A New Associate
“Thanks for a lovely evening,” Rachel said as she walked away from the cinema with Charlie, her arm in his. “I really enjoyed that film.”
“I thought you might,” he said with a smile, “after all, he is one of your favourite actors.”
“True,” Rachel said as she put her cheek on Charlie’s shoulder. “So, what we were talking about the other day?”
“Oh yeah – what, going to Glastonbury?”
“Not that, doofus – although the answer to both will be the same. Yes.”
“Yes you will...”
“Yes, I’ll marry you – when the time is right,” Rachel said with a smile. “As if I could refuse you, but we really need to tell our parents.”
“Well, you and your parents are coming for lunch tomorrow – that might be good.”
“You really asked her?”
“I did,” Charlie said as he looked at Kerry and Clive Rigg, “but I wish to ask your permission, Mister Rigg, to marry Rachel.”
They were sitting round the dinner table, still dressed for church, as Mark and Yvonne looked over, Lisa holding her breath.
“Well,” Clive eventually said, “how could we possibly refuse? Congratulations, Rachel darling.”
Rachel blushed and smiled as Lisa hugged her, and then said “thank goodness – someone who can make an honest man out of my brother.”
“I can but try,” Rachel said as Mark and Yvonne hugged her, and then Mark went to answer the telephone.
“Brian,” she heard him say, “good to hear from you. How are our godchildren?”
“Really – give me a minute,” he said as he looked back in. “I need to take this – back in a minute,” he said as he headed for his office, closing the door behind him. When he came back, he whispered something into Yvonne’s ear, before they all sat back for coffee.
“I’ll run her back, Mister Rigg,” Charlie said as Rachel’s parents left, Lisa saying “I’ll see you later” before she ran out, closing the door behind herself.
“Well, alone at last,” Charlie said, “whatever shall we do?”
“I am going to the toilet,” Rachel said as she went up the stairs, but as she left having completed what she had to do, she came back down and past Mark’s home office – then froze as she heard a voice say “two tomorrow.”
A very familiar voice, although it was one she had not heard in nearly ten years.
“Rach? What’s wrong?”
“Charlie,” she whispered quietly, “I just heard Jay Edwards. In your house.”
“Jay Edwards? Here? I think we’d know if he was here, Rachel.”
“But I heard him – in your dad’s office. He said two tomorrow.”
She expected Charlie to believe her, but Rachel was totally prepared for what he said next.
“I know – Dad, Mum, you’d better come out.”
“Charlie – what is it,” Yvonne said as she came out, and saw Rachel staring at her.
“She heard Dad – I think it’s time we told her the family secret.”
“The family – oh no, don’t tell me you’re...”
“Aye – I am,” Yvonne said in a Scottish accent. “Come wi me lassie – I’ll explain everything...”
She led Rachel into the front room, Charlie and Mark waiting until she said “you can come in now.”
As they walked in, Rachel looked at them. “Your mum told me – all the times we met like that, you were like secret agents?”
“I’m afraid so,” Mark said as he sat down, “and, if it is any consolation, I am really sorry you ended up like that so many times.”
“It’s not that,” Rachel said quietly, “that was always fun – but you’re criminals. And Charlie is too?”
“I am, but we never hurt anyone beyond tying them up – you know that at first hand Rachel. But if you want to call things off...”
“No – but I need to understand. Why? How? When?”
“There is one way – but you have to trust us. Brian Holderness-Carter is – well, our handler, and he has a job for us. We need an extra pair of female hands though – will you help us Rachel?”
She looked at all three of them, before saying “But I can’t do accents...”
“Good afternoon Gentlemen.”
“Afternoon Mrs McPhee,” the two men said as they sat in the van, balaclavas covering their heads, “a new one today.”
“Meet Belle,” Mrs McPhee said as she indicated the young masked woman sitting next to her, “she’s going to help me with the youngest of the charges today. So usual rules, and best behaviour.”
The two men nodded, the third man and Belle nodding in agreement as the van drove off...
