Author Topic: first draft of a short story "Amber's Story"  (Read 1367 times)

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first draft of a short story "Amber's Story"
« on: July 19, 2014, 06:18:15 pm »
I normally set my stories in the UK (cos I'm familiar with all the terminology) but for a change I thought I'd write a short story set in the US, in LA to be precise.  I normally don't like posting first drafts but I figure that maybe I could post significant redrafts as they're done and perhaps get some feedback on what works and what doesn't work.


Amber’s Story
by Rachel Redhead

Amber had reached the point where she couldn’t go on living a lie anymore, the pain and misery of being stuck in the wrong stupid body was just too much for her to bear anymore.  She’d been in therapy for three years now, since surviving that stupid suicide business when she realised just how much that she wanted to live.
To her parents though she was just the pale copy of their golden child, her twin brother Alistair who got all the good grades and the scholarship package.  Everything she heard from her parents was “why aren’t you as good as Alistair?” and “Alistair’s got a scholarship, why didn’t you work hard for one?”  She just wanted to scream at them to shut the <not allowed> up, she had serious issues to deal with that had stopped her being able to concentrate on her school work, that geography just wasn’t as important as all the self-loathing about her body which she could barely cope with at the best of times.
To the outside world she was plain old Arthur Delaware McFarlane, an identity so wrong she had known since as long as she could remember that she was a girl not a boy.  She was nothing like her brother but with all the stupid pressure to be like her brother, a constant, endless, relentless, non-stop force from not just her parents but the whole of society, was it any wonder that any child in need of love and comfort would do what was necessary to get what she needed, even pretend to be someone else?
Finally though the day had come, all her talks about bravery and acceptance with her therapist had let her accept who she really was inside, she was Amber though and through and the need to bloom like a flower, to live her life as it should be lived was just too much to ignore anymore.  The upcoming party for her parents wedding anniversary was the perfect moment for her to reveal her true self to the world, either they’d rally round and support her or they could all go to hell, she was going to live her life her way, because it was her life, no-one else’s.


The party was held in the garden and nervously Amber took the microphone, she’d worn gender neutral clothing especially, gotten her hair done in a modern style that was just on the feminine side of androgynous and she’d shaved her whole body again just so that she felt that little bit more assured in her femininity.  “Hi, can I have your attention please?”  This was it, the moment of truth, no going back now girl.  “I’d like to wish my parents, Opal and Anthony, a happy wedding anniversary; they deserve to celebrate this special day with their family and all their friends who love them.”  Suddenly Alistair took the microphone from her.
“Thanks for that Arty.”  Alistair said with a smile.  “I too just want to say thank for having me and my brother and putting up with both of us during our highs and lows and I love you both very much which is why I have to tell you all now, to tell the whole world that I’m gay and I need you all to know that this is just one part of my life, I’m still the same guy I always was.”
Amber was stunned for a moment, glad for her brother but also angry that he’d stolen her thunder and feeling selfish for thinking that her issues had any more value than his.  She walked off, back into the house and into her room.  She unlocked her secret wardrobe, the one where she kept all her female clothes and began to put them all into a suitcase, she had decided to go with her back up plan, it was too late to come out now, it would seem like a plea for attention and no-one would believe her, so she decided to move out into her private house.
Her father was a very rich businessman, but he made a lot of shady business deals and Amber had spent a month working in his office as the supervisor for his deals and it hadn’t been difficult to use his money to buy up a small apartment block.  She’d done it through a fake business set up for this sort of thing; everything was in her real name and off the real books.  She had the deed in her name too and she used more of her father’s money, a pittance really, he wouldn’t miss it because all of it was done illegally through his own criminal channels, he couldn’t accuse her of breaking the law without admitting he’d broken the law too.  The apartment block was renovated, to a modest standard, though she’d had one room set aside for herself.  Everything was channelled through the building superintendent, a very capable and honest man, his pay also came through her father, not so much he felt hard done by but not so much it was noticeable.


Amber loaded all three suitcases into her car and drove off before the party started, the only male clothes she had left were the ones she was wearing and after letting herself into her apartment by the secure side stairwell did she cast off the remains of her wrong life and finally begin to live honestly and openly.  She had a shower, a proper one, with all her favourite body washes and herbal shampoo.  She then shaved herself again, taking good care to do her armpits and calves.  Once she was clean she patted herself dry before moisturising her skin with a scented moisturiser, gone were the days of using an unscented brand, the more feminine she treated herself the more feminine she felt about herself.  It was late and so she pulled on a simple pair of panties and a nightdress, before putting night cream on her face.  She looked at her reflection in a mirror and saw the beginnings of her real self in it.  “My life, my rules.”  She smiled and got into bed, she hugged her large teddy bear for comfort and finally allowed herself to cry and let out all her tears.


Alistair walked into his brother’s room and looked around, “there’s a few things missing that I can see right away.”
“This wardrobe’s empty.”  Anthony said, “looks like he took clothes with him, so he’s took off for a while.”
“It can’t be because I came out, can it?”  Alistair had been sure his twin would back him up all the way.
“I doubt it honey.”  Opal said to her son.  She saw that one of the few remaining hangers was from a women’s’ clothing store and the shoe racks were all wrong for men’s’ shoes, plus the patterns left in the light layer of dust looked exactly like the ones her own heels made.  “I think Arthur was going to say something too, you just got there first, it’s not your fault, you weren’t to know.  We’ll just have to wait until Arthur gets in contact with us.”  Her mind was reeling, she’d always wanted a girl, she’d spent hours and hours with Arthur when he was little, he’d always been closer to her, he’d wanted to wear her make up and jewellery when he was really little, until Anthony had found out about it and put a stop to it.  Now she found herself wondering and hoping that what she suspected was in fact true.
“Your brother is always acting up.”  Anthony said to his favourite son.  “Remember when he wanted to grow his hair long?  He fought like crazy; I had to drag him down to the barbers so he got his hair cut like a man, he wouldn’t sit still and cried the whole time.”
“Arthur’s always been the sensitive one.”  Alistair said.  “Remember when Charlie died, he cried for the whole week.”
Opal had heard enough and was about to leave when she spotted something peaking out from under the mattress, she quickly diverted her husband and son.  “Can you two do a double check of the other wardrobe; see if Arthur took anything from there?”  She picked up what turned out to be a journal and she slipped it behind a cushion she had just picked up.  She made a big deal of smelling it “it smells like him.”  She walked out the room and went to her own office where she locked it away in her bureau before taking the cushion up to the main bedroom, she planned the hug it all night long while she worried about her favourite child.


Amber awoke feeling far happier than she had ever done before in her life.  She slid out of bed and pulled on her favourite silk kimono on, she had a lot to do; she needed to get hormone treatment and a zillion other things such as a new driver’s licence and she had to ditch her old car.  She’d long suspected that her parents had lojacked it and needed to get rid of it now before they traced her.  She gave herself a quick shower and carefully put on a light make up for the day, just something simple and feminine.  She hated having to glue the breast prosthetics into place but until she got her own real ones they’d have to do, her bra kept them in place and would give her upper body the curves that should already be there.  She wore her favourite padded panties too over semi-opaque pantyhose, the ones that made it look like she had a vaguely female butt, then she pulled on a simple summer dress and then picked up her purse, filling it with what she needed.


Amber drove to the long term car park across town and paid for a six month deal, where they’d lock the car up in a secure container.  The metal container might just keep the lojack signal from being traced, though if they found it she had another, cheaper, car she’d bought herself and had stashed in the same location, perhaps not the wisest idea but she found her other car and liberated it, paying the early release fee in cash.  She then drove to her therapist’s office for what was bound to be a heavy session, good job she’d brought her emergency make up kit with her and some tissues for drying her eyes with.


Arthur hung up the phone.  “The police say it’s too early to report Arthur as a missing person, especially as he has a history of taking off with friends without any notice.”
“None of Arty’s friends know where he is.”  Alistair said sharply.  “They said he was withdrawn recently, depressed, like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.  It’s all my fault, I’m the high flying successful one, obviously he tried to match me and couldn’t live up to what was really just good luck and being in the right place at the right time.  Arty’s much better at doing his paintings and he’s a certifiable genius with a computer, he’s your business heir easily dad, you know how well he did with that placement you got him in the office.”
“Yes.”  Anthony had realised that Arthur had gotten very close to uncovering the secret to the family business, the very shady business deals he made with questionable people.  “He did very well.”  Could his son have uncovered the truth?  Had he done a runner because he didn’t want to be involved in criminal activities?  He couldn’t have uncovered anything, no-one could be that good at concealing something so important for such a long time, could they?


Opal started to read the secret journal of Amber and her heart broke anew with every page that she turned.  “Oh Amber, if only you could have told me, my precious darling baby girl.”


Amber told her therapist everything that happened at the party.  “I’m proud of Al for coming out really I am, it’s just, his timing could have been better, but then how could he know what I was planning?  I should have told him first, in private, I just felt so angry, at myself, at him, at my parents, at the world, I’d planned everything perfectly and my thunder was taken from me.”
“Sure.  Do you still want to tell them?”
“I don’t care anymore, I left home, I’m out of their lives and they’re out of mine.  I wish things could have gone the way I planned it but they didn’t and I was going to move out anyway, I just brought that forward.”
“So you don’t have a support network to help you with your transition?”
“I still have my girlfriends in the trans community, they said they’d support me all the way, they know I’m one of the girls.”
“What about money?  How will you support yourself?”
“I still have money of my own, a private bank account in my real name.  I’m a land lady to an apartment complex in town, that’s enough to keep me going for now.  I also plan to get an evening job as a barmaid at a trans bar, my friend Sapphire knows someone who’ll pay me cash in hand, which is useful to me because I want an untraceable source of money.”
“This all sounds a little shady to me Amber, do you want to be a crook?”
“I want to put on parties for my friends, that costs money and I’m not old enough to go into a shop to buy booze, but if I buy wholesale cash in hand then it’s no questions asked.”
“Are you worried that your old drinking problem may reoccur, that you could relapse?”
“Every day, but my drinking was because I was in denial, as soon as I accepted who I really am I got sober, I’ve not had a drink since our first session, when you told me that you accepted me as I really am.”
“That’s good to hear.  I’m going to prescribe you a course of feminising hormones, just a light treatment to begin with, to see how you go with them.  It’s important to monitor you regularly, to see if they’re suitable for you or not.  Everyone has their own unique tolerances and what’s perfect for one may not be enough for another, or too much.”
“I want this so much, but I want to live too, there’s no point transitioning if it kills me and I can’t enjoy becoming even more feminine.”
“That’s a very healthy attitude Amber.”


Anthony went over his business accounts VERY carefully, he couldn’t see anything amiss, everything seemed normal, which made him feel relieved, until he realised that overall there was a 0.01% loss against the expected gains, not normally noticeable at all, especially in a recession, but it just felt wrong, then he came to the startling realisation, someone was embezzling money from him!  It took a lot of digging, whoever had done this had hidden their trail very well, they used the same illegal connections and shell companies that he did, only even more so, they were actually better at covering their trail than he was, which disturbed him a great deal.  It all led to the purchase of an apartment block, the name on the deed was encrypted, other money had been siphoned off into a secret numbered account in a foreign country, which would be impossible to trace but he had some very strong suspicions about who was responsible, as he recalled Alistair’s words about his brother being a computer genius.


Amber met Sapphire, Ecstacy, Saffron and Emerald at Fantasia.  “Good afternoon ladies.”
“Amber, you made it.”  Sapphire exchanged kisses and hugs with her BFF.  “You’re two drinks behind, but don’t pout, Emerald’s a drink behind too.”
“How did it go with your therapist?”  Saffron asked Amber as she took her seat.
“He gave me the magic girly juice.”  Amber grinned.  “I am officially hormonal.”
“Congratulations girl.”  Sapphire said.
“About time.”  Ecstacy added.
“We always knew you’re one of us.”  Saffron agreed.
“How did it go with your parents?”  Emerald wondered.  “Are they supporting you?”
“That did not go well at all ladies.”  Amber paused to order herself her first drink of the day, a Shirley Temple, the others knew about her drink problem and made sure that she stuck to alcohol free drinks.  “In fact in the whole history of coming out it was spectacularly bad.”
“Did they reject you hun?”  Saffron asked.
“Did they throw you out of the house?”  Emerald worried that may be the case, because her own parents had thrown her out when she came out to them as trans.
“I didn’t even get the chance to tell them.”  Amber explained.  “I had the mic, I was about to say the words when my brother grabs the mic off me and tells everyone he’s gay!”
Sapphire burst out laughing.  “Oh that’s bad hun, hilariously bad.”  She gave Amber a hug.  “I told you to come out to your brother first, but you can’t blame him for not knowing your situation and wanting to come out himself.”
“I know.”  Amber said.  “I’m proud of him, I always have been, it was my father that tried to make everything so competitive, he wanted two perfect clones of himself, well it looks like his actions have backfired on him.”  She finished her drink and ordered herself another.  “At least I’m finally out to those I love most, you lot, my girlfriends.”
“We’ve always had your back, Amber, I knew from the moment I saw you checking me out you weren’t perving over me, rather you were checking my clothes out and imagining yourself wearing them, it’s a skill I have.”  Ecstacy hugged Amber again.  “Here’s to us, ladies, long may we be as feminine as we can be.”
“Listen, why don’t we organise an official coming out party?”  Saffron suggested.  “Amber’s been out to us for years but she needs to make her official debut.”
“That’s a great idea.”  Emerald agreed.  “We need to organise a proper birthday party girl, cos we love parties and you’re the girl on honour.”
“Sounds perfect.”  Sapphire said with a smile.  “Now we just need to freshen up, come along Amber, we need the little girls’ room.”
“Of course.”  Amber followed her BFF into the ladies loo where she examined her make up in the large mirror.  “I checked myself in my compact after my appointment, I was expecting a complete mess, I mean I was all tears and self pity for a good two hours.”
Sapphire looked sternly at her best friend and spoke to her as only a best friend could.  “You know you’ve got to tell them don’t you honey?  Your parents.  They deserve the chance to meet their daughter.  Most of us are here in LA because our folks didn’t accept us, you’re the local girl with the rich parents, but none of us can help the manner of how we got here, we’ve come together as friends to love and support each other, always and forever.”
“You’re right, Saph, I just need to time pull my stuff together, be myself for a while, discover if I can stand being me 24/7.  I just don’t want them thinking that it’s some silly drama I’m acting out to one up Alistair.  You’re so right, I should have spoken to him long before now, he’s always been there for me and I want to be there for him.”
“That’s why I’m your big sister as well as your BFF.”  Sapphire smiled.  “I always know what’s best for everyone.”
“I know.”  Amber replied.  “Do you want to come with me? I’m going to get my name changed legally this afternoon; I could use my BFF and big sister there.”
“Sure thing honey, cos I know that this is legit and for you.  You’ve been Amber all your life, now it’s time to let everyone know who you are.”


Opal finished the last page of the journal and put it down.  “Goodbye Arthur.  She said her farewell for a boy who had never really existed except as an expression to please others.  Amber was very real and she wanted very much to meet her and hold her in her arms, the daughter that she had always wanted had been in front of her the whole time and she’d missed all the signs that she was there.
Anthony walked into the bedroom.  “Damn company can’t get a signal on Arthur’s car, what’s the point of paying all that money if they can’t do their job properly?”
“Anthony, we need to talk.”  Opal put Amber’s journal on her dresser.  “Arthur’s gone, he’s never coming back.”
“Don’t say that dear, Arthur’s not the suicidal kind, sure he had that drink problem a while back, but he got over that, three years plus sober, one of the few things I’m actually proud of that boy for.”
“We need to talk.”  Opal said more forcefully.  “Arthur’s gone, he was never here, it was all an act, a lie, to cover up the truth.”
“What are you saying sweetie?”  Anthony asked.  “Arthur is mine isn’t he?”
“You have one son.”  Opal said, not sure how to say the words.  “Alistair is yours.”
“Come on, Arthur’s the exact twin of him, apart from temperament they’re exactly alike in looks.”
“You have one son, and one daughter.”  She picked the journal up and threw it on the bed by her husband.  “Read it, read all about the daughter we never knew we had.”
“What’s this?  What are you on about?  You mean Arthur’s one of those people who dresses up as a woman?”
“If by that you mean ‘is she a woman’ then yes she is.  I could have been reading my own journal from back when I was her age, all her doubts and insecurities, her hopes and fears and her terrible, horrible loneliness, all the signs were there for us to see and we missed them all.”
“This is a joke.”  Anthony had always seen himself reflected in his two boys, well mainly Alistair.  Alistair was the perfect son, caring, dutiful and manly.  Arthur had always been so different, a wimp really which was why he pushed him all the more to ‘man up’ and be more like his brother, no he couldn’t accept it, no way did he have a son who wore women’s’ clothes and called himself Amber.  “I’m phoning the police again, I’m putting an end to this right now, if I have to call in every last favour I’ll find our son and bring him home and show him how to be a real man.”
“She’s our daughter!”  Opal yelled at her pigheaded husband.  “Read this and learn all about her, see the heartache and misery you’ve caused her all these years!”  She threw Amber’s journal at him and stormed out the bedroom, intent on finding Alistair and confiding everything in him.


