"I think we ought to let Gwen sleep in a bit longer", said Francesca as
she re-filled Harriet and Jessica's coffee cups and went to do some
"She should be in bed for a week, not prancing about naked on the hills
and dales at this time of the year! Can't you talk her out of it?" she
shouted at them from the kitchen. "It's not as if this jaunt was her
idea in the first place - you thought it up, Jessie. Why don't you call
"It's been a dream of mine since I first suggested it to Gwendoline
when we were little girls and she forgot about it almost at once. But
she's become as keen as me lately and that awful few days has made her
more set on it than ever - I hardly know her any more. I wouldn't have
the nerve to suggest we stop now! I'll go up and see how she is"
Almost immediately Jessica reappeared.
"She's not in her room. What can have happened to her?"
The answer came a few second later when a dripping Gwendoline pushed
her way through the back door into the kitchen.
"Hi, Francesca! it's strictly against the rules, but I'd better dry
myslf off before going into your nice breakfast room and ruining the
"O we can't have you breaking your precious rules, go and drip over my
carpet my all means you mad bitch! It'll dry out before Mummy and Daddy
get back - I sincerely hope!"
"Gwen! Where have you been?" asked Harriet.
"Where you two are going RIGHT NOW! For a swim in Francesca's pool. I
did twenty lengths and so will both of you. Don't even think about
getting out before. Now! - I could just murder some eggs bacon and
sausage! See you later, girls - go on MOVE THOSE FAT BOTTOMS INTO THE
Jessica and Harry obeyed with some reluctance and were soon swimming up
and down in Fran's open air pool. Jessica unwisely dived straight in.
This was a show of bravado which she pretty quickly regretted. The icy
water caused every nerve ending to send angry signals of protest to her
brain. "SHIT" she thought "You can die doing things like this - the
heart justs stops beating"
Harriet was more cautious and lowered herself in feet first. It still
sent shock waves up her body, and it took some courage finally to
immerse herself totally. After a few seconds the pain subsided and she
began to almost enjoy the experience - to her surprise!
They swam together and paused between lengths to exchange the odd word.
"Why is this pool not drained for the winter" asked Harriet.
One more length.
"Her father's a lunatic, that's why!"
"Swims every day all year round. Complete and utter nutcase!"
They completed twenty lengths and saw Gwendoline standing by the pool,
looking fitter and lovelier than she had ever done.
"Don't get out. I'm coming to join you for a few more lengths!"
And the three swam another twenty lengths at the end of which,
Gwendoline had to help her friends out of the water.
"Wasn't that wonderful, darlings? I'm going to take up all year
swimming after this. The way your body positively burns all over when
you get out - I really get myself off on that. Fantastic!"
The other two were far too cold to speak. The phrase "teeth chattering"
perfectly described their condition for some minutes as the pain in
their fingers and toes gradually eased and movement returned.
"OK Harriet it's you and me against Jessica"
And their first two against one impromptu wrestling session for some
time sufficed to warm them all up and dry them off. Francesca watched
all this from the drawing room window in amazement and some slight envy
- not she had the slightest intention of joining in!
"Any interesting news in the last few weeks?" asked Gwendoline of
Francesca as they relaxed in the lounge, sipping mugs of hot chocolate.
"Not really - something about an attack on a reclusive mother and her
son - the police are looking for a gang of ruffians - described as very
dangerous! Oh! You remember Katie O'Brien - she was at your school,
"Sure was! A legend in her own time. Jessie and I were always being
compared to her - to her advantage"
"Well, she was recently rescued from some Middle East jail after being
stitched up by a corrupt policeman and persons unknown. She was there
for weeks and nobody realised. They all thought she had taken a break
and gone sightseeing. She was very cagey about the details - refused to
give any interviews."
"Poor thing! I suppose she just wants to forget it! I know I
would,"opined Harriet. "And I bet you two are a match for her and that
friend - Angela. I bet you you could beat them at anything! It was
partly remembering how they always competed against each other that
made me want to see you two do the same"
"We'll never be like those two in that way" said Jessica "Will we Gwen?"
"No, Jessie - never! Come over here for a couple of hours - I missed
you last night. Fran won't mind watching us - she's a big girl now."
