"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive ..." Scottish novelist, Sir Walter Scott

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters since the Eloise movies and the characters are the property of Disney and Kay Thompson. I make no money from this work of fiction!

"JOINING us?" Wilkes abruptly sat down, the telephone receiver glued to his ear. "My, er ... wife?" Suddenly his hastily-spoken words from almost a year ago were coming back to haunt him. "Oh yes, yes ... immensely happy, thank you," Wilkes knew his voice was weak, but he felt as if he had just been hit by a bolt of lightning. "Yes, we will be there. Certainly! That is, I will see if ... yes, that's right. Her name IS Nanny ... Yes. Ta ta."

He dropped the receiver back onto the cradle and put his head in his hands. NOW what? He should have been past the age where his imagination and mouth got him into such predicaments, but it seemed that he was in deep trouble right now! At the time, it had been an innocuous comment. He had been feeling the pressure of being the only person in the room to NOT have a family, and had blurted out that, as a matter of fact, he WAS married. And now, thanks to his misbegotten pride and bravado, he had to produce a wife by three o'clock this afternoon. A wife whose name, to be specific, was Nanny. He groaned audibly, thinking of the woman upon whom he had based his imaginary wife when speaking to the president of the children's charity he had so generously supported ten months ago.

Nanny was ... well, Nanny was incredible. Not only voluptuous, a fact which had caught his attention immediately, but she was also outgoing, adventurous, and very quick. She had to be, to keep up with that remarkable child, Eloise. He was sure that Nanny's wonderful ability to embrace the best of life served not only herself but Eloise as well. In fact, should HE be in continual contact with her, her personality could only rub off on him in a good way. After all, he himself was the exact opposite to Nanny, being shy, serious and boring. He found himself dreaming more and more of being in continual contact with her, in spite of fearing that it was a fool's dream. He sighed and murmured under his breath, "You're much too old for romance!" even while knowing that that wasn't true, just by the way he felt whenever he saw Nanny. Whether she knew it or not, she had changed his life.

The very flattering way Nanny had of looking at him adoringly, mostly when he wasn't looking directly at her, had altered how he thought of himself, not to mention the surprise kiss she had given him under the Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago. He had gained a lot of self-confidence thanks to her. But his task today was going to require all of that confidence and then some ... and he had no one to blame but himself. He sighed again, then set about getting ready to go to Nanny's suite ... to beg her aid in this tangled web of deceit he had so foolishly begun to weave.

O o O o O o

Nanny went to shut the door that Eloise had again left open after Bill's departure, and gasped as she dodged behind it upon seeing Sir Wilkes striding down the hallway towards her. He paused, reddened slightly, and lifted his hat. "Nanny."

Nanny put her hand to her heart and felt it beat in time to the unspoken words He spoke, spoke, SPOKE to me, for Lord's sake! "Sir Wilkes!" she almost squeaked after swallowing hard. The way he walked down the hall and invariably greeted her still overwhelmed her, even after four years, and always made her feel younger and ... more girlish. She wanted to bat her eyelashes and giggle, although she never did either as a rule! She knew she didn't feel that way just because Sir Wilkes was a very dapper man and she had spent many an delightful hour imagining the body beneath his three-piece suit. No, it wasn't just his looks which drew her to him. Rawther, it was his confidence, his breeding, his very being. She acknowledged the gulf between them without rancour, but knowing about that gulf had not stopped her from looking and dreaming. Suddenly she realized that, instead of walking on past as he usually did, Sir Wilkes was standing before her, hat in hand, and a sheepish look on his face. "Sir Wilkes?" she managed to say again, aware that he obviously was going to say something more than 'good morning'.

"Nanny, I was hoping to see you this morning. Might I have a word with you?" He looked around as the elevator bell dinged, then back at Nanny and added, flushing slightly, "Inside, if possible?"

"Aowww, for sure, sure, sure!" She stepped back to let him in, wondering if she was still asleep and dreaming.

