30 August 2009

Role modelling

Sunday, 30 Auguast 2009

Josie is still staying with us-- her mother rang today and said she was expected home tomorrow, just to 'touch base'. We laughed at this. The dear girl has been a part of our household in everything (except maybe one or two points) since July or so. She even has her own toothbrush in our common bathroom.

After church today the three of us drove out and had ice cream, met with some of the girls from the club, and sort of congregated over at the high school for a kind of 'let's see how the old place is preparing for us' visit. There were some boys there attempting to play soccer-- I say 'attempting' because there wasn't enough dribbling or volleying to make it even remotely interesting. I was in a skirt so when some of the girls wanted to join in I just sat on the bleacher seats and watched.

Josie was in a skirt too (Jessy's gold-coloured one, which she wore to church with us) and we got to talk a little. At one point she turned to me and said, straight out of the blue, 'I know you don't always trust me, Janine.'

I looked at her. 'Josie, when have I ever not trusted you?'

She shook her head. 'You don't have to say that. I know you worry.'

'I will always worry,' I said.

'About me and your little sister?'

I looked at her. 'I love you,' I told her, 'and I love my little sister. I will always worry about both of you.'

She looked at me for a long moment and then lowered her eyes, and I could see she was blushing. 'Well-- maybe "worry" is the wrong word then. But I just thought I should ask you something.'

'Sure, hun,' I said. 'What is it?'

She drew a breath and said, 'Do you really think it's all right, what we all do together?'

I smiled at her. 'Playing in stockings? Swimming naked? Hiking the great outdoors? What's so terrible about it?'

'Well, you know. Jessy and I... sleeping together.'

I nodded. 'Hm. Is there anything I should worry about then?'

She shook her head. 'No. It's just that--' She looked about herself as though she couldn't find the right thing to say, and then she just said, 'Well. I mean-- well....'

'Josie,' I said, 'sweetheart... if there's anything you want to say, I promise you can just say it.'

So she did. 'Do you think it's weird that sometimes I feel attracted to your sister?'

I didn't even flinch. This was what I'd expected. 'Josie, sometimes I feel attracted to her too.'

She looked up at me. 'Really?'

'Sure,' I said. 'She's a cute girl, very sweet, intelligent, beautiful, everything good. Anyone would be a fool who wasn't at least a little bit crazy about her.'

Josie smiled then, and let out a sigh. 'Well.... I guess maybe I'm not so crazy then.'

'You do mean, don't you, that this isn't anything more than just feeling like you love her to death, riught?'

Josie nodded. 'Yes. I mean-- I think so. Sometimes I lie in the bed and watch her sleep. She's so beautiful.... And it gives me goosepimples.'

I nodded. 'And at other times?'

'Other times.... Well, I thank God she is my friend. I would hate to not be able to know her.'

I smiled. On the bench I saw her hand and took it. 'You are a good friend,' I said softly to her, 'and I know Jessy loves you very much. And she trusts you. And I trust you. This is what the girls' club is about, you know. We need to be good for each other.'

She nodded, staring down at where I held her hand. 'I know. And I'm sorry.'

'Don't apologise, sweetie--'

'But I should. I've had... impure thoughts.' Then she looked at me and smiled. 'That is what you would call it, right?'

Still holding her hand I looked her in the eye and said, 'Does this have anything to do with yesterday when I sort of walked in on you?'

Josie went very red and looked away then. 'Um, maybe. I don't know. I guess, a little. I mean--' now she went even redder-- 'I was wearing her panties. It's just so embarrassing--'

'It's all right,' I said. 'I get like that sometimes too. But I don't think it has anything to do with Jessy, or what I'm wearing. Sometimes I just....'

'Yes,' Josie said, and we looked at each other. 'Sometimes you just have to.'

'Sure. But do you confuse that with whom you're with? Other people nearby, or--?'

'I don't think so,' she said.' Then she smiled. 'Janine, you are so lucky to have her for a sister. And Lisa too. I will never know that. You're just so comfortable round other people. I'm not-- I know that. I just wish I were.'

'You're comfortable round me, right?'

She nodded a lot. 'Oh, yes. I feel like-- well, like I could tell you anything. Like you're the big sister-- Oh, that's not right.'

'It is,' I said, and squeezed her hand. 'If that's what you mean... I think it's lovely. And I'm happy to be your big sister.'

She stared at me for a very long moment and then suddenly reached up with both arms and hugged me. 'I love you, Janine. You may never know how much, but I do.'

'I love you too, Josie.'

She patted my back and hung onto me till her tears dried.

This evening, I was helping Mother clean up after dinner and I told her the gist of what Josie had said. 'I think she just feels like she needs to belong to someone, and she identifies with Jessy like that,' I said.

Mother nodded seriously. 'I was afraid of something like this,' she said.

'I don't think it means anything, Mother. I mean-- we're always together. If anything inappropriate were going to happen, it probably already would have happened.'

'Not necessarily,' she said.

I looked at her then. 'Do you want me to tell Jessy they shouldn't stay in the same room?'

Mother thought about that, not looking at me. Finally she said, 'I don't know. Maybe. I just think that your sister isn't ready for a decision like that, and if anything were to happen, she wouldn't be doing it out of a free choice.'

I nodded, thinking hard about that. Mother and I both know Jessy is very naive-- but it's the naievete that comes from pure innocence. Then I asked, 'Do you really think Jessy would?'

Mother looked right at me. 'What do you think?'

'I think she wouldn't dream of it. But-- that could end up hurting Josie, and I wouildn't want that.'

Mother smiled at me. 'Janine, you are too good sometimes.'

'Well I can't very well suggest doing anything that would hurt Josie's feelings. I'd rather trust her than tell her I don't trust her.'

Mother was still smiling. 'You do sound like me sometimes,' she said.

I shook my head. 'Josie isn't a lesbian, mother. She's lonely, and she needs a friend like a sister. A sister helps you stay in line, guides you, protects you, scolds you, you know, like Jessy and I do for each other. And she's only... exploring herself, the same way any girl would do. That's nothing terrible. I mean-- with the girls' club and all, we're all looking out for each other, so we'd trust each other with ourselves.'

'Do you think the other girls would tell you anything like this if they thought they were feeling it?'

'I don't know, Mother. I knew Josie would. I think Rita would. I think Becky would. Well, Becky did-- she told me she values me as a friend, loves me, trusts me implicitly. I hugged her in front of people and kissed her head. She said that was a very high compliment. She's not... in love with me.'

'Do you think Josie is in love with Jessy?'

'Oh, everyone is,' I said. Mother laughed. 'I mean-- everyone in school is a little in love with her. She's the princess, Mother. And sometimes people's feelings get... confused, on an issue like that. What did Daddy say? --there are three levels of admiration. You want to be like her, you want to be her, you want to possess her. It happens-- it's normal.'

'But you have never felt that way about someone else.'

I looked right at her. 'I haven't?'

My pretty stepmother stared right back at me. 'Well... have you?'

'Mother,' I said softly, 'you don't think I have?'

She went a little red then and looked down. 'Oh, Janine! Please!' And she laughed, to rid herself of the blush.

'You're my hero,' I told her. 'You're my role model, and my idol. You didn't know that?'

'I am not anyone for you to admire like that!' she insisted, and reached for a tissue.

'I have always loved you,' I said. 'From when I first met you, when you first came to live with us. And sometimes I didn't know what kind of love it was. I wanted to be just like you, I wanted to be so perfectly you that I became you. I wanted to live your life. I wanted you to never care about anyone but me. But I realised that it can't be like that. The reason I love you is because you love everyone, me and everyone else, so much and so well. So the most I can ever do is to take your example and try to do the things you would like to see me do.'

Mother blotted her eyes. For a moment she had nothing to say and I refused to go any further. Finally she said, 'You are much more like me than you know.'

I swallowed. 'If you really mean that, Mother--'

'I do mean it.'

'Then that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.'

She turned then and hugged me-- hard. 'Be a good angel,' she said into my ear. 'Be good to little J.J. and Lisa and to Jessy and to Josie. Be good to them, and you will be doing what I would want you to do.'

I nodded. 'Okay, Mother.'

'I adore you, sweet girl. I always have. Do not beat yourself up over anything like this.'

'Jessy will make the right decision,' I said.

'Yes. Jessy will make the right decision. And so will Josie, because she has your example, and Jessy's example. She adores you girls.'

'I know she does.'

'You must show her the right way to demonstrate that love,' she said to me.

I nodded again. 'I know. That's what the girls' club is for.'

She stepped back and looked at me, the mascara running down her cheeks and her eyes puffy and red. But the thing about Mother is that she never stands on pride. She doesn't care what she looks like as much as she cares about you. If it's appropriate to look at you, she will, and she won't hide that she's been weeping. 'The girls' club is for all of you,' she said. 'Not just girls looking up to you, Janine, by yourself. Being president of a club doesn't mean you have to carry them all. If you're worried about Josie, ask Josie. She a woman growing up and she needs to be able to explain herself, and, if she's been wrong, she needs to change. Not you. Not you, Janine-- whatever have you done that's so wrong?'

'I've done lots of wrong things.'

'Mistakes,' she said. 'Not bad judgement. Josie comes to you because she knows you won't judge her, you'll listen to her, and she'll gain something from asking you about it. If she wanted to do anything terrible she wouldn't have told you.'

I nodded. 'I know.'

'She needs your example. Do the right thing, and she will see it and do it too.'

I smiled then. 'As in "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify the Father which is in Heaven".'

Mother laughed a little and wiped her eyes then. 'Exactly, Janine. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.'

We smiled at each other. 'Okay,' I said quietly, and she kissed me and I went off, half moping with my arms folded over my tummy. I really did not feel as enthusiastic at all about it. I felt charged with a responsibility-- not to bear them all on my shoulders but to do something even harder-- to be perfect, as the Father is perfect, to do what is right in the face of every tendency I have to be lazy or selfish or arrogant about it. Josie needs my good example-- and I will show it to her.

In Jessy's room the two of them were lying close together on the floor looking into magazines. They were both naked-- no, Josie was in panties. 'What's up?' I asked them.

Josie looked up first. 'Hi, Janine.' And she smiled right at me. 'We're just... reading.'

