Chapter 16 - Six Weeks Later

Masquerades 101 by Emily


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Synopsis: We catch up on Nic, Vic, and Tyler after six weeks have passed.

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Content Warning: Depictions of dysphoria


ACT TWO


Nick


When Vicky left that afternoon, I cried myself back to sleep for the rest of the morning. I didn’t answer any calls or any texts. And to be honest, the only person who reached out to me was Stephanie. I was alone, depressed and angry. I vomited up last night’s dinner.


I sat in the bathroom, stuck in my own despair. Unable to get up. Unable to move. Unable to push forward. My life as Nicole was over. I kept telling myself I needed to get out and do something. I needed to get out of the bathroom. I needed to get out of this apartment. I needed to take my mind off of losing my life. 


While I contemplated all of that, I noticed how filthy the bathroom was and that gave me an idea. A singular purpose.... For at least an afternoon. 


I was going to clean this damn apartment.


I pulled myself off of the bathroom floor. I washed up, put some clothes on, locked up, and drove to the grocery store. I bought a whole bunch of cleaning products. Disinfectants, multi-surface cleaners, scrub brushes, toilet bowl cleaner, and new sponges.


I was still mostly numb, but I had a purpose. I at least knew where my life would take me for the rest of the day.


When I was leaving the grocery store I noticed a martial arts demonstration on the sidewalk next door. I stood there holding my bags of groceries watching a class perform board-breaking and choreographed moves that focused on technique and breathing. Each student looked so calm and focused. I was envious of them. I remember what Stephanie had told me last night and her friend using Yoga as a way to focus their anxiety. While I never cared for martial arts, this looked like a good way to regain my focus.


After demonstrating a quick sparring session, the instructor led his students in a meditation. Listening to the soothing sounds of the instructor leading them through self reflection, I myself felt my breathing slow down and calm wash over me. This is what I needed.


I signed up right then and there.


I returned back to Victor’s- my apartment and cleaned it up, starting with the filth in the shower and bathroom.


Meanwhile, I was focused on my mental health. I refused to see Vicky for the next week. Just the thought of going to see her and my old face gave me anxiety, but after the first week of Tae Kwon Do classes I was able to calm myself and go visit her. She gave me a big hug and told me she was glad to see me. 


* * *


Vicky


Once we both accepted we weren’t swapping back so easily, we both gave into resuming our new lives. While I found it easier to live as Nicole, I understood why Nick had a harder time living as Victor. He needed space, and I let him have it, but I welcomed him back when he was ready.


Around the beginning of the month, Nick sat me down to explain women's menstruation cycles. I didn’t want to hear it, and covered my ears until he pulled my hand off my ear and told me “It’s today, asshole!” Sure, I was taking the pill every day, but I really wasn’t paying too much attention to it. Sure enough, my period was that afternoon. I don’t remember much from it and blocked it out. All I remember is I spent the first day in my room feeling ill and not wanting to talk to anyone.


Time started to fly by. Nick and I met daily to do research on potential ways to swap back. Most ended up being dead ends. But this routine allowed Nick and I to continue to see each other and share the latest gossip about our former lives. Nick would tell me about the phone calls with my parents. I’d tell him how Lexi and Mads were doing. I hadn’t talked to Nick’s parents yet. He told me not to worry about them.


I still had a lot to learn about being a woman. One of the first lessons we did together was laundry. I had a big fear of ruining Nick’s former clothes. Nick emptied my hamper and helped me sort everything into white, colors, and delicates. I certainly appreciated the help. Of course I explained my former system of laundry where everything went into the same wash.


I started working out at the gym. After a month of living Nicole’s life I realized my clothing wasn’t fitting as well anymore. I brought this up to Nick and he told me I was gaining weight. I think being in the body of a hot girl for a month was inflating my ego, so hearing that this new body had a flaw certainly took me by surprise. Sure enough, I weighed myself. I don't know what I weighed when we first swapped, but Nick told me I gained 15 pounds and needed to either revert back to his vegetarian diet or get back to the gym. I chose the gym. 


