Andi and Allie - 13

mo-5-798x479.jpgAndi and Allie – Chapter 13

Drama… Drama… Who’s got the drama?

After quite a restless night I really didn’t need to be awakened by my phone. I had every intention of waking fashionably late and arriving at work at a fashionably late time. The prior night had been, to put it mildly, stressful. But the beastly little device sounded so incessantly that I was forced to succumbed to its persuasive powers of annoyance and intrusion. I answered.

“Hello?” I used my best still asleep croaking voice.

“You need to find Allie!”

It was Jill and she sounded angry…upset…even more incessant than the phone…and all this at the same time. I quickly woke up and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and face.

“She’s here. What’s wrong Jill?” Now I was becoming a bit worried.

“Then find her…now! I’ve been trying to call her and she hasn’t answered her phone. You need to find her now!” Jill never repeated herself before. “Find her and call me when you do.”

Jill hung up the phone leaving me stunned. I quickly got out of bed and donned a tee shirt and my robe. I slid my feet into my slippers and left my bedroom heading directly toward hers. The door was opened so I didn’t even bother looking inside. I heard the radio playing in the kitchen so I went there next.

Upon entering the kitchen I saw Allie sitting at the counter staring off into space. Tears were running down her cheeks and she looked…terrible.

“Allie?” I said softly.

She turned toward me; her face was a mask of anger!

“SHUT UP ANDI!!!”

Allie slammed her hand down on the counter top. Her voice and tone frightened me. She glared at me and then pointed to the radio.

I heard a man’s voice speaking. I pulled a stool up alongside of Allie and I sat down and listened.

“Listen… I made her very happy last night and I made a few bucks on top of it. So what is the BFD?”

“Yeah… But to bet your buddies and then to out what you did to that poor woman on the radio... That isn’t what I would call being a nice guy.”

I recognized this voice. He was one of two D.J.’s on the most popular early morning show in town.

“Look… The cow needed a booty call and I happened to be available, which rarely occurs. I mean it’s not like she has men crawling all over her.”

“How could he do this to me?”

Allie looked up at me with tears streaming down her face. I suddenly realized that the guy on the radio was the guy she was so very enamored with last night!

“He’s saying the most horrible things about me. He even used my name! And he mentioned where we both worked! Everyone in the whole world knows about this now!”

Poor Allie was becoming hysterical…and rapidly!

I was at a complete loss for what to say. I picked up her phone and saw that a number of people had called this morning. Allie had simply turned off the sound and vibrate. I tried to put my arms around her to comfort her but Allie held up her hands fending me off.

“That bastard…! That son of a bitch…! Why did he do this to me? I never did anything to him! Why does he hate me so much? He called me a fat pig and a cow! Last night he said…”

Allie couldn’t go on any further. She broke down completely and hid her face in her hands as she cried.

I had to go and call Jill. I needed to let her know that I was with Allie and would stay with her for as long as necessary. I was still shocked that anybody could be this callous and cruel to another person; especially toward Allie.

“Don’t you worry about that little shit!” I could feel Jill seething over the phone. “I’ll take good care of him. He’ll never work in this town again! Not ever…! What he did is inexcusable.”

“What can I do for Allie?”

I had no idea of what to do…how to make her feel better?

“Just be her friend Andi. That’s all you can do. This one will take time to heal. Just look after her and I’ll be down later. First I need to deal with that bastard.”

At least I felt that someone was going to do something about what had just occurred. Poor Allie was devastated. To be the loser on the other side of someone else’s bet was bad enough but to be publicly humiliated and degraded was tantamount to being publicly assaulted. I went back into the kitchen to find Allie speaking on the phone with the radio turned off.

I tried to approach her but Allie simply turned away from me. I tried again but she made it quite clear to me that she didn’t want me to hear whom she was speaking with or what was being said. My phone rang once again. It was Jill once again.

“Andi… Dear… Please get her off the radio. She is not helping herself by speaking with those…those people.”

OH…MY…GOD…! She was speaking to the D.J.’s on the radio! I went after Allie’s phone and as gently as possible. She was not a weakling after working with clay for years and her hands were like small vises. I finally wrestled the phone away from her as she continued to talk. I spoke into the phone.

“I’m Allie’s friend…”

“What’s your name dear?”

“That’s not important. Anyway, there has been enough of a spectacle made at her expense and…”

“Listen mystery guest…our boards are lighting up with angry women from all over town and the burbs. Please… I know she’s upset and she has a right to be…”

“I could kill that bastard!” I suddenly realized what I said. “Sorry…”

“That’s okay. We let that one through I think. Anyway… I think it would be helpful to her if she listened to what some of these other women have to say. Personally I think that John should be shot!”

I turned to Allie who was still crying although she had calmed down quite a bit.

“His name is John?” I asked.

“Yeah… John Simms...” Allie sniffled and spoke without a second thought.

I immediately spoke into the phone.

“His last name is Simms…John Simms.” Allie looked at me with a surprised and anguished look. “She didn’t even want me to tell you his last name. That’s the kind of person she is. She wouldn’t hurt a fly!”

“You seem like you know Allie well.”

“I do. She’s my…landlord…uhhh…landlady? And she’s the kindest most generous person I’ve ever met. AND…as for being a…what did he call her, a fat pig and a cow? She does posing for renowned artists at their insistence. She’s far from anything he might have spewed out.”

