I checked the contents of my purse one last time: lipstick, compact, some bobby pins, Altoids, tissues, hairbrush, cell phone, wallet, room key, car key, cigarettes and lighter. I added the case for the sunglasses which were gaily perched on top of my head. With that, I took a deep breath, and after a final glance at my hair and makeup in the mirror on the closet door, I opened the door to my hotel room and stepped out into the hall.
It was deserted except for a lone housekeeper's cart, and I encountered no one on my way to the elevator. Looking down self-consciously at my feet, I was struck as always by how dainty they looked in high heels. My legs, shimmering in sheer nylons, radiated femininity under my swaying skirt, and the appearance of breasts jutting against my soft pink sweater completed the illusion. By the time the elevator arrived, I was already beginning to think of myself as the woman I pretended to be.
There were no strange glances from the guests and hotel employees I encountered on my way through the lobby, and my confidence was soaring as I opened the door to my rental car and sat down in the driver's seat, carefully sliding my legs in behind me. I tugged my short skirt down towards my knees after I closed the door, and I felt an ache in my panties as I glanced down at the froth of lace peeking out over my nylons. The feelings were intensified when I studied the face of the girl looking back at me in the vanity mirror. Long lashes fluttered over her smoky eyes, and glistening pink lips parted in a shy smile as she inhaled the seductive scent of her own cologne. "Hey, good looking,'" I said to myself in a girlish voice as I pulled down my sunglasses and started the ignition. "Let's go shopping."
I was on a business trip to Los Angeles, staying at a hotel off the San Diego Freeway. After two grueling days of meetings, I had a free evening ahead of me, and I'd been hardly able to contain myself as the bewitching hour approached. The contents of my extra suitcase had been lovingly hung in anticipation, and the previous night had been spent shaving my body before tossing and turning in my satin nightgown and panties. Now that "she" was me, the daily grind had been replaced by a feeling of near-euphoria as I reveled in the sensations of sheer femininity.
Maybe that was what distracted me, or maybe I just took my eyes off the road while searching for a soft rock station in harmony with my mood. Whatever the reason, before I knew it I was midway through a busy intersection with a red light against me and horns blaring from all directions. Survival instinct kicked in, and I saw a narrow opening ahead of me, floored the accelerator, and shot through the gap into the clear. The entry to the freeway was just ahead, and my knees were shaking as I eased my car onto the ramp.
That was too close, I said to myself. Just imagine if you'd had an accident or been pulled over by a cop in this getup! With no driver's license on me, I would have been in a hell of a mess. Girl, you've gotta be more careful....
My relief was short-lived. When I glanced into the rear-view mirror before merging onto the freeway, I saw red lights flashing behind me. Shit! The California Highway Patrol!
Once again, blind instinct kicked in. Without thinking, I floored the accelerator and swerved onto the right shoulder, passing several vehicles before cutting back into traffic. The CHIP turned on his siren, and before I knew it he was hanging on my rear bumper, commanding me to pull over through a bullhorn. No fucking way, I said to myself. If I get pulled over now, they'll arrest me for sure, and what chance will I have in a holding cell dressed like this? Sweat began pouring down the side of my face, creating little rivulets in my makeup, and the scent of fear mixed freely with my cologne.
What did I know about high speed chases? They seemed to be a nightly occurrence in LA, if the attention given to them on the evening news was any indication. The fleeing drivers were almost never stopped. Rather, the police seemed content to stalk them until they ran out of gas or piled up against some innocent motorist in their way. A glance at my fuel gauge confirmed that I had almost three-quarters of a tank. I slowed down and engaged the cruise control. It's going to be a long night, I said to myself as my thoughts wandered back to the way this all started.
* * *
"Girls, make sure you keep an eye on your brother."
"Oh Mom, do we have to?"
"Yes, you have to! I'll be back from the store in about an hour. If you go outside, take Andy with you." It was the first day of summer vacation for my sisters, and they were itching to join their friends at the makeshift clubhouse that the neighborhood girls had erected as their sanctuary. When they told me where we were going, they practically had to drag me out of the house. Who wanted to spend a beautiful afternoon with a bunch of girls in a stupid tent? I could get cooties!
At first, I thought I had a reprieve. "Girls only!" one of their friends shouted as we approached.
