Memories – Part 2







Wednesday 28th September

7 pm BST




"So in the end was it as good as you hoped?" Laura asked as Maisha showed them some of the photos and things from her trip to Botswana.  All three girls were wearing sweatshirts and jeans, while Agnes sat with John and Shirley to the side.


“It was certainly different…” Maisha said as she sipped her drink.

"Was it really dangerous?" asked Miley.

"It was hard work..."

"You said before you went it would be," Laura interrupted.

"And it was both physically and mentally demanding. But I'm glad I did it, I got some memories that will last me my lifetime, and I got to know some interesting people..."

"Any boys?" Laura broke in again.

"No," Maisha laughed, "about the only man there was this local tracker who taught us some bushcraft, otherwise it was virtually all women."

"A lot of female bonding,” Miley said with a giggle.  “Mum said she thought that was all part of it."

"I guess it was part of it Miley.  It was something I am glad I did – infected bite and all."

"Well in news from here that you missed while you were away, Miley has a boyfriend."

"No I Don't," the younger girl said as she blushed bright red.

"Well you and Richard sure spend a lot of time talking for him not to be your boyfriend."

"He's just a good guy."

"Sounds like a boyfriend in training to me," Maisha joined in the ribbing of the youngest girl.


“Come on both of you…”




“So is young Master Babbage really spending a lot of time with Miley?”


“Let’s just say I found him at the flat after school a couple of times,” Agnes said with a smile.  “Not that I’m complaining, mind you.”


“So how is their education coming along?”


“They’re both doing very well Uncle John – and they’re sharing what they are learning with some of the girls in the school as well.  The tutors all think they’ll be ready come January.”


“Did I hear Laura say they’re going to start to have Golf lessons?”


“Lord help us, yes,” Agnes said as she rolled her eyes.  “I’ve booked them in for some lessons at Northwick Park, and we’ll see what happens from there.”


"Why golf anyway?" Shirley asked.

"Do you remember the joys of games at school Shirley?" Agnes laughed.

"Alright I do have wonderful memories...NOT...of compulsory hockey both at Footscray Lodge, and at Cheltenham." Madame laughed.

"Well QCS doesn't force that upon them, and I guess of all the various options that golf is far from being the worst."

"It will also give them a chance to bond with Donald a bit," John gave the two ladies top ups to their drinks, "he enjoys the odd round after all."

"Exactly Uncle John."

"We gave Maisha a couple of lessons, but when it became obvious how much she loved tennis we decided it wasn't worth continuing."

"Did you talk to her about the adoption some more?"


“We did – Cat is drawing the papers up now.  Everything gone through for Laura and Mylie?”


“It should be final by the end of next week,” Agnes said.


“Mandy and I talked today, and she was suggesting a party for the girls once all the paperwork is done.  Sound like an idea?”


“Sounds good to me,” John said with a smile.


“One drawback – you put yourselves in the hands of the Knight of the Red Hand…”


“Oh deep joy,” John said as he went to see if the girls wanted more drinks.


"Oh and thank you for setting up the chance for Penelope to use the dungeon of that friend of yours in New York," Shirley whispered while John was out of earshot.

"She's more an ex-colleague then a friend," Agnes sipped her drink, "but given what you say that man’s tastes are I'll bet he will kill to get to see the inside of Manhattan's most famous BDSM speciality house..."

"And to get the chance to have a Domme like Penelope abuse him?"

“Yes," Aggie sighed, "I just wish I could be there to see her work again."


Benenden School


“All right girls – Prep time is over, you may return to your rooms.”


As the year 7 students stood up, two in their white polo shirts and blue joggers looked at each other as they collected their books.


“Another day over with,” Edwina Treharran said with a sigh, “at least we get some time to ourselves now.”


“True,” Clodagh Gaunt said as they left the library, and walked along the corridor, “and boy do I need the break.  I didn’t realise there would be so much work to do.”


“I know – at least it stops me missing Mummy and Daddy,” Edwina said as she opened the door to their room and they walked inside, putting their books down on the table and collapsing on the bed.


“How’s the shins?”


“Sore – but I’ll cope,” Clodagh said as she rubbed the back of her legs.  “I think on the whole, I prefer running.”


“Plenty of that later this year, little sis.”


“Oh boy,” Edwina said as she saw Aileen standing in the doorway, “what do you want?”


“Eve, Kit and Lizzie want us in the Sixth Form Room,” Aileen said, “we have something to discuss.”


"Discuss?" Clodagh asked in her English upper class accent, in which the barest hint of an Irish accent betrayed her origins.

"Are we in trouble?"

"Not as far as I know, Edwina," Aileen shrugged her shoulders, "but since they all became high and mighty sixth formers, then who knows?"

"How long till they expect our presence?" Clodagh asked as she stood up.

"Enough time for you to clean up a little bit before Miss Edgcumbe does a room check," Aileen shook her head, "how have you managed to get it in this state in such a short time?"

"It's a talent," Edwina laughed.

"Well straighten it up a bit quick, and then we will go see our elders and betters," Aileen sighed.





"You and Aileen look amazing," Lizzie said as she looked at the GND layout in Eve's advance copy of American Vogue.

"Agreed," Kits looked again, "You both look like top professional models."

"Well we aren't that...yet." Eve laughed, "but everyone at GND is thrilled according to Mummy."

"When will the advertisements start to appear over here?"

"Pretty soon Kits," Eve glanced down at her watch, “where are they? Don't they know how busy Sixth Formers are?"


“We were summoned, we have come,” Aileen said as she bowed low in the doorway, Clodagh and Edwina giggling as they stood behind her.


“Knock it off Sis,” Eve said angrily, “or you will be summoned for extra prep.”


“Oh come on Eve, you know I don’t mean it,” she said as they came in, and closed the door.  “So what’s up?”


“Aunt Aggie called me earlier,” Kit said with a smile, “you know she’s adopting Laura and Miley?”


“Yeah,” Clodagh said, “and?”


“Well, Uncle John and Aunt Shirley have announced they are going to formally adopt Maisha as well, and she thinks a party is in order when we are in London next to celebrate that fact.  Younger people only.”


“A party of our very own?  Before the Halloween bonanza?”


“Indeed – so we have some our age, and some your age.  I’m open to suggestions…”



2.30 pm

FBI Field Office


"Come on Tom there has to be some very good reason that I can give to get out of this," Janice practically pleaded as she sat in her supervisor’s office.

"Not that I can think of," Tom Callaghan had an amused look in his eye, "just go along and enjoy yourself."

"Does Gale ever tell you that you can be a sadistic bastard?"

"Who me?" the man burst into laughter, "I'll have you know my wife sees me as her Dark Knight."

"She does?"

"Well at least she does for Halloween."

"Gotcha," it was Janice's turn to look amused, "in other words Gale fancies seeing herself as Catwoman, and that means you get to play Batman."

"She's already found the outfit she's going to wear."

"If she's coming as the ultimate slinky villainess then bang goes one of my ideas."

"Means I'm going to end up looking like an idiot."

"I don't know, there are worse heroes to be then Bruce Wayne."

"So what have you talked Adam into wearing?"

"Nothing as of yet.  We need to give it some thought…"



6 pm

The Burton Apartment


"So what are these ski trips to Stowe really like?" Mel asked as she helped Erica and Denice prepare the evening meal.

"Simply put?  Having FUN!" Erica smiled broadly.

Denice looked over from where she was preparing the fish, and said "we all get to kick back and forget our troubles for a couple of days in a beautiful location, and with wonderful friends to share it."

