May 23rd 2011
The Richmond Mansion
“Well, I wonder how she’s feeling today,” Diana said as she and Juliette climbed the stairs to the front door of the mansion.
“Well, she’s certainly improved a lot since the New Year,” Juliette said as she rang the doorbell. “How is Abigail?”
“Feeling incredibly awkward,” Diana said as she shook her head, “She seems to have sprouted three inches in the last month – I had to replace her school uniform again last week.”
“Takes after her mother,” Juliette said with a smile as the door opened.
“Good morning, Heather,” Juliette said as the door was opened by the young nanny, “is Sandy in?”
“She is, Miss Huntingdown,” Heather said as she opened the door to let her and Diana in, “she’s in her studio. Go right on through – I have some washing to sort out.”
“IT’s Juliette, Heather,” the fashion writer said, but Heather just smiled and made her way to the kitchen. Diana opened the door and walked into Sandy’s studio, the two women looking at her as she threw another piece of paper into a waste basket.
“Errr – bad day,” Diana said as Sandy looked up.
“Nah – just trying to stop suggesting blood red for a client’s walls,” Sandy said as she stood up. “I need a break anyway – why don’t we get some coffee?”
As they walked into the kitchen, Sandy said “It’s final.”
“Yeah – the papers came through today. I’ll tell the kids when Heather brings them back from nursery later.”
Heather looked over from the door to the laundry room and smiled as Sandy put on a fresh pot of coffee. “She still the miracle worker in your eyes,” Juliette said as she looked to the door.
“You have no idea,” Sandy said as she found some mugs. “In fact, I shudder to think what might have happened if she had not come along.”
“So do we,” Diana said as she poured the coffee, and they went through to the drawing room.
“Hey, by the way,” Sandy said as they sat down, “congratulations on the promotion – chief fashion writer. Very nice.”
“I can’t complain,” Juliette said with a smile, “new office, and some staff under me. Plus, I get to do a bit more travelling, catch up with a few old friends.”
“I bet Carina’s happy as well?”
Juliette smiled and said “In a way – but she’s only four foot eleven. She keeps saying she wants to follow in my footsteps, but the height…”
“I’m sure she will still be a beauty,” Diana said with a smile, “after all, she is, as you Americans like to say, filling out nicely.”
Heather heard them laughing in the front room and smiled. She preferred it when Sandy was happy – it made her happy too. Getting this job had been her salvation, and she felt she owed Sandy anything and everything.
The de Ros mansion
The slamming of the front door made Diana look up from the book she was reading.
“Abigail, darling, is that you?”
There was no reply, but she could hear feet running up the stairs. Putting her book down, Diana walked slowly up and tapped on the door to her daughter’s room.
“Go away, mother.”
Diana opened the door to see Abigail lying face down on the bed, her head in her arms. She still had on her blue blazer and dark grey pleated skirt, while her long legs had a pair of white socks and black Mary Jane shoes on them.
“What is wrong, ma cherie,” Diana said as she sat and put her hand on her daughter’s shoulder.
“Everything,” she said as she turned and looked at Diana, her eyes red with tears, “everyone at school hates me, I’m too clumsy, I look like a boy…”
“Come, child, surely it is not that bad.”
“You don’t understand – she did it again tonight, when I was walking back with Ally and Nell.”
“Who did what?”
“The Fratton girl – she followed me home, kept making jokes about me, called me a stick again and again…”
“Oh dear,” Diana said as she held Abigail close to her, “there are so many cruel people in the world.”
“Why do they do it, mama – why do they pick on me?”
“Maybe because they see something in you they fear – the weak always pick on those they fear.”
“But it makes me want to hurt them – why can’t I be like Ally and Nell, and wear makeup, look older…”
“No,” Diana said firmly, “you know I will not allow it cherie. It is important you are comfortable as you are…”
The Huntingdown apartment.
Juliette rustled through her handbag as she looked for her keys, and let herself into her apartment. “I’m home,” she called out, only to stop as she heard giggling from the front room.
“Cari,” she said as she walked in, “Are you…”
“Oh hi Ms Huntingdown,” Tommy said as he jumped up, straightening his white shirt and black jumper as he did so. Juliette watched as Cari slowly sat up, her glasses to one side as she said “Errr – hi mom.”
“Hello,” Juliette said quietly. “Tommy, would you excuse us for a few minutes?”
“Sure thing, Ms Huntingdown,” Tommy said as he tried to make as dignified an exit as he could, leaving the fourteen year old Carina alone with her mother. She stood up and straightened her blouse as Juliette walked in and said “sit down, Cari.”
“Mom, it wasn’t what it looked like…”
“Really?” Juliette raised an eyebrow as she looked at her daughter, her blouse stretching over her chest, and said “Tell me what it looked like.”
Juliette shook her head. “Carina, you’re growing up, and that means you’re changing as well. I know that – after all, I was your age once.”
“When you were my age, Mom, you were appearing in catalogue shoots.”
“Doesn’t mean I didn’t have those feelings,” Juliette said. “Look, you know you can talk to me, right?”
“I know mom,” Carina said as she came over and hugged her mother. “Can we go over and see Abby later?”
“Perhaps – if you get all your homework done.”
“Thanks mom,” Cari said as she walked off, Juliette shaking her head as she did so.
If there was one place Sandy did not want to be that day, it was the Cashman house, but a contract was a contract, and she could not deny the work kept her occupied. But did it have to be the woman who completely turned her life upside down?
She tried not to be there when SHE was present, but today it was going to be unavoidable, as she needed to collect payment for her work. Walking to the front door, Sandy pushed it open and called out “anyone home?”
“In here Mrs Gra… Sorry, Miss Richmond,” she heard the decorator call out as she walked in.
“Don’t worry Dave – I’ll forgive you,” she said as she looked round the kitchen. “Wonderful job as always.”
“You pay the big bucks, you get the best, Miss Richmond,” Dave said with a smile, and then whispered “especially with Silicon Fran around.”
Sandy had to stop herself from laughing when she heard a voice say “Alexandra, Darling – how nice to see you again.”
“And you, Francesca,” Sandy said as she turned and greeted her client. Francesca Cashman was in her early thirties, with peroxide blonde hair, and wore a tight black top that barely covered her chest, leaving her stomach exposed above her leopard print leggings.
Sandy was glad she was dressed in a business style today, in a blue skirt and jacket over a cream camisole. Heather had remarked how professional she looked before she went out, which made her feel happy.
“So, you’ve come for your payment?”
“Well, I have bills to pay as well,” Sandy said as they walked into the front room of Francesca’s house, the blonde teetering on four inch stiletto heel sandals.
“By the way, I saw George with his girlfriend yesterday – Allison, isn’t it?”
“I have no idea, Francesca,” Sandy said through gritted teeth, “I try to have as little to do with George as possible at the moment.”
“I really think you should have kept him,” Francesca said with a smile as she knelt down and opened an old fashioned looking safe. As she opened the door, Sandy could see the neatly stacked trays of jewellery, bonds and bank notes inside.
Francesca took a cheque book out, deliberately leaving the safe door open as she smiled and began to write out the payment. Sandy looked at her, the smile now permanently etched onto her face as she saw the cheque being torn off and handed over.
“Thank you,” she said as she put the cheque into her leather case, “I’ll mail the receipt out to you in the next few days. Forgive me, but I must hurry – another appointment.”
“Oh, won’t you stay a little longer,” Francesca said as she swung round on her chair, “We could talk about what has happened to each of us.”
“No – I really do have to go,” Sandy said as she stood up, and shook Francesca’s hand, waving to Dave as she walked out and got behind the wheel of her Daimler. She made sure the windows were shut, before she let rip with a barrage that would have made the Naval Yards wince, then she sped off.
The Refectory, St Angela’s
The four freshmen sat at their table at the side of the refectory looking enviously at the Senior girls occupying the prized centre tables, particularly the one ‘belonging’ to Belinda Campion, the head girl.
“When I’m head girl, all my friends whatever class they’re in, not just Seniors, will be able to sit with me.”
“And what makes you think Tennant will ever choose you as Head Girl Judy?” Bobbi Morse asked.
“Not going to happen in a million years Judy.” Carina smiled at her friend.
“I’d be a better choice.” Beth Fitzgerald tossed her newly styled red hair.
“None of us will.” Judy McNally shook her head. “You and Cari are geeks Beth… Bobbi isn’t Catholic, and the Tennant has me pegged as a troublemaker.”
“Look at that bitch Kennedy Fratton.” Carina changed the subject.
“I know.” Judy glanced over. “Who does she think she is? Blair Waldorf?”
All four girls looked over at the bully of the sophomore class, surrounded by her friends as she held court like a queen.
“Her and her precious little band of toadies.” Bobbi gritted her teeth.
“Yeah, all because her dad is some high end jeweller.” Beth looked daggers.
“She followed poor Abby home from the bus stop again last night.” Carina glared at the back of her best friend’s tormentor.
“One day she’ll get hers.” Judy cast a look of loathing at the bitch.
“Mom caught me and Tommy kissing last night.” Carina changed the subject again. “Then she gave me ‘The Talk’.”
“Oh my God, how embarrassing.” Judy giggled.
“For her? or for me? I’m not sure my mother even knows what sex is.”
“She must do, she had you.” Beth spoke up. “Remember what they taught us in Sex Ed?”
“Am I the only one who thinks the whole idea of parents ‘doing it’ is gross?” Judy asked.
“Not sure my Mom does.” Cari shook her head, “Its years since she’s even been on a date.”
“So what did she catch you and Tommy doing to get the big talk?” Judy asked.
“We were just kissing…”
“And?” all three girls asked.
“His tongue was in my mouth.”
“Ewwwww GROSS!” Bobbi exclaimed.
“His hand was inside my blouse.”
