Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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

The Bet
by Karen Singer

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

Mel took a sip from the coffee that had just been delivered, then put her cup back down again. Gloria was still holding her cup, still drinking. Mel waited till she was finished. “I drink too much coffee,” Mel said, trying to get the conversation started.
“Me too,” but I have no intention of slowing down,” Gloria replied.
“Me either,” Mel agreed lightheartedly. She looked at her friend. “So, did you find out what you needed to know last night?”
Gloria smiled. “I really didn’t learn anything much that was new. One or two things only. But mostly, I feel fairly confident now that I got the real truth out of him.”
“So do you feel better?”
“Yes. But… He did say a few things that got me curious. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go into them with him.”
Mel nodded. “One thing always leads to another. It’s the same way in my profession.” Mel leaned forward. “Look, is there any way I can convince you to just keep asking how he’s doing every week? I’ve really got to know. I have nothing else to go on… no other way to tell if I’m doing something right, or if he’s gaining any ground back again.”
Gloria considered her request. Of course there was no way she was ever going to manipulate Chad again to do what Mel really wanted. But just getting the simple information Mel was requesting wasn’t really so bad. It wasn’t like she was doing anything to him at all. And it was all information that he readily knew – he’d only be sharing it. And then of course, there was the other thing… She nodded. “Yeah, for now I can do that. Besides, there are still some things I want to delve deeper into with him that he mentioned last night. So as long as I’ve got questions for him, I’ll ask your questions too.”
Mel sat back and picked up her coffee again. “That sounds perfect!” It wasn’t really. What she really wanted was for Gloria to hypnotize him again and make him totally incontinent in one fell swoop! She could do it – easily. But she was still refusing. But as with so many other cases in her life, compromise was better than nothing.

“I don’t see any problems,” Chad said as he continued to stare at the screen on his computer.
“I don’t either,” Robin agreed from her chair that she had pulled up right next to his. They had been quickly going back over their work together just to make sure they hadn’t missed anything.
“I say it’s ready, and that we tell Tom,” Chad said.
“I agree,” Robin replied as she pushed her chair backwards and got up.
“You want me to tell him?” Chad asked.
“You might as well. I really need to get busy on some of the other things I need to do. Just let me know if he has any questions.”
“No problem,” Chad agreed as he watched her pushing her chair back to her own cubicle. He picked up the phone on his desk and called his boss. “We’re done,” he said into the phone. “As far as we can tell, the whole thing is ready for the clients to just have.” He listened to his boss thanking him and agreed that both he and Robin would be ready to answer any questions about it on Monday. Then he hung up his phone again.
The project was finished. He always felt a huge feeling of accomplishment every time he finished something, and this was no exception. But now he had other things to get done, just as Robin did. But first… He listened hard, but he couldn’t hear anything from Robin’s cubicle next door. He didn’t think she would be coming back anytime soon so hopefully he wouldn’t be interrupted. He opened up the spreadsheet where he kept track of his progress on the bet. Things had been going badly all week, and yesterday had been more of the same.
He quickly found yesterday’s date and went to the column next to it. He filled in 18 minutes and stared at the results. Another minute lost! How? He was still going backwards. He looked at the column that listed days still to go – twenty eight. Four more weeks! A long time… but not nearly as long as it used to be. He had to start getting his control back again. And so far, today hadn’t been going much better than yesterday. But then, it was still early in the afternoon, things didn’t usually get any better till much later in the day when he had less fluid in his system to get rid of.
He quickly closed the spreadsheet again, telling himself that he didn’t want anyone else to see it. But the truth was, that he didn’t want to look at the results himself.

