Goodbye, Farewell and Amen – Part 4








Saturday 12th November

Noon GMT

The Medley, Dublin


"So when will Eve and Aileen get here?" Orion asked Katy as they looked round the room.

"They are coming over with Aunt Shirley on her private plane,” Katy said as she looked at her watch, “so they should be here by one at the latest."

"They should be alright then," the Belfast girl looked at the catwalk and the rest of the venue. "This isn't bad."

"Up one side, pose, short traverse, pose, back down the other...It looks easy enough."

"Yeah I've walked worse."

"The first half daytime wear, the second half evening stuff," Katy looked at the running order. "That seems reasonable."

"The change may be hard, but it should work."

"Will it offend your Irish soul Emerald if I say I've not heard of any of these designers?"

"Not at all," Orion paused, "but it illustrates the problem, to make the 'big time' designers currently must leave Ireland. Eve and the organizers want to make this an event that shows off our home based talent, and just hopefully the world will take notice."


12.45 pm GMT

RTE Studios, Dublin


“You know how to get from here to the venue?” Paula asked as Sherry and Mike got out of the Range Rover at the entrance to the RTE studios.


“I’ll call a taxi,” Sherry replied, “they promised we will be finished with the interview in time for us to get to the show.”


“Well if you need to, phone me and I’ll come and pick you up,” the Duke offered.


“Oh we will be fine,” Mike smiled. “You guys go enjoy yourselves.”


“Enjoy ourselves,” Paula gasped, “Michael have you ever seen what models have to go through on a show day?”


“Can’t say I have.”


“It’s not much fun,” the Duke laughed, “my dear wife and sister will be complaining all afternoon.”


“Well, I think I prefer this,” Mile said as he closed the door, and they waved the rest of the party off.  He looked at Sherry, in her jacket and dress, and said “ready?”


“No – but best to get this done…”



"You know I'm going to feel positively ancient compared to every other girl walking today Paula?" Eve sighed, "you say about you being an 'old lady' what does that make me?"

"Ageless sister dear," Tom turned and smiled as he waited for the traffic lights to turn green.

"Thank you brother dearest," Eve smiled back, "but it still doesn't change the fact that I belong to a completely different generation of models to every other girl working today."

"Oh maybe not," Paula laughed as she read a text message.

"Oh?" Eve lifted an eyebrow. "What's happening?"

"I'm not going to spoil the surprise," Paula giggled some more.

"Have the girls arrived?"

"They have indeed darling. That message was from Shirley saying they all got there safely."


“Good – well, let’s go…”


1 pm GMT

The Medley


“Did you check in at the hotel yet John me bhoy?” Stephen Stone asked as his colleague wandered in to the reception room that was serving as the press centre for the fashion show.


“We did,” John Hammond said with a smile, “and I was rather impressed by the place.”


“Yeah it’s one of the better places in town,” Stephen said with a smile. So where’s the lovely Shirley?”


“Escorting your nieces and a surprise guest backstage.”


“Oh,” Stephen said with his head to one side, “anyone I should be takin’ an interest in?”


“Maybe,” John laughed lightly, “and I know your lovely wife will be glad to see her. Has Eve arrived yet?”


“No I drove in this mornin’. She’s coming with Paula and the Country Life people. In fact,” he looked at his watch, “they should be due any time.”


“Okay,” John glanced round, “is Jack here?”


“He poked his head in a few minutes ago, but he seemed a bit quiet and off-colour.”


John looked at his old friend with a concerned expression.  “Don’t say the old hypochondriac is actually sick?”


“Might be, but looked more like he was distracted.”


“Well as long as he’s alright.  I’ll go and see if I can find him…”




Juliette stood in wonder and awe, as Shirley smiled and said “Can we find a place for ‘her’ to hide till Eve arrives Juliette?”


“Oh I’m sure we can do something Shirley. Excuse me – could you arrange somewhere for my friend to wait, and get her a coffee?”


“Of course,” the assistant said as she indicated the third woman should follow her.  As they went off, Juliette said “I can’t wait to see Eve’s face. How did you arrange this?”


“Well I know her husband slightly and I rang him to pass on my condolences about Fiona, and well then the conversation turned to me flying over for these shows, and he asked was there room on my plane to take someone else.”


“And of course there was.”




“Well I know Eve will be overjoyed to see her, they go way, way back.”


“So she was saying on the way over.  So, what did you want to talk to me about, and why did you want to know if Jayes had a report on a visit to Dublin?”




“Any clue when Mummy will be arriving Aunt Juliette?” Aileen interrupted.


“She should be here any minute.”


“Well when she gets here tell her Eve and I are in the fitting area please.”


“Will do.”  As the teenager went off, Juliette said quietly “how do you feel about a treasure hunt?”




“In a Government office…”



Backstage was the usual calm sense of tranquillity.  Not.


"This is what Mary Clarke says we do actually work for a living," Katy stood perfectly still while the assistants worked to make the evening dress fit perfectly.


"Sorry Miss Smith," the young man doing the fitting apologized after he stuck a pin in Jo.

"Yeah having to stand perfectly still while they do their thing isn't easy," Alice observed.

