Complicit in a Lie Revisited Chapter 10

Complicit In a Lie
Revisited Chapter 10

By Jamie Lee

Author's Note: When I first wrote Complicit In a Lie, I had no thoughts, or ideas, to write a sequel. But thanks to a few readers, who asked about a sequel, ideas formed that made writing this sequel possible. It is necessary to have read Complicit In a Lie to understand why Charles is now with Jane, who the boy arriving in Kingston is and how he's involved in Charles' Court case. And to understand where Mr. Corporate, George Strom, fits into this story. This story starts off after Charles says, "When do we start," in Complicit in a Lie. So if you haven't read Complicit In a Lie, the beginning of this story won't make any sense. Hint hint!

Chapter 10

Before going back to her house, Jane gave the horses fresh feed and water, so it couldn't be said Jane hadn't helped. She turned off the lights then slowly walked back to her house, thinking as she walked. Francis had math lessons to complete, a weak subject for her, but not for Charlotte. So after breakfast was finished Charlotte would go with Francis and tutor her in her math assignment. An evil smile appeared on her face, as she thought of the one place a boy would never think of going. Time to see how her Charlotte reacted to those places. They'd go shopping in the afternoon, and maybe Brenda needs a model to show a client or two how their choice of fashion would look on a girl of their age?

She made a phone call after going into her house, letting Brenda know she'd be bringing a new girl into her Boutique in the afternoon. She made another phone call, this time to Carolyn, asking if she'd be busy tomorrow and if she could get Charlotte and Francis in for the works. Brenda was thrilled to have a new model for a few hours and Carolyn would be busy but could fit Charlotte and Francis in. Carolyn laughed, then told Jane, "In fact, Jane, if you bring the girls around in the afternoon, I believe Charlotte would welcome the chance to be my model for the young girls' makeup class." Jane realized she'd have to be 'that' Jane to Charlotte, if the girl balked, but she needed to know how well Charlotte could handle being in front of other women and girls her age while modeling various outfits, and when the salon she was going to visit was extremely busy with other women and young girls, and she was put on display. She crossed her mental fingers.

After cleaning up herself, she went in search of Francis and Charlotte, finding both of them in the kitchen helping Marie. "Girls, let me look at you. Stand over there," and Jane, in Jane mode, pointed to an open space on the floor in the kitchen. She walked around the two girls, taking in how they were both dressed. Making sure their stockings weren't laddered, or their slips showing. She appraised their sense of style, making sure the shoes they wore complemented the dresses they had on. She moved to their hair, noticing both did need Carolyn's help. But they'd both done well styling their hair. She then moved on to their faces, looking first at Francis then Charlotte. There too she noticed a different 'style' in their looks. Neither had done a 'bad' job applying their makeup, for boys, but she stared too long at Charlotte, wondering how she'd fare tomorrow when Carolyn used her as a model in her makeup class.

"Is something wrong, Aunt Jane?" Charlotte had felt uneasy as Jane stared at her, wondering if she'd again made a mistake putting on her makeup.

Charlotte's question brought Jane out of herself and she replied with, "Oh, no, Charlotte. Nothing is wrong, you both have done a fine job with your makeup." Jane had almost told them what they'd be doing this afternoon, and tomorrow, but decided since she never told any of her girls they'd become models, but used that to force them to acquiesce or be exposed as boys dressed as girls, thus making them act differently. She decided 'dragon' Jane had to be present when Charlotte found out.

"Girls, after breakfast and you're finished in the kitchen, I believe Francis has her math assignments to complete." When Jane mentioned math, Francis looked as though she'd eaten something worse than a lemon. She had a dejected, horrid, loathing look on her face, that brightened, somewhat, as Jane continued with, "And because I know you've been struggling with that assignment, Charlotte will be your tutor in the subject. She has, after all, shown herself to understand math to a higher degree. Isn't that so, Charlotte?"

Jane's mini-dragon was addressing Charlotte, who recognized there was only one answer Jane would accept to her question, "Ah, that's true, Aunt Jane. I'd be more than willing to help Francis with her math assignment."

