Chapter 8 - What’s in a Name

Masquerades 101 by Emily


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Synopsis: Nicole and VIctor's 2nd day of classes doesn't go quite as planned.

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Victor


I was the first one to leave the apartment, as I had the farthest to walk. When Nicole wasn’t looking, I swapped her pretty sandals for a pair of ankle socks and cross trainers. I didn’t think they clashed too much with the dress. As so, I was making great timing speed walking to my class.


This morning’s class was 20th Century Painting. It was one of the last non-studio classes I had left in my curriculum. I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to this class when I registered, but after spending a day in Nicole’s classes yesterday reading about business case studies, I was happy to be here. I sat down at one of the desks and smiled anxiously waiting for class to start.


Of course, nothing is easy or nothing goes as planned. So I should not have been surprised when a complete stranger - this time a guy - sat right next to me and said “Oh hey. What are you doing in this class? I thought you were a business major.”


Oh. Shit. Not again. What’s one of Nicole’s friends doing in my art class? “Oh hey.” I said trying to channel the same excitement from last night and from my interaction with Madison. “I took this as an elective. I loaded up on so many business classes that I… had to be reminded that I still needed some type of fine art elective.”


“That’s so cool that we’re going to be in the same class this semester” he said.


Oh Joy. All this means is I can’t be myself. I wanted to be Victor - Art major in an art class. But now I have to pretend to be Nicole, a business major in an art class.


The teacher shut the door and started taking attendance. Then he got to me. “Victor Machado.”


I turned my head away from my new friend. I tried to get my voice deeper and yelled a muffled “here” to the side. It was enough to keep the professor moving on with attendance.


A few names later, I learned my new friend's name - Steve.


Steve was a chatty one during class. While the professor was going over the syllabus, he whispered to me a lot. He smiled at me. A lot! I wonder if Steve knows Nicole has a boyfriend. So I gathered from his chit-chat that Steve hung around Nicole’s dorm last year. I don’t know why though. Maybe he had a crush on Nicole, or one of her friends. He just moved off campus this year. Why he’s in my class, I don’t know and he didn’t share. All I know is he was breaking my concentration from paying attention to the professor as he was showing some images of last century’s famous paintings.


In addition to being a chatterbox, he was wearing some cologne that I couldn’t pinpoint. I wasn’t much of a cologne wearer since I wasn’t really trying to impress anyone anyway. It was a nice scent though. Steve certainly had a nice smile and was cute, and -


Wait. No. Do I really think he’s cute? Shit. It just occurred to me that Steve is the first male - except for Nicole in my body - that I’ve interacted with. Is it possible I’m attracted to guys now? I shook my head to get those thoughts out of my mind. I glanced back at Steve. He smiled and continued to whisper stuff to me. I looked away and down at my syllabus. Oh shit. He is cute. I think I’m attracted to him. This is bad. I felt my face go flush.


I spent the rest of class just nodding and trying not to look at him, or lead him on in any way. Of course, that didn’t stop him from following me out of the classroom when class was dismissed.


When Steve and I started walking out of class together, the professor stopped me. “Miss Machado?”


Did he just call me... Miss Machado? Crap. I closed my eyes and let out a sign. Our lies are built on a house of cards and they’re about to all come crashing down.


“I’ll see you outside.” Steve said, leaving me. Well, at least this quick chat with the prof allowed me to escape Steve for a few seconds.


I turned my attention to the professor.


The professor looked me up and down. “Victor is it?”


Oh my God. What do I say? I’m fresh out of BS this morning. I used it all up on Steve, and this hangover is keeping me from thinking on my feet. “My parents named me Victor. But my friends call me... Vicky” I said, smiling. That was half a statement; half a question. Shit. I think I just blew that. He’s gonna know. He’s gonna kick me out of this class.


He looked at me for a moment. Smiled and nodded. “Ms. Machado - Vicky. Welcome to my class.”


“Thank you.” I said. I’m slightly confused here.


“If you ever need to talk.” he said. “I’m the faculty advisor for PRIDE here on campus.”


PRIDE? Um - what did I just do?


“We actually have a big support group for transgender students.” he said.


Transgender? Does he think- Well, I guess that makes sense based on what I told him. And technically I am a different gender today than I was on Sunday. Nicole is going to kill me.


