The Trials of Agnes McAdam – Part 2
Thursday 28th July
3 pm BST
“How did I know that you’d be here taking a very close look Francesca darling?” Guy smiled as he and Grant joined the Marchesa by the parade ring.
“I have no idea darling,” Francesca laughed as she let both men kiss her on the cheek.
“Well let’s start by saying that he may be the fastest racehorse in the world,” Guy watched Aureliano being led round, “and that his owners are old friends of yours.”
“That is true.”
“But should we maybe also say you have a personal interest having bred his dam,” Grant smiled.
“Also true,” Francesca almost grinned. “It’s silly I know but I almost feel like his grandmother.”
understand that Francesca,” Guy smiled, “being a breeder myself I can
understand the pride one can get when a breeding pairing you make works out.”
“The pure speed skipped a generation though,” Francesca looked serious, “Eliana won a couple of very little races but she wasn’t the filly I was hoping for.”
“She passed on the genes to him though,” Grant cast a very knowledgeable eye over the muscular colt, “I was watching his last couple of races last night on Youtube, God can he fly down that five furlongs.”
“He’s an out and out speed machine as you Americans say.”
“That he is Francesca.”
“I’m not going to make any money betting on him though,” the Marchesa looked up at the Tote boards, “he’s prohibitively short odds.”
“Angel and Sue agree – but on the 1-2-3, it’s worth a shot…”
“Again, our congratulations, dear.”
“Thank you,” Pepsi smiled as the older couple walked away.
“More congratulations on the engagement Darling?” Mandy looked amused as she sat opposite.
“Yes,” Pepsi shook her head, “I have no clue who they are, but they seemed very pleased.”
“He’s an old friend of Donald’s from the Foreign Office, and she’s a cousin of Olivia’s darling.”
“Does everyone in the British upper class know each other?” Pepsi smiled, “or are you all simply just related?”
“Pretty much,” Mandy looked over the rail of the box, “I look down and I truthfully do see a huge number of people I know in some way or another.”
“Can an outsider like me ever really become part of all this?”
“You’ve already become part of it darling.”
3 pm BST
As she walked into the large studio apartment, Catherine looked round, the dark glasses covering her eyes as she smiled. A dark wig covered her hair, and she wore a brown leather jacket, corduroy pants and over the knee brown suede boots.
A small redhead walked over and said “I’m sorry this is a private studio, I must ask you to leave.”
“Would you tell your employer an old friend is here to see her?”
“I told you, this is a…”
“Andrea, where the hell is my coffee….” Catherine smiled as Carlin Kardecki came out, her hair swept back, wearing a black leather slip dress. “Who the hell is this?”
“I’m sorry Ms Kardecki,” Andrea whispered, “I was going for your coffee when I saw her, and was just asking why she was here.”
“Fair question – you another messenger from my sorry bitch of a sister?”
“Hardly, Carlin darling,” Catherine said as she removed her glasses and looked at the designer. Carlin looked back for a couple of minutes, and then said “Andrea, take a lunch break.”
As the assistant grabbed her coat and left, Carlin folded her arms and smiled. “Catherine James – I heard you were having a rest cure?”
“I was – and now I’m rested, and I need your help Carlin.”
“To bring down the bitch friends of my sister – especially the Gaunt family.”
Smiling, Carlin said “Tell me more…”
6 pm BST
Tamsin looked up as Agnes came in. “Hey – how are you?”
“In need of a drink – want one?” Aggie said as she poured herself a whisky.
“No thanks – bit early.”
you back any winners?" Aggie gave her sister a peck on the cheek and then
couple," Tamsin tried to smile, "I listened to young Angelica and she
gave me some nice tips."
knows her horses, so does Sue,” Agnes said as she took a drink.
does." Tam hesitated, "So?"
everything is going to be alright," Agnes dramatically switched topics,
"Mike is going to catch her."
darling, but what harm is she going to do before he does?"
hoping none at all Tippy Toes,” Agnes said quietly, “but trying to harm my
school like that was truly beyond the pale. Her fight is with me, not with those
okay Aunt Aggie?" Kit came into the drawing room.
Agnes smiled and said "Yes I am darling."
"To be honest you don't look it, you look as nervous as Mummy has all day."
“It’s been a long day – listen, Kits…”
“Eve’s Aunt is making trouble, isn’t she?”
As Agnes nodded, Kit said “let her come – I’ll show her trouble…”
“Has the office offered any leads, Penny,” Shirley said as her number one came in.
afraid not - She must have some secret accounts somewhere Madame," Penny
looked thoughtful, "otherwise she'd be leaving a trail of credit card use
and withdrawals that even Scotland Yard can follow."
Shirley nodded, "it's why I rang New York and told Anna Carlton to get to
work looking to see if she can find Catherine's money."
Charlotte or Heather?"
is on her honeymoon, and Heather is doing some major work for Juliette."
is free," Penny nodded "it's logical."
while you follow the money," Catriona looked up from her computer,
"Francesca and I are going to look at some history, particularly legal
history, to see if we can see any traces of Catherine's activities. It's pretty
obvious she's been doing some very murky things for a long while and Francesca
and I both think that if we can just get a scent we might discover some of
these people she has compromised and uses."
a bit like looking for a pin in a haystack darling?"
"A bit," Cat smiled, "but both Francesca and I are both determined to help Aggie in any way that we can."
“Agnes,” Victoria said as she looked into the room, “Donald is on the phone. He wants to talk to you, if you are free.”
“Thanks,” Agnes said as she walked into the hallway, and took the handset. “Donald – how is Paris?”
“Lonely – but forget about me, what about you? I heard about the incident at the school…”
“I imagine you did,” Agnes said as she sat down. “Donnie, have you heard anything from her?”
“No – and if I did, I’d tell her to come back to the clinic. What happened?”
“She paid someone to break in and plant drugs – but we’ve had some additional night security since she escaped, and he was caught. Donnie – did you hear about Archie and Victoria?”
“I did – look, I should come over and be with you…”
“No Donnie – your place is there, mine is here. You’re safe there, and I’m surrounded here. Do your work, and we’ll meet at the end of next week at Ardray.”
“Well, if you’re sure…”
“Of course I’m sure Donnie – I want you to be safe.”
“All right – I love you Agnes.”
“And I love you Donald – I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” Agnes kissed her fingers and put them to the receiver, before replacing it and sighing.
“Susan,” she said as she looked up, “problem?”
“Want to see the proofs for Sunday…”
7.30 pm CET
The British Embassy
didn't I have the sense to just go and talk it out with Aggie back then?"
Donald asked himself as he poured himself a whisky, and sat down in the red
easy - because I was far more worried what other people might say, and not
trusting enough to realise that if she was working as a dominatrix then Aggie
was doing it for a very good reason," Donald answered himself before he
took a sip and started to think.
It was the
truth of course, he should have given her at least the chance to explain face
to face. What was it she said at Ascot? that the most disappointing thing was
that he'd announced he was calling the wedding off in a letter? Yes if only
he'd had the guts to see her then maybe, just maybe he wouldn't be sitting
here all alone in the British ambassador's residence, and she wouldn't be all
those miles away back in the UK.
would have happened with Catherine?" he whispered to himself.
he shook his head, God knows where she was and what malevolent mischief she was
plotting. How had he never seen the psychotic evil that was within her? If she
did anything more to harm Aggie, or anyone else for that matter, he wasn't sure
if he'd be able to contain himself. She'd ruined Agnes's life, she'd ruined
his, she couldn't be allowed to either ruin anyone else's.
Sighing, Donald looked at his watch. In the morning, he had a meeting with the French Minister of Economic Development first thing, and truthfully he should be getting an early night because he needed to be at his sharpest as he conveyed the messages his masters back in Downing Street wanted passing on. Sir Simon had phoned earlier to convey just what it was that the PM, Chancellor, and Foreign Secretary wanted said. It was all very nuanced, all very complicated. He sincerely wished he had Aggie right here by his side this very second, he had no doubt she would be understanding it a lot better than he did himself.
“Maybe one day,” he said to himself as he stood up, and went to the dining room…
6.45 pm BST
"Well?" Sue asked after Aggie finished reading the article. Her boss put the printout down on the side table, and looked at her assistant, her face ureadable.
"I don't know, I really don't know," Aggie finally said as she stood up and started to pace. "Give me a few seconds to collect my thoughts."
Sue whispered, “is it that bad?"
no," Agnes went to the sideboard and poured a couple of stiff drinks. Handing
one over, she said "What it is Sue is blisteringly honest, and I'll admit
rather gut wrenching even to me, and I already knew most of your life
it just make things worse?" Sue took the drink Agnes passed her.
know darling," Agnes sat down and took a sip. "You've not named
names, and of course you've left out a few things that might hurt your friends,
but it still is a very frank confession."
and the journalist said oi needed to get it all out there."
Agnes said with a smile, “as it stands, you've certainly done that Sue."
haven't said if oi'm just making bad worse or not
Aggie eventually said, “you had to say it, and this was the time to do
it," Taking another sip, she continued “I just hope that enough people
will understand that if they'd had life's breaks go against them, then your
story could be theirs."
For a couple of
minutes the two women sat in silence.
going to shock people Susan," Aggie broke the silence. "People who
already know you will I think understand. People who've never met you I think
are going to be fairly divided."
lot of people are going to take a very moralistic position and be extremely
judgmental, while others are going to be shocked probably, but I think they
will at least try and understand."