The mini-dragon smiled, showing her teeth in the process. "That's very thoughtful of you Charlotte. I'm sure Francis will appreciate your help." Francis had learned, from experience, when Aunt Jane's voice took on a cold edge it was best to agree even if she said to eat a fish raw.

She shook herself remembering the consequences of not understanding what that cold voice meant not long ago. "Yes, Aunt Jane. I'd appreciate any help in math I could receive. And thank you Charlotte for offering to help me." Both girls thought they saw Jaen's eyes flash, as both took the hint and accepted what Jane told them.

Jane, as usual, used their meals to quiz the girls over various subjects, including their personal lives. And if Jane chose their personal lives, the meal became quite uncomfortable for the girl being grilled. So much so that once one of Jane's girls refused to come to the next meal. And as usual, Jane didn't tolerate any of her girls not sitting down with everyone to eat. Jane finally used the threat of sending her home as she was dressed to get her down to the dining room table. But she never answered another question Jane put to her about her personal life, and lived through the consequences of her decision.

It was only after one particular trying time for the girl that she finally broke down. And during that time told Jane how her father killed her mother and younger brother while in a drunken rage. She'd been out of the house during that time, but found her mother and brother dead when she arrived home. Her mother was lying on the living room floor, her brother embedded in one of the living room walls. Her father had slammed him into the wall at the exact location of a wall stud. Her young brother had been slammed so hard into the wall that he'd been impaled on the wall stud. She found her father passed out on the kitchen floor. After that experience, Jane made sure to get all the details she could about the girl's personal life before touching on questions of that nature.

As the girls cleared the breakfast table, then began helping Marie in the kitchen, Jane went into the study and pulled up Toby Camber's personal information. As she looked through the file she'd been given by Ruth, she noticed there wasn't much about his personal life. She picked up the phone, dialed a number and when her call was received, she told the person answering her call, "Hi, it's Jane. I need some personal information on a boy named Toby Camber, he's arriving on Monday. I need to know what kind of family life he has, number of family members, the usual things. And at our usual agreed rate, plus your expenses."

Some years ago Jane had helped the woman she was speaking to out of a very sticky situation. One which could have cost the woman her life, and she never forgot Jane for risking her own life to help her. "I'll have what you need by tomorrow." And Jane heard the connection go dead. The woman was the same girl whose father killed her mother and younger brother. Who finally broke and told Jane everything. The girl who eventually became a girl because her father was hunting her after he was released from prison. Because he thought she'd seen what he'd done and had helped send him to prison. He did find her, after the change, and held her in an old rooming house.

During one of his drunken sprees she was able to get a message to Jane by telling her father she was ordering them some pizza. Jane was only an hour away and managed to get to her in forty-five minutes. Jane then knocked on their door to the room, said, "Pizza delivery," and when the girl's drunken father opened the door, Jane stunned him with a stun gun. They both thought he was unconscious as the girl told Jane where she'd find the key to unlock the handcuffs locking her to a long chain. But as Jane was unlocking the cuffs, the girl's father came around and went after Jane with a knife, even though he was drunk. Jane had freed the girl by then and used the chain to fend off the man until he became angry that he couldn't reach her. By chance, as the man rushed her, he stumbled and lost his balance, giving Jane a clear chance at his throat. She used the chain to catch him around his throat and let him pass her by. Now being behind the man, she crossed her arms as tightly as she could, until the man stopped moving. She grabbed the girl's hand and rushed them to her car, where she called the police. With Jane's statement, and the girl's statement, and testimony for Jane, Jane's actions were ruled self defence of herself and another person.

Jane later learned the girl had become a licensed investigator, but somewhat of a recluse because of her experiences. But if she said she'd have the information Jane needed by the next day, Jane would have it by the next day. She always kept her word to Jane. Jane realized that until she learned more about Toby Camber's personal life she couldn't make any more plans for his educational course. That girl's case made a lasting impression on Jane.

She then opened the cabinet and turned on the monitor, switching to the cameras in the library. As she watched and listened, Charlotte was slowly explaining Factoring Algebraic Expressions to Francis, going by what was written on the chalkboard in the library.

