It wasn't until mid-afternoon that they were all gathered again in the lounge. Ben and Alison were dressed and Ben sat on the floor, his legs straight and wide in front of him. Alison sat nestled between his legs, leaning back into him as he held her in his arms. Her usual cheerfulness had returned, and she was smiling. Amy sat on the floor cross-legged nearby, casting occasional envious glances at them.
Victoria, Emily, and Paul each sat in their own chair, looking thoughtful. Victoria was lamenting the huge dent that been had made in her savings. Paul had phoned her from B&Q, to give her the alarming news. He'd totted up the prices and it had come to nearly three-hundred pounds. Victoria had told him go ahead anyway.
Everyone had been delighted to see Alison back to her usual self, and Emily had hugged her for the longest time, weeping and kissing her, assuring her that everything would be alright. No one raised the question of what might have happened if Giles hadn't been frightened away.
Subdued by the afternoon heat, the atmosphere was languid.
"So what's the plan, Victoria?" asked Paul.
"I've got half of it worked out, but the other half depends on what Emily and Amy found out from Helen" she replied, looking over at Emily, inviting her to speak.
"Not a lot I'm afraid" said Emily "We found Helen, and we managed to talk to her, but she's terrified of Giles... I mean Gillian... is it okay to call him Giles again now?" she asked taking a quick look at Alison to see how she'd reacted to the mention of his name. Alison hadn't reacted, and still wore her contented dreamy smile.
Victoria also looked at Alison "No, let's keep Gillian, I like it" she said, and then her face suddenly fell "Ben! Did you use a condom?" she asked suddenly.
"Um..." Ben squirmed uncomfortably.
"We'll talk about that later" she said with a frown.
"It was lovely" said Alison.
Emily grimaced, she didn't want to think what would happen if Alison got pregnant; so she distracted herself "She did seem, Helen I mean, fascinated with the idea of getting back at him, but I don't think she really believed that it was possible. Apparently he's always getting her into trouble. We all know how strict their parents are, and she spends a lot of time getting spankings and beatings that she hasn't earned"
"Spankings and beatings?" said Ben "No-one really does that do they? I mean outside the gang?" Ben's tummy rumbled and gurgled alarmingly. He had missed breakfast and hadn't had anything to eat all day. He was famished.
"Yes they do" said Victoria "Most of the parents around here do anyway"
"I thought that was just in history, not in real life" he said.
"We get spanked" said Emily "You know that because of Alison's spanking that got us all started in the first place."
Ben nodded slowly, remembering, and trying not to imagine how awful that must have been.
"Me too" said Paul, mournfully.
Ben looked up at Victoria "I bet you don't get spanked" he said.
"Of course not!" she answered, appalled at the thought.
"So not all the parents round here do spanking then" he said as if to reassure himself.
"Victoria's parents do spank though" said Paul "It's just that Victoria's a very good girl."
"And intends to stay that way" said Victoria "Go on, Em."
"Giles, I mean Gillian, never gets spanked. Like you he's always a very good boy, apparently. At least at home when his parents are around. He's obviously the apple of his father's eye, but it's not so clear how his step-mother sees him. Helen doesn't have anything on him at all, to all intents and purposes he's squeaky clean" said Emily.
"Except that we know he's not" said Paul.
"What we know isn't evidence" said Victoria "And it's all connected to us, so useless"
"Anyway, Amy had an idea" said Emily and looked at Amy, inviting her to share it with the others.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
A MrDouble Production:
Changes last made on: Thursday, February 01, 2018