This is all 23 parts of my recent fiction serial, in one complete story.
It is a long read, at 17,900 words.
Phyllis Harvey. That would be a good name, he decided. A name that spoke of maturity, but not old age. A name associated with a certain class of woman, one who had made her way in life. Fifty-something, maybe sixty, but perhaps not being completely honest about her age. Terence was fifty-three, and according to his agent, he was washed up.
Despite the walls of his small flat being lined with framed copies of his best reviews, the casting agents were no longer calling, and his agent had told him it was time to seek another career.
What do you do though, when you have been acting since your teens, and drama school had opened up a world of opportunities? Go to work in a DIY store? Deliver online groceries for a supermarket? Try to find a very old sugar daddy?
Terence Halloran was at one time the ‘coming thing’, the young actor who stirred interest in the Arts Review columns of the serious newspapers. He was not about to start selling paint or delivering groceries, even though the money was running out.
Sugar daddies might be the answer, but he would have to prepare carefully.
Monty Rosenberg had been his first and only agent. Monty had got him some great work, back in the day. The reviews spoke for themselves. Terence gazed at the walls of his flat, seeking confirmation from his reviews.
‘As the villain, Halloran convinces completely. He inhabits the persona of a young gangster in every way imaginable’.
‘Terence Halloran is a revelation. I was completely convinced that he was Andrea, before the jaw-dropping reveal’.
‘Young Halloran will go far. He can convince in both hard man and vulnerable female roles, something this critic has never seen before’.
Oh yes, Terence had been in touch with his feminine side years before anyone had ever heard of that expression. Playing female roles as a man went back to before Shakespeare, but he revitalised that tradition at a time when nobody else was doing it. It helped that he had no interest in sex, whether with women or men. It had never seemed important to him as a young man, and that progressed as he got older and found work.
There were times when he would sit at the mirror in the dressing room, amazed at how convincing he looked. He had a ritual before going on stage. He would look at his completely feminised self after the five-minute call, and say, “Go girl!”.
Those were the good years. In one play he might portray a despicable wife-beating man, and in the next run he would swap roles and play the abused wife. The critics loved him, and so did the audiences. But small theatres in the provinces rarely made stars though, and he needed fame.
For that, television came knocking. Over eight years in the most popular soap opera in Britain, playing a female role that was eventually exposed as a man in a Christmas special. The audience reaction was phenomenal. He found it hard to believe that over ninety percent of his devoted viewers hadn’t guessed he was a man.
But the fallout was tragic. Terence was forever typecast.
Monty started to offer him roles as a crossdresser and transvestite. Not long after those, he was happy to accept one-night-stands as a female impersonator. Life had turned him into a drag queen, and no other chances had been open to him. He did guest appearances on chat shows, occasional cameos on mainstream programmes, always as a woman. Then as attitudes to sexuality changed, he became an unwilling spokesperson for crossdressing and drag culture.
It paid the bills, and Monty still took his fifteen percent.
Then it all ran dry. With the acceptance of so many new kinds of sexuality, even the tabloids didn’t want to pay him for interviews. He tried to headline a few parades, but they didn’t want him. Who needed female impersonators when they had outspoken transexuals willing to be seen for nothing?
Then Monty offered him some awful live appearances as a drag act. At first he said a flat no, but when the bills piled up, he reluctantly agreed. Horrible social clubs or busy pubs, with the audience cat-calling and throwing things. At two hundred a night, less his travel expenses, it was hardly worth getting dressed up for.
Once Monty cut ties with him, Terence knew it was time to do something drastic.
Two wardrobes and one chest of drawers stood in the cramped bedroom. Terence had them all open, and was pulling out various items. One wardrobe was for his female clothing, along with three of the six drawers. On top of the wardrobes stood a row of wig stands, each topped by a different coloured wig in a different style. One good thing about his former success was that he could afford the best, and they were all made from human hair which was so much more convincing.
However, when he had been performing in plays, or on TV, the costume departments had made or hired his clothing. The dresses he was spreading out on the bed were from his impersonater days, and some lurid ones used in drag shows. They would not do, definitely not Phyllis.
The morning had been spent carefully eaxmining his finances. If he was careful, he could manage six months before the money ran out completely, and he would have to completely ignore the last demand from the taxman for the time being. The website he had chosen to use had the great advantage that females did not have to pay to join. The male admirers had to pay to get contact details, so that saved him some money on the registration fee.
Choosing a photo had been easy enough. He had hundreds to pick from, and wanted one that showed a demure lady of a certain age. A nice off the shoulder dress that made him look quite busty, thanks to the silicon-filled falsies inserted into the bra. Nice jewellery that was completely fake, but looked the part. Wearing two pairs of nylon tights and some tight panties dealt with any potential issues of showing a masculine bulge, and the short blonde wig with dark contrast was eminently suitable for a woman in her fifties.
The online profile for Phyllis had to be worded carefully. Only so much space was allowed, and it was important to make sure the implications were not too blatant. Just enough personal detail, but nothing that would give too much away. After many revisions, Terence typed into the box next to the photo he had uplaoded.
‘Fifty-something lady, formerly the headmistress of a private girl’s school. I consider myself to be elegant and refined, and enjoy the good things in life with the right company. Now looking for a long term relationship with a kind man aged 65-75. You must be unmarried, and financially secure. Your own house or flat would be desirable, along with being a car owner as I do not drive. I am based in the London area, but willing to travel to meet the right man. I do not accommodate at my own address.’
Satisfied, he pressed ‘Create Profile’.
He didn’t live anywhere near London of course, he could never afford the rents down there. But the slightly better part of the city of Nottingham didn’t have quite the same panache as the capital, and he could get a train to anywhere he needed to be. He had chosen to say Phyllis was a retired headmistress, as he knew that would feed into the fantasies of a certain type of man. The type who liked the woman to be dominant, and be in charge. And he had chosen the older age range for the men because they would be more desperate, and not as strong physically.
That done, he wanted to get out to the shops before they closed. His budget was only going to stretch to some well chosen Charity Shops in the city, but he knew he could pick up some decent dresses at a good price in those. Once they were dry-cleaned and pressed, they would look as good as new.
Four dresses and a pair of high-heels later, he was back from the shops with a pizza to put in the oven for dinner. As well as the clothes and food, he had purchased a large jar of hair removal cream, and a multipack of disposable razors. Any body hair was definitely a non-no, and would scupper his plans.
Eating the pizza portions with his left hand, Terence logged on to the dating website to check if Phyllis’s profile was active. He almost dropped the food onto his old laptop as he saw that he had sixteen messages already. As he continued to look at the screen, the number kept rising. By the time the pizza was finished, it had risen to twenty-nine. Smiling to himself, he relaxed back into the armchair.
This was going much better than he had expected.
It was easy enough for Terence to whittle out the unsuitable contacts. Some sent unsolicited photos of their private parts with lurid messages about what they would like to do to Phyllis. They were all rejected out of hand. Others were far too young, even though he had stated 65-75, nine of them were under forty. He presumed they were looking for an older woman who might be grateful for sex.
Only one of the messages was from someone who suspected he was not female, but even that was positive. ‘Are you a man dressed as a woman? That doesn’t matter to me, I would still love to meet you’. He was blocked too. The whole point was to convince as a female, not to indulge the sexual fantasies of someone who liked crossdressers.
Although Terence had no real interest in sex, he had certainly had his fair share of it over the years. The casting couch was a reality in his younger days, and he had quickly learned to please both male and female producers and directors to stay in their good books. He considered himself to be a consummate actor, and his skill extended to being able to convince as a willing participant in whatever turned them on. But a long term physical relationship with someone of either gender held no interest for him.
He was a loner, in the real sense of the word.
After a long evening at the laptop, there were four particular persons of interest for him. Even as he re-read their profiles, more messages were arriving. Over sixty by the time he logged off and climbed into bed. He would explore his main choices the next morning.
Some of the profile photos were hilarious, and obviously taken years ago. One man who was seventy-two used a photo of himself on a golf course when he must have been around forty-five. By lunchtime, he had chosen his first target, the one he would get in touch with showing some serious intent to meet.
Geoffrey Lawson described hmself as a ‘Fit and active 74 year old with an outgoing personality, keen to meet the right lady for outings, holidays, and hopefully much more’. His photo was seemingly genuine, showing him sitting on a boat with a drink in his hand. He looked his age, was slightly overweight, and had not tried to change his full head of white hair by using dye. Googling the name, it took a while to find the right person. Retired from one of the major banks, widowed with two grown up children and five grandchildren, and living in an affluent part of Surrey, in the Home Counties near London.
There was no reply to the contact message until almost six that evening. It came with profuse apologies.
‘So sorry to get back to you so late, dear Phyllis. I was at the golf club this afternoon. Please do not think for a moment I was ignoring you. I am not used to this at all, my children suggested I join a dating website, and you are only the second lady I have tried to contact. The first one did not reply, so I hadn’t checked again before I left home earlier. I would very much like to meet you at a place of your choosing. Perhaps a nice dinner in London? I will let you decide. If you have other photos, I would love to see them’.
Terence had no shortage of photos, and scrolled though some that were just that little bit sexier. He sent Geoffrey three photos of himself wearing a short black cocktail dress and black stockings. One front view standing, one rear view standing, and then one sitting down with his legs crossed showing a little too much thigh. He kept the message short. ‘A meal in London would be lovely, Geoffrey. If you want to go ahead with a meeting I am free this coming weekend’.
The reply was almost immediate.
‘Wow, you are gorgeous! I have heard good things about The Oxo Tower restaurant in London. I could meet you there on Friday at seven, if that suits. Let me know, and I will book a table. Here are some recent photos of me on holiday last summer’.
No less than six photos were attached, all showing him wearing very small swimming briefs on what appeared to be an exotic beach, judging by the palm trees and powdery white sand. No doubt he thought his suntanned hairy chest would be enticing to Phyllis. But he had suggested a very good restaurant that was reasonably expensive. So Terence replied that would be ideal. Again, the reply was very fast.
