The Wedding Gift
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Mister and Mrs David Treesmen!”
The crowd clapped and cheered as the newly married bride and groom walked into the large reception hall, Elaine beaming from ear to ear as she walked down the side of the room on David’s arm. She looked magnificent in her wedding dress, the long pale cream train flowing behind her and the veil now lifted off and over her carefully cut and arranged blonde hair. The dress itself was of white silk, with an inlaid bodice made of pearl which heightened her bosom to an acceptable degree for her.
She took her place at the high table, sitting next to David and their parents, while the rest of the reception party sat and talked to each other.
“You must be so proud of your niece,” an elderly woman said to Janice Harper as she looked over to the high table.
“Oh I am,” Janice said with a smile, “David is a very lucky man.” The forty year old was wearing a knee length taupe dress with a square collar, and a black border at the front and waist. The skirt was also black on the rear side, to match the stockings and three inch suede heels she was wearing. A gold necklace was around her neck, and gold Rolex on her wrist.
Sitting next to her was Elaine’s cousin Bertha. The twenty year old was wearing a black lace dress, with a pattern woven into the fabric and a slip underneath to preserve her modesty, as well as black stockings and high heels. A ruby and gold bracelet was on her wrist, as she turned and looked at the other guests.
“I’m happy for her,” she said with a smile. “Given David is a hunk and has a good job, I’m sure she will be very happy.” She looked over and raised a glass to her cousin, who returned the gesture before she turned and talked to David’s father.
“So do you have any idea where she is going on her honeymoon?”
“No – David has kept that a very closely guarded secret for now. I’m sure it will be wonderful, however,” Janice said as she started to eat the first course of the wedding breakfast.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, pray silence for the groom!”
As David stood up and began his speech, Bertha turned to Janice and said “Did you bring the wedding present in from the car?”
“No – I thought you brought it in with you?”
“Ah well,” Bertha said with a smile, “I’ll slip out after the meal and put it with the others. So long as she gets it before she leaves, that’s the main thing.” She sipped her coffee and listened as he spoke of the bridesmaids, and the beauty sat by his side. She wasn’t really that jealous of Elaine – she just could not help wondering if it would ever be her turn to be the one sitting at the side of the groom.
She certainly looked happy, and that was the important thing. Even as she stood up and began to walk round the tables, she looked wonderful.
“Aunt Janice, Bertha, I’m so glad you could make it today,” she said as he hugged and kissed each of them. “It really does mean a lot to us.”
“We’re glad to be here,” Janice said. “Listen – we need to bring your present in still. Where are you wanting us to put it?”
“Oh – I think they all got moved up to the bridal suite. Why don’t you bring it up there in a little while – I’m going to go and get changed into something more comfortable in an hour anyway, so that might be the best time.”
“Sure thing,” Bertha said.
“Right – must dash. I’ll see you both in a little while,” she said as she walked off.
“Well, I for one need a drink,” Janice said as she stood up, “coming?”
An hour later, Janice watched as Elaine climbed the staircase in the hotel lobby, chatting excitedly to one of the bridesmaids as they ascended. After a few minutes, the bridesmaid came down, and draining her glass she said “Right – you go and fetch the present, Bertha, and then bring it up. I’ll meet you up there.”
As Bertha got up and slipped a shrug over her shoulders, before leaving the bar, Janice took several deep breaths and then stood up, walking to the stairs and slowly climbing up. The double doors for the bridal suite were at the end of the corridor, and she smiled and walked down, knocking on the doors.
“Elaine? It’s Aunt Janice. Can I come in please?”
She heard something, but thought nothing of it as the door opened and she went in.
“Elaine, I just wanted to…”
Janice stopped as she looked at her niece, and then felt a gloved hand on her own shoulder.
“Msreeentjnsss,” Elaine mumbled from under the leather gloved hand over her own mouth, as a man said to her aunt “Nice and slowly, put your hands behind your back…”
Ten minutes later, Bertha was walking up the stairs, carrying a large box wrapped with silver paper in her hands. She was being very careful with it, as the contents were delicate, and the last thing she wanted to do was break it.
Walking down the corridor, she knocked on the door to the bridal suite and said “Can someone open the door for me – I can’t get to the handle.” She felt the door start to open behind her, and backed in, saying “thanks mum, can you…”
She looked up as the door closed to see a man standing there, dressed in a dark suit, shirt, tie, highly polished shoes, black gloves and a black stocking pulled down over his head. He took the parcel from Bertha, saying “Don’t worry – I’ll make sure this is place with all the other presents” as he walked with it to a nearby table and placed it safely down.
Bertha had been taken completely by surprise, but as she watched him she finally said “What the hell…”
She turned to see her mother standing there, her arms pulled behind her back and a strip of white tape pressed firmly down over her mouth. Looking to the side, she saw a second man standing behind Elaine, who also had a strip of the white tape over her mouth. Her arms were behind her back, but she could see another man in a dark suit and stocking mask wrapping rope around her cousin’s torso to hold her arms tightly to her sides.
“Oh my god, is this a robbery?”
“No,” she heard the second man say, “it’s a kidnapping.” She felt her wrists been moved behind her back, and then the click of metal as a set of handcuffs were fastened around her wrists, holding them together. She then saw a gloved hand in front of her, with a sponge ball compressed in it, as the man behind her said “open wide please.”
“What’s going on,” Bertha pleaded.
“Just open your mouth – unless you want me to force you to do so.”
Shaking her head so that her long blonde hair moved in waves, Bertha opened her mouth as wide as she could, trying not to retch as she tasted the sponge on her tongue. The masked man pushed it in, the material expanding and filling her mouth as she closed her lips over it, and she heard a sound like wet lettuce been peeled from the plant.