"You make it sound like heaven Aunt Denice."

"Not sure about it being precisely heaven, but it is wonderfully enjoyable."

"But…  I've never been skiing."

"Nor had either of us Mel," Erica said with a grin as she rinsed the salad, "but even absolute beginners can have fun out there on the slopes."

"Just never try skiing the sort of expert runs that people like Ingrid do, she's been skiing virtually since she could walk."

"You have to start at that sort of age to really get good at it like Mom says."

"So what does Jeannie do?"

"She sleds, she might be disabled but she can still enjoy herself on the snow..."

"And of course she can party with everyone else every evening."

"Well I know Mom is really looking forward to our first trip," Mel started to lay the table.


“And then there are the side perks – Jean-Claude…”


“She’s off again,” Denice said with a smile.


“That’s one of the instructors, right?”


“Oh yes…   Right, we eat in ten.”


“And then,” Erica said with a grin, “you have a date with Chris Eccleston…”


Thursday 29th September


The Village


“Yes,” Penny said as she pressed the intercom in Madeline’s apartment.


“I come bearing greetings, bagels and drink.”


“Come on up,” Penny said as she pressed the door button, opening the apartment door and waiting as Caroline came in, wearing a black leather jacket and leggings with short boots.


“There we go,” she said as she put the brown bag down on the table.  "So, are you settled in Penny?"

"I guess so,” Penny said as she took a package and unwrapped it, “it was nice of Maddie to let me borrow hers and Emma's place in the village while I'm here to do this."

"I know you have reservations about all this,” Caroline said as she sat at the table, “but truly it is important."

"I agree Dom, but I'm still scared of what might happen."

"Can it be worse then what you've done on several occasions at places like Diana's farm?"

"Yes," Penny took two deep breaths, "in those cases I knew going in that death was awaiting my subject. I was able to release knowing that ultimately it didn't matter how extreme I got. For this though I have to control myself enough that the man lives, and even enjoys himself, and I’m truly not sure if I have the needed self-control."

"Penny I known you a long time...You'll be fine," Caroline said as she put her arm round her friend.

"I hope so Dom."

"So, when has Madame Blaze agreed to see you?"


“Six tonight – if she’s happy, we’re sending a personal invitation to him and some of her other customers.”


“Covering your tracks?”





6 pm

Bleeker Street


As Penny stood outside the brownstone, she looked at it with a keen eye.  Non-descript, nothing to say it is out of the ordinary, and dressed as she was in a grey jacket and skirt, white blouse and black shoes, she could just be visiting on business.  Which was true – in a way.


There were three floors, and a cellar judging by the stairs at the side, so a nice respectable building.  Smiling, Penny walked up the stairs and pressed the intercom button.


“Yes,” a young female voice said, “can I help you?”


“Penelope Harker to see the director,” Penny said, aware of the camera lens as there was a short pause.  Eventually, there was a click as the voice said “you are expected – please proceed directly to the second floor.  You will be met there.”


“Thank you,” Penny said as she walked in, looking round the reception area.  There were a number of leather armchairs, low tables with magazines, even a coffee machine, and sitting at the desk was a young brunette, wearing a grey slip dress, looking professional.


“If you will head this way,” she said as she indicated a staircase, Penny nodding as she walked up to the next level.  As she got to the top of the stairs, a smartly dressed young man smiled and said “if you will follow me, Miss Harker?”


“Thank you,” Penny said as she followed him down a corridor, and into a well furnished outer office, waiting as he knocked on the door and went in.  A few moments later, he came out and indicated she should enter.


The woman who rose to greet her had brown hair, tinged with grey, and wore a white blouse and black pencil skirt.  “You must be Princess Penelope,” she said as she walked round, Penny noticing her three inch Italian leather shoes.  “I am Madame Blaze – please, be seated.  Colin, coffee for two please.”


“Of course, Madame,” the young man said as he bowed and left the room.


"It's nice to meet you," Penny sat and crossed her legs.  “I am aware of your reputation and discretion, and Agnes McAdam asked me to pass on her good wishes as well.”

"Thank you, but…  Well, strictly speaking we have met before."

"We have?"  Penny replied, her head to the side as the door opened, and Colin returned with a coffee pot and two cups on a tray, placing it on the desk and bowing before he left.”

"At Lady D'Eath's dungeon in London,” Madame Blaze said as she poured the coffee, and handed a cup to Penny, “but I doubt you remember it."

"Frankly I don't," Penny shook her head as she accepted the cup.

"You were becoming legendary,” Madame Blaze said as she took a sip from her own cup, “and I begged Aggie for the chance to watch you work."

"You did?" Penny tried to remember as she put her cup down.

"Yes, and I'll be honest - I was stunned by the level of your skills, and by the manner in which you treated the customers. I came home from London determined to improve myself and to try reach for your standards."

"Thank you," Penny actually found herself blushing as she drank from her own cup.

"I heard that you'd quit the lifestyle though."

"I had...I have...”  Penny put her cup down and sighed.  “I was beginning to have a hard time remembering what was supposed to be just play and acting. I was letting it get far too real."

Madame Blaze nodded as she said "that can be a problem."

"After a couple of false starts at life I ended up working for Xaviers, and I guess I found the niche in life where I could be happy."

"So,” Madame Blaze said as she sat forward, “what is bringing Princess Penelope out of retirement?"

"What,” Penny said as she leaned forward as well, “do you know of the people who asked you to see me and do this?"

"That they are pretty heavy hitters in a variety of fields...and that I know better than to get on the wrong side."

"Yes," Penny nodded, "well, they want compromising evidence on a certain person with advanced BDSM tastes.  I'm simply the bait to draw him in, and to perform the things that will give these 'connected' people the chance to turn and use said man."

"So our role is simply to do our thing, let them get their blackmail material..."

"And then forget everything about it," Penny smiled.


“I have had to take a similar role before,” Madame Blaze said with a smile, “and it is for my country, so I accept.  I have taken the liberty of sending word to one or two of my clients – and to the person concerned – of your presence here for two days only.”


“And has he risen to the bait?”


Looking at a diary on her computer, Madame Blaze said “tomorrow at two.  I know he is the main focus, but to provide cover?”


“Well, I may need some practice first anyway – is it possible to view the facilities?”


“Of course,” Madame Blaze said as she stood up, “if you will follow me?”



7 pm

Temple Hill Hospital


“So am I missing much?” Diana said as she sat up in bed, Juliette and Sandy either side of her.  One of the drainage tubes was still in place, but she did not look as grey or drawn as she had earlier in the week.


“Want an honest answer?”


“Please Juliette,” Diana said as she took a sip from her glass.


“Then I’d have to say no,” Juliette said as she sat back, “it almost feels like we are reduced to playing bit parts in the grand drama.”




“Yes,” Sandy spoke as she rubbed her head, “I feel almost ignored in everything.”


“Truly?” Diana smiled, “in all the years I’ve known both of you I’m not sure I heard either of you say that.”


“My Lover is clearly playing some sort of central role, but even in bed I can’t talk her into telling me just what is going on.”


“I’m actually reduced to spending virtually all my time thinking about the December edition of CS,” Juliette shook her head.


“Well we do know what is going on is of true significance…”


“I still wish though that we could be involved a bit more,” Juliette complained.


“In many ways it’s maybe pre-ordained that we aren’t,” Diana looked down and lightly touched herself, “I have this to get over, you have grandchildren to spoil Cherie…”


“Still leaves me coping with feeling bored and ignored though,” Sandy interrupted.


