by Karen Singer
Chapter 42 (Friday – week 6 Part 5 of 8)
Mel walked her client to the door and shook hands with him. Once he was gone, she turned back toward her office. The waiting room was empty except for Andrea who was typing something at her desk. She stopped in front of Andrea’s desk and waited till she had finished typing and could look up. “Okay, I give up. What’s so obvious? How can I keep Sissy from holding back at work?”
“You’re kidding, right?” Andrea asked. “You mean you really don’t know?”
“No! That’s why I’m asking.”
Andrea just shook her head. “Well, like I said, I’m sure there are things I don’t know about so you can’t do it.”
“I don’t know! That’s the point.”
“Okay, well, there’s nothing I can think of. So what are you talking about?”
“I don’t believe you don’t see this already.”
“What is it?” Mel asked, her voice full of frustration.
“Well, you said that the only time he can work on holding back is when he’s at work, right?”
“So… Don’t send him.”
“Don’t send him to work. I mean, the guy’s probably got some vacation time, doesn’t he?”
Mel’s jaw dropped wide open as she stood there in shock. It was so obvious! Why hadn’t she seen it? “Thanks, Andrea! I owe you!” she said quickly before she hurried back to her office. Don’t send him to work! It was so obvious. This time, instead of emailing him, she picked up her cell phone instead.
“Break time Sissy,” Robin’s voice called from the entrance to his cubical. “Hey, what ‘cha looking at?” She walked in closer so she could see his computer screen. There were several pictures of models on it. “Hey, I’ve seen those. They’re beautiful, aren’t they? Have you seen the one in the teal print dress yet? It’s a couple of pages in.”
“Not yet,” Chad replied. “I haven’t gotten that far.”
“So go to the next page and see if it’s there. I want to show you the shoes she’s wearing.”
Chad started to click toward the next page in the website, but he was suddenly interrupted when his cell phone started ringing. He quickly picked it up and noticed that the call was from Mel. “Hello?” he said, carefully using his ‘girly’ voice.
“Sissy,” Mel’s voice replied. “What are you doing?”
“Um… Robin and I were just about to go to break.”
The stupid Robin woman again! Mel was so glad that she would be getting what was coming to her very, very soon. She could just picture the two of them walking hand in hand to break together. The very thought of it made her sick. “Sissy, I need to know if you have any vacation days available.”
Chad was a bit surprised by the question. “Vacation days? I guess so. I’m sure I have at least a week left.”
“Good! I want you to put in immediately to take off the entire last week of our bet together.”
“The whole last week?”
“You heard me. Now arrange it, or I’ll do it for you. Of course, you may not have a job left if I have to do it. Let me know as soon as you can get it arranged. Got it?”
“Yeah. The whole last week. I’ll let you know.”
“Good. How are you coming with the little paper I assigned you? I’m still waiting to read it.”
“I’m working on it,” Chad replied.
“Well get it done! No excuses!”
“Good. Don’t forget, nail salon tonight. Are you going to keep your current nail length or get them cut shorter?”
“I hadn’t thought about it,” Chad confessed.
“Well, if you do decide to get them cut, don’t get them too short.”
Chad was just surprised that the choice was going to be totally up to him. “Like I said, I hadn’t thought about it yet.” He glanced down at his long purple fingernails. Even in the lavender color, they looked so much more feminine with the longer nails. “I do kind of like the way they look when they’re this long.”
“Good,” Mel replied. “Oh, and you should consider a different color. Maybe something in the red to pink range. Maybe more towards the red end.”
Chad had to wonder why she was being so specific. What did she have planned for him now? “I’ll think about it,” he replied.
“Good. Let me know the minute you know about your vacation!”
“I will,” Chad replied. “I will.”
“What was that all about?” Robin asked.
“Mel wants me to take some vacation time from work.”
“When? The last week of the month?”
Chad did some mental calculating and realized that the last week of the month was also the last week of the bet. “Yeah,” he replied.
“So what’s going on? Where are you going?”
“I have no idea. She just wants me to take off.”
“So are you?”
Chad couldn’t tell her at all that he really had no choice in the matter. “Probably. I could use a few days off anyway.”
“Well, you just better not come back with a complete sex change without telling me first. I’ll kill you!”
Chad laughed. “No chance of that!” – he hoped. He had no idea why Mel really wanted him to take off or what she had planned for him. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to know. Knowing Mel, she might have the most outrageous plans for him. He just hoped it wasn’t really a trip anywhere. That would be most embarrassing!
“So are you going to cut your nails shorter?” Robin asked as they headed out into the hallway together.
