THE REYNOLDS FAMILY RETURN HOME
By Nye North
The Reynolds’ family were seated in the underground train on their way from Heathrow airport’s terminal four. They had just recently arrived from Australia where they had lived for the past fifteen years. The reason for the return to Britain after so long was due to the terms of Adam Reynolds’ recently deceased mother’s will. The terms of the will had stipulated that Adam, the only child, could only claim his inheritance if he, plus his family, returned to live in Britain for at least ten years. As the inheritance was rather substantial, including a house with five bedrooms situated in the London suburb of Harrow, a large sum of money along with a very impressive stocks and shares portfolio. Adam and his wife Paula, had little hesitation in uprooting the family to England.
Forty-seven-year-old Adam was quite well off in his own right, also from investments in stocks and shares along with his architecture business. Paula, aged forty-two did not work. The pair had two children, a daughter and a son. Alicia was nineteen and Jacob fourteen. Neither child was happy at being uprooted from their friends.
“Keep an eye open for Acton Town station” Adam told the family. “We have to change trains there”.
“Action Town” Jacob said. “That’s a weird name for a town”.
“Not Action” Adam told his son “Acton” spelling the word out.
Jacob was looking around the carriage.
“Why do all these women have their faces covered?” he asked rather loudly.
“Shush” Paula admonished “Keep your voice down. Everyone is staring at us”
“But why are their faces covered?” Jacob insisted on asking.
“We told you before we left. Fashion in this country is very different. These ladies are simply following fashion” Paula advised.
Looking around the carriage herself Paula could see only one uncovered face apart from those of herself and Alicia.
“I think we’re getting close to the stop we need then we need to find how to get to a place called Rayners Lane” Adam said looking at the map on his phone.
“Excuse me” a voice from across the aisle said. “I couldn’t help but overhear what you said” her voice slightly muffled by her veil.
The woman then gave Adam instructions of how to find the train they required.
“Thank you” Adam replied.
He felt a little uncomfortable at his first interaction with a veiled woman.
A further two train changes later the family found themselves standing outside of North Harrow station.
“Why do these women wear these strange shoes?” Jacob wanted to know. “They can hardly walk in them”.
“Shut up idiot” Alicia growled.
Adam was on the phone. He had been told that the keys to the house were being held by a local solicitors office and that he was to call them from the station and they would arrange for the family to be picked up and taken to their new home. Some ten minutes later a car stopped in front of them and a woman got out.
“I assume you are the Reynolds family?” she said, her voice muffled by her veil. “I’m Magda Woldenski” handing him a card. “I have been appointed to take you to your house”.
There was a slight problem. The car was not very large and all of the family could not fit in.
“I’ll call a taxi and follow you” Adam suggested.
“It’s only a short five minutes run’ Magda said. “How about I take your wife and daughter and some of the bags then return for you and your son”.
After a short discussion this arrangement was agreed upon.
Paula and Alicia climbed into the car and Magda drove off.
“I must say how surprised I am at how many of you women seem to be wearing veils” Paula said. “Although we knew of the fashion it seems to be in much wider use than we were led to believe”.
“Mum” Alicia said in an exasperated tone “I told you that the internet said that up to ninety percent of women under the age of thirty now wore veils in this country”.
“I guess I thought you were exaggerating” Paula replied.
During the journey Magda tried to keep conversation going by asking questions.
“What work do you do?” she asked Paula.
“I don’t” was the reply “I keep house as my mother used to call it”.
“How about you Miss” Magda asked Alicia.
“Nothing special. I only left school a short while ago. I’ve worked at McDonald’s taking orders, on a check-out at a grocery store and had a job for a short time as a secretary after completing a secretarial course. I had to give that up to come here”.
“Did you enjoy that type of work?” Magda asked.
“It was okay I guess. At least it paid more than the other jobs”.
“I’m sure you’ll be able to get a job here” was Magda’s reply. “From what I hear secretaries are always in demand”.
Having dropped off the two women at the house, and after having let them in and telling them to explore while she went to pick up Adam and Jacob, Magda departed.
“This place is huge” Alicia said to her mother as they stood in the entrance hall.
“It’s going to take a lot of keeping clean” was Paula’s answer.
“Typical of you mum” Alicia said “To think of housework first”.
Paula smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
“How does that woman breathe through that heavy looking stuff covering her face?” Alicia asked her mother after Magda had gone to pick up the male members of the family.
“I think if you look carefully you’ll find that what looks like dimples in the material are in fact small holes. I guess that is where the air gets through” her mother replied.
“I still can’t see the reason, fashion or not, for covering the face like that. They all look scary” Alicia said.
“Ah well. Each to their own” Paula replied.
Fifteen minutes later the family were together in their new home. Magda, began showing the family around the house. She was fairly familiar with it as it had been her job to inventory all the fittings and furnishings in the house. On Magda’s departure the family explored further with Alicia and Jacob picking which room they wanted as ‘theirs’, Adam and Paula taking what was obviously the master bedroom. The master bedroom and the room chosen by Alicia had its own bathroom attached while Jacob would use the small bathroom down the hallway from his room. The family continued to explore. In the kitchen Paula said that many of the ‘pots and pans and suchlike’ needed replacing as they were badly worn. The dining room, at the back of the house, was next door to the kitchen and was furnished with a large table with twelve chairs placed around it and Paula pointed out the serving hatch between the kitchen and dining room. There was a pair of sliding doors that led from the dining room to the garden, which seemed to be perfectly kept. The area directly outside of these doors was paved and when the family stepped outside they saw to their right a large glass conservatory. On their approach to the conservatory they received a surprise, inside was a large swimming pool. Jacob immediately said he wanted to go for a swim but closer inspection from inside the conservatory showed that the pool had probably not been used for some time as a thick layer of dust and grime covered the plastic pool cover.
“Maybe we need to get the pool checked out first” Adam told his disappointed son.
Paula told the family that they would need to find some nearby shops as there was no food in the house. Adam used his phone to find the nearest shopping centre. The next problem was transport – they had none – and the shops were close to two miles away. A taxi was called to solve the problem. Tired from their travels the whole family went to bed early. In the morning while having breakfast it was decided that new beds were required, the one’s in the rooms were old and the mattresses lumpy. It was also decided that, even though much of the furniture in the house was old, it would do for the immediate future. Within a few days the family started to settle into a routine. A school was found for Jacob and he was to begin on the following Monday. On his return home after his first day he told the family that all of the ‘older’ girls wore veils and from what he had been told it seemed as if they were part of the school uniform. Paula meantime set about cleaning the house to her satisfaction even though Adam and Paula had decided to keep on the cleaning woman that had taken care of the house while it was uninhabited and came in on Tuesday and Friday. Adam spent time scouring all kinds of media for job opportunities as did Alicia. It was Jacob who came up with the idea of his father starting his own business. The concept was laughed at by Adam until he thought further about the idea.
