Chapter 5 - Contradictions

Masquerades 101 by Emily


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Synopsis: Nicole and Victor visit Madison to see if she's behind the swap

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Victor


Great. Just when I thought I did a good job at evading Madison this morning, Nicole wants us to go visit her now. I feel like I barely got by last time.  “Do we have a game plan?” I asked Nicole. “Are we just going to walk up to her and tell her we swapped bodies?”


“No.” she replied. “If she’s the cause of this, I don't want her to know it worked or give her the upper hand.”


“The upper hand?” I replied, confused at where she was going with this. “I thought she’s one of your best friends.”


“Victor, you have a lot to learn about girls and their friends. It’s always a competition” Nicole left my side to poke her head into Alexis’s room.


I rolled my eyes and said under my breath. “That sounds shallow and tedious.”  


“What was that?” she said looking back at me.


“Nothing.” I replied, following her to Alexis’s room. But seriously though, Nicole doesn’t appear to be the best friend in the world.  It’s appearing that Alexis is tired of putting up with her shit too.


“Lexi”, Nicole said to her roommate. “We’re going to go over to see Mads. Wanna come?”


Alexis raised her eyebrow at Nicole and then me. “Are you gonna tell her the truth?”


“No.” Nicole replied. “Not yet at least.”


“Then I want no part of it.” she replied. “I’m not a fan of you lying to our friends.”


“Just until we swap back.” she said. “Then we can tell everyone, go about our normal lives and have a good laugh.”


Alexis looked at me with a disappointed look. Was she expecting me to be the voice of reason to Nicole? I barely know her. I feel like I’m a dog being pulled on a leash when I’m around Nicole.


Nicole turned back around and looked at me. “Let’s go Victor.”


See what I mean?


We both left her apartment and started walking down the steps and out of the building. I turned to my new acquaintance. “So if we’re not telling her the truth, then that means, you want me to do all of the talking”


“That’s the idea.” she replied.


Oh great. I’m going to have to pretend to be Nicole even longer - and try to do it in front of one of her best friends. I was barely able to get out alive when I ran into Madison this afternoon. “So you’re just going to sit there while I have a conversation with your best friend? Nicole, I suck at this. I can’t be you.”


“If we don’t fix this, you’re going to be me even longer.”


I sighed. “This isn’t like the phone calls from earlier. You can’t just feed me lines when we’re talking to someone in person. What about your inflections, or mannerisms? It’s one thing when I was in a rush to get to class, but to actually hang out with her at her place? She’s going to know you’re not acting like yourself.”


“How about I sit in your sightline?” she suggested “Just mimic me.”


“You want me to mimic your moves?” 


She nodded.  “You’re the one who asked about mannerisms.”


The deeper we go with this lie, the more I’m starting to agree with Alexis that we should’ve just been honest with everyone from the start.


“We should’ve practiced this earlier.” I stated.


“It’ll be fine.” she said. “Madison is cool.”


If she’s so cool, why are you deceiving her?  


We walked into Madison’s apartment building and I followed Nicole down a hall. We stopped in front of the closed door. Nicole put her hand out and motioned me forward. “After you.” She looked at me and smiled. “I mean, ladies first.”


“No.” I said. “Let’s not start that.”


She chuckled.


I stood at the door and shook out the nerves. OK. I can do this. I’m a painter not a performer. I only enrolled in that theatre class because I needed an additional Fine Art elective. I’ve done some performances before, but I was never great at it since I can’t sing. Why do all plays at schools require singing?  But I can improv and put on a small-bit acting performance. I closed my eyes. “OK. Be Nicole. I am Nicole.” I sighed in frustration. All I know about Nicole is the stuff I’ve learned today. Which isn’t much. I’ve only seen her interact with Alexis. And she was kinda a dick to her roommate, and she wants me to lie to Madison’s face. She’s got a vulnerable side she only seems to show to her boyfriend.