“Well Ms. Mystery Tenant, I don’t imagine John Simms will be getting any dates very soon in this town. I want to thank you for speaking with us and for being a good friend to Allie.”

“Thanks and we will be listening to what others have to say.”

I put down Allie’s phone and turned to her with a sympathetic smile. She had stopped crying but was staring at the tissue in her hands. I had to call work. I wasn’t going to leave Allie alone until either Jill arrived, or she felt well enough to enter the day. I dialed work and got Rhona on the phone. I began to explain to her what had happened but she already knew.

“Oh my God…! Poor Allie…” Rhona sounded as though she had tears in her eyes.

“Yeah… So I’m going to stay with her until Jill comes. I feel so horrible about what happened.”

“Well you should hear what’s going on! The callers to the radio station are ready to hunt this fucker down and cut his balls off.” Rhona sniffled. “He’s going to have to leave town, and like immediately. What a jerk…! Anyway, I think you should speak to Peter. He’s really expecting you in today. Some big shots are coming to visit or something. Hold on sweetie.”

Faaaahhhhhk…! What a horrid time to be needed at work.

“Morning Andi... What’s up?”

Well… Peter sounded calm enough even though he was in a bit early.

“I don’t know whether you’ve been listening to Gamma radio today…”

“Yes I have. It’s been a wild and wooly show.” He chuckled.

“That’s our Allie they’ve been talking about.”

“What…? You’re joking. Right…?” He sounded genuinely shocked.

“Peter…” I sighed. “You know I have no sense of humor.”

“Oh dear God…! How is she? What a nightmare this must be for her.”

He sounded quite concerned…which would be totally in character.

“I shouldn’t leave her alone. Jill said she would come and stay with her but I don’t know when.”

“I really need you in this morning. Why don’t you bring her in with you? Rhona would be just the person to tend to Allie and you know our staff. Everybody will be very sympathetic to her.”

I thought about it for a moment. I really would rather have Allie stay at home where she could be comfortable but I understood Peter’s situation and that he wouldn’t have asked if it wasn’t very important. I looked up at the clock on the wall.

“Okay Peter. We’ll be in as soon as possible. What time are our guests arriving?”

“Not until eleven or so. Take whatever time you need and you can leave as soon as we’re done which should be before noon. I understand that what I’m asking is difficult with Allie’s situation today and I really do appreciate your effort Andi.” I could tell from his voice that he did. “Oh, and I’ll call Jill and let her know what’s up.”

“Thank you so much Peter.”

I looked at Allie who had stopped crying and was sitting quietly still looking at her now well-worn tissue. I went and put my arms around her and rested my head on her shoulder for a moment.

“Why did he do this to me?” She began to sniffle again.

“Come baby… Let’s get dressed.”

“I can’t go to work! Oh my God…!!!” Her tears began to flow again. “How can I show my face there…ever?”

Allie looked up at me in total panic. I could hear the strain and panic in her voice.

“No sweet heart… You’re coming with me. I need to go into work for a short time. You’ll be hanging with Rhona. She makes one dynamite cup of coffee and nobody will bother you there. We’ll leave soon. I only have one thing to do for Peter.”

We went back and forth for a short while. I was finally able to convince her that it was best to be out and with people who would be sympathetic to her plight. I couldn’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t be. Anyway, Allie went off to dress and I did the same.

I knew I had to dress to impress even though as an artist I could probably get away with just a pair of jeans and a top. But I chose a linen suit in ash grey. The jacket was tailored nicely without too much ‘shoulder’ and darted to emphasize my waist. The trousers where flared slightly and would cover the kitten heels I would wear. A plain ivory silk camisole top was perfect for a statement without making a statement.

I managed to shower, dress, and do my makeup lightly in about forty minutes; a new record. When I left my room, I smelt the coffee and headed for the kitchen. Allie already had two travel mugs ready for us.

“You look amazing today.” Allie sniffled as she checked me out.

“Yeah…with my amazing one wear linen suit.”

I had to have it pressed every time I wore it. I loved linen but it was such a pain to keep it from looking like I slept in it.

“No…really! And I think that those beads are perfect for that suit.”

Allie loved this particular set of antique glass beaded jewelry. The earrings, the bracelet and the necklace all matched and the golden color was a nice contrast to the light grey sheen of the suit. It was nice to see Allie at least smiling a little. I hoped that it would last. I could see the trauma of the morning still wearing on her angelic face.

We went down to the street after grabbing our coats and managed to get a cab fairly quickly. We sat silently on the ride up to my office. I held her hand all the way. I must say that Allie was one of those women who could look lovely wearing a sweat suit and floppies. She dressed casually and still looked as though she was ready for an evening out.

Rhona greeted us from her usual place in the small reception area. She leapt out of her chair and rushed to Allie, embracing her and kissing her cheek.

“Oh you poor thing!” She said as she held onto Allie’s arms. “You should hear what he started. There’s talk of a ‘sex out’. Women are calling into the radio station in support of a no sex this week movement.” Rhona laughed. “That bastard will be lucky to get home alive.”

Allie smiled but I could see the tears well up again. I prepared a cup of coffee for Peter, who just happened to be addicted to caffeine, and started for his office. Allie quickly grabbed my arm.

