Chapter 1 - Tristan's Crush

A Suitable Crush by Emily


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Synopsis: Introducing Tristan and his crush.

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Tristan groggily got out of bed and silenced the alarm on his phone. 


“Another Monday,” he mused as he started his morning routine. After a quick shower he picked out his uniform for the day.


As he put one of his arms through the sleeve of his button-down shirt, he felt a piece of soft clothing balled up in there. He removed it and out came a pink thong.


“Ew,” he said, jumping away from the feminine undergarment as if it was a tarantula. “Mom! I found a pair of her underwear in my clothes!”


When nobody answered he finished getting dressed. He looked in the mirror to adjust his red and gold tie, and put on the navy-blue blazer. When he was finished, he picked up the panties from the floor, held them with an outstretched arm as if they were radioactive, and then threw them into his stepsister’s room.


He came down from his bedroom and entered his family’s kitchen. His mom was in a tizzy getting ready for work, while his stepsister, dressed in her own school uniform, was seated at the table, scrolling through her phone, while eating a Pop Tart.


“Mom,” he loudly complained. “I found her clothes with mine!”


“Then just put whatever you found in her room, honey,” his mother replied, adjusting one of her earrings.


“It was her dirty underwear.”


His stepsister gave him a snide look.


“I assure you all of the laundry was clean,” Mom replied, grabbing her purse.


Tristan sighed.


“You can always help with the laundry, too, Tristan,” Mom added.


Tristan didn’t dignify that suggestion with a response. “Hey, I can’t find my phone.”


“Kaitlyn, honey,” Mom said, “Can you give Tristan’s phone a ring?”


“Ugh, do I have to?” Kaitlyn whined.


“No wait-” Tristan said, knowing that he gave her a personalized ringtone.


“Too late,” Kaitlyn replied.


Suddenly, “The Imperial March” from Star Wars played from the living room.


Kaitlyn gave him an evil look. “That’s rude.”


“No fighting,” Mom reminded us. “Tristan, please change that ringtone. Anyway, have a good day, honey,” she said, kissing him on the cheek and running out of the house.


Tristan retrieved his phone then went to open the cabinet to grab his own Pop Tart. As he reached into the box he realized it was empty. “Did you take the last one?” he accused his stepsister.


She didn’t look up from her phone and shrugged.


“Ugh,” Tristan grunted and slammed the cabinet door. “Those were mine!” He threw the empty box in the recycle bin.


“I didn’t see your name on them,” Kaitlyn taunted.


Tristan grunted in frustration and searched the cupboards for breakfast. He pulled out an old box of Cheerios, then a bowl and milk and sat at the table.


He sighed as he poured his cereal and milk and started eating.


It was silent - except for Tristan obnoxiously chewing his cheerios. With each bite he made sure to chew louder.


“Do you mind?” Kaitlyn finally growled. “That’s gross.”


Tristan relented and turned his focus to his own cell phone that he had brought downstairs with him. He checked his QuikChat application to see if any of his friends messaged him last night. None did.


“Hey, after school, can you drive me to the outlets?” Kaitlyn asked in a friendlier tone.


“Why should I?” he retorted. “After you ate the last of my Pop Tarts.”


“Don’t be such a drama queen, Tris. Remember, Melissa and Dad want us to be good siblings and share.”


“First of all, Mom said I didn’t have to chauffeur you around. Second, maybe you should’ve asked Steve for a car.”


Dad promised me a car for my 17th birthday,” she smugly replied.


The kitchen erupted in the sound of angry chewing again as both siblings turned their attention to their breakfasts and phones.


Finally, Tristan's curiosity got the better of him. “Who is all going?” he reluctantly asked.


“Me, Ava, Abby, and Izzy.”


Tristan smiled at the mention of Ava’s name. Kaitlyn noticed.


“Ew!” she complained. “I know you have some weird creepy crush on Ava. My friends don't date losers.”


He quietly mumbled, “Well, clearly they’re friends with one.”


