"What Friends Are For"

by ARthur

Everyone has somebody they consider a best friend and confidant. For Cheryl, it was Gina.

Ever since they were thrown together as roommates in college, Cheryl had a close attachment to Gina. The two were bosom companions and complimented each other.

Cheryl, with light brown short cut hair and plain Germanic looks, tempered by an easy-going manner and friendly disposition, was the brain of the pair. She used her ability many times to bail Gina out of problems. She even secretly took Gina's Economics final, getting Gina an A-minus.

Gina, a statuesque Italian with long brunette hair, green eyes and a 38D chest, was the beauty of the pair. Dressing to accent her curvy body and fiery personality, Gina was a boy magnet. Cheryl never had to worry about finding a date, as there were plenty to pick from around Gina, after she made her pick.

What Cheryl prized most about her relationship with Gina was their ability to share secrets and offer each other advice. That, Cheryl thought, is what friends are really for- at least until recently.

In the past, the only time something got between them were a couple of men Cheryl was attracted to,who, despite her flirting, dated Gina instead. Cheryl pouted, but Gina made it all better by explaining how she had discovered they were "not in Cheryl's league." The backup forward on the college basketball team? He was in love with his reflection in the mirror. And the son of a concrete baron was rude and boorish. They were not worth ruining friendship over, Cheryl was told.

After college, the two friends both went to work as sales agents with a large real estate company. Cheryl excelled at closing sales for family homes, while Gina pushed commercial properties. Gina's success was rumored to come from her ability to use her gorgeous looks and sexy voice to make buyers expect some added value with a deal.

Another potential barrier to their friendship emerged about two years into their employment when Tom arrived. Tom, a lawyer, was hired to handle the legal work on the firm's property transactions. But the two women noticed his Irish good looks, athletic build and confident attitude.

"Well, hello handsome," Gina boomed when the two first met. Tom smiled but said nothing.

Cheryl later introduced herself in an ordinary manner: "Hi, Tom. I'm Cheryl. Glad to meet you." She proceeded to engage in small talk, explaining things about the real estate company, and asked Tom about himself, such as if he had a family.

"I'm not married," Tom said, adding, "I'm new in town. Do you know any pretty women?" "Just a coincidence, but I'm single too," Cheryl replied.

Impressed by her friendly, slightly humorous attitude, Tom asked Cheryl out, and they were soon dating regularly. They even took mid-week trips together. Cheryl confided in Gina that she had fallen in love with Tom. She liked everything about him, especially the sex.

"Then you better reel him in, honey; 'cause if you don't, I will," Gina replied.

Within a year, Cheryl and Tom were married.

But soon afterwards, the close romantic relationship she originally had with Tom was fading. Tom was increasingly absent, taking long lunches and working late. Cheryl picked up on some clues. She'd notice while changing out of her business clothes that the bed she had so carefully made in the morning was slightly askew. Once when she grabbed her husband's casual pants to top off a load in the washer, she found a single nylon stocking in a pocket.

That, she thought, was odd, because she wore either pantyhose or white crew socks. The only person she knew who wore such stockings was Gina. Even in college, Gina once got the attention of an inattentive boy by flipping up her skirt and exposing her stockings, garter belt and panties, which made the lad drool. Cheryl put it out of her mind. Gina was her friend. It must be from some floozy.

At their next lunch, Cheryl confided in Gina that she thought Tom was cheating on her. Gina replied, "You have some imagination. Tom is working harder than ever, with the firm closing record sales of real estate. Tom is just under stress. When things quiet down, the old Tom will re-emerge."

This rebuilt confidence soon died, when Cheryl returned early from showing a ranch home to a couple that didn't show. Finding Tom had left for lunch two hours before, Cheryl headed home. Blocks from her house, the ride got bumpy because a tire picked up a nail. Leaving the car at a service station, she walked home. But once inside, she heard the shower running, then the voices of Tom and Gina. Cheryl hid behind the sofa.

Tom and Gina emerged from the bedroom area, with Gina still adjusting one of her garters. The two stopped and engaged in a kiss that to Cheryl seemed to last forever. "You say Cheryl suspects our affair?" Tom queried.