“Where are you going?” I could hear fear in her voice and see it in her eyes.

“I’m just going down the hall to Peter’s office. I need to speak with him and then I’ll be back.” I smiled down at Allie and hugged her with my free arm. “You’ll be fine here with Rhona.” She smiled and let go of my arm.

Peter’s door was open but he was on the phone when I peeked in. He smiled and motioned at me to come in and sit. I set the coffee on his desk by his right hand and removed the old cup. I trashed it and then sat patiently waiting while he finished his call.

“A long day so far…?” Peter asked as he set down the phone.

He leaned forward in his chair and took a sip of his coffee. His eyes never left mine.

“Yeah…” I rubbed my forehead with my hand.

“By the way…you look quite lovely this morning.”

“Thank you Peter.” I managed to smile and blush in spite of what was on my mind. “I do try.”

“I know you do. And before we get into anything, I would like you to join me on New Years Eve. I have a small party every year and there will be some people there you might need to meet; people who appreciate fine art. And do bring Allie if you’d like. Oh… And it is a formal occasion.” Peter grinned.

“Formal…?” Oh my God…does this mean a dress…a gown no less?

“Yes…tuxedoes for the men and gowns for the ladies. It will be quite nice I promise you. And I understand that ever since Ellen came out to the world, there are now tuxedoes with a decidedly feminine look.”

Peter smiled at me as he took away the only excuse I might have for begging out of the night.

“Oh… Okay… That sounds great.” I felt nauseous.

Peter leaned forward and placed his elbows on the desk.

“I’ve been listening to what’s been going on…on the radio. I can’t believe this happened to poor Allie…of all people.”

I couldn’t stop myself. I began to tear up. Peter grabbed his tissue box and handed it across his desk to me. Curiously, Peter then sniffed the air. I arched my brows and dried my eyes as I watched him.

“I smell something burning.” Peter was quite dramatic

“What?”

“I smell something burning.” He repeated more emphatically. “And I think it’s you!” He said with a smile.

“What…?!” What…?!

“I think you have a burn for Allie. You have a flame for her.”

I really burst into tears. Peter quickly got up and closed his office door. He also shut the blinds to his glass wall. I couldn’t believe that I’d been that obvious. And if I was that obvious to him, then who else knew? Anyway, was it really a flame? Did I want her that badly and why was I being so…so…so dishonest with myself? If it was true, shouldn’t I simply recognize it for what it is?

“Let me tell you something. I probably shouldn’t but…well… I do think very highly of you as an artist and as a person.”

Peter spoke as he sat back down in his chair. He put his elbows on his desk and leaned a bit closer.

“I was married…once. I even have a daughter.”

I looked at Peter with surprise. I never knew, or even heard, about that. All I knew was that he was gay. I mean he did kind of come on to me, in spite of my mode of dress and demeanor.

“It was years ago. I was young and I met her whilst in school.” Peter turned his gaze from me to the side and stared into space for a moment before continuing. “We really got along great. On many levels she was my soul mate. I would eat spicy food and she’d get indigestion.”

He looked at me and I smiled and nodded. I wiped my eyes and blew my nose as he continued.

“There was only one problem. Every time we had sex, I felt like I needed to take a shower afterwards. It simply didn’t feel right. Sex, with her, became an exercise in hygiene.”

I nodded. I knew that feeling all to well even though I only felt it once.

“I couldn’t obtain that one single precious moment of physical intimacy with her and that should have been a natural thing.”

Again I nodded. I couldn’t imagine how terrible it was for him. He was naming my biggest fear. It was almost like he was fortune telling my fate as he related this bit of himself to me.

“We had to divorce.”

Peter cleared his throat and turned away from me for another moment.

“I had to admit to myself that I had a definite preference for men and that I could be close and achieve a certain amount of intimacy with her…but…it would never be in bed. We are still great friends.”

He smiled warmly. He was a bit misty eyed.

“I see her several times a month; sometimes every week…or more. We speak often on the phone and we have a great relationship. Our daughter has benefited from the fact that we never stopped loving one another. And she’s old enough now to understand why we had to do what we did. The odd thing is that neither one of us has found anyone else we could have any long term relationship with.”

As Peter’s story unfolded, I felt so sad for him, and his ex-wife.

“Do you regret it?” I had to ask. I had to know. “I mean being married or getting divorced?”

“Yes and no.” Peter laughed. “I certainly don’t regret meeting her and getting married and I certainly don’t regret the child we made together. I don’t regret getting divorced because we weren’t happy with the way things were and we both knew there was nothing that could be done about it. I do regret not seeing her as often as I perhaps would like. But life is full of choices and to make one choice is always to forgo another.”

Peter sat back in his chair and smiled. He looked as though he was lost in thought as he clasped his hands behind his head and leaned back in his chair rocking back and forth slowly.

“I wouldn’t know where to begin. I mean…I’m not exactly Mister Aggressive in the ‘dating a girl’ department.” I had to admit I sounded forlorn even to myself.

“She probably sees you as more of a friend than a potential suitor?” Peter chuckled. There was no sarcasm in his voice.

“How can I change that?”

I regretted that question almost before I’d finished asking it.

“I really wouldn’t know Andi.” Peter laughed again. “I mean it’s not like shaving off a beard you know.”

I had no idea of what he meant and my face must have shown that.

