Take Three Girls
“Aunt – are you all right?” Bernie asked after the others had gone and the girls had changed.
“It’s just – seeing you there, Vanessa, just reminded me so much of your mother, and Bernie of me when I was her age, that I froze.”
“I know we look like you and Mum,” Vanessa said, “but you never went through anything like we did today. Mum would have told us about it.”
“No she wouldn’t,” Aunt Susan said, “because we swore never to tell anyone what happened before her wedding to your father.”
The two younger women looked at each other in astonishment.
“You mean,” Bernie stuttered, “this happened to the two of you as well?”
Susan nodded, and tears started to come down her face as she began to tell the story….
From “Sister of the Bride”
August, 1967, and the so-called “Summer of Love” was in full swing. In San Francisco, young people were rebelling against the straight-laced constraints of their parents, while in London Carnaby Street was the place the young dudes and lasses wanted to be seen in.
Even in the quiet country towns, the influence could be seen in the styles that were been worn. Susan Drake was one such young woman. Walking down the main street in her home town, she was instantly recognisable in her floral chiffon micro dress, brown suede belt and boots and a matching scarf to her dress tied in her hair. The heads of the local boys all turned as they passed her, and she loved every minute of it.
At this particular moment, she was heading to meet her sister Evelyn and their best friend Katie for what would now probably be called a “Hen Night” but then was just a night out before Evelyn’s wedding the following Saturday. They had a table booked at a local restaurant, before going back to their flat for a few drinks.
Arriving at Luigi’s, Susan pushed open the door to see Katie sitting at the table waiting. She was dressed in a light blue top which left her midriff bare, a denim waistcoat and flared jeans, and sandals on her feet, and stood up to kiss Susan.
“Mmwa – mmwa. How are you, Suzie?”
“Excited and looking forward to the weekend, Katie. Have you seen my lovely sister yet?”
“Here she comes now.”
The restaurant door opened, and Evelyn Drake walked in. She was wearing a black and white Mary Quant minidress with matching knee length go-go boots.
“Luigi, bring us a bottle of Riesling while we think of what we’re going to eat.”
As the three girls sat eating, drinking and laughing, they failed to notice the tow men sat at a table at the back of the restaurant. The men, however, had noticed the three attractive young women and were talking in low tones, watching them all the time they talked.
The sun was starting to set when the trio paid their bill, picked up their handbags and set off down the main road towards Susan’s flat. As they continued to chat in the cool evening, the two men stood up and slipped out of the restaurant, watching from a distance.
“So have you any idea where Steve’s taking you yet, Evy?”
“Nah – probably somewhere like Bognor, I hear it can be fun down there at this time of year.”
“Bugger Bognor – you’ll be lucky to see anything outside the hotel room if he gets his way.”
“Why, Susan, I didn’t known you cared!”
The three girls collapsed into fits of giggles as they turned off the road and Susan opened the front door to their block of flats. The two men watched as the three entered the door, and then noted which flat the light went on in the window of.
Glancing at each other, they continued to walk around to the back of the building.
And they tell me, over and over and over again my friends,
That they don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.
“So come on Evey,” Katie said as she sat herself down on the chair, “What are you really looking forward to next week?”
“Getting married, you idiot” she said throwing a cushion at her friend. “Come on, Suzie, bring the drinks over.”
“Hold your horses, I’m coming,” Suzan called through from the kitchen. She was searching for three glasses in a cupboard when a noise came from behind her.
“Evey, I said I was…” Susan stopped dead in her tracks as she was confronted by two men in jeans and denim jackets, but with scarves tied over their lower faces and black sunglasses over their eyes. Before she had a chance to react, one of the men grabbed a kitchen knife from the work area, pulled her over and stuck the blade against her throat.
“Not a word, pretty lady, just come with us,” he whispered, and he pushed Susan in front of him, followed by his companion who had also picked up a knife.
“Suzie, where are ….. AAAAIEEEEE!” Evelyn screamed as Susan was pushed into the living room and the two men burst in behind her.
“Shut up, bitches” the second man said as he grabbed Katie and held his knife to her throat. “You two turn around and put your hands behind your back, otherwise your friend here gets a second mouth.”
“Just do as they say, Evey,” Susan said as she hugged her sister. The man who had held his knife to Susan’s throat pulled some lengths of twine from his jacket pocket, and after unravelling one length he grabbed Evelyn’s wrists and started to tie them together.
“That hurts,” she screamed as he pulled the cord tightly, but that only made him tie the knots more firmly. “I thought we told you to shut up,” he whispered in her ear, and then he took a second length of cord and bound Susan’s wrists together.
“What do you want?” she said as he pulled the twine tightly around her wrists.
“We just want to rob you, that’s all. So behave yourselves and do as you’re told. Now, both of you sit down on the floor and cross your ankles.”
Katie was forced to watch, tears starting to flow down her cheeks, as the two sisters sat down and the intruder began to tie their crossed ankles together. She could hear the heavy breathing of the man holding the knife to her throat, and began to fear that something else may happen as well.
