Good Friend, Girlfriend

Good Friend, Girlfriend
By Paul Calhoun

A spiritual sequel to Best Friend, Boyfriend. A girl who doesn't think she's good looking is after a boy who only dates beautiful blondes. Cue the entry of Michael Falkner, latex matchmaker.

There may be another segment to this in which the new boyfriend tries on the girlsuit. Depends on how the story is received.

“See something you like?”

Eliza looked over her left shoulder and saw Kim sitting behind her on the bleachers. “You know I do.”

Eliza looked back out at the track where the team was practicing. Vic Mobrey was leading the group, his long strides eating up the distance as his brown hair streamed out behind him.
“One of these days you are going to have to ask him out.”

Eliza shook her head, her own black hair barely clearing the back of her neck. “He’d only say no and it would be really awkward after that. I like being friends with him too much to risk it.” He sighed as Vic took a break to pick up his newest girlfriend — a slim, leggy blonde like all the others had been — and give her a kiss. “They all look like that. It’s strange, isn’t it?” She said to Kim.

“You mean how he always manages to find one?”

“No, that he bothers with them at all. Vic’s handsome, smart, sophisticated. He’s really nice, but shallow about who he dates. It doesn’t matter who they are, they have to look like she does. Who is that, anyway?”

“I think her name is Justine but she insists everyone call her Kandi. One of the real airheads.”

“That’s what I mean. We’re good friends, he enjoys talking to me and I like him. We have way more in common than he does with her. It doesn’t matter! All he wants from a date is that bizarre ideal cheerleader type. If he weren’t so damn cute he’d have run out by now but they flock to him from other schools! Most of them end up going with him for about a week and then bore him to death so they break up. Of course he never learns, just goes on to the next Valley Girl who crosses his path. Damn, but I want him!”

Kim rolled her eyes but kept silent. She knew Eliza was right. Even if she lost weight and wore a wig, she still wouldn’t have the figure to attract Vic Mobrey’s attention. He wanted a Barbie doll and that was something Eliza could never be.

After track practice, Eliza was sitting in the library with Vic opposite her. They met at least once a week to study and do homework together with Vic usually contributing more to art and history and Eliza to math and science. Neither were very good at second languages and Vic had long since given up on trying to help Eliza with gym.

Vic might have used the time simply to help with his grades, but for Eliza it was something she looked forward to all week. Having Vic that close made her heart race even after months of being his study partner and she took any excuse she could manage to brush his hand. He must have thought her very clumsy since she was constantly letting her pen roll over to his side of the table. When he was reading, she always took the opportunity to stare at him.

This time he seemed distracted and finally dropped the subject of Laplace's Demon to ask Eliza, “Listen, you’re the only girl I’ve known for more than two months who I can talk to. Is there something wrong with me?”

“Uh,” Eliza tried not to blush, stammer or say something embarrassing. “No, you’re a very nice person.”

“Then why do all my girlfriends leave me? Better yet, why are none of them as interesting as you are?”

Eliza’s lips thinned and she let some of her frustration show. “Do you want me to be honest or tactful?”

“Honest.”

“Give a good hard think as to what they all have in common other than not being as interesting as me. Thank you, by the way.”

Vic sat for a long minute pondering. “I have no idea.”

“You really haven’t noticed?”

“No.”

Eliza stared at him, then started to laugh. “If you ever work it out, that’s your answer. I’d tell you, but I don’t think it would do you any good to hear it from me. The day you notice what all your former girlfriends have in common — and I mean all of them — is the day you’ll stop having problems with keeping them. Now, one problem with the Demon concept is that the universe itself acts as a limiting factor based on the various constants. These change, of course, but not enough to make the Demon a real programmable possibility…“

When Eliza got home, there was a surprising email waiting for her.

From: Falkner, Michael

Subject: It’s yours if you want it

Eliza,
I had a certain amount of trouble with this one. On one hand, I’ve always tried to provide for people who I can tell are in love. My problem was with the endgame. Suppose you get the attention of Mr. Mobrey, then what? You can hardly build a long lasting relationship with someone when they don’t know it’s you. You’ll still be yourself, but in a different package and that presents surprising difficulty down the road. Take my word for it. The longer you hide yourself, the harder it becomes to tell him later on. If you were to try to be a supermodel for him permanently, then what happens if you want to marry him? Live with him and drive somewhere with a license that looks nothing like you?
In the end, the models suggest that your Vic will understand when the time comes, so I’ll sell you the suit if you’re still willing to abide by my conditions: Take my advice seriously and when the time comes, don’t rely on the suit to make you happy.
Mike

Eliza was stunned. She’d heard rumors about Falkner’s work from some people she’d interviewed for a class project on the transgender movement. She’d contacted him and at his request explained why she wanted a costume that could make her appear to be a classically beautiful blonde. She’d been desperate at the time and later on had regretted it. She didn’t want to get Vic by lying to him; it didn’t seem worth it. Now that she’d been offered the chance, though, she had to take it. It wasn’t like she couldn’t back out later. Vic was so used to girls breaking up with him that she could leave at any time and he’d never know it was her. Eliza took a deep breath and told Falkner she wanted to buy his skinsuit.

The next two weeks were full of anticipation and demands for measurements of Eliza’s body. Some of the things Falkner wanted to know involves angles and lengths that Eliza had never even thought of as needing to be known. Some seemed physically impossible to get by herself, but she was determined not to let anyone know that she was doing this, not to mention how embarrassing it would have been to ask a friend to put rulers in some of the places she had to. She was astonished when less than a month after sending the last nude photo of herself, the package came. Eliza had barely managed to get the large box into her room without her mother seeing her at it. She didn’t dare to open it until the next weekend when her parents went out to the movies.

