To call the building he was currently waiting in an airport would be incredibly generous. On the same level of generosity that a wealthy billionaire would give a billion dollars to a local small time charity with the aims of helping them get set up and help as many people out. A building that covered half an acre of land, a few sheds that stored small aircraft and fuel tankers when they were needed. A single runway stretched for half a mile out into a field and even then there was only one plane, and a small line of no more than thirty people waiting to board the short haul flight out to a more populated area of Ireland.
They were on their way out of the area, though Ryan was currently standing in front of the lost baggage claims desk becoming more irritated by the second at the blonde ladys lack of common sense to get off her rounded backside and go and try and find out any more information as to the whereabouts of his missing luggage that didnt turn up on the reclaim belt in the arrivals lounge of the wooden building of the airport. Two bags full of clothing and the very few personal possessions that he had brought over from England. The sixteen year old turned away from the desk before rubbing the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger. He was tired from the journey he had to take. First a train from Southampton to London Gatwick, and then from Gatwick to a remote airport six miles outside of a small town called Stepford, located in a rural area of Ireland.
There were a few sounds coming from behind Ryan, the lady at the desk had started to type in a number to her phone, she had started to ask about Ryans luggage. Finally. It had taken them long enough to do It, and hopefully he would gain some answers as to what was happening. Where had his luggage gone off to? He had it with him on the train, through the underground system and he checked it in with the right labels at Gatwick. The idiots at luggage handling had probably misplaced his bags and had it sent on the wrong flight. For all Ryan knew it was probably in China or Afghanistan. Somewhere stupid.
Im going to get a drink. He told the woman at the desk, having enough of standing around and waiting for an answer that wasnt going to come anytime soon. At sixteen Ryan was different from most boys his age. He was scrawny, and slightly effeminate with shoulder length snow white hair, crystal blue eyes and soft facial features. A scar ran across his right cheek after he got into a fight with someone from school three years earlier. He wore somewhat baggy clothing, though that wasnt by choice. The jeans he wore were a size too big for him, and his t shirt was loose as well as the sleeveless hoody that completed his outfit. He had a black messenger bag slung over his shoulder filled with his passport, a few computer game magazines and documentation regarding the six month visa he had gained to spend with his aunt. That meant two months of summer, and four months at the local school he was going to be enrolled in, though Ryan had no idea what to expect from that.
The drinks stand in the only real part of the airport had very little in the way of selection. Budget brand cola, water, lemonade and a few bottles of juice. The stand was part of a shop with an equally small selection snacks, magazines and travel essentials such as blindfolds and ear plugs, not that anyone would need them while on a short haul flight. Ryan picked up a bottle of orange juice with the oranges having supposedly been picked in orange groves located in Florida. He paid for it with a one euro and twenty cents for the bottle, and while walking away from the counter his phone started to vibrate in his pocket. He must have forgotten to take it off silent after he entered the airport. With the slightly warm bottle of orange juice, Ryan walked back towards the lost luggage desk before looking at the caller ID. It was his Aunt Helena.
Hey Aunt¦ Im a bit annoyed, the airline lost my luggage¦. Both suitcases. Im waiting for them to respond¦ Im at the front entrance if you want to come in. I wish I knew how long it would take¦ all right see you in a bit. Ryan put his phone back in his pocket, the old model barely had any juice left, and he was hoping to get a new one when he returned, that was if things did improve.
Ryan had been sent to stay with his aunt because financially things at home were going bad. His father was a gambling addict who often squandered what little money the family had either at the casino or down at the race tracks. At one point Ryan would had said that there wasnt a problem, but he was merely living in denial of the truth. His father did have an addiction, and that addiction had cost his family everything. It came to a point in which his parents became bankrupt and had to sell most of their possessions to make ends meet. They couldnt take care of Ryan; that was going to be difficult considering the budget. Thankfully it was the helpful suggestion from his Aunt Helena that had helped the young man out. She had offered to take him in for a few months while his parents worked on getting their finances sorted out.