“We don’t have all afternoon, Victor” she said.


She’s also a dick to me, too. 


“Patience” I said and looked at her. “Victor.” I took a breath and opened the door and walked in. It’s game time. Nicole and Alexis call her “Mads,” so I can do that too. I put on a fake bubbly smile. “Hey Mads!” I said cheerfully.


Madison came out of her room and opened up her arms for a hug. “Hi Nicole!” We hugged. It was a long hug. Much longer than I expected. Long enough to notice our breasts were touching and the sweet smell of some fragrance she was wearing. If I was in my own body, I surely would’ve gotten turned on being in Madison’s embrace. It’s almost as if she was doing this on purpose. Maybe she knew I was a dude trapped in Nicole’s body. She let go and smiled. “How was your summer?”


Crap. She went right for the hard questions. I need to back track. Stick to the plan. “But first,” I said. “This is my friend Victor”


“Oh hi.” Madison said looking at Nicole, sizing up this strange guy standing in her apartment. 


“I think you may have had a class together.” I added.


“Right.” Madison said, seeming uninterested. That’s not surprising since we never spoke any words to each other during that class.


Time for some BS. “So, Victor here- is in a program that requires him to shadow a complete stranger around campus for a few days.”


Nicole looked at me, surprised at the cover story I just came up with. She nodded in approval.


“That’s kinda weird.” Madison replied.


“You have no idea.” I agreed, forcing a chuckle. “Let’s sit. I’ll tell you all about my summer. I want to hear about yours too.”


Nicole gave me a thumbs up. So far, I’m doing good.


Madison and I sat down on her couch and Nicole sat in an adjacent chair, but behind Madison’s sight line.


“So my summer was OK.” I started. I glanced at Nicole who attempted to cross her legs, but realized she couldn’t. So I crossed my legs. Wow. That was incredibly easy. And sexy. I nearly forgot I was wearing a skirt until I felt my smooth bare thighs rub against each other. It took me out of the moment. The recent hug with Madison was continuing to make me flustered. What was I talking about? My summer. Wait. Nicole’s summer. Nicole was staring at me to continue. “I was bummed that I never got a chance to see Tyler,” I finished.


“That sucks.” Madison said. “I’m not sure what his deal is.”


“Me neither.” I agreed. 


“I’m still not sure what you see in him.” she quickly said under her breath.


“Same” I agreed again without thinking.


Both Madison and Nicole shot me glances. Nicole looked pissed.


“I uh” I said. “He’s cute”


Nicole shook her head.


“He’s smart.”


Nicole rolled her eyes.


“Sorry Madison - I can’t explain my love for Tyler. Sometimes - you just know.”


Madison looked confused at how I was acting. “I’m sorry I brought it up again” she said. “All that matters is that you love each other.” She made a zipper motion with her lips.


Again? Is Tyler a common topic amongst her friends? Nicole is going to need to fill me in on these things.


Well, that’s it. I’ve run out of knowledge of Nicole’s life. Oh, I can talk about last night. “Hey, Mads, I’m sorry about last night. I came back to campus, expecting to have a fun first night back and spend some time with my boyfriend only for him to…” I paused. Wait. What did they fight about? Nicole made a motion, cupping her hands and moving her thumbs around. As if she had a video game controller. Video games? “...play video games.” 


“Boys” Madison shrugged. She turned to Nicole. “No offense... Victor was it?”


“No offense taken” Nicole chimed in and ran her finger through her short hair. I mimicked her and brushed my long hair back too.


“So, my summer was eventful.” Madison said.


I started to lean back, but Nicole shook her head, leaned forward and laid her hands upon her almost crossed legs. I leaned forward too.


Madison started talking non stop about her summer. A trip across the country with her family. Some friends she made out there.


