Chapter 19 - Face Paint

Masquerades 101 by Emily


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Synopsis: Tyler takes Vicky to the football game

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Vicky



The rest of the weekend went on without incident. I avoided the Rosch’s as much as possible. I offered to do their shopping for them, all in the name of me getting out of that house. I made very little conversation with them. Occasionally they’d probe me about Tyler but I didn’t take the bait.


The call I had with Nick didn’t sit right with me. The first problem - Nick going to my parents and getting involved in my family matters - complicated things with my family. Fair. I didn't warn him. Second, he dropped a bomb on me. He called Madison and Tyler - not normal. What does that even mean? I guess in context of that conversation he meant they were gay. They can’t be gay, can they? Why did he call them not normal? Was he quoting his parents here or did he really think that?  


Madison? OK. Maybe that actually makes sense. She does flirt with me much more than Lexi does.


Tyler? Not a chance. He’s my boyfriend. He was Nicole’s boyfriend before that. But his roommate is gay. That doesn’t mean he is? Am I overlooking something here?


As for the Rosch’s, I wound up doing everything for myself. I made myself lunch. I made myself dinner. I put away the groceries. I did my own laundry. When I laid down Saturday night, I realized that this must be where Nicole got her independence and strength. 


To me, Nicole is a strong woman who does everything herself and relies on no one. She may not admit it, but as I’ve now spent a weekend at the place where she grew up, it became clear to me that she chose a major which guaranteed she’d never have to ever go home to her parents ever again after graduation. 


But emotionally, It was an awful weekend for me. The worst since I’ve been Vicky. They weren’t even my parents, and yet I felt drained from having to deal with these people. I felt zero love from Jim and Jackie. Nothing was good enough. I got criticized for everything I did. I got the wrong groceries. I used too much laundry detergent. I missed a spot on the dishes. That was affecting me after a day. How did this affect Nicole? Was this the root of her anxiety issues?


When Sunday morning came around, I begged to go back to college immediately. Jim managed to actually carry my storage bin full of winter clothes to his car. 


On the drive back, Jim decided to make conversation talking about a History Channel show he watched. Maybe he thought it was a way to relate to me. He was excited to talk about it. It was the most engaging he’d been all weekend, so I let him talk.


When we got to campus, he called me “Sweet pea” again, and gave me a hug and wished me well the rest of the semester. There are times he seems like a normal adjusted father. But those times are few and far between. I can’t shake the awful things he said about Tyler and Aunt Shirley. I also can’t shake the way he treated me most of the weekend.


I stood there at the same curb I was picked up on with a heavy storage bin. I decided to call up Nick to come help me.


Nick came by 15 minutes later. “Sorry I’m late,” he said. “I was still in bed when you texted me.”


“It’s OK.” I said meekly.  I was still numb from the weekend.


“How was the rest of your weekend?” he asked.


I was silent for a moment. I wanted to say how it was, but I was too drained for the words to come out.


“I” I started. I closed my eyes, trying to find the strength to talk. “I don’t want to talk about it.”


I turned to walk to my apartment when Nick grabbed my arm.


“I know that face.” he said.


I was silent and looked into his eyes.


“I’ve seen that face in the mirror so many times.” he said. “I’m sorry.” He then hugged me.


That’s when I broke down. “How were you able to live like that?” I said through sobs.


“It was hard.” he said. “I kept telling myself that when I’m on my own, I’ll only be around people who will love me and give me the affection and attention I deserve.”


It felt good to be in Nick’s embrace. Not in a sexual way, but his hug was something that was missing this weekend. He is really the only one I can talk to about this, and he knew exactly what I went through without me even saying a word. For the past two months I thought I knew what it was like to be Nicole. Not even close. I didn’t share the same experiences she had. As I cried into his shoulders I realized for the first time since we swapped that the roles were reversed. I was the one that needed help, and he was the one giving me support.


After a few minutes, He helped me bring my clothes up and he was nice enough to help me put everything away. He pointed out which clothes go in drawers and which ones should be hung up. He gave me back my apartment key.


As he departed, he told me. “Take some time for yourself today. I used to pamper myself. Take long showers, paint my nails. If you want I can give you some of the meditation lessons I learned this month. It’s helped me calm down and focus.”


“Thank you for the advice” I said. I hugged him and he left my apartment, and I was alone again.


I decided to paint my nails as Nick suggested. There was a merlot color I saw in that bathroom drawer I discovered last week. This will be the second time I’ve painted them. There was one Malbec Monday a month ago where the girls all painted their nails. Thankfully Lexi gave me a quick primer on how to do it before Mads came over.


