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Chapter 2: Who Are You

Summary: Stephanie, not wanting to wear her Daryl costume, introduces herself to some people who were not prepared for a girl. As Stephanie spearheads this transition faster than her parents are comfortable, the real feeling of Mom and Dad start to be revealed.

Costumes

Chapter 2 of 10

Who Are You

~o~O~o~

 

     Waking up in the morning, Stephanie didn't want to get dressed for the day.  After sitting on her bed just looking at her closet for several minutes, she finally just went down to eat breakfast in her pajamas.

     "It's a school day you know?" Mom stated as Stephanie sat down at the Kitchen table.

     "I know mom, just wasn't ready to start pretending to be Daryl yet?"

     "You know you are still the same person dressed as Daryl or Stephanie?"

     As she started eating breakfast, all Stephanie could think was, ‘I wish that was true.'

     After breakfast, Stephanie stripped and slowly got dressed in her Daryl clothes for school.  Mom yelled from the other side of the house several times, telling Daryl to hurry up or he would be late for school.  Mom and Dad were both in the living room as he was sent off to school.  Daryl felt like they were there to make sure he was really dressed in his Daryl costume.

     The day at school was the same as any other, except Stephanie was having a hard time pretending to be Daryl.  Seeing Joanne, Stephanie wanted to chat about Trick-or-Treating, but knew she couldn't. She was Daryl, and Daryl didn't go Trick-or-Treating with Joanne.  By the time Stephanie in her Daryl costume walked into her house at the end of the day, she wasn't sure agreeing to be Daryl every day for school was a good idea.  She was really questioning if she could do this every day.

     "Hi Daryl, have a good day at school?" Mrs. Tellbore asked from her spot on the couch.

     "Mrs. Tellbore?"

     "What's wrong Daryl?  You're acting like you weren't expecting me to be here.  I'm always here Friday afternoon."

     "Uhhhhh, I . . . Uhhhh, Hi Mrs. Tellbore."

     "Silly boy.  Do you have any homework?"

     "It's Friday, so we just have to do our twenty minutes of reading."

     "Go have your snack and then do your homework.  I set out some cookies and juice for you."

     On her way to the kitchen to eat the snack, the eyes never left Mrs. Tellbore. Stephanie quickly ate her snack and then went back to her bedroom. 

     Sitting on her bed, Stephanie grabbed Melanie, "What am I going to do now Melanie?  Three times a week Mrs. Tellbore babysits me afterschool.  Do I have to stay Daryl while she's here?"

     Stephanie got a library book out of her backpack and started reading.  She didn't get very far in the twenty minutes as she kept thinking about what she was going to do.

     "Okay Melanie," Stephanie said when she finished her homework.  "I am not going to spend three afternoons a week in a costume.  I am Stephanie!"

     The costume was quickly off and Stephanie put on a dress. Feeling herself, Stephanie took a deep breath and headed to the living room.

     "Oh my," Mrs. Tellbore said as Stephanie walked in.  "Who are you?"

     "Hi.  I'm Stephanie."

     "Hi Stephanie.  When did you get here?  Daryl's not supposed to have friends over without telling me."

     Getting up and looking down the hall, Mrs. Tellbore yelled, "Daryl!"

     "Yes?" Stephanie said.

     Mrs. Tellbore turned to look at Stephanie with a quizzical expression, then looked back down the hallway and called out again, "Daryl, come here and introduce me to your little friend."

     "I told you my name is Stephanie."

     Mrs. Tellbore looked at Stephanie again.  "I know sweetheart, but Daryl is supposed to introduce you.  What is he doing back there?"

     "He is not in his room."

     "Where is he?"

     "I'm right here Mrs. Tellbore."

     Mrs. Tellbore looked at Stephanie more closely, "Have I met you before?  You look very familiar."

     "We have definitely met before," Stephanie said with a smile spreading on her face. "One minute Mrs. Tellbore, I have something that might help you remember."

     Stephanie rushed down the hall to her bedroom. She quickly switched into the outfit she wore Halloween night, including the tiara, and headed back to the living room.

     "Oh, you were that pretty princess on Halloween." Mrs. Tellbore said with realization before her expression changed.  "Where did you get that costume Stephanie?"

     "In my room."

     "You went back to your house that quickly?" Mrs. Tellbore looked down the hallway.  "Daryl!  Get in here NOW!"