“Have a good afternoon, Vicky. See you Thursday” he said breaking my thoughts.


“You too.” I said leaving the classroom. I wonder if that support group handles complications from body swaps.


I got out into the hall. Steve was still waiting for me. Damn.


“What was that?” he asked.


“He um.” I replied. “Said there was a complication with my class enrollment but he fixed it.”


“Oh OK” he said. “I have to get to my next class. It was good chatting with you. See you Thursday, Vicky.”


“Bye Steve” I smiled as he walked away. Wait a second. What did he call me? How much of that did Steve overhear?


* * *


Nicole


Like yesterday, I was able to get to class without anyone recognizing me. Victor certainly just blends in with the crowd.


I had my plan already laid out. I allowed the theater professor to call me Nick yesterday. So that’s what I was going to go by here. I’ve heard Nicole can be a guy’s name too, so hopefully nobody will question it.


The only problem with my plan was that I’m in a business class. I recognize a good portion of this class. They obviously don’t recognize me, but they may recognize the name.


I looked around the class to see who was here. At the far corner of the room I found my former roommate Kayla. She could be a problem. She just moved off campus to move in with her boyfriend. That freed me up to move in with Lexi. Kayla and I weren’t the best of friends, mostly she kept to herself and was always at her boyfriend’s dorm. But we were cordial with each other and kept to our own side of the room.  Sometimes she’s even partied with my friend group when she wasn’t with her boyfriend.


When the teacher took attendance and said “Nicole Rosch” I could see Kayla’s head turn and look around out of my periphery. I said “Here” and I noticed her glance at me.


Class was uneventful. The professor started teaching some case studies, gave some homework and before I knew it class was over.


I decided to get out of there as fast as possible. But alas, Kayla stopped me right outside the door.


“Hi.” she said. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Kayla.”


“Hi Kayla.” I said. “I’m Nick”


“Nick?” she said. “I’m sorry I must’ve had you confused with someone else.”


I chucked. “No worries Kayla.” I had this next part rehearsed. “You must’ve had me confused with the other Nicole Rosch. We both have the same name and are often confused for each other.”


“Your name is Nicole?”


“Yeah. My parents were really crazy on unisex names. I go by Nick, obviously.”


“I’m - the other Nicole’s - former roommate”


“Oh really.” I said. “I’ve run into the other Nicole once or twice.”


“She’s good people.”


“Yes she is” I smiled, enjoying the ego rush of getting someone to say nice things about me. 


Kayla stood there and smiled. You know what? I haven’t had any real friend interaction the past few days. I missed out on Malbec Monday and I’ve been stuck pretending to be Victor and teaching Victor how to be me. I’d like to hang out with my former roommate. “Hey Kayla. Are you interested in getting a coffee or something before our next classes?”


She had a surprised expression on her face. I didn’t expect that expression since I’ve known Kayla for over a year. But she was sizing up this strange guy asking her to join her for coffee.


“I’m sorry.” I said. “I know you have a boyfriend. I was just being friendly.”


“Sure.” she said. “Let’s grab a coffee.”


I smiled. Finally, I’m getting a little bit of normalcy back to my life.


* * *


Victor


When I got to my next class, I sent Nicole a text message. “I thought this was going to be easy. It’s getting harder. People are starting to call me Vicky.”


Just then the teacher started class. She had us break into groups to do quick in-class group projects. Two girls and one guy seated around me all scooted closer to me. I guess I’m in their group. I was really hoping to stay invisible.


Nicole’s phone buzzed. She had texted back. “Just go with it. People are calling me Nick.”


The people in my group started introducing themself. They looked at me.


Son of a… I might as well embrace the chaos. I smiled. “I’m Vicky.” 


I continued smiling as I jammed the pink iPhone back into the purse.


* * *


Nicole


Victor texted me while I was in line for coffee, upset that people were calling him a girls name. Well duh, he’s in a girl's body. I told him to go with the flow.


I got a caramel macchiato from the coffee shop. Normally I don’t splurge on coffee drinks, but I really needed a friend. We walked in the general direction of our next classes.


“So how is your off-campus apartment?” I asked Kayla.