At first I didn't want to go to the gym. In my life as Victor I used to never go to the gym, but once I did I realized this body really thirsted for exercise. I wasn’t all bad. I loved the time on the treadmill. It was a great opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. I would spend it planning my next painting or daydreaming about Tyler. Or both.


I found I still had to change my eating habits. I didn’t want to, but I did for the sake of my new body. I dialed back the pizza and burgers to only special occasions, but still found leaner meats to eat. Chicken, fish, etc. What surprised me is that Tyler was an excellent cook, and made some very tasty yet healthy meals. He told me that by me adding meat to my diet allowed him to open his cook book up to recipes he had never tried before.


Speaking of Tyler, he’s such a gentleman. It’s clear he wants to have sex. Hell, my body wants to have sex too. I’m not sure I’m ready for that. I’m not completely accepting that I’m now a straight woman. So I am conflicted about my new sexuality. On top of that I was worried I’d have to fight off his advances every time I saw him. He’s behaving himself and waits for me to make the first move when we are intimate. We make-out a lot. I’ve let him get as far as second base. I know I'm not ready for anything more than that, despite what my body has been telling me. 


Lexi was the one who told me to slow down. While Tyler believes we’ve been dating almost 3 years, I’m the one that has only been on 2 dates with him. She told me I was moving too fast, and she was right. I slowed down, but I didn’t remain at a standstill, because I actually really did like him. If we were two guys, he’d totally be my best friend. But I’m attracted to him, and developing feelings for him. Each date brought new feelings. Each date made me pretend to be Nicole less and less. Each date made Vicky blossom and fall for him more.


I keep telling myself, “Slow down Vicky.” I’ve been avoiding the ‘L’ word, and I’ve found various excuses to avoid having sex. At first, I used my period as an excuse. Then I just settled on telling him I wanted to wait a little longer. He’s been taking it in stride. I can tell he’s sexually frustrated, even though he doesn’t verbalize it.


This does beg the question - when does this abstinence end? When do I accept that I’m living Nicole’s life forever? When does Nick accept it? Do we even tell Tyler the truth at this point?


* * *


Nick


I walked into the Student Union and to the food court. I found Lexi waiting for me. We gave each other a hug and grabbed a smoothie and started casually walking around campus. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Lexi. The few times I went to my old apartment, she wasn’t there. Vicky said she’s been with Brandon a lot.


“I’m so glad you agreed to see me.” I told her. “I feel like I’ve lost track of you and Mads. I miss you both.”


“Of course I’d come hang out with you Nick. You’re still one of my best friends.” she asked me. “How’s your self imposed life of isolation?”


“Well, I’ve been holding it together.”


“Well, I’ve missed you.” she said. “I’m sure Mads would miss you too if she knew you weren’t around. 


I smirked at that comment. I saw her smile, so I knew she was trying to play with me.


“How is time with Vicky?” she asked.


“Well like you, I never met the original Victor, so it’s hard to really judge what he was like before. But Vicky seems so happy and so calm, it’s crazy.”


“That’s good you two are getting along.”


“Except when it’s her time of the month. What a bitch.” I chuckled.


Lexi laughed. “I don’t think I was around for that. I kinda regret missing it. How did that go?”


“Well I went over that morning because I still keep track of my cycle even though I’m not in that body anymore. Habit I guess. But I tried to sit her down and talk about it. She didn’t want to hear about it at all. I tried to be nice and supportive of it. I think she’s still a boy in her head. She finally listened to what I had to say.”


“Cause she started getting cramps?”


“Maybe. I think she didn’t know how to act or process it. She acted like every “woman on her period” stereotype you can think of and stayed in her room for 2 days. Two Days! I never acted like that right?”


“Not that I can recall, but I never roomed with you.”


“She’s such a guy sometimes. I told her she was overreacting and acting like a bad stereotype. I may have regrettably used the word “bitch”, and she kicked me out of the apartment.”