"So oi aint goin' to kill Colin's career
and ruin his life?"
"No," Aggie smiled, "what you've said about how it was to be in care, and what it was like to be homeless, will give you the right to look people of Kensal Queens Park straight in the eye and say I understand poverty and how the system fails people."
Elsewhere, another review of the draft article was ongoing between the UK and Washington.
Charles?" Lady Roberta said as she sat alongside Colin, looking at the
makes me feel like throwing up," Sir Charles shook his head, "I
thought the most important bits would be simply about Sue's lifestyle as a
prostitute, I wasn't prepared for all the accompanying stuff about poverty and
being homeless on the streets of London...It's all so graphic..."
pretty reading Dad," Colin nodded, "and I'm sure that a lot of people
are simply going to seize on the fact that my ex-wife, and wife to be again was
a whore...But I defy them if they read the actual article not to ask themselves
if they'd been in the same situation wouldn't they have done just the
Sue are going to have to live your entire lives after this comes out with this
all being public knowledge son...are you both ready for that?"
"I hope so
Dad...I think so."
all going to find ourselves caught up in this story Charles darling," Bobbi
smiled, "Simon and Fiona McDonald have been talking to a lot of people
about this, and so has Cat Cuthbertson. A lot of friends already know about
this, and I'm proud that they are all rallying round to support Colin and
Sue is a little shocked just how supportive people are." Colin smiled,
"I gave a heads up to Rory and Sheilagh McAdam
at Ardray and they sent back the most wonderful
message of support a few minutes ago. Sheilagh even
wrote that reading what Sue had been through in life made her genuinely proud
to know her.'"
"A lot of
people are VERY proud of Sue," Charles smiled at the screen. It took real
guts on her part to reveal all this Colin, you know you are very lucky that
somehow she's given you a second chance.
"I know I'm lucky Dad."
8 pm BST
The Babbage Home
don't think that you are the enemy,” Sherry Babbage said as she sat at the
table, “what they think is that you think they are."
that makes no sense, why would I think that kids like that are the enemy?"
Mike said as he took another bite from his steak and kidney pie.
authority figures like policemen hassle them, don't listen to them, and above
all don't seem in their minds to care."
we damn well care, we are human beings love, none of us wants to see kids going
through what they do."
"I know that Mike, you know that,” Sherry said quietly, “but you also know that the entire system is under resourced and over stretched. it's no wonder that Aggie says there are always far more children then even she can cope with and try and help."
Sherry sat down
and sipped her tea, "the bureaucratic, one size fits all, approach our
authorities use, there are certain kids its never
going to be able to help...Aggie tries to help those kids the system can't, or
has given up on."
"You know when I was a kid my old man always taught me if I was ever really in trouble to find a policeman." Mike took a sip of beer, "I became a copper because i wanted to help and protect people. What am I doing wrong Sherry when there are kids like Laura and Miley out there love?"
“Nothing – it’s others who need to check their own eyes,” Sherry said quietly as she put her hand on her husband’s.
West Central Park
Eleanor and Katherine were both looking at Katy as she looked intently out of the window.
“What’s going on,” Eleanor whispered, but Katherine merely shook her head before Katy spoke.
need to work on shutting everything else out and concentrating entirely on the
matter at hand to succeed."
just in your shooting Katy darling?" Eleanor asked.
said as she leaned forward, “in my modelling, and I think sometimes in my
schoolwork as well. I have a tendency to let my mind drift. It's like today -
Luke had to tell me off because I lost focus at the shoot." Katy paused
for a second, "I must discipline myself to do everything as well as I
many ways that's admirable darling, but remember that you are still only 13,
all that takes time and experience to learn."
a tendency to expect an awful lot of herself Eleanor," Katherine smiled.
"it's what I tell my friends when they say about her name and face
appearing in the press, she works very hard at her life, occasionally she has
to let her hair down and have fun."
"Oh I have a lot of fun Gran," the youngster grinned. “Maybe that’s the thing – I need some goof time. Pity Pepsi and Sands are both still abroad.”
“That was an amazing meal, Ama,” Marina said as se pushed her plate away, “thank you for inviting us both.”
“Well, we wanted to make sure you had some down time,” Ama said with a smile, “but I am glad you enjoyed it. Shall I clear up?”
“No, I’ll do it,” Caroline said as she stood up. “You go through and relax, and I’ll bring the coffee through later.”
“I’ll give you a hand,” Marina said as the two older women went to the kitchen, while Ama and Kylie went into the front room. Ama was wearing her soccer top and short, while Kylie wore a white blouse and skirt.
“So, I heard you had been to purchase your uniform – have you started any other preparations for school yet, Kylie,” Ama asked as she sat on the couch.
looking at the set books for my English Literature class," Kylie tucked
her long legs under herself, "I think I'm going to enjoy reading them all.”
too," Ama grinned, "I enjoy Wordsworth and
the other romantic poets in particular."
"I had to
study them a bit in Hong Kong, my teacher there was very big on helping us to
understand the imagery."
"I'm going to be interested in what Miss Nightingale has to say about that."
“Indeed – and the fact we will also do Under Milk Wood. A truly evocative work, darling…”
"Listen to them both," Marina smiled as she helped Caroline load the dishwasher, "they sound like two complete geeks."
guess they both are,” Caroline said as she walked over and poured water into
the coffee maker, “they certainly share a passion for literature."
"Indeed," Marina laughed, "I wonder what the Kylie of two years ago would think of the Kylie of today?"
“Honestly? She’d never have recognised her – but be honest Marina, would you have recognised yourself?”
Marina shook her head as she sat down. “Not a chance – I still cringe when I think of when we tried to rob Rose and Susan.”
“Do you hear from any of them?”
“We talk sometimes – but look at what’s happened. Bev in Hong Kong now…”
“How is she doing anyway?”
“Apparently, the miracle is happening again – she’s hoping to come over in a couple of months. And Trace – what is this team Lily’s putting together anyway?”
“The equivalent of Maddie’s Special Projects team – but more to act as a Rapid Response to deal with potential problems. I know a very special training course is been put together for them by our friends.”
“This one is more of a three day extravaganza – right, let’s take the coffee through…”
“We were just talking about the sports clubs at St Angela’s,” Ama said as Marina and Caroline came back in.
going to try out for any of the teams Kylie?" Caroline asked as she served
Me?" the young blonde giggled, "if you'd ever seen me trying to hit a
hockey ball you would never ask such a silly question darling."
school does also offer martial arts as sports options?"
but I really aren't sure I want to do them competitively," Kylie adjusted
her glasses before she took a mug. "With all else I have going on, I think
training with Marina is just about the limit of what I want to do."
suggested she might try training with Mrs Lee at St Angela's as well
from the girls she is supposed to be a very good teacher."
said "I have too much else I want to do darlings."
"You maybe ought to think about it though Kylie," Ama sipped her drink, "school teams are a great way to get to know girls from other groups."
“Perhaps – we shall see. This is truly excellent coffee, Caroline darling.”
“Well, I’m glad you like it. So are you going back to Britain as well Marina?”
“I hoped I would be able to, but Anna needs me in the office, so not this time,” Marina said with a sigh.
“Still having problems with the head admin?”
“Yeah – maybe Sharon…”
“No – not a good idea. Maybe I can help…”
The de Ros Mansion
“Okay, plans compete, I’ll arrange the booking,” Susan said as she sat back.
“You aren’t going to this wedding in Scotland Susan?” Diana asked.
“No…Sue and Colin are friends of friends, but I don’t know them.”
“So,” Diana said as she swirled her brandy, “who will be looking after Kylie while she is there?”
“My Mum, Kylie is flying over to check the dresses are perfect and she’s staying in Southgate.”
“Okay… What about her own mother?”
“Sami,” Susan said as she sat back, “is in the process of moving.”
“Yeah with Kerry moving to Paris to live with Gio she’s decided that dump of hers in Tottenham isn’t where she wants to be.”
“So where is she moving to?”
“A place called Waltham Cross,” Susan replied with a smile, “it’s not far from Tottenham, but I’ve bought a little house there as an investment, and she’s going to rent it from me.”
“Considering how badly you and she got on, that was nice of you Susan.”
“I guess so,” Susan laughed, “but it really is also an investment, I’m buying a few bits of property in the area, because if I’ve learned one thing its that real estate in the London area keeps going up in value over the years.”
“Very smart Cherie.” Diana smiled, “and from what I’m hearing about Juliette’s plans we might all soon have even more money to invest.”
“So I hear.”
Friday 29th July
1 am BST
“So, have you managed to find anything out,” Catherine said as she looked at the screen.
“Preparations are underway for the wedding, Your Ladyship,” the make voice replied. “I’ve managed to be hired as a beater for the shoot planned before the wedding.”
“Good – and their security?”
“There’s security of a kind, but it’s hardly what I’d call state of the art,” the man’s face looked serious on the computer screen.
“The alarm system wasn’t even turned on when I called.”
“That’s pretty casual,” Catherine smiled.
“It’s a pretty remote and private place, I guess they just assume that with her being in and out of the house all of the time, that it’s not worth constantly turning it on and off.”
“Okay that I understand, but when the place is full of guests, what will it look like then?”
“It will still look antiquated, at least to my eyes…Pretty easy to disable if we have to.”
