FS Title

Four Star
Part Eight


I woke up after the strangest dream you can imagine, I'd been dancing with someone, John maybe, and next thing I was somehow tied up and struggling to get free.

The fact that I seemed to be wrapped in a combination of bedclothes and apparently was still wearing Bridg's dress from last night might have had something to do with it but it was still weird. I managed to free myself, a look at the clock announced it as being just after five, late enough to be light but too early to get up. Unless of course you've have a bursting bladder and a need to remove the tight underpinnings that I was still encased in.

I struggled upright, at least I wasn't still wearing the heels, but then as I nearly landed on my nose realised that was a mixed blessing. Bladder relieved I set about doing what I should've done last night, which is undress! Easier said than done, I managed to undo the gown and freed myself from that bulk but the rest, well I needed to get the corset off. I'm not exactly practiced in the art and it took me a while just to find the knot in the laces let alone get that by now tight knot undone.

As I tugged and contorted, twice I found myself getting light headed and had to rest. After what seemed like forever I was finally free of the torture of the corset which allowed me to finish stripping. It actually felt a bit odd as I made for the shower, in barely twelve hours of wear I had gotten used to the constriction of the corset.

"Nena, Nena! Time to get up!"

Bridget's voice interrupted my thoughts as I let the hot water caress my sore body.

"In the shower"

"Okay, I'll make some coffee."

I finished my shower and with the weather promising another hot day, dressed in a sundress, cool enough in the heat but modest enough for me to feel comfortable.

With the bus leaving today Bridg needed to start earlier so she went on ahead very trustingly leaving me to pack and lock up. I finished my coffee and went to start packing; it is definitely weird packing skirts and dresses instead of shirts and trousers. It wasn't a long job but I realised that I was leaving almost as big a pile of stuff that I'd borrowed from Bridg, I'll have to sort something out about that. That wasn't all, amongst the discarded clothing was an embarrassing number of fairly large Euro notes, the booty from the passengers last night. I totted it up, sheesh over Euro 400! That's best part of £300, that's not tips, that's a wage! I gathered it up, a tip is one thing, this largesse is another.

I took one last look around to make sure I have everything, that rubber head still freaks me out, but satisfied, I departed for the Lamme just after 7.30.

I dunno how they manage it, the drivers that is, I arrived to find a freshly washed coach outside the hotel, John just finishing the windscreen.


"Tag!" I replied.

"I'll be in for a coffee in a mo."

I had rather more luggage than I started with, I was thankful that Jools hadn't packed any more! Bridg marshaled my luggage into the office and I headed into the restaurant where breakfast was in full swing.

I hit the buffet but after last nights meal I wasn't that hungry so I made do with just a chocolate Danish and coffee. I'd just sat down when John arrived.

"Hey, there some coffee left?"

"Um, ja, here" I poured him a cup of the remarkably good coffee.

"Thanks, all loaded"

"Gut. Um der passengers, they gave me the tip? Yes tip letze nacht."

"Well you deserve it"

"But it is so much"

"They can afford it."

"But Euro 400?"

"Phew! That is a fair haul."

"Here, on Global we split the tip" I passed him half the stash.

"Don't be daft girl, it's yours,” he stated pushing it back.


"No Nena, they want you to have it"

"Please John at least some?"

"Tell you what, I'll take a hundred and they can have free drinks on the way back. How's that?"

Well it sort assuaged my conscience and gave John a noble out too.


I counted out the notes and John made a point of putting them separate in his wallet.


"Better at least."

I felt a bit awkward, sat with John, him completely in the dark as to my real identity. I debated whether to say something, to come clean; I didn't set out to hoodwink anyone, not really.

"You okay? You look a bit lost"

"Um yes, fine, just thinking."

"Nothing too serious I hope?"


"Well I suppose its time to get this lot loaded up." John mentioned checking his watch.

"Yes" I agreed, standing up to join him.

I was taken totally by surprise when he pulled me into a hug.

"I've enjoyed working with you Nena, I wish you were coming with us. I hope our paths cross again - soon."

Talk about gob smacked, it wasn't quite a statement of undying love or anything but I can read between the lines, he fancies me, I mean Nena!

"Um yes, it has been good, I wish the circumstances were nicer."

"Yes" he agreed.