Charlotte was sitting besides Francis, holding her and tears ran down her face. "Charlotte, I just don't get all this. I've read what's in the book but can't understand what's being said."

"It's okay, Francis. I'll go over it again until you understand how it's done. Francis, not everyone learns in the same way, and you're not alone in having trouble understanding what you read. Many have trouble comprehending what they read, so they have to resort to other methods of learning. Some find it easier if they are shown how to do something, or it's explained to them." Francis nodded her head, knowing she had to finish this math assignment or explain why it didn't happen.

Jane watched as Charlotte walked to the chalkboard and wrote the number 45 on the board. "Okay, Francis. Tell me every possible way you can think of to get the number 45."

As Jane listened, Francis actually fired off several normal combinations of numbers used to get the number 45. "You have 9 x 5, 1 x 45, 36 + 9, 39 + 6, 42 + 3, 43 + 2..." and Francis continued until Charlotte called a halt. Charlotte had written the number 45 on the right side of the board. Charlotte had spaced out the combinations Francis had said, leaving space between each combination. Then, in between each combination she placed an equal sign before placing the final one before the number 45. After Charlotte had called a halt, and stood back, Francis saw equal signs between every combination she'd given Charlotte, and a final equal sign before the number 45. Charlotte stood and looked at Francis, who was examining what Charlotte had written.

Then Jane heard Francis say something she'd do nothing about, this time, as Francis dropped her head down then said, "Aw, shit, so that's factoring. But how do you apply this to an algebraic expression?"

As Jane watched, Charlotte started out simple, by writing 3x on the board. Then she asked Francis, "What does 3x actually mean?"

Francis shrugged her shoulders, shook her head and said, "3 times x." Charlotte then stood and looked at Francis, who again caught Jane's attention with, "Shit, that's the factor of 3x." The fire had been lit, and Francis started answering Charlotte's questions as she wrote more and more complicated expressions on the board. And Francis gave the factor of each expression without hesitation.

As her fire had been lit, Jane watched as Francis then went back to the set of papers with algebraic expressions on them and completed the twenty five problems in a matter of minutes. She saw Charlotte look up at something, then tell Francis, "It's time for us to go help Marie get dinner ready, Francis."

Francis had just turned the last page face down as Charlotte said they needed to go help Marie. Jane chuckled as she heard Francis exclaim with a sigh, "Gads, I'm glad that's done. I would never have finished those pages without your help, Charlotte. Thank you."

Charlotte just smiled then said, "You're welcome. Come on, we better get going."

Francis knew that Jane had expected her to finish that math assignment before dinner, so after turning off the monitor and closing and locking the cabinet doors, Jane left the study to once again become the Jane who could send chills up the spines of her girls. She found Francis and Charlotte setting the dining room table, and as she stood in the entrance to the dining room, she asked, in her Jane persona, "Francis, did you complete that math assignment as you were instructed?"

Francis looked at Charlotte, smiled, then told Jane, "Yes, Aunt Jane. The pages have been completed and are laying face down on the table as you instructed."

Jane gave Francis a sharp stare before saying, "We shall see, Francis." Both girls watched as Jane walked to the library, opening the door and closing it behind her after entering.

Charlotte noticed that Francis looked nervous, and told her, "Don't worry, Francis. I watched you work, and you answered every one of those problems correctly. You did, after all, have a grreeaatt teacher!"

Francis looked to the ceiling, rolled her eyes, then told Charlotte, "If your head gets any fatter it won't fit through your bedroom door." Both girls laughed and finished setting the table for dinner.

Jane was standing in front of the chalkboard, admiring Charlotte's teaching technique. She'd shown Francis non-algebraic numbers and how they were formed. Then she used a simple algebraic expression and that helped Francis to understand what she couldn't comprehend from reading the algebra book. She then picked up the papers Francis claimed to have completed, sat down at the table and started looking through the pages. She was glad to see how with Charlotte's help, Francis had been able to answer each problem correctly. She took the pencil lying on the table and wrote a 100 on the top of the first page. Jane was beginning to form an answer to one of Charlotte's previous questions, why she was with Jane at that point in time. Because she was needed.