Eloise looked up from the table where she was eating her breakfast. "Good morning, Sir Wilkes!" she said cheerfully.

"Err, good morning, Eloise," he managed. Then he turned back to Nanny, still not quite certain how to explain his predicament. "Nanny, I must confess to having made a terrible blunder. T-that is to say, could I ask you to ...? Well, what I mean is ..." His voice trailed away and he looked quite miserable.

"Just say it, Sir Wilkes," Eloise said cheerfully in the background. "I always say what's in my head!"

"Yes, yes ... quite." He took out his handkerchief and wiped his forehead.

Nanny bit her lip, feeling sympathy for him rising sharply. The poor man! Whatever could be wrong? "Please, sit down, Sir Wilkes." She put her hand on his arm daringly, urging him to be seated on the sofa, then settled beside him, since he had gripped her hand as if it were a lifeline. "Now then, what, what, WHAT is the matter?"

"Nanny, after the Debutante Ball last year ..." he began, then paused again, dropping his hat on the sofa beside him and taking both of her hands in his.

"Yes?" she prompted.

"I was at an annual charity affair, and, well, the charity ball is coming up in a few days, and ..."

"And you want Nanny to go with you?" Eloise was listening avidly, and she skipped over to stand beside the two on the sofa. "Is THAT it?"

"Yes. No!" He wiped his forehead again, then resumed his hold on Nanny's hands.

"Eloise, go, go, go and finish your porridge!" Nanny frowned at the child, but her fingers trembled slightly in Sir Wilkes' grasp. He couldn't be asking her to ... to attend a ball with him ... could he?

Pouting, Eloise returned to her chair, then, as she started to pick up the spoon again, she said, "Did you know, Sir Wilkes, that you have to eat porridge or you'll shrivel and dry up?"

Looking somewhat askance, Sir Wilkes eyed her for a moment, then seemed to gather his courage, leaned towards Nanny, and spoke rapidly in a low voice. "Actually, Nanny, at the charity affair last year, well, it's a children's charity, you see. Family oriented. It appeared that I was the only one not to have my own family. So I, well, in short, I INVENTED one. A family. A wife. A, a grandchild. Perhaps it was a foolish thing to do, but I wasn't thinking it could harm anyone."

Nanny was puzzled. Was he asking her if she thought him reprehensible because he had lied? She said nothing, her blue eyes fixed on his brown ones as she waited for him to continue.

"Then today ..." Sir Wilkes swallowed, looking tortured. "I received a telephone call inviting me to tea downstairs in the Terrace Room. Today! With the, er, president of the charity and his wife. They invited me and my ... my wife." Nanny was stunned by this turn of events, and couldn't speak. Sir Wilkes continued rapidly, "So would you consider coming to tea today with me ... as my wife?"

Nanny sucked in her breath, her eyes wide with shock. Eloise jumped up again. "Yes!" she crowed. "You absolutely HAVE to go, Nanny! It's what you ..."

"Eloise!" Nanny spoke sharply, stopping the little girl from blurting out something that could prove to be quite, quite, quite embarrassing. She pulled her hands from Sir Wilkes' and knotted them in her lap, looking down at them for a long moment before looking up at him. "You want me to pretend to be your WIFE, for Lord's sake?"

"Just for tea. Today," he offered lamely.

Again there was a silence. Nanny was rawther surprised at herself that she did not feel more ... flattered. "Why me?" she asked at last, studying him intently.

His face went bright red and he looked away. Then he slowly confessed, "You are the one I told them I was married to. I told them my wife's name was Nanny ... that you looked after our grand-daughter, Eloise, and that was why you weren't with me that night, since your daughter Kay was out of town. I ... I imagined that YOU were my wife ... and told them about you. They want to meet YOU, Nanny."

Nanny was floored. He had imagined that SHE was his wife? Oh my Lord, she must surely be having the most vivid dream of her life!