“Perhaps – or perhaps we need to find a temporary focus for you Cherie.  When is the racing season finale?”


“A week Sunday – ah,” Sandy said with a grin, “getting together with Jan and Jeanne to discuss tactics for the last race, planning, technical advice…”


“And if what I hear is correct, Jan will want the distraction as well,” Juliette said, “Katy volunteered her for Bring Your Parent to School day.”


“Oh Goddess,” Diana laughed, and then held herself as she groaned, “I remember when Abigail tried to get me to do that!”


“Carina got me doing it – I had to spend an hour discussing fashion with a very attentive class.”


“Well, that will provide a distraction, that is true – thanks, both of you, I needed that…”


Friday 30th September

Noon BST

McAdam Associates, The Bank


"So did Blaze show you over her place?" Agnes spoke into the computer as she looked at Penny in her hotel room.

"She did.  I feel like it was a true privilege."

"What did you make of it darling?"

"Well,” Penny said as she sat back, “it's a long way from being like your place Aggie. Very slick, very sleek, very expensive looking…"

"Or in other words....VERY New York."

"I guess so," Penny smiled, "but I have to say I prefer what we used to have at your place."

"Does she have a room rigged for video and audio recording?"

"Yes, it's not going to be difficult getting the sort of evidence that this guy will do anything to avoid having shown to his wife."

"I'm not totally in approval of the blackmail part of this, and I've told both Shirley, and Francesca, just that, but I suppose in the end the circumstances just about doing it.  My other concern is you – are you ready?"


“We’ll find out later…”


11 am

Bleeker Street


“Princess Penelope?”


Penny turned and looked at the receptionist, as she said “your eleven o’clock is here.  Are you prepared?”


“I am,” Penny said as she looked at herself in the mirror.  It had been so long since she had worn this outfit, but it still fitted.  The black leather gown, with the deep cut neckline, the skirt in a scallop style from just above her knees at the front to the floor at the back.  The black satin opera gloves, and the thigh high leather boots with the four inch heel.  Finally, the black headband in the form of a tiara.


“Well, let’s find out,” she said quietly as she turned, the riding crop in her hand as the door opened, and he was shown in.  He was naked, save for the leather hood over his head, and as he walked forward he dropped to the ground, kissing her foot as he said “it is an honour to meet you, your highness.”


“Rise,” she said quietly, “and tell me your desire.”


“To be your plaything, mistress.”


“Very well then,” she said quietly as she glanced at the sheet to her side.  “Let us begin.  Stand by the cross over there, facing away.”


She watched as he stood in front of the St Andrew’s Cross, waiting as she walked over and fastened his wrists and ankles to the tops of the beams.  Walking to the side, she picked up the black ball gag, walking back as she said “you are mine now, cocksucker – and I do not want you to do that.  Open your mouth.”


“Yes Your Highness,” he said quietly as he accepted the ball between his teeth, Penelope fastening the straps around his head before she picked up the riding crop, and whacked it down on his bottom.


FNkuuu,” he called out, as she hit him again, feeling shame and also an elation she relished as well.  The saying about riding a bike came to mind – but somehow, this time it was different.


Maybe the years since she had done this had mellowed her despite herself – but as Penny saw the red marks on his bottom, she realised it was that there was a focus this time.  She smiled as she caressed his bottom, and heard his groans – realising that this may be the last time Princess Penelope made an appearance, but she would go out with a real bang.


2 pm

Bleeker Street


“I hope you’re watching now,” Penny said quietly as she laid out the equipment for her next appointment.


“We are,” Francesca said into her earpiece.


“I apologise now for what may come in this next hour – and may the Goddess give me the strength to control this,” she said quietly as the door opened, and her appointment was shown in.  He was not that tall, with short greying dark hair, but as she looked him up and down she began to get the size of the man, and of what his desires might be.


“So,” she said quietly as the door was closed, “you have asked to see me, I am here – why should I stay here, worm?”


The man smiled as he said “because I wish you to dominate me mistress.”


“I am a Princess,” Penny said quietly as she walked over, “reconsider your answer.”


He shook at those words, as he said “forgive me Your Highness – I deserve to be punished for that slight.”


“Yes, yes you do,” she said quietly as she lifted his chin up.  “Strip, worm?”


“Yes, your highness,” he whispered as he removed his jacket, before loosening his tie and unbuttoning his shirt as Penny walked round him.


“Not fast enough,” she whispered as she grabbed his shirt by the collar and pulled it back, buttons flying off as it came away and he stood in his vest, pants and shoes.  “I will count to three, and you will be stripped.  If you are not,” she said as she picked up a riding crop, “you get one hit for every second I have to count extra.  One.




“Three.”  She smiled as she saw he had barely got his pants down, bringing the crop down on his shoulders as he hurriedly stepped out.


“Four.”  This time it was on his bottom, as he kicked his shoes off and pulled his underwear away while she walked round.


“Five.”  This time it was on his legs, as he hopped from foot to foot and pulled his socks off, standing there naked.


“I trust I have not displeased you too much, your highness.”


“I am displeased, and you will pay the punishment,” Penny whispered as she looked at him.  Walking to the side, she picked up a leather panel with straps at the side, and threw it at him to catch.


“Put that in your mouth,” she said, watching as he eased the large rubber bung into his mouth, and then fastened the straps around his head.  Penny walked over, and pulled the straps even tighter, before she stared at him in the face, reaching down and grabbing his ball sac in her gloved hand.


“What do you say worm,” she whispered as she squeezed tight, smiling as she saw his eyes open wide – but in excitement, as he mumbled “Frgffmmmurhhhnsss.”


“Perhaps – but I have not begun to punish you yet.  Walk with me.”  She stepped backwards, her grip on him remaining tight as he followed her to a low table.  Releasing him, she forced him to lie over the edge, walking round and using leather cuffs to secure his wrists to the far legs, and then coming back to secure his ankles as well.  She caressed his bottom with the gloved hands, before walking over and picking up a wooden paddle.




Jameson Security


“What’s happening,” Caroline said as she looked into Francesca’s office.


“Well, she’s warming him up,” Francesca said as Caroline heard the whack of the paddle on his bottom, and his muffled grunts of pleasure.


“I have seen her at work, but to see this side of her as well…”  Caroline looked at the screen, before she said “but we are recording this?”


“We’ve been recording him since he came to the front door…”



Bleeker Street


Madame Blaze sat with three of her senior ladies, sipping her coffee as she said “as you can see, Princess Penelope started by asserting who she is, and the fact she is in charge, before preventing him from saying anything and then securing him for punishment.”


“He certainly seems to be enjoying it – and so does she,” the redhead said, “but what will she do next?”


“Offer pleasure…”




Fnkkuurhhnsss,” he said as Penelope hit him one more time, and then caressed his red and bruised bottom, before she said “pleasure comes now, is that what you want?”


As he nodded, she picked up a leather sheath and brought it over to the table, laying it down before she walked round and released his wrists.  Making him stand, she pulled his arms behind him and then wrapped them in the sheath, fastening the straps tightly as his arms were covered and secured together.


Walking round and looking at him, she smiled as she said “do you want to feel pleasure?”


As he nodded, she said “good – do not move.”


Yssyhhrrhhnsss,” he said as she disappeared behind him, wondering what she was doing as she heard something been buckled.  The gloved hands caressing his bottom made him groan again – and then his eyes opened wide as Penny took him from behind, the large dildo forced into his rear passage and moved back and forth.


