Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Bet - Chapter 56 (Friday – week 8 Part 4 of 9)

The Bet
By Karen Singer

Chapter 56 (Friday – week 8 Part 4 of 9)

     Chad finished his latest bottle and stood up.  He stuck the empty bottle back into the diaper bag on Robin’s desk.  He was about to curtsey to her back before leaving to do his own work again, when Robin suddenly turned around.  “Sissy, take a look at this.”
     Chad went up behind her to stare over her shoulder at her computer screen.
      “I’m thinking about changing this.  What do you think?”
     Once again, Chad entered a discussion with Robin, where he was forced to curtsey, remove the thumb from his mouth, speak like an idiot, stick his thumb back again, and curtsey again… over and over and over!

     Tom turned down the last hallway where Chad’s desk was located.  As usual, the area was quiet and deserted.  He really needed to move them out of here to a better area of the building.  It’s just that, at the time he had set them up, these two desks were the only ones he could find available that were right next to each other.  He mentally stuck moving Robin and Chad / Sissy on his never ending list of things to look into.
     He stopped at Chad’s desk, but Chad wasn’t there.  He could see one of the tasks he had sent for Chad to do up on his computer.  He heard voices in Robin’s cubicle and figured they both were there.  He continued on to Robin’s desk, where he stared for a moment before making his presence known.  Chad was wearing the shortest damn skirt he could ever believe.  And as Chad leaned over to look at Robin’s monitor, he could even see a tiny bit of white from whatever underwear Chad was wearing under the skirt.  Out of the corner of his eye, he also noticed the diaper bag on Robin’s desk.  She had probably brought it with her instead of leaving it with her baby.  “Um…” he said to get their attention.
     Both Robin and Chad turned quickly at the unexpected visitor.  Chad’s hands immediately dropped to his skirt again where he kept them, once again continuously pulling it down.
      “Tom!” Robin said, totally surprised to see him.  “You scared us!”
     Tom would have smiled, but he was too preoccupied with trying to make sense of what Chad / Sissy was wearing.  It looked more like something a teenager at the mall would wear… if there!  Was he trying to look sexy or something?  Get the attention of all the men at work?  Most likely, he’d get the attention of the women more!  He wanted badly to say something about the crazy way Chad was dressed, but once again he was reminded of the company directive concerning Chad, so he said nothing about it.  “Um… he said, still unable to take his eyes off of Chad, “I just heard that you weren’t able to make it to break this morning.  I didn’t mean for that stuff to make you miss your break, so I came down to see just what you’re working on that’s keeping you so busy.  You said there would be no problem taking care of it.”
     Not thinking, Chad put his foot back and curtseyed before speaking.  “It’s not a problem,” he replied.  “I just wanted to get it done as soon as possible.”  He curtseyed again.  His thumb was nearly in his mouth before he realized what he was doing and stopped it.  He also realized that he had just curtseyed to Tom – twice! 
     Tom stared at him for a moment.  He hadn’t missed the curtseys at all.  Was Chad mocking him by doing that?  “Are you trying to be funny with me?” he asked sternly.
     Huh?  Chad hadn’t meant to be disrespectful in any way.  He hadn’t even thought about curtseying, he had just done it… out of habit.  In his nervousness, he actually had to fight with himself to not curtseyed again.  “I really didn’t mean to be,” he replied.  “It was just something that happened.”  A lousy excuse, Chad realized.  It certainly wouldn’t explain anything… even thought it was true.
     Still feeling a bit put off by it, Tom let it drop.  “Let me see what you still have to do before you leave today.”
     Once again Chad had to force himself not to curtsey – especially since Tom seemed so irritated and domineering now.  He led the way to his own computer, still holding his skirt straight down so it wouldn’t show what he was wearing underneath.  He was glad to sit down in his chair and turn his back to everyone where he wouldn’t have to worry about it.  He showed Tom what he was currently working on now, what he had already finished, and what still needed to be done… all of it from the list Tom had sent him.
      “So how long do you think it’s going to take you to finish what’s left?” Tom asked. 
     Chad shrugged.  “About an hour.  Maybe less.”
     Tom nodded.  He was fairly sure he hadn’t sent Chad all that much to do.  “And how much do you need to finish on your part of the project before your vacation next week.”
      “We were just discussing that,” Robin came to his rescue.  “We made some changes and we were just trying to decide if we should change something else when you stopped by.”
     Tom nodded.  Development always worked like that.  “Can I see what you’re doing?”  This time, Robin led the way back to her cubicle.  Chad wanted to stay put in his chair, but he figured he better join them. 
     Robin showed Tom all the changes that had recently been made and also asked his opinion on the very things she and Sissy had been discussing when they were interrupted. 
     Tom looked at the work carefully.  It was all excellent work, and as far as he could see, the project was all but finished.  “I’ll let you two decide that,” he finally replied.  “When do you think this will be wrapped up for the client?” he asked.
      “The middle of next week at the latest,” Robin replied.
      “How much more do you need to do?” Tom asked.  “It looks like it’s pretty much done.”
      “Mostly, but besides this change, it still needs to be thoroughly tested,” Chad replied, proud of himself that he didn’t curtsey.  “Complete testing can take days.”
     Tom knew that, and was grateful that they were so thorough with what they did.  As far as he could see, everything here looked like it was completely under control.  He glanced at Chad… well, most things were under control anyway.  Chad… Sissy… was anything but under control!  But he couldn’t say anything about that – as per Mr. Baxter’s orders.
He was about to leave when he noticed again the pink diaper bag on Robin’s desk… something he would not normally see on any of the desks in the company, even though many of the women had young kids.  But the sight of the bag reminded him of something else.  “I thought you had a boy?” he said to Robin as he indicated the pink, very girly bag.
      “Oh,” Robin replied, trying to find something to say about Chad’s girly diaper bag.  “I’m just borrowing that one.”
     Tom nodded.  Perfectly logical.  He had been, he had seen, and there were no problems… as long as you didn’t count the way that Chad was dressed.  He nodded and walked out, still trying to get the way Chad was dressed out of his head – which was totally impossible.  That crazy short skirt that he had to keep holding down, the silly white bow in his hair.  Knee socks!  What woman wore knee socks now days?  No wonder all the women in the company were talking about him.  And no wonder they all wanted to see him!
     Both Chad and Robin breathed a sigh of relief.  “Is he gone?” Robin asked quietly. 
     Chad poked his head out and checked the hallway.  He could see Tom almost to the corner where he would turn.  He continued to watch till he was out of sight.  “He’s gone,” he finally replied.  Then he realized he hadn’t curtseyed before he said it.  He quickly dropped another one and stuck his thumb back in his mouth.
     Robin smiled.  “You even curtseyed for him,” she said teasingly.  “Just like you do for me.  I think that was so sweet!”
      “It almost got me in trouble!” Chad replied.

