My Surrogate Sister

This is a follow-up to A Surrogate Sister, which you may want to read first. This story begins five years after George and Andrew's youngest brother Peter became Sophie, and is told in flashback form from Andrew's point of view.
Also, I'd better warn you that it's nearly 40,000 words long!

Being at college is loads better than being at school. There's no uniform for a start, the subjects are more interesting, there's no PE, RE or IT to endure and I've made a few new friends too. It's not uncommon for a handful of us to go down by the creek and sit talking, smoking and generally killing time between our classes. Today I sit with Bekah and TJ... and as usual, TJ is moaning about his parents. I wouldn't mind but his folks are loaded and all his supposed problems can be attributed to him being a spoilt little brat who's struggling to grow up. He's a nice enough guy but sometimes I wish he'd give his 'my parents are so unfair' mantra a rest. I guess Bekah was also at the end of her tether with his incessant whining because she told him that he has no idea just how lucky he is. She described her own home life which leaves both of us speechless. She grew up with an alcoholic mother and an abusive yet mostly absent father. Any nice clothes she had were second hand and she endured years of teasing and taunting at school for being scruffy, spotty, speccy and so on. Once she'd informed TJ just how bad growing up could be in a broken home where money is scarce, he shut his mouth. “What about you Drew?” she asked me. “Your Mum's a single parent isn't she?”

I nodded and Bekah asked what she's like. “She's OK I guess. She used to be a bit mad but...”

“My Mother's bonkers!” TJ interupted. “She even irons socks... and if there's one thing I can't stand it's creases in my T shirt sleeves...” Bekah and I shared a sly grin and rolled our eyes as TJ resumed his rant about how bad his life in a cushy middle class home is. We let him rant away though, and thankfully mid-rant, he realised that he was supposed to be somewhere and darted off.

"See ya tomorrow TJ." we said in unison.

“Poor lad... having creases in his T shirt sleeves.” Bekah giggled. “My mum didn't even have an iron and if she did she'd have pawned it for a bottle of gin.”

This made me laugh out loud but it wasn't funny. “Sorry. It's the way you said it, not what you said.”

“Ah it's OK... I could write a book about my mother's drunken antics” she replied.

“So...” Bekah asks after short yet comfortable silence. “When you say your Mum was a bit mad... how do you mean?”

After seeking her assurance that she wouldn't tell anyone, I said “Well, she wasn't a psycho or schizo or anything like that.. but she did make me and my brother wear dresses.” I gulped before defensively adding, “Not all the time... just occasionally.”

“Wow!” Bekah exclaimed as she lit two cigarettes and passed one to me. “I wasn't expecting that.”

“Thanks.” I said as I took the lit cigarette from her, “It was pretty weird.” I added before taking a long deep toke of my ciggy. I didn't want to reveal everything to Bekah... in fact I wasn't sure I should be revealing anything to her, but it feels good to talk and she seems as if she's capable of listening without prejudice.

“So... how come your Mum made you wear dresses?” she asked. “Was it a punishment thing?”

“No nothing like that.” I replied. “My younger brother went to high school in Crickley...” I began.

“Which one?” she asked.

“Malham Hall.” I cautiously replied.

“I had a feeling you were going to say that.” she replied, “It's a very good school.”

“Not if you're a boy it ain't.” I retorted before taking another drag of my fag. “Well...” I backtracked. “ is a good school I suppose... it's just the boy's uniform isn't so good.” I said. I didn't tell her that my mother turned Peter into a girl and insisted we called him Sophie as she didn't need to know about that, but did tell her about him having to dress like a girl for school as that is the precursor to Mum making me wear dresses. “My big bro and I used to tease him something rotten.” I confessed. “But we were just picking on an easy target.”

“So... your brother went to Malham Hall...” Bekah said. “...and you went to Broadoak Road, which isn't an EP school?” she quizzed, adding “Educational Petticoating” for clarity. I nodded and she continued. “So... how come you ended up wearing dresses then.”

I sighed. “I dunno... it just sort of happened.” I replied. “You promise you won't tell anyone?”

Bekah assured her confidentiality and dug a little deeper. I cast my mind back five years to that fateful summer when it all began...


Peter and his sister Laura walk to school one sunny Monday morning. As usual, she has her smart phone in her hands and is texting her friends, probably telling them that she's walking to school and will see them in class shortly. Peter couldn't understand why she sent so many pointless texts. It's almost as if she has to use every last one of them before her monthly allowance expires. They enter the school gates and soon part company, heading to their respective form rooms.

When Peter enters his form room, a good third of his classmates burst out laughing. He's clueless as to what they're laughing at. Maybe he's got shaving foam left on his chin, dried toothpaste around his mouth or is having a really bad hair day. As Peter takes his seat, his classmates start to whisper amongst one another and the giggling and sniggering spreads like wildfire. “What?!” he asks when people give him funny looks and throw sly comments in his direction.

The poor lad is the last to know that he's changed his Facebank profile picture and shared it with everyone... EVERYONE! And by the sound of it, everyone's been sharing it with everyone else. It's morning break when he's finally shown his latest update on Facebank, the new profile picture has been shared 107 times, has 243 likes and a handful comments. The fact that he didn't change his Facebank profile picture is irrelevant, as it's clearly him wearing red lipstick and a blonde wig in the very close and very clear image.