“Oh my God Carina Huntingdown… YOU SLUT!” Judy giggled.
“Aren’t I just…” Carina stood up as the bell went for class leaving her stunned friends in her wake.
The Long Bar
“I just want to wipe the fucking stupid smile off her stupid fucking face and teach her the fucking lesson of a fucking lifetime!”
Diana and Juliette looked at each other across the table as Sandy drained her glass and ordered another bottle of wine - the fifth so far.
“Of course you want to, ma Cherie,” Diana said as she poured the wine into the glass, “she hurt you – hurt you badly – and it is only natural you would seek revenge on her for this insult.”
“Of course I should,” Sandy said as she grabbed her glass, “she should pay for all she did to me, and has connoted to do since then. I mean, the only reasons he mentioned that bastard was to upset me.”
“Well, she managed that,” Juliette said quietly, “I haven’t seen you this upset since Christmas. I really thought you had got over it.”
“So did I,” Sandy said as she drained half her glass in one drink, “but then she brought everything back. I’m lucky I didn’t have another ticket on the interstate.”
“Well, no way are you driving home tonight,” Juliette said as she drained her glass.
“None of us are driving, my dear,” Diana said as she emptied the bottle. “We shall commiserate with each other and toast our sorrows.”
“Salut,” the three said as they clinked their glasses.
“Do you… Do you know what I really wanted to do when she showed me that fucking safe with the fucking jewels and the fucking bonds and the fucking money? I wanted to pull a gun out, shoot her fucking grinning face clean off, and empty the lot into my bag.”
Juliette and Diana looked at her, then burst out laughing.
“I’m not joking,” Sandy said as she looked at them, “I would have done it. Mind you, I’d have been arrested, lost the kids, lost everything…”
“Only if they knew it was you, and only if you got caught,” Juliette said as she ordered a sixth bottle of wine.
“Yeah – like a bunch of women could rob someone at gunpoint.”
Sandy looked at Juliette, before saying “Oh come on Ju – it’s a pipe dream, a nice fantasy.”
“I’m serious,” Juliette said as she looked at the other two, “I think it is possible for the three of us to rob Francesca fucking Cashman, take her to the cleaners, and leave her completely and totally fucking humiliated. I’d do it for you Sandy – you deserve some happiness.”
“And I would do it as well,” Diana said as she drained her glass, “I will hold a rifle to her while you take extreme delight in taking everything she has.”
“Oh – and what are we going to do, dress up in boiler suits and masks?”
“No,” Juliette said, “but imagine - women dressed identically, acting as one, controlling the situation. I read an article about some in London who do just that – but we would do it in style, and with much more aggression. We could be the most frightening bitches this side of fucking bitchdom.”
“Are you serious, Juliette,” Diana said as she looked at her.
“Will you join me?”
The three ladies toasted each other, and then opened the new bottle of wine.
Sandy Richmond walked along the path, the dark glasses giving her eyes some relief as she approached Juliette and Diana next to a hot dog stand.
“Why are we having lunch here Ju?” Sandy glanced round at the open green spaces of Central Park.
“Well first because Willy serves the best hot dogs in the city.” As she spoke, Juliette handed each of them a hot dog.
“Darling you know how much I loathe these things.” Diana looked down with disgust at the food in her manicured hand.
“Just try it Diana. You’re practically American now anyway.”
“And what was the second thing…” Sandy broke out laughing as Diana took a bite, screwing her face up as she tried to eat it.
“Vous appelez cet aliment ? Il est adapté uniquement pour les porcs.” She looked at it as if it was a cigarette end, as the other two laughed.
“Returning to the second matter, I wanted to ask how serious you were about what we discussed last night?”
“Last night is a bit of a haze, remind me darling.” Sandy said as she took another bite.
“The robbery.” Juliette whispered.
“Well I’d love to do it, but us three REALLY pull a home invasion…” Sandy gave an ironic laugh. “Get serious Juliette.”
“Diana can teach us how to use guns.” Juliette looked at her friend.
“Darling guns are not toys to be played with.” Diana looked serious for a second.
“All we need do is make the bitch ‘think’ we’ll kill her…”
“Ju you’re getting off on this whole idea aren’t you?” Sandy interrupted.
“I’m just fascinated by the idea of us plotting and pulling a crime.”
“What if we got caught darling?” Diana looked aggrieved as she took another bite.
“First we are VERY careful and leave no clues, second who is EVER going to suspect us of being armed robbers?”
“Well the first is difficult, don’t you ever watch TV crime shows?” Sandy asked. “The second I’ll grant you though.”
“Well even if we never do it, won’t it be fun planning out how it could be done? I personally would love to work through the possibilities, try to look at all the angles. Call it an intellectual exercise if you want.”
“I guess so.” Diana nodded as she finished her lunch. “Darling you owe me for making me eat that.”
“Okay so we plan it out, but what do we really know?” Sandy asked.
“I suspect more than we realize darling.” Juliette closed her eyes.
“We don’t have your brain darling.” Sandy laughed.
“Her computer….” Diana laughed too.
“Girls just let me plan it out and just maybe if it looks good….” Juliette looked round to make sure no one could hear. “Let’s do it.”
“All right, all right,” Sandy said with a smile, “do your dreaming, Juliette. We’ll meet at my place tonight, and have some food Diana will appreciate.”
“Oh,” the French aristocrat said, “what?”
“Burger King take out.”
She ducked as Diana’s gloved hand threatened to make contact…
Juliette looked up and closed her laptop when she saw Mary Thomas standing in the doorway.
“Mary darling – how are you,” she said as she walked over and hugged her old friend.
“Nothing a good night’s sleep won’t cure – congratulations darling, you deserve it.”
“Oh I don’t know…”
“That bit on Karl Lagerfeld sealed the deal for everyone. So, what are you working on now?”
“Travel plans, what shows to go to myself, what shows to delegate – you?”
“Oh, this and that – how’s Diana?”
“Worried about Abby. She’s getting a lot of teasing from some girls – mostly from St Angela’s. She’s giving serious thought to sending her to Sacred Heart.”
“Bullies – I always say stand up to them – and Abby can stand up to anyone. Look I’ll let you get back to work. Catch up with you tomorrow?”
“I look forward to it,” Juliette said as Mary left, and she returned to the project she was working on, looking at the Cashman town house…
The Richmond Mansion
Sandy came in and closed the door before looking at Diana and Juliette.
“Okay George has the children, Heather is upstairs in her room…”
“Are you sure Sandy?” Juliette interrupted.
“Yes I’m sure…. Why?”
“Look at this, ladies.” Juliette opened up her laptop and pressed a few buttons.
“Oh dear Goddess you are serious about this.” Diana looked in amazement as she looked over Sandy’s shoulder.
“Look Sandy is entitled to some revenge, I never got mine…”
“Got your what darling?” Diana asked.
“Doesn’t matter, it’s not important.” Juliette shook her head, “But Sandy we can do this for you.”
“Well I appreciate the thought Darling, but I’m not going to go to prison and lose my children.”
“Do this and you won’t.” Juliette smiled. “It’s fool proof.”
Diana looked at the plans Juliette was showing. “Let me get this clear in my mind – we all wear the same clothes, the same look, the same accessories, and we make ourselves as glamorous as possible?”
“That’s right,” Juliette said, “but no individuality in that – we look the same, we dress the same, we all wear the same gloves. We all take different names, but otherwise…”
Sandy looked at the sketches. “Well, I grant you, it looks sexy, but what are we wearing on our heads?”
“Stockings – they distort the face but still allow vision.”
“Hmmm – so we drive up to the front door, we knock politely and then…”
“We take the intimidation to eleven. We swear twice as much, we threaten more, and we carry through our threats. We channel out inner anger and lose ourselves in the characters. So we take the people in the house hostage, force them to open the safe, and empty it.”
“What about transport?”
“We steal a car?”
“And just how do we do that? Juliette, this is crazy.”
“Do you want the bitch to suffer or not?”
Sandy nodded as Juliette looked at Diana. “The guns are an issue – they would have to be bought and untraceable.”
“Can it be done?”
“Let me talk to someone at my gun club tomorrow. I will see what they say, but if we get caught…”
“We don’t – we take control of the house, and everyone in it. Sandy, who lives there?”
“Cashman, her husband, and a housekeeper and maid.”
“Would any of them try to fight a woman holding a shotgun at them?”
“No – no I don’t think they would.”
“So how can it…”
Juliette held up her hand as she stood up and walked to the door. Opening it suddenly, the other two saw Heather come in, saying “Hi” as she did so.
“How much did you hear?”
“Enough – you’re planning to rob someone?”
“And if we are?”
“If you were, who?”
“Someone who hurt me a great deal,” Sandy said as she looked at Heather. “Question is, what are you going to do with what you just heard.”
“This person hurt you?” Heather looked hard at Sandy as she said this.
“Yes, yes she did.”
“Well then,” Heather said, “the bitch deserves everything she gets. I want to help.”
“You want to help? Why?”
“Because I don’t like it when you’re sad, and to repay you for giving me a job, and because I think I love you, and…”
“Whoa, whoa – back up a bit.”
“To repay you for giving me a job?”
“No – the bit after that.”
“I think you heard me,” Heather said as she looked at Sandy, and Sandy looked back at her.
“Well, you two can discuss that later,” Juliette said, “is she in?”
“Can you get George to take the children this weekend?”
“No – but Mother might,” Sandy said, “why?”
“I’ll call you tomorrow – if I do, we’re on.”
Juliette looked at Sandy and Heather, who nodded in agreement.
“All right then, operation scratch the bitch is a go,” Juliette said with a smile.
The Richmond Mansion
Sandy came into the kitchen to see Heather sitting at the breakfast bar, wearing a white dressing gown over her nightdress, and with a glass of milk to one side as she looked at her laptop.
