does that, you know.’Danny went bright pink and thought, well no-one is ever going to touchthese. Siobhan guessed what he was thinking and smiled to herself.Siobhan said, ‘I have a job today. It won’t take long, it’s a film star,she always asks for me when she’s in town for interviews. It’s goodmoney, but she fancies me, so I have to flirt with her. I think shewould run miles if I went any further, but I get a better tip if I lether stroke my leg a bit. I’m going to do your make up, and I’ll video asI do it. Whilst I’m gone I want you to clean it off, watch the video andtry it. Don’t worry if it goes wrong, clean it off and do it again. I’veput a pair of shoes out with a higher heel, I want you to practise inthose as well. I think you’ll cope after how well you did yesterday.’Siobhan set up a small camera so that she could film the makeup forDanny as well and record what she was saying. Danny was now enjoying thewhole makeup ritual and especially how it made him look and feel when itwas finished. He didn’t think he would get tired of seeing thetransformation into his new persona. The feeling of lipstick on hislips, the sight of his eyes coloured and with mascara on his eyelids, itall entranced him. He wasn’t exactly sure why Siobhan insisted he learntto do it himself, but he was so in love with what he did, he went alongwith it.She finished, showed Danny how to view the film and gave him his newshoes before she left, promising to be back in a couple of hours. Dannydecided to try the shoes first before redoing his makeup. The shoesfitted well enough, but they were higher than the ones he had wornyesterday, so he had to hold onto the wall to steady himself as he triedto stand up. Shit, he thought, I’m going to break my ankles on these.How the hell do women walk in these. They obviously did, he reasoned, soif they can, he could.He found with the extra height on the heels and the weight of his newbreasts, he had to adjust his posture. The breasts pulled him forwards alittle, and the heels made him stand up straighter and forced him towalk on his toes more. Gradually he gained confidence, and by takingshorter steps and putting one foot in front of another he was able towalk a few steps without feeling like Bambi on ice. About an hour laterhe thought that’s enough, I’ll try that again later. What he had lovedwas the feeling of his stockinged legs rubbing against each other as hewalked. He thought he would set up the camera and have a go at hismakeup.He managed one go at it and it was a disaster, nothing was straight andeverything looked as if it had been put on with a trowel. Patiently, hecleaned it off and tried again. Better this time, not great but a bigimprovement. He sighed and did it all over again, pausing the film atdifferent spots to catch up on what Siobhan was saying. By the end ofthe third go, he was tired but much happier with the result. He glancedat the clock and was surprised to see it was nearly three hours sinceSiobhan had left. He thought he would practice in the heels once moreand this time, he was walking a lot more confidently. He tried a fewturns which went well enough, so he was feeling pretty pleased withhimself. The bell went and Danny thought, that’s strange, Siobhan must haveforgotten her key. He thought he would surprise her with his skill inthe heels so he walked over to the door and opened it to find a youngman standing there. ‘Hello, Miss, I’ve come to service your boiler.’ he waved an ID cardunder Danny’s nose.Not for the first time in the last few days, Danny thought he wouldfaint.‘Er, OK.’‘Don’t worry Miss, I know where it is. I’ve done this one before. Makeus a cup of tea will you love? I’m parched. Haven’t had a cup forhours.’He moved past her into the flat and all Danny could do was close thedoor and totter off after him.‘Where’s the redhead girl lives here? Irish name, can’t remember itmyself. You a friend?’Danny nodded and started opening cupboards at random to find a kettleand mugs. “I’m Sam, by the way, pleased to meet you. You’re…’‘Oh, Danny,’ Danny tried to soften his voice as much as he could, but hethought it sounded odd. ‘Kettles over there in that cupboard, Danny, told you i’ve been herebefore. Have you got a cold? You sound a bit throaty.’He must think my voice sounds like I’m ill, thought Danny.‘Er, yeah, bad cold, just getting over it.’ Danny faked a cough. ‘Two sugars please Danny, and milk.’Dann had finally found the mugs and the sugar and plugged the kettle in.He needed a stronger drink than tea but that would have to do for now.Sam was laying out sheets to protect the work tops and wouldn’t stoptalking, but most importantly, he didn’t seem to notice anything strangeabout Danny.‘What do you do Danny?’ Sam now had the boiler panel off and was diggingaround inside. ‘Graphic designer, books and magazines.’ Danny was getting a bit moreconfident now as Sam had not yet screamed that he was a bloke dressed inwomen’s’ clothes. ‘Nice, anything I might have seen?’ Sam took the tea from Danny andstirred the sugar into it. ‘Woman’s stuff mostly, so probably not.’‘My girl reads all that stuff, Vogue is it?’‘Yes that’s right.’Suddenly Sam seemed to be looking at him more closely than when he firstcame in and Danny’s heart sank, thinking he had been made.‘Look Miss, I hope you don’t mind me saying something personal.’ Oh God here it comes, thought Danny. Please, please don’t make too muchof a fuss. Sam went on without waiting for an answer. ‘You have the most beautifuleyes I have seen in a long time. You should be a model, I say, just likethat other girl here, Jools, I think it is.’‘Well said, I agree.’ Siobhan’s voice made them both jump. ‘You left thedoor on the latch, happens sometimes if you don’t close it properly.Sorry for being late, I had to do some extras for the client.’ She sawthe look on Danny’s face, ‘No, not like that you dirty minded minx.’She turned to Sam who appeared to be finishing and packing his gear up.‘Has Danny been looking after you alright?’‘Yeah no problem Miss, but she should take care of that cold she’s got.’Siobhan looked puzzled and glanced at Danny who coughed theatrically.She laughed realising what had happened. ‘Oh yes, I’ll make sure sherubs something on her chest.’Danny glared at her but Sam laughed. ‘Good one, Miss.’ He was stilllaughing as he went out the door. Danny collapsed onto a chair and Siobhan was trying and failing to stoplaughing. ‘I’m so sorry, Danny, didn’t you get my texts?’Danny slapped his forehead. ‘Damn, I must have left my phone downstairsthis morning.’‘That’s your first official blonde moment.’Danny laughed, ‘Honestly, I thought I would wet myself when I opened thedoor thinking it was you, and laughing boy stood there. God, I need adrink, and not more tea.’Siobhan opened a bottle of wine and poured them a glass each. ‘Well Ihave to say, you did pretty well for your first unscheduled publicperformance. Sam seemed very struck with you.’‘Probably left his glasses in the van,’ giggled Danny.They touched glasses and Siobhan looked at Danny closely, ‘I thought Iasked you to redo your makeup?’‘I did, this is the third attempt.’Siobhan raised an eyebrow, ‘You’re not telling your Aunty Siobhan anylittle white lies are you?’‘No, honestly, you can check the waste bin for the cleaning pads, I musthave used a year’s supply.’‘I’m impressed my padawan. You have learnt well.’Danny giggled, ‘All thanks to my Jedi Master.’‘And don’t you forget it. Now how about the walking?’Danny stood up and walked up and down a few times. ‘Good, good, Danny,we’ll tackle stairs tomorrow.’‘Why were you late back?’Siobhan sighed, ‘Sorry about that. First of all she was late. Something,or someone had put the moody cow in a foul temper. She was shouting ateveryone, me included. I don’t mind, comes with the territory. She triedit on with me as usual. “Come closer, what lovely legs you have, can ijust touch them? Oh your hair is so nice, it would look lovely on mypillow.” And on, and on. She grabbed my bum this time as well, which Iwasn’t keen on. She then said she didn’t like what I had done and mademe redo it. She made me wait around until she had finished theinterviews and then stormed back in because someone had asked her ifroles were getting more difficult to get at her age. She knew she’dpissed me off, so she gave me an extra big tip, or at least made herpoor bloody P.A. give it to me. She insisted on giving me a goodbye kisson the lips as I left. Still, it pays the rent.’Danny was laughing hard by the time she finished. ‘OK, OK, it is kind of funny. But now I get my own back, I’m going to doyour eyebrows.’Danny stopped laughing. ‘Do you have to? It sounds painful.’‘Danny, Cara Delevigne can get away with it, but you can’t. I will thinthem out a little and maybe give them some shape. It won’t be radical. Ipromise.’Danny was right, it was painful, but only for a few seconds each time.When Siobhan let him see, he liked what she had done. They were thinnerthan before, and a gentle shape to them made all the difference. ‘See, you should trust me. Now for something nice, I’m going to do yournails. This is one thing that will make you feel so much better. Nailsare important, if they’re done well, they tell everyone a lot about you,and the colour you choose gives its own signals as well. I’m going tocomplement the colour of the lipstick I want you to wear, there’s a MAClip colour which will be perfect for you. So, I think we’ll stick withMAC, how about this? Impassioned.’Siobhan showed Danny the colour and he nodded, he would have doneanything she suggested right now, he was so completely under her spell.He was entranced as she cleaned up his nails, they weren’t long but justtidying them up made them look better. It was when Siobhan started tobrush on the colour that Danny began to feel a tingle of pleasure inwhat she was doing. To see his nails transformed by the colour wasalmost magical to him. He didn’t comprehend what was happening to him, but he felt so differentnow. He was being swept away by emotions and feelings that were nowbursting to the surface from where they had lain sleeping until Siobhanhad woken them. He stared at his nails, the most visible element of histransition that he could see, and he knew he wanted this to go on andon. He wondered how he would feel about having to go back to being Dannyagain after this was over, but that was for another day. Tonight, hereveled in what was happening to him.As his nails dried, Siobhan suggested they order a takeaway for tonight.Danny readily agreed, he hadn’t eaten since breakfast and that was justtoast. The agreed on Chinese, so Siobhan rang the order and she openedanother bottle of wine. She made Danny open the door when the deliveryarrived, and to his great surprise