An Overseas Posting
By Nye North
Renee’s heart gave a little jump as the wheels of the airplane hit the runway meaning she had arrived in Iabud. She was there in her capacity as a worker in the British Foreign Office.
Some weeks earlier Renee, full name Renee Gibson, had been offered a position in the embassy in Iabud, serving as Personal Assistant to the Ambassador. At twenty-seven years of age she thought herself too young for such a role but had been convinced by her superiors that they felt her fully capable of doing the job required of her and so had accepted. Renee found that many of her colleagues wondered why she had been offered the position as there were other women with longer service than hers who she felt should have been offered the position. What Renee did not know was that many of these women had been offered the position but had refused.
Renee had done research on the country she was to serve in but apart from the usual had found little information about the small island nation on the internet. The main point that seemed to be covered was that since the swearing in of the new head of the country, a thirty-nine year old sheikh, the country’s dress laws for females had been changed and were strictly enforced but no matter how hard she tried Renee could find no information on what these laws entailed. She also felt that, as a foreigner working for the British government, these laws would not relate to her. One thing she was unaware of was that these very dress laws were the main reason the more senior women had rejected the position.
Now out of the airplane and walking towards immigration and customs, Renee got her first look at how the Iabud females were dressed, seeing little different from what she had imagined the dress to be, some kind of burqa or chador. On entering the immigration hall Renee noticed that there were separate lines for males and females. Having been issued with a diplomatic passport she had expected to be cleared without going through the usual system. This did not happen however. When she had enquired from one of the uniformed men it had been made very clear that she was to follow the female line. On reaching the front of the line Renee waited for the light on the frame of the entry to turn on as she had seen it do as each female entered behind the curtain.
Having passed behind the curtain Renee found herself facing a dark blue shroud. Not a word was said by the woman facing her, she merely pointed at a monitor on which several questions were asked. She read each question carefully before touching the monitor to answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Five screen full of questions later Renee watched to woman stamp her passport and signal her to pass through the next curtain. This Renee discovered bought her into the baggage collection area. By this time she was wondering why she had not been met and escorted through the system as she had heard others talk about on their arrival in various countries. Having collected her bags Renee walked to where there was another line of people, these awaiting customs clearance.
The formalities over Renee found herself in the arrivals hall. Finally somebody to meet her she thought on seeing a man holding up a board with her name on it. She walked over to him and introduced herself.
“Follow me” he curtly said as he took her bags from her.
Outside it was very hot, Renee guessing it to be close to a hundred degrees. The man led her to a car and opened the rear door for her before placing her bags in the boot. Inside the car it was much cooler, the air-conditioning working as the engine had been left running. Without saying another word the man got into the driver’s seat and moved off. Renee looked at the scenery as they drove along.
“Why had I imagined desert and dingy buildings” she asked herself on seeing the modern buildings rising to the sky.
The ride took about fifteen minutes. Renee saw that she had arrived at the embassy, a sleek modern glass building.
The man again told Renee to ‘follow me’ the only words he had spoken. As she followed her guide through the building Renee could not help but notice that all the people she assumed to be females wore what she thought of as ‘local dress’. This seemed strange as she had expected the staff to be British not local Iabudians. Her guide had shown her to a waiting room and some minutes later a man dressed in a very smart and expensive looking suit approached her.
“Miss Gibson?” he asked.
“Yes” she replied.
“Pleased to meet you” the man said. “I’m Edward Phillips-Barnes, Phillips-Barnes being hyphenated. You’ll be working for me. I’m the Ambassador”.
Renee was not sure what to say as she had not expected the ambassador to welcome her personally.
“I’m pleased to meet you Sir” she finally managed to splutter out.
“Come into my office. We can talk further there” Edward said.
Renee and the Ambassador spoke for a few minutes. There was one question that she was dying to ask and finally did so after getting permission.
“Why do all the women employed here seem to be locals and not British?”
“What makes you think that?” the Ambassador replied.