I smiled and sat on the floor-- in the skirt-- and crossed my legs. 'Everything okay?' Jessy asked me then. 'You look... down.'

'Preoccupied,' I said, and smiled at her.

Josie smiled at me again. 'Are you chaperoning?' she asked me.

I nodded. 'Yes, Josie. That's exactly what I'm doing. Keeping you out of trouble.' Then I laughed.

Josie laughed too. 'Don't worry, doll,' she said to me. 'Nothing bad will happen here.'

We met eyes. Suddenly I was aware that whilst I had been talking with Mother these two had been talking up here. And it was already resolved. 'From now on,' Jessy said, not looking up but in fact still leafing through the magazine in front of herself, 'we have a new rule where we wear panties to bed.'

I giggled. 'Really? Why?'

'Because,' Josie said, 'as a very wise girl we know once pointed out, we are ladies, and we should be a little more proper. It's only for bed, you know. And, look-- we get to model cute things.' And she got up to her knees beside Jessy and wriggled her hips a little, showing off the panties. They're Jessy's of course-- she brought no extra clothes with her on Thursday night-- but very cute, pale pink cotton with little purple flowers round the front. 'Like them?'

I laughed. 'I've seen them before,' I said.

'Well, I'm wearing them to bed.'

I looked at Jessy's bare bottom. 'And what's the other one wearing to bed?'

'She'll get dressed,' Josie said, looking down at her. 'We promised each other. And we made another promise to each other, didn't we, sweetheart?' Jessy only shrugged. 'Yes,' Josie said. 'If we feel the need... we can go in the bathroom. The bed is off-limits if we're both in it.'

I giggled again. 'That works,' I said. 'But really, you don't have to--'

'No, Janine. Maybe we do have to. Or, I do. Anyway, it'll make us all feel more comfortable.' Then she smiled at me. 'Are you coming to bed soon?'

I shrugged. 'I'll go online first.'

Josie nodded. 'I'll read a little, I think.'

'Will you? What are you reading?'

She turned and lifted a book off the bedside table. '"Mansfield Park",' she said. 'Saw the movie. Need to read the book, right?'

I was impressed and smiled at her. 'Good girl.'

'Yes,' said Josie. 'That's me.'


The modelling show, and other stuff

Saturday, 29 August 2009

I was saying to someone once how I love waking up naked. There really is nothing more refreshing. I kick off the sheet and prop myself up on my elbows and blink in the sunlight streaming in my windows here, and I feel new and pure and clean and happy. I thrust my feet way up and eject myself from the bed with all my morning energy, and I fling open the sash and the drapery and stand there, staring out at the sun over the bay and the ocean, at three thousand miles of natural view. Sometimes I imagine the people in Portugal are staring out across the ocean during their afternoon tea and wondering if there is some naked blonde girl at the other shore staring back. If they're not, there is no one else out there to see me like this, and so I rarely ever close my draperies at all.

Josie and Jessy slept like a litter of kittens in the other room, both of them curled round almost together under one sheet, hair loose and all over, tanned shoulders dark against the off-white bedclothes, Josie breathing gently over Jessy's head, sweet baby smiles on their faces. I woke them gently, poking their shoulders till they were both stirring. 'Pancakes,' I said softly. 'It's Saturday.'

So they got up.

Whilst the pancakes seethed on the cooker I sauntered out back and dove in. I was into the 18th lap when Mother came out, but she only watched me continue till I had done all 25. 'Are those other birds coming down?' she asked me in a gentle voice, almost too soft for outdoors.

I nodded. 'They said they would be.'

She nodded too and then stepped back as I rose, dripping with no towel, from the water. She smiled at me then. 'You've missed this pool,' she said.

'I did laps twice yesterday,' I told her.

'Did you? As though you need it!' And she laughed.

'I do need it,' I said.

'You don't,' she told me, 'not for your looks anyway. But the exercise never hurts.'

I went up to get dressed in the same shorts and t-shirt from last night, passing Jessy and Josie, now dressed too, coming down on the way.

Daddy excused himself early, having caught up with Roger, and drove up to Delaware at about 9.30. Mother announced she was taking J.J. down to the mall at Lynnhaven, 60 miles way, meeting some local friends (other mothers and kids from church) to make a day of it. So we girls would be alone.

'Well I know what you girls will be doing today,' Mother told us. 'Just remember your father will be home about five.'

This was for Josie, you know. 'We will,' Jessy said.

'And be good to Lisa. She looks up to you girls. You have to be the best you can be for her.'

I just met Mother's eyes. 'I promise we will be,' I said.

She nodded and took J.J.'s hand to go down to the car.

I followed her, my arms folded across my tummy, and gave her a hug and a kiss when she left. 'I love you, Mother,' I told her.

'And I love you, good girl. Have fun.'

I smiled. 'I'm sure we will.'

'And you'll stay in?'

'In, and round the house, yes. Do not worry.'

I waved as she drove off. J.J. waved back.

So it was another day essentially on our own. Jessy and Josie came down, both naked, and dove into the pool. Lisa asked me if I would join them and then ran, really ran, out across the terrace and cannonballed into the centre of the pool. Like her mother she is a born swimmer and absolutely indefatigable in the water.

But soon even this got somewhat dull and we were at a loss for something interesting to do. 'We should do something we never get to do any other time,' Jessy said.

'Like what?' Josie asked eagerly.

Jessy shrugged, avoiding spending mental energy. We brainstormed a few ideas and finally decided to have a little photo shoot, dressing up in whatever we found that was cute, and modelling for each other and for a camera. 'What will we wear?' I asked.

'Something we can't usually wear,' Josie said. 'Something that's....'

'Nothing obscene,' Jessy said.

I made a face. 'Since when are we ever obscene?'

Josie laughed. 'We're not,' she said. 'It'll just be cute.'

So we decided we would all get dressed in panties and high heels, and then Josie suggested, when she had looked into Jessy's dresser, that we wear stockings too. Lisa, thrilled with the chance to do as the big girls do, scampered round to her room and proceeded to change outfits about every ten minutes till her bed was a heap of panties she had tried or rejected, her church tights, ballet tights, and cotton stockings from her Colonial outfits. Honestly she must have worn eight or ten pairs of panties, all the same but for colour or pattern, those simple cotton ones that she pulls up too high on her bottom and too tightly in her crutch. She was so enthusiastic for it that we began teasing her about being an underwear model. But really the pics of her are nothing terrible-- just pics of a nice little girl in her panties. In what way is that obscene?

I went in to my room and pawed through my dressers till I decided on something cute. The stockings are mostly cotton, thigh-high with gripper tops, in a pretty dense tone-on-tone textured pattern of roses and leaves. My shoes were my good ones for church, white cotton eyelet uppers with an open toe and about 2-1/2" heels. My hair was put up with a thick white terry Scünci. And my panties were just plain white cottons, some low-rise ones that are just about new and still very bright. I stepped out of my room feeling absolutely lovely, all in white, like an angel, sexy and pure at the same time, which is a pretty good look for any girl. Jessy and Josie, still getting dressed, raved over it. In front of Jessy's full-height mirror I turned and posed, admiring myself, and was quite pleased with how I looked.

Then little Lisa came in, in her plain black ballet leotard, pink shoes with no tights, and a little bright-pink scarf cleverly wrapt round her middle. 'Oh, all white,' she said to me. 'Is that all you have?'

I turned on my toes and smiled down at her. 'Don't you like it?'

Lisa shrugged. 'The stockings are pretty,' she said.

'They are, aren't they?' And I smiled at myself again.

Lisa stepped a little closer and when I turned she was right in front of me. 'What's that?' she asked.

We all looked. I looked down ahd she was pointing, her finger not six inches from the front of my panties. 'Uh-oh,' Jessy said. 'Is it a spot?'

No. The panties were clean. It's just that they were also very thin, and there it was, a dark shadow showing through the white cotton. 'It's just me, sweetie,' I said to Lisa.

'You?' she wondered.

I lifted the cotton away from my tummy and she peered in, seeing what I meant. 'It's just what I have,' she said.

'Oh,' said Lisa. Of course she knows what I look like. I'm sure she only didn't realise I would show through like that. I hadn't thought of it either. Really I hadn't wanted to think that there could be any way I could outgrow white cotton panties-- they're always my favourite.

'Well,' Josie said, 'while we're all getting made-up.... You know you wouldn't have to worry about it showing, if....'

'If what?' I asked, too innocently I guess.

Josie smiled at me and then shrugged. 'If you got rid of it,' she said.

I wrinkled my nose then. 'Ew. No way.'

'Why not? It would look better. And you wouldn't have to worry about certain bathing-suits....'

'I don't wear anything that what I do have would be a problem,' I told her.

Josie shrugged again. 'Well, it might make you feel or look sexier,' she said.

I met eyes with Jessy, who only rolled hers. Then I said, 'I would say that takes a very particular kind of vanity, wouldn't you?'

Jessy giggled. Josie looked at her, not knowing what I had meant or why Jessy had laughed, and Jessy said, 'Why would anyone do that? So they can admire how they look themselves or show off to other people?'

Josie got red then, now realising how it sounded. 'Oh,' she said. 'Well, I just thought....'

'Remind me not to let her take any pictures of herself naked now,' I said to Jessy, and we both laughed till Josie got over it.

Lisa trotted back into the room, now in her own white panties, the pink scarf round her middle, and the ballet shoes. Josie reached out and tickled her, which Lisa likes. 'This one doesn't have the problem at all, lucky little thing!' Josie said.

'What problem?' Lisa wanted to know.

'Never mind,' I said.

'Is it lady stuff?' she asked.

I smiled at her. 'Kind of.'

'Okay, never mind,' she said-- for she's sure she's heard it all enough before.

'So change,' Jessy said to me then, and then shrugged, like to encourage me.

I shrugged too and went back to my room, a little disappointed. But I found some lacy ones in my drawer, also white and mostly cotton, but with elegant lace appliqués that sort of complement the stockings. Lisa stood and watched as I peeled the other ones off over my shoes and pulled up the lacy ones. 'Those I like better,' she said.

'Can you still see--?'

Lisa actually bent and examined me. 'No.'

