Chapter 1 - Welcome Back to Campus

Masquerades 101 by Emily


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ACT ONE


Tyler, 21 year old Computer Science major


I put the key into the door and walked into the quiet, empty apartment. Home sweet home. It’s been months since I’ve been here. I’m annoyed that the university forces us to move out over the summer.


I stepped through my apartment’s threshold with my suitcase and put it down. It was stuffy in here and I’m already sweating from the short walk from my car to my apartment. Nobody has been here in months. There’s dust on the countertops and the blinds are all wide open. I check the thermostat and make sure it’s set to 70 degrees, then go around closing the blinds to keep the late summer sun from heating up the apartment further. I then turn around and head back to my car to get the rest of my stuff.


After bringing up 5 storage bins and a TV into the empty apartment, I start hooking up the TV. I carefully stand it up and set it down on the carpet. I don’t have a TV stand, but my new roommate assured me he’d be bringing one. Thankfully, this apartment comes pre-furnished with a single couch that’s certainly been worn out by years of people living here.


I plugged in the TV and started rummaging through my storage bins. “One of these bins has my game system”, I said out loud to myself. The lack of furnishings made my voice echo.  Yeah, I know I have a lot of stuff to unpack today, but after the drive back to college, all I really wanted to do was sit and mindlessly play video games.


It was the start of my senior year at college. Today was my move-in day. Or rather, it should’ve been a few days ago, but I procrastinated moving back since all of my friends were doing the same. Tomorrow is actually the first day of classes and since this is my 4th year on campus, I know the routine, so I’m not worried and I’m willing to procrastinate everything until the morning.


I looked in one unlabeled bin - that one was clothes. The next bin was labeled “cosplay stuff”.  I moved that one aside and got another unlabeled bin. I found the game system and its various cables. I knelt down on the floor and looked where to plug the cables in.  Ever since closing the blinds earlier, my living room is much darker and so I couldn’t see the connectors. I had two choices; I could go find light or I could let the hot summer sun come through the window again.


I chose the former and decided to open a storage bin, finding the tacky lamp I got at a yard sale this summer.  It was a beer bottle glued to a stand and a light socket - the beer bottle’s label was long gone, replaced by various stickers ranging from tourism stickers, to kids stickers, to an “I voted” sticker. The base was wood with 3 playing cards and a few poker chips glued to it. It looked like it once had a lampshade. I saw it sitting there at the yard sale and thought it would look good in my bachelor pad - after maybe cleaning it up, putting my own stickers on it and giving it a new lamp shade, of course.


I plugged the cord in and clicked on the light. Thankfully it came with a light bulb and it shone brightly. I held the lamp by the beer bottle to the back of the TV and found what I was looking for. I plugged everything in and placed the lap back on the ground.


Happy with the amount of work I wanted to accomplish this afternoon, I powered up the TV and game system.


I grabbed the controller and sat down on the couch, dragging over that cosplay bin and rested my feet on it. The game was one of those capture the flag type games where you can play with people across the world, so I joined a game and started playing.


Hours went by and I was starting to get thirsty. I rummaged through my stuff in the boxes and found a cup and made my way to the kitchen sink. As I was pouring water from the faucet, I heard a knock at the door. Without me responding, my girlfriend Nicole walked right in. I looked back at her and smiled, happy to see her.


“Hey babe.” she said, coming straight into the kitchen and embracing me. We kissed.  


“I missed you.” I told her, putting my water on the counter and bringing her in for a long embrace.


“It’s been a long summer.” she smiled and went in for another kiss.


“Next time, we should really visit each other during break.” she said.


I sighed. “I know, I know. We’ve been through this. I’m just not ready to introduce you to my parents.”


“Yeah, I don’t understand what the big fuss is about. You’ve met my parents.”


“They’ve been putting a lot of pressure on me to find a girlfriend and they are way too eager to meet them. I’m afraid if I introduce you to them, they’re going to put even more pressure on me to propose or something.”


“And what’s so wrong with that?” she asked, smiling. “We’ve been dating since freshman year.  They know I exist right?”