Lexi laughed again. “I’m sorry I’m laughing. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.”


“Yeah” I replied. “You know, It should’ve been you doing that.”


“Me? Nope. I would’ve called you. That’s your body she’s living in. How about the swap? Have you made any progress on that?”


“I started to keep a section of my class binder devoted to our body swap research. Everything was in there from all of our attempts the first week to all of the research we’ve done since.”


She smiled. “You’re still Nicole. Always overly organized and prepared.”


“Yeah, I joined a few discussion boards on the internet devoted to people who claimed they’ve been affected by magic. Most of these were just role players. So far I haven’t had much luck. I’ve certainly had people reach out to me to role play though.”


“Did you take them up on it?”


“No!” I quickly replied. “I’m... seeing someone.”


“Oh?” she said. “That’s right! How’s that going? What’s her name again?”


“Stephanie.” I replied. “She’s not really my type. I’m only dating her because I thought she was the key to swapping back.”


“Oh? So what kind of girl is your type?”


I suddenly blushed at that question. “Umm. I don’t know. I’d rather just swap back and not have to find out.” I didn’t want to tell her the truth. I have certainly found myself attracted to girls. Sure I found Stephanie attractive at first, but the more I’ve gotten to know her, the less attractive I’ve found her. I feel like this is the complete opposite with Tyler and I.


“Fair enough. What else have you been up to?”


“Well, when I’m not at class, or with Vicky or Stephanie, I’m at TaeKwonDo or the gym.”


“Tae Kwon Do?”


“I took up martial arts.” I replied. “To help me focus on my anxiety and mood.”


“That’s so awesome, Nick. Good for you!”


“I guess.”


“No seriously. We’ve been telling you for a long time to channel your anxiety into something.”


I nodded.


“So I’ve noticed you’ve lost weight. You’re looking good.”


I blushed at the compliment. “Thanks. It was hard at first, this body was so out of shape. But it started to get easier as the weeks went by.”


“It’s also great, you’re enjoying being a guy more.”


“I don’t know. I try to be more.. masculine... around Stephanie, but It’s exhausting.”


“Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you and you’re looking and sounding better.”


“Thanks.” I said. It was nice to hear because I was certainly in a darker place last time we saw each other. 


“I don’t understand why you and Vicky have adapted differently.”


“Me neither.”


“I heard she’s going to the gym now too. I guess you're rubbing off on her.”


“Yeah.” I said chuckling. “I may have… told her she’s fat and needs to lose weight.”


“Oh, Nick, you didn’t.” she said with a lecturing tone.


“I know, I know. I can’t believe I weight-shamed her. It must’ve been jealousy. She didn’t know how much I weighed before the swap. So I told her she gained more weight than she actually did.”


“You’re awful. Do you get jealous of her a lot?”


“Yes I do. I can’t help it. She’s in my body. She’s living my life. Occasionally I’d see Vicky at the gym too. I avoid her. Sometimes it’s hard when I’d see her to block her out of my mind. I’d see her running on the treadmill, looking cute in the outfits I bought, looking great in the body I’d spend years maintaining.”


“Yeah, that sounds hard.”


“If I was on a treadmill, I’d run faster. If I was doing exercises I would push harder. If I was practicing my Tae Kwon Do on a heavy bag and punch and kick harder.”


She was silent. It must be hard hearing that her friend is struggling. I heard her slurping her smoothie. It must be empty. I hardly drank mine since I was too busy talking about myself. 


“Well, there was one night you didn’t have to be jealous.” she finally said.


“Oh?” I said. Lexi had piqued my interest.


“Two Saturdays ago.” she said. “Vicky, Mads and myself were out clubbing. Ladies night. Homegirl was trying to go shot for shot with some random guy who was buying us drinks.”


“Oh no” I said, shaking my head.


“Buzzed Vicky is super fun, and is fun to dance with. Sloppy drunk Vicky was puking on the sidewalk and in the taxi cab.”


“Oh no” I repeated.


