Two weeks slowly passed by and by this time Vicky had started on her GCSEs, everybody at school believed she had been off with tonsillitis, despite her wrists having bandages on them for a few days, besides this though, Vicky considering her exams had started was feeling a lot better having got her secrets out in the open with her family; and they had begun to feel somewhat more ready to take in the various news that was still seeping out and ask questions. Even better still was the fact her mum and dad had begun to think rationally and recollect, and they didn't have any grounds to really dispute her claim, her behaviour when she was younger, her playmates, her toy preferences and her sometimes odd behaviour around boys in an almost flirty way was evidence hard for them to ignore. The shock had began to ease slightly as they saw their daughter, or as they were still calling her, their son, felt a lot better about herself, and seemed a lot more liberated and happier in general, a greater understanding began to develop. One night Vicky was in the bath and Ellen came in, she just wanted to ask Vicky something that had begun to nag her, she was curious about what her 'son' had wanted to be called. Of course in Vicky's earlier years just as boys and girls ask alike, she did ask what her name would have been had she been a girl, they had decided on Louise, but Vicky didn't really feel that was her name as by that time she had called herself Vicky in her heart!
"Is it okay if I ask you something?" said Ellen as she came in the bathroom, and the way her 'son' acted when someone walked into the bathroom began to make some real sense, 'he' in her eyes always jumped and covered himself up, as if there was something 'he' was ashamed of, of course - there really was!
"Yes..." said Vicky tentatively feeling vulnerable in the bath
"Well... I've been wondering what you want to be called honey?" she asked
"Err, well, I have always wanted to be called Victoria" she said with a smile emerging on her face as she said her name "I decided on it when I was seven or so, I went around all my friends at the time and their names, and I decided Vicky was the name I liked most" she said feeling at ease talking about it "I know I asked you when I was about that age what you wanted to call me" she continued
"Yes, I remember" Ellen responded
"Well I didn't really feel that Louise was the name for me, as I loved Victoria so much!" Vicky said hoping she wouldn't upset her mother, however there was a big surprise awaiting her.
"Well, it's funny you should have decided on Victoria" Ellen responded with a smile on her face
"Why?" Vicky asked rather concerned
"Well, back when me and your dad were deciding on names for you, I had decided on a name I wanted you to be called if you were a girl" Ellen explained
"What did you decide on" pestered Vicky intrigued to hear the answer
"Well, your dad disagreed with my final choice saying it was too posh, but I really wanted you, if you were a girl, to be called, Victoria!" she exclaimed with a little chuckle
"Really?!" said Vicky slightly shocked
"Yes, really!" Ellen smiled
"Wow, maybe it got it got into my heart mum and touched me so much I clung on to it for so long when I was a baby in you!" beamed Vicky feeling a sense of acceptance from her mum
"Maybe it did" said Ellen
"But I will have Louise as my middle name name, just out of respect for you and dad" Vicky explained
"You don't have to honey, but it's your choice" Ellen remarked, it was the perfect moment for a hug, but with Vicky covered in soapy water and Ellen remembering,
"Oh my god! Just remembered the cake in the oven darling! I better go and rescue it!" Ellen said as she gave Vicky a quick kiss and dashed out the bathroom and down the stairs. Vicky laid back in the bath, feeling good and smiling broadly about her mother's news.
Vicky's exams were passing quite well and she was pleased with how she was doing; especially with the subjects she struggled with being Science and Maths, but she felt good about them, and the environment at home was getting better. Emily was speaking to mum on the Friday before half term started when Vicky was upstairs having an afternoon nap (she was tired from all the exams) and Emily asked her a pertinent question.
"I was talking to, well you know and she told me you had both spoken about names" said Emily, trying not to say the name she felt mum and dad would still be uncomfortable calling their 'son'
"Yes, we have, a week ago" Ellen said as she washed some dishes up.
"Mum, I was wondering if..." Emily paused in awkwardness
"What? You can go to the cinema with friends?" Ellen said turning around taking off her marigolds.
