Heidi’s Independence Day
The Strong/Elsworth home
“Hey sleepy head.”
Heidi Strong slowly stirred under her duvet and said “Hsomeonitsstillearly…”
“Not that early,” Cindy Elsworth said as she sat on the bed, “and besides – it’s the Fourth of July.”
“Oh yeah,” Heidi said as she sat up, revealing her blue vest top, her blonde hair cut short, “where are our moms?”
“Still in bed I’d imagine – remember?”
“Oh yeah – you want to go and make some coffee, and I’ll take care of them?”
Cindy nodded as she stood up, and walked out of the bedroom, while Heidi stretched as she got up. Putting on her slippers, she yawned again and walked out of the room, along the corridor and into her mother’s bedroom.
“Hey you two – ready to get up?”
“Ysswwrrr,” Amy said as she looked over, the band of white plaster covering the lower part of her face. She was lying on her side, her wrists secured tightly behind her back with rope, and bands of rope around her arms and chest, her legs and ankles, one length running from her ankles to the foot of the bed.
“If I get you free, do you want to take care of Dorothy?”
The older blonde haired woman nodded as she rolled over and looked at her partner. Dorothy was still asleep, wearing black silk pyjamas in contrast to Amy’s blue nightie, but she was bound and silenced in the same way. Amy looked over her shoulder as her daughter started to untie the ropes, and Dorothy slowly opened her eyes.
“Guuddmernnnglfr,” she mumbled, Amy nodding and then gently pressing her tape covered lips to Dorothy as Heidi freed her arms.
“You two need to get a life,” Heidi said as she left her mother rubbing her wrists, and walked down to the kitchen.
“How are they,” Cindy asked as she stood at the stove.
“Slowly waking up,” Heidi said as she went to the icebox, and took out some milk. “Heard from any of the others yet?”
“Aunt Veronica just called – she said she and Maria were taking care of the pies now.”
“Any idea what we’re having,” Cindy said as she poured two glasses of orange juice.
“If Aunt Veronica is cooking, Pecan and Pumpkin. Maria – she usually does something different,” Heidi said as she accepted the glass. They then looked to the door as their mothers came in, Dorothy wearing a dressing gown, her long black hair over her shoulders.
“We’ll have some of that coffee as well,” she said as she sat at the coffee bar.
“Sure,” Cindy said as she poured four mugs and took them over. “So are you both wide awake now?”
“Well, we went to sleep rather tired,” Amy giggled as she took her mug and sipped from it. “Thanks for allowing us that.”
“So what are we doing for later,” Heidi asked.
“That’s our problem – remember?”
“Oh… OH,” Cindy said with a start, “I’d forgotten. We agreed if you spent the night last night like that…”
Heidi suddenly put her mug down and said “oh yeah – so we get to shower and change beforehand.”
“Of course you do,” Amy said with a smile, “after all, you allowed us to…”
“Well, I’m ready,” Heidi said as she came into the front room, wearing a blue short sleeved t-shirt and jeans, a pair of socks pulled up over the cuffs of the legs. Her mother was already there, arranging a series of ropes on the couch as Dorothy looked at Amy. Both women were now wearing blouses and jeans, as Dorothy handed Heidi two halves of a sponge.
“The full job?”
“That was what we said we were going to do,” Dorothy said as Heidi made fists with her hands, her fingernails sinking into the sponges as Dorothy took a roll of silver tape, and wrapped it round the young girl’s wrists to make two balls.
“I spoke to Anne,” Amy said as she looked over, watching Dorothy pull a pair of sports socks over Heidi’s hands and tape them to her arms with micropore tape, “she and Kayla are looking forward to coming to see us later.”
“Is Sue back in town?”
“Flew in from Buffalo last night,” Dorothy said as Amy picked a length of white rope, walked over and crossed Heidi’s covered wrists behind her back, before she started to bind them tightly together. As he did so, Cindy came in, wearing a blue gingham pinafore dress and white leggings.
“A bit old style for you dear,” Dorothy said as she handed her daughter the half sponges.
“Perhaps – but I’ll change later,” Cindy said with a smile as she watched her mother over her fists. “Anyway, it’s like the old days when we first met.”
