Marcus stood there in a state of shock. He couldn’t move, frozen in place, petrified by the sheer misfortune of being found out. He was half dressed, panties, pantyhose, and a bra, a skirt in hand, his girlfriend’s sweater on the bed.
“What the fuck, Marcus?” Tina exclaimed once she found her voice, having been stunned into silence by the sight before her. “What the actual fuck?”
“I – I can explain,” he stammered, knowing that there was no way to explain what was happening.
“Can you?” She screeched. “Can you really? Oh, that’s great. What the hell are you thinking, you freak!”
“Okay, can you stop yelling? Sit down and we can talk this out.”
“Talk? Talk!” Leanna was beside herself. “No! You’re some kind of perv, some sick sex deviant.”
“I’m not. Wait, let’s talk.”
“No. I’m out. You want to dress like a girl, dress like a girl. Fuck this. I didn’t sign up for this. I want a man, and I don’t need some confused weirdo. I’m done.”
Marcus woke up in a sweat, panting as he realized that it was only a dream. Leanna slept soundly beside him. She hadn’t caught him, but how could she? He had turned his back on his own deviance. It had been years since he had worn women’s clothing. Years since he had purged his stash of clothing and makeup for the final time.
No, there was no way Leanna could find out, no way for her to walk in on him during the act. Dressing up left him feeling disgusted, as though he had allowed his kink to control him. He was stronger than his urges. He was a man, a manly man. He had joined the Marines to prove his manhood. He had proposed to Leanna to prove that he deserved to be called a man.
But the dream. The dream was becoming more persistent. If not this one, then the one where he is was out on the town, turned to look in a mirror, and found himself wearing a black cocktail dress, stilettos, and his hair long in in curls. But the thing is that it’s not him looking back, but it was him, a different him. There stood a woman smiling serenely, beaconing him to accept the truth.
The truth was what kept him awake most nights. When he was tired, he was at his most vulnerable, and the images and sensations of his illicit deeds came flooding back. The stolen moments when, home alone, he would steal into his mother’s closet, find something to wear, and prance around, excited to feel right. This continued until he was almost caught by his father, and he swore he would never dress again.
That’s the thing, though, it was not the last. He left for college and began to indulge in his fetishism. He bought dresses and wigs. Pantyhose was his favorite article of clothing. He bought makeup and taught himself to apply it, though it had the same heavy-handed application middle school girls took as they learned how to do their own makeup.
Thus began a cycle of buying and purging that plagued him for years. It left him feeling scared and alone. He kept to himself so that no one could possibly find out what a sicko he actually was. Days after he turned 21, he dropped out of college and enlisted, joining the Marines as did his uncle. He needed to prove himself a man.
He excelled during his time in service, achieving a rank of Corporal before being discharged after turning thirty. He met Leanna soon after landing a job with a defense contractor. He kept his focus, not wanting to regress back to the days when he dressed up like a sissy.
And it worked, until a few months back. Leanna had come home and started gossiping about a man named Todd, someone she worked with. He had come out to everyone at work as transgender, and had intended to transition.
“Can you believe it?” Leanna whispered, as though she feared being overhead. “Todd wants to be a woman! How weird is that?”
“Sounds a bit squirrelly,” Marcus guffawed, though part of him resented his bravery.
“He was one of the most manly guys in the office,” she shrugged before adding casually, “we dated for a few months before I met you. Trust me, there was nothing squirrelly about him.”
“And you’re okay with one of your exes becoming a woman?”
“It doesn’t matter if I’m okay with it or not,” she argued, becoming annoyed at the direction of the conversation, and the contemptuous tone in his voice. “Todd was alway sad and miserable. When he came out to me last year, he was terrified.”
“He told you last year? Why are you only now telling me?”
“Because, he made me promise not to tell anyone, and I keep my promises.”
“Hmm,” Marcus harrumphed unhappily, though he grudgingly knew she did the only honorable thing, even if it did sting.
“Anyway, he’s been looking happier this past few months, and decided to take the next step.”
“And how’s the office taking it?”
“Most everyone’s okay with it. We don’t understand it of course, but we know Todd. He’s not prone to follow trends or whims. He did this after years of struggling and coming to terms with who he is.”
“Don’t you mean who she is?” Marcus scoffed.
“Maybe, but not yet. Todd will debut Melody next week.”
And that was it. That conversation had awakened his desire to dress up. He missed the feeling, the freeing thrill of dressing up female. It was liberating and empowering. And he feared it more than he was willing to admit to himself.
In the middle of the night, he struggle to quiet his mind, and a whirlwind of thoughts flitted through him head, struggling to make sense of his own identity. Marcus was a man, and successful man. He had joined the Marines. He had killed men in the field of battle. He had dispensed mercy and let many live who were in his power to die.
He began to shake. It wasn’t the first time, and he doubted it would be the last. He fought against the reality of his situation for so long. It had been thirteen years since he had purged his collection of the last time. He now wavered, wanting more than anything to succumb to his need.
“Are – are you okay?” Leanna yawned, her fiance’s trembling had awakened her.
“What? No, I’m fine,” he lied.
“Don’t lie to me, babe. What’s going on?”
“It’s nothing, honest.”
“Bullshit!” She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and turned on the lamp. “You haven’t been fine for a while. Something’s been bothering you for weeks. Are you ever going to tell me, or are you going to keep shutting me out? If we’re going to get married, you’re going to have to trust me.”
Marcus opened his mouth but had lost his voice. He tried a few times before shaking his head and admitting defeat. He shrugged and began to tear up. He couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. She was bound to find out regardless, so it might as well be now, before they got married. Might as well give her the opportunity to walk away and scrape up some pride while she was free to do so. It might as well be now.
“How’s Todd doing?”
“Todd? You mean Melody?”
“Yeah,” he replied in a small voice.
“She’s fine. Happier than ever. It’s been a bit of an adjustment for all of us, but she’s holding up well. Why do you ask? I thought the idea of her transition was offensive to you sensibilities.”
“It’s weird,” he chuckled before clearing his throat. “What would you say if I said that I kind of respect his courage.”
“You mean her courage?”
“Yeah. It’s, I mean I’m kind of jealous of that.”
Leanna’s eyes narrowed as she focused her attention on him. “What are you trying to tell me?”
“I think I understand her a lot more than you will ever know.”
“I think you’re not giving me enough credit,” Leanna said quietly. “I love you, Marcus. If you’re going through something, you need to trust me to see it through with you. If you can’t trust me, there’s no point in me staying with you, is there?”
“I suppose not.”
“Good. I won’t press the matter, but when you’re ready, you can tell me anything. I love you.”
“Well, I’m worn out, so if there’s nothing else, night baby. ” She kissed his worried brow, rolled over and turned off the lamp, and fell back onto her pillow.
“I think I might have something in common with Melody.”
She sighed as the light came back on and Leanna got out of bed.
“Where are you going?”
“If we’re going to have the conversation I think we’re going to have,” Leanna replied as she threw on a robe, “I want coffee and pie.”
“Should I join you?”
“I not eating in bed, so yeah. I’ll brew up a pot if you heat up the pie.”
“Done,” Marcus said warily.
“Don’t look like that,” Leanna smiled sadly. “I already said I loved you. That hasn’t changed. You just need to get this out so we know where to go from here.”