Lead and Old Lace – Part 2









Monday 7th December

9.30 am

Complete Style


“All right Juliette, I’ll make sure Mary is here for 10.30,” Janine said as she walked out of Juliette’s office, her boot heels clicking on the floor as she returned to her desk and sat down.


“Lesley?  Janine – tell Merlin the boss will be ready at ten thirty,” she said before she put the phone back down, and looked at her list.


“Did you get those production figures I sent you from our Fukutoki plant?” a voice asked from Janine’s shoulder.


“I did Marina,” Juliette’s PA answered routinely, then paused for a few seconds before she realized what had happened.  Turning in her chair, she jumped up and hugged the person behind the voice. “MARINA!” she yelled. “When did you get into town?”


“On Saturday.  I needed some time to get my head back before coming in.”


“Oh I am SO GLAD to see you, I’ve just got so much news and gossip.”


“Well let me get my coat off, then find some desk space and you can tell me all about it.  What’s this I hear about you and a racing driver...?”



11 am

JFK Airport


“I hope you and your daughter have a lovely visit to New York Lady Treharran,” the young lady from BA said as she helped Olivia and Fiona load their luggage onto a cart.


“I think if Mummy’s old friends have anything to do with it we will.” Fiona said as she loaded the last suitcase.  The two women were wearing long fur coats over their travelling clothes, as they looked round.


“How long has it been since you were last here?”


“Oh many, many years,” Olivia said with a smile


“I’ve never been here.”  Fiona added.


“Well it’s a lively fascinating place.” The girl from BA smiled.


“Thank you so much for your help.” Olivia thanked the airline girl, “I think we can take things from here.”


“it’s been my pleasure Your Ladyship.”


“Right Fi,” Olivia said as she took hold of the trolley, “ready to face whatever this city has to offer?”


“Oh I am,” Fiona said as they walked together into the arrivals hall.  As they went through the doors, they saw two women waiting for them – one tall, with shoulder length hair, wearing a smart trouser suit and blouse, the other smaller, dumpier and wearing a great coat over a Laura Ashley dress, her grey cardigan and short boots visible as well.


“Oh my,” Olivia said, “is that...”


“Olivia!” Mary Thomas came forward and put her arms out to embrace her old friend.


“Merlin!” Tears started to appear in Olivia’s eyes as they hugged. “It’s just been far too long.”


“You must be the legendary Mary Thomas,” Fiona said as she held her hand out.


“And you are Fiona – come here lass,” Mary said as she ignored the hand and just hugged the young debutante.  “Welcome to New York.”


“Hi Bandit,” Juliette settled for a more ladylike peck on her old friends cheek.


“Hey Pelican, awful long time no see.”


“Well whose fault was that losing herself in the wilds of Cornwall?” Mary asked.


“Says the woman from the valleys,” Olivia replied with a laugh.


“Diana couldn’t come out because she claims she is getting your rooms ready, and Abigail is still at school, so we got deputed to be the welcome party.” Juliette smiled.


“Well it’s awfully nice of you both,” Olivia said, “I honestly thought we’d be grabbing a cab.”


“No Olivia love, I’d not leave you at the mercy of a New York cabbie.” Mary looked round.


“My car is in the parking lot.” Ju pointed the way. “So Fiona have you been to New York before?”


“No my first visit,” the younger woman smiled.


“Well your pictures from Paris are in some of the gossip mags.” Juliette smiled. “A few people might recognize you.”




“So where are we going first?”


“Let’s get you to Diana’s place,” Juliette said, “and after lunch, you can come over to the offices with us.  There’s a few people you might like to meet...”



11 am

McFadyean Restorations


Heather stood next to the red haired craftsman as they watched Alice look over the lace that had been carefully laid out for inspection.


“Well Mrs. MacKinnon what do you make of them?” Andrew McFadyean asked quietly as she stepped back.


“Well I could try and beat you down on the price Mr. McFadyean and say I’m not that impressed, but that would be a lie.” Alice closely inspected yet another piece of lace. “This lace is wonderful, purely for a lace collector it would have huge value, but for a dress designer like me it is invaluable.”


“You can take it she’s impressed Andrew.” Heather smiled.


“So what do you think it represents?” Andrew asked.


“It was either put together by a bride-to-be who never married,” Alice said, “or it represents a salesman’s samples. Either way it is a veritable treasure trove.”


“So you think it’s authentic?”


“Oh undoubtedly so, I might be wrong, but I’m pretty certain some of these patterns were only made in the late 18th century.”  Alice stood back and smiled as she considered the find.


“What kind of price do you want Andrew?” Heather asked the question.


“Well lace is a lot out of my field…Do you want to make me an offer Mrs. MacKinnon?”


“Mmmm,” Alice picked up some fabric. “Would $100,000 offend you?”


“That much?” Andrew for once looked amazed.


“I can go lower if you wish?”


“No, No, that price will be fine.” Andrew grinned happily. “Here, let me get some champagne to celebrate.”


“So how much is it really worth?” Heather whispered as Andrew walked to his office.


“I’d have gone double that if pushed, two twenty-five at a last gasp.”


“Well I won’t ever tell him that.” Heather giggled.


“Here we go,” Andrew said as he put some glasses down, and opened a bottle of champagne.  “A pleasure doing business with you, Mrs MacKinnon.”


“And with you,” Alice said with a smile.  “Now, let’s talk collection – I have another meeting to get to later, but I have time now...”




12.30 pm

Bishop Walden School


“So where were you Saturday and Sunday?” Shawnee asked as the six girls sat outside, well wrapped up against the cold.


“Doing shooting training with Aunt Diana.  It was tough, but good fun.”


“Wow you really are taking this seriously aren’t you Katy?” Sands looked at her best friend with a hint of admiration.


“Yeah,” Katy said quietly, “I really think I’ve finally found a sport I’m good at.”


“Well you couldn’t be worse then you are at gymnastics.” Laura grinned.


“No one in the world is worse than Katy at gymnastics.” Liz laughed.


“So how was the big date with my brother Friday night?”


“Didn’t he tell you Sands?”


“No he clammed up, even when I held him down and tickled him.”


“Well if the tickle torture can’t break his silence, then I’m not going to.” Katy exchanged smiles with Shawnee.


“Spoilsport – still, I suppose he’s old enough now...”



12.30 pm

The Refectory


“You are KIDDING me!”


“I am not,” Erica said as she sat with her friends, “he told me all about what it was like to do Doctor Who, and gave me a signed copy of his autobiography as a gift.”


“Erica Burton, I am officially jealous of you now,” Dawn said as she ate a bite of her wrap.  “What are you going to do when you finally get into your own place?”


“Sit back and enjoy every second of it,” Erica said as she looked at Poppy.  “Hey – what’s up today?”


“Hmm – oh nothing, at least I don’t think so.  Listen – do you want to come back to my place after school today girls?  I could do with the company on the way back.”


“Should be all right - let me call mum and let her know,” Jess said as she took her cell phone out, the others doing likewise.




2.30 pm

Complete Style


“Oh hi boss,” Alexis said as Juliette came back in, “Janine and Maria stepped out for a moment, but your 2.30 is in your office.”


“Thanks – bring coffee for four, will you please,” Juliette said as she went in.  “Cathy, Helen,” she said as she embraced her old friends, “sorry I’m late.  I had to make sure a special guest was safely in Merlin’s Cave.”


“Not a problem,” Cathy Lu said as she sat down, Helen sitting beside her, “Besides...”


“Sorry I’m late,” Alice said as she came in, Alexis following with the coffee, “I had to make a purchase before I came here.  So, how was Hong Kong Cathy?”


“Hectic,” the Chinese woman said with a smile.  “So, I believe you wish to discuss orders for next summer?”


“Yes I do,” Alice said as she opened her slim case, “let’s get down to brass tacks.”





“You know, I had forgotten how amazing this place is,” Olivia said as she sat with Mary in her office.  “Mind you, the last time I was here...”


“Was when I had to tell you it was time to quit,” Mary said, “still one of the worst days of my life, lass.”


“You were right though – the industry as it was then, I could not have survived.”


“Still – it broke my heart lass.  And yet here you are – and Fiona is a real beauty as well.”


“My looks, my eyes,” Olivia said quietly.


“Well then, I’m sure we’ll get on like a house on fire.”


Olivia’s head went up as she heard the soft voice, and slowly turning round she said “Sweets?  My god, is that you?”


“I’m afraid so Bandit,” Karen Boyd said as she hugged Lady Treharran.  “Oh it is so good to see you.”


“And you – you’re a doctor now?”


“And a mother – John is six months old, and looking more like Ken every day.  I’ll show you the pictures later.”


“You have an amazing place, Mary,” Fiona said as she walked back in.


“Karen, this is Fiona.  Fi, meet Karen Boyd, aka Charity Royce.”


“It’s a real pleasure to meet you,” Karen said as she shook the young girl’s hand.  “I brought someone else along to meet you.  Caroline?”


Olivia peered at the tall blonde who walked over, and said “oh my – you really are the image of your mother.”


“Thank you,” Caroline said as she looked at Olivia, “it’s a real pleasure to meet both of you.”


“And you are?” Fiona asked as she looked at her.


“Fi, this is Caroline Jameson – her mother, may she rest in peace, was a model when I was working, who was taken far too soon.”


“Oh yes – I’ve seen you on shows as well.”


“Strictly part time, I assure you,” Caroline said as she sat down.


“So what’s brought you into Merlin’s Lair.”


“Well,” Karen said quietly, “that would be you Bandit.  I mean, come on – a friend I haven’t seen in over twenty years suddenly turns up out of the blue?  Of course I’m going to come down for that.  So tonight, you are going out to dinner with a few of us – while Fiona gets to meet some of Abby’s friends.”


Fi smiled at that thought, as Mary’s phone rang.


“Mary Thomas?


“Oh hello Amanda – did what I fixed up sound good to you?


“Great – I’ll see you then.”


“Who was that,” Karen asked as Mary put the phone back down.


“Hmm?  Oh, just someone I need to talk to tomorrow.  Nothing for you to worry about dear.”



4 pm

4th Avenue


As Erica looked at Poppy, she could see something really was bothering her, as she glanced nervously round.  It was a sign she knew all too well – because she had been doing it herself too recently to forget.