“What are you looking at Heather?” Sandy was still surprised to find the Nanny up at this ungodly hour.
“Oh just looking some things up on the internet.” As Heather looked up, she saw sandy in her blue nightdress, the thin spaghetti straps revealing those slim shoulders.
Sandy walked round and put her hand on Heather’s shoulder, taking a look at what was on the computer screen.
“Well - none of us know how to do it, but I always find the net an incredible learning tool.”
Sandy nodded, admiring her initiative and her soft blonde hair. “So what have you learned?”
“Quite a bit Miss Richmond.”
“Isn’t it time you started calling me Sandy? Especially in light of your little confession earlier.”
“I’m sorry Miss Richmond, I can be out by morning if you want?” Heather looked shamefaced and embarrassed at her unexpected outburst earlier that evening.
“And why would I want you to go?” Sandy said quietly as she stroked Heather’s hair, the young nanny wondering what was happening.
“The way you just put it, I thought I’d offended you.”
“Not a bit.” Sandy pulled back Heather’s hair and whispered in her ear. “mainly because I’ve been thinking just what you said to me earlier for weeks too.”
Slowly and carefully Sandy pulled Heather to her, smiling as the pretty Nanny shut her eyes.
“Here.” Sandy planted a long, lingering, passionate, but very gentle kiss on Heather’s lips.
“Why did you never say anything?” Heather looked up into her employer’s eyes.
“Why didn’t you?”
“I didn’t feel it was my place Miss Richmond…”
Sandy looked stern.
“Sorry Sandy. I wasn’t sure even if you had feelings for other women?”
“Heather,” Sandy said with a smile, “little confession for you, I’ve always known I was a lesbian.”
“But you were married… to a man… you had children.”
Sandy laughed lightly. “Can you imagine me telling my Mother that I wasn’t straight?”
“Well No… Missus Richmond is rather traditional in her ways.”
“So I kept it hidden, I did date other girls when I was at Smith, but very discretely, no one from school, only townies. My friends never knew or even guessed.”
“But… Did you know I was a lesbian when you hired me?”
“No but I worked it out within a couple of days.”
“Has your Mother?”
“No… Thank Goodness,” Sandy lowered her head and gave Heather another long lingering kiss, their mouths opening, as their tongues fenced.
“Oh Sandy!” Heather moaned a gasp of pleasure.
“So what have you learned about stealing cars and alarms?” Sandy asked as she sat gently on Heather’s lap, brushing her new girlfriend’s hair back and nibbling on her ear lobe.
“Miss Richmond… sorry Sandy… it’s going to take me ages to learn that. You keep doing that I’ll never be able to tell you, I can’t concentrate on two things at once.”
“Okay, I’ll behave.” Sandy giggled in a way that gladdened Heather’s heart, her employer had been sad for too long.
“Well it’s basically easy.”
“Easy for you darling, you’re the one with the 170 IQ.” Sandy smiled again.
“Well it would be easiest if at first I can find someone silly enough to leave their keys in the car.”
“That I get, but there are some very silly and stupid people in this world.”
“But,” Heather took a deep breath, “With time and practice I think I could make a pretty good car thief.”
“Okay what about house alarms?”
“Well I can follow circuit plans, if I have a plan of the alarm it will be easy, again though with time and study I think I could get pretty good.”
“As good as you are at this?” Sandy pulled Heather close and they again gave each other a long, deeply passionate kiss.
“I think we maybe need to finish this conversation in my bed.” Heather ran her nails down her employers back.
“No - in mine darling.” Sandy took Heather’s hand and pulled her to her feet, leading her out as she turned the kitchen light off.
Elite Rifle Club, Long Island
Diana removed the earphones and brought the target to herself, nodding in satisfaction at the grouping of the holes.
“You certainly have not lost your touch, Countess de Ros,” Burt Kaufmann said as he looked at the target.
“Thank you,” Diana said as she looked at the rifle, and then handed it to the assistant to clean. “Burt, may I ask you a hypothetical question?”
“Of course, come into my office,” the instructor said as they went into the small temporary hut. “Now, what is it?”
“this may seem a strange question, but it will help for some research a friend of mine, an author, has asked me about. He is setting his next story in New York, but is far too European to come and find out for himself.”
Burt smiled and said “Go on.”
“His character wishes to obtain, shall we say, some armaments through private channels. He suspects the mob would be one way, but he has asked if there are any others.”
Burt sat back and thought for a moment. “Speaking hypothetically of course?”
“There are slightly more – illicit channels, a few dealers who this character could work with. Depending on what was wanted, that would dictate the person. What would they be needing?”
“The character would want to carry out a home invasion – and be, as you say, tooled up.”
Burt took a pad and pencil and wrote a number down.
“Tell your friend to call this guy – he’s local, but one of the good guys, and might be able to answer his questions.”
“I shall,” Diana said with a smile, “What does my friend call him.”
“Thomas Morgan – most people call him Tommy the Fish.”
The Huntingdown apartment
Juliette came down the stairs, having changed into a sweater and slacks, only to stop as she saw Carina looking at her laptop.
“Carina, darling, what are you looking at?”
Carina turned and looked at her mother, her eyes ablaze with excitement as she said “My goodness, Mom – I didn’t know you had it in you!”
“Had what in me?”
“Such a devious turn of mind – this plan is amazing, and you – no, we are going to look spectacular!”
“We? Cari, it’s a mental exercise, a fantasy..”
“So when Aunt Di phones ten minutes ago, and says to tell you it’s on, and she’ll pick you, Sandy and Heather up at ten on Saturday?”
Juliette looked at her daughter, and said “Cari, darling…”
“Come on Mom – you want to do this – and this means Aunt Di and the others… Actually, when did she start calling Heather by her first name?”
Juliette shook her head and said “No – I won’t put you in danger.”
“Mom - give me a good reason why if you are going to do a robbery I can’t come along?”
“Well for starters you are only 14 years old, you have your whole life ahead of you.” Juliette stared at her daughter.
“If you get caught they’ll put me into foster care, my life is over anyway, if I got caught it’ll be Juvy, that’s only just marginally worse than foster care.”
“Okay,” Juliette said quietly, “let’s say I was stupid enough your lack of height would be an instant giveaway.”
“So you teach me how to wear six-inch heels, that’ll disguise my height.”
Juliette looked at her daughter noting the wild look in her eyes.
“You know less about guns then I do.”
“Give me 12 hours and a computer I’ll make myself an expert.”
“A theoretical expert.”
“Well Aunt Diana can show me the practical.”
“Why would you want to darling?” Juliette asked slowly.
“Probably because of the same reason this interests you Mother, I like the idea of the danger and the excitement.”
“Mom you know there is no way you are doing this without me.”
Juliette saw the determination in her daughter’s eyes.
“What will your Aunt and Sandy say, oh and yes Heather.?”
“That I’m a nosey bitch who you should have kept out of your laptop.” Carina grinned.
Juliette shook her head. “all right – you come on Saturday as well. I need my head examined.”
“You and me both, Mom,” Carina said with a smile…
Somewhere in Connecticut
Heather sat with her head literally in her hands as Sandy smiled at the uniformed officer.
“I’m really sorry, sir,” Sandy said as she looked at him through her large dark glasses, “I guess I wasn’t paying attention to the speedometer.”
“Yeah, well,” the officer said as he tore the slip from his pad and handed it to Sandy, “Keep an eye on it in future, all right?” He walked back to his motorbike and rode off, as Sandy opened the glove compartment and put it in.
“Where on earth did you learn to drive like that, Sandy?”
“Great way of venting aggression,” she said with a smile as she gunned the Mazerati and drove off, watching the sat nav as she did so She was wearing a high necked white jumper and jeans, a red scarf round her neck, while Heather was wearing a quilted jerkin over a blue denim blouse and old jeans.
“What is this place we’re going to anyway,” Heather said as Sandy left the interstate.
“Diana has a few properties around the place – she said this was an old farm that she bought before her husband was recalled to Paris.”
“What happened to him?”
“He died,” Sandy said as she screeched to a halt in front of a white farmhouse.
“Mon dieu,” Diana said as she came out, wearing a green shooting jacket over a pair of plus fours and a green jumper, “did you get another ticket, darling?”
“I’ll deal with it – where are they?”
“Come with me,” Diana said as she walked off, Heather glad she was wearing high topped sneakers as they walked past the farmhouse, and across some open land into a copse. That then opened out onto a clearing, where Juliette and Carina were waiting. Cari was wearing a grey school sweatshirt and joggers, while Juliette managed to make an old jumper and slacks with hiking boots look stylish.
“So you’re a couple now,” Carina said as she saw Sandy and Heather, “cool.”
“And you’re likely to get us into trouble,” Sandy said as she looked at the young girl.”
“All right – I take the blame for that one,” Juliette said as she looked at a large bag Diana had brought down earlier. “Right now, Diana – you have the floor.”
Diana stood in the centre and looked at the four women.
“Right then,” she finally said. “With the sort of situation we’ll probably be using guns in.” Diana paused and looked deep in the eyes of the other four, “accuracy is not the foremost of the skills you need to learn. It’s far more about looking as though you are capable of using the weapon you’ll be carrying, rather than actually being able to use it well.”
Diana pulled a sawn-off double-barrelled shotgun from her holdall and held in her gloved hands, one hand on the shortened barrel.
“I think this should be our basic tool.” Diana held it comfortably in her hands. “It’s a very frightening and brutally effective weapon… Here let me show you what it can do.”
She pointed with the weapon to a large straw filled bag about 5 feet high.
“Okay imagine that is a man, darlings.” She indicated with her hand for the girls to pull their earmuffs on. As they did so, she pulled back the safety and held the gun in both hands, her feet planted slightly apart.
