Sunday 26th October
The Brewster House
“Hello Caroline, Annie,” Barbara said as she opened the door to both of them, “they’re just having some breakfast in here.”
“I hope Ama wasn’t any trouble,” Caroline said as they went into the kitchen, where the six girls were sitting round the long table.
“Not at all – can I get you a coffee,” she said as she went to the maker.
“Thanks yes,” Annie said as Ama looked up. “Is it time already? We were just discussing the party on Friday at Janice’s house.”
“No, we have a little while yet,” Caroline said with a smile.
“Ama is not telling us what she is going to wear to the party,” Jeannie said as she looked up, “nor what you are wearing. Any hints?”
“None whatsoever,” Annie said, “you’ll just have to wait and find out.”
“So when do you girls go and see Mary?”
“One o’clock – their mums are going to meet us there.”
“It’s a pity you cannot hang around until then Ama,” Doc said.
“I know, but I promised Caroline and Annie that I would accompany them to the theatre this afternoon, and I have some lessons to do today. I will see you all on Friday, if not before then.”
West Central Park
“Good morning,” Janice said as she stretched and yawned, wondering into the kitchen as her mother was making pancakes, and Katy was drawing on some paper at the kitchen table.
“So when did you get back from the reunion,” her mother said as she looked over.
“Well after you two had gone to bed,” Jan said as she poured herself some coffee. “I think it was about two when I got in.” She took a sip from her cup and then walked over to the table.
“What are you drawing Katy?”
“A picture of me and Sandy on Friday – she told me what she’s wearing, and I think we’re going to look really good together.”
“I think you might,” Jan said, as she looked at the picture of the two girls, one in a red dress and the other in a pale blue princess gown.
“Oh yes,” Jan said, “I’d love…”
The noise of knocking on their front door made all three look over. “Oh no,” Katherine said, “that only happens…”
“When work calls,” Jan said as she walked to the front door of the apartment, opening it to see Adam standing there in a shirt, jacket and trousers.
“Hey,” Jan said, “sorry I slipped out early yesterday.”
“It’s all right,” Adam said with a little smile, “I enjoyed every second of it as well, but I’m afraid business calls. They struck again last night.”
“Fuck,” Jan said under her breath, “come in, I’ll be dressed in five.”
“Sorry, Katherine,” Adam said as he came into the kitchen, “I need to drag Jan away for a while.”
“I’m afraid so – I’ll get your mommy back as soon as I can Katy.”
“Where,” Jan said as she came in, slipping a red leather blouson jacket on over her cashmere sweater and jeans.
“Atlantic City,” Adam said as she sat down and slipped on her short boots, “Trills Casino.”
“Oh yes – I’ll tell you the details on the way down. See you girls later?”
“Get her back in time for dinner and you can join us?”
“I’ll do my best,” Adam said as he and Jan left the apartment block.
“So how bad?”
“Four dead – a security guard, a maid, the wife of the chief of security – and Olivia Fuller, the general manager.”
“Shit,” Jan said as they moved into traffic, “and how much?”
“They’re trying to work it out now, but they emptied the vault in the counting room. By all accounts, ACPD had the night from hell, and then this hit them.”
Jan shook her head, before she said “Injured?”
“Are we talking gunshot wounds, smoke inhalation, or those who got hurt when they evacuated the entire hotel as cover for the raid?”
Adam grinned, a death’s head grin. “I gotta give them marks for this one – but they still were a bunch of ruthless bitches.”
Jan simply nodded as they headed south.
“Mom and baby home,” Carina said as she came into the room, only to stop when she saw who was sitting on the seats next to Judy.
“Tony? When did you get into town?”
“Surprise,” Tony McNally said as he came over and hugged Carina. “I came over for our half term break, and decided to surprise Jude this morning. My aunt and uncle are off somewhere getting a few things, but they’ll be back in a little while.”
“Well it’s good to see you,” Cari said with a smile.
“How was dinner with your mother?”
“Good actually – she’s replied to the Debs invite to say I will be accompanied by A N Other, yet to be named, and we talked about timings for January.”
“Good stuff,” Judy said. “Which reminds me – not a word to a certain French American of your acquaintance about Tony been here – I want her to be surprised by him.”
“My lips are sealed,” Cari said with a smile as Judith gurgled a little. “Come on you – let’s get you changed and then we’ll get some lovely October fresh air, all right?”
“Thank you for giving up your Sunday afternoon Miss Thomas.” Nikki smiled as they stood in the fitting rooms.
“And yours Liz.” Jeannie thanked the young costumier.
“Well I can’t have you all looking less than perfect at a big party.” Mary laughed.
“These dresses are amazing Liz.” Jeannie looked at her reflection.
“We made them for a Broadway revival of Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
“That’s five dollars please.” Doc turned to Becca holding her hand out.
“Know it all.” Becca grumbled as she reached in her purse and handed over the cash.
“Okay I get that a bet just got settled, but what?” Liz asked as she started pinning Nikki’s dress.
“We had a bet which show, I said My Fair Lady.” Nikki looked sourly at Doc tucking the money in her purse.
“No – the female My Fair Lady costumes are black and white.” Mary smiled.
“Not some of these gorgeous colours.” Liz spoke with a mouthful of pins as she got down on her knees to check the length of Nikki’s dress.
“You do have all the matching hats and gloves Liz?” Mary asked.
“Don’t worry I’ll have them all here that afternoon.” Liz looked up.
“Oh crap, girls are you planning on wearing high heels?” Mary suddenly remembered.
“We were sorta hoping we could borrow some?” Pepsi answered.
“Damn, I’d better go get some Liz.” Mary looked at her friend
“Yeah I’ll take these pins out and we’ll start again.”
“Come and help me please Doc.” Mary looked at the girl.
“Another thing,” Doc spoke, “Shouldn’t these be worn with corsets?”
“For the authentic look yes - why?” Liz looked up again.
“Well can we try some corsets on then?”
“Are you sure you want to torture your bodies like that?” Mary asked. “You’d need wear them at home most of the week to get used to them.”
Doc glanced at the other girls, as one by one they nodded.
“Okay my darlings, it’s your bodies, you better come too young Becky, corsets and heels coming up.”
Trills, Atlantic City
“Dear God, what a mess,” Jan said as she looked round the Counting Room. The bloodstains were unmistakable, as was the stench of smoke in the air.
“According to the staff that survived,” the police officer said, “four of them took over the security room, killed one of the staff, and held the rest and any staff who came in hostage until the rest of them arrived with Broderick, Rufford and their families. All were secured, gagged and blindfolded, but they removed the blindfolds and gags from both Broderick and Rufford when they arrived before they untied them. They then set off the fire alarm in the hotel, which added to the confusion outside after the RTA.”
“We saw the skid marks when we came in,” Adam said as he used a pen to pick up a spent cartridge. “So they brought the families in here…”
“Not before they killed a maid who had come into the security room earlier as an example. Then they came in here, emptied the counting machines, and forced both Broderick and Rufford to open the vault.”
Adam and Jan looked inside the now bare vault.
“So what caused the carnage at the end?”
“Broderick’s wife – apparently they were threatening to kill his older daughter, and she tried to tackle one of them.”
“Never a wise thing,” Jan said as she looked at the bloodstains on the floor. “She probably never knew what hit her. What about Rufford?”
“She knew – the woman guarding the door fired at her as she tried to run off.”
“Dammit,” Adam said as he looked round, “any idea how much they got away with?”
“At least 25 million – maybe more. We won’t know until the forensic accountants have gone over the books.”
“They must have been taken at home – anyone searched there yet?”
“We had to wait for the home security people to come out. One minute after an officer entered the Broderick house, an alarm went off and the place went into shutdown.”
“Now why the hell did that happen?”
“They had one of those new retinal control alarm systems.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard of them,” Jan said, “What happened?”
“It was still set – they must have got one of them to keep it on before they were frog marched here.”
The officer looked round and said, “Forgive the language, ma’am, but Jesus H Christ who are these devils?”
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” Janice said. “All right, we’d better talk to the survivors.”
“Good luck with Broderick – he had to be sedated. Come with me, I’ll take you to them.”
The Huntingdown Apartment
“Flush darling,” Juliette said as she embraced Pru Stratton, “I hear you won last night.”
“I did indeed – and the bank balance is so much healthier,” Pru said with a smile. “I just called in to let you know, and to give this to Cathy.” She handed a check to Cathy Lu, and said “The seed money as promised. Are you sure you don’t want a cut of the pot?”
“No – I am sufficiently rewarded by the coverage the dress got,” Cathy said with a smile.
“Yeah – given what else went on last night, I’m amazed it even got mentioned – but it was a fantastic gown,” she said with a smile.
“Why? What else happened?”
“Don’t you watch the news darling?”
“I haven’t even read the paper this morning – why?”
“The Pussycat Gang! They robbed the casino last night, and set off a fire alarm to evacuate us and the entire hotel!”
“Oh my goodness,” Cathy said as she put her hand to her mouth, “you were not hurt, were you?”
“No – but it sounded as if I got off lucky. The police would not say anything, but I was given the pot and an escort back to New York in the early hours. I did see some ambulances and black bags as I left, though.”
“Oh my,” Juliette said, “it does sound bad.”
They sat quietly for a moment, before Pru stood up. “Anyway, I need to go – I have a shoot later today. I’ll see you both around – and thanks again Cathy.”
“It was my pleasure,” Cathy said as she embraced Pru, and she went out, waving to Sandy, Heather and Diana as they came in.
“Not at the fitting Diana?”
“I have a different costume planned,” she said with a smile. “So?”
“I will know later today, but I believe Juliette may have underestimated the amount.”
“Woof,” Heather said as she sat down. “Some night then.”
“Indeed,” Cathy said, “but I wonder if I may raise another matter with you?”
“Oh,” Sandy said, “and what would that be?”
“I was wondering if you had considered the possibility of investing in some holiday property?”
“Oh,” Juliette said, “and what do you have in mind?”
“Well, I have been considering for some time getting into the winter holiday market. What I’m proposing is that from back in Hong Kong, we buy some units up at Stowe, then we lease them to Huntingdowns, who in turn make them available for use by friends and family.” Cathy looked round the group.
“So we ultimately own the investment, but for IRS purposes it’s just a lease we have?” Heather asked.
“But why Stowe,” Juliette asked.
“Well I love skiing.” Cathy smiled “and Stowe is posh without being overrun with pushy Russians in their fur coats like so many of the other resorts.”
“But St Moritz has chic darlings?” Diana interrupted.
“Snob.” Sandy said with a laugh.
“Do the words pot and kettle come to mind,” Diana said as she raised an eyebrow.
“Well I think it’s a great idea, just a question who we invite in, and how we allocate time?” Heather remarked.
“Well if we buy four units most people can find a bed.” Sandy spoke.
“Are we including Susan, Dom, Annie, Barbara and the coffee gang?” Heather asked.
“I can’t see why not.” Juliette smiled. “It makes sense as business, and with so many teenagers in and round our core group, means they’d get the fun.”
“Makes up for missing out on their school ski trip.” Sandy replied.
“So we are agreed? Very well then, set the wheels in motion Cathy.”
“When do you fly back,” Diana asked the Chinese woman.
“Tuesday – Honoured Father has asked me to convey personal thanks to those who helped last night. But I will join you for the celebration dinner tonight. Where shall we eat?”
“If you will forgive the choice,” Juliette said, “I felt only one place was appropriate.”
The Peacock Inn
“Are you sure I am invited, Caroline,” Ama said as the cab pulled up outside the entrance.
“Abigail and Joanne insisted upon it – and besides, you need to be here,” Caroline said as they stepped out. “It has just come under new management, but it still has an excellent reputation.”
The three women walked in as the hostess looked up.
“We are here as part of the Huntingdown party,” Annie said.
“Ah yes – this way,” she said as she led them to a large round table in the centre of the floor.
“Hey Ama,” Jo said as she stood up, “come and sit with me and Abby, let the older fogeys sit over there.”
Ama smiled as she sat with the two girls, while Caroline and Annie sat with Juliette, Susan and Clint.
“I still can’t believe it – have you told the boss yet,” Caroline said as she sat down.
“Nah – she’s visiting the Orford ancestral home this weekend, so I’ll give them a call tomorrow. Actually, maybe I’d better check my contract first – what is the law on maternity leave in this country?”
“Twelve weeks unpaid – think you can manage that,” Annie said.
“Oh I don’t know – I’ll have to budget accordingly,” Susan said with a smile as Diana, Heather and Sandy came in.
“Jan sends her apologies – her mom had already cooked dinner, and Adam joined them.”
“How is she?”
“Angry as heck,” Sandy said.
“Janice is the one whose party we are going to, correct,” Ama said to Jo.
“That’s right – she got called down to Atlantic City today. Big Casino robbery.”
“Oh – well I can understand that,” Ama said as she looked at the menu. “So many choices, what shall we eat?”
“I suggest the banquet – it’s worked well in the past.”
The table all agreed as the waiter took the menus, and the conversation began.
Tuesday 28th October
The Tavern on the Park
Janice waved to Sandy and her friend as she came into the restaurant.
“Good Afternoon Jan… How goes the investigation?” Sandy patted the seat. As she sat down, she said, “You two don’t know each other do you?”
“No I don’t think so.” Janice looked at the very, very chic woman sitting on the other side of the table.
“Would it surprise you if I told you Tonia is my building contractor?” Sandy asked with a twinkle in her eye.
“It would.” Janice smiled.
“Tonia Razinski meet Agent Janice Carter of the FBI… Janice meet Tonia, the only female builder who is also in The Social Register.”
“Now that is a truly unique combination.” Janice looked the other woman over again. “How did that come about?”
“I was at St Angela’s with the girls, but after the deb thing and Vassar, I couldn’t find a job I liked, so I started doing some courses on how to refit my apartment… my business grew from there.”
“And now she’s the best in the biz.” Sandy smiled.
“Well I’ll bear that in mind… And to answer your question Sandy, yet again we’ve hit a dead end. Those bitches just leave no useful clues.”
“Janice is with The Pussycat Gang taskforce Tonia,” Sandy said by way of explanation.
“Oh now I get it,” Tonia said, “I read about that huge robbery.”
“I just ducked out for lunch with the girls, we are trying to sift through the evidence.”
“Talking of girls.” Sandy stood up as Juliette and Kelly arrived.
“Sorry we are late darlings.” The women exchanged greetings.
“How the hell do you do it Tonia?” Juliette grinned, “All morning on construction sites, and then… well immaculate?”
“It’s a trade secret Ju.” Tonia smiled.
“Well are we expecting the others?” Kelly looked up as a waiter approached.
“They are going to try.” Sandy looked up from the wine list.
“So how’s work Ton?” Kelly asked.
“Well,” Tonia said, “doing that Park Avenue apartment for Sandy, plus refitting the Arabian to host that big Modern Art gala in a couple of weeks, so keeping myself out of trouble.”
“Oh?” Juliette’s ears perked up. “I believe I read about that – a full gala opening?”
“Yeah it’s a breakout the bling from the bank night.” Tonia grimaced. “I’m sure you’ll all get invites.”
“Invites to what?” Rachel McNally asked as she slipped into a chair.
“Invites to the art thing at The Arabian.” Tonia kissed her old school friend.
“They should arrive this week I heard.” Rachel smiled as she ordered a cocktail.
“Well I look forward to hearing more about it.” Juliette exchanged meaningful glances with Sandy and Jan.
“Yeah, should be an amazing night.”
“I see you and Adam made the society pages yesterday Jan?” Rachel remarked.
“I saw, my boss was not best pleased at the photos.”
“I thought the accompanying article was a hoot.” Juliette laughed.
“Well I thought calling our little posse ‘one of New York’s most exclusive little cliques’ was not really on.” Kelly sighed.
“It’s true though.” Tonia sipped her drink.
“It is?” Sandy enquired.
“Yes darling, just look at who is inside your little cabal, aristocrats, old New York families, politicians, models, do I need add more?”
“But I’m an ordinary girl from the burbs.” Janice pointed out.
“What about families like the Broadhursts? I bet they never thought of themselves as ‘society’?” Juliette pondered.
“But they’ve been accepted into your coterie.” Tonia reminded the girls. “Do you know how many people would kill to be in your little group?”
“Surely not Tonia?” Janice asked.
“Oh darling you’d be surprised.”
“We really only have links through St Angela’s though, and it was the daughters, not the parents that started it.”
“Well however it started I’ll bet money the paparazzi will be staking out your party Janice.”
“Yes.” Tonia nodded.
“And by the way Tonia as I suppose you are a member of ‘our little gang’.” Janice laughed, “Do you want to come to my Halloween Party?”
“I thought you’d never ask darling.” Tonia giggled.
Friday 31st October
West Central Park
“There’s a little ditty, they’re singing in the city…”
Katy came out of her room, wearing the little red Chinese dress with red slippers, and looked at her grandmother as she walked round the apartment.
“You look really lovely gran,” she said, as she stood with her hands together in front of her.
