"What is your schedule like this afternoon, Ariel?" asked Brandy.
"Oh God, don't make me do this," he pleaded.
"Schedule," demanded Brandy firmly.
"I have Spanish, but it started like fifteen minutes ago and then I have advanced biology," he replied timidly.
"I know you have advanced biology. Allie and I are in there with you," sighed Brandy as she rolled her eyes.
"Trish is in that Spanish class. I'll text her and tell her to expect Ariel," said Allie.
"Great," said Ashleigh, "This day is really picking up."
"Hey, who is the redhead?" asked Charlie Burns. Charlie was a junior who was always hitting on the girls, but he was harmless enough.
"Want a kiss, Charlie?" asked Ashleigh.
"Wait, what's the catch?" he asked. You girls never even talk to me.
"Well, the redhead is Ariel. She's new here," said Brandy. "We want to show her a good time and she's up for anything."
"She looks scared," said Charlie.
"She's just not used to meeting all these new people. Do you want a kiss or not?" snapped Allie.
"Ok," said Charlie. "This is awesome."
"Be sure to kiss him back," whispered Ashleigh elbowing Eric in the ribs to let him know she was serious, but all Eric could do was stand motionless while the boy approached him and kissed him deeply on the lips. Hesitantly, he returned the kiss as Allie and Brandy snapped a couple of quick pictures on their phones.
"That was awesome. I want your number," said Charlie as he raced away, "but I'm late for study hall."
"Aw, that was so romantic," smiled Allie.
"OK, off to class you go, dollface," ordered Brandy. As Eric clumsily minced down the hall, Brandy took Eric's clothes to her locker and secured them away.
Eric looked with puppy dog eyes for sympathy, but finding none, he minced towards his biology class. He was unsteady having never worn heels before, but somehow he made it despite a lot of stares and giggling from passing students. He threw open the door to class and soon every eye in the class was on him. It didn't take long for the observant students to realize that they were looking at their male classmate Eric Kumanoupas.
"Ariel, over here," waved Trish with mock enthusiasm. She was friends with Allie, Brandy, and Ashleigh and just as dangerous, thought Eric. Unfortunately, he had no other choice, but to take the open seat at her lab table as every other seat seemed to be filled with one of the students laughing at him. Like her friends, Trish was one of the hottest girls in the school. Her family was among the wealthiest in the district, but that did nothing to tame her reputation as a wild child. She was also a very unlikely computer wiz, who had gotten a reputation for hacking before she was 15.
Trish had already started a lab and was showing Ariel what to do. As he grabbed a forceps, she couldn't help giggle at his freshly manicured nails. "Oh red is definitely your color, Ariel."
"This is so humiliating. I just want to take all this junk off," he complained almost on the verge of tears.
"I don't think that would be wise, do you?" she asked rhetorically. "Besides, Brandy did a really awesome job on your makeup."
"Oh God," he moaned humiliated beyond belief. Through the next two classes people snapped pictures of him, made comments, and stared in disbelief and the crossdressed teen. He was very passable if you didn't know who he was, but with his distinctive hair color and being forced to follow his male schedule and sit in his own seat, it was obvious to his classmates, who the seemingly attractive redhead in the green dress was.
Mr. Watkins class was especially terrifying for him. He mistakenly called Allie a bitch and was rewarded with a vicious slap to the face that was loud enough to attract the attention of everybody in the class. They all waited in anticipation for Mr. Watkins to let her have it, but he just stared in stunned disbelief before Brandy harshly told the teacher, "Hey Craig, they don't pay you to stare at us. Maybe you might want to try teaching." The other students couldn't understand why the most terrifying teacher in the school ignored the incident and just told everybody to take out their textbooks.
After class, Allie smiled as she turned to Eric and announced in a singsong voice, "It's picture time."
"Oh no, not the senior class picture. Allie, I don't want to have my picture taken like this," he pleaded in a panic.
"Nobody asked you, what you wanted," snapped Brandy as she grabbed the boy mermaid by his underarm.
Eric hated the feeling of being escorted through the halls of the school. At least when they walked him to the bathroom, it was more inconspicuous than now being dragged through the hall in a dress and heels. Ashleigh and Trish joined the group just outside the library and helped walk Eric inside in case he tried to back out. Trish was carrying her laptop and typing even as they stepped inside.
Eric went up to registration and when the friendly young woman asked him for his name, he stared back at Allie unsure how to answer.
"Give her your name Ariel," insisted his tormentor.
"Oh, Ariel's a pretty name. I love that movie." she smiled typing into the computer. "Actually, you're the only Ariel in the school, so this is easy." She handed Ariel a sheet of paper and told him to bring it over to the photographer. He looked down in horror to see his name listed as Ariel Kuminmypants. Looking up towards the girls he saw Trish beaming with pride as she taunted him with a wink.
The photographer grabbed the form and said, "Okay, I like a girl who doesn't mind posing for pictures. I see you signed up for Executive Deluxe Package, so we'll need to take about two dozen poses. The camera is going to love your hair."
"You had better smile nice and big, princess," whispered Ashleigh, "or you'll be back here in a much worse outfit for picture retake day. You know we can make you do it."