I'm just glad there was no one about to see this little episode. He released me and surprised me further when he planted a kiss on my forehead, whoa! Somehow I found myself leaning up to give him a peck on the nose in reply. Aaargh! What am I doing? Too much is what I'm doing.

"We should, er go,” I prompted.

"I guess so" he sighed.

As I waved the coach off alongside the staff of the Lamme I felt something, something odd. Sorrow? Sadness? And I'm not sure who or what it was centered on either. It was like, I dunno, suddenly there was a hole in my world.

"Your people will be here when?" Bridget asked as we walked back inside.

"Zehn Uhr" I replied absently.

"Ah, you the Englisher fancy" she grinned.

"I do not!"

"You say not but your face disagrees!"

Is that it? Don't be daft girl, fancy a bloke - never. Lets face it I'm really a bloke too and I've got a girlfriend and everything. And you quite like being Nena another little voice mentioned.

"You have time for kaffee then. Come"

Despite the promise of another hot day, I shivered a bit as I waited for the Global bus to arrive. Well okay the seat I was sat on was in the shade but dressed as I was did nothing to alleviate the slight chill. They were late, ten minutes so far and it was giving me far too much time to think about things.

Was Bridget right? Do I feel something for John? Well yes I do but what is I feel? It's certainly not what I feel towards Jools and well, and my relationship with Den whilst close is completely different.


I looked up to see the bus we christened Helga pulling into the coach park with Jools grinning and waving through the windscreen. I stood up and waved back, I realised as I did it that it was a very girly little wave, certainly not my usual brisk motion - what is happening to me?

"Nena!" Jools gushed as the door sighed open.

"You're late" I accused.

"And hullo to you too" Den called down.

"Sorry, I was getting a bit worried."

"Well we had a bit of a delay this morning," Jools stated, "Den has been on the phone for absolutely ages with head office, the police and Wally's."

"What's wrong?" there must be something wrong, someone knows I'm not a girl, did I get a ticket the other day?

"Nothing really, we'll fill you in later, lets get this visit rolling." Den encouraged.

It was a little strange, being back in the company of the Global crew. I know that seems a bit odd but over the last few days I've sort of become a Wally girl, how bizarre is that.

The visit went well although I cursed my choice of dress when I had to clamber onto the miniature mine railway. That was an experience in itself, sat astride the carriage saddle style. I once again shivered as the little train left the morning sunshine entering the narrow access tunnel. And I mean narrow, it seemed barely wide enough or high enough, it wouldn't do to be claustrophobic!

The little train took us some way under the hillside before arriving in a larger open area where we found our guide waiting. It got a bit complicated, as his English wasn't great so I had to do a simultaneous translation! It was very interesting though, silver and gold were mined here into the eighties, there had been mining for precious metals here for over three hundred years.

"What do you think?" Jools asked as we mooched around the shop afterwards.

"Nice" I agreed looking at the earrings she held up.

"You should get some,” she proposed.

"Jools! Don't be so silly"


"Remember Chris?"


I rolled my eyes in disbelief.

“Come on girl loosen up”

I sighed in resignation, I guess until I return to Chris mode I did ask to be treated as a woman. I decided to play along - after all Jools will end up with all the Nena clobber when we get home. Get home, more problems at work I guess, still no point in worrying about that now. So okay I bought a cute pair of gold and silver drop earrings, not that I could wear them without getting my ears pierced!

“So Den, you gonna tell me about this morning or will I have to drag it out of you?”

We were headed back to Braunlage in a roundabout way to give the passengers a last afternoon in our resort.

“Well Jim Burns from Wally's rang, he wanted to thank you again for stepping into the breach. Maureen should be released at the weekend.”

“That's great news, I'll have to give them a bell next week.”

“He said to mention there was a job with them anytime you want it, driving or managing.”

“I er, driving?”

“I'm just the messenger,” Den stated.

I sighed, “So what were the other calls? Jools mentioned the police?”

“Yeah the Kassel police rang about Sunday. Apparently it was a damaged wire in the main loom, how they worked that out after that inferno I've no idea. Anyway they recovered a few personal items from the wreckage and wanted to know where to send them.”

“Poor Betsy”

“I never thought Dennis,” Jools interrupted, “are we taking this thing all the way back home?”

“I need to wring the office later but I think someone's bringing a bus to meet us at the overnight.”

“Pity” she lamented.

"So what about the other call?"

