Lilly Takes the Plunge

A continuation of ‘Lilly Bellissima’ (24 May). Lilly has just been fitted with her first pair of fake boobs…

I return from Milan a happier man and an even happier woman. As soon as the ‘Fasten Seat Belts’ light goes off I am on the phone to Ginny. ‘Ginny, you’ve simply got to see them!’ I blurt out excitedly.

We arrange that she will come round that evening, which gives me a couple of hours to prepare. I reapply my makeup and change my wig to one that is a little more me. I look at my new Belinda 38Cs in the mirror. They are so realistic and seem to have survived the long journey well. But, wait a minute, is one very slightly larger than the other? I get on the phone to Maria and Marina who are enjoying a glass of Pinot Grigio at Sergio’s flat.  ‘Ciao, Lilly!’ says Maria, putting me on speakerphone.

‘Ciao, Maria!’ I reply. 

‘Ciao, Lilly!’ says Marina. 

‘Ciao, Marina!’ I say back. 

‘Ciao, Lily!’ says Sergio. 

‘Ciao, Sergio!’ I say. There is lots of air kissing but on the phone I can’t tell who is kissing who. 

‘Darling, do not worry’ says Maria when she hears about my little problem. ‘That is our little trademark feature. No pair of Maria and Marina’s boobies are exactly the same size. This is as nature would have made it. Only God is perfect.’

‘And have you tried our little extra gift?’ asks Marina.

I had completely forgotten that Maria had dropped something into my gift bag as I left. I ring off and rummage in the bottom of the bag. It is a little red box with a gift tag written by hand. “To dear Lilly, we are opening a new product line and thought you would like to try it. Perhaps you could write about it on your blog! It is to make sure you always have the ‘right kind of friends’!’

I open the little box and lift out a thong. I read the label and realise it is a restrainer. ‘New from Maria and Marina’ it says. ‘The Vesuvio. Keep your inner forces at bay!’ I slip it on and it is a complete transformation. 

its smoothing elastic softens and smooths my curves into a beautiful feminine form. I think Maria and Marina are really onto something with this – I have never looked so good. I barely have time to admire myself when the doorbell goes and Ginny has arrived. I slip on my dressing gown and let her in. 

I pour a couple of large G&Ts and Ginny settles on the sofa. She can’t believe her eyes when I slip my gown off my shoulders. ‘They are absolutely amazing!’ she cries. ‘They are so realistic! They change you completely and you can’t see the join at all. They are incredible!’ 

I start to give Ginny a detailed account of my tour around the factory and of the manufacturing process but she interrupts me. ‘Wait a minute,’ she says peering at my chest, ‘Is one very slightly larger than the other?’ 

‘That is deliberate.’ I reply. ‘Only God is perfect.’ I continue with my account but I have got the modelling and casting processes the wrong way round and my description ends up with boobies made of bright green rubber. 

Ginny doesn’t seem to have noticed. ‘They really are amazing!’ she says.

‘And they gave me a little extra gift, a new line of clothing they are trying.’ I explain. ‘It’s a restrainer.’ I take some persuading but Ginny wants to see it so I slip off my gown. 

‘That is amazing!’ Ginny exclaims. ‘You look completely feminine. How does it work?’ We sit and read the leaflet that came with the Vesuvio. It goes on a bit but the gist of it is that the thong is made of a blend of two types of thread. When one is stretched the other contracts and perfect balance is maintained. I read the blurb out, ‘3-D modelling and computer-controlled weaving and cutting allows the garment to gently but firmly hold and shape you into a pleasing form. The perfect combination of softness and strength, Vesuvio is kinetically techno-active and will respond to any little changes to keep you looking your best.’ 

‘Look!’ says Ginny, holding up a little packet ‘It even comes with pills!’ Ginny and I are mystified – we can’t see any reference to these in the leaflet. 

‘Ginny,’ I say, standing up, ‘This is the most amazing thing I have ever had. It makes me feel so confident.’ 

‘It does change you completely,’ she says. ‘I look at you and I see the body of a woman. Well, if I don’t look at your feet.’

‘I feel I could wear anything now.’ I exclaim. ‘I’ve never felt happier.’ 

‘I think you could,’ says Ginny, smiling at me. ‘Anything you want to.’

Ginny and I look at each. I can tell we are thinking the same thing. ‘Do you think I could?’ I ask.