Thanks to her therapist’s letter and Sapphire’s unexpected testimony Amber found herself legally Amber Daytona McFarlane which made her pleased beyond words and she hugged Sapphire afterwards, grinning like an idiot and not caring at all who saw her.
“You were so brave honey.”  Sapphire said to Amber, “now there’s no time to waste, we need to get you a new driver’s licence, better make sure your face is fixed first for the photo.”
“This is the best day ever.”  Amber said to Sapphire as they got into her car and drove to the DMV building.  “With photo ID my new life will be officially complete.”


Alistair nodded as his mother told him everything.  “It all makes sense now.  At first I thought she was seeing those girls for sex, but obviously they’re her friends.  There’s a club downtown, I was out on a date with this guy, he was a total hottie, we drove through the gay part of town to this gay bar and on the way we went past the T bar, at first I thought I was seeing things, Arthur, Amber I mean, was talking to them, they looked suspicious at first, then they smiled, I thought he was paying for sex, I guess she was just finding her peer group.”
“Can you find this bar again Alistair?”
“Yes, I think it’s called Fantasia, as I said I really had other things on my mind at the time.”
“You can tell me all about him on the ride over there.”  Opal said to her son.  “You know you can talk to me about guys any time you like, I’m your mother I want to know everyone who’s important in your life, it’s my job to worry about you and love you without question.”


Amber hugged Sapphire again as they exited the DMV, “that was amazing, they just read the letter, took my photo and here it is Amber, female.”
“Was there any doubting it sugar?”  Sapphire asked.  “We always know who’s real and who’s legit.  The crossdressers have their own clique, and we have ours.”
“Now for one last thing.”  Amber said with a smile.  “Before you organise this party for me.  “That job at Fantasia, do you think I have a chance at it?”
“If that’s what you want to do sweetie, then I’ll put a word in for you.”  Sapphire knew Amber held a lot back and she suspected some of it may be criminal, rich folks were always up to something to keep their money to themselves.
“You are officially the best BBF ever.”  Amber grinned as they drove back to Fantasia, only to see her mother’s car parked outside.  “What the actual?  That’s my Mom’s car.”
“I guess you’re a little easier to find than you thought honey pie.”  Sapphire smiled.  “You have to go in there and talk to you, as the best BFF ever I here by officially order your ass in that building.”
“Fine.”  Amber agreed and parked up.  She walked inside to find her mother and her brother deep in conversation with the rest of her friends.  “Hi mom, hi Al.”
“Amber?”  Opal ran over to her daughter, who looked so feminine and pretty, and hugged her tightly.  “You left your journal, I read it, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry for not realising who you really are.”
“You could have talked to me sis.”  Alistair took his turn to hug his sister.  “You look amazing; you just look so you, everything makes sense now.”
“We’ll give you some family time.”  Sapphire said to Amber before shepherding the rest of the girls to another alcove, so they could still be there for Amber, but at a discreet distance.
“How did you find me and my friends?”  Amber asked her mother.  “I went to such great pains to keep my real life away from you all; I just wasn’t ready to come out.”
“Until I blew it for you.”  Alistair said.  “Sorry.”
“It’s not your fault, you had your own issues, I wish I’d talked to you before, long before, I just didn’t know how to have that talk, or find the confidence to say the words until recently.  You know how I like to plan things, to get them perfect, all the little details just right.  I’m my own worst enemy at times.  I wish I could have helped you with your own issues too, I’m so proud of you for coming out bro.”  She hugged her brother again.  “I’d better stop all this mushy girly talk or I’ll ruin my make up again.”
“Why don’t we go shopping for some waterproof make up?”  Opal asked her daughter, I have so much I want to pass on to you.  Though you’ve picked up a lot yourself, that dress is wonderful on you and the rest of your outfit matches it perfectly and that purse is just amazing, you must let me borrow it sometime, I have the perfect outfit it’ll go with.”
“I’m going to head home.”  Alistair said.  “Give me a call sis; you know my number, any time.”  He hugged hi sister once more, he was thrilled to see her beyond words but he needed to go and have a serious talk with his father about what a jackass he was being.  “Your friends are really great by the way, I’m glad I got to meet them, if any of them have a single hot brother tell them to send him my way.”
“See you soon Al.”  Amber said.  “Oh I never gave him my new address, say Mom, why don’t you me and the girls all go back to my place, I haven’t had an official housewarming party yet.”
“That’s a great idea.”  Opal was keen to get to know her daughters friends, so far they all seemed like really good girls.  “Party at Amber’s place ladies, the drinks are on me.”


Anthony was on his fifth drink when Alistair got home.  “Was I such a monster?”  He put the journal down.  “I just wanted the best for you both, my two boys.”
“I’m just as startled as you are dad.”  Alistair said.  “You just didn’t know Amber as well as I did, you were out most of the time, it’s not your fault, you had to keep a roof over our home, you did what you had to do to keep us all safe.  She’s my twin, dad, I didn’t know for a long, long time.  Sure I thought she was more emotional than me, as much like mom as I’m like you, I just figured that was they way we were different, every other way we were the same, at least I thought we were.”
“Was I really such a bad father though?  I couldn’t see the signs, or didn’t want to.  I’ve always prided myself on the two of you being like me.  I though your sister just needed extra encouragement, extra drive to achieve, how could I have been so wrong?”
“Everyone makes mistakes dad, she didn’t tell us either.  Families need communication; she has to tell us her feelings as much as we need to tell her ours.”
“It’s still my responsibility at the end of the day son, that’s what being a father is all about.  My poor baby girl, I caused her so much heartache and grief.”
“Talk to her, dad, see how happy she is now.  In just a day she’s become this strong and confident young woman, my sister, your daughter.  She’s got friends, a part-time job, a place of her own and a new car already.  You’ll be so proud of her, when it comes to planning things she’s more like you than I am.  I just coasted by on my good luck.”
“Yes.”  Anthony said.  “She is a lot like me, and that’s what worries me.”


“The second I saw her in a dress I knew she meant what she said about being a woman.”  Emerald said to Amber’s mother.  “She’s just so natural at it and she loves every aspect of being a woman, you need to take her shopping to see for yourself, she knows everything about everything and she listens to what everyone says.  I’m super glad to call her my friend, I really am.”
“Thank you Emerald.”
“It’s Emma really, the others have such glitzy names, though I’m fairly sure Ecstacy was going to call herself Stacey, that’s life and they insist on calling me Emerald in public.”
“That’s because you’re a precious gem.”  Sapphire said to Emerald before she talked to Amber’s mother.  “She’s had a hard life that one, most of us just got kicked out of our homes, she was nearly raped by her depraved uncle who thought it’d cure her or some such BS that rapists think to excuse their perversion.  Saffron was beaten up by druggies and nearly set on fire, Amber and I had to fight those bastards off bare hand, let me tell you that girl knows her kung fu, she took three of them down herself while she was in heels, it was a sight to behold.  It isn’t easy being what we are, Amber knows this, she is who she is and she’s a fighter, deep down she knows what she wants, when it comes down to it there isn’t a thing that girl can’t or won’t do for those she loves.”
“Thank you.”  Opal said to Sapphire.  “That’s the woman I want my daughter to be.”
“She loves you so much, but there’s a streak of her father inside her too and I don’t like that about her at all.”
“What do you mean?”  Opal asked Sapphire.  “Have you even met my husband?”
“There’s a talk you need to have with Amber, quite very soon I imagine.  Ask her how she owns this place.”
“I thought she just rented this apartment.”  Opal said.
“Oh she owns it alright, she owns this entire building, it’s her name of the deed, she told me once when she though I’d had too much to drink and thought I wouldn’t remember her confession.”
“Are you saying my daughter’s a crook?”  Opal was shocked.
“Yes I am.”  Amber said, as she had heard the end of Sapphire’s statement.  “I stole from Daddy’s precious company, the one he made famous with mob money, drug running and other nasty doings.  He was good at covering up his tracks, enough for the IRS anyway; I’m much, much better.  I’ve owned this building for two years, bought with the money I embezzled from the company, which wasn’t difficult because I used the same dodgy business connections and shell companies that Daddy uses, only I tided up better after myself.  He really should never have let anyone as good with computers as me and with as good a business education as he paid for anywhere near his accounts.”
“This can’t be true.”  Opal said to Amber.  “Your father loves us all very much.”
“And I love him, I’m just more like him in all the ways he never wanted me to be.  Alistair’s the good dutiful son who’ll do amazing, I’m the heir to Daddy’s business empire and I’ve proved it by hiding this place from him and his very clever accountants for over two years.  That’s what this place is, proof that I’m the daughter he needs me to be to keep the family and the company going, eventually.  Right now though I just want to enjoy my life, now that I can finally start living it.”


Anthony looked at his accountant.  “Can you stop the money going into her account?”
“Certainly, but I’d have to stop each and every single transaction and then reset them.  She’s been very clever, she’s added subroutines to your banking software, a tiny fragment of a percent comes from every transaction and goes into her account.  There’s other diversions of money in other parts of your accounts too.  How many years has she had access to your system?  This must have taken at least five years to set up.”
“She had it all done in a month.”  Anthony couldn’t help but take some pride that his daughter was a genius, she knew his company better in that month than he did in a lifetime of setting it up and running it.  “First I’m going to ground her, and then I’m going to offer her a job as my security consultant.”
“She might be the only one who knows and can find the full extent of what she’s done here.  She could have taken you to the cleaners, but she didn’t, in fact I think she made you money.  Look at these transactions, if this is the month you said she worked here then she made this company half its annual profits in that one month.”
“I just put that down to better than expected results.”  Anthony said. “I guess she really is a chip off the old block.”  He was no feeling proud of his daughter for being the consummate businesswoman.


Opal was in two minds, should she confront her husband about his shady business dealings?  She knew that he loved and wanted the best for the family, but the risk he put them at, especially with the mob involved.  She loved him so much and knew that if there was a way to make money legit he’d do it rather than break the laws.  Amber had said as much, she’d worked out the way the business worked, it only made shady deals when times were very hard and there was no other choice.  She also said that if her father had been a total crook then she’d have just left is accounts ledger at a police station one day, but she knew the truth, her father was a hard worker who did what he had to do to keep those he loved safe and well protected.


Anthony waited as the parade of young women left his daughter’s apartment before she let him inside.  “Your friends seem like nice young women.”
“They are.”  Amber said.  “I take it you found out what I did with the company.”
“Yes.  My accountant thinks he may never find the full extent of what you did.  I have to say I’m shocked and appalled.”
“Me too.”  Amber agreed.  “I mean fancy sitting there thinking your father is the cleverest man alive and then you discover he’s a bit of a crook.  Still I guess I proved I’m just as much a crook as you are, this whole building was bought with your money.”
“A wise business investment, you’ve made a real go of this place, affordable housing for those who need it most.”  Anthony was proud of his daughter’s achievement.  “You have a gift for computers, your brother said you were a genius, how would you like a real job with me, a proper job?”
“I always wanted to work for the family business.”  Amber said honestly.  “I just had to attend to personal issues first.  What exactly do you want me to do?”
“Security, I want you to find out if anyone else has or can do to me what you did, and I want everything you did undone.  I’ll pay you a salary commensurate to what you were ripping me off for, that way you can keep this place going.  Property, that may well be the way to go, you might well have put me on to something young lady.”
“There’s a huge shortage of housing for GLBT people, Daddy, a lot of girls like me get kicked out by their parents, they have no where to go.  My friends and I we help catch them and direct them as best we can.  If there were a few dedicated housing projects we could point them towards, it’d be a great help and you’d get a lot of good will and publicity from it.”
“Yes, that might just work.”  Anthony was thinking of all the headlines he could get from such an undertaking.  “Goodwill projects are better for business than just corporate deals.  I still need to punish you for running away the way you did.  We were all terribly upset, your mother was in tears the whole time and your brother was blaming himself, though no where near as much as I should be blaming myself.  I honestly had no idea sweetheart, not the first clue.  All that rubbish about trying to man up, I was doing what I thought would help when in fact it had the opposite effect.  So your punishment from now on is to be the best young woman you can be, the best daughter that I can proudly show off to the world.  All I ever wanted was for you to be happy Amber, and in spite of everything I think you’ve found that happiness.”
“Thanks Daddy.”  Amber hugged her father.  “I love you so much.  I want to work for the family business so much, though there’s a little part time job I’ve got nearby that I want to keep, that’ll work out very well later on for all of us, I’ve got a few plans I’d like to run past you.”
“How many?”
“Oh just enough for the next twenty years or so, I do like to think long term and I think that we’ll do quite well, of course I still have a lot to learn from you.”  Amber was glad her father was seeing sense, so that she didn’t have to use the gun in her purse.
“Just as I think I’ve got a lot to learn from you.”  Anthony hugged his daughter again and felt reassured that she was as committed to the long term survival of the family and the company, so he didn’t have to use the gun in his jacket pocket.



Offline Princess Rachel

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second draft of a short story "Amber's Story"
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2014, 05:02:58 pm »
I've corrected a lot of basic punctuation and spelling mistakes which the spell checker didn't recognise as mistakes.  I've also expanded the story to almost twice the original size, splitting it up into three chapters and adding new material to the third chapter.  I've also given thought to expanding the story further to perhaps a small novella length.  I've added a lot of character background sections too, so there's a stronger sense of who each of the characters are and I like how they're starting to take on their own roles in the story separate to Amber's own storyline.  I've also opened up the prose, a line between each character moment and three lines between paragraphs, to make it easier to read.


Chapter One
“Coming Out, Or Not, As The Case May Be”

Amber was eighteen and she had reached the point where she couldn’t go on living a lie anymore, the pain and misery of being stuck in the wrong stupid body was just too much for her to bear anymore.  She’d been in therapy for three years now, for drinking and then there was surviving that stupid suicide business not long afterwards too, when she realised just how much that she wanted to live.

She had been alone, so alone, only her therapist had known the truth and she just couldn’t tell her parents the truth and suicide had seemed like such an easy way out of all the harm and hurt she was going to bring upon herself, but after she’d taken the sleeping pills she’d started to have second thoughts but they took effect and she was dragged into the chilling embrace of the chemical snooze.  However through sheer force of will she pulled herself out of the artificial slumber and made herself drink litre after litre of water to dilute the drugs in her system and so she won the fight of and for her life.

She now lived two lives, the real one where she was Amber, friend and confident to her band of fellow t-girls, as feminine as she could be, enjoying just being herself and the company of her peers.  Then there was the false life she had to endure, the façade she maintained to protect herself from the distain and hurt she feared would come from those she loved the most but worried would hurt her the most too.  That life was just something she had to put up with, until she was ready to cast it aside for good, why bother putting more into it than was necessary if she was going to discard it?

To her parents she was just the pale copy of their beloved golden child, her twin brother Alistair who got all the good grades and the athletics scholarship package.  Everything she heard from her parents was “why aren’t you as good as Alistair?” and “Alistair’s got a scholarship, why didn’t you work hard for one?”  She just wanted to scream at them to shut the <not allowed> up, she had serious issues to deal with that had stopped her being able to concentrate on her school work, that geography just wasn’t as important as all the self-loathing about her body which she could barely cope with at the best of times.  What was the point of geometry when she needed to learn all she could about fashion?

Besides what she really wanted to learn she had learned, her art grades were the best her school had ever known and her IT teacher had no idea that she had successfully hacked the school’s barely protected system within a minute of her first class, she only made one alteration to the system, she had given herself a permanent veto on all sporting activities.  She maintained good grades in business studies too, but deliberetly kept her grades down, as she didn’t want her rivals to know just how easy she found the lessons and she didn’t want the others in her class to know just how much she knew, just in case.

