Days Like These – Part 2
Thursday 16th December
The Richmond Mansion
“Sandy,” Nessa said as she came into the kitchen, “are you home?”
“Give me a minute,” she heard her daughter saying before she came in. “Sorry – Heather is out for lunch. Coffee?”
“Oh yes please,” Nessa said as she sat on the stool at the breakfast bar, Sandy seeing her skirt open up.
"Mom, did you ask Aunt Lee and Glenda about coming skiing?"
"I did, and they both said yes darling," Nessa said as she accepted the mug, took a drink and then set her mug down, "though Glen tried backing out by pleading not having skied in years."
"Did you explain its more about the partying anyway?" Sandy smiled as she sipped her own coffee.
"Lee and I both told her."
"Well I'm glad you talked her into it, she really is a great person, such a pity she and Uncle Alex..."
"I know," Nessa broke in, “but as Glen herself says it's no use crying about spilled milk."
"And she's not exactly pining is she?"
Raising an eyebrow, "I don't know what you mean darling?"
"Oh come on Mom, she's getting as bad as you and Aunt Lee." Sandy rolled her eyes, "you are all playing the field, as they used to say."
"If you mean by that that we are enjoying life and have active sex lives darling,” Nessa said with a smile, “well aren't we entitled to have some fun in our declining years?"
"Well as long as it stays out of the media."
Nessa smiled as she said "All of us are discreet."
"Just don't overdo the cocaine Mother, that's all I ask."
"Cocaine daughter dear?"
"Mom,” Sandy said with a sigh, “I've known for years that Aunt Lee uses it, and I got a glimpse inside your handbag a couple of days ago, I saw the vial AND the gun."
"Sandy darling,” Nessa said quietly “I've only tried it a couple of times... It's nothing really."
"As I said Mom just be careful with that stuff, and PLEASE don't let my daughter try it, I've heard her and Katy whispering about drugs..."
Sandy looked at her mother, and noticed the silence and the look in her face, before Nessa whispered "I think it's too late darling..."
"You mean Sands is?" Sandy was shocked.
"I think so," Nessa slowly nodded. “I can’t be certain, but I do think so.”
The Richmond Mansion
“Hey lover,” Sandy said as Heather came in, taking her coat off, “how was Krys?”
“Thinking things are getting interesting – how was your day?”
“Fine until my mother called,” Sandy said as Heather went to pour herself a coffee.
“Why – what happened?”
"Mom thinks Sands is experimenting with cocaine lover."
"She thinks what?" Heather's head shot around.
"She thinks our daughter as well as dressing like a mature woman when she wants is also using coke."
Heather turned round, putting the mug down as she whispered "If Holly introduced her to that damn stuff I'll..."
"No Mom thinks Holly doesn't know. She thinks that someone in the Six has been getting it."
"Is Katy using?" Heather bit her lip, "I don't want be the one to tell Jan if she is."
"No I don't think she is,” Sandy said quietly, “but she's certainly asking questions."
“In other words, she suspects – right,” Heather said quietly, “let me get into this…”
East 35th Street
“Thank you,” Britt Boynton said as she handed over the notes, and collected the copy of The Woman in White she paid for.
“That for English Lit,” Elphine Crook said as they walked out of the door of the bookstore.
“Yeah – I think Crawford has been picking up a few hints from the other place. Apparently their English Lit teacher is far more liberal these days.”
“So I heard on the grapevine… Oh my goodness.”
“Look over there,” Elphine whispered as she slowly turned her friend’s head to see the blonde walking along the opposite sidewalk.
“Wow,” Britt whispered, “that’s Krystle Ernst herself. She must live around here somewhere.” She watched her walk past the shops, then glanced at her watch.
“Oh no,” Elphine said as she shook her head, “no way am I stalking her…”
“Fine – I’ll see you tomorrow,” Britt said as she walked in the same direction, Elphine shaking her head as she watched her friend walk away.
As she walked along, Britt kept to the opposite side of the road, only crossing when Krystle turned a corner to walk along 3rd Avenue, and then E 31st Street. She then saw Krys walk up a set of stairs, and let herself into an apartment block.
“So that’s where you live,” she said quietly to herself as she took a seat at a coffee shop across from the block.