Nicole nodded and smiled, and I mimicked it. This was excruciating. Madison talks fast and she adds way too many details. This reminded me of hearing my sister talk on the phone with her friends. I tried to retain as much info as I could. In some ways this was harder than listening to some of Nicole’s business teachers. When she was done, I replied. “That's very cool, Madison. I need to do some of that. Getting away sounds nice.”


Madison smiled. Nicole gave me a smile and thumbs up. It’s my turn to talk again. What should I ask about? Oh wait, I need to see if she’s holding a grudge about last night.


“Oh” I added. “I forgot to ask. How was last night?”


“Lexi’s new guy?” she asked. “Brandon. He was OK. I’m not sure about him. But I’m not sure about most guys.” She chuckled.


I laughed with her. “I wish I would’ve come out with you both. I bet I could’ve sized him up and gave my opinion.”


Madison laughed. “That’s funny.”


Was that sarcastic? I couldn’t tell. I don’t know Madison that well to know. Nicole wasn’t laughing. Nicole made a “wrap it up” motion.


“So you’re not mad about last night?” I inquired.


“Not at all.” she said placing her hand on my crossed knees. “I miss you Nic, I just really wanted to see you. And Lexi.”


“Aw.” I said faking concern. “Missed you too Mads.” I had to take my mind off of her hand on my knee. She removed her hand. Thank God. It was time to cut to the reason we were here. I hope this isn’t too abrupt of a conversation change. “So, Victor was telling me that last time he ditched his friends, one of them put a curse on him. Witchcraft. How stupid does that sound? ” I chuckled. 


Nicole didn't look amused that I was making fun of her for calling her friend a witch and cursing us over the phone.  


“That does sound stupid.” Madison said laughing. “What was the curse?”


“A small dick.” Nicole deadpanned.


I stopped laughing at Nicole’s barb.  Did she just say I had a small dick?  Does that mean she looked at it?  Madison found it funny though. “Victor, you’re a funny guy.” she said. “I like that.”


The phone in my purse - I mean Nicole’s purse buzzed. I looked at it. It was a text from Alexis. “Tell the truth.” Was that message for me or for Nicole? Does Alexis know we swapped phones?


“Who’s that?” Madison asked.


“Lexi says hi.” I replied. “She couldn’t come out and was busy working on something.”


“Oh.” Madison replied. “I see you got your phone back.”


“Right” I said, holding up Nicole’s iPhone. “Thank God the repair company has a 2 hour guarantee.”


“So what brings you and... Mr. Shadow here to my humble abode?”


“I wanted to see your new place.” I said. Nicole shook her head.


“Nic,” Madison replied. “This is the same apartment as last year.”


Duh. Of course it is. “Oh I mean, I wanted to see if you decorated it differently this semester.”


“Well, as you can see.” she motioned to the mostly empty apartment. “I haven’t gotten around to putting stuff back up.”


Madison had a very concerned look on her face. I felt she was on the verge of staging an intervention. I just needed to keep the conversation moving so we can get out of here. 


“Well, you put that painting up.” I said uncrossing my legs and standing up to get a closer look at the lone piece of artwork on the wall. I examined it. It was a picture of a desert sunset. “Madison, did you paint this?”


“Yeah, over the summer.” she replied.


I stared at the painting and got sucked into it. “It’s beautiful.” I said. “You really captured the lighting.” I motioned the rays of light. “The reflection on the sand and the colors are perfect. I love the contradiction. That despite it being a desert, you can feel the warmth and lack of isolation.” I paused and tilted my head and examined the warmth colors a little more. “You weren’t alone. This was a good time and place.” Upon further reflection I think this reminds me of the stories she was just telling. “Oh - right - this was from your summer trip.”


I stopped talking to see both Madison and Nicole staring at me with surprised looks on their faces. Oh shit.


“Wow, Nicole.” Madison said, looking stunned. “I mean - wow - you’ve never taken an interest in my art before.”


“Sorry.” I said, shooting Nicole a glance. “This really got through to me for some reason.” I smiled. Maybe when we swap back, I can show her some of my own stuff. I wonder if she’s single.


