Well, one thing about being back at school – you get the rest of the stories you missed, because of what you did over the long holiday.
In my case, that was getting used even more to my expanded family - it’s over six months now since Mum and Freddie joined me and Dad, and we’re becoming more and more a family with every day that passes.
So much so that, at the start of the holiday, Mum agreed to pass Freddie over to the Cottrell boys for the night so that I could have the girls over for a sleepover. The idea had been to watch scary movies, talk, stay up late, all the usual things.
In practice, I forgot the sneakiness factor is high in my brother, especially when he gets together with his friends, and double so when that group includes Charlie Williamson. So that, instead of all of us watching films, we ended up acting one out as we were captured and freed ourselves – until we all ended up fully bound and gagged in our sleeping bags.
At least Charlie and Eric sneaked back and untied us in the morning.
The other big event was the party at the Manor, where we all kidnapped by the boys, taken there and sleeping there for the night, and then spending the whole of the next day in Victorian costumes! It turned out the woman who did the costumes for The Awakening knew the Holderness family, so she arranged for us all to not only wear the costumes, but also keep them!
But that was it, and it was back to school and then this week Patty lets it be known that her friend Tommy Jacobs would be visiting, and he was spending the day with her on Saturday.
Don’t get me wrong – I know how she feels about the fact while the rest of us have our special friends within walking distance, hers is a couple of hundred miles away. It must be tough.
And I think I can understand that more than the others, given the fact... Look, can I be honest for a minute? I see the look in Patty’s eyes when the others get together, and then I think of me and Frank Cottrell. Frank...
I think Frank’s great, and I know he feels the same way about me, but it seems almost impossible for him to tell me how he feels, especially if there is anyone else around – and it’s beginning to drive me crazy we can’t be as happy and open as the others.
If only there was something...
“Louise? Are you dressed yet?”
“In a minute Dad,” I called back as I pulled my white socks up over my leggings, and then put on my trainers before standing up and pulling my jumper down. It was Saturday morning, and Dad was taking Freddie out for a while, leaving me at home to catch up on my homework. Fiona was going into London with her parents, and Patty was spending the day with Tommy, so it was just me and my books...
“Frank? Breakfast is on the table?”
“Coming Mum,” I called out from my room as I pulled the jumper down over my head. I was heading into town with Mum and Dad to pick up a few things, while Eric and Mark looked after the farm – which naturally meant I was down to collect the eggs and mug out the henhouse later, but that’s the way you roll when you live on a farm.
I walked down the stairs and sat down, putting some milk into a bowl of cereal as Mark and Eric looked at me. Mark was already wearing his overalls, while Eric was in a pair of old jeans and a long jumper.
“Now you boys have your list of chores for today?”
“Yes Dad,” Mark said as he winked at me. “And I’ll be in the house when the man comes to collect the eggs and milk.”
“So when are you going to be back,” Eric asked.
“We’ll have lunch out before we come home, so cook for yourselves,” Mum said, “there’s some fresh bacon in the fridge.”
“You’re the lucky one,” Eric whispered to me, “I think.”
“I don’t know – I’d rather be seeing Louise today...”
Eric looked at me before he said “you really do like her don’t you?”
I blushed and nodded before I took a drink of orange juice.
“Let me guess – you just can’t get the words out?”
“How... How do you manage it with Lisa?”
“I mean when the others are around?”
Eric looked at me again, before he said “This shyness really is a problem with you, isn’t it?”
I nodded again as he shook his head. “Seriously, I’m beginning to wonder if tying you two up in the same room and not letting you out until you sort this out isn’t a viable option.”
“Finish off Eric – we need to get going,” Dad said as he put his jacket on, so I drained my glass and headed out with Mum and Dad, leaving my brothers to get on with the chores.
“Thanks Mum,” I said as I gave her the plate my lunch had been on, “is there anything else you need me to do?”
“All your assignments are finished?”
“Yes Mum,” I said with a sigh.
“All right then – I need to do some work in here.”
I took that as a cue to go to the front room, and picked up a book to read through, but it wasn’t long before I heard a knock on the front door.
“Can you get that please,” Mum called out from the kitchen, so I went to the front door, opened it – and there, standing in front of me, were Tommy Jacobs and Patty Pickering. Tommy was grinning, while Patty had a long scarf wrapped round the lower part of her head, and the sleeves of her coat hanging down her side. Her eyes were smiling though – so whatever was going on, she was enjoying it.
“Well,” I finally said, “I thought you two were going to be doing something all day. What brings you to my place?”
Tommy smiled before he said “can we come in? I’ve got something we both want to show you.”
Looking again at Patty, I began to wonder what was really going on, before I said “sure, come away in.” Stepping to one side, I waited until they had both come in before I closed the door to.
“Need a hand taking that off Patty?”
My friend nodded and stood still as I un buttoned her coat and took it off, hanging it on the coat rack and then looking again at her arms, the plastic tie holding her wrists together behind her back.
“Okay,” I said quietly, “I take it back, you are doing something all day, right?”
“Oh no, you’re kidding me,” I said with a laugh as I took her brown scarf off, and then looked at her, with the grey and white bands of tape around her head.
“Oh she’s not kidding,” Tommy said as he walked behind me, and I felt something pressing against my back. “And neither am I. Hands up, please.”
“Oh great,” I said as I slowly raised my hands, “I should be glad Freddie isn’t here. So what is this – a kidnap game?”
“Kndeee,” Louise said as she tried to talk, before Tommy said “your room – now.”
“This way,” I said as we walked into the front room, and I looked at the two of them.
“Cut her wrists free,” Tommy said as he closed the door, so I looked for a pair of scissors, finding one in Mum’s sewing box, and cut the plastic strip away from Patty’s wrists. I watched as he looked at his girlfriend, and then said “tie her up, the same way you did the others.”
“Others? What others?”
Tommy just smiled as Patty went out for a moment, and then came back with my box of supplies. I watched as she opened it, took out two sponges and handed them to me, and then began the process of covering my hands over.
“What are you planning to do, you fiend,” I said in a sing song voice as Patty taped over my fists, and then pulled a pair of socks up over them before taping the tops to the sleeves of my jumper. Tommy just smiled as Patty walked behind me and started to bind my wrists together with some rope.
“You are definitely getting better at this,” I said as Patty cinched the binding by taking the rope between my arms, but as she tied it off we all heard a car pass. I looked out of the window, and said “that must be Fiona – they must have come back early.”
We all walked over, looking out as a car pulled up outside Fiona’s house, and her family got out. Fiona was wearing a blue jumper and skirt, with black leather boots, as they all went in – and we heard my mobile phone ring.
“It’s Fiona’s number,” Tommy said as he picked it up, and put it to my head, “invite her over.”
I nodded as he pressed the button to answer the call, and I said “Hey Fiona, I was just about to call you.”
“That’s great,” Fiona said, “we had a strike out in town, so we came back.”
“Oh yeah? Well, I am at home right now.”
“Great – want some company?”
“Of course you can come over – I’ll come and open the door for you right now.”
As Tommy took the phone away, I smiled and said “Fiona wanted to come over anyway. So what are you going to do now, Mister Kidnapper?”
“Greet your new guest,” Tommy said as I saw Fiona come out of her front door, and walk quickly over, before we heard the knocking.
“Wait there,” Tommy said as he took me into the hallway, and opened the front door.
“Hey Louise,” Fiona said as she came in, “what’s happen...”
She saw the way my arms were, and then smiled as Tommy stood behind her.
“Oh, now I get it,” she said as she raised her hands, and walked back into the front room with both of us. She merely raised an eyebrow as she looked at Patty, before Tommy closed the door and said “I’ll take care of her, you finish tying her up.”
“I was under the distinct impression these two were going to be lovey dovey all day,” Fiona said to me as Tommy taped her hands up, and then started to tie her wrists behind her back.
“Seems this is their idea of how to spend the day,” I said as Patty was tying the rope around my stomach. “You should know by now Fi – this is a date for most of our friends.”
“Oh yeah – forgot for a moment.”
“So how come you’re back early?”
“Oh – they cancelled the show we were going to see, so we just drove back. So, to coin a cliché, what are you going to do to us, you fiend!”
“Oh you’ll see,” Tommy said as he tied her arms to her sides round her stomach, “now, I need you to do me a favour, Louise Hobson.”
“And that is,” I said as Patty finished tying the rope over my upper arms and shoulders.
“Talk to your mother, ask her permission to go down to the farm with us.”
Nodding, I walked over to the door as Tommy opened it.
“Mum – Fiona and I are going to go up to the farm with Tommy and Patty.”
“All right – but don’t be too late back.”