"He's just our dumb brother. We're stuck watching him till our mom gets back."
"You know the rules!"
"Can't we come in? Please?"
"Hmmm....maybe we can make an exception. Wait here." The sounds of giggling soon emanated from inside the tent, and when the ringleader emerged, there was a fiendish grin on her face. "OK, you can come in, and bring your brother. We voted unanimously to let him in if he pretends to be a girl."
All hell broke loose as I tried desperately to get away. Strong-armed by a posse of cackling girls, before I knew it I was being pinned down on a blanket while the girls began removing my clothes. "We have just the thing for him to wear!" one of them said. "The Alice in Wonderland costume from the school play!" I squirmed and struggled in vain as I was slowly transformed into Alice, complete with a blue and white frock with a lacy petticoat, white knee sox and Mary Janes. My blonde hair was just long enough for them to pull back and tie with a ribbon, and as the final indignity they smeared my lips with sweet-tasting gloss. I was crying so hard I finally stopped struggling, and when they were through with me, I was whimpering on the blanket when my mother suddenly came into the tent.
"Girls? Where's your brother?" she demanded.
When they pointed me out, my mother did a double-take, and suddenly the biggest grin came over her face. "Andy? Is that you?"
"Y-y-y-y-yes," I stammered.
"Oh dear, you are absolutely precious! I always wondered what you would have looked like as a girl. Will you please stay like that for a little while?"
"Yea!" the girls cheered as my mother led my out of their lair. For the rest of the afternoon, she pretended that I was her daughter as I skulked around the house. Trying to coax me out of my funk, she wrapped an apron around my dress and asked me to help her bake my favorite cookies, and then we sat down together on the glider out on the porch. She braided my longish hair as she told me stories about her girlhood, and as the hours passed I found myself becoming close to her in a way that I had never known. My father had left us shortly after I was born, and my two sisters always seemed to be competing for her attention. For once, I was the golden child, and found myself wishing that day could go on forever....
* * *
"Pull over!" the bullhorn roared again, shattering my reverie. I glanced down at my shaking knees, looking pathetically vulnerable under my short skirt. How the hell had I gotten myself into this mess, and how was I ever going to get out of it?
A glance in the rear-view mirror confirmed that there were at least three black-and-white patrol cars on my tail. How could I have been so stupid? From a simple infraction for running a red light, I had allowed the situation to escalate into resisting arrest, reckless endangerment...what else? As if in answer to my question, a voice broke into the soft rock on the radio. "Well, it's that time again, folks. If you're on the 405, I suggest you get off it. That's right, our nightly nutcase is on the run from the CHP, and they're rigging spike strips ahead of him to spoil the fun. Chopper 8 from our TV affiliate is watching the show. What do you see, Ace?"
"It's a white Taurus this time. Looks like a blonde behind the wheel, and from what I can see there aren't any passengers. She's been driving at the speed limit since she got on the freeway...." I craned my neck to look up into the sky, and sure enough, there were one...two...at least three helicopters buzzing overhead. One of them had police markings, and one of the others had to be the man I was listening to on the radio. "It looks like they're going to try to stop her before she gets any closer to LAX. She's just heading into the South Bay curve."
I grimaced at the memory those words evoked. Geena, my first and only true love, was a South Bay girl, and I used to tease her about her incredible curves...
* * *
"Oh Andy, it's beautiful!" Geena gushed. We were seated in a quiet banquette at a restaurant in Marina del Rey, overlooking a perfect sunset and a thousand sailboats. She was beaming as I took the diamond choker from its Tiffany box and fastened it behind her elegant neck. "I love it, and I love you!"
I felt the same way, and tonight was the night I was going to tell Geena about the "other woman". If I was going to spend the rest of my life with this person, we shouldn't have any secrets. "Geena, there's something about me that you should know."
"What are you trying to tell me, Andy?"
I struggled to find the right words. Although I had rehearsed this conversation a hundred times, it was still impossibly hard.
"Come on, tell me! Are you a foreign spy? Do you have some horrible disease? Are you already married?" she teased me.
"No, nothing like that." It all seemed so innocent, so harmless. How could she even care? "It's just that I...I like to...I like to dress up as a woman sometimes."
"Just for fun, every once in a while...."