‘Fantastic. I am so excited to meet you, dear Phyllis. I can’t wait for Friday!’
With the date arranged, Terence had three days to make his plans. A cheap hotel room in Bayswater was secured for sixty pounds for the one night. A train ticket was booked, and once he arrived at St Pancras it was an easy journey by underground to his down-market hotel. Although he knew in advance that many of his fellow guests might well be asylum seekers, homeless families, or sex-workers, that didn’t matter. Geoffrey was not going to be invited back there.
Because Geoffrey had been excited by the cocktail dress, another visit to one of the better Charity Shops produced a burgundy off the shoulder number that was sparkly, and rather too short for the age of Phyllis. No matter, combined with some hold-up black stockings, it was sure to get the old man’s juices flowing. Terence would travel as a man, and get ready in his hotel room before taking a taxi to the Oxo Tower restaurant as Phyllis. Those cheap hotels rarely had anything resembling a proper concierge, and modern-day London would completely ignore him arriving as a man and leaving as a woman.
Besides, he had already paid online, no breakfast included.
His old overnight bag would do nicely, with a change of clothes for the Saturday and Sunday, in case Geoffrey followed his lead. Terence was pretty sure that he would follow that lead, as he knew exactly what to say, and how to behave. By the time he had finished with him, Geoffrey would be hooked, and unable to resist. In anticipation, he had booked his return ticket for the Monday night, which would give him time to fully implement the plan.
The train ran on time, and he was at the Bayswater hotel ten minutes early. The Eastern European girl behind the formica-topped reception desk gave him a key. Disinterested, she mumbled “Third floor, room nine, a single”. There was no lift, but that was expected. The room was like a prison cell, and the view from the small window looked over the street, choked with cars parked on the resident’s permit spaces. Terence was already down nearly ninety quid, and he was still a long way off from convincing Geoffrey.
No matter. He had some very thick foundation make-up to cover any chance of a five-o-clock shadow later, and a perfume strong enough to stop a clock.
By the time he was ready to leave for the restaurant, he looked so sexy as Phyllis, he almost fancied himself. Hailing a cab outside was easy, and he had timed it to arrive about ten minutes late for the date, though the fare to South London from Bayswater was eye watering.That made him glad he had decided to draw out one hundred pounds in cash.
Because you never knew when you might need cash.
Geoffrey was standing outside the entrance to the restaurant, and was effusive with his praise as Terence emerged from the taxi as Phyllis.
“Oh, you look so wonderful. More than my wildest expectations, dear Phyllis”.
The meal in the restaurant went well. If Geoffrey had the remotest suspicions that Phyllis was not female, they were not apparent. Terence let him do all of the talking, and it was pure gold. A five-bedroom house in the best part of Surrey. Membership of the local golf club, and the local Masonic lodge. Close contact with his children and grandchildren. all of whom lived nearby, and were equally minted.
Keen to impress, Geoffrey ordered the most expensive items on the menu, and excellent accompanying wines regardless of price. By the time they had finished the desserts and moved on to liquers, he was making his move.
“I would love to show you my home, Phyllis. Do you think that if I collected you by car tomorrow you would be willing to stay overnight?” Terence was suitably cautious. “Well, I would have to have my own room of course, but I think that would be lovely, Geoffrey”. As he was speaking, Terence crossed his legs to show some stocking top. That wouldn’t hurt.
Geoffrey was stil excited.
“Well, shall we say eleven? Give you time for breakfast and getting ready? Let me know where you want to be picked up from.”
Terence told him he would wait outside Paddington Station. No need to be specific about where he was staying.
Outside of the Oxo Tower, he allowed Geoffrey to flag down a cab, and kiss him briefly on the lips. As he got into the taxi, he blew the old man a kiss.
“See you tomorrow, dear Geoffrey”.
When the car pulled in outside Paddington Station, Terence was impressed. Geoffrey wasn’t driving, it was a suit and tie driver in the front. A chauffeur driven hire car, much more luxurious than a taxi. The driver took the bag and put it in the boot. He gave Terence a knowing look that told him the man had sussed him immediately. But that didn’t matter, as Geoffrey was acting like a sex-starved teenager, keen to get Phyllis next to him in the back of the car.
Terence had chosen a respectable day dress for the journey. He could tell that Geoffrey was eager to touch him, and allowed a stroke around his left knee with no protest. On the way to Surrey, the old man couldn’t keep quiet.
“I have booked a table at the Country Club for dinner this evening. My housekeeper has left us a prepared lunch, and I have given her the rest of the weekend off. She won’t be back until Tuesday, so I really hope you can stay for two nights, if that suits your other commitments?” Terence confirmed that he could stay until Monday afternoon, and his new boyfriend beamed with delight.
“Oh, that’s more than I had hoped for. I have my own car at home, and will be happy to show you around. In fact, my oldest daughter has suggested a family meal on Sunday lunchtime. Everyone will be there to meet you, I admit I have already told them how lovely you are”. Terence smiled his acceptance, even though he already knew there would be no family meal on Sunday. By then, Geoffrey would have realised the truth.
Just over an hour later, the car turned into a long driveway leading to Geoffrey’s house in Virginia Water. Terence had smiled at the name of the area. He was a long way from being remotely virginial. But his online research about the area had told him that it was an enclave of the rich. So that suited his plans. He was feeling tired, as last night in the cheap hotel had been disturbed by fights on the landings, and the eventual arrival of the police at three in the morning. At least the turbulent night had given him time to do some more Internet research, using his phone on the hotel’s wi-fi.
Once the smirking hire car driver had departed, Geoffrey was keen to show him around the house. He was settled in his room, which was as big as his flat in Nottingham, then they ate the prepared lunch in a huge conservatory overlooking a garden as big as two football pitches, washed down with an expensive rosé wine. To give him some credit, the man kept his hands to himself in his own house. Terence had concluded that he would wait until they returned from the Country Club to make his move.
With the table booked for seven that night, Phyllis was given adequate time to prepare in her room. The black cocktail dress that Geoffrey liked so much was the chosen outfit, along with some very expensive black stockings, and a push-up bra that accentuated Phyllis’s fake cleavage. By the time the taxi arrived to take them to the Country Club, Geoffrey was almost salivating with desire.
He knew many of the people there, but seemed oblivious to the occasional stare at Phyllis. A small booth tucked away from the main dining area had been chosen. And he had also selected the menu and wines in advance, presumably to impress Phyllis. There were five courses, each accompanied by a different wine, and all impeccably cooked. During the meal, an effusive Geoffrey told Phyllis almost all of his lfe story, without any prompting.
Before the desserts arrived, Terence knew more about the children and grandchildren than he would ever need. He had also gleaned a huge amount of information about Geoffrey’s financial situation, all volunteered. It seemed he had an account there, as he just signed for the bill. The taxi arrived before eleven, and Geoffrey escorted him out like a gentleman.
During the short drive back in the taxi. Terence allowed a lot of leg-stroking as the tipsy man divulged much more information. “I would love to take you on holiday to my second home in The Maldives, Phyllis. I once considered retiring to live there, but my children were against it. So now I holiday there twice a year, but it would be so much better if you were there with me”.
That was impressive, and Terence was re-thinking just how much he would take from this mug.
As Geoffrey had taken off his suit jacket and excused himself to use the bathroom, Terence had a quick look through the pockets. As well as a wallet, he found a packet of Viagra, with one tablet missing. Smiling, he imagined Geoffrey standing in the bathroom taking the tablet, and psyching himself up for the planned seduction of Phyllis. A mobile phone was also in the inside pocket, and he took that, placing it in his handbag.
He needn’t have worried, as Terence planned on making it very easy for him.
The new boyfriend return holding a bottle of expensive Cognac, and two brandy bowl glasses. “I thought a nightcap would be in order my dear”. He sat close after filling the glasses with a hefty measure, and gently tapped the rim of his glass against Terence’s. “Here’s to beauty, and to us”. After their first sip, he leaned forward, planting a rather clumsy kiss on Terence’s lips. His face was flushed and warm, and the kiss was allowed and returned.
It was important to make him think he was going to get somewhere.
There didn’t seem to be any point beating about the bush, so he closed the deal with a prepared speech. “Geoffrey dear, you really don’t have to try to seduce me. I am more than willing to share your bed tonight. Let’s finish our drinks, and then give me time to get ready, okay?” It seemed to come as a surprise, but a welcome one. Follwing a large gulp of the Cognac, he replied.
“Oh, that would be wonderful. It has been a long time you see. My wife was unwell for many years before she died. Take as much time as you need”. Terence gently stroked the man’s hot face, then placed his glass on the table. “Why don’t I go up now? Come and join me in fifteen minutes, and make sure you are ready for action”. He thought Geoffrey’s eyes would pop at that, and his nodding agreement was shaking the jowls on his face.
Up in the master bedroom, Terence removed all his clothes except for the stockings, then put a silky black nightgown gown loosely around his shoulders. using Geoffrey’s phone, he took selfies as he wandered around the bedroom. Making sure the background showed exactly where he was, and even including a large framed family photo hanging on the wall. With the self timer, he placed the phone on a side table, and draped himself across the bed, looking rampant and blatant as he stared into the camera.
That done, he sent all the photos to his own phone as a backup, then started to send Geoffrey’s contacts to his phone too.
Hearing footsteps, he put the phone on the bedside table and wrapped the flimsy nightgown around his body. Lying back against the sumptuous pillows, he called out through the half-open door. “Is that you, my lover? I am ready for you”.
Geoffrey had been emboldened by alcohol, and walked into the room stark naked. One glance showed the Viagra had started to do its job very well. “Oh, my word, let me take a photo please. What a magnificent specimen”. Flattered, Geoffrey put his hand on his hips, and posed smiling for two photos.
Then Terence put the phone down, flung open the nightgown, and revealed all. “Come and get me”.