“You might start by dressing more to your gender? She might see you…differently?”

“I don’t think I can do that anyway. I’ve already started hormones.” I mumbled under my breath.

“You what…?” Peter suddenly sat up in his chair and looked at me in shock. “Are you sure you’re not transitioning? Hormones are a very serious matter.”

“I’m seriously not transitioning Peter. I simply want…” Oh God…do I have to explain this yet again? “…I just want my clothes to fit properly.”

“Listen Andi… You really should keep that information to yourself? There’s enough confusion about this department as it is. And our clients, especially the one you so ably helped us to get, think you’re a woman. It would be best to keep it that way. They are oh so very… What’s the proper word? Conservative…?”

“Okay Peter... I understand.” Yeah…they’re ass holes! “But what can I do? I mean…I don’t want to ever regret not at least trying with Allie.”

I was trying, somewhat successfully, to hold back tears. Peter stared at me for a moment or two.

“I really shouldn’t be doing this. But have you tried making yourself scarce?”

“Huh…?”

“Well… Spend more time out by yourself or maybe in your studio? Absence makes the heart grow fonder you know.” Peter chuckled.

“I don’t really have a studio at home that I can spend a lot of time in? The oils smell so awful. So I kind of work wherever I happen to be. I could spend more time wandering around town but I couldn’t see doing that every night.” I sadly replied.

Peter took a deep breath and let it out as he shook his head. He suddenly seemed to come to a conclusion and he nodded.

“Okay… I can’t tell you where or when but…” He paused for a moment as if reconsidering his decision. “I can tell you what and how.” I gazed at Peter anxiously awaiting this wholly major impartment of crucial information. “You need to kiss her. That’s the what. Now let me show you the how.”

Peter stood up and walked out from behind his desk. He held out his hand, palm up, toward me. I took it and stood up. I thought he was going to take me into his arms and…well…kiss me. He did nothing of the sort. What he did is he turned me around so that my back was to him. He then simply placed his hands around my waist and pulled me to his body. I felt only his chest against me. Then he bent his head down and kissed me on the side of my neck.

I was not expecting that and, as a result, a whole lot of things happened almost at once. My eyes closed and I moaned slightly. Then I kind of leaned back into Peter for a moment. At the same time I felt this electricity shoot throughout my body and it caused me to tremble quite noticeably. I was thankful Allie had told me about the pad thingy because I could have sworn I leaked as the electricity seemed to terminate its course through the head of my dick.

“Andi…?” A voice, a very strong and masculine voice, seemed to be calling me from out of the mist. “Andi…? Are you all right?”

As the mist cleared from within my mind I suddenly stood up straight. Peter’s arms were still wrapped gently around me. I began to turn to face him and he held my arm to assist me. Peter’s smile was as bright as ever as I finally faced him.

“Uh huh…” I managed with a smiling but dazed look on my face.

“That’s all there is to it. That’s all you need to do. Then… One of three things will happen.”

I smiled up into his face as Peter spoke. My mind still hadn’t shaken that amazing feeling of his kiss. I was actually hoping for another one. But Peter… Well… Peter is Peter and his good graces prevented anything further from happening.

“She’ll either remember that kiss for some time…which is good…” He hurried to say. “Or… She’ll want to rip off all your clothes and have sex right them and there.”

He stopped speaking and smiled. Peter had to recognize that dazed look upon my face. This was definitely not the first time he’d given a kiss like that to someone. My mind cleared enough to remember there was a third alternative.

“What’s the third thing?” I asked out of my daze as Peter still held both my arms.

“She’ll smack you and try to cut your balls off and you’ll need to transition regardless of how you feel.”

Peter said this with a straight face and a look of horror must have crossed mine.

“No… That won’t happen.” He said with a laugh as he hugged me to him. “I’m simply being a bit envious. The worse thing that could happen is she’ll simply tell you to stop and not do that ever again…in which case you’ll have at least tried and have nothing to regret.”

We smiled at one another and I nodded my head. I understood.

“I must tell you something Peter.” He looked at me and arched his eyebrows. “When you kissed me the last time?” I blushed a new shade of bright red. “I thought about that for the entire weekend.” I giggled.

“Let me tell you a little secret. I’m still thinking about it.” And Peter laughed.

The day went by quickly. I left Peter’s office feeling somewhat better about...well, everything. My mood lifted even higher when I found Allie and Rhona sitting listening to the radio and laughing. Apparently the women of New York City were in a state of revolt against men that had gone way beyond the no sex thing.

I looked into Allie’s eyes and saw tears…but of joy from laughing and Rhona wasn’t far behind her. The entire staff had come and greeted Allie with hugs and words of encouragement and support. I had a feeling that if we were on the street and Allie wore a sign letting the world know ‘Yes… I’m That Allie…’ common strangers would have reacted similarly.

Finally the V.I.P.s from uptown came with whomever and I stood beside Peter as he did his sales thing. I smiled and nodded when appropriate and agreed when turned to. I mean… What else was I to do?

I’m really not a sales person in any way shape or form. That is an art in itself…I think. I can’t even sell my own stuff. I mean seriously…what am I to say? ‘Uhhh… This painting will last twenty percent longer than brand X’s painting’? I mean… Really…?