“All right, Poppy,” she said as she walked with her behind Lynn and Dawn, “what are you hoping not to see?”


“Not what – who,” Poppy whispered, “about fifty yards behind us, grey haired man.  He’s followed us all the way from school.”


Looking to her other side, she whispered to Jess “use your mirror – someone following us?”


Jess took her make up mirror from her bag and glanced over.  “Yeah – I see him.  What do you want to do?”


“Girls, phones out,” she whispered, and on my mark...  NOW!”


Martin Peverell was taken by surprise as the four girls suddenly turned and took photos of him, Erica turning and walking Poppy with her as the others followed.  By the time he recovered his senses, she had disappeared...




4 pm

Complete Style


“Hey – did someone organise a party and forget to tell me?”


“Hello Bats,” Olivia said as he hugged Alice, “so are you joining us tonight as well?”


“Why not,” Alice said as she put her case and sketch pad down on the table.


"So the sketches are?" Fiona looked over Alice's shoulder at the pad.

"Oh just rough ideas for Juliette's wedding dress. I bought a large amount of vintage lace this morning, and I'm going to incorporate at least some."

"The something old eh?" Olivia asked.

"Indeed. 200 year old lace will just make it that little even more special."


“There you are,” Juliette said as she came in, Alice quickly hiding the pad.  “I need to get Olivia and Fi back to Diana’s place.  We’ll see you all at eight at Daniel?”


“Count on it – want to go for a drink, Merlin?”


“Why not – we’ll see you there Ju.”



6.30 pm

The de Ros Mansion


“I cannot thank you enough for allowing us to stay for the week Diana,” Olivia said as she sat in a chair, sipping her wine.  “It makes it so much more of a holiday trip.”


“Well, it’s my pleasure,” Diana said as she looked over.  “It’s important you feel you are amongst friends this week.”


“Tell me about it – and how did they get my telephone number anyway?”


“The PTA network – never fails.  So how is Fiona coping?”


“Well so far – but let’s see how she feels at bedtime tonight...”




"You really are a model girl fan." Fiona shook her head as she looked at the pictures and posters that adorned Abigail's bedroom walls.

"Who me?"  Abby was sitting on her bed, zipping up a pair of ankle boots and pulling her jeans down over them.

"Yeah you Mademoiselle la Comtesse." Fi shook her head. "If I had a room with all these incredible women looking at me then I'd never sleep."


"Yes,” Fi sighed, “I'd never be able to stop dreaming of making love to them."

"Well I have been known to have the odd fantasy myself." Abby said as she looked up.

"Oh, about what?  One of them doing this, perhaps?" Fiona sat down next to Abby and pulled her close, looked deeply in her eyes, and then slowly started a long, deeply passionate kiss.

"I think you get the picture darling." Abby whispered.

"So where are we going tonight?"

"I thought about this Chinese restaurant downtown that everyone raves about. It's quiet, discreet, and if I wear a wig I'm unlikely to be recognised in."

"Oh the perils of being a supermodel." Fiona giggled. "That does sound like a good idea though."


“Fine,” Abby said as she stood up, “I need to let Mama know, and find a wig, before I get a cab.”


The two girls headed downstairs to find Diana and Olivia laughing together.


“Oh?  What’s so funny,” Fiona said as she looked at them.


“Sorry, darling,” Olivia said, “Diana just reminded me of an incident when we first met.  I’ll explain later.”


“Mama, I thought I’d take Fi down to the Peacock Inn for dinner.  May I use one of your wigs?”


“Of course, darling,” Diana said, “but do not be late back.”


Abby smiled as she went back upstairs, Fi watching her.


7.30 pm

Susan and Clint’s Apartment


“So why are we coming here tonight,” Katy asked Jan as they approached the front door.  Katy was wearing a brown bomber jacket over a jumper and jeans, with old trainers, while Jan was still in her trouser suit from work.


“All I know is Shirley called and asked us to meet her here,” Jan said as she knocked on the door, smiling as Clint opened it.


“Hey – go right on through,” he said as they came in, hanging their coats up and joining Shirley in the front room.


"Hello Jan," Madame said as she kissed the FBI agent on the cheek. "Hello K."

"Oh so it was YOU! I should have guessed." Katy rolled her eyes.

“I trust you managed to sleep well last night?”


“I did – but answer me one question.  Were you all asleep all night?”


“Not the whole night – we took turns monitoring you, and we were also watching another event at the same time.   The musical selection, however, was deliberate.”


“So” Jan said, “why have you asked us to call round.”


"Well,” Shirley said “I've asked you both over to discuss a plan for something this week."

"Madame decided my place was better to talk this over then her own." Susan came out of the kitchen with a tray of drinks, “especially as Marina is out with Janine tonight."

"It's good to see you darlings." Kylie came out with a book in her hand.

“Hey Kyles – you’re looking well.”


“So are you darling,” Kylie said, “and growing up so fast.”


“A little too fast,” Jan said, “at times.  I can take it safely this is about a job?"

"One you will not be able to participate in Janice, but I would like to invite Katy in after her stellar performance in training over the weekend."


“Should I be worried?


“No, not especially – I will be taking Anna and Susan – and Kylie – as well.  A simple bank raid – in and out.”


“Well, all right – if you say so.  What will her role be?”


“Crowd control, nothing more.  Do you think you can handle that?”


“I think so...”


“Good – now about your results from the weekend...”



7.45 pm



“Well, this place has changed a little,” Olivia said as she and Diana walked in.


“Countess de Ros, Lady Treharran, welcome,” the maitre d’, said as he approached them, “some of the rest of your party are waiting for you in the bar.  Your table will be ready shortly.”


“Thank you,” Diana said as they walked in, Mary waving them over as they approached the bar.


“Good, you made it,” Mary said as a tall woman with blonde hair turned round.


“My god Bandit – you’ve hardly aged at all,” she said as she embraced and kissed Olivia.


“Grace?  Is it really Grace Gresham?”


“It is, my old friend – how are you?”


“All the better for seeing you – New York seems to be suiting you.  When I heard you’d reappeared, I couldn’t quite believe it.”


“Blame her,” Grace said as she put an arm round Mary’s shoulder.  “Actually, it wasn’t totally your fault, if truth be told, but Fiona’s not here, so you get the blame.”


“Which I accept with good grace,” Mary said as the other girls came in.


“Your table is ready, Countess de Ros.”


“Excellent – shall we go through?”



7.45 pm

The Peacock Inn
Canal Street New York

“This way,” the woman in the red cheongsam said as she showed Abby and Fi across the restaurant floor to a table.


“Hey – dark brown hair suits you,” Cari giggled as they took their seats.


“Definitely a new look for you,” Heather said as she sipped her wine.


"Okay Fiona, “Abby said as she sat down, “can I introduce some of my gang, this young woman on the lam from Yale for the night is Carina. This is Letty, a friend from school, this is the most frighteningly bright woman you'll ever meet Heather, and this is the lady who runs her a close second, Anna."

"And we are waiting on Annie my partner." Carina smiled broadly.


“Pleasure to meet you all,” Fiona said as she looked round.  “So what are you studying at Yale Carina?”


“My major is history – Abby mentioned you are doing a degree in art?”


“That’s right – sculpture as my major art form.  It’s very good of you to come and meet me tonight.”


“Have you heard from Jo tonight?”


“That’s why Annie is running late – Jo was talking to her about some training runs for when she come back from William Smith.”


“Jo is another friend, Heather’s younger sister – she’s a freshman at William Smith, majoring in psychology, but she’s also a decent middle distance and cross country runner.”


“Is she the one who did the calendar – the runner?”


“That’s her,” Letty said.  “So you’re here to start the debs run?”


“Amongst other things,” Fiona said with a smile.



8.20 pm



“Another call, Olivia,” Juliette said as she looked across the table.


“Yes - It seems half of the membership of PTA want to take me out to dinner while I'm in New York." Olivia peered carefully at the screen on her phone.

"Oh?  Who was that message from then?" Grace asked.

"Fractures,” Olivia said as she looked up, “and she said to say where have you been hiding as well Palomino?"

"Well it has been a good few years since I last saw her.  I need to give her a call, find out when she is in town."

"It's hard to reconcile the fact that she is now a grandmother, and yet still a top girl." Karen shook her head.

"Well I just about have that same distinction." Juliette laughed. "But I know what you mean, it does seem only like yesterday that we were all young models with the world at our feet."

"I can't get over how much Caroline is like her mother." Olivia ate some salad.

"I know, the first time I saw her I thought I was seeing a ghost." Grace shook her head.


“Was that at the show at the O2?”


“That’s right,” Grace said, “I was there with a party of girls from my school, hoping against hope I would not be recognised, then I turned round, and I genuinely thought Stella had come back to haunt me.”


“She has the same effect on nearly all of us,” Alice said, “the first time Mandy and I saw her was when she appeared at a charity show for St Angela’s.  Karen had literally bumped into her, right?”


“Right,” Caroline said, “I was doing some work for Juliette, and had gone to see her when her daughter, Carina, went into labour, and then ended up in Karen’s tender care.”


“Anyone else likely to appear as if by magic,” Olivia said as she looked round.


8.15 pm

The Peacock Inn


“Sorry I’m late, Jo says Hi,” Annie said as she slipped her jacket off and put it over the back of the chair.  “Have I missed much?”


“Only the dim sum – soup’s on the way,” Carina said as she kissed Annie, and watched her sit down.


“Diet coke please,” she said as she looked at the waiter, and then the wine glasses.


“Don’t worry – I’m with you tonight,” Anna said as she raised her glass.


“How is junior?”


“Growing,” Annie said as she patted her small bump.


"And are they all Lesbians?" Fiona whispered.

"Doc and Letty aren't, oh and Letty is the only one doesn't know I'm bi." Abby whispered back.

"Okay I'll keep mum." Fiona nodded.



“So spill Doc,” Abby said, “your sweet sixteen – what are you doing?.


“Honestly, I don’t know.  Mom is sending invites to meet somewhere, but she won’t tell me.”


“A Surprise Sweet Sixteen?”


“Looking that way – the worst kind possible.  I’ll be back in a minute.”


The girls watched as she went to the restroom, before Heather said “she still doesn’t know?”