Excuse me young man, Ive just gotten off the phone with my
supervisor! the blonde haired woman called out from the counter of the lost
luggage. Ryan had been waiting for that for the past hour and it had better be
good news. As soon as he was at the desk the woman started to explain
They had discovered his luggage had been logged on the wrong flight and sent to Australia. It would be a little while before they could get it back though and were deeply sorry. They had an estimated time of at least a week before it could be reclaimed and sent back, pushing its arrival date in Ireland to ten days at the most. Ryan was close to shouting and screaming, throwing a tantrum like a spoilt brat who couldnt get the toy he or she wanted. But he composed himself, resigned to just banging his head on the lost luggage desk. It was a stress relief mechanism he had made up for himself on the build up to his GCSE exams, especially with science. He would sit in class, and when he was being marginalised by his teacher or picked on by the other students Ryan would simply sit at his desk, look on the table and allow his body to drop. The end result would be Ryan hitting the table, and having something less stressful than those around him to focus on.
Ryan! a soothing voice could be heard from the entrance of the airport. The few people that were still there looked up and towards the direction of the voice, though quickly turned away. Ryan however didnt. Aunt Helena, his mothers oldest sister and despite living the furthest away, Ryan enjoyed her company and knew Helena more so than those relatives that lived within an hours drive of where he did.
Helena Fairfax was a single woman, unable to have children and with little interest of finding a husband. She had moved from Southampton to Stepford to set up her own business. She owned a clothing store that specialised in outfits from all around the world and in different styles. Mostly for girls, but Ryan had seen online that boys regularly visited the shop so he assumed that there were clothing for males. Helena was a tall and lithe lady of thirty-seven years old. She had long blonde hair that was tied in a ponytail. Her ice blue eyes looked through stylish square rimmed glasses. She wore a pair of jeans, fitted and they emphasised her frame. She also wore a long sleeved t shirt with an Iron Maiden logo on the front. The one thing that Ryan enjoyed was that he could always speak with his aunt about music, movies, computer games and books and the pair of them would have the exact same tastes.
Hey Aunt Helena. The two embraced one another in a hug as soon as they were close enough, and with a smile on his face Ryan stepped back, looking to his aunt as she placed both hands on his shoulders, trying to reassure him about the lost luggage situation.
Has there been any developments? Helena asked with a small smile while they walked on towards the desk. There was an envelope placed with a small note, it had his name on it. The blonde woman had picked up an incoming phone call. Ryan explained everything to Helena about the ten day wait for his package. In return she promised him that they would be able to stop by her shop and pick out a new set of clothes for Ryan, what Helena was calling a fashion show.
Then our first stop shall be the shop. It closes in an hour and that means we wont have anyone disturbing us. She promised him with a smile before patting his shoulder and looked to the envelope. Inside was a cheque made out to any bank for a hundred euros. Compensation for the luggage, or at least a small bit of it in Ryans eyes as he slipped it in his bag. Without another word said the pair of them were on their way towards Stepford.
The drive wasnt long from the airport into Stepford. In fact it was hardly thirty minutes before signs for Stepford appeared on the sides of the road. Despite being down about his luggage, Ryan was happy to be spending the next six months with his aunt. She was always nice to him, she was kind, gentle, never raised her voice in anger (not that she ever needed to) or treated Ryan like he was little more than an inconvenience. Her door was always open to him so that if he ever wanted to visit her, then he could. All hed have to do was hop on a plane to Ireland and she would pick him up. This had been the first time he had taken her up on that offer. Some had commented on the only reason that Ryan liked his aunt Helena over those that lived in England was because Helena was rich and successful. They were dead wrong about that. Ryan liked Helena because she treated him with respect. Nothing was too much of a problem.
Youre quiet. Is something on your mind Ryan? Helena asked from her seat, turning her attention slightly to the left glimpse at Ryan. Excited?
A little. He said with honesty before sitting up straight and looking towards Helena. Im also nervous. I dont know anyone other than you here. I¦ well you know what school was like for me. For Ryan, school was a dreadful experience. From his first days in reception all the way towards finishing year 11 he had been bullied and picked on because of how he looked and his size. Yes he looked like a girl, and was small, but it didnt give people the right to treat him like crap.
Im pleased to say that Stepford is quite a tolerant place.
Gay, straight, lesbian, cross-dresser, lover of all things fetish and all of
the above. Everyone is welcome. Said Helena with a smile on her face as they
passed the boarders of Stepford.
