Dancing in the Dark – Part 6







Monday 5th December

7 am

The Village


As Ama came out of her bedroom, she smiled as she saw the suitcases in the main room – the smile growing even bigger as she saw Caroline coming out of her bedroom.


“Welcome back, Mom,” she said as she embraced her in a hug, “how was the journey back?”


“Long – but I managed to get on the plane arriving at 5, so here I am.  How are the twins?”


“Sleeping for the moment,” Ama said with a smile as they listened to the baby monitor.  “Let me start some fresh coffee for you.”


“Thanks,” Caroline said as she sat down, looking at her daughter.  “So what did I miss while I was travelling?”


“Not much – the Clarke girls were here for the shoot with Mel, and I talked to Maisha last night.  She will be arriving with Shirley tomorrow, and we are invited to join them for dinner that night.  Sharon also called – she is returning home tomorrow, and will be happy to meet with you on Wednesday to discuss what she will be doing on Saturday.”


“Excellent – and thank you,” Caroline said as she accepted a coffee, both of them looking over as Annie came in.


“The traveller returns – is that fresh coffee?”


“I will fetch you a mug, and then I will shower,” Ama said as she went to the kitchen.


“So – home for the holidays now?”


“Lord I hope so,” Caroline said with a sigh, “I’ll let you two get going, then shower and change.  I need to find out from George what’s going on, then talk to Eleanor Ball…”




1 pm GMT



“So how are you feeling?”


Tatiana leaned back and sighed.  “You know,” she finally said, “there are times even now Ju…  There are times when I still think that somehow this is all a horrid nightmare, and that one morning I’ll simply wake up and Yuri will be lying in bed besides me, and all will be as It once was.”


“Agnes McAdam and Francesca di Cambrello both told me that was what they both used to dream.” Juliette smiled on the sceen as she looked out. “In Agnes’s case though she nowadays dreams that this is the dream, and she will wake up and still be a pariah.”


“I’ve never really met her,” Tatiana said quietly, “but I have heard that she was a Domme, who hurt herself far worse than any customer.”


“That is true.  But she gets married next month to Lord Donald Fitzstuart, she has adopted two adorable girls, and she is re-establishing herself.  So maybe there is hope for you as well…”


“Anyway,” Tatiana said “to what do I owe this call?”


“Well,” Juliette took a deep breath. “I wondered if you still talked to any friends of Yuri’s who might be able to tell you anything we could use to defend Norstar. Byushin was able to buy another block of shares today, it’s starting to get very serious.”


“I can imagine – tell me, has Klaus…”


“I think he has, but I haven’t asked yet.  You must still have some contacts…”


“One or two – let me send you some names.  What other avenues are you using?”


“Friends are asking friends…”




Benenden School



“Daddy, you really don’t have to call me again so soon,” Olga said as she sat in her room.


“I wanted to make sure you were all right, with the holidays starting soon – and I wanted to ask you something.”


“Oh,” the seventeen year old said, “what?”


“Your Mother was saying that you are still interested in advertising among other things?”


“Yes I am Daddy,” Olga smiled at her computer screen, “Mummy got me a summer job helping out in Stella McCartney’s marketing department, so I got to see how her current advertising and marketing campaign was put together.”


“And?” Yuri smiled back.


“Well I am interested in how words, and images are used to influence people anyway, and I was fascinated by how it’s done.”


“Ah I understand,” Yuri said with a smile, “but you can also use words to influence as a lawyer you know?”


“I know, it’s one of the reasons Lizzie wants to be a lawyer like her Mummy.”


“But it doesn’t interest you?”


“Not really,” the young woman shook her head.  “I’m sorry Daddy, but I’m not going to follow you.”


Yuri smiled as he said “that is a very mature and correct decision” as there was a knock on her room door, and an older woman put her head round the door.


“Olga – form meeting in fifteen.”


“Yes, Mss Turnbull,” Olga said, and then she saw the look on her father’s face.


“Daddy?  What’s wrong?”


“Nothing – call me tomorrow Olga.







“So is John still not saying where you are going for your honeymoon?” Catriona Cuthbertson asked as the waiter scurried away.