Eliza had given Falkner free reign when she ordered the costume and he’d left the end product to be a surprise. She had to fight down a feeling of jealousy when she took out the one-piece outfit. Jealousy at an empty skin because even with empty eye sockets and completely flat, the girl she pulled out of the box was prettier than she was. She’d told Falkner she wanted a blonde whose appearance screamed ‘cheerleader!’ and that was exactly what she’d received. The costume’s hair was golden blonde and the skin was lightly tanned. Eliza could see how it would make her lips fuller and it had eyelash extensions built in but she wondered how her wide nose would fit into the cute button on the costume’s face. She was also a little worried at how the breasts were so much firmer in appearance and rounder if not as big. In relation to the body, they were larger than hers, but with her zaftig build, that still meant a significant reduction.

The mask hang down and the rest of the costume seemed to roll on like an enormous pair of stockings. Eliza sat down, gathered the left foot up and slid her foot into the suit’s. She saw that the nails were painted a bright pink and wondered if she’d been a little too heavy on the cheerleader requests. The legs stretched over hers and she was disappointed by how little it seemed to squeeze her. Her legs were barely any smaller! She didn’t allow herself to be too disappointed and continued standing up to pull the costume up over her crotch and hips, the tube inside spreading her cheeks as the rim around the inside of the false vagina merged the suit’s privates with her own. Again, it stretched more than compressed and Eliza was continuously contemplating asking for a refund as the taut-appearing belly of the costume expanded to almost the same dimensions as her own. She squeezed her nipples into the costume’s before wriggling her shoulders in so that her arms and hands could travel into the suit’s. She stretched and moved her arms around so that it settled on her, seeing that the nails on each finger were also pink. The mask went over her face and when the nostril tubes were in place and the eyelids stuck to hers, she found the miniscule zipper that went around the back of her new neck to secure the mask to the body.

The girl in the mirror was an improvement, she admitted, but hardly the svelte bimbo image that would get Vic Mobrey’s attention. Eliza looked hopefully in the box, but there was only a letter.

‘Dear Eliza,

You’re probably in the suit already and that’s for the best. It’s easier to explain once you’re inside. If you’ve gotten over the initial disappointment, you might have noticed something digging into the back of your neck just above the zipper track. Press it and say ‘Hither green anbairn claideblunanockt’ to get the result you requested. If you get what you desired, you’ll be very intimate with the boy, so I had to make the password something no one was ever going to say while simultaneously pressing on your neck. Not unless your new beau is a Willow fan trying to turn you into a real girl or possibly a goat! It’s a toggle, so do the same to turn it off.
Good luck and try not to lie for too long before you tell him who you really are.’

Eliza pressed the place she’d only just noticed and said the words. A few eternal fugues of agony later, she saw a disheveled goddess propping herself up on her elbows in the mirror, her almond eyes looking through a glorious mane of blonde hair. Her full lips were parted slightly in an expression that screamed sexual desire even though what she really felt was squeezed into far too small a container. In fact, Eliza thought as the woman in the mirror got up and tossed her hair back, almost any action had sexual overtones in this body. Falkner had obviously decided to make Eliza’s new body a cheerleader ideal for the NFL crowd rather high school. She had to admit that she felt her confidence rising just looking at her reflection.

Steadying herself on her bed, Eliza rose to her feet. Standing with her petite new nose almost touching her mirror, she moved through wonder as she moved and saw the blonde goddess to the same, curiosity as she turned, twisted and poked herself to see just how realistic her new body was, glee when she realized how she was going to get a date with Vic for sure, smug confidence knowing that no other girl was going to stand a chance against the new Eliza and finally buyer’s remorse when it occurred to her that not only did this new body cost a lot of money, it would cost yet more to get the right clothes for it. On the other hand, the new Eliza thought, a slow grin that would have had Vic all over her in a second spreading over her face, she now had a figure that would look amazing in lingerie.

“I guess you’ll have to make do in my ‘fat’ clothes,” she pouted, then covered her full new lips with her delicate new fingers. “Makes sense,” she said in her mellifluous new alto voice. “We can’t have Vic knowing who we are, do we?” She licked her lips, enjoying how her new face made it look like a come on. “Vic.” She said again. “Vic!” She almost shouted. “Oh, Vic!” She giggled, enjoying how she now sounded cute and flirtatious. “I could say your name all day with this voice, Vic Mobrey.”

Eliza was worried about going to the mall since that’s where the movie theater was, then laughed her beautiful girl’s laugh. All her parents would see if they saw her at all was a stunning young woman in clothing that they might think looked a bit like their daughter’s. In fact, she thought with a secret smile, she might find an excuse to bump into them on purpose just to watch her parents walk away without realizing that the swan they’d just met was their own duckling.

Clad in sweatpants that almost fit her, sneakers that did and a ridiculously oversized T-shirt (none of her bras came close to fitting her and her panties tended to fall off), Eliza set out for the mall on foot. It wasn’t a long walk and despite the temptations of seeing how well this body flirted out of tickets, Eliza didn’t feel ready to drive without a license that showed her new face. For the first time in her life, she felt like the people staring at her weren’t judging her on how fat she was and she waved shyly at a group of boys who had stopped on the other side of the street and started shouting rude things to her. She didn’t mind. She was pretty. She deserved it.

Entering the first store, Eliza realized she’d have to be very careful now. She’d saved up for over a year to buy the suit and had a little left over, but not enough to buy an entire wardrobe immediately. She thought about her priorities as she luxuriated in looking at clothes with single digit sizes. In the end, she walked out of the store wearing a new pair of jeans and a scoop-neck green T-shirt. She still had yet to buy any undergarments and though the costume had some support, she wanted a bit more. Her first thought was to buy a few items at a larger department store, but as she passed a lingerie boutique, she knew she had to go in.