The meeting ended and, as promised, I was able to leave with Allie in tow. The day was more than lovely; it was brilliant. The sun was out and shining in a cloudless sky. The air was a bit brisk but certainly not out of sorts with the season. Although Allie felt a bit peaked, as I did, we decided to walk for a while. We strolled arm in arm down Greene Street to West fourth, over to Broadway and then downtown.

“I want to thank you.” Allie spoke with a smile. “I feel so much better. I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t with me.”

“It was really no big deal.” I smiled and shrugged my shoulders. “You know…? You have a lot of people around you that really do care about you.” Allie nodded. “By the way…what are you doing for New Years Eve?”

“I haven’t really thought about it? I mean… There are parties I could go to but…” Allie took a deep breath. “…at the moment? I really can’t think about it. I think I want to stay home forever now.” She giggled.

“Well…? I was invited to go to Peter’s party. Would you like to come with me?”

I felt nauseous. My body slightly quailed. I couldn’t believe I was really asking Allie...on a real date!

“Are you actually asking me out on a date?” She laughed. “Are you doing this because you think I’m easy?” Allie said with a strong hint of indignation in her voice.

I stopped walking for a moment and turned to face her. I grasped her shoulders firmly and slightly shook her.

“I’m asking you because there’s nobody else I’d rather spend that evening with. Okay…?”

Allie stared at me for a moment and I again took her arm and began to stroll with her. She grasped my arm with her other hand and laid her head on my shoulder for a moment.

“Sure... I would be delighted to go with you. I think it’d be fun. And…” She looked at me again for a moment. “I can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend the evening with either.” She giggled.

“He said it’s going to be formal.”

“He def has the hots for you. You know that. Right…?”

“Yeah… Totally…” I giggled.

“Are you going to tell him I’m coming?”

“I think he already knows.” I giggled again not telling Allie that Peter specifically invited her to come.

Allie looked at me with a shocked expression.

“I bet he thinks he’s checking out the competition.” She laughed. “What are you going to wear?”

“I think there are tuxedoes that are kind of femme in styling? Not that I’d know where to get one.” I sighed.

The image of me in a very stylish formal jacket and trousers was very enticing.

“Leave that to me. I’ll find a few styles and you pick one you think you’d like and we’ll just find out who’s selling it. I bet we could go to Bloomie’s and find one. The big problem is getting it tailored soon enough. We have less than two weeks.”

“What will you wear?”

“Oh… A gown I suppose... What color would you like to see me in?”

“Oh my God! You’d look amazing in any color.” I laughed.

We arrived home to find Jill already making herself at home in the cave. She sat with her feet up and a glass of wine in hand trying to get the television to play.

“I do hate these damned fifty buttoned things!” She said as she slammed the controller down onto the tabletop. “I must say I’m very happy to see you in a good mood.”

Allie threw off her coat and placed her bag on the counter top in the kitchen, as did I. She rushed to Jill and kissed her as she took a seat on the couch. I came into the room, bent to kiss Jill as well, and took a seat next to her in an armchair.

”We’re going to a New Years Eve party at Peter’s!” Allie’s excitement had built since the first mention of the event.

“Oh…? Really… How lovely...” Jill chuckled and turned toward me with a wry smile. “I suppose I should let you two sit together then.”

“Oh Jill…” Allie rolled her eyes.

“I get to wear a tuxedo.” I said quite proudly.

“Yes…” Jill said, as her crooked smile grew larger. “I’m sure Peter will find that most attractive.”

“Jill…!” I turned up the corner of her mouth in displeasure. I was learning from Allie.

“Oh Jill… What am I going to do?” Allie was in distress again. “I can’t just stop going to work. How am I ever going to show my face again?”

“Whatever are you speaking about?” Jill chuckled. “You’re practically a legend. The first thing that happened to…whatever is his name?” Jill looked toward Allie.

“John...” She said dully.

“Yes…” Jill said wryly. “Aren’t they all?” She chuckled. “Anyway… The girls, one by one, walked by and just happened to spill they’re coffees upon him and his desk. And that was for starters.”

“What…?” Allie stared at Jill with a startled expression. “You’re kidding!”

“Not only that…” Jill’s face took on a conspiratorial expression as she leaned closer to Allie. “Around eleven thirty, after the ladies had their say, and his betting partners all fled to the safety of the streets, security came by and escorted him upstairs where he was promptly fired.”

“What…?” Allie was shocked.

“He just happened to mention the company’s name and it didn’t take long for several clients to call and hold forth their opinions. Plus which… That also happened to be a ‘gross breach’ of his employment agreement. Anyway…” Jill spoke under her voice. “I started there along with Jack Emory so I called him first thing.”

“Oh my God…! The CEO…?”

“John was lucky to leave the building alive. Every woman knew about what had occurred and believe me you’ll receive a rather cordial welcome tomorrow. You are coming in tomorrow I trust.”

“Oh course… I guess.” Allie squeaked as a tear fell.

I could see the hesitancy on her face as well as hear it in her voice. Regardless of what Jill and I could possibly say, Allie would naturally find going to work and facing all the people who had heard about her very sad denigration.
Jill stayed for dinner…of course. She was more than a welcomed guest and provided the kind of report of the ‘belated’ John Simms that brought courage and strength to Allie. Jill, in spite of her cynicism and sarcasm, always had a good word for Allie; always building her up privately and in front of others. She also seemed to know exactly the look Allie would need for Peter’s party.

