“Peter!” shouted his mother from the foot of the stairs.
“What?” Peter shouted from his bedroom.
“I need to go into town to get some things for Abigail's party on Saturday.”
“OK.” he shouted back.
A moment later his mum shouted, “Well come on then, I haven't got all day.”
“Can't I stay here?” he replied from his room.
“No, you can help me choose a nice birthday present for her.”
“Oh mu-um.” he moaned, “I'm busy!”
“Busy playing that play station thing!” his mum retorted, “Now come on, I'm not leaving you in the house alone.”
“But I'm ten!” he replied.
“Well act like it and do as you're told!”
Peter turned off the play station and dawdled down the stairs to where his mother was impatiently waiting for him. “It's about time!” she said as he appeared, “Come on, we haven't got all day.”
His mum pulled out of the driveway and headed for the town centre. On the way she made small talk with her son but didn't get much of a response. “Oh give me some help Peter!” She blurted, “I'm only trying to think of something for her present, and seeing as you're the one who'll be giving it to her you really should help me choose something.”
Peter sighed impatiently, “Well I don't know what girls like.... a doll or something.” he suggested.
“I think she's a bit old for dolls love.” she replied, “She's the same age as you... you don't want Action Man any more do you?”
“I guess not.” Peter moaned.
“What about getting a pretty dress for the party?” his mum suggested.
“Whatever.” Peter replied unenthusiastically, paying more attention to the passing scenery that his mother's dulcet tones. “Girls like that sort of thing I s'pose.”
“Well that's settled then... do you want to choose one?” his mum smiled.
“What do I know about dresses?” he shrugged.
“Well I'll help you if you like.” she suggested.
“OK.” he moaned.
Eventually they pulled into the car park and headed on foot to one of the big department stores. Peter was obviously bored and feeling out of place, being dragged around endless aisles of skirts, blouses & dresses. Every so often his mum picked a dress and asked Peter what he thought of it. “It's horrible.” was his usual reply.
“You're not being much help Peter.” said his mum after some time.
“Can't I go and look at the video games?” he moaned.
“No love, you're here to help me get everything we need for Abigail's birthday party, and that's what you're going to do.” she explained. Peter shrugged his shoulders. “Look...” she said, “the sooner we get what we came for, the sooner we can go and look at the video games... and if you stop complaining and start helping I 'might' buy you one.” his mother explained, emphasising the 'might'.
With this suggestion Peters face brightened up. “Really?” he asked. “Cool!”
“Only if you help me choose something nice.” she reminded as she removed another dress and held it up for him to see. “What about this one?”
Peter spent a moment looking at it and it's myriad of thrills and ribbons. He screwed his face up, “No, she's too old for that.” he replied.
His mum took a second look at the dress before saying, “I suppose so.” and promptly put it back, “Shame though, it is a pretty dress, but you're right, it's a bit too young for a ten year old.”
After three or four other options Peter finally said, “It's OK I guess.” to one of the dresses his mum selected. “I think she'll like that one.” he added.
“I'm sure she will.” said his mum, “Especially all these layers of netting under the skirt.” she added as she showed her son it's netted underskirt.
Peter nodded, thinking only of which video game to get, if he did get one that is.
His mum smiled. “Well that's the dress sorted” she said as she turned and headed for another aisle. “Underwear next.”
“Uhhhh” Peter moaned as he was dragged off to the underwear department.
Eventually his mum selected a pair of white frilly knickers, a white lace trimmed satin slip and a pair of white tights. Peter seemed surprised by how many presents his mum was buying for Abigail, however, most of his thoughts were focused on a potential new video game.
“This way Peter.” his mum stated as she headed to yet another department. Peter obediently followed. Before long he found himself in the boys clothes section. “Would you like some new trainers too?” she asked.
“Yeah Cool!” he replied, and they headed off to the shoe department where Peter chose a pair of trainers, when they were at the checkout he noticed his mother holding a pair of girls shoes too. “Another present!” he exclaimed.
“Well..." she shrugged, "...one can't have a new dress without new shoes.” His mother replied, “Do you like them?” she asked.
