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Corby and Son
.The first of my three stories. Just the first chapter. I will post the second and third stories and tell me which you like most
Corby & Son
“Oh, I thought you‘d be a man.”
I sighed, it wasn‘t the first time and it probably wouldn‘t be the last time I would hear those words. With my slight build, narrow face, long dark hair held in a ponytail per Health and Safety regs, and topped off with the ‘Corby’s Plumbing‘ company baseball cap, I looked androgynous to say the very least. It wasn‘t that unusual for me to be mistaken for a girl, so I flashed a smile at the woman and asked her where her stopcock was.
Women always expect the plumber to be a man. I have been greeted by women at the front door with way too many buttons undone on their blouse, skirts so short I could see their knickers, and on one occasion a blonde dressed in a very diaphanous negligee. Bored housewives do exist, and the porn fuelled vision of a hunky plumber coming to fix their leak is apparently alive and well.
Of course, as soon as the women saw me and decided they didn‘t want me fiddling with their personal plumbing, the buttons were done up and skirts changed for something less revealing. The one time that didn‘t happen was when the door was opened by an attractive, well-dressed lady who smiled broadly at me, and said she was very surprised and pleased to find a girl plumber. As I struggled with the innards of her boiler, she went upstairs and returned wearing a loose housecoat which kept falling open to reveal stockings and a lacy bra, but, and I swear this is true, she was going commando. She sat and watched me closely as I took the boiler apart and kept crossing her legs. She asked if I had a boyfriend, and when I said no, did I have a girlfriend.
I was lying with my head in a kitchen cabinet trying to test the flow valve, and when I slid back out to reach for my spanner, she was standing right over me, legs apart, her pussy bald and glistening. Was I hungry and did I fancy something to eat, she coyly asked. Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn‘t tempted, but I think she would have been a tad disappointed with my personal plumbing system. I told her that I had just got married and my wife had given me something to eat this morning. She asked if I was sure, surely a little nibble wouldn‘t do any harm? I thanked her, politely declined her kind offer, and disappeared back into the cabinet.
I finished, tidied up and packed my tools away when she came back into the kitchen. She had changed back into a dress and was looking every bit the suburban housewife. As I left, she kissed me on the cheek and said that my wife was very lucky to have a girl like me, but if I ever fancied eating out, to give her a call. I didn‘t say anything, these days I never do. When I started, I would tell them I was a guy, but it happened so often that in the end I stopped correcting them and let them think whatever they wanted to. Of course, I‘m not married, but a little white lie never hurt anyone, did it?
The Corby in Corby’s Plumbing is my dad. It‘s his company; it‘s not big, we have about 15 employees, but have a good reputation and the business is doing well. He hadn‘t wanted me to follow in his footsteps, but I had a bad time at school and left as soon as I could. He reluctantly let me join the company as an apprentice; I believe he thought I wasn‘t man enough to do the job, but that merely spurred me on to prove him wrong. My small size was actually a benefit sometimes, I could get into spaces that the bigger guys found difficult. I did well, learning everything about the business that I could, and finally showing my dad that I could do the job properly and to the standards that he set for me. Standards, incidentally, that were higher than the ones he expected from the other guys.
One day, he took me outside the small warehouse and office from where we ran the business, put his arm around my shoulder and pointed to the sign above the door. For as long as I could remember the sign simply read ‘Corby’s Plumbing‘. Today it read ‘Corby & Son, Plumbing & Heating Services‘.
I turned and hugged him. I knew how big a thing this was for him and I was pleased that he was proud enough of me to do this. We went down the pub to celebrate and for the first time I can ever remember he got drunk.
“You know we haven‘t always seen eye to eye, but that was in the past and I am proud of you.” I felt tears pricking the corners of my eyes. He grinned, “Get away with you lad, and fetch me another pint.”
By the time we got back to his house, he was plastered. It didn‘t take a lot to be honest, which is why he normally stayed away from the booze. I managed to get him indoors with Mum‘s help and sat him on the sofa. Mum was laughing her head off at him.
“Do you need any help getting him upstairs, Mum?”
“He‘s not sleeping next to me in that state. He can sleep it off down here. Are you staying here tonight, or going back to your place?”
“I‘ll go home tonight, Mum, but I‘ll be over Sunday for lunch.”
She hugged me as I left. “José, never forget we are proud of you and we love you.
I kissed her cheek, “Love you, Mum. Dad too.”
Yes, that’s my name, José. José Bernard Corby in full. Mum is from Barcelona, and she got to choose my first name. She told me once she had almost called me Jesus after her grandfather who fought against Franco in the Civil War, but Dad had put his foot down, and José it was. Dad chose Bernard after his father. My parents had met at a party when Mum was an au pair over here, and although they are polar opposites of each other in character and build, there was an instant attraction.
