The Covered Cleaner
(Part 10 – Visiting Mark)
Back to The Covered Cleaner (Part 9).
Chapter 26 – The journey
By the time the day came to visit Mark’s family, Nicole had finished the new corset and tried it on. It was demanding to wear as the built-in brace pulled her shoulders back to the point where it was hard to touch her fingers in front of her waist. The crotch strap was uncomfortable until she learned how to sit best, but it also gave her very interesting feelings between her legs that she had not read about on the web. But so magnificent was her figure with her wasp waist, now under 20 inches, and her breasts lifted and presented prominently, and so straight was her back that she knew the garment would be worth wearing. She also found time to visit the shop which sold Muslim clothes and bought another khimar. This one was floor length with just slits for her arms. When she got it home she closed the slits and narrowed it at the side seams so that it was only about 48 inches round the hem. She could walk OK but not take big steps, and once she had it on it was hard to get off quickly. This was what she would wear when alone with Mark so she was not tempted to touch him.
Mark was due to pick her up at 11:00 on Sunday. He had borrowed his father’s car. He had warned her that the drive to Crescent City right in the north of California would take up to six hours, so she needed to have something to drink. After thinking about the problem, Nicole had decided to suspend a child’s plastic drink container round her neck under her khimar. It had a hole in the top for a plastic straw and she ensured that she could get the straw into the hole in her gag. She had practiced drinking like this and was confident that she could cope, though half a pint would not be much for six hours.
By 10:45 she had her case by the front door of her apartment, her gag locked and her new khimar ready to put on when Mark rang to say he had arrived. He was ten minutes early but by this time Nicole had checked that she had the keys to her front door and her gag, had put the water bottle in place, had opened her front door a crack and had donned her khimar five minutes had gone. She managed to pick up her case by bending at the knees, glad that she did not need to take many clothes, and headed for the elevator. As she stepped out of the building, Mark greeted her with “Dead on time and you look awesome.” He put her case in the trunk of the car and opened the nearside door.
Nicole hadn’t been in a car while corseted and veiled and quickly discovered that her usual style of getting in would not work. She turned and lowered herself carefully onto the seat. She could just duck enough to clear the top of the door opening. Without much ability to use her hands, she then had to shuffle back and then turn and lift her leg at the same time. Mark immediately realized her difficulty but did not offer to help, instead commenting “I assume I’m not allowed to touch you to help you, but I shall still have to do up your seatbelt.”
Nicole realised once her belt was done up that she was completely helpless as it pinned her arms by her side even more completely than the khimar. She could not bend at the waist and was therefore sat up straight and her head was close to the roof. She couldn’t even turn her head much because the khimar was trapped between her and the seat. She hoped she would be comfortable for the journey, but there was nothing she could do, not even ask Mark for help.
Mark was right. It was a long drive. Twice he stopped, got out and came round to release her seatbelt but Nicole decided that it had been hard enough to get in once, and didn’t move. Mark asked if she was alright, and she decided to compromise her vow of noncommunication, so she nodded just enough for Mark to see. For at least an hour, she slept.
Chapter 27 – Mark’s family
At last Mark turned the car into a residential area and stopped outside a large house. Hearing the car arrive, his mother, father and teenage sister came out to meet them. Mark’s mother opened Nicole’s door and released her belt. Nicole shuffled round and put her feet on the ground but found that for some reason she could not bend her head enough to clear the door frame. Mark’s mother saw this and said “Shuffle forward and bit more and you should be able to get out“, as she said it putting her hand on Nicole’s head and guiding it carefully through the car door. This was a new experience for Nicole who had never been touched by anyone when veiled, but she realised that Mark’s mother had meant well, even if she had compromised Nicole’s self-imposed rules a little.
“Mark has told us that you will not talk or uncover yourself while you are here,” said Mark’s father, “but we’ll introduce ourselves anyway. I’m Luke, this is my wife, Mary, and this is our daughter, Hannah. I’ve asked Hannah to help you get comfortable.”
As Mark’s father was speaking, Mark took Nicole’s case from the trunk of the car and handed it to Hannah.
“Come with me, and I’ll show you to your room,” the girl invited. “I’ve really been looking forward to meeting you. What Mark has told us about you is just amazing. I think you are very brave to stick to your principles so firmly.”
