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The Jade Box            by Genni S

 

Part 2

Amy stood in front of the full-length mirror that was now stuck on the back of her bedroom door. Dropping her towel she peered in wonder at her naked reflection. Up until now she'd been in some sort of delusional denial. Even when she was sitting to pee and wiping her new equipment, some of her long brown hair fell across her eyes or a breast shifted in her Bra Amy was denying the change. Almost three days of denial had got her no closer to getting back to normal and normal was exactly what she wanted. The sooner she got back to Mamma Chow the sooner Stuart could make a come back and Amy would be a bad dream.

'Let's do it.' She said, trying to sound forceful but the new voice failed dismally.

She put on a black Kimono styled robe she had found in her wardrobe and then set to work. First she blow dried her long locks and combed them until the were soft and shiny. Next on the agenda was the clothing for that day. 'This is not going to be pleasant, she thought, strangely enough her thoughts still had Stuart's voice and it was comforting to hear. 'A girl trying to get back to being a boy has to do what a girl trying to get back to being a boy has to do.'

She opened her underwear drawer and was once again dazzled by the choice of both styles and colours before her. Too many choices but in the end she went for a lacy white Bra and Panty set after putting them on she hesitated at the wardrobe wondering what image she wanted to present. Only one image that suited what she needed that day sprang to mind. Ally McBeal. Thank god for Television.

Flicking through the clothes she picked out a short skirt in charcoal grey and a feminine, pink satin blouse and went back to the underwear drawer to get a packet of black pantyhose. The only small problems there was the reversed buttoning of the blouse and making sure she didn't put a run in the hose.

That accomplished she prepared her self for the comments and called Jade in.

Jade did a double take when she entered her sister's bedroom. 'If you ask me if your butt looks fat in that skirt I am calling the psych ward.' Was all she managed to say.

'No, I need your help. I tried to do something with my hair but it didn't look right. Maybe you can... I don't know... jazz it up a little?'

'Jazz it up?' The elder girl asked puzzled by the turn around in Amy. 'I guess I can braid it... If that's what you really want'

'Oh would you? That would be wonderful. And then maybe some make up. I'd be really grateful.' Amy tried to hide her smile, which was hard with the dimples she now possessed. This was the first time since she opened that stupid box that she had Jade on the back foot rather than the other way around and she was enjoying it.

'Ah... Yeah, if you want. Are you all right?'

'I've been a bit of a prima donna the last few days haven't I?' Amy asked picking up a large Teddy bear and cuddling it to her bosom and added a little twirl for good measure. 'It's silly really. I mean you and mum are women and so is over half the world's population and I have been prancing around like it's a punishment. Well, that's all behind me. I have decided to embrace my femininity and the world anew. What better way to start than to look as pretty as a picture.'

'You're joking,' Jade asked uncertainly then added. 'Aren't you?'

'Shit yeah,' Amy said in a more normal tone. 'I want out of this stupid weak body as soon as possible and I won't get a job as easily in jeans and a T-shirt.'

Jade let out a loud sigh and slumped down on Amy's bed. 'You had me worried there for a second Stu.'

'I know,' Amy laughed. 'Anyway, can you help me? I've been looking at those books a little but I was up late last night writing up a resume.'

'I don't know why I should after that little stunt. Then again it might serve you right if I make you look as feminine as possible.'

'Thanks Jade, Just one more thing I need your help with.'

'You're pushing you luck. Go on then.'

'Does this skirt make my butt look big?'

Almost half an hour later Amy was jangling with jewellery and smelling like the cosmetic counter at the local department store. Susan had already guessed what was going on. Stuart had only two speeds when it came to doing anything. Either neutral or flat out. Why would Amy be any different? What did surprise her was just how pretty her son now was. The girl standing in front of her looked wonderful, every bit the working girl on her way to a job interview. About the only things missing were high heels but Amy hadn't mastered them yet.

'You look... Beautiful Amy. Good luck with the job hunt and good for you for taking it so seriously.'

'Thanks mum,' Amy smiled nervously as she licked her lipstick covered lips and hung her handbag on her left shoulder.

-oOOo-

'Amy.' Katie said when she opened her front door. 'You look great. What's up?'

Amy tried not to shrink back when the girl hugged her. 'Hi Katie. I'm just going job hunting. I want to see your mum actually.'

'Sure, come on in. Did you watch Video smash hits yesterday? Ricky Martin's new video clip was on. God he's a babe.'

'Yeah... He's... buff.' Amy said with absolutely no conviction as the two girls walked through the house to the kitchen.