      “Thanks Sandy.  I’ll see you Sunday then.”  Gloria hung up her phone.  That took care of Andrea, Cassie, and Sandy.  All that remained now was Robin.  Anxious to get the arrangements over with, she dialed Robin’s number.
     Robin was just finishing up the last of the changes they had decided to make when she heard her cell phone ringing.  She quickly found it and answered.  “Hello?”
      “Hi Robin, it’s Gloria.  Did Mel tell you I was going to call?”
      “Hi Gloria.  Yes, she did.  I take it this is about judging their bet?”  As she said it, she was already getting up out of her chair to head down the hallway where she could talk easier without being heard.
      “Yes,” Gloria replied.  “I’m trying to get everybody together on Sunday afternoon to discuss it so we all know what we want to happen when we have to decide this thing.”
      “You mean ‘if’ we have to decide it,” Robin corrected her.
      “Well, that’s one of the little conditions I had when I agreed to be a judge.  This won’t be up to Mel and Chad anymore.  The decision will come from us and only us, and it will be on Saturday.  Even if they think they know the outcome ahead of time, we’ll make the final determination based on what we decide we want to see.”
      “So one way or another, we’ll get to see exactly what happens?”
      “That’s one of the things I’m most interested in, I think,” Robin told her.  “After all this time, I want to see how this thing really comes out.  Especially since Sissy insists that he’s going to win, but at the same time, I personally don’t see how!”
     Her words though raised a bit of concern in Gloria’s mind.  “Robin, are you sure you’re going to be able to help judge this thing fairly?”
      “Absolutely!” Robin confirmed.  “I really do want to see who deserves to win and who deserves to lose.  One way or another.”
     Gloria felt much more assured.  “Good.  We’re all meeting on Sunday afternoon at two at Mel’s office.  Andrea said we can use the conference room there.  Can you make it?”
      “I don’t see why not,” Robin replied.  “I’ll just have to get my husband to babysit for a little while.  But that shouldn’t be too hard to arrange.”
      “Great!” Gloria replied enthusiastically.  They would all be there.  Everyone!  She felt much better about all of it now.  If Mel wanted this bet to be judged… and judged fairly… then she was going to make sure of it!