"Can I come with Nanny, Sir Wilkes?" Eloise was standing beside them, a pleading look on her face. "I could call you Grandpa! Please, Sir Wilkes? Can I come too? I'll be ever so good! I absolutely LOVE tea in the Terrace Room! Please let me, Eloise, be your grand-daughter for this afternoon!"

Looking a little desperate, Sir Wilkes nodded. "Yes, Eloise. If Nanny will come as my wife, you may certainly come as my grand-daughter! Nanny? Would you consider it?"

Nanny looked undecided. "I'm not very good at playacting."

"Nanny, we ARE talking about just tea! I mean, an ordinary tea ... my treat ... today ..." Sir Wilkes pleaded.

"You know the old, old, old saying, the ordinary is only two syllables away from the EXTRA-ordinary," she mumbled.

"Nanny, there's no one I'd rather marry than you!" He seized her hands again. "Please? Please say yes."

Eloise laughed. "That sounds like you're REALLY asking her to marry you, Sir Wilkes!"

"Oh, Eloise ..." Nanny frowned at her when Sir Wilkes flushed and quickly released her. Nanny's glance fell on the book she was reading, and she remembered Mark Twain's words: Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Sail away from the safe harbor. Explore. Dream. Discover. Sail away from the safe harbour? She probably WOULD be disappointed even tomorrow if she did not go with Sir Wilkes today, pretending to be ... his WIFE! The notion still was almost too incredible to believe. She took a deep breath and looked again at the man she had admired for years. "Well, I really shouldn't agree, but ... yes, Sir Wilkes. We will come to tea with you this afternoon and pretend to be your family, for sure, sure, sure."

Very much relieved, his face wreathed in smiles, Sir Wilkes took his leave, saying he would be back promptly at two forty-five that afternoon. After he was gone, Nanny closed the door and leaned against it ... hard. It was a solid reality at her back in what seemed like a world turned upside down. He had asked her ... HER, Nanny! ... to pretend to be ... his WIFE! She sank back down on the sofa dazedly. Well, she had taken Mark Twain's advice and thrown off her bowlines in order to sail away from her safe harbor THIS time! My stars, stars, stars! Pretending to be married ... to Sir Wilkes! Oh, my Lord, was she really awake? She hadn't even had one cup of rawther hot coffee yet, for Lord's sake!

O o O o O o

By tea time, Nanny and Eloise were finally ready. Eloise wore the adored pink dress her mother had sent her from Paris just in time for the Debutante Ball last spring, since she had almost grown out of it. The child had convinced Nanny to wear the new outfit Kay had given her for Christmas ... a simple blue silk blouse the colour of her eyes, a filmy paisley Hermès scarf in blues and grays, and a blue linen skirt to match. Nanny eyed herself in the mirror and admitted to herself that it was a very flattering outfit. She turned to make sure the seams of the stockings up the back of her legs were straight, and that the garters did not create unsightly protrusions on the skirt. The full body corset that was holding her in helped immensely, for sure, sure, sure! She was gratified to see the flare of admiration in Sir Wilkes' eyes when he arrived to pick them up.

"Err, I also remembered that you need a wedding ring ... THAT would have been quite a terrible blunder!" he stammered when he could speak again.

"Aoww, yes, quite ... quite." She shyly held up her hand. "I DID put on my mother's engagement ring ... it's a little tight, but ..."

"It's lovely. And I do believe it will match MY mother's wedding ring which I brought for you to try on." he dug in his pocket. "They are both white gold ..."

Nanny worked the diamond solitaire off her finger and held out her hand. Wilkes took her hand and slid the ring on ... then continued holding it in place while his eyes met hers. She felt her heart begin to pound, and she felt her hands grow damp. Oh, my sainted Aunt Fanny, he had placed a WEDDING ring on her finger! If ONLY this were the real thing! And oh my Lord ... the look in his eyes ...! At last she tore her gaze away and looked down. "It ... it's lovely. Perhaps a little large, but ... I'll put my ring back on and that should hold it in place. Are ... are you sure, sure, SURE you want me to wear it, Sir Wilkes?"