“No,” Shirley said, shaking her head as she sipped her wine.  “So I’m still not sure if I need pack my bikini, or my ski suit.”


“Or both – hot tubs in the spa?”


“Point.  But seriously…”


“He thinks he is keeping it as a mysterious surprise, but like so many men he forgets the more practical things like what you will wear.”


“Exactly.  So what are you going to do?”


“Pack two cases, have them delivered to the Waldorf, and make sure Maisha takes one back to the penthouse with Penny afterwards.”


Catriona nodded as she looked round.


“So is Maisha looking forward to spending some time with Ama whilst you are away?”


“Yes, she loves Ama, and she loves New York.  She said she will use the time to finalise the Christmas shopping.”


“And where do you plan to spend it this year?”


“Christmas?  In New York this time – everyone will be coming over here.”


“Speaking of Maisha, is she getting her studies geared for taking formal exams?”


“Yes,” Shirley said as the food arrived, “Aggie and the other tutors will start the work in the New Year.”


“Good,” Cat smiled, then lowered her voice, “did you see our little bit of fun made the newspapers?”


“I did – which will help in some ways.”


“With what?”


“Let us say our group had our eye on this woman for some time, and what we did was part vengeance, and part priming for something…


10 am

Jameson Security HQ


“George,” Caroline said as she came in, seeing her number one in his suit, waistcoat, shirt and tie, “it’s good to be back.”


“Good to have you back,” George said as Caroline came through the security gate.


“So what is important?”


“There is someone wants you to urgently phone her Caroline,” George whispered as they headed for the elevator.


“Oh who?”


“Commander Cornwall at MI6.”




“Yes,” George said as he pushed the button, “and she sounded as though it was imperative.”


“I wonder why?” the tall woman pursed her lips, “just what did I miss whilst I was away?”


“Here?” George smiled, “it was all pretty routine, but in the wider world things have been happening.”


“You better bring me up to speed quickly then,” Caroline waited as the doors closed behind them.


“Have you been following the politics?”


“As far as I could.”


“Well a lot of this connects to all that work I was excluded from,” George smiled.


Caroline raised an eyebrow as she said “The Russians?”


“If I’m reading this right, but then again I’m not as connected and high powered as you Dom,” the man laughed.


“So from your ‘lowly’ position George, any idea why Kay might wish to talk?”


“I saw Klaus von Furstenburg at the club last night, among other matters he let slip he has encouraged some big name Russian lawyer to defect in London.”


“Now why would Klaus let that slip to you George,” Caroline looked puzzled as the doors opened, “and why if it’s about that does Kay wish to talk to me?”


“That I could not say, and that I could not say,” George said as the doors opened, “I’ll be in my office – Eleanor Ball is due to drop in at eleven, she may know more.”



3 pm GMT

McAdam Associates


“Sue,” Agnes called out from her office, “have you placed that call?”


“Yeah – line 2,” Sue called back as Agnes closed the office door, and then picked up the handset.


“Agnes?  What have I done to deserve this honour?”


“Did I wake you up, Katy?”


“No – just making a brew.  So what can I do for you?”


“Katy I need someone to talk to badly,” Agnes held the phone to her ear as she sat down.


“About what Aggie?” the professor replied as she sipped her first coffee of the morning.


“The ethics of our old craft…Countess.”


The Scottish woman’s use of her old title caused Katy Rucker to suddenly sit bolt upright.


“You have a conflict occurring Lady?”


“You might say that,” Agnes sighed.  “Events that happened many years ago are severely affecting lives, and business matters today.”


“Confidential events, that may or may not have happened in your dungeon, or involve former employees?”




“Okay I understand, you respect ‘our’ codes of silence and discretion, but you feel that by doing so you may cause harm to people you know?”


“You always were the most intuitive person I ever knew Katy.”


“Thank you Aggie, and from what I’ve read in the newspapers, and heard from others, does this have to do with Oleg Byushin’s takeover bid for Norstar?”


“It does – in a very real way.  I…  There was a report in the Evening Standard of a woman being badly beaten and robbed last night.”


“And you know this woman?”


“She was a former employee – before she left, and I later discovered was involved in a honey trap.”