To the outside world she was plain old Arthur Delaware McFarlane, an identity so wrong she had known since as long as she could remember that she was a girl not a boy.  She was nothing like her brother but with all the stupid pressure to be like her brother, a constant, endless, relentless, non-stop force from not just her parents but the whole of society, was it any wonder that any child in need of love and comfort would do what was necessary to get what she needed, even pretend to be someone else?

Being with the girls was the only thing that kept her sane and grounded, it was the only chance she got to truly be herself and she kept an apartment nearby her favourite club, Fantasia, where she could come and go in secret in both aspects of her life.  Fantasia wasn’t that good and yet it was the most essential place she’d ever been.  Inside during the day all the magic had gone, it was just basic black furniture and walls, but at night with the UV lamps on it was a magical place.  Amber had one tattoo, a secret tattoo, it would only show under UV light, a small butterfly on her shoulder which looked so pretty when she wore her favourite strappy dresses.  Fantasia was the one place where she felt truly herself, that was its magic, she and her friends could just gossip and dance the night away.  Sometimes she’d dance with guys, they knew her only as Amber, and she felt so good but her sisters always came first, that was their solemn pledge to each other.



Finally the day had come, all her talks about bravery and acceptance with her therapist had let her accept who she really was inside, she was Amber though and through and the need to bloom like a flower, to live her life as it should be lived was just too much to ignore anymore.  The upcoming party for her parents wedding anniversary was the perfect moment for her to reveal her true self to the world, either they’d rally round and support her or they could all go to hell, she was going to live her life her way, because it was her life, no-one else’s.

Either way she’d planned for every eventuality she could think of, making sure that all her parents’ most liberal friends were there, to counteract the few loud-mouthed and closed-minded ones.  Whatever happened today tomorrow she’d prepared appointments, all her plans had come together perfectly, today was the last day she’d have to endure this lie, tomorrow and every day after that she’d be herself and that was all she wanted, to be herself.

The party was held in the garden and nervously Amber took the microphone, she’d worn gender neutral clothing especially, gotten her hair done in a modern style that was just on the feminine side of androgynous and she’d shaved her whole body again just so that she felt that little bit more assured in her femininity.  “Hi, can I have your attention please?”  This was it, the moment of truth, no going back now girl.  “I’d like to wish my parents, Opal and Anthony, a happy twenty second wedding anniversary; they deserve to celebrate this special day with their family and all their friends who love them.”  Suddenly Alistair took the microphone from her.

“Thanks for that Arty.”  Alistair said with a smile.  “I too just want to say thank for having me and my brother and putting up with both of us during our highs and lows and I love you both very much which is why I have to tell you all now, to tell the whole world that I’m gay and I need you all to know that this is just one part of my life, I’m still the same guy I always was.”

Amber was stunned for a moment, glad for her brother being able to reveal himself so boldly and honestly, but also angry that he’d kind of stolen her thunder and feeling selfish for thinking that her issues had any more value than his.  She walked off, back into the house and into her room.  She unlocked her secret wardrobe, the one where she kept the female clothes in her parents home and began to put them all into a suitcase, she had decided to go with her back up plan, it was too late to come out now, it would seem like a plea for attention and no-one would believe her, so she followed the adapted Plan B, to move out for good into her private apartment without her parents approval or knowledge.

Her father was a very rich businessman, but he made a lot of shady business deals and Amber had spent a month working in his office as the supervisor for his deals and it hadn’t been difficult to use his money to buy up a small apartment block.  She’d done it through a fake business set up for this sort of thing; everything was in her real name and off the real books.  She had the deed in her name too and she used more of her father’s money, a pittance really, he wouldn’t miss it because all of it was done illegally through his own criminal channels, he couldn’t accuse her of breaking the law without admitting he’d broken the law too.  The apartment block was renovated, to a modest standard, though she’d had a large room set aside for herself.  Everything to do with the running of the building was channelled through the building superintendent.  Manuel was a very capable and honest man, his pay also came through her father, not so much he felt hard done by but not so much it was noticeable.



Manuel was a native of LA, hell he could trace part of his family ancestry back to before the Spanish arrived and later the settling families, though as he had a lot of their blood in his lineage he was as connected to them though his Mexican grandmother had done her best to bring him up as part of that culture alone.

He was clever and street smart, a rare combination which he used to help as many in his neighbourhood as he could.  Whether it was teaching honesty and fair play to youngsters, helping them with their homework or doing handyman repairs often in return for a bottle of beer and a sandwich, he liked to think that in all the subtle ways he was able to, he made this part of the world a better place.

Amber found him working as a mechanic’s help, she offered him the super’s job, told him that he was came with hundreds of references, from everyone he’d helped.  She offered him a good deal, he could help the neighbourhood in his own time as long as he took care of the running of the building for her during ‘office hours’.

She paid enough to tempt him but not so much he felt he was taking advantage of her, or that she had a hidden agenda.  She explained who she was, her special needs, and he respected her for her candour and honesty, and for his part her grew to care for the vulnerable young woman, like she was a troubled niece he wanted to keep an eye on, just in case she got into trouble.



Amber had loaded all three of her suitcases into her car and driven off, as the party really started.  The only male clothes that she had yet to discard were the ones she was currently wearing and they would be gone too soon enough.  After letting herself into her apartment, by the secure side stairwell (a laser-cut key and a ten digit access code on a titanium door and frame that was tied into the structure of the building with tungsten bolts) did she cast off the remains of her fake life and finally she knew that she could begin to live honestly and openly.

She decided to start with a shower, a proper one, with all her favourite body washes and herbal shampoo.  It was symbolic of washing away the last remnants and stating a new, a rebirth of sorts.  She then shaved herself again, taking good care to do her armpits and calves.  She loved how feminine she looked already shorn of body hair.  Once she was clean she patted herself dry before moisturising her skin with a lavender scented moisturiser, gone were the days of using an unscented brand, the more feminine she treated herself the more feminine she felt about herself.  It was late and so she pulled on a simple pair of white cotton panties and a lace trimmed white silk nightdress, before putting night cream on her face.  She looked at her reflection in a mirror and saw the beginnings of her real self in it.  “My life, my rules.”  She smiled and got into bed, she hugged her large teddy bear for comfort and finally allowed herself to cry and let out all her tears.



Alistair walked into his brother’s room and looked around, “there’s a few things missing that I can see right away.”  He looked at the posters on the walls, it was all jock guys and male rock stars, mostly like his room too, though he suspected that Arthur didn’t pick them because he really fancied the blokes in the pictures.

“I didn’t even know there was a wardrobe here.”  Anthony said, it looked just like part of the rest of the room but there was a tiny hidden catch, inside of it were empty clothes racks.  “It’s empty, just like the others.”  Anthony said, “looks like he took these clothes with him, so he’s gone off for a while, wherever he is.  I just hope he’s not drinking again.”

“It can’t be because I came out, can it?”  Alistair had been sure his twin would back him up all the way.  They’d been very close, though there had always been several fundamental differences between them.  Alistair was the stereotypical smart jock, Arty was always much more complicated, so sullen and dark at times, also much smarter than he let on.  He did just enough to get by in lessons without revealing just how easy everything was to him.  There was a real sense of hidden depths to Arty, Alistair just wished that they could have talked to him about being gay before now.

“I doubt that’s the case honey.”  Opal said to her son.  She saw that one of the few remaining hangers was from a women’s clothing store and the shoe racks were all wrong for men’s shoes, plus the patterns left in the light layer of dust looked exactly like the ones her own heels made.  “I think Arthur was going to say something too, you just got there first, it’s not your fault, you weren’t to know.  We’ll just have to wait until Arthur gets in contact with us.”  Her mind was reeling, she’d always wanted a girl, she’d spent hours and hours with Arthur when he was little, he’d always been closer to her, he’d wanted to wear her make up and jewellery when he was really little, until Anthony had found out about it and put a stop to it.  Now she found herself wondering and hoping that what she suspected was in fact true.

“Your brother is always acting up.”  Anthony said to his favourite son.  “Remember when he wanted to grow his hair long?  He fought like crazy; I had to drag him down to the barbers so he got his hair cut like a man, he wouldn’t sit still and cried the whole time.”

“Arthur’s always been the sensitive one.”  Alistair said.  “Remember when Charlie died, he cried for the whole week.”  Alistair had loved the family dog too but had accepted his passing much easier.

Opal had heard enough from her husband and son and was about to leave when she spotted something peaking out from under the mattress, she quickly diverted her husband and son.  “Can you two do a double check of the other wardrobe; see just what you both think Arthur took anything from there?”  She picked up what turned out to be a journal and she slipped it behind a cushion she had just picked up.  She made a big deal of smelling it “it smells like him.”  She walked out the room and went to her own office where she locked it away in her bureau before taking the cushion up to the main bedroom, she planned the hug it all night long while she worried about her favourite child.



Amber awoke, feeling far happier than she had ever done before in her life.  It all came back to her, the good, the bad and the leaving home without even leaving a note.  She slid out of bed and pulled on her favourite silk kimono on, she had a lot to do; she needed to get hormone treatment and a zillion other things such as a new driver’s licence and she had to ditch her old car.  She’d long suspected that her parents had lojacked it and needed to get rid of it now before they traced her.

There was nothing much in the fridge, she was planning on doing the shopping tomorrow.  There was a little milk left which smelt ok and she put the kettle on for a cup of instant coffee, if she wanted a fancy coffee then she’d get one from Betty’s, the local café.  She undressed, put her clothes in the washing hamper and gave herself a quick shower, it was barely more than a very quick spritz under the water jet to wash off and wash out the sleep from last night.

She dried herself off and made her cuppa, the taste was refreshing and she felt more like herself again not sleepy chick.  Then carefully she put on a light make up for the day, just something simple and feminine. She’d learned from her friends that she’d have to put on different styles of make up, something plain and subtle during the day but at night she could go wild with it.  She still hated having to glue the breast prosthetics into place on her all too flat chest ,but until she got her own real ones they’d have to do.  Her simple balcony bra kept them in place and would further give her upper body the necessary curves that should already be there.  She wore her favourite padded panties too, over semi-opaque pantyhose and regular panties.  These padded ones made it look like she had a vaguely female sized and shaped butt, Sapphire had told her all about them, Sapphire knew all the tricks of the trade.  Amber had been amazed to see herself in them, they just added so much to what she hadn’t been given.  Finally she pulled on a simple summer dress and then picked up her purse, filling it with what she needed.


Sapphire knew just how hard it was for t-girls.  She’d been kicked out of her home when she was fourteen, for telling everyone that she was really a girl.  She’d been beaten first, by her father and brothers, until her mother and sisters had rescued her and helped her escape the wrath of her male siblings.

She’d come to the city to both lose and find herself, she had to pick up much of what she knew the hard way.  Sure there’d been Dominique to help now and then but she did drugs and slept with men for money.  Sapphire didn’t like men that way, not just because she’d been beaten almost to death for four of them, her own family, but inside she knew that she was a lesbian but what woman would want to touch her?

She’d struggled to find a job, the day Fantasia opened was the day she first had a regular source of income as one of the barmaids.  She’d gotten on hormones eventually and via a certain unethical and morally dubious back street surgeon she’d gotten rid of the last remnants of her old life.  There was no way she could have afforded the proper surgery she needed, she just had to make do with what she could get for herself.



Amber drove to the long term car park across town and paid for a six month deal, where they’d lock the car up in a secure container.  The metal container might just keep the lojack signal from being traced, though if they found it she had another, cheaper, car she’d bought herself and had stashed in the same location, perhaps not the wisest idea but she found her other car and liberated it, paying the early release fee in cash.  She then drove to her therapist’s office for what was bound to be a heavy session, good job she’d brought her emergency make up kit with her and some tissues for drying her eyes with.  So far her first full day as a woman was going great, no more hiding away, she was tackling everything head on and coping, no more lies and part time living, this was all she’d ever wanted, just to be herself.



Anthony hung up the phone.  “The police say it’s too early to report Arthur as a missing person, especially as he has a history of taking off with friends without any notice.”

“None of Arty’s friends know where he is.”  Alistair said sharply.  “They said he was withdrawn recently, depressed, like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.  It’s all my fault, I’m the high flying successful one, obviously he tried to match me and couldn’t live up to what was really just good luck and being in the right place at the right time.  Arty’s much better at doing his paintings and he’s a certifiable genius with a computer, he’s your business heir easily dad, you know how well he did with that placement you got him in the office.”  He didn’t really believe what he said about Arty trying to match him, his brother was his own person with his own likes and dislikes, but it sounded like what his father wanted to hear and he hated himself for saying it because he should be defending his brother not attacking him, though he’d kick his butt big style for all the worry he was causing their parents.

“Yes.”  Anthony had realised that Arthur had gotten very close to uncovering the secret to the family business, the very shady business deals he made with questionable people.  “He did very well.”  Could his son have uncovered the truth?  Had he done a runner because he didn’t want to be involved in criminal activities?  He couldn’t have uncovered anything, no-one could be that good at concealing something so important for such a long time, could they?



Opal started to read the secret journal of Amber and her heart broke anew with every page that she turned.  “Oh Amber, if only you could have told me, my precious darling baby girl.”

She had been very close to her own mother, a mummy’s girl through and through, but enough her own woman when she grew up.  She’d married Anthony against her parent’s advice and she hadn’t regretted it for a second, what she did regret was not being there for her own daughter the way her mother had been there for her.



Amber told her therapist everything that happened at the party.  “I’m proud of Al for coming out really I am, it’s just…his timing could have been better, but then how could he know what I was planning?  I should have told him first, in private, I just felt so angry, at myself, at him, at my parents, at the world, I’d planned everything perfectly and my thunder was taken from me.”

“Sure.  Do you still want to tell them?”

“I don’t care anymore, I left home, I’m out of their lives and they’re out of mine.”  Amber dabbed at her eyes as she felt the pain and loss of the broken family bonds.  “I wish things could have gone the way I planned them to, but they didn’t and I was going to move out anyway, I just brought that forward.”

“So you don’t have a support network to help you with your transition?”

“I still have my girlfriends in the trans community.” Amber said quickly.  “They said they’d support me all the way, they know that I’m one of the girls.  Emerald was the one who did my hair for me, she’s got a job in a hair and nail salon and her boss speaks very highly of her.”

“What about money?  How will you support yourself?”

“I still have money of my own, a private bank account in my real name.”  Amber was sure her therapist was making sure that she was going to pay him for his time.  “I’m the land lady at an apartment complex in town, that’s enough to keep me going for now.  I also plan to get an evening job as a barmaid at a trans-friendly bar, my friend Sapphire knows someone who’ll pay me cash in hand, which is useful to me because I want an untraceable source of money.”

“This all sounds a little shady to me Amber, do you want to be a crook?”

“I want to put on parties for my friends, that costs money and I’m not old enough to go into a shop to buy booze, but if I buy wholesale cash in hand from the right people then it’s no questions asked.”

“Are you worried that your old drinking problem may reoccur, that you could relapse?”

“Every day, but I know that my drinking was because I was in denial, as soon as I accepted who I really am I got sober, I’ve not had a drink since right before our first session, when you told me that you accepted me as I really am.”

“That’s good to hear.  I’m going to prescribe you a course of feminising hormones, just a light treatment to begin with, to see how you go with them.  It’s important to monitor you regularly, to see if they’re suitable for you or not.  Everyone has their own unique tolerances and what’s perfect for one may not be enough for another, or too much.”

“I want this so much, but I want to live too, there’s no point transitioning if it kills me and I can’t enjoy becoming even more feminine.”

“That’s a very healthy attitude Amber.”



Anthony went over his business accounts VERY carefully, he couldn’t see anything amiss, everything seemed normal, which made him feel relieved, until he realised that overall there was a 0.01% loss against the expected gains, not normally noticeable at all, especially in a recession, but it just felt wrong, then he came to the startling realisation, someone was embezzling money from him!  It took a lot of digging, whoever had done this had hidden their trail very well, they used the same illegal connections and shell companies that he did, only even more so, they were actually better at covering their trail than he was, which disturbed him a great deal.  It all led to the purchase of an apartment block, the name on the deed was encrypted, other money had been siphoned off into a secret numbered account in a foreign country, which would be impossible to trace but he had some very strong suspicions about who was responsible, as he recalled Alistair’s words about his brother being a computer genius.



