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The Chaperone's Apprentice 2

by Charlotte Arabella Graham

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© Copyright 2016 - Charlotte Arabella Graham - Used by permission

Storycodes: Solo-M; F/m; cd; ts; heels; latex; minidress; sequins; coat; museum; public; leather; tight-clothing; office; voy; camera; cons; X

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Part 2

Ms Westbury looked up from her big desk in the bay window as Cecilia put down a cup of coffee. She waved a letter.

"It is high time that you planned and executed an assignment yourself. We have been asked to carry out a little job that will be an ideal for you to do solo. Pull up a chair and I will tell you about it".

Cecilia sighed internally, there was so much still to do before lunch as well as the week’s shopping to think about.

"You must always remember," she went on, "that our business is based on the absolute trust of confidentiality; that is why we are here and why our clients are prepared to pay handsomely for our services. We endeavour, in comparison, to make a Swiss Bank look like a sieve."

"This letter," she waved it in the air, "is from what, in vulgar parlance, would be called a, ‘whistle-blower’. The person, it is a woman, has some papers that she wishes to be made public without being identified herself. That is where we come in. We are asked if we could pick up the papers and deliver them as required. I have made discrete but quite extensive enquiries and, as far as I can tell, it is all above-board. That being the case, I have said that we are happy to be of assistance. The task is, therefore, to pick up an A4 envelope and deliver it to a designated office. The slight complication is that, while there is no problem in knowing where and to whom it is to be delivered, you will not even see the source.

"Now go and think about it, then come and share your plans and we will see if I can find any lacunae".

Celica went to the library to think. It was quiet in there. Apart from some advance mathematical texts, left over from Ms Westbury’s university days Cecilia guessed, though that part of her aunt’s past had never been discussed, the walls lined with old books that came with the house when it had been bought twenty years ago. Indeed, they had in all probability never been looked at in a century. That gave the room a musty smell that seemed, to her, somehow helpful.

In the pulp detective stories that she had read as a teenager, things were traditionally left behind the cisterns in a toilet or the like, for the next person to pick up. Cecilia didn’t care for that idea. She had taken to wearing a pair of tight rubber pants under her skirt when going out for any length of time. With the daily medication she was no longer concerned that she might have a bulge in the wrong place but, even with Ms Westbury available to stand guard as necessary, finding somewhere to go for a pee was not always easy. In an emergency the pants were not of the most comfortable but they could save a lot of embaressment. Going into a strange place on her own was not something she really fancied. Think of something else. Perhaps the fact that she and the client were about the same size was a clue.

An hour or so later Cecilia went in search of her aunt. She found her in the lounge sitting in an arm-chair, back to the window in her Holmesian pose. No light fell on her face she, too, was in deep thought. She came to with a start.

"So, my dear, what have you decided?"

"Well," said Cecilia hesitantly, "well," now having grave thoughts about her ideas and remembering Pooh observing that ideas in one’s head suddenly seemed much less good when they were outside and everybody was looking at them.

She began again. "What I though was this, if me and the client…"

"I and the client", muttered Ms Westbury under her breath. Cecilia went on without noticing the pedantry; now she had started, nothing would stop her.

"…had the same coats. Sort of soft shapeless ones, say shaggy ones or faux-fur or something, then the papers could be sewn into the lining of hers and they wouldn’t show. Then we swap them over at a cloakroom; say at a theatre or somewhere. She could text me the ticket number then, if I had some tickets in my handbag I could present the right number and get her coat and bring it home."

"Good but not, I fear, quite good enough. It is the small things that have a nasty habit of conspiring to tripping one up while the big ones happily look after themselves, for example what about the cloakroom tickets. What are they like, their colour, and do they change them every day or not at all."

"I like your idea, though. In the present case I think you should endeavour to initially make yourself as conspicuous as possible. By not by hiding you become so familiar you blend into the background and become part of the scenery for everyone but your client. What I suggest is that you pretend to be a mature American Ph.D. student studying, for example, Etruscan Ceramics. You have an American accent already and know the correct usages so you will have no difficulty in carrying off the rôle. Three days at a museum should be enough. The same, very recognisable, dress each day. On the first morning you explain about your research and ask for directions to the collection making certain that all the relevant staff see you. Arrive at the same time each day, lodge your coat in the cloakroom, wave to the staff and two days later you are part of the furniture. On the third day you do the coat swap."

"As it happens, while you were in the library I had a telephone call regarding two potentially very important clients. One might be forgiven for thinking that busses and projects had something in common. One waits quite a long time for one, then two come in quick succession. It is, of course, just a quirk of statistics, if that did not happen there would have to be a mechanism to stop it. However, we have been asked to facilitate a very delicate meeting. Arrangements will best be made from London so I have booked us into a hȏtel for a few days. There you can more readily carry out your assignment while I make arrangement for our next one."

