Friday, August 27, 2010

The Bet - Chapter 28 (Friday – week 4 Part 3 of 10)

The Bet
by Karen Singer

Chapter 28 (Friday – week 4 Part 3 of 10)

Chad was busy working when he heard his cell phone buzzing indicating an incoming text message. Hoping it would be from Mel, possibly to even explain her odd behavior, he pulled it quickly out of his purse. But the screen didn’t show that it was from Mel. It was from his ex-wife. The message was short and simple. “It’s over. Papers in the mail.”
He read it again, then closed his phone. It was over. He was officially divorced. Something deep inside was trying to convince him that he should be glad. But he wasn’t. It was weighing on him more than he thought it would. He hadn’t expected that. He was a failure! All because of what he was – a sissy! Failure! Failure! Failure!
Robin suddenly appeared at the entrance to his cubicle. “Come on, Chad. Break time.” But as Chad looked up, she quickly noticed that something wasn’t right. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
Chad stared at her for a moment, then he opened his cell phone and found the message from his ex-wife. He held the phone out for Robin to take.
Robin took the phone and read the message. Her eyes went wide with surprise. “Oh Chad. I’m so sorry! And in a text message no less! How cold!”
Chad just shrugged as he took his phone back. “I didn’t really want to talk to her anyway.”
“But it’s bothering you?”
“More than I thought it would. I’m such a failure!”
“A failure?”
He nodded. “If it wasn’t for… this,” he said, looking down at himself to indicate how he was dressed, “I’d be like everybody else… and still married… and…” He stopped himself there. He didn’t want to get into things that he didn’t want her to know about.
“And what?” Robin asked softly.
He shrugged again. “And lots of other things.”
Robin wasn’t sure she totally understood. “A failure?” she tried again.
The more he thought about it all, the worse he felt. He suddenly felt like crying as the frustration and full weight of his disappointment finally hit him. He turned his chair away from Robin so she couldn’t see his face. His thumb tried to find its way to his mouth, but his extra long nail quickly put a stop to that.
But Robin had noticed the tears beginning to form in his eyes. She walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around him from behind. “Hey Chad. It’s ok. Lots of people get divorced.”
Chad tried to nod and say “I know.” But as the words came out, it was as if they pulled the plug on his tears. A moment later, he was sobbing openly, and he couldn’t help it. The fact that he was crying like that in front of Robin only made it worse.
Robin was so surprised to see him crying. She just continued to hold him and whisper kind words in his ear. It took a few minutes, but gradually he calmed down. She turned him around in his chair. His face was a total mess, with makeup running all over the place. “Feel better now?” she asked.
He nodded and sort of got out a small, “Yeah. Sorry.”
She smiled. “Sometimes a good cry is all it takes.”
Chad was a bit surprised… embarrassed, but surprised. “Yeah,” he agreed. “I do feel better… sort of.”
Robin pulled on his arm. “Come on,” she said, “you’re a mess. Let’s get you cleaned up.” Chad let her pull him to his feet without thinking about it and started following her out of his cubicle. But she stopped him before they got very far. “Aren’t you going to grab your purse?”
Chad was confused. “What for?”
“Isn’t all your makeup in it?”
“My makeup? I thought we were going to the break room.”
“Not till we get you cleaned up! You don’t want to go anywhere looking like that!”
Chad finally came to his senses after his bout of crying. He looked bad? Worried, he opened his purse and pulled out his tiny compact mirror.
“Forget that thing!” Robin said quickly. “You’re going to need a bigger mirror than that. Much bigger!”
Bigger mirror? “Like what?” he asked.
“The ladies room, dummy!”
“Oh… But…”
“Look, I know you’re probably still using the men’s room all the time since I never see you in the ladies room, but I can’t help you if you go in there. Besides, the way you’re completely dressing now, I don’t know why you’d want to anyway.”
Chad was confused. “Want to what?” he asked.
“Use the men’s room instead of the ladies room, of course. Geez! You really are still out of it!”
