The world knew where she lived. Every year millions pried, watched, even screamed and shouted. But it was not for her. Penelope was invisible to the world. The crowds, most adoringly, came and gawked at the tennis players in the southwest London suburb of Wimbledon. Whatever games Penelope played were hidden by intent. She was a woman of the anonymous mass, shy and reticent. A follower of respectability, a devotee of propriety. Her reputation – if that was not too distinctive a word – was of an actuarial assistant in an insurance company. Penelope Meredith helped to calculate the life and pensions of customers. Her own life was a mystery to colleagues.
There had only been one man in her life. That was her father. He died suddenly five years ago. Now she lived with the mother in the house built in the 1930s when the coming of the District Line Underground spread the people of London into this once small village. Soon the whole area was little more than an extension of the Capital. Except Wimbledon retained its genteel feel. Money and manners were more prevalent than in many other parts of London’s sprawl.
But in the year 2001, Penelope Meredith did not see her middle class, respectable upbringing as an advantage. Before there had been only one man, her late father. Now she rode home on a double-decker red bus and pressed her noise to the window, slight tears in her eyes at the thoughts in her mind. She knew there would be no parental approval – from the living or the dead.
Later that evening Penelope finished dressing in her bedroom. She had planned secretively for this moment for many months. The purchase of the clothes had been done alone and in great trepidation. Most of the ideas came from the magazines she’s read. Even buying the magazines had been an ordeal. There were such stories, such pictures, and such ideas. It was a world Penelope visited in dreams. She was scared. But in that fear was her thoughts of escape. Redemptions through sin had been a phrase embraced by Miss Meredith.
Finally she put on the long beige top coat, tied it firmly around her slim waist with the matching belt, checked that she had put the red shoes in the bag, straightened her hair for the hundredth time, and closed the door to her bedroom. Taking the fifteen treads to the ground floor, she tried to control the panic breathing. Penelope knew what was going to be the first ordeal. The door to the living room opened. Her mother stood languidly, glass in her hand, moving unsteadily into the hall.
“Are you going out, Penelope?” It was an obvious question. Where else did Mrs. Meredith think her daughter was going, wearing her outdoors coat and sensible black shoes?
“Where?” This question was said with an almost simultaneous sip from the glass Mrs. Meredith held.
“I’m going to see Jackie,” Penelope offered, avoiding eye contact, fearful, as all people are that their lie is detectable and painted into the expression on their face.
Mrs. Meredith leaned back against the doorframe. Her sighs were renowned for conveying more emotions than mere words. This one was full of resignation. It should have been directed at a child of five who had spilled milk on the expensive hall carpet, not on a woman of twenty-seven going out for the evening.
“Jackie Hargreaves.” The mother simply said the name. Nothing else. Yet she said so much. It said, I think your friend is too lower class for us. My late husband was chairman of an important bank. We are something in this community.
Penelope had become an expert in interpreting her mother’s sighs and gestures. With a sheepish grin, she left her mother in the hall, closed the large blackened oak panel front door, and walked slowly down the path, flanked by the somber rows of well-clipped conifer trees. She did not smile at the irony in the conservation she’d just had with her mother. Neither did she wince at the hypocrisy in the hidden condemnation of her friend, Jackie. Even her beloved and patient father knew that Mrs. Mildred Meredith was a lush. A well concealed and well behaved one. Never a disgrace, not an embarrassing drunk. But nevertheless, a woman who most of the time, was fuddled with booze. Her inebriation was not made better that it was occasioned by the drinking of expensive wine and five-star cognac.
These thoughts darted through Penelope’s mind like a well-rehearsed image in a play. She was of course playing her own game of charades. She was not heading to see her friend Jackie. Penelope got to the corner by the Underground Station, stood for a brief moment, leaned down and took her ordinary black shoes off. From the bag she produced a pair of red stiletto shoes, slipped them on and took a deep breath. Loosening her coat she let it flap open. Putting the belt and black shoes into the bag, Penelope dropped it into a large bush, walked on down the stairs to the platform and tried to forget the past.
She waited for the train to central London to arrive. A man, a few feet from her, could not help looking at the woman. She wore red high-heels, had her topcoat folded over her arm, and even though a cold November evening, he admired her long legs, revealed to great effect by the very short skirt. The young woman turned slightly. His expression showed envy for the man she might be meeting. Had he been able to enter her mind he would have known she had no man waiting to enjoy her body. The truth was Penelope had yet to select, or be selected, in her desire to become a slut.