She’d always felt self conscious shopping for clothing and had never dared go into a place like this for fear of being laughed at for wanting sexy underwear with a figure like hers. Now she was chatting to the sales girl and comparing items while laughing and talking about the effect it would have on the boyfriend she was about to get. She only needed the occasional glance in nearby reflective surfaces to sustain her confidence and she walked out with a bag as well as the black lace two piece set she’d bought and put on in the dressing room.

Several skirts, blouses, jeans, slacks and dresses later, she was buying a pair of high heeled leather slingbacks to go with her new look. A fleeting glimpse of a familiar face had her paying for them as well as the pumps she’d been eying and running after the retreating back of Vic Mobrey. Eliza opened her mouth, then slowed down so she could enjoy the view of Vic’s rear end. After taking the sights in, Eliza called, “Vic!”

Vic turned around and Eliza almost melted when he looked her up and down, then smiled. “Hello. I’d ask if we’d met, but I’m sure I’d remember.”

Eliza blushed, but her new face only showed a tiny bit of added color. Enough to be attractive without the excessive blotchiness she saw in the mirror. “My name’s — uh — Lizzy.” She said. “I’ve seen you on the track and I had to say hi when I saw you.” She realized that her position was getting weaker and she put her free hand to her mouth and giggled. “You must have a lot of people come up to you and say that.”

“Not that many,” Vic smiled wider. “And certainly not many as pleasant to meet as you.”

The overwhelming confidence that had spurred Eliza to approach Vic without any plan flared again at that. “I was headed to the coffee shop if you’d like to join me.”

“I’d very much like that.” Vic replied and extended an arm.

Eliza suppressed a squeal and took the arm with a smile. She was tempted to start cuddling up to him there and then, but she was still a little nervous and it seemed a desperate move since he obviously wanted her anyway.

Eliza was so busy looking into Vic’s eyes as she explained that she’d just moved and was going to school on the other side of town that she picked up the coffee cup and took a drink without thinking about it. It didn’t help that though the costume’s skin transmitted sensation, it did so with a lag just long enough that she didn’t feel the heat from the cup before sipping. When she almost spit the liquid back out, Vic leaned forward and put his hand on her free one. “Are you OK?”

“Yeah,” Eliza said, definitely glad that the mask didn’t show how much she was blushing. “I’m fine.” She looked down at Vic’s hand and her embarrassment turned to ecstasy when Vic flushed and pulled it back. She found, in fact, that if anything Vic seemed more nervous of her than she’d been of him and that his discomfort seemed to only increase as her confidence soared. She talked to him about his track meets, politics and celebrities.
When both of their drinks had been gone for a long time, Vic looked around and got up. “Sorry, Lizzie,” he said, and inside Eliza melted at the way he said her assumed name. “I have to get going if I want to get my homework done this weekend.”
“If you’re having trouble with math, I’m sure I can help,” Eliza said and then almost all of her newfound inner strength fled when she saw the look on Vic’s face.
“How’d you know I needed help with math?” He said.
“Women’s intuition?” Eliza said, smiling and trying to pass the incident off.
“Right,” Vic looked at her askance. He shook his head and said, “I’d love to go out with you sometime. What’s your number?”
“Uh,” The lack of planning of this encounter was suddenly giving Eliza a lot of trouble. “Listen, why don’t I call you?”

Vic’s face fell. “Oh. All right.”

Eliza jumped up and grabbed his hand. “Oh, no! It’s not like that at all. It’s just that my phone isn’t working too well right now. How about we go to Irian’s next Saturday? Seven?”

Vic’s smile brought an involuntary grin to Eliza’s face. “Sure. Sounds great.”

Eliza was walking on air as she left the mall and paused to close her eyes, breathe deeply and let the sun warm Lizzie’s face and then hers. Then her eyes opened wide as she realized that while Lizzie might have been rebuffed as a study partner Eliza had agreed to meet Vic in about an hour to help him. Switching to a brisk trot, Eliza made her way back home and quickly stowed her new purchases where her parents wouldn’t see them if they looked in her room. She’d put them away properly later. She undressed, throwing those new purchases on top of the ones she hadn’t worn yet.

Her finger was on the back of her neck when she saw herself in the mirror and thought about how Vic would enjoy the view she was getting now. Slowly, her hand left her neck and strayed between her legs. She was beginning to imagine what Vic would do about it and her other hand grasped a firm breast. “Oh Vic,” she said. She lowered her lashes and tried again. “Oh, Vic.” She purred. “Do I want you to take advantage?” A smile crept across her face and her lips parted slightly. “Do you want me to want you?”

The warmth was spreading over her body and she was about to fall backwards onto her bed to get full enjoyment of being her intended boyfriend’s dream when she heard the door open. Her parents were home! The warmth fled and she pressed the back of her neck. “Wait, what was it?” She turned and scrabbled through the packing material in the box she’d left on the floor. Tearing the page out, she stuck her finger back on the spot and said, “Hither green anbairn claideblunanockt.” Nothing happened. “Hither green anbairn claideblunanockt!” She almost cried as she heard the door close. She felt the costume loosen almost imperceptibly, then it began to stretch around her as her inside body was released and pressed on her outside body. She undid the mask even while parts of her were still attractively slim and struggled to stretch the neck enough to begin the process of pulling it down over her body. She kicked the still warm mass into the closet and closed the door, putting on her normal clothes just in time to open the door to her mother’s knock.

“Don’t you have a study session with Vic?” She asked.

“Oh yeah, mom.” Eliza said. “I’d almost forgotten.”

Eliza sat across from Vic at the kitchen table at his house. Vic had never invited Eliza into his room and there were times that she was relieved by that. She was horribly afraid that stepping into a place steeped in his smell and presence would be too much for her.