Chad was just taken by surprised. He hadn’t been in a men’s room… or a ladies room for that matter… in a very long time now. He really never had a reason to go into any restroom anymore. So what was he supposed to do? He felt more than a bit embarrassed about going into the ladies room. “Um…” he said trying to find something to say.
Robin only saw his confusion. So she made up his mind for him. “Just grab your purse and let’s go. Geez! Like I said, I can’t believe you’d even consider using the men’s room anymore!”
Chad grabbed his purse and followed her towards the restrooms, stopping briefly at her cubicle so she could get her own bag. Obviously Robin didn’t understand his real situation… which was just the way he wanted it. The closer they got, the more he stared at the men’s room door. And the harder he tried to remember the last time he had been in there. He couldn’t. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been in any public restroom. He couldn’t even remember the last time he had used a bathroom instead of his diapers. He was sure it had been somewhere shortly after the whole bet-thing had started. He just couldn’t remember the last time he had actually done it.
He followed Robin right up to the women’s room door. He paused just for a second to glance again at the men’s room door that was now so close. Robin opened the women’s room door and started inside, she held the door wide for him to follow. Putting the men’s room behind him, possibly for a very long time, he followed her in. The closing door behind him felt like it was cutting off and locking out another part of his life. But that was a part of his life he didn’t really need anymore. But he missed it, never the less.
Robin headed toward the row of sinks, then she stopped and pointed to the stalls on the other wall. “Do you need to do anything while you’re here?”
“Uh… No thanks,” he replied.
Robin grinned a bit. “Shy, huh? Don’t worry. Just act like a woman and nobody will ever care. You start washing your face. Now that I’m in here, I’ve got to go.”
Chad watched as Robin went into one of the cubicles and closed the door behind her. He turned and stared into one of the mirrors above the sinks. Ugh! He did look bad. He had mascara running everywhere and his foundation was all smeared. There would be no help for it but to wash it all off and start again. He put his purse on the shelf above the sink, started the water running, and got busy.
Robin came out of the stall a few minutes later. She washed her hands in the sink next to Chad, fussed with her hair for a moment, examined her makeup, and did a very slight touch-up to her lips. Then she leaned against the sink and watched closely as Chad worked on his face. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you doing any of your makeup,” she noted as Chad continued to blend this and that all over his face as fast as he could. “You’re certainly getting a lot better at it.”
“Thanks,” Chad replied without turning towards her. He really just wanted to get his face fixed and get out of there. As he worked, he wondered, hadn’t Robin mentioned something about helping him? Wasn’t that why they were there in the first place? But so far, all she was doing was watching. She was making him nervous. Was he doing something wrong? But so far, she wasn’t saying much.
As he was working on his blush, the door suddenly opened again. Chad stopped what he was doing, the brush still held against his skin and watched as another woman came into the room. The woman seemed to do a classic double-take as she was taken by surprise to see Chad there.
“Hi,” Robin said very casually to her without moving a muscle from her given position.
“Hi Robin,” the woman returned, still staring – almost suspiciously – at Chad as she headed for one of the stalls.
Chad was amused to notice how loudly she clicked the lock shut after she closed the door. He went back to his face. The woman came out a few minutes later, still staring at Chad as she went to another of the sinks, washed her hands, checked her face, then left.
Chad expected Robin to make some kind of a comment about the woman who had just left, but Robin didn’t say anything. As he continued working on his lips, he realized that there was no reason for Robin to say anything. The woman belonged in there. It was normal for the woman to be in there. What wasn’t normal, was for him to be there!
Finally, Chad finished with his lipstick. He rolled the stick back into the tube and took a good look at his face. Not too bad for a rush job.