When I was waiting for everything to dry, Tyler called and wanted to come over. I don’t think I was entirely ready to see anyone. Painting my nails helped me decompress a little bit, but I could hear the Rochsh’s hateful words ringing in my head and I couldn’t get them out.


Sure enough, when I saw Tyler that afternoon and we embraced in a long kiss, I suddenly noticed his long hair. The way he held himself. The blue nail polish on his pinky. These are things that were always there. These were things I loved about my boyfriend. It made him unique. What is up with Tyler? Why does he act like that? 


I had never asked those questions once during the two months we’ve been dating. But now, Jim and Jackie have poisoned me. At that moment, I hated those people even more, for making me question my boyfriend’s choice in self-expression.


I was strong enough to see through their hatred. What did this do to Nicole who lived with them for 18 years?


I actually sent Tyler home early that evening. I just couldn’t control my emotions anymore. I cried in my empty apartment with no one around. 



* * *


Nick



It was time for the class to present our mask projects to the rest of the class.


I spent hours on Saturday afternoon in my former apartment alone making this mask. I actually stopped and restarted multiple times. I wished some of Vicky’s creativity came with this body. It wasn’t until I saw a work in progress that Vicky left in the living room. Only half of it was completed. The other half of it was blank. While it wasn’t finished, the blank side felt like it was imposing on me. That feeling gave me an idea. I poured my heart into decorating this mask, and worked the rest of the afternoon on it.


“Nick?” the professor asked. “It’s your turn.”


I got up from my seat and stood in front of the class room with my mask and my note cards. I glanced down at my note cards and silently read the first two lines before looking up and speaking. 


“Hi. Um. I’m Nick.” I awkwardly cleared my throat. “Um. The character I created for this assignment is named Nicole. She’s a 21 year old college woman. I have painted half of this mask pink. I have decorated it with various gemstones. One for each of the pillars of her life. The things that keep her centered. Her friends. Her boyfriend.” I looked down at the note card again. I pointed to the other side of the mask. “The other half is black. This represents outside forces trying to make her conform. To be someone she is not. Telling her she cannot be this-” I pointed to the pink side again. “Thank you.”


“Very nice, Nick” the instructor said. “That’s very insightful. Why did you choose black?”


“It’s dark. Oppressive. Aggressive. Masculine.”


“Is your character, Nicole, in hiding?”


“Yes. Very much so.”


“In a dark playhouse, the black side of the mask would disappear into the background. As if it’s invisible. Nicely done, Nick.”


I smiled and walked back to my seat. My adrenaline was moving from having to do public speaking. I think I did well.


* * *


It was Tuesday morning when I was walking to class with Kayla. We have a routine now. Every Tuesday and Thursday we meet at the coffee shop and walk to class together. We had become friends over the past two months. I’m surprised at how cool she’s been. I realized I never gave her the time of day when she was my roommate. I regret how I acted towards her now. She still has no idea that I’m really Nicole, her former roommate. In the beginning, I believe she may have been interested in me - in Nick, but I quickly friend-zoned her by discussing my relationship with Stephanie. To her credit, she continued being friendly and we continued to walk to and from class and grab coffee together.


“How was your weekend?” she asked.


“Nothing big.” I replied. “I went to my parents on Friday evening. Went out to a bar with Stephanie and her friends on Saturday. Spent Sunday doing homework. How about you?”


“Sounds like a busy weekend.” she said. “I had a date Saturday night.” 


Kayla had a date? An odd sensation ran through me. I knew I had friend-zoned her, but since I knew she was interested in me at one point I suddenly felt a little jealous. “That’s great” I said, pretending to hide my jealousy. “How did that go?”


“It was OK.” she said. “He took me to a movie. We left it open for a potential second date. I think after the last couple of boyfriends my standards for boyfriends are higher.”


“Well, you deserve the best, Kayla.” I said. “You’re a strong, attractive woman. If this guy doesn’t do it for you, move on. Don’t waste time pretending to be something you’re not.” Yikes, did I just say that. Look in the mirror, Nicole!


She chuckled.


“What?’ I asked.


“Nothing.” she said.


Oh God, she saw right through that. “Am I being a hypocrite?”


“I didn’t say that.” she said smiling.


Well, clearly that’s what she meant. And she wasn’t wrong. But I also wonder about her motivations as well. I wanted to ask if she wanted me to break up with Stephanie. But what would happen then? 


I admitted I was bi to Vicky the other night. Could I admit that to anyone else? What would happen if I truly accepted that? Did I want to date Kayla? My former roommate? No. I couldn’t. I shouldn’t. I wanted someone else.