“We won’t,” I said as Tommy closed the door, and then held a folded cloth in front of my mouth.
So ten minutes later, there we both were, upper bodies tied snugly with little lengths of rope between our arms and bodies, and very, very gagged.
“We’re going to need to borrow a couple of your coats,” Tommy said, “and a couple of scarves. Are they in the downstairs cupboard?”
I nodded, and soon both Fiona and I had a coat on, and a woollen scarf wrapped round our heads, as Tommy used a second zip tie on Patty’s wrists. Once she had her coat and hat back on, we all walked from my house to the Cottrell farm, the three of us looking at each other as Eric Cottrell opened the door.
“Mark asked me to hang around until you got back.” He had a big smile on his face before he said “He didn’t say why though.”
“Is she still here?”
“Oh – she’s still here,” Eric said as he let us walk into the front room, Rachel looking at all three of us as she mumbled “Hggrrttlltgfrrgn.”
“Nsstssutooorashl,” I mumbled as Tommy and Eric removed our coats and scarves, before both we both sat down next to our friend. “Any chance I can borrow some of your stash,” Tommy said as he looked at Eric.
“Sure – any plans to get a certain Lisa?”
“Not today,” Tommy said with a smile.
“Fair enough – wait here,” Eric said as he went out, returning with a Perspex box. Opening it, he watched as Tommy cut my wrists free, and then handed Patty two sponge balls. It wasn’t long before she was a securely bound as us – save for the ropes between her arms and body.
That was when he used our scarves as blindfolds, and I could hear Patty mumbling more and more, before I felt her sit next to me, and then ropes around my ankles, followed by the ropes around my legs below my knees.
When the blindfolds came off, I saw all four of us were now fully secured – but there was something different about the ropes around Patty and Rachel. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was though...
“Keeee- whtsgnnn,” Fiona said as she looked at Rachel and Patty, and then at herself and me, “ndwwhurrppssdfrnt?”
“Ah, now that,” Tommy said as he looked at all four of us, “is a very good question...”
He sat down and looked at all of us, as he said “I told Patty earlier I could capture all four of you on my own – and here we all are. You have to admit now, I’m the best of all the boys?”
Patty nodded at that, but the rest of us all shook our heads.
“Oh – well, I think you’ll agree soon enough,” Tommy said as he stood up and used three black scarves from Eric’s box to blindfold Rachel, me and Fiona. As the others tried to complain, I felt him untying my legs, and then he helped me to stand up, before he took me for a walk.
I know we left the house, because I heard the door open and close, and the wind blew on my face as we walked along, before we went into what I presumed was my house. We walked up the stairs, and then he took my coat off and sat me down on a chair, before using some rope to tie me to it.
I wasn’t surprised at the fact he then tied me ankles and legs again, but when he said “Have fun,” and walked out, I wondered what was going to happen next.
And wondered some more, as I swung my legs to and fro and tried to get comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can get when you have your arms tied so tightly the ropes rub on you, making you feel all giggly and annoyed in equal measure.
As I sat there, I wondered what else Patty and Tommy had got up to – apart from kidnapping all three of us. I still couldn’t get my mind round the fact that Tommy had chosen today to do that – and Patty had gone along with it!
Which made me think of Rachel and Fiona – what was going to happen to them? Would they be walked home as well like this?
It was a different date, one I wished I could go on. Actually, as I swung my legs to and fro in boredom, I began to wonder what sort of date Frank would take me on.
Take that back – I wished Frank would ask me out on a date. If only he could get past that...
That’s when I heard the door open, and I wondered who it was...
“Hey? Get everything done you need to do?”
“We did,” Mum said to Eric as we came in, “did I just see Tommy Jacobs walking to the field?”
“Yeah – he popped over to say hello.”
“Okay then,” she said as I went up to my room, carrying the bags that my new clothes were in. I thought it would be better if I put the things away straight away, before I got ready to do my share of the chores – so when I opened my door, I just stood still in shock.
There was a girl sitting in my chair, with ropes holding her to the chair. She was wearing a grey jumper and joggers, white socks and trainers, but she was held to the chair with ropes, and from the bands around her waist, stomach and chest, she was as well tied as any of the other girls.
She also had her ankles tied, and her legs below her knees, as she swung her legs to and fro, and two scarves tied round her head, a brown one round the lower part and a black one over her eyes, so all I could see was her nose and her hair.
Putting the bags down outside my room, I walked very quietly in, and realised it was...
Louise? How did she get here? What was she doing here? Who did this to her? I mean, I was glad to see her...
No, it was more than that – I really do like her, but I’ve never had the courage to tell her that. There are times when I wish I wasn’t this shy – but as I looked at her, as she struggled and then stopped, I realised she couldn’t see me.
SO I stood and watched her, as she wriggled, and then walked behind her to see her sock covered wrists, tied tightly between her body and the chair back. It was something wonderful to see, and I could guess that under those socks her hands were taped over as well.
So it had to be someone I knew who had done this – but Mark and Eric would have been busy all day. So who did it? She seemed to be enjoying it despite the occasional grunts – and I really was enjoying watching her.
But I knew I had to find out what was going on, so I ignored the fact my stomach was tying itself in knots, and walked slowly behind her, leaning over and whispering into her ear “Are you all right Louise?”
I almost had a heart attack when I heard the quiet whisper, and if I hadn’t been tied to the chair I think I would have tried to get away. It took me a few minutes to realise just who it was who had talked to me.
Frank? Had Frank come to my room to rescue me? And he had seen me like this? I shifted nervously, the ropes rubbing on me even more as I heard him say in his quiet voice “Would you like me to remove the gag?”
I nodded, wondering what he was going to do.
I gulped and untied the brown scarf, taking it off and staring for a moment at the white and silver band around Louise’s head. I then put the scarf on a coat that was lying on the bed, and then slowly peeled away the silver tape, putting it in the bin. I then peeled the white tape away, making sure I didn’t tug on her hair, and put that in the bin.
I then eased the knotted towelling strip from her mouth, and gently pulled out the soaking wet cloth, putting it on my bed next to the coat and scarf.
“There – is that better?”
“Yeah – thanks Frank,” she said, making me smile as she turned her head to me. “Is there any chance I can get a drink of water?”
I nodded and ran downstairs, grabbing a glass and putting some water in it as Mum watched, before I walked back up stairs and put the glass to her lips.
As she took a drink, I held the glass carefully, not wanting to spill any on her, until she nodded and I put it on my table.
“Thanks,” she said, “and thanks for coming to my rescue. Who told you I was in my room, tied up and gagged?”
“Your room? Louise, you’re not in your room – you’re in my room.”
I turned my head in the direction of his voice, before I said “What do you mean I’m in your room Frank?”
“I’m not kidding Louise – I got back a few minutes ago with Mum and Dad, and came up to my room to find you here.”
“You... Oh I am going to kill them when I next see them?”
“Tommy and Patty, that’s who.”
“Okay – start at the beginning,” I heard Frank say, so I told him about how Tommy and Patty had come to my house, captured me and Fiona, and brought us here to join Rachel. Tommy had then said he was the best, we had disagreed, he had blindfolded me, took me for a walk, and then...”
“He must have gone in a circle and brought me back here,” I finally said. “Are Rachel and Fiona still in the room downstairs?”
“No – nobody was,” Frank said quietly.
“Okay – so can you untie mmmfrnkwhtrudng?”
“I think I need to put the gag back in,” I heard him say as the wet cloth was pushed back into my mouth, and then knotted cleave gag put back and tightened.
Well, what the heck – I pretended to struggle as he got some tape from somewhere, and I heard it come away from the roll as he wound it tightly round my head to keep me even more quiet. I knew he used two types – there was the soft squelchy sound, and then the ripping sound of duct tape.
I then felt the scarf as it was tied back over my mouth – and then, finally, the scarf came off my eyes, and I could see I was indeed in Frank’s room.
I looked round with my eyes wide open, and then I looked at Frank as he stood in front of me, looking at me with his head to the side in that cute way he has.
He stood there for a few minutes, before he said quietly “would you... Would you be willing to be my captive for a little while longer?”
I thought for, oh – five seconds, and then nodded, grinning under the gags layers as he said “thank you,” and then untied the ropes holding me to the chair. He then untied my legs, and helped me to stand up, before he put my coat back on me.
“Come on,” he said with a smile as he took my hand, and then walked me down the stairs. We looked in the kitchen, where his mum and dad looked at him and said “Oh – hey Louise, we didn’t know you were here.”
“Mum, Dad, is it all right if I go to Louise’s house for a little while?”
His dad looked at him, and said “Sure – but you still need to do your chores when you get back.”
