Countdown... To the Wedding
8 pm CET
“Right, let’s go,” Sandy said as she got into the first limousine, adjusting the hem of her red PVC dress as she sat down. It was low cut, revealing quite a bit – but not as much as Heather in her leather catsuit, both women wearing high heeled sandals.
Carina came next with Annie, the smaller blonde in a white halter neck top, hot pants and a white wig, while Annie had on a flowing blue dress and high heels. Natalia came out with a brown wig, and wearing a black leather waistcoat and pants with a white blouse, holding the door open as Sands ran quickly in.
“Okay – you know where we are going,” Heather said as they set off, the windows up as some photographers tried to take photos.
“Yes, Fraulein – and we are all taking different routes.”
“Good – we just want a nice quiet night,” Carina said as they drove through the streets of Munich, taking various turns until they finally pulled up in a side street, the girls looking at the neon sign over the door, as well as the two women standing outside.
Pussy for once had her red hair under control, pulled back in a ponytail that hung down her bare back, and wearing a halterneck mini dress with knee length red boots. Frieda was wearing a low cut black blouse and tight satin trousers.
Lesbos...well at least they make it clear up front Frieda what kind of club
this is." Sandy chuckled as she got out of the car.
"Yep, and they
pride themselves on being home to the hottest women like us. Puss and I used to
drive all the way from Heidelberg to party here."
Lover,” Sandy said as she got out of the car with Natalia, “do you think the
whole gang will enjoy themselves?"
"Oh I'm pretty
sure they will."
"Are you sure about
bringing Sands to a club like this?" Pussy asked.
"I tried talking her
out of it,” Heather said, “but she saw how Holly made her look, and there was
no way she wasn't coming."
"She does look pretty hot Tee." Pussy smiled as the young girls long nylon covered leg peeped out of the door of the limo. She then got slowly out, looking round as the ends of her blouse sat under her chest.
“Blair, you look fantastic,” Carina said as she saw her friend standing there, wearing a black leather dress.
“Well, when in Munich,” she said with a smile.
“Well, let’s get inside,” Pussy said as they walked to the two large doorman.
“Frau von Roon,” one of them said with a smile, “welcome. We have the VIP area ready for you and your party.”
“You can keep the photographers out Karl?”
“Of course we can,” he said as they opened the doors, and they walked in.
A second car pulled up, two tall thin girls with long dark hair getting out, both wearing silver tight pants and boob tubes.
“Interesting,” Abby said as Doc, Pepsi and Sarah got out, and finally Holly, wearing her white sundress and high heels.
“Looks fun,” Fiona said with a smile, “shall we go in?”
As they approached the door, Abby said “Pussy is expecting us.”
“Of course,” he said as he opened the door, and another car pulled up. Jan got out first, the heels of her ankle boots clicking as she stood in her leather leggings and jacket. A red wig covered her hair – Katy wearing one as well as she got out, wearing knee length stiletto heeled boots over tight blue jeans, and a sleeveless black satin blouse.
“Come on you two – they’ll be waiting.”
“Coming,” Eve Gaunt said as she got out, wearing a pair of black velvet shorts and a vest top, with over the knee black suede boots. Aileen followed her, her long hair flowing over her bare shoulders as she pulled down what little skirt her dress had.
“Pussy asked us to drop by,” Katy said as they walked over, the doorman nodding as they walked in. Aileen gasped as she saw the well lit floor, and the women standing round in groups.
“Over here,” Jan heard Pussy call out, as they walked towards the roped off area.
"This place is amazing!"
"Die Sanitäter Göttin . So viele heiße Frauen in nur einer Gruppe ." a very tall blonde in a black leather mini-dress and thigh high boots whispered to a friend.
"We are attracting attention," Katy laughed.
"Just remember we aren't supposed to be looking surprised Ailenn," her sister whispered.
"I know...We are supposed to look like we always go to clubs like this."
“I have to say, darlings, this was a very good idea of yours to have an evening with a difference,” Kylie said as she sat with Helen and Penny in the back of the car.
“Well, we all need to let our hair down from time to time,” Penny said with a smile. She was wearing a grey blouse and pants, while Helen was wearing a red cheomsang with matching heels.
Kylie was wearing an off the shoulder gold lurex dress with a micro skirt, and greek style sandals that had laces running up to her knees. Her lips were red, and her glasses dark, as they got out of the car and walked into the club.
“Wow, Kylie – is that one of yours,” Pepsi said as they joined the group.
“Why yes darling – I was saving it for a special occasion,” Kylie said as she took a drink. “I must say, everyone here looks fabulous – and you are?”
“I’m Suzie – Suzie Clarke, Mary Clarke is my big sister. I came here with Trina a few minutes ago.”
“Mary’s sister? Then it is a real pleasure to meet you. I’m Kylie Mitchell.”
“The girl who designed Mary’s dress? Wow, it’s an honour to meet you...”
“Oh no darling, the honour is all mine,” Kylie said with a smile as Penny and Helen talked to Pussy and Frieda.
“Hey Alexis,” Carina said with a smile, “I see the New York Sluts dragged you along as well.”
“I was curious actually,” Alexis said as she sat down. While Ally and Nell had on matching leather dresses, Alexis was wearing a halter neck pants suit. “and Janine was out with Henri anyway.”
“Well, welcome to let your hair down night,” Pussy said, “and here come the chaperones.”
“Remind me not to buy a christening present,” Susan said as she and Shirley walked over, both wearing waistcoats and leather pants with blouses underneath. Both were also wearing black leather gloves, Shirley carrying a riding crop with her.
“Maddie – you and Emma made it as well?”
“We did indeed,” Maddie said as they embraced each other. Emma was wearing a grey blouse and shorts, while Maddie like Shirley wore a waistcoat and tight jeans.
“Well, everyone’s here who’s coming,” Pussy said as she indicated to the DJ, “let’s PARTAY!!!”
“Here,” Trina said as she passed Suzie a coke.
“Thanks – am I the only one on soft drinks?”
“Nope,” Annie said as she sipped her coke.
“Are there any men in here?" Suzie Clarke whispered to Carina.
to Puss and Frieda” Carina said as she looked round, “they do allow in a few
who dress like girls Suzie," Annie smiled, "but they have to meet the
highest standards of passability."
"Well I can't spot any," the young Californian shook her head.
“That’s the idea – and don’t worry, they’re not after us as such...”
“Enough talk,” Carina said as she took Annie’s hand, “let’s dance.”
from Chet's eyes I want to work something out with Kylie." Doc smiled at
Pepsi and Sarah. "I've sort of had a thing about her for a while."
all this time I thought you were a straight nymphomaniac." Sarah laughed
as she caught the eye of a little redhead who looked her up and down.
"At least H can't complain about you flirting with other men in here Sarah." Doc's smile turned to a laugh.
“True – and that redhead does seem to have you in her sights,” Pepsi added.
Sands sat in the chair, watching Holly as she danced with Ally and Nell, a strange look in her eye.
look like you'd happily eat Holly alive." Katy whispered in Sands ear.
her...Oh you mean?" Sands blushed yet again.
it's been pretty clear you have had a crush on her for ages."
Katy sipped her drink before she said “only question is, what are you going to
do about it bestie?"
"Oh come on Sands I can read your mind, you are dreaming constantly about smudging your lipstick on hers."
“Oh go on – what’s the worst that could happen?”
The crowds outside were wondering either how to get in, or else how to find out who got in, but as he watched he had different matters on his mind.
would have literally killed to be inside with 'her', but even the prospect of
getting very close to his beloved would never get him into a dress and makeup.
He was a man, a REAL MAN, and though he guessed that this night out was a joke
for most of the women and they weren't really gay, still the thought that
'she', his goddess, might actually be a lesbian had started gnawing at his
How could she do this to him when she knew that he was so close nearby? The only man who could ever truly appreciate her for just what she was. This was torture, worse then even he could imagine.
Soon, soon he would explain to her, and then she would understand...
“Gotta admit,” Annie said as she looked round, “this is one hell of a club Pussy. I wish I was able to enjoy it to the full.”
“Who says you can’t,” Carina said as she leaned over and kissed Annie, Suzie blushing as she watched.
Suzie Clarke jumped as she turned and saw the redheaded girl from earlier.
"Möchtest du tanzen?"
"I'm sorry,” Suzie said quietly, “I don't speak German."
"Do you want to dance Cutie." the girl switched languages.
"Oh dear God," Suzie thought to herself, "dance with another girl?" Still she had known all along this was a lesbian club, and as she told herself, "when in Rome."
"Sure I'd love to."
She smiled as she stood up and walked onto the dance floor with the redhead, wondering what to do as she felt the girl’s arms round her waist.
“Relax,” she said, “we’re just dancing – unless you want more?”
“Dancing’s good,” Suzie said as they moved across the floor, Fiona watching with Abby from the side.
“You looking after her as well?”
“Mary would not be happy if we let anything happen to her,” Trina said as she sipped her drink, “never mind her father and brother.”
“I heard David got into Stanford?”
“He did – what about you Stick?”
“Cooper have accepted my application – so I’ll be a year behind Blair over...”
She stopped talking as she saw Blair sitting on the lap of a statuesque dark haired girl, giggling as they exchanged kisses. Looking round, she saw Pussy watching as well, an eyebrow raised as she smiled.
“Hey Kittycat,” Doc said as she sat in a quiet corner with Kylie, “what are you thinking about?”
“Well, Kitten,” Kylie said quietly, “I was looking at the women, the fashions, turning some ideas over in my mind...”
“That’s not what I meant,” Doc said quietly as she turned Kylie’s head towards her.
“Ah – you were thinking of when we came back from the visit we made with Madame,” Kylie said quietly.
“Well, yes – and no,” Doc said. “You do know I find you incredibly attractive.”
“I had noticed – but what will young Chet van Roon say?”
“Chet isn’t here – and you can’t deny you are curious as well.”
“I do not deny it,” Kylie said quietly, as they started to kiss, Doc’s hands moving over her friend’s body.
of our scientist colleagues are such chauvinist pigs." Frieda held court
sitting on a bar stool with her legs crossed.
those that don't think the only reason we don't make it with men is that we
haven't met the 'right' guy, are usually absolute drips." Pussy shook her
kind that would like a taste of a strong woman’s whip?" Madame flicked her
Shirley smiled as she said, “If I'm going to be a Lesbian for the night, I
might as well let the dominatrix in me out as well."
are you letting yourself in for Susan?" Heather whispered in her friend’s
"I don't know...yet."
“But you’re curious?”
Susan said nothing, sipping her drink as she looked round.
“You look incredible tonight Sands,” Holly said as she joined the young girl.
“Thanks,” Sands said with a little smile, “but it’s really all down to you, Holly.”
“No it’s not – you may not realise it yet Sands, but you are becoming a very attractive young woman.”
“You really think so?”
“Of course I do,” Holly said as she looked at Sands, the two women gazing at each other before Sands suddenly raised her head and pressed her lips on Holly’s. She moved back, Holly momentarily silenced as she said “oh goddess – I’m sorry Holly, I...”
“Hey – I’m flattered,” Holly said, “but I have to tell you Sands, I’m 100% Tommy’s now, and I’m straight. Having said that,” she then continued as she leaned forward and gently kissed Sands, “if I was going to kiss a woman, I hope it would be as nice as it was when you kissed me.”
“Thanks,” Sands said as Holly motioned for Sandy to come over.
“Listen,” Holly said, “talk to your mother, share how you feel – and thanks for the gift.”
Holly got up and walked over, to where Fiona and Abby were standing.
“Nicely done Holly,” Abby said.
“She’s a good kid, but I really don’t think she knows what she wants yet,” Holly said with a smile. “You two want to dance?”
to try your luck picking some girl up Sis?" Nell said as she looked in
not have the slightest idea of how to do it," Ally flicked her hair and
stared at a sumptuous brunette in a silver lame minidress.
that's a pretty good way to start." Nell laughed. "I guess it's just
the same as picking up guys, except they are using the same tricks on us,"
she smiled as a rather attractive girl with bright orange hair made eye
contact. "Have you ever?"
only as foreplay in a threesome," Ally made eye contact herself with the
brunette, "but I must admit purely as a theoretical exercise it intrigues
exercise," Heather shook her head, "It's amazing what a damn year at
Harvard can do, even to a New York slut..."
Nell looked round.
"If they attract you...then just go for it girls."
Ally and Nell looked at each other, as they walked across the floor and started talking to the other two girls.
“Penny for them,” Maddie said as she kissed Emma.
