The Covered Cleaner
(Part 13 – Big decisions)
Back to The Covered Cleaner (Part 12).
Chapter 35 – Replying to the proposal
She was woken by her alarm which she had forgotten to switch off. Hearing movement in the living room, she washed and dressed. Almost the last thing she did before going into the living room was to attach the envelope to her ankle so that it almost touched the ground when she put her high heeled shoes on.
Entering the living room, she turned and faced the door. As she had expected, Mark immediately bound her wrists behind her. He then led her to the table and sat her down. Soon he was helping her with a sports drink. When Nicole had finished it, she sat while Mark fed himself. When he had finished, she went and stood by the front door.
“You want to go out?” asked Mark, a little puzzled.
Shall I untie your wrists?” asked Mark.
Nicole shook her head.
“I assume we will be walking,” said Mark.
Nicole nodded again.
Soon they were heading slowly down Van Ness towards the sea, slowly because even in the outdoor morning light Nicole could see little through the many layers covering her eyes. Mark walked beside her, his arm loosely around her, enjoying the feel of her tightly corseted waist. Nicole knew she shouldn’t let him but was enjoying it, and it might be the last time for a long time – or for ever.
Nicole eventually led Mark to the seat overlooking the sea where they had had their last big talk. They stood looking over the bay for a minute, then Nicole stepped out of one shoe, so the note attached to that ankle was now on the ground. Carefully, she put her other shoe on it and moved her shoeless foot sideways until the note tore loose. Then she stepped back into her shoe and moved so she was facing Mark with the note on the ground between them. She stood with her head bowed until he noticed it and picked it up.
“I assume this is your answer to my proposal?” he queried.
Nicole nodded slightly.
“Then perhaps we should sit down. Is this why you wanted to come here? Because it is where we last talked?”
A more vigorous nod, as Mark guided her gently to the seat and sat beside her. His hands were shaking as he opened the envelope, certain that she was saying no. Otherwise why do it this way?
As he opened the envelope a small square of paper fluttered to the ground. He picked it up and realised it was a portrait photo of Nicole, like the one on her school ID card. He looked carefully in the envelope. There was another photo, this one larger and full length, taken early the previous school year when Nicole was first wearing Victorian clothes but with her face uncovered.
“These are really for me?” he queried.
Nicole nodded vigorously.
Mark was sure now that this was a refusal, but the girl was giving him some souvenirs of their relationship.
Mark looked again into the envelope and took out the remaining item, a folded piece of paper. Unfolding it nervously, he read:
“Dearest, Dearest, Mark
YES I WILL MARRY YOU.
But I have some conditions as well.
Once we are married, no-one but you and any children we may have will ever see me uncovered or hear me speak.
When we are out together I will want to be so heavily veiled that you have to guide me.
You are to keep me restrained often, though not blind and deaf at the same time for too long please.
But things will change now. Until we are married you are not to speak to me except in emergency, or write me notes. You can e-mail me and I will answer.
Second, I will not answer you in any way if you do speak to me or write me a note.
Third, from now until the wedding I will be veiling more strictly so I never see your face. It will be the same as when I am wearing the bonnet your mother altered, so I will only see people’s feet. It will be hard, especially in lectures, but I will find a way to cope.
And finally, you must not touch me until we are married.
I love you very much.
If you can accept my conditions, please tell me so, then take me back to my apartment, untie my wrists and go. I have lots to do to alter my veiling. And please ask my father’s permission.
“PS: The photos are for you, to remember me until the wedding. ”
It took a few moments for Mark to take Nicole’s message in. He had been sure she was going to say no, yet here she was not only saying yes but taking things further than he had dared ask.
“Thank you. Thank you for saying yes. Thank you for the photos. Thank you for trusting me so much. It will be hard for me, but I can’t imagine how hard it will be for you. And I have already asked your father and had his blessing. He thinks I am mad to marry someone who looks like a bundle of material.
But I want to change just one thing please. If you need to talk to me about anything or I need to talk to you, we can do it if we are sitting here. So if I really need to speak to you I will bring you here, and you can bring me here. As soon as we leave this seat the rules apply again. Is that a good idea?”
Nicole nodded and moved until she was touching Mark. He put his arms round her and pulled her close, kissing the top of her head as it nestled against his shoulder. They sat almost unmoving for several minutes before Nicole broke away and stood. Mark knew that she would need guiding back to her apartment, but resisted putting his arm round her delightfully small waist, and instead placed it lightly on her shoulder.