Jane left the library with the set of papers in search of the girls, finding them in the kitchen helping Marie. She walked over to Francis, handed her the papers, and watched as a huge smile formed on Francis' face. When Charlotte saw the smile on Francis' face, and caught a glimpse of the 100 on the first page, she cleared her throat in a dramatic fashion and told Francis, "See, I told you I was a grreeaatt teacher, Francis." Francis giggled at Charlotte's silliness, but Jane was not amused, as she slowly turned to face Charlotte and gave the girl her best 'Jane is not amused' expression. Seeing Jane's face, Charlotte had a feeling she might have overdone things and said, "Um, sorry, Aunt Jane. I was just happy for Francis." Jane just humphed, before turning and leaving the kitchen, both girls not seeing the smile on Jane's face.

Jane used their dinner time to question Francis about her recent math assignment. She asked why Charlotte had to show her how to work the problems instead of her just reading the explanation in her algebra book. "Aunt Jane, I did read the explanations given in the book, and read them and read them, but couldn't understand what was being said. I don't know, it just seems I've always had that problem with reading. But when Charlotte started showing me, and let me see what she was saying, well, it all seemed to click." Jane realized Francis may have just told her why she found it so hard to learn in a classroom, and made a mental note to call one of her former girls who was now a leading educator at a University. She would also call the woman who was to become Charlotte's tutor, and talk with her about Francis' reading comprehension problem. Maybe between the two teachers they could help Francis overcome her problem. Jane also felt this may be part of Francis' real problem, being frustrated because she couldn't comprehend what she was reading. She'd have to wait and see if one helped with the other.

Jane times her next question just as Charlotte had taken a bite of her dessert. "Charlotte, have you ever been to a boutique?" Seeing Charlotte furrow her brows, Jane asked, "Are you familiar with boutiques? Do you know what they sell?"

Her additional questions gave Charlotte time to quickly chew the bite she'd taken, swallow it and answer, "Ah, no ma'am. I know the word, but not the store."

Jane nodded her head sagely, then said, "Well, then you should enjoy our afternoon. Because we are going shopping at a boutique, and I think you'll find it an interesting experience."

Charlotte looked at Jane and had a feeling she hadn't been told everything. She then looked at Marie, then Francis, who quickly picked up her glass of water and appeared to be drinking, though Charlotte noticed the girl wasn't swallowing. Charlotte had seen the same look on her parents faces, when they were expecting an answer or reaction. She turned back to Jane and asked, "I'm not going to enjoy this trip, am I Aunt Jane?"

Jane smiled and said, "What was it your parents said about new experiences?"

Charlotte chuckled, dropped her head, shook it, and said, "Hoisted by my own petard. Well, as I did say once, 'in for a penny in for a pound.' Okay, Aunt Jane, I guess another new experience won't hurt."

Francis was now drinking her water, and started choking when she heard Jane's sweet voice say, "It's good to hear you say that, Charlotte. Volunteering is so much easier on you, you know?" Seeing Jane's face as she spoke, yes, she did know it had been wise to volunteer for the new experience. No telling what Jane would have her do otherwise. Charlotte tried to smile at the prospect of visiting a boutique, and do whatever else they were going to do. But it came out lop-sided, and she could see Jane wasn't all that happy at her half smile.

Having experienced it herself, Francis knew what was coming next, after seeing how Charlotte reacted to Jane's news. Jane leaned forward, and in her 'send chills down the spine' voice said, "Charlotte, I would suggest you have a change of attitude by the time we arrive at the boutique. While you may believe you are ready for this new experience, your face tells a different matter. Should you continue at the boutique with this same attitude, you may find yourself helping out at that boutique every day in the afternoon." Francis cringed when she saw Jane's sweet smile, which she knew, from experience, was anything but sweet.

Charlotte quickly examined her options, which were slim and none. She knew, as did Francis, there was only one answer from her Jane would accept, and she gave it. "Of course, Aunt Jane. I apologize for not seeming to be enthusiastic about visiting a boutique. I will do better."