Katy nodded, and then said “I do not think you need say more.  Agnes, I understand your dilemma – do you think the other party knows?”


“I would imagine so – and I do not know how they may be feeling.  Katy – I have never, ever betrayed a confidence in any circumstance, but I need to tell someone something.”


“Is this a person you trust implicitly?”


“Yes – in a very real way.”


“Then, in this case, I think you are justified – but only to that person, and on the condition they never, ever reveal the full story to anyone else.”


Agnes nodded, and said “thank you, Katy – I needed to hear that.”


3.30 pm GMT



As Kay Cornwall read the report on her desk, she shook her head slightly – then turned to look at the telephone as the red light blinked.


Pressing a button, she said “yes?”


“I have Caroline Jameson on the line for you Commander.”


“Ah – excellent.  Put her through on the secure line please.”


Kay waited a moment before she picked up the handset, and said “Caroline – thank you for calling back.”


“George intimated it was an urgent matter,” she heard the younger woman say, “but you need to be aware I have only just come back into the office today.  But, as I said, it was an urgent matter.”


“Indeed – how was Iceland?”


“Cold, beautiful, and Mads was a real gentleman like Cassie Caine said.  So, what can I do for you?”


“You are aware of the current attempt by one Oleg Byushin to take over the agency that represents you in the modelling world?”


“I have tried to keep abreast – I know a mutual colleague asked to look at some records we kept after our recent researches, but I’m not due to see her for another half hour or so.  Why?”


“It’s just – there was a robbery last night, aggravated – the woman that was robbed is in intensive care, and may not survive.”


“I’m sorry to hear that, Kay, but…”


“She’s a known associate of Byushin – we’ve being keeping an eye on her for some time, very much hands off.  My concern is he may see this as an attempt to send a message to him…”


“… and he may get more proactive,” Caroline said as she rubbed her eyes.  “I get the urgency now.  Kay, let me talk to our mutual friend, and then I’ll call you back…”


“Thank you in advance, Caroline.”


"Oh and in totally unconnected news Kay, Mads did sign a photograph for you."

"You remembered," The MI6 officer laughed.

"Of course I did." Caroline laughed as well, "I'll let you have it when I see you."


“Well, I presume you will be there on Saturday?”


“Given Ama is one of the bridesmaids, yes – see you then?”


“Look forward to it,” Caroline said as she put the phone down, and then said “come in.”


“Captain Ball is here to see you, Caroline.”


“Thanks,” she said as she stood up, “show her in, and then get some coffee for us please?”




7 pm GMT




“Why the laughter Mum?” Maisha asked as Shirley came in from the kitchen.


“Oh I was just talking to Sally Grafton,” Shirley said as she sat down, “and she was calling me old fashioned because I’m eschewing the joys of designing on a computer for an old style draughting board, pencils and pens.”


“You are a traditionalist Shirley my love,” John said with a smile as he looked up from what he was reading, “it’s like my preference occasionally for real film.”


“It’s how it was done when I dreamed of being an architect, and it’s how I want to do it now that I’m at least in part helping design this house.”


“Quite right,” John nodded.


“But computers make it easier…”


“Maisha darling I’m doing this because I enjoy it, easier does not factor in.”


As she nodded, Shirley said “Dinner will be ready in half an hour.  Have you finished your packing?”


“I have – have you Mum?”


“As much as I can – given some unknown quantities,” Shirley said as she looked pointedly at John.


“I am sure you will manage,” John said with a smile as he stood up and left the room.


“So are you still taking more clothes than needed, Mum?”


“No – I have taken enough to make our plan work.”


“By the way, Aunt Sandra called to say she and her partner would meet us at the airfield.  I understand they are staying with Aunt Maddie and Aunt Emma?”


“Indeed – they can keep an eye on each other, but it also means we can make the final fittings on Wednesday.”


Bayswater Road


Tamsin and Agnes looked at Laura and Miley as they stood on the stools, Nick Wu and his team checking the fitting of the dresses they were both wearing.


“I think we have the basic fitting right,” he said as he stepped back, “now we can start to cut and put together the dresses themselves.”


“Good,” Agnes said as the two girls were helped out, revealing their night clothes.  “And my niece?”