George hung up his phone and sat back in his chair. He had finally gotten in touch with Derek who had been out of the office earlier. Each of the guys had agreed to let Chad and his girlfriend… girlfriend?... into the game, but each had their own reasons. Steve had said the more people there, the more money he could win. Ray had agreed because he wanted to see Chad’s girlfriend… but then George had the sneaking suspicion that if Chad’s girlfriend looked even halfway decent then Ray would be trying to get her into bed with him. Ray had something of a “reputation.” A big one!
And now Derek had agreed too. But Derek and Chad had always been fairly close. Long time buddies. Derek had agreed only because Chad was his friend.
That left it all up to him. And the truth was, that he didn’t really want Chad there. His girlfriend either. This was supposed to be a night for just the guys. A night to just hang out with some male friends and enjoy themselves. He really wanted to tell Chad no! But if the other guys said Chad should come, then who was he to go against everybody’s wishes. He just hoped that Chad really would contribute at least some of the beer. It also wouldn’t be too bad if his girlfriend really was good looking too. But how good looking could she be if she was going out with someone like Chad? Which didn’t sound likely to him, but, well, that was all Chad’s problem.
He picked up the phone and dialed the number for Chad’s desk.
Chad listened to his phone ringing several times before he picked it up. He was afraid the call would be another woman with another stupid guess as to what was on his nonexistent t-shirt. He was surprised to hear George on the other end of the line. “Hey, George. What’s happening?” He just knew that George would turn him down. He could practically feel the tutu that Mel would put on him encircling his waist as he walked into work.
“Okay,” George said. “I got the guys to agree for you. But you better come through with some of the beer in return!”
Chad felt elated. “No problem! Believe me! I really appreciate this!”
“Yeah, well, I just hope your girlfriend knows how to play. Does she?”
That stopped Chad. “I really don’t know.”
“Then teach her if you have to… before the game!”
Chad laughed, but it was a laugh of relief. “You got it!”
He dared not phone Mel because he would have to use his sissy voice when talking to her and someone might hear him. Besides, she was usually busy with clients or in court and would have to return his call later. So he opened up his email program and sent her an email telling her that everyone had agreed to let them play. The minute the email was sent, he felt really good… but that didn’t last very long. Images of what she might make him do in front of the guys began running through his head once more.
He knew he was supposed to be working on other things, but worrying about the poker game now was crowding out all other thoughts. He sat back in his chair and turned away from his computer. His gaze fell on what was left of the bouquet of flowers Mel had sent him last week. The flowers looked terrible – all of them. Had it really been a week already since his divorce had been declared final? How fast time could fly!
He thought back to some of the things he had been forced to endure in the past week, not the least of which was the humiliating day he had been put through last Monday. Had he really been to the mall dressed like a sissy idiot and sang “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in the concourse? It was a disturbing thought. And now he had something else to worry about, the poker game. What humiliating things would Mel make him do there? And in front of all the guys he knew. Word would get spread around the company like wildfire the day after. Was his life going to get suddenly worse? Probably! In fact, more than probably! The only question now was, in what ways?
Feeling more frustrated than ever, Chad got up and pulled all the remaining flowers out of the vase and threw them into his trash can. The vase, he stuck into his desk drawer behind his purse where he wouldn’t have to look at it.
Mel was just itching to expose him at work for the big sissy that he was. Would she really make him wear one of his sissy dresses to the game? He could only pray that she wouldn’t!
His cell phone rang a few moments later. Since he now kept it on top of his desk he was able to pick it up much faster. He saw that the call was from Mel and once again hurried out into the hallway before he answered it. He was still hurrying as he opened his phone and said, “Hello, Mistress,” in his sissy voice.
Mel took a moment to reply. “Sissy! You’re hurrying somewhere again – trying to hide!
Chad knew there was no denying it. “But I can’t let anyone hear me talking this way!”
“I told you before that’s not supposed to be a problem. I don’t care if they hear you! That’s another demerit!”
Ugh! Another beating. It was the last thing he really wanted… well, maybe not the last thing. He didn’t want to go to the poker game now either. “Yes, Mistress,” he replied, reluctantly.
“Now… I’m very glad that everyone agreed to let us into that game. Although I should mention that I was very much looking forward to shopping for a ballet outfit for you this weekend. I’m still thinking about it.”
“Mistress, please! Please don’t send me to work that way! I’ll die!”
“No you won’t! And don’t worry, I haven’t decided to do it… yet! Especially since you did manage to convince everyone to let us play.”
Chad felt relieved – very relieved. But not totally. “But Mistress, what are you going to do to me at the game?”
Mel was slightly amused at his question. The truth was, she had no idea. She still didn’t have a clue as to why she had even insisted that he get them into the game. “We’ll talk about that tonight at dinner. I just wanted to thank you for convincing everyone to let us play.”
“You’re welcome,” Chad replied sullenly. He would be finding out more tonight at dinner. He wasn’t really looking forward to hearing the details. He had no doubt they would be pretty much terrible!