The Subway Underground train rattled through the tunnels like a metallic snake, shaking with the pleasure of possessing all the human forms trapped silently inside its writhing body. Station after station came and went. Penelope started to secretly panic. She had thought about this evening for so long. Buying the clothes, talking in hushed tones in little shops in side streets as she selected seductive, totally outrageous underwear. Even on her visits to the library she surreptitiously read books on erotica, trying to learn what was expected of her new persona.
But this had been the outer mask of her need to delve into another world. In her fantasy she had ignored the practically. Where would she meet such a man – victim as she had recorded in her diary, this written confession locked in a desk in her bedroom? Young Miss Meredith had not worked this out. To her, central London was an unknown place. Her mother had talked about the sin of the large city. But where would she find it? How do you seek depravity, she thought as the train reached another stop?
Her eyes remained downcast. Ever since she’d got into the train Penelope was aware of men looking at her. She crossed her legs. The man opposite let his book, hardly read since she gotten in, slip farther away from his sight. His attention was centered on her exposed thighs. Penelope became confused. Wasn’t this what she wanted? The short, tight skirt, the low cut blouse – this was her chosen uniform. This was the thin veil of seduction to catch her fly. She wanted to be the predator. Now it had begun.
Momentarily she looked up. For a second she met the man’s eyes. Then her inner eye saw something else. Above his head were the rows of advertising boards. One said, Carnal Club – for an exotic night. Was this the address? Yes, this is it. My stop. My destination.
Penelope jumped up. The tight skirt didn’t allow her to run, so she swayed and clipped clopped off the train, up the escalator and out into the cold London night.
Repeating to herself the name of the club and its address, she noticed a newspaper seller standing in the semi-warmth of the station entrance. Blurting out the words she asked, “Frith Street. Do you know where it is?” He handed a passer-by a newspaper and rapidly took the money. Glancing at Penelope she again saw that look of lust in the man’s expression.
“Thought you’d know your way around,” he said, a mix look of desire and contempt in his long study of her body.
“I’m new,” she muttered, realizing it was a silly reply.
“Up from the sticks,” he said, giving out another newspaper to a well dressed man.
For a moment Penelope contemplated his words. “Sticks?” she muttered vaguely, before realizing he meant the countryside.
“No, I’m from Wimbledon,” she said, reverting to her innocent personality. The newspaper seller gave her a quizzical smirk.
“Take the second on the left up there,” he pointed. Then as she moved slowly away, called out. “Take care…and good luck.”
Penelope struggled along, her stiletto heels sounding to like ricocheting bullets. The street was a mixture of great contrasts. Blazing neon signs and lights hurt her eyes in a mass of blue and red. Yet everywhere were pockets of sinister gloom. From these alleys and doorways she was convinced that eyes watched her and leering voices muttered.
Then she reached it. The Carnal Club. It was just a single doorway. A man in a black suit stood sullenly and menacingly staring out into the cold night air.
“Do you want to come in, sweetie?” He seemed to speak through a mouthful of chewing gum and pearly white teeth. In her hesitation he added, taking her arm and almost breathing his lustful thoughts into her soul, “Don’t worry about paying an entrance fee, young lady. I’m sure you’ll be welcome just as you are.”
Each step brought the muffled noise from inside the club nearer. Penelope imaged the doorman watching her, studying every sway. At the bottom, she turned suddenly. It had not been her over active thoughts. He stood leering down at her. If her body could be ravished by the thoughts in his eyes then she had just been seduced and taken forcibly.
Her hand went out and pushed the blue painted door. This was to be her entrance into sin.
Sin was not as glamorous as she’d always imaged. Casting her first curious glances around the surroundings of the Carnal Club, Penelope tried to appear confident, although her heart was pounding with the fear of a novice. In truth that is was she was, a virgin in the world of seduction.
The room was lit irregularly, the main illumination coming from the half-circle bar to her left, the scattered tables each having dim, single electric, mock candles. The noise of music brought her head around to the right. On a slightly raised dais was a quartet – pianist, saxophonist, guitarist, and a double bass player swinging his instrument as if it were a delicate dancing partner going through a strange gyration whilst standing on a lone, spindly leg.