“Just looking round,” Emma said with a smile, “and, if you want the honest truth, feeling rather matronly. I know we’re a mixed group, but it’s the fact we all feel comfortable together that I love the most.”
“That’s the secret of the Sinnerz,” Shirley said as she and Natalya sat with them, “that we put aside all the boundaries and be ourselves.”
“On which note,” Shirley said, “have you seen the way some of the other women are looking at us?”
“Yes I have,” Natalya said, “some of them unsure of who we are, save we are here with Pussy and Frieda.”
“And some of us showing rather surprising ideas,” Susan said as she looked at Doc and Kylie, kissing and stroking each other.
“Does it bother you seeing them like that Susan?”
“No – not really,” Susan said with a smile, “although I may forget to tell their mothers about this.”
Shirley smiled as a woman, looking like Sally Bowles, walked over and said in a deep voice “Can I serve you in some way. Madame?”
“That depends,” Shirley said, “on how you think I can service you.”
“You may do whatever you want with me.”
Raising an eyebrow, Shirley stood up and pulled the woman closer, kissing her full on the lips before she said “anything?”
“I don’t want to know,” Maddie said as Shirley took the young woman to another corner to be by themselves...”
“You know your voice sounds like clear water running over an Alpine brook,” the blonde said as she danced close with Eve, while her friend danced with Aileen.
“That is a lovely thing for you to say,” Eve said with a smile. “I have to admit, this club is not what I expected – it’s very different from home.”
As she looked round, the girl said “I can imagine – Ireland is not well known for their views on people like us.”
“People like you?”
“Lesbians, bisexuals – freaks I believe at least one of your politicians has said in the past.”
“Well, they’re idiots – but why bring that up,” Eve asked quietly.
is a nasty rumour going round the club that most of you are straights and only
here to watch us 'freaks'?" the girl whispered in Eve's ear as she leaned
"Ja, some of the girls are getting VERY upset about it."
“Do you believe it?”
Looking into her eyes, the girl kissed Eve on the lips, the young Irish lass surprised to feel herself responding.
“I believe you and others are exploring,” she said quietly, “but others are not so forgiving or so slow to judge. When we finish the dance, go and talk to those who lead your group, give them the warning – some of the more radical ones here may wish to make their views known.”
Eve slowly nodded as the song finished, and they kissed again, before she walked over to where Pussy and Frieda were sitting with Natalya.
“Hey kiddo,” Pussy said as she joined them, “nice moves out there.”
“Thanks,” Eve said with a blush, “but we may have a problem. The girl I was dancing with tipped me off that some people may have sussed us out, and are upset about it?”
“Really,” Frieda said, “who might they be?”
“I see two separate groups,” Natalya said, “leather girls by the bar, and a group over by the toilets.”
“The same toilets that Trina and Suzie are walking to now?”
“Damn,” Maddie said as she looked over, “I’m on my way.”
“Coming with you,” Abby said as she followed them.
“Allow me to talk to the group by the bar,” Natalya said as she started to walk over.
Trina turned round from the wash basin to see the three women, wearing microskirts and band tops, looking at her.
“Oh hey there,” she said in her San Francisco accent, “what can I do for you?”
“You can kiss one of us,” the middle girl said, “prove you deserve to be here?”
Trina looked at her, and then walked over, kissing her full on the lips as she massaged her bottom.
“Happy now,” she said as she moved back.
“You yes – what about your young friend?”
“What about me,” Suzie said as she came out.
“Which of us are you going to...”
“Ah THERE you are,” Abby said in her French accent as she walked in, grabbing Suzie and taking her completely by surprise as she kissed her.
“Problem, girls,” Maddie said as she stood by the door.
“What the...” Suzie said as Abby took her by the hand.
“Forgive my friend,” she said to the three women, “this is new to her, and we are teaching her. She’s just a bit nervous. Coming, Trina?”
“Sure,” Trina said as the three of them left, Maddie closing the door.
“My turn,” she said quietly. “We’re all the guests of Patricia and Frieda van Roon – you know them?”
The three girls nodded as she said “good – I hope you don’t do anything to spoil the evening. I’d hate to have to get – physical with you or your friends.”
“You and whose army?”
“Problem,” Shirley said as she walked in, bringing her riding crop down hard on the marble.
“No – I think these girls can be trusted to spread the word.”
“Good evening ladies,” Natalya said as she joined the group at the bar, “I see you have been admiring some of the ladies with us this evening.”
“Curious,” the oldest of the women said, “as to which way they truly swing.”
“They swing both ways and one way,” Natalya said, “but they are under the supervision of myself and other mature ladies. They are here merely to have a good time, in a good atmosphere, and have no wish to upset others as they explore their own sexuality. I trust you understand what I am saying?”
“Lay off, as the Americans say?”
“Indeed – we would be eternally grateful,” Natalya said as she walked off, the girls watching.
“This is really strange,” Trina said as she sat with Suzie, “watching everything.”
think under the right conditions we can all have 'feelings' for other
women." Frieda smiled at her friends.
agree," Heather smiled. "We know what pleasures us, and just
sometimes even straight women need the touch of someone who knows precisely how
to arouse her to the peaks."
"Men are great, but I do like occasionally to feel the other person be as gentle as I hope I am." Abby nodded.
“I see what you mean,” Trina said as she looked over.
are they talking about Holly?" Sands asked as she snuggled up to Holly,
"you just said straight women don't...?"
you let a boy kiss you yet?" Holly interrupted.
I?" Sands batted her eyelids at her friend.
"Well, I would. It might give you terms of reference."
"Okay I'll find a boy to kiss." Sands started to stand up.
don't mean tonight," Holly pulled her down, "what they are saying is
that men can be selfish sometimes about getting their own pleasures and forget
that we women have our own needs."
he's gentle, kind, and considerate, and I love him."
show me how he kisses, and how most boys kiss then?" Sands asked boldly,
as she again made lip contact with the older girl.
I said I was straight." Holly looked a little flustered.
I need you to teach me Holly," Sands made it sound like a challenge,
"what are these fabulous red lips for if they aren't for kissing?"
she let her lips part slightly as she again kissed Holly.
you'll get me in trouble," Holly laughed as instinctively she let her own
lips open and her tongue found the younger girls.
Tommy kisses like that?" Sandy asked breathlessly as they eventually
"Yes, and I'm going to go to hell...or prison, for doing this," she looked deeply into Sands eyes as they started to kiss again.
what do I do about that Lover?" Sandy asked as she spotted Sands and Holly
Heather glanced across the room. "Sands told me earlier she wants to work
out if she is a lesbian as well."
practically seducing Holly...I better go break it up."
poor Holly, our daughter is practically assaulting her," Sandy shook her
head as her daughters hand lightly explored the bespectacled girls breasts.
"Leave them be, Holly can stop it if she really wants to...and you know that's the first time you've ever referred to her as 'our' daughter lover?"
“It is? Well, there we are then,” Sandy said with a smile as they kissed, hearing both Sands and Holly gasp as they continued their exploration.
To the young teenager, this was an experience she had never had before. Holly was also wondering what was happening, as she stroked the back of the young girl, while Sands slipped her hands down between Holly’s legs – and then her eyes opened wide as she suddenly felt her first orgasm coming on.
Holly shook as well as the two looked at each other, and then Sands got up and slowly walked over to her mother, sitting with her as Sandy put her arm round her shoulders.
"You know for a girl who was once totally sure she was purely straight...you've changed so much Kitten," Doc said as she let the English girl kiss her deeply and touch her.
“As I say, I have learned so much about myself,” Kyle breathed as she kissed Doc’s neck, “and like you, I like to express myself.” She then looked over to her side, where Sarah was watching, and then said “Would you like to join us?”
She nodded slowly as he came over and sat behind Doc, her hands reaching round and caressing Anna’s chest as Kylie continued to kiss her, and then reach over to kiss Sarah.
“Your friends seem to be enjoying their evening,” the redhead said as she danced closely with Aileen. The young girl was, despite her fears, beginning to relax and enjoy the evening.
She looked over to where the rest of the group were sitting, and said “yeah – it’s very different.”
“Greta – what are you doing?”
Both girls turned to see the leather clad Amazon standing there, looking at them both.
“Zora – forgive me, I was just dancing with this visitor until you arrived.”
“Is that all? What’s your name little one?”
“Ah – Irish. Well, Aileen, go back to your friends – Greta is mine and dances with no one else.”
“Is there a problem,” Eve said as she walked over.
“No Eve, it’s all right – leave it,” Aileen said as she started to walk back to the group.
“You all right,” Katy said as she sat next to Sands.
“I don’t know – I just felt so wonderful and so strong, and then I started shaking and...”
“Hey,” Katy said, “it’s all right, and I’m sure Holly will be all right as well. Come on – let’s dance.”
“I knew she had a crush on you,” Abby said to Holly as they watched Katy and sands go onto the dance floor, “but I didn’t think it was that strong. You all right?”
“Hmmm? Yeah, yeah I’m good,” Holly said, “it was just totally unexpected. Makes me appreciate Tommy all the more.”
“Good,” Carina said as she sat with Annie, “that’s a positive out of tonight as well.”
“You all right now,” Trina said as she sat with Suzie.
“Yeah – but why did those women say that in the rest room?”
“Don’t worry about them,” Fiona said as she sat with them, “they just thought you were doing something you weren’t, kiddo.”
“Hey – want to dance?”
“Why not,” Trina said as she took the redhead’s hand, the two of them going onto the dance floor and dancing close together.
“You move very well for an American,” the redhead said.
“I’ll take that as a compliment – what’s your name?”
“Her name is Greta – and she was warned not to do this again.”
“Zora please – I was just...”
“Perhaps I need to make myself clearer,” the Amazon said as Trina looked at her.
“Girls, we may have a problem,” Annie said quietly as she watched the scene unfold.
“Uh oh,” Carina said as she stood up, “Abby, you’d better stay back here with the youngsters.”
“You as well,” Shirley said as she, Penny and Helen stood up, “better you are not involved in any unpleasantness.”
“Look, I’m sorry if I’ve over stepped a line,” Trina said, “but...”
“Too late little one,” Zora said as she pulled Trina’s head back by her hair, “I need to teach you...”
“No,” Sheila said as she swiped the riding crop down on her hand, “You will not.”
“Oh – and are you going to teach me instead?”
“If I must,” Shirley said as she grabbed Zora, dipping her before she kissed her on the lips.
“Hey – she’s mine,” Greta said as she jumped for Shirley – only to be stopped by Penny, as she caught her by the waist and said “quiet little one – allow your friend to learn her lesson.”
“You can’t treat our friend like that,” two other young girls said as they came forward – only to have Helen hold one of them while Trina grabbed the other, while Shirley let Zora get up.
As the four looked round, they saw a group of the girls running towards the group.
“Dammit,” Jan shouted out, “Annie, get the youngsters with you. Carina, Abby, protect them.”
“Oh no,” Eve said as she leaped onto the dance floor. “Nobody gets to Aileen through me.”
“Behind us,” Abby shouted as Katy dragged Sands and Suzie over, Doc and Kylie going onto the dance floor as well.
“Oh, you want to dance little one,” a dark hared girl said as she advanced on Kylie.
“You’re making a serious mistake darling,” she said as she glanced at Helen, the two nodding as she threw the girl onto the floor, while Doc rugby tackled another girl.
“Stay out of it Pepsi,” Fiona said as she pulled her away, “leave this to the fighters.”
“I knew you were laughing at us,” a blonde said as she yanked Eve back by her hair.
"So you want to pull hair eh?" Eve Gaunt hissed at the woman as she grabbed her hair as well.
"BITCH!" the woman looked embarrassed as Eve pulled her hairpiece away. "Du verdammter Englisch FOTZE!"
"Das ist Irish Fotze du Schlampe." Eve yelled back.
“If I was you,” Penny said as she pushed the girl out of the way, “I’d start running now.”
“You don’t scare me bitch.”
“I should,” Penny said as she twisted her arm up her back, and threw her over to where Helen was standing. She responded by throwing her captive over as well.
“I think they need our help to protect them,” Penny said with a smile.
“Looks like it – but there are more of them than us.”
“Yeah – fun,” Penny said as they ran over to protect the group.
“Remember,” Helen said to Kylie, “do not physically harm where possible to avoid.”
“Understood,” Kylie said as she used a nerve pinch on one girl, and threw her to the floor.
“Well now, Shirley,” Natalya said as they stood back to back, four girls walking round them, “why do I feel this is not the first situation of this type you have been in?”
“Possibly a story for another time,” Shirley said with a smile. “Shall we?”
“How do we get out of this,” Suzie asked as she looked round.
