Chapter 41 - New Beginnings

Masquerades 101 by Emily


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Synopsis: The end of the semester is here.

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Victor


We spent the entire rest of the week attending our last classes and studying like crazy. After all, we both had a week to teach each other a whole semester’s worth of material. Nicole and I went back and forth on whose place we spent the night at. Lexi, Mads and Taylor were sympathetic and each would stop by, giving us food, snacks and drinks. 


Kayla came by once to study with me for our exam together. That was awkward because I had never formally met Kayla.


“Kayla, this is Victor.” Nicole said. “The real Victor.”


“This is surreal,” she replied. “I knew you first as Nick, then Nicole. Now you’re Victor.”


The only thought running through my head was that Nicole had slept with Kayla while in my body. I can only imagine what’s running through her mind.


Nicole and I agreed that we would take Sunday off from studying. I spent all day Sunday in bed with Taylor, only getting up for pizza and video games. Nicole spent all day with Madison, I assume doing the exact thing Taylor and I were doing - minus the pizza and video games, of course.


The following Monday was our exams. We were both nervous, but we put a lot of work and effort into at least getting a good grade.


As for Taylor, it was odd that some people remember Tyler and some people remember Taylor. It appeared that everyone who knew of the body swap also remembered Tyler. Anyone who was in the dark about that only remembered Taylor.


Taylor said all people in her classes including her professors remember Taylor being a girl.


We tested that theory on Kayla and Nicole’s RA Alaina. Alaina said she knew that she assumed Nicole was in a polyamorous relationship with Taylor and myself most of the semester. Nicole assured her that she and I were just friends and I’m the one dating Taylor now. She was dismissive of our “love triangle” and just reiterated to her to follow the visitation rules. Meanwhile, Kayla remembered Tyler being Nicole’s ex-boyfriend and remembered the fight at the tailgate exactly how it went down. Since Kayla knew we body swapped, we told her the truth that Tyler magically transitioned into Taylor. She, like others who knew the truth, just wanted us to stop switching bodies.


I wondered privately what Nicole’s family remembered. I didn’t bring it up to Nicole because I knew she wasn’t going to try to find out. Tyler changing into Taylor likely wouldn’t have affected the outcome of Nicole’s parents disowning her anyway.


* * *


Taylor


Final exams were finally over. Victor and I agreed to meet up quickly before we both drove to our respective homes for the semester break. Besides, Sam started moving her stuff into our apartment and I wanted to get out of her way. I drove over to his apartment and knocked on his door.


Victor opened the door and I threw myself at him. “I wanted to see you off,” I said, giving him a long sweet kiss.


“How did you do on your last exam?” I asked.


“I think I aced it.” he said. “Good thing too, Nicole and I spent hours on it. I for one never want to see a Statistics class ever again. How about you?”


“My Database exam was a breeze.” I replied.


“You’re wearing jeans today.” he noticed.


Indeed I was. I was wearing a cute green V-neck top and skinny jeans. 


“Your outfit is cute,” he added.


I blushed at the compliment. I wasn’t used to getting compliments. “Well, I found a pair I really liked.” I said. “Look how good my ass looks.” I giggled as I pushed my butt out to him.


“Yes, it looks great,” he said, chuckling. “I had a favorite pair of jeans when I was Vicky.”


“When I was first Taylor, all I wanted to do was wear dresses.” I explained. “I’ve styled it down a little bit and I've re-embraced a more casual style. I’ve been Taylor for a week and a half now, and I’m ready to branch out to different looks.”


“Definitely” he said. “Find what you like. I know I did. I didn’t like Nicole’s very preppy style at first. As the semester went on I found Vicky’s style.”


“I’m the luckiest girl in the world” I said. “I can talk about women's fashion with my boyfriend and he knows what he’s talking about. Maybe all men should spend three months as a woman.”


“That’d be one hell of a wish.” he said, laughing.


“When am I going to see you again?” I asked. I gave Victor the puppy-dog eyes. 


“Well, there’s our Christmas party I was telling you about,” he said. “That’s on the 22nd.”


“That’s such a long time.” I said. “You know, Vic, you met my family. When will I meet your family?” The moment I said that I realized the irony. Nicole had pleaded with me to meet my parents, and I wasn’t ready for that until I came out to her. “Oh my God, I’m sorry,” I said before he could answer. “I realized I was being a hypocrite. When you’re ready. I’ll be patient.”


“No, I’m ready,” he said. “I just haven’t brought a girl home in years. I haven’t even mentioned you yet.”


“You haven’t mentioned me yet?” I said looking at him with a surprised look. 


“I’ve only been me again for two and a half weeks.” he said getting defensive. “We’ve only been back together for a week.” 


I placed a hand on his chest. “Vic, I’m only teasing.”


He smiled and we kissed.


“I should get going,” he said. “I promised my Mom I’d be there for lunch.”


We kissed again and we both walked out of his apartment, holding hands.


