The Ballad of Jaimie and Vera

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I knew it was going to be bad. From the moment my alarm went off and my eyelids refused to open, I knew it was going to be bad. I’m not normally one to get premonitions. I can’t tell when storms are brewing, or know what it means when one ear is ringing and not the other one. I’m not in tune with future wavelengths. Not usually.

Part of it was the hangover. Part of it was waking up alone. Again. Part of it was seeing that my cat had knocked over my glass of water. Again. I was in a rut. The hot water was out. I went to make a sticky note for myself to yell at the landlord and found I was out of sticky notes. After finding a piece of paper, I couldn’t get any of my magnets to keep it stuck to the refrigerator. My favorite stockings had a run in them, so I had to shave. No point going past the knee today, which depressed me even more. My god, where did all that pubic hair come from? Had it been that long?!

Made myself a cup of coffee, only to find out that I was out of sugar. Poured it out and checked the clock to see if I had time to stop at Dunkin before getting in and holy shit is it 8:46?! I shrieked as I threw on the first pair of flats I could find that matched and bolted out the door. I was in the car 2 minutes before I realized that the reason it’s dark behind me is cus a storm is coming in. A quick peek over my shoulder reminds me my umbrella broke and I’d forgotten to buy a new one.

Kara was staring daggers at me as I finally made it in the door. Kara used to be a receptionist like me, but she slept her way into a personal secretary/assistant position. Yes, I was doing nothing with my Communication degree. I had no reason to be mad at her for using what was at her disposal to improve herself, but it still ticked me off. As if today was just searching for ways to beat me down. I silently mouthed “I’m sorry” to her as I set my purse and water bottle down and settled in for a long day of answering the phone.

“Finally hitting rock bottom?” Kara quipped after sizing me up when she was off the phone, I looked down, somewhat confused. She wasn’t far off; I had buttoned up my shirt wrong.

“Crap!” I squeaked, as I set about unbuttoning and buttoning up my blouse. Kara twisted her lips in an ugly manner for a moment when my cleavage was visible. Kara had very little in the way of boobies and she’d always harbored something of a grudge about that. Not that she ever said anything, but the slight twist of her lips and the sideways glares said it for her. And not to say that she wasn’t pretty, but I am certainly more gifted there. Her being jealous of my body was the first thing that had gone right all day, but Kara had a way of making things worse for people that I certainly wasn’t looking forward to.

I was backed up until 9:30 with calls. As soon as I had a moment to myself, I set the phone to forward and slipped off to get some coffee. I had to take the long way around to avoid Kara, which would have been worth the extra effort, but as I came up on the break room I saw a guy in dark grey-blue overalls laying down underneath the counter.

“No no no nononono!” I said, as I half-ran the last few steps, but to no avail. The coffee machine was being repaired, or “maintained”, or whatever it’s called. All I knew was that I was still without caffeine.

“Should be done by 11,” said the guy under the counter. Fuck. 11? Doesn’t he understand the point of coffee is to help you survive until lunch? In the distance, I heard the phone ringing away, but it was barely on my radar until-

“Don’t we pay someone to answer that?” Kara said out loud to no one in particular. Ugh. Bitch. I slumped back down at the front desk and put on my best smile for the few clients that came in, but it’s a struggle to cling to even the tiniest bit of perk I had.

12 o’clock, and my lunch break, took at least 6 hours to come. Jenny, another secretary, came to spell me and I decided to take my lunch upstairs today. There are some empty office spaces I like to go to where it’s nice and quiet. A few of them have very comfortable chairs left by the previous tenants. Lunch is uneventful, which is exactly how I like it.

I get back and let Jenny go, and almost as soon as I’m settled, I see it. A red 1987 Ford Mustang Boss 502. Fox body. Now, I’m not a car enthusiast by any stretch, but I know what car that is. It’s the car Carl drives. Carl has told me all about it. Carl is a freelance IT guy we hire. Whenever he comes, he always stops at my desk to jabber at me about his car and to try and peek down my shirt. Of course Carl is here today.

I hate working at this desk for many reasons, but probably chief among them is that I can’t avoid Carl. He’s got that greasy leer that must be some kind of hiring requirement for IT guys. The best I can hope for at this point is that Carl’s work keeps him here after 5 and that he doesn’t need anything else from his car, but I know that’s a pipe dream. He’ll come out here and stop and stare and why am I stressing about sancaktepe escort this so much? I can’t do anything to stop it, so I have to just be at peace with it happening.