“Excellent - maintain a watching brief, let me know if anything changes. Thank you.”
Ending the call, she turned to see Carlin standing there.
“I’ve made the call – hearing they’ve agreed to be models for that firm helps a great deal. The fun begins day after tomorrow…”
8 am BST
“So you’ve read it,” Kay said as she looked across the table at Penny.
pulled no punches Kay," Penny mumbled as she reread the printout that
she'd had from Sue the previous night, "Her stories might be different
from mine in their details, but I know from my own personal experiences that
what's in this article is pretty raw and real."
"Agreed," Kay nodded as the waitress served their breakfasts. "We are her two oldest friends and I think we both know this is exactly who Sue is."
"The other candidates in the KQP election I'm pretty sure will see this as explosive stuff, particularly the Labour candidate." Penny stopped and took a sip of tea, "they won't be able to attack Sue for having been on the game without also addressing all those issues that drove her there."
Kay nodded in agreement as she took a bite of bacon, "it's not like with
me, I chose to become a whore, I had alternatives, but really both you and Sue
you did it because there really wasn't an alternative."
"Yeah," Penny remembered that messy encounter that had been her 'first time', "we were damned if we did go on the game, damned if we didn't."
“But it means she’s got everything in the open – Sunday could be fun…”
“Changing the subject completely – Kylie will be here next week for the final fittings, and then we head north to Ardray at the start of the week, to have rehearsals and the like before the party arrives.”
“Sounds good to me,” Kay said quietly, “I’ll let the girls know, we’re taking some time out anyway.”
9 am CET
Juliette looked across as Janine giggled and shook her head, looking at her laptop screen.
“Who is the e-mail from Janine?”
“It’s from Marina,” Janine said as she looked over, “she’s complaining again about the office politics.”
“I don’t blame her,” Juliette pushed her glasses up, “I never did overly like Anita myself.”
“She’s not popular with most of the PA’s in the building.” Janine shifted uncomfortably in her chair as she said that.
“That I’d guessed,” Juliette said, “but as Anna always points out she is also very good at her job.”
“I guess so. Doesn’t make it any easier…”
“So,” Juliette said, “changing the subject, what else has come in from New York?”
“The art department want to know which photos you want to use to illustrate your piece on the di Cambrello wedding?”
“I can sort that out later…What else?”
“Merlin wants to discuss a couple of shoot ideas to be done here in Europe before we return home.”
“Okay I’ll call her when you and I have finished…Next?”
“Listen to them,” Carina whispered as she fed Rudi, “your Gramma works very hard.”
“Well so do you darling,” Cari heard a voice behind her.
“I think it’s in our genes Aunt Natalya.”
“So are you and Annie both looking forward to going out later?”
“Oh yes – you will be an American again?”
“For this, yes. I have selected a suitable hunting ground…”
10 am BST
The lake sat in the centre of a small group of trees, and the boat was sat on the still waters, the young couple in it laughing as he showed her the fishing line.
“So, what do you think,” Mick said as he looked round.
never in my life thought I'd ever end up going fishing," Nell shook her
head as she cast out the line as Mick had taught her.
after all the stresses and strains of being on tour,” he said as he looked
round, “it's nice to come home and just be able to relax like this." Both of them were wearing jeans, jumpers with
sleeveless jerkins, and wellington boots.
agree with you on that darling," Nell smiled, "but if I catch
anything remember you are going to have to be the one who handles it and takes
it off the hook."
know. I accept the role with honour."
asked as the line hit the water again, “what do other music industry people do
to relax darling?"
Roger Daltrey for one fishes just like me, he's an
old friend of the family and he's been down here a few times and fished this
lake. It was he who advised my grandfather to stock it with carp."
"That is actually interesting," Nell smiled as she felt the rod jerk in her hand. “I think I’ve got one.”
“Let’s see – just as I told you, turn the handle, nice and steady,” Mick said as he picked up a net with a long handle attached, smiling as she wound the thin line in, and then scooping the net into the water.
“There you go – it’s a big one too,” Mick said as he held up the large silver fish, Nell laughing as it wriggled round.
“If Ally heard you say that…”
“Ah – but she is with my darling sister in the village…
“Thank you, Miss Fiona” the post mistress said as she looked at Fiona Treharran, in her cornflower blue dress, and the American woman with her, wearing a grey jacket over a cream dress.
“So do you think your little brother will like them,” Ally said as Fi put the bag in her own handbag.
do, especially when I tell him you picked them.
I think Charlie has a crush on you Ally," Fiona smiled as they both
came out of the village post office.
cute kid," the New York girl smiled, "just a bit young even for
that aren't we all glad," Fi adjusted her glasses.
"So did we
get everything your Mom wanted?"
so," the English girl checked the list she was carrying. "Yeah I
think we are good."
"Okay," Ally said as she glanced over her shoulder, and then looked again. "Is that car following us?"
“What car?” As Fi turned, the grey Daimler had turned down a side street.
“Nothing – let’s get back to the hall.”
Olivia smiled at the eleven year old girl sitting with her and Kelly, in her pink dress and white socks.
"So do you
start Benenden this year Edwina?" Kelly asked the young girl. "I hear
it’s a great school."
the shy girl blushed, "Fi went to Roedean, like
our Grandma did, but Mummy was a Benenden girl and I liked it when she took me
least you got to pick which you preferred."
Benenden I won't just be Fiona's little sister."
we sent the twins to different schools so they could each establish their own
identity," Kelly smiled, 'so I understand you choosing to go to a
different school then Fiona went to."
up such a reputation, and not just because she's a lesbian."
"I understand Edwina," Kelly patted the young girls hand. “I’m sure you’ll do well there.”
“Charles,” Olivia said as her husband came in, “all set for tomorrow?”
“Oh yes - the pitch is marked, the wicket is ready, the game can commence…”
11 am BST
“Shirley,” Catriona said as she came into the room, “ready for another day of trying not to lose too much?”
“I’ll have you know I am slightly ahead,” Shirley said with a smile, “but I’m glad you’re here. Something’s bothering me.”
“Oh - what is that,” Catriona said quietly.
the security like at Dunmarnock Cat?"
"As it was
when you came to visit all those years ago Shirley."
modern standards its almost non-existent?"
guess you can say that, there is a burglar alarm linked to the local police
station." Catriona sat and sipped her drink. "Why are you
it occurs to me that the situation is probably the same at Ardray,
and if I try thinking like Catherine, then with her quest for revenge against
Aggie and the rest of us..."
maybe she sees them as our weak point?"
"Well she did visit both houses when she was a child."
“True – suggestions?”
“I’d say send Caroline up, but she would be recognised – I’ll have Natalya go up with a team, have a discrete check.”
“Mind if Cho tags along? She may be the fresh pair of eyes you need.”
“Agreed – so, the plan for today…”
“Agnes,” Vicky called out, “telephone call.”
“Who can it be,” Agnes said as she slipped on her linen jacket, and then took the handset. “Hello?”
“Hi Aggie,” the male voice replied.
"This is a
pleasant surprise darling," Aggie held the phone to her ear, "I
wasn't expecting a call."
caught you at a bad time have I?" Donnie asked.
just getting ready to go to the course, but I'm sure we can chat for a few
minutes,” Agnes said as she sat down. “How did things go with the minister this
badly,” Donnie said with a sigh, “but I could equally say not great."
Agnes whispered, “wearing my economists hat I think I should warn you to expect
to have an awful lot of that type of meeting."
Aggie," the Ambassador sighed, "I understand most of what we are
talking about, but I do rather wish I had you hear to explain some of these
things to me in terms that a mere historian like me can understand."
guess, customs and tariffs after withdraw from the EEC?"
"How did you guess?"
“If I could be there, I would, but it’s not possible, is it darling?”
“No, I’m afraid not – but I am counting the days until I see you again, my love.”
Sue noticed the way Aggie was smiling, and smiled herself as she picked up the paper.
“Angel,” she said as she walked into the other room, “have you heard of Carlin Kardecki?”
“What about her,” Mandy said as she looked over.
“Apparently, she is holding a press conference tomorrow – why?”
“Find Paula for me please darling,” Mandy said as she stood up, “I need to talk to her.”
“I’ll be there in a minute,” Shirley said as she turned back to her laptop. “Please leave immediately Natalya – Cho will meet you in Glasgow, and you proceed to Ardray from there. The housekeeper is expecting you both, to assess security needs.”
“Of course Madame – I will report when I arrive,” the young Russian said as she signed off, Shirley smiling as she saw the next call.
“Good morning Madame,” Doc said as she looked out from the screen.
Anna darling what can I do for you?" Shirley said as she sat at her desk.
I've found her hidden financials Madame."
have?" Shirley whispered as she sat at attention.
so. It took a while, but I traced funds
from the Fitzstuarts account to certain places."
you think it’s her Doc I'm inclined to believe you, so what have you
I'm right, and it is her hiding behind these two aliases that I've discovered,
then she's in Dublin."
"Alright, I have a pen Doc, give me the details why you think this is her?" Shirley started writing, nodding as she did so. Eventually, she said “excellent – inform Caroline, and I will take it from this end.”
“Of course,” Anna said as she ended the call, and Shirley placed a second call.
“Madame,” Lily said as she appeared, “what can I do for you?”