I take after my mother, who is small and dark, with flashing eyes and a fiery temper. Whenever she gets angry, she bursts into rapid Catalan, and Dad and I know to stay out of her way. She had been a stunner when she was young. In their wedding photographs she looked so beautiful wearing her mother‘s lace mantilla. She will always be beautiful in my eyes. I have her build and looks, but my character comes from Dad. He‘s quieter, more laid back, but stubborn as a mule. They run the business together; Dad does the plumbing side and Mum looks after the admin and the accounts. They manage to complement each other and somehow make it work.
I made my way back to the flat I had been renting for the two years ever since I moved away from home. Taking off my work shoes I put them neatly by the door. I‘m a bit OCD when it comes to being neat and tidy, and I can‘t bear it if my place is anything less than spick and span. I shrugged off my overalls and put them in the laundry bin along with the t-shirt, underwear and socks I had been wearing. Taking off the scrunchie that held my hair back, I ran the bath and tipped some bath foam in before lowering myself in for a nice long soak. It‘s one of my guilty pleasures to lie back and soak away the stresses and strains of the day, letting the kinks ease out of my body caused by crawling around in tight spaces all day..
Eventually, I had to get out of the bath before I looked too much like a prune, dried myself off before wrapping a towel around me and heading for the bedroom. I thought about what to wear as all I intended to do was order a pizza and watch Netflix. I decided to keep it simple and picked out one of my favourite short cotton nightdresses and pulled on a pair of matching knickers. When the pizza boy arrived, I‘d put on my dressing gown so as not to give him too much of a shock.
OK, yes. That‘s another one of my guilty secrets. I crossdress. Actually that‘s wrong. It is a secret, but I don‘t feel at all guilty about it. I love it. I‘m not entirely sure how or even when my fascination with women‘s clothing started. As a small c***d I can remember watching my mother get ready to go out. She didn‘t seem to mind me coming into her bedroom and watching her put on her makeup in her underwear. I would sit quietly on her bed as she applied her foundation, powder, eye shadow and her lipstick.
If there is one thing I can point to as the root cause of what happened later, it would be the lipstick. The whole theatre of it captivated me. I remember being enthralled as she picked up the small golden tube with her painted nails; the practised and elegant twist of the wrist to push the lipstick from its hiding place, in itself an erotic action; the care with which she applied the lipstick to her lips, watching herself so carefully in the mirror, and then blotting her lips. To me back then it was all a magic trick beyond compare. She would turn to me and smile, ‘Do you like this colour, José? Does it suit mummy?‘ If I was lucky, she would give me a kiss on my cheek and sometimes use a tissue to rub away a trace of lipstick left behind on my face.
It‘s why today I still get such a thrill from doing my lips. If I had to give everything else up, you would have to prise my lipstick from my cold dead hands. Even though I wasn‘t going out tonight, I had put some on, just because I loved doing it.
I had just settled down on the sofa with Reese Witherspoon on Netflix when my phone trilled.
“Hi Josie girlfriend, it‘s Sofia.” Sofia is my best friend. Strictly speaking my only friend. She has called me Josie ever since she discovered I crossdressed. The name stuck, and I adopted it as my femme name. Cute, eh?
“Hola, Sofia. Cómo estás?” I was fluent in Spanish, courtesy of Mum. Sofia‘s dad, Carlos, is a Madrileño, but she had never picked up the language. I do it to tease her.
“English, you bitch. Now, what time are we meeting tomorrow and where are we going?”
“Sofia, I don‘t remember us arranging to meet tomorrow.”
“you doing anything then?”
“Good, I‘ll pick you up at ten o‘clock and we‘ll go to Oxford shopping and then we‘ll get something to eat. You want to go as Josie?”
I don‘t go out as Josie in our local area, there was too much chance of getting caught. Oxford was far enough away to almost guarantee I wouldn‘t meet anybody I knew. Sofia always told me not to worry, as I when I‘m dressed as Josie nobody would suspect I wasn‘t 100% a girl. But, I didn‘t want to take the chance.
“OK, I‘ll see you at one. Buenas noches, Sofia.”
“Whatever, cow.‘ She giggled, “See you tomorrow.”
Sofia and I had met at school. We bonded at first because of our Spanish connection and she helped me through the worst of times, and thereafter we stayed close. She‘s a nurse and an amazing girl. She has seen me at rock bottom and stayed loyal and supportive, you couldn‘t ask more from a friend.