“I’ll see if we can – SHIT,” Jan said as a drink was poured over her head.
“Dennoch fühlen sich, als ob Sie heiß, amerikanische Hündin sind ?“
“Shit move on your part,” Katy said as she flew through the air, felling the German girl as she clawed at her face.
this takes me back," Pussy smiled as she looked round, "Saturday
night here was never really complete without a good cat-fight."
"Puss do you think you ought maybe to intervene?" Frieda asked as high pitched squeals of pain filled the air.
“Oh there’s time yet – I’m just amazed at how well these girls are holding their own...”
“YOU FUCKING BITCH!”
“Oh nice one Blair,” Pussy said as she watched her cousin employ her knee on one unfortunate brunette, only to discover she was a little more than a woman.
I really want to know where they came from?" Frieda laughed as a pair of
panties came flying through the air and landed on the bar beside her.
"Probably not." Puss laughed.
"Baronin können Sie bitte Ihre Freunde bitten, zustoppen? " the club Manageress appealed to Frieda as the first chair flew through the air.
"Why should we?" Puss answered in English, “it was them who started to pick on our friends first Angelika."
“Das stimmt, aber die Presse wird bald hier sein...”
“She has a point lover.”
“Oh very well – Angelika, kindly escort the rest of our party out while I gather the ones out there together.”
“We got point,” Heather said as she and Emma hustled the rest of the group out, while Maddie joined Shirley and Natalya.
“May I just say, nice Batusi moves Baroness.”
“Thank you,” Natalya said as Maddie felled one girl with a right hook, “I admire your style as well. Where did you learn that?”
“I see you and Shirley have indeed much experience,” Natalya said as Shirley kicked one girl at the back of the knees.
“You four – get going,” Helen said to Doc, Katy, Kylie and Eve, the four girls nodding as they ran for the back door.
As they did this, Natalya, Shirley, Helen and Penny looked at the girls lying on the floor.
“Trina – you all right?”
“Yeah, just like a night at the hockey match,” the Californian said as Maddie helped her to come out from under two of the German girls.
“Hang on – did anyone see Ally and Nell?”
“Oh fuck,” Holly said as she looked round, “where are...”
The women turned and looked at the entrance to the rest room, and the Rochermann twins came out, looking at the scene of carnage.
“Err – did we miss something,” Ally said as she looked round.
“Oh just a little disagreement,” Pussy said, “what were you two up to?”
They just smiled as two younger girls came out, and then looked round.
“Exploring new territory,” Nell said with a smile, “so I take it we’re heading off now?”
“I think so,” Pussy said as they made their way to the rear exit, climbing into the last of the cars that was waiting outside.
“Well, that was an entertaining evening,” Natalya said with a smile, “and most educational. May I invite you to join us for a night cap, Doctors?”
“It would be an honour,” Frieda said as they set off.
11 pm CET
The Furstenheim Townhouse
“Did everyone make it safely back,” Shirley said as they came in.
“We did,” Katy said, “thanks to the cars been there. Suzie’s gone to join her family, and the others are around the place.”
“Okay – where is everyone else?”
“In the drawing room,” Frau Strecher said, “the others have not returned yet.”
“Okay then – let’s go and check them out,” Penny said as they came in.
“Are you all right Eve,” Aileen said as she sat with her sister.
“Oh lord yes – that was no worse than a hockey game at school,” Eve said as she nursed her elbow, “although finding out that girl was no girl...”
“Yeah, that was funny,” Aileen said with a grin.
“Suzie,” Mary said as she heard the door, “is that you?”
“Yeah,” she said as she came in with Trina, “where are the others?”
“In bed – did you have fun?”
“In a way – it was different,” Suzie said as Mary stared at Trina.
“Okay – you do know you’ve got nail makes on your cheek Trina.”
“Well,” the Californian heiress said, “there was a little trouble, but we made sure Suzie and most of the other youngsters were kept out of the way.”
“Most of them?”
“Kylie Mitchell – turns out she knows a few moves,” Suzie said.
“Well, she does keep fit, and she does live in Hong Kong,” Mary said quietly, “so that would make sense. Okay – bed young lady. We’re all going to a museum tomorrow.”
“Go, before Pops comes in,” Mary said, Trina smiling as Suzie walked off.
“How bad did it get?”
“Fairly hairy – but like I said, Heather, Abby and Sandy kept the youngsters out of the way when it kicked off. Good clean fun really.”
“Still – thanks for taking care of her Trina.”
“Hey – no problem. See you tomorrow,” Trina said as she went off, Mary shaking her head.
“Okay,” Marina said as she looked at Kylie and Helen, “what happened?”
“Some of the local girls got a little threatening with us, and we had to make sure those who were vulnerable were not hurt,” Kylie said quietly.
“Kylie is correct,” Helen said, “it was a question of protection, and she and Doc performed their task admirably.”
“Allow me to inform our mistress,” Helen said, “you both need to retire for the evening. I will need your help tomorrow with something.”
“So how bad was it?”
“Come on darling,” Kylie said with a smile, “we’ve faced worse on a morning workout with Helen than I did tonight.”
“I can imagine – my sympathies are with the poor girls you had to deal with.”
“Oh they will wake up eventually,” Kylie said, “it’s the ladies Anna argued with that may have an issue...”
Shaking her head, Marina said “Like the old days – bed, now...”
“I must congratulate both of you on your skills,” Natalya said as she poured brandy into two glasses, and handed them to Shirley and Maddie. “I feel you both have shown some hidden talents tonight.”
“What happened,” Caroline said as she came in with Sharon.
“Oh just a little friendly discussion,” Penny said as she sat with Susan. “Nice simple discourse.”
“You do know there’s a bruise starting to come out on your arm Susan?”
“Is there?” Susan looked at where the finger prints were starting to darken, before she smiled and said “I’ll put some cream on that.”
“So where did you learn your skills, Shirley?”
“When I was a much younger woman,” Shirley said quietly as she swirled the liquid round in the glass.
“Don’t worry – I’ll square up with Alexandra tomorrow,” Pussy said.
“Well, it was a fun evening,” Susan said with a smile, “even if things did get a little over the top.”
“I know what you mean,” Shirley said.
“OH – hi,” Sands said as she saw Holly standing in the door of her bedroom. “Look, about earlier...”
“Can I come in and sit down?”
Sands nodded and sat up in her bed as Holly sat at the side.
“Look – when we kissed tonight, I know something happened to me, and it happened to you as well. How are you feeling?”
“Yup – exactly like every other girl their first time,” Holly said. “Look, Sands, I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy it, but I am straight. It’s like what Heather said – sometimes we need to feel something different.”
“Tommy’s a very lucky guy,” Sands said as she smiled.
“Nah, I’m the lucky one,” Holly said, “but some day, you’ll find someone, and when you do, you’ll know they are the right one for you. So, while I’m glad we did it, it’s not me, all right?”
“Okay – thanks Holly,” Sands said with a smile.
“Good – get some sleep now. You all have a rehearsal in the morning, and I need to be awake for when the last of the boys arrive.”
Holly got up and walked out, turning and smiling before she left the room and Katy looked in.
“Hey – you all right?”
“Yeah – I am now,” Sands said with a smile. “See you tomorrow Katy.”
“None of us were recognised, Mom,” Carina said as she sat with her mother and Annie, “so hopefully the boys will never find out.”
“Unless we tell them,” Annie said with a giggle.
“Still – I’m just glad you all got back safely,” Juliette said as she sipped her drink.
“So am I?”
All three looked round as Lexa appeared in the room, walking round as the ghostly hand stroked the furniture.
“Aunt Lexa,” Carina said with a smile, “I was wondering if you would appear before the weekend?”
“The wedding? Oh we will be there watching,” Lexa said with a smile. “But I heard you had some questions.” Looking at Annie, she said “have you told them yet?”
“Not yet – we want it to happen first.”
“Told me what,” Juliette said as she looked at both of them.
“Oh, time enough soon for that,” Lexa said, “Ask.”
“What did you mean when you said Judith would lead me a merry dance? And did Aunt Birgitte appear to her and tell her to do something.”
“Easy one first,” Lexa said as she took off and wiped her spectacles “Yes, Aunt Birgitte did, but I for one did not think she would do it. I will have to remind her of how young she is. As for the merry dance – she is your daughter Carina. Look to what you did with your own mother, and remember these things never fall very far from the tree.”
“So,” Juliette said, “what else can you tell us?”
“Just this – be happy and relax. You have an amazing time ahead...”
Heather was passing by Sands’ door, but stopped as she heard the sound of sobbing.
As she walked quietly in, she saw Sands sitting on the bed, her knees drawn up as she rested her head.
As she raised her head, Heather saw the redness in her charge’s eyes as she sat down.
heard you crying darling." Heather put her arm round Sands. "Did
Holly hurt you?"
"No... Well not really," Sands said as she
just explained...very nicely...that she's straight, and that she loves
she broke your heart a little bit?" Heather interrupted.
guess," a couple of tears ran down the youngsters cheek. "It's just I
love her so much Heather, she's just SO perfect, and SO nice."
"Yes." Sands sobbed slightly as she let her head fall again.
"Look darling," Heather said quietly as she held Sands’ chin up, "Holly will still be your friend, she's not going to hold this against you, but you do need to accept that the 'romantic' feelings you have for her, well she just can't return them..."
why not Heather?" Sands sobbed.
she loves Tommy...and you don't want to break her up from someone she really
loves do you?"
"Well just be thankful that she loves you enough that she will always be your friend."
“I will – thanks,” Sands said with a little smile.
“Now – sleep,” Heather said as she stood up.
Friday 1st April
8 am CET
The Furstenheim Townhouse.
sore head son?" Dave Clarke smiled as David approached the breakfast table
a trifle gingerly.
little,” his oldest son said as he sat down, “a few of the other guys in the
wedding party got their college acceptances...we celebrated a bit."
looks like it Son." Dave handed him a glass of orange juice. "Drink
this, it will help."
"Thanks Pop." David sat down and took a long drink, sighing as he put his glass down.
"So,” Dave said, “you got to know a couple of people?"
where are they going?"
like Yale, the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, another was going to
Trinity in Connecticut..."
good schools." Dave smiled, "did your getting into Stanford impress
really, as you say they are all going to top places as well." David eased
himself back into the chair. "So what did you do?"
"Oh I had a couple of beers with Alan Kennedy. He's a nice guy.” Sipping his coffee, Dave said “He was a little disappointed Sharon chose to go to a school up in Boston rather than Penn State, his old school, but he understood her reasoning."
“Good – have you seen the girls this morning?”
“Not yet – I’m sure they will be down in a little while...”
“Ah – you would be Dave Clarke, Mary’s father, correct? And this would be David?”
“You have me at a disadvantage, mister...”
“Oh forgive me – Dieter van Masschen,” he said as he sat down, “I’m Sigrid’s husband.”
“Ah yes – I’ve seen her with Frau Strecher,” Dave said. “What can we do for you?”
“Join us – a group of the menfolk are taking Klaus out after the parade today, to a club I know.”
“Oh,” David said, “and the name of this fine establishment?”
“Club Havana,” John Hammond said as he sat with them, “best cocktails in town and genuine Cuban cigars.”
"Cuban rum, and Havanna cigars...sounds interesting Sir John, count me in." Dave Clarke smiled.
"And you young David?"
I don't smoke sir, but it does sound like a hell of a good place...I'm
as long as Coach never hears that I smoked cigars,” the House said as he sat
down with his breakfast, “I'll definitely be there John."
"This is going to be a great party," Dieter added the names to his list.
“So – Stanford. Congratulations.”
“Thanks – I mean I’m really looking forward to it now.”
“Well, I can get you game tickets as well,” Winston said with a smile.
we include you and Luke Jack?” John said as he looked at his old friends, “I
know you aren't averse to a fine cigar."
of the few things I had in common with my old man," Jack smiled, "I'm
looking forward to it."
been there before,” the younger man said, “it will be nice to re-visit."
how many men are coming John?"
good number Jack, quite a few younger bucks like Luke, but mainly men like
ourselves with a certain maturity."
you haven't booked a stripper then John?" asked Luke.
do it Jack," Augie van Roon smiled as he sat down, “but she insists on
wearing a mask while she performs."
is going to strip at Klaus's bachelor party?" for once even Jack looked
"Who said it will be my wife," Augie laughed, "I've booked a stripper, I'm not saying who she is."
“Oh a mystery – very well then,” Luke said as he looked at his phone.”
“They’re here, aren’t they,” Jack said.
“Oh yes – excuse us gentlemen, we need to go and have coffee with someone, and it’s not going to be fun.”