* * *


When I arrived at my parents’ house I took a deep breath. We had talked casually on the phone over the past week and a half. I didn’t want to tell them over the phone. I wanted this to be an in-person thing. Just as everyone else had done, they complimented me on my voice. My parents naturally were surprised I got voice training so soon. I shrugged it off and told them I’d tell them all about it when I came home after finals.


I walked inside my house and into the living room. “Mom, Dad, I’m home.”


I saw them come into the living room and stop in their tracks looking at me confused. They’ve seen me dressed as Taylor before but there were obvious physical differences now. My height, my face and my figure were the obvious differences.


“Taylor?” Mom was the first one to talk.


“It’s me, Mom.”


“You look amazing - but how-”


Josh told me all I had to do was tell them the truth, so that’s what I’m going to do.


“So one of my friends is a genie.” I said. “After I came out as trans, as a gift, another friend wished I was born a girl.”


“Oh.” Mom said, taking in that new information.


Dad looked deep in thought. “But we remember you as Tyler.”


“Keeping my friends and family’s memories intact were part of the wish.” I said.


“That makes sense.” Mom said. She came over and gave me a hug. “I’m so happy for you.”


Dad smiled and hugged me. “Leave it to my daughter to find a cheat code in transitioning too.”


I laughed and hugged him back.


“You’re OK with this?” I asked.


“Of course, Taylor,” Mom said.


“We expected that one day you’d want to transition, so this isn't really a surprise,” Dad said. “Sure, the suddenness of it is a surprise, but we’re just happy you can be yourself.”


Wow that was easy. I knew my parents had already accepted me as Taylor when I left after Thanksgiving. But I wasn’t sure how they’d take the magic explanation. “Speaking of magic, I have one more thing to tell you.”


“What is it honey?” Mom asked.


“Victor and Nicole are different people.” I said. “They swapped bodies for 3 months. The person I brought home last month was Victor. You never met Nicole.”


“But you said Victor came out as trans,” Mom said, confused.


“No. They both swapped back to their original bodies.”


“And you’re dating Victor?” Dad asked.


“Yes.”


“And Victor is the person we met?”


“Yes.”


“So a month ago, you were a non-binary person dating a girl, and now you’re a girl dating a guy?”


Physically, Dad,” I said. “I was always a girl and Victor was always a guy. We just met on the other side of the looking glass.”


“Right,” he said. “If it works for you, then it works for me.”


“Don’t get too caught up in this genie stuff.” Mom said. “It sounds dangerous.”


“Yeah, I think we’re all done using the genie’s wishes,” I said. 


And we all shared a good laugh.


* * *


Nicole


I spent the previous day at Aunt Shirley’s home with us getting reacquainted. We went out shopping, out to dinner, and shared wine and ice cream in our pajamas. We dished about life, love and our futures. She was interested in hearing more about Madison. I was interested in hearing about her love life. She said there was no one special yet, but she’s actively out there dating.


While Aunt Shirley lived by herself, she only lived in a one-bedroom apartment. It was a nice apartment in the city, but still rather small. I spent the night on the couch.


There was an open invitation for me to spend as much time on that couch as I wanted. But I also had an open invitation to spend the semester break and the holidays at the Machados. Mrs. Machado called me directly and told me as much.


“You want to spend the semester break with the Machados don't you?” Aunt Shirley asked me last night. How’d she know what I was thinking?


“I dunno.” I said.


“It’s OK.” she said. “You won’t hurt my feelings, I get it. I have to work. You’d be all by yourself. At their house you’ll be with people your own age. I bet they can offer you more than a couch.”


I smiled at the thought. “Yeah, but you’re family.”


“I will always be your family.” she said. “Even if you’re staying somewhere else. Just don’t be a stranger. Come see your Aunt Shirley from time to time.”


Aunt Shirley dropped me off at the Machados’ driveway. I gave her a hug and told her to have a good day at work and we’d see each other on the weekend.


I knocked on the Machados’ door and Mrs. Machado answered. “Nicole, honey you don’t need to knock.” She saw me wheeling my bag. “Oh let me take that.”


When I walked in, Hanna smiled and said “Hi Sis!”


I blushed a little out of embarrassment. What do her parents think of her calling me sister?


“How were your exams, dear?” Mrs. Machado asked.


“They went great.” I said. “6 As.”


“That's excellent,” she said. “Victor told me that you two crammed for a whole week.”


“We did.” I said. “I’m glad to have some free time after that.”


“You’re such a good influence on him.” she said. “Speaking of, he said he’ll be here in twenty minutes. I’ll start making lunch.”



* * *


Victor


When I arrived at home, I was surprised that Nicole was there. Both she and Hanna were in the living room talking about something when I walked in. When I last chatted with Nicole the other day before an exam, she hinted that she really didn’t have plans for the holidays. I was going to invite her to our party, but it seems my family beat me to it.