Frozen to the spot, his jaw dropped, and didn’t close again for a long time. Terence pretended to be hurt. “What’s wrong my dear? Don’t you want your lovely Phyllis?” Unable to reply, Geoffrey backed out of the room, still staring at the vision draped on top of his bed. He didn’t return to the bedroom for at least ten minutes, and when he did he was fully dressed. More confused than angry, he spoke calmly.
“There has been a terrible mistake, I’m afraid. I mean, I had no idea. This isn’t what I wanted at all”. As he was trying to explain himself, Terence tried not to laugh. He could see that the Viagra was still working, and poor Geoffrey was in such a state. He continued to act offended. “But are you sure you don’t want me, my darling? I assure you it would be a night you would never forget. Why not just lie next to me for a while, and let me change your mind?”
Setting his jaw, Geoffrey replied, still polite. “No, nothing like that is going to happen. I think you had better go. I will order you a taxi, you can take it wherever you need to go, and I will pay the driver in advance”. Terence changed his expression, and his voice.
“I don’t think so old love. Why don’t you sit down? We need to have a talk about something”.
Sitting on the bed with his head in his hands, Geoffrey was overwhelmed by the situation he found himslef in. He was unable to look at the almost naked man who was talking to him in a very different voice to the one he was used to. How could he not have realised? Now the truth was out, it was all too easy to see. The larger feet and hands, the hair that was now so obviously a wig. He had been taken in completely, and now he felt stupid and broken.
Terence was taking charge.
“Okay, this is what’s going to happen. Tomorrow morning, you ring your daughter and tell her Phyllis is unwell, probably something she ate. You cancel the family gathering, and on no account do you let them come here. Try to be positive, suggest a meeting another time. Tell them I am keen to meet them, that kind of thing. Then you are going to go online, transfer twenty thousand pounds to my bank account, and set up a regular monthly payment of five hundred pounds until further notice. Once you have done that, You will give me your laptop and your phone. You can tell anyone who asks that your laptop stopped working, and you lost your phone somewhere. Are you listening?”
His head was nodding, and he sounded as if he was crying. Terence continued.
“If you tell anyone, all the photos I took will be shared to your contact list, and all your family too. Don’t think about trying to delete them, I have copies on my phone, and they are all stored in The Cloud somewhere. You will not contact the dating site again, and as far as your relationship with Phyllis goes, you can give it a couple of weeks and just say it didn’t work out. On Monday, you can drive me to a station, and on the way stop at your bank and get me five thousand in cash. I doubt they will even blink about someone as rich as you taking out such a sum.”
From behind the hands came a muffled reply. “Alright”. Terence was getting ready for bed as Phyllis, and adopted the feminine voice as he replied.
“In the meantime, we stay civilised. Go and sleep in the spare room you gave me, I’ll sleep here. Don’t even think about any violence. I am fitter and stronger than you, and besides I would call the police, tell them I was being attacked, and answer the door naked. Try explaining that to the next meeting of the Masonic Lodge, Geoffrey dear”.
When he got downstairs after nine the next morning, Terence found Geoffrey slumped in an armchair, staring into space. He looked at least ten years older than he did yesterday, and was unshaved, wearing last night’s clothes. Without turning around, he spoke quietly. “The lunch has been cancelled. Give me your bank details, and I will do as you ask. But please do not stay another night. I will transfer the extra five thousand you requested now, and then order you a taxi. There is cash in the house, around five hundred I think. You can take that with the phone and laptop. But please leave, at least do that for me. I couldn’t stand another twenty-four hours of humiliation”.
The transfer of the funds went through easily, and the monthly payment was set up. Using Geoffrey’s wireless printer, Terence made a hard copy for reference. The laptop and phone would both be destroyed next week, leaving no trail behind. When he had packed his bag upstairs and the taxi had been ordered, Geoffrey gave him the cash, four hundred and fity pounds in fifty pound notes. “I would appreciate you waiting outside for the taxi, it will be here in ten minutes”.
He decided to take the taxi all the way back into London, and straight to the station. There would be time to get something to eat before his afternoon train back to Nottingham. The taxi driver hardly spoke a word all the way, which suited Terence nicely.
There was lots to think about on the two-hour train journey. He could pay off the tax bill they had been hounding him for, hopefully before any bailiffs became involved in debt recovery. The five hundred a month would pay the rent on his flat, with a bit over to help with the electricity bill. For the first time since he had worked in the TV soap opera, Terence had more than five grand in the bank.
When he got home early that evening he was soon on his old laptop, carefully choosing the next target.
With the number of messages now well over two hundred, Terence had to spend time whittling out the chaff. By the time he had done that, he was still left with over thirty that looked promising. That left him with the conclusion that the real over-fifty women must be lacking appeal, for some reason.
Lawrence Colman-Tolliver was definitely worth trying. Seventy-seven years old, and looked every minute of it. Privately educated, and related to the family that once owned Colman’s Mustard in Norwich, he still lived in the county of Norfolk. He listed his interests as ‘Fun’ and ‘More fun’. The profile photo showed him on a pheasant shoot near Sandringham, blatantly suggesting he was one of the monied clique that surrounded the Royal Family. Whether that was true, or bluster, remained to be seen.
The trouble was, Norfolk was a pain to get to. So when he replied to the direct message, Terence suggested London as a meeting point. He could afford a better hotel since he had fleeced Geoffrey, and might as well speculate to accumulate, by appearing to Lawrence as not to be concerned about money. Annoyingly, the old man took his good time to reply, and not until eleven the next morning. His message read like something that could have been sent in the nineteenth century.
‘That would suit, M’dear. I can stay at my club in Pall Mall, and meet you at Rules restaurant, Covent Garden. Would seven on Saturday be good with you? I can send a car if need be. I have to say you look like a jolly attractive lady indeed. Don’t be fooled by my age, I am very active, and can guarantee you would not be at all disappointed.’
Well, he was full of himself, Terence thought. Probably another Viagra-swallower. But the Colman’s mustard connection suggested some inherited wealth, so he replied quickly.
‘Why Lawrence, that sounds wonderful. I know Rules of course, wonderful English food in an intimate atmosphere. I will arrange a taxi from my hotel, and meet you inside at seven as you suggest’. The old bastard took over an hour to reply. ‘Looking forward to it, M’dear.’
A hotel in Kensington was a step up from Bayswater, and even at twice the price, at least it included breakfast. Seeing as the old man was staying at his club, Terence booked two nights. After all, Geoffrey was paying, even though he didn’t know that. To seal the deal, he sent Lawrence the photos of himself as Phyllis in the black cocktail dress, They had worked so well with Geoffrey. Annoyingly, it was a good hour before he got a reply, and he had been on the verge of going to bed when it arrived.
‘I say! Outstanding, dear Phyllis. You have definitely got my interest, and much more’.
Terence went to bed happy. He had the old git hooked, if not landed in the net.
Having made the decision to change his profile photo, Terence was up early the next morning. After booking the hotel, and a one-way train ticket, he put on the black cocktail dress and black stockings thst seemed to work so well. Then he chose a better wig, a black real hair wig that had a short bob style. With pale make-up and dark eye shadow, he looked much younger than his fifty-three years, more like a thirty-something model from the swinging sixties.
Re-launching his online profile, he could not help but smile as the message counter ticked over at an alarming rate. No doubt greatly helped by making sure some stocking-top was apparent in the three photos he used. If things didn’t work out with Lawrence, he had so many more to choose from. With almost a week to prepare, there was no need to rush.
First, an appointment with a beautician in the city who dealt with hair removal and asked no questions, some new underwear at Marks and Spencer’s, followed by a leisurely lunch at one of the better hotels in Nottingham. With the tax bill paid, and plenty left in the bank, he was actually looking forward to seeing what old Lawrence had to offer. Meanwhile, he had saved three more contacts on the dating website.
It was all going so well. Much better than he had ever imagined.
On the train to London that weekend, he even attracted some admiring glances in his new outfit and black wig.
The signs were favourable, that was definite.
Travelling as Phyllis was a refreshing change for Terence. It also saved having to pack changes of clothes to wear as a man. The hotel in Kensington was definitely a step up from the one in Bayswater. Although nothing grand, it was next door to one that was, so the atmosphere on the street felt good, with many foreign tourists as guests, including some very polite Japanese men who nodded respectfully as he checked in. The room was adequate, and three times the size of the shoe-box in Bayswater.
With no need to change before the dinner date, he did some more Internet research on Lawrence Colman-Tolliver. The man had no social media profile at all, not that unusual for someone that old. There was an entry for a Lawrence Tolliver that he had seen before, but that just related to a newspaper article from the 1980s about a planning dispute in Norfolk. There was no photo, but the similarity of the name made Terence uneasy. Why no Colman in that double-barrelled name? It was the usual stuff. Tolliver had been challenged over some property improvements that did not have permission. He went to court over it, and lost the case.
Dropping the name Tolliver, he found a Lawrence Colman listed as a cousin of the famous mustard family, and presumed that would likely be his man’s father. Maybe the Tolliver had been added after a second marriage before Lawrence was born?
On the way to Covent Garden in a taxi, Terence had to suffer the driver telling him that the restaurant was overpriced, and not as good as it had once been. He smiled politely, but had the feeling the cabbie had never actually eaten there and was just making conversation. The place had a uniformed doorman, which was impressive, and also a claim to be the oldest still surviving in London, dating back to 1798. There was a reservation in the name of Colman-Tolliver, but he was told the gentleman had not arrived as yet. Terence was seated at a table for two, and he asked to wait for the arrival of his dinner date until the menus were brought. Feeling awkward as the only person sitting alone, he asked the waiter to bring him a glass of Chablis.