They walked very slowly back to the apartment, enjoying the moment. When they arrived, Mark sat Nicole on the chair again and stood in front of her. He took a small box out of his pocket and showed it to her before putting it on the table.
Only then did he step behind the girl and untie her hands. Almost immediately, he slipped the rope into his pocket, headed for the door and was gone.
It was several minutes before Nicole could think clearly. She had seen Mark put the box on the table, but had then forgotten it in the welter of emotions. Heading for her bedroom she shed her many layers of covering until she was wearing just her normal indoor attire of a salwar kameez. Then on an impulse she picked up the large black scarf she had used as an extra veil and used it to cover her hair.
Returning to her living room, she saw the box on the table, and opened it. Inside was a gold pendant and a note. She picked up the pendant: it had the letters M and N intertwined. She opened the note.
“I hope you are reading this as my fiancé. If you are, the necklace is for you instead of an engagement ring, as I figured a ring would be a problem under gloves.”
“If you said no to me, then this is a momento of our relationship.”
Nicole burst into tears and collapsed onto a chair. The events of the morning had drained her, but she was deliriously happy. Now she had to live up to what she had put in her note. Could she do it? When the tears had stopped flowing, she returned to the table, picked up the pendant and put it on. She looked at it in her mirror. Only she would ever see it, but to her it was so precious she didn’t intend ever taking it off. She was engaged to be married!
Only then did she realise that she was locked in her gag and Mark had the key. How could she get it back? She would have to e-mail him.
His response was a few hours coming and was a shock: “I’m dreadfully sorry, but I am with my parents for the weekend. I’ll be back in SF lunchtime on Monday. I’ll give your key to Zyrafete then.”
So it would be Monday afternoon at the earliest, and probably Tuesday before she was released. Well, she had worn the gag that long before but it would be very difficult and she could not eat. The first thing therefore was to stock up on energy drinks. So she put on her many layers again and headed for the nearest supermarket.
When she returned, she decided she may as well spend the time preparing her new veils. She found some opaque black fabric and cut two pieces, one to cover her face from her forehead to the tip of her nose and the other longer, to reach to her chin. These she sewed onto the inside of the outer two layers of her three layer veil. Now if she had all three layers down she would be able see only directly down, but if she flipped the top layer back she should be able to see a short way ahead. But when she tried it she found that the fabric clung to her face and she could see almost nothing even without the top layer. Then she remembered her original plan. She found a long narrow scarf and folded it lengthways four times so it was about two inches wide and many layers thick. She tied this round her forehead and tried the three layers again. Now they hung away from her face and even with the outer layer down she could see a small amount of the ground ahead of her feet, while she felt that with the top layer flipped back she could move safely in the street.
She resolved to test it with a walk to the park and back. She soon found that she was OK except crossing roads, when she couldn‘t see traffic coming. She had to plan her journey carefully so she could cross where there were pedestrian lights. Eventually, she reached a side road without lights. She listened carefully for some time and eventually decided that no vehicles were coming and scurried across. But she had already decided that this was too risky, and as soon as she reached the sidewalk she flipped back the second layer so she was veiled but could see ahead. This would have to do for walking the streets, with the second layer down at school and all three layers covering her when Mark might be present. It was a compromise for the present until she worked out something better.
Back at her apartment she tried folding two similar scarves together. The result was a thicker band round her head but it didn’t make much difference to how much she could see.
Taking off her outdoor clothes again, she fixed herself a drink and sat on an upright chair – she had learned long ago not to use the armchairs, as her corset dug in and they were almost impossible to get out of. School started next day, so when she had finished her drink she prepared her books and took a quick look at the first subject next morning. She suddenly felt very tired, and after about half an hour decided on an early night.
However, she couldn’t sleep. She didn’t feel like reading or working in her new corset, so she switched on her computer and opened Internet Explorer. She idly put veiling into Google and soon had a list of sites. One caught her eye: Tales of the Veils. For some reason she had not come across this site before. Soon she was exploring the various sections, astounded to find out how many people there were like her who veiled because they wanted to and not because of their religion. She spent some time reading the veiling dictionary and discovered the proper names for some of her garments, then looked at the stories. Some didn’t appeal to her, but others intrigued her. She noted a few to read later and moved to the section on real life devotees. Latex Lady’s blog astounded her. It was one thing wearing a burqa, but quite another to wear one made of shiny colored latex. Nicole couldn’t imagine wearing one, as it would make everyone take notice of her instead of ignore her. Eventually, she decided to return to bed.