Nearly two weeks after the family had moved in and had really got organized there came a knock on the door which Paula answered.
“Hello Mrs. Reynolds” the veiled figure standing on the porch said. “Do you remember me? Magda Woldenski from the solicitors”.
“Yes of course. How may I help you?” Paula asked.
“Would your daughter be home?” Magda asked. “Or has she found a job and is working?”
Magda thought that an easy way to find out if Alicia was available for what her mission was.
“Yes, I think she’s in her room. Come in and I’ll fetch her for you” Paula said as she closed the door behind them.
It took a few minutes before Paula and Alicia entered the room Magda had been asked to wait in. She noted that much of the furniture had been moved around.
“You wanted to see me?” Alicia asked bluntly on entering the room, her mother trailing behind.
“Yes” Magda said, adding “Mrs. Reynolds, would you mind if I spoke to Alicia alone?”
Paula shook her head and left the room.
“You’re not working yet then?” Magda asked as an opening question.
“No not yet” was the answer given “But I am waiting to hear from a few places”.
“Right, Well that’s why I’m here basically. There is a vacancy for a receptionist/secretary where I work and I told my boss I might know somebody interested. Would you be? Interested that is?” she enquired.
Alicia was a little shocked at the request and spluttered for an answer.
“I know nothing about the law or solicitors” were her opening words.
“You don’t have to” Magda replied. “The job is mainly answering the phone, replying to basic website questions, and general secretarial work. I’m sure you can learn any other requirements of the job quite easily”.
“When would you want to know if I’m interested?” was the next question.
“ASAP. My boss wants to get the position filled as soon as possible. I could take you to meet him and have an interview right now if it’s convenient” Magda told Alicia.
“Well I suppose it couldn’t hurt to talk to your boss” Alicia said. “Can you give me a few minutes to get changed?”
“Of course. Take your time” Magda told her.
It was some fifteen minutes before Alicia returned downstairs. Magda was glad to see that she had changed from jeans to a skirt, an ankle length one at that along with a pair of what looked like three inch heeled shoes, thinking that maybe the girl was becoming a little more fashion conscious in the British sense. The pair began the drive in Magda’s car.
“Still not yet taken to wearing a veil then” Magda asked in what she hoped sounded like a casual manner.
“Nah” was the single uttered reply. “I think they are rather stupid and unnecessary” Alicia added.
That answer was what Magda considered to be the biggest obstacle in Alicia’s chances of being offered, or accepting the job, as the wearing of a uniform, which included the type of veil worn by herself, was compulsory, and something she had already mentioned to her boss. Alicia watched as Magda drove to where she worked.
It was a drive of some fifteen minutes. Magda pulled into the small carpark at the rear of the building that housed the agency. She escorted Alicia into the office through the rear door and to the office of her boss. She knocked on the door and waited for a reply until finally told to enter.
“Ah Magda” the man seated behind the desk said as the pair entered the boss’ office.
“Mr. Frederickson this is the person I told you about who may want the job as our receptionist” Magda said.
“Come in. Take a seat Miss . . .” Frederickson said.
“Reynolds. Alicia Reynolds” Alicia said by way of introducing herself.
“Thanks Magda. You may go back to work now” the boss said by way of dismissing Magda.
“Hello Miss Reynolds. I’m Rory Frederickson, owner and principal of Rainbow Legal Services. Thank you for coming in for this interview”.
The interview took the course expected by Alicia. She had attended several recently so knew within reason what was going to be asked. She handed over her resumé. She was rather ashamed of it as it did not contain anything really startling. Rory read through the few pages before asking questions. Alicia was rather shocked when he suddenly told her the job was hers if she wanted it. After Alicia indicated she would be interested in accepting the position a salary was mentioned. The amount caused her to open her eyes wide, it was at least fifty percent higher than any of the similar jobs she had attended interviews for.
“Before you accept there are some important details I must tell you about” Frederickson told her.
He went on to explain why the salary on offer was higher than that normally paid for such a position. Alicia listened with sinking heart as she was told about the need to wear a uniform, a uniform that matched that worn by Magda.
“When do you need an answer?” Alicia asked.
“ASAP” she was told. “It is difficult when one of the legal staff has to keep answering the phone and attend to clients entering the office”.
Alicia’s main concern was the wearing of the uniform as she realized this would entail her being veiled.
“Take a few moments” Rory said. “Go and talk with Magda if you have some concerns”.
Alicia rose and left the office to seek out Magda. She looked around and saw about five women all dressed identically, not sure which one was Magda.
“Over here if you’re looking for me” Magda called from behind her desk.
“I wasn’t sure which one was you” Alicia said on reaching Magda’s desk.
“It’s not always easy to tell who is who if you can’t see their name tag” Magda said.
“You have a name tag? I’ve never noticed one” come the reply, to which Magda showed Alicia the tag.
The two women spoke for a few minutes with Alicia voicing her concerns about wearing a veil.
“I’ll tell you what” Magda began. “I’ll bet that even if you do not accept this job, the next one you are offered will require the same thing. Most businesses now insist on female staff being veiled”.
“Oh” was all Alicia could think of saying in reply to what she had just been told.
Ten minutes later Alicia returned to Rory Frederickson’s office.
“Having talked with Magda she has convinced me to accept the position if it is still on offer” she told her future boss.
“Let’s put it this way Miss Reynolds. When can you start?” were his words.
“Oh. Whenever you want I suppose. I’m not currently employed so do not have to give notice or anything” Alicia told him.
Frederickson lifted the phone on his desk then spoke, asking Magda to come to his office.
“Miss Reynolds has accepted the position and will be starting on Tuesday”. Magda was told.
He turned to Alicia.
“I forget to tell you the hours of work. Your working week will be forty hours, Monday to Friday starting at eight-forty-five, finishing at four-forty-five. You’ll get a short, about a quarter of an hour, paid break around one o’clock every day. Saturday and Sunday the office is closed. Any questions?”
“No Sir” Alicia replied.
Magda was asked if she had any appointment and when she told him she hadn’t she was told that she was to take Alicia to the fashion house that supplied the uniforms and that by the time they got there the store would be expecting them. They drove for at least thirty minutes by Alicia’s guess. She noted that they passed the North Harrow station they had left the underground on when arriving. She also saw that they drove past another underground station but she did not catch the name as it was rather long. Magda drove into the carpark of a large shopping center where they exited the car and took the escalator up to the shops level. Obviously knowing exactly where she was heading Magda led the way towards the shop they wanted. She came to a halt outside of a large boutique.
“We’re here” she told Alicia.
Alicia looked in the windows then up at the sign above her head.
