Secrets (Chapter One)

Dee wrote this story for a website, which we will provide with the final chapter, so you all can enjoy the story each week. She sent it to me and I will admit, this type of stuff isn’t my thing, but I got hooked! It is very well written and very interesting. Enjoy!!

This has been kicking around my head for at least five years, and I have been working on it s-l-o-w-l-y for at least the last three years. I finally forced myself to finish.

This is a “G” rated story. No sex, so if you are looking for that, look elsewhere.

It’s part my personal experiences and part fiction. It’s about finding acceptance for who you are. It’s dedicated to the friends I’ve made since I started going out in public about five years ago. They have made my life a lot more fun.

Secrets

I was nursing my final beer of the night when Lori walked up to the table and sat down at an empty chair next to mine. “Sorry it took so long to talk to you. It’s been a crazy night.”

“You’ve been pretty busy,” I answered. “Comes with the bridesmaid territory, no?”

She nodded and asked, “I was surprised when I saw you at the reception line at the wedding. What has it been–two years or so?”

“Yes, but it’s good to see you again. How do you know the bride?” I asked.

“She’s my cousin. We’ve been friends since we were young. Do you know the bride or groom?”

“I work with the groom; he invited a number of us from work. It’s been a pretty good reception; the band has actually been pretty good.”

Lori nodded again. As if on cue, the band returned from their break and started to play again. “Would you like to dance?” she asked.

It was my turn to nod. “Sure, although I don’t promise any dance skills. It’s little known but accountants can’t dance.” She laughed. “I don’t think lawyers can either–except in court.”

It was my turn to laugh as we walked onto the dance floor with a number of other wedding guests. We danced a fast number first, and I did my best to pretend how to dance, and then the band shifted to a slow number.

“You look very nice. Are you still at the same firm?”

“Thanks. My cousin has good taste, so the bridesmaids’ dresses aren’t as hideous as most. As for the law firm, still there, still working like a dog. The partners like to get their money’s worth. You look good too. Looks like you have lost some weight.”

I had lost about 20 pounds since the last time we had seen each other, and told her the same. “A lot of time at the gym” I added.

The song ended and we walked back to the table. Lori went to the bar, got a beer, and returned and sat down next to me.

“Are you dating anyone?” Lori asked.

I picked up my beer, took a drink, and answered, “No.”

“Sorry about you and Marni. You probably don’t want to hear this, but she really traded down after she dumped you. Her new boyfriend’s name is Richard, and let’s just say he is suitably named….”

Marni–my ex-girlfriend of two years prior–and Lori were best friends since childhood–BFF’s in today’s vernacular. When Marni and I were dating, Marni and Lori were roommates–which is how I originally met Lori.

Lori leaned in closer and went on. “Marni told me the reason she dumped you.”

“I’m not surprised. You two never did have any secrets from each other, did you? But what did she tell you?” I asked, while my own internal DVR began replaying the events from two years ago–like I had a number of times in the last two years.

“She told me you liked to wear women’s clothes.”

Guilty as charged.

I’ve had the urge to cross-dress since I was young. Marni and I had been dating for five months, and were getting more serious. After reading on internet boards about closeted CDs who had been married for years without telling their wives, after a month or so of deliberation, I finally screwed up the courage to tell her.

It did not go well. I called and texted her after being dumped, but I didn’t get a favorable response. I’ve been trying to move on since–a slow process.

I just nodded. “That’s the reason. She said she couldn’t deal with the idea of me dressing as a woman. It wasn’t a real long conversation.

“Obviously, I’d prefer that you not spread that news around. I don’t tend to broadcast that a lot.”

Lori leaned in again and surprised me by saying, “Well, it didn’t end the way you wanted, but you should be proud that you were brave enough to tell her. Women want honesty from men, and sometimes when they get it, they don’t like it.

“Unfortunately, it cost you with Marni. Like I said, if it’s any consolation, she traded down after she dumped you.

“And your secret is safe with me.”

Lori then got up to mingle with the other guests, and added, “Besides, we all have our secrets.”

The phone rang.

“Finance, this is Dave.”

“Hi Dave, this is Lori Johnson. Do you have a minute to talk?”

“Sure,” I answered, wondering why she was calling. “What do you need to discuss?”

“I have a favor to ask of you. My firm is celebrating its 50th anniversary and we are having a dinner dance in April to celebrate. I’d like to take a date, but as I’m not dating anyone currently, I thought you might go with me. I’ll understand if you say no, but I thought I would ask.”

I looked at the calendar. “What day is it?”

“Saturday, April 19th at 7 PM” Lori answered.

“I’m free that night, and I would be happy to go on a non-date ‘date’ with you.”

Post-Marni, I was free a lot of nights.

“Thanks, that’s great,” Lori replied. “One other thing, it’s a formal dinner, so you will need to wear a tux. I’ll be happy to pay for the tux.”