I glanced back at Kayla and she smiled and it was now her turn to say. “What?”


I bit my lip out of nervousness. Kayla is much cuter than Stephanie. But that would only make it harder to abstain in this body. It’s not like Kayla will come running into my arms the moment I dump Stephanie, right?


“Nothing” I said, smiling back.



* * *


Vicky


Thankfully going through the motions of my week actually helped me put some space between the events of last weekend and the up and coming weekend.  I’m glad I’m feeling better because I was excited about going to this football game with Tyler.


I stood in front of my mirror in only a bra and jeans. I was contemplating what kind of facepaint I was going to do for the football game tonight. Earlier in the day, I ran to the school bookstore and picked up facepaint. I’ve been eying it since the first time I saw it months ago.  


Whenever I’d watch games on TV, I’d be jealous of all of the fans who put 100% into their school spirit.  Now that I get to go to one, I wanted to take the whole experience in. I was excited to be going to my first football game since freshman year, and I wanted to make up for lost time. 


I pulled on the school spirit T-shirt I bought for Nick a few months ago. It would look perfect at a football game.


I’ve always wanted to paint my face. I admit that if I was still a guy I would’ve just painted each half of my face different colors. But as a woman, I had an opportunity to do something more elaborate and fun.


I wanted to paint my face in school colors, but I wanted to make an awesome design. I took the pencil from my makeup bag and started to draw elaborate curves and lines around my eyes, mouth and nose. I then drew our school’s logo on one cheek. I typically don't draw logos on faces, so it wasn’t perfect, but it was recognizable.


I applied glittery eye-shadow to my eyes before then taking face paint and coloring in the lines. It took me a little while to get the lines perfect to where I wanted it. But I was happy with my work.


* * *


Tyler



I just got done getting changed into a football jersey, and I was about to walk out the door and head to Nicole’s apartment when I walked past Josh, who was working on his laptop in the living room.


“Going to the big game?” he asked.


“Yeah” I said. “Can you believe it, Nicole wanted to go. I haven’t been to a game in years either.”


“Hey Ty” Josh asked, closing his laptop.


“What’s up?” I asked him.


“Are you happy with the new Nicole?”


“Absolutely.” I replied. “She’s so much fun. She hasn’t criticised me or put me down, or had an anxiety attack. I’m having the time of my life.”


“Huh.” he said. “That’s good to hear. Aren't you worried that this isn’t real?”


“What do you mean not real?”


“The wish.” he said. “You wished for her to change”


“Coincidence.” I responded. “I was concerned about that in the beginning. I confronted her about it. She insisted nothing was wrong, and that she just decided to try all these new things one day.”


“That’s what she’s saying.” he said. “Just be careful. I just have this feeling she’s not telling you the truth.”


I waved that off. “There’s no such thing as people changing because of a wish. I was paranoid. I don’t see what Nicole would gain by pretending to be someone else.”


“Yeah, Just be careful.” Josh reiterated. “I’m concerned for both of you.”


“Thanks, man.” I said. “Have a good evening.”


“Later” he said, as I walked out the door


* * *


I got to Nicole’s dorm and followed someone into the building, making sure this building's RA didn’t see me. I knocked on her door. When she answered, I saw her face painted with an elaborate design. Even her clothes were decked out in school colors. 


“Wow, Nicole.” I said. “You look very school spirited!”


“Is it too much?” she asked, looking worried.


“Not at all” I said. “It’s so cool.”


“You think?” she said, smiling.


“I’m actually kinda jealous now.” I said jokingly.


“Oh I can do your face too!” she said, eagerly. “We still have time, I think.”


I was stunned. I didn’t expect her to actually offer. Nicole putting makeup on me? Sure, it’s only face paint, but a part of me is screaming in glee, the other part of me is telling me to hold it together and play it cool. But it’s only school spirit face paint. It’s not like it’s real make-up.


“Sit here.” she said, leading me to the stool in the kitchen. She walked to the bathroom and returned with a bag of makeup and bottles of facepaint. “Do you want the same thing as me, or something tamer?” she asked.


“Whatever looks good” I said, not wanting to tell her I really wanted her to repeat her design for me.


“In the interest of time, I’ll just do the same thing.” she said. 


I held in my excitement as she started drawing on my face. It kinda tickled. I watched her eyes focus on her work. I noticed the smile she had while working. I never saw this side of her before. I never really got to watch her work. And if I did, what would I watch? She doing her homework?


“All done” she said, leading me to a mirror.


Just like Nicole, I now have a multi color design painted on my face. Swirls, lines, dots, the school logo. No eye shadow, though. “It’s beautiful, Nikki.” I said.