“What’s going on?” I asked.


“We're gossiping about you,” Hanna said. “Nicole is telling me all of your secrets. Just kidding, Vic.” 


“Speaking of secrets.” Nicole said, looking at me. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “Vic, when are you going to tell your parents about Taylor?” Nicole asked.


I laughed. “Look who wants me to share secrets. She asked the same thing earlier. It’s not a secret. I just haven’t found the time.”


“I’m turning over a new leaf,” she said. “Besides, I told Aunt Shirley about my girlfriend. You should tell your mom about Taylor.”


Hanna looked at both of us confused. “Who’s Taylor? Don’t you mean Tyler?”


Nicole and I glanced at each other and then back at Nicole. 


“You remember Tyler?” I asked.


“Duh.” she said. “Cute enby. Hopelessly in love with you.”


“That’s because she already knows about the genie and body swap,” Nicole said.


“What am I missing?” Hanna asked.


“Tyler is Taylor now.” I said.


Hanna smiled. “Good for them, Tyler did seem a little on the girlish side.”


“I mean, magically.” I said. “Only Taylor has ever existed. Taylor has only ever been a girl.”


Hanna looked at both of us. “Don’t hoard this genie. Hook your sister up. I have a few people at school I’d love to see swap places.”


“No, No. We’re done with the genie.” Nicole said, looking at me. “No more genie magic for us.”


Hanna looked at me with a smile. “So if Taylor is a she now, does that mean you two are dating again?”


I smiled coyly. “Yeah.”


“Now go tell your Mom.” Nicole said. “I know you’ve been eager to do so.”


I walked into the kitchen where Mom was finishing up making lunch for us. “Hey Mom,” I said.


“Oh, hi honey” she greeted me. “How was your drive?”


“Good.” I said.


Both Nicole and Hanna were watching me from the other room. How embarrassing.


“So I kinda have a girlfriend now.” I said.


“Oh? Is this the girl you mentioned a few months ago?” she said. “That’s wonderful. What’s her name?”


I glanced over at Nicole who was nodding.


“Yeah, that's her,” I said. “Her name is Taylor.”


“What a pretty name,” Mom said. “Are you inviting her over anytime soon so we can meet her?” 


“I was thinking about inviting her to the party.”


“Oh Victor, you should invite her over earlier.” she said. “This way we can get to know her without having to entertain other guests. We have a whole week before then.”


“I think she’d like that.” I said. 


“How long have the two of you been dating?”


“Technically since the beginning of the semester. At our party, it will be 4 months since our first date.”


“I thought maybe you broke up because you didn’t mention her at Thanksgiving.”


“Well we were kinda on a break during Thanksgiving.”


“Invite Taylor over to dinner anytime.” she said.


“Oh” I said. “One other thing.”


“Oh?”


“Can I invite Taylor’s parents to our party?”


She looked at me. She’s suspicious. “OK, I don't see that as a problem.”


“Thanks Mom,” I said and walked back to the living room before she could ask any more questions.


“Victor.” Hanna said. “Why are you inviting your girlfriend's parents to our party?”


“No reason in particular.” I said.


Nicole grabbed me and whispered into my ear. “Are you doing what I think you’re doing?”


“I think so,” I whispered back. “I have no idea. Is what you think I’m doing OK with you?”


“Yeah” she whispered.


I smiled, picked my bags up and headed to my bedroom so I didn’t have to answer any more questions about this.


Hanna turned to Nicole. “Alright, you need to dish.”


“Sorry, girl,” Nicole said. “I’m keeping this one a secret.”


“But my imagination is running wild!” she pleaded

 

“Then let it,” Nicole giggled.

 

* * *


Taylor



I pulled into the Machados’ driveway. I was a wound up ball of nerves. It’s been 2 years since I met Nicole’s parents. And that was no picnic. I was a wound up ball of nerves then too. 

 

“Hi sir, I’m Tyler” I remember saying.

 

“Jim Rosch.” he said, and crushed my hand with his as if he was trying to prove something. He seemed to delight in the throbbing pain in my hand.

 

Jackie’s reaction wasn’t any better. She looked me up and down and gave a disgusted look.

 

Both Jim and Jackie pulled Nicole into a room and started yelling at her as if she did something wrong. 

 

I don’t know what I did wrong. Was it how I presented myself? Was it my voice? Was it my outfit?

 

At dinner, Jim asked me point blank. “Tyler, are you a fairy?” Every word was said with disdain.

 

“No sir” I said.

 

“Have you ever done a manly task in your entire life?”

 

It was clear this was not a safe space. I had never been treated like that before in my life. I felt the need to defend myself. I don't need to be manly. “Sir, I resent the implication that I’m not good enough for your daughter.”

 

“It’s not an implication,” he said. “You aren’t. She needs a real man.”

 

How was I supposed to respond to that? I was non-binary at the time, but still pretending to be a cis male. 