“Well, mainly from the way they are dressed” Renee answered.
“Oh dear. You really do not know. I guess they didn’t tell you at the interview did they? They rarely do” he told her.
“I don’t understand” Renee said. “They didn’t tell me what?”
“That to remain in this country for longer than a month the law requires you to be dressed in the manner of the female dress code” the Ambassador explained.
“You mean . . .? Renee spluttered.
“Afraid so” was the reply given. “And by law you have to be correctly attired within forty-eight hours of arrival. After you’ve had a good night’s rest we’ll see about getting you correctly attired tomorrow” she was told.
The Ambassador called an aide who showed Renee to the room in the embassy that she would share with another of the female staff. Several hours later Renee met her roommate after the woman returned to her room after finishing her day’s work. Leaving Renee wondering why until it was explained the woman introduced herself using a series of written messages. Her name was Vivien Chalmers, was aged thirty-six, came from a small village near Worcester and had been in Iabud for three years. Renee spent a restless night as her mind tried to absorb what Vivien had told her about the dress code laws for females in the country. How could it be permitted? She asked herself. Surely how she was going to be dressed was illegal. Surely nobody, not even a sheikh or ruler of a nation could impose such restrictions on a person. Vivien had explained that the young sheikh who now ruled the country was a ‘fan’ of bondage and fetish and had installed many of the ideas used in these proclivities into the dress code he had introduced after he had become ruler.
For Renee morning came all too quickly as this was the time that the Ambassador had told her she would be taken to the fashion boutique that the embassy used to dress its female staff in the required manner. To make matters worse Renee was denied breakfast, having been told it was a requirement of her visit to the boutique, although no explanation as to why this was so was given. Not long after her arrival at the boutique, accompanied by Vivien and a man, an Iabud citizen, who had been introduced as Mustafa and turned out to be their chauffeur, she found out the reason that she was not permitted to eat when given an enema. Actually it was a total of three to ensure she was clean inside. The next shock she received was when, for more comfort, she was advised to have her head, along with her pubic area, shaved bald. On the advice of Vivien, who said she was shaved, Renee agreed to undergo the procedure. Renee had her eyes on the woman who had entered the room, introducing herself by message as an assistant dresser for the boutique and would be dressing Renee. The first thing the assistant did was to fit Renee with a large, adult size diaper, something Vivien had told her in their previous evenings ‘talk’ that would be done.
“This feels really weird” Renee said quietly after its fitting. “I’m sure I won’t have use for it though” she added.
On hearing this Vivien thought ‘I thought the same thing. Just try holding everything in for fourteen hours a day. You’ll soon find out differently’.
The assistant stepped forward and handed Renee a black spandex bodysuit which she then helped her put on. The assistant smoothed all the air bubbles out of the legs of the bodysuit while leaving Renee to pull the suit over her now naked pubic area herself. With help from the assistant Renee’s upper body became a shiny black vision. After getting permission the assistant positioned Renee’s breasts in the preformed cups before pulling the bodysuit up over her shoulders, followed by pulling the hood over Renee’s head. When happy with the fit the assistant closed the zip up Renee’s spine who, on seeing her reflection in a strategically placed mirror, saw a black shiny figure that was obviously female that left only small areas of skin at mouth nose and eyes visible.
Having been shown the next item of clothing there was an outburst from Renee.
“A corset? Come on Vivien, you’re having some kind of joke at my expense aren’t you?”
Vivien used the monitor to try and assure Renee this was not the case and having her feel her own torso to show she was indeed wearing a corset.
“Is this sheikh guy weird or something?” she asked Vivien. “What’s with all this fetish type gear?”
A message told Renee that it had probably already been explained to her about the sheikh’s dress code changes since he came to power and that she would just have to accept it. A still angry Renee allowed the assistant to place the corset around her torso, even holding it in place while the assistant moved behind her to tighten the lace. A message from Vivien warned her not to complain at how tight the corset was laced as it may get tightened even further. About fifteen minutes later, the corset tightened to the satisfaction of the assistant, Renee stood gasping for air while checking out her figure in the mirror. To her surprise she liked what she saw. Vivien drew her attention to the monitor where the message advised that over the ensuing weeks the corset would probably be laced even tighter as her body adjusted.
