Chapter 29 - The Start of a New Week

Masquerades 101 by Emily


Posted on 9 Views / 633 Hits Word Count: 4164 (19 minutes)

Synopsis: As a new week starts, Nicole and Vicky contemplate making up

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Tyler


On Sunday morning, I stood in my bedroom in my cute pajamas. I looked in the mirror, smiled and said goodbye to Taylor until next time. I unbuttoned my top, slid down my bottoms and took off my boy shorts. I retrieved my boxers from the dresser drawer and put them on. I pulled on the jeans I wore here on Friday, then finished it with a long sleeve t-shirt with our University's name on it. 


I stood there looking at my reflection and I re-tied up my long hair. It was wonderful to spend an entire weekend as Taylor. I only really get a chance to do that during the summer or weekends spent at Aunt Kira’s house. And at conventions I could hide behind cosplay. Spending the weekend as Taylor with Nicole and my family felt - real. It felt like Taylor was real.


I mean - I am Taylor. Taylor is Tyler. I’m the same person. I don’t act any differently that I'm aware of. 


I just wonder what it would be like to be Taylor full-time for a while. Would I grow bored of her? Would I miss Tyler? What if I really do enjoy being Taylor full time? What does that mean for me? Ultimately, now that Nicole has accepted me as non-binary and has accepted me as Taylor, there’s really nothing holding be back from experimenting with it.


I eyed my closet and saw some dresses hanging up. They were calling to me. I took some down, folded them up, and put them in my bag. Taylor’s coming to college with me.



* * *


Vicky


I had a pleasant weekend with Tyler and their parents. When Sunday evening came and it was time to return to campus, I was a little sad. Returning to campus meant returning to the real world. Where the real Nicole was upset I was living her life, and where my deranged genie-seeking former roommate was looking for us.


Tyler was dressed in their male clothes again. I guess despite everything they are still shy about presenting as femme when in public - outside of Halloween of course. I for one, know I’d like to see Taylor again.


Mrs. Matthews packed us some leftovers, while Mr. Matthews loaded our overnight bags into Tyler’s car.


I hugged Tyler’s parents and bid them goodbye. Tyler shared a private conversation with each of them outside of earshot that I just wasn’t privy to. Odds are they’re telling Tyler how much I wasn’t what they expected. Maybe I earned their approval.  I heard that enough over this weekend to wonder how they would’ve greeted the real Nicole. And how she would’ve reacted to this weekend.  Would she have been given their approval?


An hour later, we returned to campus and to Tyler’s dorm. I walked into the kitchen, expecting my phone to be sitting right on the counter, but it wasn’t.


Josh came running out of his room. “Nicole, I’m so sorry.”


“What’s wrong?” I asked.


“Your phone kept ringing and ringing and ringing. It was your Mom. I thought it was important so I answered it.”


“My Mom?” I said. “What did she want?”


“I don’t know, but she was an uber bitch.”


I sighed. “Yup, that’s her alright.”


“I’m sorry” Josh said again. “She asked who I was and I told her - “I’m Josh, Tyler’s roommate”, then I kinda told her where you went.”


“Oh.” I said. “Well, I went to my boyfriend’s parent’s house. That shouldn’t have been a big deal.”


“Yeah, well then she went on a not very chill tirade about Tyler.” Josh handed me my pink iPhone. “My virgin ears will never be the same.”


“I’m sorry Josh.” Tyler said. “I should’ve warned you.”


“You think she’s bad” I said. “You should see her husband.”


“Yeah” Tyler agreed. “Her dad is the worst.”


“I’m sorry you have to put up with that Nicole.” Josh said.


“It’s not your fault.” I replied. I held up my phone. “Excuse me.” I walked back outside the apartment to check the messages.


I saw 5 missed calls and one voicemail. All from Nicole’s mom. None from Nicole. 


I was more interested in status updates from Nicole so, I texted her. “Any new information from the cops?”


It didn’t take long for her one-word response to come in. “None.”


That was disheartening. The blissful atmosphere of Taylor and her parents already seems like a distant memory.


* * *


Nicole



This weekend I wound up spending it at my old apartment.  With Vicky out of town, Lexi was alone, she asked me and Mads to keep her company so we did.  We had a good time, just the three of us.  Just like old times.  Lexi suggested I sleep in my old bedroom, but I couldn’t bring myself to sleep in there.  That wasn’t my room anymore.  Perhaps I should’ve rethought that as Mads wanted to cuddle, and our on-campus provided dorm couches were not big enough for two people to cuddle on all night long.


Now It’s Monday morning, and I’m all alone again.  But I’ve got places to be today, so hopefully my mind will be kept preoccupied.


