Friday, August 12, 2011

The Bet - Chapter 41 (Thursday – week 6 Part 2 of 8)

The Bet
by Karen Singer

Chapter 41 (Thursday – week 6 Part 2 of 8)

Robin was fretting. It was way past starting time and Sissy hadn’t come in yet. Had something happened to him… to ‘her?’ Should she call ‘her?’ It wasn’t like ‘her’ to be late for work – ever!
A bit of noise from the cubicle next door reached her ears and she was out of her seat in a flash to check. “Sissy!” she said with relief the moment she saw ‘her.’ “Where have you been? Are you alright?”
Chad pulled his cell phone out of his purse before he closed it up in his desk drawer. “I’m fine,” he replied. “I’m just running late today. Why, did anybody come looking for me?”
“Are you kidding? You know that nobody ever comes down here. Well, almost never.”
Chad was relieved. “So hopefully, nobody even knows I’m late,” he replied.
Robin smiled. “Girly voice!” she reminded him. “And ‘I’ know you were late. Even though I don’t really care… much. Hey! New earrings again!”
Chad turned his head back and forth so she could see them better.
“I like them,” Robin declared.
“Thanks,” Chad replied as he sank down into his chair.
“Girly voice!” she reminded him again.
Chad just rolled his eyes and still using his regular male voice asked, “Are you going to keep doing that all day?”
Robin confidently leaned up against his desk and replied, “You better believe it!”
Chad just rolled his eyes again. This was going to be another long day… he just knew it!

Mel walked her client to the door, shook hands with him and said goodbye. As soon as the door closed behind him, she headed back towards her office, stopping by Andrea’s desk on the way.
“You had a phone call while you were busy,” Andrea told her as she searched for and quickly found the small piece of paper with the message on it. “Are you taking up dancing or something? Because it’s from the dance clothing store at the mall. They said your order is in.”
Mel smiled broadly. “I’m not taking up dancing, but someone else is.”
“I wondered if that might be the case,” Andrea replied. “What are you getting him?”
“Nothing special. Just some toe shoes and a tutu. I’ve already got the rest of his costume.”
“Nothing special? So what are you planning on doing with it, have him put on a private little show?”
Mel’s smile turned wicked. “That much is for certain. But actually, I was considering something a little more… public.”
Andrea’s eyes went wide with surprise. “What?”
“You don’t want to know!”
“Wanna’ bet?”