As the next items of clothing were added to Renee’s dressing she no longer bothered to comment after what Vivien had told her. Opaque black nylon stockings, held taut by garters on the corset, covered her legs and leather gloves that reached the shoulder her arms. She did comment when shown the footwear to be worn.
“How can I walk in those?” she asked on seeing the knee length boots with a heel so high it would force her to walk on her toes like a ballerina.
Vivien simply lifted the hem of her outer garment to reveal that she wore boots of the same style with the woman helping her dress doing the same thing.
“You’re all mad” Renee said with a shrug of her shoulders. “I still won’t be able to walk in them”.
Vivien wrote another message for Renee. She read: ‘You’ll be surprised at how quickly you learn to walk on your toes when given little option but to do so. It took me just a few hours once I had got my mind around the fact that I had no alternative’. Renee sat on the stool indicated by the assistant and let the woman put the footwear on her.
As she watched the assistant fit the boots Renee saw that they were of a style known as wedge heels although the heel part was very narrow like a stiletto heel which she guessed would make walking rather precarious. The sole appeared to be made of rubber and had deep grooves in it which she guessed were for traction and to prevent the wearer from slipping on polished floors. She watched as the assistant closed the zip up each leg, being very surprised when the woman inserted a tiny padlock through a hole in the zip tab and a small ring at the top of the boots. She queried Vivien on this and received the message ‘It’s to prevent unauthorized removal of the boots. They must be worn from seven in the morning until nine o’clock at night at the minimum. Longer wearing is permitted’. This information came as a shock as Renee realized she would be locked in the boots, her feet held in the ‘en Pointe’ pose for at least fourteen hours each day.
The next surprise Renee had was when the assistant produced, and showed her, the stride impeders she would have to wear.
“How much more of this is there?” she forlornly asked Vivien.
No reply was given by her roommate. The assistant first placed the rubber lined metal rings around Renee’s thighs at a point midway between her crotch and knees. Once they were in place Renee was asked to walk around the dressing room. With each step she stumbled as the combination of the height of the heels and the two inch long rubber covered chain between her thighs caused problems. On several occasions she would have fallen if not for Vivien and the assistant holding her by the elbows.
“This is bloody ridiculous” Renee said to no-one in particular. “How can I be expected to walk, let alone work, trussed up like this?”
Again she received no answer from either woman present. After Renee had made a few circuits of the room she watched as the assistant then fixed the second rubber covered chain between her ankles, attaching each end to small rings on the inside ankle of the boots. Until the woman locked both ends of the chain to the rings Renee had thought to herself that she would remove them once nobody was watching. With her ankles now restricted to a maximum six inch stride Renee fully understood why the women she had seen since her arrival walked with such tiny steps.
The next item the assistant produces has Renee completely baffled. The series of straps seemed to make no sense to her. On being asked to open her mouth she realizes that she is about to be gagged, something Vivien had told her about.
“No please don’t gag me. I can’t stand having things in my mouth. I promise I will not talk” she pleaded to the assistant.
Vivien stepped once again towards the keyboard and monitor and a minute later Renee read her latest message. ‘Once again unfortunately you have little, in fact no, option. A gag is compulsory for all females over the age of sixteen. As I explained yesterday, under the Muslim religion, females are only to speak to their male descendants. The sheikh has decreed that to avoid any embarrassment over this, all females should be gagged at all times’. A very reluctant Renee opened her mouth so the gag could be inserted. What she did not see was that the assistant had held a different gag hidden in her hand. This, a ring gag, she inserted behind Renee’s teeth, preventing her from closing her mouth. Taking a small key the assistant gradually increased the size of the ring until Renee was moaning that she could take no more. The gaggle of straps was now placed over and around Renee’s head and the small rubber sack inserted into her now gaping mouth. With the straps now holding the whole contraption in place the assistant began to pump air into the sack until such time as it totally filled Renee’s mouth. As she inflated the gag the assistant at intervals smacked Renee on the bottom or pinched a nipple. It was not until no sound was heard from her that the pumping was stopped. A message informed Renee that there was a small hole running through the centre of the gag that would permit the taking of liquids or blended food.