I patted her head and pranced back round to Jessy's room then. Jessy had on her navy-blue stockings and shoes and cute panties with yellow-and-white flowers on the blue cotton. Josie had found Jessy's old bright fuscia stockings (from a Hallowe'en costume party-- don't ask) and a pair of bright pink panties almost the same tone. They were debating what shoes she would wear with that ensemble. I suggested plain black. Of course Josie and Jessy wear the same sizes (in all but bras) but at least Jessy has got so many clothes and shoes, including panties and lingerie, that it's not likely the two of them together could ever run out of combinations they both could wear.

Josie supervised everyone's makeup-- she's the best one at that. The plan was that we would all have something showy done for the camera but neutral enough that it could go with any other outfits (okay, panties and stockings). I wasn't exactly thrilled with how she made me look but I have to admit that I turned out all right in the pictures.

Grabbing a few other things to change into we all went down the side stairs to the basement. There we hung up a plain white bedsheet against one wall and set up the camera on a tripod and a few lights with the shades cocked to illuminate us. Of course Jessy and I have done this before and by now it's a pretty reliable system. Mostly the pics were taken of one girl at a time-- we would set up, say, Jessy, let her pose as much as she wanted, and shoot about 35 frames. Then whilst she changed her outfit we'd do someone else.

Jessy looks like an angel in her shots. She always does. In some she let her hair down, in others it was pinned up-- the difference was so extraordinary that she looked like two different girls sometimes. I look like... me. Really it's all right... I just didn't really surprise myself. I guess I am not fond of having my pic taken. But I have to admit the makeup made me look great. Josie pouted, rolled her tongue behind her teeth, stuck out her chest and rocked her up bottom, doing all the carefully-exaggerated manoeuvres that exotic models do in those pictures we've all seen on the Web. In one she had her legs spread apart, which didn't really flatter her in any modest way, you know. (I wanted to delete that one but she made me keep it.) It's really kind of scary that she knows how to do things like that-- but she is an only child and has lots of time alone in her room in the evenings, I guess.

The surprising one was Lisa, of course-- she has a very practised smile and a very good idea of how to pose herself. She's no JonBenet-- she's only a normal 6-year-old girl-- but she's very pretty and is very comfortable in front of the camera. She was the one who came up with the idea of lying down on the piano bench like a classical odalisque, which we all did later. She really ought to make a great model or actor some day.

We hooked up Jessy's laptop to the camera so we could review the pics straight away. Some were bad. Most were pretty good. I saved about 40 of mine.

Lisa came down once in her bandanna bikini, the one Jessy and I made for her (only the bottom half of course) and Jessy was shooting her a while. That made some pretty cute shots-- and she becomes the first of us to formally model the bandanna bikini--mainly because, being 6, she can get away with wearing only a bottom piece, you know. I contributed some ideas but got too many ideas for myself and bolted back up stairs to change. On my way by Jessy's open door I happened to peer in.

Josie was sitting up against the pillows and headboard of Jessy's bed, the heels sort of digging into the covers, her knees up and her hand occupied in the bright-pink panties. At first she did not see me. But when she did she could hardly have stopped anyway. 'Oh!' she sighed, going on even faster. 'I'm sorry! I just--'

I only smiled. 'It's okay,' I said, and stepped back to pull the door closed.

'Oh! Thank you!' And she put back her head then and dug in.

I stepped into my room feeling myself blush. Of course Jessy and I have seen each other self-engaged before. I had never seen Josie, though, but it was hardly anything worse than whatever I could have expected. Of course she was aroused by this. I was myself, a little. (Some of the pics showed it.) I only giggled and then I couldn't even think about getting changed and just went back down as I was, all in white. I think I was really just hoping to divert Lisa from going into Jessy's room till Josie was done

Jessy went up later and about 15 minutes later they were both back down. 'It's so hot,' Jessy said.

That was for Josie, you know. I am sure she was very warm. So I suggested we have a walk or something outside, in all our finery, you know. So in our fancy shoes, cute panties and completely over-the-top stockings, we strolled out across the garden terrace and descended to the side yard. We went round the front lawn of the house and through the driveway area to the preserve path that leads through the trees and bushes to the softball field. It was hot and there ought to have been rain, but the sky actually had cleared more. We were all sweating in the stockings-- but we looked great!

Lisa wanted to play on the swings but none of the rest of us did-- it was just too hot, and I didn't want any of us to tear the stockings, and of course there was always a chance someone would drive by on the road and happen to look in the gate and see us there. So we strolled back to the garden, put the preserve gate safely closed behind us, and then stripped on the terrace for the pool. Jessy and Josie got off their shoes and stockings and then dared each other to dive in wearing the panties. I knew why-- Josie's (which were Jessy's actually) were probably in need of a good rinsing!

I was feeling cute and prised off the panties first. As I stood up straight, in just the lacy white stockings and the shoes, Lisa looked up admiringly and finally said, 'Ohhh. I see why now.'

I smiled down at her. 'But you know what I look like,' I said.

She nodded. 'I know. But those don't show.'

'No,' I said, dropping the panties into a chair. 'I just wish the others didn't.'

Lisa shrugged. 'Oh well. Do you think I can go swimming in this?'

She was still in the all-cotton bandanna bikini. I bent and inspected the knots, retying one side more snugly. 'Sure, try it,' I said. 'If it comes off, you can just leave it.' I giggled at her then. 'None of us will mind.'

'Yes, but-- do you think it will show?'

The other two, in the pool, and I all laughed. 'You don't have anything to show!' Jessy teased her.

Lisa got a little red, looking over at me. 'I wish I did,' she said quietly.

I reached down and hugged her. 'You sweet little girl!' I told her. 'Don't worry about that. You don't want to grow up too soon.'

'I want to be beautiful,' she said, 'like you are.'

I squeezed her. 'You are beautiful. And, trust me, sweetheart, when you are my age, you will be more beautiful than any of us. I can tell already from how beautiful you are now.'

She smiled at me. 'Do you think this will stay on if I jump? I want it to stay on.'

I smiled and stood up straight. 'Only one way to find out,' I said.

Lisa giggled and jumped into the water. The bandanna bikini stayed on.

Daddy did not come home by 5.00 and when I went in I saw a message blinking beside the phone. He had rung and said he would be at the studio till maybe 8.00 or 9.00. Mother had not come home yet either and so I prepared some frozen pizza and we all decided to curl up in the TV room and watch videos. For Lisa's sake we watched the Hannah Montana movie first. We were all in our panties-and-stockings outfits again-- Josie actually in the pink-and-fuscia ensemble she had worn up in Jessy's room. Jessy sat down front with Lisa but before starting '17 Again' (which we had watched in England but which Lisa and Josie had never seen) Lisa sat up with me. Josie had a potty break, sat with Jessy, then ended up down front with Lisa, and Jessy sat in back with me. Those two did not see then as Jessy went on petting herself in her all-blue outfit. I ignored her-- this is old news for me. Lisa fell asleep in the chair right in front of me, which was a good thing since Lisa began to make some inevitable noise. Josie finally turned round and realised what she was doing. 'Oh, God,' she said, and shivered.

'Mm,' Jessy said, pretty committed to it by then.

'Ohhh....' Josie was going weaker. 'Oh, I really need to--'

'No, you don't,' I said to her.

She looked at me. 'Um, no,' she said softly, 'I guess I don't. Still....'

'Let her go,' I whispered.

'Ahhh!' Jessy sighed deeply, and pushed the panties right off then. From what we heard she was pretty successful in what she hoped for.

Josie remained very good and by the time we were all going in to bed the episode had faded into the past. But sometimes I worry about those two. When they stay over each other's house they sleep in the same bed, usually naked or at least very close to it. I know neither of them is inappropriate about it-- they're just good friends, really much more like little kids than anything else. But I do worry about how much they will indulge themselves or encourage each other in it.

Tonight I was online with a friend, whom I'll call 'Kelly', and I told her about what happened in Jessy's room and in the TV room. Kelly admitted she masturbates a lot, nearly every day. I said I do it so infrequently that I usually don't remember the exact date of the last time. 'I'm just not very sexually oriented, like that,' I said to her. Kelly admitted that chatting about intimate details like this often arouses her a little and that it's kind of hard to avoid the temptation. I really don't mind that my friends yield so easily to it, so long as they don't hold it against me that I don't. In turn I expect my real friends to not judge me as a hypocrite if I occasionally yield to it myself.

Kelly and I promised we'd do it when we signed off AOL tonight. I kept my promise-- and my bed has got the puddle from it!


Naked makeovers and other stuff

Friday, 28 August

Josie came home with us after our dinner out with girls' club. She had not brought anything with her to stay over but we three realised she certainly wouldn't need anything she couldn't get from Jessy, that is if she would need anything to wear at all-- and she already has a toothbrush here.

We were on our own most of the day, just lolling round the house and sunning and swimming. Actually neither Jessy nor I have lost much sun colour at all-- our tans were all the rage with the girls in Norwich and we must have looked like starlets from St Tropez to them! Josie has not been inattentive to hers either and is now-- may I pronounce it with all proper fanfare-- without ANY bikini patches at all. She resembles Jessy a lot, in both complexion and figure and, though she is really more like a light brunette than a dark blonde, with so much sun her hair is very light and looks terrific. She has been letting it grow (like Jessy has) and it's now past her shoulders and getting a little wavy from being kept in a ponytail on top of her head. Jessy's hair is, of course, absolutely fabulous, long and curly, even kinky, and true blonde, now lightened to a brilliant gold by the summer sun, falling well past her shoulders to nearly the small of her back when she chooses to wear it down. Today it was all piled on top of her head, as though she were going to a formal. The three of us put on sneakers and strolled out along the path into the preserve, which is adjacent to the softball field, and along the way Josie persuaded her to take out the clips and let it fall loose. I swear she looked like a wild jungle princess. I honestly do envy her.

Josie tends to spend a lot of time looking at me, I guess because I am older and tend to be the one who sets an example. But really I only do what I believe is prudent and respectable, you know. Josie doesn't have any siblings and being a Gemini (ha!) she has always looked for some close friend or someone to latch onto so that she's one of a pair. Jessy (a Leo) is very independent and, as I have said before, probably more conservative than I am, so she is a pretty good one for someone like Josie to follow.

