There has still been no progress in getting Alicia to tell me where she has stored her recording of this football player and her having intercourse, and the fact that the man in the tape (whose identity Alicia sees no need to keep secret from me) is having a good season so far is only placing me in a worse position, as one of my co-workers who listens to sport-talk-radio still says that the callers on those programs are already asking why he has not been extended. One or two may have looked at me and made comments that implied I would know something about his conditioning, and while Alicia claims to have kept this encounter secret from everybody at work, and that even her mother knew nothing until the changes wrought by the Inn forced her hand, I would not be the last bit surprised if she had the door of reputation that made allowed such rumors to arise spontaneously.
Despite that part of her reputation, it is clear that Alicia is no fool. The player's early success has allowed her to increase her demands as the team's interest in re-signing him grows, and whether by her doing or by her mother's, the bakery they found themselves running has remained successful enough that they could, in theory, walk away from these lives without fear. I do not believe that they wish to, but simply leaving the threat in the air gives them more leverage over Jeremy/Arthur and, by extension, the team. It also further updates him, leading to a recent message pointing out that I am not simply a go-between, that he can make trouble for me in both this life and my true life.
Truly, though, there is relatively I can do to convince either of them, leaving me with little option but to deliver their messages and do Alicia's job with as little incident as possible, lest she decide that file is something for me to deal with while the Inn is shuttered. It is boring and menial, and surrounds me with air travelers - who are either as dismayed by having to spend several hours on a plane as I am or annoyingly excited by the novelty of it - and the type of person who actually wants this job. That sort of person is friendly enough, I suppose, but rather more gregarious than I am looking for.
It would have been better, perhaps, if Lindsey and I had slept on opposite sides of the bed and this had our fates reversed; not only would I complain far less than she about relatively minor ravages of age, but she would probably be more willing to deal with these people. Indeed, she already seems to be on fairly good terms with much of the airport staff and asks me who I'm working with on any given flight. I don't give it much thought, although I have mostly been with the same four-person group during October after the utter randomness of September, although we are still being told to come into the airport on a few hours' notice (something else that might have made Alicia's life more suitable for Lindsey; as invigorating as young people can be, they do not appreciate the set schedule the way an older person does).
What all of this means is that, while I said something noncommittal after we had finished our work on a flight to New York when one of Alicia's co-workers mentioned that it was another's birthday, so we should maybe meet in the hotel lobby at 9 o'clock to take her out for drinks. I have no intention of actually doing so - thus far, nobody has seemed to find it amiss if I say that I feel asleep as soon as I took a moment to sit on the bed - but when I reach my room and open my bag, I see that Lindsey has not included the usual casual wear for my off-hours, but a decidedly non-casual dress with the accompanying panties and footwear. She has also included a note saying that avoiding to Alicia, Magda, and everyone else she talked to, it's customary to take your co-worker out drinking if they're away from home, so go out, hit the Big Apple, and take lots of pictures.
My first thought is that this is some sort of payback for her feeling I did not do enough on her "Date Night", though she seemed to have learned from that experience and kept subsequent evenings out more casual. It turns out to be less pettiness than excessive initiative; she saw the photographs Alicia has posted on her social media accounts (both before and after her visit to the Trading Post Inn) and decided, given the seeming precarious nature of my situation with Alicia and Jeremy, that I should attempt to replicate them as best possible, and did this without consulting me because she knew I would have put my foot down, meaning there is probably some sort of message being sent about relying on "mother" for this sort of thing as well.
Unfortunately for me, she's probably right about how I should make a bit more effort to at least go through the motions of socializing with Alicia's co-workers in this way, so rather than just reading the book I have loaded onto the tablet, I cleaned myself up from what an air-sick infant did and got myself into the outfit Lindsey sent.
I'm certain some younger contributors to this weblog have already described the sensation of their first time in "thong" panties after a lifetime of far more modest shorts or the torture device known as an underwire bra - necessitated because, while the dress is certainly contoured to follow these damnable curves, it offers no support for them. And while it initially seemed very modest below the waist, it actually tapers inward after swelling a bit to accommodate Alicia's behind, meaning that I could only walk because it was slit practically high enough to reveal those skimpy panties. Not only did this mean shaving my legs because, as mentioned, my pantyhose was in serious need of laundering, but the dress actually dragged on the floor because the shoes Lindsey packed did not provide the necessary lift (she probably should have found a slightly shorter dress if she felt these were the tallest heels I could navigate).