“Fun Fetish Fashions” Alicia said. “I’ve heard of them. They’re even known back home through the fashion magazines although they sell little clothing there. If I remember rightly they are commonly known as Triple F and were one of the originators of the veiling craze in Britain”.
“Well you know your stuff” Magda replied “And now you are going to have the honor of being dressed by them and all free of charge”.
“This is the company who supply your uniforms?” a very surprised Alicia asked.
“Certainly are. Let’s go inside and get this show on the road shall we?”
Magda slowly minced her way into the shop, Alicia following. A woman Alicia assumed to be an assistant walked over and asked if she could be of help. Magda told her who they were and that they had an appointment with the manager. Alicia wondered how she knew this until she recalled being told the shop ‘would be expecting her’. The pair were led to an office at the rear of the shop. The assistant held the door open for Magda and Alicia to enter. A rather large woman sat behind the desk.
“Good morning. I’m Mrs. Watson. Looking directly at Alicia she said “And you must be Miss Reynolds who I am to outfit to work for Rainbow Legal Services?”
“Yes Mrs. Watson” Alicia replied.
“Okay. We’ve quite a bit of work to do so let’s get you down to the measuring room” Mrs. Watson said with no further preamble.
Alicia had little option but to follow the assistant to the measuring room, whatever that might be she thought. She was ordered to strip, everything was the order given, which she did as told. Measuring was done in a transparent tube by laser beam which according to the assistant was done to the finest millimeter and Alicia had to hold various poses while the machine did its job. With the measuring completed Alicia was returned to Mrs. Watson’s office.
“There will be a short delay while your clothing is made” Mrs. Watson told her. “We are able to make an outfit fairly quickly as we keep a number of partly finished garments of varying sizes in stock. While we wait I have some questions that need answering and other things to say about wearing our clothing”.
Alicia looked around the room.
“Where is Magda?” she asked Mrs. Watson.
“She received a call requiring her to return to the office. I have been informed that if not her, someone will be here to pick you up after you are dressed” she was told.
Alicia sat and listened as Mrs. Watson spoke.
“I live at home” was the answer to the first question asked.
“No. My parents own the house” was the answer to the second question.
Mrs. Watson continued that way for several minutes.
Mrs. Watson told Alicia she needed to speak to at least one of her parents. Alicia said that her mother would be home and on hearing that she asked her to telephone her mother and tell her that someone wished to speak with her. On putting the phone down Mrs. Watson told Alicia that her mother had agreed to permit some workmen into the house later in the day to enable them to make a few additions and alterations to Alicia’s room. Mrs. Watson continued to speak to Alicia.
“You’re joking” Alicia suddenly yelled.
“I assure you I am not. I think you’ll find that Mr. Frederickson would prefer it if you did” Mrs. Watson told her.
The cause of Alicia’s outburst was at being told that if she wished to follow the veiling fashion fully she should understand that nobody except herself should ever see her with her face uncovered. Alicia was quiet as it was further explained to her about the fashion and veiling, with Mrs. Watson telling her that as she had only recently returned to the country she fully understood that Alicia was not fully aware of the rules of the fashion. The telephone on the desk rang. Having answered it Mrs. Watson gave Alicia a smile.
“Your outfit is now ready for fitting” she told Alicia.
It was well over an hour later when Alicia walked, no she minced, back into Mrs. Watson’s office.
“Very nice if I say so myself” Mrs. Watson commented.
Alicia wasn’t so sure. Her feet already hurt from being held at the steep angle required by the six inches tall heels on the boots boots that, beneath her dress, reached her thighs. Her waist was similarly pained due to the corset that was currently reducing her waist by four inches, causing a shortness of breath. The tightness of the PVC dress down her legs meant that it was impossible for her to take strides of more than the designated six inches, this also adding to the pain in her legs and feet. From Alicia’s point of view the worst however as having to wear the heavy PVC veil that greatly reduced the amount of air each breath permitted to pass through the holes in the veil and enter her nose.
“I don’t know if I can wear this outfit very long” Alicia wailed. “I can barely move or breathe”.
“Nonsense girl” Mrs. Watson responded. “You’ve only just put it on. Give yourself some time to get used to the restrictions the outfit is designed to bring”.
Alicia could only sit and listen as Mrs. Watson told her more about the outfit she had been fitted with. After talking for some fifteen minutes she asked Alicia if she had any questions. As Alicia spoke Mrs. Watson interrupted her.
“You’ll have to learn to speak up. The veil muffles your voice. You’ll also find out that unless people raise their voice speaking to you it will hard to hear what they say as the hood part of the veil shuts out part of the sound”.
This hood part of the veil had come as a little bit of a shock to Alicia. She had of course read that many of the veils had this but with the one she had been fitted with being PVC it was thicker than the more ordinary material versions. The hood fitted tightly around her head and neck, leaving just the oval of her face from eyebrows to lower lip uncovered. A strap fitted around the neck, locking at the nape. The veil part of the combination was sewn and welded to the hood. The one Alicia now wore was fairly substantial, covering her to just above the breasts at the front, to the shoulder blades at the rear and covering the shoulders. To hold the veil in place, and prevent removal, there were three snap closures at both front and back along with one on each shoulder. The central front snap had a hole in the centre which acted as an electronic locking device when attached to a computer. The electronic lock was one of the devices that was to be installed in Alicia’s room, with the other being a corset tightening machine.
“I’m really having trouble breathing” Alicia whined, bringing no reaction from Mrs. Watson.
Mrs. Watson lifted the phone on her desk and made a call.
“Somebody from Rainbow will be here to collect you soon” Alicia was told after the call had ended. “You can wait here in my office until your escort arrives” she added.
Alicia tried on several occasions to ease the pressure on her throat that the high, tight neckline of the dress was causing. Each time she found that the design of the veil and the way it was locked to her chest prevented her from getting her hands anywhere near her throat. Looking around the office was also not an easy accomplishment thanks again to the design of the hood and veil, as the way the veil was locked prevented her from having much ability to move her head. Adding to this difficulty was the small area at the eyes through which vision was permitted. Alicia had not been informed that the size of the tiny vision slit was barely the width of her eyes at four and a half inches and a mere inch in depth. She had tried to pull the veil down on occasion, only to discover that as it was attached to the hood, all this did was to move the hood slightly downward. The narrow strip of PVC that ran up her nose also did not permit the slit to be made any wider.
Mrs. Watson reentered her office.
“Does the collar of this dress have to be so tight?” Alicia enquired.
“Of course it does” Mrs. Watson replied bluntly. “It’s designed to help hold your head still and facing forward. You will find that if you move your head too much that you will be unable to see as the veil will not move due to the manner in which it is attached to the dress”.
“How about the boots?” Alicia then asked. “They feel a size too small and are crushing my toes even sitting down. Walking is agony”.