At break time, Chad again followed Robin in the line to get coffee. He briefly looked around the room expecting to see Derek, but there was no sign of his friend. Although he wasn’t sure what would be worse, feeling uncomfortable sitting with Derek, or feeling uncomfortable from whatever comments the women would throw at him. With Derek missing, he had no choice at all.
As they headed toward the table, Robin slowed momentarily to speak to him. “Now don’t forget to remember what everyone is wearing this time. And for heaven’s sake, fix your skirt before you sit down!”
Chad was tempted to say a sarcastic ‘Yes, Mistress,’ but he forced himself to say nothing.
There was already a conversation underway at the table as they dragged their chairs over and sat down – Chad carefully arranging his skirt beforehand and attempted to sit slowly and gracefully. He looked over to Robin afterwards for her approval, but all he saw was her rolling her eyes before looking back at the other women.
For once, the conversation didn’t center around him and Chad felt glad. He sipped at his coffee as he listened halfheartedly about the problems some of them were having with their kids. As he sat there, half listening, he tried to carefully take note of what some of the women were wearing. Naturally, it was the sexier and more flamboyantly dressed women that caught his eye. The others he barely noticed. One woman in particular looked good in her low-cut knit top. He couldn’t tell what she was wearing below the waist because the table was in the way. She had on a beautiful necklace and several bracelets too. And her earrings were huge. Since her hair was pulled back and tied with a pretty feminine bow behind her head, he noticed how they bumped against her neck as she moved her head or spoke. The earrings were almost mesmerizing. What was it like to wear earrings like that? Were they uncomfortable? Were they a nuisance? Or were they just plain fun?
“What are you staring at,” the woman asked him.
It was a moment before Chad realized that she was talking to him. He jumped back to reality. “I’m sorry? What?”
“I was wondering what you’re looking at.”
Chad was a bit embarrassed. This was why he didn’t look too closely at women. “Your earrings,” he replied, slightly embarrassed about it. “I love them.”
She reached up with a smile on her face and touched one. “Aren’t they great? I’m glad someone else noticed them too. I just got them.”
“So Sissy,” another woman asked. “Are you finally considering getting some earrings of your own?”
Chad wasn’t really sure what would be happening. He only had another month left before the bet was over with. “Um… I’m still not sure.” He replied. “I’m thinking about it.”
“Well, think harder! I’ve been telling you for weeks to get your ears pierced. You keep buying lots of pretty new clothes, but nothing else to go with them. Your necklace and ring are very pretty, girl, but it would be nice to see something different on you for a change.”
Chad heard mumbling of general agreement among the women and suddenly felt very self conscious. He actually felt embarrassed because he always wore the same necklace, ring, and watch… and he wasn’t wearing earrings. He had thought his jewelry was great. Besides, it was Mel who dictated everything that he bought. “Uh… I’ll consider it again,” he finally replied, unsure what else he could say.
“You do that!” the woman replied.
Chad was glad that the conversation turned once again away from him and back to their kids and family. He wasn’t sure what was worse, them throwing silly guesses at him about what was on his nonexistent t-shirt, or being criticized for what he was… or wasn’t wearing. This time, he was consciously careful about not staring too long or too intently at any one woman. The result being, that he took in very little about the details of any of their outfits.
A little while later as he and Robin were walking back to their desks, she asked him. “So, did you remember what everyone was wearing?”
“A few,” Chad admitted.
“So tell me.”
“Well… The one with the big earrings that I liked, she had on a great knit top…”
“What color was it?”
“What color? Kind of a blue, I guess.”
“You guess?”
“Yeah. It was blue. Or maybe some kind of green.”
“It was teal you dummy!” She threw her hands up in the air. “Hopeless!”

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