“Oh,” Winston said, “who with?”
“My Lord Bishop of Ordford,” Luke said with a rueful grin.
“Ordford? As in?”
“Oh yes,” Luke said, “my father is the Anglican Bishop in charge of the diocese where Mandy and Will live.”
“You’re the son of a bishop,” David said.
have three brothers," Luke relaxed slightly, "Matthew, Mark, and
your father never...?" Winston shook his head.
did I'm afraid, and we have all had to live with the consequences."
you called the 4 Apostles as you all progressed through Eton, then
Oxford?" John Hammond asked.
"We were." Luke bowed his head. “Anyway, they are in town, so I figured it’s the right time to introduce them to Jack here.”
11 am CET
Woerner’s Cafe, Marienplatz
“I have to say, they look divine in the church today,” Mandy said as she sat with Will, sipping her coffee.
“They do indeed – have you seen the outfits for later?”
“Juliette showed me hers – Major Huntingdown von Furstenheim.”
“Not until tomorrow, darling,” Mandy said as she looked to the door. A couple had just walked in, the woman wearing a pale blue jacket over a grey skirt, and high heels.
She recognised her instantly, as well as the tall, thin grey haired man standing with her. He wore a dark suit over a black shirt, the white collar visible at his neck.
“Hmm,” her husband said as he looked up, and saw the couple walking over towards them. He barely had time to wipe his mouth before they came to their table.
Ordford,” the minister said in a terse voice, “it's been a while since we have
"I was aware of that my Lord," Will momentarily froze under the bishop's gaze.
“We have been regretfully distracted with Angelica’s presentations and other family business,” Mandy said quietly. "Are you here for the wedding?"
"We are here to meet Luke's friend," the bishops wife said in a far kinder tone then that of her husband.
"Oh yes, Luke did mention it."
“I read in the newpapers that Angelica is one of the bridesmaids?”
“Yes she is,” Will said, “Won’t you join us?”
“Thank you,” she said as they took a seat.
“What may I get you, father,” the waiter said as he appeared beside them.
Mandy saw the look in his eye, as she said “Bishop Heller will take coffee, black – and for you Martha?”
“I will have the same,” his wife said as the waiter walked off.
“I see the media is doing their usual impression of a pack of vultures,” the Bishop said as he looked at Will.
“It is worse than i have usually seen,” Will said as the coffees were brought over, “but I can understand the interest. I know both Juliette and Klaus are employing extra security.”
“Indeed,” Bishop Heller said as he arched his eyebrow. In appearance, he resembled Nigel Hawthorne, the fine British actor. “So you will be attending the ceremony?”
“Both – we are invited to the civil ceremony as well,” Will said with a smile. “Juliette has been a friend of ours for some considerable time.”
“So you know Mister Linklater as well,” Martha said as she sipped her coffee, “I’m told he is something of a character.”
“That would be an apt description,” Will said, “but he is also one of the most gentle and kind men I have the privilege of knowing.”
“Well, you will have to forgive us, My Lord, Martha,” Mandy said she stood up, “but we are meeting Angelica and going to meet her boyfriend and his family for lunch. I hope we see you again this weekend.”
“Thank you Amanda,” Martha said as she watched Will and Mandy leave the cafe. “Will you relax Clive,” she whispered, “it’s just us meeting our son for lunch with his partner.”
“Yes, I know,” he said quietly...
Limoni, Amalienstrasse, Munich
“Are you sure this is a good idea,” Janine said as she and Jeanne Marais entered the restaurant.
“Yes, I do,” Jeanne said, “better you meet her with me first before you meet her with Henri.”
“Yeah, but do I look all right in this?”
Jeanne looked at her friend, wearing a light grey jersey dress and heels with her black leather jacket, and then said “How do you think I feel? She hasn’t seen me like this either.”
“Point,” Janine said as she looked at the heavily pregnant woman, wearing an aztec print smock top over black leggings. “So where is she?”
Janine looked in the same direction as Jeanne, to see a woman sitting at one of the tables. She was smartly dressed, in a jacket and knee length skirt, but the grey streaks in her light brown hair and the lines on her face told their own story.
“Come on – let’s do this,” Jeanne said as they walked over, and she said “hello Mama – you look well.”
The woman looked up, and smiled as she said “as do you Jeanne – in fact, you are positively glowing. May I?”
Jeanne nodded as she reached over and put her hand on Jeanne’s bump, smiling as she said “a strong kick. Will you introduce me?”
“Of course. Mama, this is Janine Holden, my friend from New York. Janine, my mother, Celeste Argotine-Marais.”
“It is a very great honour to meet you, Madame,” Janine said with a smile. Celeste looked at the young woman, before she said “Which part of America are you from originally, Ms Holden?”
“Santa Monica – California, but I live in New York now.”
Nodding, Celeste said “It is a pleasure to meet you as well. When Jeanne calls to talk to me, we tend not to talk too much of the friends she has, so it is a real pleasure to finally meet one of them.”
“You will meet many more tomorrow, Mama,” Jeanne said, Janine seeing her look of exasperation as they both took a seat.
“So, you are keeping well Jeanne?”
“I am Mama – the baby is healthy as well.”
“Of course she is.”
“Mama, it may be a boy.”
“No – I know it will be a girl,” Celeste said quietly as the waiter came over.
“Ladies – to drink?”
“Spring water for me – Mama?”
“The same,” Celeste said, Janine quickly changing her mind as she said “Diet coke, please?”
“And to eat?”
“May we have a few minutes,” Janine said, the waiter nodding as he walked off.
“You have a table reservation for Heller,” Luke said as Jack looked round the walls.
“Ah yes – for four?”
“The rest of our party will be here shortly.”
“Of course –this way please,” the waiter said as he showed them to a quiet table for four. “May I fetch you a drink while you are waiting for the rest of the party?”
“Two Aperol Spritz,” Jack said, the waiter nodding as he went off.
“What do you think,” Jack said as he looked round. Both men were wearing open necked shirts with white vests underneath. “Let me put it this way – if Pru and Jerry were to walk in now, I’d ask them to join us just to see what happens?”
“My father would run a mile.” Luke smiled as he said “it might be worth it, though...”
“If you are ready to order ladies?”
“Of course,” Jeanne said, “I’ll have the chicken in honey sauce. Mama?”
“The Pappardelle. And what will you have, Janine?”
“I’ll have the linguini,” Janine said as they handed the menus back.
“So have you been, Mama?”
“I keep busy – and I still see my doctor at regular intervals,” Celeste said as she looked round. “And you? You are still working?”
“For the moment, although I am really kept on desk duties at the moment,” Jeanne said. “I see Natasha regularly though – she and Willy are here for the wedding as well.”
“And your father?”
“He is here – he looks forward to seeing you tomorrow,” Jeanne said.
“And what of you Janine? What do you do for a living?”
“I’m the personal assistant to Juliette Huntingdown,” Janine said quietly, wishing she had a drink to hand.
“Ah, the blushing bride. So will the father be here as well tomorrow Jeanne?”
“He will be, although I am not going to tell you who he is Mama.” It was Jeanne who rolled her eyes this time, as Janine tried not to laugh.
“Luke, my darling.”
“”Here we go,” Luke whispered as he and Jack stood up. “Mother, how wonderful to see you again. You are looking well.”
“So are you,” Martha said as she hugged Luke and kissed him on both cheeks.
“Father, it is good to see you as well.”
“Luke,” the Bishop said as they shook hands, Jack raising an eyebrow.
“Allow me to introduce my partner, Jack Linklater. Jack, my father, the Bishop of Ordford, and my mother.”
“Call me Martha,” Luke’s mother said as she extended her hand.
“A true pleasure, Martha,” Jack said as he took her hand and kissed it, and then offered his hand to Bishop Heller. As they shook hands, Jack could sense how uncomfortable he was.
“Well, have a seat, and we can order,” Luke said, glad the initial meeting had gone well.
“May we get you a drink,” Jack said as the waiter came over.
“What are you drinking Luke?”
“Prosecca with elderberry cordial.”
“I’ll have one of those as well,” she said as she looked at the waiter.
“And for you sir?”
“A dry sherry,” Bishop Heller said quietly.
“So,” Celeste said as she watched the food being placed in front of them, “I hear you are part of a racing team again my dear.”
“Well, not currently Mama,” Jeanne said, “until the baby is delivered, I am under orders not to drive. But yes, I am one the Richmond-Carter-Marais team.”
“And Henri is your pit crew manager?”
“He is Mama – he enjoys supporting me and my fellow drivers, and he is a very good tactician as well. He asked me to tell you he is looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, but he has another appointment today.”
“Well, I – look forward to seeing him as well,” Celeste said quietly. “I understand you play an important part in the team as well, Janine?”
“I only provide support by passing message and information on,” Janine said as she put some scampi into her mouth.
“Oh I think we all know you do a little more than that,” Celeste said as she dabbed her mouth, Jeanne and Janine looking at each other and then at her. “How old are you, Janine?”
“I’m twenty four, Madame.”
Celeste smiled as she said “well, I am glad he is happy in that way.”
“Please, allow me to pay for today,” Jack said as the waiter took their orders, “my way of saying thank you for meeting me. A bottle of the Sangiovese as well.”
“Sir,” the waiter said as he made a note and walked off.
“So what role are you playing in this weekend’s events, Mister Linklater?”
“Please, call me Jack,” he said with a smile as he looked at the Bishop. “Well, to all intents and purposes I am the wedding photographer, and Luke on this occasion will fill his old role as my assistant.”
“And you live together?”
“We have an apartment in Washington Heights Mother,” Luke said, “I hope you will both visit some day.”
“I would enjoy that – wouldn’t you Clive?”
“We can see if there is a gap in my calendar,” her husband said as he sipped his sherry.
Martha smiled as she said “so, did you set out to be a fashion journalist Jack?”
“Oh dear lord…NO!” Jack shook involuntarily, “I was a photojournalist originally after leaving college.”
“Mainly for Time Magazine Mother.” Luke spoke, “Jack covered the end of the Vietnam War, he won several awards, you’ve maybe seen some of his pictures.”
“A bad business,” the bishop nodded.
“Indeed…” Jack took a sip from his glass and put it down. “Well, after Vietnam I was determined never to repeat the trauma again, so I set up taking pictures of events for various glossy magazines, and from there I moved it seems easily into fashion. The rest, as they say, is history.”
“So you aren’t just the gay…and I mean that in the old meaning of the word…man, that you let the world see Jack?”
“Yes,” Jack said quietly as he looked uncomfortable for a minute.
“Oh let it go my love,” Martha intervened, “remember you yourself were a forces chaplain, and that you hate the memories as well.”
“Oh – where was that?”
“Northern Ireland,” Jack said, “right Father?”
“Yes – and in the Falklands.”
“As you say, my Lord Bishop,” Jack said, “a bad business.”
“Mama,” Jeanne said quietly, “have you a partner for tomorrow?”
“No, but I do not need a partner to attend,” Celeste said quietly. “After all, you will not have a partner as such either, will you?”
Janine was starting to feel very uncomfortable as her cell phone rang. Looking at it, she said “Juliette and the others have arrived at Furstenheim – we need to be back at the townhouse for two.”
“Well, we have time for coffee then,” Jeanne said with a smile.
Jack found himself relaxing - whilst the Bishop might be a stick in the mud, he found Martha charming, and her quick wit very similar to his own.
“So where did you go to university Jack?” she asked.
“A place I suspect that you’ve never even heard of.” Jack smiled as he said “I went to DePauw University in Greencastle Indiana, and I refuse to say what year I graduated.”
“Quite right,” she smiled at him, “I refuse myself to acknowledge chronology.”
“We are only as old as we feel,” Jack toasted her.
“Quite right,” she clinked glasses back.
“So how are my brothers? I haven’t spoken to them for a little while.”
“Matthew has been appointed a senior partner at his chambers,” Bishop Heller said as he swallowed some beef, “and Mark is about to take over his new parish in the North of England.”
“John is about to do his A-levels,” Martha said, “and hopes to go to Cambridge.”
Luke looked over and shook his head as Jack tried to suppress a smile.
“What is he hoping to read?”
“English Literature,” Luke’s father said, “he gets a love of that from me. I find it most relaxing at the end of the day to retire to bed early with a good Trollope.”
found it next to impossible to stop himself laughing as he shook his head, and
then looked at both of them. "You
know,” he said quietly, “you ought to arrange a sitting with my friend John
Hammond. He'd create a magical portrait
of the two of you."
know so. You and your husband are the sort of fascinating people he really
specialises in photographing."
that Mother is a compliment," Luke smiled.
know it is, and I'm just glad you didn't suggest that I be photographed by
another friend of yours."
who is that?"