“Double skinny Latte,” Britt said quietly, wondering if she could get up the courage to go across, find her apartment buzzer, and press it. What would she think of someone just turning up like that…
“There ya go,” the waitress said as she put the cup by the young blonde-haired girl, wondering why she was looking so intently across the road. Shaking her head, she walked off as Britt slowly picked up the cup and sipped…
Half an hour later, she had finally got up the courage, but as she paid for the coffee the apartment block door opened – and she was shocked to see Tommy, her brother, coming out and looking round. He was wearing his leather jacket and jeans, but he looked furtively round before he walked towards the subway.
The Richmond Mansion
Sands looked up as she heard the knock on her door, and said “Yeah?”
“Can I come in for a minute?”
“Sure,” she said as the door opened and Heather came in, closing the door and looking at the teenage girl.
“What’s up Heather,” Sands said as she looked at her nanny. She was still wearing her school uniform, her assignments on the desk.
“Sands – look, I want to ask you a question, and I don’t want you to be angry with me for asking it, all right?”
“That sounds awkward,” Sands said with a smile, “but go on, what is it?”
Heather sat down and looked Sands in the eye, before she said “are any of the Super Six – experimenting?”
“With what… Oh.” Sands looked at Heather, and said “with drugs?”
As Heather nodded, Sands looked down for a moment, before she said “if I said yes, am I in trouble?”
“I need to ask another question before I can answer that one,” Heather said quietly, “but not really no. Please, tell me truthfully.”
“Well… I know Shawnee has smoked some weed, but…” Looking at Heather, she said “none of us have tried Heroin, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“No, not Heroin – Sands, have you tried Cocaine?”
Sands looked from side to side for a moment before she slowly nodded. “Liz noticed I was upset a few days ago, and she said it would cheer me up. And it did do, Heather – was that so wrong?”
Sighing, Heather said “why did Liz start using it, Sands?”
“I’m not sure – I don’t think she’s ever really recovered from that night, Heather, and it…”
“Dulls the pain – not an uncommon story. Look, I’m not going to play the heavy handed nanny, but please – be careful…”
10 pm GMT
Kay Cornwall did not look up as she said “yes, Ray?”
“Look… I know I long since promised that I'd not ask questions about your work, but after the events in New York there are starting to be whispers in various corners of both Downing St, and the Cabinet Office, that the SIS is not keeping us well enough informed about what is going on," Ray turned to look at his wife lying beside him in bed reading.
"Are things going on that you are hiding from oversight?"
"You know I can't answer that darling," Kay sighed and put down her book. "Just occasionally an operation is so sensitive that it has to be held tightly under wraps."
"But even then someone must sign off on it," Ray persisted, "do you have authorization for what is going on?"
"Yes, but I can't tell you by who Ray."
Her husband nodded as he said “okay then – just watch your step Kay. You don’t want to fall foul of some of them…”
"Do you really need to leave again, dear love of my life?" Tatiana lay still as Yuri slipped into bed next to her.
"I've explained this several times darling. Despite what has happened, I am not my own master…"
"I know,” Tatiana said quietly, “and I know what you are doing is vitally important, but it's so risky, and it means we must be apart. I'm both worried for you, and unhappy that tomorrow night and for only God seems to know how long I'm going to be alone in this bed at night."
"Yes I know that this is harder on you than me..."
"No it's hardest on our daughter," Tatiana interrupted, "to her very little of this makes any sense at all. She needs you here. I need you here."
“And I will be able to return soon,” Yuri said as he stroked his love’s cheek, “but for now, it is better and safer if I go for a while…”
The Boynton Apartment
“See you all later,” Robert called out as he left the apartment, Britt shaking her head as she looked at the books in her bag, making sure she had everything she needed.
“Hey – shouldn’t you be on your way by now,” Tommy said as he came into the kitchen and poured himself a mug of coffee.
“Just about to head off, big bro,” Britt said as she looked at her brother, her head to one side. Tommy looked back, taking a sip from the mug, before he said “okay – what’s that look for?”
“Just wondering,” Britt said, “how things were with you and Holly these days?”
“We’re – rebuilding bridges,” Tommy said quietly before he took another drink from the mug, “you have to take time after what happened.”
“But you’ve forgiven her for what happened with her and the Richmond girl?”
“Forgiven? No, more like learning to understand,” Tommy said as he put his mug down. “Why do you ask?”