 

What surprised me most is that Nicole didn’t defend me. She must’ve legitimately been afraid of her parents. I knew Nicole had bisexual desires. She said as much during one night of intimacy. The fact that her dad thinks she wants a manly man is proof that he is disconnected from reality.

 

I didn’t respond to it. Instead I cried in Nicole’s room for an hour, which I’m sure didn’t help the masculine image I was unsuccessfully portraying.

 

We left early the next day and I vowed to never see them again. I loved Nicole, but her parents were dead to me. She understood and never really brought it up again. So therefore I had resigned myself to knowing that I never needed to see those people again.

 

So when I proposed to Vicky, who I thought was Nicole, I certainly wasn’t going to ask them for their permission to marry her. I have not put any thought into impressing potential in-laws since then.

 

But it turns out Vicky - or rather Victor - has completely different parents whom I have never met. 

 

I daydreamed about what would’ve happened if I had met them when Vicky was Vicky.

 

“Hi Mr. and Mrs. Machado, I’m Tyler.” I’d say. “I’d like to ask for your permission to marry your daughter.”

 

“Hanna?” they’d likely say. “She’s in high school.”

 

“Not that daughter, your other daughter. Vicky.”

 

And at that point everyone would have a crazy laugh.

 

But now I finally get to meet them. And I’m the girl. I had to research what a girl brings her boyfriend's parents for the first meeting. Flowers? Wine?

 

I got out of the car and grabbed my purse and the bottle of wine I brought as a gift.

 

Victor and Nicole were waiting at the front porch. I was surprised Nicole was here. I mean, I shouldn't have been since I heard that she was staying with the Machados, but in my fantasies my ex-girlfriend would not be around when I met my new boyfriend’s parents. My nerves increased at the thought.

 

Victor smiled, stood up and gave me a kiss. “Good evening, Tay.”

 

“Good evening,” I said smiling.

 

“Alright, Vic, Tay” Nicole said. “I’m gonna get out of your hair.”

 

Victor tossed her his car keys.

 

“Where are you going?” I asked. I tried not to look excited at her departure.

 

“I don’t think it’s right for your ex to be there when you meet the parents.” she said. “I made dinner plans with Aunt Shirley. Have fun!”

 

After she was out of ear-shot I said, “She read my mind, thought she was going to stay and make it awkward for me.”

 

“Yeah, she was torn on going or staying,” he said. “She really wanted to tease you all night long. Lovingly of course.”

 

“I’m already a nervous wreck.”

 

“That’s what I told her.”

 

Victor’s car started with a smooth growl. We watched as its convertible top went down.

 

“Oh I’ve missed you!” Nicole said loudly from the driver seat.

 

“Isn’t it kinda cold for the top to be down?” I said to Victor.

 

“Yeah it is,” he said, “She’ll figure that out once she gets on the highway. Let's go inside.”

 

Victor led me inside the house. The first person there to greet me was Hanna.

 

“OMG Taylor, you’re so cute!” she said. “Victor and Nicole weren’t lying!”

 

I blushed realizing that Hanna may actually know about my situation. “Thank you.” I meekly said.

 

“I’m so glad you both got back together.” she said. “I can hang up your hoodie.” She added with her hand out-stretched.

 

I pulled off the hoodie that I borrowed from Victor’s apartment back on campus, revealing a floral skater dress I wore for the occasion.

 

“Taylor, that's a cute dress.” Hanna said. “Wait, Victor, isn’t this your favorite hoodie?”

 

I stopped for a moment holding out the hoodie. “Wait, this is your favorite?” I asked. “I didn’t mean to-”

 

“It’s OK.” Victor said. “My favorite person is wearing my favorite hoodie. As long as it reminds her of me.” He flashed a devilish grin at me. One of those grins I recognized when Vicky used to be playful with me.

 

“Taylor, if we’re going to be besties, then I’m going to give you a hard time.” Hanna said. “I hope you can handle it.”

 

“I think I can,” I said. “Just go easy on me tonight. I’m meeting your parents for the first time.”

 

“Got it.” she said.

 

Victor and Hanna led me to the kitchen where their parents were seated. They saw me and stood up.

 

“Mom, Dad,” Victor announced, “This is my girlfriend Taylor.”

 

“Taylor,” Mrs. Machado was the first to greet me with outstretched arms. “It’s so nice to finally meet you.”

 

“It’s nice to meet you as well, Mr. and Mrs. Machado,” I said, hugging her.

 

After that, Mr. Machado stood there as a larger than life figure. “Taylor, we’ve heard so much about you.”

 

Hopefully not too much. I’ve only existed as Taylor for a few weeks. I handed him the bottle of wine. “I brought a gift.”

 

“You didn’t have to.” Mr. Machado said and examined it. “2014 Cabernet. She brings the good stuff,” he chuckled.

 

“Wow,” Mrs. Machado said. “Victor, you didn’t tell us your girlfriend was beautiful.”

