by Karen Singer
Chapter 40 (Wednesday – week 6 Part 2 of 6)
Robin moved stiffly as she walked past Chad’s cubicle. All the exercise she had put her body through last night was making itself known this morning. “Hi Sissy,” she called as she walked past. As she got to her desk, she heard him returning the greeting back over the wall. She gratefully set her things down on her desk and stretched her hands and arms to relieve them. Exercise! Who needs it! She sighed – she did! Without bothering to check her face or hair in her mirror, she walked next door to his cubicle. “How’d it go?” she asked the moment she walked in. His back was to her as he was checking the email on his machine. She noticed he was wearing that gorgeous colorful dress again.
Chad turned in his seat. “Hi Robin,” he replied, ignoring her question and trying to sound cheerful – unsuccessfully.
Robin leaned up against his desk. “I love that dress on you,” she exclaimed.
Chad looked briefly down at his dress. “Thanks.”
“So how did it go last night?” she asked again.
“You mean the game?”
“Of course, you idiot! What else?”
He shrugged. “Okay, I guess.”
“That’s it? Just okay?”
“Why not? It was okay. I didn’t win if that’s what you mean.”
Robin just shook her head. “So what did you wind up wearing?” She noticed his eyes going wide and the brief look of fright that suddenly crossed his face. She saw him actually shake his head for a moment before he finally answered.
“Just a skirt and blouse.”
Robin had the funny feeling that there might be more to it than that. “That’s it? You can’t describe it any better than that? What skirt and blouse? What did they look like? Were they ones I’ve seen before?” She shook her head. “You’ve really got a long way to go!”
Chad just shrugged. He didn’t want to tell her any more than that – for sure! “No, they weren’t ones you’ve seen before.”
“That’s it? You’re not going to tell me anything more?”
He just shook his head. “Not today.”
Robin suddenly noticed something else about him. “Hey, are you feeling alright? You look kind of… not yourself.”
“I didn’t get any sleep last night,” Chad admitted.
Chad shrugged his shoulders again. “Things on my mind, I guess.”
“Geez! Getting information out of you is practically impossible! You’re being very irritating again! So what things were keeping you up all night? Obviously it had to be problems.”
He was irritating? What did she think she was? “Yeah, you could say that. Definitely problems. Actually, one big problem.”
“For heaven’s sake, stop being so secretive and tell me what it is!”
Chad looked down at the floor, wondering if he should really tell her or not. “It’s just… the poker game,” he finally said.
“The game? What happened?” A big possibility suddenly leapt to her mind. “You didn’t lose too much money, did you?”
Chad shook his head. “No, actually I didn’t lose all that much. It was… something else.”
Robin tried to think what could possibly have been so bad. “The guys didn’t treat you bad, did they?”
Chad shook his head. “No, actually, they were very understanding… too understanding!”
Robin tried to figure out what he might have meant by that. “What do you mean… too understanding? How can that be a problem?”
Chad looked up at her. “You don’t understand!”
“Of course not! You won’t explain it to me!”
Ugh! He looked back down at the floor again – away from her. “At the game…” he began, speaking fairly softly. “Uh…” He took a big breath, trying to figure out what to say. “At the end…” He paused once again. Should he really tell her? “They kind of made a bet.”
Robin shook her head, not understanding the problem at all. “Isn’t that what they usually do at those games?”
“Yeah, but… not like this.” He finally looked up at her. “The last hand pretty much came down to Ray and Derek. They were really going at it, each one really trying to win.”
“So how is that a problem for you?”
“Well… At the end… Mel kind of upped the stakes a bit.”
Robin just waited, knowing… or hoping… that the full story was about to finally spill out.
Chad resumed his tale. “She suggested… that the winner would get the chance to take her out on a date. But…” Could he really say this? He really didn’t believe it himself! “But the loser would have to date me!” There! He had said it! “Kind of a double date!”
Robin’s eyes went wide with surprise… and delight! “Sissy! You’ve got a date?”