By this time, Nicole was following Hannah upstairs, very glad to be out of the car and have room to move. A thought struck her – it wasn’t necessary to veil or be silent when she was just with Hannah as long as she could be confident she wouldn’t bump into anyone else. It would be good to be able to chat, but she must be careful not to frighten the girl.
Hannah opened a bedroom door. “This is your room. Mine is on the right. Mom and Pop and Mark have their rooms on the other side.”
Nicole followed Hannah into the room and immediately saw the bathroom door. She quickly gestured to Hannah to sit down and headed for the bathroom where she removed her khimar and gag, ensuring that her niqaab was covering her properly.
“It‘s really great to have you here,” she said to a surprised girl. Within this room I am happy to talk to you and let you see my indoor clothes. I hope you will feel you can come here often.” As she was saying this she was carefully removing her niqaab to reveal her face.
“I’d really love to, but I thought you would always be veiled and silent,” responded Hannah.
“That’s when men or strangers are around,” explained Nicole. “I don’t need to hide myself from you.”
“That outfit is gorgeous, is it comfortable?” responded Hannah.
“Yes, it’s really easy to wear. I have others in different colours. Later, you can try one on if you like, though I think it may be a bit big on you.”
“I’d love to,” came the immediate response. “But you must be tired and hungry. We have worked out that you cannot eat with us so I intend bringing your meals here for you, if that’s OK If you don’t mind I’ll bring mine too.”
“That’s a really good idea,” said Nicole enthusiastically. “It will be great to hear about your family. Mark hasn’t told me much.”
“And I want to hear a lot more about you,” replied Hannah. “What Mark has told us fascinates me, but I don’t understand how you manage to keep your rules. But the meal is ready. Mom wasn’t sure what time you would arrive so she has done a salad and cold meat. It’s only five thirty, but I expect you are hungry if you haven’t eaten since you left San Francisco.”
“I’d love to eat, and I’m very, very thirsty,” responded Nicole. “I’ve only had half a pint of water to drink on the road.”
With that she unclipped the container which was still round her neck and put it down.
“That’s neat,” commented Hannah. ”Could you drink in the car?”
“It was difficult but I managed,” responded Nicole.
“I’ll get some water with your meal,” called Hannah, already out the door. “See you shortly.”
She was back within minutes with a tray including an enormous pitcher of water. Nicole drank several glasses and then they sat, ate and talked. Once again Nicole explained about her job, her “vision” and her growing unhappiness about exposing herself in public. Hannah commented that she was still wearing gloves. Was that normal?
“No, not in my apartment, but I am so used to wearing them that I forgot to take them off,” explained Nicole.
“Mom says you wear a corset. I’ve never seen anyone in a corset. What’s it like to wear one?” asked Hannah.
“Tight,” laughed Nicole. “My waist is now down to 20 inches from 28 and I want to get it down to 18. I know it doesn’t show when I am covered, but I started when I was wearing Victorian style clothes and have continued. It really helps my posture and gives me confidence, It also controls what I can and can’t do, as you saw when I tried to get out of the car. But despite the occasional problems it’s well worth it. I love it. Do you want to feel it?”
“Can I really?” asked Hannah, putting down her plate and putting her hands to Nicole’s waist. “Wow, that’s awesome. It must make your Victorian outfits look terrific.”
“It really helps,” agreed Nicole, “not just because of my small waist but because I have to sit and stand properly. No slouching.”
“I don’t think I’m ready for that,” laughed Hannah, “but I’d love to see you in Victorian clothes sometime. By the way, Mom and Pop say you can stay up here as long as you like. Just come down when you are ready.”
“I think I’ll dress and come down now,” responded Nicole. “Can you take the tray as I can’t really use my hands when I am dressed to be with Mark?”
“That’s real dedication,” said Hannah, picking up the tray.
Nicole closed the door and prepared herself to meet the family properly. She was glad they had an idea of her motives even if they found her ways strange. It would be great to have Hannah to talk to and hopefully Hannah would pass on to Luke and Mary what Nicole had told her.
She found the family sitting in the sun lounge and sat carefully on the highest free chair. These days she avoided plush armchairs and sofas: even if she could sit comfortably it was hard to get up in a corset, and even harder without the use of her arms.
Mary noticed immediately: “Is that seat OK?”
Nicole nodded slightly, again thinking that this visit was going to challenge her resolve not to communicate in Mark’s presence.