“I will visit Benenden this weekend to do her fitting – and then we meet in the New Year.”


“Thank you for coming tonight,” Tamsin said with a smile, “given our plans for the next few weeks, this was the only time.”


“It is not a problem – now, Agnes, your turn…”


9pm GMT





“Shirley, it’s Grace – did I catch you at a bad time?”


“We are just packing Grace,” Shirley said as she put the handset down on the bed, “Here let me put you on speakerphone.”


“Well sorry to disturb you, but one of my brothers has shown up expectedly in New York, and I was wondering can I drag him to the wedding?”


“Which one Grace?” John called out.


“Michael, he’s back from the headwaters of the Amazon, and is here to do the voiceover for his new documentary.”


“Mad Mick himself,” Shirley laughed, “of course bring him along Grace, I’ve watched him on television for years, it will be nice to actually meet him.”


“Thanks, at least I can do Angela the favour of making sure he stays out of trouble.”


“Why isn’t she there herself?”


“My dear sister-in-law, after insisting that certain girls at Benenden cannot come over for the wedding, cannot exactly take time off herself.”


“She teaches at Benenden?” Shirley asked.


“Yes – head of geography.”


“Of course she is – given she is married to the leading young naturalist in the world.  Well, tell Mick Gresham we look forward to seeing him – and that some other photographers will be there…”



6 pm

Complete Style


“Okay it needs just a couple of slight adjustments young Krys,” Mary Thomas smiled up at the neophyte model as she stood straight in the classic fifties suit with the tight fitted jacket and calf length pencil skirt.


“Am I allowed to say this is WOW?” she purred as she looked in the full length mirrors.


“Yes,” Mary laughed, “even models can be blown away by something as classic as this.”


“I think of all the fittings we’ve done tonight,” she said with a smile, “this is my favorite.”


“It will look even better with the right gloves and accessories…”


“Not to mention your hair and makeup done in period style,” Leslie the assistant broke in.


“Okay let’s get you out of this.” Mary smiled inwardly as Krys stood there topless; her new, expensive, breasts impossible to tell weren’t real disguised as they were with just the tiniest bit of makeup.


“Look at the time – I need to get going…”


“Oh – where to?”


“I’m having dinner with Amanda Fitzstuart – and the author…”




8 pm



As Krys walked into the restaurant area, she saw the two older women sitting at a table and walked over, one of them looking up and smiling.


“Krystle, darling,” she drawled in her clipped accent as she stood up, “thank you for meeting us here.”


“My pleasure, Your Ladyshi…  Sorry, Mandy,” Krys said as the other woman stood up.

“Rebecca Wesley, meet Krys Ernst, Krys darling meet Rebecca,” Mandy made the introductions.


“It’s a pleasure Miss Wesley,” Krys extended a hand and smiled, “I’m a fan I’ll admit.”


“Call me Rebecca,” the Englishwoman said as she smiled, and they took their seats.  “And can I say that in person you are even more how I imagine Dorothy then in your pictures.”


“Thank you,” Krys blushed.


“Dorothy looks like you, and talks like me darling,“ Mandy laughed as the waiter approached.


“Ladies – would you like to view the menus?”


“Thank you,” Rebecca said as he handed one to each of them.


“Well I just hope I don’t let anyone down.” Krys whispered as she looked at the menu.


“You’ll be fine,” Mandy said as she looked across the table.  “It’s a nice, simple session, no issues at all.”


“As Mandy says,” Rebecca said as the waiter came back over, “you’ll be perfect.  The turbot, please.”


“I will have the veal,” Mandy said, “and for you Krys?”


“Chicken a la king,” the blonde said as the waiter took their orders.  “Well, if I am right for the photos, how can I refuse Rebecca?”



9.30 pm

5th Avenue


“So I get you all to myself for Thursday and Friday?” Sands laughed gently as she nibbled on Holly’s ear.  The two girls were sat in their car, having been to a film.


“Yes,” Holly gasped, “Tommy has to work on this new project of his both days, but he will be back to be my date for the wedding on Saturday.”


“Pity, I would enjoy…” Sands voice trailed off as the older girl drew her in for a passionate kiss.


“I know just what you enjoy,” Holly laughed as their lips parted.