     "I'm right here Mrs. Tellbore."

     Mrs. Tellbore looked more closely at Stephanie.  "Daryl?"

     "Yes," Stephanie replied.

     "Stop being silly Daryl and go get changed into your clothes."

     Stephanie put her head down and slowly went back to her room.  Getting out of the Halloween costume, she redressed into the outfit she was in earlier.  Taking a deep breath, she held her head high and returned to the living room.

     "I told you to get changed into your clothes young man."

     "I am in my clothes Mrs. Tellbore.  I now only wear my Daryl costume at school."

     "Daryl . . . Costume?"

      Mrs. Tellbore put her hands on Stephanie's shoulders and walked her down the hallway, "Young Man, it is not nice to make fun of girls.  Now get out of those girl clothes and into something appropriate.  I will not have you . . ."

     Mrs. Tellbore stopped talking when she reached Stephanie's bedroom.  She had been in Daryl's bedroom many times, but she was now in a girl's bedroom.  She looked around the room several times.  Looking at Stephanie she started to talk but stopped.  She looked around the room several more times and then went over to the closet and looked at the dresses and blouses hanging up. She then went over looking at the Barbie and horse before stopping at the Tiaras on the dresser.  Looking at them, at Stephanie, and then back at them she said nothing.   She examined the DVDs on the shelves and sat down on the bed, feeling the comforter and looking at Melanie.

     "This is your room . . . Stephanie?"

     "Yup!" Stephanie proudly proclaimed.

     "You wear a Daryl costume to school?"

     "Only because Mommy and Daddy make me."

     "I don't know about this," Mrs. Tellbore said looking around the room and picking up Melanie.

     "That's Melanie," Stephanie smiled at Mrs. Tellbore.

     "Melanie? Daryl I thought you were a boy?"

     Stephanie just looked at her.

     "Why don't you stay in your room and play till I have a chance to talk to your parents," Mrs. Tellbore said as she got up, shook her head back and forth, and returned to the living room.

     Grabbing Melanie, Stephanie sat down on the bed. "It could have gone worse, at least she didn't make me put the Daryl costume back on."

     Stephanie stayed in her room all afternoon.  She stayed when she heard Mom come home, and stayed when she heard Mrs. Tellbore leave.  Dad had come home and the house was filled with the aroma of dinner before anyone entered her room.

     "Hi Stephanie," Mom said coming in and sitting down on the bed. "Looks like we will need to get a new babysitter.  Mrs. Tellbore was a little surprised by the way you introduced Stephanie to her."

     "Sorry Mommy."

     "I probably should have prepared her for your transformation. It was a little too much for Mrs. Tellbore to handle.  Daryl, not everyone is going to accept you as Stephanie.  Some people will.  Being Stephanie pumpkin, is not going to be easy. You have already won over Aunt Jennifer, and I am sure you will win over a few more people."

     Stephanie looked up at Mommy, as they both sat there in silence. After a few minutes the silence was broken by Stephanie's tummy grumbling. 

     "Well, sounds like someone is hungry.  Let's go find Daddy and eat dinner."

    Most of dinner was a quiet affair. Since Stephanie knew it was all her fault Mommy needed to find a new babysitter, she was just relieved Mommy and Daddy were not yelling at her.

     "So when is Jennifer taking Daryl," Dad started and corrected himself upon looking at his child.  "Stephanie tomorrow?"

     "She said she would be here at one o'clock to pick her up.  She expects to have Stephanie out shopping all afternoon and will bring her back after dinner."

     Dad looked at Stephanie, "Sounds like you have a busy day tomorrow.  You be good and do what you are told.  You stay right next to your Aunt Jennifer at all times.  No wondering off now.  You are going out shopping as a girl, which is not the same as going as a boy."

     "I will stay with Aunt Jennifer, Daddy."

     "Are you really sure you want to go dressed as Stephanie," Mom asked?

     "Who else would I go as?"

     "You might be more comfortable going as Daryl," Dad pointed out. "If someone recognizes you dressed up as Stephanie . . ."

     "But Daddy, I am Stephanie."

     "James, let her go.  Good or Bad, she will learn from the trip.  She has made a decision, and there are consequences to that decision."

     "But this does not just affect him," Daddy stated.  "We have already lost our babysitter, what's next.  Do I need to dig a mote around the house to keep out the angry villagers?"