"Just don't leave any stains on the sofa - that's all I ask" an
open-mouthed Francesca said after twenty minutes or so of watching the
confusion of writhing, intertwined arms and legs. "Come on Harriet, I
suggest we leave these two very acrobatic people to it. It's begin to
give me a few disturbing ideas I'd rather not have! I'm going all wet -
never mind what it's doing to them."
Harriet and Fran sat at the kitchen table.
"Do you think they will always be like that" asked Harriet.
"Not a chance", replied Francesca. "Gwendoline is her father's only
child and his heir - it's one of those funny titles that can pass
through the female side. She'll find she's too concerned to pass on her
precious Norman genes and the family title to spend her life with
Jessica. Jessica must know that,herself deep down."
"I guess so", sighed Harriet a little tearfuly. "They look SO happy
"You mark my words, when this is over she's going to start looking
around for a suitable fellow. You'd do the same in her position"
"The Hell, I would" Harriet said vehemently "My Dad's a Marquess and so
bloody what! The whole thing's so fucking mediaeval and pathetic! This
is the Twenty First century, for Heaven's sake! I want to make it in
life on my own because of WHAT I am not who I am!"
"We're all the result of who are family are and were - it's biology,
genetics, heredity. You can't escape from your ancestry Harriet and it
ought to be a source of strength, not something to dismiss! I wish I
had that sort of family history - going back so far! You've got a lot
to live up to, and you're afraid you might not have what it takes. Gwen
knows she can't let her side down; and in the last resort, Jessica
wouldn't want her to. People think it clever to sneer at 'Noblesse
Oblige' and traditional values and all that, but Gwendoline's just
started to realise what it's all about. That's what fired her up to
"Shall we go and join them - try and prise them apart?" said Harriet
The pair had withdrawn from each others' arms and were standing over
the table studying a detailed map of the next stage of their route
"Are you sure you can go on so soon, Gwendoline? That back could still
do with a bit more rest" a concerned Fran asked.
"Well it's not going to get any rest! I'm OK I swam forty lengths of
your pool this morning"
"Not all at once like we did", said Harriet "You had to take a break"
"Are you telling me I couldn't swim forty lengths of that little
piss-hole of a pool in one go!"
"Well, just watch me!"
And before her friends could protest, she was away and running over the
lawn past the tennis court and throwing herself back into the water.
"Are you two just going to sit there? Get on in after her - NOW!",
The first thirty lengths were easy enough, but all three girls had to
struggle to complete the remaining ten. They were joined by Francesca
for the last few lengths. She helped jessica and Harriet out, but
Gwendoline refused any assistance - even going on for a couple more and
following after the others.
"Aren't you three going to wrestle again? I'm going to get myself a
towel - hang on until I get back"
Three shivering girls waited for Fran to return. When she did.
"You and Jessie against me, Harriet"
"You sure you want to take us both on - doesn't seem right!" from
Gwendoline threw herself onto Harriet and forced her to the ground,
sitting on her breasts. Jessica grabbed Gwen around the waist and tried
to pull her off Harriet, but Gwen somehow managed to throw her off and
onto the ground next to Harry; and Gwendoline was on top of them both
for a few seconds, before the effort of holding both down at once
became too much. It was a full twenty minutes before the inevitable
happened and Harriet held Gwen's legs firmly in place and Jessica sat
on her chest her hands keeping Gwen's arms on the ground.
Francesca counted up to five and Gwen's shoulders remained firmly
pinned for this time and so the other two were declared the winners.
"Gosh, look at the time you guys, we won't have much daylight left if
we don't make a move. Thanks for putting up with us Franny - tell your
Dad he's made at least one convert as far as winter swimming is
concerned - can't vouch for the other two!"
"He'll be tickled pink to think it had FOUR people using it today and I
was one of them! I might just join him now and again - Mummy will think
I'm as mad as he is! Bye for now and good luck!"
"All that down there", said Gwendoline as the three lay on the grass
looking down from the hillside. "Will be mine one day"
"What do you mean Gwen, your father's got at least thirty years to
Gwendoline did not reply for a few moments.
