This has been an exciting week. I have received a preview version of volume 1 of Evil Above the Stars. Seventh Child introduces September Weekes, a 16 year old inadvertent hero of my fantasy series. Seventh Child will be out as an e-book in January and as a paperback in March. I am particularly pleased with the cover designed by Alison Buck of Elsewhen Press. Volume 2, Power of Seven will follow swiftly after.
But back to Jasmine Frame and the second part of the fourth of my prequels to Painted Ladies. I’m still looking for ways to get Bodies By Design, the second novel in the series, out to readers, so any bright ideas will be well-received.
Discovering Jasmine: Part 2
The police officer twisted in his seat to look directly at Jasmine. He seemed to be examining her carefully for the first time, taking in her bare legs and arms and satin-clad torso.
‘I wouldn’t use that word to describe yourself if I were you lad,’ he said quietly, ‘Not if you don’t want to be labelled a weirdo or a cocktease and end up like the poor sod you helped.’
‘Why?’ Jasmine’s voice trembled. What was wrong in being the girl she felt herself to be?
‘Guys don’t like trannies,’ the officer turned around again and looked up at his mirror. ‘They think they’re going to con them into gay sex. If you want to get beaten up come into town in the evening dressed like you are.’
‘But… but, you’re supposed to protect people from getting attacked.’
‘We can’t be everywhere lad, and there’s enough real girls to scrape off the pavements after an evening on the booze without worrying about twats who think they’re girls but have dicks. What were you thinking of?’
Jasmine didn’t answer. She was thinking about how the evening had started with her dreams turning to reality.
Holly pushed her up the stairs.
‘Get undressed and have a shower. Wet your hair.’
Jasmine hurried into her bedroom wondering what Holly had in mind. She sat on her neatly made up bed to undo the sandals and kick them off, then pulled the ear-rings from her lobes and set them on her desk next to her computer monitor. Standing she dropped the skirt to the floor and pulled the T-shirt over her head. Finally she tugged the bra around her chest until she could unfasten the severely strained hooks. The rolled up socks spilled onto the carpet. Suddenly her room had become untidy.
She kept her pants on and went to the bathroom. Jasmine halted in surprise to find Holly in there. She was holding out a razor, her own.
‘You’ll have to use this. I’ve put a new blade in for you.’
‘Your underarms, and your legs. You can’t go out in a summer dress, James, unless your legs and pits are smooth. I’m wondering about your arms too.’ She grabbed Jasmine’s right arm and peered closely at it. ‘I think you’re o.k. You’re so fair.’
Jasmine took the razor and looked at it uncertainly.
‘People will notice.’
‘Who looks at a bloke’s armpits? But when you are a girl you can’t go flashing hair every time you raise your arms.’
‘How do I…’
‘In the shower. Soap well. Use my shower gel. It’s got a nice perfume. Now get in there. I’m going to see what I can do about your boobies.’ Holly left the bathroom. Jasmine stood for a moment. She hadn’t considered all the preparation that went into a girl’s evening out and shaving her body hair was a big step. It was one she could take easily though. She stepped into the shower.
She spent three times as long as normal under the water. Finally Jasmine emerged from the cubicle, dripping and hairless. Her armpits felt a little sore and she wondered how often Holly put herself through the process of shaving.
Having towelled herself dry she pulled her pants back on. They were much tighter than those she usually wore when she was male but when she tucked her private bits between her legs they were held firmly and didn’t protrude. She smoothed a hand down her abdomen to confirm that she had a female profile.
Jasmine opened the bathroom door.
‘Come to my room, James.’ Jasmine followed Holly’s voice into her bedroom. As the elder child Holly had the bigger room even though she was away most of the time at university. Drawers and wardrobe doors were open and Holly sat on the bed amongst a pile of clothes.
‘Good. Let me check.’ Holly leapt up and stopped Jasmine in the centre of the room. She smoothed a hand down both of Jasmine’s legs and raised her arms to examine her armpits. Then she stood back. ‘Turn around. Let me have a look at you.’
Jasmine pirouetted slowly and felt her cheeks and neck warming up. Showing her body to her sister was embarrassing.
‘Hmm. You know what the problem is don’t you?’ Holly said.
‘What?’ Jasmine said returning to face her.
‘You’re such a handsome guy.’ Holly sighed. ‘Are you sure you want to be a girl?’
Jasmine thought about her answer for a few moments. Holly’s question was one she kept on asking herself.
‘I know I’ve got a boy’s body but I feel that I should be a girl, at least some time.’
Holly nodded and pursed her lips.
‘Well, OK. The trouble is all that running you do has given you legs any girl would die for, but it’s also given you broad shoulders and a large chest. What with your narrow hips, well you just don’t have a female figure at all.’