“Nope – we’re keeping it a secret,” Abby said as she looked at Letty.  “But everything is in place.”


8.15 pm

Susan and Clint’s Apartment


“I am impressed, darling,” Kylie said as she sat on the chair her legs curled up under herself.  “I still remember when I spent the weekend at the farm with...”


“You’ve done the weekend at the farm?”


“Okay,” Susan said, “time for the next revelation.  Before I started working for Madame, I ran with a street gang in London – along with Kylie and Marina, and a couple of other friends.  When we met up earlier in the year, I persuaded Marina and Kylie to come in out of the cold, if you like, and now they both are learning to become – better people.”


“Doc and I were the first guinea pigs for the course, darling,” Kylie said.  “At least they did not do the FBI raid on you.”


“So you both...”


“Enjoy my patronage,” Shirley said with a smile.  “As Kylie learns at school, Marina develops her language and business skills, and at the same time they learn skills from both Catherine and Helen.”


“Can i ask what sort of skills?”


“Not right at this moment, darling – you will find out one day,” Kylie said with a smile.  “But with their help, we have both found our centre, and ourselves.”


Looking at the young girl, Kylie then said "I should teach you some of the breathing exercises Helen has taught us Katy."

"That might be an excellent idea Kylie." Janice nodded her approval.

"Well anything that will help me with my shooting sounds a good idea to me."

"You maybe need to enrol in a meditation class Katy," Susan suggested. "Do it with your mother."

"Actually Susan I do like that idea." Janice smiled approvingly. "Would you be up for that darling?"

"It sounds great Mom." Katy smiled back.


“Excellent – that deals with another thing we were going to suggest, about development,” Shirley said. 


8.45 pm



"I’ll tell you someone I heard from a few weeks ago,” Olivia said as she looked up, “Johnny."

"What did he want?" asked Karen.

"To make an appointment for some of the people working on his next but one movie to come down and scout the hall as a possible location."

"What did you say?" asked Juliette.

"I said yes, and Charles agreed. I'm willing to forgive and forget if he is."

"Well he was totally drunk at the time." Alice looked up from her meal.

"Still what he said about Bandit's eyes was totally out of order." Grace took sides.

"Well it was over 20 years ago, time to let bygones be bygones." Olivia smiled.

"Or in his case to forget that steaming hot tureen of soup you deposited in his lap Olivia." Karen giggled.


“Indeed,” Olivia said as she started laughing, “waste of perfectly good Lobster Bisque.”


“Excuse me,” a young voice said as Juliette looked round, and Olivia looked at the table.


“Hello Jeannie,” Caroline said, “how did the shoot go tonight?”


“Not bad, thanks Face.  I hope I'm not intruding Lady Treharran?" Jeannie asked nervously. "But Abs told me where you were all eating, and I got Granddad to bring me."

"It's lovely to meet you BS." Olivia stood up and walked round the table to kiss the wheelchair bound girl.

"I must seem like an awful fangirl." Jeannie blushed, "chasing you while you eat."

"Not at all." Olivia smiled. "Do you and your grandfather want to join us?"

"He's waiting with the car, and I'm not really dressed..."

"Nonsense," Olivia waved a hand, "can we have a place setting for Miss Brewster please?"


“I’ll go and tell John – back in a few minutes,” Caroline said as she left her napkin on the table, and left the restaurant for a few minutes.


“It is a real honour to meet you, Lady...”


“We are all models here – Mary excepted,” Olivia said with a smile.  “Call me Bandit or Olivia.  Now, will you have some dessert with us?”


8.45 pm

Susan and Clint’s Apartment


“So, can I ask what the plan is for Wednesday, Aunt Shirley?”


“Of course – Susan?”


“Okay – Hudson Empire Bank, White Plains – the branch is on Marmoneck Road,” Susan said as she laid some photos on the coffee table.  “A fairly standard bank normally – but next Wednesday they have a little additional something in the vault – Just over a million in cash over and above their usual reserves.”


“Indeed?  It sounds so tempting, darling,” Kylie said as she looked at them, “so what is the plan?”


“Our information suggest the gentleman for whom the extra money is intended will arrive at noon – so we’re going to visit at eleven,” Susan said. “Clint will drive the four of us there in a car, and wait outside to collect us or in case of trouble.


“As we did in the previous job, Kylie, we dress to impress – dark glasses, however, will be the order of the day.  There are two security guards inside, both slightly on the older side, and normally four staff as well as the manager.”


“So I presume this is a simple enter, collect and leave?”


“If all goes well, yes,” Susan said with a smile.




“A couple of pump action and Magnums should help convince people,” Shirley said with a smile.  “We use scarves to cover our faces, leather gloves on our hands.”


“It sounds like a nice way to pass a Wednesday morning,” Kylie said, “do you agree, Janice darling?”


“Well, so long as we don’t get called in.  You have the day off Katy, but we have that theatre show on Wednesday night, so you need to be back by four.”


“As far as the world at large is concerned, Katy, you’re spending the day with Anna at the zoo.  She’ll pick you up at nine, and bring you straight to the offices.”


“Fair enough,” Jan said, “just watch your step.  Please...”



9.15 pm

The Peacock Inn


“I have to admit, this is good food,” Fi said as she watched the plates been cleared.


“We’ve eaten here a few times,” Cari said as she wiped her chin.


“I must say, you and Annie do seem to be a perfect couple – so when is the baby due?”


“Late next spring – so Judith will have a little brother or sister before she is two,“ Annie said with a smile.


“So Abby tells me you and Letty are the straights,” Fiona whispered to Anna.


"I am what is called an almost-straight." Anna whispered to Fiona.


“Which means?”

"Meaning that with the right girl, in the right circumstances, at the right time, then I'd not say no."


Fiona nodded – this could be a truly fun week...



10.30 pm

The de Ros Mansion


"BS seems like such an awfully nice girl, nothing flashy or pretentious about her." Olivia said as she and Diana sat in the armchairs in Diana's drawing room.

"No she's a star with very little ego." Diana smiled, "she's a huge fan of yours though."

"I can tell - she knows about shots and shows that even I'd forgotten."

"She is more then something of a fashion industry historian," Diana said as she sat back.

"I very much got that impression." Olivia played with her glasses. "You know with her disability she has done some amazing work."

"Did you see her pictures in Stephen Stone's latest book?"

"No I haven't...Should I?"

"Well I'm a trifle biased, but yes I think you'd like them," Diana reached for a book on the coffee table and passed it to her guest.

"Mmmm I can see what you mean," Olivia answered after a few minutes of gazing intently. "Stephen as always has stripped away everything and you can see her for just who she is."

"I know you mean that in both senses darling," Diana smiled some more, "but I particularly get your point in that he really reveals the essence of the character of his sitters."

"It's his genius. He's showing us this brave, determined, beautiful, but disabled girl, and letting us see that under everything is a truly forceful person determined not to let her disability spoil her life."

"That's what I thought when I saw them too." Diana served coffee as Edith brought in the pot and cups.  "Did you ever let Stephen photograph you?"

"He asked for this book," Olivia reflected, "but I said no."

"You shouldn't have you know." Diana passed her a cup.




“Because Jeannie is not the only one who is brave, determined and beautiful, who needs to be who she truly is.”


Olivia looked at Diana, then smiled as she said “and what do you know that I do not, Diana?”


“I think we both know much the other is ignorant of,” Diana said with a smile, “but I also think you will like tomorrow...”


10.30 pm

The Richmond Mansion


"I'm more of a critic than a practicing artist Fiona." Heather spoke while the girls had their coffee.

"She has done some rather attractive water-colours though." Carina butted in.

"Oh they are just my daubs."

"I'd still like to see them though." Fiona answered.

"Well I'll bring some with me next time I visit England if you'll let me see your sculpture."

"That sounds like a deal," The English girl took a sip. "It's non representational, with my eyes it's hard for me to model the human form, but I think it has tactile qualities that I personally like."

"Now you have me intrigued, I am always interested in art that is not merely meant to be looked at." Heather adjusted her glasses. "I've never understood why we train ourselves to use only one of our senses to assess artistic work."

"I totally agree..."

"I think we can safely give them 10 minutes to talk about this." Annie smiled at Abigail. "Then we break them up."


“You all right taking Doc and Letty back?”


“Yeah – school tomorrow, after all.”



11.30 pm

The de Ros Mansion


"So Heather's girlfriend is an interior designer?" Fiona asked as she and Abby stood undressing each other in Abby's bedroom.

"She is, her name is Alexandra Richmond."

"The name sounds familiar, I think she's a friend of Mummy's."

"Probably," Abby shivered as Fi unhooked her bra. "Sandy was on the edge of the model community about the time your mother retired."


“So will I meet her?”


“Probably, if that can be arranged,” Abby said as she removed FI’s underwear.  “Right now, it’s a cold night – care to share my bed for a while?”


“I thought you’d never ask,” Fi said as they climbed under the covers, and started to kiss, their arms round each other.



Tuesday 8th December

8 am

4th Avenue


“Who is it at the door,” Pippa called out as she put her papers into her bag.


“I’ll look,” Poppy said as she peeked through the spy hole, and then said “It’s Grandma.”


“Let her in,” Pippa called out, as Poppy opened the door and let Alisha Ashley in. 


“Hey Grandma – are you house sitting today?”


“I am my dear,” she said as she took her coat off, and Pippa came through.  “Thanks Mum – you have my number if you need me?”


“I do – have a good day both of you,” she said as she watched her daughter and granddaughter leave, and went to the kitchen, making herself come coffee before she sat down.


As the telephone rang, she picked it up and said “Ashley residence.”


There was silence before the line went dead, and Amelia put the phone down, wondering who it was.  As she picked the handset up again, she heard a click before the dialling tone started, and put the handset down again, looking at the phone before she took her cell phone out.


“Miss Jameson?  This is Lady Amelia Ashley – can you call round to Philippa’s apartment please?  I think her phone is been monitored.”




9 am

St Angela’s


“You did what,” Pepsi said as she looked at her friend.


"You gatecrashed a dinner that her friends were giving Lady Treharran?" Becca asked incredulously as she wheeled Jeannie towards their Tuesday morning chemistry class.