Even that early, the restaurant was full. Most of the diners appeared to be foreigners, and everyone was very smartly dressed. Sipping his wine carefully, he noticed a few glances in his direction, most of which appeared to be favourable. Halfway down the glass of wine, the head waiter suddenly arrived at the table. “Madam, we have a telephone call for you, please follow me”. He was shown into a cloakroom and handed a portable phone handset. The waiter walked off a few paces, giving some privacy. Terence knew it had to be Lawrence, nobody else could possibly know he was there.
“Phyllis, m’dear. Profuse apologies. I got held up on the way to London, and I am still almost an hour away on a train. Would it be at all possible to meet at your hotel later? I am sure we could get something to eat there. I feel awful, I really do, but I had no contact number for you to alert you of the delay”. Terence smelled a rat. The voice didn’t sound old enough, and the hint of a badly-disguised Norfolk accent was unlikely in someone who claimed to be privately educated. So he gave the address of the swanky hotel next to his, and agreed to meet there in just over an hour. Then he paid for his glass of wine, apologied to the head waiter, and left. The uniformed doorman referred to him as ‘Miss’, as he stepped forward to summon a cab passing by.
Back in his room, Terence went over the situation. He didn’t believe a word of it. Someone was trying to con the con man. But why? he hadn’t given the impression he was that well-off, and the messages had seemed normal, with no hint of deception. Could it be sex? Was old Larry hoping to jump him in his hotel room after a hurried dinner? Mainly, he was annoyed at the waste of time, and the waste of money travelling down to London and booking the hotel. He was hungry too, but wasn’t about to splash out on an expensive hotel meal.
No, he would do something else. He would wait and see if Lawrence turned up next door
Terence strolled into the lobby of the nice hotel and sat down on a plush armchair with an oblique view of the long reception desk. When a waitress appeared moments later, he ordered a coffee, pleased that you did not need to be resident in the hotel to use the facilities at a price. The coffee was still warm when he saw a red-faced man walk in alone and enquire at the desk. He certainly wasn’t seventy-seven, more like fifty. His suit was crumpled, and he was mopping his face with a handkerchief, even though it wasn’t hot inside.
The receptionist checked her computer, and shook her head. The man said something, and she checked again. Looking confused, he nodded, and turned to leave.
Leaving enough money to cover the bill for the coffee, Terence stood up and followed the man out onto the street. When he was a few feet behind him, he spoke in a loud voice. “Lawrence, I presume? You look nothing like your photo, I have to say”. The man turned and smiled, but Terence wasn’t smiling when he spoke again. “Let’s walk and talk”. As Lawrence hadn’t replied, he led the conversation.
“So what’s the deal? You are obviously the man claiming to be Colman-Tolliver. Don’t deny it, I can sense it. What’s with the profile photo and the other nonsense. How did you expect to explain yourself to me?” The man stopped in the gateway of a big house, seemed to think about what to say, and then came right out with it.
“You’re a man, that’s obvious to me. This is what I do for a living, searching the dating sites for likely people. I spotted you right away, and knew what your game was. What if I was to mention a man named Geoffrey? That rings a bell, yes? I was trying my best with him, using a profile photo of a mature actress, hoping to drag him into something favourable to my situation. I saw that he liked your photo, then all of a sudden he disappeared. deleted his presence on the website. It didn’t take me long to work out what had happened, so I thought I would reverse the process”.
It hadn’t occurred to Terence that others were doing the same thing as he was. He started walking again.
“What do you expect from me, whatever your name is?” He was stopped by a firm hand on his shoulder. “Well I reckon it must be worth five grand to you for me not to expose you on the site. You must have other contacts saved, and you will get more than that from them, I bet. Then again, maybe not, considering you were stupid enough to fall for my alter-ego of Lawrence. The profile photo was of some old Scottish bloke, long dead. He was fond of shooting and fishing, judging by the photos I found online. I used to live in Norfolk years ago, and knew about the Colman family having big money. I dangled the bait, and you snapped it up”.
If they had not have been on a public street, Terence might well have broken the man’s nose. But he did have a point. He had been careless, and fallen for it exactly as had been described. But he was not about to fall at the first hurdle. Changing his voice from the gentle tones of Phyllis, he laughed as he replied.
“Do it then. Tell who you want that I am a man. Believe me, I get enough offers from those who don’t care either way. Besides, there are other sites, and marks have short memories. You’ll get no money from me, so you might as well crawl back into whatever shithole you came from. As for Geoffrey, you will never get an admission from him. He will back me up one hundred percent. He would sooner die than anyone find out the truth”.
His face getting redder, the man seemed to be deflated. He had obviously expected an easy victory, a speedy payment, and would have come back for more. He wasn’t as good as he thought he was at this game, Terence was sure of that. The best he could manage was bluster. “You’ll be sorry, mark my words. I will make sure anyone you go after knows what you are”. With that he turned to leave, mopping his face. As he walked off, Terence called after him.
“Get your blood pressure checked. Looking at your face, I doubt you are long for this world”.
But as he walked back to his genuine hotel, he realised he had learned a valuable lesson.
On the way home in the train, Terence was angry. Angry at being duped by the man purporting to be Lawrence. Angry that he would now have to change websites because of that mistake. Angry at wasting time and money travelling to London to meet the faker. And angry that the hotel refused to refund the cost of the second night when he checked out early.
The man sitting opposite him on the train was definitely checking out Phyllis though. Frequent glances from behind his book at her legs, and an occasional smile when their eyes met. On any other day, Terence might well have engaged him in conversation, gone home with him, then hit him with the reality. After all, he looked financially stable. An expensive watch, tailor-made suit, and the latest phone and laptop. The fact that he was reading a hardback book suggested some class, and a wedding ring indicated he was potentially open to be willing to pay to avoid exposure.
But he was too angry.
In the taxi from Nottingham City Station, he then got angry that he hadn’t gone with his instinct, and tried to secure the fellow passenger for a date. He was going to give himself a night off, drink a bottle of wine after a hot bath, and have a serious re-think about his next move after a good night’s sleep.
It wasn’t until eleven the next morning that he found his online Utopia. A more obscure, slightly kinky website for mature people who wanted to meet others for casual relationships. It had no fees, as it was ad-supported, and the private messages were encrypted, so no other con-men could see who you liked or sent messages to. He signed up using the black dress and short wig photos, but left out Phyllis’s age, instead going for ‘Mature and Experienced’. Sticking with the sixty-five plus age range for what he was interested in, he didn’t have to wait too long until the likes appeared on the photos, and the first messages came in.
Seventeen of the first twenty were predictably sexual. Photos of genitalia, men who were too young for him, and some kinky people who wanted things done to them that Terence was not willing to do, even for the chance of twenty grand. But one of the rest stood out like a whore at a wedding. Clive Gibson said he was sixty-two. Under the desired age range, but possible. He lived in Derby, only a thirty-minute journey by train, and his proflie photo showed a chubby guy with a big smile.
The profile text was appealing. ‘Looking for a kind but strict mature lady. Happy to meet in your home or a hotel, but cannot accommodate. Mutual enjoyment but no long-term commitment. And as a gentleman, I always pay for the lady’. That suggested a few things to Terence. Clive was probably married, financially stable, and was looking for some kind of domination-sex game.
Worth a try.
He sent a basic message. ‘Hi there Clive. I see you liked my photo and invited me to message you. I am fifty-something, live alone and can be strict when required. Also broad-minded, and open to new experiences. Like you, I am not looking for anything long-term, just some mutual fun’. Terence had time to make a sandwich for lunch, and was eating it when the reply came in.
‘Oh, that sounds wonderful. I am very interested, but I see you are based in London. That might make things difficult, as I have to be in the Derby area most days’. Terence had thought of that, and was ready. ‘I can get to Nottingham, not far from you. I know someone who has a small flat there. It’s nothing grand, but comfortable. Would meeting there suit you?’ It was a risk, as it meant giving the mark his actual address. But he wasn’t going to waste any more money on train fares and hotels to operate to London. He made a mental note to change his profile information to ‘The Midlands’. That would make life easier.
Twenty minutes later, Clive bit.
“Nottingham would be perfect, Phyllis. I can drive there easily, and I know the city well. Would a long afternoon suit? I would have to leave by six in the evening’. Terence let him stew for a while. A long while in fact. He didn’t bother to reply for almost four hours. Clive would be at home by then, and no doubt checking the site surreptitiously.
‘Yes, Clive. A long afternoon would be lovely. Shall we say next Friday?’
The reply didn’t take too long to arrive.
‘Friday at one? That would give us five hours. Please send me the address soon.’
Before Clive was due to turn up, Terence decided to buy some suitable attire. Deciding he should look something like a strict school-teacher or governess, he toured the charity shops for the right look. A tweed skirt and matching jacket, a high-necked blouse to go under that, finished off with some fake pearls. The whole outfit only cost him eight pounds, and he managed to get some lace-up heavy female shoes in another shop for just a pound. They were a bit tight, but he could bear them for one afternoon.
In a garden supplies shop, he bought a couple of bamboo canes, the type used to support plants. It might be that Clive wanted some corporal punishment on Friday, and though he had a large flat hairbrush in the bedroom, the canes would deliver extra pain if required. He already had some old brown spectacles in his flat, and they would round off the look very nicely. His acting ability would easily deal with the right tone of voice and dominant behaviour mentioned by Clive, so when Friday morning arrived, he was quietly confident.
Clive arrived five minutes early, but Terence was already dressed as Miss Phyllis. If he said so himself, the woman looking back at him in the mirror was very scary.
He looked just like his photo, and was carrying a large sports bag when he walked in. His attitude was strangely businesslike, and Terence could tell he had done this before. “I would like to change in your bedroom if that’s okay, Phyllis”. Terence showed him into the tidied-up bedroom, and waited. When the tubby man emerged, it was all he could do not to laugh out loud. He was dressed as a scholgirl, in a uniform that looked completely authentic. Not bothering with make-up, he was wearing a cheap, straw-coloured blonde wig. He smiled, and asked casually, “Is this okay for you? I’m a naughty schoolgirl sent to be disciplined”.
