from Prim

I love it here at Friday Transgender Club. Everyone is so friendly. The only trouble is telling some guys who want to talk to me on my own that they're too old. I usually say: you're so nice to talk to me, but I've got a young friend who will be talking to me in a minute. But that's the problem: I haven't got a young friend. It's what I want more than anything in the world.

Then I see him. I notice his white jumper first, in feather-soft angora with a deep cowl collar folding down to show the back of his hair. I wish I could see his face. His jumper intrigues me so much I convince myself that he must be good looking. I get up to go to the loo, so that on the way back I'll be looking at his face.

He IS good looking. He's a DREAM! I spend the rest of Friday club looking for the chance to sit at the same table. The chance comes just before I have to leave. Some people get up and go, and the guy sitting nearest to him moves along to chat to other friends. I'm in there like a shot with the drink I'd been saving, as if I'd just got it and had found somewhere to sit.

I feel his eyes look at me so I casually turn to look at him.

"Hi," I say as if I had no intention of talking but can't help noticing what he's wearing. "What a lovely jumper. Is it angora?"

His fingers stroke the wide sleeve, like soap suds. "Yes. It makes me feel nice. Cosy." His face lights into a smile and goes through me with a shiver of wanting. He's wearing make-up: blusher and ever so slight eye-shadow in an autumn tint, so tastefully faint.

"I wish I had a jumper like that. Where did you get it?"

"It was a present. From my Mum. She knows I like soft, pretty clothes." His eyes are bright and lively, looking from one of my pupils to the other as if working me out.

"My Mum likes to find me nice clothes too. I'm so lucky." I pause, wondering if I would spoil everything if I seem too close, too soon. My words escape before I've worked it out. "Have you come on your own?"

He shakes his dark soft curls and they move between the sides of his folded collar. "I came with my friends," and his fingers straighten to point at the two opposite. His friends are intent on a deep discussion and don't appear to even know I'm sitting there. I can tell they're close from the way they're sitting back together, their non-drink hands probably holding each other out of sight in their laps.

"I came on my own. I like it here at Friday club," I tell him. "Shall I give you my phone number? Maybe we'll meet up again next Friday."

My heart doubles its beat as he takes out his phone almost as fast as I take out mine. "What's your name, hon?" I dare to ask.

"Marcel." He shows me his number for me to key it in. "What's yours?"

"Reece," and he takes down my number and puts 'Reece' at the front of it. I study his eyes: they look at my number as if he's got something precious. At least that's what I'm hoping. I put my phone back into my purse.

"I must go, Marcel. I'm staying at my Aunt's and I have to go straight home." He looks disappointed, but gives me a smile with the most gorgeous teeth. "So I'll see you next Friday." As I walk towards the door I know for certain his eyes are following me: those dark brown jewels between gorgeous lashes, and I want to meet him again next Friday for absolute certain.

Next Friday! I can't think of anything else all night. Marcel in his jumper – so pretty. I don't even know if he was wearing pants or a skirt. I hope, I hope, I hope he is thinking of me, this very minute. In the end I can't stand it, and I click his number.

Ohhh, I get his soft voice, sounding eager: "Hello. Reece?"

"Hello Marcel, yes it's me." My heartbeats feel like they must be thumping all the way across our phones. "Listen, hon, I thought it's such a long time until next Friday." The phone is silent. "Can we see each other tomorrow?"

"Yeah, we could meet up, do something in town."

I'm so relieved I almost burst on the spot. "What about having a bite at lunchtime, in MacGreggar's?"

He must be thinking about that. Oh no, he must think that's a crap idea. Then he answers me: "What about a walk in the country?"

"Oh Marcel, that's a great idea." Then I'm stuck for a minute but he speaks again.

"What if we meet at 3 o'clock?"

I was thinking early, for lunch. "Why so late, hon?" I say it before I can stop myself.

"Because I'll have to have my hair done."

"Oh yes." Ohhh, he wants to be pretty for meeting me! "What are you going to wear, Marcel?"

There's a pause, then he speaks into my ear, as if he's talking right into the phone, confidentially. "Reece, I've got a confession to make: my name isn't Marcel. Well, it is, but I prefer Faye."

"Ohhh" and I just stop myself from laughing with relief. "And I want you to call me Emma."

He gives a little giggle too. "Must go, Emma – got things to do to get ready – meet you at 3 outside the station, all right?"

"Right." I'm so excited I can't get up off the edge of the bed. Then I think fast: I need a new dress and I've got nearly eighty pounds to spend: I'll get my hair done too, and see how much I can afford for a dress. I'm on the phone right away.

"Hi Desiree – it's me, Emma. Can you fit me in today, like before 1 o'clock? It's very, very, very important."

"Mmm, Well if it's that important, I'll try. Come round when you're ready."

I get there so fast, and I'm thrilled by the styling of Desiree. I can tell she knows there's something new and very special bubbling under my corsage. She only charges me thirty pounds, the angel. In Topshop I finds summer dresses at bargain prices – I think Faye will like me in a mini dress, something really girly. I'm pleased with the one I buy, but back home I know I have to tell Mum what I'm planning.

"I'm meeting Faye at 3 o'clock."

"A girl?" Mum's dark bobbed hair swings round her face as she turns to me with surprise. She's sitting on my bed watching me get changed.

"Well no, his name is Marcel."

She calms down. "Oh I see. Well how old is Marcel?

"Same age as me."

"Has he asked you for any money?"


"Bring Marcel – Faye – home with you when after you've gone for your walk and I'll see if I like him." She was wearing her shrewd expression. "What shoes are you going to wear?"

"Hmm, my strappy black patents. Dammit, my dress doesn't cover my suspenders." All my plans grind to a horrible stop. A car crash! I know he'll fall in love with my new dress and – oh noooooo!

Mum tuts, a picture of calm. "Just fill it out with fuller petticoats, darling. You've got plenty." She gets up and goes through my purses. "Here pet, this will match your shoes."

My dress is fixed. In fact it's even prettier filled out than it was to start with. My heart is pattering all over the place as I leave the house. Every step towards the station sees me feeling higher and deeper excitement. I round the corner of Station Concourse and my eyes comb the whole area – but I can't see Marcel anywhere. My chest and stomach get a frightening, let-down feeling. Maybe it was all too much to hope for.

"Emma!" I spin round towards that lovely light voice and see this vision in a pink dress, with shoes and a purse to match, even a hair ribbon, coming closer and closer, until we clasp each other, dress against dress, and draw back to look at each other's hair.

"Oh Faye, I love it," I gasp.

"And I love your hair too, hon."

We hold hands and swing them, laughing, as we walk, and after five minutes of walking on air, we leave the houses and turn into Larkhill Lane with its romantic high hedgerows. It isn't long before we swap purses, and our fingers squeeze tighter and tighter together, knowing that Faye and Emma will be going to Transgender Club hand in hand next Friday.
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