Luke took up the conversation, telling Nicole about the family and the town. “We haven’t really got any plans for while you are here but there is one day which might be a problem. My mother and father are coming for lunch on Thursday. I am afraid they will be convinced you are a radical Muslim, so we need to think what to do. If you want, you can stay in your room all day.”
Nicole didn’t respond but made a mental note to tell Hannah that she would wear Victorian clothes that day. Luke’s parents would just have to cope with her silence.
As Luke and Mary talked, with interjections from Hannah to tell her parents what Nicole had said during the meal, Nicole became increasingly comfortable. The two parents had accepted her silence and covering up, and were treating her simply as Mark’s girlfriend. They never once asked her a question.
Eventually, Mary look at her watch and exclaimed “You must be exhausted. I suggest we all go to bed. We usually get up around seven. Luke has to go to work tomorrow. I’ll get Hannah to bring you some breakfast before she goes to school. She’ll be back by four, so if you want lunch we shall have to work something out. I realise you can’t do much for yourself when you are covered like that. That’s fine, but you will have to be patient as we work out how to do things. Anyway, goodnight. Hannah, could you take some water up for Nicole, please?”
With that Mary and Luke left the room while Hannah headed for the kitchen , returning almost immediately with a glass of water. “Let’s go,” she threw over her shoulder as she left the room, followed by Nicole, leaving Mark sitting and pondering.
When Nicole returned from the bathroom, Hannah was sitting on her bed. “I’m going to really like having you here. Please tell me if I am a nuisance, but I really would like to try the clothes you wear – all of them. I don’t know how you bear silence and being so helpless, but I must find out. Not tonight. I’m sure you are very tired, but perhaps when I get back from school tomorrow. See you for breakfast. ’Night.”
“Goodnight,” replied Nicole. “You are right. I am very tired. I don’t see why you can’t try my clothes, but I don’t have two of everything so we can’t go out together when Mark is around.”
Chapter 28 – Chatting with Mary
Next morning, Nicole was woken by the arrival of Hannah with her breakfast. She dressed and enjoyed a coffee with Hannah who then had to leave for school. When she finished her meal she donned her gag, niqaab and khimar and headed downstairs, to be greeted by Mary.
“Mark has gone to buy some things for me and Luke is at work, so it’s just the two of us for a couple of hours. Does that mean we can talk?” she asked.
“Why don’t you remove your veil and gag?” suggested Mary.
Nicole responded by heading back upstairs, returning a few minutes later in a vivid blue salwar kameez.
“That’s gorgeous,” exclaimed Mary. “Is that what you usually wear under your black sack?”
“Often,” responded Nicole, “though I sometimes wear a black top and long back skirt. But only when I am not going very far because the skirt is pretty narrow and I can only take short steps.”
“I understand why you want to cover up and not flaunt your body in front of all those young men at the college, but I don’t understand why you choose to make life more difficult for yourself than it need be. For example, that narrow skirt, or your tight corset which seems to hold you absolutely rigid?” queried Mary.
“The corset started as an essential part of my Victorian look,” explained Nicole, “but having got used to it for a few weeks I decided to continue because it forces me to have a much better posture. My new corset is even more restrictive as it will have shoulder straps. They will take some getting used to but they will really help me to avoid being round shouldered. I feel that I need this help with my posture, and once I get used to it I suspect that I won’t notice it except for things like getting into cars. I have read that if I wear a corset for long enough I will have to wear one all the time to support my back, but that doesn’t worry me, because now I don’t feel complete without it.”
“The tight skirt is another matter. It is for me, not for anyone else. I feel I sometimes need its discipline to force me to slow down, take my time and act elegantly. It is never on show, so I don’t think it provokes the boys.”
“What about the rules you have imposed for Mark? They are very severe. Who are they for?” asked Mary.
“For both of us,” responded Nicole. “Locking my gag just ensures that I don’t speak in the heat of the moment. I feel there is more risk than normal when I am with Mark.”
“He is much closer to me than other people and I don’t want him to see my eyes, so I wear extra layers. I adjust the amount I am covered so I can see enough to do what I need to. Admittedly I can’t read or do any close work, but I don’t want to when I am with Mark, so it‘s not an issue.”
“The long chador with no arm openings was a direct result of my lack of self control. Several times when Mark teased me I dug him in the ribs. That was completely inappropriate.”