"I hope so, Jessica. But he's signing those farms and a lot more over
to me when I leave College.
"To avoid inheritance tax, you mean" said Harriet.
"You only have to live seven years after a Deed of Gift for it to be
effective. Why so soon?"
" Dad has aged a lot recently."
"You never said! We haven't ever had any secrets before"
The three were looking at a trio of farms lying in the valley.
It was the morning after they had left Francesca's house. They had swum
in her pool and Francesca had joined them, casting off all her clothes
and swimming a couple of lengths with them. In future her father might
be surprised to find a companion for his morning dip!
They had not slept well. The grass was covered with a light dusting of
Harriet and Jessica lay on either side of Gwendoline. They both
shivered, but Gwen made no move to get up.
"Can't we visit that farm and ask for some food from the farmer", asked
Harriet pointing to the nearest house.
"Fat chance. He's easily Daddy's worst tenant. The man's always behind
with his rent and complaining and asking Dad to pay for repairs that
are due to his negligence. Dad's too easy going. When I'm in charge
it'll be another story. He'll be out of that farm so fast his feet
won't touch the ground."
"What would the poor man and his family do then ?" cried Harriet. "And
he's the one who works the land, not your father"
Gwen and Jessica usually tried to ignore Harriet's irritating Marxism,
but this was too much for Gwendoline.
"WORK!!" she exploded, "that idle sod and his Neanderthal brood don't
know the meaning of the word! Look at the place! You can see from here
how neglected it is!".
Harriet did not look convinced, but held her peace. She and Jessica
were feeling colder by the second. Their skin was blue and covered in
gooseflesh but Gwen seemed impervious both to the frost and her
"Can't we DO something, Gwendoline? Some exercises to get the blood
She continued to recline on the grass looking down on a very small part
of her future inheritance, lost in thoughts of her possible coming
bereavement and future burdens. It was only when the other two reminded
her, for the umpteenth time that they were freezing, that she came out
of her daydream.
"Sorry, girls. Just getting a bit morbid"
"You two against me, this time?" asked Harriet.
"I'd have thought you'd had enough of being sat on, darling!" laughed
Gwen, "But if you're quite sure - don't blame us! Come on Jessie!"
Harriet put up an amazingly fierce resistance against the others and it
took them forty minutes to subdue her, by which time they were, if not
warm, at least not quite so cold.
"I'd forgotten just how comfortable she was to sit on, Jessie - she's
so soft and warm!"
"Remember how she said we could lick her pussy whenever we liked?"
"After you, Jessica"
Gwen laughed as Jessica moved off Harriet's legs and tried to take her
up on her recent promise. It was not easy! The said limbs flailed about
in such a dangerous manner that Jessie soon gave up. They all rose.
"Maybe we should find a less violent way of warming up in future," said
Gwen "I mean someone could break something and where would we be then?"
"Rubbish!" said the other two together.
Harriet spoke for both of the other two,
"We don't try to hurt each other or try anything too fancy - we're
always pretty careful - and it's fun."
"Where do we go next, Gwen and Jessie - I saw you looking at all those
maps in Francesca's place?"
"Keep going North unil we hit the Pennines! We will have to be careful
when we get to Saddleworth Moor - very near Manchester. This is one of
the worst parts of the trip as far as conurbations are concerned. That
fictional Tami had it easy with all those wide open spaces!"
"Who was Tami?" asked Jessie.
"You remember the story Bill was talking about in Minehead? You know -
the American student who had to pretend nudism was her religion, just
so she didn't get thrown out of College - silly berk!" Harriet said,
"Oh, I remember. That story seems to upset you , Harry! I thought it
sounded quite a good tale. I wonder if anyone will ever write about us!"
Gwendoline agreed. "I loved the story of her journey across America -
made me want to go and see it all for myself. Not that I ever will -
going to be too busy."
"We haven't been held prisoner by a bunch of loonies for a few days - I
should think we're about due to fall into some crazy person's clutches
any time now! I wonder what kind of off the wall type it will be next?"
Gwendoline's little joke produced no sign of amusement.
"You seem to ask for trouble some times, Gwen. You scarcely heal up
after that awful beating you got and now you want more! What do you
say, Jessica? She's tempting Fate talking like that!"