Heidi smiled and nodded as her mother took a longer length of rope, and started to wrap it round her body, forcing her arms into her sides as the bands sat above and below her chest. It felt safe and secure, as she passed the rope around again and again, and then Amy tied it off behind her back. Her wrists were pressed against her back as well, thanks to the rope around her waist.
She smiled at Cindy as she watched Dorothy cross her sister’s wrists behind her, while Amy said “so where do you wish to spend the next couple of hours?”
“I’ll lie on the couch – you all right with the chair Cindy?”
“Not a problem,” was the reply as Heidi walked over and sat down, watching as Amy knelt down and started to bind her ankles together, the rope sitting comfortably over her socks as it was passed around and between her legs. A second band then sat around her legs below her knees, as Amy wrapped the rope round her daughter’s waist to hold her wrists in place.
“Right – it’s time for you to be quiet,” Amy said, Heidi nodding as she opened her mouth and allowed her mother to push a folded cloth in, before she used a knotted strip of towelling as a cleave gag.
She then closed her lips as Amy peeled the end of the roll of white micropore tape free, before she wrapped it tightly round her daughter’s head, covering her lips and jaw as Cindy sat in the chair.
“You sure you want this,” Amy said as she held up the roll of silver tape, Amy nodding as her gag was added to, the silver band sitting over the white one. Finally, a blue scarf was folded into a band and tied tightly over her mouth, before she was helped to lie on her side.
“Are you sure that gag is enough,” Dorothy said as she stood up, folded Cindy’s skirt back down to cover the band of rope around her legs, and then quickly began to gag her daughter.
“I’m not sure – I guess we should find out,” Amy said as she looked at Heidi, her daughter going “hhnnnn” before she felt her mother’s long fingers starting to tickle her sides and the back of her legs.
“Htthssntnffrrr,” Cindy said as her gag was completed, only to start wriggling as Dorothy started to tickle her…
After a few minutes, the telephone rang, Amy leaving Heidi to recover as she went to answer.
“Oh hey Blossom – how’s life in the Dale household this morning?”
The Dale Home
“Well, they’re all awake,” Blossom said as she heard the muffled laughter from the front room, “but Jannifer’s in charge.
“Yeah, see you later this afternoon – I got the salads to prepare,” she said before she put the telephone down, and went to see what was happening.
Britney and Margo were lying on the floor, still wearing their cotton pyjamas, as they rolled round in response to the touch of the feather on their bare feet. Their wrists were taped together behind her back, a band of tape also round their waist to hold them against their backs, while their legs were taped at the ankles and knees.
Jannifer smiled as she continued to stroke the feather over their feet, laughing at their reaction as Blossom folded her arms and smiled. “I have a baby to get ready, can I trust you to get breakfast ready for these two?”
“Sure Mom,” Jannifer said as she looked round and stood up. She was wearing a pink vest top and shorts, and looked at the two younger girls as they wriggled on the floor. “Right – have fun trying to get out you two,” she said as she went to the kitchen, and Blossom went upstairs, the twins looking at each other as they stated to rub their taped mouths on the floor.
“Right – muffins laid out, OJ ready, and bacon ready to cook,” Jannifer said to herself, “what am I missing?”
“Big sister paying the forfeit for us getting free?”
She turned to see Britney and Margo smiling in the doorway, a roll of duct tape in their hands. “Payback time…”
When Blossom came into the kitchen, she wasn’t surprised to see Jannifer sitting in a chair, her arms taped to the chair back and her legs taped together, her eyes wide over the tape gag as her younger sisters finished preparing breakfast.
“Is Dad coming down,” Britney said as she put the plates out.
“Yeah – you lost right?”
Jannifer nodded as her mother put her baby brother in his high chair. “Could be worse – could be Alice.”
The Hawkins House
“Good morning,” Jack said as Tammy came into the kitchen, “Want some coffee?”
“Please – thanks Aunt Margaret,” the older teenager said as she sat down, wearing a dressing gown over her pyjamas. “So what happens today?”
“How did you usually spend the 4th,” Jack asked as he sipped his own coffee.
“Usually trying to find something to eat and watching the fireworks,” Tamara said as she shook her head. “But, as Anne would say, that is the past, and I need to look forward.”