My Dad would have called this character building. I think everyone’s Dad probably said something like that at some point, but it doesn’t make me any less nostalgic when I think about it.

The afternoon plodded along uneventfully until about 3 when I first heard Carl’s braying laugh. That’s right. He even laughs like an ass. I took a few deep breaths to steel myself, and found something to be focusing my attention on just in case there was no phone call that second. I settled on a list of interoffice memos in my email. I quickly pulled my bangs out from behind my ear to make a curtain to block eye contact with. I was pulled out all the stops.

Carl is talking to someone as they walk out from behind me. I try to stay perfectly still, hoping that he’s suddenly a T-Rex and won’t be able to see me if I don’t move. I was curious to see who he’s talking to, but not enough to look up. Then, right as they’re passing me, the phone rings.

“Cannon, Smith, and Webster.” It’s so routine to answer the phone that I don’t even realize I’ve just broken my cover. I could have let that call ring for a few more seconds while he passed, and I called myself all sorts of stupid inside. Someone is standing in front of me now. I think it’s the person Carl was talking to, but I’m trying not to look up.

“Jaimie?”

I look up.

Now, when I went off to college I was not what you would call a social butterfly. I wasn’t in with the popular crowd in high school, or really any crowd. Although I was looking forward to a change of scenery and hopeful that I could do a better job of making friends there, the fact was that I was just plain bad at talking to girls. Somehow, I always said the wrong thing. I was better at talking to boys, but they hadn’t figured out how to talk to me yet. They only knew how to talk to my tits. I tried to cover them up as much as possible in high school, but that just made me look frumpy. Getting a new wardrobe was an ongoing process at college.

I was feeling confident when I saw a poster in the student union for “Take Back The Night”. My Dad had given me a talk about being safe, but I was interested to see what they had. Maybe some self defense, or, Ooo! A whistle! Plus it said there would be a mixer, so I was hopeful I could kill two birds with one stone.

There were maybe 100 girls in the auditorium when I got there. I grabbed a seat near the back of the group and settled in. Promptly at 7, a group of young women came out and began a bland powerpoint presentation, chock full of statistics about the safety of young, single women on college campuses. After about 15 minutes things began to take a turn, and it became clearer and clearer that I was at a recruiting drive for a feminist student group. One girl in a bandana started to get a little preachy, and when the others pulled her back to have a quiet conversation about her tone, I decided to make a break for it. I ducked down, sliding along the row until I got to the aisle, and just as I stepped out into it, so did another girl straight across from me. We stopped dead in our tracks for a moment, each thinking we’d been caught in our escape attempt. Then she flashed a cool grin and went first.

“This coffee is terrible,” I cried, putting the cup back down.

“The cookies are no better.” She said, tapping one as hard as a rock against the plate they were spread on.

“It’s probably the same coffee from last years recruitment drive.”

“Isn’t serving substandard snacks at something like this against the law?” I can’t get the taste of that coffee out of my mouth, and the bitter face I’m making is cracking her up. “C’mon,” she said. “I know a place.” I follow her down the hall and out of the building, and we angle across the middle of campus. “I’m Vera, by the way.”

“Jaimie.” This is so easy… Why is it never this easy to just talk to other women? I looked over at her, taking long strides in her calf-high boots and knowing exactly where she’s going, and it’s suddenly perfectly clear. It’s a confidence thing. I wasn’t not a threat to her. My own self-confidence wasn’t shattered by this understanding, either. Interesting. It’s not that I think I’m ugly, or unworthy of attention, either. I’m very attractive, if I do say so myself. It took us about 10 minutes to get to a tiny, hole-in-the-wall coffee house on the edge of campus. I spent that time thinking about confidence.

“Have you ever been here before?” She asks. I shook my head, so she stepped up and orders two of some russian-sounding latte. “Trust me,” she said with a wink, and I nodded. We headed back outside, drinks in hand, and jumped up on top of a picnic table.

“So, freshman?”

“Yup. Bright eyed, and bushy tailed!” She just nodded. I was only confirming conclusions she’s already sarıyer escort come to. “Holy crap, this is delicious.”

“You from around here?”

“Not far. Millersberg?” She nodded again, so I guess she’d heard of it. “How about you?”

“Washington state.”