"No, if you have a problem me calling, her, well her, and she and Vicky!" Ellen walked over to the kettle and poured the water into a the teapot, stirred the water and popped the tea-cosy over the teapot, and sat down on one of the kitchen stools.
"Me and your dad aren't quite ready for us to call him, or, well I suppose her that yet honey. And, well we may feel really awkward with you doing so, I expect having known for so long you can't wait to have a sister?" smiled Ellen.
"I have had a sister for all my life mum..." Emily paused "...but I just wish I could call her name properly in public" she finished.
"Emily, sweetheart, I know you do, but we have to be careful because Vicky is still doing exams, and we don't want anyone finding out and disrupting that, and the neighbours don't even know yet honey, me and your dad will have to sort that out soon honey, just give us time" Ellen said holding her arms out to hug her daughter, and Emily snuggled in and with her simple eloquence as ever said
"I'm just glad you still love her"
"We always will will Emily, nothing will change that" Ellen said, she offered Emily a cup of tea as she poured one for herself, and the two sat downstairs chatting through the pertinent issues. Like "when will you tell the neighbours?" and all the pressing issues and even asking "when do you think you will be able to call her. her and call her Vicky?" - of course Ellen wasn't too sure, she along with Chris and James had all agreed that there was not much to dispute her claim of being female with all their recollection. Vicky came down the stairs and towards the kitchen and switched on the kettle for a cup of coffee and innocently asked
"So what have you girls been talking about?"
"Oh, just girl's things! I'm sure you know honey" smiled Ellen looking at Emily.
"I'm sure I do" Vicky said switching on the kettle.
Time progressed quickly, and Vicky finished her exams by the second week of June, it was at this point Chris and Ellen had decided to see the school, so they could be informed of the situation as it stood, and they had decided it was time the neighbours knew as well what would be happening. In the past three weeks their had been even more chat, even more on how Vicky was so certain of being female, and how she needed to be allowed to live properly. She had told them all about the severe abuse she faced day to day, and how much distress her body gave her at times, she said that she had experimented with makeup and dressing in more feminine clothes and was actually quite pleased with the results that alone afforded her.
"When I say dress, I just mean baggy trousers and sporty clothes and things like that, stuff that has nice bright colours. So don't think I want to wear all manner of obscure clothing!" explained Vicky
"How do you know what you like, surely Emily's clothes don't fit you, even though you are quite small, all things considered!" said Chris inquisitively still conjuring up various images of his 'son' in some whacky dress.
"I just do, I see what other girls wear and I would like to be able to also wear the clothes that they do, rather than all this black and navy blue all the time!" Vicky said continuing, she was trying to hint at her parents to ask her if they could see her after she had spent some time on herself making herself look more to her liking. But that wasn't going to forthcoming.
"You do know mum and I spoke to our neighbours today don't you?" asked Chris
"I do, but mum said she would talk about it later" responded Vicky
"Well, it went alright actually, Miss Hodgkins next door who has been here since we moved here said she had watched you and Emily grow up and how alike you were, and given she is seventy-four and understanding is very good. So she has wished you all the best, she says she sometimes hears about it on the radio or in the newspapers" explained Ellen, a big smile came from Vicky when she saw other people accepting what she really was, Ellen began to continue
"We also spoke to the Jones' next door, they don't plan on telling little John as he is young still, and they were rather concerned as Philippa on the odd occasion had noticed you walk by with those horrible, well, black eyes you sometimes came home with. But they too have wished you all the best honey, now what more could you want?" Ellen beamed reminding herself of the good news as she said it
"I don't want anything from anybody really, I'm just more pleased for you and dad, and James not forgetting Emily - I'm just glad they are understanding for your sakes" said Vicky showing her understanding side that she, Emily and Ellen seemed to have.
"As such me and your dad have one question for you, don't we?" said Ellen nudging Chris who was drifting off a bit!