‘I think you could!’ she replies. ‘Go and try it on!’ I rush off to the bedroom and come back a minute later wearing my Malibu Mandy bikini. I had chosen it in a moment of madness and, although Ginny had been kind, when I had first tried it on, I knew we’d both been disappointed with it.

‘Yes, it works absolutely.’ Ginny cries. ‘You just can’t tell. You look just like the lady on the label. Do you know, I think you’re ready for Shangri-La!’ 

Ginny knows that my ultimate fantasy is to be a bikini girl on the beach. When we talk about it we call it ‘Shangri-La’. It would be on a private island in the Caribbean and we would lie on the beach with sand in our hair, sip cocktails all week and never want to come back. I am absolutely thrilled at the idea that we might actually be able to do it and we start to get ready, there and then. 

First, I try out Malibu Mandy and my Belindas in the shower – it’s best to know straight away if they are not “compatible” in field conditions. Everything seems fine! We go shopping for sunglasses. I choose a big pair with red frames. ‘You just like Dame Edna!’ says Ginny when I try them on. 

‘Thanks! I reply, putting them in my basket, pleased. Ginny buys strappy sandals but makes me buy a pair of pink shower shoes to cover up my big man-feet. ‘We don’t want to give the game away do we!’ 

We choose holiday novels, Ginny’s is about a young woman who discovers her entire family are Russian spies. Mine is about a young man desperate to become a woman. He runs away to join a nunnery only to find that most of the nuns are actually runaway men like him. I start reading it on the bus home. I think I’m going to enjoy it. 

And just two weeks later there we are, lying on our recliners, the sound of lapping water in our ears and reflected sunlight dancing on our faces. Ginny slowly raises her head and peers over the top of her sunglasses at the scene around us in Milton Keynes Leisure Centre. ‘You get to go to New York and Milan,’ she grumbles, ‘and I get this…’

‘I am sorry, Ginny.’ I say again. ‘I didn’t have any air miles left. But I will take you when I can afford it. Just think of this as a rehearsal.’ Ginny ‘humphs’ and lays her head back down. 

‘Just another 30 minutes,’ I say, ‘and we can go and help ourselves to the buffet lunch in the restaurant.’ 

‘Do you mean have another sandwich from the cafe in the entrance hall?’ says Ginny slowly, without opening her eyes. 

Just then, Sally walks past. She is the leisure centre manager and we have struck up quite a friendship with her over the six days we have been there. ‘Is there anything I can get you lovely ladies?’ she asks. Ginny and I say no, we are quite happy, thanks.

‘Have you seen our exciting special event?’ asks Sally. She nods across in the direction of Derek, the handyman, who is setting up a sign at the entrance to the pool. “Milton Keynes Leisure Centre welcomes 1970s dance legends Hot Gossip” it says. Ginny and I stare at each other wide-eyed in disbelief. 

‘They were a bit before my time,’ says Sally. ‘But you may have heard of them.’ 

‘Are you kidding?’ Say Ginny and I in unison. ‘We are massive fans! Are they really coming here?’

‘They’ve just arrived,’ says Sally. ‘They are here to promote their new exercise DVD. Unfortunately, there has been a big mix-up with dates and we haven’t done any advertising. It’s really awkward because there is absolutely nobody here. Would you at least speak to them? I would be really grateful.’

‘Just try stopping us!’ we say putting down our Pina Coladas. 

We leave our novels and towels on our sunbeds to reserve them in case of any passing Germans, and head over to the entrance hall with Sally and Derek. And there they are! As you do, when you are in the presence of great celebrities, Ginny and can’t stop staring. They are of course much older than we remember them but time has been very kind to them, as it often is to dancers. 

Sally welcomes them and then turns to us. ‘And we have here your two biggest fans!’ She says, bigging us up. The ladies take off their sunglasses and smile at us warmly. ‘Ginny and Lilly are staying with us at the moment.’ explains Sally. Each of the group comes forward and shakes our hands. 

‘We absolutely loved you on Tip of the Pops,’ says Ginny. ‘Sorry, Top of the pips. No, Top of the Pops.’ She goes bright red. 

‘Please excuse my friend,’ I say. ‘She is not used to meeting celebrations, no celebrates.’ I gibber. ‘I mean celebrities.’ The ladies all laugh and it immediately puts us at our ease. They are really down-to-earth people and we can tell we are going to get on. They must all be in their 60s, we work out, but you cannot tell. Their lithe youthfulness that was so captivating on TV may have faded but it has been replaced with a soft maturity and elegance that can only come with age. They are still absolutely gorgeous. One of them comes forward and my heart misses a beat as I realise it is Lorraine, one of the lead dancers. 