“Yes. They know you exist. I’ve brought you up in conversation before. Then they go off on how I finally have a girlfriend and that you’re a keeper.”


“That’s good advice.” she said as she looked into my eyes and kissed me again.


I love Nicole. She was right. We met freshman year.  Someone told her I made cosplay outfits, and she came to me for a Halloween costume.  We hit it off immediately.  At first we were just friends. But I was feeling the pressure by everyone else to ask her out.  It’s not every day one of the hottest girls in school was hanging out with me.  I half expected her to friend-zone me.  She accepted my invitation for a date.  Then another. And another. We’ve been dating ever since.  She’s cute and smart. Despite everything, I still question if she is the one, but I can’t bring myself to have that conversation with her just yet. 


“So, Alexis and Madison have been back for a few days already.” she said. “They’re asking us to come out with them for dinner. They were thinking of that brand new school themed sports bar that just opened up down the road over the summer.  Also,  Lexi has a new boyfriend she wants to introduce us to.”


“That sounds good.” I replied. “What time did you want to head out?”


“They said 6. It’s 4 now. I was going to head back to my apartment and shower and put something cuter on.”


“But you’re in a sundress, you’re already looking cute. You can just go out in that.”


“Ty, I’ve been wearing this all day.” she said walking to the door. “I feel gross. I’ll be back in an hour!”


I grabbed my water and sat back onto the couch and resumed the game I was playing. I had this feeling we were going to be running late. She was always cutting these things close.


* * *


As I expected, an hour and a half went by before Nicole came back.


“Oh my god, I’m running so behind!” she said in a panic as she re-entered the apartment, wearing a different sundress. Something a little fancier. She walked down to my bathroom with her purse and started applying makeup.


“It’s OK babe.” I said to her from my spot on the couch. “This isn’t anything to get anxious about.”


“I haven’t seen my friends in months.” She said, frantically applying makeup. “I have class at 9 AM, and there’s this internship I want to apply to and the deadline is Friday, and I still have to unpack and I couldn’t pick out the right outfit, and I couldn’t find my earrings in my luggage.”


I sighed, pushed pause on the controller, walked up behind her, put my hands on her shoulders and started rubbing her neck. “It’s going to be ok, Nikki.”


She closed her eyes. “Thank you Ty.  I needed this.”


Nicole has the problem of having anxiety attacks. Usually, it’s the result of letting too many responsibilities pile up all at once. I’ve been performing the task of stress relief for her since we’ve been dating and honestly, it was starting to get old. 


It was fine in the beginning. Almost even cute. It allowed me to get close to this girl who’d normally be out of my league. Her anxiety has been getting worse the closer to graduation we get and having the summer off from her was a nice reprieve.


“It’s OK.”  I said. “We’re just going out to dinner with your friends.”


She exhaled, turned and kissed me. “Thank you.” she added.


I smiled and returned to the living room to resume my game. The game I was on dropped me. I cursed under my breath and joined another.


About 5 minutes later, I was just about to win when Nicole came back into the living room.


“Tyler, stop playing that stupid game and help me.”


I paused the game again and sighed. I could see my teammates typing their anger on the screen.


“What is it, Nikki?” I said with frustration.


“How do I look in this dress? Should I go back and get another?”


“Seriously Nic? That’s what you’re worried about? You’re beautiful. Always have been. I bet you could dress down and still be the best looking girl in school.”


“You’re just saying that.” she said. “I look disheveled. I think this dress is too wrinkled from the trip and from being stuffed in my car.”


“Nicole, you’re fine. Stop stressing out, this is getting ridiculous.”


“Hey, don’t get mad at me!” she said. “You know how I get when you’re not around.”


“Yeah well,” I muttered. “Sometimes I think you just use your anxiety and me as a crutch.” 


We both paused. Oh no. I said that out loud.


Her face turned beet red.


“I didn’t mean that.” I said, trying to undo the damage.  “I just meant that it would be nice if you didn’t freak out every time we had to go out.”


“Oh, is that what you think?”


Shit. Shit. I’m digging myself a hole here.  I was never good at talking with girls.  You’d think dating one for 3 years would’ve made it easier.  Nothing’s easy with Nicole.