“Have you two finished your homework assignments yet?”
“Nearly,” a young girl called down the staircase as Lorraine Peake stood at the bottom. The forty year old had long brown hair, and was wearing a black jumper and denim skirt, black tights and brown leather boots, a black and grey shawl tied round her throat and neck.
Shaking her head, she started to make her way to the kitchen, before she heard the front doorbell sound.
“Now who could that be on a Saturday afternoon,” she said as she walked to the door. She could see several figures through the frosted window, but still opened it and said “yes, how can I...”
“Good afternoon,” the masked man wearing the boiler suit said as he came in, the pistol aimed at Lorraine while she backed off. He spoke in a soft Geordie accent, as he said “Not a word now – we don’t want to scare anyone. Allow me to introduce myself – I am Jay Edwards, the two ladies are Mrs McPhee and Belle, and the other men are my friends.”
“Oh god,” Lorraine whimpered as Jay said “Remain calm – do as we say, and nobody gets hurt. Am I right in assuming that Debbie and Ronnie are upstairs?”
She nodded slowly as Mrs McPhee collected a bag. “Come wi me Belle,” she said quietly, “we’ll take care o’ the bairns while Jay talks tae their ma’.”
The two women walked slowly up the stairs, Belle whispering “God the adrenaline rush” as they reached the top.
“Breath slowly – let it give you strength,” Mrs McPhee whispered back as she opened the door to the first bedroom, where nine year old Debbie was sitting on her bed. She was wearing a short sleeved grey checked dress, which came down to her knees and had a cloth belt tied round the waist, black tights and short black leather boots, with fakes belts and buckles.
As she looked up, Mrs McPhee said “Hello Debbie – my name’s Mrs McPhee, and this is Belle.”
“Who... Who are you,” she asked quietly.
“Well, I need t explain tha’” she replied. “Some friends of mine need to talk to yer mam, get her to do something for us, so we need to stay here and make sure she does it. We’re going to have to stop you an yer sister moving for a while, or spoiling the surprise, but it won’ hurt, I promise ye.”
Belle watched as Debbie thought about what Mrs McPhee had said, before whispering “are you going to tie me up?”
“Yes I am,” Mrs McPhee replied as she took a length of rope from the bag, “but feel this – does it scare you?”
“No,” Debbie said as she played nervously with her brown pigtails.
“Well, I want you to put your hands together as if you are praying, and Belle here will use it to keep your wrists together.”
She handed the rope to Belle, who swallowed as she bound the young girl’s wrists together, remembering how it felt when the same thing happened to her.
“You’re right, it doesn’t hurt,” Debbie said as Belle then used a second length to bind her legs together below her knees. She then used a third length to tie her arms to her sides, around Debbie’s stomach.
“Good,” Mrs McPhee said as she took a roll of white tape from the bag. “Now, I’m going to put a piece of this over your lips, and then we’re going to go and surprise yer sister. Put your lips together and smile for me now.”
Belle was amazed as the young girl did just that, Mrs McPhee smoothing the micropore tape over her mouth before she shuffled out of the room with them.
Ten year old Ronnie was sitting at her desk, her hair cut short to the side of her head. She was wearing a purple tunic dress, gathered at her waist with a cord, black leggings and a pair of short brown strapped leather boots.
“Tell her we’re here,” Mrs McPhee whispered, as Debbie said “rneee?”
“Yeah,” she said as she turned round, and saw the masked women with the bound and gagged Debbie between them. Both could now see the picture of Bambi on the front, as she gasped and pushed her chair back, Belle closing the bedroom door.
“Girls! Are you both all right!”
“Wrrffnmmm,” Ronnie said as she and Debbie shuffled into the room, Mrs McPhee and Belle helping them to sit side by side on the couch before they tied their ankles. Jay was completing the task of binding their mother’s legs together below her knees, her arms secured to her body with rope above and below her chest.
As he lowered his legs, he said “now, you need to be kept quiet until the rest of the family return, but we’ll put something on the television for you to watch. Belle, do the honours please.”