“Right, so if y is the cosine of x plus two minus the sine of x…” Vic trailed off, chewing on his pencil. At first he seemed to concentrate, but then he slipped into an obvious daydream.

“Uh, Vic?” Eliza asked. He’d lost his concentration before, but this was the sixth problem in a row.

Vic started and shook his head. “Oh! Sorry. I’ve got a lot on my mind.”

Eliza cheered inside. On the outside, she asked pleasantly, “Anything you want to talk about?”

“It’s…” Vic paused. “I met this girl…” Another long pause. “I don’t know. It’s really weird.”

“The girl is weird?” Eliza asked, knowing that wasn’t what Vic meant.

“No! She’s wonderful!” Eliza fought down a rising heat in her face at that. “I mean that it’s weird that I think that. I met her today, I only talked to her for an hour or two but I felt like I’ve known her for years. For the first time since I started dating, I ended up so afraid to ask her out that she had to ask me!” Vic was smiling in a way that Eliza recognized all too well from her mirror whenever she thought about Vic. “I can tell just from sitting and talking to her that she’s smart, funny, kind, everything. She’s also fantastically good looking.” His brow furrowed. “You know, you two would get along. She sort of reminds me of you.”

Eliza knew she shouldn’t, but she had to ask. “Maybe you’re in love.”

Vic laughed. “It’s strange, but maybe I am. I’ve gone with so many girls and none of them have felt so right and it was only over coffee a couple hours ago. Is that silly?”

“No,” Eliza said. “I think it’s very romantic.” She prodded him a little more. “Where are you going?”

“Um. Irian’s.” Vic said.

“I hope you have something nice to wear.”

“Of course!” Vic was frowning again. “Do you think I should bring her anything? It’s only the first date but I really want to impress her.”

“No, I don’t think that will be necessary. Maybe if you two hit it off, you can think of that for a second date.” Eliza said. She didn’t need anything more than Vic, after all. Though her new body would look nice with a delicate locket, possibly with a picture of her and Vic on their first date. “You should bring a camera, though.” She said to Vic. “You never know if this might be something you’ll want a photo of to show off later on.”

“Do you think so?”

“If she’s as special as you say, I do think so, yes.”

It was five thirty the next Saturday and Eliza was checking herself over in the mirror and Lizzie looked back, a self-satisfied expression on her face. No matter how hard she tried, Eliza couldn’t think of herself as Lizzie. Fundamentally, they weren’t really different people, after all. Lizzie was just Eliza with a pretty face and a tendency to avoid certain topics. Though now she had an email address, online profile and separate phone, Lizzie’s likes, dislikes, tastes in music and so forth were all copied straight from Eliza’s accounts. She’d debated about that but when she sent Falkner an account of her first day out as Lizzie, he’d told her that the less she deviated from herself when wearing her Lizzie appearance, the better it would be. ‘Let Vic notice how alike you two are. It’ll make it easier later.’ Whatever that meant. Eliza was pretty sure that Vic wasn’t going to dump Lizzie for her. Lizzie was pretty in a lot of ways.

Eliza had never owned a bra and panty set as sexy as the ones she put on that night. Seeing Lizzie in the mirror sliding the panties over her legs and settling her breasts into the cups of her new bra still felt strange. She was the girl in the mirror, yet that girl looked so much more relaxed, confident in herself. She also felt a pleasant chill ripple through her body whenever one of her parents walked by the door. Little did they know what their daughter was doing and who she had become. Her fingers absently massaged her crotch as she thought about how she was going to duck past them. They knew Eliza was going out tonight, but it wouldn’t do for them to catch Lizzie on her way to the door.

Eliza couldn’t help wanting to show off her Lizzie figure on her first date with Vic, so the dress was as brief as possible while still being a sit down dinner dress rather than a bedroom costume or a provocative evening gown. The short sleeves served as a counterweight to the scoop neck that showed off just how perfectly shaped her boobs were. A wide elastic belt brought the dress in to hug her small waist and allowed the layers of the skirt to fall down to mid-thigh. Eliza hoped that she remembered how to walk and sit in such a short skirt. She smiled at the thought that though she wouldn’t mind giving Vic a quick peek at Lizzie’s lingerie, it wouldn’t do for everyone to get that same show. Her slingbacks made the outfit a little less dressy. She didn’t want to look too formal on a first date. The rest of the time before her cab arrived was spent trying different shades of makeup on Lizzie’s face.

When the time came, she picked up her nicest purse and cracked the door. No one there. Walking swiftly, she made it to the door and heard, “Have a nice time, Liz.” From her dad as she locked up. The cab was necessary since she couldn’t drive and didn’t want to walk to the restaurant in her heels. Especially not with it getting darker and her dressed up and looking so inviting to any passing predator. She expected that by the end of the evening, she’d have Vic ready to offer her a ride. If she’d had any way to contact him beforehand, she was sure she could have already. All week, at least once a day when they were studying, Vic would say something about Lizzie to Eliza. No, he was definitely looking forward to the date and Eliza had begun to lose her patience by the end of the week in calming him down whenever he started to wonder if he was going to be stood up. As if any sane girl would do that!