“And she’s right,” Margaret said as she put some pancakes in front of Tamara. “With any luck, all of you will get the day off today as well.”
“Let’s hope so – for once, I want to celebrate the holiday properly,” Tamara smiled as she started to eat. “So when are we going to get my cousin up?”
“We’ll allow them a few more minutes – Katherine said she would come and pick Natalie up at midday…”
In the upstairs bedroom, Alice slowly opened her eyes and smiled as she saw Natalie lying next to her, her eyes closed, breathing gently as she wriggled. The white micropore tape covering her lips was still in place, as was the ropes that held her arms to her sides, and her wrists behind her back, stretching the top half of her nightdress between the bands.
The same ropes were holding her own arms in place, as she looked down her blue one-piece sleepsuit. She could also see the ropes round her ankles and legs, and the rope running down to the foot of the bed. She wriggled round for a moment, loving the way it made her feel, and then leaned over as she gently pressed her own taped lips on Nat’s.
“Hmmmmflslsnss,” Natalie said as she slowly opened her eyes. “Htthrrlffrr.”
“Htthrrr,” Alice said with a smile as Natalie leaned over, her bare feet touching Alice’s as her gagged mouth made contact.
“So what exactly is the plan for today,” Tamara asked as she sat at the table.
“Well, later today we’re all gathering for a barbecue and celebration,” Margaret said, “and doubtless the girls will all end up waiting in the same way. But for now, we just relax.”
“And when do we let them free?”
“Eventually,” Jack said, “eventually…”
Veronica Cabot’s Home
“Good morning, Miss Veronica,” Maria the maid said as Veronica walked into the kitchen, “did you sleep well?”
“I did Maria,” Veronica said as she accepted a coffee. She was wearing a polo shirt and jeans, while Maria was in her grey dress coat, a white apron tied round her waist. “Have our guests appeared yet?”
“Not yet, Miss Veronica – it was late when they went to bed however.”
“That is true – but we did want to make their visit here a secret this time,” Veronica said with a smile. “So will you be joining us today Maria?”
“Thank you, but no Miss Veronica – my son has invited me to attend his family celebration.”
“Fair enough,” Veronica said with a smile.
As Maria cleared the breakfast things away, Veronica said “Maria, perhaps you can arrange it so my guests have a surprise when they wake up.”
“Certainly Miss Veronica,” the maid said, “what do you have in mind?”
“Something appropriate to the day – fetch the supplies please.”
“Of course,” Maria said as she dried her hands, and walked to the utility room, returning with a clear Perspex box as Victoria sat on the couch. Opening the box, she took out several lengths of red nylon rope.
“Very appropriate,” she said as Maria made a lasso from the rope, and passed it over her employer’s head, pulling it tight so that her arms were forced into her sides while the rope sat under her chest. She watched as her maid wound the rope round more, above and below her chest, so that it formed two bands before she tied the rope off.
“If you would pray please, Miss,” Maria said, Veronica nodding as she put her hands together in prayer while the older woman tied her wrists firmly together, and then tied her arms together below her elbows. Veronica lay on her back and watched as Maria crossed and secured her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees.
“Red White and Blue – excellent,” she said with a smile. “I think the patriotic tape.”
“Of course, Miss Veronica,” she said as she tore a strip from the blue tape roll and pressed it over Veronica’s mouth, the white stars crinkling as she smiled. “If you will excuse me now, I will go and make sure some food is prepared for our guests when they awake.”
“Fcrrssmrerea,” Veronica said as she settled on the couch, listening to the sound of the music as Maria worked in the kitchen. She didn’t hear the footsteps on the stairs until she heard a voice say in a cultured tone “now why doesn’t this surprise me…”
Anne Duncombe’s home
“Hey sleepy head – how are you this morning,” Anne said with a smile as she stood at the breakfast bar, looking at the blonde who walked into the room.
“All the better for seeing you,” Kayla Smith said with a smile, pulling her dressing gown around herself. She accepted the mug of coffee, taking a sip before she said “so when does Sue get here?”
“She should be arriving any time now,” Anne said quietly, “she was due to come last night, but something came up.” She put her mug down, walked over and kissed Kayla, before saying “did you check our other guest?”
“I did – she was still asleep, but we can check her in…”
“Hey Sis – sorry I was later in coming.”
