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Authors: Terri Douglas

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BOOK: 39 Weeks
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After lunch we received another e-mail
asking us all to calculate how much filing space we’d each need and to discuss the results with our various managers. We were advised that we’d need to keep filing space to a minimum and that a new storage area for
seven years worth of
archive files was going to be organised, probably at a storage company based in Sheffield, to free up more space in the office. That started a whole new wave of moaning, along the lines of ‘Sheffield! Are you kidding? But what if we need to look somethi
ng up?’ B
ut we were assured that if absolutely necessary we could request a file to be retrieved and
it would be
s
ent back to us within a week. ‘A week!’ everyone said. ‘I mean if you need to look something up you need the info now, today, not in week.
What were they thinking?’ The general consensus was that these Steadman brothers had a lot to answer for.

By five o’clock I was relieved to be able to leave the sensitive subject of who’d sit where, and next to whom, and the pro’s and con’s
of archiving in Sheffield,
although mostly it seemed the con’s won by a landslide
,
and go home to
the relative benign uneventful quiet of my flat
,
and
wait for my evening sickness to begin.

Tonight I was lucky enough to avoid actually throwing up. I felt the nausea rising as usual around eight o’clock, and was prepared with grim determination for the inevitable outcome that usually followed
, but this evening
it seemed
I was to be spared. Maybe this whole eating during the day
,
instead of at night after work thing, was paying off.

At nine with still no sign of
any
vomiting on the agenda and the feeling of nausea waning, I decided to have a soak in the bath. Relax a bit. Have a bit of me time. Maybe light a few candles and do it properly.

I started running the bath
, added a generous amount of relaxing, soothing, so the label said, bath crystals,
and set up a tea light o
n each corner
of the bath
, then went to the bed
room to strip off. I caught sight of myself in the full length mirror on the wardrobe door and stopped to
take a better look
. I wasn’t given to studying my naked body as a rule
,
but
knowing I was about to undergo a radical body image distortion I looked at my fairly
flat stomach with fondness,
I wanted to make sure it
was
still
fairly flat, and thankfully it was.

Then my eyes drifted to my breasts. Still there. Still seemed to be about the same size
and in the same place, i.e. not sagging drastically, and yet
somehow
they looked different . . . the pinkness around the nipples wasn’t so pink anymore, it had darkened and was more of a pinkish brown, and
it seemed to be spreading
. I looked away and then looked back again
, and pulled myself about a bit to get a better view
. Was it real or was it just a trick of the light? I put the main light on but that just made it even worse, even darker
in colour and there
seemed
to be
even more of it.
 
As I stared at the mirror goldfish like, my breasts seemed to ache with a slight discomfort. Was that because I was staring at them, and had subconsciously embarrassed
myself, or was it
all
just more
of the duff syndrome?
 

Morosely I padded into the bathroom, turned the taps off and climbed in, easing myself gently into the warm water. I sat waist high in the relaxing, soothing, bath crystal imbued water, feeling anything but soothed or relaxed. The candles did little to
help my mood except that the light they
shed
was so
dim I couldn’t focus
clearly on my traitorous boob
s that had already succumbed to the
first
signs of pregnancy.

Then I remembered reading in one of the pregnancy bibles that this was normal, this was what was supposed
to happen, and was right on cue
as these things go.

So
I thought, from now on
lacy bra’s were out. Although
under the circumstances
who the hell was going to
be
see
ing
me in a lacy bra was another question altoget
her.
And it meant that a
lso out were white or even light coloured tops, just to be on the safe side.

I sighed resignedly, a heavy deep mournful sigh of the type
I imagined
convicted felons on death row sigh.

6

2
4
th
July – Week 8

I’d been stuck at home, when I wasn’t at work, for nearly four weeks now. True at first I hadn’t really felt like going out anywhere, but now after all this time I was beginning to climb the walls
of my self made prison
. A sort of resigned fate had settled over me and I
needed
to
shake myself out of this gloom and
let rip
while I still could. That is to say
go o
ut with my friends
on a Saturday night
as
if I was
a normal person.

The clincher
to my going out decision
was that on Friday
morning
while
I was getting dressed for work I’d struggled to zip up the sk
irt of my favourite, cost a fortune
, black suit that was normally a bit on the loose side if anything. I’d struggled with it for ten minutes before reluctantly admitting
to
the inevitable conclusion that I’d grown out of it.

I
felt sure I
couldn’t be that
fat
yet
and
that
you couldn’
t see a difference,
but the evidence was i
ndisputable
,
there was
definitely
a slight swelling where pre
viously I
had been fairly flat, and just to rub salt in my wounded ego the jacket was a little snug
as well
,
and I could no longer do up the middle button over my ever so gradually enlarging chest area, just as well I normally wore the jacket open I thought.
Anyway the outcome of all this pudding club activity was that
if I was going to have a last fling at normality
,
I’d bet
ter hurry up and get on with it
before I grew out of all my clothes.
I phoned Shelley when I got to work, checking yet again as I did so, that the zip on my skirt hadn’t unzipped itself as I could no longer do up the button on the waist to ensure this didn’t happen.