"Yes, but I convinced her she was letting her imagination run wild," Gina sarcastically replied, adding, "You do prefer me to her, don't you?"

"I do now. Cheryl doesn't come close to filling your bras," Tom said, and Gina laughingly agreed. "Now how about another kiss, darling," Tom added as Gina pulled herself closer. Cheryl said nothing, but gritted her teeth almost enough to cause fissures in her molars.

After they left, Cheryl grumbled, "That dirty bitch, pretending to be my friend, and all the time trying to steal my husband." Cheryl thought back to how Gina always got the men she wanted. Now she was still after Tom, the one prize she didn't get. Gina would have to be punished for her deceit. Cheryl checked her Pocket Organizer and called someone who might help. That evening, when Tom returned home, Cheryl greeted him at the door.

"I have unexpected news, Tom," she said nervously. "No, not bad news. Good news! I visited the doctor today, and he says I'm pregnant." Tom stood stunned. He counted the weeks back to the last time he and Cheryl were intimate - 11 weeks. Her report was plausible. "I'm so happy for you," Tom said, hugging his wife. "How long before I become a daddy?" "About six months," Cheryl replied, with a slight glimmer in her eye.

During the following months, Cheryl's abdomen grew progressively larger. She began acquiring all the things she would need to raise a newborn infant. She bragged to everyone she that she was expecting. This was despite Tom continuing to find reasons not to be home or in the office. Cheryl also continued her regular schedule of lunches with Gina, during which she confided that she no longer suspected Tom of cheating. He was going to become a most attentive father.

"Don't be disappointed if Tom works even longer hours after the birth," Gina warned. "With you staying home with the baby, he may see it as his duty to try and replace your salary." Gina then added, "How's the baby coming?"

"Right on schedule," Cheryl said.

After six months, Cheryl invited Gina for a last dinner before Cheryl would have to immerse herself in the many tasks of motherhood. Gina arrived at the appointed hour, wearing her sharpest business suit, which consisted of a pink blouse with matching red skirt and jacket. Greeting Cheryl at the door, she produced a box wrapped in colorful paper featuring teddy bears in diapers and a blue ribbon holding a small baby rattle. "Something for the baby," Gina explained.

"How thoughtful," said Cheryl, who was now huge in front. Wearing a light blue maternity smock, Cheryl was helped back to an overstuffed chair by Gina, who removed her own jacket and launched a giggling conversation about the "BAY-bee!" Suddenly, a tall, chestnut-haired woman with a stern expression emerged from the kitchen.

"Oh, Gina, meet Rose. She's a new friend of mine. She'll be joining us for dinner," Cheryl said.

"Glad to meet you," Gina replied.

"Say, can I get you a pre-dinner drink?" Rose asked Gina. "I just learned this absolutely smashing mixed drink while down in Florida. You'll love it."

Gina was soon handed an amber-colored drink in a tall frosted glass. Tasting the contents, she agreed that it was delicious - and potent. She could feel the drink warming first her throat, then her stomach. "What do you call this?" Gina asked.

"It's a St. Augustine Cocktail," Rose replied.

"St. Augustine, like in Florida?"

"The same place where Ponce de Leon landed to begin his exploration of Florida."

As Gina finished the drink, Cheryl announced that it was time to go to dinner. But after Gina turned around for her jacket, Cheryl screamed, "Uuaauugggaaah!" Spinning around, Gina saw a large wet spot under where Cheryl is standing. "My water broke," Cheryl screamed. "And (ggrrraaah!) the contractions- help; they're (ggrrraah!) -help."

"Excuse me, I'm a nurse," Rose exclaimed. After a quick examination, she added, "The baby is coming fast. We have no time to get to the hospital. She'll have to have the baby here. I'll go call the paramedics."

Gina stayed to comfort Cheryl. "Can I get you anything?" Gina asked. "Just sit down and talk to me," Cheryl quietly answered.

Gina complied. She didn't feel like doing anything any way. The drink was starting to hit her hard. Her stomach churned and her head was getting woozy. Sweat was forming on her brow.