"Other call? Oh yeah Bill."


"He was ringing to find out what was going on"

"But we told him on Monday"

"Well we didn't exactly tell them about you looking after the Wally people."

"I'm in the shit aren't I?"

"Well sort of"

"And how did they find out?"

"You doing the job too well again"


"Passenger power"

Life was going so well this time last week, now it looks like my jobs on the line because I do my job well.

"Looks like I'll need that job at Wally's"

"Bill never said you were in trouble,” Jools noted.

"But I got a verbal warning last time"

"You never said" Den and Jools echoed.

"Well I never thought it would come back to haunt me like this."

"Nena you daft cow" Jools leant down from her perch and gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "Tell her Den"

"I don't think you need worry too much, it seems that word of what you've done this week has arrived at the office from loads of places, Wally's, George and both lots of passengers and um, I might have mentioned it too."


"Well you deserve some recognition"

"Why? I only filled in for Maureen for a few days"

"And helped rescue this lot on Sunday and drove the other coach back from Berlin and..."

"Okay, okay, I give in. But its hardly exceptional is it?" I looked at Den then Jools, by their expressions they at least, thought otherwise.

"I give in!"

"We thought we'd go up on the cable car this afternoon" Jools mentioned, changing the subject.

"Okay" I agreed, to be honest I can do with some r&r.

We were back at Braunlage a little after one and after dumping my case upstairs we headed down to the car park and the cable car up to the Würmberg summit. I like riding cable cars, the silent movement, I know it can get a bit sketchy if it's windy but that's all part of it! The cars on the Würmberg Seilbahn are little 4 seater jobs and I found myself next to Jools as we lurched out of the terminus.

The Harz are hardly alpine in nature or height so we climbed the hillside no more than forty feet above the ground. Even so, about halfway up the wind rocked about a bit and I found my knee gripped in Jools viselike grip. It took about twenty minutes to reach the top by which time the little cabin was getting a bit warm.

"Phew, that's better"

"It was getting a bit warm" Den agreed.

"So where's this restaurant then?" I enquired.

"A bit further up, near the ski jump" Den offered.

The three of us walked the short way up to the restaurant and found a table in the shade; several of our passengers had already beaten us to the top, which meant that the rather brisk middle-aged waitress was already quite busy deciphering the Germlish.

“Einer small beer and one rot wine, bitter”

Its difficult not to smile but they were at least having a go.


“drei grosser bier bitte”


“moment bitte“

She disappeared to fetch the drinks while we perused the menu. I fancied something pretty basic, with a big meal at the hotel tonight nothing too filling either! Twenty minutes later a mountain of French fries arrived hiding a six-inch Wiener schnitzel! So okay, it's a bit more than a light snack, Den had plumped for Nürnberger rotwürst and Kartoffelbrei (that's sausage and mash to you and me) while Jools settled on Schinken Salate.

We took our time and caught up with things in the afternoon heat, even in the shade it must've been 30°C. we checked out the ski jump before we headed back to the Seilbahn for the return trip, I wouldn't have minded walking back but three inch heels are not the best footwear for a couple of miles of forest tracks! Den decided he would which left us two girls to take a car on our own.

“So what are you wearing tonight?” Jools asked as we cleared the first pylon with a judder.

“Dunno, I wasn't really planning on changing.”

“Nena! It's the big dinner? You know, dress up and stuff? What did you wear last night?”

“I er borrowed something from Bridg” I didn't really want to go too deep into exactly what.

“I wish you'd said earlier, we'll have to get you a frock”

“No we don't” I whined.

“Yes we do, no boyfriend of mine is going to show me up tonight”


“No buts, it ain't happening!”

How I ended up an hour and a half later sat in 'Gaby's Friseuse' I'm still not sure. Jools just about stormed the boutique and found what I had to agree was a nice dress, maybe a bit red but it fit okay without showing too much off. I think I mentioned washing my hair at some point and next minute I was being shampooed and primped. I hate to think what Jools told the girl, I decided to let her have her fun, I'll be back to being Chris Hornby in a couple of days after all. What I didn't expect was to leave nearly a hundred Euros lighter in the wallet with my hair, oh yes my now whiter than white hair, in a severely set style. So okay, it does look good and on someone else - well you know what I'm saying.