“No, I can pay for the tux–it’s no big deal. It will be nice to have a night out–as long as you don’t hold my dance skills against me.”

Lori laughed. “You seemed to do fine at the wedding. Plus, the beer will be free, so that should loosen up your dance moves!”

We swapped e-mail addresses, cell numbers, and work numbers. Lori thanked me again, and I told her I was looking forward to the evening.

Of course, to be on the safe side–date or non-date–a couple of weeks before the event I texted Lori a picture of the tux I was planning to rent; when she sent back her OK, I figured I was good to go.

I drove over to pick Lori up. It was going to be about a fifty minute ride to the country club where the dinner dance was going to be held. As Lori and Marni were still roommates, I was wondering whether Marni would be there when I picked Lori up. I wasn’t sure whether Marni knew I was Lori’s “date” for the night either.

With some trepidation, I knocked on the door of their townhouse. I’m not sure I was relieved or disappointed when Lori answered the door.

Perhaps reading my mind, Lori said “Marni’s out with Richard tonight. And yes, she knows that you are going with me tonight. I told her a couple of weeks ago.”

I decided the best course was to ignore the elephant in the room. “You look spectacular.” Lori had obviously spent time at the hairdresser, getting highlights in her blondish hair, and a sporty cut that looked very chic on her. She was wearing a ruby red one shoulder dress that suited her athletic build, perched upon matching 3 inch red pumps that accentuated her strong legs. She had taken her looks up a couple of notches from when I had seen her as a bridesmaid.

“Thanks. You look pretty spiffy yourself,” Lori replied. She grabbed a wrap, put it around her shoulders, grabbed her red clutch purse, and headed out the door with me in the lead. I walked her to my car, held the door for her, and watched as she shimmied into the bucket seat. She said thanks as I closed the door and walked around and climbed into the driver’s seat.

We chit-chatted for the first ten minutes of the drive. Traffic was light on the highway as it was early on Saturday night and the local baseball team was out of town.

Lori then turned toward me and asked, “May I ask a personal question?”

“Sure.”

“What’s the attraction in dressing like a woman? You don’t have to answer. I’m just curious.”

“No, I’m happy to answer. Needless to say, I don’t get to talk about it much. Do you want the long version or the short version?”

“The long version–we’ve got a long enough drive.”

“OK, I’ll start at the beginning. I just remember when I was young–five or six–I was at my aunt and uncle’s playing in the basement of their condo. I was by myself and there was a shared basement. There was a rack of clothes on a bar, and there was a girl’s dress on a hanger. For some reason, I wanted to try it on. I took it off the hangar, and tried to put it on, but it was too small.

“Then, on Halloween every year, we’d always wear costumes to school. It seemed like every year one of the boys in the school would be dressed as a girl. I was always jealous and wanted to be that boy, even though I would never admit it. When I was in 8th grade, I’m not sure how I convinced my mom, but she had a wig and I went out dressed in my older sister’s clothes. It wasn’t fancy–just a skirt and a top, and I wore knee socks and my own tennis shoes–but the neighbor next door thought I was my sister.

Lori asked, “Did you think you were weird?”

“Of course. I was a debater in high school. Several of my teammates and I would go after school to college libraries to do debate research. Sometimes I would spend an hour or so looking up books on sexuality and the like, and I found out I wasn’t the only one like me. That helped. Of course, I buried my thoughts like most cross dressers. I hinted around with a few girls when I dated, but Marni was the first one I have ever told. And you know the rest.”

“So is that why you aren’t dating? Once burned, twice shy?” Lori asked.

“Bingo. I’m afraid that if I get to the same crossroad–tell or don’t tell–I’ll get burned again. I’m doing major pain avoidance here.”

“Does it help?” She asked.

“No, not really. I know my impulses aren’t going away, so I’m just putting off the inevitable. If I want a girlfriend–and I do–I have to get out into the dating scene. I just can’t get past the idea of another train wreck down the road.”

“Do you dress up now?”

I laughed. “No, after Marni dumped me I threw away my small accumulation of clothes. It’s called purging in the CD community. After getting burned, I figured I would remove the temptation and never do it again.”

“Did that help?”

“For about three days. Then I was pissed that I threw away my stuff–although I didn’t purge my wig and a pair of my favorite heels. I couldn’t bring myself to throw those away,” I said laughing.

“You have favorite heels?” Lori asked incredulously.

“Sure, doesn’t every girl? Mine are black 3 inch pumps. They make my legs look fab-u-lous,” I said, exaggerating for effect.

Lori laughed. “What size do you wear?”

“Eleven Wide.”

“How do you know your size? Do you go shopping in shoe stores and try them on?”

“Usually women’s sizes are a size or two larger than men’s shoes. But usually you find out by trial and error. I used to be able to try them on at Payless for larger sizes, and these days you can order them on the internet and have them shipped to you–so they are fairly easy to buy once you know your size.”