The ride to the restaurant was uneventful, though Eliza was starting to get a little annoyed by how the driver stared at her. When she leaned forward to give him the fare, she almost felt the heat of the intensity of his regard on her semi-fake chest. She saw Vic waiting for her and made sure to extend her right leg out every so slowly before turning and putting both feet on the ground. Vic was at her side before her left food touched the pavement and Eliza felt like a princess as he took her hand and helped her out of the car. He even closed the door for her and only let his light hold on her arm go when he held the door of the restaurant. Eliza knew that she was supposed to be using her new appearance to get the upper hand on him, but everything Vic did made her want to get closer, to feel those athletic arms around her and those lips on hers…

Eliza had no idea how she had ended up sitting down across from Vic. Somewhere between their linking arms again and him pulling the chair back for her and then pushing it under her reshaped rear she’d fallen into a dream. Now with Vic apparently speechlessly looking into her eyes as she did the same with him, she knew that the whole night was going to be one long fantasy. Eliza had never been a tactile sort of person, but it seemed the most natural thing to her when she put her hand on Vic’s and said, “See something you like? I know I do.”

Vic looked away. “Sorry. I can’t seem to stop looking into your eyes.”

Eliza grasped his hand harder and he looked back at her. “It’s fine, Vic. I think it’s nice.” Considering all the other things she’d given Vic to look at, the fact that he was focused on her face made Eliza feel even more special. “Maybe we should talk about something.”

Vic opened his mouth, but at that moment the waitress arrived and they ordered drinks. Having finally said more than a sentence in her presence, Vic seemed to relax a little. He still looked like he was struggling to find something to say. Eliza had the advantage of knowing exactly how Vic felt about Lizzie and how he’d behaved that week, so she wasn’t afraid of sounding too clingy when she said, “I’ve been thinking about you all week.” As true that week as any other.

“Me too.” Vic said. “Is it pathetic that I’ve been so nervous that I needed a friend of mine to keep me from completely freaking out?”

“No!” Eliza said. “It’s good that you’re willing to share that. And I’m flattered that you would be so worried about this date.”

“It’s strange. She said almost the same thing.” Vic smiled. “Anyway, enough about that.” Their discussion continued in the same veins as the week before and Eliza didn’t remember what she’d ordered for dinner a few minutes later and barely noticed what she was eating when it arrived. She was too busy talking to Vic. The problem was that whenever they got into details about her life, she had trouble making sure that everything agreed. It was even worse when they talked about things that she as Eliza had discussed with him and several times that evening, Vic commented how his friend Eliza had said the same thing.

Eliza was also having difficulty eating. Despite enjoying her food and Vic’s company, her Lizzie costume squeezed her fat into her abdomen, making consumption of any food uncomfortable. She smiled apologetically at the waiter when he took her mostly full plate and only asked for coffee when Vic ordered dessert. If I’m his girlfriend for very long, I may lose some weight. She thought.

When the check came, Vic tried to take it. “No, that’s fine,” he said when he saw Lizzie reaching for it.

“I think I ought to pay for my half.”

“Really, let me.”

They stared at each other for a few seconds and Vic smiled sheepishly. “Fine.” He put down his half and Eliza did the same. He got up and offered Lizzie a hand to rise, but before she could take it, he said, “Wait! I almost forgot.” He took a slim camera out of his pocket. “Do you think it’d be weird if I wanted a picture?”

“You mean to show people when we get married?” Lizzie asked playfully. “Here we are on our first date and that?”

“Uhhh…” Vic looked even more embarrassed. “I didn’t mean it to be like that. It’s just that you’re so beautiful and I really have a good feeling about this and-“

Eliza reached up and put a finger on his lips. She slid to the end of the booth and patted the cushion. “Sit down. I’d love to.” It wasn’t until she felt the warmth of his body next to her and the comforting embrace of his arm around her that Eliza thought about how flustered he’d been. Now that he was so close to her, she couldn’t help but almost grin as Vic held the camera out in his free hand. She hoped she didn’t look too lovestruck. When he turned the camera around so she could see, Eliza saw Vic with an attractive blonde girl. Both of them were smiling warmly and seemed totally at ease with being so close. The warm feeling of seeing herself with Vic acting so naturally close to him kept her from reaching out as he removed his arm from around her shoulders and got up.

Eliza was walking on air as she took his hand and followed him out to his car. She thought nothing of telling him where she lived and letting him drive her home and when he got out to escort her to her front door, she didn’t think about how she’d led him to the real her’s house nor of how his gentlemanly behavior eroded her feminine independence. For tonight she was a lady. His lady. They stood on her doorstep, staring into each other’s’ eyes again. She knew what she wanted to do but almost froze as she saw he was thinking the same thing. Oh god! He actually wants to kiss me! On the first date! She knew she shouldn’t. That even if Eliza had known Vic for years, Lizzie had only met him a week ago. On the other hand, she’d made no secret when acting as Lizzie that she was interested in something long term and Vic had told Eliza he’d felt like he wanted the same. It couldn’t hurt, could it?

All this was a moot point because as she made the decision to go for it, she found that Vic’s arms were already around her middle, hers around his and that their lips had been pressed together for at least thirty seconds. In fact, it might have been the feeling of light headedness that had finished her internal monologue early. She leaned back and gasped for breath. “Vic! This is a bit fast, isn’t it?” Vic tried to let her go and step back, obviously ready to apologize. Eliza smiled predatorily and took the opportunity to bend him over the porch railing. “I didn’t say I wanted to stop.”

They continued their passionate embrace, each one diving back in whenever the other seemed to be about to stop. Eventually they knew they had to let go and Vic was back in his car waving at Eliza, who continued to lean against the front door long after he’d left. She needed time to come to grips that in the course of a short week, she’d disguised herself as someone pretty, seduced the boy she’d been after for years and ended her first date with a protracted makeout session. Life was good. She sighed once more and entered the house, careful to make sure that her parents had gone to bed. They had and she returned to her room unseen. It was then that she realized that Vic hadn’t said a word about how he’d dropped his girlfriend off at the house of his study partner, two people who claimed to have never met. Whether because he hadn’t noticed in the dark or simply didn’t want to spoil the night with accusations, Eliza didn’t know or care.