What I didn't sign up for was having my ears pierced. I thought the girl was just even-ing my hair out, it was only when she showed me in a mirror that I realised what she'd done. Jools!

"They'll heal up"

"I don't care, you never even asked!"

"I'm sorry okay? And you do look cute."

My new look was taking a bit of getting used to; every time we passed a window I got a flash of a woman with white hair. Okay so technically it wasn't white - not like china or paper, but it was on the edge of very, very light blonde! I wasn't sure if I looked elegant or just a tart, the looks I was getting seemed warm enough so maybe it's the former.

We got back to the hotel and it was straight into get ready panic mode, at least my hair is done! We were nearly ready to go out the door before I actually got to see the whole me and I have to admit, Jools was right about the hair and okay the earrings sort of set it off, I think I could fancy me. If I didn't fancy Jools that is.

“Christ Nena!” Den exclaimed when he saw me a few minutes later.

“You like?” I hammed a bit.

“you er look um...“

“She looks fab eh Den?”

“um fab, yes”

“Wind your tongue back in Dennis, its still me inside remember.”

“Well its certainly not you outside”

“Come on you two, we need to get downstairs.”

The biggest difference at my second farewell meal in two days was the surroundings. Instead of the rather cosy surroundings of the Lamme we were in the rather posher four-star premises of our resort hotel. It was all a bit impersonal after the Goldener Lamm and Bridget's team. After eating the Global party was moved to a slightly friendlier function room where our passengers started to relax a bit more.

“Come on Nena, lets have a boogie” Den stated, I swear that's what he said!

“Erm okay”

After last night I was at least a bit more comfortable with the idea of dancing with the men rather than the ladies. I thought that with Jools looking pretty spiffy too I'd not be the centre of so much attraction. But of course everyone wanted to dance with Nena, even if Jools took up the slack! By ten thirty my feet were killing me, which at least gave me a chance to sit down if not rest. I now had to endure 'visits' from the ladies and less agile gents and there was no escape!

At some point I went onto auto pilot grunting and nodding at what seemed appropriate moments in a discourse on bunions. Do these people really not recognise me as Chris? Do I really pull off being Nena that well? So okay my hair's different, I'm wearing a frock and I'm talking in a foreign accent but under the paint it's still me, Chris Hornby there, isn't it? I looked at my reflection in a window opposite; all I could see was a pretty blonde staring back.

“…So I got an appointment at the shropdist first thing Monday.”

“That was good fortune,” I noted.

“Ooh I'll have to get a word with Jackie, bye for now Nena.”

“Bye Mrs. Davies”

“You look tired” Jools stated sliding into the just vacated seat.

“Uh huh” I agreed.

“We should be able to escape soon.” She noted.

“Good night Nena, Julie”

“Güten nacht Mrs. Dawson, Mr. Dawson.”

“Breakfast at seven in the morning” Jools reminded the Dawson's.

Well it was nearly midnight before we got back to our room. Den had cried off earlier but somehow Jools and I never managed to be free of passenger company, well not until I did actually drop off!

“Phew, am I glad to get those off “ I stated dropping my heels onto the floor and massaging my tootsies.

“I don't know how you do it”

“Do what?”

“Well all week while you've been staying with Bridget they've been not exactly quiet but I dunno, more restrained. You're back for a few hours and they've lit up, whatever it is I wish I could bottle it.”

“Don't be daft, it's not me”

“You ask Den in the morning.”

“I don't need to, it's all in your imagination”


Despite being dog-tired I couldn't get to sleep straight away and lay looking into the not quite black of the room, a line of light from the corridor giving things an eerie glow. Why did I become Nena this week? Oh I know what I said on Monday to Jools and Den but was that the real reason? I thought back to the start of the season and the first time that I became Nena down in Austria. That was to make a point and then the week on the Rhein, which was for a bet. I know I had to do a short Nena session for the court case but apart from that I've gone months without even thinking about becoming Nena. Then this week, this week I just about use Nena as a safety net, a crutch. What does it mean? Then there's John, he's a nice enough bloke but I'm not gay so why do I feel sort of, I dunno, squidgy even just thinking about him?

I did finally drop off but my mind was no clearer.

"You got everything?"

"I think so"

I looked around the room again, yep everything, well except my manhood and I'm not sure where I left that.

A shower this morning put paid to my hair do except of course the colour but I somehow felt a bit more at ease without the stiffness on my head.

