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Copyright © 2011 Maeryn Lamonte – All Rights Reserved.

Phil was bored and frustrated and trying hard not to show it.

His sister, Janet had asked him if he would mind giving her three friends a lift down to the dress shop for the final fitting of their bridesmaids’ dresses and, lacking otherwise gainful employment, he’d agreed. It wasn’t often that he had a chance to spend time with pretty girls, and these three were among the prettiest he’d met. The thing was, he tended to get hopelessly tongue tied around women and, having done his usual grunts and gurgles on first meeting them, they’d made their hellos and thank-yous for politeness’ sake then fallen into chatting amongst themselves leaving Phil to his own thoughts.

They parked up and walked into the dress shop together, the girls insisting that he couldn’t wait in the car for the several hours this would take. Hours? Just what is involved with a dress fitting anyway? Well from his perspective it had involved one of the girls being poked and prodded into a fit of giggles behind a curtain while the other two chatted away about nothing in particular for ages until, with a flourish, the curtain would be pulled aside to reveal the latest wonder that women’s fashion could produce.

There was no doubt, the dresses were spectacular. Electric blue satin with three quarter length leg-of-mutton sleeves, scalloped necklines and full skirts that fell to about mid-calf. Finish off with silk stockings, inch and a half pumps and clutch bag to match the dress and the bride had her work cut out if she was going to outshine her friends. Mind you, knowing Janet that wouldn’t be as big a problem as it might seem at first; since Harry had come into her life, there had been an inner radiance to her that would make her look good in a sack.

Right, that was the third of them done, perhaps they could get away from here sometime soon. They looked so beautiful together, he could barely bring himself to look. The frustration and jealously were just too close to the surface today and might just show through if he wasn’t careful.

“Right, Mr Bailey. We’re ready for you now.”

I’m sorry, what?

Phil looked over at the brightly smiling assistant, holding the curtain open for him as though this were the most natural thing in the world. Overcome by a sudden numbness, Phil stood and walked past her into the changing room. The world around him had taken on a surreal, dreamlike quality, everything moving in slow-motion, as though it were underwater.

The room was spacious with a full length mirror, a chair with a full set of lacy underwear laid out on it and, of course, a dress on a hanger.

“Your sister said that you’d know what to do and would probably prefer to be left alone to change, but do give a shout if you need any help won’t you?”

With that she disappeared leaving Phil to look around him dumbly. This had to be a joke. That dress was far too small for him. He tried slipping his arm into a sleeve and could barely fit half his hand into the narrow part. His frustration grew until he was fighting with all his inner strength to stop the tears from flowing. Involuntarily, a strangled moan escaped. He hoped no-one had heard? No such luck.

“Are you ok Phil?” It was hard to tell which of Janet’s bridesmaids had spoken, but the concern was evident in her voice. “Janet said that if anything like this were to happen we should tell you to go with the flow and trust her.”

What was that supposed to mean? An image of his sister drifted across his mind from years ago. A sympathetic smile and kind eyes, such kind eyes. Janet had never done anything to hurt him before, so why now? Well if this was what she wanted…

He stripped off his clothes and stared at his naked self in the full length mirror. What was it Mark Twain had said? Naked people have little or no influence on society? No real wonder. Phil hated his body, fat hairy and, to his eyes, misshapen as it was. He picked up the silks and lace from the chair and turned his back to his reflection.

It had been so many years since he had done anything like this, but the skills came back in a moment. The bra hooked easily behind him and adjusted to cup his flabby pectorals. The knickers were a pair of lacy boy shorts in a matching pale blue with just enough room for him to arrange his extras so they were comfortable and didn’t show. The garter belt, also matching, was something new, but he figured it out quickly enough then slid the stockings up his hairy legs, being as careful as he could not to snag them. He wished he had time and courage enough to shave first; nylons felt so much better against smooth skin, plus he could feel these were expensive and it would be such a shame to ladder them against the roughness and the hairs. He’d never worn stockings and suspenders before, but the way the clasps worked were simple enough.

The dress already had its petticoats sewn into it so it should just be a matter of simply stepping into it. This was where it would all go wrong. Everything else was stretchy and could be made to fit, but not the dress. He put one leg in, then the other, a shiver of sensual pleasure running through his entire frame as soft fabric caressed soft fabric and gently kissed the skin beneath. Steeling himself for the disappointment he knew must come, he eased his hands into the narrow sleeves of the garment, and amazingly, impossibly, they slid through and out the other end.

He stared in wonder at his hands, now slender and elegant. He reached behind for the zip and slid it easily up his back, all his unsightly bulk vanishing into the impossibly slender waist of the bodice, with just enough of it pushing up to settle comfortably into the cups of his bra and fill out the top of the dress. He looked down at his cleavage in delight. He had a cleavage! The clasp above the zip presented him with a moment’s difficulty, but no more.

His feet were fully one third again as long as the shoes, but impossible things seemed to be happening today. He slid his toes in and miraculously found his heel settling comfortably into the shoe, fitting perfectly. His legs, he noticed, were now smooth and hairless beneath the silk. He felt a tickling sensation on his bare shoulders and reached a hand up to find gentle waves of luxuriant chestnut hair tumbling down his back. He turned to the mirror and gasped.