“Yeah.” Lexi said. “She learned her lesson.”


“I guess I’m glad I wasn’t around to see that.” I laughed.


“Oh hey now. I seem to recall you getting into similar situations when you were Nicole. That one time sophomore year.”


“I don’t remember that.” I said.


“Exactly!” Lexi said laughing.


As much as I liked to hear about Vicky’s big adventures on the town, I decided to change the topic. “How is Brandon?” I asked.


“Things have never been better.” she said. “I can’t believe it’s only been two months.”


“Has Vicky talked to you about him yet?”


“No, why?”


“Just wondering.”


“I’m in love. I was… um… even considering moving in with him next semester.”


“Oh.” I said. That sucks. I was looking forward to being Lexi’s roommate. I only ever got to be her roommate for a day. I wonder how Vicky will take that news. She’s used to being a lone, but she’s told me that she’s enjoyed having Lexi as a roommate.


“I’m happy for you.” I told her. 


“I’m such a hypocrite.” she said, holding her forehead. “Here I am telling Vicky she’s moving too fast, and I’m contemplating moving in with Brandon.”


I ignored the comment about Vicky and Tyler and focused on Lexi. Honestly I was worried for her. The things Vicky told me of Brandon didn’t sound great. I hope Lexi is careful and knows what she’s doing.



* * *


Vicky


A few weeks ago we finally swapped our most important possessions from each other's apartments. I asked for my art supplies and video games. She asked for some former class material, a stuffed animal and some jewelry she said were important to her.


It was nice to get my art supplies back. The first day I got them back I painted an abstract painting. Nick said it much brighter than my previous works. I guess I could see that. I was certainly in a better mood since the last time I painted. Whenever I was not at class or at Tyler’s I was painting. Some nights I would paint as Lexi would watch silently. I have yet to show my paintings to either Madison or Tyler. Madison, because I’m afraid of her critiquing my work. Tyler, because it may have him questioning too much.


Speaking of Lexi, I’ve been meaning to tell her the truth about Brandon, but she’s been increasingly absent from our apartment. When I do see her, she’s so happy and I didnt want to burst her bubble. Nick’s been pushing me to tell her, but I reminded him that we’re still hiding the body swap from Madison and Tyler, and we should totally tell Mads the truth as well. He insists timing is everything and we’ll eventually tell them.


So, now It’s been seven weeks since we first swapped lives. And here I was rushing around the apartment getting ready for my afternoon date with Tyler. He was taking me on a picnic at the local river and park. It was my suggestion to have a nice quiet canoe ride down the river. He said he’d pack a nice lunch. I wanted to look nice, but I was running out of suitable cute clothes I could wear in October. 


I’ve been working up the courage to ask one of my new girlfriends, either Lexi, Mads, or Nick to take me clothes shopping, but just haven’t pulled the trigger on that conversation. 


I think it’s because I still think of myself as Victor sometimes. Changing my name and pronouns has certainly gone a long way in making me feel like a girl. But when I’m alone and no one is calling me Nicole or Vicky, or using “she” and “her” pronouns, I slide right back into identifying as Victor. Of course looking down at my breasts and my cute outfit snaps me back out of it. But I feel asking about clothes shopping just sounds too humiliating at this point.


I went to do my make up, but the counter top was clean. Lexi had just cleaned the apartment because Brandon was coming over. She was still frantically cleaning the kitchen while simultaneously getting ready. Living room was cleaned, pillows fluffed, my artwork either hung up or hidden back into my room.


“Lexi, where’s my makeup?” I said, annoyed it wasn’t where it’s been for the previous seven weeks.


“It’s under the sink in your plastic drawers.” she replied from her room.


“I have plastic drawers?” I said looking under the sink. Sure enough, I found drawers full of makeup, nail polish, various extra toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorant and pads.


“I didn't know this was here” I said, out loud to nobody. I wound up having to buy a lot of this stuff last month. 


I took out my makeup and started to apply it as Alexis came beside me and checked herself in the mirror. I glanced over and noticed she was wearing a cute top with a pair of jeans. Ahh, to wear jeans again.