"When were you thinking of, like... when do you want to change son?" asked Chris, still clinging onto the word 'son'. Vicky stayed silent thinking,
"Obviously now would be great... but it has to suit all of you, I was thinking the day Emily and James finish for school, and the day I have my last assembly, which would make that the end of July this year...." tailing off at the end of the sentence not wanting to sound too pushy or disrupting the calm and understanding atmosphere that had been around for a while.
Ellen and Chris began to think about it, amazingly they had been able to accept perhaps the inevitable so soon, they had so many questions about who to actually see for help in all of this, but their foremost pressing issue was at least trying to ease Vicky along gently at their pace which with all things considered having only known about Vicky's gender issues, for under two months they were excellent to say the least. Eventually Chris managed to say something to Vicky
"We'll speak to Emily and James to see what they have to say first, but... we will see how things go ok? We're not saying no, or yes, but... we just need to discuss things", Ellen acknowledged and she added "It's just as hard on us as you understand honey, but we will help you whatever, just give us time and trust us".
"I know, I know, I just get carried away sometimes, so I am sorry if I am going too fast, but well that's just the way things are for me right now!" apologised Vicky.
"Don't worry, it's ok, you're being fine, so no need to be sorry, ok?" reassured Chris.
Little did Vicky know at that point what she had requested really was going to come true like all the daydreams, and a lifelong set of desires and needs were to be accepted fully, and to become a reality!
Later that evening, Vicky was listening to her music, she was very much into dance music as it made her feel good, sure it annoyed most of the household with the constant thud of a bass-drum, but it wasn't intensely fast music, but then James did equalise if not beat Vicky on account of music, in so far as he played the electric guitar! Emily however, was just a pop diva, but growing out of the boy band thing and catching on more and more to Vicky's house music she played, and other stuff which she played. Emily and Vicky were chatting how Vicky really wanted to have some turntables so she could start buying records and start mixing, just as an ardent rock fan may learn to play the guitar, the DJ'ing was the natural extension for Vicky. She loved the music so much that on occasion her and Emily could be found on a quiet night when no one else was in just dancing away around the house listening and messing around. This was definitely something that certainly would happen more and more as Vicky's level of happiness increased by the day. Ellen called Emily and James downstairs that evening to discuss with them what Vicky had talked about earlier, and how they felt. Obviously, Emily was more than willing for her sister to 'change' whenever she liked and was very happy at the news.
"Mum, if you and dad let her, I know she will be so much happier! You can't have missed how she is these days!", such intelligence from a twelve year old. Ellen smiled and answered
"I know she..." Ellen paused for a split second, realising that she had begun to say 'she', unknown to all of them, Vicky was sitting on the stairwell listening in on the conversation, as soon as she heard her mum refer to her as 'she' her jaw dropped wide open, her eyes began to sparkle, and the broadest smile she probably ever mustered began to shine from her face. Ellen continued not realising the impact her words had made "... well, yes, she has been a lot lot happier in the past month or so, me and your dad haven't failed to notice that! What do you think James?" she asked. James looked up from his music book,
"What?" he said in typical 'I wasn't listening fashion'!
"James, look, now this is important, you have to pay attention" snapped Ellen quite infuriated
"Well, I am sooo sorry", James evidently in one of teenage mood swings!
"What do you think about having another sister by the end of July", Ellen trying to phrase it as best a possible, but this pleased Emily and also the eavesdropping Vicky outside!
"I don't mind, she's always been this way so different clothes won't make much difference for me, and at least she will be happy with herself..." James tailed off as his book began to engage him again, he never had much to say really, it wasn't because he didn't care, but just purely because that was the way he was, such things didn't bother him greatly, especially as even he could be accused of being nasty and rough with Vicky when they were young. The days when James would hide Vicky's toys, and despite James being three years younger always seemed to get the better of her, until Vicky got so upset she would pull James' curly hair (which he had at the time) and run to Ellen! James began to read his book again, Vicky crept upstairs, Emily smiled and Ellen fell back into her seat, sighed and snuggled up to Chris, she needed some comfort, but she didn't feel down, just in need of that hug! When Emily and James had returned upstairs, to a roar of electric guitar riffs and Emily and Vicky trying to out do James by playing Emily's pop music and just chatting away, Ellen turned around to Chris
"So what do you think honey?" she whimpered with a puppy look in her eyes.