"First walk through in 45 minutes ladies," a female voice shouted.

"Is that enough time Sean?" Katy asked her fitter.

"I'll get it done Miss."

"How's it going BS?" Jo asked as Jeannie wheeled herself in.

"Oh the usual problems of doing fittings on a disabled model. This is always the time I actually wish I could stand up. It would make it so much easier."

"Yeah it can't be easy." Jo grimaced as she felt another pin prick.

"Sorry," Sean apologized again, "but the instructions are this must be skin tight."

"I know, and my body is slimmer than most making it harder."



"When will Eve get here?" Jeannie Beckmann fretted, "I want to get my interview with her out of the way."

"She's on her way is all I know," her producer glanced at his mobile.

"So what do you make of what you've seen Titi?" Grace asked.

"Some of it isn't that great,” Jeannie said quietly, “it's pretty derivative, but there are some outstanding bits as well."

"That's rather what I thought. One or two of these designers are actually very talented."

"Yeah, hopefully this publicity will help their careers."

"Did you see who Shirley Xavier brought along?"

"Someone who was always one of my personal idols when I started in this business," Jeanne smiled.

"Well when I came along she was like Eve. Already a living legend."

"That she was darlin's" Stephen looked up from fitting a lens, "my wife will be glad to see her."


“Glad to see who?”


“There you are,” Grace said with a smile as Paula and Eve came in.  “Just in time for fitting – the girls are through there.”


“On my way,” Paula said as she walked through the doors, to be greeted by two shouts of “MUMMY!”

“So you want to talk to me and Cassandra, Titi?”


“IF you can find her…”




“Well, this looks like a completely different side of your life,” Derek Torville said as he looked round the changing area.


“Well, you did want to see all areas of my life,” Paula said with a smile, “and this is part of it.  My daughters, Eve and Aileen – girls, this is Derek Torville of Country Life.”


“Oh yeah – you want to write about Mum and Dad,” Aileen said with a smile.  “Welcome to chaos.  Who’s the lady?”


“Siobhan Roebuck,” the older woman said as she shook their hands, “can I get a picture of all three of you for the article?”


“Guess so,” Eve said as they stood either side of Paula, and smiled.


“What’s this – a new face?”


“Hardly – Luke Helier, this is Siobhan Roebuck, of Country Life.”


“Ah – a pleasure,” he said as they shook hands, “so you’re not here for the fashion show?”


“Not particularly – I leave that to people like John Hammond and Stephen Stone.”


“And my partner…”


“Luke, where are you?”


“Over here – Jack Linklater, this is…”  Luke stopped as he saw the way both photographers were looking at each other, before Jack whispered “oh lord – Siobhan?”


The two photographers stared at each other, neither moving or speaking as Eve, Aileen and Paula looked at them.  Luke was also studying them, before he quietly said “err…  I take it you two have met before?”


“You might say that,” Jack said quietly, for once not the flamboyant person he liked to be.  “It’s been a long time.”


“It has indeed – but you look well,” Siobhan said quietly. 


“Are we missing something here Mummy,” Aileen said as she looked at them.


“Incredibly good question,” Paula said quietly, “incredibly good question…”


1.15 pm GMT

RTE Studios


Sherry was feeling less and less comfortable, as the make up girl fussed over her while she sat in the seat.


“Mrs Babbage?”


She turned and looked at the well dressed man standing there.


“Derek Curran – thank you for agreeing to talk to us,” he said as he shook her hand, and then sat down.


“It’s a pleasure, although I’m not sure why you have asked me,” Sherry said as he sat down.


“Don’t worry, it’s just some background stuff, nothing too heavy,” Derek said with a smile as he looked at the cameraman.  “So take a deep breath, relax, and we can begin.”


Sherry nodded as she watched the camera, then looked at Derek as he said “in order to get some background on the late Viscountess Kildurran, I’m talking to her granddaughter, the Honourable Sheridan Babbage.  Mrs Babbage, thank you for coming in.”


“It’s my pleasure Derek – and please, I much prefer Sherry,” she said as she started ot relax.


“Perhaps we can begin by you telling me some of your earliest memories of your grandmother, Agnetha Butler?”


“Well, my first memory was of a very tall blonde haired woman with a wide smile, who held me in her arms,” Sherry said with a smile.


“So you remember when you were a baby?”


“I am blessed in that respect yes,” Sherry said with a smile.  “But my grandmother was always there when I was growing up.  I loved spending the summer with her whenever I could in her home.”


“Kildurran Manor?”


“That’s right – a beautiful house.”


“So what did you know of her work at the time?”


“Not very much – I knew she worked for the government, and sometimes I saw her when I watched television with my parents, but that was about all I knew.”


“When you were growing up,” Derek said quietly, “the government of the United Kingdom and Ireland were trying to find a solution to end the Troubles.  Were you aware of the role your grandmother played in that discussion?”


Sherry looked straight at Derek, before she said quietly “as I just said, all I knew was that she was something in government.  She certainly never told me much of the details of her work.”


“So when she passed away, you were surprised at the fact Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley and Tony Blair sent their condolences?”