As Diana fired the weapon, the shot spread and tore the straw bag to pieces, shredding it, leaving virtually nothing intact. Carina gasped as she watched, and felt some excitement within herself.
Diana indicated for the girls to remove their ear covering.
“My goddess,” Heather said “I heard that even through these.”
“I suggest the possibility of earplugs until you get used to the noise,” Diana said as she walked over and poked the remains. “Now imagine the damage that can do to a human being? What was left would not be a pretty sight.”
“I wouldn’t think so.” Heather gulped as Carina watched, fascinated.
“Luckily for us most people know what these things can do.” Diana held the weapon up. “That’s why we will be carrying them, it should scare the hell out of them. Even discharging one up in the air can silence the vast majority and give them pause for thought.”
Juliette and Carina walked over to inspect what was left of the target.
“Well I certainly wouldn’t argue with anyone threatening me with that.” Juliette said as she shook her head.
“As I say, the trick is to know how to hold them, and how to stand if it is necessary to discharge them – skills I can teach you. As a backup, some of us will be carrying hand guns as well.” Diana was enjoying her time as an instructor. “I’m thinking me and Juliette.”
Again Diana dipped into her holdall, this time pulling out a Smith and Wesson revolver. “Again, close up it’s very hard to miss with one of these, held to someone’s head they know you cannot fail to but a bullet in their brain… Watch.”
Again she indicated for the girls to cover their ears.
“Boomm, Boomm, Boomm.” She put three rounds into an old bucket 30 yards away.
“Now you Juliette.” She gestured for her friend to try. Juliette took the weapon in her hand, and felt the grip on her palm, before she aimed at the bucket.
“Boo mm, Boomm, Boomm.” Juliet’s shots rang out, one hitting the target, the other two missing.
“Not too bad Ju.” Diana smiled as she indicated for each girl to uncover her ears. “From closer you’d have at least hit something.”
“I think I need to practice.” Juliette smiled.
“Well maybe later, but for now I want you all to get used to the feel, and the kick, of the shotguns. Who wants to go first?”
“I will,” Carina said, taking the shotgun from Diana after she had loaded another round into the chamber. “Now, feel the weight in your hand – one around the barrel, the second with the stock resting in your hand, your finger over the trigger.”
As Carina held the rifle in her hand, she smiled, a slow, dangerous smile as Diana and the others put on their ear protectors.
“When you are ready,” Diana said, “remember how I stood, try to emulate that stance, and slowly squeeze the trigger.”
Carina nodded, aiming at another bag of straw, and then pressed back on the trigger.
The bag disintegrated as Carina fell backwards from the recoil, the others watching as they tried not to laugh.
“That – is some kick,” Cari said as she removed her earmuffs. “How did you…”
“Do not worry – I fell backwards several times at first,” Diana said. “You need to plane your feet firmly, and hold the stock close to you, let your body absorb most of the recoil.”
“And if we’re wearing heels?”
“Paradoxically, much harder to fall back – the force concentrated in the heel may provide a firmer basis. However, you raise a point. Now, who shall be next?”
The Huntingdown Apartment
“Sorry we’re late,” Sandy said as she and Heather came in, “For some reason, we both were very tired last night.”
“I simply cannot imagine why,” Diana said without looking up from the paper, as she sat at the coffee bar.
“Stop jesting Diana – we went straight to sleep last night as well,” Juliette said as she came in with Carina. “Come through to the front room – there’s someone I want you to meet.”
The five of them went through, to see a selection of boxes in front of the seats and table. Standing by the window was a Chinese woman, about five foot six with short blonde hair, dressed in a tailored suit with a silk blouse. She turned and smiled as they came in.
“Okay girls listen up,” Juliette said, “this is Catherine Lo, she works for me in Hong Kong.”
“Oh your little fabric business darling?” Diana smiled, knowing how much Juliette actually made from the business, which supplied many of the clothes producers in the area.
“Yes what up until now has been my little sideline.” Juliette looked at the others, then bowed to Catherine. “Welcome to my humble abode, Cathy.”
The Chinese woman bowed her head slightly and smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you all at last ladies, Juliette has told me all about you.” She spoke with an impeccable upper class English accent. “Please, be seated.”
“Okay, Cathy has brought over three outfits for each of us, the measurements may not be totally precise, but they are as near as I could get them.”
“My seamstresses can do better.” Cathy observed, “but this was a little bit of a rush order. Should we repeat the task, we will ensure the highest quality.”
“Better than this?” Heather looked amazed as she opened one of the boxes in front of her chair and held up the jacket for a tweed suit.
“Try it on.” Catherine asked.
Heather nodded as she slipped the jacket over her blouse. “Oh Wow!” she said as she felt the quality and luxury of the workmanship.
“See - the fit in the shoulders can be better, the sleeves are a fraction too long… I must apologise Heather. We shall do better next time.”
“Apologise for what?” Heather shook her head, “this is THE most beautiful thing I’ve ever worn.”
Sandy smiled at her lover, realizing this was probably the first non chain store, off the peg, piece of clothing Heather had ever owned.
“Try the Lagerfeld copy on please Carina.” Cathy indicated the appropriate box.
“Carina!” her mother looked shocked as her daughter quickly slipped off her jeans and sweatshirt and stood there in her bra and panties.
“Oh my Goddess.” Carina mouthed as she saw the black leather pants with a matching black silk jacket.
“You’ll maybe need a hand getting into those darling.” Diana said as she watched Carina try and slide into the pants. “Allow me.”
“Oh thanks Aunt Diana.” Carina smiled as her Aunt helped ease her into the outfit. Standing up, she slipped the jacket on and looked at herself.
“Whoa!” Carina looked round admiring the tight fit over her ass. “This is SEXY Mom.”
“Now you model the other outfit.” Sandy looked at Juliette, “After all you WERE the professional model.”
“Okay.” Juliette said with a smile. “I guess if my daughter can do it, then I can as well.” She smiled as she too stripped down to her bra and panties.
“Is that the Chanel you told me about from the Spring show?” Diana asked as Juliette held up a black micro mini dress.
“Well, my interpretation of Chanel.” Cathy answered. “The idea is to be close, but not too close.”
“Try it on Mom.” Carina urged.
“All right then,” Juliette said as she slipped the dress up and put the straps over her shoulders, Diana helping with the back.
“I DEFINITELY don’t have the legs to wear that.” Heather looked on as the garment clung to Juliette’s body.
“You will with heels Heather.”
“I don’t wear heels.”
“Well from now on you do darling.” Sandy smiled. “High heel bootcamp?” she asked Juliette with a knowing look in her eyes.
“In a bit.” Juliette looked back as she slipped the white jacket on with the black trim over the dress. “Well what do you think ladies?” Juliette went through a series of catwalk poses.
“Magnifique.” Diana breathed in admiration.
“Now tell me again why you retired Ju?” Sandy laughed.
“Mom you look incredible.” Carina walked over next to her Mom.
“We both do darling.” Juliette hugged her precocious child.
“Does that mean Aunt Mary may let me do a catwalk one day?”
“Unlikely, my dear,” Juliette said. “Catherine, I cannot thank you enough. We’ll meet up for dinner tonight – Inn in the Park at seven?”
“I look forward to it- perhaps we can finalise the new contracts then?”
“I look forward to it Cathy,” she said as the Chinese woman bowed to the others, and Juliette showed them out, Diana trying on her tweed suit while Sandy dove for the leather trousers.
“I will look so good in them,” Sandy said as she stroked her hand down the soft material.
“Perhaps later,” Juliette said as she came back in, “Boot camp is now in session. Carina, come with me – I have something for each of you to wear.”
“Heather you aren’t trying darling?” Diana looked despairingly at the Nanny’s attempts to walk in the four-inch heels.
“Like this, lover.” Sandy again stood up and walked the length of Juliette’s drawing room, the fabric of her skirt rippling with each step as she gently swung her hips.
“That’s easy for you do.” Heather looked despairingly down at her feet. “I can barely stand on these stilts let alone walk.”
“Well, try walking in these.” Carina had on an old pair of her mother’s boots with a six-inch heel that on her looked like they were thigh length..
“At least you are used to wearing lower heels darling.” Juliette observed. “Heather is a complete novice.”
“I can’t believe your mother never taught you how to walk in high heels Heather.” Diana observed. “In France…”
“Well upstate New York isn’t France.” Heather interrupted as she once again tried to stand.
“Is this better?” Carina walked down the room slowly, carefully making each step.
“Much.” Her Mother applauded.
“Okay I think I can stand up… let me try… FUCK!” Heather cried out in anguish as she slipped to the floor again.
“Weight on the balls of your feet.” Sandy reminded her as she helped her up.
“Okay.” Heather nodded. “Here we go again.”
This time Heather actually managed a few steps before slipping.
“Remember point your toes in slightly darling.” Sandy urged.
Heather nodded then started again.
“Hey at least I’m still on my feet.” She noted after a few steps.
Carina steadied herself before doing a slightly more confident walk.
“See it’s just practice and confidence.” Juliette remarked.
Heather gave her a pained expression. “You mean I have to wear these damn things again.”
“Until you master them Lover.” Sandy laughed as Heather poked her tongue out.
“She’s right,” Diana said, “we need to be imposing, not just in the arms we carry but in the way we carry ourselves. Heels will give a more imposing figure.”
“This is going to kill me.” Heather at least managed to walk the length of the room and still keep standing.
“See you are improving Cherie.” Diana encouraged as the other women clapped.
“Well, it still hurts like hell!”
“We can do something about that,” Juliette said, “Keep practising – I’ll arrange some lunch.”
“Sorry,” Heather said as she slipped her feet out and stretched her toes, “but I have to take a rest.
“Don’t worry – you’re really beginning to get the hang of it lover,” Sandy said as she gave Heather a little kiss.
“Ewwww – minors present,” Carina said with a smile.