Ryans gaze was out the window at all times, though he couldnt help but think something looked strange as they crossed over into the town. It might have been his imagination, but something appeared before him but he couldnt fathom what it was. To him it looked like a wall, but an incredibly thin wall no bigger than a quarter of an inch. It was probably less than that, half a quarter of an inch and then it was gone. Maybe Helena was driving too fast. A quick glance at the dashboard put a stop to that train of thought. She was well within the speed limit.
Forgetting the matter of possibly seeing things that arent
there, Ryans eyes found they were drifting to what was in front of them. It
was the town of Stepford. It looked like a traditional town. Large buildings that
looked at home in an American movie set in the suburbs the houses were painted
in multiple pastel colours. Every house was different. Large green lawns and
parks were in abundance. This was a far cry from the dreary grey city Ryan had
come from. His old home had been run down, riddled with crime and full of
violence towards one another. It was a form of hell. Stepford was heaven in
comparison. This is amazing. Ryan breathed as Helena drove them on. They
passed the city hall, the shopping centres.
One thing that surprised Ryan the most was the clothing choices that people wore. Pastel colours, all bright, nothing dark. It was summer clothes for the summer and that wasnt something seen in most towns or cities. It looked as if he and Helena were the only ones out wearing black, though they hadnt passed the small business area of Stepford just yet and so that could change. When they had stopped at the traffic lights Ryan could see a better picture into the park. Girls wear wearing petticoats underneath dresses, and they were fashioned in the style of fifties America. Men were wearing just as bright colours, though a little more masculine and no one was wearing dresses. While he saw adult males, Ryan was finding it difficult to see any males his age. Running through the park were girls. They wore puffy dresses with large bows, knee length white socks, Mary Jane shoes and they all had ribbons in their brightly coloured hair. This was a far cry from Southampton, though Ryans first reaction was somewhat mixed in terms of what he thought.
There are no boys. Ryan pointed out to Helena, who merely glanced out of the window before the lights turned green. She didnt comment on that fact, just continued to drive with a content look on her face. Ryan looked towards her, wondering if she was going to say anything. When she remained quiet though, he took it as a sign and nodded his head before looking on towards the shopping district of the town. Mostly clothes shops, but there were also a mixture of entertainment shops, book stores, toy shops and a few shopping malls. Ryan noticed that a lot of the shops were focusing on dresses and formal fashion. That most of the shoppers were dressed very similarly. Young and old. Again, no boys.
Aunt Helena, this place is weird. Said Ryan as he sat in the car, looking out of the front window as Helena turned into a parking lot. There was a private space with her surname on, and she instantly took it without hesitation. With a smile on her face and the engine switched off, she looked to Ryan, patting his shoulder.
It will take some getting used to. Stepford is a lot more different than what you are used to back in England, but as long as you give it a chance then youll be fine. Helena reassured him, and Ryan in returned smiled and nodded his head before climbing out of the car. It was a shady area, which Ryan found good considering that it was over thirty degrees in the day. Just a warning Ryan; when we enter the shops there may be boys in there, but whatever they are wearing please do not comment. As I said, Stepford is different from anywhere in England. While it was a warning, Helenas tone of voice wasnt threatening. It was simply stating a fact and Ryan nodded again before following her from the car park.
Helenas shop wasnt easy to find. There were a few shops along the same row that dealt in specialist outfits. Bridal, sissy, everyday clothes, school uniform shop and a shop that dealt with numerous designs and outfits for males and females aged from twelve to twenty-five. Helena informed Ryan that the shop was indeed hers. It was called Cute and Elegant, a name she came up with when considering how she was going to market the shop. In the windows were dresses and outfits that Ryan recognised from reading manga and watching anime. Lolita clothes. Skirts, dresses, blouses, capelets and bonnets on offer in various bright colours. Looking through the mannequins, looking into the store Ryan could see girls walking around in similar outfits. They must be customers, that or Helenas workforce, though they looked no older than Ryan did.
Come on Ryan, lets introduce you to some of the local kids. Said Helena with a smile on her face as she took Ryans hand and lead him into the store. He could see that the girls were doing their own sort of fashion show.
Little did Ryan know that in good time he would be part of it.