“Together these three things ensure I don’t flirt with Mark. I know it’s tough on him that I won’t even give written replies any more to his questions, but I need to be really sure he wants me for his girlfriend whatever happens. So in a way it is also a test for him. Do you think I am being too hard on him?”
“You are certainly testing him, and yourself too,” said Mary thoughtfully. “I have to say I admire you both. I hope it works out for the two of you. But what’s it like when you can’t answer Mark when you want to? Is it frustrating?”
“Occasionally I get frustrated, but I have learned just to accept the limits and it’s now easy just to relax and go with the flow. I just let Mark make the decisions and obey him if I can. If I can’t, he is very quick to spot the problem and change things. It’s actually become very satisfying not to have my own ideas and just follow Mark.”
“So you think Mark wants you to empty your mind?”
“I’m not emptying my mind, just pushing out my own views on things that affect us both. Even when I was still writing notes to Mark, I always kept them brief and didn’t ask questions. But if you think I am creating tensions between us please tell me and I will think again. For the moment, though, I enjoy just obeying.”
“I don’t think there will be a problem. Mark is very happy. But I promise I’ll tell you if anything comes up,” responded Mary. “One more thing we need to discuss is Thursday when Luke’s parents come. Would you mind wearing your Victorian clothes that day? I think you in a black sack would be too much of a shock.”
“No problem. I hope you don’t mind if I speak as little as possible, especially when Mark is in the same room,” replied Nicole.
“That’s what I would expect, and I don’t suppose Luke’s parents will notice unless you ignore a question,” answered Mary.
“I also have a question while we are talking. This morning Hannah asked if she could try wearing my clothes – and she said everything. Is that OK? Not a corset obviously as it would never fit,” asked Nicole.
“If she has set her heart on it, she won’t give up. I suggest you make it as hard as possible, locked gag, really heavy veil so she can hardly see and make sure she wears her highest heels. We’ll do it on Saturday morning. You leave your gag off and wear the thinnest veil you feel happy in. I’ll run you both over to the mall, and you can do some shopping together and then walk back. It’s about a mile and a half. We’ll see then if Hannah want to repeat the exercise. If she does, we’ll have to test her even more,” suggested Mary.
“That sounds a really great idea. I am not trying to get anyone to follow my example,” laughed Nicole.
“By the way, I sent Mark out for a couple of hours so we could chat. Shall I do the same tomorrow?” asked Mary.
“That would be awesome, provided I am properly covered when he gets back. In fact I’d really better cover up now,” responded Nicole.
“It’s OK. I told Mark to ring when he is on the way back,” explained Mary as Nicole headed for her room.
Almost as soon as Nicole reappeared in the kitchen, now black and shapeless, Mark rang. He arrived a couple of minutes later, looking delighted to see Nicole who stood with her head bowed.
“I hope you had a good chat with Mom,” asked Mark. ”I know she had lots of questions, but don’t let’s stand here. It’s a beautiful day so let’s sit in the garden and enjoy it. Mom and Pop spend a lot of time on their garden and it’s full of color. I’ll get a couple of cans of drink on the say, saying which Mark held his hand to indicate to Nicole to follow him.
He was right about the garden. As they sat there on a double swing seat Nicole marvelled at the color and the butterflies. It was warm but not too warm, though she would have preferred fewer layers covering her head. The sun was so bight that her sight was hardly impaired by the four layers of veil over here eyes. And she was very impressed by Mark, who made no attempt to touch her and, when she did not touch her drink, put a straw in the can and held it so she could suck – again without attempting to touch her other than to lift the bottom of her veil. It dawned on her that had he done anything else she couldn’t have stopped him other than by walking away. But she was sure she could trust him. She just hoped her self-imposed discipline was not upsetting him, but for now she was in heaven.
After about an hour Mark brought Nicole out of her reverie by suggesting a walk round the garden. He led her through a rustic arch into a rose garden with twisting paths leading through a mass of color.
“Mind the steps, they are very uneven,” he warned her, “and I’m not sure if you will let me help you if you fall.”
They wandered through the garden for some time, spending a few minutes sitting under an arch of climbing roses before leaving the rose garden through an arch like the one at the entrance. Suddenly a magnificent view of a tree covered mountainside opened up.