“That’s fine – you made it anyway,” Anne said to the smaller, dark haired woman as she came in, wearing a grey leather jacket over a blue dress. She hugged Anne and Kayla, before saying “if that coffee is hot, I’ll have some.”
“There you go Sue,” Kayla said as she handed her a mug, “so why the delay?”
“Well, it will be public knowledge in a week or so, but I got promoted and a new assignment.”
“Well done,” Anne said, “Where to?”
“Buffalo? After the crap that went down there?”
“Yup – the interim AD they put in during the investigation has finished his work, and I start there in August. Gonna be a challenge.”
“And Project Red Widow?”
“I keep control of that, but from Buffalo now. On which note – where is she?”
“In here,” Anne said as they went into the front room. A dark-haired girl was lying face down on the floor, wearing a red V-necked sweater and denim shorts over black leggings. A pair of knee length striped socks and a pair of Dr Marten boots completed her outfit, as a red woollen scarf lay in the seat.
She was trussed tightly, ropes holding her arms to her sides and her legs together, her ankles pulled back and tied to the ropes around her wrists, and a band of white tape was wrapped round her head, covering her mouth.
“An hour – okay Chloe, do it.”
The girl nodded as she pressed the fingers of her glove into the palms of her hands, the dial on her watch face turning slowly from green to red as Kayla picked up an aerosol can. As they watched, she relaxed for a few minutes, and then broke the ropes holding her bound with a few shrugs, standing up as Kayla sprayed her with the contents of the can.
“Good – the delivery system is working well,” Kayla said as Anne took a pair of scissors and cut the tape away from her head. The young woman spat a cloth out of her mouth, before she said “Bien sur – all is well. Good morning Sue.”
“Hey Chloe,” Sue said with a smile, “When you’re ready, come through. We’ll talk before we head to the farm…”
“That’s better,” Katherine said as she pushed her plate away, smiling at her sister and mother as they sat round the wooden table. “I have to admit, having a quiet night here, just the three of us, before the maelstrom falls was a great idea Heather.”
“Of course it was,” Heather said with a smile. She was dressed in her usual way, with a pair of old denim dungarees over a white top, and her feet bare. While Heather was wearing a white blouse and pants, and their mother Roberta a grey jumper and skirt, both were also bare footed.
“Have you heard from Nats yet?”
Looking at her watch, Katherine said “not a chance – you’ll be lucky if they are free yet.”
“Right – so when are the first people due to arrive?”
“Brian and Sarah are bringing the twins just after lunch – what can we do in the meantime?”
“Start to set out some tables,” Heather said with a smile, “while I finish something off in the barn. Can you get the others free?”
Katherine nodded as she stood up and walked up to the second floor, smiling as she entered one of the bedrooms. A young woman was lying on the bed, wearing a sleepsuit designed to look like a cow, her hands covered in mittens that looked like hooves. She was on her side, her wrists secured together behind her back, and ropes around her ankles, legs and chest. A black blindfold covered her eyes, and a black band around her head covered her mouth, the band over the hood of the suit.
Removing the blindfold, Katherine smiled as she said “hey Andrea – time to get ready.”
“Fnkkuu,” Andrea Blackwood said as she blinked…
Roberta looked at the two women bound together on the bed, their mouths linked by a double ball gag with a thin chain between the balls, their bodies secured tightly.
“Fun time’s over girls,” she said to Joanne and Alexa, “time to get to work…”
Veronica Cabot’s home
“Sorry about that,” Veronica said as she came in, rubbing her wrists as Maria went to the coffee machine, poured some into a mug and handed it to her, “so how are you all feeling?”
“Awake now – thanks for letting us sleep in,” Angela Bowden said as she sat holding her own mug. She was wearing a short sleeved green blouse, and tan trousers, her hair held back by an Alice band.
“I was more tired than I realised,” Alicia her sister said as she pushed her plate away. The teenager was wearing a pale blue polo shirt and skirt, as well as white shoes. “So what’s the plan for today?”
“Surprise Heidi and the others over at the farm – especially given you two gentlemen are here as well.”
“Well, how could we refuse the gracious invitation, Miss Cabot,” Martin said as he sat with Eddie. Both of the young men were wearing short sleeved shirts and jeans. “You have an amazing house here.”