"Stephen Stone," Martha's sly little glance as she spoke making Jack laugh aloud, Luke smile and Bishop Heller shake his head.
“We need to go Mama,” Jeanne said as she stood up, “I will see you at the cathedral tomorrow?”
“Of course – I look forward to it,” Celeste said as she watched the two younger women walk out of the restaurant.
“Okay – should I be relaxed or worried about tomorrow, Jeanne?”
“Janine, my friend, I have no idea...”
“I am so proud of you to have those photos printed,” Martha said as Luke told them of his work in Canada. “Aren’t you Clive?”
“Oh yes – it sounds like important work,” Luke’s father said as the dessert plates were cleared away, and coffee brought out. “And what of you, Jack – what will appear of yours next?”
“Well, Juliette asked me to be a photojournalist again, and take pictures of some events at the Sebring race circuit a few weeks ago – it should appear...”
“There you are!”
Jack and Luke turned to see a sixteen year old girl in a wheelchair, looking at both of them.
Luke, I've been sent in to round you up, we are supposed to be getting ready to
go to the parade. Granddad is waiting in the car outside." Jeannie spoke
Jeannie,” Jack said quietly, “we are with people."
Jeannie smiled as she saw the clergyman and woman, "please, pardon my
Father, this young brat is Jeannie Brewster." Luke said with a smile.
never have known," Martha smiled, "it was after all only her
advertisements that made me change my entire line of cosmetics."
did?" Jeannie looked intently at her.
I need to tell Lerrabella that..."
we are still chatting, so we can’t come right this second. Can you maybe get your Grandfather to load
our cameras into the car - I have the boxes next to the bed? Then get Barbara
to pick up the outfits and shoes on the bed, then come back and collect
us." Jack now smiled, "this is sort of important."
"I can try," Jeannie grinned, "and being a friend of Luke's I have to say it’s a pleasure to meet you, and I hope you'll both come to the parade with us."
“You know, you should come,” Luke said, “it gives you a chance to see both of us at work. I’m sure the others won’t mind, and it gives you a chance to meet the happy couple to be.”
“Well, if it is not too much trouble?”
“Sorted,” Jack said, “Jeannie, go and thank your grandfather for his help, and we’ll see you in half an hour or so?”
“Okay,” Jeannie said as she turned herself round and wheeled herself out of the restaurant.
“Now then – coffee...”
2 pm CET
The Furstenheim Townhouse
“Well, I hope this is acceptable,” Lily said as she adjusted the sleeves of her jacket. “So how long will the bus ride to the parade take?”
“Furstenheim is about a 50 minute to an hour drive east of here.” John spoke. “We will get there in plenty of time.”
“And get back as well in plenty of time for tonight’s events.” Shirley added.
“So what is the real point of this parade?” Lily asked.
“Basically,” Shirley said, “so that Juliette, Carina, Annie and Judith are sort of formally introduced to the Furstenheim tenantry and adherents. They will parade with the Furstenheim Jaegers and then take a salute from them.”
“I’m not sure I understand John.”
“It’s a remnant of when Furstenheim was a little independent principality…”
“Pre Napoleon,” Charlotte interrupted as she and Piet came in.
“Exactly,” John smiled, “like in a lot of those old sovereignties even today people think of themselves as Furstenheimer’s first, Bavarians second, and as Germans third.”
“It’s a question of self-identity.” Piet nodded. “Tribalism…”
“Pretty much so,” John nodded.
“Well will we pass inspection?” Piet asked as Shirley looked over his huge body in the pale trousers, white shirt, rugby club tie, and his dark blue blazer.
“I think so,” Shirley smiled as she adjusted his tie knot.
“Don’t worry she’s been doing the same to me Piet,” John laughed, as he looked at himself in the mirror clad similarly except for his blazer being in an extreme dark green. “So where are the others?”
“I’ve asked Marina to – shall we say, urge them along?”
April knocked on the bedroom door and said “Pepsi, we need to get together now for the coach journey.”
“Okay Mom, I need five minutes,” she heard her daughter call out.
“You have ten – and tell the Viscount his family are looking for him as well.”
The silence spoke volumes as April walked off, and the door opened, Jack pulling his pants up as he walked out. Passing one door, he turned and watched as Chet ran out, pulling his shirt on as he made his way in the opposite direction.
“Hey – I finally made it,” Tony McNally said as he opened the door to Abby’s room.
His next words were muffled as Abby walked quickly over and kissed him.
“Okay – what did I miss this week?”
“Nothing much,” Abby said with a smile, “hurry up and get dressed – we’re leaving in a little while.”
“Leaving? For what?”
“The parade,” Diana said as she looked round, “be sure to wear a jacket and tie...”
2 pm CET
“The palace has been closed to guests for the weekend,” Frau Strecher said as she sat in the study with Klaus, “if you will excuse me, Your Highness, I go to ensure the parade ground is ready.”
“Of course,” Klaus said as the door opened, and Sigi came in.
“A word, my dear brother,” she said as Frau Strecher left.
“And what can I do for you, dearest Sigi?”
“Oh just answer a question – for the reception tomorrow, we are using English correct?”
“That is correct,” Klaus said, “why?”
“I regret I cannot answer that at this stage,” Sigi said, “but I assure you, it was a relevant question.”
“Why am I getting worried,” Klaus said with a smile as Juliette came in.
“Jack and Luke are finally on their way with John – they’re bringing a couple of extra guests to watch the parade.”
“Oh? Anyone we know?”
“Not personally no – but Mandy and Will are going to be a little upset...”
“Well, I have other matters to consider,” Klaus said as he stood up, “starting with dressing. Shall we?”
“Of course, Colonel,” Juliette said with a smile as they walked off.
As they headed up the stairs, Edwin Breitz came into the hallway, stopping as the estate manager came over.
you been able to put your cameras where you wish them Herr Breitz?" Frau
Strecher asked as she approached the film maker.
have thank you...” As he looked round,
he said “Any idea when this will start?"
events will run EXACTLY to schedule."
Breitz looked at his Rolex, "I just wondered..."
“As you say,” Edwin said as she turned and walked off, rubbing the back of his head.
4 pm CET
“Welcome to Furstenheim,” the footman said as the door to the first coach opened. “Refreshments are available in the tented area over here.”
“Good – I need a cup of tea after that journey,” Diana said as she held the group in, Abby holding Tony’s arm as Guy walked with Valeria.
“Wow Pops – a real castle,” Vicky said as she walked in with her brothers and sisters.
“It sure is,” Dave said as they walked over to get a drink, and then sat down at a table.
“Remember, drink and eat slowly kids,” Mary said, “plenty of time and things to do later.”
“Mandy, Will,” Luke said as he popped in, “I’m glad I saw you before any of the others. I need to tell you something.”
“Oh, Luke darling? And what would that be?”
“Jack and I had lunch with my parents today – and... Well, they’re here as well.”
“So I see,” Will said quietly, “that must have been an experience.”
“I’ll tell you about it tonight,” Luke said as he grabbed a filters box and headed out.
“David, you made it,” Alex said as he shook David McIlroy’s hand, “how is your assistant?”
“Deborah? Well physically she’s recovering,” he said quietly, “but the emotional and psychological scars, only time will tell. I’m glad I got to finally come however – this is a definite no work weekend.”
“Good,” Vanessa said as she came over, “because this is a time for celebration, not for worry. Come with me – someone I want you to meet.”
“And that would be...”
“Rudolf, Teri,” Diana said as she kissed the king and queen on their cheeks, “Klaus will be so glad you could make it this afternoon.”
“Well, Charlie wanted to meet with the girls before tomorrow,” Teri said as Diana saw their daughter talking to Angel, Abby and Fiona, “and it is only right and proper we support Klaus today as well.”
“Of course,” Diana said as Valeria and Guy came over to join them. “It is good that a lot of us could be here for this as well.”
“A pleasure to see you again, Your Highness,” Guy said as he bowed, and then kissed Teri.
“And you Guy – are you looking forward to the event tomorrow?”
“Very much so,” Valeria nodded and smiled. “A most grand occasion...”
“Well now, aren’t we quite the very model of a modern Major General,” Jack said as he set up his tripod.
“Enough, Jack,” Juliette said as she fastened the front of her jacket, “I may not be married to Klaus yet, but there is time...”
“I mean it with all due respect, Lieutenant Colonel,” Jack said with a deep bow. The uniform Juliette was wearing was dark green, and designed in the style of a Napoleonic Hussar, with brass buttons gleaming on her chest. It had a high collar, and underneath she was wearing a plain white blouse.
The trousers had a darker green strip running down the outside of her leg, and the epaulettes on the jacket were marked with the rank she was taking on. The cut of the uniform was such that the long boots she was wearing were hidden under the legs.
“So where is the esteemed Colonel in chief?”
“Right here,” Klaus said as he came in, adjusting the sash on his uniform. “So we will be the first for the official photographs?”
“Indeed – Luke, lighting?”
“Getting the appropriate filters now,” Luke said as he searched in a box, while Jack positioned Klaus and Juliette.
“Hats on if you please?”
“Very well then,” Juliette said as she put the hat on her head, watching as Klaus donned his as well. The hat was a peaked one, with the regiment badge on the front and a raised part that went from the front of the hat round to the other side.
“Right then,” Jack said, “and look serious for a moment...”
“They could not look serious if you wanted them to,” Ingrid said as she came in with Carina, Annie and Judith. She and Carina were in the same uniform as Juliette, the insignia on the uniform that of a captain, while Annie was wearing a wide military style coat with a long skirt, again with the insignia of a Captain on the shoulders.
Judith looked round in her own uniform – a similar jacket to her mother and grandmother, but she was wearing a knee length pleated skirt and black shoes.
“Gramma looks nice,” Judith said as she held her mother’s gloved hand with her own.
“Yes she does – but so do you little one,” Klaus said with a smile as Jack looked at them.
“Well, family portrait time I think. Take your positions, everyone...”
“Hello Will,” Alex Richmond said as he looked round, and saw the couple with him, the grey haired man wearing a grey suit and purple shirt with the distinctive white collar.
“Alex, may I introduce you to My Lord Bishop Ordford, and his wife Martha. My lord, Martha, this is Father Alex Richmond, who has the honour of giving Juliette away tomorrow.”
“An honour, My Lord,” Alex said as he shook their hands. “Luke told us you were visiting – I’m glad you were able to join us tonight as well.”
“So are we,” Martha said as her husband looked round. “So Father...”
“Please, call me Alex.”
“So Alex, I take it you are a Catholic priest?”
“Guilty as charged, but don’t hold that against me,” Alex said. “So you are the parich priest for Will and Mandy?”
“Amongst other duties,” the Bishop said. “So you are an old friend of Miss Huntingdown?”
“Oh yes – I’ve known her most of her life. Her family and mine are old friends.”
“He and Jack move in the same social circles as me and many of the other men here,” Alex said with a smile. “But you must be very proud of him.”
“We are,” Martha said as Alex looked at her husband.
“It is just – not the life we envisioned for him.”
“Well, he is a respected photographer, and is well liked,” Alex said as a uniformed man came in.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he said as Jo held Curt’s arm, “please take your places for the parade.”
“Come on then,” Jo said as she and Heather went out with Curt and the children, “let’s see what sort of officer Cari makes.”
5 pm CET
The main courtyard had three stands around it, in two of which the local people had taken their seats. Jo noticed many of them were in smart clothing, the Captain of Police in full uniform as he saluted Rudi and Teri.
Taking their seats, Diana listened to the band that was playing music for the assembled crowd. She smiled as she saw Natalya and Willy take their seats at the front with Dieter and the other children, Karl turning and waving to Sands as he did so.
“So, do you still want him to kiss you,” Katy said as she sat beside her friend.
“I do – Holly’s right, you need to have something to compare to,” Sands said quietly as the band stopped playing. As if on cue, they saw Frau Strecher marching onto the parade ground – but this time wearing her uniform, the peaked cap perfectly placed on her head as she came to a perfect step and called out “Parade! Parade, Fall In!”
The band started to play a march as they all heard the sound of marching feet, and then the Furstenheim Jaegers marched onto the parade ground, the companies in perfect step as Frau Strecher shouted out orders. In front of the first company were five of the army, each carrying a standard. The man in the middle carried the regimental colours, while the ones on either side carried the Bavarian and German flags. Next to the Bavarian flag with the blue and white lozenges was the Furstenheim flag, a German eagle on a blue background, while at the other side was a black and yellow flag, for the city of Munich.