“Thanks dad,” Frank said as he turned me round, and we walked out of the front door.
It had stayed dry, but had got a little colder, as Frank and I walked down the road from the farmhouse to the street. It felt just as strange as it had when I walked the other way, but Frank seemed incredibly nervous as we walked down.
It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve done this, but still, it was nice just to be walking with him. I smiled at him, glad my face wasn’t covered by a veil this time, and wondering what he was thinking.
I just could not believe I was doing this. It’s almost the bravest thing I’ve ever done – almost. I mean, just talking to someone gives me the heebie jeebies at times, but to be walking to Louise’s house, with Louise, was an incredible feeling.
I looked at her and smiled, and I hoped she was smiling under all those layers. I was also sweating, afraid someone would see us and realise what was going on. I wouldn’t mind if it was someone we knew, but still...
As we walked up to her front door, I opened it quietly and looked to see if her mum or dad were around, but there was no sign of them. “Come on,” I whispered as Louise walked in, and I closed the door as quietly as possible behind us. We then walked up the stairs, Louise first followed by me, so that we could go to her room.
Or at least, that was my plan...
As we walked along the corridor, I passed Freddie’s door, and a thought suddenly crossed my mind. If Tommy had left me in Frank’s room, could he have...?
Frank stopped and looked at me, and then at the door, before he put his hand on the door handle and slowly opened it. Sure enough, there was Fiona, still wearing her black boots and her blue jumper and skirt, tied securely to the chair, the scarf still covering her eyes and the one over her gag securely in place.
We looked at each other, Frank trying hard not to laugh, and then watched her for a few minutes before he closed the door to, and we walked to my room. Once we were in, I started laughing as Frank slowly removed my coat and the wool scarf over my gagged mouth.
He then looked at me, and said something I never in a million years thought he would say.
“You want to hide in Freddie’s room, see what happens?”
“I saw his closet door was open. Do you think we could hide in there?”
Now, Freddie has a very very bad habit of leaving doors open – that was part of the reason that I realised something was up, when his bedroom door was closed. His closet was also a big walk in one, like mine, so I thought it would be possible.
As I nodded, Frank grinned and said “come on.” We walked back down the corridor, and as quietly as possible into Freddie’s room. Frank left the door closed to, enough to hide Fiona from view if someone passed, and we walked across the floor. We had both kicked off out shoes in the room, so Fiona didn’t notice us at all as we walked into the closet, and Frank closed the door so we could see her, but she couldn’t see us even if she wasn’t blindfolded.
I was standing in front, and Frank behind. He’s a little taller than me, but not much, so after a few minutes he found a small stool and stood on it, both of us watching as Fiona would move from time to time and grunt. I knew how she felt – those ropes were rubbing on me as well, but I had to stay still and quiet.
We spent about a quarter of an hour like this, Frank putting his hands on my shoulders as we watched, before we heard footsteps coming up the stairs and towards the door. Turning slightly, we could see Freddie running in, and then suddenly stopping as he stared at Fiona in the chair.
He must have stood there for a couple of minutes, before he slowly walked in and around Fiona, looking at the ropes on her and holding her to the chair as well as the two scarves over her mouth and eyes. I could see, and so could Frank, how surprised he was, as he went out and then came back in again, holding a glass of water.
Putting it on the table, he went behind Fiona, and then leaned over and said “boo” into her ear.
I couldn’t believe the reaction that one word got from Fiona, as she suddenly turned her head and said “Frddeee?”
“Well, this is interesting,” Freddie said with his American accent as he looked at Fiona, “and different. Hey Fiona – what are you doing here?”
“Whtdummnnwhtmenghrr – whtrUUdnnhr?”
“Sorry, couldn’t quite make that out – you must have something in your mouth.”
I really wish I was as free and comfortable in talking to Louise as Freddie was with Fiona – all I could do was give her shoulders a little squeeze as Fiona wriggled round, and then said “Gtthhssggfmm?”
“Well, I guess that might make things easier,” Freddie said as he untied the gag in the same way I had, putting the layers next to the coat on his bed. As he eased the cloth out of her mouth, Fiona took a deep breath and said “Freddie, what are you...”
“Hey – have a drink first,” he said as he put the straw in the glass of water to her lips, and we watched her drink.
I felt as if I could take a drink of water myself at this point, as we both watched Fiona finish her drink, and then say as Freddie put the glass back on the table “seriously Freddie, what are you hnnnndnttkkllmmm!”
As we watched, Freddie put his hand over Fiona’s mouth and then started to tickle Fiona with his free hand, laughing as she wriggled round and tried to get away. But I knew from how Tommy left me, no way was she moving – in fact, I could guess exactly how she felt.
“So come on,” Freddie eventually said, “how did you end up like this?”
“Sorry, what was that?”
As he removed his hand, Fiona gasped, and then said “now that you’ve taken your hand away, tell me how you’re innmmmmntggnnnn.”
“On the other hand,” Freddie said as he pushed the cloth back into her mouth, and then eased the knotted cleave gag back in, “perhaps I’ll figure it out for myself instead.”
We both watched as Fiona tried to talk, but Freddie just found his tape and covered her mouth again, before he tied the folded headscarf back over her mouth. I could feel Frank shifting behind me, wondering what he was going to do as Freddie looked at Fiona, and then said “Perhaps you should see your current...”
Freddie and Fiona both stopped and looked to the cupboard door as soon as I sneezed, Louise looking at me as Freddie walked to the door and opened it.
“Hstthrrr,” Fiona said as Freddie looked at both of us, Louise shrugging as I just waved.
“Did you do this,” Freddie whispered as he looked back at Fiona.
I shook my head, unable to say anything as Louise giggled a little. Freddie looked at both of us, and then he looked at the bed and pointed to Louise.
I nodded as we walked out and over to the bed, Louise lying down as Freddie handed me two lengths of rope.
“Frrddeewhtsgnnn,” Fiona said as she wriggled round, while I tied Louise’s ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, before she rolled onto her stomach. I then pulled her legs back and hogtied her as Freddie said “sorry about that Fiona – I’m going to see who sneezed. Back in a few minutes.”
Louise nodded as she tried to get comfortable, and Freddie motioned for me to follow him out. We walked down to Louise’s room, and went in, Freddie closing the door before he turned and looked at me.
“Okay – either you got far more courage than I have ever seen you show, Frank Cottrell, or something else is going on here. Which is it?”
“I wish it was the first thing,” I said as I sat down, “but I genuinely did not do that to Fiona. In fact, when I got home and went up to my room, I found Louise there tied the same way as you found Fiona.”
“You did?” Freddie looked at me, before he said “and who did that to Louise?”
“Well, according to Louise – it was Patty and Tommy. They surprised her and Fiona earlier, took them to the farm where Rachel was, and then Tommy blindfolded Louise and took her for a walk. She thought they had taken her home and tied her to a chair in her room, but instead...”
“They left her in your room for you to find,” Freddie said as he laughed. “Tommy must have done the same thing to Fiona – she must think she’s in her room at her house.” Sitting down, he said “did Tommy call you this morning, find out if you were around?”
“I think he talked to Mum – did he call you?”
“Yeah – as far as I know he was going to be with Patty all day. Oh, I am going to get him for this...”
“You may have to get in line behind the girls,” I said with a smile.
“Well – the question is, what do we do now?”
“I came back with Louise so we could play,” I said quietly, “but honestly, if we could keep her tied and gagged as long as possible, I’d love that.”
“Yeah – I was thinking the same thing about Fiona,” Freddie said as he looked at me. “So let’s see if we can get Fiona to stay for a sleepover tonight, and take it from there.”
“I can’t stay too late,” I said quietly, “I still have my chores to do.”
“I guessed as much – but you can stay a little while longer, eh?”
I nodded as he said “come on then – let’s surprise them.”
As I wriggled round on the bed, I looked at Fiona, who was still obviously trying to figure out what the heck was going on here. I then turned my head and smiled as Frank and Freddie came back in, Frank walking behind Fiona in the chair as Freddie stood in front of her.
“Sorry about that Fiona,” he said quietly, “I know who sneezed now. So where do you think you are?”
“Oh, I think you’ll see,” Freddie said with a smile as he untied and removed the scarf from Fiona’s eyes. I looked over as she blinked for a few minutes, and then looked to the window, the closet, and directly at Freddie as he smiled at her.
“Yeah – it’s my room,” Freddie said with a smile, “Surprise.”
“Btwhhtmddnnhrrr – hmgdddlsss!”
She had finally turned her head and looked at me as I wriggled on the bed, and said “Heeefnn.”
“Hello Fiona,” Frank whispered behind her, and I could almost see her groan as she tried to look at him.