“I thought we’d drive up there this afternoon,” said Mark. “There are lots of paths through the trees and it’s very easy walking. There is also rock climbing but then you would have to change your dress code.”
Suddenly, Nicole had doubts about her self-imposed helplessness. Was Mark upset they could not do more active sports? She rather liked the idea herself. Was she being ridiculous? Perhaps she should ask Mark’s mother. She felt tears coming to her eyes, so she turned towards the house and started walking slowly in that direction. Mark quickly perceived that something was wrong and hurried after her. He resisted the temptation to put his arm round her, but asked if she was OK, not sure what the problem might be. Nicole turned and faced him, head down. She couldn’t tell Mark even if she had been prepared to. She didn’t know what to do, so after a few seconds she turned back towards the house. Once inside she headed for her room. She needed to think and she wanted to talk to Mary.
Mark quickly narrated the events to his mother who immediately headed up stairs. She knocked on the door of Nicole’s room but entered at once to see Nicole sitting on the bed her head held in her hands.
“I think you need to explain things to me,” she said kindly. “Take out your gag so we can talk.”
For the first time ever, Nicole removed her chador and niqaab in front of another woman. It just seemed OK.
“You are being very kind to me, even though I am being completely unreasonable,” she began “I think perhaps I had better stop veiling so heavily and keeping myself gagged. It came to a head when we were in the garden and Mark was talking about the mountains, and things we could do there like rock climbing. In the old days I would have liked to go rock climbing, but now that is out of the question even when I am not dressed to be with Mark. I think Mark was disappointed. So should I go back to the way I used to be?” It all tumbled out, and she collapsed on the bed and burst into tears.
“No, don’t change anything,” Mary assured her. “I have talked a lot about you to Mark. He knows there are things you cannot do, but he wants you to stay as you are. He really appreciates the fact that you are willing to make such sacrifices for him. He says you are very special. He doesn’t understand you completely, and he too finds things difficult at times, but he wouldn’t want you to stop covering up or gagging yourself if that is what is important to you.”
As she was saying this, Mary sat beside Nicole and put her arms around her.
“And I wouldn’t want you to change either. In fact, I admire your determination to keep up your standards. Mark has had one or two girl friends in the past but nothing serious, and they have dressed atrociously, with bare midriffs and miniscule shorts. It’s a bit premature but I shall say now that I should be delighted to have you as a daughter-in-law.”
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” laughed Nicole. “We both have to finish our school courses first. And by that time Mark may be tired of me. I know I am hard work for him sometimes.”
“I don’t think he is going to get tired of you,” responded Mary, “at least not unless you change to become like all the other girls. Your modesty is very precious to him.”
“But now I am here, I want to ask something. Hannah wants to borrow your clothes. So do I. But I don’t want the scenario we agreed for her. I’d just like initially to try one of the outfits like your blue one with a basic veil. Is that possible? It would be great if I could be wearing it when Luke gets home from work. I want to see his face.”
“No problem at all,” responded Nicole getting up and heading for the closet. “What about this green salwar kameez? That’s what it’s called. And I can lend you an abaya to wear with it which will cover your head. Do you want your face covered too?”
“If it is easy,” answered Mary taking the garments from Nicole.
“Dead easy,” said Nicole, taking a black veil from the shelf. “You simply tie this round your head with the tapes so the top is just below your eyes. You can still eat or drink by lifting it a bit, as the bottom is outside the opening of the abaya.”
Within minutes, Mary had changed and was looking at herself in the mirror.
“Have you got some black shoes instead of those Nikes?” asked Nicole, “they don’t help the image much.”
“I have some black patent boots. Will they do? They have rather high heels?”
“I think they should be fine if you are OK wearing them,” responded Nicole. “But Hannah will be home before Luke. Do you want her to see you dressed like that before Luke sees you?”
“Perhaps not. I’ll change back for now and change a few minutes before Luke is due,” said Mary, picking up her clothes.
“But are you OK now? No wavering please. We all want you as you are. So if you are coming downstairs you had better cover up again. Or would you like to have your lunch here first? It’s only sandwiches so it will only take a few minutes.”
“That sound a good idea, then I can get ready to go to the mountains with Mark. Please tell him I am OK and I want to go. And thank you for your help. I promise I won’t relax my standards a bit.”
The story continues in The Covered Cleaner (Part 11).