"Let's look for some nice little stream, Jessie! Harry needs another
Harriet stopped smiling at this and Gwendoline quickly put one strong,
golden-skinned arm around her ivory-white shoulders. "Sorry, sweetheart
- that was unforgiveable. Am I forgiven, please?"
"Sure - but you gave me a fright. It all came back to me how you held
me under so long - mind you, it served a purpose. When I went back to
Jason's place I felt so hot indoors - kept getting out into his garden
to cool off!
Harriet continued " I'm getting awfully hungry - can't you remember any
one around here we can scrounge a meal from?"
Gwendoline frowned. "Maybe one guy - a bit of a risk that he might tell
Mummy and Daddy - but if you two agree, I could try it - our combined
charm might persuade him to keep mum!"
The three girls studied each other carefully. None had had any
depilation for weeks and it struck them just how hairy women's bodies
could get in a very short time!
Harriet's auburn locks were matted and untidy . It could do with a
wash, the other two thought. The cold was doing nothing for her skin
Jessica was covered in scratches as the result of an argument with a
bramble bush earlier in the day. Her feet were filthy and her legs were
caked with mud.
Only Gwendoline, with her fine, smooth skin and golden hair - hair
which seemed miraculously to look after itself and shone as brightly as
the late autumn sun - still possessed some remnants of female charm.
But even she was by no means free from blemishes. Her back still bore
plenty of evidence of Richard's unpleasantness to her. She also had her
fair share of scratches and had been stung by nettles on her arms and
"I think we ALL could use a bath - never mind Harry!" was Jessica's
judgment. "We look an absolute fright - even you Gwen. Sheena the Queen
of the Jungle always kept herself so smart and pretty - how the fuck
did she do it?"
"Because Tanya Roberts had the make up department of an entire film
production company on hand!" laughed Gwen. "Maybe they'll do a film
about this journey one day and the girls playing us'll look perfectly
groomed all the way through! Any way let's find somewhere to wash
ourselves and then try and find a phone box we can use."
They found a rather muddy brook and washed off some of the accumulated
grime. After this they pressed on looking for a phone box that was out
of sight of any habitation - not an easy task. Finally they saw one
near a layby.
"Oh shit" said Harry "Someone's parked a lorry to make a phone call.
Haven't people heard of mobiles?"
The other two were sheltering behind a stone wall while Harriet poked
her head over the top. After a few minutes she hissed, "I think he's
coming out - yes!. Quite a dishy guy!"
"What firm does the lorry belong to?" asked Jessica.
"Josiah Benskin - Hauliers."
"That's Andy's firm!" cried Jessica. "We must attract his attention"
And so all three girls emerged into view and waved frantically as the
lorry's engine roared into life and it began to move ponderously away.
Andrew was just driving away when he saw out of his rear mirror, three
naked girls frantically waving to him. He smiled delightedly and
stopped. As they drew level he wound down the window.
"Hi girls - got a new recruit, I see!"
"Thanks to you, sweetheart - when Jason got your message I was haring
after these two like a shot!"
"You will be Lady Harriet I presume?"
"I'm no bloody Lady - happy to prove it to you any time, mate!"
"What can I do for you three?"
"We are very hungry, darling Andy," said Gwendoline.
"Hang on ladies. I'll be right back - give me twenty minutes!"
He was as good as his word and twenty minutes later his lorry returned.
"Got a few bits and pieces from the cafe should stave off the old
hunger pangs for a few hours. Mind you don't leave polystyrene cartons
all over the place. Keep Britain Tidy and all that! Care to join me up
"No room for all of us in that cab - go on Jessica you go and talk to
With this she placed her hand under her friend's bottom and pushed her
up into the cab next to Andy, who handed two packages down to Gwen and
"There's room for us all, Gwen - easily -what the fuck are you playing
at. I'm fucking frozen out here and we have to watch those two all warm
and cosy while we freeze and shiver - are you finally plumb mad?"