Chad only nodded – miserably. “So who won?”
“So that means…” Robin’s delight grew even more. She actually started laughing. “So you really are going out with Derek! And you’ve been telling me all along that you weren’t!” She laughed at her own teasing. “I can’t imagine why you would feel so down about it. I mean… Geez! The guy’s a hunk! Every woman in the company would love to have a date with him… myself included!” She paused to think for a minute. “I really need that gym more than I thought! You’ve been dressing like a woman for only a few weeks and you’ve already got a date with the hottest bachelor in the company! Okay, so I’m married… but still!”
“Robin! You don’t know how sick I am about it! And I’m pretty sure he feels the same way!”
But Robin only laughed. “I can’t wait to tell everybody!”
Mel stared at the little business card in her hand. Derek’s card. Okay, so the date Sunday night was going to be a double date – where it probably wouldn’t matter who was technically out with who… but still… Yeah, she would much rather that her date was with Derek. She was about to pick up the phone to call him when she heard Andrea knocking on her door. “Come on in.”
Andrea walked in with an arm full of file folders. “I’ve got everything you need to look at and sign this morning ready for you. There’s probably going to be a few more later today, but this is the bulk of it.”
“Thanks, Andrea,” Mel said as she set Derek’s business card down on her desk.
“So how was the poker game last night? Did you ever figure out why you wanted to be there?”
Mel smiled wickedly. “I’ll say! You were right! I really did need to be there! I managed to set up something very sweet for Sissy… something that I really need to follow up on now and set in motion.”
“Do I dare ask what?”
“His voice! If everything goes like I hope it does, he won’t be using his male voice at work – or anywhere else anymore.”
“You said you were trying to do that. So how did you manage it?”
Mel just smiled wickedly. “Just watch!” She picked up the business card again to place her call to Derek, then she paused. “Would you believe Sissy and I actually have dates this weekend?”
Andrea was shocked. “You do? Both of you?”
Mel nodded. “A double date. I was really… blitzed last night.”
“You must have been.”
“I kind of set things up so that the winner of the last hand gets to take me out on a date and the loser has to date Sissy.”
“So how bad is the guy you’re going out with? Should I be sorry for you, or envious?”
Mel suddenly remembered the pictures she had taken just before they left last night. “Here,” she said as quickly grabbed her purse. “I can show you.” She dug her phone out and pulled up the picture of Ray and her together.
“Yeah, but unfortunately, he’s a womanizing scum-bucket.”
“So? If he looks that good, let him tumble your bones anyway. I would!”
Mel laughed. “Maybe. But wait till you see the guy that Sissy is dating. He’s actually one of Sissy’s best friends.” She pulled up the other picture.
Andrea meant to look at the guy in the picture, but she couldn’t get past the way that Sissy was dressed. “Oh my God!”
“Yeah, he’s a hunk too. And a much nicer guy.”
“No. I mean Sissy. Look at the way he’s dressed!”
Mel smiled. “Yeah, I kind of had some fun with him last night.” She had a sudden thought. “Here, let me transfer it to my computer so you can see it better.” A minute later, Andrea was staring at a full-screen sized picture that showed everything in minute detail. “God!” she exclaimed once again. “I’d be so embarrassed!”
Mel only nodded. “He certainly was.”
Andrea noticed something odd in the picture. She pointed to a tiny white patch just below Sissy’s skirt. “What’s that, something on his skirt or a bad place in the picture?”
Mel looked at what Andrea had pointed at, then looked closer… and smiled. “No, that’s his diapers bulging down below the hem of his skirt!”
Derek didn’t spend a lot of time at his desk, so when he did, he tried to make the most of it… the paperwork really did pile up! He was still a bit annoyed over losing that last hand last night… and especially about having to date – Sissy! Ugh! So when his phone suddenly rang, he was more annoyed at the interruption than ever. “Hello?”
“Hi Derek. This is Mel… from the game last night?”
“Oh yeah. How are you?”