Terence couldn’t trust himself not to laugh, so nodded. Regaining his composure, he called upon his acting ability to play his part.
“Go and stand over in the corner, until I decide what to do with you”. The man bit his bottom lip exaggeratedly. “Yes Miss, sorry Miss”. Terence stared at the grown man trembling in the corner. He wasn’t surprised, as over the years he had heard of just about every kink imaginable. This one was actually quite easy, and was unlikely to involve any sexual activity on his part. After leaving Clive in the corner for ten minutes, he raised his voice in apparent anger.
“This is not the first time you have had to be sent to my office. But this time you need to be taught a lesson”. He sat on the small sofa. “Come here and receive your punishment”. As Clive reached the sofa, he assumed the position without being told what to do. Stretched out across Terence’s lap, waiting for whatever happened. Lifting the pleated skirt, Terence smacked him hard across his thighs and bum cheeks, over his underwear. Surprisingly, that hurt his hand, so he pulled down the underwear just far enough, and reached to the side of the sofa for one of the canes.
The first hard stroke of the cane made Clive gasp, the second made him wince in pain. But he also became aroused, which Terence was left in no doubt of. By the time he had hit the man six times, his skin was bright red and starting to swell. But he didn’t complain. “You want more, you bad girl?” Clive replied with a nod. Six more strokes were as much as he could take, calling out “Enough Miss!” as Terence noticed a thin cut appearing across one of the weals. He couldn’t help but wonder how Clive explained such injuries to his wife. Maybe he wasn’t married, after all?
Standing up and adjusting his underwear, Clive looked happy. “That was wonderful. Could we do it again next Friday, something different? You really get it, so many don’t understand”. It was easy work for Terence. The man had only been there for an hour, and was already heading for the bedroom to change. He called after him. “That will be acceptable, next Friday at one then”.
Dressed again as Clive, he reached into the sports bag, producing a large envelope. “Is five hundred alright? You certainly deserve it” Terence took the envelope, and nodded. That was the easiest cash he had ever earned in his life, and a very nice hourly rate too. On top of that, he had neither asked for it, nor expected it. He stood up and kissed Clive on the cheek.
“See you next Friday then”.
Terence had some thinking to do. If Clive could become a regular, five hundred a week was good enough, and showed he had money to burn. It would be no problem increasing the prices over time, and if he could afford it, which seemed very likely, he might get him to two meetings a week at seven-fifty a time. Much better than treading the boards in a provincial theatre, or a walk-on part as a drag queen in a drama that hardly anybody watched.
Also preferable to travelling around the country in the hope of fleecing some desperate old men. As for Clive’s fetishes, there was nothing he couldn’t handle. He had certainly done worse than spank a man dressed as a girl, and that was only to get a job touring in a bad play. Perhaps he should diversify? Advertise his domination services on the website at a price. If he could get three regulars, that was fifteen hundred a week minimum, without leaving home.
There were dozens of direct messages on his profile page, but he decided to ignore them for a while. He would order in a nice Chinese meal, and wait to see what Clive wanted next week.
Clive messaged him on Wednesday. ‘Okay for Friday still? Mind if it gets a bit dark?’ Terence relied immediately. ‘Friday is fine. Dark as you want to take it’. After he sent that reply, he opened some decent wine and chuckled to himself. The darkest he could imagine was probably that Clive had some kind of cannibal kink. Well he wasn’t about to eat the chubby man, even if he probably tasted like pork.
The Miss Phyllis outfit could get a second outing, Clive was unlikely to care, and that saved buying any other clothes. Terence had checked out some domination websites, and they seemed to infer that you had to dress up in shiny PVC, with laced-up corsets and studded neck chokers. He wasn’t about to waste money on that, so Clive would have to make do with the tweed suit and blouse.
When Clive turned up he was carrying the sports bag, and seemed happy. “Can you come into the bedroom with me please, Phyllis? I need your help this time”. Terence stood in the doorway of the bedroom and watched Clive strip naked. Then he reached into the sports bag and produced a number of long leather straps with buckles on them, also digging out a black leather mask, and a leather gag.
“I’m going to put the mask and gag on, then lie down on the bed. I need you to secure my wrists and feet with the straps, making sure I cannot possibly escape, okay?” Terence nodded. “Then just leave me here, helpless. I don’t have any deadline to get back to Derby, so you can choose how long you leave me in here. It’s the not knowing you see, the anticipation”. Terence nodded again. He didn’t have to play Miss Phyllis this afternoon.
Though not as easy as it looked, he finally got Clive secured on his bed. Checking the tightness of the straps to make sure he couldn’t move, he closed the curtains. Before he left the room he looked inside Clive’s jacket, removing his wallet, house keys, and car keys. It was already working well for Clive, judging by the scene on the bed.
There was a couple of hundred in the wallet, as well as three credit cards, a bank debit card, and Clive’s driving licence.
Terence had an idea, and quickly formed a plan. Although he didn’t own a car, he could drive, having passed his test in his late teens. The car keys had an Audi logo on them, and there wouldn’t be many of those parked near his flat. Clive’s driving licence had his address on it, and there was almost certainly a Satnav in the Audi that would guide him there. It was only a thirty-minute drive, so Terence decided that he would go to Derby and find out all about the naked man lying on his bed.
Going out as Phyllis, he took the next right past his flat, the easiest street to park on. Five cars up, there was a shiny new black Audi saloon. He pressed the button on the key fob, and it unlocked. Over half a tank of petrol, more than enough. He pressed a button on the media screen in the car, selected ‘Navigation’, and scrolled down the list until he found ‘Home’.
The voice on the Satnav was that of a very posh mature woman.
No surprise there.
The house was a double-fronted detached 1930s style in a nice area of Derby. Terence parked the car in front of the separate garage, and ran his gaze over the property looking for any sign of a burglar alarm. The house next door had a ‘For Sale’ sign at the front, and appeared to be empty. In a street with only ten houses, all identical, nobody was around at that time of the afternoon.
There was no visible alarm box. Maybe Clive wanted to give the impression that there was nothing inside worth stealing? He picked up the house keys, locked the car, and went in.
It had been left in more or less original condition, with many period features. His best guess was that Clive had inherited the family home, and decided to make no modern improvements. There was some post on a hall-stand, all addressed to Clive. No sign of a wife or children, no photos on display, and a rather sterile feel. On the left, a door led into a spacious living room, with a dining table at one end next to French windows overlooking an average sized garden. The television was nothing special, and the room had little atmosphere or style.
Terence went back to the hallway and into the room opposite. That was more like it. A dedicated office area. Computer, monitor, printer, fax machine, large desk, and two filing cabinets. After thirty minutes going through everything in the cabinets and desk, he had the measure of Clive.
Owner of no less than four car dealerships in the immediate area. Audi, which was predictable, but also Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Lexus. Clive had an impressive portfolio indeed, and bank statements showed he had a great deal of money. Payments into his current account ran between twelve thousand to forty thousand a month. Much of that was transferred out to savings accounts, and just one statement showed him with a stash of eighty thousand in one account. His current account alone had a balance of no less than thirty-three thousand pounds, and there were business account statements that Terence didn’t even bother to look at.
Small wonder he could afford five hundred quid for one hour of service to his current kink. Compared to Geoffrey, this bloke was seriously minted.
Upstairs, he found two bedrooms ready for use, including the main one at the front which was obviously where Clive slept. The third room was empty, save for an ironing board and iron. There was no ensuite in the main room, just the one dated family bathroom with sixties decor. Clive might be a man who had money, but he didn’t spend it on his accommodation, that was for sure. The fourth room was more interesting. It had a hasp and staple on the outside of the door, allowing it to be secured with a padlock.
But there was no padlock.
Inside, Terence turned on the lights, being temporarily blinded by three incongruous flourescent tubes that lit up the place like an airport terminal. He whislted softly when he saw the scene, and shook his head.
The room was about fourteen by twelve, and the window at the back covered by a solid shutter. Racks lined the walls, and in the centre of the room was what looked like a weight-lifting bench. But the variious straps and shackles attached to that bench told him it had nothing to do with weight-lifting. And the old-fashioned video camera on a movable dolly confirmed what he suspected. The room was some sort of torture chamber. Whips and canes were fitted to the racks, along with shelves containing leather clothing of great variety. Along with gags, hoods, and clubs.
It was a punishment room. Terence had heard of those, but had never seen one before.
Next to the camera was a small shelving unit, a DVD player, and a small television. The unit was full of DVD discs in white covers, each one with dates, times, and names of the people involved. Taking one at random, he put it into the DVD player below the television, and pressed play. Smiling, he chose another. And after that, another.
Clive was always the victim. Many of those handing out the required punsihment were older women. In some cases, they appeared to be kindly grannies. In others they were dressed in PVC clothing and thigh-boots, weilding whips. But it was the third DVD that interested Terence the most.
Some young boys, and young girls. They appeared to be underage, as far as he could tell. Terence started to take photographs on his phone, and then picked up a dozen or more of the DVD films. As he went back downstairs, he couldn’t stop smiling.
He had hit the jackpot, and that jackpot’s name was Clive.
Terence was able to park the car very close to where he had taken it. Once back inside his flat, he was pleased to see that Clive had not soiled the bed during his absence. After stashing the DVDs and his phone in a box placed inside his fridge, he went back into the bedroom to talk to the man tied to his bed.
Pulling off the leather hood and gag, he sat on the end of the bed. Clive spoke first. “That was amazing? How long have I been here? You have no idea of time in this situation”. Staying in character as Phyllis, Terence dangled the car keys in front of Clive’s face.
“It’s been a while, dear Clive. I took a little trip to your house, and found it very interesting. We are going to have to have a serious talk about what I found there”. Clive looked confused at first, then his face flushed with embarrassment as realisation set in. Terence smiled as he continued. “Nice little torture chamber you have there, and the DVDs were very interesting to watch. I’m assuming that those schoolkids were around fourteen or fifteen? I’m sure you paid them handsomely for their services, but tut-tut. They are underage, and you must have known that”.