Charlotte watched as Jane nodded her head then said, "See that you do, young lady. See that you do." Even though Charlotte's smile now was a full smile, Jane could tell by Charlotte's eyes that she was still apprehensive. But Jane could live with that, she'd gotten her message across to Charlotte. Do what you're told or else.

When they'd finished dinner and the kitchen work was done, Jane told Francis and Charlotte to change their clothes for a shopping trip. In Jane's language that meant a dress that was dressy without being formal looking, with matching or complementing shoes. Makeup which was more than needed around the house but less than going to a formal gathering. And their hair neatly brushed and suiting their appearance. In short, they were to look like 'proper' young ladies according to Jane's standards. Both dressed accordingly but still had to pass the 'Jane' inspection, which took place the minute both girls had come down from their bedrooms. As Jane gave both girls a critical eye, both girls wondered if they would be the one Jane would single out to start over getting dressed. As both stood holding their purses, Jane walked about them twice before pronouncing them fit to leave the house. Neither girl sighed, but it wasn't far from their wants at that moment.

As they drove to town Jane used the opportunity to tell Charlotte, "Charlotte, dear, you'll like Brenda Franson, owner of The Style Shoppe. She'll be more than willing to help you choose a selection of fashions and lingerie. And I'm sure she'll delight in you volunteering to help her for a few hours while Francis and I look for a few things Francis needs. And I'm quite confident you'll be more than happy to help her in any way you can. Isn't that so?"

Charlotte hadn't been with Jane but a few days, and yet in those few days she'd learned the difference between Jane asking and commanding. Jane's voice told her she wasn't asking Charlotte to help Brenda, but commanding her to help Brenda. And as usual there was only one reply possible, "Of course, Aunt Jane. I'll be glad to help any way I can." Charlotte didn't have to see Jane's face to know which smile graced her lips.

She could tell which one Jane wore when she said, "That's good to hear, Charlotte. VERY good to hear."

Silence gained its grip in the car as Jane drove on, giving Charlotte time to reflect on her current situation. She had volunteered to become one of Jane's girls, but at the same time, not one of Jane's girls, since those boys didn't volunteer to become one of Jane's girls. And yet, even though she volunteered, and Jane had treated her differently than Francis, Jane still could make her do what she wanted when she wanted just by the use of her voice. And giving her the idea that if she didn't cooperate, the consequences would be worse than had she just done what Jane wanted. Charlotte had taken down James Conner after being threatened and attacked by him. Yet, here she was with a woman who had gained control of Charlotte without resorting to physical violence.

That thought caused Charlotte to chuckle, and Jane to ask, "You find something amusing, Charlotte?"

Charlotte chuckled silently to herself, shook her head, knowing it hadn't been wise to draw Jane's attention to her, before telling Jane, "I was just musing about my current situation."

After a moment of silence Jane said, "I see. So you find your current situation difficult, do you?"

Charlotte had always been up front with Jane, and decided that would still be the best approach when talking with her. "No, Aunt Jane. Not difficult, just...interesting. I took down a man taller than me and several pounds heavier when he failed to identify himself, then when he tried to attack me. Even when he tried to make me answer his questions I never gave in or feared him. And yet, here I find myself doing what you want without the fear of physical violence if I don't. It's the implication of consequences that cause me to do as you bid."

Silence prevailed again, until Jane said, "So it's the consequences of not doing what you're told that you fear, Charlotte?"

Jane looked at Charlotte using the rear view mirror and saw her wipe a tear off her cheek. "No, not the consequences, Aunt Jane. I fear I may disappoint you if I don't do as you say, Aunt Jane." Jane thought it wise not to say anything more, her voice would have given away how touched she was that Charlotte would think of disappointing her.

They reached the Mall, Jane found a parking space near an entrance, and led the two girls into the Mall and to The Style Shoppe. When they walked into the boutique they heard, "I'll take care of these ladies, Carol," as a middle aged woman approached. "Jane, how nice to see you again. And you too Francis. I see you have a new girl, Jane, might we be introduced?"