“Are you staring at my ass Vic?”


“I’m staring at your jeans, Lexi.” I responded. “I’d kill to have a pair of jeans. It’s getting cold out there, and all I have are sundresses, skirts, and pantyhose.”


“Do you want to borrow a pair?”


“Absolutely!” I said with a little too much enthusiasm, “Sorry. Yes, please. I’ve never borrowed clothes before. I felt kind of weird asking.”


“We’re friends and roommates, Vicky. It’s OK.” she said. “As long as you ask and don’t just take. Top drawer next to the bed.” 


“May I?” I said eagerly. She smiled and nodded. “Awesome” I dashed into her room. I pulled out the first pair of jeans I found and ran into my room.


Off came the sundress and hose and on came the jeans. They were dark blue capris and they hugged my hips nicely. But most importantly. It gave my legs more warmth than the hose were doing.


I complimented it with a plain gray t-shirt I found.


I grabbed my cell phone and took a picture of my reflection in the mirror. I texted the picture to Nick. “I borrowed some jeans from Lexi. How does this look?”


Despite being Vicky for the past 2 months, I was still in the habit of running my fashion choices by Nick.


Nick texted back. “The jeans are cute. I’d find a nicer top though. You know, I do own my own jeans. You don't have to borrow Lexi’s”


I responded. “What? Where? I’ve looked all over my room!”


“They’re in my fall and winter clothes. At my parents house. You should’ve asked. We could’ve gotten them sooner.”


Fall and Winter clothes? Parents' house? Well that certainly doesn’t help me right now. I wonder what her fall clothes look like? What was Nicole’s fall style? Maybe some sweaters, jeans? It’d be nice to not have to shave my legs every other day.


The weather took a dramatic turn two weeks ago. It feels like it went from summer to fall instantly. Now that it's October, I’m practically freezing in my summer clothes. I’ve seen other girls walking around campus in very nice looking fall clothes. Sure some of them wore flannel, designer boots and accessorized it all with a pumpkin latte, but I doubt that was Nicole’s style. 


So how exactly am I supposed to get Nick’s warmer clothes from his parents?


My phone buzzed again. “Did you talk to Lexi yet?”


I sighed and pouted to myself. I really don’t want to do this right now, but I’m getting tired of Nick pushing me.


“Hey Lexi” I said meekly.


“Yeah Vic?” she said, coming to my room. “Oh, you look great in my jeans!”


“Thanks” I said. But I didn’t call her in about the jeans. “About Brandon”


“I know, I need to set up a time where he can meet everyone again.” she said. She started to put an earring into her ear. “It’s been like a whirlwind romance over the past 2 months.”


“Yeah. But... I know him.” I said. “From before.”


“Oh really?” she said. “You never mentioned that.”


I bit my lip. Here it goes. “Because I didn’t want to upset you.”


She raised her eyebrow. “Why would that upset me?”


“He’s my freshman year roommate.” I said. I tensed up awaiting her response.


She was silent for a moment, likely trying to remember the story I told her on that first Malbec Monday two months ago. “The one that stole from you?”


“Yeah.” I said. “He wasn’t a nice guy.”


I could see her thinking hard trying to resolve the story I told her when we first met and what she knows of him now. “But… Brandon’s nothing like you described in your story.”


“I know. I just thought you needed to know.”


Her face became more serious. “Vicky, this doesn’t make any sense. Listen, if this is another one of yours and Nick’s games, I don’t have time for it.” She walked back into her bedroom.


Did she just shrug me off? It’s like she wasn’t listening to me.


“Alexis” I said, following her. “I just want you to be careful.”


“Ok Vic.” she said. “Sure.”


Should I leave it there? I did what Nick asked. I told her. She knows. But I think that information just bounced off of her. “How does he recognize me? He said he’d met me before.”


“He said he met Nicole at a party once. I didn’t ask for more details. You’d have to ask Nick about that.”