The army were both men and women, the men wearing dark green jackets and trousers, with dark ties and white shirts, and black shoes. The women wore knee length skirts and long black boots instead of trousers, while all carried a rifle on their shoulder save for the colour party. All wore a hat which, to Doc, looked like the one the Tracy boys used to wear on Thunderbirds.
The two companies formed two lines, providing a corridor in the middle of the parade ground, as the colour party came to a halt in front of the stage. Frau Strecher looked over, and shouted out “ATTENTION!” The lines of soldiers came to attention as the crowd stood for the anthems.
“Why two anthems,” Becca asked as she stood with her family.
“The German and the Furstenheim one,” Tom said as the second tune finished, and the crowd clapped.
“PARADE! PARADE, PRESENT ARMS!”
As one the army moved their rifles, raising them in salute as the band started to parade, while Abby looked to the far side of the parade ground.
“Well, here they come,” she said as again they stood up, while Klaus marched onto the parade ground, Frau Strecher marching over to meet him as the two saluted each other.
“PARADE! PARADE, WELCOME YOUR OFFICERS!”
As the music started again, Juliette, Carina and Ingrid marched in, the two girls either side of Juliette as they walked down the middle of the two companies to where Klaus was standing with Frau Strecher. Sigrid marched behind them, smiling as she watched, while the crowd started to applaud as a single horse drawn carriage was led in, Judith smiling and waving as she sat on Annie’s lap.
As the three women came to a stop in front of Klaus, the carriage was brought to a halt as Annie stood up, Judith standing with her.
“Ready, Judith,” Annie whispered.
“Yes momma,” Judith said as Klaus saluted, all five of them returning the salute as everyone applauded. Frau Strecher also saluted as Annie sat down with Judith, and the carriage was brought round to the side of the stage. As this happened, Klaus turned smartly and marched off, the other four following him as they marched onto the stage and stood at attention, facing the crowds as Frau Strecher stood in front of them.
“PARADE! PARADE, STAND AT EASE!”
As the company completed the manoeuvre, Klaus took a couple of sheets of paper from his inside pocket and walked up to a microphone.
“Men and Women of the Furstenheim Jaegers, Honoured Guests, my fellow countrymen and women,” he said, “I am honoured that you have come today, to welcome to our company your new officers, and to our community the latest members of our family.
“I know you mourned with me when Princess Renate passed on, and that Princess Ingrid and I were grateful to all of you for your support. But tomorrow, I take as my wife Juliette, and I ask you all now to welcome her, the Princess Carina, her partner Annie, and my granddaughter the Princess Judith to the royal family of Furstenheim, to the community of Furstenheim, and into your hearts.”
Frau Strecher stepped forward and shouted “THREE CHEERS FOR THE PRINCESSES JULIETTE, CARINA AND JUDITH, AND FOR ANNIE. HIP HIP...”
The crowd then started to applaud as Juliette stepped forward.
“On behalf of Carina, Annie and Judith,” she said, “thank you for your welcome, and I pray I may serve you as well as Klaus does, and as Renate did.”
The crowd applauded and cheered as Ingrid, Sigi and Carina came forward, Frau Strecher calling out “PARADE! PARADE, ATTENTION!”
As the companies stood to attention, she called out “SHOULDER ARMS!”
The two groups of soldiers placed their rifles on their shoulders, as Judith said “why do they do that Momma?”
“I think they’re going to march past and say hello to you,” Annie whispered.
“Really? Do I wave to them?”
“If you want,” Annie said with a smile, “but first I think Grammy needs to do something.”
The crowd watched as two young women came forward, carrying two trays as Juliette and Klaus left the stage. Frau Strecher called out as the front and rear ranks stepped forward and back, allowing both Klaus and Juliette to walk past as she gave each soldier a small sprig of oak leaves.
“What is that for,” Abby whispered to her grandfather as they walked along.
“It is a tradition,” Willy said, “on an occasion such as this for each Jaeger to receive a gift of some oak leaves, which they place in their caps as a way of welcoming the new members of the royal family.”
“Ah,” Abby said as she watched the soldiers place the leaves in the sides of their caps. When they had given one to each soldier, they walked over and gave one to Annie and Judith, Annie putting them into the young girl’s hat before they gave one to Carina, Ingrid and Sigrid, and finally placed one in each other’s hat.
The band started to play again as they stood on the stage, while the colour party raised the colours. Klaus saluted, Juliette and the others doing so as well, as the colour party marched past and took up position at the front of the two lines of soldiers.
“PARADE! PARADE, LEFT AND RIGHT – TURN!”
As one the companies of soldiers turned to face the stage, the guests watching as the band started to play again, the colour party starting to mark time as Frau Strecher joined them.
“PARADE! PARADE, QUICK... MARCH!”
As the band played, the colour party moved off and wheeled around the parade ground, before they marched in front of Klaus and the others. The first company then followed them, all of them smartly moving their head to their right as they passed the party on the stage and saluting while Klaus returned the salute.
“I have to admit, that is impressive,” Curt said as he and Jo watched them march past.
“It certainly is,” Jo said, “but not the life for me.”
The crowd applauded as the companies marched out, before a second carriage was brought out. As Klaus and Juliette sat in one with Sigrid, Ingrid and Carina joined Annie and Judith in the first carriage.
The two carriages were then driven round the parade ground, to the applause and cheers of the crowds, before they left the grounds.
“Refreshments are available in the tents before you leave for Munich at six,” the uniformed man said as the guests made their way back in.
As they mingled and talked together, John heard a slight cough behind him. As he turned, he smiled and said “you must be Bishop Heller. A great pleasure to meet you My Lord.”
“Believe me, the pleasure is mine. When my wife and I met with Luke and his partner today, they suggested the possibility of you taking a portrait of Martha and I?”
“Well, I would be honoured to,” John said, “but I suspect you have another question to ask?”
Bishop Heller looked uncomfortable, before he said “Well Sir John, you are in a position that straddles both his and ‘our’ worlds.”
“In a way, you are correct,” John said as he sipped his drink.
“Well... Forgive my bluntness, but what should I make of Jack Linklater?”
“First,” John said, “don’t ever take the public face that Jack presents as being the reality m’Lord.”
“So it would seem. I see the way he works, and he is a true professional in that area.”
Nodding, John said “that’s because he is - Jack puts up this flamboyant, over-the-top, persona as a shield, to guard himself from being hurt even further.”
Offering a seat, John waited as they both sat down before he continued “You doubtless have heard that Jack was a photographer in Vietnam?”
“So Luke told us. I noticed he seemed to get a little upset at the mention of that.”
“Well,” John said quietly, “Jack was photographing casualties coming in on the choppers one day, when he caught sight of this mangled, half body, that had been blown up by a land mine, it was only by the bracelet on the corpse that Jack recognized it was his brother.”
“Oh dear…” the bishop’s voice trailed off as the impact of that news sank in.
“Jack has faced other such tragedies and deaths as well, he just recently found a little peace after the death of his friend Gianni Versace, and he still has to come to terms with the death of his mother who Jack idolized.”
“He has faced a lot of sorrow,” the bishop spoke solemnly.
“He also has had a string of bad relationships, and I will tell you as a friend of both of them, at long last he seems to have found the perfect partner in Luke.”
“I must say,” the Bishop said as he looked at Luke and Jack talking to Abby and Jo, “I have never seen Luke so happy.”
“His other apprentices often did little more then use Jack to further their careers,” John said, “but Luke has committed to him totally.”
“If I might diverge slightly Sir John,” the bishop said, “I will say I make no pretense to knowing much at all about photography, but why did Luke move heaven and earth to go work for Jack Linklater?”
“One simple word m’Lord…LIGHT.”
“Well,” John said with a smile, “I have a certain fame I suppose because I take portraits people find interesting. To the wider world, Jack is a famous fashion photographer, but within the craft his fame rests on his supreme understanding of light. Many people call him the photographer’s photographer.”
“I take it that is a HUGE compliment to him?”
“It is,” John said. “Let me give you just one example, Zeiss the German lens makers are making a new light/filter set up that makes pictures look like they were taken in bright artic sunshine…do you know that kind of light?”
“I have been to Northern Norway yes,” the Bishop nodded.
“Well Jack wanted to be able to recapture that light artificially, and as he tells it he approached Zeiss and they made him what he wanted.”
“What Jack doesn’t say is that it was him spending a month in their labs who did all the experiments, and really he built and created the lighting effects himself.”
“Well,” the Bishop said quietly, “from his reputation I’d never have thought he was a shrinking violet Sir John.”
“Just so m’Lord, but remember just what I have said, behind that flamboyant pose is the real Jack, and he and Luke are just so lucky to have found each other.”
“John, I was wondering what happened to you.”
“Forgive me, my dear,” he said as he stood up and kissed Shirley, “I was detained discussing matters with the Bishop of Ordford. My Lord, may I present my partner, Shirley Xavier.”
“An honour,” he said as he took her hand and kissed it.
“So what do you think would happen if the Sisters were to parade like that,” Ama whispered to Maisha as they stood in one corner.
“Having met some of them, they would hate the idea,” Maisha said with a smile.
“Indeed – and yet we need to have some sort of ceremony to give the awards out.”
“That is true,” Charlotte said as she joined them, “but not in the open, not like this. I will consult with Shirley, both of you, and Teacher, and we will arrange something suitable.”
“Well, you were nearly late again, brother,” Fiona said as Mick came over with the rest of his bandmates.
“And yet, we made it on time. Boys, I’ll introduce you to your partners for the day tomorrow.”
“And the other matter?”
“We can discuss that back at the townhouse,” Sigi said as she came over.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please make your way to the coaches – it is time to return.”
8 pm CET
The Furstenheim townhouse, Munich
“Come in,” Juliette called out as she finished fastening her blouse, then turned to see Sandy and Diana standing in the doorway.
“So how does it feel to be an officer,” Diana said quietly.
“No different than earlier today,” Juliette said with a smile.
“I think what Diana is trying to say,” Sandy continued, “is how are you feeling now?”
“Honestly – excited and terrified at the same time,” Juliette said as she sat down and slipped her shoes on. “It’s not the same as when we go to work, either – it’s very difficult for me to describe it.”
“I can see that, Cherie,” Diana said with a smile, “I do not think I have seen that look in your eyes for many years.”
“Pure joy,” Sandy said with a smile.
“Anyway, what happened with you lot last night,” Juliette said, “all I heard this morning were vague rumours and whispered conversations – a fight?”
“Well... All right, it did get a bit exciting towards the end, but to quote Pussy ‘they started it.’”
“Goddess – the youngsters...”
“All kept well away from it – but there were certainly a few revelations. Take Shirley for example – the street fighter really came out.”
“Well, you have to remember her story,” Juliette said. “What about Sands?”
“Ah yes - that was interesting. You know she had a little crush on Holly?”
Sandy looked at Diana, before she said “well, they got a chance to act a few things out, and Holly let her down as gently as she could. But Sands is asking a few interesting questions at the moment.”
“Oh? Such as... Ah.”
“Precisely,” Sandy said as she looked out of the window.
“And what do you think Sandy,” Diana asked quietly.
“I think she needs to explore and find out for herself, but Heather is right by her side, and so am I,” Sandy said with a smile. “I think Holly said something about you need to experience both sides, and I think there is merit in that.”
“Look at us,” Juliette said with a laugh, “worrying over our daughters like...”
“Three caring mothers?”
All three laughed again as they looked at each other.
have you heard what his friends have planned for your betrothed tonight?"
Sandy eventually asked.
yes,” Juliette said as she shook her head, “It sounds like a lung cancer
mean fine cigars Cherie," Diana smiled.
overdosing on alcohol."
yes...Rum!" Sandy laughed. "Well at least it will be a lot more
civilised then what George's friends did to him at his bachelor party before
"Oh don't remind me," Juliette laughed, "Nessa was just SO worried that they'd get him back in time after that stunt."
“Where exactly did they leave him again,” Diana asked, smiling at the memory.
important – not now anyway. At least you
know nothing too outrageous will happen Juliette."
the rumours I've heard about a stripper having been hired Diana?"
I'd be worried,” Diana said quietly, “but as we know the stripper..."
Sandy said, “who is doing it?"
"Cherie my lips are sealed."
8 pm CET
“Now this is how to spend the night before a wedding,” Klaus said as he and John sat in the roped off area.
“Indeed – at least we managed to slip out of the rear entrance,” John said as he took a draw on the cigar, “the others are on their way.”
“I know there is interest in the wedding, but seriously – the number of cameras trying to take pictures as the coaches went in?”