he got a lovely smile from thedelivery boy. ‘I’ll have to keep an eye on you, my girl, the boys like you.’Danny laughed, but he felt a tremor run through him at Siobhan’s words.They had a lovely girly evening as Siobhan called it, and danny felthimself slipping further and further into this new persona. It wasbecoming harder and harder for him to think about being Danny. Whoeverthis new person was, he knew he liked it more with every passing second.The evening had to come to an end and as Danny cleaned off his makeup,he knew he couldn’t wait for the next day to come.Chapter NineWednesday passed in a blur for Danny. Siobhan made him put on his makeupwithout the film to help him. He did it once and then she made him do itagain before she accepted he could do the basics without making a messof it. Secretly he had impressed her, he wanted to get it right, and shethought his design sense gave him an interest in getting it right.The rest of the day involved more and more practise; walking, sitting,and how women behave and act differently from men. Siobhan had neverthought too hard about what she did naturally, so it came as a challengewhen she had to teach Danny. He learnt quickly, but it would take morethan a couple of days to train out his male habits. At the end of theday, he could at least walk in the heels, sit properly, and move andbehave more like a woman. She thought he might be able to carry it offif he didn’t panic too much, and she would be with him. Wednesdayevening arrived and as they shared a glass of wine, Siobhan said,‘Right, it’s graduation time for you. We’re going out tonight fordinner.’Danny went pale, and he almost fell over. ‘What? No, I can’t do it, I’mnot ready.’‘Tomorrow, we’re going to go up to Soho and I want you to go out tonightwith me so you’ll know what it feels like. We won’t go far, there’s agay friendly place round the corner. We can walk there and no-one willbe the wiser, I promise you.’‘What if someone recognises me?’ ‘Danni, look at yourself in the mirror, your own mother wouldn’trecognise you, so there’s no chance anyone else would. Do you trust me?’He nodded, still aghast at the thought of going outside.‘Well, if I say it’s going to be OK, do you believe me?’He nodded again.‘So, get your heels back on, girlfriend. We’re going out.’It was only a short walk to the bar and restaurant that Siobhan knew,but it was a walk of terror for Danny. He kept his eyes fixed on theground all the way there and he scurried in after Siobhan. They greetedSiobhan as an old friend, and she introduced Danny as a new friend ofher and Julia’s. They were shown to a table and Danny remembered tosmooth out his skirt as he sat down. Siobhan nodded in approval andsaid, ‘There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?’‘Apart from the fact that I’m seconds away from having a nervousbreakdown, no.’Siobhan laughed, ‘Come off it, you did great. You look great, it’sconfidence that makes the difference. Try to relax and we can enjoyourselves.’People in the restaurant took no notice of them, most were too intent onimpressing the person they were with to worry about anybody else. Dannybegan to relax slowly, but he gave himself a shock when he picked up hiswine glass and saw his newly painted nails wrapped around the stem. Siobhan noticed him looking and said, ‘That’s why being a woman is somuch fun, wearing lovely clothes and make up. You’ll love it, Ipromise.’‘Siobhan, can I ask you something? Something personal?’‘Hey you can ask. If I don’t want to answer I won’t, but go ahead.’‘What was it like the first time you and Julia, you know…’She laughed, ‘You have to be more specific babe. Kissed? Held hands?Went shopping? Shagged each other?’Danny’s face went bright red. ‘I mean, Julia knew she’s gay, but it wasthe first time for you, right?’ ‘Well, I didn’t over-think it for sure. I knew Julia was into girls, andwhen she asked me out for a drink after a show, I wondered if somethingwould happen. I liked her, but I had never even kissed a girl before. Weended up getting a bit drunk, and when she kissed me outside the bar allI thought was, this feels nice. It just seemed right and we ended up inbed together. Julia knew what to do, and I followed her lead. Some of what we did was an eyeopener for me, but it felt so good. We neverlooked back from there. Why did you ask?’‘Oh, just curious, that’s all.’Liar, thought Siobhan, but she kept it to herself.Danny began to chill out as the wine went down and when the time toleave arrived, he felt so much more at ease with himself. He enjoyed theevening with Siobhan; having a night out with a girlfriend was differentto having a night with mates. They talked about everything, from makeupto politics to sex. Danny shared some of the stories about Jess and thegames they had played which merely reinforced in Siobhan’s mind that shehad been totally right about Danny. By the end of the evening Danny felt relaxed and happy. As they walkedback, Siobhan hooked her arm into Danny’s and they strolled back lookingfor all the world as two girlfriends on their back from a night out. Asthey turned a corner, a man almost walked into Danny. He froze,expecting exposure and a torrent of abuse. Instead, the man smiled andsaid, ‘I’m sorry, I should have looked where I was going. Hope you’reOK.’Siobhan giggled as Danny let out a huge sigh of relief. ‘See, you’ll bealright, Danny. I promise you.’At the door Siobhan said, ‘Go and take off your makeup like I showedyou. Get a good night’s sleep and I’ll see you in the morning.’ Shekissed him on the cheek and Danny said, ‘Siobhan, I don’t know whyyou’re doing this for me, but I am so glad you are. I can’t thank youenough. See you in the morning and thank you again.’‘You’re welcome Danny, goodnight.’She watched him close the door and tried to answer that question forherself. Why was she doing it? She shrugged, it had seemed like aharmless little game to her at first, but she could have stopped a longwhile ago. She now wanted to see how far Danny would let her take him.there was also the matter of Danny and Carl. it was obvious to everyoneexcept the two of them that there was something between them.Julia always said she didn’t always think through the games she liked toplay.Chapter TenDanny slept fitfully, worrying about the next day, but at some point hefell asleep and it was already late when he woke. A quick cup of coffeefollowed his shower and a close shave. He headed upstairs to findSiobhan looking radiant. ‘OK, Danny get your war paint on, then we’ll get you dressed.’Danny did a passable job on his makeup and Siobhan did a little repairhere and there but she was happy enough. Siobhan laid out fresh lingerieand stockings for him. He got changed in front of her, no longer shyabout doing so. She stopped him before he put the bra on and said, ‘Iwant to make sure those don’t slip today.’She produced a can and sprayed something onto Danny’s chest.‘It’s just an adhesive to make sure they stay in place.’ She saw the look on Danny’s face and said, ‘Don’t worry it comes offeasily enough, so it says on the can, anyway.’ She took each form in turn and placed it on his chest and even Danny hadto admit to himself that it felt better than merely slipping them intothe bra cups. He put the bra on and fitted the forms into it and feltwith a delicious tingle that now familiar tug on the straps. Siobhanhanded him the dress that she had collected from the local tailor and itfitted him perfectly. He slipped on his heels and stood up in front ofSiobhan and even did a twirl in front of her. ‘Will I do?’She laughed and said, ‘You’ll do fine, remember what we’ve done andit’ll go swimmingly, mark my words.’They took the tube to Soho where the charity was based in an officeabove a massage parlour. At this time of day, they found a carriageonly half full, so they were able to grab two seats together. Danny madesure to keep his knees firmly together, but couldn’t stop his heartbeating like a steam hammer and several times felt close to fainting. Hekept his eyes to the floor, trying desperately not to make eye contactwith anyone. He was sure that if he did, they would leap up and shout,‘That’s a man dressed as a woman.’ No-one did, of course. He hadforgotten that on the underground, everybody tries to avoid eye contact,believing themselves safe inside the their own bubble of personal space.Siobhan nudged him as they reached their station and Danny stood,gripping his portfolio case tight. His heart beating so hard he thoughtother people could hear it, he followed Siobhan up the escalators intothe Soho sunlight. It was the first warm day of the year, and the Underground had beenstifling, and as he stepped out of the station, he felt the fresh breezearound his legs and he thought, that’s one good thing about wearing askirt, it keeps you cool. They walked down the street, Danny treadingcarefully on his heels. He was getting used to them, but he still fearedputting his foot down awkwardly and falling over. Siobhan smiled toherself as she watched him from the corner of her eye. She knew he wasnervous, but he was doing well. If he could find some more confidence,he would have few problems passing as a woman with some more practice. They walked up the stairs to the charity office, Danny hanging onto therail for support and he hesitated outside the door. He still had time toturn back, he thought. Siobhan looked at him and nodded, understandinghis feeling. He blew out his cheeks, sucked in a deep breath and walkedthrough the door. Siobhan followed and asked the receptionist to letPeta know that she and Danny had arrived for a meeting. Siobhan spelled out her name to the receptionist, and Danny thought sheprobably had to do that a lot with her name. She paused, looked at Dannyand held his eye as she followed up with ‘and this is D A N N I.’He hadn’t thought about his name and he was astounded Siobhan had. Hesmiled at her and whispered ‘Thank you, I like that.’ Siobhan grinnedand they sat down to wait for Peta. A few minutes later Peta emergedfrom behind reception and squealed as she saw Danny. She rushed over andthrew her arms around him with a huge hug. ‘Danni, It’s so good to see you. You look gorgeous. Let me have a goodlook at you.’ She held onto his hands and took a step back, ‘Wow, youlook great, I love that dress, it really suits you.’ She turned toSiobhan and drew her into a hug too. ‘Siobhan, I haven’t had a chance tosay thank you to you and Julia for all the work you did for the show. Itwent so well and we had a great result, so many positive reviews. Myphone has been ringing off the hook. Anyway, come on through.’Peta held on to Danny’s hand as they walked into a meeting room behindthe reception area. They sat for a few minutes sipping water andchatting about the show and the coverage the charity had received. ‘It means it’s even more important to find a new designer fast, Danni.There’s a lot of work coming up following the visibility the show gaveus. By the way, I love your name, Danni. cute to make it a diminutive ofyour old name.’ Danny caught sight of Siobhan smiling broadly just outof Peta’s eyesight. ‘Thanks,’ said Danny, ‘makes it easier to remember.’‘Exactly, I did the same when I transitioned. Peter became Peta. So, areyou dressing full-time now Danni?’‘Er, pretty much.’ Danny said, trying to keep his voice soft and low. ‘Ineed to expand my wardrobe though.’‘I know, I know,’ said Peta, ‘but you’ve got some good contacts withJulia I guess.’Danny looked at Siobhan who jumped in, ‘Yes, Julia gets tons of stuff,our flat is overflowing.’‘Anyway, Danni, I think Siobhan told you we like to keep our businesswithin the TG community, if we can. Nobody understands us better thanourselves, right?’‘For sure, Peta, I agree and thank you for giving me the opportunity toshow you my work.’‘Well when Siobhan said you were a designer and about to transition, Ithought it’s a sign. Have you brought your portfolio?’Danny opened his portfolio case and his iPad, on which he had stored hisdigital stuff. He felt more comfortable now they were onto his work, butit still shocked him to see his pink nails as he flipped through hispresentation on the iPad. Peta seemed to be responding positively to hisdesigns and even Siobhan looked impressed. ‘OK, Danni, that’s enough I think.’ said Peta, ‘You’ve got some greatwork there especially the digital stuff. If you’re happy then so am I.It would be great to work with such a talented designer and for you tobe TG, well that’s the icing on the cake for me. When can you start?’‘Well, whenever you want Peta, I have some projects I’m working on, butI’m happy to take on what you can give me.’‘Excellent, I think Siobhan told you we don’t have a lot of money, butI’m sure the visibility you’ll get with us will be priceless I think. Weare getting so much coverage at the moment.’Danny smiled, ‘Peta, if you’ll have me I would love to work with you.’Siobhan was grinning her head off. ‘So that’s agreed,’ said Peta, ‘by the way, was that your boyfriend youwere with at the fashion show, Danni?’ Danny opened his mouth to say no, but Siobhan beat him to it.‘Yes, that’s Carl, they live in the flat below Julia and me.’Peta beamed at them both, ‘That’s great, look, here’s an idea, we’ve gota press party on Saturday night, why don’t you and Carl come along? Youcan meet the rest of the team and we can introduce you to the press, itwould perfect. Please say you can come, Danni.’Danny was horrified, how had he got himself into this mess? He said, ‘Idon’t know, I’ll have to check.’Siobhan said, ‘Don’t you remember Danni? That party we were invited tohas been cancelled, of course you and Carl can go.’ Danny glared at Siobhan, what the hell was she talking about? Peta stood up, ‘I’m sorry Danni, but I have to take another meeting.We’re trying to influence the Government to take more action againsthate crimes. There’s been an upswing in attacks recently and the policearen’t doing anywhere near enough to stop them. It’s been great to meetyou and I look forward to working with you. Oh, and don’t forget,Saturday night, you and Carl, I look forward to seeing you both there,you make a lovely couple.’Siobhan said, ‘Oh they won’t forget, they’ll be there Peta.’Peta leant forward and kissed Danny on the cheek, ‘You look great,’ shesaid, ‘Carl’s a lucky guy.’Danny opened his mouth to confess everything, but all he said was,‘Thanks Peta.’They left the office and Danny managed to get down the stairs in hisheels without falling over. As soon as they were out of the office, hegrabbed Siobhan and hissed at her, ‘What was all that with Carl and Igoing to the party? I can’t do that.’ She smiled and said, ‘Well, I thought that went well, don’t you?’‘Yes, well, I guess it did, but this thing about Carl being myboyfriend, where did that come from?’She took his elbow and guided him towards a nearby restaurant. ‘Let’s gocelebrate with a glass of Prosecco, shall we? We can talk then.’Chapter ElevenDanny was still fuming but he couldn’t have a row with Siobhan in thestreet, so he followed her into the restaurant. Siobhan managed to get aquiet table in a booth at the back and she slid in and waited for Dannyto do the same. He stood there looking embarrassed until Siobhan asked, ‘What’s up?’‘I drank too much coffee, I need the toilet.’Siobhan stifled a laugh with a cough and said, ‘OK, I’ll come with you,girls go the toilet together all the time.’He looked horrified, ‘I can’t go to the ladies.’‘Well, Danni with an i, you can’t go to the gents like that, can you?’Siobhan thought he was going to faint as she grabbed his arm andvirtually frog marched him into the ladies. Luckily, it was still early,and they were alone inside. Siobhan shoved him into the cubicle andstood guard while he finished what he had to do. Danny emerged with hisface as a red as a beetroot, and Siobhan told him to fix his lipstickwhile waiting for her. He felt his hands trembling, but he managed toreapply his lipstick without getting it on his teeth. Siobhan joined himand she smiled at him in the wall mirror. ‘Wasn’t so terrifying was it?’He shook his head, ‘Only because you’re with me.’The door opened, and a couple of women walked in chatting, took a quicklook at Danny and Siobhan and then resumed their conversation. Dannyscuttled out as fast as he could and Siobhan followed at a moreleisurely pace. Siobhan ordered a bottle of Prosecco and after the waiter had pouredtheir glasses Siobhan touched glasses with Danny and said, ‘Well doneDanny, you did so well today. Peta is totally sold on you. To be honest,I think she might have a little crush on you.’Danny moaned softly. ‘No, that can’t be, surely? Oh my God, what have Igot myself into? What am I going to do?’‘Look, there’s nothing to worry about, is there? You did so well, evenin the toilet, the women didn’t bat an eyelid, did they?’‘No, I guess not, but Peta expects me to turn up on Saturday with Carl,what about that?’ He began to whimper, ‘I’ll have to come clean withPeta, call the whole thing off.’Siobhan grabbed Danny’s hands and held them tightly. ‘Look at me, Danny,I won’t let you do that. You’ve put too much effort into this to crapout at the first small hurdle. You can do this.’Danny snorted, ‘Small hurdle? Yes, that would be my flatmate being myboyfriend, only he’s not gay, and he doesn’t know he’s my boyfriend. Isthat the small hurdle?’Siobhan almost said something, but bit it back at the last moment.‘Danni, all you have to on Saturday is to tell Peta that Carl has beencalled away on business, and you’ll be coming on your own. These thingshappen all the time. She will be too busy with the press to worry aboutCarl not turning up. Now, take a deep breath and relax. You’ve got somenew work and the chance to be part of something big. Have some moreProsecco and cheer up, for God’s sake.’Danny looked startled, and then began to giggle, ‘I’m sorry, you’reright. I’m behaving like a wuss.’He touched her glass with his and said, ‘I also need to thank you,Siobhan. You have done all this for me and you’ve been awesome. Thankyou so much.’‘You’re welcome Danny, it’s been a blast, and I meant it, you’ve donefantastically well. You’re a natural. Are you sure you didn’t dress anymore after the Juliet thing?’He shook his head, ‘No. the other night was the first time I had eventold anyone about it.’‘How do you feel about what we’ve done now?’He thought for a moment, ‘I guess I shouldn’t admit this, but in thesmall moments between being completely terrified, I’m beginning to enjoymyself a bit. Does that make me a freak?’Siobhan laughed, ‘God no. There are millions of men out there who weartheir wives or girlfriends clothes when they can. Anyway, who wouldn’twant to wear pretty underwear and clothes, and put on make up?’Danny laughed, ‘I feel so different when I’m dressed.’‘Different, how?’ ‘It’s difficult to describe, but I feel calmer, softer, gentler maybe,more at ease with myself. I felt the same way I did as Juliet, it’s likeI’m living out another part of my personality. But it’s exciting too.Not sexually, I mean, although it’s so thrilling to be dressed likethis. I feel so naughty.’ He giggled, ‘Are you sure this isn’t freaky?’‘If it makes you feel like you say it does, then to be sure it’s notfreaky, it’s beautiful. So are you, Danny.’He blushed at her words, and she smiled, ‘You look so sweet when youblush. Maybe Carl would like to take you to the party.’‘Well that’s one thing that isn’t going to happen. By the way, if I dogo on Saturday, can I change in your flat? I can’t do it in mine can Iwith Carl around?’‘It’s when you go on Saturday, not if, and sure you can use our flat.Now let’s get you home, girlfriend.’Danny felt a tingle as he realised what Siobhan had called him. Chapter TwelveThey hailed a cab outside the restaurant and they were soon back at theflat, but Danny desperately needed to take his shoes off and use thetoilet. As Danny kicked off his heels and ran to the toilet, Siobhanlaughed and yelled, ‘I’ll make some tea.’Great, thought Danny, he could do with a cup right now. He finished,washed his hands and emerged yelling, ‘It’s so much easier going to theloo as a man.’ He saw Siobhan standing in the kitchen and looking at himoddly, her eyes as big as saucers.‘I thought you were making some tea.’ he said as he walked towards her.‘Danny…’ she began to say as Danny walked into the kitchen. Hecouldn’t understand why she looked so scared. He watched as she put herhand up to her mouth and her eyes moved away to the side, looking atsomething on the other side of the kitchen. Danny followed her gaze, andhe almost fainted as he saw Carl sitting at the table.Carl had managed to complete his project quicker than he had expected,and by Wednesday evening he realised he would be finished by Thursdaylunchtime. He didn’t fancy staying another night in the budget hotelthat the client had booked for him, so he checked out in the morning andat lunchtime he headed to the station. The non-stop service got him backinto Paddington by mid afternoon and his Uber car pulled up as he cameout onto the street. Carl was always happy to be back in London, and hehad worked hard this week and simply wanted to get back to the flat,have a drink and relax. He would write the report at home on Friday, sothe weekend would be free. He idly wondered if Danny wanted to dosomething together at the weekend.Carl opened the front door and shouted to see if Danny was home. Hedidn’t hear any reply, so he dropped his bag in his room, picked up hismail and sat at the kitchen table reading. Sometime later he heard thefront door open and Siobhan shouting something about making tea. Good,he thought, Danny must be with her. Carl knew he wasn’t good at being onhis own, and this week he had missed Danny’s company and looked forwardto catching up with him. He looked up as Siobhan breezed into the kitchen, saw him sitting thereand stopped dead. Her mouth dropped open, and she looked shocked.