“Really? Why thank you ma’am,” Katherine said. Her outfit had a white blouson with a gold ribbon as a lace at the front, a black waistcoat and a two layered skirt, the bottom layer brown and black vertical stripes, and a green overskirt that was hitched at one side. A wide black leather belt, black leather boots, and a red wig completed the barmaid effect.
“When are George and Sandy going to get here?” Katy said as she looked around.
“Patience, darling, I’m sure they’ll get here soon enough,” Katherine said as Janice came out. She adjusted the hat on her head and smiled, pushing her hips to the side as she said, “think this will do?” She was wearing a black naval styled mini dress with a little black bow on her chest, and black three-inch heels.
“I guess Tonia was right after all.” Janice looked down from her apartment at the street below, watching a couple of cops help James the doorman rope off part of the sidewalk to allow only guests into the building.
“Did you give them the list of people who are coming darling?” Katherine asked as she adjusted Katy’s dress.
“As far as possible, I told them anyone who wants in and isn’t on the list that they should phone it up and I’ll say yay or nay.”
“Now doesn’t she look a picture?”
“Katy darling you look beautiful.” Janice hugged her daughter.
“You’re our perfect little princess.” Her grandmother smiled.
“Is everything satisfactory Madame?” the caterer came out of the kitchen.
“If you have everything we agreed it is.” Janice smiled happily.
“Ay ay Cap’n,” Katherine said as she gave her daughter a mock salute. “But where is the master boson?”
“Coming,” Adam said as he came out in his black sailor’s outfit, and put his cap on. “Dear God if my unit could see me now…”
“Come here, Sailor,” Jan said as she beckoned him over.
“It’s a good thing tomorrow is a Saturday.” Adam smiled as he watched the waitresses lay out trays with glasses on. “I looked in the kitchen, everyone drinks enough to get rid of all that, we will all have hangovers.”
“You get drunk Adam Ball, I’ll kill you.” Janice whispered in his ear, “You can’t perform later, I swear I’ll dump you.”
“Is that a threat Jan?”
“No just a warning, I’m dying to go to bed with you again my love.”
Adam leaned over and kissed her.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be there for you.”
“ICK – Uncle Adam and Mom kissed!”
Katherine smiled as she looked at the two of them. She knew it was time they admitted how they felt about each other.
“Looks like the first guests are arriving,” Adam said as he looked out of the window. A large cab had pulled up outside.
“I’m glad they got here first, before it got too busy,” Jan said as she went to the door, and waited.
“Oh my – this is special,” Doc called out as they got out of the cab. She and Becky were wearing long red dresses with their bosoms forced up and out, their waist cinched by the same corset, their bottoms made larger by the built up skirts. Nikki was wearing a green dress with a tight corset underneath, her bosom exposed slightly as her hair sat under a matching green hat. Pepsi was wearing a similar dress, but in deep blue. The sleeves of their dress were lace, but all four girls wore matching opera gloves, with their high heels under their skirts.
“Okay girls, tummies in, boobs out and SMILE!” Jeannie marshaled her friends on the curbside as the driver helped her into her chair. The young girl was wearing a low cut black dress with a cinched waist, her hair piled high under a black hat titled to one side on her head, and long opera gloves.
“That’s Jeannie Brewster.” Someone in the small crowd shouted, as the photographers snapped away.
“Can we ask you to pose girls?” One of the press photographers asked.
“I suppose so.” Jeannie shifted into model mode, while her friends posed as well.
“Oh my God will we be in the papers and magazines?” Pepsi whispered into Jeannie’s ear.
“Probably,” Jeannie whispered back.
“All right boys,” Nikki said, “we have a party to go to. Excuse us please.”
She pushed Jeannie up to the doors, the girls following they went in.
“I’m glad you could all come – will Mary be along later,” Janice said as they came in.
“Yeah – she said she had to get changed first,” Doc said as they came in.
“Thank you for inviting us,” Jeannie said as Adam kissed her hand, “would it be possible for me to have somewhere to sit?”
“I’ve got something sorted – let me see if it is ready,” she said as she went off and Katy looked at them.
“Wow – can I look as pretty as you when I’m that old?”
Before the girls could say anything, Jan came back and said “Barbara – you look wonderful tonight.”
“So do you,” Barbara said as she and John came in. She was dressed as a pirate queen of the Barbary Coast, her short dress red with a black and gold waistcoat, and knee length black leather pirate boots. As for John, he was dressed as a Georgian nobleman, in a yellow jacket and knickerbockers, yellow stockings, black shoes and a white wig.
“Okay who stole my Mum and replaced her with someone with legs that good?” Jeannie grinned as her mother leaned down to kiss her.
“Your Mother scrubs up pretty nicely doesn’t she?” John kissed his granddaughter.
“Where do you think I get my looks from Granddad? Certainly not from you.” Jeannie smiled cheekily.
“Okay as requested one chaise for you to recline on Jeannie.” Jan came over.
“Oh this is nice.” Jeannie smiled as John helped her onto the recliner.
“Right girls – best behavior tonight, understood?”
“Yes Miss Carter,” they said in unison, “or you may hurt us.”
“No,” Jan said with a smile, “they might.”
The girls looked to the door, and as one whispered “Miss Kelly?”
Annie was wearing a brown leather bikini, mini skirt and knee length boots, with protective arm guards, while Caroline had on a black leather dress with a layered skirt and metal front piece.
“They make the fine warrior pair, do they not,” Ama said as he came over to join them. The young girl was dressed as a Greek goddess, in a white dress that covered her chest, back and legs, but was loose at the sides. It was gathered round her waist with a gold girdle, and she had a matching necklace and headband.
“Wow – Xena and Gabrielle? Way to go Miss Kelly – and Caroline’s black wig looks so realistic,” Pepsi said as they walked in and waved to them.
“Why Juliette, you’ll cause a scandal,” Caroline said when she saw Juliette walk in. She was wearing a nun’s habit and head covering, but the skirt was cut away at the front, to reveal a pair of black fishnet stockings with a garter belt, and four-inch killer heels.
“It’s all right – I have absolution,” she said as she looked over her shoulder to see Father Alex walk in, dressed as Little John.
“Am I forgiven, father,” Jan said as she shook his hand.
“Only if I am,” Alex said as he walked over to join Adam and John.
“Poor bastards, at least it isn’t me for once.” John looked at the row of cars waiting to drop people off.
“Isn’t you what John?” Alex Richmond looked out the window. “Oh driving?” The Priest smiled as he sipped his drink.
“Yeah – it’s not fun just waiting while the cars ahead unload and the bloody shutter poppers take their pictures.”
“Very frustrating I’d imagine.”
“So how did you arrive Father?”
“Juliette very kindly picked me up.”
“Much trouble parking?”
“Not really, but I’d hate to try right now.”
“I know.” John looked down at the street again and said, “Oh boy – the boss is here.”
“I thought Barbara was over there talking to Annie?”
“No – that boss.”
“OH,” Alex said as he looked out, “that one.”
“Seriously, photographers at a private party,” Vanessa said as they stepped out of the lift.
“Relax, mother,” Sandy said as they walked to the apartment door, “just think of it as a charity event.”
“THERE YOU ARE!!”
Katy ran out and embraced both little Sandy and George. George was wearing a Hercules outfit, while Sandy had come as Megan from the same film.
“I like that dress,” Sandy said as she looked at the friend.
“Come on – some of our friends are in my room,” she said as he dragged the two kids away. Heather and Sandy had come dressed as saloon girls, Heather in a blue and black strapless dress with a short skirt, over the knee stockings and a feather in her black wig, and Sandy in a pink and black outfit with a long train and a pillbox hat.
“Looking good girls,” Ju said as they came in, while Vanessa followed them her parasol over her shoulder as she looked round the room.
“May I say you look delightful Madam,” John said as he kissed her lace-gloved hand, and looked at her green Southern Belle dress with the lace over dress and white hat.
“Why thank you kind sir,” she said as John escorted her in, and the next guests arrived.
“Looks like I am first here,” Jo said as she looked round. She was dressed as a female Zorro, in short black leather dress and eye mask, the cape and hat matching the over the knee black leather boots.
“Jo – Heather just arrived, and I’m sure the others will be here soon. But who is this dashing masked hero?”
“This is Curt.” Jo smiled happily. “Curt this is Janice Carter, our hostess.”
“Delighted to meet you Miss Carter.” The young man dressed as Zorro shook Janice’s hand.
“Just call me Jan please Curt.”
“Crime is Jan’s profession Curt.” Jo giggled at the face her escort made at the news.
“She means I’m an FBI agent Curt.”
“Oh!” he laughed at the joke.
“Jo said you are finishing up a PhD in criminal psychology… it sounded very impressive.”
“Thank you.” Curt blushed under his mask, “but I’m not doing anything too new or radical, just working on theories of punishment.”
“Well that sounds interesting though.”
“Well maybe we can talk later?”
“We will see.” Janice caught Jo looking daggers at her through her mask. “I better circulate.”
“Did I say something wrong,” Curt said as he looked round, “this is fairly high society…”
“Just stick next to me and you’ll be all right,” she said as she looked over at Jeannie and her posse.
“Oh ho – prime Sirloin at ten o’clock,” Becky said as she looked at Curt.
“He’s with Jo,” Jeannie said as she accepted a drink, “do you really think it would be wise to try and steal him?”
“Oh? And who is going to stop me?”
“Me for one little sis.”
Becky wheeled round to see Bobbi Morse standing there, dressed as a female highwayman, her black velvet pants tucked into her knee length boots.
“Aw are you going to spoil my fun?”
“You’re sounding dangerously like a Rochermann – back down, or Mom and Dad may have something to say.”
Becky looked over to see her mother and father come in; Tom dressed as George Washington, and her mother in a pirate barmaid costume, her black ankle boots showing under the red skirt.
“Yeah – okay, he’s Jo’s and he’s off limits,” Becky said.
“There there,” Doc said as she patted her friend’s arm, “there will be other days.”
“Wow – some crowd out there now,” Judy said as she and David came in. She was wearing a mustard yellow knee length skirt and matching short jacket, with a black blouse underneath, while David wore a thirties grey suit with a snap brim hat, white shirt and brown tie.
“Hey,” Jan said as she came over, “Thanks for coming. Where’s your room mate?”
“Wow,” Jo said as she saw Carina in the strapless black dress, the skirt cut like a mermaid’s tail, and her blonde hair piled up.
“Very nice,” Jeannie said as they came over, “copying Cari and Abby?”
“No – the parents,” Judy said as Rachel and George came in, her father in a white gangster suit, black shirt and white tie, her mother dressed as a flapper.
"So who is babysitting Judith tonight?"
Annie asked Carina as she came over.
"Our friend Teresa," Carina replied,
"In return for the privilege of her and her boyfriend getting to use our
"That place is turning into a den of sin I
"Well it will when you come visit darling."
Annie whispered back, "One night when Judy's away… I promise."
"So what are you two whispering about?"
Bobbi came over.
"Annie was leaking the girls’ scores on their
midterms…" Cari smiled.
"And if I believed that I'd also believe in
fairies." Bobbi grinned. "I've missed you all." Bobbi hugged
"So no boyfriends yet Bobs?"
"Two." Bobbi sighed, "That's my
Carina grinned. "So you couldn't invite one without the other,
"I'd have taken the spare off your hands
sis." Becca said as she joined the conversation.
"In that costume I've no doubt." Bobbi
"They could have both got lucky tonight."
Carina smiled wickedly.
"Yeah who'd of thunk little sis would have done it already." Bobbi grinned.
The party was fairly busy by this point, but it fell silent as they turned to see three figures walk in, dressed in ornate black and white costumes, with matching hats and hoods covering their heads. Their faces were covered by white porcelain masks, with black lips and lined eyeholes.
“Who are they,” Claire said to Rachel.
It took a few minutes for Jeannie to realize who the tallest and thinnest of the three were.
“Stick! What a costume!”
Abby turned and nodded, and then gasped as she saw a young man in the dress uniform of a Crimean war Irish Hussar.
“Tony? Tony McNally? Why didn’t anyone tell me you were here?”
“Oh,” Jo said as she and Cari came over, “did we forget to mention it?”
“You damn well know you did,” Abby said with a smile as she removed her mask, and went over to greet him.
“Diana, Natasha, you look spectacular,” Jan said as she came forward to greet them.
“It is a pleasure to be here,” Natasha said as she removed her mask, smiled and looked round. “Such a charming apartment.”
“Thanks – come in, help yourselves,” she said as a waitress offered the new arrivals a glass of champagne.
“And here come the proud parents to be,” Caroline said as Susan and Clint came in, dressed as Han Solo and Leia from Return of the Jedi.
“Nice outfit Susan,” Annie said.
“Hey, might as well wear it while I can,” Susan said with a smile as John came over.
"Miss Carter can I ask a
"It's Janice John."
"Okay Janice." John smiled, "I bet a
few of the drivers are hanging round somewhere downstairs, is it all right I
take a couple of bottles down for them."
"Please John." Janice looked forward.
"Tell me where they are holed up when you have delivered the drink, I'll
send someone down with food as well."
"Thank you Miss… I mean Janice."
"What was that about Jan?" Adam came up and
"John asking can he run some bits down to the drivers."
"That's a good thought,
I guess I better take some bits down for the cops."
"Please Adam I'd forgotten those guys as
"Ask the caterers." Jan indicated.
"Okay will do." Adam went through to the kitchen, where the head caterer was preparing more canapés.
“Any chance I can take a couple of bottles of Irish down to the boys in blue?”
“Sure thing agent – over there.”
Adam nodded as he took two bottles and some glasses and headed down, going into the lobby as Tom and Gale Callaghan arrived.
“That’s a new look for you Tom,” he said as he looked at his boss, dressed as a Chinese Imperial Guard.
“Well, when in Rome,” Tom said as he looked at his wife. Gale was wearing the Cheongsam Janice had brought back, with matching red heels.
“Go on up,” Adam said, “I need to have a word with the guys outside.”
“I didn’t see that,” Tom said as he and Gale went into the lift, and Adam signaled to the police sergeant outside.
As the photographers paid attention to the people arriving, a smaller woman in Welsh traditional dress slipped past, spoke quietly to the doorman, and then went in.
Her approach was totally unlike that of the twin girls in their policewoman outfits, who pouted and posed before they went in.
“Party time,” Nell said as they went into the lift.
“Oh yes,” Ally said as they both suddenly noticed the third participant.
“Miss Thomas,” Ally said, “Sorry, I didn’t…”
“You’re all right girls,” Mary said, “you can run cover for me while I slip quietly in…”
"I ran into a couple more cops who need to come in and inspect the party." Adam smiled as he opened the door.
“Inspect it? Inspect it for what?”
“To make sure it is up to our exacting standards,” Ally said as she walked in.
“So are you all ready?” Nell said as she joined her twin sister.
“OH JOY!” Abby, Cari and Jo said in unison. “Lock up your partners, they’re here…”
“This is a marvelous party,” Cari said to Jan, before she noticed the next guests arrive and talk to Adam. The young man wore a black suit, top hat and bow tie, and had a mask over his eyes, but Cari was focused on the blonde on his arm, dressed in a red cat suit with thigh length red leather boots and a pair of horns on her head.
“Not tonight,” Juliette whispered into her ear, as Tony and Holly were greeted by Jan, “Not tonight”
“Jan – the doorman needs you.”
"Miss," the doorman spoke on the intercom,
"There's some guy down here says he's the Duke of Grechy
or some such thing, he aint on the list."
"The Duke of what?"
"What's he look like?" a voice said from
"Old guy, grey hair, distinguished. French accent."
"That's my future father-in-law." Natasha
"Oh God it's Diana's father…" Jan for a
second panicked. "Ummm can you send His Grace up
“If you say so Miss Carter."
"Oh God I nearly turned a Duke away…"
"Don't worry." Natasha laughed, "Guy's got a great sense of humor."
“Natasha, Darling,” Guy said as he came in wearing a Musketeer’s outfit, “I came to surprise you and accompany you, but I missed you at home. Forgive my tardiness.”
“That is all right, Guy,” Natasha said. “May I present our hostess, Janice Carter. Janice, Guy, Duc de Grechy”
“Enchante,” Guy said as he kissed Jan’s hand.
“Father – I had forgotten you would be over for the Keeneland Breeding stock sale.”
“Your grandfather is here,” Tony said as he handed Abby a drink.
“Should make the evening entertaining,” Abby said with a smile.
“What the hell are we walking into here,” Grant Broadhurst said as he looked out of the cab at the crowds waiting outside the apartment building. “Who are these people hoping to see?”
“Who knows, but that’s the address,” April said as she took his hand. “Protect me my centurion.”
“Of course, my queen,” he said as he put his helmet on. “You two ready as well?”
Emma Carlton nodded as she looked out, nervously patting down the hem of her paisley patterned green minidress. Her legs were in a pair of white go-go boots, while her husband Steve was wearing a pair of bell-bottom trousers in the same material and a frilled red shirt.
“On three – three,” Grant said as he and Steve stepped out, taking their wives by their hands as they walked through the crowds and ignored the cameras.
“Carlton and Broadhurst.”
“Ah yes – you are expected. Go right on up.”
As they entered the elevator, two more cars pulled up and their passengers got out.