“Oh this place? It does the job,” Veronica said with a smile. “But please – call me Veronica. Only a teacher should be called Miss anything.”
“All right Veronica,” Martin said, “but it’s good of you to invite us to stay for a few days. Just please – promise me we’re not going to be singing Star Spangled Banner all day.”
“I don’t think we’re even going to sing it once,” Veronica said with a smile as Maria went to the oven. “How are the pie cases doing Maria?”
“Read to cool soon, Miss Veronica.”
“Excellent – well, once we have the pies made, we can make our way there.”
“What about the others?”
“Oh I’m sure they’ll be fine,” Veronica said with a smile.
The Hawkins household
“There you are – feel better for the shower?”
“I do,” Alice said as she sat down, and took the mug of coffee. She was wearing a pink vest top and denim cut-off shorts, and smiled as Natalie came in as well, her rope anklets visible on her bare feet under her gypsy style skirt.
“That was a good night’s sleep,” she said as she sat down, “so when are we heading to Aunt Heather’s?”
“Oh we’ve got plenty of time,” Margaret said as she chopped some more cabbage. “Besides, I need your help to make some salads and make sure they are properly packaged.”
She looked over as the two girls giggled while they drank their coffee, while Tamara came in with a brown paper sack.
“I got the things you wanted Aunt Margaret,” she said as she took out some celery and tomatoes from the bag. “Won’t Aunt Heather have these?”
“I’m sure she does – but we’re doing salads this year, she’s doing the meat.”
Tamara looked at the two teenagers, and whispered “have you two done what I think you’ve done?”
Alice nodded as she whispered back “want to join us?”
“After what happened in the UK? No way Jose - you two are on your own for this one…”
The Strong/Elsworth home
“There you go,” Dorothy said as she untied the two girls, “now go and get ready for the drive to the farm.”
“Got it Mom,” Cindy said as she and Heidi made their way up the stairs, Dorothy shaking her head and smiling as she walked back into the kitchen.
“And what about you Amy – ready for the car trip?”
“Whtddufnkk,” Amu mumbled through the clear tape that was covering her mouth, a folded bandana nestling behind her teeth under that layer. Her wrists were secured behind her back with a zip tie, and she was wearing an old brown crotched poncho over her upper body, hiding the bindings.
“Well, I did tell you I would be taking charge today – come on, let’s get you into the car,” Dorothy said with a smile as she escorted Amy out of the front door and into the car, strapping her into the front passenger seat before she opened the trunk and started to put some ice boxes in the back.
“Ready,” Amy said as she ran out, wearing a pair of pink leggings and a strapless top, while Cindy followed in a vest top and shorts. Dorothy smiled as she got behind the wheel, and they drove off…
Anne Duncombe’s home
“Everything looks good,” Kayla said as Chloe stood up, now wearing an even more unusual set of clothing for her – a red summer dress with spaghetti straps over her shoulders, and red high heels.
“Bien – ah James, are you ready to leave soon?”
“I am,” her fiancé said as he stood in the doorway, “but there’s something I think you need to see first.”
“Oh – and that is?” Chloe came out, and then smiled as she said “well, this is a surprise. I did not know you and Eddie would be here?”
“Surprise,” Angela said as she looked at Chloe, “and congratulations on your graduation! So the wedding is still on for the winter?”
“Oui – I hope you will both still be able to attend?” Chloe said as she kissed Eddie on both cheeks. “Are you the only ones here?”
“Nope – the girls will find that out when they get to Heather’s place. We wanted to drive up with you, if that is all right?”
“But of course – we would be delighted,” James said as they walked together to the car.
“So, you know what you are going to be doing to the girls as they arrive,” Katherine said as she sat with the older teenagers.”
“We do,” Joanne said as she sat with Andrea and Alexa, all wearing black t-shirts and denim shorts. “With the exceptions you have outlined.”
“Good -we want this to be a shared day of fun for all of them. With young Fi in San Antonio with her family, it means they are all roughly similar age.”
“Good – so we’ll get the tables up, and you’ll set up the barbecue?”
“And then you can get into position…”
“Hey – hope you don’t mind that we’re here early?”
