Friday, February 1, 2013

The Bet - Chapter 59 (Monday – week 9 Part 4 of 5)

The Bet
By Karen Singer

Chapter 59 (Monday – week 9 Part 4 of 5)

      “So why do you think she’s so rich,” Derek asked, not really believing it… and not really caring all that much either. 
      “Her friend Gloria told me.”
      “Rich is a relative thing though.  She doesn’t seem to me like she’s got that much money.  Of course, I don’t know how much you’re talking about when you say rich.”
     Ray grunted.  “I was skeptical too,” he replied.  “So I checked.  Do you know that her family was one of the richest in this part of the country?  I don’t know how much she inherited, but it’s possible we’re talking hundreds of millions!”
     Derek shook his head.  “But you don’t know for sure.”
      “I couldn’t get a straight answer out of her,” Ray admitted.
      “So she might not be rich at all.”
      “No, I’m convinced she is.”
      “So what of it?  Why should it matter all that much to you?”
     Ray looked rather sheepish, then covered himself by downing the rest of his drink.  “That’s just it… it shouldn’t!  I don’t know… I guess I somehow figured that a great broad like that… and you have to admit, she’s pretty great.”
     Derek nodded.  “Yeah, I’ll grant you that much.”
      “Yeah, you would!” he replied sullenly. 
     Derek let it pass.
      “I guess I figured that… I’m not getting any younger.  And a great broad like that, with lots of money to boot… well… it would kind of make a great case for early retirement… if you know what I mean.”
     Derek nodded.  “So you wanted her money.”
      “Well damn it!  Wouldn’t you?  Or should I say, isn’t that what you’re after too?”
     Derek leaned across the table.  “I don’t think she’s that rich!”
      “Suit yourself!” Ray replied.  He held up his hand and caught the attention of the waitress.  “Another round here!” he called.
      “I think you’ve had enough!”
      “Not today,” Ray replied.  “Not today.  Especially not after the way I blew it yesterday.  What the hell was I thinking?”
      “That’s what I’m wondering.”
      “No.  I mean, I should have never let on that I knew she had money!  That was just plain stupid!”
     Derek didn’t reply. 
      “Look!” Ray finally said.  “I’m sorry about the way I behaved yesterday.  I was out of line and I know it.  It’s part of the reason I’ve been so stupid all day today too.”
      “I was guessing it was something like that,” Derek replied.  “But I think it’s Mel who really needs the apology.”
     Ray nodded.  “You’re right of course.  Maybe I’ll consider it.  Maybe!  But not before I get stinking sloshing drunk!”
     Derek shook his head.  From the mood Ray seemed to be in, maybe what he really needed was a good bender.  “Give me your keys,” Derek said.  “I’ll have someone from the office pick you up later and take you home.”
     Ray stared at him for a moment, then he suddenly smiled.  He reached into his pocket and extracted his keys and threw them on the table.  “Thanks,” he replied as if he really meant it. 
     A moment later, he leaned across the table and asked, “Hey, what’s up with Sissy?  He was wearing a damn maid’s outfit when he answered the door yesterday!”