     "Stephanie," Mom said. "Looks like you are done. Go get one of your new movies and go watch it."

     Stephanie got the Cinderella DVD and returned to the living room to watch it.  Her parents were still in the kitchen talking.  Although she started the movie, she tried to listen to what her parents were saying. 

     "James, we can't protect her forever from the people in the world that will hate her.  I don't like it any more than you do, but either we force her to stay Daryl, or we accept the consequences of her staying Stephanie. You heard what Dr. Jones said about the life expectancy of children with . . ."

     Stephanie wanted to hear what Dr. Jones said, but she couldn't over the sound of the movie.  A while later she could hear more of the conversation.

     "NO Mary, you can't do that."

     "What do you expect me to do?  We need a babysitter.  She is the only stay at home mom I know of in our neighborhood that might be willing to watch her."

     "The consequences Mary, think of the . . ."

     The movie again drained out the conversation as their voices went back to a normal speaking volume.

     "MARY, you know that isn't true.  You heard what Dr. Jones said.  Do you really believe that?"

     "I guess not James, it's just . . . How can I go from having a little boy one day to a girl the next?  This type of thing doesn't just happen overnight."

     "Mary we have talked about things we have seen in him for eight years.  This didn't just happen overnight.  You are the one who time after time came to me expressing concerns about his non-boyish behaviors. Many years ago I had to accept my boy was not going to be a rough and tumble typical boy who I could play sports with.  I, like you, have held onto the dream he would suddenly butch up one day, but with each year he was never seen as a boy dressing as a girl on Halloween, I knew more and more my dream would never come true."

     "James I am not sure I can . . ."

     Stephanie was frustrated by how little of the conversation she could hear between her parents, but at least the movie was good.  Oh what it would be like to have a Fairy Godmother.

     When the movie was done, Stephanie was sent off to her room for bedtime.

 

~o~O~o~

 

     After breakfast Saturday morning, Stephanie got dressed in a purple dress with tights. The wig didn't leave her many options for her hair.  She wished she could occasionally put it in pig-tails, but that would just have to wait for her own hair to grow out.  She was working on making a bracelet from the beads Aunt Jennifer had gotten her when Mom came in the room.

     "Bed's already made and toys picked up?  Not one piece of clothing on the floor?  Who are you and what have you done with my child?" Mom asked with a giggle.

     "After yesterday I didn't want you to have any reason why I couldn't go with Aunt Jennifer," Stephanie meekly replied.

     "Oh Pumpkin," Mom embraced her. "We are not mad at you.  You didn't do anything wrong yesterday, Mrs. Tellbore just . . . she doesn't . . . she only wanted to babysit a boy.  It was too confusing for her to be babysitting a kid who was both a boy and a girl."

     "If you let me wear my clothes to school, I would just be a girl and she wouldn't have me switching."

     "No Pumpkin, you need to go to school as Daryl. In fact I need you to get on your Daryl clothes now."

     "BUT MOM! I don't want to go shopping with Aunt Jennifer in my Daryl costume."

     "No Pumpkin, you can go shopping with Aunt Jennifer dressed as Stephanie, but I need you to go over and introduce yourself to your new babysitter. Since you will be going to her directly from school, she needs to see you as Daryl."

     "I have to stay Daryl on babysitting days till dinner time?  That's not fair."

     "Pumpkin, we don't have a choice.  I need someone to watch you Monday after school and there isn't enough time to find someone who would be willing to watch you in our house like Mrs. Tellbore did."

     "But Mom!"

     "Quickly change, go meet her, and come back to get dressed for your trip with Aunt Jennifer.  Here's the address.  Mrs. Sterns is expecting you.  She lives on the other side of the park, so the fasted way to get there would be through the park.  She said it was four houses down from the park entrance on Maple Street."

     With head down, "Okay."

     Mom smiled and left the room.

     Stephanie put two more beads onto the bracelet and tied it off.  It read Stephanie.  She then tied it on her wrist. Sulking over to her bed, she picked up Melanie. 

     "Three days a week I will have to stay dressed up in my costume all afternoon.  I don't even want to be in it for school, why do I have to be in it after school?"

     Looking for Melanie to provide an answer, a smile slowly spread across Stephanie's face.

