Christmas Belle – Week 1
Friday, December 19th
The school bell ringing meant only one thing to me – HOLIDAYS!!!
“Have a wonderful Christmas,” Aunt Jo called out to us as we collected our coats and headed out of the classroom, chatting to each other about our plans.
“So young Cassandra,” Lisa said as we walked out into the cold air, “what are you doing for your birthday this year?”
“No idea – I honestly have no idea. I just have to wait and see, I imagine,” I said as we left the school gate. And that was the God’s Honest truth – Jenny, Mum and Dad, Granny, none of them had said anything. Very mysterious...
I could see Dad waiting in the car a little way down the pavement, so we all walked down towards it. Given Lisa and I live so close now, either my mum or dad or her dad tends to pick us up. Very occasionally, if she has finished on time, her mum will run us back, but that tends not to be the case.
“I’ll see you three at some point over the holidays,” I said as Lisa and I climbed into the back of the car, Dad waving at all three of them as he drove off.
“Ready for the holidays, Lisa,” he said as we headed to the main road.
“Oh yes,” Lisa said as we waited at the lights, but to my surprise Dad turned right instead of left.
“Where are we going Dad,” I asked as we headed for the motorway.
“Well,” Dad said quietly, “you mum and I need to go somewhere today, and we won’t be back until late. We can’t get a babysitter, so the twins are going to stay at Gran’s, and Jenny is going to Alicia’s for a shopping trip. As for you – can you guess where you’re going?”
I looked out of the window and said “Wissenden?”
“Got it in one,” Dad said as he looked in the rear view mirror. “I’ve got a bag in the back for you, and once I’ve dropped you off I’ll take Lisa home.”
“Great – I haven’t seen Suzie in nearly a month,” I said with a big smile on my face. “We can talk about the Christmas holidays and things.”
“Oh yes? And if a certain older brother of Suzie happens to be there as well, what will you do?”
“Bobby? Well, if he’s there, of course I’ll...” I realised I was glowing red at just the mention of his name, and also Lisa was laughing out loud, so I stopped digging that particular hole for myself.
But what was wrong with thinking about Bobby Holderness? Or dreaming about him some nights? Nothing I could think of anyway...
We soon pulled into the driveway for Wissenden Hall, and Dad drove up to the front doors. As he stopped the car and turned off the engine, I looked over to the front door as it opened, and Bobby came out with his mother. She had on a long brown coat, her bump showing even with it on, while Bobby had a jumper on over his school shirt.
“Hey Cassie,” Mrs Holderness said as I got out, “I’m glad you could come and stop over.”
“Thank you for inviting me,” I said as my eyes never stopped looking at Bobby. I barely noticed Mr Boyle come out, and take something from Dad as he opened the boot of the car, and then closed it again.
“Right – I need to get Lisa home,” Dad said as he came over. “I’ll see you when you get home Cassie.”
“thanks Dad,” I said as I hugged him, and he got back into the car, driving off as I went inside with Bobby and his mother.
Once the door was closed, Mrs Holderness went to the kitchen, a very nice smell coming from it.
“So what are we going to do first,” I said as I went to take my coat off, only for Bobby to put his hand firmly on my shoulder and say “Funny you should ask...” Don’t ask me why, but just that made me feel all tingly inside and a little faint – giddy, almost, to use a word Granny likes.
“Go to the bathroom, do what you need to do, no more, no less, and then join me in the front room.”
“All right,” I whispered as he took my coat from me, and I walked to the downstairs toilet, locking the door and looking at myself in the mirror, a big grin on my face. I had guessed what was going to happen, and I was looking forward to it so much.
When I came out, I went to the front room, where Bobby was waiting with a white box – one I knew the contents of very well. He took two sponges from the inside, handed them to me and said “Shall I?”
“Oh yes please,” I whispered as I held the sponges in my hands, and he wrapped silver tape round them to make two fists. What with school work and other things, I hadn’t really had a chance since the wedding to be properly, fully bound and gagged, and it looked like I was going to get the chance today.
So I watched as Bobby pulled a pair of long white socks up the sleeves of my jumper, and taped them into place, before he took some ropes out and came behind me, gently guiding my arms so that my wrists were crossed, and I felt him begin to tie them together.
And it felt so good, so nice, as he took the rope around and between my sock covered arms, and then around my waist, locking them into place against the small of my back. He then tied my arms to my stomach, in the special figure of eight way, the rope sitting between my arms and my tummy.
“This is nice,” I said as he tied the ropes off, “nice and snug and...”
“Shh” he said as he held a folded hankie in front of my mouth, so I allowed him to push it in, and then tie a knotted towel strip between my lips. Once he had that tied around my head, he picked up a roll of blue micropore tape, and gave me...
He gave me a kiss on my gagged lips, my whole body tingling now as he wrapped the tape around my head, covering the cleave gag, and tore the tape free, smoothing it down at the back of my head. He then found a white scarf, folded it into a band and tied it tightly over my mouth and head as well.
“Happy,” he said as he helped me to sit on the floor, and then lie on my tummy. I nodded, but it was a stupid question anyway – as he crossed and tied my ankles together, I was in heaven. Another length of rope around my legs, just above my socks, and then he tied one more length above my knees and over my skirt, pulling it around me legs as they were held together.
“A little extra precaution,” he said as he pulled my ankles back and tied them to the rope around my tummy. I was as happy as a Christmas Lamb by now, wriggling a little as I said “fnkukuu.”
“You’re welcome,” he said as we both heard the front door open and close. He put his finger to his lips and stood against the wall, as I looked to see who had come in.
“We’re back,” I heard Mister Holderness call out as there was some conversation, and then Suzie walked in, wearing her school uniform as well.
“Bobby, are you in...” She stopped and looked at me, smiling under the gag and nodding as I tried to wave my covered hands.”
“Cassie? I didn’t think you were coming over today – What’s gnngnnnbbbeehldrnnssss!”
“Good guess, O sister of mine,” Bobby said as he held Suzie, one hand over her mouth, “now, be a good girl and go to the toilet please – our guest does not want to be alone for too long.”
Suzie pretended to struggle a little, but one look at her eyes told me she wanted to play as well, so she eventually nodded and went to the toilet, Bobby grinning as he went back to the box and fished out two more sponges.
So twenty minutes later, Suzie was lying on her stomach on the floor next to me, tied and gagged in the same way, the ropes sitting over her uniform, as Bobby turned on the television.
“Now, I happen to know there is a film on you both will enjoy,” he said as he skipped through the channels, “so enjoy – ah here it is.”
We nodded as Voyage of the Dawn Treader started, and Bobby left us to enjoy the film as we wriggled a bit on the floor.
As the film finished, Bobby came back in and started to release both of us from the hogtie, and then untied our legs.
“Come with me,” he said as we were both helped to our feet, and he escorted us to the dining room, where the table was laid for dinner. Bobby helped us to sit down, and then tied our ankles to the chair legs, before he pushed our chairs in. He then untied our arms and upper bodies, before tying our waists to the chair bag. Only then did he remove our gags and free our hands, putting everything into bags as he did so, and then left the room for a moment.
“Well,” Suzie said as she worked her jaw, “Hi Cassie – sorry I didn’t get a chance to say much before.”
“I didn’t either,” I said with a smile, “but it was really fun to be like that again.”
“There you both are,” Suzie’s dad said as he came in with his mum and sat down, Bobby coming behind them. “Glad to be on holiday?”
“Very much so,” I said as Mrs Boyle brought through some plates of tomato soup.
“Any plans,” Mrs Holderness said.
“I don’t know – apart from Christmas, I guess I have to wait and see what my parents have planned.”
There was one of those looks between the four of them that made me wonder if something was planned, but Suzie said “I’m the same – they won’t tell me anything about Christmas or my birthday.”
“It’s going to be a surprise, and you’ll have to live with it,” Bobby said as we started to eat – something told me I wasn’t going to be told anything else at that point.
After dinner, we all went into the main room and played a game of Monopoly, before Suzie’s mum said “All right you two – upstairs and get ready for bed. Cassie, you’ll be in the spare room next to Suzie. Mrs Boyle has already laid out your pyjamas.”
“Thanks,” I said as we both walked up, and I went into the bedroom. My blue pyjama top and checked bottoms were indeed laid out, as was my washbag and a towel, so I made my way to the bathroom and washed as well as brushed my teeth, and then got changed, folding my uniform and other things and leaving them on the chair. I did wonder where my bag was, but decided it was just hidden away before we both went down and had some supper.
When we went back up to bed, Suzie went into her room with her mother, while Mrs Boyle came with me.
“Lie down Cassie,” she said as she picked up a length of cord, “and cross your wrists in front of you.”
I watched as she tied my wrists together, and then my ankles, before she tore a strip of tape off a roll, and smoothed it down over my lips.
“Sleep well,” she said as she turned the light off, and I settled down, my eyes closing as I wondered what was going to happen tomorrow...
Saturday December 20th
When I woke up, it was still dark outside, so I lay still for a few minutes to allow my eyes to adjust to the gloom.
Once I could make out the shapes, I looked over to the clock on the bedside table, and saw it was seven. I also realised I needed to do something, so I was particularly glad when Mrs Boyle came in and started to untie me.
“Sleep well,” she asked as I rubbed my wrists, and then gently peeled the tape away.
“I did thanks,” I said, “but I really...”
“Of course – go, and have a shower while you’re in there,” Mrs Boyle said, as I grabbed a dressing gown and ran to the bathroom. Once I had – well, you know – I went under the shower and let the water run over me, wondering what we were going to do that day.
