Back in Time – Part 3








Friday 18th November

6.30 pm

The Richmond Mansion


"Are you sure you are all okay?" Sandy shook her head as she saw the chaos. "This room is a bit small for 6 of you to get dressed, do your makeup and everything."

"We'll be fine," Sands laughed.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes Aunt Sandy," Katy laughed.

Sandy shook her head as she left them, wearing multicoloured tops and leggings or short skirts with brightly coloured tights.


"Okay the makeup is different," Cassie kept glancing at the pictures that Sands had printed up, "but I just about think I can do this."

"Well with how we fixed your hair, you look most like Belinda Carlisle back then," Katy smiled.

"I'm not sure I like this lip gloss," Cassie shook her head, "a far deeper shade of red then I normally wear."

"Yes, but look how great they made it look in the pictures," Liz smiled as she painted her own lips.

"Blow drying our hair sort of gives us the right 'feathered' look," Laura tried to get a look at herself in the mirror.

"These pants look as though they've been spray-painted on," Shawnee laughed as she admired her own ass.

"My Mom would have a fit at this little cheerleader skirt," Laura laughed.

"Well good thing she won't see it, right?"


“True, very true…”



Vanessa Richmond’s Apartment


"So who was that phoning darling?" Nessa asked as her brother came back in.

"John, he was just ringing to say that all the drivers and cabs he booked for tonight will be in the right places at the right time, and to say thank you for giving him the night off so he could accompany Jeannie and Barbara."

"He works hard," Nessa smiled at her own reflection, "he deserves the odd chance to be with his family."

"Can I say sister dear that if I wasn't a priest, and also not your brother, I'd be hitting on you tonight?"

"Thank you Alex," she said as she patted a hair into place. "I didn't get to play back then, I was too busy being censorious, but I can at least enjoy some eighties excess tonight."

"Well you look stunning darling,” Alex said as he looked at his sister in the sort gold lame wrap dress, “the pity is David couldn't make it."

"Maybe some other man might get lucky?" Nessa giggled.

"I'll pretend I didn't hear that," Alex laughed. "But seriously Ness, I'm so glad to see you enjoying your life nowadays."


“I know – I feel like a new woman every day now.  So, shall we?”




The Burton Apartment


"So were you expecting to get a car Bones?" Mel asked as they both dressed.

"Not in a million years," Erica shook her head, "when Uncle Ian said come outside and see something that was the very last thing that I thought."

"I saw it before they started to restore it," Mel smiled as she put an earring in, "I almost can't believe it’s the same car they did such a great job restoring it."

"I'll have to go in and thank them all personally," Erica smiled happily.

"So what other amazing presents do you think you'll get?"

"I don't know – I love Mum’s present of the microscope, but to be honest I hope people haven't really gone overboard, it's the thought that counts, not the actual gift."

"Well what Doc and I are giving you didn't cost a fortune, but we both agreed it’s something you'll find awfully useful."

"I look forward to getting it at the party,"


“So, how do we look?”


Erica looked at Mel, in her black jumper, faded jeans and gold slippers with white socks, and said “very Tiffany.”


“Thank you, Paula,” Mel said as she looked at her friend, in her black strapless gown, dark tight and heels.  “Let’s par-TAY!”



"My husband can't get over that car you know," Eva Eckholm smiled as she and Denice got dressed in Denice's bedroom.

"He told me it was just like his very first car."

"Yes back home in Sweden before he won that sports scholarship to come play soccer at Hofstra."

"I know Erica's going to love hers."

"So are our two youngest dressed and ready," Eva turned as her husband tapped on the door.


“I think so,” Andy said as he stood, his denim jacket open to show the white t-shirt and the collar turned up.  “Shall we?”



The Astoria-Waldorf


“Well, I’m just glad I drew the long straw,” Billy said as he looked at himself in the mirror, the dark curly wig and dark glasses making him look different, “those must itch like crazy.”


“You’re not kidding,” David said as he stood with Jack, both of them now wearing long beards with their wigs and dark glasses.  “But the girls are being the ladies, so we must be the band.”


“But these guys were stars at the time?”


“Oh yes they were boys – and may I say you look really good like that.”