“Take your coat, Miss?” The question brought Penelope back to a young woman standing behind her. The interlocutor was a study in bad dress sense and indifference. No more than twenty, the woman wore a very short yellow dress, displaying ample thighs, encased in gaudy blue fishnet stockings. The dress was even more revealing at its top, plunging into a cleavage leaving little to the imagination of those who were fans of the female breast.
“Coat?” the hatcheck girl repeated, this time her boredom spilling over into inpatients. Penelope handed her the coat on her arm, smiled with what she hoped was sophistication, and took the ticket thrust into her hand.
Moving to the edge of the main room, Penelope hoped someone would greet and show her to a table. It was not to be. Shuffling past the first few tables, she sat alone just to the front of the bar. Crossing her legs, the young lady from Wimbledon took a deep breath and thought of all the plans she’d made. She knew her dress was provocative – or hoped so. Perhaps in this den of iniquity she was no more than normal.
Time passed. The band played a series of tunes, which to Penelope’s ears all sounded similar. She hadn’t moved. A few times she looked up and around, imagining that eyes were admiring her. Was it true? Was it lust? Her thoughts were running into panic.
“There’s no service in this club. If you want anything you’ll have to go to the bar.” The voice came to her from the gloom of the smoke filled room. Whilst the world was giving up the cigarette weed, the atmosphere in the Club was filled with more nicotine than an addict could wish.
She looked up. The man standing there was her age, dark of hair and with a moustache borrowed from a 1930′s matinee idol.
Before she could say anything, he continued, “Unless you are a lady expecting to entertain.”
“What?” Penelope heard her own reply and straight away knew it was naive. He grinned back at her. She assembled her thoughts and tried to remember the persona she’d decided to adopt.
“If you’re paying, I’ll have a bottle of champagne,” she suggested, shifting into the act.
“If I’m paying, it’ll be a beer,” he threw back, his darting black eyes taking in her body, or what he probably hoped would be under the dress. Then with an almost tango movement, he about turned and sidled toward the bar. Before his dancing cadence had taken more than two steps, he looked back over his shoulder and beamed the type of smile that could be called lasciviously smooth, he chewing out another remark.
“Not that you wouldn’t be worth it, babe, but the staff aren’t allowed to taste the customer entertainment.” With a shrug, adding, “Not even a sample. More’s the pity.”
She watched him chat to the throng at the bar, noticing his delectable ass, wriggling around in black tight pants. Penelope also saw he wore a dark vest and realized it was the uniform of a club waiter. He was roguishly handsome…but not what she’d fantasized about. Walking back toward her with the beer on silver tray, Penelope’s attention focused on a customer sitting at the bar. He was her prey. Middle aged, brown hair with the gray streaks at the temples, he stared into the distance, seemingly listening to the jazz quartet.
“Here you go, babe. One cold beer and one hot but disappointed guy.” He put down the drink and bowed in mock dignity. “This drink’s on me,” he said almost wistfully, then resumed his cheeky countenance and winked at Penelope. “If you’re thinking about using one of the three rooms upstairs I’d hurry up, young lady. We’ve got two other…” he hesitated and bit his lips…”working girls in tonight, so…” he let the sensual implication float between him and Penelope. For a moment she didn’t catch the sexual innuendo. When it hit her she started to blush like the shy lady from Wimbledon she was. Quickly she recovered and imitated a knowing look back at the waiter.
“Thanks,” she said casually, doing her best to emulate those female movie stars she’d seen and heard. On an impulse she touched his arm and tried to keep her voice husky. “Take a drink over to the distinguished guy over there and give him my…compliments.” This time it was Penelope who gave the knowing wink to the waiter. He smiled, but there was a tinge of disappointment in his expression.
She watched the play role on. The waiter took the drink over to the middle-aged man, put the it on the bar, spoke to him, then both turned and looked at Penelope. It was a quick, stolen glance. She remained cool and gave the merest smile.
Then came the long wait. It was not in Penelope’s character to remain aloft yet alluring. She hardly understood the concepts. Twice he looked over, and then went back to his drink, concentrating on the jazz. When she had decided to pick on another victim, he got up, spoke briefly to the barman, walked as if he was going out of the club, turning at the last moment to come in her direction. In those ten second it took him to reach her table she studied and catalogued every aspect of this man. He was to be the object of desire. It was essential that later she could recall everything and remember what were her thoughts.
