Short Stories

Interesting Developments

Avery soberly peeked out of the air conditioned waiting room of the Student Body Rental Center. The breeze of a warm, welcoming, mid-fall Saturday fluttered through her short, neon pink hair.

Her first steps out were imprecise and awkward, as if she were learning to walk again. The development team had warned her that it would take time for her to get used to her changed body. They were right to say so. Avery was a full four inches shorter than she’d been just minutes ago.

Tumbling forward, she caught herself on the railing of a short staircase down to the parking lot. Beyond, the extracurricular fields were almost empty and the rumbling sounds of the FSU marching band and a cheering crowd came from the stadium in the distance.

Closer, in the parking lot, her red-headed ex-girlfriend was atop her Jeep’s hood and hadn’t yet spotted Avery ambling along. When she did, Cassie hollered for her with an excited wave but Avery hardly noticed. At the moment, she was completely enchanted by her own hands.

They, like the rest of her body, were different than before.

For a few quiet moments, she leaned with both elbows on the railing, quietly playing with her fingers. They tapped at the air, as if she were playing an invisible piano. The hand, those fingers; they were still her’s. The scar she got across her palm back in elementary school, a memento from an arts and crafts project gone wrong, was still there. Now, though, they were sleeker and more delicate. They no longer felt like the dense, cumbersome sausages they had every day since middle school.

She lifted her arms and examined them. They were still muscular. As her now baggy shirt slid off her shoulder, she realized her build was significantly less broad than before. Her hands patted at them and when they dropped to her sides again, she felt wider hips. 

Looking over her body revealed no scar. There had never even been a single incision. No drug, as far as she could tell, had preformed this transformative miracle. Nothing. One moment she was shaped one way. Then, like a wish had been granted, she had an all new figure.

The humble bangle around her wrist was responsible for all of it. The developers had called it “ModMe.”

They had let her take a peek in a mirror after the transformation too. It had been startling seeing her own amber eyes staring back from a smoother, dare she say, prettier face. At the same time, it was almost too much change all at once. She hadn’t looked away because she was shy, or disgusted, or even weirded out by the changes. No, she looked away because she very nearly started crying right then and there. That wasn’t exactly something she had wanted the development team to see as they performed their routine examinations.

She could hear Cassie hollering in the distance, asking if she was okay.

Yes, she thought silently. She might just be.

Avery dared to look down at herself. Giving a tug at the collar of her shirt she noticed two very exceptional changes to her chest. She took in a deep breath. They were her part of her. Her body. Tears welled up in her eyes and she smeared them away with a sleeve. What was under her shirt was her own body. Not some empty bra. Not a padded bra. Not even artificial implants. Her body. They were everything she’d ever dreamed of. Her’s!

Her boxer-briefs peeked out of her now too-loose pants. She couldn’t bring herself to peek at what was hidden beneath. Gawking in such a way would be a downright embarrassing scene that Avery preferred to do in private.

Instead, she was content to stare at her hands a while longer. 

“Avery?”

She looked up at the call of her name. Cassie was squatting and nervously playing with her pony tail. She always did that before dates, back when they were still together.

As the warm memories came back to her, Avery was scooped up into her ex’s arms and squeezed into a bear hug. Her head tucked up under Cassie’s chin, resting atop her chest. Then, Avery’s feet were lifted right out of her too-big shoes as Cassie squeezed her tighter than ever.

“Hey Cas.” Avery wheezed.

“Avery? It’s really you?” Cassie said, her hands cupped over her mouth.

“Always has been.” Avery smiled weakly.

“Oh thank goodness. You look a little different than last time I saw you!” Cassie’s face scrunched up into a smile as she set Avery back down. 

“How could you tell it was me?”

“You always have perfect posture. You stand up super tall wherever you go.” Cassie laughed and cupped Avery’s face in her hands. “Plus, you have the same happy eyes.”

Remembering that they’d long since broken up, Avery let her eyes fall away from Cassie’s gaze. She didn’t have those intense feelings anymore but her ex’s big blue smiling eyes and the freckles that mottled her nose were undeniably enchanting. 

“Plus, you still blush when someone says nice things about you.” Cassie added.

“I hate it.” Avery said. Her face felt hot but she smiled all the same. “My body feels different but it’s still me. I’m still the same. It’s good to know. Good to see you’re still the same old you too. How’s Lewis?”

“We broke up.” Cassie shrugged and cringed. 

That caught Avery off guard. Last she’d known the two of them had just started dating. That had only been a few months ago.

“It’s nothing.” Cassie gave a weak smile and a weaker shrug. Avery could tell by the way she rested her hands on her hips that she was frustrated about something.

“What happened Cas?” Avery asked. In her pocket, her phone was vibrating and she chose to ignore it. Her family was calling again. They had been since she’d entered the Center. She was content to make them wait.