“Tonia darling,” Elaine Colman said, “I did not know you knew Janice?”
“Mutual friends Elaine,” Tonia said as they embraced and kissed. “I see Bradley watched 300 again.”
“What can I say,” Bradley Colman said with a smile. He was dressed as a Spartan soldier, while Elaine was dressed as his wife. By contrast, Tonia was wearing a Southern belle dress made of crimson silk, while her husband Roy wore a uniform of a Confederate officer.
“Well then,” Roy said as he took his wife’s arm, “shall we join the merry throng?”
“Mind if we join you?”
“Of course not Kelly,” Tonia said as Kelly Rochermann walked up, dressed like Lana Turner in a long silk gown and a fur wrap. Her husband was next to her, doing a very passable Bogart impression.
“Six for the party,” Tonia said as she walked up to the door.
“Of course,” the doorman said as he checked their names, “Please, head up.”
“So father,” Diana said as she stood with Guy in a corner, “how is the delightful Valeria?”
“Regretting the fact she could not come,” Guy said as he bowed to Tony and Abby, “but business kept her there. You all look delightful tonight, my dear, if somewhat pale in complexion.”
“The Venetian approach demands this, as you well know father,” Diana said with a smile. “But we wished to make a dramatic entrance.”
“And that you did – forgive me if I mingle.”
“I expect no less from you father – but you will join us all for lunch tomorrow?”
“I would be honoured,” Guy said as he moved around the room.
“Well that article on Monday totally blindsided me.” April Broadhurst said as she sipped her champagne.
“Yeah I’d like to get hold of the reporter who wrote that.” Caroline gritted her teeth.
“Why, would you like to separate their heads from their shoulders,” Grant said with a smile.
“Tempting, very tempting – metaphorically speaking, of course.” Caroline took another sip of her champagne as Guy strolled over.
“Well for us it proved the old saying that all publicity is good publicity, we’ve never had as many people in the store.” April looked at her husband, “and the number of people who’ve rung for me to do the flowers for their events…”
“And treating her like they’d be the ones honored if April did the job.” Grant shook his head, “like she’s some fancy lady.”
“Well it’s an ill wind I guess?” Caroline smiled, “But in my business anonymity is desirable.”
“What modeling? I thought models loved publicity?” Guy joined the discussion.
“Modeling’s only a part time thing for me, my real business is as a security consultant.”
“Well that I can understand.” Guy smiled.
“Guy I see you still zero in on the most beautiful woman in the room.” A lilting voice spoke from behind him.
“Moi?” Guy turned. “Oh dear God… Mary Thomas.” He smiled. “It has been a long while my darling.”
“It has.” Mary blushed as he kissed her on both cheeks.
“Is that a witches outfit Mary?” April asked.
“No April my darling, this is the traditional costume of my homeland.”
“Some think though that the witches pointed hat derives from the Welsh hat though.” Guy pointed out.
“How did you know that Guy?”
“YOU told me many, many moons ago.” Guy smiled.
“So how are you April?” Mary asked.
“Good.” April smiled. “Mary this is my husband Grant.”
“Pleased to meet you Mary.” Grant shook her hand.
“And this old devil.” Mary chuckled “is Guy de Grechy, He’s Abby’s grandfather.”
“Oh the duke.” Caroline smiled.
“For my sins.” Guy’s eyes sparkled.
“I better get you out of here now.” Mary smiled, “I’m charm proof, poor Caroline I’m not so sure about.” She took Guy by the arm and walked off with him in the direction of the Morse family.
“Is he really a Duke?” April whispered to Caroline.
“Yes.” Caroline smiled, “Diana, Abigail and Natasha are all technically Countess de Ros, although they very rarely use that title here. And even I know of his reputation as a ladies man – although the rumour is he has settled down now.”
“Oh my God we have gone up in the world.” Grant whispered.
“Think of it this way, I suppose,” Caroline said as she looked at Emma and Steve Carlton, dancing with Annie and David, “we’re all just humans and friends under the glitz and glamour.”
“Jan – it’s James again.”
“Coming,” Jan said as she went to where her mother was standing by the intercom.
“Miss Carter, sorry to disturb you again, but I have two young men down here. They say their names are Jack and Billy and that I need to ask David to okay them.”
“Hold on James I’ll ask.” Jan called David over.
“Yes Janice.” David smiled.
“There are two guys downstairs they say they know you, their names are Jack and Billy.”
“Oh boy - I should say I don’t know them,” David looked to heaven, “Unfortunately I do, it’s my brothers.”
“Okay send them up James.” Jan giggled in the intercom.
Two minutes later there was a tap on the door.
“What are you buggers doing here?” David said as he hugged his siblings.
“We thought we’d pop over for the weekend.” Billy said.
“Mum and Dad are visiting friends, and the house was big and empty, so we went to Yale, but someone there said you were here, so…”
“Okay well you’d better meet our hostess.”
“Janice can I present my brother Jack, or more properly John, Viscount Millingham.”
“Charmed.” Jack kissed Janice’s hand.
“And the little one is Billy, or more formally Lord William Fitzstuart.”
“Thank you for letting us crash your party.” Billy also kissed her hand.
“I could get used to that hand kissing.” Jan smiled.
“Sorry we didn’t know it was fancy dress or we’d have got costumes.” Jack apologized.
“That’s okay boys, just say you’ve come as two English lords.”
“Sounds like a plan Miss Carter…”
“Boys I’m getting tired of saying this, but PLEASE call me Janice.”
“Come on we’ll grab you some drinks?” David pulled his brothers away as they passed Jeannie and the other girls.
“Oh Boy, now those are better, two young unattached Englishmen.” Doc smiled at her friends.
“Think you can handle them,” Nikki said as Ama looked at them.
“The question is, Nikki, can they handle me?”
“Down girls,” Jeannie said, “I may be interested in the taller of the two.”
“Oh darn, and yet you cannot move,” Doc said.
“Who needs to move,” Jeannie said as she watched them walk over.
“Girls, May I introduce my brothers Jack and Billy, boys, this is…”
“Jeannie Brewster,” Jack said. “Easily one of the most famous women in our country.”
Jeannie raised an eyebrow as Ama giggled and walked off.
“Enjoying yourself?” Annie said as she put a protective arm around her charge.
“Very much so – and I see the others are as well,” Ama said as she looked around the room.
“Ama – would you come over here a minute?”
“Of course,” she said as she walked to where Caroline was standing with Emma Carlton and Elaine Colman. “Ladies, this is Ama. Ama, these are Nikki and Anna’s mothers.”
“A pleasure to meet you,” Ama said as they fell into conversation.
“An amazing crowd of people you know,” Curt said as he stood with Jo in a corner.
“Yeah – I forget sometimes how many people my sister and her employer know.”
“They do seem to get on very well together,” he said as he looked at Sandy and Heather.
“Yeah, well – they are lovers you know,” Jo said quietly.
“Ah – I should have guessed,” Curt, said, before he whispered something into Jo’s ear.
“Oh my – do they really teach you that at grad school,” Jo said in a quiet voice.
Curt merely leaned over and kissed her on the lips, Jo returning the gesture as she put her arms round his waist.
"Say that again James?” Jan spoke in the intercom.
“Two ladies Miss, one says her name is Pussy and the other Frieda.”
“Okay Pussy I do know.” Janice smiled. “Send Dr. van Roon and her friend up please.”
Jan went to the door to admit the two women, both dressed in Viking costumes.
“Sorry for crashing Janice, I hoped you’d remember me.” Pussy kissed her hostess on the cheek.
“I know only one woman who dares tell everyone her name is Pussy.” Jan smiled. “And you are more than welcome.”
“This is Frieda my partner.” Pussy indicated the slightly smaller woman also dressed as a Valkyrie.
“It’s a pleasure Frieda.” Jan shook the German woman’s hand.
“Thank you for letting us come in.” Frieda smiled, “We stand out a bit dressed like this even on Halloween.”
“Puss!” Heather hugged her old friend, “How the hell?”
“Mother read about this little shindig and told me, so I thought we’d try crash.”
“I think you know most people Pussy, but you both have some catching up to do.” Jan passed them both glasses of champagne.
"Okay now do you see it Juliette?" Tonia smiled.
"Get what darling."
"Why this group inspires envy, we have a Duke,
three Countesses, one Viscount, two simple lords, a Van Roon
who is genuine New York aristocracy, three Richmond's, they are old New York
Irish money, a Deputy Mayor, some of the most sought after models - do I need
"I guess not." Juliette sipped her
champagne. "I guess I didn't see how we'd all come together."
"Well I'm glad I got invited in." Tonia
"Are you having fun Elaine?" Vanessa asked.
Elaine Colman nodded as she looked round. "It's more fun than being at my mother-in-laws ever was."
"The Gorgon could kill any party." Vanessa admitted.
“Why on earth did she do it,” Elaine asked.
“I never really knew – and never really wanted to ask,” Vanessa said as she looked around. “On the other hand, she never knew what she missed.”
“So how come the man they call The House is not here tonight,” Tony said as he handed Abby another drink.
“He has a game tomorrow,” Abby said with a sigh. “I guess the next time I’ll see him will be Thanksgiving.”
“On the other hand,” he said quietly, “it does mean you’re all alone for this soldier to carry away?”
“Why sir,” Abby said as she looked at him, “I remind you my mother and grandfather are here, as well as my aunt.”
Abby smiled at Tony, before saying, “Keep talking…”
“Hey you two,” Bobbi said as she came over with Cari, “trying to preempt anything later?”
“Now what on earth would give you that idea, Ms. Morse,” Ally said as she stuck her hips out to one side.
“Because, if truth be told, you two are as bad as each other,” Holly Berryman said as she put her hand on Nell’s shoulder.
“Holly – dressing to show your inner nature?”
“Now now Carina darling, you are the one dressed like the fish lady.”
“All right you two,” Bobbi said, “Lord knows I never thought I’d be the voice of reason here, but for goodness sake put it behind you for one night. You’ve both dated the same guy, you’re both easily the most beautiful of our group…”
“Come on Nell…”
“Okay, maybe amongst the most beautiful…”
Jan watched the girls talking until she became aware of Katy tugging on her skirt.
“What is it darling,” she said as she knelt down.
“Mom, Sandy and I heard somebody walking on the fire escape outside.”
“Let me come and look,” Jan said as she followed her daughter into the other room, where she and some of her and George’s friends were sitting with a couple of babysitters. She looked through the curtains, and then turned to them, closing the drapes behind her.
“It’s all right, Kids,” she said quietly, “I see the problem. You keep watching the DVDs, and ignore any noise you hear, all right?”
She stepped back into the party and whispered something into Adam’s ear. Adam nodded and looked round, then whispered something into Tom’s ear, him nodding in turn as the two of them slipped into the kitchen.
“Problem,” Heather said as Jan came over to where she was standing talking to Pussy and Frieda.
“Photographers – they must be on the fire escape. Adam and Tom have gone to invite them in.”
“Oh that could be interesting,” Pussy said with a smile, “but what are they going to do to them.”
“Those two? Nothing except tell them off and take their cameras. I want a little more however,” she said as she looked at Ally and Nell.
“Girls,” she said as she walked over, “ready to have some fun?”
The two photographers were crouched in front of the window, looking through to see who they could get a photograph of next.
“Who on earth is that in the white face and black costumes?”
“Not sure – one of them might be Abby de Ros, which might make the other her mother and aunt. Have you seen what Juliette Huntingdown is wearing though?”
“What half those women are wearing – look at them all? We’re going to get top price for these shots…”
“Good evening Gentlemen.”
The two men turned to see an Imperial Chinese Guard and a Sailor standing behind them.
“Errr – I guess you’re wondering what we’re doing here?”
“Yeah, we were,” Tom said as he and Adam showed them their badges, “because right this moment, you are spying on the home of a federal agent. That’s a crime son – so you two had better come with us.”
The two photographers stood up and followed Tom into the kitchen, Adam bringing up the rear.
“Cameras, gentlemen – your employers can apply to the FBI field office in the morning for their return.”
“You can’t just rip the film out of these,” the photographer said with a smirk.
“No,” Adam said, “but we can wipe their storage. Now, we think you two should have a discussion with the police about trespass laws.”
“That’s all right, boys,” Jan said as she stood in the doorway, “I have two officers waiting out here.”
“Oh come on folks, you don’t need to involve the police,” one of them said as Adam and Tom marched them out, “we can talk this out…” He then shut up as he saw Ally and Nell standing there, looking at them over their dark glasses.
“These the men you called us about ma’am?” Ally said as she looked at Jan.
“Yeah, these are the creeps,” she said as the others watched, “I want you to show them how unhappy I am they scared my daughter and the other kids.”
“Of course ma’am,” Nell said as she came forward, running her finger down the cheek of one of the photographers, “but we may need photographic evidence of this.”
“YES MISS KELLY,” Doc, Becky, Pepsi and Nell said as they got their cell phones out, filming as Nell pulled the arms of one of the photographers behind his back and handcuffed them together, while Ally slowly unbuttoned the shirt of the other one as his eyes travelled downwards.
“Do you like what you see, citizen,” she said as she thrust her chest forward.
He stayed silent as his wrists were handcuffed in front of him, while Ally and Nell posed, their legs up and wound round one of the men’s as they smiled for the cameras that were going off.
“I wonder how turned on you are,” Nell said as she looked at her captive.
“Very by the looks of it,” Ally said as she glanced down.
“All right you two,” Adam said, “Bring them downstairs with me – we’ll give their colleagues something to laugh at.”
“Have a nice night boys,” Jan said as she waved them off, to a round of applause.
“I like her,” Pussy said, “She has the right attitude.”
“Heather, got a minute,” Juliette said as she went to one side with her friend.
“What have you found out?”
“Well, Tonia has created a vast open space in the main hall – perfect for hanging artworks and putting a few pieces of sculpture in. By the looks of things she has prepared a smaller reception room at one end, and a funnel form of vestibule to guide people into the main hall.”
“The people have to stay to enjoy the art and the party – and there are only two ways in and out to manage.”
“Hmmm – got the plans?”
“Is this pate de fois gras exquisite?”
“Naturally,” Juliette said with a smile, “we will talk tomorrow…”
"I heard you are over for the Keeneland
sales your Grace?" Roy Razinski asked as he came over.
"My name is Guy,” he said with a smile, “and yes I
am dear boy, are you a racing man yourself?"
"I run a couple of horses on the New York
Roy smiled and said, "Have you heard of a colt
"Now he dear boy is more than useful."
"Well your New York Baby might have the beating
"On which surface?"
Jack Fitzstuart interrupted.
Guy reflected, "I'm not sure she'd go on dirt at all."
"So Jack are you into racing as well?" Roy
"Can one be up at Cambridge and ignore the
temptations of Newmarket?" Jack smiled.
"Oh Jack dear boy, that attitude takes me
back." Guy laughed,
"So what are you looking for at Keeneland Guy?" Roy asked.
"A couple of nice mares with some
Northern Dancer in them. I've bought a small stud in Normandy and I'm finding
a few nice animals to house."
"That sounds like a nice project." Roy
"Have you got a stallion Sir?"
"No, most of the horses I'd consider are way out
of my price range, I'll send my mares to the stallions
others can afford to own."
"I heard you say about Northern Dancer blood
Sir." Jack mused, "What's your theory?"
"I think the Northern Dancer crosses would maybe
put some stamina back in, New York Baby for example was amazingly fast but 6
furlongs was her top distance."
Roy nodded, "I concur, you've had some very smart
sprinters Guy, I can see with your own breeding establishment why you'd want to
get some stamina into your bloodlines."
"Okay that's my husband settled for the evening." Tonia laughed. "Get him talking about damn horses and breeding and he's totally content."
"Okay this is getting beyond a joke." Doc
watched as more and more of the men congregated round Guy to talk racing.
"What is the point of us looking so gorgeous if all they are going to do
is talk about breeding racehorses."
"That's well put sweetie." Elaine Colman
glared as her husband joined the conversation. "And by the way you do all
look amazingly beautiful."
"Thank you Mom." Nikki smiled.
"Vanessa can you see?"
"Sadly I can, I'm just my glad my late husband
isn't here to join them."
"Your brother seems immune." Pussy watched
the priest dancing with her girlfriend.
"Alex's vice is fine wine, not horses
"Ladies we need to break this up." Claire
Morse sipped her wine.
"So how do we solve the man shortage?" Doc asked Bobbi Morse.
"We know a method." Nell Rochermann
"I saw your solution at the beach party."
"That was one hell of a night." Ally smiled,
"he kept going for ever…"
"And the size of his…" Nell closed her eyes.
"Girls remember just 14." Bobbi said a
"Bobs we know what sex is, we're all on the pill
just like you guys." Becca reminded her sister.
"Let me get this right, are you suggesting we
hunt in pairs tonight and offer guys threesomes?" Doc asked.
"Can you see another method?" Nell asked.
“Tony is besotted with you Abs so he's out, and Jo and
Curt get left alone, but Jack and Billy are fair game." Bobbi grinned.
"Ah now that sounds more like my sister."