‘Why don’t you come through to the Tesco Room and take part in our workout class?’ she asks. Ginny and I are so excited. We actually have a couple of Hot Gossip dances in our own routine, though nobody has ever seen them of course. The ladies head off to the changing room to get ready and we head off to the Tesco Room to wait for them. 

‘Do you think they’ll come out in costume?’ I ask Ginny. 

‘I would, if I was them,’ she replies. 

But they don’t. They are each wearing Lycra leggings, sports bras and crop tops and Ginny and I agree that is much more practical, of course, and we would have done the same. I really like the look and make a note to ask Ginny where she thinks I should go to get something similar. 

When the music starts we realise they certainly have not disappointed their fans. It is a medley of all their greatest hits, put to a fantastically energising beat. Lorraine is out front, calling out the moves and we are soon dancing away, springing backwards and forwards, complete with swirls and high kicks. I have to hold myself back a little so as not to accidentally kick off my shower shoes. When “Starship Trooper” comes on, Ginny and I can’t help beaming with delight. ‘This is our favourite!’ we shout over the music and we go into overdrive, mouthing the words as we dance and imagining we are on the stage with Hot Gossip back in 1978 on Top of the Pops, surrounded by all that dry ice. 

‘Isn’t this absolutely amazing!’ I say to Ginny. ‘Do I look okay?’ I ask. 

‘You look absolutely great,’ she replies, reassuringly. ‘You just can’t tell at all, though Belinda and Belinda definitely need a sports bra.’

The music goes on and on and, to be honest, we are all getting a bit puffed out, even Hot Gossip themselves. Lorraine goes over to the CD player and switches it off. ‘That’s enough of that, I think! The problem is, we did the recording in several sections and none of us can actually get through the whole routine. Let’s all go for a swim!’

They all go off to the ladies changing room to change into their swimming costumes and come back a few minutes later laughing and giggling. ‘Look!’ they shout in delight. ‘They’ve got a wave machine!’ 

We all pile into the pool and hold hands in a long line jumping up together as each wave lifts us up. We have the pool to ourselves and we get quite raucous. ‘This is hilarious!’ I laugh to Ginny from the top of a wave. ‘Can you believe we are swimming with Hot Gossip!’

Then they notice the flume in the corner and we rush over like excited children at a party. Now Ginny and I have used the flume a lot, being ‘residents’, and feel we are something of an authority on it. We start to share our expert knowledge with the ladies. ‘It sounds very exciting,’ says Lorraine. ‘Do you think we will be okay? 

‘Don’t worry,’ we say, ‘we will look after you.’

Unfortunately, Derek has chosen that moment to close the flume briefly for a routine hose down, and we all have to wait for several minutes crowded into the space at the bottom of the high spiral staircase. There is not much room and we are pressed together like sardines in our wet swimming costumes. 

‘At least we won’t get cold!’says Ginny, ‘huddled together like this.’ 

‘I suppose,’ I reply and Ginny looks at me oddly.

‘We could have some lunch after this,’ says Ginny. 

‘I suppose so,’ I reply again and again Ginny gives me an odd look. 

‘Your voice sounds a little squeaky,’ she says. ‘Are you feeling okay?’

‘To be honest, I am not really,’ I reply. ‘These trunks from Maria & Marina getting a little tight.’

‘What, do you mean? Your restrainer?’ Ginny asks loudly.

‘Ssshhh!’ I snap back, horrified. I look around us but no one seems to have heard. 

‘Oh, God!’ says Ginny, realising that I am finding this situation a little challenging, surrounded by ladies in warm wet swimming costumes. I am concentrating hard, staring fixedly ahead. 

I whisper to Ginny, ‘I thought these things were meant to maintain some kind of balance but every time I feel myself grow a little the fabric shrinks!’ As I speak, my voice rises another pitch. 

‘Come on!’ says Ginny, ‘Let’s get you out of here.’ We squeeze through the group, which does not help matters, and find a quiet corner. ‘You look absolutely fine,’ says Ginny. ‘In fact I would say its making your shape even more feminine.’ 

‘I swear its getting smaller,’ I say, unable to hide the anxiety in my voice. 

‘Let’s ring Maria and Marina,’ suggests Ginny wisely and I feel a little reassured. Marina answers. I can hear music in the background. There is some kind of party going on at Sergio’s flat. 