“Stop complaining girl. You signed a contract with your employer and this is the way he requires you to be dressed so get used to it unless you are going to welch on the contract”.
There was a knock on the door and after Mrs. Watson had called out ‘enter’ Alicia saw Mr. Frederickson enter her small field of vision.
“Good afternoon Mrs. Watson” he said. “As there was no one else available I have come to pick up Miss Reynolds myself”.
Alicia could scarcely believe what she was hearing, her new boss had taken the time to personally pick her up.
“I think we’d better be on our way Miss Reynolds” Frederickson said.
“I’ll have somebody bring her cloak” Alicia heard Mrs. Watson say.
You’re meaning to tell me I have to wear more clothing? I can barely move now” Alicia whined.
Mrs. Watson explained to her about the wearing of the cloak, emphasizing that, under the terms of her employment. It must be worn at all times she is not in the office or her home. A few minutes later Alicia found herself enclosed within the glass-clear PVC garment. It barely rested on her shoulders so it was wide enough to clear the veil that was held slightly away from the body. The cloak reached her ankles and a hood covered her head apart from her face with a band across the top of her nose to prevent the hood from slipping down. Alicia watched as best she was able through the small vision slit as Mrs. Watson closed the snaps that were placed just a few inches apart from ankle to throat. Alicia was not pleased when told that, like the other garments she was wearing, the cloak was locked on and that a release mechanism would be installed inside the front door of her home. The only other mechanism that would release the locks on the cloak were in the lunch room at the office.
As Mr. Frederickson began to escort Alicia from Fun Fetish Fashions Mrs. Watson handed her a small clutch bag.
“All of the stuff you will need has been transferred from the bag you bought with you. The remaining stuff will be sent to Rainbow’s office” she told Alicia who pulled the bag through one of the hand slits of the cloak. The full implication of what she had been told about the locking and opening of the cloak had not yet registered in her mind and she would later find out just what this meant. She suddenly realized that her boss was speaking to her.
“I caught the underground from the office” he told her. “We’ll be travelling back to the office the same way as I want you to get used to moving in your uniform”.
For Alicia the walk to the underground station, although only a little over eight hundred yards, seemed endless as she fought for breath and tried to balance on the narrow heels while forced to take miniscule steps. At last, just about on the point of collapse, she saw the famous sign in front of her. Frederickson headed straight for the turnstile and suddenly realized that Alicia was no longer at his side. Turning around her saw her heading towards the ticket machines. He walked over to her.
“Do you not have a card?” he asked.
“No” she replied. “The few times I’ve needed to use the train I’ve just bought a ticket”.
“I think you need to purchase an oyster card” he told her “For one thing each journey is cheaper”.
“Oh” Alicia uttered. “How do I get one of these . . . what did you call them . . . oyster card was it?”
Rory Frederickson helped his new employee purchase a card, ensuring she also put some money onto it ready for travel. He then led the way to the turnstile and showed her how to use the card, telling her to ensure it was safely in her bag after she had used it.
“Oh, it works in just the same way as the card I had in Sydney” Alicia told her boss.
If only to relieve the strain on her toes Alicia was glad to be seated on the train.
“Don’t get too comfortable” she heard her boss tell her “We need to change trains at the first stop”.
All too soon from Alicia’s perspective she was back on her feet, making her way to the platform required for ongoing travel. Once on the new train her boss yet again told her not to get too comfortable as they were only travelling two stops. The train slowed and entered the first station.
“We’re at North Harrow” she exclaimed on seeing the sign on the platform. “This is near where I live” she explained to her boss.
“In that case you will not have far to travel to work each day” Frederickson told her “As the station we require for the office is next, Pinner”.
Alicia was not really sure why she had been bought back to where she was to work as she was not due to begin working for Rainbow until Monday. She was however glad to be able to get the weight off of her feet again and plonked herself down on the first chair she saw inside the door. Magda came over and spoke, asking if she was okay. Alicia replied that ‘she guessed so’, adding that she found breathing through the heavy veil very hard to do.
“I assure you you’ll get used to it in a few days” Magda told her.
How do I take this cloak off?” she asked her boss.
“Oh sorry” he said? I forgot all about that. Your number is eight. All you do is to place this metal rod into the central locking stud. Press eight then when the green light flashes press ‘unlock’”.
Alicia followed the instruction and removed the cloak. She nodded as best she could to Magda even though she thought that she was simply saying what she thought she might want to hear in answer to her question about why she had been bought back to the office. Alicia sat in the chair for a few minutes, wondering what she was supposed to do. Her boss came over and spoke to her.
“I guess while you’re here you may as well be introduced to your new colleagues. It’ll save time on Monday”.
With Frederickson at her side Alicia slowly made her way around the office, being introduced to the staff. The introductions over Rory asked Alicia to step into his office.
“I heard you asking Magda why you had been bought to the office. There are a couple of reasons, the main one being that until the necessary devices have been placed in your home you cannot remove the cloak or veil. I felt you might like to come here and remove the cloak. When I receive a phone call from your mother saying the technicians have arrived to install the devices I get you home” Alicia was told.
It was around thirty minutes later when Rory walked over to where Alicia was seated.
“I’ve just received a call from your mother. The technicians are there and waiting to install the necessary devices” he told her. “I’ve called a taxi to take you home. It should arrive in a few minutes. Don’t forget to put on your cloak before you leave. To lock it you simply press eight then ‘lock’. Also, don’t forget your bag” he added.
Alicia put on the cloak and did as instructed, locking herself into it, picked up the small clutch bag, and went outside to wait for the taxi to arrive. The ride was not very long and when Alicia went to pay the fare she was told ‘it has already been taken care of Miss’. As she entered the house Alicia heard her mother call out.
“Is that you Alicia?”
“No” she called back “It’s the bogey man come to get you”.
“We’re in the kitchen” came the reply.
On entering the kitchen Alicia saw two men and a woman sitting there. Before anything else could be said there came a shocked remark from Paula.
“Alicia? What is going on? Why are you dressed like that?” she yelled.
“Calm down and I’ll tell you” Alicia told her mother.
The unknown woman seated at the breakfast bar rose and spoke to Alicia.
“Good afternoon Miss Reynolds” she began by saying. “My name is Miss Price, Cathy, and I am here to give you instruction on how to use the devices we are about to install”.
The two men began installing a device beside the back door. While they were doing this Alicia began explaining things to her mother. Once she had done this, her mother still in a state of shock, Cathy began to give Alicia further information regarding the fashion she was now wearing.
“When can I take this cloak off?” Alicia asked almost before Cathy had begun speaking.
“Unfortunately, not until the men have installed the necessary devices at both front and back doors” she was told.