Once I had myself clean, and dried myself off, I put on the dressing gown and headed back to the bedroom. As I did so, Suzie came out and nodded to me as she headed to get cleaned up as well.
So, there I was, washed, clean, debating whether to wear jeans or leggings in my mind – and then I saw my clothes were already laid out for me. It was a pale blue silk gown, with a pair of white tights and blue satin shoes – and I recognised it instantly as my bridesmaid’s dress from the wedding a few weeks ago.
“Oh my,” I said as I looked at it, “something good must be happening today.” So I slipped out of the dressing gown and put on some underwear, before I started to put on the dress, sitting on the bed as I slipped on my stockings and shoes.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I said “come in,” in answer to the knock on the door, and smiled as Bobby came in, wearing a red jumper over an open necked shirt and jeans.
“Well, you look just as wonderful as the last time you wore that dress,” he said with a smile. “Ready for a new day?”
“I think so, but what’s... Bobby, what do you think you are doing?”
“Taking you to breakfast,” he said as he walked over and took my hands behind my back, before I felt the click of a pair of handcuffs as he fastened them around my wrists. He came round and smiled as he took my arm, and said “shall we?”
“Why yes, kind sir,” I said with a smile, still unsure about what was going on as I was led down to the dining room, and helped to sit down. Bobby then removed the handcuffs, but fastened one of the cuffs around my left ankle, and the second round the chair leg, before he pushed me into the table and poured me some orange juice.
I looked over to see Suzie come in, wearing the same dress she had worn to the wedding, before she sat down and helped herself to some cereal. She then passed it to me, as her parents sat down with Bobby.
“Eat up,” Mrs Holderness said, “Mrs Boyle is making some bacon and eggs as well.”
I really wanted to ask what was going to happen today, but decided against it as we talked about everything else.
“It looks like it might snow later,” Mrs Holderness said as she looked out of the window, and then held her back.
She nodded as Bobby ate the last of his bacon, and wiped his plate with a slice of toast. “Have you two had enough then,” he said as he looked at us.
Both Suzie and I nodded as he said “good – let’s go through to the front room and get ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“You’ll see,” Bobby said as he released my ankle and we went through, my question being answered as he held out the sponge balls and said “shall we?”
“It would appear we are going to have a quiet day,” Suzie said as she made two fists, and watched as Bobby taped them over, this time with the white tape. He then pulled a pair of white stockings up her arm, and taped them to her dress sleeves, before he did the same to me.
After that, it was the same wonderful familiar routine, as we both had our wrists tied together behind our backs, then ropes around our waist and our stomachs to keep our arms in place.
Sitting down, we watched as Bobby bound our ankles together, side by side, and then folded the skirts of our dresses back so that he could tie our legs together below our knees, replacing them afterwards and preserving our modesty.
He then pushed a folded cloth into our mouths, used a rolled chiffon scarf each as a cleave gag, and then wound pale blue tape around our heads to complete the gag. This was like the white tape, and didn’t trap our heads, so I smiled under it as he said “Come on, we’re going to hop around the house.”
“Snddslkfn,” Suzie said as we both got onto our feet, and started to jump towards the door, Bobby walking over and holding it open as he said “Welcome to Wissenden Hall. Built in the late 18th century...”
A tour guide? He was going to be a tour guide for us? Suzie and I looked at each other, and shrugged as we played along, looking round the downstairs before we both sat on the bottom stair and started to push ourselves up, taking care not to trap the skirts of our dresses under our heels. That was especially difficult for Suzie, as her dress was more of a traditional ball gown, and the skirt flowed out a LOT more.
We, however, are getting to be old hands at this kind of thing, so we made it to the top easily enough before Bobby helped us to stand. We then jumped down the corridor, and it was apparent to both of is that we were heading for the door that led to the attic.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to push yourself up these stairs in those dresses,” Bobby said as he opened the door, and then lifted me up, holding me in his arms as he carried me up the stairs and sat me at one end of an old stuffed couch.
“Don’t move,” he said as he went back down the stairs, and then returned with Suzie in his arms, sitting her down as we looked at each other, and then at the television set that was a little bit across from us. There was an old tape player beside it, which Bobby switched on before he checked the connections.
“Neeeddeewhtnthr,” I mumbled as I looked at Suzie.
“Npp – prblyldflms,” Suzie said, as Bobby took a black cassette and pushed it into the machine.
“I thought you might like the look of this,” Bobby said as he put the tape in, “I know it made me laugh.”
I watched as the film started playing, and I was surprised to see it was Holderness Manor – but Lord and Lady Holderness looked so much younger in it, about the same age as Mum and Dad if truth be told. Lady Holderness had long light brown hair, and was wearing a white jacket with large shoulders over a pale blue dress, and blue heels. Standing next to her was a girl my age, wearing a pale blue sweatshirt with knee length pants of the same colour, and high sided trainers.
“Sthhttturntnne,” I said as I looked at Suzie, who nodded as we watched her Aunt Anne waving to the camera. Lord Holderness was sitting to the side, wearing a polo shirt and jeans, and smiling as Lady Holderness walked down the lawn with Mrs Bowden.
A young lad, barely twelve years old, then walked round the corner, wearing a denim shirt and jeans, his flaxen hair cut short.
“Hi Dad,” Bobby said as he waved at the camera, and I saw the resemblance then as well. So this was Mister Holderness when he was a young lad?
The scene then changed to the lakeside, where Lord Holderness was sitting with his son, watching something. As the camera panned round, we saw Lady Holderness and Mrs Bowden standing there, only now they were wearing some new accessories – namely bands of rope around their waists and arms, with their wrists behind their backs. I could also see their legs were tied together below their knees, and their ankles were hobbled with a short length of rope between them.
They then started trying to run towards the camera, making both of us laugh as they tried not to fall over. They both made it to the end, however, as the film ended.
“I’ve got another treat to show you,” Bobby said, as he put another film in. This one had a title card, which said “Holderness Summer Ball – July 1992.”
It opened with the house decorated like it was for the ball last year, as Lord Holderness and Mister Holderness appeared in their formal suits, bow ties properly tied on white shirts. We then saw Lady Holderness, wearing a long black gown with silver threads running through it, black opera gloves and heels.
Next to her was Mrs Bowden, and she looked so much like Angela it was frightening. She was wearing a white ball gown with puffed sleeves, and a skirt that ballooned out from her waist in layers of silk and lace. The sleeves of her gown were hooked over her middle finger, and I caught a glimpse of white satin heels under the skirt of her dress.
We then saw the line-up as they greeted their guests – and as one particular couple came down the row, I gasped into the gag. I recognised Granny, although her hair was chestnut brown rather than grey, but it was the man she was with – tall, handsome, and smiling as he greeted Lord and Lady Holderness.
“Stthurgrdnffr?” Suzie mumbled.
“It is indeed – that’s Cassie and Jenny’s grandfather,” Bobby said, “and you may recognise the ones with them.”
I nodded as I saw Dad, Aunt Connie and Aunt Cassie come down the line as well, all not much older than me and Jenny, Aunt Cassie in a green dress looking particularly innocent as she curtsied to Lord Holderness. I made a mental note to tease her about that the next time I saw her.
The film carried on, with the usual dances and smiling, but a s/I squirmed around I wondered if we were going to see the private ball later – and sure enough, the scene changed to inside, with both Lady Holderness and Mrs Bowden very thoroughly bound and gagged, scarves matching their dresses tied tightly over their mouths as they hopped onto the dance floor, accompanied by Lord and Mister Holderness.
I also saw Granny join them on the dance floor, as well as Aunt Connie accompanied by Dad. Aunt Cassie was sitting in a chair, just as tightly bound and gagged, and obviously waiting her turn, as the music started and the dance began.
It was magical watching them as they moved to the music, taking different partners every time, and as I closed my eyes I began to wonder what it would be like to be Lady Holderness, greeting the guests as they came into the July Ball hosted by myself and Bobby.
The lights lit the pathway as the guests came down, one by one, and I smiled and had a greeting for every single one, before Bobby led me out onto the dance floor for the first dance, everyone clapping and applauding. From there, the evening goes on, me as the perfect hostess until the time comes when we, our family and our friends go upstairs, and Bobby binds me, gags me, kisses me and holds me in the first private, wonderful, romantic dance...
“Rrrcsseee – wkeewkeee.”
I opened my eyes to see both Bobby and Suzie looking at me, Suzie shaking her head and giggling under the tape as Bobby said “Having fun in your daydreams?”
“Yhhggsss,” I mumbled as he looked at his watch. “Lunchtime already? Okay girls – let’s get you down to the dining room. You first Cassie – I think I trust Suzie to stay awake more than you right now.”
“Hrrhrrr,” I said as Bobby picked me up and carefully carried me down to the first floor, and then to the ground floor, before we went into the dining room.
“I was just about to call you,” Mrs Bowel said as Bobby sat me in a chair, and then released my arms before he tied my waist to the chair. As he went back to get Suzie, his mum came in and removed both my gag and the covering on my arms.
“So that’s where my old white stockings went to,” she said as she looked at them while I rubbed my wrists. “I’ll need to have words with him about that.”
“About what,” Bobby said as he put Suzie into the chair, and then saw the stockings his mum was holding. “Oh – about that. Dad said it would be all right.”
“Did he now,” Mrs Holderness said as she shook her head. “I will have words with him when he gets back. For now, however, let’s have lunch. Homemade leek and potato soup and sandwiches all right for everyone.”