Still holding her hand, he said earnestly, "I am quite certain, Nanny. And Nanny ... please ... call me Wilkes ... or ... or even Willy ..."

"I'll try," she promised breathlessly.

"And I will remember to call you Grandpa!" Eloise nodded firmly.

Brought out of her fanciful dreams by the sound of Eloise's voice, Nanny pulled her hand from Sir Wilkes' and pushed the diamond ring back over her knuckle. She eyed the two rings, which did indeed match very well, with a sense of disbelief. She was pretending to be married ... and she had the rings ...

"Let's go, Nanny and Grandpa! I'll bet they're waiting to meet you ... and ME, Eloise!"

O o O o O o

Over an elegant tea in the Terrace Room, the Fitzgeralds were really impressed with Nanny, whose initial timidity rapidly wore off shortly after being introduced to Felice and Patrick Fitzgerald. Not generally shy except when it came to Sir Wilkes, Nanny found herself speaking rawther eloquently about family, children and charities with the very open and friendly Mrs. Fitzgerald. Wilkes, as he had done at the ill-fated tea with Mrs. Daniels, merely sat and listened, nodding occasionally when he agreed with one of her points. Eloise was very well-behaved, too, although Nanny thought the child rawther overdid the number of times she called Sir Wilkes 'Grandpa'! At any rate, when it came time for the Fitzgeralds to leave, they reiterated their invitation to the charity ball when speaking to Wilkes and told him to be SURE to come and bring his lovely wife.

"I am pleased to get the invitation," Nanny smiled, "but while Kay is in Paris, I, er, WE are responsible for Eloise. If it is at all possible, however, I would be delighted to come."

Mrs. Fitzgerald impulsively hugged her. "I'm so glad! We'll see you then, Lady Nanny!"

Nanny almost lost her composure when she was given that title, but Sir Wilkes immediately took her hand and said earnestly, "I DO hope so!"

Mrs. Fitzgerald continued, "Oh, and I don't know if Wilkes has told you, Lady Nanny ..."

"Aoww, please call me Nanny!" Nanny interrupted desperately. She inwardly cringed hearing her own name in connection with 'Lady', knowing just how far from the truth it was.

"Thank you, Nanny ... and I am Felice and my husband is Patrick. Anyway, as I was saying, when Wilkes purchased the tickets for this gala, he also reserved a suite in the Waldorf=Astoria for the night. You know you CAN get into the rooms beforehand and dress there, if you wish."

"I don't know if that will be nece..." Nanny began, a flare of panic suddenly rushing through her. A suite? For the NIGHT? With SIR WILKES? Oh, my LORD!

"And we'll expect to see you for breakfast the next day, is that all right? Wilkes has been of such help in the planning of these events and in supporting our charity ... and it would give us time for more visiting. If we lived in New York, it really WOULD be much easier!" Patrick added.

"I was so pleased to hear that Wilkes married!" Felice bubbled. "Some men seem rather ... incomplete ... without a wife, don't they? I always thought, before you two got married, that there was a poor woman somewhere who was missing out on a very special man! Wilkes IS special, isn't he?"

Nanny smiled crookedly. "I always thought so," she commented, relieved to finally be able to tell the truth.

Eloise piped up, "She ALWAYS was red in the face and breathing funny when he walked by, but she wouldn't tell him she liked him! I ALWAYS say what's in my head!"

Nanny flushed miserably when Sir Wilkes' eyes widened at this news. Felice grinned and said to the child, "It's a very good thing they managed to get together, then! Were you a bit of a matchmaker in their romance, Eloise?"

"I absolutely LOVE to fix things!" Eloise confided. "So I did what I could ..."

"Honestly, Eloise, that's quite enough. Mrs. Fitzgerald doesn't need to hear all the details." Nanny rolled her eyes.