‘Wait a minute,’ says Marina, ‘I’ll put you on speakerphone. Oh, it’s you! Ciao Lilly, Ciao Ginny!’

‘Ciao Marina,’ I say. 

‘Ciao, Marina,’ says Ginny. Anna and Luigi have joined the party and there are many more ciaos all round, followed by lots and lots of air kissing. The line isn’t brilliant and the loud music isn’t helping. We try and explain my predicament and listen to their discussion in Italian. 

‘Lilly…Li..,’ says Sergio. ‘…. take the pil…., whatever you do …….   take the pills!’ We suddenly get cut off but at least we got what we wanted. 

We head to ladies changing room to get the pack of pills that came with the Vesuvio from my locker. Hot Gossip have left their Lycra exercise outfits absolutely everywhere, strewn on the floor and hanging from the lockers. Ginny and I agree Sally wouldn’t be very happy. ‘Hurry, Ginny!’ I urge, ‘Its getting smaller!’ 

‘Quick, take two!’ she says and gets me a plastic cup of water from the drinking fountain. I quickly swallow three. ‘They may take a few minutes to start to work,’ she warns. 

We go back to the flume and rejoin the ladies. ‘Ah, here’s our fan club!’ cries Lorraine. ‘We had wondered where you had gone.’ 

Derek has reopened the slide and we start to file up the spiral staircase to the top. Lorraine is right in front of me and as we climb the stairs I have ample time to see how her pretty floral costume fits the curves of her figure and stretches with her movements as her hips swing from side to side, in front of my face. ‘Nearly at the top!’ says Ginny. 

‘I suppose so,’ I reply in a high-pitched squeak.

‘Oh God!’ says Ginny. ‘Are the pills not working?’

‘They are making it much, much worse!’ I squeak. ‘The Vesuvio is getting smaller and smaller as I get… well, you know.’ 

‘Just think about boiled cabbage, or imagine you are in a maths exam and haven’t done any revision at all, or something.’ 

‘I am! I am!’ I squeal. ‘Nothing is working. I’m starting to lose the feeling in my feet.’ 

All the Hot Gossipers around me are starting to notice my high-pitched voice and they think I am fooling around, pretending to be nervous. ‘But you are such an expert on the flume,’ they say. ‘Come on, you go first and show us how it’s done.’ Lorraine puts her hands on my waist and pushes me forward through the tightly packed group of bathing beauties. 

‘God!’ I squeal and everyone laughs. I throw myself down the flume and plunge into the cold water of the pool below. It doesn’t help. Ginny splashes down behind me. ‘Come on,’ she shouts, ‘Let’s ring Maria and Marina again.’ This time the line is better.

‘Ciao, Lily!’ starts Maria.

‘Whatever!’ I reply. ‘This is an emergency. The Vesuvio is so tight I can’t even get my finger in the waistband. I took three of the little blue pills and now they’ver gone so tight I sound like the Beegees.

‘What?!’ says Maria, horrified. ‘You took the pills? But we said whatever you do don’t take the pills! They are Viagra! They are for you to use to test the Vesuvio. You are only meant to take one. Stupido! Hey Sergio! Come ‘ere. You design the Vesuvio. What should Lilly do?’

‘Mamma Mia!’ says Sergio when he hears what has happened. ‘I use the mixed fibres in the weave. Some stretch and expand and some shrink and contract and so, the balance.’

‘I think you got the mix wrong, big time!’ cuts in Ginny. ‘What should we do?’

‘Okay okay. Heat! Heat, you need to find some warmth.’ Says Sergio. ‘That should relax the fibres and stop the shrinking.’

‘Okay thanks!’ I squeak. A new round of Ciao’s start-up but we cut them off and throw the phone back on my sun lounger. 

‘Come on!’ says Ginny, heading off to the jacuzzi. Maybe this will work. I kick off my shower shoes ready to climb in but Ginny tells me to put them back on straightaway. ‘I told you to always keep them on. You don’t want to give the game away.’ 

‘All right! All right!’ I say, shuffling back into them. We climb down the ladder and sink thankfully into the gorgeously hot water. Ginny pushes the button and the bath water seethes with bubbles. She looks at me expectantly.

“Yes! I think it’s working. Yes, I can feel the fabric is stretching again. Oh thank the Lord!’