“Well,” Diana said, “I wanted to say I had an idea this morning. Before Abby went off with the Rochemann girls for the day, we were looking at some old jewellery that belonged to my mother, and I found these.”
She took a velvet sack from her bag, and opened it, placing five jewelled brooches on the coffee table.
“Wow,” Heather said as she looked at them, “are they real diamonds?”
“They are,” Diana said as she nodded, “My mother loved to collect these pieces of costume jewellery, and I inherited them when she passed away last year. I wondered if we could wear them – it may provide further distraction from looking at our faces, give them a different point of focus.”
“Inspired, darling,” Juliette said as she picked one up. “I think it would be a great idea.”
“Can I ask a question now?”
“OF course you can darling,” Juliette said as she looked at Carina.
“We can’t call ourselves Diana or Sandy or Mom if we do this – we need some sort of codename.”
“Yes, I have been considering this,” Juliette said as she picked up an envelope. “Diana’s costume jewellery makes an idea I have been having more of a reality. Carina, if you could wear any of these pieces, which one would it be?”
“This one,” Carina said as she picked a cat face brooch with two rubies for eyes.
“All right,” Juliette said, “Now pick a piece of paper from here.”
Cari reached into the envelope, drew out a slip of paper and said “Miss Lynx?”
“Then you are Miss Lynx,” Juliette said with a smile. “Now we all draw a name.”
Heather picked a slip of paper, and said “Miss Cheetah?”
“Miss Puma,” Sandy said.
“Miss Leopard – how appropriate,” Diana purred.
“Which leaves me as Miss Panther.” Juliette looked at the others and said “I say we are the Pussycat Gang – prowling and hunting our prey. Are you with me?”.
The other looked at each other before saying “Aye!”
“Good – now of the outfits Cathy brought, which should we wear?”
“Well,” Sandy said, “I love the dress, but if we ruthless criminals, would we wear white with it?”
“No we would not – so we mix and match. Carina, darling, will you be the model for us?”
“Sure, Mom,” she said, “what are you going to do?”
“Find your dress and let Heather help you put it on,” Juliette said, “I need to get something from my bedroom.”
Carina stripped off again and put on the black dress, easing the skirt down as her mother came back.
“Put the boots back on for a moment, I want to see how you look with the height,” Juliette said, watching as Carina put on the high boots and stood up, the hem of the skirt sat just above the tops of the boots.
“Right – now put on the black silk jacket from the other outfit and then put these on.” As Cari put on the jacket, her mother handed her a pair of soft leather black gloves, which she pulled over her hands.
“Now stand still,” Juliette said as she put Cari’s blonde hair up, and covered it with a short black wig made in a page boy style.
“That does make you look different,” Diana said as she walked round Carina.
“I feel different,” Cari said, “now what?”
She watched as her mother doubled up a tan stocking and pulled it over the top of Cari’s head.
“Now ease the stocking down over your head Carina.” Diana watched closely as the teenager pulled the doubled up tan stocking with the knot in the end over her head.
“The black wigs are a good idea.” Sandy observed as she walked round the young bandit in her ‘working’ outfit. “If we all wear them, then we look alike.”
“Those gloves are nice.” Heather looked at the soft leather covering Carina’s hands.
“The question is, is anyone going to recognize me?” Carina asked.
Her mother walked over carefully inspecting the minidress and the dark pantyhose. “I think we were right to mix and match and add this silk jacket.” She observed as she fingered the garment.
“Doesn’t look right with the mask hanging like that.” Diana stood and walked over. “Nothing we can tuck it in to…. Very un chic.”
“Here try this.” Sandy removed her Hermes scarf from her shoulders and draped it round Carina’s neck, the ends hanging down the back.
“Oh that works darling.” Diana observed.
“Very much so. Good thought Sandy. One more thing.” Juliette picked up the brooch and pinned it to the lapel of Carina’s jacket. All four looked at her, and said “Yes” as one.
“Pose with the gun Carina.”
“Okay Aunt Diana.” Carina said as she picked up the sawn-off, a different look coming into her eyes as she snarled “Open the fuckin’ safe bitch!”
“Do we need to swear like that.” Heather winced.
“I’m afraid so.” Juliette sighed. “To be respected, and feared, a woman criminal needs be twice as tough, twice as dangerous as a man.”
Heather shook her head.
“Did you do drama at school, Heather?”
“In a way – why?”
“Then think of it as acting a part – after all, that is what we are doing, acting the part.”
“Well, I think we have our look – but not the boots,” Juliette said. “I’ll sort out some proper shoes that are comfortable. Why don’t we all try it?”
Bishop Walden School
The yellow bus drew up outside the school gates, Abby looking at the black lettering that said “New York Independent Schools” on the side.
“Come on Abby,” Ally Rochemann said as she gave her a little push, “on you get.”
“Hey Stick – carefully you don’t hit your head on the ceiling.”
Abby groaned – she wanted one trip home to be without taunts, but it looked as if it had begun before she had even reached the stop she dreaded.
“Hey Lipman,” Ally said quietly, “watch it, or we’ll have words.”
“You and whose army, Rochemann?”
“Me,” Nell Rochemann said as she came up behind the two girls. “Problem?”
“Hide while you can,” Lipman called out, “they won’t be here next year.”
“Thanks,” Abby said quietly as she sat behind the Rochemann twins. “I just don’t know how much more of it I can take.”
“Yeah – it’s a pity you’re not moving on this year, but at least Lipman is.”
“Yeah – but she’s going to Scared Heart like you Nell – you know how they feel about…”
“St Angela’s” the driver shouted as they came to a stop. The doors opened as a group of Angels came on – one in particular making Abby groan as she walked up and stood in front of her.
“Move it Stick – you’re in to two seats. Maybe we should strap you to the roof – there might be enough room for you there.”
Abby wanted to start crying as she looked up at Kennedy Fratton. “Please,” she pleaded, “I just want to get home..”
“Awww – The Stick just wants to get home,” Kennedy sneered as two girls laughed behind her. “Well, Stick, either you move or I make you move.”
Abby wanted to scream at her to leave her alone, but she just silently shook her head.
“I said move,” Kennedy shouted as she reached forward with her own hand, only for it to be pulled behind her as Carina said “Leave her alone Fratton – or would you rather pick a fight with me?”
Kennedy stared into Carina’s eyes, before laughing and saying “She’s all yours, Huntingdown – we can discuss this another time.” Shaking her arm loose, she went further down the bus, while Carina sat next to Abigail.
“Thanks,” Abby whispered as her best friend handed her a paper hanky and wiped her eyes.
“Abby, we are going to have do something to you to help you to stand up to these bullies – let them see you’re not who they think you are.”
“Tell that to Mother dearest,” Abby said as she squashed the paper in her fist, “she’s the one who won’t let me wear makeup or anything all the other girls do.”
“I know – but we have to do something or you’re going to lose it one of these days big time – maybe get into some real trouble.”
“What do you mean?”
Cari looked at her friend and said “Nothing – I just don’t want to see you get hurt Come on – you’re coming to my place Your mom and mine are coming there after they take care of some business.”
The building was deserted, save for the Toyota parked there, Juliette and Diana sitting in the front seats. Diana was sitting with her hands on the wheel, as Juliette fiddled nervously with the scarf round her neck.
“Darling, stop that!” Diana glanced sideways at her partner. “Remember what we said. He has to think we are big time experienced armed robbers.” She felt the soft silk tied in a band around her own neck, and smiled as she looked at her friend.
“I know, I know,” Juliette fretted. “We have to be a bit scary if we are going to keep him in line.”
Diana nodded. “Fear is a very potent weapon when used wisely – we all have to remember that.”
“Do I look okay?”
“Darling you look just right.” Diana checked out the tweed suit, matched black gloves, hose, and shoes with four inch heels. Her blonde hair was hidden under another black page boy wig.
“Is he late?” Juliette glanced at her watch.
“No he’s on time.” Diana glanced round as she heard the arms dealer’s vehicle coming.
“Okay.” Juliette took a deep breath before she pulled the nylon over her head. “Here goes nothing.”
“Oui.” Diana pulled her own mask over her black pageboy wig.
“Get your gun out Diana.” Juliette said as she tried to control her breathing. She was also dimly aware of another feeling, but pushed that into the back of her mind, as Diana produced a revolver and checked the cartridge.
“Let’s hope and pray I don’t need use it.”
“Of course it is darling.” Diana smiled under her mask.
“Okay showtime.” Juliette whispered to herself the same words she’d used every time she stepped on a catwalk in her modelling career. They stepped out of the car and stood at the front, their hands by their sides.
From the other end of the deserted old aircraft hanger a Ford Magnum slowly approached. The two women glanced at each other as the driver, a man in his late fifties, wearing a tan leather jacket and black pants got out.
Tommy the Fish had been used to contacts coming in unusual ways, but when this husky voiced woman had called and told him he was ‘recommended’ to her for supplies, he hadn’t been quite sure what t make of it. Still, he had some of the items they asked about in storage, cleaned of identifying marks and ready for use.
“Hey,” he’d said to himself, “if this is a gag, I don’t lose out – and if it’s real, it could be kinda interesting.”
Getting out of his car, he looked at the two of them. Definitely tall, definitely slim, and definitely women by the way their tweed jackets and skirts hugged their bodies. Nice legs too – especially in dark hose and killer heels like that. Everything about them suggested class – the brooches, the gloves, and the way the stockings covered their heads.
Smiling, Tommy said “And would you ladies be those who contacted me?”
“My name is Miss Panther, and this is my colleague Miss Leopard.” Juliette spoke in a slightly deeper register than normal – her way of trying to sound in control.
“Hey lady,” Tommy said as he walked towards them, “I don’t care what ya call yaself, just tell me if ya da broads called me.”