"Oh my God, Andy! Are you gay?" She raised her voice enough to attract the attention of the couples at the neighboring tables.
"No! I'm not gay, and I love you, Geena."
"As what, a sister?"
"I just can't believe this. You're kidding me, right?"
I hung my head in shame. "No."
"Are you like a drag queen?"
"No! I just, I don't know, like to do it sometimes...."
"You know, put on some clothes...."
"I'm sorry, but I don't know. Are you telling me that you like to wear panties? Are you wearing them now?"
In desperation, I opened my wallet and hesitantly took out a picture of a pretty young woman, seated demurely on the sofa in my apartment. Geena snatched it out of my fingers and stared at her boyfriend dressed in a sweater and skirt. "My God, it's really you!" she said as she scrutinized it. "Did you shave your legs and put on pantyhose? Is that a wig?"
"Yes," I managed to say.
"Geena, I thought you should know. I was hoping you'd understand...."
"Understand what? That the guy I'm I love with wants to be a girl?"
"No, that's not what I want."
"Are we supposed to live as a couple of lesbos after you have the operation?" Her voice was breaking, and it seemed that everyone in the restaurant was staring at us. She was close to tears, and so was I. "I loved you, Andy."
"And I love you, Geena. Please, just forget what I told you. I promise I'll never mention it again, and I won't dress up anymore," I said without conviction.
"Yeah, right. I just can't believe you," she said through her tears. She got up to leave. "I need to be alone right now." As she was leaving, she reached back and unhooked her Tiffany choker. "Here, you wear this!" she cried before she ran out of the restaurant.
* * *
I fingered the choker around my neck, temporarily blinded by a searchlight from one of the helicopters as I followed the freeway's curve to the west. Where were we?
"It's almost over," Ace in the traffic copter answered my question. "The CHP is diverting traffic off the freeway at Rosecrans, and they're getting ready with the spike strips." I glanced up and saw the exit sign for Inglewood Boulevard. Something tugged at my memory...the South Bay Galleria! I had shopped there en femme many times when I lived in LA, and there was a large parking garage that was safe for a woman alone at night. At the last possible second, I turned the wheel hard to the right, cut across two lanes of traffic, and careened down the exit ramp. I heard squealing tires and crashing metal behind me as the CHIPS tried to follow me, and by the looks of the chaos in my rear view mirror, none of them made it. I zoomed down the ramp and ran another red light turning left onto Inglewood on two wheels.
It wasn't easy pressing the accelerator to the floor in high heels, but that's what I did. "Holy Moses, she's left the freeway and now she's driving like a bat out of hell on Inglewood!" Ace reported. I could tell that the police helicopter was right on top of me from the searchlight which framed my car. It was only a matter of minutes before more cop cars joined the chase. I ran two more red lights, narrowly missing an SUV, and screeched into the entrance to the Galleria at 70 miles an hour. The police copter hot on my tail, I jammed on the brakes, yielding to an approaching car, and slowed to a crawl as I entered the ramp to the parking garage.
All I had to do now was keep my cool. I pulled into the first parking space I could find, grabbed my purse, and leaving the keys in the ignition, I started walking quickly across the garage towards Nordstroms. Fortunately, my tight skirt and heels forced me to adopt a feminine gait, and I looked like just another working woman in a hurry as I entered the crowded department store. The clicking and clacking of my high heels on the marble floor seemed surreal, and by the time I made it into the ladies lounge, my heartbeat was almost back to normal. I found an empty stall, shut myself in, and dropped to my knees, racked with fits of nausea.
"Are you all right, dear?" a woman asked me.
"I'm okay, thanks," I replied in a weak voice. "Just a touch of the flu." That sent her quickly on her way. Taking a deep breath, I lifted up my skirt and slip, pulled down my panties and hose, and collapsed onto the commode, cradling my head in my hands. I was shaking like a leaf.
When I felt a little better, I pulled myself together and ventured out to the mirrored vanities. I was surprised to realize that I was still wearing my sunglasses. When I took them off, I looked like death warmed over. Slowly, deliberately I went to work with my comb, compact and lipstick. It didn't take long before I was almost presentable.
I was still shaking as I munched on a handful of Altoids. Think, girl. What do the police have to go on? The driver of that car was a woman. At best, they got a look at your head and shoulders. A woman in a pink top, with long blonde hair and sunglasses. Hmmm....