"Well we are out." Ally smiled, "One of
the cops downstairs is tres cute, we've already made
a date with him, he'll be up when he gets off duty."
"That reduces the competition." Doc smiled.
“You’ll have to leave me out of this,” Jeannie said with a smile, “I am too exhausted to do anything.”
“I also must, as you put it, stay out of the hunt,” Ama said quietly.
“Oh – not interested in either of them,” Nikki said as she raised an eyebrow.
“No – but I do not feel either is the man for me. And besides, I do not wish to upset Caroline.”
“Fair point,” Becca said as she looked over at Caroline, who was sitting and laughing with Sandy and Diana.
"That looks dangerous." Juliette nodded
towards the group of teenage girls.
"Well I'm going to be guilty of aiding and
abetting." Rachel McNally spoke. "We told our dearest daughter she
could have the apartment for her and David later, and to keep an eye on the
girls and if things look drastic take them to our place."
"You told Judy what?" Kelly shook her head
"Look face it most of us were at school
together," Tonia looked serious, "I know precisely how most of you
acted at the same age, and I for one think it's better that the girls at least
have an apartment to use rather than making it in cars."
"What do you think Emma and April?"
"Well I know Anna is sexually active." Emma
looked a trifle sad, "but yes I'd rather know she was being watched over
by older girls if she's going to go with a boy tonight."
"We told Pepsi she could find her own way home,
just to be very careful."
"Damn, why were my parents never this cool?"
"Because darling underneath everything I knew you
were a true wild child." Vanessa tutted.
“What about you Heather?”
“No – no, I was the original all study and no play girl,” Heather said. Pussy looked at her, then took her arm and led her to one side with Frieda.
“Well,” Sandy said, “they’re on the move…”
“Excuse me,” Doc said as she walked over with Becky, “May we ask a question of you, Lord William?”
“You may ask anything you like, ladies,” he replied with a smile, “and please, call me Billy.”
“Well, Billy,” Becky said as she took one arm, and Doc the other, “we were hoping you would join us for a little promenade, and a drink, and maybe we can tell you of other things than horses?”
Jack watched as Billy was led away, and shook his head – only to be startled by Nikki and Pepsi, who curtseyed before him and said “May we have this dance, Viscount Millingham?”
“Well, when asked so nicely, how can I refuse,” Jack said as they took his arm and led him off.
“How on earth do they learn so young,” David said as he looked at Judy.
“Never you mind,” Judy said as she took David’s arm, “you owe me a drink.”
“All right ladies, the new generation have shown us the way,” Rachel said, “Surround and remove.”
“I feel so proud,” Ally said as she and the others watched their mothers move in and gently break up the men.
"What did you make of the photographers outside Vanessa?" Mary asked as she ate a sandwich.
"I guess it's the era,” Vanessa said as she leaned on her parasol, “but it's sad when a private party gets afflicted by them"
"I think most of them are here because Abigail
and Jeannie are." Guy nodded.
"Did I hear my daughter’s name taken in
vain?" Barbara joined the little group.
"Barbara you look as beautiful as your lovely
daughter." Guy kissed her.
"We were saying the paparazzi and the society
photographers were probably outside because they knew Jeannie and Abigail would
be here." Vanessa spoke.
"I suppose it is the price of their
celebrity." Katherine said.
"It can get annoying, but yes you are right." Barbara sipped her drink.
“So how do you cope?”
“Live a life, do my job, and enjoy Jeannie’s happiness,” Barbara said with a smile.
"You know Juliette dear dressing as a Nun can
lead to bad habits?" Janice laughed.
"Jan that pun is SO OLD!"
"You two seem to be having fun."
"We are Mrs. Carter." Juliette laughed some
"It's Katherine dear."
"Okay - Katherine."
"Well what does it feel like to be in high
society Mom?" Janice asked.
"No different then
being in low society," Katherine laughed as she took another drink from a
waitress, “though I admit the food and drink is a bit better."
"So did you meet the Duke yet Katherine?"
"I did Juliette… I bet he's a real old
"He's cleaned his act up." Juliette snagged
a salmon sandwich, "But he and Mary and Vanessa have known each other a
long time, and I think Mary and Vanessa can keep a watch on him."
"I must admit I like him though…"
"Oh Mom!" Janice laughed
"Well even at my age…." Katherine smiled her
lovely smile. "Now I think I'll join Vanessa and Mary in controlling the
"Your Mom is having fun."
"DID YOU SEE THAT?" Janice giggled as she saw Guy surreptitiously pinch her mother’s ass.
"Old habits die hard I guess." Juliette laughed some more.
"So Jo says you know Lisa Waterman
Curt's brow furrowed.
"Don't worry Curt it's a runners joke."
Annie smiled too. "So what does she teach up there?"
"She's an instructor in the English department."
"Do you run Curt?"
"No," he smiled, "dedicated non
"Where did you go to school originally?"
"Do you think your school would fit Jo?"
"Oh I'm pretty sure it would. She has some amazing insights on the criminal mind. She knows more then most of the seniors I teach."
“Psychology is definitely her best subject,” Annie said with a smile.
“Listen, Curt,” Jo said as she looked at him, “want to go somewhere more – private?”
Billy looked in heaven as Doc and Nikki rubbed themselves against him as they danced.
"I think we ought to offer your brothers a lift
back to my folks place." Judy whispered in David's ear as they danced
"What about the girls?"
"I'll get Okays from their Moms but yeah I think your brothers get lucky tonight."
“That’s four of them – what about Ama and Jeannie?”
“Let me go and ask,” Judy said as she walked over. “The other four seem to have found themselves a partner,” she said quietly, “what about you two?”
“I see what you mean,” Jeannie said as she watched Becky and Pepsi talking to Jack, Becky stroking his side. “You’re all right though – I’m happy they are happy.”
“As I said to them, I wish to wait for the right boy – and he is not here tonight. So I am content to see them, as they say, get their rocks off. One day, my turn will come also.”
“You are one very wise young woman, Ama.”
“Perhaps,” Ama said with a smile, “or one who knows patience reaps its own rewards.”
“Stick with me, Ama,” Jeannie said, “We’ll look for the right ones together.”
“So what business are you in Susan?” Tonia asked as they stood by a table.
“I run the New York office of a multi-national insurance company.” Susan smiled.
“Impressive, and you Clint?”
“I work as a driver and security guard at the UN.”
“My hubby was the driver who got that man out of that ambush on the streets a couple of weeks ago.” Susan said as she looked proudly at him.
“I heard you got a commendation for your bravery.” Roy Razinski brought a tray of drinks over.
“This is first rate champagne,” Tonia sipped her glass. “And I heard you are a genuine hero.”
“Well it was only what I was trained to do, actually I’m far more worried about becoming a father next year.”
“Oh congratulations.” Roy slapped him on the back. “Maybe I shouldn’t have brought you more champagne Susan?”
“This is my last splurge, after tonight I’m on the wagon.” She grinned happily.
“So Tonia I heard runs her own construction company, what do you do Roy?” Clint asked.
“I manage some funds at a Wall Street firm.”
“You survived the crash then?” Susan asked.
“Yeah it was touch and go for a few days at one stage, but the market rallied.” Roy looked serious. “So how did it affect your business Susan?”
“We had to do some drastic things to raise capital.” Susan smiled inwardly, “But as you say things stabilized and we survived.”
“So how do you fit in this little group Susan?” Tonia asked.
“I’m Juliette’s niece, Carina is my cousin.” Susan repeated her cover story.
“Oh well that explains it.” Tonia giggled.
“The article in the paper last week – Juliette was struggling to understand how this group,” Tonia said as she looked round, “ well how it formed, but it’s like a family tree – everyone just seems to know everyone else.”
“Oh I see what you mean,” Susan said as she put her arm round Clint’s waist. “Yes, family – a good way of putting it.”
"Where are my girls Judy?" Kelly asked.
"I heard something about doing it with a real cop
in a squad car."
"I should have known better then ask." Kelly
"Well at least you know they are safely in the
hands of the law."
"David you might have phrased that better." Judy smiled.
“I guess I’ll be faithful to both Steve, and Ian tonight.” Bobbi looked on as her younger sister danced in Jack’s arms.
“We must be getting old Bobs. The time was we would have been the ones doing that,” Carina said as she brought her friend another glass of champagne.
“Speak for yourself Cari.” Bobbi laughed. “How is your sex life anyway?”
“If I told you you’d freak out.” Cari sipped her drink as Tommy and Holly danced in front of them.
“Try me.” Bobbi’s smile gradually changing to a look of utter astonishment as Carina whispered in her ear.
“I said you’d freak.” Cari grinned.
“OH MY GOD! Does Judy know?” Bobbi spluttered.
“No and you aren’t to tell her… Promise me Bobbi.”
“Cross my heart.” Bobbi crossed herself.
"You’re Jewish, that doesn't count." Cari reminded her friend
"I can't make a Star of David, but God yes I'll keep the secret."
“Were we ever that sexually aggressive Mary? Especially at such a tender age?” Vanessa asked thoughtfully as she watched the younger girls leading Jack and Billy out of the party, David and Judy saying goodbye to Janice as they followed them out.
“Ours was the generation that burned its bras, the daughters of our generation reveled in the freedom we won for them, the girls of today have learned that they can be just as sexually predatory as men can.”
“That’s true Mary,” Katherine smiled. “Can you remember when we were 14 if there were any openly lesbian couples.” She pointed at both Sandy and Heather dancing close, and Frieda and Pussy kissing as they danced.
“Well for starters in our day girls of 14 were still regarded as children, and never went to grown-up parties.” Vanessa smiled. “My parents would have been appalled seeing girls that young in revealing dresses and fully made up.”
“You think you had it bad here in New York, you should have grown up in a small town in the Welsh valleys, my Mam told me I could get me pregnant if I looked at a boy.” Mary chuckled.
“You think Wales was bad, try a priest ridden town in Ireland.” Katherine smiled.
“I think Fiona could trump both of us – she grew up in the north east of Scotland.”
“Ouch,” Katherine said, “the only thing stricter than a Catholic Nun – a Free Church of Scotland minister.”
“These girls are not ashamed of sex, they like it, they want it.” Mary smiled.
“I suppose it’s healthier then the prudery of my parents.” Vanessa smiled as she said that.
“So what are you hens clucking about?” Alexander said as he walked over.
“Those girls.” Vanessa pointed, “Can you remember what Mother and Father would have said Alex?”
“Yes, and they would have been wrong. Those young women are on birth control, they are not sneaking round behind their parent’s backs, and they are enjoying their lives.”
“They still look like a pack of Lionesses hunting, and those poor boys look like gazelles about to be eaten alive.” Vanessa sighed as they walked out.
“Oh I wouldn’t worry for those young men, I think they will have the night of their lives.” Alex laughed.
“Come dance please Alex.” Juliette grabbed his hand.
“That costume would have got her publically chased out of town in 60’s Ireland.” Katherine shook her head; “I really wish I had the legs for something like that.”
“Don’t we all. But that is why she’s still a supermodel even though she’s a grandmother.” Mary and Vanessa laughed.
“All right you guys,” David said as they walked into the McNally apartment, “behave is all we are saying.”
“Oh we can be good little girls,” Pepsi said as she and Becky took Jack off in one direction.
“So can we – if we choose,” Doc said as she and Nikki led Billy off.
“Well, what are we going to do,” David said as she looked at Judy.
“Tony it’s lucky you are the only boy here tall enough for me to dance with.” Abby smiled happily as she looked at the dashing young man.
“I’m glad you removed that porcelain mask.” Tony said as he moved his lips towards hers.
“You’ve wanted to kiss me for a long time haven’t you?” Abby put her lips on his.
“Yes, ever since that limo in London.” Tony mumbled as she kissed him deeply.
“That was nice.” Abby smiled as she pulled away.
“So what about Winston?”
“He’s not here… You are.” Abby kissed the man whose arms she was in again.
“Abby,” Tony said as he looked into her eyes, “I hate to take advantage.”
“Tony you aren’t, I am not a virgin anymore and I want to make love to you tonight, it’s as simple as that.” Abby again kissed Tony, easing her tongue into his mouth.
“Well Little Abby is not slow coming forward tonight.” Natasha remarked to both Guy and Diana.
“You dare say you want to break it up Darling.” Guy restrained his daughter. “My granddaughter is a beautiful woman, and Tony is an exceptionally fine young man, if she wants to sleep with him…”
“Guy’s quite right Diana, it’s time to let go some of the strings. Just remember she’s a very sensible young woman, you brought her up well.” Natasha glanced round the room, “I just wish Willy was here, all this sexual tension is getting me…”
“NATASHA!” Diana laughed.
“Mama,” Abby said as she came over, “Would you be offended if Tony and I were to go for a walk or something together?”
“No,” Diana said with a smile, “but take care, it can be dangerous out there.”
“Yes your grace,” Tony said as he turned to look at Guy.
“You are prepared?”
“I will be your grace.”
Guy smiled and nodded as they left the party. “Tonight, Diana, you have done a brave thing,” he said as he put his hand on his daughter’s shoulder.
“Only the first, I think,” Diana said quietly.
Billy watched as Nikki and Doc closed the bedroom door behind them, and then walked over to him, smiling as they pushed him over to sit on the bed.
"Do you want us to undress each other
Billy?" Doc asked as she reached down and touched David's cock through his
trousers. “Because you
seem very excited already.”
"We can do a lesbian show for you." Nikki's
breath was hot in his ear as her tongue worked round it.
"Here let me show you." Doc and Nikki
started to French Kiss as Billy watched, feeling his cock growing even bigger
as they stroked each other.
"What do we do next?” Nikki whispered.
"Get out of these dresses." Doc whispered
back, “something tells me that us in corsets, black stockings,
gloves and stiletto heels, might just be one of Lord Billy's wet dreams."
"Here goes nothing." Nikki whispered as she unfastened Doc’s dress, helping her to step out before she kissed her friend again on the lips. Doc returned the favour, slowly unfastening it before it fell on the floor.
"That feels good." Nikki was no longer
acting as Doc ran her gloved hands over her body, caressing her chest as her
lips touched Nikki’s shoulders.
"Billy boy this is your lucky night." Doc whispered as she caressed her friend’s inner thighs. "You get to pop a virgin."
"Yeah I'm a virgin." Nikki smiled
lasciviously, "But don't worry Doc isn't."
They both lay down on the bed beside Billy, slowly
undressing their prey, removing his shirt and pants, his shoes and socks,
gently kissing him as they did so until he lay back nude, his cock rising long
"Oh my god that's nice." Doc grinned as she
started to stroke him with her gloved hand.
"You better put this on." Nikki grinned as
she pulled a condom from her bag.
"But aren't you on the pill?"
"Yeah but we want to make doubly sure accidents don't happen." Nikki whispered in the boy’s ear.
“Fair…. Oh sweet Jesus… fair point” he said as Doc tore the silver square, and eased it over his throbbing member.
“Now, who shall be first, hmmm?”
Billy looked between the two of them, before Nikki kissed his neck and said “Me – I want you to make me a woman.”
She lay on her back, her legs apart as Billy looked at her, and then he moved in, the tip of his firm cock stroking over the petals of his passage, before he pushed in.
“WNGggggg” Nikki said as he pushed again and then again.
“OH fuck is this what it feels like,” Nikki said, and then she screamed out as he finally tore through, and pushed into her body. She wrapped her legs around his body and pulled him into herself, feeling the pulsing for the first time as he moved in and out.
Doc watched, smiling as Nikki screamed “Oh my god YEEEESSSSSSS” her first real orgasm washing over her like a tidal wave as she felt Billy give as well. She literally shook as she arched her back, and then fell onto the bed, Billy moving off and falling onto his back behind her.
“Hey lover boy,” Doc said as she looked at him, kissing his neck while she removed his condom and began to stroke him, “don’t forget me…”
Pepsi watched as Jack slowly removed Becky’s dress, and then beckoned her over.
“Allow me,” he said as he started to unfasten her dress, the touch of his lips on her back making Pepsi sigh as Becky began to kiss her neck from the front as well, her gloved hands stroking over Pepsi’s chest.
“Oh my, I never thought that would feel so good,” Pepsi said as she tilted her head to one side, so that Jack could kiss it.
“Don’t be afraid.” Becky said as Jack slowly closed his hands on Pepsi’s chest, “let your body run with the way it feels.”
“NO problem,” Pepsi said, “because that feels so fucking good…”
Jack laid her on her back, his lips caressing her chest as his hand stroked the inside of her thigh. She sighed as he then kissed her lips, and she felt his hand between his legs.
“Please,” she said as she looked into his eyes, “be gentle and be safe.”
“I always am,” Jack, said as he took two silver squares from his pocket, and then stood up, unbuckling his pants and letting them drop to the floor.
“Oh my,” Pepsi said as she looked at him, “you are…”
“Shhh,” he whispered as he kissed her again, and his hand eased her panties down, Becky watching as Pepsi moaned to the touch of his fingers, feeling the dampness already between her legs.
Jack stopped for a moment, then kissed her neck and lips again as he toyed with her petals, his fingers making her moan and shudder before he slipped the condom on, and slipped himself in.