“I need you to check these names for current location and recent activity, Lily…”
April was walking along the Rose Avenue when she heard a voice saying “the scent is delightful, isn’t it?”
She turned and smiled at the grey haired woman, wearing a floral print dress and white shoes.
says that you have been admiring my rose garden," Lady Helen Leventhal
have," April smiled, "it's so beautiful, and so what I always
imagined English country house gardens were like."
you like it." the older woman said as she sipped her tea. "Yvonne
tells me that you are a landscape gardener by profession?"
really...Technically I'm a florist who dabbles in design for friends."
projects have you worked on?"
designed a couple of apartment terrace and roof gardens in New York, but I
think the thing that is giving me the most pleasure is restoring an Italian
Garden for Paulie van Roon,
and creating a garden for Vanessa Richmond at Curragh Park."
that sounds a bit more than mere dabbling April."
"It is indeed Mother-in-law dear," Yvonne said as she joined them, "the people she has worked for are all more than happy with what April has done."
“So,” Catherine said as she looked at the screen, “what do you have to tell me about the Treharran estate?”
this cricket match tomorrow between the estate and the village your Ladyship,”
the male voice said, “I've been making some discreet enquiries and it seems
they have an open house policy as well, people are allowed to wander in and out
as they please."
"Are they?" Catherine smiled. "Olivia and her family were making this almost too easy."
“I want you to give them a message…”
1 pm BST
“I still can’t get my head round Miss Sue’s story,” Sheilagh McAdam said, shaking her head as she put hers and Rory’s lunch on the table. “To think of her having to go through all that when she was just the same age as our Morag.”
“Aye,” Rory said as he dank some tea from his mug, “you said she was a bit like a wee bairn love, well now you know why, she never had a chance to be a real child.”
“Aye,” Sheilagh sat down, “in and out of foster homes like that, It’s nae wonder she ran away.”
Nodding, Rory said “Reminds me of something I once read, care is not the same as love.”
“Well ah’m just glad that with all she’s been through that she and Mister Colin have decide to put the past behind them, and to give each other the happiness they deserve.” Rory smiled as he poured himself more tea.
“Like we said,” Sheilagh said as she sat down, “she might not be a lady in the old sense, but she’s the right person for him.”
“So,” Shelaigh said as she ate some meat, “why did Miss Catriona phone earlier?”
“She’s worried about the security for the weddin’ and the shoot. She’s sending up a couple of people to have a look.”
“She does remember that you used to be a Sergeant-Major Rory?”
“Aye she remembers,” Rory shook his head, “and ah’m still sure that she has nae truly forgiven me for talking Mister Jamie into not resigning his commission back then.”
“But she is worried?”
“Aye – best hear what they say…”
3 pm BST
“Photographers, there should be a law against them,” Pepsi shook her head as she entered the box.
“I hope that sweeping statement doesn’t include me?” John Hammond asked as he smiled.
“No, not you John,” Pepsi sighed, “it’s all these other bastards following me round, and all the people shouting questions…Why?”
“Because overnight they’ve been investigating you in New York Nicola, and they sense a story.”
“I think is part of it.”
“Damn – does Mom Jan know?”
“I think she may be finding out…”
FBI Field Office
“Yeah,” Janice Carter said as she kept reading the file.
“Oh – sorry,” she said as she looked up, “what’s up?”
“The Press Office in DC has had several requests to interview you Janice,” Tom said as he stood in front of her desk.
“What the hell about now?” Janice looked up. “What do the press think Katy has done now?”
“I’m thinking it’s more to do with your other daughter.”
“I think somehow a rumor has leaked out regarding Pepsi.”
“Well rumors I can just ignore.”
“Not this one – I think you need to implement the plan…”
3.30 pm BST
“Well, well, if it isn’t young Gresham-Fox.”
Colin turned round at the sound of the voice, and looked at the man standing there. Slightly smaller, wearing a grey jacket and slacks with an open necked shirt, wearing glasses and with neatly cut light brown hair. He smiled as he said “Nicholas Baines – come to lose money like you did at Fives.”
“I seem to remember winning,” the man said as they shook hands. “Fancy meeting you here – especially given we’re facing each other again?”
“I know – you as the Labour candidate for Kensal Queen’s Park?”
“Never mind me – why are you standing as May’s boy?”
“Sacrificial lamb – but you’re looking good, Nick.”
“I heard a rumour you were getting re-married?”
“Absolutely true – I’d invite you, but the campaign will still be on.”
“I know. Look Colin, I know about Sue’s background,” Nick paused to collect his thoughts, “and I just want to tell you that I for one won’t be slinging any mud.”
“Thanks Nick,” Colin said as he shook the other man’s hand, “I appreciate that.”
“Well we have plenty to argue about politically,” Nick said with a rueful smile, “we don’t need to degrade ourselves by getting down into the gutter.”
“Now if we can just keep other people from doing it…”
“Yeah - I’ve told my agent firmly that Sue is a non issue, but we can’t control what everyone says.”
“I know mate,” Colin smiled. “By the way how is Gabriella doing?”
“Cursing the fact that she’s six month pregnant and can’t be as active campaigning as she’d like.”
“That sounds like her.” Colin smiled again, “I’ve known her all my life and patience and restraint was never really her thing.”
“She says that the press is going to love that the Labour and Conservative candidates were at Eton and Oxford together.”
“Just means we can fight this election out as gentlemen,” Colin laughed.
“True – at any rate, I’m going to have enough problems with factions within my own local party.”
“I was wondering just how a Blairite like you Nick got nominated. I’d guess Corbyn wasn’t exactly enthused?”
“And how did Sir Simon take your decision?”
“I’ll tell you over a drink some time,” Colin said with a grin.
“To answer your question – no, he wanted someone else, but when the word came through it was you, I was selected instead.”
“Battle of the Toffs in a down and out seat? Well, it distracts from the problems in both parties, I suppose. Here’s to a fine campaign.”
“Amen to that,” nick said as he and Colin shook hands, and they went on their way.
Mary Thomas sipped her coffee as Susan Walker leaned against her workbench in the Cave.
“Mary I think you are mad, I think Kylie will say you’ve gone totally insane,” Susan eventually said as she shook her head.
“She’s not an un-pretty girl Susan,” Mary said in her lilting Welsh voice, “I still think it’s a great idea.”
“Well, can I sell tickets for when you try and tell Kylie that you want to shoot a spread with her modelling her own designs?”
“I know she can get a bit nervous and shy.”
“A BIT!” Susan started to smile. “Underestimating, Mary?”
“Okay she’s a lot nervous and shy,” Mary laughed, “but I still think it will make a great spread for the magazine.”
“Have you talked to Alice about it?”
“And she said what?”
“Just what you are saying, but she also added that she thinks it will be amazing publicity of both Kylie, and for APCO.”
“I guess that she has a point.” Susan paused for a second. “The media attention certainly won’t harm her career wise.”
“And we can get it shot before school starts, so it won’t affect her education.”
“Which is a very important point.”
“So do I have your permission as her guardian Susan to ask Kylie?”
“I guess so,” Susan smiled again, “just give people in adjoining areas a warning for when that nasty temper of hers explodes.”
“Anyway changing subjects, have you heard that on/off thing between Marina and James Razmov is back on again?”
“He’s that Ukrainian who teaches at NYU?”
“That’s him.” Susan sipped her drink. “Anyway he and Marina have been on a couple of double dates with Curt and Jo.”
“From what I remember he’s a nice guy.”
“Yeah he is, and I think Marina really likes him.”
“Good for her – she needs a distraction from the office politics,” Mary said as she sipped her coffee.
11 am Pacific Time
“So how long before everything is completed Maddie?” Mary asked as she stared at her computer screen.
“It should be seven business days,” Maddie said in the chat window, “but then you and Susie will be the joint owners of an auto repair shop Mary.”
“So,” Maddie said as she smiled, “what is Dave saying about all this?”
“Not a lot, I
think he’s still trying to absorb the fact that after all these years working
for someone else that he’s going to be the boss. I think the idea both excites
him, and in a way, frightens him.”
“How is that?”
“I think Pop’s worried that somehow he will end up ruining the business and losing our investment.”
“I can understand that,” Maddie laughed, “but no - unless something truly stupid happens then this is a very sound little investment Mary.”
“Yeah, the shop is in a good area with little competition and it has a great local reputation, Susie and I have talked all that out.”
“Good for you guys…and talking of Susie where is she? I thought you guys were shooting together today.”
“Well she’s currently being scared out of her wits,” Mary giggled as she looked up in the air. “They’ve got her suspended up on a wire and my sister is petrified of heights.”
“Rather her then me,” Maddie rolled her eyes, “I’m not overly fond of them myself.”
“She’s doing her best.”
“And her best is pretty damn good Maddie,” Eric Wildermanns the photographer said as he looked over Mary’s shoulder, “Special’s people up here are already over the moon at what we’ve shot.”
“Sounds good Eric,” Maddie smiled at her screen.
“Do you want a word with Susie? They are just bringing her down.”
“If it’s not going to not interrupt the shoot?”
“No, she’s got time, hasn’t she Eric?”
“Yes I’m shooting Karen next,” the photographer shouted.
“So is poor Karen being suspended as well Mary?”
“Yeah they are just starting to hook her up, poor Blabs she looks even more terrified then Susie did.”
“The things you top girls have to endure to earn a meager crust,” Maddie laughed.