An increasingly frustrated Alicia listened as Cathy spoke about the regulations that Alicia was to live under if she wanted to wear the clothing in the correct manner as defined by the fashion. She already knew from what she had been told earlier at the boutique that to follow the fashion to its fullest extent, the veil was supposed to be worn whenever she was outside of her room. Cathy reiterated this point and mentioned many others. From what Cathy had said Alicia had worked out that not wearing the veil outside of her room was not an option as without the veil being locked the door to the room would not be able to open.
The front door slammed. Jacob rushed into the kitchen and suddenly stopped, staring at the sight of two fully veiled women in the room.
“Who are you?” he said rather impolitely.
“Jacob” his mother warned.
Cathy rose from her chair and introduced herself.
“Hi. My name is Cathy. You are?”
“Jacob” he said slowly, still not used to addressing veiled females. “Why are you here? Who’s that?” pointing at his sister.
“Ha-ha Brother dearest. Very funny” Alicia said.
Jacob burst out laughing.
“Why are you wearing a veil” he finally managed to splutter out.
“Because the job I have just got requires it. It’s like a uniform” Alicia told her brother.
“At least I can’t see your ugly face” Jacob said with a laugh.
“Enough” Paula yelled. “We have guests. Go to your room until you remember how to behave” he was told.
Jacob stood staring at the three women.
“I’m not joking” Paula told her son. “Your room. NOW!”
Once Jacob had left the kitchen Paula apologized to Cathy for the behavior of her son.
One of the men entered the kitchen and spoke to Cathy.
“We have installed the electronic locker at the back door. Do you wish to test it out?” he asked her.
“I’m sure Miss Reynolds is very eager to be out of her cloak, so yes, we’ll test it right now” Cathy told him.
Alicia used the newly installed device to remove her cloak. Having removed the cloak, she sat down again while Cathy told her more about how she was expected to behave with regard to wearing Fun Fetish clothing. She was surprised when told of the accuracy of the GPS in her outfit, being told it could track where she was to within a foot or two. Finding out that wearing the cloak while in the office or house meant just that, going into the garden was considered being ‘outside the house’, hence the wearing of the cloak was desired.
Several minutes later Jacob appeared and meekly apologized to Cathy for his behavior. With his mother not watching he merely poked his tongue out at his sister. The two men, after being shown to her room by Alicia, went about installing the locking device for her veil along with a machine for tightening the corset each day with Alicia and Cathy watching while sitting on the bed. It was while Cathy was talking about the corset that Alicia received another surprise, wondering how many of these were in store for her. This particular surprise came when Cathy told her about the twenty-millimeter, that’s a little under an inch she added, gap at the back of the corset. This gap Alicia was informed would be closed by a millimeter each day, something the machine would do automatically, Worse however was the news for the following two months a new corset would be supplied and these would again have the same gap that would be closed by the same amount each day. Alicia gazed at Cathy.
“You’re telling me that my waist is to be reduced by nearly another three inches” she said, her voice sounding shocked. “That’s impossible. I’ll never be able to breathe”.
“Of course you’ll be able to breathe. Your body will adjust. Look at the size of my waist and I was much larger than you are in the beginning” Cathy told her.
The men installed the corset tightening machine first, fixing it to the wall. Once done one of them produced a dummy that was wearing a corset. They proceeded to set the dummy up then when finished Cathy showed Alicia how it worked, repeating the procedure several times until she was sure that Alicia knew what to do each morning. With that over the men had Alicia stand against the wall so they could make the fine adjustments for height. When satisfied they moved to install the veil unlocking device near the door. After this was done Cathy had Alicia unlock and relock her veil but not remove it. She also showed Alicia that when the veil was unlocked, and therefore removable, the door would not open, explaining that this meant that Alicia could not get from the room without the veil on.
“What about if there is an emergency?” Alicia asked “Like the house is on fire”.
“There is an override system that will be attached to the smoke alarm that will release the door if anything like that occurs” Cathy told her.
Later that afternoon Adam Reynolds came home from the temporary job he had. Alicia had expected him to make some kind of remark at her being veiled but he said nothing, which surprised her. It was not until he had been in the house for some thirty minutes that he revealed to his daughter that he already knew about her being veiled as her mother had phoned him at work.
“Actually, I think you look quite smart” he told her “And to be honest I had quite expected you to take to wearing a veil much sooner as you were always a girl who followed fashion”.
“So, you don’t think it is just to cover my ugly face then?” Alicia said.
“No. Why would I think that? You’re a very attractive young lady”.
“So, you don’t agree with what my dear brother said then?” Alicia enquired of her father.
Jacob gave his sister a dirty glare.
“You just behave yourself young man” Adam scolded. “It’s about time you began to grow up. Get used to the fact that most ladies you see will be veiled”.
With this comment Adam looked straight into the eyes of his wife seated opposite him.
By bed time Alicia was glad when she was able to go to her room in readiness of removing all her clothing, especially the corset and veil.
Alicia used the device at the door to unlock the veil. That done she could not resist trying the door – locked – just as she was told it would be. She removed other items, doing it slowly as she was not sure in which order would be easiest. Most difficult proved to be the corset as she found it hard to reach and undo the knot in the lace. At last she was naked, and the first order of business was the toilet and a shower. These necessities over it was time to have some nourishment. Alicia searched in the small cooler bag that Cathy had left her for one of the special vitamin and protein enriched nourishment drinks that Cathy had told her were best for people dressed as she was. Cathy had explained that after using these drinks for a few days, the need to use the toilet frequently would be reduced as the body would use most of the nourishment in the drinks, thus making toilet use less necessary. All of these things done Alicia pulled on her nightgown and crawled into bed ready for a good night’s sleep.
She slept well. On waking and rolling over to see the clock at bedside Alicia saw it was close to nine o’clock. Now came the part she was not enthused about, getting dressed and wearing the veil and corset all day. She did her ablutions, had ‘breakfast’ which was another of the ‘drinks’ Cathy had left. Next, she had to try and recall the order of putting on the various garments. She knew the bodysuit was the first garment, after that she had to think hard. Alicia recalled that Cathy had said something about putting on the stockings before the corset because bending to reach her feet would not be easy with the corset on. Stockings, not yet attached to anything to hold them taut, and shoes were put on. Now came the dreaded corset. Could she remember how to operate the tightening machine she asked herself, deciding there was only one way to find out. Minutes later Alicia reasoned she had used the machine correctly as the corset was now tight around her torso. If it had indeed been tightened by a further millimeter it felt no different from the day before.