“What was that?” she asked with furrowed brows. “Anyway, I need to get going.” She dramatically got up. “A certain selfish stepbrother forces me to take the bus.” 


“Your school is in the opposite direction of my school!”


She didn’t acknowledge his retort and stuck the last of her pilfered Pop Tart between her teeth, grabbed her backpack, and left the house.


“Finally some peace and quiet,” Tristan announced out loud to the empty house.


It had been like this since Tristan’s mother, Melissa, and Kaitlyn’s father, Steve, started dating last year. At the time, neither Tristan nor Kaitlyn knew each other and their social circles never overlapped. When they were introduced, it was hate at first sight.


The parents pleaded for their teenagers to behave. They gave it a try. Tristan introduced Kaitlyn to his friends. She instantly called them losers. She invited him to a party, where he was treated like an outcast by everyone - except for one person. Ava.


Tristan knew Ava long before he knew Kaitlyn. He sat behind her in fifth grade when they both went to public grade school. One day he walked her home from school - the opposite direction from his own house. They instantly became friends and would often hang out on weekends. They’d explore the woods, ride around town, and make lemonade stands. She was his best friend before Ryan. And he fell madly in love with her. Well, as much as any 11-year-old knows about such things. But things changed when they got older. Puberty happened. They split and went to different private schools. They made other friends. Unfortunately, Tristan never got a chance to tell her how he felt. They’re still friendly today to each other. Tristan just wishes for more.


While he was surprised Ava and Kaitlyn were friends, he was certainly excited at the prospect of seeing Ava more often. Perhaps even Kaitlyn would put in a good word. That unfortunately never happened, and the thought of Kaitlyn doing Tristan a favor was growing slimmer by the day, but Tristan relished every time Ava would visit Kaitlyn, until the evil stepsister shooed him away.


Then the day arrived that changed everything. Melissa and Steve announced they were getting married. Over the next month, the parents were hitched, and Tristan’s new stepdad and stepsister moved in. Now he had to share a bathroom and food. Now he found random girls' clothes in his clothes. Home was no longer the safe haven it used to be. He was lucky to keep his bedroom.


He cleaned up from breakfast and headed out the door, locking it behind him. At least he had a car and she had to take the bus.


* * *


When Tristan arrived at homeroom, his best friend Ryan was waiting for him.


“I’m freaking out, dude,” Ryan lamented to his friend.


“What’s wrong this time?” Tristan sighed.


“I haven’t been asked out to the Sadie Hawkins dance yet.”


“So? Neither have I.”


“So, our entire high school reputations are on the line!”


“Really? It’s not like we went to homecoming when we were expected to ask out girls.”


“It’s the Leap Year Sadie Hawkins dance, Tristan!” Ryan replied with emphasis. “This only happens once every four years. The next time it happens, we’ll both be long graduated.”


It wasn’t easy to ask girls to dances to begin with. Both Tristan and Ryan went to a private all-boys high school. Similarly, Kaitlyn and her friends went to its sister school for all-girls. Since the genders rarely interacted during the school year, the schools organized occasional mixers that were heavily attended by many chaperones. One such mixer was the quadrennial leap year tradition of the Sadie Hawkins dance. Apparently the organizers found it funny to only encourage girls to do the asking once every four years.


“I don’t know, Ryan. The dance is still a month away.”


“What are you doing tonight? Will you be online to play games?”


“Not tonight,” Tristan sighed. “I have to chauffeur around my stepsister and her friends.” 


“That sucks, dude. Why do you put up with it? Just because your mom got married doesn’t mean you have to put up with your stepfather’s spawn.”


“My mom really wants us to act like a normal family. Plus she threatened to take my car privileges away if I’m not nicer. And…” Tristan paused. “And Ava will be there.”


“Ha!” Ryan said, nudging Tristan’s shoulder. “I knew it. I knew there had to be a reason to be nice to that troll.”


Tristan's thoughts turned to Ava. That chestnut hair. Her smile. Those dimples. The way she didn’t treat him like a loser. Their shared experiences of budding adolescence.


Tristan’s daydream was interrupted by the school’s morning announcements. 