“Yes please,” Suzie and I said as Mrs Boyle brought the steaming plates in, and we started to eat. So of course that was when the doorbell rang, Bobby saying “I’ll get it” as he went, and then returned with a visitor – one that made Suzie blush as she saw him.
“Hey Brian,” I said as Bobby came back in, and Brian Hampton took a spare seat, “what brings you here?”
“Well, I had some Christmas presents to deliver,” he said quietly, “and – well, Bobby asked me over to stay the night, if that’s all right with you, Suzie.”
“Not my decision,” Suzie said, but she was smiling as she said it, while Mrs Boyle handed Brian a steaming mug of tea.
“Well, we have some arrangements for this week to sort out,” Mr Holderness said, “so you boys need to take care of these young ladies. I trust you can do that?”
“Why of course we can Dad,” Bobby said as he winked at me – I knew what was coming, but did that mean the party was tonight?
Anyway, we finished lunch, and both had our legs untied before we went to the toilet, and came back into the front room – there to be re-secured and re-gagged as before, while Bobby and Brian sat with us and we watched some music videos – really old songs that I could hear Mrs Boyle and Mrs Holderness signing along to in the other room.
Eventually, Bobby looked at me and said “we’ve been cooped up inside for far too long – let’s go out the back and get some fresh air.”
Suzie and I both nodded as they untied our ankles – but not our knees, we noticed – and then helped us to stand up and hobble out to the hallway, where they fastened large padded coats over us, before leading us out through the kitchen and into the back garden.
It was cold out there as we looked round, the trees bare of virtually all their leaves, the sky slate grey except for the red line we could see over the tress, as the sun started to set in the west.
“Bobby,” Brian said as he looked round, “I’m no expert on weather and the like, but do you think...”
His question was answered without being asked, as I heard Suzie say “hmgddd – snw.” I looked round and saw the flakes starting to fall, slowly first, and then faster, the snowflakes getting larger as the two boys started to run round the garden, whooping and hollering as Suzie and I watched each over getting covered on our shoulders and heads by the white flakes.
“Oh come on you two,” Bobby said as he looked at us, “it’s snowing – it might just be a white Christmas this year!”
We both nodded as we tried running around – while, hobbling quickly around, before the snowfall got so bad we made our way up to the playhouse.
“Dad had a heater installed in both rooms,” Bobby said as he opened the door to the larger room, “just let me turn it on.” He pressed a switch on the wall as we heard a white heater by the wall start up, the boys giving us massive hugs before we were able to take our coats off.
As we sat in the beanbags, Brian turned on the television and found a music station, while Bobby re-tied our ankles. As we looked at each other, I was beginning to wonder if there really was a party – especially as they sat with us and we started to sing along to the songs, as the sun went down outside.
“Wdbttrrgnnfrdnnrr,” Suzie eventually said, but Bobby shook his head and said “nope – you stay here, we’ll be back in a minute.”
We looked at each other as they left, returning a few minutes later with two trays, covered in a blanket. Setting them down, they removed the tape and cloth from our mouths, and then uncovered two dinner trays – steak, chips and peas, and trifle for pudding.
“That smells delicious,” Suzie said, “and I’m starving. Hurry up and untie me Brian.”
“Oh no,” Brian said as he picked up a knife and fork, cut a piece of the steak off and then held it to Suzie’s mouth, “we are going to feed out special captives.”
“Well – if you insist,” Suzie sad as she put her mouth over the fork and accepted the food, Bobby grinning as he started to feed me as well.
It was a truly surreal experience, as the boys fed us and let us drink from the glasses of apple juice, wiping our chins of anything that fell onto our faces, and the white flakes falling freely outside the windows. It was actually quite beautiful, when you think about it, as we ate the trifle, and then drank a little tea from cups that Bobby had brought with a flask.
I caught Suzie yawning out of the corner of my eye, and said “I guess it’s time we got to our beds.”
“I agree,” Bobby said as he and Brian put the trays to one side, and started to untie us, “but you’re not sleeping in the house.”
We looked at each other, wondering what was going on as our arms and legs were freed, and Bobby handed me a sponge bag. “There are towels in the bathroom – go and get washed, and then come into the other room.”
We looked at each other as we stood up, and then went to the small bathroom.
“I thought we were going to a party today,” I said as I sat down, watching Suzie remove her gloves and wash her face, “what’s going on Suzie.”
“Cass, I really have no idea,” Suzie said as she picked up a towel, “we just have to see what’s going on next.”
I took my turn to wash, and then we went into the smaller room – our eyes opening wide as we saw the large air mattress on the floor, with a sheet and duvet on it, and our nightdresses, as well as bed socks and slippers.
“I guess we’re sleeping in here tonight,” Suzie said as she looked at me, “Can you give me a hand to take this off?”
I nodded as I unfastened the back of her dress, and she changed into a long blue cotton nightdress, sitting down to remove her stockings and put on the bedsocks as I changed as well.
As I pulled on my socks, Mrs Holderness came in and collected our clothes. “Straight under the covers, girls, and off to sleep. You should be warm enough in here tonight.”
“All right mum – but what are we going to do tomorrow?”
“Wait and see,” she said as we snuggled under the covers, and she leaned over to kiss us both on the forehead, “good night girls.”
“Good night mum,” Suzie said as she turned the light off, and we went to sleep very quickly.
Sunday 21st December
I woke up to see the sky was slate grey outside the window, even though it was still dark.
There was a soft knock on the door, which woke Suzie up, and it opened to reveal Bobby standing there.
“Good morning,” he said, “time for sleepy heads to be awake. “Mrs Boyle is making some porridge this morning, so put on your boots and coats from yesterday, and you can eat before you get dressed.”
“What time is it,” Suzie said as she rubbed her eyes and looked at him.
“Just before seven – come on, lot to do today.”
“He said that yesterday, and look what happened,” I said as I went to the toilet, and then slipped on the coat as well as a pair of wellingtons Bobby had brought over
As we walked down the stairs, I was surprised to find myself stepping into snow at the bottom of the staircase – and that was when both Suzie and I realised why the sky was grey.
The entire back garden was covered in snow, the tress around also having a white canopy on them. “I bet the pond is frozen over,” Bobby said as he looked round, “I may have to go over later and break the ice.”
“Yeah – can’t have the fish dying,” Suzie said as she looked round, “has it been snowing all night?”
“Looks like it – why?”
“Oh no reason,” Suzie said as I crouched down and made a snowball, the snow cold against my hands. I stood up, grinning widely and pulled my arm back, letting the snow fly in the direction of one Robert Desmond Holderness.
“HEY!” As the ball hit his coat, he turned round, only to get one on his front as Suzie sent a snowball flying his way as well. He grinned as he bent down to make a snowball, only to find when he stood up that we had been quicker, and already had two more snowballs heading towards him.
“Oh you two are so dead,” he said as he launched a snowball at me, hitting me in the coat. Well, I guess you can imagine how the next fifteen minutes was spent, as we had a fantastic snowball fight – and really worked up an appetite as well.
“All right you three,” I heard Mrs Holderness eventually say, “get in here or the porridge will go cold.”
We went in, Bobby taking a few minutes to shake all the snow we had added to his coat off him, before we took our coats and boots off, and went to the dining table. There were three steaming bowls of porridge there – but not for much longer, as we ate them while Bobby and Suzie’s parents watched.
“Morning,” Brian said as he came in, and then looked at Bobby. “What happened to you?”
“Snowball attack,” Bobby said as he looked at us, and Mrs Boyle gave Brian a bowl of the porridge.
“Well, you asked for it,” Brian said as he ate the food, while the rest of us were given sausage, bacon and eggs.
“I know – and it was fun,” Suzie grinned as we ate and drank some tea.
Once we were finished, Suzie and I went up to our rooms, and made our way to the shower one at a time. When I got back to my room, I was surprised to see another of my party gowns laid out on the bed. This one was a gold dress with short sleeves, which I had worn to the formal dance the school had held earlier in the term. IT also had a pair of elbow length white gloves, and gold heels with a fresh pair of stockings.
Now I was getting confused – I had worn a gown all day yesterday, thinking there was going to be a party, but there wasn’t. Maybe today?
So I got dressed, and then went down to see Suzie was wearing a black puff sleeved dress with matching gloves as well.
“I spoke to your parents,” Bobby said as he and Brian came in, “and they’ve agreed you can watch the morning service here – but we need to get you ready first. Hold your hands out please.”
“Here we go again,” Suzie said as our hands were covered, and then tied together behind our backs – and soon we were sitting on the couch, tied around our legs, and white tape wrapped round our stuffed and cleave gagged mouths.
So we sat with Brian and Bobby and watched the service, joining in the hymns, and listening to the minister as he explained the Nativity story with the help of the children acting out the story. As we watched that, I laid my head on Bobby’s shoulder, as he put his arm round me.
A lovely way to spend a Sunday morning, and I was looking forward to lunch as the service came to an end. Bobby went and turned the television off, before he said “Brian, if you will do the honours?”
“OF course,” Brian said, and then I was taken by surprise as a black scarf was tied over my eyes. I heard Suzie say “Whtsggnnn”, and presumed she was being blindfolded as well, before I was picked up and carried in someone’s arms. I felt it getting colder, before I was sat down and I felt a belt pressing me back.
“So I’m in a car,” I thought to myself as I felt Suzie – well, I presumed it was Suzie – being sat next to me and strapped in. A door closed, another one, and I heard a car engine start before we moved off.