She attached the stocking tops to the garters on the corset then pulled on the gloves. Dress came next. She was not particularly happy at having to wear the grey dress but had been told that it was the color preferred for those working in the legal profession. Alicia picked up the black colored hood with its attached veil, Slowly, she pulled it over her head, closing the clasp of the hood section around her neck before allowing the veil to fall over her face. With regret but knowing she had no alternative, Alicia walked towards the locking device near the door. Having closed the poppers she picked up the wire that had the electronic locker at its end and pushed it into the center front popper. She heard the merest of clicks as the poppers locked, sealing her into the hood and veil until such times as she re-entered her room and was able to reverse the procedure. Relief grabbed her as the door handle turned, allowing her to open the door.
“Good morning sleepy head” her mother remarked as Alicia entered the kitchen.
“Morning Mum” Alicia replied.
“I’ll need your help soon. I have to go grocery shopping and will not be able to carry everything myself, especially as I have no transport except to catch the bus”.
“Okay Mum. Whatever” Alicia said with a rather exasperated tone.
It was close to an hour later, after she had done some housework, that Paula told her daughter she was now ready to go shopping.
“You’ll have to wait a minute” Alicia told her. “I’m required to wear my cloak outside and it may take me a few moments to work out how to close the poppers and lock them as I’m supposed to do”.
Having donned her cloak Alicia told her mother to wait a little longer. She dashed off to her bedroom, returning carrying something in her hand that she handed to her mother.
“What’s this?” Paula asked.
“A hood and veil” Alicia told her mother.
“What’s it for?” Paula wished to know.
“For you to wear to the shops. I’m not going out veiled and cloaked with you showing your face” Alicia said.
“Come on Alicia, be real” was Paula’s caustic reply.
“I am Mum. Either you wear the veil or go shopping alone”.
Having explained to her mother that she had bought the hood and veil two weeks ago but had only worn it while alone in her bedroom, she helped her mother to fit the hood.
“At least it does not lock like mine does” Alicia said to her mother.
“Come on. If we don’t hurry, we’ll miss the bus” Paula said.
“As if I can hurry in this skirt and heels” Alicia retorted.
The pair left the house and began to walk towards the bus stop some two hundred yards down the street. As they passed the house next door they heard someone call out.
“Mrs. Reynolds, is that you?” the voice asked.
The two women turned to see Damien, the son of their next-door neighbor standing beside his car.
“Yes, it is” Paula confirmed.
Sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude, but I’ve never seen you veiled before” he said.
“Blame my daughter” Paula told him. “It seems that since the job she has just started requires her to veil, it seems as if she expects her mother to do the same”.
“I guess that must be Alicia with you” Damien continued. “You look very smart Alicia” he added.
“Thank you, I think” she said.
To make conversation Damien enquired as to where they were going. On being told to catch the bus to get them to the shopping center, he told them he was going to the same place and could give them a ride if they wanted.
“We don’t want to put you out” Paula told him, being told that it was ‘no trouble’.
Damien dashed indoors to get his keys. On return her held the rear door open and invited Paula to get in. He then opened the passenger front door for Alicia. On arriving at the shopping center Damien asked Paula approximately how long it would take them to do their shopping. Even though Paula kept insisting he did not have to take them back home Damien insisted, telling her he would wait outside the grocery store when he had finished his own business, which should not take longer than fifteen minutes.
Waiting outside of the store for Damien to arrive Paula turned to face her daughter.
“I thought people would stare at me more wearing this veil but the opposite seems to be the case, nobody is staring, well far less than when I was not wearing it” she said.
“Of course they won’t. You fit in better wearing a veil. You’re just ‘one of the crowd’” Alicia replied.
Paula quickly changed the subject’
“Ah. There’s Damien” she said, beginning to push the shopping trolley in his direction.
“Got everything you want?” he asked as they reached him. “No other shops you need to visit?”
“No. We’re ready to go home” Alicia told him.
Damien took the trolley from Paula and began heading for the exit. It did not take long to drive home.
During the trip Alicia turned to her mother and said “You need to be wearing that veil when Dad gets home. That will be a shock to him”.
Paula just laughed at the comment and said nothing more about it.
Damien pulled the car into the Reynolds’ drive and helped lift the bags of groceries from the car. As Alicia picked up some bags to take indoors Damien called to her.
“Alicia, may I ask you a question?” he said.
“Yes” Alicia answered.
“When we were talking in your house a few days ago, on the day you introduced yourselves to my family, you mentioned that although you’ve been back in the country for several weeks you still haven’t seen much of the city. I was wondering if that was still the case, and if it was, whether you would like to ‘play tourist’ sometime” he spluttered out.
“Oh” Alicia said after a short pause. “No. I still have not been into the touristy part of the city. I’ve been concentrating on finding a job”.
“Which you’ve done” Damien replied. “So, are you interested in playing tourist?”
“Well I don’t suppose it will do any harm. When were you thinking of going?”
“When do you begin work?” he wanted to know.
“Monday” was the answer given.
Damien thought for a few moments before speaking again.
“How about right now” he said. “Well in a short while. Places might not be quite so crowded as they would be over the weekend”.
Alicia thought about her answer.
“Okay. You’re on. You’ve got a date for the rest of the day. Just give me time to tell Mum. Wait here, no, come in” Alicia said.
Excitedly Alicia hurried as best her clothing permitted to let her mother know she was going out. As she hurried through the house she thought ‘I’ve got a date. The first I’ve had since arriving here’. Finding her mother in the kitchen putting away the groceries, Alicia blurted out about going out with Damien.
“Fine. Have a good time” was all Paula said, Alicia expecting her to say more.
“Come on then” Alicia called to Damien.
Many hours later Adam came home from work and not seeing his daughter around asked his wife where she was.
“Out on a date with Damien from next door” Paula replied.
It was quite late, early evening, before Alicia returned home. She went across to an armchair and plonked down heavily, quickly realizing her error as the corset made its presence known and immediately straightened her body to a more upright pose.
“I’m exhausted” she stated. “Walking about in these heels and tight skirt all day really makes your legs ache”.
“How was your day?” her mother enquired.
“Apart from the exhaustion, brilliant” Alicia told her mother.
She went on to tell them about seeing Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards Parade, the walk down Pall Mall and finally to Buckingham Palace.
“Did you see any of the Royal family” Jacob wanted to know.
“Why are you always so stupid?” Alicia asked her brother.
“I only wanted to know” he smirked.
Suddenly Alicia sat up in the chair.
“Dad. Did Mum tell you she wore a veil when we went shopping this morning?” she asked.
“First I’ve heard of it” he told his daughter. Turning to face Paula he added “When did you buy that?”
“It was one I bought a few weeks ago” Alicia announced. “I’ve only worn it in my room though. I wanted to get an idea of how it felt to be veiled. Go and get it Mum. Show Dad how you look with a veil”.
Paula was going to say ‘No’ when Adam told her he wanted to see how she looked. Reluctantly Paula fetched the hood and veil from Alicia’s bedroom where she had returned it to after removing it once she was alone in the house. Paula struggled to fit the hood part so Alicia got up saying:
“Hold on Mum. I’ll help you”.