     "Mrs. Sterns doesn't know me, that is why I have to go over and introduce myself.  Why does she have to know me in my Daryl costume at all?  After school I could come back here, change and then go over to her.  Yeah, Melanie, it could work.  The house key is hidden in that fake stone by the back door.  I can change quickly, she would never know.  If I go over there now dressed as I am, she will never know anything about the Daryl costume and I can be Stephanie at her house.  Perfect!" Stephanie gave Melanie a big hug and headed for the door.

     Grabbing the paper with the address on it, she peeked out of the room.  Seeing no one in the hallway, she quietly went down the hall peeking into the living room.  Dad was watching a football game and Mom was nowhere to be seen.  Quietly she went and got her coat, keeping her eyes on Dad at all times.

     Waiting for the football to be in the air, "Dad, I'm going to meet the new babysitter.  Bye."

     Without taking his eyes off the TV, Dad replied, "Be polite Daryl."

     "I will," Stephanie said as she went out the front door without being seen by Dad.

      Running to the park, Stephanie didn't stop till she was at the swing sets.  She did it.  She made it out of the house without anyone seeing her.  She sat down on one of the swings for a moment to catch her breath and get her heart to stop pounding so much.

     Once calm, Stephanie looked at the piece of paper:

Mrs. Sarah Sterns

236 Maple Street

- Yellow house with white trim.

-  4 houses down from park entrance, headed towards convenience store.

     ‘That should be simple to find.' Stephanie thought.  Once Mom had even let Stephanie, in her Daryl costume, go to the convenience store to get some milk and bread.

     Stephanie quickly found herself standing in front of Mrs. Sterns' house.  Taking a deep breath she walked up and pressed the doorbell.

     The door opened and Stephanie went flush.

     "Hi, can I help you," Joanne asked?

     "Uhhh . . ."

     "Who is it Joanne," a voice called from inside the house.

     "Some girl Mommy, I think I went Trick-or-Treating with her," Joanne yelled back.

     "Uhhh, ummm, is this Mrs. Sterns house?" Stephanie finally got out.

     "Yeah, that's my mom," Joanne said before yelling out, "MOM, IT'S FOR YOU!"

     Stephanie just stood there petrified to say or do anything. Things were not helped by Joanne continuing to examine her.

     "Thanks Joanne," Mrs. Sterns said coming up behind Joanne.  "Hello there. May I help you?"

     "Uhh, ohh," Stephanie said looking down at the piece of paper in her hand.  "My Mommy sent me over."

     "Who are you dear? I don't recognize you as one of the kids in the neighborhood. Joanne said you went Trick-or-Treating with her?"

     "Uhhh, yeah.  I was wearing my Princess Costume.  I'm Stephanie.  You, ummm, will be babysitting me."

     Stephanie could see confusion on Mrs. Sterns face and wondered if maybe she just made a big mistake.

     "Come in dear," Mrs. Sterns said directing Stephanie into their living room.

     Stephanie wasn't feeling brave anymore. Here she was with Joanne from her class and her Mom who obviously wasn't expecting her.  Stephanie now realized her mom probably told Mrs. Stern that Daryl would be coming over to greet her. A girl showing up in place of a boy is not good.  How long would be it before Joanne figured out Stephanie and Daryl are the same person? 

     "Well Stephanie," Mrs. Sterns started. "I wasn't expecting such a pretty little girl to show up on my doorstep.  If I am going to be babysitting you, you must be Mary Meyers' so-. . . child."

     "Yes ma'am."

     "Oh not so formal darling, Mrs. Sterns will do just fine."

     There was a pause as Mrs. Sterns and Joanne continued to examine the girl in front of them.

     "Do I know you," Joanne asked looking more closely.

     "Umm, yeah.  We went Trick-or-Treating together, member.  You had on a Tinkerbell costume."

     "Yeah, Princess Stephanie, but . . ." Joanne was in deep thought.

     "Initially I was hesitant about babysitting you, umm, Stephanie," Mrs. Sterns broke the silence.  "But now, I see this will just give Joanne someone to play with.  Yes, this will work out just fine.  You will just come here after school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Won't that be fun Joanne, having someone to play with three afternoons a week?"

     Mrs. Sterns' question disrupted Joanne's thoughts, "Yeah Mommy, someone to play with."