I pulled out the black button down shirt and gray slacks I purchased over the weekend. I put them on and stared at myself in the mirror. I look like a guy about to go into the office. I mean, I still look good, but I would’ve rather worn something brighter and more feminine. Maybe next time I’m at the store, I’ll experiment with traditionally feminine shirt colors.


I heard a knock at the door. Typically I’d say “come in” but I’m not making that mistake. I walked to the door and peered out the eye-hole. It was Madison.


I let her in.


“Good Morning” she said, giving me a quick peck on the lips. My face turned red. We weren’t officially dating. But I have seen her every day since Halloween. We haven't discussed our relationship at all. I think we’re both afraid of bringing it up. Taking it slow is fine I suppose.


“So any word from the police?” she asked.


I sighed. “Same as last night” I replied. “They are convinced he fled town.”


“I hope he did.” she said. “But at the same time, I hope they catch him. I’m tired of living in fear. Once he’s caught, then we can focus on the only mystery left - your body swap.”


“A bigger mystery is who wrote the letter to Victor’s dad to give me this internship.” I said.


“Um...” Madison said, looking at me with a raised eyebrow. “Have you considered the obvious explanation?”


“Obvious explanation? You mean, Vicky?” I scoffed. “Why would she do something nice for me?”


“Why don’t you ask her?”


“I mean - she and her dad don’t see eye to eye. Vicky never wanted to be a business major and turned down her Dad’s attempts at getting her into his company. She wants to be an artist. Why the sudden change?”


Madison was silent.


“So you’re suggesting Vicky is planning on us staying this way? And never swapping back?”


“I wasn’t suggesting - but it sure looks that way.” she said. “I mean - until we find that genie, you aren’t swapping back. Sounds like Vicky’s placing her bets.”


“But even if that was the case, in order for Vicky’s dad to offer his son an internship at this point, it would mean that Vicky had to apologize and admit she was wrong all along to her father.”


Madison looked at me with a raised eyebrow.


I swallowed hard. Is that what happened?


“It sounds like she’s repairing her relationship with her father - for you.” Madison said. “It’s time to call her.”


I groaned as I picked up my cell phone. I found Vicky’s number and dialed it.


On the first ring, she answered with a surprised voice. “Nicole?”


“Hi Vicky” I said. “Umm. Did you write a letter to your father?”


She was silent for a moment. “I did.”


I hate when everyone else is right. “When? Why?”


“About two weeks ago. The morning after you helped me with my internship project. You were enjoying yourself. It was clear that you deserved the internship I was doing and taking credit for - the one that I took from you. I was guilty. I felt that was the only way to pay you back.”


In the back of my head I was thinking that she took more than the internship. But the fact that she’s admitting at least one of the things is a start I suppose. “What did the letter say?”


“It said - that I realized he was right.” Vicky said. “That I was ready to work for him. That I was being selfish and foolish to turn away his offers.”


“And what happens when we swap back?”


“I’ll deal with that when the time comes.” she said. “All that was important at the time was giving you what you deserved.”


I was silent. Maybe this was the most selfless thing Vicky has done for me since we’ve known each other. “This… uh.. Doesn’t change what’s happened in the weeks since you wrote that letter.”


“Does that mean Dad contacted you?” Vicky said, ignoring the reason I’m currently mad at her.


“Yeah. My first day is today.” I replied.


“Congratulations Nicole. You earned this. That’s your job, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  You’re going to do great!”


Stop it, Vicky, I’m trying to stay mad at you.


“You have a better chance at making my dad proud than I could have.”


I closed my eyes, and leaned against the wall. “Vicky, don’t put yourself down like that.” I found myself replying. Damn, I was supposed to stay mad at her.


“I also told them I had started a vegetarian diet.”


I opened my eyes in surprise. “You didn’t!” 


“I did.”


I was silent. I should say it. Come on, Nicole, you can say it. “Thank you.”


“I’m glad you called,” she replied. “I’ll let you go. I think we’ve made progress here and I have a tendency of screwing that up. I’m going to quit while I’m ahead for once.”


“Bye.” I said.


“Bye” she replied and hung up.


Madison looked at me with approval. “You did good.”


“I wanted to stay mad at her.” I replied.


“She still thinks of you as a friend.” Madison replied. “I bet she’s feeling guilty and regretful over the… other stuff.”


I nodded. I didn’t want to think about that right now. Maybe I’ll stop resisting and let Vicky occupy my good thoughts for a little bit.


“How do I look?” I said smoothing out the button down shirt and slacks. “I have theater class, then I’m going to go straight to the internship.”