I did the head count, the sleepy siblings had forgotten to hand in their key card, and we were off. It was another bright morning and the clear skies promised another scorcher. With my absence most of the week

Jools had commandeered the 'host' seat and I found myself perched on the jump seat.

"Penny for 'em"

"Sorry, I was miles away, are you sure head office didn't say I was in trouble?"

"Maybe a bit miffed but not unduly upset." Den told me.

"Don't fret it Nena, we'll sort it when we get back." Jools added.

"I hope so"

We weren't using the autobahns until after lunch today, our route going across the Harz and on westwards to our lunch stop at Hameln - that's Hamelin of Pied Piper fame to you and me. The short stretch of 'good' road saw a flurry of activity as Jools and I did the first tea run of the day.

We cursed tractors, complained about a detour but finally we arrived at rat central.

"We haf two hours and thirty here in Hameln. The tourist office is one hundred metres on the right; the stadt is via the underpass. So back here for one pm please."

The passengers climbed down, the big advantage with the German coach was they alighted onto the footpath, no need for anyone to risk life or limb in the road!

"We going for a walk?" Den asked.

"I've never been" Jools pointed out.

I shrugged, "ok"

We gathered our various bags and followed in the wake of our charges.

"Ooh toilets!" Jools exclamation seemed to prompt everyone's bladder so we all headed into the park to find the conveniences. The one aspect of being Nena I never really get used to is having a wee. It doesn't seem to make much difference what I wear; it's always a hassle! Case in point, Den was in, out and stood admiring some slightly pornographic sculpture before Jools and I finished queuing for a cubicle!

"What took you?"

I glared back at Dennis.


Jools rejoined our party and we made our way out to the plaza where the tourist info is situated.

"Lets have a squint" Jools suggested and always a sucker for information, I followed her lead.

As you might guess there was an over riding theme, i.e. Rattus Rattus and the fabled piper. From ratty hats to stuffed toys, posters and books, the town obviously took its infamy to heart. [I'm sure the politicians would still try to renege on a deal though!] I left clutching a bag with an all too lifelike plush rat inside - don't ask me why, but he looked cute!

Not to say the town isn't pleasant but apart from the legendary Piper the town doesn't have a lot to offer. We strolled up the main street, like many German towns it's pedestrianised until we arrived at the civic square.

"So where now?" Den queried.


"I don't think there's a deal more to see, food?"

"Bit early" Den noted.

"Shopping?" Jools tried.

"What for?"

"I don't know, we might see something.” she offered.

Well we did have some time to kill and it was early to eat.

"Tell you what, you two do the shops and I'll have a bit more of a wander, meet you back here at say twelve? We can grab something to eat then." Den offered.

"Best make it quarter to" I countered without thinking.

"Okay, see you in a bit."

"So, where first?" Jools enthused.

Hang on a minute; have I just agreed to go shopping with Jools? Aaargh!

I don't know why she bothered asking as she half dragged me into what at first appeared to be a random doorway but no, it was H&M! Well I don't have a problem per se but with Jools in the driving seat - well somehow I can't see us visiting the gents department.

"Ooh that's nice, that top's a nice colour..." Jools was away.

I know that in the past I've been fairly 'enthusiastic' about clothes shopping but today wasn't one of those times.

"Come on Nena, you have just got to try this on."

"No I don't"

"Aww, go on, it'll really suit you"



I give up. Here I am shopping with my girlfriend and she wants me to try on dresses and stuff! How screwy is that? And despite my self, I um, quite like what she has picked out - not for me of course! Well it does look quite nice.

"Okay, anything for a quiet life"

"Come on then"

I found myself propelled into what turned out to be a communal changing room, oh cripes!

"Um Jools"

"S'okay, who's looking at you?"

At that moment it felt like everyone in the room and I realised that would actually be true if I continued standing fully clothed by the door. I suppose I had a choice, flee or not, but my girlfriend dragged me in so sealing my fate. It reminded me of school changing rooms - not that mine ever had half a dozen half naked girls in them!

This was way scarier than anything else I've ever done, including wearing a frock for the first time. My best defence seemed to be to follow Jools' lead so I found a spot on the bench and set about preparing to change. I chanced a glance around the room and with some relief realised I wasn't the only one with some reticence towards communal changing. One girl had managed to get a dress on without removing anything - not her jeans or her t-shirt! And I thought I was paranoid!