Chad stared at his computer screen and mentally went through the list of little jobs he had to do… or rather could possibly do, because none of them were that important. Basically, he really didn’t have any major jobs to work on at all. He had finished the list of things that Tom had passed onto him, so he was now free to pretty much do as he liked… as long as Tom didn’t find out that he had nothing much to do.
“Break time, Sissy.” Robin called from the entrance to his cubicle.
Chad turned his chair around, but didn’t get up. “Hay Robin,” he started. “Do you…”
“Girly voice!” Robin reminded him.
Chad rolled his eyes yet again. “Can we not play that game?”
Robin went all the way into his cubicle. “It’s for your own good! And your female voice does need a lot of work. If you don’t get used to using it and stop using your male voice, then you’re never going to learn.”
“So in other words, you’re going to stay on my case about it,” Chad noted – still with his male voice.
“Girly voice!” Robin reminded him yet again. “Now say that again, like you’re supposed to!”
Ugh! “So you intend to hound me forever about it!” Chad replied, finally in his girly voice.
Robin smiled. “That’s much better. Now keep using it!”
Chad just shook his head in disgust before he continued – in his girly voice. “What I was trying to ask was, if you have a lot of stuff to work on? Because I’m not really working on anything much except stuff that doesn’t really need to be done.”
Robin shook her head and lowered her voice. “As long as you’re not going to tell anyone…” Chad just kept looking at her. “I haven’t had much to do for two days now. Just a few little things.”
“That’s pretty rare,” Chad replied as he got out of his chair to go with her to break. “Both of us aren’t working on much of anything. I wonder if we should ask Tom about it.”
“Are you kidding? I’m kind of enjoying not doing much.”
“But I’m getting bored!” Chad replied.
Robin giggled. “You can always work on your makeup techniques or check the dress sales like I do.”
Chad made no reply. The truth was that one time he had gone onto the internet – just for a few minutes, to look at some dresses. Well, he was wearing them all the time now!
The line for coffee was moderately long, but Chad walked right past everyone in line as soon as he spotted the doughnuts at the other end. He was already happily munching on one as he rejoined the line right behind Robin.
“I don’t know how you do it!” Robin stated. “I work my ass off at the gym and eat nothing, and here you are eating doughnuts and you’re still losing weight! What kind of diet are you on anyway?”
The first thing that came to mind for Chad was baby food. But of course he couldn’t mention that. “I don’t eat much at any other time,” he said as he stuffed more of the doughnut into his mouth.
“You’re so lucky!” Robin replied as she stepped up to the coffee pot. “I never eat anything and I still keep gaining weight!”
The table was moderately crowded, but Robin and Chad had no problem finding seats without pulling one up. Chad sat down and sipped his coffee as the women’s conversation droned on around him. He dared not say anything because it would have only led to further humiliation.
“What do you think, Sissy?” Someone suddenly asked.
Chad was startled. He had been lost in his own thoughts about what had happened between him and Mel earlier that morning and hadn’t really been listening. The last he remembered, the women had been talking about the latest fashions that were out. “About what?”
“Girly voice!” at least three of them reminded him at the same time.
Chad felt totally exasperated! They just weren’t going to let up – yet. “About what?” he repeated in his girly voice.
“What do you mean, about what?”
It was embarrassing to admit that he hadn’t been listening. “I mean, why ask me? What do I know?”
“But that’s just the point,” the woman who had first asked the question replied. “You’re a man… sort of… or at least you used to be… or…”
“Close enough!” another of the women supplied so she could continue.
“I mean, you’ve got to have an opinion about what you like and what you don’t.”
Chad hoped that they were still talking about fashion. “I haven’t really been paying that much attention to what’s new,” he replied.
“How can you not?” another one asked.
“But…” Chad continued. “I was kind of looking at some of the stuff that they’re putting on sale in a few of the stores, and…” he felt funny voicing his opinions on dresses, but… “and I kind of liked most of it.”
“To wear, or to see someone else wearing?” Another woman asked.
“Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to see a guy in any of it!” Chad replied.
“I don’t know,” another woman replied, “I’ve been kind of enjoying seeing you in dresses and heels for a change. It’s nice to see a guy learn what we have to put up with!” There was some general laughter and agreement around the table.
“That was supposed to be a joke,” Chad replied, forgetting to use his girly voice again.
“Girly voice!” Robin and another woman reminded him again. The other woman giggled.
“You’re just not going to let me be, are you?” Chad protested.
“We never let up!” the woman replied, still giggling.
But in the back of his mind, Chad was thinking that they had already let up on one or two things. For instance, they never asked him about the fictitious slogan on his non-existent t-shirt anymore. So, hopefully, eventually they might forget about this too. And that day couldn’t come soon enough!