The assistant carried another garment over to where Renee sat on the stool. This was her dress, again made of black spandex. With Renee seated the assistant pulled the dress over her feet then had her stand while she pulled the spandex up as far as the thighs. The assistant ran her hands up and down Renee’s legs to smooth out the skirt then continued to pull the dress up over Renee’s torso. She helped her push her hands and arms through the tight fitting sleeves before easing the dress over the shoulders and closing the zip up Renee’s spine. Looking down at her spandex covered body she saw that it clung to her upper body as far as the hips where it loosened a little to permit her the six inch steps the stride inhibitors limited her to.
Renee watched as the assistant carried another item towards where she was again seated. This item was only small and appeared to be rather stiff. Another of the seeming unending messages appeared in front of Renee. ‘This is your neck brace, which is sometimes called a collar. It’s fitting will ensure that you hold your head in a regal manner. Please do not be concerned, its design will not strangle you’. By this time Renee knew that trying to protest in any way would bring no results so she simply followed the instructions on the messages, holding her chin up while the assistant laced the brace around her neck. Once the collar was laced tightly Renee could feel its lower edge pressing down on her shoulders while its upper edge reached almost to her nose. She also quickly discovered that her ability to move her head more than a millimeter or two in any direction had been removed, leaving her only able to stare straight ahead.
A three inch wide metal belt was placed around Renee’s waist. Attached to the front of the belt on a ring welded to the centre were two foot long rubber covered chains with manacles at their ends and these were quickly locked around Renee’s wrists, thereby greatly reducing the amount of movement her arms were permitted.
Renee watched as the assistant carried another garment towards her. From the way it was being carried it appeared rather cumbersome and from what she had seen and Vivien’s description of the outer garment worn, guessed this was what it was. The garment did indeed turn out to be what Renee had guessed it to be. The garment was a type of burqua and because, after the sheikh had changed the design, was known as an Iabud burqua. With some difficulty the assistant lifted the garment above Renee’s head and virtually let it drop over her body before beginning to adjust it. As the burqua dropped over her Renee began to panic as everything went black and she had great difficulty in breathing. As the garment settled on her shoulders Renee was surprised at the weight of the garment. As the assistant made adjustments to the fit things got slightly better since Renee could now at least see through the fine mesh covering her eyes.
The Iabud burqua was very different from those generally worn in nearby countries. It consisted of two layers, the inner one a heavy grade of calico with the outer layer being cotton that had been treated with a special chemical that reflected the rays of the sun which helped keep the wearer cooler. There was a mesh grid five inches wide and an inch in depth for vision along with a two inch circle at the nostrils that had no inner calico layer to allow breathing. The only other openings in the burqua were slits for the hands to be pushed out through. Renee studied her reflection, now a little darker as she peered through the black mesh in front of her eyes. All she saw was a pale blue ‘thing’ with no shape or form. Inside the burqua she moved her arms, finding that the size and shape, along with her limited arm movement, made grabbing hold of the garment difficult. The garment fell in folds around her and she guessed it to be close to four feet around the hem. Suddenly a second shape appeared alongside her and Renee assumed it was Vivien. They looked identical with Renee seeing no way to tell the pair apart except that she knew she was the one on the left as she looked at the mirror.