The pizza boy was rather cute, but I put those thoughts to one side. I finished up the pizza and headed to bed. I woke early and went for a short run. There‘s a park close to the flat and I love running there in the morning. It‘s so peaceful first thing in the morning with the sun burning off the mist. Sometimes there‘s someone walking a dog or another runner, but I‘m often the only person there.
I had plenty of time to get ready for Sofia, and I started with another bath. My legs felt a bit stubbly, so I shaved my legs in the warm water, and also trimmed my pubic hair into a nice little triangle. Sofia was on at me to get it waxed, but that was a step too far, at least for now. I had a sweet little sundress that I hadn‘t yet had the chance to wear. As the day looked like it was going to be bright and sunny, I decide it would get its first airing.
Sofia had discovered my cross dressing while we were still at school. We were in my bedroom, supposedly revising for exams, but really just talking. I had to go to the toilet, and made the mistake of leaving my computer on. Being a nosy cow she took the opportunity to go through my browser history and found out what sites I had been visiting. It wasn‘t anything bad, just sites about crossdressing and transgenderism. She had then rifled through my drawers and found the small stash of female clothes I had managed to accumulate.
So, when I came back from the toilet, she was sitting on my bed, a pair of my knickers she had found dangling from her fingers. She had also spread out the rest of my stuff on my bed. I nearly died on the spot, before I recovered enough to scream at her and try to grab all the clothes. She hung onto some of it and hid it behind her back.
“Give them back, you shouldn‘t have done fucking done that. I thought you were my friend. Friends don‘t do this.”
I was red with shame and terrified that she would tell everyone what she had found. She laughed, easily beating off my efforts to retrieve my clothes.
“Calm down, José. I assume these are yours, as you don‘t have a sister.”
“Fuck off, Sofia.”
I tried again to get the clothes from behind her back.
“You are so lucky that I am your friend. Anyway, what kind of a friend are you? Keeping a great juicy secret like this from me?”
My heart was hammering fit to burst out of my chest. I was scared and mad at the same time. All at once I stopped trying to get the clothes back and pleaded with her.
“Please, Sofia. Don‘t tell anyone, I‘ll do anything you want.”
“How long has this been going on?”
I sat down in the bed, tears pricking the corners of my eyes.
“José, don‘t cry, I‘m not going to tell anyone. I am your friend. I don‘t care what you do. Honestly.”
She hugged me and let me cry my heart out on her shoulder. When I had dried my eyes I told her about how I felt different and alone. How ashamed I was and how dressing in girls’ clothes made me feel softer and feminine and calmer than when I was a boy. It felt right but wrong at the same time and I couldn t really make sense of it. How I didn’t feel attracted to boys, but I thought I must be gay and how much that scared me.
She held my hands and talked to me for a long time about how if it felt right to me then it was right. That if I was gay then it was cool, and if I wasn’t gay then that was cool too. That I should always be happy in myself, because we are all different and how the world would be a terrible place if we all felt the same way. She said she would always be my friend and that she would keep my secret whatever happened.
From that moment we were inseparable. I never knew why she decided to be such a great friend but I regularly thanked God for sending her to me. She not only became my friend but also my mentor, my shoulder to cry on, and sometimes my protector too when the bullies started on me. I swear she terrified the boys at school. If she ever caught anyone giving me a hard time, she would arrive like one of the Valkyries and they would leave me well alone. Of course, it meant that I didn’t have many friends other than her. It didn’t matter to me, she was my BFF and that was the way we both loved it.
She also taught me so much about being a girl, not just the dressing and the makeup, but about how to move and walk and behave like a girl. Either in my room at home or at hers, she would let me dress up and we would be girlfriends for at least a few hours. She got me through the bad times at school and then when she went on to study nursing and I started working for my dad, we kept in touch like we were sisters. Honestly, I don’t think real sisters could have been closer than the two of us.
I had the morning to get ready and I really enjoyed it. A long sweet scented bubble bath was followed by a search for any stray hairs which I might have missed. A long makeup session in front of the mirror followed by a frantic search amongst my clothes for what to wear. Having my own place meant that I could finally build a wardrobe of Josie clothes that i did not have to hide from my parents. In the end I chose the summer dress I had thought about the previous evening and had finished getting ready as Sofia texted me she was waiting downstairs for me.
A quick final check in the mirror and I stepped out into the real world as Josie. Sofia whistled as she saw me. “Wow, girlfriend, you get more beautiful every time i see you. You rock that frock.”
As usual I blushed scarlet and she screeched with laughter. She loved making me go pink. Sofia drove to the station and we caught the train into Oxford. I was confident that I could pass after all these years, but going out in public as Josie still brought its frisson of excitement. A couple boys on the train were checking us out and we acted super cool, ignoring them until we got to Oxford, where Sofia winked at them and I flashed a big smile. We left the station arm in arm and saw them again outside the station where they tried to catch us up, shouting how they wanted to buy us a drink.