     Chad saw Mel standing with her back to him, staring out the window – where the blinds were mostly closed so there was little to see.  He entered quietly and just as softly, closed the door behind him.  Even then he wasn’t sure what to expect… until he heard the fairly loud sob coming from the woman he now idolized.  He walked up behind her.  “What happened?” he asked softly – in his old Chad voice, not his silly sissy voice.  He wasn’t prepared for the anger of her words.  He was only grateful that her anger wasn’t directed at him.
      “The nerve of that man!” she spat – amid her sobs.  “The absolute nerve of that… moronic… egotistical… jerk!”  And even as she said it, she broke down in a fresh bout of sobbing. 
     Chad moved closer behind her and grabbed her lightly on the shoulders… and gently led her over to the sofa in the comfortable seating area nearby.  He sat down right next to her and held her in his arms… and let her burry her head into his shoulder… and cry.  “Tell me about it.”
     But Mel was sobbing too much to talk now… now that she had a shoulder to cry on and someone to hold her.  She gave into the frustration and confusion and hurt… and just let herself cry. 
     Chad held her and softly kept whispering that it would be alright.  He gently stroked her hair saying everything would be just fine.  Over and over again.  Ever so softly.  He simply let her cry… while he held her and tried to comfort her.
     It had been a long time now since Mel had cried like that.  The last time had been when her mother and father had died.  And this time it was because of the way that Slatter had insulted her father… well, her too.  But it had all simply been too much for her… even though she knew it shouldn’t have.  She felt that she had somehow let her father down… horribly.  She was such a disappointment to him.  And she didn’t want to be.  She was simply… second rate… just as Slatter had said. 
     But she could never consider her father as second rate.  He wasn’t!  Ever!  He had been a great lawyer!  One she idolized.  And to hear him maligned like that had simply thrown her for such a loop.  Oh how she missed her father… her mother and her father both.  And she simply couldn’t get it out of her mind that she had somehow failed him… she just knew it!  She had somehow failed her father… her father who had meant everything to her. 
     Slowly, her sobbing died, but she continued to let Sissy hold and comfort her.  She eventually realized how odd it was to be sitting next to him… while he was wearing that ridiculous dress… and let him comfort her that way.  In some ways, it was more like a woman comforting her than a man.  He was certainly more gentle than a man… understanding too.  And it wasn’t the first time that she had noticed that.  Was it another little manifestation of her denying him all the manhood she could?  Or was it simply another part of his sissy side.  Either way, it felt ever so good to her. 
     She finally sat up, pulling out of his embrace.  “Sorry,” she said as she wiped some of the tears from her face.
      “It’s okay,” Chad said again – again in his old male voice.
     Mel noticed, but she ignored it. 
      “What happened?” Chad asked.
     Mel stood up.  “That bastard Slatter!  That’s what happened,” she replied angrily.  “He insulted me… and worse… he insulted my father!”
     Chad said nothing.  He just listened as she began to pace in front of him. 
      “He called us second rate!  Said Feinbaum was taking us on as a charity case!  The jerk!  Well okay, maybe I am second rate.  But not Daddy!  Not my father!  He was never second rate!” 
     She was ranting now, but she didn’t care.  “The nerve of that bastard…”  She turned to look back at Sissy, still sitting on her sofa.  “You know, I felt like there was something off… something really wrong in that contract they approved today.  But I searched through the whole damn thing and I didn’t find anything wrong at all.”  She shook her head.  “Maybe I am second rate.  If there’s a problem there, I just couldn’t find it.  Or maybe… there is no problem!  That’s most likely the case.  There is no problem!”
      “But you’re not sure,” Chad said softly.
     She stopped and looked back at him.  It was a moment before she answered.  “It was just this… feeling I had.  But there was nothing.”
      “Maybe you should look again.”
     She laughed.  “Harry Feinbaum’s whole team of elite lawyers have been pouring through every page of that thing for months and they didn’t find anything.”
      “But that doesn’t mean that you won’t.”
     She shook her head.  “It’s too late anyway.”
      “How do you know?  Have they signed the thing yet?”
      “Not till tomorrow.”
      “Then there’s still time.”
      “For what?  Have you any idea how long that damn document is?”
      “Then maybe we better get started.”
      “We?  What are you going to do?”
      “Help you.”
      “Help me?  How?”
     Chad shrugged.  “In my job, I have to work with a lot of legal documents to post them to the web or to check them for other problems.  Maybe I can at least help you look.”
     Mel threw her arms up in the air.  “Oh sure!  You’re not even a lawyer!  You wouldn’t even know what you’re looking at!”
     Chad shrugged.  “What can it hurt?”
     Mel shook her head and muttered.  “Useless.”
      “It won’t hurt to try.  It’s the only way you’ll ever feel good about it the whole thing.”
     Mel stared at him for a moment.  The problem was, he was right.  The darn stupid sissy was right.  With a sigh, she headed for her desk.
     Chad got up from her sofa and stood in front of her desk and watched as she found the overly large contract and pulled it out.  “When you’re done with that first page, pass it over to me,” he said – again in his old Chad voice.
     Mel looked up at him.  “Do we, or do we not still have an agreement about the way you’re supposed to behave until this bet is over with?”
     Chad smiled and curtseyed and replied in his silly sissy voice.  “Sorry, Mistress!”  Then he curtseyed again.
     Mel nodded as if satisfied.  Something inside of her was sparked though by just the sight of him standing there in front of her in that crazy sissy dress.  It was something that fueled her confidence and feeling of power.  She would search the damn contract one more time, even if it took all night, which she knew it would.  If there was a problem to be found, she would find it!  Not bothering to read the rest of the first page, she threw it across the desk toward Sissy.  “Find your own place to work.”
     Chad curtseyed again happily.  And grabbed the piece of paper.  He was mostly happy though because his Mistress was back!  He could tell from the look on her face that she was totally back! 
     Having no other place to work, he sank down to the floor amid all his puffy silly skirts and started reading the contract.  But he didn’t get far.  He stood up again and curtseyed.  “Excuse me Mistress.  Do you have any pads of paper and a pen?”
     Mel was a bit surprised by the question, but she opened a drawer and pulled out a fresh yellow legal pad and threw that across the desk to him.  She pointed to the pen holder on her desk. 
     Chad curtseyed again, grabbed the paper and pen, and sank happily back down to the floor… and got to work.