“It’s not important. Seriously Avery, look at you.” Cassie continued, “Give me details girl. What happened? How did it happen?  You can’t just show up looking totally different and not give me the details. I have questions. How does it feel? Is it—”

“Everything I ever wanted? Yeah. I think so. Well, I don’t know.” Avery shrugged. “Not yet, at least. I feel light, lighter I mean. I guess? Just, lighter inside and out. I don’t know. I was expecting it to take weeks or months but it was only a few minutes. It was like magic. One minute I’m, you know.” Avery flexed, as if she were a big, built person. “Next minute I’m like this. It doesn’t feel real. They said it would be like that but I’m still shook up. The devs guessed that it would be a few weeks until I get used to the changes.”

Cassie looked her friend up and down, quietly contemplating.

 “Totally honest here Cas,” Avery clenched her arm nervously. “I’m just doing my best not to freak out right now. It’s unreal, a new body. Right? Kind of feels like I’m dreaming. It feels real fucking comfortable and that makes me feel like it’s not real.”

Avery rubbed her arm nervously, worried by Cassie’s expression. It was the same contemplative look her shy, hoodie-wearing dorm neighbor used to be known for. It was a memory form a time when Cassie was practically a different person. 

Silence lingered between them for all too long.

“So. I have to know.” Avery broke the silence. “What happened with you and Lewis?”

“It’s dumb. I was dumb.” She blurted out too quickly.

“Dumb, or just impulsive?”

“Dumb. Both? I’ve been,” Cassie sighed long, “kind of doing some wild things. Lewis didn’t like it.”

“Wild like what?” Avery peeked over her shoulder at the Center. “I remember you saying you wanted to try some stuff. Did you get blanked?”

“I was out on a run and kind of made a bet with Jen and one thing lead to another.”

“That girl you’ve known since, what, first grade?”

“Sixth grade.” Cassie cringed as she rubbed the back of her neck.

“What, you two hooked up or something?”

“Ew. No. There was this cute guy from one of my classes. I don’t think Lewis was as okay with being non-monogamous as he thought. One thing lead to another and him and Jen are kind of a thing now.”

“Wait what?”

“Yea-aaa-aah.” Cassie’s smile twisted into a pained cringe.

“Damn. Cassie. Damn. There’s a big fucking leap from breaking up with you and dating your best friend. That’s a real fucking olympic leap. The fuck happened?”

“It’s a long story.” Cassie gave a sad shrug. “I don’t know. Like I said, I was dumb.”

“Naw. No. Naw.” Avery waved the thought away. “If Lewis isn’t cool with that then good riddance. Fucking dating your best friend. That’s some shit right there. Fuck that guy.”

“Yeah,” Cassie smiled. “I know. I guess. I still feel silly. To be honest, I’ve been experimenting.”

“Yeah. I know. I was there for some of it, remember? That’s what you’re supposed to do in college right? I mean, look at me.” Avery waved at her body. “Things change. People grow. It’s college and we’re away from our families for the first time and we get to be more ourselves now.”

Avery’s phone rang again. Her family had access to her location, something they had insisted under the guise of keeping her safe. They must have seen she was at the Center. It had been in the news plenty and they were very happy to assert that none of the Center’s “devil-brew” was fit for their innocent, sweet little daughter they didn’t believe they had.

If only they could see her now.

“Hey. Avery.” Cassie palmed Avery’s cheeks. “You okay?”

“Yeah. Just thinking. Sorry I don’t ever get in touch.” The phone stared vibrating again. “I, you know, had things on my mind. Kept me pretty busy.” 

This time Cassie heard the buzz.

“It’s them, isn’t it?” Her face softened into such a worried look that Avery had to turn away again. She still wasn’t used to anyone showing so much emotion for her sake.

“I don’t want to answer.” Avery sniffed but couldn’t hold back tears this time. They streamed down her checks faster than she could sop them up with her sleeve. “Dammit. This is so embarrassing. I’m sorry you have to see me like this. I hate it. Goddamn it I’m fucking a mess.” She repeated that she was a mess a few times before curling up into a ball on the sidewalk near Cassie’s truck. 

Cassie sat beside Avery and silently rubbed her friend’s back.

“What if I’m just crazy or something?” Avery stared. “What if, when I get home, nothing has changed and I’m just being crazy or drugged up? I don’t know. What if the ModMe just makes me think I look different? What if it’s all a dream? What if I’m just confused or it’s like some sort of weird drug and it just makes me think I look like this or I’m being dumb or something? I’m changed right? I look different? Right? It’s real, right?”

“It’s real? Right?” Avery repeated, barely a whisper. Quietly she sat, curled up into as small a ball as she could, and erupted into a sloppy sob.