Offline Princess Rachel

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second draft of a short story "Amber's Story" - second bit
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2014, 05:04:07 pm »
Chapter Two
“The First Day Of The Rest Of Her Life”

Amber met Sapphire, Ecstacy, Saffron and Emerald at Fantasia.  “Good afternoon ladies.”

“Amber, you made it.”  Sapphire exchanged kisses and hugs with her BFF.  “You’re two drinks behind, but don’t pout, Emerald’s a drink behind too.”

“How did it go with your therapist?”  Saffron asked Amber as she took her seat.

“He gave me the magic girly juice.”  Amber grinned.  “I am officially hormonal.”

“Congratulations girl.”  Sapphire said.

“About time.”  Ecstacy added.

“We always knew you’re one of us.”  Saffron agreed.

“How did it go with your parents?”  Emerald wondered.  “Are they supporting you?”

“That did not go well at all ladies.”  Amber paused to order herself her first drink of the day, a Shirley Temple, the others knew about her drink problem and made sure that she stuck to alcohol free drinks.  “In fact in the whole history of coming out it was spectacularly bad.”

“Did they reject you hun?”  Saffron asked.

“Did they throw you out of the house?”  Emerald worried that may be the case, because her own parents had thrown her out when she came out to them as trans.  She still had nightmares about what her father and brothers had done to her, she hadn’t even told her friends about it, it was just too painful to bring back all those memories.

“I didn’t even get the chance to tell them.”  Amber explained.  “I had the mic, I was about to say the words when my brother grabs the mic off me and tells everyone he’s gay!”

Sapphire burst out laughing.  “Oh that’s bad hun, hilariously bad.”  She gave Amber a hug.  “I told you to come out to your brother first, but you can’t blame him for not knowing your situation and wanting to come out himself.”

“I know.”  Amber said.  “I’m proud of him, I always have been, it was my father that tried to make everything so competitive between us, he wanted two perfect clones of himself, well it looks like his actions have backfired on him.”  She finished her drink and ordered herself another.  “At least I’m finally out to those I love most, you lot, my girlfriends.”

“We’ve always had your back, Amber, I knew from the moment I saw you checking me out you weren’t perving over me, rather you were checking my clothes out and imagining yourself wearing them, it’s a skill I have.”  Ecstacy hugged Amber again.  “Here’s to us, ladies, long may we be as feminine as we can be.”

“Listen, why don’t we organise an official coming out party?”  Saffron suggested.  “Amber’s been out to us for years but she needs to make her official debut.”

“That’s a great idea.”  Emerald agreed.  “We need to organise a proper birthday party girl, cos we love parties and you’re the girl on honour.”

“Sounds perfect.”  Sapphire said with a smile.  “Now we just need to freshen up, come along Amber, we need the little girls’ room.”

“Of course.”  Amber followed her BFF into the ladies loo where she examined her make up in the large mirror.  “I checked myself in my compact after my appointment, I was expecting a complete mess, I mean I was all tears and self pity for a good two hours.”

Sapphire looked sternly at her best friend and spoke to her as only a best friend could.  “You know you’ve got to tell them don’t you honey?  Your parents.  They deserve the chance to meet their daughter.  Most of us are here in LA because our folks didn’t accept us, you’re the local girl with the rich parents, but none of us can help the manner of how we got here, we’ve come together as friends to love and support each other, always and forever.”

“You’re right, Saph, I just need to time pull my stuff together, be myself for a while, discover if I can stand being me 24/7.  I just don’t want them thinking that it’s some silly drama I’m acting out to one up Alistair.  You’re so right, I should have spoken to him long before now, he’s always been there for me and I want to be there for him.”

“That’s why I’m your big sister as well as your BFF.”  Sapphire smiled.  “I always know what’s best for everyone.”

“I know.”  Amber replied.  “Do you want to come with me? I’m going to get my name changed legally this afternoon; I could use my BFF and big sister there.”

“Sure thing honey, cos I know that this is legit and for you.  You’ve been Amber all your life, now it’s time to let everyone know who you are.”


Saffron knew from an early age that she was different, special.  She’d been able to tell her mother that she was really a girl when she was very little and she’d been so delighted and helpful, buying her cute dresses to wear and letting her hair grow out so that she could put it in bunches and braids and plaits for her.  Then her father came home from prison, took one look at her and torn the dress off of her and shouted at her for being disgusting and wrong.  He’d tried to beat her but her mother got in the way and he’d killed her.

Saffron had been made a ward of the state and put into a boy’s facility.  She’d tried telling them she was a girl, they ignored her and the boys beat her up every hour of every day for being a sissy and wrong, until she snapped and pushed one of them back when he tried to beat her up.  She’d pushed him out onto the road and a car hit him, killing him.  After that she was sent to another facility, a secure one and she’d just given in and half starved herself to death before one day finding a magazine with an article about girls like her, born wrongly as boys.

She made her escape that night and never looked back as she headed for the bright lights of the big city.  She robbed a women’s store the next night for clothes, make up and money.  A week later she met Sapphire and they became instant friends.  They swapped life stories and realised that they had so much in common and decided to keep an eye out for other girls like themselves, because no-one else would.



Opal finished the last page of the journal and put it down.  “Goodbye Arthur.  She said her farewell for a boy who had never really existed except as an expression to please others.  Amber was very real and she wanted very much to meet her and hold her in her arms, the daughter that she had always wanted had been in front of her the whole time and she’d missed all the signs that she was there.

Anthony walked into the bedroom.  “Damn company can’t get a signal on Arthur’s car, what’s the point of paying all that money if they can’t do their job properly?”

“Anthony, we need to talk.”  Opal put Amber’s journal on her dresser.  “Arthur’s gone, and he’s never coming back.”

“Don’t say that dear, Arthur’s not the suicidal kind, sure he had that drink problem a while back, but he got over that, three years plus sober, one of the few things I’m actually proud of that boy for.”

“We need to talk.”  Opal said more forcefully.  “Arthur’s gone, he was never here, it was all an act, a lie, to cover up the truth.”

“What are you saying sweetie?”  Anthony asked.  “Arthur is mine isn’t he?”

“You have one son.”  Opal said, not sure how to say the words.  “Alistair is yours.”

“Come on, Opal, Arthur’s the exact twin of him, apart from temperament they’re exactly alike in looks.”

“You have one son, and one daughter.”  She picked the journal up and threw it on the bed by her husband.  “Read it, read all about the daughter we never knew we had.”

“What’s this?  What are you on about?  You mean Arthur’s one of those men who dresses up like a woman?”

“If by that burst of ignorance you mean: ‘is she a woman?’ then yes she is.  I could have been reading my own journal from back when I was her age, all her doubts and insecurities, her hopes and fears and her terrible, horrible loneliness, all the signs were there for us to see and we missed them all.”

“This is a joke.”  Anthony had always seen himself reflected in his two boys, well mainly Alistair.  Alistair was the perfect son, caring, dutiful and manly.  Arthur had always been so different, a wimp really which was why he pushed him all the more to ‘man up’ and be more like his brother, no he couldn’t accept it, no way did he have a son who wore women’s clothes and called himself Amber.  “I’m phoning the police again, I’m putting an end to this right now, if I have to call in every last favour I’ll find our son and bring him home and show him how to be a real man.”

“She’s our daughter!”  Opal yelled at her pigheaded husband.  “Read this and learn all about her, see the heartache and misery you’ve caused her all these years!”  She threw Amber’s journal at him and stormed out the bedroom, intent on finding Alistair and confiding everything in him.



Thanks to her therapist’s letter and Sapphire’s unexpected testimony Amber found herself legally Amber Daytona McFarlane which made her pleased beyond words and she hugged Sapphire afterwards, grinning like an idiot and not caring at all who saw her.

“You were so brave honey.”  Sapphire said to Amber, “now there’s no time to waste, we need to get you a new driver’s licence, better make sure your face is fixed first for the photo.”

“This is the best day ever.”  Amber said to Sapphire as they got into her car and drove to the DMV building.  “With photo ID my new life will be officially complete.”


Anthony remembered his own father, Fearsome Fred, a ruthless bastard if there ever was one.  The meanest drunk too, that was why he was so worried about Arthur’s drinking, he was beyond worried that his son would become like his grandfather.

Fearsome Fred never accepted anything as being satisfactory.  No matter how well he did his grades were never enough and everything Anthony did was an excuse to beat more lessons into him.

Anthony despised everything about his father, his cruelty, his spite, his racism and especially his drinking.  Anthony had left school as soon as he could and went into the military for a five year tour, so that he could find himself.

Distinguishing himself as a radar operator he became more involved in electrical engineering until he understood how every system worked and how to take it all apart and put it back together again.

After his service was over he started his own electrics company and quickly built it up, honestly at first and then later using mob money so they could use his business deliveries to hide their own packages for transportation.

Soon the company diversified and went into more generalised fields of commerce, growing big enough and strong enough to keep the really big multinationals away, while still relying on underworld connections when times got hard to tide them through until things picked up again.

He just wanted the best for his boys, in them he saw the boy he could have been if he didn’t have such a control freak for a father, except now he was startled to discover that Arthur had not only run away from home to get away from his control but to become a woman, which apparently he, or rather she, had always really been inside, or something like that.  He had a lot of reading to do and he was also worried that this Amber knew all his secret criminal dealings and could send him to jail as well as strip the family of everything they had.



Alistair nodded as his mother told him everything.  “It all makes sense now.  At first I thought she was seeing those girls for sex, but obviously they’re her friends.  There’s a club downtown, I was out on a date with this guy, he was a total hottie, we drove through the queer part of town to this gay bar and on the way we went past this T bar, at first I thought I was seeing things, Arthur, Amber I mean, was talking to them, they looked suspicious at first, then they smiled, I thought he was paying for sex, I guess she was just finding her peer group.”

“Can you find this bar again Alistair?”  Opal asked, knowing that this was the only place they could go to, to ask about her daughter’s location.

“Yes, I think it’s called Fantasia, as I said I really had other things on my mind at the time.”

“You can tell me all about him on the ride over there.”  Opal said to her son.  “You know you can talk to me about guys any time you like, I’m your mother I want to know everyone who’s important in your life, it’s my job to worry about you and love you without question.”


Ecstacy had been the newest girl in the group until Emerald joined them and later Amber.  She liked it because in a way she was the middle sister of the five of them.  Sapphire and Saffron were older and street wise, they knew lots of things about everything and they were always there with a shoulder to cry on when things got hard.

She’d come out, not meaning to, during a row with her parents.  They were trying to tell her how to dress and have her hair cut.  She’d allowed herself to have a very gender neutral style, which at her age and complexion made her look androgynous to most and just the right side of feminine if she squinted hard in the mirror late at night when she experimented with her few make up items.

Her parents had been stunned when she yelled back at them that she wanted the world to treat her like a girl, because that’s who she really was.  Then she’d ran upstairs to her room, threw everything she could find into her rucksack and climbed out of the window and ran away before they knew she was gone.

What little money she’d took with her was soon gone on proper girls clothes and she was considering selling herself for money when Sapphire and Saffron found her and told her that there was another way she could be the woman she truly was inside, with their help and advice.

She had decided to call herself Stacey but she figured that the three of them with the same first initial might put other girls off when they met them, so she decided to become Ecstacy and she found her true vocation as assistant manager at a local supermarket.

Housing had been a real problem at first until Amber came along and gave them manageable rates at her apartment complex.  They knew she had to reinvest the money in the building to keep it viable and the rent never rose unless it absolutely had to and then fell back down again when times got better.



Amber hugged Sapphire again as they exited the DMV, “that was amazing, they just read the letter, took my photo and here it is Amber, female.”

“Was there any doubting it sugar?”  Sapphire asked.  “We always know who’s real and who’s legit.  The crossdressers have their own clique, and we have ours.”

“Now for one last thing.”  Amber said with a smile.  “Before you organise this party for me.  “That job at Fantasia, do you think I have a chance at it?”

“If that’s what you want to do sweetie, then I’ll put a word in for you.”  Sapphire knew Amber held a lot back and she suspected some of it may be criminal, rich folks were always up to something to keep their money to themselves.

“You are officially the best BBF ever.”  Amber grinned as they drove back to Fantasia, only to see her mother’s car parked outside.  “What the actual?  That’s my Mom’s car.  How did she track me down here?  There’s no way that I left a single clue connecting the past to now, it was a proper clean break, she’s going to kill me isn’t she?”

“I guess you’re a little easier to find than you thought honey pie.”  Sapphire smiled.  “You have to go in there and talk to you, as the best BFF ever I here by officially order your ass in that building.”

“Fine.”  Amber agreed and parked up.  She walked inside to find her mother and her brother deep in conversation with the rest of her friends.  “Hi mom, hi Al.”

“Amber?”  Opal ran over to her daughter, who looked so feminine and pretty, and hugged her tightly.  “You left your journal, I read it, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry for not realising who you really are.”

“You could have talked to me sis.”  Alistair took his turn to hug his sister.  “You look amazing; you just look so…you, everything makes sense now.”

“We’ll give you some family time.”  Sapphire said to Amber before shepherding the rest of the girls to another alcove, so they could still be there for Amber, but at a discreet distance.

“How did you find me and my friends?”  Amber asked her mother.  “I went to such great pains to keep my real life away from you all; I just wasn’t ready to come out.”

“Until I blew it for you.”  Alistair said.  “Sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, you had your own issues, I wish I’d talked to you before, long before, I just didn’t know how to have that talk, or find the confidence to say the words until recently.  You know how I like to plan things, to get them perfect, all the little details just right.  I’m my own worst enemy at times.  I wish I could have helped you with your own issues too, I’m so proud of you for coming out bro.”  She hugged her brother again.  “I’d better stop all this mushy girly talk or I’ll ruin my make up again.”

“Why don’t we go shopping for some waterproof make up?”  Opal asked her daughter, I have so much I want to pass on to you.  Though you’ve picked up a lot yourself, that dress is wonderful on you and the rest of your outfit matches it perfectly and that purse is just amazing, you must let me borrow it sometime, I have the perfect outfit it’ll go with.”

“I’m going to head home.”  Alistair said.  “Give me a call sis; you know my number, any time.”  He hugged hi sister once more, he was thrilled to see her beyond words but he needed to go and have a serious talk with his father about what a jackass he was being.  “Your friends are really great by the way, I’m glad I got to meet them, if any of them have a single hot brother tell them to send him my way.”

“See you soon Al.”  Amber said.  “Oh I never gave him my new address, say Mom, why don’t you me and the girls all go back to my place, I haven’t had an official housewarming party yet.”

“That’s a great idea.”  Opal was keen to get to know her daughters friends, so far they all seemed like really good girls.  “Party at Amber’s place ladies, the drinks are on me.”



Anthony was on his fifth drink when Alistair got home.  “Was I such a monster?”  He put the journal down.  “I just wanted the best for you both, my two boys.”

“I’m just as startled as you are dad.”  Alistair said.  “You just didn’t know Amber as well as I did, you were out most of the time, it’s not your fault, you had to keep a roof over our home, you did what you had to do to keep us all safe.  She’s my twin, dad, I didn’t know for a long, long time.  Sure I thought she was more emotional than me, as much like mom as I’m like you, I just figured that was they way we were different, every other way we were the same, at least I thought we were.”

“Was I really such a bad father though?  I couldn’t see the signs, or didn’t want to.  I’ve always prided myself on the two of you being like me.  I though your sister just needed extra encouragement, extra drive to achieve, how could I have been so wrong?”

“Everyone makes mistakes dad, she didn’t tell us either.  Families need communication; she has to tell us her feelings as much as we need to tell her ours.”

“It’s still my responsibility at the end of the day son, that’s what being a father is all about.  My poor baby girl, I caused her so much heartache and grief.”

“Talk to her, dad, see how happy she is now.  In just a day she’s become this strong and confident young woman, my sister, your daughter.  She’s got friends, a part-time job, a place of her own and a new car already.  You’ll be so proud of her, when it comes to planning things she’s more like you than I am.  I just coasted by on my good luck.”

“Yes.”  Anthony said.  “She is a lot like me, and that’s what worries me.”