“Of course not,” Heather said as she saw Brian and Sarah Holderness-Carter in the doorway, young Bart and Sarah waving as they all took their shoes off.
“Hello Auntie Kathy,” Bart said as Katherine came in, collecting her car keys.
“Hey you two - I’m off to get Nats, be back in a little while.”
“See you later,” Heather said as she heard one car drive up, and another pull up. As she went out, she saw Jannifer, Britney and Margo get out of the car, their arms pulled behind their backs and strips of white tape over their mouths.
“Don’t ask,” Jannifer said as she looked at them, “they were wondering if they could go down to the watering hole for an hour or so.”
“Sure – bring junior in,” Heather said as their father helped their brother out of the car seat, “the twins are here, and they can all play together.”
“So what is the plan for the time until the others get here,” Jannifer said as she walked into the house, taking her shoes off as she did so – and then mumbling as Joanna put her hand over the young girl’s mouth, and Alexa picked her legs up.
“You’ll find out in a minute,” Joanna said as they carried her into the library, Jannifer giggling under the hand gag…
The Hawkins Household
“Anyone home,” Katherine said as she came in.
“In the kitchen,” Margaret called out, Katherine smiling as she saw Natalie sitting there.
“Sorry I’m late – had to pick someone up on the way in. Ready for the day, Tammy?”
“As ready as I ever will be I guess,” Tammy said as Natalie walked over to her mother.
“I’ll see you up there,” Nats said as she waved to Alice and Tammy, before walking with her mother to the car. “So who was it you had to pick up,” she said as Katherine opened the car door, and then looked in.
“Hey Natalie – surprise!”
“To say the least,” she said as she saw Alicia and Martin, “welcome back over here. Does Heidi know?”
“Not yet – guess she finds out when we get there….”
“Well, here we are,” Anne Duncombe said as she got out of the car, Kayla and Sue joining her. The three women were wearing shorts and polo shirts, as James drew up in the second car.
“This place always takes my breath away,” Angela said as she looked round. “What do you think Eddie?”
“Reminds me of the Cottrell farm – but different as well,” her fiancé said as James nodded.
“You made it – and I see you brought some guests. Angela, it is good to see you again,” Heather said as she appeared in the doorway.
“Hope you can take four more,” Angela said as she hugged Nat’s aunt.
“Four – who else is here?”
“Well, this is Eddie, my fiancé,” Angela said, “and Alicia and her boyfriend are coming with Natalie and her family.”
“Alicia is here as well? I need to warn a few people,” Heather said as she looked round.
“Warn a few people? Why?”
“Well, this is a sight for sore eyes,” Joanna said as she came out, “is this the boyfriend?”
“It is – Eddie, meet Joanna. Where’s Alexa?”
“Taking care of something – come through, the others are in the back…”
“Right, we’re here,” Amy said as they pulled up outside the farmhouse, Heidi and Cindy nodding as they heard the sounds of laughter at the back. “You girls carry the pies in, and we’ll follow.”
“Got it Mom,” Cindy said as they each carefully carried a pie dish in, as Jack pulled up alongside them, Tammy and Alice getting out as well.
“It’s so peaceful up here,” Tammy said quietly as she rubbed her arm.
“Indeed – right, you take these salads in,” Margaret said as she handed them each a bowl, waiting as they followed Heidi and Cindy in.
“Where would you like these Heather,” Heidi called out as they kicked their shoes off and came into the house.
“On the table,” Heather said without turning round, the girls looking at each other as they did so.
“Right, so whatddwweeednnwwwhtthhhh…”
Tammy looked over to see Joanna, Alexa and Andrea pressing lengths of sticking plaster over the mouths of the three girls, and then putting a sleep mask on each of them. “Do I get to know what’s going on,” she asked as she looked at Heather.
“You’re excused this one – Brian and Sarah are out the back, so why don’t you join them,” Heidi heard Heather say as her arms were folded together behind her back, and she felt the tape sticking to her skin as It was wound from elbow to elbow, securing her arms together.
“Hllrhhtttnwwwhtt,” she heard Cindy say as she was walked along a corridor, Alice and Cindy following her, and then made to sit down.
“Jenfnfrrr? Hbeeee,” Heidi mumbled as she felt someone behind her, and then tape around her ankles and legs, before some was wrapped around her to hold her to whoever was behind her.