     Mel was back at work, but work wasn’t the main thing on her mind – Sissy was!  To be more precise, Sissy and the fact that he seemed to be so sure he was going to win.  How could he?  And of course, her bigger problem was that she no longer had any information at all on how long he was capable of holding back.  Nothing!  She didn’t know if he had any control at all – as everyone seemed to claim, or if he had secretly managed to increase his control somehow.  She was totally in the dark about it now… and there was only one more week to go. 
     So… what did she need to do about it?  Did she need to do anything?  Unfortunately, his sureness that he was going to win bothered her enough that she felt she had to do something… but what?  She had planned on taking all next week off just so she could work closely with him to make sure he couldn’t hold back.  Unfortunately, the darn Feinbaum contract had come up.  That was a nuisance, but not really a major problem.  She could still spend most of her time working with him.  And when she couldn’t be with him, then… well, she would think of something.
     So since she felt she needed to do something since he was so sure he was going to win, then what could she possibly do?  There had to be something that would shake his certainty about winning.  Or… should she be looking for something to shake his determination to win instead?  Maybe that was the key.  Maybe she should be looking for ways to make him change his mind about winning – make him want to lose instead.  That would certainly be to her advantage!
     So… why was it that he was so determined to win in the first place?  Yes, he liked winning – and so did she.  But that wasn’t going to help her here. 
     She grabbed her notepad and pen.  Chad had three main reasons he had followed faithfully to keep him determined to win.  On her pad she wrote “self-respect.”  Then a little further down the page she added “friends.”  Finally, further down the page she wrote, “A life.”  Three reasons.  His three reasons. 
     On the surface, they all seemed very good.  But as she stared at the reasons closer, she had to seriously wonder what each of those three things meant.  And a moment later, she revised her thoughts.  It wasn’t what each of those ideas meant, it was what each of those ideas meant to Sissy!  Because since he was such a big sissy and had some “not-exactly-normal” needs clogging up his brain, she had to take all that into account.
     She underlined self-respect.  Of the three, it seemed to be the most straight-forward.  But was it when you added in his sissy needs?  What was self-respect to someone who craved the kind of public humiliation that drove him?  That certainly complicated the issue!  How could someone like that want self-respect?  The two concepts didn’t seem to go together at all!  So how could he gain self-respect in the middle of all the humiliation he seemed to need? 
     She was reminded of his cooking ability.  She knew he was proud of that.  He was also proud of his job!  She knew without a doubt that he didn’t want to lose his job… even though her long-term plans for him called for him to do just that.  She wanted him working for her, in her house, not for the company he worked at now.  So that was going to be one of those little issues she was going to have to look at closer.  On her pad, she wrote down “cooking” and “job.”  But it wasn’t much.  What would gain him self-respect?  Or rather, what did he think was a measure of self-respect?  With his abnormal needs, she didn’t have a clue.
     She turned to the second item on her page, “friends.”  Okay, she could see that one.  With his need to be humiliated so much, he probably wouldn’t have very many friends.  At least, not any that he used to have.  But… she was his friend!  If he would just realize that!  So was Robin, and Sandy, and Cassie, and…  She was about to add Derek’s name.  Derek used to be his friend.  His best friend in fact.  But now?  Right now, Derek was still too unnerved by Sissy’s needs.  Right now, Derek wasn’t really his friend at all.  But would he be later… after Derek started to accept Sissy’s needs?  No, she couldn’t add Derek to the list at all.  Maybe later, but that would be a big maybe!  And for that matter, could Sissy possibly think of Sandy, and Cassie, and Robin, and… her, as his friends?  That was another question.
     Sissy wanted friends.  But now that the cat had been let out of the bag, or more like exploded out of the bag so that everyone now knew what he was, the friends he thought he could have would have to change a bit.  Like it or not.  Win or lose.  Sissy’s friends were going to have to change.  She wondered if he realized that fact himself. 
