3 The Blasted Secreted Secre
The rotten old and ancient building filled with loud babbling noises quietens down as Grace makes her way towards an even more rotten stage in the centre of the grand room where a small microphone rests as if waiting for someone to snatch it
Grace takes a look at the microphone and then pushes it aside and I stare at her wondering why the heck did she made me put the microphone their in the first place
"WHO ARE WE?" Grace yells her voice easily echoing over the whole room which is staring at her with hope and awe
"WOMEN!" Comes the deafening yet enthusiastic shout from the crowd and me
A small smile of pride flickers on my friends face as she looks at the whole lot in front of her and I smile as I remember her words:
'I want the women to have their rights, I work for it, I live for it and I would die for it'
I had merely shrugged off her words at that time but now, when I look at the fire burning in her eyes and those in the women here, I realise that every word that she spoke that day as true as the fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west
Well, technically the sun remains still and the earth-
Argh! Just forget it
"WHAT DO WE WANT?" Grace yells sparks of excitement flowing in her voice
Er.. what did we want?
Chocolate? More chocolate? And even more chocolate?
Not exactly satisfied with my answer I look at the others and realise that they have the same dilemma as me and are looking over each other in bafflement
Slowly the small smile on Graces face disappears and a look of frustration replaces it which slowly weaves its way to anger
Coal black flames burns in Grace's eyes and she looks ready to battle the Satan himself and probably win the fight
"EQUALITY! WE WANT EQUALITY" Grace screams in frustration as she glares at the room around her looking as if she was wishing wrath on each and every one
Almost simultaneously everyone starts screaming "EQUALITY! WE WANT EQUALITY"
Grace sighs before getting back the enthusiastic fire in her eyes "WHEN DO WE WANT IT?"
"NOW" The crowd goes wild and screams as one fat jumbo sumo-wrestler
The smile returns to Graces face- Thank God- and she speaks in an authoritative voice "Get to work!"
The crowd chitters and chatters as the women go back to their desks and resume their work. The middle aged ones sit at the mats and start making dresses and garment for women and trousers and tail coats for men. The young bright eyed ones busy themselves with papers of information and calculations.
A little lithe blue eyed and blond haired girl runs up to me and gives a small, wilting daisy
I take the flower and smile at her "Thank you Rosie"
Rosetta- Rosie- beams at me "You are welcome Tessie. And thank you"
I bend down and gather the rather thin child in my arms before lifting her so that we are face to face "Thank you for what?" I ask in light confusion
"Mommy said that we were able to eat that slice of beef for my birthday because of you" She says smiling her pearly white teeth at me and I give her a small smile in return
I am about to reply when someone speaks:
"Rosetta! Did you finish the questions that I gave you? Were they alright?" Diana- Rosie's mother asks her voice slightly threatening
My little brave Rosie says "No mommy. The questions were alright but the answers were giving me trouble"
Diana groans and gives me a look saying why-do-you-teach-her-snappy-comebacks making me look guiltily at the floor
I may have been responsible for that one..
"Come on Rosie! Finish your assignment!" Diana says with a slightly angry face
Rosie looks at me with imploring yet determined eyes and says "Tessie! Run! Now!"
I listen to the devil and seconds later I am in my little office with a locked door, panting breaths and a little she devil who is currently eating the worlds most delicious thing
I walk over to her and snatch my chocolates out of her teeny weeny hands-
Well, try to
That kid moves with lightning speed and before I can reclaim whats mine she stuffs the delicious goodies into her mouth
"Do you want them now, Tessie?" Rosie asks showcasing the half chewed chocolate in her mouth
I say rather stiffly "No. I feel rather fine" I want those chocolates
Rosie began chewing once again, I sigh and decide not to waste my time by mourning for the dead loss. I pull out some papers and began checking the calculations.
120 shillings subtracted from 340 shillings makes 210 shillings which means that we have a profit of 5% which means a raise for-
"What ya doin'?" Rosie interrupts my heavy and important train of thought making me give her a look
She ignores it and looks at my calculations obviously admiring how perfect and-
"This is wrong. It should be 220 which means 10%"
I hastily look at my calculations and realise that I have written 210 instead of 220.
I quickly correct the grave error which surely would have cost me a stab with a parasol and look at Rosie
"You shouldn't have been able to calculate that" I state with a look of awe in my eyes
She shrugs and turns her face away but not before I catch the glowing delight on her face
Its true. Rosetta is barely 4 and her mind is probably the most sharpest that I have ever seen, its like she has this will to learn and learn and learn, which quite different from my niece who spends all her day trying on new tiaras and playing with dolls. The only problem with Rosetta is that she likes- no- loves to seek attention and therefore is always up to some mischief.
