Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac
Sally floated into the condo as if walking on air. Betsy hadn’t seen her since the afternoon she had sent Steve over, with instructions that he was to kiss her. She had not been around the condo, her lab, or her apartment, for two days. She hadn’t answered her phone during that entire time, either.
Betsy took one look at her and said, “I guess you’ve been kissed.”
“Yes,” Sally said.
Sally had been kissed! And, despite her lack of experience, she knew she had been kissed well. He had approached her in her office. She had backed away, as usual, but he just kept coming until he had his arms around her. She had surrendered at that moment, and had wrapped herself around him.
After several hours of heavy petting that left both of them wanting more, they headed to Steve’s apartment. It was closer to the school than hers. Steve had a lot more control over his emotions than she did. After a little more petting, she was the one ripping clothes off – first his, and then her own.
Once in the bedroom, Steve managed to slow her down so that her first time was special. So was the second and third and ... well ... they were all special. For the next two days, they only left the bed to eat.
“I’m happy for you,” Betsy said.
“My first reaction, when Steve told me that you had ordered him to kiss me, was to get angry at you for interfering in something so personal. After he kissed me, I was angry at you for not telling him to do it earlier,” Sally said while following Betsy into her bedroom.
“I’m really happy for you,” Betsy said with an odd flatness to her voice.
Sally said, “You don’t look happy.”
“I am happy for you,” Betsy said, trying to sound a little more enthusiastic.
“I heard you met a guy,” Sally said looking over at the suitcase on the bed.
“I met the guy who is going to do the electronics for the boat. He’s not a potential boyfriend, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Betsy said.
“How do you know?”
While dumping a couple of shirts into her suitcase, Betsy said, “I’ll send you over to his office and let you meet him. You’ll understand.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Sally said.
“What can I say?” Betsy said, while tossing another bra into her luggage.
“Where are you going?” Sally asked.
“Believe it or not, I’m going to Montreal for a conference on sharks,” Betsy said.
“Shouldn’t a conference on sharks be held someplace near where there are sharks?” Sally asked.
“You would think so,” Betsy said while dumping a bunch of underwear in her suitcase.
Sally said, “You didn’t say anything about going there, earlier.”
“I only found out about it this morning,” Betsy said.
She wasn’t going to say anything about Sally not being around. Even if she had been told earlier, she wouldn’t have been able to share the news with Sally until now, anyway.
“That’s kind of sudden,” Sally said.
“I know it’s kind of sudden, but it couldn’t be helped. Professor Parrish had an unexpected case of appendicitis, this morning,” Betsy said.
“Appendicitis tends to be an unexpected medical condition,” Sally said.
“I know that. Still, the timing of it is kind of strange.”
“So what’s so strange about it?” Sally asked.
“I don’t know. It’s just that I’ve been eating more than usual for the past two days,” Betsy said.
“How much more?” Sally asked.
“Yesterday, I had seven hearty-man breakfasts, eight orders of spaghetti for lunch, and three steaks for dinner,” Betsy answered.
She wasn’t going to mention that she had taken naps after each meal. These weren’t the five or ten minute naps that she occasionally had as a child after eating, but full one or two hour naps. That bothered her almost as much as the quantity of food.
Sally whistled unable to believe her ears. The hearty-man’s breakfast at the diner was two eggs, toast, hash browns, bacon, and three flapjacks. Eight orders of spaghetti was ... well ... eight orders of spaghetti. Betsy always ordered the forty-eight ounce porterhouse. That was a massive quantity of food.
Betsy said, “So far today I had seven breakfasts, and six Fisherman’s Platters for lunch.”
“I honestly believe that if I tried to eat that much food, it would kill me,” Sally said. “They’d find my dead bloated body two steps from the table, if I was even able to move that far.”
Betsy grabbed a couple of cookies out of a bag and wolfed them down. She noticed the look on Sally’s face. She pointed to the two empty cookie bags visible in the trashcan.
“I’ve been hungry all day.”
Sally studied Betsy for a minute. Her young friend actually looked a little puffy – like she had gained twenty or so pounds in the past few days. It was distributed across her whole body so that her normal muscularity wasn’t so obvious. Even with that kind of weight gain, Betsy didn’t look fat.