“Just curious – what were you doing down in the thirties yesterday anyway?”
“I wasn’t – I was at the lab all yesterday until late,” Tommy replied, “why? Did you think you saw me down there?”
“Well, someone who looked like you at any rate,” Britt said as she grabbed her bag, “I’ll see you later.” Tommy watched as she left the kitchen, the mug still on the breakfast bar. “Why on earth did she ask that,” he said to himself.
“Maybe she saw me instead,” Krystle answered in his head.
“Well, I didn’t see her – unless she was on the other side of the road.”
“You do know we look a bit alike?”
“Do we? I would hope we… Oh, you mean you and Britt?”
“Indeed – have you been in her room lately?”
“No – why?”
“Go and look – it may prove – enlightening.”
Tommy shook his head and walked down the hallway to his sister’s room. Opening the door, he looked in – and saw the large print of Krystle’s book cover on the wall.
“Oh my – that does make me look good, doesn’t it,” Krystle said as he tilted his head to the side.
“Yeah, we do – looks like she’s a fangirl.”
“True – but you have a lecture, true?”
“Oh damn,” Tommy said as he quickly turned and left…
"Why don't you come to Stowe with everyone Merlin?" Alexis asked as she dropped off Juliette's notes on the Bermuda shoot.
"Because at my age, and with my old bones creaking the way they do, I can think of better things to do then balancing precariously as I try to come down a mountainside.” Mary Thomas smiled, "anyway with so many senior staff away somebody has to hold the fort here."
"Yeah, I know - Trish is disappointed she drew the short straw and has to stay."
"Well,” Mary said as she looked at soe notes, “her time will come."
"I know,” Alexis said with a smile, “I told her it took me a while to start getting invited to things like this.'
"Ai it takes time to be totally accepted as 'one of the family'."
"Well,” Alexis said with a smile, “I'm glad that I'm an insider now."
"A what?" Marina asked as she came in, "here are the things Anna wants you to look at Merlin," she continued as she held up a file.
"An 'insider'," Alexis smiled, "something you never had to worry about, you were accepted from the start."
“Oh I still had to feel like I belonged, just like you,” Marina said with a smile. “Kylie sent a message – she’ll see you on Monday, but she’s going straight to the Richmond house to join the exodus.”
“Not a problem – how are you getting up?”
“Going with Alexis and Janine…”
St Angela’s Academy
"Looking forward to getting away to go skiing Sarah?" Annie Kelly asked as the English Literature teacher collapsed into an armchair in the teachers’ lounge.
"Oh yes," the Englishwoman let out a deep breath, "I need to get away and maybe misbehave for a couple of days."
"Well don't let Miss Tennant say you are going to do that," Annie laughed.
"I need a good, HARD...."
“I think we all know what you need Sarah," Ingrid Mueller laughed.
"So does Jean Paul get another chance, or will be one of the other instructors?" Grace asked.
“I don’t know – the field is so open…”
“So as you can see, the tangent of an angle is calculated by…”
"So why would Tommy lie to me?" Britt asked herself as she sat in her math class. "What was he doing down there that he can't tell me the truth?"
"Perhaps someone he knows lives in that block?" a second voice in her head asked the first one. "Just because a celebrity like Krys Ernst lives there, it's a pretty remote chance it was her he was there to see."
"But then why lie and say he wasn't there?" the first voice asked sensibly.
"Anyway be sensible, what would such a gorgeous woman as her see in Tommy?"
"He's dated both Carina, and Holly, and they aren't exactly zero's," the first voice answered. "For some reason, amazingly beautiful women see something in my brother."
"Britt, are you even with us?" she heard Mrs Bell ask.
"Sorry Miss," Britt tried to concentrate on the lesson again.
“As I was saying…”
St Angela’s Academy
"Looking forward to Stowe Jeans?"
"Yeah, it's going to be a test trying some of those slightly harder runs Doc," Jeannie laughed as she wheeled her way towards a free table.
"The test is going to be can I eat this lasagne and not barf," Nikki looked at what was on her plate, "this is as bad as it was in the old days."
"Well you should have got the pasta," Ama smiled as she tried a bit, "this is actually excellent."
"It's your own fault that you chose that stuff," Doc laughed.