“Tommy,” Juliette said with a smile, “I would ask you to moderate your language please. Remember my friend and I are ladies, REAL ladies.” Juliette’s voice reflected her anger at being called a broad.
“Hey sorry, no offence, know what I mean.” Tommy the Fish apologized at the sound of the woman’s voice, his hands raised in the air. He was smiling, enjoying the game – they seemed to be serious in their intentions.
“Now did you bring the items we requested?” Juliette walked towards the man, her hips swaying gently. Tommy was looking at her as she approached – something in the way she moved made him very, very excited.
“Yeah I got ‘em.”
“Good.” Juliette smiled as she spoke, the smile coming and going under her mask. “Miss Leopard might have got quite angry if you’d let us down.”
Tommy glanced at the other woman, for the first time noticing the small pistol in her gloved hand. Diana stared back at him, allowing a small smile to cross her face.
“And you wouldn’t like Miss Leopard when she gets angry.” Juliette’s voice was silky smooth as she ran her gloved fingers across Tommy’s mouth. “She tends to take it out on the nearest person to her – particularly if it is a man.”
Turning on her heels Juliette walked away a few steps.
“Be a good boy and kindly put the weapons in the trunk of our car Tommy.” She turned and looked at the gun dealer. “You’ll find your payment there as well.”
He stared at the two women - something in Tommy told him that this bitch was trouble. Quickly he got the holdall of guns from his car and took it to the women’s vehicle. Grabbing the plastic sack that was in there, he started to check the money.
“Oh you’ll find it’s all there Tommy.” Miss Panther again turned towards him, this time running her hand under his chin. “And if there is any problem with our merchandise, just remember we do know your name, face, and place of business. We might just pay you a little visit if we are unhappy.”
From nowhere seemingly she slapped his face….hard. Tommy put his hand to his cheek as she looked into her cold blue eyes.
“That’s just a little sample of the pain we will cause if we see a hint of the police, or if we are at all compromised in our operation. Believe me, Tommy, you will not enjoy the experience, but you will remember it.”
“Understand?” Diana spoke, one word, but he got the meaning in her tone.
“Yeah,” Tommy said as he rubbed his cheek, “I understand.”
“Good.” Juliette purred as she walked back to Diana’s side. “If we are satisfied with your work on this, we may use you again – do you read the New York Times?”
“Only for the sports pages lady..”
“You may find the personals on interest. You may go now.” She waved her hand to dismiss him..
Getting behind the wheel of the Mustang, Tommy turned the car round and drove out of the hanger. “What the hell happened just then,” he said to himself, looking at the plastic wallet.
Pulling over, he checked the contents, and then closed it again. “Whoever those ladies are, they keep their word – something tells me I’ll be hearing from them again.”
He headed off – suddenly, the thought of a cold beer at the Calabria seemed awfully inviting.
“Darling, you were absolutely wonderful,” Diana said as Juliette pulled the stocking and wig off, and shook her head out.
“Goddess, that was FANTASTIC,” Juliette said with a laugh. “Now I know how I need to act on the night.”
“Calm, authoritative, and in total control – exactly the right tone. How do you feel?”
“Honestly,” Juliette said as she looked at Diana, “horny as hell. I never knew, never suspected, how much of a rush that could be. Do you know, I think we’re actually going to pull this off?”
“Only with your leadership,” Diana said as she started the car. “Come – I wonder what Sandy and Heather have been doing today?”
The Richmond Mansion
“Hello darlings,” Sandy said as Heather closed the door behind them, “have you both been good today?”
“Yes, mummy,” George said as he stood with his finger in his mouth, while little Alexandra said “Mummy, I saw a real frog today.”
“Apparently they had someone from the City Zoo at the nursery, showing them some of the animals. The nurse told me little Sandy was very taken with the frogs.”
“Well, do me a favour, both of you – run upstairs, wash your hands, and get changed while Heather and I cook your tea.”
“Don’t tell me – another session with the high heels later?”
“Well, I might make it a little more fun, if…”
The door opening made Sandy look over Heather’s shoulder, as she said “Mother – I wasn’t expecting you to call today.”
“Why should I not call round,” Vanessa Richmond said, the grey highlights in her short dark hair becoming more obvious every day. “Actually, I wanted to return Alexandra’s Snoopy dog – she left it with me over the weekend.”
“Ah – I wondered where that went,” Heather said as she accepted it, “I’ll go and give it to Little Sandy now.” She headed up the stairs as Sandy said “Hello John.”
“Miss Alexandra,” John said with a touch to his cap. “Your uncle asked me to thank you for the donation.”
“No problem it’s your night off tonight, isn’t it Heather?”
“Yes it is – I thought I might do a little window shopping…”
The woman in the dark blue Yankees jacket and white pants, didn’t look any different from any of the thousands of fans milling round the Yankee Stadium Parking lot. She wore large sunglasses it was true, but on that cool evening she wasn’t the only woman wearing them. Her black pageboy haircut was stylish, her black gloves looked like a concession to the early evening chill. No there was nothing out of the ordinary about this woman, except she wasn’t here to watch the game, she was here to steal a car.
Heather Smith pursed her lips, this wasn’t something she would even have contemplated a few days earlier, but as she told herself, she was doing it for the love of her life, to help her beloved Sandy gain some revenge.
She had a pretty good idea what she was looking for, something ordinary, commonplace, average, a car that wouldn’t be noticed. Nothing flashy, nothing sporty, just something that would get five women successfully to and from a robbery.
What Heather was looking for was something unlocked. She’d practiced hot wiring Sandy’s cars until she knew just what she was doing, but the actual breaking into a vehicle was still something she didn’t want to attempt if she didn’t have to, car alarms still were a little beyond her talents, though she thought she might get quite proficient one day.
Heather started to make a move when she saw the owner of a dark green Toyota Sienna walk away without locking his door, but she turned and walked away as he remembered and returned and locked his vehicle.
“Bastard!” Heather whispered to herself.
Heather kept moving, kept watching and searching looking for her target.
She saw a blue Ford Focus left not only with the doors open, but the keys still inside, but as she contemplated it, she discarded the idea, it would be easy to steal, but the car was too compact for five, especially with how tall some of the crew were.
Heather kept up her pacing, kept up her search. The arrival of a deep red Dodge Caravan full of Mom, Dad and four kids caught her attention. With the children fussing and running about, the guy got careless, Heather saw him go to use the automatic car door closer, then get distracted as his daughter nearly ran into a moving car. As the guy snatched the child up, he forgot to close the car.
“PERFECT” Heather thought to herself.
She gave it five minutes waiting to see if the guy would return.
“Okay Heather,” she whispered to herself, “You are about to commit your first crime.”
Slowly, but she hoped confidently, Heather walked to the Minivan and opened the door. For a few seconds she sat there, no one was paying her attention. She ducked her head down and pulled the wiring out. Delicately she touched the two wires together.
She tried again.
“Oh dear Artemis Goddess of Lesbos, please” she said a little prayer.
Suddenly the engine began to tick over.
“Thank you!” she said in thanks to the Goddess as she sat up.
“Okay let’s go find somewhere safe to park you.” She talked to the car as she drove it off.
The Huntingdown apartment
“All right,” Heather said as she came in, “I have the car parked in the garage, and we all came up by the service elevator. Now what?”
“Now we get ready,” Juliette said quietly, “The outfits are in the bedrooms upstairs – let’s go.”
The ladies moved off as one to the upstairs rooms, stripping and donning their costumes. Carina sat on her bed and pulled on the dark hose, before slipping into the dress, loving the way it hugged her figure. Sitting at her dressing table, she took a few minutes to put on her makeup and rouge her lips, before blotting them and putting in the new contact lenses her mother had bought that day.
Turning round, she slipped the sic inch heel Italian leather shoes on and stood up, looking at herself in the mirror before she slipped on the black silk jacket. Finally, she looked at the read and gold scarf, before folding it into a band and tying it round her neck.
Her last act was to put the brooch on the lapel of her jacket, and then the black wig, tucking her blonde hair carefully underneath. Looking at herself in the mirror, she nodded slowly and walked down the stairs.
The others were waiting, standing as Juliette checked their disguises. “Am I the only one who is getting a buzz from this,” Heather whispered as her mother checked Carina.
“No, you’re not,” Sandy whispered as she looked at Heather.
“Right,” Juliette said, “Diana?”
“Guns are in the brown holdall. The blue one contains ropes, cloths tape – all the sort of thing we might need. Take deep breaths, and compose yourselves.”
As they did so, they each slipped a pair of black leather gloves onto their hands, and adjusted the scarves they wore, Diana with her brooch in the centre knot by the throat, the others wearing them on their jackets.
“Dark glasses,” Juliette said as she handed each of them a pair. “We put the stockings on before we do this. Everyone ready?”
One by one they nodded, before she said “This is the point of no return. From here on in, we stick to the plan and we act as one – code names only. Understand?
“Good – let’s go to work. Diana?”
“My car is at the farm – we head there when we are done. Move out ladies.”
She grabbed the brown bag, Carina the blue one as they walked out of the apartment…
The Dodge Caravan pulled up outside the front door of the Cashman townhouse, Juliette looking at the door as it did so.
“All right,” she finally said as she removed the dark glasses, “masks on.”
Each of them pulled the stockings down over their heads, tucking the opening under their scarves, and nodding to each other. Diana opened the bag and handed a sawn off shotgun to each of them, before handing Juliette a pistol and taking one herself.
“Know where the alarm circuit box is?”
Heather nodded, as the doors opened and the five women walked out, their hips swaying as they quickly climbed the stairs and waited. Heather could feel the heat between her legs, and looking at Juliette she got a nod of recognition.
Carina pumped her gun and nodded as they rang the front doorbell.