The photographer put the reluctant model into every girlish pose imaginable while the girls smiled, giggled, blew kisses and generally added to his humiliation and shame. The photographer sensed that his subject was nervous, but couldn't understand why every time he commented on how beautiful she looked; he seemed to get tenser and not less.
"Oh, these are amazing shot, Ariel. I think you'll be the talk of the yearbook," he said.
"She sure will," agreed Ashleigh causing the other girls to laugh.
"Were you able to do everything we discussed, Trish?" asked Allie.
"Oh yeah, ABC Photography is hardly the Pentagon. In addition to changing his name and order, I'm having copies of pictures sent to us, the school's biggest gossips, his parents work addresses, and thanks to a little snooping around a university housing website, his college roommate for next year," boasted Trish.
"That's awesome!" said Allie. "I can't wait."
With pictures over, there were only a few more minutes until school was over. Eric took a sigh of relief knowing that the worst was behind him. Sure, the picture would be humiliating, but most people wouldn't see it until he was almost graduated. He figured he could survive a few weeks just denying it was him.
"Can I get my clothes back and change?" he asked.
"What's your hurry?" replied Brandy. "You look good. Be proud."
"It's time to go," he responded with annoyance.
"Then let's go. You can change when you get home," insisted Brandy.
The thought of going home in a dress frightened him, but not as much as angering the girls did.
"Great, we just have to make a few stops first," said Allie. The girls had been planning this for weeks. They were almost done with the payback that he so richly deserved. It was kind of funny that Eric was such a wimp now. He had been the biggest terror through fifth grade when he was one of the biggest kids in his class. Unfortunately, he had mostly stopped growing while other boys were beginning their growth spurts. By sixteen, he had completely stopped leaving him about average size for a girl.
Since he could no longer bully kids in his own class, he picked on younger kids including Allie's sister and Brandy's brother. This was an affront, they just couldn't let stand. All they needed was to kill about forty minutes of time until the school was mostly deserted.
Finally, they led Eric out towards the parking log. He was relieved to finally be outside and that much closer to ending the worst day of his recent memory. "I can take it from here. Haven't you had enough fun at my expense?" asked Eric.
"Don't be silly, Ariel. We just needed to stop at my car, so I thought we'd accompany you just to make sure nobody teased you," said Trish. "Here, let's just stop here for one second," she said approaching a midnight blue metallic SUV and opening it with the remote.
"I thought you drove that little sports car?" he asked surpised.
"I do, but I traded with my brother for today," said Trish. As she opened the back hatch, Eric's eyes grew wide and he took a step backwards. Unfortunately for him, the girls had anticipated his fright and Allie was there to grab him. She twisted his arms up painfully behind his back where Brandy secured them in place with more duct tape. Seeing that he was now restrained, Trish smiled and looking like a game show hostess displayed the hatch all filled with mermaid things before grabbing a long cardboard box and closing the hatch.
"No," cried Eric, but nobody was near enough to hear. The girls dragged their screaming classmate to the old part of the school grounds despite his struggles. With his wrists taped, he couldn't fight them off and with the heels he couldn't even really drag his feet. They soon arrived at the edge of the parking lot, where the fountain at the entrance to the original school building was located before the student body had outgrown it. The fountain still worked and people did hang out there on warm summer nights, but today was still April and a bit too cold for that.
Brandy reached into her purse and grabbed two lengths of soft clothesline. As the girls held Eric, she used one piece to tie the struggling boy's ankles together and another to tie his ankles.
"Let me go, you bitches," screamed Eric.
"Oh, you never do learn," said Ashleigh as she pulled a long green latex mermaid fin from the box that Trish had removed from the car. She opened the zipper at the rear of the tail and took Eric's bound legs placing them inside the fin before zipping it up to just under his chest. The girls were careful to lift his dress so that it wouldn't get stuck inside the fin. She then applied very strong super glue all the way down the zipper, assuring that it would be nearly impossible to open it.
Eric struggled to get free, but it merely made him look even more ridiculous as his tail flapped around. Brandy untaped him and they pulled his dress off leaving him clad in only his lilac colored bra. They removed the duct tape from around his chest because without the dress, it was too visible.
"Hey princess, I got you some bracelets," said Allie holding up a pair of handcuffs that she had decorated with sea shells using a hot glue gun. Eric almost didn't figure out what they were until she was snapping them shut around his wrists in front of him.
"I like those," said Ashleigh. "It goes with the whole motif."
The girls brought him over to the fountain with Brandy and Ashleigh taking his legs while Star and Allie grabbed the frightened boy under his arms. They placed him right in base of the fountain.
"How long until your parents get home?" asked Brandy, but he remained silent. "I asked you a question and you are in no position to refuse me anything."
"They'll be home by seven," he said.
"If you get started now, you might beat them," said Allie encouraging him to inch himself along. His legs were completely useless, but he could very slowly slither propelling himself with his handcuffed wrists.
"I think we can do this in three hours," said Brandy in hushed tones to her friends.
"Absolutely," agreed Trish.
"I wish I could help you all, but I am already thirty minutes late for cheerleading," sighed Ashleigh.
"Go on Ash, we'll be fine," said Allie. "Let's get going though because we're cutting it close."
[To Be Concluded]