The assistant walked up behind the pair and gave each a small push in the back. Renee and Vivien slowly moved towards the door of the dressing room and then into the boutique itself. They were guided towards the main door and Renee could see the street outside. Just as the pair were about to leave through the now open door they were stopped by a boutique saleswoman. To Renee’s surprise her vision suddenly changed as the saleswoman pulled down something over her eyes. Her vision had been greatly reduced and her first reaction was to lift her hands to her head to remove whatever was blocking her view. Her movement was quickly stopped by the chains at her wrists, leaving her to realize that she had no way of removing whatever was covering her eyes. As she recovered her thoughts and stared out from behind the eye covering it dawned on her that all she could see was what was in front of the one inch circles of mesh that now limited her vision.
Renee found herself helped across to the car parked at the side of the road by the man she thought to be the chauffeur. She was assisted into the car and seatbelts closed, one across her lap and one over each shoulder that slotted into the lap belt. Moments later she felt the seat move slightly and assumed that Vivien had been assisted into the car next to her. Without warning the belts tightened, pulling her hard against the back of the seat. Renee also discovered that her hands were trapped inside the burqua by the belts and no matter how hard she tried she was unable to get them outside of the stifling garment. She felt the car begin to move and tried to turn her head to see outside by the neck brace prevented her attempt so she resigned herself to staring at the partition between her and the chauffeur.
The journey was not very long so it was only a short space of time before Renee was helped from the car. With her limited vision she was not sure where she was and it was only after entering the building she realized she was in the embassy but had entered by a different door. She permitted whoever was guiding her by the elbow to lead her to wherever she was to go, guessing it was probably her room. As Vivien and her guide were behind her Renee did not know that her roommate had been taken to their room while she was led into the ‘working’ part of the embassy. Once in the section her guide stopped her and, to her relief, lifted the outer layer that covered her eyes. A short walk later Renee found herself standing in an office facing a man she did not know. He introduced himself as Conan Rushdon and telling her that part of his job in the embassy was as a sort of human relations officer.
Conan invited Renee to be seated before telling her that he had to explain certain things to her. He began by saying that the ambassador must always be referred to by his title and other males should be called Mister. The next piece of information Renee did not enjoy hearing, that being that whenever she, along with all the other female staff, were not in this part of the embassy, that between seven in the morning and nine at night, the second layer of eye covering was to be used and this included the living quarters. Conan added that this layer was of course very compulsory at any time she was outside of the embassy even outside of the stated hours. Renee signaled towards the monitor in the hope that Conan would understand that she wished to ask a question. He told her to go ahead. With some difficulty with the leather gloves covering her fingers she typed ‘If that is the case, why were Vivien’s eyes not covered by the second layer when in our room last night?’ Conan told her that Vivien was given special permission not to fully veil so that she could see the monitor more clearly so that the pair could correspond with each other. From now on Vivien would be expected to follow the law which stated that unless working, females will have their eyes covered by both layers of the veil. Further information was that unless working or absolutely necessary, hands should be kept confined within the burqua at all times.
Conan handed Renee a small bag on a chain. She was told that this contained her identity badge and credit card the use of which any expenses would automatically be deducted from her salary. He helped her place it around her left wrist, showing her how to lock the chain and telling her to ensure she was wearing it whenever she left the embassy. Conan ended his talk by telling Renee that she would officially begin work at eight o’clock the next morning. With these words he pressed a button on his desk, the door opened and a guide led Renee from the office towards her room.
For Renee it turned into a long day. On their return from the boutique after a short visit to the room, Vivien had gone back to work. This left Renee alone and unsure of what to do. She tried various things. Finally managing to turn on the television she quickly found out that her limited vision did not let her see too much, plus most of the programs were local stations and she did not understand the language. Reading, or anything requiring sight, was no easier, meaning she spent much of the day just sitting in a chair awaiting Vivien’s return. After many hours the door opened and Vivien entered. She walked over and gave her roommate a hug before settling in a chair. The pair did little until nine o’clock at which time, after knocking on the door, a maid entered the room and lifted the outer eye covering. Renee and Vivien immediately moved to the computer and began ‘talking’ to each other. Some seventy-five minutes later Vivien said she was feeling tired, saying she was going to get ready for bed so Renee decided to do the same.