"You know, Gina," Cheryl began in a soft voice. "We've been friends for- what - almost 10 years. We double dated at college; went to work for the same business; helped each other through troubles; found buyers for each other's properties. We even shared secrets. You were a treasured friend. That's why I'm going to miss you so much," Cheryl concluded, her voice deepening on the final words.

The final statement shocked and puzzled Gina, almost making her forget her escalating discomfort. "What do you mean?" Gina inquired.

"It's time to share a secret," Cheryl said in modulated tones. Gina leans forward, dripping sweat and finding the fit of her clothes beginning to feel strange. "I know all about the affair, honey," Cheryl said, with a sly grin crossing her face. "You were very naughty. You even romped with my husband in our bed. But that's okay. I'll raise you better this time."

The statement doubled Gina's uneasiness, if that was possible, with her stomach ablaze in pain. "Time to share one more secret," Cheryl said, as she pushed herself out of her chair, and lifted her maternity dress to reveal padding carefully stitched to mimic the shape of a pregnant woman's tummy. She undid the elastic bands, allowing the pillows to plop to the floor. "Sure makes my dress fit loose now, doesn't it," Cheryl said flapping the material. "But not as loose as you're clothes are getting."

Gina's dysphoria tripled as she noticed her bra wobbling under her blouse. There is no tug to the straps. She tried to readjust it to restore the snug fit on her breasts, but to no avail. "You look younger than when we first met," Cheryl grinned. "You're 18? No, 16 years old now."

Gina glanced down at her drooping blouse. Her breasts were no longer big enough to hold the garment taut in front. In fact, all her clothes were beginning to look overgrown. She resembled a teenage girl trying on her mother's dresses. "I was never pregnant! The only baby that's arriving tonight is you," Cheryl smirked.

"What?" rejoined Gina, swallowing hard. "That's ridiculous. You put something in my drink, some hallucinogenic drug or something. I'm not getting younger. I'm getting out of here." Gina jumped to her feet, but her now 14-year-old body no longer fit her clothes, especially her high heel shoes. The shoes buckled inward, causing Gina to fall forward onto her knees. "Better get back in your chair and sit like a good little girl," Cheryl chuckled.

The gravity of the situation suddenly hit Gina. How else could she explain her inability to fit or walk in her own shoes, that her clothing was getting baggy, and that she now looked up at Cheryl and Rose. Something in that cocktail had changed her metabolism, causing her to physically grow younger, to excrete excess years through her sweat glands. A chill raged from her brain to the bottom of her spine at the Hobson's choice she faced. Gina could wait and become a baby under the potentially not-so-benevolent control of the woman taunting her. Or she could use her last moments as a rational, ambulatory human to flee, possibly to find somebody to help her reverse her regression, or at least witness her condition and implicate Cheryl and Rose in the crime.

Seeing the scowling Rose reach down to help her up gave the frightened Gina all the reason she needed to choose the latter course of action. Screaming hysterically, Gina scrambled to her feet and ran shoeless for the door, her nylons now extending beyond the bottoms of her feet. Stepping on the toe of one nylon with her other foot, she fell into the door. Gina undid the key, only to discover a chain latch above. Just then, shock shot through Gina's body as Rose's hand grasped her shoulder.

"Keep away from me, you ugly witch," Gina yelled, as she launched herself back through the living room toward the kitchen and the back door. By now, the bottoms of the nylons are flapping far behind her as her now 12-year-old body maneuvered around furniture blocking her path. Her panic climbing to a fever pitch, Gina found the back door, but a dead bolt lock was out of the reach of a 10-year-old girl. Viewing Rose rounding the kitchen table, the hysterical girl dashed around the other side. The far-extended foot of her right nylon then caught under a table leg, causing her to thud chest first to the floor. "Noooooo!" she screamed on seeing Rose reach down for her. Flailing madly, Gina reached her feet, but not before the caught nylon was ripped from its garters.

The 8-year-old Gina now had her hands full with the tops of her skirt and lower underwear. Her skinny girlish waist no longer filled them out, but she was determined not to lose them. Suddenly she lost her grip on the skirt. It slid down, tripping her. Finding herself again within a foot of Rose's hands, Gina rolled violently on the rug, finally abandoning the tent-like skirt. Rose barely missed the girl, who was again in full running panic, still holding up her black lace panties and garter belt.