His suit was dark blue, with a faint silver stripe, rippling like hidden gems as his body moved. The hair was more auburn than it appeared in the harsh light by the bar. It was the eyes she studied most. Brown, she sighed to herself. That was good. Blue would have been too confident. Brown gave him that puppy look. Yes, I want obedience.
“Thanks for the drink. Can I see down?”
“Sure,” she shrugged, outwardly indifferent, inwardly shaking.
“You must allow me to buy you a drink.” He sounded polite. Penelope did not really hear him. Her mind was racing through a script she’d written many times. There were impromptu parts in the play, but she realized this was an opportunity she should grab. Fighting her panic, she found the words.
“That wont buy me,” she huffed, not dismissively, but with an edge of suggestiveness. Counting ten she let her eyes rise up from where her hands rested on the table. Meeting his brown eyes she puckered her lips. The waiter’s words flashed through her mind. “There’s a room upstairs we can use.”
She kept her stare directed at him, willing this man to pick up the verbal and bodily clues in their charade of the lustful night. Part of her wanted to take his hand in reassurance and say, don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this, neither have I. But that would not have been the part she wanted to play. Penelope had designated herself as the slut, the temptress.
She wanted to scream. The shy lady from Wimbledon was giving herself to this stranger and he was asking about the cost. Then the delicious thought struck her. Wasn’t this bargaining for sex a sensual element in what she sought? The price of sin, the cost of her body, the monetary value on their lust. Yes, she mentally grinned, making her feel these inner desires were nothing more than commodities to be bought and sold. Deliciously sin was at the core of what she had imagined.
“You’re paying for my body. I’m paying for your submission. Let’s call it quits.”
He did not answer. She took his hand, not to reassure, but to lead. She saw the waiter, gave him a nod. He understood the unspoken exchange, and pointed to a flight of stairs beyond the bar. Penelope went first, her captive close behind. At the top of the stairs she noticed a woman with short hair chatting to a man. Penelope imagined they were negotiating for their night of passion. By another door another woman laughed as she went in with a man.
The last of the three doors along the landing was open. Penelope entered the room and heard the door close firmly behind her.
From somewhere outside, the flickering lights of the gaudy clubs and bars sent strobes of blue and yellow illuminations across the small plain room. Each pulse echoed the beating of Penelope’s heart, the lurid neon flashes casting a lewd glow on the sensuous history of this place. With her mind in a slow motion of recognition, the young woman took in each detail.
The only furniture was an upright sturdy wooden dinning chair by the window – that’s if the bed in the center could be discounted. The very starkness of the painted walls, well-worn carpet and lace curtains, badly in need of repair, emphasized the bed. It was as if the carnal use of the room had deliberately dulled the decor, leaving the groping, sweating and lusting occupants hidden in its grayness. It was just the pulsations of tacky light, which would sporadically illuminate the gyrating bodies, then as quickly hide their sin from the prying eyes of night.
Another flash of light caught the man in its beam. His presence made Penelope jump out of her reverie. Again, she tried to take control, wanting, yet dreading, this moment.
“So you want me, don’t..?” Her words froze. What is his name? This man who is to be both my teacher and my victim, but what the hell is he called?
She recovered her senses. “Sit there.” Penelope pointed to the chair. He obeyed, a slight quizzical look on his face, suggesting he wanted to question but deciding the promise of this woman was worth acquiescent silence. Moving in front, she studied him closely for the first time. “Are you married?” Penelope asked, beginning to compose herself and recall all the many hours she’d planned for this. Now she became determined to act out her chosen role according to the cathartic script in her mind.
At the same time as her question searched his thoughts, Penelope began unbuttoning her blouse. It did not take long as she had deliberately left three top buttons undone when dressing.
“Yes,” he managed a reply, eyes riveted on her actions.
“But you desire me?” It was not said accusatively. If anything her second question was framed neutrally. Again he was more intent on what Penelope was doing than her words. Slipping of the blouse she held it up momentarily, and then watched it float to the floor, its clean, crispness contrasting with the grubby and faded carpet. Looking up she smirked impishly, seeing he was staring at her bra.
“Well?” she rapped out, this time more insistently. “I asked you a question.”