'Morning Amy,' Mrs. Frances said. 'My, my, aren't we all dolled up?'

'Hi Mrs. F.' The girl replied as Stuart normally would but it sounded strange coming from her new voice. 'How are you?'

'Enjoying the last week of my break love. Back to work for me next week.'

'Ah, it's your job I wanted to see you about. Well in a round about way.'

Margaret Frances was the professor of education at Adelaide University. 'Oh. This sounds serious. What can I do for you?'

'I'm looking for a job and wanted to see if it's okay to put you down as a personal reference.' Amy said. She was a little nervous because even though Stuart got on all right with Katie's mum she did tend to blame in when ever Katie got into trouble. Probably because he was usually to blame. But her name on a reference would make a job a lot easier to get.

'Of course you can love. You didn't need to ask you should know that I'd do anything to help.'

'Where are you going to look?'

'I thought I'd start at the mall Katie,' Amy smiled with relief. 'It's only a ten minute walk so it's easy to get to work if I get a job.'

'I think that lingerie shop is looking for a sales girl.' Katie offered. 'That'd be great if you worked there.'

Mrs. Frances offered the girls a drink and grinned at her daughter. 'Not that you'd ask for a discount or anything?'

'Me?' Katie said, all mock innocence. 'The thought never crossed my mind.' She turned to face Amy. 'You want me to come?'

'Ah... No, it's okay thanks. I think I should go on my own. It might look a bit strange to go job hunting with a support group.'

-oOOo-

'How did you go love?' Susan asked not liking the dejected look on her daughter's pretty face.

'Not good mum. Not good at all.'

'You didn't get a job? Oh well I'm proud of you for trying.'

'I got a job.' Amy said still looking nonplussed. 'You're looking at the newest waitress at the Copper Kettle.'

'That little coffee shop on the upper level at the mall? Amy that's fantastic.' Susan gave the girl a delighted hug.

'You reckon? The boss is a sexist jerk. I think I only got the job because I'm, and I quote, "A pretty little thing". I start Thursday and I have to wear the stupid uniform.'

'What's that?'

'A short, very short, black skirt, pantyhose and a white blouse. With that and the school dress I'll never get to wear pants.'

'Just think of the money love.' Susan said.

'Oh yeah. Speaking of that can I borrow some, I need some more stockings and a comfortable pair of flats if I'm going to be on my feet all day.'

'I think I can manage that.' Susan said. 'You'll just have to pay me back when you get your first pay cheque.'

'What? Do you have any idea what pantyhose cost? I'm going to have to get three or four pairs every week.'

'Gee, let me see. I've worn pantyhose every working day for years Amy so I think I know the price of them. You get the same deal Jade does. Anything you need for work and any other clothes you want to buy you pay for. My pay packet can't keep you two in the latest fashion.'

'That's so unfair.' Amy mumbled. Sounding like any other petulant teenaged girl. All that was missing was the stamp of the feet.

'Not really. I pay for your school uniforms and now you're a girl you need two summer and two winter uniforms each. That's almost six hundred dollars there. Oh and I found out some more good news too.'

'What?'

'I've tracked down the missing five hundred dollars.' Susan said.

'Was it a bank stuff up like we thought?'

'Not really. I found my last cheque book and it turns out I paid that money to the Adelaide Dance, Music and Drama Academy for your ballet tuition for the next 6 months.'

'There is no way in hell I am doing Ballet,' Amy stated forcefully. 'Not a hope in hell.'

'I figured you'd say that so I called the woman who runs the Academy and she has agreed to refund half of the money but only on one condition. She gets some government funding and if you pull out all together her numbers will drop and she'll lose her grant. If you want the two hundred and fifty dollars in the Hong Kong fund your going to have to do something. Acting or something like that. Otherwise we blow the whole five hundred'

Jade had walked in and was listening. 'When I was doing your hair this morning we had the radio on and we were both singing to that Christina Aguilera song. You have a pretty good voice Amy. A bit of training and you'd be great.'

'So?'

'So, your dead head mates can almost play music. Get them back together and you can make some money playing at some school dances and stuff.'

"You're trying to make my life sound like the Blues Brother's movie.' Amy complained.

'More like Pink sister.' Jade smiled. 'Just trying to help.'

-oOOo-

Eleven days later Amy was not in a good mood. Her feet we killing her, her pantyhose were bloody hot and she seemed to be dropping a lot of stuff. Not good in a shorter than short skirt. What had Jade said about it when she saw Amy dressed for work the first time? Oh yeah. 'Any shorter and the whole mall will be you gynaecologist.' Worst of all was the fact that her bra must have shrunk in the wash. Talk about sore breasts

Work was the pits, no wonder she had put it off so long when she was Stuart. Why was it she was thinking of Stuart as a totally independent person from herself?