Clive pulled at the straps. Considering they were his straps, and he knew how strong they were, that seemed futile. He glared at Terence without speaking.
“Dear Clive, this is what is going to happen. You are going to log into your online banking, then I am going to transfer eighty thousand pounds to myself. If you fail to do this, the photos I took and the DVDs I stole will all be in the hands of the police in Derby before nighfall. And don’t even think about becoming violent, or refusing the transfer, as I have left my phone and your details with my solicitor, along with the DVDs. I called in on him on the way back. He will open the parcel in the event that he doesn’t hear from me by nine tomorrow morning”.
That was all nonsense of course. Terence didn’t have a solicitor, but Clive was talking to Phyllis, and as far as he was concerned, he presumed she would have one.
Still refusing to speak, Clive nodded. Terence freed Clive’s right hand from the restraints and passed him the laptop. After a few taps, Clive looked away, and pushed the laptop back to him. Terence hesitated for a second. The banking details would be accessible to Clive, as would his real name. Phyllis as an identity would be lost. But it was a lot of money, so he completed the transfer, waiting until the confirmation appeared on the screen.
“Okay, I am going to untie you now, and leave you to get dressed. Don’t forget, any funny business, and it all comes out in the open. I don’t think you would enjoy being in prison as an abuser of underage kids, do you?”
He freed the man from the straps carefully. He was chubby, and unlikely to become violent. But you never knew how someone might react in that situation. So he stayed in the bedroom and waited until Clive was dressed and ready to leave. Clive had said nothing since it had all started. But when he got his keys back, he stood quietly for a moment before speaking.
“Whoever you are, you have made a big mistake. I know people. People who will do very bad things to you for not much money. Certainly not as much as you have taken me for. And you think you are clever because you know I thought you were a woman? Well, that has made it twice as bad as it could have been, believe me. I can take my revenge on you without being remotely involved, you should know that. I will have solid alibis, witnesses, and a flawless character with no police record. You chose the wrong man, Phyllis. Or whatever your name is”.
Deciding to brazen it out, Terence scoffed. “Oh yeah. Big man. You know people. Blah, blah, blah. You’re a car salesman, Clive, and you live a twisted lifestyle. You want all that to come out? Go on then, bring it on!”
It was only once Clive had left the flat that he started to worry.
Terence didn’t dwell on his concerns for too long. After all, he had the best part of a hundred grand in his bank account. That might attract the attention of the tax man at some stage, but he could say it was a gift. Geoffrey and Clive were unlikely to argue. If they didn’t believe him, he would worry about that when it happened.
In the meantime, he could afford to move out of his dingy flat, buy a small car, and live in a part of England less grungy than Nottingham. A look around a map online left him deciding on Horncastle, in Lincolnshire. Off the tourist trail, but still close to the coast, he would be anonymous there as Terence. He found a nice two-bed bungalow to rent, and it came with a garage and small garden. That might be just what he needed, at his time of life.
Before he gave notice on the flat and had a moving date, he checked in with his contacts on the website. Someone had caught his eye, and it had to be worth a final throw of the dice before moving.
Alan was forty-six, probably not using his real name. He wanted to know if Phyllis was available to help him dress as a woman, show him how to do make-up, and behave in a feminine manner. He was supposedly straight otherwise; not interested in sex, simply had a desire to dress as a woman for a few hours. As he was willing to pay, Terence could see some easy money. And he might not have to get involved in any blackmail attempt. He replied that he could easily help him, at five hundred a session.
The reply arrived very quickly. Could Phyllis manage two sessions this week, as he had some time off work. Terence saw an easy thousand, and sent him the address. They settled on two consecutive days, Thursday and Friday, with Alan stopping over and sleeping on the sofa. He said he would bring his own shoes, clothes and wig, but would arrive as a man. Terence decided to stick with his identity as Phyllis while he was there, and carefully hid any post relating to Terence.
Obviously keen, Alan arrived an hour early. “Sorry, it didn’t take too long, I live quite near here”. Terence showed him into the bedroom to change, reassuring him. “You get dressed up and then I will show you where you went wrong, okay?” Alan looked nervous, but he also seemed to be genuine. He looked like his photo, and had brought a suit-carrier with various dresses and underwear crammed inside. He also had a smaller bag full of toiletries.
When he came out of the bedroom, he looked a fright. One of the very worst crossdressers Terence had ever seen. His legs were unshaved, his wig was plonked on his head, and his idea of looking like a normal woman was to wear a too-short dress and a pair of fishnet tights. Terence kept a straight face when he spoke to the man. “Oh no, that won’t do at all my dear. You are not a twenty-year old punk, far from it. Let’s go in the bedroom, and we will start again. But you should really shave your legs first, dear”.
Shaking his head, Alan was firm. “No that can’t happen. It will have to be with unshaved legs, sorry”. That told Terence all he needed to know. Alan might have taken off his wedding ring, or might not be married. But he was definitely living with a woman. Shaving his legs would require an explanation, and he wouldn’t have one that would convince any female lover. Terence was kind. “No problem, I will do my best, and have you looking convincing in no time”. He had his fingers crossed when he said that.
After over an hour in the bedroom, Terence had his new friend kitted out in one of the better dresses. Black opaque tights sorted the issue with the hairy legs, and a first-rate make-up job made him look almost female. Okay, almost might be a stretch. He looked like a man dressed up as a woman, but as far as Alan was concerned, he looked amazing.
“Oh wow, you have done a great job. Can we order in a takeaway for dinner? I will pay”.
Before the meal arrived, Alan was shown how to sit like a woman. How to moderate his voice, slip a shoe on and off, and occasionally recross his legs as they chatted. He seemed very happy, and Terence was relaxed enough to open a decent bottle of red wine for them to share over dinner.
Later, Alan rambled on about how he wasn’t gay, but had always wanted to wear women’s clothes.
After two hours of that, Terence was checking his watch, praying for bedtime.
Making sure he was up early the next morning, Terence was not surprised to find Alan still sleeping in his wig, and wearing a nightdress that would have suited an eighty year-old woman. After serving coffee and toast, he took Alan into the bedroom for a make-up masterclass.
Some men just didn’t get it, and Alan was one of those men. He thought that being made-up as a woman involved ridiculously large false eyelashes, eye shadow as thick as tar, and blusher on the cheeks resembling an allergic reaction. By the time Alan had removed unacceptable make-up three times, and finally learned what was acceptable, lunch was late.
Not that it was much of a lunch. Terence hadn’t bothered to get anything in, so it was cheese toasties with a side of wilted salad leaves, and some tomatoes long past their best. But Alan wasn’t complaining, and when he started to be instructed in how to buy the right type of underwear and a much better wig, he was visibly excited.
“This is just what I needed, Phyllis. I mean, when you are like me, there is not exactly an instruction manual, is there?”
At no time did Alan appear to suspect that Phyllis was actually a man. He certainly gave no indication of that, and hadn’t mentioned any suspicions. Terence was pleased that there was definitely no sexual motivation, not even a hint of it. He suspected that Alan was essentially a straight man who had perhaps tried on his mother’s clothes as an inquisitive child. Since then, the desire to repeat that process was overwhelming him. But probably because he was married, and well-respected in whatever job he did, he could not face the thought of the shame if he declared himself.
After lunch, Terence gradually wound down the session. He was complimentary, even though he was lying.
“Well, I’m sure you will agree that’s a one hundred percent improvement, Alan. You now look like a mature woman, and could probably pass unnoticed along a busy street. You have to get a better wig though, which will cost you. But as far as I can see, my work here is done”. By three that afternoon, Alan had reverted to his male persona, packed up all of his things, and was ready to leave. “Can I come again, once I have the new wig and better dresses?” Terence kept him on the hook. “Message me once that is all done, and we will arrange a time”.
He was wondering when Alan would hand over the cash, and didn’t want to ask for it. But the man reached inside his jacket pocket, and produced an envelope. “No need to count it it’s all there, in twenties”. Terence accepted a friendly kiss on the cheek, then bade his new friend farewell. An easy grand. He had worked three weeks in shows for less than that.
It had been a good week, as far as Terence was concerned. Easy money, and a move on the horizon. The following day he got most of what he wanted to take packed up in some boxes, and phoned to arrange to hire a van for the weekend. He could drop the van off in Lincolnshire, and the same day he would buy himself a nondescript small car somewhere local.
There was more to move than he had anticipated, but all those years in the limelight meant he had accumulated a lot of stuff that had memories. He wasn’t about to leave those behind, or his expensive clothes and wigs. After a busy morning packing the van, he only just managed to close the doors at the back. All that was left was to drop off the keys at the letting agent’s shop, and drive across country to his new life.
With less than a two-hour drive to Horncastle, he knew he would arrive at the agent’s place in time to collect the keys. They didn’t close until five, so there was plenty of time. He would leave most of the things in the van overnight, unload on the Sunday, and return the van to a depot in Lincoln on Monday. There were lots of car dealers around that city, and he was sure he would be able to drive away a car by Monday afternoon, once he had sorted out some insurance.
When he got into the bungalow that afternoon, he was pleasantly surprised. As he had rented it based on the Internet photos, he had wondered what it might be like when he got there. But it was very pleasant. Not that large, but three times the size of his horrible flat in Nottingham.
Getting changed into some smarter clothes, Terence decided to check out the centre of Horncastle. There had to a decent pub where he could get dinner.
As he sat eating a tasty Steak and Ale Pie with vegetables in a decent pub, Terence suddenly had an idea. It was one of those light-bulb moments, and a smile spread across his face. There were so many men like Alan, more than any straight people could ever imagine. So many in fact, that there was a market for places that allowed those men to become women for the day, dressing up as they wished, learning how to sit, walk and talk, apply make-up, choose wigs, and be themselves for a few hours in like-minded company.