“Nicole.” Nicole chimed in. “We should probably get going.”


I’m not sure what Nicole’s thought on the matter is, but this conversation was enough to convince me that Madison isn’t the source of the body swap. So I suppose it’s prudent to leave and continue our search. “Right.” I said. “Victor,” I said to Nicole. “Are we gonna tell her?”


Nicole lightly shook her head. Crap. She wants us to keep lying.


“Tell me what?” Madison asked.


“That umm..” Think fast, Victor. “That we should all go out to dinner tomorrow night.” I said, thinking of the first thing to come to my mind. “To make up for last night.”


“We’ll see.” Madison replied. “Depends on how much work I get done tonight and tomorrow. Tuesdays aren’t really the best night to go out for me.”


“Of course” I said, walking towards the door. “See you later, Mads.” 


Nicole followed me outside the apartment door as Madison waved goodbye.


As the door shut behind us, I turned to Nicole. “Why didn’t we tell her?”


“I’m just not ready to let everyone else know that we’ve swapped bodies.” she said. “It’s kinda embarrassing.”


“What's so embarrassing about it?” 


She shrugged.


I stopped at the door to the outside. “Are you embarrassed to be me?”


Nicole paused for a minute. I heard all I needed and kept walking. 


“No wait, Victor.” she said. You didn’t give me a chance to respond.”


“Whatever, Nicole.” I said. “Let’s find a way to swap back and you can get your life back.”


“Victor, stop. You do seem like a nice guy. You’ve been taking this whole thing much better than I have. You actually did awesome in there with Madison. You overdid it on the bubbliness and stuff about her painting. But I’m pretty sure she believed you.”


“OK, fine. So where do we go from here?”


“What did those stories say about swapping back?” she asked.


“I don’t have my notes with me. But mostly it’s about doing something selfless for the other person or improving their life in some way.”


“So what if we do something nice for each other this evening?”


“It’s worth a try, though it’s not really selfless if we’re doing it just to swap back.”


“Well, I’m all out of ideas.”


* * *


Nicole


We returned to my apartment. Victor and I didn’t really speak to each other on the walk back. He must’ve still been upset about me being embarrassed being in his body or maybe he’s upset we’re still pretending to be each other. Or maybe he’s upset at being in my body too.


I was impressed at how he was able to just talk to Madison with ease despite not knowing our backgrounds. I could have never improvised like that. This made me think about Victor’s Theater class I attended earlier. I do need help with public speaking. A small part of me actually wants to keep attending that class.


When we entered my apartment, he finally spoke up. “OK.” he asked. “So what’s the next plan? Are we pretending to be each other? Are we completely switching lives? Do we go to each other’s apartment for the night?” 


I thought about this for a moment. I found it incredibly annoying to go to Victor’s classes. No doubt he thought the same thing about my classes.  I don’t want to go to Victor’s classes.  I want to go to my own classes. 


“Well, it’s clear we should go to our own classes.” I said. “No one should notice. This way we get the benefit of actually learning from the classes we enrolled in.  It should be easier to learn and to participate in class too.”


“Except for not being ourselves.”


“Once we get past that mandatory first day of attendance, nobody will really care right?”


“So where do we spend the night? Our rooms or our bodies’ own rooms?”


I thought about that. All I really wanted to do is sleep in my own bed. “Ew. your apartment is filthy.” I said. “I want to sleep in my own bed.”


“OK.” he replied, rolling his eyes, “I can go home. But, all of our bodies’ clothes are in our respective places. Do you still want me to come here in the morning to get dressed and get… made up?”


What’s his aversion to looking good? “Yes. You know what? Why don't you spend the night here? You can sleep on the couch. We can take a trip to your place real quick to get me a change of clothes.”


“Are we telling anyone else of our situation?


“Not yet.” I replied. I was lost in thought, trying to figure out this body swap thing. There has to be an answer. I turned to him. “So if a person didn’t do this, you suggested an object? What kind of object would we be looking for?”