"Yeah,” Jeannie said, “it was lousy manners on my part, but I just so wanted to meet her."

"And was it worth it?" Ama asked.

"Oh yeah." Jeans smiled, "for me it was just like you meeting one of the all-time soccer greats who you idolize Ama. Just to see her up close, and to listen to her stories."

"Are there any of your idols you haven't met now?" asked Nikki.

"Oh a few." Jeannie smiled broadly.

"Well I have big news as well," Nikki grinned, "you know I'm a HUGE fan of Cassandra Stone's?"

"WE DO!" her friends groaned.

"Well,” Nikki said, “she rang last night and offered me a tiny part in the Pussycat Gang movie. It's just two words, but I grabbed the chance."

"When are you filming it?" Doc asked.

"Thursday after school," Nikki smiled happily.

"Well done that girl then." Jeannie said as she high-fived her.


“All right, settle down,” Harriet said as she came into the room.  “I trust you have all reviewed your experiment plans for today, as this is part of your end of semester assessment.  You have five minutes to prepare and select what you need, and then we will begin.”




10 am

Norstar Agency


“Missy?  Olivia and Fiona Treharran to see you.”


Missy stood up, taking a deep breath as she said “show them in.”  Coming round, she smiled as her guests came in, Olivia wearing a blouse and long skirt, Fiona in a jumper and jeans.


“Welcome, both of you,” she said as she kissed them both, and indicated some chairs.  “Some coffee please, Elaine.”


"Thank you for seeing us Missy." Olivia slipped into a chair.

"It's always a pleasure Olivia,” Missy said as she sat down, “you know that."

"Well this is my little girl Fiona. Fi this is Missy Auerbach who was my North American booker when I modelled."

"It's lovely to meet you." Fiona shook hands.

"Well you have your mothers height and figure." Missy looked closely at the younger Englishwoman. "Would you mind walking for me please?"

"Certainly." Fiona stood up and started to walk up and down the office.

"Well not quite in your Mother's class, but then no one has ever been that." Missy played with her glasses. "You can sit down please Fiona."

"Well?" Olivia asked bluntly.

"Did you bring a book Fiona?"

"She has some pictures that Charles took that's all." Olivia answered as Fiona retrieved a slim portfolio from her bag.

Slowly and carefully Missy looked at each photograph, picking up a magnifying glass to look at a couple of details.

"I know its pretty thin Missy..."

"Actually it's not bad Olivia."

"I hear a but coming."

"I know Fiona has as bad eyes as you had."

"With my glasses I can see well enough Miss Auerbach." Fiona spoke.

"I know Fiona...but..."

"Sorry am I late?" Mary Thomas let herself in.

"Was I expecting you Mary?"


“Oh didn’t Bandit tell you?  Sorry – it’s just she forgot to add the photographs from Le Bal last week to what was in her book.  She called me and asked me to bring them along.”


She handed a further folder to Missy, as she said “Oh yeah – and I wanted to tell you I had a call from Amanda Swafford yesterday.  She’s in town and wanted the chance to meet both of you.”


“Is she now,” Missy said as she raised an eyebrow.  “She wishes to talk to both of them?”


“In part, yes, so what I was going to say, Missy dear, was would you join us as well?  I think you might like it.”


“Who is Amanda Swafford,” Fi asked her mother.


“All right – what time Mary?”


“Three o’clock – here,” Mary said as she handed Missy a card.  “I’ve asked Ju along as well.  That all right with every one?  Give you a chance to look at her other photos as well.”


“I’ll...  I’ll see you then,” Missy said as Mary stood up.


“Good – come on girls, I’ll buy you a coffee,” Mary said as she ushered the Treharran women out.



10 am

Xavier International


“Pamela – step in a minute will you,” Susan said into the telephone before she sat back and looked out of the window.


The door opened and her assistant came in, closing the door and walking over.  She was dressed for the weather, a woollen cardigan over a black top, black leggings and knee length boots.


“Sit down,” Susan said as she looked at Pamela, “I want to talk to you about the weekend.  How are you feeling?”


“Glad I booked yesterday off,” Pamela said quietly.  “That was – different?”


“Everyone says that,” Susan said as she looked at the report in front of her, “but we do it for a reason, and it does tell us a lot about the people who take part.  So, want to hear the results?”


“Can I ask a question first?  Were they really...”


“Yes, yes they were – but the good news for you, Pamela, is they thought you showed real promise and potential.  They remarked on your rapid response to stress situations, and your good marksmanship.  Their one concern was, and I quote, a tendency to underestimate distance and speed.  Which makes me wonder – have you had your eyes tested recently?”


Pamela looked at Susan, before she said “not recently – why?”


“I’m booking an appointment with an optometrist for you – just to make sure.  All right?”


Pamela nodded as Susan said “Oh – and will you ask Cassidy to come in please?”


Watching as Pamela left the room, Susan took two more reports out before there was a knock on the door.


“Come in?”


“You wanted to see me Susan,” Cassidy said as she came in.


“I did – I have the reports on Anna and Jenny.  Want to go over them?”



3 pm

Village Studios


“Luke, you’re a miracle worker,” Mary said as she looked at the studio.


“Well, I did exactly what I was told to do,” he said as he looked at the blonde woman standing beside Mary.


“I’m sure you have – and you can handle the rest?”


“Of course I can Amanda – I think your guests are arriving.”


“Let’s go,” Mary said as they went into the outer room, and watched while Olivia and Fi came in, Missy close behind them.


“Ah there you are lasses – I want you to meet Amanda Swafford.  Amanda, Olivia and Fiona Treharran.”


“A pleasure,” Amanda said as she held her hand out, “to meet you, Bandit.”


“Likewise – where do I know your name from?”


“Possibly America’s Top Model – but these days I’m mainly a stylist.  I wondered if you’d be up to doing me a favour?  I need some photos doing of some new outfits for my catalogue, and I would like you and Fiona to do them.”


“Mary, what are you...”


“It’s all right,” Luke Heller said, “we have something very special in mind for this – if you’re willing.”




“Oh go on – but we need our glasses on.”


“I was hoping you would say that – come with me,” Luke said as he led Olivia and Fiona into a side room.


“Sorry I’m late – Amanda, it’s nice to meet you again.”


“And you Juliette,” Amanda said as they hugged.


“How is...”


“I am still legally blind,” Amanda said with a smile, “and yet I succeed.”


“So how are you going to take the photographs Luke?”


“Come and see,” Luke said as he opened the door, and they looked in his studio.


“It worked for me,” Amanda said, “I believe it may work for both Olivia and Fiona as well.”


“Oh you clever, clever woman,” Juliette said with a grin.




Thirty minutes later, Olivia and Fiona came out, wearing tight jeans, cowl neck sweaters and ankle boots.


“Right,” Luke said as they came in, “I want you both to start at this end of the room, and then follow the glowing markings on the floor to walk down, but talk to each other as you do so.  When you hear my voice, I want you both to turn in the direction of my voice and look for the glowing symbols on the wall.”


“Just do as he says, Bandit,” Mary said as she stood in the corner with Missy, Juliette and Amanda standing at the other end of the floor.


“Ready, darling?”


Fiona nodded as they started to walk slowly down, glancing at the markings on the floor as Luke adjusted his camera.


“Good, good – and look NOW!”


Fiona and Olivia stopped and looked at the glowing star behind Luke, the photographer smiling as he said “Great – that’s fantastic...  All right, start walking again.”


The two women walked on as he changed his position, before saying “and look towards my voice – see the moon?”


Both women nodded and laughed as Luke took more pictures.


“So the symbols give them a point to focus on, and the floor markings make sure they keep on the right track?”


Amanda nodded as she said “they have a different condition from me, but the principle is the same, give them a way to look to the cameraman.”


“She still has a fantastic walk,” Mary said as the mother and daughter walked on a little further.


“Indeed – and Luke is getting the best from them,” Missy said as they stopped by a fan, their hair softly blowing as they took more photos.


Eventually, Luke looked up and said “great – thank you both very much.  Happy, Amanda?”


“I trust you Luke – let’s go and get some coffee.”


“So do you think that worked,” Fiona said as they went back in.


“I’ll tell you in a few minutes,” Juliette said, “In the meantime, Amanda wants to talk to both of you.”


4 pm

4th Avenue, The Ashley Apartment


Pippa and Amelia watched as Caroline walked round the room, looking at her tablet and making some notes.


“Well Miss Jameson?” Lady Ashley asked.


She looked at Pippa and her mother, before she said “Let’s sit down.”


“So was my mum imagining things, Caroline?”


“I’m afraid not.  Someone has definitely been in here and planted a telephone bug, as well as this,” Caroline held up the listening device she’d found in the flowerpot.  “The good news is I have something I can leave now that will render them inactive, but now I have a better idea of what happened.”


“How long have they been here?” Pippa asked quietly.


“That I can’t tell you,” Caroline said, “but this isn’t exactly the best equipment available. It’s cheap and fairly crude.”


“Rather like Martin.” Pippa murmured.


“How does he even suspect that he’s our Poppy’s dad?” Amelia asked.


“I suppose he got a hold of her birth certificate and did the sums Mum.” Pippa shook her head. “He knew I wasn’t exactly the type of girl who slept around.”


“What does he gain with the information though that he is Poppy’s father?” Caroline asked.


“I don’t know…a blackmail tool maybe?” Pippa wrung her hands. “He knows my Mother well enough to think that she’d pay a tidy sum to keep my secrets out of the public realm.”


“And if I didn’t yer Auntie Maggie would.” Amelia lapsed into her native Yorkshire accent.


“Look, we would need to find who planted these and then trace him to Peverell before Brooke or any authority can do anything,” Caroline said quietly.  “On the other hand, I can maybe try putting the fear of God into him.”


“By doing what Caroline?” Pippa asked, “we do anything illegal and he finds out, we just give him more ammunition.”


“The people I have in mind are pretty rough…”


“Much as I’d like to see him hurt,” Amelia said, “our Pippa is right Caroline, we can’t do anything illegal in case it works wrong.”


“It was just an idea Lady Ashley.”


“And I thank you for it Caroline.” Pippa murmured whilst she thought hard.