“Hey,” Ryan said, walking away. “Hit me up on QuikChat when you’re back.” He took his seat and Tristan sighed and prepared for the school day.


* * *


No words were exchanged when Tristan and Kaitlyn came home from school until she got up and commanded them to leave.


Tristan silently complied knowing his reward for doing this was seeing Ava - even if it was only for a few seconds.


They got into the car and Tristan drove to Abigail's house. Then Isabella’s house. Each girl greeted Tristan, then each other. Finally, Ava’s house.


There she was - sitting on her front porch waiting for them.


Tristan nervously bit his lip as he admired her sitting there in that cute white shirt and pink skirt. As she got up and walked toward the back door of the car, she seemed to float like an angel. Tristan quickly got out of the car and opened the rear door for Ava.


Izzy and Abby scooted over so Ava could cram into the back of the car.


Ava greeted everyone in the car. “Hi, Kate. Izzy. Abby.” Then a pause. “Oh, hi, Tristan. Thank you for getting the door.”


“Hi, Ava,” Tristan happily replied. “How-”


“So Ava,” Kaitlyn interrupted, pulling her friend’s attention away from Tristan. “We were thinking of hitting up Sephora first.”


“Sounds great,” Ava replied. 


Tristan scowled at Kaitlyn as he got back into the car then pulled out of the driveway and continued to their destination.


“Then we’re going to shop for dresses for the dance,” Abby added.


The dance! Tristan was hoping a certain someone would remember he was there in the driver's seat.


“I’m not sure if I’m going,” Ava sighed dejectedly. 


“Why not?” Kaitlyn asked.


“I don’t have a date.”


“There’s a few cute boys who would die to go with you.”


Tristan sat up straight, hoping his stepsister would hook him up.


“Yeah, I know Greg from the Boys Prep basketball team thinks you’re cute. He’s on QuikChat if you want me to see if he’s interested.”


Tristan slumped over deflated.


“I don’t know,” Ava chuckled.


“Remember, it’s a Sadie Hawkins dance,” Isabella said. “The girl does the asking. You can pick from any boy in town. Just ask.”


“It’s not that easy.”


“I know, right?” Abigail said. “I had it narrowed down to four guys. But I was afraid of rejection so I wound up asking someone safe.”


“You should’ve asked that one guy I suggested,” Kaitlyn said.


Tristan chuckled to himself. See, it’s not easy to be the one asking. Rejection sucks. That’s when the conversation changed to something else, and Tristan lost his potential opening. He drove in silence while the girls chit-chatted the rest of the way to the town center.


Tristan found a place in the parking garage. The teens made their way to the shops. The girls went one way, and Tristan went the other.


He figured he’d check the gaming store for any sales on new releases.


When he was done, he strolled along the sidewalk looking at the other stores. But at the outdoor cafe, he saw a teen couple locked at the lips. Typically this wouldn’t phase Tristan, but he recognized both the girl and boy. Two individuals who should not have been locked at the lips. 


The girl was Addison Thomas, student body president and girlfriend of Lamar Benjamin, star quarterback. The boy was very much not Lamar. It was Jackson Williams - or was it William Jackson? Tristan wasn’t sure, because there was a boy named each at his school. But he was certain whatever that boy’s name was, it most certainly wasn’t Lamar. 


Typically, Tristan didn’t keep tabs on the social hierarchy of either the all-boys or all-girl’s prep schools, but Lamar was in one of his classes and made a huge deal about dating a girl like Addison. And Addison always made the local headlines for various activism, charities, and scholarships. Everyone knew who Addison Thomas was. She had a squeaky clean good-girl persona.


Seeing Addison Thomas locking lips with Not-Lamar gave Tristan a chuckle. It was incidents like this that made Tristan a little timid to actually join the local dating scene. The exception, of course, was always Ava. 


Tristan silently walked past the couple, and arrived at the fountain at the center of the town center. Speaking of dating, there at the fountain was Tristan’s crush. Ava was sitting on the fountain’s ledge scrolling through her phone.