Such places already existed in London, Manchester, and Edinburgh, probably in other cities too. He had once seen one on Eversholt Street, near Euston Station. Blacked out windows, but an obvious name, ‘Transformation’. Was there one in Lincolnshire? A quick search on his phone showed nothing similar, just ads from crossdressers actually looking for the service. After dinner, a stroll around Horncastle revealed a few shops to let, but they were all quite central, and not really secluded enough. He decided to go home and do some research.
By Wednesday, he had signed the lease on a former solicitor’s premises at the edge of town. Parking for four cars, and six rooms that could be used however he wanted. Another online search had bought him a custom-built website, using his chosen name of ‘New You’. It was going to take some interior decorating, and removal of some partitions, but he reckoned he could go live by the end of the month.
Everything he needed could be bought online and delivered. Mirrors, make-up, wigs, some dresses and skirts, underwear in assorted sizes, and shoes in larger sizes. He sat and worked out the charges. The basic service would be one hundred pounds an hour, with a minimum of three hours. That would include the tuition, but the hire of clothing and wigs would be extra if they didn’t have their own. No more than three men at a time, to ease any parking issues, and to make it feel spacious and relaxed.
Advertising could be mainly done online, using Facebook and other social media. Links to the website allowed potential customers to ask questions, and book sessions. A new mobile phone with a different number reserved only for the business, and he would always be Miss Phyllis as far as they were concerned.
It took seven weeks and over nine grand, but when he went live he had his first booking within the hour. By the time he logged off to cook some dinner, eight bookings. As he sat at the dining table, Terence was pleased with himself. He had gone completely legit, used his skills honed after years of acting, and didn’t have to worry about blackmail and revenge any longer. He knew once those first customers gave him a good review or spoke to their closeted friends about New You, he would be as busy as he could cope with.
For maximum discretion, he didn’t advertise around Horncastle, and he had no exterior signs that gave any idea what business was going on inside the refurbished bulding. Terence would go to work as himself, changing into Phyllis before the customers arrived, and back again before going home. A video entry system would make sure no unsuspecting shoppers turned up out of curiosity, and the door would be locked before each arrival. He had a toilet and shower facility for them to use, as well as a machine that made tea and coffee which he would give out free of charge. One of the rooms was done out as a comfortable lounge area, where they could get together and relax. Talk among friends, swap life stories, or just sit around feeling female.
Other than the builders who had made the changes, painted the walls, and installed the mirrors, nobody had any idea what he was doing. He had told them he was getting the property ready for a friend who had a dressmaking business, and they seemed to accept that.
He had also worked out some figures. Open six days a week, closed on Mondays, he could make a good living even if he only had three customers a day at the basic rate. That was nine hundred a day, potentially much more if they hired the outfits or wanted to stay longer than three hours.
If it all worked out, he was going to need a good accountant.
Terence hadn’t forgotten Alan. Although it was a bit further for him to drive, he felt sure Alan would be keen to be part of New You. He had kept him informed of developments by messaging him on the old fetish site, and sure enough he was one of the first to book sessions after they went live. This was Terence’s main reason for keeping his Phyllis Harvey identity, when it would have been logical to change the name of the proprietor.
Alan seemed to favour Fridays, and booked a four-hour session for the next ten Fridays. Occasionally, Terence wondered where seemingly ordinary men got the money from to indulge their fantasies, but then he remembered that many straight men spend as much on gambling, alcohol, or constantly changing their cars for new ones. And Alan had some contacts in the crossdressing world, as well as some good ideas about how to keep customers happy.
Female names was a good one. Although they had to pay using their real names on their cards if they didn’t bring cash, they all loved to use female names when they were dressed up as women. Alan had asked to be called ‘Barbara’, and others who had booked were excited to use their chosen names at the sessions. They were mostly old fashioned names, like Patricia, Monica, Susanne, and Vanessa. The age range of the customers was extreme. The youngest just twenty-two, the oldest seventy-three. But even that youngster chose a really old name, Shirley.
Having to get a card reader was a pain, but with half the bookings saying they would pay cash, Terence could pocket that, and just declare income on the card payments. That would save him a lot of tax. The first bookings went well. He was able to keep a straight face when a seventy year-old looked more like a circus clown than a woman, but young Shirley was a revelation. The most convincing transvestite Terence had ever seen. The only downside was that he recognised Phyllis was a man within seconds.
Not that he cared about that.
One day after everyone had left, someone rang the doorbell. On the camera, he looked about sixty, and was dressed in a tweed jacket, casual trousers, and shirt and tie. With nobody expected, Terence was reluctant to answer. But as he had already changed out of his Phyllis persona, he let the man in. The red faced man was overweight, and had bad breath. His accent was definitely local. He extended a podgy hand.
“Norman Tompkinson, pleased to meet you. I am your local councillor, and wanted to welcome you and your business to Horncastle. By the way, what exactly is your business?” Terence used his real name. “Hi, Terence Halloran. I am running a bespoke dress shop. I have a partner who makes the dresses to order. She likes exclusive clientele, and it is going well so far”. Norman wandered around. “Perhaps I could recommend her to some ladies I know? For a small percentage to cover my expenses of course”.
Not about to tolerate being shaken down by this pot-belied idiot, Terence nipped it in the bud. “Sadly, she already has more work than she can cope with. I would ask you to please not recommend her, as she could never cope with the work. But it was nice to meet you”. Norman was miffed. “Perhaps I could deal direct with the lady? What’s her name?” Terence was already ahead of him. “She is Phyllis Harvey, but I act as an agent for her. She doesn’t work in Horncastle, she uses me to take measurements, decide on styles and fabrics, that sort of thing. Anyway, Norman, thanks for stopping by. I will be sure to voote for you in the next council elections”.
Norman was deflated. Expecting some sort of payoff, he had been second-guessed.
After he had left, Terence was left wondering about who else might turn up and stick their beak into his business. He was legitimate, but not public. If the locals found out he was running a crossdressing parlour, no doubt he would have a few crazies protesting outside, crippling his new business.
He decided that he would look up Norman online, then make a substantial donation to his next re-election campaign. The first month had gone better than he had anticipated, mainly thanks to Alan’s regular bookings, and the introduction of a few crossdressers Alan knew in Nottinghamshire. No need to spoil things by ignoring Norman.
As he knew all too well, greed could be good.
A year later, and Terence had a thriving business. He was turning down bookings, and had a core of over thirty regular customers who came back week after week. One of them, who liked to be known as Diane, even paid just to sit around and help out. He did the cleaning, made the others welcome, and spent most of the week hanging out in New You. His bill for that was astonomical, and when Terence asked him where he got so much money from, he was amazed at the answer.
“I sold my house, Miss Phyllis. I live five miles away in a caravan now, and I have never been happier. This place is my dream world”.
Alan kept up his bookings too, but Terence had soon discovered that Sundays were a waste of time. Rare bookings, and presumably because so many married men had to do family stuff at weekends. So he closed on Sundays, then saved even more money by giving up the rented bungalow and moving into a large room above the business. It wasn’t licenced for use as accommodation, but his regular donations to Norman on the local Council ensured that he would get no interference.
As predicted, he had to get an accountant. As far as Simon Drew was concerned it was a dressmaking business, and the takings were doctored with fake invoices to made up names for wedding dresses and fancy frocks that Terence created on his new computer and printer. That was a business expense too.
Keeping his head down in the small town was not that easy, but he managed it by being stand-offish and evasive. It didn’t matter that some of the other traders thought he was rude and arrogant, as he never had any intention of befriending them, or becoming part of that community.
The tax man was happy with Simon’s accounts, and he was completely legal. He reckoned that another five years would see him squirrel enough money away to retire quite comfortably, but he intended to keep running the business on reduced hours after that. It was easy money, and he had a long list of men waiting for appointments as soon as any became available.
For a while, he considered expanding. Perhaps opening a second branch of New You in Leeds or Hull. But why make stress for himself by running two businesses when just one made so much money?
New You had undergone a few changes too. It was much smarter inside, and the walls were decorated with professional photographs of his best-looking transvestite clients. The hire side had expanded, and he had invested in accessories like leotards, ballet outfits, school uniforms, wedding dresses, and other female costumes that some customers had spoken about to Diane. There was no limit to the fantasies whirring around in the minds of those men, that was for sure.
Only Alan stuck to his original desire to look like a forty-something housewife. He had upped his game though, and could occasionally look more like your best mate’s mum that you might have had the odd dream about when you were at Secondary School. His confidence had grown as a result, and he considered hiself to be one of the mainstays of New You. The downside was that he also seemed to be physically attracted to Miss Phyllis. He was a bit ‘touchy-feely’ on occasion, and had once suggested stopping the night, even though he knew there was only one bedroom upstairs.
Terence had managed to let him down gently, by saying he didn’t want to complicate their friendship. To sweeten that bitter pill, he allowed Alan an occasional snogging session when nobody else was around, always amazed that the man seemed to not have a clue that he was also a man.
He had to conclude that things had never been better, and he kicked himself for not coming up with the idea ten years earlier. Thoughts of a franchise were on his mind too. He could roll out the New You model all around the country. Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bristol, Southampton, Brighton. The possibilities were endless. It was an expanding market, no doubt about that. Although open transexuals were the flavour of the month, that made things worse for the closeted crossdressers. They needed somewhere discreet. They were not about to advertise their lifestyle on the evening news, after all.
When the doorbell rang on a Monday when he was closed, he checked the camera. Two uniformed police officers, one male, one female. What could they possibly want? He went down and opened the door. The woman did the talking.
“Terence Halloran? Formerly of Victoria Road, Nottingham?” He nodded.
“Can you come with us please, sir? We have a warrant for your arrest”.
Sitting in the back of the police car in handcuffs, Terence considered his options. He had been cautioned, and told he was being arrested ‘To allow further investigations into a serious allegation’. He decided to ask no questions of the policewoman, and say nothing on the journey to Lincoln Police Station. Best not to blurt out anything they didn’t already know or suspect.
