Friday, March 11, 2011

The Bet - Chapter 35 (Friday – week 5 Part 2 of 8)

The Bet
by Karen Singer

Chapter 35 (Friday – week 5 Part 2 of 8)

As Chad was about to enter his cubicle, he caught sight of Robin’s cubicle just a short distance away. He wasn’t sure if Robin was there yet or not – probably not – but he suddenly remembered that she was planning on going to that aerobics class last night. As he dropped his purse into his desk drawer, he worried about it more than ever. Did she find out about him during her class? He sat down in his chair and hit the button to start booting up his computer, but he had to get up again and try to straighten out his skirt because it was all bunched up uncomfortably under him.
Once he got himself settled again, he watched his computer going through its startup process. But while it was doing that, all he could think about was what Robin might have heard at the gym last night – and how mad she might be at him because of it. He tried desperately to figure out the different ways that she might react? The more he thought about it though, the more convinced he was that she now knew everything that he had done at the gym last Monday – absolutely everything!
“Hi Chad,” Robin called as she paused briefly at his cubicle before continuing on to her own desk.
“Hi Robin,” Chad returned worriedly as he watched her walking away. She hadn’t said anything – yet. Was that a good sign? Less than a minute later, she was back. He couldn’t read anything from her face but she didn’t look as excited or as happy as she did yesterday. He mentally prepared himself for the worst.
“Wow! Another new dress!” Robin exclaimed, her face suddenly lighting up.
Chad was caught a bit off guard since he was expecting to hear all about what she had heard at the gym. “Uh, yeah. I think it’s nice.”
“Nice? Stand up so I can see it better.”
Once again Chad felt like he was being inspected. He dutifully stood up though to proudly show off his dress. He turned all the way around so she could see all of it. As he did so, he noticed the skirt of the dress flaring out a bit. He stopped when he was facing her once again, his skirt settling back into place again. “What do you think?” he asked, momentarily forgetting about her trip to the gym.
“I think it’s more than nice!” she replied. She shook her head. “I can’t believe that you’ve got yet another new outfit to wear! This one is a bit more… dressy, but it’s still good for the office. The shoes go great with it too. Are they new as well?”
Chad felt fairly happy from her comments. He glanced down past his breasts, past his flowing skirt, toward the shoes on his feet. Black sling-back pumps. He never wore them because they were a bit uncomfortable even though the heel wasn’t all that high. “No, I’ve had the shoes a while now,” he replied. “I just never wear them. To tell the truth, they’re really not all that comfortable. I only wore them today because I kind of figured they would go well with the dress.”
Robin let out a small laugh. “Uncomfortable? I’ll bet your seeing now that it’s harder being a woman than you thought. We have to put up with lots of little uncomfortable things like that in the name of fashion.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Chad admitted. But his mind was thinking more along the lines of how uncomfortable his waist cincher was – not to mention his way too tight all-in-one girdle.
Chad sat back down in his chair. As he did so, he felt his skirt bunch up uncomfortably under him again. He pulled at it to straighten it out, but it didn’t work. He finally grabbed both sides of it and stood up just enough to let the material slide out from under him while he pulled it straight. He sat back down – much better.
“You might want to learn to do that a little more gracefully,” Robin noted, “like ‘before’ you sit down!”
Chad blushed. “Well, it’s usually not so much of a problem.”
“Yeah, but if you’re going to be wearing skirts… and that’s all I ever see you in now days…”
“Wait a minute! I wore pants on Wednesday.”
“Yeah, but that’s the only day you wore them this week!”
“You remember that?”
“Of course I do! And don’t tell me that you don’t remember what I wear every day!”
“I don’t even remember what you wore yesterday!”
“That’s crazy! How can you not remember?”
“I don’t, that’s all!”
Robin shook her head. “You’ve really got to start taking more notice of what everybody is wearing.”
“I don’t want to look like I’m staring at them.”
“You don’t have to stare. You just see it when you look at them.”
Chad shook his head. “How am I supposed to do that?”
Robin sighed. “You just do! Men! Or whatever you are!”
“I’m a…” Chad started to return, then stopped. “I don’t know.”
Robin laughed. “I don’t know either. But you’re certainly not looking like much of a man these days, even if you do act more like one.”
Chad didn’t quite know how to take that. “Well…” he replied, searching for some kind of response. “I don’t really have as much practice being a woman I guess.”
“Yet!” Robin finished for him.
Chad shrugged. “Yet,” he agreed. But if he won this bet then he would be finished with it all in another month. And even though he really liked the dressing up all the time, the bottom line was that he really wouldn’t be doing it that much longer.
“Hey, you know what?” Robin said. “When we go to break later, you should practice. Try to remember what everybody is wearing. You’ll never learn if you don’t practice.”
“I don’t know,” Chad replied uncertainly. “Everybody?” Mostly, it sounded like too much trouble – for nothing.
“You can do it,” Robin replied sounding like she had full faith in his abilities. “It’s really not hard at all.”
“For you maybe,” Chad complained. “I barely know what I’m wearing from day to day.” He really couldn’t see much of a reason to do as Robin suggested. Maybe it would be a good idea to get her off of the subject. “Hey, did you make it to the gym last night?” He was frightened to ask, but so far Robin hadn’t shown the slightest hint that she had heard anything about him. He had to know for sure.
“Oh yeah.”
“How did it go?” he asked, still searching for any clue.
“Let’s just say that I’m in even worse shape than I thought. I went home and soaked in a hot bath for an hour last night. And I still hurt!”
Chad was beginning to feel a bit better. Nothing about him at all. “Maybe you shouldn’t bother with the gym,” he replied. “You don’t really need it.”
Robin looked at him like he was crazy. “Are you kidding? Now I know I need it more than ever. Besides, since I spent all that money, my husband would hold it over my head forever if I don’t use it.”
Chad smiled. “Men!” he teased.
“Ain’t it the truth!”