“I think it’s going to easier if I take this out,” Freddie said as she removed her gag once again, but we could both now see the white and grey tape rolls on his desk. Once he had taken all the layers away, he let Fiona take a drink as Frank joined him.
“Okay,” Fiona finally said, “let’s walk through this. I came home, called Louise, came over and next thing I know, Tommy and Patty have bound and gagged both of us, before he walked us to the Cottrell place. Rachel was already there...”
“Rachel was there,” Freddie said as he looked at Frank.
“That’s what Louise said as well,” he said as I nodded.
“So there we were,” Fiona continued, “then he blindfolded all three of us. I know he took one of us out of the house, and then came back in. A few minutes later, I felt him help me to stand, and then he took me outside for a walk. I figured he was taking me back to my house, but...”
“He brought you here,” Freddie said to finish her sentence. “Frank said he found Louise in his room – which raises a question.”
Frank nodded as he took his mobile phone from his pocket, and dialled a number.
“Charlie? It’s Frank Cottrell. Are you home yet?”
“You just got in? Have you looked in your bedroom yet?”
We all looked at him for a minute before Frank grinned and said “yeah – me and Freddie too. We’ll talk later.”
“Well, I guess I know what happened to Rachel now,” Fiona said as she looked at me. “So what now?”
“Well,” Freddie said as he looked at her, “want to stay for a sleepover?”
I knew what that meant – if Fiona said yes, we would spend most of the rest of the day tied and gagged. Which was not the worst idea I had ever heard...
“Sounds fun – and how do I call Mum and Dad to ask,” Fiona said as she wriggled round.
“Back in a minute,” Freddie said as he went out, Frank watching both of us and smiling until he came back with our phone. Dialling a number, he put the phone next to Fiona’s head as she smiled.
“Mum? Hey, I was wondering if it would be all right if I stayed over with Louise tonight?
“Yes, I know we have things to do tomorrow, but I promise I’ll come home first thing in the morning.
“Thanks Mum – see you tomorrow.”
As Freddie took the phone and ended the call, Fiona looked at me and said “she’s going to call your mum in a few minutes.”
“Better get this down there then,” Freddie said, “right after I do something.”
“And that is... OH.”
I watched as Freddie pushed the cloth back into Fiona’s mouth, and slipped out while he replaced her gag, Louise watching the whole time.
Going into the hallway, I stood with my back against the wall and took several deep breaths. I had a real problem to think through – and find a way to get over this thing that stopped me doing what I wanted to do.
And what I wanted to do more than anything was ask Louise to come to the Manor house with me tomorrow. After all, Freddie had managed it, and I bet the others had as well – so what was stopping me? I knew she would say yes, but this thing I have was stopping me from doing anything about it...
This shyness, this fear, this nervousness was proving to be a huge barrier. I really want to ask her, but I just could not get the words out of my mouth.
Out of my mouth...
Taking my phone out, I started to write a text message, grinning as I did so. When I went back into the room, Freddie was tying the scarf back around Fiona’s head, as Louise turned her head and looked at me. I walked beside her and showed her the screen of my phone.
As she read the message, I saw her eyes widen...
I wondered where Frank had gone, and then he suddenly appeared beside me, and showed me his phone, with a message on it
“Louise. Please come to the Manor House with me tomorrow for Lunch. Frank.”
And there it was. Frank’s first ever invite to me and only me. I turned and looked at him, and nodded as he smiled at me.
“Thank you,” he whispered, before we both heard “hmggddfrddeeennnnnnddnnttthhttttt!”
“Whhppndnddhhhnnnnnn,” I said as I started laughing, while Frank tickled my sides, and then slipped off my shoes. Freddie must have told him about how sensitive the soles of my feet are, as he started to tickle them, and I had no way of getting them out of the way...
I lost track of time as both Fiona and I were tickled mercilessly, unable to do anything except enjoy the fact we were with the boys we both had such strong feelings for. Eventually, however, they both stopped as I felt the rope holding my ankles to my chest were removed, and Freddie untied Fiona from the chair.
“Let’s go,” Frank whispered as we started to jump out of Freddie’s room, and hop along the corridor, until we got into my room. As we did this, the ropes rubbed again on my chest as we jumped along, and I started to feel a little bit giddy, a little bit woozy, a little bit...
I really have to find a way to describe how I feel when this happens, but before I could give it any more thought, we were in my room, and sitting on my bed, while Freddie untied Fiona’s ankles for a few moments, removed her boots and then retied her ankles.
“Let’s get them back to back,” Freddie said, and as we wriggled round Frank took some rope and tied us together round our waists, before Freddie tied our arms together at our elbows.
They then blindfolded us – again – and I listened as there were footsteps, and the door closing. I started to wriggle round, trying to get comfortable, and then I heard a grunt before Fiona rubbed against my back, making the ropes on me rub even more, and exciting me more at the same time as it annoyed me.
IT was clear that when I moved Fiona felt it, and when Fiona moved I felt it, so we eventually stopped moving, wondering how long it would be before we were freed.
Freddie and I watched as the girls eventually settled down, and then walked as quietly as we could out of the room, closing the door behind us.
“So come on,” Freddie said as we stood in the hallway, “what did you do that made Louise so happy?”
“Well, I tickled her, as you well know...”
“That’s not what I meant,” Freddie said quietly, “before that, you showed her something on your phone and she nodded. What was it?”
I shook my head and kept quiet, not wanting to say anything about what I had done, but Freddie just looked at me, and I showed him the message.
“Well now, that is a huge step forward,” Freddie said with a big grin as he playfully punched me in the side, “well done you. Next time, perhaps, you can use the words verbally?”
I must have looked at him in a strange way, as he said “actually use your voice to ask her?”
“When did you ask Fiona?”
“Weeks ago – as soon as we knew the meal was tomorrow.”
I was shocked, not at the fact he had asked so son, but that I had not been able to.
“So come on Frankie boy – what else do you think about when you see Louise, tied up or not?”
I didn’t reply, and I could see Freddie realised he had probably strayed over the mark, so he said “changing the subject a little, what are we going to do with the two girls?”
“Got any ideas,” I said before I looked at my watch. “Damn – I need to head back in a few minutes.”
“I still have my chores to do,” I said quietly.
I nodded as Freddie motioned to me to follow him, and we went back to his room, the grin on my face getting wider as I saw what he held in his hands.
I heard the door open and close, and wondered what was going on, until I felt something soft on my skin, and I started giggling. Then I started laughing, and twisting round trying to get whatever was tickling me away.
It took me a minute to realise that Fiona was also laughing, and then we both fell over onto our sides, the ropes rubbing on us like crazy as we moved round. The blindfolds were then removed, and I saw Frank looking at me, before he looked quickly over, and then gave me a kiss on my forehead.
“I think you two need to be untied,” Freddie said as he sat us up, and they quickly removed the bonds and the gags.
“You two stay there,” I said as both Fiona and I ran to the toilet – the first chance we’d had to do so for most of the afternoon, remember.
When we came back, Frank took me to one side and said “I need to go home now – thank you for saying yes.”
I nodded as he smiled, and then walked off, wishing he could stay – but he was a farmer’s son, and I knew he had a lot to do.
“Look on the bright side,” Freddie whispered into my ear, “at least he actually asked you.”
I nodded and smiled as Mum called up “supper’s ready!”
“Well, I hope Patty had half as much fun as we did,” Fiona said as she sat on my bed, watching me as I put on my blue pyjamas. She was in the white ones she keeps at my place, in case she stayed over – which she and I did quite a bit at each other’s houses.
“I’m sure she did,” I said with a smile, “but I still want words with her tomorrow.”
“So what are you looking forward to tomorrow?”
“Oh – the fact Frank finally asked me.”
Fiona looked at me, and she said “so that explains the big grin. He finally got up the courage to ask you?”
“Sorta – he asked me by showing me a text message he had written.”
“A text... Well,” Fiona said with a laugh, “at least he found a way to get over that shyness.”
“Tell me about it,” I said as I sat next to her, “when did Freddie ask you?”
“Ten days ago – the day after we got the invite.”
“Ten... I don’t think you girls know how lucky you are, that the guys can do that so openly. Even Patty manages to talk to Tommy, but Frank...”
“Look,” Fiona said as she smiled, “can you imagine how much it took for him to even do that?”
“Yeah – you have a point there,” I said as Fiona stood up. “I’ll be back in a minute,” she said, “toilet stop.”
I nodded as she left the room, and waited for her to come back.
Eventually, I went to the door and opened it, looking out and then leaving the room – only to feel a water pistol against my back as Freddie said “Hands up.”