“Interesting!” Robin proclaimed with a look of approval on her face. “You’re definitely getting better at it. That’s for sure.”
“I have to do it every day,” he replied as if complaining.
“Just like a woman!” Robin laughed.
“Yeah. I guess.”
“Hey!” Robin exclaimed as she suddenly started digging through her bag. “I’ve got something new that should help to cheer you up after your bad news earlier. I really love it! Want to try some?”
“What is it?”
“Ah!” she replied as she finally spotted what she was after in her overly stuffed bag. “This!” she proclaimed as she brought out a small bottle. She sprayed a spritz from the bottle onto her neck and inhaled deeply. “Mmmm. Lovely.”
“Of course. Hold out your wrist.” Chad wasn’t all that sure about it, but he did as she suggested and held out his wrist. Robin sprayed some of her perfume on it. “Rub your wrists together,” she directed.
Chad started rubbing his wrists together so that the perfume would be on both wrists. But as he was doing it, Robin suddenly stuck the bottle out again and sprayed his neck too. “Hey!” he protested.
Robin giggled. “Doesn’t it smell heavenly?” She sniffed at him. “Darn, you smell good now!” They both giggled a bit. “Now don’t you feel a lot better?”
Chad took another look at himself in the mirror… and smiled. “Yeah,” he replied, slightly surprised at himself, “I do!”
It was a bit difficult for Chad to get used to the constant smell of his new perfume as they walked back toward their cubicles. But there was no doubt that he felt better than he did before he fixed himself up. He felt better because his makeup looked better, he felt better because he liked the outfit he was wearing that day, and he was starting to enjoy the constant smell of the perfume that Robin had sprayed on him. He thought he almost felt... feminine.
But as Chad was reveling in his pleasant feelings, another feeling quickly intruded – the need to pee. As always, he held it back and quickly checked his watch to start timing himself. As he continued back to his cubicle though, his mind was more on something else. It used to be that when he entered a bathroom – any bathroom – the need to pee got suddenly much worse. This time, he never felt the slightest urge at all… not till now, completely out and away from the bathroom. How strange!
They each dropped their purses off at their desks, and with Chad feeling fairly light hearted for once, they headed for the break room… which Chad was certain would be emptying out by now – which didn’t hurt his mood either.
Chad’s estimation was close. The room wasn’t empty, but as they walked in, a large group of women was heading for the door. “Hi Robin. Hi Sissy. You’re late!” one of the women called as they approached.
“Yeah. Sorry,” Robin replied. “We had to have a little cry this morning.”
“Oh? What’s the matter,” one of the women asked her.
“Not me! Him!” she replied, pointing at Chad. Chad’s face suddenly felt like it was getting red underneath his makeup as he heard a few giggles. “His divorce was made final this morning.”
“Oh, you poor thing.” Someone said.
“Would you believe it, his ex only sent him a text message to tell him. She didn’t even bother to call him!”
“The bitch!” someone in the back exclaimed.
Chad shrugged his shoulders. “I didn’t want to talk to her anyway.”
“Well, I don’t blame you! Imagine, a text message!”
“It’s ok,” Chad replied. “I really don’t mind.”
“Hey Sissy,” one of the women asked, “is the divorce because of the sex change you’re trying to get?”
Chad was momentarily taken aback. “I’m not getting a sex change,” he replied.
“Oh, so you just like dressing like a woman?” another woman noted. “No sex change, girls… at least not yet.”
“I’m not getting a sex change!” Chad reiterated.
“Of course not, dear,” the woman replied, then laughed. “Not yet, anyway.”
“Hey, I like your outfit today,” another woman said, changing the subject.
“Thanks,” Chad replied, blushing slightly.
“Isn’t it great!” Robin chimed in. “I’m trying to get him to buy some blue pantyhose during lunch. I think they’d go great with it.” There was a hearty chorus of women suddenly agreeing with her.
Chad felt like he was being pressured again. “What’s wrong with not wearing any pantyhose?”
“Nothing!” Robin replied. “It’s just that we all think you’d look better with some, that’s all. And I think blue ones would be perfect with that outfit!” Chad felt the pressure more than ever. Women! Why couldn’t they just leave well enough alone?

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