“So, are there Okazaki fragments in the other strand of DNA?”

Ryan groaned in frustration–quietly, to himself, of course. This was the third time they had gone over this together in their biology study group. Things were clearly not sinking in for Marcy.

Luckily for him, Lily fielded the question this time.

“The leading strand of DNA doesn’t need to have Okazaki fragments, because it’s replicated continuously–all one big piece,” she explained, gesturing to the figure in the open textbook.

“Ohhhhh,” Marcy replied.

Ryan let out a mental sigh of relief.

“But why doesn’t the other strand just do that too?”

And just like that, the relief was gone. She clearly didn’t get it. As Lily backtracked in the textbook to explain this, Ryan stretched and took stock of the situation.

Marcy had invited him to this night-before-the-exam study group. She was one of his lab partners in the laboratory portion of the introductory biology class and was absolutely smoking hot–a brunette with freckles, a great rack, fit body, and a penchant for wearing low-cut strappy tops and skintight, low-rise jeans.

It was too bad she was dumber than a bag of bricks.

She hadn’t invited any of their other lab partners though, so she was either into him (which he had initially thought possible but his hopes now waned) or she just thought he was most likely to help her, which, to her credit, he was.

He didn’t know how she had roped in the rest of the people at the table, although they were all fellow students in the intro bio class.

Myeong was an international student from… Korea? She didn’t say much, but seemed to have pages of meticulously organized notes in her binder.

Lindsay was cut from the same cloth as Marcy, in both hotness and academic aptitude. If the greek letters on their backpacks were any indication, they were in the same sorority.

Keith, the only other man in the group, had shown up late, spent most of the time on his phone, and had left early.

And that left Lily. Tall, thin, flat-chested but nicely leggy–she had long, straight light brown hair and bright blue almond eyes. She certainly wasn’t unattractive, but next to someone like Marcy, she had been easy to overlook, at least amongst the dozens of other women in the big classroom. Her style of dress, which was oddly conservative, for a college student, did make her stand out somewhat–her mid-calf dresses looked like vintage pieces from the 50s and were usually paired with long-sleeved shirts and black stockings.

But now, three hours into the study session, she had really caught Ryan’s eye. She really knew her stuff. And when the group stumbled on something that nobody understood, she had a knack for figuring it out faster than anyone.

“Well, I think I’ve got it as well as I’ll ever have it,” Marcy said with a sigh as Lily finished her explanation. “Besides, it’s getting late.”

Ryan checked the time on his phone. 10 p.m. Not heinously late, but definitely late for a Sunday, when they all had an 8 a.m. exam the following morning. Besides, he felt like, at that point, he had gotten as much as he could out of the group.

The rest of the table nodded and grumbled in agreement and began to pack up their books and notes and rise from their chairs. Ryan stole a sidelong glance across the table as Marcy bent down to pick up a pencil that had fallen off the table, giving him a perfect view of the cleavage between her round, suntanned breasts. He also noticed Lily as she stood and stretched, closing her eyes as she reached her arms upward and rose to her tiptoes.


After getting back to the dorms, Ryan took a long, hot shower. Late weekend nights weren’t a popular time to shower and he was alone in the large bathroom that served his entire floor. As the water ran down his back and shoulders, he stroked himself, thinking of Marcy’s cleavage. He thought back to the other outfits she had worn, earlier in the week. A long sorority t-shirt paired with extremely short pants, showing off as much of her smooth, tan legs as possible while also giving the illusion that she might not be wearing pants at all, underneath the shirt. Low-rise jeans that, when she had bent over to stow her notebook in her backpack, had revealed a black thong, its fabric running down through her round, sun-kissed ass cheeks.

These were all, at this point, fairly well-worn mental images for Ryan.

His mind then drifted elsewhere… to Lily.

The skin of her face was pale and smooth, so it was only natural to imagine that the rest of her body would be the same. Long, alabaster legs. Toenail polish? If he recalled correctly, her fingernails were painted a light shade of blue, so he pictured the same on her toes. He worked his way up to her crotch. He had always pictured Marcy as being completely clean-shaven down there, but thought differently of Lily. Her bush would be well-trimmed, but still present. A tangle of short curly brown hair above bright pink pussy lips.

