“Well,” I said as I wiped my chin, “yeah, I am.”
“Oh my goodness,” Angela said as she looked at her, “I have to admit, I have seen your work – can I… Can I have your autograph?” She picked up her handbag and took a small book out, handing it and a pen to me.
“Debbie is here as a guest,” Lady Holderness said, “but as far as anyone else is concerned, she is in America with her parents. I trust you will keep her presence here to yourself Angela?”
“Of course I will,” she said with a smile as I handed the book back. “So you’re here for a complete break, Debbie?”
“Amongst other things,” I said with a smile as we ate our breakfast.
“So what would you like to do this morning,” I asked as Patty, Rachel and I went up to the playroom after breakfast. We didn’t want to change, which I was glad about – I was a guest here after all, and it was important that I did not let the side down, as it were.
“Let me ask you a question first,” Patty said, “how would you like to dress up this afternoon in some old clothes?”
“When you say old clothes, you mean…”
“We sometimes dress up in some clothes from the fifties,” Rachel said, “and pretend we’re teenage sleuths captured by the bad guys – you know, Nancy Drew, that sort of thing…”
Well, I’d work costumes from times past before, but it sounded like fun, so I nodded.
“Wait here,” Patty said as she disappeared from the room.
“All right then,” Angela said as she came back into the room with me, “I hear you three want to play dress up this afternoon, right?”
“If that is possible, Angela,” Debbie said.
“Well, we have a slight problem,” she said with a smile, “I have loaned mine to some friends for Hallowe’en, and all the others are at the girls’ houses – but I could ask Grandmother if she has some clothes you can wear later, if you want?”
“Thanks Angela,” Patty said, “do you have time to help us with something else?”
“Let me guess – you want to be tied up?”
Debbie grinned as I said “yeah – we’ve been teaching Debbie, but I’d love it if you could tie me up once I’ve secured them.”
“Why could I see this coming,” Angela said with a smile, “are you all right with this Debbie?”
I thought she was going to shout “YES” but instead, she just grinned and nodded. “So where do we start?” she then said as she looked at me.
“Let’s go back to where we were yesterday,” I said with a grin as I took out the sponges, and handed two to her and two to Rachel. Both Angela and Debbie watched as I taped Rachel’s hands into fists, and then pulled up the sleeves of her jumper before I pulled the socks over her sliver fists.
“Why are you doing that,” Debbie asked as I sued the white tape to fix the socks to my best friend’s arms.
“To stop her pulling them off,” I said as I pulled the sleeves down over her covered arms, and then came over to tape Debbie’s fists. I did the same to her – pulled the sleeves of her dress up, fixed the socks in place, and then pulled the sleeves down over them.
“Okay – so how are you going to tie them,” Angela said as she looked at me.
“I’ll show you on Rachel, so you can do the same to me,” I said with a smile, as I took the length of rope, arranged Rachel’s covered wrists behind her back, and started to tie the square hitch knot. I glanced at Angela, who was watching closely, as I soon had Rachel’s wrists secured, and then tied the usual ropes over that binding.
“There,” I said as I looked at Angela, “what do you think?”
“Different, I grant you that,” she said with a smile.
“Well, do you think you can secure Debbie’s wrists in the same way?”
“I can but try – if that’s all right with you Debbie?”
“Please, go ahead,” she said with a grin as she turned and crossed her wrists. Angela rook a length of rope, stared at it for a few minutes – and then did a perfect Square Hitch bind as quickly as I had!
“I forgot how quick a learner you are,” I said as she tied the rope off.
“Quick? I was a Guide you know,” Angela said with a grin, Rachel laughing as she then secured Debbie’s wrists further with the usual ropes.
“D’OH! I had forgotten that for a moment,” I said with a smile as we each took a length of rope, and wrapped it round our willing volunteers’ waists, making sure we cinched it so that their wrists were locked to their backs.
“Right – we’re going to do the double figure eight, understand Patty?”