"I know, I know," Nikki looked skyward, "One day I'll learn."
"Anyway changing subjects Miss Pilot," Becca said as she took a bite of that pasta, "that was a nice little ceremony last night when you got your license."
"Agreed," Doc nodded, "and it was nice of Mr and Mrs van Roon to host that little celebration afterwards."
"It was," Nikki smiled, "Both Gus, and Andrew, their pilot, were wonderful taking me up while I logged all the flight time I needed for my license."
"Just a pity that you can't fly us up to Stowe and avoid all that driving time," Ama patted her mouth with a napkin.
"Yeah, it would save a lot of time with all my travelling if I had my own personal pilot to call on," Jeannie grinned. "Even with my celebrity status I spend far too much time hung up in airports waiting for flights, etc."
“Wouldn’t matter – all I can legally fly is a two seater,” Nikki said with a smile, “for now. But later – oh later…”
Bishop Walden School
"So which 'you' is going skiing this weekend Bestie?" Katy asked as she and Sands hopped up on the wall and awaited the others.
"What do you mean?"
"I think you know very well what I mean Sands,” Katy said as she looked round, and then she lowered her voice. “I followed you last night, you didn't go to the Public Library, you went to yours and Holly's apartment, and came out an hour later with a packed case, and looking a lot older, with that dark wig, and the dark glasses"
"You stalked me?"
"Hey I'm your best friend, I'm supposed to watch your back," Katy took a deep breath, "so what gives? Who was that guy I saw you meet at Grand Central? What was in the bag he gave you, and why did you give him money?”
She saw the way Sands was looking at her, her eyes slightly glazed over, before she said “look, I was getting some stuff for the weekend, and the man – Liz asked me to pick up something for her, and gave me the money for it.”
“What did Liz want you to get?”
“Nothing bad, if that’s what you are thinking…”
“Bestie, you’re lying, and I know it,” Katy said quietly. “What did you get for Liz – and do you have any of it?”
“Katy, I can’t tell you…”
Katy looked at her friend, and then said “Sands, you would tell me if something was bothering you, or you wanted to talk to someone, wouldn’t you?”
“You’re starting to sound like Heather,” Sands said quietly, “and I’m not sure I like that.”
“Okay, okay,” Katy said as Liz came over.
“Hey,” she said quietly, “did you manage to…”
“Get the book you asked for – I did, I’ll give it to you later,” Sands said quietly. “It has the extended version of The Three Pipe Problem you wanted.”
“Good – I need the stimulat…. What’s up, Carter?”
“Nothing,” Katy said quietly, “nothing…”
Inn on The
"So who is driving up with whom?" Diana asked Juliette as they both lingered after lunch.
"In a lot of cases,” Juliette said as she put her wine glass down, “I think it's still not been definitely arranged."
Raising an eyebrow, Diana said "This close to departure time?"
"I know," Juliette rolled her eyes, "But I'm sure that just as usual, everything will fall into place and no one will get left stranded without a ride."
"Well, you have more confidence then I do Cherie," Diana smiled.
"I'm an optimist."
"No this I will not accept," Diana’s smile turned to a laugh, "as our other work proves, you usually plan everything to the minutest detail. It is very unusual for you to be this hands off and relaxed."
"You know very well it is Ju," Sandy said as she sat back down after her visit to the powder room.
"So to use one of Abigail's favourite expressions Cherie....What gives?"
"Oh nothing really," Juliette took a second to think, "I guess that I realised that if I try and control every single aspect of my life in minute detail I'm heading towards hypertension and an early death. I need to learn to not get as stressed about things that aren't really life altering."
"Or criminal," Sandy whispered.
“I said every single aspect,” Juliette laughed, “on which note, we all go for a cross country ski on Saturday…”
The Richmond Mansion
“There you are,” Heather said with a smile as Jo came in through the back door, beaming as she embraced her sister. “Good drive down?”
“Not too bad – so I’ve got time to unload before the melee begins?”
“I think so – why don’t you make some coffee? I have to go and make a couple of phone calls in Sandy’s office.”
“Oh? Anything I need to worry about?”
“Tell you later,” Heather said with a smile as she went into the office and closed the door. Sitting at the desk, she looked at her phone and selected a contact.
“It’s your dime, Heather.”