“Yes you do,” the younger woman snuggled up as close as the cramped space of the tiny sports car allowed.


“So any ideas what to do while it’s just the two of us?”




“I mean other than THAT,” Holly laughed.


“I am totally open to anything,” Sands said with a smile, “so long as I am with you…”


 Krys’ Apartment


“Mary you shouldn’t have,” Krys shook her head as she examined all the outfits and accessories that Merlin had had put in the closets. “I already owe you for my breasts, this is way too much.”


“Krys darling,” Mary looked serious for once, “I was never blessed with children, so helping girls like you is very important to me.”


“I get that, but these are amazing,” she said as she stroked a satin dress, “they must have cost you a fortune?”


“Oh a lot were ‘donations’.”


“Donations? From whom?”


“Oh from designers, manufacturers, etc.” Mary laughed, “I may have mentioned to a few people that there is a sensational new model just hitting town, and that she hadn’t got a thing to wear.”


“And they just send you things?” Krys shook her head.


“Ai,” Mary looked in a couple of drawers to check, “so at least you now have a basic wardrobe girl.”


“This is basic?”


“Trust me, girl – you will realise this soon…”



Tuesday 6th December

1 pm GMT

Chez Georgette


“I think your guests have arrived, Lady,” George said with a smile to Agnes as she looked to the doorway.  While Agnes was wearing a grey two piece trouser suit with a white blouse underneath, Liz Paterson and Kirsten Rucker were both wearing woollen dresses and high boots.


“Interesting place,” Liz said as they sat down at the table, “why here?”


“George is an old friend, and guarantees discretion for this,” Agnes said with a smile.  “I contacted the woman I mentioned, and asked if she would be willing to discuss what happened to her as part of an academic exercise.  To my surprise, she agreed, on the condition her anonymity is maintained – hence here.”


“Is this her now?”


Agnes nodded as she stood up, watching Tatiana Ulyanova as she walked in, wearing dark glasses and a long white coat.  She looked at the three women, and said “Dr.  McAdam?”


“I’m Agnes McAdam,” Aggie said as she walked over, “thank you for agreeing to meet me here.  May I present Liz Paterson and Kirsten Rucker.”


“Call me Tatiana – and it is a pleasure to meet both of you,” Tatiana said as she shook their hands, and sat down.  “Mandy said I could trust you in this exercise, as did Juliette – but I am curious as to why I am being asked.”


“Well,” Kirsten said, “I am doing a counselling diploma, and my research topic is couples who have been affected by some level of involvement in the BDMS community, either by choice or by the action of others, and how they have dealt with what happened.”


“An interesting topic, but why me?  To the best of my knowledge, I…”  Tatiana then stopped and looked at Agnes.  “Don’t tell me…”


“I had no idea until after the fact,” Aggie said quietly, “but yes, she was one of my ladies in my previous employment.  I would understand if you wished to leave now…”


“No – and I understand you may not have known, although…  So you wish to discuss my divorce?”


“If you are open to that,” Kirsten said, “Liz is here as my note taker, if you will.”




6 am

The de Ros Mansion


As Edith passed the bedroom, she noticed the door was slightly ajar, and slowly opened it to see Brooke sitting on the edge of the bed, shaking as she tried to wrap the bed covers around herself.


“Your Honour,” she said quietly as she came in and closed the door, “may I ask…”


Brooke looked at her, eyes open with fear as she said “I had to stay awake – they would not let me sleep, with their whispers and their taunts.”


“Who does?”


“The little spirits…   Oh god, is this…”


Edith nodded as she came over and put the blankets round Brooke.  “You are at the worst point,” she said quietly, “but Dr Gleb and Dr Boyd are calling later today.  I will sit with you until you sleep…”



7.30 am

The Village


The brown haired man smiled as he saw Grace come into the main room.  “Right – scrambled eggs for all,” he said as he stood up.


“Thanks Michael,” she said as she sat at the table, and then looked at her friend.  “Sarah?”


“Look at him…  He’s famous, handsome, smart, and he can cook…”


“And he’s taken Sarah,” Grace whispered back as they listened to her brother singing in the kitchen.


“What a pity,” Sarah sighed as she cast what could only be described as a lustful look towards the kitchen.