All three turned round to see Will standing there, wearing a white shirt and black pants with a black tie, his hair combed back.


“A bit formal for you, Dad,” David said with a smile, “why are you oh my god.”


“Is there something wrong darling,” Mandy said as she and Paula came in, their hair darkened and slicked back, wearing tight short black dresses, dark hose and high heels.


“No – but Dad…”


“The past is the past – and besides,” Paula said, “Karen, Olivia and Alice are joining in.”


“Don’t ask me,” John Gaunt said as he came in, wearing a dark blazer over a black and white striped polo shirt, and light pants.


“Ready to Ric roll Kit?”


“They have other ideas,” he said as Alicia, Eve, Clodagh and Kit came in, wearing short rah-rah skirts, dyed jackets and leggings, with big frizzed hair.


“Right – let’s go…”











"This will be like two parties in one," Adam said as he looked at Janice in her 'Dynasty' evening dress. "So many women in stunning dresses like that, and yet the kids in vastly different styles and fashions."

"I know," Janice smiled as she looked out of the cab window, "I'm looking forward to seeing just how everyone looks."

"Well as always I'll be with the most beautiful woman in the room."

"Flatterer," Jan laughed.

"No that's true," he gave her a light kiss on her lips.

"I look good, but wait till you see some of the other girls first."

"I'll still not change my opinion."

"Youse guys going to some swanky party," the cab driver asked.

"A friends daughters Sweet 16," Jan replied. "The theme is the Eighties."

"Well Ma'am I once had Joan Collins and Linda Evans in my hack back then, and youse look more beautiful then either of dem."

"See, he agrees," Adam laughed, "you look incredible Jan."

"Well thank you both," Janice blushed.


Park Avenue


"That will be Klaus and Juliette darling," Shirley took a last glance in the bedroom mirror as the doorbell rang. "Can you let them in please?"

"I can," John adjusted his cufflinks. "Do we still have time to have drinks before the limousine arrives?"

"We should do," Madame glanced at her watch and then started to pull her long black gloves on.

John walked to the front door and opened it, smiling as he let Klaus and Juliette come in.


“I see we had the same idea,” Klaus said as he stood in his dinner jacket, the grey hair smoothed back, while Juliette was wearing a long white gown with gold inlay, a mink wrapped round her shoulders.  “Come in, come in.”


As they walked into the drawing room, Klaus laughed.  "I don't know which of us is John Forsythe's character, but these two are definitely Alexis and Krystle."

"So for once I'm the 'good' one and she's the 'baddie' Ju smiled.


“And what is Maisha wearing for the party.”


“Hello Aunt Juliette, Uncle Klaus,” Maisha said as she came into the room.  She was wearing a t-shirt with “Choose Life” in black letters printed on it, black leggings, flat slippers and a bandana tied white as a band on her hair.  She slipped on a black leather jacket, and said “I am ready when you are.”




7.30 pm

The Manhattan Penthouse


“Wow, this place is amazing,” Dawn said as she came into the reception area with Lynn and Jess.  All three girls were wearing faded denim jackets with brightly coloured scoop necked tops underneath, as well as layered skirts and flat shoes with brightly coloured tights.


“Welcome girls,” Mary said as she stood there, “presents are on the table over there, and then you can have a drink before the birthday girl gets here.”


“Well, at least we weren’t the first,” Jess said as she saw some of their friends, and then Ama arrived with Alex, both of them wearing denim waistcoats and jeans, with white t-shirts underneath.  Alex was wearing white trainers, while Ama had a pair of short black boots on, with tassels down the back.


“Erica is not here yet,” Ama said as Alex went to get drinks.


“Not yet.  But look at some of the older generation,” Jess said as she saw Grace, in the black dress and her hair under a slicked black wig.  Then the room turned as Mary went forward.


“You got here first, good,” she said as she kissed Denice on the cheek.  The dark skinned woman was wearing a gold dress with a deep neckline and a knee length skirt, the jacket she was wearing over it coming to the hem of the skirt as well, and matching heels.  Her hair was permed and piled high, while she was wearing pearl earrings and a set of pearls round her neck.