“Yes Miss Bowden,” I said in a singsong voice, but I tied the rope round Rachel’s arms and tummy, making sure I looped the rope around both arms and her stomach, so that they were locked in place. As Debbie watched Angela do the same to her, she smiled and said “this is as good as what you did yesterday.”
“Okay then,” Angela said as she tied that rope off, “I guess you want to be gagged now…”
Rachel and Debbie both looked at me, Rachel with her eyebrows raised as she said “hang on – you just said no Patty?”
“Yeah, I did,” I said with a smile, “it’s a lovely day outside, but how many more of them are we going to get? Why don’t we go for a walk down to the lake, and enjoy the sunshine while we have it?”
“I never thought I’d see the day,” Angela said as she went to the box, and got two sponges out. “Well, we may as well start…”
Mrs Bridges just turned and smiled as the three of us walked through the kitchen, Angela saying “would you tell my Grandmother I am going to walk the girls down to the lake, and I will be back shortly?”
“Of course, Miss Angela,” she said as we stepped outside, Patty first, followed by Rachel, and then me, looking at their covered hands as we walked along. We made our way down the large lawn, as I looked at the line of trees.
It looked fantastic – although not as large as Markson Manor. I had been there for a couple of weeks before the kidnapping, shooting a film for Alan Markson, but I had not heard anything of a weekend when the family were held hostage. As we walked towards a gap in the line of the trees, however, I was revelling, both in the feeling of helplessness, and also in the fact we had total privacy – there was nobody else around.
Well, a few foxes and other creatures in the woods, as we walked along the path which sloped gently down through the trees. And what tress – the leaves red and gold, and the sunlight filtering through them.
“What is that,” I asked as we passed by a simple white cross in the ground.
“I’ll explain later,” Angela said with a smile as we walked on. Somehow, with my arms secured like they were, it made me so much more aware of everything around me – especially when a squirrel ran across the ground in front of me. I was so much more aware of everything.
“You as well,” Rachel said as I realised she had stopped and looked at me.
“Yeah – when it was your first time…”
“The full works? That was the weekend we spent at Missenden Hall,” Rachel said as we walked to catch up with Patty and Angela. “One huge massive game, and all the time it was a real kidnapping. It made things easier later.”
“I get the feeling you two have a lot of experiences,” I said with a smile, and then gasped as we emerged onto a grass area next to a lake, a white building gleaming in the sun on an island in the middle of the lake.
“Oh wow,” I said eventually as we joined the others, “what is this?”
“Holderness Lake,” Angela said with a smile, “you girls should be all right here for the moment.”
We all sat on the cool dry grass as she then said “I need to head back to the house, but I will be back in a little while. Have fun talking until then.”
“See you later Angela,” Patty said as we watched her walk back into the trees, and we all looked over the lake.
“What is that building,” I finally said as I looked at the building.
“That,” Patty said, “is the Mausoleum. The tomb of the Holderness family.”
I looked again at the building, before I said “you mean…”
“Almost all of the families are buried there – and one or two others,” Patty said with a smile. “Hey – want to know what else we can do while we are here?”
“Run around,” I said as Debbie looked at me.
“But we have our arms tied,” she said as she looked at me. “Will it be safe to do that?”
“Of course it is,” I said as Rachel and I jumped up and started to run around – before we remembered Debbie, who was staring at us. “Oops – sorry,” I said as we came back, “we’re just used to doing it. Can you get on your knees, and then stand up?”
We watched as Debbie slowly did that, and then said “follow us” as we ran across the grass. Debbie looked at us for a moment, and then started to run after us, getting faster as she got more confident, as we ran around the lakeside lawn.
Eventually, we stopped to catch our breath, as I felt the cool air on my face – and Debbie said “that was amazing, it felt so good…”
“Ah – I see you’ve all had fun,” Angela said as she reappeared, carrying a picnic basket. Walking to the side of the lake, she put the basket down and laid out a blanket, before she started to set out a picnic.
“Come over here girls, and I’ll untie you so you can eat,” she eventually said as she looked at us.