I had to sit back and enjoy the drive, wherever we were going, as the radio played. I didn’t even know who was driving – they hadn’t said a word. Suzie and I just mumbled to each other as the car went wherever it was going.
When the car eventually stopped, I sat still as I heard Suzie being taken out, and then I was lifted out, the chill lasting for a few seconds before I was sat down on what felt like a couch.
“Whrrwww,” I heard Suzie say beside me as the door closed, and I felt someone untying the blindfold from my eyes – Bobby would have been my guess, or possibly Brian.
So you can imagine my surprise when I looked round and realised I wasn’t at Wissenden Hall any more - I was at the Williamson’s house.
Suzie and I looked at each other, and then over to a chair when we heard Lisa say “Htthr.”
“That was what it sounded like – because Lisa was dressed in the gown she had worn to the dance. It was red, with red globes, and she was tied and gagged in the same way as us.
“Well now,” Charlie said as he sat down and looked at us, “Having a good day?”
Suzie and I looked at each other, then at Lisa. What was going on here?
“Well now,” Charlie said as he stood up, “how are we going to pass the time, hmm?” He went to turn on their television, but instead turned and started to tickle us, making us all scream into our gags as we wriggled in the ropes.
He knew all the places to tickle us, and he did so mercilessly for a few minutes, before Lisa’s mum said “that’s enough Charlie – go and have your lunch.”
“Awww – all right mum,” Charlie said as he left, and Mrs Williamson put a try of sandwiches and drinks down on the low table. “Let me get those off you first,” she said as she removed the gags, “you must all be really hungry.”
“Thanks mum,” Lisa said as she took a bite from the sandwich Mrs Williamson was holding. “This is wonderful.”
“Well, I’m glad,” she said as she helped me and Suzie to eat our sandwich. “I’m glad you could both come and join Lisa today.”
“We’re glad you asked us,” I said once I had swallowed, “but what’s going on?”
“All in good time,” Mrs Williamson said as she started to talk about the holidays, the films that were on at the cinema, all the time helping us to eat and drink as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
Once we had finished, I was about to say “What’s happening today, Mrs Williamson,” but before I got a chance to speak she had pushed a clean cloth into my mouth, and proceeded to replace the full gag, then did the same to Cassie and Lisa.
Picking up the tray, she said “see you later girls” and went back to the kitchen – just as Charlie came back in.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to tickle you,” he said as he looked at us. “Come on up to the room – there’s something I want to show you.”
The three of us looked at each other and got to our feet, jumping along with our skirts rising with each hop as we made our way to the stairs, and then pushed ourselves up.
As we got to our feet at the top, Charlie walked along and pushed open the door to his room, allowing us to go in front of him inside. When we got in, we saw that there were four bean bag seats set around a Ludo game set.
“Have a seat,” he said as we each jumped to one of the bean bags and sat down, the skirts covering our legs as we sank into the seats.
“Ndwhwddwpllliddd,” Lisa said as she looked accusingly at her brother.
“So glad you asked,” Charlie said with a smile, which seemed to make me relax somehow. He put a small stack of wooden blocks on the floor in front of each of us, and said “when it’s your turn, I’ll put the dice on here, and you kick the blacks over. Think that will work?”
We looked at each other and nodded as Charlie put a die on the block in front of my feet, and said “you go first Cassie.” So I kicked the blocks over, getting a six as he put one of my counters out.
As surreal as the day before had been, this was even more so – the three of us dressed in our gowns, and Charlie in jeans and sweat short, playing Ludo in his front room and us having to grunt to show which counters he had to move? I was lucky to win one of the three games we ended up playing, before Mr Williamson came in and said “let the girls go to the toilet, Charlie, and then escort them down to dinner please?”
“All right,” Charlie said with a smile, “you’re first Cassie.”
I nodded as he untied me and removed my gag, and I ran to the bathroom, while Charlie started to untie Suzie.
“Lisa,” I said as the four of us went down to dinner, “have you any idea what’s going on?”
“Nope – mum and dad got me ready today, said you were calling round, and that’s the first I knew of anything happening,” she said as we sat down, waiting as Lisa’s dad and Charlie tied us to the chairs as if it was the most natural thing to do.
“Well, it’s not often we have three such elegantly dressed ladies to dinner,” Mr Williamson said as he served up the chicken casserole and we passed the plates around, “perhaps Charlie and I should have broken out the dinner jackets.”
“No chance,” Lisa’s mum said as she sat down, and we helped ourselves to vegetables, “they stay in their bags until they really are needed. Ignore my husband, ladies – you have the right to look fabulous at any time.”
“Thanks mum,” Lisa said, and we started to eat. As I looked out of the kitchen window, I could see the snow had started to fall again, and I wondered once more why we were all dressed up with seemingly nowhere to go.
But I was also hungry, so I ate the casserole, and the apple pie that followed, before Mrs Williamson said “We’ll all go through and watch the television for a while. Girls, would you like to be tied again – just hands in front and ankles this time, so you can help yourself to snacks if you want?”
We all nodded as we were untied from the chair, and held our hands out as Mr Williamson tied our wrists together, hands palm to palm, and then pulled our chairs back so that Charlie could tie our ankles together. Slipping off the chair, we then jumped through to the front room and sat on the couch, Mrs Williamson putting some snacks out as Lisa’s dad put the television on and we settled back to watch.
I think if Lisa had her way, we’d have watched Frozen for the umpteenth time, but as it was sense prevailed – and we watched Cinderella instead, followed by A Charlie Brown Christmas. I’d never seen it before, but Lisa whispered it was one of their family traditions, and I had to admit for an old cartoon it was very good. So was the music as well.
As that finished, however, Mister Williamson looked at us and said “Time for you three to get ready for bed. Come on, upstairs and do what you’ve got to do.”
We all nodded as the ropes were removed, and we went up. Lisa showed me and Cassie to the guest bedroom, where we found our nightdresses waiting for us, so we took turns going to the bathroom, and changed into the bed clothes.
As we went down, we saw Mister Williamson talking on the phone. “Yeah, she’s just coming down,” he said as he looked at me, and then passed me the phone.”
“Hey poppet – how are you enjoying the holidays so far?”
“Hi Mum, Hi Dad – it’s great, but what’s going on?”
“Well that’s good – and Suzie’s behaving herself?”
“She is and I’m loving everything’s that’s happening, but is it all going to be surprises?”
“Just enjoy it all, and we’ll see you soon. Good night, Cassie.”
“Night mum, night dad,” I said as I handed the phone back, and we all went into the front room. Mister Williamson followed a few minutes later, then when the phone rang again Lisa’s mother answered it.
“Suzie? It’s your parents.”
“Coming,” she said as she left the room, and we could both hear her talking, before she came back in.
“All right girls,” Mrs Williamson said, “we need to get you all in bed – and we have to make sure Cassie can’t escape back home, as well as making sure you two can’t help her, so grab these.”
We all grinned as she handed us each two sponges, and watched as she covered them with tape and clean socks. Charlie then made sure we all had our wrists crossed and tied together behind our backs, with ropes around our waist and cinched to hold them in place. He also tied a rope around our tummies and arms to hold them in place.
“Time to be quiet, girls,” he said as he then folded three of his dad’s hankies, and put one in each of our mouths, followed by a knotted strip of soft towel, and then the white tape wrapped round our heads.
“Sleep well girls,” Mr Williamson said as Mrs Williamson led the three of us upstairs, and into the bedroom Suzie and I were using.
“Now, as a special treat,” she said as she closed the doors, “I’m going to add the extra ropes and cinch them to keep them tight. Is that all right for you three?”
Even if we did object, we didn’t want to, so we all nodded as Lisa’s mum took a long length of rope, and wrapped it round my body below my chest, and then above, doing it a couple more times before she pulled them tight, and then tied them off, before using two small lengths under my arms to cinch them. It felt really good, and I wriggled a little to feel them as she took care of both Suzie and Lisa.
“Right you two – into bed,” she then said as Suzie and I lay down, watching as she crossed and tied our ankles together, and then bound our legs below our knees, adjusting our nightdress to cover that last band before she put the duvet over us.
“Ceeutmrrw,” Lisa mumbled as her mum led her out, turning the light off as Suzie and I got comfortable facing each other.
“Hfngffsfrr,” I dimly heard Suzie say, my head nodding as I started to drift off to sleep...
Monday 22nd December
When I opened my eyes, I could see that the sun had come up through the curtains, and also that I was alone in the bed. I lay still for a few moments, enjoying the feeling of being able to do absolutely nothing when the door opened and Mrs Williamson came in.
“Good morning Cassie,” she said as she started to untie the ropes, “we let you have a little lie in this morning, all three of you. Come on downstairs and have some breakfast.”
I nodded and waited until I had been released and the gag removed, and then came down to the dining room with her.
“Morning sleepy head,” Lisa said with a smile as I came in, “ready for breakfast?”
“I am thanks,” I said as I sat down, and raised my arms so that I could have my waist tied to the chair by Mrs Williamson. Suzie and Lisa also had their waists tied to the chair, as we helped ourselves to cereal and milk.
“Where’s Charlie,” I said as I looked at Lisa.
“He went out with his father for a little while,” Mrs Williamson said as she looked over from the cooker, before she handed out some scrambled egg on toast, “but he should be back soon.”
I nodded as we all tucked in – and sure enough, Charlie and his dad came in, carrying some shopping bags with them.
“Well, that’s the food picked up,” Mr Williamson said with a smile, “so we can relax a little now.” He looked at the clock, and as I did I was surprised to see it was already eleven am.