“Very nice. It suites you” Adam told his wife once she was fully veiled.
“I suppose you think like Jacob did on first seeing his sister veiled. It covers my ugly face”
“Well you said it, I didn’t” Adam said with a wide grin on his face.
Unseen by anyone else Paula stuck out her tongue.
Adam continued speaking. “I can’t order you to but it would please me greatly if you continued to wear a veil full-time” were the words said to Paula.
The next morning when Alicia entered the kitchen she saw that her mother was, as ‘requested’, wearing the veil.
“So, you did as you were told I see” she commented, her mother making no reply.
Alicia turned to her father.
“If you want Mum to wear a veil full-time you should get her a better quality one. The one that I bought is only a cheap old department store thing” Alicia told him.
“Your mother can have a better one if she intends to wear it all the time” Adam replied. Turning to face his wife he added “Well do you?”
“Do I what?” Paula said.
“Intend to wear a veil full-time?” was the answer given.
Paula gave a nod of her head.
“Come on Mum” Alicia said, grabbing hold of her mother’s arm. “Let’s have a look on the internet to see what’s available”.
Alicia logged on to the website of ‘Fun Fetish Fashions’ and began browsing through the pages of veils shown. Quite often she pointed out veils to her mother, who was remaining very quiet. Alicia called out to her father. “Dad. Why don’t we take Mum down to the boutique so she can try on some veils?”
Saturday morning the Reynolds family, including the reluctant Jacob, found their way to the boutique where Alicia had been fitted with her uniform. On reaching the shopping center Adam told Jacob that he could wait outside if he wished.
“Can I get something to eat” he asked.
His father said ‘yes’ and gave his son some money with the warning not to wander off, pointing to a burger store across the central aisle.
Paula, Adam and Alicia made their way inside. Adam did not tell his wife and daughter how embarrassed he was at being in a female dress shop but finding himself giving many of the racks of clothes a look as he passed them. Finding the area of the shop where the veils were located Alicia began looking through the racks and shelves while Paula picked up veils and quickly put them down again. Alicia noticed that her mother was only looking at those similar to the one she was presently wearing, although these were obviously of a better standard. She moved over to stand beside her father.
“Dad. I think you need to take charge here. You need to get Mum to buy a locking veil of some kind or else she’ll simply wear it when somebody is around” she whispered.
“I wouldn’t know where to start” Adan said to his daughter.
“Just follow my lead. And when a sales assistant comes over, ask if you can see some locking veils” Alicia said.
After much toing and froing, humming and hoeing, Paula finally settled on a hood and veil ‘suggested’ by her husband and backed up by the sales assistant. The veil in question was made of a double layered and heavy-duty cotton. The hood locked at the back of the neck, the stiff, high collar ensuring that Paula would hold her head high with limited head movement possible. The veil reached to just above the breasts at front and to the shoulder blades at the rear. It had a different locking system than that worn by Alicia because Paula’s top did not have the necessary fitting for a locking device. Instead Paula’s veil used inch wide leather straps to connect to the locking device at the rear of the hood. There was a strap at the two lower outside edges of the veil. These were pulled across to her armpit where they went under the armpit, wound around the very top of the arm before running across her back where the small metal connectors were slid into the holes in the strap that went around the neck. There were two other straps located on the veil at a point just below the ears. These were pulled back to again connect with holes in the neck strap of the hood. It had then simply been a case of using the small key inserted into the keyhole situated just above where the straps connected to the hood. A single turn of the key ensured that the front part of the veil could not be lifted. The sales assistant had then handed the key to Adam.
A few words were then exchanged between Adam and the sales assistant, who then turned to face Paula.
“I have suggested to your husband that he should try and ensure that you are locked into your veil whenever you are outside of your bedroom so that, as the fashion is designed for, he is the only person to see your face”.
By the time Adam, Paula and Alicia left the shop the veil was not the only new item of clothing that Paula wore. Between Adam, Alicia and the sales assistant she had been ‘persuaded’ to wear a corset that she was told reduced her waist by two inches, but which in fact reduced it by closer to three inches. A narrow ankle length skirt kept her stride to a twelve-inch maximum, while on her feet she wore ankle boots with five-inch heels.
On leaving the boutique they went to look for Jacob. He was found sitting on a bench close to where he had purchased his food. He was not alone as sitting alongside him was a female. On seeing his family approaching the look on his face turned to one of surprise. The person sitting beside him rose as if to leave but sat again when Jacob said something to her.
“Mum? Is that you?” were the first words to leave his mouth as the family stood in front of him.
“Who did you think it was?” Paula replied. “Your father’s girlfriend?”
“No. I only meant . . .” he spluttered.
“I am wearing a veil to cover my ugly face?” Paula said as she quickly recalled what he had said to his sister the first time he saw her veiled.
Jacob misunderstood his mother’s comment.
“No. I just meant . . .”.
“I know what you meant. I’m just joking with you” his mother told him before asking “Who’s your friend. Don’t be rude, Introduce us”.
“Oh yes. Well this is Yvette. She is someone I know from school” Jacob finally managed to get out as he introduced his mother, father and sister to Yvette.
Knowing the veiling law said that females over the age of sixteen had to be veiled told the family she had to be at least that age, meaning she was two years ahead of Jacob at school. The fact that Yvette was wearing the school uniform, also a requirement by law, told she was still at school.
As the family headed towards the exit, Yvette walking beside Paula and chatting after saying she did not require a lift home, Alicia edged toward her brother.
“You realize that behind her veil Yvette is probably ugly don’t you?” she whispered.
Jacob turned to face her and poked out his tongue. Alicia couldn’t resist saying more.
“And his only reaction is that of a little boy. To poke his tongue out” she said.
“Stop it you two” Adam admonished. “You’re both as bad as each other”.
The family spent a quiet Sunday and on Monday morning a very nervous Alicia prepared for her first day at Rainbow Legal Services. She had declined Magda’s offer of a lift, saying she would find her own way. She made it to the office without too many hassles, finding that she was a little early and that only one of the male solicitors was waiting for the door to be unlocked. A flushed and harried Rory Frederickson arrived only a few minutes before opening time, by which time all the staff were waiting on the footpath. Magda quickly took charge of Alicia, showing her where to free herself of the cloak, even though she had done the same thing only a few days earlier. She was officially welcomed to the ‘family’ by her boss and once at her desk at the front of the office Magda handed her some papers.
“These are just a few notes to let you know the preferred welcome to give clients both in person and on the phone” Magda told her.
Alicia took a few minutes to read through them before telling Magda she understood what to say.