“Well, until you come to a decision as to what action to tale, all I can do is upgrade all your security here, and maybe suggest that you all take a long Christmas holiday at an unknown destination.  I’ll get some hidden cameras installed, and set up a panic line to the local precinct and our own offices.”


“Caroline you know I have the new magazine to finish, and besides Poppy has her end of semester exams.”


“I know it wouldn’t be easy Pippa…”


“And besides we are going skiing a couple of times at least with the Sinners.”


“Funnily enough, I think that’s when you’d be safest – amongst a large group of friends, so don’t cancel them.  Anyway, we’re coming as well for at least the first.”  Caroline looked at Pippa and said “have you told Poppy?”


Poppy moved away from her bedroom door, thinking about what she had heard. She had heard enough to convince herself that Martin Peverell - she would never be able to think of him as her father - presented a clear menace to her family. That the bastard might use the fact of her parentage to blackmail those she loved both shamed her, and also enraged her. If Caroline was under orders not to do anything in the way of direction, what could be done? Most importantly what could Poppy do herself?


“I just wish I had Doc’s gun,” she thought to herself, “I’d put the fear of God into him.”


4.30 pm

Xavier International


“The young ladies are here,” Susan’s assistant said as she showed the three schoolgirls into the office.  While Doc and Katy were in their uniforms, Kylie was wearing a grey silk sweater and grey trousers.


“Okay thank you,” Susan said as she looked up from the plans and photographs she and Madame had spread out on the table.  “Please make sure we’re not disturbed Pamela.”


“Hello Katy, Hello Anna, Hello Kylie,” Madame kissed each of the newcomers on the cheek. “I just wanted to have one last run through of the plan for tomorrow.”


“The coffee is fresh and strong.” Susan nodded towards the pot.


“Oh good, after an afternoon playing basketball I need something to perk me up.” Doc said as she walked over to get a mug.


“Not your favourite sport Anna?” asked Madame.


“I’m a mathlete Madame, sports that require physical exertion and me don’t mix well, Phys Ed on Tuesday afternoon is my least favourite class.”


“This from the woman who moved more than her fair share of furs, by all accounts.”


“And suffered the next day for it,” Doc said as she came to the table.


“We are just waiting on my husband.” Susan said as she glanced up at the clock.


“Clint is parking the second getaway car and checking out the roads.” Madame looked up as the three younger women gathered round the table with their coffee cups in hand.


“Is this the branch plan?” Kylie asked.


“It is,” Susan nodded.


“Any blind spots or hiding places?”


“A couple…”


“Here and here,” Shirley finished Susan’s words pointing to the diagram. “Susan will be the one to check them.”


“Alright so what are we all doing precisely?” Kylie said as she sipped her coffee.


“Anna you will handle crowd control and the entrance.” Madame pointed to a spot on the map. “Katy, you will do the same from the vault end of the main floor.”


“Gotcha,” the girl nodded.


“Kylie will handle the tills, and Susan and I will handle the vault.”


“Seems easy enough,” Kylie nodded.


“Now these are two individuals of particular interest,” Madame indicated some photographs of a middle aged man in an ill fitting suit, and a dark haired woman. “The man is the manager, the woman his assistant. Make sure you know those faces please.”


“Alright.” Katy nodded.


“We go in hard and heavy,” Shirley paused and took a breath. “Use every obscenity you know, and if you have the chance rough some people up. I want everyone in the bank completely terrorized.”


“We make sure they all throw their cell phones, etc, away, then we get them face down on the floor in the central area.” Susan smiled. “ID’s as well, I want them to be picked up, we want them to know we know who they are and where they live.”


“Sounds pretty thorough.” Doc said as she sipped from her cup.


“Susan and I will force the manager and his assistant over to the vault. There I’m going to stick my gun in his mouth and kill him…”


“Oh?” the three young women said in unison, Kylie looking at her in surprise.


“I have an itch to scratch,” Madame blushed a second, “but most importantly it should traumatize the assistant and make sure she gives us no trouble.”


“Inside the vault,” Susan said, “I’ll grab the money, fill three holdalls and you Katy, myself and Madame will carry them to the waiting car.”


“Anna you will select a further hostage, and along with the assistant manager force them into the back of the SUV…At the changeover point we will deal with them…Any questions?”


“No Madame.” Kylie smiled, “It all looks rather routine.”


“Other then so many dead bodies,” Susan thought to herself.


“The casualties I know are maybe a bit excessive, but I want this to run smoothly and fear is our best weapon.”


“Agreed Madame.” Katy took her turn to smile.


“So as I asked any questions?”


“What shall we wear for this?”




“These outfits will be waiting downstairs for us,” Susan said as she took a photo out.  The women looked at the grey fitted wool jacket, the collar turned up and the top buttons undone, the tight knee length skirt, dark hose and pumps, and the black leather gloves.


“Very nice,” Katy said with a smile.  “Disguises?”


“We’ll have them as well.  Be here for nine tomorrow morning.”


The three girls looked at each other and nodded as Shirley said “Right – if there are no further questions, enjoy your evenings.”


“Come along Katy,” Doc said, “we’re getting you home first.”


As the three girls left, Shirley finished her coffee and replaced her mug.


“You look concerned Susan.”


“No Madame – I understand the reasons you need to do this.  I just hope there is not too much trouble.”


“As do I.  Are there any matters that I need to deal with before I go home Susan?”


“Well a phone call to a certain property developer with political ambitions, reminding him who he should buy ALL his concrete from if he wishes to avoid trouble.”


“Yes before he gets too big for his boots, it’s maybe time to remind him that he still owes those of us in the so-called ‘underworld’ his dues.”


“I have an untraceable phone with a voice scrambler right here Madame.”


“Alright,” Shirley took a deep breath.  “Make the call.”


Susan started the scrambler, and dialled the number as she handed the handset to Shirley and lifted the other handset.


“Good afternoon – is this Robert MacDougal?”


“Who wants to know,” a gruff voice said.


“I do – is this Robert MacDougal?”


“And I said who is this?”


“My name,” Shirley said with a smile, “is Madame X.”


There was silence for a moment, before the voice said “This is MacDougal.”


“Excellent – I wanted to make this courtesy call to wish you good luck with your race for the local council, but also to discuss a few trifling matters of business.”


“Well, I thank you for the good wishes, but as far as I am aware we have a good business relationship.”


“We do, Mister MacDougal – for the moment.  But I have heard disturbing reports that you have been investigating other sources for your supply of concrete.  I presume there is no truth in this rumour?”


There was another silence, before the man said “You must understand. Madame, with the market the way it is...”


“Mr MacDougal,” Shirley said, “I encourage you to take a long term view of the situation.  How would it be if, in a short term attempt to cut costs, you failed to see the long term implications for your wealth, health and safety.”


“What do you...”


“Consider, Mr MacDougal, the loss of income as your projects grind to a halt due to industrial upset or machine failure.  The personal loss of reputation you would take if the records of your dealings with organisations such as ours became public knowledge, and how that would affect the political race you are entering.  And – well, I hesitate to mention the effect on you if I have to send some of my associates for a face to face meeting.”


There was another silence, before he said “and to avoid such consequences?”


“My representatives will call on you tomorrow with a new supply contract for you to sign.  I strongly suggest you sign.”


“Of course,” he said quietly, “and would you accept a pre-payment for a year’s supply?”


“I would consider such a payment a very generous offer.  Do not disappoint me Mr MacDougal.”


“Of course, Madame.”


“Excellent – good fortune in your political ambitions, Mr MacDougal.  Let us hope no further action is required.”


“And to you, Madame.”


"Very nice Madame." Susan smiled approvingly as Shirley ended the call.

"Well he wouldn't like it revealed that like most property developers in Manhattan he has been doing business with groups like ours most of his professional career."

"As you once told me, dealing with us is one like the other certainties Madame, death and taxes."

"Well he knows just what trouble we can make for him."

"I liked the ex-gratia payment of $20 million especially."

"Well it will ensure everybody in the organisation gets a nice Christmas bonus this year." Shirley smiled as she wiped her glasses clean. "Now is there anything else for tonight?"


“No, I think that is all Madame.  I will see you tomorrow morning.”



9 pm



“So was it a good day?” Abby asked as she and Fiona hugged in the back of Abby’s car, watching the magically lit-up Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn side of the East River.


“It was actually very interesting. A lady called Mary Thomas showed up at my interview with Missy Auerbach, she’s an old friend of Mummy’s…”


“As well as being the lady who discovered me,” Abigail moaned as Fi’s tongue found its way into her mouth, the two young women kissing for a few minutes.


“Well that explains something,” Fiona stopped kissing her lover for a moment, “she set up an appointment this afternoon for us to see a model who is legally blind, but who also runs shows.”


“Amanda Swafford?”


“That’s her…Do you know her too darling?”


“Not personally, but I know of her. I know she is…” Abigail was silenced as once again Fiona kissed her and their tongues entwined in the dance of love.


“You are just so sexy,” Fiona purred as she paused for breath.


“And you are just so determined.” Abigail smiled, “anyway as I was trying to say, Amanda has had quite a good career despite her eye problems.”


“Yes she was showing Mummy and me the ways a blind person can do catwalk for example.”


“That sounds interesting.” Abby this time was the one who initiated the kiss.


“You keep doing that,” Fi said with a smile, “and I’ll never finish the story…”


“Sorry,” Abby laughed lightly.


“Well anyway Amanda wants both Mummy and I to do some work for her.”


“That’s a good start.”


“And Mary and Missy, as well as Juliette and my Mother are meeting tonight to discuss both Mummy resuming, and me starting a serious model career.”


“Good for you.”


“Yes,” Fiona pulled Abby close and was just squeezing her breast when the light flashed in the window and the deep voice spoke.


“Ummm ladies do you wanna take this to a place that’s a little less public?”


“Yes Officer.” Abby wound down the window and smiled.


“Good – besides, it’s too cold a night – hey do I know you?”


“No – and thank you again officer,” Abby said as Fi started to giggle.


“Come on – We’ll head back and make sure we’re not disturbed in my room,” Abby said as she wound the window back up, and they moved to the front of the car.






Wednesday 9th December

9 am

Xavier International


“This feels absolutely divine, darling,” Kylie said as she fastened the wool skirt around her waist, and then sat at the table, looking in the mirror as she applied the dark eye shadow, making her eyes stand out.