Looking at the two girls as Jay tape gagged Lorraine, Belle picked up the remote and out the television to the Disney FX channel, the girls nodding as Jay then said “Make sure the telephone and internet are disconnected, all alarms dealt with, and all mobile phones disabled.”
“Gotcha,” he replied in a Geordie accent as Belle put the television on, the two girls nodding as they started to watch, while Lorraine watched them.
Fifteen minutes passed before they heard the door open and close, and an older girl call out “Are you in the main room?”
Jay stood by the door, Mrs McPhee and Belle behind the girls, as the door opened and the two older girls of the family came in.
Thirteen year old Maggie had long black hair, and was wearing a pink vest top, denims and brown leather boots, while fifteen year old Ellie was wearing a black fur jerkin over a white bohemian blouse, a pleated grey tartan miniskirt, and over the knee black leather boots. She took one look at her younger sisters, and yelled “RUN” as she turned – only for her way to be blocked by two masked men.
“Hello girls,” Jay said quietly, “come and join your family, and put your hands behind your backs.”
Belle marvelled at how smoothly it went – all four daughters and their mother sitting in the room, bound and tape gagged, keeping each other company as Jay and the rest of the team were working. It felt so strange to be seeing it from this side, but the excitement she was feeling more than made up for the strangeness.
It was as if she was inducting them all into her world – and even if they never did this again, she knew they were safe, would not be harmed, and she could tell they were realising it as well.
She also marvelled at how well the other men worked – no orders, but they knew what they were doing, and the younger man with Jay was certainly impressing her as well.
The sound of a car pulling up made all the masked intruders look, as Jay said “not a word now – a big surprise is coming” and stood by the doorway. Belle moved over and stood behind the two younger girls, while the other men stood behind the remaining captives.
“I’m home – and boy has it been a tough...”
The dark haired woman stopped as she walked in, and saw her wife and daughters there, bound and tape gagged, looking at her. The new arrival was wearing a grey houndtooth check pinafore dress over a black sweater, a denim jacket and knee length black suede boots.
“Hello Beverly,” Jay said as he put her hand on her shoulder, “remain calm – we just want you to do a little job for us, and your family will stay here while you do it.”
“Are you... Who are you?”
“My name is Jay Edwards. Perhaps you have heard of me?”
“Oh god – look, I’ll do whatever you want, please...”
“That is all we need right now, Beverly,” Jay said. “Mrs McPhee, why don’t you and Belle release Lorraine and take her to prepare dinner for everyone. We will stay with the girls while you do that.”
“Of course,” Mrs McPhee said as they untied Lorraine, removing her tape gag as she said “thank you” and they made their way to the kitchen.
“Now then,” they heard Jay say, “hands behind your back, please...”
“Now this is what is going to happen – one of my associates will take you back to your office, and there we will conduct an electronic transaction. In the meantime, the rest of us will keep an eye on your family, keep them safe.”
“You need to be very brave for me,” Beverly said as she looked at the girls. They were all tied to the chair, rope around their waists and their legs secured, while Lorraine cleared away the plates.
“We will mum,” Ronnie said.
“Think of it as a big game,” Belle said as she looked over the two younger girls, “an adventure to tell your friends about.”
They watched as the youngest of the masked men took Beverly out of the house, and heard the car drive off, before Mrs McPhee said “Right then – Belle, will you untie Ronnie and Debbie, allow then go and wash and change for bed, and then start the process?”
“Of course, Mrs McPhee,” the other woman said as she untied the girls’ legs, and their waists from the chair. “Come with me, girls.”
“What about Maggie, Ellie and Mum?”
“They’ll get ready after you – come on now,” she said as she took their hands in her gloved ones, and walked them upstairs. Taking them to their rooms, she watched as they selected a pair of pyjamas each, and then allowed them to shower and change.
As they came out, Debbie in light blue pyjamas and Ronnie in white ones, she took them into Ronnie’s room and took four pairs of socks from the older girl’s drawer.