“Well they better be glad they are paying me a lot of money,” Susie knelt beside her sister, “otherwise there was no way I was going to do that.”
“I sympathize Susie.”
“Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was that if you check your e-mail then you’ll see what Missy and I have booked you to do between school starting and New York fashion week, and that includes publicity stuff as well as shoots.”
“I’ll look shortly Maddie, just give me a chance to get out of this first.”
“No problem – and JD is meeting you both at two for lunch at the Majestic. My treat.”
7 pm CET
“Well, we’re off,” Carina said as she and Annie looked into the lounge. Abby was talking to the athletes, while Janine and Juliette looked after the children. “Are you sure you’ll be all right?”
"Darling you and Annie deserve a night out, just go have some fun and unwind," Klaus smiled, "I'm sure between your mother, me, and the nursery maids we can look after the children. You and Annie are amazing mothers, and you deserve some relaxation time."
"Thanks Pops," Carina said as she hugged her father. “See you later.”
Both women were wearing dark jumpers, jeans and ankle boots, with leather jackets, as they kissed Judith and the babies, and then headed out, getting into the car as it drove them into the city centre.
“We’ll make our own way back,” Carina said with a smile as the driver got back in and drove off, and they entered the restaurant – leaving by the back door, as they made their way to an apartment block and walked into a second floor residence.
“Ah, there you are,” Natalya said in an American accent as she stood up, a blonde wig covering her hair, and wearing a tight black sweater and leggings with over the knee boots. “Your outfits are in the next room.”
“Be back in a minute,” Cari said as she and Annie slipped in, Cari returning later in a leather dress and long boots, adjusting the red wig on her head.
aware that I'm accompanying you tonight Carina?" Natalya asked.
tired and he decided he needed an early night," Natalya smiled.
"What caused that?" Something he drunk?" Carina asked with a mischievous glint in her eye.
“It may have been,” Natalya laughed as Annie came in, wearing a black wig, jumper and pants. “so – the plan?”
“We go hunting and invite them here to a party,” Natalya said, “and then we visit my basement. Shall we?”
7 pm BST
“Colin? Dinner will be ready soon.”
“In here, Sue…”
“What are you working on love?” Sue asked as she found Colin working in Daffy’s library.
“My election address,” he said as he looked up from his pad, “I’m trying to explain where I stand on the crucial issues.”
“Is that why you were so deep in chat with Margaret this afternoon?”
“Yes,” Colin said as he put his pen down, “and I’ve also been talking with Aggie.”
“She said,” Sue smiled as she hopped up and sat on the desk. “Can I help?”
“I should say by going to put something else on,” Colin grinned, “that skirt is more a distraction then a help darling.”
“Well I’m not going up to change again,” she leant over and kissed him, “you’ll just have to put up with it.”
“Oh I’m not complaining.”
“I can tell that,” Susan looked downwards and laughed. “But getting back to my question, can I help?”
“Yes if you want.”
said all along that we will do this election as a team.”
“I know…anyway I’ve already written most of the bits that you and I agree on.”
“Like what,” Sue picked up his notes and started to read.
“Well affordable quality housing for starters.”
“I can see, oh and I can see that you’ve even used a couple of things that I’ve said word for word.”
“On giving the private sector a chance because of the failures of councils? Damn straight I have - that’s a great point.”
“And where you say that if a system is failing that it’s time to try alternatives,” Sue smiled again.
“Dame Margaret says that my positions on fighting poverty and homelessness mean that I’ve moved over firmly to her wing of the party.”
“She says that’s my influence…Hmmm I still think that you need to try as hard as possible to avoid the whole Brexit thing darling.”
“It is THE key issue Sue, as much as I’d like to say nothing, I do have to express a position.”
“I know.” Sue paused, “you know this bit on crime, people are maybe going to say aren’t you being a little hypocritical when your own wife admits to having been a prostitute and a thief?”
“I know,” Colin shook her head, “any ideas how I can work my way round the issue?”
“Let me think.” Sue sat silently for a moment, and then said “How about turning it round? Understanding why I did what I did made it easier to see what needed to be done to prevent others going down the same path?”
Colin nodded as he made a note. “That’s good – now, what’s next?”
“You tell me, lover?”
“Did I tell you I bumped into Nick Baines today?”
“No – what’s he doing now?”
“The Labour candidate for an upcoming by-election…”
Sue looked at Colin and whispered “no – does he know about me?”
“He does, and we came to an agreement,” Colin said with a smile.
"So you and
he have an agreement about me?" Sue smiled.
it was never him being a bastard that worried me," Colin looked
thoughtful, "it's this creature who UKIP are putting up who is going to
try and use your background and try and make it an issue."
"Definitely, I looked at her web page and its full of crap about this country's so-called moral decline. It's maybe even more her favourite topic then the evils of EEC membership."
“Well, Sunday should be fun…”
“Thank you – I will see you tomorrow.”
As Will and
Mandy came in, Angel put the phone down.
“Well Mummy, it seems I have my license," she added with a large
smile as she picked up her coffee cup.
you darling," Mandy smiled. "do you remember telling me when you were
a little girl that one day you wanted to be a jockey?"
have been about four years old, and your Uncle William had let you sit on one
of his horses at his stables."
remember the horse, it was a grey colt, but I don't remember saying I wanted to
be a jockey," Angel whispered as she shook her head.
"Now why doesn't it surprise me that my sister remembers the horse but not the conversation," Jack laughed as he and Pepsi walked in holding hands.
chance does Baloosara really have tomorrow Guy?"
Grant asked in the next room.
dear chap I really wish we knew," the Duc took a second to think, "we
know that when she chooses to run that she has genuine speed, but this whole
male/female rider thing, and the face that she gets nervous it seems when we
work her in a large string has me worried."
words until she has actually raced you have no idea what to expect?"
said that she did go for Angel?"
"She did, but that of course is another factor, what role will Angel's inexperience race riding play?"
“Only time will tell…”
1 pm PT
“I have to admit - You’ve been even busier than I have since Sydney,” JD smiled as the maître d seated the three of them at a booth looking out over the marina. Looking over the water, she took careful note of possible mooring points for a late entrance.
“It’s all happened so fast,” Suzie said as she shook her head, “I keep thinking this is some kind of amazing dream.”
“You aren’t the only one,” JD laughed, “I’ve gone from being this struggling part-time actress to being some kind of star.”
“Hey I can top that JD,” Mary said as she sipped some water, “I was a hotel chambermaid remember?”
“That’s true Mary,” JD laughed again, “I guess all three of us have had an amazing year.”
“Good afternoon ladies, my name is Burt, and can I say what an honor it is to serve you today,” their waiter said as he introduced himself. “Can I get you some drinks while you make up your mind?”
“Coffee for me please,” JD looked at the young man.
“The same,” Mary nodded.
“And I’ll have a glass of milk,” Suzie looked up from reading the menu.
“Certainly ladies.” He smiled as he went off.
“So what made you chose this place JD?” Mary looked out over the ocean.
“To stake it out for a midnight raid,” JD thought to herself, but she smiled and said “Maddie recommended it, she and Emma eat here occasionally.”
“Did she recommend what’s good?” Suzie looked up again.
“She didn’t, but Emma said that the crab is amazing.”
“Okay.” Suzie went back to looking at the menu and trying to decide.
“Your drinks ladies.”
“Thank you Burt.”
“Do you need a few more moments?”
“I think so, my sister is still debating just what she wants to try,” Mary grinned.
“I’ll be back in a few then.”
“By the way,” JD said as she sipped her coffee, “I saw that morning TV thing you girls did.”
“Uggh,” Mary rolled her eyes, “I’m never going to be comfortable doing that sort of thing.”
“It took me a little while to get used to it.”
“But you do it so well JD.”
“Look - I can give you a few tips I’ve learned to make it easier you know?”
“Please,” Mary put her menu down, “I twist my guts every time I have to do any kind of publicity.”
“And yet you can pose for cameras so well.”
“I don’t have to talk when I’m being photographed.”
“It’s the talking bit she hates,” Suzie said as she put her menu down.
“When it was obvious that I was going to have to do chat shows etc,” JD said, “Maddie had me sit down and watch Jeannie Brewster doing it.”
“Well Jeannie is so good at talking to people,” Mary said as she looked out onto the deep blue sea.
“Only because she knows how to relax and be herself.”
“It’s a gift true…”
“Alright ladies are you ready to order?”
“I’ll have the crab,” Suzie said as she looked over.
“I’ll have the tuna,” JD said as he walked off. “Did you ever see her first appearance on the Graham Norton show?”
“No – what was it like?”
“A slightly staged thing – but her personality shone out even then,” JD said with a smile. “But that is her – you need to find a way to feel comfortable in it yourself. I treat it as a form of acting – for you, I think you need to decide how to make it comfortable for you – as if you’re talking to your family.”
“Not a chance – she’d start talking about chores and homework,” Suzie said as Mary shook her head.
8.30 pm CET
"It's one of the things I love about Munich," Carina smiled as they walked down the dimly lit steps, "so many of these quiet and private beer cellars where no one asks too many questions."
"They have a great atmosphere," Natalya smiled as she pushed open the inner door and walked over to the bar. “Three beers,” she said to the barman, smiling as he handed them over.