In the end I slipped my top off, pulled the dress over my head then with my nether regions still covered, loosed my skirt. It worked and there is no way anyone could have seen anything.

"You have got to buy that,” Jools stated. "Go look in the mirror."

I was still not used to my super blonde look but the woman staring back out of the mirror looked, well I guess sophisticated is a bit strong but definitely very smart. There certainly wasn't any sign of Chris in the mirror; nope the person looking back was definitely Nena.

"It just has to be done" Jools mentioned from behind me.

"Uh huh" I agreed.

"Oh bugger, it's nearly twelve, come on lets get that paid for"

"I thought we said twelve?" Den mentioned as we joined him at a table.

"Nena was trying on a dress"

Thanks Jools.

Den gave me a questioning look; I shrugged by way of reply.

"So, how are we going to get you home" Den asked as we perused the menu.

"Dunno, I was hoping you might have some ideas"

"Not really" he admitted.

"What about if you swap back to Chris tonight, Nena says bye and Chris says hi" Jools suggested.

"It might work,” I allowed.

“What about, you know, hair and stuff?” Den asked.

“Hmm, yeah, last time I ended up with hair the colour of mud” I pointed out.

“A wig?” Jools enquired.

“And just where do we get a wig in the next four hours when we are driving for most of that time?”

H&M !”

H&M ?”

“Yeah I'm sure I saw some when we were in there.”

“What about lunch?” I moaned as my stomach gave an involuntary grumble.

“I'm not that bothered,” Jools started, “you two eat and I'll go see what I can find.”

“You sure?”

“Leave it to Julia!” and with that she bounded off.

The waitress chose that moment to appear so our thoughts moved to feeding our faces. With my favourite schnitzel and chips ordered, Den took up the conversation again.

“What're you going to do about clothes?”

“Well I've got the stuff from last weekend still and I can wear Nena underwear, no one'll know.”

“This'll only work if we get there before Russell you know?”

“Hmm, I guess we'll have to give him the heads up, you got your phone with you?”

“Yeah, I'll do it”

I didn't hear the conversation with the traffic manager as Den left the table to make the call. Our lunch arrived while he was talking and I started in on my pile of vittles.

“Okay, that's sorted, he's not going to get to Antwerp before nine anyway so as long as we arrive on time we should have long enough for you to do the switch.”

I let out the breath that I hadn't realised I was holding.

“Well if Jools finds a perücke I should only need half an hour or so to get showered and changed.”

“An hour then, I take it a pruck is a wig?” Den stated.

“Um yes.” I decided not to argue the time point, my chips were going cold!

“So?” I asked Jools when she joined us back at Helga.

“They didn't have anything suitable in H&M !”


“But I did get you some jeans”

“Great!” I moaned.

“I never said I didn't get a wig did I?”

“Er, no, so you did?”

“There was one of those Beat Uhse places and they had some.”

“punters” Den intoned.

Yup, it'd not be good if our cargo found out about the duplicity.

By chance, or maybe it was choice, we were booked into the same hotel we used last Saturday for tonight's stop. At least we should be able to find our way today! Having a pretty generous timetable we weren't too sharp away from the Rattenfanger stadt, in fact we waited while everyone had an ice cream from the vendor who miraculously had appeared next to Helga whilst we were in the town.

The first half hour or so of our renewed journey was still on effectively ‘B' roads before we picked up the west, Dortmund bound E34 autobahn. Saturday afternoon traffic wasn't too bad and we made good time until we reached the industrial Ruhr region. Roadworks north of Dortmund slowed our progress to a crawl but by Herne we were back up to a decent speed. By the time we had cleared Germany's industrial heartland we were ready for a toilet break. We had to wait however until we had crossed both the Rhein and the Dutch border before we could halt at Venlo services. We were not much more than an hour to the hotel from here, we would arrive in Antwerp shortly after five.

“Hallo everyone”

There was a tired rumble down the bus.

“Soon we will be arriving in Antwerpen where I shall be leafing you.”



“What a pity.”

I was warmed by the reaction but I couldn't waver.

“I would love to stay with you, but I haf another job from Monday, and I need to prepare at home.” No lies there. “It has been a pleasure traveling with you all, I apologise that I wasn't able to help Julia out as much as we hoped. In case I don't get a chance in Antwerp I will say wiedersehn now, I hope the rest of your journey home is well.”