Evidently, Peter, much like Allie, comes from a very old line New York family and works to simply have something constructive to do with his life. Jill assured us that indeed there would be a very art oriented group and that this would be an excellent opportunity for me to meet people.

She mentioned that this was also the type of group that could easily foot the bill for a portrait or some other type of commissioned work. And Peter, as well as his guests, always treated the evening as if it was a ‘season event’. Many of the gowns would be one of a kind designer pieces.

“Peter’s ‘intimate’ gatherings are the stuff legends emerge from.” Jill cackled. “He always seems to invite the right people for an interesting and entertaining event. I have had the privilege of attending two of his parties. They are always memorable.”

“You speak as though you’ve been.” Allie said.

“Ah my child…” Jill smiled lovingly at Allie. “There’s much you don’t know and so much you will learn. Anyway…” She chuckled. “That crowd is way to rich for my blood. I need to double up on my statins simply thinking about them.”

We had a very pleasant evening. We ate in and simply. Jill kept Allie’s mind off of the day’s events, which I certainly appreciated. Jill brought an overnight bag anticipating the worst and Allie certainly didn’t discourage her from spending the night. The two of them would go into the office together which certainly made me feel better.

Whilst Allie and I attended the cleanup, Jill wandered into the studios; first Allie’s and then my studio and bedroom. We were nearly finished and I was putting coffee on the counter top along with mugs and a modest dessert when Jill returned.

“You really have no idea of just how good you are, do you?” Jill looked at me with her most serious expression.

“I don’t know how to answer that. I mean… I just never think about it. You know?”

That really was the truth. I mean… What is good anyway? I simply do what I do as best I can? If people like it…well…that’s fine. All it really means is that I can earn a decent living doing something that I love. Jill just kind of stared at me and nodded. I knew she really wouldn’t understand though I did appreciate the compliment.

Amidst the activities of the day Allie still managed to find a decent collection of ladies tuxedo formal wear at Bloomie’s although that was nearly a no brainer. We agreed to meet there after work. Our first stop was the shoes department. I really had nothing that would work. I needed black and very shiny; patent leather perhaps?

As luck would have it I found the exact pair of kitten heel pumps I needed! Of course it was Ferragamo with a price to match! But the shoe was a simple, but elegant, gloss black pump with a black velvet bow across the upper. I felt so fortunate not to have to contend with a stiletto heel. Allie thought the shoe was quite stylish though she did encourage me to get a taller heel. Not a very high one but one of…oh say…two and a half inches? Veritable stilts to my eyes…

Anyway, we were soon off to the ladies formal wear department to search for the perfect tuxedo jacket. On the way Allie went on and on about the wonderfully warm reception she received from everybody at the office; especially the women. Evidently our Mister Simms had used and abused more than a few of his co-workers and they were quite happy to see him get his very just rewards.

So… You would think that there would be something of a collection of jackets. Well…? Think again. There were three. And one was in white so that didn’t even count. The second…? Well it was kind of in the style? But… Thankfully the third jacket was simply perfect. It was elegant and not pretentious. Of course it had to be Rachel Zoe and of course it had to be a small fortune. Faaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhk!!!

I tried it on and the fit was nearly perfect. The color was gunmetal with black piping along the pocket tops, not really traditional but the cut more than made up for any…impetuousness? Jackets tend to have a bit more shoulder than I desire but this jacket had almost no padding. I strolled to the three-way full-length mirror and carefully inspected every little inch and detail. I turned slowly and then once again with a bit more speed.

I then fastened the single button and repeated the exercise. This was it! I loved the way it clung rather than hung and I liked the fact that the material was light enough to move with some grace and flow. I felt tears well up as I thought about how far I’d come in a little over four years. I wore third hand clothes my last year of upper school. Now I stood wearing a brand new, albeit women’s, tuxedo jacket and attending the party of my life!

I looked at Allie with arched brows. She smiled and nodded approvingly. Allie got up and walked over to me and tugged a bit here and straightened a bit there. She aligned the shoulders and smoothed the fabric out a bit along the back. The single back vent was perfect. Everything about it was perfect except for the sleeve length. That was a bit too short.

Finding trousers to match the jacket was a whole different matter entirely. The selection was very limited. In truth, most of their collection was based upon the idea of a woman’s tuxedo jacket and skirt rather than upon the empiric notion of the suit. Therefore there were gown length dresses whose upper potion resembled the jacket and the skirt portion fell from the waist and swept at the hem.

However, I managed to find something that would need to make do. The trouser started at the waist in a traditional manner but from the calf down flared out to nearly a six-inch diameter cuff. I really didn’t care for the wide sweep of the cuff but it would have to do. The cuff fell to about an inch from the floor so that most of the shoe would be obscured. The only other alternative was a trouser that flared for a bootie, or a boot and was therefore too short ending at the ankle.

The piece I chose with the sweeping cuffs did have the traditional satin striping down the leg and did fit closely to my butt and thigh. I tried the trousers on with the jacket and my new shoes for a full viewing. It worked. I could have been happier with the over all styling but Allie thought it to be perfect. I bowed to her fashion sense. Of course the blouse would either make or break the entire effect but I had some time to find something appropriate to the overall look and hopefully to appease my sense of the bizarre.