Chad sat at his desk and stared at the company phone sitting next to his computer. Should he, or shouldn’t he? On the one hand, it was nice to not have much to do for a change, but on the other hand… Giving in to the inevitable, he picked up the phone and called his boss. “Hi Tom, this is Cha… I mean, Sissy.” It hurt a bit to say that, but he had only said it because that’s what everyone was calling him now.
Over the top of the wall, Chad heard Robin shouting, “Girly voice!” Which he promptly ignored.
“So even you can’t get it straight,” Tom replied.
“Well, it’s not that easy,” Chad explained. “And it’s kind of… embarrassing too.”
“I didn’t pick the name, you did!”
“Uh… I didn’t really get to pick it either. It was kind of… thrust on me.”
“So what can I do for you?” Tom asked.
“Um… I’ve kind of noticed that things have slacked off a bit here, work wise. I mean, I’ve got plenty to do, but… Do you know of any new projects coming though?”
“Any particular reason you’re asking?”
“No. I was just wondering.”
“Well, just so you know, we’re trying to close a deal on doing a site for another company. But it will be a much smaller job than the last one that you and Robin had to tackle. We won’t know for sure about this one though till next week. Are you looking for something to do in the meantime?”
“Uh… not really. No. I’ve got plenty to do here. I was just wondering, that’s all.”
Over the top of the wall, Robin again shouted “Girly voice!” Chad wished she’d stop that. It was embarrassing.
“Okay then. I’ll let you know the minute I hear anything else.”
“Great Tom. Thanks.”
“Girly voice!” Robin said once again.
“I’m off the phone!” Chad yelled back in his male voice.
Two seconds later, Robin was in his cubicle. “That’s not the point! You’ve got to stop talking like a man! It sounds ridiculous when you’re wearing a dress!”
“Maybe,” Chad admitted, “but my ‘girly’ voice, as you put it, is pretty ridiculous too.”
“Yeah it is, but if you’re trying to pass yourself off as a woman, it’s a lot better than your usual male voice! So what did Tom have to say?”
“They’re trying to get something, but they won’t know about it till next week.”
“Did he say if he was going to pass anymore work on to us?”
“I told him we had plenty to do so I don’t think he’s going to.”
“Good! Because I’m enjoying having nothing to do for a change.”

Mel had to fight her way past the large tutu in her hands to find the keys in her purse. Even wrapped up, the thing was difficult to handle. With a press of the button on her key ring, the trunk of her car opened and she was able to put everything inside. She was glad to get the bulky thing out of her hands… but she couldn’t wait to get the darn thing onto Sissy. She was sure that it would make him feel horribly silly and humiliated, but she was also fairly sure that he would really absolutely love the silly thing. Of course, he might not really like what she had planned for him with it. But then, that was part of the fun of all this.
A short while later, she was parking her car in a different parking lot, right next to Gloria’s car, which she noticed was empty. She hurried inside the restaurant to find her friend.
“Well you seem to be smiling awfully broadly today,” Gloria noted as Mel sat down.
“I just picked up a little something special for Sissy,” Mel exclaimed, “and I can’t wait to see him in it!”
Gloria hesitated before she asked, unsure that she really wanted to know. “And what did you get him?”
Mel actually blushed a bit. “A big tutu and some toe shoes to go with his pink and white ballet costume.”
Gloria just nodded. She should have figured it would be something like that. “And who’s more excited about it, you or him?”
“He hasn’t seen it yet, so I really don’t know. Of course, what he says about something and what he actually thinks are often two different things.”
“Are you sure about that?” Gloria asked skeptically.
That stopped Mel and actually wiped the broad grin off of her face. “Yeah. Fairly.”
“I see. So I take it you had your little talk with him finally?”
“You might say that.”
“Uh huh. And what happened? It sounds like it didn’t go well.”
It was a second before Mel could answer. “Not last night.”
“Last night?”
Mel had to stop to consider how to answer that one. “I think… we were both too out of sorts last night for that kind of discussion. He said some things in such a way that… I didn’t appreciate.”
“In other words, he’s human.”
Mel was a bit surprised. “Human?” A strange image of a mechanical Sissy robot pulled from her dream world that morning briefly flashed through her mind. “Of course he’s hu… Oh, you mean…”
“I mean he’s not perfect all the time. That and with the way you treat him, he’s got to resent it sometimes.”
“Maybe,” Mel replied. “Probably in fact. But he was falling all over himself to apologize to me this morning… and I kind of apologized to him too. We both felt really bad about last night.”
“You did, huh? Both of you? And so now you’ve kissed and made up.”
“We didn’t kiss!”
“But you made up.”
“And the results?”
Mel finally smiled again. “Full steam ahead – his decision actually. Full steam ahead!”
Gloria had been afraid of just that. The two of them really sounded more like an old married couple than anything else! In some ways.

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