“Needdeeed,” she heard Alice say as Joanna said “now sit nice and quiet – you’re not all here yet.”
Heidi nodded as she tried to move her arms, but the band of tape was acting like a wrap, holding them firmly together – and her fingers were taped to her arms as well, making it even more difficult.
All she could do was sit and wait, until a few minutes later they heard a door open again, and the familiar sound of Natalie saying “whththllsggnnnn?”
“Just relax,” she heard Alexa say as there was the sound of two more people being made to sit down, and then the peeling of tape, Heidi figuring Natalie and whoever was with her was being secured as well.
“Lllffss,” Cindy called out as they heard Andrea say “oh they look so cute – ripe for what we have planned.”
Heidi turned her head as she heard the final girl, and said “Lssheee? Whnnddugthrrr? Ruuthnllnnn?”
“Tffrdddnddnn,” she heard Alicia say, and then another sound – that of an electric toothbrush, and then Natalie screaming in laughter.
“Htthssjsscrrll,” Heidi said as Natalie could be heard laughing and the tape wriggling round, Alicia moaning “hheethrsstffssshrrr” and then her muffled laughter as whoever was using the toothbrush went to her instead.
Heidi started to shake her head, the sleep mask slowly slipping down as she blinked, looked over and said “UUUU?”
“Me,” Fi said with a grin as she looked at the girls, “Surprise.”
“Ethhuuuwrrnnsuunentunn,” Heidi said as she looked over.
“Yeah – I know that’s what we said, but for the first time in many an age my grandparents decided to come and visit us here. Anne knew, but she asked us to keep it secret so that we could join you here. Wow – I guess you all got the same treatment.”
“Hmmgnnngttuu,” Alicia said as she managed to shake the sleep mask down.
“Nice to see you as well Alicia – well, I have been asked to get you all untied, and out into the garden. The barbecue is warming up nicely.”
“So it’s just you and Angela,” Heidi said as the group finally made their way out of the house, and into the back garden.
“Yup – Cassie and the family are in Australia, so we came over to see the godchildren. Hey there you two!”
“AnteeeLeesha!” Bart called out as he and Luci toddled over to be hugged by her.
“I see you made it safely,” Sarah said with a smile. “How are you?”
“I’m good – I see Martin and Eddie have been roped into the barbecue.”
“Hey – keeps us busy while you get to meet the girls again,” Martin said with a smile.
“So the wedding is in France,” Angela said as she sat with Chloe and James.
“Indeed – but we will all travel over for this,” Chloe said with a smile. “It will be very special.”
“Let’s just hope the Widows are not needed for that week,” James said with a smile, “what about you and Eddie?”
“He’s got one more year, I’ve got two,” Angela said with a smile, “and then we’ll see.”
“We had no idea you were coming over,” Natalie said as the girls gathered round another table.
“I know – but with the Craigs heading down under in a couple of weeks, Grandmother felt it was a good time for me and Angela to come and visit,” Alicia said as she sipped her drink. “And it is your holiday after all. So come on – how are things going?”
“No complaints from us,” Alice said as she smiled at Natalie. “We got through the year without too much happening, at any rate.”
“And what about you, Tamara?”
“I’m fine thanks – a lot more settled than I had felt for some years,” the brunette said as she sipped her drink. “What about the Tornado Twins?”
“Oh, keeping out of trouble mostly,” Alicia said with a smile. “Hey – who fancies a walk down to the waterhole, if we have time?”
“Sounds good to me,” Fi said as the group stood up.
“And where do you lot think you’re going,” Heather said as she looked over.
“To cool off – sneaky tickling makes us sweat,” Natalie called over.
“All right – just be back in a couple of hours,” Heather said as she noticed Alice pick up some cords as they walked off down the path.
“So when do you go back to school Alicia,” Tamara asked as they walked down the path.
“August – to start my equivalent of Junior year, and my A-levels. I get my results a couple of weeks beforehand.”
“Worried about them?”
“Not really no – what about you? How’s the catch up going?”
“Not too badly – with luck, I’ll be in the same junior classes for most things as the other girls,” Tamara said with a smile.
“And the other lessons?”