Peter looked at the shoes and replied in a mournful voice, “They're OK I guess, for a girl.”
His mother paid for the trainers, the shoes, the underwear and the dress at the checkout before insisting he carry the shopping bags for her. He complained but soon ceased his moaning once his mother reminded him about the prospect of a new video game. “We just need to find Abigail's present then we'll get you a video game for being a good boy.” she said.
Peter was so worked up on the idea of getting a new video game he didn't really register what his mum had said about getting Abigail a birthday present. They went to the gift department and chose a jewellery box for her before heading for the video games. Peter was spoilt for choice, but eventually settled on the new Medal of Honour game.
On the way home in the car his mother thanked him for helping her. Peter said it was no problem, eager to get home and play his new game. On their arrival home, Peter immediately ran upstairs clutching his new video game and headed for his room. A few minutes later his mother entered and tutted as she noticed him enthralled in his new game. “I don't know what you boys see in all that shooting.” she sighed.
“It's cool!” replied Peter, his eyes fixed in the screen. He didn't even notice his mother placing the underwear & tights in his drawer. She slyly placed them a few layers down, seeing as he wouldn't need them for a few days.
“Would you like to help me wrap Abigail's present?” she asked after closing his underwear drawer.
“No it's OK.” he replied, again staying 100% focussed on the screen.
“OK.” she replied, “I'll do it all as usual.” she added sarcastically. “Supper will be half an hour.”
Peter played the game until his mother called him. He'd cleared a couple of levels already and was in no mood to stop now. “Two minutes!” he shouted back.
A Couple of minutes later his mother called again.
“Two minutes.” he replied, hooked on the game.
“Now.” she shouted back.
Peter tutted and pressed pause. “Okay.” he conceded as he jumped up and headed to the dining room. His supper was waiting for him so he immediately sat down and started munching away. “Thanks mum.” he mumbled though a half eaten chip.
“Please don't talk with your mouth full. You'll have to show better manners at Abigail's party on Saturday.”
He swallowed his next mouthful before replying. “I will.” he promised.
His mum made small talk over supper. She asked him how the new game was, to which his reply was detailed and enthusiastic. Not being an aficionado of such things, she understood that he liked it and very little else. As usual, Peter cleared the table and placed the plates in the sink. He noticed the wrapped gift on the side board, which must have been one of Abigail's presents, he assumed, it being tied in a big pink bow. He then looked up at the dress hanging from the picture rail, still in it's clear plastic cover. “It's very nice don't you think?” his mother asked as she watched him.
“It's OK I guess.” he replied. “Aren't you going to wrap it too?” he asked, turning his gaze back on the jewellery box in it's flamboyant wrapping.
“Of course not.” she replied matter of factly, “It'd get all creased and we don't want that do we?”
“I love the colour.” said his mum, looking at the dark green velvet dress, with it's pretty white lace collar and short, lace trimmed sleeves.
Peter didn't respond, eager to get back to his game. “Can I go back upstairs now?” he asked, halfway to the door.
“I suppose.” replied his mum as he darted off. She smiled to herself as he disappeared
Over the next couple of days Peter spent more time playing his new game than anything else. His mother asked him 3 or 4 times each day if he was looking forward to the party and reminded him that he'd have to be on his best behaviour. “Yes.” he half heartedly moaned each time.
Saturday morning finally arrived. Peter woke to his radio alarm and stole an extra 20 minutes in bed. His mother knocked on his door before opening it. “Come on Peter, no laying in bed today.” she said as she opened the curtains. “I've run the bath for you.”
“Can't I have some breakfast first?” he yawned as he sat up.
“No love, bath first.” she said. “I'll get you some clean underwear.” she added as she opened his drawer and removed a pair of knickers and the slip.
Peter watched her remove the items from his drawer. “What are those doing in there?” he shrieked. “And those?” he protested as she removed a box which contained his tights.
“Because they're yours.” she replied dryly. “For Abigail's Party. Remember?”
“No they're not!” He insisted, “They're for Abigail's present.”
“I think you misunderstand Peter.” replied his mum, “The jewellery box is Abigail's birthday present and these are for you.” she smiled as she unfolded the white frilly knickers
“B... but...” Peter stammered, not knowing how to react. “I cant wear those!” he insisted.