Vivien bought Renee’s attention to the monitor again. ‘I’ll arrange for two maids to come and prepare us for bed’ the message said. ‘I think I can manage to get myself ready for bed’ Renee replied, to which Vivien wrote ‘I doubt it. Remember you cannot remove your burqua without help’. ‘I forgot about that’ was the reply received. A few minutes later two burqua clad maids entered the room. A folding partition was drawn across the room between the two beds and a maid went to each side. Not fully knowing what to expect Renee waited for the maid to make the first move, which she did by unlocking the neck strap of the burqua to enable its removal. She did this by pulling it up over Renee’s head. The maid opened the cuffs around Renee’s wrists the removed the belt, thus freeing her arms. This done the dress was removed and the maid indicated that Renee should now lie on the bed. This action had her wondering why and when the remainder of her clothing was going to be taken off.
It was further indicated to Renee that she should lie as close to the centre of the bed as possible, a request she complied with. Unable to turn her head due to the fact that the neck brace still held her head in the one position Renee could do nothing as she felt something done at the back of her neck, where the maid had retrieved a chain with a hook on one end that was attached to the head of the bed. The hook was inserted into a small ring on the back of the brace. The maid then moved to the foot of the bed where she pulled another short chain from its hiding place which she attached to the centre of the stride impeding chain between Renee’s ankles. The maid now showed Renee another belt. This was far narrower than the one worn all day. It also had cuffs and these were attached directly to the ring welded to the belt. Before Renee really understood what was happening the maid had closed the cuffs around Renee’s wrists, thereby holding her hands against her waist. Unknown to Renee there were two other rings on this belt, one at each side of her body. To these the maid attached chains that were again part of the bed and once they had been tightened Renee was forced to remain in the centre of the bed lying on her back.
The maid had not finished securing Renee for the night. She next produced a mask from a compartment beneath the bed. This was a type of gas mask and it was slipped over Renee’s head and tightened around her head and neck. Panic struck until Renee realized she was still able to draw air and it was not until this panic attack had subsided that she realized that she could no longer see. Returning to the foot of the bed the maid began to use the built-in ratchet to slowly shorten the chain attached to Renee’s ankle chain. This action saw Renee gradually slide down the bed until the chain attached to the brace was taut. Renee tried, without success to draw her legs up and it was at this time it dawned on her that she was unable to relieve any of the stretching the maid’s actions had caused. Unseen by her charge the maid moved to a small cupboard, opened the door and turned a valve on the wall. This action changed the mix of the air reaching Renee through the gas mask and within minutes the gas had put her into a deep sleep, a state she would remain in until a maid altered the gas mix again in the morning.
It was fifteen minutes before six o’clock in the morning when Renee and Vivien were awoken from their drug induced sleep by a maid. This was achieved by changing the gas mixture. Once released from the bed and helped to stand by a maid Renee felt very stiff and sore from being forced to sleep in an unusual position. Also on standing she almost immediately fell, having forgotten that her feet were still held in the en Pointe pose. Luckily the maid was able to catch her. She was stripped and assisted into the shower area where she saw that Vivien was already there. Two different maids entered and began to wash the pair. Renee tried to object by trying to speak as she now only wore the ring gag. Two fingers across her lips convinced her she was meant to remain silent. The pair was only permitted a short time in the shower as time was of the essence, as under the law both had to be fully dressed again by seven o’clock.
With the gag now again in place Renee was fed by a maid using a wide needled syringe to force the puree mix into her throat. While this was being done the second maid was lacing up Renee’s boots. Just within the time limit, by six minutes, both Renee and Vivien were fully dressed, with both eye layers in place, ready for the day. Fifteen minutes before eight the pair left their room and headed to work. As Vivien knew the way through having gone through the routine for eight months she led Renee. On entering the office area of the embassy a male attendant lifted the outer eye cover.