“Fine then. I’m leaving.” she proclaimed.


“Nicole, no, wait!” I said. “What about going out with your friends?”


She stormed out of my apartment and slammed the door closed.


Right at that moment, my phone buzzed. It was a text from my new roommate Josh.  “Hey roomie, just letting you know, my first class isn't until tomorrow evening, so I’ll be moving in tomorrow.”


Great. Guess I have to wait till tomorrow for the TV stand too.  I called Nicole’s phone.  She wasn’t answering.


I crashed back down on my couch, only to see that the players on my team had dropped me out of their game again. “Fuck!” I yelled, frustrated at the last hour of my life.  


I tried calling Nicole a second time. Still no answer. I guess she’s really pissed this time. Should I go chase after her?  This is not how I imagine my evening going.  


Oh well, she’ll get over it tomorrow. Honestly, I really should just dump her and find someone else who isn’t nearly as high maintenance. Someone who is more independent. But dammit, Nicole is like my best friend.  And she’s super hot.  


What I really wanted was someone attractive like Nicole. But confident. More relaxed and someone I could just be myself around.  Someone who accepts me for who I am . Someone who’s not perfect, but is perfect for me.  Is that person even out there?


“I wish.”  I said out loud.  This is stupid.  I’m making a shallow, self-ish wish based on a fight with my girlfriend.  But I’m alone and no one can hear me.  I need to vent.  “I just wish I was dating my perfect girlfriend.” I said out loud.


* * *


Nicole, 21 year old Marketing major


I left Tyler’s apartment angry. Can’t he see how much I’m stressed out? Why is he being like this? He’s usually so sweet and respectful.  I just need his support to get through the next semester.


I made my way to my apartment in the adjacent building and walked up the two flights of steps.  When I got to my door, I wiped the tears from my face and walked into the unlocked door. My roommate Alexis was standing in front of the mirror smoothing out her skirt.


“What’s wrong?” she said, while noticing my bloodshot eyes.


“Tyler and I got into a fight. Stupid boy.”


“I’m sorry. Are you still coming out with us?” she asked.


“No.” I replied. “Sorry, Lexi, I just can’t. I have too much stuff going on right now. Why can’t Tyler see that?”


“Come out with me and Madison. Forget about Tyler for the night.”


“I’m no longer in the mood for going out.” 


Alexis sighed. “What can I do to help?”


“Nothing.” I pouted. “I just want to focus on tomorrow.”


“As you wish Nic.” she said. “I just really wanted you to meet Brandon.  I want to get my girls’ blessing.”


“I’m sure I’ll meet him soon enough. I’m just not in the mood anymore and I can’t focus.”


“OK.” she said. “I’m leaving in 2 minutes. The offer still stands.”


I never did take up Alexis on her offer. After she left and when it was all quiet in my apartment, I washed the makeup and tears off my face. I sat down at the desk in my room and collected all of the things I needed for class tomorrow, which was really just my schedule of classes, my class binder and a pen. I won’t know what books to buy for my classes until we get the syllabus this week.


I changed out of my sundress and put on a white cami and cotton shorts. I looked in my closet, picked out my outfit tomorrow and laid it on my chair. I wonder what Tyler will think of this outfit? Wait, it doesn’t matter, I’m angry with him. When I was satisfied with tomorrow’s preparations, I crawled into bed.


Tyler and I had been dating for almost all of college. He helped me focus. He was my rock. I had dreams of him proposing one day. Maybe before graduation. Maybe we’ll move in together or maybe move to a big city. I am annoyed that I haven’t met his parents yet though, and I am worried our relationship isn’t as serious to him as it is to me. I just don’t think I could’ve made it through college without him.


My friends seem to like him too. At least Lexi does, I think Madison just tolerates him. Mads did pull me a side once in our 2nd year telling me that I should really dump him and enjoy the fruits of being a single girl in college for a little bit. 


Thanks but no thanks, Mads.  Just because she’s perpetually single doesn’t mean I want to be. I didn’t tell her that, but I certainly thought it. She hasn’t brought it up since, so I guess she must’ve warmed up to him.