“You are very pretty,” he offered, his tongue licking around his bottom lip.
“What is your name?”
Briefly he looked away from her body, his surprised expression meeting her eyes.
“Alexander,” he stuttered.
“The Great, I hope.” Her teasing manner seemed to pass him by in his sensual haze.
She had decided many months ago that when this moment came she would not want to perform as Penelope. Even worse would have been, Penny, she had reasoned. They both sounded too respectable, too prim. A Penny would never be a slut. In those many private reveries, she had thought of lots of names. But she wanted it not only to be exciting but also retain the image of Lolita. That was important for her.
Smiling to herself, she regretted her age made homage to Nabokov impossible. But as she and Alexander were both actors in life and the only audience, she would suspend belief in reality, and by the end of the night Penelope was determine this man would worship and desire her young body.
“Miranda,” she eventually said, bringing the terse exchange to a close. Played with the clasp on her bra for a minute of sexual contemplation, she casually let the garment fall away to reveal her breasts.
He became transfixed, totally still, as if in a trance. The woman who had become Miranda leaned down, took his left hand and brought it to her right breast. He massaged her in a circular motion, palm of his hand hot, transferring the passionate fire to her skin. The new Miranda ran fingers through his hair for a few seconds before roughly forcing his face into her left breast. Alexander’s lips sought the erotic comfort of her nipple, sucking like a love child. When his desire rose and she detected the fire of his desire, she suddenly pulled away, holding back his advances with outstretched arms.
“Sit and watch,” Miranda the slut commanded, walking away from the seated Alexander, every few steps stopping and coquettishly looking back at him over her shoulder. When she slowly reached the bed, Penelope waited a long, silent, heart stopping few minutes. With out a word Miranda unzipped her skirt and let it slide to the floor with sensual gravitation. Her giggle was not that of an innocence. Stepping from the skirt she hooked toes in its bodily warmed material, and kicked it toward Alexander.
“Does your little Miranda deserve a reward, my dear Alexander? She simpered and stood, hands on hips, contemplating where his eyes wandered. She saw them go to her upright small breasts, search down her stomach and take in the lace, minute G-string, linger over the matching suspender belt, and finally leer down thighs to stockings and long legs in stiletto heels. Miranda laughed, and with one high step followed by another, kicked her shoes across the room.
“The rest will cost you,” she said in a low, velvet-lined tone. “What price the stockings, sweet Alexander?”
He made a move to get up. Miranda raised a hand, palm flat towards him. “No.” Her voice was quiet but not to be disobeyed.
“That’s better, Alexander. We play by my rules. Remember that.” She relaxed and sent him a smoldering smile, more than enough to re-ignite his wanting. “The stockings for your shirt and suit. That’s a fair offer,” she grinned. Without waiting, Miranda unclipped her stockings from the suspender belt and started to roll them down. “And you,” she giggled again, pouting her lips and signally a kiss to him.
“Whilst watching Miranda intently, he took off his jacket, shirt, tie and then pants, managing the partial striptease without barely moving out of his sitting position.
“Shoes and socks don’t go with just your shorts, my dearest Alexander. You take them off whilst I slip this suspender belt down.”
Alexander sat and lusted after this desirable young woman. Miranda returned his gaze. In her mind this was not just an evening. She thought of the past, feared the moment and stared into the sinful future.
“You first.” He knew what she meant. Alexander looked at Miranda, seemingly asking for permission to stand, such was the power she had over him. She nodded and folded her arms across her breasts, legs arrogantly akimbo. He stood, paused then slowly took down his shorts. When he stood up Miranda openly studied him, intrigued and fighting to remain the cool sluttish lady she wanted to project. Her sexual experience was not great. But enough to know his arousal had more to show. Although she tried to portray a studied sophistication her mind sped back in time.
She was now Penelope, leaving work, accepting a lift on a late, foggy December evening. Samuel was ten years older than her. She kept stealing glances at him as they drove along the high street, with the festive lights and decorations in the shop windows. Turning left by the park, they traveled by the tree-lined avenue, the houses set back, discreet in their affluence. Two thoughts went through her mind. Would he stop in the dark and make a move on her? Or would he drive her straight home and not want her? She feared both. Confusion and insecurity made the outside world become another place.