“Yeah” he replied. “A magical totem of some sort.  Most body swap movies have a magical object.  Sometimes it’s some cursed ancient thing, sometimes it's just an absurd plot device.”


“So let’s find this... totem. It should be somewhere near one of us. We switched in the middle of the night in our bedrooms. So it would have to be in one of our rooms right?”


“Maybe.”


I walked into my room. I had only just unpacked yesterday. “Lets see if we can find anything.”


I started going through my dresser drawers. Victor started going through the desk. I turned to look in my closet. I moved clothing away. I stood on a chair to see the top shelf. Nothing.


I pulled back the sheets in my bed. I checked under the bed. Behind the blinds. Still nothing.


Victor was trying to move the desk but was struggling.  I gave him a hand and moved it easily.  He looked embarrassed about not being able to move it.  There was nothing behind the desk.


We both returned to the living room and both sat on the couch, dejected.


“Now what?” Victor asked, staring into space.


“We check your place.” I suggested. “We have to go there anyway to get me some stuff to wear. But first.”


I had an idea about how to plan out the rest of the week. I had a white board I usually kept hanging up on my wall. Currently, it’s leaning up against the wall since I hadn’t hung it up yet. I quickly returned to my room, grabbed it, and a dry erase marker and brought them to the living room. 


I started drawing a grid.


“What’s that?” Victor asked.


“This will be our combined schedule.” I answered as I filled in the days of the week and the time of day. “Can you look your schedule up?” I took my schedule from the binder and started filling in my class schedule. I then handed the marker to Victor.


Victor, who was looking at his class schedule on my phone, proceeded to fill in his classes as well. When we were done, we both took a step back from it and stared at it. There were many places our schedule overlapped.


“So, I’m going to go as myself to my own classes?” Victor asked.


“Yes.” I replied. “And I’m going to go to mine.” There was something gnawing at me. What was it? Oh right - it was that theater class. “Umm.. your theater class. Your teacher is going to expect me though.”


Victor looked at me in silence.


“She encouraged me to practice my public speaking.” I added. 


“Do you want to go to that class?” he asked.


“That’s not the worst idea in the world. But- I also have a class at the same time.”


“So what if I took your… “ Victor swinted at the board. “Fuck. Marketing and IT?”


“Yeah.” I agreed.


“Fine.” he said, sitting down on the couch. He looked at me. Our eyes locked. “Nicole - how long are we going to do this?”


“As long as it takes.” I made the adjustments on our schedule to denote that we would be exchanging those two classes.


“OK.” he said. “Let’s go to my apartment, look for a magical totem, and if we don't find one, we’ll get you a change of clothes.”


“Let's” I agreed.


I heard the door knob turn and the door open.


* * *


Victor


We were about to walk out of Nicole’s apartment when Madison barged right in and into the living room where we were sitting. She was wearing flannel pajamas and was holding a brown paper bag.


“Malbec Monday!” she announced with a cheery smile.


Alexis came out of her room and echoed, “Yay! Malbec Monday! Count me in!”


“First one of the semester.” Madison said. She glanced at Nicole giving her a “what are you still doing here” look.


“Let’s do this!” Alexis said standing right beside me. “Victor, it’s time to go home.”


I sighed and was about to stand up, when I felt Alexis push down on my shoulder to keep me seated. I looked up at her, confused.


Alexis looked at Nicole and repeated, “Victor, It’s time to go home.”


Nicole looked surprised and pointed at herself. I could see her silently mouth “me?”.


“Yeah, we’ll see you bright and early in the morning.” Alexis cheerfully decreed.


Nicole hesitantly stood up, looked at the 3 of us and walked out of her own apartment. She is not going to be happy.


“Now that the boy is gone...” Madison cheered, removing the bottle of wine from the brown bag. “Ladies, get into your PJ's!”



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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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