Tristan walked over to her and sat down. “Hi, Ava.”


“Oh, hi, Tristan,” she replied. “What’s going on?”


“Nothing much. Just checking out the new video games.”


She nodded. “Cool.”


“What’s new with you?”


“The other girls are looking at dresses. I decided to just hang back since I wasn’t planning on going to the dance later this month.”


“I heard,” he replied. He nervously tapped his foot.


She slowly nodded. “Are you going?”


“No girl has asked me.”


“Oh.”


Tristan pleaded for her to take the hint. Instead another twenty seconds of silence passed. “Ava,” he finally said. 


She looked at him inquisitively. 


It was now or never. He opened his mouth, but the words weren’t coming out.


“Are you OK?” she asked.


“Yeah,” he choked out. “I - uh. I was wondering if you wanted to go out sometime. Like just the two of us. Like a date.”


Ava suddenly had the look of surprise on her face. “Oh my God, you’re so sweet,” she said. “But I’m going to have to decline.”


Tristan sighed. “I’m so stupid. Of course an attractive girl wouldn’t go out with me. What was I think-”


“Tristan, stop,” she interrupted. 


He looked at her quizzically.


“You’re a great guy but I just want to be friends.”


Tristan rolled his eyes. “That makes things even worse. I’m going to graduate lonely with just friends. They’ll put it on my gravestone. ‘Tristian died with a lot of friends’.”


Now it was her turn to roll her eyes. “Stop beating yourself up.”


“I’m good at it. I have plenty of experience with rejection.”


“I have a hard time believing that.” she forced out a chuckle. “I know girls who think you’re cute.”


“Believe it! Now I can add the biggest rejection of all to my tally.”


“I’m sorry,” she said with a frown.


At that moment, Tristan realized he was being a dick. “Actually, it’s me that's sorry. I’m being totally unfair to you. It’s not your fault.”


“You’re a good guy, Tristan,” she asserted. She looked at his demeanor. He didn’t believe her. So she added, “I mean - I’d totally date you if I was into guys-” She suddenly stopped and stared at him wide-eyed in fear. She cupped her mouth.


Tristan was stunned. That wasn’t what he expected her to say. He tilted his head. “You’re a-”


“That just came out. That isn’t what I meant.”


“Oh,” he replied. Another awkward pause. “So, what did you mean?”


She looked around and searched for words. Her face was turning red from embarrassment. “I mean it is what I meant - but oh my God, I can’t believe I told you. Nobody else knows.”


“You’re serious?”


“Please, Tristan,” Ava begged, “you can’t tell anyone-”


“Tell anyone what?” Kaitlyn suddenly said from beside her.


“A… about how she failed her math exam,” he quickly replied.


“Ha,” Kaitlyn chuckled. “You are really bad at keeping secrets.”


Ava silently mouthed, “Thank you” to Tristan. He nodded.


He wasn’t sure what to do. He was now in possession of a trusted secret.

 

* * *


Later that night, Tristan was done with his homework and was playing video games. He wasn’t getting very far because his mind was preoccupied with what Ava told him. 


Was she telling the truth? Was she really a lesbian? He didn’t know any gay people at school. Except maybe that one dude in the drama club who hung out with only girls. People called him gay, but he denied it.


He needed someone to talk to. Maybe Ryan was around. He paused the game, pulled his phone out of his pocket, and opened up QuikChat. He saw that Ryan was active. “Hey, man.”


“What’s up T?” Ryan responded.


“I asked a girl out today.”


“You did? How did it go?”


“Badly. She said she was a lesbian.”


“Ouch. Bummer, dude. Don't let that discourage you.”


A few minutes went by and Tristan typed, “Do you think she was telling the truth?”


“Why would she lie about something like that?”


“She told me not to tell anyone. Do you think she was just letting me down gently?”


“I don’t know, man. That’s not something people lie about.”


Tristan sighed. Just as he was about to return to the game he was playing, his mom and stepfather walked into the family room.


“Family meeting everyone,” Steve, Tristan’s stepfather, bellowed.