Our parents were to come home this afternoon, so this would put an end to at least most of our lolling round naked. Nevertheless we did spend a lovely afternoon round the pool, and when Lisa's happy, shrill voice rang out in the house we were all in the water. 'Josie's here!' she observed, standing at the end of the pool in her new sneakers and socks and her little pink shorts and tropical shirt over her lavender swimsuit, gazing down at the three of us. 'What have you guys been doing?'

'Hi, Daddy,' Jessy called, seeing him step out the French windows.

'I might have guessed,' he said wryly at us.

I leaned on my hands on top of the coping and smiled up at him. Jessy and Josie were cowering along the edge beside me. 'Hullo, Mr C,' Josie called up.

'Hullo yourself,' he said. 'Everything safe and sound? House is okay?'

'Of course,' I said. 'Roger's been looking in, you know.'

'Where did he take off to?'

I shrugged. 'Delaware,' I said, meaning our other house, or the hangar where the cars are. 'I think.'

He nodded. 'I'll call him. It's just been you three then, right? Please tell me it has been.'

'Of course, Daddy!' Jessy said, and then suddenly arced over backwards and dove upside-down into the water. Josie turned and laughed at her-- but she wasn't about to do such a showy manœuvre with our father standing there able to see it.

He went back in and Lisa squatted down in front of me and asked me more about what we've been doing. I told her about the walk over to the ball field. She started to get undressed to join us but then Mother came out and called her in. They had just got here and already she was starting dinner. 'Is Josie staying?' she called.

'If that's all right,' Josie smiled.

'It's always all right,' said Mother, and she went back in.

When Jessy reported that she heard the electric door going up in the garage we figured Daddy was far enough out of range for us to dash in to the house. Of course, you know, Jessy and I don't mind. This is mainly out of respect for Josie, whose situation here is much different from ours.

For dinner we all dressed in shorts and t-shirts, including Josie who borrowed from Jessy. Afterwards we played with J.J. and Lisa in the basement play room, getting out trucks and blocks and Barbies and having the kind of fun you always wish you could still have, so long as your peers in school don't hear about it-- even though they wish the same thing. Later we each showered, and the three of us ended up in Jessy's room, lying about the carpet, pouring over fashion magazines and debating this look or that one. It got dark, we put on a lamp or two, and in the low light all of us looked much tanner than we already are. Someone came up with the idea of playing with makeup and before long we were all doing makeovers on each other in my bathroom. This is the kind of thing only someone like Josie could thrive on, since she is less modest than Jessy and I are and a little more materialistic, or appearance-oriented. In other words she is a little more normal! Lisa was sent up for her bath-- which I usually start for her-- but dallied long enough amongst us that Josie finally beckoned her over to do something with her too. Lisa was, of course, thrilled-- but of course doing a makeover on a six-year-old is pointless.

'I want that dark stuff!' she said. 'I want blue under my eyes! I want the eyelash stuff!'

Josie stopped, poised with the eye shadow in front of her, and said profoundly, 'My God. With a face like this, who needs makeup?'

'But I want it!' she begged-- not to be annoying, but because she really had got her hopes up.

'You need nothing,' Josie told her. 'Look at this--' and she ran her finger along under Lisa's eye. 'This is perfect, this colour here, this pinkish... and of course your complexion is perfect-- people would kill to be as pretty as you are.'

'Besides,' I said, 'the whole point of makeup is to look better. And you're already gorgeous.'

Lisa's pretty bright-blue eyes went wide. 'I am?'

'In high school, you would be the prettiest one there,' Josie told her, crowding beside her so they could both see themselves in my little mirror. 'Maybe a little here, or here....'

'She has to have a bath,' I said.

'Well,' Josie said, 'we can practise then, just a little.'

Lisa fidgeted impatiently, but she did receive expert Josie's magic touch. Mother came up half an hour later and we were all in my bathroom, all of us naked-- but very well made-up, thank you! --and just shook her head and smiled. 'Mummy!' Lisa said, standing on the potty lid and batting her eyes. 'Josie says I'm the prettiest one!'

Mother laughed. 'But of course you are! And now for your bath.'

'Will this wash off?'

'Oh, sure,' Josie told her. 'But you can always put more on another time.'

'Tomorrow?' eager Lisa wondered.

We all shrugged. 'Maybe.'

So apparently we have made her a promise.


More intense decompression

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Under threat of a drizzle I came inside and am sitting here in my room, my usual room, up stairs at Terncote in Virginia. It has been a very dizzying three weeks! But England is always England and that is the best part about it, so it is worth any amount of airplane rides and waiting in queues. Daddy said once, after his first tour there, in the '80s, that there'll always be an England because people in England say that there'll always be an England. Or, as people would say now, it is what it is. And that is why you go to see it.

A few things changed in the year since we were there last. Of course the house we had taken is let again, this time to a nice American doctor and his wife whom everyone knows and likes. It is a lovely all-brick multi-gabled house from about 1870 with a red-gravel garden walk and a bright blue door above which is the room Jessy and I had for two years. There is a dovecote in the eave, there are mice in the garage and rabbits live under the back steps. In back is a garden that trips down gentle terracing to the preserve, which is mostly overgrown behind the house but spreads out into a marvellous copse of wild fruit trees and thick green grass. I used to wander out there by myself and take off my clothes and inhale the sweet wet fragrances of the woods, and it was like I was getting high on the whole idea of being there, being naked, being free and happy, and being myself (which of course is how I am since we have come back and have lived here). Once on a fine English summer afternoon I lay down naked in a bed of that thick grass and stared up through a few gaps in the trees at the clouds passing by, and I was there over an hour like that till I realised people would be wondering about me. It is a unique memory-- for I only ever got to do that once-- and something I know only I will ever appreciate. But it is the kind of innocent indulgence that Jessy and I do here, now, and I know that no one else really fully understands it.

Our friends from HOH have all moved along with their lives-- some are dating new people, some are not dating any more, some have left the school, which is very sad. English schools thrive on people being committed to them, but it is always a case of 'school choice' as it is called here, and there are always times when someone leaves before 5th or 6th year and is missed horribly. Even less welcome, I did run into Henry, the boy I dated during 4th and part of 5th year, who is a year older and having completed 6th form, with honours, moves on to university. 'You look well, Janine,' he said to me. I blushed (WHY?). I do look well. From so much sun I am tanner and my face is clearer and I am probably a little better shaped, but his opinion can't possibly matter to me now. Still I suppose it was inevitable we would meet, if only at the food court in the shopping arcade, and I handled it as well as I could have. My journal from that time is still kept in handwritten notes and is not on this computer. I let my stepmother read it once and she got as far as the part when Henry was petting me under my skirt and I had not said 'no' yet, and she put it away and said, 'No, thank you, Janine!' I giggled at that at the time because her journal, most of which she has let me read, is somewhat racier than mine could ever have been (I won't say in what way!) and like hers mine is only honest and accurate, you know. I felt at the time that Henry's 'attempts' (for no, he was never successful in what he wanted from me) were important enough to be included. Now when I look back on it it's pretty embarrassing. This happens to girls all the time, and it's little more than a mild nuisance, and here I was in my journal making it into a momentous occasion. But it was a first for me, and at the time I had wondered how it would be, for the rest of my life, to be able to say that a not-so-blessed event had taken place during my family's two-year stay in England... and how many girls could have said that?

I consider that such an event would have been much worse than 'not so blessed' and it didn't happen there and hasn't here either, and, since Henry has no way of knowing that, I revel in his uncertainty. He may accuse me of 'going back to my own kind' all he wants now. What I have gained from having lived there far outweighs what I would have lost had I followed his wishes.

Also I had on a great little pale-green twill skirt and my sleeveless navy cotton top and looked great that day in the arcade (Jessy said some other guys were watching me). So Henry can suffer.

Speaking of Jessy she did-- well, after we had arrived at Lady B's- let me know that a certain little-more blessed event had taken place when she went in to change and wash up in the airplane toilet on the way over. We had taken a change of things for the ride, just to arrive feeling fresh. I had not really taken advantage of it, feeling much too sleepy (I napped in Lady B's car halfway up the A11) and you know the experience of getting out of everything in the tiny airplane toilet just to change your panties is just too much effort. Last time I tried it I bumped the latch on the door and it opened (only a little) and that was too disconcerting to forget this time. But Jessy climbed past my seat and went in there with her little bag, and of course, being Jessy, she took much more advantage of the opportunity than I had expected. She told me that night in bed.

'You didn't!' I said.

She nodded, somewhat proud of herself.

'That's why you were in there so long?'

'It almost didn't come,' she said. 'And then it got frustrating.'

'You didn't have to!' I said.

'Yes, but I wanted to try it, to say I've done it.'

I giggled. 'How was it?'

She shrugged in the bed. 'It got pretty hard to keep my mouth shut.'

Airplane toilets are hardly secure, you know. One must be very quiet no matter what business you are doing.

'So were you short of breath?' I teased. You know, because the air in an airliner is pressurised only to about 8000 feet, so it would be like doing it whilst up in the Rockies. Hence the expression 'mile-high club'.

'Yes,' she said. 'But not because of the cabin.'

I laughed at her. Well-- that is one event she can say for ever that she's done.

There were many more adventures we had on our trip and I will attempt to relate some of them as this blog proceeds. For now I will say that when we got in to Philadelphia on Tuesday evening we were all very exhausted and drove out to the beach house (in NJ) straight away, where there was a party of some friends and relatives that went quite late. Little J.J. slept through it all-- he tends to sleep very well. I, typically for a twit, attempted to live a perfectly normal life in Greenwich DST+5 till Wednesday morning when Jessy and I walked over the dune to the beach and I fell asleep on the blanket for about two or three hours. Passing people thought I was dead. Jessy covered me with a towel against the sun and explained to two men who passed by that I was not hung over, that it was only jet lag. But in a way what the men assumed was correct too, for I am still coming down from the reverie of having been to England again.

This morning Roger arrived and drove Jessy and me home to Terncote in order than we may keep some engagements, specifically a dinner with the girls' club tonight. As the car pulled up in the yard I kicked off my shoes. As we walked up the steps I unbuttoned the shirt. We carried our own bags in to the house, leaving Roger to take the car back on his own. Jessy went round opening windows in the back to the sea air. I dropped my bags in the front hall with the shirt. I peeled down my shorts and left them in the parlour. I opened the French windows and went out, prising off the bra and leaving it on the step. I shimmied out of the panties on the terrace and dove straight into the pool. Jessy came out and giggled at me. But I felt absolutely great and within ten minutes, after she had joined me, I was swimming my 'usual' 25 laps. Today I did 30. And I still feel great.