Chapter 36 – Still no key
Next morning it was hard to get up but she was on her way to school on time, though with only one of her three layers of outer veil flipped down. When she reached the school entrance she flipped the second layer down. She had decided to use the top layer only at lunch and when she and Mark had the same class, and that wouldn’t happen for a couple of hours.
She couldn’t see the board at all, and had to listen and take notes very carefully, but she thought she had grasped most of the lecture. She might have to borrow Zyrafete’s notes sometimes. But moving between classes she had to move slowly to be sure not to walk into anyone. By lunchtime, she was hungry and rather tired, but she knew she would not be getting her key back that day so she chose and paid for a sports drink and found a seat in the sun to drink it. In the first afternoon class she had to pay even more attention as Zyrafete didn’t take this subject. And she knew that Mark should be in her last class, so she flipped down her most restricting veil before changing rooms. She could now see her feet but not much more, but she managed to get to her seat without colliding with anyone. She really had to concentrate on the class as she was feeling her lack of sleep and it was warm under all her layers, but she managed to attend and take notes.
As soon as she was a half a block from the school she flipped back two layers and headed for Mohammad’s house. Zyrafete was there before her and came into the kitchen as Nicole was getting her cleaning things from the cupboard.
“I saw you in class today, but I don’t suppose you could see me. Your veils seem very thick. Can you see through them?”
Nicole took a pad from the table and wrote “Not much. Now Mark and I are engaged we have agreed that we must not see or hear each other, so he will not speak to me and I will be almost blind when he is around. “Do you have something for me from him?”
Zyrafete shook her head. “I haven’t seen him today.”
Nicole didn’t want to explain the incident of the key so she didn’t reply. Instead she turned away to get on with her job. However, Zyrafete was now curious. “You can speak. Mohammad isn’t here. Or is you gag locked?”
“And let me guess. Mark has the key!”
Nicole nodded again.
“You poor thing. How long have you been gagged?”
“Since Friday evening,” wrote Nicole. “Mark went to his parents after he proposed. He’s going to give you the key for me.”
“You’d better do the cleaning well then, or I might hang on to it,” giggled Zyrafete.
Nicole shuddered but also felt a tingle of excitement. She avoided any further discussion by leaving the room.
Nicole kept her resolve next day though she often wondered if she was being foolish making things too hard for herself. Zyrafete didn’t appear in her classes, and she didn’t see Mark though he was probably there. By evening she was wishing for nothing more than some solid food, but supper was just clear soup and an energy drink. Hopefully she would get the key next day.
Wednesday morning was initially uneventful. For her last class Nicole sat next to Zyrafete. She wrote a note: “Have you got my key?”
Zyrafete gasped and scribbled a quick reply: “I had it from Mark last evening but it’s in my other purse. I’m very sorry. Can you manage until you come to the house?”
“I’ll have to!” responded Nicole, with a sigh which was loud enough for Zyrafete to hear.
Zyrafete was about to respond when the lesson began. It seemed to last forever.
Lunch was another energy drink. Nicole was beginning to hate the taste. The afternoon classes dragged on and on. Nicole could think of little but the joy of removing her gag. But eventually the day’s classes were over. As she was leaving the building, Zyrafete came alongside her and took her arm, guiding her towards the house. Nicole didn’t bother flipping back her veils until she was in the house. She was just in time to see Zyrafete disappear through the door into the hallway. Almost immediately, Mohammad entered the kitchen.
“I’m glad to see you. Here are the instructions for tonight’s dinner. You will wear your burqa, won’t you? I don’t want my guests to be embarrassed as I am hoping to sign a big deal with them. If the deal comes off, I promise you a big bonus.”
Handing her a piece of paper, he turned and almost walked into his wife who was returning at some speed.
“You don’t have to veil in here, but I don’t mind if you want to,” he said playfully as he lifted Zyrafete’s veil and kissed her forehead. Then remembering that Nicole was standing behind him he gave his wife a quick hug and left.
Zyrafete put an envelope on the table.
“Here is your key. I’m very sorry I didn’t have it with me this morning.”
Nicole took it and removed the key. She immediately felt under her various layers and undid the lock, carefully removing the ball from her mouth. She put it on the drainer and spent a minute flexing her jaw.