“I admit, that did surprise me, but I was a young mother living in London by then.  I put it down to her been known by those people,” Sherry said as she maintained her smile.  She could feel a trap was coming, but wasn’t sure how…


“Did she ever tell stories of her work during the war, Sherry?”


“The war?  I cannot say she ever did, at least not in my presence…”


“Advance copies of a new book by Juliette Huntingdown about her aunt, the famed criminologist Jane Huntingdown, apparently contains some stories of undercover work she did during the Second World War.  Would it surprise you to learn your grandmother was also involved in such activities?”


“Very much so.  I only remember a kindly old woman who I loved very much.”


“Sherry Babbage, thank you very much.”


Sherry watched as the camera light went off, Derek smiling as he said “thanks for doing that.”


“So why did you ask about the war?”


“Oh, just background,” he said with a smile.  “We will let you see an advance copy of the finished program.”


“I look forward to it,” Sherry said as she left the studio, Mike standing up as she walked over.


“What happened?”


“I think we may have a problem,” she said as they walked out.  “I need to call Paris.”


1.30 pm GMT

The Medley


Siobhan, Luke and Jack were sitting in the refreshment area, the models walking past them as they each held a coffee.


“Okay,” Jack finally said with a sigh, “Luke, Siobhan is – well, the one that got away.”


Luke looked at the grey haired woman, and said “oh – the one you were going to marry, before…”


“Before I walked into his room and found him with a cute blonde?  Yeah, that’s me,” Siobhan said with a smile.  “Did he ever tell you the story, Luke?”


“A little – but I for one am glad it turned out the way it did,” Luke said as he took Jack’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, Jack returning it as he shook his head.


“Some year,” he eventually said, “I go back to Miami for the first time since Gianni’s passing, become a godfather, and now I bump into you…”


“A godfather?  Well, that is a different side to the Jack we usually see,” Siobhan said with a smile, “who were the lucky children?”


“Hmmm…  Oh, Rudi and Mags?”




“Not just any twins,” Luke said with a smile, “officially, they are their Serene Highnesses, Prince Rudolf and Princess Margaret von Furstenheim.”


Siobhan looked at Jack, who smiled and said “Well, we all have to grow up at some point…  So you’re here working?”


“Indeed – an article on the Gaunt family, and I should have guessed you would be here as well.  Do you see much of those of us who operate outside the fashion world?”


“One or two – we met Marghereta Olsen earlier in the year in Naples, at another wedding…”


“Marghereta appeared in public?  I thought she was so dedicated to her work she only checked in with her editors because she has to!”  All three of them started laughing at that, before Siobhan wiped her eyes and said “so – you two serious?”


“About as serious as it can get,” Jack said as he looked at Luke.  “I mean, I’m not the marrying kind…”


“You were once.”


Jack looked over, shaking his head and smiling as he said “true – but it would never have worked, and – well, fate had another path for me to walk down.  Did you ever find anyone?”


“No – but my career is where I found my happiness.  I have followed yours as well – all of it.”  She put her hand on his before she said “you are a genius, Jack Linklater, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”




“Eve, Cassandra, thank you for talking to me today,” Jeanne Beckmann said as she ended the interview, and then indicated the cameras should go off.


“Well, better get ready to head back to the coal face,” Eve said as she removed the microphone.


“Oh come on Bandit – at our age we should always be ready.”


“SPIDER!”  Eve smiled as she hugged Jean Doig, and said “what the heck are you doing here?”


“Seeing old friends – and this is your daughter?  Jean Doig.”


“Cassandra Stone – it’s a real pleasure to meet you, Your Ladyship.”


“Oh let’s drop the titles,” Jean said with a smile, “or we’ll be here all day, Lady Eve.  Why don’t you take me backstage to meet some of the others – especially the ones who weren’t at the funeral…”





“Your highness?”


Juliette looked up from the table she was sitting at, and said “Martina, please – you remember Shirley Xavier?”


“Of course,” Shirley said with a smile as she stood and kissed the young Kiwi.  “Juliette said you wanted to meet with us?”


“I did,” the blonde said as she sat down.  “did you manage to find anything out?”


“I got the extract from his diaries – they had an adventure here that actually answered some other questions, but that is not important right now.  Why do I think you found a letter?”


“In my grandfather’s papers – I was home for a couple of weeks, with nothing to do,” she said as she drew a browning envelope from her bag, drew out two folded sheets of A4 paper and carefully opened them, Juliette and Shirley putting on their glasses and reading the contents.


“Oh my,” Juliette said quietly, “and the building is still there?”


“It is currently the home of the Irish Justice Department,” Shirley said quietly, “and as such, very well guarded.”


“But is it possible?”


Shirley smiled as she said “of course it can be done.  It will need a day to get the team together – Juliette, are you happy to leave this with me?”


“I want in.”


The two women looked at Martina as she said “I want in – I have some skills to offer as well.”


“In what way do you believe you can…”


“Because I know what your great-aunt and your great-grandmother did,” Martina said quietly, “and because I am a fully paid up BA member in my own right.  So I know Number 16 – and she said to tell you.”