Now I sit here in my room, not having got dressed, revelling in all that has happened in this very long and still-incomplete blog. Well-- I have two weeks left in which to finish it before school begins!

And I still haven't picked up my clothes.


In England, week 2+

August 15-25, 2009 (posted by Janine, 20.50, Sun 30 Aug 2009-- Terncote)

Sat 15 Aug
- Touring British Museum. Little J.J. ecstatic with fossils, paleoglyphs, and-- for some reason-- stuffed birds. Dinner in Kensington High Street

Sun 16 Aug
- Attend Mass at St Martin's.
- Ride tourist boat down river to Greenwich, see Cutty Sark (J.J.'s treat). Lunch at same Italian restaurant at which Daddy and his bandmates ate on first tour of England in '80s. Visit to Observatory, Queen's House.
- Ride ferry across to Dockyards and ride light rail/tube to Covent Garden, see street show. Returned to hotel very late & very tired!

Mon 17 Aug
- Shopping with Jessy in Chelsea King's Road. Bought silk scarf, ugly but genuine jade-and-sterling bracelet, cute linen/wool charcoal miniskirt.
- Lunch in King's Road, met two cute guys, talked, etc.
- Out for pizza with family.

Tue 18 Aug
- Drizzle today. Drove up to Norwich with family.
- Shopping in town, ran into Henry (ex) in the arcade. This was a little odd, or just awkward.
- Jessy and I to Melanie's sister's 13th BD party near where we used to live.

Wed 19 Aug
- Horseback riding in preserve (adjacent to house we had there) with Jill and Pam.
- Sleepover at friends' house, 6 girls in one room half on top of each other which reminded us of HOH dorms!

Thu 20 Aug
- Late brunch at friends' house, which meant a late lunch at pub in town. Shopping-- mailed postcards and gifts home
- An (indoor) swim party at other friend's house, afternoon/evening. barbecue, etc. This was mainly in our honour.

Fri 21 Aug
- Long-scheduled garden party at Lady B's (her delayed birthday), a lovely catered affair in a lovely 17th-century garden. I wore my new short charcoal miniskirt and navy pumps with a bright chartreuse top and matching socks. A professor friend of Daddy's (older than he is) made conversation and we talked about uni. Someone said later I looked 25 but not 17. I did NOT consider this offensive!

Sat 22 Aug
- Daddy led the usual trip to the fens, went for long hike along sea wall, played on swings, had fish-and-chips in small pub.
- Dinner at Pizza Hut with Daddy's friend (his drummer from second band) and his family-- kind of a reunion.

Sun 23 Aug
- Drove back down to London, returned rental car (can't drive into the city!) and checked back in to Swallow.
- Met friends from HOH in KHS for late supper.

Mon 24 Aug
- Swimming in bikinis in hotel (indoor) pool, met (or were ogled by) some German guys with really bad English and worse body odor.
- Lunch with Jessy, Daddy and two of his music-business associates, discussed my future CD (if you can believe that) and got encouraged to take up dance again (because it helps when doing a music video... if you can believe that). Daddy just does not want me to go to university!
- Went down to club in Piccadilly with Jessy, Daddy to see live band. Met members, exchanged numbers & email, etc. Returned to hotel very late.

Tue 25 Aug
- Flying home with family, arrived home at beach house in NJ about 7.30 pm. Some friends and relatives welcomed us home with small party. I stayed up very late and as a result would be completely knackered on beach tomorrow!


14 August 2009

In England, week 1

August 7-14, 2009 (posted by Janine, 00.30 Sat 15 Aug-- London)
Itinerary for the first week:

Sat 8 Aug
- Depart Philadelphia, 6.20 PM

Sun 9 Aug
- Arrive Gatwick, 6.55 AM
- Train to Norfolk (stops twice in London)
- Met by Lady B at train depot, Aylsham.
- Lunch, drive to her house.

Mon 10 Aug
- Conference at UEA, outside Norwich, 10 AM. (I am already accepted here for 2010.)
- Lunch with Lady B, Norfolk city
- Drive past house we rented 2006-2008, photos
- Meet friends from HOH for supper, ice cream, watch '17 Again' and 'John Tucker Must Die' on DVD

Tue 11 Aug
- Conference at U York, 11 AM. (I am tentatively accepted at the meeting.)
- Lunch with Lady B, shopping in York
- Return to Aylsham, eve. (this is like a 3-hour drive.) Games and supper with Lady B & her dad

Wed 12 Aug
- Hanging out with HOH friends, shopping, swimming at pool. 'Near-death experience' when Cara lets wheels slide off tarmac and car almost goes into boggy grass. All are safe. Car muddy. Girls giggly (defence mechanism against being scared witless).

Thu 13 Aug (Rain, slight.)
- Meeting at U Cambridge, AM (Jessy expresses an interest and this ends up being two separate meetings.)
- Meet Daddy, Mother, Lisa & J.J. for lunch (they arrive this morning)
- Return to Lady B's for evening, supper. Watch 'Emma' on DVD-- Lisa glued to it.

Fri 14 Aug
- Visiting Houghton Hall, Houghton beach with Lady B, photos, etc
- Drive down to London, PM, check into Swallow, Earl's Court. Jessy and I have long walk in town, take photos, get propositioned by cute but somewhat rude guys. Making plans for tomorrow.

To pack, or not to pack

To England....
Friday 7 August 2009

Jessy and I have made this trip enough times now that we know the routine. Even post-9/11 there are still things you can get away with and things you can't. For example they have basically given over that ridiculous rule where you can't have a bottle of shampoo in your carry-on bag, you know. It had been getting just a little too much. I mean honestly-- do I look like a Middle Eastern terrorist?

Being minors flying without adults is another issue-- actually this tends to be more off-putting than our appearance, when it comes to the airport security people perceiving us as a problem. They are so busy checking our travel documents-- passports, school ID, letter and signature from parents, letter and signature from person responsible for us when we get there, and so on-- that they really don't regard our luggage as much of a threat. Nevertheless we would be prudent.

We each have a nice canvas attaché bag from Land's End, into which we put a padded sleeve housing the laptop. In this bag also goes anything we need for the flight-- books or magazines, iPod, mobile phone, and the all-important supplies in case of lost luggage-- shampoo and soap, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, hairbrush, a change of underwear and t-shirt, and something warm in case we're stuck outside in the rain, you know. Since the first time we flew with Mother, when she was our nanny, we have learnt to carry also a change of clothes for the ride, if only an extra pair of clean panties and a t-shirt. There is NOTHING like being able to duck into the airplane lavatory, and wash your face, brush your teeth and change your underwear before landing! --if you have never done this, do it at all costs next time. You won't be sorry. (Just make sure the panties you bring along are pretty conservative. They will open this bag in front of you, all their coworkers, and every other stranger in the queue. Horrors happen.)

As far as clothes we generally pack:
- Jeans, khaki pants
- One good sweatshirt nice enough to wear anywhere
- One good jacket, usually navy-blue or dark-grey (I actually am bringing my HOH blazer!)
- T-shirts, especially nice ones
- All the underwear (both parts) I can fit in my case, not to be less than 1-1/2 full sets per day, so, counting on doing washing at Lady B's before Thursday that means about 15 pairs of panties and at least 8 bras
- Socks
- COMFORTABLE dress shoes-- honestly, I have these $11.99 Easy-Walker knockoffs from Payless that are soft, navy, 2-1/4" and comfy. I will likely wear them to all my meetings and wear Adidas otherwise
- Sunglasses & hats
- Other stuff, you know, but this is the must-have list.

The rest of our stuff goes in the bigger bags which will be checked for the baggage compartment.

Things we DO NOT pack include:
- Bigger than travel-size of hair-care bottles and deodorant
- CDs. This is what the iPod is for.
- Anything too warm (no need), anything too dressy (only gets wrinkled to sin in bags), more than one swimsuit (really?), too-short shorts, irreplaceable jewellry.
- Food. They confiscate it.
- Fluffy animals. When we relocated back to the US from England, almost exactly one year ago, I had all mine sent in the FedEx shipment. Only Cinnamon travels with me-- he'll be in my checked case, though, poor soul-- there is no room for him in the computer bag.
- Pads. This is the very stupidest thing to pack-- they take up so much room! (It's like packing air!) Carry only what you would carry in your purse for a day or two and buy them when you get to where you are going. I've known girls who buy a full box (or two!) before they depart and pack it in their luggage. Do they really think there are no sanitary napkins in England? (Of course tampons are less of a space problem... but to a lesser degree the same truth holds for them too.)


06 August 2009

An end, a beginning, and an event in between

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Jessy and I have been here on our own these last two days, 'chilling' (as she says. I never say that). I have resumed swimming 25 laps a day-- in fact I swam it twice yesterday. A lot of good it will do-- after Saturday I won't get a chance to swim, sunbathe or go to the beach till we get back from England. But I am really pretty well-tanned (and I mean all over) by now anyway.

Wait-- it gets worse.

Since we've got home (meaning here at Terncote, that's Virginia) people have been ringing us to get together. We haven't wanted to-- Josie was supposed to come over today (and didn't-- wait) and we have made some plans to go tomorrow night (Thursday) to see HP6 again, down at Lynnhaven, with a group of the girls. Otherwise we are content to do nothing, mostly outside, for as little time as we have left to do nothing.

It was hot yesterday-- there was a threat of rain which didn't happen. I was in my room for a while, escaping the worst of the heat, typing in my novel, and also compiling the stuff I will take on our trip. Jessy updated her FaceBook, which is what she does most of the time. I urged her to get her summer reading done. She's reading 'Their Eyes Were Watching God', which I have read (had to read it last year as before I started at school here in fact), and I have offered to help her do the paper, but she has not seemed interested in it. This is how she is-- she procrastinates till the pressure's on and then does a stellar job in half the time you'd expect anyone to do a so-so job. Well-- I am like that to.