"So Holly is coming up to Stowe, I thought you might be there either as Tommy or Krys?"
"I thought about it Heather," Tommy shifted the phone in his hand as he sat outside the NYU library eating a late sandwich lunch, "but just as I can't get to Paris because I have this paper to submit before the Christmas break, so I can't even take the time off for a weekend with all of you."
"Pity - in a way, I could have used Krys's help perhaps."
Tommy took a swig from his drink and then put the bottle down. "Oh?"
"Yes," Heather took a deep breath, "I think that Sands and some of the others are trying cocaine. I thought Krys might see things that I..."
"Is Holly?" the tone of Tommy's voice changed as he interrupted.
"No – No, I don't think so."
"Good," Tommy let out a sigh of relief, "I thought she had more sense than that."
"No,” he heard Heather say, “I think this is some of the younger girls who are somehow getting hold of the stuff."
"So what did you think Krys could do to help?"
"Be a pair of eyes inside the girls bunk room, and watch closely how Sands is acting."
"Well I wish I could,” Tommy said quietly, “this is more important in a way than my damn paper, but if I don't get it in time I could fail the whole semester."
"I know Tommy."
"I have a problem of my own as well to sort out anyway."
"Only that my sister is a fangirl of Krys and I think she tailed me earlier in the week and now knows where I live."
"Your own stalker?" Heather laughed.
"Hey don't laugh," Tommy smiled, "she saw me coming out of Krys's building as Tommy and I had to lie to her that I was nowhere in the vicinity when she asked me why I was there."
"You need to be careful. Are you planning any Krys time this weekend anyway?"
"Depends on how well this writing goes.” Tommy smiled as he said “I might try get an evening out Saturday."
"And who is the lucky man?"
"That would be telling," Tommy let out an almost girly laugh. "Anyway I need to get back into the library and resume work. I'll phone again soon Heather....Bye."
The Richmond Mansion
“Damn,” Heather said quietly, “Plan B.”
“Heather – what’s up?”
"Doc, have you got time for a quick chat?"
"I guess so Heather," Anna stood by her locker, "if you make it quick."
"Have you heard that Sands has taken to carrying a little 'toy' like yours in her handbag?"
"Yeah,” Doc said with a sigh, “Katy told Pepsi, and Peps told me."
"Well as you can guess her mother and I aren't too happy,” Heather said, “but she keeps flinging back that you do the same when I try to talk her out of it."
"So am I
in the shit for being such a bad example?"
"A bit, Doc - but I'm also hoping that you might just be able to talk her out of it?"
"Well I can try,” Doc said as she closed her locker door, “but what makes you think she'll listen?"
"Both she and Katy see you as something of a role model, and just as you talked Katy out of trying hooking, I'm hoping you can talk her out of carrying."
"All I can do is that," Doc paused, "while I'm at it shall I ask about her other little 'problem’?"
"How the hell?"
"As I said Katy talks to her big sister, and Pepsi talks to me."
"What are you hearing Doc?"
"Not a lot that I like,” Doc said as she looked round, “even at my worst I've never been tempted by that stuff."
"So do you think it's a big problem?"
"I don't know yet, but I'll be watching closely in Stowe and asking questions. Ask me again after the weekend.'
“Okay – and not a word to Holly about this. The last thing we need is her thinking we’re turning others against her…”
Nessa Richmond’s apartment
“So the four of you are driving up in Aunt Lee's limousine Mother?" Sandy said as she sipped from her coffee cup.
"That's the plan darling," Vanessa reclined on her sofa, “Gus can't make it, so Paulie needs a ride, and I'd already promised John the weekend off so he could spend some time with Rose."
"Well, all of you behave yourselves..."
"Us?" Nessa asked as she interrupted.
"Yes you," Sandy laughed, "and while I think about it, be careful what you have in your handbags in case the cops should pull the car over."
"I can't think what you mean darling."
"You know very well what I mean Mother, if you, Aunt Lee, and Glenda, are all going to be taking drugs and a gun with you, just make sure it's not somewhere that can be discovered easily."
"Why warn us,” Nessa said with a smile, “and not Paulie?"
"Because, Mother dearest, she got her 'wild times' out of the way in the sixties and seventies, she nowadays is a model of respectability."
"I know darling, I think she thinks we are all old-age delinquents."