“AHHHHHHH” Pepsi said as the skin tore, and then she wrapped her arms round him, kissing his mouth, her tongue moving inside his mouth as he moved inside her, Becky playing with herself as she watched her friend leave her childhood behind.
Pepsi opened her eyes wide and screamed as the orgasm washed over her, feeling Jack give all inside as the shocks ran up and down her spine. It seemed to last forever, the sensations and the feelings, before she slumped onto the bed, spent in every way.
Jack reached down and kissed her forehead and mouth, as Becky gave out a little sigh. Pepsi watched as if through a haze as Jack turned his attentions to Becky, standing as she removed the condom and started to stroke his member with her hands.
“Oh that is good,” Jack, sighed as Becky started to kiss and lick him, as Doc had done before, and she felt it returning to an erect state.
“Is it true about the English nobility – they can stand up for anything?”
“Why don’t we find out,” Jack said as Pepsi stroked down his back, and Becky started to moan.
“It’s quiet,” Tony said as he let himself in, and led Abby up the stairs into the room he was using.
“Good – let’s change that,” Abby said as she closed the door, and then ripped the front of Tony’s jacket open, pulling it off him as she kissed his neck and lips.
“How the hell do you get this off,” Tony said as he struggled to find the fastening. Abby pushed him onto the bed, and reached behind her, unfastening a couple of Velcro straps before the front fell away, revealing her white Basque underneath. She allowed it to fall to the floor before stepping out of the costume, sitting across Tony as she said, “So what are you going to do now, big man?”
“This,” Tony said as he kissed her neck, Abby moaning as he caressed her chest in kisses, and then unlaced the garment, removing it as his lips touched her bare flesh. She reached between his legs, hearing his appreciative moan as she stroked his cock under the tight britches.
“Stand up a minute,” Tony said, and as Abby did so he pulled off the riding boots and britches, smiling as she saw the bulge in his boxers. Kneeling down, she pulled them off, and started to kiss his legs and cock as he sat there.
“Come here, Miss Supermodel,” Tony said, and as they embraced on the bed Abby felt the dampness grow between her legs – but this time she wanted more than just personal relief.
“Are you ready,” Tony said as he looked into her eyes. Abby nodded and then gasped as he entered her, before embracing him as they slowly, tenderly brought each other to a peak…
“Did Jo go already?”
“I think she left with Curt a while ago,” Janice said to Heather as the party slowly wound down, the guests leaving in pairs or fours.
“Don’t worry,” Sandy said as she took Heather’s hand, “she’ll be fine. Come on…”
“Thank you for a wonderful night,” Ama said as she stood with Caroline.
“Where did Annie go?”
“I think she left a while ago – thanks again for a wonderful party,” Caroline said before she left with her daughter.
“Well, just us old fogeys left now,” Vanessa, said as she sat with Mary, Guy and Katherine. “Katy’s in bed as well, the poor dear was exhausted.”
“Do you mind if…?”
“No, go,” Katherine said, “We’ll all be done soon as well anyway.”
“Good,” Adam said as he took Janice’s hand, “then I’ll see you all tomorrow.”
“I’ll see the caterers out,” Katherine said as Jan and Adam went to her bedroom…
Curt looked at Jo as he stood in the hotel room.
“So, Miss Smith,” he said as he slowly unfastened her dress, letting it fall to the ground, “whatever shall we do now?”
“We could discuss the influence of the Italian Mafia on east coast crime,” Jo said as she unbuttoned his shirt, “or we could do something much more interesting,” she continued as she started to kiss his chest.
“Well, both have their attractions,” Curt said before he started humming.
“I think the latter will be more fun – but I need a good teacher to guide me,” Jo said as she put her hand between her legs, “with some good visual and practical aids.”
“Well then,” Curt said as he lifted her head up, “Let us start with the early stages.” He pressed his lips against hers, Jo returning the kiss passionately as they stroked each other’s backs, and she unfastened his trousers, allowing them to fall to the floor.
“My my,” she said as she looked down, “that is some practical aid.”
“Exactly,” Curt said as he kissed her again, and then led her to the bed…
Saturday 1st November
The McNally Apartment.
Judy McNally was feeling a bit like a mother hen as she looked round, putting the tray she was carrying down on the coffee table. She had already been up for some time, and was now just waiting for her guests to come back in.
“Did you girls ring your mom’s?” Judy spoke as the girls wandered into her parents living room in the robes she had leant them.
“Yeah I said I’d get a ride home later.” Pepsi muttered. “Did we really…?”
“You all did.” Judy smiled. “Here, come and get some OJ - it’ll help with those hangovers.”
“Thanks Judy.” Becca took a glass and sat down. “Where are the guys?”
“Believe it or not they all went out for breakfast, bright eyed and bushy-tailed.”
“Lucky them” Doc gratefully took a sip of juice.
“Mary rang and said not to worry about returning the outfits.”
“Eh?” Pepsi cocked her head.
“Her actual words were ‘tell the girls they are a gift from her and she hopes you get good use from them’.”
“I like Mary.” Nikki said as she sipped her drink.
“So any battle stories?” Judy asked the younger women.
“A bit sore… well you know down there.” Nikki grimaced.
“Don’t worry its nature.” Judy nodded, “Much blood?”
“A bit, but we changed the bed clothes and put them in the laundry room.” Doc started brightening up.
“That’s what I like, girls adult enough to clean up after themselves.” Rachel McNally’s voice came from the doorway.
“Hey Mom you guys have fun last night?” Judy smiled as her parents arrived home.
“We certainly did – a night in a hotel can…”
“Good morning,” Abby said as she walked in, wearing a man’s bathrobe. “Can I have some of that orange juice please?”
She saw all four girls as well as Judy look at her. “What? Do I have something on my nose? Have you seen Tony by the way?”
“He went off with the others,” Judy said, “without mentioning the small fact he had one of the world’s most recognizable women in his bed, I hasten to add.”
“Really? I’ll have to remind him of that,” she said with a smile as she took a glass.
“Right you four,” Judy said, “go hit the showers, wash your makeup off and get dressed. There are some of my old clothes up there you can borrow.”
“All right,” they mumbled as they walked out, while Abby sat down on the couch and tried to fully wake up.
"Coffee Abigail,” Rachel said with a smile as she
came into the living room a few minutes later carrying a tray with a coffee pot
"Please." Abby murmured still half asleep.
"Where did you say Tony went?"
"Out to breakfast with my boyfriend and his brothers." Judy grinned.
"How the hell do you manage always to look so
cheerful the next morning Jude?" Abby asked as Rachel passed her a cup.
"She’s had lots of practice." Rachel grinned.
“Not as much as the twins though.”
"Well I need to learn the art." Doc said as
she came back in, dressed in an old pair of Judy's jeans and a T Shirt.
"Definitely a different look for you, Anna?"
"Yeah, back to the schoolgirl now… Thanks for the
"Please Mrs. McNally…" Anna sat down again
and put her glasses on.
"Now that is Anna and not Doc the sexy young siren from last night." Judy laughed.
“Good morning, good morning, good morning,” Tony said as he and David came in, followed by Jack and Billy.
“My my, you girls need to learn the health benefits of a full English breakfast after a night partying,” Jack said as he took a cup of coffee.
“I’ll stick to this thanks,” Doc said as the other three girls came in.
“And here they are, the bright lights of West Central Park,” Jack said as he took the photo of all four of the girls. “That’s the after taken care of.”
“The after? What the hell is the before,” Becky said as she looked at him.
"This - you look like something from a dirty magazine." Jack smiled as he showed the girls the pictures he took of all four late the previous night posing.
"You dared to take pictures Jack." Becky
giggled, "We have our reputations as ladies to protect."
"Ladies don't dress like that."
"Oh yes we do." Pepsi said as she walked over and started to kiss him, her lips parting as he kissed her passionately.
“Down kids – adults present,” Rachel said.
“Fine,” they said as they sat down with the boys.
"Does it worry you guys we are only 14?"
"Well I'm only 15." Billy admitted.
"Oh good." Nikki said as
she snuggled up to him.
"What about you Jack?"
"Well let's just put it this way in ten years
time I'll be 29 and you'll be sizzling hot 24 year olds, will anyone object
"I like that Tony is an older man." Abby
snuggled up to him.
"By about 8 months Abs." He gently kissed
"Well just so long as you know we keep secrets
Jack." Anna smiled.
"Yeah we may be jailbait but we don't
squeal." Becca laughed as Pepsi and Jack kissed again.
"You did last night." Jack grinned.
“I’ll need to head off soon – lunch with the family,” Abby said. “Tony, will you escort me back?”
“I will be delighted to – and I will be back in time for lunch and then to pack, Aunt Rachel.”
West Central Park
“Is that breakfast cooking Mom?” Janice said as she stumbled into the kitchen in a robe.
“It is Janice,” Katherine said from the stove, “you go sit down with Katy.”
For a moment Janice thought she was dreaming and adjusted her glasses, but no she wasn’t, Guy de Grechy was helping her mother make breakfast.
“Grandpa Guy made me real French Toast.” Katy smiled at her mother.
“Well good for Grandpa Guy.” Jan smiled, “Hmmm is there anything you two wanna tell me?”
“No!” Janice saw a sparkle in her mother’s eyes she hadn’t seen in years.
“Coffee Adam?” Guy called out as Adam wandered in in one of Jan’s robes.
“Please Guy,” he answered as though half asleep.
“Morning Uncle Adam.” Katy sang out.
“Morning Katy.” Adam smiled as Guy pressed coffee mugs into both his and Jan’s hands.
“Do I need to explain?”
“No need Guy, after last night nothing can shock or phase me.” Adam looked up. “Oh this coffee is good.”
“We made the papers.” Katherine called over her shoulder.
“We did?” Janice picked up the Daily News and laughed at the front-page picture of the Rochermann twins with the paparazzi.
“I think last night will live in the annals of this city.” Guy smiled. “That was easily one of the best parties I ever attended. Great wine, oh so beautiful women,“ Guy looked tenderly at Katherine, “and every single person went home happy.”
“Or stayed!” Janice giggled, her mind adapting to the fact her Mom had slept with the Duke.
“Oh I bet there will be some hangovers today.” Katherine smiled as she served breakfast.
The Huntingdown Apartment
“How are you this morning darling?” Carina smiled as Annie woke up.
“I’m good.” Annie yawned. “You going?” she noticed Cari was dressed.
“Yeah I need get back to baby my love.” Carina kissed her lover, “but Mom is cooking you breakfast.”
“Will I see you soon?”
“Well ring me later and we will see what we can arrange.” Cari smiled.
Cari left the room, and Annie pulled on a gown, walking slowly down to where Juliette was at the stove.
“Hey Juliette, I hope you don’t mind…”
“Not a problem Annie darling. So how do you like your eggs?”
“Scrambled… just like my brains.”
“That was one hell of a party.” Juliette grinned.
“Tell me about it – I’ll call Dom later and let her know I’m still alive.”
“Don’t worry, she called here.”
“OH,” Annie said, “so she knows?”
“She knows – Ama told her after they left last night.”
“That girl misses nothing,” Annie said as she sat down.
“Here,” Juliette said as she put the scrambled eggs down in front of Annie, and sat opposite her. “You really do have a thing for my daughter, don’t you?”
“That obvious huh? I don’t know if it’s serious or not, Ju, but there seems to be that spark when we get together.”
“I’d noticed – the spark goes both ways you know. I remember how scared you looked when you figured out who we were – and yet here you are now, school teacher, cat burglar, and hardened assassin.”
“Not to mention millionaire,” Annie said. “What did you put in these, oregano?”
“Tarragon. Maybe the two of you are like two cogs – you work well individually, but put together and you mesh and work even better.”
“Perhaps,” Annie said, “but we are lovers, not partners. I’m not going to hurt her, if that’s what you think Ju.”
“I know you won’t – just tread carefully, all right? You are family now as well.”
“I’m amazed Ama handles it – me, teacher and burglar, and Dom, security consultant, part time model, and enforcer.”
“You two mesh together nicely as well – for Ama. You need her, and she needs you.”
“Funny how things work out isn’t it?”
“You’d be amazed,” Juliette said.
Annie picked up the New York Post and looked at the photo spread.
“They look so happy there,” Annie said as she looked at the girls, and then she noticed something in the corner of the photo of Ally and Nell.
“What is it?”
“Take a look at this guy,” Annie said, “he was in all the photos, amongst the photographers, but he’s never got a camera out. Why?”
Ju took a look at the photo, then the others. “How intriguing – I wonder if the others recognize him?”
The Rochermann Mansion
"Girls where are you?" Kelly Rochermann called out as she opened the door to Ally's bedroom.
"Oh my God!" she laughed at the sight of the
young cop with a gag in his mouth, chained to the headboard with his own
handcuffs and his hat covering his private parts the only thing he had on.
"I'm not even going to ask." Kelly rolled
her eyes as the twins came out of Nell's bedroom.
"Our prisoner was a bad boy last night and we had
to put him under restraint." Ally smiled.
"I hope you slept comfortably Mike?" Nell
grinned as she took the gag out of the policeman's mouth.
"You two get worse." Kelly giggled. "Ummm Mike is it? Do
I need apologize for my over-sexed daughters?"
"Ummm does that answer
your question mom?" Ally giggled as she lifted the cops’ hat up and
revealed his huge engorged cock.
"Mom can you give us an hour? This bad boy needs to be interrogated
more." Nell slipped out of her nightie.
"Have fun Mike!" It was the only thing Kelly could think to say as she closed the door behind herself.
The Richmond Mansion
“Guden Morgen,” Freida said as she and Pussy came into the kitchen, wearing some of Sandy’s spare joggers and t-shirts. “Thank you for allowing us to – what is that phrase – crash out last night.”
“No problem – we all needed a place to crash out,” Sandy said as she kissed Heather.
“Where are the children,” Pussy said as she looked round.
“Mother came and took them to the park for the morning, and then out to lunch. She has the fastest recovery – her and Uncle Alex – from parties I know of.”
“So we have the house to ourselves?”
“Not quite – I invited some people to brunch, and I do have some business to carry out.”
“On a Saturday? After the party to end all parties until the next party to end all parties?”
“I need to earn a living, Pussy?”
“No she doesn’t,” Heather said.
“Yes I do – hey Tonia.” Sandy smiled as her friend let herself in the
"Thanks for the invite over?" Tonia eased
herself onto a stool as Heather passed her a mug of coffee and Pussy looked at
"Did you see the papers?" Pussy said as she looked
"I did." Tonia nodded as she rubbed her head,
"seems we made some noise last night."
"A bit." Tonia nodded.
"Not helped by being constantly woken up with phone calls."
"I know the feeling." Elaine nodded as she
came in. "Look whom I found?"
"Morning little sister."
Heather laughed as Jo came in looking the worse for wear.
"Coffee." Jo just grunted
“And did you enjoy last night,” Sandy said.
“Last night, yes. This morning, no,” Jo said as she sat down and took the mug. The older women looked at each other and burst out laughing.
"So where is Nikki Elaine?" Sandy asked.
"At the McNally place, sounds
like a good time was had by all."
"So it seems." Jo passed round her cell with
the latest message from Abby on the screen.
"Did you see that picture of Juliette and
Alexander arriving, labeled the Saint and the Sinner?" Pussy asked as she
looked up from the New York Post.
"A new low, even from the Post."
"It would be a good informal name for this gang
though." Frieda smiled.
"That might be true." Tonia said as she looked over Pussy's shoulder. “I wonder what the Cardinal will say to Alex about that?”
“Absolutely nothing – Alex is a golf buddy,” Sandy
"Saints and Sinners.
It does have a certain ring doesn't it?" Elaine asked.
"Well we need more Saints" Jo grumbled,
"Not nearly enough men, I had to fight to keep Curt for myself."
"I'll find us a few men." Pussy laughed.
"Hardly your specialty Darling."
Frieda looked at her lover.
"Exactly, so I can pick them out without getting
"Sounds logical." Tonia smiled broadly.
"Hey Girls, how is everyone?" Kelly Rochermann said as she came in the back way, taking her dark glasses off.
“You look like I feel Kel.” Tonia kissed her old friend.
“Thank you for that…” Kelly grimaced, “As I said how is everyone?”
"Reading the front line dispatches." Sandy
giggled as cells got passed round with messages on.
"Katherine did what?" Heather laughed as she
saw Janice's last message. “What are
Diana and Natasha going to say when they hear about that?”
"Well I've got the story to beat them all, I go
to wake Ally and what do I find but Mike the Policeman handcuffed to the
headboard with only his cap covering his…"
"We get the picture…" Elaine shook her head.
"So what are your daughters doing now?"
"Well, last I saw, Nell was taking her clothes off after they discovered what was under the hat when they lifted it." Kelly shook her head.
“And that, ladies, is why they revel in the title of the New York Sluts,” Jo said as she began to feel more awake.
"I despair of my girls at times," Kelly said
as she drank her coffee.
"Before you go getting too harsh…”
Kelly looked across the table.
“Remember the locker room at old Yankee Stadium Kel?” Tonia smiled wickedly as everyone looked at the redoubtable Mrs. Rochermann.