“All right, Carina,” Natalya whispered quietly, “let her come out.” Annie watched as both women closed their eyes and took a deep breath, then smiled as they opened their eyes again.
have an abundance of riches, cousin" Carina laughed as she checked out the
clientele. "Just a case of deciding exactly what kind of scumbag we fancy
agree," Annie sipped her beer and glanced round, "culling one of
these guys isn't a crime, it's a social service."
"Who says we need restrict ourselves to one?" Natalya smiled.
“That is true – there is more fun for all then…”
"Oh and who says we just have to think about men," Natalya exchanged looks with an overweight woman wearing biker leathers, "you know they say variety is the spice of life?"
“That is also true – divide and select?”
All three women nodded as they looked round, assessing the situation.
“We split up, select, and then take them back, agreed?”
“Agreed,” Annie said as Carina walked over to where a group of men were standing. “One of you want to dance,” she said quietly. A red headed man nodded as they went onto what passed for a dance floor…
Natalya smiled as she walked over to the woman. “I could see you looking at me,” she said with a smile, “and I liked it.”
“Oh - an American looking for some cheap thrills?”
“No – an American looking for new experiences. Buy you a drink?”
“Buy you a drink?”
Annie looked at the tall dark man, and smiled as she said “Why not – visitor?”
“Work placement – I work for Amininco. Doug.”
“Letty – so tell me about yourself Doug…”
is just plain rude," Carina shook her head as she caught the guy she was
dancing with staring at her boobs.
"They...I mean you...are very beautiful” the guy spoke in halting English.
“Well thank you Martin – listen, would you like to go for a walk…”
“I have an apartment nearby – discrete, quiet, no chance of being disturbed. Interested?”
The woman nodded as she followed Natalya out of the bar…
“An interesting place,” Martin said as Carina let him into the apartment, “minimalist.”
“True, but it meets my needs, and helps me to focus on what I want to do… Would you like a drink?” As she spoke, she walked over to a drinks cabinet, and poured some vodka into two glasses, handing one to Martin.
“thanks – do you share with anyone?”
“Oh my friends will be back later,” Cari said with a smile as she walked over, “but I assure you, they will be just as happy to see you.”
“Oh – do you like sharing?”
“Oh you have no idea,” Carina said with a smile as she raised her glass. “Cheers.”
“Cheers,” Martin said with a smile as he drained his glass – then let it drop to the floor as he stared at the gun Carina was pointing at him.
“Now,” she said with a smile, “we can start to have some fun.” Opening a drawer, she took out a red ball gag and tossed it to him. “And we start by putting that on.”
“Perhaps I did not make myself clear,” Carina whispered as she walked over, and then drove her fist into his stomach, “get that fucking ball in your mouth, or I force it in and break all your teeth in the process. Capiche?”
Martin groaned as he doubled over and fell on his knees, looking into Carina’s eyes before he opened his mouth, and pushed the ball in, fastening the straps round his head.
“Much, much better,” she said as she stroked his cheek, and he smelt the leather of her glove, “now, strip.”
“Interesting – what is that noise,” Greta said as Natalya opened the door, and she heard the muffled groans.
“The neighbour – the walls are thin,” Natalya said as she closed the door, then took Greta and kissed her hard. “did you like that?”
“You are strong – do you like it strong?”
“Oh I do,” Natalya said with a smile. “I have a special room to play in – would you like to see it?”
Natalya smiled as she kissed Greta again, and then took her by the hand as she walked down to a locked door, then opened it to reveal a dungeon, Greta smiling as she walked round.
“You even have a cross – so are you the dominant or the submissive?”
“Which are you Greta,” Natalya said as she opened a drawer.
“Oh I dominate – I hope you are a true submissive.”
“No – not today.”
Greta frowned as she turned round, and then raised her hands as she saw the Luger in Natalya’s gloved hand.
“Strip, bitch,” Natalya snarled, “today is your lucky day.”
“Who… Who are you?”
“Your best friend and worst nightmare,” Natalya said as she walked over and stroked Greta’s cheek, “now strip, or suffer the consequences…”
“What conseAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” Greta called out as Natalya grabbed her breasts and squeezed hard.
“See if you can guess…”
“So,” Doug said as he walked down the street, “what do you like to do of an evening?”
Annie smiled as she said “oh I have a few ideas – want to hear them?”
Doug nodded as Annie whispered into his ear, and they entered the apartment block. As Annie opened the door, he walked in, looking round and saying “very East Berlin in the décor.”
“Well, it suits my purposes,” Annie said as she closed and locked the door, and walked up behind him, putting her hand over Doug’s mouth as she said “So, would you like to play a game with me?”
“Hmmsnnddskheennkeee,” Doug mumbled from under her hand. “Whhtdduhffnmund?”
“Well, I like a man who is willing to cede control – are you such a man Doug?”
“Oh I am most definitely the right woman,” Annie purred as she unfastened his shirt, pulling it off with one hand as she kept his mouth covered with the other. She stroked her hand down his chest and felt his groin, as she said “oh my – you are excited, aren’t you?”
“Good – come with me…”
“There,” Carina said as she fastened the strap around Martin’s ankle, “we’re ready to begin.” The young man had been stripped naked, his hands manacled behind and to the chair back, his legs spread and secured to the front legs, drool running down his chin from the ball gag as he looked round.
“Whruuudhhnnn,” he mumbled as he watched her walk over to the table, and open two cloth packs – taking from the first a thin wood skewer.
“I do so love bamboo,” Carina said as she held the thin sliver up. “What do you think?”
“Plssnnnn,” Martin said as he shook his head, his eyes wide in fear as Carina walked forward.
“I wonder how long it took the Chinese to perfect it,” she said with a grin as she pushed it under the nail of his big toe, Martin screaming in pain as she moved from toe to toe.
Greta screamed into the panel gag, the hard rubber bung filling her mouth, as she felt the whip remove more of the skin of her back. She had been forced at gunpoint to strip, and then strapped to the St Andrew’s Cross, her back exposed. And then she heard the crack of the whip, and the searing pain as the thin leather thong hit her back again.
Natalya grinned as she landed blow after blow on the back of the woman, hearing her please before she threw the whip down and reached between her legs. Greta groaned as the finger slipped into her passage, unable to stop the waves washing over her…
“Whrudhnnn,” Doug said as he squirmed on the bed, his wrist and ankles spread and tied to the four corners, a cloth stuffed into his mouth as Annie used a scalpel to cut his pants away.
“I’m so glad you agreed to my ideas,” she said with a smile as she slowly traced the blade over his chest, leaving a thin red line that formed a pattern. Each cut felt like fire – and then worse as she dripped vinegar over it.
“So – the game is Chinese Chequers – where would you like to move first?”
Doug tried to move away, and then screamed as the circle was carved in the first edge of the pattern…
“Whllsshrrr,” Martin moaned as Carina looked in the cloth holder she had rolled out on the table.
“Hmmm? Oh the other sounds you are hearing? Well, I will tell you the truth Martin – my friends have also brought guests back to play with. Would you like to meet them?” she smiled as she saw the terror in Martin’s eyes, and said “oh yes – they are like me in so many ways, but they each have their own tastes.” She held up her silver pliers, and said quietly “me, I like to hurt men. Can you guess what I am going to do next?”
Martin shook his head as she walked behind him, and he felt the blades of the pliers close over his left thumb – then screamed into the ball gag as his knuckle disintegrated under the pressure as she closed the blades together with one firm movement.
“Well, one down, and so many more to go onto,” she whispered as he panted, trying to block the pain out, and trying to block out the other sensations…
Natalya smiled as she looked at Greta’s matted back, and poured some water into a glass – then added some lemon juice to a second glass, as she walked over and slowly, carefully poured it down Greta’s back, laughing as the German woman arched it in pain and fear as the liquid ran over the deep red welts.
“Does that answer your question,” she whispered as she reached round, caressing and squeezing Great’s engorged breasts in her leather gloved hands, teasing her as the nipples firmed in her expert caress.
“Oh you are a lover of pain, aren’t you?” Natalya could feel the fires burning between her legs now as Greta slowly nodded and moaned. An answer that was confirmed as with one hand she pinched the firm nipples, and with another felt between her guest’s legs.
“Oh good – that this will help,” she said as she walked off, returning with a pair of nipple clamps linked by a long silver chain. Greta turned her head and nodded as Natalya groped her again, and then fastened the clamps in place, Greta nodding and saying “Fnnnnkumsttsrsss” as she pulled the chain down sharply and attached it to the floor, then walking behind her as she picked up a whip, and started to strike the woman’s back, her cries of pain and pleasure intermingling…
Doug screamed in agony as Annie carved a circle into his abdomen, and looked at the pattern.
“Oh my – I win again,” she said with a smile as she picked up the bottle of clear liquid, Doug shaking his head and then closing his eyes, screaming into his gag in agony as the vinegar ran over the red raw wounds.
“Oh dear – no more room to play,” Annie said with a smile as she looked at his crotch, and then began to massage his hard, erect cock as he shook his head.
“Can you guess what I’m going to do next,” she panted as he grew larger, throbbed more strongly, and then came into her gloved hand as he shook his head. He then opened his eyes wide as the scalpel sliced through muscle and blood vessels, and looked down to see Annie holding his cock in her hand, as he almost fainted.