‘What’s up? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost,’ he said, completelypuzzled by her reaction. He heard the toilet flush and what sounded like Danny saying somethingabout the toilet. It was Carl’s turn to look puzzled as he watchedSiobhan turn and said ‘Danny…’ He turned to look at the door as a womanwalked through. She too stopped, and he thought she might pass out withshock. Time seemed to stand still as they all looked at each otherwithout saying anything for a fraction of a second, and then they allstarted to talk at once.‘Carl, it’s all my fault…’ said Siobhan.‘Oh, fuck, I’m so sorry…’ said Danny‘What the hell is going on?’ said Carl.Danny and Carl both started to speak, and Carl held his hand up andsaid, ‘One at a time, please. Siobhan, you first, who is this?’ heasked, nodding towards Danny.Siobhan opened her mouth but Danny beat her to it.‘Carl, it’s me, it’s Danny.’ He sat down on one of the chairs because hethought he would otherwise fall down.‘Danny? What are you talking about?’ Carl suddenly recognised Danny’sblue eyes. ‘Oh my God, it is you. What the hell is going on?’ Carl felthis heart jump as he looked at Danny, who looked about to burst intotears.Siobhan jumped in. ‘It’s all my doing, Carl. You remember Peta, the PRfrom the charity? Their in-house designer resigned, and she neededsomeone to replace them. I told her about Danny being a designer, butshe only wanted to use someone in the TG community. I told her thatDanny was actually beginning to transition.’She paused and Danny put his head in his hands.‘Danny agreed to go to an interview dressed like this, to see if hecould get some work. We spent the last few days getting him, I mean her,Danni, that’s with an i, ready. He had the interview today…’ her voicetrailed off. ‘We thought you would be back tomorrow, so you wouldn’tfind out about it.’ ‘I finished the project early and got home this afternoon.’Danny looked up and said, ‘I’m so sorry, Carl. I’ll move out of the flatas soon as I can.’‘Whoa, hang on,’ said Carl. ‘What are you talking about?’‘Well, after this, you won’t want me staying will you?’Carl didn’t say anything for a while, then looked first at Siobhan andthen Danny.‘You two are priceless, you know, coming up with such a crazy idea. Didyou honestly think you were going to get away with it?’A big grin spread across Siobhan’s face, ‘Well, he got the job, or,rather, she got the job.’Carl laughed, ‘I wish I had been there to see that.’‘No, really. He was great, knocked her out with his portfolio.’ Siobhanlooked anxiously at Danny, who looked like he wanted to be sick.Carl looked at him, ‘Danny, that’s great, you are a talented designer soI’m not surprised they want you.’ Danny looked up as Carl spoke. ‘And asfor moving out, why do you want to do that? I thought we were mates?’Danny looked at Carl to see if he was serious. ‘You mean that?’ he said.‘Yes, of course. Why did you think I would want you to leave?’‘Well, after this, I thought you would hate me…’Carl smiled, ‘No, we’re friends. That counts for more than anything,doesn’t it? Of course I don’t want you to leave.’Danny shook his head, ‘Well, I don’t think it’s going to happen anyway,Peta wants me to go to a press party on Saturday night. I don’t think Ican go through it all again.’Siobhan said, ‘Before anybody says anything else, I need a drink, anyonewant to join me?’‘There’s a bottle of white wine in the fridge, I could do with one too,’said Carl, ‘Danny, you too?’He nodded, and Siobhan poured them all a glass, before she too sataround the table. Carl took a sip and said, ‘Why can’t you go through it again? I thinkyou look pretty convincing to me.’Danny couldn’t believe his ears. ‘You really think so?’Siobhan butted in. ‘See, I have been telling him, her, whatever, thesame thing all this week. Now, will you believe me?’‘Well, there’s the other thing too,’ said Danny, glaring at Siobhan, whoimmediately went bright pink.‘What other thing?’ said Carl, wondering why Siobhan looked soembarrassed.‘Um, I sort of hinted that Danny had a boyfriend.’ ‘More than hinted,’ said Danny.‘Who?’ asked Carl.‘Well, er, you actually,’ said Siobhan.‘What? Me? What made you do that?’ Carl felt stunned by what Siobhan hadsaid.The normally imperturbable and super cool Siobhan squirmed now. ‘Petaremembered you from the show and asked if you were Danny’s boyfriend. Igot carried away and said yes. I honestly didn’t think it would matter.You would never have found out. Then Peta invited Danny and you to theparty on Saturday night.’‘And Siobhan accepted for both of us.’‘But we talked about that, Danny can say you were away on business andgo on his own. I’m so sorry, Carl. It was me and my big mouth.’Carl looked from one to the other, started to giggle, and then laughedout loud. ‘You should see the look on both your faces. You look as ifthe world is about to end in a few minutes.’Siobhan began to smile and punched Danny gently on the arm. He began togrin too and then all of them were laughing out loud. Siobhan refilledtheir glasses and suddenly the mood in the room had turned. Carl managedto stop laughing first and held his hand up to get their attention.‘Tell me about this party on Saturday.’‘It’s a press party to follow up on the fashion show, which has been agreat success for the charity. Peta wanted Danny to meet the other teammembers there.’Carl escort bursa stayed silent for a moment, struggling with his thoughts, and thensaid something he hoped he wouldn’t live to regret. ‘Danny, I knowSiobhan said you would go on your own, but what if you had someone thereto support you?’Both Siobhan and Danny’s mouths fell open at the same time. Siobhan spoke first, ‘Carl, who do you mean?’‘Me, of course.’ He said it with rather more confidence than he felt.‘But you can’t.’ said Danny.‘Why not? If it would help you, I’ll do it.’Siobhan emptied the remains of the bottle into their glasses, andwithout even asking opened another.‘Do you know what you’re saying, Carl? You would come with me? You knowI would be dressed like this?’‘Danny, yes I know, and yes, I would do it.’Siobhan had a smile on her face as she refilled their glasses yet again.‘Carl, if you’re sure, I would be so happy. Just for the support, Imean, not as a boyfriend.’‘God, of course not.’ said Carl. ‘No touching or stuff like that.’‘You are sure aren’t you? You’re not having me on?’ said Danny.Carl shook his head, ‘No, I mean it.’ Siobhan raised her glass, ‘To Danni, and Carl.’They all drank to the toast, and they all thought it made them soundlike a couple.The evening had ended after a couple more bottles of wine and a Chinesetakeaway. Danny couldn’t remember exactly when, but at some point in theevening he stopped being conscious of the way he was dressed. He felt atease being Danni and started to enjoy the experience. Carl and Siobhanexchanged a quiet look as they saw how much he seemed to be enjoyinghimself in his feminine persona. Danny and Siobhan told Carl about whatthey had done over the last few days and the interview with Peta. Theywere all rolling around with laughter at some points in the story until,eventually Siobhan said she had to go to bed or she would end upsleeping on the sofa. She staggered off after kissing Carl and Dannygoodnight, leaving them sitting on the sofa to finish off the last ofthe wine. Carl looked at Danny over the top of his glass. ‘Danny, do you feel OKwith all this.’ He waved his arm vaguely in Danny’s direction.‘Dunno honestly. It was a bit bizarre at first, I must have thoughtabout saying No to Siobhan about ten times a minute, then when she didthe first makeover, it began to feel alright. I mean, I thought I lookedalright. It felt odd, but nice. Like a dream I guess. It didn’t feelquite real. Like an out-of-body experience. It felt like there wasanother person trying to get out.’ He giggled, ‘Maybe I’m aschizophrenic. At one point I kept thinking about Jack Lemmon in SomeLike It Hot.’‘With Siobhan as Marilyn Monroe,’ said Carl. ‘Does that make you Tony Curtis?’ Danny almost fell off the sofalaughing.At that point they decided they should call it a night before it got toosilly. Danny found he couldn’t get up from the sofa in his skirt and hethrust out a hand to Carl. ‘Help me up, please.’Carl grabbed his hand and pulled Danny up from the sofa who overbalancedand fell against Carl. He instinctively put out his arms to catch Dannyand ended up with his arms around Danny, looking into his blue eyes andhe felt his heart jump. Danny felt Carl’s arms around him and he didn’twant him to let go. For a split second they stood there, each waitingfor something to happen and then they both jumped back and began tolaugh sheepishly.‘I’m so plastered, I have to go to bed,’ mumbled Carl.‘Me too, goodnight Carl. See you in the morning.’ Each went off to their own rooms, their minds racing with what had, orhadn’t happened. Danny fell onto his bed, his hands over his face as hetried to make sense of it all. Sure, he felt drunk, but sober enoughthat when he looked into Carl’s eyes he had seen the same look thatRomeo had given him all those years ago. God, he thought, what a fuckingmess I’ve made. He rolled over and thumped the bed with his fist. Thishas to stop, I can’t put my friendship with Carl at risk. It had feltgood when Carl put his arms around him, though, and with that thought inhis mind, he fell asleep.Carl sat on the edge of his bed, and all he could think of was Danny’sface, looking for all the world as if he were asking Carl to kiss him.He fell back onto the bed and moaned out loud. No, he couldn’t do thisagain he thought. Look what it had caused last time. The last image thatflashed into his mind before he fell to sleep was Danny’s tongue slidingacross his pink lips. Chapter ThirteenThey both woke late, Danny had fallen asleep still fully dressed and hishead pounding. He lay there for a few minutes unable to think clearly,and then the memories of the evening barged their way into his mind.When Carl had held him, Danny had felt like he had with Romeo; he hadalmost kissed Carl before they had taken a step backwards. What a farcethat would have been. He groaned, how would he be able to face Carl now?The first thing he had to do was to get out of the dress and cleanhimself up. He swore that he would never dress again, it caused too muchtrouble. Every time he wore a dress something happened that he couldn’tcontrol. He couldn’t cope with the emotional turmoil it set up in him.He would have to call Peta and tell her the truth. It was a pity,though, he had begun to enjoy the feeling of being Danni for a while. Hestumbled into the bathroom and set about removing his ravaged makeup asSiobhan had taught him.Carl slowly woke up, a massive headache beginning to form behind hiseyes. He opened them once, and then rapidly closed them again. Hewondered if Danny felt as bad, and then what had happened last nightflooded into his mind. Carl remembered how he had felt when Danny hadfallen into his arms. He had come so close to kissing him and he thoughthe had seen a glimmer in Danny’s eyes at the moment before they bothpulled back. God, what would have happened if he had kissed him? Carlfelt his face go red as he thought about how close he had come todisaster. He groaned, how would he be able to face Danny now? He needed some coffee and paracetamol first before deciding to doanything. He took off his Armani suit trousers, thinking he hadn’t beenthe best idea to sleep in them. They would have to go the cleanerstoday. He pulled on some Levis and a white t-shirt before heading outinto the kitchen. Having taken a couple of paracetamol with some orangejuice, he started the coffee percolator and sat down at the table.Having cleaned himself up, Danny put on a pair of loose sweatpants andan oversized t-shirt. He heard Carl moving around outside and he smelledthe coffee brewing. He hesitated before opening the door, but he knew itcouldn’t be put off any more. He eased open the door to see Carl withhis back to him, in blue jeans and a white t-shirt. Before he could stophimself he thought how good Carl looked. He shook his head, he had tostop thinking like that. Carl heard Danny open his door, and he didn’t want to turn round. Hewondered if Danny would still be dressed as a woman and he franklydidn’t know how he would react if he was. He finally turned round with acup of coffee and felt almost disappointed to see Danny in sweatpantsand a t-shirt with his hair in its ponytail. The second thing he noticedwere those damn blue eyes, and he moaned inwardly.‘Coffee, Danny? Paracetamol are over there if you need them.’‘Coffee, please, Carl. Can I take the whole bottle?’‘Only if you want to end up in A&E at the hospital,’ said Carl. ‘Don’t tempt me, the way I’m feeling, that might be a good option.’Danny took a couple of tablets, and coffee in hand, sat down oppositeCarl.‘Look, about last night…’ Both spoke at the same time and they laughed.Danny held his hand up, ‘Me first, Miss.’Carl smiled and nodded. ‘I wanted to say that I’ve thought about everything and I have decidednot to go tomorrow. I’m going to tell Peta the truth and move on. It’seasier all round. What were you going to say about last night?’Carl was caught off guard, he hadn’t expected Danny to say that. He tooka long drink from his coffee to give him time to think. ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter. Why? I thought you were keen to go ahead lastnight. You seemed to be so at ease with yourself. I haven’t seen you sohappy for a while.’‘I don’t want to impose on you. I know it would be embarrassing for youto be seen with me, and for everyone to think we’re together. I couldn’tdo it to you.’‘Danny, I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t want to do it. It will onlybe for one night after all.’ He paused, and felt a rush of blood as hesaid, ‘Anyway, I could never be embarrassed to be seen with you lookingas good as you did last night.’Carl’s words hung in the air, as both of them thought about what theymeant. ‘Carl, that’s nice of you, but I’ve made up my mind.’ As he said it, itoccurred to him there might be something more behind Carl’sencouragement. ‘OK, Danny, if that’s your decision, when will you tell Siobhan?’‘It’s nothing to do with Siobhan, it’s what I want to do.’ Danny saidtetchily.‘OK, OK. It’s your decision, I know. Look, I’ve got to start my reportfor the project, so I’ll see you later on? Fancy a drink at the pub?’‘Yeah, that would be great, Carl. I’ve got a commission to work on sothat would be good.’Both headed off to their rooms, each thinking that somehow they hadupset the other.Danny didn’t have anything to work on, as his pipeline had dried up, buthe didn’t want Carl to know that. He spent the rest of the day makingcold calls and trying to chase up old contacts. He got a couple of smalljobs from the calls but they wouldn’t pay much, almost doing them fornothing to keep the contacts alive. Maybe he had been too hasty indeciding not to go for the charity work, it would give him an incomestream and he was sure he could leverage it into other work. He pushedback his chair and stared at the wall. He thought about what Carl hadsaid about him being so relaxed when he was dressed as Danni; was ittrue? When he became Danni, he did feel different. He stood up and wentto the wardrobe where he had hung the dress he had been wearingyesterday. He would have to get it cleaned and pressed. He picked up the panties and the bra from the chair where he had laidthem this morning. His fingers ran over the silky material and he felthis cock stir as he did so. He closed his eyes as his fingers pusheddown his sweatpants and wrapped themselves around his hardening cock. Hefound himself pushing down his sweats, kicking them into a corner of theroom. Almost without thinking, he pulled the panties up his legs andsighed as they cradled his balls. His cock had now become fully erect, and he began stroking it with onehand whilst the other caressed the material now stretched across hisbackside. He closed his eyes once more and his hand moved faster alonghis cock. He felt his climax approaching and at that moment it burstforth into his hand, he realised he had been thinking about Carl.Carl had tried to concentrate on his report but his mind kept floatingoff to last night. He thought Danny had looked so pretty in the dressand the makeup Siobhan had created. His hair was different too, how hadhe achieved such a feminine style? Carl sighed, what was happening here?He kept coming back to that moment when Danny had fallen against him. Hehad been sure he saw a longing in Danny’s eyes, but neither of them haddone anything. Carl felt his cock begin to swell as he thought aboutthat moment. Well it was a moot point, he thought, as Danny had decidednot to go ahead with the charity work, so there would be no need forthem to go the party. Carl finally got his attention focused on his report and by lateafternoon, he had wrapped most of it up, it only needed a littlepolishing. He pushed back his chair and decided he would celebrate witha drink. He knocked on Danny’s door. ‘Danny, I’m heading to the pub, do you want to come?’‘OK, give me a minute, got to change.’ Danny called back.Carl sent a text to Siobhan, ‘off 2 pub, u want 2 come?’His phone beeped with a reply, ‘sure c u in 2 mins. Jools 2’Danny came out of his room as the doorbell rang.‘I asked the girls if they wanted to come, is that OK?’Danny shrugged, ‘Yeah, it’s fine by me.’Carl opened the door and Siobhan and Julia burst in, all smiles andkissing cheeks. Julia hooked her arm into Danny’s. ‘How have you beenDanny? What trouble have you got into while i’ve been away?’Danny looked desperately at Siobhan, but she had her arm In Carl’s andwas facing the other way.‘Nothing much, how about you? How was the shoot?’‘Daaahling, St Moritz is so last year, don’t you think?’ she drawled.‘They were all a bunch of upper class pillocks, Darling this and Darlingthat. Hated them, but the money was good.’ She squeezed his arm, andthey followed the other two out of the door. ‘Now, tell me the truthabout what you and wifey got up to.’ They were walking a few pacesbehind the others and Danny wished he knew what Siobhan had told her.‘What did she tell you?’‘Everything Danny, no secrets between us.’Danny gulped and knew he had gone pink. ‘Well, if you know why do youwant me to tell you?’‘Touché, Danny boy. You and her got up to something that I know. But shewon’t tell me what. Yet, that is. But I will wheedle it out of youbefore the night is finished.’Danny heaved a sigh of relief, Siobhan hadn’t told Julia, so he wasn’tgoing to say anything. They chatted on the way down to the Duke’s Headand were lucky enough to find a table with a view of the river. The sunglinted off the water where rowers from the nearby rowing clubs werestill out on the river. It was one of those spring evenings when youcould almost smell summer around the corner. Julia made everyone laughabout the people she had met on the shoot for an upmarket societymagazine. There came one of those pauses that happens when the laughterdies away and nobody says anything. Siobhan broke the silence. ‘So,Danny, my boy, are you up for the party tomorrow?’Three pairs of eyes looked at Danny who immediately began to squirm. ‘Party,’ asked Julia, ‘what party?’Siobhan turned to her, ‘Danny and Carl have been invited to a party byPeta from the charity. Danny’s going to be their new designer.’‘Wow, that’s great, Danny.’ Julia stretched out her hand to touch hisarm. ‘You must be so pleased.’His eyes zigzagged wildly from one to the other, before he finally said,‘Well, you see, it’s like this…’ His voice trailed off. ‘Do you still want to go?’ Carl tried to help his friend out.Siobhan frowned as Julia said, ‘Why wouldn’t he go?’Danny had turned bright red and swallowed before saying, ‘Well, I don’twant to put Carl out.’Siobhan looked at Carl, ‘Would you be put out, Carl?’‘Well, er, no, not at all.’ he shrugged at Danny, it was over to himnow.Julia looked from one to the other, ‘What’s going on here? Is theresomething I’ve missed? Someone talk to me for fuck’s sake.’Siobhan said softly, ‘Peta will only give Danny the design job tosomeone who is TG.’‘But, Danny’s not TG,’ spluttered Julia. Then her eyes widened and herhand went up to her mouth. ‘Oh my sainted aunt, that’s what you two weredoing this week.’ She grinned, ‘If wifey here did you I bet you lookedawesome, Danny. But why is Carl involved?’Danny had covered his face with his hands, so Carl answered, his eyesstill on Danny. ‘Siobhan told Peta that Danny and I were an item, and then she invitedus both to the party.’Julia put her fist in her mouth to stop laughing, ‘Oh my God, I thinkthat’s the sweetest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Danny you must go,and Carl too, why not?’Danny took a deep breath, he had finally made his decision, ‘OK,everyone, I will go, but only if you all shut up about it right now. Notanother word about it until we get back, is that understood?’Siobhan and Julia smirked, and Carl thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s on.’