"I know what I'm doing. And a nice bit of cold will do you good! Can't
have you getting soft on us - the worst weather is still to come"
Jessica climbed up into the cab assisted by Gwendoline's affectionate
hand on her rear end and settled down on the seat next to Andy, knees
spread out and her legs crossed in front of her.
"Sorry about my dirty feet on your nice seat!"
"They are loveliest little feet in the world - an honour to have them
For a few minutes she was too busy eating to speak.
"Thanks, Andy - you're a true friend. 'Fraid I've a terrible
"What could that possibly be?"
"I'm plain Miss Maltravers - don't know where you got the Honourable
bit from. My friends out there in the cold are the blue-bloods. I'm
just a prole like you."
"I thought your father was a Lord Justice?"
"Yes - but that doesn't make him a Lord - Only a Sir. I'm as common as
muck compared to those two!"
"Nothing common about you, Jessica - a very rare young lady!"
A few minutes later Jessica spoke again.
"When this is over I think we should all take you out to dinner. You've
been so good to us!"
"Thanks, Jessica. But I've a much better idea! Why don't just the two
of us go out for a meal and a show and back to my place afterwards?"
Jessica blushed. "I wonder what Gwendoline would make of that! You know
what we are to each other!"
"So I'm wasting my time, darling lovely Jessica?"
She turned even redder, the flush covering her breast and throat as
well as her face. Suddenly aware of her nakedness for the first time in
weeks, she moved her hand to cover her private parts which had been
plainly visible up till then.
Andy moved closer to her and placed his arm around her shoulders.
"I take it that pretty blush means I haven't been entirely wasting my
time cruising around trying to get a glimpse of you, these last few
days? I KNEW when we met that you felt something too! I want to spend
all the rest of my lfe with you, Jessie!"
Jessica was never able to recall in later years, exactly what happened
next. After what seemed an age she reluctantly drew her mouth away from
Andy's and rested her head on his jacket.
"Well - you'll have to spend more time in the office in future doing
your real job, running your firm. No more cruising around picking up
nude girls! You mustn't let your grandfather's work go to rack and ruin
- you've got to keep the business strong. I want there to be something
to hand on to our children. Oh Hell what will Gwen think - darling Andy
- I've betrayed her. She'll be so unhappy!"
"I wouldn't be so sure, my love - you didn't see the wink she gave me
when she pushed you into the cab!"
"That's looking jolly friendly up there!" said Harriet and then
realised what she was saying. She put her arm around a weeping
"I'm sorry, Gwen - how could I be so tactless"
Gwendoline hugged her friend.
"Let's go behind the wall - Harry. I need a while to pull myself
together. I don't want Jessie to see me like this. It WAS my idea to
get them alone together, after all said and done - just that now it's
worked so well - I feel so bloody wretched!"
When they were settled against the same stone wall out of sight of the
embracing couple, Gwendoline sobbed out her heart for a few mintes and
then gradually composed herself.
"I've known for a while now that all this betwen us couldn't last -
maybe I always did. I'm going to have to marry one day and have kids
and so will she. And I could see the other day that Andy was taken with
her - I mean really terminally smitten - and it wasn't one-sided
either. But we've been through such a lovely time Jessica and I - I
think I must have kissed every square inch of that lovely adorable body
a hundred times over! At least it was she who left me and not the other
way around. That would have hurt me much more."
"What's going to happen to the journey, Gwendoline"
"I don't know - I hope we can go on, but Andy will have his ideas about
that. It was all her inspiration anyway even if I do seem to have taken
over lately. I don't suppose they'll leave us here all alone. She'll
come and tell us in a while"
As she spoke they heard the engine start up and the lorry could be
heard moving off. As the noise faded away, Jessica came around the wall
and sat beside them.
"Sorry, Gwen. I feel a real louse about this - and at the same time I
feel so happy! Andy said he was sure you wouldn't mind"
"I mind plenty old thing - you can see how I've been crying! But it IS
for the best and I hope it works out between you."
"Andy say's I'm still all yours until we finish the initiation, but he
wants me handed over in one piece on 23rd November! Actually I insisted
and he had to agree. I can get him to do anything I want already!"
"Jessie - you mean you let him drive away and we still have nowhere to
sleep tonight except the chilly outdoors? I bet Andy is sore as hell
after seeing before him an eternity of lying next to you at night - and
now it's postponed for a few weeks."