“Tell me about it,” Doc said as she rouged her lips, “but then, you know Catherine’s skill is legendary.”


“Indeed,” Katy said as she looked at herself in the mirror, and then picked up the blonde wig, placing it over her head and adjusting it so that it lay both sides of her face.


“I must say, Katy, seeing you like this it is amazing just how much you have aged since I last saw you.”


“You have no idea,” Katy said as she looked at herself, while Susan and Shirley walked in.


“How are we looking ladies?”


“Spectacular, darling,” Kylie said as she tied a black silk scarf round her neck as a cravat, and then slipped on the grey wool jacket, fastening it before putting on the soft leather gloves.




“Already stored in the vehicle,” Susan said.


“These shoes are amazing,” Doc said as she slipped them on, and the five women looked at each other.


“Very well,” Shirley said as she checked all four of them, and then had Susan check her.  “Glasses on ladies – let’s go to work.”




"You know Madame those legs of yours are amazing." Katy cocked her head to look as Shirley climbed in the car.

"Well maybe not in Abigail's league, but I think for a lady of my age they aren't too bad."

"Now you are merely being falsely modest." Susan smiled. "You know that every one of your married friends was happy when you found John..."

"Oh and why was that Susan?" Shirley interrupted.

"You know very well each of them saw you as a potential threat." Susan laughed.

"That is true Madame, my wife was very dubious about letting me squire you to the odd dinner party, just in case I was tempted." Clint climbed in the drivers seat.

"Well if I'm a cougar, then Katy I think is strict jail bait."

"Agreed," both Kylie and Doc spoke.

"Everyone is agreed that they are happy she is with George and not on her own." Doc finished. "No one wants to have her whisk their boyfriend away."

"Oh as if I would do that." Katy now smiled.


11 am

Marmoneck Road, White Plains

Hudson Empire Bank


“Well, this is the place,” Clint said as he pulled up outside the bank.  “Looks like a normal Wednesday so far.”


“Excellent,” Shirley said as she pumped the shotgun in her gloved hands.  “Take a moment, ladies, prepare yourselves.”


Clint watched in the rear view mirror as the five women took deep breaths.  He knew Susan needed this time, to shed her respectable face and put on her business one, but the others were also preparing themselves.




“We all look fabulous, darlings, I feel fabulous – let’s do this.”


Katy nodded as she checked her gun, then like the others pulled the scarf up over her nose and mouth, and stepped out of the car, walking quickly in the front door, the heels of her shoes clicking on the sidewalk, her hips swaying.


The guard standing by the door turned as he saw the group come in, only to stare at Anna as she jabbed a gun into his stomach, watching the over four walk in as she whispered “Shut the fuck up” as she felt the dampness between her legs.




“You heard the lady, fuckfaces,” Susan called out as she walked across the floor, Katy going with her, “hands in the fucking air where we can all see them.”  The two women looked at the customers as they stared back, wondering what was going on.


“As for you shithead,” Anna said as she hit the door guard with the barrel of her shotgun, “throw that weapon over there.”  She laughed as he took his pistol out and threw it across the floor, and looked at the others.


“Don’t even think of reaching for that alarm, cocksucker,” Kylie called out in a Southern accent as she aimed her shotgun at the tellers, “all of you, I want your fucking wallets, cell phones, IDs, everything, thrown over the counter into this bag – NOW ASSFACES!”  She waved her gun around as the three women and one man took their cards and phones out and threw them into the bag.


Shirley looked round – there were half a dozen customers, four women and two men, who were staring at the quintet with their hands in the air.


“All of you as well,” she shouted out, “fucking wallets and ID cards, in the bag my friend is bringing round, then on your fucking faces, hands behind your fucking heads.” Shirley could feel the moisture between her legs as she menaced all the people, “Just remember ladies and gents we don’t give fucking suggestions, we give fucking orders, and if you don’t do just as we fucking order, then we are going to fucking kill you.”


As there was a single gunshot, one of the female customers screamed, making Katy fire her gun and say “Next fucker who screams gets a bullet for themselves.”


The sound of the gun made Shirley look over, as Susan pulled the second security guard from his hiding place, blood seeping from his arm.


“Get on the floor dipshit,” she said as she hit him in the small of her back, as Katy forced the manager and his assistant out of their offices and into the bank’s main area.


“What the hell is...?”


“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Shirley growled as she walked over and hit him in the stomach with her gloved hand, “Entrance?”


“Secure,” Anna called over as she covered the area.




“Move fuckheads,” Katy called out as she and Kylie forced the tellers out from behind their desks, “face down on the fucking floor.”


Susan walked around the group, as Kylie made her way behind the counter and started to empty the cash from the tills into her holdall.  The only sound was the whimpering from the people on the floor, as a smell of ammonia began to fill the air.




Shirley looked round as Katy ground her heel into the hand of one of the customers, looking at the cell phone she had found.  The young redhead looked up at her as she pulled back on her gun.


“STUPID FUCKING BITCH,” she said as she put the gun to her head, and fired a single shot.


“Any other fucking stupid idiots?  No?”  Shirley switched her attention to the next phase of the job as the smell of Ammonia was joined by a more pungent aroma. Quickly Shirley swapped her shotgun with Susan for the Magnum,


“On your fucking feet bitch,” Susan shouted as she walked over, grabbing the assistant manager by her hair and yanking her upwards.


“Stand up you fucking bastard,” Shirley placed the business end of her gun on the back of the managers’ head. “It’s time for you to open up the fucking vault for us Mister Manager.”


Slowly and carefully Shirley and Susan prodded and poked as they forced the bank manager and his assistant to the vault, Kylie smiling at them as she finished emptying the tills and went into the back office.


“Keep your fucking heads down,” Katy shouted as she felt the warmth growing inside her again.  Killing the stupid bitch had stirred those feelings within her again, the urging within her as she walked round the cowering staff and customers.  She took care not to stand in the pools of blood and grey matter, as Anna looked over and nodded in understanding.




“Open the fucking vault bitch,” Shirley whispered quietly as she put her Magnum to the head of the manager.  He was sweating, the moisture pouring from his bald head as he fumbled with the locks, the sweat stains clearly visible on his jacket and between his legs.  The blonde haired assistant was shaking in her brown jersey dress and heels, as Susan held the gun to her head.  She could sense her own arousal, as she whispered “does this make you hot as well, you cow,” into her ear.


“Please, please don’t kill me,” the manager whimpered as he failed to get the combination right.


“Let me put it another way then,” she said as she yanked the man round, pushing the barrel into his mouth as the assistant stared, “you get this fucking vault open…NOW! cocksucker, or he dies.”


His eyes were wide open as the assistant walked over and started unlocking the vault.  He mumbled “plsgdgdshddttt...”


“Yes, she did,” Shirley said, staring at him as she pulled the trigger, the back of his head exploding out as the assistant manager whispered “no...” the gore decorating the white wall a terrible shade of red behind where the manager had stood. “Shut the fuck up,” Shirley said as she grabbed the Assistant Manager, the gun against her head, “or you’re fucking next.”


Now she was hot, as the burning between her legs became almost impossible to bear.   She let put an involuntary gasp and watched carefully as Susan walked into the vault.  As her friend started to empty the bundled notes into the first holdall, the feelings inside her all but overwhelming as she relished the act of murder, her panties moist from the pleasure it had given her.



Clint noticed the black sedan pull up outside the bank entrance, the driver getting out and walking round.  He was a well built man, obviously from the Far East, and as he opened the car door a smartly dressed Chinese gentleman got out, looked round and started to walk to the bank, the man following him.


“Shit,” Clint said to himself as he hoped they had noticed inside.  Looking at the car, he saw the third person inside, and shook his head as he fetched something from the glove compartment, and checked the street was clear before he got out.





Anna motioned to Katy to cover the assembled group on the shop floor, as she stood back, watching as the two well dressed Asian gentlemen walked in, and then moved behind them.


They stared at the young masked woman standing there, the pistol in her hand, her dress impeccable, and then the second woman who walked round from behind the counter, and aimed a shotgun at them.


“Good morning, fuckers,” Anna said from behind them, “cell phones and wallets, thrown over there please.”


The two women watched carefully as the new arrivals looked at each other, and then reached into their jacket pockets.


“GUN!” Katy shouted out as she saw the taller man’s hand make a fist – and then the look of shock in his face as Anna shot him in the back, the other man staring as he fell forward, the blood oozing from the hole.


“Any idea you had of fucking raising the alarm, let it go like the shit between your legs,” Anna yelled.  “Face down with the others, asshole.”  She shoved him forward as he fell to the floor, looking at the tear and fear filled eyes of the others.




“Whhhhhhhh what was that,” the assistant said as she watched Susan fill the last of the holdalls.


“Sounds like another stupid fucker tried to do something,” Susan said as she looked at Shirley.


“Agreed – right – you’re coming with us,” Shirley said as she grabbed the woman’s arm, and made her walk in front of her, one hand holding the gun against her back and the other carrying one of the holdalls.


As they made their way back to the main floor, Susan handed one of the holdalls to Kylie, who put her gun into her jacket as she carried the bag in her hand.  The masked women looked round at the scene, the dead bodies on the floor, the smell of blood, piss and faeces filling the air.


“Listen, pissants and cows,” Shirley said “we’re taking your things with us.  Remember now we know where you fucking live, and we that means we could call on you at any fucking time. Just remember that – so for the sake of yourselves and I’m sure your dearly beloved families, all of you stay fucking still, and make sure nobody moves for an hour.


“Except for one of you,” she finished as she looked at Anna.  She then nodded to Katy, as they walked round the people cowering on the floor – and then grabbed the Chinese man who had come in.


“Move, shithead,” she said as she pressed her gun into his back, Katy walking to the door and looking out as Clint got back into the car.


“All clear,” she said as she opened the door, and they walked out onto the street, forcing the two hostages into the back of the SUV as Katy and Anna sat with them.


“Keep those fucking mouths shut, and those hands where we can see them,” Katy said as guns were pressed into their sides, both of them watching as the others put the bags into the SUV and jumped in, closing the doors behind themselves.


Clint said nothing as he moved off, joining the flow of traffic as they kept their scarves over their faces, nobody saying anything.