Andrea watched as Mel’s first client of the morning walked out the door. There were a precious few minutes before the next client arrived. She picked up a stack of folders from her desk that needed attention and carried them to Mel’s office. The door was open and Mel appeared to be staring off into space with a rather distracted look on her face. “Mel?” she called from the doorway, snapping Mel away from whatever she had been thinking about. She held the stack of folders up so Mel could see them. “I can come back later if you like.”
Mel shook her head. “No, it’s fine. Come on in.”
Andrea walked over to her desk and deposited the folders. Mel barely saw her as she once again resumed staring off into space. “Tough case?” Andrea asked.
“What?” Mel replied, snapping back to reality again.
“Tough case? The client that just left.”
“Oh… No.” She waved her hand indicating that he had been nothing much at all.
“You look like you’ve got a big problem you’re trying to solve.”
Mel sighed a bit. “Sort of. But it’s really a silly one.”
“Anything I can help with?”
Mel looked Andrea in the face. “Maybe,” she replied. “Have a seat.”
“So what’s up?” Andrea asked as soon as she was sitting across from her boss.
“Well, I guess it involves Chad again…” She spent the next few minutes telling Andrea all about Chad’s friends having a poker game next week and about her continuing thoughts about it… and how she couldn’t get it out of her head. “It’s silly!” she finally said. “I don’t want him to go and he has no intention of going. He wasn’t even invited. But I still can’t stop thinking about it.”
Andrea thought about it for a few seconds. “Maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you something.”
“Like what?”
“I don’t know. But you’re probably never going to find out unless you send him to that game and let him play.”
“But I don’t want him there!”
“Of course not. But what could it really hurt? And like I said, unless you send him, you’ll never know.”
Mel thought about that for a minute. “Maybe,” she replied noncommittally. “Maybe.”
The sound of the outer door opening caught their attention. “That will be your next client,” Andrea said as she stood back up. She pointed to the stack of folders she had just placed on Mel’s desk. “And don’t forget to sign those!”

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