Whereas me? I am just a dumb dora compared to her
Like when she decided that she wanted a pet mouse and decided that my shoe would be its new home
Lets just say.. thank god that I have a strong heart
I sigh and continue doing my calculations right this time. That was just a stupid, idiotic and not to be repeated mista-
"Work Tess! Work"
"Why don't you help me instead of lounging of the chair and doing nothing?" I enquire as I gasp for air
"Hmmm... let me think about it. No way" Rosie informs me, kicking back her legs and lying in the seat while I sigh and try not to think about inflicting my wrath on her
Hurried footsteps and low hush tones makes me look up and see that a figure nearing the curtain covered window door which makes me realise that we have a customer
I hurriedly touch my hair ensuring that they are stuffed into an ugly and big hat and take also take a look at myself to see if I look male enough. Satisfied with the fact that my body is covered with masculine clothes.
I wait by the door and as expected, the small bell rings. I open the door and almost curtsy to whoever is standing in front of me. But before I could carry on with my disastrous task, I see my pants and bow in a mid way curtsy which makes me topple over and give the floor a rather chaste kiss
Why does this happen to me?
Cursing myself, I open my eyes and see two pairs of black leather and rich looking shoes
Darn it! I am embarrassing myself in front of a customer.
I hurriedly brush my clothes and get up, placing a light apologetic smile on my lips
"I am sorry for my clumsiness Sir" I say bowing to the men in front of me
I look up and- Holy Bushwa!- even though the man's hat is dipped low enough, I can almost sense the artic glare that he sends towards me. The next man, though is just mildly annoyed and sends me a nod accepting my apology
The person with a funny hat and the without the funny hat almost have the same body structure except the funny hat one is leaner and more chiselled, the other one is comparatively more broader and a broad and strong jaw with light blue eyes and blondish hair. I would like to see the other man's face but his hat is dipped too low to do that.
Unfortunately. He would be nice to look at.
Shut up Tessa! Shut up and focus
Before I can embarrass myself any further and say the wrong things at the wrong time (I seem to be exceptionally skilled at that) I ask the question that I am supposed to ask
"How may I help you Sir?" I ask in a perfectly poised voice
The man without the strange hat sends a look of enquiry towards Mr. Strange Hat who promptly ignore Mr. Without The Strange Hat
Mr. W-T-S-H tells me almost apologetically "We would like to buy a new tailcoat for this gentle man here" He motions to the Mr. S-H
I nod and motion them to follow me. We pass the racks for evening dresses, ball gowns, shirts and trousers before we finally reach the tail coat one
Mr. W-T-S-H's eyes scan over the racks and he looks as if he was going to ask for assistance. I brace myself for the questions but before they could be fired, the other man snatches a plain black one, walks towards the cashing register with firm and determined strides and places the tailcoat there
"I am sorry for his behaviour Mr...?"Mr. W-T-S-H trails of with an enquiring look in his eyes
"Clifton. Clifton Grey" I say
"I am sorry for his behaviour Mr. Grey. It was nice doing business with you and I hope that we get the chance to do this again"
Pfft! Clifton Grey doesn't exist you fool! Ha!
I give a non-committal shrug, least bothered by his behaviour. I had faced Louise and Lydia many times, so what made this brat any different?
I move to the billing counter and calculate the money to be paid, I ask them if they require something else and settle for receiving the money. The man with the strange hat puts his gloved hand into the pocket and takes out a few shillings which he proceeds to hand over to me. I use that moment to admire his black gloves and coat which stick to his skin as if created specially to do so.
The design is intricate and their is a richness about those gloves and coat.
I blink, realising that the weather outside is warm enough to not to require any gloves or a coat for that matter.
Before I can gather my thoughts to form a sentence, the two gentlemen walk out of the store leaving me in a rather appreciated silence
I sat opposite to Rosie on the cushions going over the dresses we need to ship as my thoughts wander to Lydia and Louise
How would they react if I told them that I had been running my own business and had been voting for the past 3 years now?
I snort at that and then realised that telling about this 'fake identity' could very well be considered as a violation against the unreasonable and useless law which stated that women were not allowed to vote.
Well darn it, I guess?
I just wish that being the actual me wasn't a blasted secreted secret