Detouring down a hall, Gina found a familiar room, Tom and Cheryl's bedroom. Increasingly tired and her heart pumping an irregular rhythm, Gina dove under the bed to escape Rose. All Rose could snatch was the toe of Gina's remaining nylon, which too ripped from its garters. Gina breathed a sigh of relief. Her now child-like reasoning system told her she was safe under the bed. Crawling further under the jumbo box spring, she figured she could now wait until Tom came home and could rescue her from her persecutors.

An unexpected arm shot under the bed to shatter the peace. Grabbing, clutching, the hand finally snared Gina's foot and began pulling her out. Uttering a piercing scream, Gina kicked furiously. Breaking Rose's grip, Gina emerged from the side of the bed a 6-year-old, sans panties and garter belt, which had slid off as she frantically extricated herself from tight confinement under the bed. Fortunately, she still had her bra and blouse, the latter now reaching her knees and hiding her bare butt.

As Gina toddled toward sanctuary, the blouse without warning slid off her shoulders and entangled her legs. Again prostrate on the carpet, Gina saw Rose steadily moving in her direction, appearing larger and more ogre-like than before. Kicking free of the blouse, the frightened 4-year-old bolted into what she remembered as Tom's den, but it had been converted into a nursery. Gasping for breath, her stomach careening like she had been on a roller coaster, Gina dove under the crib, as Rose reached the door. "You're not escaping from here, little girl," Rose taunted. "You have to go through me, and I can wait as long as you can."

Filled with terror at what awaited her after capture, the 3-year-old wrapped her arm around her last piece of adult clothing, her 38D Victoria's Secret 'Lotsa Lace' bra, and bounded from under the crib. Her tiny size worked in her favor, enabling her to slip by Rose - almost. Rose caught the back of Gina's bra. Gina's forward movement stretched the Lycra until Rose lost her grip. The elastic snapped back onto Gina, stinging her exposed rump. Her butt in excruciating pain, Gina resumed plodding down the hall. Her increasingly shorter and chubbier legs slowed her pace. Rose, finally smiling, slowed to a walk.

As Gina passed an open closet, she spied a mirror and was shocked to see what stared back at her. Instead of the sexy Italian beauty, Gina saw a 2-year-old girl with baby fat where her curves once were. Her magnificent breasts were gone, replaced by a flat child's chest with two pink, barely noticeable nipples. Her long flowing brunette hair had shortened considerably and had regained the slight curl she hated. Gone were the Roman nose and high cheekbones, replaced by a rounded button nose and chubby cheeks. At least she still had a smooth complexion, as the profuse sweating and frequent facial contact with rugs during her anxiety-filled run had removed much of the little makeup she wore. Gina looked up and saw Rose with crossed arms towering over her. She attempted one last half-hearted run, still clutching for dear life her bra, fearing that if she lost it, her adulthood would go with it.

The sight of an 18-month baby taking short, tentative steps in her flight amused Rose. In a minute, Gina was 12-months-old with rubbery legs that no longer supported her. Gina finally plopped down on her rump and waited for inevitable, shaking with fear.

Rose carried Gina back to the living room and placed her in the same chair facing Cheryl where her flight began. They watched as Gina regressed to 6 months old, to 3, 2, 1 and finally newborn size. By then, Gina, with only a suggestion of hair on her head, was laying on her side, having fainted. Rose carefully pried the bra from her tiny hands, picked her up, and handed her to Cheryl. "Time for her rebirth," Rose said.

Cheryl hoisted the newborn, naked Gina up by her ankles and administered the traditional birth slap. Suddenly awakened, Gina uttered the first long and vocal baby cries of the evening. "Poor little baby," Cheryl cooed, as she placed a newborn-size disposable diaper on the chair facing her, plopped Gina on it, hoisted her legs to put a splash of powder on her rump, and affixed the tapes. The diaper looked large on Gina. Rose produced a baby scale and declared Gina to be 6 lb., 9 oz., the same as on her original birth certificate.