Felice laughed, and said, "Oh, but they're wonderful to hear! I was dying to ask you. Maybe when we're alone sometime you'll indulge me and tell me the story. I must confess that I am an incurable romantic, and love hearing how my favourite people got together and found love! Wilkes has been one of my favourite men for a while, and now that I've finally met you, I can see why he fell in love with you and married you so quickly."

"It was sudden, that's for sure, sure, sure," Nanny mumbled. "One minute I wasn't married to him, and the next, I was!"

Wilkes coughed a little, and Patrick smiled sympathetically at him. "I don't know about you," he said, "but my wife talks like this ALL the time."

Nanny spoke up quickly and rawther desperately. "Perhaps we should go now, S ... Wilkes."

"Yes, perhaps we should," he agreed quickly.

"It was lovely meeting you, Nanny ... and if we don't get a chance to have a good heart-to-heart talk at the ball, we'll have one the next morning at breakfast. Ta ta, Wilkes. Thank you for bringing your charming wife and delightful grand-daughter."

When the three finally managed to get away from the Fitzgeralds, they were quiet as they walked through the lobby. Once in the elevator on their way back up to the sixteenth floor, Eloise demanded, "Why can't *I* come to the ball? Mrs. Fitzgerald thought I was charming, even if she DID think I was saying 'granny' instead of Nanny! But I like balls, too!"

"This one is just for adults, pet," Nanny said absently. "And I'm not at all sure I will be going, after all."

"Perhaps you could find someone willing to stay with Eloise for the night ... er, or even just the evening?" Wilkes suggested. Although not one for much pomp and circumstance and dancing, he was feeling a strong urge to hold Nanny in his arms again. He looked at her admiringly. She had been WONDERFUL this afternoon, and had more than covered for his deceit!

Nanny stared at him. He absolutely could NOT be serious, for Lord's sake! "You DID say you only wanted me to be your wife today ... for tea!" she reminded him.

For a moment Wilkes was downcast, then he offered timidly, "I ... I was just trying to make it sound less ... formidable, in the hopes that I could tempt you to agree. I ... I'm afraid I wasn't listening to what was in your heart."

"My ... my heart?" Nanny heart's was thumping crazily in her chest suddenly.

"YOU know, Nanny," Eloise broke in. "It's what you're always telling me when I say what's on my mind. You say it's not enough to just follow your OWN heart, but you have to listen to what's in other people's hearts!"

"Yes, you ... you said that at our tea ... with Mrs. Daniels ... last spring. I've never forgotten it." Wilkes admitted.

Nanny could find nothing to say in return to that. Upon their arrival at their suite, Nanny sent Eloise in to change her dress. Then she turned to Wilkes, aware that he was hovering somewhat awkwardly by her side, an undecided expression on his face. Should he leave? Should he stay a little longer and attempt to convince her to join him at the ball? Neither really wanted the afternoon to end, but nor could either of them come up with a good reason to have it continue.

Finally Nanny murmured, "Would you care to come in?"

"Oh, yes, yes ... thank you!"

The two perched on the edge of the sofa, not looking at each other. Nanny fiddled absently with her scarf, and Sir Wilkes commented after a few moments, "Felice liked your scarf, didn't she?"

Nanny dropped it and put her hands together politely. "Yes, she did, for sure, sure, sure."

A naughty streak of mischief had Sir Wilkes leaning forward with a faintly wicked grin and saying in an undertone, "So did Patrick! He and Felice are, it seems, rather ... adventurous. You should have heard the suggestions he had for how we could use the scarf to facilitate our, er ... marital relations."

"Sir WILKES!" Nanny stared at him, shocked, and he looked away abashed.

Then Eloise came dancing out of the bedroom dressed in her usual black skirt and white blouse. "I have to go do my rounds!" she announced. "But thank you again for tea, Sir Wilkes! I absolutely loved it ... GRANDPA!" She slammed the door as she left, and Nanny winced.