"Choose a suitable chain-store mail-order coat. Coming from a chain-store it will not be so odd if there are two that are alike in the cloakroom. Let me have the details. I will then tell our, I mean your, client how to obtain one that is the same."


A few days later, Cecilia found herself at the top of the steps waiting for the museum doors to open. For the first time in many months she felt conspicuous, as if the entire World were watching her. Without thinking, she snuggled deeper into the hood of her faux-fur coat. It was just like that first time at the supermarket in her latex French maids’ dress.

‘Oh come on, Cecilia’, she thought to herself. Getting from the hotel by taxi had been ok but now…’

To be fair she had rather taken Ms Westbury’s ideas regarding dress to heart with a sequin mini-dress, its multi-coloured shimmer like petrol spilled on water, and finger nails painted to match. Perhaps it was also on aunt Lavinia’s insistence that she was also wearing a pair of the tightest ever, or so it seemed to her now, black latex leggings, polished to be like obsidian mirrors. Or perhaps it was her decision to dye her hair bright purple. It seemed a good idea last night; it would be a good method of recognition. Now, in the cold light of day she was nowhere near so sure. Whatever, the doors were opening; it was time for the next stage of the adventure, ‘assignment’, she corrected herself.

Cecilia went in and found the cloakroom.

"I’m doing research for a dissertation", she told the assistant, using her best American accent that she had been trying so hard to lose, as she exchanged her coat for a ticket. "Can you point me in the direction of the Etruscan gallery?"

"Not sure", she was told, "Why don’t you ask one of the guides over there? They’ll know", and turned to the next person in the queue.

Cecilia found a guide, a woman in her late forties, and again explained who she was and why she was there.

"What you want is rather out of the way at the top of the building. Only one of the lifts goes all the way and that’s out of commission at the moment", she was advised. "I think I’d better take you there, I got lost the first time. Follow me".

The guide set off across the hall. She had soft-soled shoes that made little sound on the marble floor. Carrying camera, tripod and briefcase, Cecilia wished she had the same as her stilettos clicked loudly with every step.

After passing through what seemed like endless galleries and passages from one end of the building to a lift that only went part way, then all the way back again they eventually got to the gallery.

"I suggest you take a taxi back", suggested the guide with a laugh. "Seriously, though, if you want help, give me a ring on my mobile. Must go now." and she was off, leaving Cecilia very much wondering, ‘What next’.

As agreed, Cecilia put her bag on the top of the second display case with the ticket in plain view; then busied herself with the exhibits. It was quite odd to see in the flesh things that until now she had looked at only as pictures on the Internet. For the next two hours Cecilia went from exhibit to exhibit, taking photographs through the glass and making notes of what she was taking.

‘I have to act to part’, she told herself. ‘And anyway the knowledge might come in useful someday; if only to bore people at a dinner party’, smiling as she remembering the one at Alain’s château, given by the Contessa with poor Joseph in attendance.

Suddenly, she was aware that someone had quietly entered the gallery. There was a slight cough. She looked up – the contact already? Instead it was a man, perhaps fiftyish, balding with thick lensed spectacles.

"Are you Miss Sinclair", he asked, hesitantly.

Cecilia nodded.

"Oh, good, I hoped you were. I’m Justin. I’m the curator for ancient pottery. All the galleries are quite good but this one is the best by far, don’t you think."

Cecilia made a noncommittal reply. Then realised that he was one of the World top experts whose books she had been mugging up.

Having at long last having found a fellow enthusiast or at least someone to talk with, though actually, ‘at’, might have been the proper word, there was no stopping Justin. He unlocked cabinets and took out pieces for Cecilia to photograph again pointing out details that, as a novice, she had quite failed to notice.

"Actually", he eventually confided in her, "I am working on a theory that will overturn what the so-called, ‘experts’, have been saying for years. Let me tell you about it over a bite to eat; the staff canteen has much better food than the public restaurant".

Cecilia was in a dilemma, as a student working on her dissertation she could hardly turn down Justin’s offer to expound his new theory over lunch but, if she did so, she might be away from the gallery a just the wrong time.

Decisions. Not that it took Cecilia long to make-up her mind; if she was not to blow her cover as a genuine student she could hardly turn down an offer of lunch and the latest theory.

Cecilia picked up her bag, surreptitiously pushing the ticket a little further back on top of the case and allowed Justin to escort her to the canteen. There they found a table in a corner, where Justin could expound his theory without being overheard. Cecilia had no fear about what to say; once in full-flow there was no stopping him. An occasional, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or a nod was all that was necessary.

Then, through the mist, she heard him saying, "I must get on. It’s been so nice talking to you but I expect you will be itching to get back to the collection. I’ll show you the way but then I have thing to do".

When they got back Cecilia was relieved, but a little disappointed, to see the ticket still there.

The next day passed without event and Cecilia was getting bored, "There are only so many times you can go round", she grumbled to herself.

On the third day she was getting really fed up. As her aunt had predicted, she was now part of the furniture, the cloak-room attendant hardly looked, while the guides merely nodding to her as she passed by.