This new line of fantasy was working very well. He barely made it past her taut stomach to her small perky breasts before blowing his load. He caught his breath as his ejaculate mixed with water and ran down the shower drain. Then, with the clarity that only comes post-climax, he had an idea.


The problem was that he and Lily sat far apart from one another in the large lecture room. It was several weeks into the Fall semester and everybody had already established their “unassigned assigned seats”. So getting an opportunity to talk to her wasn’t going to happen naturally.

Hence, the plan. For it to work, he would first have to finish his exam before Lily. It felt like a potentially impossible task given how she had demonstrated her complete understanding of the material the night before. But, lucky for Ryan, she turned out to be one of those people who double and triple checks everything after finishing. So, without having to even rush all that much, he managed to bubble in his answer to the final question before she had finished.

With that, he turned in his exam to the professor and took up a position outside the door to the classroom, pretending to scrutinize his notebook for the answer to a question that had been on the test. When Lily finished and left the room, he would have the perfect opportunity to approach her, asking her about the question, making small-talk about the study group and finally asking her if she wanted to see a movie with him.

In his mind, the whole thing had taken on the complexity of an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist. He had to remind himself that asking a girl out on a date wasn’t a complicated thing. It was just that back in high school he had had no confidence. He hadn’t dated at all. Now, in college, he had resolved to try to reinvent himself, to be a more adventurous, outgoing person. Try new things, etc., etc. Granted, at the moment, this only extended to asking the least physically-intimidating woman he had met on campus to see a free movie, hosted by the Union Board, but it was a start.

Ryan was so deep within his own thoughts that he almost missed his opportunity.

“Hey, did you get the answer to… I think it was number 37?” he asked, sidling up to Lily as she walked out of the classroom. She was wearing something typical, for her–a collared short-sleeved green dress with vertical pinstripes, black stockings and matching green ballet flats.

She seemed startled by his approach. Great start to things…

“It was the one about DNA excision repair?” he clarified nervously.

“Uh, the one about filling in the gap of exposed single-stranded DNA?” she asked, getting over her initial surprise.


“I’m pretty sure it was ‘DNA polymerase one’,” she answered curtly. “DNA polymerase three does most of the work in replication, but polymerase one handles smaller jobs, like the gaps from excision.”

“Whew,” Ryan sighed in relief. Fake relief, of course–he had known the answer. “That’s what I put down. But I definitely wavered between one and three.”

“Yeah, overall, I didn’t think it was too tough,” she said plainly.

“Well, I certainly got all the Okazaki fragments stuff right–after walking Marcy through it so many times last night…” Ryan added, with mock exasperation.

Lily smiled briefly.

That smile! Her resting expression was pretty flat and maybe even a little upset-looking. So, when she actually smiled, it was an astounding transformation. Ryan’s heart began to beat faster.

“I guess it was pretty helpful to act, basically, as a free tutor,” she said, with a light amount of sarcasm.

At this point, more students were exiting the classroom and the two of them had to move to the side to get out of their way. With more people around, Ryan was starting to get nervous. It was now or never.

“So, uh, I was wondering if… uh, have you seen the posters around for the movie on Saturday?” he asked nervously. He glanced around, feeling like a crazy person. Advertisements for the event were plastered on the walls of every common room, hallway, and stairwell in his dorm but, just his luck, there were none in sight now.

“No,” Lily replied simply, with a slight curiosity in her voice.

“It’s a Union Board thing. They’re showing The Mummy–the one from the 90s. Outside, projected on the side of Harper Hall.”

“Oh, cool, I love that movie,” Lily replied, her face brightening.

“Yeah, it’ll start at 7, right around sundown,” Ryan explained, his palms starting to sweat.

“Okay, nice,” Lily said, adjusting her backpack and readying herself to walk away. “Thanks for letting me know–I hadn’t heard about it. I’ll see you there, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Ryan managed to croak out.

With a small wave, she turned and walked away.

His mission technically accomplished, Ryan couldn’t help but feel somewhat defeated. He re-played the conversation in his mind. The arrangement hadn’t felt like making a date at all. He had just “let her know” about the movie. He slumped down on a bench in the common area outside of the lecture hall.