Cradling Gina in one arm, Cheryl lifted the gift box Gina brought earlier in the day. Opening it, she found the cutest little pink sleeper with bunnies embroidered on the front. "I think this will look just darling on you, girl," Cheryl cooed as Gina, realizing she had bought the gift for herself, resumed wailing. "I always said you had exquisite taste in clothes," the new mother added. Cheryl then grinned broadly at Gina. "Oh, yes, I promised to treat you to dinner tonight."

She unbuttoned the top of her maternity dress, revealing a beige lace nursing bra. Undoing the left cup, she offered the exposed breast to Gina. Suddenly facing a huge dark brown areola, Gina pulled back in horror, but Cheryl maintained a firm grip on Gina, and tickled the nipple on the side of her mouth. Her sucking reflex soon kicked in, and Gina enthusiastically sucked in what she found to be delicious milk.

Cheryl examined the 38D bra Gina refused to relinquish. "I remember you laughing with Tom that I couldn't fill your bra," she said. "Neither can you now. In fact, one cup would be a loose fit on your head." Gina was in no mood for sarcasm, not with a breast full of mother's milk to empty.

In the hours to follow, Gina would contemplate the changes wrought by Rose's cocktail, which was later described as an old family recipe that was totally worthless until a jigger of tequila was added.

As a newborn, Gina found herself incapable of doing anything remotely grownup. She could no longer talk; her communication abilities reduced to uncoordinated arm movements and noises like "gaaah." She could no longer walk, stand up or even sit up. She needed help from an adult to move in her crib. She had lost all control of her body, necessitating diapers - lots of diapers. Lacking teeth, she was limited to a liquid diet, which her former friend Cheryl was providing. The only thing she had left were some adult memories, and those, Rose explained, would be erased as she relearned motor skills.

How Gina despised Cheryl for doing this to her. And yet, her emerging infantile feelings were telling her that she would not survive without adult assistance. She needed a mommy. And well, wasn't Cheryl sharing her milk with her? This, she thought, could be the beginning of another wonderful relationship. Returning from the kitchen, Rose said, "We better get you to the hospital to make this birth legal."

With the help of Rose's friend, Dr. Ortiz, Cheryl was placed in a private room with Gina. It was hospital policy that babies born outside the hospital not mingle with those who were. This worked in Cheryl's favor, as Rose could control who attended to Gina. Nobody would question why a newborn didn't have an umbilical cord stump.

Cheryl called Tom, who rushed to the hospital to see his new 'daughter.' After kissing Cheryl, he checked out the baby and remarked, "What a cutie! She's going to be driving the boys wild in a few years." Gina reacted with a sour look, which Tom attributed to gas.

Rose entered and asked if a name had been selected for the baby to place on the birth certificate. Cheryl said she wanted to name the baby after her "good friend Gina." Uneasy with that suggestion, Tom offered several other names before giving in to Cheryl.

Tom decided that he should break up with Gina, at least for a while. But when he called her apartment, he got only an answering machine. In a week, all he'd get was a recording that the tape was full. "I wonder where Gina went," Tom wondered while holding his new 'daughter' on his lap.

To help Cheryl, Tom offered to clean the house. He began by removing a tall drink glass from the living room, putting it in the dishwasher, and activating the machine. He next carted the vacuum cleaner into the bedroom.

Back at the hospital, Cheryl questioned Rose if she indeed removed all of Gina's adult clothing from the premises. After all, if the police thought Gina's disappearance was due to foul play, they might visit Cheryl's home, and a stray item of Gina's clothing could make them suspects.

At that moment, the vacuum began making a funny noise. Tom pulled it from under the bed, and found the nozzle plugged. Extracting a pair of black lace panties and matching garter belt, he found they were unmistakably Gina's. "If Cheryl found these, she'd know about my affair, and she's file for divorce," Tom shuddered. Tom filled the bottom of a metal trash can with newspaper, dropped the underwear on top, covered them with barbecue lighter fluid, and tossed in a match. As the resulting fire burned itself out, Tom chuckled that he'd eliminated all evidence of his sins with Gina.