“You not staying with us tonight?” someone asked from halfway down the bus.

“Neh, I haf a train to take. I will pass you to Julia now who will tell you of tonight's arrangements.”

I handed Jools the microphone before slipping down to the front again, feeling, I have to say a little sad. I never even noticed the applause and comments that followed my little speech, as I started sniffling into a paper hanky.

Once again we negotiated the Antwerp ring with it's roadwork's and diversions, Den eventually took a chance and followed a local bus to get into the centre as we couldn't see any ‘official' route. The worst thing and particularly embarrassing was that I could hardly rush off when we finally started unloading so pretty much like the other day with the WA passengers, everyone found an excuse to ‘see' Nena. Not bad in itself but the fact that for a second time in as many days I found big Euro notes pressed into my hand caused me to colour up more than a little.

The lack of an included meal tonight did mean that Den, and Jools in particular, could help with the swap back to Chris. As we were losing Helga tonight too, I helped sort out the supplies with Jools before we could join the passengers in the quest for food. We had managed to ‘lose' Nena's case amongst the pile of luggage being stored in a conference room at the hotel and strangely, Chris would be traveling light!

“Beep beep! Beep beep!” The Global phone sounded as we finished a somewhat hurried meal in a small bistro only a few hundred metres from the hotel.

“Hello Russ” Den greeted our boss. “Ostend?…oh okay…about an hour…that'll save time tomorrow…no there's a bar at the hotel…'bout nine thirty then…okay, see you later then.”

“Well?” I asked.

“He's just coming round Ostend so he's going to stop for some scram and refuel, he should get here around nine thirty.”

“Its ten past eight now” Jools pointed out.

“We'd best smuggle you into the hotel then and get you changed.” Den stated as he signaled for the bill.

I think we managed it okay, my girlfriend and best bud left a few minutes before me, a few minutes that I used in the ladies to don a head scarf and some ridiculous oversize sunnies. I already had the dress I ‘had' to buy earlier on, I just hoped none of the passengers recognised me through the flimsy disguise. I think luck was on my side, I didn't see any of the Global clients as I crossed the lobby and a quick reroute up the stairs avoided any potential from the descending lift.

I knocked on Jools' door.

“You look like a right suspect!” she greeted me.


“I was only saying”

I headed for the shower, shedding clothing as I went.


“What now?” Jools enquired of the latest of seemingly dozens of exclamations in the last forty minutes. First it was the falsies having painfully suctioned onto my chest, then it was my earrings and so on. Now it was my nails.

“You have got remover?”

“Of course I have, hang on.” She scrabbled in her makeup bag. “Bugger!”


“I'm nearly out.”

“Jools” I whined

“There should be enough to do your hands, no one's going to see your feet.”


Ten minutes later I stood before Jools for a Chris or rather anti Nena inspection.

“Okay?” I enquired.

“Well you are dressed like Chris, you sound like Chris but I ‘see' Nena. There must be something missing, oops, course there is, the wig!”

I have been in such a tizzy myself that I'd forgotten that too.

“Sit and I'll put it on for you.”

She retrieved the syrup; it was at least not too far from my natural mousy brown. Jools tugged and tucked and eventually declared herself happy.

“It'll have to do”

I checked my reflection, bum, so okay it wasn't Nena in the mirror – but it wasn't Chris either.

“It's a bit long and curly,” I noted.

“Well it's all I could get. I can trim it a bit but I can't do much about the curls. Hmm, you could wear a hat?”

“A hat?”

“Yes a hat, I've got one of those old Global baseball caps here somewhere, if I shorten it a bit and you wear the cap?”

“I don't suppose I've got much choice have I?”

She shrugged and offered a weak smile.

“That's better,” I announced joining my colleagues and a few passengers in the bar twenty minutes later.

“I got you a beer in kiddo” Den stated.

“Thanks Den, hiya Jools” I gave her a hug and a chaste kiss on the cheek, after all we had to convince the plebs that I'd just arrived with Russ!


To be continued?

Maddy Bell 04.03.06


Pictures of Nena have been generated using Ania's 'Cherie' Fkiss doll on Angy-Chan's template and are Copyright 2004. They are used with permission, if you'd like to see more go to www.acharsi.prv.pl

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