So much for reinventing himself as a confident, outgoing college guy. It was going to be a long wait until Saturday…


Luckily for him, he didn’t have to wait that long.

After lecture on Wednesday, he was packing up his things when he looked up and saw Lily standing a few seats over. It was a little colder that day and she wore a black long sleeved shirt under her dark blue dress–black stockings and flats too, of course.

“Hey, Ryan,” she began. Now *she* seemed uncharacteristically nervous.

“Yeah, what’s up?” he replied, trying to keep things cool.

“Do you have a class after this one?” she asked, fidgeting.

“No. I’ve got, like, a two hour gap between this and my next class.”

“Okay. Cool. I’ve got a break now too. Do you want to walk with me over to The Java Cup?”

God, she was wound up tight, Ryan thought to himself. And she was normally so calm and nonplussed. Was this how *he* had come across the other day?

“Oh, sure, of course,” he replied, eager, but also a little suspicious. What was going on?

He finished gathering his things and made his way alongside Lily out of the lecture hall. They managed to separate themselves from the mass of students flooding from the room’s sole exit and began walking in the direction of the campus coffee shop.

“So, what’s your major?” she asked him, once they were outside of the building and in a quieter environment.

This couldn’t be what it was all about, Ryan thought to himself. This must be just small talk before they could get to what she really wanted to talk about. But what could it be?

“Biology,” he replied as they walked together. “Pre-med. Although, I’m willing to admit that that may change–it’s only my first semester. What about you?”

“It’s my first semester too,” she said. “But, to answer your question: Psychology and Sociology–double major. They overlap quite a bit and they work well for what I want to do.”

Ryan was intrigued. Psychology was kind of a lightweight major, like Sociology, but double-majoring was always an impressive feat.

“And what is that?” he asked.

“I want to be a therapist. Social worker. Some combination of the two. Help people work out their issues, you know?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ryan agreed, although he had never seen a therapist or a social worker before and only had the faintest of ideas about what it was they actually did.

They exchanged more small talk as they made the short walk to the coffee shop, listing off the other classes they were currently taking, their plans for the big lab report in the lab portion of the biology class, and other things of little consequence. Lily’s nervousness seemed to have dissipated. And, Ryan admitted to himself, so had his own. This was easy–just walking and talking.

Although, in the back of his head, he still wondered what it was she *actually* wanted to talk about. At the moment, he was torn between “she has a boyfriend and wants to be clear that they can only be ‘just friends'” and “she’s crazy religious and wants to be upfront about all that”.

They arrived at the coffee shop and placed their respective orders. As he pondered whether or not it might be offensive to offer to pay for her drink, he missed his opportunity and they ended up paying separately.

Drinks in hand, she led him to a table, somewhat off to the side of the main area.

“So, I need to clear something up,” she began, her nervousness returning somewhat. “Did you ask me out on, like, a date?”

Ryan laughed nervously.

“Oh, damn, was I that bad at it?” he chuckled, trying to cover up his embarrassment with humor.

Lily laughed with him and he realized it was the first time he had heard her laugh, a quiet reserved giggle. He also noticed how the smile on her face brought out her dimples.

“But, to actually answer your question, yes, that was my attempt at trying to ask you out, lame as it may have been…”

“Oh, no, you’re not lame,” she corrected apologetically. “*I’m* lame for not realizing. It’s just that, in high school, I didn’t… well, I wasn’t… well, getting asked out is a new thing for me.”

Ryan was shocked. Sure, she wasn’t a conventional hot babe of a woman, but she must have caught someone’s eye before, at some point.

“Hey, it’s new for me too,” he replied, trying to smooth things over. “I didn’t really date at all in high school either.”

They sat in silence for a long moment.

“So, are you sure you’re interested in me?” she asked, her nervousness intensifying.

Ryan didn’t understand the question.

“I mean, yeah…”

Should he not be?

Lily closed her eyes and took a deep breath, as if she were psyching herself up for something. She looked into his eyes as she made her declaration.

“I am transgender–a trans woman,” she stated as plainly as she could.