“I know – but this time tomorrow,” John said, “you will be a happily married man again.”
did Edwin Breitz get the pictures he needed at the parade?" Klaus asked.
he said yes, and I was chatting to his cinematographer, and he seemed more then
happy." John Hammond spoke.
"I know it's not funny having his cameras on us, but I did agree." Klaus sighed.
“Ah – finally a chance to relax,” Jack said as he and Luke threw themselves into the comfortable armchairs, “two Bolivar Habanos and two large 15 year olds.”
“Good day Jack,” Klaus said as he smiled.
“Interesting day – you’ve been very quiet Luke my boy.”
“Sorry,” Luke said, “just trying to figure out where my father stands at the moment.”
“I think he may surprise you,” John said with a smile as he stood up to welcome Guy, Willy and Adam.
8.15 pm CET
The lines of paparazzi and cameramen lined up outside the gated entrance, cameras trained on the gates as another two limousines swept out.
“Nah – whoever they got helping with security in there knows their job. The place is sewn up tighter that a British Royal Palace.”
“Here,” another one said as he passed a flask round, “it’s gonna be a long night.”
“Did you see the American crews? They’ve got stands set up here and at the cathedral, hoping to catch a glimpse of anything. The most they’re going to get are long shots of the guests arriving before the wedding tomorrow.”
“Well, at least we can try and get something – what about the civil ceremony?”
“Not a chance – the word is they’re going there and back to the underground car park, so unless you know a way to get in there...”
The chatter continued along the line as one young man in particular pointed his camera at the windows.
“This is so fuckin' rotten," he thought to himself as he stood outside the palace looking up at the windows. She was inside, but she was being protected by the wedding security so tightly he'd only got the merest glimpse of her all day.
He pulled up on his camera the pictures he'd taken of Katy sitting with her friends at the parade, but he'd had to take them at such range because the public were kept so far back. "FUCK!" he swore again, as a couple of paparazzi nudged him, this was no better with all these cameras round.
“Patience, youngster,” a grey haired photographer said, “you have to be patient.”
He nodded slowly – he could be patient. But not for very much longer...
“Let me guess – your stomach is tying itself into knots, and you feel as if you’re never going to sleep.”
“That obvious,” Juliette said as she accepted a glass from Mandy.
“Oh yes darling – it is that obvious,” Mandy said with a smile as she sat down, and Grace came in, talking on her phone.
“Great – I’ll see you at the cathedral at one thirty, suited and booted?
“Wonderful – I’m looking forward to seeing you as well. Have fun tonight.”
“Your plus one for tomorrow?”
“Yup – he’s arrived safely at the hotel, and will meet me at the ceremony.”
“Well now, if it isn’t the woman of the hour.”
“Jeanne – how did you get in?”
“Frau Strecher sneaked me in,” Jeanne Beckmann said as she kissed Juliette. “I wanted to meet up with everyone before tomorrow.”
“You know the menfolk have mostly gone out?”
“And you know i meant the women, Pelican” Jeanne said with a smile. “I also wanted to thank you for getting permission for us to film in the entrance to the cathedral, as well as the exclusive first look.”
“Jack get the photos to you?”
“Oh yes – and no, I’m saying nothing,” Jeanne said with a smile.
“So come on Titi,” Karen said, “just how bad is it out there?”
“Ridiculous – and I mean that in the literal sense.”
“Just pray Klaus is taking you somewhere very quiet and very private,” Jeanne said with a smile.
"So I've seen the guest list Pelican..." Jeanne shook her head, "just so many people."
"I know,” Juliette said, “but Klaus told me to invite ALL my friends."
"You've done that darling," Mandy sat down. "Half the fashion industry will be there."
that we will be..."
"FIONA!" the ladies all stood up to kiss and hug the Scotswoman who leaned only slightly on the stick she was carrying.
hey – go careful ther all o ye. I’m
still no ae hundred percent yet.”
"Oh now my happiness is complete." Juliette stood up and twirled in joy.
“I told ye ah’d be here lass, and I am here,” Fiona said as Mary Thomas came over and hugged her. “Anna, Pippa – good tae see both of ye.”
“Sit down,” Mary said, “and let us look after you. Drink?”
“Ah’m allowed a wee whisky now,” Fiona said with a smile.
“Good – have one and let’s talk.”
“Okay – this is a rare luxury,” Winston said as he and Piet sat and puffed on a cigar.
“I didn’t know you smoked,” Tony said.
“Very very rarely - I think the last time was when I told Father I had the place at Stanford,” he said as he sat back.
“Well, it is one way of celebrating your entry,” Dave said as he and David took a drink.
“Good evening Klaus – thank you for inviting me tonight.”
“Glad you could make it Dan,” Klaus said as he shook hands, “John, you know Dan Amatrescu?”
“Of course – Caroline said you and some colleagues would be joining us this weekend.”
“Well, how could I refuse such an invitation,” Dan said as he accepted a drink. “I only regret I could not make the parade earlier.”
“Well, the film will be available,” Klaus said with a smile. “You know young Winston of course?”
“Indeed – congratulations on your season, young man.”
“Thank you sir,” House said as Klaus stood up to welcome the latest arrival.
I see you made it despite what you said." Klaus smiled as he clasped the
ex-footballers hands in greeting.
was able to get out of going to Italy," the man in the black framed
spectacles smiled, his blonde hair now both greyer and shorter then in his
it's good to see you," Klaus looked round, "I know you know a few
people...of course including him," Klaus smiled as he looked at the tall
man with the thin grey hair, and the the glasses with no bottom rims.
Kaiser isn't letting these enquiries regarding World Cup bids upset him too
"No Franz is doing what he always seems to and taking it in his stride." Klaus shook his head.
“Forgive me Herr Rummenigge – Dan Amatrescu, I work as a Sports Ambassador?”
“Ah yes – it is a real pleasure to meet you, Herr Amatrescu.”
“Would it be a great imposition if I was to talk with you and Herr Beckenbaeur on some issues?”
“Well, let us both refill our glasses, and so long as you do not mention FIFA I am sure we can have a civilised conversation,” Karl-Heinz said as they walked to one side, Guy coming over to talk to Klaus.
“John, may I take a moment of your time?”
“Of course Deiter, how may I help you?”
I want you to meet. John Hammond, meet
Egon Angsmuller." Dieter made the introduction. "Egon is I'm afraid
we won't hold that against him," John laughed lightly. "So have you
known Klaus long Egon?"
university, we were in the same corps, and we fenced on the same team."
you have known him a long time then."
heard he was something of a playboy?"
little...well until he came home from Paris and could only talk of this amazing
woman that he had met."
the banker laughed a throaty laugh, "and after he showed us her pictures
we could understand why."
is." Will broke in to the chat.
"Astonishingly beautiful." John finished and smiled. “So – any tales I can use for tomorrow?”
Frau Strecher slipped quietly in and walked over to where Juliette was sitting talking.
Huntingdown," she whispered in Juliette’s ear, "I regret to say that Fraulein
Kruger is outside under siege from the press."
is?" Juliette looked startled, "Is there any way we can rescue
who Pelican," Karen asked.
Kruger is stuck outside Frau Doktor."
Juliette looked round, "where are the likes of Piet, and House when we
your beloved’s party darling," Mandy drawled. "Are there no footmen
I'll fix it," Princess Gloria said as she reached for her phone.
is she doing?"
don't know?" Juliette looked perplexed.
I do not care if he is asleep, tell him the Princess von Thurn und Taxis
has a problem he needs to fix."
"It's the Commissioner of Police," Sigi laughed, "poor man."
“Caroline, Diane Kruger is stuck outside. Until my friend the Princess is able to find a more permanent solution, is there anything you can do?”
“If you can find two footmen, Frau Strecher, I will send two of my men with them.”
“Acceptable, Fraulein Jameson,” the manager said as they walked off together.
“Here you go Fiona,” Grace said as she handed Fiona and Mary a glass each.
“Ah thank ye Grace love,” Fiona said with a smile, “it feels so good to be able to relax for once.”
“Are you feeling better?”
“Aye much better – ah hope to be back at work full time soon, in time to welcome young Pippa to the US edition.”
“Well, I for one will be glad to see you back,” Anna said as she and Pippa sat with them.
“So where are all the youngsters?”
“In another room, watching a video and planning for tomorrow. I’m sure you’ll see them all then.”
“Good – this is wha we need tomorrow. Laughter and fun,” Fiona said with a smile as Caroline came in with Diana.
“Juliette, dear,” the old friend said as they embraced, “I am sorry to cause you so much trouble.”
“It will not be a problem for long,” Princess Gloria said, “the crowd will be cleared soon.”
“I’m amazed they’re keeping any discussion about football polite,” Simon said as he stood with Tony.
“Sounds like they’re talking the technical side of it – so how have you got on?”
“So far so good,” Simon said, “but the exams loom.”
“So do mine – so this weekend we kick back, right?”
“Absolutely,” Luke said as he passed both of them the rum bottle, “although Jack and I don’t get to kick back until later tomorrow night.”
“Oh I think we can celebrate tonight,” Jack said as he stood at the bar and smiled.
“David – how are you,” Alan Kennedy said as he passed his friend and rival a drink.
“Well, I’m enjoying the break away – but given what happened...”
“I heard – I can imagine how she felt. After all, I’ve had my own close encounter with psychotic women.”
David nodded as he sipped his drink. “So, no business this weekend?”
“No business this weekend – and even if I thought it was a good idea, I can’t. With Sharon here doing an internship with Jameson Security, there’s a conflict of interest if I do.”
“I understand,” David said, “so let’s take the whole weekend off, agreed?”
“Agreed,” Alan said as they clinked their glasses together.
“So what role is Nessa playing tomorrow?”
“For once, just a guest – so she’s going to be doing nothing except enjoying the event...”
old boy, how are you? And John you keep growing?" Klaus greeted the newcomers
as John Gaunt looked round.
does," the Duke of Lardarn looked proudly at his heir as Stephen Stone
followed them in.
Klaus shook the photographers hand, "so glad you could make it as
ahm under doctors orders to be behave meself Klaus, so it'll just have to be
two cigars tonight." the Irishman laughed.
"If that's behaving, what will the rest of us be doing?" Jack Fitzstuart said as he and his brothers arrived with the boys from Lemachine.
"Up to you Jack m'boy...up to you." Stephen shook his hand, "so you escaped from the lovely Pepsi's bed eh?"
“Well we agreed to have a break this evening,” Jack said, “to give the girls a chance to prepare for tomorrow.”
“A wise move,” Klaus said.
“So have you had a chance to meet your partners for tomorrow,” Tony said as he joined Mick.
“I introduced them to Mary and Trina, but Sharon is enclosed at the townhouse until tomorrow, so Kevin here is going to have to wait until tomorrow.”
“From what I have seen from the photos of the ball in New York, it’s going to be an honour to escort her,” the fair haired boy said.
“Mick my boy, have you...”
“We have, Klaus – all prepared for tomorrow.”
what did you make of the parade Sir?” Charles Treharran asked the red headed
royal military officer.
"Really for part-timers they are pretty good. Their RSM seems a VERY impressive woman."
"So I'm led to believe Sir, she's Klaus's steward in her other life."
"Well it's no wonder his estates are so well run I hear. He is a lucky man to have her in his service. Have you met Herr Strecher?"
“She’s a widower,” Klaus said. “She took over from her husband just after my father died.”
"She's also frighteningly efficient Sir," Guy du Grechy said as he brought round a box of cigars. "Now please take your pick gentlemen."
your Grace,” the officer said as he selected one, “your horse's prospects in
Sir, he's flying in training, so we are pretty confident."
me risking a few pounds?"
"Not at these odds Sir." Guy shook his head, "no one will get rich betting on him over a mile."
“George called,” Roy said as he sat with Grant and Curt, “he’s looking strong and good.”
“So why is George not here?”
“He has work commitments – covering for Caroline with a few clients, but it means he can attend the Florida race meet on our behalf.”
“Rudolf,” Klaus said as he hugged his old friend, “and you brought some friends. A pleasure to welcome you, Your Highness.”
“A pleasure to be here,” Charles said as he looked round. “A very broad gathering Klaus.”
“Indeed – but all more than welcome.”
“Alex, John, come and meet a friend of Rudolf.”
As the two men came over, John bowed and said “this is an unexpected pleasure, your highness. I did not think I would see you before next week.”
“Well,” Charles said as he scratched his nose, “that is official, this is relaxation.”
does it feel to be giving away the bride Alex?" Rudolf asked.
trifle strange Rudi...I'm just too used to my other role." the priest said
as he savored the rum. "You know spirits are not my normal tipple, but
this is exceedingly good."
noticed you writing down a few brands."
now trade with Cuba is being normalized I thought I might import a few
bottles," Alex said as he took a long draw on his cigar.
have several American friends who have told me they intend to as well."