“Well just remember that my baby brother sometimes forgets he casts a spell over women, and it’s led to a few ‘incidents’. He and Angela don’t need another story circulating about him supposedly having an affair.”


“As I said…shame.”


“She needs to put a collar and lead on him Grace,” Harriet said, shaking her head as she put her newspaper down.


“Oh she knows he just flirts, but it really can be a pain she told me.  Especially when women like Sarah throw themselves at him.” 


“Oh, by the way Sis,” Michael Gresham said as he looked round the corner, “I’m coming in to your domicile today, right?”


“Sadly yes – so dress smartly and remember they’re just kids, all right?”


“Moi?  As if I would do anything…”



3 pm GMT

The Dorchester Hotel


As Yuri looked over his e-mail and some papers, he heard the ping on his laptop, and smiled before he took a second phone out and dialled a number.


“This is a new number, isn’t it Yuri?”


“Let us say, old friend, I need a method that is not being recorded,” Yuri chuckled as he heard Klaus von Furstenheim.  “I know others may have been listening in otherwise, and given what we have discussed previously, I change phones regularly.”


“A wise precaution – so have you thought about the other matter I raised?”


Rubbing his eyes, Yuri said quietly “I don’t know, that is something I do not wish to dwell on too much, old friend.  I do not want to relive that pain again.”


“I understand that, Yuri, but if for no other reason, then see them because I’m asking you to.”


“Klaus,” Yuri whispered into the handset, “you know very well the circumstances of my divorce are not something I wish made common knowledge.”


“I do, but these women are vouched for by Agnes McAdam, and Tatiana has already spoken to them. Aggie says that she guarantees their discretion, and it’s not some scandal mongering journalists, it’s a graduate student researching an academic paper.”


“I know old friend…” the Russian took a deep breath, “all right.  I’ll do this on condition that no names are used, and that I will not talk about specifics.”


“I’m sure Miss Rucker will agree to that.”


“So… Do I need call her, or will she contact me?”


“I’ll tell Aggie to get them to ring you.” Klaus paused. “Yuri you’ve never said, and I’ve not asked till now, but what made you start going to Lady D’Eath’s place anyway?”


“I have asked myself that question so many times,” Yuri said with a sigh, “let us just say someone invited me to what they said was a club, and by the time I realized, it was too late to back out.  The funny thing is, I can remember nothing.”




“Nothing – I remember talking to her, then not a lot else – until the next day, when I woke up in her bed, and – well, the rest is a sad story…”


“You remember nothing?  They must have drugged you, Yuri!”


“Possibly, but I could never prove it, could I?”



1 pm

Park Avenue


As Shirley opened the door, and walked into the penthouse, she smiled and inhaled.


“It is good to be here, especially now,” Maisha said as she took her coat off, Clint bringing the bags in with John.


“Indeed – and you at least are here now until the New Year,” Shirley said as she hung her coat up.


“But I will be kept busy, especially this week,” Maisha said with a smile as Clint came back in.


“Your bags are in the rooms – Kylie wished to know if she could call round tonight, or if you would prefer to see her tomorrow.”


“I’ll tell her to call tonight – we do have other things to catch up on,” Shirley said as she smelt fresh coffee brewing.  “Thank you again for meeting us Clint.”


“Not a problem – enjoy the rest of the day,” Clint said as he left, Maisha looking at her phone.


“Ama welcomes us – and Aunt Sandra has arrived at Aunt Madeline’s apartment.”


“Then things are really coming together,” Shirley said as she inhaled.  “Come – coffee and then unpacking.”


Complete Style




Alexis looked up to see Marina standing by her desk as Anna made her way into Juliette’s office.


“Hey yourself – how come you’re down here with Anna?”


“I’m not,” Marina said as Tricia looked over, “I was on my way out for lunch, and…”


She stopped talking as she saw three men walk onto the editorial floor – and one look at them told her that two at least were armed.  The third, who was walking in front, was obviously in charge.


She glanced at Alexis, who slowly stood up as they came closer and said “can I help you, gentlemen?”


“And you are?”