At the police custody, he was released from the handcuffs, listened to a routine speech from the Sergeant in charge, and had his fingerprints and photograph taken. He also consented to a DNA swab, and when that was taken he was given the opportunity to make a phone call. He rang his accountant, asking him to contact a solicitor with some experience of criminal cases and ask them to come to Lincoln Custody Suite. Then he was put in a cell awaiting the arrival of that solicitor, and the detectives who wanted to interview him.
Ninety minutes later, the cell door opened and he was taken to a room along a corridor. Inside, a smartly dressed woman stood up as he entered. “Terence, I am Rosa Martinez. Let’s sit down and go over what this is about”. She opened a notebook, quickly jotting down a few lines. Terence told her he had no idea why he had been arrested. He hadn’t done anything wrong that he knew about, and his reason for being detained was vague. She seemed surprised.
“They have received an allegation of sexual assault on an underage child, a boy. He alleges it happened at your former address in Nottingham. Can you tell me anything about that? Please tell me everything truthfully, I cannot represent you properly if I don’t know all the facts”. The realisation washed over him like a cold wave at the seaside. It was Clive, no doubt about that. He had taken his time to find him in Horncastle, but once he had, one of his flunky boys had been paid to set him up. Still, he could hardly tell her that.
Being a good actor came in handy, and the fact that he could partly answer truthfully helped too. Terence told her he had never had any underage person in his flat, male or female. He had no idea why this boy had made such an outrageous allegation, and unless it was a case of mistaken identity, he could not help with any more details. She kept nodding, and as far as he could tell, she believed him.
“They will be coming in to formally interview you soon. I advise you to say No Comment to every question, whatever the question is. Let’s see what evidence they have, if any. I will also insist on bail, whether or not you are charged. This is a serious allegation, but you have an unblemished record. Even so, I should warn you now that if they charge you, there is every likelihood that you may go to prison on remand, so be prepared for that to happen”.
Rosa continued making notes, and had no other questions for him. Ten minutes later, a uniformed officer came into the room. “Sorry for the delay, the detectives have been delayed in traffic. There’s a big pile-up on the A15, apparently. Can I get you tea or coffee?” They both asked for coffee, and he left the room smiling. Rosa shook her head. “He seems very happy, I’m guessing he doesn’t know what you might be charged with. In my experience cops don’t like child sex cases, and it’s even worse in prison”.
Terence wanted to make a sarcastic remark about her comment not being very reassuring, but instead he asked her about the origin of her surname. “My mum went on holiday to Mexico twenty-nine years ago, with her parents. Cancun, you might have heard of it? Well, she fell for a tour guide there, and came home pregnant. He actually stood by her when he found out, flew to England, and married her. But less than six months after I was born, he skipped off back to Mexico. Neither of us have ever seen or heard from him since”.
The door opened and two men walked in. One was holding a file, and they both sat down. The older one had his head down, and left the talking to his colleague. The younger one switched on a recording device, and spoke loudly. “Interview with Terence Halloran at Lincoln Custody Suite. Present are the accused, his solicitor Rosa Martinez, myself, Detective Sergant Ian Phillips, and Detective Inspector John Digby”. Leaning back in his chair and relaxing, Terence smiled.
Inspector Digby was Alan.
Alan, now exposed as John Digby, looked mortified. He must have known from Terence’s address that he must be Phyllis. The times he had lusted after him, believing him to be a woman, the passionate kisses leaving him wanting more. Now Phyllis was sitting in front of him as a man, accused of sexual assault on a minor. If he said anything, Digby’s career would be over, as would his marriage, family, and reputation. Digby appeared to be trembling a little, and his face was incredibly pale.
But Terence didn’t say a word about the intimate moments in Nottingham, or at New You in Horncastle. He stuck to Rosa’s advice, and answered “No comment” to every question. When the two detectives concluded the interview and switched off the tape, John Digby looked extremely relieved. Before he was taken back to his cell in the custody block, Rosa had a brief chat with him.
“They don’t seem to have anything concrete. Just a he said/you said statement, with the fourteen year old giving a fairly accurate description of your flat. But since you moved out, there have been two other tenants, and nothing the boy said can be proved now, unless they had photos from the time. Which they don’t. There is obviously no DNA evidence, or they would have hit you with that. The best they have is that the boy said you asked him to come to your flat, made him dress as a woman, then performed a sex act on him. To be honest, it’s weak. No independent witnesses, no physical evidence. They have twenty-four hours to charge you or let you go, and I’m betting that Detective Inspector will not even be taking the case to the Crown Prosecution Service. I’m going to go home now, but ring me if they want to interview you again. I will send my bill in due course”.
Terence wasn’t too concerned as he sat in his cell waiting for the outcome. Rosa seemed to know her stuff, and he was sure she would be able to get him off if it went to court. But the ace in the hole was Alan. If he went ahead with any charges, Terence would crucify him. Get the case thrown out because of his personal connection. Grass him up totally, and even get witnesses like ‘Diane’ from New You to confirm that ‘Alan’ was always around, dressed up and lustful.
He half-expected Digby to appear in his cell, maybe try to find out what he intended to say, perhaps even rough him up out of anger. But to do that he would have to walk past the Custody Sergeant and his team, then justify why he was wanting to talk to a prisoner alone. So he sat quietly, thinking about Clive. He couldn’t blame him for trying to take revenge, but he had gone about it quite clumsily.
Once this got sorted out, Terence would make sure that the Nottingham newspapers and the business community knew about Clive’s perversions. It would have to be anonymous of course, but as everyone knows, mud sticks. Besides, he still had the photos and DVD films. They would sink him.
Less than an hour later, the detective who had asked the questions opened the cell door. He didn’t seem at all happy.
“You are free to go, follow me”. At the desk of the Custody Sergeant, his personal possessions were returned, and he had to sign for them. Then the sergeant pointed at the exit. Terence was on the verge of asking for a lift back to New You, but decided not to push his luck.
It was a long walk back into the part of the city where he could find a taxi on a rank, but on the way he left a message on Rosa’s answerphone, telling her he had not been charged and would happily pay her bill.
Back in his room that evening, he reflected on the day. It could have gone so badly, but it hadn’t. He saw that as a sign. Next month, he would start working on rolling out the franchise model for New You. But not until he had made copies of all the photos and DVDs that Clive starred in, and sent them to anyone who might be interested. He would drive over to Grantham to post them, just to put anyone off the scent of his real location.
Then he heated up a microwave lasagna, opened a botle of cheap Chianti, and sat relaxing.
When the doorbell went at almost ten at night, he checked the camera.
It was Alan.
If he was expecting Alan to be angry, Terence was wrong. He was both apologetic, and very affectionate.
“I am so sorry about what happened today. It was a trumped-up accusation at best, and that Clive was behind it, I’m sure. My Chief Inspector made it work for him. He must be involved in Clive’s life somehow, as we have been trying to nail that weird bastard for ages, but no charges or warrants ever get past my boss. As soon as I saw your name and address on the warrant, I just knew it must be malicious, but I had to go through the motions. We always knew that it would never result in a charge, let alone a prosecution, so I’m guessing it was a half-arsed scare tactic. I beg you to forgive me”.
With that, he flung his arms around Terence, and showered him with kisses, even though he was not dressed as Phyllis. That made one thing obvious, and irrefutable.
Alan had always known Phyllis was a man dressed as a woman.
He hadn’t asked Terence not to tell on him, and never even mentioned the possibility that he might. That not only meant he had some trust that would not happen, but also a desire to retain the status quo in their relationship, such as it was.
Terence decided to take him up to his room for a drink, keen to know more. He didn’t have to wait long for Alan to explain.
“That allegation would never have got off the ground, if it wasn’t for whatever hold Clive has over my boss. No evidence, nothing at all. Just an unsubstantiated claim by a boy that could not be backed up by anything whatsoever. I don’t know how or why you upset Clive, and I don’t want to know. But I can assure you nothing will be continued in the case, and I really hope nothing will change at New You, or between us. I cannot stress how much coming here means to me. It is all that I live for now”.
Assuring him that everything would be okay, Terence told him about what he knew of Clive, and that he intended to expose him with the photographs and the DVD films. He thought Alan would be pleased, but he wasn’t.
“Please, please, don’t do that. Clive tried and failed, and he will fade away. He used his ace in the hole, and it didn’t work. If you try to expose him now, my boss will be caught in the crossfire, and who knows who else. God forbid they should find out about New You, and expose all of your customers. That is likely to happen, and you must know that. Leave well-enough alone, and we have a chance to be happy here”.
Pouring him another drink, Terence reassured him that he would think it over. But he had already decided to take that advice. Life was good in Horncastle, and rattling cages or raking over old wounds would almost certainly change everything. When he had calmed down, Alan made a surprising request.
“Can we both go and dress? I badly want to feel feminine, and I need you to be Miss Phyllis. I have told my wife I am tied up on a case, so I can stay all night if that’s alright with you. I really don’t want to be alone as John Digby, and even though I always guessed you were a man, I would never have said anything if all this hadn’t come out today”.
For the first time that he could remember, Terence felt something. He had feelings for the man he knew as Alan, and that worried him. He realised that Alan being upset made him upset too. He readily agreed that they could both dress as requested, and that Alan could stay overnight. When they were both in their familiar characters, Terence took his hand and led him back up to the bedroom. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to.
The next morning, they were both awake early, and Alan had something he wanted to say.
“In less than six months, my daughter will be going to university, my mortgage will be paid off, and I can take my thirty-year police pension. I have been unhappy with my wife for years, but needed a push to make me do something about it. You are that push. I want to finish it with her, sort out the finances, make sure my daughter is financially stable, and then sell the house. I will have my pension lump sum, the house is in good equity, and my monthly pension is more than enough to live on, even after I pay off my wife. My dream is to come and live here with you, maybe invest in the business and develop it. What do you say, Phyllis?”
Smiling and happy, Terence said yes.