Juliette looked at Shirley, as she nodded and said “very well then – we can talk tomorrow, once my team is here.  Now, let us enjoy the show…”


3 pm CET

The British Embassy



“Commander Cornwall?”


Kay looked round as she heard her official rank, and saw the official standing there.


“Your guests are waiting in the secure video conference room.  If you will follow me…”


“Of course,” Kay said as she followed him down the corridor, and then into a secure area, the army officer standing to attention as they went past.  He opened a door, and said “we will connect you in a few minutes” as she went in.


“Kay – I trust you are well?”


“Of course I am,” she said as she embraced Francesca di Cambrello, kissing her on both cheeks, “and I am grateful I could take part in this.”


“Well, as you were foiled in the reasonable attempts to help, it made sense you were here for this.”


“Alex, allow me to present Maria Riva,” Francesca said as she indicated the grey haired woman sitting in a chair, leaning on a stick.  “Maria, this is Kay Cornwall.”


“Head of the Russian Desk at the Circus?  It is an honour,” Maria said as she inclined her head.


“The honour is mine,” Kay said as she leaned over and kissed Maria on both cheeks.  “I trust you are in good health.”


“For a woman of my age, to travel is one of the major signs,” Maria said with a smile, “but I am well, and it is important I am here for the start of the process.  When will we be connected?”


“Now, I think,” Francesca said as she looked at the screen, the three women sitting as Leader appeared on the screen.  Maria stared at her, then at Francesca as she said "greetings, Leader.  You may recognise Commander Kay Cornwall, but may I present Her Excellency, Madame Maria Riva, former aide to the Italian President.”


“An honour,” Leader said as she inclined her head.  “I apologise for the short delay, but – ah, here she is now.”


Maria smiled as she saw the second woman sit down.  “Blonde is a new look for you, my dear.”


“A necessary one,” Alex Green said with a smile.


“Have you managed to settle,” Francesca said with a smile.


“Once I got over the shock of how accommodation works here, yeah – not to mention dealing with the fact I am dead now.”


“For a corpse, you look remarkable spry,” Kay laughed.  “So where are you anyway?”


“The exact location is classified, but I am a guest of the Sisters of Maisha at their training compound.  I’m pinch hitting as best I can, until something more permanent can be sorted out.”


“Well, you certainly seem to have recovered,” Francesca said.  “Did you see your obituary?”


“Yeah – short on detail, but at least they didn’t say too much.  Liz heard through her contacts that Peter and Hennie closed the file, and kept everything else hush hush.”


“A face saving measure?”


“Possibly – but that is the past, and I have been counselled to look forward.”


“Indeed,” Maria said with a smile, “and Liz?”


“One of the Sisters’ contacts with South African Intelligence,” Francesca said with a smile.  “So Alex, let’s begin with your report on how you were outed, and what happened from your perspective.”


Alex nodded as she said “I was aware of a growing – problem after I met with Francesca in California – but then I came home that night with Peter, and Hennie was there…”



2.30 pm GMT

The Medley


“I’ll catch up with you in a minute, Mike,” Sherry said as they came backstage, watching as her husband went to the front of house before she walked over to where Paula was sitting in a chair.

"Sherry darling you look positively frazzled," Paula observed as Sherry sat next to her, “what happened?”


"If what I suspect those bloody tv producers are up to is even half true darling, then I have every right to be,” Sherry said quietly, “and maybe so do all of 'us'."

"Us?" the duchess asked quizzically.

"Yes us. Us as in the sense of those of us who consider ourselves Anglo-Irish."   Sherry ran her hair through her head and looked round.

"What do you mean?"

"You remember what those bastards said to you when you had your home invasion?"

"Yes – not something I’m ever likely to forget.  But that was a couple of fanatics, Sherry..."

"Well,” Sherry said as she leaned forward, “I think this producer wants to rake over past hurts regarding the ascendency, and the fallout from the civil war and afterwards."

"Oh come on," Paula rolled her eyes, "this is 2016, not 1916."

"Agreed, and the general tone back in the spring celebrating the anniversary of the rising wasn't too bad, but I think this producer wants to revisit the past, and he's found out some bits about my Grandmother that I think everyone hoped were safely buried."


“What sort of things?”


“What role she played then and in the 1917 uprising…  Her role in later years, up to and including the war…   IS Juliette around?”


“She’s talking to her book people – why?”


“I need to ask her if she came across my grandmother’s name in her researches, see what she learned.”


“Sherry,” Paula said quietly, “I know I should not ask, but…”


“Don’t Paula – better if you don’t.  I just wish Kay was here – I need to call Aggie at some point as well, see what she knows.”


“Take a deep breath, Sherry,” Paula said, “you could be wrong.”




“I’ll go and talk to Mike,” Sherry said as she walked ot where her husband was standing, and followed him out.




“Oh yes,” Paula said, “let’s go next door and eat…”




"Why were you chatting to the duchess in that manner darling?" Mike asked Sherry as they sat to have tea in the hotel restaurant.

"In what manner?"

"Oh hushed whispers, waving arms, agonized looks on both your faces," Mike smiled, "I thought you said the interview went well?"