 

I blushed at the compliment. Victor was beaming with pride as well.

 

“So, how’d you two meet anyway?” Mrs. Machado asked me.

 

I looked over to Victor. “It was magic,” I explained. “I thought he was someone else. He charmed me anyway.” 

 

Now it was Victor’s turn to blush.

 

“Taylor, what are you studying?” Mr. Machado asked.

 

“I’m a Computer Science major,” I said.

 

“Very nice,” he replied. “Maybe you can teach my son a thing or two.”

 

“Dad,” Victor said. “We talked about this.”

 

“I’m teasing,” he said.

 

“I did,” I interjected. Everyone looked at me. “I taught him Illustrator this semester.”

 

Mr. Machado smiled and looked at Victor. “I like her.”

 

Mrs. Machado chimed in, “Taylor honey are you coming to our holiday party?”

 

“I am,” I replied.

 

She looked at Victor then back at me. “We wanted to extend the invite to your parents as well.”

 

“Really?” I asked. “I’ll be sure to pass the message.”

 

Mrs. Machado ushered everyone into the dining room. The food smelled great, and everyone had smiles on their faces. Victor pulled my chair out for me. Not once did anyone tell me I wasn’t good enough. Not once was there an argument - except maybe between Victor and Hanna on which one had to go to the refrigerator for a missing condiment. This was everything I hoped for when I visited Nicole’s parents. But this time this felt right. It felt natural. It felt like I was already a part of this family. 

 

* * *


Nicole

 

The next day I was on the back porch performing my patterns and breathing exercises when Mr. Machado came outside.

 

“Nicole, I hope I’m not interrupting.” he said.

 

“No, not at all,” I said. “I was just practicing some martial arts patterns I got into this year.”

 

“I wanted to talk about the presentation you made for your Aunt,” he said.

 

“Oh,” I said. “I’m sorry I didn’t run it past you.” 

 

I suddenly realized I just ran into a trap. That was supposed to be Victor, not me.

 

“It’s OK,” he said, noticing my panicked expression. “Victor told me that it was your idea and you should take credit for it.”

 

I can’t believe I was careless. I wanted Victor to take the credit for the stuff I was doing at Mr. Machado’s company. I know making his father proud is what Victor ultimately wants. “I’m sorry for deceiving you.” I said. I needed to make sure Victor got some credit. “In fairness, he is the one who is responsible for my internship project. He developed the logos and marketing campaign that earned me a job offer at my internship.”

 

“It’s fine,” he said. “I got that impression as well. It seems Victor is content letting you take the credit.” He paused. “If you find yourself not taking your internship up on their offer, I think you’d do well at our company.”

 

Is he offering me a job? “Thank you Mr. Machado,” I said. “I don’t want to be a burden or make it appear as if I didn’t earn it.”

 

“Nah” he said. “I’ll step away from the hiring and let my team look over your resume. I’m confident you’d get an offer based on your academics and your current internship experience.”

 

“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll think about it.”

 

“On a different subject,” he said. “I know we haven’t talked about it in the open, but we are aware that your family situation is… not ideal. So I talked it over with my wife and we agreed that you are welcome here as long as you need so you can get up on your feet. It’s the same thing we’re telling Victor. After graduation, you can stay here until you are ready for your own place.”

 

“Thank you,” I said. “Mr. Machado, that’s too generous.”

 

“Nonsense. Nicole, you gave us our son back. Nothing we can do can fully repay you for what you have done for us.” He smiled and walked back inside.

 

I stood there alone and let that all sink in. It occurred to me for the first time that the body swap actually worked out in our favor. Yeah, it was hard - very hard. But it gave us an opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. It also allowed us to step back and see our own lives from a different perspective. Where would I be today if I didn’t live 3 months as Victor? Where would he be? 

 

I felt the warm winter sun on my face. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I smiled as I truly had the future to look forward to.

 

* * *


Victor


Two weeks later I was running around my house making sure everything was ready for the party. I was setting up tables and chairs. Hanna was decorating and Mom, Dad and Nicole were in the kitchen preparing finger foods and appetizers. 


Everyone was already dressed up except for me. Nicole was wearing a red sweater dress and black leggings. Hanna was wearing a green dress and tights. I was still in a t-shirt and jeans only because I was nervous and procrastinating getting dressed.


I helped Hanna hang up the last piece of garland. “I think we’re done.” I said to her, “Now we’re just waiting for our guests.”


“Thank God,” Hanna said, collapsing on the recliner. She picked up a remote and turned the TV on.


“Mom,” I said. “We’re done setting up. I’m going to take a shower now.”


“Your guests will be here in 30 minutes,” Mom said.


“I know.”


I rushed upstairs, quickly took a shower and changed into a nice pair of slacks and a button down shirt. Dad lent me a sports coat. I wanted to look perfect for tonight.


There was a knock at the bedroom door. “Are you ready for me?” Nicole’s voice asked.