It was peculiar to look myself in the mirror at that point. I cannot be a stranger to my new face and body at this point, and I've come to grudgingly accept that certain bits of feminine maintenance are necessary to avoid making waves given that Alicia saddled me with a public-facing service-industry job, but getting ready for a day at work is something I tend to do in a detached manner, just as I do my best to take minimal liberties when washing. I am to look somewhat anonymous most days, aiming to look as though I am not out of place rather than attractive, and as a result, what I saw in the mirror looked and felt unfamiliar: Bare shoulders and round breasts peeking out the top of fabric that seemed dangerously low and cut to reveal more cleavage without making it look like I had something attached to my chest with adhesive. It highlighted Alicia's long neck, how pale her skin is compared to her jet-black hair, which blended into the dress. I could scarcely reconcile it as being me, especially once I put on the red lipstick that I found in the handbag Lindsey had included.
By the time I had done all of this, it was almost time to meet the others in the lobby, although I would first need to stare down a teenager who took the elevator with me and insisted on peering down my decollatage despite his being a good foot taller than Alicia. I must admit, it was a trifle amusing when the elevator's bell rang and he whipped his head up and pivoted so as not to look like a little lech to his parents waiting in the lobby when the does opened.
I did not see my party immediately, though I was able to find them quick enough at the hotel bar. I strode to them confidently, putting the sight I must have been with my leg left slipping in and out of the dress and my hips swiveling as the outfit and shoes made me put one foot directly in front of the other, halfway changing direction with every step. Elgin, who seemed to have already found a man to keep him company at the bar, seemed to notice first, tapping the crew chief on the shoulder and shooting "hey, guys, it looks like 'All-In Alicia' is back!" just a little too loud.
The birthday girl, clad in a red dress as short as mine was long and featuring a plunging neckline, let out a whoop, while our crew chief silently raised her white wine. I immediately had a pink, sugary drink - Alicia's usual, apparently - placed in my hand, and did my level best not to make a face as I took a sip of the horrid thing. The younger girl leaned in and said that someday, I'd have to tell her just what "I" did with a passenger to get a month-and-a-half secret suspension that nobody at work could figure out. I told her she would not believe me if I told her, and she laughed like it was a far more scandalous double-entendre than was the case.
I had thought that perhaps we might simply run up a tab at the hotel bar, but Elgin's new friend had some other friends who were in a band playing in a bar in Brooklyn, so we piled into a van and made our way there in a ride-share van to listen to some millennials play guitar in a way that was apparently amusing because it appropriated the "plots" of video games released before they were born. It was a two-bourbon show, and only because the bar got crowded and the rest of the group raised an eyebrow at me staying there - Alicia, apparently, dances.
I do not, but as with many things, a young woman with Alicia's figure doesn't need to do a whole lot to attract attention; just rock back and forth a bit and men will position themselves nearby to see if you will do more. Thankfully, the young men at this venue would have died alone in earlier decades, unwilling to show any real initiative where a potential mate was concerned. It was easy to walk away from them.
The guest of honor apparently felt the same way, because once the set was done, we were in a taxi headed to a spot in Manhattan, which is apparently very popular among professional travelers, whether they work for the airlines or simply use them regularly. I cannot fault them; the place made an excellent martini and, if an expensive one. Sadly, I only had the chance to enjoy one or two before we moved to the next place.
There, not only were tequila shots the order of the night, but they seemed to come in random succession, with someone just yelling "shots!" in the middle of whatever conversation we were having and then a new set being shoved at us to be downed immediately. It is here that the crowd truly becomes beyond annoying - as much as I know that sort of outfit is certain to draw a man's more tactile attention, one does get a bit sore, both physically and emotionally, after one has lost count of how often one's bosom and posterior has been squeezed over the course of a single night. Worse, at around one in the morning, I had the horrifying thought that, while most of the time my own wealth of experience and strength of character was easily able to prevent any changes in biology that the Inn had effected on my endocrine system and even my very brain, this sort of mind over matter might become diminished with enough alcohol. It was as good an excuse as any to stop ordering drinks and start making my way back to the airlift hotel, although one man seemed quite indignant that I would not be open to him buying me a drink, and had a few friends to help him press his case. Fortunately, I was able to extricate myself with the assistance of Alicia's supervisor, the others in our party having already left for their one-night-stands without so much as a goodbye, and we made our way back to the hotel in a cab.
I must at least admit that it was a bit of a surprise how resilient a youthful body can be - though I was lying atop my bed's covers with only my scant panties on, my dress, bra, and both shoes each in a different corner of the room where I can only surmise they were justifiably thrown after I liberated myself from them, I was almost unbelievably alert when the ringing of Alicia's mobile phone awakened me with a reminder from her co-worker that I had to be on a plane in forty-five minutes.
The flight back west was far from the smoothest since I have been forced to do Alicia's job - we all had to make certain allowances for the one who could not properly pace herself on her birthday - and I was very glad to have the next day off. Lindsey got a well-deserved earful about placing me in situations like that, even if it did give me a temporary respite from Alicia complaining that I was making her look "boring".