“Of course. Look!” Cassie whipped out her phone and snapped a pic of Avery. “Look, look! You look great. You’re one hundred percent different than before!” She turned the screen and Avery saw her own face, puffy and red-eyed from crying. 

“Aw, fuck.” She sobbed into a laugh. “My face looks like shit when I cry. ”

“Everyone looks puffy and awful when they cry. At least you’re not wearing make up today.”

“They said it can be permanent.” Avery choked between sniffles. “They said I would be a good stress test for ModMe because I wanted big changes. They’re going to make it an app or something.” Avery unclasped a device around her wrist that looked like a bulky fitness tracking band and handed it to her friend.

“This little thing?”

“I guess.” Avery hiccuped, sniffled, and rested her chin on her knees.

“They did it again. Another Troxell miracle.” Cassie handed the bangle back. “That’s three now.”

“Three?” Avery sniffled. “What else is there except blanking?”

“Oh my gosh.” Cassie pulled out her phone again. “You didn’t see the news? I haven’t told you? You haven’t heard?” 

Avery hadn’t and she said as much.

“Remember my sis? Sal? She’s dating Emma Troxell now. You know? Like Emma freaking Troxell. Did you see what she did?”

“No.” Avery said honestly. She never much bothered to follow celebrity gossip. Truly, she only vaguely recognized the name. 

“I mean it’s not a real miracle or anything but Emma got Sal out of her room and out having fun finally! That’s pretty close to a real miracle, right? You know how Sal is.” Cassie thrust out her phone, showing a picture of the younger Quinn sister; red-faced and flushed in the back seat of Cassie’s Jeep. Next to her was a platinum-haired woman who Avery supposed must be Emma. 

Avery was most interested in the collar around Sal’s neck. It was the one that she’d bought for Cassie back when they were together. They’d never gotten around to using before they had gone their separate ways just a week later.

“Things have really gotten crazy since we broke up.” Avery shrugged. “How did that all happen?”

“I know what you mean.” Cassie cupped her own chest. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’ve changed a little since freshman year too.”

“You don’t wear glasses any more?” Avery teased.

“Sometimes.” Cassie smirked. “When I have to study or when I write.”

“Yeah. Yeah I did notice. Of course I did.” Avery shrugged. Her shirt fell down off her shoulder and she pulled it back up again. “How’s it feel?”

“It’s nice. They feel right.” Cassie said. “But it’s not that big of a change, not compared to you! Now you’re a cutie that’s shorter than me. Aw, you’re blushing!”

Avery loved to hate being called cute.

“What’s next?” Cassie snugged up her face one last time and pulled away from the hug. “How should we celebrate? I could take you shopping?” 

“Yes. That sounds perfect. I want cute. Like, I want stupidly cute.” Avery nodded, a fire staring to burn in her. “I want pink and bows. I want it to be the cutest goddamn thing. Hell yeah.” She punched the air. “I want a dress. Just one. At least one. A Something with flowers on it and a big hat. Maybe a bow on it? Can I do that? Are big hats expensive?” Avery spread her arms out, implying the scale of her sun hat should be, at least, comically large.

“You think it’s okay?” Avery said, bucking herself in to the passenger seat.

“What is okay?” Cassie said. “Shopping?”

“That I wanted this.” Avery gestured at herself.

“Honestly?” Cassie shrugged. “Live your best life. If Troxell makes a thing that lets you change your whole body, who wouldn’t! People could be thin instantly or be tall or short or look like Haley Hawthorne or like a greek god or something for the weekend, or forever, I guess? I could be a guy for a weekend.” Cassie pondered the idea. “Actually that sounds awful. Ew.”

“I get that.” Avery sighed. “I don’t think it can make you look like other people though. It just makes you look a little different. The dev guys said it just tweaks things here and there. My hair for example.” Avery pulled at her neon pink hair, revealing a bit of short buzzed black hair beneath the wig. “It can’t change hair color cause that has to grow out.”

“Can it give someone cat ears?”

“What? No.” Avery huffed a laugh while wiping her eyes. “No I don’t think it can. Why?”

“Dang. Sal would look really cute with cat ears. I bet Emma would love it.”

“Don’t meddle with Sal.” Avery scolded.

I’m not.”

“You talked about her all the time. Sal should come to FSU, you said. She should try this or that. When the Center opened you kept saying she should go get blanked even though you were too scared yourself and Sal didn’t even go here yet.”

“I know, but.” Cassie said. 

“But,” Avery pushed on. “She need to do her own thing. Let her figure out who she is on her own time. If you push her she’s just gonna fight back and I wouldn’t blame her if she did. She’s going to be scared, especially she was anything like you when you were a freshman, and it sounds like she is.”