Constance had been about to leave when she heard the front doorbell, and turned to answer it. Her grey dress had a white apron tied to the front, and she wore flat black shoes with dark hose.
Opening the door, she got as far as “How m…” before she was pushed back in, the shotgun pressed into her stomach by a tall woman in a black dress and jacket, a stocking mask pressing down her short black hair and distorting her features.
“IF you value your fucking life,” she snarled, “Open your fucking mouth and don’t say a fucking word.”
She nodded as she opened her mouth, retching as the folded cloth was shoved in and a strip of brown sticking plaster pressed firmly over her lips.
“Bind her arms, Miss Puma,” the woman holding the gun said, watching as Constance was spun round and her wrist pulled behind her back, her wrist secured together with rope and tied round her waist.
“The lord and lady of the manor, where are they?”
She indicated a door opposite the hallway.
“Miss Leopard, would you be as good as to find the housekeeper and bring her to us?”
“Of course, Miss Panther,” another masked woman said as the other four walked to the door, Constance between two of them.
Mark Cashman was reading a book in his favourite armchair while Francesca was sprawled along a recliner. Although he wore a v-necked sweater over a blue shirt and grey slacks, Francesca had on a tight black t-shirt that emphasised her $5000 breast work, and a pair of skin right black leggings with high heeled sandals.
“Drink honey,” she said as she stood up, only to look to the doors as four armed and masked women walked in, with their maid bound and gagged.
“Not a fucking word, pissheads – we are the Pussycat Gang, and this is a raid!”
“What the…” Francesca was stopped as one of the women walked over and struck her in the stomach with the barrel of her gun.
“We said not a fucking word, cocksucker – don’t you understand English?”
“Well put Mss Cheetah,” the first woman replied. “I am Miss Panther, this is Miss Puma and Miss Lynx, and you dickheads are our target for tonight, so play nice, shut the fuck up and do what we tell you to do, understand?”
“Now you listen here…”
“The lady said,” Miss Puma repeated as she pressed her gun against Constance’s head, “DO… YOU… UNDERSTAND, MOTHER FUCKER!!!”
“Pslssrrr,” Constance quivered as another masked woman appeared, pushing an elderly woman in a black dress in front of her. Her arms were already bound with rope, and a strip of plaster covered her mouth.
“You two,” Miss Panther said as she looked at the servants, “sit down and shut the fuck up. Miss Lynx, secure their legs.”
One of the women walked over as they say down.
“Miss Puma, kindly make the lady of the house secure.”
“It will be my pleasure,” she said as she walked over and forced Francesca’s arms behind her back, binding them tightly together at her writs and elbows with thin cord.
“Look – what is it you want?”
“Did we say you could talk, you slimy little mother fucker,” Miss Leopard said as Miss Lynx tied the ankles and legs of the two servants tightly together.
“There now,” she said as he gloved hand stroked up the back of their legs, “Comfy? Because it sure as hell feels as if you are enjoying this. I can see how damp you both are.”
“Oh I don’t want to hurt you,” Miss Lynx said as he hand went up the inside of Constance’s skirt, and she felt her press on her panties, “Much…”
“Miss Lynx? Secure the man please.”
She stood up and smiled at the two women before taking some rope from a blue bag and pulling Mark’s arms behind his back, lashing them tightly together before she wrapped it round his arms and chest, pulling so tightly he could hardly breathe.
“What’s the matter, shit for brains – not tight enough for your perverted fucking enjoyment,” she breathed as she gave an extra tug, and then tied the ropes off.
“Why don’t you come with us to the office,” Miss Panther said quietly. “Miss Cheetah, kindly keep these ladies company.”
“My pleasure Miss Panther,” the woman said as they looked at her, her red and gold scarf hanging like a cravat on the front of her neck. Looking at Constance, she smiled as she said “I wonder what a maid has under her uniform.”
Taking the gun, she pushed the tip of the barrel in between two buttons, and then forced the dress open, revealing her black lacy underwear.
“How nice,” she said as she walked behind her, Constance moaning into her gag as she felt her breasts being squeezed.
“Now then, mother fucking cocksucker,” Miss Panther said as Mark and Francesca were forced to their knees in the study, “can you guess what you are going to do for us next?”
“If you bitches don’t leave…”
“Manners,” Miss Leopard said as she struck Mark across the face, while Miss Puma secured Francesca’s ankles and legs with more rope. “Learn some before it is too late.”
“IT’s very, very simple,” Miss Panther said as she stroked the barrel of her gun up Mark’s chest, “the combination to the safe please.”
“Go to hell,” he said before he spat at the four women.
“Oh dear – what should we do is response, ladies?”
“Allow me,” Miss Lynx said as she knelt in front of Francesca. “Does your husband love you,” she said as she stroked her cheek with the back of her hand.
“Yes,” Francesca whispered.
“And he would do anything for you?”
“Well then, sir,” Miss Lynx said as she put her rifle down, “know this.”
Mark watched as Miss Lynx took a knife, and cur down the middle of Francesca’s top, slicing her bra in half as well, before she grabbed both her breasts in her hands and squeezed hard, making his wife yelp in pain.
“Either you tell my colleague the combination now, or I squeeze these until she starts lactating blood. Your choice.”
“MAAAAARRRKKKKKKKK” Francesca screamed out.
“Oh dear, we can’t have that,” Miss Puma said as she picked up a golf ball that was on the floor, and shoved it into Francesca’s mouth, before wrapping her head and mouth in tape.
“Well,” Miss Lynx said as she looked at Mark.
“No – I will not open the safe; you’ll have to kill me first.”
“Easily arranged,” Miss Leopard said as she pointed her pistol at Mark’s head.
“There is no need for that, Miss Leopard,” Miss Lynx said, as she looked round the office, and picked up a stapler. Kneeling in front of Francesca again, the young woman’s eyes opened wide as she squeezed and pinched the nipple of her left breast, before saying “Well?”
Miss Panther, Miss Leopard and Miss Puma watched as Mark shook his head, and Miss Lynx said “Oh well.”
Miss Cheetah heard the scream of pain, and came in to see Miss Lynx force a staple through Francesca’s right nipple as well. “Goddess,” she whispered under her breath, as Miss Lynx said “Start talking or I staple her slit closed.”
“All right, all right,” Mark finally said, “I’ll tell you the combination.”
“Very good, mother fucker,” Miss Panther said. “Miss Cheetah, disable the alarms.”
“On it,” she said as she left the room, while Miss Leopard opened the safe, Francesca sobbing in pain as she looked at her husband, whose legs and ankles were now bound, and his mouth stuffed with a cloth before tape was wound tightly round it, covering his mouth.
“Very nice – pass me the bag please,” Miss Leopard said as she and Miss Lynx started to empty the contents into the blue holdall. Miss Puma knelt behind Francesca and stripped her rings off, before literally ripping the earrings from her ears.
“Alarm turned off,” Miss Cheetah said as she came back in.
“Very well – the servants?”
Miss Cheetah gasped as she watched them at work, feeling how damp she was. She put her hand under her skirt as Mark and Francesca watched, and gasped at the feeling of her gloved hand over her damp crotch.
Miss Puma stood up and looked at Francesca, pumping her shotgun as she said “I’m sorry, what did you just call my friend?”
“Uhrdmm,” Francesca said as she stared at the masked woman in front of her.
“Yes, yes I did,” Miss Puma said, as she brought the barrel of the gun down and pointed it at Francesca’s face.
“Shut up you mother fucking dipshit,” Miss Lynx said as she pulled Mark onto his back, and placed the tip of one shoe heel between his legs, “or I press down.”
“I fucking said apologise!”
“See you there,” Miss Puma said as she discharged both barrels into Francesca, one in the face and one in the stomach.
“NNNNRRRGGGGGGGGGGGG!” Mark said, first in shock and then in excruciating pain as Miss Lynx brought her heel down hard into his groin.
Miss Cheetah and Miss Puma looked at each other, before they let out the loudest moan of pleasure any of them had heard. Miss Leopard and Miss Panther were looking at Miss Lynx, as she grinned and said "How does it feel now, dick for brains.”
“We got what we came for,” Miss Panther said, “Let’s go.”
Miss Lynx drove the heel in one more time before they walked out, the servants looking up from the floor as the five masked women walked out, and returned to the car. Miss Cheetah removed her stocking mask and put on the dark glasses, nobody saying a word as they headed out of the city.
Not a word had been said by any of the five during the drive, until the car stopped and they made their way into the main room, sitting on the seats as Juliette put the bag on the floor.
Sandy looked round, a huge grin on her face as she said “We did it – we bloody well did it!”
“Oh we did it all right,” Juliette said as she opened the bag, “I have no idea how much is in here - but,” as she looked at Sandy, “Alexandra, dear, what have you done?”
“She did what she had to do – that bitch insulted Heather,” Carina said as she curled up on the seat.
“Why the hell did you kill her?” Heather turned and looked deep into her lover’s eyes.
Diana looked over as well, and said quietly “You know it means a life sentence for us all if we are caught?”
“Well, we better make damn sure we don’t get caught.” Sandy looked unrepentant. “She insulted you, Heather, and she hurt me so bad, I just needed to do that. The fucking bitch is never again going to be a festering sore to me.”
Juliette sighed and shook her head. When the shots had been fired, she was thinking of the one person in the world she wanted to do that to. Eventually, she said “Well I can understand it, I just wish you’d warned us beforehand.”
“You made a huge mess of her.” Carina giggled. “They’ll be picking blood and silicon out of that room for weeks.”
“Darling,” Juliette said quietly as she looked at her daughter, “I think we also need to have a word about your conduct tonight.”
“Yes Carina darling your Mother is right,” Diana looked at her goddaughter. “You behaved like some sort of animal in there.”
Carina looked round the room before saying “but it got the safe open, didn’t it?”
“What possessed you Darling?”