“Welcome,” Mary said as she kissed her friend, “Rydych chi wir yn edrych y fenyw harddaf yn yr ystafell.


Rwy'n teimlo'n anhygoel - ydw i wir yn edrych mor dda â hynny?


“Wrth gwrs y gwnewch chi, rydych chi'n wirion lass - felly ble mae'r ferch ben-blwydd?”


Om ei ffordd gyda Mel a Poppy - Cododd Clint nhw mewn limwsîn ...


Sands and Holly’s Apartment


"Okay that's all your stuff installed for the weekend Krys," Heather said as they turned the apartment lights out. "Any last minute questions or problems?"

"No,” Krystal said as she looked at Heather.  Her “Friend” was wearing a baggy white jumper and black leather pants, with ankle boots.  “It just worries me that someone will recognize me as Tommy under all this."

"Krys darling let me honest, I'll guarantee with all that we've done, including the voice modification, that your own mom wouldn't recognize you."

"Thanks Heather," Krys smiled, "I just wish I had your confidence."

"Well hop in my car and let's go see if I'm right."


“Well, nothing ventured,” Krys whispered as she walked out of the block and got into the car.


Manhattan Penthouse


“Well, here we are,” Clint said as he drew up outside the building, and got out, walking round to open the passenger door as Erica got out with Poppy and Mel.  Poppy was wearing a straw hat with a tweed blazer, a long white shirt with a belt loosely round her waist, and a four layer skirt, the white legwarmers covering the bottom half of her legs.



“Thanks Clint,” Erica said as Mel’s parents came alongside them.  “so – shall we go in?”


“Yes – yes we will,” Erica said as Clint joined Susan and they all walked to the elevator, riding to the penthouse.  As the doors opened, the room cheered as Erica walked in, the DJ playing a song by Altered Images.


“Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday, happy birthday


Happy, happy birthday in a hot bath
To those nice nice nights
I remember always, always
I got such a fright
Seeing them in my dark cupboard
With my great big cake


If they were me
If they were me
And I was you
And I was you
If they were me
If they were me
And I was you
And I was you

If they were me and I was you
Would you have liked a present, too?


Happy, happy birthday in a hot bath
To those nice nice nights
I remember always, always
I got such a fright
Seeing them in my dark cupboard
With my great big cake


If they were me
If they were me
And I was you
And I was you
If they were me
If they were me
And I was you
And I was you

If they were me and I was you
Would you have liked a present, too?


Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday, happy birthday

Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday, happy birthday

Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday, happy birthday”



“Thanks everyone,” Erica called out as she walked into the room, greeting her friends as she did so.


"So do you know this friend Heather is bringing Puss?" Jan asked as they both sipped champagne.

"I can't say I remember her,” Pussy said quietly, “but I didn't know all of Tee's friends."

"It's like I bet I don't know a lot of Eva's friends from Hofstra, even though she and I were close."

"It sounds the same."

"So how is motherhood suiting you and Freida?"

"I think we are getting the hang of it," Puss laughed, "though there are nights when each of us disclaims parentage when baby cries."

"Mom used to do a lot of the late night feeds and changes for Katy. I think she actually enjoyed it."

"She did?" Puss laughed as she shook her head.  “I love my mom to bits, but she will take Pauline only on one night a fortnight.  Liz helps out as well, and we have some very good babysitters?”


“Such as?”


“Them,” Pussy said as she looked across the room.


“Do you like it?”


“Do I like it?  I LOVE it,” Erica said as she put on the suede coat Simon was holding in his hands, then turned round and passionately kissed him.  “Thank you, thank you so much!”


“Well, I’ll put it back in the box and leave it with your other presents,” Simon said as she slipped the jacket off and he packed it away again.  He then took it over to the table where other presents had been left, as Alex Richmond left a large wooden box next to it.


“For you to enjoy in a few years,” he said with a smile as he kissed Erica on the cheek, and then turned to Denice.  “I hear congratulations are also due to you.”


“News travels fat,” Denice said quietly, “but I haven’t told Erica yet.  Today is her day – tomorrow is mine.”


“Of course – but congratulations nonetheless,” Alex said with a smile.