I tossed my sunglasses into the trash, and went to work with some bobby pins. Soon my wig was pinned up in a French pleat. I looked even more like a working girl now, and when I left the ladies' room, there was a newfound confidence in my step. Think, girl....I reached into my purse, took out my cell phone, and dialed the toll free number for my rental car agency. Making sure nobody was within earshot, I told the reservationist that I wanted to report a stolen car. That's right, it was stolen from my hotel parking lot. No, I have no idea what time it happened. Could have been any time today, I've been stuck in meetings all day and only noticed it when I stepped out to go to dinner. Was it possible that I left the keys in the car? Oh my, yes, that might be what happened, sorry! No, I didn't need another car, I'd take a taxi to the airport tomorrow, thanks.
I hung up, put my cell phone back in my purse, and made a beeline for Career Essentials. In no time I found a black cardigan sweater that nicely covered up my pink top, and looked quite chic if I did say so myself. I was feeling almost giddy as I paid for my new sweater and wore it out of the store.
Of course, I would be a tad overdressed for the bus ride back to my hotel, but that was the least of my problems. When I headed outside towards the bus stop, the parking lot was swarming with cops and reporters, and a fleet of helicopters buzzed overhead. Reaching into my purse for my cigarettes and lighter, I coolly lit up.
My plan was to take the first bus going anywhere, and to worry about how to transfer to my hotel later. I got in line behind a young woman, who fanned the air in annoyance at the smoke from my cigarette. My heart stopped. She was only a sales girl at one of the department stores, riding the bus home to her lonely apartment after another long day on her feet. No ring on her finger. I was trembling again as two policemen came by, and they gave us the once-over before moving on to more promising suspects.
I crushed out the butt with my heel and followed her on board the bus. "Do you mind if I sit here?" I asked hesitantly.
"Why not," she said. She gave me a quizzical glance as I sat down beside her. I started to pull the pins out of my hair, which fell in soft curls down to my shoulders. "You look kinda familiar," she said. Do I know you from someplace?" Our silky knees were almost touching, and there was a fire in my panties.
"It's me, Geena," I whispered.
She stared at me with wide eyes, her face as pretty as ever, despite her bewildered frown. When it finally sunk in, she sat back in her seat, fumbling for words. "Oh my God, Andy...."
I cut her off before anyone could hear. "How have you been?" I asked in my female voice, which seemed to throw her as much as my appearance.
After a moment's hesitation, she decided to play along. "Fine, Andi," she said matter-of-factly. "Nice outfit. Bit much for the bus, don't you think?"
"It's a long story. Are you still...single?" Not something a girl would say, I corrected myself too late.
"Oh yes. I haven't had a serious boyfriend since my last one came dancing out of the closet. How about you, girl?" There was an edge to her voice, softened by an impish smile.
"I, uh, I'm not seeing anybody," I stammered. Then I lowered my voice again. "Not since you, Geena," I whispered.
"I've missed you," she said wistfully.
"Me too," I said.
"You mean you've missed the old you?"
"No, no...I still am the old me, Geena."
"Coulda fooled me. How long have you been...you know, like this?"
"Let's see...about two hours. Of course, it took me almost that long that to get dressed and made up."
She looked bewildered again. "You mean you're still...." She was rocked back in her seat as the bus lurched into gear, and a quick look around confirmed that there were only three other passengers on board, all of them several rows away.
"I'm still me, Geena," I said in my old voice. "Like I told you that night, I only do this once in a while, just for fun. If leading half of the police in Los Angeles on a high-speed chase is your idea of fun, that is."
"That's right. I'm on the lam."
"What did you do?" she asked. It was getting hot on the bus, and Geena let out a little sigh as I unbuttoned the top two buttons of my sweater. "I mean, it's not a crime to dress up like that," she persisted. "I've studied up on it since the night you gave me that," she said, casting a longing glace at my choker. "I learned quite a lot, I must say." We were thrown momentarily together as the bus swung onto Hawthorne Boulevard, and I felt her hand brush against my nylons. In spite of everything I'd been through, I felt myself become aroused, and to my astonishment, Geena kept her hand on my knee and started to slide it under my skirt.