Jane and Brenda exchanged hugs before Jane said, Brenda, this is Charlotte Thorton. Charlotte, this is Brenda Franson, owner of The Style Shoppe."

It was Charlotte who first said, "It's nice to meet you Ms. Franson. Aunt Jane has told me I would enjoy my experience while I was here."

Brenda knew Charlotte had been told by Jane 'to' enjoy the experience or else. "My, she is polite Jane. It's my pleasure to meet you Charlotte. I'm sure you'll enjoy your experience while you're here."

Brenda then looked at Jane, and raised an eyebrow, causing Jane to say, "Charlotte has volunteered to help you any way she can, while Francis and I shop for a few things Francis needs. I believe it will be very educational for her." No one had been paying any attention to Francis, who was remembering her time 'volunteering' at The Style Shoppe. And how embarrassed and humiliated she'd been when she learned just what she'd been volunteered to do. And she couldn't tell Charlotte, or else.

"Oh, I'm so happy Charlotte is willing to help out for a few hours," Brenda gushed. "It will be an experience she won't forget." Charlotte looked from Jane to Brenda, and back to Jane, and seeing both looking at her, silently said to herself, 'I'll bet I won't forget it.' But for both women, she just smiled.

Apprehension graced Charlotte as she watched Jane and Francis leave The Style Shoppe, causing her to wonder if it had been wise of her to volunteer to become one of Jane's girls in order to clear her name. Up to now, nothing she'd had to do had been THAT bad, or THAT humiliating or THAT embarrassing, and it all had been a new experience, one she'd never have had if she hadn't volunteered. Jane did leave it up to her, after all, whether or not to become a girl for the duration. Charlotte turned back to face Brenda, who put to words what Charlotte was feeling at the moment.

"You're wondering if you did the right thing in helping to clear your name in this fashion," and she waved her hand head to toe in front of Charlotte. Brenda put her arm around Charlotte's shoulder then said, "Come, let's talk. I'd like to hear your story." As they walked towards the back of the store, Brenda kept up a steady flow of conversation, designed, she hoped, to calm Charlotte before revealing what she'd have Charlotte do that afternoon.

"Jane has told me how much you have helped just by being here, and whether or not you believe this, you have actually been a Godsend for her. You've helped Francis get where she is right now, which is, I'll tell you, much better than she was several months ago. Or even a few weeks ago. She is now like the difference between a sunny day and one which threatens rain. And I could see by the expression on her face, she actually cares about you, again, a first for her since she arrived. You helped her see it was possible to care again, without fear you'd want something in return. Even though she wasn't allowed to tell you what you'll be doing this afternoon, she actually was worried you wouldn't enjoy your experience. That it would upset you. And I also understand you talk to horses, one in particular, which wouldn't respond to Jane no matter what that woman tried. Always remember, Charlotte. Never let your experiences jade who you are inside. Decide how you want to respond to those experiences, how you want to use those experiences as you go through life. While they may be outside your comfort zone, they give you a view of the world you may never have had."

When they reached the back room, Brenda asked Charlotte how she took her tea, before pouring them each a mug of tea. After taking a seat, Brenda asked, "So, Charlotte, what's your story? How is it you find yourself with Jane Thompson?" Charlotte took a sip of her tea then gave Brenda an account of how she found herself with Jane.

How she was shopping for a necklace to give her mom on her 35th birthday. How she put Jame Conner, head of security for that Taylor's store, on the floor when Charlotte thought the man wanted to harm her. How he then locked them in the holding room at Taylor's and tried to intimidate her but eventually ended up with a broken collar bone and the ulna and radius in his right forearm. And how Mr. Strom, CEO of Taylor's, threatened to take her to Federal Court if she wasn't punished by Judge Ruth. She told of the meeting the Prosecutor, her lawyer, Terry Morgan, and Judge Ruth had in the Judge's chambers, and the judge saying something smelled funny, and until they could get to the bottom of it, she would be safe with Jane. "So here I am, going through something I would never have dreamed of experiencing. And I'm doing it in order to clear my name and get my life back, though I'll see things a bit differently when I get home. Which, I believe, will be a good experience for me in the long run."