Renee made her way under her own steam towards the office that she had been told by the Ambassador the day before that she would be working in. On entering she saw a woman sitting behind the desk of the outer office, her office. The woman looked up and signaled for Renee to take the chair opposite her before drawing her attention to the inevitable computer screen. ‘I’m assuming you are my replacement. Am I correct?’ the message that appeared asked. With some difficulty due to the leather gloves that she had not got used to typing in Renee simply typed ‘Yes’. ‘The name is Miss Gibson I am informed? My name is Miss McKenzie and I shall be teaching you the procedures and such over the next two weeks’ was the next message. Several more messages were used to introduce each other and to give Renee some basic information.
Suddenly Renee saw Miss McKenzie rise from her chair. She looked up to see that the Ambassador had entered the room so, guessing it might be some form of etiquette she did the same.
“Good morning ladies” the Ambassador said.
Renee saw Miss McKenzie, who was standing slightly in front of her, give a small bow from the hips, so once again followed suit. A few minutes after the Ambassador had entered his office Miss McKenzie motioned to Renee that she should gather a notepad and pen and follow her into the ‘inner sanctum’. The Ambassador was seated behind his desk drinking tea when the two women entered.
“Allow me to officially welcome you Miss Gibson” the Ambassador said then, after a short pause “Listen to Miss McKenzie and follow her lead and I think we’ll get along fine. She has been at this embassy for many years working as PA for several ambassadors”. After a second short pause he asked “So what is my schedule for today?”
Renee watched as her teacher showed the Ambassador the diary. He nodded and spoke to the women.
“Nothing much on the agenda today I see. I will spend a while answering mail. Please remain available ladies. And Miss McKenzie, I shall address all my comments to Miss Gibson so please do not get offended” he added. Once returned to the outer office Renee read the messages that Miss McKenzie placed on the monitor telling her what the Ambassador meant. The ensuing few days ran in much the same way with Renee still encountering problems typing in the leather gloves and learning to use the telephone system that required her to type the words she wanted people to hear before they were converted into a mechanical voice by the computer and transmitted. She had learned from Vivien that Miss McKenzie, Vivien did not know her Christian name as she had never heard it used, was retiring after serving in the embassy for the past fifteen years. Renee had commented asking ‘how could she stand spending fifteen years unable to talk and wearing these clothes?’ In reply Vivien had pointed out that before this current sheikh came to power the female staff of the embassy was not required to wear ‘local style’ clothing and that Miss McKenzie had probably worn a pant suit for work.
Thursday evening, after the outer eye cover had been removed Renee and Vivien sat down for their nightly ‘chat’. ‘With tomorrow being Friday many of us from the embassy go to a club named ‘The Colonials’. It’s only open to members of staff from certain embassies, mainly those of British Commonwealth countries as the name might suggest. You’re quite welcome to join us if you wish. You’ll have to make up your mind now though as I’ll need to arrange a male escort for you as only couples are allowed entry’. Renee asked for more information about what happens at the club, which Vivien happily supplied. ‘Okay I’ll come’ Renee finally wrote. ‘That’s great. You’ll really enjoy yourself. I have a guy in mind as your escort’ was the reply. ‘You’d already arranged all this in the hope I’d say yes hadn’t you?’ Renee asked, receiving a thumb sign up from her roommate.
As time came to finish work on Friday afternoon Renee became more and more nervous about going to the club. Why this should be she could not understand as she had gone to many clubs and on many ‘first’ dates. Perhaps the reason was that this ‘date’ was kind of a ‘blind date’ something she could not recall ever having done previously. At least she thought to herself I do not have to worry about what I should wear. A little before half past seven, the arranged meeting time, Vivien led Renee from their room towards the rear door of the embassy where they were to meet their escorts. Right on time the two men appeared. One went over to Vivien and gave her a kiss on about where her forehead would be while the other stood back a few steps.