Ryan was stunned. He knew what it meant to be trans–or, at least, he thought he did, but he would never have guessed that Lily was. He struggled to comprehend.

Lily filled in the gap of stunned silence.

“Back in high school… everybody in the school knew. Nobody ever showed any interest in me as far as dating went–small town, you know? I started taking hormones at the beginning of Senior year, but the effects didn’t really show in a big way until this past summer.”

She took a nervous gulp before continuing.

“I haven’t had any surgeries, so everything is still… well, like what I was born with.”

She quickly pivoted from that line of information.

“It’s just that now, being here in college, I guess I haven’t quite grown accustomed to the concept of people *not* knowing. That’s why I didn’t piece things together the other day–it was nothing to do with you.”

“Okay…” Ryan finally managed to reply, still reeling from the revelation. Lily kept talking.

“I’d be happy to go to the movie with you. As a date, or as classmates… whatever. I just… well, I thought that, if you wanted this to be a date-thing, that you should know who you were dealing with, with me.”

“Thank you for telling me this, really, thank you,” he said, trying to sound as kind as possible. He couldn’t imagine what it was like to reveal something like this to someone. But beyond that response, he truly had no idea how to proceed. Lily was smart, cute, and seemed to have a solid future ahead of her. He was definitely attracted to her. But the thought of interacting with a penis was… off-putting.

“You really didn’t know?” she asked curiously.

“Not a clue,” he replied. This elicited a small self-satisfied smile from Lily. It was this smile that did it for Ryan.

“Can I think about it?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” Lily replied. “I know it’s a lot to process. Get back to me on Friday, after class?”

“Yeah, that works,” Ryan said, nodding. Two days should be enough time to sort out his own sexual identity and preferences, right?

“And, just to be clear, I want you to know that it’s okay either way,” she explained. “I don’t think it would make you a bad person if you weren’t okay with… well, with me.”

Ryan nodded again.

“Oh, and one last thing,” Lily said, rising from her seat. “I kind of like being in a place where I can feel ‘normal’–not having everybody know about my background. So, if you could keep this between you and me…”

“Absolutely,” Ryan replied, nodding more emphatically this time. He understood that she had entrusted him with something confidential.

“Well, see you Friday,” she said with a wave as she picked up her coffee and walked away.


It was a lot to process in only 48 hours.

On the one hand, the decision seemed obvious. He wasn’t gay–not that he anything against that–and the idea of being sexually involved with another person’s penis was, well, kind of gross to him.

But on the other hand, there was literally everything else. Her intelligence. Her long, stocking-clad legs. Her smooth, pale skin. Her bright blue eyes. Her coquettish smile…

Consulting the internet was no help. Websites and forums offered plenty of advice about dating and sex with trans women, but a lot of it was contradictory or obviously biased. Dipping into the porn side of things was even more off-putting–trans women fucking other trans women, or men. 69 blowjobs. He was used to seeing cocks in porn, of course, but when he imagined himself on the receiving end of one, the situation was a lot less appealing.

By Thursday afternoon, Ryan was no closer to having made a decision than he had been on Wednesday. Then, as he was walking out of the dining hall after finishing his dinner, he saw it: a poster for the campus LGBTQ+ group. Their meeting time was, coincidentally, Thursday in the early evening. He should have just enough time to head over to Reese Hall, where they were meeting.

He remembered that Lily had asked him to keep her identity as a trans woman a secret. But as long as he didn’t mention her name or give any other identifying information about her, it couldn’t hurt to ask for some advice on the situation, right?

Ryan arrived just in time and was able to seat himself in the back of the room, a classroom in the History building. Looking around, he felt uncomfortably out-of-place. He, a painfully average-looking straight white male among a rainbow of dyed hair, piercings, effeminate looking men, masculine looking women and absolutely everything in between.

Ryan managed to avoid attention from his place in the back of the room as the meeting began, the president (or whatever their name was for their leadership position) called things to order. He was a chubby, clean-shaven young man with glasses and black painted fingernails and he spoke loudly, authoritatively, and with a surprisingly thick Southern accent as he went through the list of items on the agenda.