“Oh great,” I said as I raised my hands and turned round, “and what are you going to do to me, you horrible horrible man?”
“Well, what do you think,” Freddie said with a smile, “into my room, if you please.”
“Do I have a choice?”
So I chose to walk to his room, and as I walked in I was not in the least bit surprised to see Fiona sitting on his bed, already very securely tied from her chest to her ankles – but not gagged as she said “here we go again, Louise.”
“Let me guess – once you’d been to the toilet?”
Fiona nodded as I sat next to her on the bed, and Freddie gave me the sponges to hold, before he covered my hands.
As he took my hands behind my back, Fiona said “so anyway, what are you going to wear tomorrow?”
“Not sure yet – you?”
“I’ll decide when I get home tomorrow morning – but it will be something someone will like. You?”
“Oh I can certainly try,” I said with a smile as Freddie tied the rope around my stomach. “What do you think he’ll like?”
“Honestly? Even if he won’t say it, I think he likes you regardless. But equally – your mum and dad may have a say in the matter.”
I laughed as Freddie tied the ropes around my upper arms, not really noticing the way they rubbed as he got off the bed, and then untied Fiona’s legs.
“Why don’t you go through to Louise’s room,” he said, “and then you can enjoy the sleepover.”
“A considerate Freddie – that’s a first,” Fiona said with a wink as we walked through, and she sat in my chair while I sat on the bed. I watched as he tied her legs, and then her back to the chair, before he came over and tied my legs – and I ended up on my stomach, in the inevitable hogtie.
“Guess this is where we stop talking,” Fiona said as she looked at me.
My sight was suddenly cut off as Freddie blindfolded me, and from Fiona’s call of “hey – what’s going on,” I could tell he had blindfolded Fiona as well.
“I’ll be back later – have a nice chat,” he said as we heard the door open and close, and I wriggled round, trying to see if I could free myself.
“So anyway,” Fiona said, “how do you think Patty and Tommy spent the rest of the day?”
“Oh I don’t know... Maybe they tried to pull the stunt on Cassie and Suzie, and they ended up captured instead.”
“Or they went to the pictures together and snuggled up.”
“Maybe he took her to a fancy restaurant?”
“Tommy? Come on – I think his idea of a fancy restaurant is Pizza Express.”
I giggled at that, and then said “maybe they just went back to her house after they dropped Rachel off.”
“Possibly – I tell you how they will end up though?”
“With Patty just as tightly tied up as we ate, and gagged properly.”
We both laughed at that, before Fiona said “well, at any rate, we can find out tomorrow.”
“Yeah – so we find Rachel, and nab her as soon as she turns up?”
“That sounds like a plan – boys allowing.”
I smiled to myself as I said “At least he asked me.”
“Frank? He took his time, didn’t he? I was asked over a week ago.”
“I know, I know – and believe me it’s almost as infuriating as these ropes,” I said as I wriggled again.
“He really is the shyest boy I have ever met.”
“Yeah – but he’s cute – and if I’m being honest, I like his the way he is, shyness included.”
We both stopped talking for a few minutes, before I said “got your homework done?”
“Did it last night – remember I wasn’t meant to be here this afternoon. Do you think Mister Jarvis is going to accept five pages instead of six?”
“For your essay? I wish he would – I struggled to fill four.”
“Talking of struggling – can you get your blindfold off?”
I lay still for a moment, and then rolled onto my side before I started to rub my head on the duvet. The ropes started rubbing again, but I ignored how they made me feel as I felt the scarf slip down my head, and then I was able to look at Fiona, her scarf down round her neck.
“Well,” Fiona said as we looked at each other, “what next, partner?”
“Well,” I said as I panted, “any ideas?”
“Think we can get each other free?”
I lay there for a few minutes – no way could I get myself free, and same for Fiona, so we’d have to help each other. But to do that, one of us would have to move, and with my ankles secured to my chest ropes no way I could move.
Looking at Fiona, I saw Freddie had just tied her upper body to the chair back – not around her lap and the seat, and her feet were free to touch my smooth wooden floor...
“The only way we can do this,” I said, “is if you used your feet to move the chair over towards me, and then put your back to me. I could see if I could get you free from the chair back, and then we go from there.”
Fiona nodded as she started to move the chair back, while I turned myself round on the bed and wriggled over, ignoring how those ropes were making me feel until my head was on the edge of the bed, and Fiona had managed to move the chair so I could see and reach the back.
Now that it was there, I could see Freddie had tied the ropes with one knot – a big complicated knot, but still one knot. SO I started to worry the ropes, slowly loosening them with my teeth and then starting to unravel the knot as it slowly, slowly started to unravel.
And boy was it hard work! Eventually, however, after a lot of biting, tugging and pulling, I watched as the ropes fell onto Fiona’s lap, and she was able to wriggle them down as she stood up, and jumped over to sit beside me.
“Now then,” she said as she looked at me, “get your ankles free from your chest?”
“Oh yes,” I panted as I realised just how much I had sweated doing that. I rested while she worked with her teeth, and eventually sighed as I was able to stretch my legs out. It took me a few moments to get myself sitting up next to her, as she turned her back to me and I was able to undo the knots on her wrists.
Once they were free, Fiona managed to work her arms loose, and started to pick at the tape holding the sock to her right hand with her teeth, and then once that was gone she pulled on the sock covering her hand with her teeth.
I watched as she then pulled the tape away from her fist, and put the sponge down on the bed, flexing her fingers as she said “One down, one to go.” Using her right hand, she then uncovered her left hand, before I turned her back to her and she started to free my own hands.
A few minutes, later, the door opened and Freddie came in, saying “right then, it’s time we...”
“Time we what,” I said as Fiona and I finished untying our legs and stood up.
“Time you told me how you managed to do that,” he said as he looked at us.
“Trade secret,” Fiona said, “why?”
Freddie kept looking at us, before he said “time you went to bed – Mom will be up in a few minutes.”
“Well, we both need to change in that case,” I said as I felt my sweat covered top, “so if you don’t mind?”
“No – no go right ahead,” he said as Fiona and I found some clean nightclothes, and we both headed for the bathroom.
When we came back, both of us now wearing nightdresses and having washed and brushed our teeth, Freddie came back in, and tied our wrists together in front of us. I then lay down on the bed, Fiona watching as my brother tied my legs together below my knees, and then my ankles, before he secured my ankles to the foot of the bed.
“There we go,” Freddie said as he put my duvet over me, and looked at me, “all nice and snug?”
“Can’t complain,” I said as Fiona giggled.
“Good – say good night Freddie.”
“Good night Freddie,” I said before smiling as he pressed the white tape down over my mouth. He then helped Fiona to lie down on the camp bed, before he tied her legs and ankles, but the duvet over her, and then gave her a little kiss before he tape gagged her.
As he went out, Mum came in, and kissed me good night, before turning the light off and closing the door. It didn’t take me too long to go to sleep after that...
It was the sound of Fiona trying to speak that woke me up, and as I looked to the side I saw Freddie untying her from the bed.
“Hey,” he said as he looked round, “I need to let Fiona get to the shower first – her mum called to remind her she had to get back early, and she needs to get washed and changed.”
I nodded as she got up, removed the tape from her mouth and went to the bathroom, while Freddie pulled my duvet away and started to untie my feet. “As for you,” he said, “once Fiona’s out, you need to get washed and dressed before breakfast.”
I nodded as he untied my hands, before I sat up and took the tape away from my mouth. “Tell Mum and Dad I’ll be down as soon as I’ve got ready,” I said as I waited for Fiona to come out.
By the time I came down, wearing a peach coloured dress and my shoes, Fiona was waving goodbye as she ran out of the door.
“Come and sit down, Louise,” Mum called out as I went to the table.
“Come and sit down Freddie,” Mum called out as I went to the table. Mark and Eric were already sitting there, dressed like me for church and eating their cereal, as Mum put out a bowl for me as well.
“So,” Eric said with a smile, “you finally got round to asking Louise to go with you to the Manor house this afternoon?”
“Yes, I did,” I said quietly as I ate my cereal – I was trying to think if I would have the courage to ask her something else this morning.
“Why don’t you ask her to come to church with you as well,” Mark said as he took the bowls to the sink, “makes sense, and she could come up to the Manor House with us afterwards.”
“Oh no, I don’t think I can do that,” I said as Mum put a plate of bacon and eggs down for me, and Dad came into the kitchen.
“Why not? You got the courage up to ask her to come to the lunch with you, didn’t you?”
“Frank asked Louise to go to the Manor House with him? That’s a step forward,” Dad said as he poured himself some tea.