“The second I saw her in a dress I knew she meant what she said about being a woman.”  Emerald said to Amber’s mother.  “She’s just so natural at it and she loves every aspect of being a woman, you need to take her shopping to see for yourself, she knows everything about everything and she listens to what everyone says.  I’m super glad to call her my friend, I really am.”

“Thank you Emerald.”

“It’s Emma really, the others have such glitzy names, though I’m fairly sure Ecstacy was going to call herself Stacey, that’s life and they insist on calling me Emerald in full all the time.”

“That’s because you’re a precious gem.”  Sapphire said to Emerald before she talked to Amber’s mother.  “She’s had a hard life that one, most of us just got kicked out of our homes, she was nearly raped by her depraved uncle who thought it’d cure her or some such BS that rapists think to excuse their perversion.  Saffron was beaten up by druggies and nearly set on fire, Amber and I had to fight those bastards off bare hand, let me tell you that girl knows her kung fu, she took three of them down herself while she was in heels, it was a sight to behold.  It isn’t easy being what we are, Amber knows this, she is who she is and she’s a fighter, deep down she knows what she wants, when it comes down to it there isn’t a thing that girl can’t or won’t do for those she loves.”

“Thank you.”  Opal said to Sapphire.  “That’s the woman I want my daughter to be.”

“She loves you so much, but there’s a streak of her father inside her too and I don’t like that about her at all.”

“What do you mean?”  Opal asked Sapphire.  “Have you even met my husband?”

“There’s a talk you need to have with Amber, quite very soon I imagine.  Ask her how she owns this place.”

“I thought she just rented this apartment.”  Opal said.
“Oh she owns it alright, she owns this entire building, it’s her name of the deed, she told me once when she though I’d had too much to drink and thought I wouldn’t remember her confession.”

“Are you saying my daughter’s a crook?”  Opal was shocked.

“Yes I am.”  Amber said, as she had heard the end of Sapphire’s statement.  “I stole from Daddy’s precious company, the one he made famous with mob money, drug running and other nasty doings.  He was good at covering up his tracks, enough for the IRS anyway; I’m much, much better.  I’ve owned this building for two years, bought with the money I embezzled from the company, which wasn’t difficult because I used the same dodgy business connections and shell companies that Daddy uses, only I tided up better after myself.  He really should never have let anyone as good with computers as me and with as good a business education as he paid for anywhere near his accounts.”

“This can’t be true.”  Opal said to Amber.  “Your father loves us all very much.”

“And I love him, I’m just more like him in all the ways he never wanted me to be.  Alistair’s the good dutiful son who’ll do amazing, I’m the heir to Daddy’s business empire and I’ve proved it by hiding this place from him and his very clever accountants for over two years.  That’s what this place is, proof that I’m the daughter he needs me to be to keep the family and the company going, eventually.  Right now though I just want to enjoy my life, now that I can finally start living it.”


Emma, known to all as Emerald, had not had an easy life at all.  An illegitimate child, born of rape after her mother was attacked and molested by a man, she knew she was different to the rest of her family, not just because she was a much lighter shade of brown to the rest of them, but she also had bright green eyes, no doubt the eyes of her evil rapist father.

Many of the kids mocked her for being half white, while her brothers made it clear that they wouldn’t tolerate anyone saying it while they were around, the kids just waited till Emma was on her own and they said it to her then.

She knew that she was really a girl very early on, and having so many older brothers she was expected to wear their hand me down clothes.  She had a couple of younger sisters and she was very close to them, Margaret was just a year younger than she was and they were as thick as thieves until Fatima was born three years later.  Emma wanted to be as involved with looking after her baby sister as Margaret was but her mother forbade her to help out, saying it wasn’t her place to do such things.

As she grew up she grew further away from her family, her brothers were perfect clones of their father and her sisters were just like their mother but she wasn’t allowed to do anything feminine, because she was a boy, in their eyes, which just wasn’t true.

For years they forced her along a path that was as wrong and alien to her as anything could be until finally she’d had enough and told them that she wasn’t the boy they were trying to make her be, she was a girl inside and out, that she wanted to wear dresses and make up and one day date boys.  Her father and brothers were convinced that she was just lacking real male influence and tried to force her to endure a strong and relentless assault of machismo which degraded into daily beatings for the slightest sign of femininity.  Eventually her mother and sisters found out what was going on and stood between the male members of their family and Emma who they realised was just as much a female inside as they were.

Emma got out as quickly as she could, she paused just long enough to change into her favourite skirt and top, packed a bag full of stuff and ran for her life.  Her own uncle caught up with her in his car, offering her a ride home, back to her family.  In a moment of weakness she’d agreed but he drove her too a lonely spot and tried to put his hand under her skirt.  She bit him in the face and punched him in the throat before running for her life a second time, she could never return home, not after another betrayal, she jumped on the nearest bus and went as far as her money would take her and walked the rest on her own until she met Sapphire and the others and for the first time she knew what it was really like to have a real family of her own.



Anthony looked at Bob, his accountant.  “Can you stop the money going into her bank account?”

“Certainly.”  Bob replied.  “But I’d have to stop each and every single transaction and then reset them.  She’s been very clever, she’s added subroutines to your banking software, a tiny fragment of a percent comes from every transaction and goes into her account.  There’s other diversions of money in other parts of your accounts too.  How many years has she had access to your system?  This must have taken at least five years to set up.”

“She had it all done in a month.”  Anthony couldn’t help but take some pride that his daughter was a genius, she knew his company better in that month than he did in a lifetime of setting it up and running it.  “First I’m going to ground her, and then I’m going to offer her a job as my security consultant.”

“She might be the only one who knows and can find the full extent of what she’s done here.”  Box explained.  “She could have taken you to the cleaners, but she didn’t, in fact I think she made you money.  Look at these transactions, if this is the month you said she worked here then she made this company half its annual profits in that one month.”

“I just put that down to better than expected results.”  Anthony said. “I guess she really is a chip off the old block.”  He was no feeling proud of his daughter for being the consummate businesswoman.



Opal was in two minds, should she confront her husband about his shady business dealings?  She knew that he loved and wanted the best for the family, but the risk he put them at, especially with the mob involved.  She loved him so much and knew that if there was a way to make money legit he’d do it rather than break the laws.  Amber had said as much, she’d worked out the way the business worked, it only made shady deals when times were very hard and there was no other choice.  She also said that if her father had been a total crook then she’d have just left is accounts ledger at a police station one day, but she knew the truth, her father was a hard worker who did what he had to do to keep those he loved safe and well protected.



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second draft of a short story "Amber's Story" - last bit
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 05:05:34 pm »
Chapter Three
“She’s Her Father’s Daughter, No Mistake”

Anthony waited as the parade of young women left his daughter’s apartment before she let him inside.  “Your friends seem like nice young women.”

“They are.”  Amber said.  “I take it you found out what I did with the company.”

“Yes.  My accountant thinks he may never find the full extent of what you did.  I have to say I’m shocked and appalled.”

“Me too.”  Amber agreed.  “I mean fancy sitting there thinking your father is the cleverest man alive and then you discover he’s a bit of a crook.  Still I guess I proved I’m just as much a crook as you are, this whole building was bought with your money.”

“A wise business investment, you’ve made a real go of this place, affordable housing for those who need it most.”  Anthony was proud of his daughter’s achievement.  “You have a gift for computers, your brother said you were a genius, how would you like a real job with me, a proper job?”

“I always wanted to work for the family business.”  Amber said honestly.  “I just had to attend to personal issues first.  What exactly do you want me to do?”

“Security, I want you to find out if anyone else has or can do to me what you did, and I want everything you did undone.  I’ll pay you a salary commensurate to what you were ripping me off for, that way you can keep this place going.  Property, that may well be the way to go, you might well have put me on to something young lady.”

“There’s a huge shortage of housing for GLBT people, Daddy, a lot of girls like me get kicked out by their parents, they have no where to go.  My friends and I we help catch them and direct them as best we can.  If there were a few dedicated housing projects we could point them towards, it’d be a great help and you’d get a lot of good will and publicity from it.”

“Yes, that might just work.”  Anthony was thinking of all the headlines he could get from such an undertaking.  “Goodwill projects are as good for business these days as the corporate deals.  I still need to punish you for running away the way you did.  We were all terribly upset, your mother was in tears the whole time and your brother was blaming himself, though no where near as much as I should be blaming myself.  I honestly had no idea sweetheart, not the first clue.  All that rubbish about trying to man up, I was doing what I thought would help when in fact it had the opposite effect.  So your punishment from now on is to be the best young woman you can be, the best daughter that I can proudly show off to the world.  All I ever wanted was for you to be happy Amber, and in spite of everything I think you’ve found that happiness.”

“Thanks Daddy.”  Amber hugged her father.  “I love you so much.  I want to work for the family business so much, though there’s a little part time job I’ve got nearby that I want to keep, that’ll work out very well later on for all of us, I’ve got a few plans I’d like to run past you.”

“How many?”

“Oh just enough for the next twenty years or so, I do like to think long term and I think that we’ll do quite well, of course I still have a lot to learn from you.”  Amber was glad her father was seeing sense, so that she didn’t have to use the gun in her purse.

“Just as I think I’ve got a lot to learn from you.”  Anthony hugged his daughter again and felt reassured that she was as committed to the long term survival of the family and the company, so he didn’t have to use the gun in his jacket pocket.



Amber awoke with a start as there was a knocking at her door.  She looked through the peep hole to see her brother standing outside.  “Just a minute.”  She found her favourite kimono and pulled it on, making sure it was fastened properly, before opening the door.  “Do you know what time it is?”

“Yes.”  Alistair said with a smile.  “Time you got an alarm clock, it’s 6am, I’m on my way to the track, I said I’d drop by to see you.”

“You did?”  Amber asked.  “Fine, talk away, but I’m making myself a cup of coffee.”  She yawned as she walked into the kitchen area of the apartment.  “So what do you think of Casa Amber?  I know it’s not much but it’s mine.”

“I think for the first time I’m seeing exactly who you are, through the décor.”  Alistair replied.  “Mom told me everything you said about dad, I can barely believe it.  I spent so long looking up to him, you know how crazy grandpa was, I figured dad was nothing like him.”

Amber paused for a minute.  “He’s not, he wanted the best for us, he just didn’t know that I wasn’t going to be what he thought I wanted to be, which is kind of my fault for being a gutless coward.  I always end up playing the drama card, Al, drinking, pills and running away from home.”

“Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do sis, and you had to fight to prove who you are and now we can see just who you are and I’m just so proud of you.”  Alistair was unsure whether he should he hi sister while she was just wearing her kimono but she hugged him first.

“I’m so proud of you too Al, we missed out on so much about each other, but now we’ve got a chance to get to know each other again and any time you want to talk guys with me I’m here for you and you can put up with my puerile nonsense about your half of the species too.”  Amber broke the embrace just as the kettle clicked off.  “Now that’s what I call exceedingly good timing.  Do you want a cuppa before you head off, not that I’m trying to get rid of you but you’ve got to stay in shape for your scholarship.”

“Um, no thanks, you’re right I’ve got to get going and you’re right, I want to tell you everything about Steve.”

Amber smiled and raised an eyebrow.  “So you have a Steve do you?  I’ll call you this afternoon, I’ve got to get ready myself, it’s Manuel’s week off so I’ve got to run my own business myself.  I’ve got to arrange for a plumber to fix a bust pipe for the Diego’s on two and find a good electrician for Mrs Daley on four.”

“Sounds like you’ve got your business head on already sis, well I’ll call you later.”  He let himself out the apartment and bumped into Emerald.

“Hi.”  Emerald said trying not to explode in a shower of estrogen, Amber’s brother was so hot, it was a crime he was gay, he had to have straight friends though, if she didn’t find herself a boyfriend soon she was going to go crazy.  “You’re Alistair, right?  I’m Emma…rald, Emerald.”

“Come on in Em.”  Amber said to her friend and neighbour.  “I’m making coffee, want some?”

“Sure.”  Emerald said with a smile.  “I didn’t get a proper look at him yesterday, he is one hot bundle of man stuff, he does have lots of straight guy friends doesn’t he?”

“Probably.”  Amber said a little teasingly.  She knew all of Al’s friends and she was sure most of them were straight.  “Do you want me to help set you up with one of them?”

“I wouldn’t be opposed to that at all, do you think that they’d be interested in a girl like me though?”  Emerald was deeply neurotic about the males of the species, those she’d though were family had all turned on her, but Amber’s brother was really nice, kind of what she’d wished that her own brothers were like.

“What’s not to like about you?”  Amber asked Emerald, who was the kindest and sweetest girl she’d ever met and was honoured to call her a friend.  “Any guy who dated you is the luckiest guy in the world Em, never doubt just how awesome you are, I have excellent friends after all.”  She had an idea.  “Say are you busy today?  Do you want to do me a huge, huge, huge favour?”

“Sure, just for you Amber.”  Emerald’s only plans for the morning were to sit around her apartment, get a cat and grow old so people would call her crazy cat lady.

“Mrs Daley on four, would you mind sitting with her while the electrician’s in with her?  I’ve got another job on I need to supervise.”

“Sure thing.”  Emerald agreed.  “Mrs Daley’s wonderful isn’t she?  I just wish her family would visit her more often, she’s got three kids and six grand kids.  I sometimes go to visit her when I know she needs the company and I get her shopping in for her when she needs it.  Did you know she has her own family recipe for paella?  Her second husband was from Spain, she made him it every Saturday night, until she got some bad mussels and he died of food poisoning.  It’s so sad, I think he was her favourite.”

Amber loved spending time with Emerald, despite everything she’d been though, and she was sure there was a lot more really bad stuff she was keeping back, she was the brightest and most feminine of them all and that was saying something considering their peer group were all stereotypical girly girls.  “I love chatting to you Em, I wish I’d known you for much longer.”

“Me too.”  Emerald agreed, Amber was the girl friend she’d always wanted when she was growing up.  “Well I’d better pop up and see Mrs Daley, I might be able to get her a few bits from the shop before the electrician arrives, or I could just sit with her and let her tell me more stories about her marriages.”



Sapphire and Saffron were walking by the bus depot when they both spotted an obvious trans girl who’d just run away from home and being talked to by a known confidence trickster and gang member.  Sapphire took the lead and walked over to the new girl.  “Hey, there you are sis, you made it.”

Saffron tucked in behind Sapphire and the new girl and glared at the gang banger.  “Haven’t you scum got real jobs to do instead of being parasites?”

“Who are you two?”  Ruth asked the two older women, who was that man?

“He was about to rob you of everything you had, including your freedom.”  Sapphire explained.  “Filth like him patrol every bus and train station they can, hoping to lure young women away to be sex slaves and junkies.  You can thank your lucky starts that we’re your fairy trans-sisters.”

“I’m Saffron.”  Saffron introduced herself.  “We don’t patrol, there’s not enough of us to keep an eye out for all our sisters, we were just passing by.”

“I’m Sapphire.”  Sapphire introduced herself.  “I’m the brand new big sister you never knew you always needed until now.”  She looked at the scrawny girl, she couldn’t be more than fifteen, dressed in a badly fitting top and a skirt that just didn’t match the rest of her outfit.”

“I’m Ruth.”  Ruth said.  “I came out to my parents, they didn’t take it well at all, they shouted at me so much, told me I’d burn in hell, all kinds of stupid stuff like that.  They wouldn’t accept me for being me, so I came here because anything’s better than that.”

“You’d be surprised what anything can be.”  Saffron replied.  It’s not easy being who we are, gangs of idiots can attack you at any time and the cops won’t do a damn thing about it.”

“You’re with us now though.”  Sapphire said reassuringly.  “We can help you find a place, one of our friends knows where to find the best and cheapest housing in our part of town.”

“Really?”  Part of Ruth wondered if it was a trap but she had very few other options open to her now and if they were sincere about helping her then perhaps she really had just found the people she needed to.

“About the name though.”  Sapphire said to Ruth.  “It’s cute and fun but is it really as fabulous as it can be?  I’m Sapphire, deep and mysterious, she’s Saffron, alluring and exotic.  You’re going to meet Ecstacy, Emerald and hopefully Amber.”

“I’ve got it.”  Saffron smiled.  “I think you’re thinking it too, Sapphire.  She’s so pretty and sparkling with her red top, she’s a Ruby.”

“I taught you well.”  Sapphire said to Saffron.  “Ruby is such a more exotic name, you’re such a precious little jewel.”