“I don’t know Mom, but it seemed so right, and oh boy was it enjoyable. It made me feel tingly and everything, seeing them squirm in pain and fear.”
Heather looked up and said “She’s got a point, you saw how Sandy and I felt right after she did that. Goddess, I haven’t felt that…” She looked at Sandy and said “Well, you know what I mean.”
Sandy smiled and nodded as she gripped Heather’s hand.
“I think we all got a kick from it darling, but the fact remains that Sandy has made us police targets.” Diana spoke softly but forcefully.
“We are all accessories to a murder.” Heather said with a look of regret.
“But she’s fucking DEAD!” Sandy stood up and did a happy twirl.
“Sandy!” Juliette rebuked her friend.
“Well I’m not going to pretend I have regrets.” Sandy responded as she sat back down. “Tell me if someone hurt you or someone you loved that badly, you would not have done the same thing given the chance.”
As she looked round, she saw Diana look down and nod her head, Juliette looking at her.
Diana nodded and then said “We need to take the appropriate steps to ensure we are not discovered.”
“We dispose of everything.” Juliette glanced round. “The guns, the clothes, the car, everything disappears beyond trace.”
“I’ll take the boat out and lose them at the bottom of the sound.” Diana nodded.
“I’ll take the car and set it on fire.” Heather spoke.
“We spend nothing, we do nothing different.” Juliette warned. “Catherine will take all this,” she indicated the bag full of loot, “back to Hong Kong and process it there. She has contacts that can do that for us, and I trust her with my life”
“And then?” Carina asked.
“I’ll devise away to hide the money we receive in the accounts, I’ll set you all up offshore bank accounts - equal shares.”
“That’s not what I meant Mom – I meant what about us?”
Juliette looked round the room, before saying “We tell no-one, we keep it to ourselves. We’re bound together now by this – we stay together and we fight together.
“And yes – I did feel fantastic about what we did, and it gave me the biggest rush imaginable. That’s true for all of us, isn’t it?”
They all nodded as Diana stood up. “Change – now. I want all these outfits in bags in the next half hour, and then we head home.”
The Huntingdon Apartment
Juliette looked up as Carina came into the kitchen and poured herself a cup of coffee. The two of them looked at each other over their glasses.
“How are you this morning,” Juliette eventually said.
“Honestly? I feel fantastic Mom – as if I’ve had the best night’s sleep in ages.”
Juliette put her mug down and looked at her daughter. She did look as if nothing has happened, and yet this was the same girl who almost castrated a man last night.
“Cari, darling, you would tell me if you felt something was wrong, wouldn’t you?”
“Course I would Mom,” she said as she picked up a slice of toast and drained her mug “I gotta go – see you later.”
She came and gave her mother a kiss on her cheek, leaving Juliette wondering what had happened to her.
The Richmond Mansion
“Hey,” Sandy said as Heather came into the kitchen, “the kids at the nursery all right?”
“Yes,” Heather said as she sat down, “anything in the papers?”
Sandy handed her the Post, which had the story inside. Heather read it, and put it down, before she said “You all right?”
“Yes, I am actually,” Sandy said, “in fact, do you know what the worst thing I felt about last night was?”
Heather shook her head as Sandy said “all that money she spent on redecorating that study, to my design, and it’s all ruined. On the other hand, she is now part of the décor.”
“We’re going to be all right, aren’t we?”
Sandy put her hand on Heather’s and said quietly “Yes, we are” before they both kissed.
St Angela’s School
Carina and Judy were passing Miss Tennant’s office as they saw Diana come out.
“Thank you, Countess de Ros,” Miss Tennant said as she shook Diana’s hand, “I think you have made the right choice.”
“I believe so too. Good day Miss Tennant,” Diana said before she turned and saw Judy and Cari there.
“hi Aunt Di,” Carina said, “Does that mean you’ve made a decision?”
“It does – Abigail will come here after next year. I think she will be better off where she has more friends.” Diana turned and walked off as the girls looked at her.
“You’re kidding me – Abigail’s mum is a countess?”
“She is a lot of things,” Carina said with a smile as they continued to their class.
The Calabria Club
“Hey Tommy – usual?”
“Thanks Annie,” Tommy the Fish said as he sat at the bar, and put his copy of the Times on the top. He watched the barmaid as she poured a beer and brought it over to her, looking at the article on the page.
“I heard about that on the news this morning,” she said as she looked at the pictures, “nasty business.”
“Yea, Annie, we lives in a nasty old world,” Tommy said as he read the article. He had felt there was something about those two women, and he winced when he read about both the fatal injuries to the wife and the very personal injuries to the husband.
“Whoever those ladies are, they’re not the type I want to cross,” he whispered to himself as he turned to the personals page. As he was about to take a drink, h stopped with his glass in mid air.
“Something wrong Tommy?”
“Nah – nofing for ya to worry about, Annie,” he said with a smile as he looked again at the small box.
Thanks – we’ll be in touch
Greenwich Country Day School
Megan Markham shifted uncomfortable as she sat opposite the principal, shifting the hem of her skirt as she did so.
Across the table, he looked at her, fingers together under his chin as his secretary came in.
“Mister and Mrs Markham are here.” She looked at Megan and shook her head, Megan responding by sticking her tongue out.
“Show them in please.”
did she do this time?" Megan's father half asked half shouted, as he
walked into the principal's office.
look Mr Markham." the principal indicated as the 13 year old stood up.
"What the…." Mrs Markham took in the vision of her daughter wearing full makeup, the short skirt and the towering stilettos.
“Hey Mum, Dad,” she said as she looked at them..
"I can assure you that's not what she left the house in Joe." Mrs Markham turned to her husband.
“This is the sixth violation of the school dress code in a month,” the principal said to her parents, “and I am afraid we cannot tolerate this any more. Megan, would you step outside for a moment please?”
“Sure – I’m done here anyway,” Megan said as she walked out, her bottom barely covered by the skirt, and smiled at the secretary before she went into the corridor.
As she sat
down Megan hiked her skirt and crossed her legs to give any passing boy, or
man, a view of her great legs.
She picked up
the local paper and flicked through the pages. A story from the city caught her
attention, about a home invasion by a gang of women, they'd tortured the
homeowners then murdered the woman. Megan felt her panties moisten as she read
the lurid details.
"Now that would be the ultimate kick," she thought to herself. "Imagine doing that, breaking every rule, every law." The idea really appealed to the rebellious nymphet.
“Right,” Joe said as he and Beverley came back out. “You’re going home with yoru mother, and we have to find a new school for you. Satisfied?”
“Not really – but this place is a dump anyway.”
As they walked out, the teenager’s mind was on that report and nothing else.
10 am BST
A trading estate near London
Seated behind the desk in her office, Madame X glanced at the daily crimes digest that Penelope prepared for her each day. It was part of Madame’s morning routine to look over it and note anything of interest.
Today, however, it was all much of the same. The first report was of a major jewelry heist in Paris, not by her people, she made a note on the page it should be enquired into.
An industrialist’s daughter kidnapped in Tokyo, her local connections had been briefed on the operation. She always believed in maintaining good relationships wirh local crime lords, and she smiled at the discussion over a bottle of Saki some weeks before.
She put a
notation by a story of trafficking underage girls from Eastern Europe to
brothels in the west. That really was something she desperately wanted stopped,
and she felt it may be time to do something about it.
She almost missed the report of the armed home invasion in New York. Penelope often included such relatively trivial things, but this one caught Madame's eyes because the criminals were women. She read the salient details, and smiled to herself.
"Keep an eye on these women" she noted on the page for Penelope's attention, “and inform Madeline”.
Abigail was walking as fast as she could, trying to get away from Kennedy Fratton and her clique as they walked behind her. She had thought not getting the bus would have meant avoiding them, but they had got off and walked behind her for the last five blocks, hurling insults, calling her names, a freak, not a real woman because she was flat chested – and they were the clean ones.
Finding herself outside Carina’s apartment block, she went inside.
“Hey Miss de Ros, are you all right,” the doorman said as he looked at her, then at the group of girls outside.
“You go straight up – Miss Huntingdon is at home. I’ll take care of them.”
“Thank you,” Abby whispered as she got into the lift, while the doorman stepped outside.
“How much did you say, Cathy?”
Juliette let out a low whistle and said “All right – you take the handling fee we discussed. No, I agreed a percentage, and you take it. I’ll have the accountant work out the rest of the details – and thanks again.”
The door to the apartment was opened and slammed shut, Juliette looking up to see Abby standing there in tears.
Abby nodded as Juliette said “Cari will be home soon – why don’t you go and wait in her room?”
“Thanks,” Abby said as she went upstairs. Going into Carina’s room, she saw her diary sitting on the bed, and sat down, looking at it for ages before she picked it up and started to read it.
“Hey Mom – we are out for Summer Vacation!”
“That’s nice darling,” Juliette said without looking up, “Abby’s in your room – apparently the Fratton girl and her friends were taunting her today.”
Carina’s eyes darkened for a moment, and as Juliette looked up she smiled and said “Well, she’s off for three months now as…”
“Darling? What’s wrong?”
“Mom – I left my diary on my bed this morning.”
“And?” Juliette saw the look of panic in her daughter’s eyes, and without a word they both headed up the stairs.
Opening the door, they saw Abby sitting there, slowly turning the pages and reading them.
“Abby – before you say anything…”
“Oh my god,” Abby whispered under her breath, before she looked at both of them. “Is this just a story, Cari – and remember, I know when you’re lying.”
Carina swallowed a lump, and then shook her head.
“And our mothers?”
“Abigail, darling, perhaps we should talk about this? With your mother?”
“Oh I want to talk about it,” Abby said quietly as she closed the diary and put it down, looking at them with a fire in her eyes. “I want to know all about it – and I want to be part of it.”