Wilkes hesitated for a second, then said, "Did you really ... that is, when Eloise said you liked me ... well, I know she wrote that invitation to you for tea last spring and signed my name to it, but I hadn't realized ..."

"Aoww, it's nothing, really," Nanny spoke a little desperately. "And you know Eloise ..."

"Yes, of course."

Quiet descended again. Then, when Nanny started fiddling with her scarf again and the silence began to stretch longer, Wilkes suddenly leaned forward and put his hands over hers to still them. "Nanny," he said softly, "thank you for this afternoon. You made a big impression on the Fitzgeralds ... and an even bigger one on me. You are amazing!" For a second his words hung in the air, and he realized he couldn't cover them up. He couldn't pretend to have meant something else. He was forced to be honest, by his own loose tongue. Then he realized he didn't care in the least. "You really are," he finished in a low voice.

"Thank you," she whispered. Her gaze met his and held. Neither could pretend this moment wasn't happening ... because both WANTED it to happen. "I'm not making this up, am I? This ... feeling?" she asked at last, wondering if she was losing her mind. She moistened her lips nervously with her tongue.

Wilkes smiled at her blunt honesty. How refreshing! "No," he murmured. "Oh no, Nan. This feeling is real."

He didn't flinch when she tugged one hand away to touch his face, his cheek, his ear. And in the end, she really didn't know who kissed whom first. They both leaned forward and came to rest against each other. Her lips were strong and sweet, like the rest of her and he turned his head, angling for more. It seemed her body knew what to do, even if her mind wasn't working. Her fingers brushed his hair, his neck, and the curve of his ear. He groaned faintly, then daringly slid his hands up her rib cage to stop just under her breasts. She leaned against him, soft and warm in all the best places, longing for his hands to move up just a bit to relieve the ache, for Lord's sake!

While he had certainly never forgotten how good it felt to kiss a woman, he had never dreamed how wonderful it would feel to kiss Nanny! And none of the kisses he had ever given or received in his entire life had affected him the way he now felt while kissing Nanny. He wanted to whisk her away, lock the two of him in his room and spend the next several days kissing her ... and more.

At that point Wilkes completely lost his head. No longer was this just a pleasant dalliance. It was far more serious for BOTH of them than that! Nanny was much too giving for her own good. He couldn't, or SHOULDN'T, keep kissing her, but Nanny was so ... Nanny ... and she swept him away. He loved how she poured out sensuality and emotion, responding to his kisses as if she loved the taste and the feel of him, as if she craved how he made her feel. She told him that with every kiss, every touch, every volatile response. She kissed him back as if he made HER feel swept away. Tension escalated like an out-of-control fire which was too hot, too wild and too dangerous to go near. Yet all he could do was take more of her, love more of her, ask more of her ... and need more of her.

And then the doorbell rang; the buzz long and insistent. Eloise was back.

O o O o O o

The next day, a very apologetic Sir Wilkes knocked on the door. Nanny answered, and blushed when she saw him standing there.

"I behaved abominably yesterday afternoon, Nanny," Wilkes began, and Nanny gazed at him, not commenting one way or the other. He continued doggedly, "I made a dreadful blunder, and not only for dragging you and Eloise into my deceit ... I'm terribly sorry. And I really must apologize for my actions afterwards. It was unforgivable and had we been caught ..." he stopped. The hurt welling in her eyes made him feel lower than a snake's belly. Then she looked down without saying anything. Wilkes cringed. It was no doubt for the best to ignore the entire episode. He would never forget it, of course ... it had been much too delightful for THAT ... but he should ignore it.

Eloise came bursting into the room, and for once both of them were very glad for the interruption. "Hi, Sir Wilkes! I talked to Maman last night, because, of course, she phones me every day or else I'll miss her too, too, too much! She's coming home! Isn't that absolutely exciting? Tomorrow! So Nanny can go to the ball with you!"