“Was anyone else in the car,” Susan said as she looked at Clint.  He nodded, but said nothing as he watched the road.


“You have made a grave error,” the Chinese man said quietly, “you will pay the price for what you did today.”


“Oh shut the fuck up, you little pissant,” Shirley said as she struggled to maintain control.  “Did you get the security recordings?”


“I did,” Kylie said in her Southern accent, “and destroyed the recording equipment.”


“Good – now shut the fuck up, both of you.”


The man and woman looked at each other, recognising in each other the same experience, as Clint headed out of town.





White Plains


Clint pulled up alongside the SUV, jumping out and opening the trunk of the car as Katy and Anna started to load the bags into the boot.


“What are you going to do with us,” the assistant manageress said as she looked at Shirley.  Her voice was a whisper, but the emotion was clear.


Shirley looked at her, and then at the Chinese man, before she said “The Honoured Father has a message for you – safe journeys.”


“How did...”


Susan said nothing as she got out of the car, Shirley and Kylie looking at each other.  Slowly Madame said, “close your eyes,” as she pressed her gun to the centre of the woman’s forehead.


There was a whimper, and then the Chinese man watched as the single shot ran out, the back window of the SUV decorated in grey and red, the blonde hairs mixed in with the scatter.  He barely felt the thin wire as it was pulled taut against his throat, Kylie saying nothing as it went through his neck, slicing through his muscle and blood vessels.


“Helen has taught you well,” Shirley said in her normal, deep voice.


“As I told you darling, I have been learning many things,” Kylie said quietly.





“Is it done?”


The four looked at the SUV, before the two women got out. 


“It’s done,” Kylie said, “let’s get out of here.”


They got into the car, Clint starting the engine and driving off as he looked at Susan.




“Clint, did you...”


“I did what had to be done to protect you,” he said as Susan nodded, and then looked at Shirley as she sat with her eyes closed. 


“Thank you,” she said as she heard Katy and Anna gasping as they sought to relieve themselves.  As the two older women looked over, they saw Doc, Kylie and Katy start to kiss each other, slipping their hands under each other’s skirts and stroking over their mounds as they sought relief.


“Oh god,” Katy moaned quietly, “this is almost as good as...”


“As good as what,” Doc said as she kissed the teenager, their tongues entwining as Kylie stroked over Katy’s clit with her gloved finger.


“As I had always imagined it,” Katy moaned, checking herself in time as Shirley looked at Susan.  She then closed her eyes and moaned as Doc slipped onto the floor, her head slipping under her skirt before she felt her lips and tongue, her panties slipping down as Kylie knelt on the floor, kissing Doc’s back as her hands cupped and squeezed her breasts.


“Madame?  Is there something...”


Shirley looked into Susan’s eyes, and then took her completely by surprise as she kissed her associate, their lips moving together as Susan wondered what was happening – before she started to ease her tongue into Shirley’s mouth, their tongues playing with each other as they removed each other’s jackets.


She felt the soft touch of Madame’s lips on her neck moaning as the girls kissed and played with each other, before Shirley said “Susan, I need to seek relief, and I am sure you do as well.”


She slowly nodded as she kissed her boss’ neck in return, and then moved down, unhooking Shirley’s bra and kissing her breasts as Shirley kissed her neck and shoulders as well.  They both had this burning to put out, this flame that needed to be extinguished, as they unfastened their seat belts and started to massage each other.


Shirley gasped as Susan unfastened her skirt and pulled it down, and then moved down her body, kissing her boss before she did the same, and Susan lay on the floor, panting as Shirley pushed her legs apart and started to use her fingers under her soaking wet panties.


“Oh yes,” Kylie said as Doc worked her passage, “do it darling...”


“And Susan was worried about me and Madame.” Clint said as he turned the radio on, the sounds passed out as it appeared as if a choral version of Je T’Aime was been performed for his benefit...


He heard Susan scream as an orgasm washed over her, and then Shirley looked up, moving towards the youngest girl.


"Madame!" Katy gasped as Shirley's gloved hands unbuttoned the young girls suit jacket.

"Oh just kiss me," Shirley abandoned herself to the moment, her deep red lips meeting Katy's in a long, lingering, lip-lock.

"Aunt Shirley?"

"Katy I think with what we are doing, or I'm hoping we are going to do, you can at least for now just call me Shirley." Madame again pulled the young girl in for a long kiss, her tongue slipping into Katy's mouth as her hands explored the feel of Katy's breasts through her silk blouse, and to Madame's surprise, the sudden feel of Susan's hand underneath her own skirt caressing her inner stocking thighs.


“Oh yes,” Shirley moaned as she squeezed Katy’s chest, the young girl moaning as well as Susan moved her hand up between Shirley’s legs and sipped a gloved finger under her hose and panties, Shirley gasping and compressing Katy’s chest as she did so.


"You know I once told you after we danced that I preferred guys Kitten?" Kylie whispered as they cuddled and kissed.

"I do."

"I might have been wrong Darling." Kylie put Anna's hand back between her legs.

"Well I'm sure now I swing both ways Kittycat." Anna caressed her friend’s private place gently, slowly reawakening the urge within the young Brit.

"I KNOW THAT I DO!" Kylie gasped as Anna again inserted a long gloved finger inside her.


"How long has it been since...?"

"Long before you were born Katy." Madame interrupted as she freed Katy's breasts from her bra.

"And you Susan darling?" Kylie asked as she moaned with pleasure while Doc's gloved fingers started to slip in and out of her cunt.

"Not since I was a teenager," Susan threw her head back as another orgasm swept over her body, "and back then it was never this...INTENSE!" she screamed

"Crime and sex go together so naturally." Doc started to feverishly pump into Kylie.

"I'll say they do." Katy panted as Shirley explored her body. "This is incredible."

"Well stealing over 2 million dollars, terrorizing all those people..."

"Not to forget the killing Susan." Madame's breathing started getting laboured as another orgasm approached.




“Not to spoil your fun ladies,” Clint said, “but I think we have about fifteen minutes before...”




The screams of pleasure from the back made Clint smile, as he said “ten minutes to the offices.  I’ll park in the underground car park, but you may wish to...”


“Thank...  thank you Clint,” Shirley gasped as she looked round.


1.30 pm

Xavier International


“Thanks Pamela,” Clint said as he accepted the coffee and then looked up as the door to the outer office opened.


"Well my darling that was some sight." Clint grinned as his wife came out in her normal office attire.

"Just keep it to yourself dearest," Susan smiled, "I think a collective hysteria swept over all of us."

"Oh is that how you are going to explain it...And there I was thinking you were just five hot bitches getting off on armed robbery and murder."

"Stop being a tease," Susan kissed her husband, "There is still plenty of tension within me that you can try and release tonight."

"Oh it's not me I'm worried about," Clint kissed his wife back, "but I think Madame could practically rape poor John when he gets home."


“I certainly think he will enjoy tonight,” Shirley said as she came out, “but thank you for your discretion Clint.”


“Hmm,” Doc said as she checked her phone, coming back in with Katy.  “Poppy Ashley wants me to call round to her place later.  Do you mind Katy?”


“No – she’s invited me as well,” Katy said as Kylie came in, putting on her jacket.


“I need to go to see Mary – thank you for today darlings,” she said as she adjusted her glasses.


“I will see you later in the week Kylie,” Shirley said as she watched the teenagers walk out.  “Now – to business.”


2 pm

Complete Style


“I still cannot believe you managed to do that,” Olivia said as she looked carefully at the photographs from yesterday.


“You know Mary, Bandit – she sees challenges, not obstacles.”


“True,” Olivia said as Alexis knocked at the door.


“Juliette?  Adam Cabot is here.”


“Show him in,” Juliette said as she stood up.


“Juliette, always a pleasure,” the tall Bostonian said as he came in.  “And this is?”


“Adam can I introduce Olivia Treharran, Olivia this is Adam Cabot.”


“The legendary Olivia Savage.” Adam said as he kissed both women on the cheek.  “I am honoured.”


“I’d hardly describe myself as legendary…” Olivia said as she blushed.


“Oh I would.” Adam interrupted. “I grew up looking at photos taken of you by people like John and Jack, my dream was always to photograph you myself.”


“Well that is most flattering Mr. Cabot.”


“Please call me Adam.”


“Alright Adam it is.”


“Well I want you to achieve your ambition Adam.” Juliette said as she sat down behind her desk.




“I’m doing a feature on Olivia and her daughter Fiona for the magazine,” Juliette said as she put her hands together under her chin, “and I was wondering if you’d like to do the photospread to accompany it.”


“I’d leap at the chance.”


“Adam,” Olivia said, “though I’m assured it can be overcome, you know that both my daughter and I are legally blind?”


“I was aware of that, but I have a few ideas of my own how to overcome the problems.”


“Are you free Saturday Adam?”


“I can make myself so Juliette.”


“What about dropping in so we can go over clothes and concepts on Friday evening?”


“If your step-daughter doesn’t mind coming here rather than me taking her out?”


“I’ll smooth things over with Ingrid…Promise.” Juliette looked up. “Now wearing my Norstar hat, can I also beg another favour? Are you free Sunday to do some book photos for some of our new models?”




“Princess Charlotte of Ruritania, one of Abby’s French cousins, two girls from San Francisco.”


“Difficult.” Adam paused, “but yes in return for letting me photograph this lovely lady I’ll do it.”


“Excellent – and Adam?”




“Go gentle with one of the San Fran girls – she is a complete newcomer.”


“I understand Juliette – kid gloves, promise.”



3 pm

FBI NY Field Office


Tom Callaghan let out a long, deep yawn and stretched his arms up as he walked to the rest area.


“Oh hey Jan,” he said as Janice joined him.


“How have things been with a baby in the apartment Tom?” Janice asked as they stood at the water cooler.


“Not great,” Tom said as he yawned again.  “The walls are thin, our little beloved cries, half the block gets woken up as well as us.”


“That’s rough,” Jan said with a smile, “I sympathise.”


“How did you cope Jan?”


“Katy barely cried and we lived in a detached house.”


“To have half your luck.” Tom yawned.


“Without you getting too bored Callaghan, we gotta major bank robbery in White Plains, 5 women perps, mucho gore…” Agent Sid Estrada of the bank robbery task force said as he came out of a door.