“What’s going on?” Kaitlyn came in from the kitchen.


“We wanted to let you know about something,” Melissa replied.


Tristan said nothing and gave them his attention.


Steve put his arm around Melissa. “We’re finally taking our honeymoon!”


“Yeah,” Melissa smiled. “We’re going to Punta Cana!”


“We’re leaving on the 25th.”


“For how long?” Tristan asked.


“Six glorious days of sun and fun!” Melissa gleefully replied.


“What about us?” Kaitlyn skeptically asked.


“We figured you kids are old enough to not need a babysitter and see yourselves off to school.” Steve replied.


“You’re just going to leave us here?” Tristan asked.


“Honey,” Melissa said, “Steve’s right, you can fend for yourself. We’ll leave our credit cards here so you can order dinner.”


“Why now?” Tristan asked.


“We couldn’t take the time off or afford it last year after the wedding,” Melissa explained. “Now we have the leave and the money.”


“It’s about time too,” Steve smiled, pulling his wife closer, causing her to giggle and slap his arm playfully.


“Cool,” Tristan replied. “I guess.”


“Meeting adjourned,” Steve announced. 


He and Melissa walked out the family room talking excitedly about excursions. Kaitlyn rolled her eyes and left the room too.


“Wonderful,” Tristan sighed. Just then, his phone buzzed. He had momentarily forgotten he was chatting with Ryan. Maybe Ryan had something insightful to add about the Ava situation.


Tristan was surprised to see that the message wasn’t from Ryan but was from Ava. His palms clammed up at the thought of Ava directly messaging him. Tristan kept telling himself to play it cool. He glanced at the message.


“Hey, Tristan,” the message said.


“Hi, Ava,” he curiously replied.


“Thank you for covering for me today.”


He didn’t know what else to say. He needed to play it cool, so he replied, “No problem.”


So many questions were swirling in his mind. Why hasn’t she told anyone else? Not her family? Not her friends?


Tristan didn’t know what it was like to have that kind of personal secret, so he considered there was something else stopping her from coming out.


His thoughts were interrupted by her reply, “You’re a good friend, Tristan.”


He replied with a smile emoji.


But that didn’t matter much to Tristan. He didn’t want to be Ava’s good friend. He wanted to be her boyfriend. But she didn’t want a boyfriend. She wanted a girlfriend and he wasn’t a girl. The girl who does get a chance to date her will be a very lucky girl, Tristan mused. 


He chuckled. “I wish I was that girl,” he thought.


He paused as if a light bulb went off in his head. He could test if Ava was telling the truth. He could pretend to be a girl.


Thoughts and ideas were swirling through his head. He turned off the video game and went to retrieve the laptop he used for homework. He was going to need a fake identity. Therefore he would need a new QuikChat account.


He opened the laptop and went to the QuikChat account creation screen. 


What would be her name? The first girl name to come to his head was “Lisa.” It was a pretty name.


He needed a last name. A simple keyword search revealed the most popular last names in the country? Smith? Nah. Johnson? Nah. Williams? Nah. Jones. That could work. He thought maybe a cute nickname for Lisa’s friends to call her would be LJ.


Now he needed a backstory. Why is a random stranger turning up? She was going to move here. In a few weeks. She was doing research on the school and the area.


Tristan filled out the form. It felt weird putting in a girl’s name and choosing “female” in the registration page.


When he was done, he logged in for the first time. He needed an avatar, so he found a picture of a butterfly and used that.


Next step was to announce his… her presence. He joined the general chat group for high schoolers in town. It was the common co-ed meetup for the students in the area for the two private schools and the public school.


Almost immediately, he got messages welcoming “her”. Some seemed to be automated bots trying to get people to click various links. Eventually there were some real people too.


He typed out his welcome message. “Hi everyone, my name is Lisa. I’ll be moving here in a couple weeks. I’m kinda nervous about the move so I decided to poke my head in here to see what’s up.” He pressed send.


He re-read that. It sounded awkward to him. He worried people would see right through his fake identity.