"Well maybe not delinquents quite, but the three of you are getting pretty damn close," Sandy smiled and laughed.
"I have no idea what you mean," Vanessa smiled a sly smile.
"So, changing subjects, will your friendly state trooper pull you over for speeding darling?"
"George? Probably, Mom," Sandy laughed, "he knows this is a big group weekend, he will probably be watching for me.”
Shaking her head, Nessa put her cup down. "Did you have a word with Sands yet?"
"Heather tried, but I'm not sure that she got anywhere."
"Won't she think you are being a bit hypocritical Mother?"
"I'll tell her that when she gets to my age, she can misbehave all she wants, but until then she ought to be a tad less willing to want to try everything."
"Well hopefully she will listen," Sandy rolled her eyes.
"I know," Nessa smiled slightly, "anyway what brings you over to my place this afternoon?"
"To remind you to bring along the reagreed lease on the old office building for Caroline to sign while we are away."
"Legal will be dropping in shortly.'
As Tommy resumed his seat in the library, Krys suddenly asserted herself in his thinking. It was great that she had girlfriends like Heather to talk to, and she loved when they got to talk about 'girly' things that were far outside Tommy's realm of experience. Inwardly Krys was realising more and more each day just how much she loved being herself, and it was becoming so natural that at times she was having to make a deliberate effort to resume thinking and acting as Tommy.
“You know, a weekend on the slopes would be a great way to spend the time,” she virtually purred. “Better than hitting the books.”
"I had a great life before you Krys," Tommy told himself. “And more to the point, I need to do this. Work first, fun later.”
"But I have an even better one now don't I?"
It was something Tommy was thinking a lot about nowadays. Yes he loved Holly, yes he loved his family, but who wouldn't be seduced by the lifestyle Krys led as an up and coming top model?
"I should just say no and walk away from being her," Tommy spoke to himself, "Concentrate on my real life."
"I dare you to do it?"
"Shut up Krys," he deliberately cleared his brain, "I need to concentrate on this paper right now anyway."
“All right – but you know I’m right, don’t you…” The whisper hung in the air as Tommy started to make some notes…
The Berryman Apartment
“Yeah Mom,” Holly Berryman called out as she folded a pair of ski pants and placed them in her bag.
“Visitor for you – can she come in?”
“Sure,” Holly said as she saw her bedroom door open.
“Hey Britt - to what do I owe this pleasure?" Holly smiled as Tommy's younger sister came into her bedroom.
"I just wanted to see if you were okay, and your Mom said it was fine to come up."
"Well as I said, it's great to see you. Mind chatting while I finish packing what I’m taking to Stowe for the weekend?"
"Oh, I'm not in the way am I? I didn't realize you were going skiing for the weekend?"
"For you I can always make time." Holly said as she sat on her bed, "so what can I do for you?"
"Look,” Britt said as she lowered her voice, “I know about you and Alexandra, and I know you are still seeing my brother. I guess I just wanted to ask why?"
Holly put her hand through her hair, before she said “"Because I'm in love with him...."
"And with Sands too?" Britt interrupted.
"Yeah,” Holly said with a sigh, “it gets a bit complicated.”
"I understand, " Britt paused, "look can I ask what girls like you and Carina ever see in my brother?"
"Odd question," Holly said and then she thought for a second, "I guess in a way it's that a lot of women see in him a guy who almost thinks like a woman. It makes him really easy and great to be with."
"So it isn't just...sex?"
"Well he's not bad at that if you get my drift," Holly laughed, "but again unlike a lot of men he's considerate of the women he makes love to, knowing what gives them pleasure."
"Yeah he's not Mr. Macho, he's a lot of a geek, but he's in a way like having a male girlfriend, and I love that he's so kind, gentle, and considerate, even if I think he's not sure himself how he really should be."
"I'd never have thought that," Britt thought a second, "do you think he still loves you Holly after all that happened?"
“Yeah – yeah I think he is,” Holly said with a smile, 2but our relationship is different now, still fluid. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, just curious,” Britt said with a smile. “By the way, you ever meet Krystle Ernst?”
“At some parties – why?”
“Just wondered – thanks Holly,” Britt said as she left the room, Holly shaking her head. She then ran after her.
“Pack a bag – you’re coming with me. I think we could both do with a night or two away…”