 With the crisis beginning to pass, Ginny starts to berate me. ‘Why do things always happen to you? You just seem to attract trouble. You…’

I don’t see how I can be held responsible for Sergio’s poor design work and am about to try and defend myself when I see Hot Gossip heading in our direction. ‘You disappeared again!’ says Lorraine. ‘We need our two biggest fans! Woa! A Jacuzzi! How gorgeous! We need a good soak after all that exercising. Come on girls!’ And, one by one, they all climb in and sink down into the water around me and Ginny. There are ten of them and the two of us – I am sure the jacuzzi is only designed for eight. Everybody lies back and closes their eyes. No one speaks for a while. Finally, I can feel the restrainer is starting to return to normal as the fabric warms up and relaxes and at last the awful tightness eases. 

I whisper to Ginny, next to me. ‘I think it’s finally working!’

‘Thank the Lord,’ she replies, settling back and closing her eyes like the others. ‘Perhaps now we can actually start to relax for a change.’ 

I too lie back and close my eyes. Yes, the fabric of the restrainer seems to be back in balance. I can feel it stretching. It seems to be stretching a lot. An awful lot. I slide my hands below the water for a quick check and realise with heart stopping horror that I now have a much bigger problem. A much, much bigger problem. What on earth am I going to do? When I tell Ginny she is not amused. ‘I can’t help it, it’s the pills!’ I try and say. 

‘And who took the pills?’ Ginny rebounded. ‘Let me just recap.’ she says, and I can hear the sarcasm in her voice. ‘You are sitting in a spa bath with ten, let’s just say “mature” dancers. You are wearing a bikini. And pretending to be a woman. You have fake boobs. You tried on some ridiculous gadget you’ve never properly tested and you’ve taken, not one, not two, but three Viagra tablets. And it’s not your fault?’

‘I’m not pretending,’ I say quietly. ‘I’m just trying to be the best woman I can.’ 

Ginny relents a little. ‘Okay.’ She sighs. ‘Ginny will come up with a plan, as per usual.’

Lorraine and the girls are now sitting up and chatting away. Conversation turns to tales from their days on the road, as funny stories are passed around the circle. ‘Do you remember that time,’ says Lorraine, ‘when we were on the Top of the Pops Roadshow and just before going on for a 60s miniskirt number, Angie realised she had forgotten her black panties? We drew them on with a black marker pen and nobody noticed!’ There are howls of laughter around the circle. 

‘Except for that man in the front row!’ Someone threw in, and everyone laughed even harder.

Ginny and I are laughing along to the hilarious stories. We don’t notice when the background humming from the jacuzzi’s pump stops and all the foaming bubbles die away. Lorraine continues. ‘And then there was that time… Oh! Goodness!’ She stops dead. She is looking down into the now crystal-clear water in front of me. Everyone in the circle does the same. There is a grasp of surprise ‘Why, Lilly! You’re still wearing your shower shoes!’ There is laughter all round and then, thank God, quick thinking Ginny hits the button on the side of the pool and the stream of warm, foaming, obscuring bubbles resume. Ginny mutters and swears under her breath next to me. I can tell she is very cross and I have to admit I can’t blame her. But she’s a good friend, and every two minutes, when the pumps stop, she hits the button and my cover is maintained. 

Then one of the dancers notices something floating in the water. It’s pieces of fabric, some bright pink and some skin coloured. She picks one piece up. ‘Oh, look this has got a label. It says “Maria & Marina – Milan”.’ My blood runs cold. A quick fumble below the water confirms the horrifying truth that the Vesuvio and my Malibu Mandy bottoms are now no more. 

‘Oh God! Oh God!’ Ginny is repeating over and over. 

‘Ginny, keep pressing the button!’ I say. 

‘Oh, really? Do you think?’ She says, looking daggers at me. 

‘What do we do?’ I plead. ‘We can’t keep this up forever. The pump won’t take it. I think I can already smell burning.’ But then, my very worst fears are realised. Distracted in my panic, I have allowed my feet to float up to the surface and, too late, I see my shower shoes bobbing away to the other side of the bath. Everyone goes quiet staring, open mouth my huge man-feet. I want to die. 

‘Why, Lilly, your feet are so… masculine… dear!’ Says Lorraine. ‘They make you look like, well, you look like you are really a… man. Are you? Are you, Lilly, really a man?’ And just then, the pump gives up the ghost, the bubbles subside and the full truth of my condition is revealed. Everyone is staring into the water. I have had enough. Overcome with the worry and nervous exhaustion, I begin to sob uncontrollably. Ginny jumps to my defence. 

‘Lilly is a man, sometimes, yes! But the Lilly I know best is a woman. There are things she can’t change, things she can’t help, but she is trying her best.’ 