"I don't know sweetheart, it's so difficult, I'm glad the kids seem OK though..." Chris said scrunching his lips and continued "...I wish there was some other way, but we have told the neighbours now, and school now also knows, I think with over a month still to go, I could be ready for it, I just don't want to see him, or I suppose her - doing anything dangerous again!" said Chris with a rare moment of terror in his voice as his mind flashbacked to the moment when he found Vicky passed out, strewn helpless to the cruel world that pushed her to such means, a world that did not care for her as she was, he loved his child so dearly, that he could not bear such a tragedy to happen again.
"I know Chris, it's just so difficult, I feel like I'm loosing someone", Ellen began to weep a bit as she was huddled up with Chris on the sofa.
"Yes, I feel that too. But, remember, we are gaining a daughter and hopefully a much happier and fulfilled person too, I hope. I know you understand Ellen, and you have truly been fantastic with all of this, we all love you, mum" he smiled and kissed Ellen who by now was in tears and smiling at the same time, huddled up against Chris even more to feel safe from the world that had made life so unbearable up until recently for their newfound daughter.
"I love you too" Ellen said, as they snuggled up, listening to the noise of an electric guitar thrashing away, and the sound of house music thudding around, their household may have become quite unorthodox but deep down, they loved it, and would not change anything about it either!
A few weeks passed, Vicky, being as she had finished school by this point decided it may be an idea for her to start looking for a job, she was sixteen, and could earn a good amount of money over the summer holidays. However, Ellen and Chris had been thinking and when Vicky came in with the local paper which had a few suitable holiday jobs at tourist camps which were close enough to walk or get the bus easily to. Ellen busy making Cottage Pie, sat down on her stool and said something Vicky was no prepared for.
"Vicky...." Ellen had managed it, she had said the name, the name that Vicky wanted to hear from everyone, her mum, her dad, her brother, absolutely everyone, she heard it. Her face lit up and she ran over to her mum for a big hug.
"Thanks mum!" Vicky said
"It's ok, I had to start sooner or later. Me and your dad have been talking again and in the past few days we have decided that by the end of this month, if you feel you are ready to change your name and 'change', we will be ready and here for you" Ellen said, with a huge sigh of relief that she managed to say it, it seemed always to be her doing the hard work in this, but Chris was out at work most days. Vicky began to cry and hugged her mum so dearly that the two both began to cry and laugh, things really were going to get better.
"Do you want a cup of tea then?" she said to her grinning and sniffly daughter who couldn't believe that it was all a reality. A pinch could not awake her now!
"I would love one, mum" Vicky smiled, and continued "I got the Next catalogue the other day, is it OK if me, you and Emily have a look tonight so I can buy some nice trousers and tops for summer?", her joy was easily shown, she was elated, the whole world seemed a brighter place from that day onwards for her.
"Of course we can, after dinner maybe, here you are" Ellen said passing Vicky her tea. They both sat in the kitchen chatting away, but it wasn't long before Vicky began to help her mum with the dinner and spending good time together, for the first time in their lives, truly feeling like mother and daughter.
That evening Vicky spent a few hours browsing through the catalogue with Ellen and Emily, as they chatted away very much normally, even Chris and James managed to smile, as Chris nodded to the back room, in other words for the two men of the house, it was too much, so off they went into the back room to play football on the Play-station! The three girls watched them trundle out of the room and laughed and got back to chatting about the clothes Vicky wanted. Genetics had favoured her well, she was by now taller than her mum and obviously, Ellen was 5'5", Emily by now thirteen was 5'1" but still growing, and Vicky was 5'6". Compare this to her dad's 5'11" and her brother James', aged fourteen 5'10" she was very lucky! Her feet were also suitably small, they weren't a size 10 like her dad or James, but again one size bigger than her mum, a size six. Her body wasn't too bad after all, and the sooner she could seek the help of a gender specialist for hormones to start feminisation, opposed to further masculinisation the better! Vicky chose four pairs of trousers, some simple tops, a denim jacket, a nice pair of slip on trainers, some smart black shoes and also a small denim skirt. She had been saving money for a while and this was a good use for the savings! The next day Vicky rang up and ordered her goods, which they promised would be with her the next day.