Some twenty minutes after Alicia had taken her seat and set up her password for the computer as instructed by Rory, the telephone rang. She stared at it in terror, finally picking it up with a shaking hand. She spoke while trying to check the paper of what to say in greeting at the same time. Panicking a little at what to do she tried to remain calm as she listened to what the caller was saying.
“Hold please” Alicia said. “I’ll find out if Mr. Dennis is available to speak with you”.
Alicia pressed what she hoped was the ‘hold’ button before dialing the number on the list for Mr. Dennis. When he answered Alicia told him that he had a call and was he available to take it. After being told by Alicia who the caller was he told her to connect him.
“Hello caller, are you there?” Alicia asked, and on receiving an answer said “transferring your call now” and hit what she hoped was the appropriate button to transfer the call.
No sooner had she put the phone down she saw Magda at her side.
“You seemed to manage that okay” Magda said.
Alicia’s next job was to sort through the mail. Frederickson had told her any envelope marked ‘private and personal’ she was to leave unopened and pass to him. All other mail she was to open, check who the enclosure was for and pass them on to the people concerned. For Alicia the time seemed to fly past as after what she thought was about two hours, Magda said it was time for lunch. The pair went to the break room where they chatted about their weekends. Alicia spoke about her mother buying a veil and the other items.
“She was not pleased when Dad locked the veil this morning” Alicia told Magda. “Why have I got to wear it when I’m going to be in the house alone all day?” she had asked.
“What if somebody comes to the door?” Alicia said, repeating what her father had told her mother. “It will make me happy to know that on answering the door you were suitably dressed” she recalled her father saying with a smile.
“It is time for you to go home” Alicia heard Mr. Frederickson say.
“But there are still clients here” she replied.
“That does not matter. The person with them will see them out when they have finished. You may go home when your finishing time arrives” Rory added.
Alicia quickly gathered her things, including her purse, and headed for the door.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” her boss called after her.
Alicia stopped by the door and realized she had forgotten to put on her cloak. Beneath the veil she turned bright red as she turned and made her way to where the cloaks were kept.
“Oops!” she said to her boss as she passed him. “Good job my head is not removable or I’d probably leave that behind as well.
Alicia was barely given time to enter the door and remove her cloak before her mother wanted to know how her day went. She gave her mother a brief summary of the day’s events before asking her mother how her day was.
“I felt absolutely stupid being here alone all day dressed as I am. I don’t know what your father is thinking” Paula told her daughter.
“I think he just wants a nice Fashionable wife” Alicia replied.
The question to Alicia was repeated as soon as Adam arrived home from work and she gave him the same answer.
Life got into a routine at the Reynolds’ household. Alicia enjoyed her job and got used to the ‘uniform’ she was required to wear, this being helped by continual praise and dates from Damien. She did begin to notice the tightness of her corsets by halfway through the wearing of the second one. Paula even began to stop complaining about her own outfit, of which Adam bought her more in a variety of colors.
A party eventuated, being for Adam and Paula’s twentieth wedding anniversary. Alicia was getting a little worried, where were her parents. Most of the guests had arrived, including many of her aunts and uncles she had never met and were assembled in the garden and near the swimming pool. Neighbors had been invited, which included Damien and his parents. Alicia had been permitted to invite four guests and she had chosen to ask Magda and a friend and her boss and his wife, the latter as a kind of ‘thank you’ for giving her the job. Jacob also had three guests, one being Yvette along with two other friends, male and female. from school.
Without any warning a ‘drum roll’ was heard, this from the DJ hired to provide the music. Alicia and Jacob were asked to come to where he had set up his equipment.
“What’s going on?” Alicia asked her brother as they walked forwards.
“I’ve no idea” was Jacob’s short reply.
Alicia and Jacob stood beside the DJ who was looking towards the back door of the house.
“Ladies and gentlemen. May I present to you the happy couple Adam and Paula Reynolds, who in a few days from today will be celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary” the DJ announced.
Alicia let out a gasp as her parents appeared in the doorway and exited onto the tiled patio. The gasp was her reaction to seeing her mother. She was dressed in a manner almost identical to that which she wore, apart from the dress being a very pale blue instead of grey. The couple walked over to join their children’
“What’s going on?” Alicia wanted to know.
A smiling Adam responded.
“I finally talked your mother into wearing clothing similar to yours which I liked from the day I first saw it” her father told her. “And no comments about hiding ugly faces from you young man” Adam added as he tousled his sons hair.
Alicia managed to get a few minutes with her father.
“How did you get . . .?” she began before her father interrupted her.
“I know what you were going to ask” he said to his daughter. “It was easy. Your mother walked right into it by asking me ‘What would you like as a present to celebrate our anniversary?’”.
“And mum simply agreed?”
“Well it did take a bit of persuading but how could she refuse? After all she asked the question and I supplied the answer”.
Having finished her conversation with her father, Alicia looked around for Damien, finally finding him standing in a corner talking to Rory Frederickson, so walked to where they stood. As she got closer Alicia could see that they seemed to be in deep and serious conversation, this confirmed when she eased closer to the pair, who immediately stopped talking.
“Hi. I was looking for you” Alicia said to Damien.
“Sorry Ali” he replied, using his pet version of her name. “Can you give Rory and myself a few minutes please. I’ll come and join you when we’ve finished.
A not very happy Alicia walked across to near the swimming pool where Magda and Mrs. Frederickson were seated.
“You don’t look too happy” Magda commented as Alicia plonked down in a vacant chair.
“Damien just gave me the brush-off” she said. “He’s talking to Rory about something and whatever it is they didn’t want me knowing what it was, their mouths clammed shut when I got close”.
It was nearly fifteen minutes later when Damien approached Alicia.
“Sorry about that” he said “But it was a rather private conversation. Come on, let’s dance” he added.
After a few dances, Alicia slightly out of breath, the pair sat down again.
“So, what was so important between you and my boss” Alicia almost demanded to know.
“Sorry Ali, I can’t really say as it was just a preliminary chat. What I can say is that it concerned changes . . . no make that additions . . . to your uniform” Damien said quietly.
“What do you mean?” Alicia asked.
“I can’t say more because at this time I don’t know more. I have an appointment with Rory Monday afternoon for further discussions” she was told.
Magda had been watching closely. When Damien went to get a beer, she whispered to Alicia.
“I overheard some of that. What was that about additions to your, and I assume the rest of us in the office, uniform?”
“I have no idea. I do know that part of Damien’s job as a computer technician involves teaching women how to use certain new technologies” she told her friend.
“It sounds to me as if we need to have a look at Fun Fetish’s website to see what new stuff they have listed. Are you free tomorrow afternoon?” Magda asked.
“Yes” Alicia replied.
“Good. Come over to my place about two o’clock and we’ll check out the website” Magda said.
Nye has now written a sequel to this story: The Continuing Adventures of the Reynolds Family