Hot Gossip all look at each other as if reaching agreement, then Lorraine speaks. ‘Do you know, forty years on the road in the pop world teaches you a thing or two about life. Lilly, we completely understand. One of the most important things we’ve learnt as a dance troupe is that you stick together. If one of you needs help you are there for them. You and Ginny are our biggest fans and today, you are honorary members of Hot Gossip.’ 

The dancers confer among themselves. A plan is forming. The changing rooms are on the other side of the pool and must be 50 yards away. Lorraine says, ‘Do exactly what we do. Are we ready girls? Three, two, one, everyone!’ 

There is much sloshing and swirling of water as the dancers stand up as one. They gently push me and Ginny into the middle of their circle. ‘Okay, let’s go!’ Says Lorraine. And keeping shoulder to shoulder and with perfect coordination and synchronisation born of years of rehearsals, Hot Gossip glide, as one, towards the changing room door. They pause, surge and sway in time to the piped music playing through the sports centre as they go. Ginny and I are almost completely hidden in the middle. 

Ginny is muttering under her breath, over and over, ‘Never again! Never again!’ 

‘At least I’ve still got my Malibu Mandy bikini top on,’ I suggest. Ginny just huffs. We are almost at the changing room when Sally, the centre manager and handyman Derek appear, blocking the way. 

‘Ah, there you are ladies,’ says Sally ‘You all look amazing! I just want to let you know that we’ open to the public in 20 minutes are you up for some autograph signing? Oh, ‘she says, spotting our heads in the middle ‘and I see you have Lilly and Ginny there. Would you to mind coming and collecting all your bits and pieces from the sun loungers – we just don’t want anything to go missing do we!’

 Ginny and I look at each other anxiously. ‘Don’t worry!’ whispers Lorraine, and the formation changes direction, slinking and flowing towards the sun loungers. Everyone picks an item: our towels, our books, our sunglasses and we turnaround, as one, back towards the changing rooms. And then, finally, and with tremendous relief, we are inside, safe behind the “reserved for celebrity guests” signs. 

‘Brilliant, you two. You did it like you were professionals!’ says Lorraine. ‘If we are ever short for a gig can we call on you?’ I think she means it and say she could if I was free and everyone laughs. 

The dancers all start to dry themselves off and get changed ready for the autograph signing. They are, understandably I suppose, absolutely fascinated in me, especially when I take off my Malibu Mandy bikini top. 

‘Look! You’re half and half!’ they say, standing round me. ‘They are amazing!’ they coo, pointing at my top half. ‘We have never seen such convincing fakes!’ Several of them have to go and get their glasses and they fire off lots of questions as they give my “Super Marias” a close inspection. They all want to note down the contact details for Maria and Marina. 

‘But none of you need any fake boobies,’ I say. ‘You are all gorgeous in that department!’

‘No!’ they laugh. ‘But we would all love to have some of those blue pills! Just look!’ 

And then we are changed, safely back in our day clothes. As the doors open, in come the fans and our time with Hot Gossip is over. What a day we have had, though! Ginny and I head to the restaurant for a celebratory lunch, me carrying a large pile of towels in front of me. I say to her ‘we’re never going to forget this holiday, are we?’ 

‘No we are not!’ she replies, ‘and for all the wrong reasons.’ 

I can’t put my pile of towels down so Ginny chooses my sandwich and drink for me and carries the tray over to our table. With the towels in the way I am too far from the table to reach my plate so Ginny puts the tray on top of the stack. ‘But weren’t Hot Gossip amazing?’ I say. ‘They were absolutely fantastic, such lovely ladies. And when I had my little problem, they were so understanding and they put me at my ease.’ 

‘Really?’ asked Ginny. ‘You certainly couldn’t tell. Well, I don’t think they will be forgetting you in a hurry, either.’ she said leaning down to get something out of her bag. ‘I’m not sure you really deserve this but they have given us both a little gift.’ And she pulls out two cellophane bags, each containing a complete outfit from Hot Gossip’s “Starship Trooper” routine. 

‘Oh wow!’ I can’t help screaming. ‘That is just what I have always wanted! Ginny, Ginny can we please go back to my flat and try these out, right now?’ 

‘Well, I agree we should leave.’ she replies. “I don’t think it’s safe to leave you here a moment longer – goodness knows what you’re going to do next – but perhaps we had better leave our Starship Trooper dance until tomorrow.’ she says nodding down at my pile of towels. ‘I think “Super Mario” there needs some time off!’

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