The trouser fit was a bit snug in the waist but not totally undoable. The question of tailoring did come up but I was assured that the suit would be ready by the twenty-ninth and how would I like to pay for it? Now I must tell you that spending around fifteen hundred dollars for a suit and shoes was…well…very extravagant.

I mean less than a year ago that represented an entire year or more of clothing including panties, stockings and shoes. Granted I was making a more than decent salary and the sale of the art work was an enormous boost to my financial position. But still… And Allie was no help…of course.

“Oh honey…” She waved her hand at me. “You butch types get away so cheaply. Just wait until you see the damage I do.” She giggled.

Allie’s eyes were all aglow as we headed toward the gowns. Now I could plainly understand why Allie was so insistent upon me finding an outfit first. She had no idea at all what she was looking for. I was very interested in her process for choosing a gown so I stayed very close and asked questions. She went along the racks and simply pushed one gown after another aside.

“Well…” Allie spoke and gave out an exasperated breath. “Either the color will strike me or the design. Then I only have to hope the both will occur in a single dress…and that something will fit.”

“And how often does that happen?”

“Not as of yet! I mean I could go and have something custom sewn but we just don’t have the time.”

“Custom sewn…?” I looked around at the racks of gowns and formal dresses; an unending assortment of colors and styles. “Why?”

Allie looked up at me as though I was more than slightly mentally impaired.

“Why…? WHY…! Because all the men will be wearing black…or gunmetal?” She giggled. “But the women will be wearing all shades of gowns and many of them will be one of a kind designer pieces. God forbid I show up in the same gown as anybody else. I have to be unique. We all do. Otherwise what’s the point?”

I’m sure there was a pure scientific logic in what Allie was saying even if I didn’t get the point. Or perhaps I got it in a different manner. She needed to feel unique…special. I thought I only needed to feel different; in want of my own identity…my own image? Allie was dressing for everyone else and I was dressing only for myself although I must admit I did want to look nice as Allie’s escort.

Walking down the rows and amidst the racks of eye catching colorful gowns, I was reminded of my own palette of pastels and inks and oils. Some of the colors stood out with their almost polished shine and others with their beaded adornments and yet others with their cornucopia of differently printed colorful fabrics.

Then there were the various styles; a-line, princess waist, no waist, sleeveless, scalloped collar, and so on. Each one represented an ideal in the designer’s mind. It was almost like this was their painting to the world; to be seen once or maybe twice and then inventoried in some remote closet in an attic or basement or storage unit. The gown’s life would be extended once more as it is brought into view, and maybe even tried on, before making room for another memory piece.

Allie is a very tactile person. She loves to touch things as a true means of sensory input. I think in part that it was the ceramic artist in her? Different clays have different feels. That may sound very…banal? But she went as far as bringing a garment to her face and putting her cheek to it.

I suppose that it did make some sense in that certain portions of her anatomy would be exposed to the fabric regardless of what under garments she might choose to adorn herself with. Allie must have touched fifteen or twenty gowns before wandering over to the designers’ section.

I must say that in spite of my great love of color and asymmetry, I wondered about the qualities of some of the garments that were supposed to…enchant? Of course one must realize that this form of art required a living canvas. But still… Really…? ‘Cold shoulder’…?

Anyway, whilst I was gazing at this cornucopia of visceral expression, Allie seemed to have disappeared. She totally vanished amidst the silks and blends and sheer drapings…or should I say drippings…of lace.

“Here… Try this on.”

“Ahhh…!” I must have jumped three feet up.

Allie materialized from behind me, a gown draped over each arm. Now I must tell you that I have tried on skirts and dresses if for no other reasons than curiosity and effect. But I decided that the image in my mind, of myself, was sans those two particular styles of clothing.

“Uhhh… It’s really not me?”

“Listen… I’m doing this so that we both have something to do on New Years instead of sitting at home by ourselves watching some stupid thing on the stupid tube. Now the least you can do for me…” She pointed to herself with BOTH hands and a very determined look upon her face. “…is to humor YOUR very dear friend and put this gown on. I want to see how you look in it. You don’t have to leave the dressing room if you don’t want to.”

Our eyes were locked in some kind of mortal combat. I frowned…sneered…and then whipped the dress from her arm…delicately. I accompanied Allie to the changing room trying to ignore the smug grin on her face by looking at what she had chosen for me.

The dress was nearly the same color as my eyes; kind of a powder grey pastel shade with perhaps a touch of more blue. As I held it up by the shoulder straps, actually bands of gathered silk, I noticed that it did have a very interesting design. A cord of silk crossed the piece just above the beast to gather the fabric in two sections that were to become the shoulder straps of the dress. It had kind of an oriental flair to it…perhaps…Tibetan?

The back also had the cord to gather the shoulders again as they draped down to about the waist. There was a double snap arrangement to secure the right shoulder after the garment was put on. I would definitely need assistance with it. It was definitely meant to be worn braless. As I doffed my clothing in the changing room, I guessed that the gown could be stepped into and then the back snapped once one’s arms were passed through.

I must say that the dress felt lovely on my bare skin although I did keep my bra on. My breast forms were not secured today. But then again I hadn’t counted on trying on thirty seven hundred dollar designer gowns. The piece fell to the tops of my feet and the sweep was not all that wide. The skirt from the waist down was a lovely tulip shape.