“Oh wow, so you’re pretty far out then.”

She shrugged. “It’s not so bad,” she said, taking a sip, and I could see that it wasn’t. She wasn’t ruffled by that at all. She’s just so… so cool. Like Steve McQueen with boobs. “Did your boyfriend follow you here?”

“Me? No. Boys don’t know how to talk to me.”

She barked a laugh and nodded at my chest. “I bet they don’t.”

“How about you?

“I met a guy here. He’s ok, but I think he’s cheating on me.” Bam. Just like that. I spit out a little of my latte, which is delicious, and she hands me a napkin with a grin. She’s so cool! We’re quiet for a couple minutes.

“You know, tonight was almost a complete waste of time.” She grinned again and hopped down. “Almost. I’m gonna get going.” I had a moment of panic when I realize that I really only knew this girls first name, and that meant nothing on a campus of 40,000, but then she turned back. “I usually eat lunch during the week in the Union, outside that copy shop? Maybe I’ll see you there?” I nodded slowly, and with that, she turned and walked off. Never looked back. Damnit, that girl was cool!

We started meeting for lunch three or four days a week, as our schedules allowed. Turns out Vera had always had similar problems making female friends, so she was excited to have me to talk to. We had similar tastes in movies, fashion, and tv, so we usually threw in some of everything in the middle of our bitching about classes or the bitches we had to deal with in them. It was all so easy. She fascinated me. She liked trip hop, heeled boots, running, Alfred Hitchcock movies, and she had no idea what she wanted college to do for her. She liked tall boys, heavily buttered popcorn, and leather jackets.

One day a few weeks later, I went to meet her and there were two guys with her.

“Jaimie! I don’t think you’ve had a chance to meet Donald, and this is his friend Wes. Guys, this is the girl I’ve been telling you about.” She never used shortened nicknames like J, or Don. Said it was lazy. Vera was sitting on Donald’s lap, her arm around his shoulder. He had an arm around her back, but it was loose. Different, somehow. Wes stared at me almost expectantly until I nodded at him.

Vera immediately launched into a tirade about her Econ 1000 class. Wes tracked the back and forth we had on the subject. Donald, however, only looked interested for the first ten seconds. He spent the rest of the time looking at everything that walked by. Sure, he’d swing back every minute or so and bite her shoulder or something to keep her under the impression that he was paying attention, but he was clearly not. Wes stared at my chest a lot. Vera gave him some dirty looks he was oblivious to, and Donald was oblivious to all of it.

After about twenty minutes, Wes finally spoke up and mentioned that he and Donald were going to be late for class. He told my tits it was nice to meet me, and Donald made a big fuss of leaving Vera by herself. I told her as soon as he was gone.

“Oh I know. He does it all the time. He’ll smile at anything with a cunt,” she said with a grin. “What about Wes though? Could he have been any more obvious?”

“I’m used to being not looked in the eye, but even still, it would be nice of them to look up here one in five times,” I said, pointing at my face.

“You ARE making quite a splash today.” She said with a chuckle. I looked down and realized my boobs were starting to push up out of the top of my bra. My tight fitting t-shirt did nothing to hide the puffiness. “Did they grow on the way here?”

“Ha ha.”

“Seriously, how big are they?”

I blinked, somewhat taken aback. “40D”

“What?!” she said, leaning in her chair to look at me from a different angle. “There is no way. We’ve gotta get you some better bras.”

“What are you talking about? This one’s fine!”

“Trust me.”

“But it has hearts on it!”

“I bet we can find one that fits with hearts too.”

“I don’t have the money for a bunch of new bras right now,” I whined.

“Don’t sweat it. I’m buying, and we’re going right now” I raised an eyebrow at her, but she had that slight lift to her chin that brooked no argument. We packed up and she led the way to the bus stop. She spend the whole time explaining what she liked about trip hop, and some band called Portishead. When we got to the Victoria’s Secret, she went straight for the counter, but I grab her arm.

“No, don’t!”

“Whats wrong?”

“I’m… not really… comfortable with someone else doing that.”

“Didn’t someone measure you at 40D?”

“…No. I picked one that looked like it might fit and just bought that.”

“No wonder,” silivri escort she chuckled. “Ok, do you want me to do it? It’s kinda awkward to do for yourself.” I nodded, reluctantly. Now, you might have guessed that I’m not the thinnest girl in the world, and you’d be right, so while I was more comfortable hanging out with Vera than any other girl that I’d ever met, I was still nervous about having her around with my shirt off. She went up and discretely borrowed a measuring tape, and then we took over the biggest dressing room we could find.