And what was worse, the built in vibrator was on full power…


Penny smiled as she moved on him, imagining she was doing it to Helen.  When he had finished with this worm, made him what he wanted to be, got all they needed, she would go to dinner with her.  Perhaps to Daniel’s and then to the hotel…





“She is a true mistress,” the blonde said as she looked at Madame Blaze.


“You are seeing what I saw those years ago, when she was the person to see at the house of Lady D’Eath,” Madame Blaze said quietly.  “She is more focused now, but – ah look. She has had the desired effect on him.”


He shook, screaming as he shot off in response to Princess Penelope’s attentions, the white fluid shooting out as Penny shuddered as well.  Pulling out, she unbuckled and threw the dildo to the side, walking round and looking at the mess on the table.


“Is this your fault?”


He nodded as he looked at her.


“Then you can clean it up,” she whispered as she released his ankles, and then removed his gag.


“How…  How shall I clean it up, Your Highness?”


“How do you think, worm,” she whispered as she put a gloved finger to his mouth.  “And when you have cleaned that up, you can clean up what I used in the same way.  Don’t worry – I will have a nice drink ready for you afterwards.”


He looked at Princess Penelope, nodding as he leaned over the table, and started to clean it with his tongue and mouth…



Jameson Security


Francesca turned off the screen on her laptop – she knew that had what she needed now, and had no desire to see him totally humiliated.


Not in that way anyway…



Bleeker Street


The brunette smiled as she watched.  “Her power and presence – unparalleled.  We could learn so much from her, Madame.”


“Indeed – but as I say, this is your one opportunity.  Ah – this was one of her trademarks for her most special clients.”




“I have finished Your Highness,” he said as he looked up, on his hands and knees as Penelope walked over.


“Good – I have something for you to drink,” she said as she placed a dog bowl on the floor.  He looked down at the amber liquid, as he said “you have given this to me, Your Highness?”


“I have given this to you, of my own body – drink, my faithful worm.”


He nodded as he lowered his head, and started to lap up the fresh urine as Penelope walked round him.  Only when the bowl was empty did she act, kicking his legs away as he fell to the floor and rolled him over.


“Are you satisfied, worm,” she said quietly as she pressed down with the sole of her booted foot on his crotch, “or shall I use my heel instead.”


“Please, your highness…”


A buzzer sounding made Penelope look up, smiling as she said “if I wanted to, I would – but my time is precious, and your time is over.  Someone will come to see to you – don’t let me ever see you again worm.”


She walked out of the room, closing the door behind herself as he groaned and rubbed his own crotch…





“Bravo!  Bravissimo!”


Penny smiled as she joined Madame Blaze and her girls in the room.


“It was good to try that again, but Agnes is right in one thing – I need a cup of tea after that.  Madame, thank you for the opportunity to be Princess Penelope again for one day – we have what we need.”



3.30 pm

The Richmond Mansion


“I wonder how Penny is doing,” Caroline said as she sat at the breakfast bar, “I’ve heard of Madam Blaze, but never had the privilege of meeting her.”


"You know she is one of 'us' Caroline."  Sandy looked over from the work surface.

"Who is one of what?" Caroline looked confused.

"Madame Blaze is an ex-Angel, in fact she was in the class before mine." Sandy sipped her coffee.

"Now why doesn't that truly surprise me?"

"Because darling you know how diverse a group Angels are?" Sandy laughed.

"So what is her real name?"

"Sabrina, or Bree, Quinlan."

"So how did an Angel become a dominatrix?"

"Well for starters she isn't the only one, but in Bree's case it had a lot to do with pleasing a very kinky boyfriend. She learned all the tricks just to please him, and then the bastard left to marry another woman. Bree was left with a lot of skills that didn't quite fit on a conventional resume, and i heard she just sort of drifted into working as a pro-Domme."


“Why does that keep happening,” Caroline said as she shook her head when Heather came in.


“Another week over,” Barbara said as she came in with Pippa and Denice, “and time for coffee and chat.”


“Ah excellent – you are here.”


"Hello Henri," Heather said as she let him kiss her on the cheek, "it's not very often we get the pleasure of a gentleman's company here on a Friday afternoon."

"I can see," Henri smiled and waved at the assembled ladies, "but I need to see both Sandy and Jan, and get them to authorize the expenditures from the RCM account for the stuff we need to get us to the end of the season."

"Well they are both here somewhere, grab yourself a coffee, and I'll go find them."


“Thank you – Denice, may I offer my congratulations?”


“How did you hear – oh call me stupid,” Denice said with a smile.


“What happened?”


“My project – the steam engine.  I got an A with distinction for it, so I need a few more credits, and I graduate.”


“Well done that girl,” Pippa said as she high fived Denice.


“So – the Halloween theme is Heroes and Villains,” Emma Carlton said, “thoughts?”


"Well I know one thing for certain," Barbara looked at her friends, "it's more fun playing the villain then the good guy."

"So you think we will see a lot more villains the heroes at the party?" Denice took a mug of coffee from Heather.

"I think you can count on it."

"Have you started looking for costumes Barb?" Emma Carlton asked as she handed round the cookies.

"I was thinking maybe next week."

"Is Letty coming home for Halloween Mercy?" April asked.

"Oh yeah, my daughter is looking forward to seeing all her friends again."

"It should be yet another party to beat all parties," Caroline sat on a bar stool.

"Yeah, just when we think we have been to the greatest party of all time, along comes an even better one," April sipped her coffee.





“What are the English contingent doing,” Poppy said as she sat in the front room.


Pepsi took a cookie, and smiled.  "Talking to Mandy, she said that Will and Donald and a couple of their friends are thinking about coming as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, with Agnes of all people as Mrs Harker the vampire," she said as she shook her head.

"I can see that," Ama looked reflective.

"If we aren't going to duplicate, triplicate, or have even more people as the same characters, then I think we need start thinking of slightly less well known characters," Doc sat down.

"Maybe after swimming tomorrow we can go check out a couple of costume shops?" Sands asked.

"That sounds at least like an idea."


Saturday 1st October

11 am

The de Ros Mansion, 5th Avenue


Edith opened the main doors of the mansion and stood, waiting as the car drew up at the foot of the stairs and Abigail jumped out, opening the passenger door and helping Diana to slowly step out onto the sidewalk.  While Abby was in a Cooper Ross hoodie and jeans, Diana wore a long beige coat over loose fitting pants and a jumper.


“Take my arm, Mama,” Abby said quietly as she helped Diana to walk slowly up to the open doors, Diana grimacing slightly as she climbed up.


"Welcome home Madame," Edith's smile said everything about the relief she felt at her mistress’ return as they came inside and walked to the drawing room.

"It's nice to be home," Diana smiled as Abby gently helped her to sit on the sofa.  “It is certainly preferable to been in the hospital room.”

“Your bed is prepared, and I've been to the pharmacy and collected all the items on the list Dr Reichmann sent me.”


"Thank you Edith,” Diana said as she looked up and smiled, “what would I do without you?"

"I'm sure you would do fine Countess," Edith smiled again, "now what can I get you before we help you upstairs?"

"Well for starters a cup of real coffee, what they serve in that hospital is an abomination on the good name of the coffee bean."

“I understand," Edith smiled again as she headed for the kitchen.

"Thank you for helping Tony Cherie," Diana looked up as the tall Englishman brought in her bag from the car.

"It's not a problem," Tony sat down, "now are you going to be alright with Abby and me helping you up the stairs."

“As long as I'm careful," Diana nodded.


“Oh I can assure you, I, Father and Valeria are going to make sure you are very careful.”