“It’s OK. It’s kinda filthy and not well maintained.” she said, taking a sip of coffee. She then looked at me confused. “I never said I moved off campus.”


“Oh” I said, realizing I let on too much. “Nicole told me.”


“Oh really?” she said. “How often do you talk with the other Nicole?”


“Occasionally” I said. “ We’re not really in the same friend circles, but we’ve crossed paths, and had a chance to get about our college experiences.”


“And I came up?”


“Oh well, not by name.  She said she was moving to a new place because her old roommate was moving off campus with her boyfriend.”


She chucked. “Well I’ll let you in on a secret, Nick. The boyfriend and I broke up well before I moved out.”


“Oh” I said. “Sorry to hear about that.” Wait. So she lied to me?


“Don’t be sorry” she said smiling at me. “I needed a reason to find another place. Nicole wasn’t the easiest roommate to get along with.”


I continued walking with her in silence. In some ways I felt guilty as if I was eavesdropping or invading Kayla’s privacy. But now I had to know. “Oh really? What happened?”


“It wasn’t one thing. She had her own friends and really didn’t put any effort into trying to be my friend. When I broke up with my ex, it was a bad breakup.  I was looking for someone to confide in. She came into the room, didn’t say hi to me or asked why I was crying and just left.”


“I… That’s awful.”  What she said about me just sent a shock through my system.


“It’s OK.” she said. “I live alone now. And I’m way over that guy.”


“I’m glad to hear it.”  Was I really that much of a bitch to her?


“OK, Nick” she said. “I’m heading that way.” She pointed to the Sciences building. “It was great chatting with you. See you again Thursday?”


“Yes.  Thursday.” I said smiling.  “Bye Kayla”


As she walked away, I headed to my next class, lost in my thoughts. I never knew Kayla thought that way about me. That she wanted to be my friend. I thought she was avoiding me. But hearing about me in the third person shook me. Now I feel awful.  How do other people see me? 


* * *


As I was walking to my next class I came across a pop-up market in the quad. I decided to check out what they were selling. They were selling trinkets and clothing.


I walked up and down the make-shift aisles browsing. One row had some bracelets. Another row had cell phone covers. Some lanyards. Cheap sunglasses. Purses.


I saw one purse that had Lexi written all over it. It was totally her style.


I pulled out the phone from my pocket, Lexi wasn’t in this phone’s contacts yet, but I found the text exchange with her from yesterday. When she was calling me a psycho. I added her name to the phone’s contact list and I texted her. “Hey I found a really cute purse you’d like.”


I found a row of brightly colored sundresses. I picked one up and looked at it. It’s not the nicest material in the world, but it was very vibrant. It could make a nice bathing suit cover up. I held it up against me and fanned the bottom of the dress out to get a good look at it.


Just then I noticed a girl staring at me. A look of disgust. Did I have something in my teeth?


“What?” I said. Then I realized I was still in Victor’s body. She probably thinks I’m some sort of freak. A guy shopping for sundresses. I turned red and got really embarrassed. I hung the sundress back up and looked around and slowly left the market and headed to class. Lexi hadn’t texted back. Hopefully she doesnt want that purse because I don’t think I want to return to the market right now.


* * *


Before I got to class I realized I had to pee. That coffee from earlier broke my normal routine. I eyed the men’s restroom. OK. Let’s get this over with.


I entered the men’s room and saw a line of urinals. One guy was already standing at one. Ew. This is awkward.


I could just duck and hide into a stall. Let me rephrase that. I wanted to duck and hide in a stall. Then I remembered what Alexis said yesterday. Peeing at a urinal would be the first thing she’d do. A right of passage? But I didn’t want to be a guy. The embarrassment from the market was still too fresh in my mind.


I decided to go for it. There were 3 urinals, and the one guy was at the first one up against the wall. I walked up to the middle urinal. What do guys say to each other in the restroom? “Wooo, I had too much coffee this morning,” I said to my neighbor. He didn’t acknowledge me, zipped up and walked away without flushing. Rude.


I unbuttoned the shorts I was wearing and pulled out my member. Guys hold it and aim right? 