“It did – but some old wounds may be about to be opened,” Sherry said quietly.


“What?  Your grandmother?  Surely not…”





"Remember back when we were getting started Spider and we had to do most of this ourselves?" Eve smiled as they started to dry her hair.

"Oh don't remind me. These youngsters think this is all so hard preparing to do a show, they really have it easy compared to back in our day."

"Well to be fair, we were told just the same by the 'older generation' when we were young things," Eve smiled again.


"You know I could listen to you two chat for hours," Jeannie looked serious for a second. "One day someone needs write a proper history of modeling as a profession."

"Maybe it will be you BS?" Eve tossed her head slightly. "with all that stuff Fiona left you, then you have a treasure trove of information."

"I guess so, but so much of it is in people memories, not written down on paper."

"You have a point," Jean looked at her own reflection. "Maybe you and Titi need start a project to record models memories."

"You know that is actually an idea," Jeannie said quietly, "a very good idea."


“What is?”


“Hey Jeanne,” Jeannie said, “I’ve got an idea for a new segment for the Beckmann Report – living history.”


“Oh?  Tell me more…”


1 pm

The Burton Apartment



“Who would have thought English Literature would involve so much history,” Poppy said as she looked across the table at Erica, Lynn, Jess and Dawn.


“I was forewarned by Doc,” Erica said as she looked at the printed passages, “but this is certainly a refreshing change and challenge.”


“So when does Bugs get back,” Jess said as she sipped from her glass.


“We go to meet her off the ferry at five on the Sunday normally – Abby’s going to drive us there tonight, given Ama doesn’t get back until just before then tomorrow.”


“She’s travelling almost as much as Jeannie these days,” Dawn said with a smile.


“That’s what happens when the national scouts get you,” Jess said with a shrug, “regular trips to the homeland for training camps.”


“The homeland?”  Jess looked over at Poppy and laughed as she said “yeah, well – For me yes, for Ama – she’s tangentially attached, but that bodn does seem to be getting stronger.”


“If Scotland ever played Spain, Jess, what would you do?”


“Play my best – and try to win.  It’s the only thing you can do…”


6 pm GMT

The Medley


“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Cassandra said as the lights went down, “welcome to the Irish Fashion Guild show, and to start tonight’s show, please welcome to the stage three generations of Irish modelling history – Eve Stone, Paula Priest, and Eve and Aileen Priest!”


As the audience applauded, John was backstage, smiling as he saw Orion O’Ryan’s father standing there.


"Hello Mick," John Hammond smiled as he came over, "how are you?"

"I’m fine John,” Mick said in his soft Belfast accent, “and yerself?"

"Excellent," a small laugh escaped John's lips, "But I think I maybe need buy you a stiff drink?"

"Why," Mick's eyes narrowed with suspicion.

"Because you may need it when you see what Orion is wearing in the first half."

"Oh God," Mick paused," too much chest?"

"Nope, a skirt so short it makes her look as though her legs go on for ever."

"I can live with that I suppose, but just be thankful her Auntie isn't here to see it."


“We must be grateful for small mercies,” John said as he joined in the laughter…




"Emerald if you weren't already a superstar, that outfit would make you one," Jeannie carefully studied her friend as she stood in the cream linen dress, a thin belt round her waist, her red hair carefully styled on her head.

"It's not too short is it?" Orion looked hard at herself in the mirror.

"No you have such great legs," Jeannie smiled, "It would be wasted on me though because shown sitting down it would lose it's impact."

"I'm not sure I can sit in it without flashing everything anyway," Orion shook her head.


“Well, it’s just as well you don’t have to,” Jeannie laughed as Katy came back, wearing a light blue satin suit.  “And as for you, Lolita?”


“I know – I think I could even make Sands jealous of me in this,” Katy said as she looked at herself carefully, “still – onwards and upwards…”


She ran to the changing area, passing Barbara as she talked on the telephone.




1.30 pm

West Central Park



“The usual chaos then?”


“Of course it is,” Barbara said as Janice Carter poured water into the coffee maker, the phone balanced on her shoulder and held in place with her chin.


"So what is Katy wearing and will I have a breakdown when I see the pictures?"


"Not really, though you'll maybe think that the evening dress they have Katy in for the second half is disappointingly bland," Barbara replied.


"Yeah it looks like a department store dress that you've seen a dozen times already. It doesn't have any real impact."

"Is the standard of design that low?" Janice took the phone in one hand as she poured the coffee with the other.

"No, the very best is wonderful, Katy is making noises she might buy herself the satin suit they have her in for the first half."

Raising an eyebrow, Jan laughed as she said "My daughter in a suit?"

"Even I can see its pretty special, and that she will have it in her wardrobe for many years. It's classically tailored, but with just a little extra special magic."

"Well if she does buy it I might end up borrowing it myself," Janice laughed.

"Yes one thing being Models mums, we get to wear THEIR clothes," Barbara laughed back.


“Right – gotta go, Jeannie’s up next.  See you in a couple of days.”


“Got it,” Jan said as she put the phone down, and carried the mugs into the main room, where her mother was sitting down.