“OK, shirt off.” I had to be prompted because I didn’t strip immediately, and even then I was slow. “Bra too.”

“What?” I positively squeaked.

“Can’t measure you with the bra on, sweetie.” I really hesitated then. “Ok, how about this.” She proceeded to take off her jacket, and then her shirt.

“Vera, you don’t need to do that.”

“No, it’s ok. I don’t want you to feel weird or uncomfortable.” And then her bra came off. Vera had beautiful little breasts. Her nipples were like pink oblong quarters, and she had just the beginning of a teardrop shape. I was a little jealous. She held her hands out to the side as if to say ‘ok’, so I took my bra off. Vera made a slight nod, not breaking eye contact at all, which really calmed me down. “Ok, arms up.”

I held my arms out while she leaned in close to wrap the tape around me. When she leaned in, she took a good long look at one of my nipples out of the corner of her eye. I pretended not to see, but my face got a little warm.

“Half way there,” she said, and then she moved it from my ribs to my boobs. “Ok. Thats 42 and 36, so you are a… 36F.”

“What?!”

“Yup.”

“I’m an F?!”

“Or a triple D, if you prefer that…”

“Measure it again!” I said it at first out of shock, but a tiny part of me just wanted her to do it over. She smirked and measured my chest, and then my bust.

“36F,” She said, and then she started grabbing for her clothes. I started to reach for mine too, but she waved me off. “I’m just gonna go grab a few. You stay here.”

She was gone for a few minutes. I sat there, hands cupped over my breasts even though I was alone and the door was locked. When she came back, she tossed three over the top of the door. One of them had hearts on it. I tried them on one by one. She was right. The fit and support were so much better. I came back out fully clothed with the one with the hearts in my hands.

“What was wrong with the other ones?”

“Nothing. They all fit great. I just liked this one the best.” She took the one from my hand, snuck in behind me to grab the other two, and then marched to the counter. I pleaded with her that she didn’t need to buy me three bras, but it was like I wasn’t even there. She just bought them anyway.

One day that December I walk up for lunch, and she’s not at her spot. Now, Vera had harassed more than a few people to get her table when noon rolled around, so it was pretty odd that she wasn’t there. I walked around a bit, but there was no sign of her. Then, through a window, I spotted her outside pacing back and forth on the sidewalk. I went outside and called to her, but she didn’t respond until I got closer.

“He’s fucking someone right now.”

“Who, Donald?”

“Of course fucking Donald!!” she said, eyes squeezed shut in frustration. “I’m sorry. I just…c’mon.” We started walking.

“How do you know?”

“He has drama class right now. He texted me earlier to tell me he couldn’t get out of todays class to hang, so I went there to cheer him on. He skipped.” Her pace is blistering.

“Where are we going?”

“Like you don’t know!” Her sideways glare was disbelieving. I knew. I’d been telling her, or rather reminding her from time to time, that he was a dog, and that he wasn’t nearly good enough for her. She always played it off casually. Today was different for some reason. She was moving at monstrous pace, and I had to jog a little just to keep up.

With grim determination, she plowed into Adams Hall and practically punched the elevator up button. We got off on the 7th floor. Vera blew down the hallway and, without even the tiniest pause, threw open door 7410 so hard it smacked off the wall and bounced back. She was already three steps into the room, so after it bounced it swung well behind her. I caught it just before it broke my nose.

“Get the FUCK out of here, you WHORE!” A blur of bed sheets and blond hair flew off the near side of the bed.

“Babe, wait, I-“

“Don’t you ‘babe’ me, you fucking ASSHOLE!” Donald had grabbed a shirt and was frantically trying to get decent while an increasing number of students gathered behind me at the door. The blond girl had thrown on a few clothes and was darting out the door when Vera whipped around. “You!! I fucking knew it was you!! Well he’s all yours now, WHORE!!”

“V, c’mon, calm down!”

She turned back to him with a icy fury in her eyes like I’ve never seen. “I hope you two are very happy together.” She stormed past me and out into the hallway. I stayed for another moment to glare, and then followed her out. We took the stairs down, and by the time we got down to the lobby, she was back to blowing through doors like a short haired tornado.

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