“Look,” Eric said, “Freddie and Charlie were talking the other day – they’ve not just asked their girls to the manor house, but they’re taking them to the church with them as well. Do you really want Louise to be the odd one out?”
“Well – no, I don’t,” I said quietly, “but what if she said no?”
“Louise? Come on kiddo,” Mark said with a smile.
“Look,” Eric said as he wiped his chin, “Mum, Dad, if Frank here was to ask Louise to come with us this morning, is that all right?”
“Sure,” Dad said as he looked at me, “no problem at all.”
“Good – so what’s stopping you?”
I blushed and went back to eating my breakfast, before Eric said “eat up, and then get your coat on. I’ll walk you to the house, and you can ask her, all right?”
I nodded – and so it was a few minutes later that Eric and I were walking up the path to Louise’s front door.
“So what are you going to say,” Eric said as he nudged me.
“Louise, would you like to come to church with me this morning, and then we can go to the Manor House together?”
“Good – ready?”
I nodded as Eric rang the doorbell – and then sprinted down the path and along the road, as I stood there looking at him.
“I wonder who that is,” Dad said as we heard the doorbell ring. “I thought you were going to go to Fiona’s house and go in with her Freddie.”
“I’ll go and see who it is,” I said as I left the table and walked to the front door. As I opened it, I could see Frank standing there, looking down the road with a shocked expression.
“Frank? What can I do for you?”
He turned and looked at me, and then said “oh.... Hi Louise... You look nice.”
“So do you,” I said with a smile, “so what are you doing here?”
“Well – am I interrupting your breakfast?”
“Come in,” I said as I took his arm, and walked him in to where the rest of the family were eating. Freddie looked up, a bemused expression on his face as Dad said “Frank? What can we do for you?”
“Well,” he said quietly as he blushed, “I wanted to ask Louise if she would come to Church with me today?”
Mum and Dad looked at each other as Freddie put his knife and fork down.
“Well now,” Dad said as he looked at Frank, “Given we’ll all end up at the same place, and we are all going to Holderness Manor after that, I think we can allow that. So long as you let Louise finish her breakfast – do you want something?”
“No thank you Mister Hobson – I’ve already eaten,” Frank whispered as I sat down and finished my food.
“Just let me go and brush my teeth,” I said as I walked up the stairs, and looked in the bathroom mirror. Two invites in twenty four hours? Maybe the walls were finally coming down...
“See you there,” I said to Mum, Dad and Freddie before we left the house, Frank holding my hand as we walked up the road and back to the Cottrell farm. As we went into the farmhouse, Mark and Eric were standing in the hallway.
“I hate you,” Frank said to Eric as they put their coats on.
“Worked though, didn’t it – well done,” Eric said with a grin as Mr and Mrs Cottrell came out.
“Hello Louise – I’m glad you could join us,” Mrs Cottrell said. “Right now, however, we need to get moving – out to the car, everyone.”
Frank sat next to me in the back of their SUV, Eric and Mark in front of us and their parents in front of them, as we drove down the farm road. As we turned onto the main road, I saw Freddie walking over to Fiona’s house, and smiled as we drove off.
I don’t think I’ve felt more nervous than when Louise and I walked into the church together, and then sat side by side. A few of my school friends looked over, wondering what was going on, but when Fiona and her family sat behind us with Freddie I didn’t feel quite so bad – especially when Freddie leaned over and whispered into my ear “did you eat three Shredded Wheat today or something?”
I said nothing, as the service came and went. I knew Rachel would be with Charlie – and he went to the same church as Patty and the Craigs, so we wouldn’t see them until later.
After the service, I got Louise a glass of squash, and we talked to Freddie and Fiona for a few minutes – but then it was time to get into the cars and drive up to Holderness Manor.
When we got there, a few others had already arrived – and when we went in, we saw that we were the first of the ones out age to arrive. Bobby and Suzie Holderness were already there, with their mum and dad, their mum holding Luci in her arms. Mister and Mrs Boyle were also there, as was Samuel. Angela and Alicia Bowden were also there, Andrew running round the floor, as were Cassie and Jenny Craig with the twins.
“Well, well,” Bobby said as he came over to greet us, “this is a nice surprise. Did Frank ask you to come with him Louise?”
I must have gone bright red as Louise smiled and said “yes, he actually did.”
“Yes, he actually did.”
And as I said this, I saw Cassie Craig and Suzie Holderness high five each other. We went over and talked to them for a few minutes, Cassie and Suzie asking what had happened,
I then saw the Williamsons arrive, Eric making his excuses as he went to talk to Lisa while Rachel came over and looked at me and Fiona.
“Patty not here yet?”
“On her way I think – why?”
“We nab her?”
“We nab her,” I said as the doors to the garden opened, and we began to move out there, the toddlers playing on the grass. The Holmes and the Harmers then arrived, Eddie Holmes kissing Angela as Mark and Samuel went to join Mary and Cathy.
“Would you like a drink,” Frank whispered, and I nodded as he went to get one for me. He then gave it to me, whispered something into my ear that made me giggle, and went to join the boys.
At which point, I saw Patty and her mother come out into the garden, and the three of us looked at each other, nodding as we advanced.
“There you are!”
Patty turned round in her blue dress, a nervous smile appearing on her lips as Rachel said “so come on – spill.”
“I want to drink this Rachel,” she said as she held her glass up.
“You know what we mean,” Fiona said, “just what did you get up to yesterday?”
“Well, you already know part of it?”
“A very small part – no thanks to you,” Rachel said with a giggle. “So come on – what happened?”
“Well – he came early, gave me flowers and chocolates, and we sat and talked for a while...”
“Okay – I sense the hand of Suzie in that,” Rachel said, “then what?”
“He tied me up, gagged me, put on my coat and scarf, took me to the pictures...”
“And nobody noticed?”
“And nobody noticed Louise,” she said as she looked at me, “anyway, we then went back to Wissenden for lunch, which is when we talked about the sleepover at your place Louise...”
I looked at the other two as I said “Oh... OH! You mean that was the trigger for what happened after that?”
“Yeah,” Patty said with a blush. “Tommy boasted he could capture us all by himself, so we went back to my place, and collected Rachel first. We took her to the farm, left her there, and then came to get you Louise – and Fiona kinda fell into our laps at the same time as well. So we brought you to the Cottrell place, and then separated you, leaving you in the rooms.
“After that, we went back to my place, and Tommy asked if I’d put on my Victorian dress to join him for dinner.”
“Oh wow,” Rachel said, “did you manage the corset all right?”
“I managed – so I changed, we drove back to his place, and had a meal before we danced, me in my dress, him in a suit... He tied and gagged me, and we danced again...”
“Oh wow,” Fiona said, “that is so romantic...”
“Anyway,” Patty said after a moment, “what happened to you three?”
“What – after you left us bound, gagged, defenceless against anything a certain three young gentlemen would want to do?”
“Well – yes,” Patty said with a grin.
“Okay,” I said, “first up, we all agree on one thing. Tommy is an evil and very clever young man – and that’s saying something when Charlie Williamson is within earshot.”
“Hey – that’s my guy you’re talking about,” Rachel said as she nudged me.
“Oh yeah – so what happened when he walked in on you.”
“Well, first up, I had no idea where I was...”
“None of us did,” Fiona said, “trust me.”
“So I heard the door open, and then I heard Charlie say ‘what the...’ I turned my head, wondering what Charlie was doing in my house, and then he untied the scarf you had tied over my eyes, looking at me as he said ‘So, is it Christmas already?’
“I remember trying to ask what he was doing in my place, and then I looked round, and it dawned on me I was in his room. I could also hear giggling behind me, and I turned to see Lisa standing in the doorway, waving at me before she went back to her room.
“Well, he untied me from the chair, and we cuddled a bit, before he invited me to stay for dinner. He allowed me to call home, and then – well, that’s our business.”
Rachel grinned as she glanced over at Charlie, before she said “what about you Fiona?”
“Me? Well let’s see – I heard someone whisper in my ear, realised it was Freddie, and wondered what the hell Freddie was doing in my room...”
“I sense a theme building here,” Rachel said with a giggle.
“Anyway, he took the blindfold off, and then the gag, and we talked for a bit, all the time with me wondering how I had ended up in Freddie’s room – when we both heard a loud sneeze, Freddie walks over to his cupboard, and who should be in there but...”
All three of the girls looked at me, and I felt my cheeks get hot before I said “there is a good reason, honestly...”
“Oh,” Rachel said, “and where were you left?”
“In Frank’s room... I honestly thought you had taken me back to my place, and when I heard someone moving about, I thought it was Freddie. They said nothing, and it’s the sort of thing he would do – so when I heard Frank whisper into my ear, I nearly jumped out of my skin.”