"Oh my God,” Kelly said as she threw her hands in the air, “why does everyone still remember that…?"
"I was there remember." Tonia smiled at the
memory. "So was your sister Liz, Patricia."
"Oh so YOU were the other two girls that night?"
Pussy laughed. "Liz has never told anyone. That night though is
"What is legendary?" Frieda asked.
"Three teenage girls entertaining most of the
Yankee players to the ultimate post game celebration." Sandy shook her
head. "It was you guys?"
"Don't spread that round girls." Kelly
looked to the heavens.
"You know that night is the reason I got shipped
off to boarding school?" Patricia spoke. "My parents got wind of
Liz's involvement and decided that they'd better send their other daughter away
so she wasn't exposed to the evil temptations of New York while at St
"Sorry for that Puss." Kelly apologized.
"We only meant to get autographs when we slipped in."
"Things sort of developed though." Tonia chuckled as she remembered.
"Is it true you strapped the starting pitcher to
the treatment table?" Elaine enquired.
Tonia nodded and smiled.
"Oh dear god, I really thought that story was just
"Well just don't tell my daughters Elaine, they don't need be given any ideas."
“Oh I don’t know, they might actually be in awe of their Mom…”
The de Ros Mansion
Abby slowly opened the front door and looked in, carrying her costume with her as she and Tony slipped in. She’d needed to phone Juliette to bring some of the clothes she kept at her place over, but as she put her costume on the chaise longue in the hallway she turned and stroked Tony’s cheek.
“Thank you for a wonderful night – but next time tell me you’re over. We could have had some fun times together.”
“Yeah, I realize that now,” Tony, said, “but what about Winston?”
“You fly back tonight, I won’t tell him – when are you next back over?”
“Christmas – see you then?”
“I look forward to it,” Abby said as she kissed Tony, the two standing with their lips locked for a few minutes.
Abby opened her eyes and looked to the side to see Diana standing in the doorway, her arms folded and a smile on her face.
“Oh… Er… Hello Mrs. de Ros, I was just saying goodbye…”
“And in a most personal way, I see Tony,” Diana said as she came forward. “I trust you enjoyed last night.”
“Yes, Mrs. de Ros…”
“Yes, Diana,” Tony said as he looked at Abby. “Well, I need to go and join the family for lunch. I’ll see you for Christmas Abby?”
“See you then,” Abby said as she showed Tony out, and closed the door, closing her eyes for a moment before she turned and looked at her mother.
“Go on,” Abby said with a sigh, “let’s get it over with.”
Diana walked forward, looked at Abby with her hands on her daughter’s shoulders, and said “I talked to Missy this morning.”
“I talked to Missy this morning, to say I was withdrawing my objections to the Sports Illustrated shoot.”
“You did?” Abby looked confused for a moment, then gave her mother a huge hug.
“Last night, I realized what I should have realized a long time ago – you are a young woman now, and I should trust you more. So yes, you may do the shoot – at least that way the photographs are legitimate, and we have some control over them.”
“I take it she’s happy,” Natasha said as she looked in from the dining room.
“I think she is – so go, change into something for lunch. Your father in law to be should be here soon, and we will eat together.
“After we have made him suffer just a little…”
“Is this the walk of shame Papa?” Diana looked stern as her father let himself in the front door.
Guy turned to see Diana in a dark blue dress, her arms folded. On her left was Natasha, in a black blouse and skirt, and on her right Abigail, in a white sundress.
“What will Mama say?” Natasha scowled.
“Grandpapa.” Abby threw her hands up in the air.
“Before you say any more… Well I have no excuses.” Guy looked downwards, “Katherine is an attractive woman.”
“Well at least she’s not one of my friends.” Abby looked horrified.
“Oh you mean Carina…” Guy looked even more ashamed.
“And at least you didn’t promise her the moon.” Diana glared.
“Mama will still be so upset.” Natasha glowered.
“Do we need to tell her?” Guy practically begged.
“You need go see Father Alex and confess your sins Papa, you must tell him everything.”
“Everything?” Guy looked shocked at the suggestion.
“Yes.” Natasha nodded.
“What an example to set for poor virginal me?” Abby cried two little tears.
“I’m sorry my angel….I apologise…” Guy started to shed tears.
“Papa!” Diana condemned him.
“Hold on you and young Tony…” Guy began to remember the previous night as Abby struggled to keep a straight face.
Suddenly all three countesses exploded in laughter.
“You are bad, bad women…” Guy laughed. “You had me going there.”
“We know.” Natasha smiled, “Serves you right though.”
“We really should tell Grandmama.” Abby laughed.
“Please…not…last night was a one off, the wine, the atmosphere…well you know?”
“I know, Katherine rang and explained a few minutes ago that she initiated things, not you.” Diana beamed. “But just don’t make a habit of it if you are serious about Valeria?”
“I promise. Now what is for lunch?”
“I thought we would try some Humble Pie… Only joking,” Diana said as Guy looked at her. “We have some roast pork prepared.”
“Oh THERE you are,” Dominique said as Annie came in, “I was beginning to wonder what had happened to you.”
“By all accounts, you guessed.”
Dom smiled as she said “yeah, you and Carina eh?”
Annie nodded and smiled. “So when did you…?”
“Ama told me, but I’d guessed already the way you two huddled in a corner.”
“Where is Ama?”
“She went to buy some bread and milk – ah here she is now.”
“Hello Annie,” Ama said as she came in, “May I make you some lunch?”
“Make it for all three of us,” Dominique said, “I want to talk to all of you about something.”
“What is it, Dominique,” Ama said as she sat down.
“You remember the letters I got?”
Ama and Annie nodded as Dom said “Well, my grandfather is coming over to New York this week, he thinks to talk to a class at State U about his work. Instead, he’s going to meet me first – and I hope to bring him here some time after that. Just, please, be prepared for whatever happens.”
“So he will be my great-grandfather? In my village, that would make him the elder.”
“Well, it’s going to be the shock of his life for him – so we will have to see what happens,” Dom said with a smile.
The Richmond Mansion
“You okay sis?” Heather asked as Jo came down from having a nap.
“I think so, I guess you got it that Curt and I…?”
“It was pretty obvious darling.” Heather smiled. “How was it?”
“Pretty wonderful.” Jo smiled.
“Everything you dreamed it would be?” Heather cuddled her sister.
“Yes,” Jo smiled, “It hurt at first, but he was gentle, and as the pain subsided he really was so lovely.”
“He sounds like a keeper, I’m happy for you dearest.”
“Was it like that for you and Sandy the first time?”
“You make it sound very similar, it’s the difference between having sex and making love, it sounds like you made love.”
“I’m glad I waited.”
“Glad Megan the cock teaser never did the dirty deed?”
“Very, when I look back I must have been awful you know?”
“No just frustrated and not really loved properly.”
“All of which I’ve found with my family here.” Joanne smiled.
The two sisters hugged and laughed.
“Back in the land of the living I see?” Sandy came in from her office.
“Yes thanks Sandy.”
“Well is Curt still here?”
“He should just be finishing up what he was doing at the Public Library.” Jo looked at her watch. “Now he has that long drive home.”
“He was singing your praises academically last night you know?” Heather smiled.
“I heard, I just hate that he will never know how I really understand the criminal mindset.”
“Well just remember that Darling.” Heather nodded, “Just one wrong word hurts us all remember.”
“Which reminds me.” Sandy looked up from her notes, Ju asked if you could take a look at the Arabian’s security Jo?”
“I’ll look tomorrow.”
“Good, now can I have your opinions girls on these things for Madame’s place?”
Monday 3rd November
“Another Monday, another first period of Math,” Jeannie said as Jo lifted her into her chair, and Becky and Nikki joined her.
“How did you spend the weekend anyway,” Nikki said as they made their way to the entrance gates, Jo following them.
“Mum and I spent most of Saturday with the people from LerraBella, talking about their plans for the next few months, nixing a couple and making alternative arrangements. Sunday I spent doing my assignments.”
As they went in, they saw Miss Tennant talking to Ally Rochermann. “Having an honest debate about the paper on Saturday, I’d imagine,” Abby said as she and the others joined them.
“So did you all say goodbye to David’s brothers yesterday?”
“We spent the morning in Central Park,” Pepsi said, “and then we saw them off to the airport. I hope he calls…”
“Ah the innocence of youth,” Ally said as she came over.
“What did Miss Tennant want?”
“To remind me of the way the young ladies of St Angela’s Academy should conduct themselves in public,” Ally said in a passable impression of the principal. “Still, one hell of a party, right?”
“Oh yeah,” Pepsi said, “one hell of a party…”
The Waldorf Hotel
Caroline walked into the lobby, looking round as she removed her dark glasses. Her long blonde hair fell over the shoulders of the light blue jersey dress she had chosen to wear, the skirt coming to below her knees as she walked in her two-inch heel shoes.
There was a small group gathered near the bar, and as she walked over she took several deep breaths. They were mainly older men and women, smartly dressed in suits and dresses.
“Excuse me,” she said as she came over, “I’m looking for Dan Jameson?”
One of the women turned round and looked at Caroline. “Don’t I know you from somewhere,” she said eventually.
“Forgive me, but I don’t think we’ve met. Is Dan Jameson in your group?”
“Who wishes to know?”
Caroline turned round to see a grey haired man standing in front of her, dressed in a dark blue blazer, open necked white shirt and grey trousers. They stood staring at each other for a few minutes, before he said, “Oh my god – you look so like my daughter…”
“That’s not surprising,” Caroline said quietly, “she was my mother. I’m Caroline.”
The rest of the group stood behind her, watching as Dan slowly looked at them. “You… You’re Caroline? You’re Estelle’s baby girl?”
“I am,” Caroline said quietly, “and I am so, so sorry it had taken this long for me to find you. A friend of mine arranged this trip for you and your group, and…”
The rest of the words were lost as Dan took his granddaughter’s hand, and looked at her. “Where… Where have you been? Your poor father searched high and low for you, and suddenly…”
“It’s a long story – and I want to tell you,” Caroline said as she started crying. “Do you think your friends would excuse you for the afternoon?”
“Dan,” the woman who had spoken earlier, “forgive our little white lie. We knew she would be here today.”
“There’s nothing to forgive,” Dan said quietly, “and yes, I want to hear where you have been. I want to hear everything.” He put his hand on her cheek as she held it, and said, “We have so much to talk about.”
“Good – let’s talk,” Caroline said, before she embraced him, the tears flowing freely now for both of them as Dan’s friends clapped and cheered.
From the side of the lobby, Susan looked over and smiled, before she slipped out as Caroline took her grandfather to one side.
“Dear God,” Dan said as he held Caroline’s hand, “to think we’ve missed all this time. You must hate me, Caroline.”
“No – I didn’t even know you were still alive until I was given those letters a few weeks ago. I asked a colleague in the UK to find you, and they fixed up this trip – with the help of your friends. Mum – well, she never really said anything about you, and I never really listened to Dad after they divorced. That is one thing I never got the chance to say sorry for, and I’ll always regret that – but at least I met you.”
“But after your mum died, what happened?”
“It took me a while to get out of the situation I was left in, but eventually I signed up with a security firm as a guard. I worked my way up from there, and tried to put the memories of what happened behind me, learning the trade until I set myself up as a security consultant. I’ve lived out here for a few years, but recently – well, my past caught up with me.”
“How,” Dan asked.
“I literally bumped into Charity Royce when I went to see a friend who had given birth in Boston – she’s an obstetrician now, married, expecting her first kid. Well, after that I met some of mum’s old friends, and one thing led to another, and – well, I’ve done some modeling now.”
“And is Charity…”
“Clean, sober and a wonderful friend – Aunt Karen has helped me deal with a lot of things.”
“I inherited Dad’s personality I think – so no, I don’t. I do drink, I have some vices, but they don’t control me. I control them – I’m just sorry mum never really managed to.”
“Well, just from this short time, I can see there is a lot of her in you,” Dan said with a smile, “and a lot of your father. Do you have a partner?”
“No – I’m single, but I share an apartment in Greenwich Village with two other people.”
“Well, one is a friend. Ama – Did you read about the terrible child slavery ring they discovered in New York?”
“I saw the story on the BBC – incredible, and hard to believe.”
“Well, it’s true – Ama was one of the girls who told her story, and… Well, I’ve adopted her.”
“You’ve… I have a great-granddaughter?”
“You have – would you like to meet her?”
“Of course I would – I have a family I need to get to know again.”
“Well, if you’d like to come to dinner tomorrow, you can meet them then.”
“Do you mind if I bring Connie with me?”
“She’s kind of my best friend. You spoke to her earlier.”
“Of course,” Caroline said as she took a card and scribbled her address on the back. “I’ll expect you at about seven.”
“I can’t wait – and thank you.”
“Coming to find me,” Dan said as they embraced again, and Caroline walked off, allowing herself to cry again.
Tuesday 4th November
The Richmond Mansion
“Right then, Jo,” Sandy said as Heather took the kids up to bed, “what have you discovered?”
“Funny,” Abby said as Juliette made the connection to Carina at Yale.
“Hey folks,” Cari said, “All hangovers dealt with?”
“Safely passed I think,” Diana said as she looked round. “So can we get down to business?”
“All right ladies,” Juliette said, “how would you feel about obtaining a spot of art?”
“Still trying to find something for Madame’s apartment, Sandy?”
“Not quite Cari – we’re thinking more of stopping an art exhibition right at the start.”
“Art theft? Not our normal line of work.”
“It gets better – a lot of our friends are going to be there, which means we have to focus purely on the art and keeping our friends so scared they stay safe.”
“We’ll need to make sure they cannot identify us at all – voice modifiers and everything.”
“Even so,” Abby said, “do we really want to do this to our friends? What happened to we never visit them as the Pussycats?”
“Perhaps we should not visit them as the Pussycats?”
The girls turned and looked at Diana. “Consider it for a moment – Sandy, Juliette and I all have invitations to attend the gala opening. How will it look if we do not turn up?”
“Yeah – that would be a hard one to explain, I grant you. So what are you thinking?”
“We draft in Annie, Susan and Dom to replace the three of us.”
Juliette thought for a moment, and then said “Table that for now. However we do this, we would not have time to take anything beyond the choicest items. Heather?”
“I’m getting an advance copy of the catalogue next week – I’ll go through and identify those which would have greatest return. Diana then seeks advice from her contacts.”
“Security at the Arabian?”
“Standard CCTV coverage, controlled from a room off the main entrance. We’d need to take control of that, and I suspect some panic buttons may have been installed. I’m working on getting the wiring diagrams, but rewiring is part of the conversion work.”
Sandy’s phone went off, and as she went to answer it she said “Richmond?
“Hello Tonia, what can I do for you?
“Oh they are, are they? Well, of course I can spare half an hour for them. Can you tell them tomorrow at eleven, my place?
“Fine – thanks Tonia.” She hung up and said, “That was Tonia.”
“No – what did she want?”
“Society Magazine are doing a bit on the group – they talked to her, and she suggested I talk to them as well.”
“The wider group? Why?”
“Time to defuse some myths I think – don’t worry, I’ll be quick.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so nervous,” Annie said as she sat on the couch, watching Dom as she fussed over the table, and then ran to the kitchen.
“Ama, are you ready yet,” she called out as she checked the casserole in the oven.
“Nearly ready,” she called back from the room as the doorbell went off.
“Oh god, they’re here…”
“Relax, will you,” Annie said as she got up, “I’ll go and let them in.”
She stood up, rushing down her skirt and went down to open the door.
“You must be Dan,” Dominique heard her say, “I’m Annie, Caroline’s flatmate. Please, come on up.”
Caroline wiped her hands and came out as Dan came in, accompanied by his friend Connie. “Hey,” she said as she came out, “I’m so glad you could make it.”
“As if I would miss the chance to get to know my granddaughter better,” Dan said as they hugged. “This is my friend Connie – Connie, my granddaughter Caroline.”
“A pleasure,” Caroline said as she shook Connie’s hand.
“Likewise – you have a lovely place here.”
“Well, we like it – I need to introduce you to someone. This is Ama, my daughter.”
Caroline walked over and brought Ama to her grandfather, the young girl looking at him as she held her hands together in front of her.
“It is a very great pleasure to meet you, Mr. Jameson,” she said as she looked at him.
“Please, Ama,” Dan said quietly, “Call me grandpa. This is Connie.”
“I’m very pleased to meet you,” Connie said, “I hear you are a very brave young girl.”
“No, I am just a girl, but thank you for saying so,” Ama said.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I brought a bottle of sparkling apple juice.”
“Not at all, why don’t we sit down and eat,” she said as she pointed to the table.
“That smells good, what is it?”
“A lamb casserole – with a little help from our local deli, I have to admit.”
“With baked potatoes?”
“Yeah – how did you know?”
“It’s the way your mother liked to eat it as well…”
“She is a very nice young lady,” Dan said as he and Caroline sat at the dining table, while Annie, Connie and Ama played a game of whist. “And I am proud of you for what you did.”
“Yeah, she is special,” Caroline said with a smile, “and she has certainly changed my life in a short space of time.”