This afternoon I was lying out on my chaise in the side yard. I didn't have anything with me, no book, no sun lotion (put it on in the house) no towel... and no clothes. Neither of us has been dressed since we went to bed on Monday night. Earlier my phone rang and it was Stephen, who left a voicemail message (he never texts) that he wanted to see me, 'to talk'. I knew what that meant. He is going off to UMES in about two weeks-- he will be gone before I get back from England and that will be it for us for the school term. I had expected to drive up and visit him a few times... but there really isn't going to be any kind of 'relationship' in any even slightly exclusive sense. We are friends, and I truly hope we always will be, but we are not really girlfriend-and-boyfriend and I think we're both aware of that. I was only touched that he wanted to see me in person to discuss it, which is only out of respect, which is how it should be. I sent a text-message to him that I would like to see him later, this evening maybe, but I wondered if he would get it. Then I turned off my phone and went outside.

I think Jessy was up stairs at the time. I really don't think anything would have happened the way it did if she had been out in the pool... which is where I thought she was. Neither of us recalled a car pulling up. Normally the gate in the front wall is closed and you need a passcode to get in. The wood beyond where I lie out in the chaise has a chain-link fence the other side of it, with barbed-wire (it was there when we got this property) and there is a perimeter security system here that James Bond couldn't get through. On the other side is the softball field, which is semi-developed as a kind of park or preserve-- that is, mostly tall grass, some shrubs, whatever trees were there, you know. There is also a tall fence round the softball field-- it's not open to the public though the security system is really only on the building there. The house system goes through the fence between the softball field and us.

On the Bay side is our dock, a rocky and swampy beach, ooky beach grass and a lower version of our wall with another gate. That gate, like the one in front, is on the same axis as the front and back doors, so that if you opened them all you could see straight through the house from the road to the water. This is the Baroque style and something Daddy intended, you know. It's really pretty elegant.

I was lying on my back with one hand over my eyes, half-asleep in the early-afternoon sun. I was so divinely comfortable that I might have stayed there all day. I can get like this, when I don't even know that I don't have any clothes on. And so when I heard the voice I wasn't immediately concerned.


I turned my head a little and finally had to move my hand up to see. It was Stephen.... walking slowly down from the garden steps. I got an elbow under myself-- and then realised. Oops! Well! --this was an all-new experience for both of us!

I was embarrassed-- I certainly blushed! --but I was not afraid. Why should I have been afraid of Stephen? This is a guy I have dated, on and off, as it's been, because I already respected him as a gentleman, because I knew he respected me, because the whole relationship between us has always been based on trust and admiration and genuine friendship. Though I have had many pleasant moments in his arms (and many pleasant kisses) he has always been mainly a friend, and I really do trust him.

'Sorry,' he said, just about stopping about twelve yards away. 'Are you all right?'

I leaned back on my elbows-- oh, yes, I did cross my legs! --and made a red-faced smile at him. 'Um, yes,' I said.

'I'm sorry... the side gate was open. I was over there-- I'm sorry.'

He was trying very hard not to look at me, but the thing is, no guy could have ignored what he was seeing. To me it just depends on WHY the guy wouldn't ignore it. Stephen does have older and younger sisters, and he's seen as much of them as he was seeing of me, even if only by accident. It was just that he'd never seen ME like this, and I'd never let any guy see me like this (or even close).

'It's all right,' I finally said. 'You, um-- wanted to talk?'

He looked right at me-- at my eyes-- and smiled. 'Well, yes, but-- it can wait.'

I shrugged, gaining my courage back. 'I'm too comfortable to get up... if you don't mind.'

He smiled more. Now he came closer. 'Well... maybe we shouldn't talk about it now.'

'Why not?' Yes-- I really asked that.

'Well, just because.... Well, I wanted to talk about the next couple of weeks, that's all.'

I nodded. 'Okay....'

So he went on, telling me basically what I already know, about his going away to college and me going to England and we really weren't going to have much time between now and after then, so it was probably best that we don't expect too much of each other. 'Although, Janine, I have to say, you kind of make it hard to think about it, well, now.'

I laughed. 'Stephen,' I said, 'it's just me. We're friends. That doesn't change, does it?'

He was sitting in the grass now, about six feet from the chaise, beside me, not quite facing me, so that he had to half turn round to look at me. This is how he shows respect. If he'd wanted to ogle me he wouldn't have had to say a word. He wouldn't have had to pretend he was here for anything else. But Stephen is a gentleman. And that doesn't change. 'No,' he said. 'It doesn't. I just feel like I'm letting you down-- as a friend, even.'

'You're not,' I said. 'You're moving on. You're going to a really terrific new part of your life. In some ways so am I. Believe me... I would respect it a lot less if you tried to make something happen that wasn't going to be able to, and then just attempted to string me along for the odd date every month or so. I mean--' I smiled right at him then-- 'if we want to see each other, or go out to something, we can still have that, right?'

He looked right at me (at my eyes). 'Yes,' he said. 'I would like to think we can.'

'Then we can.'

Now he stared. I didn't mind by now. 'Janine,' he said, 'you do make it hard to think about it all now.'

'I'm sorry,' I said. 'It's just that I'm going to England and staying in someone else's house, and so I won't have a chance to get any sun for the next two weeks. You've got to know how it is there.'

He laughed. 'I guess so.'

We looked each other in the eye. 'I was expecting maybe Josie,' I admitted. 'She's been coming over here recently.'

'And she does as you do? Like this?'

'Oh, sure. Well, you know that Jessy invited her.'

He smiled. He does know about Jessy from what I've told him. 'I might have guessed.'

I thought of something and then said, 'Do you want lunch? We might have something here.'

He nodded. 'Sure... if that's okay.'

I shrugged, looking down at him. 'It's only lunch.'

'Okay.' Then he got up. 'Um... I'll go round to the door. I can wait for you there. If you'd like to....'

I smiled right at him. 'That would be very good of you.'

He smiled back. 'All right.' And he turned and walked away from me, not looking back, till he had gone round the front corner of the house.

I didn't wait a second and ran full-tilt for the garden, ducked in the back door and galloped up the stairs. 'JESSY!' I yelled.

'Whaaaaaat?' she called in a babyish voice. She was sitting cross-legged on her bed with the computer (on FaceBook), naked of course.

I stopped and leaned in her doorway, catching my breath. 'You didn't know my erstwhile boyfriend was in the yard?'

She looked up. 'Stephen? He's here?'

I made a wry face at her. 'Walked right up to me whilst I was lying in the chaise.'

Her mouth dropped open. 'You're kidding!'

I shrugged smugly. 'Not much I could have done, right?'

She giggled. 'Oh my God! Well--' she giggled more-- 'at least it's Stephen!'

And that is the great thing to be grateful for then.

In some shorts and a t-shirt I went down front to let him in. Jessy came down, dressed too, and we fixed sandwiches in the kitchen and sat round the table talking, about England, the ice-cream place, the animal shelter, people we know. Stephen never brought up the awkward situation again-- and he will never hold it against me. Someday when he's away at college he will tell someone that on the day he was amicably breaking up with his high-school girlfriend he happened to see her sunning naked in the yard. A perverted guy will say, 'Did you tap that?' --or whatever guys say, you know. And Stephen will say, 'No. That's not how I am. And it's not how she is either.'

Right, Stephen. It's not. You are a gentleman and I am a lady. And that doesn't change.



Monday evening 3 August 2009

Jessy and I left after tea, drove down to the Ferry, had an expensive supper in the terminal and ended up on the boat as the sun was going down on the Bay. This is a rare sight and a lovely treat. We sat outside in the wind, still in our swimsuits with t-shirts on over them, inhaling of the rare southeast breeze that carried salt spray and took our hair apart. Then it was a long and somewhat exhausting drive down through eastern Maryland and into the Virginia peninsula. I have grown to dislike this part of the journey-- the Maryland state troopers are everywhere, I hate their brown cars, they have this stupid law than in a construction zone you have to switch on your headlamps, and the scenery, though green and pristine and beautifully rural, becomes monotonous. I chose the shore road and went off 13 directly after 175. Jessy was asleep and didn't notice a thing.

Now we are both home and back in our own rooms. The castle is dark and still and even cool-- Roger was over some time in the week and reset the air-conditioning and light and sprinkler timers and I feel like I don't even belong here. At once I flung up my windows to that sea breeze, took off all my clothes, and draped myself over the bed for a nap. But I could not sleep, and now I am typing.

Becky rang-- she's coming over tomorrow. Jessy thinks we should just greet her like we are and see what she says about it. She's heard, but never experienced it, you know. Maybe she will want to. I really don't mind. I have had half a mind (and not much else) to go for a dip in the pool tonight-- it's been so long since I've done laps. But there will be bugs out. The county sprays round here but I can see the bugs on my screens so I don't know when they were round last.

When we are alone in this house we never feel like eating. The last week we were here alone I lost two pounds. It's no use blaming Mother-- it's not that what she makes is so filling. She makes the best food she knows how to and I never eat more than I should, really. I just don't happen to eat when I don't have to. Besides there is nothing fresh to eat in this whole house. There's not even any milk.

My parents will be home on Thursday, and then on Friday evening we're having a little premature party for Jessy's 16th. Rita and Josie and everyone from our circle here will come. Jessy's birthday is really not till St Mary's Day, the 15th, but we'll be in England then. On Thursday the 13th our parents and our little ones will join us over there and we'll have another party with our friends from HOH. This is how it is in this house... we have multiple parties for everything.

Since Jessy did Lisa's hair for her party, Lisa asked if she can do Jessy's. And Jessy assented... so this will be interesting, probably even funny. Actually, in spite of being lush and gorgeous and capable of causing jealous girls to commit crimes in order to wish they had hair like hers, Jessy's hair is actually pretty easy to manage. It is naturally curly, so curly that you need to brush it wet, and as soon as you do it starts springing back. For the beach she just yanks it all back in a ponytail that looks like a plume of blondness. For a party she does the same, only with wetting it first, to buy more time before it springs back, and a bit of hairspray and/or some clips. Someone suggested she cut it once and there came that characteristic Jessy glare, when she looks at the poor cretin like he'd said the oddest thing anyone could ever have said. You might as well have said 'The Martians are eating your rice' as 'You should cut your hair short some time.'