Eliza watched Lizzie carefully get undressed and then raise a hand to her neck. The hand fell back down to her side. Vic had kissed those lips and touched this skin. Eliza didn’t want to take off the flesh that had been so close to Vic’s just yet, despite the ache in her belly. Instead, she used one of her ‘Eliza’ T-shirts as a night shirt and climbed into bed. She knew that though Eliza’s dreams were many and varied, Lizzie would dream only about Vic.

“Eliza! Breakfast is getting cold. Eliza, were you really out that — who are you?”

Eliza usually woke up fast and early, but it really had been that late a night and she blinked sleepily at her mother. She felt kind of weird. “Morning, mom.” Then she realized why she felt strange and why her mother was looking at her the way she was. She couldn’t be blamed for being surprised at finding a slim beauty in the bed of her daughter who was cute in a slightly overweight way. “Just a sec.” Eliza pushed on her neck. “Hi — hither green — one more moment.” She fished under her bed and found the sheet. When the costume was loosening and her voice became normal, she addressed the shocked parent. “It’s me. Really, it is.”

Eliza’s mom leaned out the door, “Hector. Give us a few minutes. Women’s problems.” She closed the door. “What’s going on, hon? Why the …” she gestured at the now tightly stretched Lizzie suit. “…this?”

Eliza took a deep breath and told her mother everything from when she’d decided to try the disguise to the previous night, tugging the mask off partway in when she saw how uncomfortable her mother was. She also had to pull off the panties she’d been wearing and switch to looser shorts as her proportions finished taking on their usual shape.

“Wow.” Her mom said. “Just… I mean, there’s doing a stupid thing for a boy, but this really takes it.” She sat down next to Eliza and put her arm around her. “Kiddo, you know this isn’t right.”

Eliza blinked back tears. “Of course it’s not right. But I love Vic and he loves me. I mean, Lizzie is just me in a nicer package. I thought maybe if I got him interested, I could make him see the real me.” She smiled and sniffed. “He really is head over heels, mom.”

Her mother hugged her closer. “So when do you tell him? If he’s so taken with you, you don’t need this do you?”

Eliza looked away. “I like it, though.” She whispered. “I like being me and yet being someone everyone looks at. Not in the ‘look at the fat girl’ way but in the ‘look at that really beautiful woman’ way. I don’t feel bad being me, but I feel better being her.”

“I understand. I can’t fault you for enjoying that feeling. Lord knows I’ve felt better when I knew I could turn heads. What about Vic, though? You can’t string him along like that. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Falkner said the same thing.” Eliza looked at her computer. “I bet if I checked my email right now, there’ll be a message telling me that if my date went well, I should tell Vic before it goes any further. You’re right, mom. I actually sort of wish it’d been harder to get his attention, that I’d have to dress up in this thing a few more times to hook him, but that’s not how it is. I’ll tell him on our next date. “

Eliza’s mother rubbed her shoulders and got up. “Good girl. Now why don’t you get out of that and have some breakfast?”

“Mom?”

“Yes, sweetie?”

“I love you.”

“So, how was your date?” Eliza asked when Vic sat down across from her for one of their study sessions.

Vic looked at her for a moment, and then smiled. “It was great. Thanks for suggesting the camera. Want to see?”

Eliza leaned forward and looked at the picture Vic had taken. She felt the same warmth and joy at seeing it this time as she had the first. “You two make a cute couple.” She said.

“I’m really comfortable with her,” Vic said. “I think I already told you, but I feel like I’ve known her forever.” He laughed. “Then again, she seems to share a lot in common with you, so that’s no surprise.”

“Sounds like a smart girl,” Eliza grinned. “And a good match.”

“Yeah, she is.” Vic seemed lost in thought for a minute. “She really is.”

“Do you have another date set up yet?”

“Oh, yeah. I messaged her yesterday and we’re going to Jim and Leo’s this weekend.”

“Can you afford that?” Eliza asked, doing her best to feign surprise. She’d been properly impressed when he’d offered dinner there to Lizzie.

“For her, I’ll manage.” He looked away and then back at Eliza. “I was thinking of framing the picture in a pendant and giving it to her. Do you think that’s a good idea on a second date?”

“It sounds really nice,” Eliza said. She’d wanted something like that and she felt a bittersweet feeling in her throat at the thought that if she told Vic the truth that night and he walked out on her, at least she’d have that to remember her brief happiness with him. Neither of them noticed for a moment that Eliza had put her hand on Vic’s. She pulled back and blushed, and Vic looked at her for a long moment before shrugging.

“I hope Lizzie thinks the same way. We’ve been going fast, but I’m still afraid of scaring her off.”

“Trust me, it’s sweet.” Eliza replied.

“I’m really nervous about this.” Vic said. “What should I wear?”

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll look great in anything, sweetie.” Eliza replied absently, thinking more about her math problem than Vic at that moment.

“Uh…”

Eliza colored, then said, “I mean, I’m sure she’ll think you’re sweet in anything.”

“Uh-huh.” Vic said. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Later that week, Eliza was watching Vic on the track and waiting for him to finish so they could study together again when Kim sat down next to her. “All right, what’s going on?”

“Hm?” Eliza grunted, turning away from watching Vic.

“Liz, don’t try to pretend that something hasn’t happened. You look at him like you already own him. You’re happier than I’ve ever seen you and it doesn’t make sense. I’m happy that you’re happy, but you’ve got to spill what’s in the works.” Kim touched Eliza’s arm. “BFFs, remember?”

Eliza looked around. “All right,” she whispered, “but don’t tell anyone, OK?”

“Cross my heart,” Kim said, doing so.

“Vic and I are dating.”

“WHAT?” Kim shouted.

“Way to be discreet,” Eliza said deadpan.