Great. Nick doesn’t know either. “It’s just… how long have you really known the guy?”


She looked at me, tilted her head slightly and replied. “Technically I’ve known Brandon longer than I’ve known you.”


I stood there for a second, dumbfounded. Is that true? She was right. I had no other argument to lean on. It was my word against Brandon’s.


Lexi appeared to be getting annoyed with all this topic of conversation, so I decided to let it rest. But I feel like I should eventually confront Brandon. I needed to see whether he truly has changed, or if he’s the same prick I remember. I care for Alexis. She’s one of the first friends I’ve had in a long time. If Brandon does anything to hurt her...


* * *


Nick


I had Stephanie over for dinner tonight. I wasn’t much of a cook, but I tried to make a vegetarian chili, but screwed up the spices. It was very bland and very soupy.


Steph didn’t seem to care, and was eager to try any dish I served her. Eating my vegetarian dishes was a novelty to her.


After dinner, we were getting hot and heavy making out on the couch, when she stopped me.


“Victor.” she said. “Can we talk about sex?”


I sighed. Not this again. “I’m sorry, Steph, I’m just not ready yet. I’m not entirely over my last relationship. There’s too many emotions and memories and anxiety there.”


“But I can make all of that go away and make you feel much better.” She ran her finger up the inseam of my jeans. “I can make you feel better.” She repeated then nibbled on my ear.


I lost my train of thought. What was I saying? “You are making me feel great right now” I replied. “But that's what my problem was with my ex. I leaned too much onto them and became way too dependent on them. I don’t want to put you in that same position.”


She sighed. I know she wanted to sleep with me. Hell, I wanted to sleep with her. But I’m trying my hardest not to cheat on Tyler and I’m trying not to be a hypocrite for telling Vicky no sex as well. I didn’t realize how hard this would be. My dick was certainly testing the construction of these jeans.


The look on her face told me what she didn’t say verbally. She couldn’t wait forever and would dump me soon. I get it. How long can this really last? Should I just cut her loose now? 


My phone buzzed and I looked down to see that it was a forwarded email from Vicky. I looked at the email. It was from the internship program. It started with, “Congratulations Nicole…” I was both excited and depressed. I got accepted to the internship, but since I’m not “Nicole,” I can’t go.


“What’s wrong?” she asked, after noticing my expression changed when I saw the email.


“I applied to an internship.” I said. “Someone else got it instead.”


* * *


Tyler



I spent a very pleasant afternoon with Nicole. I packed us lunch and we spent the afternoon at our local park, which has a small quiet river running through it. I rented a canoe and we slowly drifted down the river eating our lunch and just talking the afternoon away.


After the canoe ride I laid out a blanket and we both just laid down on it, soaking up the sun. I wound up lying down and putting my head on her lap while she stroked my hair. She put me at ease and made me feel safe with her. Her motions were so soothing and calming, that I wound up dozing off.


I can’t believe how much I love Nicole so much. I mean I loved her before, but the way she’s changed over the past two months. I enjoy every waking moment with her. Her smile is infectious, and the world isn’t nearly an awful place when she’s with me. I think I’m ready to move our relationship to the next level. What that means, I haven’t quite figured that out yet.


I didn’t want the afternoon to end, but sadly we had evening plans apart. Josh had convinced me to do a campaign appearance tonight, and Nicole was going to spend time doing homework. She said she has a business class that’s really giving her troubles. I’ve offered to help her, but I think she’s determined to figure it out herself. 


It typically takes at least 5 to 10 minutes for us to actually leave each other. Lots of kisses, and holding hands, and we say “bye” and “miss you” repeatedly until one is running late and says “I really have to go now.”


That evening, I was walking to the Student Union with Josh. He was scheduled to speak at the Student PRIDE organization about his campaign for President. He begged and pleaded with me to join him. I didn’t necessarily want to go, but I had agreed to be his campaign manager a few weeks ago.


We both walked into one of the conference rooms and students were all standing around mingling. I felt uncomfortable being here since I hadn’t been here in such a long time.