“All right,” the man said as he stood up, “You search this room and see what you can find. I’ll take care of their friend and search the bedrooms.”
Grabbing Katie by the arm, he pulled the frightened girl out of the main room, leaving both Evelyn and Susan bound on the floor.
“Can you move at all?” Susan asked as they watched the intruder searching through the drawers and cupboards in the room.
“No, he’s tied my hands too tightly, and the cord’s been pulled too tightly over my boots. What about you?”
Susan tried moving her wrists apart, but the twine only cut more tightly into her wrists.
“Not a chance, Evey.”
The man stopped and looked at the seating arrangements laid out on the table.
“So, one of you is getting married,” he said. “Which one is the blushing bride?”
Evelyn swallowed and whispered “I am”
The man looked at the two women sat on the floor. In her attempts to get free, the top of Susan’s dress had started to slip down over her shoulders, while the skirt of Evelyn’s dress had ridden up to reveal the pink thong panties she was wearing.
Both women could see the look in the robber’s eyes – one of lust and wanting.
Hew picked the knife up and waved it in front of the two women.
“I want you to kiss each other, and to do it properly, or I start cutting.”
The two sisters turned, faced each other, and with regret in their eyes they kissed each other on the lips while the man watched.
“That’s enough,” he said as he pulled the two of them apart.
“Tell me,” he said as he stood in front of Evelyn, “Do you know any French?”
She nodded, and Susan started to wonder what was going to happen here.
“Do you know what Droit de Signeur means?” He whispered into her ear as he bent over.
Susan suddenly started swinging her legs over in an attempt to kick him. “Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare touch her, or so help me I’ll scream the place down!” she yelled.
The man laughed, and pulling a handkerchief from his pocket he rolled it into a ball and stuffed it into Susan’s mouth.
“You just be quiet – it’ll be your turn soon enough,” he said as he stood up and turned the volume up on the record player.
“Now, you’re not going to cry out, are you?” he said as he knelt in front of Evelyn. Mute with fear, she watched as he pulled his scarf down to reveal a rough, unshaven chin. She was unable to resist as he kissed her, the smell of alcohol on his breath.
Susan tried again to kick him, but the intruder slapped her over the face and she fell back on the floor, unconscious from the blow. Evelyn started crying as the man found the zip to her dress. Pulling it down, he pulled the top of her dress down to reveal a matching pink bra.
“Now you’re going to have some fun,” he said as he leaned over Evelyn. The girl closed her eyes, expecting the worst.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Evelyn started as the man was pulled away from her, and she opened her eyes to see the second intruder standing over the prone form of her attacker.
“We’re robbing them, not raping them! Now get your self together and hope to god they don’t remember your face, you stupid idiot!”
He came over and gently pulled Evelyn’s dress back over her body, pulling the zip back up.
“Are you all right?” he asked with a note of genuine concern in his voice.
“Yes, but is my sister all right?” Evelyn whispered.
The intruder looked at Susan’s prone body on the floor. A bruise was starting to form around her left eye, but she was managing to breathe despite the cloth in her mouth.
“She’ll be all right – I’m really sorry this happened. I know you can’t forgive me for my friend’s work, but please accept my apologies.”
“Your friend is in a bedroom, and she’s all right. I’m afraid she can’t call out just now, and I’m also afraid I need to stop you doing the same.”
As he said this, he picked up the belt to a bath robe that he had dropped when he entered the room.
“Please, open your mouth,” he said, and as Evelyn did so he tied the belt into her mouth to form a gag.
“Come on you,” he said as he pulled the other robber out of the room. Evelyn listened as the sound of a door closing came from elsewhere in the flat.
Susan moaned as she started to regain consciousness. Opening her eyes, she saw her sister sitting on the floor beside her, gagged with a towelling robe belt but trying to call out.
“Vln? R u l rght?”
Evelyn looked at her sister, and nodded as tears started to flow again. Susan sat herself up as Evelyn reached over and slowly pulled the cloth out of her mouth.
“Thank god you’re not harmed. Have those men gone?”
“Do you know if Katie’s all right?”
As if to answer, the sound of hopping could be heard, and Katie appeared in the door of the room. She also had her wrists bound behind her back, and her ankles tied together, but a scarf was wound in her mouth as a gag. She hopped over to a chair and sat down.
“Are you all right, Katie?”
“I need to call the police,” Susan said as she managed to get on her knees, and the other two watched as she shuffled off into the hallway.
“We called the police, and then your father, but all that had been taken was some money and jewellery.” Aunt Susan said in conclusion. “We didn’t want to call the wedding off, and your mother and I swore never to tell anyone else about what happened when we were alone with that man. We were so ashamed of what might have happened.”
Bernie and Vanessa looked at each other, and both hugged their aunt with real sympathy. After the day they had had, they knew what she meant, and what a lucky escape she had had all those years ago.