“I know. I try. I’m just excited. I’m so glad she came to FSU.” Cassie said. “Mom didn’t want her to come. She wanted her to go somewhere nearby, somewhere with family values.” She added air quotes to the last bit.

“Did they lose their shit when she came here? Were they shitty about it to you?”

“We don’t talk. Not since, you know.” Cassie gestured at her chest. “I think that they think they screwed up with me so they let Sal get away with a little more. I think Troxell covered up the whole thing that happened at The Gala because they didn’t say anything about that to her, as far as I know.”

“Cover up? What gala?” Avery hadn’t heard of it but her phone buzzing again pulled her attention to it. 

“What about you?” Cassie asked. “Do you still talk to your family? Do they know?”

“Yeah. I mean, yeah, we still talk. They don’t know anything not about this.” Avery curled up on herself again. “I tell them a little, like how classes are going or talk about sports or something. It’s only neutral stuff. Never bad things. They ask too many questions. I’m lucky they live a thousand miles away otherwise I bet they’d probably drive by my place sometimes, just to make sure I’m okay.”

Avery sighed loudly. 

“They do’t get it. They just don’t. So, I don’t bring it up. I know I should, maybe, but it would only cause more drama. I still have to make my voice lower on the phone or they think I’m trying to make them mad, like I’m the one who’s being shitty. I guess that’ll be harder than ever now, right? They’re expecting me home for Christmas. Think the devs would let me change back for a month?”

“Is that what you want?”

“No.” Avery huffed. “No it damn well isn’t. Fuck. Cas, I can’t show them this. I can’t show them me. They’re gonna freak right the fuck out and disown me. They’ve always been shitty about this but I can’t pay for college without them. I’d be fucked. They’ll be pissed.”

“Let them be.” Cassie said flatly. 

“What?” Avery was shook. Was Cassie angry?

“Let them.” Cassie leaned against her own knees. “If they cant accept who you are then they don’t get to have you in their life. You’re a good person Avery. If they’re going to be like that, don’t go see them. You’re too good for them.”

“Well.” Avery nodded. “I’ve never seen you so fired up. Your parents still shitty then? Did you cut them off? No contact at all?”

“Sometimes it takes someone telling you that it’s okay to cut out bad people. Thanks for being that person for me.”

“It’s a lot easier when you’re telling someone else to do it. Maybe someday I’ll catch up. I don’t know. Thanks for telling me it was okay for me look the way I want, to be the way I want to be. Goddamn.” Avery knocked her fists together and rested her face on them. “This is happening. It happened. Fuck. Fuck!”

They both sat there, cross-legged on the sidewalk by the center, taking in things for a long while. Both were content to just exist for a peaceful moment; not a word between them.

“So. Dresses?” It was Cassie who spoke up first and opened her truck’s door for her friend. “Pink. Cute. Something with a bow?” 

“Not just pink.” Avery ran a hand through her hair. “Neon pink is my color right now.”

“Perfect. I know a few places to get some second hand stuff that’s cute and cheap. You ready?”

“Heels?” Avery snapped her fingers. “I want to buy new heels.”

“And?” Cassie added. 

“Something to lift in. I’m going to keep lifting, that’s for sure. I want cute shorts too. Like the kind where the pockets come out at the bottom. You know those? I want those. And a big white belt. Yeah. I guess I need winter stuff too? A coat or something? I should get a big cute petticoat.” Avery smacked her forehead with both hands. “My bank account is going to be absolutely fucked after this.”

“Absolutely.” Cassie echoed, knowing that Avery’s parents dropped a generous allowance in it each month. 

“Oh. I need a big comfy hoodie. Like the giant ones everyone studies in in the library.” Avery slid into the passenger seat, “Wait. I have that I guess. My old ones will be perfect.”

“First stop dress store?” Cassie hollered as she went around the Jeep and hopped in the driver’s seat. “Ready?”

“Lets fucking do this!” Avery beamed. 

Cassie revved the Jeep to life, pulled it into gear, and hit the road. They were off to a long shopping adventure and, afterwards, a trip to their old dorm’s cafeteria. It’s wasn’t exactly a date but it was the gentle dose of nostalgia they needed to balance out all the change that had happened since they had broken up. 

I want to extend a special thank you to the three MtF sensitivity readers who reviewed this short. I’ve never written a MtF character before and I wanted to ensure I didn’t make a fool of myself.  I’m looking forward to having Avery show up in some future shenanigans. My readers were generous with their time and incredibly helpful and all requested I keep their names private, so I will respect their anonymity.

Recently, OnlyFans went and banned sexual content. There’s always the fear that Twitter will do the same. So, I keep popping up in different areas. Now I have a reddit, even though I’m getting used to that still. If Twitter ever goes down, I’ll at least have this site still up!

– PotluckSoup

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