“It still throbs you know – would you like to feel it?” She walked over and pulled the wet cloth from his mouth, Doug shaking his head and whispering “no, please, no…” before Annie shoved the severed penis into his mouth, and he looked at her as she waved the blade around.
The sensation as she sliced through his jugular was pain, then peace, perfect peace, as Annie dropped to the floor and shook in a massive orgasm as his blood spurted out…
“Well, I have enjoyed our time tonight,” Carina said as she held Martin’s head in his hands, the captive looking up at her with eyes full of fear and pleading. His hands were a broken mess, his feet with bloody stumps where his toes had been.
“You have been magnificent,” she said as with her gloved hand she massaged the side of his neck, Martin’s eyes fixed on the thin ice pick she held, “so I’m going to be extra nice to you.”
He didn’t feel a thing as she drove the pick in, only the white light as she severed the nerve, as Helen had shown her…
Greta threw her head back and gasped out as her orgasm washed over her, her back bleeding as Natalya panted behind her. She walked round and took the woman’s head in her hands, ripping the gag out and kissing her hard before she said “are you ready for the ultimate event?”
“Yes mistress, I am ready,” Greta gasped – and then her eyes opened wide as Natalya drove the blade into her abdomen, taking it up and across as the skin parted, seeing her own guts spill out before the end came…
“A very pleasant evening,” Natalya said as the three women walked away from the building, smiling at each other as the flames started to rise behind them, fuelled by the petrol and the severed gas line.
“indeed – I feel so much better now,” Annie said, “and ready for bed. Are you lover?”
“I most assuredly am Monster Momma,” Cari said with a smile as they walked away from the rising inferno.
11 pm BST
“I’ll see you in the morning,” Carlin said as she left the hotel bar, Catherine nodding as she finished her drink, and headed for her room. Turning on the bedside lamp, she looked at her laptop, drinking her whiskey as she did so.
“Lord Fitzstuart meets with French ministers… French sing praises of McAdam theory… McAdam and friends at Goodwood… Viscount Millingham with his girlfriend…”
Her eyes widened as she saw the pictures, before she threw the glass across the room, watching as it shattered against the wall, the dark liquid slowly dribbling down the wallpaper.
“AGNES FUCKING MCADAM! I should have just let her burn to death all those years ago," Catherine said aloud, "if I'd just left her to die everything today would be perfect. She came between me and Donald then, and she's doing the same again...She doesn't have the right."
Looking at the screen again, her eyes wide and staring, she swore “you’re dead bitch, and you don’t even know it yet…”
6 pm PT
Oakland Hills, San Francisco
The Clarke family apartment was crowded at the best of times with Dave and all the kids, but with the guys from the shop added in, plus assorted members of their families, it was all but literally bursting at the seams. Mary, David and Susan were taking round plates of snacks and drinks, as the younger members sat with the other children in the corner.
“Can I have quiet please,” Dave shouted above the melee as everyone stopped and turned.
“Quiet for the new boss,” someone yelled out.
“Look I’d like to thank everyone for coming to celebrate this,” Dave smiled, “I never thought that one day I’d end up working for women, let alone my own daughters, but well…it looks like its happenin’.”
Dave paused to collect his thoughts as some of his workmates laughed.
“I’d like to thank Gino and Maria for cummin, and to wish them both well in retirement.”
There was another pause while people applauded and the older couple raised their glasses.
“I’d also like to thank the rest of you for not quittin’ when you heard that I was going to be in charge.”
“We thought about it,” someone shouted.
“Mary wants me to tell you that she’s going to be a very hands off owner, and that she won’t interfere…”
“I might though,” Susie laughed.
“Hey Susie you still aint too old for him to put you cross his knee,” a woman giggled.
“True,” Susie laughed some more, “okay no interference from me.”
“Look – nothing’s gonna change, we’re still gonna be the best damn car place in the area, and we’re gonna be proud of what we do – together. So yeah, I’ll be on da shop floor with all of you, every day – just not for quite as long.”
West Central Park
“It’s nice to have the place to ourselves tonight,” Jan said as she looked into Adam’s eyes. “Mom is at her Daughters of Erin meeting, and Katy is at Sands’ for an overnight stay.”
“Hmmm it is. Listen - I know it’s a few weeks away yet Jan, but have you thought what to give the girls for their birthdays?” Adam asked as he held her close under the sheets.
“Not really…Pepsi is going to be 17 and Katy 14, and neither of them is exactly easy to buy for.”
“I know,” Adam kissed her neck, “the reason I’m asking is that Tom was asking at work. He and Gale were hoping we could give them some guidance.”
“Well I’m not exactly full of ideas, and you keep doing that Adam Ball and we might as well stop this conversation right now, because there is no way I can think about the girls whilst you do that,” Janice giggled.
“And what about birthday parties? Did you talk to April and Grant yet?”
“I was leaving it till they get home,” Jan moaned as he started to nibble on her ear lobe.
“In other words you have no ideas?”
“Oh I have plenty of ideas,” Janice smiled as she rolled on her side so she looked Adam straight in the eye, “just not about the girls birthdays,” she leant forward until their lips met.
The red of the setting sun reflected from the water as the lights shone from the cliff top house, the two men and two women inside witting round a table. The men wore jackets, and shirts with ties, as well as pants, and the women knee length dresses.
“And that I believe is the rubber to us,” Leroy Vance smiled as he played the final card.
“It is indeed,” Admiral Preminger nodded, “and can I say what a lovely change it is for Leroy and I to actually win.”
“Well accidents do happen,” Eleanor smiled. “But well played, both of you.”
“Can I offer anyone top-ups?” Veronica asked as she stood up, her brandy glass in her hand.
“No, but I’ll go put some coffee on if anyone else wants one?” the admiral offered.
“Please Ed,” Eleanor smiled, “that Ethiopian coffee that Francesca di Cambrello put me onto would just about be perfect right now.”
“I’ll give you a hand,” Leroy said as he stood up and followed the admiral out into the kitchen.
“You know Eleanor we’ve been to some places recently,” Veronica swirled her fresh drink, “but I still think bridge nights are still more or less my favorite thing.”
“Better than seducing young Frenchmen?” Eleanor whispered with a giggle in her voice.
“Alright virtually my favorite thing,” Veronica laughed.
“So how was New York Eleanor?” Ed Preminger asked as he brought the coffee in.
“Sticky, even more humid then usual. It’s why I’m always glad to get home, here on the shore is just that little bit more livable.”
“As I’ve always said Eleanor, you bought yourself a little bit of paradise here,” Captain Vance started pouring the coffee.
“True – but things are quiet at the moment. Who knows what may happen next?”
“You’re retired, Eleanor, remember.”
“True, Ed, but there are family matters.” Eleanor had read the New York Times, and seen the news of Nicola announcing her engagement.
E 95th Street
He looked up as he came in, wearing a light coat over a blue dress, and walked over to where he was sitting, nursing a coffee.
“Is this seat taken,” she said as she looked down and smiled.
“No,” the man said, “but I’m afraid you’re too late for the special.”
“That’s all right, I’ve already eaten,” she said as she sat down. “Welcome to New York.”
“Thank you,” the tall man with greying hair and the neat beard said. “I had expected contact before.”
“We wished to give you time. Are you settled in?” the woman asked quietly as the two sat opposite each other in the very quiet all-night café.
“I am,” the man nodded.
“How is work going?”
“Well, they seem very receptive to my ideas, and we begin rehearsals next week. It should be an intriguing season.”
“Good…and your other work? Have you made any useful contacts?”
“I’m not sure,” he said quietly, “this isn’t like the old days you know? I presume GoldDick is following orders?”
“Indeed – we have already had several – interesting discussions with his team. He makes me long for the days of intelligent conversation.”
“Dubya,” the woman said with a smile as she accepted the coffee. “Nevertheless, there are alliances to make here even now, even if we already anticipate the outcome.”
“Indeed – influence the small groups, the elite, and they come together. I have learned one thing though – whatever they think of her, they hate him more.”
“Da – but we are charged with a task, and we will do it.”
“We will,” he said as he finished his coffee. “I must go – I have rehearsals at ten.”
“I will be in touch Dancer,” the woman stood, “just always remember we are mere tools in the hands of our masters, just be content that we are doing this for Mother Russia.”
“Dosvadanya,” the man said as she left, him a few minutes later…
Saturday 30th July
9 am Local Time
“The latest group of graduates are returning home now Shirley,” Teacher said as she sat in the mess room, “and the newest recruits are starting to understand just what is involved.”
“Good news,” Shirley said in the chat window, “and more come every day.”
"So - when
does Maisha want to do the training course Shirley?" Teacher asked as she
looked into the computer.
Shirley said with a smile, “she feels it is something she needs to do, and
something she wants to get done as soon as possible."
agree," the Swedish woman nodded, "but can I suggest that she does
her training under an alias, it might difficult explaining to the others who
she is, and for her to be treated as a regular trainee, otherwise."
"She mentioned that herself...she definitely wants no special treatment."
“And she will get none – especially with the graduation test.”
Shirley smiled as she said “I think she might actually enjoy that.”
“So when does Little Mother return?”
“Tomorrow – we expect her back in the office on Monday, but she will not be visiting the camp now until after the birth, on the orders of Doctor Lucia.”
“Well, we’ll be thinking of her every day from now on – I need to go now,” Teacher said as she looked outside, “Poison seems to be having a disagreement with the new recruits on how to prepare the maize flour.”