Brenda was every bit as sharp as Jane in picking up on nuances while people spoke, and a few things caught her attention now with Charlotte. She took a sip of her tea then asked Charlotte, "Tell me, Charlotte. Are you angry with that boy for getting you into this situation? For making you experience something like this? Do you plan to make him pay for what he's done to you?" Brenda had been able to read people as far back as her middle school days, and had no trouble seeing that Charlotte was thinking about the questions she'd asked her.

She then saw that Charlotte had formed her response and did so with, "The short answer to your questions, no. I'm not angry with that boy, or for having to go through this experience. Or plan to make him pay for what he's done to me. I am angry with how I was treated at Taylor's, but my dad's law firm handled that problem nicely. No...that boy, Toby Camber, has more going on in his life than anyone knows about, so it doesn't make sense to be angry with him for responding as he did. He was more afraid of someone than being in that holding cell we were in. And, after watching him as I did, I believe his actions are those of self preservation. Sort of like Jane's 'do it or else' commands. Only in Toby's case, the 'or else' is much more severe."

Like Jane, Brenda was astounded by Charlotte's assessment of what she viewed, and caused her to ask, "Charlotte, what plans do you have for your future? I ask because you just sounded like a clinical psychologist."

Charlotte chuckled, then told Brenda, "I had planned on becoming a psychiatrist, that is, of course, if I ever get out of this mess and get my name cleared. And if my name can't be cleared, then I don't know. I never made plans which included this situation." Brenda nodded her head, understanding that this type of situation could never be factored in with someone's plans for their life.

She smiled at Charlotte, telling her, "Based on what I've heard from Jane, and just listening to you here, you'll make a fine psychiatrist. You have the passion needed to help others, like you've done for Francis and that horse. And if I know Jane, Toby is going to recant his story or wish he'd lived somewhere else in this world." She stood up, took Charlotte's empty mug then said, "Okay. Let's talk about what you'll be doing the rest of this afternoon. And please, understand I want you to have fun with it, enjoy yourself. Because it isn't everyday you get to model teenage girl's clothing." Brenda carefully studied Charlotte's reaction to what she just said, noting the eye roll and shake of her head. Typical, she found, of someone who's resigned themselves to do what they're told.

She then laughed out loud when Charlotte said, "Well, my parents always say that new experiences are great teachers. So, how do I act like a model? I haven't exactly spent my years watching fashion shows."

Brenda smiled after what Charlotte said, knowing from experience she'd do fine modeling the clothing. Brenda then went on to explain what clothing she would be modeling. How she'd start at the back of the 'runway' and walk forward, pause, turn, pause again, turn so she was facing left, pausing again, then turning to face right. Pausing again before she walked back the way she came. She also told Charlotte to walk as Jane had had her do while balancing the book on her head, the way she walked into The Style Shoppe. If she did that, no one would ever know what really lies beneath the clothing. Brenda did have one question, before taking Charlotte back to get ready. "Um, Charlotte, this may seem personal, but I need to know how you're hiding your genitals. And what type of assistance Jane has provided for your breasts."

She was surprised when Charlotte looked at her with complete calmness on her face, without seeming to be embarrassed. "Brenda, my genitals were temporarily glued away at the salon, it was an option I was given. And I'm wearing breast forms, which I've been told would require a close inspection to tell they are false. So unless someone will be getting up close and personal, I should be good to go."

Brenda just clapped her hands together and said, "Splendid," and putting her arm around Charlotte's shoulders again, led her back to the changing area, explaining as they walked the order of the clothing they'd be modeling. And she emphasized again, "Charlotte, I realize this is all strange to you. But please, enjoy it for what it is. An experience you'd never otherwise have in your life. Okay?"

Charlotte smiled, nodded her head, and told Brenda, "Okay, Brenda. I'll try to enjoy what I'm about to do, even though the thought of it is a bit scary." Brenda just hoped she'd have that same attitude when she modeled the items which weren't mentioned.

Chapter 11

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