“I think your mum would have been very proud of you as well,” Dan said as he put his hand on that of his granddaughter. “There is so much of her I see in your eyes, but there is one crucial difference.”
“You’re happy – I look at you and I don’t see the fear that seemed to cause your mother so much pain.”
Caroline smiled before she said “Dan, there’s something I need to show you. You remember Fiona McKenzie?”
“Oh yeah – the editor? Is she still around as well?”
“Oh yes – but a few weeks ago, she turned up on my doorstep. Mum – mum had written some letters to pass on to me if she died, and left them with Fiona. Well, with everything that happened, and all the confusion at the time, this little lady fell through the cracks, and Fiona – bless her heart – forgot all about them until she found them and flew over with them.”
Caroline stood up and went to a bureau, opening it and taking out the envelope before she brought them over and Dan looked at them.
“What’s in them,” he said.
“Personal stuff – advice she wanted to pass down to me, her own thoughts and feelings. One of them said to find you – so at least one idea got through.”
Dan smiled, as he looked through one or two. “Your mother was a very intelligent woman,” he said, “which is why it hurt so much when things turned out the way they did.”
“There is one,” Caroline said as she picked one envelope up, “that I do need to talk to you about.” She took the sheet of paper out and handed it to Dan, who looked carefully at it.
This letter is in part for you and in part for Dad. Despite all HIS attempts, and despite how much I have paid for the stuff I shoot up, I’ve still managed to tuck a few quid away and hide it.
Years ago Dad set up a savings account for me, with him as co-signatory. Over the years I’ve always topped it up. There’s about one hundred and forty grand in there, and I can't touch it thankfully. If your Granddad is still alive the money is his, if he’s not the number of the account is hidden in Fiona’s diary, ask her and tell her to look at the page for April 10th.
Tell Dad I’m sorry I wasn’t a better daughter, I did try honestly, but I guess I was just weak and easily tempted. I loved him and mum even though we fought like cat and dog. Exploiting my looks was somehow easier then studying and going to University. I was stupid and he was right - I needed to grow up. Guess it’s too late now.
Carra, never just think about today or even just tomorrow, have some goals in life darling. For far too long, my only aim was making sure I got my next fix, that’s not a life, it’s the opposite.
Listen to your friends, good girls like you attract good friends, I have some great friends, especially Charity, but in the end she ran away too from me. Don’t run your friends off, just because they care and are saying things you don’t want to hear. Listen to wisdom when it’s offered you, especially when it’s real wisdom.
Does all this make sense? I’m never sure, I get such a rush from the drugs, but when I come down it’s like the world has ended. At times I know I can’t tell what is real and what isn’t. I also have difficulty remembering if something was a dream or actually happened.
Sweetie I need to go and see someone, Mummy needs her fix. That is probably the most horrid thing I’ve ever written. I am so ashamed of myself, but the cravings mean I must have it, I must.
Remember my Love Carra
As he put the sheet down, Dan sat for a moment with his head in his hands.
“It’s all right Connie,” he said as he looked over, “just something I never thought I would hear.” He turned back and looked at Caroline, saying “thank you.”
“The account she talked about?”
“It’s still there – somehow, even through all the pain, your grandmother and I knew you were out there somewhere, and you would find us. I have no idea how much is in it now, but if you want it…”
“I do, but not in that way,” Caroline said as she looked at Ama. “I don’t need it myself, but I have a second person to think of now, and I think Mum would want nothing more than to see her own granddaughter cared for.”
Dan looked over at Ama and nodded. “I understand,” he said as he looked at Caroline. “I’ll make the necessary arrangements – and have you named co-signatory.”
“Thanks,” she whispered before she stood up. “Would you and Connie care for a nightcap before you go?”
Friday 7th November
The Richmond Mansion
“Has it arrived yet,” Kelly said as she arrived with Juliette.
“Not yet,” Sandy said as she put the coffee machine on, “Mary called to say she would bring some copies round with her.”
“Are those fresh baked cookies I smell?”
“They are indeed Mary – got them?”
“This week’s copy of Society! Hot off the presses,” Mary said as she put them down. Kelly and Juliette picked them up as Sandy handed out mugs of coffee, and then placed a plate of cookies down, picking one up as she watched them read the article.
“Well,” she eventually said as they put the magazines down.
“Well I think Sandy was right, doing that magazine article has taken a lot of pressure off.” Juliette leaned back and smiled.
“I’m just amazed they got it into print so quick.” Kelly reached for a cookie.
“Well I guess when you are hot, you are hot.” Sandy smiled.
“By the way everyone knows the Christmas edition of CS is out on the 10th don’t they?” Mary lost a few crumbs down her cardigan as she tried to speak and eat.
“I hear Missy has hired extra girls to cope with all the calls she’s expecting that day.” Sandy nodded.
“Mainly about Caroline I bet.” Juliette laughed.
“Don’t sell yourself short girl.” Mary looked severe, “The other four of you look as good if not better. I’ll bet a hundred you maybe get more enquiries yourself.”
“I’ll take the bets Mary.” Sandy smiled, “maybe make up some of my losses on the Caroline signing thing.”
“Hey – it was a fairly close run thing,” Juliette said with a smile.
“On the other hand, there is one other silver lining to all this.”
“Oh,” Mary said, “and what’s that Sandy?”
“I can think of at least one person who is not happy about this…”
The Graham Apartment
"Damn their eyes." Allison Graham said as
she flung down her copy of Society! She
walked over to the window and looked out as George put little Jennifer in her
seat and handed her a soft toy.
"What is wrong my darling?" George picked
the magazine and flipped through it, before reading the article. "That's
actually rather clever," he laughed lightly, “The Saints and The Sinners… I bet Vanessa is loving
seeing herself described as a Sinner."
"Fuck Vanessa being called a sinner, it's that
"Why does it matter?" George knew that
unattractive look in his wife's eyes.
"You know damn well it matters George, a lot of
your old friends are THE group everyone is talking about."
"Well I'm sure if I rang Sandy she can arrange an
invitation to their next party."
"And have everyone know that socially I am forced
to go crawling to your ex?" Allison screamed.
"Well if you don't want to go to their parties
what is all the fuss about?"
"I'd have liked to have been asked so that I
could have said NO!"
"That's illogical, Allison."
"George you really have NO IDEA how the social
game is played do you?" Allison
turned and glared at her husband.
"Well I wouldn't have thought,
that florists, teachers, drivers, etc were exactly in your social class my
"Thanks to your BITCH of an ex, those nobodies
have been elevated above me, above YOU George? How does it make you feel to read that Grant Broadhurst – and who the hell is Grant Broadhurst
- is joining Roy Razinski and Guy de Grechy in flying
to Kentucky for the horse sales?"
"It doesn't worry me at all,” George, said with a
shrug, “I'm not a racing man."
"GEORGE!" Allison was making herself near
hysterical, "You’re missing the point! I should be MY name in the paper,
not some Broadhurst."
"You don't like racing either."
"GEORGE!" He ducked as a vase came flying at his head.
“Allison, for the love of God - that could have hit Jennifer!” He walked over and put his hands on his wife’s shoulders. “First, calm down. Second, you have got to learn to put these things to one side. So what if we’re not invited? You can be the bigger person, by not letting it get to you, all right?”
Allison looked at her daughter and then nodded. “You’re right, I’m sorry – she just gets me so angry…”
“There, there,” George said as he hugged her, “I’m sure we’ll find a way to get over this…”
The Richmond Mansion
“Oh poor George.” Sandy sighed.
“What’s wrong lover?” Heather looked over and said “he was fine when I put him to bed.”
“Not little George, my ex…”
“Oh what’s wrong with him?’ Heather switched her attention back to her book.
“Allison the bitch had a near total breakdown when she saw the article in Society!”
“Well according to George it was because she didn’t get the pleasure of declining an invitation to Jan’s party.”
“But she doesn’t even know Jan.”
“I know, anyway George got her to take some pills and he’s taken Jennifer and gone to spend the night at his folks so he can keep out of her way.”
Heather put her book down and sat up. “So she’s home alone?”
“Oh no Lover I know that look in your eye.” Sandy looked startled as Heather went to the door.
“Sis can you come down please.” Heather yelled upstairs.
“What do you need Jo for…?”
“Now where did I put them…?” Heather turned on her laptop.
“The plans for George’s place… Sis are you and Curt finished being lovey dovey on the phone?”
Jo looked round as she came in, and said “Yes, and we aren’t lovey dovey as you put it.”
“Oh you are.” Heather grinned. “Fancy getting some of the rust off?”
“What the hell do you mean Heather?”
“Allison is all alone at home.” Heather smiled maliciously.
“Oh you aren’t thinking of doing their place are you?” Sandy rolled her eyes.
“Why not? I owe that bitch, and you don’t need to come lover - strictly a two girl job.”
“It looks easy enough.” Jo studied the plans on the computer.
Heather then suddenly looked up. "Darling, can you ring Abby and ask if
we can borrow her and those porcelain masks? I have a fresh idea.” She giggled
as she said it.
"Oh what now?"
Sandy's eyes rolled. "And how come you had a plan for doing George's
"Oh I worked it out months ago, knew it would
come in handy one day."
Sandy shook her head as Jo finished her call. “She says yes, can we pick her up in five, and what should she wear?”
“Tell her grey – grey pants, grey top, grey gloves.”
Jo passed on the information, before she said, “All right, Sis – why grey?”
Heather looked up with a big grin on her face. "Have either of you heard of the China Dolls?"
"UK female gang…" Jo spoke…"Oh no sis,
"Oh yes, tonight they make their maiden North American appearance."
“But their rep – they never say a bloody word.”
“Exactly – imagine the look on her face…”
Sandy looked at both of them, and then burst out laughing. “All right, all right, I give up. I don’t want to know anything about this…”
“What are you going to use to cover our heads? I get the grey clothes, but they wear hooded catsuits.”
“Don’t worry, sweet sister,” Heather said, “I have the perfect thing…”
The Graham Apartment
Heather closed the door to the apartment and put the grey canvas bag on the box, before looking at the other two.
“All right, grey I get, but who are these China Dolls?” Abby looked at them for an explanation.
“They’re a female gang – usually three, sometimes four – who dress head to toe in grey. Not one part of their body is seen uncovered, and in particular they wear white doll masks over their faces, under the hoods of their catsuits. The masks are classic Chinese style, hence the China Doll Gang.”
“The other outstanding thing about them,” Jo said quietly, “is they never ever say a word. They gesture, they cajole, but they never ever speak.”
“How do they manage that,” Abby giggled.
“No idea – but we need to be disciplined tonight, because once we put those masks on, we have to be like them.”
“All right, so we all have jumpers and pants on, and gloves. Hoods?”
“Here,” Heather said as she handed both the girls a grey faceless balaclava. “Masks on, then slip these over your heads and tuck them under the neck of your jumpers.”
“Follow my lead,” Heather said. She slipped the porcelain mask over her face, before pulling the hood over her head, watching as the two younger girls did the same. She handed each of them a small pistol, put the bag on her shoulder, and nodded as they opened the door that led to the stairs.
They slowly made their way up, keeping to the shadows as they approached the door to the apartment. Nodding to Jo, the other two waited as she picked the lock and quietly opened the door, the three of them slipping in as she closed the door behind them.
Heather pointed to the camera perched high on the wall; Abby nodding as she took a can from the bag, shook it, and sprayed the black latex over the lens. They then walked silently into the dark apartment…
Allison was lying on her bed, her eyes closed as she breathed softly, the tablets having calmed her down somewhat from earlier. She had changed into a pair of cream silk pajamas, the top cut to show her chest, and a white silk dressing gown over that. The fan was keeping the room moving, but it was something else that made her slowly open her eyes.
She wasn’t sure what it was, but she had heard something. As she looked over at the wall, she wondered for a moment if Jennifer had woken up, but then she remembered – George had taken her when he had left for the night, so it could not be her or him.
But if not them, what had she heard? She rolled over, intending to turn the light on, but froze as she saw three white faces, just hanging in the air as they looked down at her.
“It’s a dream, I’ve got to be dreaming,” she mumbled to herself as the faces seemed to just hang there, not moving, not stirring. As she went to turn the light on, however, one of them moved, and as she turned on the bedside lamp she received the shock of her life.
Even in the dim light from the lamp, she could see the faces were not apparitions – they had bodies, but they seemed to blend in the gloom. What did not look like an apparition was the small gun that one of the bodies seemed to be pointing at her.
“What the… Who are you,” Allison said as she sat up, but there was no reply – only the face in the centre changing as a gloved finger was placed against the lips.
“I asked a question, who are you?” Allison asked again, but then she shook as the three faces tilted to one side, and she saw the three pistols now pointing at her.
“For god’s sake say something,” Allison whispered, but again there was no reply, only movement as one of the faces came forward, and she saw a gloved hand pull the covers off her, as the one in the centre motioned for Allison to stand up.
As she stood, the other two women – she could now see they were women, as the light showed the curves of their chests under their jumpers – stood either side of her, covering her with their guns as she gathered her rope around herself. The third woman put her gun down where Allison could see it, and then opened a bag, talking out a long, long length of rope before she doubled it over and tied a small loop in the centre.
“What… What are you going to do with that,” Allison whispered, but the woman still remained silent, merely standing with her arms to her side. She slowly complied, then turned as the woman twirled her gloved finger around.
There was something about the silence, the surreal nature of the situation, which made it even more terrifying for her as she turned round, and then felt the rope around her neck as the silent intruder draped it over her shoulders, the two lengths quietly dropping to the floor as she felt the loop being positioned behind her neck.
“Please, say something,” she whispered, but still no response as instead the woman started to wind the two lengths of rope down her arms in a spiral, pulling them behind her as she did so. She worked with a terrifying speed and purpose, as before she realized what was happening Allison’s arms were secured together behind her back, the rope wound tightly round her forearms, and then the rope fed through the loop at the back of her neck, pulling her arms even further up her back, before it was tied round them again.
That had taken five minutes – and it only took another five minutes for the silent binder to wrap the remaining rope around her arms and chest in a rope harness, stretching her pajama top over her chest as her arms were pinned in place.
“Oh god, why are you doing this,” Allison whimpered as she was turned round, but the white face merely tilted to one side and watched as the other two sat the young woman down on the bed.
One of them tied another length of rope around her legs above her knees, and then passed the rope down, around the band and tightening it as it went between her legs, before she took it down and used the remaining rope to bind her ankles together.
The third woman, easily the taller of the two, fished a grey bandana out of the bag, and rolled it into a band, before she tied a large knot in the centre of it. Allison watched, her eyes wide as she said “No… Please…”
The tall white-faced woman put a gloved finger to Allison’s lips, and then nodded, holding the scarf in front of her head. Slowly, reluctantly, Allison opened her mouth, trying not to gag as the cotton knot was forced into her mouth and pressed down on her tongue, the band tied tightly round her head and the knot sitting under her hair.
The one who had bound her upper body then nodded to the other two, Allison watching as they started to search through the drawers and wardrobe, finding her jewelry with ease, examining it and placing only certain items in little black velvet sacks.
“Plssjstgg,” Allison whimpered as the white faced woman looked at her, her head tilted to the side, before she pushed the frightened young woman onto her side, and pulled her ankles back, securing them to her chest ropes with one last length. The cords were biting into her arms and legs, but she was too scared to do more than mewl and weakly struggle, watching as the other two selected the best of her jewels.
The smaller one then found the safe hidden in the wardrobe, turning and shaking her head at Allison before she started to type numbers in the keypad. To the horror of their captive, she managed to quickly find the combination, and opened the safe, helping herself to the money that was inside, but leaving everything else.
When they had finished, the three women stood and looked at Allison, their heads tilted to one side as she looked back at them. The smallest one then switched her bedside lamp off, as Allison saw the three heads straighten, then retreat into the gloom as they walked backwards, and left the room.
They said nothing as they went to the front door, letting themselves out before they walked down the dark stairs, and back into the cellar. Pausing for a moment to remove the masks and balaclavas and place them in the bag, Heather put her finger to her lips and motioned to the street door, the other two nodding as they followed her out and walked the short distance to where she had left her car.
They climbed into the car, and took several deep breaths, Jo and Abby looking at each other as Heather gripped the steering wheel. They then burst out laughing – genuine laughter of joy, which lasted for several minutes before Heather started the engine and drove off.
“How the hell did we manage to get away with that,” Abby eventually said as she wiped her eyes, “to remain silent for so long like that, when I wanted so much to say something…”
“I have no idea, but I have every respect for them now,” Jo said as she shook her head. “Heather, for one of your craziest ideas, it really paid off.”
“Yeah,” Heather said with a smile, “and it will give her a chance to think quietly. Think she’s remembered the panic alarm next to her bed yet?”
“From the look of fear in her face, I very much doubt it,” Abby said, “and we can be safely in bed, watched by Mom and Sandy, before the police finally come round to her.”
“And the jewels?”
“They’ll pay for something I have planned – well, my share will,” Heather said as they headed into the night…
Sunday 9th November
The Richmond Mansion
“George – I was wondering if you’d call by today.”
“Good Morning Sandy, Good morning Heather,” George kissed both women before they sat down.