I pushed those thoughts out of the way. I’m mad at Tyler for ruining my evening. I’m sure we can patch things up tomorrow though, but I have more important things to worry about tomorrow - making sure I get to class and starting this semester out on the right foot.


Before long, I was passed out, dreaming of better days.


* * *


Victor, 21 year old Studio Art major


There was a knock at my door.  I got up from my computer in my living room and opened the door. 


The pizza guy was standing there with my pizza in the warmer.  He handed me the box.  I handed him the money and tip and we parted ways.


I took the pizza to the counter and opened the box up.  Ahh the nice smell of a freshly baked pizza.  I got a plate and a cold beer from the fridge, then transferred two slices onto the plate and returned to my computer.


I logged back onto my favorite multiplayer video and joined a new game.  There’s an option in the game to get matched up with local online players.  The game then matches with you similar IP addresses.  This feature is mostly so you don’t have to worry about language issues since you have to work together.


6 pizza slices and 3 games later, I could hear music from my neighbors apartment seeping through these thin walls.  I put my headphones, and plugged them into the computer to block it out.


This is what I plan on doing with the rest of my night.  I live alone and am just trying to get through this final semester and get out into the real world.  I’m just done with school.  Done with the whole college life.


It wasn’t all bad.  I remember being a young excited freshman. Eager to meet friends. Eager to date girls.  But after a few bad friendships and even worse dates I decided it best to just be a loner.  Most of the people here - both guys and girls - are stuck up and superficial anyway.  Always looking for a way to take advantage of nice guys like me.


My biggest regret may have been choosing this particular school.  My dad insisted on sending me here because the school provided “the best education money could buy.”  I don’t necessarily think that’s true.  I just think he liked this school because it was his alma mater too.  I would’ve rather attended a school where the students were more interested in academics than parties.  Not that it was all bad.  I did enjoy watching our college football games from home.


There was another knock at the door.  Who is it this time?  I just want to be left alone.


I answered the door and standing there was a very attractive girl dressed in clubbing attire.  We stared at each other for a few seconds.


“This isn’t Dave’s place is it?”  she said.


“No. It isn’t”  I replied.  She looked vaguely familiar.


“Hey - wait.” she said.  “You were in one of my classes in the Spring.  Victor right?”


“Yeah.”  I said.  “And you’re…”


“Stephanie.”  she replied.  “Why aren’t you out partying?  Aren’t you excited to be back?”


“I’m just staying home playing video games.  Just a quiet night to myself.  Dave’s apartment is next door.”  


Honestly I never left our college town at the end of the spring semester.  I stayed here all summer.  There really wasn’t much for me to go home to anyway.


“Well, You should come over then.”


“Thanks for the offer.” I replied.  “But I have class early tomorrow.”


“Bummer.”  she said.  “It was good to see you again Victor.”


“Same to you, Stephanie.” I said. “Have a good night.” I closed the door.


Ugh.  If it wasn’t for the fact this is my last year here, I should really move to a quieter community.  Well, it was mostly quiet all summer.  But now that the semester is about the start, that quiet time is over.


It was getting late.  And I lied to that girl.  My class isn’t until 10 am.  But I was getting tired nonetheless.  I’ve been playing my game for at least 4 hours this evening and my eyes are starting to get heavy.


I have to admit.  That girl, Stephanie was attractive, and my male libido certainly wanted to follow her to the party next door.  But there’s another part of me that knows it’s just a waste of my time.  I know the girls at this school.  She likely just wants something else from me, and it’s not my companionship.  Money, maybe a ride somewhere. I’m not an ATM.  I’m not a taxi.  I bet my neighbors even egged her on to knock on my door.  They likely wanted me to buy them beer or drive them to the club or something.  I should’ve never let on that I was 21.


But I was actually tired.  I sat down at my computer and stared at the lack of emails.  The lack of messages on my social media. I then started to doze off.  When I almost fell out of my chair, I decided to go to bed.  I stripped off my clothes and crashed into bed.  I was out almost instantly.



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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for my to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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