“Ladies and Gentlemen, we want to welcome you to Erica’s Sweet Sixteen – we are Ladydown.  Ask your parents.”


As the room laughed, Emma Cromwell said “We’re going to be alternating with the DJ tonight and some other guests, but we’re going to sing a few songs of the time first – starting with one of ours.  One, two…”


The crowd cheered as they started to play, while Mary stood to the side with Caroline.


“Buck’s Fizz?  Seriously?”


“I know, I know,” Caroline said with a smile as she stood, the green wrap round skirt in place, “it was just an idea at the time, but yeah – an English Girl, a California Girl, A Frenchman and a Romanian in blonde wigs – well, the guys anyway.”


“You’re not actually going to sing, are you?”


“Never say never…”





“Holly – how are you?”


The small blonde turned as she heard Sands, and said “I’ve been better.  You?”


“Me too – I hope to enjoy tonight though?”  She looked at Holly, in her low cut white silk dress, her blonde hair held up.


“Yeah – so do I,” Holly said as she emptied her glass of champagne, and grabbed another…


"I still think young Mel has a future modelling," Missy whispered as she glanced across the room at the tall blonde goalkeeper. "She's going to be a classic Swedish beauty,"

"Like I said in Rosville darling," Diana smiled, "give her time to adapt to her new life before you go and ask Andy and Eva about her."

"I know, but…  Did you see that picture of her in the paper?"

"The one taken after last week’s game?"

"Yes," Missy smiled, "I know it was on the sports pages, but I bet several of my colleagues and rivals clipped it out and noted down her name."

"Well as you say it was on the sports pages, perhaps you are being a tad paranoid darling."

"I bet you I'm not."

"Changing subjects,” Diana said with a little note of desperation, “how is Rhenia doing?"

"Damn well, actually. It's nice that I can just leave everything related to purely business matters in her hands, and stick to what I love and enjoy doing."

"Managing the talent is what you are so brilliant at."

“And what I always enjoy the most.  For example, working with Maddie to bring Vicky and Allison Clarke into the field has been a revelation.”


“So what has she got them doing?”


“One or two small shoots at the moment…”


As Missy looked round, she saw Heather walk in with a blonde haired woman.


"Now who is she?" Missy pursed her lips.

"Who is who?" Diana looked round.

"The blonde coming in with Heather."

"An old friend from Yale I believe."

"Is she in the business? She walks like a top girl," Missy adjusted her glasses.

"I believe she's a biologist."





"Alright, it's showtime," Krys whispered to herself as she and Heather entered the huge room.  She looked round, wandering if anyone would recognise her…

"Just don't be self-conscious," Heather whispered, "just relax and have fun."

"I'll try," Krys unconsciously adjusted the fur draped on her shoulder.  "But it’s not that easy…”

"Don't fidget, just relax," Heather hissed.

"I'm trying."

"Come on let’s get you a glass of champagne and see if that helps," Heather took a step, "and remember you are supposed to be a stranger. Don't let on that you know someone before they are introduced."

"I'd worked that out myself," Tommy smiled as Krys took over and she started to head to the bar with Heather, gently swinging her hips as she walked.



“So that’s Krys,” Juliette said as she stood with Sandy, “have you met her yet?”


“No – she’s coming to dinner tomorrow night, but she certainly looks like someone Heather would know…”




"Ought I go say Happy Birthday to Erica?" Krys asked as she watched Holly talking to the birthday girl.

"Yes,” Heather said quietly, “and add the present to the pile."

"Well wait till Holly..."

"No time like the present," Heather whispered as she gently tugged the sleeve of Krys's dress.  "Come on…”





"I see that Olivia drew the short straw," Juliette smiled as she joined Mary Thomas.

"Short straw?"

"Getting to ride shotgun on the younger generation of European Sinners over here for the party."

"Well she and Mandy," Mary smiled back. "Their own mothers were all doing other things. But Olivia and Mandy both have weekend shoots to do this side of the pond."

"And Eve and Aileen have a chat show to record Sunday morning," Jeannie joined the conversation.

"Part of their GND contract," Mary smiled inwardly as she glanced at Heather and Krys walking over from the bar.