“Um, ok.”  Ruby, formally known as Ruth agreed.  “It’s a nice name.”

“It’s so very you.”  Sapphire said with a smile.  “Wait till the rest of the girls meet you, you’re going to love having so many sisters.  We all look out for each other, because there’s no-one else out there to look out for us.  We’ve had to learn that the hard way, there’s so much we all want to tell you.”

“First though we need to find Amber, no doubt she’s still sleeping off last night.  Not only did she come out to her folks, which is a tale you’ve got to get her to tell you, it’s her story not ours.  Also her mother tracked her down, there was much rejoicing and celebrating, hence why we think she’s probably having a late start to the day.”

“That sounds lovely, I wish my parents could be so understanding.”  Ruby sighed.  “It’s not like I didn’t give them enough clues.  I told them from a very earl age that I was a girl and I never stopped telling them, they just never listened, not once.  They just tried to pray for me to be a boy, like that was ever going to happen.  I’m a girl, I couldn’t not be a girl if I tried and I don’t want to try pretending to be something I’m not and don’t want to be.”

“Well said.”  Saffron gave Ruby a hug.  “There’s a few basic rules you’ve got to learn and live by.  First up never steal from one of us, we’re your sisters and the only family you have right now and might ever have.  You want to borrow something, ask, we’re very unselfish.”

“Second.”  Sapphire said.  “We’ve all got jobs, not great jobs but jobs.  I’m a barmaid, so’s Amber.  Emerald’s a hairdresser and a damn good one.  Ecstacy works in a supermarket, she’s the assistant manger there now so she gets us a staff discount on what we need.”

“I’m, well I’ve never held a job long enough to find if I’m good at it or not.”  Saffron confessed.  “I really liked cookery at school but I don’t have ‘the right look’ to be a burger flipper or milkshake maid.  But that’s my problem, I need to work more on my people skills.”

“That said there’s no way we can pass you off as being over school leaving age, Ruby.  Either you stay out of the sight of the general public or they’ll make you go to school and there’s a good chance they’ll find and track your parents down.  I just wish that they’d come riding in on a big white horse and tell you that they love you and accept you as their daughter but it would be cruel of me to let you think that’s going to happen, though I wish it would, for all of us.”

“I didn’t think about that.”  Ruby said suddenly feeling more afraid because there were a lot of things that she was thinking of that she hadn’t thought of before now.

“There’s only one girl I know who’s planned everyone’s lives out for the next forever.”  Saffron said.  “Amber, she’s the best one of us for making plans, contingency plans and even double back-up contingency plans.”



Anthony looked at his mobile, no message from Amber.  He was expecting her to call soon, about the job offer he’d made to her.  He wanted her to accept it, so he could keep an eye on her and make sure she wasn’t selling him out.  Finally a message came through, from Amber.  She had a lot to do today but in principle she was agreeable to work part time in the family business, as long as she could secure an entry level job for her friend Saffron.  Anthony had met Saffron last night and knew damaged goods when he saw them, but part of him felt that he could help the young woman turn her life around and perhaps heal some of the damage, he felt good about himself and was somewhat glad that his own daughter was helping make him a better person too.



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second draft of a short story "Amber's Story" - new bit
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 05:14:15 pm »
Chapter Four
“Is there anything this girl can’t do?”

Her cup of milky tea was cooling now so Emerald carefully finished it off, she liked Mrs Daley’s fancy cups, as they had an exotic pattern of gold and green leaves on them.  “That was wonderful, Mrs Daley.”

Mrs Daley smiled at the pretty young woman, she knew of her past troubles and what not but she saw the charming, beautiful and innocent young woman and really hoped that she would continue to blossom into her full potential.  “You’re too kind Emma, dear, but thanks all the same.  Once upon a time tea used to be a much more formalised affair.”  She paused as a memory from her own youth came back to her.  “I remember sitting in the front room while my mother and her friends took tea.  There was little cakes on the big three layer cake stand and there was all these little rituals that she always performed when making a fresh pot.  The teapot had to be warmed first, then you’d put the tea in, none of these bags like you get now, there was a big heaped spoonful for everyone and then an extra one, just for the pot my mother explained to me.  There was a little silver strainer to sieve out most of the tea leaves, it was always my job to hold that steady while mother poured the tea from the pot.  She’d always pour out the exact amount in one go, it was quite something to behold.”

“Perhaps I could help you with that sometime?”  Emerald suggested to Mrs Daley.  “We could invite a few people around, for tea and cakes and, what was it you called it?  Small talk?”

Mrs Doyle smiled.  “A fancy name for gossip.”  She remembered how all the talk was over who had their washing out on which day and who bought what hat when.  “We could give it a go, Emma, sometime, I’m sure your friends wouldn’t refuse an invitation.”

“I can make sure they don’t.”  Emerald smiled.  “I’ll just be strong and confident, like you told me to be.  Sapphire works evenings, Saffron’s between jobs right now, E…Stacey’s a bit tricky with her hours at the supermarket and Amber’s currently downstairs trying to sort something out with a plumber for the Diego’s down on the second floor.”

“She’s a good girl too.”  Mrs Daley nodded.  “Very hard worker, I like to see more young women with drive and ambition, though it’s very important to take time out to look after yourself too.”  She saw that the electrician had finished and she looked back at Emma again.  “Be a dear, Emma and get me my purse, that young man’s worked very hard while we’ll just drunk tea and had a nice chat.”  She opened her purse and took out a $20.  “Now this is for you, young man, it’s not much for all the hard work you’ve done but my father always told me to take care of the people who look after you and you’ve just saved me from what could have been a nasty zap from that light switch.”

“Only because you’re such a sweetheart.”  Jimmy said to the old dear.  “If there’s any problems, then your or your granddaughter can give me a call any time of day or night.  He handed his card to the teenage girl as she was closer to him now.

“Thank you very much.”  Mrs Daley said before Emma could say anything.  “Show the nice gentleman out Emma, there’s a good girl.”

“Thanks for everything.”  Emma said to Jimmy as she opened the door then closed it again.  “Why didn’t you let me correct him?”  She asked her elderly friend.

“Because, Emma, you’re the closest I’ve got to a granddaughter.  My own family don’t visit me anymore, I suppose they’ve all got full lives and who cares about me getting in the way?

“I care.”  Emerald said honestly.  “You’re the closest friend I have, apart from my friends.”

Mrs Daley realised that Emma was seeing her as a substitute mother-figure.  She couldn’t really blame the poor girl, she’d had it rough but she hadn’t let it wear her down like some of her friends.



Sapphire was glad when they reached Goodbuys, the supermarket where Ecstacy worked.  “Here we are.”  She spoke for Ruby’s benefit, as Saffron spent more time here than she did.  “Ecstacy’s really nice, she’s got a lot in common with the rest of us, parents who just didn’t understand her at all and like us she had to lose herself here in the city in order to find herself, and with the group’s help she’s doing really well.”

Saffron took the lead, attracting Ecstacy’s attention.  “Hey, E, over here girl.”

“Hi Saff, Saph.”  She saw the trans girl with her two friends.  “Who’s the new girl?  Hi I’m Ecstacy, though everyone in the shop knows me as Stacey, cos they don’t realise just how fabulous I am.”

“I’m Ruby.”  Ruby said to the pretty older girl.  “Sapphire said that you’re the boss.”

“Well assistant boss.”  Ecstacy explained.  “But I see to the day to day running of the place.”

“That’s so neat.”  Ruby had no idea that trans people could be so normal and have regular jobs and even be a manager.  “I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, school was just such a pain, I’m glad I’m out of it.”

“You might want to rethink that, young lady.”  Sapphire said sharply.  “Without qualifications all you’ll have to look forward to is below minimum wage jobs.  Finish school first, so you’ve got a good grounding and all that knowledge you gain will go to making you an even better you.”

“Sapphire’s right.”  Saffron agreed.  “I’ve been drifting between jobs because I’ve got nothing, sure I’ve been picking up things here and there but in all honesty if I could do some night classes I would, so I could get myself a better job, problem is they cost, so I’m stuck in the middle with nothing and going nowhere slowly and painfully.”

“How can I go back to school?”  Ruby asked?  “The second I register they’ll know I’m a runaway and the police will arrest me and I’ll be dragged back to my parents for another round of hate, fear and bigotry.”

“We’ll try and help you figure out your options.”  Sapphire said.  “I think the best we can hope for is to get you some sort of social worker who’ll fight your corner in that arena for you.”

“Even this place wants a high school diploma.”  Ecstacy said to Ruby.  “Sure I could give you a month as job experience but that’s about it and it wouldn’t be for much more than five bucks an hour, which is nothing at all, believe me.”



Amber paid the Tony the plumber from the building’s petty cash box.  “Thanks for coming out quickly and sorting out that leak.”

“No problem Amber.”  Tony replied.  “Is Manuel off today?  Usually I deal with him”.

“He’s off all week.”  Amber replied.  “Even he needs a holiday, though knowing him he’s probably fixing something somewhere.”

“Yes, he swung by and fixed my garage door for me last month.”  Tony knew, as did Manuel, that often the best way to make business contacts is to do a good job well as a favour for others, though obviously in a way that makes it clear that it’s a one off event and next time payment of some form is expected.  “He didn’t say he was leaving his daughter in charge though, but I think you’ll do fine.”

“Sometimes I wish he was my father.”  Amber said.  “Alas not.”

“So you’re just doing this as a favour for him?  Shouldn’t I be dealing with the building owner?  I’ll give them a call if you give me his number.”

“There’s no need.”  Amber replied.  “You’re talking to her.  Daddy wanted me to go to business school and get some fancy piece of paper to show that I can run a business.  My answer was to earn the cash to buy this place, renovate it and turn it into a thriving business and a fine place to live for my tenants.  He doesn’t underestimate me anymore.”

“You’re still a teenage girl and you own this place?”  Tony wished that he had a daughter like Amber, who could apply herself and get on, instead of the boy-obsessed clothes-buying gossip-aholic he did have, though he hated himself for thinking that so he revised his thought and wished that he could have Amber as his daughter as well as Antonia.

Jimmy found Amber.  “I’m finished upstairs, but I’ve got to tell you the wiring in this place is shot to hell, the whole lot’s gonna need replacing in the next three to six months or there’s gonna be a lot more things gonna go wrong.”

“Thanks.”  Amber said to Jimmy.  “I’d better start costing some quotes.  Are you interested in tendering?  I prefer to pay for people who’s work I know is good rather than because they bid lower than everyone else.”

“I’ll have to have a think about it, it’s probably too much for me to be honest, though if I can get together a few guys I know who know their stuff then I’ll see if I can put something together for you.”

“Of course.”  Amber nodded.  “I appreciate your candour.”  She paid Jimmy and waited until he left before she finished up with Tony.  “You don’t know anyone who’s interested in tending for the job?”

“You believed him without checking for yourself?”  Tony asked Amber.  “Not a smart way to run a business.”

“Manuel recommended him.”  Amber replied.  “He trusts him to do his job well, just as he trusts you to do your job well.  Manuel’s opinion of people is very important to me.  He’ll be the one sorting out the bids for me, I trust him to do his job well.”

“Honey my opinion of you has just been revised upwards twice in one day.”  Tony said to Amber.  “I’d better be going, I’m usually available on my cell hone should you need me again.  Manuel has it written down in his notebook.”  Tony had a similar notebook, it listed all the people who he could absolutely rely on to do their jobs properly with minimal drama.  He knew some right characters but they were absolutely solid when it came to doing the job properly.


The day was warming up already as Alistair arrived at the running track, except the rest of the athletics team weren’t there, just his boyfriend Steve.  “Hi gorgeous.”  He kissed his bloke good morning affectionately.
After the superb kiss and some light groping Steve explained what was really going on.  “I had the coach schedule a fake track meet for you today, he owed me a favour, so I could lure you here under false pretences for a day of cool gay fun.”
Alistair grinned at this wonderful news.  “That sounds like good news to me.”
“I’ve got a few things lined up for us.”  Steve said.  “However as it’s our day we don’t have to do any of them if you don’t want to.”
“No.”  Alistair smiled again.  “I want you to continue sweeping me off my feet, this feels wonderful.”
“First up I thought we could go for a nice relaxing sauna, followed by a massage, I saw an advert for a newly opened gay friendly place.”  Steve had already booked the appointments, as well as arranging a few other surprises.
“You just can’t wait to get me out of my clothes, can you?”  Alistair teased Steve.



Amber took her shoes off and sat down in her comfy chair.  She was about to turn her television set on to look at the developing news stories, when there was a knock at the door.  She opened it to see her father standing there.  “How can I help you Daddy?”
“I was wondering if you’d had a chance to look over what we talked about last night.”  Anthony said to his daughter.
“Sure.”  Amber replied.  “Though I do have other things I wish to pursue at the moment, I can’t commit to a full time job, I could do a couple of days a week right now, then move up to more later.”
“I was thinking more like four days a week.”  Anthony replied.  “I need you to give everything a complete overhaul, to make sure the business will survive, call it future-proofing.”
Amber thought about this.  “We could meet in the middle, say three days for now, and we can review the situation in say three months?”
“You drive a hard bargain.”  Anthony was proud of Amber for sticking to her guns and wanting to honour her current commitments.  “Done, though you have to come home this weekend, for a family meal.  Your mother insists and I want you to feel like you’re welcome back anytime, your room is just the same as you left it, so if you want to redecorate it then it’s fine by me.”
“Thanks Daddy.”  Amber said.  “I’ll call you or Mom on Friday to finalise things.
“I’d better go, your mother came here with me, but when we got here she said that she had other things to do, I think she’s gone off to meet your friend Emma.”
“Oh.”  Amber wondered if her mother was checking up on her by interrogating her friends about her transitioning.  “I’m sure they’re just gossiping, they really hit it off when they talked the other day.  I had no idea Mom was a trainee hairdresser before she got her college scholarship.”
“Yes.”  Anthony said.  “The most important scholarship in the world.  “Without it I may never have met her, certainly not at the right time for us to meet and fall head over heels in love with each other.  Then you and your brother might not been have born either, but that’s just could’a, would’a, should’a and it’ll drive you crazy if you give it too much thought.”



Opal found Emerald’s room, the door was open and she looked inside to see the young woman giving an older woman a haircut.  The apartment had been turned into a miniature hairdressing salon, and she realised that the girl must work from home on her days off to keep up her skills, by practicing on her neighbours.
“Hi Mrs McFarlane.”  Emerald said to Amber’s mom.  “Come in, please.  I’m just giving Mrs Daley a nice trim.  This is Amber’s mom, Mrs Daley.”
“I sure I’ll be able to see the resemblance dearie, once I have my glasses back on.”  Mrs Daley said as the new arrival took a seat.
“Here they are.”  Emerald passed Mrs Daley her glasses.
“That’s better, yes, I can see it now.”  She said brightly.  “Your daughter is so much like you.”
“Thank you.”  Opal said to the kind older woman.  “I’m only just beginning to really get to know Amber.”
“I was worried that she was never going to get herself into womanhood.”  Mrs Daley said casually.  “I saw her a few times dressed as a boy, when she first took over this place, she’d always be so discrete but when you’re my age all you’ve got to do is watch other people coming and going with their lives.”
“I was just suggesting that she get herself a nice toy boy.”  Emerald said to Amber’s mom.  “Mr Blake on five is a widower and he’s still got both his own hips and knees.”
“Oh Emma, you are a hopeless romantic.”  Mrs Daley said with a smile.
“There we are, all done.”  Emerald brushed the trimmed hairs off Mrs Daley’s neck and then she removed the pale pink sheet.
“It really suits you.”  Opal said to the older woman.  “Emerald’s got a real gift.”
“Please, call me Emma.”  Emerald said to Amber’s mom.
“I like Emerald.”  Opal said.  “It is as beautiful a name as you are.  You’re going to have so many boys chasing after you.”
“I’ve said as much myself.”  Mrs Daley agreed.
“Alas I can’t stat much longer.”  Opal said.  “I just really popped in to get a business card for your salon, Emerald.  I need a whole new do for a corporate function next month and I have some free town next week while I’m in the city, so I figured I’d get an appointment with you then.  My husband is trying to persuade Amber to join the family business, I just caught a lift with him so that I could see you Emerald and it was lovely to meet you Mrs Daley.
Emerald wasn’t sure what to think after Amber’s mother left.  “I could have cut it here for her for free, she’s my friend’s mom after all.”
“Emma dear, I think she wants to help you improve your business standing by giving you a large tip.”  Mrs Daley said.  “Rich folk always think they can help people with money.”
“Possibly.”  Emerald nodded.  “I just like to help people as best I can with what they need doing at the time.”
Mrs Daley smiled and nodded.  “That’s why you’re such a good girl.”