“Hi. I’m Declan, sort of Vivien’s boyfriend. I guess you must be Miss Gibson, Renee. Let me introduce you to your escort for the evening” Declan said by way of introducing himself. “This is Dylan. Don’t act as if you are shy Dylan. Come and meet your partner for the evening. Dylan I’d like you to meet Renee. Renee this is Dylan”.
Dylan stepped forward and, to Renee’s surprise, placed a kiss on her forehead in the same way that Declan had with Vivien.
It was only a short time later that Renee and Vivien were assisted from the car. A short walk, which left Renee feeling short of breath, followed. From the little she could see Renee was disappointed at the entrance to the club, it was merely a doorway that led down narrow a corridor about twenty feet long. At the end of this corridor was another door, this guarded by what appeared to be two rather large bouncer types and a woman who seemed to be collecting money. Renee tried to offer to pay her entry but was refused by Dylan and Declan. With the entry now obviously paid one of the bouncers opened the door. As he did so Renee was hit by bright lights and the sounds of music playing rather loudly.
Escorted by Dylan with his hand on her elbow through the burqua, Renee allowed herself to be led through the club until they reached an area with many seats. Here Dylan helped Renee be seated before seating himself alongside her. As best she was able Renee took in the club. She could see there was a band playing on a small stage and people dancing although it appeared very tame from the way she normally danced. She thought that the band was pretty good even though they mostly seemed to play songs from many years ago. Realizing she was being spoken to Renee bought her thoughts back to the people she was with. Declan and Dylan now had drinks in front of them but she and Vivien did not as drinking was impossible while wearing the burqua. From what Vivien had told her the evening before Renee knew that this club was one of the few places in Iabud that alcohol was permitted. Certain things seemed strange as the evening wore on. The two men talked among themselves, only rarely bringing Renee and Vivien into the conversation and only then if it was something that could be answered by a simple thumb up or down response. Declan and Vivien were on the dance floor and if she could not see Declan had a job to distinguish who was Vivien amongst the sea of pale blue burquas. She heard Dylan speak to her.
“Would you like to dance?’ he was asking.
Renee panicked. Could she dance wearing this clothing? She asked herself. Without really waiting for an answer Dylan took hold of her by the elbow and before she knew what was happening she was on the dance floor next to Declan. Having watched other women Renee tried to copy the small wiggles they had seemed to be doing. A few moments later she thought she must be doing something right when Dylan placed his hands around her waist and drew her closer.
It was close to one thirty by the time Renee and Vivien were returned to the embassy by their partners. As soon as they entered their room Renee pressed the button to signal for maids to prepare them for bed. On being woken Saturday morning Renee was still very tired and had forgotten that the laws she now lived under required her to be fully dressed not just on working days by the deadline, but every day. One thing she had not forgotten was that Dylan had told her he would pick her up at midday and take her out to see some of the city. For Renee the trip was rather a flop as, due to the eye covering, she was not able to fully appreciate the sights she was being shown. She did however discover that Dylan was a secretary at the New Zealand embassy, this information solving her problem of his accent. He also revealed the reason why he was a secretary. It was that because of the female dress law, his country refused to send females to work in the embassy.
By the end of the next week Renee was becoming used to her work schedule as well as her manner of dressing. On the Thursday afternoon there was a party to say goodbye to Miss McKenzie and she took Renee aside and told her she was doing well and to just keep her head down, behave and do as instructed and she was sure that Renee would cope perfectly.
The ensuing days and weeks had little change as Renee settled into life in Iabud. Renee was occasionally required to go to meetings and functions with the Ambassador where she hoped she did the right thing and represented her country well. Dylan became a part of her life and she and Vivien also became very good friends. As she had been told would happen, after several months she found she no longer tried to speak and, due to being covered most of the time, along with a lack of mirrors in the bathroom which was about the only place her face was uncovered, she began to forget what she looked like. Also she noticed, again as she had been told would happen, the maids gradually tightened her corset until her waist was far smaller than she ever thought possible.
‘I guess this is my lifestyle for at least the next four and a half years or so’ she finally convinced herself after six months in Iabad.