“Merlin, can I ask a question?  Can I ask why Olivia Savage was called The Love Bandit?"

"Who? What?"

"For a moment there you were a million miles away Merlin," Juliette smiled.

"I was asking how Bandit got her nickname?" Jeans looked up.

"Is this just for your own interest, or for your new project?"

"Just for me Mary."


“”Well, you need to know something of the music of the time…”




“Holly – how are you keeping,” Carina asked her former enemy as she walked away from Erica.


"Badly…  To think last Christmas I was worried about Tommy asking me to marry him," Holly complained to Carina and Ingrid. "It's hard to remember that was less than a year ago."

"Well a lot has happened," Carina looked concerned as her friend grabbed her third glass of champagne already on this still young night.

"Yeah I know," Holly looked unhappy, "I created a mess for myself that I can't see any way out of."

"You never know something might happen," Ingrid smiled as Heather and her friend pushed by them gently to say Hi to Erica.


"What's this I heard you ceremonially burned both your famous leather pants and that mazing bikini?”  Ingrid asked.

"Tommy loved me in them both. They reminded me so much of him and how much I loved him, I just decided to get rid of them."

"Did you hear that?" Heather whispered to Krys.        


“Yeah – I wish she hadn’t done that…”


“Oh hey Heather – and this is?”


“Erica, this is my old friend from Yale, Krystal.  Krys, the birthday girl, Erica Burton.”


“It’s a real pleasure to meet you,” Krys said as she hugged Erica.  “Happy birthday.”


“Thanks – have fun,” Erica said as she smiled and turned round.  “And what on earth is…”


“Happy Birthday Bones,” Anna said as she and Mel handed her the long, brightly wrapped box.  Erica looked at it and then carefully opened it, before she said “Oh…  My… GOD!  Thank you thank you thank YOU!!!”


Denice looked on, her face a picture as she saw the full sized skeleton inside.


“Penny for them?”  Denice turned to see Mercy Kinman smiling next to her.


"A life size skeleton?  If I kill both Anna and Mel it will be justifiable homicide," Denice whispered as she took a sip of champagne.

"Completely justifiable," Mercy agreed.

"Well I certainly wouldn't want it in my apartment,' Kelly Rochermann smiled, "But then neither of my girls wanted to be a medical student."

Denice nodded as she watched Erica holding up the earrings, and then hugging Ali and Nell in thanks.  "It's going to freak me out every time I go in Erica's room, just knowing there is going to be a skeleton hanging in her closet."

"I told Anna there is no way I'm allowing one in our place," Emma Carlton shook her head.

"You are all talking as though it's a real skeleton," Caroline laughed, "It's a high quality plastic job, it didn't once belong to an actual person."

"It still freaks me out," Denice glared at her daughter and her friends inspecting the offending object.





"Is Denice still unhappy about the skeleton brother dear," Nessa asked as Alex brought her a drink and some food.

"From what I overheard of the conversation, then yes," Alex smiled.

"It's only a study aid," Gus spoke, "I can't see what all the fuss is about."

"I know that's true," Paulie shook her head. "But seeing it makes me awfully glad that Patricia became a physicist and not a medical doctor."

"We all have at some level a primal fear of death," Alex looked serious, "and skeletons, even plastic ones like that remind us of our mortality and thus scare us."

"It looked too realistic for my tastes," Nessa gave herself a little shake.

"Changing topics," Gus ate some food, "I'm disappointed young Tommy isn't here. I had rather hoped he might be starting to patch things up with both Holly and your granddaughter Nessa."

"I know," Nessa glanced across the room, "Holly is so obviously upset, and that's making Alexandra unhappy as well."




“Hi Alexis.”


As she turned round, she saw Carina standing behind her, stammering as she said “Carina – I’m sorry about lunch today, but I had to sort something out for next weekend.”


“Not a problem,” Carina said with a smile.  “So – have you been seeing me in your dreams recently?”


“No – and I really am sorry if I upset you telling Juliette about that…”


“Well, it was a surprise – but can I say something, if you promise not to scream out loud?”