“Thanks,“ she whispered, then decided not to say more in case Mohammad returned. Instead she took a pad and wrote: “Don’t worry. I have worn it for longer before, but it is not pleasant after a while. But what about you? Does your husband want you to be veiled in the house as well as outside?”
“I think so,” responded Zyrafete, “but I’m not agreeing to that yet. If he really thinks it is important I’ll do it, but I want to find out first.”
Nicole decided it was time to get on with the job, so she didn’t reply other than with a shrug of her shoulders. She just wanted to finish her job and get home to some solid food, and she didn’t have much time if she was to be back in good time to serve the meal for Mohammad’s guests.
The evening went well, though Nicole was surprised to see Zyrafete wearing a burqa, and not just a burqa but one with very small mesh areas for the eyes and apparently no arm slits. At least Nicole assumed that the person who sat still and silent through the evening was Zyrafete. Nicole was pleased with her standard of both serving the guests and moving round the room gracefully. And she was very pleased with the bonus from Mohammad, which would almost pay for her new corset.
Chapter 37 – Another re-enaction event
The next few weeks were very quiet, both literally in that Nicole never spoke except sometimes to Zyrafete at her house, and in that nothing untoward occurred. She eventually got used to coping with lessons she could not see, and moving round the school without walking into people or walls. She assumed Mark was around but true to her request he had not spoken to her.
Then one evening she received an e-mail from him saying that Adam had invited them to another re-enaction evening. Was she prepared to go even if it meant not speaking to others at the event when in Mark’s company? She thought for a day before replying. She knew that Liz had been to many events and never spoken, so she was sure she could do the same. However, could she go without breaking her rule about seeing Mark or hearing his voice? Eventually she replied that she would like to go but wasn’t sure she could keep her own rules.
Mark quickly replied that he was willing to try not to speak to her during the evening. However, if she was very heavily veiled he might need to guide her around, and it might spoil her enjoyment. But he had an idea. He would suggest to Adam that they exchanged partners. What did Nicole think?
Though she had some reservations about being chaperoned by Adam, Nicole couldn’t think of a better idea, so she agreed. The event was a week away so she had time to think about what she wore. It would obviously include her crinoline, but would her bonnet suffice or did she need an inner veil, and should she wear her gag?
By the time the day came round, she had decided. She had modified the veil on her bonnet again so it was opaque to the level of her mouth, and had found some ear plugs which reduced her ability to hear without stopping it completely. That way she could still hear conversations but would not notice Mark’s voice in the background. She had told Mark her plan and he had told Adam.
So on the night it was Adam who called for her at her apartment and escorted her as she slowly walked to his car. As usual, her long corset made getting in the seat difficult but this time at least she could use her hands. And she could fasten her own seat belt. Adam spoke to her as little as possible, and knew she would not answer – even though she had decided against her gag. He was most attentive as he parked the car and headed for the hotel entrance, but touched her only on the arm just enough to guide her round obstacles and people. Once inside, he led her to a table where two people were seated. Nicole could see a pair of men’s shoes and a pair of women’s boots with impossibly high heels. Adam did the introductions so that Nicole need not speak: “Victoria, Peter, you met Nicole at our party. Tonight she is with me and Mark is looking after Liz.”
Nicole made her best attempt at a curtsey and sat on the chair proffered by Adam. In a couple of minutes he placed a glass in front of her with “I hope you like white wine.”
Nicole nodded, and after a few minutes took a sip. She was having to concentrate on the conversation at the table. She and Liz might be silent that evening, but Victoria wasn’t, and was soon telling her and Adam about her bondage for the evening. Nicole had already seen her boots, but not the muff into which her hands were locked, the neck corset which forced her to look up at the ceiling or the steel bands holding her thighs close together. Nicole realised that by comparison her own clothes hardly restricted her. Any bondage was of her own making.
Despite the girls’ restrictions, their partners insisted that they should dance. Nicole soon found herself out of breath, but otherwise enjoyed the experience. When they returned to the table Victoria made it plain that this was not her usual dance style, and that she had been almost unable to stand, let alone dance, with her high heels and bound legs.
This time there was a proper buffet meal, so Nicole was very glad she had left her gag home, though unable to do justice to the food on her plate because of her tight corset, even if this didn’t stop her drinking a little too much. Before she knew it, Adam was escorting her to his car and helping her in. At her apartment block, he insisted on escorting her to her front door and waited until she had opened it before taking his leave in a most charming manner.
The story continues in The Covered Cleaner (Part 14).