Nanny's head rose sharply. "Oh, no, Eloise! That was rude, rude, rude! Sir Wilkes never ..."

His voice over-rode hers. "Yes, you MUST, Nanny! The Fitzgeralds specifically asked that you attend, don't you remember? And you agreed that you would if you could!"

Their session on the sofa had effectively wiped most of the afternoon tea meeting from Nanny's mind, but now she had to acknowledge that Sir Wilkes was indeed speaking the truth.

He spoke hurriedly. "Please, Nanny, please come with me. We, er, we don't HAVE to stay the night ... but it IS a suite, you know ... and we are to breakfast with the Fitzgeralds ..."

"Aoww, but ..." Nanny hesitated.

"Go on, Nanny," urged Eloise. "Maman will be here! You can go and enjoy yourself ... with your husband!" and she grinned.

Both Nanny and Sir Wilkes blushed at her words, but Nanny recovered more quickly. "Don't be silly, Eloise! Aoww, and Sir Wilkes, I really should, should, SHOULD give you back your ring ... what if I lost it?" She began to tug at her ring which was holding the other on, but he stopped her.

"No, no, Nanny, please. Keep it until we go to the ball ... and you WILL come, will you not?"

Her lips tightened. "Very well," she said at last. "I will go to the ball. But I don't want to hear one more word about what happened yesterday!"

"What happened yesterday?" Eloise asked. "Besides the tea, what happened?" The two adults locked eyes, and neither replied. With a sigh, Eloise said, "I absolutely hate being ignored."

Eloise did NOT hate shopping however, and the moment her mother arrived home the next day, Eloise insisted that they had to go shopping because Nanny needed a fancy new dress. Never one to delay when it came to shopping for clothes, Kay promptly took the two out ... and almost immediately found Nanny a dark blue ballgown which, although sleeveless and backless, had a matching lace bolero jacket to go with it. Nanny hesitated, wondering how it could possibly look as lovely on her as it did on the hanger.

Before Nanny nodded her agreement to try it on, Eloise urged her to get some really fancy lingerie to go with it ... 'something in pink lace!'

"Eloise, the dress is dark blue," her mother said, amused. "She needs BLUE lace, not PINK."

"And ribbons!" Eloise cried, as if her mother had not spoken. "Absolutely loads of ribbons and lace! And maybe even some little pink rosebuds! I absolutely love pink!"

Nanny ignored the colour question. "I can't wear my corset with THAT dress!" Nanny sounded almost panicky. "No, no, no ... this is much too ... elegant for me! Much, much, much! I'm altogether too, too, too plump!"

"Don't be silly, Nanny! The corset and brassiere are built in, but you need some fancy knickers ... perhaps a slimming girdle to hold up these nylons ..." and Kay held up a filmy pair of nylon stockings. "and you'll need some navy pumps, too. Your regular shoes will not do."

Although Nanny protested fiercely when the lacy, beribboned panties and girdle appeared, she was forced to try them on with the dress and shoes and model the entire outfit for Kay and Eloise ... her cheeks flushing while she tugged the jacket down in a vain effort to cover her rawther ample chest.

Eloise was almost speechless with delight. "Oh, Nanny," she beamed. "You look absolutely divine! When I grow up, I'm going to get something JUST like that, but in pink, of course, for ME, Eloise! Nanny, *I* think the dress and the lingerie make you look chic, chic, chic!" and Eloise swayed her hips suggestively.

Nanny privately agreed, but patted her botto and smiled. "It seems as though I've been increasing my botto for years, so it's not likely it'll vanish in a day... whether I wear a girdle or not! And I don't think I'll EVER look chic, chic, chic like that!" and she copied Eloise's moves with a chuckle.

"Maybe if you diet, you'll lose enough to not NEED the girdle." Eloise grinned.