"You know Piet, I'd tell you smoking stunts ones growth, but in your case I don't think we need worry," Alex laughed as the big South African lit a cigar.
“So Thomas, you are studying microbiology in New York?”
“That’s right Joseph,” Tommy said as he held a glass in his hand, “I’m nearing the end of my second year. What about you?”
“Oh I’m coming to the end of my first year,” the young man said. “I’m studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Cambridge.”
“Oh – do you know Simon Leventhal?”
“I have seen him in lectures, but he is in a different study group.” Taking a drink from his glass, Joseph said “science has always fascinated me. The ide of understanding how and why our world works in a physical sense.”
“True – but this year I’ve done some courses in Genetics in Forensics, looking at how it can be used to support the police in their work.”
“Ah yes – a truly fascinating area. What would you say was the most fascinating thing you have found out this year?”
“Probably the way we can use DNA now to identify things from decades ago, and even to differentiate between different strains of the same virus.”
“Indeed – well, I need to see others, but I hope we get a chance to talk tomorrow.”
“As do I,” Tommy said as Joseph walked over to talk to Rudi.
“Hey – making new friends?”
“I am Simon,” Tommy said, “he’s doing a degree at Cambridge, said he knew of you.”
“Well, he does – but we tend not to mix in the same social circles.”
“Because he is Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein, second in line to the throne of his country and third in the hereditary Jacobean line of accession. Refill your glass?”
“You allowed them out of your sight for a few hours?”
“Of course I did,” Pepsi said as she sat with Becca, “we do have a little trust, and I trust Guy and the elder statesmen to make sure they don’t do anything stupid.”
“Well said,” Abby grinned as she passed round more drinks.
“So when do we need to start getting ready tomorrow,” Katy asked.
“Well, we’re not going to the civil ceremony, so Alice and Mary thinks we go first. So an early breakfast, and then to the hairdressing chair.”
“Sounds good,” Jo said.
“So spill, Joanne Smith – what do the dresses look like?”
“Oh no,” Jo said with a smile, “you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.”
“Oh no,” Juliette said with a smile as she looked at Alice, “you’re all going to have to wait until tomorrow.”
“Not even a hint,” Eve said as she sat with Laura and Cassandra.
“Not even a hint,” Alice said with the sweetest of smiles.
“I haven’t even seen it,” Sandy said, “so it must be a secret.”
“So,” Grace said as she filled the glasses of Sarah, Pippa and Harriet, “all ready for tomorrow?”
“Outfits hanging up and ready to put on,” Pippa said as she looked across at Juliette, “do you think she will get much sleep tonight?”
“I very much doubt it,” Grace said, “I’m not exactly sure many of us will get much sleep.”
“The excitement levels, you mean?”
“Indeed,” Sarah said with a smile.
“So my dear,” Natalya said as she sat with Ingrid and Sigi, “everything is in place for tomorrow?”
“Oh yes,” Sigi said with a smile, “everything is ready and good to go. So logn as we can get the wedding party into their outfits...”
“We have the timetable worked out,” Diana said as she and Valeria joined them, “Sandy and I will make sure Juliette is ready for the early part of the day, and then Alice, Mary and Fiona will take over when we return.”
“Excellent,” Natalya said as she looked around the room. Everyone was happy, excited, contented – it was going to be a good weekend.
“I thought I saw you sneak into a quiet corner kiddo,” Dave said as he joined his son, “are you feeling all right?”
“Yeah – no – It’s just something I never thought any of us would ever see Pops,” David said, “did you?”
“Nope,” Dave said as he looked at the others, “never in my wildest dreams did I think anything like this would happen. I mean, when Missy and Juliette first came to the house, I was amazed at what they said could happen then – and now...”
“Yeah – do you think she’s looking down?”
“Well, I’m sure she is,” Dave said with a smile, “and I’m sure she’s incredibly proud of Mary and all of you. It’s like Mary and I keep saying – yeah your sister has a very different career, and we don’t have the money worries we used to, but you and the kids ALWAYS come first in our books.”
“Yeah I know – that’s why she’s babysitting them instead of going to that thing with Juliette, right?”
“Right,” Dave said as he finished his drink. “She may be a model now – and a beautiful one – but you six are and will always be the focus for us.”
“Well said, sir.”
Both Dave and David turned round to see Jack Linklater standing there. “Sorry – didn’t mean to interrupt,” he said with a smile, “but you may be interested to know we have a little surprise lined up for Klaus in a few minutes.”
“It’s Jack lad – if you learn nothing else this weekend, learn we never stand on ceremony.”
“Sorry – Jack,” David said, “but you’ve got to understand how new this all is to us still?”
“Oh I understand young David,” Jack said, “so let me tell you something the girls tell the other sinners. If you look in that room, you’ll see royalty and princes, yes – and you’ll see photographers, a guy who works for the NYTA, a stockbroker or two, and in yoru case a hard working father and brother from the West Coast. The thing is, doesn’t matter who they are – we’re all friends.”
“Yeah – yeah I see that,” Dave said as they walked back in.
“Good – then charge your glasses, gentlemen, because it is time for the groom to be – entertained.”
“What,” Klaus said as he suddenly realised the area round him was clearing, and he could hear music playing in the background. As the sound of Brahms came over the speaker, a tall blonde dressed in a white wedding dress and wearing a white mask over her eyes came out, and started to walk round the space, the men looking at her as Klaus said “and who is...”
His words were silenced as the woman put a gloved finger on his lips, and then reached round, releasing the train of her dress as she started to dance to the music. The men clapped and cheered at the slow, graceful movements, Klaus sitting back down and watching as she started to carefully remove the elbow length gloves and laid them on his lap before she continued her dance.
“Who is it,” he whispered to John.
“I have absolutely no idea,” John whispered back as she started to shimmy, reaching behind herself and slowly pulling open the fasteners at the back of her dress, Dave covering his son’s eyes as John Gaunt stared at the lithe, lean body that stepped out of the dress. She was wearing a white basque, her stockings held up by a suspender belt that was fastened around her waist, and white shoes with a foru inch stiletto heel.
Not that they were stopping her as she lifted her leg up, resting it on Klaus’ shoulder as she unfastened the stocking from the belt and slowly rolled it down her log, her head to one side as she looked at the groom. Eventually, she slipped the shoe and the stocking off, before she walked round and lifted her other leg up, stunning Mick Harran into silence as his bandmates clapped and cheered while she removed the other shoe and stocking.
“Are you sure it’s not you wife,” Roy asked Augie.
“Nope – she’s at the townhouse with the others. Kelly Rochermann?”
“Not her either,” Daniel said “but she is good...”
As they talked, she danced around to the music, reaching round and unfastening her basque before holing it in one hand as her strapless bra and panties were revealed. She threw that into the group of men, a shout coming from the direction of Charlie Trehannan before she moved so gracefully, so sensually around, blowing kisses to the menfolk as they hollered and then stopping in front of Klaus.
“I hope Juliette forgives me,” he whispered as she slowly removed her panties and bra, waving them round and then reaching over to kiss him on both cheeks before she whispered something into his ear. He looked at her, smiled and nodded as she struck a pose, and then walked off, Jack and Luke helping her by draping a robe over her as everyone applauded.
“Well Klaus,” Guy said as he handed the groom a drink, “what did she say?”
“She said... She said congratulations,” Klaus said as she stood up and raised his glass. “Gentlemen – to life!”
“I cannot thank you enough,” Jack said as he and Luke escorted her to the dressing room, “I believe that made the evening.”
“Do you think he suspects?”
“Your husband was there, my dear,” Luke said as she removed the mask and the blond wig, “he did not recognise you – why would Klaus?”
“Fair enough – and you owe me for this Jack.”
“And I will gladly pay to overflowing,” he said as she pulled on her own clothes. “We’ll make sure you slip out quietly the way we got you in.”
“Good – because this was a one off,” Alice MacKinnon said with a smile, “as a favour to Ju. Come on then – get me out of here.”
we need some support here,” Alan Kennedy called over, “what was the greatest
team ever to win the Super Bowl?"
"Are you sure you easterners want my answer?"
"You might as well throw it in Dave." Alex smiled, "your answer can't be any more wrong then these ignoramuses."
right then - Bill Walsh's 49ers with Jerry Rice and Joe Montana."
were a good team,” Jack said as he rejoined the group, and took a drag om his
cigar, “but I still don't see them beating Griese's unbeaten Dolphins."
Brady is the greatest quarterback that ever lived," Jerry Levin said as he
drank some rum, "therefore his 4 Super Bowl winning teams must be the best
I still say that you are ALL wrong," Alex called out, clearly enjoying
himself, "the best team of all time were Lombardi's Green Bay teams that
won the first two Super Bowls."
American friends seem to be enjoying themselves," Dieter laughed as the
argument got more heated.
it's like we Europeans debating the best team ever to win the European
Cup." Dan smiled.
the best rugby team of all time," Mick smiled. "By the way never get
Izzy started on football."
"Because like any Brazilian he can only see one nation as ever having really played soccer."
“That would be Germany of course?”
“Of course you would say that,” Dan said as he looked at Karl-Heinz and Franz, “ but like them, how would you compare say the Hungarian team with Puskas to the Danish team with Schmeichel?”
“You cannot – just as you cannot judge who would win between Joe Di Maggio and Vladimir Klitschko.”
“And that is the beauty of debating sport,” Guy said with a smile, “there are no right or wrong answers.”
you are saying you DIDN'T play basketball Doctor Boyd?"
what I'm saying Your Majesty is that I never played basketball well...unlike I
believe yourself sir." Ken looked at the dark haired king who at 6' 5 1/2"
was one of the few people in the room who he could look more or less straight
in the eye. "I was just too uncoordinated to really play sports."
it seems to be such a waste of that height."
given how tall both my wife and I are, just maybe our son will play Sir."
suggest he will indeed be very tall." The King sipped his drink, "you
know Klaus has some very interesting friends?"
for example is that young man?"
looked where the king was pointing.
Curt Richardson, he's a criminologist who will one day probably be very
that is Steve Carlton - his daughter is one of the bridesmaids."
"I see, and it proves my point, at these things usually it is all celebrities or relatives of mine, it's somehow just right of Klaus to have such varied friends."
“Well, we pride our friendships above all else.”
“And quite rightly as well...”
what debauchery do you think is going on at the Club Havana?" Juliette
asked as they sat round, sipping their nightcaps.
just a lot of drinking, a lot of boasting, and endless talk about sports."
Caroline smiled. “especially if Dan has
anything to do with it.”
"Well with so much security and so many bodyguards and detectives, it can't get too out of hand." Kelly smiled as well. "But I suspect there might be a few sore heads come morning."
“Almost certainly,” Caroline said as she finished her drink, “but I need to call it a night there. Sharon, you need to be down here, ready to go at seven thirty tomorrow.”
“I think that was my hint to retire as well,” Sharon said as she stood up, “I’ll see you all tomorrow.”
As they left the room, Alice came back in.
“And where did you go to Mrs MacKinnon?”
“I had some final adjustments to make,” she said as she accepted a drink, “but I need to sleep soon as well.”
“The girls are getting tired as well,” April said, “so I think we’re all considering sleeping.”
“Coming lover,” Sandy said as she took Heather’s hand, the two of them walking off with Carina and Annie following them.
“Sleep well everyone,” Grace said as she led the procession of women out, leaving Juliette with Sigi, Ingrid and Natalya.
“So – tomorrow is the big day,” Sigi said, “think you will sleep tonight?”
“No idea,” Juliette said, “but I hope so. I do not want to make mistakes tomorrow.”
“You won’t mom,” Ingrid said, “it’s going to be a magical day.”
“Indeed,” Natalya said, “a magical day.”
The room went silent as Klaus stood up.
“Your royal highnesses, dukes, counts, lords, and gentlemen,” he said as he steadied himself, “and if i have insulted anyone, I apologise.”
“I think you’ve covered all bases,” John called out.
“Well, I will be brief,” Klaus said. “I am honoured that you could come tonight, to support me on my last night of widowerhood. I never dreamed this day would come again, but now that it is, I can think of no finer group of men i want to support me.
“In fact, I am proud to call you all my friends – even those I do not know, because you are friends of friends. As I stand at the cathedral tomorrow, I hope you will all share in my joy, and in my family’s joy. But for now, I ask you to join me in a toast.
“Gentlemen – the ladies!”