'Customers at Table 13 Amy,' Her boss Sam told her pointing at two women. 'They don't have all day sweetie.'

"Screw you Sam." Amy thought as she made weaved her way across the coffee shop. 'Hi,' She dutifully smiled as she approached a table, pen and notebook at the ready. 'What would you like?'

The Copper Kettle was on the upper level of the shopping mall, far away from the fast food out lets and noisy teens in the food court, so it tended to attract older clients who preferred cafŽ latte's and cappuccinos to diet cokes. Unfortunately for Amy, not all of those clients were women. More and more of the older men who work in the shops were taking their coffee in the Copper Kettle, most of who liked to watch her as she worked. Some enjoyed rubbing up against her as they took their seats.

It was after one of these "accidents" that Amy took her break.

'You okay Amy?' Jenna, one of her coworkers asked.

'Not really,' Amy replied as she sat, making sure she crossed her legs. 'I think I over did it on the chocolate this morning.' The two had nibbled on some of the chocolate that went into the brownies and muffins and Amy kept going back for more.

'I did try and warn you,' Jenna laughed. 'These skirts don't give much leeway when it comes to eating.'

'They are a little tight. If anything it seems to be getting tighter. The problem is I really needed a chocolate fix and now my stomach is paying.'

'It was cooking chocolate, maybe it was just a little rich for you.' Jenna suggested touching the other girl's arm. 'You tell me if you feel really sick and I'll cover for you for the rest of the shift. There are only a couple of hours to go.

A couple of hours? That felt like a life sentence to the new girl, but these days, everything was a matter of time. There had been no word from Wang or Mei Ling despite her mother's friend's help. Amy found herself either marking off the days as they finished or dreading what was yet to come. Saturday would mark her fifteenth birthday and she was not looking forward to the family dinner and all that it entailed. If she managed to get through that she faced at least two months as a high school girl.

She and Jenna talked a little more while Amy sipped diet lemonade. 'Oh well,' Jenna sighed, looking at her watch. 'Time to get back to the salt mines I guess.'

'I'll be there in a tick. I need to...' Piss, Amy wanted to say. Siphon the python, take a leak, have a slash, say hello to my best friend. '...Visit the ladies room.'

'Okay, don't take too long. You know how Sam is.'

"You want to powder your nose you do it on your time missy, not mine." Both girls giggled as they quoted their boss verbatim.

Amy went through the kitchen and into a hall that ran behind all of the shops feeling grateful that the "Little girl's room" was so close. Entering a stall she lifted her skirt and happily, if briefly, pulled down her pantyhose and panties. It was when she had finished peeing and had bent over to pull up her underwear that she saw something unusual. It took about five or ten seconds, a very slow five or ten seconds for her brain to take in what she was seeing and at least as much time again for her to put two and two together.

Another woman was washing her hands when she heard a voice come from one of the stalls. 'Fuck Mamma Chow,' said a young sounding girl with an agonised tone to her voice. The woman would have stayed to say something about her terrible language but thought it might have something to do with drugs so she quickly wiped her hands, picked up her purse and got out of there.

Amy rushed back to the Copper Kettle and went through her handbag. 'Fuck, fuck, fuck.' She whispered. Keys, a purse, some loose change, some old tissues and a lipstick. Finally right at the bottom she found what she was looking for and headed back to the bathroom. She was hoping to avoid Sam if at all possible but of course luck wasn't on her side.

'Hang on a second.' Sam said standing between Amy and the kitchen. 'Where are you off to? You just had a break cupcake.'

Cupcake? 'I have to go to the ladies room Sam.' She almost whispered.

'Didn't you just go? What's the matter? Did you forget to re-do your lipstick?' I am running a business here and I might be wrong but cafŽ's don't make a lot of money if the waitresses are all gossiping in the bloody toilets.

Amy just stood there, unsure what to do next. Thankfully Sam's wife, Lena heard the conversation. Seeing the pleading look in the young girl's eyes and put two and two together. 'It's ok Sam,' She said to her husband. 'I asked Amy to go in there and see if she can find my purse.'

'You've lost your purse?' Sam started ranting. 'Bloody women. You lot would lose your heads if they weren't screwed on.'

'I'm sure it will turn up Sammy.' Lena smiled. 'Just see if it's in there please Amy.'