A few persons passed through the gallery though Cecilia didn’t pay much attention to them. Then, at some stage, she happened to glance in the direction of the case with the ticket. It had been changed.

Her first thought was to pick it up and leave straight away. But wait a minute, what if the other person had only just come in? Also, for two days she had been almost the last visitor out. To keep up the cover she ought to be the same today.

Cecilia looked at her watch. ‘Gosh, still only just gone three, the museum won’t be shutting for ages’.

Time dragged. With every minute Cecilia’s boredom increased. She kept looking at her watch – it didn’t help. There were no more visitors to the gallery that afternoon but she stuck it out and, eventually, closing time arrived.

The cloak-room attendant clearly wanted to go home too; taking the ticket that Cecilia proffered and handing her the coat with only the slightest of glances.

Cecilia stepped outside. It was raining. She slipped on the coat and snuggled into the hood, ‘oh why had she not brought an umbrella’ Gingerly negotiating the steps, now wet and rendered slippery under foot, for 15cm heals anyway, she looked for a taxi. Many sailed by but all were taken. The faux fur coat was getting heavy and the latex tights that had seemed so good in the nice weather of two days ago pressed coldly around her legs. Being a Chaperone was not always such fun after all.

Eventually, she got a taxi and still dripping made her way back to the hȏtel. When she got back Aunt Lavinia was already in her room.

"So, you have got it. Good girl".

She slit open the lining and out popped a sealed envelope.

"Right, put the envelope in the safe and hang the coat up to dry, I will take it to a charity shop in the morning. It has now done its job so we do not want any evidence lying around. All right, if you have fallen in love with it, you must get another different one, this," Aunt Lavinia nodded in the direction of the famous coat, "must go".

"By the way, I have arranged for you to go for a job interview tomorrow as assistant to the editor. That way you will be able to discretely hand over the papers. You are a business girl now so I have purchased an appropriate new suit for you."

Cecilia’s heart sank a little, she had grown to like the outfit she had been wearing for the last few days – it was sort of, ‘exciting’.

Ms Westbury noticed the disappointment.

"It is in black leather", she said with a twinkle, "I think that you may like it. It is hanging in the wardrobe in your room".

Cecilia was off like a shot to find out what her aunt had bought this time.

"The skirt has no vent at the back, I assume that you will find it sufficiently tight", was her parting shot to Cecilia’s rapidly departing bottom. "And wash the colour out of your hair; that version of Cecilia must never appear again".

The next morning found Cecilia, dressed in the business suit, hair once more blond, going for her, ‘interview’, at the magazine. To those that knew her it was clear that the suit reflected Ms Westbury’s taste. The skirt was not particularly short but made up for it by being so tight as to be at the limit of decency, perhaps a little beyond it.

She found the magazine’s office and went in. It was on the fourth floor of the block. There was no lift so Celica was quite out of breath when she got to the top. She made a mental note that she must get into training when they got back to the country and wondered what it would be like going running in a latex cat-suit; apart from the exercise and any slimming effect the perspiration might have, it would give the locals something to talk about; must try it! The office turned out to be small; little more than a reception cum outer room with that of the editor’s opening off it.

She announced herself to the receptionist, a woman of perhaps thirty wearing heels higher and a skirt even shorter than Cecilia’s.

Cecilia was asked to wait to be called, offered a coffee and told to sit down on the couch that filled the wall opposite the editor’s door. It was then she realised just how low it was. Her knees seemed to be up to her chin no amount of tugging at her skirt or wriggling made any difference; what was under it was in plain view. If only she had on a suitably adapted girl’s chastity belt, complete with thigh band and linking chairs; at least she would have felt safer.

The receptionist returned with a cup but, as always, before it had cooled enough for Cecilia to take a sip, she was ask to go into the sanctum sanctorum.

Cecilia entered. She had no idea what to expect.

What confronted her was a small volcano made of paper tumbling off the desk and onto the floor, with a plume of smoke coming out of the top.

She coughed to announce her presence and a balding man in his late fifties and smoking a pipe appeared round the side.

"Oh come in, come in. Let me clear a bit of space". With that he pushed yet more papers on to the floor revealing a desk on which stood a large computer monitor except that, rather than showing computer things, it had a large close-up of the couch outside. All the time she had been sitting there he had had a full view up her skirt. Judging by the receptionist, it was very much a casting couch. She shuddered inwardly vehemently wishing for that chastity belt; clearly selections were being made long before entering the inner office.

After the initial, ‘test’, the interview proceeded along normal line. At one stage, Cecilia took the envelop from her bag sliding it nonchalantly on to the desk while talking, fervently hoping the it wouldn’t get lost among all the other paper. She need not have worried, without seeming to notice the editor slipped it into a drawer of his desk.

A little more conversation and the interview was clearly at an end. Cecilia was thanked for coming told that she would hear in due course.

She left, mission accomplished and thankful that she would not be returning.


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