After assuring herself I was feeling up to it,
Shell
ey
was pleased I’d decided to come with her and the others
this Saturday
, and
I asked her who’d be going. This week the run down would be Tricia, always good for a laugh, Short Fran, not that she was particularly short but also on this week’s play list was Tall Fran, not that she was particularly tall, but we had to distinguish between the two of them somehow.
I made Shelley
promise again not to say anything
to
any of
them yet, ‘j
ust give it another few weeks and then I’ll tell everyone myself,’ I said.

‘In another few weeks you won’t have to tell anyone, they’ll be able to tell for themselves.’ She said making me wonder
if I
was fatter than I thought
, and
if there had
already been some speculation.

A
nyway the outcome was that last night I went out with the girls, just like old times. We started out as usual
meeting up at Chicago’s, and from there we’d usually go on somewhere else to be decided on the night. I’d dithered over what to wear after Shell’s comment about everyone being able to tell for themselves, and was gutted to discover that I didn’t have much choice at all in the matter, as almost all
of
my going out stuff was ever so slightly strangling me and made me look like I’d bought a size to
o
small,
or li
ke a pot bellied pig in a frock, or
I
had a starring role in a push-up bra commercial.
None of which made me
feel very
comfortable
about myself,
and would
have
attract
ed
far too much
of the wrong sort of
attention.
I settled reluctantly on my largest pair of posh jeans and a loose top. It was a bit more of a casual style than I was used to, or
other
people were used to seeing me in, but it fitted and didn’t look too odd.

The first half
an
hour or so went well, and there weren’t too many comments on my outfit or
on
my choice of drink, virtually
non-existe
nt
low
alcohol
white wine
. Tricia asked where I’d been for the last few weeks and did I
have some new secret man hidden away, to which I laughed and said I’d just been busy with work stuff.
Short
Fran wanted to know if I’d got religion and that was why I wasn’t wearing
one of
my more normal kil
ler, ever so slightly tart type
clubbing outfit
s
, and had apparently
given up
drinking
, to which I
laughed
again
and said no I ju
st felt like a change. And Tall Fran
said she didn’t care what I wore or drank as long as I was alright and didn’t expect them all to follow suit.

After that everyone settled into our more customary bitching session about work, the latest boyfriend
s
or lack of them, and generally catching up with each other, although
in theory anyway
I had a bit more catching up than usual
to do
as I’d been ab
sent for the last few weeks. I
didn’t tell them that Shelley had filled me in on most of the goss already. 
 

We decided
to move on to Zee Zee’s
. We’d avoided the place for a few months as this was the favourite hangout of
Daniel,
Tricia’s
most recent ex
,
and she didn’t want to have to run into him again. ‘But,’ she said
now
, ‘I don’t see why we should have to avoid going anywhere just because o
f some bloke that I used to go out with
, he doesn’t own the place does
he? And anyway I’m long
since
over him
,
let’s go’. So we went.

Naturally as soon as we were through the doors the first person we ran into was Daniel with some girl draped all over him as if he was the Death By Chocolate with double
whipped
cream desert. Tricia was all outrage until we reminded her that she’d broken up with him over three months ago, and anyway had
n’t she said she was over him?

‘I know, and I am over him, but he didn’t have to rub it in my face that he’s with someone else did he
?’ She said angrily.

Shelley
pointed out
that after three months he should be free to go out with someone else if he wante
d to, and that anyway it was the girl
friend
that was
all over him
and
not the other way around. And
Short
Fran said Tricia
wasn’t being
very
fair as Daniel didn’
t even know she
was going to be there, that we didn’t even know ourselves until about half an hour ago, so he wasn’t exactly rubbing it in her face on purpose
was he?

‘Yeah, yeah.
I suppose y
ou’re right. Shall we just go somewhere else then?’
Tricia sighed.

‘No.’ Shelley said. ‘We’re not going anywhere else, this place has been out of bounds for too long, and you need to get over it
.’

So we all went to the bar while Tricia tried to ignore Daniel, and the rest of us tried to ignore her ignoring Daniel. After we’d ordered a round of drinks, I stuck to my low alcohol wine, and the others got steadily more merry while I perched on one of the bar stools as I was decidedly out of practise
at clubbing
, or maybe just plain tired,
and
inevitably
we were
approached by
the obligatory
trio of
juvenile
meat market purveyors only found in such places as Zee Zee’s.
Well actually they’re all over the place all the time, but they’re not usually so obnoxious or so full on, nor do they tend to hunt in packs unless they’re
slight
ly hammered
and
in a club
on a Saturday night
.

BOOK: 39 Weeks
8.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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