"I DO wish you could come on holiday with me, Annie!" said Roxana to her best friend as they were preparing to go home for the summer vacation from Deerdene school. At the end of their first year, they were the closest of friends and had been from the very first day. They were lively and mischievous girls and both very pretty, even at the age of eleven. Roxana was a blue eyed redhead and Annie had the purest jet black hair, with dark eyes, staring in a disconcertingly challenging way at the world from out of the pallor of her oval face.
Annie Besant was due to go to stay with her parents in Spain for the long Summer holidays and Roxana to spend her time in the North Country at her parent's ancestral home - a place she loved to be and dearly wished her best friend to see for herself.
"There's this huge lake in the middle of our estate and the most enchanting island in the middle of it" said Roxana. "One day I'm going to row over to it and explore it, and I'd so love you to walk over it with me. I know it's a magical place and we'd be so happy there!" She giggled at this and Annie stared at her, for once puzzled at her friend.
Annie was looking forward to seeing her mother and father again, but not as much as she would have thought all those months ago when she had been tearfully parted from them for the first time. As soon as she had caught Roxana's eye and they had both laughed together over some silly thing they had both long since forgotten about, she had immediately lost all feeling of loneliness. The two had done everything together ever since. The "Siamese Twins" was how they had come to be known by all the other girls, many of whom were jealous that these two should be so obviously happy together when they were still terribly homesick.
Every year it was the same. Annie's parents insisted that she spend the holidays with them, despite her pleas to be allowed to stay with Roxana at her home. They both came to dread these separations, eagerly looking forward to the beginning of term and being together again
The couple never wavered in their friendship all through their time at school. Despite the rivalry between them as they competed for all the top academic and sporting honours (pretty evenly shared) their love for each other only grew, but, since Annie was never to see Roxana's home, the subject of the magical island in the lake was never mentioned again and she almost forgot all about it, except for a residual memory at the back of her mind.
Finally the two - eighteen years old by now - walked arm in arm through the school gates for the last time. They missed the old place and both shed a tear. Only one tear, though! After all, they were still in each other's company and had the long vacation ahead of them and were both going to explore the Continent as the most glamorous backpackers ever to wander the Earth together! And, at the end of their tour, Annie was at last to see her friend's home. This last was Roxana's most happy thought as they set off on their journey.
By the time they had reached Dover and Roxana had collected a letter from the local Post Office, containing a generous cheque from her parents and Annie admitted that she had been similarly provided for by her doting mother and father, their resolve to rough it for the next six weeks began to weaken! They booked into a medium price hotel in Montmartre rather than the Youth Hostel that had been their original intended resting place. Their first night in Paris was spent wandering around that very cosmopolitan area,.Le Butte Montmartre and its immediate environs.
As they were wandering together along the Boulevard Clichy, Roxana started shaking with laughter. "You know most of the Bluebell Girls are English, don't you Annie? Maybe we could get ourselves a summer job there!"
"Don't be silly! That's too much like hard work! I saw a programme about it once. Those girls are worked till they drop. Fine holiday that would be! Now! Being a stripper at that club over there, for instance - that sounds a lot easier!"
The establishment Annie was referring to was one of many such clubs the couple had passed. They had been amazed at the amount of such places and the generally debauched atmosphere of this area. Both had dined and wined well and were in a mood of alcohol induced adventurism. As if they had both been convinced together that they were about to embark on a new career, they headed tipsily towards the entrance.
"It's not that easy, Roxana" whispered Annie as the pair watched the gyrating ladies on the small stage in the smoke filled room. They were the only two girls in the audience in the half empty auditorium. The male customers had hardly noticed when the couple took their seats, being too interested in watching the succession of young ladies coming onto the stage and disrobing to the sound of loud music.
"No" answered Roxana. "But it looks fun! Look at the way all those creeps can't take their eyes of them even for a second. I'd fancy that kind of attention, even if it is a bit scary."
After an hour or so the pair started to feel sleepy and made their way out. It was time to head back to the hotel. A few yards along the street, they were overtaken by a middle aged and smartly dressed man. "Young ladies! You are English, Oui? I can always tell! The lovely complexion you get in that terrible climate! I hope you liked our little show?"
"Very much!" said Annie. "How much do those ladies get paid for a night's work?"
"Two hundred Francs an hour, Mademoiselle. Some girls get more if the clients tip them and sometimes they do favours for our best customers. You two - I would pay you much more. You are both marvellously beautiful and have the so wonderful bodies. But you are two such very nice girls and do not need the money any way. I wish you both "bon nuit'"
Before returning to his business and the cares of life which seemed to sit so lightly on his shoulders, he handed both girls a card, bearing his telephone number and address. "Call me in the morning if you are interested, mon chèries."
They were both exhausted after their first exciting night in Paris. They fell asleep immediately. When they finally woke up, the sun was shining through the window. Roxana was the first to stir, mainly because the bright morning rays were falling right onto her face. She covered her eyes with her hands and sat up. When she was properly awake she got out of bed, looking across to the still comatose Annie. Finally she went over and gently shook her friend's shoulders, feeling how deliciously warm they were!
"Come on lazybones! We've got a whole day ahead to explore this city. Don't let's waste a single precious second!"
After a continental breakfast in the small dining room they strolled in the general direction of the river, intending to visit Notre Dame. An earnest looking and bespectacled English youth bumped into them on the way and they soon fell into conversation with him after laughingly accepting his embarrassed apologies.
This learned young man advised the pair to make a visit to the Sainte Chappelle as well as Notre Dame. "Quite honestly, I think it far more beautiful. Make sure you go upstairs to the upper chapel. You won't regret it"
Both girls were amused by his earnest manner and charmed by his good nature... They asked him to go along with them and he accepted. As they found out more about each other, it transpired that he was at present working in the city for the Paris branch of a British bank and was due to return home in a few weeks.
Before the conversation could proceed further (he was about to ask them what they did) the trio turned around to investigate the cause of a sudden commotion behind them.
The disturbance was being caused by a pair of girls, both young, plump and pretty in a bouncy, large-breasted kind of way. The bounciness of their breasts was plain for all to see (even their short sighted new friend) since both these girls were naked, save for the fact that one was wearing a pair of loose fitting sandals one of which fell off her fleshy little foot as they watched. The flying streaker paused only to disengage herself from the other sandal and then put on a spurt to catch up with her companion. Soon they were both out of sight and relative calm returned to the Boulevard Magenta.
"Does that happen a lot around here" asked Annie of the young man, "And what's your name? I'm Annie and this is Roxana, by the way."
"I'm Francis, but mostly I get to be called Frank. And, no, it doesn't happen every day! In fact this is the first time I've ever seen such a thing - worse luck!"
"What do you want us to call you?" asked Roxana a few moments later when the incident was already history...
"Actually, I prefer Francis"
"OK! Francis it is! Glad to meet you, Francis old chap! I think we need a coffee after all that excitement - not that it's a bit exciting for us - not in our job" Roxana nudged Annie in the ribs and winked.
Francis said he had been about to ask them what job they did just before the daring young ladies irrupted onto the scene.
.... There is more of this story ...