     "Well I need to get back home.  Nice meeting you Mrs. Sterns and Joanne.  I will see you on Monday."

     Stephanie turned and left.  She had to get out of there fast, not sure why she had gone against what Mom had told her to do.  Joanne was sure to figure things out; she was one of the smartest kids in class.  Mrs. Sterns already knew about Daryl, there was no question in Stephanie's mind about that.  Did this mean she wouldn't want to babysit her?

     Stephanie stopped at the swing set on the way back and swung a bit before going home.  She had never been so scared as when Joanne answered the door.  It sounded like such a good plan back in her bedroom talking with Melanie, but now . . . now, how mad are people going to be at her for going as Stephanie.  She had done it again.  She did what she wanted without thinking about what would happen because of it.  Mommy and Daddy keep telling her she needs to think out the consequences. 

     After a while of swinging, Stephanie saw no reason to sneak back into the house.  Mrs. Sterns had probably already called Mom and told her what she did.  Stephanie slowly walked home to her punishment.

     Dad was still watching the football game when Stephanie walked back into the house.  She managed to put away her coat and start down the hall to her room before any sign of Mom.

     "Not so fast Daryl Eric Meyers," Mom said from behind Stephanie.

     All three names!  This even got Dad to look away from the football game.

     "I told you to put on your Daryl clothes and go over to meet Mrs. Sterns. Did I not?"

     Swallowing, Stephanie turned around to face her mother. "Yes ma'am."

     "Then please explain to me why Mrs. Sterns just called me to say what a sweet and delightful daughter I have.  Look at what you are wearing, those are NOT Daryl clothes."

     By this time Dad had come up and was standing next to Mom.

     "Well?" Mom inquired while tapping her foot.

     "I couldn't go over in the Daryl costume Mommy.  I can't stand going to school in the yucky costume.  How could I spend three afternoons a week in it?"

     "And how do you expect to change out of your Daryl clothes before going to the babysitters?" Mom asked while glaring down at Daryl.

     "There is the key to the back door in that fake rock.  I can come right here after school, change clothes, and then go over to the babysitters," Stephanie blurted out before putting her head down.

     "That definitely is a possibility Mary. I was a latch key kid when I was his age.  He would still be going to a babysitter, just with a quick stop at our house first," Dad interrupted.

     If looks could kill, the one Mom gave Dad would have had him buried six feet under.

     "Joanne is in your class, she is going to figure this all out you know.  Then what," Mom asked?

     "I didn't know it was Joanne's house till she answered the door," Stephanie admitted without looking up.

     "Stephanie," Dad said in a calm voice. "Go play in your room while your mom and I talk about this in the kitchen."

     Stephanie promptly turned around and headed to her room, sitting down with Melanie and Teddy on the bed.  The kitchen was the farthest from her room, but the beginning of the conversation could easily be heard.

     "He didn't think again.  He just went and did something without thinking of the consequences of his actions.  What are we going to do with that boy," Mom was practically shouting.

     "Calm down Mary," Dad tried to calm her.  "Is Mrs. Sterns still willing to babysit Daryl or Stephanie?"

     "Yes, but . . ."

     "Then we don't have a problem. It wasn't going to be long before the neighborhood parents of the other girls found out about Stephanie.  She is going to want to play in the park dressed as Stephanie.  This will just speed up the process.  Just having a girl walking in and out of our front door was going to start having the neighbors asking questions and spreading rumors.  Daryl made the decision to have the babysitter watch Stephanie.  I think we can support this."

     "James!  He went against my directions," Mom stated still quite loud. "I told him to put on his Daryl clothes before going over to meet Mrs. Sterns."

     "I know honey, but have you looked at what he is wearing today?  He is not just dressed as a girl today, but he is dressed as a girly girl with frills and lace. I didn't see all of his new clothes, but other than his Halloween costumes, I suspect that is the most girlish outfit he has. If he chose that to wear today, I bet even in his Daryl clothes he would have had a hard time not showing everyone Stephanie.  There is more to an image than just the clothes a person is wearing.  Today Stephanie is here stronger than ever.  I don't like it, and I know you don't like it, but our son is finding it very hard to be a boy at the moment.  Dr. Jones warned us about this, the over compensating thing she talked about."

     Stephanie could hear them continue to talk, but could no longer make out what they were saying.  Lying down on the bed, she cried herself to sleep.

 



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