‘Can I ask something?’ said Julia.‘No, not another word.’ said Danny.‘OK, OK. Keep your panties on.’ Julia bit her lip as she tried to stopgrinning.They chatted a little more before it started to turn cool and theydecided to head back. Siobhan grabbed Danny as Julia chatted to Carl.‘You OK, babe?’‘Actually, yes,’ he said, ‘Now I’ve finally decided, I’m a lot happierabout it. I had some bad moments but, it’s fine now. I don’t think Icould do it on my own, so having Carl there will be great, but probablyembarrassing for both if us. I hope he’s OK about doing this.’‘Oh don’t worry about Carl, he knows what he’s doing.’Something about the way she said it made Danny look at her, but shedidn’t say anything else. As they reached the flat, Siobhan turned toDanny, ‘If you come up to our flat about one o’clock tomorrow, we canget started for the party.’‘Do we need to start that early?’ ‘Danny, my sweet, there is a lot you need to learn about being a woman.For example, it is never too early to start getting ready for a party.Boys can throw on trousers and a shirt, we girls have a lot to do.’Danny gulped and nodded, ‘OK, see you then.’The two girls disappeared upstairs as Carl and Danny went inside. Itturned into a quiet evening, Danny cooked a meal for them both and theyate in silence. Carl was the one to break it. ‘Danny, look, if you’rewondering, I am perfectly happy to do this. Truly.’‘Carl, thank you, I still don’t understand why you would do it, but I amreally grateful, I couldn’t go through with it without you there.’Carl felt a tingle at what Danny had said, but what he didn’t know wasthat Danny had felt the same as he spoke the words. ‘You’re welcome, Danny.’Danny cleared the dishes away and Carl suggested they watch a film onNetflix. ‘OK, something to cheer me up.’ said Danny, ‘but not Tootsie.’ Carl laughed. ‘How about La Cage Aux Folles then?’Danny threw a cushion at him. ‘Absolutely not.’They settled on Hot Fuzz which kept them chuckling all the way throughto the end. Somewhere during the film, Danny realised that he likedbeing dressed this way, and being here with Carl. It reminded him of anight in with Jess, but with a big difference. He felt like Jess mighthave done. He felt an overwhelming desire to cuddle up with Carl on thesofa, but he knew that would be impossible. As the film ended, they saidgoodnight and went off to their rooms, and both fell into a troubledsleep wondering what the next day would bring. Chapter f******nDanny woke first and had started the coffee machine before Carlappeared. The morning became bright and warm enough for them to open thepatio doors and sit outside with their coffee and some fresh croissantsDanny had fetched from the local bakers. Carl said he planned to rideout to Richmond Park and the Surrey Hills, and would be back sometimeafter lunch. Danny thought it was more about keeping himself out of theway. Carl wheeled his bike through the garden and Danny caught himselfstaring at Carl’s thighs in his Lycra cycling shorts.After Carl had gone, Danny was left to confront a thought which had beenniggling away at him for the past few days. He had always thoughthimself straight, but the events of the past few days, the dressing, andthe all feelings which had been released had begun to unsettle him.Danny had finally admitted to himself that he was attracted to Carl,which only added to his confusion. Uneasy thoughts churned in his mind;he wasn’t gay, he simply wasn’t, couldn’t be, could he? He remembered what Siobhan had said about gender not being binary. Washe bi? Or, what was it she had said, one of the many different coloursof gender? She had also said that sexual attraction isn’t about gender.Shit, he thought, why was life so difficult? Maybe I’m just a screw up.Anyway, he had to keep his feelings for Carl to himself, it would be adisaster if he let that show.He needed to do something to keep his mind off what would happen later,so he grabbed his swimming gear and headed off to the local pool.Swimming always calmed him down, the monotonous rhythm and concentrationon technique would always relieve any stress he felt. Except this time,as he pulled his speedos on, he began to feel his cock come to life asthe tight material cradled him. What was up with him? He hurried intothe pool with a towel over his groin and slipped quickly into the water.For a while it worked; he managed to relax as he did lap after lap,keeping his mind firmly on his technique. Someone bumped Danny’s foot,so he took a break at the end of his lap and let the other swimmer movepast. Danny watched as the newcomer swam powerfully up the lane, tumbleturned and then back again. He touched the lane end and stopped next toDanny. ‘Nice stroke.’ said Danny.‘Thanks, you’re not so bad yourself.’ ‘Out of practice, I need some more time in the pool,’ said Danny whobecame a little flustered by what the other guy had said. Perhaps he wasbeing oversensitive, seeing innuendo everywhere.‘You should come more often, maybe we could do some lengths together?’Danny pushed his head underwater, mainly to cover his embarrassment. Hetook a sideways look at the swimmer; a bit younger than him, broadshouldered, brown eyes and full lips. He looked at Danny with a smile,‘I’m Mark, you are…?’‘Danny, nice to meet you Mark.’‘Likewise, Danny. It’s nice to have some new talent down here.’ Marklooked Danny straight in the eyes as he spoke. Danny was now totallyflustered. Were Mark’s words innocent or was there a coded meaning inthem? Danny felt a tingle as he looked at Mark. These past few days theway his body reacted seemed to be almost out of control. Danny droppedhis eyes from Mark’s gaze and said, ‘Well, maybe, when do you comeswimming?’ Why had he said that? Mark smiled at him, ‘I’m here every Saturday morning, some evenings too.We should meet up sometime, grab a drink maybe?’There was no mistake, Mark was hitting on him. Danny blushed, ‘Er, well, it’s a bit difficult…’‘Ah, you’ve got a boyfriend? Sorry, no offence meant, but had to try myluck with a hottie like you.’ He smiled broadly at Danny, making himfeel a little giddy. ‘I’ll see you around if you come down again.’ Markswam off, leaving Danny stunned. Danny watched him climb the steps outof the pool and gulped as he saw Mark’s speedos tighten around hisbuttocks as he left the water. Mark had obviously thought he was gay. Danny felt more confused thanever, especially given the way his body had betrayed him about Mark’spass. He had definitely felt a thrill as he realised what Mark wasgetting at. He swam over to the steps and headed to the changing rooms.Danny felt glad that Mark had left by the time he got there, he couldn’tcope with any more stress right now. Just after one o’clock he pressed the bell of the upstairs flat andJulia opened the door. She smiled broadly, ‘Come on in Princess, it’syour time to shine…’Chapter FifteenCarl arrived back from his ride in mid afternoon half expecting Danny tohave backed out of it and to be waiting for him. However, he was nowhereto be seen and Carl assumed he had gone upstairs with the girls. He madehimself something to eat and contemplated what he wanted to weartonight. It wasn’t formal party, but he wanted to be smart for Danny’ssake. He laid out a pair of pale blue chinos and a tight white dressshirt he would wear buttoned up but without a tie. He fussed over ajacket and finally chose a light white summer jacket with a lightdiamond pattern that he thought would match perfectly. He showered,shaved, dressed, and made himself a drink to steady his nerves. More than once he asked himself why was he doing this, and yet he knewwhy. Carl knew he had become more and more attracted to Danny, butseeing him dressed as a woman had knocked him sideways. Danny had lookedso sweet and vulnerable at the same time, so much so that Carl hadsimply wanted to wrap his arms around him and hold him tight. Carl hadnot hesitated for a second when the idea of going to the party withDanny had come up. He simply knew he wanted to see more of his friend asDanni.Carl sat outside enjoying the late afternoon sun when he heard thedoorbell ring, ‘This is it,’ he thought. He took a quick peek in themirror to check he looked alright and paused, took a deep breath andopened the door. He was slightly surprised to see Siobhan standingthere. ‘Hi Carl,’ she paused for effect, ‘here’s your date.’ She stepped aside to reveal Danny standing behind her, and his heartleapt. Oh my God, he heard himself whisper to himself as Danny liftedhis eyes from the floor to smile shyly at Carl. ‘Hi Carl, what do you think?’Carl couldn’t quite believe what he saw. Last night he had thought thatDanny looked nice as a woman, but this evening surpassed everything.Danny’s normally straight blonde hair now tumbled to his shoulders incurls, framing a flawlessly made-up face with a small silver necklacedangling at the throat. Danny wore a white lace midi dress with a meshtop and sleeves with a white shawl over his shoulders and clutching asmall clutch bag in his hands. Danny’s nails were coloured a flame redwhich matched his lipstick, the eye makeup was dark and smoky, makinghis blue eyes sparkle. Siobhan had worked her Celtic magic on Danny,creating a look which to Carl appeared both sophisticated and sexy.Somehow she had completely transformed his friend Danny into beautiful Danni.‘Do I look alright?’ Danny said, a note of worry creeping into his voiceas Carl had not replied.Carl gulped, trying to find his voice. ‘Alright? No, you don’t lookalright. You look fabulous, Danny.’Danny blushed and dropped his eyes to the floor before looking up atCarl coyly.‘Do you really think so?’That look almost did for Carl and he felt his own face turn pink.‘Oh, yes, you look stunning.’ He suddenly realised they were stillstanding in the hallway and he stepped back, ‘Come on in, have we gottime for a drink before we go?’‘Never thought you would ask.’ said Siobhan over Danny’s shoulder. Theywalked into the kitchen where Julia joined them. Carl opened a bottle ofProsecco from the fridge and Julia fetched the glasses. She stood nextto Carl and whispered, ‘Take good care of our girl tonight.’Carl nodded, ‘Of course.’ Then wondered what Julia had meant exactly.Carl was in the middle of pouring the wine when Danny said, ‘Are you allsure I can get away with this?’As one, all three of the others said loudly, ‘Yes.’‘Alright, alright,’ said Danny, ‘No need to shout, I’m so nervous.’Everyone laughed and Siobhan said, ‘To Danni, with an i.’‘Danni,’ they said and clinked glasses. ‘Thanks Siobhan for everything you’ve done, and you too Julia, I willtake good care of your dress.’ ‘You’re welcome, sweetie. Just promise me you’ll enjoy yourself, youlook wonderful.’Carl’s phone beeped. ‘It’s our ride outside so I guess we better getgoing.’ Danny hugged both Julia and Siobhan before they finally pushedhim out of the door. ‘Enjoy yourselves, don’t be late home, you k**s.’ shouted Julia. Then,to Siobhan she said, ‘They look lovely together. Do you think they knowhow they feel about each other?’‘If they don’t after tonight, they never will.’ She grabbed Julia’shand, ‘Come on, let’s go upstairs, I’m getting wet thinking about thosetwo.’Carl held the door of the cab open for Danny as he sat and slid into theback seat, remembering the last-minute instructions from Julia abouthow to get into a car without flashing your panties – dip and keep your knees together and swivel your bum onto the seat, unless there are paparazzi there, in which case give them a flash. Carl slipped into the other seat and told the driver where they were going before smiling at Danny.‘You look so good, Danny, how do you feel.’‘Like I’m about to throw up.’ He grimaced.‘Hey, it’s going to be fine. Remember all the people there tonight willbe on your side. They will love you I’m sure.’‘God, I hope you’re right. Let’s not stay too long, eh?’‘Up to you, Danny. I’ll follow your lead.’The ride gave Carl a chance to sneak a better look at Danny. The dresslooked beautiful on Danny and enhanced his complexion and blonde hair.He wore sheer white stockings or tights and a pair of strappy sandalswith heels. Carl couldn’t stop himself thinking about Danny in stockingsand his cock began to tingle at the thought. As well as the necklace hehad on a matching bracelet and earrings which glittered when Danny movedhis head. The lipstick made his lips looked so kissable, and hiseyebrows had definitely been shaped into a graceful arch. The eye makeupdrew you into those dazzling eyes. Trust Siobhan to get that right forsuch an occasion. Carl’s pulse began to race as he watched Danny. Hementally kicked himself not to do anything stupid tonight.Danny caught Carl looking at him and said, ‘What? Is something wrong?’Carl smiled, ‘Absolutely nothing Danny, you look wonderful tonight.’Danny blushed, but he felt a glorious tingle at what Carl said. He hadwanted to look good for Carl, it was the least he could do to repay himfor escorting him to the party. He knew he would never have gone on hisown, so he had desperately wanted not to embarrass Carl this evening bythe way he looked. Siobhan and Julia had gone all out for tonight; the hairdresser friendof Siobhan had done miracles with his hair, and the trip to the localspa for waxing, manicure and eyebrows had been scary but the resultswere worth the pain. The bikini wax had been the worst but Julia hadinsisted on it, saying that to look like a girl you had to feel like oneand that no girl would be happy with ‘her pubes sticking outeverywhere.’ It had been a rush but when Siobhan had finally allowedDanny to see what they had done, he was at a loss for words. WearingJulia’s dress with white stockings and a pair of strappy heels, Dannyhad almost collapsed at the sight. Julia and Siobhan were grinning theirheads off as they watched Danny primp and preen in front of thefull-length mirror. Whatever happened tonight, Danny knew the debt heowed his two girlfriends.It wasn’t long before the cab drew up in front of the bar where theparty was being held. Carl opened the door and instinctively put hishand out to help Danny out of the cab. Danny froze, looked at Carl’shand and then put his hand out and grabbed it. It was when Danny tookhis hand that Carl felt a thrill run through him. ‘Thanks,’ mumbled Danny, averting his eyes from Carl as he let go of hishand after he had got out of the car, and pulled the shawl around hisshoulders as if it were an invisibility cape. He took a deep breath,forced himself not to turn round and jump back into the cab, and walkedtowards the bar door. Carl stepped in front of Danny and held the dooropen for him. Danny smiled and said, ‘Thank you.’‘You’re welcome honey.’ Carl smiled back.Danny glared at him, but Carl had already looked away. They walked oninto the bar and Danny felt Carl’s hand touch the small of his back andhe felt strangely happy at the gesture. It was the same thing Danny haddone to Jess to reassure her if she was nervous. ‘Danni, Danni. Over here.’ Peta pushed her way through the crowd andhugged Danny. ‘Oh my word, you look gorgeous, sweetie. That dress andyour makeup fires up the colour in your eyes. And I so love what you’vedone with your hair. Do I detect the hand of Siobhan in this?’‘Yes, she gave me a makeover this afternoon.’ Danny thought they werewords he never imagined he would hear himself saying.‘Carl, I’m so glad you could make it.’ She gave him a quick peck on thecheek. ‘What do you think of Danni? Isn’t she so pretty? You’re such alucky guy.’ Peta kept her hands on Danny’s arms a little longer thanmight have been necessary. Carl smiled, ‘Yes, she’s gorgeous.’ He sensed the attention Peta waspaying Danny, and without thinking about what he was doing he put hisarm around Danny’s waist and pulled him close. Danny stiffened butcouldn’t say anything, and Carl didn’t take his arm away.‘Let me get you a drink and introduce you to everyone.’ Peta signalled awaiter and within a few moments they had glasses of wine in their handsand were chatting with several of the people from the charity. Dannybegan to relax, and whatever fears he may have had about how he would bereceived disappeared as he realised that nobody was judging him. In facteverybody seemed to be friendly and welcomed him as one of them. Thatgave Danny a jolt; is that what he was, one of them? Danny had a suddenurge to run, to escape from this madness. It had gotten completely outof hand, What on earth was he doing here?. He glanced down at his hand holding the wine glass and his newly paintednails looked so beautiful. He felt the tug of the stockings and thepinch of his heels as he moved his weight from one leg to the other. Thefeelings that surged through him were beginning to scramble his mind.What had started almost as a joke had somewhere along the line turnedinto something completely different. This wasn’t for him; he shouldleave now, end all this and go back to being plain old Danny. He took adeep breath, closed his eyes for a moment and the panic attack passed.He felt Carl standing next to him and he glanced at him, willing him tosay ‘Let’s go home.’ But Carl was chatting to a guy with a beard who wastelling him about his female to male transition. Carl seemed to belistening intently and enjoying himself as Peta appeared at Danny’s sideand laid her fingers on his arm.‘Are you enjoying yourself, Danni? You look a little flustered.’‘Oh, no, I mean yes, I am. I guess I’m not used to be being around somany people while I’m dressed. It takes some getting used to.’Peta nodded, ‘Yes, I remember the same feelings, but you are such anatural, Danni. We’re all the same here and I am so looking forward toworking closely with you.’ She gave Danny’s arm a gentle squeeze.‘Oh, me too, Peta. And thanks again for the chance to work here, I am sograteful.’Peta smiled and looked straight into his eyes, ‘I’m sure we can find away for you to show your gratitude.’Danny blinked, was Peta now hitting on him? Or was it simply his overheated imagination playing tricks with him? He was so confused, why hadlife got so complicated so quickly?Peta clinked a knife against her glass to get everyone’s attention. Whenthe noise had died down she began to speak, ‘Hi, everyone, thanks forcoming out to meet with us tonight. We appreciate the efforts you haveall made on the charity’s behalf and I hope the members of the mediahere will get to meet as many of our people as possible. Oh, and on thesubject of coming out, I would like to welcome the newest member of ourteam, our designer, Danni Albright. Danni here has just begun hertransition, and she’s here with her partner Carl.’There was a good round of applause and some whistles, but Danny didn’thear any of it as he was about to pass out with shock. Carl saw Dannywobbling and grabbed him around the waist to stop him toppling over as apress photographer snapped a picture of them both.‘Danny are you OK?’ whispered Carl.‘Fuck, fuck, fuck,’ said Danny, aghast at what Peta had said. ‘I need togo home, Carl, let’s get out of here.’‘Ok, let’s say our goodbyes first.’Carl whisked Danny round the people they had met and finally bumped intoPeta. Carl sad, ‘I think we should get home, Danni is feeling a littlethe worse for wear, all the new people she’s met, I think she’s hadenough for tonight.’‘Ok, I understand, Danni, I’ll be in touch Monday to start the ballrolling.’ Danny nodded, wishing he was on the opposite side of the worldat this moment. Peta hugged him and gave him a kiss on the lips,‘Goodnight Danni.’‘G’night Peta.’ was all Danny could manage.Danny almost ran out of the bar and when Carl caught him up a few stepsoutside, he could see Danny was crying. Carl’s heart ached as he saw hisfriend in tears and he instinctively wrapped his arms around Danny andpulled him close to his chest. Danny still sobbed and Carl stroked hisback to comfort him.‘Danny, what’s the matter?’Danny snivelled, ‘What’s the matter? Peta’s just announced to the worldthat I’m transitioning and you’re my partner. Apart from that, nothing’sthe matter.’ Danny started to cry again, and Carl hugged him tighter. ‘Danny, don’t worry, there’s no harm done.’Danny looked up at Carl, his eyes red with tears, ‘But, you’ll bedragged into it as well. Can’t you see that?’Carl shook his head, ‘I don’t care.’‘How can you say that?’Carl could bear it no longer, he bent his head forward and kissed Danny.It took a few seconds before Danny realised what had happened, but hefelt himself begin to kiss back. Then, something went off in his mindand he pulled back, looked up at Carl and said, ‘No, no.’ He broke outof Carl’s arms and ran off as fast as he could in his heels. Carl slumped back against the wall, ‘Shit, Shit, shit. How could you beso stupid?’ he muttered, banging his head back against the wall. ‘Danny,I’m sorry,’ he called, but Danny had turned the corner by now. Carlfollowed round the corner only to see him getting into a cab further upthe road which disappeared into the night.Carl had no idea what to do, so he walked into the nearest pub andordered a large brandy. It burnt his throat as he downed it and hethought he probably deserved that. A second one didn’t improve his mood,and Carl decided he had better get home before he ended up sleeping on apark bench. He hailed a cruising taxi and within half an hour the cabpulled up outside the apartment. There were no lights on in his flat,but it seemed as if the girls were up as their lights were still on. Heknocked on Danny’s bedroom door but there was no answer, and it lookedas if Danny had not been back. Pouring himself another brandy he slumpedonto the sofa. He leant back, closed his eyes and all he could see were Danny’s eyeslooking up at him. Fuck, what have I done? Right when my friend neededsome comfort I do something stupid like that. He felt like throwing up.The bell rang, and he thought Danny has a key, so who the hell is this?He looked through the peephole to see Siobhan standing there. Shit, whatdoes she want? Hasn’t she caused enough trouble?He thought about not answering, but she pressed the bell again and hereluctantly opened the door.