“Liz, this is big! Really big! I mean, how? Why? When?”

“Subterfuge, because we love each other and our first date was last weekend.”

Kim’s brow wrinkled. “That can’t be right. Rumor is that Vic was dating some mystery girl he was head over heels with. Someone he met a week or two back named — ooooh.” Kim cleared her throat. “Uh, Liz, the rumor is that his new girlfriend is even more his type than usual. Wasp figure, nice rack, the works.”

Eliza winked. “I clean up nicely when I want to.” She got up. “Vic’s done. Keep this quiet for awhile. Neither of us are ready to let anyone else know.” Hell, but I’m not ready to let Vic know yet. She thought.

Lizzie looked back and Eliza once again as she stood admiring herself in the mirror. Eliza couldn’t help it. Even now, as nervous as she was, Lizzie looked confident and hot. She looked good and felt good. Eliza could never have imagined ever looking as good naked as Lizzie did and she felt the confidence that came with the sure knowledge that disguised as she was, she could turn the head of any heterosexual male in town. She only looked better as she fastened up her underwear and pulled a light dress over her head. She’d decided that if she was going to come out to Vic that night, she’d spend the day getting ready physically and mentally. That meant it was time for Lizzie to go shopping again. Between the new makeup and clothes she’d buy and the attention she’d get while doing it, she’d be as strong as she could be that night when she admitted to Vic that the slim figure and perfect proportions were a lie. She just hoped she would be strong enough to take whatever came after.

The click of her heels, the swish of her dress as her hips moved back and forth with her stride. Everything felt better when she was Lizzie. More right. She waved, giggled and smiled her way to the mall and had so much fun buying what she needed that she was surprised when everything was in a big bag and she was ready to leave. She saw Vic exiting a high end men’s clothing store and decided to give him a surprise. As silently as her heels would allow her, she stalked Vic until she was just behind him, then dropped her bag and put her hands around him. “Surprise, sweetie!”

Vic dropped his own bag and turned around in Lizzie’s arms. “Hi!” He returned the embrace and leaned in for a deep kiss. “I was hoping I’d surprise you with what I was wearing.”

“I won’t look in your bag if you don’t look in mine,” Lizzie said, winking.

Their hands seemed to have a life of their own as they found each other and their fingers twined together. Lizzie walked with Vic out to his car and graciously accepted a ride home. She knew that she was a fool to trust her luck twice in that, but with Vic’s hand on hers and the feel of his lips still fresh, she had to admit that she was a fool. She didn’t really care. Vic pulled up and Eliza saw that Vic was as deep as she was and hadn’t noticed where he’d stopped. She kissed him goodbye and it broke her heart to think that she could have stayed Lizzie forever and he’d never have noticed the odd mistakes and hints. In that moment the resolve she was looking for solidified. She would tell him that night. She couldn’t have his love at that cost. It would feel like love most of the time, but those moments like these where she saw clearly would be too much. She waved and quickly went into her house. She had to hide from that smile, those eyes. She couldn’t face them with those thoughts in her mind.

Vic called her that evening. “Do you mind if we met at my house?”

Eliza’s heart raced. “I’m not going to meet your parents, am I?” She said, trying to sound like she was making a joke.

“I thought we might wait for the third or fourth date,” Vic said, sounding amused. “No, I — I have something to show you.”

They traded sweet nothings before Eliza hung up. She was almost finished getting dressed and snapped the buckles on her new blue heels before putting the last touches on her evening makeup and starting out. Vic’s house wasn’t so far that she was afraid, and he was waiting for her at the door. “You look amazing,” he said, taking in the knee length blue silk dress, the narrow straps and hair which Eliza had spent over an hour forcing it to go up in a twist before spilling down over her shoulders.

“You’re looking handsome tonight, yourself,” she replied. He was. Vic had obviously taken pains with his perfectly ironed black jacket, completely smooth face and freshly washed hair.

“My parents went out tonight themselves. I just wanted you to come in for a moment.”

“OK.” Eliza wasn’t sure what Vic wanted, but she followed him in. She continued to follow him and started to understand when he led her to a door and opened it, motioning her to follow him in. Eliza had never been invited into Vic’s room; she knew he was very private about that. She wasn’t sure how much to show as Lizzie, since the slim blonde her didn’t know how much trust Vic was showing. Eliza understood why when she saw the pink painted walls, the obviously feminine clothes hanging in the closet and the plush four-poster bed. Eliza had never had such a girly room herself.

“It all belonged to my sister.” Vic said, looking firmly at the floor. “She was eighteen when she drowned. I was six and slept in what’s now my dad’s den. We all took it really hard and eventually I moved in here. I think my parents couldn’t stand cleaning it out or leaving it empty. I kept it clean and over time started sleeping in the bed. Mom broke down in tears the first time she saw me in Deborah’s prom dress. Mostly I just live here and take care of her things, but once in a while I’ll put some of it on and mom will help me with the makeup and for an hour or two, she’ll have Deborah back. Once or twice a year, we even go out. Somewhere no one will recognize us.” He turned and looked hard at Lizzie. “You’re the first person other than my parents who’s been in here since she died. I … I couldn’t tell anyone else, but I’m so sure you’re the one. That you’d understand.”

Eliza stood frozen in place. What Vic had shown her — that trust. She began to cry and hugged Vic close. She’d wanted to tell him over dinner, when they were talking and laughing and it felt right. But it felt right now. She couldn’t let something like this pass without being honest in her turn, and she only had one thing to repay him with. She said, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” She didn’t know whether she meant dressing up as Lizzie or what had happened to Vic’s sister.

“It’s something I usually don’t think about, but I had to tell you. I couldn’t keep it from you if we were going to be so serious about each other.”