Amber looked up when Sapphire let herself into her room, followed by Saffron and a younger girl.  “Hi, come in.”

“This is Amber.”  Sapphire said to Ruby.  “Our wunderkind.”

“We need your help.”  Saffron got straight to the point.  “Ruby needs her education, but if she just turns up at the local high school they’ll know she’s a runaway as soon as they put her details into the system.”

Amber nodded and looked at Ruby.  “I take it things aren’t that great with your folks.”

“Apparently I’m going to burn in hell.”  Ruby replied honestly.

“Fair enough.”  Amber got up and turned on her computer.  “You’re still underage, so you’re going to need a parental figure to be your legal guardian.  The rest of us have jobs, so it’s going to be Saffron.”

“What?”  Saffron gasped.  “I mean anything to help my newest sister, but I’m hardly good enough to be her mother.”

“Actually I have great faith in you.”  Sapphire said honestly.  “Out of all of us you’re easily the most maternal.”

“Don’t you mean Emerald?  She’s the total girly girl.”

“She’s also got a job of her own and hardly old enough legally speaking to take care of Ruby.”  Sapphire added.  “I’m a recovering heroin user, that’s on my police records.  Don’t look at me like that, you didn’t need to know that until I was ready to tell you.  You’re the woman for the job Saffron, you have all the maternal instincts inside of you, you just need someone to apply them to, she’s standing next to you.”

“Do you mind?”  Ruby asked Saffron.

“No.”  Saffron said.  “I don’t mind.  I was the one who said I had nothing, I was looking for the right job, maybe now I’ve finally found it.”

“You’ll need more than that.”  Amber said as she loaded up her favourite hacking software.  “You’ll need a steady source of income and a place to live, luckily I’ve already sorted those out for you.”

“Fair enough.”  Saffron shrugged.  “I suppose a proper bed’s going to be good after a month on Emerald’s sofa.”

“A whole month?”  Sapphire asked.  “I had no idea you’d been kicked out your old place for that long, I’d have tried to pull some strings to get you a few hours at the club.”

“It’s ok.”  Saffron shrugged.  “I guess everything was leading me here to this moment.”

“Not even I’m that good a planner.”  Amber smiled.  “I guess you really do have your own guardian angel.”

“If she could lead me to a couple of designer frocks I’d be grateful.”  Saffron joked.

Amber found the nearest high school.  “Red Bank High School, a good syllabus emphasising sports.  I know this system like the back of my hand.”  It took her three seconds to get into their mainframe.  “I hacked this computer on my first day there, it’s my old school.”

Saffron looked at the school syllabus.  “Is there any subjects you’re especially good at Ruby?  We may as well get you fast tracked onto what you’re good at.”

“Science is pretty neat.”  Ruby said shyly.  “I also like history and English lit.”

“Not a problem.”  Amber selected the subjects as Ruby’s top subjects on her new school profile.  “I’ve given you the same block on gym that I had, for obvious reasons.”

“Good thinking.”  Saffron said to Amber before looking at Ruby.  “You’re going to have to be careful Ruby, make lots of new friends but never share a stall with any of them when you use the bathroom and decline any and all invites for a sleepover, blame it all on me, you’ll thank me later, just say I’m a monster and an ogre.”

“Ok.”  Ruby felt a little sad but acknowledged that Saffron and Amber were right, that until she had had the surgery she really wanted to be as feminine as she could be down there it was unfair on the other girls to surprise them with something they weren’t expecting.

“I’ve put some notes in your profile, the school needs to know your trans status, for their medical files, including a rather stern letter from your lawyer reminding them to treat you like a young woman at all times and not to out you, even by accident, without legal consequences.”  Amber looked at Ruby.  “It’s in case you have an accident at school, any other trans girl transferring in from another school would have something similar in her file.”  She found and hacked into Ruby’s old school and copied all her details from it before remote initiating the transfer process, triple-locked in a legal seal to prevent the school knowing where Ruby was going to so they couldn’t inform her parents.  That was going to be something Ruby had to do, or not, herself when she was ready to do.

Saffron looked at Amber.  “So what kind of job did you hook me up with anyway?”

“Just an entry level position.”  Amber said.  “It’ll let you come in with no specific skills, if you find something you like you’ll be able to develop yourself in that direction.”

“Like you’re good that that?”  Saffron asked.

“That’s right.”  Amber smiled.  “I’m their new security consultant.”

Sapphire laughed.  “I like it.”

“Is that it then?”  Ruby asked.

“Almost.”  Amber said.  “Package sent from your old school, intercepted by me, tagged with a unique hidden cipher and sent on, and received by your new school, congratulations Ruby, you’re the new girl there.”

“Great.”  Saffron said.  “Just do the opposite of what I did and you’ll graduate with honours.”

“Room 62.”  Amber said and passed a key to both Saffron and Ruby.  “It’s got enough space for the both of you and I’ve already been up to give it an airing out.”

“You didn’t know we were coming over.”  Saffron said to Amber.

“Really?”  Saffron waved her mobile.  “Ecstacy phoned me from the supermarket to give me the heads up.  I just got sat back down when you all turned up, I know I’m pretty good but together ladies we are all amazing.”

“Thanks.”  Ruby hugged Amber then Sapphire before finally hugging Saffron the longest.  “You have no idea what this means for me.”

“Everyone’s life is unique and distinct.”  Amber agreed.  “Just look at me and my twin brother.  That said we each of us all have something in common with someone else, it’s what makes us human. 



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second draft of a short story "Amber's Story" - almost the final bit
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2014, 02:35:54 pm »
CHAPTER FIVE
‘Decisions, decisions.’

The day had started well enough, Ecstacy reflected.  Grumbly Gary and Big Larry had opened up before she got there and had actually managed to get a lot done, so she thanked them both by making them a cuppa before she unlocked the safe and took out the float for the till.  She completed the register and got Big Larry to countersign it.  “Thanks.”

“No problem.”  Big Larry replied.

Then she double checked the sell by dates on the computer, there were a few items that needed to be put over on the reduced items shelf.  Also the staff kitchen needed cleaning down and the back gate needed unlocking and the service door put on the stand by latch.  She offered the two guys their choice of jobs.

“I’ll do the dodgy stock.”  Grumbly Gary said quickly.

“I’ll do the back gate and the service door.”  Big Larry knew Saffron had no chance of doing that job; she just didn’t weigh enough to be able to move the counterweight.

“Good.”  Saffron was left her with cleaning up the kitchen, predictably.  She set about the task quickly and soon had it done, it was amazing what you’d do quickly to avoid making it last a moment longer and scraping out the microwave oven was just one of those icky jobs.  “Does either of you two want another coffee?  “She didn’t see the thief until she walked out of the kitchen and into range of his gun.  “What the hell?”  It went off and there was a huge burning pain and she fell to the ground screaming in agony.



Amber drove herself to work, she had a car park pass already but she needed to get her ID badge and find her new office.  At least she hoped that she had her own office, not because she was antisocial but a lot of what she was going to need to do was not what she wanted other people seeing her doing.

“Good morning miss.”  Kelly said to the teenage girl.  “How can I help you?”

“Oh I’m just here to work.”  Amber said.  “It’s my first day.”

“Congratulations.”  Kelly said, then remembered the confidential memo she’d read yesterday about the boss’s daughter starting work with the company today.  “Is it Amber?”

“Yes.”  Amber smiled.  “I’m supposed to go to human resources to get my ID badge.”  She looked at a map of the building behind the reception desk.  “Is it still in the same place as before?”

“You’ve been here before?”  Kelly asked.

“I did a month here, a while back, work experience.”  Amber didn’t want to go into great detail but she didn’t want to give Kelly short thrift either.  “Shall I just wait over there by the comfy chairs?”

“Sure.”  Kelly picked up the telephone and rang up to the HR department.  “Hi, Suzanne?  It’s Kelly at the front desk.  Amber’s just arrived; do you want me to bring her up?  You’ll come down for her, I’ll let her know.”  She looked over at Amber.  “Suzanne’s on her way down, she’ll take you up to HR.”

“Thanks.”  Amber said and made a post to her online blog.  She was more than annoyed that her message was sent, the wi-fi was not properly secured, item one on her to do list.

The elevator opened and Suzanne emerged from it.  She had thirty years of corporate experience under her belt and had faced down everyone from the biggest multi-national to the smallest vendor for the snack machines.  The sight of the teenage girl in the tan skirt suit filled her with dread, she was the worst case scenario, the boss’s daughter who could be fickle and capricious and become her new employer one day.  “Amber, good morning.”

“Hello.”  Amber gave Suzanne a demure smile.  She was one of her father’s most trusted employees; she wasn’t going to pass that level of respect up lightly.  “I’m looking forward to working with you.”

“As am I.”  Suzanne knew that Amber had just been given the security portfolio for the entire business, without having to work a single day to earn it; her Anthony had made it abundantly clear that Amber was the right woman for the job.

“Who’s in charge of the building’s wi-fi?”  Amber asked Suzanne as they were in the lift.

“I’m not sure, someone in technical I suppose.  I can look into it for you.”  Suzanne wasn’t sure where Amber was going with her question.

“I sent a message to my online blog from inside the building using its wi-fi, its unsecured wi-fi.  Anyone could hack into our systems with that sort of access.”  She pressed a few buttons on her mobile phone.  “Like this.  I’ve just accessed my own personnel file and corrected the spelling mistake on my middle name, its Daytona not Antonia.”

“That’s…impressive and scary.”  Suzanne had just realised why Amber had gotten the security job.  “I’ll investigate the situation at once.”

“We’re going to do excellent work together.”  Amber smiled at Suzanne.  “My father employs the best people, you’re the most trusted of his inner circle, and I hope I can earn your trust.”

“I think you just did.”  Suzanne smiled at the obvious but welcome compliment.  “I’m sure you’ll be aware that your building ID card operates every security door your access level grants you.”

“I remember.”  Amber said.  “Physical security is always going to be an issue, anyone can forget a pass or drop it by accident and anyone can pick it up with innocent intentions.  It’s the few criminals who bear us ill will that we need to be worried about on that front.  My speciality is cyber crime and how to stop it.  I know I told my father I’d only do three days a week here but I might just have to do a couple of nights too, the world is a lot smaller now than it used to be when I was a child, crime is a twenty four hour business now.  Secrets sell and I need to make sure that no-one gets their hands on ours.”

“You sound well informed.”  Suzanne decided to show Amber personally up to her office.  “You’re on the tenth floor; we keep all our security servers just below you on ninth.  No-one can get off on nine, except you and your team.”

“What about the maintenance crews?”  Amber asked.  “It’s unlikely but not impossible they could be coerced into slipping something in with our regular kit.”

“They’re watched, normally.”  Suzanne said.  “I could double the detail on them.”

“That’s ok.”  Amber replied.  “We may need to upgrade everything and install it ourselves.  I’ll have a look at what we’ve got this afternoon.  First things first I want to meet my team, see who they are and what they can do.  If I don’t like them then I may need you to give them references elsewhere, I’d rather not but if I need to make changes and they won’t implement them or do things properly after I explain what I’m doing and why I’m doing it then they’ll be better off working elsewhere, because otherwise they’ll be sitting at their desks doing nothing for the rest of their careers.”

“Of course.”  Suzanne could already see a lot of her father in Amber’s attitude to protecting the company while caring for her employees.

The lift doors opened and Amber allowed Suzanne to lead her out to meet the business security team.  They were a good mix of people and they all looked promising enough, the right mix of geek and corporate chic.

“Good morning, I’d like to introduce your new head of security, Miss Amber McFarlane.”  Suzanne said with a stern look.  “Amber is here to examine our security systems and overhaul things if it’s needed.”

“Ain’t nobody can beat this system.”  Garry said proudly.

“Is that so?”  Amber asked the boaster.  “Who’s in charge of the wi-fi?”

“I am.”  Garry replied.

Amber showed him her phone, it showed Garry’s private file.  “I was inside this system within seconds; Suzanne saw how easy it was.  We need to forget everything about the old security policy that was defunct the moment I did this.”  She waved her phone.  “We’re going to make the new security policy for this building and we’re going to make it right.  When people ask what the industry leader in the field of business security looks like they’re going to see a picture of us.  I only ask the very best of you because you are supposed to be the very best in your areas of expertise.  Together we’re going to make our company the industry leader it deserves to be.  Garry, you need to go on a course and relearn basic security protocols.  Learn them, learn how to bypass them, and then learn how to block the bypass.  Repeat until you know how to do your job in your bones and in your sleep.  It says here you’ve got a genius level IQ, so I’ll give you the rest of the week off to go and do your homework.”

“Fine.”  Garry walked away.

“I’m not here to punish or castigate people.”  Amber said.  “If I don’t think you’re able to do what I want you to do then there are other places you can be where they won’t ask you to flourish and grow your talents.”

“What gives you the right to make all these changes?”  Stella asked.  “You’re just the boss’s tranny daughter.”

“Yes.”  Amber said.  “I am the boss’s daughter.  I am also your new boss, with a remit to find every area where our security system is lax.  A man once called my friend Saffron a tranny, then he hit her, then he got his friends to call her a tranny and they also hit her.  There were five of them beating up one innocent woman; I don’t know what they were trying to prove other than their own insecurity.  I put four of those men in hospital, one of them won’t ever walk properly again because I used my kung fu training to hurt him that bad, and that was my fault, my shame, I lost control and instead of just helping my friend I hurt the people who were acting out of fear and ignorance and I vowed to myself never to lose control like that again.  I won’t become a bully myself, rather a teacher, an educator and hopefully a friend.  Yes I am a trans woman; the emphasis in that statement is on the word woman.  Please don’t use the word ‘tranny’ again; it’s very offensive to me and every other trans person.  If you find that you cannot accept that your boss is a woman then feel free to leave now, I’ll get the job done without you, though I’d rather have you with me, together we’re stronger than we are separate.”

“I’m sorry Amber, you’re right; I am pretty uninformed about trans issues.”  Stella said.  “I didn’t realise I was causing offence.”

“I’ll send you a copy of the GLBT respect section of our equality and diversity policy.”  Suzanne said to Stella, she’d have just fired the woman for being a bigot, but Amber had diffused the situation in a calm and somewhat scary manner and revealed a lack of understanding rather than bigotry behind Stella’s outburst.  “Now I really must get back to HR.”  She said to Amber.  “Call me if you need me again.”  She left the younger woman to her job, confident that she’d manage from now on.

Amber looked at the rest of her team.  “I look forward to getting to know you all properly over the coming days, weeks and months.  Please call me Amber, first things first though, we have a known security breach, let’s deal with it before we’re all out on the streets and don’t think for a second my father wouldn’t fire me, if I’m not the woman for the job then he’s got to find the person who can do it.”



Ruby was nervous and seriously glad that Saffron was with her as she stood outside her new school.  “What if everyone hates me?”

“They won’t.”  Saffron reassured Ruby.  “Certainly not the whole school anyway, that’s a statistical impossibility.  I know I didn’t get a great education, I had issues, I know you have issues too, but this is an opportunity for you to learn who you and maybe learn how to overcome some of those issues and answer any questions and concerns you have.”

“What if someone finds out I’m trans?”  Ruby gave voice to her biggest fear.

“Then you look them in the eye and be proud of who you and how strong and confident you are young lady.  You don’t apologise for being who you are, most kids your age don’t have the first clue about themselves, you have the advantage over them, you’re already much closer to understanding yourself.”  Saffron gave Ruby a hug.  “Now go and learn some stuff and if you paint a picture bring it home so that I can pin it to the fridge.”

“Ok.”  Ruby said and made the long lonely walk to the school’s reception desk, so she could officially be recognised as a student of the school.

“Hi.”  Rose said to the obvious new girl.  “I’m Rose.”

“Ruby.”  Ruby replied.  “Is it that obvious?”

“Kind of.”  Rose said.  “It’s the middle of the school year and I’ve never seen you before now.”