“Even though you were tied to a chair?”
I shook my head, before I said “anyway, eventually Frank walked me home, and then we saw Fiona in Freddie’s room. That’s when he suggested we hide in his cupboard...”
“Back up,” Patty said suddenly, “Frank suggested that?”
Louise nodded and grinned as she said “Well – it was fun watching both of you, and as for the sleepover...”
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Mrs Bridges called out, “Lunch is served.”
“Catch you later,” I said as we went to join the boys, and Patty joined the rest of her family.
I went back to join Frank, wondering what he was doing with his phone...
So far so good was my thinking while Louise had gone off with the other girls. I talked to Freddie and the others, but then slipped away and sat by myself for a few minutes.
I was still having trouble believing just how brave I had been in asking Louise to come with me today – and I wanted to do more. I wanted to ask her if she would come and see a film with me next Saturday, but somehow the words were still getting stuck in my throat.
When Louise came back, I was doing what I had done yesterday – writing a message on my phone to ask her to come with me. But when she spoke to me, I clammed up and put my phone away, asking if she would like to come and get some food and drink with me.
Why can’t I just get the words out? It’s beginning to infuriate me more and more, because I really want to ask her out, and I just can’t...
When Frank put his phone away, I wondered if he was going to ask me out somewhere, in the same way he’d asked me to come to the Manor with him that day. I was going to flat out ask him that when Lady Holderness came over, and started to talk to us as well as his mum and dad.
Frank made sure I had enough, and even went to get more for me, but after the meal I went to see if I could find Patty – only she wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
“Frank! Come over here a minute, will you?”
I walked over to where Bobby Holderness was standing with his friend Colin Hampton.
“Enjoying the afternoon so far?”
“Yes – I don’t feel quite as shy here as elsewhere,” I whispered as Charlie and Freddie came over as well. “Have you seen Patty anywhere?”
“Oh she’ll be somewhere,” Colin said, “let’s go over here, where the girls can’t hear us.”
“So what are you thinking,” Charlie said as we went to the table.
“Simple really – we kidnap the girls and get them together.”
Now that was something I had no problem with, as we looked at each other and nodded.
“Hey – maybe we can use the new ropes you told us about Bobby?”
I looked at Bobby, as he stood there thinking, and then he said “Look – I don’t mind if you want to do it to the younger girls, as it won’t affect them that much. But not on Lisa and her group – it just would not be right, and we’re already planning when that is going to happen.”
“New rope? What new rope?”
Charlie looked at me, and said “I’ll show you when we get them together. The Library?”
“All right then – see you all in there,” Freddie said as we made our way off to find the other girls. I knew Patty seemed to have disappeared, but I was sure we would catch up with her later.
Finding Louise wasn’t a problem – she was walking along the path at the side of the house when I took her by the arm and led her inside.
“Louise,” I said quietly, “there’s something I want to ask you.”
“Oh? What’s that Frank?”
“Would you come with me please – I’m kidnapping you.”
And with those words, he had me. I’d already seen Freddie going over to find Fiona, so I knew something was up.
“Oh no, please don’t hurt me,” I said as I raised my hands, and he took me along to the library. Walking in, I saw Charlie as he looked over Rachel’s shoulder and said “hey – you got a hostage as well?”
“Another stamp on the card,” Rachel said with a shrug as Charlie tied her wrists together behind her back.
“Yeah,” I said as I sat down, and watched Frank as he went to the box of supplies, and took out two sponges and a pair of socks. Charlie passed him the roll of duct tape as I held the sponges, and then watched Frank cover them.
“You any idea where Patty went?”
“Nope,” Rachel said as Charlie tied some rope around her stomach and arms, and the door opened to allow Freddie to bring Fiona in.
“Come and stand next to Rachel,” Frank said, so I stood up and crossed my wrists behind my back, while Freddie covered Fiona’s hands and Charlie held a cloth in front of Rachel’s mouth.
“Talk to you girls later,” she said as I felt the rope pulling my wrists together, and then watched as Charlie pulled the knotted strip of towel between Rachel’s lips.
Frank had started to tie some rope around my arms and stomach as well while Fiona stood next to me.
“Neither of us has seen her,” I said as I heard the tape ripping from the roll, and my own arms tighten to my sides as Frank tied the roe round my stomach. “But you know Patty – she’ll be somewhere.”
“Open wide please Louise.”
“Talk to you later as well,” I said as I felt the cloth on my tongue, and then the bands of cloth and tape round my face as I was kept more and more quiet.
So fifteen minutes later, there we all were, wrists and lower arms tied, and nicely gagged, as Charlie took Rachel’s glasses off and put them to one side. We all watched as he took a length of rope and started to tie her upper arms to her body, the rope going below her chest, and I just knew that they would be on me soon, and then tightened under my arms.
I smiled under the tape as I thought about how that would feel. This was going to be a... Hey! Frank just blindfolded me! Why?
Both Freddie and Charlie nodded as I tied the folded scarf over Louise’s eyes, and then Freddie blindfolded Fiona while Charlie tied the rope around Rachel’s shoulders and arms.
He then picked up the long length of rope, Freddie and I watching as he tied it under Rachel’s right arm to tighten those bands. And then he carried on.
I heard Rachel squeal out, but had no idea what was going on as I felt Frank pass some rope under my right arm, between my arm and body, and then pull it so that the bands tightened on that side of me. I was expecting that, though the way it felt it seemed the same as always. And yet Rachel was giggling and gasping at the same time – what was...”
I could feel the rope tighten even more, and then it was passed around the back of my neck – I could feel it under the collar of my dress – before he started to tie it round my left hand side. As the ropes tightened, my chest was forced up even more than usual – and I almost fainted at how it made me feel when that happened. It was far more powerful and nice and strange than before, as I tried to move and could feel the ropes even closer than before.
The rubbing made me feel very strange indeed, so that I was barely aware of Frank tying another length of rope between my wrists, and then feeding it up my back under all the other bands. As he tugged gently on the rope on my neck, and I felt him tie the last rope to that as well, my wrists were pulled up – and I almost fainted then at how that felt.
I tried moving my wrists – and the ropes got tighter, rubbing even more. I just could not describe how it was making me feel – but when Fiona squealed as well, I realised whatever it was, it had been done to all three of us.
We were then walked round, my wrists moving as I did so and pulling, before I was sat down and Frank crossed my ankles. I could hear Fiona and Rachel’s muffled squeals as they were sat either side of me, and my legs were pulled together below my knees, the rope going around and between them as it had with my ankles.
As I wriggled round, I could feel myself getting more and more – I’m not sure what, but it felt really nice and exciting and scary and all that...
So when the blindfold came off, and Charlie put Rachel’s glasses back on for her, we took a few minutes to look at each other.
Looking at Rachel, I saw the rope going up from under her left arm and around the back of her neck. I turned my head – trying to ignore what was happening to me – and saw on Fiona the rope at the back of her neck and going under her right arm. Both girls were looking at me, and from their eyes I could tell they were trying to figure out what was going on as well.
I then tried to move my head back – which really made the ropes on my chest tighten – and now could see a rope running from Rachel’s’ wrists up her back and tied round the rope at her neck. She turned and then her eyes rolled as she gasped – we all were feeling the same thing, as we tried to settle down and then sat still, wondering just it was that was doing this to us.
“Something wrong,” Freddie said as he looked at Fiona, who simply and slowly shook her head from side to side, and then shivered as the ropes moved on her.
So when the door opened, we simple watched as Bobby escorted Cassie into the room, her hands behind her back, but with no other rope visible.
“Well, fancy meeting you here,” she said as Bobby picked up a pair of scissors, and we saw the zip tie after he cut it away, “having fun.”
We slowly nodded, as I tried not to show what that was doing to me, while Bobby started to cover Cassie’s wrists. The door opened again, and Suzie came in, her hands in the air as Brian Hampton followed her.
“This is becoming a habit,” she said, but she readily allowed Brian to cover her hands as Bobby secured Cassie’s arms to her body.
I had to admit, as I watched Bobby tie the two bands of rope around Cassie’s chest, I was wondering how she would react to these ropes, but then we all watched as Bobby only used the two short lengths of rope between her arms and body. He then started to silence Ms Craig, while Frank made sure Suzie was secured.
We slowly turned our heads to look at each other, wondering why they were being treated differently as Suzie was gagged, and they were sat on a couch opposite us, when Lisa came in with Eric.
And so there we were as the girls were secured – me too scared to move much given how the ropes were secured round me, and I was sure the others felt the same way, but could say nothing.
“Swhtrrugndtrddwfss,” Lisa said as Eric finished binding her legs.