“Everything okay downstairs Mom?" Janice asked as she offered Katherine a mug of fresh coffee.

"Yeah I put the fresh groceries away. They have fresh milk and I left a note saying if they aren't too tired from the flight to come up and have something to eat."

"Sounds good," Janice sat down, "while you were out I phoned Barb."

"How is Katy doing?"

"Barb says she's doing fine, she's even considering buying one of the outfits she is wearing."

"Is it something we are going to hate?"

"No," Janice laughed, "according to Barb it’s a wonderful suit that Katy will be able to wear for years to come."

"How short is the skirt though?"

"Not too bad," Janice laughed again, "According to Barb it’s the sort of thing that I might wear myself."

"It sounds good," Katherine sipped her coffee. "On the quiet Katy actually has a great sense of style."

"Yes she doesn't just dress to shock me.  So when does Marina and Kylie's flight land?"

"In about two hours," Katherine checked her watch.

"I guess I better make myself presentable to go collect them." Janice stood up.



7 pm GMT

The Medley


"Can someone explain to me why Katy is buying herself that suit?" Aileen asked as she waited in line to have the curlers taken out of her hair.

"Because it's an investment for the future darling," Mandy drawled.

"Now you've lost me," Aileen shook her head.

"It's like Merlin was saying about Fiona's way of categorizing fashion at the cathedral yesterday," Kate Moss smiled, "that suit is something Lolita will still be wearing 15 years from now."

"I still don't get it?"

"When you've been around the biz a bit longer you will," Mandy smiled, "we get an opportunity as models to see and wear clothes other women can only dream about. I wear stuff that Lee designed over 20 years ago, that even as a young model I knew would stand the test of time."

"Katy has spotted that that suit certainly will still be stylish years from now," Kate added, "kudos to her for buying it."

"So you are saying I will see bits I like?"

"Undoubtedly darling," Mandy spoke languidly as the hairdresser motioned her that she was next.


“And we need to ask Mum if she will buy it?”


“Maybe,” Aileen said to Eve, “Maybe not…”



"So did you see anything you liked well enough to buy Shirley?" Tom Gaunt asked as Madame joined him, Mike, and Sherry Babbage at the bar during the interval.

"I did actually Tom, those dress and matching jacket outfits that both your sister and Jean Doig wore, I can easily see myself wearing to work." Shirley sipped from her glass of wine.  “What about you Sherry?"

"That beautiful sweater and skirt ensemble that Juliette Huntingdown wore really caught my eye. It would be perfect for winter days, and with my husband's recent promotion I can maybe just about afford it."

"She's spending my salary already," Mike laughed.

"If I hadn't already splurged on some Fitzstuart sweaters I might be joining you in that," Shirley smiled, "but I think I now have more than enough quality woolens."

"Can a woman have enough great sweaters?" Luke joined the conversation, "according to my Mother she can't."

"I can see Martha's point," Shirley smiled at the young man. "Are you not working Luke?"

"I have been, but I think Jack needs some space to think so I slipped front of house."

"Nothing serious I hope?" Tom asked concernedly.

"A ghost from his past has I think caused my lover to ask himself some questions."

"That's a rather enigmatic answer," Tom Babbage sipped his beer, "my copper’s instincts mean I can think of at least a dozen follow up questions."

"I know," Luke smiled slightly, "but till Jack has sorted things out in his own mind I think we should all just leave things as they are."


“So what happened?”


“A past acquaintance…”



Backstage, the discussion was around another important matter…



"So Tufty, did you come up with any ideas of what we can do for Shirley before the wedding?'

"Not a clue Pelican darling," the English aristocrat pouted to allow the makeup artist to pant her lips for the second half. "I'm not even sure if it’s best to hold the thing in Britain or America anyway.”

"What about you Caroline?"

"I'd like to help Ju,” Caroline said as she looked over, “but I'm not sure I can even make it, the way they are expanding my part, my three weeks in Iceland shooting this movie may yet stretch to a full month." The very tall blonde looked at the makeup guy to see if he was finished, "I HOPE I'll make it to the do, but I'm not going to be much help setting it up I'm afraid. Have you asked Penny what she thinks?"

"I phoned her last night, and she had no real ideas either."

"Have you spoken to Aunt Cat?" Eve Gaunt asked, "she's Aunt Shirley's oldest friend."

"And she's going to be in court arguing a complicated fraud case. She told me that much as she'd like to help she is going to be working the day round."

"Well I might have an idea Mom," Carina spoke up. "I remember overhearing at the wedding that Shirley loves Italy, and particularly Lake Trevali. How about we ask Charlotte or Francesca if we can borrow a villa, or even a castle, and throw her a party there?"

"You know darling daughter that isn't such a bad idea," Juliette knitted her brows. "We get everybody there for a long weekend and we can swim, ride, and do a lot of other things as well as party."

"And who says my sister who goes to Yale is dumb," Ingrid laughed.

"I'll maybe ring Francesca later tonight and see what she says."

"That sounds like a plan Pelican," Mandy drawled.