As Alexis nodded, Carina said “I would be interested in discussing the Whitechapel murders with you at some point – what got you interested in them in the first place?”


“Seriously?  We watched Murder by Decree on my degree course and I started to look into it.”


“Interesting film – you’re coming next weekend, aren’t you?”


As Alexis nodded, Carina said “my aunt will be there too – we can talk then, but for now, tell my about your community…”




"At long last," Pepsi exclaimed as she glared at the large group of young men who had just arrived, "I was beginning to think they weren't coming."

"I think some of the girls were as well," Becca watched as Nikki went over to talk to a boy who from his size was pretty obviously a football player.

"Is she still seeing Greg?" Ama asked as Nikki dragged the boy towards the dance floor.

"Occasionally," Jeannie sipped some champagne. "I think he'd like to make it official they are dating and she won't commit."

"That sounds like Nikki," Susie Clarke joined the conversation, "I think she's still dreaming of a certain French boy."

"Like you dream about his twin brother," Vicky smiled at her sister.


“No comment…”


"A couple of those boys are cute," Pepsi smiled as Katy and the Six started to dance with George and some of his school friends.

"If I can't look at girls now I'm engaged, then you can't look at guys," Jack laughed.

"I know," Pepsi started to giggle while they danced to the beat, "not that I need worry about you in that costume, I don't think most of our friends get it."

"I think it sort of suits me," Jack laughed some more, "I might grow a beard for real."

"Over my dead body."

"You don't think I'd look good with a beard darling?"

"No, I like you just as you are," she leaned in and tried to kiss him, "all this fuzz just gets in the way."






"So is Orlagh becoming more then just Jennifer's nanny?" Rachel McNally asked as she saw George dancing with her.

"I'm not honestly sure," Sandy watched. "Even Heather is only guessing at this time.'

"So would you object to your ex dating her?"

"No," Sandy smiled, "I never liked Allison I'll admit, but Orlagh is delightful. If she and George do eventually become more then employer and nanny she'd certainly get my approval."





"Can I ask something that has always puzzled me Heather?" Krys asked very quietly.

"As long as it isn't too personal."

"Why are George and Sands Richmond's, when their father's surname is Graham? Was it something to do with the divorce?"

"Actually no," Heather said in a low voice as she glanced at Sandy. "They are properly Graham-Richmond. when Sandy and George were married it was agreed because they'd inherit the Richmond fortune that they'd have a double barrelled surname. Graham-Richmond though was always a mouthful to say so their parents agreed to just leave it as George and Alexandra Richmond."

"I guess that makes sense."


"I'm grabbing Heather for a dance Krys, I hope you don't mind," Sandy said as she pulled her love onto the floor.

"Not at all."

"You look out of it my dear," Gus smiled at Krys, "Would you do an old man the honor of dancing with him?"

"It would be a pleasure," the words came from Krys's lips, "while in Tommy's brain he thought, "I'm dancing with Uncle Gus?"



“So you knew Heather in college,” Gus said as they waltzed across the floor.


“Yeah – we met in the library one day, and started talking.  I don’t know why, but we became friends.  You’re Patricia’s father, right?”


“That alone tells me you never really met her at Yale,” Gus said with a smile, “or you’d call her Pussy like we all do – well, except her sister.”


“No – I was too wrapped up in getting my degree to socialise much.  But I was coming here for interviews, I knew she lived in the city, so I called her – and here I am at a party.  Quite an interesting crowd here.”


“You’ve heard of the Saints and Sinners?”


“In passing,” Krys said quietly, “I don’t really read the gossip columns.”


“Well, that’s a lot of the group here – you know, I can’t shake the feeling we have met before?”


“Possibly in passing at Yale,” she said quietly.


“Yeah, that might be it…”


"So how do you think Krys is doing?" Katy whispered as she and Sands watched the blonde dance with Gus van Roon.

"Better then Hol is," Sands looked towards the bar, "She's unhappy and she is drinking far too much."

"I'd noticed, but what can we do?"

"I'm trying to think…”



"Is it wrong that I'm actually enjoying myself?" the thought ran through Tommy's brain as she thanked Gus and went to the side of the room.