“You look snazzy,” she said. “Overdressed for class, but not for your internship.”


“Should I wear a tie?” I asked. “I don’t know how to tie one.”


“Me neither,” Madison replied.


OK, no tie then.


* * *


I was sitting in theater class, listening to the professor go on about today’s lesson material. I was nervous thinking about the internship I had to go to following this. What do I say to Vicky’s dad? What kind of job is he expecting of me? Hell, what kind of company is it?


I started doodling in my notebook. I need to forgive Vicky. I need to move on from Tyler. I know all of this. Why is it so hard?


“And in the third act” the professor said, pulling my attention back to the lecture, “there is an ‘all is lost’ moment where it looks like the hero has lost. Can someone give me an example from a movie?”


The student next to me raised their hand, and the professor nodded at her. “In Jaws when Brody is all alone on a sinking ship with no engine and no radio.”


“Good example” the professor said and kept talking.


I jotted some notes down in my notebook. Maybe I’ll call her tonight, I thought after the internship. Things do seem to go better when we’re working together instead of against each other. Maybe I can bring some wine and we can have our own Malbec Monday. Just me and Vicky.


* * *


I drove into the city where my new internship was - Mr. Machado’s company. I found garage parking and walked to the company. Mr. Machado’s secretary gave me all of the necessary information to find the building and lobby. Despite all of that, Mr. Machado was there to greet me, instead.


“Victor!” he said with open arms.

“Dad,” I said awkwardly, hugging him back.


“How were the directions?” he asked. “Did you have any trouble finding the place?”


“No,” I replied.


“I’m so glad you’re here.” he replied as he started escorting me to the office. He handed me a temporary badge. As I took it from him, I noticed his gaze linger on my hand… or rather my painted nails. I forgot to remove the polish this morning.


I took the badge and buried my hands into my pants pockets.


He didn’t say anything.


Over the next twenty minutes he introduced me to a lot of people. He introduced me as his son Victor. As heart-warming to see how proud and excited he was, my mind kept going to the eventuality that I may have to come out as his daughter Nicole one day. Granted I’m not his daughter either. But the idea isn’t the worst idea in the world. Mr. Machado has been much warmer than my real father. I wonder how he and Mrs. Machado would take that conversation. I know how my real parents would take it. Would they call me names? Would they disown me? Then I thought about Hanna. I’d have a sister. A real sister. One that already accepts me as Nicole. That made me smile.


After getting a badge, I was brought to my new desk. I was in a small office with other interns. After brief introductions, I started reading up on getting computer access and user accounts and such. 


Out in the hallway I could hear one intern say to another, “he only got this job because of his father.”


This upset me. While true, I felt like I was very qualified for this position. On top of everything going on in my life, I’m now going to have to prove I belong here, too.


* * *


Vicky


After this weekend, I realized Tyler opened up to me way more than I have. Now some of my secrets, I wasn’t willing to tell him just yet. But I was determined to slowly show Tyler more of Vicky. I’m hoping one day Tyler will know the real Vicky. After I came home from my internship, I removed the office clothes and I dressed down for the occasion. I got a pair of jeans and an old T-shirt that looked like Nicole hadn’t worn it in years. I washed my face and I did minimal makeup. I looked in the mirror. While my reflection wasn’t “me”, it was “Vicky.”


My phone rang. It must be Tyler. No, it was Nicole’s mom again. What does she want?


“Hello?” I answered.


“Thank God Nicole. I was calling you all weekend.”


“I noticed,” I replied. “What’s up?”


“Are you coming home for Thanksgiving?” she asked, bluntly.


“Umm.” I said. “I hadn’t thought that far in advance.” I certainly don’t want to. I can stay here on campus. Wait, then I’d be on campus all alone.  With Brandon still on the loose.


“It’s in less than two weeks, Nicole.” she said. “I need to know if I have to buy you one of those God awful fake turkeys for you.”


I rolled my eyes. This was Mom of the Year material right there. Did she blow my phone up this weekend to ask about faux turkey?


“Yeah, Sure” I replied. “I’ll eat a real turkey this time though.” I’m not going to look forward to this, but at last I’ll be safe from Brandon. I’ll be sure to bring some art supplies with me to pass the time. “Who’s going to be there?”


“Just us as usual,” she said.  “Are you still holding onto that fantasy that your dyke Aunt Shirley or her new girlfriend will show up?"


I could feel my blood boil. I don't even know Aunt Shirley, but this woman who I have to call “Mom” is really pissing me off.


“Speaking of.” she said.


Oh God, what does she want now?

“Who answered your phone?”


“That was my friend Josh. Tyler’s roommate.”


“Does he know Tyler’s a fruitcake?”