As we watched the older boys get to work, I wondered why Louise was so quiet, so still. It wasn’t as if she didn’t enjoy being bound and gagged like this – I know she does, and she seemed to really like the new ropes, but she was very still.
And I still wanted to ask her out...
And that was when it hit me. I had no problem with tying up Louise, and gagging her, and I could talk to her like this – so why shouldn’t I ask her out now, while she was like this!
I was still too afraid to say anything, of course, with everyone else there – but I still had my mobile phone in my pocket, so I got it out and looked at the message I had typed earlier.
“Would you come to the pictures with me next week? You can pick the film, I’ll get the tickets and the popcorn.
Taking a deep breath, and waiting as Freddie and Charlie went to talk to the other boys, I gently nudged Louise.
“Whmmmm,” she said as she turned her head, and I saw her roll her eyes a little. So I showed her the message on my screen.
She stared at it, then looked at me, and then nodded her head up and down – before she shivered and had to sit still for a few minutes.
It was the most amazing feeling – he’d asked me on a date again – and I just had to nod in agreement – completely forgetting about the ropes behind me, and the way they made the ropes around me feel as I almost collapsed, unable to understand what this was doing to me...
“Come on girls,” Freddie said as he knelt in front of Fiona and started to untie her legs, “we’re going to go for a little walk. Frank, Charlie?”
I watched as Frank knelt in front of me, smiling as he mouthed “thank you” and released my legs. As we all stood up, the bossy went behind us, covering our backs as we walked out of the library, and went in a different way to the kitchen, avoiding the older girls and adults.
We then walked slowly down to the woods, nobody seeing us as we stepped down, the ropes driving me mad as we walked along and I tried not to stumble. When we got to the woods themselves, we walked down a little way, before Charlie said “Right – the game is hide and seek. We play as couples, and we draw lots to see who is it first.”
We all nodded at that, as the boys drew lots – and Freddie got the short straw. He looked at Fiona, who nodded as they closed their eyes and started counting. Frank took me by the arm and we started to run down the path, and then into the woods.
Now, running when we’re tied up is something I’m used to by now, and I understand how it makes me feel, but today? As we moved amongst the trees, jumping over logs and ducking under branches, walking and running, I felt myself almost about to lose control. It was all I could do not to stop and lie giggling on the ground before Frank finally took me behind some trees and we sat on the leaves.
“I don’t think they’ll find us easily here,” he said as he looked at me. “Are you all right Louise – you look awfully red.”
“Mfhhfnksss,” I said as I tried to gather my thoughts, calming myself down and getting my breath back. The way I felt, I just wanted Frank to hold and cuddle me, and be there for...
We both looked up to see Freddie and Fiona looking at us, Fiona raising an eyebrow as she tried to smile.
“It’s a fair cop,” Frank said as we stood up and walked back to the path, where Charlie and Lisa were waiting.
“Your turn now,” Charlie said as he looked at us, so we both closed our eyes, counting to fifty as we heard the other four moving off. When we opened our eyes, Frank grinned as he said “come with me.”
We went through the woods, bending and looking through trees, and if anything that was worse than when we were running and jumping. Because, I think, the ropes would not stop rubbing my back and chest...
Fortunately, it didn’t take too long to find them, and it was our turn to hide again – all the time making our way down to the clearing by the lake. As we got into there, the three of us sat down, unable to move and barely aware of the fact the boys were re-securing our ankles and legs.
“Time for a hopping race.”
“Hmgddnndntths,” I heard Rachel say as the three of us were helped to our feet and helped to stand in a line.
“On your marks,” Freddie said, “get set – GO!”
We looked at each other – and went for it. For myself, I was enjoying more than worrying about how I felt now, and I got the feeling the other two felt the same, as we made a real race of it.
With each hop, I was feeling more and more giddy – and I knew I had no way of explaining to Frank how I felt. Looking at the other two, I could see in their eyes the same thing – we can’t avoid this, so let’s do it.
As I jumped along, I started to feel incredibly light headed – but I kept going, until I crossed the finishing line first and I feel to the ground, wriggling round and wanting to laugh and scream at the same time.
From where we were standing, we could see the girls were enjoying themselves, but somehow they seemed to be enjoying it even more than usual. The three of us looked at each other, unsure of what was going on, especially at the end when they all collapsed onto the grace and started laughing.
“Are you three all right,” Freddie said as we ran over, helping them to sit up and hugging them as they managed to catch their breath. Eventually, Louise looked at me and nodded as she shivered again.
“It must be getting cold,” Charlie said, “come on, let’s get them back to the house.”
We untied their ankles and legs and helped them to stand up, before we walked back up to the house. I was still worried someone over than Mum or Dad may see us, but we managed to get back into the house without been seen, and then up to the playroom.
As soon as Freddie closed the door, we started to untie the girls, all three of them really standing still until we had ungagged them and uncovered their hands. They then turned round and looked at us, the three of us wondering what was coming next.
I looked at Frank, and then at the other girls, before I did something I knew he would be very uncomfortable with – I hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.
“Why in the name of creation did you tie those new ropes,” Rachel gasped as she looked at Charlie, Fiona and I wanting the answer to the same question.
“Well,” Charlie said as he rubbed the back of his head, “we figured it would make the ropes tighter, and stop you moving round a bit more. By the looks of things, it did just that right?”
All three of us looked at each other, and nodded without saying exactly why we dare not move as much as we were known to do. I did have another question however.
“Who taught you how to do that?”
“There you are – we were wondering what happened to you?”
All six of us looked at Bobby as he came in, and as one the boys looked at Bobby before saying “him.”
“Me? What did I...? Oh yeah, that.”
“It worked,” Charlie said quietly, “we all owe you an apology.”
“Okay,” Bobby said as he looked at us, and then backed out.
“Right,” I said as I looked at Frank, “I have something to say?”
“Yes,” Frank said as the boys looked at us, and I found myself lost for words. I knew what I wanted to say, which was “don’t do that to us again – ever.”
But what I actually said was “don’t do that again without telling us first, all right?”
“Fair enough,” Charlie said with a smile, Fiona whispering into my ear “you forgot to add and we agree.”
I nodded and looked at her – and her look told me she was thinking the same thing. So was Rachel, but before we could add our own thoughts the door opened again, and our parents came in.
“Bobby said you were all in here,” Dad said as he looked at us. “Time to head, boys and girls.”
“Mr Hobson,” Frank said, “would you object if I brought Louise home with me?”
“I’d like to take Fiona back with us, if that’s all right Mom,” Freddie said, as Charlie offered a lift to Rachel as well.
“All right,” Rachel said with a grin.
“Come on then – you need to go and get your coats and say thank you to Lord and Lady Holderness,” Dad said as we filed out in front of them. A few minutes later, I sat in the Cottrell car as Fiona took my place in our car, and we set off.
Looking out of the window, I was amazed at everything I had managed to do that day. All right, my brother forced me into the start of it, and he was going to be thanked for that at some point, but I felt as if a lot of things had happened.
Sure, I still had a fear of actually verbally asking Louise to go out with me, but she had agreed to come with me today, and even better she had agreed to come to the pictures with me next week! All right, I had to write it out as a message and show it to her, and I couldn’t do it until she couldn’t move or say anything, but still...
Given how much she likes being tied up and gagged, and how much I liked doing it to her, at least it was a way forward. Maybe it would get easier over time.
I really hoped so – it was nice to be able to finally ask her to do something else with me.
As we drove along, I gave Frank’s hand a little squeeze, and he turned and smiled at me. I could not believe how brave he had been – and how happy I felt that he had asked me on a date.
Yeah, I know – he wrote the invite instead of said it, but it made it all the more special. It was going to be our way of doing it, and that made me excited.
But not as excited or as strange or as flustered as those ropes made me feel. Somehow, with them even tighter, they were doing something different to me – and that something was so intense, so scary, and also so nice...
I wondered when I would get to feel that again... Because despite my fears and lack of knowing what was going on, it certainly made this a memorable first date...
“Thanks for coming with me,” Frank said as we came out of the showing of Fantastic Four. We’d discussed what film we may both want to see, and it turned out Frank hadn’t realised I was also interested in some of his comics and superheroes. So this was a mutual choice – and on my part going with frank meant I didn’t need to ask awkward questions from some of the other girls – or my darling brother.
Actually, scratch that last bit – Freddie knew, but he wouldn’t tell the others.
After all, I knew a few secrets about him as well.
“Hey, I enjoyed it too,” I said as I looked at him, “and the popcorn was good too.”
Frank smiled and then looked at his phone. “Dad’s outside – want to grab a burger on the way back?”
“If you’re paying...”