“I think I did your face better than I did mine.” she added. “It’s so much easier drawing on someone else’s face rather than your own.”


She pulled out her phone. “Let’s take a selfie.” she said. “I want to remember my artwork.”


We put our heads together for a picture and she took it.


“Ready to go?” I said.


“Lets!” she replied.


* * *


Being at the game was so much better than reading about it in the school newspaper. Our school was kicking some serious butt. Students who sat around us loved our facepaint. I saw Nicole beam at pride every time someone noticed it and complimented her handiwork. I was so proud of her.


During half time I decided to bring up our anniversary. “So what would you like to do for our anniversary?” I asked.


She looked at me and froze. “I’m sorry, I hadn’t thought that far in advance.” she said.


“I think there’s another big dance this year.” I said. “I remember seeing a flyer for this year’s Halloween dance.”


“Yes.” she said. “Halloween. Lexi was telling me about it.” She seemed kinda uneasy about this subject. Maybe she still doesn’t want to do Halloween. 


“We don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want to.” I suggested. Last year, we stayed in and watched scary movies. She told me she didn’t feel like dressing up anymore.


“Oh - I think I want to go.” she said. She looked at me, smiled, and cuddled into me. “You know what I haven't heard in a while?”


“What?” I asked intently. I love it when she snuggles into me.


“Your account of how we met and started dating.” she said.


She really wanted to hear about this? I smiled. Well, I liked talking about this, so here it goes. “So it all started freshman year.” I said, smiling. “I remember how cocky and confident you were. You and Madison knocked on my door and asked if I could make you a costume for a halloween party. I had just met Madison a few weeks back at…” I wanted to say PRIDE, but avoided it. “...some student club and we talked about cosplay. So I was surprised when she showed up at my door with you by her side wanting me to make you a costume.”


Nicole chucked. “Yeah I remember that.”


“You actually asked for my credentials. And experience at costume making.”


“Yup. That sounds like me.” 


“After I told you about all the cons I went to, you turned to Mads and - I remember this vividly, and I quote - “I’m not comfortable with a guy making my costume.””


“Burn” she said. “But that’s not the end of the story, right?”


“Nope, the very next night, we were both invited to a games night. You sat next to me. And we were flirting the entire time. You would tease me, and I’d tease you back. I was so out of your league that I was infatuated by this extremely popular girl who had suddenly taken interest in me. By the end of the night, you changed your mind on the costume and commissioned me to make it. Fast forward to halloween. You knocked on my door in a panic. You accidentally ripped part of the costume I made for you. I had a high school friend who was prone to anxiety attacks, so I calmed you down and told you I’d fix it right away. You were nervous about missing the party and letting down your friends. I gave you tea as I fixed your dress as I kept your mind off of things. When I was finished, you invited me to escort you to the party, so I pulled out one of my old cosplay outfits and joined you. We spent the whole evening together talking about pop culture, board games, etc. You introduced me to Lexi. Though I don’t think Mads was happy I was monopolizing your time. And at the end of the night as Mads and Lexi were eager to leave, you made the first move and kissed me.”


“That is a sweet story.” she said. “You tell it well.” She leaned in for a kiss and I kissed her back.


She pulled away and smiled. She brushed my hair back, looked into my eyes and said, “Yes. I want to dress up this year with you.”


I smiled back and kissed her. God, I love this girl. I’ve been putting off coming out to her. I meant to do it this week. I’m so afraid. But I love her. She needs to know. I need to tell her tonight.


* * *


Vicky


After the 3rd quarter, I decided I needed to get up to use the bathroom. As I walked past the long-ass line for the men’s restroom I said under my breath “suckers.” I pushed my way into the women’s restroom and did the deed.


On the way back I ran into Lexi and Brandon. 


“Nicole.” she said. “Fancy meeting you here!” I hinted to her earlier in the week that we were coming to the game. “I thought I’d never catch you dead at a sporting event.” she winked at me. 


“There’s always a first for everything.” I joked. I looked at Brandon who seemed bored and was eager to get back to their seats.


“Oh my god!” she said. “I love your facepaint. Did you do that?”


“I did.” I replied, smiling with pride. “You should see Tyler's!”


“Do you want to sit with us for a bit?” Lexi offered. 


“Yeah, sure.” I said, smiling. “Not too long, Tyler’s waiting for me.”


She leaned closer to me. “This gives you an opportunity to see he’s not a bad guy.”


I nodded. Then I followed Lexi and Brandon back to their seats. There was an open seat next to Brandon, so I sat there.