“You three had better get dressed,” he said as he untied us, “on you go.”
We nodded as we ran upstairs and took turns in the shower – and when I go to the room, I saw another gown had been laid out for me. We had studied Pride and Prejudice at school last term, and Mum had found an old dress in the style of the time which I wore to school one day. It was what was called Empire Line, made of gold material with puffed sleeves, and it had a sort of cord that pulled around under my chest. There was also a pair of yellow elbow gloves, as well as the underwear, stockings and shoes.
When I went downstairs, I saw that Suzie and Lisa were also both wearing long dresses – but a more modern take on the style.
“Like them,” Suzie said as she twirled round, the skirt of her purple floral print dress rising as she did so to reveal her black shoes. The dress had a lace collar, while Lisa’s was brown with a high collar. “Lisa’s mum found them in a charity shop.”
“They look fantastic – who made them?”
“A designer called Laura Ashley,” Mrs Williamson said as she came in. “She was around when I was a very small girl. Go on through to the front room and you can watch some television.”
“We’re not going to be tied up,” I said as we went in.
“I guess not,” Lisa said as she sat down.
“Have you two any idea what’s going on, what’s planned?”
“Not a sausage,” Suzie said, Lisa shaking her head as well, but something told me she knew more than she was telling. I was beginning to think a tickling session was in order – only for there to be a knock on the front door.
“I’ll get it,” Charlie shouted out, and then he appeared in the room, accompanied by a ten year old dynamo by the name of Patricia Pickering.
“Hi everyone,” she said as she took her coat off, revealing a checked blouse over a grey top, a knee length pleated grey skirt, thick tights and her grey Ugg boots. “Did I miss a note about dress up day.”
“No, you’re fine,” Charlie said, “is Rachel coming today?”
“’Fraid not Charlie – she’s gone to see her grandparents today,”
“Ah well – who wants a drink?”
We all nodded as he went to the kitchen, coming back with four cartons.
As we sat down and drank, Charlie said “I keep meaning to ask – have you girls ever heard of someone called Jay Edwards?”
We all looked at each other and burst out laughing. “Yeah,” I eventually said, “I‘ve heard of him and the woman who helps him – Mrs McPhee.”
“That’s true,” Suzie said, “you might say we’re on their most wanted list, the number of times Suzie’s met them in particular.”
“Suzie actually has a Frequent Bindings card with him,” Lisa laughed out loud.
“All right, all right, stupid question,” Charlie said. “I’ve read some of the stories in the papers about the families he visits, how he holds them hostage but makes it a game.” He then looked at us and said “do you girls fancy a bit of role play today? I can pretend to be him, and you play the family?”
“And who gets to be the mysterious Mrs McPhee,” I asked.
“I’ll find someone – so, interested?”
“I am,” Patty said with a giggle, “if Cassie plays mum.”
“Which means you and I get to be the big sisters,” Suzie said as she looked at Lisa, “fancy doing that?”
I rolled my eyes and said “all right then – let’s do it.”
“Lisa,” Mrs Williamson said as she looked into the room, “your dad and I need to go out, and we won’t be back until late. I’ve called Jenny and asked her to babysit, but can you girls cope for an hour or so before she comes over?”
“Sure mum,” Lisa said as Charlie stood up. “I need to sort some things out,” he said, “you get to play house for the moment.”
“Which means,” I said as I stood up, and saw Lisa’s mum and dad head out, “I’m in charge. You two need to tidy your room, and I want you,” I said as I looked at Patty, “to help me in the kitchen.”
“Yes, mum,” she said as she rolled her eyes, and the other two went upstairs.
“You wash the dishes and I’ll dry them,” I said, Patty nodding as she pushed her sleeves up and washed the cups, handing them to me as I dried them.
As I put the last cup away, I heard the front doorbell ring.
“I wonder who that could be,” I said as I put the dishtowel down and went to answer the door, saying “yes, can I hel...”
There were two people there, wearing blue boiler suits, with black balaclavas over their heads and leather gloves on their hands. The taller, a woman, carried a large canvas holdall, while the other smiled as they came in, holding a toy pistol in front of me.
“Good afternoon,” Charlie said in a passable Geordie accent, “I’m Jay Edwards, and this is Mrs McPhee. Perhaps you’ve heard of us?”
“Oh my god... Please, don’t hurt us,” I said as Jay took my arm.
“Just tell us where your daughters are?”
“Patty’s in the kitchen, and the others upstairs, why?”
“Mrs McPhee, would you kindly go and explain to young Lisa and Suzie what they need to do?”
“Of caws I ken,” the woman said, in a truly – and I mean truly – Scottish accent as she went upstairs, and Jay took me into the kitchen. Patty looked at me, and then at him, before she said, “What’s happening mum?”
“Don’t worry, Patty – it is Patty, isn’t it,” Jay said, “my friend and I just need to talk to your daddy and ask him to do some business for us, and we need you to do what we say so that he’s surprised. Now, first things first – don’t scream, or shout all right?”
Patty saw the toy gun in Jay’s hand, and tried not to smile as she said “all right – what do you want me to do?”
“Let’s go in the front room – your older sisters will come and join you soon,” Jay said as he led us into the front room, and sat us down. “Now, we need to make sure none of you can move for a little while,” he then said as he took some cord from his pocket, “so I want you to sit with your hands on your head, Patty, while I make sure Mummy here cannot use her hands.”
“It’s all right, Patty, do as he says,” I said quietly as I turned and put my hands behind my back, watching over my shoulder as he tied my wrists together.”
“Mummy – what’s going on?”
I looked up to see Lisa and Suzie coming in, their wrists already secured together behind their backs as Mrs McPhee came after them.
“Just do as they say girls, and we’ll get through this together,” I said as Jay looked at them.
“Did we interrupt something?”
“We were all going to a party – Patty was going to get changed when you came in”
“Aw weelll Ahm sorree,” Mrs McPhee said, “put yer hands beehend yer back.”
As Patty had her wrists tied together, Jay said with a smile “Don’t worry, girls – Mrs McPhee and I will make sure you come to no harm. We just need to make sure you can’t let your dad know we’re here when he arrives.”
As he spoke, Mrs McPhee bound our ankles together, and then our legs below our knees, lifting the skirts of our dresses up to do so. She then said “we need tae keep youse bairns quiet, so put yer lips together.”
I watched as they each had a strip of white tape pressed down over their mouths, and then felt Jay pressing the tape over my own mouth as well.
“Now then,” Jay said as he turned on the television, “you stay here with Mrs McPhee for a while and watch this film. I need to take care of the security in the rest of the house.”
So we watched a film, Mrs McPhee – who by now I had guessed was Jenny, even with the ridiculous accent – sitting and watching us as Jay went out and up the stairs. About an hour later, we heard the front door open and close, and a third masked and boiler suited man came in, nodding as he looked at us.
It was about four o’clock when Patty was untied and taken by Mrs McPhee to the toilet, before she was re-tied, her wrists secured in front of her and then to the rope holding her legs together below her knees. Lisa and Suzie were soon secured in the same way, before I heard the front door open and close again.
“Honey, I’m home – what’s for dinner?”
Suzie and I looked at each other as we recognised Bobby’s voice, before he came in, wearing a jacket, trousers, shirt and tie.
“Cass, I... Oh my god!”
“Good evening Mister Holderness,” Jay said quietly, “My name is Jay Edwards. Your family is safe, and will remain unharmed, so long as you do exactly what we say and don’t raise the alarm. Do you understand?”
“I... I understand,” Bobby said as he looked at us. “Are you all right?”
We all nodded as Jay removed the tape from my mouth. “They took us hostage at lunchtime,” I said quietly, “please, do as they say Robert.”
“All right – I’ll do what you say. Now what happens?”
“Now you sit down, relax, and play a game with your family,” Jay said as the third man untied the girl’s wrists from their ankles, and Mrs McPhee set up the Monopoly board. “If you all agree to remain quiet, we’ll take the gags off and allow you to play the game.”
All three of them nodded as Mrs McPhee peeled the tape away, and we started to play the game. She handed Lisa, Patty and Suzie fruit juices to sip through straws, while Bobby held a glass of water for me to drink from while we played.
A mental note to make for the future – Monopoly is a fun game, but when your wrists are tied it makes handling money fun. Also, Mrs McPhee was banker, and when Bobby made a joke about whether or not that would be the only bank she robbed – well, nobody really laughed.
Even though I wanted to.
It was about six thirty when Lisa was the first to lose, and we totted up to find, somehow, I had won.
“Right – Mister Holderness, you get to ring out for pizza,” Jay said. “The rest of you will be untied one by one, go to the toilet, and then go to the dining room. You first,” he said as he looked at Lisa, who nodded as she was untied and went out of the room.
So by the time I was finally untied, went to the toilet and walked through, Lisa, Patty and Suzie were tied to the chairs, with ropes around their waists as well as holding their ankles to the chair legs. I was soon secured the same way, while Bobby watched, the other masked man saying nothing.
That soon changed as the pizzas arrived, and we all sat round, talking as if we were a real family about the things we were going to do over the next few days. I asked Bobby what happened at work, and he made up a story about a difficult client, while we ate and drank. I then told Bobby there was some ice cream in the fridge, so he went and put some into bowls for all of us.
“Now then,” Jay said as he looked at the clock, “Your daddy needs to go with my friend here to take care of a little business for us. You’ll be asleep by the time he gets back, so he’s going to say good night to you now, aren’t you Mister Holderness?”