She saw the strip of tape in his hands, and as he smoothed it down over her lips and jaw she felt it tug slightly at her skin while it adapted to the curves on her mouth. She could see the outline of her mother’s lips through her tape, and imagined hers looked the same, as she was pushed over to where Janice was standing.
“rullrrtmmm,” she mumbled through the sponge and tape as they stood side by side.
“Fnnksss” Janice replied as they watched the man bind Elaine, the two bands of brown rope across her chest as her arms were drawn tightly into her sides. She had a genuine look of fear in her eyes as the man with her said “Your new husband really should have done what we asked him to do – I regret that your wedding day is interrupted in that way, but if he does what we asked him to do quickly, you should be able to go on a delayed honeymoon. Have you left the message with the presents?”
“I have,” the second masked man said, “but what about these two?”
“Hmm – good question. Pick one.”
“Whtthhllll,” Janice said as the man stood in front of her and Bertha and looked at both of them.
“let’s see… Eeenie… Meenie… Miney… Mo.”
“I have,” the masked intruder said as he pulled Janice over to stand beside Elaine.
“Good – secure the other one on the bed.”
“MMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!” Bertha called out as she was pulled over to the bed and pushed down onto her stomach. She kicked her legs wildly up and down, but he simply caught them and held them under one arm as he pulled some cord from his jacket, crossed her ankles and bound them tightly together, making sure it was cinched between her legs. He then took a second length of cord and tied her legs tightly together below her knees, before he pulled her ankles back and tied them to her cuffs.
Lying on her side, she watched, tears coming out off her eyes as she watched the two men wrap more rope around her mother’s arms and body, the two bands forcing her arms into her sides as she looked at Elaine. Both women then had white bags placed over their heads, before they were led out of the room.
As the double doors closed, Bertha started to roll around on the bed, screaming as loud as she could for help, but all she could hear was soft mumbles as the sponge absorbed most of the sound, as well as the saliva from her mouth, and the tape muffled her screams even more. Her arms and legs were starting to ache as well, as she finally lay on her side and sobbed quietly.
Eventually - how much later she wasn’t sure – she heard the door open and saw David come into the room. He looked round, and then saw her lying on the bed trying to weakly move.
“Aw no,” he said as he came over, and untied Bertha’s ankles from the cuffs around her wrists, “what on earth are you doing here Bertha?”
“Oh – oh yeah, sorry,” he said as he peeled the tape away, and then eased the soaking sponge from her mouth.
“Wa… Water please,” she croaked, watching as David went and poured a glass of water from the pitcher, and then put it to her lips, watching as she took a drink
“Where’s Elaine and your mother,” he said as he put the glass down, and then kneeled as he untied her ankles and legs.
“Two masked men,” Bertha said quietly, “I came in to find them tying up Elaine. They cuffed and gagged me, like mum, then left me on the bed while they took both of them away.”
“Both of them?” David looked into Bertha’s eyes, and said “Don’t worry – I’ll take care of this.”
“They said they asked you to do something, and you refused – and that you would only see Elaine when you did it. What were they talking about David?”
“Do you really want to know, Bertha – because you may not like it?”
“David, someone has kidnapped your wife and my mother – we need to call the police, we need to…” Bertha suddenly stopped as she felt the cuffs coming away from her wrists, and saw that David had the key.
“I think I need to tell you something,” he said as he sat down.
Janice could only see shadows and lights through the white hood covering her head, but she knew they had been brought somewhere in a car, and that she was now lying on her side. The two men had used some sort of rope to secure her ankles together, as well as her legs below her knees, and she was fairly certain Elaine was on the bed next to her. She could certainly hear the mumbled noises she was making.
She was taken by surprise, therefore, as the door to whatever room they were in opened and closed, and she felt herself been sat before the hood was pulled from her eyes. Janice blinked several times as she looked round to see Elaine on the king sized bed, her ankles crossed and tied and then pulled back to be bound to the ropes around her arms and chest. Another band of rope gathered the skirt of her dress around her legs as it held them together.
She realised her won legs were been untied, but as she turned her eyes widened when she saw who was doing it. A finger was placed to her gagged lips as she was helped to stand up and then walked to the room next door.
“Hey Mum,” Bertha said as she peeled the tape away from Janice’s mouth and then eased the sponge out, before she gave her some water from a bottle. “I’m afraid we both ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“What in the name of Hades is going on here, Bertha?”
“She means,” David said as he untied Janice’s arms, “the two of you walked in on the start of my honeymoon surprise. I hired two actors to stage a kidnapping for Elaine, so that she had no idea where we were going on honeymoon. When you both walked in, I’m afraid they overplayed their hand a bit.”
“Are you telling me,” Janice said as she looked at David, “Elaine knew this was going on?”
“No – it was a complete surprise to her, but I need to go and cool her down in a moment. I’m sorry you both ended up in this – I’ll make sure those two clowns know what they did.”
“No,” Janice said as she looked at Bertha, “let me talk to them.”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh I’m sure,” she said with a smile. “I think I wouldn’t mind if they said sorry in a different way. Where are we anyway?”
“Gatwick – the Hilton. We leave for Bermuda early tomorrow morning.”
“How exactly do you want them to say sorry, Mum,” Bertha said.
“Oh, I don’t know – a freebie for both of us possibly. I have to admit, scary as it was, I did find myself enjoying the experience.”
“Me too,” Bertha said with a nod, “and it was a shock when David told me what had happened. I want to know what else they can do…”