“Alain,” Diana said with a smile as she saw her brother in the doorway, wearing a light blue jacket and trousers with a white shirt.  “When did you arrive?”


“Just now – the formidable Edith is bringing coffee for all of us,” he said as he sat next to Diana and took her hand, “how are you, truthfully?”


“I am sore, and will be sore for some time – but in a different way.  This pain, I will recover from,” Diana said as she looked at Alain.  “Did you come alone this time?”


“Not this time, no,” Alain said as a second man appeared in the doorway, wearing a blue shirt over a darker blue roll neck sweater and jeans.  “Claude and I have taken a suite at the Waldorf – I suspect having Father and Valeria around is more than enough in terms of house guests for the moment.”


“We could have you – but I suspect you will wish for some privacy.  Claude – welcome to my home.”


“Thank you for welcoming me,” the flaxen haired man said as he looked round, “I pray you recover quickly as well.  Abigail – you look radiant as always.”


“Thank you Uncle Claude – perhaps I can show you some of my college work while you are here?  The view of a cinematographer such as yourself on the lighting would be wonderful.”


“I would be honoured,” Claude said as Edith brought the coffee in, and set it on the coffee table.  “His Grace and the Countess will return within the hour, Madame – if there is nothing else?”


1 pm

2nd Avenue


"So do we look for costumes to represent real life heroes and villains, or just fictional ones?" Doc asked as she pushed Jeannie from the car to the store door.

"That's a very interesting question," Ama asked as she pushed the door open for the other girls. "It all depends on how..."

"If you are going to restart that argument from English Lit on whether someone like Heathcliff is really a hero, or a bad guy, then I'm leaving," Jeans shook her head.

"Alright," Ama laughed, "but I still think it’s something we need think on when choosing costumes."

"Have any of you asked the guys in your life what they are going to wear?" Nikki asked as she started to look at a rack of outfits.

"Do we have to?" Doc smiled, "isn't Rule One of boyfriend/girlfriend etiquette that we chose, and they wear what we tell them?"

"Yes," Becca laughed, "but don't tell THEM that."

"Can Supergirl be in a wheelchair?" Jeannie looked at a picture on the wall.

"Probably," Katy stood beside her, "but can you really see The House wearing tights and a cape?"

"Actually yes," Jeans laughed, "but doesn't Superman accompany Lois Lane?"

"I guess so," Katy paused for thought, "so who would accompany Supergirl?"

"I'd have to look it up," Jeannie said as she moved on to look at other things.




“Right,” Pepsi said as they gathered again, “let’s compare notes.”


"This isn't going to be as simple as I thought," Becca looked down at the little pad of paper she'd been jotting ideas down on while she and her friends sampled not only the coffee shop’s beverages, but also its food. "There is simultaneously too many ideas to choose from, but also as stupid as it sounds too few."

"Agreed," Doc took a long sip of her coffee, "and things aren't helped by the fact that we can't really use Dr Who inspired costumes for Halloween because of Poppy's party."

"I still think that if as a group we use Star Wars as our theme, then we can all find something suitable," Jeannie looked up from what she was eating.

"I thought your initial idea was Supergirl?"

"It was Katy," Pepsi laughed, "but then she saw that Darth Vader costume and thought that it would do perfectly for Winston."

"And I can come as Padme," Jeannie smiled.

"Okay I get that," Doc looked at faces, "does anyone else have Star Wars preferences?"






8 pm CET

The British Embassy, Paris


As the servants cleared the dessert plates away, Donald stood up and tapped a spoon on the table, the others falling silent as he stood in his dinner jacket.


"Can I say that it is a true pleasure having both so many old friends here tonight in the Residence, as well as many members of the younger generation to remind us all that we are no longer the students that we once were." Donald smiled as he looked down the dining table towards Agnes sitting at the other end.

"It's been a long time since we were all in the same room together," Raymond Cornwall, "and I for one regret that immensely."

"Agreed," Mike Babbage nodded, "even given what happened we all should have been better friends to Aggie."

"Well I'm not sure Donald's wife would have agreed with that," Agnes laughed.

"Anyway, and I'll try not to bore you youngsters too much talking about the good old days," Donald smiled affectionately at Miley and Laura, and then looked at Bridget and Richard Babbage, and Niall and Sean Cornwall.  Richard and Sean were both wearing suits, with neatly knotted ties and white shirts, while the girls were all wearing party dresses, “I do want to thank you for joining Agnes and I here this weekend.  As we approach our own happy day, we need to bring more of a family atmosphere to this place – and having all of you here certainly helps with that.”


“Plus we get to beat you at golf again,” Ray said as Mike shook his head and laughed.


“Well, we will see in the morning,” Donald said with a smile.  “Anyway, before we leave the table, I propose a toast.”  As he picked up a glass, he looked round the table and said “the future.”


“The future.”


“And now, we’ll go and have our coffee and other drinks in the drawing room,” Donald said as the men stood up, waiting as the ladies and girls stood and walked out before they followed.




"Donald was right at dinner.”


“About what,” Kay said as she accepted a cup of coffee.


“Catherine or no, we did neglect you shamefully Aggie," Sherry looked at her old friend as they sat on the drawing room sofa.

Agnes shook her head and smiled.  "That’s not quite true.  Neither of you cut me out totally darlings."

"Well I'm not a member of 'society' so I was never going to play by their so-called 'rules'," Kay said as she sipped her brandy slowly.

"It was still right though that you kept our meetings discreet Kay,” Agnes said with a smile.  “It wouldn't have done your career much good if your superiors had known you occasionally visited my place."

"It did Eleanor Ball's career no harm working in your dungeon Aggie..."

"Granted," Agnes laughed, "but she was undercover."


“And I was venting a little – I understand.  Still, it came in handy at times…”





The younger generation were sitting round a low table, as they shared some family secrets…


"So your Dad was at Cambridge with our Dad?" Laura said as she looked at Ray and Kay’s son.

"They were at different colleges Laura," Sean said with a smile as he sipped his coke, "Dad was at Caius, but because he and your father were dating close friends, they became friends themselves."

"And they both became civil servants," Niall Cornwall sipped the beer that his parents had allowed him to have tonight, "so they stayed friends even after..."

"Mum was exiled because she'd been a dominatrix," Laura nodded.

"Where do you go to school Bridget?" Niall said as he tried to change the subject.

"Parkside School."

"I can't say I know it, is it a day or boarding school?"

"No it’s just an ordinary comprehensive," Bridget smiled, "Dad didn't want us to go to private schools."


“It’s a good school,” Richard said as he sat next to Miley, “even if we have to do things we don’t like.  Miley and Laura are going to go to Queen Charlotte in the New Year.”


“Nice school,” Sean said quietly, “why not now?”


“Well,” Laura said quietly, “we need some private tuition first, and we’ll leave it at that.”




"Have you heard how your friend Penny is doing in New York Aggie?" Kay whispered as they put their cups down.

"Not yet,” Aggie said quietly, “I'm hoping she will phone me later."

"Given what you said about how she feels about doing this, can you pass on my gratitude please?"

"I can."

"This is one of the reasons I never wanted anything to do with MI6," Sherry looked unhappy. "I think it’s wrong that she's being forced to do something against her better judgment, so you can get leverage over someone else."

"Sometimes,” Kay said quietly, “the ends justify the means Sherry darling."

"And it was those sort of words that made it easy to walk away from the proposal I join the Intelligence Services," Sherry shook her head.