“Yes,” Bobby said as he stood up, walked round and hugged all three of the girls, before he hugged me, whispered into my ear “Keep safe” and then gave me a little kiss on the lips, before he put on his coat and left with the others.
“Well, we need to clear up I think,” Jay said as he untied Patty. “I want you to go with Mrs McPhee here Patty, and get ready for bed. Oh – and find a pair of bedsocks to put on your ankles, and another pair for your hands.”
“Why,” Patty asked, barely containing her excitement.
“You’ll see – go with Mrs McPhee now.”
Patty nodded as she rubbed her wrists, and then hugged me before going up the stairs with the faux Scots woman. Jay then untied me and he helped me to clear up, before we went through to the front room. Patty came back in wearing a pair of blue pyjamas, with her feet in a pair of bedsocks, and Jay sat with both of us while Mrs McPhee untied both Lisa and Suzie, taking them upstairs and bringing them back down in their nightclothes.
I was then allowed to go upstairs and change into a white nightdress, before I was taken back down stairs, and we watched a television show together. IT was about ten when Jay said “time to put the family to bed. Let’s all go upstairs – but first, mummy needs to help by putting the bedsocks over your hands and arms, and then tying your wrists together behind your back.”
“Must I,” I asked, but Jay just nodded, as I pulled the socks over Patty’s arms, then crossed her wrists and tied them together, doing the same for Lisa and Suzie before we all walked upstairs.
We went into the spare bedroom, where Jay took more rope from the bag and tied it around Patty’s waist, to hold her arms in place, and then tied her arms to her sides with it wrapped around her elbows and stomach. He then tied a third length around her upper arms, Patty giggling a little as he did so.
“Hush, wee yin,” Mrs McPhee said as she folded a cloth, “open yer moof up.”
Patty soon had her mouth stuffed, cleave gagged and wrapped with white tape, before she was helped to lie down, and eh rankles and legs were secured with more rope. “Ahll say wi her,” Mrs McPhee said as we then went to Lisa’s room.
Lisa and Suzie were soon as tightly tied and gagged as Patty, lying on their sides and facing each other on Lisa’s bed as Jay tied their ankles to the foot of the bed. “Now don’t move,” he said, the girls nodding as I was taken through to Mrs Williamson’s bedroom and trussed up, the ropes hugging me as I was made to lie down after I was gagged, and my ankles tied to my chest ropes.
“Sleep tight,” Jay said as I turned the light off, and I slowly drifted off to sleep, dreaming of Bobby coming to rescue me...
Tuesday December 23rd
“Cass? Cass, where are you?”
I opened my eyes to see Bobby come in, his face dirty, as he ran over and peeled the tape away, removed my gag and then kissed me again. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine Robert,” I said quietly as he started to untie me. “Scared mostly – did they hurt you?”
“No – you?”
I shook my head as I stood up and saw Colin standing in the doorway. “The policeman will look after you while I free the girls,” he said as he went to the other bedrooms, and Colin looked at me.
“You bet I am – but what’s going on?”
“no idea – now, tell me what happened yesterday,” he said as he took out a notepad and pencil.
A short while later, we were all in the kitchen, having a drink when Jenny came in.
“Well, good morning Mrs McPhee,” I said with a smile, “you need some acting lessons.”
“Who needs some acting lessons,” Mister Williamson said as he came in. “So did you all enjoy yourselves yesterday?”
“Yeah – it was great fun dad,” Lisa said as Charlie came in, stretching and yawning.
“All right then – Jenny, can you help me to sort breakfast out? Then you and Suzie need to shower and change Cassie.”
“All right Mrs Williamson,” I said, wondering what was going to happen today.
When I went to the room to change, I was surprised to see the bridesmaid’s gown from Aunt Connie’s wedding. I thought I had outgrown it, but when I looked at it I realised it was actually Jenny’s – and it fitted me really well. I also put on the underwear, stocking, gloves and shoes, and then walked down the stairs. Lisa and Suzie were wearing long sleeved blouses, knee length denim skirts, leggings and flat shoes.
“Right then,” Charlie said as he came in, “I think you all know the drill by now.”
It was becoming something of a routine, as we all had our hands turned into silver balls, the socks pulled up and taped to our sleeves, and then our upper body encased in ropes at the waist and chest, our wrists secured behind our backs. We were each helped to sit down, and out ankles crossed and secured, before our legs were tied together below our knees. Finally, our mouths were gagged with stuffing, towelling, tape and a folded silk scarf – and then I had a black scarf tied over my own eyes.
I was then lifted up, but said nothing as I was carried out and then placed in a seat. The car engine told me it was probably Mister Williamson, so I sat back and relaxed, wondering where I was going this time.
We drove for over an hour – I heard two news bulletins – before the car stopped, and I was lifted out and carried – somewhere. I was sat on a couch, and then the blindfold was removed.
It took me a couple of minutes to realise I was in the front room of my house – and then to realise Jenny was there, wearing a long black dress with gloves, just as securely bound and gagged as I was.
Looking over in the corner, I could see the Christmas tree had been out up, covered in baubles and lights, while Christmas cards were hanging in holders on the walls. There weren’t any other decorations up yet – but before I could even try and get Jenny to say anything, the door opened and Mum came in, putting a box of tinsel and other things on the coffee table before she said “there you are Cassie – right, I need to put some more things up in here. What do you both think of this?”
She held up a paper bell, opening it up and holding it above our heads. We both nodded as Mum went to fetch a stool, and then pinned it to the ceiling.
“Then there’s this tinsel – I’m not sure about it – what do you two think?” She held up some multicoloured tinsel as we looked at each other, and then shook our heads in unison.
“Oh come on it’s not that bad,” she said as the front doorbell rang. “Now who could that be – you two stay there now?”
“Fnneee,” Jenny said as Mum went to the front door, and then returned with someone neither of us had seen in a while.
“Well, this is a sight,” April, our old babysitter said as she stood there, looking at us.
“Thanks for coming round to look after the twins today, April,” Mum said, “I have a ton of things still to do about the place, and – well, these two aren’t going to be much help.”
“So I see,” April said with a smile. “Where are they?”
“In their playpen at the moment – come on, I’ll take you through to them while I finish in here.”
April waved to both of us as she went out with Mum, and we looked at each other.
I raised an eyebrow, but Jenny just shook her head as Mum came out and said “We still have these paper chains? How many years ago was it you two made them?”
“Bttfv,” Jenny said, as Mum started to put them up. It was surreal – every year we normally help Mum with this, but now...
Eventually, we both hopped through to the kitchen, where David and June were already in their high chairs.
“Jenny Funny,” June said as we sat in the chairs, and Mum tied our waist to the back, before she untied our arms while April removed the gags. As soon as my mouth and hands were free, I picked up the glass of water and took a drink, before I said “Mum, what on earth is going on?”
“Lunch,” she said as April sat with us, and she handed out the plates. “Enjoying yourself so far, Cassie?”
“I am – it’s wonderful dressed up like this all the time,” I said with a smile, “and I’ve stayed with Suzie, and with Lisa, and we’ve had an amazing time. I slept in the treehouse, we played a wonderful game – but what’s been going on here?”
“Christmas preparations – what do you think we’ve been doing,” Mum said as she refilled my glass. “So tell me all about what happened across the road...”
We spent the next hour, Mum and I, just talking about what had happened so far, while April and Jenny helped to feed the twins as well as eat their own lunch. I also asked April how her college course was, and she told us a bit about what she was doing – but any time I asked Mum what was going to happen, she just smiled and carried on with something else.
Once Lunch was done, Mum untied me so that I could go to the toilet, and then when I came back she started to make my hands into fists again.
“Can’t we help with the decorating,” I asked as she pulled the socks up my arms, and taped them into place.
“Nope – the two of you can just sit and watch. You’ve done all your present shopping and wrapping anyway, haven’t you?”
I nodded and then opened my mouth so that she could put a clean cloth in – we both had, but I was enjoying what was going on too much to make a great fuss about it anyway, so I relaxed as the rope went back round my arms and body, the tape round my mouth, and then watched as Jenny was tied the same way as me – with the extra rope above our chest hugging us tightly.
We sat down and watched as she tied our ankles and legs, lifting our skirts up and replacing them, before she carried on with the decorating. A little while later, she said “I need to take the twins to the shops. April will come in and keep an eye on you.”
As she put her coat on, April put on a DVD of the musical version of A Christmas Carol, and she sat and watched it with us. I love this film, and Jenny and I both sang along with one of our favourite songs.
“Hey there,” Dad said as he came in towards the end of the film, “I see you’ve rejoined us Poppet. Had fun so far?”
I nodded as he said “Well, that’s me finished for the holidays now. I’m going to go and get changed, and then I need to start getting dinner ready for your mother.”
The doorbell went, and Dad disappeared for a moment, only for Granny to come in, wearing a long brown dress and long boots.
“Well, you two seem to be having fun,” she said as she sat down, and Dad brought her a cup of coffee. “Why don’t we watch The Grinch now?”
We both nodded as she changed the film, and we all sat back, Dad bringing April and Granny mugs of coffee before he went back into the kitchen.
“That was wonderful – thanks Mum,” I said as I pushed my pudding plate away, and then yawned.
“I think out young lady is tired,” Granny said as she looked at the clock, “do you want an early night?”
I nodded as Dad untied me from the chair, and then said “all right – up you go, get washed and changed, Mum will be up in a little while.”