“A bit groggy still. But listen, I wanted to follow up on something from last night that I was hoping you’d do for me.”
“Kind of pass it around the company there for everyone to remind Sissy to use her girl voice only.”
“Oh yeah. I had forgotten.”
“That’s why I called. It’s kind of important to me… and I guess to her… although she doesn’t see it that way – yet.”
“Oh yeah,” Derek said again. “I remember. Look, I’ll make a few calls, but that’s about all I can do right now. I’m really busy today.”
“That’s all I ask,” Mel replied brightly. “Oh, and Derek, just so you know… I really wish you had won that hand last night instead.”
Derek paused, more than a bit surprised. She had seemed so cold last night. “So does that mean you might go out with me sometime?”
“I don’t know. I’m pretty busy.”
“So am I.”
“They why don’t you call me sometime when you’re not so busy.”
Had she really said that? “You can count on it!” he replied with more enthusiasm than he had felt all day.
“Oh… say… while I’ve got you on the phone…” Mel said. She was mentally holding her breath – Operation Robin was about to start – right now! “Is there any way you can get me… what’s her name… Robin’s phone number?”
“Robin! I don’t know. Tell you what, I’ll ask her for you and pass it on if she says yes.”
“That would be great!” Mel replied. “I’d really appreciate it. And you can ask her to remind Sissy about using her voice at the same time.”
“You don’t want to tell her yourself?”
“I can… but I’m pretty busy here today. I really just wanted to follow up with her later.”
“Okay,” Derek replied. “I’ll call her and let you know.”
“Thanks,” Mel replied.
“And maybe we can have lunch together sometime!”
Mel was caught off guard. It sounded so tempting. “Just not today,” she finally replied.
Robin wasn’t really working when her phone rang. She was just surfing through the internet looking at the clothes that some of her favorite stores were offering. “Hello,” she said, trying to sound busy.
“Hi Robin… This is Derek… from upstairs.”
“Derek!” She almost screamed! “Are you really going out with Sissy?” She couldn’t wait to ask that one.
“Uh… Man, word gets around fast! Unfortunately, it looks that way.”
“I think it’s fabulous!” Robin replied excitedly.
“Um… We may have differing opinions about that one!”
Robin didn’t really care in the least. “So what can I do for you?”
“Look, I don’t really know how to ask this. I’m really just passing on a request from Sissy’s friend Mel. I don’t know if you know her or not, but she was at the game last night with Sissy.”
“I don’t know her, but I’ve heard a little about her,” Robin replied. “What does she want?”
“I know this sounds silly, but the way she put it at the game made perfect sense. She wants everybody to keep on Sissy’s case about using his ‘girl’ voice all the time, as she put it. To not use his male voice at all. She seems to think that using his male voice is like a crutch and he won’t ever develop his female voice if he keeps using it… I think… or something like that. Anyway, there was also some bit about how bad it is if he looks like a woman and sounds like a man.”
Robin paused to take that in. “No, it does kind of make sense. His… ‘girl’ voice? That’s a new one on me! But I’ll ask him about it.”
“And pass it on to everyone else too, if you would. I’ve really got too much to do here to make a lot of phone calls.”
“Oh, you can bet I will!” Robin replied.
“Thanks Robin. I appreciate it. Oh! And by the way, Mel wants to know if she can have your phone number. She said she wants to follow up with you about this later.”
“She… wants ‘my’ phone number? Sure you can give it to her. Say… you wouldn’t be willing to pass along her number to me in return would you?”
Derek considered that for only a moment. “I don’t see why not.” He gave her the number from the business card he had gotten from Mel last night. “Thanks Robin. I really appreciate it.”
Robin hung up her phone. That was interesting – very interesting. Mel wanted her number? The very person who probably could answer all her questions about Chad? Or rather… Sissy. She definitely wanted to talk to Mel! And then there was the other very interesting part – the part about his voice! Yes, that was very interesting too! There was no way she was going to stay at her own desk now – she had dirt to dig!