“The Pussycats?” Tom asked, suddenly wide-awake.


“No, but I think they have taken lessons from them in ruthlessness.  Three dead and one serious injury, and two hostages taken with them”


“Can we help?” Janice asked a trifle nervously. “Any clues?”


“Nah, wigs, scarves covering the faces, dark glasses, we think they might be the same crew did that job in Jersey a while back.”


“Well how can I help?” Tom asked.


“Can we borrow some of your foot soldiers to help work this, seeing that you guys aint exactly busy with your Pussycats?”


“Send me a memo Estrada, I’ll think about it.”


“I’d ask for Carter, but I know she’s busy consulting on a movie.” Estrada laughed as he headed back into his office.


“Smart Alec bastard.” Tom whispered under his breath.


“Ignore him,” Jan said, “and don’t let the office politics get to you either.”


“How is that going anyway?”


“I’m meeting Cassandra tonight to go over the final script for some scenes.”


“Okay then – good luck with that.”


“Tom, it does get easier, honestly.”


Tom just smiled and nodded as they headed back to their desks...



4 pm

The de Ros Mansion


“These pictures are beautiful Abby.” Fiona whispered as she peered intently though her glasses at Diana Oswald’s book Debutantes.


“I know, I had to buy myself a copy as soon as I saw the cover picture of the blonde doing that amazing curtsey.”


“Can you get down that low?”


“Not quite, but pretty close.” Abigail went down into her formal curtsey. “What about you Fi?”


“You tell me,” Fiona dipped down and held the position.


“That isn’t bad,” a voice said from the doorway.


“Hello Sigi.” Abigail said as she embraced Carina’s aunt.


“Now, let me show you both how it’s really done.”


“Oh dear lord!” Fiona’s mouth hung open as Sigi went down into her curtsey. “There is no way I can compete with that.”


“You don’t have to,” Abby laughed, “Despite how she looks, Sigi is not one of this year’s debs.”


“Oh dear Lord no,” Sigi grinned, “I did all this years ago.”


“Fiona may I present the Baroness von Manschen, Sigi may I present Lady Fiona Treharran.”


“It’s a pleasure Baroness, but what do you mean years ago?”


“Darling I’m in my mid thirties and I have three children.” Sigi laughed.




“Oh yes way.” Sigi smiled as Fiona practically fainted, sitting hard on the bed.


“Sigi drank up the entire fountain of youth.” Abigail laughed again.


“Not true, but I sometimes I think my nurse must have given me sips from it as a baby.” Sigi sat on the bed. “You would not believe the crap the stewardesses on my flight gave me about my asking for drinks.”


“Looking at you Baroness I can understand.” Fiona still looked stunned.


“Darling PLEASE just call me Sigi…Oh and before I forget dears, Diana told me to tell you that you only have an hour till guests start arriving for your tea party.”


“Oh crap is it that late?” Abby glanced at her watch in panic.


“Panic not – I’ll leave you both to get ready, and Edith has things in hand downstairs.”  Sigi stood up and walked out, turning and saying “See you later...”



4 pm

4th Avenue


“Hey Poppy,” Doc said as the apartment door opened, “why did you ask me and Katy round?”


“I’ll tell you in a minute,” Poppy said as she closed the door, “Come and join the others.”


“Nice apartment,” Katy said as she looked round, and they saw Erica sitting with Pepsi and Ama.


“Want a drink?”


“Please – something cold,” Katy said as she sat down.  “Any idea what’s going on?”


“Nope,” Pepsi said as she looked up, “how was the zoo?”


“More interesting than I expected,” Katy said as she looked at Anna, as Poppy brought them a drink.


“Look I’ve asked you all here to share a secret, and to ask for your help.” Poppy spoke quietly to the group of her friends.


“Sounds serious.” Doc replied.


“It is…Look there is a man here in New York called Martin Peverell. He used to be married to my Gran’s sister, Aunt Maggie. He is also…” Poppy took a deep breath…”my father.”


“Crap!” Pepsi shook her head.  “How did that happen?”


“He basically date-raped my Mom, and I was the result, but he is also an embezzler and con artist who was just released from prison.”


“How did he get into the US?”


“No one seems to know Bones.”


“Who else knows about all this?” Doc asked quietly.


“Mrs. Brand, Caroline Jameson, I’m not sure who else other then my family.”


“Well Mom is very good at dealing with people.” Ama spoke.


“My family though wants this all done quiet and legally.”


“Well if they are acting, why talk to us?” Doc asked.


“Because I don’t think they will get anywhere and they’ll end up paying him blackmail money.” Poppy wiped away a tear. “Anyway this is him,” she pulled up a photo on her mobile.


“I’ve seen him…” Katy spoke for the first time.


“You have?” Erica asked.


“Yeah on my big date with George.”


“How do you know it was him?” asked Pepsi.


“Because I remember all men who undress me with their eyes.”


“He did that?” Poppy shook her head. “I’m just so ashamed I have his genes in me.”


“Let me see,” Erica said.  “I’m sure he was on the El the other day, Poppy.”


“I know,” Poppy said as she rubbed her head, “I think he’s following me around.”


“So call the police,” Katy said.


“We can’t – apparently right now, he’s not breaking any laws, unless you count hacking.”




“He tried to get into the records at St Angela’s,” Doc said, “but he couldn’t get past the firewalls I installed.”


“There’s more, though,” Poppy said.  “Your mom was round earlier Ama and I heard them talking.  Someone planted some bugs in the apartment.”


“So what do you want us to do,” Pepsi asked.


“Keep an eye out for all of us – if you see him near the school, tell Mrs Brand.  If you see him near here, call Mom or Miss Jameson.”


“We’re going to do better than that,” Pepsi said, “we’ll keep an eye on you to and from school every day.”


“Letty can pick you up as well as me,” Erica said.


“Thanks girls,” Poppy said.


“We’re still going skiing weekend after next, aren’t we,” Katy asked.


“As far as I know – and we can all watch you then.”


Ama looked at her watch, and said “Poppy, do not worry.  Nobody is going to harm you.”


“Agreed,” Pepsi said as she stood up.  “But for now, we need to get back.  Katy, want to come with us?”


“I’ll see you tomorrow Doc,” Katy said as she went with the other two.


“I need to get going as well Poppy,” Erica said, “we’ll see you in the morning.”


“Thanks Erica.”


“For what?”


“Being a friend,” Poppy said as she hugged the young girl.


“What else could I be,” Erica said as she was shown out, Anna finishing her drink as she did so.


“I’d better get going as well,” Doc said as she stood up.


“Doc, can you do me a special favour?”


“If I can – what?”


“Can you tell me where I can buy a gun like yours?”


Doc looked at the young freshman, before saying “and why would I do that?”


“Because I think you know,” Poppy said as she took off and wiped her glasses, “that if I get the opportunity I might kill Martin Peverell.”




“Don’t get all moral with me Anna,” Poppy said as she replaced her glasses.  “I bet you that gun isn’t legal, and why do you carry one anyway?”


“Because there are a lot of creeps out there, and I sometimes travel home late from babysitting.”


“Is it legal?” Poppy looked hard at the older girl. “Absolute truth please?”


“No it isn’t, I got it from a pawn shop, and I sort of wore a disguise and used my charms to get the guy to sell it to me.” Doc looked carefully into Poppy’s eyes, “but I carry it for self-defence, I have no intention of ever killing anyone.”


“Well I’m defending myself and my family…”


“No you aren’t,” Anna said.  “You are talking about pre-meditated murder Poppy, and of your own father!”


“He’s only my father in the biological sense.”


“Well they’d still try you as an adult if you got caught, and life in prison in New York means life.”


“I know.” Poppy’s voice trembled.


“And what would your Mom think?”


“Again I know.”


“Well get rid of the stupid idea of getting yourself a gun. Let me and others do some thinking…Okay?”


“No promises,” Poppy said, “but I’ll not do anything…for now.”


“Good.  Look, Poppy, I know this is scaring the hell out of you, but please, let me and the others take care of it, all right?”


“Okay,” Poppy said quietly as she showed Doc out.  As she stepped onto the pavement, she took her cell phone out and dialled a number.


“Heather?  I’m on 4th.  Can I come and see you for a few minutes?  It’s important...”



5.10 pm

The de Ros Mansion


"Mummy you are running even later then I am," Fiona said as she looked in on Olivia.

"I know I am,” Olivia said, “my meeting with Juliette took longer then I expected."

"Any particular reason?"

"She introduced me to Adam Cabot, the photographer who will be shooting us on Saturday,"

"What is he like?"

"Well contrary to rumours I had heard, he's actually rather nice." Olivia started to strip off as she said, "while I take a quick shower can you lay my things out please Fi?"

"I can try."

"By the way you look amazing in that dress darling, I knew you would."

"Vintage Chanel, she should look good." Diana poked her head round the door.

"I'm just showering Diana. The meeting with Ju overran."

"Well you have about 20 minutes to be downstairs darlings."

"We'll make it," Olivia's voice mingled with the sound of running water.


5.10 pm

The Richmond Mansion


“Okay,” Heather said as she handed Doc a mug of coffee, “what’s happened?”


“Some of us have just been round to Poppy’s house,” Doc said as she took a drink, “apparently Peverell is making more of a nuisance of himself.”


“In what way?”


“She told us Dom had been round today, and found some bugs in the flat.”




“That’s not all – Peverell is her biological father.  Turns out he’s a real slimeball.”


“Okay – that makes a few things clearer,” Heather said.  “I did some digging – he’s here in a ESTA waiver, which means he out and out lied – gave his name, but a false address.”


“She thinks he may try and blackmail her mother or grandmother, to keep it a secret she is his daughter.”


“Might not work with Pippa, would work with Amelia Ashley.  You say Dom is called in?”


“Yeah, but...”


“Anna, what are you not telling me?”


“She asked me where she could get a gun, and said she would kill him rather than let him do that.”


Heather sat back, and said “Okay – well, you can understand that.”


“I can – but she’s not a killer Heather.  This would destroy her.”


“Who else was there?”


“Pepsi, Ama, Erica and Katy.”


Heather nodded as she picked up her cell phone.  “Dom?  Heather – Anna and I are coming to see you and Ama.”







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