"Hardly ... not in a day! And my mother always told me that girdles are essential garments which create the rigid, controlled figure that is eminently respectable and modest! But THIS girdle is much too fancy for the likes of me ... much, much, much!" Nanny thought of how she had looked just wearing the panties, girdle, sheer nylon stockings and fancy high-heeled shoes, and her face heated even more. "For Lord's sake, I looked like a dance hall girl without the dress! Scandalous!" she muttered.

"I trust no one will be seeing you without the dress, Nanny," Kay said dryly, and Nanny's face turned so red that Eloise patted her cheeks consolingly and brought her a glass of water to cool her down.

Eloise was the one to tell her mother that Nanny's 'date' with Sir Wilkes included the night in a suite and breakfast with the other couple the next morning, and although Nanny said they could just as easily come home, Kay urged her to take advantage of having the entire night off. "After all, I'm here to be with Eloise, and you haven't had two days off in a row for a LONG time! Please, Nanny, just stay as long as Sir Wilkes wants you to stay. And HAVE FUN!" Her eyes twinkled, and Nanny threw up her hands.

"My stars, stars, stars, Kay! You are telling me to go out and have fun, and the entire evening is based on a LIE!"

"Just a little white lie," Kay said. "It doesn't really hurt anyone, does it? I mean, does it matter to ANYone whether you and Sir Wilkes are actually married or not?"

Nanny couldn't come up with an answer to that question, although she vaguely felt that there WAS something quite a bit wrong with the whole scenario. And it DID matter to her, she acknowledged inwardly, with a sense of shame, because she was starting to dream about actually BEING his wife ... and wanting to experience all she could in this time of pretending.

"I think it's absolutely divine that you and Sir Wilkes have a GRAND-DAUGHTER ... and that's ME, Eloise!" grinned the little girl.

O o O o O o

When Sir Wilkes arrived to pick up Nanny for the ball, Kay let him in and said Nanny would be right out. Then Eloise came dancing out and confided excitedly to him that Nanny was absolutely beautiful, and it was too bad that he wouldn't get to see her new lingerie, because it was "très, très, très chic! Lots of lace and ribbons, you know!"

He blushed and his heart kicked up a beat when Nanny appeared just then, pulling on her gloves. She was indeed 'très chic' as far as he was concerned, and he hadn't even SEEN her new lingerie! Yet. That random thought almost made him choke, and a strong wave of desire washed over him. He wasn't close to forgetting the other afternoon when Nanny had been a willing, active participant in his embrace, and now he was attracted to her more than ever.

"I understand Nanny is helping you out of a bind, Sir Wilkes," Kay said with a smile. "I do hope you value her worth properly."

"Oh, I do ... most certainly I do!" he assured her fervently. "She is an angel indeed."

Then his eyes widened as Eloise added in a loud whisper, "And guess what, Sir Grandpa Wilkes? She's got her bag packed so she can spend the night with you!"

"Eloise, please," Nanny almost moaned. "I'm JUST spending the night at the other hotel ... it's not really the way you are making it sound!"

"Me? Making it sound? What are you talking about, Nanny?" Eloise looked puzzled.

"Never mind, for Lord's sake. Be good, pet. See you tomorrow." Nanny hugged the child.

"You be good, too, Nanny! Love you!"

"Here's your coat, Nanny ..." Wilkes held up the long white fur coat that Kay had handed over to him.

Nanny looked wildly at Kay, who winked and said, "You simply cannot wear your old blue coat, Nanny. Just borrow this. It'll fit."

"But ... but what if it gets lost, for Lord's sake?" Nanny stammered.

"It's only a coat," Kay shrugged. "And I'm getting a new one soon, anyway. Go on, or you'll be late!"

Nanny submitted to having Sir Wilkes place the coat over her shoulders, feeling more and more like Cinderella on her way to the ball. This was definitely NOT her! She wondered if she would find herself again once all of this deceit was over. She sincerely hoped so.

"Bye, Nanny! Bye, Grandpa Wilkes!" Eloise called out as they went out the doors and down the hall to the elevator.

O o O o O o