I looked down as I peed, making sure I was aiming right. I did realize there was a certain satisfaction from aiming and hitting a target. Just like that, I was done. Guys shake it dry instead of using toilet paper right? I shook it. I remember the saying I heard “shaking it more than twice is playing with it.” That sounded like good advice so I shook it twice tucked it back in and button and zipped back up my shorts.


I walked over to the sink to wash my hands. OK. There I can tell Lexi I peed at a urinal.


* * *


Tyler


I walked back into my apartment holding a bouquet of roses I had just purchased. I wonder if the whole reason they have an on-campus florist is for stupid boyfriends like me. I saw Josh sitting at the counter doing his homework. 


“Oh, Nice flowers,” he said. “You shouldn’t have.”


I gave him a smirk.


“I’m just joking with you.” he said. “Are you going over to Nicole’s now?”


“Yeah.” I said. “I just wish I knew whether this was enough or not.”


“Hopefully she’ll come around and accept your apology.”


“Yeah” Just then I felt a rumble in my stomach. I was hungry. That’s weird. I had a late lunch not too long ago. “OK. I’m going to head out now”


“Good luck, Ty. Tell her I said hi.”


I put down my school stuff, grabbed the bouquet and walked out of my apartment. The vending machine was down the hall.


I looked at the candy selection. I could go for a pack of Skittles. I slid my meal plan card and dialed the number code for the Skittles. Just then a Snickers bar fell instead. 


“What the hell?” I yelled at the machine. “I didn’t want a Snickers.” Fine. I’ll deal.


I grabbed the snickers from the machine then moved over to the soda machine. I put my card in, and dialed the number for a Mountain Dew. I heard a bottle drop. I reached in and pulled out… a Diet Pepsi?


“Fuck!” I yelled. “I hate these machines!”


* * *


Victor


I was the first one to arrive at Nicole’s apartment after classes. All I knew was I was starving. I skipped lunch today after yesterday’s debacle.


I fished Nicole’s keys out of her purse and walked in. It’s strange that I have keys to an apartment that isn’t mine. This whole thing has been so surreal.


I casually walked around Nicole’s apartment. In her room I saw a number of pictures. A lot of pictures of Nicole with Alexis and Madison and sometimes Tyler. There was a single picture of Nicole with her parents. They were all dressed in their finest clothes. There was another picture of Nicole and another older woman. Not her mom, but she looked similar. Maybe an aunt? I’m guessing Nicole doesn’t have any siblings.


I heard the door open and Alexis came into the apartment.


“Hey” I said.


“Hey Vic” she said. “How was your day?”


“It was easier. It helped that I was going to my own classes. But that provided a new wrinkle. People started calling me Vicky.”


“Well, you certainly can’t go by Victor if you’re trying to pretend to be a girl”


“Yeah.”


“Do you want me to call you Vicky?”


“What? No. I don’t know” I replied. “You and Nicole are the only ones that know who I am. I need an outlet. A place or people where I can be myself. Please keep calling me Vic for now.”


Alexis smiled.


There was a knock at the door and Alexis looked at me and shrugged? “Who is that?” She got up and opened the door. 


Alexis gasped. “Tyler!” Before she could close the door on him, the person I recognized from Nicole’s pictures pushed his way in. He was holding a bouquet of flowers. 


This is Tyler? That’s not as I imagined him in person. He wasn’t nearly as masculine as Nicole had described him. He had long hair down his shoulders, and a cleanly shaved face. He was dressed very well, and clearly put a lot of effort into how he looked. He was cute - if you’re into the whole pretty boy look… which I have to admit this body certainly is. 


Totally cuter than Steve. No. Stop it. I’m not Nicole!  I clutched the counter for no reason other than - I was taken by surprise. I wasn’t prepared to come face to face with Nicole’s boyfriend right now.


He looked at me and our eyes met. “Nicole. I had to see you.” he said


* * *


Nicole


I had just walked out of my last class when the phone in my pocket buzzed. I checked it and I saw a message from Lexi. “Tyler is here in our apartment right now. He thinks Vic is you.”


Oh no. Do I avoid the apartment or come to Vic’s rescue?



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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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PunchlinePress

Looking forward to the next chapter, loving this story! ^^
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Emily

Thanks for reading!
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Joejedfjsj

I’m a bit late... but anyways your three magic words are uncertain, awkward and panic
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