9 pm ECT



“Thank you,” Maria said as she slowly stood up, Kay and Francesca doing so as well.  “I hope to see you soon, my dear.”


“I look forward to it,” Alex said as Kay escorted the elderly Italian woman from the room, and Francesca sat down.


"So anything you can tell me about how long the debrief will take and where you see me going eventually?' Alex asked.

"Aunt Maria wonders if at first maybe you want to take one of my villas on Lake Trevali till you decide what you want to do Mouse."

"You think that might work?"

"It's quiet, very private, and we can give you some very discreet security."

"And my cover story?"

"Well you did tell me years ago you wanted to try writing. What better cover then we say you are a novelist working on a book.'

"It's an idea, and I'll say I certainly have a couple of ideas that I’d like to try."

"I'll have a word with the powers that be then."



“Madame Riva,” Donald said as he stood, Agnes doing the same as she came in, “we are honoured that you were able to come and spend the weekend with us.  I can only apologise that I have not had the chance to greet you formally until now.”


“It is all right, My Lord,” Maria said as he helped her to sit down, “I am aware of what you had to do today.  My fiancée, Doctor Agnes McAdam.”


“Ah yes, the McAdam of McAdam.  Forgive me if I do not stand and bow.”


“Of course, and the honour is mine,” Agnes said as she held the older woman’s hand.  “My girls had to retire for the night, or they would have greeted you as well.”


“I saw them when I came in – delightful looking girls, and I look forward to meeting them in the morning.  Ah – thank you,” she said as Donald handed her a glass of brandy, and Francesca came in.


“So what happens next?”


“I need to ask Aunt Maria to make some arrangements, and we get Alex to one of my castles – now why does Juliette want a word,” she said quietly as she left the room again.


Stepping into the corridor, Francesca put the phone ot her ear and said quietly “Juliette - how are you?"

"Exhausted Francesca,” she heard Juliette say, “it was a long day, and we get to do it all again tomorrow in Belfast."

"Ah the perils of being a top model," the Italian woman laughed. "Anyway what has you ringing me this late?"

"You know John and Shirley are getting married in December?"

"I've already received my invitation."

"Well her friends want to throw her a party before the wedding, and I'm hoping you can help."

"Oh in what way darling?"

"I don't know if you've ever heard Shirley say how much she has enjoyed taking vacations in Sentua?"

"I remember her saying that. She loves Lake Trevali."

"Yes she does, and well to cut to the chase I was maybe wondering if you might be able to lend us a place where all her friends can gather for a weekend and give her a party to remember?"

"Ah, now I see," Francesca smiled.

"Do you own anywhere suitable?"

"A couple of properties come to mind," Francesca paused, "but I think our best option is my Villa dei Mille Fiora."

"Villa of a thousand flowers?" Juliette translated.

"It's actually far more substantial than just the villa Juliette, there are guest cottages in the grounds, stables, even an indoor swimming pool."

"That sounds like it ticks all the boxes."


“Well then, call me on Tuesday once you are back and recovered, and we will discuss all then.  Ciao for now.”


"So we heard you on the phone Francesca," Agnes asked as she and Kay watched her come back in, "anything serious?"

"Not really. It was Juliette Furstenheim."

"And what did she want?" Kay asked.

"She's organizing a party for Shirley Xavier before she gets married and she rang to see if she could borrow one of my properties on Lake Trevali."

"Well that's definitely not official business," Kay relaxed and sat in one of the huge old armchairs.

"No this is purely social."

"So do you have anywhere suitable Francesca?" Agnes started to pour drinks.

"I offered my own personal villa."

"I hope I'm now enough of an insider to get invited?" Kay took her drink from Aggie.

"Me too," Aggie laughed.

"I suspect you can both expect invitations," Francesca laughed softly, "and after all this recent business it's nice to have something fun to look forward to."


"So this case that Catriona Cuthbertson is defending Aggie, did you do some work for her on it?" Kay asked as the three women sat and unwound.

"I did, and so did Sherry. How did you know about it Kay darling?"

"The company that's being prosecuted has shall I say done some work on behalf of the SIS."

"It has? Well I'm glad I didn't have that nugget of information when Cat got me to look at their books," Agnes shook her head.

"Don't worry darling it wasn't 'funny business' we get a lot of work done on contract, and 99% of the time the people doing the work aren't even aware they are doing work for the intelligence service."

"We have always done the same in Italy," Francesca nodded.

"So was this company aware who they were working for?"

"Not as far as I know Aggie. One of their subsidiaries was installing new cables and ducting in the West End.'

"Near certain foreign embassies?" Francesca lifted an eyebrow.

"You might say so," Kay laughed, "we just ensured that certain items shall I call them were installed at the same time. The company didn't even know."

"Good," Aggie took a final sip, "because that trial will be complicated enough without little tidbits like that popping up."

"So just out of interest was there a fraud?" Francesca asked.

"Well I couldn't see clear evidence, and Sherry just completed a forensic check on their accounts using her talents, and neither of us think it was an obvious thing."

"So will Cat be calling you as expert witnesses?"

"No Kay, we were strictly off the record consultants," Agnes laughed.  “I think Sigi may be asked to testify, as a true expert witness however.”