I gazed at myself in the changing room’s mirror. The silk was very sheer but because it was gathered at strategic points a degree of modesty could still be claimed. I hated to admit it but… I mean d-damn… I think I liked it!

“Allie? How are you doing?”

“Okay. I think I need help.” I couldn’t hook the back.

Allie came in with a huge grin on her face. She had a gown by the same designer and it looked amazing on her. She had such an amazing figure…her curves so pronounced…that the fabric of this particular gown draped her perfectly.

Her gown was a halter neck only the fabric was gathered and then loosely woven into the halter, which simply slipped over one’s head. It was a bit more form fitting but I imaged that goes with her size.

Allie fastened the back for me and then stepped back to look. She smiled at what she saw.

“Come on out sweet heart. We need to see how the dress moves on you as you walk.”

Allie took my hand and half pulled me through the doorway into the lobby area where the fitting was done. I looked at myself in the three view mirrors. I watched as I turned from side to side. The fabric was so light and sheer that it flowed perfectly. I did notice that I couldn’t take as large a step as I was accustomed to. But by moving slower, I got to watch the dress move with me in an easy and flowing manner as it was meant to.

I watched Allie move in her gown. It was so very organic…her movements and the gown’s. It was as though that piece was designed just for her. It was almost like a second skin without being overly snug. It was like a magical veil covering a most remarkable treasure.

“You know something Allie?”

I gazed at her, the woven halter neck, and her lips. She stared at me with a huge smile on her face. I could tell we were done searching for her gown.

“I think I can color match your lipstick to the gown.”

“Well I was thinking maybe a pale pink?”

“Think bold baby doll. It’s a beautiful piece and the color is amazing for you so why not emphasize it even more? I mean with a matching color on your lips you’ll be totally stunning.”

I could tell she was thinking about it.

“So you like it?” She asked with arched eyebrows.

“I love it. You are totally stunning in it and I do think it fits wonderfully. It is a bit long but with heels it should be perfect.”

“Yeah. But now I’ve got to find shoes that match.” She made a sour face.

“You could go with gold you know. With a matching clutch…?”

“Well…what about yours? You look amazing in yours. I mean you could walk it on a runway or something. You have the perfect figure for that dress.”

I could tell she was very excited about the way I looked.

“Yeah…but where would I wear it? I mean I really need some boobage; real boobage. I am wearing a bra with this in case you haven’t noticed. And I should be braless but then there’s the threat of side boob, you know?” And I hadn’t even gotten to the price tag!

Allie began to work a bit with the shoulders and the cord and she managed to tighten the arm holes just enough to probably prevent that old side boob malfunction. She was trying to steal my excuses. But I still had no idea of where I would wear such a thing.

“Listen sweet heart… The season’s barely started. I promise you that something will definitely come up where you can be seen in this dress and it will be totally amazing. I promise you. Anyway, that ‘Ellen’ thing of yours will only go so far. I mean if you wore this to Peter’s party…? Oh my God… He would die from exploding chubbyitis!” Allie chuckled, her eyes wide with delight.

“Allie… This is thirty seven hundred dollars! I… I… Oh my God…! I shouldn’t even be thinking of this!”

“I could help you with it?” She was pleading now.

“That’s not the point Allie.”

I turned back toward the mirror and moved around in it again whilst I watched myself. I took a deep breath and let it out.

“I must be out of my faaahhhkn mind.” I muttered under my breath.

“Oh my God…! You’re going to do it! Oh my God…!”

Allie grabbed my hands and began to hop up and down without her feet leaving the floor. She was so excited and happy that I had just gone completely insane.

We had the tailor serving us in no time at all once our sales woman saw us celebrating our soon to be new purchases. The entire time he was working with us I kept thinking of how much we had spent in merely two or three hours. It was more than I had spent on clothes AND food in four years at college. This was something I hoped I never became accustomed to doing.

But even more earth shaking was that I even considered a…a dress? I mean this was something I never ever expected to be seen in. I couldn’t help myself though. I thought I looked so…I don’t know…slinky? Allie was totally at home and comfortable in dresses. She was so girly? But I never felt comfortable or thought I looked good in one.

Maybe it was the fact that I was putting on some weight. The ‘mones were definitely having that effect, among other effects. My legs weren’t anything to look at but lately they seemed to be taking on shape. My butt for sure was becoming rounded and I actually had a wee bit of a curve to my hips. Perhaps seeing myself in this gown and noticing my ‘new’ curves captivated me?

I only wished something would happen in the boob department but all that seemed to be occurring is an incredible itching sensation in my nipples. Anyway, the tailor promised to take in the sides enough to avoid a fashion fail of miniscule proportions…or…side boobage…NOT!

Allie’s gown was nearly perfect though she needed to have the opposite done. The top really wasn’t quite generous enough for her boobage and she need just a touch more room in the waist. I found the experience so very interesting. I think I finally understood why Allie seemed to get so excited about a new purchase or find. It was an interesting bonding experience. I was finding that shopping with Allie was becoming more of a social and interpersonal experience than anything else. Thankfully we had some extra money from the showing for just such experiences!

Will retail therapy prove to be the salve for Allie’s battered ego? Will Andi grow the proper amount of boobage and get to wear his gown? The answers these very penetrating and pervasive questions are to follow in the upcoming and ad free installments of…‘Andi and Allie’!



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