"Is it natural that I actually like it that men are looking at me like this?" Krys sipped her champagne and smiled at a couple of the young men checking her out.

For all the fact he'd dated so many beautiful women, and that he had plenty of friends, Tommy had always been aware that most people saw him purely as a geek, and that while they might respect his brains, his physique had always ensured that he was never really, 'one of the guys'. Indeed when he thought about it he actually had very few male friends, most of his friends were female, and while he knew he had a reputation as being a skilled lover, he did rather wish that his life was about more.

Krys wasn't the type of person the majority guys looked at as a 110 pound nothing, men looked at her with lust in their eyes. Tommy was already understanding the power that came with being a beautiful woman. It was a power that he was enjoying...Was that wrong?



"So who is that dancing with Nessa Alex?" Klaus asked.

"Lowell Exeter,” Alex said as he looked over, “he's the deputy headmaster at St Augustine's. Grace invited him as a sort of control on all these young men."

"He seems a nice chap."

"I've only met him a couple of times at functions. He used to teach at the Diocesan College in Baltimore. He started at St Augustine's at the start of the school year."

"Well he's making your sister laugh and smile."

"I'd noticed," Alex smiled contentedly at Nessa enjoying herself.



"Is that Jeans dancing with someone other than House or Father Alex," Becca watched as her friend hung in the football players arms."

"Garrett is nearly as big as House," Ama smiled as she and Nick brought fresh drinks for the group.

"Well don't tell Winston he danced with her," Doc laughed as she watched Jeans go by with the big black boy, "the word is he is going to USC next year."

"Ouch!" Nick laughed, “one of Stanford's main rivals."

In the bar area, a hushed conversation on important matters was taking place…


"So have you got a guest list sorted for Shirley's party Ju darling?" Mandy asked as she stood in her black dress.

"Not fully Tufty, but I'm already glad knowing who has already said that they are coming that Francesca's place has so much spare accommodation."

"And Charlotte has said that in addition, and if needed, she can put people up at her castle on the opposite side of the lake."

"We might yet have to take her up on that offer. Cat Cuthbertson was saying that there are some girls who Shirley was at school with at either Footscray Lodge, or Cheltenham, who we ought to invite," Juliette smiled as she watched Shirley dance with Klaus dressed in her best "Alexis' finery.

"I wonder if I know any of them darling?" Mandy's brows knitted.

"They weren't names I recognized.  Zoe Bolton, Hannah White, Claire Teal…"

"We could have quite an interesting group then?"

"I'm hoping so," Juliette smiled." I'm just hoping Caroline can get that weekend off from filming to be there."

"Well she told me that she's warned the producers and director."

"Carina was wondering if we should charter an aircraft and pick people up as we go along. Make sure everybody gets there at the same time."

"It's a thought darling."

"I know,” Juliette said quietly, “I guess I'll ring a few of the charter companies on Monday and Tuesday."

"Just remember if you do to tell everybody where they have to be...and when."




"Ness darling,” Paulie van Roon said as she joined her old friend, “I know you are enjoying having an active sex life..."

"Are you about to scold me Paulie?" Vanessa interrupted.

"Yes...No...Oh I don't know darling," Paulie took a deep breath. "I guess I'm saying be careful.'

"At my age I can hardly get pregnant," Ness started to giggle.

"No but you can still get a reputation, and I'm sure you don't want either David, or the general public, to know you sleep around."

"Look darling I'm just having fun dancing with Lowell. Who says I'm going to take him to my bed?"




“Okay, message received,” Nessa laughed…




“If I can have everyone’s attention for a minute?”


As the group gathered round the stage, Denice said “I think the time has come for the ritual humiliation of the birthday girl – but I’m not going to sing.”


“Neither are we,” Emma said as she looked at the rest of the band.  “Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Belinda Carlisle!”



As the singer came on, she smiled and said “We want to sing this song – but I want a friend to join us.  Do you mind?”


As the party screamed, a white haired man came out and said in his deep Welsh voice “let’s all sing for Erica – and…”


As Tom Jones led the singing, Doc said “Well, why not?”


“Because of your Sweet Sixteen?”