I nodded as I went up to my room, and took off my dress and other things, before putting on my pink pyjamas. Going to the bathroom, it actually felt funny to be washing and brushing my teeth at home again – which is when it occurred to me to ask where the suitcase had gone from the Friday.
Anyway, I came out to see Jenny waiting in her cream satin pyjamas. “Early night for me as well,” she said as she went in, and I went to my room, where Mum was waiting – complete with the ropes, cloths and white tape.
“Put these over your hands,” she said as she handed me a clean pair of socks, and I pulled them up my arms, smiling as she tied my wrists together behind my back, and then to my back with the rope around my waist, then my tummy, and then the bands above and below my chest.
As I wriggled round, Jenny came into the room, so Mum said “you sit on the bed Cassie, while I start to get your sister ready as well.”
Nodding, I sat down and watched as Jenny had her arms secured. I noticed her top stretching a bit more now as the extras ropes went round her chest, but didn’t say anything as Mum tied a knot in a folded scarf, and used that as a cleave gag on me, before wrapping the white tape round my head.
“Fnksksmm,” I mumbled as I lay down, and watched as she tied my ankles and legs, before kissing me on the forehead, and gagging Jenny with another scarf and tape. As she left my room, she turned the light off, and I wriggled until I was comfortable, my eyes slowly closing...
Wednesday December 24th
I opened my eyes to see the light starting to come through the curtains, and Dad opening the door, with a glass of milk in his hands. He helped me to sit up and untied my arms, then removed my gag before he handed me the drink.
“Thanks dad,” I said as I heard Mum going into Jenny’s room, “so what are we going to do today?”
“Oh I think you’re going to enjoy it,” he said as he untied my legs, “but first, have a good old stretch, and then go and shower.”
I nodded as I rubbed my arms, and then headed to the bathroom, but as I passed Jenny’s door I heard her say “Wow Mum – where did you get this?”
I had my shower, dried myself off and then went back into my room – and laid out on the bed was a gown that I knew came from the Victorian era. It was made of a peach coloured material, with long sleeves, and had a v-necked design on the front. The waist was all right, but the skirt literally ballooned out from under it, in layers until it reached the floor. There was also clean underwear, and matching stockings, gloves and heels.
I wasted no time in putting them on, wondering why I was being asked to wear this style, and then went downstairs – getting the shock of my life as I saw Jenny at the breakfast table.
She had one a long black Victorian gown, her neckline showing the top of her neck and back while mine was up to my neck, and also had on black opera gloves, stockings and heels. Dad finished tying her waist to the chair, before he said “All right, Lady Cassandra – sit down in your chair please.”
I did so, taking care not to damage the skirts, and held my arms up as Dad tied my waist to the chair, and then gave us both some fruit juice and cereal.
“My, you both look regal,” Mum said as she put David into his chair, and then went to fetch June, so that we all sat round the table and had breakfast together.
“Now,” Dad said, “your mum and I have to go and do the last minute food shopping, but don’t worry – someone’s coming round to keep both of you company for the rest of today.”
“Oh – who’s that?”
Mum and Dad looked at each other, before Dad said “Come into the front room, both of you – time to get ready.”
I knew the routine by now, as we were untied and went to brush our teeth and then went into the front room. Dad was waiting with the material, as he taped our hands up with the socks covering them, and then tied our wrists together, secured them to our back and then tied our arms to our sides at the stomach. He then gently pushed a sponge ball into our mouths, before he tied a peach scarf over my hair and a black one over Jenny’s, then wrapped duct tape around our heads to cover our mouths.
“Sit down, both of you,” he said, and as we did so he tied our ankles together, and then lifted our large skirts to tie our legs below the knees.
“Can you take care of the twins for me, Jonathon,” Mum said as she came in. Once Dad had left, she tied the extra ropes around our arms and chest, and then kissed us both on the head.
“Enjoy the lesson,” she said, Jenny and I looking at each other as she went out of the room, and we listened to her talking to someone at the front door.
“Well, well – Lady Cassandra and Lady Jennifer. Fancy meeting you today.”
We both turned our head to see Alicia standing in the doorway, taking off her coat to reveal a black sweater and jeans, while Martin came in behind her, wearing a checked shirt and jeans and carrying his violin case with him.
“Lunch is at one – and you’re going to stay until later?”
“If that is all right, Mrs Craig – we have the change of outfits in our bag outside,” Martin said with a smile.
“All in good time,” Alicia said as she set up a music stand in front of us. “Tonight, you will be joining Martin, me and some others as we go carolling – but we need to make sure you know the tunes and can hum along with them. What one are we going to start with, Martin?”
“I think We Three Kings,” Martin said as he opened the case, and Alicia put the song sheet on the stand, while Martin prepared his violin. “Ready – and...”
As he started playing, Alicia started singing, Jenny and me looking at head other as we hummed along. Alicia really was becoming a very good singer, and we soon got the hang of humming along in tune with her, as Martin played all the old favourites for us. We went on to a few more songs before mum put her had round the door and said “it’s lunch time. Can you help them to walk through please?”
“No problem, Mrs Craig,” Martin said as he put his violin back in the case, and then helped me to stand up, Alicia helping Jenny before we jumped through to the dining room. As we did so, I laughed to myself as our skirts seemed to jump up and down even more than all the other gowns, rustling as we were helped into our seats, our arms untied and then our waists tied to the chair, before the gags were taken off.
“I need this,” Jenny said as she grabbed a glass of fruit juice and took a long drink, while Alicia and Martin sat down as well.
“We’re going to practice some more after lunch,” Alicia said as we each got a bowl of soup.
“So what have you two been up to,” I said before I put a spoonful in my mouth.
“Oh, rehearsing for tonight, getting ready for tomorrow, all the usual stuff,” Martin said as he looked at us.
“So have you seen Suzie? I haven’t seen her since we stayed with Lisa.”
“Oh is that where she was,” Alicia said quietly, “I didn’t know. In fact, I haven’t seen her for days. I guess I’ll see her tomorrow at the manor house for Christmas dinner.”
“So you’re all gathering there,” Jenny said.
“Yeah – the usual family lunch, but given how nearly...” I saw Alicia go pale for a second, before Martin put his hand on hers and say “it’s all right Ali – he’s still here, and that’s the main thing.”
“So what’s going to happen for the rest of the holidays, mum? Or are you not going to tell me again?”
Mum said nothing, so we concentrated on the food and drink, before we both went to the toilet, our arms were re-tied, the gags replaced, and then we went back to rehearsing.
At about four, we went back to the table and had an early tea, Dad sitting with us but giving nothing away about what might be planned. Once we had eaten, we went to the toilet, and then went back into the room while Mum and Dad retied our arms to our bodies, and then re-gagged us.
As they wrapped the tape round our heads, Alicia and Martin came back in. Alicia was now wearing a long gown like ours, while Martin had on a long coat, and a top hat on his head.
“I need to make a little adjustment now,” Mum said as she knelt down and pinned the hems of our skirts up, so that we could see our shoes. As she stood up, the front doorbell rang, and I heard Dad say “come on in.”
“Hi,” Bobby said as he came in, and I blushed as he smiled at me. “Ready to go?”
“Not quite yet,” Alicia said as she went out of the room, and brought through our winter coats and long woollen scarves. As Martin put the coast on us and buttoned them up, covering the ropes, Alicia tied the scarves around our heads, covering the tapes.
“Hey – not fair. I want to be tied up and gagged as well!”
“Not tonight, Patty,” Martin said as he looked at her and Rachel, both in their coats and Ugg boots, “you practiced to sing remember?”
“He’s got you there – oh hi Charlie,” Rachel said, taking her turn to blush as he and Lisa joined us. “So who are we waiting on?”
“Me,” Colin said as he came in, Jenny blushing as he came over and kissed her cheek.
“Right, everyone got their music?”
The others held up their sheets as Martin picked up his violin, and said “let’s go.”
It was dark outside, and a clear night, as we went from door to door, standing outside and singing every carol we knew from Jingle Bells to O Holy Night, and Winter Wonderland to Silent Night. You could tell the others had been practising, and we provided the additional tuneful accompaniment to Martin’s playing.
Not that he needed it, but as we collected the money in a bag that Bobby and Colin were carrying it felt wonderful to be doing it with family and friends. I just hoped the others were having as much fun as we were.
Eventually, however, we got back to our house, and we had the coats and scarves taken off as Martin counted the donations we had made.
“Not bad,” he finally said, “we’ll add it to the amount the others collected and give it to the local food bank at the end of the week.”
“All right – you all need to head home,” Dad said as he picked up his coat, and Mum let Lisa’s dad in. “Lisa and Charlie, have a great Christmas.”
“See you,” they said as they went home, and Mister Williamson said “Bobby, I’m taking you, Alicia and Martin home.”
“Patty and Rachel, you’re with me,” Dad said as we sat down and watched television with Mum.
Eventually, Dad came back, and untied us both, then removed our gags. “Bedtime – up you go,” he said as we hugged and kissed Mum.
“Not tonight – sleep well,” Dad said as we went, changed and got into our beds. I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, as I hummed a tune to myself...
Thursday 25th December
“Merry Christmas Cassie!”
I opened my eyes wide as I heard Mum’s voice, and saw her standing in the doorway, wearing a dressing gown and smiling.
“Go and shower, and then come back in to get dressed for breakfast,” she said as she took David with her, while I went to the bathroom and had a shower. Coming back to the bedroom, with a towel over my hair, I stop and see two things on my bed.
The first is a green party dress, with puffed sleeves and a long skirt. I’d got it for a party Lisa had for her birthday, and there were a pair of white long gloves, white stockings and shoes as well.