“I hadn’t thought about it,” Chad replied as he again glanced quickly at his long lavender nails.
“I don’t know how you manage to do anything with them that long.”
Chad just shrugged. “You get used to it.” As they walked, he was a bit amazed. Wasn’t that the very thing he often wondered when he saw women with long nails? Now a woman was asking him!
Mel hung up her phone and stared at her back wall for a minute. It was so obvious! Why hadn’t she thought about it before? And now that she had ordered him to do it, she immediately felt better about things. With an entire week to work on him, she was sure she could win this bet! And speaking of taking off! She punched in Andrea’s number on her office phone.
“Yes?” Andrea’s voice came back.
“Andrea. Check my schedule for the last week of the month. Clear as much of it as possible. Everything if you can.”
“So you’re trying to take off too?”
“As much as possible.”
“Hang on a minute,” Andrea replied while she was still on the phone. She quickly glanced through Mel’s calendar. “I only see a couple of court appointments that will be almost impossible to get out of. But other than that, I can probably move things around so you have most of the time available.”
“Good. Do what you can Andrea. Thanks.”
Mel suddenly felt better than she had all day. Things would be even better now that she was going to take some time off too. Well, most of the time anyway. There were still a few pesky things she had to attend to at that time, but they were minor little things that couldn’t be helped. With that problem finally ironed out, she was able to turn her thoughts instead to much more happier things – like teaching Sissy ballet. She needed to come up with a routine for him now. Something he could perform in public. And she couldn’t wait!
Derek didn’t dare go down to the break room, even though he would have enjoyed a cup of coffee. Maybe he could just go out somewhere and get one, or maybe he could send one of his co-workers after a cup. But there was no way he was going anywhere near that break room while Chad… Sissy might be there!
Ray was on his way to confer with one of the other managers about the new government regulations on their industry when he had to pass by Derek’s office. He was a bit surprised to see Derek at his desk. The temptation to rub something in and get Derek’s goat a bit was just too much. He delayed his meeting for a moment and went in to see Derek instead. “You sly dog!” he announced as he entered Derek’s office.
“What?” Derek wasn’t at all happy to see Ray again, especially not with a grin that big on his face.
“You sly old dog!” Ray repeated excitedly once again.
“Now what?” Derek asked with more than a hint of annoyance in his voice. He just knew that Derek was up to something that he probably wouldn’t like.
“You should have told me!”
“Told you what?”
“You lost that bet on purpose!”
“I what? What are you talking about?”
“The bet. The poker bet. You lost it on purpose… you sly old dog you!”
“Ray, how could I lose that bet on purpose? Why would I ever want to do such a stupid thing? Especially with the consequences I’m facing now because I did lose!”
But Ray was still grinning from ear to ear. “I’m afraid the word is out now boy. You should have just told me. I would have understood perfectly.”
Derek was getting more and more frustrated with Ray, not to mention downright angry. “Told you what? What word is out?”
“Why, about you and Sissy of course. You should have told me.”
“Told you what?” Derek yelled back. “What about… me and… Sissy?” he spat the last word.
“Why, you and Sissy have this… ‘thing’ for each other. And he’s getting a sex change just so that you two can be together. You sly old dog you!”
Derek’s face was going purple. He was on the verge of exploding. “That’s not true and you know it! Stop this bullshit!”
“But I didn’t start it,” Ray replied happily. “It’s all over the company now.”
Ray was shocked. “All over…”
“You sly old dog you…” Ray said one last time as he walked out.
Derek was fuming. All over the company? Ray had to be kidding! It was the craziest thing he had ever heard. Common sense would show everybody that! He did his best to try to ignore what Ray had just said and chalk it up to more of Ray’s teasing.
Man did he ever need some coffee now. No, not coffee, a good beer instead! No, not beer, something much, much stronger!
The woman who Ray had originally gotten the rumor from was just getting up from her desk to go to the break room when Ray “just happened” to be walking by. He stopped just long enough to speak a few words with her about company business. But before he left, he added just a tiny bit more. “Oh, by the way!” he added. “Remember what you were asking me about earlier…. About Derek and Sissy?”
“Yeah?” the woman asked, suddenly very interested.
“Well, it looks like you were exactly right. Oh, he didn’t want to come out and just admit it, but I got enough out of Derek so that I know it for sure!”
“You’re kidding!” the woman replied, totally shocked and amazed. Now she couldn’t wait to get to the break room. Wait till the girls heard this!
The huge grin was back on Ray’s face as he watched her hurrying for the door.