A number of people in the public channel welcomed Lisa. A number of direct message notifications also popped up. All of the direct messages were from boys asking personal questions about her age and looks and requesting a photo. Tristan frowned and hoped he never acted like that.


Someone in the chat asked which school she was going to.


“Ada Lovelace Girl’s Preparatory Academy,” he replied. “What can you tell me about it?”


A lot of people chimed in. Boys chimed in saying how hot the girls were, the girls who went to that school showed school spirit, some students commented on how they’re the best math school in the state, and the students from the rival public school judged it as snooty.


Tristan didn’t really care. He just wanted to chat with Ava. He saw that she was still online and in the public channel. She hadn’t said anything yet. He needed to find a way for Ava to notice Lisa. He remembered how he and Ava used to go hiking when they were younger. He typed, “I really like to get outside and go hiking. Are there any good parks and trails in the area?”


A few people mentioned the local lake and the trail that wound its way around the edge. Then Ava chimed in to say she knew some very beautiful trails on the outskirts of town.


“She took the bait!” Tristan thought. That’s when he immediately direct-messaged her to ask her more about those trails. 


Before long they were talking about other things. Their age, grade, activities at school, favorite movies. Tristan was in heaven. He had already known he and Ava had plenty in common. This chat gave him an opportunity to use his prior knowledge to his advantage.


But unfortunately the conversation was starting to wane. Tristan was getting tired and wanted to wrap this up before going to bed. He messaged Ava, “Hey I was wondering, do you by any chance know if Lovelace is LGBT friendly?”


Tristan saw that Ava was typing. The minutes went by and she was still typing. Tristan was worried about what she could possibly be saying.


She finally messaged him back. “Honestly, I don't know. There isn’t anyone who is LGBT at the school (that I know of). So, I couldn’t tell you.”


Tristan read it and re-read it. “So, she was lying,” he concluded to himself. He got angry and decided it was time to wrap this up and go to sleep.


Then before he could say bye, Ava added, “Are you? I’m sorry if that’s too personal. I don't want to pry.”


He decided it wouldn’t hurt to continue for a few more minutes so he replied, “Yes, I’m a lesbian.” He nervously awaited what Ava would say back. Would she mock Lisa?


“I think I might be too.”


Tristan sat there staring at that message. He exhaled. She was telling the truth after all. He wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved or not. He should be supportive. “You’re unsure?”


“Well, I dated a few boys. When I broke up with the last one, there was one person who was there to console me. We got very close and I realized the time spent with her was better than any of the times I spent with my ex-boyfriends.”


“That sucks,” he typed. He thought he should add more. “Does this girl know?”


“No. Nobody else knows,” she responded. She continued typing. “I accidentally came out to someone today. I am so nervous. What if he outs me to my friends?”


“I’m sure he won't say anything.” He was, however, feeling a little guilty telling Ryan about it earlier. He never told Ryan who he was talking about though.


“What makes you say that? The boy I told - we used to be close - but aren’t anymore.”


“If he’s a true friend, he’ll keep your secret.”


“Thank you for reassuring me.”


He decided to make up something to empathize with her. “I remember when I came out too. I was so nervous.”


“How long have you been out?”


He shrugged and picked a number. “Two years.”


There was more typing. Tristan checked the clock. He needed to get to bed or risk falling asleep in class tomorrow. Ava was still typing away. What can she possibly be saying? He logged onto QuikChat with the Lisa account on his phone, then closed down the laptop.


As he crawled into bed, his phone dinged with a notification.


“Lisa, can I ask you another personal question?” she typed.


All of that time and typing for such a simple question? “Go for it,” he replied.


“Are you single?”


Tristan smiled immediately, but he had to calm himself down. She was asking Lisa, not him. He wondered if he should make up a girlfriend for Lisa. Or maybe even an ex-girlfriend. But he found himself typing, “Yes.”


Ava sent back a smile emoji.


Tristan didn't want to go to bed yet. He was enjoying chatting with Ava. 


Ava finally added, “I need to get to sleep.”