“Tyler isn’t gay. But Josh is.” The moment I said that, I regretted actually responding to her insult.


“How many gay people do you hang out with?” she said. “I knew we should’ve sent you to a different school.”


“Seriously stop.” I said. “Are you done insulting me? I’m kinda waiting for Tyler to call...”


“Is his family gay too? Seriously Nicole, I can’t believe you went there.”


What the fuck, lady? Who does she think she is? I should really just hang up. “Why wouldn’t I visit my boyfriend’s parents?  I had a great weekend.”


“All of those gays living together.” 


“Tyler isn’t gay. Neither are their parents.” I replied. Why am I engaging with this creature? “And even if they were, they were very nice people.  You know what. Tyler’s parents were much more accepting and welcoming than you both were a few weeks ago. They asked me what I wanted to eat, they made me feel like a part of the family. Tyler’s dad carried my bags. Tyler’s mom told me I looked pretty.”


“But we’re your real family.”


Stop reminding me, witch. “Are we done?”


“Yeah fine.” she said. “See you on Thanksgiving.” She hung up.


My phone buzzed with a text message. Dammit, Jackie, leave me alone. It was Tyler. “I’m here.” Oh Thank God.


I walked out of my apartment door, paused for a moment, wondering whether I should lock the door behind me despite Lexi being home. I decided to trust that nobody was in the building. I walked down to the door and let Tyler in. 


“Hey” we both said with a smile, a hug, and a long drawn out kiss.


We returned to my floor and everything was where I left it. Maybe normalcy isn’t that far off.


My mind did drift to my real family. Nicole’s were awful people. This is making me forget why I was even mad at my real dad. I was starting to miss them. 


I returned my focus to why I invited Tyler over tonight. “So Tyler, I wanted to share something with you that I only do in private.” 


“Oh?” Tyler said, their curiosity piqued. 


“You were talking about not showing our true selves over the weekend.” I said. “I wanted to show you more of me.”


“Oh?” Tyler replied. “I thought I knew everything about you.”


“I’m an artist.” I said.


“An artist?” they said. “I suppose I should take credit for teaching you Illustrator.”


“Not a digital artist, silly. Although I did enjoy that. I paint.” I pulled out an easel and one of the paintings I’ve been working on. “I’ve been painting this for a week now.”


Tyler’s eyes got wide as they saw the canvas. 


It was a watercolor painting of PurpleMage, preparing for battle, but looking off in the distance. Maybe at someone. Maybe me.


“You did that?” they said.


I nodded.


“Wow. Nicole. That’s amazing. I never knew. Why haven’t you showed me before?”


Tyler just gave me an opening to tell the full truth. Do I take it? No I can’t. It would ruin everything. “I’ve been telling people I’m this serious business major. I didn’t want people judging me for also being an artist.”


“Who would do a thing like that?”


My father. “I dunno,” I replied. “But I’ve been keeping this part of me hidden.”


“I’ve seen her paint!” I heard Lexi say from her room.


“This is amazing,” Tyler said.


“My father used to tell me that I’d never make it or get far in art.”


“Well, you already know what I think about your father,” Tyler responded. 


Little did Tyler know I was talking about a different father. I wonder what Jim Rosch would say about my art. He likely wouldn’t have given two shits. At least my own father cares enough to tell me I need to switch careers. And Jackie - I’d like to take my canvas and bash it over her head. Now that’s art.  I’ll call it, “Witch in the canvas.” My longing for my real family resurfaced. I regret how I left things with my Dad.


“But” Tyler said. “I don't know enough about the art world, but I know if you keep up with the digital art, there’s certainly a demand there”


I nodded at that. I hadn’t really considered getting into digital art until this internship. I was at home with pencils, and paintbrushes. Though there was certainly some satisfaction presenting my art to my boss.  I better get used to it, if I’m going to take that full-time job.


* * *


Nicole



As I approached the coffee line, I saw Kayla walking towards me, holding two cups.


“Hey girl” she said. “I bought you a coffee.”

“You shouldn’t have Kayla.” I said.


“You can get the next one. Consider this one a “congrats on your internship.””


“Well thank you,” I said while taking the coffee from her.


“How did it go?”


“It went fine,” I replied. “Spent the afternoon doing paperwork and setting up user accounts. I’m not sure the other interns appreciate the boss’s son taking up a spot.”


“I’m sure you’ll get more into it next time you’re in. And I’m sure you’ll win over your new co-workers.” she said. “Later today?”


“Tomorrow” I replied, taking a sip of coffee.


“Any news on… the other thing?”


“None.” I replied. “I get the feeling they’ve given up and are moving on.”