“I know,” Eliza said, pulling away, “and I have something to tell you.” She closed her eyes. “Do you mind if I sit down?”

Vic sat on the bed and patted the mattress next to him. “Please.”

Eliza sat and rested her head on his shoulder. “My secret isn’t so different from yours.” She sighed. “I — I’ve been watching you for such a long time. I’ve wanted you to notice me, but it was always just friendship. I had to try.”

“What are you talking about?” Vic asked.

“Vic, I’m Eliza.” She said. “I found this — this disguise. So I could be someone you’d notice. Someone you’d want.”

She felt Vic freeze up and saw that he was staring at the wall. After a minute, she was afraid she’d have to call an ambulance or slap him, but then he said, “I should explain. Right now I’m fighting a battle on whether I should storm out or kiss you.”

“I didn’t want to hurt you,” Eliza said quietly.

Vic’s jaw clenched. “Holy fuck, Eliza. When you answer a man’s question, you don’t mess around.”

“What?” Eliza’s brow furrowed.

“I asked last month why none of my girlfriends were as nice or interesting as you. And then you asked what the all had in common and I couldn’t answer.” He looked at her and smiled weakly. “I think I get it.” He laughed, a sound tinged with pain. “I wish I could argue with you. Apart from a brown haired girl I liked in first grade, though, I’m totally stumped.” He looked around his room. “Deb looked like you do now. Maybe I just wanted to give my parents a daughter in law that looked like her. I guess I figured if I could do that, I’d be free from having to be her for them. She hasn’t asked in over a year, but there’s always been the expectation that she’ll want one more mother-daughter session before I go to college. Before this room gets closed up again and stays that way. We made a promise, you see, that when I went to college we’d stop trying to bring her back. I know mom’s really looking forward to it.”

Eliza got up. “I’d better go.”

“No.” Vic touched her arm. “We have a date, Eliza.” He smiled and stroked her cheek. “Would you feel more comfortable being you or being Lizzie?”

Eliza smiled back and leaned into his touch. “How about we go out this way and then go out for coffee somewhere with me being me? We’ll be late to dinner otherwise.”

Vic linked arms with her. “All right.” He closed the door behind them. “Thanks.”

“For what?”

“For being patient. And then for opening my eyes when I dragged my feet. Oh, and for not going crazy when you found out how twisted I am.”

Eliza laughed. “It’s sweet. In a really really needs therapy sort of way. Besides, you said yourself that it’s winding down. I never noticed despite being around you most days, so it can’t have taken over your life.” She brushed his lips with hers. “If you promise not to dress as a pretty girl, I’ll do the same.”

“Eliza, you are pretty. You’re just not her.” Vic made a face. “I think dating my sister isn’t very healthy anyway. Come on, let’s go.”

Their dinner conversation had fewer laughs but more depth. The restaurant had a small dance floor and when Vic paid the bill, they spent half an hour in each other’s arms. When the band was playing
Love to Make Music By, Vic drew a slender gold chain with a heart-shaped pendant at the end out of his pocket. “You already know what this is, you dirty cheater,” he said, grinning without a trace of sadness or pain for the first time that night. “It seems a little weird, though. I mean, how are we supposed to show this to people and say it was our first date?”

Eliza laughed and took it from him, fastening it around her neck. “We can say, ‘look how hard I worked to get him. I really loved the blockhead.’”

Vic snorted. “Women.”

“Transvestites.” She countered.

“Cheap shot.”

“Ready to go?”

“Yeah. So back to your house to change into something more comfortable and then maybe we’ll go to the Espresso Café for dessert.” He paused, then chuckled. “How did I miss that sign? You being dropped off at your house whenever I drove you home.”

“Love?”

“Yeah. Sounds right.”

When they were outside her house and Vic was about to get out of the car to help Eliza, he put his hand on her knee. “I know it’s weird, but I’m curious. Can I see the costume once you have it off?”

“Why Vic!” Eliza giggled. “It’s only our second date and you want to see me naked.” She winked. “Let’s wait a little while before we go that far.”

Vic blushed. “I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

Eliza kissed him. “I know.”

When Eliza had changed out of Lizzie and into one of her normal size dresses, she felt self-conscious sitting next to Vic in his car. “Does it feel weird now?”

Vic patted her on the leg. “Not at all, hon. You were pretty much you no matter how you looked.” He glanced at her. “Honestly, Eliza, I feel better going out with you this way. I was starting to feel guilty going with Lizzie. I mean, every time we studied together or went on a date, I felt like I was cheating on one with the other. It didn’t feel fair on you that I was dating your mental doppelganger while having never even considered you before and I enjoyed talking to you so much that having her do the same made me feel like I wasn’t including you in something.”

“I’m still amazed you’re taking it so well.”

“And I’m shocked that you haven’t called the men in white coats on me. I’m obsessive, you’re obsessive and we’ve both done things that were unhealthy for love. Maybe we’ll be good for each other.”

When they stopped and Vic helped Eliza out of the car, she put her arm around him as they walked and rested her head on his shoulder. “I’ve already got what I want. What about you?”

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

“Your mom won’t mind?”

“She likes you. Maybe if you hang around long enough, she’ll start taking you out instead of me.” He stopped and gently turned Eliza so they were looking into each other’s eyes. “I love you. I loved you as Lizzie and I love you as Eliza. That’s not something I could really say about the others. I liked them, I had fun with them, but I didn’t feel like I could talk to them like I do to you. I didn’t show them why I wanted them around. I’m being selfish in some ways, Eliza. I don’t want to be the daughter anymore and I’m just as hopeful that you’ll take that place as I was with them. Is that all right?”

Eliza leaned in and kissed him. “It means I’ll be part of your family. That’s just fine with me.”



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