The image in the mirror was no longer him, but me. The rugged lines of his face had softened, narrowed somehow to reveal the more feminine me; the me inside. The dress fit me like a glove and for the first time in my life I saw that I was beautiful.

“Is everything all right in there?”

“Er… Yes thank-you,” my voice was softer somehow, lighter and more feminine. ”Would you mind coming in please? I think I could do with a little help making things perfect.”

The assistant came in gushing complements and fussing around in a business-like manner until all the folds of the dress were exactly where they should be. She held up the clutch for me and suggested I transfer my keys and wallet into it. The work of a moment, then I stepped out past the curtain and was engulfed in the exuberant greeting of the three other bridesmaids. Their instant acceptance reached inside and drew out a part of me I had hidden away so long ago. Every day that part of me had wept behind closed doors, and now for the first time in such a long time I heard my heart singing with her voice.

My dress, it turned out, was more ornate than the others, but the girls showed no signs of envy, rather they made so much more of a fuss of me, telling me how beautiful I looked. One of them, Mandy I think, reached into her purse and drew out a pink envelope which she handed over to me without ceremony. They all stopped talking and waited patiently, expectantly. I took the hint and slid my slim finger under the flap. Inside was a card with the words “To my lovely sister” written on the front and a few sheets of paper written in my sister’s distinctive cursive script. I started to read, out loud as it seemed these three already knew so much more about what was happening than me.

“My dearest Pippa,

“Do you remember the day I first met my little sister?” – The sympathetic smile. The kind eyes. Oh yes I remember. – “You looked so precious in my old party dress and I loved you for what you were from that moment. These last months, since Harry and I became engaged, I knew I wanted you to be my Maid of Honour, but I didn’t know how to ask. You have been so distant lately, I was afraid of your response.

“I hope you don’t mind this little subterfuge, but I had your dress impregnated with Hugglebugs so that they would activate as soon as you put it on. They will remain active and will reverse the changes at any time you take the dress off between now and midnight, so if you don’t want to go through with this, all you need do is change back into your suit.

“I do hope though that you will agree to celebrate my wedding in this way. I hope I am right and that this gift to you will be as welcome now as I know it would have been had I been able to grant it all those years ago.

“It will be agony waiting to find out my dear, but I do so look forward to seeing, when I return from honeymoon, if I still have a little sister in body as well as in spirit. If that’s going to happen, you will find a further gift in the closet in your hotel room, after all a girl needs more than just a bridesmaid’s dress to wear doesn’t she?

“Remember, dearest Piperella, you must make your decision before midnight. If you are still wearing my gift at the twelfth stroke, the Hugglebugs will complete their program and change you on the inside to match your outer appearance. If you don’t want this, be sure to change before the end of the day.

“I do so look forward to seeing you at the church. I will know from your eyes how welcome this gift is.

“All my fondest love,

“Janet”

The attendant handed me my suit in a garment bag and showed the four of us, now chatting excitedly, to the door. It was strange driving in heels and a dress, but somehow deliciously sensuous. I was a little more cautious than I might usually have been, but we still made it to the church well ahead of the limousine bringing Janet and our father. He helped my sister out of the car and gave me an odd, confused look – as though he felt he should know me – as he led her up the stairs. I didn’t care, Janet looked absolutely incredible in a dress that was evidently the design on which our own had been based, only brilliant white and far more ornately decorated. Her radiant smile brightened even further when she caught sight of me, and the delighted grin on my own face. I had never been so happy, and willed every ounce of the excess joy that was bubbling up in me to my lovely sister.

I won’t bore you with the details of the wedding other than to say it was perfect. I did catch my mother looking at me strangely just after our arrival at the front of the church, then realisation dawned and an odd contentment settled on her face. The last of my concerns melted in that moment. If she was ok with this then she’d see that Dad came round to it too.

At the reception afterwards, the best man, Harry’s best friend Simon, did the traditional duty of complementing the bridesmaids, but throughout his eyes were on me. I felt a warmth inside, which grew when he came over to me after the meal with two flutes of champagne and proceeded to monopolise my company through the rest of the evening. He was tall and handsome and a wonderful dancer.

Long after the newly-weds had left for the airport and the promise of warmer climes, Simon invited me for a walk in the hotel gardens. The heady scent of night blooming flowers mingled with the champagne to give me a sense of walking on air. We reached the centre of a small maze and, by the dim glow of a nearby floodlit fountain, Simon turned me to face him. In the distance I heard a clock start to chime. Just a few more seconds. I wanted to be fully a woman before anything more happened.

“You look really handsome in that suit.”

He allowed himself a modest smile at the compliment.

“I think it was Mark Twain who said that clothes make the man.”

The woman too, I thought to myself as the last stroke of midnight carried to our ears across the night and I felt a warmth in my loins as my miracle gift completed its assigned task.

“However I feel positively drab standing beside you. I have never known a more beautiful woman.” Simon leaned in for that first wonderful kiss.

-Fin-