There was another thing though that worried Sally more than the her friend’s unusual weight gain. Betsy was moving a lot slower than usual. An average person would seem to be rushing about; but for Betsy, particularly of late, she looked sluggish. She was still jumping around, but the height was about half normal, and the frequency was about a quarter normal.
“You’re moving slower,” Sally said.
“I know,” Betsy admitted with a slightly worried look on her face.
“You look worried,” Sally said.
Betsy asked, “Do you remember a couple of weeks ago, wondering if I had sped up, lately?”
“Yes,” Sally said.
Betsy had told her that she was going to check her speed against her Olympic records. She hadn’t mentioned anything about what she had learned. Of course, that didn’t surprise Sally, as Betsy tended to be a little scatterbrained about some things.
“I improved almost all of my times by about ten percent.”
Even Sally knew that Olympic records changed by fractions of a second up to a few seconds. They didn’t get ten percent lopped off of them.
“Last weekend, I beat my records by fifteen percent,” Betsy said.
“Are you sure you measured it correctly?” Sally asked.
That was just a bit too much to be believed. A lot of the sporting world believed that Betsy’s performance at the Olympics was at the very edge of what a human body was capable of doing. It was not a matter of muscularity, but of physics. Shaving fifteen percent off her times placed her well beyond what anyone thought was humanly possible!
“Yesterday it took me twice as long to complete each of the events, and I feel even slower, today,” Betsy said.
“Twice your records, or twice your most recent times?” Sally asked.
“Twice my records.”
“Are you running a fever or anything?” Sally asked.
“No. I have never been sick a day of my life,” Betsy said.
“Not even the flu?” Sally asked.
“Nothing,” Betsy said.
Betsy said, “My brother William was the same way. We were never ill. It’s kind of funny. He’s the brain in the family, and I’m the brawn.”
“I remember your brother,” Sally said.
While his family called him William, in her mind she could only think of him as William Redman Carter. William was just too simple of a name for such a complex person. He had made a lasting impression on Sally. There was just an intensity about him that was somewhat frightening. When he turned his attention on her, she knew that she had his full attention. It was almost sexual. She had a feeling that if Steve hadn’t been there, she would have found herself reacting to him in a flirtatious manner.
Sally was silent while watching Betsy finish packing. She looked at the suitcase and grimaced. There were some things which really bothered her, and sloppy packing was one of them. Betsy had just thrown her clothes into it. Nothing would arrive without being wrinkled.
“Let me repack your suitcase. Everything is going to get wrinkled. You’ll look like a beggar at the conference,” Sally said.
Betsy looked at her suitcase and said, “Maybe you should.”
Sally took everything out of the suitcase and then neatly folded each item before putting it back. She actually organized the clothes within the suitcase with socks in one stack, panties in another, sports bras in a third, tee shirts in a fourth, and pants in a fifth. Betsy would be able to dress by taking one layer out of the suitcase at a time.
Impressed, Betsy said, “I’ve never seen anyone pack a suitcase like that.”
“I’m kind of anal about things like that,” Sally admitted.
“Let’s go to dinner. I’m hungry.”
“Okay,” Sally said with a worried frown, as it was early to be going to dinner.
“I know it’s a little early; but I’ve got to return here after dinner to get my suitcase, and then get over to the airport,” Betsy said.
Relaxing a little, Sally said, “That makes sense.”
Sally’s normal mode of transportation on the island was a little electric scooter she had purchased, used, upon her arrival. It was an eminently practical vehicle for her purposes. It was small enough that it was allowed on the bicycle paths. She was able to make little short cuts where a car wouldn’t be allowed. It was fast enough to reach most local destinations in good time; and, it cost her absolutely nothing to operate.
Whenever they went somewhere together, she would ride to their destination, and meet up with Betsy somewhere along the route. It wasn’t that Betsy ran faster than her scooter. In fact, the opposite was true. The scooter was just a little faster than Betsy. It was just that she didn’t have the patience to wait while Sally unlocked it from the bicycle stand, put on her helmet, and got on it. When she was already on her scooter, Betsy would run along beside her chattering away like a magpie.
Today, Betsy kind of jogged in place while Sally prepared for the ride. This was just another example of unusual behavior.
They hadn’t gone a hundred yards before Betsy asked, “Can you slow down a little more?”
“Sure,” Sally said glancing at the speedometer on her scooter.