‘I know,’ Jasmine’s head drooped. Was she being silly expecting to pass as a girl on a night out?
‘Never mind,’ Holly clapped her hands, ‘we’ll see what we can do. Make the most of those legs and arms and that mop of blonde hair you’ve got. First we must give you some breasts but there’s no way you’ll get one of my bras around you. What size chest are you?’
‘Mum’s never that big.’
‘I know. I’m stretching her old bra to its limit.’
‘Well it’ll have to do. Go and get it.’
Jasmine hurried to her room and picked up he discarded bra and socks. She returned to Holly’s room. Holly grimaced at the grey garment with its frayed edges.
‘You won’t need the socks,’ Holly said, standing with her hands behind her back
‘But I’ll need something to fill out the cups,’ Jasmine complained.
‘Of course you do, but socks are no good; they’re not heavy enough. Breasts have weight I can tell you.’
Jasmine had long admired Holly’s ample pair but had not thought it appropriate to comment on her sister’s attributes.
‘What do you suggest then?’ Jasmine asked.
‘These,’ Holly revealed her hands each holding a plastic bag. ‘I’ve filled two bags with rice. They should fill out your cups. Not perfect, I know but, well, there’s nothing else I can think of.’
‘Won’t the rice leak out?’
‘I hope not. I’ve tied them up tightly. Look.’ She shook the two bags. No grains of rice came out. ‘Let’s try them out.’
Jasmine put the bra around her chest and stretched the ends until she was just able to put the hooks through the eyes. She tugged the cups around to the front then pushed the straps over her shoulders. Holly handed her the bags of rice and she tucked them in the cups. She faced Holly.
Holly rocked her head from side to side, examining her chest, then pummelled and massaged the false breasts into shape. She stepped back.
‘I don’t think that’s bad at all, James. Have a look at yourself.’
Holly had a long mirror on her wardrobe. Jasmine used it often when Holly was away. She looked at herself now and was surprised to see how feminine her profile was.
‘They look great. Thanks, Hol.’
‘Right now put this on.’ Holly hand Jasmine a silver-grey, satin dress. It weighed nothing in her hands. ‘I bought it for a party at uni. It’s from T.K.Maxx. It turned out to be a bit big for me. Should fit you though.’
Jasmine dropped it over her head. It slipped down her body as insubstantial as a cloud of cigarette smoke. The top of the dress caught on her breasts and she had to tug it down for the final fit. There were two spaghetti-thin, silver straps over her shoulders and the neckline just skimmed the top of the bra. The dress clung tightly to her false beasts and under her arms then fell like a waterfall to her thighs ending about six inches below her groin. Her legs, arms and shoulders remained bare.
Holly looked her over. ‘A pity you have to have your bra straps showing but that looks fine. You can’t see that you have no waist.’
‘Fine?’ Jasmine said, ‘I feel practically naked but for my pants and bra.’
‘Yes, but it’s so feminine and just right for a warm summer evening in a hot, crowded club. Now shoes. What size are you?’
‘I’m a seven. It’s going to have to be those sandals you were wearing earlier. At least they’ve got heels so they’ll accentuate your legs. Now let’s get started on your make-up.’
I was a couple of hours before Jasmine was allowed to look at herself again. In that time her finger and toenails had been shaped and given a silver coating, her hair had been back-brushed and sprayed into a strikingly feminine style, her face had been buffed and smoothed with foundation and powder, her eyes had been mascaraed and kohled so that they seemed double their normal size and her lips had been coated and glossed a bright red. Holly fetched her sandals and helped her put them on her feet, then she stood up.
‘Have a look at yourself, James. I think you’ll do.’
Jasmine stood in front of the mirror, rotating and looking over her shoulders to see herself at every angle. It was amazing. She was the girl she dreamed of being.
‘It’s fantastic. I hardly recognise myself,’ Jasmine said, indeed Holly’s expertise with brushes and cosmetics revealed how much she had to learn. ‘Thanks, Hol.’
‘It was fun,’ Holly said surveying her handiwork, ‘It reminded me of when Sophie and Milly and I used to take turns to doll each other up when we were teenagers. We spent hours in each other’s bedrooms doing all this stuff.’
A feeling of sadness came over Jasmine. She couldn’t have that shared experience of learning how to be a woman. How could she have the confidence to go out and mingle with people when she had so much learn?
‘I just have to get myself ready, and then we can hit the town. But I can’t go calling you James when we’re out. What did you say you called yourself, Tamsin was it?’
‘Jasmine. I’m Jasmine, Holly.’
Painted Ladies: A Jasmine Frame Story is published in e-book and paperback and available from all booksellers including Amazon