It was his voice she first recalled. The car had stopped. Samuel leaned over and his hands were cupping her face, his facial skin darker now it was so close. The kiss consumed her senses. She felt his hands inside her blouse, fingers sneaking into her bra. She remained quiet as he touched her body, rubbing nipples and stomach. She thought Samuel would take her blouse and bra off. But he did not. He moved on, a hand brushing down her thighs, easing up her skirt and caressing the soft skin of her loins. The sensations crowded in on each other so fast that his hand touching the bush at her sex was a surprise. Her body rippled for the first time. Samuel pursued his desire. Penelope felt his fingers push into her vagina.
“No.” she heard herself say. Looking at his eyes she saw the disappointment.
“No farther,” she said, more in pity for him.
“Bring me pleasure this way,” he groaned. His free hand took hers. Her fingers were directed down his pants. The feel of that hard, erect cock made her forget the sexual context and thinks of something so mundane that it amazed her. How could he walk around the office with this THING in his pants? It made her laugh. Samuel gave her a quizzical look.
Miranda blinked and brought back her mind to the room at the Carnal Club.
“Let’s see how much you want me?” she teasingly said, and indicated he should sit.
Whilst Alexander sat five feet from her, Miranda tantalizingly put her thumbs in the side of her G-string, inching it down to expose in a freeze-fame tightly trimmed pubic hair, then another tugging downward shift, revealing a downy covered mound. When the G-string was totally removed she pirouetted around, stately, in a circle like her body was on a slow moving turntable, auditioning her desirous assets to an unseen audience. In the complete silence of the room at the Carnal Club, she listened for the sighs, the moans, and the breathing appreciation of the man watching her. Pausing in the naked orbit, Miranda waited to gauge how Alexander would audibly response to her rear. Memories stirred as she heard him exhale the air of lust.
When she got promotion at work, Lenny had become her boss. His politeness and pseudo-liberal manner did not fool her. Penelope knew how he looked at her when she leaned over to reach the printer between their desks. The perfect object of desire was the rear. Any woman, even the innocent and shy Penelope would know that. Lenny was in denial for three months. When they stayed late to work one evening he succumbed to his passion.
Penelope Meredith was checking the actuarial calculations, standing by the printout pinned to the notice board. Lenny Faulkner, to the world a gentleman, came up behind her. She felt his body press into her. Still the moment of madness was vivid in her mind. The power of his arms and chest as he held her. The force of his will, lifting her light body and bending her over the desk, pinning her there as his hands explored her thighs, pushing up her skirt, pulling down her panties. Was that the moment she should have…screamed, shouted, accepted?
Penelope did not know what he wanted, what he would do. That is what she later told herself. The young woman from Wimbledon knew people would not believe that. So she remained still. Shivered as the hard, probing cock pressed into her naked ass. A cock so erect. Much more powerful and assertive than the one she had felt that night in the car with Samuel.
Miranda completed her circle, seeing, with pleasure and apprehension, that her display had aroused Alexander. His cock had grown.
Holding out her arms, Miranda summoned the man to approach her. Two paces and he was wrapped close, bodies warm, hands seeking, discovering, deciding. He was upright, his manhood pressing urgently into her lower abdomen. She put a hand on his rigid beast and whispered, “You want to fuck me?”
“Yes.” His reply was more a plea.
“If you do its not the end of the night. I want more.”
“What?” Now his voice was husky with bass hormonal tones.
Miranda squeezed his cock. “Satisfaction with your mouth and tongue.” Pausing to let the delight play in his thoughts, she added, “As I will bring you to relief with my mouth.”
Alexander made a move to take her down to the adjacent bed. Resisting, she panted. “What position do you want me in, Alexander?”
She knew in his crescendo of male lust, penetration of her was all he desired. The ballet of bodies was not a male concern. She felt herself give way and let him direct her down onto the bed. Miranda let Penelope slip momentarily into her persona. The young shy female from Wimbledon remembered how, in the past, the man had slipped into her bed, his strong body sensually covering hers. His knees easing her legs apart, lips on breasts, desire on desire, thrusting in and out.
“Like this,” Miranda heard Alexander say.
Will you love me in the morning? She heard that other woman in her head whimper.
“Slut,” came the voice of the ghost in her head,
“What?” Alexander moaned.
Miranda did not reply. She lay and watched the neon lights illuminate, and then hide her sin.