“Me too.”


“Talk tomorrow?”


Tristan shrugged. He’d gotten all of the answers he wanted so I didn’t need to continue this charade. But he was having fun. “Sure.”


“Good night.”


“Good night.”


Tristan put the phone on his night stand and went to sleep


* * *


The next morning went exactly like the previous morning. Tristan woke up, got ready for school and ate whatever breakfast foods he could find in the pantry. His mother promised him they’d buy him new Pop Tarts over the weekend.


When he settled down in homeroom, his phone chimed. Thinking it was his mom, he looked at it. It was from Ava - on the Lisa account.


“Shit,” he thought. “I forgot to log off of that last night.” He curiously checked the message. 


“Good morning,” it read.


He replied, “Good morning.”


“Did you have a good night?”


“Yes, I did.”


“So did I.”


“Who are you chatting with?” Ryan asked, surprising Tristan.


Tristan jolted in his seat and fumbled his phone into his lap. “Nobody.”


“That’s clearly not nobody,” he smirked.


The morning announcements came on, Ryan went to his desk, and Tristan quickly sent the message, “Class is about to begin.” and put his phone away.


* * *


Tristan found himself carrying on a conversation with Ava between classes. He was so looking forward to each class bell that he was having a hard time paying attention.


Finally it was lunchtime and he sat down instead of getting lunch. 


Ava’s most recent message asked, “How was it coming out to your parents?”


Tristan tried to think what that would’ve been like. “I was scared. But they accepted me.”


Ava’s reply came a minute later. “I’m so scared, Lisa. I don’t think my parents are accepting. At all.”


“It is scary,” he replied. “But you’ve got a friend if you need to talk about it.” He then made a mental note to read some LGBTQ advice columns.


“Thank you so much Lisa! I’ve been keeping this bottled up for too long. It’s nice to have a friendly person to talk to.”


“Dude, what’s with you today?” Ryan asked, breaking Tristan’s focus on his phone.


“Nothing,” he replied. “I was just chatting with someone.”


“Someone? You looked giddy and were very engrossed with whatever you were doing on your phone. I was standing here for over a minute waiting for you to notice.”


“Oh. Sorry.”


“So?” Ryan asked with a raised eyebrow. “Who is she?”


“How do you know it’s a girl?”


“I doubt you’d get that involved in a conversation with your family.”


“Just a girl I met last night.” 


“That’s great. So you’re over the other girl? The lesbian?”


Tristan paused to look at Ryan. He didn’t have a quick enough retort.


“Oh, no,” Ryan said, shaking his head. “Please tell me you’re not chatting with her still.”


“It’s fine,” Tristan curtly replied, sliding down on his seat, making himself seem smaller.


“How’s it fine? You’re still pursuing someone who’s unavailable. I’m surprised she’s still even talking to you.”


“She doesn’t know it’s me,” Tristan said, then immediately regretted revealing that.


“Tristan,” Ryan chastised. “If she doesn't know it's you, who does she think it is?”


Tristan whispered, “A girl.”


Ryan’s eyes nearly bugged out. “Holy shit, dude. You’re chatting with Ava. But pretending to be a girl?”


“Shh,” Tristan replied. “I’m not supposed to tell anyone. Wait - I never said she was Ava.”


“C’mon, I know you man. I knew you were talking about Ava last night. Besides, who am I going to tell? She goes to a different school. And why are you pretending to be a girl?”


“I had to be sure she was telling me the truth.”


“Was she?”


“Yes.”


“So why are you still pretending to be a girl?”


“She’s kinda… flirting with me.”


“Dude. No. You can’t do this to her.”


“Just a little longer, then Lisa will disappear.”


“I want to be on the record saying, ‘This is a bad idea’,” Ryan finally said, turning his attention to his lunch.


Tristan still didn’t get lunch and returned his focus to his phone and Ava.


“Do you have any pictures?” Ava asked.