     She turned to the final item on her page, “a life.”  She stared at that.  What the heck did it mean – to anyone… let alone Sissy?  People were always saying, “Get a life!”  It was a common enough phrase.  But what did it really mean?  And more importantly, what did it mean to someone with Sissy’s kind of needs?  Just as with self-respect, “a life” and “sissy” didn’t seem to go together. 
     She closed her eyes.  It was too hard to fathom what “a life” meant to someone like Sissy.  For that matter, it was hard to figure out what it meant for herself.  What did she consider to be “a life?”  She guessed that her job was part of it – a major part.  Right now, her job was most of her life… if you didn’t count trying to win this bet with Sissy.  So to her, her job was a major thing. 
     She thought about friends, what few she really had.  They were certainly important too.  Going out and socializing.  Socializing!  Was it even possible for Sissy to socialize… as a sissy?  She guessed, not in any normal way.  But friends were people you talked to… told things to… laughed with… and complained about things to… and… cried with at times.  Friends were what often held you together in the midst of bad times.  Friends were important!  But would Sissy be able to do any of those things with the friends she had just listed?  With a sinking realization, she figured probably not.
     So what else was part of having “a life?”  Family?  Or did that count up there along with friends?  No, she couldn’t lump family in with friends.  Not at all.  Family… loved ones… the group of people you belonged to and who in turn belonged to you… were important in any life.  And now, that one big item was a huge gaping hole in her own life – since the death of her parents.  She had no family anymore.  Well, not really.  She had never felt so alone since the accident.  And all the friends and everything else couldn’t make up for that lack of family one little bit. 
     But Sissy didn’t seem to have any family either.  At least, none that she knew of.  Could she include family as part of having “a life?”  She wasn’t sure, but something told her it belonged there.
     Finally, her mind turned to one other item that she figured should be part of it all.  But what did she call it?  It was too broad a subject for just one word.  It involved everything you did outside of work – hobbies, socializing, sports, doing things that interested you.  The list was really endless.  That was where the true heart of “a life” probably resided.  Doing things… often with others.  Laughing, striving, winning, and often failing.  But the key was in the trying… or the doing.  It was all part of life.  Did Sissy’s peculiar needs fill any of that for him?  She kind of thought that they did… in some weird way.  But did they really?  And… was it enough? 
     Self-respect, friends, and a life.  Three things that suddenly seemed far more complicated than they had just a few minutes ago.  Three things that he wanted.  Three things he needed.  In truth, three things that everybody needed.  In all the humiliation he suffered… and needed, how could he have any of those things?  She briefly wondered if he deserved them, but the answer to that had already been stated.  Everybody needed them… all of them… no matter who, or what, they were.  Sissy included.
     With a sigh, she threw her pen down on top of her pad.  So in order to keep him, she was going to have to give him what he wanted the most.  Three impossible things when coupled with who he really was.  So how could she give him those three things when he had the kind of needs that he did?  She had to find some way, because it would be the only way to shake his determination to win enough that… maybe… he would want to lose instead. 
     Self-respect, friends, and a life.  Three big things.  Three things that everyone searched most of their lives for.  Three things that most people failed to ever find – or realize they had already found.  Three things that would make him want to lose the bet and remain with her. 
     And she had only one week left to do it in.  Impossible!
     Her thoughts turned briefly to after the bet… and after his one-year term of service would be over – if he lost.  She realized that it was going to take all those three things to make him want to stay with her… forever!

1 comment:

sarah penguin said...

Ooooh this was a really good bit wif Sissy curtsying to her boss, and Mel looking at what she needs to do to keep da Sissy forebers :)