As I started to put on clean underwear, and then my outfit, it was the other thing on the bed I could not take my eyes off. It was a brightly wrapped parcel, and as I looked at the label I saw it read “Happy Christmas, Cassie, from Mum and Dad.”
Once I had put on my shoes, and stood up, I couldn’t resist any longer, so I opened the paper and looked at what was inside.
“Oh... Oh my... oh my...” I said as I carefully unfolded the dark blue velvet gown inside, and laid it on the bed. I had first seen it a few weeks ago, when shopping with Mum, and had been pestering her for weeks to think about it as a Christmas present for me. It had a square neckline, and long sleeves, and as I looked at it I longed to put it on.
I turned to see Dad in the bedroom door, holding a bag with ropes and things.
“Like it?” I ran over and hugged Dad as tightly as I could, saying “I LOVE IT!!! THANK YOU!!!”
“Hey – that’s enough,” he said with a smile. “So are you enjoying the Christmas break?”
“It’s amazing – being tied up for so long, in so many wonderful gowns, it’s just fantastic,” I said as I put my hands behind my back.
“Hmmm – oh no, this is for later,” Dad said as he looked at the bag, “come downstairs just now.”
Nodding, I came down and saw Granny in the front room. “Merry Christmas Cassie,” she said as I hugged her.
“Merry Christmas Granny,” I said as Jenny came in, wearing a red gown she had got for her prom. I could also see the presents under the Christmas tree, but before I could get one to open I heard Mum say “Breakfast – everyone to the table.”
So we all took our places and had a cooked breakfast, Granny and Mum talking as we looked round. The twins even had some small sausages to chew on, before Dad disappeared for a moment, and then came back in.
“Call for all of you,” he said, so we went back into the front room, where we could see Granny and Granddad Carter on the Skype screen.
“Oh my goodness,” Granny Carter said as we sat down, “you two are getting to be such lovely young ladies now. Merry Christmas to both of you!”
“And you, Granny,” Jenny said, “How’s the weather where you are?”
“Far too hot,” Granddad said, “but it’s still Christmas. Watch.”
We all laughed as he sprinkled a packet of fake snowflakes over Granny, who just turned and looked at him.
“Just kill him later June,” Granny said as Mum and Dad held the twins on their laps.
“Oh my – they’re getting big as well,” Granny Carter said, “We need to come and see them again before they get too big to hug – all of them.”
“Well, we’ll need to see if we can arrange that,” Dad said.
“Have they opened any presents yet?”
“That’s coming, but we wanted to talk to you before it got too late over there.”
“IT’s all right, Granny,” I said, “I’m having a fantastic break anyway.”
“And the dress?”
“I wanted to dress up today.”
“Well, happy birthday for three day’s time as well,” Granddad Carter said as they started talking to Mum. I guess I zoned out for a few minutes, or whatever that expression is, because the next thing I knew I was saying goodbye to them, and the computer was switched off.
“Now, you can open some of your presents,” Mum said, as Jenny and I went down to the tree and gave our presents to Mum and Dad first. I then opened the first one from Jenny – a brand new silver bracelet. Granny gave me a new iPod, and there were some chocolates and bath salts as well.
There were other presents for us as all, but as always I had to be careful to make sure I didn’t open any that were for my birthday. Fortunately, today Dad had a cunning plan to stop me doing that.
“Hands behind your backs girls.”
Twenty minutes later, Jenny and I were sitting on the couch, watching as the twins got their gifts as well as Granny. We couldn’t help - although our hands weren’t covered, we were as tightly tied as we had been the last few days, and just as tightly gagged with the white tape today.
“Hey there – merry Christmas everyone!”
“Hey sis,” Dad said as he hugged Aunt Cassie and Aunt Jo, “How are you both?”
“Rested – a few days in Paris did us both the world of good,” Jo said before she looked at us. “I see you two are resting as well?”
“So what’s new,” Aunt Connie said as she came in with Uncle Dave, Danny and Janey. “Merry Christmas everyone.”
“Mreechrssmmsss” we both said as my aunts disappeared off with Mum and Granny, and Dad kept us company with Uncle Dave, the youngsters crawling around on the floor with some of the new toys the Twins had got while Janey sat in her car seat, sleeping.
Christmas lunch was amazing – little salmon parcels with salad, tomato soup, turkey with all the trimmings, including Granny’s special stuffing and Aunt Connie’s roast potatoes, and a large chocolate roll for dessert. Jenny and I were tied to the chairs, but that was all, as we told each other about our presents, and what we had done so far for the holidays.
“Right,” Dave said as he stood up, “John and I have the washing up to do now.”
“We’ll tackle it later,” Dad said, “I need to take someone for a walk. Cassie, go to the toilet and then come into the front room please.”
“Here we go again,” I said as I went and did what was needed, and then came into the room, Dad putting a pair of fingerless mittens on my hands this time before he tied my arms and upper body as had happened so often already, and then gagged me fully.
I went to sit down, but Dad said “nope – we’re going visiting,” picking up my thick coat and fastening it over me, before he wrapped the woollen scarf around my face. As he tucked it into my coat, Mum came in with a pair of green wellies, helping me to put them on and handing Dad my shoes.
“Come on,” he said, taking me out of the front door and then walking with me. The streets were quiet, as we made our way round to Aunt Jessie’s house. I did wonder why Jenny wasn’t coming as well, but just kept quiet as Dad rang the doorbell.
I know – bad joke. Anyway, Aunt Jessie appeared, said “Merry Christmas, Cassie, Merry Christmas John,” and let us in, removing my coat and scarf once the door was closed.
“Patty is in the front room, waiting for you,” Aunt Jessie said, so I took off my wellingtons, put on my shoes and walked in.
“Heecssee,” Patty said through the tape band covering her mouth. She was wearing a gold party dress, tights and gold shoes, but she was as tightly tied as I was, and obviously as tightly gagged.
“See you later Cassie,” Dad said as the door opened and closed, and Aunt Jessie came in.
“Right, I need to go and wash up the dishes from our Christmas lunch. Will you two be all right here?”
Now, I just looked a little back at what I wrote, and I realised it might confuse some people. What I meant to say was Patty had her arms tied just as tightly as mine, and her legs were tied as well – but having just wriggled my legs out of the wellington boots, and then stepped back into my heels while Dad left them on the floor, my legs were still free.
For all of about ten minute, as Aunt Jessie helped me to sit down and tied my ankles and legs as well. We then giggled as she turned on the television, and put High School Musical into the DVD player.
Before I had a chance to really settle in, however, I was surprised to see Jenny come in, wearing her black leather jacket, jeans and ankle boots. “Hey Cassie – Dad forgot to bring something round, so I had to follow him,” she said, and then “Merry Christmas Patty.”
“Mrscchrssmmssjnneee,” she mumbled back in return.
“By the way,” Jenny whispered into my ear, “you’re sleeping over here for a couple of days, but I’ll see you on your birthday. Have fun.”
I nodded as she left the room, and we started to watch the film properly. It looked as if I was getting a grand tour – but where would I end up next? I could see the wrapping paper under the tree, so Patty had obviously opened her presents – and besides, what could I do except enjoy the film now...
“Has it been a good Christmas so far then Cassie,” Aunt Jessie said as she finished tying my waist to the chair at the dining table.
“IT’s been amazing,” I said as I rubbed my wrists. “I don’t have a clue what is going on, but it really has been different.”
“That’s good,” Patty said as she sat in her chair – completely free, I noticed, and I was about to ask why when she said “Oh – hang on, got something for you.”
She came back with two brightly wrapped parcels, handing one to me and saying “Merry Christmas Cassie.”
I opened it, smiling as I took out a new tank top, and said “thanks Patty – this is great. So can I see the other parcel?”
“This one – sure you can see it,” she said as she waved it in front of me, “but you can’t have it – it’s for your birthday!”
“Curses,” I said with a laugh as Patty took it away, “foiled again!”
“Must be terrible, having your birthday so close to Christmas,” Aunt Jessie said as she picked up some more rope, and waited for Patty to sit down before she tied her to the chair.
“Yeah – but I cope,” I said as I looked at Patty, and then started to eat. “So I’m sleeping over here for a few days, Aunt Jessie?”
“Well, at least tonight and tomorrow – hope that’s all right?”
“It’s great – but what’s going to happen?”
“You’ll just have to wait and see,” she said, and something told me I wasn’t going to get much more than that from her either, so I kept eating as Patty told me all about what she had got for Christmas.
Once we had finished eating, Aunt Jessie re-tied our arms and re-gagged us, watching as we headed back into the front room and sat down. Once our legs were tied, she left us alone again for a few minutes, and after a while I realised Patty was humming – her eyes closed as she hummed some of the songs we had all sung the previous night.
Aunt Jessie then came in and we watched the television for a little while, before we were untied and allowed to go upstairs and change.
“It’s been a great day,” I said as Aunt Jessie crossed and tied my wrists together in front of me, and then tied the rope around my waist, “but I can’t help wondering what is going to happen tomorrow.”
“Well, you know that line from that old film – tomorrow is another day?”
“Oh har har,” I said as I lay down on the camp bed, watching as my ankles were tied together, then watched as Patty was tied in the same way.
“Still, I think you...”
“Need to get a good night’s sleep,” Aunt Jessie said as she pressed a length of white tape down over Patty’s mouth, and then my own. “Good night, both of you.”
“Gngghhht,” we both said as she turned the light out, my own eyes closing soon after.