“I would have never guessed,” said Lori. “I always thought you were a vanilla kind of guy, and here you are full of surprises.”

“Or perhaps full of shit” I interjected.

Lori laughed. “So would you like to wear my dress?”

“Well” I answered. “I’m not sure it’s my style. I’ve got male shoulders and I typically like to hide them. But I would KILL for a pair of those pumps in my size!”

We arrived at the dinner dance in a good mood. Lori warned me about a couple of her co-workers, Tom, John, and Dean. They were friendly rivals at the firm, and often went to happy hours together. They usually gave Lori trouble about her dating life–or lack thereof–and she said they might come after me like piranhas smelling blood in the water. I managed to parry all of their questions, and told them we were just friends.

As befitting a big money law firm hosting a shindig at an old money country club, the meal was exquisite. I had a prime rib that covered most of the plate, combined with a baked potato, while Lori devoured her honey seared salmon and mixed veggies. My red and Lori’s white wines were perfect complements to our meal, more so when the table staff left extra bottles on the table so we could refill our glasses. Despite being stuffed from the main meal, and slightly buzzed from the wine, we scarfed down our desserts, strawberry cheesecake for me and crème brulee for Lori. We shared bites of the desserts, and had a friendly disagreement over which was tastier. I could almost feel my tux shrinking with every bite. Our table companions were a mix of a partner, a junior lawyer, an administrative assistant, and their significant others/dates/spouses. Lori managed to hold her own with her co-workers, and I managed not to embarrass myself. We had a lively discussion covering the topics of the day.

After dinner, there were a couple of (thankfully short) speeches extolling the firm and the firm’s associates. After the speeches (and a personal comfort break), a band took the floor and started playing rock and pop hits from the last couple of decades. For a cover band, they were pretty decent. I had a few dances with Lori, and then sat out a few while she danced with some of her co-workers. I used the time out to admire some of the formal dresses (and matching heels), along with the several of the attractive women wearing the dresses, while chit-chatting with some of the other attendees at our table.

Gradually our table mates began to say their goodbyes and leave. The band took a second break and Lori rejoined me at the table.

“Sorry for abandoning you” Lori apologized. “I promised a couple of my co-workers dances.”

“Don’t sweat it” I answered. “I’m a big boy and I can take care of myself” I smiled. Lori laughed and said she needed another beer; I asked her to get me one and she wandered off to the bar.

When she returned she handed me my bottle. We clinked glasses, said “Cheers,” and took a slug of our beers. Lori thanked me for coming, and said she had a good time. I answered, “This is one of the nicer evenings I’ve had in a long time. Thank you for asking me to be your non-date.”

She laughed again.

I screwed up my courage and decided to ask what I had been thinking about much of the night.

“Can I ask YOU a personal question?”

“Sure” Lori answered.

“When Marni and I were dating, I got the impression that you didn’t like me very much. Not that you were rude or anything, but I just got the vibe you didn’t like me. And yet tonight you’ve been as friendly as anyone can be. Did I get the wrong impression when Marni and I were dating?”

Lori was silent for about ten seconds. I interrupted the silence and told her that she didn’t have to answer the question, and that it was just the beer talking.

She shook her head, and said “No, it’s a fair question.” She paused, as if she was measuring her answer in court before a judge.

“I’m sorry if I gave you the impression that I didn’t like you. I always thought you were a nice guy, and a good match for Marni. I think I told you before Marni traded down when she dumped you for Richard. And when Marni told me her reasons for dumping you, right or wrong, my opinion of you went up” Lori said.

“Thanks. But I wasn’t imagining that you were cool towards me, was I?” I asked.

“No, you were right.”

“Was it something I did?” I asked.

“No, it wasn’t you, it was me” Lori answered.

I was as mystified as before.

After a couple of seconds of silence, Lori added, “It wasn’t that I didn’t like you. I did.”

And almost as an afterthought, she softly said, “I was jealous of you.”

“Jealous?” I asked. “Why would you be jealous of me? She’s your best friend.”

I looked her in the eyes and suddenly understood the answer without her saying a word.

We both loved the same woman.

All I could say was, “Oh.”

I remembered her words about all of us having secrets. She knew mine, and I knew hers.

“Does Marni know your feelings for her?” I gently asked.

“No, I’ve never told her. I’ve never told anyone” she said in a near whisper.

I started to laugh.

Lori responded, “What’s so funny”?

“We have something in common” I said. “We’ve both been burned by the same woman.”

She laughed, we clinked our bottles, and finished our beers.

Chapter Two, next Sunday!

1 thought on “Secrets (Chapter One)”

  1. Oooooh, that was rather good!

    Great use of the word ‘spiffy’ too!!

    Can’t wait till next Sunday!

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