"Worrals," said Frecks, sighing deeply, "even for you, this is a bit much."
"Just follow my lead," Worrals said tersely. She turned her head, gave a little wave and a tight smile to another party guest. She propelled Frecks forward as she went, holding onto Frecks' arm with an iron grip.
"Ow!" Frecks complained. "If this is your idea of romantic, I'd hate to get on your bad side."
"Herr Lissie," said a man, appearing in front of them. "How wonderful to join us. But I haff not haff ze pleasure of meeting your lovely wife?"
Worrals nudged Frecks sharply in the ribs with her elbow, and Frecks made a startled curtsey for the Baron.
"She is shy with strange men, my Elizabeth," Worrals replied, in her deepest alto. They had practiced the whole flight over. Frecks was not convinced that it was convincing.
Baron von Flugel laughed heartily. "Ze English Rose," he said, and Frecks discreetly rolled her eyes.
"It is good to know we can haff friendship, after ze war, yes?" continued the Baron.
"Indeed," Worrals replied, forcing a smile on her face. "Now, if you shall excuse me, my wife is keenly interested in your collection of Dutch china and I shall never hear the end of it if we don't see it soon."
"Ze Delft! But she has good taste, ze Frau Lissie. Please, enjoy. It is in ze room straight down this way."
"Thank you, Baron von Flugel," Worrals said, and Frecks gave another small curtsey.
As they walked off, Frecks exhaled loudly. "For the love of Mike! That felt much too close."
"Why," said Worrals, tartly, "do I not make a good man?"
"I do prefer you as a woman," said Frecks, a little quietly, and Worrals looked at her with a small smile.
"Well, come on, my darling wife. We have saucers and serving trays to admire; and a secret passageway to discover, full of treasures stolen from our Jewish friends during the war. We are in the house undetected for now, so let's make the most of it."
"Will I at least get a dance, later?" Frecks asked, grinning cheekily.
"Don't count on it," Worrals replied, and as it turned out, she was awfully right, given the hurried, loud, and rather violent method of their departure some hour and a quarter later, laden with jewels and art.
"Worrals," said Frecks, sighing very deeply, "I never took you for the type."
"Lower voice, Sir Lacey," said Worrals, in her own studied, masculine tone.
"All this dressing up. It's something out of a spy film!" Frecks said.
"You and your films," said Worrals, though she had a small smile.
"Anyway," said Frecks, "I don't see what being two men will accomplish this time. Won't people think it, er, a bit odd? A bit...improper?"
"Nonsense, old chap," Worrals said, "we're adventurers, explorers, no time for women, off on another jaunt. Perfect for a meeting of this big game society, and to find out what else is on those 'planes from Africa."
"I could sock you for that old chap nonsense," said Frecks, but she smiled. "It does rather describe us anyway! No time for men, always another scrape to get into."
Worrals smiled that small, mysterious smile of hers again. "Too true, my lad," she said, and walked ahead quickly, easily dodging Frecks' attempt at a swipe.
The costumes did prove quite useful; when Frecks' shirt was ripped off during the escape and her tightly bandaged décolletage was revealed to all, the shock allowed them the critical seconds they needed to reach the aircraft and take off.
"And a lovely view it was, too," Worrals said, laughing gaily as they soared into the sky. Frecks turned an even deeper shade of red.
"Worrals," said Frecks.
"Oh, I'm in for it now. That tone of voice," replied Worrals. She didn't actually seem in the least perturbed, and continued to watch the window intently through her binoculars.
"The war is over," said Frecks, reasonably. "We've rescued stolen goods. We've flushed out human smugglers. We've rescued - " Frecks paused, and blushed.
"The stranded naturalists on that tropical island?" Worrals prompted.
"Yes!" Frecks cried. "I found it very embarrassing, and I'm embarrassed that you didn't find it as embarrassing as I did. Why, the men were right. War was no place for a woman. Look at what you've turned into!"
"Now Frecks, you don't really mean that," said Worrals soothingly. "Once we're done with this job, we'll take a little rest. Go to the country. But it's awfully important, you know. These men are plotting against the Crown. We simply must discover their plan."
"I'm not sure I'll survive this job!" Frecks wailed, gesturing helplessly at her clothes.
"You make the loveliest French maid," Worrals said, "only do powder your nose again. Those freckles, while undeniably adorable, are rather inconvenient."
"Oui oui, Monsieur Raymond," Frecks said, scowling. "Lucky for you that you got to be the dashing French gentleman!"
It did turn out that having a dashing gentleman was useful: Worrals threw her walking stick at the goon chasing them, and knocked him flat, as they raced for the aerodrome a few hours later.
"Is the map secure, Frecks?" she yelled behind her as they ran.
"Safe and sound!" Frecks replied triumphantly. As the reached the 'plane and took off, she gave her décolletage a satisfied pat.
"All hail the English bosom," Worrals crowed. Frecks just grinned.
"The country, you said. It'll be relaxing, you said. We'll see a film, you said."
"Frecks," said Worrals, panting, "save your breath and run!"
"Close quarters," Frecks said, uncomfortably.
"Rather," said Worrals. She shifted, and was rewarded with Frecks' elbow in her eye.
"I'm so sorry!" wailed Frecks, trying miserably to curl up into herself. "There's not even room for one in this hole, let alone two. I should go. I'm a fast runner. I'll be out of here in a jiffy."
"Not a chance," said Worrals, rather savagely. "If anyone must leave, it will be me. I got you into this jam, Mr Hebblethewaite, and cannot let you take that risk."
Frecks snorted. "I still can't believe that one." She snorted again, then giggled, and then started to laugh, heartily.
Worrals tried to frown, but was quickly swept up in Frecks' merriment.
"Oh, my darling Frecks," she said after their laughter had subsided. "What would I ever do without you?"
"I don't know," Frecks answered frankly. "You need someone to take care of you, Worrals. I don't see why you don't give this all up. I don't see how you keep turning down all the men who are after you. Don't you want to be happy, to find love?"
"Deep thoughts for being squashed in a hole," said Worrals lightly, but Frecks had a determined sort of look on her face. Worrals sighed.
"I don't give it all up because I love it. I don't accept those men's offers because I'm not interested. And I have someone to take care of me already," she said, gently. "And I love her."
"Oh," said Frecks.
"Yes, rather," said Worrals.
They sat together in silence for a few moments.
"I love her too," Frecks said at last.
"It's good to love yourself," Worrals said slyly. "After all, if you don't, who will?"
"You!" huffed Frecks. "I just said - and you crack jokes - and -"
Worrals shifted again, and got Frecks' lips in her lips.
"Oh," said Frecks, a few minutes later.
"Yes, rather," said Worrals.
"Will this change things?" asked Frecks.
The conversation was finished later, soaring up into the sky while dodging bullets, Mr Hebblethewaite having been caught out at his spying but acquitting himself nicely during the fight and chase that ensued.
"Nothing will change," yelled Worrals over the noise of take-off, whooping as she pushed the 'plane higher, "and everything will."
"That's my girl!" Frecks yelled back. "That's my Worrals!"
And they raced on into the dark night.