She didn't need to be told twice and bolted off to the ladies room before Sam changed his mind.

Lena pulled her aside a little later. 'You okay love?'

'Ah... Yeah. Thanks.' Amy smiled.

'Catch you by surprise huh? Mine does that sometimes. Don't worry about Sam, you know how men can be when it comes to these things. Totally oblivious.'

"You don't know how right you are." Amy thought.

-oOOo-

Amy sat in the food court, sipping a chocolate milk shake and reviewing her life as it stood. Less than two weeks ago she had been a happy, reasonably well-adjusted teenaged guy. Now, she was a girl who was about to turn fifteen, she had almost no social life apart from two shopping trips with Katie from next door. She was a waitress in a coffee shop and to add insult to injury she was going through her first period.

To say the blood she had seen in her panties was a surprise would be a huge understatement. It's not like she didn't know girls had periods. Hell, she'd lived enough time with her mother and Jade to know when to keep her head down when it was their time of the month. But never in the whole time she had been female had she thought to expect her time of the month to come. At least she found one sanitary pad in her handbag. The thought of asking some one if she could lend one of there wasn't even worth thinking about.

It was now a little after two and half-hours since she had put the stupid thing on. Was that even the right phrasing? Did one put them on? Maybe the correct wording was in? Shit, she didn't even know how long before she needed to replace it.

Thinking about things she couldn't remember seeing any feminine hygiene products in her room, not that she was looking for them. Maybe there were some, somewhere in her room or maybe she'd run out of them. Not liking the idea of going home and telling her mother or sister, at least not until she'd had time to get her head around it, she went looking in one of the supermarkets.

'No one makes this easy do they?' she asked herself as she stood looking at the amazing variety of products. Normally she would walk past this aisle and not even think about it, now she some how had to make a choice between maxi and mini-pads, wings or no wings, there were even sanitary products that fit in a gee string. Was this a heavy or a light day? Her eyes briefly passed over the tampons. 'I don't even want to think about going there.' She whispered. 'Applicator or no applicator.' Come to think of it, it sounded pretty stupid. Like a Hollywood Movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger is The Applicator.

She took a guess and grabbed a pack of Carefree sanitary pads without wings. 'Carefree? That's a joke.' She said as she headed for the check-outs.

Standing in line all she wanted to do was get out of there, get home and get into a bath. What she had thought was a stomach ache was in fact menstrual cramps, the tightness of her skirt she now knew was bloating and the chocolate craving was something she had seen in her mother and sister. Now it all made sense.

She put the sanitary pads on the counter and slammed down a five dollar note.

The woman serving tried scanning them. Nothing. She tried again, still it didn't register. To Amy's absolute horror the woman grabbed a microphone. 'Price check on Carefree pack of twenties please. Price check on Carefree sanitary pads, twenties to check out nine.'

Amy was sure every eye in the place was on her and she tried to shrink while she waited for some one to tell the check out chick the price. It seemed an eternity but finally she was out of the supermarket and on her way home.

-oOOo-

Lying back in the bath Amy felt a little better. Things hadn't been helped when she sniped at Jade on her return home.

'Jeez, what's wrong with you? That time or the month or something?' Jade had asked in fun. Then she saw the look on her ex-brother's face. Her hand rushed to her mouth in a vain attempt to stifle a giggle when she worked out that was indeed the problem.

'Piss off.' Amy said.

'When did it start?'

'Piss off Jade.'

'No. No, I promised I wouldn't make it harder for you so I won't laugh.'

'Piss off.'

'Actually, I might laugh just a little,' Jade grinned. 'I'll try to keep it to a minimum.'

'What's up?' Susan asked as she entered the room.

'Should you tell her or can I?'

Amy looked at both of the main women in her life and blushed. She tried to say something about it. After all, it was no big deal. Both of them had periods. It was all totally natural for women to menstruate. 'Oh...Piss off the both of you.' She snarled and stormed out of the room, every inch the drama queen.

Later Susan had knocked on her door and despite another invitation to piss off she entered. 'Oh, sorry. I thought it was Jade coming to rub it in some more.' Amy said not looking her mother in the eye.

'Do you need some help?' Susan asked softly.

'Nothing a hysterectomy couldn't fix.' The young girl churlishly replied.

'I think you and I should have a talk love.'

At least she knew what she was doing now. If anything she knew too much about the female reproductive system, periods, discharge and working out her own menstrual cycle. As she enjoyed a bubble bath she hoped she wouldn't have too many more periods. As it was she was going to face three or four more days before it was over.

 

 


2001
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