Duly they did arrive and Vicky had great fun trying them all on, much to her liking she didn't look bad at all, in fact with a bit of makeup, and thanks to her long hair and still relatively feminine looks and proportions, she did look like the girl she felt she really was, this was yet another huge boost to the girl! It was now only a week away until she left behind her old life for good, her parents were getting quite good at remembering to use the right name and pronouns, also Vicky decided that it was time to change her name. She took various copies of a statutory declaration to the local solicitors with Ellen and filled in the necessary parts. They entered the solicitor's office and Ellen spoke to the receptionist
"I phoned yesterday, about my solicitor signing a name change document"
"Mrs Jefferies?" the receptionist asked looking in the diary.
"Yes" Ellen answered
"Please take a seat Mr. Bell with be with you in due course" the receptionist said pointing to the seating area with the mandatory out of date magazines on the coffee table. Vicky and Ellen sat quietly, both nervous of what the solicitor's reaction would be. Eventually Mr. Bell the solicitor came out of his office and welcomed them in. They sat down inside in the rather cold and dull room with not much to it, except a lot of books on the shelves behind them, and a desk with a mountain of paperwork and a computer.
"So how can I help you Mrs Jeffries?" asked Mr. Bell.
"We are here so you can sign a statutory declaration form, we understand there is a fee, but it would be most kind if you could verify the document, sign it and authorise it" Ellen said. Vicky was looking so nervous. Mr. Bell took the document and began to read... He read a boy's name at first, which he naturally assumed was Vicky as it wasn't Ellen despite Vicky looking rather feminine. He continued and evidently moved his lips around to the side and and cleared his throat as he read the name that the document authorised Vicky to have it changed to. "Victoria Louise Jefferies" He paused not at all used to seeing someone young, and evidently suffering from a gender dysphoria. But he was nice enough about it all.
"So you must be Victoria now then?" Mr. Bell asked Vicky, which rather took her aside, shyly she replied
"Yes, I am, or will be by the end of this week" she smiled shaking her hair in place.
"Do you want all these copies signed and stamped" asked Mr. Bell.
"Yes, please." Ellen answered holding Vicky's hand.
"No problem, just tell the receptionist how many forms I signed for you which is ten, and say it was a statutory declaration, she will take the fee from you, best of luck young lady" Mr Bell said smiling and standing up, he straightened his jacket and opened the door. Vicky took the forms.
"Thank-you very much" said Vicky
"Yes, thanks for all your help and understanding" Ellen said shaking Mr. Bell's hand. They walked to the receptionist who took the money from them and the two knew that officially, Vicky was now legally known as "Victoria Louise Jefferies". Such a relief for them both that it wasn't a troublesome as they had feared! They left the office and walked back home, slowly, meandering along the same street they had lived in for eleven years, with an air of freedom and new birth too, mother, and daughter, chatted quietly as they approached the house, and Vicky really felt she had to say something to her mum.
"Mum, I know I may have said this before, but I love you all so much more than anything in the world! I could never have wished for a better mum, a better dad, a better brother or a better sister. You are all so special to me mum!" she began to cry smiling at Ellen. Ellen felt tears come to her eyes with Vicky's touching words, a single tear shed, dropped helplessly to the ground into a muddied puddle from last night's rain downpour. And like the ripples the tears of happiness caused in a mere muddy puddle, the tears of happiness would cause lasting ripples in their lives and hearts forever.