“I understand – I would have done the same thing,” Agnes said quietly, “now – well, let’s just say I know why it can happen…”





“What do you think they are talking about,” Donald said as he stood in a corner with Mike and Raymond.


“Probably comparing notes of the old days,” Ray said as he looked at them, sitting in their dresses, “they’ve changed a lot from the student days.”


“And in some ways, they haven’t,” Donald said with a smile as he looked at Agnes.


“So is the paperwork complete?”


“Just about – listen, have you heard about Shirley and John?”


“I have – but you don’t know them do you Raymond?”


“Know who?”


“Shirley Xavier and John Hammond?”


“Well, I’ve met Major Hammond, but I haven’t met his partner yet,” Raymond said, “I heard they were engaged.”


“They’re also adopting Shirley’s ward as their daughter,” Donald said, “and when that is done, they want to hold a party for her, as well as Laura and Miley.  I think you can expect invitations for your children soon.”


“Well, Richard will accept,” Mike said with a smile, “he has a crush on Miley.”


“I had noticed…”






"Why is your Mum named after a drink Bridget?"

"Actually she's not," Bridget laughed, "her real birth name is Aine Sheridan Newsome-Butler.  Grandfather named her for an Irish water goddess, and his favourite playwright. For some reason people started to call her Sherry and it stuck."

"Wow!" Miley shook her head, "Mum never told us that."


“I think she likes it really,” Richard said with a smile.  “Miley…”


“Yes, Richard?”


“Would you – would you come to the cinema with me some time?”


Miley looked at the young boy, as Sean and Niall looked over.  She smiled, and nodded as he said “thank you…”




10.30 pm CET



"Did you see Sean looking at you Laura? He's rather good looking isn't he?" Miley asked as they prepared for bed.

"Is he?” Laura looked round from brushing her teeth, and said “I didn't notice."

"Like hell you didn't," Miley laughed aloud.

"What about you and Richard then?" Laura tried to switch subjects.

"What about us?"  Miley said as she sat cross-legged on her bed.

"You let him ask you out."

The younger girl shrugged as she said "We are only going to the pictures one night."

"It's still a proper date though."

"It's hardly like we are going on our own,” Miley protested, “four of his friends are also coming."

"It shows he's keen on you though." Laura pulled back the covers on her bed, "how keen are you on him?"

"He's fun to be with, I like him heaps, but I don't want him to do the sort of things to me that you used to have to let men do to you."

"Well that at least is good.  Be friends first Miley – things can grow from there, if they are meant to be."


“It’s good to have new friends,” Miley said as she slipped under her covers, while Laura turned the light off.


“Yeah – yeah it is…”





"So - did the Cabinet Secretary give you anything he wanted passed on when he knew you were coming for the weekend Ray?" Donald asked as the two men lingered in the drawing room before heading to bed.

Ray looked shocked at the question.  "Now do you think he'd break protocol and send a message to one of our ambassadors except via Simon McDonald and the Foreign Office?"

"In one word....YES," Donald laughed.

"You know too well how the system actually works Donald," Ray Cornwall cracked a small smile. "Yes there are a few things that he and TM wish to know about what the French are telling you, that they don't want to hear after its been filtered by the FO."

"What kind of things do they want to know?"

"Mainly context and texture. Do you think the French are taking a possible Brexit seriously? Will they urge negotiations in good faith, or will they urge that the EU simply plays for time hoping the whole thing will collapse under our government?"

Donald rubbed his chin as he thought about that.  "Those aren't easy questions to answer,” he finally said, “it depends on who you talk to, and anyway a lot of the French don't want to go anywhere near this in case LePen wins the presidency next year, and they've got to deal with the questions of France's place in the EEC."


“Is that likely?”


“Was it likely we would vote the way we did?  Something new is coming – let us hope it is not her…”



As Agnes slipped off her dressing gown, her mobile phone rang, and she smiled as she looked at the number.


“Penny,” she said as she answered the call, “is it done?”


“It is,” she heard Penny say quietly.


"Okay how do you feel Penny?" Agnes asked in a very concerned voice.

"Drained and exhausted,” she heard her old friend laugh, “I'd forgotten just how much a performance can take out of you."

Agnes sat on the bed and shook her head.  "You've always invested far more of yourself into it then I ever did. I was always able to be far more detached about what I was doing."

"I remember you telling me that I had to learn to be able to mentally distance myself from what I was doing, but I never did learn that skill."

"I know, and I understand why you could not at the time.  It's because domination is a lifestyle thing within you. I did it all those years, but I have never felt the need to dominate anyone outside of my professional life."

"Hasn't Donald never hinted that he'd like to see what Lady d'Eath was all about Aggie?"

"No, and I couldn't do it anyway,” Agnes said as she sat back, her back against the headboard.  “I love Donald with all my heart, and I feel neither the need, or desire, to dominate him."

"I understand that in a way. I have no desire to practice my craft with Helen, and I'm not sure I could if I wanted to."

"Exactly Penny, if I put on one of my outfits and tried to 'scene' Donald it would just feel all wrong...almost creepy."

"If anything,” Penny laughed, “I see you more inclined to submit to him, rather than the other way round."

"Maybe," Aggie laughed in return, "anyway do you have any information from Francesca and her people for me to pass on to Kay?"

"Only that they will hold off putting the squeeze on him till after I've safely departed New York. Madame is coming to see you Sunday..."

"That she is."

"I'm sure by then she will have plenty to tell Kay."


“Good – I’ll text her to come out to the golf club when they arrive to join us for lunch.  So when you had finished – what did you do?”


“Honestly – went for a cup of tea and a chat with Madame Blaze.  Did you know she would watch?”


“She is always ready to learn at the University of Life.  And tonight?”


“That’s Helen at the door – I’ll see you soon Aggie.”


“Looking forward to it Penny,” Agnes said as the door opened and Donald came in.


“A business call this late?”


“No – just Penny telling me about her day…”



7.30 pm

The de Ros Mansion


Abby smiled as she sat with Tony, Natasha and some of Diana’s friends who had come to see her.


“I am glad she is home,” Sigi said as she sipped her drink.  “Where are your grandfather and uncles?”


“They have gone out for the evening – they felt this was a time for the ladies to be here,” Abby said as she sipped her coffee.


“So how is she really feeling,” Alice McKinnon asked as she looked over.


"She's going to be fragile for a period," Abby said as she looked at Tony.  “Helen told me to make sure she doesn't try and do too much, but it looks as though she will be fine eventually."


“Let me guess – you’re going to have to help with that?”


“Grandmama and Edith are a formidable grouping,” Abby said as Natasha nodded.


Karen held her glass tightly as she said “if I'd known just what was going on at the time, I'd have been sorely tempted to..."

"You'd have had to join the line Karen," Alice shook her head. "If he hadn't smashed himself up in a wreck like that, I think most of Diana's friends would have quite cheerfully done away with him."

"My brother was a monster," Natasha looked angry as she spoke.  “I know he was family, but even then I knew something was wrong, I was too young to do anything though…”

"Well just be glad no one did actually do anything stupid," Sigi said as she crossed her legs.  “So, can we see her?”


“Valeria has gone to see how she is…”




Diana smiled as she sat in her bed, wearing a white silk dressing gown over her nightdress, while Valeria sat on the bed beside her.  A magazine and her reading glasses were on the bedside table.


“It sounds as if a small crowd is downstairs…”


"There are a lot of your friends downstairs Diana," Valeria said as she looked at her daughter in law.

"So Abigail told me Valeria."

"They wanted me to ask - are you going to be up to seeing any of them?"