‘Yes, what?’ he said, not wanting to let her in. She took one look athis face and said, ‘I don’t care what you feel about me right now, butthere is somebody you need to talk to.’ She moved aside and Dannyappeared from where he had been out of sight around the corner. Itlooked as if he had been crying again, and he looked about as miserableas a human being could be.Siobhan pushed Danny through the door and said, ‘You two, talk to eachother, now.’She closed the door leaving them looking at each other. ‘I’m sorry,’ both of them said at the same time. It broke the tensionand Carl said, ‘You want a drink?’Danny nodded, ‘Yes please.’Carl poured two large brandies and took them through to where Danny saton one of the sofas. Even though Danny had been crying, Carl thought hestill looked wonderful. Carl sat on the other sofa and neither of themspoke for a while. Danny broke it first.‘I’m sorry for running away, but I was so upset, I didn’t know what todo.’‘You have nothing to be sorry for Danny, it was my fault, I shouldn’thave done that.’Danny nodded, ‘Why did you do it?’‘Can’t we just forget it? Please? Can’t we still be friends?’ Danny shook his head, ‘No, I need to know, Carl. It’s important.’Carl looked away, tears beginning to prick the corners of his eyes. Heknew Danny wouldn’t let it go now. He owed Danny the truth, even if itruined their friendship. He blew out his cheeks, ‘Danny, I’m bi-sexual,I like to be with men and women.’‘Carl, I know what bi-sexual means, why didn’t you tell me?’Carl looked at him, ‘Not the kind of thing you drop into a casualconversation is it? Do you want a coffee, and by the way you should knowI go both ways.’Danny looked away, ‘No, I guess not. Is that why you split up withSimone?’‘Is that what Siobhan told you?’‘No, she didn’t say anything, just that we needed to talk to eachother.’‘Oh. Well, yes it was. She found out only because she found my browsinghistory one day and confronted me. I hadn’t done anything while we weretogether, except for looking at porn sites, but she didn’t believe me. Ihad a couple of affairs with men before I met her, but that nothingmore. She couldn’t accept it. Siobhan and Julia knew all about it, theyhad met one of the guys before I hooked up with Simone.’Danny nodded, some of what the girls had hinted at the first night hemet them now began to make sense. ‘So, do you fancy me, Carl?’Carl winced at the way he said it. ‘Honestly, not at first, we seemed toclick as friends and I liked it that way. We seemed to complement eachother, and it felt good to have you as a friend. I guess there’s nopoint in denying it now, but I did become more attracted to you, notthat I was going to anything about it. I didn’t want to ruin ourfriendship.’ ‘So, what changed?’‘Do we have to go through this, Danny, Can’t we drop it?’Danny pressed on, ‘So, what changed, Carl?’Carl heaved a sigh, ‘When I saw you at the fashion show, when Siobhanhad made you up, I couldn’t get you out of my mind. You were so pretty,and I liked the way it made you look. Then, when I came home early andyou and Siobhan walked in, you shocked me certainly, but I couldn’t getover how you looked. I thought you were so sweet and a littlevulnerable, which always gets me. It engages my protective instinct.When the idea of going with you to the party came up, I jumped at it andwhen I saw you earlier tonight, well, you blew me away. You were, Imean, you are, gorgeous.’Two pink spots appeared on Danny’s cheeks and he looked away.‘When you ran out of the bar and I found you crying, all I wanted to dowas look after you. When you looked up at me, all I could think of waskissing you. So I did. I’m sorry, please forgive me, it wasinexcusable.’ A long pause followed as both of them took sips of their drinks. ‘Carl, thank you for being so honest. It means a lot to me. I enjoyedbeing your friend, it meant a lot to me.’Carl thought, he’s now going to tell me he wants to move out, I’vefucked it all up.‘This whole thing has been so confusing for me. I mean, I’ve alwaysthought of myself as straight, but that first night with the girls wasan eye opener. Ever since I told that story about me being Juliet andSiobhan going on about helping me to do it again, it has been on my mindall the time. I couldn’t get that image of me as Juliet out of my head.I kept thinking of how great it had made me feel. When we went to theshow, the models knocked me sideways. How could boys look so much likebeautiful girls? Siobhan just pushed me a little further along eachtime, and I thought it would be a joke to let her make me up.’He paused to sip his drink again.‘But when I saw what she had done to me in the mirror, I couldn’tbelieve it. She had made me look like a girl, and I loved it. It touchedsomething in me that I must have buried. Even then, I tried to shove itaway. But, when the job offer came up, Siobhan pushed me a littlefurther with this crazy idea that I could pass as a woman, or at leastsomeone beginning to transition. She nudged me every time to go that bitfurther, and you know, I didn’t pushing back, in fact I willingly wentalong with her. I realised it made me feel so good. I felt so differentwhen I was dressed.’ His eyes were glistening as he spoke. ‘It allowed adifferent, and much nicer, me to emerge. I know I should have told herto stop, and I thought of doing it dozens of times, but I couldn’t. Ifelt so good that I wanted it to go on and on.’Another sip of brandy.‘It terrified me when I went up for the job, but it seemed to go well,which made me want to go even further. Something had changed in me. AsDanni with an i, I felt so much calmer and happy than Danny with y. Ididn’t know why, it just felt right. It was no longer about the job, itwas about me and a journey I was embarking on. But, when you caught methat afternoon I wanted to chuck it all in. I thought you would want tothrow me out for being a freak, but you were so calm and nice about it.It floored me when you offered to go with me. You accepted me as I was,and that meant so much to me.’Danny took a deep breath, he knew this next bit would be difficult. ‘I also knew that I was getting attracted to you. I didn’t know why, butI kept thinking about you, how attractive you were, how much I likedbeing with you. Yet I also didn’t want to spoil our friendship. Aboveall, I wanted to impress you and for you to be proud of me when we wentto the party, so I agreed to all the plans the girls had for me. Siobhancalled in a favour from a hairdresser, they whisked me off to a localsalon to get waxed, my eyebrows done, my nails varnished, and I lovedevery minute of it. Siobhan spent ages on my make up. Julia lent me thisdress, and I felt so complete as I looked at myself in the mirror. Ifelt pretty and feminine and knew that’s how I wanted to be. So, when Icame downstairs and saw the look on your face, I knew I looked special.I almost felt like I was floating on air because of the way you lookedat me. It felt so nice when you looked after me at the party, I feltsafe and secure in a way that made me want it to go on and on. Yourtouch on my back me reassured me when I needed it, and when you put yourarm around me I went weak at the knees. I knew then I had found who Iwanted to be.’Carl opened his mouth to say something but Danny held his hand up.‘Let me finish please, Carl. I was also terribly scared by my feelings,both about myself and about you. To say I was confused is theunderstatement of the century. It spooked me when Peta said what shedid, and I totally lost it. Then when you kissed me, it tipped me rightover the top. I had to get away, and that’s why I ran. I’m sorry.’‘God, you have nothing to be sorry about, Danny. I feel terrible, Ishould never have done what I did.’Danny paused to dab his eye and then went on. ‘I ended up by knocking onthe girls’ door and they let me in and I blurted out everything to them.I’m sorry but I didn’t have anyone else to talk to. They were great,just listened and didn’t preach, told me that I had to tell you what Ifelt, that you would understand. I didn’t know then what they meant. Ithought you would hate me. Then Siobhan grabbed my hand and dragged medownstairs.’Danny looked away and then back at Carl. ‘Here’s the funny thing, Carl. What freaked me out tonight wasn’t thatyou kissed me, but that I enjoyed it. I wanted to kiss you back and foryou to keep kissing me. That scared me more than anything because Ididn’t understand what was happening then, but I do now.’Carl stared at him, holding his breath, not daring to hope.Danny looked at Carl and said, ‘Would it be OK if I asked you to kiss meagain?’YCarl finally let out his breath. ‘Danny, are you sure about this?’‘Carl, please don’t say no, I might not be able to cope with it if youdo.’‘Danny, there’s nothing on this earth that would stop me if you want meto.’Danny blushed, lowered his eyes and said, ‘Yes, I do.’Carl moved across to the other sofa and sat next to Danny. He tookDanny’s hand and with his other hand gently brought Danny’s face up toface him. Carl looked into those blue eyes and he knew he had fallen inlove with Danny. He bent forward and their lips touched, gently atfirst, and then with increasing urgency. Danny put his hand behind Carl’s head and pulled him harder onto hislips as Carl’s tongue found his. Carl put his arm around Danny as theykissed, their lips mashing together. Danny slipped backwards bringingCarl down on top of him. His arms went around Carl and clasped himtight. Their tongues were duelling fiercely now as Danny felt something hardpoking into his groin. With a shock he realised it was Carl’s erectionand he thought, this is it, I’m kissing a man. Something Siobhan hadsaid flashed into his mind, this feels nice. He heard himself moan, andsomewhere inside him a dam broke, and he knew this was what he wanted,maybe had always wanted, and would want time and time again.If you have got this far, thank you and I hope you enjoyed the story.Please let me know what you think at Nikkie.silk@outlook.com For non UK readers, a gooner is slang for a fan of Arsenal footballclub.

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