“They need to learn that?”
“Patience in the important things leads to patience in all things,” Teacher said with a smile as she ended the call, while Poison called out “No, no, NO – grind the corn, do not pummel it. Slow, careful, and it will break down and form…”
9 am BST
Lily Harmon’s house
“Uncle George,” Lily said as she sat in the kitchen, drinking her coffee, “what on earth are you doing up this early?”
“Flight down to Atlanta with Roy, looking at some colts for Grant and Guy,” George said with a smile. “You?”
“Gardener is coming round in an hour – I wanted to be ready,” Lily said as she put her mug down.
"So how is
setting up the new group going Lily?" George Simpson asked his niece.
it’s coming together Uncle," Lily smiled, "getting Tracy and Louise
as my main assistants is certainly something that is helping – both have unique
"I know - Caroline
was saying that they are both proving to be quite versatile."
so...anyway the proof will be when we come over for that extended training
weekend." the young woman paused, "and by the way Mum said thanks for
her birthday present."
"Tell her it was my pleasure,” George said with a grin, “and getting back to the course - I hear that survival will be the sign if you've passed or failed?"
"So Madame was telling me. When the West Coast team did it, apparently, they had no idea what was coming, or what happened until it happened."
“So what did happen?”
“Tracey refuses to tell me – she says it is best experienced cold.”
“And the happy event is?”
“End of August…”
10 am CET
are the plans for today my love?" Klaus asked as Juliette wandered into
the breakfast room.
said as she looked up, and counted on her fingers, “Cari and the girls are
training, I've given Janine the day off so that she can spend it with Henri.
Annie and Ingrid are taking the babies to watch Judith have her little riding
lesson, and I'm going to spend the day prepping the initial list of questions
that I want Agnes to investigate when she sees Cardinal Bruckner next
week." Smiling, she looked at Klaus and said “what are your plans
meeting with Frau Strecher regarding what our
priorities are going to be for the second half of this financial year."
"Ugggh, I'm glad that I'm not involved."
"There are times I wish that I wasn't," Klaus shook his head, "but being the Prince means that this is my job and that I have to deal with these matters."
“Rather you then me,” Juliette said as she looked at the paper. Seeing the report on the third page, she said “where is Natalya this morning?”
“She and Willy are seeing the family lawyer – something to do with their estate…”
10 am BST
The Savoy, London
"Penny for them Holly?" Sandy said as she came into the lounge, and saw the worried look on the younger woman's face.
Looking up, Holly seemed far away as she said "For what?"
thoughts that are obviously preying on your mind so badly Holly." Sandy sat down and looked at the young
Sandy smiled, "and let me guess it has to do with that phone call from
does," Holly looked upwards, "it was great hearing from him, I truly
do love him..."
are also deeply in love with my daughter," Sandy interrupted as she tilted
Holly sniffed, "what the hell do I do about all this?"
feel as though you need to make a choice darling?"
"I do," Holly shook her head, "otherwise its unfair on both of them."
“I understand that, but I ask you,” Sandy said as she took Holly’s hands, “to take your time, think it through, and then make your decision. You would not be the first woman to have someone on both sides, after all – even if one of them is barely thirteen.”
“I know,” Holly said quietly, “I know…”
10 am BST
“That will teach you to try and tie me up and rob me,” the young black woman growled as she smacked her assailant upside the head.
“Hey Tracy that hurts,” the tall blonde American complained as she recoiled from the blow, as the other four women watched.
“Well it will maybe teach you to not be so casual next time.” Tracy grinned.
“Alright Lily,” Louise said as she turned round, “I know I did something wrong…but what?”
“You didn’t tie her properly Louise, simple as that.” Lily stood up as Tracy and Louise joined the other women sitting on the floor. “You gave her the chance to extricate her hand and untie herself, do that in reality and it can cost you a long time in prison, or even your life.”
“I know,” Louise nodded as she smiled, “I guess I really do need to work more on my technique.”
“You said it,” Lily grinned. “We have to remember always that the mere fact we’ve been called in to do something means time is of the essence, but we still have to do things right…Understand?”
“Yes Lily,” the assorted women nodded.
“Good – hit the showers, and enjoy the rest of the day.
The group talked to each other as they left the room, Lily shaking her head until she saw the middle aged woman waiting outside, wearing a brown leather jacket, jumper and jeans.
“Were you watching?”
“I was - they are coming along,” Jayne whispered to Lily as they waited outside the changing room.
“I think so,” Lily paused for thought, “they all still have their strengths and their weaknesses, but they are learning.”
“Well Madame is certainly pleased.”
“I think she will be more pleased as and when they all pass the American test.”
“Yes I don’t envy them having to do that,” Jayne shook her head.
“Anyway you didn’t come down here to discuss training Jayne,” Lily looked the HR director in the face, “what can I do for you?”
Jayne grinned as she said “Madame wants me to go to Ireland.”
“She does know St Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland doesn’t she?” Lily asked with an amused glint in her eye.
“Probably,” Jayne smiled at the little joke, “but she still wants me to go and ‘punish’ this guy who might be giving Catherine Fitzstuart logistical and financial aid.”
“Gotcha,” Lily nodded.
“I’m going to need some backup, and this seems just the sort of thing your girls can help with.”
“Yeah I get that,” Lily stood and thought, “I guess you better take Louise and Frances.”
“No prejudice against our transatlantic sisters please,” Lily laughed. “they are both excellent girls, they’ll watch your arse for you Mamba.”
“Good – I need them ready to go in two hours. Papers and tickets?”
“Tell me where you want to meet them, we’ll take care of it,” Lily said as she walked into the changing room. “Louise, Frances – come see me in the office when you’re ready.”
10 am BST
“So this is the home of Agnes McAdam,” Cho said as the taxi brought her and Natalya to the front door of the main house. Both women were wearing grey sleeveless jerkins over Fitzstuart sweaters, jeans and short boots.
“Indeed - a most imposing façade,” Natalya said as she stepped out, Sheilagh coming to greet them. “Mrs McAdam – Natalya Kosolov, Cho Kwon. We are here in behalf of Catriona Crawford and the McAdam of McAdam, to assess the arrangements on behalf of Jameson Security.”
“Aye, we’ve been expecting ye,” Shelaigh said with a smile. “We hae rooms prepared for ye for tonight, and a meal now. After, Rory my husband will take you to the fields, to see where the shoot will be.”
“We thank you for your hospitality,” Cho said as she bowed. “Tell me, how are the preparations for the wedding progressing?”
“Very well,” Shelaigh said as they walked in, Cho noticing the fresh paint. “we’ve hired mair staff, and the rooms are nearly ready.”
“So the plan is to have the reception here after the wedding?”
“Aye Ms Kosolov – we’ll hae a marquee out back for the guests and the dancing.”
“Good, good – and the only approach to the house is along the driveway?”
“Unless you’re in the mood for a walk across the moors, aye.”
The two young women nodded to each other, as Cho said “then let us enjoy your hospitality, and then we can enjoy a walk on the moors…”
The Carlton household
“Anna! Caroline Jameson wants to talk to you!”
“Coming,” Anna said as she came down the stairs, wearing denim shorts, dark leggings and a white top, and took the phone from her mother. “Caroline? What’s up?”
“Do you feel up to doing some work Doc?”
“Caroline,” Anna sighed, “thanks to Missy I’m up to my neck in jobs, I’m not sure I can fit anything more in.”
“It’s not a modeling job.”
“Oh?” Anna lifted an eyebrow, “in that case please explain.”
“I need a third for something that Sharon and I have planned for later.”
“I’m supposed to be babysitting for the Callaghan’s.”
“Cancel…this is more important.”
“OOkkaay - You better tell me more then.”
“Have you heard about what Juliette has proposed for the fall?”
“Only in the vaguest terms.” Doc smiled, “I usually only find out specifics closer to the date.”
“Yeah Ju is good at keeping things on a need to know basis.”
“Anyway,” Anna said as she looked round, “I take it this is something to do with what she’s planning?”
“Indirectly,” Caroline took a breath or two. “There is a bank out in Westchester that Ju’s interested in. The only problem is that she’s worried that the current manager might not be the type that the Pussycats would find it easy to work with.”
“That he’s single and has no loved ones we can use for leverage. He also has a reputation for being one tough sob.”
“Okay I’m getting a picture,” Doc paused for a few seconds. “So what does she want us to do about him?”
“Remove him from the equation.”
“Remove as in permanently?”
“So in reality Caroline,” Anna whispered, “this is a sanction?”
“You’ve got it in one Anna.”
“Okay - well I get the reasoning behind it, but why bring me and Sharon in when you can probably kill him very simply yourself?”
“Because I’m not the one going to be doing the killing. Carina thinks that whatever lurks inside Sharon probably needs releasing right about now. You and I will be there just to provide security and backup while Sharon does her thing.”
“Uggh, a messy night then,” Doc rolled her eyes.
“Yes, and the other thing is that Heather wants to see what you make of this guy’s alarm system.”
“I’m being tested am I?”
“Alright I think I understand,” Doc shrugged her shoulders, “just tell where you want me tonight and when?”
“My place, six - I’ll make sure you get back safe.”
“I’ll be there,” Anna said as she ended the call, and then dialled another number. “Nikki – something’s come up, can you do my babysitting gig tonight?”