"I'd like many of them sent me such wonderful, and inspirational, messages when I was in hospital..."

"Just don't tire yourself too much.  This is meant to be a time of recovery, after all."

"I know…  Thank you for everything Valeria," Diana said as she extended her hand to the older woman, "I know finally hearing just what happened wasn't easy."

"No it wasn't," Valeria let some tears come, "I just wish I'd been a better person, and that you could have told me all this back when I could maybe have done something about my son."


“Forgive me, Valeria, but if you are honest with yourself, could you truly have done anything?”


Valeria looked at Diana, and then slowly shook her head.  “No – no I doubt I could.  Diana – there is a question I need to ask.  The research assistant who left before Jacques…”


“I could not say anything for certain,” Diana said carefully, “but I would suspect they would wish to forget that time, and move on, if anything followed on from then.”


Valeria nodded as there was a knock on the door, and Edith came in.  “Do your require anything, Madame?”


“Yes – I understand Karen and Alice are downstairs?”


“They are Madame.”


“Ask them to come up please,” Diana said quietly, “they have come a distance, and it would be rude not to greet them first.”



Sunday 2nd October

10 am

Le Golf National




“Good shot Dad,” Richard said as Mike looked down the fairway, nodding as he put the Nine Iron back into the bag his son was carrying.


“Nice one,” Ray said as he selected a club from the bag Niall was holding.


“How come we have to carry the bags, and the girls just watch,” Sean said as she looked at Laura and Miley.  While the men and boys were wearing golfing clothes, the two girls were wearing padded gilets over jumpers, with jeans and the correct shoes.


“Well, because you are gentlemen,” Laura giggled.


“She’s got you there boys,” Raymond said with a smile before he hit the ball down the fairway.


“Well, at least I can still hold my own,” Mike said with a smile as he walked alongside Donald and Mike, the others following…



"It must be a boon for embassy entertaining to have a group membership at a club like this Aggie?" Sherry said as she looked round the coffee area.

"Well,” Agnes said as she sipped her drink, “I suspect that I will find that out over the course of time."

"There have to be certain perks to being an ambassadors wife darling."

"The servants at the residence being just one of them," Kay said as she looked at one of the brochures advertising just what the club had to offer. “Hmmm – a spa weekend as well…”

"Just remember that for 5 days a week,” Agnes said with a smile, “home is my flat in London, and I have to do most of the cooking, and cleaning, myself."

"Does Mike play much golf Sherry?" Kay asked.

"A bit,” Sherry said as she sipped her coffee, “but not at a club as classy as this, he and a couple of his police mates play the odd round at our local municipal course. This is going up in the world."

"That sounds like Mike, firmly determined to keep his life as 'normal' as possible," Agnes smiled, "He may have married into the aristocracy, but he's always been determined to stay firmly grounded."

"You know I used to think a lot of it was reverse snobbery on his part." Kay spoke softly, "I've always been aware of how the class system still works in an institution like the service."

"My husband has always had a teeny chip on his shoulder," Sherry sighed, "it's why he resisted sending the kids to private schools, even though I could have afforded them easily."

"Does he still forbid you to even touch your inheritance Sherry?"

"Yes Kay.  I’m just treating it as the inheritance for the kids…"


“Probably a good move.”


“Shirley,” Agnes said as she stood and greeted the new arrivals, “how was the flight?”


“Good – where are the men folk?”


“Out there,” Kay said as she indicated the course.


“Oh, forgive me – Kay Cornwall, let me introduce you to Shirley Xavier and Sir John Hammond, and their – can I call you their daughter now Maisha?”


“You may,” Maisha said with a smile as Agnes hugged her.  “How are you,” she whispered into her ear.


“I am recovering,” Maisha said quietly as Kay shook Shirley and John’s hand.  “Not tempted to join them, Sir John?”


“I’m with Churchill on that one – let me get some coffees,” John said as Shirley and Maisha sat down.





"Nice shot Mike!"


Donald patted his old friend on the back as they watched the ball roll up on the green and come to rest about a foot from the hole.

"Thanks," Mike said with a smile as he handed the club he had used to Richard, "I caught it just right, and then the contours of the course did the rest."

"Well I didn't think mine was bad as I hit it," Ray shook his head, "but that damn bunker seemed to jump up and pull it in."

"It's not the easiest course in the world by any means."

"Which is why they are holding the Ryder Cup here Donald," Mike walked alongside his friends. "What chance accommodation and tickets for that if you are still ambassador?"

"Oh I'd say they are pretty good," Donald smiled.

"You know this is real fun," Laura walked alongside Sean Babbage, "we all feel like one big family."


“Yeah – I guess it’s something you and Miley are re-discovering, given you’ve been adopted.”


Laura smiled as she saw Miley taking Richard’s hand.  “Yeah – yeah you could say that.  It’s good to be out in the open air anyway…”


“SO you want to learn to play this game,” Richard said as they walked to the green.


“Yeah – why not?  It’s in the fresh air, and it keeps you fit.”


“I think I’d prefer this to rugby,” Richard said as they stopped on the edge of the green, and he handed Mike his putter, “possibly – and if the company was right.”


Miley smiled as she said “Well, maybe one day…”




“Maisha, why don’t we go and see what the lunch menu is,” John said as he stood up.


“Of course – excuse us please,” Maisha said as they walked off, and Shirley saw Kay smiling at her.


“Xavier – you must be Annie Xavier’s great granddaughter.  A fine business you’ve built up,” Kay said with a smile.


“Well, my father and his father invested wisely,” Shirley said in her deep voice.


“And they supported the government in so many ways,” Kay said with another smile.


"I've seen your company's name occasionally in the news Shirley, just what is it you do?" Sherry asked.

"We have interests in Insurance, shipping, financial services, and a few smaller enterprises," the auburn haired woman sipped her drink. "Part of what we do is risk assessment for clients both in insurance and potential investments, so we have what I really should stress are completely unofficial ties with intelligence and police services that allow us to give the best possible advice to clients."


“Kay,” Agnes said quietly, “there is a close working relationship between Xavier International and Jameson Security – Caroline Jameson is on the board of Xavier International.  Also, Shirley’s number one is a certain Penelope Harker.  Penelope used to work for me as well, and therefore, Shirley had to approve what she has been doing in New York for us.”


"Both Francesca, and another name that Kay may know, John Vosloo, sit on my board of directors." Shirley played with her glasses, "they both provide us with valuable sources that we can go to when we have problems, while equally I'm proud to say that just occasionally we have been asked for what little help that we can give by various people.  In other words,” Shirley said as she looked at Kay, “I know something of what has been going on, and the Marchesa asked me to pass on some initial information.”


"You can safely take it that Sherry is as closed lipped as I am Shirley if there is anything you wish to tell Kay." Agnes spoke softly as the four women went outside, and sat at a cafe table in the late autumn sun.

"I was wondering about that," Shirley said.  “I presume you have been asked to help in some way as well.”


Sherry nodded as she looked round.  "I might not approve of everything that gets done in the name of national security Shirley, but I am enough of a realist to know that me blabbing secrets would do no one any good. So what I may hear, not even Mike will ever know."

"Alright," Shirley took a deep breath, "Penelope did her thing, and I'm assured that the evidence is shocking in the extreme. It's the sort of thing no man, let alone a Russian gangster with a religious wife, would ever want to be widely seen."

"So we tell him, he plays ball and we will not just know what his bosses are ordering, we will know just what his equivalents working for other principals are replying when he tells them what is being done."

"Just so Kay," Shirley smiled.  “Francesca will brief you fully tomorrow.”