     Andrea had been waiting out by her desk for some word from Mel’s office, but so far, everything was still quiet – for a very long time now.  She had snuck down the hall earlier and listened at the door and heard crying and had immediately gone back to her desk.  She didn’t know what was wrong with Mel, but it had to be something major for her to behave like that.
     Deciding she had to find out more, she quietly went back up the hallway and softly knocked on Mel’s office door.  She was glad to hear Mel’s voice telling her to come in.  She opened the door and poked her head in.  She saw Mel working at her desk and Sissy was cocooned in a mass of petticoats on the floor in front of her desk doing something as well.  “Just checking on you,” she said as if apologizing.  “I was worried.”
     Mel smiled.  “Thanks Andrea.  I’m over it now… somewhat.  But now I have to go back through this whole damn contract one more time.  And I’m afraid it’s going to be a long one… probably all night.  So you can leave today when you need to.”
     Andrea stood there and considered it for a moment.  “I’ll stay as long as you do.  There may be something I can help with.  And the least I can do will be to keep the coffee flowing for you.  By the way, do you want the list of times I wrote down for when Sissy was leaking?”
     Mel glanced over the top of her desk.  She could just see Sissy’s head sticking up listening to them.  She shook her head.  “Not right now Andrea. Thanks.  Right now the only thing I want to concentrate on is this contract.”
     Andrea nodded.  “Okay.  I’ll put a fresh pot of coffee on.”  She started to close the office door, but Mel called out for her to leave it open.  There would be no clients coming in today anyway.