“How is Allison George?” Sandy looked at him as she quietly said “we saw the papers.”
“Traumatized,” George said sadly. “They’ve admitted her to the psychiatric unit at Bellevue for Observation.”
“Oh poor thing.” Sandy put her hand out to her ex-husband. “I’m so sorry. How is Jennifer?”
“She’s at my mothers.” George shook his head and then put it in his hands.
“Well at least neither of you was in the house as well.” Heather smiled kindly.
“The police think that maybe it was our not being there that triggered the raid.”
“Oh?” Heather’s ears shot up as she sat forward.
“Yeah - They think that maybe this gang had been watching us for weeks, they saw that Allison was at home alone and they decided to pounce.”
“Do the police have any clues?” Sandy asked casually.
“They are linking it to some famous gang in England, the china dolls, or some such name, supposedly these people don’t speak a word while they rob you, and that makes it all the more terrifying.”
“Is that why Allison is in Bellevue?” Heather asked.
“Yeah, by the time she pressed the panic alarm and the cops got there, they could barely get anything coherent from her. Our Doctor, well you know Thad Sandy, he wants a full psychiatric workup.”
“Has Allison been showing signs George?” Sandy was actually genuinely concerned.
George nodded, “she’s been getting increasingly irrational and high strung, I thought it was pressure of work, but I’m beginning to be afraid she’s genuinely unstable.”
“That doesn’t sound good George.” Sandy found it very hard to suppress the smile she was smiling inwardly.
“I know.” George glanced at his watch, “Oh Christ I must run, I have to go see Allison again.
“Pass on our love to her and Jennifer George.” Sandy waved goodbye as George walked out.
For a second both women sat silent sipping their coffees.
“You calculated that didn’t you lover, it’s why you came up with the idea of roping in Abby and using the porcelain masks?”
“I own up to nothing, let me just say hearing she’d freaked at seeing Society! triggered something in my mind.”
“Still, to have had that effect…”
“She’s always been a bit too high and mighty, Sandy – maybe she’ll come out of this a better person.”
“And if she doesn’t, I have my revenge,” Sandy said with a smile.
The van Roon Apartment
“Well since I’ve been at St Angela’s I’ve been in some pretty special houses, but nothing quite like this.” Anna was lost for words following her tour of Pussy’s 3-floor penthouse overlooking Central Park on the 5th Avenue side.
“I’m glad you like it Anna.” Pussy smiled.
“Did you buy this Dr. van Roon?” Anna couldn’t resist asking what she knew was a rude question.
“No.” Pussy shook her head, “I inherited it I’m afraid. It’s my luck at having an ancestor who swindled the Indians out of a substantial part of this island.”
“That helps.” Becca giggled.
“I know your parents let you drink alcohol at parties girls, but today?”
“Lemonade will do fine.” Anna spoke for the group as they settled into Pussy’s sofas.
“So why did you ask us all to come visit Dr. van Roon?” Becca asked the question that was on everyone’s mind.
“Well after Halloween night it became clear that while we had plenty of sinners…” Pussy looked at Doc.
“Hey why pick on just me,” she laughed.
“We had a distinct lack of saints.’
“True,” each woman nodded.
“So my dear demented lover has appointed herself as a one woman committee to find more men for the group.” Frieda snuggled beside her girlfriend.
“With the best will in the world…” Nikki smiled.
“Is a lesbian the best person to recruit men? And girls my name is Pussy, though I will answer to Patricia if I have to.”
“Well Pussy,” Nikki said, “I guess that was just what I was thinking.”
“Hence why you are here girls,” Pussy said as she sat back and smiled, “I need your input.”
“Well speaking for the widows and unwed mothers,” Juliette spoke, “A few men like Alex Richmond, but minus the dog collar would go down nicely.”
“You mean big ex football players Ju?”
“No, I mean men who can converse intelligently on a large number of subjects without dominating the conversation, can dance, are gentlemen in the old sense of the world.”
“Modern Cary Grant’s?” Pussy said as she picked up her glass.
“That sounds about right.” Juliette nodded.
“Well speaking for the younger single women can I say that sounds wonderful as well.” Ally Rochermann looked up from her lemonade. “Nell and I are the wild children of the group I know, but Mr. Perfect and a committed relationship isn’t something we aren’t looking for as well.”
“So manners, charm, handsome…”
“Looks aren’t that important if he doesn’t bore me.” Doc interrupted.
“Anna can I ask a question, what’s your IQ sweetie?”
Pussy nodded, “we seem to attract huge brains, you’re in the same league as Juliette, Carina and me.”
“None of us are in Heather’s league though.” Juliette reflected.
“What’s hers?” Becca enquired.
“It’s north of 170, but she bust the machines in a way, so no one is quite sure.” Pussy recalled her friend’s achievements.
“Holy Shit!” even Doc’s jaw dropped.
“Well anyway I think I got a picture what I’m looking for.” Pussy smiled. “My sister Liz’s two boys for example.”
“Oh yes Peter and Simon fit the bill.” Frieda nodded.
“One is 18, one is 16, and they are both good conversationalists.”
“How come I don’t know these paragons?” Ally asked.
“They currently live in San Francisco, but my sister and her family are moving back to New York at Christmas.”
“Well they sound great,” the younger girls all smiled as Ally spoke.
“Now you just need find us more, all sizes, all shapes.” Juliette laughed.
“Well, we can put the feelers out,” Nikki said, “Maybe big sis can find some as well?”
“Fair point – maybe Tony’s friends?”
“Worth a thought – Ju you know Tony better than most of us. What do you think?”
“I’ll ask him – no promises.”
Monday 10th November
The Huntingdown Apartment
Cathy sat down with the catalogue for the show, smiling as she logged in.
“Morning ladies, who do we have in line?”
“Juliette may I place a shopping order with you?” Catherine typed in her end of the secure net.
“A shopping order Cathy?”
“That exhibition you are looking at there are three works by Twentieth Century Chinese Artists that the gentleman you met in Macau is interested in acquiring.”
“Anything in particular.”
“There are works by Xu Beihong, Huang Zhou and Zhanh Daqian that are of especial interest in the catalogue. He is making an offer of nine million Dollars to be paid on delivery.”
“That’s very generous of him, please tell him we will of course endeavor to fill his order.” Juliette smiled as she typed.
“I also have an order to fill.” Juliette was surprised to see Shirley online this early in the morning in the UK. “I’m very much interested in the Liechtenstein prints, the Lowry and the work by Rachel Reckitt if they are genuine? Can you get Heather to use her other talents and appraise them for me please?”
“I can do that.” Heather typed in. “I know their work has been often forged, if I can get a close up look I can authenticate one way or the other.”
“Thank you Heather.”
“So Shirley is there anything else that strikes you as having resale value?” Juliette asked.
“There are probably a few I can place with discreet buyers Ju.”
“That sounds good.”
“Shirley,” Heather typed, “Would you pass a message on to Penny for me?”
“Naturally, what is it?”
“Just tell her to tell her friends I’m sorry I borrowed their style on Saturday night.”
“Oh? What happened?”
“Let’s just say you may see a report that suggests the China Dolls were in New York last Saturday.”
There was a short pause, before Shirley typed “I’m sure they will appreciate the tribute. How are your plans preceding Juliette?”
“With caution,” Juliette typed, “Some of us may have to play victim as it’s an event we really can’t be missed at.”
“I understand Juliette, may I offer any help?”
“Annie and Dominique are in, but if she is here then Charlotte would be useful.”
“She has a prior engagement – telling Clint’s parents the news.”
“Ah – of course. Well, she’s planning to be in New York then to work with Heather anyway.”
“That’s good, tell her thanks and we look forward to seeing her.”
“I can’t make it Ju, I need to be in Beijing.”
“Not a problem Cathy, we all knows how busy your life is.”
“Okay - Miss Tennant has approved the days off school so Mom and I can fly to Fiji to shoot the SI thing.” Abigail smiled at Jo and Jeannie as she came out of the principal’s office.
“You lucky bitch.” Jeannie shook her head.
“There’s a condition though,” she said as they walked to the refectory.
“Why didn’t I guess?” Jo asked.
“She’s asked if we can organize an Angels pinup calendar to raise funds for the Jamie scholarships.”
“She asked WHAT?” Jo stood still.
“Oh, I bet the parents and trustees will never go for that.” Jeannie smiled
“Supposedly they are.” Abby looked at the paper in her hands. ”Look at this –Juliette and Jamie’s dad have approved it.”
“Damn the old thing must be softening up in her dotage.” Jo shook her head.
“She wants me to find a photographer, models, printer, etc.” Abby shook her head.
“Ask John to shoot it, I love his work.” Jeannie looked serious.
“That’s an idea but where the hell are we going to find 9 more pinups in this place?”
“Nine?” Joanne thought a second, “Uhhh Uhhh no way I’m posing for a pinup calendar.”
“Well if Miss Chicken won’t we need ten.” Jeannie glared at Jo.
“Well Ally looks okay in a swimsuit…”
“Alright we are back to nine.” Jeannie looked round.
“I guess we hold auditions, start asking round at lunch ladies.” Abby smiled, “While I think about winter sunshine in Fiji.”
“Lucky Bitch.” Jeannie grumbled.
“Hey – one day Baby, one day…”
“A swimsuit issue? Sure I’m in,” Ally said with the biggest grin imaginable. “I’m sure Nell would do it as well.”
Abby and Jo looked at her, as if she had lost her mind. “Hey – she stood with us then, and this is the sort of thing that brings us and the Nuns together. Some of them, anyway.”
“Well, it might be worth a try,” Abby said as her phone rang.
“Hello? John, thanks for getting back to me – I need to ask a slightly huge favor of you…”
Complete Style Magazine
“Do you know how disconcerting that is?” Caroline looked shocked at the fact that the Complete Style staff all the way from the elevators to Juliette’s office had applauded her.
“That is actually an amazing tribute,” Juliette said as she closed the door, “I’ve only seen it done once before.”
“The day Abby’s first cover hit the streets”
“Good thing I’m not the type to hold grudges.” Karen spoke quietly from the corner where she and Alice were sitting glancing through the magazine. While Caroline was in a pair of jeans and a blue blouse, Alice was wearing a cream jacket and skirt, while Karen wore a black and white smock top over grey leggings.
“WE didn’t get that kind of reception.” Alice laughed as both she and Karen stood up and kissed Caroline.
“We all clearly had the same idea, to hide out in Ju’s office and let Missy deal with all the crap.” Karen laughed.
“That’s my office, an oasis of calm and tranquility – until Mary finds us. Turn your cell off Caroline…”
“I already did after the first four, girls - I just referred everyone to Missy.”
“Today’s the day she earns her percentage.” Juliette leaned back in her office chair. “Our job is to let her get on with it, and try and keep our heads down as much as possible.”
“Well, I’ll think of the donation to the Kirkham fund,” Caroline said with a smile. “So do you think we’ll be safe wandering out to lunch later?”
“I hope so.” Karen padded her tum, “I’m eating for two…. And you don’t know how amazing that feels saying that.”
“You have tried for a long while.” Alice said as she patted her friend’s hand.
There was a knock on the door and Janine put her head round the corner.
“Ummm Juliette Miss Evangelista on the phone should I?”
Juliette smiled and said “Put her through please.”
Caroline looked at the others, before saying “Why is she phoning here, now?”
“You’ll see,” Juliette said as she put the call on speaker.
“Ju, that you?”
“Hey Mother!” Juliette’s voice rang out at the Canadian accented voice on the other end.
“I hear Bats and Sweets are hiding out there.”
“We are Mother, how are you darling?” Alice asked.
“Jealous as hell!” The voice laughed, “I thought I had you four safely retired and were no longer competition.”
“Well it’s not real comebacks…”
“Tell me that at the end of the day when you count the offers ladies…”
“There is no way I can come back full time Mother.”
“I know, I know – and congratulations Sweets. Anyway to business - is she there?”
“Caroline,” the voice said, “we’ve not met since you were a young girl. Your Mother, God rest her soul, was always a member in good standing of Pi Tau Alpha, and as Principal of the sorority I’d like to invite you to join please.”
There was a moment’s silence as Caroline looked round the room, before she said “Oh Linda, I mean Mother, I’d be honoured,” shedding a tear as she did so.
“Sister Bats, Sister Sweets, Sister Pelican,” Mother said, “do you in good faith sponsor this novitiate?”
“We do.” The three replied as one
“And does she have a name?”
“She does.” Karen smiled as she came forward and held Caroline’s hands. “In honour of my best friend, her mother, we name her Happy Face the Second.”
“Sister Face then it is…..” Linda laughed lightly as the women in New York embraced.
“Thank you, thank you all,” Caroline said as she hugged them.
“Is it safe to bring this in now,” Mary said as she appeared with a bottle of champagne and five glasses.
“It is,” Mother called out, “and thanks for sorting that out Merlin.”
“Any time Linda,” Mary said as she handed the bottle to Caroline. “You get the honour, Face.”
“That is going to take time to get used to,” Caroline said as she popped the cork and poured the champagne.
“You deserve it love,” Mary said as Linda said “I need to go now – but Face, we’ll talk when I’m next in the city.”
“I look forward to it, Mother,” Caroline said as Janine came back in.
“Lady Ordford on line two, Juliette.”
“Put her through, and thanks again Mother.”
“Pleasure ladies,” Linda said as the line went dead for a moment, and then an English voice said “Hey – are celebrations in order?”
“They are, Tufty,” Juliette said, “Sister Face has been inducted.”
“Good – I’ll see you in a couple of weeks Caroline.”
“Oh yeah – Thanksgiving.”
“And we have a lot to be thankful for,” Karen said with a smile.
The Richmond Mansion
Heather looked up as April and Emma entered through the kitchen door, putting her laptop lid down as they did so.
“Did Grant get off with Guy and Roy okay?”
“Yeah, Roy dropped by and picked him up.” April put her bag down as Emma went to the work surface.
“You’d never said that Grant was a racing man?” Sandy called out as she came in with Tonia.
“He grew up round the tracks.” April glanced at the little note in the social column about her husband. “Grant’s Dad was one of those small trainers who just about make a living and never get that one really good horse that gets them noticed.”
“Well from what I heard Roy and Guy say, they think he knows more about racehorses then simply which end you feed.” Heather laughed.
“Roy wanted to be a jockey more than anything when he grew up, but well you’ve seen how big my husband is.”
“We have.” Emma smiled.
“Well I think he’ll enjoy himself with Guy and Roy.” Sandy looked up from her paperwork.
“Yeah stand by to be bored rigid when he gets home, because you know he’s bound to run into a lot of old acquaintances he hasn’t seen in years.” Emma warned.
“April can I ask for your opinion please?” Sandy put some of her drawings on the counter. “The lady I’m decorating this apartment for loves flowers, have I given her enough places to display them?”
“Yes, but can I make a suggestion?”
“If this lady loves flowers give her a patio garden where she can grow some things.”
“Oh crap why didn’t I think of that.” Sandy looked bemused for a second. “That makes perfect sense. Shirley has more than enough space outside for a little garden.”
“Knowing Shirley she’ll enjoy unwinding with a bit of gardening Lover.” Heather smiled.
“It’s how I relax.” Emma looked round as she started brewing fresh coffee.
“Right – Tonia, you know what’s coming don’t you?”
“Factor in a garden on the main patio – got it,” Tonia said as she sat down.
“One day this will all be agreed,” Sandy said quietly, “I promise.”
“Well, at least the Arabian’s completed. All that remains is to get the exhibits set up.”
“that’s a week on Friday isn’t it,” Heather said.
“That’s the plan,” Tonia said, “coming Sandy?”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Sandy said.
“So the paintings go up tomorrow?”
“They sure do – want to come and see the work in progress?”
“I’d love that,” Heather said with a smile as Pussy and Frieda came in.
“Hey peeps – is that fresh coffee I smell?”
“Sure is – the world of science not invigorating you today?”
“More like the world of finance getting me down – mom and dad had me in with the accountants,” Pussy said with a sigh.
“Frieda can I have a private word?” Heather asked as she took the young German to one side.
“For sure, what can I do for you?”
“I understand that you have something of a background in chemistry as well as physics.
“Well I’ve been asked to authenticate some pictures for a friend…”
“Puss said you are an art historian.”
“Well if I could get a few flakes could you sort of ‘borrow’ the equipment needed to give me a detailed analysis?”
“We have a friend at Columbia who can maybe help.” Frieda thought, “I’m sure you can get an analysis done quite openly if you want Heather.”
“This is the art world Frieda nobody wants to know they paid a fortune for a forgery, it needs be done QUICKLY, and VERY QUIETLY.”
“Ah now I understand… I presume you want to know composition of the paint and it’s approximate age?”
“That would help me give this person an opinion certainly.”
“Well I’ll see if I can get the use of the equipment for next Monday, you get me the samples for early morning, I can probably have your answers by late night…Will that be alright?”
“That will be perfect Frieda…. Thank you.”
"Okay, I think you’ve all heard the story and the rumors - else you wouldn't be here." Abby took charge of the meeting. "The powers that be have Okayed that we do a Girls of St Angela's pinup calendar to raise money for the Jamie Fund."