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Don't Tell Anyone

Patricia Rogers

Mary was at the end of her tether, which very rarely happened. She had volunteered to look after some of the younger children while Winterfest preparations were underway, but the children in her care were running her ragged! Finally, in desperation, she threatened that she would call Vincent to come and sort them out …which was no threat at all because they all knew that he was a big softy as far as kids were concerned.

One of the older ones said, “Huh, he won’t come anyway ‘cos he’s too busy!”

And of course Mary knew that he was right. But, as it happened, Vincent was just passing by and heard what was said. Entering the chamber quietly, he made them all jump when he said, “I’m never too busy for you, you all know that. Now what’s the problem here?”

They all started talking at once until Vincent held his hand up for silence and said, “Sally, you tell me.”

“We’re bored, Vincent. We love Mary, but she doesn’t really know what we like doing. She sneaked a glance at Mary. “Sorry, Mary,” she said sheepishly.

Mary smiled. “That’s all right, honey. You’re right … perhaps Vincent can help you.

She looked at him, and he smiled too. “You take an hour, Mary, I’ll look after them.”

She smiled gratefully. “Thank you, Vincent, I’ll just go to my chamber.” She left, and Vincent turned to the children.

“Now, what would you like to do?” he asked them.

One of the boys said they wanted to do some painting, and one of the girls said they’d like to do some hair braiding with ribbons and lace.

“But we need someone to do it on,” one little girl said artfully, looking at Vincent.

He gave an exaggerated sigh and they all giggled. “Very well, you can braid my hair … but don’t tell anyone, or I’ll never live it down. That includes you boys. Do you promise?”

“Yes, Vincent,” they all chorused.

* * *

He got the boys organised with the things they needed, and after warning them not to make too much mess, he turned to the girls.

“Now, what do I have to do?” he asked.

“Just sit on this stool please, Vincent, so’s we can reach you. We promise we’ll be careful and not pull your hair.”

He did as he was asked and then prepared himself for his ordeal. Surprisingly though, they didn’t pull it too much, and he rather enjoyed the sensation as they started braiding it. Half an hour later they declared that it was finished, but knowing that Vincent never looked in a mirror, they assured him that it looked very nice.

“I’ll take your word for it … but now you must undo it all because Mary will be back soon, and I must get back to what I was doing.”

There were cries of protest, but he insisted.

“Ok, Vincent.”

But unfortunately for Vincent, Mary came back sooner than expected. She bustled into the chamber and was just going to say that she was back, when she stopped dead and put her hand to her mouth to stifle her laughter… for every part of Vincent’s hair was braided with lace and ribbon and was finished off with bows.

Vincent was torn between embarrassment and amusement … and the amusement won. “Why thank you, Mary, that’s very kind of you. Now will someone please undo it?”

Sally said she would, and very shortly his hair was back to normal.

“Thank you, Sally, now I’ll get back to what I was doing, and remember what I told you … do not tell anyone.”

“We won’t, Vincent,” they assured him.

* * *

Several hours later, Winterfest was in full swing and everyone was having a wonderful time; and to Vincent’s relief, the braiding incident hadn’t been mentioned! But as he was mingling, he caught sight of Sally. She smiled sweetly, put one finger to her mouth, as if to say she would keep quiet, and put her other hand to her hair and twisted a strand round one of her fingers … and he knew he was going to be blackmailed!

But that is another story!

The End