“Eto Aleksis Bronkheymer, lichnyy pomoshchnik Dzhul'yetty fon Fyurstenkhaym. Menya zovut Marina Sovkovski, i ya rabotayu assistentom global'nogo redaktora Complete Style.”


“A vy govorite po russki? Menya zovut Aaron Svenson, i ya yavlyayus' zakonnym predstavitelem DamyKontrol Agencies. Eto gospodin Borodin i gospodin Boronov, predstavitel' sobstvennika Olega Byushina.”


“Opyat' zhe, mogu ya sprosit' o tseli vashego vizita?”


“My khotim vstretit'sya s g-zhoy fon Fyurstenkhaym, chtoby obsudit' predlagayemoye pogloshcheniye agentstva NorStar.”


“Ponimayu. S glubokim sozhaleniyem dolzhen soobshchit' vam, chto ona uchastvuyet v konferentsii, i yeye nel'zya bespokoit'. Krome togo, etot podkhod ne podderzhivayetsya yuridicheskim predstavitelem, o kotorom vy byli proinformirovany, i ya dolzhen uvazhitel'no poprosit' vas uyti.”


“A yesli otkazhemsya?”


“Eto bylo by ... priskorbno. YA byl by vynuzhden prodemonstrirovat' svoi navyki vedeniya peregovorov, a vam eto ne ponravitsya. Zovut vashego kollegu Boronov - sprosite, chto sluchilos' s yego rodstvennikom v Sankt-Peterburge, i sprosite, khotite li vy perezhit' to zhe samoye.”


Svenson looked at Marina as she smiled, and then nodded as he turned and left the room.


“What just happened?” Tricia asked as she and Alexis looked at Marina.


“I got you out of trouble – for now.  I need to make a phone call.”



The Refectory

St Angela’s Academy


“Pardon me,” the rugged looking man said as he passed the juniors at the lunch table.


“I can’t believe he is Mrs. Brand’s brother?” Nikki said as she cast a glance at the naturalist/explorer, “he is just so amazing.”


“Agreed,” Doc smiled as she cut into her food, “but he is married to a teacher at Eve and Aileen’s school, and I think that puts him off limits.”


“I know,” Nikki said as she sighed again, “but I can dream can’t I?”


“As long as that’s all.”


The girls all turned around at the sound of the voice to see Grace standing behind them.


“Yes Mrs. Brand,” a couple of girls giggled as they all answered in unison.


“I’m going to need eyes in the back of my head,” Grace muttered to herself as she walked off.


“Message from Maisha,” Jeannie said as she looked at Ama.


“Indeed – and she and Aunt Shirley look forward to seeing you tonight Kylie.”


“Good,” Kylie drawled, “I want to be sure there are no last minute changes required before the final fittings for all of you.”


2 pm

The de Ros Mansion


“Serena, Karen  - welcome,” Diana said as she greeted her guests, Edith taking their coats, “how are you both today?”


“As well as can be expected,” Karen said with a smile, “and how is Brooke?”


“Her Honour has rested this morning, after a – restless night,” Edith said as she stood in the doorway, “shall I tell her the doctors have arrived, Madame?”


Diana nodded as Edith left the room, Serena and Karen sitting down as she poured coffee.  “So just how bad has it been,” Karen asked as she accepted a cup.


“It has not been easy,” Diana said as she handed Serena a second cup, “and, as Edith said, she has been restless the last few nights, but…”


All three looked to the door as Brooke slowly walked in, the shadows clear under her eyes, her hair hanging loose.


“Hey,” she said as she looked at them, “guess I don’t look that good.”


“Actually,” Karen said as she patted the seat next to her, “you look a lot better than I did after the first week.  Have you eaten yet?”


“Haven’t really eaten for a few days, if truth be told – too afraid I might just throw it back up again.”


“Edith,” Karen said quietly, “could you bring Brooke some plain toast and some water?”


“Of course, Doctor Boyd,” Edith said as she left the room.


“I’ve been where you are,” Karen said as she put her hand on Brooke’s “don’t ever forget that.”




3 pm



“Okay Rhenia,” Missy said as she said with her comptroller in her office, “so when are we expecting Maddie to call in?”


“Tomorrow morning – I understand she is welcoming an old friend who is here for the wedding.”