Josh led me up to one older gentleman. He shook his hand like all good politicians did. “Professor Gary, I want to introduce you to my campaign manager, Tyler” he said, introducing me. “Tyler, this is Professor Gary the Faculty Advisor.”


That name seemed familiar. I recall Nicole telling me about an instructor she had for one of her classes. An art class maybe.


“Hi” I said, shaking his hand “Nice to meet you.”


“Welcome”, Professor Gary said with a smile. 


I should ask if he knows Nicole, but Josh then led me to the next person.


“I believe you already know the treasurer.” Josh said.


Madison turned around to greet us. “Hey guys.” she said. “Tyler, I haven’t seen you here in a long while.”


I smiled, and shrugged, unsure of what to say.


“So Madison.” Josh said. “Can I talk you into joining my campaign?”


“Nah” she said. “Sorry Josh, I’ve got too much going on. You have my vote though, as long as you can assure a better budget for student organizations. They haven’t increased in years.”


“Great, cause that’s part of my platform!” Josh said eagerly.


I heard someone call Josh’s name.


“Excuse me” he said, leaving me and Madison alone.


I smiled. Madison smiled. I wanted to flee. Madison and I rarely find ourselves alone with each other.


“So” I said, lacking anything substantial to say.


“So.” she replied. A few awkward seconds later, she added, “I’ve noticed you and Nicole have been spending a lot more time together.” she said.


“Yeah.” I said. “We’ve been doing a lot more activities lately. New restaurants, bars, parks, and dancing. Sometimes I think I can’t keep up with her now.”


“She’s certainty changed this semester.” she added, looking at me suspiciously.


I didn’t know what to say to that. Did someone tell her about my wish? “I tried talking to her about it, but she claimed that she wants to do all of that stuff. She assured me several times that she's not doing it just to make me happy.”


“At first I thought maybe it was Victor’s influence.” she said.


“Who’s Victor?” I said. “Oh wait - it’s that guy from the pool that one time right?”


“Yeah.” she said. “They spend a lot of time together.”


“They do? She barely mentions him.” 


“Oh.” Madison said, turning red. “I mean, it’s not a lot of time.”


Was that something I wasn’t supposed to know? Madison suddenly had a guilty look on her face.


“I mean.” she continued. “I thought maybe you were pressuring her or something. I don’t know what’s up with her. Sometimes she’s aloof and forgetful. When she is around, she’s much more playful. If she’s going through something I really wish she’d talk to me about it.”


It was nice hearing about Nicole from another point of view. At least I wasn’t the only one that had noticed her changes. But she has been spending time with another guy and hiding it from me. “What does Lexi say?”


“She agrees and responds that rooming with Nicole is not what she expected.”


“I don’t know.” I replied. “I’m not going to lie, My relationship with her is better than ever.” Even as I said that, this new information just made me question whether this isn’t real.


“Is it?” she said, raising an eyebrow. “Have you told her yet? Or are you still in denial?”


Not this topic again.


“You stopped coming to PRIDE meetings shortly after you started dating her.” she said.


I closed my eyes and sighed because I knew she was right. “I’m afraid Madison,” I replied. “I was on the verge of telling her a month ago, but I was afraid of losing what I suddenly gained.”


She shook her head in disappointment. 


“I’ll do it. Soon.” I said


 “You’ve been stringing her along for two years.”


“I know I know. It’s just… her parents...”


“You aren’t dating her parents, you’re dating her.”


“What about you?” I said, trying to turn the conversation away from myself. “Does she know about you?”


“What about me?” Madison said. “It’s not like me being a lesbian is a big secret. I’m the Treasurer of Student PRIDE.”


“But she doesn’t know and she used to casually talk about finding you a nice boy to date.”


“Yeah, she can be oblivious at times.” Madison conceded, “But I’m not her boyfriend. You are.”


We were interrupted by another voice who asked everyone to take their seats. I looked at Madison and I said “Soon. I promise.”