“I’m sorry, Nicole,” she said. “That sucks. What are you going to do?”


“I don’t know.” I replied. “I don’t like having to watch my back all hours of the day.”


“That sounds exhausting. Maybe he’s done with you. Maybe he got what he wanted. Maybe that was just payback for what you did to him at that restaurant.”


I shook my head. I wish I could tell Kayla the whole truth. The truth is Brandon wants the genie. He’s not going to stop harassing us until he gets it. “I think he’s laying low until the heat on him dies down.”


“That’s scary. By then everyone’s guard will be down.”


“I know.” I took another sip. “I know.”


* * *


Vicky



“Honey, I’m home” I announced while I walked to Tyler’s apartment after a long day of class.


Josh walked out of his room. “Well, hello. I can get used to that kind of greeting.”


I chuckled, and Josh gave me a hug.


“Your cute enby-toy went out to get you dinner.” he said. “They should be back shortly.” “How you doin’ girl?” he asked.


“Same.” I replied. “Long day of classes.”


“I hear ya” he said. “Make yourself at home!”


I put my purse and books down and collapsed on the couch. I saw the video game controller on top of the coffee table. I went to grab it and I noticed that lamp next to it again. I looked at it and picked it up.


“That is ugly isn’t it?” Josh said.


“It is.” I said. “Is this Tyler’s?”


“Yeah, well it’s ours. They bought that at a yard sale to replace my lamp they broke last semester.”


“They broke your lamp?” 


“It was an accident. I asked them to help me move out of my old dorm. And dropped onto the sidewalk. I told Tyler to just replace it with the cheapest thing they could find.”


“Looks like it,” I said. I stared at the lamp. Nah. This can’t be it can it? I took my hand and rubbed the beer bottle. Nothing. I looked back at Josh, embarrassed. 


“Nicole,” he said. “Is there anything I can get you?”


“Na I’m fine,'' I said. “It’s just been a long day. My mind is playing tricks on me.” I put the lamp down.


“So I’m having another campaign event Saturday before the game,” he said, changing the subject. “I’m having a tailgate. There will be drinks, games, stuff on the grill.”


“That sounds fun,” I replied. 


“Invite everyone. It's always nice to see Lexi, Madison, and Victor. You don’t even need to go to the game itself.”


“I’ll think about it,” I replied. Two games in one year? Maybe.



Reactions: 😀 1

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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marter

That third act foreshadowing
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Elron

I think the closer we get to the end the harder it will not to foreshadow.
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Emily

sometimes I'm subtle. Sometimes I beat the readers over the head. This is later. Haha
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Elron

First I noticed a distinct lack of pig latin in this chapter. Second, I really got a refresher in how hateful and trashy Nicole's parents are. Mom wasn't that prominent in the weekend Vicky visited chapter, but she really showed that her and Nicole's dad were made for each other. Once the Genie finishes his day job, he can make them into a pair of pregnant sewer rats. And then Mr Batler can have them over for ... lunch. So it's good to see progress being made between Nicole and Vicky. Nicole needs to realize that either they are going to switch back or they are not. And until the mechanism to do that is found, they are stuck in their current bodies. Which means they have to live their own lives and pursue their own dreams. Nicole can't 'own' both bodies. That's selfish and self-destructive, especially if they never switch back. So what were Tyler's parents whispering about as they were leaving? Telling Tyler that 'Nicole' is "The One" and to not screw things up and let her get away? I wonder what would happen if they did swap back - Nicole would have some pretty big shoes (high heels) to fill in not screwing up the progress Vicky has made with both Tyler and their parents. Speaking of progress, gotta give Vicky props for standing up to 'her' mom on the phone. I don't think the original Nicole ever did that, nor would she. God, did Nicole ever have any fun or good times with her family? Was she just totally ignored, unwanted, and unloved? What a sad existence, just waiting until you're old enough to legally escape your own family. And now the lamp. Vicky rubbed it and nothing happened. Either the Genie was taking a bath, or Vicky is not the owner and can't summon the Genie. So will Vicky take the lamp and have the whole gang try rubbing it to see if anyone 'owns' the Genie right now? Seems like a good theme for a Malbec Monday. Everyone get together and rub the lamp while drinking. What harm could come of that? So another great chapter, Emily. That was like a puzzle piece that goes right in the middle, and everyone has a piece that connects to it, but no one knows quite where, yet. Wonderful writing.
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Emily

Excellent Analysis. I can't speak to any of that with out spoilers though.
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Birdo

So Vicky rubs the lamp and Josh immediately asks if there’s anything he can get her 😐
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Emily

That does look a little sus.
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