“Indeed,” Missy said as her phone rang, and she picked the handset up.  “Missy Auerbach.”


“Good afternoon, Missy.”


Rhenia saw the look of surprise in her eyes, before she put her hand over the mouthpiece and set “private call, Rhenia – do you mind?”


“Not at all,” the blonde said as she stood up and walked out, closing the door behind herself as Missy took a deep breath.


“Yuri Makarov?  You are about the last person I expected to hear from, given your current work for certain parties.”


“I can understand that, Missy – but it has been a long time, has it not?”


“For obvious reasons,” Missy said as she stood up and looked out of the window.  “You are right though – it has been a long time.  So do what do I owe the honour of this call?”


“As you know, I have been engaged to represent Oleg Byushin, but I have also been considering what has happened in the past, on a professional and on a – personal level.  I have been instructed to come to New York to talk to parties there, but I also want to try and repair bridges – and I would appreciate the chance to talk to you, on a personal level.


“If that is at all possible.”


“Well I suppose so Yuri,” Missy hesitated, “but strictly speaking you should only be speaking to Francesca di Cambrello you know?”


“She will be in New York as well. She is a guest I hear at this this wedding so many of you are attending,” the Russian laughed slightly, “and is it wrong for me to talk to an old friend like yourself anyway?”


“If it’s purely about old times then no,” Missy said with a smile, “but if it’s about your clients bid for Norstar then it’s very wrong.”


“I know,” Yuri took a deep breath, “but there are things I want to say to some people, and other things that I need to say, and New York might be the best place to do it.”


“Oh?” Missy paused, “do I need know just what that statement means?”


“It’s maybe best you don’t, but can you suggest a place for us to talk in absolute privacy on Friday, and can you get Mary Thomas to join us?”


“Let me think?”


“I would appreciate it Missy – I will call you when I arrive on Thursday.”




5th Avenue


 “So this is for the cover shoot,” Betsy said as she stood outside the changing area.


“Indeed – so I need the retro look.  Apparently, they have a particular scene in mind for the coffee, and they are bringing a specialist advisor in for the shoot.”


“Do I know her?”


“I’m not sure – her name is Maureen something or other,” the voice called out as the store door opened, and a tall fair haired man came in.  He was impeccably dressed, and had a young woman on his arm who was trying to look older.


As they looked on some of the racks, the man noticed the tall, slim blonde as she came out of the changing room, wearing a floral print dress that was cut in the post-war style, with a thin belt round her waist.


“Yeah – I think we can make this work,” Krys said as Betsy nodded.  


“That would look splendid on a beautiful girl such as yourself,” the middle-aged man spoke, as he watched Betsy and Krys look at the dress the young model was trying on.


“I rather like it,” Krys smiled at her reflection in the mirror as she tried to guess where the man’s accent indicated he came from.  “Have we met?”


“No – and forgive my forward manner.  My name is Oleg Byushin,” the man said softly, “Can I ask yours?”


“It’s Krys, which is short for Krystle,” the tall blonde smiled.




“Forgive me – my lady requires some attention.”  He took a card from his pocket and handed it to Krys.  “I am in town on business for a few weeks – perhaps we can meet for a drink.”


“With both of you?”




“Allow me to assist you,” Betsy said, but as she passed Krys she whispered “watch your step – I’ve heard about him.”


The von Furstenheim Apartment


“I think I had an intruder Pelican,” Tatiana Ulyanova said as she looked out from the computer screen, “I can sense someone has been in the house.”


“Did they take anything Wormhole?”


“No - and that’s why I’m only saying I think somebody was here, there is no evidence.  But still…”


“You know we had a break-in?”


“Yes, and I guess that’s why I’ve been on alert a bit,” the Russian woman paused a second, “am I just being paranoid Ju?”


“I wish I could answer Tatiana, but being honest can I suggest you ring a friend of mine about adding some security?”


“Oh – anyone I know?”


“Well, she’s an insurance executive at Xavier International, but she works closely with Jameson Security.  Actually…  Wormhole, are you free this weekend?”


“I am – why?”


“See if you can get a weekend pass for Olga, and then come as my guests for the weekend – at a wedding…”







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