She gave me a weak smile as everyone took their seats and I rejoined Josh. She was right. “Old” Nicole wasn’t very receptive when I tested the waters and dropped some hints. It forced me to recoil and hide that side of myself. How would “new” Nicole react? And who is this Victor and why are they spending time together behind my back.


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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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EtherealSamantha

Really hating the direction this series is taking :)))
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EtherealSamantha

Somebody stole your life? Forced to be an ugly random man? Just act masculine and you'll do better :))) Gender positivity!
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Emily

Dont worry. I won't forget about Nicole
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PunchlinePress

It's an unfortunate pitfall of this genre of storytelling, and it really sucks for the character to experience. It ca however be a good narrative for people who do not understand dysphoria to read that perspective, and get a better idea of what it means to those of us who do.
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Emily

Maybe I should start including content warnings for dysphoria. Because its going to get before it gets better.
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PunchlinePress

That might be a good idea. I’m not personally bothered by it, but some might be!
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EtherealSamantha

Somebody stole your life? Forced to be an ugly random man? Just act masculine and you'll do better :))) Gender positivity!
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Anybody

I didn't see that coming, and I love it, for the story. For myself, it might make reading a bit harder. Same reason I couldn't continue TWITIE, to have a trans character have to witness someone else get what you always dreamt, is soul crushing to me...😪 I'm struggling with dysforia and beginning HRT, so I think I'm a little too sensitive to this right now. But anyways, great chapter.
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Emily

First of all, congrats on starting HRT!! Moving forward, however Maybe I should start including content warnings for dysphoria. Because its going to get worse for our characters before it gets better.
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Joejedfjsj

Good to see you back from your holiday with a great chapter
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PunchlinePress

Glad to see the series continue. It seems that Nick and Vicky are both facing some tough times ahead... especially since it looks like Tyler isn't as straight as he might seem. Also a minor thing I noticed while reading: > I wonder how she knew these were Lexi’s jeans. “I borrowed some jeans from Lexi. How does this look?” Because you told her, Vicky. ;)
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Emily

Aw man. I didn't catch that. Left over sentence from a previous draft.
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BenFan

I feel like there was one week covered in the first 15 chapters (?) and now 6 weeks in this one, and yet not much change (other than the weather)… in six weeks Vicky has had no opportunity to tell Alexis she is dating a demon, and has never told Tyler that, btw, I’m not who you think I am and if I have my way I’ll dump you to get back in my real body? At least Nick made a little progress, but, yeah, still mired in gender fugue. Lovely characters and dialog, but painfully slow plot development… but we should cut you some slack anyway for the first chapter back from vacation!
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Emily

I kinda sucks that I post these in week segments. It make chapters like this one seems like nothing is happens.
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BenFan

Actually, it kind of seemed like you were filling in the real time that elapsed while you were on vacation, which was kind of unnecessary! I can see you set up some things in the coming storyline, and maybe you have your reasons for jumping ahead six weeks, but it mostly seems like nothing happened because of how much time passed in the “Masquerades world.” It’s starting to sound like Vic and Nic are not the only ones involved in a masquerade…. But six weeks going by with only what was in this chapter does feel like we missed out on some things!
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Emily

The time jump was to jump to the acceptance phase for our two main characters. They've now been each other for 6 weeks, and have given up searching for a solution by now. Life has returned to normal for everyone except Nicole. They have grown accustomed to living the lie that it's become second nature. I have other reasons, but that's what I was trying to show with this chapter.
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BenFan

Btw, it looks like there is something amiss with the website’s timestamps…
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Emily

You're right. The time is set to GMT/UTC. I haven't implemented the client side timezone stuff.
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BenFan

Unless you are in London?
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marter

Aw poor Nicole. She needs to check under her dresser again. I hope things get better for her. And is Tyler trans?
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Emily

Yeah, shes had it rough so far. Tyler is something. He hasn't told us yet.
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marter

I saw in another comment that things are going to get worse for her before it gets better? Poor girl
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