“So much for trying to fit in.”  Ruby sighed.

“The first thing you’ve got to learn is that sometimes you have to stand out in order to fit in.”  Rose explained her theory of high school fashion.  “Nothing outrageous, obviously, but nice and tasteful.  Was that your Mom?”

“My legal guardian.”  Ruby explained.  “She’s looking after me now.”

“That explains a lot.”  Rose nodded.  “Usually when a new kid appears it’s because someone decides they need a fresh start, or their parents move state because of a job.”  Rose led Ruby to the reception desk.  “This is you, Ruby, I hope we have some classes together, see you around.”

“Thanks.”  Ruby looked at the receptionist.  “Hi…I mean hello.  I’m Ruby Tuesday Johnston.”

“Like the song?”  Lana asked the teenage girl, fearing that she’d never even heard of The Stones, never mind the song her parents had named her after.

“Apparently.”  Ruby replied.  “I’m new, my records should have arrived by now.”

Lana looked up Ruby’s file and found it, everything was straight forward enough, then she saw the medical notes and she understood more than she needed too, but nothing changed her initial assessment of her girl as nice and polite, more so than many of her school mates.  “Here’s your time table and a map of the school.  Your first lesson is starting soon, it’s on the second floor, up those stairs and stay on the right until you reach the fourth door.”

“Thank you.”  Ruby took both the syllabus and map of the school.  She resolved to learn it as quickly as she could, so she didn’t seem like a total newbie (which she feared would be a fate worse than death).



Lunch was a welcome affair as Amber sat in the staff restaurant with her brother, she had a figure-friendly salad while he had steak and fries to help fuel his exercise regime.

“So how’s it going sis?”  Alistair asked once he finished his first piece of steak.

“It’s still early days.”  Amber checked on the building security with her mobile.  “The building isn’t secure and my team have promised me they’d get a workable firewall up by now.”

“I’m sure they’ll deliver.”  Alistair shrugged.  “What’s the worst that can happen?”

“Someone steals all our company secrets, hacks our bank accounts and we end up poor and homeless, you don’t get your college sponsorship deal and I can’t buy the really cute dress next week that I’ve had my eye on all month, also Daddy might go to jail, and maybe me too.”

“That’s a pretty big worst case scenario.”  Alistair said.  “I’m not the compute whiz like you but shouldn’t a recursive asymmetric security algorithm do the job?”

“You’re hired.”  Amber said honestly.  “For today at least, you know more than what my team calls their knowledge pool.  Don’t you want to help your poor beleaguered sister out?”  Amber put on her best sad face.

“I’ve got another hour.”  Alistair said with a sigh.  “I had planned to spend it snogging my boyfriend.”

“Why didn’t you say?”  Amber asked.  “That’s way  more important than my little problems, at least one of us should have some fun snogging a guy today.  So, what’s he like?  Have you had sex yet?  I want all the juicy gossip!  This is so cool, I can finally talk to you about something we both have in common.”

“We both like seventies prog rock music too.”  Alistair reminded his sister.

“Yes, but talking about guys is a lot more fun.”  Amber smiled.  “You do like him don’t you?”

“Steve’s great.”  Alistair said honestly.  “We’re not officially a couple yet, he’s not out to his parents yet.”

“Tricky, but not impossible to work around.”  Amber looked at her apartment’s occupancy register.  “I’ve got a couple of rooms you two can hire, for the absolutely minimum family rate, cos I have to clean up afterwards and there could be mental trauma issues for me.”

“I suppose that would help.”  Alistair nodded.  “It’s certainly a way to be discreet, do you have cable?”

“You know I do.”  Amber had just started recording a new show for her brother.  “If I’m not in leave a message with Manuel, he knows who you are and he’s a great guy too.”

Alistair showed Amber a picture of his boyfriend.  “This is him, we had a surprise spa morning.”

“I am officially jealous.”  Amber smiled.  “And so pleased for you both.  I must find a nice little spa for myself and the girls.”



Emerald gave Amber’s mom’s hair a good examination before she even fermented any ideas.  She had wonderful hair, nice and thick, not too straight and not to wavy.  “You have excellent hair Mrs McFarlane.”

“Thank you Emerald.”  Opal said to Emerald.  “I grow it myself.”

“Nice one.”  Emerald smiled.  “Everyone calls me Emma.”

“There’s no need to be nervous, Emerald.”  Opal said kindly.  “You have a beautiful name, be proud of it.”

“You’re my friend’s mom and my boss is watching me like an eagle.”  Emerald replied.  “No pressure.”  She went to her happy place for a moment, a visit to some strange rocks out of town a year ago with Sapphire and Saffron.  Ecstacy had to work and Amber couldn’t get out of college.  “Right, I’m ready.”

“I can see the change in you.”  Opal saw how much more confident Emerald looked and acted.

“Here’s your tea.”  Lesley brought in Emerald’s customer’s drink.

“Thanks.”  Emerald said when the trainee got out the way, not in an unkind way, she just had a job to do.  She set about her work, methodically cutting, snipping, shaping and styling.  It would be a little daring but she was beyond certain that Mrs McFarlane had the cheekbones and the cleavage to pull off what she had planned for her, as they would help emphasise both.

Opal took a sip of her lemon zinger while Emerald paused for a moment.  “How is Amber, tell me about my daughter, please?  Is she happy?”

“Yes.”  Emerald replied honestly.  “I’ve only known her a short while really, but it feels like we’ve been friends forever.  She’s one of those girls who you know is going to be in your life always and I’m so glad I got to know her and help her.  When I first met her she didn’t have so much as a clue about what did and did not suit her, well I guess we all have to learn that lesson at some point in our lives.”

“Yes we do.”  Opal smiled.  “When I was your age my own mom made me wear A-line dresses and cardigans as plain as they sound.  Only when I got to college did I work out what I really liked and could wear to show off what I wanted to show off.”

“Amber’s like that too.”  Emerald smiled.  “Once she knew what worked she did her best to look her best at all times, you know, you’ve seen her.”

“Yes, she dresses a little too old for herself in my opinion, but she’s got her father’s drive and she wants to be taken seriously working for the family business.  If you can get her to relax a little at weekend’s maybe?”

“I’ll do my best.”  Emerald agreed almost conspiratorially before getting back to work on her customer’s hair.  “I hope you like this when I’m finished.  You have such amazing cheekbones, you shouldn’t hide them.

Opal took another sip of her tea as she listened to Emerald’s advice about after her hair, as the teenager told her some things that she didn’t know herself.  “I’m sure you’ll do a splendid job, Emerald.”



Sapphire was relaxing in her favourite park, feeding the ducks and enjoying herself.  Amber had started her new job, Ruby was at school by now, Ecstacy had her life under control and Saffron seemed a lot more grounded since she was looking after Ruby.  She looked up as a shadow fell across her.

“Hi, I’m Jess.”  Jess said to Sapphire.  “Your friend Tanya told me you’d be here.”

“Did she now?”  Sapphire asked.  “Did she tell you all about me?”

“Everything I need to know.”  Jess replied.  “You’re a woman who likes to be in control, Tanya said that you also like it when someone else takes charge from time to time.”

“Did she now?”  Sapphire asked.  Jess was very pretty, beautiful with a side order of totally gorgeous.  “Did she tell you…everything?”

“Those are mere details.”  Jess smiled.  “I would like to get to know you, to see your heart and your soul.”

Sapphire had to admit that Jess knew all the right moves and how to play them.  “Ok, so you’re gay too.  Feminine and yet with a nice amount of stud too.”

“Yes.”  Jess smiled and wanted very much to kiss Sapphire, but held her feelings in check.  “Only my parents call me Jessica, they know I’m a lesbian but I think they’re still in denial.”

“That’s parents.”  Sapphire sighed.  “I’m glad you’ve still got them.”  Her mobile rang and she considered switching it off.  “I’d better get this.”  She saw that it was Ecstacy calling her.  “Sorry about this.”

“Not a problem.”  Jess was glad that Sapphire wasn’t a loner with no friends, or a weirdo with strange friends.  Tanya knew some really strange people as well as normal folk.

“I’ve got to go.”  Sapphire stood up.

“I’ll go with you.”  Jess said.

“I’ve got to get across town.”  Sapphire said as she walked out of the park.

“Not a problem.”  Jess added.  “I’ve got a car.”

“We’re going to St Mary’s hospital.”  Sapphire said before she started to cry.  “Ecstacy, she’s been shot, that was the police calling everyone on her phone.”

“We’ll get there as soon as possible.”  Jess said and hugged Sapphire, as a friend.  “We can do this again another time.  Right now we have to focus on your friend.”

“Yes.”  Sapphire really liked Jess, but her friend had to come first right now.



Amber finds traces of hacking that weren’t down to her



Emerald brushed the final stray hairs from Mrs McFarlane’s neck and removed the purple and lilac cover sheet, so that she could see for herself just how her haircut looked in relationship to her outfit.  “I hope you don’t hate it.”

“It’s amazing.”  Opal was astonished at the bold and elegant shape Emerald had put her hair in, it was sexy, flattering, confident and subtle.  “You have magic fingers Emerald.”

The other women came over to admire Emerald’s work, they all hugged and congratulated their colleague’s excellent work.  Her boss Janet gave her the biggest hug.  “That’s an amazing job, Emerald, we’re so lucky to have you here.”

“I’m the one who’s lucky.”  Emerald smiled.  “You took me in when I had nothing but a hope and you taught me everything I know.”

“Yes, that’s true.”  Janet replied.  “However you took everything I taught you and made it your own and then you found a whole lot more inside of yourself.  Every teacher wants a pupil who will surpass her, that’s you Emerald, once word of your skill gets out, you’re going to be in high demand.”

“Get out it will.”  Opal said with a smile.  “All my friends will want to know who cut my hair once they see my new do.”

“Oh my.”  Emerald had always liked her job but she wasn’t sure that she could cope with that much pressure.  She was saved by the bell, literally, when her mobile phone rang.  “I’d better get this, it’s E.”

Opal was about to pay her bill when she saw Emerald burst into tears.  “What is it honey?”

“It’s E.”  Emerald sobbed.  “That was the police.  E’s in hospital, someone shot her at work!”

“I’ll drive you.”  Opal said as she gave Janet $500.  “I paid twice as much as that for a do that wasn’t worth half of what I just gave you.  Hang on to Emerald for as long as you can, don’t let them take her off you and use up her gifts for as long as you’re able to.”  She led Emerald to her car and helped the teenage girl inside.  “Let’s go and show your friend how you cut my hair.”  She tried to keep Emerald’s thoughts in a bright and happy place.



Ruby emerged from the school building to see Saffron.  She walked over to her guardian.  “What is it?  I got your text.”

“There’s been an incident.”  Saffron couldn’t think of the words.  “Ecstacy was shot this morning, some sort of robbery gone wrong.  She’s hurt but not badly.”

“Oh my God!”  Ruby exclaimed in shock.  “Can we see her?”

“Yes, I’ve spoken to your school, they’ve agreed to let me take you to the hospital as long as you’re back here again by the end of lunch recess.”

“How did you get here so fast?”  Ruby asked Saffron.

“Amber’s brother.  He was with her when she got the call.  They called me right after.  She sent him to come and collect us.”

“Hi.”  Alistair said to the school girl.  “Amber said she’d helped get you into our old high school.  How are you enjoying it?”

“He’s just trying to help keep your mind off E.”  Saffron explained to the startled Ruby.  “A good distraction is best for us both until we can get to the hospital and see her for ourselves.”

“School’s fine.”  Ruby said.  “I think I may have made a new friend.”  She told Saffron & Amber’s brother about Rose.

“She sounds nice.”  Saffron said encouragingly.  “It’s a good sign that you’re fitting in already.”

“Is that Rose Hampton?”  Alistair asked.  “I know her big brother Pete, he’s a solid bloke, if she’s anything like him then she could be your BFF, that’s the correct parlance now isn’t it?”

“Yes.”  Ruby said, feeling uncomfortable talking to a man.

“Alistair is Amber’s brother, it’s ok, we can trust him, he’s one of the GLBT community too.”

“Are you a lesbian?”  Alistair asked.  “My sister is very good at choosing her friends.  If anyone gives you crap about being gay just tell them that Alistair McFarlane, Amber McFarlane and Pete Hampton have your back.  Between the three of us we can solve pretty much any situation.”

Ruby didn’t correct Alistair to let him know her trans identity, she was kind of glad he saw her just as a girl without the T word in front of it. 



Ecstacy was pulled out of a dream, about a strange robot woman asking her to baby-sit for her, when she felt the presence of others nearby.  She opened her eyes to see all of her friends looking at her, plus most of Amber’s family and a strange girl she’d never seen before who was holding hands with Sapphire.  “Um, yeah, hi.”

“You gave us a shock.”  Sapphire said to Ecstacy.  “We were all so worried about you.”

“Sorry.”  Ecstacy said.  “Someone shot me, I was opposed to it but I didn’t have a say in the matter.”

Saffron picked up the medical chart and looked at it.  “Your vitals are good, your blood pressure was low but it’s picked up since the transfusion, hey we have the same blood group.”

“What?”  Emerald looked open mouthed at Saffron.

“What?”  Amber repeated the question.

“What?”  Ruby joined in, it seemed like the right thing to do.

“Fine.”  Saffron said to the others.  “I was a final year medical student, I lost a patient in what should have been a routine surgery but there was a cancerous mass that didn’t show up on any of the x rays.  He died of blood loss despite my best efforts to save him for ten hours.  I couldn’t come to terms with it, so I decided to give up medicine and do something else with my life.  I got as far as the beach where I did a lot of soul searching and had to confront my issues, which led me to realising I was trans, I had no idea.  I’m just one of those women who don’t know until they’re an adult and suddenly one day, oh yeah, I’m really a female inside and I want to be one outside too.”

“I’m so glad you’re first my emergency contact number.”  Ecstacy said.

“That’s a lot of guilt to be carrying around all this time.”  Sapphire said to Saffron.  “Can you repeat your final year?  Gain your doctorate?”

“What for?”  Saffron asked.

“It’d be so cool to tell everyone my guardian’s a surgeon.”  Ruby said quickly.  “And you’d get a great job too, everyone needs surgeons for stuff these days.”

“I think we should save this talk for later.”  Amber said to the others.  “We’re all here for Ecstacy.”  She looked at her bed bound friend.  “What do you want bringing in honey?  I’ve got my car, so I can get you what you need this afternoon.”

“I’m just glad to see you all.”  Ecstacy said.  “You too Amber’s mom, Amber’s brother and Sapphire’s new girlfriend.”

“I think we should clear out of here.”  Opal said to Alistair.  “You can drive me home and Ruby back to her school, Amber can see to Sapphire and her new friend.”

“Jess.”  Jess said with a smile.

“Sapphire and Jess.”  Opal said.  “You two make a nice couple.”

“You heard the lady.”  Nurse Claire said to all the visitors, Stacey needs her rest.  She looked at Saffron, final year med school drop out?  You’re staying here with me Missy.”

“What about Ruby?  She’s my responsibility, I’m her guardian.”

“We’ve got her.”  Amber said.  “We’re all family, we look out for each other.”

“Well said.”  Opal hugged her daughter.  “It’s finally good to see you growing into your own, it’s all down to me and Sapphire of course, and your father too.”

Saffron looked at Claire the nurse.  “How can I be of service.”

“Now you see that’s what I like about female doctors, they know how to do their jobs right.”  Claire smiled.

“I’m not a doctor.”  Saffron replied.

“Last year is medical placement in a hospital right?  On the job experience, so you get to see in reality what you’ve learned in books right?”

“Yes.”  Saffron agreed.

“No one gets into seventh year unless they know their stuff, right?”

“Yes.”  Saffron said.

“You’re a doctor, honey, they just didn’t give you a piece of paper and throw you a party.  Now find a white coat and put it on, we’re going to see Stacey’s friends, they weren’t so lucky.”  Nurse Claire increased her patient’s painkiller dose so that she was out of it again.

“What?”  Ecstacy asked before sleep claimed her.



Offline Princess Rachel

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Precious: New Beginnings
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2014, 01:59:20 pm »
well it's done, the novella has been finished, edited and published.  I've included as a bonus the first draft version of the original short story the novella grew out of, and is the first post of this thread.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/rachel-redhead/precious-new-beginnings/paperback/product-21733568.html