Speaking of a plume of hair I just remembered why I wanted to type this. (I am in serious need of decompression. Please don't expect more blogs till we get to England!) I did delete the guy we met on the beach, who had recognised me from AOL. How had he known? There were literally thousands of blonde chicks in bikinis on the beach this morning! How he could have put two and two-- and two and two-- together is beyond me. I suppose it just goes to show how close I get myself to too much risk. It's a fascination I have-- I tend to wade into risky (risqué) situations just to see how well I can handle myself so close to the devil's lair. I have never really fallen-- oh, there have been time when I ought to have kept my mouth shut and times I really felt out of my depth-- but I am a good girl and there's no cause for worry. It's just that sometimes my own too-trusting nature gets me in a little further than is best for me.

One of the things I like to do when we're alone in the house is dress up, for no real reason, only because I can. Right now my hair is all put up on my head like it might be for prom or if I were going to a wedding. And I was standing in front of the full-height mirror wearing nothing but my cross charm and my good white church shoes, which are like 2-1/2" heels. And I called out to Jessy and asked her what she thought. She giggled and said I looked like I was modelling, and she brought in her camera and took some randy-looking photos of me. We loaded them onto my computer (and hers, to avoid using email) and I have been seriously wondering if I would ever have the guts to send them out. Well, they really are good pictures. And you know me-- I wouldn't pose too inappropriately. It's just that I'm not ashamed of myself, and I just wish we lived in a world where other people could appreciate a certain amount of beauty in being natural and innocent and cute. Maybe that's only a fantasy that I have.

I am glad I have Jessy to keep me grounded. And I am glad we have put four and a half hours between the AOL stalker creep and where we are safe and sound.


03 August 2009

Janine's final faux pas

Monday 3 August 2009

This morning Jessy and I were on the beach, just having a nice long walk as a kind of farewell to the whole place, you know. I had on my blue-and-white-and-grey-print swimsuit, which is kind of new, and Jessy had the deep purple/maroon-coloured one, a beautifully rich colour that really looks good on her figure and suntan. We walked up about three jetties and turned round to come back. The place was utterly crowded, people everywhere, skimboarding, boogie-boarding, rafting, swimming, diving, running, jumping, and always the squealing, giggling, laughing, shrieking that makes a public beach at a popular resort town what it really is. You don't go here to be alone, and you don't go here to be anonymous.

We were almost back to the house and had begun thinking about turning up into the softer sand when we noticed a man standing directly ahead of us, turned towards the water but with his head turned to stare straight at us. I guess it is not unusual to expect that some middle-aged guy would stare at two chicks in bikinis at the beach. I mean really-- it happens all the time, you know, and I know I don't have to be an absolute goddess to get this kind of attention. It just happens. It's what Daddy calls 'sexual discrimination'-- that a member of one sex can discriminate between the sexes and recognise a member of the other sex. It'd be a pretty barren world if he didn't!

So this guy was staring straight at us like he recognised us, and not just as a pair of female bodies, you know. I was on Jessy's right, closer to the house, and right before I started to step up into the soft sand the guy put out his hand, waving to us. I hesitated-- I wouldn't be rude, you know. Was this some friend of Daddy's who knew us?

'Hello!' he called, when we were about five yards away. At that point there was no escaping this. We slowed down and had almost stopped and the guy turned to us and said, 'It's really you, then, isn't it?'

'What?' we both said together.

He smiled at us, me especially. 'Janine, right?'

I went red. How would he know--?

'And you must be Jessy. I see what you meant, Janine. She is beautiful. But you're no less-- in spite of whatever you say. You don't disappoint, that's for sure.'

And he was checking me out then-- head to toe and back again. I frowned. 'I'm sorry--'

Then he made this frighteningly smug smile. 'Janine, it's R---.' And he gave his name. He's one of the guys I have been chatting with on AOL.

I suppose this was inevitable. I mean, I put enough information out there that anyone could find me if he just thought about it hard enough. It's because I'm not really hiding. But neither do I expect to be stalked, you know.

'I was by the ice-cream parlour. The other day... they said you weren't scheduled.'

I nodded. 'I'm not.'

'I was hoping to see you in your Colonial costume.'

'Oh,' I said. 'Well, I'm.... We're going home. Today.'

'Ohhh. And I thought we could spend some time, get to know each other at last.'

I swallowed. No, I thought. There are guys I chat with online whom I like a lot-- this was not one of them. In fact this guy is someone I tend to avoid... now I presume I shall have to block him.

'I was standing here, trying to pick out which is your house,' he said, and he turned round and looked up at the houses along the dune line, four to a block. 'I have it narrowed down to... that one, that one, and that one down there. They're three storeys.'

Two of the ones he picked were ours and the one we own next to it, to rent out. I felt terrible. Have I really got so sloppy after all? The one blessing from God was that we were leaving this afternoon. 'Well, R---, I really need to be going-- we have a long ride coming up--'

'So you're going back to Virginia? Is it far? I think you said four hours.'

Great. Will he follow us? Jessy turned and took my hand then. 'Janine,' she said softly, 'let's go.'

I nodded, allowing her to step between R--- and me, tugging me up the beach. 'I'm sorry,' I said. 'We're really pressed for time--'

'But you can have a walk on the beach, then?' he said, and then turned and took a few steps after us.

I realised though that he was watching some small children and couldn't easily just leave. That was lucky. 'I'm sorry, R---. Some other time maybe.'

He would still talk at me as I walked away. 'Really, after all this time.... I just kind of thought that--'

But we were gone then. Jessy still held my hand-- in fact now she squeezed it. 'Is he still behind us?' I worried.

'I don't know,' she said, closing her teeth together. 'And I don't care.'

I nodded. 'I'm sorry.' I glanced over my shoulder. The guy was still standing there, staring up the beach at us. Jessy was heading straight for our house. That's all I would need. 'He's still there,' I said.

She clenched my hand more tightly. 'Explanation?'

That was not a request-- it was a demand. 'I'm sorry,' I said. 'It's the blog. I just say things, you know. No one's ever got that close--'

'That guy has probably been here all summer waiting to recognise you,' she said. 'He'll know the house now, see your car, everything.'

'We'll we're going to Virginia in about three hours!'

'You'd better not give out that address too.'

'I don't!'

'And pictures?'

I squeezed her hand then. 'Jessy! I have never sent out my picture! You have more people stalking you on FaceBook than I have on AOL!.'

She shrugged. 'Well, that's FaceBook. It's private.'

'Not so private when you let friends of friends of friends be friends.'

She made a wry face. When we were over the dune we ran for the kitchen door, had quick showers in the garage, and ran up stairs to the third floor, where we crouched in the low attic that is Lisa's and J.J.'s room and peered out the little window. Sure enough, we made him out-- he was there, only not looking up at the house. 'We're not going to be able to show our faces round here ever again,' I said.

'We're going to England. And you're going to block him, and then delete all the posts that identify this place.'

'Yes, Jessy.'

I wonder if that means this one now!


One thing and then another

or, How my family does a beach house party

Sunday 2 August 2009

We attended Holy Innocents' this morning, but they do not know us so well here (in spite of Daddy having given them so much money over the years-- mostly anonymously), so they did not know to announce Lisa's 6th birthday. We did inform the rector in the receiving line and she was very pleased and proud to be congratulated one this milestone. She has lived 17 percent of her whole life since this time last year, when we were just arrived from England. When we moved in to the house in Virginia Lisa had only fuzzy memories of having lived in the US at all. She still bears that cute accent, though it is not so much from having gone to nursery school and Sunday school with other children in England as it is because her mother is Anglo-Australian, one of the scant minority native to Australia but of English and Protestant ancestry. Mother has only a hint of an Australian accent-- she sounds more like she is from East Anglia, where we stayed for two years, and little Lisa talks a lot like her mummy does.

People began arriving at about 3.00 or 4.00. I had a shower and dressed at about 3.30-- the day was nasty with clouds and thundershowers till about then and I had been inside, on the computer and not exactly dressed (okay, stark-naked), the closest I ever am to actually being bored. Then the house filled up. We eventually were able to move most of the party out to the deck. There was Daddy's uncle and aunt, having come up from their place down the Island. There was Gran, of course, and Daddy's brother and his family. There was Mother's dear best friend, having come up on the Ferry from Delaware, with her fiance, just for the occasion. Three of the girls from the ice-cream shop who were free came by. And Jessy's friends, Claire, Scotia and Edie, made sure to wander in round 5.00. Also Edie's mother showed up-- not so much out of some parental protection, to watch over her daughter at this party full of beer and wine and loud jokes and live music, of course, but because she carries something of a crush on Daddy, of whom she has been a fan these twenty-odd years or more now. Needless to say Daddy was in his element, telling funny stories, mugging with his family for the camera, serving up more food and drink to everyone than they wanted and making sure no one felt left-out. So I think Edie's mother had a really good time.

Mother (our stepmother) may be the most natural party-hoster next to Daddy. I remember my own mother was very good at it, preparing everything to the very highest standard and then presiding over the festivities-- that is to say, being a charming and gracious hostess who never let anyone down-- always with a smile and a hug and kiss for everyone. She was just like that naturally, and from having known her and learnt from her, our stepmother follows that example. Only Mother, being young in age and even younger at heart, is far more casual. For example, she rang the deli for a tray of food, and the bakery did the cake for the party. (She made a lovely homemade cake-- from scratch-- last night for our immediate-family celebration. She wouldn't dare not make one herself.) She wore a very pretty royal-blue bikini with a blue-and-white wrap-skirt draped round her hips, with her hair up and high-heeled shoes (okay, Easy-Walkers). This is remarkable because she is young and looks it, in spite of having borne two children, and of course she is very beautiful, and especially because she is... shall I say... well-endowed. She has the perfect figure for a bikini and always has had-- I do not mean she is anything other than pleasantly proportioned. And she wears the shoes really because of being so short. But I really think no one could overlook her at any party no matter what people are wearing. She just seems to exude sweetness and hospitality.

Of course Lisa takes after her as much as she takes after Jessy and me too. She wanted to wear a swimsuit and heels too, though of course she does not own any shoes with heels and discovered with near-tearful lament that both her swimsuits here were damp in the basket for the washing. Jessy soothed her-- I might have guessed-- and next she appeared, for her own birthday, in front of family and friends, everyone but J.J. being quite older than she is, in-- you guessed it-- the bandanna bikini. She absolutely loves it, you know. Jessy did fit her with another bandanna tied round her ribs as a top, and then did her hair up on her head like she was going to a prom, and everyone raved over how 'native' she looked even whilst she looked like a princess.