We waved at then blew them a kiss before crossing the road. We giggled about them and Sofia put her arm through mine as we waited at the crossing. The bleep bleep sound started and the green man lit up. We stepped onto the road still laughing. I heard someone shout and as I looked around, I felt Sofia push me followed by a blow to my side which knocked me to the ground. I heard somebody scream and an explosion of light in my head. Then, only darkness.
The first thing I thought as I woke was that the light was on. It was so bright I couldn‘t fully open my eyes. I must have forgotten to switch it off when I went to bed. The strange thing was that I couldn‘t remember going to bed. Had I been that drunk? The second thing I noticed was that I ached, all over, everywhere. I gagged. There was something in my mouth. I tried to move my hand to pull whatever it was out, but I couldn‘t move my hands. I began to get scared. What had happened to me?
“Nurse, nurse, he‘s waking up.” I thought it sounded like my mother‘s voice but that was ridiculous. I didn‘t go back to my parents house, I was sure of that. Besides, why would she be asking for a nurse? Somebody took my hand, and I struggled to open my eyes to see who it was. I finally managed to prise open one eye, to see Mum‘s frightened face looking down at me.
“José, thanks be to God, you‘re awake.”
I tried to say something but this thing in my mouth wouldn‘t let me. I was now more scared than ever. Where was I? Why was Mum here? What had happened? Mum let go of my hand and stepped back as someone else leant over me and shone a bright light in my eye.
“Pupil response is good. Nurse, you can take the breathing tube out now.” I thought I would throw up as the thing in my mouth was pulled out. I coughed and tried to speak, but my throat felt like it had been sandpapered and I could only croak.
“Your throat will feel sore for a few hours, but it will start to feel better soon. Here, have a drink.” A hand lifted my head forwards until I felt cold water trickle down my throat. I lay my head back down again, and I felt so tired I closed my eyes. As I drifted back into darkness a voice mumbled something I couldn‘t catch, then Mum said, “I just don‘t know how I can tell him.”
I don‘t know long I slept, but when I did wake Mum was still there, asleep in a chair by the bed. My head felt fuzzy and I tried to clear my thoughts. I still ached and my mouth was parched. Where was l? What had happened to me? Why is Mum here?
“Mum,” I tried to say, but nothing came out of my mouth. She didn‘t move so I tried again. “Mum.” This time she stirred, and her eyes flicked open.
“José, I‘m coming.” She got out of the chair, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She took my hand and smiled down at me. “It‘s alright, you‘re going to be alright.”
“Where am I?”
“You‘re in hospital, you were in an accident. Don‘t you remember?”
I tried very hard to remember something, anything. But, there was nothing. I shook my head.
“Don‘t worry, José, the doctor said you hit your head very hard. You have concussion.”
Mum hesitated, “You were hit by a car. It was a hit and run. You were knocked onto the pavement and hit your head. Your arm and hip are broken. Does it hurt? I can get the nurse to give you something.”
A memory flickered into my mind. I had been with Sofia. “How is Sofia? Where is she?” The look Mum‘s face made my heart stop. ‘Is she hurt?‘
She reached out to hold my hands, and I could see tears in her eyes. “José, I‘m so sorry, she‘s gone.”
“Gone?” I was confused. “she gone home already?”
Mum gripped my hands tighter. “No, José.” Tears were now flowing down her face. “The accident was really bad and Sofia was terribly injured. They rushed both of you to the hospital. I‘m so sorry, she didn‘t make it, she died in the operating theatre.”
For a few seconds the words didn‘t register. Then, a pain like a hammerblow hit my chest so hard I couldn‘t catch my breath. I started gasping and I heard Mum calling, “Nurse, nurse.” The blackness returned, but this time I wanted never to wake up.
I woke again in the middle of the night. I opened my eyes and the lights were dimmed, but I could see Dad asleep in the chair by the bed. I guessed he was giving Mum a break. He looked older somehow, slumped in the chair, sleep and worry robbing him of the energy he had during the day. I lay there with my eyes open, but not seeing anything, sobbing silently to myself as I thought about Sofia. she couldn‘t be dead. It had to be a mistake. This was a nightmare, and I would wake up properly and she would be there telling me to get my arse in gear. I screwed my eyes closed, trying to remember what had happened.
I felt something touch my hand and I opened my eyes to see Dad standing by the bed holding my hand. He wiped his eyes with the back of his other hand and I knew from that gesture that it was all true. I would never see my best friend again.
To be continued
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