"I remember Mike once telling me how that works," Sherry looked serious, "big time crooks never talk directly, they always use middle men so that they have deniability."

"That's how it works," Agnes smiled herself as she saw John and Maisha approaching. "We can talk more about it later."


“Well, they can get us in as a group for about one thirty – do you think they’ll have finished pummelling a ball round the course by then?”


“Very likely,” Agnes said with a smile as they sat down.


"So changing subjects, but apropos where we are Aggie,” Shirley said as she sat back and smiled, “did you ever hear anything more back from Augie's friend on that Irish golf resort they had you evaluate?"

"Yes - they decided that they didn't have the cash to make the capital investments I advised, so they are putting it up for sale."

"You know how wonderful it sounds to hear you discussing something like that Aggie?" Kay smiled. "It's what you always really wanted to do darling."

"Well I'm not an expert on the leisure industry,” Aggie blushed, “but with Tom Lardarn's help I was able to make some proposals.  Given the current climate – and the tales of what a certain New York tycoon has done to Turnberry – they probably got scared off."

"If they aren't going to be acted on, how many rules will I break if I ask if I might see your report?" Shirley asked.

"Why,” Agnes said as she raised an eyebrow, “are you thinking of buying?"

"I'm always interested in the right project, and if as you say the right injection of capital can make it profitable, then I'm definitely interested."

"Shirley darling, we came over to relax, not talk business," John laughed.


“I know, I know,” Shirley laughed.  “We’ll talk later in the week, Agnes.”





1.30 pm CET


“There you are,” Agnes said as Laura and Miley came in, “was it a good walk?”


“We enjoyed it – even if the boys are tired,” Laura said as the other four came in, followed by Mike, Ray and Donald.


“But I am starving,” Richard said as he picked up the menu, “what looks good?”


“Whoa, kiddo,” Sherry said with a smile, “we all pick at the same time all right?”


"I was asking Donald about the Ryder Cup when it’s played here," Mike said as he looked round the table, "would everyone be up for doing a group thing for that?"

"I'd been thinking that this place,” John said as he looked round, “and that event, would make an interesting backdrop for a shoot."

Mike let out an exasperated gasp as he said "Well I had in mind a holiday, not work John."

"Oh I think I can combine work and pleasure," the former military man paused, "the huge question is it something these youngsters, and most importantly, the ladies, would like to do?"

"Well as long as I'm not expected to walk round the course several times, I actually think it might be fun," Shirley answered.


“I agree,” Sherry said with a smile, “it could be fun…”



"Are you thinking of going to University Maisha?" Bridget asked after she had given her order.

"I've thought about it a little,” Maisha said with a smile, “but I'd need to take the formal exams first."

"Why haven't you taken them?" Niall Cornwall asked.

"I've been home schooled and privately tutored," Maisha smiled, "I've taken a couple of exams, but to get into university I will need more formal qualifications."

"Maisha just got back from doing an outdoor survival course in Botswana," Laura said as she sipped her coke.

"You did?" Niall looked impressed. "That must have been incredible?"


“It was – an experience,” Maisha said with a smile.


“So if you were to do the exams?”


“Well, Agnes has been my tutor in Economics, so she may wish me to sit one in that,” Maisha said as she looked over.


“Well, I think you could handle it, but we can discuss next week when I come over,” Agnes said, “and I think History and Politics would also suit you.  We’d also – and I know you’ll hate this – need to get you a qualification in Maths and English if you want to go to a university, Maisha?”


“We do?  Why?”


“Because they require it,” Sherry said as she shook her head.


"Our school is very strong in things like science, and computing," Bridget said as she contemplated a second portion of tarte. "Especially for girls."

"Which is why my eldest sister is reading Natural Sciences at Oxford," Richard said as he looked up from his own food.

"So it’s not because your Mom and Dad both went there?" Laura asked out of curiosity.

"I think that's maybe what made her aim for Oxford," Bridget took a second slice, "our parents were always saying how great it was, and how much they enjoyed themselves, but it wasn't a factor in her getting in."

"No she had to earn her place all on her own." Richard finished eating.

"What are you planning to do for your A levels Niall?" Bridget asked, "I'm going to do Maths, Further Maths and Physics.  But I’m doing Photography on the side as well?”


“Really,” John said as he looked over.


“My doing,” Sherry said.  “I said she needed something more than just maths based subjects, and at least there is an artistic side to taking photos.”


“Don’t tell Jack Linklater that,” John said with a smile, “he’ll claim it’s all art, but he’s the most scientifically gifted photographer I know.”


“So, Niall?”

"History, Economics, and Geography," Niall smiled, "providing I survive my GCSE's of course."

"Are you both at boarding school?" Miley asked the Cornwall boys.

"Haileybury," Sean nodded, "just like Dad, his father, and his father before him."

"We are going to Queen Charlotte's," Miley took a sip of drink, "Mum and Dad asked if we wanted to go to boarding school, but we said we'd rather live at home."

"And QCS isn't far from where we live," Laura added.

"I've heard it’s one of the best girls schools in the country," Sean smiled at Laura.

"The standard is pretty high," Laura smiled back.

"I worry a bit how well I'll do," Miley said as she took another slice of the tarte, "Laura is the one with the brains."

"Don't listen to her," Laura laughed, "she's not exactly stupid.  She just prefers arts to sciences, but she can study that as well."


“Art?  So do you paint?”


“Not very well,” Miley said as she smiled at Richard, “but I have been taking lessons in sketching, and I am getting good at that.”


“Everyone has different strengths,” Richard said as he ate some more food.


"Sean fancies your sister something rotten," Bridget whispered in Miley's ear.

"What about Niall and you?" Miley whispered back.


“Oh there’s something there…”


“By the way,” Maisha said, “Mum has suggested a party in a few weeks, once the adoption is through for me as well as Miley and Laura.  I hope you will all be able to come?”





"So have you both thought about wedding dresses yet?" Sherry asked as she patted her mouth.

"Young Kylie Mitchell is preparing some designs for me to look at," Shirley smiled as she sipped her coffee.

"How did you get her to do that?" Kay looked impressed.

"I have influence," Shirley laughed, "her cousin Susan runs my New York operation."

"That's called nepotism," Kay laughed as well, "but I envy you being even in a position to ask such a talented designer to design for you."

"Caroline Jameson told me you were something of a fashionista Kay, fitting in watching a couple of shows while you were in New York."

"Caroline was kind enough to get tickets, and most importantly sign a couple of her posters.  My sons’ cred with their friends at school has shot up as a result of them having autographed pictures of Caroline on their walls."

"Did she tell you that she's doing a movie soon?"

"No that she didn't Shirley.” Kay put her cup down and asked “what film?"

"She has a small part in Mads Mikkelsen's new project, she will be filming in Iceland in December,"

"Do you think if I ask nicely she can get a signed picture of Mads for me?" Kay giggled.

"I can try," Shirley smiled broadly.

"So what about your dress Aggie?" Sherry turned to her friend.

"Well after how good he made me look at Sue's wedding,” Aggie laughed, “I've asked Nick Wu if he might do me a dress."

"You did look fabulous."

"That she did Sherry." Sherry said with a smile.

"Thank you,” Aggie blushed, “but anyway he's visiting London shortly and we are going to sit down and chat."


“What about you Donald,” Ray asked, “attendants?”


“Well, Will for one, and I will ask young Gresham-Fox.  What about you John?”


“I’ve asked Jack Linklater – but…  Well, I need to make a call for the second one.”







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