Tristan realized Ryan was right and he was digging himself into a hole. But he wasn’t ready to stop. He considered saying he didn’t have any on his phone, but realized that was a lame excuse and she’d see through that lie. “I have a friend who’s a photographer. I have some really good ones but they’re not on my phone. I promise I can send you some later.”


* * *


When Tristan got home, he was hungry due to skipping lunch, so he got a snack from the kitchen, then went straight for the laptop and pulled up an AI photo generator. He had an image in his head of what “Lisa” should look like. 5’8”. Dirty-blonde hair with pink highlights halfway down her back. He started plugging those stats into the AI generator.


It took about ten tries of Tristan adjusting stats and adding more details, but he was finally staring at a photo of Lisa. He was amazed at the work. The photo looked like a real person. Then he made several more in different poses and different settings.


He then sent a few to Ava and patiently waited.


An hour later, Ava responded. “Oh, wow, Lisa, you’re so cute!”


Tristan smiled with pride from his work.


“Tell me again, how are you single?” she added.


“Well, I’m moving to your neck of the woods shortly,” Tristan responded. I didn’t want to get into anything and risk having a long distance relationship.


“You’re so cool. I can’t wait to meet you.”


Tristan stared at Ava’s last message. The excitement he was feeling suddenly hit a realistic brick wall. Lisa could never meet Ava and this game would have to end.


He picked up his phone and called Ryan.


“Hey man, what’s up?” Ryan answered.


“I fucked up, dude.”


“What are you talking about?” 


“I was having too much fun as Lisa. I sent Ava AI pictures of a cute girl. Now she wants to meet Lisa in person. What do I do?”


“Call the whole thing off.”


“I can’t do that.”


“Why not?”


“I’m too invested in this.”


“But you can’t meet her as yourself.”


Tristan suddenly had thoughts of pretending to be Lisa. Could he pull it off? “What if I pretended to be her?”


“You’re going to dress as a girl? No offense, dude, but she’d know it was you in an instant.”


Tristan was silent as he tried to figure out how to make this work. Meanwhile, on the laptop, the website for the AI photographs was still up. There was a flashing banner ad on the bottom. “Make your creation come to life!”


Tristan curiously clicked on it and he was taken to “Skincognito” a company that produces realistic body suits. “A body suit?” he questioned out loud.


“A what?” Ryan asked from the phone. “What’s a body suit?”


“This website here says they could make a realistic body suit of my AI image.”


“That can’t be real. Even if it was, you’d look fake! Not to mention, creepy.”


“Listen, I’ll call you back,” Tristan said, hanging up the phone.


He searched the site. He looked at images and reviews praising Skincognito. 


Apparently Skincognito was originally used by the government. One was a spy agency. The other was the witness protection program.


He suddenly got excited that this could work. The biggest question was, “how much?”


Tristan found the price. “Five hundred dollars?” he yelled incredulously at the laptop. He stood up and was about to close the laptop when he thought of the possibility of actually going on a date with Ava. He had enough money in his bank account from Christmas.


“Let me just fill out this form first before I make a decision,” Tristan told himself. He filled out the form, giving the website Lisa’s measurements. He used one of his favorite young actresses as a template. Female, 5' 8", Long dirty blonde hair with pink highlights, blue eyes, 36D bust, size 9 shoe. He then uploaded the AI images he created. 


The next screen asked for the wearer’s measurements. Tristan put his own measurements in. Male, 5’ 10”, size 11 shoe, and pressed submit. He wondered what would happen if the wearer was bigger than the suit.


The payment screen was staring at him. Suddenly a “5% Discount” offer popped on the screen. “Surely that was a sign,” he thought.


That was still a lot of money. And no guarantee of success. But he wanted to do this. He needed to do this.


He then filled in his bank account number and hit submit.


The confirmation page came up, telling him his body suit would be ready in two weeks.


That’s when Tristan replied to Ava. “I’d love to meet you. I should be in town in a couple of weeks!’



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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for me 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

Oof. Big yikes on the catfishing.
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Emily

Yup. Many of characters have been flawed individuals, needed to undergo some self-reflective journey.
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marter

I know. I just hope her crush is understanding
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