“Well you can't wear y-fronts under your new dress can you?”
“Wha... wha..” he stammered. “I don't have a dress.” he insisted as the penny finally dropped. He knew something wasn't right in town the other day. Of course Abigail wasn't getting so many presents!
His mother sighed at his apparent ignorance. “Yes you do.” she replied, “The one you chose on Wednesday, remember?”
“But that was for Abigail, you said it was.”
“No, I said it was for Abigail's party.”
“But... I cant wear a dress, I'm a boy!” he pleaded.
“And you're going to a girl's party.” she replied. “Everybody else will be wearing dresses.”
“But...” he stammered. “they're girls... they're supposed to wear dresses!”
“Look love, last year you complained that you 'were the only boy at her party and felt stupid with all those girls in their pretty dresses'...” she quoted his own words exactly. She continued as he listened, open mouthed, “So this year, you're going to fit in perfectly.”
“But I can't wear a dress!” he claimed, panic stricken. “I'll look stupid.”
“No you wont.” his mum insisted with a smile, “You'll look very pretty.”
“But they'll all laugh at me.”
She took him by the hand, looked him in the eye and promised him they wouldn't. Unbeknown to Peter, Abigail and her mother knew full well Peter would be wearing a party dress this year. “Plus...” she went on, “After half an hour at the party you'll feel right at home and you won't stand out like a sore thumb.” She explained, holding his gaze. He conceded with a nod. “Good boy.” she grinned. “Now lets get you in the bath.”
Peter gulped and followed her to the bathroom. She placed the knickers and the slip on the seat next to the bath which was full of fragrant bubbles. He climbed in. “What's that smell?” he quizzed.
“It's lavender & rose” she replied. “It's nice isn't it?”
Before long, Peter was stood in his slip and knickers whilst his mother dried his hair. Peter nervously thumbed the lace hem of his slip. “Are you nervous?” she asked.
“A little.” he replied.
“You'll be fine.” she reassured. “I promise.” she then led him to his bedroom where his new dress and shoes waited for him. “Tights first.” she insisted as she removed them from their box and showed him how to put them on.
“These feel funny.” he moaned after pulling them all the way up. He felt increasingly nervous as he looked down at his white slip and legs.
“That's understandable.” his mother smiled as she looked at him. “...seeing as you've never worn tights before.” Inside she gushed. He looks so sweet. “They look nice though.” she added as she unzipped the dress.
Peter gulped as he dutifully stepped in to it. He pushed his arms through the sleeves before being turned around. His mother pulled up his zip and turned him around again. A broad grin swept across her face as she stepped back. “Oh Peter you look lovely!”she said, clasping her hands together.
Peter looked down at 'his' dress. Green velvet with short sleeves and fitted to the waist where the full skirt flared out in all directions. He flattened it so he could see his legs and feet before looking nervously at his mother's grinning face. “I look like a girl mum.” he stated, pulling a sulk.
“And that's the idea.” she smiled. “Let's put your shoes on then you can have a proper look in my mirror.”
Peter sat on the edge of his bed, slipped his feet in to his new shoes. Bending over a netted skirt was a completely new experience for him, as was fastening girl's shoes onto stockinged feet. He wondered if girls get butterflies in their tummy too, when they're wearing something so pretty. His feet felt weird being raised on a small heel. His legs felt weird clad in white nylon tights. He ran his hands over his lap. He could just see his white knees beyond the netted hem of the skirt and in the corners of his eyes he could make out his puffed sleeves trimmed with white lace.
“Are you OK Peter? You're very quiet.” his mother asked.
“I look silly.” he moaned.
“You honestly don't Peter, you look very nice.” she reassured. “And I'm sure Abigail will be thrilled that you've made such an effort.”
“But I feel silly.” he said, looking up at his mother with pleading eyes.
“Once you've settled in at the party you'll forget all about feeling silly.” she explained. “And I'm sure you'll have lots of fun being one of the girls.” she added joyously. “come on.” she grinned, taking him by the hand and leading him to the large mirrored wardrobe in her bedroom.