“Yeah” I said.


Nicole came in holding makeup and a mirror in her hands.


“OK” she said. “We’re just touching up the bruises, right?”


“Right,” I said.


“No eyeshadow or mascara?”


I laughed. “Not this time.”


I closed my eyes as she used foundation and concealer over the parts of my face that were still red and purple from a month ago. My bruises have healed nicely but they were still visible. And I wanted tonight to be perfect.


“Done” she said, holding up a hand-held mirror.


“Looks good.” I said. “Thank you.”


Nicole hugged me and kissed my cheek. “Good Luck”


We both went down stairs. Guests should be coming in 5 minutes. Hanna was in front of the TV, laughing.


“What are you watching?” I asked Hanna. “Our guests are almost here.”


“Some cheesy Christmas movie about a guy getting sucked into his TV and into yet another cheesy Christmas movie.”


“Sounds meta,” I said.


“Through some form of magic the guy becomes a girl.” she said.” So unrealistic!”


“I know right,” I smirked.


“That kinda stuff doesn’t happen in real life.” Nicole snickered.


“I hate cheesy Christmas movies.” I said.


“There’s a few fun ones,” Nicole said. “Maybe I’ll show you some other time.”


* * *


Taylor


When I arrived at the party with my parents, there were already plenty of people there. Lexi, Josh, Madison, and a whole number of Hanna’s friends.


I introduced my parents to Victor - the real Victor, and introduced them to his parents. All of the parents seemed to hit it off real well.


Lexi came and pulled me aside. She brought me over to Josh. 


“Damn, Tay,” Josh said. “You are smoking hot, girl.”


“Thank you,” I said, showing off the little red dress and Santa hat I got for the occasion


Lexi then handed me a paper.


“What’s this?” I asked.


“A locker number.” she said. She then handed Josh another piece of paper. “This is the combination.”


“Where is the locker?” I asked.


“I’m not going to tell you.” she said. “All 3 of us have a piece of the puzzle, so no one of us can go retrieve the lamp without the other two.”


“Thank you, Lexi.” Josh said. “This means a lot to me.”


“It’s only been the 1 wish right?” I asked.


“Yup.” she said. “I saw how powerful your last wish and my first wish were. No thank you. That’s too much power for one person.”


“What about accidental wishing?” I asked.


“You can’t make a wish without the lamp somewhere near you” Josh said. “Lexi accidentally wishing for something won't happen.”


“Josh,” I said. “I’m happy for you.”


“Thank you, Taylor” he said. “You’ve been a great friend.”


I smiled. 


“Now go back to your boyfriend,” Lexi said. “He’s longingly looking over at you since you’ve been here.”


“Go get ‘em” Josh said with a wink.


* * *


An hour and some spiked eggnog later, I was standing around with Victor when Madison and Nicole came up to us.


“So Victor,” Madison said. “I was hoping to settle a bet.”


“Oh?” he said. “What on?”


“Your and Taylor’s first date.” she said.


“What about it?” I interrupted.


Mads winked at me. “Mini-Golf. I heard that Victor won. And it got me thinking about that time sophomore year when we all went out to Mini-Golf. Nicole pretended she never played it and then thoroughly beat me and Lexi. By a lot. It wasn’t even close. She’s a mini-golf shark.”


“It’s true.” Nicole said. “I am awesome at putt-putt.”


“What’s your point?” Victor asked.


“My point is,” Madison said, “whether you won because you were in Nicole’s body or whether you’re actually good.”


“Well, I suck” I said. “I never learned to play - until Victor taught me on our first date.”


“Should we do a friendly wager?” Madison asked.


Victor chuckled. “Here?”


Nicole held up a putter and 2 golf balls. “Your dad was gracious enough to lend me this.” She smiled.


Victor looked at them, then at me and smiled. “You’re on.”


Madison handed Victor a red plastic cup. “Home field advantage,” she said, winking.


Victor walked to the other side of the living room and set the cup on its side.


I noticed we started to build up an audience and our friends and Hanna’s friends are circling around our make-shift putting green.


Victor took a ball from Nicole and set it down on the floor.


“Let’s go Vic!” Lexi cheered.


“Yeah, Victor!” Hanna joined.


Victor took the putter from Nicole and tapped the ball and it rolled and hit the cup and bounced backward.


“Aww.” I heard a few voices. 


Victor walked up the ball and tapped it into the cup. He walked back to me and I gave him a kiss. 


“A hole in two isn’t bad” I said.


Nicole took the putter from Victor and placed her ball in the same starting spot. 


“Yeah, Nicole!” Lexi cheered.


“Let’s go sis!” Hanna joined.


She tapped the ball and it instantly sunk into the cup. “Hole in one!” she bragged.


Everyone applauded as Nicole took a bow.


“Best of 3?” I asked.


“Sure,” Nicole said.


“Tay, can you get the balls for us?” Victor asked.