Brandon glanced at me and flashed his eyebrows at me. God, I want to punch him. I keep telling myself to behave for Lexi’s sake. She asked me to give him a chance.


“Brandon.” Lexi said to her boyfriend. “Nicole and I were reminiscing earlier about our freshman years. Tell me about yours. Did you have any roommates?”


“Oh yeah.” he said. “I had two. The first one was a trip. He was mentally unstable and wound up going crazy or something. He moved out and I never saw him again.”


What? Mentally unstable?


“And the second-” he started.


“What was his name?” I interrupted.


“Um..” he said. “Starts with a V. Vince? No. Victor. That’s right. Victor. The dude trashed our room.”


I saw Lexi look at me with a shocked expression.


I shook my head. What? I didn’t trash the room. He did. “I heard you stole from him.” I countered.


“What?” he said. “No. Where’d you hear that from?”


“I um… ran into Victor recently.”


“Umm. That’s weird.” he said. “I hadn’t seen the guy in years. I thought maybe he dropped out. Either way, he’s lying. The dude was enamored with me and actually gave me things. Hell, I think he may have been in love with me.”


I was in shock. What is he talking about? This doesn’t make any sense. Brandon stole from me. I remember it clearly.


Suddenly a good play happened on the field, and the crowd stood up and roared.


Brandon turned to me and looked me in the eyes, and lowered his voice so only I could hear. “The dude even offered to suck my cock. I told him no, but I might make an exception for you.” He winked at me.


This made me angry, appalled, and sick to my stomach.


As the crowd sat back in their seats he winked at me again, then turned his attention back to Lexi and put an arm around her. 


“That dude was a straight up liar,” Brandon announced. “Now my second roommate-”


“Excuse me.” I said getting up from my seat, disgusted. Lexi grabbed my arm. “We’re going to need to talk about this.” I nodded and walked back to my original seat to find Tyler. I don’t understand this. Brandon is telling lies about me - the old me. He’s also flirting with me - the new me. Now he’s turning Lexi against me - both me’s I need to find a way to get through to her, that her boyfriend is not who she thinks he is.


* * *


I spend the rest of the game and the bus ride in deep thought. Tyler didn’t make much conversation either. I’m trying to reach back into my memories of Brandon. I paid for him a whole bunch of times. After a while he coerced me into loaning him money that he never repaid. Were there other things I was forgetting? Replaying those memories now felt like an out of body experience. Was that because I’m in a different body now? Were Victor’s memories starting to fade and feel like someone else’s life?


The bus let us off at the student union. Tyler walked me back to my apartment. He seemed nervous for some reason. As we stopped at my apartment I kissed him. “Thank you for a wonderful time.”


“You’re welcome.” he said.


We held hands. “Goodnight” I said, kissing him again.


I let go, smiled and I turned around to walk into my building.


“Nikki, wait.” he said. “I have to tell you something.”


“What is it Ty?” I asked.


He stood there dumbfounded for a moment. He didn’t look me in the eyes. He kept repeating “I” and stopping.


“Ty, you can tell me.” I encouraged him. I grabbed both of his hands and squeezed them. Is this why he was nervous the later part of the evening?”


“Nicole. I’m... non-binary.”


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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

Eeeeee, what a good chapter. Tyler confessed! I'm so eager to see what Vicky's reaction is! It was devastating to see how much Nicole's parents hurt both nicole and vicky. Assholes. I hope Nicole and Kayla start a thing, Nick would be so much happier than with Stephanie, I think! Okay, I've gushed enough, great work! Next Monday can't come fast enough!
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BenFan

It’s hard to follow up a blockbuster like the last chapter. That one really raised the bar, but this one nudged the plot along. We found out that Brandon is a lying scum bag, but we still don’t know how it is that he knows who Nicole is. One thing: how can it be that Nicole and Tyler have been a couple since freshman year and she does not know his sexual preferences? We know they were not “chaste” and even Nicole’s parents could figure it out.
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Emily

To answer your question, everyone (reader's included) assumed Tyler is gay. Tyler is not gay. They are Non Binary with a strong attraction to women (womasexual if you would like a label. https://lgbta.wikia.org/wiki/Womasexual). Nicole assumed Tyler was something - despite 3 years of dating them.
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BenFan

I guess I’ll wait for the explanation in the next exciting episode… still, rather late in the game to find out.
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BenFan

Actually, looking back at the previous chapter, Nicole says she “knows about Tyler”. Still the idea the Tyler thinks it is a secret of 3 years is a little strange… there is more that we need to know about Nicole I think, not to mention Victor.
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marter

Thank you for the chapter! Can't wait for the next one
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Emily

You're welcome!
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