His jaw dropped when he saw his reflection. From his neck down to his feet he was a girl. The black Mary Jane's with their two inch heel made his feet look tiny and the thick white tights showed his legs in a way he'd never seen before. The skirt of his dress flared out and the layers of netted underskirts were just visible. The green velvet fabric was like nothing he'd worn before. He ran his hands over his waist and eventually thumbed the hem.
“Doesn't it feel lovely?” asked his mum.
“It feels weird.” he replied honestly. “like fur.”
“It does a bit.” his mum smiled.
He looked at himself long and hard. “I look like a girl with a boys head.”
“Well it's a pity your hair isn't a little longer, but we could take your fringe off your face with a headband... that would look nice.“ she suggested.
Before long Peter was sat in the passenger seat of his mum's car as she drove him over to Abigail's house. Peters body filled with dread as the car slowed down and turned on to the driveway. “Well, here we are.” she said joyfully, turning the engine off.
Peter gulped. His mother got out and opened the door for him, empathising with his shyness, she led him to the door and rang the bell. “Abigail is going to be absolutely over the moon you know?” she said said quietly as they waited.
The second Abigail opened the door she shrieked with glee. “Oh Peter you look excellent!” she exclaimed as she grabbed his hand and dragged him inside. “I absolutely love your dress. Did you choose it yourself?”
Peter stammered, his mum answered for him. “Yes he did!” she said smiling.
“I thought it was for you.” he insisted as he felt himself blushing “...until today.” he frowned. Abigail glanced expectantly at the gift held in his trembling hands. Peter noticed. “Oh, er... this is for you, happy birthday.” he said.
“Oh thank you!” Abigail replied.
Peter smiled as she placed her gift on the side and began carefully unwrapping it. She intermittently glanced at Peter and his mother as she untied the bows before removing the paper. “Oh thank you!” she gushed. “Look mum! A jewellery box!”
“Oh that's lovely.” Abigail's mother replied, “And Peter you look gorgeous as a girl... doesn't he.” she added.
“He certainly does.” his mother agreed, “...but he's a little shy because he's not used to looking so pretty... aren’t you dear?”
Peter gulped, nodded and forced a smile. “You look nice too Aby.” he said as he observed her dress: purple satin with black tights and purple ballet pumps.
“Thank you.” she grinned as she did a twirl. “Come on, lets introduce you to the girls.” Abigail said as she grabbed Peter by the wrist and pulled him towards the reception room. She got everybody's attention and introduced him to the party. Peter smiled shyly at the torrent of complements which he faced, uttering the odd quiet “Thank you” as he stood statue like in his party dress.
Eventually his mother said she'd pick him up later and Abigail's mother asked. “Isn't Peter staying for the sleepover?”
“Oh I didn't realise it was sleepover party.”
Peter looked at each of them nervously.
“Would you like to sleep over Peter?” asked Abigail's mum as Abigail nodded at Peter, insisting he say yes. “We have the spare room reserved for you and the other girls will all be in Aby's room.” she added.
Peter noticed Aby beckoning him to say 'yes', so shyly he nodded, before looking to his mum, hoping she'd get him out of it. “Oh I should have bought you a nightie and something for tomorrow.” she moaned, disappointed with her lack of foresight.
“On well never mind...” Abigail's mother interjected, “...he can borrow one of Aby's and I'm sure we can find him something for tomorrow.” she suggested.
“Oh please do Peter, It'll be fun!” Abigail insisted.
Overwhelmed with fear, Peter looked up to his mother who was also prompting him into accepting the offer. Unable to refuse, he agreed to staying the night. His mother gave him a kiss on the forehead, told him she was very proud of him, that he looked very pretty and that she hoped he'd have a nice time before insisting he be on his best behaviour. He promised her he would and she left.
As his mother drove home she couldn't help thinking how nice it was to have a daughter for the day. She felt a little mean for deceiving her son and hoped he doesn't hold it against her. At the end of the day, it's Abigail's party and her wish was granted.
"Plus..." she said to herself. "If he really hated it he'd have put up much more of a fight." This thought was followed by a broad knowing grin.