Gwendoline decided that they must use the remaining hours of light to
walk as far as possible. She had hoped to utilise Andy's services to
take them many miles North, and Jessie had allowed him to leave them
stranded! She had his number in her head, though and would be in touch
with him sooner than he might think!
It was late afternoon and a weary trio were wondering where amid all
the windy bleakness they could find a reasonable place to rest for the
night, when they heard a female voice raised in distress.
"Please help me. You must. I'm so desperate - PLEASE!
"Please help me"
The cries were coming from a clump of high trees a few hundred yards
away and the three girls made their way towards the sounds. They saw an
elderly lady running towards them.
"This way, please - you must help!"
"Come on you two", said Gwendoline. "Don't just stand around like a
couple of spare dicks at a wedding! The woman needs help"
Jessie and Harriet obeyed uncertainly and unwillingly. They had been
involved in too many situations on this adventure to be about to plunge
unthinkingly into another! But Gwendoline was running swiftly towards
the lady, her bare feet and long legs racing across the turf, and they
As soon as she saw she had attracted the trio's attention the old woman
pointed towards the trees, which now that she was closer to them,
Gwendoline saw to be part of the garden of a largeish house. She
followed the old lady into the garden and the poor old person pointed
up into one of the taller trees.
The other two caught up in a few seconds and Gwendoline said
impatiently, "About time - what kept you!"
"This lady's young cat has got a bit too venturesome and climbed up
this tree and can't get down again - you can see her up there, poor
Gwendoline pointed to one of the upper branches where a miaowing little
half-grown long haired tabby cat could just be seen.
"Oh, it'll get down OK", said Harriet.
"Right. It will" snapped Gwen, "Because I'm going to bring it down.
Give me a hand up"
"Doesn't she have a ladder?" asked Jessica.
"NO! And stop wasting time and help me up!"
And so Gwendoline was hoisted up on her friends shoulders and managed
to grasp the lowest branch of the tree. Although she collected more
abrasions and scratches on the way up to add to an already over large
collection, it did not take her too long to get to the upper branch
where the distressed kitten was continuing to keep up a wailing
serenade of miaows.
How can a tiny little lady like you make such a noise" asked Gwendoline
as she made her way along the branch towards the cat. She could only go
so far before the branch began to creak in a very threatening manner -
any further and it would probably break sending her and the kitten to
"What's she called" she shouted down to the old lady.
"Come on Sheba - nice little Sheba - come to Gwendoline" and she
extended one hand in an inviting friendly way, keeping her balance by
gripping tightly on to the branch with both thighs and her remaining
hand. For what seemd an age the little creature stayed where she was.
It was getting colder all the while and Gwendoline, forced as she was
to be absolutely still was beginning to feel it. Finally Sheba was
sufficiently reassured by Gwendoline's patient, affectionate manner to
begin edging her way towards her with frequent pauses while she plucked
up her feline courage, all the while getting closer to her would-be
When Sheba was well within touching distance, Gwen allowed the little
cat to inspect her for a few moments, before picking her up with one
hand and gently clasping her to her shoulder. As soon as she felt Sheba
was sufficently calm, she started shuffling back towards where the
branch met the tree, further scraping her already sore bare thighs and
bottom as she did so. She paused to prepare for the climb down and to
calm the kitten who was beginning to become panicky again.
"Don't you have lovely sharp claws, darling little Sheba! When you're a
big lady, can I have one of your kittens - I'd love to have a little
friend just like you. Anyway sweetie-pie; it's time we got you down!"
The downward climb was a nightmare for the watchers below and several
times they were sure Gwendoline was about to fall, but she always
steadied herself while maintaining her grip on the kitten.
When she finally made it to the bottom-most branch she dropped Sheba
down to Harriet's outstretched hands and jumped the eight feet to the
soft ground below, landing safely.
The old lady was overcome with gratitude to Gwendoline and joy at being
reunited with Sheba who both submitted to being smothered with kisses.
Finally the lady stepped back and looked at the three naked girls, all
bedraggled and covered in mud and dust - covered with scratches -
Gwendoline the most of the three.