“Sure” I said, walking over to the cup. When I bent down I noticed something about the cup. “Hey, there’s something taped to the cup.” I picked up the cup and removed the tape. It was the ring I bought for Vicky. I turned around to see Victor kneeling beside me.


“Taylor.” he said.


“What are you doing?” I asked.


“You know I never gave you the ring back.” he said to me.


“Oh yeah. I was wondering about that.” I let out a pensive laugh. Everyone was looking at us. Everyone. I noticed my parents and Victor’s parents at the back of the room watching. My heart rate increased.


“I spent the last 3 years alone and lost.” he said. “Unwilling to let in love and friendship. Pushing away everyone including my family. Fate… pushed me into a new direction. Meeting my new friends had a profound impact on me and allowed me to be open again to the world. But meeting you allowed me to open myself up to love again.”


Victor was looking into my eyes and I was looking into his. Is he really doing this? Here?


“I went into our first date confident that I would put up my defenses and not fall in love. Somehow you managed to woo me on our first date. It’s funny. I had no idea you were Taylor at the time, and you had no idea I was Victor. But we still fell in love. We still started our new path together, finding our strength and discovering who each other is.” He took the ring from my hand and held it up. “Tyler proposed to Vicky once already, but I felt it only fitting that Victor propose to Taylor too. Taylor, I would love to continue our journey together, with you by my side and with you as my wife.”


There was silence around the house. Everyone was looking at me. Of course I knew the answer, I just. I just wanted to stay in the moment for just a little longer. It’s not how I planned it. But this is how I always wanted it. I wanted to be the one getting proposed to. I wanted to be the one people were watching. Another moment of Victor looking into my eyes. Another moment of all of my friends and family watching me, watching Taylor get proposed to. OK, I’m ready.


“Yes!” I said with a large smile.


Everyone around us cheered.


Victor slid the ring on my finger. We embraced in a long kiss and hug. I paid no attention to the commotion all around us.


The ring was a perfect fit. I whispered into his ear, “You know, it’s kinda weird that I bought my own ring right?”


“I’ll buy you another if you want. I thought maybe the symbolism was romantic and that maybe…”


I kissed him to shut him up.


The rest of the night was a whirlwind. The Machados welcomed me to the family. Hanna was excited to get another sister. My parents welcomed Victor in. 


Everyone came up to me and congratulated me. I didn’t get this for the first proposal. 


Towards the end of the night after many of the guests had already left, Nicole came up to me and hugged me. “Wow.” she said. “Where were we 4 months ago?”


“How are you doing?” I asked.


“I’m surprisingly great.” she said. “I’ve seen Madison every day this week. She’s hinting that we should get an apartment together when we graduate.”


“Me and Victor together doesn’t bother you?”


“Not anymore.” she said. “Like I said. I love you both. There’s no one else I’d like to see with him and no one else I’d like to see with you.”


“How are you doing with your family?” I asked.


She simply smiled and looked towards the kitchen where my parents and the Machados were having celebratory drinks. She then turned to Victor and Hanna who were having a vivid conversation with Lexi and Mads. “I’m with my family.” 


I smiled at that sentiment.


She turned to me. “How are you doing?” she asked. “You’re going to be a bride. You’re going to get married - as your real self.”


“This is exciting.” I said. “I never thought this would be real. But here we are.”


“I have a question.” she said. “I’m a little embarrassed to ask.”


“What is it?”


“Do you want to play a video game?”


I laughed. “Really? Now? After all this time? We dated for 3 years and you used to turn your nose up at my games.”


“Well, Madison is interested. She sent me over to ask.”


“Oh I see how it is.” I said, chuckling.


We moved to the TV where Victor was already pulling out the console and controllers.


“OK.” Victor said. “4 person game? Teams?”


“Me and you?” I asked my new fiancé.


“That’s not fair.” Nicole said. “You’re professionals. You’d kill me and Mads.”


“Swappers vs. girlfriends” Madison said. “Nic and Vic vs. me and Tay.”


“Hopefully some of Victor left some good muscle memory in my body.” Nicole said moving her arms back and forth.


“What are you doing?” Victor asked.


“I’m stretching.” she said. She pointed at Madison. “You’re going down!”


Madison gave Nicole an air kiss.


The game on the TV started with a countdown.


“Ready?” Victor asked, looking at us. “Game on.”