“That was Mick – Tom was a visitor.  No, this is all her’s…”




"I think I need to have a word with Holly...quietly," Carina whispered in Annie's ear, "she's starting to look as though she's going to make a fool of herself and ruin this lovely party."

"Are you going to need any help?"

"Hopefully not,” Carina said as she stood up, “but if I haven't returned in 15 minutes send out a search party."

"Just don't lose your cool darling," Annie looked worried, "remember this is a public event and that she's your friend."

"I'll not go Beast on her I promise, but it's time she heard some things I'm not sure she will like."

"Well just be safe," Annie gave her wife a quick kiss and then walked slowly over to where Holly was sitting, looking out over the dance floor as others enjoyed themselves.

"Enjoying yourself Hol?"

As she looked up, she saw her old frenemy standing there, a concerned look on her face as she sat next to her.  "Not particularly Cari, but this is helping," she said as she held up the champagne glass in her hand.

"Helping how?"

"Honest answer?"


"By dulling that little voice in me,” Holly said quietly, “that keeps telling me what an idiot I've been but won't tell me how I put my life right again."

"Have you been an idiot?"

"Well let me see," Holly said as she took another sip. "One of the people I love is over there dancing with her friends and I daren't ask her to dance in case I make bad worse, while the man I love would rather be 'out of town' then even come to a party and talk to me. Now you tell me Carina” she whispered, “if I'm not an idiot how the hell did I manage to fuck my life up so badly?"


“I don’t think you have – yes, you’re in a rough patch now, but it’s not the first time you and Tommy have fallen out…”


“Cari, I love him,” Holly whispered, “and I love Sands…”


"Alright,” Carina said as she looked at Holly, “you are in love with two wonderful people, but that doesn't make you an idiot."

"Well it doesn't exactly make me the brainiest and brightest person in the room either. Face it Cari I'm a stupid bitch."

"That's beginning to sound like wallowing in self-pity Holly. And that isn't going to help either," Carina held her friend’s hand to stop her picking up another glass of fizz.

Holly suddenly turned and looked angrily at the young woman.  "How would you know what my life is like Carina. You are married to the person you love, you have three lovely children, you have a great career, and you are doing well in school. What do you know about screwing up your life? Your life is perfect."

"Perfect?  Hol, remember I got pregnant after a one night stand with a guy who left town rather than acknowledge what he'd done. Not exactly the brightest thing I could have thought of to do with my life.  Yeah, Judith is perfect and amazing, but for a while there I didn’t know what I was going to do either.  No way was my life perfect…"





"Do I need to go over there?" Sands pulled Heather to a side and pointed to the corner of the bar where the discussion between Holly and Carina was starting to get animated.

"It might be safer that you don't darling. Let Carina talk to your girlfriend. I trust her to say the right things."

"Hello I'm Krystle Ernst," suddenly Sands saw a beautifully manicured hand with deep red nails held out, "I don't think we've met."

"Oh sorry Krys," Heather smiled, “Krys this is Alexandra Richmond Jr, Sands to her friends. Sands this is Krys, an old college friend of mine."

"Lovely to meet you," Krys said as she shook the younger woman's hand.

"And you."


“So what are you talking about?”


“Our friends over there,” Sands said as she looked across, Krys seeing Carina and Holly, “we want to help, but…”


"So what is frightening you most?" Carina said as she stood up, hand on her hip and looked straight in her old friend and rival's eyes.

"That I'll end up losing both of them," Holly stifled a tear as she let her head drop. "I love them both so much."

"I can understand that," Cari noticed her friend lifting her head, staring across the room at Heather and Sands chatting with Heather's old college friend.

"That rotten voice inside my head keeps telling me I'm going to end up alone, and that it was my own stupid fault."

"It's making you jealous as hell any time you see one of them with someone else?"

"That obvious?"

"The way you are looking at that other woman? Yes it's more than obvious. It's also pretty stupid."

"But she's gorgeous..."

"And you aren't?" Carina laughed as she interrupted.

"I don't feel gorgeous."

"Well I hate to agree with that inner voice of yours, but now you are really being stupid."


“Then why did – what are you doing?”


“Lancing this boil,” Carina said as she started to walk with Holly…







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