"What ever are you three up to? You must have weeks like this! This
brave girl in particular needs those cuts seeing to - come inside dear."
"You two wait outside," said Gwendoline. "You can shiver a bit longer -
serve you right for letting me do all the hard work!"
Half an hour later Gwendoline returned. Her hair had been washed and
all her cuts treated with antiseptic - she smelt like a pharmacy!
"The old lady has offered to let us stay the night in side. I want to
sleep out in the open air as usual, but I'll let you two decide."
"We are rather cold out here, Gwen" said Harriet. "Sorry not to have
been more help - but you seemed to be doing fine on your own! I agree
though, we should sleep outside as long as we can stand it"
"Looks like I'm outvoted then - lets start looking for a suitable
spot!" said Jessica.
"We can use her garden to sleep in. There is an outside toilet and a
pump to wash ourselves under and she will bring us out something to eat
in the morning. Luxury really!"
The other two could not help feeling left out of things - but of course
it was Gwendoline who had risked her life to rescue the cat. And
Jessica was still feeling guilty for accepting Andy's offer of marriage
-" I mean, how long have I known him, and I've grown up with Gwen - and
she was so wonderful this evening - she always is nowadays!"
So they slept on the bare ground again, Gwendoline weeping inwardly as
she felt Jessica's warmth beneath her -knowing that for the first night
in weeks, that sweet body was no longer exclusively hers to enjoy and
never would be again.
Jessica and Harriet woke up in the morning to find themselves clasped
in each others arms for warmth and with Gwendoline not with them. They
separated and began to look around in the early morning gloom.
"I bet she sneaked off inside the house and left us out here to freeze
all bloody night - I wonder about that girl sometimes - she seems to
have some kind of power mania lately combined with sadism!" said
Harriet as she rubbed her hands and feet which always seemed to end the
night totally frozen - only her thighs and body keeping enough heat to
sustain life. Jessica was similarly engaged.
"Watch what you say about her, Harry!. She's still my best friend! She
just got up early and went off for a walk or something - I bet you.
Look - here she comes!"
And Gwendoline, pink all over from a cold shower and a morning jog
around the field rejoined her two co-initiates. "She's always looked
the most beautiful girl in the world," thought Jessica, "but there's
something else about her today - I love you Andy, but I love you too
darling, darling Gwen! Can't I have you both?"
"Time to rise and shine, you two -and get yourselves under that pump
fast - you both stink to high heaven - YUCK!"
"Just a bit of good honest sweat, Gwen" said Harry.
"It's a whole lot more than that - believe me! Now get under the pump,
before I pass out!"
The newly washed and shivering duo returned to find the old lady and
Gwendoline in conversation.
"I have just been telling your friend that Sheba and I would love you
to join us inside for breakfast. I understand grom Gwendoline here that
you all of you don't like being indoors, but I promise to keep the
windows open and not turn on the heating until you have gone"
"You really have have gone fucking mad haven't you Gwen", muttered
Harriet as they all made their way inside the house. Gwendoline ignored
her friends' fury and picked up a purring Sheba who had recognised her
"How's dear little Sheba after her fright? There!" and she kissed the
little cat and allowed her to sit on her knee while they all ate. She
fed frequent morsels to her new furry little friend and seemd more
interested in her than the three humans.
At one stage she seized the remainder of a sausage from Jesscia's
plate, saying "You don't really want all that enormous sausage, Jessie
- open wide Sheba darling - eat it all up - there's a good little
Finally they left Mrs Jenkinson's house, but not before promising to
return after they had completed their mission. The grateful old lady
assured Gwendoline that she could most certainly have one of Sheba's
kittens when and if she ever produced a litter.
Sheba herself followed Gwendoline out of the house and half way across
the field before finding herself at the limit of her territory. She
uttered a farewell miaow as her lovely rescuer disappeared from view.