“And Alex Green?”


“May be in the same area…”



9 pm GMT


The Imperial Forum Hotel


"So has your dad cooled down about the length of that skirt yet Orion?" Aileen asked as a group of the younger models sat round a table in the hotel restaurant after having eaten a late supper.

"Yeah,” Orion said with a grin, “he knows I have to wear what I'm told being a professional model..."

"Though he did have a few choice words to say if Emerald ever wore anything that short in real life," Katy giggled as she interrupted.

"Really?" Eve Gaunt spoke.

"Yeah Dad is determined to protect ma virtue," Orion laughed.

"So has no boy asked you out yet?' Jeannie finished her drink.

"Oh a couple of the lads I've known all my life have sort of asked, but I don't really fancy either of them.”


“So what about you Aileen, are you still...thinking?" Katy asked with a twinkle in her eye.

"If you are asking if I have decided if I definitely prefer girls to boys yet, then the answer is I'm still not sure."

"I keep saying I'm betting you are bi Ails," Eve looked at her younger sister.

"And there is nothing wrong with that," Abigail spoke.


“Perhaps – but it’s hard to find a good looking boy at the moment.  They all seem so – preoccupied with other things.”


“Give it time, it’ll become clear soon,” Abby said with a smile.  “By the way Katy – Erica, what are you getting her for this week?”


“No idea – Mom is sorting that out while I’m here.”


“Oh – is it her Sweet Sixteen?”


“On the 18th…”



8 pm

West Central Park


"it was nice of Katherine to feed us," Kylie smiled as Marina opened the door of their apartment.

"Yeah,” Marina said as she put the door keys in the bowl, “I was not looking forward to cooking myself, and I’ve an early start tomorrow."

"I am so looking forward to climbing into my own bed darling."

"I guessed you might be," Marina smiled, "do you want something to drink first?"

"I think a nice glass of milk would just about hit the spot," Kylie smiled.

"I may just join you in that."

"You know,” Kylie drawled as they walked into the kitchen, “all this flying I sometimes have to think just what the time is and what country I'm in."

"Where did that thought come from?" Marina looked round from the kitchen doorway.

"Oh just us talking about Katy, and the fact yesterday we were with her in London, and tonight we are in America while she is in Ireland." Kylie yawned, "i was remembering that it wasn't so long ago that we thought that south of the river was almost a foreign country darling."

"I know," Marina shouted from the kitchen, "I guess I've almost started to take traveling round the world for granted."


“Indeed – on which note, Erica?”


“Can we talk about it tomorrow – I just want milk and bed in that order…”



Sunday 13th November

1 am GMT



"Hello stranger," Luke glanced at the clock beside the bed as Jack let himself back into their hotel room quietly, "where have you been all evening?"

"I went and talked to Siobhan,” Jack said as Luke put his book down, “and afterwards I went for a walk. I guess… I guess I lost track of time."

"Jack darling you look frozen half to death,” Luke said as he stood up.  “Are you okay? Have you eaten?"

"I'm fine Luke,” Jack said with a wea smile, “and no I haven't eaten, but I'm actually not hungry anyway." He then sneezed before taking a paper handkerchief and wiped his nose.

"You don't look or sound fine,” Luke said as he switched the small kettle on, “and when you sneeze you usually plead that you are at death's door. Something is wrong..."

"Oh it's not much," Jack sighed as Luke took his jacket off him. "I just needed to do some serious thinking about both myself, and my life."

"An awful lot of thinking to keep you out this late, especially when we have to get on a bus to Belfast after an unearthly early breakfast."

"We do?" for a second Jack looked confused, "sorry I forgot all that."

"You forgot?  Now I know something is wrong. Do I need to call the hotel doctor?"

"No, please just hold me tight Luke," Jack said as he let a couple of tears fall.

Here," Luke sat and patted the bed, then put an arm around Jack when he sat beside him. "Want to talk about whatever it is?"

"I think so. I think I'm ready to say what I need to."

"That sounds ominous."

"Well it isn't really Luke darling.” Jack looked over and smiles, before he said “I just made a few decisions tonight."

"And was one of those decisions about me? About us?"


Jack nodded as he said “Luke, I’ve faced a lot of my demons this last year, and I’ve realised that the public face I put on I what most people think I am really like.”


“Well, that was your choice,” Luke said quietly, “and I always understood why.”


“I know, and I am grateful, but taking on the responsibility for little Rudi and Mags just made my thinking more serious – I think I’ve always been running in a way from those things that might have hurt me, and I’ve been running for years – but I think it’s time I stopped running.”


Luke put his hand on Jack’s cheek as he said “I’m here for you, no matter what.”


“I know,” Jack said with a smile, “and I love you for it.  I love you so much for it, that I want to share that love with you.”


“Jack, what are you saying?”


Jack looked into Luke’s eyes as he said “Luke Heller, how would you father feel about having me as a son in law?”


“My father?  What has he go to do with…”  Luke suddenly looked at Jack as the full import of what he was saying hit him.


“Luke, darling?”


Luke just nodded and whispered “yes” before they kissed…







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