“Let’s just say Brian and Chloe are excellent teachers,” Tamara said with a smile as they emerged at the waterhole – the clear blue water reflecting the sunlight. “So – do we just lie here and…?”
“Oh no,” Heidi said with a smile as the girls stripped down to their underwear, and then jumped into the water, swimming off as Tamara watched.
“Oh my – I guess I’ll be sitting here then…”
“Why,” Alicia asked as she started to strip her shorts and top off.
“Errr – this,” Tamara said as she held up her watch. “I don’t know if I’d hurt myself.”
“Well, I think you’re missing out on something,” Alicia said as she followed the other girls in, Tamara shaking her head as she sat and watched.
“Do you not wish to join them?”
She turned her head and smiled as she saw Chloe sitting there. “No – I never considered the possibility of swimming before, given what I tend to do to electricals. Mind you, it means I can work on the tan.”
“Care for some help staying still?”
Tamara looked at Chloe as she held up a thin roll of black tape, and shook her head. “No thanks – I’m… What are they doing?”
“Getting revenge, I suspect,” Chloe said with a smile as Cindy and Heidi held Fi down, while Jannifer and Alicia tied her wrists behind her back with one of the cords, and Alice and Natalie secured her ankles.
“What are they – oh my lord, are they…”
“Oui,” Chloe said as they threw Fi into the water, Tamara standing up and then laughing as she floated to the surface, and began to kick herself and swim.
“You must remember how skilled these ladies are,” Chloe said as she smiled. “Let us watch…”
“Where did she learn to do that anyway?” Tamara asked Chloe.
“Tell me – on your travels, did you go to Texas?” As Tamara shook her head, Chloe said “young Fi’s grandparents live near San Antonio, and she spent her summers in the past with them. They taught her a great deal…”
“And your point?”
“I think you already know, mon ami – you must continue to learn from them as well. It is hard, but you are getting there.”
Tamara nodded as the girls came out of the water, Fi hopping over as they lay on the grass and let themselves dry in the warm air.
“Right,” Natalie eventually said, “we need to get back. Clothes on and let’s walk…”
As they came back into the back yard, Chloe looked round and asked Sarah “and where are the men?”
“Where do you think? They’re trying to explain the mysteries of baseball to Brian – again…”
“Oh lord,” Alicia said, “if they get started on Cricket…”
“Worry not, I have to say the magic words,” Sarah said before she shouted out “BARBIE!”
“Food,” Brian said “and thanks for the escape clause” as he came out and started to cook steaks and chicken legs on the barbecue.
“So I hear you are based in Buffalo now Sue,” Angela said as she sat with the small dark haired woman.
“Yeah – came as a shock, but its welcome promotion. How’s the course?”
“Two thirds down – Eddie should get his final results any day now.”
“And does he have a job lined up?”
“He’s going to work for one of the museums in London in their archives,” Angela said as Eddie came out of the barn with Martin and Heather.
“You have an amazing workshop, Heather,” Martin said as he walked with them, “and your understanding of music is so wonderful.”
“Part of the training – ah there you are girls. Good swim?”
“It was,” Natalie said with a smile, “so, ready to eat yet?”
“Just about – just need to get the salads out of the kitchen, and the others from whatever they are doing…”
“So,” Heather said as we sat round the table, “Who wants a nice rest after that meal?”
“Sounds good to me,” Nats said as she rubbed her stomach, “when do the fireworks start round here?”
“In about an hour – so I think we need to make sure all the girls enjoy the fireworks in an appropriate manner, oui,” Chloe said with a smile. Heidi looked at the others, as she said “oh boy…”
“So we meet in September in France,” Angela said as she stood with Chloe.
“Oui – it will be a family affair,” Chloe said as she looked at the young girls, all sat on the grass, while the last of the ropes were secured. Each of them had their wrists tied under their legs, their ankles and knees secured, and then rope holding their upper legs to their chests, and their arms to their sides. White tape was wrapped round their heads, Alicia nudging Heidi as they looked to the darkening skies.
“Eh bien – they begin.”
As the fireworks went off, the girls cheered through their gags, their mothers and the older girls watching as they sipped their drinks.
“It is going to be a good end to the summer,” Angela said quietly as the display continued, “and we can all talk then…”