"You really are so ridiculously soppy about cats, Gwendoline. I mean
totally obsessed to the point where it's bloody pathological! I
wondered if you weren't going bonkers back there the way you were
fussing and gushing over that kitten! You and that old dear would make
a fine pair!" a shivering Harriet muttered. "And another thing - I
haven't been out of the cold once for days - at least Jessie had a warm
up in Andy's cab and you got to wash your hair in the house last night"
"I said before Harry - a bit of discomfort is good for you, and I think
I must arrange some more pretty soon for all of us! The old lady told
me there's a reservoir just over the hill. We're all going for a lovely
swim soon. Isn't life grand!"
Harriet and Jessica both expressed themselves of the opinion that life
was nothing of the sort and that Gwendoline was a hard as nails bitch
who expected too much from her friends, but they both joined her in the
water and didn't dare emerge until Gwen had finished swimming herself.
They were both so numbed and paralysed with cold that Gwendoline easily
beat them afterwards, wrestling them both to the ground and sitting on
them until she warmed them both with the heat of her own body.
They had covered five miles at a pace varying between a run and a jog
before they felt comfortable.
"OK now you two?"
"Thanks Gwen" gasped Harriet " it's quite a feeling of achievement
isn't it to go through all this and survive? I suppose you're quite
right to keep pushing us to the limit - even if we don't always think
so at the time - but I'm still going to get you for it when all this is
"Tell you what, girls. Next time we get offered hospitality, we accept.
Aren't I good do you?"
What both the others were both thinking was that the next time might be
never - certainly not for days. And they were both yearning for a few
hours of indoor warmth and a bed that was not hard, cold, dirty and
damp. These feelings were reinforced when the clear crisp, dry cold of
the last few days gave way to a clammy drizzle and visibility was
reduced to just a few yards. They all soon became dripping wet as they
continued through the murk and rain.
"Maybe we should try to get under cover to sleep tonight said
Gwendoline as the afternoon drew on and the weather seemed to be
getting worse - "I don't mind for myself, but you two need a break -
keep a look out for any kind of place with a roof and we'll doss down
there for the night."
"If we can find anything" groaned Jessica. This must be just about the
bleakest place I've ever seen in my life. It would be perfect for the
Blasted Heath in Macbeth. To think I brought us all on this jaunt in
the first place. I know you're loving it these last few days Gwen - but
we're just ordinary flesh and blood - not some fucking Wonderwoman
"I don't feel any better than you two - I've learned to cope with it,
that's all, and so can you you two if you only put your minds to it.
And you're both going to! Just for that piece of defeatism we stay
outside all night - rain or no rain. We've done it before and we'll do
So a couple of hours later the three huddled together under a drystone
wall for yet another exposed and miserable night with only each other'
warmth to keep them alive. They slept only fitfully and kept changing
around to allow one to be covered by the other two. It was getting
light when they finally awoke and saw that they were being observed by
a man standing them, with a beaming smile on his face.
"Ladies - how lovely to see you. Especially you my dear"
The second part of his greeting was directed at Gwendoline.
"You must come with me into my home. There is something very important
I want this lovely fair-haired, golden skinned vision to do for me! So
strong as well - Oh those arms. What power they seem to posess!"
The three girls got to their feet and studied the gentleman warily.
Both Harriet and Jessica remembered Gwen's joke about it being about
time for them to meet up with another loony and they concluded that
this gentleman seemd to fill the bill admirably.
The cold misty rain had not ceased all night and this odd person was
dressed only in indoor clothes and was soaked all through - not that it
seemed to bother him. He wore a dark blue suit that must have cost him
a small fortune and the kind of city shoes that are definitely NOT
meant for hiking around the Pennines. His shirt and silk tie must also
have been expensive and the entire complement had been reduced to a
state of utter soddenness.
None of this seemd to bother the stranger and he continued to beam at
them as the water trickled down his nose and dripped onto his clothes.
"Please follow me, my dears. I live over yonder - a walk of only a few
minutes. Just taking a morning stroll when I came upon you. What a
delightful surprise - the answer to all my dreams for so long!"
"A morning stroll, dressed like that - definitely the next loony you
were talking about, Gwen" said Harriet, "And you are the one who seems
to be in line for whatever madness he has in mind"
"You want to get inside, don't you! Well here's your chance - do you
want to take it or not? Don't bother to answer - I've a great curiosity
to find out what he wants. Let's go!"