     It was a while later when Chad noticed something, he was leaking!  He had missed it because he was so engrossed in what he was working on.  He quickly stood up and curtseyed.  “I’m leaking,” he announced before curtseying a second time.
     Mel looked up from her own work, bothered by his interruption.  Right now, she cared, but she didn’t care.  She was too focused on the task in front of her.  “Go tell Andrea and change yourself.  I’m busy.”  As she got back to work again, she wondered if he had leaked early enough to gain him any reward time at all.  But then, she didn’t know what she was going to do about letting him use that reward time today.  This was definitely going to be a very long night!
     She did notice though that when Sissy came back a few minutes later, he brought a baby bottle back with him.  She looked at the bottle with a puzzled look on her face.  “What’s in that thing?”
     Chad curtseyed.  “Water.  I ran out of the tea earlier.”  Curtsey.
     Mel nodded.  “Just drink whatever you need to.”  With a sigh, she sat back in her chair for a bit of a rest.  A moment later, she got up to stretch her legs as Sissy sank back down to his own pages on the floor.  She walked out from behind her desk to see just what he was doing.  He had yellow pad pages stacked in several places in front of him.  And all the pages looked like they were covered in symbols as well as his neat handwriting.  “What are you doing?” she asked.
     Chad looked up.  “Flowcharting it.”
     Mel was stunned.  “Flowcharting?  You can’t flowchart a contract!”  It was all she could do to not add the word “idiot” after what she had said.
     Chad looked at the papers around him.  “I’m looking for processes… things that happen.  “Like right here where it says ‘In the event of…’  To me that translates into an ‘If’ statement.”
      “A what?”
      “An ‘If’ statement.  A condition.  If some condition exists, then what happens because of it.”
     Mel only partially understood what he was saying.  “But this is a legal contract.”
     Chad shrugged from the floor amid the mass of sissy petticoats around him.  “I’m a programmer.  It’s what I do.  It’s the way I look at things.”
     Mel shook her head.  “Whatever!” she muttered, knowing that whatever it was that he was doing was going to be useless.  But then, she had known from the beginning that he couldn’t really help.  She was the lawyer and it was up to her.  She had to prove that she wasn’t the second rate hack that Slatter had said she was.  And she especially had to prove that her father wasn’t second rate either!  She had to prove it for both of them!  Unfortunately, so far, she was no closer to doing that than when she got out of bed this morning.
      “I’m going for coffee,” she said to him as she saw him going back to examining the document pages seemingly very carefully.  She shook her head and picked up her now empty coffee mug before walking out.
     She found Andrea in the little kitchenette in the back of the building where the coffee pot was.  “Hi,” she said as she walked in.
     Andrea was just freshening up her own coffee.  “How’s it going?” she asked.
      “Not great,” Mel replied as she held out her cup and let Andrea pour some coffee into it.
      “But you’re going to keep at it?”
     Mel took a sip of the hot liquid as Andrea put the put the carafe back on the holder.  “Definitely!” she replied.  “If there’s something to be found, then I’m going to find it!”
      “I’m sure you will!” Andrea agreed, trying to bolster her boss’s confidence. 
     Mel carried her coffee back into her office.  She saw Sissy look quickly up at her.
      “I found something weird,” he said in his silly voice.
      “It’s a legal document,” she replied.  “Everything in it is going to be weird to you!”
      “Not as much as you might think,” Chad replied confidently.
     Mel rolled her eyes a bit.  “Okay, what is it?  I’ll try to explain it to you.”
     Chad purposely stayed on the floor amid all his puffy skirts so he wouldn’t have to be bothered with all the curtseying.  “See this?” he said holding the legal pad out to Mel.
     Mel took it.  The page was covered in symbols with writing in them.  The symbols all had arrows coming out of them leading to other symbols.  It looked like a big confusing mess to her.  “What about it?” she asked.
      “Well, I can kind of see where that goes with the section I pulled it out of, but if you follow the second arrow then it looks more like it should go back with…”  He started searching through the pile of yellow papers on the floor around him.  His massive skirts seemed to be hampering him more than a bit since he had to reach way over them to do it.  But he finally found what he was looking for.  “This!”  He finally finished as he handed the page up to Mel.
     Mel looked at it… and more specifically what was written in each of the big diamond shapes on the page.  She recognized the sections that the contents of those diamond symbols had been pulled from.  And then she looked at the way the arrows led.  She wanted badly to tell him that it didn’t really go there, but the way she was now looking at it, it really did look like the section was out of place.  “Um…  She searched for something to say.  “I’m not sure,” she finally admitted as she handed it back to him.  “Go back and check it again.  I’m sure you must have missed something.”
     Chad only nodded and went back to work as Mel sat down at her desk again.  Flowcharting a contract – ridiculous!
     Not ten minutes later, Mel was interrupted again as Sissy suddenly grunted and stood up rather quickly.  He slowly turned around with a rather distressed look on his face.  She was about to ask what was wrong, when she suddenly realized what was happening.  She smiled wickedly.  “Messy diaper?”
     Chad only nodded as the mess was still sliding out of him. 
      “Go change yourself in the other room,” Mel told him.  “And don’t forget to tell Andrea that you’re getting a new diaper!”  It was a moment before she saw him even trying to move.  And then he waddled crazily out of the room.  She almost burst out laughing.  “And don’t let that dress get messed up!” she yelled after him.

1 comment:

sarah penguin said...

Oooh! Shenanigans! And flowcharting to the rescue! Perhaps it's not as useless as programming 101 made it seem...