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

I love that Christmas movie! I'm so happy everything is working out for them!
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Joejedfjsj

Hmm, I see this as a nail in the coffin for the final, final wish chapter to be a thing. And I get that them locking the safe is a way to stop more wishes… but is it not entirely symbolic. Lexi knows the entire code, sure she cut it up and gave out parts of it but she would still know or have a good idea of what the code is. And what if someone breaks into the locker. But if Lexi just needs to be in the poximity of the lamp to wish could she not stand outside the locker and make it without unlocking it.
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Emily

True. We don't know how big the place where the lockers are. Maybe Lexi wont remember where it actually is. But yeah its out of sight and only she really knows.
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Elyssa

How many chapters left? Also can you write another story where the protagonist is transformed into a straight girl.
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Emily

1 chapter left. The Epilogue. Sure. It's funny, cause a lot of readers complain what cishet relationships are introduced. I personally have no problem with it.
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Elyssa

Please change the default avatar assigned on your site.
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Emily

Sure. Any suggestions?
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Elron

***** Masquerades 101, Chapter 41 - New Beginnings A Review By Elron ***** ***** Chapter 41.1 – Victor ***** Lots of studying for exams. Good to see everyone working together and helping each other out. I guess it would be pretty awkward for Kayla, who did she sleep with? Too bad Victor’s body is taken, seemed like a good fit for Kayla. I guess it’s going to be an ongoing struggle to see who remembers what about Taylor and Tyler. ***** Chapter 41.2 – Taylor ***** Nice to see Taylor settling into having a girl’s body. She is developing her own fashion sense and has Victor to help her along. It’s got to be weird for Taylor to see her parents for the first time, especially with selective magic at work with everyone’s minds. I liked the way Taylor’s dad summed up the changes: “If it works for you, then it works for me.” Don’t you wish real people could always behave like that? ***** Chapter 41.3 – Nicole ***** So Nicole and Aunt Shirley have managed to put their family relationship back together. I’m glad Nicole chose to stay with the Machado family. She needs to experience that dynamic as herself and for herself. Having a ‘sister’ in Hanna is something Nicole never had growing up – among other things. I liked the contrast you provided in the way Victor’s parents treated Nicole vs the way her own parents treated her. Night and day doesn’t begin to describe the two families. ***** Chapter 41.4 – Victor ***** Seems like Victor has a lot of catching up to do, since Nicole and Hanna have already been chatting about everything before Victor arrived. Hanna had the right idea about the genie. I’m sure we all would have liked to have one when we were in high school. Inviting your girlfriend to your parent’s house for a party is one thing, inviting her parents is a dead giveaway. ***** Chapter 41.5 – Taylor ***** I can’t believe the way Nicole’s parents treated Tyler the first time she brought him home. Well, actually, not as bad as my dad treated my girlfriend. He actually screamed at us that she was never allowed in HIS house again. So, yeah, I guess I can relate. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to live on my own, and the relationship ended shortly after that incident. BTW, I used to put the top down on my convertible when the temperature hit 50° for the first time. And more contrast when Taylor met Victor’s parents. Nice description of the scene and Taylor’s feelings. ***** Chapter 41.6 – Nicole ***** The Machados are the greatest parents of all time. Accepting Taylor. Letting Nicole live with them. Wow. They are the polar opposites of Nicole’s parents. ***** Chapter 41.7 – Victor ***** OK, this might be the best part of the chapter – mixing in your Hallmark Christmas story. Brilliant! And then to have Victor and Nicole state that body swaps don’t happen in real life HAH! ***** Chapter 41.8 – Taylor ***** Lexi always was the smart one. Just like Velma from Scooby Do. Separating the access to the genie’s lamp so that no one person could ever get to it. Again, brilliant! And then the proposal. Just a little cheesy. Perfect for college kids who have been through so much in the last 3 months. Could have been risky asking Taylor in front of a crowd, but, nah. We all knew she would say yes. Beautiful proposal speech, by the way. The old Victor would have probably just proposed in private with as few words as possible – if he proposed at all. That’s got to be really weird for Victor, going from bride to groom in the short span of time. But as long as you’re with the right person it’s worth it. And the cherry on top – Nicole stating that the Machados are her real family. ***** Chapter 41.9 - Elron ***** Emily, It would be totally repetitive and redundant for me to praise you for your writing skill and style. As I’ve said many times your descriptions are spot on, the pacing is just right, the chapter breaks just beg for the reader to hang on to the cliff until next time. But there is more. Your writing has a cohesiveness to it, much like a well-built car. Solid. Engineered. Crafted with quality. You obviously didn’t just sit down and start throwing words on the screen. There were no gaping plot holes. Barely a grammar or spelling error. Your story had a plan and a solid structure to it. It really shows in the quality of your writing. Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us.
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Emily

Kayla slept with Nicole while in Victor's body, while she thought she was a dude named Nick. I took wish everyone was as accepting. A commenter on FM mentioned that the mass acceptance (except for Nicole's family) isn't realistic. True, but I wanted the Matthews and Machado families to be beacons of how families should act. To many act like Nicole's family. Wait - your dad treated your gf WORSE than Nicole's family. Yikes! I'm sure Victor wanted to propose in private, but since he was already proposed to, I bet he felt some obligation to spend as much time on the proposal that Taylor did originally. "Barely a grammar or spelling error" - credit goes to my editing team! Thank you for reading and creating these thoughtful reviews!
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