The bandanna bikini top didn't last all night, but she is six and no one really cared. I have to admit I thought she was even cuter with it off... bikini tops on little girls just seem so pretentious to me somehow!

I have to confess that by the time I was done playing piano and singing and crooning along with whoever else played, I had had about three full glasses of wine and was in no condition to be very gracious or hospitable to anyone. Fortunately Edie's mother did not notice. Scotia did, teased me about it, and then slyly asked me where the wine was. I made a face at her and pranced (okay, staggered) away from her. Fortunately Jessy is no drinker and would not enable her friends to either. But I was disappointed in Scotia-- she's younger than Jessy, having only turned 15 this June, and very cute... but what makes someone like that ask for a glass of wine at someone else's party? And what do we know of her history with it? I've had wine at the table since I was much younger than she is now, and so what if I have three glasses at one party? I don't have to defend my sense or propriety to someone who just wants to drink so she can say later that she was drinking.

Oh, sorry-- this is not the kind of thing I should write about before a good night's sleep, you know.

Anyway this party served as kind of a sendoff for Jessy and me, since we leave tomorrow for Virginia and will not be back here in New Jersey till nearly Labor Day. I have enjoyed it all, even though I have missed my friends at home, and missed Stephen (more on that later) and missed out on a few somewhat important events that were at the end of a four-hour drive because of having to work here that evening or the morning after, you know. I love this house and love this whole town, and the beach here is like no other in the world. But England calls, and I will heed that call. This time next week I will be five time zones away. And there will be friends there too.

There is a bit of wine left in this glass. I drink to the summer, well-spent.


01 August 2009

Time for a cold shower

Saturday 1 August 2009

I got home from working this morning and-- naturally, and as you might guess-- got undressed straight away. Well-- this is only sensible since I may wear the same clothes when I go in tonight. All our costumes are all natural fibres, which 'breathe' well but also can get somewhat... ripe. I usually change over my shift and stockings from morning to evening... but it's totally 'in period' to wear a gown and bedjacket that might not be so 'fresh', you know... and of course we don't wear makeup and do little with our hair-- no curling, no straightening, no highlights or dye, you know.

When I sat down at the computer the yard-care people were out. They come on Saturdays and are supposed to start at 11 and be done by noon. Of course they work very fast, with their loud whining machines, edging, whacking weeds, clipping bushes and so on. We don't have much here, being on the dune line, but Daddy was very careful to plant scrubby pines and cedar bushes which help hold the sand down. Very few people seem to care about this, making dune erosion such a big deal. (My dad tried to lobby for a reduction in his property taxes based on having so much planted here, saying that 'his' share of the beach maintenance costs, for both these houses-- ours and the rental-- were probably less than some others'. Needless to say they turned this down.)

Someone asked me once if the yard-care guys are good-looking. I don't usually go in for ogling the help. It's low-class. The sad thing is that so many Americans don't understand this concept. Everyone is so 'equal' in the United States that we don't seem to think it's odd for a girl whose father pays labourers to be attracted to one of those sweaty labourers. Maybe having been raised so very English and having gone to school there has altered my way of thinking, and maybe I am just the odd one out then.

All right, there is one cute one... he's about my age, very well-tanned, very well-shaped, with good teeth. I have seen him smile at me before. I said 'Good morning' to him once and then if he happens to see me, like coming back from work in my Colonial costume, he always says hello. I do not know his name though. Part of me wants to make sure I never do.

This morning I happened to look out this window as the noisemaking machines came round this side of the house and he was there. I got very embarrassed and sat back down, away from the window. Of course he would not see me, even if he knew I was up here looking down-- the screen makes the window opaque and it's on the third floor anyway, 18 feet above his head and the yard is only 18 feet wide down there, so he wouldn't have the angle (sorry about relying on trigonometry here) and he wouldn't have been able to see much below my shoulders anyway... but still it is very weird being totally naked in your own room and looking down on the bare back of an ordinarily good-looking young guy, who is known for smiling at you, who is just a decent middle-class guy in excellent health who chooses, to support his university tuition, to labour as a yard-care worker in the summer.

I wonder if I should have a shower now before I go to the beach with Jessy. It would have to be a cool one.


When I am doing nothing

Friday 31 July 2009

I got a call at about 9.00 to go in to the shop to cover for one of our servers, so I rushed through getting dressed and got out of the place, in my good yellow-and-cream gown, at like 9.30. One good thing about working in a Colonial-themed place is that you don't have to wear makeup! --in fact you shouldn't! Only actresses and harlots (which in the 18th C were pretty much the same thing) wore face paint., you know.

Whilst I was working Jessy went out 'to lunch' with some of her friends here. Mother came with JJ and Lisa and picked me up in the car. When I got back Jessy had left me a text message inviting me to come along... but when I called her she didn't pick up and I realised they were probably seeing HP6 again down at the Beach. So I came up here, got out of my outfit, and went online.

This constituted most of my afternoon then. The sun has been going in and out of clouds all morning and I hadn't decided if I wanted to get dressed just to lie out and get nothing for it. Besides, I'm tan enough! Lisa came up, as naked as I am, and asked if I was going to the beach. But then Mother called her back down. 'No one's going anywhere till after lunch!'

Lisa rolled her eyes and went back down. I descended most of the way and called down, 'Mother! I'm not hungry, so do I have to eat?'

Then her sweet voice came back, from round the corner in the dining room, 'Not if you don't want to, sweetheart. But no unfair snacks later then!'

'Yes, Mother,' I called, and came back up here.

People were chatting and I was too busy with that to do much writing for myself. Lisa came back and promised to go to the beach with me whenever I wanted to. She was, of course, still naked in the house but suggested we could wear our bandanna bikinis (see blog from yesterday). 'When will you want to?' she asked, standing a foot from my elbow as I typed and rocking side-to-side on her heels as she does.

I reached over and pinched her. 'We'll wait till you've settled your stomach first, okay?'

'Okay!' she said, and went back down.

I went down for a banana later (oh, do not ASK what people online thought of that!) and found Mother sitting out on the deck, in her chaise, reading. She was in her good blue-and-black print bikini and looked absolutely gorgeous... as usual. I should remind you all that 'Mother', my stepmother, is 27. She was our nanny till after Mommy died. Lisa and JJ are hers and Jessy and I are Mommy's. Lisa will be 6 in a week. She is as precocious as any child of Mother's could be expected to be, adorable, fiercely brave, sweet-natured, and absolutely enraptured with Jessy who is almost exactly 10 years older. This afternoon little JJ, who is 3-1/2, was arranging trucks and blocks all over the deck. He's never naked-- he says it is for girls and is probably getting protective over his maleness anyway-- and was in a cute little bikini swimsuit like Daddy wears in the pool. And Lisa was naked, both of them slathered heavily in SPF 60 and playing on our nice big white-painted cedar deck that extends from the front door and the parlour to the dunes. I thought it was charming and cute that the two of them had both Barbies and trucks all over the deck, playing somewhat separately and yet sometimes together in the sun. Daddy strung a 'safety net' under the lower railing mainly to keep dolls and trucks from going overboard. It's green and tends to become opaque in bright sunlight, so Lisa crawling round the deck with JJ was pretty much safe from prying eyes on the street, which gives access to the beach, or from the walkway leading over the dunes that's between our house and the one we rent out next door.

Of course I only peered out the front door (which faces the dune, not the street) from behind the screen door. Mother turned her head and waved back at me. 'I'm not coming out,' I said.

'I should hope not,' she smiled.

'Just wanted to see what you're all doing.'

'They're kind of in the middle of this,' Mother said.

Lisa stood up and padded over to me then. 'Are you coming out to play?'

I smiled. 'Not like I am sweetie!'

She shrugged and then smiled shyly at me. 'Okay,' she said-- recognising that older girls have issues with playing outside naked on a deck visible to the public that younger girls do not. I really believe she would have expected Jessy to join her.

'We'll go for a walk later, okay?'

She nodded and ran right back to the Barbies. I went back up stairs.

Finally round 2.30 I had not heard from Jessy and decided to go out. I put on the pale-blue bandanna bikini, which I had not worn outside yet, and a plain white tanktop and descended to the deck again. 'Are we going out?" Lisa asked, rushing up.

I caught her; her skin was drying and she'd need more SPF 60. 'You need to go up and get your suit,' I said. 'And a top too.'

She ran off for the stairs. 'Can I come too?' JJ asked, rushing up too.

I looked at Mother. 'Do you mind if I take them both? If you want to read....'

'I'll be fine, sweetheart. Go and have fun.'

Lisa brought down the bandanna-bikini, one of the ones Jessy and I made for ourselves that didn't work and got altered for someone smaller, and I sat her on a dining-room chair and tied it up at her hips for her. JJ went to the potty and emerged, and I got them both well coated in sunblock-- as well as myself-- and we descended to the yard and went under the deck to the walkway over the dune. On the beach, which had got hot, we ran down to the water's edge and then wandered off down to the next jetty, about three and a half blocks. We met some people we know, said hello to some new people, got slightly wet-- well, JJ got soaked when he slid in the sand and was overwhelmed by an anklesnapper-- and got some exercise. When I am with our little ones I don't feel a need to be Miss Popular Young Woman In A Swimsuit On The Beach, you know. I feel like a nanny myself sometimes. And I like it. It is really true what Daddy says, that being around children on the beach and in the ocean makes you feel younger. I suppose that is why he has made a lifetime's career about of being youthful and fun and interesting and entertaining!

When we got back Jessy and her friends had come. At once Jessy pointed out to them that I was wearing one of our bandanna-bikini creations. 'That's a bandanna?' her friend Scotia said in amazement.

I giggled, and turned round then. 'Actually it's two,' I said.

'Oh my God!' they all seemed to say at once. 'And you wore that out?'

I shrugged, smiling somewhat proudly now. 'Of course.'

'It was kind of Janine's idea,' Jessy said. 'I have two of them too.'

'And you made that?'

'But it's only cotton!'

'And you wore it to go out?'

They remained amazed. So I have gone from feeling lonely and left-out (and very nearly bored!) to being a role model for girls again. This is the kind of day I like!