“We need to make sure neither of you can get out of bed later, so we need to stop you using your hands. Take these,” she said as she balled two pairs up, “and hold them in your hands like fists.”
As they did this, she took a roll of white tape from her pocket, and taped over their fists, before pulling the other pair of socks up their arms and taping them in place.
“Will you do this to the others,” Debbie said as she looked at her sock covered hands.
“We will – now, let’s go downstairs, and Mrs McPhee and I will get you ready for bed.”
As they entered the front room, Mrs McPhee said “Well done girls. Now, we need to make sure you cannot use your arms, so please, stand facing your mother and sisters. They can see what’s going to happen to them.”
“Look Mum,” Debbie said as she held up her sock covered hands, “it’s really cool.”
“Yes it is,” Lorraine said as she watched the two women guide her youngest daughter’s hands behind their backs, and then use rope to bind their wrists together, passing it round their waist to make sure they stayed in place. They then tied their arms to their sides with rope around their stomachs and below their elbows, and then another band around their upper arms and shoulders.
“There – not so bad is it,” Belle said, the two girls nodding in agreement as they sat down.
“Now,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at Ellie, “come with me please.”
It was nine thirty when Mrs McPhee and Belle tied the rope from the bound ankles of Debbie and Ronnie to the foot of Ronnie’s bed, the two girls squirming as they looked at the band of rope around their legs below their ankles.
“Now stay calm,” Belle said as she stroked the hair away from their eyes, “and I’ll read a story to you.”
“Fnku,” Ronnie said through the band of white tape that covered her mouth and went round her head. Under the tape was a knotted strip of towels that was tied round her head, that in turn holding a folded hankie in her mouth. Debbie had the same gag, both of them looking at Ellie, Maggie and Lorraine. Ellie and Maggie were wearing vest tops and shorts, while their mother was wearing a knee length white nightgown – but all three had their covered wrists crossed and secured together behind their backs, ropes around their waist and chest holding them firmly in place.
“Be brave girls,” Lorraine said as Belle sat down and started to read, Mrs McPhee turning on a bedside lamp and turning off the main lamp before they went to Ellie’s room.
Ellie nodded as Mrs McPhee pushed the cloth in, and then tied the knotted strip of cloth in her mouth, before picking up a roll of micropore tape and wrapping it round her head. She then lay down on the bed, watching as her ankles were tied together, and her legs below her knees, and then she was rolled onto her stomach, her ankles pulled back and tied to the chest ropes.
Rolling onto her side, she watched as Mrs McPhee gagged Maggie, and the two were led out of her room.
Maggie was secured on her own bed, and as the group brought Lorraine out Belle came from Ronnie’s room.
“They’re fast asleep.”
“Good – check every fifteen minutes, all three rooms with Mrs McPhee. Lorraine – on your bed please.”
“I guess I should thank you for not hurting us,” she said as she sat down, and watched Jay bind her ankles, and then her legs below her knees. As she watched Jay select a scarf from her wardrobe, she said “so what happens to Beverly?”
“My associate will make sure she stays at her office – relax, it will all be over by morning.”
“So I get to be quiet now?”
“Yes you do,” Jay said as he folded the scarf, and pushed it into her mouth, using a knotted strip of towel to keep it in. Once he tied it round her head, he used the tape to cover it, and then wrapped the white tape round her head before she lay down, and he secured her ankles to her chest.
As he turned the light off, the adrenaline that had kept her going wore off, and she fell asleep.
“Thank you gentlemen,” Jay said as the two men got out, and he drove off, eventually arriving at a lock up under a railway arch. Mrs McPhee got out and opened the doors, Jay driving the van in as she closed them behind the vehicle.
“And we’re back,” Mark said as he removed his mask. “So Rachel, what do you think?”
“That was – intense,” Rachel said quietly as she sat down. “Where’s Charlie?”
“He’ll head home,” Yvonne said. “So – now you know, are you in?”
“Oh yes,” Rachel said with a grin, “I’m in...”