After returning home, Cheryl set out to restore her relationship with Tom, especially the athletic sex they once enjoyed. One evening, she approached Tom in the bedroom, and opened her bathrobe to reveal red lace panties with matching garter belt and bra. This excited Tom. He enjoyed undoing the hooks and snaps as part of a sexual encounter. It was like removing the lobster or crab shell to get at the sweet meat. Tom wrapped his arms around Cheryl and planted his lips over her mouth. He lowered her to the bed, slowly undoing the hooks on the rear of her bra.

Lying nearby was Gina. Cheryl put the newborn in a bassinet in her bedroom to save time and walking in the dark for middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. Gina wasn't old enough to raise her head to look over the side, but she could hear the escalating foreplay; the oohs, ahs and giggles; the rustling of sheets, the bounce of the mattress, the growing cries of ecstasy. The remnant of her adult mind remembered when it was she in the bed with Tom. But now Tom didn't recognize her. He was back with Cheryl, and Cheryl was showing her who was now in charge. She was rubbing Gina's nose in it all. Filled with grief, frustration and horror, Gina let out a loud, "Waaaaaaa!"

Tom and Cheryl stopped immediately. "I think our daughter's wet," he ventured, an assumption that proved true. Cheryl quickly removed the wet diaper, cleaned Gina, and put her in a new dry diaper. She then offered Gina her breast, which she took, sucking herself back into warm, happy slumber. Tom felt jealous that Baby Gina had priority to Cheryl's body. He grumbled, "Having a baby sure ruins one's sex life." The next night, Gina was banished to the nursery crib.

Cheryl's success at rekindling her relationship with Tom was short lived. He was again working odd hours. So Cheryl busied herself in becoming the model mother. Setting aside the thought that her baby was her regressed former friend, Cheryl became the most loving guardian, hugging, cuddling and playing with the infant at every opportunity. Soon she was even confiding secrets in the baby. One day, while giving Gina a well-needed diaper change, Cheryl told her she suspected Tom was cheating on her again. She wondered what to do. Gina responded with smiles, arm waving, and baby talk, her way to ask for her noontime feeding. "You're right," Cheryl agreed. "I shouldn't worry about Tom. I should concentrate on raising you."

About the time Tom's erratic behavior returned, Cheryl heard that the real estate firm had hired a replacement for the missing and presumed dead Gina. She was another statuesque Italian beauty with long brunette hair named Leona - and she had a 40D chest. Cheryl decided to investigate.

By this time, 10 months had elapsed since Gina's rebirth. Having grown at the same rate as any baby, she was now quite active, crawling around the house and attempting her first steps. The acquisition of these motor skills seemed to have erased the last of Gina's adult memories. She was now totally devoted to Cheryl and headed in her direction every time she saw her. "Why don't we go surprise daddy at his office," Cheryl told Gina.

Cheryl dressed Gina in a bright yellow dress with a sunflower appliqué on the chest, a matching diaper cover, baby-size sneakers, and white socks with lacy fringe on top. Arriving at the office, the secretaries made a fuss over Gina, who reacted like it was expected. Cheryl asked if Tom was in, but was told he left for lunch nearly three hours before and hadn't returned. Cheryl was told she could wait for Tom in his office.

Cheryl placed Gina on Tom's desk and began to stare out the window, wondering what Tom was doing. Gina leaned over, grabbed a manila folder and dropped it in front of her. Turning around, Cheryl saw the folder had opened, exposing bills Tom had run up on his business credit cards. The one on top listed several charges for motel rooms, one on the day of Tom and Cheryl's third wedding anniversary, when Tom said he had to work late. Below it was a bill from a jewelry store for a white silver brooch shaped like a cat with two diamonds for eyes. It cost substantially more than the bottle of perfume in a mug reading "World's Greatest Mom," which Cheryl received on their anniversary.

Returning to the outer office with Gina under he arm, Cheryl ran into Tom finally returning from lunch. Leona, who was wearing the cat brooch, accompanied him. "Sorry to miss you, honey, but I have to leave for a doctor's appointment," Cheryl told Tom. "We can have lunch or dinner another time," Tom smiled, giving a small salute.

Later that evening, Cheryl met Tom at the door. "Wonderful news, Tom. The doctor says I'm pregnant again," Cheryl beamed.

"That's great," Tom replied. "I hope this time it's a boy."

"You know, I have a good feeling it will," Cheryl grinned.